Length: 1-5k words
Chapter 1: Sister
Prompt:  Sister
TK has always been known as “Harley Keiner’s sister”. If her brother had been anyone else, she would have hated it. She would have resented him for being the definitive Keiner. But when it comes to Harvey, the world’s rules bend a little. He is the greatest brother in the world, and if that’s how the world wants to define her, then she guesses that she can live with it.
Every so often though, it’s nice to find someone who doesn’t know Harvey, who isn’t scared of him, and can treat her like a person in her own right, instead of an echo of the Keiner legacy.
Like this guy, Chad. Yeah, TK doesn’t rate the name highly either, but what’s important is that he’s never even heard of Harvey. Even if she did have to sneak into a frat party on the other side of town to find one person who has never heard of the legend of Harley Keiner. Chad likes her, he listens to her, and he’s got the balls to kiss her, which is a nice change.
Guys have two reactions to knowing she’s Harley Keiner’s sister: 1) looking over their shoulder every two seconds to check he’s not about to pound them to a pulp for talking to his baby sister; or 2) endlessly banging on about Harley in the hope that she’ll refer him as a potential new flunkie. Those are the ones that don’t run away screaming, anyway.
But as Chad’s hands move under her shirt, she’s starting to re-think the situation. So what if Chad can recognise her as something other than Harley’s sister? He’s hardly taken time to learn much about her. He’s a bit of a sloppy kisser, and she doesn’t want to be groped. Not when she’s only known him for forty-three minutes, not when he’s not that great of a kisser, and not when, contrary to popular belief, she’s not that kind of girl.
And as the situation changes—as she pushes Chad away and he comes back twice as determined—TK realises that people knowing who her big brother is is not the end of the world. And it would be damned handy if Chad was scared of Harvey.
She pushes him again, his mouth is fixed on her neck and she knows she’s gonna have to hide a hickey from her brother tomorrow. “I’m serious, back off!”
He doesn’t listen. He doesn’t even seem to notice when she pushes him away. Ok, fine, if he’s not moving away, she will. She’s pinned up against a wall (she’d thought it was pretty hot making out with a guy against a wall, like on TV, until he’d ruined it), but she can move sideways. Forwards isn’t her only plan.
Sideways actually isn’t a great plan. Chad has all his weight against her, she can’t slide in either direction. All she can muster is a pathetic wiggle which, sickeningly, he seems to enjoy. Well, he sure as shit won’t like it when she starts slapping him around the head.
A long time ago, Harvey sat her down and told her that nice girls weren’t fast, and by god his sister was going to be a nice girl. It started off as a fight, but finished as probably the most satisfying conversation she’d ever had with her brother. Harvey told her—and he’d had to take a lot of deep breaths before verbalising this idea—that if things ever went too far then she was to knee a guy as hard as possible. “Nothing hurts like a knee to the nuts, kiddo,” he said. And then the conversation had ended with Harvey stating that he was going to “bleach the images away”.
She never thought to ask what to do if your over-zealous suitor had taken umbrage to you fighting him off and had pinned your arms behind your back, so he had the freedom to undo your shirt unhindered. Or what to do when you couldn’t knee the guy in the nuts because he’d managed to get between your legs and his weight was holding your entire body in place.
Nobody can scream like TK. When she was two her tantrums could empty entire shopping malls.
Chad laughs in response. “It’s a Halloween party.”
And suddenly something wells up inside of her—not just her own rage and indignation—she never quite got around to being afraid because in TK’s world, Harvey always saves her and she hasn’t quite processed that he’s not at this party and doesn’t even know where she is—but there’s something more.
There’s a sudden energy running through her. A precision and clarity—I can do this—and a feeling that she isn’t alone, not just the usual feeling that Harvey has her back, but that, cheesy as it sounds, there are people all over the country, hell, the world, that have her back too.
It’s stupid but she feels it.
And boy is Chad going to feel it, because now he’s pushed her bra out of the way, and damnit she is not that kind of girl.
She slams her head into him, he has a good few inches on her so forehead clocks him in the jaw, she feels his teeth split the skin just below her hairline, but it barely registers against the feeling of him stumbling backwards, leaving her free to move.
“You bitch!” he hisses, and she realises that his front teeth are chipped—jeez, how hard did she hit him?—and he has blood all over his mouth.
“I’m a bitch?” TK asks incredulously. “You’re the ass that wouldn’t let me go!” As the words pass over her lips, she wonders what would have happened if she hadn’t fought back. Had there been other girls that couldn’t fight back? And when she leaves, will there be other girls in the future?
