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"Darkness Surrounding"

Darkness Rising

Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

This story is still in progress.

Disclaimer: Brian and Ray belong to me. Everyone else belongs to Marvel, although I warped them a little bit ::grins::
A little note: There is a word I used in here that I'm actually not very proud of myself for using. Although, two of my Asian friends say that the word doesn't offend them (They actually laughed at me about it) I don't know if it'll offend anyone else. That was not my intention by putting that word in here. It was merely my intention to place the killer's state of mind when he things about other people. Again, I'm sorry if I offend anyone.
Also, I really wanted to complete Ray's story before I sent this part out, but... <G> It's turning out to be longer then I imagined it would be, and Wolvie's past got so mangled with it that I've started a fic on that too! Although, I'm not so sure that one will actually be getting out ... Anyway, hope you enjoy.
Please send feedback. Let me know I haven't lost you with this chapter. Thanks.

Darkness Surrounding

Chapter Three

5:58 PST; Cafe on the corner of Smith and Canary

The sign over the cafe said Auntie Kay's Home Cookin'. It was a welcoming little cafe with tables toped with umbrellas set up outside, and tables with red and white checkerboard table cloths on the inside. A bar with red rawhide covered stools stretched from one wall to the other in the back where a waitress with a cigarette dangling out one corner of her mouth stood working a crossword puzzle. Every once and a while, she could be heard yelling to the short order cook in back, for the answer to a question, where she got a "What?!" as an answer every time.

Although it was growing dark outside, the tables there each held a red candle in a bottle that burned brightly. It made it a cheery and romantic place to share a cup of coffee with a loved one.

The cafe wasn't bursting with people; it wasn't empty either. All the outside tables were filled, as were most of the bar stools. Only one booth on the inside, however, was occupied.

The occupants stared down at their food, barely even picking at it. It was a young couple in their early twenties. The lovely young lady with a dark complexion, red curly hair, and bright shimmering gold eyes, picked a French fry up with her fork, and smothered it in the gob of ketchup on her plate. "This is officially beyond boring," she said, her voice soft although it carried traces of frustration in it. She dropped the fork onto her plate and shoved it away. She leaned her chin on her hand and looked out the window.

The young man across from her shoved a lock of black hair from his almond shaped eyes with one hand, and continued making a face out of his mashed potatoes with his spoon in the other. "When you're right, you're right," he said, adding peas to the food sculpture. After a moment of silence, he sighed, and turned the plate around. "Tidaa! A face!"

She turned her head enough to look at it, then rolled her eyes at him. "Auwe! Quit playing around, Brian. It's not funny. You're lolo."

Brian Striker frowned, reaching out across the table to take her chin in his hand and force her to look at him. "Oh, come on, Ray. We can't expect to start off big when we haven't even been doing this a year. We've got to find our own stories, make our own news. You know that." He smiled at her, his blue eyes searching her face, taking in every inch of it.

Ray Dawn smiled back, a half smile that was cocky and made her look like the cat who'd eaten the cannery. She took his hand and brought it up to her lips. "What would I do without you?"

"Um...find a better cameraman?"

"There isn't anyone better."

"You are."

She smiled brightly leaning over the table, not caring that her silk blouse was now pressed in the mashed potatoes on his plate, and kissed him. He kissed her back and she felt the familiar stirring in her stomach as he did.

"I've got an idea," he whispered against her lips, "why don't we call it a day, and go back home?"

"Ummm..." she purred, "that sounds like a plain to me."

"A plain? Me, come up with a plain?" Brian sat back, a surprised look on his face.

"There's a first for everything," she smiled.

Brian returned the smile, slid out of the booth, and gave his hand to Ray. She took it, and he pulled her out. He bent down until his lips found hers and kissed her again, his hand still holding onto hers, and the other pressed on the small of her back, pushing her forward.

"You know, you're getting mashed potatoes on me," he said, braking the kiss, but not moving very far away. He stood straight and looked down at her. She seemed so much like a child in his arms.

"I know. Elton's mad at me because of it."

"If he's just mad now, he's gonna be ticked when I rip it off and toss it away."

She laughed.

5:59 PST; Police Department Parking Lot.

Remy started the engine in his blue sedan, and waited for Drake to get into the passenger seat. When the door closed, Rem backed the car out of its parking space, and told Bobby to buckle up. When the younger man did, Rem floored it, turning on the siren.

