"Are you calling me a monster?" I wasn't whispering, but my voice was low and careful.
"I'm saying you're going to have to choose whether you're one of them, or one of us." He pointed to Jason when he said them.
"You join Humans against Vampires, or some other right wing group, Dolph?"
"No, but I'm beginning to agree with them."
"The only good vampire is a dead one, is that it?"
"They are dead, Anita." He took that step closer, that Zerbrowski's moving had given him. "They are f**king corpses that don't have enough sense to stay in their godforsaken graves."
"According to the law, they're living beings with rights and protection under the law."
"Maybe the law was wrong on this one."
Part of me wanted to say, you know that this is being recorded? part of me was glad he'd said it. If he came off sounding like a bigoted crazy then it would help keep Jason safe. The fact that it wouldn't help Dolph's career did bother me, but not enough to sacrifice Jason. I'd like to save all my friends, but if someone is bent on self-destruction, there is only so much you can do. You can't shovel other people's shit for them, not unless they're willing to pick up a shovel and help.
Dolph wasn't helping. He got down low, hands flat to the table and pushed his face into Jason's. Jason moved back as far as he could in the chair. Zerbrowski looked at me, and I gave wild eyes. We both knew that if Dolph touched a suspect the way he'd touched me earlier his career was well and truly over.
"It looks so human, but it's not," Dolph said.
I didn't like the use of the itfor one of my friends.
"Did you really let him touch you?"
Him. See, even if you hate the monsters, it's hard to keep straight in your own head what's an it, and what's a him. "Yes," I said.
Zerbrowski was moving around Dolph, trying to get to Jason, to get between them, I think.
Dolph turned to look at me, still bent over low, way too close to Jason for anyone's comfort. "And the bite on your neck, was that the bloodsucker you're f**king?"
"No," I said, "that was a new one. I'm f**king two of them now."
He staggered almost as if he'd taken a blow. He leaned heavily on the table, and for just a second I thought he'd fall into Jason's lap, but he recovered himself with a visible effort. Zerbrowski touched the big man's arm. "Easy there, Lieutenant."
Dolph let Zerbrowski sit him down. He made no reaction when the sergeant eased Jason out of the chair and farther away from Dolph. Dolph wasn't looking at them. His pain-filled eyes were all for me. "I knew you were coffin bait, I didn't know you were a whore."
I felt my own face go hard and cold. Maybe if I hadn't been so tired, so stressed--but there was no real excuse for what I said next, except that Dolph had hurt me, and I wanted to hurt him. "How's that grandchildren problem coming Dolph? You still got a vampire for a soon-to-be daughter-in-law?"
I felt Zerbrowski react to the news, and knew in that moment that only I had known. "You really shouldn't piss off people you've confided in, Dolph." The moment I said it, I wished I hadn't, but it was too late. Too f**king late.
He came up out of the chair, hands under the table, and upended it with a tremendous crash onto the floor. We all scattered. Zerbrowski stood in front of Jason against the far wall. I took a corner near the door.
Dolph trashed the room. There was no other word for it. The chairs hit the walls, and the table followed. He finally picked one chair up and seemed to take a special grievance against it. He smashed the metal chair against the floor, over and over.
The door to the interrogation room opened. Police filled the door, guns drawn. I think they expected to see a rampaging werewolf. The sight of a rampaging Dolph stopped them dead in the doorway. They'd have probably cheerfully shot the werewolf, but I don't think they wanted to shoot Dolph. Of course, no one volunteered to arm wrestle him either.
The metal chair folded in upon itself, and Dolph collapsed to his knees. His harsh breathing filled the room, as if the walls themselves were breathing in and out.
I went to the door and chased everyone back. I said things like, "It's okay. He'll be fine. Just go." I wasn't sure he'd be okay, or fine, but I really did want them to go. No one needs to see their Lieutenant lose it. It shakes their faith in him. Hell, my faith wasn't doing all that well.
I closed the door behind them and looked across the room at Zerbrowski. We just stared at each other. I don't think either of us knew what to say, or even what to do.
Dolph's voice came as if from deep inside him, as if he had to pull it up hand-over-hand like the bucket in a well. "My son's going to be a vampire." He looked at me with a mixture of such pain and anger, that I didn't know what to do with it.
"You happy now?" he said. I realized that there were tears drying on his face. He'd cried as he'd destroyed everything. But he wasn't crying as he said, "My daughter-in-law wanted to bring him over, so he'd be twenty-five forever." He made a sound that was halfway between a moan and a scream.
Saying I was sorry didn't seem to be enough. I couldn't think of anything that would be enough. But sorry was all I had to offer. "I'm sorry, Dolph."
"Why, why sorry, vampires are people, too." The tears started again, silent. You'd never have known he was crying if you hadn't been looking directly at him.
"Yeah, I'm dating a bloodsucker and some of my friends don't have a pulse, but I still don't approve of bringing humans over."
He looked up at me and the pain was flooding over the anger. It made his eyes harder and easier to meet all at the same time. "Why? Why?"
I didn't think he was really asking me why. I believed what I believed about vampires. I think it was the universal cry of why me? Why my son, my daughter, my mother, my country, my home? Why me? Why isn't the universe fair? Why doesn't everyone get a happy ending? I had no answer for that why. I wished to God I did.
I answered the implied why, because I couldn't answer the other more painful questions. "I don't know anymore, but I do know that it creeps me out every time I meet someone I knew first as a live human, then as a dead vampire." I shrugged. "It just seems, I don't know, unnerving."
He gave a big hiccupping sob. "Unnerving . . ." He half laughed and half cried, then he covered his face with his hands and he gave himself over to crying.
Zerbrowski and I just stood there. I don't know which of us felt more helpless. He walked carefully around the room, bringing Jason with him.
Dolph sensed the movement and said, "He goes nowhere."
"He had nothing to do with this," I said.
Dolph wiped at his face angrily. "You haven't alibied him for the first murder."
"You're looking for a serial killer. If a suspect is cleared of one of the crimes then he's usually innocent of all of them."
He shook his head stubbornly. "We can keep him seventy-two hours, and we're going to."
I looked around the destroyed room, met Zerbrowski's eyes, and wasn't sure Dolph had enough clout to make those kinds of pronouncements anymore.
"The full moon is in a few days," I said.
"We'll put him in a secured facility," Dolph said.
Secured facilities were run by the government. They were places where new lycanthropes could go and be sure of not accidentally hurting anyone. The idea was you'd stay until you got control of your beast, then they'd let you out to resume your life. That was the theory. The reality was that once you were signed in, voluntarily or otherwise, you almost never got out. The ACLU had started the years of court battles it would take to get them outlawed, or made unconstitutional.
I looked at Zerbrowski. He stared at me with a sort of growing horror and weariness. I wasn't sure he had the juice to keep Jason out of permanent lockup if Dolph pushed. This couldn't be happening. I couldn't let it happen.
I looked back at Dolph. "Jason has been a werewolf for years. He has perfect control over his beast. Why send him to a secured facility?"
"He belongs in one," Dolph said, and the hatred had chased back the pain.
"He doesn't belong in a lockup, and you know it."
Dolph just glared at me. "He's dangerous," Dolph said.
"He's a werewolf, Anita."
"So he needs to be locked up because he's a werewolf."
Zerbrowski looked ill.