The Body in the Alley (Pt. 2)

Brooklyn - Flanaghan's

It takes more than an Irish name and a shamrock in the window to be regarded as a true Irish pub. Flanaghan's has that real Irish, purchased from a third generation Irishman by an Irishman. The head manager is Irish born and bred, and the pub touts imperial pint glasses, Guinness and Harp, live Irish music, a fireplace, and authentic Irish food, including fish and chips, Shepard's pie and Guinness Pasty.

Flanaghan's has a warm and relaxing atmosphere. The music, when it's not a live band, is just loud enough to fill the space, but not so loud that it impedes conversation. Styled in the Victorian style which harkens back to Dublin, it's filled with beveled mirrors, elaborate tiling and decorative brass.

The counter is carved from highly-polished hardwood and the walls paneled with rich, dark timbers. The dark wood is off-set with dark greens and deep, rich golds for seating and trim. There is stained glass in the windows and stained glass decor throughout.


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Serafine Roche Kieran Collins Bryn Blackwell Kevin Curtis

Bryn's words put a smile on Serafine's face. The way he looks at her, however, that's golden. She too, has almost forgotten her Maker's presence and is of half a mind to just drag the sorcerer off somewhere when he slips them both back to reality and begins addressing Kieran's question.

The entire pub falls silent at the man's words, and then en mass, people begin to rise, hurrying toward the back of the bar.


Kieran rolls his eyes at the googly-eyes between the sorcerer and his Child. Sometimes it's amusing to watch (more if Sera is sharing), but sometimes it's rather adolescent. He's just about to clear his throat when the pair recalls that he's sitting in the booth with them.

As the crowd begins to flow like a mass mob, Kieran stands up. He places two fingers in his mouth and gives a shrill whistle that rises and falls. It gets attention, just as he thought it would.

"I'm sure it's just some poor drunk bastard. Everyone stay put." He has no doubts that the regulars will, and those that don't, Maeve and her oldest boy can hold off at the pass.

The vampire waits a beat and adds, "Next round is on the house." A little good will to keep the curious in their seats. He nods toward the bar and sees one of the bouncers slip out the back exit, and gives an apologetic to Bryn and Serafine. "Let me check this out. I hate it when they pass out in their own piss in the alley."


Mob mentality at a time like this is going to be something rather annoying to deal with. Bryn's already got his phone out and is halfway to dialing Kevin, when he nods to Kieran. "Fine. If you need help, come back in. I will call Curtis rather than involving the police in this matter." Whether a drunkard or not, the problem is going to be that it's happening at a pub owned by a vampire. The Priory will have to be notified of it.


"What a lovely picture you're painting, Kier," Serafine pulls a face at her Maker's choice of words. She can't truly follow, not when she's on the inside of the booth. Besides, she's not all that concerned. It won't be the first time she's watched Kieran or Maeve rouse a drunk and pour them into a cab, or called numbers in their cell phone until someone has come to pick them up.

"This sort of thing wouldn't happen if you owned an art gallery."


"It's a realistic picture," Kieran points out. He throws back the rest of his scotch.

"No, then I'd just have to play nice with old rich ladies who smell like Ben Gay and moth balls," the vampire tosses back over his shoulder.

He navigates his way through the pub, making eye contact here and there as he goes, reminding them that there's nothing unusual, just someone starting their weekend too early. The vampire has barely stepped into the alley when the scent hits him. It's new, it's faint, but it's there. Death.

Brian is already back pedaling, wide eyed and turns off to the side to lose his dinner. Probably his lunch and tomorrow's breakfast too.

Getting closer to the body, Kieran sees why. Gray, ashen, eyes wide open with a large wooden stake protruding through the heart. More than that, however, fangs are bared, and the distinctive veining is around the eyes.

Not dust, Kieran thinks. How in the bloody hell is he not dust?

A low string of colorful curses, in Gaelic, then in French, then Italian stream past Kieran's lips. Once he's gotten that out of his system, he turns to Brain and gently compels that man to go inside and get Sera and the man with her, and to just tell anyone who asks, that it's just a homeless bloke.