Five other cars and the SWAT team van pulled up beside, and behind him. What they needed the SWAT team for, he didn't know. Everyone knew he wouldn't be anywhere around when they got there.

They rode in silence for a while, then Bobby cleared his throat, obviously not liking the silence. "I'm, uh, I'm sorry about your old partner, but I promise you won't regret having me as your new one."

"Don' talk like Kurt dead or somethin'. He just left de force, he alive an' well you know, homey," Rem said, never taking his eyes off the road in front of him. Bobby was quiet again. After a while the silence got to Rem too, "You say you read up on dis case? It a closed file, how you get your hands on it?"

"I knew Kitty. We were partners for a little while. Listening to her, I picked up on a few things, you know. When I got news about my transfer, I requested to be assigned with you. And...Captain Logan gave some of the files to me last night to catch up."

Rem cussed. "He know about dis an' n't tell me? Cul."

Bobby raised an eyebrow, "What?"

"I call him an ass."

"Hmm, you think he's bad, you shoulda met my old captain at Vice. You never stood downwind of the man, and if you had to go, and he'd just came out of the john, well, you either got a gas mask or crapped in you pants. Now that man was a giant ass!"

Rem looked at him out the corner of his eye as if he'd lost his mind, then smiled. "Know what? Maybe you n't so bad af'er all, dis could be interesting."

Bobby stared at him and grinned. "Hope so, I'd hate to kick you off this case and take your job, so stay in line buddy, or-"

A sound like a gunshot filled the air, and Rem lost control of the car for a second. He grabbed the wheel with both hands, and pulled hard to the right, trying to drag the car over onto the rumble strip. They made a complete turn, now facing oncoming traffic. Rem gave another hard turn of the wheel, to the left this time, and ran into the rumble strip, making an offal sound as the tires hit it. He used both feet to slam on the brake.

Bobby jerked in his seat, his seatbelt the only thing keeping him from going through the car window. The two of them sat there for a minute, Bobby setting back in his seat as far as he could, and Rem with his arms crossed over the steering wheel, and his head on his arms.

"I n't so young no more, I getin' too old f' des stuff," Rem said, lifting his head up to look at Bobby. He was pale as a ghost. "You okay?"

"Uh, yeah...I think. Next time...I drive."

"Wasn' my fault. De tire blew. C'mon, you c'n help me fix it."

"Oh, goodie."

They stepped out of the car, and slammed their doors shut. From inside there was a pop and a hiss. Both men stooped down to look into the windows.

After a while, they stood up and looked at each other over the top of the car. "Well," Bobby said with the tiny hint of a smirk on his face, "at least we know the air bags work."

6:05 PST; Auntie Kay's Cafe on the corner of Smith and Canary

Ray and Brian walked out of the cafe, their arms around each other as they started down Canary street toward their van parked a block away. They were a beautiful couple, they seemed to be made to be together; and the way the constantly looked at one and other, the way they'd smile and kiss when their eyes met, showed just how much love they had for each other.

They were perfect together, although -- when they were a part -- you'd never actually know they were together. Apart, they seemed to be on opposite sides of the same magnet. Ray looked perfectly at home in her blue silk blouse -- now wet from where she'd tried to wipe off most of the potatoes in the lady's room -- and matching ankle-length skirt. Her sunkissed face was long and held little make-up, a mass of long red curls framed the face like the picture it was. Her golden eyes were bright, and filled with a happiness that sometimes didn't show anywhere else on her face. She stood five foot even, and perhaps her figure could have been a little fuller, her bust a little bigger, waist a little smaller; she wasn't drop dead gorgeous by no means, but she wasn't ugly to say the least. She was, in her own humble opinion, little more then plain. Her skin was a permanent honey gold color from her long years of playing in the sun on her island home of Oahu, Hawaii.

Where Ray was just another face in the crowd, Brian was anything but. His Asian features matched with his American ones gave him a look that was well remembered. He had a round face, his eyes -- while shaped like his Asian mother's -- were a piercing blue that could shine with laughter one moment, then turn cold as ice the next. His straight, black hair was shoulder length, and, at that moment, free of the bands he usually held it back with. He was of good build, broad shouldered, long legged, the same 5'11" his father had been.

