2011-2012 Annals Era
> Annals of Fear >
1. Annals of Fear I
2. A Mystery to Solve
4. 03 - Méditation
7. Myocardial Infarction
11. It Begins
12. Primrose Path to Hell
13. Night Hags
14. Not Alone
15. A Little Welsh Flavouring
16. Some Great Almighty Cause
18. Lay Me Down to Sleep
20. Clues and Conjecture
21. Source Room
22. The Priest Hole
24. Elen Llwyddog, Helpu Fi!
25. Search and Rescue
26. Psychological Plague Dogs
27. Another Aftermath
28. Playing to Win
29. The Rape of the Fair Country
30. Something was Wrong
32. Portents, Paranoia and Parenting
33. The Metal Pig
35. Lost and Found
36. Kings and Queens
38. Past Favours
39. Trifling with Gods
40. Checks and Balances
43. Into the Trenches
45. On Rainbow Road
46. Bad, Old World
47. Pure Evil
48. Queen of the Damned
49. Do Not Go Gentle...
50. Nos Da Cariadiau
The gunfire galvanised Mello. He was dropping his book and out of his seat in one fluid movement. A glance at the bank of monitors told him that Matt was still in his workshop outside. Mello snatched up his own firearm. It was already loaded. He had the safety off before he reached the top of the stairs. He thundered down to about halfway, then leapt bodily over the bannister, hanging by his hands, his knees bent and his feet on the cupboard wall. Then Mello landed on the mosaic tiles of the hallway and darted to the kitchen doorway.
The gunfire had stopped. Only now did Mello's consciousness catch up with the speed of his own thoughts. There had been no other vehicles out there. Neither the fence or gate alarms had triggered. Whoever Matt was firing at had made it into their property without any of their security being activated. Mello pushed that panic down for later. His gaze swept the kitchen; finding it empty, he dashed across to the back door. Another shot filled the silence across the yard outside. Mello paused, caught between rushing in there all guns blazing or doing the sensible thing and using the pantry monitors to ascertain the precise threat. Against all instinct, he chose the latter.
Racing across, Mello leapt onto the broad kitchen table and covered it in three long strides. He launched himself forward and pushed against the fridge as he landed, connecting with the floor inches from the pantry door. Once inside, he lunged at the keypad and selected the camera for Matt's workshop. He could see the redhead, semi-automatic held out with both hands upon it, pointing towards a corner of the room. The adrenaline was pumping too much for Mello to feel relief. He manually over-rode the camera's position, turning it around to view that corner. Evidence of bullets having flown against worktops was there in chips and holes. The corner itself was empty.
Now Mello left. He sprinted across the kitchen, yanked open the back door and hurtled across the yard. The workshop door was ajar. Mello's kicked it hard, so it smashed backwards, then nearly rebounded back into his face. But Mello was quicker. He jammed a boot in the way and entered, with his Beretta aimed at the corner far beyond the door. There was still nothing there. Mello glanced quickly sidewards at his husband, but the redhead seemed impassive, even as he stood frozen with the gun in front of him. "Matt. What are we firing at?"
Matt replied in a hushed whisper. "There was a rat."
It took a second for Mello to replay the information in his mind and still conclude that he'd heard correctly. Nevertheless, he asked for clarification. "You saw a rat and you fired a gun at it."
Mello blinked. His breath finally released in the split second before his voice rose. "You're firing a gun at a fucking rat!" His quick gaze took in the rest of the workshop. "In a small room! You're firing a fucking semi-automatic at a blasted rat!"
Matt lowered his gun in a ragged reaction, like his arms really were locked in place. His gloved hand came up to wipe his mouth, while his gaze and then his right hand found the packet of cigarettes on the side. He lifted the packet and took one out with his lips. It was only as he lifted his lighter that Mello could see that the redhead was shaking. Mello's eyes widened and he looked back for sight of the rat. The corner remained resolutely empty. After a couple of drags of calming nicotine, Matt finally spoke. "I know it was probably overkill."
