Seattle: My Corner of Darkness

Georgetown- City Watch Meeting

The Georgetown Council decided to create a City Watch to help police and protect the neighborhood do to the lack of official police presence in the area. Kate held the meeting in the church where she asked for volunteers to join and open discussion about the creation and running of the City Watch.

Volunteers

Duncan Beltran – Organizing and Leading the City Watch

Arthur Inghem

Billi

Dani

Kyle Eben

Rosalin Gist

Samual Cordell

Shawna Johnson

Stewart Bowden

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Are Fairytales Real?
Two days after end of last session

Those with power and prestige demand respect, but only give yours to those who earn it with their actions. ~ Vicenzo Inatti

DANI had never intended to return to this place. She gazed over the shoreline into the sound. She had last sat here before she joined up with Stewart’s unit. She had intended to leave Seattle behind her and defy the odds until death took her to join her parents. The odds had been for life not death though apparently. Surfing the most dangerous reefs, going into a war zone armed only with a camera, and being defiant to captors should have been enough tempting the Fates to end her life. However, she had apparently been blessed with good luck.

DANI guessed that Stewart had figured out why she had always been seeking dangerous environments. Something had changed when the plane had touched down in Seattle though. Stewart had dragged her back here kicking and screaming. She had wanted to go to Hawaii and surf the lava flows, but he had insisted after Iraq that she return at least to say goodbye.

Seeing Seattle had brought back the good memories, the feeling of home, and her belief in happily ever after. Okay, so her version of happily ever after still didn’t match any normal fairytale, but with an Italian naval officer and a Russian diplomat’s daughter for parents normal had never been in her vocabulary. Her father being killed during war games with the Russian navy had broken her mother’s heart. DANI never wanted a love like her parents…the all consuming fire would kill you if it ever ended. Her mother had wasted away from grief while DANI was away at university. She never got to tell her mother that she was going to be going on the same ship her father had served on when they’d met. She had come back, packed her belongings, and scattered both her parents’ ashes here. DANI had shipped out with Stewart’s Marine unit on the naval vessel the next day and never intended to return.

She had been back for quite a while and this was her first visit to the memorial bench overlooking the sound. DANI wasn’t quite sure what had compelled her to finally return here. Was it taking pictures of SoDo yesterday, spending the night at John’s, or was it that fairytales might actually be true? Being captured in Iraq hadn’t scared her as much as the possibility that the darkest of fairytales might be true. Had she needed to see her father’s words? Had she needed to be reminded of who she was and where she came from? Or had she needed to return to where she had sent hope to the wind so she could regain her hopeful spirit and release her addiction to adrenaline?

DANI stood and read the words inscribed on the bench again. Those with power and prestige demand respect, but only give yours to those who earn it with their actions. ~ Vicenzo Inatti. Courage – that is why she had come here, she needed the courage to be DANI. The courage to take whatever life had to throw at her and turn it into lemonade. The courage to seek out the truth about fairytales and fight for Georgetown. She was Danielle Angelina Nikita Inatti and no fairytale creature could take herself away from her, not now that she had finally accepted who she was. That is if fairytales were real…

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Which fairytales are real?

DANI sat quietly waiting for her pictures to finish printing. It wasn’t quite the same as waiting to see them develop, but there was still the hint of anticipation. She didn’t print off that many pictures anymore. It normally wasn’t worth the effort, but she had to see if these would print. Her photographs from the Overlooked Full Moon Market hadn’t turned out at all, would pictures of a werewolf in wolf form and a shapechanging magic user print like they had shown up on disk? If so, then she’d frame the one for Billie and one of the two of the five wolves for Eme. The other would go to Satelina to do with as she wished. She’d added the words “The Soul of the Wolf Runs through us all…” with photoshop to the white wolf leading the four.

