netgirl_y2k: (Nina Wolf)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
Title: Of Wolves and Tea
Fandom: Being Human
Pairing: Nina/Annie
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 3560
Summary: When Nina leaves the house to deal with being a werewolf, Annie decides to go with her to keep an eye on her. Gainful employment, a suspected case of rabies and what might turn out to be a double date ensue.
A/N: Written for [profile] crossing_hades for their kind donation to [community profile] help_japan. Thank you to [personal profile] fitz_y for helping me whip it into some kind of shape.


Nina had been waiting for the day when she could look at George and think something, anything, other than: you turned me into a werewolf, you bastard. But that day hadn't come and she was beginning to suspect it never would.

She packed up the meager collection of belongings she'd brought with her to the pink house, wrote a letter explaining - trying to explain - why she couldn't stay, and left George sleeping.

Mitchell tried to talk her out of going, but if she couldn't stay for George then she wasn't about to change her mind for bloody Mitchell.

In the end, Nina left the house with her head held high and didn't look back. Of course, then she had to stop at the bottom of the street and wait for the No. 23 bus to take her back to her old flat. It seemed like something of an anti-climax.

*

The bus was still minutes away from Nina's stop when Annie suddenly blinked into existence on the next seat.

"Bloody hell, Annie!" Nina exclaimed, looking nervously over her shoulder. Thankfully, neither of the bus's other passengers, an elderly drunk dribbling onto his shirt and a teenager with headphones in, seemed to have noticed that they were now travelling on a haunted bus.

"It's all right, they can't see me," said Annie.

"I'm not going back," Nina insisted. "So if George sent you--"

"He didn't." Annie squared her shoulders and looked straight at Nina. "I'm coming with you."

Nina spent her days dealing with lying doctors and recalcitrant patients, and she was used to speaking her mind. But there was something about Annie, something that had Nina biting her tongue and searching for a more polite way of telling her to kindly fuck off.

Annie used Nina's brief pause to press her case. "You shouldn't be alone."

"Annie..."

"I was. After I died, I was alone for a year before I met George and Mitchell. And I'm not saying that it's the same thing, and I'm not claiming to be an expert on werewolves. But this life, it's not something anyone should have to do alone."

"You're George's friend," said Nina.

"I'm your friend too."

"Hang on, why can't anyone else see-- Oh, cock!"

"What?" asked Annie.

"That was our stop back there."

Nina caught Annie grinning when she called it their stop, but she refused to dignify it with a response.

*

Nina's flat had a cold, unlived in feeling. All the same, she was suddenly glad that she'd put off telling her landlord she was moving out and picking up the rest of her stuff.

She looked at Annie and wondered if she could negotiate a reduction on the rent now that the place was genuinely haunted.

The place wasn't really big enough for two people. There was a spare room, but she'd been using it as a box room and there wasn't even a bed in there. Not that she'd ever seen Annie sleep.

"There's a..." Nina began.

"Kitchen through here?" Annie asked, wandering down the hall.

"Um, yeah."

Annie reappeared holding a cartoon of what had once been milk at arm's length, her expression screwed up in distaste. Nina covered her nose and mouth with her sleeve. Improved sense of smell was another thing to resent the werewolf curse for.

"I'll clear out the fridge," said Annie.

Well, at least she seemed to be making herself at home, thought Nina.

*

"I'll get some milk on the way home from work," Nina promised. Annie had been a bit dejected about having to give her black tea for breakfast, and Nina hadn't had the heart to tell her that she really preferred coffee in the mornings.

"Have a nice day," said Annie, beaming. "Oh! Get some pyramid teabags, too!"

*

Annie making her breakfast had been nice and everything, but it did make Nina so late for her shift that when a bald man intercepted her in the hospital car park and introduced himself as Mr. Kemp all she could do was point him in the direction of A&E as she hurried past.

*

Nina spent most of her shift worrying about running into George, before one of the other porters told her he'd called in sick. A teenaged patient threw up on her shoes following his first ill-advised experiment with cheap vodka and she forgot to get milk on the way home. As well as the sodding pyramid teabags.

