?

Log in

 
 
30 June 2007 @ 07:26 am
Vortex 5/9 (Heightmeyer/Sheppard/Weir) [NC-17]  
All disclaimers and fic information is in the header for part one.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

Part 5

"So the ice cream was good," said John, as he pulled his car off to the side and parked.

Kate was staring out the window of John's car as rainwater washed across the streets and poured down gutters. "Delicious," she said.

"You can stop freaking out any time now," said John, twisting to look at her. "I think you've been doing it non-stop since I got to your place."

Kate glanced over. "Pretty much," she admitted. "Sorry. It's making me a little distracted."

"It's making you a lot distracted," said John. "Look, I'm sorry. But if we're gonna go out and talk to guys who can do freaky magic, I'd rather have you on your game."

"I need to figure out how I feel about everything--" started Kate.

"You mean me," said John.

"I mean everything," said Kate. She smiled at him. "If I'd meant that I needed to figure out how I felt about just you, I'd have said that."

"Right," said John. "When did my life get complicated?"

"A long time ago, I'm guessing," said Kate, still smiling.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," said John, slumping back in his seat. "Any chance you can stop it from raining?"

"Get an umbrella, John," said Kate, reaching into her bag and pulling one out.

"I think I'll just have to squeeze under yours with you," he said, smirking.

***

"Deb?" Kate knocked on the door to the storefront, while John stood behind her holding the umbrella.

"Her name is Deb Satterfield?" asked John, leaning over and murmuring in Kate's ear. "So why's she got Chinese writing on her sign?"

"It's Korean, actually," murmured Kate. "Her name is Deborah, actually. It's very Old Testament. And don't call her a witch. She's a mudang."

"What's a mudang?" asked John.

"A shaman," said Kate. "Deb's mostly a fortune-teller, but she might be able to tell us if she's heard anything."

"If I've heard what?" asked Deb, opening the door and staring at Kate, one hand on her jutted-out hip. "Hey, Kate. Sorry to hear about the shop." She jerked her head back. "Come on in. I've got some coffee going, if you and Mr. Tall, Dark, and Looming are interested."

"When am I ever not interested in coffee?" asked Kate, stepping inside. "Thanks."

"Looming?" asked John plaintively. "I am not looming!"

"You loom," said Deb, glancing back and grinning at him. "I didn't think he was your type."

"You didn't think I had a type," said Kate, as they walked down the hall and into Deb's parlor. "Are you expecting clients? This is private business."

"If it's so private," asked Deb, pouring out mugs of coffee and handing them to Kate and John. "Why'd you bring a cop?" She shrugged at John's curious look. "You've been on the news a few times."

"Because I'm on the official and the unofficial investigation," said John, taking the mug and sitting down in front of the table, in a chair next to Kate. "Unless you want a police officer who doesn't know the story about witches doing the investigating? Might make things tougher."

"Might make things easier," said Deb. "So what happened to your shop, Kate? News said you got firebombed."

"The Wraith approached me for some protection spells," said Kate. "I didn't feel like cooperating."

Deb laughed. "Sounds like that's an understatement," she said.

"Actually, she really did just say no," said John, sipping on his coffee. "Have the Wraith approached you?"

Deb shook her head. "The Wraith aren't interested in Korean shamans, for the most part," she said. "At least, not the ones in America. They're going to go to your kind of a new age shop before hitting a saju cafe. Like I'm really going to intercede with the spirits on their behalf?"

"Point taken," said Kate, smiling wryly. "So you'll call me if you hear anything?"

"I don't think it's likely," said Deb. "But I'll give you a call if I do. Stop by some time when you're not worried about the Wraith, and I'll tell your fortune. Just bring all the numerological data I need."

"Thanks, Deb," said Kate, setting her mug on the table and standing up. "Maybe in a few weeks."

***

"Tea?" asked Linnea, wandering through her shop and grabbing a canister off the shelf. "I got a new mint in last week that you might like."

"From you?" asked Kate. "Not likely."

Linnea turned and frowned at them, the wrinkles on her forehead deepening. "I gave that up a long time ago," she said.

Kate smiled. "So you've said. Still, I had an awful stomachache the last time you made tea."

