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18 March 2010 @ 02:24 pm
Sheep in Wolf's Clothing, Being Human, George/Mitchell (PG-13)  
Title: Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
Author: valderys
Fandom: Being Human
Pairing: George/Mitchell
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 15,429
Spoilers: AU from the end of series 1, but with occasional series 2 characters and situations.
Warnings: Some dub-con, some death (not main characters)
Notes: Written for the apocabigbang. This was started before the second series aired, and of course is completely jossed, and an AU besides. However, as I wrote it, I realised that elements from the second series were making their way into the fic because they fitted. So there are a few crossover bits.
Summary: Vampires hate werewolves but no-one knows why. When Mitchell starts sensing strange vampires congregating outside their house, he thinks nothing of it, until he realises that it's only outside their house. What do these bestial creatures want? Surely it can't be... George?

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Prologue

Vampirism in England wasn’t an endemic disease. In Europe, it ran rife, it was true, particularly among the countries of Eastern Europe, but not on the ancient shores of Albion. Rather like rabies, and other pathogens, the surrounding seas made it just as difficult for vampirism to cross into England, with Britannia ruling the waves indeed. No, it took slavery to bring in such a disease, brought there amidst pain and suffering and chains. There was a reason why so many slaves died on the voyage over, on one ship at the very least, and perhaps on many. The slaves were kept segregated from the masters, there would have been no reason to have noticed anything strange was going on, even if the slavemasters had been looking. Anyway, they wouldn’t have known the signs. An ignorant Serbian peasant would have been more knowledgeable than they. Besides, dead slaves were tipped over the side as soon as their fact became known, to stop contagion spreading. The ship’s masters would have been horrified to know how little difference that made.

Of course, the vampires that did achieve the shore, did so more dead than alive. They had been driven half-mad with the pain of crossing open water - and it was a long way from Africa. Upon arrival they bit what prey they found indiscriminately in an orgy of feeding. They fell senseless at their victim's feet, and some fed on them in return, using some awful survival instinct. Others were killed, by luck more than judgement, an accidental blow by splintering wooden cudgel, or badly-maintained belaying pin. Most, however, crawled away to hide and heal, dreaming their way through the madness, hidden away so deeply and so secretly, that they were forgotten in the end even by the children they had so carelessly begat.

And so vampirism came to England, to Bristol, as it happened, although it could equally have been an unlucky Liverpool or London. And there were no Serbian peasants to teach anyone the warning signs, or to put up wards on the doors and windows, to grow the appropriate cleansing herbs. And the English vampires grew fat and complacent as the centuries passed.

As for lycanthropy? Nobody could remember when lycanthropy arrived in England, such a brutally useless curse as it was. Modern vampires looked down upon it, although a very few claimed that the African vampires had brought their own form of drugs with them, in much the same way that the Moors had brought hashish to Europe. But modern vampires scoffed at that, such a far-fetched tale, and persecuted the lycanthrope. For such creatures could make them thirst as no other could, and they lashed out at what they did not understand and could not control.

Modern vampires could be said to be quite ignorant, really.

***


“Mitchell,” said George, as he was sitting at their cheap formica kitchen table one morning, scratching at it with his thumb, “Are we being… Well, we might not be, I mean I’m the first to admit that I can be a little – just a touch, mind – paranoid, but I thought I saw, but then, it’s bound to be my imagination, I mean why would they, although there was that thing with Herrick, after all, and I did threaten people with a chair, and it’s made of wood, so maybe…”

“George,” said Mitchell, patiently enough, because he was used to George and his tangents, and his tantrums, “What is it?”

Mitchell noticed that George was scratching at a long gouge in the formica. They’d managed to rescue the table after George had transformed in the flat – one of the precious few things they had managed to rescue. Mitchell looked away. He didn’t want to be reminded of George in his primal state, and he didn’t think George did either, but it was harder for him to ignore, Mitchell supposed.

“I just think, I just wondered… whether we’re being stalked by vampires? At all? Again?”

