1963-09-19 - I Expect You To Run
Summary: Dracula carries Pepper off to his lair.
Related: http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-09-19-the-countess-calls
Theme Song: None
pepper dracula 

As both the more servant-like vampires turn Pepper in his direction, she really has no choice BUT to turn. She still struggles, shoulders shifting and fighting where her arms cannot. There's a glassy like glimmer in her blue eyes as she stares up to him, the tears of fear and acceptance coming as she does realize it seems no one is going to help her hear. No one heard the screams. No Tony from the sky or Jack from the streets. She tries to twist her wrist one more time, but there is simply nothing for it.


"My dear Countess. You would hide from me," Dracula purrs. The air is icy but somehow he seems warm, as though he radiates a velvety comfort that promises safety and sleep. He bends to murmur softly, "I don't fault you, you always were a fox to my hound. I would know you anywhere. But I will teach you yourself, my love. And you can teach me this new world."

Dracula smells of roses and old books and leather and earth — it's a scent many people would pay to imitate. His skin, up close, is pearlescent and flawless, his eyes like rubies. His hair, when it falls to brush Pepper's face, is fine as silk and so warm. When he's close, it's hard to worry about anything or anyone, even the vampire minions holding Pepper still.

"I think it's time I took you home, my Lady."

As he gets closer, it's entirely too difficult not to relax into it all a bit. He smelled *good*. Ancient and sweet at the same time. He wasn't near so cold as the rest of everything around them, Pepper having lost some feeling in her toes and her skin going entirely too icy, but he helped fix that. She swallows back tightly again, shrieks having stopped, but her eyes are still red with tears. "…I don't suppose I have a choice in this matter, really, do I?" She asks him in a quiet, numb sort of whisper. "I…I'd just like to go back to *my* home. Please, sir…I am no countess. Just a secretary."


"My home will be your home until you are strong enough." Dracula offers Pepper his arm and it's — not quite an offer, there's a pressure behind it that's almost inexorable. "And then, any place you desire will be yours and I will watch you take it, watch you wash the floors with blood as you used to do. You were always magnificent when you conquered, Countess. Don't be afraid. I will not harm you. Will you come?"

The ragged man slowly releases Pepper's arm so that she can take Dracula's if she's willing. The woman in blue keeps a vice-grip on her. Everything else around them is still. It's like standing in a snow globe. The shrieking of the other creature has faded, Sinjin stands like a statue with snow gathering on his hair and shoulders, the fire is out. Everything is holding its breath for Pepper's answer.


If she was another woman, the answer might be very different. How easy it would be to fall into the promise of those eyes, the world in front of them, a title, adventure. How nice it could be to spend nights at the side of this man. But Pepper isn't another woman, she's never dreamt of those things, and for as strange as her life is, it's her's. There is a heartbeat of hesitation, a single moment where something in her soul considers, but then the rest of her gives the RESOUNDING answer:

"No." It's firm, determined, and with all of her redheaded stubbornness behind it. "I am not your Countess. Release me. NOW." She demands that last word of the woman in blue at her side, her other free arm shifting to be stark straight at her hip. She will not take his grip. She will not bow to his will. Her blue eyes shine hard with something very different than tears now — self confidence. Even if it's probably going to be quickly dashed in a moment.


Dracula's smile would be radiant if it weren't so unnaturally sharp and his skin weren't so smooth and nearly unlined. "You will make me a fine opponent until I win you and then we will be blissful together until you are my opponent again," he murmurs without any sign that he's angry with her. "It has always been this way between us. I have missed you so."

"Release her," Dracula commands the woman still holding Pepper fast. "Surely there is no true hunt without a chase." He steps back and sketches a little bow to Pepper.

Released? She's been released! Pepper's blue eyes widen a bit more, but it takes her not even a second from the moment the woman releases her arm to start running. She's running for her very life, for freedom, for sanity, for everything she's ever loved. Her high heels smack hard on the pavement, cracking with every sprinting step she takes as her blue eyes frantically look for the nHeather is small and willowy with pale, freckled skin and green eyes. She's wearing a green jersey wrap dress and her hair is up in a flowered scarf. She is also wearing a pair of translucent grey-framed glasses with pearlescent details on the arms. Her jewelry is simple: a wedding band and a woman's watch, both plain and gold.
earest populated place. Why had this entire area cleaned out?! She runs hard, taking a rough corner back in the direct of Stark Industries. If she could just get home, she'd be safe. SOmehow, she feels like she'd be safe. But it's another four blocks, she's still in heels, and she's still only human.


As soon as Pepper is off and running, there's a noise like silk tearing and then a strange thump, like a leather parachute opening. The cold chases Pepper down the street, fog banks roll slowly from the side streets to cut her off. A shadow, blacker than the darkness around her, passes overhead, again with that odd, leathery thump.

