I Hate Mysteries

Queens - LaGuardia Airport

Catering to both domestic and international flights, the airport is always a bustle of activity - perhaps even more so than its parking lot. New York commuters, international travelers trying to catch a connecting flight, and tourists routinely make their way through the building, making it very rare for any level of to be empty. Even in the early hours (or late hours as the case may be), there are always people here.


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Kevin Curtis Bryn Blackwell Donald Ashcroft Serafine Roche

Kevin's here because he drew the short straw, because no one likes coming out to the airport. Traffic sucks, the crowds suck, and yes, he might have just been looking forward to going home and kicking back with a beer to stream a bad movie on Netflix. It's not much of a life, but it's a life. Downtime is precious, and he doesn't care how large of an Americano Kayla promised him tomorrow morning, he's the one here picking up the new guy.

The new boss, Kevin corrects himself. Better put a smile and a shine on it.

He's holding a sign that says Blackwell, but he's seen pictures of the guy, so it's not like he needs it to track the man down. A pretty blonde gives him a wink, and that's at least a minute of happy-things-are-looking-up time. Kevin is just about to see if he can get a name and number when he spots Blackwell. Straightening to his full height and doing his best to look professional, despite the soft beginnings of five o' clock shadow and rumpled coat, he strides forward to meet the man halfway.

"Bryn Blackwell?" Kevin asks, and his voice still has that edge of precinct to it, as does his stance. "Kevin Curtis. I work for Ash…croft." Because the man standing before him might not be used to that familiarity just yet.


A long flight has never bothered Bryn, really. It's part of his job, it's what he's been doing since he was eighteen, and there's little point in fussing over a half a day's flight when the alternatives would take much, much longer. That doesn't mean the flight was enjoyable, what with a screaming toddler in the seat in front of him that would only quiet himself when food was shoved in his face.

The headache he has isn't really going to go away now that he's landed, nor is he going to have much of a chance to sleep it off — his day is only really starting. At least they flew him into LaGuardia and not JFK. The traffic from the other airport is much more atrocious.

As the man approaches, he raises his brow and slings his suit jacket over his shoulder. He has only a carry-on bag with him, and not much of anything else. Not promising for one who's supposed to be staying in the city indefinitely, unless of course he's had a few of his things shipped over and set up in a penthouse suite already.

"You are the detective." Tapping the folders he carries in his hand he nods. "I was expecting a car, not someone to wait here and greet me personally." Beat. "Apologies. I do appreciate the formality."


Considering that Kevin lives in the city and his accomodations are what Doris and Kayla call 'spartan chic' (if you don't count the collection of shot glasses and beer bottles), he's not going to question the man who wants to travel light. If he's already decided he's not staying, that's Ash's problem.

"Not a problem," Kevin gives a one shoulder shrug. "The Colonel probably thought you might prefer a personal touch after the long flight." Though he really should have sent Kayla or Doris if that was the case instead of letting them work it out among themselves. "Or, he figured you'd want a fresh brain to pick."

The quip is highlighted with a yawn that Kevin tries to hide. A sheepish grin follows, "Not that mine is all that fresh."


"We need to hit baggage claim?"


"I have everything I brought with me." Bryn does tend to travel light, but it will be rectified once his things arrive. Toiletries and the like can always be easily purchased rather than fussing with them through the airport scanners.

"It was very generous of Colonel Ashcroft to the personal touch. I do hope he intends to see that your time and expenses are covered." Bryn cocks his head slightly to the side, trying to determine the type of man Kevin happens to be. He frowns slightly, and then raises his brow. "Are we to head directly to the house then?"


At that, Kevin's brow raises but he says nothing. That is definitely traveling light.

Belatedly, he wonders if the man might be a telepath, remembers he didn't see that on the CV, and recalls that just because he didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't there. He'll be more careful of his thoughts, just in case, until he has confirmation positive or negative.

"Yeah," Kevin gives a nod, taking in the man before him and getting his measure. Blackwell certainly embodies the uptight British stereotype, which makes Kevin wonder how he's going to fit in with the rest of them. Formal, they aren't.

"The Colonel is still there." When isn't he? "It's been a slow night, though, so he probably just wants to get your measure and see how you're holding up after being crammed in an airborne tin can for hours."


