Spring Fling: Artwork & Teaser

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Welcome to Day Seven

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Title: 10th Anniversary Promo – Main Cast

Artist: Taibhrigh

***

Title: Teaser from Bonding

Author: Bj Jones

Note: This is raw, unedited….

6 months after Kiss of Death

“So…”  Eric was up to his elbows in evidence.

Literally.

Sorting through a victim’s suitcase clearly put him in a chatty mood.

Speed stood beside him, going through the matching case, waiting patiently for the other shoe to drop.

Metaphorically.

“…how’s the Bonding thing going?”

And there it was.

The Vampire rolled his eyes.

Eric grinned.

It was a good thing the Processing Room was empty.

“You ask me every time you see Horatio smirking.”  Speed seriously wanted to fang up and hiss at his friend.

“It’s weird to see him that way.”

Which was true enough.

But Speed wasn’t about to say so.

Instead he want back to sorting through what appeared to be miscellaneous luggage items belonging to an anally retentive business traveler.

Eric wasn’t done though.  “Does it normally take this long?  I mean, I can’t imagine how frustrated its gotta make you, just waiting around for him like this!”

“It’s not something I can force.  There are rules for a reason.”

“Don’t Vampires like it a little kinky?  He probably wouldn’t mind a little force.”

Speed’s eyebrows shot up.  “That did not just come out of your mouth?”  He honestly had no idea how many times he was going to have to keep answering damn fool questions, but something he’d heard Jim West say once, suddenly sprang to mind.

As long as damn fools keep asking!

Eric smirked.  “It’s time then, right?”

“And you wonder why you can’t keep a girlfriend?”

He got glared at for that one, but pretended not to notice.  In truth however, Delko was at least partly correct.  A Vampire’s sexual appetites were generally as enhanced and intense as his or her other senses, and while he’d certainly had time and chance in his many centuries to experience a vast number of assorted things in different and imaginative ways, in different places and situations…

He snickered to himself at such memories, recalling sweat drenched passions, and endless self-discovery.  But he was hardly about to share that with Eric either, which meant his friend naturally took the very satisfied expression on his face, to mean something else entirely.

“Heh!”  Delko chuckled knowingly, when in fact he actually knew very little about anything at all.  “So that red hair is the same shade, all the way down?”

There was a part of Speed, the very human part, that wanted to brag and strut like some like some all conquering victor, but the other part, the possessive, stubbornly fierce Irish Vampire, was outraged at the very idea that Eric Delko would even so much as ask that!

“You are totally out of line,” he growled, not really caring that his eyes were flashing and he was two seconds short of actual bodily harm.

“Whoa!”  Eric threw his hands up and backed away hastily, the suitcase search forgotten.  “I’m just playing with you here, man!  Really!!”

“That’s my Mate you’re talking about.”

To say Delko was a little concerned by his friend’s aggression, was to do his fear much disservice.  “Dude!  What the hell?  I’m just teasing, okay?  I didn’t mean anything!”

“Better not  mean anything.”

Eric shook his head.  “Dude, do the damn Bonding thing before you lose the plot and kill someone who has no idea what they woke up by poking at you.”

Speed knew full well that his colleague really had no idea about that either, but he was learning.

Fast.

The Vampire was not about to apologize though, even if he’d just gotten a very real wakeup call for what was in fact, an increasingly serious situation.

Eric was right.

As much as it pained him to consider the very real possibility, there was no escaping it.

Eric had his moments.

But Speed knew he needed to complete the Bond before being in such close proximity every day, to the one Soul he longed for beyond life and into death itself, drove him crazy with the continued denial of his every instinctual craving.

He chewed his lower lip for a moment, hearing in his own head all those stupid, yet totally justifiable excuses he’d been making for the last few weeks.

Horatio isn’t ready yet.

He’s not in the right place.

There’s too much work.

Too much stress.

The time is never right.

There were still too many questions he hadn’t had chance to answer yet.

It was insane.

And he had to admit it.

Not every Vampire got the full enormity of it all straight away.

Not every Vampire got the perfect moment for the perfect Turning.

Fate was forever going to be a fickle bitch.

He just had to consider his own moment of Destiny, to see that was true.

It hadn’t exactly been pretty back then either.

Which thought made him ache all the more keenly for his Lord.

Shaking his head, he threw every item he’d been holding, straight back into the suitcase, and stalked away, leaving Eric still stood there in the corner, mouth open in a squeak of half-formed, outraged confusion.

***

Rumors sucked.

Every Vampire knew that.

And if they didn’t, they only had to talk to the Lady Guinevere at Camelot Clan, to see the result of bad judgement on such matters.  One poorly misconstrued innuendo, and before anyone could light the blue touch paper and retire a safe distance, there was a raging inferno of a wildfire happening, that history seemed bound and determined to keep reiterating and reinventing, ad nauseam.