"This isn't a social visit, is it?" asked Linnea, her voice gravelly. She set the canister down on a table full of candles. "You wouldn't come within a mile of me unless you had to."

"Have you heard from the Wraith?" asked Kate. "They'd like your particular skill set."

Linnea's shoulders shook as she laughed. "They don't want an old woman like me," she said. "They want someone like you, young and pretty, and when they're done with you, they'll either kill you or make you one of them."

"That's not going to happen," growled John, glaring at Linnea.

Kate glanced curiously back at him. "No," she said calmly, looking toward Linnea again. "It's not. Linnea's smart enough to know that dealing with the Wraith is a losing proposition."

"If I'd heard they were making a move in this city, I'd have gone on vacation," said Linnea. "In fact, I think I'll call my travel agent and see if I can make a trip to the countryside soon. You and your friend here should think about getting away for a while too."

"I think we'll be fine," said John.

"You'll be fine," said Linnea. "You think I don't pay attention to what goes on in this town, boy? I know Elizabeth Weir took you under her wing because you're easy on the eyes, but you'd better be prepared for her to eat you right up in exchange for that."

"This is ridiculous, Kate," snapped John. "She doesn't know anything."

"No, she doesn't," said Kate. "Thank you for your time, Linnea."

"Oh, get out of here, you two," said Linnea, waving her hand at the door. "Uselessly pretty, the both of you."

"Hey!" exclaimed John, taking a step forward.

"Don't, John," said Kate, laying her hand on his arm. "It's not worth it."

"Right," he said slowly. "You ready, then?"

"More than ready," said Kate.

***

As they walked through the psychic fair, John gave Kate a look. "Stomachache?" he asked, brushing past a man in a turban.

"Linnea used to be a professional poisoner," said Kate. "She tried dosing me with arsenic once."

"When was that?" asked John.

"The first time we met," said Kate. "She and I have never gotten along."

"When did you two meet for the first time?" asked John.

"It was a while ago," said Kate, brushing by a woman in Renaissance costume and giving her outfit a critical look.

"How long?" asked John.

"Long enough that we shouldn't talk about it right here," said Kate.

"I was wrong," said John. "My life isn't complicated. It's crazy."

"If you didn't like it," said Kate, stopping in front of a booth, "you wouldn't be here." She leaned forward and started looking over Tarot decks.

"I could just be here to buy Elizabeth some jewelry," said John. He shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels while he waited. "She'd like the ruby necklace we saw a couple stalls back."

Kate glanced up at him and smiled. "She would, wouldn't she? We could get it for her."

"We could. We probably even should. How about you, Kate," said John, grinning. "You a jewelry kind of gal?"

"I can be," said Kate, smiling up at him. She picked up a deck of cards. "You can't possibly be thinking of buying me jewelry."

"You think that, do you?" asked John. "What do you like?"

"John!" laughed Kate. He stared at her, waiting. "You're serious, aren't you?"

"I am," said John, nodding at the display case behind the Tarot cards. "So, what do you like?"

"Out of all of that?" asked Kate, leaning forward to look. "I don't know. I don't really wear much jewelry."

"I noticed that," said John. "So let's change that. You need a necklace."

"A necklace?" asked Kate, chuckling softly. "John, just because we were talking about that necklace for Elizabeth doesn't mean I need one too."

"Of course it does," said John. "Especially since you don't want one. What's that stone there? The one that's kinda gray. Or silver. Or, um--" He leaned closer, frowning at the case. "It's not really obvious what color that is."

"It's a moonstone," said Kate. "A rather nice one, actually."

"You like it?" asked John. "So it's yours. Plus that pack of cards you're holding. Though I don't suppose we can play poker with that, can we?"

"This is really too much," said Kate. She glanced down at the table, brushing her hair back with one hand.

"I'm a police officer on the night shift," said John. "When do I get to spend my hard-earned paycheck? Come on, I'll buy you this stuff, we can go get Elizabeth something pretty, and then we'll go and harass this guy on your list."

***

"So, Roger," said Kate, sitting down at a chair in a booth occupied by a gauze-swathed tent. "It's been a while."

"Yes, it has, hasn't it?" asked Roger. He held one hand out. "Read your palm?"

"Thank you, but no," said Kate.

