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Growing Up Vampire [IC]


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Date: January 3rd, 2010

Sunrise 7:18am, Sunset 4:47pm. Clear, high 29, WNW winds at 25 mph (wind chill = 15 degrees F).

After walking out of Stesha's apartment, Taylor ducked down into a quiet corner of one sleepy early morning street. She didn't bother with her costume. Instead she took off still in her jeans and winter coat. It was rare that Taylor bothered to fly for any length of time. Teleporting was, after all, faster and usually she was in hurry.

The crisp winter wind was brisk and refreshing as she streaked through the sky but it didn't distract Taylor from her troubled thoughts entirely. So she was more than a little relieved when she saw the building that Jack had outlined in their conversation. Changing her trajectory, Taylor landed on the roof in Jack's line of sight. Once she was solid again, Taylor hesitated for a second or two before she hurled herself into Jack's arms. After clinging to him long enough to pull her scattered wits together, Taylor pulled back and announced unhappily, "I don't even know where to begin."

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Jack pushed back the sunglasses he always wore in the daytime, his arms around Taylor as he looked worriedly down at her. "Taylor, what's the matter?"

he demanded, tenderness and something like a nascent anger in his voice. What could have upset her so badly? "Are you hurt?" He didn't smell any blood on her, but there could be a million other things wrong. His head was already beginning to ache from the sunlight overhead.

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Taylor shook her head sharply, "No, no. I haven't been feeling well for a few weeks but I didn't say anything. At first I thought it was just exhaustion, then maybe a curse."

She looked guilty over that omission before she rushed over her next words. It was like ripping a bandaid off. Soonest done and all that, "If the test - well, the four tests - Stesha suggested I take was accurate, I'm not sick, I'm pregnant."

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"I don't know," Taylor burst out, her voice rising to match his. She took in the look on his face and her eyes narrowed to dangerous slits. She had expected the disbelief but that didn't mean it wasn't infuriating to see on his face.

Planting her hands on her hips, Taylor hissed at him, "If you're thinking I was unfaithful, why don't you just come out and say as much. Never mind you're the one who's had sex with goddesses and super models and I lost my virginity to you in your car."

Then to Taylor's own horror, she felt her eyes start to sting with tears. Still, she did her valiant best to glare at him through watery eyes. Hell, she blamed him for the tears too.

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Jack rubbed his eyes, not quite looking at her. "Goddammit, Taylor, you think I'm worried about you cheating on me!?" he shouted. "Do you have any idea how much trouble we're in?" He gave her an agonized look. "I have heard of this happening, and it's not...it's not good!" He looked down at her, eyes wide with fear and shock. "But we haven't done any of that, we haven't done any of the rituals, you haven't drunk any of my blood..." He licked his dry lips. "We need to get you to a doctor, now. Someone who knows how to take care of this."

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Yelling at one's newly pregnant wife was never the best idea under any circumstances. Doing so, followed by accusations of stupidity and threats of some sketchy doctor 'taking care of it' was perhaps an even worse idea. Having this arguement under the noonday sun when one's wife had no such constraints made it downright suicidal.

Taylor drew in an offended gasp and her fists clenched at her sides with her hands crackling ominously, "Why does everyone think that my brain goes right out the window whenever you're involved? I am one of the best damn arcane experts in this entire plain and if you think I'm going to some butcher exorcist to get carved like a turkey-!"

The threat might have ended with a bit more omph if the thought of it hadn't set her stomach roiling. Instead, Taylor had to settle for folding her arms protectively in front of her chest, lips compressed, "I am well aware that this should all be impossible without serious mystical intervention, none of which I'm aware of happening!"

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"I'm...I'm not suggesting that," said Jack, raising his hands in surrender. Yet. What the hell sort of thing was inside her? "All I'm saying is that we go to someone who can give us more information." He looked at her levelly. "Taylor, I have nothing but respect for your knowledge about magic; you certainly know a lot more than I do. Or ever am likely to. But you can't tell me this is something you can deal with objectively, because I know for a fact I can't deal with it objectively! If we talk to a third party, we can get more information that we can both trust." He looked down at his hands, picturing them covered in Taylor's blood. "I'm sorry, Taylor. I don't want to hurt you. I love you."

