st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
Julianna had never been to Valerie's dorm room before. They'd always met after class or at her apartment, but she'd wanted to approach the Slayer here. This was going to be difficult, and she needed a neutral environment for it.

She'd called ahead, to make sure the blonde would be available, and she knocked on the door hesitantly. There was a hard knot of trepidation in her stomach. It was hard for her to ask for help, even under good circumstances. These were not good circumstances, but she was going t struggle through this request regardless of that.


It was a murmur, and the Watcher looked over her shoulder as if worried she might be overheard. She was a dedicated professional, and that meant she could do this. Even if asking for asistance was not her forte.
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
"Please remember to turn in your work before the school closes for break," Julianna said, raising her voice a bit so that she'd be heard over the noise of students gathering their belongings and making muted conversation. "You'll have ample time for relaxation while classes aren't in session, so kindly take the time to focus on schoolwork now."

Nods and mutters were the sum of responses she got, and the Englishwoman sighed as the large room emptied out. She looked forward to having a bit of a break herself. Perhaps she'd go out to Cottonwood Cove now that the weather was warming up again. It might not be quite hot enough to swim, but a weekend getaway was always good for rejuvenating the senses.

She put some things into her messenger bag, then slung the strap over her shoulder. She was parked in the faculty lot. The door stayed unlocked so that the cleaning staff could get in. They had keys, supposedly, but she'd gotten a terse note at the beginning of the term that said she should leave the lock disengaged until such time as the master keyring was found. One would think that such an important thing couldn't simply be lost, but apparently that would be incorrect.

She was halfway to her car when she remembered that she'd left her appointment book in her office, so she had to turn around and go back inside. Was she getting absent-minded? She bloody hoped not.
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
She'd been meaning to get to Ragnarok anyway. Gerald had mentioned it to her ages ago, but between one thing and another there'd been no time. With spring approaching, classes had hit a bit of a lull, and she was prepared for the next week. That cleared some of her schedule.

Julianna had parked her car in the lot and was now waiting in the queue to get inside. Some of the 'costumed' staff were outside greeting guests, and the Watcher was amusing herself by trying to deduce who was actually human and who wasn't. It was the perfect place to be if you wanted to hide in plain sight. She wondered if the owner had to strike a deal with any vampires who might be employed here.

Inside, it was surprisingly ordinary, at least as far as decor went. Julianna ordered a gimlet at the bar, then sipped at it while she wondered at the possibility of getting an audience with the proprietor. Her colleague wouldn't have mentioned the woman if she might not be a valuable acquaintance to have, so perhaps she should make an effort herself.

In the meantime, she would enjoy the atmosphere here. Las Vegas might not be much for culture, per se, but it didn't lack for its own brand of ambiance.
st_clare: (What?!)
[personal profile] st_clare
The conversation with Rhiannon must have jarred something loose.

Julianna went to the university after leaving the park, took care of some paperwork in her office before preparing her notes for the next day's class. They'd replaced her secretary with someone new and more competent, so she no longer had to worry about lost or misplaced messages. Sifting through the small squares of paper, she made phone calls by their order of importance, finished cleaning out her 'In' box, then closed up her office and locked it.

A trip to the grocery store later, she cooked dinner in her kitchen, then cleaned up the dishes. Nathan was staying over that night. That was something that was happening with more frequency, for reasons she was unwilling to examine. Sometimes it was best to let things flow as they would.

They slept, eventually. The night outside was mild, a breeze ruffling the sparse trees that grew on the edges of the complex. There was no moon, but there were stars. Another tenant walked across the parking lot, carrying a bag of trash to be tossed into the communal dumpster. Somewhere, an owl hooted.

Haunted )
st_clare: (Bloody Hell...)
[personal profile] st_clare
Perhaps things had been going too well.

The bonding process with Valerie was still a work in progress, but the building blocks had been established. Her students were responding well in her classes. She was writing a new paper to be published, on the class system of the Victorian age. So a little bump in the road should have been expected.

What a bump in the road it was, though.

She and Rhiannon had agreed to meet in a neutral spot at one o'clock on Monday afternoon. The weather was warming up as spring approached, the days lengthening as Daylight Savings Time went into effect. Julianna had seated herself on a wooden bench where the Slayer could find her, where they wouldn't be overheard. She was composed, a little removed.