Werewolves like Billie had explained them could have been mutations from a virus, but that was the logical part of her trying to explain things away. Magic was real. Fairytales were real, but which ones were real? Who were the Overlooked as the Accord lady had described them? What was the difference between witchcraft/new age/occult magic and the real magic? Were those who would never need the cemetery keeper’s place of rest vampires? Which fairytales were real and what was real that wasn’t in fairytale books? How did you find out without a death wish? DANI knew that people didn’t like people who asked questions about things they didn’t know about. She’d pried into too many terrorist cells accidentally which led to her capture in Iraq.

Telling off Eme’s dad probably hadn’t been the best idea, but being wrapped up in being a werewolf couldn’t be that much different than being consumed by an all encompassing fire. And her parents had still managed to find time to keep in touch with her life. Which reminded her, she needed to send her grandfather a birthday card. It would probably get returned like the last four. He might have disowned her when she wouldn’t be a diplomat or marry one, but family was family. He’d lost her respect by demanding obedience without even offering respect. Power and prestige meant even less to her after he’d disowned her, but family was important. Her parents had been so consumed by their love for each other that she was often ignored and overlooked, but they had made an effort to include her. Eme’s dad had power and prestige as a werewolf, but he’d failed to attempt to include himself in Eme’s life.

She didn’t know if she had screwed up by telling him off, but it was too late now. She believed fairytales could be real, but she didn’t KNOW what she would need to survive learning which ones were real and HOW to interact with fairytale creatures. Who did you ask without risking death? Man, why had she lost her death wish now? And she certainly couldn’t start thinking about a family and kids now. Good thing John wasn’t looking for serious right now because she was going to learn which fairytales were real even if it killed her.

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Bear Diplomacy

Indebted to a Changeling, befriended by a coyote, having given terms to a werewolf leader of when she would quit baiting him and planning to meet with a vampire…her grandfather would be proud of her. DANI was finally embracing her diplomatic heritage albeit not the way her grandfather wanted her to. Human politics had never really interested her, but the politics of the supernatural that was a different story. She got the impression that they were a life and death game for power instead of just the search for the upper hand. Since she’d given up her death wish, she’d have to learn quickly if she wanted to survive. She was woefully untrained and swimming in dangerous waters with killer reefs without proper equipment.

She could blame the guy sleeping in her bed for bringing politics back into her life, but it was her lack of action that was the true reason. She’d lived behind the camera detached from everyone for so long that she had let him get hurt. She wanted to make things right and to do that, she had to learn the politics. He kept everyone at a distance instead of detaching himself. Something had changed in him since the photograph she’d found in his room had been taken, but she had changed in just two days. DANI accepted that she needed to keep her heritage and childhood lessons beside her instead of her camera if she wanted to protect those she cared about.

And she did care; she had befriended people in Georgetown and SoDo. She would risk her life for those she could call friends and for their families. Her fierce loyalty to her family in spite of being disowned apparently transferred to friends. She would probably hear about it if people figured out that she would protect them like they were her cameras. She’d always been accused of being a mother bear about her “cubs”. Who would have thought she’d live up to her heritage tattoo?

DANI put the photograph standing up the way it should be displayed and left the room. Sleep was elusive tonight so there was no reason for her to be inside. She walked downstairs and went outside to sit on the porch and search for Ursa Major and Minor in the night sky. She saw the coyote laying on the porch and gently scratched Cassie behind the ears as DANI sat down on the edge of the porch.

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Unawaken after the Duel

DANI sparred with Cassie under Stewart’s watchful eye. Cassie was still fighting the demons left from being tortured by vampires, but she had agreed to help DANI learn to fight supernatural speed. Cassie probably knew it had been an empty threat with solid need behind it that led her to be here, but she came anyway. And a warm coyote was always welcome to curl up with DANI to keep nightmares away.

It had been two months since DANI saw her life as over. When Ari went down in the duel that DANI had baited an admission from a vampiress to start, DANI had known she was dead. And then the vampiress’ head had exploded with a shot from out of the building. DANI had gone to Ari and found no pulse, no signs that he was alive, but then he had willingly became of a vampire so why would he have been alive?

