Growing strong

Magic Hollow 
@"Frank Beringer" @"Abraham Barlet"

She'd stayed in the back with Abraham while Frank drove, not wanting him to be seated alone if he came to before they reached home. He stayed out, his head on her lap, her leg bearing a small puddle of drool for the ride that she wouldn't notice until they were almost home anyway.

And when they did get there, and Frank did the work of bringing Abraham to what had become their room for her stupid bear injury, Asha hobbled along on crutches after them, her eyes trained almost unblinkingly on the both of them.

"Thank you," she murmured tiredly once they were inside, sincere and unsure if she'd said it before. "You can take a bedroom upstairs, stay for the night. Upstairs bathroom's all yours too, food... I should... Probably get the ash off too."

The transition of topics was made blearily. Asha hadn't really recovered from the viciousness of the shift.

Also, she forgot that she'd destroyed two pillows in her shift, a fact that Frank would come to know... about when he made it to the bedroom entrance.

There was something to be said about trips at the end of an event. They were usually faster than getting to the destination. Even with the two more seasoned jaguars, one freshly injured and the other with week old stitches pulled, in the back making him feel like a chauffeur of easily breakable goods, it didn't last long. Pulling up into the driveway in Asha's car, his to be car dominoed back sometime later with the cheetah's help, Frank was glad the initial maelstrom was over.

He got out and lifted, a now clothed and non-bleeding Abraham this time, into the house to lay down in the same bed he'd helped Asha out on about a week ago. A couple through healing as well it would seem. As soon as he passed the threshold to the bedroom while holding Abraham, he registered that there were feathers everywhere like some kind of murder or angelic scene on the bed, a few scattered about about the room. Walking further in, he tried to get the feathers off and away enough to place down Abraham without their stems biting into him before he sent a questioning look Asha's way. Abraham was now comfortably on a bed surrounded by destroyed pillows, the cases noted nearby were ripped which he could only place to mean jaguar or that Asha went to town on them with a knife.

He blinked a few times at the room's scene before turning to Asha who was talking about amenities upstairs. Her offer was kind. She sounded as tired as he felt after getting up way early this same morning and now it was late and he was mentally wiped out. His body felt sluggish, mind running from one task to the other without much else. Her thanks and then offer to take the bedroom upstairs and amenities caused an otherwise tired face, to smile lightly. Staying here was better than making the drive all the way back to Belle Vista in his state. But the smile dropped to one of questioning, a brow shooting up. "Of course and thanks, but umm, you might need some more pillows." His gaze went from her to the room as that explained it all quite well.

Yeah so... she'd... forgotten all about that. Fuck. At least Frank wasn't all that rude about it, and she leaned on her good leg as her head drooped.

"Shit," she murmured quietly. "Uhh, no, it's okay, probably for the best if we just..."

The trailing never really went further, but she hobbled to the bed, attempting to swipe away the feathers and all that as much as she could.

"It's the shifting, you know, we can feel when the other one is doing it and sometimes it triggers us... It's so stupid, this mate bond shit, even if it's... kind of great... I don't know, I'm babbling."

A huff, she looked up to Frank apologetically. "Thank you. For all the help you've given us so far. Some day we'll all be less of a disaster cat bunch I'm sure."

Because Asha had become a bit sappy, she had the start of tearing up visible in her eyes.

As she explained and started swiping feathers away, he continued with it as well. When Asha brang up mate bond, Frank paused to look at her again. This was the first time he'd heard of such a thing and it was interesting to say the least. It also explained really quickly why they hadn't been able to get a hold of her. She'd been shifted, making a mess of the bedroom and scared most likely. "I'm glad you were safe though. It's not the worst place to shift." Take it from a cat that'd done his first shift at home, ruining basically everything. Asha's cat must have more manners to just rip up a few pillows instead of making the whole house it's jungle gym.

When she made to look at him apologetically, Frank listened, hands idly pulling at some of the feathers near Abraham's head and collecting them. Her eyes were getting watery and he empathized sincerely. It had been a long night for everyone. Feathers pushed away, he took a hand and placed it on one of hers with a squeeze in a friendly I've got you way. "I'll always be here for you guys, you're friends, disaster cats or not." He really would. They'd done a lot for him already and this was the least he could do.

