Tom was in the kitchen preparing a cup of tea. His hands were shaking as he did so, trying to concentrate on the cup in front of him. Alex appeared beside him and jumped onto the table, folding her legs.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"Nothin'," Tom sniffed, wiping his nose and eyes.
"Is it your friend?" Alex asked. "Annie?"
"Yeah," Tom said. "Jesus. I can't remember how Hal takes his tea."
"It's not like he can drink it," Alex said looking around, watching the 500 year old vampire struggle against his restraints.
"That's not the point." Tom said. "Annie always used to say, a cup of tea a day keeps the nightmares and monsters away."
"Did she also make crappy poems for a living?" Alex asked, frowning slightly.
Tom looked over, getting slightly annoyed. "You supposed to be helping?"
"I dunno." Alex shrugged. "I just want to pass over."
"Hal explained to you that you have unfinished business."
"Aye, but what it is…" Alex sighed. "It wasnae Cutler being killed. It wasnae stopping the vampires. Maybe it's just tae haunt Hal."
"Maybe," Tom shrugged. There was a bellowed swear from the other room and he sighed. "It's going to be a long couple of months."
"Months?" Alex asked.
"Or years," Tom replied.
"Well how am I meant to know how long it is going to take before he's back to…"
"LET ME GO YOU FUCKING CUNT'S!" Hal screamed.
Tom sighed. "I suppose you should go pick a room."
"Suppose." Alex said. "Can I even go to sleep?"
"Nah," Tom replied.
"LET ME GO!" Hal bellowed, tugging at his restraints.
Tom ignored him. "You can't go to sleep, but you can rest. I dunno what Annie called it, but without it…"
"ARE YOU FUCKING DEAF?" Hal shouted.
"A'right mate," Tom said wiping his nose with the back of his hand and picking up the mugs of tea and a straw.
"So what happened to my cup of tea?" Alex asked.
"You can't eat or drink now too," Tom said. "Sorry,"
"Shit." Alex muttered.
"But you can taste stuff," Tom said, excitedly.
Alex's eyebrows lowered. "How?"
"By putting your hand on the back of a living person's skull." The werewolf replied. "They eat or drink whatever and yous taste it."
"But I can't actually eat or drink?" Alex asked.
Tom shook his head.
"Shit," Alex muttered again. "Well at least I won't get a hangover!" She smiled but it didn't last. Tom put the mugs of tea down and put a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Don't worry," He promised. "Once Hal is all sorted out, we'll sort you out. I promise."
"AM I EVER ACTUALLY GOING TO GET THAT FUCKING CUP OF TEA?" Hal shouted.
Tom sighed and picked up the mugs before making his way through to the front room.
"Hal," He said calmly. "You're being rude again."
Hal was staring down at his feet, hunger rising. "I am sorry." He muttered.
"I know you are mate," Tom said. "Black? Splash of hot water?"
Hal nodded stiffly. He tugged at his restraints, and looked up at Tom and Alex.
"The hell you think you're getting out of there any time soon," Alex said, getting up on the bar stool.
"How the hell am I meant to drink it, if I can't use my hands?" Hal asked, his voice rising.
"Hal," Tom warned. "If you don't calm down, we won't watch Bargain Hunt later."
Hal looked over, his eyes dark and fierce. He bit down hard on his tongue as Tom went behind the bar. He pulled out a straw and put it into the mug.
"Here," He said holding it out to the vampire.
Hal stared at it. "What are you doing?" He asked.
"It's a straw."
"You… Expect me, to drink, out of a straw?" Hal asked.
"Well, yeah," Tom said.
"You wish to see me, an old one, drink TEA OUT OF A FUCKING STRAW?" Hal bellowed.
"Well it's either this or no tea at all mate," Tom said calmly as he could.
"HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?" Hal shouted. "THAT IS BARBARIC IN THE MOST OBVIOUS SENSE OF THE WORD!"
"Barbaric is your unnecessary shouting, swearing, cursing and being inhospitable to Tom," Alex said folding her arms. "Who, I will remind you, is not… What kills vampires?"
"Staking them through the heart," Tom clarified.
"Staking you through the heart, like he should be," Alex said.
Hal was leering up at her. "You know if you hadn't been killed by Cutler, I would have ripped your throat out by now."
"You're also forgetting that I saved you from a raging inferno." Alex said. "So without me, you'd be dead."
