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Black (Mature 18+)
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Black (Mature 18+) Reply with quote

10 December 2015


BANG BANG BANG

Knocking pulled her out of bed sometime after noon. She pulled the door open while yawning, not even bothering to cover her mouth. Two inches, just enough to brace the door against the ball of her foot while peeking through the crack.

"Hmm?"

"Delivery for a, uh, Nicky Veracruz?"

"Yeah, that's me. Nica. Not Nicky." Nicanora pulled the door open further.

"Oh, sorry, the handwriting on the tag isn't that great lady. Gotta tell whoever sent it to try harder next time."

"Says the one working as a package runner. I'm sure you know all about trying harder, eh?"

"Tch. Just sign would you?" The clipboard was thrust toward her chest hard enough to make her consider taking a step backward.

"Pinche idiota." Muttered as she snatched the clipboard and scribbled her signature at a left leaning slant along the line at the bottom of the manifest.

"Yeah, yeah, you too lady." The courier traded the clipboard for the heavy and awkwardly sized pair of packages, huffing under their weight as he handed them over. She took them with ease and set them down just inside of the room she had rented at some place called the Red Dragon Inn.

"Uh huh." She replied, kicking the door shut behind her without saying goodbye to the disgruntled courier. A flip of the lock, a slide of the chain. Balancing the pair of boxes, she dropped them on the rickety desk and listened to the groan of aged wood under their weight, then without bothering to open them, climbed back into bed.

They could wait.
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Last edited by Nicanora on Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:41 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 December 2015

Nicanora slept in short bursts. A few hours here, a few hours there. A few hours this time meant rising around four in the afternoon. Thankfully this time around it wasn't to the infernal sound of banging on the old wooden door that shuttered her in to the rented room and away from the odd world around her. Sitting up in bed, she squinted at the two boxes still sitting unopened on the table.

"May as well," she said with a sigh and got to her feet. Shaking her hair out along the way, it became a wild lion's mane untamable by her fingers. She gave up and instead slid her thumbnail along the tape holding the box's seams shut. The first of the overloaded boxes sprang open, nearly thwacking Nica in the face with one of the flaps. With a grunt, she folded them down and peered inside. With only the thin cracks of sunlight filtering around the edges of the window's worn curtain, everything in the box looked black. On top, a crinkled piece of notebook paper that had evidently been hastily ripped from its spiral spine judging by the jagged fringe along the left side. Nica scooped it up for closer examination.

for hunting through the night.

i said i would get it to you.
wait for me.
i'll come for you soon.
you'll be safe there.
-me


Beneath the note were her clothes, the better part of her closet stuffed into one oversized U-Haul box. If the box's contents looked completely black, it was because they were. Jackets, shirts, tank tops, sweaters, jeans, pants, skirts, dresses. All black with very little break in the monotony and all hastily crammed together without any respect for order or folding. She would likely need to spend the next two or three hours properly folding things to tuck in the inn room's dresser or straightening things to be hung in the closet. A closet that was much, much smaller than the one she had been used to in Miami.

The condo in Coral Gables wasn't sprawling by all means, but it was more than a room and a bathroom at the very least. It offered a view of the ocean and was only a few blocks from the Miami Institute. While she likely spent more time at the Institute than at the apartment, it had still been her home. Now it was a world away and she was left waiting for answers.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:02 am    Post subject: deus vult Reply with quote

10 December 2015

She had lost an entire day without realizing it. First to sleep, then to unpacking, and finally to the drifting daze she found herself in while sitting in the Inn's commons. It had been a slow enough evening that there was no folly in spacing off in such a fashion, but she found herself replaying the voicemail she had received. In her head it looped over and over, over and over, over and over.

"Hey, it's me. I can't talk long and I hope that cheap piece of crap phone is working right there. Look, it might be a little bit longer before I can make it there. Stuff got real bad here after you left and I...I'm sorry. For getting you in to this. You didn't...***, gotta go!"

After a shuffling and what sounded like quickly paced footsteps, the line had gone dead. It left Nica with a hint of an apology and a fraction of an explanation and exactly no closure. So it would be more waiting. How much more, she couldn't be sure. Perhaps things were more serious than she thought.

Nica had left the common room behind, leaving with a bottle of water and a headache that hadn't been there before. Again she returned to the strange feeling room with the creaky spot in the floor near the bathroom and the curtains that didn't sit quite straight. Answers wouldn't come tonight, no. Sleep was the second best thing.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

11 December 2015

Nica opened the second box late the next day. Unlike the first, there was no note and it was taped shut with what must have amounted to half a roll of box tape. It was heavier than the first two, full of tinks and clinks. The yellow wash from the light overhead afforded her a better view of the contents inside. On first glance, it appeared to be a box full of rags in varying colors but as she dipped her hands in and grabbed for the topmost layer, she felt the hard form that was concealed beneath. Rather than rags, they were his old t-shirts wrapped around long thin blades, stacked at even intervals in the box. Nica took them out one by one and laid them across her bed. Her collection, every last blade, was set neatly in front of her.

Beneath that, the rest of her gear sat in the box. Leather armor, thicker than the leather worn day to day and processed in such a way it could withstand most demon venom without putting a damper on movement. It wasn't the most comfortable get up, but it had seen her through several battles that regular leather couldn't have. A pair of bracers were tucked away too, just beneath the leather vest. They were lined with electrum, a silver gold alloy that, while impure, still made for great protection. The clean lines of strength and protection runes only furthered that cause, each one circling the bold crosses that decorated the inside of each cuff. Beside the bracers, two witchlight stones rattled around loosely in the box, unsecured but mostly because they didn't need to be. It was missing the rest of her miscellaneous supplies, like her stakes and her silver, but at the very bottom, she found the most important piece of them all. Smaller than almost everything else in the box, she almost missed it in the jumble. A solid silver ring, stamped with a square within a square, and in the middle, a raised cross. The Truecross family ring. The corners contained smaller crosses, as did the band of the ring, and it fit perfectly in a well worn groove on the middle finger of her left hand, settling a glimmer of silver just below the deep black Mark that permanently claimed space on the back of her hand.

Smothering the ring with constant attention from the opposite hand, she returned to her perusal of gear and blades alike. Out of habit, she arranged them by length for the ease of taking inventory. A number of throwing knives, a trio of flat handle-less daggers, a blessed iron dagger, two butterfly knives, a custom crosshatch blade that was just as dangerous for the wielder as it was for the one on the receiving end, the Iberian falcata that had once been her mothers, and of course, last but certainly not least, a mismatched pair of seraph blades. Penemue and Remiel, as she had deemed them, had come with her all the way from the Madrid Institute when Nica and her father had moved to Miami.

Save for a few minor things, it was as though the box's sender had compiled the entirety of who Nica was as a Shadowhunter, crammed it into two boxes, and sent them, care of a courier who couldn't give less of a damn about their contents. Her life. Reduced to two hastily packed boxes. It took her thirty minutes to get over that fact and another hour to put it all away. When all was said and done, she collapsed face first on the bed, face buried in her pillow. She could still smell where she had laid out the shirts he had wrapped her blades in. They smelled like bergamot and grapefruit with a touch of cedar and something else she had never quite put her finger on. A homey scent that made everything that much more difficult to process. She flipped the pillow to get the smell out of her face and flopped over onto her back.

i'll come for you soon.

"You better."
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

12 December 2015

"Hey, I can't come to the phone right now but if you drop your name and number after the beep, I'll get back to you as soon as I can."

BEEP

"Hi. It's me. I don't really have anyone here to talk to and you aren't answering. So I guess this'll do. I spent the evening rubbing elbows with the locals and drinking high end scotch at some Governors Ball thing. Real black tie affair sort of thing. You would have hated it. Met a few people... can't really remember their names but they were nice. Everyone's been really nice. I'm not drunk but I miss your stupid face. Call me back. Bye."

"Hey, I can't come to the phone right now but if you drop your name and number after the beep, I'll get back to you as soon as I can."

BEEP

"Me again. Maybe I am drunk. They had these pretty drinks there that looked like the Northern Lights. Aurora something or other. There was elven booze in it, the sort that makes your head all swooshy. Like that time we went to Illusion in South Beach and you got totally *** on feywine. I carried your a** all the way back to the Institute. By the Angel, I don't think I've ever seen your dad that angry. Anyways. Yeah, it made me think of,--"

BEEP. "To review your message, press star, to send, press pound."

"--but I wasn't done..."

"Hey, I can't come to the phone right now but if you drop your name and number after the beep, I'll get back to you as soon as I can."

BEEP

"Your voicemail is so rude, you know. Cutting me off like that. What was I saying? I don't even remember. Uhhhhmmmmm...huh. I don't know. Me estoy perdiendo en casa, y yo no quiero estar aquí. Dijiste que vendrías así que voy a esperar. Sabes cuánto que odio esperar. Llámame, Christopher, por favor. Noches."
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

13 December 2015

A lioness caged, she paced the small expanse of the inn room, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. The longer she waited, the worse she felt about everything. She swung between the violent extremes, manic hope and destructive pessimism. A swing of an arm sent an empty bottle bouncing off the desk and onto the floor with a clatter of crinkling plastic and hollow crunching. She immediately picked it back up only to crumple it in her grip. The sound wasn't as satisfying as the release of nervous tension that rippled through every muscle fiber in her body. Dropping the crippled bottle into a garbage can full of its plastic siblings, she scooped the burner phone off the bedside table and flipped it open for what must have been the millionth time since arriving.

No new texts.

No missed calls.

No new voicemails.

She resisted the overwhelming urge to throw the burner across the room. Her own phone was a world away, full of her contacts and texts and pictures and games. This two bit piece of plastic barely passed for a phone and it was her only line home. The urge was too much. She threw the flip phone at the far wall. It dented the old plaster and fell behind the dresser. Swearing, Nica pulled the dresser away from the wall and sifted through the dark behind it until she found the phone deep within a pile of dust bunnies. She expected it to be in pieces, shattered, dented. Something.

No, it was fine. Nokia.

Blowing dust off, she punched the redial button. Much like every other time, it rang and clicked over to voicemail.

"Hey, I can't come to the phone right now but if you drop your name and number after the beep, I'll get back to you as soon as I can."

BEEP


"You lied, by the way. You said I would be the only one of us here, that there wouldn't be others. You lied, Christopher. I met one and he says there are even more. Nevermind the sheer number of Downworlders around here. Everywhere! Everywhere. Children of the Night, the Moon, of Lilith... I can't go a block or walk downstairs for a drink without running into one or two. They all just magically coexist peacefully here and it makes--"

BEEP. "To review your message, press star, to send, press pound."

After a brief tensing of her fist around the inflexible plastic, she hung up and redialed.

"The mailbox you are trying to reach is currently full. Please hang up and try again later."

When she threw the phone again, she didn't go to retrieve it.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

14 December 2015

It was well after midnight when she had left the Inn in search of a fast beat and low bass, leaving behind a peculiar Downworlder that smelled of soot and burning wood. Maybe a touch of pine. Nica found what she was looking for in the form of an out of the way club right on the edge between New Haven and Dragon's Gate. Despite the late hour, drinks were still flowing and the music still spinning. The thump-thump-thump was enough to take her mind off of her restlessness and she got lost in the music for hours on end. The bumping and sliding of bodies glistening with sweat didn't even put her off. A tangle of touching and twisting, a swaying of hips hugged by barely there fabric. It wasn't a far cry from home. Nor was stumbling out into the street at four in the morning, her blood thick with liquor and her head light with euphoria. The deliberately weaving path carried her back toward the inn to the tune of one woman karaoke sang in a minor key rather than major, low and haunting but interrupted by sporadic giggles.

The grab of her wrist and subsequent throw against the shadow laden alley wall put a halt to singing and laughter both. It was enough to crack the back of her head, flashing lights appearing in her vision where clarity had been only moments ago. Her back met brick roughly, stealing the air from her lungs but not the muscle memory from her limbs. Drunk or not, the flying elbow was delivered with pinpoint accuracy to the temple of her would be attacker, slowing them for a three count and giving her just long enough to fix her dress. Considering the circumstances, such a thing was hardly necessary but the motion gave her just enough time to slip a pair of blades from the holsters worn high on her thighs. When the dark figure neared, she was ready for him, she feinted high with the right and coming in low with the left. Stabbing then dragging the left-hand blade upwards, she kicked out at an exposed midsection at much the same time she pulled the glimmering weapon free. A guttural grunt spelled masculinity to confirm what the size and shape had already whispered of. He was large and powerful, sure, but she wasn't the helpless damsel that he had taken her for, as evidenced by the gaping gash in his stomach.

