First Appeared in Sinful Simon, Jan 2000

Notes: X-over with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Non-graphic death of supporting characters.

Choices Made
by Voracity

"That's it, I'm outta here," Darryl yelled, slamming the door. He had grabbed his jacket and was
putting it on as he walked down the sidewalk in front of his father's house.

Simon stood at the window, deeply unhappy that his choice had made his son leave like that. But
he knew he couldn't go running after his son, he had to work it out himself. The former Captain
Banks turned to look around the living room of his house and grimaced. Most everything was
packed, and the few things that were still laying around were staying or being given away. His life had to go on now, more than anything it had to go on.

He sat down on the couch and thumbed through the magazine, thinking back to how all this had


Simon looked up as the newest consultant walked into the squad room, coming out to meet him at the doorway to the office. "Captain Banks," he said.

The older man smiled and held out a hand. "Rupert Giles." They walked into the office together,
both men taking their seats. "So, I understand that Professor Sandburg's out today?"

Simon nodded. "Yeah, it's his scheduled day to go teach instead of follow Detective Ellison
around." He poured himself some coffee and held up the pot in a silent question.

"No, thank you. I've just had some tea before I came up." He looked at the little angels sitting
around the room. "You have quite a collection started."

Simon smiled. "Blair started it. He gave me the first one." He pushed some papers over. "I don't know why Blair suggested that you come and help us, but I tend to trust him so I won't ask unless it starts to get in the way of work." His brow wrinkled for a second. "You don't work with strange things like he does, do you?"

Mr. Giles nodded, slowly. "I'm afraid I do but it shouldn't interfere with my position." He
smiled slightly. "Of course I'm not sure why Blair called upon me to come here either."

Simon snorted. "Yup, just like that man." He leaned back. "So, what's your areas of

"Um, cults and the like I would suppose would be the closest description."

Simon nodded, taking a drink. "Yeah," he said eventually, "we've had our share of those." He
looked out the window. "I'm betting that not only is Sandburg on his way, but that you're
probably not used to the weather, being from California and all."

Giles smiled. "I'm from England. This is nothing."

"Yeah, no clammy fog," Blair said from the doorway. "Rupe, how're you doing? Good of you to
come." He handed something to Simon. "I'm not doing this anymore and neither is Jim." He
clapped the new man on the shoulder and walked out the door.

Simon looked down at the envelope dumbly before jumping up and following the Doctor of
Anthropology out to the stairwell. "Get your *ass* back here!" he yelled, running to catch up. He stopped Blair on the landing and spun him around. "After all we've been through, you're going to leave like that?" He was hurt and confused. "Why? Why not invite me over and tell me or tell me privately? Why, I want an explanation." He started to shake the younger and smaller man. "NOW!"

"Simon," Blair started and managed to break the hold, backing up some. "You know why we
have to go. Jim's ... specialness has been heard about. It's not safe for either of us to be here
anymore ." He patted the older man's arm. "Yes, we wanted to do that, but you refused to come
over last night. I wouldn't have done it that way, but I figured it was better than a call from the
road while we're running from the people who have been following us for the last two days." He hugged Simon, tightly squeezing his chest. "We'll keep in touch and come back when we can, but we can't stay another day."

Simon nodded, concerned and mad and hurt all at once. "I understand. So, why him?"

"Because he's got a wonderful fount of knowledge for you to pull from, especially from the
strange shit that's been happening." He checked to make sure they were alone, Jim nodding from
a few flights down where Blair could barely see him. "Some of this stuff that's been happening,
the disappearing bodies and that stuff, it's his element. It's what he's trained another person for
Let him do it like you used to let us and you'll be fine." He touched Simon's arm. "Just trust him, I do. With all of it." He turned and walked down to where his mate was, not looking back.

"I expect letters, from both of you," Simon called. "And yes, that does mean you, Ellison." He
turned and walked slowly back up the stairs to be met by the members of his office. "Go back to
work, I'll tell you once I've got it figured out." He walked past them and shut his office door.
"So," he said, sitting down, "tell me more about the disappearing bodies."

Mr. Giles swallowed and sat up a little straighter. "Blair hadn't told me that...." Simon held up a
hand. "He's told you?"