And George’s voice had risen, and his glasses had slipped down his nose, which meant that he was really anxious about it, because he was sweaty, and Mitchell blinked drunkenly as George stared at him and then opened his mouth.

“No, George, I don’t think we’re being stalked by vampires – that’s crazy! None of the Bristol nest would dare. Not after what we did. They’re licking their wounds and if we’re very unlucky they might decide to suck up a bit and lick our boots too.”

Then he made a disgusted face, one carefully calculated to make George laugh, to distract him a bit. It didn’t work. George didn't smile that often any more, not since Nina left.

He was almost grateful when Annie popped in from outside, literally, something she was doing more and more lately, and asked, “Why are there vampires in our street, Mitchell?”

George looked anxiously smug as Mitchell stalked over to the window and peered outside. There was a dark squat shape on the opposite corner.

That was how it started.

***


It was true. He tried to resist but basically George could ask Mitchell for anything, and Mitchell had a hard time saying no. Guilt could do that to a person, he knew. But George had always smelt so delicious, that Mitchell couldn't help himself - and it wasn't like he indulged every month. For twenty nine or thirty days Mitchell was George's best friend, he looked after him, he supported him, he loved him - from a distance. Then once a month, or less even, when George went to the woods, or to the little basement room, then Mitchell became... something more. He'd been dry for a while now, of course - of people, of humans anyway. But George... After he'd transformed back, when George was lying on the ground all pliant and sated and asleep, well, then Mitchell could take the taste that he'd been promising himself for weeks. Never much, only a sip or two, not even a drink really. And he could hold George in his arms, as he longed to do, but didn't dare the rest of the time. He'd told himself it wasn't really a thing. He didn't have a thing for George. He didn't. Really.

But Mitchell couldn't handle George looking at him with those huge eyes either, or Annie staring at him accusingly, trying to hide her worry, so Mitchell went out to confront the vampire across the street. As he walked out of the front door and sucked in his first breath of fresh air, he could sense that faint sizzle-tang that indicated to him the presence of another vampire. It was definitely there, but it was faint, and it felt… riper somehow, more heavy. It seemed like the back of his tongue was coated with something, Mitchell wanted to retch like a cat with a hair-ball.

Mr Simpson - Alan - from no. 39 walked past, and his stale sweat and the fried onions from his lunch cut through the strange alien odour. Mitchell almost turned and followed him when Alan nodded a friendly hello, it felt so normal and welcoming. Alan would be grateful for the attention, would open up his legs and veins with equal fervour, Mitchell was sure of it, after almost a century of experience in such things. As he smiled at him, Mitchell could smell the start of the man’s arousal and widened his grin, tipping down his sunglasses with one woollen-clad hand. Alan was gay and in the closet, Mitchell had long ago decided. He would taste of wasted chances, as delicate as fine wine.

His own equilibrium restored, Mitchell turned his attentions back to the alien vampire, who smelt nothing like any of the Bristol nest, or any others that Mitchell had ever come across – not that they were that widely distributed a race. Most cities had a nest these days, of course, but every vampire had a yen to visit the old stamping grounds, which often meant coming back to Bristol. Mitchell had done it himself in the old days, living in London in the Sixties, in Manchester in the Eighties. Still, he had settled back here in Bristol, he and George and Annie – he wasn’t tied to it, any more than Annie was tied to the flat any more, but that wasn’t the point. It was home in some visceral, fundamental way.

The strange rank smell operated on some visceral level as well, Mitchell decided. It was its very strangeness that made him cough, but it wasn’t… unpleasant, as such. Merely different. He was looking forward to confronting this vampire. His stomach was churning, and his fangs wanted to descend, but it was still with eagerness, he thought. There didn’t have to be enmity or violence between every one of his kind. Not always. Not even often. Whatever George thought.