"Overkill!" Mello started, but he startled by a large shape tearing out from under the workbench to his left. Mello pulled the trigger and the rat exploded into blood and entrails across a surprising length of the floor. "Fuck!"
Matt had leapt back two paces, up against the back wall, where he was in danger of being skewered by a fencing pole. He spoke flatly, his hand rising in a vague gesture. "That rat."
"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" Mello shrieked. "Fucking shit on my pants!" He brushed frantically at the bits of rat, which had flown clinging to Mello's leather trousers. "... the Hell? Matt! Fuck's sake!"
"Hey man." Matt rallied. "You shot it, not me."
Mello cast a look, which stopped his husband dead in his tracks, then turned and strode back into the house. He left the back door open and, as predicted, Matt followed him through a few moments later. A few vigorous scrubs with the dishcloth had removed all trace of the rodent from Mello's trousers. He retrieved a chocolate bar from the worktop and faced Matt, as the redhead closed the backdoor. "There's poison to deal with stuff like that. Not bullets. Certainly not bullets in enclosed spaces. One could have ricochetted and next thing you know...."
But Matt was flashing the birdie at him as he carried on through into the hallway. Mello gnawed on his chocolate and set off in his wake. Matt had only made it as far as the stairs. He was sitting on the third one, smoking his cigarette. "I know."
"Really scared you, eh?" Mello asked, his rage and fright draining away.
"A bit." Matt shrugged, then sighed. "Fucking hate rats."
"Yeah." Mello approached more slowly, loitering a couple of feet away. "You looked shaken." It was difficult to tell how Matt was now. His chin was beneath the line of his jacket collar and, between his hair and goggles, there wasn't much face left to spot an expression. Only the lips were uncovered and they were constantly receiving the cigarette. "It must have come in from the forest."
Mello reached out to touch his husband's head and it was a measure of just how shaken Matt was, that the redhead leaned in for a one-armed hug. Mello quickly moved in to take advantage of the situation, crouching down to hold Matt close. Mello didn't speak, lest the redhead take that as his cue to wriggle away. Matt wasn't nearly as tactile as Mello and so, outside of sex, moments involving simple cuddling were few and far between. Eventually, though, Matt's head emerged from his collar and he looked at Mello. The blond smiled, "Feeling better about it?"
"Feeling fucking stupid." Matt rose from the stairs and that, seemingly, was that. "Arsehole things." He broke free of Mello's grasp and returned to the kitchen to grab a can of lager.
Mello followed. "Bastards, the lot of them." He smirked, until Matt smiled back. "We'll get some pellets put down around the place. Make sure any others die before you have to shoot them." He watched Matt nod agreement. "Preferably without you ever having to shoot at them. That was fucking dangerous, Mail."
Matt rolled his eyes and his whole demeanour was of a man not prepared to listen to the inevitable lecture. He lit another cigarette and sat down, the DS emerging from his pocket. He was halfway through his level, before his eyes flickered up to take in Mello, still standing there. "Is that it?"
"I'm not your mother, Mail. You work it out for yourself." Mello sucked on a square of chocolate.
The silence drew out, punctuated only by game music and the consuming of chocolate. Minutes later, Matt sighed. "Sorry, it was irresponsible and stupid."
Mello grinned. "Yes." Only then did he push himself from the wall and wander towards the noticeboard, taking down the wad of menus pinned to it. "Pizza for tea?"
Matt's shoulders relaxed and he smiled over his game. "Yeah, go on then."
Mello winked, knowing that sometimes the little things were what counted most in any relationship. He was rewarded with a grin from the redhead, which attracted Mello around the table to steal a kiss. He let his gaze linger, full of promise, as he drew away. Then added, in his most sultry tone, "I'll go and order it then." He was gratified to note, as he moved away, that Matt's gaze followed him all the way to the 'phone.
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2011-2012 Annals Era
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