"She's got a point," Tom shrugged.
"I am not drinking tea through a straw." Hal said stubbornly.
"Right," Tom said, setting the mug down. "Then no tea. And no Bargain Hunt."
Hal was breathing deeply. "I'm sorry," He muttered.
"Speak up." Tom ordered.
"I'M FUCKING SORRY!" Hal bellowed. "LET ME GO OR I'LL TEAR YOUR FUCKING HEADS OFF!"
Tom sighed. "I'm not going to let you do that mate." He said. "I know you're a good man. And I believe that you can save yourself. Especially now that Snow's dead."
"You don't fucking understand." Hal muttered.
"Then help us to," Alex said, speaking up.
The vampire fell silent. "Just leave me," He murmured after a moment.
"Can't do that," Tom said.
"I want to be alone." Hal muttered.
"Tough," Tom said.
"Please," Hal whispered.
"Mate," Tom cleared his throat. "Can't do that." Hal looked up. Tom had tears streaking down his face. "I can't do it mate. I can't have Annie and Eve die in vain. You have to… Have to do this, because otherwise… You're just as bad as Mister Snow. And the others. You owe it to Annie and Eve. You owe it to them."
Hal looked away. The ghost and the child's death had not quite hit him yet. Now that Tom was saying it, he felt as though the ugly truth had reared its head and slapped him around the face with the knowledge that Annie and Eve were truly… Dead.
He looked over. It had hurt Tom a lot more than it had hurt him. Of course it had. Tom found a home with Annie. Loved Eve like a daughter. Truly loved and cared for them both. Annie showed him how a family should be.
Then it was ripped away from them.
"Annie's… Annie's really gone?" Alex asked, clearing her throat.
"No chance she'll come back?" Tom asked.
Hal shook his head. "I doubt she would have stayed if she hadn't had Eve to look after. She stayed her for her. And now…" He stopped. "She's with Nina. And Mitchell. And George. Where she belongs. With her proper family."
"She nowt think of us as her proper family?" Tom asked.
Hal shook his head. "We were a distraction from her pain,"
"No, don't say that," Tom said.
"Well, we were!" Hal shouted, feeling his temper rising. "Nothing more! She wouldn't have even stayed around us if it weren't for that child."
"You don't mean that," Tom said.
Hal looked down at his feet, tears streaking fast down his cheeks.
"I wanted to say goodbye," He whispered.
Alex was growing uncomfortable. "Is this a private moment? Do you want me to leave?"
Hal shook his head. "Tom, please let me go."
"No." Tom said, sitting back. "Not until you're good again."
"That could take another fifty years," Hal said.
"Then," Tom sighed. "Then I s'pose we'll just wait for fifty years to pass."
Hal looked up. "I couldn't do that to you. I watched Leo and Pearl waste their existence trying to keep me caged. In the end, it did no one any use."
"You could have become the evil vampire dictator that Snow and Cutler wanted you to become," Alex said. "I think, you're a lot stronger than you think you are."
"Coming from the woman who likes to remind me that I drank her blood," Hal snapped.
"Oi, don't speak to a woman like that." Tom warned.
"I think I can defend myself," Alex said, folding her arms.
"Oh you're one of those girls are you?" Hal asked, struggling against his bonds.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Alex asked. "You being sexist now?"
Hal blinked. "I apologise," He muttered.
"Too bloody right you do," Alex said. "I hear you say something like that again, I will put your nuts through a paper shredder."
Hal and Tom both winced at the threat.
"Message received and understood," Hal said.
"Good." Alex said.
"It's quiet here." Tom muttered.
"Yeah," Hal said. "It doesn't feel like home anymore."
"We'll make it," Tom said. "We will. We will, make it, right?"
Hal looked over. "How the fuck would I know?" He muttered.
"I've heard you swear more times tied up to that chair than I have in the last two months I've known you," Tom said.
"I'm just a little bit pissed to be perfectly honest." Hal replied.
"I know that mate," Tom said, wiping his nose and eyes.
"I suppose…" Hal cleared his throat. "It would be rude of me to ask for the tea and the straw?"
Tom smiled and pulled the mug over and holding it out to Hal. The vampire slurped on it and shuddered.
"Never tastes right with a straw," He said as Tom drew back.
"I know mate," He said. "Gothca back."
"And I you." Hal muttered.
"Don't try that with me," Tom said. "You're not getting out."