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Eris dove into her food, wielding her chopsticks like a master and collecting mounds of rice and spicy chicken to stuff in her mouth. She shamelessly devoured her food. Humans gotta eat, right? She didn’t speak a word as Kael told her about their escapades last night, she was too busy eating to respond, and she didn’t even care that he wasn’t eating. He confessed he wasn’t sure who Gaius’ contact was, and that he most likely came directly from Hell. So Hell was a real place… figures. It also figured that a demon of literal Biblical Proportions would have a ton contacts to pick from. Still, from the sounds of things she had to agree that the other bar would have been worlds better than… what did she do last night? The events were still a little hazy. Had Max done something to her?
“So does Dahlia always garner so much attention, or is this new as of entering the world of Lore?” He asked. Eris finally slowed her eating and chewed thoughtfully. She’d never really thought about it, but sometimes weird things definitely happened more often when Dahlia was around.
“Dahlia always draws attention, I mean, have you seen her? She’s like a petite Victoria Secrets Model. Men flock to her…” Eris tried to joke it off, but knew she really couldn’t. “She definitely drew me to her in the beginning. There’s a… warmth about her that’s inviting.” She took another thoughtful bite of her food before continuing. “Weirdos always go up to her in the streets, like that homeless guy on the way to your place in NYC. Usually they’re harmless, other times they obviously want to take advantage of her genuine kindness, but since getting mixed up with you guys it’s like there’s a spot light on her. Makes me uncomfortable and has added a ton of unexplainable stress to my already high levels…” She groaned, but popped another bite into her mouth.
She glanced at Kael and tried to gauge his belief in her, before finally poking at him a bit with her own observations. “What about Gaius? Does he always fawn over tiny humans the way he’s obviously doing over Dahlia? You have noticed right? I catch him watching her like a hungry wolf… all. the. time! Just waiting for the right moment to strike her down. Like he wants to eat her,” Eris cringed at the thought when she had the foggiest memory of talking to Max about Dahlia. It cause her brow to suddenly furrow. “Now that I think about it… Max seemed interested in Dahlia too… he.. asked me questions, but… that’s so weird, can’t remember them, it’s all foggy and then nothing.” She frowned looking mildly embarrassed by that, but shrugged it off and took the last bite from her plate.
Where she packed all that food no one would know, but Eris ate every bite and placed all her things together for the young kid who came to bus the table and hand Eris Dahlia’s meal. She didn’t know when she’d get to eat again, but at least she’d have some food back at the safe house. From there it was back to collecting the groceries that Eris had ordered. Outside the sun was bright, blindingly so and Eris promptly put a pair of sunglasses on. She enjoyed going out during the day, but preferred if the sun wasn’t overly hot or shinning like a damn super nova.
“I have a Grade A food baby, thank you for that,” She teased patting her stomach with a grin, and falling in line beside him as they made their way down the sidewalk.
It wasn’t a long walk, just a quick block, but surprisingly there were plenty of people about, and plenty of them took passing glances at Kael as he passed. She supposed he was good looking with the glamour on, but she preferred his natural look. Red eyes and all. She would have thought with Kael being a snake demon he’d like to be out in the sun, what with reptiles being endothermic. Maybe she was missing something to that, maybe it was some sort of ‘Creatures of the Night’ nonsense that made Kael recoil from too much light. Gaius didn’t even dare to venture out in the sun, and she wondered how a massive ball of gas in space could cause one demon to literally hide in the shadows and the other cringe in its presence.
It took no time at all for Eris to get their groceries. She walked right up to the Customer Service counter where they offered Online Pickup, gave them her order number and got her goods. Victorious with her haul, Eris emerged from the store with arms full of groceries, and with Kael made her way back to the Safe House. “So what’s the plan for tonight? Any leads for us to follow?”
Gaius stared at the ceiling from where he sat at the computer… purposely not speaking to Cornelius. He wouldn’t talk to the other Neu Brother unless Kael was around. Dahlia had been sleeping like a rock, and with Cornelius there it wasn’t like Gaius could do what he wanted and watch her sleep. As it was, he was still waiting to hear back from his contact in Hell that was going to check out the Malumortis for him. He checked the clock and saw that not much time had passed, but that Kael and Eris had been gone well over an hour at that point. He was curious to know what Eris had seen or heard during her time with Max, but that would have to wait. There was still the issue about Daddy Dearest that was unsettling to Gaius. He couldn’t go against his father, for starters Amon would rip Gaius to shreds. The whole: ‘I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it…’ literally applied to Amon and Gaius’ relationship. Gaius had come to Earth in part because it was what he wanted, and the other part because his father expelled him from their home. Said he was too soft on Mortals…
With a glance in the direction of Dahlia’s room, that was an understatement. He had soft, hard and hungry spots all for one mortal in particular. In his hand he held a stress ball which suddenly ruptured in his clawed hand. He watched absentmindedly as the granules of sand fell down to the floor from between his fingers. With a quick sigh, Gaius reached down and began to clean up the mess before Cornelius could start to complain. Honestly, Gaius wished the man would find somewhere else to hide, and stop trying to get involved with PC tasks. If the man wanted to be an Agent for the Covenant he should look into career changes through the right channels instead of hoping to tag onto theirs. At least that was how Gaius saw it, and most of his irritation came from not being able to be alone with Dahlia. All he wanted was a chance to not be the scary wrath demon and try to show her a more… compassionate side of his personality. Funny since Gaius generally disliked mortals, but with Dahlia he was protective. As he cleaned up the mess from his ruptured stress ball he stared down the hallway her room was located and listened for her steady heartbeat… a calming metronome that was miraculously keeping him grounded and calm, despite everything that was going on in his mind.
Kael was a little confused when she ordered two plates of food. Was she that hungry? Then he remembered that Dahlia was passed out back at the house and would probably be starving when she woke up too. Did these girls ever stop thinking about one another? It really didn’t seem like it, but hey, they’d be easier to keep an eye on if they were basically magnets for one another.
About that time he noticed she was just about scowling at him from across the table. The demon wasn’t sure what he had done wrong, or at least recently done wrong, to warrant the look. He didn’t care to ask, nor did he have time, as Eris started asking her own questions rapid fire, only stopping when her food arrived.
It seemed Gaius had filled her in for the most part; Kael didn’t feel like having to go over everything multiple times. Especially since he got the feeling Eris would be just as probing as his brother. However, there wasn’t anything to hide from her so she was definitely the more enjoyable one to talk to.
As Eris ate, Kael took the opportunity to start giving answers before she started adding to the list again. [b “I’m not sure who his contact was.”] Admittedly, Gaius’ network was extensive; there wasn’t enough for him to go off of just knowing he was talking to someone. [b “Sin demons generally come directly from hell and spend a lot of time there, so there’s a pretty long list of people it might have been… I just hope whoever it was is trustworthy.”] Sighing, he didn’t really want a repeat of what happened with Ursula. Not to mention if Lucifer was a part of this plot it was going to be difficult to know who to trust in hell. This whole situation was a hot mess.
He was glad to have a more concrete answer to her other inquiry. [b “It depends on the bar.”] Kael chuckled, knowing she wouldn’t appreciate the vagueness. But he continued on immediately so it wasn’t like she would be too terribly mad. [b “Just like human bars it depends on the place, but where he stopped last night was along the lines of a dive or tavern. Not super exciting, but leagues better than sitting around with Max.”] The last bit betraying his great distaste for angels. [b “But if it is any consolation, you didn’t miss much.”]
Leaning forward, he rested his head on his palm. [b “It was pretty seedy, but we didn’t encounter any problems, at least not any of consequence.”] He thought about the troll holding the door and the couple of friends Desmond had as backup. They had been pretty lucky over all. Although, he wasn’t sure it made up for how unlucky they had been at the angelic club.
Kael let the woman eat for a bit, before pushing the conversation any further. [b “So does Dahlia always garner so much attention, or is this new as of entering the world of lore?”] Personally, he didn’t get it. Sure she had an unusually strong presence of light, but people were losing their shit. Both of these women were strange. He wanted to get to the bottom of it, but for now they had bigger fish to fry.
As Eris finished eating, the demon was a little surprised she finished the entire thing. The portions here were not small, they weren’t even regular. Places like this always seemed to give out heaping plates. He once again noted to make sure they gave the girls a chance to eat. It would be easier as soon as they got the groceries back to the house. At least then they could graze during down times.
Someone behind the counter must have been paying attention, because no sooner than her plate was cleared the bored teen returned holding a plastic bag containing their to go order. Kael took it from the kid, thanking him, as Eris bused her plate. Standing he met up with her over by the door to leave.
From there it was a short stroll over to the market. The overhead covering kept them out of the sun, which he appreciated. Even if his glamor warded off its effects on him, he felt uncomfortable standing around in direct daylight. The supermarket itself had incandescent lights. There were a few that flickered intermittently up above, but that was common in places like this. It was hard for humans to get up that high just to change a light bulb.
It was interesting to Eris to hear Kael talk about how he was born, his mother, his family dynamic, and that he grew up in a different realm aside from Hell. She had to wonder how many different worlds there were. Was it a multi-verse? Or were there just numerous worlds all interconnected with Earth? She frowned as she realized answers to her first questions only left her with more, and she didn’t want to bother him with it. She also had to wonder if it might be best the less she knew. Still, she was a journalist, and it was in her nature to be curious.
She could see the Grocery up ahead. The small parking lot was packed, but to be honest, she was more shocked it had a parking lot. This was LA and parking was a precious commodity, just like in NYC. Eris didn’t think too hard on it, the sun was out, the bustle of the city was entertaining to watch, and she was just happy to be outside taking in the sights as she listened to Kael answer her questions. However, it was a question he posed to her that had her stopping.
