walkwithheroes: [Random] (Random Panda)
[personal profile] walkwithheroes
Name: Nichole
Story: Surely Someday
Piece Title: Everything Has Changed: Story 5, Part 2
Colors: Heart Gold: 20. Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. - Robert Frost; TARDIS Blue: 24. Courage isn't just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.
Supplies and Materials: none
Word Count: 4,182
Rating: PG
Warnings: slight claustrophobia warning - no major details of the space
Summary: Simon rents a moving van to bring Maggie on the family trip. At the cottage, Maggie sees the outside world for the first time in over a hundred years. Andrews returns home to find it empty.
Author's Note: Comments are lovely and I'm always grateful for them. Continuing on from: http://rainbowfic.dreamwidth.org/511515.html?mode=reply



For several weeks, Mr. Schreck had been researching the mysterious ‘Magdalena’. He had heard mutters of her before; just something in vampire lore. A story, not so much to scare as to inspire, from long ago. He had never given it much thought until James Warren had asked about her. From what Mr. Schreck could remember, Warren had been looking for a woman since he first awoke as a vampire. The very idea that Warren’s girl and ‘The Magdalena’ were one and the same was just too much of a possibility. Why else would Warren suddenly be asking about ‘The Magdalena’?


He had started simply by emailing a few of his Prodigies in hopes of learning more about ‘The Magdalena’ rumors and legend. The stories varied, some stating that she was the first vampire and others stating that she had fallen from Heaven. Good or evil, no one seemed to know. What was agreed on were two things: even a sip of her blood made a vampire truly immortal, and a group named The Men in the Black Coats was looking for her.



Those men discussed her in harsh whispers in the corners of the supernatural world. ‘The Magdalena’ was their responsibility, and she had to be found and punished for an unknown crime. Anyone who dared get in their way would be seen to, quickly and without mercy.


Mr. Schreck leaned back in his leather office chair, as if he had all the time in the world. From his computer screen, a simple email with one sentence stared back at him: The Men in the Black Coats are coming.


*


Simon had suggested wrapping Maggie in thick curtains and bringing her out to the lorry. It was a kind idea, if only to save her from the small space of a trunk or something similar, but it wouldn’t work. Nighttime or no, the neighbors might see. There wasn’t a coffin for her, but there was something else: Warren’s large iron trunk. If Maggie curled up into a fetal position, she could somewhat comfortably fit; if only for the two minutes it would take to get her into the back of the lorry.


Warren had insisted on carrying the trunk. He claimed it was because he didn’t want Simon scuffing the edges, but Simon was sure there was more to it than that. With only a day until the full moon; his hearing was at its peak. Even trailing a foot behind, he could still hear Maggie whispering from within the trunk. The same words over and over again;


“It’s not a coffin. It won’t be like the stone box. I’m okay. I’m all right.”


It was enough to drive a person mad.


*


Being a psychology student working on her masters allowed Henry certain advantages, one of which was an office space, which she shared with three other students. The space was large and airy with two large windows taking up one of the walls; shelves of books lined the other walls. In the middle of the room, four desks were pushed together – each with its own laptop.
Henry slipped into her desk chair and switched on her laptop. With a wave of her hand, she gestured for Andrews to take a rest at the desk next to hers.



His gaze steady on the windows, Andrews rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ll stand. You just have a bit to do, right?”



“Yeah.” Henry nodded slightly. “I just have to write a couple of paragraphs. My classmates and I are writing a paper on the way horror movies have changed societies. People are really fascinated with murder and violence, you know? It’s almost as if they’re just waiting for monsters to come out of the alleyways and start riots.”



Something akin to a nervous laugh nearly escaped Andrews’s throat, and he coughed to try and cover it up. “I never watch horror films.”



“What, are they too scary for you?” Henry asked, with a hint of laughter in her voice. She never took her eyes off her laptop screen, but Andrews was sure she was aware of his nervousness.



It would have been easy to lie and tell her that horror films scared him or that he found them too realistic in terms of the horrors of men. It would have been easy, but a lie didn’t come out of Andrews; the truth did: “I find them too unrealistic.”



Henry’s eyes widened slightly as she turned to glance at him. “What?”



