Never a Dull Moment

by Amy Denton

Prolouge

San Francisco, 1982

"The Prince is *not* happy with you." Julian Luna snarled at the Brujah he had pinned against the alley wall.

"Like I care." the Brujah snarled in return. "I've done nothing wrong and he knows it. My crime is what I am."

"He doesn't see it that way."

"He wouldn't. I'm just another Brujah to be dealt with, doesn't matter..." his sentence trailed off as Julian leaned on his windpipe.

Leaning in until his nose was no more than an inch from the other's, Julian said "Are you accusing the Prince of being unjust?"

"Damn...right...I...am." the Brujah gurgled.

Julian relaxed his grip on the windpipe just long enough to grab the lapels on the other's coat and throw him against the opposite wall. The Brujah landed in a heap.

Julian stood over him. "Just for that, you could face Final Death."

The Brujah looked up at him. "I'm going to die anyway, does it matter what for?"

"Get up." Julian grabbed him again and bared his teeth.

"You'll pay for this, someday, just wait." It was an empty threat and both knew it.

"Freeze!" Just a split second before Julian's fangs could sink into the other's throat there came a voice, followed by a flash of light.

Julian turned his head and glared at the new arrival.

A San Francisco beat cop. A rookie, too, it looked it. Gun in one hand, flashlight in the other.

*Great, this is all I need.* Julian thought.

"Let him go." the cop said. "Then maybe you can tell me what the problem is."

Julian did what was asked, only he let go so hard, the Brujah dropped to the ground like a stone and didn't move.

"All right, that's it, up against the wall, you're going in."

Julian turned to face the cop, hands up in surrender. He waited untill the cop stepped into the glow of a back door light.
"I said," the cop advanced on him. "up..."

"Officer," Julian said, concentrating on the man's eyes. "listen to me."

He waited until the cop's face went slack and both the gun and the flashlight dangled uselessly from his hands.

"Put away your gun and listen to me."

The cop put the gun away.

Julian took a step closer to enforce the hypnotism. He caught sight of the man's name tag as he did so.

"Officer...Kohanek. You saw nothing. You walked down this alley way, came to the other end and turned left. You never saw me and you never saw him." He gestured at the heap on the alley floor. "Do you understand?"

Officer Kohanek nodded.

"Good, you can go now. Have an...uneventful night." Julian watched as the cop walked to the end of the alleyway, turned left and walked out of view, completely oblivious to what he had just seen.

Julian turned back toward the heap.

"Now, where were we?"

* * *

Chapter One

San Francisco, Present Day.

'*...you saw nothing...you never saw me...you saw nothing...*'

That tiny bit of a mostly forgotten conversation bubbled up in Detective Frank Kohanek's mind and would not go away. There was something there...something he should remember but he couldn't. What was it?

It had all started last night when he and his partner, Sonny Toussaint, had been called to yet another mugging in an alleyway near The Embarccadaro. A place he hadn't been very often since he was beat cop.
From the moment he stepped out of the car, something started nagging at him, something was out of place, something didn't fit. Something...

It was driving him insane trying to remember. All he had conjured up was part of a conversation. Maybe if he went back there...

"Frank? Hello? Frank?"

A file folder passed before Frank Kohanek's eyes, followed by the snapping of fingers. The sound brought him back to the present where he looked around to see who it was.

"Yoo-hoo." The voice said and Frank looked into the amused face of Sarah Brighton, one of the many clerks working in his division at the precinct. "You going to come back to Earth sometime this week?"

He shook his head. "Sorry about that. I was thinking about something. What can I do for you?"

"You forgot to sign the evidence report on that mugging last night."

He frowned. "I did too. I remember signing it."

She opened the folder. "Then it must have been in invisible ink, 'cause there's nothing here." She showed him the blank spot where his name should have been.

He blinked. "I could have sworn..."

"No biggie, just sign it now. Can't process the stuff until you do."

Frank searched his desk for a pen, finally finding one in a desk drawer. "Someone could have called." he said, as he signed the sheet. "You didn't have to come all the way over here."

She closed the folder. "Yeah, but then I wouldn't have had a chance to see that handsome mug of yours." She smiled at him. "You're right but I didn't have to come but I was on my way out to dinner and thought I'd handle this at the same time."

"And they let you get away with that?"

"I can get away with anything, you didn't know that?" She flashed him another smile and turned to leave.

"I just bet." he called after her. She wiggled her fingers at him in response and disappeared out the door.

Frank stared after her, then stood and streched. His stomach grumbled, he had already eaten before coming on duty but he wanted something to munch on anyway. It would give him something to do and then, perhaps, his mind would give up what it was so jealously guarding.

