10.4 Border General Redux

by Matt P.

“Glad to see the hospital hasn’t changed in a couple of hours,” Walter grunted to himself as he pushed in through the door. The call had come in over the radio while they were driving, that the Marshal had been taken to Border General and that he was in critical condition. They had promptly done a U-turn over a median, scared the living hell out of a bunch of random citizens, and reconfirmed their commitment to not letting Ryan Aquino drive city vehicles ever again.

“I’d like to stop coming here,” Antigone agreed as she ran up to meet them. She and Antigone had been driven to the hospital, after insisting they were not leaving their father alone again, in a car driven only somewhat more sedately by Morgan. At least she can teleport them out in an emergency, Walter thought grimly.

Morgan charged ahead in to the Emergency Room and grabbed a doctor she recognized. Within a few moments of cajoling and almost yelling she had something in her hands that she was reading off of. “He’s in surgery for multiple shrapnel wounds. They’ve stopped him from bleeding out, but it’s still going to be touch and go while they’re trying to get the pieces out.”

Walter nodded, resisting the urge to reach out and read the document because it would literally do nothing helpful and would probably only annoy Morgan. “Is there something you can do to help?” He asked quietly. She was a doctor, so it wasn’t an unreasonable request; but they also both knew he wasn’t asking about if she could help with the sutures.

“Oh good fuck yes,” Morgan answered, baring her teeth in a fierce look that in no way resembled a smile. “They shot the Marshal of the Border, that signs me up to do whatever I want. I will go slap the shit out of Death if he steps in to the room.”

Walter blinked a bit, and caught the chart as she tossed it at him. “I thought you were death?” He asked, not even mostly kidding.

“Fine…” Morgan huffed as she stalked off in the direction of the operating room. “Any other deaths.” She gave a little wave as she all but ran off, moving through the crowd toward the room with such ease that Walter assumed magic had to be involved. That left Walter, Siobhan, Antigone, Ryan Aquino, Ryan Richards, Andre, and Leah with nowhere to go but the waiting room.

Which they found currently occupied with Ashland and Taito. The broad Master Sergeant was sitting in one of the chairs in his shirtsleeves, while Ashland was standing and pulling on a new white dress shirt. The old one was on the chair next to Taito, ripped and blood stained, and Walter could see fresh bandages on the woman as she started buttoning up her shirt.

“So much for never letting them see you bleed,” Ashland commented wryly. She glanced down at her jacket and tie and apparently decided they were lost causes, so she reached up to spread her collar a little bit in order to make it look purposeful.

“I’ve seen you bleed before,” Walter answered as he went to drop down in to a chair, looking at the two of them. “How bad up were you?” He asked, his eyes glancing back to the bloody shirt again. The others found seats as well, with Ryan Aquino particularly making himself comfortable while the other Ryan went to huddle with his sisters to speak quietly.

Ashland looked at the shirt as well and shrugged. “Not too bad. A couple of stitches. The kid is out right now because he took a little bit more when the building exploded, so I’ll be looking to balance that out in my ledger.” She rolled her shoulders a bit before she grabbed her bloody shirt and tossed it in to the wastebasket in the corner. “We need to talk about what happened tonight. You have someone dealing with the press?”

Walter looked over to Leah, who nodded. “Chief Deputy Alvarez is second in command, and I assume she’s taken charge of the situation along with the PAO. Not really our monkeys or our circus,” Leah answered.

Ashland nodded. “Good. I can throw the weight of the FBI behind whatever the cover up is, which brings me immediately to the next point: What in the entire fuck happened tonight?” She leaned forward, elbows on her knees. “I got to watch a man get speared through the chest by a piece of rebar and pull himself up it to try to stab us. I think he died in a fire but I can’t be sure.” She shook her head, grimacing. “That’s a new nightmare for me, Walter, and I’m completely opposed to new nightmares.”

Walter leaned back, looking down at his shoes and tapping them for a moment. “If I tell you, you aren’t going to believe me,” he offered with a shrug. “I’ll tell you, I’m tired of people not knowing about it. But you won’t believe me.”

Ashland laughed, and it was both a little bit better and slightly fragile—like she was doing more work keeping it together than she was letting on. Walter blinked slightly at the sign of weakness, torn between distrusting and belief. “Walter, I guarantee you I’ve never been more receptive to whatever it is you want to tell me. Do we need the room?” She asked meaningfully, looking around the room. Walter shook his head.

“No, everyone here knows. Alright,” Walter sighed. “The honest to God, I am not bullshitting you and I have not gone crazy answer is that they’re vampires,” he answered plainly, in a tone that said he clearly expected they would laugh him out of the room. Taito blinked, and Ashland clearly looked like her first instinct would have been to disbelieve—but when no one else in the room even looked askance at it, and considering the weirdness she had apparently seen, she didn’t.

Instead she let out a little laugh. “OK. Vampires. Tell me about vampires, Walter.” She looked like she was surprised to have said the words, despite earlier protestations to the contrary. Walter opened his mouth to say something, when Leah’s phone started buzzing and she answered it. Everyone looked over to her curiously, and she blushed slightly—before she went pale.

“What is it?” Walter asked. Leah held up a hand to cover the receiver on her phone, before remembering it was a smart phone and she could just mute it.

“Walter…there are reporters down at the station who want a statement from you,” Leah explained.

Walter blinked. “I guess someone saw me jumping around town?” He asked. Leah shook her head. “Why then?”

“Because apparently you’re the Acting Marshal, Walter,” Leah answered.