Get a bite to eat? She didn’t think he ate. Wait, was he asking to get lunch with her? She wasn’t sure how to take that. He really didn’t seem the type or that he was at all interested in herself or Dahlia.
“Eat with you?” she asked, cursing herself when it sounded almost accusatory. He clarified he wasn’t hitting on her, but that his brother was nosey and he didn’t want to go back too soon and have to deal with it. She didn’t have siblings, she didn’t know what that was like, but she knew what it was like to try and avoid conversations with people -mostly coworkers. She was hungry, there was no denying that, and as if sensing she was tempted to say yes, he picked a restaurant.
He chose the Chinese place that she had smelled from a block away. It had smelled delicious, and furthered her hunger. Before she could even protest or agree he had opened the door with a smile. She tried to hide her grin as she slinked past him into the restaurant and looked around. It looked like any other Chinese Restaurant one might find in the USA. There was a wide banner with photos and names of the dishes. Eris didn’t need that, she was New Yorker now, and she’d ordered her fair share of chinese food in the past. Without hesitation she jumped right up to the countertop and ordered a meal for carry out, Dahlia’s favorite; and then ordered for herself.
“General Tso’s! Extra spicy, with steamed white rice, and a crab ragoon instead of an egg roll, please!” For her drink she got a large bottle of water and sat down with Kael to wait for her food. She wasn’t surprised he didn’t order food, and the staff didn’t seem to care.
Sitting across from him, she studied him closely as he messed with the paper on his straw. His glamor worked perfectly, if she hadn’t known any better she’d have thought he was a plain ol’ human. She didn’t like it. It wasn’t a good look on him. She couldn’t believe she was thinking it, but she preferred his red eyes and green hair.
“Gaius filled me in on what happened last night,” She said striking up conversation. “We talked while everyone else went to bed, but uhh… I caught him talking to someone… he said it was a contact from Hell? You wouldn’t happen to know about it would you? I got the feeling he didn’t tell me [i everything] that happened last night.” she shrugged playing it off, and then leaned across the table to whisper. “So what’s a demon bar like? I bet it was loads more interesting than that Club, Max was boooooring!” She sighed dramatically, but her theatrics were cut short as a large plate steaming with hot food was delivered to the table. She gasped, her mouth practically watering and quickly snapped a pair of chopsticks before digging in.
Kael hadn’t expected her to get this excited at his proposition. It starkly contrasted the general air she had about her, but then again he really only been around her a few days. And stressful times like these didn’t exactly allow a person’s true personality to shine though. He knew he hadn’t exactly been himself either.
Seeing her bound about to get the things she needed to go out, the snake of a man smiled. An expression that wouldn’t soon fade. They were out the door and on the way to whatever store she had mentioned in no time flat. He didn’t bother remembering the name since she was basically leading the way. What probably would have been a rather dull walk got a lot more interesting as he watched her bounce down the walkway jauntily. He snickered quietly, what was she a kid?
It wasn’t till the Sun caught the golden pendant of the necklace that he came to realize she was still wearing it. She looked good in it, but it was baffling as to why it wasn’t doing its job properly. He decided that instead of dwelling on it he would revel in the fact that he had picked something that she seemed to like well enough to want to keep on her person. It was satisfying.
[b “Dahlia was right you know.”]
Her words snapped him from his reverie. Kael listened intently as she spoke of her childhood. He held back laughter when he heard what Eris’ grandmother used to call her. It could have been taken two ways. The first, that she had been a rather spirited child. This was likely. The second, that her grandmother didn’t like her very much. Greece had a feral cat problem so he wasn’t sure it was the nicest moniker, but with how warmheartedly she seemed to look back on it, he was sure it had to have been said lovingly and that Eris had only been full of energy.
[b “I think the nickname fits you quite well, you must have been close with your grandmother.”] He was curious as to how she had ended up in the states, but before he could ask Eris was asking questions of her own.
He wasn’t surprised at the conflicted accounts, as they were both correct in a way. [b “It really depends on the demon or creature, however I personally was born.”] She had been kind enough to share some of her story, so he only thought it fair to do so back. Plus he didn’t see any harm in it. [b “I grew up between this plane and another that you probably wouldn’t recognize. It’s where most of our politics take place. My father’s family has always been a part of that.”] Thinking of his did lead him to also feel the need to mention his mom. [b “We didn’t spend a lot of time in hell. My mother had a falling out with some of the people who run things over there… She is… paranoid, and a tad overbearing.”] That was probably the kindest way to word it. [b “But she means well and loves her family a lot. She puts us before anything, a trait that has rubbed off on Cornelius.”] He rolled his eyes as he thought about it. That was probably why his brother had been so eager to rush into his business. Kael loved his family well enough, but couldn’t stand to have someone constantly looking over his shoulder. He wanted his space. Not to mention some of them didn’t know how to let sleeping dogs lie.
After all that he felt as though he may have dragged on a little too long. Store was even in sight. At this time of days mortals were swarming the place, hundreds of cars in the lot. It reeked of exhaust but that was nothing new in Los Angeles. Along with the main supermarket a couple of smaller shops took up residence in the complex.
A thought then occurred to him. [b “Hey, would you like to stop and get a bite before getting the groceries?”] It was nothing fancy, but he sure one of the food spots was bound to sound good to her. He also didn’t think she had a reason to decline seeing as Dahlia would likely be asleep for a few more hours. [b “You know, not in a creepy hitting on you way. I just know my brother is going to be on my ass for information as soon as we get back. I don’t really want to deal with it.”] Kael was pretty sure he was going to stick to the truth with a few omissions. It wouldn’t be hard, but he was generally tedious to answer the barrage of questions that came along.
Eris looked as though she was considering it, so he took a harder look at the small restaurants that filled in the covered walkway. Most of them were fast food chains, but there was a Chinese place that looked more like a mom and pop shop. At the very least it didn’t stink of fry oil and preservatives. [b “Here, this one smells nice.”] Kind of corralling her toward the door, he opened it with a sly smile. [b “After you.”]
Inside they the décor was sparse, but a few of the tables were taken up with customers. They walked up to an order counter where a rather bored looking young man tended the register. From there you could see a woman at work in the back. There was a tarp like menu was strung up in plain view above the boy’s head. Every entry was done up in large writing making it easy to see and read. Kael really wasn’t in the mood to eat, but he would order a drink just to keep face.
That noise turned out to be Kael’s brother entering the living area. She blushed harder when her stomach growled again for food and at his apology.
“It’s cool, it’s not like you were expecting us,” She said simply and went back to her internet search. She tried to keep to herself, but she had felt eyes on her. It made her slightly uncomfortable considering everything that had happened and that the events of last night were a huge vague blur. She kept herself distracted by reading the news, watching cat videos on Youtube, and playing with Eve. She didn’t talk to Cornelius, but would on occasion look over to the TV he was watching.
By the time she heard a shower running, Eve was wrapped up around her shoulders and neck, resting her head flush under her chin. The constrictor was well behaved and gave Eris an outlet to pour her restless energy into. More often than not in the long wait she had paced around the room. No doubt driving Cornelius crazy, even if he didn’t show it. She was out of cigarettes, there were no windows, and she needed to go outside and slink along the city streets with the people. She was ready to tackle Cornelius and make a break for the door when he finally spoke.
Kael was awake and wearing his glamor. She surprisingly perked right now, looking between the brothers as they bantered when he finally addressed her.
“Oh, it’s not far from here...” she began but he saw something else. She frowned, did she had something on her face? No, it had something to do with Dahlia getting mouthy with that angel from last night. She wondered what the Angel had said for Dahlia to say those things, but they were all correct and true. She couldn’t believe how excited she became when he asked if she’d want to tag along. Before she had a chance to answer though, the brothers were back to the bickering. Eris didn’t know what that was like, having been an only child.
She remained hesitant, watching them, even as she slowly unfurled Eve from around her. The snake gave her a chiding look as if to say: I was warm there, and I was sleeping! How Rude! She’d have to bring her a mouse as recompense.
“You’re sure I can go with you?” She asked unsure. Kael only looked at her and added,
[b “This way you can also grab anything that was forgotten on that list, or that I chose poorly on.”]
Eris didn’t bother with a reply she grabbed her black leather jacket and pull it on, eager to leave. Standing at the door she wore a grin. Her obvious excitement was answer enough. She also knew Dahlia would be safe here without her, so she wasn’t concerned and waited for Kael to open the door and all its locks. She all but skipped out the door and up the passageway and into the sunshine. There was no point in her wearing a glamour as hers didn’t work, but that didn’t retract from her actually wearing it. If all it did was change her eye color, then she’d keep wearing it because she liked it.
Her mood improved immensely once she was outside. Winter in LA was more like late spring in New York, and with the bright sun, Eris didn’t have to worry about being cold. She was glad to be out, but she wasn’t alone and being with Kael meant she’d have to be extra sneaky to get her hands on a disposable camera for Dahlia, and a burner phone... how else would she be able to contact Ross? No doubt Kael would be pissed if he knew Eris had plans to write her article and get photos out. More so if he found out she wanted to reach someone on the outside. Hoping to keep his relaxed and trusting of her Eris decided to strike up conversation with him. He was the only one she hadn’t really spoke with yet. She had Gaius had sorted themselves out, the bulking brute ended up being cooler than she expected. He was still fucking terrifying though. With his height, those horns, and his eyes? Yikes.
