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Welcome to Miami / Rain in Spain

 
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:22 pm    Post subject: Welcome to Miami / Rain in Spain Reply with quote

1 July 2016

“You sure you’re good?” Nica had asked Will at least six times since stepping through the portal. Though he assured her each and every time, she couldn’t help but worry. It wasn’t his first time but this one was different. Nica was different. To answer, he kissed her. Once then twice on the mouth and a third time on the crease that lined her forehead, his hands cupping either side of her face.

“Let’s do this.” He said softly.

Behind them, Daniel and Niamh loaded overstuffed bags into the open trunk of a cherry red convertible. Nicanora hadn’t the slightest idea of what sort of car it was aside from “red convertible” but the delight in Will’s eyes said that whatever it was, was exactly what he had been talking about when he initially told the lycanthrope that he wanted to ride in style when they came to Miami.

“How’s the sound system?” Will asked Niamh as he slung the last bag from his shoulder into the trunk’s compartment.

“Passable.” Coyote coy grin and promises of more, Niamh’s expression gave away far more than her words would. “That’s the last o’ yer stuff, aye?”

“Hardly inconspicuous, don’t you think?” Nica folded her black clad arms and tried not to frown at the sight. But Will looked so excited that it tempered her ire in favor of worry instead. Daniel ticked a look over toward her, the agreement easily read in his expression.

“Call it a righ’ proper Miami welcome. B’sides, we’ll be droppin’ the twins at Church then goin’ on our merry way, right?” Niamh pulled the trunk’s lid down with a hard slam then swung around the driver’s side of the car to climb in the front seat.

“Nicanora,” Daniel said quietly, catching her before she went to join Niamh in the car. “Are you sure you won’t come with us?”

Nica’s breath caught in her chest but she recovered with a lick of her lips and a nod of her head. “I’m sure, Daniel. I only came back to see you and Dia off and to see my father. Then we’ll be going back to Rhy’Din.”

Daniel seemed disappointed by her answer but for once he didn’t argue. He nodded as well and gestured for her to continue on her way.

“Let the round lass sit up front, the rest o’ ye can figh’ o’er the back seat.” All long legs, Niamh scrunched herself in to the front seat and made sure it was forward as far as possible to afford them as much room as she could in the coupe’s back seat.

The trio that was Will, Nica, and Daniel exchanged a number of unsure looks before they crammed themselves into the back seat like sardines, Will behind Niamh, Daniel behind Lidia, and Nica stuck in the middle. It was awkward to say the least. Will was all gold and smiles, sandy blonde and light shaded cotton in the Miami sun while Daniel was dark and stoic, drenched in black from throat to toe. The temperature hovered near the triple digits and was easily pushed above it when the heat index and humidity were factored in. The Nephilim were used to it but Will’s forehead was beaded with sweat only a few miles into the drive to the Institute.

Miami’s Institute didn’t sit in Miami proper but rather in the suburb of Coral Gables. In the same vein as many other Mediterranean Revival style buildings in Coral Gables, the institute had once been a grandiose Spanish Renaissance Roman Catholic church. To passing Mundanes, it was an old, derelict building kept behind high, wrought iron fencing, owned by some negligent businessman or other in New York. Or was it Los Angeles? Maybe London? The stories varied but the result was the same. They stayed away. It was dangerous and while it surely brought down the value of the surrounding buildings, it was at the very least hidden mostly from view by the tall reaching fences. To those with the Sight, it was a beauty to behold. It reminded Nicanora of Madrid, a taste of home. Never was she surprised that Gregorio had picked this place of all of his options.

The last time she had stepped foot within the Institute, Christopher had been alive. Now if she were to do the same, the likelihood was high that she would be turned over to the Clave for questioning. It was probable that the exact same thing would happen to Daniel and Lidia once they made it inside unless David and Paola had kept it quiet that the twins were returning. Doing so would compromise David’s career and went against everything that the Nephilim had pounded into their heads but sometimes, Nica hoped, blood was thicker than an oath. After thirty minutes of small talk and awkward silences, the convertible pulled up to the curb outside of the Institute.

“Cool place, killer landscaping. Surprised such a well kept place is considered inconspicuous, figured you’d go for dark and foreboding or something.” Will commented, jarring Nica from her thoughts to shoot him a curious look. On the other side of her, Daniel did the same, a thick brow inching upward to sit high as Nica looked back to him. He grimaced slightly then climbed out of the back to get the door for his sister and to relieve the coiled tension that had kept them packed together in the back. Lidia, seven months pregnant and miserable in the Miami heat, hauled herself to her feet and turned an apprehensive look toward the Institute. Daniel went around to the trunk to get their bags and Nica leveraged herself from the back seat to climb up into the front. It gave her a chance to pause long enough to hug Dia.

“Everything will work out,” she murmured beside the woman’s ear. Lidia clung to her for a few seconds longer before letting go.

“It wasn’t for nothing,” Dia intoned softly. “Be careful, Nica.”

“I will. I promise.” Nica paused, hesitating before she pried the silver ring from around her right hand’s middle finger. She had been wearing it for so long that she had tanned around it, a thick band of paler skin proving where the ring had been for almost six months. “I… I want you to have this back… for luck.”

“Nic…,” Dia’s stormy gaze brimmed behind a rapid shuttering of lids and lashes to try and hold back the torrent.

“He’d want you to have it. I should have given it to you sooner…,” Nica admitted. Who was she to deem Lidia undeserving when Christopher had thought differently? She pressed it into Dia’s shaking hand and curled the woman’s swollen fingers around it. “Good luck, Dia.”

“Nee! I love this song, turn it up!” Will’s hand banged a few times on Niamh’s headrest. The were laughed and rolled the radio’s volume dial up until the smooth rhymes of Will Smith’s Miami poured from the speakers at an increasingly cringeworthy level. “Me and Charlie at the bar runnin up a high bill. Nothin’ less than ill, when we dress to kill. Everytime the ladies pass, they be like Hi Will.”

His voice pitched high and everything. At the exact time the Institute’s front double doors swung open to produce a looming figure in the doorway. David Blackwater made Daniel look small even from afar, which was saying something considering Daniel’s hulking size. The Blackwater twins both visibly stiffened and Nica sank into the convertible’s front seat, clumsily drawing up the hood of her jacket to shade her profile. The bouncing of the car said Will was in the back still dancing. Another sharp jarring also told her that Daniel had shut the trunk. Out of her periphery, she watched him scoop the handles of both his and Dia’s bags in one hand before ushering Lidia forward with a hand to the middle of her back. A second figure appeared in the doorway but didn’t stay there. Like her husband, Paola Blackwater was tall and imposing but that didn’t mitigate the motherly rush and wrap of arms around Lidia and soon Daniel too in a tightly packed and likely uncomfortable hug.

It was sweet even if Nica could still feel David’s hard gaze boring into her from afar. She sank further into her seat as Niamh pulled away and there she stayed until they were well away from the Institute and on their way to Hialeah.

“Bouncin' in the club where the heat is on. All night, on the beach till the break of dawn. I'm goin' to Miami. Welcome to Miamiiiiiii.”
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They parted ways with Niamh soon after their arrival, taking her back to O’Rourke Automotive, home of the Hialeah werewolf pack. Unassuming as far as businesses go, by day they acted as legitimate mechanics. In the off hours, their business was a little more… illicit. But the money was good and the building was secure so the hidden vaults used on full moons also did a good job of hiding any illegal activities. It didn’t, however, hide the peering looks that they received when they pulled up. Some glowered and glared while others looked at Nicanora with something vaguely resembling pity. Regardless, it was a lot of eyes on her that she definitely didn’t want. Niamh got out while Will scrambled to the front seat, giving the women a few moments to say their goodbyes.

“Ye goin’ t’ be alrigh’?” Niamh lowered her voice but Nica knew that all the eyes on them also had incredibly keen ears too.

“Always am, aren’t I?” One corner of her mouth ticked high, pulling her smile crooked.

“Some’at like that, yea’. Keep yer head down an’ yer nose clean. Lemme know if ya need an’thin’, got it?” Niamh pulled the shorter woman in for a deceptively strong armed hug. Her mouth found Nica’s ear for a low murmur. “Chin up, luv. You’ll pull through.”

“I already owe you more than you know, but thank you. So much.” Nica leaned back and fixed the Irishwoman with a small but genuinely warm smile. Lifting onto her toes, she pressed a bare lipped kiss to Niamh’s cheek then took a step back. “Take care of yourself, Nee.”

Niamh returned the smile, took a corresponding step back as well, and turned her head toward the open garage of the building. “Oi! Quitcher starin’ an’ get back t’ work ye worthless gobshytes.”

The human skinned wolves scattered and Nica laughed. “I’ll see ya, Niamh.”
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miami Beach was exactly as she remembered it, busy, bright, and beautiful. The beach outside of their hotel was packed but it didn’t keep Will and Nica from wasting the days away on hot sand and cool waters. Try as he might, Will couldn’t quite convince Nicanora to join him in the ocean, content as she was to simply watch from the shore.

“I will uppercut any shark that comes anywhere near you, I promise.” He said, tugging on the hip of her bikini bottoms as if it might persuade her. Instead she dug her feet into the sand more, shaking her head vehemently.

“Nope! Then you’ll piss them off and all of the sharks will come and it’ll be like that shark movie all over again.”

“Jaws?”

“No, Sharknado.”

“Fanny! We don’t speak of that atrocity!”

“It was definitely atrocious, that’s for sure.”

“Fine, if you won’t swim with me, let’s stop by that Cuban food truck I saw on the corner.”

“Deal.”
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Fancy digs.”

Nica was quiet, much like the building before them. While she didn’t dare venture to her old condo, curiosity drew her instead to Christopher’s. Unlike hers, the building had no doorman, so they easily passed the lobby and climbed the stairs to the fifth floor where his apartment had been. 537 was just as she remembered it, the 7 slightly off kilter next to the others. She leaned to listen at the door. The sound of a television and a woman’s voice were just distinguishable on the other side. They were in Christopher’s apartment, how could they?

Will’s hand touched to her shoulder, drawing her away from the overwhelming need to burst through the door and demand they leave. This was Christopher’s place, not theirs. He wove his fingers with hers and squeezed gently.

“You good?”

“No… not really…”

They returned the way they came but rather than go immediately back to the borrowed car, she instead led him around the apartment building to a row of garages in the back. Second from the end, she flipped up the plastic box covering a keypad and tapped in a series of numbers. With the final one, the garage door creaked, groaning as it lifted along its motorized track. Nica held her breath as it rose above eye level to reveal exactly what she had hoped for. Christopher’s Plymouth Road Runner sat parked, just as it had been the day he died, backed in with the front facing the garage door to make it easier to pull out. The walls were lined with vintage metal signs, traffic and advertisement both. Beneath them, Angelic runes had been etched into the garage’s walls to put a damper on the noise he had often made late into the night.

Behind her, Will whistled low. The car before him was hardly common and it was in pristine condition, restored to better than new. Just before he could brush a hand over the dust on the hood, Nica’s voice cut sharply through the air.

Don’t!” He stopped a fraction of an inch away and looked over to her. Her eyes were wide and even in the dim light he could tell they were glistening. Turning away from the car, he stepped wide around the bumper and wrapped her up in his arms. She buried her face against his chest as she steadied her breathing.

“I didn’t think it’d still be here. This was his baby, you know?”

“You want a minute or do you wanna go?”

“I… I think I want to go, please. I don’t know what I thought I’d accomplish by looking.”

“Closure maybe?”

“Maybe…”

Whatever it was, she hadn’t found it.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

5 July 2016

Three and a half sunny days stateside couldn't quite prepare anyone for the jarring Portal jump from Miami to Madrid. Conventional travel methods were for the birds anyways. While Miami cleaned up after Independence Day, Madrid was already in the midst of another sweltering day. Before long it would crest just shy of the triple digits before giving way to a balmy Spanish night. Sitting a scant six hours ahead, they left Miami early in the morning and brought with them their hangovers and baggage to Madrid just shortly after noon.

