Ladona tossed the wet clothes into the dryer and rubbed her eyes. What a mess. She’d done the best she could and she couldn’t get Alex to sleep or to eat; she’d tried to find Nick and her spells had been useless; and all she was doing was laundry and dishes. Nice. How helpful.
She knew Alex appreciated her company. But her inability to find Nick had made her angry. How could her spells fail her now? And how could Alex’s abilities let them down? Why were they so helpless??
She liked Nick; she’d met him twice, and liked his easy-going nature and his sense of humor – and the way her friend was just herself around him. So the fact that he was missing upset her.
Of course, that wasn’t the only subtext to deal with. Dean was still holding some sort of grudge for her being an actual witch. Having spells at her disposal, yet not being able to just fix things instantaneously. And until he’d learned that about her, things had gone so well. If Christian hadn’t spoken up just now, she was about to hand Dean his ass on a platter, as Alex would say, regardless of who was around to hear the dirty laundry aired.
Light footsteps told her Christian was coming back downstairs and in a moment he appeared in the kitchen. Without a word he got his cell phone out of his bag.
“Detective Somerville,” he said in a brisk official tone; Ladona imagined that was his doctor voice in the face of an unruly patient. She continued folding towels. At least it was something to do; she’d run out of other ideas already.
Detective Somerville must have answered, because Christian deepened his voice and said,
“This is Dr. Smith from County General, and we’re calling to report that you do indeed have syphilis.”
There was a pause and then Christian broke into a loud laugh.
“How are ya?” he said in his normal voice. Another pause, a few ribbing comments, a few more ‘mm-hms’ and then he said, “So. What can you tell me about the vanishing tribe in Deer Creek Park?” He got a pen and a pad of paper out of a nearby drawer and began to take notes. Then he thanked his contact with the promise of free beer in the future. When he got off the phone, he said,
“I’ve got a few details from the police view, but nothing much,” he said. “I’ll save that report until the others get back. So, am I correct in noticing that you have previous knowledge of the Winchesters?” Ladona sighed. She’d known this was coming.
“Yes,” she said. “I needed help with a banshee case a couple of months back, and Alex and Nick couldn’t get there, so they asked Sam and Dean to help me.”
“Mm-hm,” Christian said; that was definitely doctor-reading-chart voice. “And from the tension in the room, I’m going to guess you and Dean didn’t part on the best of terms.”
She’d been hoping it wasn’t that obvious, at least until Dean’s last remark.
“No, not really,” Ladona said. “Let’s just say he’s not excited by witches.”
“His loss,” Christian said. “I know all about his weird black-and-white view of the world, trust me. Alex has vented about it more than once.”
“He gets into this ‘magic is bad’ mindset and you can’t shake him out of it,” Ladona said, frustrated. “He was fine until he realized I was a witch – with actual powers, not just a practicing Wiccan - and then fled. Full-on, ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’ fleeing. It was like I’d decided we should get married.”
“Maybe you gals should just stop sleeping with the guy,” Christian said slyly and Ladona was horrified to realize she was turning red.
“I’m sorry, I’m just harassing you,” Christian said gently, realizing he’d upset her. “I know about his history with Alex, and that supposedly he can be very charming.” He gave an amused eye roll to indicate Dean had been anything but charming since he’d met Christian. “Anyway, Alex knew he’d make a move on you and she also knew you’d keep him in his place.”
“Well, sure,” Ladona said. “I don’t appreciate lame pickup lines and ‘Dean the Conqueror’ behavior. But when he was just being himself, I really thought we were getting along great. We just talked about so much stuff, I figured he’d be okay with my magic. So I told him all about it. Then, wham, he throws it at me that he’s not cool with witches, that nothing good comes of what we do, and out the door he goes, dragging Sam behind him.”
“You and Sam are fine then?” Christian said.
“Oh sure, Sam’s fine with everybody, I think,” Ladona said. “It’s hard to dislike the guy, even though Dean gives him so much grief. But there’s something going on between them too-“ and she stopped. She hadn’t even meant to say anything, but Christian was just so easy to talk to.
“I caught that too, but I don’t know them well enough to follow the tension trail,” Christian said, using his fingers to wend along an invisible path.
“I don’t know what that’s about, either,” Ladona confessed. “I wish I did, but no. Anyway, I’m sorry if this whole thing feels as prickly to you as it does to me. It makes it hard to come into a situation like this with all these little whirlpools of trouble. You feel like you could fall into one at any time.”
“I can sure feel the tension in the air,” Christian agreed. “That said, I doubly appreciate you calling them when Alex needed you. I know she does too.”
“Is she going to be okay?” Ladona asked.
“She’ll be fine, especially when we find Nick,” Christian said. “You and I both know she’s stronger than she looks, she just – well, freaks out sometimes. When she feels helpless. She wants a plan of action, and if she doesn’t have one, she struggles until she can find one again.”
“You seem to know her pretty well,” Ladona said.
“I do like her a lot,” Christian said. “We get on each other’s last nerve sometimes, but she’s good for Nick and he’s finally happy, so that makes me happy.”
“Oho, you met the ex-wife then,” Ladona said with a sly smile.
“I hated that bitch,” Christian said. “Hated her princessy-wanna-be guts. Why he married her in the first place – anyway, to answer your original question, Alex and I do talk and we’ve reached that spot where we have a deep respect for the place the other holds in Nick’s life.” He sighed. “And contrary to what it looks like, I’m itching to get out there and find him. It irritates the sheer shit out of me he’s been missing for days and I just found out about it. I mean, I know he can take care of himself, and he’s going to be fine – he always is. But I still want to run out right now and start hunting, even though I know Alex has done a better job than I could ever do. But I have to do this with the entire list of symptoms in front of me, or I could misdiagnose, you know?”
Spoken like that, Ladona did understand, and she nodded.
Christian sat down at Alex’s computer (“to read the chart,” he said with a smile, continuing the metaphor) and began going through the files relating to Nick’s disappearance. He picked up all of the notes and maps and began organizing them. Ladona had long ago given up trying to make sense of Alex’s jottings – her handwriting was atrocious, for one.
Ladona, not sure what else to do, began opening the cupboards and fridge to figure out what to make for dinner, which would soothe her. Pasta, it would have to be, to feed this lot. At least Nick and Alex kept the fridge well-stocked. Maybe brown some chicken to go with it. Oh, some frozen veggies. That would work too. They’d have to live without dessert. It wouldn’t be fancy, but she didn’t have the energy for ‘fancy’ right now.