"Some things. Enough to know that I'll put you on as my personal helper when needed." Simon
turned to stare out the window. "Did you know about his and Jim's thing?" He could just barely
see the other man nodding. "Then you'll know that you can trust me as they did and Blair told me
the same thing about you. So spill it."

"It's the undead I'm afraid," he said quietly. Captain Banks turned to stare at him. "I'm sorry,
but I know that it is. I've run into a few in my time and this is definitely their work." He spread
his hands. "I've brought someone with me to help cure the situation and I'll be taking a full time
assignment at a private and exclusive boarding school to work with her on this. You may rest
assured that I'll come when you need me and I'll help her fix this problem."

Simon laid his head on the table. "This is funny, you know?" He looked up briefly. "I'll have to
accept that rationale, for now, and let you get on with it." He pushed back over the papers. "This
is your contract, I'm sure that you know how this works." He grinned slightly. "Oh, and I know
the school too, my son almost went there. He didn't like the mostly women part at that time."

"I can see how that might be a problem. There's only six young men there now." He signed the
last paper and handed them back. "I'm glad you will trust me on this." He handed over a
business card. "These are my numbers when you need me. I can do cults, especially of ancient
origin or Gods, and have quite a bit of knowledge stored of other ancient practices and ways."

Simon smiled and tossed him the folder. "Can you look over this and get back to me tomorrow?"
Giles opened it and looked over the accumulated data before nodding. "Good, I'll be here in the
afternoon. Anytime after two is fine, up until seven probably."

Rupert got up, nodding his thanks. They walked out of the office together, Simon introducing him around. "Listen up. This is Rupert Giles, he's our newest Consultant. His speciality is cults and that area." Each of the detectives came over to shake the new guy's hand, waiting around for
Simon to spill the rest of it. "Work?" he asked, hinting.

Taggert gave him a dirty look. "Jim and Blair?"

"Someone found out and they're on the run." Simon shrugged and leaned against his doorway.
"You'll know when I know."

Brown looked confused. "Huh? Found out what?"

"You remember that crap with Blair's dissertation?" Rafe asked him. Everyone nodded. "Well, it
was a lie when Blair said he was lying. Jim's hid it pretty well, but every now and then you'd
catch him concentrating on a spot that none of us could see."

"That would be in addition to finding the clues for forensics?" Taggert asked with a smile. "He
hid it okay there for a while, but he's not that good. Blair's better at covering than he was." He
turned to look at Simon. "We'll know when you do?" The Captain nodded. "Okay, I guess we
can live with that."

The group dispersed and Mr. Giles left, letting Simon go back to his paperwork. He sat down at
his desk and remembered the explanation given, shaking his head. "I want to be someplace
normal for once," he said quietly, opening the budget folder to write in an explanation for the
sudden surplus.


It was three days later when Mr. Giles had walked back in, slight smile riding around his mouth.
He knocked politely at the door and walked in, closing it behind him. "I have, or rather my
protégée, has fixed that body problem you've been having." He laid the folder down on the desk,
pictures and all. "This is the proof and all that's left when we're done."

Simon picked up the little bag of ashes and the pictures. He looked them over. "Well, it seems
she's efficient and they don't make a mess." He opened a drawer and tossed them in. "So, now I
need an excuse about the disappearances." He sat back and waited, expecting a Blair-response.

Mr. Giles sat down and looked embarrassed. "I'm not used to coming up with one of those."

Simon sighed and looked down at the case folder. "Hmm, Blair used to be so good at this." He
looked up for a second. "Any cultish sort of thing? Some reason to take the bodies and burn

Giles brightened. "Actually yes. There's an old necromancy text that has a spell of power..." He
looked at the report form Simon was handing him. "Should I put that down?"

"Please. It's not like anyone's going to see it but it has to be done. Just make it plausible and no
one will bother to check it out." He looked up to see who was tapping on the door. "Come!"

A young blonde woman walked in, shutting the door behind her. "Hello, I'm ..."

"The girl in the picture." He sat back and smiled. "Nice work, always glad to help when I can. I
don't want to know any more though." She nodded and took the form, filling it out for her
mentor. When she handed it back, Simon read it quickly. "Thank you, this is perfect." He stood
and shook her hand. "Welcome to Cascade. Feel free to come to me when you need it."

