jesterladyfic: (jesterlady)
[personal profile] jesterladyfic
Title: But the Horror of the Shade
By Jesterlady
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: George/Nina, Annie/Mitchell
Summary: Eve is the child of two werewolves, destined to become the War Child, foe to the Old Ones, but no one seems to be quite sure exactly what that means or what the vampires will do to prevent it.
A/N: Sequel to my fic Among the Deepening Shades: Ao3 LJ Master Post
I have an amazing beta in [livejournal.com profile] punch_kicker15 and got amazing art done by [livejournal.com profile] knowmefirst.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Being Human. The title is by William Ernest Henley.





Chapter One:

Nina opened the screen door and shielded her eyes against the sun throwing light on her face. It was still hard to see but she managed to make out the tiny figure of her daughter running circles between the house and the barn.

“Eve,” she called.

Eve looked over and turned the direction of her frantic pace toward the house while Nina walked out to meet her.

“Mummy, Mummy,” she said, “the piggys don’t eat good.”

Nina paused for a moment to translate that.

“You mean they’re messy, baby?” she asked.

“Messy all over,” said Eve, her voice the very tone of disapproval.

That would be her father coming out in her, or at least, that’s what Nina assumed, since it certainly didn’t come from her.

“Never mind the pigs,” said Nina, holding out her hand. “It’s time to come inside and get ready for dinner.”

“What we eat?” asked Eve, taking Nina’s hand.

“It’s your father’s turn to cook,” said Nina, “let’s go see.”

She rotated her neck as they walked, trying to work out the kinks. She’d pulled not quite a double shift, but almost, and had only just gotten out of the shower. Her wet hair felt good since England was having one of its horrible heatwaves and the old house they lived in had never even heard of air conditioning, let alone had anyone attempted to have it installed. It had hurriedly been moved to the top of Nina’s to-do list this past week.

Eve primly wiped her feet on the mat and entered the house and then ran into the kitchen.

George was busy at work flipping things and stirring others while the delicious smell of meat cooking floated through the air. He stopped his work though when he saw Eve, a smile taking over his face.

“How’s my little Evie?” he asked.

“Fine, thanks,” said Eve, putting her hands behind her back and beaming up at George, who naturally towered over her.

“You wash your hands, you can help me,” said George.

Eve nodded seriously and climbed up her special stool to reach the sink and began the very important task of cleanliness.

George watched her and then turned to Nina.

“How’s the wife doing?” he asked. “Big news from hospital?”

“Just that I’m getting too old for this,” she said, only half meaning it. His brow wrinkled and his worry lines started to appear. “Relax, George,” she said, moving closer so he could bend down and kiss her. “Everything’s fine. How was Eve today?”

“Good as gold,” said George. “She helped me feed the pigs.”

“I can’t believe Mitchell got you to feed the pigs,” said Nina wryly. “No, never mind, I can totally believe it.”

“It’s very sunny out,” said George defensively.

Nina just shook her head and went to help Eve dry her hands. Once she was finished with that task and saw her daughter safely ensconced, helping George, she went into the lounge and found Mitchell lying on the sofa with the shades drawn. There was an empty beer bottle on the floor next to him and he had a cap drawn over his eyes.

“Another late night for the brave?” she asked, walking through his legs up on the coffee table.

“I’ll have you know I’m not feeling very well,” he said, not even bothering to try and look up at her, though he did start to topple when she knocked his legs down.

“I can imagine,” she said, without sympathy. “I don’t know how you work those sixteen hour shifts at the hospital. Oh wait, that was me.”

Mitchell finally sat up and cocked one eye at her.

“Nina, Nina, Nina, whatever will I do with you?” he asked.

“Nothing, I certainly intend,” she said. “Come on, move your lazy arse. George has got food and I imagine Annie will be home soon.”

He appeared slightly more interested now that food and Annie were involved.

“I guess I could stomach something,” he said, stretching.

“Do you know where Tom is?” Nina asked.

“Another failed interview would be my guess,” said Mitchell. “The lad has no social skills whatsoever and it’s like he was raised by wolves.”

