[Fiction] Interlude: Tea

wre-kit-tea

Ficlet set in the WRE universe. No warnings apply. 885 words.
Kit visits an agoraphobic female Wolf.

Interlude: Tea

Kit flashed his badge and a charming smile. “Kit Cavanaugh, Special Support Services.”

“You’re not my usual,” Mira said, still holding onto the door.

“Fairfax can’t make it. She was supposed to send you a message.”

The woman eyed him suspiciously. “My Whatsapp has been slow with notifications. Let me check it again.”

Possibly she’d call the agency which was fine with him. Whatever she needed to feel safe. Kit waited patiently as she closed the door and went on her errand. A couple of minutes later Mira came back and this time opened the door fully.

“Come in.”

Kit followed her to the kitchen, recently modernised by the look of it, the work surfaces immaculate and the oven gleaming. It was a pleasant space bright and airy, large enough for a table with four seats.

“Would you like tea? Coffee? Something else?”

She was a little on edge, and Kit said, “If you’re making tea, I’d love a cup. Strong, dash of milk, no sugar.” It would give her something to do while she adjusted to him rather than Henrietta being in her home.

“You can sit,” Mira said and he did so, watching her put the kettle on to boil. “So. You’re not a Wolf.”

Wolves knew other wolves.

“Cat,” he said.

She nodded. It was hard to guess how she felt about that.

“I can ask for a Wolf if you prefer,” he offered.

“No. I’m just glad of the company.”

Henrietta had sent him the basics. Agoraphobic werewolf who could rarely leave the house, recently split with her boyfriend who’d become agitated and finally abusive over her mental health. He’d attacked the field agents Henrietta had called for backup and had been arrested. That had put an end to the relationship but left Mira more alone than ever. She had a social media presence and was active on some of the supernatural support forums, but there was a difference between choosing to stay inside and not feeling able to go outside to do so much as exchange a greeting with a shop assistant. It had to get lonely sometimes.

“I’m not a pizza,” he said, testing the waters. At her puzzled glance he said, “When you said I wasn’t your usual. Made me think about pizza.”

Mira scoffed but with amusement. She stirred the teapot.

That had been a non-starter so Kit tried a new tactic. “What do you and Henrietta talk about?” He wasn’t about to disrupt whatever Henrietta had been working on with Mira but they had to at least talk.

“I don’t know. Weather. My boyfriend, or we used to. Movies. Pets. We talked about me getting a pet. For the company. A dog would need walking and that’s too much when I haven’t stepped further than the garden in a month. Cat, maybe. Small animal. Bird. I don’t know enough about reptiles. But suppose I got a cat and I needed to take it to the vet urgently?”

Kit nodded. “Pets are a responsibility as well as a source of companionship. But we’re here for you and if you had already got a dog before the agoraphobia then I’d have walked it for you before I sat down for tea. If you get a cat now, and you did later need a vet, you could call us and we’d help out.”

“Hmm.” She put the lid on the teapot.

She was amenable but something was holding her back.

“Your boyfriend. Jackson?” Kit said thoughtfully.

A sharp nod.

“He didn’t want you to have a pet.”

Mira shook her head, arms folded over her chest. “He said I didn’t deserve one until I pulled myself together.”

Kit bit the inside of his lip to rein in his immediate reaction. He took a moment to gather his thoughts, angry at the tears shining in Mira’s eyes. “I’d argue that a pet could help you, rather than be some far-off reward.”

“Henrietta said something similar.” Mira shrugged, turned her back, surreptitiously wiped at her face. “But I don’t know.”

“You can keep thinking about it. You can change your mind whenever you want to.”

She nodded, poured the tea, added milk. She handed a mug to Kit before taking the chair opposite him. The tea wasn’t as strong as he’d have liked but he took a sip to be polite.

“Sometimes we go into the garden,” Mira said. “I can usually do that.”

“Can I ask, is it easier as the Wolf, to go outside?”

“Yes. Henrietta took me for a walk once. But it was like all the anxiety got stored up and when we got back, when I was human again…” Mira shook her head. “It’s difficult when I’m a Wolf. I want to run, to taste the air, to howl at the sky. But the human part of me is too weak.”

Kit realised he had no idea if Mira was a born Wolf or not. “It’s difficult, balancing our two sides. They’re both us.”

“Yes.” She stared into her mug a moment.

“We can go into the garden, but only if you want to,” Kit said. “Humans or otherwise. Your choice.”

Mira sipped at her tea. “Do you want a biscuit?” she asked, changing the subject.

“Always.”

She grinned and went to find the biscuit tin.

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