Ari had given himself to a life or unlife that repelled him to bring peace. DANI had gone along with his plan knowing that setting a vampiress up would mark her for death. Not that her own actions wouldn’t have been enough to do that. She expected death to come looking for her, but she would not go down without a fight. DANI might just be a lowly mortal, but she played politics with supernaturals. She was in over her head, but proud of who she was and determined to keep Georgetown safe even if it cost her life.

DANI tried to focus, but knew Cassie could tell her mind was wondering. The sun was setting; would tonight be the night Samuel or Ari ventured to return? She still had Ari’s stuff including a picture of his vampiress sister. Samuel had wanted his sister to think he was dead. Everyone thought he was dead, but undead was more like it. Fallon knew and Cassie probably did too. DANI had turned to Fallon for help because she knew she could not protect one of his blood without his help. When Eme changed into a werewolf like her father, she would probably know too.

DANI still did not know how to lie (convincingly or otherwise), but had learned how to veil the truth. She had been marked for death because of not knowing when to stop talking and yet had learned to be political in her answers. A fair trade of information was apparently not encouraged in supernatural politics. She wondered what price they would charge to tell Ari and Samuel about their sisters. She was glad she had gotten Cassandra settled into the university under the watchful eye of a fellow member of the Accord. Tom might be mortal, but he accepted that bad stuff would come to his neighborhood if Cassandra got involved in weird stuff.

DANI should have anticipated that one. She groaned as she took Cassie’s hand to get up from where she had hit the floor. “Good throw. I think we need to call it a night. My dog likes me in by dark.” And it’s safer that way for both of us. At least Fallon isn’t calling every night anymore to make sure Cassie’s at my place. I wonder how long she is going to sleep in coyote form in my bed before she decides to talk.

It was late spring and dusk was settling into night as DANI pulled up to Eme’s. Her new neighbors were home. How long would it take Mallory to realize that they had grown up in the same circles of society? DANI had sunk her inheritance into chasing the next deadly adrenaline high, but she had made a career and name for herself instead. Mallory might connect the dots at some point, but Harmony was too young to know of DANI. It didn’t matter; DANI had left high society behind her.

John, Cassie and Stewart had been her stabilizers these past couple of months. Routine and training had grounded her, but she couldn’t seem to keep expecting something supernatural to come her way. John, Cassie and Stewart had even surprised her for her birthday, but it hadn’t distracted her from the promises she had made the Fates if she lived beyond the duel. She had honored her word by learning her grandfather’s native tongue and to fight for Georgetown. She was even liaisoning with Gordman until Ari learned how to “control his baser instincts”. She wished there was someone she could talk to about how to protect people from the doom she had brought among herself.

DANI caught a glimpse of the guy she had seen a few times and wondered who he was working for. Was he going to be the one to bring her death? Her death was being planned on the supernatural scale. She was mortal and had thwarted plans and played politics well above her station. Summer Solstice was coming up and the change of seasons seemed to be a key political time for supernaturals. Someone would make a move soon and she wondered if the guy would be that person. An attempt on her was a given and knowing the politics of supernaturals, they would come at her through those she cared for and loved. Ari had been drawn into the center of the game because of his sister, but she had placed herself there. A plastic pawn amongst an elite game of political/dragon chess had no business falling in love, but she had…

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Moving Day

DANI carefully packed her framed photos that she wasn’t leaving in her studio. The picture of Ari and his sister went on top in case he came for it before she was totally unpacked at the old dockhouse. She had moved so often, but this time it was different. DANI had to choose what to leave here for a studio and what to take with her. The only thing that had separated her studio from her bedroom was a decorative screen. Her life had always been an open book for those who cared to read it, but now she had to learn to disguise who she was becoming.

She didn’t know what to think of Tam and Mal yet, but it had taken her time to trust Ari, Samuel, and Billie too. Billie had taken over the South Lost Pack not a week ago when Fallon brought things to a head with Cassie. Cassie had learned that she still had the protective streak in her, but still suffered the nightmares. At least, she was on her way back to being herself. DANI had warned Cassie that she would have to probably tell her cabal mates (Tam and Mal) about herself, but that she was still welcome to come sleep in her bed.