The scent was getting heavier on the air, but it was still annoyingly elusive – and Mitchell couldn’t see the squat figure any more. A cloudy day, admittedly, and he was wearing sunglasses, but he hadn’t seen it go. That was unusual. Others of his kind were subtle and speedy, and could cloud the minds of people who were not paying attention, but none of that applied to him. Mitchell raised his face to the sky and shut his eyes, the better to sense what he didn’t understand. He could feel the weak rays of the sun even through heavy cloud, like a rain of little needles just brushing the skin, but he couldn’t sense the vampire.

Mitchell put his head back down feeling stupid - what was he? Some kind of sniffer dog? Leave that to George. And then felt a tinge of guilt, even in his own mind – he didn’t really think of George like that. Of course he didn’t, he valued George, and George knew it too. No, Mitchell was desperately fond of George, loved him even. The precipice he walked with George every day deserved more respect than cheap jokes, even private ones.

Mitchell went back inside already dismissing the puzzle – he’d ask at the funeral parlour. If there was a new visitor in town, Ivan would know it. He could ask him in a few days.

***


But then the pipes broke in the bathroom upstairs, flooding the landing and the corner of the living room, and without a proper landlord – Mitchell still contemplated that with satisfaction – they were forced to fix it themselves, and run around drying everything that had been in the linen closet, and cope with George’s panicking about mould spores and bronchitis. Annie had a crisis of confidence in the middle of it all, something to do with ordinary things and how useless she was in a domestic drama, and how she’d never get to wash up again. Mitchell found it incomprehensible, but tried to reassure her anyway. George actually did the washing up. And the laundry, and scrubbed the floor, and everyone felt a lot better after that.

Either way, it was a couple of days before Mitchell could slope down to the funeral parlour to have a word. Ivan was the new head of the vampires, although Mitchell did think that his authority was a touch more ambivalent than Herrick’s. More subtle, he decided. Mitchell liked Ivan, and Daisy, and while he wouldn’t go so far as to think they were allies, they were a long way from being enemies. Mitchell was grateful to Ivan, who had come back to Bristol at exactly the right time and slotted into the role, just when Mitchell might have been expected to do so, as Herrick’s natural heir by conquest and by kinship. Ivan didn’t appear to feel threatened by Mitchell’s alien ways either, so it was a win-win situation all round, frankly. It had occurred to Mitchell that maybe the strange vampire outside was actually a spy from Ivan, but if that was the case then he’d not done a very good job.

Annie insisted on joining him for the visit. The power crackled between her fingers when she offered, but her eyes were anxious. Mitchell took it for the peace-offering and personal reassurance he knew it was. He hugged her and felt a cool tingle and the delicate drag of grey cotton, almost completely substantial, and beamed. It made him so proud.

The streets were quite empty when Mitchell and Annie finally ventured out. Mitchell thought about it, about what day it was. It seemed a little too quiet for a Wednesday, but he couldn’t think why that might be. He and George had had their ‘weekend’ over the last day or two, free of shifts from the hospital, and they’d had to turn off the electricity because of the flood, so they’d been eating all the defrosting food from the freezer. They hadn’t even gone to the local shop for days, and of course, hadn’t had the TV on or even the radio. Had an unexpected national event brought everything to a standstill? It felt a bit like the day Princess Diana had died – everybody in quiet mourning, or stunned disbelief, dirges playing on normally cheerful channels. Weird. Mitchell would have asked someone what was up if there had been anyone to ask.

Their footsteps echoed across the street as they walked to the funeral parlour. Mitchell tried to spot the look-out that should have been in place, but he couldn’t see one. Was Ivan slipping? Already? But the eerie silence continued even after they pushed the door open and entered the carpeted hush of the shop. Annie exchanged a worried glance with Mitchell, and as one they walked into the silence, making no noise themselves, not even breathing, since it was unnecessary for Mitchell unless he was talking, and obviously Annie had no need at all.