Oh, well, if Annie wanted them that badly she could go and get them herself.

"I couldn't," said Annie, when Nina said as much. "No one can see me anymore."

"I can see you, I'm looking right at you."

"That's because you're a supernatural now--"

"Oh, joy. Oh, rapture," interrupted Nina. "But I could see you even before I was scratched."

"The men, the ones with rope and sticks, they're hunting me. They want me to cross over. They sent Saul to kill me."

"Handsome Saul?"

"Yeah."

Nina sank down onto the sofa next to Annie. "Shit. Fucking men."

"Pretty much."

"Hang on, if they're hunting you, will they come here?"

"I don't know. Maybe. Do you want me to leave?"

"I..."

Nina didn't know what she wanted. Part of her wanted Annie to piss off, because every time she appeared out of thin air or made a cup of tea she couldn't drink, it reminded Nina of what she was now. And that was before she'd possibly brought the bailiffs from hell down on both of their heads. Another part of her - a tiny, never to be admitted part - wanted to beg Annie not to leave her alone, not this close to the full moon.

"You're here now," she said.

Nina picked up the remote control and flicked the television on.

"Um," said Annie. "The men from the other side use TVs and radios to look for me."

"I fucking hate The Real Hustle anyway," said Nina, turning the TV off.

*

"It's the full moon tonight, you know," said Annie.

Nina did know. The first thing that Annie had done upon moving in - after clearing out the box room, dusting everything that would stay still long enough and de-grouting the bathroom tiles - was to circle the dates of the full moon in the kitchen calendar. She'd even looked up the times of sunset and written those in so that Nina wouldn't forget. As if she could ever forget.

"Are you going to transform in the hospital isolation room again? Do you want me to come with you?"

Yes.

"No, but if you could come and let me out in the morning?"

*

When Nina woke up in the isolation room everything hurt. Parts of her body that nursing college had failed to mention existing ached.

Her clothes, which she'd left folded in a neat pile, were strewn around the room, but thankfully the wolf had refrained from ripping them to shreds. God knows what it'd been doing, though. Nesting, maybe?

She finished dressing just as Annie arrived with a steaming mug of black coffee, which Nina gulped gratefully down. She looked at the mug, which proclaimed that you didn't have to be mad to work here but it helped.

"Where did you get this?" Nina asked.

"The staff room up the stairs," said Annie.

"Hmm, one of the ward sisters has been saying we must have a poltergeist the rate we go through coffee."

"Hey!" objected Annie. "You can't call me a poltergeist. That's... deadist."

"Deadist?" Nina said with a roll of her eyes.

"Yes. It'd be like me calling you Fido."

"Fido?" Nina managed to laugh at that.

"Or, I don't know, I could call you Lassie."

"I wouldn't if I were you," said Nina with a slight smile.

*

They dropped the mug back into the staff room and Nina pointedly ignored the notice reminding everyone to do their own dishes.

"Hey!" said Annie.

"It's my day off, and you're not doing them either," Nina pulled Annie out the door before the ghost could become overwhelmed by the sight of a sink full of dirty dishes.

They were taking a short cut through a ward when a nurse Nina didn't recognise rushed into a hospital room in response to an alarm. They looked into the room and saw the nurse bent over the bed, unaware of the ghostly figure standing behind her.

The figure was wearing a hospital gown that didn't close properly in the back and she looked sadly at Annie and Nina. "Is that me? Am I dead?"

Annie squeezed Nina's wrist for her to wait and walked into the room. "I'm sorry. It'll be all right. I can show you what happens next."

Nina watched the nurse turn away from the body and walk straight between Annie and the other ghost without seeing them. A door appeared next to the life support machine. Annie and the woman hugged briefly and she went through the door, which vanished as though it'd never been there.

"Well," Annie spun round to face Nina with a little smile. "Breakfast? You must be starving."

"Annie, that was, well, it was very brave."

"It was fine. She was fine. She was nice."

"I'm sorry."

"No, it's... She was in pain, and now she's not."

"Yeah, but I mean, should you have done that? If the men from the other side are looking for you?"