Bryn glances at his wristwatch, counting the minutes that Kieran has been gone. Noting Brian coming toward them, he sighs and slides out of the booth. He listens to what the man has to say, and then gives a knowing look to Serafine.

"I have to call Detective Curtis in on this, you realize."

Pressing dial, he lifts the phone to his ear. "Detective Curtis? I am currently at Flanaghan's in Brooklyn. There may be something here that I will need your help with. How soon can you get here?"

Grabbing Serafine's hand with his free one, he leads her through the pub and out the door.


"I'd hardly expect anything else," Serafine tells him as she follows him across the pub and outside to the alley. The moment they clear the pub, her nostrils twitch. The vampiress gives a delicate sniff to the air and wishes that she hadn't. A tentative step forward is taken. Then another.

Serafine curses in French and English and steps backward as quickly as she stepped forward. "What. Is. That?"


Sera and Bryn's arrival has Kieran standing up and stepping back from the body he's been carefully examining. "That's what I've been trying to figure out. It's not one of us, or it would be dust. But …" Kieran finally looks back at the sorcerer and his Child.

Sighing, he crosses the short distance and stands directly in front of Serafine. He gently tucks a strand of hair that's escaped the head band behind her ear, and rubs her shoulder. "Serafine, mo thiasc, I need you to take care of the crowd inside for me, yeah? Let Maeve know that we might have a problem, and I'll update her later. Then, just work your magic, luv."


Having yet to see the body, Bryn frowns. When Kieran comes back to talk to Serafine, he glances at it. The stake. The fangs. "Bloody hell, Kevin, even I have not seen something like this before. Bring a crew with you. Keep Kayla away. Heaven forbid she find it 'cool' and want to run experiments before we can take care of getting this out of here."

Closing the phone, he frowns. He leans in to examine the body, then changes his mind.

Moving toward the other pair, he raises his brow. "Anything either of you want to tell me? Such as why a body like this is being left outside Flanaghan's?" Mostly he's just hoping that they've got some reasoning behind this.


"I am not accusing either of you, merely curious as to who has made new enemies recently." Before Kieran can say anything, he holds his hand up. "Brooke is good, but I do not think she could stop one of your kind from turning to dust."


Serafine glances at Kieran. As far as she knows, she hasn't made any enemies of late, but Kieran has a way with people. A way with pissing them off a lot of the time. Her gaze slides past her Maker to the curious and unusual body and she shudders, a look of pure horror washing over her face. That body is too close to real, too close a reminder of what can harm them. Though she knows that this can't be a vampire, it didn't turn to dust, it's still a bit horrific.

But if it's not a vampire, what is it?

"I don't know," Serafine swallows hard. "Maybe a threat or a warning, but I don't think that's stage makeup."


"Other than Brooke, I haven't managed to piss anyone off lately," Kieran tells Serafine at the look. He frowns, "How disappointing. I must be slipping."

Serafine's shudder is hard to miss, and Kieran draws her to him in a brief hug. He presses his lips to her forehead and whispers softly in Gaelic. « Not going to be us. We're both too beautiful, remember? » It's a side that the elder vampire doesn't publicly show often, but he's not above demonstrating his affection for and closeness to his Child.

He brushes a kiss over her temple, and then says to the sorcerer. "I'm going to go with threat or warning. If you want a list, it's going to take me a while to compile." His mind flickers to the names they discussed earlier: Ysabel, Gwendolyn, James, and he does wonder.

Stepping back from Serafine, he nudges her toward Flanaghan's. "Go on, then. I could really use your help with containment."


"A list would be helpful."


"From both of you. Just to be on the safe side." Though Bryn doesn't really think that Serafine could incur this kind of threat or warning. "Judging by the smell, it is not stage makeup. It is almost as if whoever that is is not quite vampire." Not quite human either, judging by the way it looks.


"I'm going to step inside, I've seen enough," Serafine remarks. Her gaze flickers between Bryn and Kieran, and then she sighs and turns her back on the alley. "I'll get you that list, Bryn." Opening the door, she slips inside the pub.