The barrio of Las Acacias was set within the Arganzuela district near the city's centre and as such was a prime location for the Madrid Institute. That, however, was not their destination. With the Clave still seeking Nicanora for questioning in regards to Silvano's death and the events leading up to it, she thought it best to steer clear of the baroque cathedral hidden away beneath layers of glamour and wards. Rather, they emerged in the middle of the parque de la Arganzuela, just out of view of the questioning eyes of mundanes playing soccer and walking their dogs. As the Portal snapped shut behind her, Nica sucked in a deep breath of air, her eyes closing as she savored the wash of familiarity that came with her surroundings. When she exhaled, she turned to make sure that Will was steady after the trip. Irrational worry, sure, considering it was hardly his first Portal trip and none so far had caused issue.

"And that is how you make a transatlantic trip in about ten minutes. Welcome to Madrid. You good?" With their baggage, they would have been slightly out of place in the park so she was more than a little intent on vacating the premises sooner rather than later.

"Last time I crossed the Atlantic," he quipped, even if she wouldn't get it, "it was in the belly of a C-130." A master of fitting large things in smaller spaces, it had appeared as though the paramedic had packed light, a medium sized duffle bag hanging from one of his shoulders. His free hand gave her ample posterior a reassuring squeeze before he was nodding.

"I'm good. Lead the way to Casa de Fanny." Will spoke, but his lapis blue eyes were darting about, taking in everything their surroundings had to offer.

"Did... it eat you?" She asked, one brow arching as she jerked up on one of her backpack's straps. Their course took them on a roundabout weaving path through the park before she veered left at the last moment for them to emerge on a busy main street. The sounds of the Manzanares River were dying behind them but as they approached the first of several major intersections, she paused to point south at the massive stone bridge that led to the southernmore points of the city.

"Bridge of Toledo. Built in the 1720's. Lots of people take pictures on it. So, here you go, oo, ahh, now you're a tourist." She deadpanned, taking a shot at cutting a bit of the tension that came just from being so close to home. Bootsteps continued on their way soon after, leaving both the park and the bridge behind them in favor of the densely packed thoroughfares of the city. "Glorieta de las Pirámides, alli. Sort of the gateway to the bridge, though it isn't much of a gate." More pointing came, mostly in passing, but she never lingered too long at any given point. A turn right took them down another thoroughfare, aptly named Paseo de las Acacias. Another roundabout turned them north. Then east. North again, east a little more, before finally diverting slightly south in just such a way that said the original path had been a whole lot longer than it had needed to be. Atocha was by no means a skip and a jump from Las Acacias but there they were at last. Eventually her path slowed along a treelined sidestreet that was far more narrow than the ones before. Her teeth worried at her bottom lip when she finally came to a stop in front of a towering building that dwarfed the others nearby. "Ah, well... here we are... you know, I thought I was going to be more excited..."

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with being a tourist." Will snorted and kept pace with her, all the while looking around. "And if you think it's that boring, there's always late night blowjob selfies on the bridge. To keep it classy and all."

Very little apprehension had been put on display during their short stay in Miami, with only small worries filed away during tense moments, but the closer they drew to their final destination, the more tension that coiled within the athletic musculature. Fearless to a fault, there was still something to be said about meeting the patriarch of a family branch of angelic assassins. Or so, Will thought. He paused just over her shoulder when they finally arrived, tipped his head to listen before giving her gentle judge. "It's home. Maybe it just needs some time to sink in."

"Sort of." She agreed quietly but didn't move forward. A wrought iron gate led to an old, but amazingly well kept, archway and beyond it, an open air courtyard offered further shade from the day's heat. "The Truecross family manor is actually just outside of Madrid, about halfway between Madrid and Toledo. My father just keeps this place for when he has Institute business to attend to."

Or when he had to meet his daughter's non-Nephilim boyfriend and didn't want to do so at the most sacred of familial grounds. Either way. Nica shot a look down both sides of the street, sucked in a deep breath, and pressed forward at last. The iron gate, set with an ornate Canterbury cross, opened at her touch. She propped it open with her foot and gestured Will through so she could close it behind him. The resounding click of the lock re-engaging was ominous enough, but not so much as the climb to the penthouse level on the seventh floor. Her steps slowed again, much like they had on the approach to the building to begin with, and she stopped short half a dozen feet before the open arch at the top of the staircase that would lead her home. "Just promise me that you won't hate me if this goes... honestly, if it goes as I'm expecting it."

See also: poorly.

"The home away from home." He nodded. "The perfect place to sternly disapprove of the witty, handsome, but woefully understood boyfriend. The plot thickens... like other parts of me when you touch me right." The banter was meant to relax her, to soothe the frazzled nerves, paired with their close proximity during the final leg of their journey. She led and Will followed, until she stopped and murmured a final warning.

"Nicanora," Will whispered against her cheek before kissing it. "We both know it's gonna be awkward, so we might as well make the best of it. Enjoy what we can."

"Something like that, yes." She too nodded. Her teeth relieved their pressure from her lip before it split under their weight and she turned into the quiet moment of affection to catch him with her mouth before he could go far. It was the soft sort of kiss that lingered longer than needed, anchoring her to his presence and his reassurances. Nica brushed a hand across his shoulder then finally ventured up the last handful of steps. No sooner had she crossed the threshold did a door just beyond the curve open. Warm light spilled into the dim hall, less fluorescent and more natural sunlight save for where it was blocked by the petite figure of a woman dressed in black.

"Renata!" Nica squeaked and for a brief moment, it was like she was fourteen again, coming home to an expectant keeper keen on getting the child of the house inside before her father realized she was out past curfew. Bags or not, she dashed across the last gap between her and the doorway and threw herself at the woman, wrapping the slight female up in a tight hug. An excited volley of Spanish flew back and forth between the two, punctuated briefly by breathy laughter and excited smiles. After a few moments, she turned back to Will, beaming.

"Renata, I'd like for you to meet my boyfriend, Will. Will, this is Renata, she's been with our family for a loooooong time."

"Longer even than you have, mija," Renata teasingly pinched at Nica's hip then extended a delicate but well worn hand, Marked on the back, in Will's direction. "Mucho gusto, Will. I've heard much about you."

The moment that followed wasn't his, but he revelled silently in it. Nicanora was soft with him, sure. Sometimes. Seeing the soft adoration heaped upon another did little to weaken his perception of the Nephilim. Instead, it only served to strengthen it. Dropping his bag, Will grinned like an idiot and enjoyed the rapid fire exchange of Spanish between both women. He even understood some of it.

"Hey, hey now," he finally piped up when Nicanora was pinched, pointing an accusing finger at Renata. "Don't damage the goods. I have plans for that hip later." The smile he wore ruined the accusation, the pointed finger turning into the slow curl of his fingers around the older woman's for a warm shake and then a kiss to the back of her knuckles. "I hope I prove to be worthy of whatever praise you've been told and that it outweighs the complaints."

It was a lot of tittering chatter about how Nica had passed Renata up in height and how she had surely grown even since the last time she saw her. The small things, they got to Nica in the worst ways. Case in point, the way Will cut the edge on his teasing in favor of a more gentle introduction, almost gentlemanly she could have said. Renata almost gave him a look of mock admonishment but as soon as Will let go of the woman's hand, Nica was hugging her again.

Who ever said that Nephilim don't hug?

The joyous reunion, however, was cut short by the curt clearing of a throat behind Renata. Nica's shoulders stiffened and she quickly let Renata go so she could look past the diminutive woman at the man behind her. In sharp contrast, Gregorio Truecross could not be said to be lacking in stature. It was quite clear where Nicanora had gotten her height from but even she looked short in front of the nearing man. Broad through the shoulder, his frame was hung with plenty of sculpted muscle that hadn't softened through lack of use in his older years. Somewhere between forty and fifty, the only indicator that it may have been closer to the latter than the former was a faint silvering of the dark hair at his temples. As expected, he was clad in black, though it wasn't Gear which relieved Nica if only a little bit. Deep set black Marks and silver scarring covered the visible skin of his hands and wrists and crept up and across his throat, stopping just shy of a jawline covered in a thin layer of well kept facial hair. While he wasn't visibly armed, Nica knew it likely wasn't the case in the least. After all, she had learned from the best.

"Papa...," she began softly. Renata took the opportunity to disappear, slipping away from the tenuous reunion and leaving Nica and Will there to contend with the patriarch of the house. Carefully Nica set her bag down just inside of the door and took two steps toward Gregorio. It was all she needed since he crossed the remaining distance and brought both hands up to cup her cheeks. He looked down at her, having not yet even looked at Will, and gently kissed her forehead.

"Anora, you're home," he said quietly, as if he didn't quite believe it. There was a softness to the careful way he touched her, like the woman wasn't a well trained warrior but rather a fragile piece of glass.

"At least for a little while, yes. I'd... I'd like you to meet someone..." She tipped a look over her shoulder then inclined her head slightly, a nod for Will to follow. "Papa, this is William St. Jude. Will, this is my father, Gregorio."
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a sobering moment.

If Daniel was the gold standard of what was expected of the Shadowhunters, then it was wise of him to be wary around the elder Truecross. Deference was rarely a matter of consideration for him but as father and daughter were finally reunited, it dawned on him that showing even the slightest bit of respect might be prudent. The pair, they were as similar as they were different, each little detail worth noting. Will drew in a deep breath as Nicanora finally turned their attention over to him, prompting him to set his bag down. A full smile was offered to Gregorio, one of his best, as well as an empty hand.

"It's a pleasure meeting you, sir. Nicanora's had some pretty amazing things to say about you." Amazing didn't always mean good.

Nicanora held her breath as she turned to one side in order to give Gregorio and Will room for introductions. It was a moment of truth of sorts, a make or break for the next two weeks while they were there in Spain. As Will stepped up and offered a hand to the older man, Nica turned her attention back to her father, expectant in the look she gave him. Please play nice, she implored, her head inclining slightly toward the paramedic. A ripple of tension ran along the defined line of Gregorio’s jaw but he extended his own hand to curl it around Will’s for a firm but brief shake. Unlike Renata, the back of the elder Truecross’s hand, though scarred, wasn’t Marked. His rough skin was a deep shade of bronze that made the silver lines of runes long past stand out against their aged canvas. Burnished silver wrapped his middle finger with a ring identical to the one that currently set upon Nica’s left hand middle finger. Up close, the deep brown of his eyes was broken up by slivers of gold vaguely reminiscent of the fractals that ringed Nica’s irises. He looked simultaneously older and younger than his forty-six years, the classically handsome lines of his face worn roughshod with minute scarring that even the best of healing runes couldn’t fully repair. The tight line of his mouth relaxed into something crossed between a smile and a grimace as he let go.

“Well met, Will St. Jude. Admittedly I’ve heard far less from my daughter about you. Last I had heard things weren’t particularly serious between you two, but yet here we are.” The half beat laugh was humorless at best and earned a scathing scowl from Nica. She stepped away from the men to retrieve their bags only to find that Renata had already snuck by to grab them.

“Funny how things change, aye Papa? Come on, Will. I’ll show you around.” Without giving either man an opportunity to object, she slipped her hand into Will’s to tug him away from her father. Gregorio pursed his lips as he looked after the pair.

“I expect the two of you will join me for dinner this evening?” His resounding baritone followed after them. Nica paused and turned her most dazzling smile over her shoulder at him.

“Of course, Papa. We’ll see you then.” He wasn’t protesting so Nica wasn’t going to give him an opening to do so. Instead she pulled Will around a corner and down a corridor, well away from the prying eyes and ears of her father. “I expect this will be the first of many apologies I offer you before the trip is over, but I’m sorry about him.”

"The world turns. Things change. Something good came my way and, for a change, I was wise enough to cling to it." Will's smile was wide and warm despite Gregorio's condescension, the grasp of his hand firm but lacking in any definitive machismo. He might have said more, but Nicanora's intervention pulled him from the conversation and the grip of the elder Truecross' hand. A sweep of lapis blue passed between the pair, as if he meant to comment, and ultimately bit his tongue in favor of the pretty woman's desire for a hasty retreat.

