A.N: Hiya guys! Long time no type. This bit of randomness popped into my head and I thought it might make a good epilogue ^^
Hope you guys like it.
Lucie sat on the bed, lollipop in mouth and hair in two loose braids, watching the flurry of panic going on around her with wide eyes. I was hopping around, trying to get my jeans on and Cassian was looking idly around for something to cover his top half. I fed a belt through the loops on the jeans and fumbled around with the fastening, trying not to roll my eyes at Cassian still stood in front of the wardrobe, staring into its depths.
"Just pick one…" I said through gritted teeth, scrounging around in the dresser for a top and pulling it over my head. He, somewhere in his reverie, had realised I'd spoken to him and turned slightly, one eyebrow cocked. "Pick a top, we need to go," I said, sitting down on the bed and searching around for my socks (which had chosen this moment to hide themselves).
He picked a simple black shirt and pulled it on slowly, leaving the top two buttons undone, before lying out next to me on the bed. I locked my jaw after realising he was just doing this to irritate me, but a soft tug at my sleeve stopped me from acting on any sort of violent impulse. When I turned, socks clouded my vision. I took them from her small hands with a grateful smile as Lucie resettled herself back on the mattress, ditching the lollipop stick and playing with Cassian's hair as it splayed over the duvet.
"Why are you so stressed?" he asked, his eyes closed and a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
I rolled my eyes. "I don't know," I said sarcastically. He shifted and I felt his eyes rest on me. I started fidgeting with the socks still in my hands (and not on my feet). "You're not worried, are you?" I asked, my tone turning serious.
"Nope, so you shouldn't be either." I could literally hear the smirk.
"Daaaddy! You're gon' make us late!" Lucie said, crossing her arms and looking far older than she actually was.
His hands flew up and he sat up, smiling. "Sorry, sweetie. Daddy's just teasing."
"We gon' be late…" she warned, squinting at him. He gave a small laugh and kissed her on the head.
"Okay, okay, Daddy's moving…" he said. I watched him get up and search around for her bag for a while before I realised my feet were still cold. He knelt down by the side of the bed and brushed her hair out of her eyes. "Okay, so, what are you going to do when you get there, Luce?"
"See if they got any juice…" she answered, her eyes wide and glassy.
Cassian, like me, fought a smile and looked at the carpet.
"Maybe I should've asked what you aren't going to do…?"
There was a pause where she frowned slightly before recognition dawned and she giggled. "I not going to float stuff, or break stuff or freak-people-out." She smiled, punctuating the last couple of words with claps. "I gon' listen to th' grown-ups and I gon' be a good girl," she nodded resolutely, one of her braids falling forward. "And look for juice…"
"Good girl," Cassian said standing and holding the straps of her little blue bag out. She jumped off the bed and wriggled her arms through them, bobbing up and down excitedly. "Come on," Cassian said, smirking down at me, both hands shoved into his jean pockets. "You're making us late…"
After waving her goodbye at the school gates, Cassian turned and let out a sigh of relief and began walking away. He was holding up pretty well.
"Are you sure you're okay?" I asked, nudging him slightly as we walked.
He managed a half-glare in my direction before smirking. "Yes, really, I'm fine. Besides I've snuck in so many times, it barely feels like I've left."
I hummed to myself. "Yeah but nobody recognised you. You looked like someone else – even me that one time. They'll all recognise you this time, believe me."
He looked at the ground.
"I know," he said slowly, his breath puffing out in front of him.
We walked in silence the rest of the way. Over the last few weeks rumours in the office had escalated, but nobody really knew he was coming back, they only suspected. I didn't know whether there'd be a meeting or something this morning, and to be honest I didn't want to know.
I'd had enough of those to last a lifetime.
Thankfully I'd been demoted (a sentence I never thought I'd say) back to kick-ass agent, though I'd probably be assigned a new target since the last one was now both sharing my bed and my workload. And that, when you thought about it, was a pretty worrying status change.