“Ha, ha,” said Nina. “I haven’t heard that one in the last five days.”

“Never hurts to break out the classics,” said Mitchell as they moved into the kitchen. “George, what are we eating?”

“Nothing for you,” said Eve. “Say please, Unca John.”

Mitchell squatted down and put his hands together, sticking out his lower lip.

“Please, Miss Eve, may I have some of your delicious smelling food?”

Eve tried to hold back a smile and Mitchell stuck his lip out even further if that was possible. Nina had to hold back a smile herself.

“Kay,” said Eve. “You set table.”

Mitchell gave her a serious nod and straightened up. Eve turned back to where she was watching George season the meat and Mitchell winked at Nina while pulling out the plates.

Nina, in the meantime, sat down by the counter and watched them working.

It was still slightly surreal to her that her daughter was now five years old. Time was moving so fast Nina couldn’t keep track of it. It was an old problem for a parent, she knew, but she was having a more difficult time than she’d imagined she would. She did love every moment of Eve though and when she wasn’t directly interacting with Eve herself, she loved to watch Eve interact with the rest of the family.

Eve with George was a very serious affair, they were very straightforward and earnest, with George treating her like a little adult and Eve practically bursting with pride as George gave her responsibility and tasks. George spoiled her horribly in the meantime, but at least he was trying to teach her things as well. Nina could only approve, especially when she saw how happy it made George when Eve learned new skills and how thrilled Eve was to learn them.

Mitchell, on the other hand, very much played the role of indulgent uncle, acting like, and indeed it mostly seemed the case, that Eve was the boss of him. Eve loved to order her ‘Unca John’ around and Mitchell teased her gently and did whatever she said. Nina only intervened when it became too ridiculous because she liked seeing the softer side of Mitchell and it was one of the only ways to get him to do anything unless Annie was involved.

Of course Annie showered Eve with attention and kisses and presents and was thankfully going to be there to teach Eve about the more girly aspects of womanhood which Nina did not want to handle. Eve loved her ‘Annie Annie’ and the two of them went on imaginative romps and told wild stories until bedtime almost every night.

Nina actually envied the relationship Eve had with Annie a little bit. It was natural and effortless whereas Nina felt like she had to work hard for every inch of her own relationship with Eve. It wasn’t Eve’s fault, certainly, it was Nina’s own natural fears and demons coming into play. She’d feared being a mother for so long that right after Eve was born Nina had practically thrust Eve into Annie’s arms and forced her to do all the mothering Nina was petrified to do.

It had taken a long time, some rather long arguments with George, pointed remarks from Mitchell, and watching Eve with Annie jealously before Nina had realized what she was doing and taken back her daughter, so to speak. The love had never been a problem, but her fear of hurting Eve and making a mistake was a paralyzing emotion and it still caught Nina by surprise sometimes. She’d made many strides since then, but she regretted overcompensating so much when Eve was a baby.

“Sorry to be late,” said Tom, entering the kitchen and knocking the dirt from his boots off mostly on the mat. Eve saw him and instantly held her hands up. “Time for a ride then?” he asked, picking her up and whirling her around, her shoe dangerously close to flying off and hitting someone in the head.

Tom, well, Tom was just a big older brother type, a bit rough around the edges, but he never tired of giving Eve piggyback rides and taking her around the farm and Nina had even caught Eve trying to whittle the other day, though she had quickly put a stop to that, because as admirable a skill as it was, Eve was far too young to be playing with any type of sharp item.

“Not in the kitchen, Tom,” squawked George. “The food!”

“Right,” said Tom, looking abashed, slowing down. “I better wash up then.”

“More,” pleaded Eve.

Tom looked helplessly at Nina; he was terrible at saying no to Eve.

“Not now, Eve,” said Nina. “Dinner first, you’re supposed to be helping your father.”

Eve already hated shirking responsibilities and she instantly turned back to George, adjusting her tiny apron with a well-practiced air.

Mitchell started laughing and Nina ignored him, turning to Tom.

“Where’ve you been?” she asked.

