It's been a little over a week since Dr. Miranda Lewis moved in with us. Nikki's absolutely bent on making her life and consequently mine a mess. She's not speaking to me, spending her free time with cleaning Wolf's wounds.
Wolf's still in bad shape, but better. Miranda's been making all kinds of tests on her blood. I've been transforming the basement into a lab she can use for her research. Wolf's being her grumpy self with me, not as much with Nikki though.
She accepted Miranda pretty well. I expected quite a lot more animosity from her, exceptions are pretty common these days and shouldn't take me so much by surprise anymore.
However the manner Miranda got to land here, that was an issue we had a long »discussion« over. If you call shouting and growling a discussion. In the end, I got to alienate from the both of them for my stupidity. I should have talked this over at least with Nikki, but I'm a master idiot when it comes to relationships, so I was bound to screw up.
Nowadays the only one communicating with me is Miranda, I don't really care too much. I go out on patrols more than ever before, when I'm not on patrols I'm fixing up Miranda's lab. On patrols I start to think and that's never a good thing. I've discovered that Nikki's really gotten under my skin.
I walk through the door from one of my many long patrols, check the "perimeter" in the apartment and simply steer myself to the basement. Keeping busy in the basement distracts me from thinking too much on what a mess we have right now.
"The Lab", as I dubbed Miranda's work place, is coming along nicely. She asked me if it's possible for her to have a room here. I was a bit surprised, I was convinced she'd prefer to be upstairs. I'm guessing Nikki's animosity is the culprit.
I need to divide the spare room so Wolf and Nikki will have a room of their own as well. Wolf's currently occupying my bedroom, I don't really care much. Staying away from the house and everybody is my main goal as of late.
It's my defense mechanism from when I was still mortal and it's rearing its ugly head these days. I know what I'm doing is wrong, but I can't really defy it. I hate verbal conflict, that's why I love a good fight. There's no room for words, fancy or rough, in it. No room for feelings and emotion either.
As I'm setting up the lab, Miranda walks downstairs. "Is there anything you need? Anything I can bring you?" She asks in a clumsy way. She doesn't really know how to handle me yet, hasn't interacted with a vampire that's not caged before. I look up from what I'm doing with my monotone expression.
"A cup of coffee would be nice." She's surprised by my answer, no doubt she was thinking of a blood pack.
"You … You can drink coffee?" I hear genuine question in her voice.
"Yes. I've gotten used to human food while I was working for Ale…. while I was working in a human organization." Stopped myself just in the nick of time, I hope. By the looks she's giving me, maybe not soon enough. I'd like to avoid unnecessary questioning.
After a few minutes she walks downstairs with 2 cups of coffee; one for me and one for herself, I suspect. She puts one down on a nearby table and sits herself on a stool.
At first I'm not pleased that she stayed, but I don't say anything. I busy myself in the hopes she'll get tired of waiting and leave. No such luck, she's a persistent one. So I give up and sit down opposite her.
After a few moments of silence she asks her question. I was expecting it, I saw it in her body language.
"So … um …. You worked for a human organization?" The question shouldn't surprise me at all, but it brings up my walls again.
"My past and personal life is not up for debate!" I'm quick to answer with a bit of anger and force. I can see the manner of my reaction had the desired effect. She looks down into her cup, maybe a bit ashamed and a bit more intimidated.
"I'm sorry, I …"
"How's Wolf doing?" I cut her off before she goes into any kind of discussions. She's maybe a bit surprised, but my look is telling her to drop the subject.
"She's actually doing surprisingly well. When the Lab is set up I can actually make some progress on the counter agent against whatever she was injected with." She appears thoughtful, "it was something that prevents her natural Lycan healing abilities."
"Will you be able to fix her up?" I ask, actually fearing her answer.
"Once we get the Lab set up and some equipment, should be a piece of cake." She gives me a reassuring smile.
"What else do you need for the lab?"
"There are some machines I could use, but are way too expensive even for my previous employer. So I guess maybe a powerful computer would be great too." She sighs defeated.
"Make a list of EVERYTHING you could use, no matter how expensive. I'll find a way got get it. Nikki will take care of the computers for you, she the expert." I cringe at the mention of Nikki, I have to patch things up with her.
This animosity between us isn't leading anywhere. It's hurting mostly her, but I acknowledge that it hurts me too. No matter how thick my walls are, she's gotten through and now her dagger is lodged in there. I stuff those thoughts for later and focus my attention back to Miranda.