As John put it, DANI was working on becoming the poster child for the Accord which meant playing nice with Tam and Mal. It also meant putting up with Keven teaching her magic. The first day hadn’t been that good, but apparently no one’s first day as a mage was good. John had learned that he wasn’t losing her to the Accord part of her life anymore than she was losing him to the gun running part of his. She had even asked if he wanted to be more involved in it, but John wanted her to have something of her own. Apparently he had been afraid of losing her, but she was serious about her relationship with him. She had let him know that she loved him without actually saying the words, so who knew where their relationship would go now. He could be used against her, but he gave her a reason to hope and a reason to fight. Being a mage made her more of a threat to those she had run into and up against as a mortal, but it also meant she might live through it.

DANI had thought that she and Mal were being taken by the fae at the start of their awakening. The bear that changed into a man was straight out of a Russian fairytale, but he had given his oath and led them to her tower. The realm of Arcadia was so mystical and enchanted, while the higher realm was so crisp and militaristic. DANI was glad that it was Mal’s realm not hers, but talking with Joan of Arc while Mal went through her tower had been a once in a lifetime experience. The library with paintings of her realm had really called to DANI and she had wanted to spend time there, but had promised Mal she would be back. And DANI always kept her word as she had told Trucker when asking for his help in finding the changeling she had freed. Keven said that what happened in Arcadia was a metaphor for what happened on the mortal realm, but she hadn’t found that out before talking to Trucker. So, maybe the girl wasn’t a changeling, but DANI still hoped to find her.

DANI sealed and labeled the box and stacked it next to the others. John was going to help her load the jeep in an hour or so. She didn’t want to leave, but knew it was best if she did. Eme’s house was known by so many supernaturals. Part of that was DANI’s fault, but not all of it. Eme would be changing soon. The moon’s call was beckoning her and a territorial fight had broken out on her doorstep last week. Soon Eme would become what her father had tried to protect her from knowing and DANI figured her presence could endanger Eme. Werewolves were very territorial and DANI seemed to always find the weirdest of associates.

DANI looked over at the collection of weapons on display. Which ones should she take and which should she leave? The combat knife was already in her boot, but which were decorative and which were practical? The wrought iron knives and sword were going and the silver ones too. The Moorish bow was going; it had been a gift from the Bedouin prince. The katanas were going as she had gone shopping for them with Stewart. And her father’s father’s dress sword was going, but the others could stay. Oh, but she definitely wanted to get the chainmail. She had spent too many hours working on it with Christopher to leave it behind. She didn’t want to upset the changeling by leaving something they had both sweat many hours over to complete. The guns were going, no question there. The ammo was already packed.

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Ready to fix the past?

DANI fiddled with her new medallion. It wasn’t a traditional tool and Keven had questioned her on her choice. She had chosen to spend three days out of her week working with Christopher at the smithy. The first day had been explaining the design and creating the molds. Pouring the medallion and its matching coins had been done late that night. It took two days to do all the inlay work. They had done the bronze fire first and the silver “angel” second. Christopher had polished them and coated them with something to seal them after adding his own edging. The coins were smaller than the medallion, but all had the star on the reverse side. She wasn’t sure why the design had called to her, but it had when she was doodling one day. The fire was probably tied with her magical name and her grandfather had always called her angel in Russian, so maybe there was something there. Today, Keven was showing her how to dedicate her medallion as a magical tool, a shield of sorts.

In two days, she was going back in time to when her parents got married. She knew where to avoid them because she had been taken along on their fifteenth anniversary trip and rededication of their vows. It had also been the last time she had been to the summit of Mt. St. Helens. It had been there where she had gotten the idea to go surfing or boarding on lava flows and she had just been nine at the time. Ten years later she had gone lava flow boarding. Her parents had often told the story that it was a sign that their love would always be the all consuming fire that had consumed their lives. It seemed like she would get to see how destructive that fire could be to others; she knew how destructive it had been to her life.