Duncan Neely's death had actually made the Las Vegas papers, and it was suspected to be a break-in gone horribly wrong. That was no longer Julianna's primary concern. If what she suspected was correct, it was really no more than he deserved. She didn't - couldn't - condone murder, but she was pragmatic enough to know that history had a way of repeating itself. With Duncan permanently taken care of, no other innocent girls could be exploited for the purpose of lining his pockets.

If the other girl was still alive, Rhiannon would know of it. The living should be focused on now, not the deserving dead.


Mar. 8th, 2014 06:46 pm
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
Julianna's finger was poised over the 'Erase' button on the answering machine. It had been there for the last five minutes. She'd listened to Cyrus Claymore's message once, twice, three times before it finally stopped rattling around in her skull and sank in. Then she played it again. It was like a car crash, she couldn't stop paying attention.

On some level, she'd known that it could come to this. Rhiannon was angry and vengeful, which made her likely to do anything. So the question wasn't 'Could she have killed Duncan?' but 'Did she kill Duncan?'

Don't be ridiculous, St. Clare. You know the answer to that. The girl's a loose cannon. The question is, what do you do now?

The Watcher continued to hover near the machine, her finger still poised. There were options here, although none of them were very attractive. She could ignore the phone call and try to forget her suspicions. She could telephone Cyrus at his office and inform him about what she believed she knew, which was what duty actually called for. She could even contact Edmund and confide in him before seeking advice. Of the bad lot of choices she had, that was the most appealing to her.

Still, she wavered. Duncan had betrayed his calling, violated the purpose behind it, and that was anathema to her. An unforgivable act. But did he deserve to be murdered in his bed, even by someone he'd victimized? And what about the other girl, the one he'd convinced she was a Slayer? Was she still alive? Julianna's mouth tightened.

In the end, she did pick up the phone, and she didn't erase the message. But she didn't dial the number someone else might have expected she would.

What Have You Done?! )
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
Julianna has made sure to ask Valerie what she'd prefer for dinner when they'd arranged to get together. To be aware of any dietary concerns. The last thing she wanted to do was serve meat to a vegetarian.

She'd decided on steaks when the Slayer said she wasn't particular, then added a large salad on the side. Since the night she and the Slayer had talked in that awful neighborhood, things between them were easier. The inroads were small, but the situation was looking likely to improve.

The Watcher had reluctantly decided that Nathan couldn't stay for dinner. This was more of a social occasion than official business, but she didn't want to embarrass Valerie. The blonde didn't need to know everything all at once.

She could hear his footsteps echoing in the silent hallway as he made his way to the elevator. He'd said he'd call later. His play was almost finished. She wondered if things would run their course once it was completed.

Back inside the apartment, Julianna started to put the plates on the table. She was glad things were going well. Maybe this sort of thing would help.
st_clare: (Background)
[personal profile] st_clare
The days in late January were just the slightest bit longer, but the weather was still crisp. The highway had been one long stretch of asphalt, only a few cars and the occasional semi sharing the road.

Julianna had taken the day off, leaving her teaching duties to Clarissa, so that she and Gerald could make the drive to Searchlight. They didn't have a town hall, but there was a library there, and she knew from experience that they had some of the town archives in a special section. She already had her reason prepared, that she was planning a lecture about local history of Clark County and needed to see surveyor's maps and census figures from when the township was first established.

She parked the BMW in the lot, killed the engine and got out. She'd worn a light jacket against the slight chill of the day, and she tugged it closed as she started towards the building that housed the library. If there was something to be found, surely two sets of eyes could find it.

Cold Call

Jan. 4th, 2014 06:06 pm
rhiannon_lee: (fireplace)
[personal profile] rhiannon_lee
Rhiannon’s knuckles rapped on the door of a luxury apartment on a side of town she didn’t often find herself. The weather had taken a wintry turn. Chunks of snow stuck to the laces on her boots. Even so, it was easier to walk to the watcher’s residence than fight the traffic jam. The county had no snow plows of its own; it had to borrow the proper equipment from a neighboring state, so the few inches of snow that fell paralyzed the roads.

