1963-09-19 - The Countess Calls
Summary: The night brings about chills and creatures.
Related: Once Upon a Hellmouth
Theme Song: None
pepper sinjin jessica dracula 

It had been one of those days — out with that bad cold at the end of last week, Pepper finally sounded and felt better enough to be back in the office today. Which meant she had two days of catch up on top of her normal duties. So, she'd been working since 8 am and now it's well after 8 pm, well after dark, and she's only just finished. Instead of going down to trap herself in her condo, therefore never actually leaving the Stark Industries building the entire day, she decided to get a bit of fresh air. Maybe something would still be open to pick up some take out, though Wall Street still pretty much closes down after five.

That means she's walking, and walking basically alone. Still in her outfit from the day, Pepper is in a pair of patent leather pink pumps and a little pink and white mod-dress that covers JUST to her mid thigh. While she's generally fairly short, the pumps and short skirt make her legs look wonderfully long, and her red hair is up in a BUMP style, giving the top of her head even more height, before those soft waves fall down free at her back. She's daring to partake in her immensely rare habit of a cigarette, but she needed one after tonight. "…Dammit…doesn't anything stay open after dinner…" She mutters to herself, peeking in another closed store front. This was not the area of the city to be getting dinner.


Sinjin's out after meeting with a contact. He's looking his usual self — a little shabby and a little careless, smoking as he reviews his notes from the meeting. Somehow, he manages not to run into anything or anyone on the street while he's working. At one point, he crosses the street, raising a few angry honks from cabbies going either way. Careless doesn't begin to cover it. Partway down the street, he pauses, looks around for once, then shrugs. Just for a moment there, it was unseasonably cold.


Others mill about the block — it's quiet, but not exactly silent thanks to New York's status as the city that never sleeps. An errand has a very smiley Jessica Jones strolling down the block with a large bag of groceries tucked under her arm. The dimpled smile never meets Jessica's eyes, yet she smiles just the same.

The purple off-the-shoulder number she wears falls just above the knee, and definitely doesn't suit grocery shopping, but then the Purple Creep was never one to think about function; just his own whims. The cold rips over her skin, causing goosebumps to form and her to shiver lightly underneath it, yet she still smiles, and doesn't consider stopping anywhere to try to find something to cover those poor bare shoulders.


There is a slight chill, but then Pepper is out in a mini-dress and it's past mid September, so it's not exactly something she's worried about. She shivers, sticking her cigarette between the corner of her glossed pink mouth and rubbing her fingertips together to keep them warm. "…shoulda just called Tony's guy for delivery." She mutters to herself, turning on the ball of her high heel and heading back up the street, but she's several blocks from SI now and it will be a bit of walk. The beeping in Sinjin's direction draws an arched brow, but the man doesn't actually seem hit or injured, so she carries on with her casual pace back towards her office and condo.


The evening turns into night at a rapid pace but the dark rises from the gutters and the alleys more than it falls naturally. Shadow crawls out of shadows, the darkness multiplies, and the temperature drops so rapidly that a mirror on a parked car cracks with a sound like a gunshot.

A thin layer of grey cloud shrouds the sky and the thin crescent of the moon disappears from view.

Sinjin stops again and, this time, he puts his notes away in favour of a lighter. He marks the people around him, Jessica, Pepper, other passers by, and puts his back to a wall. His own power leaves him with no illusion that this kind of thing is possible. He just wants to know from whence it all came.


The groceries are tucked under Jessica's arm and she cranes her neck, fighting against the perfect posture she's been told to employ, yet something rolls over her addled thoughts. A shadow in her own mind calls her back, resounding louder with every slow step. She's called further — pulling her in like a fish on a hook.

Her eyes stare out blankly in front of her, but something feels off. Her paces slow. The order calls her home, but she negotiates the pace.


Pepper is a fairly intelligent woman, but intelligent in a way that is about business, book keeping and science. The supernatural elements, or even things like mutants and super powers, still occupy that strange place in her brain of children's stories. So, as the night grows abruptly darker around her, she doesn't quite note it yet. Probably just tired and paranoid.

Something instinctively makes her walk a bit faster, though, pink heels clicking hard against the sidewalk in time with her quickened heartbeat. She's not even certain why her pulse is up, it just is. Still, she doesn't stop or hide. Her fingertips shift towards her purse, where that bottle of pepper spray rests somewhere at the bottom. Maybe she should dig it out. She takes a deeper, reseting breath against her heart in her throat and keeps walking faster.


"Miss." The voice is low in Pepper's ear, the man who speaks wasn't behind her a moment ago. "Moment of your time, miss." He doesn't smell right, doesn't look right either — sallow and sunked in the face, his clothes are not just years out of date but decades. He might be handsome if there were more colour in his face, if he weren't so drawn.

"Yes, mistress." A woman this time, her feet hitting pavement just outside of Pepper's line of sight. There's the impression that she's just come from a great height. She's beautiful, or she was once, but her dress of blue silk is worn to ribbons around her ankles, torn at the shoulder. Her long, upswepty hair is white. "Please, just a moment of your time."