With that, he let go with a final squeeze, grabbing a last giant pile in his grip to throw in a nearby bin. "Now go get a shower and I'll look at your leg. Then we can all get some rest."

A promise like that meant entirely more to her than Frank could ever know. Asha felt his hand on hers, felt her cat go to groom his affectionately for all she was the injured one. This was immense, to go from two miserable jaguars to what was starting to feel like a real family, with people she could trust.

She gave a sniffle and nodded, her heart feeling like it might burst. "Thank you," she said again, this time more like a small childlike squeak for having been caught with ripped stitches, and nodded. "There's samosas and meatball pasta and sandwich stuff in the fridge, help yourself to anything."

Positioning herself on her crutches, Asha would hobble to the bathroom, pulling off her clothing with some difficulty. The shower process would be somewhat easier, with her mostly leaning against the wall as she rinsed off. Getting out was always a challenge without someone to hold her hand through it, but she managed with some hopping and a close call.

Twelve minutes later, Asha was dressed in a shirt and underwear, and a towel wrapped loosely around her legs. Pants seemed unnecessarily cumbersome at this point.

She came out re-crutched with a roll of steam from the bathroom, looking to wherever he might be.

"You're welcome," he smiled at the thanks. As she offered the food in the kitchen, he gratefully nodded, happy to see that she was about to go get cleaned off as well. With that, he took his leave to put things up in the upstairs bedroom before making towards the kitchen. Rifling through things, he heated up the leftovers she'd mentioned, enough for everyone just in case they were hungry as well and if Abraham woke up.

The door to the bathroom opening with the absence of the sound of pouring water announced Asha was done. Setting hot tubberware out on the counter, he called out. "I can meet you in the room in a minute." With that, he made three plates before making his way back to the guest room. He wasn't necessarily hungry, but it would do them all good.

He woke coughing, and then wincing. Abraham had never before this moment been quite so aware of the sheer variety of muscles required for a good lung hacking, particularly how many seemed to be somehow connected to the claw marks on his back.

In his entire life, he'd truly never been seriously injured, and definitely not gored in such a raw and animalistic way.

The pain was immediate and shitty and so surprising that it actually left him tearing up a little. One hand rose to his face, palming it and splaying his fingers out.

This. Fucking. Sucked.

Mathis had it worse. Asha had it worse. But unfortunately, that did not lessen the misery of the deep, hateful gouges in his back and shoulders.

It had been easier as the cat, and truthfully, he considered shifting right here. But he was hungry, and thirsty, and still exhausted on a deep level.

Also, the coughing. There was a persistence to it, the sort of unfightable compulsion of a body trying to rid itself of something. He brought his arm up to try to at least contain the grossness to the crook of his elbow, and that tugged at the stitches in his shoulder so perceptibly that it inspired nausea.


Stitches in his shoulder. While he'd been asleep.

He continued to wheeze until specks of dark spittle began to pepper the skin of the palm he shielded his mouth with. His nose ran for good measure, and resigned to grossness, he smeared that against the back of his hand.

Literally dirty mucus. (Also, a feather stuck to it, which made it immensely worse somehow.)

Vampire ash. Corpse in his lungs. If he'd been in a more convenient place to vomit, he might have done it right here. But he wasn't, so for now he just coughed and winced and wondered if painkillers worked for weres or if he'd have to get shitfaced instead.

Before that, though, he just really wanted a shower. Like an eleven hour shower. While also eating food.

In the meantime, he sought to curl up on his side like some kind of sad armadillo, pulling his knees toward-

Actually no that was all tugging at the skin on his back wow this was terrible???

So he just stayed on his side, feeling deeply gross and maybe like it would be best if he just rolled all the way onto his face and smothered himself.

The smell of food had her remembering she could use a meal. Asha nodded and made her way to the room, for like a step, and then paused as her chest seized... and then he coughed.

With his consciousness came a flooding of pain in her back and her lungs, and she hissed an inhale and did her best not to join him in it, though a few sympathy coughs escaped her.

She entered the room with a small sounding "Hey" right about when he'd stopped trying to roll up.

"How are you feeling?"

