Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

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Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby LaughtersMelody » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:59 am

Title: Shadowed Corners
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I do not own Moonlight, nor am I making any money from this, though I'm certainly having fun playing with the characters. No infringement intended.
Warnings: None, really.
Summary: It was the sound of a fading human heartbeat that brought Mick back to his senses.

A/N: This was written for Champagne Challenge #176: Dark. I had most of this written back in October of 2018, when the challenge was first issued, but RL got a bit crazy, and suddenly demanded all of my time and attention, so I didn't have a chance to finish it. But, RL has slowed down again at last, thank the Lord, and I finally had the chance to complete this. :blinksmile:

A/N2: This fic was also was partly inspired by allegrita's great response to the challenge, Light and Dark, which explored some ideas about a vampire's instincts. She kindly gave me her permission in a PM to play with some similar ideas. Thank you again, allegrita! :rose:

As always, I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the source of all inspiration.

~*~*~*~*~

Shadowed Corners

It was the sound of a fading human heartbeat that brought Mick back to his senses.

The owner of that heartbeat - the man who’s throat Mick had his fingers wrapped around - had passed out, and his skin was already turning faintly blue.

Mick quickly released his grip, dropping the man onto the grimy asphalt that ran the length of the dark alley. After a moment or two, the man took one ragged breath and then another. His heartbeat strengthened, and his pulse raced wildly as his heart struggled to deliver badly needed oxygen to the bloodstream.

Mick stared down at the unconscious man, his mouth curling into a sneer. A part of him - the part that had been in control when he’d wrapped his fingers around that man’s throat in the first place - wanted nothing more than to finish what he’d started.

This man - a purse thief - had tried to hurt Beth. His Beth.

A low rumble started somewhere in Mick’s chest, and it took all his self-control to stifle it.

Dark as the alley was, to a vampire, it might as well have been broad daylight, and he could see Beth out of the corner of his eye. She’d stumbled when the thief had made a grab for her, and had ended up leaning against an overflowing dumpster, but already she was busy reaching down to pick up the spilled contents of her purse. She seemed more irritated than afraid, and Mick wanted to keep it that way. Her heartbeat was a little fast, but given that she’d had a gun pointed at her a few moments ago, it was remarkably steady and quickly falling back into a normal rhythm.

She was fine. Not even a scratch. (He would have smelled the blood if there had been one.)

Mick tried to focus on that thought, tried to use it to drive back the instincts still raging inside him.

It didn’t quite work. He could feel the sharp points of his fangs pressing against his lips, and right then and there, he would have liked nothing more than to sink them into the neck of the man who was unconscious at his feet.

You challenged me, the predator inside him wanted to growl at the man. You tried to hurt what’s mine. I’ll make you pay for it.

He knew, without a doubt, that Beth wouldn’t have appreciated that thought if she’d known about it. She wasn’t a possession. And when he was thinking straight, he didn’t want to see her that way.

It wasn’t right, and the man in him knew it.

But that didn’t change the fact that as far as the vampire in him was concerned, she was his. And even if he wanted to deny it…it wasn’t just his feelings for Beth that had sent him into motion when he’d seen that gun.

It wasn’t just his feelings for her that had sparked the primal fury he felt now.

He couldn’t say what it was that had evoked that reaction so strongly. All things considered, a thief with a gun should have been fairly low on the list of possible threats to Beth’s life. Then again, maybe that was the problem.

Being with him made Beth a potential target for anyone who wanted to hurt him…and working with the DA’s office put her in another kind of danger altogether. Mick had accepted those risks as much as he ever could, swearing that he’d keep her safe. But a petty thief? He couldn’t predict that, so it was all the more dangerous. And tonight…tonight, he’d been distracted, paying more attention to Beth than his surroundings.

“I bet he was hiding behind the dumpster,” Beth said.

Mick finally managed to draw his eyes away from the man and looked at Beth instead. She had the straps of her reclaimed purse looped over her right shoulder, a thoughtful look on her face as she studied the darkened alley. He tried to remember how much her eyes could actually see. That precious week he’d spent as a human seemed almost like a dream now.

“He was probably waiting for someone to come around the corner,” Beth continued. She turned to meet his gaze and smiled. The expression was a little strained, but still genuine. “Good thing my guardian angel was with me, huh?”

Mick didn’t answer, and her smile faded.

“You okay?” she asked.

Mick drew a deep, unneeded breath, and felt his features shift, the telltale marks of a vampire fading away as though they’d never been there at all.

But they always were, lurking just below the surface.

“Yeah,” he said at last. “Yeah, I’m okay. I’m just glad you’re alright.”

Beth smiled again, and Mick couldn’t quite summon one in return.

Thankfully, the man at his feet chose that moment to stir, giving a hoarse, pained groan.