A fine crystaline snow resolves out of the icy air, the clouds gather more thickly above. It's not snowing, per se, the air has just become full of frost.

Sinjin is more focused on Jessica for the moment. The way she's walking, her focus, seems as though she might be controlling the change.


The deranged smile that continues to play over Jessica's lips probably creates MORE rather than less suspicion. The groceries under her arm, shift, freeing up her hand should she require it. Her yes turn upwards to the clouds, and she shuffles rather than steps back, making her appear like she's come to a stop. Resistance won't amount in much aside from her stall.


The moment there is a voice behind her, low in her ear, Pepper practically jumps out of her skin. She jerks around, facing him, her eyes shooting a bit wide as her pulse leaps in her throat. But she sizes up his achingly out of style clothing and the begging for her time and, as many New Yorkers, just assumes he's another begger who's gone a bit crazed. "I… I don't really have much money on me…" She murmurs flatly to the man, trying to give the best, most polite brush off she can.

Then she's turning again and the woman is just there. She never even heard those high heels. The sight of that silk dress, the white hair, it all finally clues Pepper into the fact that this is probably Not Normal. She takes in a breath and sets her shoulders, trying to look a bit more imposing than she generally is. Not a victim. In her fear, she's trying to desperately project she's not a victim. "Ah… yes.. If you're lost, I… I know this area. But really, I'm just on my way home, it's been a long day…" But she's talking to them, at least. Maybe being polite will save her?


The street is emptying rapidly — New Yorkers have never been fools. There's men running who haven't run since they were in grade school, but they're making good time now. A newspaper man closes his kiosk with the rapidity of too much familiarity with abandoning his post when things go sour. A taxi hits a bit of road that's suddenly slick and fails to negotiate the turn, spinning into oncoming traffic.

Tires squeal, glass shatters; when drivers and passengers stumble out into the street, wreathed in smoke and radiator vapor, they waste no time in trying to flee the scene. The only points of heat not created by a living body are rapidly cooling engines and a crackling orange fire feeling its way along the undercarriage of one crumpled car.

The taxi driver bolts past Jessica, seized by an unnatural fear. Blood streams from a gash on his forehead but he's otherwise unharmed. It seems as though he's going to get free when a small figure, child-sized, leaps from a fire escape — from more than twenty feet up and soaring at least twenty feet out — and descends on him. He goes down with a cry and the thin white layer of snow on the street where he falls is suddenly washed clean with a fan of blood.

"We've been looking for you, mistress." The white-haired woman has a grip like a handcuff snapping around Pepper's wrist.

"Yes," the ragged man concurs. "Looking everywhere. Please come."


"Come home." The childlike thing doesn't speak loudly but it's voice carries, low and intense, all the way down the street. It seems like a child. Playsuit, curls, sandals, but blood drips down its chin.

Sinjin doesn't hesitate to hit it with a dense little ball of fire. Screaming, the childlike thing flies across the street and splatters against a building where it writhes and burns. There are other things to worry about than being outed as a mutant.


The child-sized thing that assaults the taxi driver in front of Jessica has her paces changing into a run. She may not be able to do anything but return home, but maybe she can take something out on the way… or not make it at all. Whatever the creature is, it represents something. Her hands extend in front of her as she begins to run towards the the child-thing. Three steps in she lifts from the ground — just a foot, and, arms extended, aims to ram right into the beast with all the force she can muster. For better or worse.

Even with the thing on fire, tactile assault seems prudent, and her hands reach out to finish the creature by snapping its neck.


The vice-like grip around Pepper's wrist is enough to tell her that this is all Very, Very Bad. Pepper tries to struggle back, get her arm free so she can turn and run like so many others are doing arund her, but her New York level headed coolness seems to have gotten her in trouble over base instincts. Her pulse thunders now, genuine fear cutting through her as she hasn't near the strength needed to get free. "No, no. S-sorry, I… I'm not the person you're looking for, I promise. These heels are knock offs and I already have a full time job!" Pepper half squeaks out, trying to make her voice sound even but terror is making that a losing battle.

The man is still there too, even when Pepper tries to turn to wrench herself away, it's like they are surrounding her now. "Please…please, let me go…" She begs between shallow breaths, blue eyes a bit too wide. She's desperate now.


Jessica punches through the burning child vampire and shatters the marble facade beyond it. The fire snaps out as though someone flipped a switch but the thing isn't dead. It stares at Jessica with furious doll-blue eyes and opens its mouth to let out a glass-shattering shriek of rage that blows out the windows of nearby parked cars. Its fingers are little more than charred claw and bone but it rakes at her nonetheless, raging, struggling to get closer to latch onto her throat with its demanding, jagged little fangs.

Sinjin scoops the fire from the car with an experienced flick of his wrist, lets it suck at the leaking gasoline to build it more without exerting himself too much. The little tableau of Pepper and her assailants catches his eye and he's stalking toward them with purpose when the air pressure changes.

A great silence rolls down the street like a fog, the air feels denser than water, everything slows.