"My star," Kieran smirks as he watches his Child depart. He shoots a glance toward Bryn. "That woman is an artist when it comes to working a glamour." He's quite proud of Serafine, and also doesn't seem to be as unsettled by the body as she was either. He crosses back over and peers down at it. "Strangest fucking thing I have ever seen. I've seen a lot of bloody strange things too."


Phone still out, Bryn snaps a picture of it to send it back to Kayla. He may not want the young woman at the scene, but he does want her checking it out for him. He sends it off to Callum as well. Two sets of eyes on it will definitely help matters.

"I will bear that in mind if it is ever needed." For the Priory, of course.

"I do not suppose you have any idea as to who it might be?"


Kieran slides his phone out of its holster and snaps a few pictures of the body. Mostly head shots, but a few full bodies as well. He's going to need the head shots to ask around to see if anyone can identify the mystery vampire/not-vampire.

"Who might be responsible or whom this might be?" Kieran asks, making a slow, curious circuit around the body.

"My gut reaction was that it was my dear baby brother or Gwendolyn. Maybe Isabel." Stopping near the head, he kneels and peers closely at the fangs and the veinous face. "This is too heavy-handed for one of Isabel's games. I still don't put it past James or Gwendolyn."


"I don't recognize him. He might be neophyte who wasn't presented yet." Which doesn't do a lot to narrow the field. The Hecanthenos keep their neophytes sheltered for a good while, the Trevos do it as well just because they're an odd bunch and with the Kleptheros, it could go either way. "He might be new to the city."

The vampire peers up at Bryn. "You haven't said, but I'm guessing you're not sensing magic on this? Something holding the body in a sort of stasis?"


Normally Bryn would request that no one else take photos of the body, but considering Kieran's status in the vampire world, it actually would be a brilliant idea for him to have a copy. Even if it doesn't help them find the vampire in question, it will act as a very good scare tactic to get information.

"Either or."

The sorcerer stays put, mostly because he doesn't want to contaminate the scene, but also because the smell is rather repugnant. While he can handle a regular dead body just fine, there's something about this one that is keeping him at bay for now. "Unless they found some magical means to keep the body in stasis that can go undetected, then I doubt it is your brother or his chit."

The word 'neophyte' sticks in his ears, and he mulls that over. It doesn't explain why the body would be left here, or how the body is in the form it is, however. It just adds more to the mystery.

Which he rather dislikes.

"I would have been able to sense magic being cast in the alley while we were inside. There was nothing, and unless there is a new form that is rearing its head that is undetectable, this is not being done by magical means."


"Let's hope that someone hasn't developed undetectable magic." As much as Kieran thinks it would be fantastic as far as charms and the like go, it also goes the other way and would be a pretty terrible thing for non-magic users.

"I really can't figure out why James or Gwendolyn would go through such trouble. They're usually much more in your face." Kieran continues, finally stepping away from the body and crossing back to the door. He can hear fine with it closed, but opens it a crack to listen inside anyway. The atmosphere is subdued and that's a good thing, it means Sera is doing her job.

He'll make a note to stop over and see her after the excitement dies down tonight.

"Let's assume that it has nothing to do with me, or Sera, personally. Let's say it's related to our tag team Melambra vamps, and what does that give us, Blackwell?" Kieran pauses a beat and considers. "I'm Kostas' Sheriff and that's not a secret in the vampire world. This is my place of business."

"We're back to a warning, a threat or … " Kieran tilts his head. The next option doesn't make sense, but they are in 'leave no stone unturned' territory. "A clue? A plea for help?"


"Yes, let us hope that they have not." It would be great so far as charms go, but it would not be great for the Dynasties or the Coven. They could have a rogue spellcaster on their hands and not know it.

Bryn glances at the body again, and frowns. "As I said, I do not think this to be the work of either of them. They were back in England before I made the move here, and I have not heard word of them leaving as of yet." Callum would have notified him if they were following him across the pond.

"Perhaps a mixture of all three. Notice that we are getting too close, that…"

Lifting his phone again, he begins to scroll through pictures. The one the concept artist drew from Serafine's, and Mandy's recollections. Looking between it and the mess on the ground, he can't tell if it is the same person or not.