DANI smiled just a bit at that. Her love life wasn’t that fiery, but it was what she desired. John had accepted that she wanted to keep some overnight stuff at his house and had even gotten her her own helmet. They had been dating over nine months now and while there hadn’t been overt declarations of love, their actions showed their commitment to each other. She spent at least three nights a week at John’s it seemed like. And the guys at the club just accepted her flirtatiousness for what it was. That’s what probably helped when she’d had to let John know she was going to flirt with Keven to keep people from coming after John to get to her. There was more to her than most people knew and John definitely knew where her heart belonged even if the words hadn’t been said.

Mal and Tam were growing on her, but they hadn’t really connected. Hopefully the mission they were going on would bring them together as a cabal. Right now she was more connected to Eme, Cassie, Stewart and even Christopher than she was to Mal and Tam. Part of it was she didn’t know what role she was to play in this group. She had been the politician and social type with the watch, the observer with the marine unit, and the daredevil in college. She was the oldest of the three of them, but Tam was the elder as Awakened went. Her role wasn’t clear and she wouldn’t have the connections for their first mission that she had here.

The Mage Council meeting hadn’t clarified her role for her. Other than being bored enough to solidify Keven’s image as a playboy. It had showed her that Mallory was more caring than she let on. DANI wouldn’t have agreed to the carriage if it hadn’t been for Mal. DANI had just smiled when Mal told her the driver would take Harmony for a ride when they got home. Tam had taken Molly to his club in Georgetown and DANI had been dropped off in SoDo, so the sisters had gotten to share that time alone. Mal hadn’t been out as often as she would have expected since they moved. Mal had been curious as to how DANI had gotten to the point of two of her boxes being moved into John’s. They had just been clothes and some of her older cameras that she couldn’t get film for anymore.

DANI looked up as the bank manager approached. Her request had been a touch on the strange side, but she was DANI after all. She greeted him and smiled when he suggested they go back to his office. DANI had been in three days ago and had explained that she had been commissioned for a period photo shoot and she was being paid to make it as accurate as possible. So, what she had requested from the bank manager was pre-1980 cash and coins. Big bills were less circulated, so he had been able to find more of them than coins and small bills. DANI traded her $1000 in modern currency for $1000 in pre-1980 currency. She smiled as she headed out the door, “Now let me know when Susie gets out of that cast and I’ll set up an appointment to do her senior pictures. No charge for the session or the first 50 prints.” Some days it paid to be one of the few photography studios still open in Seattle.

DANI got into her jeep and checked the sun. It was late enough she could go see Keven. He definitely was not a morning person. DANI ran her mind through the list of stuff she was taking. Weapons, a couple of pairs of clothes, cash, and the old duster she had found in a thrift store during high school. Sara had loaned her the armor she was taking and she had her arrow badge. She ought to get her old Nikon from John’s. She could get film for it and play the role of tourist a bit better during her mission. No one paid attention to tourists with cameras.

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Premission Jitters

Mallory finished putting the last of her clothes in her backpack a few nights worth of changes, the essentials for a few days away from home, some study material, one switch blade, and next to her bag on the bed was her leather armor and sword, everything she was going to need to do the job. Mallory couldn’t help the feeling of jitters that was sitting in her stomach this was their first assignment after all. If it wasn’t bad enough that Philip had made sure she felt responsible for bring back all of her friends back alive they were apparently responsible for saving a war hero from being killed by some unknown threat.

Mallory looked down at Philip’s bracelet hanged on her wrist a little large but she had managed to make it fit but it still seemed unlike Philip to give her something. At first Mallory had believed that Philip had not liked her and was being mean just out of spite or something, taking her to SoDo to scare and humiliate her just because he could. She had pushed herself so hard just to wipe that smug disproving look off his face she was determined to show him she was not just some little scared girl as he said she was. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago before the Council meeting and over two months of training that he had suddenly changed after she had knocked him to the ground in a sparring match, when he got up he was smiling and had simply stated she could watch his back from now on and all of his mean looks and comment had stopped and her training suddenly took a more leisure pace, but that night before she left he told her one last thing something she still wasn’t sure she was ready for. “Mal it’s your job you know to keep them alive, when things go bad its people like me and you who step up and defend those we call friends and that is why I’ve pushed you so hard, so that when you do step up you too will come back from the fight”.