She laughed shortly. "Yeah, that's not a problem. Why, if I can ask, do you not want to know my

"Because then I can't deny knowing you." Simon sat back down and leaned back. "Lie detectors
and the Commissioner are all knowing sometimes and I'd rather not face that problem yet." He
tapped his name plate. "Let's just keep it on the ‘Oh, I know you' stage for now, all right?"

She and Mr. Giles both nodded. "That would be most wise I think," he commented before
standing. "Now, if you'll excuse us, we've got some work to do."

They left, Simon watching them walk out of the office. He waited patiently for Taggert to walk in and ask him what was going on, after all it had been his case. When the former Bomb Squad
Captain did make it in, Simon simply handed over the report and lit a cigar, smoking while it was
read. The older man nodded and walked out, shrugging at the explanation but not wanting it
explained to him. He accepted the file graciously as it was handed back in for his approval.


Simon looked around his house sighing. "That was only the beginning," he told himself, tossing
the magazine into his bag. "Who woulda known that they would come after us."


Simon looked out at the bullpen for the tenth time in the last half an hour. Taggert and Henry
were still not in yet. Neither one was known for being late, but it seems they had been caught up
in something more important than coming to work. He laid down the budget he was looking over
and walked out to get some coffee and gossip. "Rhonda," he said, stopping at her desk. "Any

She shook her head and handed over an almost empty file. "Not a word from either one of them,
sorry sir."

He nodded and finished heading to the break room. He poured a cup of coffee and leaned against
the counter, drinking the horrid mixture slowly. He saw Brian Rafe and waved him in.

"They're not at home," he said, grabbing his own cup and filling it. He sat down at the small
table and sighed, warming his hands around the cup. "I don't have a clue now. Henry didn't say
anything to me about leaving town and I used his emergency key. No clothes are missing and his
bed's not been slept in."

Simon took a thoughtful drink and grimaced. He poured the nasty coffee out and turned to look at his officer. "So, he might have spent the night with someone?"

Brian shrugged. "He might have, but he's not dating anyone and we both know Joel's not." He
looked up at Simon for a second. "Have you went to his place to look?" He took a drink of the
warm liquid.

Simon blushed slightly, but it wasn't readily apparent on his dark skin. "No, I haven't but that's a good idea. I think I'll head over there if they haven't appeared in a few minutes." He walked back to his office and grabbed his jacket. "Coming?" Brian nodded and rinsed out his cup while Simon turned to talk to Rhonda. "We're going to check Joel's house. I have my cell." He strode quickly out of the bullpen, Rafe hurrying to catch up to him at the elevators.


Simon knocked on the door before pulling out his keychain and opening the door. The curtains
that he and Joel had hung ‘for show' were closed and he couldn't see inside. He drew his gun
before carefully walking inside. "Joel?" he called. He flipped on the light, knowing exactly where
it was from much experience. "Joel?" He walked into the living room and stopped.

There was a body laying on the floor. He turned to shield it from the younger Detective. "Call an
ambulance," he told him, pushing him out of the room. He bent to check the body, looking for a
sign that Henry Brown wasn't dead. All he could see was the marks on the side of his neck, the
congealed blood around the outside of them. He stood up and kept Rafe away from the body,
forcefully blocking him with his larger body. "No, no you don't want to see."

Brian pushed him aside and fell to the ground with a sob. He touched his partner's head gently,
checking for a sign of life. "No, no it can't be. It can't be." Simon picked him up and turned him
away, holding him close until the paramedics got there.

Homicide was called in and went over the room with a fine tooth comb, one of their detectives
asking both Major Crimes men the requisite questions. When they left, Brian was sitting at the
bottom of the stairs looking at the spot where his friend and partner had been found.

"Want to go?" Simon asked gently.

"No." He looked up, his eyes haunted. "I want to go home."

"I was going to drive you there and drag you up to your apartment if you didn't," Simon reassured
him. "Come on." He helped the younger man up and to the car, buckling him in when he didn't
move to do it himself. He drove the younger man home, helping him up the stairs and taking his
gun quietly. He said a few quiet words to a neighbor he knew the younger man trusted before he
left, making sure she would listen for him to start having problems. He went back to his car, only
to find the blonde from his office leaning against the side.