There was the dark sober carpet that incidentally would show no bloodstains, and the bright walls that scrubbed well, Mitchell happened to know, but that whitewashed even more easily, and the panelled wood just for the look of the thing. There were no people. No vampires. Nobody at all. Until they rounded the wooden desk and found a young blond girl with her throat torn out, blood pooled in a sticky puddle beneath her. The puddle was far too small.

It was unexpected and Annie gasped. It seemed too loud, and Mitchell shot round, expecting to see more of the nest boiling out of doorways prepared to defend themselves, to avenge the demise of one of their own. Even in death Mitchell could establish that much, the metallic bitter scent in the air was from nothing human. But nothing moved.

He bent down, not kneeling, careful not to get blood on his clothes, feeling the pulse beat in his throat, even at the smell of cold, congealed blood. The girl was dressed as a secretary, in a cheap skirt-suit. He didn’t know her. A new recruit since Ivan’s time Mitchell supposed, and frowned at that. He hated the idea that still more young girls were going through what he'd put Lauren through. But this was nothing like normal practice. And certainly not in the nest, in public, no less. What the fuck was going on?

Annie hovered, and then gestured abortively, and then gestured again, her usual uncertainty made manifest.

"Umm. I could. I could go and have a look?" she said, at last, and Mitchell stared at the door into the rest of the place, to the basement, and all the rooms he knew were there. There was nothing moving, but Mitchell felt a strange sense of urgency nonetheless. Annie would be quicker, after all, and they couldn't hurt her. He nodded, and with a tiny grimace of apology, she went. Just there one second and gone the next - yet one more power she had acquired since refusing the Door.

Mitchell followed, because he couldn't just sit there, not moving, it wasn't in him, but he hadn't gone far, just into the corridor, when she blipped back into existence. He jumped, and pretended he hadn't, because when did that get less than nerve-wracking? Never, he had the feeling. He swallowed, when he looked at her face, and Annie tried to pat his shoulder, a feeling of chill brushing against him like cold rice pudding, and that wasn't a good sign either.

"It's... Well, I don't know really. It's bad though. Umm. I can't not call it bad, but they weren't your friends really, were they? It wasn't as though you liked them, or anything... Was it? It's..."

She was twisting the sleeves of her grey cardigan together, and Mitchell felt a kind of panic take over, at the dread in Annie's voice, and he left her, just started running. Down the corridor, the plush carpet under his feet swallowing up any sounds, and through all the doors in between.

And that was how he found them - with his bones singing from running. If he'd have been human, his chest would have been heaving for breath, but he ignored that part of his usual disguise, and just stared, the horror slightly removed, but still there, still present. Mitchell didn't even know how this should have taken him, it was so unlikely an event, so impossible, beyond the scope of his comprehension. Even when there had been attempted purges by humans in the past - rare and abortive, and never more than marginally successful, Mitchell remembered Herrick telling him once, a laugh in his voice, at the presumption - even then... there had never been a slaughter like this.

The smell of bitter blood was in every room. Bitter non-human blood, and then in the basement, in a room that had been locked once, some stale coppery human blood. All the bodies with the marks of teeth, their throats torn out, or their limbs ripped and mangled and gnawed. Whatever had done this had not been discriminatory. It was funny, really. It was insane. Mitchell hadn't liked them. He hadn't trusted them. But it was a bloody terrible way to discover - that they had been his people, after all.

***


Not all his vampires were dead. Mitchell clung to that fact as he and Annie walked home. He didn't know what had done this. He didn't understand why it had happened, or who had perpetrated this. The bites hadn't been human, but they weren't much bigger than that, and they hadn't been werewolf bites either. Some kind of werecats? Surely he would have seen or heard of such things in a hundred years? The Beast of Bodmin, come a bit closer to the sea?

The streets were still quiet, unnaturally so, but Mitchell hardly paid attention. Not all the vampires were dead. He'd counted the bodies, and some were missing. Mr Higginson, and Cara, and little Robbie Morris, for a start. And others, he thought, feeling guilty, feeling like he should know all their names, all of them, from highest to lowest, like Herrick had.

