Hal cannot pinpoint, exactly, when he and Tom became ... 'Hal and Tom'. Or, if you happen to be listening to Tom's version of events, when they became 'Tom and Hal'. Certainly others saw them as a double act before they did - a gang of two fighting back to back against the world. The fact that it was all to protect Annie and baby Eve and not because they actually wanted to spend all their time together soon slipped away as an irrelevance.
Hal remembers the first time he was aware of being part of something outside of his hunger and routine, saying, "He was my friend," almost plaintively. And Kirby's answering smirk, the one he'd wanted to rip out of Kirby's face with his fangs, lips and tongue and all.
"You don't have any friends."
And yes, that was true wasn't it, but Tom was as close as he had come to friendship in a long, long time. The revelation was a dig in the guts - something inside Hal just went.
So when Annie, bravely choking back tears, said, "You need to leave this house, you need to leave this house right now," Hal went quietly, obediently, and drove away from the B&B. To get Tom back.
He was curb-crawling, essentially, and knew how that looked. But mostly he was praying Tom was out there to be found, because God knows what a twenty year old werewolf in a huff might do to himself. Or something else.
It took four hours, but he eventually found the boy. Cruising past the police station had been an inspired idea. Because there Tom was, split lip crusting over into a black veneer, heavy eyebrows furrowed into a dirty scowl.
Hal blasted the horn of the car one, twice, three times in quick succession, to get Tom's attention. Their eyes met through the glass. Tom waved, awkwardly.
Exasperated, Hal rolled down the window,
"For God's sake Tom, get in the car!"
Tom shrugged moodily.
"I don't know what you think I said to Kirby - but I didn't. I promise you. You're," he paused, "You're my friend."
And just like that, Tom was bouncing off the wall, and sliding into the car.
"Yeah," he grinned, "I'm your friend. I thought so."
Hal gripped the steering wheel, "Well, don't dwell on it."
Tom just kept grinning, "So. Are we gonna rescue Annie then?"
"What? I can promise you she's perfectly happy with Kirby, playing the little fam-"
"Kirby is a liar and a murdered! With a side parting, mate!" Tom punctuated the statement with a shove of Hal's shoulder.
Hal considered these points for a moment.
"Yes, yes you're probably right. He's evil!" he swung to face Tom, eyes wide, "He's evil! And he's with Annie! And Eve!"
"Yeah mate, that was my point. Drive!"
And as it turns out, when you have a vampire and a werewolf in your gang, you don't need an exorcism to get rid of a ghost for good, not at all.
Tom grinned at him as they stood over the eviscerated corpse, smug as you like, "Who you gonna call?"
Hal meant to glare, he really did, but somehow it slipped out as a grin, and a gentle bump of his hip against Tom's.
Annie looked up at them, still in the corner she had been cowering in when they burst through the door - then she sobbed, just sobbed, inconsolable, mortified. And one on each side of her, they held her tight.
That was the beginning of it, Hal knows. Or maybe the beginning was when they first met, or the first time they worked together in the dingy cafe, and started making bets. That laconic dialogue between them, that would pit itself against their enemies, earning them a reputation as cold, hard killers.
No, Hal would think, it's just more fun killing with Tom at my side.
So maybe that isn't the beginning of it, but it's somewhere near the heart of it, the big bang of Hal and Tom (or Tom and Hal), and it all moves outwards from the B&B, expanding.
It became watching crap telly together in the evening, while one of them bottle fed Eve.
They had completely different tasted in programmes, of course. Tom tended towards soaps like Corrie and Hollyoaks, while Hal could spend hours watching nature documentaries.
It was only when he noticed Tom practically drooling as he watched a wolf take down an elk on the screen, that Hal realised Tom was as much a carnivore as he was. At least, one night of the month.
Other things it became, were Tom joining Hal when he did his press-ups on the day of the full moon. He had energy to spare, matching Hal move for move, counting alongside him until sweat dripped from both their foreheads. And when Hal raised an eyebrow in challenge, putting one of his hands behind his back, and kept going, Hal followed suit. Half an hour later, they were both lying on their backs on the floor, panting.
Hal laughed breathlessly, "Would you like to join in my dominoes session, now?"
Tom shook his head, "You're alright mate. This is exercise, the dominoes is just weird."
They lay there a while longer, as the afternoon sun moved languidly across the room. Tom rolled onto his side, facing Hal.
"Mmm?" Hal hummed in question. Tom just smiled.
And Hal felt it would only be polite to roll over and face Tom, too. And to smile back.
The soft stroke of his hand on Tom's face was ... not politeness. And when Tom's breath hitched and his big eyes met Hal's there was nothing polite about that, either. They fell asleep like that, and only woke when nightfall brings the moon, and Tom's body began to crease and curl in pain.
A hand, already beginning to twist within, gripped Hal's, "Stay with me?"
The bones in his hand were creaking ominously, but Hal nodded grimly, "Yes. Come, let's get you to your ... cage."
After the agony of the transformation, the wolf was enraged, throwing itself ceaselessly against the bars of its cage. Eventually, exhausted, it realised the steel wouldn't give, and resorted to padding around restlessly.
Hal sat a safe distance from the cage, watching the wolf. Despite what it was, the danger it posed, it really was quite beautiful. Moonlight pooled from it's outstretched paws, nebulae drifted from it's muzzle, Hal watched and saw that what Tom became, it formed the centrifugal point between the moon and the earth.
After another hour or so, the wolf padded to sit opposite Hal, peering at him curiously through the bars.
Hal nodded to the wolf, "Good evening."
The wolf whined.
"What? I have no food."
The wolf whined again, high pitched plaintive.
"You don't want to talk to me. I'm not a nice man."
Silence. Hal felt, for some reason, that he should continue speaking.
"I'm not ... a nice man. My fangs precede my judgement, and blood drowns what's left of my conscience. I know how to make a death swift. Or slow."
"I know you hate your youth somehow. I wish you wouldn't. You'll never know what a precious commodity your innocence is, and what an empty shell remains when it's wasted."
The wolf, in it's wolfish way, seemed to sigh too.
The next morning, Hal woke curled around a warm and very naked body, an elbow digging into his ribs. The close-cropped hair prickled against his face.
Years later, he will become that it's that moment in which they became Hal and Tom. The moment he chose not to run, chose to stay, to kiss the vulnerable neck and think to himself - he may be less than nothing, worse than the devil, and undeserving of even this moment. But this isn't desolation, no, no barren dustbowl of existence. Things grow.