"I heard about your shop," said Roger. "How does it make you feel to have to start over after putting in all that work?"

"Do you like asking personal questions of women you barely know?" asked Kate.

"I thought you might feel like a sympathetic ear," said Roger. "I know that sometimes it helps when people talk about the things they're going through."

"If I wanted a sympathetic ear, I'd be elsewhere," said Kate. "I need to know if the Wraith have approached you."

"Why?" asked Roger. "Have they approached you?"

"This is his usual tactic," said Kate, glancing over at John. "Answer every question with a question."

"You play that game pretty damn well yourself," said John. "Except you're nicer about it."

"I'm nicer about everything," said Kate. "Usually. Roger Mackenzie, did the Wraith approach you?"

"If they had, would you be able to find me here?" asked Roger.

"Answer. The damn. Question." John slammed his palms flat on Roger's table. "I'm not nice like Kate is."

***

"Do you ever wait in line to get into Atlantis?" asked Kate.

"Haven't yet," said John, striding past the crowded line as Kate walked alongside him. He glanced at a couple in line, holding hands and giving him a look of mutual loathing. "Don't think I ever will."

"I think everyone in line hates you," said Kate, bemused.

"I come here a lot," said John.

"Yeah, well, that's why I can let you in," said the red-haired woman. She crossed her arms and nodded at Kate. "Blondie here isn't dressed right. She can go home."

Kate met John's glance and shrugged at him, holding back a grin that made her lips twitch. "I'm not going home," she told the woman.

"It's going to be awfully cold on the sidewalk all night," said the woman. "Since the rain hasn't stopped."

"This is getting ridiculous," said John. "Just call Elizabeth."

"It's not ridiculous, it's embarrassing," said Kate.

John reached into Kate's pocket, grabbed her phone, and held it out to her. "Embarrassing or not, could you just do it already? She's right, it's cold and wet, and I could use a beer."

Kate sighed and flipped open the phone to dial it. "We're horribly spoiled, you know that, right?"

"Yeah, I know," said John. "I'm a little too cold to care right now."

She shrugged at him looking almost amused as she held the phone to her ear. "Elizabeth? Yes, it's me. John and I are outside, but your bouncer won't let me in."

John leaned over to the mouthpiece of the phone. "She's wearing khakis and a sweater."

"Yes, of course John had to drag me," said Kate, sighing. "Still, I'm here, and so is he--which you heard--and would you mind just letting us in, please?"

John chuckled. "Told you that you should've changed."

"Fine, fine, you can dress me up. Again." Kate frowned at John. "Radek's going to kill me."

"Radek will survive," said John, as Kate closed her phone. "You can buy him ice cream this time."

"What are you two doing still standing out in the rain?" asked Elizabeth, standing just inside the doorway.

The red-headed woman at the door smiled helplessly at Elizabeth. "You told me not to let anyone in if they weren't dressed right."

"Kate will be changing," said Elizabeth. "Honestly, Kate, do I have to take you shopping myself?"

"Dear Gods, no, Elizabeth," said Kate, horrified.

"I think I'll be busy that night," said John.

"No, you won't," said Elizabeth, turning and walking inside. "Come on in, you two, and we can go and get Kate changed."

"Why am I here again?" asked Kate, glancing up at John.

John was staring at Elizabeth's figure as she walked in front of them. "Do you really need me to answer that?"

Kate followed John's gaze and sighed. "No," she said. "Not really."

***

"Kate, honestly, you're hopeless when it comes to clothing," said Elizabeth, throwing open her closet. "You'll stand out more here if you're not dressed to stand out. Strip."

"Elizabeth!" exclaimed Kate.

"That's what you get for coming to my club in such appalling clothing," said Elizabeth. "I won't let you out of here until I have you dressed properly."

Kate sighed. "The things I'm putting up with for you two," she said. "Don't tell me you're going to give me heels again."

"Of course not," said Elizabeth. "I'm out of heels in your shoe size."

"Don't you two wear the same size shoe?" asked John, sprawled out on the bed, head pillowed on his arms.

Elizabeth threw John a glare. "I'm out of heels in Kate's shoe size that I'm willing to give up," she said. "I have a pair of perfectly acceptable flats that will fit her. I never wear them anyway."

"You're so kind," said Kate dryly.

