The Bad Guy

Author's note: A little variation on a theme here. Just a simple one-shot. I don't own Grim Fandango, Meche or Domino, but damn, do I love 'em.

She couldn't sleep.

Not that there was anything unusual about that, but she'd never dared to nurse her insomnia here. Normally she'd be in her own room, maybe halfheartedly hemming a skirt as she waited for the hours to trail by. But there was nowhere else in the complex but here where she could see the ocean; and the ocean, at least, was a reminder that there was something else out there other than where she was. Sometimes she felt herself forgetting.

So there she was in Domino's office.

She was huddled against the glass wall, staring out at the water. Being so near to the chilled glass—and under the full blast of the air conditioner—was making her shiver, but she didn't want to give sleeping another shot just yet. It was a cold, clear night, and she could make out every one of the white-tinged waves all the way to the horizon.

It might have been lovely. It didn't feel like it tonight.

Somewhere out there, on the other side of it all, was Manny Calavera. And she couldn't think why that distance bothered her so much.

How did all this happen to me? she thought bitterly. One of those tickets in the walk-in safe must be hers, but she'd never even bothered to take it. There were no train rides in the cards for her—at least not anytime soon. Meche was sick that evening. Sick of being at the Edge of the World and sick of being dead and just plain sick at heart.

"Late night?" Domino's voice asked from behind her. Meche jumped and turned to look at the boss, who was setting an armload of papers on his desk. He could move aggravatingly quietly when he wanted to.

The sarcastic retorts leapt into her head without any real thought, but she wasn't in the mood for a fight. "I'm sorry. I'll go," she said simply.

"Might as well enjoy the view, kid," he replied. And then, amazingly, he just left. Without exchanging a single insult. Unbelievable.

So she wasn't the only one who couldn't sleep. Maybe the sleaze bag was actually feeling a little remorse for his actions? Meche almost laughed out loud: I doubt it. More likely it was sheer greed propelling him out of bed at this ungodly hour. Probably just wanted to create an even bigger stack of paperwork for her to grapple with tomorrow. Good luck getting a coffee break, she thought angrily. Bet he even makes me work through lunch. And if I have to stay late again, I won't get a chance to read to the angelitos before they go to sleep.

Meche scowled out at the ocean. She'd never understand what made that man tick, never. There wasn't a compassionate bone anywhere in his body. Maybe he hadn't said anything insulting just now, but if he said one nasty word tomorrow, just one word, she was going to—

A sudden weight fell over her shoulders.

Startled again, she looked around her to see that it was a blanket—and a thick, plush one, too; the fabric was almost unbelievably soft against her bones. It felt wonderful. She hadn't realized just how cold she'd been, but now she could feel the sharp difference, and she pulled the blanket gratefully around the rest of her body.

She looked back just in time to see Domino's back as he headed back through her office and was gone.

If he's going to be the bad guy, she thought archly, I wish he'd at least be consistent. But she couldn't be flip about it for long: the pain was already starting to well up in her throat. The worst thing in the world that night was when Domino was actually nice. When she could hate him, she knew which way was up. And when she couldn't—

She felt miserable, but she pulled his blanket tighter around her body all the same.

Domino was in the office at 8:00 sharp as always, having done the requisite eight miles on the treadmill, a half-hour of weights, and a shower. He'd also spent an hour slugging the punching bag just because he didn't have anything better to do. Tough to get any shut-eye without a decent blanket. Where'd she leave it, anyway?

He figured out the answer to that one fast: she didn't. Over in the corner of the window sat Meche, the blanket still draped over her shoulders. She had fallen back against the wall as she slept, and the full force of the sunlight was hitting her in the face.

Kid was a looker, all right, he thought with a sudden tenderness.

There'd be plenty of time later on to give her the stack of paperwork he'd gotten ready for filing. And the reports he needed typed. And the boxes of envelopes he'd need addressed and prepared to send. Even with the headway he'd made, his own workload wasn't looking much better. It was going to be a late night for both of them, no doubt about it.

But what the hell, he was a generous guy. He could afford to let the lady have just another half-hour of beauty sleep.

Domino rearranged the blanket over Meche's shoulders and moved silently out of the room.