"A slight headache thanks in part to a rather annoyingly loud child that decided to wail like a banshee for ten of the thirteen hours, but otherwise I am holding up just fine." Bryn flew constantly long before starting with the Priory, and he's flown constantly since. "I generally travel light," he explains. "It saves a great deal of hassle at the airport, and anything that I have need of I will generally send for or find wherever I wind up."

He may not be a telepath, but he can read people well enough in most instances.

"Perhaps it is a good thing that it has been a slow night. That would mean that after you take me to the house, you can go about your evening as planned. I do hope it has not been too much of an intrusion on your night to wade through traffic to play taxicab."


Kevin winces. "'Nuff said." He doesn't fly a lot but it seems that every time he does he gets seated next to the talkative old bitty with a wallet full of grandchildren, with the screaming baby right behind him.

The detective can't help it, he snickers a bit at the last. "My hot date with a bottle of beer and the television? It's not a problem. That's at least the one date who won't complain about me being late."

Starting to walk, Kevin weaves through the crowds, keeping an eye to make sure Blackwell is still with him. "We can run through a drive thru on the way, if you're hungry. Or just grab some coffee at the nearest Starbucks."


Bryn chuckles at the mention of the 'hot date'. "I do suppose there is that. A bottle of ale has, to my recollection, never complained about anything." Then again, stranger things have happened, so the chances that some ghost decides to inhabit a bottle to get attention isn't entirely beyond the Brit. "Even so, you had plans for the evening, and I do apologize for interrupting them."

He follows close behind the former detective, and lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "The food on the plane was sufficient. If one could call it food."

Realizing that perhaps it's Kevin's way of making him feel more comfortable and at ease, he tucks the folders into his carry-on, and then says, "Though perhaps after this meeting you will allow me to buy you an ale at the pub?"


Kevin glances over at the Brit and grins broadly. "Now, see, I like you already. You are speaking a language that I'm real familiar with." He can't be all bad if he wants to have a drink at a pub, though he might be hard pressed to find an ale or a pub. Except for Flanaghan's. It might be owned by the Master of the City's chief assassin, because really, let's call a spade a spade, but from what Kevin has heard, it's more authentic than most of the ones that try to pass themselves off as such.

Kevin is good at navigating crowds, and still carries himself with a presence of pressing urgency that stands out in the crowd and makes people move aside. They've cleared the airport and are heading toward the parking deck in a quick clip when his cell phone rings.

He knows that ring. That one belongs to the Colonel.

"Gotta get this," Kevin explains, even as he hits the slider and raises the iPhone to his ear. "I got the package, Boss. Don't you trust me?"

It'll be quickly evident to Bryn that that isn't what the telephone call is about, as Kevin's face goes from light and humor filled to more somber.

"Right… Yeah … it'll take about twenty minutes to get there … right … on our way."

He slips the phone in his pocket and looks to Bryn with an apologetic shrug. "Looks like you're about to get your feet wet."


There is a nod, and a grin. Bryn has never really had trouble making friends, but then he's really only doing this to be polite at the moment, because the man's evening was ruined by having to wait for him at the airport. That is a task he wouldn't wish on his worst enemy, having seen the hell it is with airport security, and having separate areas for those being delivered by plane, and those doing the waiting.

Another nod is given when Kevin mentions needing to take the call. Really, he's in no hurry and he's quite certain that the remainder of those at the Priory aren't really in a rush to see Colonel Ashcroft off.

It's on the tip of his tongue to call out something foolish like 'the eagle has landed' when he catches the expression on Kevin's face. He frowns, a slight movement of his hand and a word whispered beneath his breath in an attempt to amplify the conversation on the other end of the phone.

"Twenty minutes dependant on traffic," he points out lightly before saying, "Brief me while we are on our way."


"You might want to buckle in. I take short cuts and don't always observe the speed limits." Not always possible in NYC, but Kevin grew up here and knows these streets, and most of the cops on the beats he's about to blow through, too.

He waits until they're in the car, no prying eyes or ears, and the friendly good-natured buddy drops to the cop-turned-detective. "About three weeks ago, we picked up buzz on a body showing up in the morgue drained. Unfortunately, it happens from time to time, and we take care of it. Let the vamps know one of theirs mis-stepped, wrap it up nice and neat in a bow, and case closed."