Fury comes in a wave as she finally processes just how much trouble she was in. She lashes out and, even though she’s too angry to think about the punch, it strikes true, catches him on the left side of his jaw and Chad flies backwards. He literally leaves the ground for a couple of feet before hitting the bookshelf by the door. It’s funky, all funny angles and precise corners and no smooth edges. There’s a terrible crack as his head meets a shelf, and when he slides to the ground there’s blood and hair left on the edge of the shelves.
He comes to a stop, propped up against the bookshelf, legs straight out in front of him, eyes wide open and he doesn’t move.
“Oh shit,” TK says, pressing a hand to her mouth.
She has to run.
Nobody is going to buy that this was an accident.
Not when she’s Harley Keiner’s sister.
Chapter 2: Trouble
Prompt:  Trouble
Harley hears her come home. He’s dozing on the sofa as best he can with one of the ancient springs digging into his hip.
He thinks she’s drunk because she stumbles in, hair down to hide her face and there’s a delay between when he says “hey” and her response. He’s not keen on her drinking, but she’s never drunk before, so he’s not going to call her on it just yet. If she does it again, then they’ll talk, but knowing Theresa she’s learned all she wants to about being drunk.
She once asked for one his cigarettes when she was around thirteen, and even though every single cell inside him screamed the word no, he told her, sure, have one, we’ll smoke together. She held it with a practised ease that made him wonder how long she’d been studying him but she didn’t seem to like it. She took very few puffs (and it nearly killed him not to be smug about that) and ground it out as soon as it burned past the halfway point.
“It was alright,” she’d said. And she’d never asked for another one.
Fingers crossed alcohol will be the same.
In a weird way, when he hears her hurl, he’s delighted. Theresa has definitely learned about the evils of alcohol. He swings his feet to the floor and three steps take him to the kitchen area. He finds a clean glass and fills it water.
He plans on taking it in to her, asking about her night and having a gentle conversation—no judgement—that will remind her that he is the greatest brother in the world, and then she’ll tell him about how alcohol is evil.
Except the bathroom door is locked and when he knocks, he gets a terse “I’ll be out in a minute, Harvey,” in response.
He frowns at the door. “You ok?”
“I’m fine.” A pause. Spitting. “Food poisoning.”
She’s lying to him. She’s never done that before.
“Go away, Harvey. I don’t want you to hear me puke.”
He figures she doesn’t have much choice in a trailer this small, but he does turn and walk away. He turns up the TV and pretends to be engrossed. Pretends not to notice when she comes out of the bathroom and shuts herself away in the closet known as her room.
She doesn’t talk to him. Not until she comes out of her room an hour later, bag slung over her shoulder, and announces, “I need your car.”
“I’ll drop you,” he says. She’s not driving, not after drinking. “Where you going?”
Her face crumples and tears spring to her eyes. “I need your car,” she repeats.
Harley gets to his feet, but as he approaches, she takes a step back, and damnit, that’s new too. He’s not liking all the things that are new to Theresa tonight.
“You ain’t having my car,” he says.
“Harvey, please.” Tears are falling now, and she brushes them away angrily.
“You tell me why you need my car and we’ll talk,” he offers.
He can see the words “that ain’t fair” form on her lips, although she doesn’t say anything. She used to say that a lot as a kid, not in the usual way, not whining, but just regretfully stating that it was unfortunate that their life wasn’t as easy as the other kids’.
“What’s wrong, Theresa? Do I need to unleash violence?”
Her whole body shakes and she lets out a sob. “I’m in trouble, Harvey. I need to get out of here.”
He shrugs easily. “Let’s go then.”
She stares up at him. “What?”
“You and me. We’ll go. Why not?”
He can tell she still doesn’t get it from the look on her face, so he tries again. “You’re in trouble. Ok. You need to leave. Fine. You want to take my car and go without me. Big problem. You want to go off without me. Even bigger problem. I’m going with you.”
And that is that.
Every Keiner in history has got in trouble at some point.
What kind of person would he be if he let Theresa deal with it alone?
Chapter 3: Uncle
Notes: Apologies for the shortness and the lack of Harley-isms. He’s so much easier to write in comedy.
Harley thinks he’s got it figured out. He doesn’t like it, but it’s the only thing that fits, and damn he wishes it didn’t.
