Melissa fell asleep in Lazarus' arms with a tired smile on her lips. It didn't take him long to follow her into slumber. Of course, it didn't take him much longer to wake up again, heart racing, adrenaline needlessly flooding his weary body. Stupid, damn, bloody hunter. Again! How many more times will this happen? I may not be human, but surely so little sleep is going to do bad things to me? Melissa didn't open her eyes, though she must have felt his heart thumping. He rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling, trying to fill his mind with calm thoughts. "My angel" Melissa's voice whispered in his mind.
As the afternoon sunlight cast long shadows over the hotel, Lazarus got out of bed, fed up of not being able to sleep. He had a shower and wrote a note for Melissa.
I've gone to sign the papers for the apartment and collect the keys. I'll be back soon.
He had a quick shower and dressed, leaving the room quietly. As fatigue tugged at him, he stopped off for a coffee and almond croissant on the way, hoping the mix of sugar and caffeine would have him awake enough by the time he reached the estate agent. It didn't. His attention wandered as he was presented with the information and contracts and forms and he forgot what he had signed the moment the paper was taken away from him. He could have signed away his soul and he wouldn't have realised.
The woman handed over the keys and a few papers which he guessed were the deeds to the property and smiled tightly.
‘The apartment is all yours, Mr Thorn,' she said. ‘Enjoy,' he nodded, ‘and get some sleep.' She hid a smile as he blinked at her slowly, trying to hold back a yawn.
‘Merci,' he mumbled, rising. They shook hands and he left - the papers in one hand, the keys in the other. He slipped the keys into his pocket and hoped he didn't fall asleep on the way back to the hotel. Maybe another coffee...
He returned to the hotel room with half a coffee and an air that suggested people should stay away from him. He sat on the edge of the bed, rubbing his eyes.
‘What's wrong?' Melissa asked. He looked up at her, suddenly realising she was awake and dressed and ready for the evening.
‘I'm. So. Tired.' He groaned and put the coffee on the bedside cabinet. She kissed his cheek softly.
‘Then sleep,' she said. He sighed and let himself fall backward onto the bed.
‘I tried. I'm sure you heard my heart racing again when you were asleep,' he closed his eyes and grimaced. ‘I've decided that the falling dream I used to have is now nothing compared to having that hunter in my head every time I try to sleep.'
‘I'm sorry,' she mumbled, sitting beside him. ‘Can't I do anything?' he opened his eyes again and gazed up at her, incredulous.
‘Why are you apologising? It's hardly your fault that the hunter left such an imprint in my mind that every time I fall asleep I'm back in that room, handcuffed to that bloody chair again.' He told her.
‘I should have rescued you sooner.' She muttered.
‘Don't be ridiculous. You didn't know where I was. You couldn't have got to me any sooner.' He said, his tone hardening.
‘But you need your sleep. We... I must be able to do something!' she insisted.
‘Like what?' he questioned.
‘I don't know. What stopped you having the nightmare about falling?'
‘You, coming into my life.' He said quietly. Melissa paused, not knowing what to say. He closed his eyes again.
‘Oh...' she nodded, though he couldn't see.
‘Yeah, that's kinda my point. Not like you can come into my life like that all over again. I guess it'll go when he's no longer a threat. Once we're moved into the new apartment, it'll probably go. Until then, I suggest you make arrangements to have the furniture brought over. I would probably send it to completely the wrong place by accident.' He sighed again. She inclined her head and put her arms around him.
‘Of course.' She murmured. He smiled a little at her embrace, but he wasn't awake very long to enjoy it. His sleep was calm and dreamless for the first few hours, but as his mind gained enough energy to function again, the dreams trickled back. This time, they didn't cause him to transform, and they didn't make him jerk restlessly where he lay, though he cried out in his sleep. The dreams weren't real dreams, Melissa realised as the blood link showed her what he was seeing, but memories that he was reliving.
She kissed his forehead lightly, attempting to use her powers to change his thoughts into something more pleasant. His memories flickered for a second, wavering as she pushed images of their good moments to the surface, but the hunter seemed to rip through it all with ease. His face seemed to have scorched his mind the way that silver burnt his skin. Melissa frowned and laid her head on his chest in defeat.
‘I'm sorry.' She muttered. ‘I tried.' His arms clamped protectively around her at the contact and the images changed in his mind. Something within him had clicked. The hunter's hatred was suddenly explained. "No. Stop pretending you're a human, Lazarus. You're an animal; you might as well act like one." "‘Don't tell me,' Lazarus frowned, trying to explain the man's bitterness to himself, to figure out why this man was so full of loathing for him, ‘first hand negative experience with a werewolf? Umm... family? Friends? Killed by a werewolf before your very eyes?'"
An older memory filled his mind. A transformation. The memory of the pain made Melissa gasp as he twitched on the ground, the wolf, sober and uncontrollable emerging before a man and his family. Melissa looked at the man as he tried to defend his family from the savage beast and realised that this was the hunter, but younger, not long married with two young children. Lazarus' subconscious realisation and regret flooded the memory and he began to moan again, half formed curses hanging on his lips. His eyes snapped open and his arms slackened around Melissa. He stared at the ceiling, unable to look at Melissa.