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 | 6 |
Chapter 5 - Full Dark
Nicky clawed his way back to consciousness. The first thing he knew was pain, which made him want to laugh manically, because if he was going to be a damned thing, the least that could happen was for the pain to go away. He growled instead as anger flared at the same moment as the twisted humour. At least this time he felt stronger.
Opening his eyes, the cellar seemed very light, not dimly lit at all. He pushed himself up from where he had slumped sideways onto the floor, looking around.
"Oh fuck," Bryce said, eyes going big and round as the kid backed away.
Nicky looked down at himself, he couldn't see any reason for Bryce's reaction. Then he caught sight of his hands. Lifting one up he turned it over, flexing his fingers. He no longer had nails, he had claws. It sent a cold shot of reality through the fiery anger racing through him. There was no way for him to see any other changes, but he had seen Ruth, he could guess.
"Still not going to eat you," he said, even though it came out with an added growl.
Refusing to let the doubt and pain get to him, he stood up. It was easy, unlike earlier.
"You look … you look …" Bryce stuttered.
"Like them," Nicky finished for him.
He was under no illusions.
"It's dark," he added.
He could smell Bryce from where he was standing. He could hear the kid's heartbeat. It made his stomach twist.
"So you … um … don't want to eat me?" Bryce asked hesitantly.
Now Nicky did laugh, mostly at himself.
"Oh, I definitely want to," he said, because the urge was right there in the forefront of his brain, "I'm just not going to."
In nearly a millennium a person learned there were things they could lie to themselves about and things they could not. Nicky knew this was one of the latter. At times over his life he had wondered if maybe he was a monster, now he knew. That wasn't going to stop him doing what was right though.
He tried the door again, but even with claws and added strength he couldn't get anything to budge.
Bryce had come out of his corner again by the time Nicky was sure there was no way out and the kid was watching him carefully.
"You don't look like you're half dead anymore," Bryce told him, "just kind of demonic."
Nicky laughed. He'd heard that a few times before, but usually because he was covered in blood and gore and wielding a sword and a gun, not because of claws.
"I feel," was as far as he got before his stomach twisted and all the strength went out of his legs.
He half collapsed, catching himself against the wall.
"Spoke too soon," Bryce said as Nicky groaned.
His instincts were screaming at him and he couldn't help looking over at Bryce. The urge to attack, to satisfy the hunger clawing at his insides was incredible.
"Hungry," he admitted as the weakness passed and he glued together his scattered wits.
He tried the manacles next, but even feeling stronger again, they would not budge.
"They'll be coming soon won't they?" Bryce said after a few minutes silence.
Nicky turned to look at his companion.
"Probably," he agreed, "once they think I have had enough time to feed from you."
"Do we have a more detailed plan than you attack, I run?" Bryce asked.
"No, that's about it," Nicky replied.
He doubted he could take down five fully fledged vampires given his current state. His only hope was that he could keep them occupied long enough to give Bryce a chance. Bryce didn't say anything else, so Nicky went to the table. It was wooden. He had no idea if a stake through the heart was a real way of killing a vampire, but he didn't have much else to go on.
"We'd have more of a chance if you were at full strength, wouldn't we?" Bryce interrupted his musings as he studied the grain of the table legs.
Looking up and over, Nicky realised Bryce was still studying him.
"Most likely," Nicky said, not sure where Bryce was going with this. "Why?"
Bryce crossed his arms, kind of glaring at him and he knew bravado when he saw it.
"Look," Bryce said, "I've seen the movies okay, I know a vampire is strongest when they've fed. What if … what if I let you take a bite? Would that, maybe ...?"
Nicky felt the need inside him surge at the kid's very suggestion. He had to close his eyes and demand control. The fire in his belly made him pay for resisting it, but he held firm.
"That could be very dangerous," he said as slowly and calmly as he could.
He had no idea how much he could stretch his command of what was happening to him.
"Yeah," Bryce said, "so could being eaten by five fucking vampires if they run right over you."
The kid had a point.
"You're right," he said, biting his lip to force himself not to react anymore.
"But don't be getting any designs on this, okay?" Bryce said indicating up and down his body. "This is purely for the ladies, right."
Nicky managed a smile at that.