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She lifted troubled eyes to him, "There's Archeveille. He gives me the creeps but he's brilliant and knows who and what we are."

Unaware of what Jack as picturing, Taylor slipped her palms into his, her fingertips closing over his wrists.

"Jack, I'm scared out of my mind here." Taylor admitted quietly, the temper draining out of her small frame, "I'd be scared if we were normal. You're a vampire and I spend most of my time intangible. Everything I know says that its impossible or at least extrodinarily dangerous. I have already played through just how horrible could this be on the way over. And I haven't even started in on research yet."

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He squeezed her hands, gazing deep in her eyes with worry on his face. "I'm scared too," he admitted softly, raising her hands to his lips and kissing them softly. "But...but we'll get through it," he said, hope and belief in his words. "We've done enough impossible things together, right?" He gave her a weak little smile. "We'll go and we'll talk to Archeville, and you'll research...and we'll figure things out." He blinked back the ache in his eyes, deciding that crying blood at this juncture would just make things even more stressful.

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"This is certainly up there on the list though," Taylor opinioned with a watery smile. "Would you mind calling Archevielle? You've known him longer than I have."

She burrowed back into his arms as she waited for his response. Taylor tucked her cheek against his silent chest, her eyes squinched closed. "Can I get a ride home with you? Teleporting makes me sick to my stomach and I'm a little leery of phasing down through the ceiling."

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"Okay," Jack agreed, his arm around Taylor's shoulders as they began walking to the stairs down from the roof. "I'll call Archeville as we go. And we'll go right home from here." His heart was twisting inside with fear and worry for Taylor, but he kept it off his face as best he could, the better to keep from worrying her. "So Stesha knows?" he asked her quietly.

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Taylor nodded at that. She sighed and ran a hand through her hair, pushing it back from her face, "We were going to hang out this morning and I teleported in like I usually do but its been making me all woozy lately. Which wasn't so bad until she started cooking sausage. Then I threw up in her bathroom."

She made a face, turning a little green at the memory, "Years of not even having so much as the sniffles has definately spoiled me. So we bickered over what it could be and she suggested the test. I really didn't think anything would come of it, so I figured what the hell. The joke was on me, though. Then I pretty much panicked. She did call Ace to ask him who he thought would be a good pick for a metahuman doctor but she didn't mention my name or anything."

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"Okay, well, that's a good idea," Jack admitted begrudgingly. Ace did know a lot of people. "I'd rather he not hear about this, if that can be helped. The last thing we need is him deciding that you're an abomination. Or I am." Was that a guilty bit of projection? He led her down through the building, taking the back stairs and out the door of the oddly mundane high rise. He'd left his sunglasses on the roof, but fortunately he had a spare pair in his glove compartment, and put those on before he took the wheel again. "Wait...does this mean you were pregnant when we got married?" he asked her.

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"If Ace calls me an abomination, he's going to find out just how unpleasant immortality can be," Taylor grumbled mostly to herself as she buckled herself into the passenger seat.

Jack's next question caught her attention and she fixed him with an almost comical look of dismay, "I *hope* not. I put such effort into convincing my mother that the very idea was rediculous. Maybe it happened afterwards on the honeymoon."

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Jack hmmed at that. "I don't really think what happened on the honeymoon was liable to promote fertility, unless we both got hit by a really wicked curse there at the end." On the other hand, he supposed, there had been good memories on the honeymoon too...well, maybe it was better not to think about. Who knew how fast a vampire baby would grow in Taylor, drawing on her blood as it prepared itself for birthing. He dialed up his Bluetooth as they got out on the road, and was soon dialing Viktor Archeville's number, the one he'd picked up just before the Knights exploded.

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After three rings, Jack heard the line pick up. "Hello," his recorded voice said cheerfully, "I am sorry I am unable to answer you personally at de moment, but I am currently involved in either intense Scientific! vork or a life-und-death struggle against some misguided malcontents. If you vould leave your name und number, I vill get back to you as soon as I-"

Archeville's prerecorded voice abruptly cut off, "Jack? Is dat you?" Avenger could hear a few voices in the background, and from the snippets he could make out he gathered that Archeville was at some sort of board meeting for his new company.

Hey! We're too busy to bother talking to him, we've got a corporate empire to set up!

He would not be calling us if it were not something really important.

