Fandom: The Old Guard (Movie 2020)
Summary: Nicky can't help assisting people in need, but this time he's being played and those duping him come with fangs. When he goes missing the whole team are frantic, particularly when they start having strange dreams, especially Joe. They have to find Nicky before it is too late.
Warnings/Tropes: Vampires, Immortal!Husbands, Nicky Whump
A/N: Yes, of course I wrote vampires into TOG – it is my mission in life to write vampires in every fandom. 😂 You're welcome 🧛😂.
Seriously though – I hope everyone enjoys reading this one, I have so enjoyed writing it. Thanks to Soph for the beta.
Links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
Chapter 4 – Edge of Darkness
There was no way in the cellar to measure time and Nicky was too distracted to even remotely attempt it himself, but he knew when darkness was coming. It had nothing to do with being able to see the sun heading towards the horizon, or a clock ticking away, he could feel it. He had given up trying to get out of the locked room, it was simply impossible, and his strength had continued to fail. His and Bryce's only chance was if he could take the others by surprise when they inevitably came back.
If they believed what they had told Bryce, they definitely weren't expecting him.
Talking to Bryce, he had learned more about the kid, he was twenty-one, so older than he looked, but still very much a kid to Nicky. He'd been to a pub with his mates, but they'd run off as a joke. In fact, Bryce had thought the vampires were part of the joke until he'd ended up chained to a wall. Nicky had shared a little about himself, mostly about Joe, because the thought of Joe kept him going. Surviving for Joe was easier than surviving for himself with everything he was suffering.
He had come to believe that the pain he was feeling was his immortality fighting against the corruption Ruth had forced into him. It was the only explanation he could remotely come up with and, as darkness approached, his immortality was losing.
The dark hateful thing crawling at the back of his brain was growing.
It disgusted him. It terrified him. He was desperately trying to hang on.
He was losing time too. His mind would go hazy and then he'd blink, only things in the room would have changed, or mostly, Bryce would have moved.
"You okay?" Bryce finally asked.
"No," Nicky replied, he had no energy for subtlety.
"Going to eat me anyway?" came back.
Bryce sounded resigned.
"Not if I can help it," Nicky said, but he was less and less sure.
He took a deep breath, pulling up one of his crystal-clear memories of Joe. Joe would never give up on him, he could not give up on himself.
"When they come," he said, "I will distract them. You run."
If he could save an innocent, at least it would mean something. What happened after was in the hands of fate.
His chest felt tight, it was hard to breathe. He had died many times in many ways, but none quite like this. The closest he could remember was when he and Joe had been locked in a safe with airtight seals. Andy and Booker had not arrived in time before the air ran out. He felt like he was suffocating, but the burning in his cells flaring and dying away and flaring again, was overlaying it all.
He blinked and realised Bryce had moved again, closer to him. He gasped in air as if he had not been breathing.
"You went again," Bryce said. "You sound like my great gran when you do, she rattled before she died."
Nicky gave the kid a twisted smile for that. He knew the sound of dying breath all too well, he was glad he was not the one listening.
The moment the sun dipped below the horizon he knew. The pain centred on his heart, like a vice squeezing the life from him. He grabbed at his chest, gasping in air that his lungs seemed to reject. He curled over, desperately trying to breathe, but all that resulted was a choking sound. He could feel the darkness, the violence in his soul, creeping out and up towards the light. He had always tried to be a good man, do what he believed was right, but he killed, he destroyed when he had to. This was that and more, something evil, something that wanted to wipe away his humanity.
He choked on it as it filled him up. He wanted to cry out, needed to scream and couldn't. As death reached for him again, he desperately reached for Joe. There was no strength left in him, so he reached for all that he had left.
Joe startled awake sobbing.
"Nicky!" he yelled, reaching out for the man he loved.
He had not meant to sleep. When he had returned from his search, Andy had insisted they at least nap until they had something to go on. It was too dangerous to go into this unrested and they planned to regroup that night as soon as Booker arrived. Joe had not wanted to sleep, but as ever Andy was right, and he had needed it, or he would never had closed his eyes.
What he had seen chilled him to the bone.
Nile had told them, but he hadn't believed, not really. Now he had seen, now he had felt. He had seen through Nicky's eyes, felt Nicky's pain. This was like nothing they had faced before.
He looked up to see Andy standing in the doorway. She was pale, eyes slightly too wide.
"We'll get him back," she said, and Joe had to believe, he had to.
He pulled out his notebook, writing everything down just in case it could be important.
Joe wrenched the door open, grabbed Booker by the front of his jacket and dragged him inside the house. The pain of betrayal was so far from his mind now and all he could think about was one more person to help find and get Nicky back.