"Fanny," he assured her with a kiss when they were far enough away. "I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into when I agreed to this. Disapproving dad with high expectations. He's not gonna like me. We'll make due..."

"Doesn't mean I don't feel bad about it." She rolled one shoulder in a shrug, leaned into the kiss for just a few moments longer than needed, and continued to drag him down the hallway at a far less hasty pace. The labyrinthine corridors impressed just how large the apartment was and it seemed their destination was in the further corner of it all. It wasn't until she reached the door she sought that she finally slowed, trying the handle and finding it unlocked. Nica pushed it open and stepped inside. The bedroom beyond was ornately Spartan, if such a thing were possible, more museum than private abode. A four post bed with an intricately carved headboard and footboard dominated the room's space, its bedding crisp and perfectly made to the most militant of standards.

"Well, never thought I'd bring a boy to this bedroom, but here you go. Fourteen year old me's room." It was hardly a teenaged girl's room though. No posters decorated the walls, no pink or purple or really any color aside from black, white, and the shades in between. No trinkets or keepsakes sat upon the shelves that framed either side of the doorway, rather they were filled with endless rows of books. A single framed picture sat on an antique desk crammed in the corner. At the foot of the bed, Nica's bags had been set out neatly though Will's were nowhere to be seen. As soon as Nica realized it, she softly snickered. "And Renata evidently still thinks I'm fourteen. Your stuff is likely in the guest room down the hall."

"He's a dad. It's his job to hate me until I show him otherwise." The paramedic was taking it all rather well, all things considered. "We'll see what happens."

She dragged and he followed, his hand sliding down along her arm until his fingers were threaded between hers and they were clasped together. He observed as he went, taking what he could from what he saw, soaking up an atmosphere that was rigidly opulent. When they first slipped into the room, his let his gaze sweep around curiously, wondering at first if the room was his until she set him straight. "Oh. No sh*t? I had at least expected some gothic, armored My Little Ponies or a some G.I. Demonslayer action figures around here. But if it's a dirty trip down memory lane you're looking for..."

Will nudged her and grinned. "Obviously, you must still be Renata's little maiden fair. I get it."

"G.I. what now?" As Will dropped upon her a slew of sarcasm tinged mundane culture, she could only stare at him as if he had grown an extra appendage or some such non-sense. He nudged and she turned, wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him further into the room and shut the door behind him. Gently. Quietly. Because loud would draw attention.

"Mmmmm, no... no, she's well aware that's not the case. But that's a story for another time." She kissed him once, twice, thrice. Quick to punctuate it all. "We've got about two hours to kill before dinner. I can give you the grand tour or we can play hideaway from my father until then. Your call."

"We'll have plenty of time for stories." Each kiss was accepted with a more thorough use of his hand, sinking lower and lower until the Nephilim beauty's ample posterior was filling his hands. He walked her right up to the edge of the bed and paused there, grinning like a boy. "We'll have time for tours. Right now, maybe I want to just very thoroughly show my appreciate for the place you occupy in my life, Nicanora. You'll have to try to remain quiet, of course."

"Mmmmph, Will. We shouldn't." She protested though it lacked conviction. Her teeth played at her bottom lip, wriggling side to side to stave off the mischievous curl of her mouth. Her dark gaze darted toward the door and back to the paramedic then back again. "Really..."

"But we will, won't we?" He kissed her again, a lingering touch at the corner of her mouth. "Or you could just let me hold you. I could be happy with that."

Two hours could be spent just as well and so they were.
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Nicanora
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Down the hall and around a corner, the chime of a century old Grandfather clock announced to the opulent apartment that eight o'clock had arrived. Late for dinner stateside but early by Spanish standards. Ten minutes prior, Nica had reluctantly pried herself from the warm comfort of Will's arms and slipped away to the bedroom's adjoining bath area to smooth out her hair and freshen up her makeup. Five minutes prior to the sounding of the clock, she roused Will with a brush of her lips along the sensitive shell of his ear laced with teasing words that promised plenty of reward if he rose to the challenge of dinner that night.

Right as the clock rang it's eighth gong, Nica stepped into the dining room with her novio Americano. Much like the rest of the apartment, it was a tastefully grand room, full of rich woodwork and priceless artwork upon the walls. The centerpiece of the room was a long alderwood table lined with matching chairs along both sides lengthwise while a pair of more ornate seats were split between the head and the foot of the table's length. All in all, it could have seated a dozen people with plenty of elbow room. Tonight it was set for three and at the head, Gregorio rose to his feet as they entered. Though typically Renata would have joined them in the dining room, Nica figured her absence was due to the inevitable interrogation that was incoming. Maybe if they were lucky they'd make it to dessert before the proverbial meat and potatoes of the conversation occurred.

"Divide and conquer." She murmured softly under her breath as she saw the seating setup. The table's head set separated the other two settings, placing Nica and Will across from one another rather than side by side. It didn't surprise her but it did annoy her. Said annoyance was mitigated though at the sight of San Jacobos set out as an appetizer. Renata knew the way to her heart; through her stomach. So without argument, Nica rounded the table to take her seat on Gregorio's left, leaving Will to her father's right.

Nicanora sure knew how to make a guy relax.

Their vigorous relaxation exercises had served their purpose, that and the portal lag lulling the paramedic into a sleep that was a mixed bag of comfort and fitfulness. He had never been a deep sleeper, so the subtle promise from pretty lips roused him from his reverie with very little effort. A little bit of spit and polish in the bathroom and a change of clothes, and he was looking about as impressive as he was going to get, though Will had no illusions about how impressed Gregorio was going to be. That was to say, not at all, but when they entered into the opulent dining room, he was clad in neat grey slacks and a dark blue button down shirt. The Nephilim beauty's soft declaration was me with a mild snort before they were parted.

Not without some manners, he offered an ingratiating smile to the master of the house and lingered near the seat that was to be his, waiting for any invitation, no matter how small. He didn't look at Nicanora and instead kept his mildest and most attentive gaze on the elder Truecross.

Nica didn't wait for an invitation. Manners, schmanners. Though she certainly arched a brow when Will waited to be seated. As Gregorio also went to sit, he gestured with a sweep of his hand to Will's seat in an unspoken offer to take it. Once the trio were seated, a pair of black garbed bodies appeared from the swinging door that went to the kitchen. Neat and polished, much like everything in the flat, they were quick to fill drinks and add to the tapas set out on the table. Nicanora wasted no time in stealing bits of this and that for nibbling before lounging back in her seat.

It was quite the contrast really, prim and proper Will versus casually defiant Nica. If Gregorio noticed, he said nothing. Rather he turned his dark eyed gaze toward the paramedic and studied him for a few long moments while he drank then fluidly transferred the weight of his scrutiny to his daughter.

"I assume the trip went well?" The clink of his glass touching the table found a swift refill completed by one of the pair of servers.

"Well enough. We took the long way here, saw the sights, you know." Nica rolled a wrist in a vague motion.

"I'm pleased to hear that an expedient arrival was so high upon your priorities." As dry as the desert his tone was, he turned back to Will and finally verbally acknowledged him. "Are you much of a traveler, Will? Madrid has much to see though I'm unsure of just what sort of plans the two of you have."

Will's behavior spoke volumes of regard for the woman sitting across from him, who received a subtle, reassuring smile whenever she ventured a look his way. It turned a touch wry at Gregorio's questioning until the attention was shifted to him, putting him under the proverbial gun.

"I was," he answered honestly. "In another life. I traveled a lot for my job. A few dozen countries in a little less than ten years. Spain is a first for me, though."

"A... travelling paramedic?" Gregorio asked, glancing to Nica for confirmation. In the way that children are wont to do when their parents embarrass them, she closed her eyes and exhaled a sigh past pursed lips. When she failed to confirm, he looked back to Will to await an answer.

"Combat medic," he corrected him.

A scarred hand reached for his glass, the Marked left curving around it briefly before lofting it for a drink. His study of the American held for three moments exactly as he drank. By then, the silent servers were swapping out the tapas for bread and salmorejo, a cold tomato garlic soup akin to gazpacho. Nica could handle it if the conversation stayed surface level like it was but she doubted it would last long.

"That's right. I'm told you were in the mundane military service, yes? Did you enjoy it?" While it was digging a little deeper, Nicanora watched and listened carefully for the inevitable tipping point. For the time being she occupied herself with stirring a hunk of bread in circles through the thick puree.

"It was an opportunity and an honor." The words were the truth, if not entirely forthcoming. It was a new situation but not one Will hadn't entirely been warned about. His smile remained, unconcerned and unperturbed for the moment and continuing between sips of his drink. His focus never left Gregorio. "I was very good at what I did and a lot of good men and women went home alive because I was."

"I see." Gregorio acknowledged the answer though it was difficult to tell by his tone or countenance whether or not he deemed it acceptable. It was then that Nica cleared her throat to speak up.

"He's an incredibly capable fighter. In Daniel's stead we've trained together, I've found him to be more than satisfactory." She said with no lacking amount of pride. Her gaze darted aside to Will then back to meet Gregorio who was eyeing her with a perked brow.

"Your bias is showing, Anora." He said evenly. Without hesitation he continued. "Speaking of Daniel, I'm told that he is considering the Scholomance."

"Bully for Daniel. Did you know that Will was in something called the Special Forces? Niamh told me all about them, they're quite the big deal. Best of the best like our Centurions." Her chin lifted and she sat up further in her seat. For the most part, her food had gone untouched. The father and daughter pair stared at one another for a few uncomfortably long moments before Gregorio relented to look back to Will.

"Is that so? Pray tell why you choose to let such... accolades and training fall to the wayside in favor of what you do now?"

By then, Will's attention had been bouncing between father and daughter with the continued exchange. There was some humor to be found in it, if only for abstract reasons, but the harder Nicanora tried to prop him up, the more Gregorio seemed intent on finding something to passive-aggressively disapprove of. There was a pretense of being polite, of course, but the older man reminded him of a more refined Daniel, tempered by experience and more secure in his place in the world. When Nicanora delved a little deeper into his past, it was enough to make him grimace.

"I chose a different path," he said, unabashed. "I've never needed accolades. I did it because I was needed and it meant something to me. These things change, the need and meaning. I'm still saving lives. It's no less dangerous where I'm living now and I train as hard now as I did then, when necessary."

As the conversation progressed, so too did the give and take of plates brought and cleared by the servers. Seafood paella served to highlight a more customary take on Spanish cuisine, likely Renata's choice due to their visitor. It was positively delectable, at least in scent, but as it was served, Nica didn't touch it. The day's travel had her hungry but the brewing storm at the table meant fight or flight prevailed instead.

"Ah. Forgive me, it just feels as though it's a waste of potential and a disservice to those who taught you what you learned to not use it." Though his words were meant for Will, his gaze was upon Nicanora in a most pointed fashion. The weight of his study had drawn enough of her attention that even she missed the minute change in Will's expression.

"He is using it, Papa. Simply in a different fashion." Her spoon had been primly poised in her hand but a shift of her grip, subtle and subconscious, made it look like she was instead readying to stab someone with it.

"Nicanora," he said simply, inclining his head just enough to imply a less than credulous Really? "I'm merely asking, that is all."

"Father," she answered sharply, pressing the spoon back down to the table roughly enough that it clacked hard against the woven place mat. "Puedo verte en la cocina, por favor?"

"Surely by now anything you'd like to say to me could be said in front of Will." He challenged her request, needling her with an unspoken accusation of a most grievous offense.

"I think the crema catalana is burning, please come check it with me. Now," she said through gritted teeth. Pushing her chair back, its feet squealed against polished marble and nearly tipped over. Only by the grace of the Angel did it tip forward and settle on its own, knocking Nica in the back of the knees. It barely registered on her radar though, her burning gaze on her father as he too rose, albeit more slowly, and turned for the kitchen. The pair disappeared through the swinging door a moment later, leaving Will with the awkwardly confused staff.