"Y-you bitch! You cut me!" He snarled and swung out with her. A graceful dodge tucked her back out of his reach but sent her rolling back over an upended stack of milk crates. He was already advancing by the time she got up but as he closed the distance, she adjusted her grip and with deadly precision, flung the blade in her right hand end of end at the man. It caught him in the left eye and embedded itself with a sickening squelch. His scream and subsequent stumble forward was more than enough time to leverage the final blow. A sharp thrust of the blade in her left hand slipped between his ribs and a quick wrench laterally finished him off. He slumped against her and it was only through the grace of the Angel that she shoved him off before he took both of them down. The man fell to the ground like a dropped bag of flour though without the satisfying cloud poof afterwards. Pulling the knives out of his body, Nica wiped them off on her dress and slipped them back into the sheaths worn like garters around each leg. On closer examination, the man seemed fairly normal. Overweight, a little greasy, but other than that, completely ordinary. And dead, very dead.

"It was self defense," she told herself upon realizing that she had just killed a Mundane. Her head was swimming, either from the alcohol or the initial blow to the back of the head that she had taken. Grabbing one of the pins that held her hair up, it proved to be the wrong one, so she had to grab the second. That was her stele, cleverly disguised as an ornate chopstick to keep her hair in place. Etching an iratze in the crook of her right arm, it flared gold then slowly sank into her flesh. While it did its work, she backed up toward the alley's mouth. Despite the commotion, no one had come to investigate. She could leave and nobody would be any wiser. The late hour allowed her to get back to the inn with only minimal interaction with passersby, stopping along the way to clean the blood off of herself if only to avoid untoward questions. Her dress was likely a total loss, unfortunate considering how cute it was. When she made it back, she had ended up hanging in the commons until she realized she hadn't slept and still needed to change. Then and only then did she return to her room, so tired that she didn't see the folded up note left in her mail cubby.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

15 December 2015

"I've always been a heliophile myself," she told the woman downstairs before climbing the steps back to her room. Melanie had proven to be a strange bird of a woman, not human but not like anything Nicanora had seen before. With the face of an angel and the deadly grace of a viper, strange wasn't even a good word for it. The woman was acquainted with the other Nephilim that Nica had met, had referred to him as an idiot or at the very least something close. These were all things Nica thought about as she slid down the upper floor's hallway, trying to ignore the itch of the envelope tucked up her sleeve as it nagged at her wrist. Open me, it said. Not literally, no. There was no writing on the front or the back to indicate who it was from or if it was even intended for her. It had been in her mail box, which Nica was certain had been completely empty when she had signed for the room, so it wasn't like it could have been a holdover from a past renter. Shutting the door behind her, she locked it and ran her hand over the runes she had marked around the door handle. Protection, strength, quiet.

She sat on the edge of the bed and slipped the envelope from her sleeve, grasping it between both hands. For what must have been the hundredth time, Nica ran her fingers over the front and then the back, tracing the edges and the barely perceptible folds of whatever note lay within. An hour must have passed before she finally slipped a nail beneath one sealed corner and ripped across carefully. The war drum that was her heart rattled in its cage for reasons unknown, the note slipping out of the confines of the envelope and into her open palm. Twice folded, she reversed the creases and smoothed the paper flat. It had been ripped from a notebook, much the same as the note in her box of gear, uneven and jagged along the left side and the bottom. Messing handwriting too, just like the first.

delayed, will join you when i can.
dont go to the old.
943-our time, the day of your birth
-me


"Nine forty-three our time... the day of my birth?" Nica was born in the middle of August, surely he didn't mean for her to meet him again then. That was months away still. She flopped back on the bed and closed her eyes. Maybe mulling it over for awhile would enlighten her.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

16 December 2015

943. 943. 943. Don't go to the old. Four in the morning was witness to her shooting out of bed with a sudden start.

"It's not a time, it's a number!" She proclaimed to the darkness and flung the heavy comforter off of her. Scrambling out of bed, she tripped over her boots, caught herself on the desk, and felt around the Nokia she thought would never ring. As she flipped it open, the dim glow of the blue screen lit her face up with its mocking lack of messages or missed calls. That didn't matter now though. She punched in numbers one by one.

786

Area code. It was a guess. Educated, sure, but a guess just the same.

943.

The one number in the note not easily translated into code, but easily passed off as a time.

10

The number of years they had been parabatai. Another guess but it could have only been one of two numbers, since they had been friends long before their bond had become cemented by the Mark under her collarbone.

20

August 20th, 1993. Nica had come into the world only three months after Christopher had. Or "three months and nine days" as he liked to remind her every time he pulled the "I'm older than you" card. Which was often. 943-1020. She poked the send button and pulled the phone up to her ear.

One ring. Two rings. Three ri--

"Dígame."

"Christopher? Oh, it's you... where are you? Why didn't you call me?!"

"Slow down, slow down. I'm somewhere but I'm okay. For now."

"For now? Christopher, what did you do, you have to tell me..."

"I can't, Nic. Not right now at least. But I'm okay and I'll try to be there as soon as I can to explain."

"Okay, well why didn't you call instead of waiting for me to find this note and figure out your stupid code? You should have called!"

"Nic. Be real. I haven't memorized a phone number since 2001, if that."

"Fine. I'll give you that. I was just...worried."

"I know, but you'll know if something goes wrong and for now that won't happen. I just need a little more time. Stay where you are, you're safe there."

"Not as safe as you thought..."

"What? What happened?"

"Nothing important. But you told me to go somewhere where there are Downworlders galore... even other Nephilim and I'm pretty sure I think I saw an angel last night."

"By the Angel, seriously?"

"Si, seriously."

"Be vigilant then. Tell no one you heard from me. I mean no one, especially not any other Nephilim. The last thing we need right now is for one of them to go back to the Clave."

"Christopher...you're in deep trouble, aren't you?"

"No, but they may think so. You know how they are."

"The law is hard,"

"But it is the law, yes."

"Should be more like de minimis non curat lex."

"Heh, we'd be out of jobs if that were the case. I've gotta go though. Get a new number and phone when you can, just in case. Text me when you do."

"Got it. Just, be safe okay?"

"You too, Nic. Ciao."

"Ciao."
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

17 December 2015

Text to C: got it. envy.

Text from C: kk

Kk. Typically the two most infuriating letters to receive as a response to a text. But considering her own had been all of three words and made little sense out of contest, she would let it pass for now. It got her wondering though, just where he might have been hiding. Where ever Christopher was, he was somewhere he could still contact her. Somewhere he could send her notes and other things. Did he still have access to her old apartment? He had a key, or at least he did the last time she had seen him. He was over there as much as she was, even when she wasn't there. That was an apt way of describing Christopher.

Always there, even if she wasn't.

Almost all of her biggest memories included him in some capacity now that she thought about it.

The first time she rode a bike and crashed face first into a fence. She still had a scar on the underside of her chin from that and could, to this day, still hear Christopher's soft reassurances that it would be okay so long as she got up and tried again.

The time she beat someone up for saying that girls were worse Shadowhunters than boys because they were smaller and weaker. Christopher had taken the blame, mostly because the offending party didn't want to admit they had been beaten up by a girl. His father had grounded him for three month for it. Not once did he complain.

When she got her first Marks, just a few months after him. The fierce pride he had worn was more than she could have asked from any brother ever. They made their parabatai bond only a few months later. A pair of twelve year old kids binding themselves to one another for life. But supposedly they say that if a friendship can last ten years, it'll last forever.

When her mother had died and Christopher stayed up with her all night as she destroyed everything within arm's reach. And when she turned that destructive force upon herself, he had pinned her arms to her sides and hugged her until she calmed down, no matter how many times she had kicked him along the way. He had lost his mother too, a long time ago when they were only toddlers.

The moment her father decided they were moving to Miami to help at the Institute there, Christopher had told his father that he was going too. It wasn't even a second thought. Where Nicanora was, Christopher was sure to be not far behind. Always there, even if she wasn't.

It was time for her to repay the favor.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

18 December 2015

Repaying the favor came up short. By her definition at the very least. No matter how much she wanted to track down Christopher, she had absolutely nothing to go on. No contacts, no information, no way home. All in all, she was a sitting duck, stuck in a weird inn on an even stranger world. Strange didn't quite encompass Rhydin, not in its entirety at least. Children of demons and other Downworlders rub elbows with mundanes and even other angel blooded creatures without a care in the world. The amount of conflict she had seen since arriving had been minimal and had little to do with the blood in their veins unless it was due to the alcohol that diluted it. Men putting their hands on women's asses without permission, drinks thrown in faces, that sort of thing. Which, the more she thought about it, was about the most normal thing in the world. It was something that could have been found at any of the beachside mundane clubs she went to, really.

So why did she still feel so very Alice in Wonderland about it? Perhaps it was the collision of two worlds that had been very, very separate for her until then. While she had drifted with ease between them, it didn't make it any easier to navigate now that she was in Rhydin.

If she couldn't help Christopher, she could at least try and make sense of the new world around her. Immersion. It was supposedly the best way to get acclimated to a new place, so again she had freed herself from the confines of her room and ventured down into the Inn's ever changing commons. The faces were becoming more familiar even if she couldn't always match a name to them. The sheer number of new names that were rattling about in her head from the past week or so were mind-numbing. Annabeth the actress and Zofie the puppet master. Cooper the cigarette savior and the awkward ex, whom Nica couldn't remember her name for the life of her. Melanie the mercurial and Crispin the Nephilim. Will the healer and Taneth the golden ball of youthful delight. Tannie, who had given Nica the nickname "Fanny", was something special though Nica wasn't sure why. The girl was a soft comfort whose hugs made her feel a little less alone in this weird place. It was a good distraction. There was Zan too, he was a whole different sort of diversion. Silver tongued and a decent kisser to boot, he was a fair way to forget about the incessant worry that nagged at her. Yeah, definitely a fair way.

Of course, Christopher wasn't here to make fun of her for it, but she could still hear his distinctively derisive laughter as he pointed out the way she would blush around certain guys. He once told her that her cheeks were a built in lie detector. She couldn't say one thing about a guy to him and mean another without a creeping tint of pink high along her cheekbones and into her ears. Gift and curse, she supposed, but mostly curse. At least Christopher wouldn't be there (for now) to see it. Small blessings.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

19 December 2015

A humming in her pocket twisted her composure into surprise. Shifting in her seat, she dug the cheap phone out of her pocket and squinted at the dimmed screen. "Permítame un momento," she murmured to Taneth and Jed, rose, and pushed out onto the porch to take the call. Will had been left behind as well, just a blip on her radar. The number lit up the screen in the dark of the porch and she took the steps down to the front walk and away from any prying ears that had been out there as well.

"Hello?" Tentative, cautious.

"It's me." Christopher's voice was quiet, rough.

"Chris? You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." He didn't sound fine.

"Are you sure? What's up?" Dropping her voice as she got further from the inn.

"Delayed again...minor setback. I...Nic...I'm not sure when I'm going to make it there." Defeat permeated his tone.

"So if you can't come to me, let me come to you. How do I come home?"

"No, no. You really shouldn't. Not right now, just trust me on that."

"You keep telling me to trust you on this. And I'm trying really hard to do so. But you're making it difficult when you tell me nothing except to sit and wait and trust. I don't sit and wait, Christopher Altatorre. We don't sit and wait. It isn't in my blood and it isn't fair for you to ask this of me. I want to help so just let me help. Dios ****ing mío."

Christopher was quiet as her scathing scolding died down. She heard a shuffle against the mouthpiece. "I know. Just give me a little more time to make things right."

Nica huffed. "How much longer?"

"No sé. I don't want to make promises I can't keep. Just...patience?"

"It's hard to be patient in a place like this, Christopher."

"I know. Just keep your head down, don't draw any unnecessary attention to yourself. Keep an eye on your mail. I've gotta go though."

She was tired of keeping her head down, of playing it safe and hiding. Paranoia was not a good look on her. Nica sighed. "Okay. Can I at least text you? I get so bored..."

It was Christopher's turn to sigh. "Yeah, just be careful."

"I always am."

"Hardly. Later Nic."

"Bye."
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

20 December 2015

Twilight's purple and navy framed the old curtain that covered the window of her room. On this side of the building, the sun rose from the far side rather than directly into her window so she was afforded a few minutes of extra dark. Still though, she could spy the first hints of red and orange drenching the rooftops in the flames of a sun quickly rising. She wasn't sure what time it was in Miami, so she waited until the city began to wake up before texting Christopher.

Text to C: You awake?

Text from C: No

Text to C: Then why are you responding?

Text from C: Ask a stupid ?, get a stupid answer

Text to C: You're lucky you're so far away or else I would have to hurt you

Text from C: Right. U ok?

Text to C: Yeah, fine I guess. Couldn't sleep.

Text from C: U say that like u need sleep

Text to C: Hush. At least it passes the time.

Text from C: So u were bored?

Text to C: Something like that. I don't really have anyone I can talk to here

Text from C: Have some spare cash? I bet u can find a place that sells diaries. It can be like ur 10 all over again and I wont even b there 2 read it

Text to C: Jajaja very funny. Don't get me wrong, there are some nice people here and I've met some people that w/ time I think could be friends but yeah

Text from C: You need to be careful about who you say what to.