"You are." The white-haired woman assures Pepper. She reaches out to stroke Pepper's cheek with a dry ivory hand. "You are exactly who he is looking for."

"Let you go?" The ragged man touches her hair, his face contorted into something like a smile. "Just found you, miss. He's been looking for you."

He. The word seems to carry more weight than is possible until both of them turn to look down the street. A tall man with long white hair approaches, walking down the silent street with the dignity of a king. The dark and the silence seem to come from him, draped on him like a royal robe over his black and red gown.


Jessica's skin cannot be punctured, and each claw, each motion, scrapes against her like nails against a chalkboard with a dull nearly-absent sound. It scritches and scrapes, but Jessica's flesh does not yield to any of it, and her arm raises to grasp at the childlike thing that assaults and tries to pull it towards her. The yank is unmistakable, and with the smile on her face, it reads like the motion of someone deranged and absent from the activity in which she engages.

She tugs at the creature's hair, dragging it with a single jerky motion.


"…T-trust me… I already work for an impossibly demanding boss. I can't take another one in my life!" Pepper whimpers out, some attempt at laughter behind her voice, but it's nervous, terrified, forced laughter, not actually amused in any way. Pepper stiffens even more as the woman brushes her cheek, her head turning, trying to instinctively squirm away from that touch but the woman's other palm is like a handcuff, unmoving, stiff and it almost seems EASY to her. Pepper is fighting with all of her might and not actually making any progress.

Her pale eyes flicker back to the ragged man, especially as he touches her red, waving hair, and she jerks away from *that* touch, skin crawling for a half dozen reasons. "Please…this isn't…I don't know who you think I am, but I'm not. Please… HELP!" Finally, Pepper resorts to the last trick in any pretty secretary's bag — screaming bloody murder for help. She might not be freed, but she's sure as hell going to cause a scene as she goes. "GET OFF ME!" Her fingernails come out now too, trying to claw the woman free of her wrist. She'll fight dirty as any woman can! That also means a sharp high heel is finding its way to the shin of the raggedy male. The approach of the tall figure with long white hair is enough to push her fear to complete panic levels.


Dracula points a long, pale finger at Sinjin, who makes the mistake of staring him down. The fire in Sinjin's hand goes out and his posture changes. When the vampire gestures, Sinjin steps out of his way — jerkily at first and then with increasing compliance. Dracula then turns his attention to Jessica, who is slowly overpowering his damaged childlike creature. He seems almost curious but he doesn't interrupt.

"You may keep it," he says to Jessica, and his voice is hollow but also seems to fill the space like a shout. "I have no use for a thing that cannot control itself."

The burnt thing in Jessica's hands wails, its forked tongue lashes toward her face. Something in its howling sounds like "Apa!" as it cries out to its master.

"Pity," Dracula says without a hint of it. "It was very old."

Pepper's struggles are in vain. The creatures holding her are unusually strong and when she claws at the woman her nails do tear skin, it shreds easily, but there's no blood. She manages to kick the ragged man but he only chuckles softly.

"If you want blood, miss," he says almost kindly. "You'll have all you want."

"So much," the white-haired woman purrs. "You'll have all the blood you could wish for, mistress. He will see to that."


And keep it Jessica does. Her hand continues to hold the childlike thing's hair, dragging it along as it writhes and tries to fight her. But her steps won't cease. The call of the man is too strong. The groceries, which had been dropped on the ground when the clawing began, are retrieved, and she, with the creature in tow, ambles down the street like the mind zombie she is. Smiling that deranged smile with every taken pace.


Well, so much for help from the woman. Apparently, being able to kidnap another of these creatures was more important than helping one of her fellow female New Yorkers! Pepper gives another yelp of a scream, but it doesn't seem to be doing very much, especially as she claws at marble-like skin and gets no reaction from either of her captors. She shakes her head violently, over and over, her pulse beating like a violently trapped bird in her throat.

"Nono. No! I don't want blood, please, I don't want any of this. I just want to go home! I have a job and a boss. M-my…my boyfriend's going to be worried and he used to be in the army and can be VERY dangerous! This…this isn't smart! Just let me go and we'll forget it ever happened!" Pepper begs of the trio, though her desperate fight is starting to die in shock and fear as that taller, black and red, ever so elegant one gets closer. There does not seem there will be any escape. "W-what…what do you want from me? I'm no one…nothing…" She whimpers out.


"You are more like yourself than your likenesses suggested," Dracula says conversationally. His red eyes lock on to Pepper's and he smiles, showing his long, sharp teeth. "It will not take long for you to remember who you were. I have missed you."

He pauses, tilts his head slightly, then admits, "I did kill you, but I missed you nonetheless."

Dracula beckons to his servants and they seem to know what they want, locking their hands around Pepper's arms and turning her to face Dracula. He's terrible tall and strangely beautiful, in a brutal way. His hair is almost more silver than white and it flows down almost to his wrists and waist. His robes are red velvet and black fur and, when he gestures, the sleeves move like wings.

"They do not call your by your name in this place. No matter. You will learn it again, my love."


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License