Mitchell shook his head. He wasn't Herrick. He didn't have responsibilities like that. He didn't need to revenge himself for all those deaths. He might need to hunt the beast down in order to be safe, him and George and Annie. Maybe. But that was as far as it went, and even that might not be necessary, they lived quietly, after all, they didn't need to stir up trouble. Mitchell's guts roiled, and just for a second, he caught the stink of Ypres in his nostrils, the stench of old death, all sickly sweet, his mates, his platoon, or the enemy, death didn't care. You all smelled the same in the end. He couldn't do anything about this slaughter any more than he could have stopped the War, all those years ago. That's what he kept telling himself, all the way home.

Afterwards, Mitchell beat himself up about it. He should have noticed. It was the shock, he supposed, but it was still an amateur mistake, a cock-up. Annie had been quiet all the way home, and that was unusual in itself - if Mitchell hadn't been wallowing in misery, he'd have noticed that, at least. And the streets were so quiet, but not empty, Mitchell would have sworn to that, he could sense the blood pounding enticingly through veins behind every twitching curtain, as though he could turn his head and just smell them out, a smorgasbord laid out and all for him, elusive and delicious. But he smelled that kind of temptation all the time, it was normal, it was ignorable - it had to be.

No, what he missed was the heavy rank vampire aroma building up again. That almost animalistic perfume, that wasn't unpleasant, but merely strange, so he didn't think about it, because - vampires. They weren't a threat. Not to him. Not to Annie. Not to...

The two of them rounded the corner into their road, and there were hunched shapes there, more than one, lurking behind lampposts, or perhaps not hunched at all, simply smaller, more squat. Powerful. In the road, and up against the house - against the door, pounding on it, pulling chunks of it away with splintering great crashing noises.

George.

Mitchell's heart was suddenly in his mouth - if the blood could have rushed from his face, it would have done. He hadn't thought of George, left all alone. So bloody selfish, as he was, not thinking things through, just... just...

"Go," he said to Annie, and she vanished like a soap bubble. And that left him on his own.

His teeth were chattering, because he would have to face them all down, to get back to George, to get into his house, where he lived, and how fucking dare they - these strangers, muscling in onto his territory, and maybe he didn't act like a vampire most of the time, but that didn't mean he didn't feel it. Mitchell realised that his fangs had come down and his eyesight was sharper, more defined; they would have changed colour, he knew. He stalked forward - fuck, he hated the cliché but it was the only thing to do - and bared his fangs at the strangers. They must know it was his place, they would be able to smell it, and yet here they were. It wasn't right.

As he got closer Mitchell realised that although the house had been attacked, despite not having a door any more, just a gaping hole, no-one had encroached, and he grinned fiercely in satisfaction. They couldn't get inside without an invitation, of course, they were close enough to normal in that, if nothing else. George was safe. It gave him the confidence to keep going, to snarl, and assume that matters of territory and blood, of tradition and code, would be honoured, even with these foreigners. It was a good assumption, a rational one. It happened to be wrong.

***


It was the howl that first gave it away. It wasn't like George on one of those nights, a pure, clean ululation, no it was a broken scream, that rose and fell from a dozen different throats, a sound of madness. It started as Mitchell went towards them, a challenge perhaps, or a tactic to keep him off-balance. It worked, he had to admit. As Mitchell moved forward, and he could finally see the other vampires, it made him horribly uneasy, as though, maybe, just maybe, he had miscalculated? They were dark of skin, it appeared, although even that was hard to tell, because dirt clung to them, to their squat bodies, to their long limbs, as though they were a different kind of cliché, one that dragged itself up and out of its grave, coughing up soil and tearing at anything animal or human alike until its hunger had been satisfied. Their eyes seemed all white in the darkness of their faces, and their eyeballs rolled and twitched, seemingly focused on nothing for more than a few seconds. They gibbered, almost, for fuck's sake, and Mitchell found himself shivering, even as his steps slowed down, and he tried to meet their gaze. It was impossible, but how could they have a proper trial for dominance without eye contact?

