7.4 Justified

by Matt P.

“Bullshit,” Ashland pronounced with a decidedly annoyed air. It was a little over an hour later, and Walter and Ryan had both just finished simultaneously giving their statements to the police officers who had arrived as backup at the lab. They were cleared, and based on the statements the head of Border Internal Affairs had called their actions justified.

“What’s bullshit?” Walter asked, shrugging on the windbreaker that one of the other cops had handed them. He had surrendered his department issued sidearm and rifle, since it had been used with permission as part of his department kit, and shrugged out of the body armor. “It was justified.”

Ashland snorted and shook her head, rounding on Walter. From somewhere—presumably her car—she had produced her own windbreaker emblazoned with ‘FBI’ in gold letters on the back, so no one would doubt her authority to screw with them if she wanted to. “Even in the CIA I had to go through more hoops than that the one time I decapitated someone, and the CIA specializes in ugly and bloody. I got a bunch of high fives after, but I was still closeted with an admin goon for hours.”

Ryan shrugged. “You think I could con someone out of their windbreaker? I feel like I’m missing out here not having one that says ‘DUDE’ on the back,” he asked Walter with a grin. Now it was Walter’s turn to snort. “Remember, Border sees a lot of crazy crap, Ashland, and we’re the middle of the Salvation epidemic.”

Ashland looked sour but Walter nodded and continued his train of thought. “It was either that or try to find a shotgun again, and the knife seemed faster. It’s ugly, and a whole new set of merry nightmares to wake me up at night.” He shook his head, considering the bloody rooms behind him for a moment before sighing. “Regardless…”

Ashland considered him for a long moment, before she shook her head in turn. “I’m not sure I expected you’d have many things left that could give you nightmares.” She looked around. “Is this really the first time you’ve decapitated someone?” She asked, with a hint of blase that Walter didn’t think was forced at all.

“Manually?” Walter asked, a little shocked. “Yes, that’s a new one for me.” At the sound of something behind him he turned with the others, and raised an eyebrow as he saw the flaming red hair of Morgan coming in attached to the rest of her. She was wearing a lab coat and carried gloves and booties with her, for preserving evidence at the crime scene, but she wasn’t wearing them. Walter got the feeling that she wasn’t really here to do much investigating herself, and that the accoutrements were just a show.

“Walter,” Morgan greeted him, with genuine relief in her voice. She gave a polite smile to the others, although it was a genuine smile for Ryan, before she turned back to him. “I heard you were in an incident, and they just let me through to see you. Are you alright?” Walter couldn’t help but smile at the concern in her voice, and the relief that had been there when she saw him. He nodded.

“It was ugly, but we’re still on this side of the dirt,” Walter confirmed with a shrug. “Nothing but some new psychic trauma for our troubles, and some bruises from getting thrown around.” Morgan gave him an appraising look, as if she could divine the extent of his injuries—physical and mental—at a glance. Apparently deciding she couldn’t, or that she had the information she needed, she nodded.

“I told the Marshal that I would come get you; you’re needed,” she explained. “Tania also asked me to grab Ryan. If you’re cleared by IA, let’s roll?” She held out a hand in gesture to the door, which Walter reached out to take as if she had been offering it to him to hold. She looked surprised but also pleased, so Walter didn’t let it go.

“Want me to grab the other one so that we can swing you between us?” Ryan asked, raising an eyebrow curiously. Morgan’s smile from Walter taking her hand shifted, becoming both more amused and more edged.

“Remember that I have access to knives, sedatives, and ice, and that you have supremely sell-able kidneys,” she pointed out evenly. Ryan casually but purposefully took his hands and shoved them in to his pockets, before beginning to whistle. Walter looked to Ashland as he, Ryan, and Morgan began to walk back to their cars.

“We’re fine getting our own way back,” Ashland said with a wave, guessing his question. “If you’re corrupt ass podunk cops say you’re fine for decapitating someone, then who am I to judge.”

It was when they got all the way back to where they had parked before they started asking questions. “You decapitated someone?” Morgan said, slightly stunned and slightly impressed. “I could smell vampire on you as soon as I came in, so that answered the question of why…but damn,” she concluded..

Ryan nodded. “It was the only way to take him down. But the fucked up thing is he wasn’t a vampire when we met him, shot him, and arrested him. Somehow between being zip-tied and when he came back to the party, he became one.” Morgan went still considering that, before she started walking toward Walter’s car once more.

“What is it we’re going to” Walter asked. “I notice you didn’t say the Marshal is the one who needed me. And are we following you? I brought my car out here.” Morgan gave a little bit of a sheepish grin, as she pulled a black raven’s feather out of one of the pockets of her labcoat.

“I took the Faerie express. I figured it was the easiest way to get to you and not have an extra car,” she explained. At Walter’s blank look, she smirked. “What…you thought Ninja Grandpa could do it but I couldn’t?” She waggled the feather.

Walter shrugged slightly. “I never thought about it. I mean, the ability to instantly transport across the city makes your driving make a lot more sense; trying to recapture the speed.” He looked to his car. “So if you can sufficiently advanced science yourself around, why are we taking my car back?” Oddly, Ryan shuddered at that question. “And where are we going?”

Morgan gestured to the car, and he unlocked it. With a glance at Ryan and a smirk, she claimed the shotgun seat. “We’re taking the boring way because I want to preserve my energy; while I could bop around the city with passengers while we get ready, it would be a drain. My stores are considerable, but not unlimited.”

“Also,” Ryan added when she paused, “Going along as a passenger feels like someone trying to pull your stomach out through your asshole, and taking all your organs along for the ride.”

Morgan nodded. “And that. As for where…I think the time has long past come to visit us some vampires.”