“Dahlia was right you know?” Eris began as she walked down the sidewalk with Kael towards the grocery store she’d ordered from. “I don’t like being stuck inside for too long. I’ll go stir crazy with nothing to do. [i Giagia], my grandmother used to call me Agria Gata when I was little. It means Wild Cat. She said I was always coming and going just like a cat, but wild enough I couldn’t stay inside all day. She used to send me out to play in the streets until supper and then much to my displeasure to bed...” she smiled fondly at the memory of her grandmother, and the streets of her small Grecian town where she grew up. It seemed so long ago, and it felt odd to talk about her past, but not so much with Kael. Curiously, she glanced over at him and frowned. “Were you ever a child? I’ve heard conflicting myths that some demons are born and others are made... What was that like? Did you grow up in Hell or some other world unknown to my kind?”
Cornelius spent much of the night worrying over what was happening outside of the house and a great sense of relief came over him when the four returned. His brother especially. He didn’t like this feeling of helplessness, but it had become commonplace over the past few days. There was information he wanted to get out of Kael, but by the time his younger brother came home that morning he was much too exhausted to have a serious conversation. And there was no doubt in Cornelius’ mind that he would push it off after that too.
The master bedroom was suit-like and gave him enough room to do his own thing while his sibling slept. He passed time reading some of the books stocked on their parent’s shelves. While there wasn’t anything that particular took his interest, it gave his mind something to focus on. That being said he was easily distracted by the sound of footsteps down the hall. One of the girls had gotten up, though Cornelius couldn’t tell which.
Eventually he grew bored with the book, and decided to make his way to the living area. There was a television set up there and while he didn’t generally have time for that sort of thing, he currently didn’t know what to do with himself. It was worth a shot and might gain him an indoor hobby, as apparently he was missing one.
Coming down the hall, the man heard a loud grumbling. Confused at first it only took a glance into the living room to figure out what it was. He laughed under his breath at the woman seated at the computer. When he spoke, his words still held a needless sense of formality. [b “I’m sorry, if we had known we would be keeping humans we would have stocked better.”] While demons did eat, the actual need was sparse. In between that, it was generally an action of pleasure for them.
Taking a seat on the couch, Cornelius paused before turning on the TV. He looked over at Eris with curiosity. Maybe she would be willing to get him up to pace? Not know how much of the previous nights happenings she understood, he decided against asking. Instead he pushed the button the remote and began flipping through channels until he found something even moderately interesting.
Several hours later Kael rolled out of bed. He was fully rested, or at least he wasn’t feeling the affects of the teleportation’s magic drain anymore. There was a bathroom attached to his room so the shower was his first concern. Glancing at the clock on the nightstand he’d been out for roughly six hours. It was entirely too long, but it wasn’t like there was anything else he needed to be doing at that point in time.
Out of the room, Gaius was the first one he ran into. He relayed that Eris had made an online shopping order that needed to be picked up. [b “Yeah, I can go out and get it.”] It was an excuse to be away from Cornelius, so he didn’t mind.
Running his hand through wet hair, he tried to fluff it some that it would dry faster. Kael returned to the room in order to collect his glamor. He’d need it to leave during the daytime, at least if he didn’t want to have to prowl about like a creep. And he didn’t. Fixing the small stud back into his ear, the glamor took its hold immediately and he headed out to the living area to see just where the woman had placed her order.
Eris was on the computer, while his brother took up the loveseat. He didn’t take his eyes from the flashing screen as Kael crossed the room, but he did take the time to comment. [b “Ah. Our sleeping beauty finally rises.”]
[b “Shut it.”] The quip accompanied an eye roll before he pressed on to see where he needed to be going. [b So, I hear I need to make a food run. Where did you order from?”]
As he asked the question, he could kind of see that the mortal was displeased with something. For some reason Dahlia’s words from the night before came to mind. [b “Your friend popped off to Max last night, saying something about you getting restless when you are stuck inside too long. I’m not sure if she was being serious…”] Sure Eris had left the house last night but she had spent the entirety of the night locked in that club. [b “… but do you want to come with me?”] It wouldn’t be a long trip by any means, but it might help. Plus he was low-key excited by the prospect of getting to spend time with her. He was still curious to know more about her, as she continually piqued his interest.
From behind him, Kael heard his brother shift on the couch. [b “Max? As in this district’s magister Max?”] His tone was almost accusatory; as he knew the angel also ran the nightclub they had attended.
Letting out an inaudible groan, Kael turned around. [b “Yeah, a lot happened last night. I will fill you in in later. She hasn’t eaten since yesterday morning and we kind of ruined that when we came to LA.”] Cornelius didn’t look happy to have his answers pushed off again, but he didn’t fight it. Kael was right, the girls hadn’t had anything to eat in entirely too long. He was kicking himself for forgetting such a critical thing.
Looking back to Eris he decided to try and tempt her further. [b “This way you can also grab anything that was forgotten on that list, or that I chose poorly on.”] He referred to his trip to town the day before, although this would also be convenient for forgotten food items.
What a night it had been. Gaius was more than relieved to be back at the safe house, and Eris was too. All of them were quiet as they made their way back to their bedrooms to rest. Gaius stayed up though, not really needed to sleep but maybe a few hours every two days. He wasn’t the only one. Eris had been able to sleep the majority of the night in Max’s office, and she was the most awake of them all.
She curled up with Dahlia for a little while in the bed. It didn’t take her friend long to fall asleep, and in the quiet of the room Eris began to try and recall her last memory from the night. Frowning and staring at the ceiling, Eris could only recall drinking a glass of wine and overlooking the dance floor when she felt a haze coming over her, and after that nothing. She’d never felt so well rested before either, and considering sleep was generally out of reach for her, it was incredibly odd that she slept all night in a loud dance club.
The Safehouse was quiet, with the exception of quiet voices she could hear in the living area. Slowly getting out of bed and not disturbing Dahlia, Eris crept down the hall until she could see in the living room. It was only Gaius. He stopped mid conversation and glanced over his shoulder. Eris cursed -apparently there was no sneaking up on him.
“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” he asked.
“Shouldn’t you?” Eris challenged back. He frowned but looked back to whatever was in his hand.
“I have to go. I will contact you again soon.” He clipped a small compact shut and dropped it in his pocket.
“What was that? Who were you talking to?” Eris demanded to know. Fear that Gaius might actually be a traitor swelling within her.
“It’s a compact mirror. It’s enchanted to allow communication between realms.”
“So who were you talking to?” Eris demanded to know again.
“A Contact of mine in Hell.” ERis blanched at his blunt and open answer. She wasn’t so sure. She knew how well these guys could lie.
Gaius spent the next half hour filling Eris in on everything that had happened. Informing her that they had another name, and the man they were looking for last night was found. They had managed to talk to him and worm that new name from him. When Eris asked who it was, Gaius looked her dead in the eye and said: “Amon, but you would know him as Satan. He is Lucifer’s right hand.” That had thrown Eris for a loop and she sat in dread that the Malumortis had sponsors from Hell. Why wasn’t she so surprised?
“Did your friend know anything?” Eris dared to ask.
“No, but she said she’d contact me if she heard anything.” Eris supposed she would have to be satisfied with that answer for the time being, and got up to grab her coat.
“Where are you going?” He asked in a stern fatherly way. Eris frowned.
“To get food. I didn’t see a kitchen in here, or a fridge or anything. Dahlia and I do have to eat you know?”
“Yes I know. I can’t let you leave though.” Eris grit her teeth. She wanted to go out. She wanted a black coffee a sprinkle donut, and some damn sunshine. Gaius wasn’t budging, and said once Kael was awake one of them would go get food for the girls to eat, and in the interim he placed her before a computer and made her shop for groceries online to be picked up. For the first time Eris glared at the ease of technology.
A digital shopping trip wasn’t the only thing she did on the computer. She opened up a document and began to type. Gaius had retired back to his own room, and left Eris to play on the computer.
[center [font “courier” [b Demons in Hells Kitchen]]]
[center [i Article by Eris Alcone, Photos by Dahlia Morgan]]
[font “courier” There are many things in this world we still do not understand. Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Is there anything at all, or is there some small glimmer of truth to everything we think we know? I wondered one such question when the number of missing people began to climb, and there was no explanation in sight. Not even HKPD could come up with an answer. Every visit was met with more head scratching on their part and a lot of excuses. The public is tired of excuses. We want to know what’s really happening in our little corner of New York City. I can promise you, it’s not pretty. I was recently approached myself, but thankfully not by those in question.
There is always an underground subculture, be it the people who live on trains, migrant homeless individuals, or more darker individuals who can profit on the exploitation of vulnerable people. We stumbled on one such underground culture during our pursuit of answers to the growing number of missing peoples.]
Eris stopped and looked at the document. She clearly couldn’t tell the full truth or people would call her mad. She knew she had to find a way to write this as to shed light on the Malumortis as a cult full of human sacrifice, while trying to keep Kael and Gaius’ world a secret. Also, how would she be able to use photographs if Gaius and Kael would refuse they have a camera? That was parcel in part the reason Eris wanted to sneak out. She wanted to get herself and Dahlia their own burner phones, and to at least get Dahlia one of those disposable film cameras.
She was tempted to try and sneak out regardless, but Gaius had warned her before going back to lay down that if she did try to leave the whole house would know it. She felt trapped, and she didn’t like it. She would have continued to work on the article, but she heard a noise coming from the back. Not sure who it was she made quick work to save the document and hid it in a random folder until she could move it to a cloud storage. When whoever was entering the living area did enter, Eris looked for all the world as if she was just doing research. A wiki page on Amon was pulled up on the screen to act as a cover. She worried that if Kael and Gaius knew she was writing her article they might get angry, and she didn’t want to risk that.
