Title: Raising the Bar
Fandom: Blade: Trinity
Pairing: Abigail Whistler/Hannibal King
Warnings/Spoilers: No warnings. Set pre movie
Genres: Established relationship
Word Count: 2,100
Status: Complete, one shot
Disclaimer: Blade: Trinity, the motion picture, is owned by New Line Cinema. This is a not for profit fanfiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.
The bar was loud, noisy enough to put Abby on edge. It didn't help that the clientele of this particular establishment were just as loud and had no concept of personal space. Come to that, most of them had no concept of personal hygiene, either.
She caught the bartender's eyes, nodding sharply to indicate that she wanted some attention, and he took his sweet time sauntering in her direction. She bit back on her impatience and her irritation; she didn't miss the way that his eyes travelled up and down her body, but she gave no outward sign of the fact that it pissed her off.
She was good at that.
The bartender poured her another beer, slamming it down on the counter so that it slopped over the sides. He leered at her again before his attention was diverted elsewhere. It didn't stop him from giving her another look over his shoulder as he walked away, and this one was no more pleasant than the first.
As soon as she got back to the Honeycomb Hideout, she was taking a shower. A long one.
She turned her back on the bar dismissively, and took in the rest of the room. The beer glass was cold and wet in her hand, but she had no intention of drinking it, even if she hadn't been there to hunt.
There was no sign of King, not since he'd followed the familiar they'd been tracking towards the restrooms. The only reason she hadn't followed King was because it would have been too obvious - the door marked 'stallions' was on the opposite wall to the one marked 'fillies'; somehow, given the make-up of the room and the way that more than one man was staring at her, slack-jawed, she suspected 'fillies' didn't get used much.
That didn't mean she wasn't ready to follow King if he didn't get his ass back out here soon.
Her personal space got even smaller when some guy with a bad attitude and body odour to match sat down on the stool next to her. He leaned over the bar to attract the bartender's attention and she didn't think it was a coincidence that when he did so, his arm pressed against the side of her breast.
She didn't shift away - she was no stranger to dealing with predators. Don't back down, don't turn your back and don't show any discomfort or fear. It was ingrained in her. The only difference in this case was that he wasn't the predator of the two of them, no matter what he thought.
He pulled back and gave her a look that was only a little less obvious than the one the bartender had aimed in her direction, this one overlaid with a very thin veneer of fake bonhomie. She assumed it was intended to put her at ease, but she hadn't missed the light in his eyes, the one that told her that no matter how polite an outer shell he was trying to project, he was scum underneath. She dropped her gaze to where his hands were loosely folded on the bar, automatically checking for familiar tattoos on the insides his wrists.
It was a mistake - he took the fact that she looked away, however briefly, as a sign of weakness.
"What you drinking, darlin'?" He gave her another once over before nodding at the not-yet-touched glass in her hand. His voice was a low drawl, and maybe that worked on women who didn't mind using a restroom labelled 'fillies' or being addressed as darlin' by a man they didn't know and wouldn't care to get to know.
Abby didn't fall into either category.
When she didn't answer him straightaway, he pushed his battered Stetson further up his forehead and gave her a smile meant to put her off guard. She wasn't fooled - she hadn't missed the look of cold fury that flashed in his eyes when she hadn't answered. She tilted her head and looked at him, staying silent, and his smile faltered, leaving something cold and assessing behind. Predatory, like she was the goddamned prey.
She stared him down, the expression on her face never changing, and he finally glanced away, frowning. When he looked back - because they always looked back - petulant little lines had formed around his mouth. He leaned in closer, and his breath didn't smell any sweeter than the rest of him.
"Don't be like that, sweet thing." He flashed his teeth, less a smile and more a warning, lips bared and threatening.
Abby sat back on her stool, holding his eyes. And then, when she was sure that she had his full attention, she let her gaze drift away from his face, over his shoulder to where King was mouthing, his face amused and his eyes comically wide, "Sweet thing?"
Abby sighed. This was not going to end well - King's eyes were too bright, his cheeks flushed. Whatever information he'd beaten out of the familiar in a bathroom stall was obviously good. It made him hyper, wound up and high on adrenaline. Something would need to bring him down again, and a good fight was one of those things.
As soon as she'd looked away, the fact that her attention was no longer on him both pissed her cowboy suitor off and made him wary. He spun on his stool so quickly that it threw him off balance and he had to steady himself with one hand on the bar. His scowling face took in King - all six foot two, long, lean muscled mass of him - and his expression, if anything, grew even darker. That simply told Abby that he was too stupid to live.
King raised his eyebrows affably. "Am I interrupting something?" he asked pleasantly, and then - because he was King and couldn't resist - he tacked a "sweet thing," onto the end.
Abby narrowed her eyes at him. She could handle this jerk, and King knew that. Which meant that King stepping in had nothing to do with the guy hitting on her, and everything to do with the tension between her and King.