Text to C: Duh. I'm not an idiot Chris. Speaking of, I told you there's another nephilim here right? His name's Cris too.

Text from C: But is he a Christopher?

Text to C: Idk tbh. He's a hard read. Kind of afraid to talk to him

Text from C: Don't trust him. Never trust a Chris that isn't a Christopher, that's what I always say

Text to C: What if he is a Christopher?

Text from C: Then still don't trust him

Text to C: He said he doesn't really go back home. I dont think we have to worry about him

Text from C: We can't risk it Nic. Safe rather than sorry

Text to C: I guess. Gonna go get breakfast I think. Diner here makes the best french toast. When you get here, we're going

Text from C: Sure Nica, if it makes you happy

Text to C: It does. I'll talk to you soon ♡
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

20 December 2015

"So if public service doesn't pay, why stay in the field?" Sitting in the Inn, Nica asked Will out of the blue. They had been out to get food together twice already, so running into him in the Inn was no surprise. Despite the seeming familiarity, they still hadn't formerly traded names. She had gleaned his off of a work ID glimpsed just briefly the second night they had ate together but still called him by the nickname Taneth had given him.

"Because I need something to complain about, obviously." It was an easy reply.

The spill of laughter broke her silence just long enough to be silenced with a swig of water. She sloshed the liquid around her mouth before swallowing and shaking her head. "Isn't the weather crappy enough to fill that need?" She asked Will.

"I grew up in this kinda weather. Doesn't bother me." He shrugged and sipped from his mug. "Let me guess, South Florida, Texas, or So Cal."

Just as quickly as it had died, her laughter lived once more. "Not originally, no. But most recently, yes, southern Florida. Am I that obvious?"

"You don't like the cold. You're not so great at dressing for the cold. Seemed like simple logic." At least he didn't racially profile her, right?

That would have ended poorly for him, inevitably. Worse than exploding suckers too. Nica looked down at herself. The conservative outfit seemed warm enough. She looked back up at him only mildly affronted. "I'm terrific at dressing for the cold, thank you very much."

"Say that again in January." In the moment, Will was smug.

January was the coldest month of the year in Madrid, she could handle January certainly. "I bet I'll be just fine." Confident to a fault. "Plus, January is only a couple weeks away and it's fine...ish now."

"Make sure you keep your heating bill paid." His coffee gone, Will was moving back behind the bar. "Get you anything, Fanny?" See? Almost a week and they still hadn't properly exchanged names. It was a source for great amusement.

"Hopefully I'll be back home by then. Otherwise, this place keeps it paid, right?" She gestured with her water bottle to the inn around them. "Fresh bottle of water?" It was a good moment to chug down the rest of what she had in the current bottle.

"Only passing through, huh?" He refilled his mug and fetched up her bottle, passing the latter back to her when he retook his seat to her right.

"Yeah, something like that," she answered with a shrug of her shoulders. "Thanks Mista Loaf." Taking up the water, a quick pass of her index finger traced the seal. She deemed it solid and immediately cracked it open.

"I liked Senor Loaf better," he teased. She wasn't forthcoming with the details and he didn't pry. Privacy was a precious thing. "Gonna spend the holiday here, watering up?"

"You like the accent, I get it," she quipped and grinned. After her conversation that morning, she was struggling with just how much she could say and to whom. But her smile was still an easy thing even as she shrugged again. "I guess. Don't really celebrate so I'll probably sleep the day away, wash my hair, something like that, you know?"

"I do." The delivery was unabashed. He listened and drank, nodding his head along with her supposed plans. "Could always go dancing."

Against tanned skin, the blush was muted but there, partially hidden by a dip of her chin and a quiet laugh. "Thought you were working or something?"

"I am, but it doesn't mean I can't be curious." His smile widened.

"I am always down for dancing," she said seriously. "Except at this one club down near the harbor area. That one got crossed off the list."

"Always-always?" Staring at her curiously.

"Always-always," she said with a grave nod.

"And what happened at this club?" Will was growing curiouser and curiouser.

That was a story that required a roll of her eyes, exasperated. "Some asshat tried to mug me or something. It was a pretty shady area of town, I'm not all that surprised."

"Could have been worse." Will was either big on the bright side or just very accepting of his surroundings, but he made an apologetic expression into his mug as he drank. "But yeah, I don't think I'd go back either."

She swished more water around her mouth and nodded. "Yeah, it could have." Grim as it was, he was right. "There are some solid places in better parts of town anyways. So...Senor Save-the-World, was talk of Christmas dancing just for fun or is this going to be an actual thing at some point?"

"Wednesday night is the station's annual Yule-Christmas party," he replied without hesitating. "Wanna come make me look more interesting and socially engaging?"

She perked up instantly, a kilowatt smile cutting a wide swath of red framed white across her mouth. "Will there be dancing?" Negotiations, you know?

"There will, I believe, be dancing." He seemed amused.

"Well, if there isn't, we'll dance anyways. How's that for interesting and socially engaging?" If it were even possible, her grin grew. Oddly enough, it was something to look forward to, if only for a few days.



((Adapted from live play))
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

21 December 2015

Her name is Zynnara. Should she be in the company of a demon, pay him no mind. He's large, but he is most definitely not in charge. Nica had been told the night before by the other nephilim when pressed for details about the warlocks of Rhydin that could possibly Portal her home. She had taken the warlock's number and stowed it away somewhere safe with the thought that maybe she would think it over and see if Christopher came through for her. To take the help of a stranger, a Downworlder stranger at that, when he had pushed so vehemently for her not to trust a soul in this realm, was a gamble that she wasn't sure she should take. But Zynnara, or Zynn as she preferred, showed up just as Cris was leaving and Nica felt that if she didn't act then, she may never do so. At first she had faltered, making small talk of introductions and compliments on a dance club recommendation the warlock had given her a few nights prior. It segued from there into the common connection Cris offered and finally the hesitation question of whether the woman still did portal work for hire. Of course it prompted the matter of why, understandably so.

"Friend that sent me here hasn't been real forthcoming on how to get back home. Was hoping maybe I could get my own way there..." She had answered, feeling guilty that her impatience could damage the trust that she had spent two decades forging. It was as if the parabatai Mark beneath her right collar bone itself was itching to nag her that this was a bad choice. She pushed that doubt to the back of her mind as she climbed the stairs to return to her room for the night.

"Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee— For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge," she repeated the oath as she closed the door behind her, locking it and stepping away while peeling off the numerous layers she had worn. Her knife lined jacket was gently draped over the chair beside her bed while the remaining articles were dumped without ceremony onto the floor. Saving her phone from the rumpled pile, she finished her nighttime ritual and climbed into bed in the dark with only the phone screen's glow doing battle with the shadows that threw long angles over the room.

Text to C: Low on cash, can you help?

Text from C: What, got a hot date?

Text to C: Something like that

Text from C: Look @ u go. Keep an eye on ur mailbox sum time 2moro

Text to C: Thanks

Text from C: Its not w/ Cris-not-Christopher is it?

Text to C: No. It's with Cutie Loaf.

Text from C: Is that one of those My Little Horses?

Text to C: Ugh no. I'm going to sleep

Text from C: LOL. Noches chica caballo

Text to C: I'm going to kill you, I swear

Text from C: Sure u r. Goodnight!

Text to C: Gnight

She set the phone down on the bedside table and rolled over, staring into the slightly glowing dark until the phone's display timed out of its own accord, plunging the room into black once more. She should have been thinking about her "date" with Will. Instead she could only finish the oath that had been on her lips as she locked herself away in her room. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. The Angel do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

22 December 2015

Two weeks had flown by. Another night had been spent drinking cheap beer at a bar full of semi-familiar faces, taking in introductions and cracking jokes at her own expense and perhaps a little at the expense of Will, who had returned for yet another evening of torment. Poor guy, he couldn't catch a break. He had come in on the tail end of an encounter with, as Nica remembered it, a bus wreck, a gang war, and a fire breathing alligator. Nica was no stranger to odd but that was quite the shift. Will was nice though, sweet without being creepy, pleasant to any who spoke to him, easy going and laid back. Not her type in the least, if she were being honest. But she enjoyed his company and their simple banter, so she welcomed the distraction that he provided.

Distractions. They held her over until she could arrange a Portal back to Miami. Wednesday evening would find her dancing the evening away with a cute EMT at a station holiday party, but Monday night found her chasing a wisp of a blonde for the sake of a sleep over. Like Will, Taneth was sweet. Unlike Will, as far as Nica had seen, Taneth had a heaviness in her heart that shaded her view of the world. For all the joy she brought others, it seemed almost as if she didn't think she could have the same. It made Nica sad to see but she didn't dare impose and pry. Privacy wasn't a tenet she was keen on infringing on. As Nica returned back to the inn the next day, she found herself thinking about the last time she'd had any sort of platonic slumber party. Sure Nica had had several guys, and even a few ladies, stay the night over recent years but it wasn't without more sinful intent.

Christopher had been her last. The thought shouldn't have come as a surprise to her, that he would have been the last person she trusted enough to just hang out without expectations. Cotton pajama pants and messy buns could be worn without fear of judgment while they played video games and watched movies. Though he lived only a block away, it had been over a year since the last time they'd had a night in like that. Right around Christmas, if she remembered right. As a group, they had tracked down a warlock who had been summoning demons and setting them on his enemies one by one in a series of grisly murders that were beginning to have the local authorities asking all the wrong questions. It was Christopher and Nica along with the Blackwater twins, Lidia and Daniel, and Lidia's boyfriend Silvano Marcaluz. The five of them had fought together many times and had been training together for the better part of a decade save for Silvano, who had only joined their group in the past two years. He came to Miami from the Lisbon Institute but he was a capable warrior so he was a welcome addition. Regardless, the quintet had blown through the pack of Achaieral demons, wrangled the rogue warlock, and went out to celebrate over dinner and drinks before Christopher and Nica had returned to her apartment.

"Lidia and Silvano seemed weird tonight, don't you think?" Nica said through a mouthful of popcorn as she settled on the black leather couch and kicked her legs up across Christopher's lap.

"Weird? I didn't notice anything weird," he said too quickly to have been a casual write off of the strangeness Nica had noticed. Christopher glanced away and flipped the input on the flat panel television, clicking over to the bluray menu.

"Mentiroso!" Nica called him out, jabbing him in the side with a finger. "You totally noticed! Admit it!"

"Ah, Nic, stop that!" He twisted away from her bony digits and sharp fingernails, smacking at her hand with the remote. "Maybe they were a little weird, okay?"

"Knew it. Don't often see Silvano miss his mark like that and the way Lidia freaked out on him, wow," she said, sitting back smugly. One of the Achaieral demons had nearly taken Christopher's head off when Silvano's chakram had gone wide. Only by the grace of the Angel did Christopher recover quickly enough to take the demon down himself. She looked aside to her
parabatai who looked sheepish. "Chris?"

"They've been having some issues," he mumbled. Nica's brows rose and she turned to face him more, propping her elbow on the back of the couch.

"Oh really? Spill it!" Drama gossip, she was always down to hear it.

"It's not really my place, just trust me. Give them some space, they'll work it out," he answered evasively. Nica rolled her eyes and settled back in.

"Boring," she muttered. Christopher chuckled and clicked play, ending the conversation there.


She missed it, the stupid conversations over microwave popcorn and cut rate movies. She missed him, her friends, her life. As she got back to her room, she tugged free the envelope that she had collected from her mailbox the night before. Her thumbnail slipped into the flap and tore it open. Inside, a note and a thin stack of bills, easily converted to silver. Pocketing the money, she unfolded the note and looked it over.

enjoy your hot date
stay out of trouble
talk soon


Nica stared. Not at the words but rather the stationary the note had been written on to begin with. Only partially visible, the logo for the Miami Majestic Hotel was just able to be made out at the top of the torn paper. He had been careless in covering his tracks.

But now she had something to go off of.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

23 December 2015

Rhydin was quiet in the way that cities got just before dawn. Many of the bar flies had passed out for the night and the working class wasn't quite ready to rise for the day. This deep into winter, the sun wasn't all that keen on rising either, draping the landscape in plums and blues while it slumbered just a little longer. Nica though, she had been up for most of the night. Three or four hours of sleep was more than enough to keep her running when she factored in the Stamina rune Marked over the left side of her chest. It even made the carried coffee wholly unnecessary as far as caffeine goes. But it was hot and the dark roast smelled divine so she had taken a cup from the diner to go. Stepping out from the fluorescent glow of the twenty-four hour restaurant, the sharp bite of winter caught her lungs on the first inhale. She tugged her jacket zipper up a little further and set off.