They’ve been in the car for three days. Harley was driving through St Louis, Missouri when it all clicked into place. Such was the revelation that he was forced to perform an emergency stop that his beloved Impala has not yet forgiven him for. It’s been making an odd clunking noise ever since.
It all makes sense, why she’s been throwing up, why she’s so quiet, why she can’t look him in the eye—it took him awhile to place the emotion, but Theresa is ashamed. Most telling is the fact she needs to put so much space between herself and Philadelphia.
Theresa is quite obviously pregnant.
She has been feeling sick an awful lot, and Harley has watched enough TV to know it’s a big sign. It’s the fact that they’re now several days’ drive from home that’s the big one. Theresa keeps checking the map, using her knuckles to measure the miles, counting hours. She just wants to be away.
She’s ashamed of herself for getting pregnant and she’s terrified that Harley will kill the guy responsible (she’s wrong on the first part, but dead on the money on the second).
He doesn’t know how to bring it up now he knows the truth. All he can do is little things (encouraging her to chow down on vitamins while they’re stuck in the car and not getting good food) and hope she realises that he knows.
And hope that she’s not so far gone that this problem cannot be removed.
And as the miles fly by, as Missouri becomes Oklahoma becomes Texas, the idea begins to change in his mind.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be removed. Harley’s never been good at anything, except for being Theresa’s older brother. He’s never taken to school, he’s never taken to work, he’s never taken to anything, except looking out for her. All of his energy has gone into trying to pave the way for her—he has made every effort to make her life easier, so she can figure out what she wants to do, be it college or even, hell, why not, motherhood.
He doesn’t really have any grand plans, except that if Theresa’s future now involves a baby, that would be ok.
What he’s good at is being her big brother, and he thinks he’d be a pretty good uncle too.
He tests out the words. “Uncle Harley.” It sounds good. To him it sounds like someone a kid could go to with his problems—if anyone messed with his niece or nephew, he’d beat the crap out of them.
“What did you say?” Theresa mumbles. He thought she was asleep, slumped in her seat, face pressed against the window.
“Nothin’,” he replies. But he grins. It could be ok.
Chapter 4: Heat
Prompt:  Heat
Harvey has stopped smoking in the car and it’s safe to say he’s hard to be around. For some reason, he is chewing on a nicotine inhaler. TK would ask, but he has been increasingly grumpy and she thinks any question would elicit either a growl (best case scenario) or an explosion (most likely scenario).
The car is too hot, the window on her side has broken, she turned the handle yesterday, there was a thunk and now the window is jammed one inch down, which is better than nothing while they’re moving but makes Harley anxious when the car is standing still.
The air is so warm that it burns her nose when she inhales. It makes her feel sick to her stomach—yeah, it is the air, and not the reason she’s running.
She’s trying like hell to reason with herself—he was a bad guy, he didn’t listen when she said no, he wouldn’t let her go—but it’s only just getting her through. It’s tearing her up inside. There are whole minutes when she forgets what she’s done, and it’s ok because she’s just on a road trip with her brother, and then it comes back, like a physical punch, her head spins, her guts swirl, and she digs her nails into her palms and wills herself not to get sick.
She hasn’t slept since it happened. She’s had snatches of sleep. Five minutes here, twenty minutes there, but nothing restful. She’s tired and her mind is foggy. She has a constant headache, and she’d love to blame the endless heat, but she knows that’s not the problem.
“Harvey, we gotta stop somewhere,” TK says suddenly.
“You hungry too?” he asks. His tone is light, but he’s jonesing for a smoke. She wishes he would just light up, because he’s taken to drumming his hand on the steering wheel, and the tapping of his silver ring against the wheel is making her head ache.
“Starving,” she says, although she’s not had an appetite since that night. “But not just for food. Harvey, I need to walk around, I swear I’m getting gangrene just sitting here,” she peels her t-shirt away from her body for emphasis. “We’re melting to the seats.”
He gives her a look of concern. “You want me to pull over now?”
That’s kinda freaky, the way he’s been for the past day or so. Totally attentive, more worried than usual. Something’s up, and she wants to know what it is.
“Nah, I’m fine for now, but can we stay in a motel? I got my savings and one night can’t hurt, right?”
Harvey sighs, momentarily stops the blasted tapping, and leans back against his seat. “I thought you…” he pauses. “I thought you might have plans for your savings.”
She’s baffled. What is she going to do with just over a hundred dollars? It’s hardly a college nest egg, even if she cared about shit like that. It’s not a huge amount of money and now’s a good a time as any to use it. “Like what?”
