The students were the first thing that surprised him. The last time he’d tried school had been in the late nineties after he’d graduated seven times and had moved nearly ten times he’d refused to do it again. It felt weird, trying to be friends with people who could be the children of his original friends. But after meeting George and Nina and after hearing from Mitchell that the only way for this to work was to surround himself with people, he was willing to try it one last time. The cafeteria had been an experience he didn’t want the repeat any time soon. He could see that things had changed he couldn’t count on his charm to get him by here. He knew when to cut his losses letting the far younger boy tell him where he belonged stung his ego slightly, but getting into a fight on his first day of school was not exactly what he’d meant when he said he was going to try and fit in.
The second thing was the werewolf sitting in the cafeteria reading. Adam was as anti-werewolf as he’d been a few weeks ago. It natural instinct that made him dislike wolves. They were after all one of the very few things that could actually hurt him. It was instinctual that he hated what could kill him even if it was only once a month. But George and Nina had changed his view on wolves. They had no reason to come and take him away from those perverts. But they had. George had been willing to throw away their whole lives and pretend that he was part of their family to protect him. The offer was one Adam was not about to forget, no-one had ever accepted what he was. His parents saw what he was, understood his needs but they didn’t accept. His mother had been scared of him, his father had seen Adam as his responsibility. He had to feed him or Adam would hurt someone else and that would have been his father’s fault or at least that’s how he saw it. Adam wouldn’t say he loved werewolves now. He tolerated them although the girl didn’t seem very happy with him when he told her it was fine. They’d go their own ways, do their own thing and it would be totally fine.
Then he ended up in detention. He’d only been covering for her because well, as he said, if she got found out it was quite likely he would too. Adam wondered as they entered the classroom whether she’d actually been a werewolf for long, that kind of denial couldn’t hold for many full moons. And it was in detention that he found the third thing that surprised him.
He wasn’t the only person who’d killed in this school.
He wasn’t all that surprised that there was a ghost. Sure the only other ghost he knew was Annie but it wasn’t that ridiculous that she'd be the only one or that there'd be one in a school. People died in high school, people died in filthy alley ways when they were 16, people died everywhere. To Adam it didn’t really matter where someone died. Most of the kids who died in high school from what he knew were suicides. But ghosts meant unfinished business. Matt had no-one he needed to say goodbye to that was obvious from the way every single missing poster had been graffitied, no-one here had cared about Matt. Matt had no great task that hadn’t been completed, season three of Lost didn't count to the universe. There was something unresolved and given Matt couldn’t tell them how he’d died, it was obvious that the signs pointed to murder. That meant that someone in this school had killed Matt. Someone had hated the boy no-one cared about enough to actually murder him. It took something special to actually take a life. Adam knew that much. He had it. In his case it was fangs and his bloodlust, the humming danger just under the surface. Yet whatever had killed Matt hadn't been supernatural. Adam would have recognized the presence at once if there was another vampire. Christa could not be this in denial if there was another werewolf on the grounds. Ghosts couldn’t kill. That meant someone completely human had done this.
So they were stuck with the mystery of Matt's murder. The who, the where, the how and the why.
Standing in a toilet cubicle with two other people was not how he’d imagined his first day in high school ending. Matt was certain this was the last place he could remember being but Adam wondered how much ghosts remembered about their deaths. If it was murder it would have been violent and brutal wouldn’t they have blocked all of it out? Was it possible to repress the memory of your own murder? Was there a way they could tell if it had been here? Could Christa tell? Was there some kind of werewolf thing that might help with solving the case? Adam had a lot of questions that clearly a werewolf in denial and a recently dead ghost who’d spent his life watching TV and eating eggs couldn’t answer.
But Adam wasn’t out of options. George, in a fit of concern for the vampire, had given him the phone number of the house. He could ask them about all this. There was no way that those four hadn’t dealt with a murder before. Mitchell definitely had. Although the older vampire had given him the money he wasn’t sure they were actually on speaking terms. Adam understood. In the last few days he’d seen how hard it was to stay clean, having a vampire who was feeding around wouldn’t be easy. Mitchell might not talk to him but George would. George had said if he ever needed to talk that he should call. Adam had of course laughed it off saying he had more important things to do like talk to people who weren’t George. But he’d taken the scrap of paper and folded it carefully into his wallet. Now with just a hint of embarrassment for already being out of his depth, he dialled and waited.
“Hello!” A cheery voice answered on the third ring. A voice that was not George, or Nina, or Mitchell. “Who is this?” Annie Sawyer’s voice questioned. It seemed he'd managed to get a ghost on the line.
