The sun began to rise and as much as Lazarus wanted to keep talking to Melissa, something as important as the shadow needed more than a few minutes to be discussed.
‘In the evening, we can talk more. Ask James or whatever. Okay? Sleep,’ he kissed her on her forehead and laid down with her on the floor, making a pillow out of his clothes for her. ‘I need a shower; I’ll be back in ten.’ He mumbled, getting up again. He felt Melissa’s stubborn gaze on his back as he walked to the bathroom. Not caring that the water started to come through dirty at first, Lazarus stepped under the jets and began to scrub at his skin, dislodging the dead skin that clung to him from the silver burns. As he pushed it away, he caught sight of his wrists from the handcuffs the hunter had used. Burn scars circled his wrists like ugly bracelets, pink ridges of scar tissue bunching up around the bone. He scowled and tried to wash the bands of skin, grimacing at the tender pain.
Stepping out, he shook as much water off as he could and grumbled to himself about the lack of towels in this place. He pulled his clothes back on and wiped the steam off the dirty mirror, looking at his reflection. At the sight of his reflection, he wished he had thought to pick up a razor at the convenient store. A month’s worth of beard covered the lower half of his face and he didn’t like it at all. ‘I do not suit a beard.’ He scowled at his reflection, trying to ignore how long his hair had grown, the strange haunted look his eyes had taken, the small burn scars that his beard only half concealed. He turned away from his reflection with a disgusted grunt and regretted looking.
Quietly, Lazarus had a look around the kitchen for more food before returning to Melissa’s side. Her eyes were drooping with tiredness but she smiled as he set himself down beside her. He kissed her gently and whispered for her to sleep again. She slid into quiet slumber willingly as he wrapped a warm arm over her, waiting for the sun to disappear beyond the horizon.
Melissa was awake before Lazarus. She kept still in his embrace, not moving, waiting until he woke up. He stirred about an hour after sunset, moaning in his sleep. She brushed her cool hand across his cheek, trying to soothe him. His eyes snapped open.
‘Evening, sleepy,’ she smiled at him as he blinked back into reality.
‘Hi,’ he sat up, stretching. It took him a moment to remember their conversation the previous evening. That shadow thing. “I think it's gone. I felt it disappear when I started laughing.” I wonder what that means...? I’ll ask later. ‘Has James been around?’
‘No, he hasn’t. Why?’ she asked. Lazarus shrugged and looked over at the door.
‘Just wondering,’ he said lightly. Melissa arched her eyebrow a little but shook it off.
‘Sleep well?’ her question was met with tired eyes.
‘I’ve spent more time in the last three weeks unconscious, yet I don’t think I have ever felt this tired.’ He yawned and covered his mouth. ‘Sorry,’ he muttered.
‘Don’t be,’ she smiled and kissed his cheek. ‘Would you like anything?’ Lazarus nodded slightly.
‘Something to eat and then to get out of here.’ He reached for his smokes and put one to his mouth.
‘Anything in particular?’ she sighed in exasperation as smoke trailed around his head, catching in his hair.
‘Dunno. Did we pick anything up last night at the shop?’ He looked around for the bag from the convenience store.
‘No, you just bought those.’ She indicated to the cigarette clamped between his fingers. ‘Which taste horrible, by the way.’
‘Oh. I was sure we got other stuff...?’ he muttered, still looking around at his things, now spread out across the floor.
‘Fine. Don’t trust me,’ she shrugged to herself as his eyes searched through the mess. He turned back to her, his eyes snapping to hers irritably.
‘Thought we got over the trust thing last night?’ he said trying to keep the growl out of his voice.
‘Sorry! I was joking!’ she almost jumped at the snap in his voice. ‘Sorry’ she murmured to the floor. He exhaled smoke slowly and bit his lip.
‘Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. Just...’ he trailed off, feeling the blush creeping up his face.
‘It’s okay, don’t be embarrassed.’ Her lips curled up at the corners in a warm smile as she caressed his cheek, ‘Would you like me to go get something?’
‘Sure, if you don’t mind. I don’t think I’ll come this time though, it’s too risky. I don’t wanna be taken away from you again so soon.’ He gripped her hand tightly. She returned the grasp.
‘It’s okay. You stay here and be safe.’ She got up, dropping his hand again. He watched her disappear and shut the door. He was alone for all of two minutes, before James opened the door.
‘Hi,’ Lazarus greeted the vampire gruffly, trying not to tell him to go away.
‘Hey. How are you holding up?’ he asked, concern penetrating his voice. Lazarus couldn’t tell if the consternation was genuine or not.
‘I’ll live.’ He grunted, folding up his clothes and replacing them on the pitiful pile with his other over-sized garments. James laughed, as though Lazarus had told a joke.
‘That’s good to hear. How’s Melissa?’ James moved forward and crouched down in front of Lazarus. He wasn’t sure if he should tell James what Melissa had told him last night. “I think it's gone. I felt it disappear when I started laughing.” He shrugged.
‘She’s okay. She’s just gone to the shop to get something to eat.’ He muttered, leaning back against the wall, a shirt balled up in his hands.
‘Would you like me to get you anything?’ James asked, echoing Melissa’s words. Lazarus looked up at him and smothered the immediate thought a bottle to smash over your head would be great right now.
‘No, no, Melissa’s on it, thanks anyway.’ He said, suddenly realising that he had been holding the shirt so tightly his knuckles had paled. James got up and paced a little, finishing up next to Lazarus, looking down on the werewolf.
‘Lazarus, do you hate me?’ he asked coolly. Lazarus looked up into the vampire’s deep blue eyes and shrugged, glancing away again. James sighed.
‘That would be a yes.’ He paused a little awkwardly. ‘So are you going to be leaving soon? Or staying?’
‘Just because I don’t like you, James, it does not mean I hate you. I’m grateful for your hospitality, and helping me out of the hunter’s little lab thing, despite what I am. However I shall always resent you for being there for Melissa when I wasn’t and for generally being better in every way.’ Lazarus surprised himself with his own honesty, and skimming over James’ question, he looked up at the vampire again for his reaction.
‘If I was better than you wouldn’t Melissa be mine?’ he questioned, raising an eyebrow.
‘I don’t know, do I? I love her, but I can’t help feel inferior in some way,’ he shrugged again, ‘I mean, I’m not even the right species for her,’ he laughed wryly.
‘Does she care about that? Because you shouldn’t either!’ he exhaled gustily before continuing, ‘there’s no point feeling inferior, I’m not that great.’
‘Apparently she doesn’t care. And I’m sure you would be, for the right person.’ Lazarus tried to smile, but James’ expression stopped the smile from growing.