"Beat Still"

Here, have some Worth and Hanna bonding time as a parting gift, to wash out the taste of that last chapter. It's been lovely, as always!


Two Years after the Treaty:

Hanna stumbled in the door, looking five shades of concussed. For a moment, Doc Worth was convinced that the kid had been ambushed by a gang of outlaws- that was always a possibility, with the general lawlessness stretching from coast to coast. Worth was half-way out of his chair and on his way to the shotgun on the mantle when he realized that Hanna was only concussed in a metaphorical way.

The ginger sighed, leaning against the doorway. Slowly, Worth collapsed back into his chair.

"Somebody getcha with the fryin' pan?" the doctor asked, a sneaking suspicion forming behind the question.

Hanna shook his head and smiled. Actually, Hanna's expression was to a smile as the Titanic had been to a canoe. Up until it sank, that was.

"Awright," Worth sighed, "what's 'er name then?"


The older man snorted, and then raised his voice. "Oi, Connie, c'mere fer a sec. Hanna's got 'imself a girlfriend."

There was some rattling in the kitchen, and then Conrad stepped out with his hands covered in flour, looking fairly ambivalent about the whole situation.

"Hanna has what now?" the vampire asked, awkwardly attempting to rub flour off of his lenses with a flannel-covered forearm.

"She's not my girlfriend," Hanna retorted, turning a shade of pink only seen in twelve-year-old girls' notebooks. "I mean, uh. Not that I wouldn't want her to be, but that's not happening."

"Why not?" Conrad asked, sounding mildly curious. "You're not bad looking, really."

Worth let out a thick laugh that turned into a cough. "Yeah," he added, "If ya like fifteen-year-old scarecrows."

"Uncalled for, man," Hanna said, a little hurt. "I do not look like I'm fifteen."

"Well," Conrad interrupted, probably foreseeing one of Hanna's tangents in his near future, "why don't you have a chance with her, then?"

The magician kicked at the carpet. "She's... I dunno, she's really really pretty and she's so nice and responsible and she totally takes care of her little brother because their parents died and I mean how awesome is that?"

"Uhuh," Worth grunted. "What's her rack look like?"

Hanna's face rocketed from pink to flat out red. "I don't know anything about that."

"Sure." The doctor glanced over at Conrad, rolling his eyes. "Betcha it's a thirty-six D an' not an' inch less. Five bucks?"

"What would I do with five bucks?" the undead man replied. "Start a fire?"

"Guuuys," the redhead whined, "this is so not helpful."

"Ya want help?" Worth asked, derisive. "Here's some free advice. Women 'n failpires are impossible to figure out, so don't even fuckin' bother."

Conrad scowled. "Well, as fun as it was to watch someone else get picked on for a while, looks like I'm done here. I'll call you when the bread is done."

And then he sashayed out of the room leaving puffs of flour in his wake. There went the only man on earth who could sashay angrily out of a room and never realize it.

"Yeah," the younger man said, watching Conrad go, "You giving me relationship advice. Right."

The doctor tossed a sequined knick-knack from the coffee table at Hanna's head. They were staying at a house full of that sort of thing. You could tell a woman had lived here, the classy single kind of businesswoman you got in classy single businesswoman pornos.

"So ask the broad out, Christ," Worth advised, catching the blue-sequined fruit as Hanna threw it back to him. "We already got one thirty-year-old virgin hangin' around, damn sure don't need another."

Hanna frowned, looking a little wistful. "We're leaving in another couple days. That's not enough time for anything, really. I mean, even given that your average date around here is like weeding together, a couple days isn't nearly long enough to start anything. I'd just have to leave."

"So skip the skip the cappuccinos an' get right ter the banging. Couple days'll do ya fine."

"Oh, man Worth, you know I love you and stuff but you are like the anti-Yoda of good advice. If Daoism had an evil mirror universe clone, you'd be it."

"Save the gayass love shit fer yer corpse bride, Cross."

Hanna laughed and tumbled into an adjacent chair, skinny limbs bouncing off the armrests. The pink in his face was all but faded, and the dull love-stricken look had evaporated into an everyday smile. Scarred fingers tugged on loose threads in the upholstery.

"Dude," he mused, "we are like dysfunction junction up in here. You wouldn't know a feeling if it bit you in the ass, Roland's got a whole life he'll probably never remember, Conrad... er, he's Conrad, and I'll never have a girlfriend because God hates me and my roving cowboy lifestyle."

Worth grunted. "Y'know, hundreds'a rock stars before ya did just fine on the girlfriend front."

The magician sighed mournfully. "Yeah, but they didn't have Brunelleschi running interference all the time."

"Well. Yeah," Worth admitted. "Maybe by the time yer forty y'll finally manage ter convince Green that not every girl who gives ya a smile's tryin' ta devour yer soul, eh?"

Of course, the first four or five girls who had shown any interest in Hanna had turned out to be man-eaters of one sort or another in varying shades of literality, so you couldn't really blame him for worrying. Bad luck, that.

"Uhh," Hanna hummed, sounding doubtful. Then he grinned. "But at least I've got an excuse. Unlike you."

"Fuck you, I'm doin' just fine."

A giggle—yeah, no wonder he couldn't get any tail—and then Hanna closed his eyes. "No, honestly, I love all of you guys in a totally bro-ish way," he said, curling up into an oddly feline contortion, "but I seriously need more boobs in my life. Caroline has really awesome boobs."

"Good enough fer me," Worth muttered, and then much louder: "Oi, Connie, I'll be takin' that five bucks now!"