"You're sure you want your room to be down here?" I ask for the umpteenth time.
"Yes, that way I have a quick access to the lab, and a short way to the bed." She chuckles at that last remark.
"OK then." I down my coffee and return to fixing the furniture, if you can call a bunch of tables furniture.
Miranda gave me a list of items she would like in the Lab the next day. There are words on that list I don't even know how to pronounce, let less know what it is used for. First I make my way to the bedroom to check up on Wolf.
I stop in front of the door to observe the action. I hear some muttering and a wild clicking of the mouse.
"God damn bastard." Some more wild clicking. "Die already you fuck." The frantic clicking stops suddenly. "Someone cover me."
I see she's engrossed in some game. She's been infected with them from Nikki, actually we both have. It's just Wolf has a tiny bit more time now that she's indisposed.
"What do you want, Sucker? I can smell you a mile away." She barks her usual volley of insults, bringing me out of my musings.
"How are you doing? Is there anything you need?" I step in, with the intention that perhaps at least once we'll have a semi normal conversation. Yeah, right. Think again.
She looks up from the laptop with one of her traditional 'I'll-rip-your-head-off-if-you-don't-leave-me-alone' glares. The wild clicking stops. I'm cool, knowing this is pretty standard behavior.
"Go suck someone else's nerves. I'm playing." That was a rather mild brush off. I sigh with my palm on my face, yep, still the same Wolf.
"Mother fucker …. I said cover me, you idiots! This is all your fault Sucker!" I get a lovely barrage of insults. I just quickly turn around, I don't want to be in a too foul a mood facing Nikki.
Before I even reach the door, something hits my head. I turn around and catch the thing before it hits the floor. All but ready to lash out this time, but I stop myself the minute I see Wolf's face. She's provoking me and succeeding at it. I stopped myself just in time. I look at the offending object that collided with the back of my head and throw it back to Wolf.
"You dropped your mouse." She catches it, makes a face and continues playing the game.
I turn to leave actually expecting the poor rodent to have another flying practice, but it doesn't come. Now to face off Nikki, this should be fun.
As I enter the room, she is busy checking something on her computer, something serious by the look on her face. She barely notices, or she hides it very well, flinching only when I coughed a bit. She raises her eyes, trying to meld away my determination, well she won't succeed this time, I hope.
"Oh it's you. What do you want?" Her tone is plain, if not a tad cold and unwelcoming. No this is not going to be easy Claire, but what the heck you can't possibly mess up any more…. I better not test that theory out.
"Just came to see how you're doing and by the expression on your face something's up." I keep my voice as plain and kind as I can, avoiding the real reason why I came to see her. She raises an eyebrow and looks at me with her 'I-wasn't-born-yesterday' look, but I shrug it off and approach her monitor.
"Yeah we've got something here. I've been looking into Antigen's security status and in the past few days they have had a mayor spike in their guard number. And I'm not talking about one or two, I'm talking about two or three dozen of them." She shifts her sight, her eyes meeting mine and I notice she lost the coldness from before. Now they are just like before, almost welcoming and warm.
"It means they're planning something. The main worry now is what?" I give her a confident smile while she nods in consent with what I said.
"I'll keep looking maybe I'll find something in their research files." She returns her sight to the monitor as many numbers appear on the screen. That is my queue to get out of there and let her do her work, or at least that was what I thought when I rose to leave but she stops me with her voice.
"Oh please Claire, you're giving up that easily?!" Her voice pierces my thoughts and stops me in my tracks. I shift to give her a questionable look but it is useless, she looks at me with her brown eyes, full of fire and piercing me like knives.
"I don't know wh-"
"Don't give me that bullshit, you really think I'm that clueless?" She interrupts me, standing up quite harshly slamming her hands on the table, frowning as anger sets in on her face. I've never seen her that angry…. even during these past few weeks she hasn't been this pissed. What is her problem? What did I mess up now?
"Alright Nikki, since you're putting it so bluntly, why don't I do the same: What exactly are you supposed to be clueless about, hmm?" I raise my eyebrow and cross my arms, while she makes a shocked face, more like a 'you-need-to-ask' face. Well yes I need to ask since you WON'T tell me?!