"You guys have a better information network than we do." He waved her in, driving back to the
station. "So, would that be some of your area?" He turned to look at her when they stopped at a
red light.

She had turned to face him. "Yeah, pretty muchly. I'm sorry about your friend, but we've got to
make sure he stays dead."

Simon shook his head. "This is insane. He was *bitten*!" He slammed his hand on the steering
wheel and started moving again when the horns from the other drivers got too loud. "You know
what did this, don't you." It wasn't a question, it was a statement of fact.

"Yeah, I do. This is my job." She pushed some hair back. "We'll deal with it if you want." She
touched his arm hesitantly. "This isn't your fight."

"Tell me what happened to Joel," he said softly, pulling over. He turned to look at her, seeing the
sad expression in her eyes. "He's gone too?"

"Nope, not yet. At least not that we know of." She shrugged. "You probably would have found
him if that was the case." Simon's eyes got hard and sorrowful so she patted his shoulder. "I'll
find him and if he's all right, I'll bring him back."

Simon Banks, stout defender of justice and equality, didn't try to fight back the murderous rage he
felt at that moment. "How long?"

She shook her head. "No one knows. If he's not been killed yet, it won't be before tonight." She
pushed the annoying piece of hair back. "This is what I'm trained for. Leave it to us."

Simon shook his head. "No, it's mine. He's my friend."

"He's more than that," she guessed. She shifted some in the soft seat. "Listen to me on this. I've
been trained for years to deal with this problem. I'll handle it so you don't have to."

Simon looked away, not wanting to show her any more of his pain. "No, I will. I have to." When he looked back, the car door was open and she was gone. "It's my job, he's mine," he reminded himself quietly, shutting the door and pulling back out into traffic.


Simon looked up as the homicide detective in charge of Henry's death knocked. He waved the
man in and grimaced. "Tell me he's not disappeared too."

The other man shook his head, sitting down. "No, he's not. We have back the autopsy report and
his neck was broken before he bled to death." He tossed the folder onto the overcrowded desk.
"We don't have any idea where Taggert is, we're sorry."

Simon nodded, his hopes sinking. "Well, at least you're trying." He picked up the folder but
didn't open it. "What about the bite wounds? Those were pretty strange."

The other man wiped a hand over his face. "Call me crazy and an Anne Rice fan but those looked
like a vampire bite." He looked down at the floor. "Whatever made it was sharp, pointy, and had
something that looked like plaque on it. Again, that's all we know." He stood up, leaning over
enough to touch Simon's hand. "I'll be up to keep you up to date whenever I get something, but
I'm not holding my breath on this one."

Simon nodded and watched him walk out. He picked up the card he had been staring at. He put it down again, not wanting to acknowledge that he needed the help of a young girl to find his
friend's killer. He looked up as someone else knocked on the door. He waved Rafe in, silently
handing over the folder. The young Detective sat down and read the results, his hard face getting
harder with more pain showing through his eyes.

"We'll find them," he promised, but they both knew it was an empty promise.

Brian handed back the folder and went back to his desk, looking over all the paperwork he had
been ducking for a month now. Simon watched him go through the large window, knowing how
much this was hurting him. He looked down at the card again and dialed the number. "Hello?
This is Captain Banks and ...."


He had met them that night, the Slayer and Mr. Giles. Of course he hadn't known who she was
then, but now that he did, he was sure he wouldn't have been very receptive at first. Simon
picked up his bags and carried them to the car, letting the movers pick up his things for storage.
He met his son by the car. "I've got to do this," he said quietly, moving the young man his son
had become out of his way. "You can accept this or not." He slammed the trunk shut. "You may *not* come with me." He got in, watching as his house was emptied. "I love you Darryl and I'm not risking your life like that."

His son nodded and leaned against the hood, watching as all the things he had come to consider
‘home' were taken away. "I might understand but I don't have to like it." He stood up straighter.
"Are you coming over to tell Mom?"

"Do I look suicidal?" He snorted. "Not a chance."


Simon took a look around Joel's house, looking for anything all the people before him might have
missed. Nothing. Still. He sat down on the sofa and looked at the pictures they had taken
together just a few months prior, all the joy they had shared shining in their eyes and their smiles.