We walked down the pavement, cars crawling past us in the rush hour, the vampire next to me looking suspiciously too nonchalant. I shrugged. It was only for today anyway; is it too naïve to assume everything will be back to normal by tomorrow?
The huge glass building began looming over us, blocking the sun out and turning the air even colder. I blew into my hands as we walked up to the double doors, glancing sideways at him and trying to spot one of his microscopic expressions. The receptionist directly in front of us hadn't looked up yet, and neither had anyone else. I reached for the door and Cassian hesitated. It was only slight and lasted less than a second, but it was there.
I turned as the door swung closed, inspecting him for any sort of reaction; unfortunately his face and body language had carefully morphed into nonchalance again. I nudged him comfortingly as I walked past. There was a painful couple of seconds where there was no reaction from him at all, but then he nudged me back. It wasn't even a nudge really (he barely brushed me) but I instantly felt better.
Less like a mouse in a blender.
I walked up to the receptionist, slapped on one of the biggest grins I could muster and waited patiently for her to look up, something in my stomach wriggling around mercilessly. Her eyes met mine suddenly and the corners crinkled as she gave me a smile. And I watched it fall as soon as she realised who I was standing with.
There was unbroken silence between us for a few seconds, everyone around us oblivious and going about their business, heels clicking on the marble floor and the occasional hum of chatter.
"Hi…" I said, shuffling awkwardly from one foot to the other. "I think he needs a clock-in thingy…"
Her eyes dropped to the desk and she nodded slowly, before searching for a clock in card. Her colleague smiled at us in the background. It threw me off for a second before I realised. Of course, she was one of the new ones…
She pulled a pen out of the drawer, scribbled something down on a piece of paper and put the plastic ID card on the desk, sliding it towards him like it was infectious. He took it slowly and put it in his pocket.
"Thanks," I said weakly. She nodded, still refusing to make eye contact. "Come on, let's get this over with…" I said, turning to Cassian and walking around the desk and through the metal detector. After silently begging it not to go off when we both went through it (and being surprised when it actually obeyed) I pushed the button for the lift.
I sighed loudly when the doors closed. "Bloody hell, that was tense…" He hummed thoughtfully next to me and then started laughing. I looked at him incredulously. "Are you hysterical?"
"No," he laughed. "What the hell did you do to those security guards? They looked shit-scared and that level of fear couldn't just be from me."
I punched him lightly on the arm. "Two words: strip search." He started laughing harder, wiping tears from his eyes. "Actually, I have you to thank for that…" I punched him again. "Stop laughing! You can't walk out onto the office floor giggling to yourself. Well, not today anyway."
"Alright, alright," he said, holding his hands up. "Sorry, I'll go back to being serious. That's worked out so well so far."
I was just about to glare back at him when the lift pinged and the doors started opening. I stood there wide-eyed as the whole office floor stopped. Pens were dropped, phones went unanswered and people stared open-mouthed as we shuffled out of the lift.
Absolute silence; even the phones stopped. I could feel my cheeks heating up.
Thankfully, that was when Lucy popped her head around the corner of the kitchenette, mug in hand. I closed my eyes briefly in relief.
"Oooohh," she said loudly, although the volume wasn't really needed in this deathly silence. "This feels awkward," she chirped, handing me a coffee. I smiled and took it gratefully. "Awwww diddums," she said wrapping an arm around Cassian. "Coffee, tea, hot chocolate…? Any of those sound appealing?"
"Got any whisky?" he smirked.
"Nope. Even if we did, it'd be gone by now," she laughed. It was still stupidly quiet. She turned suddenly and put her hand on one hip. "Haven't you lot got anything better to do?"
Then someone walked out of the kitchenette and wandered up behind Lucy.
"Everything's really quiet," she said, looking around and smiling. I'm pretty sure she'd meant to whisper it, although you could never tell with the women that worked here. "What's up…?"
Lucy glanced at Cassian. "I'll tell you later…" she replied, her voice slightly snappy, her smile strained. She smiled in return and nodded and began walking away when her voice floated back to us.