Angry coughs echoed through the house from what sounded like two people, causing Frank to finish what he was doing quickly and enter the bedroom soon after. Making his way in, he noted Asha was already there checking in.

Abraham had moved and seemed to be awake based on the interaction he heard at the tail end of. That was a good sign, but it also meant pain would be his new best friend. Placing the plates down at the closest side table, Frank stood and waited to hear from the jaguar. No use asking the same question twice or announcing his arrival that would’ve been heard if not also seen by both.

He hadn't realized Frank was here, but in retrospect, that shouldn't have surprised him.

Christ. They'd have to get him one hell of a thank you gift at this point.

Asha's presence should have warmed him, but truthfully, he felt a little crowded even with just two people near him. The jaguar was upset, still feeling wary and rankled by the unexpected violence of just a few hours earlier. It made it hard to be pleasant.

"There's a- fuckin'- vampire in my lungs," he hacked, but mercifully, the drive to keep coughing was fading. Maybe just a small amount of vampire in his lungs. Uncomfortable lying down all fucking pitifully here, and also smelling food, he moved to sit up slowly, his entire body seeming to wince for the sensation.

"Sorry," he added after another few seconds.

She set her crutches to the side of the bed and moved to hop to a sit next to him, steadying her
own breath against his coughing. Her cat stretched towards his as she reached a hand gingerly for one of his.

"I'm sorry," she answered almost reflexively, even though her intent had been to tell him not to be sorry. Dumb feeling mesh. "Frank put stitches in while you were out, I—" she paused and looked at Frank, adding a "could you get him a glass of water?"

She'd have done it herself if she wasn't a god damn cripple.

Continued coughing had Frank frowning, the comment setting off his cat in unexpected expectant ways. It wouldn't stop growling at the presence of undeath being literally in the other cat, so that was nice. Frank took a step towards the bed when Abraham made the move to sit up, wanting to fret instantly about the speed in which to do that. "Easy, now. You've got quite a few injuries." Asha had already ripped hers, they didn't need him to do it too. However, it seemed it was unnecessary and Frank paused.

Asha was quick to sit by Abraham and offer an explanation, cutting off to direct attention to him. Frank was honestly already halfway out of the room doing the very thing. It wouldn't do the guy any good to keep hacking up a lung every few words. "On it." He left the room then for the kitchen, getting two cups and filling them up with ice and water since there had definitely been that many distinct coughs earlier. Better to be proactive than having to get up again because only one cough case had been solved.

Bringing it back, he handed the cups to both. "Here, that should help."

He shook his head to Asha's apology, and despite his own cat's lingering wariness about the world at large, both jaguar and man would be quick to accept the touch.

"Thank you," he croaked to Frank, feeling overly dramatic, but apparently hunks of ash in your lung left there for hours was bad!

With Asha so near, he felt a very strong desire to kiss her fiercely on the lips. But.

Ash. And probably lingering snot.

Instead, he sought to kiss her knuckles and found that his own hands were trembling some.

"I love you," he said quietly in the absence of more direct physical affection.

Frank was back quickly, and he felt a little guilt for breaking the small embrace of their hands as he reached for the glass and very nearly chugged it.

She gave a grateful if small smile to Frank's initiative, extremely indebted to him for being here this night. Obligation or not, it was a degree of selflessness she had trouble expecting. Which was for the best. Taking that shit for granted wasn't ever a good idea.

Her cat groomed his obsessively while he kissed her, and hearing him say the love thing again made her feel extremely like she wanted to curl up into him. Dumbass beat up couple.

"I love you too," she murmured back, wanting to tuck her head against his shoulder, and doing so even when he went for the glass instead. "Thank you," she smiled to Frank, taking the glass he offered her as well and realizing just how dehydrated she was.

"I kinda popped my stitches earlier... Frank's gonna take a look at my leg. We should get the... the ash off, too."

If she looked hard enough, could she see remnants of Margaux's face in the debris?

No. That was ridiculous. Ash was ash.

Both took the water and drank which should help the coughing, hopefully. "Not a problem." They were both probably dehydrated from the looks of it. Not wanting to really set up IVs, he made a mental note to be sure they both kept after their fluids for the next few hours.

