Hearing that Melissa and Lazarus had argued it out, James decided it was safe to re-enter the room. He looked down at Lazarus, whose pale blue eyes followed him from the door to the kitchen. James stopped in the kitchen, making a fuss about clearing up the shattered glass. He kept pausing to glance at Lazarus and Melissa. Lazarus was leaning against the wall and Melissa had her head pressed to his chest, listening to his heartbeat in her sleep. Lazarus had his arms wrapped fiercely around Melissa’s cold form, his expression wary and protective, though he probably didn’t realise just how defensive he looked.
‘Sorry about the glass,’ Lazarus said as James swept the last of the shards into his hand. He stood and brushed the glass from his hand into the bin. ‘And thanks for helping find me. But there’s no need to worry about us, we’ll be moving on again soon. I don’t want to out stay my welcome on your patch.’ Lazarus turned his eyes back to Melissa and he ran his fingers through her hair.
‘Huh. It was easy enough. But I don’t think you should be moving on so soon.’ James replied, making short work of the washing up as he spoke.
‘Why’s that? Me hanging around here is only going to attract a bunch of hunters to your turf, and that’s the last thing you need.’ Lazarus tried to speak quietly so he didn’t wake Melissa up, but he couldn’t help the rise in his voice as he determinedly pushed on, insisting that it was best they left. After all, what man could bear to stay on another man’s turf when he was embarrassingly dependant, not to mention having jumped to the wrong conclusion about the man and Melissa? He still couldn’t shake the feeling, though, that James was a much better match for Melissa. His heart tightened and he looked at the floor.
‘I can handle myself, do not worry about that, but the full moon is near and how are you going to find food and clothes? Would it not be better to wait until the change is over? When you are not vulnerable to attack?’ James countered Lazarus’ argument smoothly and Lazarus frowned.
‘I’m sure you can handle yourself, James, you hardly strike me as someone as incompetent as me.’ Lazarus paused. ‘How long was I in that place for? The cycle had only just finished when I was caught...’ he shuddered and glanced up at James. The vampire paused and looked away, finishing up in the kitchen.
‘Quite a long time. A few weeks. They must have knocked you out for quite a while.’ James replied quietly.
‘How come I was down there for so long?’ Lazarus asked, his scowl deepening. ‘If you say it was easy enough to find me, how come you only found me today? Why not when I went missing?’ He couldn’t help the bitterness creeping into his voice as he remembered what the hunter had done to him.
‘Because I only found Melissa a few days ago!’ He growled, narrowing his eyes. ‘If it was up to me I would have left you down there!’
‘If it was up to me, I’d have left me down there too.’ Lazarus snarled back.
‘I was hardly about to abandon a lady in need of help, Lazarus,’ James snapped and glared at the two of them on the floor.
‘How very chivalrous of you,’ Lazarus sneered, though he wanted to back down. He had had enough of seeming weak and pathetic, from Melissa saving him from his own alcoholic self destruction, to a stranger – a vampire – rescuing him from the hunters. James smiled tightly, attempting to hide just how close he was to killing Lazarus.
‘Yes, well you are very lucky,’ he said, the threat in his tone not completely hidden, ‘but very, very stupid to think of picking a fight with me. I have killed many of your kind. Dog.’ Lazarus returned James’ strained smile with an easy grin.
‘I have no doubt you have, James, but there’s a difference between being killed by a human and being killed by a vampire. Being brought down by a human is embarrassing, but at least dying at the hands of someone a lot stronger than you is just an unfair fight.’
‘Not unless you strike first,’ he growled. ‘Now to change the subject, what are you going to do now?’ his voice became calm, if not a little cocky. Lazarus prickled at his confidence, but swallowed his pride with some difficulty and turned his mind away from hurting James. What were they going to do next? Good bloody question, he grumbled inwardly. He shrugged and looked at the meat on the side.
‘I wouldn’t mind eating,’ he said. His stomach loudly agreed. James threw the plate of meat at Lazarus’ feet and he grimaced as James reminded him more and more of the hunter.
‘I cooked this for you earlier, if your memory is so bad you don’t recall,’ he sighed and pushed himself up onto the counter, staring down at Lazarus. ‘So how old are you anyway? I am not that great at reading the minds of werewolves.’
‘How would I remember? I was unconscious,’ Lazarus retorted as he tentatively ate the lukewarm meat. ‘I’m about four hundred ish. I’ve lost count, if I’m honest. Lived too long by the bottle,’ he shrugged. ‘You?’ he glanced up as he pulled the meat apart. As he chewed on it, he realised he could hardly taste it. He couldn’t smell anything either. He began to wonder what the hunter had done to him while he was unconscious and shuddered.
‘Long enough,’ he sighed again, ‘over a millennium has passed me by.’ Lazarus didn’t look up from the meat.
‘That’s rough,’ he muttered.
‘I try not to dwell on it so much. You’re lucky; you have someone to spend it with.’ James grimaced and Lazarus looked up.
‘Huh.’ He said, turning back to the tasteless food. ‘I beg to differ. About me being lucky at any rate.’
‘Go on,’ James said coldly. He tried to see what the werewolf was thinking, but Lazarus’ mind was too confusing. Flashing white fluorescent lights, guns and the hunter’s face crowded around thoughts of Melissa. Something else overshadowed the messy jumble of memories, but he couldn’t see what.
‘I only met Melissa a few months ago. Up til then, I had been alone from my second transformation. That’s a long time to be alone. But I suppose you disagree.’ He shrugged again and dropped the meat he was holding back onto the plate, wrapping his arms tightly back around Melissa.