She had just passed the wall that divided the market area from Dragon's Gate when a scream cut through the early morning air. Nica flung a look around to find the source and took off toward the narrow street pinpointed as such. When she turned the corner, she was met by a wall of darkness. The buildings weren't tall enough here to still cloak the street in shadow and even the streetlamps weren't visible through the blackness. The beating of leathery sounding wings confirmed her suspicions as another scream was let loose on the other side of the wall. The nephilim could have walked away. After all, the Accords didn't seem to extend their terms to this world. She was under no obligation to intervene but her conscience wouldn't permit such a thing. Her next move served a two fold purpose. Throwing the full cup of hot coffee emptied her hands and it also got the demon's attention.

"Hey, a*shole, isn't it a little early in the day to be messing with little girls?" Nica grinned as it turned around. She'd had enough time to free the dull, blunt edged tube from the inside of her jacket, one of two. The other was still in her room at the inn but one would do. Just beyond the turned demon, a young woman only a few years younger than Nica was sprawled on the ground, a trio of gashes trailing from her right shoulder to the lower left side of her abdomen. They looked shallow enough that the woman wasn't in danger of bleeding out just yet and she took the opportunity to skitter backwards like a crab. Nica's grin met the woman's wild eyed look of horror just as the demon started toward the Shadowhunter. It loosed a screeching squawk, avian in nature even if the demon looked nothing like the birds it sounded similar to. As if made of the shadows themselves, no light reflected off of the creature. It was broad, taking up almost half of the street's width. Two yellow eyes peered out at her from the darkness.

"Remiel," she murmured, bringing life to the seraph blade. From the cylinder shot a blade of light, forcing the street's shadows to retreat from its glow. In her right hand, she had pulled a wickedly curved knife, almost ten inches in length. It paled in comparison to the seraph blade but she was always better when working two handed. The demon's yellow eyes widened and it glided backwards toward the retreating woman it had attacked.

"Run, chica!" Nica shouted, chasing after the demon as it went after the unarmed woman instead. As she yelled at the girl, she was dismayed to find that the shadow in front of her split in two. Though half the size, both of the newly formed beings bore the same inkspill form and goldenrod eyes. One continued its progress after the injured woman while the other met Nica midway. Up close, it was less shadow and more abyss shaded black, the creature having a tangible form that she could make out. Two arms, a chitinous torso and two thick legs. Where its hips should have been, two thick curved stingers were at just the right height to pierce and hold its prey and keep it from struggling. She barely ducked a swipe of a black clawed hand and slashed at the dark pooling around her with the brightly singing angel blade. Another screech filled her ears as the demon brought a hammer like blow down on her from above. It caught her in the shoulder and sent her crashing to the cobblestones but she swiftly recovered, rolling to one side and throwing the knife at just the right time that it caught one of the stingers. A gush of black ichor spilled on the ground and over Nica's boots, hissing against the leather. The stinger spit more acid at her and she had to roll the opposite direction to keep from taking the brunt of it. It gave the demon enough time to meet her roll with a stomp of its stump like foot. Connecting with her ankle, she felt her flesh give under the weight but bit back a cry. The demon, something similar to those she had fought in years past but not quite the same, loomed over her but as it bent down to try and pin her with its stingers, she shot upwards and drove the seraph blade through the demon's center of mass. It crowed once more and slumped onto the blade, dissolving into a mess of ichor and acid. Nica barely had time to get out from under it before it rained down on her.

Frantically, she looked down the street only to find the girl alone. The other half of the demon had disappeared when Nica killed the first, either that or flown away but a quick scan of the sky proved clear as far as the eye could see, the stars winking down at them as if to say they would never tell. Her ankle protested the weight she put on it but she limped over to the girl even as she drew her stele from her inner pocket.

"You alright?" Nica asked, pulling the hem of her jeans up out of her boots to expose her purpling and swelling shin. The girl, whose wounds seemed to be closing of their own accord, gave her a numb nod.

"What was that?" She asked, her voice hoarse. Probably from all of the screaming she had done. Nica groaned a little and took the stele to her flesh, drawing the iratze rune that glowed golden before sinking into her skin. The relief wasn't immediate but she could feel the healing Mark begin to do its job.

"Demon of some sort, I'm guessing," Nica answered, offering the girl a hand up. She took it and when she got to her feet, she dusted herself off and touched gingerly to her chest.

"It tried to get me with those...stingers. When it couldn't, it ripped me right open," the girl murmured.

"It's gone now. Do you want me to walk you to a clinic or something?" Nica asked tiredly. The girl shook her head.

"N-no, you've done enough. Thank you," she said, bowing her head and backing away from the nephilim. Nica watched her for a few moments as she hurried away, sighing and turning to continue the way she had come from.

"Was really looking forward to that coffee too," Nica muttered.



((Inspired by the Midnight Sun. Polar Night playable))
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

23 December 2015

For all of his downplayed charm, the start of the evening said very plainly that Will wasn't entirely within his element.

Tossing a too-small closet had ended with an ensemble that included the nicest pair of black Levis he owned (no fraying or holes or anything), a soft blue-gray button down that just barely qualified as dressy, topped by a borrowed black vest, and the tie from his dress uniform. It suited him (no pun intended) just enough to leave him feeling comfortable in his own skin and, he thought, to pass whatever dress code requirements that might be enforced.

His RFD-EMS coat sort of ruined the effect, though.

There was a coy smile when he met his evening companion on the back stairs of the Inn, just shy of her room, bold enough to present her with a single lily that had been trimmed short so that he could slip it into her hair unasked. I'll take it back later, he teased her, so that I can tell the guys at the station later that I deflowered you and not feel like I'm a liar.

It set the tone for the most of the evening, from the less than inspiring ride in his jeep to the massive Old Market station house, so the first few quips (at her expense and his) when they arrived arm-in-arm awkwardly to more than a few stares. For all of his talk of showing her off, he was a gentleman (though he still introduced her as Fanny), abandoning her only once for an extended bathroom break (damn that taco dip) and leaving her to here a few funny and sometimes off stories of Old Market's 'Iron Will' of Station 316. Sometimes the tones were respectful, almost casually venerable, and at other times disconcerted.

By chance, his return coincided with the more insistent start of the music, with more than one wife and girlfriend cowing their men with a look until bodies finally started moving.

Even a world away from home, Nica was always prepared for a party. Just as she had told him, she was black clad from shoulder to mid thigh, breaking for an ample amount of tanned leg before culminating in sky high heels to match the dress. To mute the ensemble's sparkle, she had thrown on a blase cardigan in a pale shade of brown. For all the good that the Thermis rune on her lower back did, Rhydin's winter chill was none too welcome and the soft cashmere pulled double duty by hiding away a number of her secrets, ones carried no matter the occasion. While she had honestly prepared herself to receive a bouquet of venus flytraps, she was quite relieved to accept the single lily, regardless of the groan worthy remark that came with it.

While the city was big, Old Market was among the nearest districts to Dragon's Gate and the Inn other than New Haven. She had spent the better part of two weeks exploring the urban terrain and found a certain amount of charm in the marketplace district that she was more than willing to revisit. He had prepared her ahead of time for the idea that that his co workers thought him odd, so the stares they garnered as they entered only had her grinning further. She took a strange amount of pleasure in seeing them gawk at the way her arm wound around his to tuck her in at his side with far more familiarity than should have been built from their short acquaintance. An expert at mingling and blending in, it was with ease that she survived his lengthy departure. That 'Iron Will' had someone to bring to the party, especially when they'd likely not heard her mentioned before, was a surprise that bled into rarely shared stories. Either to impress or to talk for the sake of talking to the leggy Spaniard, Nica took each one as an opportunity to know more about Will since he was so adept at dodging the subject of himself. Little bits, tiny tidbits that were taken and stored away, she would piece them together at a later time if she found the motivation to do so. But as he returned, she broke away from his coworkers with a practiced smile and laugh so she could meet him midway.

"See, now this is better than awkward conversations and stale chips right? Come on, you owe me a dance," she spoke up loud enough to be heard over the growing swell of the song, offering him the upturned palm of a hand Marked on the other side, already stepping toward the station house's makeshift dance floor.

"I know," he mumbled, wearing equals part reservation and amusement in an expression that seemed decidedly his. "No escaping a deal with the devil...ess?"

He took her hand in his, rougher digits dancing across the back of her hand to cup it, drawing her along with him to take the lead and perhaps deny her the enjoyment of dragging him into place. Initiative was something Will had in spades, much to the chagrin of his peers and superiors, and it was on display in muted fashion when he made a place for them between the other pairings and drew her in closer. The music was loud enough to enjoy, but allowed for a great many a conversation to continued uninterrupted through the all the moving.

"I'm passable at this, at best," he confessed, beginning to move to the beat. "But it's worth the company, maybe," A small grin was left half formed.

"I should claim to be offended by that or something, but I think I'll take it as a compliment," she said with a grin that took up plenty of space in a slash of white framed with red, stark crimson giving a pop of color against a backdrop of black and tan. Hand taken, she soon found herself passed up instead of leading which only further cemented the open smile. Seldom was Nicanora a follower rather than a leader but this time around she made an exception for rough hands that slid over barely there silver scarring, one of a few clues that gave away the truth that she wasn't the delicate thing her appearance made her out to be.

"Well lucky for you, I'm close to phenomenal," she met his confession with pomp and ego, unabashed enough to admit that when she was good at something, she was really good. Letting him lead, she gracefully moved with him. "Maybe? So it's still a gamble then. And what would make it a sure deal?"

"Pretty sure I got the better end of the deal," Will mused.

He didn't touch after drawing her out onto the dance floor, finding his comfort in the close proximity without the more forward invasion of space. For the most part, his gaze stayed steady on her face and his attention to the conversation, but even the eyes of a good man strayed, whatever he said. It was Nicanora's fault, her and that dress.

"I'll tell you when I figure that out."

"Maybe, maybe not," Nica pulled a smirk to match. Even if she wouldn't admit it out loud, she was grateful for the distraction provided by the evening. Movement came easily in a magnetic give and take that likely would have clicked no matter her dance partner. The languid finesse of each twist and sway spoke of endless nights doing much the same in sweltering clubs full of writhing bodies in locales far more exotic than even Miami could offer. This...wasn't exactly a club and the sea of people around them wasn't made up of your average party goer, but that didn't nudge her to tone it down. Not in the least, especially considering she so simply continued the conversation between them.

"Oh so indecisive. I'll have you know that I'm currently saving you from a wonderful time holding up the wall over there with Halitosis, Fedora, and Dollar Store Lex Luthor." She tipped her head to indicate a trio of wallflowers, glumly sipping punch and quietly conversing over Fedora's mother's hip replacement and DSLL's failed mail order marriage. "Certainly one dance is worth avoiding that?"

"Hey, Fedora's not a bad guy." Will swallowed a laugh. "He was my T.O. when I first joined the department, for what it was worth."

Will's head tilted to the side and he regarded her with a growing amusement. "Well, if you're expecting me to milk it for all it's worth..." He reached for her then, his hands finding her hips and drawing her in until they were almost touching.

"He's like forty and still lives with his mother, I'm sure he's absolutely charming," she said in a tone dryer than the Sahara. "What's a teeoh?"

An easy step no matter the gravity defying heels, she was pulled just so to make it easy for her to walk the fingers of her left hand up his arm and to his shoulder where they settled tentatively. "Now it's a matter of you milking it? And here I thought you were the one doing me a favor by begrudging me a song or two of middle school stand-and-sway."

"Training officer," he replied. "Not that I needed much of it. I've got better credentials than ninety percent of the guys in this room." From another man, it might have been boastful; from Will, it was a simple statement that was delivered with a tongue flavored in simple fact and, surprisingly, some sincere humility. "But it's not like they can vet everyone who ends up here, on purpose or by accident."

She teased with her words, but if it was meant to push him... it worked. Will snorted and laugh and gave another short tug, putting them chest to chest and nearly nose to nose. This close, his eyes were the color lazy summer afternoon, a deep blue clouded sparsely in white. "Okay, okay. You get the high school treatment..."

She thought about it for a few moments as he talked. The sheer number of new arrivals had to be overwhelming for any place of employment let alone somewhere requiring at the very least a background in the field. In the Mundane world, they used background checks and social security numbers while the Shadowhunters were a little more liberal with their hiring practices so long as your track record proved your point. Regardless, there were always the growing pains of settling into a new job. She hummed a note of agreement, nodding along the way. The short pull to meet him tugged free a spill of laughter, enough to get them a few sidelong looks from other nearby pairs.

"Oh, I've been upgraded to high school now?" She said through the tail end of the laugh and snaked her arms up around the back of his neck. At this proximity, it was easy to pick up notes of honey and peppermint laid over the faintest touch of something floral, likely freesia. Pleasant even if it was a bit of a plain trait when compared to the rest of her. Dark of skin tone, hair and eye, each seemed touched by gold when the light hit just right, whether it was the contrast of Marks against her skin, the subtle copper-gold shot through at intervals through her hair, or the tiniest glimmer set over the light brown of her irises. "You could be lying and I'd never know though. Never did the regular high school thing, you know?"

