jesterladyfic: (jesterlady)
[personal profile] jesterladyfic


Chapter Two

Nina was relieved to find that, despite Mitchell’s potential bombshell, life continued on as it had been for the next few weeks. There weren’t any more messages and no one had seen any lurking bad guys in alley ways and no one had shown up dead in the hospital morgue with a torn neck. All plus signs there. So Nina allowed herself to relax a little bit more than she had been. After all, she was attempting to not be so high strung about the supernatural. She’d never made peace with her wolf like George had, especially since Eve had been born. There was just too much about it that she couldn’t control and she knew what her wolf was capable of.

Eve slammed against the screen door, breaking Nina’s concentration.

“Eve Anne Sands-Pickering,” she scolded, “what are you doing?”

“Unca T is coming!” Eve said in a high pitched voice and for a second Nina thought something was horribly wrong and Tom had transformed and was chasing Eve.

She quickly realized that wasn’t the case when Tom in his human shape came galloping up to the door and snatched Eve from behind.

“Got you,” he said. “Hunter wins.”

“No fair, no fair,” said Eve, obviously loving every second of it.

Nina couldn’t help smiling even as she shuddered to think of the damage the two must have done to the barn in their game.

“Can’t do nothing about it,” said Tom, giving her a raspberry on the side of her neck.

“I ‘scape,” said Eve, trying to be defiant through her laughter.

She twisted around and play bit at Tom’s hand holding her waist. At the same time Tom adjusted his grip and Eve’s teeth bit down hard into his skin.

He didn’t say anything, just grimaced, and set her down carefully.

“Tom?” asked Nina, only guessing at what happened from her limited view.

“I sorry, I sorry,” said Eve, starting to cry. “Unca T, you need plasta.”

“I’m right and rough, Eve,” said Tom, picking Eve up again and heading inside, stomping excess mud off his shoes.

Nina accepted Eve when Tom handed her over and watched him rummage through the cupboards before he found some cotton and swabbed his hand with it.

“Are you okay, Tom?” asked Nina.

“Sure,” said Tom. “Nobbut but a nick in the skin. Little biter, that one.” He grinned at Eve as he said it and she slowly stopped crying.

“It’s okay, baby,” said Nina. “Tom knows you didn’t mean it.”

“Sure I do,” said Tom. “Stopped bleeding and everything, see?”

He showed Eve his hand and when she saw it, she brightened up. Nina couldn’t help but think about all the germs that were now floating around her baby’s mouth, but she didn’t say anything.

“It’s time you two stopped rough housing anyway,” said Nina. “I’ve got to get off to my shift and George should be home any minute.”

“I got the job,” said Tom, blurting it out as if he’d been practicing.

“That’s wonderful,” said Nina, beaming at him.

Tom shrugged, as if unused to having people be happy around him. Considering he’d been living with Annie for the last five years, Nina was surprised that hadn’t been coddled out of him yet. Some habits were hard to break, she supposed.

“Nothing special, but I can pitch in a bit now.”

“We appreciate everything you do, Tom,” said Nina, putting her hand on his shoulder. “Truly.”

He shrugged again and turned to go.

“I start tomorrow morning so I’ll do my rounds early.”

Nina stared after him, shaking her head. Tom not only took care of a fair amount of the farm work but he also patrolled nightly, a habit McNair had hammered into him and Tom had steadfastly refused to let go of. He more than contributed around the place.

“Blessed babies, both of them,” she muttered and went upstairs to finish getting ready for work.

***

George straightened up and reached overhead to fasten the latch above the door, grumbling as he did so. The door and he were old enemies and he often cursed the maker of the door, wondering why the latch had to be so high and so difficult.

“It’s a bloody good thing I’m tall,” he said.

Tom didn’t say anything, but George caught the side of his lip turning up and considered it a win. Tom could be hard to reach but George liked to think he’d made progress in doing so.

“You and Nina transforming together tonight?” Tom asked.

George shook his head.

“Your work is complete, my friend,” he said. “The divider gate in the cellar is strong enough. Me and Nina’ll go there tonight and if the worst happens then we’ll be the ones stuck together. Basement is all yours.”

“Sounds fair,” said Tom.

They headed into the house and George took a moment of satisfaction over the precautions they’d built into their home. It wasn’t the same as the vast werewolf compound McNair had built in Barry, but it was safe and theirs and had room enough for the three werewolves who lived there since Eve had shown no signs of ever transforming. They still had Annie watch her on transformation night so, just in case, Annie could quickly rent-a-ghost her somewhere safe, but after five years they’d stopped believing it would happen.

No, the house was pretty much perfect with the basement being an apt werewolf enclosure and, after a lot of hard labor, the storm cellar in the barn made into two separate cells, with a strong gate in the middle. They were far enough from the town that if one of them ever did get out, it wasn’t likely they’d run across anyone. They had a stock of tranquilizer darts for those occasions. Doping the wolves had never been a good long term solution, but for a quick stop to a killing spree, they were the best idea Mitchell had ever had.

The house was, of course, naturally fitted to its other supernatural inhabitants. Annie’s tiny room was mostly given over to an office space for her business. She still didn’t really sleep and when she was doing anything domestic, it was either with Mitchell in his room or in the kitchen. Mitchell’s room was naturally incredibly dark most of the time but that seemed to suit both of them just fine and that was about as far as George wanted to go when it came to thinking about Mitchell and Annie together. Their relationship thrilled him to no end but he didn’t need to know any of the details. At all.