Of course, they couldn't. But they didn't want a 'trial for dominance', did they, Mitchell thought. He'd been stupid, and short-sighted, and it was going to get him killed. As the - pack - moved in, he began to crouch a little, the better to spring, to put his centre of gravity closer to the ground, and he bared his fangs. He was twenty yards from his own front door and it might as well have been a mile.

When the first one sprang Mitchell was ready. He punched it out of the air, judging the distance to within a hairsbreadth, and already turning to face the next. Its mouth was open showing Mitchell dirty yellow fangs, bigger and lot longer than his own, and it didn’t seem to have any kind of strategy, just a kind of mindless persistence, as though it was made of instinct, nothing more. Mitchell pushed it staggering into yet another of them, and whirled to face two more who had their hands held before them like weapons - indeed their fingernails were long and sharp, more like talons than nails. As they leaped for him, he spun away, trying to get the front door, and their claws ripped through his shirt, scoring a long line of scratches along his side. Mitchell could feel them like parallel lines of hot fire traced onto his skin.

There were other noises past the furious screaming of these vampires, and his own growls, he could hear sharp pitched human noises, but he had to ignore them, had to, he couldn't afford the attention, because more were moving in, he was almost surrounded, and their scent was cloying the air, thick and hot and sweet, it almost made him want to howl himself, and that was strange, that was weird, but still, it didn't matter. He thought he might be able to make it, he thought he could, just about... There was a searing pain in his leg, and Mitchell lashed out, kicking hard, but it was still too late. The creature who had sunk a bite into his calf rolled away howling, but it had allowed another of them to pounce, it threw him down onto the ground, too easily, dammit, but he'd been off-balance. It crouched on his chest, and Mitchell had time to think, well, now, it comes now, of all times - it could be worse. He looked into the thing's mad rolling eyes, and realised it still wore some scraps of something muddy and ripped, and had hair even, he thought, so threaded through with mud and stones and blood that it was like a solid helmet. But most of all, most importantly, and he couldn't really believe it, but Mitchell knew, this close to its slaver and its stink, he couldn't fail to smell it on them, he knew who had murdered his people. He knew. And it didn't do him any good at all.

***


It was funny. Mitchell had heard how your last seconds could feel like hours, he'd heard that and they'd both speculated about it, he and George, as they'd pushed mops desultorily across the hospital floor. Mitchell might have mentioned that when he'd died - undied, George said - it had felt like hours, because it had been hours, and then he'd shut up, because talking about it, even joking about it, brought it all to mind again, the cold, and his own helplessness, and the distant blast of the mortars. Mitchell hadn't expected that. So this... Well, he thought he knew what to expect, and he'd had a good long life, so.

The snarling stink of uncleaned teeth descending on his neck, on the arm he threw up to desperately protect himself, all of that, suddenly vanished in a sliding boom of not-sound. The strange vampire was knocked clean away, along with all his brethren, and Mitchell's ears were ringing from an abrupt kind of absence. He looked round, as much as he could from his position on the floor and saw that Annie was outside their house, on the pavement, her hand extended like some kind of wizard or something. Mitchell wanted to cheer, she looked... Like an avenging angel, he thought, someone extraordinary, and like his friend, all at the same time. She looked beautiful.

He shook his head to try and get his ears to work, and then he tried to move, to get up, until searing pain hit him from a number of directions at once. He collapsed back to the floor, biting back a groan. He heard a slapping noise, one he knew - George's slippers as he slobbed around the kitchen on their days off - and it made Mitchell frantic, scrabbling to get to his feet, watching the vampires struggle to get up, to get to him and finish tearing out his throat presumably, and all Mitchell could taste was the sharp, bitter gag of fear in the back of his throat. He could cope, they could have him, he didn't matter, not like George did - because George couldn't take one blow from one of these, they were strong, they were feral...