“Uh Annie?” Adam cursed his nervousness. He hoped the ghost wouldn’t hang up at once. He had not exactly been the politest person to her. He also noted that ghosts could apparently be heard over a phone. He wondered if only other supernaturals could hear her or how exactly it worked. He remembered Annie handing him several cups of tea during his short stay on Barry Island. She could obviously hold things. It had been stupid of him not to think she could use a phone. “It’s Adam”
“Yeah I got that” Annie sounded only very slightly annoyed at that fact. Something he took comfort in. “Why are you calling?” She asked and was Adam hearing things or did she actually sound concerned about his wellbeing? “You started at the school today didn’t you? How did it go? George spent all of last week sorting out that paperwork. Nearly did Nina’s head in wondering about what to put down as your medical details. Mitchell yelled at him when he wrote garlic down as an allergy.” Adam smiled to himself Annie’s rapid babble was one of the more normal things that happened to him today. “Did something happen? Did you – Adam did you attack someone?” now there was a note panic in her voice.
“No!” He snapped. “I didn’t hurt anyone. It went fine. Well I got a week’s detention” ignoring her shout of his name, Adam continued “Listen, is sad-arse there? I’ve got to talk to him about something.”
“Nope.” Annie popped the p on the word. “He and Nina are working overtime tonight.” Before Adam could finish his next word Annie spoke again this time slightly annoyed “Mitchell’s gone to get more tea before you ask for him. You can talk to me. Come on Adam what happened?” She sounded curious now.
“You only become a ghost if you have unfinished business right?”
Annie paused, Adam could picture how her face would twist in confusion. “Yeah, basically if there was something that you never accepted about yourself or your life or your death, you don’t get a door.”
“You remember, don’t you? From when you died. There’s this door and when your unfinished business is done you go through it.”
Adam hummed his response, he did remember seeing a heavy oak door in that alley. He’d assumed it was some kind of hallucination brought on by the stress of becoming a vampire. He’d never really given much thought to the whole dead part of his life. He didn’t have a pulse and he didn’t need to breathe that was true but he could do just about everything else. “So I guess you finished your business?” He remarked in what he hoped was a conversational tone. How long did ghosts normally stay around? Was Annie going to ask him why he was so curious all of a sudden?
“I did.” Annie sounded like she was remembering something best forgotten.
“Then how are you still here?”
“I – that’s a story for another time." Annie sounded more uncomfortable than when she'd been subject to Adam's clumsy attempts to flirt. It made Adam wonder, not for the first time, just how Annie had died. "You didn’t call George to find out about my death. Why did you call Adam?” Annie hesitated there for a minute, before she continued with a more curious tone to her voice. “What’s got you so curious about ghosts?”
“There’s one at my school.” Before Annie could speak, he added. “I think he was murdered”
“Oh god.” Annie mumbled like she understood all too well what was going on. “You’re trying to help him aren’t you?” Annie sounded proud in him and if Adam still had blood flow to his cheeks he would have, to his shame, blushed. “George and Nina made the right call letting you go off by yourself.” It had been a long time since someone had sounded that certain about him.
He pressed on with the questions, “do you remember the details about your death? Like exactly where you were? What you were doing? Do you know who killed you?”
“You often forget the things that happened in the last minute or so. At least, I did. You know where you died because that’s where you wake up as a ghost. That might not be where you were attacked though, you could have been moved with a fatal injury. You don’t know who automatically. You can look your killer in the face and not know.” Annie’s voice was bitter especially on the last phrase. Like she, the bubbly ghost who was full of smiles hated someone. Adam knew then for sure that Annie had been murdered. Someone had killed her and that thought made him angry. But he knew instantly that there was no way George and Mitchell would have let whoever it was get away with it. The older vampire had been fiercely protective of the ghost the only time they’d met, there would be no way her killer would still be breathing. He thought on what Annie had just said, if there had been blood Christa would have definitely smelled it even if she didn’t think she was a werewolf, hell Adam should have smelt it himself. Matt had been right. He’d been drowned in a toilet cubicle. What a way to die, Adam thought sympathetically. “Does that help you Adam?” Annie asked.
“Yeah thanks Annie.”
The immortal teenager was about to hang up when the ghost said something else. “Whoever did this, let your friend deal with them. Don’t do it yourself. They have to do this themselves. Have to stand up to who killed them. It’s important. But help them, be there for them, no-one deserves what it’s like to be stuck here. They deserve a door.” She paused before announcing in her normal cheery voice “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“What?” Adam spluttered.
“You’re going to call me tomorrow and tell me what you found out.” She sounded absolutely confident in this fact and Adam was at a loss for what to say next. “I don’t have anything to do. And look maybe I can help, I went through it, I know all about the ghost stuff you could use my help, you know it.”
Adam did know it. “Alright,” he agreed and couldn’t help but to feel happy at the fact that someone was actually telling him to contact them again. People normally told him to piss off. “I’ll call you tomorrow”
“Bye!” Annie yelled and added as an afterthought “Don’t kill anyone!”.