Her stomach growled loudly, and she groaned dropping her head to the table. “So… hungry…” She whispered, resenting the demons and their lack of need to eat food, and the fact they didnt have any food here. One of those horned buffoons couldn’t wake up soon enough to go pick up the grocery order Eris had placed. She knew Dahlia was bound to be starved when she woke up too.
Dahlia didn’t appreciate her question being ignored. Irritated, she only half listened as Gaius relayed what they had discovered. Or at least what he was willing to share with the angel. She made note of that, as she didn’t want to be the one to accidentally leak confidential information.
Honestly, she hadn’t planned to pay much attention to anything Max had to say after that, aside from where he’s tucked Eris away. But the comment about keeping her friend rubbed Dahlia the wrong way. [b “No, I’m afraid she’d make a terrible pet. She needs to be let out regularly or else she will go stir crazy. It’s not ideal, you see, so I will keep ahold of her.”] Her tone was less than amused. He kept treating her like an object, and she hated it. Eris was a human being.
With that she reoccupied herself trying to locate her friend. The man was helpful enough for that, as a door appeared out of thin air. Swiftly walking in, she didn’t even bother to turn on a light. Eris was exactly where he had said she would be. Perhaps she was worried over nothing? She felt a bit silly after making such a fuss out of it. But when she saw how peacefully the other mortal was sleeping something felt off again. Eris doesn’t sleep well normally, not like that, and especially not in a strange man’s office. Not wanting to make a fool out of herself again, Dahlia ignored it.
[b “Yep, we came back as soon as we could.”] It didn’t really need explaining, but she was excited to talk to her lethargic friend.
Wrapping her arms around Eris, Dahlia pulled her into a tight hug. The thin woman smelled of wine, which might have explained why she was in such a lull. Either way, the disguised woman didn’t dwell on it. She’d missed her friend an awful lot. All sorts of things had happened, and the woman hadn’t had anyone to talk to it about. At least not anyone that would understand. Kael and Gaius were nice enough, but they had context to the world the women were dabbling in. She wouldn’t find the empathy she wanted there.
Allowing Eris to take her time, she slowly helped rouse her friend, so that she would be ready to leave whenever the others stopped talking. She couldn’t hear much from in here, but she didn’t really mind that.
Kael didn’t know why he was surprised at how pretentious this guy was, but he was. If a lead was dry you had to deal with it, that was kind of how this line of work went, but apparently to Max, he and Gaius were the disappointment in this scenario. What was even odder was that even after that, he wanted to prolong the acquaintance.
[b “Yes, we should be in L.A. for a while. If we hear anything while in your jurisdiction we will be sure to inform you.”] He couldn’t image what else they were find that would be worth the aggravation of coming all the way back here, but you never know. It was usually best to keep things pleasant when the future social climate was uncertain. And because of that, he decided to play Max’s game. [b “In return, we’d appreciate it if you called on us if any suspicious demon activity crops up.”] As he spoke, Kael fidgeted around some.
Max lifted a brow, with a pleased smirk. [b “Well, well, I never imagined you would be requesting to run errands for me.”]
[b “Yeah, well, we aren’t exactly swimming in viable leads at this point. We will take what we can get.”] This was going pretty much how he thought it would, but he still took a less than enthusiastic tone. Had to keep up appearances.
Max hummed. [b “I do appreciate it. I’ll be in contact if I catch wind of anything that might be helpful to you all.”] Conveniently the girls exited Max’s office and his eyes were pulled there momentarily.
Hands moving behind his back, the snake fiddled with his watch. It dispensed a small device and he took it on his finger. Being incredibly careful not to touch it to anything just yet, Kael had his hands back in front of him by the time Max turned back to the pair of demons.
[b “Also feel free to call on me if you need a sitter for Erin. We wouldn’t want her in harms way.”]
[b “We’ll keep that in mind.”] At that point the conversation and Kael’s patience seemed to be wearing out. However, with both the women with them now, it wasn’t a problem. They bid the magister farewell and made for the door once again.
Just before descending the stairwell, the red-eyed man reached out for the handrail. Tapping his finger against the wall just shy of the rail, he hoped the bug stuck and was oriented correctly. If it was, the device should pick up conversations taking place up in the loft here. There was no saying if that would be of any use to them, but there was no harm in it. A wire in that office however, that would have been almost guaranteed to be useful, but unfortunately that wasn’t feasible at the time being. Perhaps if they ended up coming back it might be worth the effort.
For the final time that night the group shoved themselves in a car. Kael barely kept his sanity by reminding himself he would get to sleep just as soon as they got back to the house.
He wasn’t the only one that was tired. Dahlia had been up all day and night and she was ready to get some rest too. It didn’t help with how groggy Eris had been earlier either. Sleepiness was contagious. Allowing herself to rest her head on her friend’s shoulder, she quickly nodded off. Sleeping for the duration of the ride, she did not stir until Eris moved to unbuckle her seatbelt.
Getting out of the car, there was still a bit of a walk before they were where they needed to be. Kael knew he and Gaius should use this time to go over their findings, as it was safely out of Cornelius’ earshot, but he let it pass. His fatigue was getting the better of him and he wasn’t a hundred percent sure if he’d be of any use in an informational break down.
Gaius agreed with Kael -Cornelius couldn’t know about Amon. The last thing they wanted was for an all out War to happen. Cornelius would go to his family, who would go to the Covenant who would come to him to revoke his status in the human world. All for being related to the Lord of Hell. Not only that, but Gaius’ presence in Hell would mean he’d have to explain to not only his father and the other Lords of Hell, but also Lucifer as to why he had returned. Gaius was actually tempted to do just that, but to go straight to Lucifer himself and avoid his father all together.
Gaius silently mused over his thoughts in the car, his eyes barely taking in the passing flashes of streetlights. He didn’t like the idea that Hades’ daughter and his father were apparently in cahoots together. What were they planning? What was the end goal for them? He was almost afraid to find out... almost. He had reverted back to his quiet and brooding ways, the permanent scowl was returned to his face, and his eyes gleamed dangerously. He still wasn’t 100% back to his normal self, and he feared he wouldn’t be until he had some real answers.
He also glanced over at Dahlia, who seemed anxious to get out of the car quickly. Perhaps it had something to do with Eris and being apart for the better part of the night. He wouldn’t put it past her, and he fully expected this from her, which was why when she bolted from the car to the club when they finally stopped, he didn’t make a move to keep her still. There was no danger here for her. Max had been fooled into believing Dahlia was a Sprite, and so there was nothing to worry about in that regard. Surprisingly Kael stepped in though and stopped her. Dahlia was determined that something was wrong with Eris, and Gaius frowned wondering how she’d been able to know that.
“It’s alright, Kael,” Gaius spoke his first words since leaving the table during the conversation with Citra, his eyes on Dahlia’s back as she hurried inside and they followed behind. “I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn if those two share a special bond, besides... I’ve never seen her this feisty before. I want to see her chew Max out, maybe one good thing will come out of this night,” He commented, stuffing his hands into his pockets and following her inside.
He took his time with Kael to ascend the stairs up to the loft, and just as before they seemed to be blocked by Max’s lap dogs. However, Dahlia had walked right past them and up to Max who was counting up receipts and balancing registers before they closed for the night.
[i “Where is she?”] Dahlia demanded of him. Gaius looked around and frowned. Good question. He couldn’t see where Eris was either. Max seemed unaffected by her demand. Instead he finished counting up the receipts in his hand before setting them aside and looking up at Dahlia.
“I hope you bring me good news?” Max asked smiling up at her, and then turning his gaze over towards the entrance of his loft. “Oh let them pass,” he waved. Gaius glared at the guard as he walked past with Kael to approach Max. “So did you find Desmond?” He asked leaning back in his seat at a cocky angle.
“He was there, just like you said he would be.”
“Did he have any valuable information?”
“Only a confirmation of what we already know,” Gaius answered dully. “We’ll be taking our mortal now.”
Max hissed over his teeth and frowned. If Gaius wasn’t mistaken the man looked like he didn’t really want to hand Eris over. “I don’t feel like that’s good enough. I was hoping to get more out of you three... I have to say, I’m rather disappointed.” Gaius glared, his eyes glowing dangerously gold. Max only grinned further seeing Gaius riled up, but Max was a smart man, he didn’t get to be Magister for nothing, and with a heavy sigh he moved to stand up. “However, her mortal,” Max corrected motioning to Dahlia. “Is in my private office.” He raised a hand towards the bar and the door appeared from in the wall and opened slowly. “You certain I can’t keep her?” Max asked as Dahlia made her way to the office. “She’d make a good House Pet. She reminds me of a cat,” Max stated with amusement.
It was dark inside, but Max allowed Dahlia to enter it. Deep down he wanted to close the door behind her and lock them both in, but he figured he could still use Gaius and Kael. He wanted answers too, and he wanted for Dawn to return. He watched as she entered the dark office, and he approached Kael and Gaius. “No harm has come to the Mortal, as promised. I imagine, if you both learn anything else you’ll inform me of your findings. I’d hate for this new relationship to not do well.”
Inside the office, Eris was laid out on the sofa fast asleep. She looked for all the world peaceful and comfortable. No harm had come to her, and if anything she looked healthier. Though, it might have been the lingering effects of the wine that had her cheeks so rosy. At first touch from Dahlia, Eris’ eyes slowly opened. She stretched slowly and yawned much like a cat that Max had described her as. As she came awake, so did the lights in the room, slowly brightening until the room was awash with a gentle glow. When her eyes finally settled on Dahlia, a smile crossed Eris’ face.