"Wasn't the only body, though. It kept happening. Every couple of days. Master of the City insisted all his people were accounted for, none of his would do that, and that there's no way a rogue vampire could have slipped in under his nose."


Buckling in and setting his bag at his feet, Bryn nods. The man almost sounds like his business partner back home. Callum never was one for obeying the laws of the road, preferring to get everywhere as expediently as possible.

"General protocol when dealing with vampires," he agrees. Take care of the issue as much as possible, and then let the vampires deal with their own unless the issue is persistent. "I presume that after the original body, you handed the case over to the Master of the City?"


"Which means we either have a case of a rogue vampire that did manage to slip under his nose, a vampire that is accounted for attempting a coups, or someone emulating the attack to draw attention to the vampires."


"Yep," Kevin pops the 'p.' "And every case since. They've been pretty cagey about it, 'thank you very much, don't call us, we'll call you,' but when a report comes across the scanner someone has to get there if the vamps can't."

"It's been getting worse, though. Like this vamp, or whatever it is, is upping the ante. Not neat kills anymore. Throats ripped open, hearts ripped out before or during feeding, that sort of thing." Kevin grimaces, because those were not pretty scenes, and they're just lucky that they've got connections and channels.

"We've been able to keep it to channels, but tonight … some rookie cops got called in on a scene. This thing could blow right up in our faces if we're not careful."


"Bloody hell."

Bryn wrinkles his nose and rubs a hand over his face. He really would have liked to get an hour or two of sleep before being thrown in on a case, but he's been in worse situations. "Quite obviously doing it on purpose to gain attention then. Likely a coups, or an emulation." He considers the information he has been given so far. "Has there been a general area that the attacks are taking place? A pattern to them? Something that could potentially lead us to whomever is doing this?"

There are more questions he wants to ask, but he reigns them in for the moment. He also stops himself from calling Callum and getting him to do a search for the attacks. While things are being kept on the down-low, it doesn't mean that they can't be found. Still, he's not going to overstep his bounds on the first night.

"If we have anyone here in the coroner's office, I highly suggest that we call them immediately. That will be the best option for a cover-up at this point."


Kevin likes that Blackwell jumps right in with the questions. The man's probably jet lagged, tense, cramped from the flight, and airplane food is no one's friend. Still, he's focused on the matter at hand, and his brain is sharp as a tack.

"In and around Central Park." Beat. "Which is a lot of area, and the homeless don't like to talk much. Or they like to talk too much, and most of what the ones who do talk say isn't worth a whole lot."

Kevin nods, turning the wheel sharply and cutting into the next lane. He waves a finger out the window at the car that honks its horn and swears at him. It's typical New York driving. "That's Doris' field. She'll have sweet talked the ME into thinking that he's won the lottery instead of 'obstructing justice.'" One can hear the airquotes in Kevin's voice.


"Doris, the nurse." Bryn considers this, and taps his pointer finger against his lip. Obviously this team is a well oiled machine already, and the growing pains are going to come when he's instated in Ashcroft's place, and not vice versa. "If she is already on that, then we will need a team to scour the park. We can set up a few warning systems that will alert us if another attack takes place, though we may get lucky and the killer will still be around, waiting to see what the fallout of this newest attack will be."

Manhattan - Central Park South

By far the most popular portion of the part, this area is designed for entertainment. The calm before the storm, and what connects this area to the lake, is Sheep Meadow. This meadow is the finest open expanse in the park and is often times used as a great picnic location.

A zoo, which also contains a petting zoo for children, allows for family fun. Perfectly located next to the zoo is a large carousel. The seats for those riding are not mere seats, nor are they all horses. From griffin to dragon, multiple mythological creatures are available to choose from.


It doesn't take much longer to reach Central Park, and once there, Kevin is glad to see that while there is police tape marking the scene, the colors have at least turned off the flashers on their cars.

"Excuse me," Kevin says as he reaches across Bryn to open the glove compartment. A moment later he comes up with a police badge that he hangs around his neck from a lanyard. "We'll have to get you one." He's sure Kayla is working on it, if Ashcroft hasn't managed it yet.

