Character(s): George, Annie, Mitchell, Fleur, Bernie, ever-so-brief Nina, Lauren.
Word count: 515
Disclaimer: None of them are mine.
Summary: Mitchell’s life with Bernie and Fleur.
Author's notes: What might have happened? What nearly transpired? And how might things have progressed from there?
Compared with the neighborhood’s reactions, recruiting Bernie was the easy part; but Mitchell knew that compared with what he’d be up against soon, the neighbors weren’t an issue.
Fleur and Bernie moved in with Mitchell, who introduced them to George and Annie.
“You didn’t,” George said to Mitchell when he saw the boy – who could see Annie plain as day. “You did. You did, didn’t you?”
“Well it wasn’t exactly your time of the month, was it, George,” Mitchell said. “So I didn’t have a lot of options.”
Bernie sniffed. Reflexively, George took a step back.
Annie took their coats and offered them piping-hot cups of tea. “It’s okay,” Mitchell told Fleur when she cast worried questioning eyes at him.
Having Fleur around would help Annie, Mitchell hoped; he hoped the mother would be a calming influence on the ghost.
The neighborhood quieted down. Rumors weren’t a problem, hadn’t been since the whole fiasco.
Hunger was a problem. That was why it required a great deal of planning ahead.
While vampire bats and leeches had chemical compounds in their saliva to numb their prey, they also had prey which was much bigger than they were. For a vampire, prey was your own size. So, no paralyzing agents, nothing to dampen the pain your food would undergo.
Have to keep Bernie from using his strength to pummel the bullies into piles of tar, keep Bernie from turning the bullies into a snack.
Mitchell found some homeless men who were willing to give blood – and endure some pain – in exchange for fresh food, clean clothes (with laundry service at the flat), and other things the providers asked for.
All the while, Fleur and Annie have worked out a code in the games they play – checkers, chess, Chinese checkers – poker and other card games aren’t allowed in the house, on account of cards being dangerous weapons if Annie has a cross thought.
Sometimes George joins in, but he isn’t as fluent as the ladies; but its always good for a few laughs, whether Nina’s visiting or not.
Lauren would follow them, out of curiosity – so she said on those ocassions when Mitchell caught her and pressed for an answer – to see how Mitchell handled a recruit. When the subsequent Boxing Day came around, Lauren left a holiday card for Bernie, with just two words inside: you’re lucky.
Mitchell and Bernie stood at Fleur’s grave, admiring how the grass atop her plot fought tooth-and-nail to grow through the snow.
“And I keep going,” Bernie said.
Mitchell wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement, a regret or a hope – each of those was justified, after all. “She’d be proud of you,” he said.
“I’ll be back next year,” Bernie said.
Before he left, Bernie sniffed, and said to Mitchell, “She’s here.”
And so she was – Lauren was leaning against the oak further down the row of tombstones, watching the two of them at Fleur’s. “I’ll talk to her,” Mitchell said.
“Okay,” Bernie said and walked away as Lauren walked up to Mitchell.