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November 25th, 2018 Companion Piece to “Sands of Time” Little Monks Garage, early evening He’d stared at his phone for longer than he should have. Why was this so hard? Absent from civilization the last few days, the buzz of the moon was still on his skin. Relatively unscathed in his new vault set-up though, that was setting up to be a novel success. When he’d returned to his apartment, Mack still hadn’t been there, their unusual on again off again relationship satiating whatever need she had to keep her autonomy. Of course, the fact she never really left his senses because she was all over his apartment was a hell he had now to deal with daily. Not so much a hell, as a reality. She was ingrained in his bones. The cat wanted her around, he wanted her around, and his demure and polite status when she was there made him wonder if it was the reason she didn’t stay permanently. Maybe she didn’t feel he wanted her there, but when she pushed and brought out the sass he kept so tightly controlled it was very evident he wanted her company. Brows furled at the permanent part. Huff was quiet, looking at his truck again in the bay. It was something he couldn’t fix, and he was pretty competent in that area. She was definitely the one that could. It was time to search for a new vehicle, even with his immaculate care of the thing vehicles didn’t last forever. Phone flipped open and he dialed. Voicemail. [kai]Hi Mack, I’m at Monks and I could use a hand if you’re free. I’m going to try and see what I can do, if I don’t hear from you in an hour I’m going to head home.[/kai] Home. Their home? His home? Crash pad? Did she feel she needed permission to return when it was “safe”? Phone clicked shut and he left his Pea Coat on the rack, pushing up the sleeves of his charcoal colored Henley and pulling his Navy beanie closer around his ears. Hood was already up, the guys had gone home for the day and the owner was working on her own projects. She’d given him rein a while ago because Mack was always involved. Skin prickled again, he was too close out of a change to be around her… but… how would he learn to control it? It definitely wasn’t by avoiding, and the mysticism surrounding his changes had to be tackled eventually. But first, he needed to fix his truck.
Green had been staring what seemed like hours at a small lock of Mack's hair, slowly moving back and forth in front of her nose with every breath from oblivion. It was always taunting him. The careless chestnut locks that refused to do what anyone told them to. Large sigh was pulled in, scent of his shampoo in her still slightly damp hair filling his lungs. Everything was so silent. The kitchen light had been left on, the bathroom inadvertently as well, leaving the would-be darkness of his bedroom illuminated slightly in long shadows. The world was hushed. For once. No nightmares… For once. The tangled fingers hadn’t moved either, her grip tucking his hand under her chin like a stuffed animal pulled close for comfort. He hadn’t made any attempt to pull them free and was surprised she hadn’t woken; his skin a blast furnace most of the time- the length of her body was completely against it. So, he remained unmoving. He could be still for an eternity, training….understanding that one’s life only was dependent on how invisible one could be in the face of an enemy. Hours. Days. Sometimes a week in complete silence and miniscule movement to wait out whomever was on his tail. This was different. He didn’t want to move, he didn’t want to wake her… maybe he didn’t want to wake her because she would leave and not come back. She would realize what a huge mistake it was. There were other concerns that were looming with the clock ticking forward. Her arms were clawed up pretty heavily of her own doing from whatever had set her off the evening before, and she’d gouged his back more than once… not on purpose of course. Though the risk was.. in his right mind, not one he should be overly worried about. He was. He would never, ever put her in danger of living his hell. Eyes shifted, glinting toward the small case on his nightstand next to the alarm he’d set for 6:30am. It would be the first thing he would ask her to do. Minutes ticked by too quickly. The Were had maybe dozed a few minutes here and there, only to be woken by the slightest sound, ready to rip into whoever, or whatever had come to crash their silence. Work would come too soon…awkwardness, the reality his apartment was a bit.. disheveled. Couldn’t be exactly sure where clothes had ended up. They would go their separate ways. She would hate him again… Chest sighed quietly once more. Thank him? She’d thanked him, lower lip rolling through his teeth as he dwelled on it again. For what? Did it mean she wouldn’t hate him forever? He couldn’t think like that. It was what it was, he was who he was. He would expect nothing. There was nothing to hope for. Brow crinkled, lashes lowering at the sight of 6:29 finally flipping forward… savoring the last minute of silence and warmth before the lull of Chopin would break the silence, and this... whatever this was, would end.