“You’re back,” her voice was heavy from sleep, but she remained laid out on the sofa until she managed to sit-up. Shockingly she didn’t seem to be in a rush to leave.
Dahlia did her best to follow the conversation, but all the stuff about politics and different federations was lost on her. Well, she did get the point that things were a mess and they obviously weren’t working together real well. It wasn’t all that different from the shit show that was going on the mortal’s side of things. Politics must be awful no matter where you go.
That aside, eventually Dahlia got pulled into the conversation. Not that she needed to participate, but this Citra guy felt the need to bring her up. And he was terribly rude about it, he even when as far to accuse Gaius of being lovesick. For her, that was when he lost all semblance of accountability. Why were they talking to this guy again?
After some pushing, and a lot of staring each other done, Desmond got to the name-dropping. The first one was boring, as even Dahlia knew Kara was involved with this mess. Clearly that wasn’t what they were after. It was the second name that she didn’t recognize, but it was crystal clear that Gaius and Kael did. They did not look at all pleased with this information and that frightened her. In fact this might have been the most expressive she’d seen Gaius, aside from anger or frustration that she assumed came with the territory of being a wrath demon. He even went as far as silently excusing himself from the table. At that, the mortal wasn’t sure if she should stay or go. In the end she stayed seated as the conversation continued around her.
For Kael, that was the last name he possibly wanted to hear, right after Lucifer himself. This was going to be borderline impossible to deal with. He quickly brought his attention back to Citra. [b “Desmond, I swear if I find out you are lying... I will hunt you down and rip out your throat. Not even your father’s influence will stop me, so you’d better be absolutely sure that is what you heard.”] Both their families were political, but the Neu’s had a better track record for covering up their messes. Especially when times were as chaotic as these.
[b “I already told you I have no reason to lie.”] He seemed steady in his conviction; Kael doubted he was fabricating this.
Sighing, Kael went on to demand a source and a list of those who were privy to this information. Luckily those lists were short, as the entourage in the background seemed to be embolden by the fact that it was only he and Dahlia now. [b “Alright, that’s all I need.”] He tucked away a napkin that he jotted the names down on.
[b “About fucking time,”] Desmond stood from his seat. [b “Have fun trying to get to the bottom of this cluster fuck…”] The man straightened his shirt, brushing off the shoulder Kael had grabbed. Sharp eyes flittering over to Dahlia he parted with one final comment. [b “Try not to rub off on the sin demon too much.”]
Kael glared at Desmond his whole way out, and some more when he was no longer in sight. His gaze set straight on the door. Sighing again, he brought his eyes back to the table and his drink. The gin was untouched. Taking his time he sipped at the short glass. He needed to decompress, and shoving himself back into a cramped car wasn’t going to do it. [b “Hey,”]
Dahlia looked up from her table when she heard Kael’s voice. She didn’t think the two of them had had a proper conversation yet, at least not without the others. [b “Yes?”] It felt awkward.
[b “It sounds like things are going to get a lot harder from here on out… If Gaius and I separate like this again. Stick with him if at all possible.”] It pained him to make it sound as though he was incapable, but if his hunch was right Gaius was going to be able keep track of her in a fray a whole lot better than he could. It was in the girl’s best interest. Kael just hoped he wasn’t over stepping his bounds by bringing it up.
Yet another thing she didn’t fully understand, but she nodded. [b “Yeah, alright.”] At least the instructions were clear enough.
She watched as Kael took his sweet time with his drink. Dahlia desperately wanted to get back to Eris; and his lollygagging was driving her up a wall. With nothing much else to do she also drank her whiskey. It took the edge off some. Sure, it didn’t really make her feel any better, but what else could she do?
Keeping an eye on the mortal’s pace, Kael made sure they finished at the same time before escorting her back out of the building. There they regrouped with Gaius. While he looked as though he had regained his composure, Kael could tell he was still a little off kilter. They really couldn’t catch a break; perhaps it was reprimand for dragging mortals into this mess. That seemed to be a fairly common thing, though they would have heard about it. The gods were not were not generally discrete about that sort of thing.
While waiting for another car, the red-eyed man came up next to his partner. Not uncomfortably so, just enough that their conversation would be more confidential. [b “When we get back to the safe house, Cornelius does not hear about this.”] His brother was a huge nark. As soon as he caught wind they were dealing with Amon it would go straight back to his parents and then there would be trouble. It was an additional layer of headache they didn’t want nor need.
The next uber to arrive was a larger vehicle, but it didn’t help. Kael still felt like a sardine shoved in a can. This adventure needed to be over so he could go to bed. His weariness was returning. He hadn’t rested enough for all this. Not to mention it was getting early. They probably only had an hour or two before sunrise. He really didn’t want to have to skulk around in the daylight again. His mood was worsening.
Somewhere between point a and b, Dahlia was overcome with a sense of dread. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something had gone wrong, and that Eris was in trouble. The more she thought about it, the more her arm seemed to itch. Whatever had a reaction with her tattoo seemed to have an issue with the marker as well now, but to a lesser extent. It itched, however there was no pain. Looking out the window, she tried to distract herself with the sights. While this was another large city, it varied greatly from NYC. In the end the sights were not enough to quell the nagging at the back of her mind.
No sooner than the car stopped, Dahlia was out of her seat and headed toward the entrance to the club. Kael called back for her to stop from the car, but it didn’t deter her. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for her to feel a hand on her shoulder, halting her progress. [b “You need to wait for us.”] It was Kael again.
Her voice was shaking. [b “Something is wrong. We need to get Eris, now.”]
He looked at her, confused. [b “How the hell would you know that?”] There was skepticism in his voice even if he wouldn’t put it passed the angel inside.
[b “I’ve just got a feeling, now hurry up!”] Pulling away, it wasn’t hard to part from his gentle grip.
They went straight in, the bouncer didn’t bother to stop the trio. The place had cleared out some, but there were still many heavily intoxicated beings littering the nightclub floor. Walking passed them as well; Dahlia went straight up the stairs. As expected Max was there waiting with a smile. Not immediately seeing her friend, the woman was quick to speak. [b “Where is she?”]
Eris remained in the loft with Max, arms crossed and looking sour. She was stuck with the arrogant prick while her friends got to go check out a demon bar. How funny... when had she begun to think of Gaius and Kael as [i friends]? She shook that from her mind and instead focused on the fact that she was stuck here and they were off doing awesome spy shit. It had to be way cooler than this place. This place didn’t even have vodka. Max hadn’t left her side either. He remained in his loft, enjoying his nectar and managing his business while he watched his customers like a king lording over his serfs. He was however, quite attentive to his mortal guest, and once he had finished going over an order form with one of his employees, he approached Eris with two flutes of wine. It was a clear crisp white, and from the smell, Eris could tell it was a Pino Grigio. Not unlike the Cabernet she had drank earlier.
“Wine always goes straight to my head,” she commented as Max sat down right beside her. He was strangely warm, and relaxed as he looked over at her. Eris was accustomed to men being forward with her, and was used to being just as tall as the average man -what with her supermodel legs as Dahlia liked to call them. She arched a brow at him and he only chuckled. Max was a tall and warm gentleman, and Eris wasn’t sure how to handle that.
“Wine is one of the few mortal beverages that is a gift from the Gods. Jesus turned water into wine, and before him The Greeks planted the first grapes on the hills surrounding Mt. Olympus.”
“It was Dionysus who was the God of revelry and wine. Maybe he planted them and not all of the Gods. I couldn’t picture Hera or Aphrodite getting dirt under their nails,” Eris snickered taking a sip of her wine.
“You know your Greek lore?” Max asked, he was surprisingly delighted by the prospect. Eris shrugged drinking the wine.
“I am Greek,” she said as if that should have been explanation enough. “My family still lives there. I came to the states for school, and just... fell in love with New York City. Decided I didn’t want to go back, at least not now.”
“Does your family still practice the old ways?” Max asked out of genuine curiosity.
“My mom doesn’t, don’t know about my dad seeing as how I never met him, but my Aunts and the rest of my family do... Why am I telling you this?” Eris suddenly asked realizing she was divulging way too much and being too honest with him.
“Maybe it’s the lingering effects of the ambrosia.”
“Maybe it’s all the wine I’ve drank...” Eris glanced at her own glass of wine as if it might be the culprit to her loose tongue. She had, had nearly four glasses by now. She would guess she was close to polishing off a bottle at this point. “Why are you interested if I do or don’t?”
“I’m not. What I’m really interested in knowing is how you came to be such good friends with a Sprite...”
Eris shut up as tight as clam. He wasn’t going to worm that out of her. Not if she could help it, and she didn’t think she could unfortunately. “You don’t strike me as the type in need of a fairy godmother,” he teased, but Eris gave him a look that said she wasn’t talking, and instead she downed the last of the wine and stood up to walk over to the railing and looked down at the crowded dance floor. she needed the railing as getting up had caused her head to start spinning. Slightly dizzy and feeling warm from the wine she tried to focus on the entrance going Dahlia and the others would walk in soon.
“Why would you care how I came to know a sprite?” Eris tried, hoping to figure out what he was really up to. His attentions to Dahlia hadn’t gone unnoticed by her.
