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27 July 2009 @ 08:42 pm
"This is ridiculous." Crowley hissed.

"Oh, I don't know. I don't think it's all that bad. I mean, these were our first forms here, after all."

"Speak for yourself, angel. You've gained glowing skin and lost twenty pounds. I've gained scales and lost my favorite shape!"

"Have you tried changing back, dear? Like you did before, at the manor."

"I've tried that, twice. It won't work."

"Well I suppose that you'll just have to adjust, until Adam turns us back."

Crowley hissed, and squeezed his body tighter around the angel's neck. If nothing else, at least he was in a comfortable position. And would get some amusement from watching the angel explain to everyone why he was walking around with a snake wrapped around his shoulders.
27 July 2009 @ 06:58 pm
Stas ran his hand over the shirt he was wearing - clean for a change, and brand new at that, but suitably plain. The coat was a little strange looking by comparison, but one couldn't expect much different when dropping in on the local freehold with such short notice. Truthfully he'd been hoping for something dark, or long and dark, and dramatic. The look of a man with a long dark coat combined with the unsettling aura that was natural for him would have guaranteed that Stas would be remembered by the people he'd questioned. As it was, he would have to rely on just his Disquiet and his accent, which he laid on a little heavier than necessary.

"Still scoping the place out?"

The voice came from just over Stas' right shoulder where a lanky, scruffy looking man had appeared. Stas wasn't surprised; he'd felt Harlot coming.

"Yes. He hasn't performed yet, but the show will start soon."

"So.. are you going to share the plan, or leave in the dark on this one?"

Normally Harlot could have tried bribing any information she needed out of Stas, or 'threatened' to tell Mert, but the situation on hand was anything but a normal one.

Shortly after they'd become bonded, Stas had explained how his goal was to track down the man who had brought him to life. There had been a number of years and more than their fair share of distractions since then, but Stas' goal had never changed. And now, he was a mere half a parking lot away from it.

"We are going to go in, have a seat, drink a few beers, and then leave before he is finished."

"Ahh, I see. Good plan."

There was a moment of total silence.

"And then what?"

"That's it."

"You've waited years to find this guy, and all you want to do is watch him play a little and leave?"


Harlot was quiet and looked from her partner to the bar-slash-restaurant-slash-music venue just up ahead.

"Why?" she finally asked.

"We have been going from place to place asking a lot of questions, yes? And we have not been very friendly about it. We did that to be noticed. Tonight his people will see us in the audience and we will leave shortly after they do. They will remember us, and they will mention us to him. We will play these sort of games until he decides to find us for himself."

Stas stopped to look over at his familiar, encased in a human man's skin. The emotional frequency shared between the two of them immediately dialed down from a calm and steady determination to a rather tired sort of one.

"He created me, and he gave me this name, and yet he wanted nothing to do with me? He could not have even told me what I was, or how to live this way?" He shook his head. "I am tired of chasing after him, Harlot. Let him hunt after us, for a change."
27 July 2009 @ 06:30 pm
Haine sighed as he looked ahead at the grungy, beat down building where Badou had said he was heading.

Why was he here, again?

Aside from the fact that Badou had likely gotten himself in a shitload of trouble, anyway. Take away his smokes, and the guy was pretty impressive, but give him one simple job and he would find a way to complicate things. It was practically a guarantee.

'There's more of those kids in there. You know, the ones who went missing.'

He could hear Badou explaining the situation to him, a couple of hours ago back at Buon Viaggio.

'Pretty sure they're gonna get sold into prostitution, like the rest. But if it's not that, it's probably drug running, or both.'

Haine's memory flashed back to the first time he'd seen Nill, out on the street and in the custody of those kind of men. Then it skipped forward in time to her laughing, silently, at Badou's and Naoto's expense.

Mauser and Luger drawn, Haine walked up to the door and kicked it in. He'd make sure Badou owed him one for this.
27 July 2009 @ 06:28 pm
"How's everything look, Oswin?"

And by 'everything', Hector meant 'everyone'. Somehow they had gone from being a small band of friends setting out together, to being their own mercenary company and they seemed to be steadily growing. It was hard for Hector to keep track of who was who and their comings and goings by himself anymore. Lyn was usually a big help in that area (not that he'd ever let her know that) but in their last battle she'd been wounded and was recovering by hanging back with the supply caravan. Eliwood was, understandably, preoccupied with thoughts of his father, whom they'd set on this journey to find. That was how Oswin came in handy. Hell, if he was going to follow Hector around the whole time, he might as well.

"In better shape than yesterday, Lord Hector. There's still some minor injuries, but nothing to stop the company from moving out today."

"Good. Let everyone know we'll be leaving in an hour."

Oswin gave a short bow, all that his armor would allow him, and left to fulfill his young lord's orders.

Already packed and ready to leave, Hector picked up his axe and fished a whetstone out of his bag. He took a seat next to his friend, who was immensely busy staring off into space, blue eyes fixed on nothing in particular as his bag's intended contents lay out on the ground before him.

