“Think I’ve probably used up all the luck I’m ever gonna have,” he disagreed. “Don’t think I need much else. Except maybe to get into a college that’s driving distance from here. Didn’t think it would be a factor, but it is now.”
Mate. Mate. He liked that other people used that word and understood the significance of it. He reached for a cookie, and more or less inhaled it.
“Just black for me,” he said, watching Anita’s expression change as she talked about Niko. Hmm, interesting. There was definitely something there. He elected not to mention it. “Love your mug,” he said instead. Penguin thing, apparently. There was a definite theme going on.
He listened to the story, snickering quietly. “Yeah, the urge to sniff people… it’s very strong, and sort of embarrassing, sometimes. But I don’t make too big a dick of myself most of the time. But yeah, an Ulfric defending his town?
“Sort of rude to say you smelled like death,” he said, though he could sort of smell what Niko had meant. There was something other than human about her. Seemed rude to ask. But. “What is that? I mean, if it’s rude, don’t answer, but you don’t look sick or anything, so it’s… a bit weird.”
How had he managed to eat three cookies? Dammit.
"College, huh?" It was good to see that the kid was gonna follow some higher education even though he was wolfed out. Being a wolf wasn’t everything, and it made the Executioner like Ric a little more. Not bad, Nik. Anita poured two black coffees into the mugs, chuckling at the comment about the design on hers before she nodded. "Yeah, one of my more family-friendly mugs." Her boss back in St Louis had a heart attack almost every time he gave her a meeting she didn’t want because she’d use one of her ‘Dear Santa, I’ve been very naughty this year..’ mugs. She had a mug for all occasions, really.
"Believe me, not the worst thing I’ve ever been called." But one that was successfully defused with her amazing sense of humour. Anita took a sip of her coffee before watching the wolf. He was trying to figure it out, curious one. "You’re lookin’ at a necromancer, kid." She grinned behind her mug, taking another sip - oh, thank god for coffee - before placing the mug down. He was new to the supernatural world, she was assuming. Better give him a crash course.
"Basically, I work for a company back in St Louis as an animator, which pretty much means I raise the dead for a living. By day, anyway. By night, I’m a licensed vampire executioner." And a Federal Marshal, but she left that out for now. That and the whole ‘vampires call me The Executioner so I basically scare the monsters’ thing. "Now, you gotta tell me that this is the most interesting coffee you’ve ever had."
Mara gritted her teeth and gave a sigh that was a hair’s breadth away from a growl. Normally she’d have obeyed just to soothe her mother’s nerves, but there was more going on that Anita knew, and more at stake than her daughter was willing to give up.
"I’m going with James. He works security for Papa, and while he may not know much about modern clothing, he’s hell on wheels in a fight. There are very few people he trusts, but I’m one of them. Nobody is going to touch me while I’m out with him. And I’m going, Mother. If you lock me out I’ll just go back to the Circus. I gave him my word and I am not going to break it!”
"No." She repeated with a shake of her head. "You are living under my roof, Mara Blake. Do you really believe that if I called your father and told him of the situation, that he would allow you out? If I told him that this sick vampire is hunting victims that fit your description?” Anita was going to be the bad guy here, but she didn’t care. She was her mother. She was doing what was right for her.
"You can run back to the Circus but I guarantee that you will not be going out at night. James will understand." Honestly she didn’t care if he did or not, she cared for her daughter’s welfare. "You act as if I’m doing this to punish you. Can’t you see I’m trying to protect you?"
"That’d explain the lack of food in the fridge," the teenager riposted dryly, and then shook her head, one corner of her mouth curved up in a fondly tolerant little half-smile. "For the time being until you solve the case, you mean?" Anita’s ‘trying to outwit the psycho’ air was recognizable to her daughter, who was more observant than she generally let on. "I understand, Mom, but I know how to defend myself. And I kinda promised someone I’d help him shop for clothes tomorrow night after his shift."
If Mara was expecting her mother to be amused by the joke, she would be disappointed. Anita wasn’t in the mood for joking, or worrying, or stressing out about her daughter. She wanted her safe, and this attitude wasn’t helping. “No.” It was one word, but it was firm and concrete. “You are not going anywhere at night, Mara. I don’t care what your dad used to let you do, or who’s going to be disappointed they don’t have you as a shopping buddy tomorrow night but you know what? I don’t care. You’re staying here at night til the case is solved.”
Alaric grinned. “Yeah, the wolf in the woods. That’s me.” He glanced around – no one anywhere. “Moved here because Boston isn’t exactly the best place for a wolf to turn. But I didn’t think I’d find… well, a Pack.”
Anita had a good, firm handshake. And she looked sort of wicked. Alaric decided he liked her.
“I can eat my bodyweight in food every two days,” he said. “Don’t show me cookies unless you’re prepared to give them up.” He followed Anita inside. Obviously not used to teenagers, but he never let that bother him. “If you’re makin’ coffee, I’d like one too, if it’s cool. I was up half the night studying.”