"Why Joel?" he asked the house. "Why did you leave me?" When there was no answer, he went
outside, leaning against his car to look around the neighborhood. It was dark now and he knew he should be someplace safe but he owed it to his friend and lover to be there, to solve this. He had to find the man and make him come back.

Simon sighed and started to get into his car when a voice out of the shadows stopped him. "Si?"
Joel asked.

Simon spun around, looking at the shadowy figure behind the bushes. "Joel," he said in relief.
"How long have you been there?"

"Not long." The other man walked over to him. "Come inside with me?"

Simon nodded, choked up with relief. He followed his friend inside and waited while he got
comfortable. "Where have you been?" He sank down and buried his head in Joel's soft shoulder.
"I was worried sick. Why not even a call?" He looked up, looking for answers.

All he could see was a dark pair of spots on the neck that he had buried his nose in and kissed so
many times.

Simon stood and backed away, hands held out in front of him. "No, no you can't be." His back
hit the small separating wall between the entry and the living room. "No, not you too."

Joel stood up and smiled. "Come over with me. It's not so bad." He held out his arms. "Just
think of all we could do together."

Simon shook his head, but didn't try to get away anymore. "No. You don't know what you're
saying. This isn't you."

Joel smiled. "Si, you have no idea why this is so much better than me." He looked around the
room, picking up their picture. "This, this was me but a poorer substitute of who I am now." He
showed it to his lover. "This is still me but I'm so much more free now."

Simon shook his head, refusing to take the picture or to look at it. "The man I loved is in there
still. He would never want to live like this."

"Well," Joel said, scratching his head, "he's still in here, yeah. He's still here and complaining
about the food issue, but he's not unhappy either. He's the one that wanted me to come talk to you about coming over and joining us." He looked around and hissed. "I can't stay. *She's* here." He tossed the picture onto the couch and walked closer to his love. "Think about it. The offer's open ended." He kissed the gentle and warm mouth that had soothed him so many days. "Just like us." Then he left what had been his house.

The blonde girl came striding in and looked down at the picture. "Well, it's tempting but it's not
you either."

Simon ran a tired hand over his face and looked around. "He's one of them now, right?" She
nodded and picked up the picture, handing it over. "He's not in there anymore."

"He's in there, it's just a little more crowded. There's his demon in there too, talking to him,
whispering secrets to him. Your Joel may be fighting to come out and protect you or to call you to him but it's got to be stopped." She handed Simon a cross. "I'd wear it."

He grasped the icon and the picture to his chest, sliding down to sit on the floor. "You can't kill

"It's my job, Captain, not my choice." She squatted down to face him. "I don't have a choice in
the matter."

"No," he looked in her eyes, seeing the pain in his mirrored in hers. "I'll do it."

"It's going to be worse if you do," Giles said, coming in and helping him to stand. "She should or
I should. You don't want that pain." He led Simon back to their car, settling him in the back.
"We'll take him home," he told the young woman. "Then you can go on patrol at those clubs."

She nodded and got in, buckling up. "Okay, at least I can have some fun while I search." She
patted the older man's hand. "I'll find him and contain him, all right?"

Simon just nodded, not able to tell her what she needed to hear yet.


Simon looked over at the warehouse, wondering where Joel was. His lover had sent him an e-
mail to meet him here. He was here but his lover wasn't. Nobody was.

Well, except the two men that were walking quickly toward him.

"Jim, Sandburg," he said quietly.

Blair embraced him, pushing a book into his hands. "We heard," he said. "We're here to help."

Jim nodded and pulled out a few stakes. "Let me? I don't want you to have to."

Simon shook his head. "No, I owe him that much." He looked around. "I'm supposed to be
meeting him here. He wants me to join him."

Blair shook his head. "Bad idea, Simon. Really crappy idea." He looked around. "How many

"Six, seven. One's at the edge of the gate."

Simon nodded. "Joel?"

"He's closest. The others sound like backup." He turned to look at his former friend walking out
of the shadows. "You weren't supposed to go bad, man."

Joel smiled and shook his hand. "We could use you."

"Nope, I can't be turned," Blair said. "Something in my blood fights it." He shook Joel's hand.
"And he can't go if I can't."

Joel shrugged. "Pity. We could use the both of you." He struck both men to the ground. "I did
say to come alone, right?" He gave Simon a look. "And do put the book down. It doesn't do any
good if you haven't read it."