"What the fuck is your deal girl? Is there a more explicit reason why you're being a handful around Miranda and me these past few days? I mean it can't all be just out of JEALOUSY now can it?!" I wave my hand while my voice just gets louder and louder, she lowers her head after every remark, biting her lip after the last one. If she wanted to say something I didn't give her the chance, since all the bottled up tension practically exploded out of me and into my voice. "I mean you're not helping at all and the barrier you're creating around yourself isn't helping either. I get that you would be crossed at me for lying to you AGAIN, but that doesn't mean Miranda is to blame for it. She's only here to help Wolf since you kept asking about her condition like I knew everything about Lycans. I'M A DEATH DEALER NOT AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ON THE CREATURES OF THE GODS FOR SAKEN UNDERWORLD! By the Gods I never knew you humans could be so-"
"WILL YOU EVER SHUT UP! And you say I talk too much! Just stop already…. STOP!" She shouts from the bottom of her throat her eyes burning with fire, as I notice something different about them, something I saw before but shrugged it off. Her eyes were blood red and her pupils constricted like cat's pupils. I guess I didn't imagine it the first time, although that is not a reassuring sight. What the hell is going on with Nikki?!
"I don't know alright?! I haven't got a fucking clue as to why I'm acting like an ass these past few days." Her voice is lowered to a slight whimper, like she's ready to break any moment now. She slides down into her chair as I lower my eyes, feeling … something, about the things I said. I didn't think things through, I didn't mean to hurt her yet again…. Nice job Claire, you're an ass of a vampire.
"I don't know…. something inside me…. like an urge or a pulse…. hell I can't even describe it! I've felt something tense inside of me lately, ever since the cop incident, my head is a big mess of emotions, emotions I'm not even sure are mine to begin with." She hides her face behind her hands, her voice growing weaker with each sentence. At first I just stand there transfixed and then I walk to her and put my hand on her shoulder, squeezing it. I hear quiet sobs, barely noticeable to a human, but quite loud to me. Damn it Claire. I bit my lip, drawing blood from it. I can't do anything right.
This something that I feel, it's creeping up from the depths of my heart and soul and eating my walls away. I've worked so hard to keep all the emotions and feelings at bay these years just for a human to bring them back to the surface in a matter of months.
"It's alright Nikki."I kneel and push her hands away to reveal her sad face, all red and covered in tears, while she hides her eyes from me. I hug her, it's the only thing I can do that won't get her into another emotional roller-coaster, at the same time trying to rein my own emotions in. She clenches her teeth and slightly sobs, I've never heard her sob before. I never expected to have a human sob on me …..well ever! "It's gonna be alright girl. Well figure this out and patch Wolf up. We'll figure you out too, you'll see"
"Have you two finished your little surround sound dispute?!" I hear a voice come from the door frame and my eyes widen at Wolf's leaning figure. She's smirking widely and making a face. When I stand up and throw her my serious and angry glare she drops the smirk immediately.
"What the fuck did I say about getting out of bed?!" I point at her while she just growls at my hand, raising her hand and a mouse in it.
"Watch where you're pointing that finger or you'll lose it! Besides how else am I supposed to pick up my mouse?!" Her growl is sincere and I lower my hand at the memory of the last time she bit me.
"Why was that thing out of your room in the first place?" I throw her a questionable look, at which she chuckles, that caused slight pain indicated by the light change in her expression.
"I got pissed okay?! So I threw the mouse in revolt." She pouts at the end. She got pissed by the game or by our argument…..probably both. No doubt trying hard to maximize the volume on the computer but her superior hearing wouldn't allow her to not hear our vocal dispute.
"And you couldn't ask me to get it for you instead of worsening your wounds?" Suddenly Miranda emerges from behind the door frame as Wolf shifts to the other side. She cranks her head in to find out what's going on, and Nikki just turns away on her armchair to hide in shame while I let out a light sigh and roll my eyes. Those two will make things …. complicated.
"You were locked up in your lab playing mad scientist." Wolf sneers at Miranda who only turns and gives her a cold stare, no … a cold glare.
"You mean the mad scientist that is saving your ass?" She smirks while Wolf growls quietly, and mumbles something to herself. That's when I decide to take her back to bed, and make sure she stays there this time.
"You wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for 'my' sorry ass!" Wolf replies as I take her arm and give her a serious look. At that time she just pushed herself from the frame and growled at me. "Let go of me Sucker!" Typical Wolf style, however minus the biting part.
"Christ you're impossible!" Miranda responds which catches my attention, as Nikki once said something similar to end one of our arguments.
"A religious one, eh? Then I'm sure you and Nikki will have lots to chat about." I leave a wicked smile on my face while Miranda raises an eyebrow. In the back I can still hear Nikki curse some choice words behind her desk and Wolf smirks at that.