Such was the way of the juicy, ripe-for-plucking rumor.

Everywhere.

Always.

And the Miami Dade Police Department gossip mill concerning an apparently tumultuous relationship between Horatio Caine and Yelina Salas, was no exception.

There were never any exceptions.

Depending on whether you heard it from either Vice, Major Crimes or the Bomb Squad, the Lieutenant was either drilling his sister-in-law in his office every night, sneaking off work for a quick session between the sheets at various not so secret places around the city, or in fact quietly planning a romantic wedding for hiding the fact that Yelina was very obviously pregnant with the offspring of one more Caine in the family line.

It was all bullshit.

Speed knew that.

In fact, the very Monday morning when he’d first heard about Yelina’s ‘love child’, he had just come from a long weekend, wherein he and the naughty redhead in question had in fact spent the entire time butt naked and very much not screwing the sultry detective who was still very much married – at least in spirit – to Horatio’s brother.  Sadly however, Speed couldn’t exactly broadcast such news on the Police Emergency Channel, no matter how loudly he wanted to silence the nerve jangling crap he was forced to listen to in break rooms, bathrooms, and at water coolers all over the building, as well as in the parking lot and conference rooms.

At first, he had hidden himself away in his lab, snarking softly but viciously at anyone dumb enough to disturb him.  Alas, he could not stay there for as long as he would’ve liked, and to his utter disgust it seemed that even by the middle of the afternoon, it was the only topic of hot conversation in what felt like most of the Greater Miami area.  So much so, he seriously expected it to be emblazoned on the front page of the Herald.

Anyone asking him ‘have you heard?’, ran the very real risk of getting shanked in the neck.

And to make matters worse, Yelina had chosen that week for some vacation time with Ray Jr., her son.  She was out of town, and by Wednesday, if the gossip was set to follow the traditional power to weight ratio for densely packed high-explosives, she would have snuck off for an abortion in Rio and gone to recoup in a private facility near the beach.

Speed was not impressed to find he was right.

About the gossip at least.

Nor was he impressed with Horatio’s apparent inability to even hear such trash being whispered all around him.

That it wasn’t anywhere near as virulent and all pervasive as Speed’s imagination kept telling him it was, seemed utterly irrelevant when it came to the destructive power of poisonous gossip.

Much to the Lieutenant’s obvious bemusement.

“Just ignore it,” he replied with a shrug.  “We have far more important issues to deal with.”

Speed slammed the redhead’s office door shut.

The glass rattled.

And the blinds quaked.

“You are  joking, right?  Yeah, that’s it.  It’s a funny, funny joke.”

Horatio stood up.  “We have two murders to solve, and evidence to prep for court. Why are you even bothered by this?  It’ll go away.  It always does.  Besides, if the morons are talking about me, at least they’re leaving everyone else in peace.  And before you leap in again, yelling like a man off his meds,” he cautioned with a frown, “you need to remember that Yelina is more than capable of handling herself, and kicking all the right idiots in all the right places when she gets back.  She’ll probably let you watch, if it will make you feel better.”

Speed snorted in disgust.  “Not really, but it would be a damn good start.  People have too much time on their hands if all they can do is spread crap around all day!  They need their asses fired!  All of them!  They’re not working hard enough if their main interest in any given day, is your sex life!

Horatio stared at him, eye to eye across the desk.  “I’ll get right on that,” he answered, deadpan.

Actually, he was finding the Vampire’s overly possessive anger to be a serious turn on, and had to restrain himself from throwing Speed down on the couch and staking his Claim most heartily.  Not that there would be any real complaint from the Irishman if he did…

Thought then, of what he could do in the space of a few hours, to make things a lot less stressful for them both, put a quirky smile on Horatio’s face that Speed immediately misconstrued.

“I’m sure this is all a gigantic joke to you, sat up here in your office, away from all the morons,” he snarled, “but I am two seconds from gladly killing the next fuckwit who wants me to hear what what your favorite position is while screwing your sister-in-law!”  He annunciated every word like he was trying to get through to an infant.  “No one gets to talk about you like that, H.  No one!  This is only your reputation.  Why take it seriously?”  Speed threw his hands in the air.  “Sure!  Let Yelina deal with in her own time.  I’m glad.  She won’t mind.  In fact, she’ll probably think its all just a giant laugh riot too, so why worry?”

“Because adding my voice to this, gives it all credence.  Ignoring it means not putting fuel on an already ridiculous fire.  You, with all your years of past experience at life, should understand that.  Yes?”  It felt really quite strange to have to say such a thing in so very mean a fashion, but Horatio had never figured such nonsense as being even remotely worth his time to begin with, and seeing Speed so worked up over it, was starting to bother him in more ways than the purely visceral.