Simon shook his head, finally finding his tongue. "They're not dead, are they?"

"Them, nah. We'll leave them alone. Even if you come over with us, they'll wake up soon." He
nudged Blair's foot. "Such a pity that he can't be turned, we really could use those two." He
looked at Simon from under his lashes. "So, why did you come?"

"To make you come back with me." He looked around at the shadows from the high piles of
boxes. "Why aren't you alone?"

"Because of the friends you've been keeping." He smiled and waved a hand, letting the others
know it was safe to leave. "So, may I bring you with me so you can make good that promise of
eternity that you kept giving me?"

Simon shook his head. "I can't become what you are. You know that." He looked around. "Can
I bring you back?"

"No and I wouldn't be me if you did. I've learned too much and I've done to much to ever go
back to being plain Joel Taggert, former Captain of the Bomb Squad and Major Crimes
Detective." He shrugged. "I may have been happy then, but I'm happy now too. I *like* the

"What? The killings? The terror? The hurt you cause?" Simon blew out a steady breath, willing
himself to be calm. "Joel, at least tell me why."

"Because I wasn't given the choice. Henry was and he refused. They decided for me and I'm not
sorry that I'm enjoying it." He put his hands on his hips. "You could help me enjoy it you

Simon smiled sadly. "I can't. The Joel I loved wouldn't have enjoyed the killing or the life that
you seem to." He pulled out a stake. "Just do me enough of a favor to not fight me on this."

Joel backed away. "Do I look stupid?" he hissed. "What ever happened to ‘I'll never hurt you
Joel'? Or ‘I'll always be there with you Joel'? Or even the one that went something like ‘I'll love
you for eternity Joel'? Hmm, what happened to that Simon?"

"He's facing the man he loves and contemplating letting him pass on," Simon said quietly. He
raised the stake and brought it down, trying to hit the center of the chest. Joel moved and was
standing behind him before he knew it. He spun, only to be caught by the strong arms that had
held him so many nights. "Joel," he moaned.

"Let me show you," his lover whispered, licking over a warm ear. "Just one night. Let me show
you, convince you."

Simon shook his head, but then he passed out from those caring arms squeezing him until he
couldn't breathe.


Simon woke up on a large, soft bed. His large and soft bed. He wasn't tied down, wasn't
restrained in any way. It was well after dawn by the look of the light coming through the
windows. He groaned and rolled over, trying to remember what had happened. Why was he
naked and why was he so sore?

It came to him. Joel. A night of convincing and love. His Joel had come back to him for that one
night. One perfect night of passion and love melding together, convincing him to join the other
side. He rolled back onto his back and covered his eyes from the glare of the sun.

That was the action that woke him fully, sending him into a panic of searching his neck for a bite
mark. Nothing, not even a bruise. Joel hadn't left a mark on him anywhere that he could tell. He
stood, shaky at best, and walked over to the mirror so he could check the parts he couldn't readily

"Damn," he swore softly. He could see the bite now. Joel had bitten the bottom of his stomach,
hiding it in the thick trail of hair. "Joel," he moaned and sat down, sliding down as if his legs
wouldn't hold him anymore. He sat there in front of the mirror, looking at himself.

It was a few hours later when he heard the key in the front door. He turned his head to see who
was coming up the stairs, who was intruding on his mourning. Jim Ellison, unhurt so it seemed,
stood in the doorway. He held out the styrofoam cup, the contents smelling of decent coffee. He
shook his head and laid down, facing away from his old friend.

Jim walked over and sat down behind him, touching the firm shoulder that had held his problems
for the last five years. "You have to get up and I need to check you for bites. Blair's friend said I
had to."

Simon rubbed over the twin incisions and grunted. "Below my belly button." He rolled onto his
back. "Why?"

"Because he could be turning you slowly." Jim shrugged. "I'm not even pretending to understand." He checked over the small spot and grunted. "You look and sound all right, but I should look for any others." He stood and offered a hand to pull his former boss up. "Simon," he reminded him when it wasn't immediately taken. The older man grabbed his hand and was pulled up to be sat on the bed. "Let me look, I'll be gentle." He checked over all of Simon's body, not remarking on the few scratches he noticed or the obvious signs of sexual intercourse. "I don't see any," he said finally.