"Game time," Kevin quips. He's out of the car quickly, though he does wait for Bryn to follow. A quick word is exchanged with one of the uniforms - all of whom are staying back, surprisingly enough - and then motions Bryn to follow him under the tape and to the crime scene.

Ashcroft is already there, and Kevin wonders, for not the first time, if the man somehow has powers of teleportation that no one knows about. Stranger things have happened. There's a uniform with Ashcroft, and a detective, and …

Of course. Kevin glances at Bryn and almost smirks. Into the fire, indeed.


Bryn is in the process of unbuckling his belt and taking in the crime scene as much as he can from his position in the passenger seat. As Kevin reaches across him, he leans back in the seat and allows the buckle to slip back toward the vehicle. He notes how many police vehicles there are, the size of the area that the tape covers, and then scours around for any onlookers, which would be the most immediate problem.

Not seeing anyone flashing mobiles at the body, he nods toward Kevin, and then reaches into his bag. "I do have one for Scotland Yard, though I doubt that it would be a great deal of help here unless we wanted to have someone on the police force slip up and mention that this is potentially an international incident." Loosening his tie a little, he ruffles his fingers through his hair.

"If anyone asks, I am a private investigator working for the victim's significant other."

As he steps out of the vehicle, he notes Colonel Ashcroft and… a woman who wasn't in the dossier. He stares at her inquisitively for a moment, and then gives his head a shake. Now is not the time to be taking in the locals as it were.


Serafine is happy that she ate. They're far enough from the body that the rookie in uniform isn't being bothered by it, nor the detective, or Ashcroft, but she can smell the blood as though it's right beside her. It's old and dead, but it's still blood, and a younger, less skilled vampire would be wrestling with control issues right now.

The detective looks ready to leave, and the rookie has that slightly glazed look of confusion that means he isn't going to be saying very much about what he thought he found here tonight. Still, it's another favor owed to The Priory and Xander … is getting restless. Unfortunately, witnesses are scarce, and the trail of clues starts and stops at the body that's missing most of its jugular.

The wind shifts and Serafine gives a delicate sniff to the air. The calvary is here. Well, if the calvary counts as Curtis.

"Thank you gentlemen, we'll need just a few minutes," Ashcroft says with patience that Serafine knows the man isn't feeling. She can feel the impatience bristling off him and the scent of his anger is an acrid tang. Almost, but not quite enough, to equal the rotting body.

The police step back and away, and Ashcroft turns toward Sera. He knows her skill well enough to know that he doesn't have to wait for the police to clear hearing distance. "Is that going to stick?"

Sera's brows rise, "Ash, you really have to ask that, sugar?"


One good thing about the vamp being present means that at least this thing might have a lid put on it for a little while. Kevin still hasn't decided whether or not Sera's ability to mesmerize crowds is a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a convenient thing.

Also, with any luck, her presence here means that maybe the vamps are going to start to be a little more cooperative. After all, they're the ones with something to lose.

He strolls toward Ashcroft and Sera, and although he knows it's in poor taste, he doesn't stop his gaze from skimming over Sera's form. It's impossible to not notice the woman, even when she's dressed down. Even knowing what she is, though for not the first time, Kevin has to admit, if he was going to sleep with a vampire, Sera would be topping the list.

"Colonel, Sera. What's the story?"

"Exactly what I told you on the phone. Another body, no witnesses. Defintely vampire," Ashcroft clips off.

Ashcroft nods to Bryn. "Good to see you made it. Just in time."


It is the slightly glazed look of the younger police officer that tips Bryn off as to some sort of alliance with a vampire. Much different than how they've run things in the London house, simply because the vampires in London have made it perfectly clear that it refuses to work with the Priory. Vampire issues are just that — vampire issues.

It would seem that there is quite a bit that Bryn is going to have to learn before he takes over for Ashcroft.

"Colonel," he says, dipping his head in the direction of the older man. "This is not how I pictured meeting the team, but I do suppose it is the best way to see how they all work together."


"Do we not have eyes and ears in the park that are reliable? A shifter, a wolf?"

He refuses to let his eyes stray to the woman again, as she is rather distracting and he really needs to focus on the case at hand.