"Someone hasn't taken their morning chill pill…"
I bit my lip. Scratch that. She was definitely one of life's loudmouths; one of life's say-whatever-I-want loudmouths. Just what this place needed with Cassian around.
Lucy pressed her lips tightly together and closed her eyes in a pitiful attempt to regain self-control. Cassian smirked.
"If I can't set the new girl on fire, neither can you," he whispered. Lucy snorted and smiled, trying to beat down a laugh.
"Looks like we'll both be needing a whisky at the end of the day." She winked and walked back to her desk, the sound of her mug dragging along the sleek wooden desktop echoing around the room as she sat down. I downed my coffee and set the cup on her desk. She rolled her eyes and nodded.
"Office?" I said awkwardly, still being stared at by the majority of the room.
"Office," he agreed as we started shuffling forwards.
The same deathly silence followed us. I rolled my eyes.
"What the hell is he doing here?" A voice came from behind us, booming around the office. The phones were suddenly being answered and there were small scratch-like sounds as people scrambled to look busy, paper practically flying off the desktops.
We froze and turned slowly. Not out of fear, more like out of confusion.
"What the…?" I said, frowning. "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm your new manager, who the hell are you?!" he said walking over to us slowly after he made eye contact with Cassian, like there was a dragon stood behind us and he was trying not to goad it.
"New manager?" I said, pushing down the urge to squint suspiciously at him.
Honestly, could the day get any better?
"Yeah. Now I'll ask again, who the hell are you and what the hell is he doing here?"
"Laec Godras, sir. I work here," I said through gritted teeth.
"Right…and him?" he said, his low voice gruff and a dark eyebrow rising in an irritatingly superior way. His brow was creased deeply with frown lines and his strong jaw was over-shadowed by slight morning stubble. He had the stocky build of a boxer – saying that, his nose looked like it'd been broken at least once – and he stared at me through obsidian eyes, clearly expecting an answer.
"Well, he sort of works here too," I said, my tone not altered in the slightest.
He squinted up at Cassian and he stared back, his face carefully neutral and his eyes attentive. I, however, could see the impending pain buried deep in those dark grey depths and I smiled nervously.
"Not sort of…" Then there was another bloke I didn't recognise, walking towards us beaming. His copper hair swished around the nape of his neck and when he smiled, the few freckles on his nose crinkled. He looked at least ten years younger than I imagined that he was and I resisted the urge to go 'awww'.
By the look on Cassian's face, he was resisting the same urge.
"Huh?" I said.
"Not sort of," he said, smiling again and draping his arm over our new manager. "He does work here, as of today."
"But he…" he spluttered.
"Shhhhhh," he smiled, putting a finger on the boxer's lips. "Don't worry, Rick. He's not going to go ape-shit," he smiled, winking cheekily.
Yelling and shouting erupted behind the doors leading off to the stairs and then a scream ripped through the air. We all stood frozen as the doors were ripped open and out came that Feral vampire from the basement cells, snarling and snapping. Apparently, the day could get a lot worse.
Most of the office workers sat completely still. The new loudmouth, who had been sat down next to Lucy going over some spreadsheets, had risen to her feet and was now trying to scramble away from Lucy's iron grip on her arm.
"Stay still," I heard her mumble out of the corner of her mouth.
"Are you insane? Why would I do that?!" she squealed. The vampire's attention fixed on her.
"They are like T-rex's," Lucy mumbled. "If you stay still, they won't be able to see you. You move, you die."
"That doesn't make any sense!" she screamed, ripping her arm away from her. Lucy, to her credit, kept her arm exactly where it had been; although now she looked like she was gripping something invisible in mid-air.
I marched forwards and patting my pockets for weapons (why do I always leave them in my office?) and watching as the vampire fixed his gaze on her, crouched and began hunting her in amongst the desks. Soon she ran into me and I gripped her by the shoulders.
"Stop moving!" I said through a mostly closed mouth, a frown appearing on my face. Great, that would have to stay there now.
"But-" she started before I squeezed her shoulders tighter.