“Our kind don’t generally associate with Mortals. You’re such fragile little things...” he cooed watching her from where she stood. “She must be very protective of you.” Eris smirked. Sure Dahlia could be a bit protective, especially when Eris was on the verge of a total mental breakdown, or in the throws of a panic attack, but other than that... it was Eris who usually played the role of guard dog. “I will admit there is something... different about you. It’s almost as if you’re not...” he suddenly chuckled and waved it off, as if the thought was humorous to him. “but that’s impossible...”
“What?” Eris asked, her own interest spiked. Max slowly slid his cunning blue gaze back her way and grinned.
“Tell me about your fey friend, and I’ll tell you what I think you are.” Eris threw her arms up and groaned rolling her eyes.
“Oh my, I suppose I shall have to live with my ignorance,” she snapped with sarcasm. “You think she’s protective of me? You have no idea how protective I am over her. If it wasn’t for Dahl-“ She tensed and saw as Max arch a curious brow at her slip of tongue. “Dawn.” She corrected quickly, and cursed herself internally for almost fucking that up. “I.. I wouldn’t be standing here.”
“Now why would you say something like that?” Eris shook her head. Not willing to go into it, but the Angel stood up and approached her. HIs look of humorous cunning had melted into one of concern.
Before she could move, or realize his intention he had her surrounded, and pinned to the railing. His broad chest hovered just a breath away from her back, and his arms came on either side of her to rest his hands on the railing just beside her own. She tensed. His nearness made Eris uncomfortable. He was overly warm, and the energy he radiated was compelling her to speak truthfully.
“Why- why do you care?” Eris finally managed to ask, swallowing the tension back down her throat.
“I’m simply curious...” she could feel him lifting a lock of her short black hair up towards his face, and knew by the way she felt his chest brush against her back that he had inhaled the scent of her. She felt an impulse wash over her, to tell him something she hadn’t told a soul. Besides, Max was an Angel, she could trust him. Right?
“I met her on the subway one day. We became fast friends. I know a lot of people and I’m sure they might call me their friend, but... I don’t see them that way. They’re just... people in my life whose company I enjoy. They weren’t like her. She was kind and funny, and genuinely cared about those around her. I’d never had a real friend before until I met her. I’ve shared everything with her, she’s more my family than my actual family is. I love her.” Eris said simply, but there was a sadness in her voice. “When I say I would not be here if it wasn’t for her... is because I have issues. When I was in school and away from Greece, my family, everything I had known... the stress of school, being alone in a new country, my limited English at the time, Insomnia and my anxiety pushed me to a dark place. One night, shortly after meeting her, I took a whole bottle of sleeping pills and drank almost an entire bottle of vodka. I passed out in my bathroom, and she found me. She took me to the hospital and when I was in rehab for those six hellish weeks... my family never once called me, but she visited me everyday. She was the first person to show me true compassion. Now I would do anything in the world for her.”
Behind her Max smiled, having truly enjoyed the story. Before Eris could stop him he wrapped his arms around her into a warm hug. From where she stood Eris felt her cheeks heat, even though there was nothing sexual about the way Max held her. Somehow, she knew he appreciated her sharing it with him. His embrace was calming and suffocating in a warm delightful way.
“She sounds extraordinary.” His voice was a gentle whisper and ERis could feel her eyes getting tired, a haze descending over her.
“She is,” Eris agreed softly. “I don’t like being apart from her for too long.”
“She gives you a sense of calm?” Max asked knowingly.
“Yes...” Eris breathed, her eyes now boring holes into the entrance, wishing and willing for Dahlia to walk through at any moment. She was feeling oddly tired all of a sudden.
“Puts you at peace?”
“She exudes light doesn’t she?”
“She is the light in darkness...”
The warmth Max exuded was lulling Eris into a languid state. Between the copious amounts of wine, ambrosia, and Max’s strange presence Eris’ vision was dimming.
“What’s happening to me?” She nearly slurred. Max didn’t answer, and instead Eris was slowly lulled into a peaceful sleep, the sounds of the music and the flashing lights fading into nothingness.
Erin went limp in his arms and he placed a simple kiss to her dark tresses before lifting her up into his arms and carrying her towards his private bar. With a gleam of his eyes, a secret door showed itself in the wall and moved out of his way to show a spacious and modern office. In the office was a soft sofa where Max laid Erin down to rest. He presided over her with curious eyes.
“What are you?” he asked himself as he studied the pretty mortal laid out on his sofa. Carefully he knelt down beside her and took up one of her hands. He made quick work as he conjured a needle and pricked Erin’s finger and placed two little droplets into a glass.
He swirled the glass with her blood up to the light. He had other problems to ponder on though. The Sprite had been different as well, and if he didn’t know any better he would have thought she too was a mortal; but both women were odd and left him slightly confused as to what they really were. His only thought on the sprite was how pure her aura was. When she entered his club, he was instantly drawn to her light aura, and hungered to obtain it. A creature with light like that, aside from other angels, was incredibly rare. Her aura was different from all of that. It was as if she was Purity incarnate.
Ursula was another matter to contend with as well. She had been a former lover of his many centuries ago. He had once accompanied a Roman legionnaire north into Germanic and Scandinavian territories to eradicate the pagan religions and extend the reaches of the Roman Empire. In one gruesome bloody battle, Ursula had come down from Valhalla to collect the fallen. Upon seeing her Max wanted to have her, and for a while she was his. She had been a force of great light power, and much how he wished to posses Dawn’s light, he had taken Ursula’s. He didn’t want her to die, not by the hands of another. He still considered himself a master over the Valkyrie, and her light powers had made him stronger. Now she was a shell of her former self, and if anyone was to destroy her, it would be him. Out of all the creatures whose light he had stolen over the years, Ursula had been the only one to get away from him and survive...
This was not Gaius’ first time in this bar. He had visited it once before, and just like the last time he wore a look of irritated boredom. He ordered a glass of chilled vodka and listened to what Kael had to say. Gaius’ money was on the kitsune being in the basement as well, not that it mattered as luck was on their side. Citra rose up from the basement with a small entourage, and much to Gaius’ surprise Kael was over there in the blink of an eye and leading Citra to an empty table.
For a moment it seemed those with Citra might step in, but Gaius had stood up as well, and downed his entire glass of bourbon in one go. However, his eyes never left the trio of men following Citra. It seemed they might just attack him, but Gaius had a look about him that nearly begged them to invoke his wrath. He was Wrath incarnate, and it would have been most unwise to draw it out of him. The group seemed smart enough and backed off for the time being, allowing Gaius to escort Dahlia over to the next table so they could sit down and get in on the conversation.
Kael had called him out for his connection with Caulfield, but Citra wasn’t about to go down with that ship. Unfortunately in regards to Atlas’ murder Citra was telling the truth. Had had nothing to do with Caulfield’s plans and saw himself able to be released from the table; but in true Neu Fashion Kael forced the fox back into his seat.
[b “There has been a string of mortal disappearances over on the East coast. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you? Or maybe the Ketamine hoarding that’s been going on?”] Gaius waited expectantly for an answer, and just as he figured Citra wasn’t going to comment. Just like a politician, always dodging the questions and quick to turn the conversation elsewhere... such as Dahlia’s presence. Gaius normally would have remained impassive and indifferent by his crude comment. He had been known to call mortals worse in the past, but for some reason when Citra called Dahlia a bitch Gaius wanted to deck the fox square in his pretty face.
“Don’t change the subject,” he managed with cool indifference. “Answer the questions. You know about the human disappearances and the ketamine. We can smell the lies on you.” He couldn’t actually smell it, but it was a nice bluff. One Citra quickly saw through, evident by the way he scoffed at him.
“Well I’m not talking with a fucking fairy sitting at the table,” Citra demanded looking Dahlia over with uncertainty and maybe something like vague recognition. Gaius didn’t want to entertain the thought that Citra and whoever he ran around with knew who Eris and Dahlia were, or were at least onto them.
“She’s with me, Citra... and she does not leave my side. Now talk.”
“Fancy yourself smitten? With [i that]?” Citra asked incredulously pointing at Dahlia. He almost looked disgusted. Gaius remained indifferent and simply stared the fox down.
It seemed the men were at a stalemate. Citra didn’t want to answer the questions, and Gaius was not about to entertain the questions posed to him. Sensing that Gaius refused to budge, Citra was at least intelligent to realize that despite his status in the government, Gaius would have no qualms reaching his hand into Citra’s chest and ripping his heart out. Citra knew what happened to hearts once they landed in Gaius’ hands... they were crushed to dust.
“Fuck you...” Citra finally snapped. “Fine, I’ve heard some things. I know there’s a group that’s been busy recruiting in the NYC area. They meet once a week at some warehouse near the Hell’s Kitchen Piers.”
“Why didn’t you report it to PLEA at the very least?”
“Because you and I both know PLEA is a joke. It’s a PR stunt to keep our constituents in Mortal Governments happy. Why do you think the Covenant sends PC to handle these things and not PLEA?” Gaius’ gaze narrowed. The prick had a point. PLEA was the acronym for the Paranormal Law Enforcement Agency, while PC was the containment unit that kept the real shit from hitting the fan. PLEA was great for squabbles between covens or packs, but when it came to mortal entanglement or conspiracy’s, PLEA was ill equipped.
“So you felt it was a waste of time and resources to even bother? Is that what you’re saying?” Gaius challenged a slow smirk forming on his face. “Or were you just trying to save your own ass? I think you’re involved somehow with the disappearances and the ketamine... rumors of even profiteering from human trafficking. Why that? Are you selling humans to Vampires now?” Citra looked ready to leap across the table and take Gaius on, but that was a loosing match no matter how scrappy Citra was in a fight. It was his quick whit that had earned him his place in the covenant’s parliament not his natural strength. Gaius knew he had the strength and skill over Citra, Kael had it too, but both of them would easily admit that for all of Citra’s faults he was incredibly intelligent and cunning.