Fun fact: when you make a concerted effort to spend every waking moment with a brand new boyfriend, sometimes studying happens at the wrong times.
“So you’re a friend of Niko’s?” She didn’t smell like a wolf, really, but she smelled like their house, and coffee, and he still didn’t distinguish things well. Maybe she was Niko’s girlfriend? Had he said something stupid?
"Lucky you, huh? Find a pack and a mate in the same town. You oughta get yourself a lottery ticket, kid." Anita chuckled, closing the door behind Ric but kept it unlocked. Who was gonna attack the home of the town’s Ulfric, especially when the Executioner was visiting?
The little brunette approached the kitchen, standing on her toes - bastard put the cookies up high to annoy her - before setting the jar down in front of the teen wolf. “Knock yourself out.” She smiled before turning on the coffee machine, a coffee machine she had to buy herself since Niko wasn’t a coffee drinker but damn it, no one would survive living with her without it. She set out two cups, thinking it’d be fine if he had a cup. “You take milk and sugar?” She put a sugar in her empty cup before looking up at the curious wolf.
"Yeah, yeah, I am. For about five, six years now." Anita tried to control her smile. She was told she had a different smile, a nicer smile when she talked about Niko. The wolves in the pack loved to tease her about that, even though she didn’t see it. "So I come into town, Niko already the Ulfric, and so I need permission to investigate things. You know wolves, territorial bastards. No offence." Her tone was friendly, no offence was intended as she brought over the coffee and began to pour out the cups.
"And he sniffs me. Like backed up against the door, two inches from my face, eyes all glowin’. And he tells me I smell like death. Charming, right? So I go ‘aw man, I knew I should’ve put on some perfume this morning..’ and he just starts laughing. Though I think he laughs a little more at my expense nowadays.” But hell, so did she. The time he almost set fire to the garage by trying to use her flamethrower was to this day one of the funniest things she’d ever witnessed.
“Moooom,” Mara groaned. “I’m on Papa’s schedule, remember? Not that yours is any better.” The teenager shrugged and put down bags from several different stores. “I was shopping with Byron. The mall is open 24 hours on the weekend, and it’s not like he can go out in the afternoon. Why are you all mama bear tonight anyway?”
"You’re not at your papa’s house, Mara." She licked her lips with a tilt of her head. "I don’t need a reason. I’m your mother." And maybe she had a case that she was working on and okay, she didn’t really want her daughter to be out in the night with some creep out there. "Just.. keep the midnight shopping to a rarity for the time being, alright?"
Alaric grins. Anyone who even owns a t-shirt with a penguin dressed like Dracula is okay in his book. “My lips are sealed,” he says, miming locking them up, and shoves his hands in his pocket.
"Yeah, I’m here to see Nik. He’s a friend. From school. We go to school together. Um. He’s my boyfriend, actually," and it’s the first time he’s actually said those words out loud and it feels AWESOME.
He would actually scream HE’S MY MATE, but he doesn’t, because he has no idea if this woman knows about werewolves.
"I’m Ric," he says, holding out his hand.
Smart kid. She smiled, actually looking polite now as she looked over the kid. Nik’s friend. No, wait. Nik’s boyfriend. "Ohhh." She made a sound of recognition. “You’re the wolf in the woods.” It wasn’t knowledge that Nik had wanted her to know but no one could really talk about things and not have her hear it, especially if she was crashing in their house.
Anita grinned and took his hand, giving it a firm shake. “Anita. It’s good to meet you, Ric. Uh, Nik should be home soon if you want to wait? I mean, you’d be waiting out here anyway but inside there is Niko’s cookies.” God, that sounded so creepy. She had to shake her head.
"I’m sorry, I’m not good with this whole ‘kid’ thing. How about I just leave the door open, you can wander in if you want and maybe chill in Nik’s room, and I’ll try to find an IV for my coffee? Or hang out here. It’s, you know, all good."
"Okay, that too. It was
as much a pick up line
as it was a compliment.”
"Well, thanks for the compliment,
and better luck next time with the
pick up line, Stretch.”
"What time do you call this to come home?" The Executioner stood in the living room, hands upon her hips and looking every bit the mother that she was hoping she wouldn’t turn into. "Because I call it fuckin’ unacceptable."
"It’s called a
"It’s called a pick up line."
Wow, first time she actually decides to do something to contribute to the household - getting the mail is totally contributing - she comes face to face with a teen wolf a few feet out of the front door. In her shirt with a penguin dressed up like Dracula, no less. “Tell no one.”
The pack did not need to hear about this. They gave her enough shit for not making a move on Niko whenever she popped into town, she didn’t need more fuel to the fire or reasons to punch them in the face. “Nik’s not here. Or are you here to see Niko.. Nikolai? He’s not here either.”