"It will definitely be worth looking into, no matter the reasoning behind it."


"My primary concern right now is that this doesn't end up in the newspapers," Kieran says. "It makes for very bad publicity and the one PR rep I can think of off the top of my head right now isn't partial to me at the moment."


"Closer, but not close enough. We don't have an answer or a solution yet." The vampire considers. "You wouldn't happen to have any clairvoyants at the Priory would you?"


"We can take care of that," Bryn replies quietly. "If you want Brooke for it, let me know. She will do it for me, even if it is your business she is keeping out of the papers."


"And you may want to look into getting yourself a PR manager. You own three businesses. This may just be the first body to show up." It is a gruesome thought, but Bryn is aware that if they are targeting Kieran for some reason, his other establishments are more upscale and will receive a greater deal of publicity.

"Not in the New York office. I can have someone transferred over but that will take time. The closest we have are a few telepaths, and they will not be able to help with this." They have necromantic contacts, but he's uncertain whether this… whatever it is… will have a soul for them to contact.


"Well, it's not as though I have to hide what I am anymore is it?" Kieran asks lightly.


"I have Nichole. She handles problems when they crop up at Eclairant or Purgatory." The vampire has never had any problems or complaints about Nichole's work.


"I rather hope that this isn't going to be a repeat occurrence." But until they know the reasons behind it, they won't know whether or not it is or has the potential to be.


Kevin has headed to Flanaghan's as quickly as he can. Traffic this time of night isn't bad, and when he reaches the pub, he finds that the crowd is light and preoccupied with the Olympics pre-coverage on the wall mounted televisions.

Serafine, lovely as always, and Maeve direct him out to the back alley.

"I don't know what you put in your beer, Collins, but I'd like some of it," Kevin remarks. "That's a calm crowd for the discovery of a corpse."


"No, it is not as though you need to hide. She does know what you are and that would work to your benefit." Once Brooke calms down. If she calms down. A business contract between them could settle Regina's ruffled feathers, and explain Brooke and Kieran making public appearances together in the future.

"I rather hope that it is not either. At least not until we find out what we happen to be dealing with."

Bryn turns toward Kevin as he approaches. "Thanks to Serafine, I do think that they believe it to be a drunkard that has been poured into a taxicab and is currently on his way home."


"If only it were as easy as adding magic to a pint or two," Kieran says at the Detective's comment.

"Might have saved me some trouble," is added quietly under his breath.


Kevin takes a look around, frowns and keeps his distance just as Bryn. He's no stranger to dead bodies, but this one …

"Are we dealing with something new here? That's not normal for a vampire."


"It does not seem to be, no." This said to Kevin as Bryn takes another step away from it. "Nor is it normal for a human, and by my estimation those are not fake fangs."

Glancing at Kieran, he rolls his eyes.

"Unfortunately, us magicians have absolutely no way to weave a glamour even half as effectively as Serafine is able to. Nor do we have a way to ensure that it would be imbibed in proper quantities in a pub this size." He raises his brow. "I would have said to try flunitrazepam, but unfortunately you would wind up in a great deal of legal trouble for using that on unsuspecting people."


Kieran leans against the door that leads back into the pub. He's more than willing to stand back and let the Priory handle things this time. Had it been up to him, he'd already have made a few phone calls and the body would be gone. Of course, it would have been a typical body. In this case, he wants answers as much as the sorcerer and detective do; though he will be sharing the information with Kostas and Samira.


"I need to get my kit from the car and make another phone call," Kevin says. Yes, he does still travel with a crime kit. "I think we'll need to call in a favor from Denham on this one, and I'm not sure how to cover the labs on this one."


"Are you quite certain you want Denham examining this body?" Bryn glances down at it again, and frowns. "The Priory needs its own coroner." He will have to check into the funding and see if there is any available to send one of their own through the schooling, or see if they can locate a supe in medical school that's willing to do that job.

