Chapter 4 : Stocked.
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Also, though this may disappoint most of you, this chapter is mainly filler. Just a way of transitioning from one job to the next. I hope you don’t mind!
“Fuck, that hurts!”
“Maybe if you held still, it wouldn’t hurt so damn much.”
“I wouldn’t have to squirm if you weren’t treating my arm like it’s an archaeological dig!”
“And you call me childish,” Evangeline spat bitterly. Any further comments were swallowed as he ran his fingertips over the edges of the lesion, his face close to her arm. When his index finger dipped into the rawest area of the wound, she jumped, a slippery hiss sliding through her clenched teeth. “Ow!”
“What the hell are you complaining about?” Logan asked irritably, a grumpy expression on his features as he rubbed his nose. “I just got an elbow to the face!” There were several drops of blood on his fingers when he pulled his hand away from his face.
“Because that bloody hurt, you imbecile!” She resisted the urge to punch him in the arm, knowing that it would only lead to further suffering on her part. Though Evangeline was no stranger to healing wounds, this was far beyond her expertise, which, admittedly, was limited in comparison to Logan. Just another reason to hate him. “Besides,” she added as an afterthought, uncurling the fist she didn’t remember clenching. “Maybe if you were paying a lick of -”
“Enough, Evan!” His voice was forceful and his eyes flashed. For once, Evangeline complied, her gaze losing their defiant edge. Neither said anything for several moments as Logan picked up the damp cloth he had abandoned earlier and dipped it into a foul-smelling ointment he had made while she had been unconscious. Before he placed it against her wound, he looked at her and said in a cautious voice, “This may sting a little.”
Evangeline snorted and rolled her eyes, thinking of the previous night. As soon as her skin made contact with the vial, the burning spread from her hand, coiling around her arm like a snake. The pain had been unbearable when Logan Apparated them back to the flat, but it increased tenfold when he carried her into the living room, dumping her onto the sofa. It became so fierce that she eventually lost consciousness. Since they didn’t know what sort of enchantment had been placed on the potion, the healing process was long and painful and downright uncomfortable. Logan had suggested a trip to St. Mungo’s on several occasions, saying he was more than willing to risk exposure, but Evangeline declined; she wasn’t in such a hurry to book herself a cell in Azkaban.
“Lay it on me.”
Logan sent her a look, a smirk playing at his lips. “If you say so.”
The moment the cloth touched her skin, she immediately wished she had taken a moment or two to prepare herself. She bit the inside of her cheek as hard as she could to prevent from crying out because no matter how much it hurt, she would not let Logan know it. She didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. But the pain became too much to bear and she finally unleashed a scream. “Son of a bitch!”
Moving the cloth around on her wound, gently dabbing the middle, he rolled his eyes and clucked his tongue. “I told you it would sting,” Logan insisted, his words coloured with vibrant mirth.
“A little,” Evangeline grounded out through clenched teeth. Her nails cut into her palm, slicing little moon-shaped arches into her skin. “You said it would sting a little. This? This stings a lot!”
“And the winner for the most diverse vocabulary goes to…Ow!” Logan narrowed his eyes at her as he massaged his shoulder, which throbbed from the force of her punch. “What the fuck, Evan? Do you want me to fix you or not?”
“So far, you’ve only caused me further pain.”
He rotated his shoulder in an attempt to work out the ache. “Only because you can’t handle pain worth a shit.” Picking up the discarded rag, he pressed the cloth to her wound once again. “Now hold still or you’ll tear the skin further.” He applied more pressure, making sure to use more force than necessary, just to make her squirm.
As if guessing his game, she growled under her breath, but kept her mouth shut, knowing that he wasn’t in the mood to play anymore. Evangeline could understand why he would be irritated with her; he had been slaving away over her wound for hours, trying to fix her up and what she was doing? She was giving him shit for causing her a little pain, even though he had been awake for the past Merlin only knows how many hours brewing potions and attempting to persuade her to go to St. Mungo’s. She grimaced at the thought.
Though Evangeline was paranoid that they might get caught if they go to the magical hospital, especially since it was likely that Warner had contacted the Auror Office and put them on alert for them, the real reason why she did not wish to go was much simpler. She hated hospitals, from the smell right down to the eerie chill that danced over her skin as soon as she stepped through the plate glass window.
As Logan worked on her injury, running into the bathroom every so often to retrieve one salve and dashing into the kitchen to refill the hot water in the small basin, Evangeline issued low hisses whenever he hit a particularly sensitive area. However, she didn’t dare provoke him further. After a half hour of silence, she attempted to make a joke and to say that it didn’t go over very well would have been an understatement. Apparently, Logan didn’t like it when his methods were compared to those of cavemen, especially when he had spent so much time tending to her. It took a while to calm him down, but Evangeline convinced him to continue helping her, if only because she was the one providing him with a roof over his head and edible food in his stomach.
