Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"I think I need a hug." Natalie stepped out of the elevator into Nick's loft.
Nick stood up from his piano. He was surprised to hear such a request from her, and more surprised yet when she walked right into his pajama-clad arms. "You think?"
"Initial results look promising." Natalie held on tightly. She was still wearing scrubs under her coat, which was no more like her than asking for comfort in so many words. The coroner always changed into a suit when she left her lab during her working hours. "But it's just a preliminary diagnosis. I could also need major therapy. Or chocolate. Or a gun."
Nick stroked her curly brown hair. She was warm and soft in his arms, but she smelled of fear, which was the least like her of all. The vampire in him found that alluring. Nick struggled to wall off that part of himself, focusing instead on his friend. "I take it you saw the news."
"Without camera intervention."
Nick nodded. He had suspected immediately that she had been caught in the riot; he wished he had been wrong.
"I don't understand. We learned that the asteroid would miss Earth two days ago! The apocalypse is canceled! Why aren't things better yet?"
After a moment, Nick offered, "People are scared."
"Deep, Nick." Natalie stepped back and crossed her arms.
"The asteroid ground our noses in our weakness." He spread his hands. "There's nothing like fear to bring out the mob — and the tyrant."