"Oh." Annie stopped dead in the corridor. "I hadn't thought of that."

Nina rolled her eyes affectionately. Annie hadn't thought of that, of course she hadn't.

"It's probably fine, nothing happened. It wasn't my door, anyway."

*

"I want to work at the hospital," Annie announced.

Nina opened her mouth, and then closed it. Annie had this troubling ability to induce speechlessness in her that Nina didn't quite know how to deal with.

"Um," she said, "in what capacity, exactly?"

Nina tried to imagine Annie working at the hospital. Even if the whole invisible, and by the way clinically dead thing wasn't an obstacle, somehow she couldn't see her as a cleaner or porter like George or Mitchell. Maybe she could be a surgeon? Fucks sake, if surgeons could do it, any idiot could.

"I want to help people cross over."

"Like you did with that woman today?"

"Yes. There must be a lot of ghosts in the hospital and they must be so frightened. It's scary, you know? Seeing your own body and not understanding what's happened to you."

Nina had never really thought about it that way. By the time she'd moved to the house Annie could be seen by almost everyone, and once you'd got used to her appearing out of nowhere and the mugs of cold tea lying everywhere, you could almost forget that she was a ghost.

Annie continued, "I think I'm still here for a reason, and for the longest time I thought it was Owen but it wasn't--"

"And it's obviously not just to dog-sit me."

"Nina..."

"No, I think it's a good idea. If you're serious you should come with me in the morning."

*

Even after she'd been scratched, Nina had never really noticed how many ghosts there were in the hospital. But it became a common sight for Nina, hospital staff working around the bed of a circling-the-drain patient and Annie comforting their ghost. Some of them seemed grateful, some of them cried, and some of them shouted and refused to believe it, but they all went through their doors.

Annie would make a good nurse, Nina thought. Actually no, she probably wouldn't, the doctors and patients would walk all over her. Still...

*

Annie, as it turned out, did make a pretty good nurse. Nina made a dreadful, dreadful patient.

"I don't think this is the flu," Nina moaned. "I think it's rabies."

"You don't have rabies," said Annie who was perched on the end of the sofa flicking through one of Nina's nursing journals.

"All right then, canine flu."

"I think cats are the ones that get flu."

"Shouldn't you be making me chicken noodle soup or something?"

"God, I thought it was meant to be doctors that made the really bad patients, not nurses."

*

Once Nina had conceded that she did not have rabies - although she did insist that the curse made completely normal viruses about twenty times worse - and returned to work, she and Annie were having tea in the canteen. Well, Nina was having tea and trying to not look obviously like she was talking to herself while Annie complained about the way the tea had been made. Urns, Nina was learning, were an insult to perfectly good tea.

"I saw Mitchell earlier," Annie began awkwardly. "He's started a twelve step program to help other vampires get off blood."

"Ha!"

"Nina," Annie admonished.

"Sorry, but... Will that even work?"

"He seems to think so. George is helping him. I told him we'd go round there for dinner next week, after the full moon."

And the thing was, Nina knew she couldn't avoid seeing George forever. They worked in the same hospital, and he and Mitchell and Annie were like the three stooges. And there was the fact that he was the only other werewolf in the village, but--

"Nina?" Annie said, and she looked so hopeful.

"Fine, great," said Nina. "It'll be like a double date."

"Um," said Annie.

*

That afternoon Nina stitched up a woman's forehead while her husband stood in the waiting room with blood on his knuckles, not even trying to hide it.

Sometimes Nina imagined she could feel the wolf scrabbling at the inside of her skull trying to get out, at times like this she almost wished that it wasn't imaginary.

She wondered if she should say something, but what? You're stronger than you think you are? My best friend's fiancé murdered her and she's still the bravest person I know? Could be worse, at least you're not a werewolf?

In the end she settled for slipping the address of a battered women's shelter inside the care of head injuries printout.

She may also have actually growled at the husband.

*

"I can't change in the hospital tomorrow," said Nina.

"Why not?" Annie asked.