"Understood," he promised. "Come here."
Bryce hesitated, but only for a moment, walking up to him with, if not confident, at least even paced steps. They both knew how dangerous this was, but Bryce pushed up his tattered sleeve and offered Nicky his wrist. Nicky was impressed with the courage that simple move had to have taken.
He did not hesitate, it would only have prolonged what they had agreed upon. Bryce was trembling as Nicky took the kid's wrist and he couldn't blame him. Nicky took one moment to centre himself. He thought of Joe, of Joe's strength, of Joe's courage, of Joe's support, and, with those in his heart, he bit.
Reality disappeared into blood. It was water to a man in the desert, food to one starving, touch to one alone for far too long. Nothing could have prepared him for how good it felt, or how much he wanted to drink and drink. Only the flash of the memory of the perverse joy he had felt from those who had fed on him made him rear back. He dropped Bryce's wrist like it was on fire and the kid slumped to the floor like a ragdoll.
Nicky backed away, gasping.
He felt strong, he felt powerful, he felt like he could take on the world. He also felt like he could destroy it.
Joe, he pulled up every smile of his husband, the grins, the secret ones, the amused ones. He loved all of them, wanted to savour every single one, make them all happen over and over again. Joe would not be smiling now. He would be frantic, terrified, searching. Nicky could not let that go on, he had to make it back to Joe. Only with control could he do that.
Nicky opened his eyes and knelt down beside Bryce. The two small puncture marks were still oozing blood, but instinct urged him on. Picking up Bryce's wrist again, he licked a stripe over the wounds, and, before his eyes, they began to close. He couldn't help wondering if vampires had to kill to live, or if they just wanted to. This suggested many things, but there was no time for philosophising then.
"Bryce, Bryce," he said, tapping the kid's face.
After a couple of seconds, Bryce opened his eyes, looking at him blurrily. As Nicky watched, reality slowly returned to the gaze looking at him.
"It work?" Bryce asked.
"It worked," Nicky replied.
His body still felt like it was burning on the inside, but it was more of a smoulder now than an inferno. He didn't know how long it would last, but he was willing to take it.
"This is how we do it," he said. "When they come, you play unconscious. I'll get them over there," he pointed to where the manacles were, "and when I say paperclip, you run as fast as you can and never look back, especially don't look in their eyes."
"What about you?" Bryce asked, rubbing his wrist.
"Don't worry about me, just get out, hide and forget this ever happened," Nicky told him.
"What about your family?" Bryce asked. "I could take a message."
"Too dangerous," Nicky said.
Bryce frowned and then nodded.
"In case I don't get away," the kid said, clearly understanding the conclusion Nicky had already come to. "Yeah, I don't think I could hold out like you."
"You underestimate yourself," Nicky said, placing his hand on Bryce's arm, "but I will not take the risk."
"Okay," Bryce said, "whatever you say, I got it, play dead."
Nicky did not bother correcting him since the kid had no idea he could hear his heartbeat across the room. Helping Bryce off the floor, Nicky began to formulate more of his plan. It wasn't much, but the blood had helped clear his mind a little and he was going to use it while it lasted. He walked over to where the manacles were hanging from the wall.
"Just so you know," Bryce said, while Nicky set about testing their strength again, "that bite, mind-blowing. Fuck, I nearly came in my pants."
Nicky wasn't sure what to say to that. He had felt nothing good when Ruth and the others had fed on him. He went back to his task wondering if maybe there was hope for him after all.
"Oh, and you have blood on your chin," Bryce added.
"Good," Nicky replied, "it'll sell the scene."
"You sound like you've done this kind of thing before," Bryce commented.
"Not quite like this," Nicky told him and did not elaborate.
When all their phones had pinged at the same time, Joe had known it was time. Copely had found three possible matches. The first, a possible sighting of the woman who had played at being pregnant to lure in Nicky had been useless. Just a woman, on a dark street, with nothing around to be of help. However, the second was more promising, it was a pub.
The CCTV outside the pub had caught a woman who looked very like Joe's drawing, but what made it all the more interesting was she had had a big man with her. The man had wearing sunglasses and a hat, which combined obscured his face from being anything recognisable, but he matched the general form of the man from the CCTV shots with Nicky. The images had been captured a few days before Nicky's kidnapping, but any lead was worth looking into.