"Kieran, I do know that you will have to let Kostas know what is up, but would you be willing to provide us with a twenty-four hour window before you bring the information to them? I know that this is your establishment and you will want answers as swiftly as possible, I just really do not want to deal with Kostas' demands at the moment."


The vampire rolls his shoulders in a shrug. The only vampire in the vicinity who knows about this, unless there's a vampire behind it, is Serafine and Kieran knows where his Child's loyalties lie. He doubts Kostas will be interested unless he has something solid that he can give to the Master of the City, and the dead body isn't going to go anywhere or get any more dead.

"Twenty-four hours," Kieran agrees. He wasn't going to take it to Kostas tonight, anyway. He needs time to mull it over, to see if it is possible that it's a direct threat toward him.


"We can trust Denham," Kevin says. "He's been dealing with the other bodies for us, this will just be strange and unusual." The ME is discreet and knows the ins and outs of the system better than most, that's the reason that Ashcroft approached him years ago. "He likes a challenge." With that the detective heads around the building and back toward his car.


"Try and get him in the Priory," Bryn tells Kevin. As much as Denham can be trusted? Bryn would rather have the man involved more heavily in the Priory if he's going to be looking at this… whatever it is.

With Kevin heading back toward his car, he frowns. Looking at the body again, he curses. "Bollocks. I was really hoping we would have something that would possibly link this. Hair color. Facial structure. It does not seem as if we happen to be quite that lucky."


"You're looking for a description to match?" Kieran asks. Pushing away from the wall, he looks at the body again. He drifts closer and kneels, inspecting the facial features without touching the corpse. Raking a hand through his hair, he nods. "I can do it."


"Draw it. Him. Before the face shifted." It's the reason that Kieran knows he doesn't recognize this one; his mind can easily back step and deduce what the vampire/not-vampire looked like originally.


"Easily done." Bryn flips through the images on his phone until he finds the composite, and hands it to Kieran. "This is what we got from Serafine, the werewolf girl, and one of the ghosts. It is the best approximation of the man that we have."


Kieran takes a look at the composite, then holds the phone down by the man's face. He studies it for a moment and hands it back to Bryn. "That's him."


"Who is he?"


"That happens to be the neophyte we have been trying to track since I came to the city. Whomever is working with him is clever enough not to get him caught. Which is why they beat the piss out of Serafine."

Bryn frowns, and snaps the phone closed.

"At least we know who it is. Just not how a bloody vampire is staying intact in death. Unless the stake is not really wood?" He hasn't been close enough to the body to check it.


"That's why it's very good for him that someone caught him before I did," Kieran says with an oddly detached coolness. The sort of coolness that just screams 'sociopathic killer.' Touching Sera crossed a line, and it's not one that Kieran forgot, and one he certainly would never have forgiven.

Kieran peers up and back at the sorcerer. "Would you like for me to check?"

Without waiting for an answer, he gives a disgusted look to the ground beneath him and then kneels on one knee. The vampire has no qualms with getting up close and personal to the corpse and inspecting both the stake and the wound.

With his back to Bryn, his face shifts slowly, the demon coming to the fore as he sniffs around the wound and the material. He taps it with a finger nail and leans back, shifting his features back again. "It's wood as near as I can tell. Looks like wood, smells like wood. Splinters and cracks like wood. If it's not wood, it's a bloody good imitation." Beat. "I can't guarantee it's wood unless I get it out of there."


"Don't you dare, Collins." Kevin is willing to give the vampire orders under these circumstances when he might not have otherwise tonight. "We may not be going through normal channels, but this is a crime scene and that is a body and what the hell are you doing anyway?"

Kevin looks to Bryn. "What the hell is he doing? Going for a snack?"


"He was checking to see if the stake was actually wood, and if the corpse was actually dead."


"Actually dead. Not vampire dead," Bryn explains. There is a lot he wants to say about the desire to pummel the piss out of the guy who touched Serafine, but instead he takes a deep breath. "This is our neophyte, Curtis. Which means he was obviously not entirely vampire, unless there is a new bloodline, or breeding that allows them not to dust."