"You got a problem, buddy?" the walking dead guy growled, rising to his feet menacingly.
Abby rolled her eyes. Even with the guy standing, King towered over him, although jerk face (and, damn it, even her inner critic was beginning to sound like King) had about thirty pounds on King. Like that was going to bother King, when all of his body weight was pure muscle.
"Have I got a problem?" repeated King slowly, like he was rolling the idea around in his mind. "I don't know." He looked past the guy, meeting Abby's eyes and directing his next comment to her. "Have I got a problem, sweetheart?"
"Many," she said dryly. "Too many to count."
King's grin lit up his entire face and, despite her better judgement, Abby rewarded him with a faint smile.
"You trying to be funny?" The guy bristled belligerently, like a bantam squaring up to a cougar, even if he was too stupid to realise it.
"Usually, yes." King smile was bright and cheerful, but Abby knew him better than that. His eyes were watchful, glittering with suppressed aggression, and his smile had an edge to it that Abby suspected only she could see.
As she expected, and as King probably intended, the guy pushed King, both hands flat on King's chest, the way these little territorial pissing contests usually went. He probably expected to get shoved back; instead he ended up face down on the bar, his arm twisted high up behind his back, although King stopped just short of pulling his arm out of its socket.
King's smile wasn't cheerful now; it was as lean and fierce as King himself.
Abby sighed again, placing her glass on the counter and grabbing the man's other hand before he could reach the bottle he was aiming for, the one he intended to crack over King's head. Knowing how thick King's head was, it probably wouldn't do any damage, but there was no point in taking any chances.
The noise in the bar dimmed, damping down in a moment of watchfulness, the lull before the storm hit. She bent the asshole's wrist back, pinning his forearm down with hers so that he couldn't wriggle free.
There was an ominous crack, although she didn't break anything - this time - and the silence in the bar took on a wary as well as a watchful quality.
"Don't break the man's arm, darlin'," King said, and his use of that particular endearment told her he'd been around long before she'd spotted him, and that just pissed her off. "It's his right one, and he's gonna need that one tonight, given that he's getting no joy here. No sugar for you, huh, buddy?" he added, slapping the man's back like they were friends and like King wasn't about to dislocate his shoulder.
King moved his hand from the guy's back to his collar, twisting his fingers in the fabric and hauling the guy's head up. "You are right-handed, right?" he asked, back to pleasant, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth.
Abby twisted the guy's wrist again, glaring at King over the top of his head and ignoring King's little 'who, me?' look back. She leaned in closer to the man's Stetson-clad head, ignoring the smell of stale beer and fresh, panicked fury.
"You're the one with the problem, buddy. Consider this official notification of me not being interested."
She looked straight at King she said it, and his mouth curled a little moue of disappointment. It didn't do anything to mask the amusement in his eyes.
She let go of the guy's wrist and stepped back, King matching her move and eyeing the guy warily, just in case he really was that stupid.
"You should probably listen to her," said King, and Abby gave him a filthy look. One of these days, King's mouth was going to get him into trouble. More trouble.
She shook her head at him, stalking out of the bar like she owned the place, and with King hard on her heels.
"What was that?" she asked when she was sure no one had enough of a death wish to try and follow them.
"What was what?"
She stopped in her tracks, so abruptly that King had to stumble a step or two to avoid running into the back of her, and turned to give him a long, even look.
He twitched uncomfortably, his gaze briefly darting away from her.
"That little... territorial display back there?"
He shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. "Would you buy it being some freaky ex-vampire thing?"
"Freaky ex-vampire thing," she repeated, her tone still carefully even.
"Could be worse." He flashed another grin. "If I'd been an ex-werewolf, I'm pretty sure I'd have pissed on your shoes at some point."
She kept her face stony as she stepped closer and stabbed one finger firmly into the middle of his chest. He swayed back, but didn't give much more ground than that. She'd known he wouldn't, at least not yet.
"Keep that up," she said quietly, not missing the suppressed flare of desire in his eyes, "and that guy in there won't be the only one reduced to using his own right hand tonight."
King considered this carefully. "Sometimes I use my left," he offered. "Just for variety." And then he gave an apologetic half-shrug, giving a little more ground to her.
She stepped back, tilting her to look at him - really look at him, no matter how uncomfortable it made him.
"If you were an ex-werewolf," she said, "it wouldn't be you pissing on my shoes." Werewolves weren't the only ones who had a hierarchy.
King opened his mouth, swallowing hard before he finally got out, "Kinky. Didn't think you went in for that sort of thing, Whistler." But he was backing down again, and there was a look in his eye that she recognised. It was the one that said that that little display in the bar hadn't been about King establishing dominance over anyone.
He could be a pushy little fuck, sometimes.
"Behave yourself," she said softly, holding his gaze so that he wouldn't - couldn't - look away, "and maybe I'll let you use both hands tonight."