Adam stared at the phone in his hand. Well, he thought we’ve got the where for sure. Being killed in a public school toilet that was actually worse than being trained dry in a disgusting alley, “poor Matt” he said out loud.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
The minute they started talking to Danny, Adam had known that the boy wasn’t the killer. For one, he was too stupid. He was so shocked at the news of Matt’s death that his pulse had skipped a beat. He might be a bully but he’d never think of killing someone that was clear.
Matt was scaring the guy, his pulse was racing and Adam could see sheer terror on his face but Matt had said they were doing things his way. Annie had told him to let Matt do it himself. Maybe he was wrong. Matt had been right about the toilet stands to reason he would be about this as well. So he stood back and let Matt terrify Danny even though it was increasingly obvious he was no killer, just another kid trying to hide his insecurities. But Danny's blood was thumping through his body and it was all Adam could do to focus on what Matt and Christa were actually saying and not just listen to that rabbit-paced heart.
Christa had stormed off after realizing that Matt was using them as his back up. Adam felt sorry for the guy he truly did and he understood how great it would seem to go from having only Steve McKenna to having a vampire and a werewolf. But even Adam broke his couldn’t give a shit facade. Matt didn’t know what it was like to be seconds away from killing someone at any given moment. Adam had walked away from the school all at that point. He couldn’t risk it. If Matt was going to keep putting them in places with terrified humans whose pulses beat faster and louder in Adam’s ears then there was going to be another murder and this one would be Adam’s doing. He couldn’t let that happen. No matter how much he wanted to know who killed Matt, keeping himself free of blood was more important.
He bailed on sixth period after that. The amount of people in the classrooms suffocated him at times. Christa wasn’t making eye contact with him and he wasn’t talking to Matt so there was no appeal in physics for him. He’d done it all before too. So he walked across the school and found a tree that’d block him from the view of the school itself. No-one else was outside, it was bitterly cold but Adam couldn’t feel it. Sitting under the tree he wondered if he should call Annie. He’d given up on the case, after she’d seemed so enthusiastic and proud of him for getting involved. Would she be disappointed? He really didn’t want her to be. Everyone back at the house had looked after him when he’d given them nothing the least he could do was call her like he’d promised.
She answered in the angriest voice he’d heard her use. “Did you zombies are apparently a thing that can happen now?” She snapped at him before he said hello, like she'd been waiting for this opportunity to vent.
“There is a zombie sitting in my kitchen decomposing!” She hissed at him.
“Uh- how?” Adam asked glad to have a different topic than Matt to talk about.
“She followed me home!” Annie sighed clearly annoyed. “How was today? Wait-“There was the sound of her moving around “It’s just after one. Why aren’t you in class?”
“I skipped.” He didn’t lie to her, he wondered what her reaction was going to be, was she going to take the line of concerned parent and scold him or-
“Well you’re acting like a normal teenager” Annie laughed and Adam joined in. “Have you found who did it yet?”
“Matt thought this kid Danny might have, Danny was always bullying Matt”
Annie hummed in thought. “I doubt it. It takes a certain kind of rage to kill and a regular bully wouldn’t have that.”
“Well Matt scared the crap out of him made him piss himself and everything.” Adam told her.
She didn't laugh, “you have to be more careful Adam! What if someone had walked in?”
“No-one else can see Matt," at least that was how ghosts were supposed to work, right?
“You can’t be so sure, sometimes those with open minds or special connections to them can see them.” Well shit there went that certainty.
“Well no-one saw” He was trying not to sound too defensive.
“Be careful. If he gets found out you might too. Or at least you’ll be labelled as totally insane. If you get locked up things could go very wrong.” Annie was serious now like he'd never heard her.
“Don’t worry Annie. No one’s going to find out we were helping him."
“What the hell do you mean were?” Annie demanded.
Adam sighed and covered his face with his hand. “Christa and I gave up. It’s too dangerous if were in violent situations one of us might do something bad. He just wanted to use us as his back-up to scare people. I can’t do that Annie. What if I kill someone?” And there it was, his deepest fear, just poured out to a ghost he barely knew.
“You won’t” She said softly. “You could have killed everyone in that school by now and you haven’t. You haven’t have you?” She said the last part teasingly and Adam laughed. “You’re doing better than you think. Mitchell wasn’t as calm about this as you are.” Adam smiled a little at the praise, somehow he had managed to earn her confidence. “But you have to help him.”
“I know, I know” Adam sighed.
“So you’ll try again with him? Because I can tell you Adam that the worst thing is to be stuck unable to move on.”
“I’ll try. You seem pretty happy and you’re still here, why aren’t you roaming the halls weeping?”