Andrews rubbed the back of his neck. Inwardly he cursed himself, though he wasn’t sure why. If anything, Henry might think he had some sort of mental issues. She couldn’t piece together the truth, still. . .Andrews found himself annoyed that he had said such a thing as finding horror films unrealistic, even if they were. “I just meant that the CGI makes them hard to believe. Or the plots are too silly; the true horrors are in the real world. That’s enough for me.”


*


It hadn’t been a hard decision, deciding to stay in the back with Maggie. Simon didn’t like the idea of her being alone in the dark; she had sounded so scared during the minute it had taken to get from the house to the lorry. The moment the door had been closed and safely locked, Simon had opened the iron trunk; only for Maggie to bolt up and wrap herself tightly around him in a hug. She had held tightly to him, whispering the same thing over and over;


“I’m not in a coffin or box. I’m not in a coffin or box.”


Simon held her as close as he could with one arm and gently petting her hair with the other. He had once read somewhere that human contact helped people when they were experiencing trauma.


“Maggie?” Gently he moved her over to the mattress, though he made sure to keep a hand firmly in hers. “You’re okay.” With a flick of his free hand, he turned on the storm lantern that sat near them. “See? We have light. And I promise you that we can leave this place anytime.”
Her eyes wide, Maggie took in her surroundings. She let one of her hands drift to the wall; it was cold metal. Metal to keep away the voices and the visions. The moving lorry was driving slowly. She could feel the road beneath them. Warren was driving and Simon was with her. Only Andrews was missing.


Feeling weak, she leaned against Simon’s shoulder. “It’s a tiny room that moves. You’re smarter than you pretend to be.”


“Keep it to yourself, yeah? I’d rather not have Andrews pouting over the next few days.” Moving a bit, Simon reached over for the walkie-talkie and turned it on. There was a brief moment of static before Simon spoke; “Warren, we have Maggie safe and sound. How’s the road looking? Over.”


There was a pause, followed by a warm chuckle over the walkie-talkie. “You don’t have to say ‘over.’ I’d actually prefer if you didn’t. It’s a bit crowded, but we should make excellent time. Maggie, how is it?”


With a glance at Simon, Maggie smiled sweetly; “Like a metal room that moves. Simon’s much brighter than he pretends to be. Is Douglas meeting us or are we getting him from the university?”


“Meeting; I told him we were going ahead,” Simon quickly stated with a scowl. “He might be a bit, though.”


Another chuckle over the walkie-talkie. “Sounds like you’re jealous that Andrews is having coffee,” Warren’s voice teased.


Simon wanted to protest and say that he wasn’t jealous, and that he didn’t care if Andrews and Henry were having coffee or having coffee. He wanted to, but he couldn’t. The truth was that he was annoyed. Maybe not jealous, but something akin to it. For five years, Andrews had told Simon to stay away from women, least the Wolf come out. To not even think of making connections, because those connections could get him or Maggie hurt or outed or worse.


And now what was happening? After twelve years as the Keeper – the faithful leader of their band of misfits and freaks – Andrews was having coffee with a university student. A psychology student at that; those were always the nosy ones. Simon couldn’t even begin to think what she had tried to get out of Andrews. Then there was the fact that Andrews wasn’t all that good with women . . . he could have said anything and not even noticed. It was funny, Simon had always assumed that he would be the one to expose them; yet, it was looking more likely that it would be Andrews and his coffee.



“Simon?” He turned to see Maggie giving him an inquisitive look. “Do you want coffee?”



“It’s not coffee that’s the problem,” Simon sighed. He supposed it was as good a time as any to approach the subject. He just hoped Maggie took it well; they were in the back of a moving lorry, it wasn’t as if he could leave. “Warren’s just,” he made sure that the walkie-talkie wasn’t broadcasting to Warren, “Andrews has got a girlfriend.”


Something that was barely audible escaped Maggie’s lips. Simon thought it sounded slightly like an ‘O-Oh.’ He thought she might turn off the hurricane lamp or turn her back to him or cry or something, but she didn’t. She just sat against him, slowly nodding her head. He thought she’d be jealous or something, but not quiet. Awkwardly he pressed a finger to the walkie-talkie’s talk button.