“I have no idea where you heard about human trafficking. Like I said, all I’ve heard is rumors. I do have one name though... but it’s going to come at a price...” Citra mused with a sly grin towards Kael.
“Why don’t you just give us the name and we won’t report you to the Covenant for withholding information for an investigation?” Gaius asked simply, cornering Citra to answer regardless of what he wanted.
“We already know about her. Give us something better.” Citra glared not wanting to divulge anymore information, but his desire to leave outweighed anything else.
“There is one other... but I don’t think you’re going to like it...” Citra sang his warning. Gaius looked unamused, and waited for the answer as patiently as possible. “Amon.”
For the first time a look of dread and fear crossed Gaius’ face and he tensed in his seat. Amon, commonly known as Satan to Mortals... was also Gaius’ father, and Amon did nothing without the expressed desire of the King of Hell... Lucifer, God’s fallen Son.
Citra chuckled. “Why would I lie about that? What would I gain? Other than the pleasure of seeing that look on your face,” he smirked. Gaius quickly reverted to his usual glare. His eyes promising retribution. “Take it or leave it. That’s just what I’ve heard.” Without another word Gaius stood up and left the table, leaving Kael to finish the questioning.
Outside the air was cool and crisp. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t hot, but there was a charge in the air that told him something was off. He quickly lit a cigarette even though he could have easily smoked inside, he didn’t trust himself. He hadn’t seen his father for nearly eight hundred years, and the horrifying possibility that his father had a hand in all of this was threatening Gaius to loose his cool. He wanted to rage and roar, he wanted to break something under his heel, to crush and destroy.... All he could do was pace back and forth, cigarette hanging between his lips and his hands pushing through his hair and past his horns with anxious fervor. What were the odds that both Kael and Gaius’ family were getting dragged into political uheval and conspiracy?
At the door, Kael wasn’t shocked at the troll’s proclamation. They probably didn’t see creatures of light, or mortals here too often. At least not unattached to vampires. What got him was how strongly Gaius protested. He went as far as laying claim to Dahlia. It was extreme, even for for a cover. But then again, with how bizarrely attracted his partner had been to the woman, he should have expected something along these lines. In fact he was frustrated that he hadn’t noticed how big of a deal it was sooner.
Despite being completely oblivious to what the wrath demon was truly implying, Dahlia’s face flushed a brilliant shade of red. Even without that piece of knowledge, it was strange to have a man assert himself over her like that. It seemed to work though, as the squat man backed off with his ogling. At least for that she was thankful. They passed him without issue after that.
The atmosphere here was one that Kael was much more used to. It was the sort of place they wouldn’t look twice if you got into a fight. Sure if you got too rowdy you’d be asked to leave, but the occasional brawl was generally over looked if you took it outside. That being said it also meant that many of the patrons here were almost looking for a fight. And the red-eyed man didn’t really want to have to knock through a line of guys just to get to kick some info out of Desmond.
Kael kept his eyes peeled for the target, but did not immediately see him. He followed after Gaius with Dahlia to the bar. They flanked her making it pretty clear that she was off limits. Often times he forgot how much of a presence the wrath demon had. He had gotten used to that sort of thing growing up, and now spent so much time with him that it just kind of faded into the background. It wasn’t until times like this cropped up that he remembered it wasn’t everyone’s normal. This time he was glad, it drew all the attention to Gaius and made it easier for Kael to stay under the radar.
[b “My guess is that he is below, foxes like dens.”] The comment was offhand as he turned in his seat to give the room one more lookover. The final glance confirmed his suspicion that he wasn’t in this room. [b “Yeah, he knows me, but so long as he doesn’t recognize me before we grab him it will be fine. Worse comes to worst and he runs, I know for a fact I can catch him.”] While it had been a while since he’d seen the kitsune, there was little doubt in Kael’s mind that he was still in better shape than him.
About that time the bartender meandered over to the group. She was tall for a woman, white hair falling straight down her back. [b “What do you want?”] Her words were cold and to the point.
[b “A double shot of Gin.”] The drink was more to keep eyes off of them while they plotted. Shooting a look at the others he encouraged them to do the same.
Dahlia wasn’t much in the mood to drink. While most of the pain she had experienced had passed, her side was still aching. She paused when the pale woman looked over her with expectant eyes, as if saying not to waste her time. [b “… Jack and coke.”]
When the three of them had given their orders, the bartender was off again to fill them without a word. Kael got back to what he was saying immediately. [b “Like I said, if he is here he’s probably down stairs. If you take the lead going down and ask around I am sure he will pop up. I will hang back just in case he thinks he can sneak passed you.”] It was liable to happen; Desmond didn’t care for direct confrontation. [b “Once we have ahold of him we won’t have a problem.”]
Quick as she left, the icy woman returned with their drinks. Sliding her the money for it, Kael said a quick thanks and he disappeared again. He doubted she would bother them again.
Just as he was about to give Gaius a description of the target, he heard footsteps. They fell as though treading up stairs. Going silent, he turned toward the stairwell. As soon as he caught sight of who came up, he backtracked on the plan. [b “Scratch that. He came to us.”] Up and out of his seat, the snake was across the room in seconds. This earned him a few sidelong glares, but no one moved from their spot.
Gin in one hand, the other was planted firmly on Desmond’s shoulder. [b “Hey buddy, we need to have some words.”] A less than pleasant smile formed on Kael’s face. His hand squeezed tightly to let the kitsune know it wasn’t a request. Leading him to an open table, he motioned for Gaius to join with Dahlia.
The woman barely saw Kael move before she noticed he was gone. Looking around the room, she spotted him with a wisp of a man in tow. He was calling them over. She looked to Gaius before moving, sticking like glue to him as they made their way across the floor. The whole time she clutched her drink in hand, afraid to let it down even in plain sight. If she couldn’t see Kael running around, God knew what the rest of the people in here were capable of.
The red-eyed demon didn’t wait for the others to take their seats before getting started. [b “So, Miles Caulfield is a friend of yours, correct?”]
Desmond’s shifty eyes shot over to Kael, his mouth moving just as quick. [b “No, no, no. You are not pinning this shit on me.”] He shook his head furiously, not taking his eyes from the man he was speaking to, even as the other’s joined the table. [b “I helped land Miles the internship, but I had no idea he was going to go fucking mental once he got there.”]
Looking Desmond over, Kael had known him long enough to know when he was lying. And somehow he wasn’t. He did however continue his fast talking streak. [b “If that’s all you wanted, then I am getting out of here.”] He moved to stand, but Kael grabbed him again.
[b “Nope, you’re not off the hook yet.”] He easily pulled the sandy blond back down. [b “There has been a string of mortal disappearances over on the East coast. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you? Or maybe the Ketamine hoarding that’s been going on?”]
Immediately the fox’s behavior changed. He looked away from Kael and to the others across the circular table. [b “No comment.”]
There it was. Digging his nails into the man’s collarbone, Kael spoke through gritted teeth. [b “That’s not an option today.”]
Desmond winced, but didn’t give in. Instead he opted to change the subject. [b “How about you two tell me why you are hauling around some fae bitch?”] He wore a smug look, as he glanced between Kael and Gaius.
Gaius was salty over the way they had to leave one of their mortals behind, but he supposed it wasn’t all bad... they still had Dahlia. They weren’t even halfway down the block, when Gaius had lit his own cigarette to hear Kael ask for one. For the first time in a long time a look of shock crossed his features, but he didn’t comment. He simply removed a cigarette from his carton and handed it to Kael, promptly lighting it for him. It wasn’t like Kael to lean on this habit, he must have been under more stress than he had thought. Or maybe it was something else? Honestly, Gaius didn’t blame him, Kael was under a lot of pressure from all sides. Between his family, the internal issues with their own division of their ruling government, and their mission; it was surprising that Kael hadn’t fallen back on more demonic tendencies. As far as smoking went for Gaius, he was a demon of biblical proportions. Fire and Brimstone might have smelt like hell to mortals and most other creatures, but for Gaius the feeling of smoke in his lungs was a comfort of home.
His dark disposition only grew darker as he began to smell blood. With a slow glance to the side, he saw the origin was none other than Dahlia. When had she begun to bleed? Had someone knicked her while they were leaving the club? The idea that someone had harmed him, nearly threatened to send him into a rage, and he blew smoke out of his nose as he eyed her. His eyes even gleamed suspiciously at her, until she promptly excused herself. Gaius wanted to follow, be lingered behind as they waited for their Uber to show up. He watched her rush into a convenience store, and he walked over to stand beside Kael. The two of them making a pair, with their odd eyes and the curling tendrils of cigarette smoke that surrounded them.
“She was bleeding. I could smell it...” Gaius muttered darkly. “I don’t know how anyone could have hurt her, but she did drink Ambrosia...” it was no mystery to his kind that Ambrosia could do strange things to Mortals. Perhaps that was why Eris’ glamour stopped working? Gaius couldn’t be sure, she had smelled strange from the first time they had met. He’d smelled something different about her when he’d lifted her to retrieve the medallion. She had been stronger than she looked too, and he’d never seen a mortal her size hold their liquor that well. He had suspected something off about her, but tonight had only confirmed he was right. Eris was not all she appeared to be. However, he was more concerned about Dahlia at the moment, and what was happening to her.