Something massive and black soars ahead and banks upward, lazily, before circling back. That thump is the great wings of a bat catching air with every ponderous stroke. Its red eyes and white teeth gleam clearly as it dives toward Pepper.


Screw high heels. Pepper wants to live and not as some bride of a vampire! So, in her desperate running, she takes just a second to kick off her heels and give herself more ability to sprint and manuever along the dark New York Streets. "Please, someone, help me! Is anyone AROUND?!" Pepper looks desperately over to the streets, trying to find a cab to flag down but, somehow, in New York, even the cabs are missing right now. A cold sweat breaks across her features as she hears that omnious flapping above her. Surely the thing wasn't a bat too! But yes, yes, it was.

This is hell, Pepper's in hell. As the thing dives at her, she but a scant block and change from her home, she dives into a dash beneath the open lid of a dumpster. If she's lucky, the bat will stun itself on the lid and she can carry on. Either way, she's rolling beneath and then off like a shot as quickly as she can start moving again.


The bat becomes mist before it hits the dumpster and the black cloud of it keeps pursuing Pepper. It's distinguishable from the other fog by its warmth and the way it smells of earth and roses. The fog wraps around Pepper slowly, drawing her into it like a snake swallowing its prey.

Then, they're airborne and Pepper is in the clutches of not one but an entire cloud of bats. Somehow, they manage to keep her aloft, though she slips from time to time and starts to fall. The bats chitter and hum and purr as they carry her higher and higher, to where the air is the temperature it should be for this time of year.

The cloud is bearing toward the new PanAm building, that shining monstrosity in the center of New York.


As he turns to fog, Pepper actually thinks, for a heartbeat or two, she's managed to escape him. She's within a block of home when that fog wraps around her, slowing her run, and then suddenly she's aloft. Aloft and surrounded by BATS. Pepper yelps, swatting at them, twitching as wings touch her hair. This might be worst than being surrounded by vampires because they are leathery, and keep moving, and have little claws. "No, please… please no…" She just whimpers, over and over, as they fly her off towards that tall building. She's shivering violently now, and it's not from the temperature in the air.


The upper floors of the new building are still incomplete and vacated — or they were. Now, they are slowly being transformed into a den for the Lord of the Damned. Minions come and go, adding to the decor and the wealth. Pepper is dropped, unceremoniously, in the middle of a vast room — the entire floor of the building, almost without walls.

The swarm of bats resolves into Dracula's form and he walks on ahead of her, toward a makeshift, but impressively ugly blackened steel throne.

"Running will not help you now. My creatures will find you anywhere you go. I look forward to this time together." Dracula sits with a flourish, lets his great hands fall on the twisted arms of his chair. "I expect you to run. But you will only be returned, if you wish to save your energy."


Now, Pepper doesn't look anywhere near her prim self. Her feet are cut and ragged from having been running without her high heels. Several pins have fallen out of her hair, leaving some of those waves cuting down across her temples and forehead, instead of neatly drawn back into that bump. Her lipgloss is gone with breathlessness and her eyes splotchy from the tears. Still beautiful, just not her generally put together, prim and properly fashionable self. She shakes her head quietly to him.

"…I…I don't know why you think I'm this person, but I'm not. I am sorry you lost your Countess. I… I think you probably loved her very much, and that could drive anyone insane. But… I love someone else. Someone down there, who needs me, and he's going to be very worried. So… I hope you will rethink this…" Pepper explains gently, even as her pale eyes study the open floor now, looking for any way she might be able to get down safely from here. "…I don't even know your name. As I said, I'm Pepper. No Countess"


"Loved, hated, fought, murdered." Dracula rises again and comes to her, sweeping across the empty floor as though it is a ballroom. When he comes close, Dracula takes Pepper gently by the shoulders — his stare allows no other choice for the moment — and he presses a kiss to her forehead. "I will find you anywhere you go now. I have been through Hell itself and here you are. With me."

Heels click on the floor and it is the woman in blue again. This time, she has a young woman by the arm. The young woman's eyes are empty and calm, she walks easily toward Dracula as though she doesn't see him at all.

"If you will excuse me," Dracula says Pepper. He bows to her, deeply. "I must restore myself. I look forward to the time that you join me."


"… Uh-huh." Pepper breathes out after him, suddenly wondering how any of this could be real. Maybe her fever from last week spiked and she's dreaming things from her sick bed. She closes her eyes at that kiss, almost bracing herself against it, but then he's disapearing after his meal and she's left seemingly alone. She tries to shake off the shivering again, her arms crossing over her chest as she walks the floor of the wide open room, looking for stairs or anything. If she cannot find anything easy, she will, at least, find some sort of corner where she can comfortably curl up and sleep for the night. Maybe answers will come in the morning.

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