"Just fucking listen," I muttered, the frown getting deeper.
He stalked over to us, his eyes suspicious. This was never a good state for a vampire to be in; they've forgotten to feed him or something. I sighed in my head. Someone was deeply, deeply in the shit.
Lucy was right, a vampire was like a T-rex but considerably more advanced, and it only happened when they were in a state where they were more animal than person. And it wasn't as easy as just staying still. If they've seen you move and then you suddenly stop (ie me and fucking loudmouth here), they have a tendency to try and make you move to see whether you're prey or not. Shocking you, biting you, pretending they're going to attack you. In training, I even had a vampiress kiss me when she was in this state, to see if it would rouse me out of it. One sharp intake of breath or flinching would give you away and you'd be dead.
Like musical statues, but way more dangerous.
He got within a metre of us, watching us unblinkingly. I could feel her tense in my arms. His attention flicked to her immediately and a dark expression flitted over his face. He grinned and flashed some fang, hissing.
She freaked out and I stepped forward, fists clenched in front of my face. She scurried behind me and tried to vault over the desks, if the frantic scratching sounds and crashing I could hear from behind me was anything to go by. The vampire's gaze followed her, the cruel smirk still plastered on.
Then recognition appeared out of nowhere and the vampire took a step back. I looked him over, trying not to look as surprised as I felt. I turned my head slightly, not daring to take my eyes of him, when Cassian brushed past me with a smirk on his face.
"You remember me then?" he said, almost laughing.
The vampire snarled and lunged forwards, throwing his arm out. I blocked it and Cassian snarled back, the sound ripping through the air and echoing long after he closed his mouth. The vampire stood completely still for a while, trying not to move a muscle. Cassian pressed his first two fingers to the vampire's forehead and he went limp immediately, his eyes closed.
Thankfully, Cassian caught him before he hit the ground.
"Someone take him back down to the cells and for God's sake, let's actually feed them. Thank you!" shouted Rick. A few of the agents that had originally been chasing it up the stairs rushed forwards and stumbled over their apologies. Rick waved them off. They ignored Cassian for the most part, aside from a couple of glances.
I spun on my heel, arms out ready. Nothing. Hmmm.
I turned to Cassian and watched as he caught a cup (along with its hot liquid contents) and returned to a normal standing position.
"That. Was. Awesome!"
"What was?" I asked, looking between the two.
"I can't believe you caught that!"
"Are we all on crazy pills?" I asked. "We had a starved vampire running around in the office and now, two seconds later, you decide to throw a cup at…" I pinched the bridge of my nose.
"You've been away from Agent life for too long," Lucy winked. "It's always like this." I shook my head. No it bloody isn't.
"Why did you just…?" Cassian said, now cradling said cup of coffee.
"I just wanted to see whether you'd catch it or not…" she smiled.
"That's it. No other reason…" he said, his face practically stamped with the word 'UNIMPRESSED'. She shook her head and Cassian laughed to himself; it wasn't a happy laugh though. More like the why-did-I-sign-up-for-this variety.
"You can't just throw coffee cups around," Rick said, his hands on his hips. I noticed his olive skin had gone slightly paler than before.
The other man began walking forwards and smiled his infectious smile, his nose crinkling again. "I think I'll leave you to deal with this," he said, winking at me when I frowned slightly. He clapped his hand on Cassian's shoulder. "That was awesome, by the way."
Cassian cocked an eyebrow and nodded slowly, before beginning to frown.
"Who the hell are you?"
"Oh yeah," he blushed. "Sorry. I'm Lucas…" he grinned.
"Michael's Lucas?" I asked.
"The one and only. But don't let him hear you say that though, he'll think we've been gossiping." He giggled and walked away, giving a two fingered salute as the lift doors closed.
"Well he was…"
Cassian and I looked at each other for a while before shrugging.
We turned to see Agents filing into one of the meeting rooms, Lucy beckoning us.
I rolled my eyes and sighed, punching Cassian lightly when he snickered.