They didn’t have to wait too terribly long, as Dahlia exited the store just as their Uber arrived. Gaius opened the door and watched Dahlia’s every move with an unreadable expression. Both men waited for her to enter the car, her glamour back in place, and once they were nestled inside, the car took off.
It was ridiculous having to across town twice in a night, and they would have to do it twice more. To get Eris and to return to the safe house. He was half tempted to flash them where they needed to go, but he didn’t think Dahlia would be able to hand it. The Transport Pad they had arrived on had nearly made her lose the contents of her stomach, ERis had lost the contents of her stomach... there was no doubt in his mind Dahlia would have vomited violently from his ability. Maybe with time and practice she might get accustomed to it, but they didn’t have the time for it now.
The club they were heading to was in a more shady part of town, just on the outskirts and before the ghettos of poverty stricken individuals stuck in the disparity of income inequality. The doorway to the club was illuminated by an old awning and red neon lights above it claiming its name. The park lot was deserted save for a few cars of modest make, but the asphalt was cracked, potted, and faded from a lack of maintenance over the years. It looked like a dump in comparison to the last club they’d come from, but as Gaius stepped out the smell was a dead giveaway. All creatures of night crawled through this place, from other demons, to Vampires, and even dark fey. A single bouncer sat on an old stool outside and he looked as if he’d see better days, from the look of his face, Gaius assumed the man was probably a troll. There was even a sign on the front door that said: No Wolves allowed.
Gaius turned towards Dahlia before he opened the door so they could get out and reminded her to put her glamour back on. Once she had replaced the bangle, he opened the door and helped her out. Seeing Dahlia and her wings had the troll guarding the door perk up a bit. He smirked almost knowingly to Gaius and Kael, sensing what they were.
“Creatures of the night,” he greeted. “Is this tasty morsel for me?” The troll asked leering at Dahlia. Gaius curled his lip and his eyes glowed dangerous.
“She is mine, so hands off,” He warned. Dahlia would be unaware of what it meant to make a claim on a mortal to another member of the Lore, but Kael would. Hopefully the snake wouldn’t look too deeply into it and see it as a way to keep Dahlia safe when they entered this den of darkness. That seemed to make the Troll a bit more prickly, but no less agreeable with them. He simply scoffed in disappointment and crossed his arms before hiking a thumb at the door.
“You may pass, but you might want to keep an eye on your pretty fairy... there’s a fair few Fangers in there.” Gaius tried to hide his displeasure with the notion that Vampires were in attendance to the club, and glamour or no glamour, even the dimmest of Vampire would be able to smell Dahlia’s true blood was not Fey in any sense of the word.
“Appreciate the heads up,” Gaius murmured and led Dahlia into the club with Kael hot on their heels.
It was dark and lingering in the air was smoke and incense. The smell of marijuana was prevelant as was cigarette smoke. The music wasn’t overly loud but loud enough. There really wasn’t a dance floor unlike the club they came from, and it truly was more like a bar than a club. There were several dart games going on at the far wall, pool tables, and plenty of small stages where creatures of all kind danced on poles. There were even a collection of humans laid out on soft velvet seats as Vampires drank their blood, all of them in a euphoric consenting state. A fair few eyes fell on Gaius when he entered. When you were as old as he, sometimes it was hard to not be recognized, but those that seemed to sense who and what he was, moved out of his way with no issue and in a way with a heavy dose of fearful respect. He quickly found a place at the bar to sit down, pulling out a stool for Dahlia and glancing over at Kael just before they took their own seats protectively on either side of Dahlia.
Unlike the Angelic club, this dive bar had a full range of liquors, draft beers and other casts of more magical brews. The bartender had yet to approach them and so Gaius took the moment to lean over the bar, to whisper to Kael. “Let’s keep our eyes open. If we can’t see him here he’s either upstairs or downstairs in the basement. Do we even want him to know you’re here? He knows your face, doesn’t he?” Gaius asked concern lacing his words.
The tension made the air seem thick. Dahlia hated it, but what was worse was that she had no idea what was going to happen. Trying to focus on her contact with Eris was all she could do to block out the fear of the unknown. The closeness was enough to keep her okay until they got their lead and the atmosphere seemed to lighten. The mortal was thankful, but it didn’t last long. When Ursula was mentioned everyone seemed to tense up all over again, even the angel who had seemed to make a point out of keeping a mostly straight face.
Gaius was dead set on ending the traitorous woman. It was hard for Dahlia to listen to. She wasn’t used to anyone making such casual, yet serious, comments about literally murdering another person. Even if the Valkyrie had tried to hurt Eris and her, the idea didn’t sit right with the woman.
It was around this time that Dahlia felt a twinge at her side. It was irritating, almost like there was a tag on her clothes that she had missed and it was rubbing her ribs raw. But as annoying as it was, she nearly forgot about it all together when Max called for Eris to stay with him. Her heart sank straight to the floor. The sensation only became worse when it became apparent that they could not refuse him. Once again she felt the urge to out herself so that she could be with her friend, but the look on the other mortal’s face made it clear she would be pissed if she even tried. Dejected, Dahlia stayed silent even at the blond’s offer for her to stay.
Kael also had a hard time keeping quiet, but he was more on the spectrum of telling Max to fuck right off. Balling his hands into fists, he squeezed tightly. His claws pressed hard to the skin, eventually breaking it. There the blood welled warm under his nails. He knew this was nothing more than a ploy to make sure Max got the information he wanted; the angel didn’t even care about Eris or her safety. Focusing on his stinging palms, he spoke carefully.
[b “We’ll be back as soon as we can.”] The snake wore a smile, but his eyes were narrowed into a sharp glare from behind his glasses.
Their business here was done for the moment and the bouncers that previously blocked them stepped aside. The trio descended back into the thrall of bodies, heading straight for the exit. Guarding the door was the same bulky man that had let them in. He let out a loud sound of relief as the demons departed, but said nothing else.
Not stopping until they made it a couple of blocks from the club, Kael was hell-bent on getting as far away from the looming presence of light as he could. It wasn’t till the aura was faint in the distance that he stopped to hail another uber. Unfortunately Desmond’s play place was on the other side of town. Exactly where they’d just come from. A fact that irritated him to no end seeing as they had to come right back here again afterward.
Facing Gaius, he held out his hand. [b “Cigarette…”] Kael hadn’t smoked in decades, but it turned out this was the occasion that broke him. [b “A light too, please.”]
As soon as he had what he wanted he backtracked to the last street corner, putting about twenty feet between him and the others. There he took a long hard drag. The end of the cigarette glowed bright enough to match his eyes as he did. By the time he finally exhaled, he’d taken the thing down by a fourth. Kael slowed his pace from there.
Despite the distance Dahlia caught whiffs of the smoke as it dispersed through the comfortably cool night air. She didn’t mind it as it distracted from the worry in her chest and the pain in her side. What started as a mild annoyance was growing. By the time they’d left the club the discomfort had reached searing. Accompanied by a hot feeling dripping down her stomach, she was scared. What in the hell was happening?
Afraid that if she told the guys, they might want to see what was happening, the woman kept it to her self. She didn’t want to have to take her shirt off in front of them. Struggling to think of a way to get some privacy, eventually Dahlia remembered seeing a small store on the way here. [b “Um… I need to use the restroom. I’ll be right back.”] Her words were slightly uneven as she spoke, but she didn’t wait for Gaius to tell her no before starting off back the way they came.
Kael looked at her confused as she went to walk passed him, but catching the smell of blood he had an inkling as to what might be wrong. She repeated the excuse, and he nodded looking around the corner. He could see the store from the there. Quickly he took his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out a few tattered bills. [b “If you buy something you’ll stand out less. Don’t forget to kill the glamor.”]
Taking the money, the woman pulled the bracelet from her wrist and continued for the store. Going straight to the single stall bathroom in the back, she locked it swiftly before hauling up her shirt. The small, smudged mirror on the wall reflected the dark liquid slowly oozing from what had previously been a tattoo. It was blood, but nearly black as it was tainted with the ink that had once been imbedded in her skin. Moving in close to inspect it more carefully, she wondered was her body rejecting the ink. Now that it was gone the flow seemed to be slowing up.
Pulling handfuls of paper towels from the dispenser, she wet them and began scrubbing the drying blood that was caking to her pale stomach. All the while she wondered if this was the glamor’s doing, or perhaps the ambrosia. Those were the only two things that she’d done differently in the last hour or so.
Once clean, all that remained were the puffy red remnants of mysterious symbols and the feeling that something bad was going to happen without them. Shaking the thought, she inspected the spot again; it looked as though it would scab over given enough time. When she was confident that was the case, Dahlia moved to cleaning what little blood had seeped into her sweater. Thank god it wasn’t a tight fitted shirt or she would have looked like she’d been stabbed. There wouldn’t have been a way to explain that away, especially since she didn’t even know how to explain the currently situation. When all was said and done, she exited the room and went for the front end of the store. Grabbing a small bag of chips she stood in line at the single open register. All the impulse items stared at her. One of which was a pack of sharpies. Biting her lip, she grabbed it and tossed it on the table when it was her turn.
After paying, she ripped open the package. Tossing the plastic in the trash, she pulled back her sleeve to do her best rendition of the marks that had been on her ribcage. Strangely enough, it comforted her. Blowing lightly on the ink, she made sure it was dry before pulling the cardigan back down and exiting the store. Dahlia stowed the markers away in her bra before slipping her bangle back on and returning to the others.
Even when the uber arrived, Kael didn’t leave the corner. They waited until Dahlia returned before loading up. The smell of blood had lessened, but permanent marker replaced it. He had entirely no idea what that meant, but he wasn’t brave enough to ask.
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