Haunts Old and New.
Tom and Alex were literally bouncing up and down in excitement as they pulled up in the car park. Hal winced.
"Please stop doing that. I'm not sure the suspension can take much more of your trampolining."
Grinning like children, his housemates continued to bounce in their seats.
"Although I suppose I should be grateful you've stopped asking 'are we there yet?'" he continued. But he couldn't maintain annoyance in the face of such irrepressible enthusiasm, despite the length of the drive.
"Oh, come on Hal!" Alex leaned through from the back seat and squeezed his arm.
"Come in with us! You don't have to go on any of the rides, just... hang out with us."
"For a whole week? No thank you. I think this is one item on your list that would be better shared with Tom."
"So, what are you gonna do with yourself?" Tom asked. "You're not just gonna sit out here, are you?"
"No, I thought I'd take the opportunity to look up some old friends. Revisit some old haunts."
"Hal! I told you, that word is extremely offensive," Alex huffed.
"I think you might be taking this political correctness a little too far," was Hal's response.
"Uh, who's the ghost here? I get to decide what offensive to my kind, thank you. And what do you mean, old friends? Vampire friends?"
"No. No, that wouldn't be a good idea."
Hal's hands tightened on the steering wheel.
"So it's another ghost, then?" Tom asked. "Like that Lady Mary?"
Sitting in the back seat, Alex couldn't see Hal's face and she cursed inwardly that she couldn't see it reflected in the interior mirror either to get any clues as to his reaction. There wasn't any point in getting jealous; in 500 years, Hal was bound to have collected a number of old friends, but that didn't mean she had to be happy about it.
"No. Look, the park's about to open. Hadn't you better hurry?"
"Fine, be mysterious," Alex tried not to snap. "But call if you need us, yeah? If there's trouble, or you start... you know?"
She mimed 'fangs', holding her fingers up to her mouth.
Hal twisted around in his seat, amused but serious underneath.
"I will. Now, enjoy yourself. I'll come and get you when you're done."
"Sure. Tom, you better wait here a moment while I go steal you a wristband or something."
"Wait, you didn't say anything about stealing-"
But Alex had already vanished.
"How else d'you think we were gonna go on all the rides for free?" Tom asked.
"I'm more confused as to how she thinks she's going to get on any of the rides at all if no-one can see her."
"Don't worry about that. Alex'll find a way."
"Yes. Yes, I'm sure she will."
Tom's expression changed suddenly, glancing around to make sure Alex wasn't still around, looking worried.
"Look, you can't tell Alex this but I'm dead scared of heights."
Hal was momentarily taken aback.
"Tom, you're a werewolf who's been fighting vampires since you were in short trous-"
He broke off, glancing down at his friend's bare calves.
"In metaphorical short trousers. How are you scared of anything?"
"I've always hated being high up . McNair used to make me climb trees and stand on rooftops and that to make me get over it, but I still don't like 'em. I didn't wanna tell Alex cos she really wants to go on all these rides and I do too, but I'm really scared of them ones that go high up."
"Don't most of them do that?"
"Yeah. So you can't tell her."
"I think she'll find out anyway, Tom. Look, you don't have to do this if you don't want to. Or maybe I could-"
Hal couldn't quite finish that sentence, looking up at the giant amusement park that loomed ahead. Outside of his comfort zone didn't even begin to cover it.
"Nah, it's alright. You did the zoo trip. I wanna go in, and it'll make Alex happy."
The two men exchanged a glance, neither of them needing to say why it was important to both of them that Alex was happy. Even if she did like to play tricks on them sometimes.
"And you can always call me if you want to go home."
Hal fumbled with the mobile phone Alex had insisted he get, trying to press the correct tiny buttons for the functions he'd mastered.
"So long as you keep it charged, yeah? Plug it into a socket and that."
"I know how electricity works, Tom. I might not be 'up' on all the latest 'apps' but I can work a mobile telephone."
Tom grinned. He loved hearing Hal try to be all modern and 'down with the kids' as he put it, usually failing miserably. He might be dead old and posh and know all sorts of weird clever things about books and long words, but he was rubbish at talking like a normal person.
Alex re-materialised beside the car, knocking on the window. She waved a handful of tickets.
"This should sort us out! Come on Tom, let's go!"
"You sure you're gonna be okay?" Tom asked, still a bit concerned about letting his recently-relapsed vampire friend wander around unsupervised.
"I'll be fine. Will you?"
"Yeah. See ya."
Tom climbed out of the car and he and Alex practically skipped across the car park toward the entrance, where people were already queuing, despite the early hour. They turned back to wave at Hal, who raised a hand in response, then started the car and drove away, pausing only to re-tune the car stereo back to Radio 4. Alex's choice of music made a long journey considerably longer.
"Right! What shall we do first?"
Alex's eyes were sparkling, her face lit up in excitement.
"You choose. It's your list thing."
She turned to face Tom, wondering if he'd been pestering Hal to teach him about chivalry again.
"Yeah, but this isn't all about me. I want you to have a good time too. You've never been anywhere like this before, have you?"
"Nah. McNair'd never've wasted money on something like this. Though I have been round the fair in Barry a bit."
Alex regarded him sympathetically.
"You didn't really get a childhood, did you? I mean, not to have a go, but it sounds like there wasn't much time for fun."
"Oh no, I had loads of fun! Like, when I was done makin' stakes, I could whittle anything I wanted. Never quite got the hang of making bunnies though. Couldn't get the ears right."
Alex thought of all the things she and her brothers had done, the games they played and how, despite them driving her up the wall, she had nothing but good memories of her childhood. Well, up until her mum left, but that was... forget that. You had to grow up sometime. But Tom had never had any of that, being trained more than he was raised.
She looked around, her eye falling on a skull-and-crossbones flag hanging from a pole.
"Hey, do you like pirates? Decky loved them – we had flags like that everywhere."
Tom followed her gaze, breaking into a broad grin.
"Yeah! Can I wear an eyepatch?"
"Why not? Come on."
Disclaimer: Oh, how I wish these were mine! But no.
Has Tom ever said he's scared of anything? I couldn't remember, so if this contradicts anything in the series, apologies.
I wanted this to be all light and fluffy but the next chapter gets a bit angsty, just to warn.