Ray was more comfortable wearing her skirts and silk, while Brian was simple in the fact that you'd almost never see him wearing anything but blue jeans and T-shirts. But, then again, Brian was the one always holding the camera, not the one in front of it like Ray was.

Although far apart in their looks, the two were drawn together by their mutual interests. They'd read the same books, liked the same movies, both hated the TV, and -- even before they'd met -- neither had cable in their apartments. They loved the ballet, loved plays and all the same music. They were both plant loves, and computer nerds, Brian a little more then Ray. They loved playing games, loved sports, loved the simplicity of just being with one and other.

Surprisingly, there was only one thing they didn't agree on: politics. But, for them, it wasn't so much a problem as a joy, because they both loved to argue; and a person can rarely find anything better to argue about then politics, now could they?

Because of their differences, and their likenesses, they were, simply put, right for each other. Perfect. There was very little that could pull them apart.

6:10 PST; Canary Street

He peered out the windshield of his car, watching them as they walked hand in hand on the other side of the street. They stopped almost parallel with his car, and were kissing.

They were the perfect couple so in love, he thought with no small amount of sarcasm in his mind's voice.

He frowned at them, his eyes turning to thin little slits. They looked so perfect it was sick. There wasn't anyone more perfect then he and his love, and there they were, putting on a show for all the world to see, the little reporter brat and her neese boyfriend.

His nostrils flared, and the knuckles of his hands were turning white from griping the steering wheel too hard.

After the two broke apart and resumed walking, he released his grip and forced himself to take a few deep breaths to try and calm himself. He closed his eyes doing this, and counted to ten. When he opened them again, the two were standing hand in hand in front of the pet shop there on Canary.

He reached out and grabbed his sun glasses from the dash board, then put them on, keeping his eyes behind the darkened lenses on the two.

Ray had her hands pressed against the glass of the window, peering in at the puppies inside. They all bounced to the window, looking at her. "Aw!" she said, glancing over her shoulder at Brian. "They're so cute!"

Brian wrapped his arms around her waist, and leaned down to put his chin on her shoulder as he looked in the window himself. "All puppies are cute, it's the grown dogs that aren't."

"Auwe!" she slapped at one of his hands playfully. "How can you say that?"

"Easy. I opened my mouth, moved my tongue, and out the words came." He ignored the look she gave him. "Actually," he said after a while of looking the puppies over, "that one over there is kind of...cute." He took one hand away long enough to point to the far end of the pin then put it right back.

Ray's eyes followed where he had been pointing and saw a little black puppy lay curled in a ball asleep with his tail over his nose. "Auwe!" she squealed. "That one is cute!" She smiled up at Brian, "Let's get it?"

Brian blinked at her, "A puppy? You want to actually get one?"

"Please, makamae?" she pleaded. She only called him darling when she wanted something.

He scratched the back of his neck, "I don't know, Ray. They're an awful big responsibility...I don't know anything about dogs, other then that they pee on the carpet."

"Didn't you have a puppy as a kid?"

He snorted, "No. Dad didn't want anything warm and fuzzy that could actually love someone in our house." Brian frowned deeply.

"Well, ipo," Ray turned in his arms and kissed him, sad about the cold childhood he had had, "you're not your dad. God knows you and he are nothing like, you still need to prove that to yourself though."

"And you think a puppy would do that." It was a statement not a question.

"It'd be a great start. Oh, c'mon, Brian. It's a cute, fuzzy little puppy. You know, big eyes, wagging tail, licks on your face in the morning. And think, when he's bigger, he'll keep the burglars away."

"Why do we need a dog? With the exception of the tail, you already have, and do, all of that," he smiled.

"Auwe! You're impossible!" she slapped at him.

He grabbed her hand and pulled her even closer to him, then kissed her. "Okay," he whispered against her lips, "but we're not naming him Fido, or Rover."

"Really?" she blinked in surprise, snaking her arms around his neck. He nodded and this time, she kissed him. Then, just as quickly as she had, she stopped and grabbed his hand, pulling him into the pet shop before he changed his mind.

"And we're not naming him something foofoo like Fluffy, or Cuddles, or some other such crap," he said as she dragged him inside.

"C'mon Brian-wian, let's get our puppy-wuppy."