"I wanted to be a nurse since I was five years old, for a long time my job was the only thing I cared about, the hospital's sacred."

Annie looked at her. "You've never said."

"Yeah, well, I try to keep quiet about the whole being a giant dork thing."

"You can transform in the woods. I'll phone George and ask about it, unless you want to--"

"No," Nina insisted. "You phone him, I have to go to work."

*

Nina woke up. Everything hurt, but at least her stomach wasn't roiling which meant she probably hadn't eaten anything fluffy and innocent. She picked a twig out of her hair, and a leaf out of... somewhere else. Nina was a town girl at heart, and while she agreed in principle that transforming out in the countryside where she couldn't hurt anyone was safer all round, who knew that there was so much stuff out here.

"Nina!"

George had just emerged from the tree line, stark naked. "Oh, hello, George." Nina hauled herself to her feet. "I'd ask what you're doing here, but I'd guess it's the same thing as me."

"George, where are--?" Mitchell stumbled into the clearing, holding a plastic bag presumably containing clothes for George. The wolf fading rapidly, Nina realised that she was naked too. Where the hell was Annie?

"Nina? Oh-- boys!" Still carrying Nina's bag of clothes, Annie dashed straight past her and collided into a hug with Mitchell; she got within two paces of hugging George before she realised that he hadn't dressed yet, stopped in her tracks and gave him a little wave.

"Uh, Annie," said Nina. Annie looked embarrassed and handed her the bag, then looped her arm through Mitchell's and led the oblivious vampire away for a catch-up.

Nina turned her back and began to pull on her clothes, and George did the same.

"Can you ever forgive me?" George asked in a small voice.

"George..." Nina turned to face him. "I want to forgive you, I have forgiven you. I just can't..."

"Love me anymore?"

"I--"

"It's fine. I understand. I made you a monster, it's a bit more unforgivable than getting drunk and shagging someone else." George picked up his shoes and turned away.

"George, I'd like us to be friends." Nina surprised herself by how much she meant it, maybe Annie's pep talks about not being alone were starting to get to her.

"You and Annie are coming to dinner on Friday?"

"So she tells me."

"I'll make cottage pie and I'll make sure Mitchell buys the nice wine."

Bloody hell, thought Nina, it really was going to be like a double date.

*

Back home Nina crawled into bed and slept until she felt human again. She woke up, wrapped herself in a dressing gown and opened her bedroom door to find four mugs arranged on the floor, each had a post-it on it reading "tea", "coffee", "hot chocolate" or "bovril".

She laughed despite herself.

"Bovril?" she asked Annie, finding her flicking through a magazine at the kitchen counter.

"Well, who knows what weird cravings you might have after a full moon."

"I didn't know we even had bovril," said Nina.

*

"You look nice," said Annie.

"You should come," said Nina, finishing applying mascara in the mirror.

"It's your friend's leaving party."

"Bloody Kate. Agency nursing, bloody traitor."

"Have a nice night."

"Are you sure you won't come?"

"I've an exciting evening planned organising the cupboard under the sink."

"I actually envy you. That's really kind of sad."

"Go!" Annie ordered. "Have fun."

*

A little-known side effect of the werewolf curse: it completely messed up your ability to metabolise alcohol, something to do with the wolf liver being smaller than a human's.

Nina was just about sober enough to remember that she probably shouldn't explain that to Kate and Sadie who were helping her out of the taxi.

"Should we come in with you?" Kate asked.

"My flatmate is in."

"The famous invisible flatmate," said Sadie.

When Annie opened the door Nina slid her arms around her neck and said, "I hate being a werewolf."

"I know, sweetheart."

"It's not fair."

"I know."

"Why are you so nice to me?"

"I like you."

"I like you too. You're pretty."

"Let's get you to bed." Annie gently turned Nina around and steered her towards her bedroom.

"Annie," Nina asked while Annie was pulling off her shoes, "where do you sleep?"

"Oh, I don't really, I just--"

"You could sleep here."

"I--"

Nina toyed with Annie's sleeve. "Do these clothes come off?"

"Nina."

"Can I kiss you?"