Asha made it sound so nonchalant with the idea she had popped stitches. It'd probably happened during the shift of hers earlier. The fact of the matter was though that her leg at the moment was probably hurting like a bitch, but here she was with a commendable pain tolerance. It was a bit distressing to say the least and Frank was glad he'd be able to fix it soon.

"Yep, I'll look at the leg first and then-" Frank looked from Asha to Abraham, a teasing smile playing at his lips. "Then we can worry about getting you out of that chimney sweep costume before the chorus sings Chim Chim Cheree." Best to get everyone's mind off the fact the ash was vampire, and put it in a healthier space of 'its just regular 'ol soot'.

If no objections were made, Frank would grab some supplies he'd left downstairs before making the way over to the bed. There was going to have to be some removing and reinserting stitches unfortunately, but it'd get done and be a lot faster this time. Then they could focus on Abraham and, eventually, sleep for everyone.

The grooming was nice, and his cat stilled for it, muscles still tense beneath his coat.

Abraham still barely knew what to do with Asha saying she loved him. It was soothing, and warming, and also... still very new. It felt like an embrace as she spoke it.

The idea of popped stitches left him a little nauseated, and... somehow that nausea reminded him of the food on the bedside table.

Frank was such a fucking upbeat guy, and Abraham wondered how he'd fallen into their lives. Frank, Abel, Sol. All of them good people, sincerely.

It felt like a fucking blessing for a guy who didn't really believe in that kind of thing.

Laughing felt dangerous between the stitches in his back and the shit in his lungs, but he huffed in amused appreciation, grabbing the food from the table and offering a plate to Asha, as well.

He'd dig in fast, talking with his mouth full as Frank returned.

"Think I'ma eat this, shower, and sleep unless I need to do something else with the..."

Sincerely, the stitches in his back gave him weak knees to think about. Shifting with them in just-

Stop. Don't think about it.


She gave a chuckle to the joke, thoughhhhh she actually didn't get it? Maybe it was more Abraham finding it funny.

She took the food in quieted appreciation, forking it in bunches thoughtfully. Also, she'd part the towel for the stitching, a week healed, but the wounds were still open enough to merit re-stitching. Ughhh.

With Abraham confirming what he'd do, Frank knelt down by Asha again. This felt like some bad deja vu moment, but hey, at least he had enough anesthetic for Asha. He'd have to restock on his own supplies pretty quickly if the shifter community was just going to keep getting hurt like this.

Getting an injection with the correct Asha jaguar dosage ready, his gaze went back to Abraham as the guy seemed to pause on the word stitches. "You can do that, just make sure one of us pats them dry afterwards." It went without saying to be gentle with them and to also not shift, otherwise Frank would never get to sleep tonight.

Time to numb the leg and then just figure out what was loose, cut, and redo. "Here we go again.... Asha look anywhere, but at me." As soon as she would do just that, he'd stick her and continue on.

Abraham could stay for the stitching, settled next to Asha and clearing his bowl of food in record time.

"Look at my handsome face," he said to Asha, voice a little hoarse, but he was trying to be a nice distraction. "Figure out what color you want me to paint your nails tomorrow."

"I will," she volunteered for patting dry. He might have to hold her steady through it though. No biggie.

It was hard to be told to look anywhere when you knew what was about to happen and were overly conscious of it, but Abraham did his best and Asha did her best to focus on his handsome... ashed up face. She did break a smile at him, and the idea of him painting her nails while they recovered from their wounds (his a touch more valiant than hers) was a sweet thing.

He was sweet. How'd she end up like this, with a sweet guy. All she ever wanted was to live her life raunchy and free and now she was here.

"The purple this time. Wiiiith all three glitters on top so it looks like a bunch of stars."

Who knew how that would turn out, but Asha was slightly synonymous with overkill.

That was cute, they were cute, and the injection was done and Frank went right through determining what stitches needed to be redone. From there, he redid them and began to clean up. "Ok, no one pull on stitches again at least until we can all get a good night's sleep," he smiled to both tiredly.
He then gave instruction on how to wipe the stitches dry for if Abraham did go take a shower.