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"Yes, it's me, Viktor," said Jack, keeping his voice even as he drove. "Taylor and I need to set up a conference with you at your earliest convenience. We've had an unexpected situation come up that requires someone as trustworthy as he is intelligent, and there's no one I know who's better than you at both those categories. Are you available this evening?"

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See? I knew he needed us. Taylor, too!

Pft, probably calling to see if we know any good caterers in the area.


Because our lectures are always so well catered.

Riiight... be that as it may, I doubt they are calling just for that.

Hrm, I am mildly curious to see if Taylor's showing any sign of sever anemia.

"Tonight? I believe... hold on a moment," Archeville said, then turned away from the phone. "Ladies, gentlemen, do you think ve can be done by 7:00 pm? Ja... ja... no, dat can vait until tomorrow... ja, ja... hello, Jack? Vill 8:00 be soon enough?"

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"Excellent," said Jack. "8 o'clock it is." They made arrangements for the place as well, their planned destination at one of Archeville's labs that Jack was already familiar with. "Oh, and Viktor..." Jack hmmed. "Bring those skin samples you took of me, you may still have them. And data you have on treating incorporeal patients." He gave Taylor a small shrug when she looked at him, and added, "I'll explain when we get there. Jack out."

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Taylor wrinkled her nose at him as he hung up the phone, "I hope the realm of super science has moved beyond those paper shirts that open down the back. I remember hating those. Maybe he just has some sort of beam that will tell him everything."

She looked hopeful for a moment, knitting her fingers together in her lap and idly fidgeting with her rings, "I haven't had a doctor's appointment in ages. I guess the last one I had was a physical before college. I imagine this is going to be vastly different."

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"Yeah, I'm sure it's..." Jack shook his head, falling silent for a moment. God, look at us, talking about this like it's normal! Like it's anything other than... He reached over and squeezed Taylor's hand, giving her a reassuring smile. "It'll be all right. We'll get through it together. I'm sure he'll be just as interested in what's going on with me these days. He probably doesn't get a lot of chances to look over the inner workings of vampires..."

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At the appointed hour, Jack and Taylor found themselves at the agreed-upon location, the main ArcheTech facility. The doors were locked, but one of the three security guards on duty hopped up from his station as soon as he saw them approach and let them in, and directed them to an elevator down one of the numerous hallways. "He's waiting for you on the sixth floor. You'll be needing these," he added, holding up two laminated cards on the ends of green lanyards; each had the ArcheTech logo, and they each had Jack & Taylor's names on them.

The elevator ride was very smooth, and any noise it made was masked by the classical music playing softly over concealed speakers. When the elevator doors opened to more branching hallways and numerous doors. Before either could voice a question as to which way to go, a series of arrows of golden light appeared on the floor, creating a clear path for them. As they followed the path, they could see many of the rooms on this floor were dedicated to assorted biological and biomedical sciences.

After a few moments they reached the end of the line, at a room with opened double doors. Inside was Dr. Archeville, face smiling and arms outstretched.

Taylor felt that needle-in-the-brain feeling again.

No obvious injuries -- that's good!

No, but she does look a tiny bit... different.

"Taylor! Jack! So good to see you both again!," he gushed as he approached. He gave a quick hug to Taylor, and shook Jack's hand. "Und how is de happy couple, hrm? Is mein vedding gift still vorking out?"

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"He's extraordinarily useful. Considering Jack's love of high gloss dark surfaces, I find the help invaluable. After all, half of us still leave fingerprints," Taylor said truthfully as she did her best not to wince at Archevielle's discordance to her sixth sense. She did step back quickly to let Jack shake the good doctor's hand.

She hesitated and exchanged a look with Jack over the second part of Archeville's question, "As for the rest of it, I'm hoping you can help us with answering a few medical and metaphysical questions."

Taylor paused, reluctant to blurt it out a second time today. After all, last time that hadn't ended too well.

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Jack hesitated a moment, glancing at Taylor, before he spoke. "We have evidence that Taylor is..." Jack, a master of deception, had trouble coming up with the right words for this one. "carrying a certain medical condition. I don't want to bias you ahead of time, but she needs a full physical workup. There is some evidence that I may have impregnated her with a dhampir," he finally said, placing the blame for the condition where it belonged.

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