"Now that we have that settled, Kate, John." Elizabeth stared at each of them in turn. "Let's get Kate properly dressed."

"Doesn't that mean we have to strip her?" asked John. "Since she's not willing to get undressed on her own."

"Why, yes," said Elizabeth slowly, turning to stare at Kate speculatively. "I think it does. Kate?"

"You wouldn't," said Kate, taking a step back.

"Wanna bet?" asked John, sitting up abruptly. "Come on, Kate, live a little."

"I do plenty of living," said Kate. "It's just not normally very exciting living."

"Been a hell of a week, though," said John, standing up.

"It's been unusual," agreed Elizabeth. "I've seen Kate more the past few days than I normally do all year." She glanced at John curiously, then back at Kate.

John took a few steps forward, until he could slip his arm around Elizabeth's waist. "Kate's kind of a mystery, isn't she?"

Elizabeth chuckled. "I've been trying to figure her out for a while now," she said, leaning against his side.

"I can't actually figure out how long you two have known each other," said John. "She mentioned today that some old bat called Linnea dosed her up with arsenic. Pretty old-fashioned sounding."

"Elizabeth, why did you have to introduce me to a man who solves mysteries for a living?" asked Kate. "And then why did you have to drag him into bed with us?"

"Because he's absolutely delicious," said Elizabeth. She slid her hand along John's chest. "And I like watching the two of you in bed together."

"Ah," said Kate, her eyes drawn to Elizabeth's hand. "All right, then."

"You could just answer the question," said John. "Then we could get to the more enjoyable business of getting in bed and watching each other in that same bed."

"You didn't ask a question," said Kate.

"When did you meet Elizabeth?" asked John. "And when did Linnea try to poison you?"

"Elizabeth and I first became acquainted during the Renaissance," said Kate, as she met John's eyes. "Linnea tried to poison me in England, the night after I discredited her as a spiritualist. It was the 19th century."

"Jeez," said John. "Suddenly I feel like there should be a cradle in the room for me."

"You did ask," said Kate.

"I'm kind of regretting that," said John. "I figured you were around my age, not Elizabeth's."

"John, you have no idea how old I am," said Elizabeth, glancing over at him. "And I don't know how old Kate is."

"Can we keep it that way, please?" asked Kate, her voice higher-pitched than usual. "The two of you have seen more of me in the past three days than anyone has ever seen."

"Oh, but apparently there's so much more than I thought there was," said John. "The Renaissance, that makes you, what, at least five, six hundred years old?"

"At least," agreed Kate.

"How's that work?" asked John. "You're not a vampire, you're a witch. You aren't dead, are you?"

"If I were dead, we wouldn't have been able to go out after sunrise today," said Kate.

"You and John went out today?" asked Elizabeth, frowning slightly.

"Oh, didn't Kate tell you? Someone sold her out to the Wraith." John frowned over at Kate. "She's big on not telling people anything."

"That's not fair, John," said Kate. "Neither of us has had a chance to tell Elizabeth anything tonight."

"But you had plenty of time to tell each other all kinds of things during the day," said Elizabeth.

"None of the important things," said John. "Like the fact that I'm apparently the youngest person in this whatever-the-hell-this-is by at least five hundred years, or that she can apparently survive being dosed up with arsenic by an evil, creepy poisoning woman, and Kate, were you even going to bring up to Elizabeth that this Linnea person thinks the Wraith want to turn you?"

"They want to what?" snapped Elizabeth. "You should've called me. Right away."

"God, Elizabeth, you're not my mother," snapped Kate.

"No, but apparently your little habit of not telling anyone anything just backfired," said Elizabeth.

"I don't want anyone wanting me for what I can do for them," said Kate.

"It seems like that's all anyone wants you for," said John. "You're a pretty handy kind of gal to have around. Telling the future, reading auras, intercontinental teleportation."

"Is that so?" asked Kate. "It's so good of you to enlighten me. Goodbye, then." She pivoted on her heel and stalked toward the door.

She reached out, turned the doorknob and started to open the door, but Elizabeth was standing there, slamming the door shut with her open palm. She stood and watched Ktae wordlessly.

"Do you honestly believe that you can keep me here, Elizabeth?" asked Kate, her eyes hard.