By now, Nicanora knew Will well enough to know when he had exhausted his reserves of control. Specifically the control of his tongue. It started with the slow widening of his smile, the corners of his mouth creeping further apart to show clean white teeth; sandy brows rose accordingly. It was like watching a more violent man load a double-barreled shotgun and the flick the safety off.

"Not everything I learned goes to..." And the the younger Truecross interrupted, turning things (if only slightly) from tense to awkward. The paramedic didn't know everything that was being said but he understood the situation and recognized the tone. Things had become painfully polite again right before he was abandoned, leaving him to finish his little quip to the disinterested ears of the serving staff. "...waste. I was taught to do some pretty amazing things with my delightfully long tongue the Nicanora plays sparring partner to on the regular. By her screaming, you'd never tell it wasn't a victimless crime."

Of the two remaining in the room aside from Will, one snickered quietly and justly earned an elbow nudge to the ribs. Don't laugh at the Mundane, he's not supposed to be funny, the jab said. Quiet fell again but not for long. A terse exchange of masculine and feminine behind the door was soft at first, meant to be kept from the ears beyond, but no more was she going to tolerate the less than subtle digs at her boyfriend. It didn't take long for the discourse to escalate, first with a slam of a cabinet and then with steadily rising voices. Before long, not even the door could contain their words.

"Soy una mujer adulta. Soy capaz de tomar mis propias decisiones en la vida!"

"Capable? I'll believe you're capable of making adult decisions when you stop with your dalliances and start taking your duty seriously. Then and only then will I trust you to do right by the Truecross name. Nine hundred years, Nicanora. Nine hundred years this family has served the Angel's cause. It comes down to you and this is how you honor me?"

"Oh yes, I'm SUCH a black mark on the Truecross name. Don't worry, I know. You've made sure to let me know every opportunity you get. Why did I think this was a good idea? I love him but evidently trying to share any piece of my life with you is the worst mistake I could possibly make."

"Anora."

"No. Save it. Because I've no need to hear it. You've said all I need to know about where you stand."

"Nicanora Gabriela Rafaela!"

"I'm done, father. Done. I gave it a chance and it blew up in my face. I'm done." It was then that she emerged from the kitchen, pushing the swinging door open with such force that it slammed against the wall and rebounded toward her. She caught it against her shoulder and turned back to face her father, still in the kitchen. "At least he's not a woman, right?"

Nica let the door shut and didn't look back as she stalked down the table's length not to her own seat but rather Will's.

"We're leaving."

"Jesus," he mumbled while unintentionally eavesdropping. They were pretty loud. He looked at the servants. "You'd think that by the way he's talking that this is the 50's and I'm black. He's not gonna burn a cross in my front yard, is he? There better not be a woodshed on the roof."

His attention snapped back to the kitchen door when Nicanora walked briskly though and closed the distance to him. "But we haven't had dessert? I was hoping for some special continental churros on a bed of gelato or something as equally pretend-fancy."

Back to the servants, he said, "Do you guys validate parking?"

"Gelato is Italian," she said tersely, clearly missing the point in much the same way the servers had missed the implications of Will's commentary prior to her reappearance. Putting her endlessly long legs to good use, only half a dozen strides were needed to escape the dining room. Whether or not Will followed she didn't look, instead beelining straight for the hallway to their quarters. Her first stop was her bedroom, hauling straps over shoulders without repositioning the stuffed bags before heading for the guest room that had been meant for Will.

"Well then." Lapis blue eyes went wide for a moment before sweeping towards his final farewell to his new friends in black. "Please tellsa Mass Greg Oreo dat I'sa sorry for soilin' his little princess' fruit basket with my big ole banana."

Will was following soon after, breaking off from Nicanora to retrieve his own bag, meeting her as she arrived in the doorway and mustering up a smile. "I tried to behave. We can go *** in his favorite bathroom if that'll make you feel better."

No matter how much she tried, she couldn't match his smile with one of her own. Her shoulders were weighted by more than her bags and the look she gave him said more than words ever could. Pushing a hand through her hair, she sighed quietly, taking reprieve in the dim hallway for just a few moments while she considered what to do.

"You're missing the point. Please don't add to it right now." It was less a demand and more a plea for her own sanity, spoken from a soft, desperate place. She didn't linger long, starting back down the hall and out of the chic labyrinth that had once been home. Near the front door, Renata lingered, her hands wringing in front of her stomach.

"You're leaving?" The older woman asked softly. Nica answered with a nod, angling her trajectory to try and slip past her. Renata caught her halfway though and slipped her arms around the taller girl's frame. "Then be safe, mija. Write me when you get where you're going, just to let me know you're okay."

The goodbyes were brief and quickly Nicanora led the way down the endless staircase to get back to the ground level courtyard that would allow their escape back into the dark streets of Madrid.
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Nicanora
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 09 Dec 2015
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Can Be Found: Avoiding all the things
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madrid had come alive between their arrival at Gregorio’s apartment and their subsequently hasty departure. Pubs and tapas bars spilled their raucous ambience into the streets to mingle with the subtle glow of the streetlamps and passing headlights. As Nica and Will reappeared through the iron gate on the ground level, she yanked it shut hard enough to rattle the hinges before turning ninety degrees and swiftly making her way down the street. There were likely eyes on them from on high and the sooner they cleared the block, the better. Her arms wrapped around her torso, tucking between her jacket and the weight of her backpack, hiding the drag of her fingernails against her ribs. For almost ten minutes she stewed in silence but when she spoke finally, it wasn’t much better.

“Pompous self centered arrogant old fashioned stuck in his ways jerk! Am I not allowed to just for once be happy? I’m not doing this to be rebellious. I made the best of a *** situation and this is how he judges me? You’re not some *** and chuck one night stand or anything close to it. But noooooo, it doesn’t matter that you tried your best to behave or that you’re just as good as anyone he could try to set me up with. It’s blood! It’s all it is. Blood. And as I’ve learned this year, blood isn’t everything. It doesn’t suddenly make you honorable or better, it doesn’t keep you from doing bad things or killing others like you. It’s. Just. Blood.”

His own trek down to the ground level beside her was punctuated by an uncharacteristic silence that had gone unnoticed beneath the pall of her disappointment and anger. Acerbic wit and facetious whimsy had been discarded in favor equal parts contemplative silence and a less surprising respect for her need to vent. Nicanora needed to get it out, so he let her with little more than a tender touch of fingertips that started at her shoulder and ended at her elbow, a small reminder of his presence and his patience. When the fuel for her rant was temporarily spent, he touched her again and finally spoke.

"Tradition isn't such a terrible thing. It's when tradition doesn't evolve with the times, adapting to fit the eventual change of the world, that it becomes stagnant. Fetid. Like nature, people adapt or they face ceasing to be. In the case of society, when you do something for so long, sometimes can only remember that you should be doing something but not why. It's been a common thing for soldiers across history." Will sucked in a breath and exhaled heavily. "Seeing. Forest. Trees. Blah, blah, blah. I'm not being very helpful..."

Nica came to a dead stop there on the street, grabbing for Will's arm to haul him in for a feverish kiss. It said more than her scattered words could. That he was hers and she his and that she'd have it no other way, her father be damned. When she tore her lips from his at last, she was breathless but it didn't keep her from continuing down the street.

"You're enough." It was all she said for another long stretch, as she led him past corner stores and nightclubs. Eventually the higher end morphed into the lower. The buildings were closer together and in those tight confines they packed far more character than the clean and polished lines of the east side. Nearly thirty minutes it took them to reach where they were going and when Nica's pace finally slowed, it was to stop at a well worn stoop in front of a high reaching apartment building.

"Let's try this again. I need you on your best, like better than for my father, behavior. I promise it'll be worth it." She reassured him and hit the buzzer for one of the listings near the top of the directory of tenants. Bouncing on her toes, she waited a few moments and finally the speaker crackled to life.

"Diga?" A woman's voice answered, slightly tinny and hollow sounding. Immediately a smile blossomed across Nica's mouth.

"Phoe? Soy yo, Nicanora. Podemos entrar?" She asked anxiously. Barely were the words out of her mouth when the buzzer sounded, announcing the unlocking of the door.

"Adelante!" The speaker announced and with a laugh, Nica yanked open the door and gestured Will inside.

Tension from dinner or no, it all bled away beneath the heated press of her mouth to his, a tangle of tongues and arms that ended sooner than he wanted. There'd be time later. When they parted, her breathless neck was given a fleeting kiss and a promising squeeze before he finally responded. "I'm okay with being enough. More than enough. I'm gonna be harder to get rid of than that, I promise."

The paramedic nodded along with her request and, as if to assure her of his good behavior, didn't even come back with a playful retort. Instead, he slipped his hand into hers and walked the rest of the way to their final destination. He remained silent through the exchange of Spanish and when invited to do so, he entered. Lapis blue eyes were very intent on taking in their surroundings.

Old. Clean. Well lit. For all intents and purposes it was pretty standard as far as apartment buildings went. She led him through the lobby and up a flight of stairs and then another before pushing through a heavy firedoor on the third floor. No sooner did Nica make it through when she was accosted by a flurry of charcoal grey clothing and fiery red hair. Nica laughed and flung her arms around the woman, nearly picking her up as she hugged her. In her late thirties or early forties, the woman was sturdily built and only a few inches shorter than Nicanora. When their initial greeting concluded, Nica set her down, her hands to the older woman's shoulders.

"Oh it is so good to see you. Is Michael here?" She asked, hopeful. The redhead smiled in the sort of way that made her blue eyes sparkle more than they already did.

"Yes, come, come! He'll be so glad you stopped by. This must be Will, yes?" Heavily accented, it was easy to tell that English wasn't her first or even second language. Nica followed after as the woman led the way to an apartment door left open, spilling warm light out into the hallway.

"It is. We just, um, we just came from my father's." Nica's voice dropped slightly, her smile thinning with the statement. Phoebe's smile did too, turning sympathetic.

"That went well, I'm sure. Nevermind, come in and make yourselves at home." At the door, Phoebe stepped aside to allow them entry first. By no means anywhere near as spacious as the palatial flat occupied by Gregorio, it was homey, cozy, filled with candid pictures instead of priceless art. It was like being home again. As Nica passed, Phoebe beamed a warm smile at Will and extended her right hand.

"Phoebe Altatorre. It's so good to finally meet you."

Nicanora barely registered the hands that liberated her luggage from her, freeing her up for the warm embrace with the other woman. Will lingered a short distance away, now a little more encumbered and sporting a smile that was awkwardly envious as it was warm. His interest in their surroundings waned in the light of lady Nephilim's renewed joy, which seemed only compounded by the reciprocation of the hostess. They indulged and he, perhaps, did a little too, until Phoebe finally turned to address him in a manner that was antithetical to Gregorio's.

He was almost taken aback. But just for a moment.

The warmth of the introduction reeled him in like a fish on a hook, with the paramedic's sturdy fingers wrapping around hers in a grip that mirrored the sincerity of her demeanor. Nicanora's bag slipped from his grasp to find a spot gently on the floor so that his other hand could join its twin, cupped Phoebe's to add more gravity to the gesture, more so when he lifted it to brush a chaste kiss to the backs of her hand.

"The pleasure's mine, Mrs. Altatorre," Will intoned with as ease that belied the tension of the evening. "I would hug you but I don't know who would or wouldn't find that appropriate, and I'd prefer not to get stuck with that slim stabbing blade you're hiding under the shirt." His smile, of course, was full of genuine gregariousness and self-deprecation."Nicanora has told me some great things about your family and I'm honored to be here."