"You might want to finish that." The Ostian began sharpening his weapon as he spoke. "Oswin says we can get outta here, finally, so I told him to have everyone ready in an hour."


"Hey, you listening?"

Silence, still.

"Eliwood." Hector emphasized, grabbing the other's shoulder lightly.

"Yes? What is it?" the redhead snapped back to the present.

"You tell me. For once, I'm not the one daydreaming."

"I'm sorry, Hector. I've just been thinking about everything that's happened already."

"And, lemme guess, you're worried?"

Eliwood gave a small smile, and started gathering up items to place in his bag. "I guess I was pretty obvious this time, huh?"

"Every time. You know you can't get anything past me."

"Except when we spar, you mean."

"Not even then!"

"If you recall, our last duel was my win."

"We had to break the split at some point."

Eliwood laughed. "But there is no split! Fifteen wins are mine now, versus your twelve."

Hector grinned, and lifted his axe. "If that's how you feel, then how about a rematch?"

"Should we do this so soon to when we'll be setting off?"

"A little exercise never hurt anyone. But, if you're too tired after, you can ride back in the caravan with Merlinus."

Hector's goading worked, and Eliwood grabbed his rapier, intending to make that smug look on the axeman's face disappear. For his part, Hector was already counting the match as a victory, of sorts. Anything he could do to lighten his friend's worries, even by only a little, was worth doing.
27 July 2009 @ 05:02 pm
It was late; she was tired and frustrated. Nothing seemed to be going the way she needed them to - not anymore, anyway.

At first it was just little things: she lost her cell phone, the bills got paid a little late, she could never make it to a meeting on time. But then it kept escalating: her car was stolen, her apartment caught fire, she became pregnant and couldn't find the father to tell him. And now, worst of all, her muse was gone.

She made her living with fire and metal, creating strange and wonderful works of art either by her own design or her client's commission. But lately the spark had left her. She also made ordinary things - shelves, drawers, cabinets - and it was these that were putting food on the table now, as the well was dry. They had been doing so well on their own before. If only she could find her muse again...

Kali removed her protective mask and looked up at the large piece of metal with something that resembled hope.

She was met with silence.

Silence, and soft moon beams shining in through the open windows, illuminating the large grey slate that was to be her latest work. Unfinished, and uninspired.


A little voice, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, had wandered out of bed to join her.

"What's wrong, baby?" Kali set down the blowtorch and removed her thick safety gloves. "What are you doing up so late?"

The little voice wandered over to his mother's piece of work, unfinished and uninspired, and tilted his little head.

"What's it gonna be, Momma?"

"I don't know yet, sweetie."

He stared at it a moment longer, then walked to his mother and wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his face into her stomach.

He was going to be tall, Kali thought to herself. Tall, just like his father was.

She knelt and picked the boy up, pretending to strain with the effort, and was rewarded with the sound of giggling.

"Oh, so you think that's funny, hm? Then how about this?"

Giggles turned to laughter as Kali tickled the squirming boy, all the while carrying him back towards the bed in the next room. Becoming a mother had demanded that she acquire such skills as these.

At the foot of the bed, she ceased her attack and gently plopped her son down on the mess of sheets and pillows and comforters.

"Aw, Momma."

"No, 'momma'ing me. It's late, and you should be asleep."

He sat up. "But Momma-"

"No buts." Kali seated herself on the edge of the bed, and leaned over to kiss the boy just under his mess of soft dark hair. That, too, was just like his father. "Let me worry about bills, and food, and money. You worry about being too tired for school tomorrow because you were up this late instead of sleeping. Now go on." She stood to pull back and straighten some of the covers on his side of the bed. "Get up here and get some sleep."

The boy did as he was told, shimming under sheets and scooting close to a second small body, his brother, asleep since their bedtime hours earlier. He closed his eyes, as if to sleep, but opened them again as soon as Kali made to leave the room.


"Yes, Bran?"

"I believe in you. Tommy does too."

Kali smiled, feeling her chest warm with love at her son's words. She sat on the edge of the bed once more and brushed a bit of hair out of his face before placing another kiss on his forehead, and then one on his brother's.

"Thank you, sweetheart, but the real thing you should believe in is art. If nothing else in the world, know that I love you, both of you, with all my heart, and that you can always, always, believe in art. Where there is art, there is a way."

He didn't quite understand what it all meant, she knew, but one day he would, and Kali wanted to make sure that he knew so that he would always remember.

She sat there a while, humming some obscure tune, until the two boys' breathing matched and both were soundly asleep.

Kali stood then, and made her way back to the main room of the apartment. She put back on her gloves, fitted her safety mask, and picked back up her blowtorch. She had felt uninspired before, unable to create, but maybe that was because she had been looking for 'it' in the wrong sort of places. Maybe, for just a little while, she had forgotten the right way of things.

"I love my sons with all my heart." Kali told the large piece of metal. "And I believe in this; I believe in my art."