I spent a lot of time in my wolf form after Fate was gone, curled up in the corner of a room somewhere, staying out of the way as much as I could, given the size I was. I didn’t eat or sleep much, and the time I spent in my human form was spent drinking, mostly. I wanted to go home. I loved the pack, I really did, but everything here reminded me of Fate, and it just didn’t feel right. I guess I just felt I had no reason to be there now that Fate wasn’t there with me.
After a while, I barely talked either. Line sat with me a fair bit, and sometimes I would curl up with him. I suppose I appreciated that someone still cared. I don’t think he approved of the drinking; he even asked me to stop a few times. I told him I’d keep it out of the house, but that was as much as I was willing to do.
Theo came over at some point. I had no idea how long it had been since Fate had left, or what day it was anymore. I ignored him. I wasn’t sure if the others cared about me, but he was as cold towards me as ever. In fact, the reason Theo had come over was to mumble something to Line about kicking me out of the pack. Line defended me, even though I didn’t really deserve it.
I got up and slunk off upstairs to switch back to my human form and pack a few things. I didn’t have much here, really, it all fitted into one backpack. I could hear Line and Theo fighting downstairs as I pulled on the first clothes I could find. I was planning to just sneak out quietly with my things and find somewhere cheap to stay, but Line noticed me, stopping me from leaving.
"If he wants me gone, I’ll go," I said quietly with a shrug.
"What about those of us that don't want you gone?" I just gave him another shrug. I didn’t know what to say to that. "Don't go, Lazarus. We're your family."
"I won't be far away. I'll just be out of the way," I mumbled. I’d be out of Theo’s way, I’d be out of Line’s way, I’d be out of everyone’s way, and then anyone who worried about me could stop worrying. He gave me this sad look and I just stood there, not knowing what to do with myself.
"You're not in the way here, Theo's just inconsiderate."
"I feel like I am."
"You're not," he insisted. I still didn’t really know what to do, and it must’ve shown because that was when Line offered me a hug. I took it gratefully, putting my head on his shoulder. He rested his own head on top of mine, apparently happy to keep hugging me when I didn’t want to let go of him. He flashed me a warm smile when I nuzzled his neck a little bit.
"Sorry I've been so absent the last few weeks,” I mumbled quietly.
"Thank you for sitting with me so much."
"Don't mention it," he said. Before I knew what I was doing, I planted a tiny, grateful kiss on his lips. I let go when I realised what I’d done, apologising.
“It’s fine,” he told me again, ruffling my hair. I managed a small smile, which he returned with a full one. I glanced down at my bag, still thinking about leaving. I didn’t know where I’d go. Maybe out of town or something. Maybe even back home to London. I hadn’t been there in decades. I wondered how much it had changed.
"Maybe I should hang out somewhere else for a while anyway. Keep out of Theo's way," I said, sort of trying to make up an excuse to get out of there.
"If you want, but let me come with you, at least." I couldn’t think of any reason to say no to him, so I nodded, telling him that he could come if he wanted. He gave me a smile.
"Maybe we can use the safe house or something. I think Lucky's still there,” I said without thinking. And then I remembered that I’d stayed there with Fate when Gen gave birth so that the house wasn’t so crowded. My face fell and I regretted the suggestion, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for two beds, and I wasn’t going to make him pay for himself, so it was the only place we could really go. Line had apparently noticed the drop in my mood, wrapping me in another long hug which I appreciated quietly. I let go of him a little reluctantly when he pulled back and picked up my stuff. Here goes, then.