She stuffed her hands in her coat pockets and stared at the number on Julianna’s door. The university was closed for inclement weather, so finding her was merely a matter of calling directory assistance and giving her full name.

No Light

Dec. 28th, 2013 02:24 am
valerie_vause: (Hoody)
[personal profile] valerie_vause
Coins clinked as they were slid into the payphone by the side of the road. The phone cradled tightly against an ear as the ring echoed down the line. She wiped her eyes with the back of a hand. A frayed picture clutched in it, the corners faded and worn away from use. A single digit traced the woman’s face as the call got answered.

A cheerful, gruff voice responded. “Hello?”

“... Dad?” She sniffled. Cautious, tentative.

“Valerie?” The tone was shocked. A moment of stunned silence.

“Yeah, I really… I wanted to hear your voi-”

“What are you doing?” He cut her off, no more cheer carried down the line.

“I wanted to talk. We haven’t spoken sin-”

“And whose fault was that? Your own mother!” It was a bark of anger.

She recoiled, hot tears scalded her cheeks, voice meek as she whispered, “Daddy please… it’s the Holiday season and I, I really need y-”

“She’d still be here if it wasn’t for you. You’re own family! Now all I have is ashes.” The accusation pure venom.

“She…” The words stuck in her throat as she stared at the photograph. “She wasn’t mom anymore, you know that.”

“You did that to her! You couldn’t protect her, it’s your fault she’s gone.”

“Daddy please…” She choked on a sob. “Don’t say that, I tried! You know I tr-”

“It should have been you. That’s who they came for.” The cold tone was firm, resolute.

“I’m sorry! I miss her so much, everyday, and I miss-” The line went dead. “You.”

The call had been five hours ago after she’d left Brian’s apartment and it had gotten dark. Valerie had been walking for miles, she didn’t actually know where she was; hadn’t paid attention. It had seemed irrelevant. Twice she’d encountered vampires. One by itself that had practically landed on her before she turned it to dust. Then three later on. The fight had lasted a while, it gave her a reprieve of emotions, let her be hollow where the only pain she felt was physical. Now, she trudged through a run down area, derelict buildings loomed menacingly on either side, looking for more. The toe of her shoe hit an empty bottle and she reached over, picked it up. As if in a trance she clutched the neck and smashed it against the wall. Watched the way it split skin as she dragged it up her left arm. In the dark, blood looked like ink. If anything was near, they’d smell it, they’d come out to play.

“Come get me.” She whispered, leaving behind the smallest trail of drips as she walked. “I’m ready.”

[Thread Open To Anyone]
ghargreaves: (Tan - hand)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
The restaurant in the hotel was relatively busy, patrons from both the hotel, and outside, enjoying the cuisine. Gerald had booked a table after confirming a time with Julianna, and was, as usual, early. He had ordered a gin and tonic, and was just finishing it when the sommelier, or at least what Americans thought passed as one, appeared with the bottle of wine Gerald had ordered.

"Yes, that's the one," he confirmed when shown the label, nodding when asked if he would like it opened. "Yes, it needs to breath," he told the young man, figuring that if nothing else, at least the chap would have a better understanding of the role he was employed to fulfill. "And another gin and tonic, if you would be so kind," he told him, pleased he hadn't had to tell the chap that the bottle should be opened in front of him and left to breath on the table. At some ghastly restaurant in New York they'd tried to take the bottle away, and tried to act offended when he clearly pointed out that he wasn't about to give them the opportunity to decant the wine in the bottle and replace it with a cheaper variety.

He nodded his approval of the linen napkin that was correctly draped around the neck of the bottle, as he had instructed, and settled back in his chair, returning to observing the tide of humanity that was dining in the Golden Nugget that evening.
ghargreaves: (Tie - smile)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
Please call Gerald at the Golden Nugget Hotel at your earliest convenience.
brian_campo: (Default)
[personal profile] brian_campo
Around the time of the holidays, it was common to come across musicians on the city sidewalks. They brought guitars, harmonicas, violins, any instrument small enough to be hauled outdoors and played for tourists, who tossed cash and coin into upturned hats or plush, upholstered cases. Tonight, a clever trio of flutists had stationed themselves near a hot chocolate street vendor, where people enjoying their drinks might be tempted to sit and listen for a while.