"Easier than it sounds, Blackwell." Ashcroft gives a quick look to Curtis, "I assume you briefed him?" Without waiting for an answer, he continues, "Since the killings started, the Pack has cleared the park. They don't want to be blamed for this, say the place smells like death."

Sera isn't so shy about not letting her eyes stray. The man with Curtis is quite the looker, and he's not from around here. He's also no one she's seen with The Priory before. Her gaze lingers for far longer than is polite, before she nips at her lower lip and tunes in to what Ashcroft is saying. "It does," the vampire murmurs softly.

Ashcroft pretends to not hear her, "But that's not the only problem. This is somehow done without witnesses. Every. Single. Time." Beat. "I'm starting to think there's a pretty serious glamour going on. But that would mean a rogue vampire."

Kevin catches the way Ashcroft pointedly looks at Serafine, and he knows why. The vamps are still keeping mum on their theories, if they have any.

The vampires sweeps her hair behind her shoulders, her striking green eyes going to focus on the treeline. "It's a mesmerizing glamour. A strong one."

Kevin gasps, unable to hold back his surprise at the admission. "So, you guys are going to admit to trouble in paradise now?"

"Curtis." Ashcroft says his name, low and short, but the meaning is clear. Don't antagonize the vampire. Sera may be more human than most, and it's easy to forget that she is a vampire.


"I can fly someone in if it becomes necessary, although I do not think that doing so would endear either myself, or the Priory with the Pack." Bryn frowns, knowing that this is where Callum excels, and mentally curses the fact that the man chose to stay behind in London until such a time as he was absolutely needed. It would definitely be of great help if his right hand man was here with him.

"A mesmerizing glamour, which very well could point us to a specific bloodline to be looking for. Melambra or Karneros, if my information is correct." For the first time he turns to the woman, frowning slightly. "No, Colonel, he is correct. If there is information that is being withheld, now is the time we need to be made aware of what that is. This was done intentionally, and meant to be public. If not, it would have occurred further away from a very public footpath."

Reaching his hand out to the woman, he states, "Bryn Blackwell, from the London office, Miss…?"


"Serafine Roche," the vampiress supplies without missing a beat. She takes the offered hand, in a firm, comfortable and confident grip. Her eyes lock onto his and she blinks, her train of thought momentarily and utterly derailed. She draws a quick breath, and moistens her lips, "Pleasure to meet you, but I'm not with The Priory." Her words carry a noticeable hint of somewhere south.

"Sera is our liason to the Master's Court. He doesn't like to come out much, but he's more than happy to communicate via messenger," Ashcroft explains. "Though he hasn't been very communicative lately."


"Miss Roche," Bryn replies, giving her hand a firm shake in return. There is a moment, briefly, where he considers being a tad more gallant and placing a kiss on the back of her hand, but his mind yells at him that she is merely a distraction, and he does not want to be thrown off course. "No," he says simply, "I assumed not when I noticed the glazed eyes of the young officer."

Turning back to the Colonel, he nods. "Well your liaison has given us quite a bit of information simply with determining the type of glamour used. It means that sending our people out here to keep track of things would be a rather useless endeavor unless you have them rather well protected." The charms can be gotten, but giving them to a full team would be a little ridiculous really. There are other methods, but discussing those with a vampire present is not about to happen.

"Tell me, Miss Roche, is there anyone in the Master's Court or close to it that is not pleased with the Master at this time?"


"Yeah, speaking of …" Kevin twists to find the police officer and the detective, "How long is that good for?"

Serafine snorts, though she seems almost amused by the question."I'm a bit offended that you're starting to doubt my work, Curtis." Beat, and the vampiress sobers, "Right now, there's nothing more to see here than what looks to be a homeless person who died and was found by animal. The rookie doesn't want to remember, but eventually the seasoned detective is going to fight it through. I didn't have much time to work."

"By the time he does, this will all be nicely wrapped up," Ashcroft declares with a quiet confidence.

"Sera," Serafine corrects, softly. She shakes her head in answer to the question, "No. If there are, they are keeping their displeasure well hidden. If they're talking, they're not talking to me." With very good reason considering whom her Maker is and his position in Xander's Court.