"Oh dear Lord, what I have I gotten myself into?"

6:15 PST; 115 Marble Lane

Rem pulled the car into the driveway of the house. He and Bobby had changed the tire in record time, but, by the time they were at the house, the SWAT Team and about ten blue and whites, as well as the coroner's van were all parked in the grass and on the street.

Rem and Bobby stepped out of the car, and looked around.

It was a quiet neighborhood, with nice two, and even three, story houses all lined in a row. All the lawns were well cared for, almost every driveway or garage sported a basketball hoop; one yard across the street had a baseball diamond set up, and about eight boys were standing around, looking at what was going on; one had a bat in his hands, and some of the others had gloves.

Rem couldn't help but notice that the neighborhood looked familiar for some reason. Probably because the last time this SOB had hit, it was only a mile or so away.

There was a crowd slowly gathering around as one uniformed officer started to put yellow police tape up across the driveway. He grabbed hold of the nearest uniform, and told the man to start looking for witnesses, then to send people back to their homes, and he started up the walk.

He and Bobby pushed their way into the front door. Men and women wearing latex gloves were going over the house, dusting for finger prints; one was opening the vacuum cleaner, pulling out the bag, another in the kitchen looking into the cabinets.

Bobby whistled, looking around. "Man, she must have made some good money."

"Or else she had lots o' credit cards."

Together they walked out the back of the house to the patio and pool area. Henry McCoy, a mutant with blue fur covering his body, was crouched down beside the body that was sitting in a pink and white striped lawn chair. He stood up when Rem walked out and they shook hands.

"This man is so considerate, just look! He cleaned up after himself, and left the bag in the vacuum for your ballistics officers, he even bandaged up this young lady's head for her. You do realize that you are tardy, do you not, LeBeau?"

"Car trouble, Hank. Dis be Bobby, my new...partner. Bobby, Hank. Hank, Bobby. Maybe we go f' a beer latter, non?"

"Ah, a date then."

"So, what have we got here dis time?"

"One bullet to the head, close range."

Rem looked at him surprised. "A gun? He used a gun dis time?"

"There are no marks around her neck, no other wounds. He doesn't seem to be the type to poison a girl, then shoot her for the fun of it, does he?"

Rem shook his head. "He's never used a gun before."

Hank shrugged as he knelt down beside her again. "Here, I can tell you that her death was instantaneous. Most likely this one felt little or no pain at all. A meager amount of blood loss, I would say, but I cannot be certain. Your murderer has the skill of bandaging that a surgeon would. Once again, I'm suggesting a doctor of some sorts here."

"De bullet still dere?"

"No such luck, my friend. It was clean and fast. I would say he was maybe one, two feet away from her when he fired. They could have been dancing. I doubt you'll find the bullet, but I can tell you that he was standing diagonal from her. The exit wound is behind her left ear," Hank sighed, and stood up again. He nodded his head, and two men carrying a black body bag came up and started to unfold it; the rubbery material of the bag making wet sounds at it was pulled apart.

Rem stepped in front of the woman for the first time and looked down at her. "Oh, wondrous Saints, no."

"You know her?" Bobby asked, looking down at her himself.

She looked peaceful enough, anyone looking over the fence would think she was asleep. She was quite pretty, although very pale, and too thin for Bobby's taste. She had a small wound between her eyes and hairline, the point of entry for the bullet. Her eyes were open. Rem sighed, and reached out with one hand over her face, closing them. He stood up, and turned away.

"Rem?" Hank asked. "Are you well?"

"Her name Mildred."

"Then you do know her." Bobby said, one eye brow raised as he looked at Rem through narrowed eyes.

"Oui. She an' Jeannie, ol' friends. She painted a picture o' Kyla f' her birthday just a few weeks ago. Jeannie...Jeannie's been thinkin' 'bout setin' her up with Victor Creed. Dear Saints, how'm I gonna explain dis t' Kyla?"

Hank put an furry hand on Rem's shoulder. "Hitting a bit close to home? Do you believe he knew this?"

"Who de hell knows wha' he t'inks? I do know dis though, I gonna catch dis tcheue poule. I've have enough playin' aro-"

The back door slammed open with enough force to shatter the glass in the window. The three men turned in time to see a blur run out and at Rem, knocking him off his feet.


To be continued.


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