Brian sat on a low, concrete wall and listened. His butt was cold and numb. His hands warmed themselves on a Styrofoam cup. It was his work break, and he was claustrophobic enough to take this short walk from Tracks and listen. He knew one of the musicians, a girl named Kacy who was in the music program at UNLV.

He blew on his chapping hands and turned his head to watch the oncoming foot traffic. His coat was pulled up around his neck, but he hadn’t brought a hat and his ears were freezing. The steam from the hot chocolate made his nose threaten to run. He was thinking about getting another tattoo, and his mind drifted to that idea.

[Thread: Open to Anyone]
st_clare: (Pleased)
[personal profile] st_clare
She felt much better in the daylight.

Julianna felt much better altogether, really. She'd done the best she could to cleanse her office of the taint of Elfleda's presence. Her desk had been removed and was being replaced. There had been questions about the damage, but she'd deflected them with a set of careful half-truths. The school had asked her to compensate the institution for the expense of a new desk. The cost was an inconvenience, but a small one.

Nathan's calm demeanor had assisted immensely in restoring her equilibrium. When she left his apartment to retrieve her car, he'd given her a hug and a chaste kiss on the cheek. She was certain he must have dozens of questions, but he had yet to ask them. If this was going to go on, she'd have to think of something to tell him.

December weather was crisp, even in Nevada, a cold front having come in. It made her smile with fondness, because it reminded her a tiny bit of home. Wisps of clouds dotted the blue sky. She'd left a note with one of Valerie's professors, asking the Slayer to meet her on the patio of a coffee shop near the campus. There was a mug of tea in front of the Watcher, one she'd been sipping from. The stone was in her messenger bag, wrapped in a scrap of cloth. She was glad she'd be rid of the filthy thing.

The sunlight was comforting. Natural light was best to ward of entities like the Corruptress, at least according to the new information she'd obtained. Julianna was still afraid. Only a fool wouldn't have been. But she was no longer scraped down to the bone by terror as she had been. The fear was manageable, and that was the first step towards being proactive.
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
Andean Peru - 1978

The excavation was done. Now it was up to a more delicate touch to extract whatever treasures the earth held.

There had been two opportunities to go abroad on Council-related matters, one to South America and another to the countryside of France. Julianna's Spanish was better than her French, so she'd chosen Peru. And she'd really just been grateful to get out of England for a few months. Burying herself in work was a way to forget and to escape. That it was also rewarding made it even more worthwhile.

The day was mild, the slightest crisp breeze wafting over the campground. Julianna was watching the diggers congregating near the lip of the largest excavated pit. She didn't know what they'd find down there. Weapons, religious artifacts, scrolls. Even something as simple as a history of recorded births could be very enlightening. She knew others didn't find primitive cultures as fascinating as she did, but she had a particular field of interest.

The Watcher stepped out from beneath the sunshade when the chatter of the workmen picked up in volume. Had something already been found?
st_clare: (Tired)
[personal profile] st_clare
She was afraid to go home.

After she threw up, Julianna slipped into a semi-fugue state while the revulsion subsided to a manageable level. It was almost like dozing off, but not quite. Her thoughts wandered far afield while she tried to regain her equilibrium. When she felt that her knees would be able to support her, she got to her feet and left the bathroom. She didn't know how she was going to explain to the people who handled the budget that she needed a new desk.

Her car was the only one left in the faculty lot when she finally made it outside. She dropped her keys twice while trying to unlock the door. When she looked at her watch, it was nearly ten o clock.

She couldn't go home. Not yet.

When she got behind the wheel, the Watcher directed the BMW towards the street, then decided to hit the all-night coffee shop near her complex. The roads were quiet at that hour, and she went on autopilot, deliberately trying not to think. She could still smell that invisible stench.

There was a payphone on the sidewalk in front of the cafe, and Julianna dug some change out of her wallet to drop coins into the slot. She spoke haltingly to the person on the other end of the line, then gave her location. The receiver made a quiet clunking sound when she put it back into place.

The interior of the shop was brightly lit, and the Englishwoman ordered a cup of hot tea at the counter before taking a table situated in a far corner. The tea smelled fragrant, but she didn't really want it.



May 2014

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