From there, Frank would refill their water and head on up to the bedroom that'd be his for the night. After he got himself clean and comfy too, Frank fell asleep quite fast, thankful that they'd let him spend the night.

Thank fuck for Frank.

"You're a hero, man," he said very sincerely. Tiredly. A shower was important, but it felt like more and like a task he wasn't entirely ready for. "Sleep well."

Eventually, left with just Asha beside him, he closed his eyes and sighed.

He leaned his head to try to rest it on her shoulder, grimacing a little as it pulled at the torn and stitched skin on his back.

There were things he needed to talk about, probably. He needed to get up and shower, probably.

Or he could sleep right here on her shoulder.

Wooowwww don't sneak glances at the stitching you are not high enough to smile at this. She ate and let him do his work and was the most grateful, and after that, it was her and Abraham and he was snuggly. She reached for her towel, carefully pouring some water onto a corner of it, and reached it towards his face.

Sleepily, she'd dab away at the ash on his skin, her mind definitely on how that was... once... Margaux.


After, she'd be lying down with him, petting his hair and soothing him in an attempt to get him to sleep. She'd slip a message to Beauregard. She'd... sleep a sleep heavy with fragments of Echo Echo's bathroom, where she could have died, and upon escaping, there was Abraham out the back of the club.

She woke from it all several times, but not with overwhelming fear or anything. Mostly just... "huh."

Anyway, she slept eventually.

He needed to shower. There was still dust in his hair.

He had work tomorrow.

But Asha was convincing, in the end. He would fall asleep uncomfortably on his side, thankful for closeness. His cat lapped at its wounds, occasionally turning somewhat automatically to lap at hers from time to time.

Abraham would sleep very little for reasons he struggled to explain to himself. Some part of him felt trapped at the moment of the attack, of how little time he had to tear at her. There was no clear resounding moment of victory. No corpse.

Just ash that he knew was still speckling his lungs.

Dozing on and off, he would eventually wake to a chirping alarm, and chirping birds, and he gave a soft groan as he sought with one hand for his phone.

Sleeping in a new place usually meant you didn't sleep well, but Frank had conked out as soon as his head had hit the fluffy pillow. Unfortunately, he had work the next morning because the whole busy night had happened on a Monday which meant there was a still a long week to get through. So, when the alarm went off at 6:30am, his eyes slowly opened, body feeling way too comfortable to leave the bed and also way too tired still. He laid there after shutting off the alarm on his phone, trying to figure out exactly where he was. After a moment, the previous night's events came rushing back and it explained it all. With a sigh, Frank got up and quietly made his way downstairs, still in pjs.

No one was moving around from what he could hear, so as carefully as possible, Frank began looking for coffee things with the lightest of rummaging. Eventually, he found everything needed and had coffee made. When the chiming of an alarm from the guest room greeted his ears, he was on his second cup at the table, reading through missed messages and the news off and on. Eventually, he'd have to get up and head home in enough time to get dressed for work, but there was still some time.

Some distant part of a dream included Frank's alarm, but it was Abraham's that really brought her around to that whole waking up thing.

She cracked open an eye and saw him reaching around, and then tugged his other hand to her stubbornly.

"Can't go," she gave a huffy whine.

No go work after Margomurder. NoOOoooOoo.

Some sense of jaguarness and also three heartbeats in the house told her that there was a third person here too, and she exhaled.

"Need pants."

But he was also injured, so. She started sleepily bringing herself up and out of bed so she could hop to get a pants herself.

Abraham couldn't decide if he wanted to work today or not.

There would be comfort in normality. He was clawed up, but there was plenty to do that wasn't manual labor.

And yet he couldn't deny wanting to just spend the day right here, still and silent and close.

"I'll get them," he said, hardly needing her to injure herself any further for the sake of pants.

"You should wear a dress or something. So it's not so hard to put on."

Abraham pulled himself up slowly to at least be sitting upright, and he enjoyed none of the process.

Oh, that was a good idea. Asha watched him get up, hands out to help him where she could.

"You could get me the jean one," she suggested, and whether it was a dress or just a super long shirt was up for discussion but in either case she pointed to the drawer where said dress shirt thing was located.

Also she said jean instead of denim because she was sleepy. Also it might not be made of real denim. We don't know.