“I had my chance to move on. I didn’t want it.” Annie said simply, like that didn't leave Adam with a thousand more questions. “So,” she drew out the word.
“You have to get back to your zombie?” Adam guessed, laughing at the thought.
“Wrong! Who’s Christa smart-ass?”
Adam faltered he hadn’t meant to tell Annie about the werewolf. He figured that Christa’s secret wasn't his to tell. Not that he ever planned on Annie and Christa meeting. Adam hung his head in resignation as he said “She’s a werewolf”
“Jesus Adam what kind of school are you going to? Do you have some kind of club for supernaturals going on?” Annie was laughing. “It’s great though. Werewolf, vampire and ghost, the terrific trio.”
“You sound like Matt”
“She’ll be good for you, like George is for Mitchell. It’s a comforting buffer knowing one of your friends can kill you. Stops you getting full of yourself.” Adam rolled his eyes. Someone shouted Annie’s name it wasn’t a voice that Adam recognized. “Her majesty summons me”
“Missing me already?”
“Shut up go make up with your spooky friends. Call me later.” Her name was shouted again. “What is it Sasha? Has more of your scalp fallen off?” was all he heard before the connection clicked off.
Adam looked at the phone and laughed. Annie did seem to actually cheer him up every time he talked to her. He’d give the whole thing with Matt another try. He owed Annie that much.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
Matt was keeping stuff from them. Adam knew that, the fact that suddenly he knew he drowned, hadn't escaped his notice. Matt knew things about his death that for some reason he didn’t want Adam and Christa (Adam thought it was probably more just Christa) to know. Then Matt had let slip the detail about Christa’s scars and Adam felt two conflicting emotions. One was sympathy for Christa he understood that the girl was trusting Matt something she didn’t do easily and now he’d demonstrated that he’d invaded her privacy and had seen things she didn’t want people to see. The other was a mix of anger and jealousy. Matt had gotten to see more of Christa than the werewolf was likely to ever let Adam. And he’d done it without permission from her. Adam knew he was a twat but he wasn’t that much of a dick, you didn’t do stuff like that without a girl’s permission.
But they had a new suspect, the prettiest girl in sixth form, well the prettiest girl who didn’t know he was a vampire.
Adam called Annie again as he walked home. He wondered how the zombie situation was going. Annie was a little slower to answer this time. “Hey Adam!” She sounded happier than ever and this time there was music blaring in the background.
“Is the zombie gone then?” He asked surprised by her happy tone.
“Nope. We’re going to have a girly night out”
“You’re going to taking a rotting corpse out?”
“Make-up works wonders.” She spoke to him in a patronizing tone.
Adam laughed at the same time as her. “If you make this work you will eternally be my hero.”
“I look forward to having a servant for the rest of eternity, that'd be useful. How’d it go with Matt and Christa?”
Adam had wondered how long it would take her to mention them. “Do you start to remember more and more things about your death or do you only find everything out at the very end?”
“The details you have at the start are what you’ve got. Once you figure it out you remember everything.” She half spat the last word and yet again the questions burned in Adam's mind.
“Matt lied to us. He’s hiding things about his death, Annie, and I don’t understand why.”
Annie paused on the other end of the line as she moved away from where ever the music was coming from. “Adam death is the single most personal thing in your life. If Matt doesn’t want you to know don’t push him.”
“How can I find out who killed him if I don’t know everything?” He felt like banging his head on a brick wall for all the information it might give him.
“Do you know where he died?”
“In the toilets but Annie-“
“Do you know how he died?”
“He says he drowned liste-“
“Do you know who might have wanted to kill him?”
“Well there are some people.”
“Then you have every detail you need.” Annie told him her voice firm. “I have to go. When you find something out, you call me. If you need help, if the bloodlust gets worse, if you need anything, you can call me. You can’t make him tell you about his death. It’s deeply personal and I doubt he’d want to tell a prick like you.”
“Thank you for the support Annie.”
*** *** *** *** *** ***
Brandy Mulligan, Crompton whatever you wanted to call her was a bitch. But to give her credit she was a bitch whose death threats you wanted to take seriously. She was capable of murder, Adam didn’t doubt that. But Matt’s? She hadn’t killed Matt. Adam was almost definite of that from the minute Christa started talking to her. She was shocked to hear that Matt was dead. Sure she didn’t really care but the news had surprised her. Then she continued with some vaguely insulting comments, Adam had felt angry then, wanted to defend Christa. She was, of course, a werewolf that was highly capable of defending herself and Adam got the feeling Brandy wasn’t the first person to talk to her like this.
He’d gone more than a week without blood at this point. He wanted to feed and Brandy was annoying. Really who was going to mind? But Christa pushed him out of the way writing the whole thing off so as not to reveal his secret. Following her later was a good plan. She’d shown how vicious she could be her threat sounded like one that she could complete without blinking (even if it was impossible she’d try her hardest). Matt had been right scaring the killer would work. Adam needed a reason to use what he could do. Maybe there was a way to be a useful vampire. Adam was about to get the best of both worlds, a chance to feed and revenge for Matt’s murder.