One didn't ask, the other didn't tell. It was a subtle game the pair played, giving a little, but never enough. Comfortable in their secrets or perhaps just the enjoyment of being coy? Her laughter produced another smile, downplayed but genuine, his eyes danced with unspilled laughter.

"You have," he conceded with a nod. "But that also means you might be subjected to the revisitation of hormones and that dress is scandalously short where not-so-sneaky groping hands are concerned. High school was... high school. I'm better adjusted to the world now than I was then. They make it hard to find yourself."

Discretion was the name of the game more often than not. Considering the looks his coworkers had given them and the stories they had told, she didn't think it prudent to question him on his life or credentials in front of them all as if it were an interrogation rather than some semblance of a date. That said, she liked that he didn't pry. People here were good like that it seemed.

"Find me a woman at any club in Miami Beach who says they haven't been groped while out dancing and I'll find you a liar. Though I urge caution, never know what danger lurks ahead," she said ominously before promptly breaking into another laugh, this one softer, closer to a giggle with a little more melody and a little less air. "Is anyone well adjusted in their teenaged years, really? Nobody honestly expects you, general you, to find yourself before the age of like...twenty five."

"Twenty." It was less of an argument (none of one at all, really) and more the offer of another puzzle piece, a statement of fact without any history openly offered. The devil was in the details, as the saying went, and Will didn't appear entirely ready to invite anyone to Sunday supper with his.

"Twenty?" She repeated, her brows rising. "Mierda, so I should have long since had my ducks in a row by now. Here I thought I had a little bit longer." Though she tried to sound troubled by this, it mostly came out teasing. "And here I am dancing instead. That won't do." The initial arch of her body looked as though she was on the verge of pulling away, a viable threat considering her words. It was short lived regardless of his reaction time and the brief intermission in the close pressed dancing was over before either of them knew it.

It was an opening, albeit a small one. She stepped away, but when she stepped back, it was right into the extended rise of a leg, half tripping her in one fluid motion to draw her down into a dip. Will, it seemed, had some moves. "Gotta let all the stress out somewhere, don't we? Get rid of all that tension."

It was the first hint he gave about his awareness of anything regarding her subtler nature, delivered with some small level of empathy. Or sympathy. Which, was hard to say.

Nica was not the sort to fall. Not just in some philosophic or metaphoric sense of the word, but rather the permanent Equilibrium rune on her left thigh made so that such minor trifles like tripping over something seldom led to a tumble. Between the minor augmentation and the quick clasp of her hands at the material of his vest, she knew she wouldn't fall. The drop of her stomach came up short when the dip met the valley's extent of his reach and in spite of herself she laughed. Short, sweet, like chimes caught by a wisp of a breeze and silenced only by their own stilling.

"Exactly," she answered softly. Gone was the teasing of moments before, replaced instead by an unspoken appreciation of the sentiment, however fleeting it may have been. "And here you try to act like there's no good reason to dance." Right back to it, of course.

"The more you think I won't," he intoned secretively near her ear. "The harder you'll try to get me to." If it was a secret, Will made a show of giving it up far too easily, drawing her back into a slow half spin the put her back against his chest for the amount of time it took them to dance out a few long beats, before he set them face-to-face again.

And in the next moment, he ruined the facade. "Was that convincing?"

It could have been a secret, it could have been an observation. She played it off with a coquettish smile as her grip on his vest loosened when he uprighted her. The half spin wasn't enough to flare the edge of the dress but it did kick up the tail of her cardigan only for it to settle between them as he drew her back against him. Spins, half or otherwise, were graceful even if she was on her toes and she soon found herself facing him once more.

"You almost had me fooled. And I think," she said, leaning close for a conspiratorial whisper, "that you've definitely got the rest of them fooled." People were staring at Iron Will. Nica was blaming him obviously.

"What's one secret? They don't get to know everything." It was as innocent as innocent got with Will, which was to say frustratingly hard to pinpoint. One could almost believe, whatever those secrets were, that he hid them in plain sight. For the moment, he seemed untroubled.

DSLL wasn't as impressed. "Look at 'im. Devil's own luck, if I didn't tell ya before. Sould 'is soul for it, Sol, or I'm a gay penguin." It dissolved in a hushed murmur between the Wallflower trio, but if the subject of discussion had heard, he gave no indication.

Frustratingly hard to pinpoint was an apt way to describe the man. Despite this, she was remarkably nonplussed by the way he danced around things without ever quite establishing a solid baseline. "Everything or anything?" She asked, venturing into the acceptance of rhetorical questioning since she didn't legitimately expect an answer. "So long as you don't mind the talking that they'll inevitably do." She skipped a beat and chuckled quietly, keen ears picking up on it all too well. "Right now, in fact. Should tell him that even if he's a gay penguin, you'll still accept him."

"Depends on who's interested," he replied blithely. It sounded coy, but the paramedic's warmth of character made it more of a subtle invitation.

When she spoke of the Wallflower Trio, a sandy brown bobbed upwards, as if he had just discovered something was afoot. A quick glance was thrown over his shoulder, but if he was bothered by it, Will didn't show it. "People talk." He shrugged. "Doesn't matter if you're fifteen or fifty. Tongues wag and not always in the fun way."

"I like secrets," she offered in unabashed response. There was no need to hide behind some idea that she couldn't flat out say so. In tandem with the look over his shoulder, Nica followed and shot the trio a cheeky wink just in case they looked their way. They weren't the only ones looking but the nephilim paid the others no mind as she drifted a hand down the length of his arm and toward his hand.

"Then should just as well give them something to talk about, you know? See how twisted it gets by the times it gets back to you. May as well have fun along the way." Her eyes had left their surroundings in favor of meeting his. "Wanna get your coat and we can get out of here?"

The Wallflower Trio looked more like the Three Stooges in the moment; one appeared clueless, the other wore a mask of consternation and confusion, and DSLL was just irritated. Of them all, it was the last pair of eyes that followed Nicanora's every movement and grew less thrilled when she made the sudden claim on Will.

"So you're saying I should take you home and come back tomorrow twirling some of your underthings on my finger? Or let their imaginations run wild." He played his part like a gentleman, but there was a hint of masculine sensuality in the way he leaned to to dust a kiss against the curve of her jaw, before throwing a friendly wave to his co-workers in the first of a few requisite farewells.

"Yeah, let's steal some of those taquitos and ride. We might be real hungry in a little while." The last statement carried.

Will could be a sh*t sometimes.



((Co-written with Will. Thank you for the scene!))
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

25 December 2015

"And how does that help the families of the watchmen, firefighters, and first responders who get put six feet under every time some dumbass blows up the marketplace or Seaside?"

"Will."

The Inn's banter had only gone downhill from there. Will left soon after, as did the young girl that he had been having words with. At the last moment, Nica had changed her mind and rather than spend another night alone in the inn with her thoughts, she joined Taneth for another sleep over with the blonde. Taneth had confided that she hadn't slept in "many days" but that she had been gifted a tea that should help her sleep. The man that had given Taneth the tea was an interesting study, likely Downworld blood of some sort, but he was kind to the blonde so Nica thought the tea may be worth a try. Tannie wasn't the only one to find benefit in staying though. It meant Nica wouldn't be alone which was something considering the sharp turn her thoughts had taken as the inn's conversation progressed.

December was not a good month for Nicanora. She wore her optimism well but it was a fragile countenance, one that she found could crumble at the slightest provocation. Over the years she had got better at steeling it away and saving it for when she was alone, but under the glow of Rhydin's streetlamps and Christmas lights, Nica wasn't sure if that would hold.

"When's the last time you saw a fundraiser around here for anyone other than orphans or victims?" Will had asked, his words following after her as she kept pace with the exhausted Taneth.

Death in the line of duty was not a new concept for the nephilim. After all, her people had been created to protect mankind from the world of demonkind. While they were adept warriors, they were still mortal and as such, could still die. It wasn’t by way of usual Mundane demises like heart attacks and car accidents but rather in battle, violently and valiantly. Old age was attainable but it wasn’t always the rule.

And the families. Oh, the families. They suffered too but they still had to go on because a protector's work was never done and demons didn't relent just because a Shadowhunter wore the white of mourning.

December. Eight years ago. Nica was fourteen.

Madrid was balmy for December but it was a day like any other. Breakfast, morning lessons, lunch, training, free time. Through the week, it was always the same routine. Tedious, sure, but welcome just the same. Nica and Christopher were returning to the Madrid Institute after grabbing dinner. Hidden away in Las Acacias, beneath the glamour and wards, the Institute was a Spanish baroque styled cathedral with a massively vaulted ceiling and numerous rooms. They were met by a flutter of frantic energy when they stepped inside, a number of Madrid based Shadowhunters congregating around the Institute's head. Guillermo Secoya was a tall man, reed thin and balding. He had a stern set to his brow and the line of his mouth that seldom relaxed even when he was legitimately happy. This time around, he did not look anywhere near happy. Not in the least. By the time Nicanora and Christopher reached the throng, Secoya was well into his announcement.

“--and it is my understanding that the following Institutes have been compromised...Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Oslo, Berlin, Moscow, and Los Angeles. We have been ordered to evacuate immedi--,” Secoya was instantly interrupted by a roar from the crowd, English and Spanish mixing until it was impossible to tell one from another.

“What do you mean evacuate?!”

“Los Angeles, my sister is--”

“What happened to those at each of the Institutes?!”

“They don’t legitimately expect us to leave, do they?”

“Please, everyone. Let me finish!” Secoya’s voice lifted over the din to silence them all. It was an uneasy silence, but it did the trick just the same. “The rapid succession of these attacks make it difficult to pinpoint the aggressor. As it stands, all known associates of each Institute have either been killed or are missing. There is a rumor that a few of the children of the Los Angeles Institute made it to Alicante but we don’t have more information than that. It’s imperative that we leave immediately. Grab essential items and meet in the training room in forty-five minutes. We leave for Alicante from there.”

Buenos Aires. Killed or missing. Everyone. Her mother had been in Buenos Aires for the past month

“She’s fine, I’m sure of it,” Christopher said, reading her mind as the crowd began spreading backwards, nephilim reconciling the fact that they were running from a fight for likely the first time in their lives. Shoulders bumped, Nica swayed but didn’t move. Christopher gave her a tug. “We’ve got to go get ready. Come on, I’ll help you pack.”


Despite Christopher’s reassurances, her mother wasn’t fine. Like the other able bodied Shadowhunters at the compromised Institutes, Celia Truecross had been taken and Turned. She wasn’t dead at the time but she may as well have been.

December was not a good month for Nicanora.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

26 December 2015

"Answer your damn phone, Christopher," Nica growled into the phone's receiver as it rang through to the voicemail yet again. Another Rhydinian sunrise found her pounding redial to one of only four contacts in her phone, the first, a single letter: C. Much like the prior five, the sixth call rang straight through to his voicemail. She didn't leave a message, instead ending the call and jumping to the text application.

Text to C: Call me. I'm worried.

She hadn't heard from him in the better part of four days almost. He had not answered her calls nor her texts, the latter of which had led to a string of profanity laden short messages and culminated in the most recent request to call her. Skimming back through the rest of her messaging threads, she paused on one from the last contact in her address book, listed under "Zynn the Warlock". With Christopher as good as AWOL, Nicanora had given in and messaged the Warlock about a portal back to Miami, hopefully before the New Year now that she had the money to pay the woman. A flutter of responses had come in while she was trying to repeatedly call Christopher.

Text from Zynn the Warlock: Nica. Uhh.
Text from Zynn the Warlock: the pretty shadowhunter, right?
Text from Zynn the Warlock: and sure! maybe monday or tuseday?
Text from Zynn the Warlock: and payment would be awesome.
Text from Zynn the Warlock: just text me, yeah?

The pretty Shadowhunter. It curled her mouth into a smile despite her current ire at her parabatai. But Monday or Tuesday. She could be home in only a couple of days. Her heart raced as she tapped out another response.

Text to Zynn (10:02 am): Haha if that's how you wanna remember me, I'll go with that
Text to Zynn (10:03 am): Either one works, whichever is best for you
Text to Zynn (10:03 am): If needed I can send you a message after the weekend. Thank you for your help!

Unlike the delay between her messages the night before and the Warlock's answer the next day, a final flurry of messages came through only a few minutes later.

Text from Zynn the Warlock: Yeah it works, youre the pretty shadowhunter
Text from Zynn the Warlock: cris is the quiet gurmpy one
Text from Zynn the Warlock: heh may be best you do text me after the weekend
Text from Zynn the Warlock: i am not sure how much my memory may survive the weekend

Nica was the pretty one while the other nephilim was the quiet grumpy one. That aligned with what Nica had assessed of Crispin. The man had articulated his unwavering trust in the young Warlock so at the very least, she tried not to worry about the last response and the woman's memory. It couldn't be that bad right? Tossing her phone onto the bedside table, she rolled into bed for a few hours of sleep.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

28 December 2015

Wet and cold. Cold and wet. The weather was atrocious just like Will had promised. It was the sort of chill that worked its way into your bones and even the Thermis rune on her back could only mute it so much. Over a cup of Spanish hot chocolate, she had discussed her impending departure with Taneth and found it increasingly difficult to justify the one woman solo mission she was about to attempt. On her way back up to her room, she checked her phone one more time. No missed calls. No missed messages, voicemail or otherwise.

