Ashford tried to ignore the crashing. He had been trying to ignore it for nearly an hour. If only his game had been up, it would have been so much easier but the servers for Star Wars: The Old Republic had gone down at midnight like always. This had to be the worst part of being a vampire; they always did patches and maintenance at night and that meant that he had to listen to Mouse banging around in her lab. Tonight seemed particularly loud though and he wondered for a minute if she was doing it on purpose. He would not have put it past her to be intentionally just standing there banging things around to see how long it would take for him to say something. Well, fuck her and her experiments. He would just sit and wait for her to give up on whatever she was doing. Why he had ever decided that the entrance to her lab should be so close to his room, he couldn't remember. Probably something stupid like thinking that the little doctor would be quiet about things.
A particularly loud crash brought him out of his internal grumbling. Ok, there was no way that she was doing that intentionally. He rolled his eyes and got up, walking to towards her lab. It was not beyond Mouse to have tried to experiment on something she couldn't handle. There had been a few occasions when Ashford had needed to put down something she had created in her lab; Childer that were half finished, vampires that were partially dissected but alive, a few other things he preferred not to think about. Ashford picked up his baseball bat that leaned against the door frame. You could never be too careful when going into Mouse's lab.
"Ow! Son of a bitch!" He heard her cry out and sped up his route. Not good. Mouse never swore; she always claimed that it was undignified. He shoved open the lab door, thankful she had agreed to his rule that she couldn't lock it while in there. They had agreed to that rule the last time there had been a little 'accident' and he had had to tear the door off to get in. The scene he walked in on was not the worst he'd seen, but it was still pretty bad. A Nosferatu was tied to the medical table, with one arm flayed open and still pinned down. The other arm was wrapped around Mouse torso as she smacked and clawed at him while his fangs were deeply imbedded in the side of her face. Mouse was grimacing and trying to yank away from him, but he just kept hold of her, tearing the wound deeper.
"Oh, for fucks sake, Mouse." Ashford said, walking forward and shunting the vampire in the face. Once, twice, and the vampire pulled his fangs from her cheek. Three times, and it let go of her body to reach for Ashford. Mouse slumped to the floor, pressing her hand over the wound. Four times, and a very wet fifth, and the vampire collapsed back onto the table. Ashford changed the angle of his bat, bringing it down in heavy full swings. Mouse scurried back across the floor, giving him all the room he needed. She stayed crouched on the floor while he beat her subject to a pulp. Eventually there wasn't even the sound of his bat against skull; it was just the 'thunk' of his bat hitting the metal table covered in goop. Breathing deeply, he let the bat relax next to him, and turned to Mouse who was still on the floor, blood leaking from between the fingers against her face.
"Get up." He commanded her. Mouse slid her back up against the wall until she was standing and looking up at him. He reached out and pulled her hand away from the wound. She attempted to turn her head away to hide the bite. He grabbed her roughly by the jaw and turned her back, looking the wound over. It was deep and ragged. The vampire had done a number to her before he'd come in. "My room, Mouse. We've gotta deal with this." He let go of her face with a little force to propel her towards the door.
Mouse shook her head, a few drops of blood landing on her already stained lab coat. "I'm a doctor, remember? I can handle it."
"Jesus fucking Christ, this is not a discussion. Move your ass, now." He bodily turned her around and shoved her down the hall towards his room. The whole way she made her rat-like squeaking noises, as if she wanted to argue but knew better. He steered her through the door of his room and shoved her towards the couch. "Sit." He turned to rummage around for something to hold against the wound in her face, realizing that she may have been right about staying in her lab. She was bound to have gauze or something there and all he had were dirty rags. He snorted suddenly as he realized what little sense that made. What, was he worried about infection? The chick was basically part fucking rodent, she'd be fine. He grabbed a t-shirt off his computer chair and turned back to her. Mouse had not sat down on the couch but was still standing next to it, her head cocked to one side and her black beady eyes watching him curiously. He half expected her to lick her hand and start grooming herself; she looked for all the world like her namesake.
"I said sit." He watched her look at the couch suspiciously for a second and then back to him. "Oh, my god, Mouse. I know you're not this stupid. It's a couch. You've sat on it before, usually uninvited. Now sit the fuck down, you crazy broad." Mouse looked at it suspiciously again.
"It's Dr. Mouse. And I know. It's the invitation that gives me pause. It's… unusual. Am I so badly hurt?"
Ashford resisted the urge to strangle her that he always felt whenever she spoke. The woman was made of crazy and frustrating and she fucking knew it. "No, you're right. You're fine. Get out." He said, knowing full well what would happen. Mouse gave one of her high pitched little giggles, sat down on the couch and was instantly serious again.
"Am I badly injured?"
"Sorta…" Ashford said, joining her as he balled up the t-shirt and pressed it against her face. She flinched and he rolled his eyes. "I've seen the things you've done to other people's bodies and you flinch at that?"