Only then Matt opened his big mouth and revealed yet another secret. He hadn’t been watching Brandy and she hadn’t followed him, he’d seen her leave and it couldn’t have been her. He’d been watching Christa. Now it wasn’t just accidental invasion of her privacy, he’d done it on purpose and he might have done it before. Matt was obsessed with Christa, Adam could see it now and he understood why. She was attractive in her own way, and she wasn’t like the other girls as clichéd as it might sound.
Only now Adam was pissed. Matt had doubly screwed him over here. This meant things were about to get very awkward between their group and that he had no excuse for drinking from Brandy. Adam looked at the phone in his hand, the house’s phone number staring back at him. He put it in his pocket. He couldn’t tell Annie. She’d be disappointed, he’d nearly fed. He had felt his fangs come out and his eyes switch colour. Someone could have seen him, he had nearly revealed everything. Shit, he could have screwed everything up right then and Annie with all her happiness wouldn’t have been able to fix that. She’d forgive him too. He was almost completely sure of that. She was the kind of person who’d forgive anything. He didn’t deserve her kindness right now. Why the fuck was he putting all his problems on her shoulders she had her own crap to deal with. He’d only been gone a few days and already she seemed to have a zombie living with her. She had her life and Adam needed to start being able to deal with his.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
This group was depressing. Matt was mooning over Christa, Christa was confused, should she be flattered by the devotion of a ghost or annoyed that he’d stalked her? Adam knew what role he had, annoying prick who makes inappropriate comments. So when he went into detention he fed Christa some bullshit about wanting to break up. No one in the school really gave a crap about Christa Stammers and the foreign exchange student with terrible social skills. They couldn’t care less so it wasn’t really of importance whether or not they were dating. However, Christa was, let’s face it, the only living person who actually talked to him. If he did what he did best and ended up with some other girl it might piss her off. And a pissed off Christa could kill him, it was for everyone’s sake that they should break up.
At least he got an annoyed smile out of her. Right as she started talking about slapping him. Switching directions of the conversation at once though now she seemed quite taken with the idea of them breaking up Adam saw Mr Roe talking to the gym teacher through the window. He wondered in that instant had they been looking at the wrong people. They’d thought a student had done it, but could it have been a teacher.
That lead to their after school trip to the toilets, maybe he and Christa really did need to break up now one of the teachers thought they were hooking up. The toilet adventure led to the night-time raid of the CCTV collection of the school. Seriously how many cameras were there in this school? Things had certainly changed since the last time Adam had been in one.
After he finally arrived back at the crappy apartment he was living in he took out his phone and called Annie. They’d made a breakthrough after all. They knew now that whoever it was had access to the CCTV, it was probably a teacher and Mr Swan was certainly looking like a prime suspect. They’d realized it couldn’t be Brandy. He had a lot to tell her. And there was that whole nearly feeding on Brandy thing that he might gloss over. The phone took several rings to be answered something unusual in the house where a ghost could appear wherever she wanted.”Hey Annie” He opened cheerfully, maybe she wouldn’t realize how late he was calling. Normally he’d have called hours earlier when detention was over. He was nearly three hours later than that so he continued with. “How’d the girls night go? Bet you wished I was there to keep you all company”
Annie didn’t laugh like he’d expected at his cocky attitude. “Sasha died” That was all she said keeping her voice level.
“Aw shit Annie I’m sorry” Adam cursed his inability to make appropriate comments.
“What was keeping her here couldn’t do it anymore she was still decomposing and well it’s over now.”
“God Annie, if I’d known I’d have”
“You’d have what? Not called, please Adam I’m a ghost I deal with death more than the average person. I can handle this. Now what’s happened? Have you got a new suspect?” Annie’s voice was curt and Adam knew that thinking about other things helped with grief. He remembered when his mother had died and his father had spent the next week obsessively packing and unpacking boxes and cleaning the house. Once he’d vacuumed the whole place five times Adam had stopped him and his father had burst into tears saying he didn’t know how to cope without Adam’s mother.
So Adam drew an unnecessary breath and said “We thought it was this girl, Brandy, only Matt says it wasn’t and now we think it might have been a teacher.”
“A teacher? What the hell kind of school do you go to Adam? Werewolves, vampires and ghosts and now a murdering teacher. Strange place.” She laughed slightly. “But it makes sense” her voice was dark now “a teacher has power over you. When someone has power over someone else they often use it to hurt you.”