Looking out for other was not something new to Mallory she had been looking out for and caring for her sister Harmony for the past two years, but Mallory just didn’t know just how she was too look after Dani and Tam. Mallory didn’t even feel like her two roommates really needed her. Dani had everything together and she seemed to thrive in this strange world of unbelievable things. The truth was that Dani had gotten Mallory through these past weeks. In reality, Mallory looked up to Dani and wished that she was as together as her older roommate was. Then there was Tam, who reminded Mallory of the star football player at the parties she was expected to support when she was still in school. Tam was the kind of guy she would have enjoyed having a fling with, but Mallory suspected that behind those sexy eyes was a determination and strength that was just waiting for a cause to stir them. Tam had the pull of personality that could make him a great leader if he had something to lead for and enough smarts to take care of himself if he wished.

Mallory picked up her bag after finishing putting on the armor and turned to head for her room door but as she did she noticed Harmony standing in the doorway staring at her. Harmony looked as if she was about to cry and that stopped Mallory in her tracks, her little sister rarely cried, “Sis what’s wrong?” Mallory asked almost instinctively as she walked up and took a knee to look Harmony in the eyes.

Harmony seemed to struggle to find her words for a few seconds before answering, “You are going to come back right? I mean, you’re taking your sword so this just is not some small job like you said.”

Mallory was taken aback by the fear in Harmony’s voice, “Of course I’m going to come back sis, but you’re right, I’m sorry I lied to you but my new work does have me doing to tough jobs.”

“What kind of jobs?” Harmony demanded, Mallory was always amazed at her sister’s determination and force of will when it came to getting answers to questions she wanted answered.

Mallory hated lying to her sister, but the truth was something that was far too dangerous for her sister to know and if there was anything Mallory was not willing to do in this world it was putting her sister in danger. “I told you, I’m doing security work on the side now and I have to go out of town for a few days to protect a guy from some people who might want to hurt him, but don’t worry it’s most likely nothing and we will just end up sitting around watching some guy’s house and bad TV and I’ll be back before you know it.”

At that Mallory gave her sister a hug kissing her gently on the check before standing to move towards the door once more and heading out to meet up with Dani and Tam who were waiting on her by now most likely. Mallory got about two steps before Harmony spoke up once more, “Mal will you wear this for luck and promise to bring it back to me.”

Mallory turned around to see Harmony take a pink ribbon out of her hair to hand it over, Mallory took it and started to tie her hair up with it as she answered, “Sure thing, and sis you better have a big meal ready for me when I get back okay, because I don’t know how I’m going to survive two whole days without your cooking.”

Harmony smiled as Mallory finished putting her hair up with the pink ribbon, which totally clashed with her dark colored attire, none of which mattered in the least to Mallory at that moment, just seeing a smile on her sister’s face was all she needed to make it through the next few days, no matter what was to came her way.

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Unexpected Sanctuary

The noise was loud, but in the corner that Mallory and Emazu, or ‘Zu’ as he was known here, sat in it was not so bad. They could even talk with one another without having to raise their voices if they sat close enough to each other, which they were sharing the bench they now sat on. The party was still the most unlikely place Mallory had thought they would have ended up tonight, and she had thought Tam had been crazy when he had suggested they hide here of all places. After the attempted ambush in front of the Science Lab Building, Tam had said they needed to find a new place to throw any other attackers of their trail, but then he had asked if they could get into Mallory’s and Dani’s Sorority. Despite her misgivings it seemed to have worked as no one had followed them here and it gave her an excuse to keep close to their charge Zu without raising his suspicions as he was so out of place here that she was like a godsend hanging out with him as she was.