"I'd hate to have to stick you!" Phoebe laughed and let Will's hand go, stooping to try and collect a bag or two while ushering Will inside. Therein, Nica had been hauled off her feet in an exuberant hug by a tall but lean, bespectacled man. His jaw was lined with a few weeks worth of facial hair, somewhere past the itchy stage but before the point of really needing a trim. A plethora of dark Marks lined his tanned skin, creeping up the side of his throat until they disappeared into his dark scruff. He seemed reluctant to let her go but after he had sufficiently squeezed the air out of her, he set her back on her feet, only to hug her again.

"Anora, hermosa, you've brought a boy with you? Do I have to shake him down or is he treating you like a lady?" He mock menaced Will despite the fact that he was a mere inch or two taller than the paramedic and hardly built as strong as the younger man. Unlike his wife, not even a lifetime in Spain could limn his words its influence and instead they were touched with a subtle and indistinguishable lilt. Maybe French, maybe German. Maybe something in between. His grin gave away his tease when he came near, reaching a Marked hand out to him in amiable fashion. "Michael Altatorre and yooou, sir, are Will St. Jude, yes?"

"Then it's agreed," he countered. "No sticking me. At least wait until I've cooked for you first. That, if anything, would be worth holding off for." For a moment he seemed as though he was going to beg off the older woman portering for him but then thought better of it. He smiled instead and turned his attention towards the continuing shows of affection and the subsequent greeting and introduction.

"Yes, sir, that's what's written on the inside of my underwear." His own hand met Michael's in a firm but respectful grip, his smile remaining just as easy. "And I don't mind a little shaking down, especially where Nicanora's concerned. That girl's something beyond precious and worth scrutinizing a dinged up ruffian like me, which I accept unabashedly so long as we leave out the classist commentary and talk of wasted potential. And it's a pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Altatorre. I'm feelin' less oppressed already."

As soon as Michael had a hold of Will's hand, he drew the paramedic into the manliest of hugs. Or something of the sort. Either way, it was night and day the way Will was received as compared to their previous stop. Will's declaration regarding his level of oppression had Michael chortling though Nica's sigh in the background sounded less amused and more exasperated. The women had taken a seat on the couch where Phoebe had curled one leg up underneath her.

"Your father told us you might be dropping by," she quietly confided to Nica while the men went through their introductions. Nica scrunched her nose and sat back on the well loved but incredibly comfortable couch. She had crashed many a time there.

"What else did he say?" She asked, leaning down to dig through one of her bags for a piece of paper.

"Just that you stormed out in the middle of dinner and he thought you might need a place for the night." Michael answered for Phoebe since he had taken the call. On the couch, Nica quickly scribbled a note then freed her stele from her pants pocket. A hasty Fire rune was Marked into the top corner of the page and it burst into flames, not even leaving ash behind as it went up in smoke. Renata would at least know they made it there safely.

"Did he tell you why we left?" Nica asked evenly, tucking away her stele.

"He conveniently left that out." Phoebe said wryly.

"Dinner turned into an interrogation and a chance for him to reassert himself as the King of Passive Aggressiva." Though she tried not to, a faint pout had twisted her mouth. The wound was still fresh. Phoebe winced sympathetically while Michael exhaled a sigh and looked to Will, setting a hand to the younger man's shoulder.

"Please excuse my brother. He's... quite hardheaded. Though if you're dating Nicanora, you've probably had a taste of that through her anyways!" From solemn to merry all in one shot, Michael laughed again and dropped his hand. "Will you two be staying the evening? You're welcome to, if you'd like."

"If that wouldn't be too much trouble. I've a sightseeing trip planned starting tomorrow, Will's never been to Spain." She took the chance to cast a smile Will's way, hopeful that perhaps this helped make up for his less than welcoming introduction to her homeland.

"Whoa, whoa. Careful!" There was hugging! Oh God, there was hugging! "We haven't established a safe word!" Despite the surprise and humor in his response, the gesture was returned, tentative at first and then only slightly more comfortable after. His lapis gaze shifted continually between all three of the others as they talked, laying out each side of the circumstances that led the younger pair to the Altatorres' home. The color commentary he spared them, but Michael's apology was met with a half-sardonic smile. "Nicanora can be quite combative under certain circumstances but it's part of her charm and allure. I've never met a woman quite like her and here's hopin' I never end up in the position to have to find one. I'm more than a bit enamored. As for her father, I..."

He hesitated, some of his typical barbed wit lingering on the tip of his tongue. A quick look between Phoebe and Michael halted him.

"...After having become acquainted with Daniel, I suppose I can't say that it was any more surprising than disappointing, especially taking the parental factor into account. I'm not one of you, have no special relevance in your world other than being one of the perceived sheep you protect from the proverbial wolves, and I have no achievements worth mentioning to pedestal myself with." The Altatorres seemed the type to appreciate candor and he tried to keep it as respectful as he could, under the previous circumstances. They had made him a guest in their home and, more importantly, made him feel like a welcomed one. He owed them something from the onset. "Your ways aren't my ways, but I can try to respect them so long as it's mutual."

Will glanced Nicanora's way and smiled a little wider.

"I would he happy to be a guest in your home until we're ready to see the rest of what she has planned. I've seen a lot of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, but not Spain. I'm looking forward to it and it's the first real vacation I've had in a long time."

"The Blackwater boy's as much of a tightwad as his father," Phoebe commented under her breath and then lifted her brows innocently when her husband gave her a look. "What? Tell me David isn't?"

Michael couldn't, at least not without lying, so instead he turned back to Will. "Now, now, none of that. There shall be no self-deprecation under my roof. Any friend of Nica's is a friend of ours. Relax, kick back, and enjoy España! Are either of you hungry? Your usual hot chocolate, Anora?"

"Please." For his trouble, Michael was gifted a most radiant smile. In turn he offered her a bit of home that she had longed for so desperately for longer than she could remember. Scooting off to the little apartment's kitchen, he left the pair there with Phoebe.

"Admittedly most of what I've heard about you is all second or thirdhand, so you'll have to tell us more about yourself, Will. And perhaps if we have time, I can properly embarrass Nica by bringing out the old photos for your amusement." Phoebe threatened with a benign smile. Though Nica groaned and threw herself back on the couch in dramatic fashion, she couldn't help but smile. It didn't take long for the heavy scent of melted chocolate and a lighter note of cinnamon and dough to come wafting out of the kitchen, signalling a far better ending to the night than she expected. So long as Will survived the inevitable conversation, at least.

"But self-deprecation is my second best super power behind deprecating all over other people." His grin turned a touch cheesy but soon the paramedic was joining the ladies on the couch, wedging himself between Nicanora and one end with an arm slipped casually around her. "I'm not in any rush to get started tomorrow, so I'm more than happy to enjoy your hospitality as well as the company."

The rest of the evening found Will very game, as open and candid about his life before Rhy'din as he could be, and offering as many simple glimpses of what passed for mundane (pun intended) life in the latter realm as he could. There were things the Altatorres weren't told, but out of a growing respect for them, he didn't lie. In the end, there was a lot of laughter.

Laughter felt good.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6 July 2016

The Altatorres felt like home as it should have been. Even without Christopher’s presence, the concept of family was so strong that Nica could almost bear his absence. Almost. The food was delectable, the laughter plentiful, and they spent almost a solid day showing Will the city of Madrid. It wasn’t the best of ideas, sure, not with the Clave still requesting her presence for questioning for her involvement in Silvano’s death and the events leading up to it. But they wouldn’t have expected her in Spain.

Miami, maybe.

Spain, no.

She was so far removed from her motherland that eight years more than assuaged their suspicions that she might be right in front of them. But all good things must come to an end and lest they tempt the fates, she thought showing Will what Spain had to offer outside of the metropolis of Madrid would be wise. Early on the Sixth, before the sun could bake the city alive, bags were thrown into the boot of a compact car. Red. Not quite flashy despite the color, it was fuel efficient and, dare Nica say it, cute.

“Well, we don’t have to worry about backseat shenanigans.”

“Will.” Nica tried not to laugh.

“What?! We don’t! You couldn’t fit a piece of paper in that back seat.”

“You’re over-exaggerating.”

“Yeah, well, what can you do.”

“This.” She kissed him, short and sweet. It livened a grin from the paramedic as he leaned to open the passenger side door.

“My lady, your chariot awaits.”

Nica snorted but got in just the same. Will made sure to get himself an ample handful of denim on her way down. A laugh answered him so still his grin remained when he rounded the car and got into the driver’s side. Twisting the keys in the ignition, the car roared to life. By roared, really it puttered into motion more than anything, but it’s the thought that counts. The streets were still quiet since the day was just beginning so Will effortlessly navigated the narrow side streets until he made it to a main thoroughfare.

“Alright, Chekov, tell me where we’re going.”

“Chekov?”

“You know, from Star Trek? Oh nevermind. We’ll add that to the Watch list.”

“Um…”

“Directions, that’s what I need!”

“Oh! Left here. Head straight and I’ll tell you when to turn again. Three hundred eighty some odd kilometers to Pamplona.”

“Sexiest GPS ever.”
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Placeholder. Fundanal coming soon.)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 July 2016

The festival of San Fermin was always an exhausting thing. Exhilarating but wholly exhausting. Further north, Pamplona gave way to the northern coast. The Mediterranean was beautiful in its own right, but the Bay of Biscay’s blues were so much deeper. Nica often had to remind herself that on the other side of that very ocean sat Miami and the life she had left behind.

Two halves. One whole.

That was a recurring trend, wasn’t it?

Santander was all the further west she would let them go though. When Will pointed out that it was only a few hours further to hit Portugal, he was met with a vehement denial to contrast with her overall willingness to let him see anything and everything that he could have possibly wanted. Thankfully for her, he let it rest there without prying further as to why. After all, Santander offered beautiful views and he had a beautiful girl in a barely there bikini so Portugal could wait for another time. They left for Bilbao a few hours before nightfall, heading east through the northern mountains so that, Nica hoped, she could shake the feeling that she was being watched.

“Of course you’re being watched. Have you looked in a mirror lately? Without your little invisibility cloak rune they can’t help but look at you.” Will told her as Santander faded in the rearview.

It was meant to be reassuring. His lips to her temple was enough to temper her paranoia for the hour it took them to get to the seat of the Basque region. Though set back from the coast, the little city still wrapped itself around the winding route of the Nervión River in a most picturesque fashion. They made it just in time for the glow of the Gran Via to be vibrant and fresh, ready to welcome them into the neon glow.

The itch of being watched remained.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

11 July 2016

It wasn’t until they got lost deep in the heart of San Sebastián’s Parte Vieja that the feeling finally left her and at last Nica was able to enjoy the charming little town with Will.

“I bet… if I threw a rock, I could hit France,” Will declared while eyeing the map.

“Wars have started over lesser things, you know.”

“What’s life if you don’t raise a little hell?”

The look she gave him could have withered the most steadfast weeds. He grinned, used to such things by now.

“Besides, it’s like a four hour walk to the border from here. If you’re lucky. So I wanna see you throw a rock that far.”

Will stooped to scoop up a medium sized stone from the gutter. He bounced it a few times in his hand and cut her another roguish grin.

“I wasn’t being literal.”

“Pft, you’re no fun. No Fun Fanny.”
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

22 July 2016

Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia, they all passed without incident. High on a hill overlooking the plains of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo served as their final stop on what had been a trip stretched much longer than originally intended. On the third day of three, Nicanora had taken Will to one of the highest points in the city just before the sun rose for the day. For all of their penchant for public debauchery and other such antics, it was a pleasant way to start the day, in silence, enjoying the panoramic view of sites like The Alcázar and The Cathedral of Toledo from on high. Sure it may have meant a little trespassing, but she assured him the view was worth it. On the way down, for likely the thirtieth time since arriving in Toledo, she gushed about the history of the city of three cultures. Long before there were Truecrosses and Hightowers and Shadowhunters, there was Toledo.

Once they made a narrow escape from the private property, she took him around for one last hurrah. It meant lunch in the city's old sector, though really in a city like Toledo, all of it was pretty old. Shopping had long since been accomplished over the course of the three weeks they had been traveling so their burden was light when she dragged him down a narrow side street, arm in arm and intent on a particular destination.