Now wasn’t the time to ask even Adam knew it, she’d just lost a friend but he could have sworn she was speaking from experience. “Well we think we might be able to find the body. The killer took the CCTV tapes and well that shows us which way he took the body so we might be able to find it.”
“Finding it won’t give him his door. I think you need to understand that.”
“But it’ll make the police take the investigation seriously. The only people who care right now are his parents. Christ you should see them, they’ve covered the whole place in missing posters and half of them have graffiti on them but that doesn’t stop his parents.”
“It might be justice that Matt needs. For me it was killer getting arrested that gave me a door.”
“You got your door?! Then why are you still here?” Adam stored the fact about justice for later, now he was back to his other mystery, how Annie died.
“I had my door and I missed it. Things happened. It was a long time ago” That area of conversation was closed and Adam knew it.
“We think it was the gym teacher” Adam remarked conversationally.
Annie made a sound that seemed like a laugh and replied “well I thought my gym teacher was evil but yours wins. I have to go Mitchell’ll be back soon and I should get some tea on.”
“I’ll update you tomorrow if we find something out.”
“You had better. I looked through George’s stuff I know what school you go to. I will come and yell at you if you don’t.” Annie threatened.
Adam smirked to himself at the ghost’s words. “Alright Annie, go look after Mr. Moody-broody for me” He hung up before she could talk. She was as much in denial about her feelings for Mitchell as Christa was about being a werewolf.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
The gym seemed as good a bet as any. Swan was the one with the keys and there was plenty of places you could hide a body. Only with their luck the killer himself walked into the room right after them and that’s the story of how a middle-aged vampire ended up hiding in a vaulting block with a teenage werewolf. In retrospect he shouldn’t have been surprised that Matt wanted to stay. The girl he loved was finally paying attention to him, he had friends who weren’t Steve McKenna it made sense to want to stay.
Only moving the block attracted the attention of Swan to his only two friends. That wasn’t exactly particularly nice. Christa was only doing what she thought was right and helping her friend crossover. Adam was trying to help a mate out and fulfil his promise to Annie that’d he’d help the other ghost. As Swan was coming towards them Adam thought frantically. If Swan was the killer he was about to catch them watching him. If he put two and two together he might figure out that he was about to be caught. If he figured that out he might leave and if he left Matt wouldn’t get his justice. He couldn’t think they were here about the murder so Adam did something he had rather wanted to do for a while. He turned to Christa and pulled her closer, cocking his head to one side and hoping she could read the question in his eyes. “Play along?” he whispered before kissing her. To his surprise she barely hesitated before her hands were on his shirt pulling him even closer to her, his hands went from her shoulders to her hair. Mister Swan finding them wasn’t a surprise but he could tell from the devastation Matt’s face that their current position was one to him.
Christa had jerked her head back when Swan lifted the block, but her fingers twisted tightly in his shirt and he could hear her pulse racing as a potential murderer shouted at them. He flicked his gaze down just once to meet Christa's eyes before putting on his act. For once, blood was the furthest thing from Adam's mind, he had to make sure that Christa was safe. Huh? That was definitely a thought he wasn't going to tell Annie about.
Adam didn’t feel bad about what he’d done. He knew how Matt felt about Christa. He knew that his last act in the world had been writing a declaration of his love. He knew he was one of Matt’s only friends and that he shouldn’t kiss Christa because of that. But Matt didn’t have a monopoly on liking Christa, they’d been in danger, danger Matt had put them in. Adam had done what he thought was necessary to keep them safe. And he could still feel Christa's warm hands on his shirt, still remembered the certainty with which she'd kissed him back.
What Christa said that day in detention about smelling something in the gym didn’t surprise him. He thought the body might be there and if it was rotting then any werewolf could have smelt it. She was scared of that fact though. To Adam it was a useful thing being able to smell the body but it terrified Christa because it meant what she was denying was real. Adam knew should couldn't have turned more than a handful of times.
She was making a huge sacrifice offering to sniff out the body, something he suspected Matt didn't understand fully. It meant that she’d let go of her denial or at least some of it. The least Adam could do was help her feel safe about that. She didn’t know how to turn safely, she couldn't have ever met the wolf who'd turned her, there was no one who could have advised. They’d need her at the school as close to the moon as possible and that meant they would have to have a way to control the wolf. He walked away from Matt and Christa ducking into an empty hallway. Without hesitation he called Annie, only it was someone else who answered. It was George.
“Hello? Who is this?” The werewolf said and Adam didn’t exactly know what to say. George would know what to do he was a werewolf after all but he had meant to talk to Annie.
“Sad-arse nice to hear your ever squeaky voice” Adam said as his opening he heard George sigh slightly.
“What happened Adam? What went wrong?”
Adam was a little annoyed by this, he hadn’t done anything wrong, well not today at least. Was it that unusual for him to call the others? He guessed Annie hadn’t mentioned their conversations to them then. “Nothing.” He snapped. “Nothing went wrong. Is Annie there?”
