Disclaimer: I do not , never have and never will own any of these character's. They belong to Tanya Huff and Lifetime Television.
Vicki was asleep at her desk a sight none too unfamiliar these days. Coreen always debated whether she should wake her and ask her if she wanted a more comfortable situation. As the bells of the nearby church tolled six o'clock she decided it wouldn't do to disturb Vicki when she wasn't going to have much time left to sleep anyway. The last vestiges of the autumnal twilight were gone half an hour past and Henry would arrive soon anyways.
There was a slight breeze in the quiet offices, that couldn't be attributed to the weather. Coreen smiled to herself getting back to her research on Vicki's newest case. She looked up and into the next room, after staring blankly at the computer before her for over five minutes absentmindedly playing with her elaborately curled hair, which again no one had noticed she'd gotten blue streaks in.
Henry stood before Vicki's desk gazing at her, and probably had been for what occurred to Coreen was at least as long ago as the unexplained breeze had gone through. Henry leant forward to brush some hair away from Vicki's face. His movements were slow like water in a deceptively calm looking stream. The only indication that he was moving came from the end result, of his placing an air-like kiss on Vicki's cheek. He lingered in it enjoying the proximity to her though he needn't been so close to be intoxicated with her smell and her essence to be as he was. In a room of a hundred people he could detect different scents and bodies, hear blood pumping to their owners unique rhythm and still pick out the one who commanded his attention. No it was the intimacy that Henry rarely got from Vicki and the opportunity to be within her space without her stiffening up, tensed and ready for resistance that Henry truly relished. Typical Vicki, easier to deal with when asleep but still as fascinating.
Lost as he was in these thoughts and the heartache that accompanied them he barely noticed her heart rate quicken indicating she was rousing from her cat-nap by a coughing fit. He snapped back faster than Coreen's eyes could follow and perched on the edge of the couch across the room in front of the window. Coreen went back to her research lest she be caught.
Vicki continued coughing while straightening up eyes so thick with sleep she didn't think to put her glasses back on until her coughing fit was over. She drank some water that was at her desk before she looked around for the time.
"You have a sticky-note on you cheek," said Henry, still perched from his spot on the couch. "What?" she said hoarsely.
"You don't sound very well, how do you feel?" he was at her side bending over her aligning his ear with her chest. "I think you may have some fluid in your lungs."
"Again what?" Vicki was somewhat paralyzed by having Henry right in front of her but was too tired to properly make out a protestation. "Coreen you're supposed to receive people when they get here you know. At least give me a heads up that I've got a sticky-note on me." Vicki's attempt at her usual brusqueness failed in another coughing fit. Henry still hadn't moved and when he did rise he was looking very worried.
"Coreen sorry but could you call ahead to the nearest hospital and ask if we should take her to the ER or just ask what the protocols are for bringing someone in?" he'd fled to Coreen's desk whispering all this in her ear. Vicki was looking miserable her face pale with dark shadows under her eyes. How she managed getting flushed from her coughing fit and still look pale really worried Henry. Of all the mortals he'd known in his life he could still not get used to the way people were so careless about their health. (In his own time people shunned those with coughs, as being one of the first signs of the many plagues.)
"What are you whispering about?" Vicki might be tired but these were still her offices and she was in no mood to be left out of the loop. "Vicki do you have a doctor you go to regularly?" asked Coreen, Henry giving her a look of utter exasperation, as if to say well now she'll never go.
"Why do you need to know? And no I don't really know who my doctor is now because I don't get sick." She was pretty sure she did but it seemed like a reasonable enough fib to get past the subject. "Now Henry while I thank you for showing up I have to say you should've waited for a call. I don't have anything for us just tonight."
"Why can't I just be here to be with you? Must we always work?" Henry was slightly annoyed at the way she seemed to think that he had no business being there. The whole business of having a friend or any relationship that didn't exist to satisfy some need of his was foreign to him. He couldn't remember the last time even when he was human that those he was closest to weren't there to serve him, cater to him or love him in some way. Though he worked with Vicki he didn't need to, having enough money from several lifetimes set aside. Besides she didn't really pay him all that much anyways, and he only accepted the checks but rarely cashed them. He more than made enough from his investments and graphic novels to cover the cost for his needs. In fact he'd more than once offered to help her with her money issues. All this was true and yet he couldn't quite place why it was that he was so offended at her easy dismissal of him.
"I was just saying I'm probably not going to be much fun with no case to work on… And besides don't you have work to do?" She had risen from her desk slowly, wearily and actually needing to stop and steady herself before going on. Again Henry grew angry at her. And then she coughed again this time needing to lean against Henry for support. Henry thought back to the night before and the weeks preceding. She'd kept insisting that this was nothing but a cough or head cold and yet he'd not paid much attention when she'd fall asleep in the car anytime they were on stake out. It occurred to him that the reason he hadn't been worried as he was now was because she'd very clearly been asleep for the last week they'd spent in cars doing routine stake outs. Also the stakeouts had been short, less than two hours for the past weeks. The adulterers getting their affairs over and done with well before midnight. The night before replayed vividly in his mind, she asleep in the back seat and he listening intently to the earphones attached to the amplifier-type device that also did the recording and taking notes like she'd taught him to do. He was the one who'd taken the pictures and he was the one who'd insisted on cutting the night short after they'd gathered sufficient proof.