"Kings the world over would send for weapons made in Toledo. There's something about Toledan steel that just can't be beat. Even Japanese Daimyos would come to have wakizashis and katanas forged for their shogun. But it's a dying art these days... guns and all that have outpaced swords to the point that if you go down the main via, there are replica shops everywhere you go. You can't spit without hitting one." The more she spoke, the clearer it became that they were far from the tourist center of the city and into the dustier, less tended commons. "So there's something to be said about a properly made blade. Big talkers think Damascus steel is the way to go but it's too hard,-- no jokes, Loaf,-- and it makes them inflexible. Toledo steel, with the carbon and soft steel, makes for a more versatile bend. And this place... this place does it the best."

The storefront could hardly be called such with the way it blended into the worn wall of the street. Which by then was closer to an alley than a proper street. There were no windows but a wooden sign hung on a curled iron post declared the place Fabrica Carrasco. She didn't linger, instead pushing the door open to step inside. The flash of sunlight that came with the door's opening lit up its innards only briefly before the door closed behind them and plunged the shop into barely there illumination, accented by the quieting of tinny bells that announced their arrival. Faintly detectable was the scent of sulfur which paired perfectly with the heightened ambient heat which left the shop stuffy, almost uncomfortably so. All of that, the smell, the lighting, it was easy to ignore once one's eyes could adjust to sights inside. Wall to wall hung a number of blades, each unique and well cared for, polished to a gleaming shine even in the lacking light.

"Welcome to Carrasco's." Nica grinned like a child in a toy store. "Pacifist or not, you're not leaving until you find something you like."

It was rare that the paramedic didn't have something clever lingering on the tip of his tongue, ready to dive off and get him into trouble, make things awkward, or woo the beautiful Spanish warrior woman into his bed. Much to the surprise of both of them, something about Toledo had humbled him into a rare but companionable quietude. Only a single attempt to get fellated was made during the romantic sunrise and it didn't take much prompting to get Will to settle his arms around her instead, soaking in one of those cherishable memories. There had been a lot of them since their abrupt departure from the Truecross apartment in Madrid, as if he was allowed to make up for so much lost time before then.

He couldn't complain about that. Instead he sucked on a cup of hot coffee and let the tug of fingers laced through his haul him through the historic streets of the city, a small smile playing companion to his tipped ear as Nicanora gushed over something that wasn't hunting demons or food. It was the little passions that trickled through, like the condensation through glass, that added up slowly over time to truly give him a greater understanding of the woman beneath the leather and weapons. A show was made of rolling lapis blue eyes when she made her declaration, good natured even as his attention drifted to the shop's contents.

"Maybe I'll really go overboard and get a ninja sword or something. Get my Duncan MacCloud on with a bone hilt all dragoned out. Would that make you wet in your knickers? Or do I need to get all Braveheart with a claymore? Ye can take our lives, but ye'll canna take out burritoooooos!"

"I don't even know what half of that means, but if it makes you happy, go for it." She answered with a laugh and a sweeping gesture of her hand to set him free amongst the swords. The little shop was packed to the brim with plenty to peruse. If it wasn't the larger weapons on the wall, it was smaller daggers and knives on low counters that formed a trio of short rows. Nica avoided it all and instead rounded her way for the shop's counter, set at the back of the building. A curtained doorway separated the shop area from what she assumed to be the forge area and halfway to the counter, the dark fabric parted with the appearance of a man. Old, wrinkled, and looking decidedly surprised to see people in his shop in the middle of the day, his surprise gave way to curiosity as he looked Nicanora over in her approach. Though she had used a glamour rune to hide the appearance of the rest of her Marks, his gaze still lingered on the black impressions of the Angel's gift upon her skin.

"Puedo ayudarte?" He asked. She came to a stop on the opposite side of the counter, her smile soft, almost apologetic. Disturbing a smith in the midst of his craft was something she seldom enjoyed doing but their time there was brief and she had but a few questions to ask before they departed.

"Si. Ingles por favor o no?" Her inquiry came with a hopeful lift of her brows and a tilt of her head toward her companion. He was easily pegged as American, stereotypes be damned, she had heard it throughout their trip, locals whispering about the boisterous Americano and why did he have to be so loud? The man grunted but nodded once. Nica's smile widened further. "Thank you. I'm looking for a good neatsfoot oil. I've a Carrasco falcata I'm caring for."

"Heirloom?" The man asked, his curiosity piqued. Though he bore no Marks, it was clear the man was versed at the very minimum with the ways of those bearing similar markings to the woman before him. Her smile dimmed and she nodded again.

"Si, my mother's. And my mother's mother's. So on and so forth." There was a vague gesture of her hand to go with her words. Beneath the counter, the keeper dug out a yellow tinged bottle, only a few inches high, and set it in front of her.

"Emiliano?" He queried further.

"No, Agustin." More than familiar with the history of the Iberian falcata bestowed upon her when Celia Truecross died, it was a quick answer as to who had crafted it.. "But that's merely an aside to why I've actually come. I possess a pair of mismatched Gladii Hispaniensis in need of a cleansing."

"We have cleaning kits right over--," He began only to be interrupted by a shake of her head.

"Not that kind of cleansing. On a more spiritual level. They've gone through particularly bad times and I'd like to wipe that out. I don't have them with me but I was hoping I could arrange to have them sent here if it's something you're capable of." Hushing her voice to a whisper was the only way she could keep the tremble from her tone. The latest in the line of Carrascos squinted at her, a deep wrinkle forming in his forehead.

"No. We don't do that anymore since your Dark War. Too many. Far too many. Bad energy upon the forge." He gave her a solemn but vehement shake of his head. Her shoulders fell with her smile but she sucked in a breath to replace the one that had left her sails with his denial. "Is your friend buying or just seeing if he can cut a hand off in my shop?"

Will. With a sword.

It was amusing for about half a dozen seconds, the short bout of swashbuckling he flourished with a dangerous looking rapier before carefully, almost reverently replacing it where it had been taken from. An uncertain look was passed Nicanora's way, but he saw only her back and the owner's face before he glanced back towards the warrior blades. No. Just... no. The pair continued their conversation and he continued to browse, feathering light touches of his fingertips over various smaller blades. Decisions were made and when Will finally approached the counter, it was to place a matching set of kitchen knives and another blade down.

"Sirloin better watch out. When we get home, I'm gonna cut a bitch." He smiled big.

For once the paramedic offered a welcome interjection into a conversation that had not gone the way she had hoped. She put on a perfectly practiced smile and gestured toward Will's bounty for Carrasco. "Can't let the steak get the best of you, after all. This'll be all then. And the oil, if you would, por favor."

Carrasco rang it up on an old fashioned register, heavily tapping out the numbers by memory until a total popped up on rolodex style numbers in a little window at the top of the machine. Peeling euro notes from a neat roll, she paid the man and pocketed the rest. With little fanfare, he cased the blades and wrapped their purchases in a plain brown paper. As an afterthought, he took one of the cleaning kits he had tried to push Nica toward and added it to the neat package, offering the entire thing over when all was said and done. She wasted little time in departing after that, escaping the hot shop to spill out into the slightly cooler alley once more.

"Well that was fun. Want to grab a bite and take this stuff back to the room?"

"Eeegh," Will made the sound when he saw the total on the archaic register. "I'll be payin' that off with my tongue later, I'm sure."

The package with their things was tucked beneath an arm, the other hand seeking out hers as they departed and sought to resume their lazy tour of Toledo. He smiled at her sidelong, drinking in her profile before leaning in to rake his teeth along the curve of her neck. "Yeah. I could do for something to eat. What do you have in mind? Does Toledo have food trucks?"

He was a touch hopeful.

"It's worth it. But I won't say no by all means." She cut him a grin as her eyes adjusted to the brighter light outside. In order to escape the labyrinthine sidestreets of the ancient city, they had to go the way they had come from and so she led him by the hand while doing her very best to ignore the pleasant prickle of ever present need that answered his teasing. Biting at her lip to tug her smirk crooked, she gave his hand a squeeze. "Supposedly there is one though I've not the slightest idea where to look for it. Tapas bars do a good job at pushing them out of the market. We could hunt for it if you want."

Will made it so easy to get lost in the banter, to lose sight of the bigger picture. The details were too sweet with him, it was hard to focus. Maybe she could stretch their visit out for one more day, live in the wonderland that was relative obscurity in a beautiful city with a handsome man.

Unbeknownst to her, the couple were the ones being hunted.

Situational Awareness. That's what it was called. It was just a prettier way of describing paranoia but when one had lived so long in one sort of warzone or another, it became second nature. Even as far removed from military life as he had been, Will was often assailed with the niggling feeling at the back of his mind that danger was present. Lately, dismissing it in favor of his antics with Nicanora, carnal or casual, had become a habit. Good or bad.

He grinned at her and drew her hand up to his mouth to kiss it. "Let's drop this stuff off first then hunt it together. We've got the time, right? I'm not in any hurry..."

"We've got the time," she confirmed with a lopsided smile, scratching a fingernail against the back of his hand. If she had traced their path correctly, it would have only been a short walk back to the little inn that kind of reminded her of the one she had been crammed into with Niamh and the Blackwaters at the beginning of the year. It was far more pleasant company this time around though and set on the second floor as it was, they were afforded a narrow balcony with a beautiful view of the building directly across the street. Eight blocks, maybe a little more.

"You know, if I had it my way, we'd just stay forever. Keep moving, go wherever we want. Western Europe, Africa, oh, we could go to Asia. I've only been to China once... I wouldn't mind going back." Six blocks. The itch was there, lurking in the far reaches of her subconscious.

"Or Australia. Though everything in Australia tries to kill you, so that's probably a bad idea." Three blocks. She glanced over her shoulder absently as they walked. Midday was slow but those that were out seemed to take little notice of Will and Nicanora's passing.

"Where would you go if you could?" Two blocks. One block. Half a block. She could almost feel it in her limbs, the subtle tightening of something about to trigger long honed reflexes. The inn's front door was open to the afternoon, allowing their entrance without issue, and the locked door to their room was much the same. Housekeeping had come while they were gone and the bed was neatly made, one corner turned down.

"Just be a pair of traveling vagabonds living off of your proverbial trust fund?" The paramedic laughed and leaned into her to kiss her hair, just above her ear. "Roaming from beautiful place, raiding them for their local cuisine and great tchotchkes?"

His hand roamed during the last leg of the trek to their room, finding possessive purchase on her always incredible posterior, even giving it a healthy squeeze. "I... well, I dunno. I've seen a lot of places. Japan was pretty great. I'd love to go back. Maybe to Thailand. I've never been there and I hear the temples are beautiful. Maybe the Congo. The Amazon. Could go to France. Start in Normandy and follow the Allied advance straight through to Germany. Am I that weird?" Inside the room, he gave her a playful push and set their precious cargo on the floor next to the dresser before fixing her with a steady stare.

"I don't know. Or buy a big truck and you can make food and I can be your taste tester and muscle when people don't tip you." Laughter, a recurring theme in their trip, rang out as the door was shut behind them. It was wishful thinking at best. To stray that far from her intended purpose was an unthinkable thing even if she joked otherwise.

"Lots of mosquitoes in the Congo. And the Amazon." Hesitation came when she didn't acknowledge his mention of France and Germany. That was getting just a little too close to home for her liking. But they were walled into the privacy of their room and he was giving her that look. The made up bed wouldn't be made for long and that bite to eat would have to wait. At least for a little while.

"So, you're saying the only Amazon you want to see is the one I order your presents from?" A sandy brow lifted and he smiled wider. Unencumbered, he closed the distance between them quickly, his larger frame colliding with hers to spill them onto the freshly made bed in a tangle of eager limbs.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A spilling of bodies upon the sheets led to a much longer interlude than either of them had expected. Such was the way when it came to Will. The paramedic had a way of pushing her buttons both in and out of bed, which likely accounted for how an originally two week long trip had stretched into nearly twice that. She could only keep him in Spain for so long though and their departure for Rhydin loomed whether she would acknowledge it or not. Rather than return to Miami and go to Rhydin from there, Nicanora had reconciled with Gregorio just long enough for him to make the necessary preparations for them to leave from Madrid when they were ready.