"Think Frank's up..." she mumbled after. If you have a bad back and someone else has a bad leg who makes breakfast?

... making Frank make breakfast was a bit much.

Abraham, by now, knew Asha's wardrobe well enough to know which one the jean dress was. He nodded, moving slowly and feeling very old for it.

He'd definitely be late to work. This was a reality. There were text messages that needed to be sent to warn as much.

"Didn't even notice," he admitted, taking the dress from the drawer and bringing it back to her. "I don't know how to thank him enough. Have to send him something. I dunno what."

Showering sounded awful, but he could feel thr grit against his scalp as he ran a hand through his hair.

He moved at his slow pace toward the bathroom, then paused.

"You want help putting that on?"

Asha knew what she would want if she'd ever done that much for someone, let alone three someones. A lot of alcohol and a lot of meat and on the sly a lot of fancy cheese that she wouldn't have to share.

Would Frank like fancy cheese?

"Mmmm.. no," she shook her head to the question of help, clearly a sign of maturity. But he was freshly injured, so. "I will see youuuu on the clean side."

She sat up carefully, feeling tugging at her stitches because of life and hating it. Whatever.

After buttoning, she reached for her crutches and started the process of getting the fuck out of bed so she could figure out what to eat.

Wait, there was a solution for this. She used her voice at an elevated volume. "What do you guys want for breakfast??"

Abraham made quick work of breakfast on weekdays. As he made his way toward the shower, food didn't appeal.

"I'll probably just bring leftovers to go," he said, feeling a little guilty for it.

But he didn't feel like making anyone cook, and he was already going to be late, so...

He headed to the shower, turning the water on and taking a moment to stare at his back in the mirror as best he could considering it fucking hurt to turn his head.

Christ. He looked like shit.

Muffled voices were easy to pick up on from where Frank sat at the table. The two of them were up and no one had died of dehydration over night, so that was good news. Still, he stayed at the kitchen table, not intending to go anywhere until the coffee was finished or someone called. There was just a tinge of worry one of them was about to rip stitches, but he sincerely hoped that wouldn't be the case.

After several minutes, a very clear yell to include him could be heard and Frank looked up in the direction of the guest bedroom's door. Breakfast wasn't something he'd even considered to worry about, running entirely on autopilot just to wake up. The plan was to just go to McDonald's or something on the way, not wanting to really think about cooking just yet. "Uhh, whatever's easiest. I'm not picky," he called back. C'mon guys, no one needed to make breakfast, especially since y'all were the hurt ones here.

Yeah well y'all can go ahead and be skinny bitches if you want but she had an animal in her head snarling for food and she was gonna make it.

"Both of your answers suck!" she said cheerily as she crutch crutch crutch'd her way out of the room to head to the kitchen, giving a "morning!" to Frank.

Also, while they were at it, no Abraham was not going anywhere. No. No. She thought it really intensively in her head so maybe he'd feel it. Absolutely not.

Opening the freezer, she pulled out a pack of microwavable sausages and then hobbled to where the plates were to line one up with like twenty. Twenty one. Twenty one sausages.

Four and a half minutes in the microwave. Go.

"How you feeling?" she asked with a grin, moving to lean over the kitchen island.

Spoiler alert.

Abraham wasn't putting any water on his back. None. Zero. Not a drop. Taking off his pants with as little movement as possible made him feel immensely old.

All of this did, really.

Asha's answer was cheerful and largely ignored. She had the luxury of working from home, but Abraham would have to drive. Probably slowly. Because all of him felt slowed for fear of pain.

He bent forward very, very slowly, and began to wash his hair as best he could manage without getting any water on his shoulders or back.

It was... going... uh.

It was going.

The water turned gray around the drain, literal vampire ash circling and disappearing into the pipes below. Abraham couldn't help but feel some anxiety seeing it. Like. She'd just... materialize and pull him down Pennywise style.

He inched further from the drain and tried not to feel embarrassed about it to mediocre results.

Apparently, Abraham's answer hadn't been that helpful either. Asha's response had him chuckling as she made a crutching appearance to the kitchen. Bonus! There wasn't any blood on her pant leg this time as his eyes quickly flicked there before meeting hers with a smile at the good morning. "Mornin'."