Finally, after what seemed like hours to Evangeline and surely must have felt like days for Logan, he slumped back in his chair and sighed. “Done.”
“Really?” Evan asked, perking up. She uncrossed her arms from the top of the chair and sat up, her lower back and abdominal muscles aching from having to remain in a hunched position for so long.
“Yeah, I did the best I could. You might want to be careful for the next few days and not make too many unnecessary movements,” Logan advised as he rose from the chair and stretched his arms over his head. A long, low groan escaped him as the tension melted away from his muscles.
Evangeline glared at him jealousy. “So you’re saying that I have to lay down and play dead for a few days?”
“I didn’t say that,” he countered with a frown as he meandered into the small kitchen. As he rummaged through the contents of the refrigerator which, admittedly, wasn’t much, he continued, “Just exercise a little caution in your actions. No jumping from roofs or hurling across the city on spider webs.”
“Because I do that on a daily basis,” Evangeline said, rolling her eyes in exasperation. “Do we have any beers left or do I need to run to the grocers?”
There was a clinking of glass containers as Logan rearranged and shuffled the jar of yellowing mayonnaise and the abnormally large tub of butter to the side to check the back of the fridge. He frowned. “Since when did we start buying surplus?”
Sighing to herself and swallowing her aggravation that he had pointedly ignored her question, she rose to her feet and slinked into the kitchen as well, coming to stand behind him. “What are you on about?”
Logan picked up the tub of butter and held it in his hands, tossing it lightly from side to side as though weighing it. “I’ll assume that this is your doing.” He handed her to the tub and continued his search for an ice-cold lager.
She stared at the tub curiously, wondering what, exactly, she had been thinking when she purchased it as she definitely recalled going to the store and placing it in her basket. A pucker appeared between her brows as she considered her thought process during the time. Had she been intoxicated or just exhausted from a job? Both possibilities were highly likely considering who she lived and did business with. Shaking her head to herself, she repeated her question.
“Do I need to make a trip down to the store or not?”
Logan straightened and looked down at her. Not for the first time, she cursed his height advantage. Though Evangeline was by no means short, Logan towered over her, standing at an impressive six foot four, making it impossible to trump him, even in heels. “I’ll do it.”
Evan’s eyes nearly bugged out of her skull. “What?”
“I said I’ll do it. I’ll go down to the grocers.”
She blinked rapidly, even brought her fist up to her eyes and rubbed them. “Am I seeing things or did you just volunteer to do something?”
“No,” he said, abruptly shattering the illusion. “You didn’t see anything because I said something. So unless you developed some weird talent where you can see words opposed to hearing them and haven’t divulged this useful piece of information to me yet, which I would be very disappointed if you did as I thought we shared everything with each other - I have washed your knickers, you know - then no. I didn’t.”
Evangeline blinked again, this time out of confusion. “That made absolutely no sense. So, just tell me - did you volunteer to go to the grocers or not?”
Logan shrugged. “Because you need some rest and I figured that I could do just one more nice thing for you today.” He smiled disarmingly. Evangeline had to rein in the wild beating of her heart. She may not have possessed romantic feelings for Logan, but his grins - Merlin, there were astounding. Heart-stopping, even.
“That’s…not what I meant, but okay.” Evan shook her head to herself, wondering why she had ever (literally) climbed into bed with Logan and made a business partner out of him. She leaned against the counter and stared up at him. “Thanks, I guess.”
“Don’t mention it,” Logan replied, another smile, this one much gentler, painted on his lips. He closed the refrigerator door and pulled the shopping list out from underneath the security of the thick black magnet. His light grey eyes scanned the list briefly and pursed his lips, looking quite confused. “Why does everything on here contain chocolate?”
Not believing him, Evangeline snatched the list out of his hand and smoothed it out on the countertop, reading the lines individually. Her dark eyebrows climbed higher and higher on her forehead as she read. “Huh,” she mused aloud. “I must’ve been on my period when I wrote this.” She gave him back the list and he pocketed it.
“Anything else you need that isn’t on there?”
Evangeline considered naming the most embarrassing object she could think, but decided against it, knowing that it would only cause another pointlessly dispute between them. “Just some milk and maybe some fresh fruit, if they’ve got it. Strawberries,” she added when he looked at her for clarification.
“Milk, beer, and strawberries,” Logan muttered to himself. “Got it. Looks like we’re in for quite the spectacular dinner tonight.”
“Hm,” she hummed in agreement as he grabbed his wallet from the lip of the counter and stuffed it in the back pocket of his jeans.
