Disclaimer: I do not own Moonlight or anything related, and I make no money writing about them.
Summmary: Mick has a very bad day, but can Josef believe the story?
Mick slowly exited the elevator when the door slid open, so very glad to be home. He'd had one helluva day and he was in desperate need of some O neg and a shower and some rest. And he was more than ready to get out of his wet clothes; the constant chafing of his jeans in certain places made it impossible for those certain areas to heal. Areas that really shouldn't be chafed.
As Mick limped toward his door he caught a scent that he knew well- that of his best friend Josef.
Mick belatedly remembered that he was supposed to have met with Josef hours ago, and that he'd forgotten to call his friend to cancel. Mick had taken a job early that morning that would leave no time for a visit to Josef's mansion.
Apparently, when Mick hadn't shown, Josef had come to Mick's place to find out why. There was no way he'd have been able to get through on Mick's cell phone if he'd tried to call.
Great, Mick thought to himself. Just great. As if his day hadn't been bad enough, now he'd have to not only explain it to Josef, but endure the teasing that was sure to follow.
Josef had left the door unlocked behind him, so Mick simply pushed it open and walked in, then shut it behind him.
"That you, Mick?" Josef called from somewhere in the penthouse. "Where have you been? I've been waiting-" Josef appeared around the corner to the living room and stopped short at spotting Mick.
"What the hell happened to you?" Josef asked with wide eyes and a smirk, abandoning his original inquiry.
Mick sighed, but didn't answer right away. He unclipped his nonfunctional cell phone from his hip and dropped it into the bowl on the little table by the door that was there for the purpose of catching his keys, cell phone, change and whatever else he'd pull from his pockets from day to day.
Water leaked from the cell phone sluggishly and pooled in the bottom of the decorative wooden bowl. Mick hoped the water wouldn't warp the bowl, but he'd worry about it later.
He didn't drop his car keys into the bowl. He no longer had car keys.
He hoped he could find the spare somewhere around the apartment.
"Hello to you, too," Mick said testily in response to Josef's question. "Don't worry about me, I'm fine." Mick was pleased to note that he was in top form with his sarcasm.
"Are you wet?" Josef asked, coming closer for inspection.
"Nothing gets by you."
"What's that all over your clothes? It smells horrible."
"Vegetables. And, uh.....animal by-products.."
"Are you kidding me? Manure?"
"Do I look like I'm kidding?"
"Why are you wearing only one shoe?"
"I.....lost the other one." Mick was hesitant to tell the whole story. He'd never hear the end of it.
"When you got wet?"
"How did you get wet?"
"I...uh....I fell in water. Obviously."
"Were you at the beach? It's pretty bright out, today, Mick. Not a good beach day for us. And to the best of my knowledge, that's not where they store 'animal by-products'."
"I wasn't at the beach," Mick assured his friend.
"Josef!" Mick snapped. "I just....I..." Mick could think of no good excuse to explain his current state, so he settled for the truth. "Fine. I fell in a moat, all right? You happy?"
"A moat," Josef dead panned. "You fell in a moat. In Los Angeles. Didn't know we had a lot of those around, Mick."
"Well, we had one, and that's all it took."
"Okaaay," Josef said slowly, staring at Mick with bemusement. "So there was a moat. How did you fall in?"
"I was on the drawbridge, and it went up. Before I could catch myself I fell off."
"The drawbridge. Of course. So you fell off the drawbridge and into the moat."
"Well, yeah," Mick said defensively as he plopped wetly onto his couch. "You try keeping your balance while wearing one of those metal suits of armor."
"Suit of armor?" Josef had lost all trace of sarcasm. He now looked worried.
"They're heavy. And I had to get it off while I was under water. I couldn't swim in it."
"Why were you wearing a suit of armor, Mick?" Josef asked carefully. He sounded for all the world as if he was talking to a child. Or an irrational mental patient.
Mick watched Josef walk slowly to where Mick kept his blood supplies hidden from mortal eyes. "I had to," Mick said reasonably. "I had to fit into the crowd and I couldn't find anything else to change into. They don't have outfits like this in old England, Josef. I'd have stuck out like a sore thumb."
"Right," Josef intoned. "Old England. Of course." Josef poured two glasses of blood cut sharply with liquor. He tipped one back and drained it quickly, then refilled it. He carried both to where Mick sat and handed one to his friend. "Here. I think you could use this." Then he sat in the chair opposite Mick.
"Okay. So you fell into the moat because the suit of armor was too heavy when the drawbridge went up," Josef summarized, keeping his face and voice carefully neutral.
Mick nodded silently. He was very tired, and still sore in many places that hadn't healed. The blood- and even more-so the alcohol- was helping immensely, however.
"And that happened before you lost one of your shoes?" Josef asked hesitantly. He sounded almost as if he wasn't sure he wanted to hear what else Mick had to say.
"Yeah," Mick confirmed shortly.
"And that happened how?"
"The dog took it," Mick mumbled, not wanting to say it aloud.
Josef heard it clearly, of course. "The what? The dog? A dog took your shoe?"
Mick leaned his head back against the couch and closed his eyes. Louder, he said, "Yes, Josef. The dog. Alright? It was a sheep dog. I think he thought I was threatening his flock."
"His flock of what?"