“Warren . . . I told her about the coffee.”


“And?”


Gently Simon shrugged Maggie off him. Her body fell against the wall, as if she was nothing more than a rag doll. “I may have broken her.” An alarmed noise came from the walkie-talkie. “I said may have! Maggie? Mags? Did I break you? Did you image Andrews having sex and go into a coma?”
Maggie shook her head. “No.” A small smile played on the edge of her lips. “I’m just thinking how lovely and sad it is that Douglas has found love after all this time.”


He wasn’t certain, but Simon was sure he heard Warren ‘aw’ over the walkie-talkie. Raising an eyebrow, Simon tried to keep his focus on Maggie. “You’re happy he has a girlfriend? Doesn’t that mean that she’s the reason he’s been leaving early and staying at work late? Doesn’t that mean that he’s not following the rules of the Keeper; or, his own rules for that matter?”


“Yes, yes, and I suppose it does,” Maggie replied, her lips now firmly in her usual sweet smile.



“But, he wasn’t taught how to be a Keeper; he wasn’t prepared. He did it out of loneliness and pity.”



For the first time in a long time, Simon found himself unsure of what to say. How could he respond to that when his own annoyance and his own feelings of betrayal felt so real? Hadn’t he also gone years without a connection outside Andrews and Maggie? Simon hadn’t asked for his curse; no one had prepared him. And yet he had stayed hidden, just as Andrews had asked.



“If I could interject?” Warren’s smooth voice questioned over the walkie-talkie. “I may be new to all of this. Being one of the so-called good guys and keeping secrets, but . . . it seems to be like the rules are changing. So, why not change with them? Maybe Andrews being so preoccupied with Coffee Girl is the perfect opportunity for you two to really get some answers about werewolves and your past?”



Maggie and Simon exchanged a look, before Simon spoke into the walkie-talkie. “Haven’t you told me everything? Over. And what could you know about Maggie? Over.”



There was a long pause, before Warren spoke again. A long pause in which Simon shifted around the mattress and Maggie’s eyes stayed glued to the walkie-talkie. “I have, and nothing, and stop using over. But, there are other werewolves out there. Probably people or things who know about stone boxes, too. With Andrews always wanting you two away from others, you never got a catch. I’m saying now, maybe you could get answers I can’t give. Answers Andrews certainly doesn’t know.”



Simon had to admit that he liked the sound of that. And when he glanced over at Maggie, well, she was smiling.


*



The true horrors are in the real world. That’s enough for me. Even as Henry drove Andrews home, his words from earlier still echoed in her mind. Stealing a glance at him - slumped over in the passenger’s seat, gazing out the window with a stern expression – Henry couldn’t help but wonder about him. He truly was an enigma. Andrews had already mentioned having to leave the city and not returning.




Andrews had also seemed odd when he had checked his mobile as they had climbed into her tiny car. Henry was sure he had muttered Simon’s name and some kind of cuss word under his breath.
Before getting to know him; before all the coffee dates, Andrews had seemed too normal. Now that illusion was starting to fade, only to be replaced by a mystery. A mystery Henry was starting to want to solve.



“You can stop here,” Andrews’ deep voice jogged Henry out of her thoughts. She noticed that he was sitting up straighter and pointing toward a parking lot. “I’ll walk the rest of the way.”



“I can’t let you out here. It’s the middle of nowhere.” Henry eyed the parking lot suspiciously. It was empty except for a large truck that had seen better days. “It looks like a lady of the night might pop up at any moment.”



Choking back a laugh, Andrews shook his head lightly. “I’ll be perfectly fine, Henry. My house is only a little a ways from here.” Sensing her unease, Andrews smiled softly. “I would love for you to drive me the full way; however, I don’t want to make a scene. There are things going on at home that are a bit complicated.”



With a defiant glint in her eyes, Henry pressed hard onto the gas petal. “Lots of complicated stuff going on, but you can’t share it with me. Is that right? Are you scared I’ll get hurt or are you scared I’ll learn all your secrets? Secrets that probably aren’t all that shocking, I might add. It’s not like you’re a serial killer – you don’t fit the profile. And you’re certainly not a spy. So, what . . . are you and Simon drug dealers? Con artists? Is that why you stole those sedatives from the biology labs?”