"Are you really going to leave, Fanny?" Taneth had asked her downstairs in the inn's common area.

"Yes, Zynn is going to help me get home tomorrow," Nica had answered after nodding.

"May I go with you, Nica?" One question led into another with the blonde.

"I don't think I will be coming back and it may be dangerous. I wouldn't want something bad to happen to you. Is there a reason you want to go?"

"You will never come back?" Taneth didn't answer Nica's question, instead posing another for her.

"I'm not sure. There is someone very special to me that I need to help and if getting him to come back here with me will help, then we may return. But I can't come back without him," she answered finally. Even if she was beginning to think that returning to Miami may be a bad idea right now, she knew it was what needed to be done. No longer could she play the sit and wait game while hoping that Christopher was okay. Taneth had nearly insisted that she go to Miami with Nicanora, going so far as to promise to bring her lasso so that they could tie Christopher up and bring him back. But finally Nica had placated the woman by promising that Taneth would hear from Nica within a week and if she didn't, then Taneth could come after her. Oh may the Angel have mercy on Miami if that were the case. As she returned to her room and began pulling her things out of the closet and dresser, she tried to imagine the little whirlwind with her pink lasso, flying through Miami and tying up good looking guys. It was almost as amusing as the thought of Christopher being wrangled and hauled back to Rhydin.

Maybe she could make that work, bring him back to Rhydin while they figured out just how big this issue was. Then they could work on it together. She packed her things in relative silence, rolling garments and tucking them into one of the three bags she had got for the trip home. One duffel, one backpack, one messenger bag. Easy to shed but efficient enough to hold everything. Once she was done, she spent the rest of the evening cleaning and sharpening her blades. If she was going to see Will later in the evening, she needed to have everything else done before then. Tomorrow couldn't come soon enough.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

28 December 2015

Bluebird Sky was a little coffee shop owned by a bubbly little woman named Regina. A niche spot carved into the first two floors of an old brownstone building where Dragon's Gate met Old Market, it had all the warmth and creature comfort of a mom-and-pop establishment but was busy enough with its eclectic clientele to be considered what passed for hipster-chic in Rhy'din. The proprietress was mid-thirties going on late teens, as trendy in her little non-prescription glasses as she was sweet, cracking jokes behind the counter with her half dozen employees and patrons alike. An old jukebox flickered its lights in sickly fashion, half dead with age and misuse, but what music there was to be had filtered through old speakers littered throughout the place.

It wasn't long after their arrival that they were fixed up with something hot in oversized ceramic mugs and Nicanora was being led to the small open air veranda on the second floor, a circle of battered and overstuffed sofas ringed around a modest fire pit. It was a place easy to comfortably slump and watch the passing world below or a companion nearby. For a change, he hadn't had much to say.

Will didn't do goodbyes, though he had yet to confess it to her.

Instead he nursed the hot brew in testing sips, the mug cradled in both hands and lending to the thoughtfulness of his expression as he stared at her over the rim.

For all the effort, the hot chocolate didn't quite stand up against her own but the ambiance made up for some of the lacking. The coffee shop was charming, warm against the chill of winter, and welcoming even at a late hour. Regina's friendliness was enough to offset the slightly awkward silence that had lingered between them on the way over. For all of the easy banter under the dim light of the Red Dragon, her impending departure seemed to suck the life out of it once they were away from the crowd. But with her mug in hand, she took to the firepit like a fish to water, soaking up the warmth with a lazy sprawl on the floor in front of a yellow plaid sofa that looked like it had been taken out of an era where flowers and acid were all the rage and the carpet could swallow a child whole.

"This place is cute. I'm kind of sad I didn't know about it sooner," she mused, testing the waters with a bit of light conversation that just barely toed the line of subjects he seemed to avoid.

"I was too busy trying to feed you," he replied with a controlled smile. Another sip was taken down, the dark roast laced with a very simple dose of sugar and half-and-half. "And even then there were places we missed." Being a food truck savant only went so far.

Some small comfort was sought out in the moment, stolen away in the small, less predictable ticks of the clock. For all of his unabashed fondness for the woman, he had still remained pleasantly closed off and seemed to mull that and more over before the sudden urge to talk won over again.

"So much gets overlooked here, it's more often like finding little nuggets of gold in the sifting pan than cat turds in the sandbox. The food is as varied as the crazy. I'll try to show you some more of the former when you get back." The last was delivered in a trailing descent of volume that died off with the last two words. He'd had a sneaking suspicious, but who wanted to ruin the moment?

"I could probably survive on hot chocolate, if I'm being perfectly honest," she admitted with a wry smile half obscured by a lift of her mug. With a little more chocolate and a bit of cornstarch, the mixture would have been perfect, she thought. As it was, it had just a bit too much milk and sort of reminded her of the prepackaged cocoa packets with their crunchy, stale mini marshmallows. Even with milk it was difficult to make something out of those. "It's a big city, seems to change a lot. Thai place I liked just up and disappeared the other day."

She was amused by it, if only a little bit. For all of its oddities, the strange city was growing on her. Just in time for her to have to tuck it all away and forget about it. Duty won out over fascination and a bond deeper than blood would always call her home no matter where she went. His silence was weighty, if brief, even if it seemed to stretch on much longer than it had in actuality. His voice lifted her gaze from the fire pit's lazy flicker, the languid dance of the flames drawing the moment out. Maybe if she stared hard enough, time would stop.

"It's easy to see why. When it's a world of weird, how do you stand out? I actually feel...kind of normal here," she said, her gaze lowering again. Her jaw worked at her teeth pinched the inside of her cheek and bit down. It wasn't quite enough to outdo the nagging feeling of guilt, the same one that had weighed on her conscience when she told Taneth that she would make contact within a week. Not be back necessarily, but that she'd make contact. There was no guarantee that would even happen but saying so out loud would be admitting that she had no idea what she was getting herself in to. But for all she had played at dancing around subjects with him or others, she wasn't sure she could keep up the charade. Without looking up from the firepit, she sipped at her hot chocolate and drowned a sigh. "I don't know when that'll be..." if at all, "but it sounds like fun."

"I feel the same way about coffee." It was an unsurprising revelation, even if he'd proven at least once that he could eat like a man two to three times his size. His metabolism was almost freakish. Silence came in the form of another sip, his body in a half sprawl on one of the couches, lazy and not as weary as it had been earlier.

In a place such as this, Will played the part of the local oddity. He wasn't too plain, nor too handsome. He didn't boast or threaten or pontificate about the great tragedy of his life or give off not so subtle hints of great power or skill. And still he seemed fearless. As unafraid as he was painful mortal, in his own mind, at least. The sore thumb that blended in more than it stuck out.

She could have danced that jig for hours, but he knew better. The expressions were ones he had come to know almost as well as the back of his hand, sometimes better. Regretted or no, he knew when someone had one foot out the door. "I'm pretty terrible at romantic notions, but had I known sooner, I'd have tortured myself a little more by requesting time off. Or calling in sick. Just to send you on your way with an extra good memory or two."

Nica shifted in her slouch, rising up like a cat waking from a nap so that it could resume said nap on the couch instead. She adjusted herself into a boneless drape over one side of the yellow plaid couch, an elbow to the arm allowing her to prop an unmarked but thoroughly scarred hand against her temple. She hadn't quite figured out just how either of them fit in in such a place. The quiet but charming EMT, a man with a job as mundane as any. And the Shadowhunter with nothing to hunt. On Earth, the Child of Raziel was beautiful by most standards and strong enough to be tasked with protecting mankind from the demons that would love nothing more than to destroy them. But here. Here she had a chance at normalcy. A shot at blending in without having to hide from the world. They called them Shadowhunters but the truth of the matter was they were the shadows, just there at the edge of your periphery and gone when you tried to focus on them. Never quite a part of the Mundane world. But Rhydin was so far from Mundane that it didn't matter.

It was temptation in its finest form.

She had to leave. Sooner rather than later. She already thought it bad enough that she had skipped leaving earlier in the day in favor of having just a few more hours with those she had begun to call her friends. From her new spot up on the couch, she found it easier to keep her eyes low without craning her neck, letting them focus somewhere just on his side of the fire pit. It made it easy to let her gaze flicker toward his for fractions of seconds before returning to the glow. Flame for the birth of a Nephilim, and to wash away our sins. "Tortured...yourself?" She finally asked, a lift of her gaze landing a little more solidly on the tension in the line of his mouth and the way he sat on the couch. "I'm very blessed to have amassed so many good memories in such a short time."

"One of the great ironies of my life; I love people but I don't have much use for them." It was a simple admission, one that spawned a dozen likely questions for the single one it perhaps answered. There was something special about Will and it was something very few were perceptive enough to put their fingers on. It intrigued some, enflamed others, confused or discomforted. "It's something of a pleasant frustration that I like having you around more than I don't."

As the coffee cooled, the sips grew deeper, more of the brew taken from the cup to warm him at his core. He stared at her, not intensely, but with a steadiness that was both flattering and distracting.

"I find myself uncomfortably caught between thoughts, because I'm not good at this. The more you're here, the more I don't fancy the idea of you gone." He chuckled and shook his head, tossing his chin her way. "You're good company, Fanny, and that bothers me."

Not using her real name added some much needed levity to the moment.

"Do you have cats? Because that sounds like something a cat lady would say," she said, answering his admission with a tease. Nica didn't do well with the edge of vulnerability, received or offered. Even in comfortable company like this. Intrigue was a good word for what pulled her to him. A draw that couldn't be explained, something that was familiar but wasn't. "Pleasant frustration seems like a bit of an oxymoron. Which is greater, the pleasure or the frustration?" From one question into another in hopes that if she kept him talking that she wouldn't have to.

Steadiness gave way to the briefest of staring contests. The Nephilim ultimately relented, finding some interesting point in the depths of her dwindling drink that warranted study instead of the slightly clouded blue he offered her only a few feet away. Her head canted, as if she were listening particularly intently. The motion mirrored the opposite direction, her lips parting to answer his chuckle but he broke the moment just in time. She reeled in the thought, summoned a smile, and brought her gaze up again. The tip of the mug at her mouth emptied the rest of the no longer hot chocolate in two swallows, leaving her tongue to run over her bottom lip to verify that no watered down chocolate remained.

"I have that effect on people, you know. People just want to be around me," she said wryly. As if to add to the pomp, she tossed her hair over her shoulder and settled back into languid lean. "I wager it's the accent, you know?" A beat, two, three. "It bothers you? Why's that?"

"No, no cats. I had fish once but that didn't work out so well." He made a face at her for the teasing, draining away the last of the coffee and setting the mug off to the side. One hand moved to clasp the other wrist in front of him, like some reverse parade rest. "Pleasure at the moment. The frustration'll likely come later."

Iron Will remained a steady presence on the couch.

"That you're beautiful is like saying the sun's bright, making me Captain Obvious. But you're also sincere and good company, which not many pretty people can add to their karmic resume." For some small, dragging span of time, he didn't answer her last question. The silence was filled with a long look past her, over the edge of the veranda to the signs dotting the storefronts below. "Before" He shrugged. "Because reasons. Now? Because I'm intimately familiar with that expression. The one that says 'I'm probably not coming back'."

"Maybe cats will come down the line then," she remarked, leaning down to set her empty mug on the floor in front of the couch. The table to her side was overloaded with an eclectic and spiraling sculpture, giving little room for the cup. Nica, still intent on teasing him to the best of her abilities, offered a dark lash laden, half lidded look paired with a muted smirk. "I hear the West side of town's got some good remedies for that." Her brows bobbed suggestively.

For all of her ego and preening, the compliment still brought a faint flush to cheeks tanned bronze. Skin deep compliments, she was no stranger to. Those that dug a little deeper weren't too far outside of the norm but the sincerity and frankness with which he spoke them struck a chord with her. She could have cut the building tension with a blade sharp quip, a tease to remind him that they didn't have to do the serious thing. Unbeknownst to her, the first hint of a frown had wrangled the corners of her mouth as she awaited his answer with bated breath. It fell further when the answer finally came.

"Because reasons. Vague. I like it," she said, the droll tone rolling over her words to flatten them into something resembling neutrality. "And you've read me like a book. Remind me not to play poker with you." The guard was inching its way back up. She took a breath and tamped it down bit by bit. "I'm probably not. But that's what people do here, don't they? They come and go, but mostly they go."