Then George himself was there, supporting him, helping him up, and Mitchell was sick with terror, but he couldn't get himself to move, to shift himself any faster. He saw one of the beasts begin to rush the pair of them, and almost closed his eyes because he didn't want to watch - not George! - but he couldn't be that much of a coward. He saw the creature raise its twisted clawed limbs to batter George to one side - and then it seemed to sniff the air instead, deeply, through broad nostrils that flared and released like some obscene version of an animal documentary. Horror was edging its way into Mitchell's consciousness, he'd been good at holding it off up to now, but it was getting stronger, sliding its way in there. He found he couldn't scream, even when George began dragging him back to the house, expecting them to be torn apart at any second. And yet they weren't.

Over George's shoulder, Mitchell watched the vampire who hadn't attacked. It hovered behind them, at their shoulder, still breathing in giant snorts, but not getting closer. It didn't shift relative position in all the time George took to get Mitchell into the house, and only fell back as the invisible barrier of home enclosed itself around both of them, Annie hovering now inside.

The strangest thing of all was the way it seemed to moan, in pain, or disappointment, like a dog that'd lost its master, its hands jerking spasmodically, even as the two of them disappeared inside. No, he changed his mind. The strangest thing of all was that Mitchell almost seemed to feel sorry for it. But only almost.

***


"What," said George, "What the hell?"

Mitchell was sat on the kitchen chair, his trousers half-rolled up, and Annie was hovering, dabbing at the exposed wound with a tea-towel. He felt faint, but wasn't about to admit it.

George was pacing, and Mitchell loved to watch George pace, his eyes half-lidded, he stared as George walked up and down, up and down. There was more room than usual. The kitchen table was currently in the living room, serving as a makeshift door.

"I don't know," said Mitchell, again, refusing to be impatient, he ached too much to start yelling, and he didn't even know what he'd be shouting about. "They killed all the other vampires, well, nearly all. They would have killed me."

He said it in a matter-of-fact kind of a way, even though the sharpness of the fight was getting a little fuzzy around the edges now. He was marvelling that he had survived at all. "Why am I still alive?"

Annie smiled and shrugged, "It's a miracle? You're going to lead us out of here like some kind of messiah?" She giggled. "The Miracle of the Shoe."

George stopped pacing and grinned, his face lighting up. "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy."

Mitchell stared at them in disbelief, and they sobered.

"Sorry," said Annie, "It's just. It's so hard to believe. It's like we're in a bad zombie movie, and I hate watching horror. I just thought, something to lighten us up, something to make us smile... Sorry."

"No," George said, staring at Mitchell, "You're right. We need to think about this. They were going to tear you apart too, but something stopped them. There must be something special about you Mitchell. What makes you different to the other vampires?"

Mitchell watched as the two little parallel grooves in George's forehead grew deeper, as he thought about it, and Mitchell felt a kind a panic then, far beyond the disgust and confusion he was feeling at the predators outside, these strange misshapen vampires that had struck at his world so suddenly - if George worked it out... If George worked out that it was nothing to do with Mitchell, that it was in fact George himself, something in him that had held them off. What would he do? Mitchell couldn't lose him, he just couldn't...

"It must be because you don't drink any more!" said George, triumphantly, his glasses flashing in the light that came in through the kitchen window. "You know, blood, rargh, all that. They don't seem to be attacking humans either, do they? What else could it be! That must be it."

"Yeah," said Mitchell, light-headed suddenly, in relief, "Yeah, that must be it."

Annie stared at him then, his blood on her hands, her eyes huge.

"George?" Mitchell asked softly, "Could you go upstairs and see if you can count how many of them there are? While Annie gets me patched up."

"What? Yeah, ok. I'll just," said George, poking his thumb over his shoulder, looking happy to be doing something, to have worked something useful out.

After he'd clattered away upstairs, Mitchell turned back to Annie, who was biting her lip.

"That's not it, though, is it?" she said, "I know that's not it. I saw you both. They would have torn you apart and chewed on the bits. Wouldn't they?"