The only other thing the house could use was some air conditioning about now. He wiped the sweat from his brow before washing his hands and sitting down at the table.

Annie shoveled some pie on George’s plate while he was thinking and watched him eat it.

“Just the right touch before you transform, right?” she asked. “I’ve been practicing.”

“You’re the only person I know who tries to find the right food for someone before they turn into a killer werewolf,” he said, inhaling it anyway.

Transformation nights did seem to make him hungrier and if he was already full it was more likely his wolf wouldn’t want to eat anything. He and his wolf understood each other fairly well these days and George remembered most of what happened each time he transformed now, but it didn’t hurt to be cautious when one false step could cause someone’s death.

“I can see how much you disapprove by the way you’re shoving it in your face,” she said, watching him and Tom, who never stopped to mince words over good food.

“Where’s Nina?” asked George in between bites.

“I just put Eve to bed,” said Nina, coming into the room with Mitchell. “After Uncle John read her a bedtime story.”

“Really?” Annie asked, clasping her hands together as if it wasn’t the eight hundredth time Mitchell had done so.

“I’m not going to dignify any of this,” said Mitchell, snagging a piece of pie and eating it more delicately than anybody had a right to eat pie, apparently to prove some kind of point, though George wasn’t sure what.

George had to sigh with satisfaction when he was done and reached over to snag some crumbs off of Tom’s plate. Tom slapped at his hand, playfully, but rather more forcefully than George would have liked. The plaster on Tom’s hand started unraveling as he lifted it.

“Good job, innit?” said Tom, a little weary in voice.

George furrowed his brow.

“Don’t be a baby, Tom; what’d you need a great big plaster like that for anyhow?”

“Eve’s got some chompers on her,” Tom said absently, rewinding the bandage.

“I’m sure she does,” George said, laughing.

Across the table Mitchell froze and then looked up.

“What did you say?”

“I’m sure she does,” said George enunciating clearly so his apparently deaf vampire friend could understand what was happening around him.

“Eve bit you?” asked Mitchell, shooting George a look.

“Yeah, so?” said Tom.

“Eve,” Mitchell repeated.

“I like our daughter’s name as well,” said Nina, “but you don’t have to keep on repeating it. What’s the matter, Mitchell?”

“It’s not like Tom’s not already a werewolf,” said Annie jokingly. “Even if Eve was one herself, which she’s clearly not.”

“No, she’s not a werewolf,” agreed Mitchell. “But we don’t know what she is and biting people is probably not a good way to find out. The prophecy is pretty specific about her biting people.”

“But vague about everything else,” said George.

“It was days ago,” said Tom. “I’m fine.”

“But you haven’t transformed since then,” said Mitchell.

George felt the hairs on the back of his neck standing up and he turned to look at Tom along with Annie and Nina. Tom was clearly uncomfortable with all the staring and looked bewildered.

“What’s all the fuss?” he said. “I know Eve was supposed to be some werewolf savior or somewhat, but she’s not, she’s just Eve. Nothing happened to me.”

“I’m sure you’re just dandy,” said Annie, hopping into action and rent-a-ghosting around the table to put her hands on Tom’s shoulders. “You’re right that Eve’s always been normal and certainly we haven’t had any indication other- oh, what if the vampires knew?” she finished, turning to them with a panicked expression.

“Annie, love, no, you’ll start George off,” said Mitchell.

“What?” squawked George indignantly. “I’m not some fly off the handle idiot, Mitchell.”

“No, you’re calm and collected always,” said Mitchell.

“You’re all flying off the handle,” said Nina. “Don’t forget you started this, Mitchell.”

“I had a legitimate concern and now they’re flapping about like chickens,” said Mitchell.

“Then handle it like an adult,” said Nina.

“I’m older than all of you,” he said.

“And permanently barely an adult,” George reminded him.

“This is not the time for that,” said Annie. “What if something happens to Tom?”

“I’m fine,” said Tom. “Look, I’ll transform and Annie can pop in and make sure I haven’t exploded or nothing, right?”

“He’s right,” said Nina. “We have no evidence anything else will happen. We just need to wait and see.”

“I hate waiting,” Mitchell and George both said.

Nina shook her head and Annie smiled.

“It’s almost time,” said Tom. “I’m going to the cellar now if you’re all done being strange.”

“Go on, Tom,” said Nina.

George watched him go with narrowed eyes but certainly to the naked eye there was nothing different about him and hadn’t been since he was bitten. George was forced to come to the conclusion that he’d been a bit silly, but then, anything to do with vampires or Eve’s potential prophetic status and he went a bit wonky.

“I believe our turn is next,” he said, forcing himself to sound more cheerful than he felt. “Shall we?” he said, offering his hand to Nina.

“You know all the best places,” she said wryly and took his hand.

“I’ll take care of Eve,” said Annie, waving after them as if they were going on holiday and not to have all the bones in their body broken in a painfully agonizing way. “Don’t worry about a thing. Be safe.”

George rolled his eyes as he and Nina walked outside and he had to wrestle with the door again before they found themselves on opposite sides of the gate staring at each other through bars, completely naked. George could feel the moon inching its way up the sky like a hot trail of fire up his back and he didn’t try to fight it. Not anymore.

He didn’t welcome the pain, it was actually still a terrifying thought and horribly suspenseful, waiting for it to come; but, the time spent as a wolf, releasing any kind of pent up aggression or emotion, was incredibly freeing.

George was a werewolf and he actually liked being one. How was that for a plot twist?
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