He drank another sip of the warm coffee, watching sausages be plated and put into the microwave. The appearance of meat seemed to have woken up his cat who was for all intents and purposes just lounging and lazily rolling to its back in anticipation of food soon. With the hum of the microwave starting, he turned back to the article he was reading right as how he was doing was asked. Setting down the phone to the table, he gave his full attention.

"I'm tired, but alright. How 'bout you? How'd you both sleep last night?" Asha asking how he was was a bit comical. Frank wasn't the one hurt, but he appreciated the sentiment.

There was discomfort and pain from Abraham, and no sense of whether or not he'd decided to stay home? Or go anywhere. (No go. No.)

Frank was at least offering smiles though. She smiled back. "Think we were both kinda stop and go last night. We'll be okay though."

Okay for real.

Though. She could feel a sense of apprehension, and she looked to the direction of the bathroom from where she was, as if she could see Abraham in it.

She leaned forward conspiratorially.

"Hey, when he gets out, can you tell him he can't go to work? Whatever doctor thing you have to say to convince him."

At least they probably sort of got some kind of sleep. Asha looking towards the bathroom had Frank looking over as well, taking another sip of coffee, trying to hear whatever it was she was over the sound of water.

Movement as she leaned in closer, had his attention back to to the island, setting down his mug with raised brows, wondering where this was going to go. He honestly hadn't been expecting what she suggested and Frank gave another look towards the bathroom where Abraham was. "He was still going to go to work?" The jaguar should be staying home and resting after the night he had. It didn't take much for Frank to be on board.

Turning his attention back to Asha, he tapped the table lightly, thinking on what to bs to keep the guy home. "Yeah, I'll definitely think of something."

Well, to be fair she was making some assumptions. But, a weekday, same alarm, "I'll take leftovers to go" bullshit answer for breakfast and Asha was vaulting to reasonable conclusions.

So she nodded fervently to that question and maybe got, like, hearteyed at his decision.

"Lifesaver. You. Best jaguar we've ever found. Absolute. Best. Don't tell the others I said that."

She made a playful sort of grimace and went to go pull out bagels from the freezer (pre-sliced!) and set them into the toaster and also the toaster oven for efficiency!

The immediate response to that had him laughing good-naturedly. "Cross my heart," he said. Now he just had to come up with something. Hopefully, the almost two cups of coffee would lend him some wits in time.

As she put the bagels in the toaster, his train of thought went to the others and how that mixed with last night. A twinge of concerning triggered his next question. "Speaking of the others, have you heard from any of them recently?"

Abraham was...


A little bit of a struggle.

It had started small, but as some particularly large, damp clump of ash somehow rinsed down his back instead of forward, and he reached to try to rub it away and brushed the stitches, and probably got the ash partially on them, and this was a vampire in his wounds kind of literally, in his lungs and maybe even his eyes?

And was she really dead, or would she just... reappear on the full moon or something. Rematerialize. How could a person, even a vampire, die and not leave a corpse.

Also stitches were really gross and he didn't want to touch them?!

He suddenly felt a big giant huge heave of his guts, and he reached a hand to the side of the shower to steady himself as he leaned forward some.


Fought it. As quietly as he could. A silent Olympic non-puker.

No puking. But he did shut off the water, maybe a little bit soaped up around his armpits.

Whatever. He was an adult who could shower like a half-assed moron if he wanted to.

Drying off would be a very careful and slow process like fucking everything else, and he would just have to let his disgusting vampire back air dry.

"Honestly," she sighed. "I try not to crowd a whole lot, I figure the full moon and then the barbecue back to back was a —"

She paused her chatter as she suddenly felt a burning sensation rising from her stomach to her throat, and a hand rose to rest on her chest. A small "mm." Why was she feeling sick.

This wasn't her.

The water shut off. "Abrahaaaam? You okay?" she called out, and then glanced to Frank in the same breath, "gimme a second."

He'd say yes probably, but she'd be heading to him anyway. On crutches.

He understood the need not to crowd, but after last night he'd honestly thought someone would've sent a text our or something to make sure the rest of the cats were fine. They probably were considering, but still, color him a bit concerned and bit overprotective at this point. It had been a long not even 24 hours.