Nica wasn't ready.

She wanted just another night with Will where they didn't have to worry about anything but sightseeing and not getting caught during their less than decent moments in hardly private places. It was with great reluctance that she finally rolled out of bed to clean up and get dressed so they could go find the mythical lone food truck of Toledo.

"So, if we don't find it, where do you want to go?" Nica called from the bathroom amidst the tangle of braiding her mussed locks into something resembling decency. The artfully smudged eyeliner was equal parts post-romp and pre-nightclub and she only rubbed her fingertips beneath her eyes to clean it up a bit. Dressed and made up, she shut the bathroom light off and stepped back out into the suite's main room. The day was dying or so said the angle of the sun cutting through the balcony's glass doors, stretching her shadow long as she tugged on her jacket with a creak of metal laden leather. "If we play ours cards right, we might miss the biggest crowds."

Warm and willing had never been a problem. That it had become something far more significant than sex had been both a surprise and terrifyingly welcome. There had even been some 'I love you's' sprinkled in there a few times, all from the beautiful Spaniard. It had melted her heart the first time he replied with the appropriate 'I know' and never failed to thereafter. Being the first real vacation he'd had in years, Will had attacked it with a relaxed vigor, never in a hurry but always wringing everything from everyone moment with his typical energy and wit. But the fantasy couldn't last forever. They were pushing the boundaries for how long he could reasonably stay without too much concern over the loss of his job and with all of the planned portions of their trip behind them, they were dragging their feet through the proverbial homestretch.

The paramedic shrugged into a wrinkled Phish t-shirt while Nicanora spoke to him from the bathroom and then rocked backwards onto the end of the bed to pulls his jeans on both legs at one time. "This is your tour, Fanny. I showed you the splendors of the Rhy'din food truck scene so I'm leaving the ball in your court here. You know what's good. I trust you to pick somethin' I'll like or make good later if it's not."

He rocked back to his feet to meet her, snatching the worn leather of his belt as he rose and holding one end in each hand to loop the accessory over her head. A light tug caught it at the back of her neck so that he could haul her in for one last long, lingering kiss. The murmur against her mouth was quiet. "Just lead the way and I'll gladly follow."

"It's all good, if we're getting technical. But I'm biased too." The broad grin she gave him was full of cheeky bravado that bled away in favor of a heated kiss that threatened to derail their dinner plans yet again. That was always a risk, who was she kidding? Untangling herself from him and his belt was slow going, a reluctant dance that ultimately separated her from him with no small amount of teasing along the way. When he was fully dressed and belted, she led the way just as he asked, down into the boutique hotel's lobby and back out into the street.

"We could go big and get raging drunk, dance all night. Trudge into my father's in the morning so he can deal with whatever warlock's been hired to get us home along with our hungover asses. It'd be like the good ol' days, he'd love it." Half the street was bathed in the deepening shadows of the fading day, leaving them to walk the line between light and dark as Nica marched on in search of a food truck she had never actually seen.

"Drinking's a given. I could probably be persuaded to rub on you in public too. Or dancing. You call it dancing." Dressed to unimpress, he dropped one hand to the generous curve of her posterior. "Then we can shake our hungover asses at your old man before getting zapped back to the Merry Land of Oz."

Will was just a crooked smile and a light touch, a repetitive sweep of lapis blue from side to side that stole as many memorable views as Toledo was willing to surrender up. His shoulder bumped against hers as they walked.

"Don't act like you can't dance," she said with a scoff. Playing the put together contrast to his laid back approach to style, black on black on black was the outfit du jour, complete with black distressed denim, a tank top in the same shade with a dangerously low neckline, and jacket and boots in complimentary leather textures. It wasn't Gear by any stretch of the words but it was comfortable despite the lingering heat of the dog days of summer.

"I'd rather not shake my ass at my father though you're welcome to do so if you think you'll survive long enough to get through the Portal." His shoulder bumped and she took the opportunity to slide her hand down the inside of his wrist to twine her fingers with his loosely. It was an action that did little to assuage the prickle of paranoia that danced like electricity along her skin. She turned a corner and leaned her head to his shoulder to mask a low murmur under the guise of a sweet moment of affection.

"Call me crazy, but in nine seconds, tell me what you see behind us." Or more specifically who, though she didn't say it. Intuition was a bitch. The last thing she needed was the Clave on her ass but looking on her own would have surely given them away.

He didn't want to say anything. For the last minute, or two or three, he had felt it. It was the sort of feeling that a truly happy man feared and desperately wanted to ignore, in favor of the enclosure of his happy little pretend snow globe where the wind always blew the same way, where it was food trucks, bad movies, and raunchy, raucous sex. Will didn't want to shatter that illusion.

But bad things were about to happen and he felt it in the way the hair on the back of his neck suddenly stood up.

Danger, Will Robinson.

"There's three of them," he told her without even looking over a shoulder. His tone had become hushed. Hoarse. "Maybe a mugging. Possibly a rape. There's going to be be violence. Please let's just run from it, Nicanora. Please."

"There's going to be none of that," she answered firmly without looking back. There was a palpable desperation in Will's tone that made her want to hold him tight and reassure him that all would be well. It wouldn't be, no matter how much she lied. It had only been a matter of time before her sins caught up with her. Would it be better to stand and fight, to go quietly into the night, or to run like the wind until they were an afterthought in the rear view mirror.

"My people?" She asked softly, hoping he answered in the negative even if she knew he wouldn't.

"I don't know," he confessed and immediately regretted the answer. He had meant it to be true. Wanted it to be. But the pulse of divinity in their veins sang to him in a way that made Will want to vomit. "This doesn't have to happen. We can run..."

"You know as well as I do that I can't do that, Will." The regret dripped from her words as her hand crossed her body to cup his far cheek and tug him into a press of her lips against his jaw. "But you can. We're going to turn this next corner and I'm going to wait for them. You're going to take your first right then carry on straight until you hit the Catedral de Toledo, the big one we visited yesterday. You can wait for me there and it'll be okay."

The corner she'd indicated came up quickly, easily done in the walled city's labyrinthine maze of streets. With a brilliant smile in profile, she turned, the tug of her hand taking Will with her only to let go the moment they rounded it. "Go, I love you."

"And leave you?" The struggle was real. The paramedic pinched at the bridge of his nose just beneath his sandy brows as the music, long silent renewed its little war inside his skull. "I'm not just gonna abandon you, bad ass warrior chick or no. Couldn't live with it. Maybe we can reason with them. Try the diplomatic route. I'm diplomatic. We can convince them it's not worth the trouble and then resume our vacation."

He was grasping at straws, Will was, but he was a man of conviction. Sneakered feet paused in their walk and he was turning promptly on a heel.

"Reason with the Clave. Right. That... historically has always worked out well." She said dryly. Her hands curled and pressed against opposing palms until her knuckles cracked. By her count, she had less than fifteen seconds before her hand was forced so she wasted no time in freeing her stele from her jacket to etch a series of haphazard Marks upside down across her midriff. She could almost hear Christopher in her head poking fun at her messy runework. Drawing Marks had never been her strong suite. In that moment she missed her parabatai so much it physically hurt.

Eight seconds. "I promise I'll catch up. We still have dancing to do, remember?"

Six seconds. If he was going to go, it needed to be about four seconds prior. The pacifist escape window was fast closing.

Instead, the paramedic was doing what the paramedic usually did. He moved right towards the danger.

"Hey! Larry. Curly. Moe! Can we talk for a minute? I've got some very pressing dinner plans and the lady here gets awful cranky when I don't fill her up on time. What if I spring for a round of drinks or four at your favorite watering hole and we call it good?" He walked with his hands up, as non-threatening as he could be.

"By the ****ing Angel, Will!" She hissed, aiming a short grab for the back of his shirt in hopes of dragging him back. It gave her time to face their pursuers, something she hadn't wanted. Not with Will present at least. Three. Just like Will said. Judging by the strange looks he was getting from passersby, they had glamoured themselves too. Typical. Nica quickly chased the paramedic down, hoping to impose herself between him and the three approaching. Unlike her, they wore Gear from throat to toe, the heavy, thick leather out of place in summer unless of course you were invisible to everyone around you.

"Look, you can't do this in front of all these Mundanes in broad daylight. Your investigation should be open and shut, the problem was handled before it could get out of hand and I broke no Clave laws when I defended--" She couldn't finish pleading her case thanks to a furious hook thrown by the front runner of the trio. At the very least she'd had enough sense to duck before rising up and backing off, her hands raised like Will's had been.

"Vaca traiçoeira," the man spat. For all the good that her language Mark did, she was still caught off guard by Portuguese. English would have been expected out of a Clave delegation, maybe Latin if they were feeling uppity. But not Portuguese.

"Wait..." Upon closer examination, she realized just why the trio looked familiar. Two men and a woman, all dark haired and even darker eyed. Attractive as far as Nephilim went, they were still cold in a way she hadn't experienced since the dead of winter when she had slit Silvano's throat in Miami. A glint of steel punctuated her realization. "Will, you gotta go. They aren't with the Clave. You gotta get outta here."

Will wouldn't be given time to even think about considering her urging, not with the way violence exploded all at once, engulfing the narrow cobblestone street in a flurry of black and rage with Nicanora at its epicenter.

Lapis blue eyes wide, Will just barely sidestepped a thrust of a blade at his chest. It was a long, modestly curved blade, meant for chopping more than piercing. The kukri would still do the trick, and forced him back against the nearest wall with a harsh grunt. His attacked followed after, putting the knife to its proper use in a chop that would have taken him in the throat if he hadn't ducked beneath it and tucked into a roll. The move sent him tumbling in the opposite direction and closer to Nicanora's side.

"Not Clave? Who are these nutjobs?"

"I'm gonna guess..." She sidestepped another swing and countered with sharp right that connected with a floating rib but was ultimately muted thanks to the thick leather the man wore. Her left flashed with a short blade that she slashed at the man without true intention of connecting. The last thing she needed was more blood on her hands. "Lorena, Nicolau, anddddd Tristao."

The sole female in the trio put herself between Nica and Will, separating them with by mere feet while Nica was left to contend with one man and Will the other.

"So you're not a complete idiot," Lorena snarled. Her posturing left Nica to a two on one stance. Doable, sometimes. At least where Shadowhunters were concerned. She barely had time to talk between blows, doing her best to stay clear of blades that sought to cleave through her much softer clothing while keeping an eye out for Will.

"Yeah, ya know, I'm not just pretty. Didn't Silvano tell you that?" Perhaps Nica had been hanging out with Will too much. A mouth like that had never really been her thing. "Oh wait, he probably can't say much of anything now, can he?"

Oops. Wrong thing to say.

He was pouring sweat as he ducked, juked, and sidestep blow after blow. Every time Will managed to just barely avoid contact with his attacker, from his deft evasions to the occasional leap and ricochet off of whatever was handy. Each bend and sway came by instinct, like a dancer or a fighter, as graceful as it was harried.

"Look, guy," he tried to reason with the vicious-eyed man across from him, who had drawn a second blade. Both hands were lifted in a half-surrendered gestured. "You don't wanna do this. Vengeance won't fix anything. Won't make you feel better. If you'll just let me and Nicanora go..."

The renewed attempt at talking hadn't been enough of a distraction and a thin line of red was opened across Will's side, the fabric of his shirt quickly short a large spot of red. A hard kick followed and finally connected, knocking him backwards and off of his feet. "Will you beg next, coward," the accented english was dripping with venom. "Eh? Won't even fight for your woman? Now she gets to watch you die."