“Stop the car.” Andrews’ voice was low, a warning. “Henry Harker, stop this car right now.” Henry released her foot from the gas, an action that caused both she and Andrews to be pushed back against their seats. “Thank you.” With a cough, Andrews straightened out his work uniform.
“We’re in front of my house.”



“I, uh. . .” she turned her attention to the house on her left. It was the only one of the street with thick curtains and a metal door. A sudden feeling of terror crept up inside of her. Maybe Andrews was hiding something terrible; more terrible than selling animal sedatives or being a con artist. He was being awfully calm about her outburst. Too normal and too calm, that was Douglas Andrews. “I didn’t mean to say such horrible things. I just wish . . . Andrews?” It accorded to her than that he wasn’t even listening to her; Andrews’ blue eyes were glued to his dark house.



“She’s not in there.” Andrews’ sounded helpless; afraid. Henry had never heard him sound that way before and it scared her to think something could make him feel that way. “I can always feel her; Maggie calling me to her. Right now . . . there’s nothing.” For the first time in over a decade, he wasn’t feeling her. Somehow it made him feel hollow, less than whole. “Simon and Warren really took her without my say-so.” Henry watched Andrews, his hands fumbling, unclick his seat belt. “Again,” with a hard push he opened the car door. In a flash Andrews was out of the car and rushing up the path to his house.



Without thinking of what could happen, Henry followed. She reached the door just in time to see Andrews running up the stairs, all the while calling out: “Maggie?”



Henry’s eyes strayed around the house: there was a tiny kitchen to her right, and a cluttered parlor to her left. The stairs leading up to the second floor were wooden and narrow. A quick glance into the kitchen showed that it was clean and well organized; a small wooden table and three chairs were tucked away in a corner. The furniture in the parlor was old and used; books on science and history, car magazines, and comic books were spread out on the sofa and floor. A half knitted pair of fingerless gloves sat on the arm of the sofa. This was not the house that Henry had imagined Andrews living in. This wasn’t the way she imagined seeing it for the first time, either.



Moving deeper into the house, Henry swallowed. “Andrews? Is everything all right?”



There was a beat before Andrews’ voice floated down to her; “I’m terribly sorry for overreacting.” Tilting her head, Henry could just make out Andrews’ brown work boots at the top of the stairs. With a purpose she had never seen in him, he moved down, a suitcase in hand. “Do you suppose there are any cabs willing to take me a few hours drive out? There’s somewhere I need to get to right away.”



“I can bring you.” The words were out of her mouth before Henry even knew what she was saying or the meaning of the words. “I have my car, and I still want answers. Like why you stole the sedatives, and why it matters if Simon took Maggie outside.” She stood straighter. “Did you kidnap Maggie?”



“She came willingly,” Andrews stated with a small laugh. He rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand. “Henry Harker, how I wish I could tell you everything.”



“So, tell me. Please, Andrews.”



He smiled – really smiled at her. For the first time since they had started their relationship or friendship, or whatever it was, Henry saw something in Andrews that she had never seen before: true and genuine affection. He wasn’t hiding anymore, at least not from her. “I can’t. I made a promise. That’s why I think it’s best if you go home and forget about tonight.”


It was an out. Henry could go home and forget Andrews. She could forget seeing him stealing the sedatives. She could forget the way Simon’s voice had sounded like a growl when they had first met in the ladies. She could forget the mysterious Maggie. Henry could go back and not farther into the rabbit-hole she was sure Andrews was leading her down.



“Andrews,” she stuck her chin out. “I’m going to drive you to wherever you need to be. I won’t ask you or Simon any questions. You need someone and I could be that someone. I’ll help you. Keep me in the dark; just don’t outright lie to me. I know there are things going on with you that you can’t tell me. I know that there is more going on than I could understand. But I don’t think you’re a murderer or a kidnapper. I think you’re just in over your head.”



In over his head? It was enough to make Andrews laugh. If only she knew the full truth. He knew nothing: Andrews barely knew anything about Maggie or werewolves or vampires. He just knew that he had to take care of Maggie and protect her. He knew he had to keep Simon’s secret safe and keep him save from harm.