He left without saying goodbye, the door slamming in its frame the only sound of his departure. Sighing to herself, Evangeline opened the fridge and peered into the lighted space herself, seeing if Logan overlooked anything as he was accustomed to doing. Unfortunately for her growling stomach, aside from the mayonnaise and the large tub of butter, the only other item on the shelve was a slice of moulding cheesecake.
We’re disgusting, she thought to herself as she shut the door and marched out of the kitchen, heading towards her bedroom to change out of the dress she had been wearing since the previous evening. Eager to get to work on her injury, Logan hadn’t bothered to strip her of her clothing while she was unconscious and she was in too much pain when she woke to be bothered with such a tedious and unnecessary task.
Shimming out of the tight dress, she kicked it into the corner and pulled open her dresser drawer, searching for her comfiest pair of pyjama bottoms and one of Logan’s old tee shirt that he had passed down to her. She hated getting rid of the shirts as they were so comfortable and, though she would never openly admit it, she liked the faint smell that was so totally Logan that clung gently to the fabric. He may have been difficult to handle at the best of times, but there was no denying that he smelt like a dream.
Once changed, she tied her hair up into a messy bun and shuffled back into the common living area, collapsing onto the couch. Pulling her legs up underneath, she grabbed the copy of the Daily Prophet from the arm of the sofa and shook it open, searching for any news of the theft.
It didn’t take long to find. Though it was front-page worthy, the article was featured on the third page with a picture of Reginald Warner and his beautiful wife, who had her arms thrown around her husband’s neck and her face pressed into the crook of his neck. By the looks of it, he was rubbing her back as he addressed the press, his mouth forming commanding words.
What was supposed to be an evening of giving and generosity turned into a night of stealing and greed. According to several partygoers, the evening started out pleasantly enough, but ended abruptly, and in a way that no one expected.
“One minute, I was enjoying a dance with my wife,” said Benedict Williams, a close family friend of the Warners. “And the next, we were being shepherded out into the courtyard and prodded with sticks. It was horrible.”
“It is a shame that such a beneficial event would have to be overshadowed by something as pathetic and disgusting as greed,” another attendee Celeste Wallins commented. Wallins, 36, is a Healer and, as of last week, was selected as the Head of the Children’s Wing at St. Mungo’s. “Whomever steals from children deserves to rot in hell.”
Though the authorities have not stated what was stolen, there is much speculation that the item in question was a family heirloom meant to be sold during the auction, which was cancelled due to the theft. The Warners released a statement this morning. “While we are greatly disappointed in the happenings of last night, we will not be pressing charges against the culprits if they come forward within the week. We are deeply upset over the theft, but even more distraught over the loss the sick children have suffered.”
There are no suspects.
“Distraught my arse,” Evangeline mumbled as she folded up the newspaper and tossed it to the ground. Passing a hand over her face and sighing, she curled into a ball and laid her head down on the pillow. The pain in her arm had dulled to a gentle ache, enough to remind her to be cautious of the wound, but not enough to cause her any discomfort.
As she lay there in silence, she wondered what Logan would think when she showed him the article. He would probably laugh in that annoying way and make a sarcastic remark about how it was his first step towards fame. It was hardly the first time one of their jobs had made the news. There had been several other articles detailing the various thefts they had committed, but none had concerned a public figure like Reginald Warner. Perhaps they should have read more into Warner’s public power before accepting the job.
Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it now.
Both mentally and physically exhausted, Evan snuggled closer to the couch, wishing she’d had the common sense to pull her blanket from the bed and bring it with her; she could have used the extra warmth. Despite this, she closed her eyes and sighed contently, comfortable for the first time in many hours. She was just inches away from sleep when she heard it.
The tapping on the window.
Groaning, she pried her eyes open and let her gaze roam over to the window. Sure enough, there was a barn owl sitting on the leg, rapping its hooked beak against the pane. She contemplated making a mad dash for her room and burrowing under the covers, but knew that the owl would only knock louder the longer she ignored it. So, with a disgruntled noise, she stood and crossed over to the window, throwing it open and allowing the owl entrance.
It landed on the coffee table and held out its leg, turning its head from side to side, avoiding all eye contact with Evan. Thinking nothing of it, she untied the letter and sent the owl on its way with a soft pat on its head. The owl clicked its beak indignantly and smacked Evangeline in the face with the tip of its wing on its way out the window.
“Jerk,” she muttered, turning the letter over in her hand, but finding no name. Instinctively, she smiled and proceed to open the envelope.
As luck would have it, the lock rattled as Logan struggled with the key. It took a few clicks before he managed to get the door open. He stumbled into the flat, two brown paper bags in his arm. Kicking the door shut with his foot, he said, “I come bearing beer and chocolate.” He set the bags on the table and turned around. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
She held up the envelope, a smug smile playing at her lips. “We’ve got another job.”
A/N 2: Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave ‘em in a review!