Will's presence made her reckless. Each swing and slash was meant to cut her way back to the paramedic even if the two Marcaluz siblings on her kept trying to draw her anywhere but. It was why she had told him to go, to run. She couldn't think straight with him there. He made her reckless. But reckless was dangerous and it with an almost suicidal fervor that she threw herself into the thick of steel and leather. She could feel its bite against her skin, could feel her Marks working to push her further, harder, faster in hopes of breaking through the flurry before the cuts got too deep. Her opening came in the form of a kick at Lorena's stomach, her toe depressing the switch for the spring loaded blade in her boot. It embedded itself in the woman's gut and nearly dropped her to the cobbles underfoot.

Nica rushed through the gap made only to feel steel blaze through denim and across the back of her knees. She stumbled, turning to pitch a precisely aimed throwing blade. Her aim was true but the Tristao's jacket dulled the damage and he retaliated with a sharp kick that sent her sprawling toward Will and Nicolau.

"Will!" She managed to call, turning over to try and push herself back up to her feet. "Go! You gotta go!"
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Nicanora
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 09 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Not without you!" Will barked back. Three crab-walked steps made the cut along his stomach ache fiercely and were hurried along when Nicolau slashed at him again, a half-stumble/half-rumble limiting the evil-eyed Nephilim to another shallow cut. A thin line was scored high on that paramedic's head near the hairline, leaving a messy spread of warm wet blood to run down towards his sandy brows. There was nowhere to run now.

Nicanora's boots on the gravelly stone drew a sharp look her way, his own impending doom ignored with wide-eyed horror as Tristao pursued her in her moment of vulnerability. It was a moment better men could lose everything in.

The horror of possibility was just fear. The fear of what came next. The fear of what wouldn't. In a quiet night at the apartment, amidst scatter clothes, liquor bottles, and takeout containers, he had once confessed to her that the main reason he hated authority so much was that he couldn't accept the notion that someone else should get to decide his fate. I'm the only person who should be deciding who I am, he had told her while she traced imaginary runes along his skin, ,as if he were some Shadowhunter to be. Who I become. Where I'm going and how I get there. I want to chose my life, not have it chosen for me. Now or in the End. At the speed of thought it occurred to him that he was about to be robbed of that and the robbery came in the form of the blades that were meant for her. Will St. Jude could have accepted dying a pacifists death. He couldn't accept a life without her or knowing that she might have to suffer Christopher's (it was easier to say his name that to get punched for calling him her parabooty again) death again.

It was enough to turn the fear into anger. Righteous anger. The music that so often played inside of his head was in a rare state of complete harmony, the choir and the dirge paying one another an odd compliment. Time seemed to slow down when Nicolau's blade fell and Nicanora's expression of anguish became a half-forgotten blue as Will's hand snapped up to meet the heavy kukri. The curved heel of his hand struck the impossible sharp weapon.

The precious Damascus steel shattered like glass.

The paramedic rose while Silvano's sibling stood their in shock, a fluid motion unhindered by the cut along his stomach. The heady wound, more messy that worrisome, had masked half his face in blood, his eyes dancing, burning with fire. "We aren't dying today."

In a moment shared by both panic and lucidity, Nicolau stopped gaping and blurred at him with supernatural speed, drawing a pair of short stabbing blades and renewing his frenzied attack. The Nephilim was all but a master with his weapons but found himself stifled at every turn with fists and forearms that felt like granite when they met each blow and turned them aside.

Will's display was enough to stun both sides of the spontaneous street fight but the interlude wasn't nearly long enough to grant Nica a reprieve. Tristao's boot came down against the small of her back as she tried to get to her feet. It shoved her to her stomach but she refused to stay prone for another Marcaluz man ever again. Tristao raised a navaja blade and stabbed it downwards. Nicanora twisted at the last moment, lashing out a kick for Tristao's knees that sent him stumbling. A second kick for his groin toppled him. It made the muscles in her leg scream in protest but his falter gave her the time she needed. While it wasn't possible to keep her weight off both injured legs, she could at least spread her weight evenly between them for as long as it took her to loom over Tristao in a reversal of positions.

"You know, I'm not one to kick a man while he's down, but... oh, who am I kidding... Yes I am." The heel of her boot elicited a sickening crunch when it met the man's nose. She could hear the frustration rising behind her each time Nicolau was countered by Will's bare hands. That the paramedic was fending off a well trained Shadowhunter with what seemed to be relative ease was still a fact that her mind wasn't prepared to comprehend just yet. From the ground, Tristao swiped blindly at her, his own blood making it hard to see as he went to sit up. She was quick to throw her knee at his rising face again but as he fell back, fire erupted through her ribcage, radiating from between the fourth and fifth ribs just to the left of her spinal column. Nica stutter stepped forward, nearly tripping over Tristao as she turned around to face Lorena. Steel painted red was whirled in the woman's grasp as she adjusted her grip on the blade to backhand a slash that nearly cut clean through her jacket.

"What? No smartassed comments now?" Lorena smirked, advancing on the younger Shadowhunter. Nica's head swam, her vision tunneling until Will and Nicolau were only noise and all she could see was Lorena.

"Nnn, chingate puta." Nica answered, waiting until Lorena was almost upon her to thrust her fingers for the wound she had inflicted upon the woman's abdomen earlier. She dug and twisted, curling her fingertips until the bite of Lorena's blade went off course as the woman cried out. The flurry of blows and thrusts between the two women happened too quickly to count but finally Nica spat in her face, threw an elbow for the woman's temple to send her sprawling, and as quickly as she could, she stumbled toward Will and Nicolau to back up the former. It would have been a stellar idea save for the blood loss causing her to tilt dangerously to one side until she caught herself on the ancient wall of the city's narrow street.

"Ah **** me." Down she went.

Nicolau slashed again and Will ducked beneath the swing, pivoted a hip and came back up behind to drive a sneakered sole right into the back of a knee. It made the other man cry out and pitch backwards, where one shoulder and his neck were caught in a firm grip and he was propelled forward until his head connected hard with the post box with a near cartoonish BONG! Nicolau was driven against the metal mail receptacle again when the paramedic used his body as a springboard, hopping up to plant both feet hard against the small of his back and propel himself towards the other siblings in various stages of quick recovery.

A rising Lorena was driven to the street again, the weight of one shoulder cracking one or more of her ribs before Will was rolling ass-over-ankles across her prostrate form. He came back to his feet in a flurry of blows aimed at Tristao, which they exchanged with a frightening rapidity before the infuriated Fundane caught the Nephilim by the wrist, jerked it to the side and then drove the palm of his other hand hard against the elbow. The sound of bone splintering and tendons popping was sickening. An even quicker hand plucked one of Tristao's knives free from a sheath on his belt, a knee to the hip throwing him off balance a heartbeat before the knife was driven into his thigh just above the knee. The snarling Nephilim was shoved backwards to collapse.

Will turned just in time to snatch a thrown knife out of the air.

Lorena stood there slack jawed as he pressed them pad of his thumb to the base of the blade and snapped it off at the hilt cleanly. Effortlessly. The hilt was tossed at her feet as he started towards her.

"What in the Hell are you?" She was reaching for another knife but it was clear that the Marcaluz woman was shaken.

"Bitch, I'm the Fundane," Will drawled at her dangerously and when he spoke, it was with the weight of three voices. There was another violent exchange, this ending with another crunch of broken bones and a feminine shriek and the release of her mangled hand. "And don't you forget it."

The commotion had drawn attention, an inevitable thing in such close quarters. A brawl between Shadowhunters could hardly be ignored by those that called the Shadow World home but few ventured out into the unprotected street where they could be subject to the unholy fury of a pacifist pushed to a breaking point. Somewhere between Lorena's question and Will's answer though came the approach of something Nica feared more than any pissed off Marcaluz.

The Clave. Or what small force they could muster on short notice. Eight bodies were enough for most apprehensions but when reports told them they could potentially haul four wanted names in one location, eight didn't feel like nearly enough. Though Will had sufficiently punished the trio that had interrupted he and Nica's vacation, Nicanora wasn't sure he would fare so well when the numbers more than doubled. While he was busy shattering Lorena's hand, Nica held onto a shred of consciousness for the sake of pointing out the renewed threat.

"Will." She rasped. "Clave. Gotta go. Now." With a bloodied wall for support, she slouched upright, leaning heavily to maintain such a stance. Her stele had to be somewhere. For all of her rising panic, the sluggish pats of her jacket hardly denoted a rush.

The music was like a raging inferno inside his head, a satisfying fire that made a pyre of the justified pain he had inflicted. He could have done worse. He wanted to do worse. It threatened to consume him. It might have, had Nicanora's voice but through the music like a knife through butter, with a straight line to the paramedic's heart. His head whipped around to face her, his face still half a mask of crying blood. At first his expression softened, seeing her like she was, and Will was quick to run to her side and put his arms around her. His own pain was a dull throb, the adrenaline holding it at pay for the time being.

"I... Clave?" He was piecing it together, becoming more lucid by the moment. More... Will. "****. Let's get you out of here."

An arm was slipped under one of her shoulders to prop her up, his body pressed closed to hers to give her something to lean against. "I've got you, Nicanora. I've got you."

"We gotta go." She repeated, nodding confirmation for their worst fears. Between the three grounded Marcaluz siblings and the swarm of law minded Shadowhunters descending on the scene the window for escape was narrow, hindered by her limping and his need to support her.

"Gone, like out of Toledo." Came the follow up mumble, her chin dropping a nod toward the first turn that would trace their steps back to the hotel in as much of a direct fashion as one could manage amidst winding streets. She kept an arm around him while the other fished through her shredded jacket, haphazardly poking and patting without any sort of direction. "You're so sexy... d'ja know that? Also. Do you have the keys?"

"Figured," he grunted and then, after considering it a moment longer, scooped her up in his arms. "I think I do. I'll pick the lock if I don't. Let's get you cleaned up."

"The car lock? Can you... do the thing with the wires and the chk-chk-vrooom? Ya know? .........Ow." She added lamely when he hoisted her up. Her back was sticky and wet but not in the fun sexy sort of way but rather the I-used-to-be-an-adventurer-like-you-until-I-took-a-knife-to-the-back sort of way.

"I need... paper. And my stele." She murmured against his neck, fighting to keep her eyes open. Really if she had it her way she would have slept for a week but he insisted on carrying her butt through Toledo like Newlyweds meets Carrie. "My dad, we should go. Can get our things later."

"Hush, Fanny. I got you." A few changes of directions turned them towards the car. "Should be some paper in the car and then we can get you patched up, no worries. Just hold on."

It didn't take long for them to reach the oppressively small (but somewhat cute) car they'd rented and less time still to pop open the hatch on the back. It was there that he finally propped her up in a lean and fished around breathlessly for a few moments before coming up with a pad of paper. "Can you do your thing with this?"

"Such a queer nickname." Nica giggled. Her hand grazed his cheek, smearing drying blood like macabre war paint. "Head wounds are messy."

Once back at the car with her feet on the ground again, she felt the world spin but he did a passably good job of keeping her steady while looking for what she needed. While he did that, she doubled the concentration spent on locating her stele, finally fishing it out of an inner pocket. "Aha! Yeah. I can do my thing."

But first she needed to stop the bleeding. The tip of the ornate stick of adamas touched to her skin and hissed as the iratze was burned into the flesh of her forearm. It flared blue then sank into her skin, fading away quickly. It would at least kickstart the process while she scrawled the message on the paper. A messy fire rune was burned into the corner of the page and the paper burst into flames, disintegrating as the message was fired off. Tucking paper and stele both under an arm, she curled her fingers beneath the rental car's door handle. "Nnnn. Are you okay to drive?"

"It's nothing serious," he assured her, giving her a once over of his own even if she was likely to reassure him that she didn't need it. The paramedic didn't appear happy that there was little more that he could do for her in the moment than he already had but it gave him something to think about other than what had just transpired. "I'll be fine."

It took some ginger movements and a gentle touch, but he finally got her into the passenger seat of the car before sliding into the driver's side. The ever witty Will didn't seem to have much to say and gave the beauty of Toledo one last lingering look before turning the key and speeding them away.
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