Mallory could feel her face reddening as she realized that even if a threat had followed them here she wouldn’t even notice it because she just could not seem to keep her eyes off of Zu’s deep brown eyes as he smiled and talked to her. When had she started to notice Zu’s eyes and the softness of his smile and other such things? Had it been after Tam’s comment or maybe it had been before? When Tam had told her to take Zu under her care it had made sense due to her combat training and even Tam had said as much, but then he had added the comment about how he believed that Zu liked her. Mallory had been so surprised by the revelation, for one why hadn’t she noticed it she could usually tell when a guy wanted her and she hadn’t seen that in Zu the whole time they had been here. Mallory had been with her share of guys and could read them for the most part, many of them were much like the jocks that surround them now at the party, but Zu was so different he didn’t make passes or look at her in that hungry way all he did was stare at her eyes and smile in a cute shy way.

Mallory had spent the past hours just talking with Zu telling him about her parents, how she had to now take care of her sister Harmony and how she felt about Dani and Tam and he in return told her about his Teacher, his missing father and single mother and how the University was the only place he felt at home. Mallory was embarrassed when her eyes closed on her in weariness, most likely a combination of the soreness in her shoulder where she had gotten shot and the pain killers that were dulling the pain of that shoulder and when Zu saw this he spoke up. “Maybe we should go ahead and find a room for the night,” but then he realized what he just said and a look of shy horror came over his face and Mallory could feel her own face reddening.

Mallory didn’t understand why she was so embarrassed all of the sudden. It wasn’t like she had never heard such a line before or have fallen in line with such an invitation before either, but coming from Zu it seemed different. Zu finally broke the silence and he stood up, “I mean you need to get some sleep and so do I so maybe we should look into working out our sleeping arrangements for the night, Lorry.”

It took a second for Mallory to realize that he was calling from her to join him as he held out his hand, using her childhood nickname had seemed like a good idea when Dani had suggested they not use their real names, but for some reason Mallory all the sudden really wanted Zu to use her real name. Taking Zu’s hand, Mallory headed off to the room they had been told they could use for the night by the President of the Sorority. The room looked like a spare as it had no real furnishings other than two beds and dressers with lamps and a desk. Mallory moved over to the far bed and put down her bag and took her hidden sword out of her belt placing it on the dresser near the bed then she went about changing, trying her hardest to be modest in the process for Zu’s sake remembering how he had reacted to Dani’s previous immodesty.

Once finished, Mallory turned around to see Zu staring at her, but it was not hunger in his eyes but concern and she realized that her bandages where visible around her small night top. Zu reached into his bag that he had brought with him and moved towards her, “Sit and I’ll redo you bandages before bed.”

Mallory did as he asked looking down at her should to see that her old bandages where wet with a small amount of blood, but as Zu moved up next to her to change them out she also noticed that he was only wearing a shirt and briefs which showed his previously hidden muscle tone off very well. As he pulled her shirt back so that he could work she felt a flash of heat from his touch which stayed long afterwards even through the pain of her bandages being changed. Zu worked with quick skill to change her bandages and as he finished he looked up into Mallory’s face with those deep brown eyes and heart beats passed with them both not looking away from each other’s eyes. Mallory wanted to move, to look away as deep down she knew that she was making a mistake, but then again Zu was nothing like anyone she had ever met before and all she wanted was to do the one thing she knew was not for the best. Mallory’s thoughts fought a civil war of want and rightness for what felt like eternity, but then all those voice were put to silent death as Zu bent forward and kissed her with those soft cute lips of his.

The kiss was passionate but not rough, soft but not suffocating and it lasted so long but was over far too quick and as Zu moved away she knew that her face must have shown her shock at the kiss. As he looked at her, he looked scared and then looked away before standing and moving back towards the other bed. Mallory want to reach out for him, to say something, to stop him but then a voice told her that this could not be, but at the same time her heart screamed out in desire. Mallory starred in sadness as Zu laid down with his back to her before speaking up, “Good night Lorry and please take care of your shoulder for me.”