Tom pulled his puppy dog face, which was really just his normal face.

“Just nipped into town,” he said. “I wanted to see about working at that shop.”

“And?” Nina inquired.

Tom smiled.

“Think they might take me. Had a proper interview and everything.”

“That’s good,” said Nina, softening.

She never wanted to be hard on Tom; he somehow always managed to look like the entire world was kicking him anyway. She’d been given a brief glimpse into how he’d been raised back when they’d first met. His father had been fairly harsh and obsessed with killing vampires. It hadn’t really given Tom the social skills he needed to survive in the human world even though he was very polite and had some rather quaint old fashioned ideas. Nina felt responsible for him and she couldn’t help being more motherly than not toward him. He wasn’t that much younger than she was, but he definitely inspired that feeling in her.

They’d met Tom back when she’d been pregnant with Eve and they’d craved more information about werewolves than Mitchell could provide. They’d met McNair and his son Tom as well as several other werewolves living in Barry where the four of them had also been living. The little pack had welcomed George and Nina warmly though it had taken considerable diplomacy to keep McNair and Mitchell from killing each other. When the four of them had made plans to move back to England, Tom had begged to go with them and after a lot of finagling, McNair had agreed.

Tom had proven himself hard working and useful, if rather too prone to making homemade explosives and twitching whenever Mitchell came around him for the first couple of months. Either way, he was a part of their household and Nina was grateful for his help with Eve and his desire to contribute.

They needed all the help they could get since Nina and George both worked full time and Mitchell was a bit useless during the day and Annie was off running an empire.

They all sat down to the table and just as Nina put her first fork load into her mouth, Annie popped into the room.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said. “It’s so rude of me coming late to dinner.” She sat down next to Mitchell and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “I was down in Spain if you can believe it. Some bloke with a truly terrible moustache was refusing to get put on the wait list and so I had to step in when Ana just couldn’t cope with it. It just goes to show that people really don’t know-”

“Annie,” George interrupted. She stopped and looked at him.

“Yes, George?”

“Breathe for a bit, okay? The story, as fascinating as I know it will turn out to be, doesn’t have to come out all at once.”

“Oh, don’t be a humbug,” said Annie, but she didn’t continue the story of her woes as an incredibly popular therapist and stretched her fingers across the table in a wave to Eve. “How’s my favorite little girl?”

“Hungry,” Eve said and tried to get some more food into her mouth, but managed to get half of it on the table.

Nina sighed, but wiped Eve off with a well-practiced air. Eve submitted to the indignity with grace and then dived back into her food.

They continued to eat, dinner going much the same as it usually did. By now everyone was used to Annie watching them all eat and occasionally placing her hand to Mitchell’s head to taste what he was eating, but it was still an odd sight for Nina. Annie whisked all the food things away almost as soon as everyone finished eating and Nina didn’t have to look to know that the dishes were washing themselves. Ghosts were odd housemates, but relatively useful ones, she often reflected.

“What time is it?” asked George after everyone had finally finished. “Is it time for a little girl’s bedtime?”

Eve started to put on her pouty face but Tom intervened.

“It’s only past seven,” he said. “Gotta check the animals, yeah?”

Eve then began wriggling in her seat from excitement.

“Go on and take her, Tom,” Nina said. “Just make sure she’s back and ready for bed before eight.”

“Yes, ma’am,” said Tom, swooping Eve into his arms and carrying her outside.

Nina watched them go with a fond look and then turned back to the rest.

“Shall we all have a house meeting?” Mitchell said casually, too casually, Nina thought. She narrowed her eyes at him.

“You going to try and get out of washing up again?” asked George, who also appeared to be suspicious of Mitchell’s innocent sounding words.

“Don’t be daft,” said Mitchell, “though if you wanted to volunteer…” he trailed off when Annie poked him in the ribs.

“Right, let’s have it then,” said Nina, standing up and making her way into the lounge. “Might as well be comfortable.”

Annie and Mitchell sat on the couch while George and Nina settled into the oversized arm chair that somehow just managed to fit the two of them, even if Nina had to overlap George a little bit. She never minded and it was her favorite way to spend time in the lounge by far.