Bones tired, the ache of not moving for hours shifted his hips finally, back arching inward as he leaned forward and pushed his chest outward to pops and crackles. Muscles released, the book tumbling to his lap, the smell of coffee bringing a soft pressed smile on the corner of his lips. Groggy eyes blinked, fingers reaching to stave the tickle in his nose only to realize her scent was recently on him, green eyes snapping with clarity over the room and settling on the coffee cup. Roll forward was fluid, following the trail back to the front door; empty couch, clothes gone, and his entire apartment smelling like the rain, steel and whiskey of a terrible mistake. Both hands drew over his face, not wasting a second to surge into a complete OCD meltdown. Every stitch of Chinese food in the fridge and otherwise was dumped into a large trash bag, the scouring of his apartment ending in everything scrubbed from top to bottom, everything that was touched or even near her stuffed into the washing machine, couch cleaned… coffee table, silverware… the string of curses that slipped from his lips at finding her Beretta and flask were still there rivalled anything he’d ever said in the Navy. Wrapping them both carefully in the towel he put them into the bag for Mrs. Kolcheck. He would drop them off at Monk’s for her to pick up. Dishwasher and washing machine running, the apartment effectively smelling like vinegar, wood oil soap and tea tree oil, clothing was completely stripped off and thrown in the washer… immediately jumping into a scalding shower. Both hands planted on the front of the shower, letting anything remaining run straight into the drain. Except, it wasn’t that easy. Everyone was right, he was effectively an animal- animals could scent things that weren’t there even after they were washed away. It was a tricky game, the bitterness that was icky in his stomach could so easily turn into something aggressive. The purging of her completely from his apartment already had his hackles raised, his logical brain telling him to get rid of everything, the engrained animal rolling its eyes at the stupid human impulse. He’d begun scrubbing his hands and arms without thinking, seethed hiss turning the hot to warm when he realized blood had rushed to the surface of the angry skin. Pain was a result of his handiwork, successfully purging her scent with his own blood and staving off even the thought of other impulses common in a man’s shower time. He was a guy after all. Mack was attractive.... growl sharp as he snatched soap and brought the sting of scrubbed raw skin to vicious fire, effectively dousing tingly fun time thoughts in sharp pain, rinsed off, water turned off. Water dripped, skin shivering, most relatively unscathed to merely bright red irritation except for a spot on his shoulder. Towel pulled away pink, it would heal shiny like a burn. He wished he could say it was the first time, sadly… he knew better. The obsessive behavior had started before he was set for discharge- fixated with removing his presence from his jobs in order to be perfectly invisible. It had gotten out of control, but it had been a long time since he’d actually drawn blood. Sitting on the edge of the tub with a towel pressed to his shoulder, he waited for it to stop bleeding. The area was numb from being shot, probably why it didn’t register he’d scrubbed so hard. Getting up, he called for a cab and had time to spare. Shaving and dressing was slow, his normal fall color casual suit for work. He didn’t have to go in until tomorrow, but he would swing by there today and see if he could reschedule things for the next few days. He had no interest in going in for a while, he had no interest in anything really except shutting and locking his apartment and sequestering in his office. Picking up Mrs. Kolcheck’s bag, he locked up. The ride to the hospital was quiet, at least for him, and complete torture. Cabs were one of the worst smelling places for the Were on earth. More than once the feline eyes rose to watch the rather chatty driver try to stir up conversation with him only to be met with a seethed sigh and a rolled down window to let the cool air flush his senses. Hospital was just as bad. Daytime. More foot traffic, coughing snotty people and pseudo emergencies demanding attention. The ICU was no longer closed off, her door open and still sleeping peacefully. She looked better, sitting next to her for a long time, thumb running across the back of her hand, barely a word to the nurses that moved in and out to take care of her. It was a bad place to be. Silent, left alone to his thoughts that were still trying to make sense of the night before. The signs he wasn’t wanted mingling with the unseen signs that he was- leaving him with a welling anger that was uncharacteristic for him on the off weeks. His stomach was what pulled him out, getting up to transfer her things out of his original leather messenger bag that he’d brought her in with into her favorite bag- the wrapped towel of Mack’s things back into his bag. Leaning to leave a lingering kiss on the woman’s forehead, he left and stopped to speak with the triage nurse. Stable, improving slowly. Touch and