Mallory could hear his fear in his voice and she could feel herself starting to cry so she quickly responded while she still could without sobbing, “Sweet Dreams Zu, and I will for you.” and with that she crawled into bed as far away from Zu as she could get so as to stop herself form doing what her mind told her was a mistake and what her heart told her was the only right thing to do.

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Arrows for You Zu

It had been a roller coaster like no other than brought them back in time. Tam knew his woods and had found them a quicker way out than straight. DANI had been focusing on direction, not on pathways or trails. Gatewood had changed a lot in 32 years, but people were still polite enough. DANI was glad she had worn her good combat boots that were comfortable for walking. Being back in jeans made her more comfortable, but her two bullet wounds still hurt a bit when she had tugged them on after Zu’s latest magical healing just before they started towards the Council meeting place.

Zu hadn’t been that accepting of them straight up, but the Arrow badges had eased the way. Lucien of the Alki Woods was a master Arrow who knew Tam’s grandfather. Hopefully not well enough to ask him about Tam was the only concern. Talking geek again had been good and Chad’s 3D chess set was awesome. Zu was predictable like most of the guys in his frat and always did the same thing. It had been late when they went to the science lab and they’d been there four hours when they left. An ambush by four mage-hunters would have ended Zu then and there.

DANI had gotten directly in the line of fire from the sniper as the three others closed in. The sniper had shot her in the leg and the gent with the assault rifle had laid into Mal’s shoulder pretty good. DANI had waited until Zu moved into the building and had gotten shot by the gent with the assault rifle in her other leg for her trouble. She’d been in enough fights to know she was hit bad, really bad, and it was better to be in melee combat when you brought a knife to a gun fight. She had closed in the on the guy with the assault rifle who Tam had hit with an arrow. She had needed that rifle to get the sniper. She had seen Mal lay into one of the guys with her sword as she was positioning the rifle. Zu and Tam had taken down the third guy and she had gotten two shots off at the sniper. DANI didn’t know if both had hit, but at least one had. Zu had taken her multitude of scars in when he had patched her up, but she guessed it was because he was embarrassed by her lack of dress. Zu was definitely not a ladies’ man, and DANI had done her best to keep him on edge yesterday. Her train of thought was keeping him on edge might save his life and it fit with her role.

Hanging out at her sorority’s house had been the best place to hide Zu, but it had brought back a lot of memories for her. Zu had thought Tam’s suggestion to change locations meant going somewhere. And she had agreed with Tam that changing routine was a better disguise. Zu would never have gone to their sorority and so it was the best place to stay the night. DANI had played the role of security just like she had in her own time in New York. She had flirted and blended in as much as she could, but had kept an eye on Tam, Mal, and Zu. Tam had gone upstairs with Francine who looked very familiar, but she couldn’t place. Mal and Zu had gone to the room the sorority had extended to them. DANI had hung out on the couch by the door with the president of the local chapter. The couch was better for bullet wounds on the legs than a bed.

Flirting with “The Dez” made her a less memorable Angel than if she had taken offense to his attitude. Today was the day they were supposed to protect Zu and there were a couple of ways that his destiny could be destroyed. One was to take him out after the Council meeting to dishearten the Mages of Seattle and leave the Arrows in disorder. The option the terrorists she was familiar with would take was to take him out when he was preparing for the Council meeting. Including her, Tam, and Mal; there were nine Arrows in Seattle and only three of them knew the importance of protecting Zu. They had to keep Zu alive all day to keep their time line in order. DANI expected trouble at the Council meeting place and additional trouble after if they succeeded.

DANI hated it when she was right, but hopefully this would be the last attack on Zu today. Three on the balcony, one over to the side, and at least three circling around were all that she had detected. She wasn’t totally better from their last gunfight with these people, but it was her mission to make sure that Zu fulfilled his destiny of rallying the Arrows. Mallory was falling for Zu and he for her, so their emotions could get in the way. She had fourteen shots to get into melee range. And the Mage Council was on their way…

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