Once the time is mentioned, Bryn wipes a hand over his face. Standing outside in the April weather in the middle of Central Park is not exactly what he wishes to be doing, and keeping this under wraps will be much harder to do if drug dealers, or other denizens of the night happen to wander by and snap pictures on their mobiles.

"If you do hear any rumblings within the Court, I would ask that you let us know as soon as possible. It would aid us a great deal, and we would be quite appreciative of it."

Closing his eyes, he utters a few quiet words in Latin and stretches his arms outward as though simply trying to stretch off the flight. When his eyes open, they are tuned on the vampiress to determine if his spell worked. When he sees a faint glow appear around her, he nods and begins to scan the immediate area once more to see if their vampire perpetrator is still in the vicinity.


Sera blinks at the murmuring and the behavior, only because she has been around spellcasters before, and suspects that Bryn Blackwell isn't just a regular guy from the London office. Ashcroft's face gives nothing away, but she catches the flicker of surprise on Curtis' which tells her all that she needs to know: The Priory has a sorcerer.

"I'll do that," Sera says, though a quick glance exchanged with Ashcroft says that he knows how unlikely it will be that Sera will hear anything. What Sera hears, Kieran knows, and only a stupid vampire would raise themselves to that scrutiny.

She watches the handsome sorcerer for a moment, a too obvious moment longer than required and then turns and looks toward the body. "Shouldn't you call in the coroner? She's suffered enough indignity tonight."



Bryn frowns slightly at the fact that he sees no other undead creature around but the woman. Obviously whomever is responsible decided to take his or her leave as soon as they realized that the police were being glamoured. He really should have cast the spell the moment they were out of the vehicle, rather than trying to get his footing.

Lighten up on yourself. You have just suffered through an excruciatingly long flight and are not at your best. You are doing all you can.

"Oh yes, quite. I do apologize as I have only just landed in the city, and do not happen to have all of the contact information as of yet. Mr. Curtis, if you would not mind doing the honors of making the call?"


Sera laughs, softly. It's a light melodious sound, and it's not mocking, nor does it seem in anyway faked or shallow. "I didn't mean you, Mr. Blackwell." Her gaze flickers from Bryn to Ashcroft though, and one can see the wheels turning in her head. Something is afoot in The Priory, it's just a matter of finding out what.


"I hope your flight was a pleasant one, and I'm sorry you had to start your night off with this."

Kevin gives a quick glance to Ashcroft and receiving a nod, he has Doris on the line and is walking away, talking fast and low to her.

Ashcroft waits a count of three and turns to the vampiress. "Sera, if there's anything else… I know he likes for his people to play things close to the vest, and that vampire matters are vampire matters, but this is a case where we can't help you if you don't help us." It's nearly amusing the way Ashcroft talks to the younger woman as though he's a father figure.

"Ash, please," Sera holds up a hand to stop him. Sighing, she rakes it through her hair, and pulls her jacket collar around her. "We have a lot to lose. And coups, they don't tend to go so well for the former Master's court. He wants this figured out and taken care of. We all want it figured out and taken care of."


"Regardless, I should have considered the victim before I considered attempting to locate whomever is responsible."

Especially as the scent of blood is likely bothering her.

Bryn keeps his eye on the body, several more questions popping into mind, but taking to the background for now. He watches the way Ashcroft handles the vampiress, and then bites the inside of his cheek to keep from chuckling at the dynamic they seem to have.

"There is another possibility," he says quietly as he stands to full height again. "It could be a fledgling vampire who really does not know any better, and is not feeding properly to the point where the hunger overtakes them."


Ashcroft glances at the sorcerer a genuine look of surprise on his face, something that seldom happens. "That's something to think about. Good going, Blackwell." There's a beat as he turns to Sera. "Sera, do you -"

"I suggested that. Xander wasn't receptive." That's as close as she'll come to criticizing The Master of the City in public. "You don't create a Child and leave them to figure it out on their own. If that's been done, no one is confesssing. It would suggest though, that they're not totally floundering. Someone is making certain that there are no witnesses."

Ashcroft chuckles, "You should write mysteries instead of romances."

The vampiress wrinkles her nose attractively, "I hate mysteries."

The older man chuckles more, and claps the vampiress lightly on the shoulder, "Don't we all, sweetheart, don't we all?"

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