“Should we call 911?” Beth wondered.

Old training told Mick that the man’s bruised throat might swell shut if he didn’t receive some sort of medical care.

That thought shouldn’t have been satisfying. But it was.

“Yeah,” Mick answered. “Ask them to send an ambulance - he’ll need treatment.”

“Right,” Beth nodded. “Ambulance it is.”

She pulled her phone out of her purse and dialed 911, offering an anonymous tip about the injured man they’d “found” in the alley. (The authorities wouldn’t be able to trace the call, thanks to a little work Logan had done on her phone a few weeks ago. Logan, of course, could still track the phone if the need arose, and Mick had insisted on learning how it worked, just in case he ever needed to find Beth by himself - though Mick hadn’t told Beth about that part of it yet.)

While Beth talked to the operator, Mick turned his attention back to the man at his feet. He’d been right about that swelling - he could already hear some faint wheezing.

For a moment, Mick wondered if it would have been better to call for the Cleaners instead of an ambulance, but he quickly pushed that thought away. Exposure didn’t seem like much of a risk right now. The alley was so dark that the man probably hadn’t been able to see who - or what - had tried to choke the life out of him. And even if he had seen something strange, chances were, anyone he told would dismiss it as an hallucination brought on by the lack of oxygen.

Still, figuring that a little caution couldn’t hurt, Mick walked a few short steps and pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket; then, using the handkerchief to shield his hand, he bent over to pick up the gun the man had dropped. He switched the safety on through the fabric and tucked the gun into the pocket of his jacket. It probably wouldn’t have any traceable serial numbers or prints, but it was worth hanging onto anyway. If he needed to find the man again, he’d have a lead.

He finished just as Beth ended her call with the operator and tucked her cell phone back inside her purse.

She started down the alley once more, and Mick followed.

“So,” she prompted with mostly forced cheer, “we were talking about seeing a movie. Anything sound interesting to you? I hear there’s a new comedy that’s suppose to be good.”

Mick shrugged, knowing he wouldn’t really be able to focus on a movie tonight, no matter what they were watching. “You pick.”

“Okay. I’m definitely thinking it’ll be the comedy, then. I hope it really is a good one. I’ve heard that the critics don’t like it, but who agrees with the critics these days, anyway?”

Beth kept up the lighthearted chatter as they walked, and Mick wondered if it was more for her own sake or his. He nodded every so often, offering a few words here or there, but he couldn’t really say that he was listening.

Most of his attention was focused on the darkened streets around them - like it should have been earlier.

No one else would surprise him. Not now. Not again. They’d regret it if they tried.

(Behind his lips, his gums itched faintly, but Mick ignored the sensation.)

“You’re sure you’re okay?”

That question finally drew his attention once more, and he looked over at Beth to find her watching him with concern.

Beth, who still called him her guardian angel.

“I’m fine,” he assured.

And he was. He would be.

This wasn’t anything he hadn’t dealt with before. If he waited long enough, the predator inside him would fade once again into the background of his mind.

Sometimes, he could almost pretend that it wasn’t there.

But it always was…hidden like his fangs, or the silver in his eyes.

Beth didn’t seem to understand that, and he wasn’t sure that he wanted her to.

Because he wasn’t an angel. Not even close.

Fin

~*~*~*~*~

Thank you for reading, and please let me know what you think!

Take care and God bless!

-Laughter
Last edited by LaughtersMelody on Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby MickLifeCrisis » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:03 am

LM, I really liked this!

This part is so Mick. He knows Beth isn't a possession, but Mick the Vampire certainly claims her as one. No wonder Mick is so angsty!
You challenged me, the predator inside him wanted to growl at the man. You tried to hurt what’s mine. I’ll make you pay for it.

He knew, without a doubt, that Beth wouldn’t have appreciated that thought if she’d known about it. She wasn’t a possession. And when he was thinking straight, he didn’t want to see her that way.

It wasn’t right, and the man in him knew it.

But that didn’t change the fact that as far as the vampire in him was concerned, she was his.


And this:
This wasn’t anything he hadn’t dealt with before. If he waited long enough, the predator inside him would fade once again into the background of his mind.

Sometimes, he could almost pretend that it wasn’t there.

But it always was…hidden like his fangs, or the silver in his eyes.

Beth didn’t seem to understand that, and he wasn’t sure that he wanted her to.

Because he wasn’t an angel. Not even close.


Perfect ending. Thanks for finishing this and posting!