"Okay," Simon said, falling backward. "So, why did you come back?"

"Because you needed us," Jim said simply, sitting down beside him on the bed. "It's not like
either of us wanted to leave in the first place, but we couldn't stay away now." He patted the older man's arm. "Drink the coffee and I'll drive us over to where Blair and his friend are."

Simon shook his head. "No, I need to think."

"You need to get the house respelled so he can't get in."

Simon turned his head. "Jim, I don't care about that." He closed his eyes and looked upward. "I
just don't care."

"All the more reason to go see if they've found anything out that might help." Jim got up to find
him some clothes, which he tossed onto Simon's chest. When he didn't move, Jim prompted
gently, "You might want to put those on. It's not a good thing to walk through a mostly girls
school naked."


Simon Banks sat in his window seat and looked out at the twilight that was just starting to paint
the sky. He watched the street, wanting and yet not wanting Joel to show again tonight. He
smiled when he saw the slim shadow moving toward the house, knowing that it had blonde hair
and a stake. He got up to let her in. "No, he's not here."

She nodded and pushed past him, walking into the living room. "And we'd like to keep it that
way." She sat down on the couch. "Would you like to talk?"

"Who was it?" She scrunched up her face in pain. "I could see it in your eyes."

"My lover. My first love. He was one of them. He turned back to evil and started to torment my
friends, eventually turning one." She sighed and fiddled with the stake. "It wasn't pretty, that
first night that I saw them. I knew what had happened but no one was sure that he had been
turned. I had to stake him in front of the people he loved because he was torturing them with his
new identity." She shuddered. "Not a pretty pic either."

Simon nodded. "You two were close?"

She shook her head. "Not like you and he were. He was my friend but nothing else. It might
have happened if I hadn't been so scared and he hadn't pushed it so much." Her eyes went to the
carpet and she laid the stake on the coffee table. "It was the hardest moment of my life. Right
after having to stake my father when they got him last year."

Simon walked over and patted her shoulder. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.

"Yeah, me too." She looked up, eyes bright with the pain from her hurts. "We're trying to save
you that pain. None of us want you to have to go through it."

Simon smiled and pushed a lock of her hair out of her face. "Thank you, but I *have* to do this. I can't let anyone else do it." He picked up the stake and played it between his fingers. "Go tell
them that I'll do it."

She nodded and got up, hugging him briefly. She walked out of the house and down the street.
Simon went back to his window seat and watched as she too left him alone to his duty.

It was only a few minutes later when Joel stepped out from behind the house across the street to
watch her walk down the street too. He grinned as he looked at Simon, quickly crossing the street.

"Having a snack?" Simon asked, venom dripping from his voice.

"Ah, alas no. The bigots over there are safe from me." He walked further into the room. "How
are Jim and Blair?"

"Fine." He played with the stake again. "Why leave me living?"

"Because I couldn't do that to Brian?" he guessed. Joel walked over, shutting the drapes. "Come
with me?"

"I can't and I won't." He looked up and grabbed a wrist to hold Joel still. "Let me release you?"

"Nothing to release me from. This isn't slavery." He broke the hold with his now superior
strength. "And you might as well put it down. You can't do it, not to me."

Simon dropped the stake beside him. "I have to. I owe you that much." The next thing he knew,
he was on the floor, covered with 175 pounds of former detective. "Joel..."

"Shhh, my pet. You can't do that to me and you owe me nothing but the consideration of my
offer." He kissed his lover deeply. "See, not so bad."

"Very bad. You need to brush your teeth and you're cold." He wiggled, getting away. "I miss
you Joel, but not enough to sleep with a corpse."

Joel laughed and stood, picking up the stake and driving it into Simon's thigh. "We'll see about
that. Oh, and Brian's on his way over soon." He winked and left, whistling happily down the


Now Simon sat there, bags packed and ready for the hunt of his life. His leg was mostly healed,
only minor damage had been done. His spirit had been healed while his leg was mending, the
information in the books Blair brought him a balm to his soul. His son was giving him a dirty
look again, but that was normal.

Simon watched the last box be loaded into the truck. Then he started the car, startling his son into movement. He backed away slowly, leaving his life behind.

He would do his duty this time and he would succeed. His love made sure of that.

The End.