He would find Sonny while he was at it.

A figure standing by the copy machine, watched Frank go, then followed him. He had to see where the cop was going and what he was planning to do.

* * *

Chapter Two

Caitlin's mind was not on the road where it should have been. It was replaying the last conversation she had had with Julian, her lover and the owner of the paper of which she was city editor.

< < <

"Why do you keep dancing around the subject?" she'd demanded when, once again, he had squelched a piece for the paper and been purposefully vague about why.

"What do you mean 'dancing around the subject'?"

"I asked you why you squelched the piece on Cameron Randall and you just ...*look* at me."

"I have reasons why I don't want that piece in the paper but I'd prefer not to say what they are."

"Julian, this is a *newspaper*. It's supposed to report all the news, not just what you want it to."

"Caitlin, there are things..." he paused, trying to find the right words "There are things going on that, even if I told you, you wouldn't believe me. You will just have to trust me on this, I promise that I will tell you what's going on, but not today, I can't. You do trust me, don't you?"

"What kind of question is that? What do you think? Of course I trust you. Can't you trust me? Can't you for *once*, tell me the truth!?"

He had looked at her, infintely sad, but shook his head. "Yes, I trust you, you're one of the few, but no, I can't tell you, not this time. It's better if you don't know."

He'd leaned over then and kissed her on the cheek. "I'll call you later." he'd whispered in her ear, then left.

> > >

Caitlin sighed and shook her head. "Out of all the men in the world to fall in love with, I had to pick Mr. Mysterious." She turned down the road that led to her house and let her mind wander again.

"Why does he act the way he does?" she ask the empty seat next to her. "What the heck is he hiding?"

She was rudely snapped back to the present when her headlights washed over something in the road and she slammed on the brakes to avoid running over it.

"The hell?" she asked. Unbuckling her seatbelt, she put the car in park and opened the door to get out. Walking around to the front of the car, she saw someone hunched over on the road, on their hands and knees.

"Oh, my God! Are you all right?" She asked kneeling down next to the person.

The person simply nodded and struggled to straighten up.

"Let me see what's wrong." Using the light from the car headlights, she tried to get a good look at the person in front of her but he kept trying to turn away. "Hey, I can't help if I don't know what's wrong."

Looking back over her shoulder, she checked for cars but saw none, fortunately. The road to her sub-division was semi-deserted especially at night but still, all she needed was to cause a wreck while trying to help someone.

"Let me see..." she asked again, putting her hand on his shoulder. She felt something cold and sticky and yanked her hand back. The person hissed and jerked backwards, falling over his side. The headlights fell full upon his face and Caitlin was finally able to see who it was.

"Cash?" She put a hand over her mouth not only to keep the startled shout in, but also to keep from being ill. Cash, Julian's bodyguard, looked like someone had used him as a punching bag and, belatedly, she realized she was kneeling in a small puddle of blood. Before she could start to panic, she thought *Get a grip, girl. He needs your help, not your falling apart.*

She reached out toward him and attempted to turn his face toward the light so she could finally see the extent of the damage but he skittered out of the way.

With a calm she did not feel, she said "Cash, I can't help you if you don't let me see."

"I'll be fine." was his response.

Caitlin didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Sure. And I'm Cindy Crawford. You need some help and I can't give it to you, at least, not out here. You need to go to an emergency room."

She started get up so she could go and open the passenger side door but Cash's arm shot out too fast for her to see and grabbed her by the wrist, dragging her back to the ground.

"No hospitals." he said.

Caitllin stared at him in disbelief. "You have got to be kidding me. Have you seen how bad you look? You *need* some help and I can't give it to you."

He shook his head. "It's not as bad as it looks. No hospitals." He released her wrist and tried getting to his feet but his legs wouldn't support him and he sank back to the ground, doubled over.

Caitlin was silent for a moment while she tried to think of something she could do.

A moment later, she decided. *He's going to have to come with me. I can't leave him here and I can't force him to go to a hospital.*

Looking at Cash's hunched over form, she shook her head. "I don't believe this is happening." she said to more to herself than to him. "Come on," she said to him, "I'll take you to my house. Is that acceptable?"

He looked up at her for a long minute before nodding his head.

END

This story was published in February 1998 at http://www.angelfire.com/ns/princejulian/ndm1.html.

Kindred: The Embraced and all characters are copyright © 1996 Spelling Television Inc.
Vampire: The Masquerade is © 1990-2007 White Wolf Publishing, a division of CCP North America. All rights reserved.