"What in god's name is going on?" Booker finally said something after Joe pushed him into the small living room.
"Fuck if we know," Nile replied and Joe just growled.
He did not need more questions, he needed answers. Nicky was missing, in pain and furious. He refused to think about the edge of insanity he had felt in the brief moment he had connected with his husband.
"You all dreamed too?" Booker checked.
Andy gave him a curt nod. Joe hadn't seen her this rattled since Quynh, not even when she had lost her immortality.
"Last night it was just me and you," Nile said, looking at Booker, "but today it got to everyone."
"Are we seriously considering vampires?" Booker asked next.
Joe found himself looking to Andy and he couldn't help noticing the other two were doing the same thing.
"I met a warlord who claimed to be a vampire once," she said, "but he died when I took his head off, so I don't know. I've never seen anything like what I got from Nicky."
"Could it be drugs?" Nile asked. "Could someone have him on something? Could that be why we're getting things from him when we're not supposed to?"
"It possible," Andy said, but she didn't sound remotely sure.
Joe slammed his hand against the sideboard.
"Stop it," he shouted, because he knew they didn't have time to play games. "Stop rationalising. We all know what we felt, what we saw."
The memory of what he had sensed clawing at Nicky's mind would never leave him. It had only been seconds, but he knew it was nothing natural.
"Vampires don't exist," Booker whispered. "How can they exist?"
Joe didn't really expect his backup to come from Nile, after all she was the modern woman who had never been brought up with any of these superstitions.
"How can Andy have never met one?"
Joe felt like throwing Booker right back out the door, but when he looked at the younger immortal, he saw the expression in the man's eyes. Booker was playing devil's advocate, but it didn't look as if he believed it.
"Law of averages," again the response came from Nile. "There are five of us free to walk around, who knows how many vampires there are. If they are a rare breed too, it might just be dumb luck none of us have ever run into one of them until now."
"They would have to hide," Booker agreed, finally dropping all the questions.
Surprisingly, Andy nodded. Joe had not expected her to agree, after all she had seen just about everything in her long life.
"We have to go with what we know until something proves it wrong," she said when Joe looked at her. "All the evidence says vampires, so that's what we plan for. There were no gunshots, no sign of other means as to how two normal people could have taken Nicky down. Frankly vampires make the most sense at the moment."
Andy was right, given normal circumstances, Nicky was far more lethal than two average human beings.
"How do you kill a vampire?" he asked, because when he found them, he was definitely going to kill them, preferably in the most painful way possible.
What he had felt from Nicky made his blood boil. The torture those things had put the love of his life through had to be repaid. That they might not find them and might not get Nicky back were considerations he refused to acknowledge.
"Sunlight," Booker said.
"Fire," Nile offered.
"Stake through the heart," Booker added.
"And beheading," Andy put in, "if that warlord really was a vampire and not delusional."
"Not as robust as us," Joe said, feeling inordinately pleased.
"Not if the legends are right," Nile agreed, "but we don't know which ones are. From what I dreamed they seem to be a lot stronger than us though."
"Then we plan for maximum damage," Andy took over as they all shared a look, "and we only engage when we have to until we have better intel. Booker did you and Copely come up with anything?"
"We ran Joe's sketches through a real-life simulator," Booker said, which was news to Joe, "tweaked them to look like normal people and started comparing them to facial recognition databases. It's not going to be one hundred percent accurate, but it's worth a try. I checked in when I landed and nothing so far, but Copely's got them running against CCTV for the city as well in case anyone looking like them shows up. He'll let us know if there are any hits."
Sometimes Joe forgot exactly how good Booker could be with technology.
"And I've been looking for patterns," Booker went on. "I hacked into their police database and downloaded anything relevant so I could look through it on the way here. Edinburgh is a pretty safe city compared to some, but over the last three years they've had a cluster of disappearances from towards the east of the city. All on the younger side, party types. Nothing's flagged because all they've ever been are disappearances, no bodies, no indication of foul play and they range from locals to tourists."
"The police noticed nothing?" Joe asked.
"Over worked and under paid," Nile said as if that explained everything.
Booker shook his head.
"People go missing every day for all sorts of reasons," he said. "I went looking for anything that matched Nicky's disappearance and I found a thread, so I followed it."
Sometimes Joe despaired at the obliviousness of the human race.
"So what do we do, Boss?" Joe asked and looked at Andy.
He knew what the answer was going to be, knew there was only one logical one. He hated it, but he knew.
"We sit tight until we get something to go on," Andy said.
At least when Andy said it, Joe had someone to blame, even if he knew it was the right call. He walked out of the room to find something to destroy before he said something he would later regret.
on to chapter 5