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Story Notes:
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Charlaine Harris.
Written for: Amand-r in Yuletide 2008
I.

Quinn was a good big brother.

Sometimes Frannie didn’t think so, like the first time she had a date and she tried to sneak around without letting on about it and Quinn tracked them down at the movies and sat two rows behind them. He didn’t say anything, just settled himself into his chair, his knees pressed against the seat in front of him. She could feel him watching, staring at them, and it made the back of her neck itch. When the boy, Timmy, pulled the old yawn and stretch so he could put his arm across her shoulders, she sat stiffly, leaning forward away from the back of her seat.

Behind her, she heard the low chuffing sound of Quinn’s laughter, and her cheeks flushed.

She put her hand on Timmy’s thigh, and he draped his hand over her shoulder, not quite reaching her breast, but that was as far as it went. She angled herself away from him so he wouldn’t try to kiss her, and started gathering her things before the end, putting on her coat, making sure her phone was tucked into her pocket, and her lipstick, and the cash Quinn drilled it into her head to always have, just in case.

“What’s your rush, babe?” Timmy asked, and she snorted. Babe? That wasn’t even cool when Quinn said it, and he was all bad ass. “Come here.”

Timmy had brown hair that flopped into his eyes. He tossed his head and there was something so overdone about the move, the way his hair tumbled over his forehead, she knew, she was absolutely certain, he practiced it in the mirror. He had scraggly facial hair, scruffy in patches on his cheeks, and his eyes were narrow and set close together.

He grinned at her, winked at her, reached out to put his hand on her hip. She was skeeved. What had she been thinking?

“Well,” she dragged the word out into a drawl, “see that big guy back there?” She jerked her chin in Quinn’s direction, and Timmy twisted around in his seat. His smirk disappeared the second he saw Quinn. “He’s my brother. I don’t think he liked it when you tried to feel me up.”

“Oh shit.” Timmy scrambled to his feet and grabbed her arm. “Come on, we can sneak next door, watch another movie without your brother stalking us. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”

He actually waggled his eyebrows at her. Gross.

She shot Quinn a look. The theater was still dark, and loud where other people were getting up, skipping out as the credits rolled. Quinn could see her. He could hear her muttered, “Asshole, save me.”

He got up, and stretched his hands high overhead, and then settled into a wide stance with two slow rolls of his shoulders. He tilted his head to one side and then the other, and cracked his neck.

Then he hopped over the seats, one row, two rows, until he was standing next to her.

“Kid,” he said, and crossed his arms over his chest. Timmy mirrored the movement, but he had to put his fingers under his biceps to make them pop more. Frannie knew all the little tricks guys did to make themselves look tougher than they were.

Not a damn one of them was bigger or badder than Quinn.

“You like the movie?” She grinned at him cheekily. It wasn’t his thing at all, some horror movie with screaming girls and buckets of blood and really horrible special effects. If she had known he was going to show up, she would have chosen the werewolf movie instead, just to piss him off at the inaccuracies of the shapeshifting.

“Rockin.” His voice dropped lower, into a near growl. “You plan on introducing me to your friend?”

“Timmy. Quinn.” She nodded at one and then the other.

“Timmy.” Quinn’s voice was dangerous. She didn’t understand how humans couldn’t see the difference in him, the animal inside. It was right there, riding beneath the surface, in the corners of his predator smile, the hunting shine to his eyes.

“Hi.” Timmy’s voice shook, just a little, but if it was enough for her to notice, it was more than enough for Quinn. “So, Frannie, you ready to go?”

“Let’s get dinner,” Quinn offered. Ordered.

Frannie shrugged. “I don’t get to see my brother often. So if you don’t mind,” she trailed off, but it didn’t really matter what Timmy said. She was just giving him an out, and that was a damn bit more than she should have done.

Sometimes doing the polite thing was boring as hell.

“Yeah, whatever.” Timmy shrugged and dropped his hands to his sides. He stood awkwardly for a minute, as if he was waiting for something from her. She bared her teeth in a grin, and Quinn rumbled a little.

Timmy shrugged again and headed out.

Quinn watched him go, and then turned to her, eyebrows quirked.

“This doesn’t look like the mall,” he said.

“Technically, the theater’s attached to the mall.”

“Technically.” He grinned at her, slow, slightly insolent. “You eat yet?”

“Nope. I want dessert. Since you broke up my date. Ice cream and cake and soda.”

“Yeah, we need to talk about this dating thing,” he said, but he draped his arm over her shoulders and they headed for the food court.

II.

Quinn was a good big brother.

Frannie showed up on his porch at six a.m., fresh off the bus and a walk from the station to his house, her backpack stuffed full of clothes and her current favorite book. She woke him up; he answered the door in boxers, a mountain of bare skin and muscles and grumpy tiger.

She grinned at him, bared her teeth, flashed her slightly sharpened incisors – it was the thing to do with her friends, to play at being dangerous, to play at being fanged, and it freaked out the boring kids at school.

Despite her smile, she tensed, waiting for it. What did you do now? What the hell are you doing here?

Or, worse, Go away.

Instead he held open the door. “Breakfast?” he asked and yawned so wide she thought his mouth was going to split right open.

“You got any bacon?” she asked. “Biscuits and gravy?”

He did. He always did. He kept it on hand for her. Sure, the biscuits were canned, and so was the gravy, and the bacon frozen, but it didn’t matter. Salty, slightly soggy, whatever, it tasted great.

Later, she’d tell him about the drinking, and getting high, and Mom flipping out, snarling and spitting so much Frannie thought she might shift right there in front of her friends. After breakfast. After they were more awake.

Quinn would grumble and give her a talk about being a better person, and not driving Mom crazy, and taking care of business.

He would also squeeze her shoulders and tug on her hair and send her to his bed to sleep.

III.

Quinn was a good big brother.

Frannie tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and squinted at her paperwork. Normally, it was easy to read his handwriting, but when he got particularly upset – which was rare, and even rarer for him to feel that way toward work, so something else must have been bothering him – his neat words turned into a messy scrawl, claw marks in the sand, something illegible.

She wasn’t what got to him. The papers were innocuous, last minute things to make sure were done before the vampire court at the vampire summit. She snorted. Vampires were way too caught up in ritual, but it wasn’t hard to pull off. Something else must be bother him.

That woman, she decided. That Sookie.

Quinn didn’t date very often, but when he did – Frannie snarled. It wasn’t nearly the right sound, nothing tiger about it, but it was the best she could do. The women were never good enough, not a one of them.

He was something special. He deserved the best.

He was a good brother, brave and strong and true.

End


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