There had to be something else going on, to warrant so very smart and widely read an individual, going nuts over what amounted to the equivalency of a schoolyard game of Chinese Whispers.  He fully accepted that there were more than a few people in the labs, and the entire MDPD for that matter, who absolutely needed better things to do with their time than gossip all day.  Such scenarios could go from harmless to vicious with no apparent warning and little in the way of genuine justification, so he would indeed not be shy at raising the issues involved, but he would do so in the most appropriate way at the most appropriate time.  He was also going to talk to a certain other Vampire of his immediate acquaintance, and try to determine if there was something he could do to put his prospective Mate a little more at ease in the meantime.

“I know this isn’t right,” he said quietly, noting the fury on Speed’s face, and pulling out everything he’d ever learned as a Hostage Negotiator, in trying to calm such unrestrained emotion.  “We shouldn’t be living like this, barely able to get five minutes with each other sometimes, let alone chance to make more substantive plans.”

To his enormous relief, Speed sagged a little bit, his spine unstiffening and his shoulders loosening as his anxiety abated.

Somewhat.

“I can’t stop what’s happening here right now.  Miami never sleeps.  The work we do, keeps on going.  But we will fix this.  Just let me have the chance.”

Seeing the Vampire’s eyes darken as his brows drew together was, however, not a good sign.

“I will wait for you, Horatio Caine,” he growled, “but not forever.”

And before the redhead could properly ask what so thinly veiled a threat might truly mean, the sole object of his deepest affections turned and stalked out of the room in irritation.

The first thing Horatio did after that, was pick up his phone and call Warrick Brown.  He needed a few clear cut answers to what he knew would ultimately result in his own death, and he needed them delivered without the compromise of emotional and physical attachment.  That he then failed to tell Speed how Warrick would be in Miami for a couple of days, seemed the very least of his concerns, until later that night.

Speed had pulled a double.  With so much going on, they all had, and they’d done it without complaint.  So he was really rather preoccupied when he got to his Trace Lab just in time to see his Clan’s Co-Leader disappearing into H’s office right there, upstairs from where he worked.  He’d been in Autopsy until then, snagging evidence that Alexx had found on a murder victim while watching the body down, and given that he had several experiments and assorted tests left with a few hours still to run before completion, he’d taken his time documenting his discoveries for better reference.

The waste water filter trap under the Autopsy Table had captured some interestingly shaped, yet unidentifiable particulate matter that could prove highly telling when it came to determining exactly where the murder had occurred, because it sure as hell hadn’t been the terribly clean backseat of the old black Saturn the body had been found in.

Speed growled, and glared at the Lieutenant’s firmly closed office door, before dropping his carefully collected samples onto the nearest workbench.  Though he could see through the half-open blinds just what was happening, he still wondered firstly what the actual fuck was happening, and secondly why no one had seen fit to tell him that Warrick was:

A) in the same city

B) in the same building

C) talking to his Mate.

Someone was really going to have to be reminded, that as Sylum’s Clan Advisor, he, Timothy Quinn, deserved some kind of respect sufficient to get a head’s up phone call at the very least.

He bit his lower lip, contemplating the possibilities and permutations that could signify an unheralded visit, but he soon figured he was little lacking in the motivational side of the equation.

What did Warrick have to say to Horatio, that he himself could not express to the one who would ultimately complete his very being?

What could possibly have required Warrick’s personal input so very badly, that he would readily show up with no warning, and Horatio not say a damn word?

Or was there some related case going on that he’d not been made aware of in the middle of everything else?

Anything was possible.

He could perhaps, or so he reasoned, have a bad sense of over anticipation that was imaging the worst of every option.

Or rather, he was just about ready to believe so, when his cellphone rang.

“Don’t tell me,” he muttered sourly, not needing to check who was who was calling, to know precisely who he was talking to, “you’re the distraction?  Hate to tell you this, but you’re thirty seconds or so late.”

A brief, dry chuckle met his ears, and he swapped his phone into his other hand, watching intently just what transpired above him as Warrick took the preferred seat across the desk from Lieutenant Caine.

No papers or official files and documents were produced, so Speed scratched at least one theory off his list of possibilities.

“What can I say?  Text message time lag?”  Nick was amused.  “At what point did you think we would not be having this conversation?”

Speed rolled his eyes at all the melodrama.  “What conversation?  At this point you’re just trying to stop me going up there and getting in the way.”

“I’m not sensing anything weird going on.  If that helps?”

Though what Nick was actually starting to feel from his Mate, seemed a great deal more erotic than he thought it best to mention.

“Weird?  That’s the best you got?”   Speed sighed.

“Yeah, I’m going with the vaguely annoying right now.”

“Awesome.”

“It’s a start.”

“You’re evil.”

“Not heard that one in a while.”

“What d’you want from me right now?”

“A little love, boy.”

Speed snickered.  “Not heard that one in a while.  Warrick’s not here on a case, is he?”

“I knew there was a reason I made you my Clan Advisor.  You’re very smart.”

To be Continued…

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