The pub seemed to be part sports bar, part restaurant serving bar snacks and a lot of fried food. It was clearly popular with the younger crowd. Joe and Booker went in first. They were the eyes and ears, back up for Andy and Nile who would be along shortly. There was a football match showing on the various TVs around the place, but it clearly wasn't a big game and the pub wasn't overly busy.
Joe walked up to the bar and sat down.
"Good evening, Lads," the woman behind the bar greeted in a broad Scottish accent. "What can I get you?"
"The best you have on tap, please," Joe replied, giving her a smile even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.
"Are you a bitter or a lager man?" she asked.
"Bitter, definitely dark and bitter," he said, and she laughed.
"Wine, red, thank you," Booker added, sitting down beside him.
As they waited, Joe turned and glanced around the pub. Most of the clientele seemed to be under thirty, but there was one older couple sitting in a booth to the side with what looked like a whole shark each along with a mountain of chips. Clearly the pub believed in quantity when it came to their food.
"You lads visiting?" their hostess asked when she placed Joe's pint in front of him
"Advertising conference," Booker said.
"We escaped," Joe added. "Any more buzzwords and I'll shoot myself in the head."
The woman laughed again, seemingly genuinely amused.
"Can I get you anything else?" she asked when she put a very full glass of wine on the bar.
"That's it for now, thanks," Joe said, pulling out his wallet.
They paid, watched a little of the football, and cased the whole place, with a trip to the toilet on Booker's part to make sure they had checked it all.
"No one we're looking for here," he said quietly as he sat back down.
"Too much to hope for," Joe said and sent a message on his phone.
It was time for Nile and Andy.
"You going to be okay?" Booker asked, taking a sip of his wine.
Joe looked down and realised he had a white-knuckle grip on his phone.
"Not until we find Nicky," he said, but forced himself to relax his fingers.
"We will," Booker said, glancing around the bar area again.
Downing a good few swallows of his pint, Joe took those words to heart. Someone was going to pay for Nicky's pain, that much he was sure of, and when he found them, they were going to have a very bad day.
He concentrated on his job, watching for anyone who might have information.
Andy arrived with Nile in tow a minute or so later.
"Hi," Andy said, walking up to the bar and smiling at the same woman who had served Joe and Booker, "I wonder if you can help us. Have you seen this woman?"
She pushed a printout of the humanised version of Joe's sketch of the woman who had taken Nicky across the counter.
The barmaid took a good long look at the picture, but then shrugged.
"Sorry, she's not familiar," the woman said. "This to do with the disappearance last night?"
"Disappearance?" Andy asked.
The barmaid frowned.
"You're not police?" she said.
Andy shook her head.
"Private enterprise," she replied. "We've been hired to look into a missing teenager. Kid came here for a weekend break with friends, never came home. Do you mind us asking about this disappearance?"
The woman relaxed at Andy's concerned but matter-of-fact tone.
"Local lad," the barmaid said, "was drinking here last night with his mates. Police were in here at lunchtime asking. His grandda was on the force so they were quick about it. Never made it home. Hate to say it, but if they don't find him soon, he's probably in the canal."
"Then let's hope they do," Andy said with an understanding nod.
"Definitely," the barmaid said. "Look at me getting cynical in my old age. Was there anything else I can help you with?"
Nile pulled out her phone.
"This is the kid we're looking for," she said, displaying what Joe knew was a random picture they had found on the internet, "have you seen him? It would have been June time."
To her credit the woman looked carefully, but finally shook her head.
"Sorry," she said, "but in the summer we get so many through here. Faces all blend together unless they're regulars."
"Yeah," Nile said, "know how that is. Thanks for looking anyway."
Andy and Nile walked out soon after that. Joe and Booker stayed a few minutes more before leaving to join them.
"Anything?" Andy asked as they met down a dark street.
"Not a thing, Boss," Booker replied. "The only thing anyone in there was interested in were your legs."
Joe shoved his hands in his pockets and refused to lose hope. It was like looking for one specific needle in a pile of almost identical needles, but he would not give up. Nicky was out there and they were going to find him.
On to Chapter 6