"If I did that, my salary wouldn't live up to my standards." Hadn't he already shown he was picky about people? Still, she produced a smile from him and a rude gesture that was all too hollow. The smile, it didn't last. "I've heard more than one rando around the parts same the same thing: 'Nothing lasts forever'. I haven't lived a long life, but it seems apt enough, especially here. Doesn't mean I have to like in this case."

The tumble of laughter even surprised her but came without restraint until she pulled her hands up to her mouth to smother it away. She shook her head, eyes low then high before meeting his. Her smile lingered longer than his did, the more comfortable curve of her mouth hanging out of habit rather than the warmth of the moment. "in a place like this, what more can you do than simply go with it?" She shrugged, the humor draining slowly from her smile. "If it counts for anything..." Nica paused, working the words over her tongue until they felt right. No, they didn't quite make it. She shook her head nevermind and chuckled. "It'll be okay. It always is."

"Sunday morning I had to let a father watch me fail to save his kid," Will said, his mouth quirked into a sadder approximation of the smile he'd been wearing for her benefit. "I survived that. I'll survive this. Besides, you're the one who's gonna suffer. I'm not letting you our of my sight until it's time for your to make your grand departure."

"We can't save everyone, no matter how hard we try," she mumbled. Nica took in a breath. Short, not quite enough to fill her lungs. But enough to maintain her composure. His follow up further cemented the carefully crafted calm and she mustered a smirk, haughty and just for him. "And that's going to lead to some immense amount of suffering, hmm? For some reason, I don't really believe that."

"It might," he said, ignoring the mumble completely. "Maybe you'll find yourself looking up at a star-filled winter sky one night and asking yourself: I wonder if Senor Loaf danced lately? Does he still get french toast on his nights off? Is he still a good kisser?"

Some things she was grateful for. His discretion was one of them. "And that is suffering?" She asked, brows lifting. It was easy, the smile that found her lips, something she found herself wearing often around him. "Be still my heart, I shall not survive the night if that is to be my life upon the 'morrow." Melodramatically, she clasped her hands over her chest, fluttering lashes until a giggle brought about a shake of her head. "I'll place my bets now. No, yes, and if my cheek is any judge, which it is sometimes, yes on the last as well."

"What if I'm a really good kisser? You'd have to lament leaving that behind." It was almost like the logic of an overgrown child, the way he placed amusing emphasis on things that were likely more unimportant than not, but delivered with an older man's cheek. Will more it like armor, a suit of iron painted in such a gaudy, off-putting manner that many forgot that it was there.

It had served him well.

His own grin softened when she giggled, tempering his pushy humor in light of the melancholy undercurrent in the conversation that they had both been ignoring. Nicanora didn't need reassurance about her choice, no more than she needed anyone to beg her to stay. He wouldn't, of course. 'Iron' Will didn't beg. Nor did he think hard thoughts about the future. Loss was a part of life. In honor of it, he tried to live in the moment and what he saw there. Always and now.

"Nicanora."

"Ah, but you said "Is he still a good kisser". I wouldn't know so I can't ponder such a thing." She said with a smirk that held the faintest note of challenge to it. Kicking her leather bound legs off of the couch, she pushed herself into something vaguely resembling proper sitting posture. If proper meant forearms to thighs and a curving of the back that would make most chiropractors frown. "I could guess though."

When Nicanora made a decision, she stuck to it no matter the outside influences. It was both a blessing and a curse and thus far in life, was more of the former than the latter. Even if she had been a complete nightmare for her poor father. But if there was anything that was going to get her through this, it would be her bullheaded determination. There was a certain comfort in that. When he used her name, her full first name, she looked up, brows rising with the motion. It had been the first hint of an unspoken question, what, but it was tucked away in favor of a lighthearted tease. "Keep saying it and it'll be rolling off your tongue in no time."

"Come here." It was neither a request nor a command, hardly a suggestion, and something close to an offer. His expression didn't hint at what the offer was, but the paramedic was far from being seated in the most romantically inviting pose. His intentions were left for her to guess.
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Nicanora
Adult Wyrm
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

29 December 2015

Why? had been the first question to come to mind but she withheld it, instead staring him down for something close to ten solid seconds. "Why?" wasn't a question they often asked each other. Things were just taken at face value. Acceptance and discretion, things were the way they were and they simply didn't question it. Yet, at least. Maybe it would get there, she didn't know. But for now, she rose up, taking the opportunity to lift her arms up over her head and stretch from top to bottom. Her hands dropped and she stepped around the fire pit, coming to a stop in front of him. "Yes?"

For Will, there was no 'maybe'. Nicanora was leaving. It was as simple as that. He didn't offer her an explanation. Not right away. Instead he regarded her from the low, undefensible position of the plush sofa for a few silent moments. She was robbed of the pedestal she was subconsciously on not long after, losing the high ground when the fingers of one hand slipped beneath the snug security of her belt and pulled.

The gesture itself seemed almost sensual at first, if not overt and aggressively so. The pull was insistent, strong, and was met with the guidance of his other hand, turning her in her descent until she was sprawled in a haphazard spoon atop him. The grip on her belt was relinquished in exchange for the low wrap of an arm around her middle. Some small sensuality lingered in the moment, if for not better reason than the mutual attraction built over their short acquaintance.

But there was something else.

Well versed in falling gracefully, the tug was met with minimal resistance and a bend of the knees, one hand out to catch herself if he didn't. He caught her. She laughed, a muted sort of sound not meant to extend outside of the narrow sliver of veranda they had claimed as their own, if only for a little while. The slightest of shifts was needed to find a comfortable spot, leather groaning with the motion. The laugh died off of its own accord though there was no shortage of mirth in the smile she wore. He belted her in and she set an arm over top of his, leaning snugly against him. Once settled, she chuffed a short note of amusement.

"Hi," she said smartly, no longer able to dance around his presence with well timed sips of cocoa or stares at the fire.

His close proximity added another layer of warmth against the deepened chill of winter the fleece lined canvas coat puffing out where it had remained open and threatening to cover some small part of her arms in an additional layer of unintended protection. She settled where his chest met her back, his face in a gentle pitch forward that pressed his nose casually into her shoulder, and muffling the returned greeting. A faint glimmer of merriment danced in his eyes, shining through something more earnest that lingered in his gaze as precariously as it did on the tip of his tongue.

"I don't know you," he said the words quietly, as much a simple statement of fact as they were a reassurance that she neither needed (or so he thought) nor did he need to give (or so she might have thought). "But I've seen enough to know how a warrior walks. Someone wary and prepared for the worst, for blood to spill. How you can never sit comfortably in a spot until you know who's in the room and where all the ways in, and out, are. You're going. Relax for these for minutes, hours, or whatever, at least."

Against the slim, feminine plane of her back, she could feel the thump in his chest. His heartbeat. Except, Will's heartbeat wasn't normal. It was a staccato rhythm at first, a confuse deep in his pulse, but the more it was listened to, the more it was felt, the more it provoked the reassurance of something familiar.

He had warned her. Just wait until January, he had said. It wasn't quite January but winter had blown in early and its bite had not been kind on the walk over. His selection of the spot by the fire pit had been a smart one and further, the tug into his lap doubly so. She couldn't ever claim to be cold blooded but the way in which she savored the warmth said she might as well be. A slip of her hand around the back of her head swept her hair out of his face and over the opposite shoulder, freeing him of the heady scent of freesia and lavender. It was the sort of smell that she might even admit to loving enough to pull her hair over her face as she was falling asleep just so she could wrap herself up in its comfort. She raked her fingers through the mess of waves, smoothing them until they behaved. Her head bowed a little as she listened to him with her eyes closed, a serene smile taking her mouth.

"I'm comfortable enough," she murmured. It could have been construed as agreement or argument, depending on how he wanted to take it. It may have been comfort in the increasing familiarity of the shop, it may have been comfort in the wrap of his arm around her waist, it may have been comfort in knowing that she still had easy access to no less than four knives even in the position she was in. Okay, maybe he had a point. She found herself tapping out feather-light echoes of the beat with her index against the top of his forearm. There was a certain calm in its thu-thud, thu-thud.

"Thank you," Nica mumbled into a bite of her bottom lip, the tapping uninterrupted even by the words. A few moments passed, then a few more, and finally, "Though I bet your legs go numb first."

"I suppose it's not entirely selfless." The admission was made when some of the lingering tension finally bled out of her, causing them to both sag more comfortably. "I've got a pretty woman in my lap and all it cost me was a cup of crappy hot cocoa."

The tapping of her fingertip was interrupted only momentarily by the brief lean forward as she giggled. When she leaned back again, it was with a sigh that seemed to deflate the entirety of air from her lungs. "That's one thing I've yet to find here, a good cup of hot chocolate." The next inhale saw her shifting on his lap, turning somewhere between forty-five and ninety degrees to just almost sit sideways. It was easier to talk that way. The gold in her eyes was especially bright with the sparkle of the revelation's mirth. Or maybe it was just the way the cafe's lights caught them. Who knew.

"I'm not planning on coming back. It just may not be in the cards, there's no getting around that. Unless, of course, it's the smarter place to be, in which case I get to figure out all over again how to get back here. That said I have a task for you, should it come to that. Find me the best hot chocolate in town. Can I trust you with that?"

"It better and worse than any other place you've ever been. Or, in my case, where I've ever been." It wasn't entirely a glowing estimation of Rhy'din, but it was an honest one for all of its casual ambiguity. She shifted and maintained his composure, fighting back one of those coughs meant to distract but that ultimate drew attention to some measure of discomfort. Instead, he slipped his other arm around her and completed the circle, back arched lazily into the couch as they talked. "I dunno. I'm a Coffee Or Alcohol kinda guy, so that might make for a painful hunt, you know, will all of the extra free time I have to struggle to fill."

The muted blow of the reminder was met with an equally muted smile, tempering his mirth but not preventing him from playing into the cute joke. "I'll see what I can come up with. Maybe I'll get Taneth to play taste tester."

"It might be," she murred tentative agreement. Rhydin had been an interesting case study to say the least. It was somewhere she didn't have to hide, while at the same time hiding from everything she had known. Ambiguity didn't even begin to cover it. If she caught that hint of discomfort on his part, she didn't react, at least not immediately. She found a comfortable angle at which to lean, loosely draping an arm over his nearest shoulder. Not around, by all means, just over. "Heaven forbid you step out of that narrow comfort zone of yours." She deadpanned.

"I'm not sure she's the sort either," Nica said after a moment or two of thinking about it. The regret of saying anything to begin with was instantaneous. There were people here that she had found some amount of fondness for and she was leaving them behind. For a second she thought that maybe talking about it or even joking about it would lessen the dismay. Instead it did the opposite. Her tongue traced the front of her teeth behind her lips. "Sorry. I'm bad at this."

"Terrible at it," he confirmed for her and then grinned. "And I'll have you know I'm already well out of my comfort zone, Nicanora. Somewhat."

Fearless, that was Will. And in no small part a masochist, if only in small ways. His smile faded in small, continual degrees, his voice lowered for her benefit. "Are you gonna be okay?"

"We," it was a royal sort of we, "don't usually do goodbyes. It's just sort of accepted that sometimes we don't come back." Grin or not, there was an underlying guilting in his words that had her shifting uncomfortably on his lap. "I'd like to say it was intentional, but I never meant to pull anyone out of their comfort zones."

Nica quieted to consider his question, letting it linger between them as she weighed the benefits of honesty versus placation. "I don't know. Maybe? I'll be okay once I'm sure he's...well, okay, I guess."

"Christopher." The astute sort, he remembered. The concern, the leaving, the we; adding everything on top of the subtle wariness of what could only be a regular dose of post-traumatic stress, it wasn't hard to put some thing together. And yet he didn't pry.

Instead, he deflected.

"Going out and being a real person tends to take me out of my comfort zone. Gonna be sorry about that, Fanny?" He stole back into the land of easy smiles, making it a cat and mouse game as they teetered between the serious and the casual.

"My parabatai," she said with a nod but didn't offer more. He wasn't asking, she wasn't offering.

Nica would take the deflection with a grateful humility that easily bled into a roll of her eyes and a nudge of her shoulder against him. "So me dragging you all over town in search of the perfect grilled cheese was probably the worst three hours of your life then, huh? Lo siento, no lo siento, Señor Loaf. That grilled cheese was worth it, I don't care what you say."

"Does that make me your paramedic?" The quip ran and dove straight off of a copper tongue (he couldn't pull off silver) and was delivered complete with a pause and and 'dah-dum-tsh'. One finger flicked absently at the material of her shirt along her exposed side and he fixed her with a lazy, shameless grin. "I enjoyed it."

It took her a second but once it registered, she groaned and buried her face against his shoulder while shaking her head. The contact was brief, three seconds at most before she leaned back to peer at him incredulously. "That was a terrible joke. Terrible." No matter how terrible, it had roused a grin to match. "Well, good. I'm glad the entirety of my involvement in your life hasn't been completely unbearable."

"I've been in worse situations," he countered. "In worse places. With worse people."