"Yes," he agreed, "Spat out the bones."

They both turned to look towards the stairs, where faint signs of shifting furniture could be heard, and swearing too.

"Don't tell him," said Mitchell suddenly, "He'll do something impulsive, crazy, something he shouldn't. You know George."

Annie had put her head a little on one side, as though trying to understand a foreign language.

"I know George," she said slowly, "If you think that's best, I won't. But Mitchell…"

He shook his head. "Let's just see how it goes for now, yeah. It might all blow over, they might just vanish again. Stranger things have happened."

He didn't need Annie's sceptical look to convince him how mad and hopeless he sounded. But mad and hopeless was better than dead or dying, so he'd had worse days.

***


It didn't look like the feral vampires were attacking humans, or so it seemed, until they turned on the TV. Then there were news stories of the terrible gang war that was taking place in Bristol. There were people who had been attacked by terrible, vicious fighting dogs. There was a call to put down every last pit-bull in the country, and George sucked his teeth, noisily, at that. He had a subscription to the RSPCA.

"Gangs?" Annie said, her mouth round like a fish, "I didn't know there were gangs in Bristol, it's certainly gone downhill since my day."

Mitchell looked at her. "We don't have gangs. It's the vampires." He didn't say, you numpty. "And what do you mean 'your day' - you've only been dead two years! Before you ask, we don't have viciously trained pit-bulls either."

"Which is why a blanket call for breed euthanasia is just wrong," said George.

Mitchell counted to ten, and then said, "People have been advised to remain indoors. And if they do, they'll be safe."

He didn't add, that if they themselves also stayed indoors they'd be safe, it went without saying, he thought. Mitchell watched Annie wring her hands again, and George pace. Again. It might be a long couple of days.

"I wonder what people can do to stop them," George said, as he took the latest cup of tea from Annie.

By the end of the week, they had the answer. Nothing very much. It was the most disappointing apocalypse ever. Bristol had been relegated in the news spots too, gang warfare had to take second place to the latest attempted political coup on the Prime Minister. George sputtered like a kettle at that, because people were dying here, although not as many as they'd feared. Mitchell didn't know if the reports were accurate, however - he suspected that no-one knew the true figure. The police had evacuated certain areas of Bristol, so they claimed, and others were still apparently under siege. The fact that their house was in one of them surprised nobody.

They hadn't exactly been prepared for a siege - they ran out of milk early on. Annie couldn't make tea any more, not proper tea, which meant she wandered around vaguely unhappy, like the haunt she hadn't been for some time. So George confiscated the tea bags soon after that, in case they ran out of those too, and to stop Annie looking so sad. He and Mitchell had discovered they vastly preferred her irritable rather than mopey.

Looking out of the window soon became a favourite pastime for all of them, along with counting the food they had left in the cupboards. There was always one of the feral vampires in the street, often more than one, watching the house, their squat bodies looming in the twilight or the dawn alike. Sometimes there was the twitch of a curtain further down, but they could never be sure. Mitchell's policy of waiting them out clearly wasn't working, but no-one wanted to be the first to bring it up. They had no other plans.

Part 2
 
 
 
cloudsofsmoke: racism = badcloudsofsmoke on March 21st, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
And it has a *fanmix*. I love fanmixes. I'm going to listen to it right now *toddles off*
Valderys: Being Human - Mitchell and Georgevalderys on March 22nd, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
Isn't it good? I love it!
cloudsofsmoke: greta prettycloudsofsmoke on March 23rd, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
It turned out to be sooo good! You have to write something special to get a fan mix ; )
I didn't even know there was an evanescence song I didn't have.
All track choices are very appropriate, i think : )
prochytesprochytes on March 24th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the delayed reaction, by the way. My Friends Page seems to be playing up - it did not register this fic at all.
Valderys: Being Human - Mitchell and Georgevalderys on March 25th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
No problem! Goodness, you don't have to read everything! :)