"It's not safe for you to go out at night alone," said Elizabeth. "Not with the Wraith hunting you."

"What do you care?" asked Kate. "Oh, wait, you just don't want them getting their hands on my magic."

"Of course I don't want that!" exclaimed Elizabeth. "Can you imagine what they could do if they got their hands on you?"

"I can imagine what they'd do to her," said John. "Wouldn't be pretty."

"And I ask again," said Kate, without turning around. "What do you care?"

"Of course I care," said John. "Why do you think I wouldn't?"

"Am I more than a 'pretty handy gal to have around?'" asked Kate, still not looking at him.

"Kate--" John groaned in frustration, whirling and slamming his fist into the wall. "Damn it!" He rubbed at his knuckles. "Why do you have to be so damn hard to get to know?"

"Because after so long, it's second nature to keep everyone out," said Kate. "Because I don't want to be thought of as a magical fix for any problem. There are so many reasons, John, but neither you nor Elizabeth seem to realize that I've let both of you in, even if I'm just a good time to you."

"Is that what you think?" asked John.

Elizabeth was staring at her, eyes widened and lips barely parted.

"What?" asked Kate.

"Oh, Kate," said Elizabeth. "You think--"

"Just let me out, Elizabeth," said Kate. "Don't make me force the issue. Do you think I don't know that's what I've always been to you?"

"I care." Elizabeth's voice was a quiet breath in the almost silent room. Her eyes flickered endlessly between John and Kate.

"I think I'm kind of in the way here," said John. "I'll just--"

"About both of you." Elizabeth's voice was soft, with a quaver to it that Kate pretended not to hear.

Kate's hand fell from the doorknob. She crossed her arms over her chest. "I can't leave now."

"I guess no one is leaving," said John. "Elizabeth? You wanna talk about this?"

Elizabeth shook her head, her gaze still shifting between John and Kate. "No. No, I don't want to talk about it."

"I don't think you have much of a choice right now," said John. He scrubbed his hand through his hair and sighed. "Christ, I could use a drink."

"I know what you mean," said Kate. She walked over to the bed and perched on the edge, leaning forward slightly and staring down at the floor. "It's been one hell of a day."

"Are you always the queen of understatement?" asked John, sagging down into a chair.

"Most of the time," answered Kate. She glanced up at him. "Sometimes it's easier not to say anything, though."

"Then there are nights like tonight, where it blows up in your face," said John. He hooked his thumbs into the pockets of his slacks. "That's gotta suck."

"It really does," agreed Kate. She glanced cautiously at Elizabeth, still leaning on the door, staring at them both. "Are you all right?"

"Not really," said Elizabeth.

"Join the club," muttered John.
Tags:
 
 
 
angelqueen04: Heightmeyer (Quickie)angelqueen04 on June 30th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Ah, lovers' quarrel. The first of many, I'll bet. ;D

Still loving this fic like crazy! :D
Havochavocthecat on June 30th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Heh. Three strong-willed peole, each used to getting their own way? You think they're going to get in arguments? REALLY? Hehe. (It's fun for us when they do, at least.)

YAY!
ladyniko: Weirladyniko on June 30th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
Man, poor Kate is having a hard time accepting the fact that Johnnie here has gone and fallen head over heels for her right away. :)

She needs to open up a little more to Lizze & Johnnie here because they are worried about her and do care for her.

But, Linnea - wheeeee! I didn't notice that on the first read through (I was not awake!) and the atagonism between her and Kate just leaped right out at you. Makes me wish that Linnea would come to a bad end here. *g*

Eagerly awaiting the next bit of this! :)
Havoc: lizzie writinghavocthecat on June 30th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
Kate has a hard time accepting a lot of things, really. Poor woman.

*snickering* Oh, Elizabeth could stand to open up a bit more too. Because you notice she wouldn't admit to feeling anything more Kate 'til she was pushed.

Linnea! Oh, she's got some kind of a history with Kate, you notice? Bwahahaha.

Still glad you're liking it. Thanks!
Falcon Horus: Heightmeyerfalcon_horus on July 2nd, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Kate needs a hug...I'm happy to provide. ^_^

Up to the next part...
Havochavocthecat on July 3rd, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
Well, there are three parts for you to catch up on, at least!