"That's different. It's for science. They should be honored. This…" She gestured at her face, pulling away from Ashford. He growled low in his throat and grabbed the back of her head, hauling her in closer. With one hand he held her head still and the other he continued to press the shirt to her. "This is pointless." She concluded, her voice muffled by the shirt.
"I'm sure." He said rolling his eyes again, waiting for the lecture about the purity and godliness of science and all the other bullshit she spouted when she got all up in a huff like that. When it didn't come, he looked back down at her to realize that she had her eyes closed. "This really hurt?" He asked. He didn't have much experience with vampire bites against others of their kind. She tried to nod, but was stopped by his hands still gripping her skull.
"More than I would have thought." She answered, her voice small and still muffled by the cloth. Ashford shifted the shirt so that there was less of it shoved against her face, although still keeping the pressure on.
"What the fuck was that thing for this time anyway?" He asked, referencing to the vampire he had beaten to mush just minutes before, having noticed that his hands and arms were still rather bloody from the spatter.
"Language." Mouse reminded him, absently. She was always trying to get him to clean up his damn swearing. "You really want to know?" Mouse replied. "I don't think you've ever cared about what I've done." Ashford thought about it for a second.
"Yeah, you're right. I don't really care. How's your face feeling?" He shifted the shirt to look at the wound. It was doing better and he was surprised at his relief. He knew Mouse's blood didn't always work like most other vampires and that sometimes it didn't do what it was supposed to. For a little while there, he hadn't been sure if she would be able to heal a wound like that.
"It's better." She said as she raised her fingers up to touch at the wound. She hissed when her fingers made contact, flinching again at the surprise of pain. Ashford let go of the back of her head at last to grab her hand and shoved it away before pressing the cloth against the wound again. She obviously wasn't quite alright yet. He didn't take hold of her head this time though, as it seemed she was done trying to pull away from him.
They sat in awkward silence for long minutes and Ashford found himself again wishing that his game would come back online. He glanced at Mouse, whose eyes were staring unfocusedly round his room and he realized that this was the first time she was in his room and not spouting off about some new discovery she had made. He wondered what she saw when she looked around. Mouse saw everything a little different than most people; she had always been a scientist first and foremost and that hadn't changed when she'd been turned. He found himself also wondering why it was always his room she came too when she made a discovery. Granted, it was the closest and the answer may have been as simple as that but there were others of their Brood who would have cared so much more about what she had to say. He was deep in these thoughts while watching her and it caught him off guard when Mouse's dark eyes finally flicked up to him.
"Think it's healed yet?" She asked. Ashford pulled the cloth away. It was almost gone, just a faint trace of scar tissue seemed to linger and that would likely be gone in a few hours. Mouse raised her hand up again to touch it, but hesitated. She was clearly afraid of the possibility of that pain again.
"I think it'll be fine." He said, raising his own hand and bringing it near her face. He waited to see her flinch away from him or to try and pull back but she stayed where she was. His fingertips touched the skin of her cheek, and he traced them over the light pink scar. For once, Mouse wasn't twitching as Ashford came towards her and she felt his roughly scarred fingers against the face. Her cold lips were parted and she was looking into the yellow glow of his eyes. She could never understand why others were so terrified of his eyes; they were the most interesting part of him. His fingers traced over her cheek again and it was clear even to her that he wasn't checking her wound anymore. He was very clearly just touching her now and Mouse was surprised at herself that not only was she going to allow it, but that she enjoyed it. All the aggression that Ashford usually wore around him like a second skin was gone and Mouse felt that her own icy demeanor was lessened. She leaned into his touch, feeling just the barest bit of soreness in her skin at the pressure.
Ashford was shocked when she leaned into his hand. Nearly as shocked as he was at himself for touching her in the first place. He had leaned in at the gesture and now he knew that they were too close together. He was close enough to see that there were slightly darker pupils in her black eyes, something he hated to admit to himself that he'd wondered about before. He was sure that had they been human, he would have been able to feel her breath on his face. She tilted her face upwards to his and he leaned in closer, his lips just barely touching hers. They weren't kissing; no, nothing so human as that.
His other hand came up and he was cupping her face, their eyes still burning into each others and they stayed close, the intimacy so much more than if it had just been a kiss.
"Mouse…" He murmured, feeling her skin against his as she reached one hand up to close over his.
"Doctor Mouse." She whispered back.
"Whatever." He traced his thumbs over her cheekbones for a second before finally pulling back from her. His hands stayed on her for a moment longer and then he removed them, bring her hand that rested on his close to him. In what Mouse knew promised to be the last tender gesture between them, likely forever, he kissed the back of her hand, his fingers gentle as he held her. His eyes watched hers the whole time and she determinedly didn't let hers flit about like usual.
"You should go back to your lab and clean up." He said, his hand still wrapped around hers. Mouse nodded and stood as he let her go slowly.
"I think your game is back up." She said as she walked past him out the door.
Ashford saw she was right and moved to his computer chair. As he sat down he realized that he had no real desire left to play tonight but he logged in anyway as he heard the regular and much quieter banging start up in Mouse's lab again,