“What’s going on, Mitchell?” asked Annie.

“I got a message from Carl today,” Mitchell said, almost reluctantly, as if he still couldn’t quite bring himself to share problems instead of solve them all on his own.

It would always be a struggle for him, Nina knew, but she had to grudgingly admit, he didn’t keep secrets now, at least, not that she could tell.

“And?” she prompted.

“It was a bit odd, even for Carl,” said Mitchell. He pulled out his phone and began reading. “Old friends can be so tricky, can’t they? You never know what they know about you and whether they’ll keep the embarrassing bits under wraps. I’m thinking about moving to avoid such situations. I wanted to let you know you might not hear from me till I settle in. Wishing you health and safety, remember all your lessons.”

Nina could see why Mitchell was confused. A more tangled bit of mumbo jumbo she’d never heard.

“Do you have any idea what it means?” asked George. “It sounds like he’s trying to warn you about something.”

“Yeah,” said Mitchell, shifting uncomfortably. “I think he’s on the run and wanted to warn me who was after him.”

“And…who is?” asked Annie, practically perched on Mitchell’s lap she was leaning so far towards him.

“The Old Ones,” said Mitchell.

Despite her many years living with Mitchell, the name didn’t mean much to Nina. Mitchell didn’t talk about vampire stuff unless it pertained to whatever was happening. She’d heard him say the term once or twice and had the vague impression they were the eldest living vampires, but that was about it.

“And we’re worried?” asked George. “We are, aren’t we? We’re petrified. Bloody hell, why do we have to be petrified?”

“Because the Old Ones are smart and influential and when they take notice of you, it’s never for a good reason,” said Mitchell. “Other than my…lifestyle choices, the only reason they’d be interested in me that Carl might warn-”

“Eve,” Nina breathed, sudden terror flooding her.

“I don’t know that for sure, Nina,” Mitchell said.

“But that’s your suspicion and, unfortunately, that’s good enough for me,” said Nina.

“I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended,” said Mitchell.

“With you two it’s usually both,” mumbled George.

“Let’s keep on track, shall we?” said Annie. “Mitchell, is that everything?”

“Literally, the whole kit and whatever the rest of that saying is,” said Mitchell.

George had started twitching beneath Nina and she knew he was going to say something panicky so she interfered.

“We don’t know anything for sure,” she said. “So, we’ll keep Eve safe and inside and be very underneath the radar.”

“My baby girl,” said George under his breath and Nina put her hand on his.

“I’m not going to let anything happen to our Eve,” Mitchell said firmly, leaning forward and staring at them intensely. “No matter what happens.”

“Somehow that worries me,” said Nina.

Mitchell rolled his eyes and stood up, giving Annie his hand.

“Come on, love, let’s leave them to it.”

“Leave them to what?” Annie asked and then nodded as the thought caught up to her. “Right, that. Okay, yes, we’ll, we’ll just go on then and leave you…to…that.”

***

George watched Mitchell and Annie leave the room and tried to calm his breathing. He wasn’t panicking so much as suddenly very angry and whenever that happened, well, the best way to describe it was his inner wolf gaining control.

“You have the nicest friends,” Nina said.

George knew how she meant it, but it opened up old fears inside him and he didn’t want to revert back to the way things had been.

“Don’t start that again,” he said. “They’re your friends.”

“I know they are,” she said. “I’m just trying to distract you from all the panicking you’re doing.”

“Eve is our daughter,” he said, “and it’s our job to keep her safe. We’re the ones who brought her into this world, you know.”

“I was there,” said Nina dryly. “For both the pleasurable and the not so pleasurable bits. The only one party to both, I might add.”

“But we don’t really know anything about her,” said George, resisting the urge to stand up, dumping Nina to the ground, and start to pace. “I mean, we just let it go after she was born, but we should have been more prepared, should have done more research.”

“We didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves,” said Nina. “We still don’t.”

“And if the attention is already drawn to us, what then?” asked George.