However, Asha had stopped mid-sentence and he watched, trying to figure out what was going on. Why did she look like she was about to be sick? Before he could say anything, she was hobbling to her crutches, yelling out to Abraham. Frank got up, but stayed at the table, unsure if he should be following or what. "Alright." He watched her go and hoped things were ok.

"YES I'M FINE," he said, probably louder than necessary. The bathroom vent was on, okay. :(

Also, he just felt really vulnerable and kind of gross and didn't want to be seen all ass-naked and damp as he tried to towel away the lingering moisture on his skin a little faster.

How was he going to put on a shirt. And wear a shirt at work.

Could he please just hide under the bed. Maybe as a jaguar.


That was mean. He had to know she'd been approaching too so like. Yeah.


What else do you do, crowd the guy? She gave a sigh and turned herself around. Anyway.

"Bagels should be done soon, do you prefer butter or cream cheese?"

Abraham's call out that he was fine had him wanting to breathe a sigh of relief. Someone that was fine hadn't fallen in the bathroom or whatever it was that had made Asha look sick.

A moments and Asha was back, asking about bagels. "Cream cheese is fine. Do you need any help setting things up?" He was already up and she was on crutches, it was really no problem.

Getting dressed was okay. The feeling of his shirt on the stitches wasn't good. But it was more disturbing than agonizing.

He would be okay. Abraham was going to be okay. Work would be a nice distraction. Whatever Asha was making, he would eat that real fast, and then leave, and the drive over to Ravenswood and hang out like right near where he'd killed Margaux like you know just the other night and it's not like another vampire would be there waiting for him?

Or like five?

It was fine!!!

That was the plan as he emerged into the kitchen, and his intention was to say something about food but instead his voice came out kind of high and like a question?

"I think I'm going to call out of work because I think I'm freaking out a little but it's fine?"

Haha he chuckled some?

"What's for breakfast?!"


Asha brought out both butter and cream cheese and ALSO JAM. woooo

"If you wanna grab plates, you could do that," she nodded, grateful, but then Abraham came out like a Broadway musical star singing them high high notes AAaaAAAAaaaaHh.

"Oh my god I'm so glad," she said of his decision. "That. You're staying home. Not that you're freaking out. Please come here and have bagels and sausage with us."

She patted at the island while her leg hovered really dumb like.

Taking her ok to go ahead and have it, he made his way around to the cabinets just as Abraham came out and announced with a somewhat questioning high tone that work wasn't happening. "Morning." That was relieving to hear, and he made to grab down the plates as Asha and Abraham talked about what was for breakfast.

Bringing them over, he ignored the pat pats to the island and put them down at the table minus what was needed for the food once it was done. Asha needed to sit down and it wouldn't hurt for Abraham too was well. As he did so, there was the need to make sure Abraham definitely did not go to work today, especially if he was freaking out a bit. The guy needed to rest. "I'm glad you're not going either. You need to make sure those stitches set a bit before doing anything, otherwise it's going to tear like Asha's."

Abraham didn't really want food? But the jaguar did? So?

Asha stood and leg hovered, and Frank sat, and Frank said something about letting the stitches set or they were going to tear out of his skin and he felt kind of weak at the knees all over again for that.

He nodded a series of little head bobs. Eat food. Stay home. Don't freak out.

A nod, and he would just... try to get through breakfast. Keep his shit together.

And he'd manage it, hoping to eventually encourage Asha over to the table, assisting moving over plates and the like as needed.

That was such a good doctor excuse. Was it true? Maybe??? Asha wouldn't question it, Abraham was nodding. She reached out to rub a hand against his arm affectionately. Please calm down.

She moved to the table with them, privately kind of thankful they'd made that decision all on their own, because she wouldn't have.

Breakfast passed in relative quiet; in the end they were a trio of hungry animals that had just had a very long twelve hours. But towards the end, with wandering gazes between the two, she'd pipe up.

"So... um. What. Like, if you wanna talk about it. Guess I'm just curious what... happened. Don't have to talk if you rather not though."

Sometimes talking about things helped Abraham in the past?

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