“Adam listen you’re an alright kid and Annie likes you fine, but she’s well out of your league and Mitchell’ll rip your head off.”
“It’s not like that” Adam said at once. Annie was his friend nothing more. The detail about Mitchell was noted, was something happening there? Frankly he wasn’t about to screw everything up with Annie when she was helping him out. She didn’t have to, he knew that. So the least he could do is not make her uncomfortable. “Look I need some advice, how do you control a werewolf on a full moon?” he asked quickly.
“What are you doing? What are you involved in? If it’s that cage stuff it’s barbaric I thought you were better than that.”
“What cage stuff?”
“Never mind.” George sighed. “Why do you want to know?”
“My friend is like you and I need to know if there’s a way to stop them hurting anyone”
“Chicken!” George announced. “What you need is a chicken.”
“Like a live one?”
“No a dead one from the supermarket. A live one? Ugh yuck. You need to put it on some string and drag it around”
Adam scowled “Are you taking the piss?”
“Just do it, make it a fairly big circle and once the wolf catches the scent of the chicken it’ll spend the rest of the night chasing the scent around and around in circles. It’s a lot better than locking it up”
“So a werewolf can be locked up?” Adam was curious.
“Yes but it needs to be really secure or it’ll just escape. Look your best bet is the chicken okay?”
“Alright. Thanks George.”
“Were you going to ask Annie this?”
“Yeah why do you care?”
George took a little time to answer. “Why would you come to the ghost with a werewolf problem? I was the one who gave you this number I’d have thought you’d call me.” He sounded slightly hurt.
“I called the other day we got talking, I think she misses me. I didn’t want her to be deprived of my excellent company.” George made a noise that sounded like a snort. Adam added casually “Tell her I’ll call her later when we can be alone”
“Whatever Adam, good luck to your friend.” George hung up and Adam walked toward the supermarket across the street from the school checking his watch. Still a few hours till the full moon.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
Seeing Christa turn was one of the scariest if not the scariest thing Adam had seen. He had realized he was standing in a room with something that in seconds was going to capable of killing him and more importantly was going to want to. Whoever had locked the doors knew about them. That was something else. They knew what they were trying to find and they knew what Christa was. Locking him in with her was pretty much an attempt to kill him. If Christa killed him that was going to seriously derail their plans for catching Matt’s killer. Vampires rarely sympathized with werewolves but seeing the pain she was going through made Adam feel sorry for her. He could still hear her guttural as she turned, fuck, he knew how terrifying it was to be out of control in your own body.
Matt’s speech about how Adam should be Christa was a nice effort for his friend to make. But it wasn’t going to happen. Werewolves and vampires weren’t friends as a rule, he’d never heard of them being in a relationship. Plus there was the fact that Christa was about thirty years younger than him. He brushed it off telling Matt he didn’t think of her like that while he did appreciate that Matt was making a pretty big sacrifice to say that he wanted Christa to be happy.
Adam sat on the floor of the gym feigning sleep while he tried to think about something other than the girl/werewolf who was slamming into the barricaded door behind them. Matt sat next to him not saying anything but not leaving. Adam half-wanted to call Annie. There wasn’t anything new to tell her but she was sort of the only person that he knew who might know a bit about supernatural relationships. She had what she had with Mitchell. Adam had seen the anger in the older vampire when he made a pass at the ghost and he remembered what George had said about Mitchell ripping his head off. They had something, what it was exactly, Adam didn’t know, he wondered if they did. But it was the night of the full moon. That meant the George and Nina would be dealing with that and Annie would be alone with Mitchell. He wondered what Mitchell would do to him if he interrupted that. And Matt was here. He’d have to admit that he’d been feigning sleep because he didn’t want to talk to the fat ghost and then call another ghost and talk to her about Christa. Matt didn’t know about the other family of supernaturals who’d taken him in once. He didn’t know that Adam talked to another ghost about his murder and about Christa and all their problems. So Adam lay there in silence hoping for sleep to take him even though he didn’t need it but simply because it was an excuse to not talk.
The morning came and no-one had died. That was good. What Adam had realized in the night turned out to be true. Christa threw up on him, Matt found his body. It was a great start to a new day.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
Roe being the killer came as quite a surprise. They’d thought they could trust the quiet science teacher after all the always angry gym teacher did make a better suspect. In the end Matt had been killed because he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time and not for any action of his own. He’d slammed the man into the vaulting horse and had been about to drain him (that’d teach him for not believing in vampires) when Christa had stopped him from biting. This was revenge, this was for Matt didn’t they see he wasn’t doing this for the blood although that was a benefit.