“Then we fight it,” said Nina, “and I will personally tear apart anything that tries to touch her.”

George stopped thinking so hard and turned to look at his wife. She was wearing her customary fierce expression, but he knew that within that look was a nurturing nature that could comfort the whole world. She’d loved Eve intensely from the moment of birth despite her crippling fears about becoming a mother and, when she thought no one was looking, she was incredibly tender. Yet that never stopped her from being strong and dangerous and if you coupled that fact with her status of werewolf, she was a formidable opponent. He was glad she loved him.

“I can get on board with that,” he said, after he’d stopping drinking in how much he loved her.

She half-smiled and kissed his cheek.

“You are funny, you know that, George?”

“I’m being serious,” he protested.

“I know,” she said. “But you choose the oddest moments to get romantic.”

“I can’t help it,” he said. “You’re my wife and I’m proud of you.”

“I know that, too,” she said. “Luckily you’re good at showing it.”

He smiled, pleased to hear it. There had been a time when he he’d thought he’d never be able to be close to anyone ever again. Nina had changed all of that even with all the ups and downs their relationship had brought both of them. He still regretted causing her the pain of becoming a werewolf, but on a more selfish line, he was infinitely grateful it had happened.

“I am happy with you,” he said. “Our life. We have a wonderful little girl.”

“I will agree,” she said. “She’s kind and smart.”

George smiled, but he soon lost the look as his thoughts went another bent.

“Do you think she’s got crazy powers she’ll develop or do something to change the world?”

“I would hope anyone could change the world,” Nina said.

“You know what I mean,” said George. “Is she some child of prophecy?”

“She’s never exhibited any signs of being anything other than a normal girl,” said Nina. “She doesn’t change at the moon like you or I, she throws a tantrum if her meat is too rare, she’s very good natured most of the time, no pent up rage that I can see.”

“But that might not mean anything,” said George. “We live in a world of monsters.”

“Our daughter will never be a monster,” Nina said fiercely. “I won’t let it happen.”

George nodded, feeling comforted by her confidence.

“You’re right, she’s always been normal.”

“Normal and ours,” said Nina. “Our only child.”

Her voice caught slightly on the word only and George winced a little. He didn’t like to be reminded of it either, but Eve would never have little brothers or sisters. When Nina had been pregnant with Eve there had been an incident with a vampire and she’d been stabbed and then had transformed into her wolf self. Miraculously, both she and the baby had survived, maybe because of something Annie had done, George still didn’t know. They had only gotten pregnant in the first place because they had slept together as werewolves. They were careful to transform separately after that, but there had been a night when that wasn’t possible and George could remember with blushes the things that had happened between them that night.

They’d anxiously been prepared for another surprise pregnancy at that point, but it had never happened. When that had happened several times, they’d gone to the doctor and the test results had shown that there was permanent damage from the knife wound.

It wasn’t conclusive, the doctor hadn’t been able to say anything for sure, but it had been years now and there were times they never used any kind of birth control. There were no other babies and even though everyone agreed that was probably a good thing since the children of werewolves didn’t tend to survive, there was a tint of bitterness to the knowledge. George felt largely responsible for it since he had brought Nina into their world and they had been technically separated at the time of her attack due to his actions. Still, there was nothing either of them could do about it and in the end, every time George looked at his precious Eve and thought about how much he’d like another one just like her, he reminded himself that any other children they had would be subject to the same fears they harbored for Eve.

Those fears had eased over the years as she never exhibited signs of any kind of supernatural tendencies, but at times like this, when the reminder of the old days popped up, they sprang to life inside George and he had never been great at keeping his cool.

“Should we do anything then?” he asked. “To prepare?”

“We don’t know enough yet,” said Nina. “I don’t want to make noise and be seen by the wrong people. Let’s just remain quiet and go about our lives as usual. But I don’t want Eve left alone.”

“Agreed,” said George.

Nina shifted in their seat and laid her head on George’s shoulder.

“That was a pretty good run of normalcy,” she said. “I thought it was going to last.”

“It might yet,” said George, hoping more than believing that to be true.

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