Mick lifted his head and gave Josef a look that said the answer should be obvious. "His flock of sheep, Josef."
"Ah. Right. Of course. I think I need more alcohol." Josef stood and returned to Mick's stock. After a moment of thought, instead of pouring another glass for himself, Josef took the whole bottle back to his seat. He set it on the coffee table in front of him.
"So the dog took your shoe."
"Yeah. Are you gonna repeat everything I say? I think I pissed off the Shepard with my questions. He sicked the dog on me. I didn't feel like fighting with a dog so I took to a tree. But he caught my foot before I got out of his reach. He took my shoe."
"Of course," Josef said faintly. "How else would it have happened? And there was a Shepard, even."
"Yeah. And I dropped my camera, too. It's worthless now. The sheep trampled it."
"So is that why you were limping? The dog? Or the sheep?"
"Oh. No, that was the cows, and it happened after the moat but before the sheep."
"Now there's cows?"
"Yeah. And a bull. It was him, actually. He ran over me."
"You got run over by a bull?"
"Yeah. And he gored me, too. Hurt like hell but it healed pretty quick. But I think my leg got broken, either when he ran over me or when he tossed me. It's healing pretty slow. Still hurts some."
"Ah. I see."
"I don't think animals like vampires much, Josef. I spooked the horses pretty bad."
"Horses too?" Josef reached for the bottle on the table. Forgoing his empty glass, he simply tipped the bottle and took a couple swigs.
"Yeah. I tried to hide in the barn.. The horses got scared, started milling around."
"Why were you hiding?"
"Oh, that. Well.....some of the people were pretty upset by then. The cows and the sheep trampled everything. It was a stampede. Knocked over vendors, ruined lots of stuff. It was pretty chaotic. For some reason they blamed me."
"No," Josef said breathily, as if the very idea of blaming Mick was unthinkable.
Mick looked at Josef sharply but was unable to determine if the other vampire was being sarcastic. He decided he didn't care.
"Anyway, the horses startled. It wasn't my fault. They probably smelled the fire from the torches."
"Torches?" Josef asked, startled. "What torches?" Mick knew Josef didn't care for the remembrance of torches. Or torch-bearing mobs. It was probably a good thing he hadn't been with Mick.
"I'm pretty sure they weren't meant for me," Mick reassured his friend with a half-truth that he wasn't sure of himself. "They had the torches already- for some festival or something. They just never got rid of them when they started looking me."
Josef looked slightly faint. He said nothing, but he picked up the bottle again and drained half of it at once, then set it down with a small thump.
"I'm sure it was the smell of the torches that scared the horses," Mick continued. "So even if they could somehow blame me for the stampeding cows and sheep- and that damn bull that was chasing everyone- there's no way the horses were my fault. Besides, I shut the barn door behind me when I ran into the barn. They're the ones that opened the barn doors and let the scared horses out. It wasn't my fault they trampled the band."
"There was a band?"
"Yeah, but not my kind of band. They were playing weird old-timey instruments. Old England, and all that, remember?"
"Right. Old England. And the horses trampled them?"
"Yeah. Somehow the cows and sheep and the bull missed them where they were playing on a raised platform. But the horses didn't. I don't think anyone was hurt, but the instruments were destroyed, I'm sure. Everything was pretty wrecked."
"I see," Josef muttered, but he didn't seem as if he did, not to Mick.
But Mick didn't care. He just wanted to get the story told so he could clean up and relax. And to be honest, he was getting some enjoyment from Josef's reactions.
"That's where the vegetables and manure comes in."
"Already?" Josef asked with a hint of his usual dry wit. He was shaking his bemusement, it seemed.
"Yeah. Obviously, they found me in the barn. They unjustly blamed me for the destruction and informed me that I was not welcome. They enforced their decision with the vegetables. And the horse shi- uh....manure."
"So they pelted you with vegetables and manure."
"Yeah. All the way to my car."
Josef sat back and regarded Mick with an expression Mick could not decipher. After several moments Josef nodded, having come to some decision.
"Go get cleaned up," he advised Mick. "I think you need to recover from this day, and I know just what you need to do that. We're going out, on me."
Mick almost protested. He wasn't sure he was up for Josef's kind of good time, not when all he really wanted to do was relax.
But then he decided what the hell. He'd had a terrible day. He could use some fun.
"Okay," he said, standing up. Josef looked almost surprised, but also pleased. Mick knew he'd probably expected to have to convince Mick. "But I'll have to ride with you," he informed Josef. "I think my keys are at the bottom of the moat."
Mick relished Josef's look of astonishment before he turned and headed for the staircase that would take him upstairs to his shower.
The day had been long and messy and had ended badly. But Mick had thoroughly enjoyed Josef's reactions to the true but unbelievable tale.
Maybe some day he'd let his friend off the hook and explain to Josef that it had all been for a job. A job that he would not get paid for, Mick suddenly realized. He'd not only lost the target, but he had no surviving photographic evidence of the target's many illicit activities. He couldn't produce what he was supposed to have been paid to deliver.
Oh, well, he thought with a sigh. You win some, you lose some.
Josef would better make sense of the story Mick had related if he knew that Mick had followed his target into a Medieval fair the city was hosting at it's fairgrounds.
But maybe he wouldn't tell. Not right away, anyway.
It wouldn't hurt Josef at all to be left wondering about some things.