What Matt said about him and Roe being alike wasn’t the most ridiculous thing Adam had heard that week. Matt lacked what Roe had in the killing department however there were similarities; they were socially isolated, bullied and made to feel like less than everyone else. It wasn’t far how they were treated but that didn’t mean Roe was allowed to get away with murder.
Matt had repeated his offer now making it his last request that his two best friends got together. Both of them rejected it even if Adam wouldn’t have minded if Christa had accepted. It was true that he wouldn’t have let Matt’s feelings for her stop him had he desperately wanted her but Matt was his friend and just weeks after he died he didn’t deserve having the person he loved hook up with his only friend.
They’d thrown Roe through the door in a fit of adrenaline. Adam couldn’t help but feel that there might be repercussions for that action. But they were happy. The little trio was happy. They’d caught the villain and he’d paid for his crimes. They’d done it. They’d solved the case and they’d all gotten to stay.
Of course it was around then that Swan woke up and the police were called. They were interviewed and Adam and Christa answered the same. They’d been in the gym on a dare to spend the night in school. They’d hidden in the store room when they heard someone coming, Mr Swan found them, Mr Roe knocked him out, Roe had realized with witnesses there was no way for him to get away with this and had gone on the run. Sure this meant police energy would be expended on a nation-wide man hunt but saying he was on the other side wasn’t going to satisfy anyone.
They’d finally been released from the police station around six in the evening, Christa into the arms of her somewhat angry somewhat confused parents, Matt to wander the world as he pleased and Adam to make a phone call as he trekked home trough the rain. Adam couldn’t help but smile as he raised the phone to his ear, it had actually worked.
“Adam?” Annie answered. “How was the full moon?”
The moon had literally slipped Adam’s mind with what had followed. “It was fine, she didn’t hurt anyone.” He tried to keep the happiness out of his voice as he said. “Annie? We did it. We caught the killer”
He heard the ghost on the other end of the line squeal in happiness and listened to her ramble for the next minute about how she was proud and she knew he could do it and how exactly had he done it? He laughed as he explained to her that Roe who had basically gone insane had killed Matt over a misunderstanding. “It’s always a misunderstanding” Annie had said. “Owen killed me because he thought I was cheating on him.” Owen huh? At least he had a name for the man who'd killed the best person he knew. Whoever Owen was he hoped he was rotting in one of the lower sections of hell for it. “So what happened to Roe?” She sounded curious now.
“We pushed him threw Matt’s door.”
“What?” Her voice had gone cold. “He went through someone else’s door. This isn’t good. The other side won’t want him there, they’ll keep him till they have a way of sending him back. You don’t want that. After what he might see there he’ll be more dangerous than ever. You need to watch out. He’ll want vengeance. Going through someone else’s door is hard, it tries to reject you while still pulling you in. Take it from someone who knows it could literally drive you insane. And the fact that he was alive. Oh they’re going to be pissed at Matt when he gets there. They don’t like ghosts who mess with the system.” Annie's life experience, or well death experience was vast, Adam knew that and he still burned with more questions about how she knew what she did.
He focused on what mattered in this instant, “what happens to Matt?”
“Because he turned down his door? Now he’s stuck here. I don’t know for how long. But my door never showed up again. I went through someone else and hell spat me back out, apparently after missing your door you might be stuck forever. I think it’s a once in the afterlife chance. But it’s not all bad. Now you have a friend that won’t die when everyone else gets old.”
“Oh great I’m stuck with Matt for all eternity, fantastic” Adam was sarcastic but he had to admit even if Matt could be annoying it sounded better than forever alone.
Annie sighed softly. “Don’t be down right now. You just stopped a killer and you’re still clean of blood. This is working. Mitchell told you to surround yourself with people and look you’ve got a werewolf and a ghost I couldn’t imagine better company. You’ve done well. Be happy about that. Look Lia let me come back but I’m not sure she’d be happy letting a murderer return. You don’t have to worry right now. Hell can handle Roe for a while at least before they sort out their paperwork.”
“I nearly fed.” Adam said suddenly he felt bad hiding anything from her right now as she tried to encourage him. “Twice” he added.
“Did you feed?”
“Well no bu-“
“Who were they?”
“One was this girl Brandy who we thought killed Matt and the other was Roe”
“What stopped you?”
Adam hesitated “Brandy hadn’t hurt Matt she didn’t deserve it.”
“What stopped you killing Roe? He killed your friend it could have been revenge.”
“Christa and Matt” Adam admitted softly. “They stopped me.”
“Then it is working. You have friends that are keeping you on the right track, you caught a killer. It’s all good.” She sang. “And it’s Friday, that means your detention’s over.”
“Part of excuse was that we were breaking into school. We’ve got a month’s now.”
Annie laughed loudly. “Serves you right you twat.” And Adam laughed back she was right, at least for tonight, it was all good.