go. Another cab ride... he really needed his truck back, he set his secretary on the task of rescheduling all of the next few days’ appointments, keying into his office to close the door behind him and sit in solitude at his desk. He knew what he needed to do. Wanted to do. Every shred of his being fighting to do it, one candlelight of logic sputtering to stay lit. It was not a good idea. Mack had made her choice. He’d said no, she’d insisted. Great personal risk to settle a volatile Were that had fucked it up anyway. It was her own damn fault. He still found himself opening his closet to pull out a copy paper box filled with Terese’s things. She’d never come to pick them up, of course she hadn’t. She was dead. Her boyfriend? A threat. Someone stupid enough to try to trick him was threat to him if he was still watching the Were- which made him a threat to Mack. Mere thought surged rabid anger over his skin. It was illogical, and stupid. She didn’t want him, and she’d made her own bed by coming to his home. Still, the box was gone through, knowing Terese’s personal information was in it. Wouldn’t be the first leech boyfriend taking advantage of his girlfriend that he’d seen, especially one stupid enough to send her in his place. He left with the box, a quiet nod to Christie and out into the street, snagging a cab that were a bit more plentiful in his area and delivered at the small apartment complex of his former secretary. No apprehension, footsteps brought him to the far back corner on the ground floor and knocking at an apartment door. The man that opened it was his height, smelling of something he couldn’t quite place. Paint maybe? The recognition of the Were-shrink was quickly hidden by an apathetic draw on a cigarette. [kai]Hi, I’m Kai Morgan. When Terese left, she left some things behind. I’m not sure if she still wanted them, but I’d thought I’d bring them by.[/kai] he couldn’t believe how cordial he could be. *npc* Sure, sure. She just stepped out for a minute, why don’t you come in until she’s back. Am late for work though so has to be quick. The man took the box. Fabulous, the lying asshole was going to try and kill him. The mild-mannered sounding Brit stepped in and closed the door behind him. [kai]She didn’t seem happy, and she left so suddenly. I just wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings.[/kai] Bondo. The smell was bondo. It was on the guy’s hands. *npc* Look. I know you fucked my girlfriend, and I know you killed her. I know everything about you. Feline eyes rose to the younger man who had pulled out a gun as he set down the box. Every cordial inkling slid from his features, looking around the room for the first time and completely unfazed by the gun that was still pointing at the floor and not him. Terese had said he was Vanguard. Whether he was Vanguard or not, he couldn’t tell, nothing in the room said otherwise until his eyes focused on a pair of overalls similar to Mack’s, the patch on the chest identifying. [kai]Everything?[/kai] something inside his brain snapped, the nonchalant tone surprising even him. *npc* I know about the old lady. I know when you’re gone. I know where you go. [kai]I’m sure your friends know too.[/kai] *npc* Fuck that, no. I squeak they bring a fucking team. You, I’m bringing down myself. Bragging rights. Sure, you’re quite the English pansy ass, suit wearing fake, but an animal is an animal. Will be the talk of the garage. Promotion maybe. [kai]Do it yourself huh? Is that why you sent your girlfriend in with a gun?[/kai] *npc* Fuck bitches. Wasn’t he charming. *npc* Not good for anything except bait. He was a threat. He was a massive threat. There was no hesitation, anger possessed, gun thumping to the floor after the sharp meaty crack left the arrogant asshole on the ground. [kai]Not English, dumb shit.[/kai] The rage, was overwhelming. How dare he. Threaten the Were, threaten Mrs. Kolcheck, and in turn threaten Mack by proxy. He wanted to tear him apart, make him suffer and squeal every minute detail of who he’d talked to as he broke every one of his fingers. Instead, a broken neck was clean and easy to stage as a suicide. Missing girlfriend that most likely left him, unhappy in his job. Cut and dry for the cops. It was instinctual, taking merely moments to stage everything he needed to. Snatching the overalls off the hook near the wall, he debated taking them; a mouse to drop on Mack’s doorstep, deciding against it and hanging them back up. He had no idea if she knew him, the less tangled he was in this, the better. Picking up the box, he left quietly and got back in the cab that he paid to wait for him around the block, asking to be dropped off a few blocks from Monk’s. Dumping the box into an already lit burning barrel in a warehouse district, he arrived shortly after, asking for access to his truck and putting the towel under his front seat- leaving a message for her in it that it was there. He paid for the job, probably more than it was worth, but it would give her no reason to come near him again- calling another cab and waiting in the lobby for his pick-up. It was already late, debating waiting outside to avoid running into anyone, let alone Mack.