:twothumbs:
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby allegrita » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:08 am

This story really does a great job of showing the difference between Mick's and Beth's views of his true nature. Mick knows the predator instinct that he must constantly struggle to control. Beth knows the man, and trusts him to always stay in control. I like to think that Beth is right... but Mick's not wrong in his estimation. He has to constantly strive to keep his predatory instincts in check. He's very good at it. But it takes constant vigilence, and one slip... could be disastrous. :nosee: :Mickangel:

Great story!! :clapping:
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:17 am

Wow, what an opening line. It really made me want to read on.

Like Alle, (see quote far below) I was also fascinated by the glimpse into the darker part of Mick's nature in your story. In fact your story really made me reflect on Mick's nature and on his psychology. The self loathing is still present
Because he wasn’t an angel. Not even close.
, but this Mick, here, seems to accept his 'beast' and to value its usefulness. He doesn't regret his action (throttling the robber) but his inaction (not being wary enough). It made me wonder how far into the future (beyond the measly 16 episodes we got) this Mick is. I think this Mick is perhaps several years ahead here, given the alliance he seems to have with the 'beast'.

I find the duality of Mick's vampire and human halves fascinating.
Mick knows the predator instinct that he must constantly struggle to control. Beth knows the man, and trusts him to always stay in control.

She definitely trusts him. No question. I suspect that along with the trust Beth has no conception of the difficulty Mick has in controlling the predator within.
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby cassysj » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:32 am

I really like this because Mick isn't happy with his predator nature but knows it's not going away. I think in this story he's more than a little torn. He'd like to be the "man" that would never do that but in another way I think the predator part wishes a "Josef" side did just call the Cleaners. Very interesting look at Mick
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby LaughtersMelody » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:50 am

Thanks again to everyone who has reviewed!

I usually PM anyone who reviews to thank them personally, and when I PM'd Luxe de Luxe, she suggested I post my response to her here in this thread too, since it might be interesting to others.

To Luxe de Luxe:

Thank you so much! :rose: I've always been interested in Mick's darker side, and in the darker instincts that vampires have in the Moonlight universe. I wonder if vampires, as they age, have a harder time seeing the line between "What I would have done as a human," and "What I will do as a vampire," simply because those instincts gradually become more and more a part of their personality, and they forget that they weren't always that way to begin with. It was fun to explore some of that with Mick. I agree, too, that Beth has no conception of the difficulty Mick has controlling his inner predator.

Thank you again! I so appreciate your review. Take care and God bless!

-Laughter
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:04 am

LaughtersMelody wrote:Thanks again to everyone who has reviewed!

Thank you so much! :rose: I've always been interested in Mick's darker side, and in the darker instincts that vampires have in the Moonlight universe. I wonder if vampires, as they age, have a harder time seeing the line between "What I would have done as a human," and "What I will do as a vampire," simply because those instincts gradually become more and more a part of their personality, and they forget that they weren't always that way to begin with. It was fun to explore some of that with Mick. I agree, too, that Beth has no conception of the difficulty Mick has controlling his inner predator.

Thank you again! I so appreciate your review. Take care and God bless!

-Laughter

I think it would be very understandable for a vampire to lose gradually the true sense of what it means to be human along with the human moral code. Neuroscience says that anything we do over and over again feels more natural to us and begins to be part of who we are. I wonder whether if Moonlight checked in with Mick again in 100 years time whether he'd still be the fully decent noble person we all met in the show. Hmm. I don't like that thought. I'm going to ignore myself. :yes:
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Re: Shadowed Corners, PG-13, Champagne Challenge #176

Postby LaughtersMelody » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:32 am

Luxe de Luxe wrote:I think it would be very understandable for a vampire to lose gradually the true sense of what it means to be human along with the human moral code. Neuroscience says that anything we do over and over again feels more natural to us and begins to be part of who we are. I wonder whether if Moonlight checked in with Mick again in 100 years time whether he'd still be the fully decent noble person we all met in the show. Hmm. I don't like that thought. I'm going to ignore myself. :yes:


That is a scary thought! :gasp: Though, it might match with what we saw in the show. It seemed like all the older vampires in the show were fairly callous...even Josef to a certain extent.

But, I think one of the things that makes Mick different is the way he's fought to hang on to as much humanity as he can. A vampire like Coraline...she seems like she immediately embraced all that it meant to be a vampire. In my mental canon for her, she'd had very little power as a human, very little say over her her own life, barring the influence she could wield with her "charms" and manipulation. So, for her, being a vampire meant freedom and power. She naturally wasn't thinking about holding onto the human moral code at that point. She jumped in headfirst, embraced her new instincts, and never looked back.

But Mick seems to cling to his humanity much more tightly. He seems very aware that there's a big difference between his vampire nature and human nature. Maybe he can't see the line completely...and perhaps he might drift farther away from that line with time, but I like to think that he would at least be aware that there *is* a line, and try to stay near it as much as possible, even as he ages. :pray:
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