And he was tired. Too tired to fight; much too tired to try and keep his lies up. Something inside him was buzzing; it was like his heart was on vibrate. He was sure it had to do with Maggie getting farther and farther away from him.



“You can drive me until we’re one kilometer from where I need to be. Then you go home. Is that a deal, Henry?”



Despite her worries and her growing anxiousness, Henry nodded. “You have a deal, Andrews. Let’s go.”


*


Simon awoke to the feeling of a bumpy road underneath and Maggie whispering beside him. Her voice was barely above a whisper, but it sounded clear as a bell. A quick check of his wrist watch let him know that it was now half past two in the morning. That meant it was the full moon. That meant the Wolf was fully awake. Somewhere deep inside, Simon could feel the beast moving around.



“Rhinos would win,” Maggie firmly hissed into the walkie-talkie.



Warren’s voice came over a moment later. “Hippos; hippos would win over rhinos.”
With a grunt Simon stretched out on the mattress. Even with the bumpy road he still felt comfortable. “Hippos or rhinos . . . do I want to know?”



“Rhinos would win in a fight against hippos,” Maggie stated matter-of-factly. “Warren disagrees.”



Simon dragged his eyes up to meet Maggie’s face. Maggie, the mysterious immortal girl with no body odor. Something about Maggie always made the Wolf nervous on full moons. “Hippos are more violent. Ask Warren where we are.”



Maggie repeated the question into the walkie-talkie. “Maggie should get ready to see the world.” Suddenly the moving lorry came to a stop. “I’ll come around and open the door.”



The sounds of Warren getting out of the lorry and walking to the back echoed in Simon’s ears. Beside him Maggie stood and began bouncing excitedly on the balls of her feet. He was fairly certain that he had never seen her so happy; so normal looking. In Warren’s over-sized shirt and his baggy jeans, she looked just like any normal human - twenty-something. Her brown hair danced around her shoulders; for a brief moment Simon thought she had never looked more alive.


With a rather jarring noise, the back of the lorry was open. Pale moonlight and a cool breeze came in. Along with, Simon noticed, the smells of woodland animals. The grass smelt fresh and somewhere off in the distance Simon could hear birds faintly singing. Warren stood outside, a stupid grin on his face. Beside Simon, Maggie stood; her mouth agape and sunglasses firmly on her face.



“It’s so much brighter than I remember,” she breathed softly. “So long. . .” in awkward strides she moved to the edge of the moving lorry. There was no pain. Maggie was nearly outside; seeing the grass and the trees – a long field on the edge of the woods stretched out before her. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.



With a clumsy leap, she landed firmly on the grass. It made a crushing sound under her heavy shoes. Rough. Up close it looked rougher than Maggie had imaged it to look. So green; the grass was greener than the television screen had shown her. Greener than the grass Andrews and Simon had brought inside for her, too. Taking a deep breath, she took in the air. Somehow it smelt fresher than the air had when Richard Whitman had freed her from her stone prison so many years before.



A thud alerted Maggie to the fact that Simon was now beside her. “This is the country.” He looked at her, all smiles. “What do you think, Maggie?”



“It’s. . .”a giggle escaped her lips.




“It’s really brilliant?” Warren suggested. He was already unloading the back of the moving lorry. “We should get to the house.”



The house, Simon knew, was about a ten minute walk from where they were. He had studied the directions and map carefully as he had waited for the moving lorry to be ready for him. The whole place was so far away from the rest of the world. There was no pain here. No blood to tempt Warren, no humans for the Wolf to hurt, and no people to hurt Maggie. It was perfect.



“I’m running,” Maggie announced. “I want to run.”



Maggie began walking, quickening her pace ever so slightly every second or so. She could feel the grass beneath her shoes – solid ground not made of wood or carpet. It nearly made her lose her balance. Yet she kept going; faster and faster until the trees started to blur around her. Her hair flew around her and into her pale face, but she didn’t stop. She could hear Warren and Simon lugging the bags behind her; could hear them arguing about which animals would win in fights. Maggie thought it was nearly perfect. All that was missing was Douglas Andrews.

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