He shrugs, eyes firmly on the road. “I dunno, Theresa. I just thought you might have plans, but if you don’t, then that’s ok too.” He frowns at the road and chews on his nicotine inhaler. “I got money. We can get a room.”
Two hours and one argument later they’re installed in a room. The fight was about who was going to pay because Harvey has decided that TK isn’t allowed to spend her savings on this trip, even though it was her idea—her own dumb fault it was necessary—but won’t explain why.
There’s a heavy silence and TK doesn’t know what to do about it. What she does know is that she’s suddenly bouncing with excess energy and wants to get away from her brother so she can burn it off before he notices she’s acting weird. Despite the air con, it’s too hot and she feels closed in. She needs to escape.
It’s that feeling. That weird feeling—I can do this—from that night. She has to get away, and she tells Harvey that she’s going for a walk. He notes that the sun is down and tells her to be careful, and she bites back a sharp laugh.
Stepping out of the motel room is like walking into a sauna. Her clothes cling uncomfortably and TK’s pretty sure she reeks. She’s sweated through her clothes, dried out in the motel room, and she’s already sweating again, just three steps out the door.
She walks follows the walkway from her door down to the sidewalk where she turns right, following her leading hand—she read in a book that most people, when they think they’re being random, choose with their “smart” hand, so because of this TK always chooses right and doesn’t even kid herself she’s being random.
She takes another right at the end of the street and finds herself opposite a park and maybe she could go for a quick run around it. TK has never been the energetic type, having panted sweatily through every single phys ed lesson, but now her she buzzes with energy as if each muscle is twitching, demanding she do something.
She breaks into a jog as she crosses the road, and by the time her feet hit the grass she’s running, and feels like she could go on forever.
Then she hears a scream—not the goofing-off kind, but the genuinely terrified kind, not unlike her own screams from a week ago—and she turns towards the sound and speeds up without even thinking about it. She notices it though, and thinks to herself, Something’s changed. Something’s different. Something’s wrong.
Every footfall echoes this, not right, not right, not right.
TK ignores the path and cuts through the woods, not real woods, park woods, but inconvenient nonetheless. Branches slap her face, stones turn underfoot, and still her body deals with this with the greatest of ease. A couple of weeks ago TK would have been winded four steps in and she would have gone sprawling when that up-turned bench loomed out of the grass, instead her breathing is regular and she leaps over the bench before even registering it as a problem.
TK hears the scream again, and thinks, Hang on, I’ll be there soon.
She comes to a clearing where a girl is surrounded by a bunch of guys, TK is moving too fast to be sure, but she thinks it’s about a dozen. The girl, a slender redhead, is being held by one guy from behind, while another guy is… is he sniffing her neck?
“HEY!” TK yells. Not the greatest plan, since she’s outnumbered and these guys look pretty hardcore—jeez, what’s wrong with their faces?
TK finds herself to be the centre of attention and suddenly wonders why the hell she’s doing this. What she should have done was run out of the park and dial 911. Nobody would have thought any less of her for it. A single girl, small and slight for her age, hearing a scream in the park.
There’s the feeling again—I can do this—and she feels ready for a fight, she wants to fight and, madly, she thinks she can win. Hell, she knows it.
“I can do this,” she says.
And she can.
She dives into action—it’s a thoughtless and beautiful process—duck, punch, mind that guy coming from the side, kick, punch, block, kick, kick, slam and the guy in front of her flies backwards and as he hits a tree, he… he bursts. There’s like a puff of ash and he’s suddenly gone.
And then it all unravels. She’s suddenly back in his dorm room, and she’s staring—not at him, she can’t even think of his sightless eyes staring at her—at the blood and hair caught on the edge of the bookcase.
And that’s when the attack comes. One of the guys slams into her, they both fall to the ground and skid a few feet on the grass. He pins her to the ground, holding her hands above her head, almost casually, with one hand.
The other hand pushes her hair way from her throat and now TK’s ticked off. Why must guys keep pinning her and giving her hickeys?
She distantly hears, “Damnit, Sammy, is there anything you didn’t pack for this outing?” Which seems a bit of weird thing to hear.
Teeth clamp down on TK’s neck and all she can think is, that’s not a hickey. Blood flows, she feels his tongue licking her neck and blood spilling down into her hair. And then she grins because—as always—Harvey’s going to save her. The difference between this guy and the other—and Chad—is that he has a knee either side of her hip, giving her ample opportunity to knee him, just like Harvey told her.