"Our mysterious neophyte isn't only merely dead, he's really most sincerely dead." Yes, Kieran does have a somewhat unusual sense of humor at times. However, after four hundred years, is it really so surprising?

He rises and looks down at his pants with a roll of his eyes and a frown. The pants are Dior and he's not sure that dry cleaning will help.

"If there is a new breed, I don't know anything about it. If it's some unknown blood magic … I know where to start with my inquiries."

The vampire frowns again, this time raking his eyes over the body, "That really shouldn't be possible …" Unless the body never completed transition, but then it shouldn't have been wandering around feeding on people either. Not after the initial time period expired.


"Shouldn't be isn't going to change what's in front of us," Kevin says. He has no qualms kneeling next to the body as he snaps on rubber gloves. "Was it a vamp, Collins? Stake through the heart killed him?" Though granted, a stake through the heart would kill a normal human too.


"Somehow," Bryn replies dryly, "I cannot quite see you representing the Munchkins." It really should be unsurprising that Bryn knows old films, especially one that can be considered one of the two first technicolor movies.

"Good lord, send them for dry cleaning. If that does not help them, I will cover the cost of a new pair." Kieran can afford to pay for his own pants, but Bryn really doesn't want to hear lamenting when he essentially asked the man to check the stake.

"Check with Magda, and let me know. I have never heard of blood magic that can keep a vampire body intact, however I will research it as well." Bryn would question the leader of the Hecanthenos himself, but he has yet to make contact with her, and that is the one bloodline he prefers to avoid as much as possible.

"Curtis? When the body gets to Denham, ensure that he knows he is not to start work on it until one of us is present."


"Am I not friendly and peppy enough for you?" Kieran asks. "Although, I think that I can afford to buy my own pair of trousers."

"Please," Kieran says to the sorcerer with a smirk and a smug smile. "I'm supposed to be the drunkard and you're supposed to be unfailingly polite. Let's uphold those stereotypes, Blackwell." Then again? Blackwell is Welsh, so there is a bit of difference there, at least according to the Welsh.


"I'll be with him," Kevin says, inspecting the fangs with a careful finger. "Unless you wanted us to wait for you?"


"You are not short enough," Bryn comments, deadpan.

"I thought offering to cover the cost of a new pair of Dior was being polite. Colonel Ashcroft would not have bothered to make the offer, and told you to buck up." Turning to grin at Curtis, he looks back at Kieran. "Though I do suppose I should thank you for the aid in identifying the body." The only trouble now is to determine whether or not there is another neophyte hanging around or if the dead girls will stop now.

"A report will be fine, if you do not mind? As intrigued as I am by our neophyte friend over there, I was in the middle of some other business that I should be looking into."

Which just seems… totally off for Bryn.


With a shrug, Kieran returns to the body and crouches down. "Don't worry, I'll keep you company if your boss has to go chasing other leads through the City." Kieran isn't going anywhere. It's his place of business, and he's going to hang around until Kevin and Denham take the body away. Depending on the state of things, he may even follow.


Kevin pauses in what he's doing to give a curious look up at the sorcerer. That's unusual, the man not wanting to sit on top of something, but he's not going to question it. Especially not in front of Collins. He nods and returns his attention to the body. "Video, audio, the whole nine yards. You got it."


Bryn isn't quite the boss yet, but he'll let Kieran go with that story. He glances at Kevin when the curious look is given and shrugs. "I have something I need to look into for a client to ensure that good relations are kept between them and the Coven." He doesn't elaborate on things, because he doesn't want to make Kevin aware of Kieran's current situation.

"The whole nine yards should be the standard from now on. It will allow us to go back and review things once we receive further information." There's a quick glance toward the door, and he ruffles his hand through his hair. "If you gentleman do not need my help with this any longer, I do believe I will go inside and see how Miss Roche is doing."


Kieran gives the sorcerer a nod of acknowledgement and then a hand wave off, focusing his attention on the detective and what the detective is doing. He's not worried about how Serafine is handling things, and he's not surprised that the sorcerer wants to check up on her. It's a little bit amusing actually. "I'll talk to Magda and we can compare notes."

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