*

Nina woke up and everything hurt. It took her a few moments to realise that it wasn't the morning after the full moon. This wasn't "I have just turned into an unstoppable killing machine and I haven't the faintest idea where I am" pain, it was "Thanks to my useless bloody curse I have just gotten ridiculously drunk on two glasses of wine and made an extremely clumsy and ill-advised pass at my best friend" pain.

All things considered, Nina thought she preferred the wolf pain.

It took her another minute to realise that the arm she was lying on did not belong to her.

"Morning," said Annie.

"Morning," said Nina. "Um, Annie, did I kiss you last night?"

"You asked if you could, and then you, sort of, passed out."

"Oh. I'll get off you now."

"Okay."

"I might just need a minute."

"Nina--" Annie began just as Nina said, "Annie--"

"I'm sorry."

"I slept."

"What?" asked Nina.

"Here, with you. I mean, only for half an hour or so, but that's the first time I've been able to since, you know, my death..."

"Annie, that's great."

"I know. We need to celebrate. We need tea, and toast, and stuff." Annie gave Nina a brief hug before bouncing off the bed in the direction of the kitchen.

*

"Tea?" Annie asked.

"Um, yeah," said Nina, even though she hadn't quite finished the last cup.

Annie confused Nina, it was impossible to tell if the endless tea making meant that she felt awkward about the other night or if it was just Annie being Annie. Of course, Annie confused Nina in other ways.

"Milk and one sugar," said Annie, returning from the kitchen and offering Nina a mug with a smile.

The smiling was another thing. Did it mean "I'd really like a repeat of the other night" or "I really appreciate the uninterrupted use of your kettle"?

"Oh!" said Annie. "We need biscuits."

*

"Do you want to go out with me?" said Annie, all at once.

"Um," said Nina, who had been completely in favour of them never speaking of the other night again.

"And you don't have to gape at me like that, you were the one who wanted to kiss me. And then you fell asleep before going through with it."

"You're just trying to get back into my bed, aren't you?"

"That wasn't a no," said Annie.

"It's not a no." Nina let the thought percolate in her brain. A ghost and a werewolf go on a date... it sounded like the start of a joke. She smiled at the thought. "Where would we go?"

"Well, we've got dinner with George and Mitchell tonight."

Oh God, thought Nina, it really is a double date.

Date: 2011-06-01 11:36 pm (UTC)
glinda: being humah trio - doing domestic (bh domestic)
From: [personal profile] glinda
I was going to say that I have this problem with Being Human fanfic, in that I kind of want all the femslash to have been written by you. Except I thought about the lack of femslash in that fandom and realised that it pretty much is all written by you. Which would make me sad were it not as excellent as this is, which kind makes me pretty damn ok with that state of affairs...

Date: 2011-06-02 01:42 am (UTC)
fly_to_dawn: (Being Human: Nina eating)
From: [personal profile] fly_to_dawn
This was completely adorable and I want to draw hearts all over these two *g*

She woke up, wrapped herself in a dressing gown and opened her bedroom door to find four mugs arranged on the floor, each had a post-it on it reading "tea", "coffee", "hot chocolate" or "bovril"


D'AWWWWW. <3

Date: 2011-06-02 01:36 pm (UTC)
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (bh: ot3)
From: [personal profile] such_heights
This is wonderful! :D

Date: 2011-07-02 02:51 am (UTC)
zvi: self-portrait: short, fat, black dyke in bunny slippers (Default)
From: [personal profile] zvi
I've had this open for ages to read, because I've been sort of waiting to feel inspired to finish series two. That did not appear to be upon the horizon, so I decided to just read it anyway, and I'm really glad I did. This really captured Annie perfectly and I liked it.

Date: 2011-07-09 11:01 pm (UTC)
fenellaevangela: pink flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] fenellaevangela
:-D This is delightful!

Date: 2011-12-28 08:09 am (UTC)
saturnofthemoon: (Annie hmm)
From: [personal profile] saturnofthemoon
Oh, this is so cute and adorable! I just love the humor and banter between the two women. It's a great contrast to the canon version of S2. :)

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