He sags to the side, doubled over in agony. TK expects to hear a string of expletives, but it appears he’s only capable of hissing. She pulls herself up and as she does, she gets a good look at her attacker, his face is distorted, his mouth is smeared with her blood, and his teeth taper to points.
“That’s impossible,” she says. But it isn’t. She’s fighting vampires. She has to be—otherwise how did that guy disappear when he hit the tree—when he got pierced through the heart! Wood! She needs wooden stakes just like in the movies!
As she stands up she sees that two guys have joined the fight—one tall with short hair (everyone’s tall by TK’s standards), the other a giant with longer floppy hair. Oddly they’re still having some kind of dispute as the fight rages. And they have wooden stakes!
“I just thought holy water would help, Dean!” snaps the taller one.
As a vampire lunges for her, TK responds instantly, flipping him to the ground. He lays stunned for a few seconds, and she really wishes she had a stake, she settles for stomping down hard on his face with her boot—pleased that she’s always been a Doc Marten girl rather than a heels girl.
“I need a stake,” she calls to the guys, who both respond by staring at her like she’s from another planet, before returning their attention to the fight. The tall one is the first to dispatch his vampire and toss her the stake.
And that’s how it goes until there’s none left. Kick, dodge, punch, double kick, stake, move on, all effortless. It’s like she’s been doing this for years.
There’s a pause at the end as they all look around, waiting for one last vampire, but the park has been cleared—even if the air hasn’t. TK has inhaled a heck of a lot of vampire in the past few minutes, and the stifling heat hasn’t made it any more pleasant.
TK flops down on the ground. “That was…” and then she tails off. There are no words for what that was.
The guys are helping the redhead to her feet, and the taller one is telling her that she got jumped by a gang, and offering her to show her home.
The shorter one turns to her. “Are you ok?”
TK thinks it over. “You know what? I think I am right now.” She smiles at him. “Thanks.”
Chapter 5: Rain
Prompt:  rain
TK remains on the grass just to catch her breath. She’s thinking about getting to her feet when there’s an almighty roll of thunder from above. Thank god, the weather’s about to break. A storm will clear the air.
And, sidenote, she smells even worse now that she’s spent her evening trading blows with the undead in the stifling heat. Rain will help.
“You really ok?”
She glances up. One of the two guys is still here, the taller one is leading the redhead out of the park, but the other is staring down at her.
“Yeah,” she says again, then coughs. She’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but that annoying tension in her muscles has gone, she can feel spots of rain on her shoulders, and she thinks she might even sleep through tonight, providing she’s not choking on vamp dust all night.
He looks like he wants to say something but can’t find the words.
“Are you ok?” she asks in return.
“I’m good.” He reaches into a bag and pulls out a bottle of water. “Too much dust in the air though.” He takes a swig and offers the bottle to her. “You want?”
He watches her intently as she takes the bottle. She wants to be polite and sip, but her body demands she take a large swallow. He seems to relax when she does, maybe he’s not a polite sip kind of guy either.
“You want to finish that?” he offers.
“Sure. I’m TK, by the way.” She downs half the bottle in her next sip. Suddenly she’s ravenous. She hopes Harvey bought some food while she’s been out.
“Dean,” he offers.
She nods. “So, uh, what just happened?”
Dean looks confused. “Well, uh, there was a gang,” he says. “Probably on drugs.”
She pulls a face. “Nope, vampires.” She lifts her hair to show the bite mark. “I mean, since when were there vampires? Did I miss a memo?”
Dean relaxes. “They’ve been around awhile. And it looks like you were lucky, that’s barely a scratch.”
TK prods her neck. It sure as hell didn’t feel like a scratch when the vamp bit down. She’s got dried blood all down her neck and back from it. But it also feels like it’s healed, like it’s a few days old rather than under an hour. “That’s weird. It was a pretty harsh bite.” She points to the ground. “Look, that’s my blood.”
A thought occurs to her. “Shit, Harvey will go nuts if he thinks I’ve been hurt. Don’t suppose you’ve got a tissue or something so I can clean up?”
At these words, the gentle spots of rain that have been falling become harsh splodges and although it stings a little as the drops hit her skin, it’s very soothing.
“No tissue, sorry,” he says. “Maybe I should walk you home, make sure you get there ok.”
She juts up her chin. “I’m fine by myself—as you saw. Or maybe you want me to walk you home?”
He laughs. “How about we just walk?”
“You don’t have to protect me, you know,” she says.
And he doesn’t.