"i would hope so." She said drolly. It was perspective though. Always something worse than the current situation. Worse outcomes, worse company. "I was going to say, if I'm the worst thing to happen to you, you'd have to be one hell of a masochist to let me use you as a chair like I am."

"I danced with you. Gotta count for something." Will's head tipped to the side, considerate of some unvoiced thought.

"That was payment of a debt, you were just being a man of your word," she countered with a smirk, eyeing him curiously.

"How much longer do I get to have my friend?" he asked suddenly.

The question startled her into a brief silence. It gave her a moment to count it out before answering. "Depends. I've got eight hours and thirty minutes, give or take. How much of that do you want?"

"Man," Will laughed, throwing his head back to do it and sending it up to the heavens. "And here I thought there was going to be significantly less time..."

It was more time than she offered some but less time than most people would consider suitable. She wasn't sure if he was being sarcastic or genuine. A slow blink turned into a stare as he laughed, the left edge of her bottom lip pinned between her teeth. "I...'m sorry?"

"Don't be." When he finally settled down, there was the glimmer of something new in his blue eyes. His frame shifted beneath her, straightening up and then into an acute forward lean. "Just mean that there might be a longer awkward silence that I had anticipated when I do this."

That was when Will kissed her.

The hand that had been flicking at her shirt absently caught her along the opposite side of her jaw, cupping it and drawing her along to look at him, just in time for his mouth to rise and capture hers. It escalated with each tick of the passing seconds, from a warm meld mouths to parted lips, insistent and unapologetic, but purposefully left to fall short of being anything overtly salacious.

"Do wh--" On the upside, she'd stopped biting her lip. On the downside, he had done exactly what she hadn't thought he would. Exactly what some small part of her hadn't wanted him to do and exactly what the rest of her had hoped for. The arm that had been draped over his shoulder curled around the back of his neck. It was a rarity that she didn't count each moment that passed, no one, two, three count as she normally measured actions. She wasn't opposed to such a public scandal even if she might have teased him for it under other circumstances. But he seemed intent on letting the brief flame temper itself down without further stoking. It was a good reminder to breathe at the very least. When it broke, she sighed a quiet breath, reluctantly reopened her eyes, and tried to ignore the ruddy warmth in her cheeks that couldn't quite be attributed to the fire pit behind her.

"Oh." That answered her question.

"Awkward." He mumbled the word close to her mouth and choked on the laughter that threatened to spill. It was a good way to diffuse the situation, though he hadn't show much of any attention of relinquishing his hold on her.

"Maybe. If you let it be." Where he tried to hold back the laughter, she couldn't quite manage, giggling into a short brush of her mouth to his before drawing away fractionally. "My bet was correct though. So there's that."

"I didn't think your hot chocolate tasted that bad." He pursed his lips together humorously.

Another tumble of laughter, less restrained this time around with the tilt back of her head until it subsided enough that she wasn't going to laugh in his face. "Clearly I sweetened it a bit."

"Eight and a half hours." Will mused over it quietly for a few moments, before fixing her with another expression not unlike that which was the prelude to their kiss, before finally sayin, "Think we can find your perfect hot chocolate in that time?"

Her expression lit up, her back straightening. "Maybe. At the very least we can give it a try." It meant going back out in the cold, nasty thing that it was. But risk versus reward said it could be worth it. Brown to blue, her eyes met his for the practiced three count that dictated so many of her interactions. It looked like she might say something but instead she wriggled from his grasp to get back up to her feet. "The adventure may be worth it even if we can't."

"I do like a girl with a can-do attitude." Fingers hooked into her belt again, two sets this time, so that he could haul himself to his feet. Both mugs were collected so they could be passed off to Regina before their departure, a single nudge given to Nicanora's shoulder before he was in motion. "Maybe we'll find some french toast or grilled cheese along the way."

"I'm...not going to say what came to mind there." She hadn't expected to play anchor for him when he got up, a less than tough squeak leaving her lips before she braced herself, laughing. When he was upright, she smoothed her hands down her jacket. On the upward pass, she caught the zipper and tugged it up to just below the hollow of her throat. A warm enough smile was offered in passing to Regina as she followed after Will. "For old times' sake."

"Oh, come on. Live a little." Pot. Kettle. So the story went. The door was held open for her and when she passed through, he turned on a heel to move up beside her. "We'll see if we can find a photobooth and some souvenirs. Make some memories for you to take home."

"If it were a matter of living a little, I'd be suggesting a destination other than public coffeehouses and diners," she said sweetly as she passed him up, stepping out into the cold. Turning the collar of her jacket up, she tucked her hands into her pockets and let him lead while keeping pace beside him. "I'd feel like a proper tourist then. Maybe get an I heart Rhydin shirt."

"Or an 'I <Grilled Cheese> Rhy'din' shirt." Will snorted. "Okay, Fanny, let's go do some stupid stuff in a photobooth."

"They make such things? If they don't, they should." Unabashed laughter followed, at the very least stilling her tongue and restraining the comment that wanted so desperately to follow.


((Thanks to Will for the past 2 posts worth of play!))
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Nicanora
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 09 Dec 2015
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Jobs: Sword for Hire, Tutor
Can Be Found: Avoiding all the things
10682.46 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8 February 2016

The smell of coffee brewing was almost enough to take the edge off of the hangover headache that had nestled itself just behind her eyes and she thanked technology for the advent of timer controlled coffee makers. It made rolling over and tucking herself against Will’s bare chest all that much easier. He slid an arm around her without opening his eyes and so she drifted comfortably in and out of sleep for another twenty minutes before an upbeat electronic samba humming from her phone drew her back to the realm of the living. With the most reluctant of groans, she wriggled out from the protective wrap of his arm and fumbled through her jacket pockets. Without looking at the screen, she caught it on one of the very last rings before it would have gone to voicemail.

“Hello?” She was groggy and it showed in her voice. Nica glanced over to the alarm clock on the bedside table. Its dim glow read 8:27. ****, it was early.

“Anora, where have you been?” Gregorio sounded either frantic or pissed. Maybe both. Nica groaned and hunched over to put her elbows to her knees, her feet flat to the floor.

“Papa, I’m fine. What’s wrong?” She mumbled into the phone and rubbed sleep from her eyes.

“You didn’t answer last night when I called and when I called Daniel, he had no idea where you were either. Next, I wake up to almost four thousand in charges to your card. Do you know how worried I’ve been?” As her father finished his rebuke, Nica winced. It wasn’t helping her headache but she also knew it wasn’t the end of it either.

“I’m fine, really. I didn’t hear my phone go off. I was at a charity event.” Despite the lifted volume of her father’s voice, she kept her own low in hopes of not waking Will. She should have left the room but the bed was comfortable and warm and Will’s apartment was so chilly in comparison.

“Four thousand, mija.” Her father repeated. “What could you have spent nearly that much on in a single night?”

“Hookers and blow, Dad. What else?” Nica deadpanned. Gregorio went quiet. She could practically hear the steam coming out of his ears. It was likely the wrong answer but it was already out there, so she braced herself for his response.

“Don’t take that tone with me, Nicanora. I don’t suppose this has anything to do with the Mundane boy you’ve been seeing?” Gregorio asked. Nica frowned while plotting Daniel’s inevitable death.

“He’s not a Mundane,” she protested.

“Oh, he’s not, is he? Another of your Downworlder dalliances?” Each word needled at her like tiny razor blades. If there was anyone that knew how to make her feel awful, it was her father.

“No,” Nica said sullenly.

“If he’s not a Mundane and he’s not a Downworlder, do you mean to tell me he is of our kind? What family did he come from, under whom did he study?” There was deliberate sarcasm in each question, the interrogation wearing her thin.

“Papa,” plaintively. She had no answers for his questions.

“Until you can answer otherwise, he is a Mundane. I understand that after a loss like yours that it’s easy to get distracted, but please, mija, do not sidetrack all you’ve worked for, for some Mundane boy.” From scolding to pleading, he was really twisting the knife in her heart.

“Father, it’s nothing serious,” she mumbled into the phone, scrubbing a hand over her face then back through her hair.

“I would certainly hope not. If you wish to continue living outside of the Clave’s influence and doing so on my dime, at the very least you will return to your training. I didn’t invest nearly twenty years of the best tutoring possible only to have you throw it away.” Gregorio paused, waiting for Nicanora’s inevitable protest.

No protest came. She hung her head and continued listening. Only the sound of her uneven breathing indicated to her father that the call was still connected.

“I’m of the understanding that the Blackwaters will be remaining nearby for the short term. You are to report to Daniel tomorrow morning for further instruction.” There was a finality in his tone that said it would be futile to argue. She made a small noise to let him know she had heard him. He sighed. “Anora, I love you. Please take care of yourself and be well, that is all I want.”

There was so much she could have said. So much she wanted to say. Instead, she settled for something lesser. “Love you too, Papa. Ciao.”

“Adios, mi niña hermosa.”

They both hung up, leaving Nica to drop her phone onto the pile of clothing she had amassed at the bedside. For a few moments, she sat there, her shoulders rounded and her head in her hands. She felt the brush of a few fingers just below the hemline of the oversized Denver Broncos jersey she was wearing, grazing her lower black with an unspoken invitation. Without a word, she tilted back and rolled into Will’s waiting grasp. Though the opportunity to sleep had long since gone out the window, she could pretend for just a little while longer.
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Nicanora
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 09 Dec 2015
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Jobs: Sword for Hire, Tutor
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9 February 2016

“Where do you get off telling anyone my business?!” Nica shouted the words at Daniel from twenty paces out. They had arranged to meet at a place called Battlefield Park, on the north side of the city. It was only over the wall from Dragon’s Gate where the Blackwaters and Niamh were staying which gave Daniel the added comfort of not being far from his sister in a strange city. The trees were barren, their leaves long since lost to autumn, and a thick layer of snow blanketed the uneven terrain. Daniel stood in a clearing that had a wide path entering and exiting it from the east and west. Nica came from the east, wearing full gear and armed to the teeth. Her hands were balled into fists and she certainly looked primed for a fight but Daniel’s relaxed posture plainly stated that he cared not.

“You mean your father?” Daniel asked pointedly as she got closer. At such an early hour, the park was mostly empty save for barely waking birds and the occasional fat squirrel.

“Anyone!” She reiterated, coming to a stop in front of him. He was almost half a foot taller than her, taking some of the edge off of her glare since she had to look up so far. Nica wanted nothing more than to punch him in the mouth, as if it would take back the things that he had said. Thankfully, she kept her arms straight at her sides.

“I don’t know what you expect me to say. I’ve simply been sating the worries of the few people that stand between us and a full Clave investigation. Really, I would have thought that you of all people would appreciate that,” Daniel said, clucking his tongue against his teeth. He turned away from her and started down the western path, breaking into a slow jog and then a faster run. She would have to catch up or be left behind.

“Oh please. Don’t pull that on me. This isn’t about the Clave or making my father feel better about me being here,” Nica answered once she finally did catch him, falling into pace beside him. It was a warm up, something easy that still permitted her the chance to express her ire before they got into the thick of things.

“Oh yeah? Then what is it about?” He asked. Turning them off of the main path, their run took them into increasingly deep snow, bogging down their pace. Daniel didn’t often get the chance to run in the resistance offered by snow so he was going to take advantage of that as much as he could while he was stuck in this hellhole.

“About you being mad that while you’ve got nothing to do that I actually have friends here,” she answered scathingly. Even in boots, the cold was permeating through her toes and dampening her socks. He was faster than her even on a good day but he slowed when she began to fall behind and eventually he came to a stop. Sinking almost knee deep into the snowbank, he turned to stare at her. Though his expression was impassive, there was the faintest crinkle of hurt at the corners of his eyes. Nica came to a stop too, sinking down into the cold powder.

“Really? That’s what you’ve got? You think I’m jealous that you spend your evenings rubbing elbows with mundanes and downworlders and sleeping around with that mundane medic. That’s...well, that’s something, for sure,” Daniel broke into a dry laugh and shook his head. “Newsflash, for all the men in your life may have convinced you otherwise, the world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around you, princesa.”

For all of her righteous indignation, she had no answer to that. Perhaps Christopher had been wrong in his assessment of the man before her. She tightened and relaxed her fists a few times. Finally she too shook her head. “No. I’m not doing this. I’ll train with Dia if I have to, but I’m not doing this with you.”

“You don’t exactly get a say in the matter unless you’re either willing to return to Miami or support yourself while you’re here. That simple. And Lidia will not be joining us for training for the time being.” Daniel turned his hands palms up as if displaying her options before her. The ball was in her court, the decision was hers.

“Then I’ll train with Will,” she said quickly, her chin lifting with defiant objection. Daniel stared back at her, a parent dealing with a petulant toddler.

“Also not an option.” He answered and awaited her forthcoming response.

“Then Niamh,” she threw out her last resort. Her time with Niamh was always better spent drinking and partying, but she knew the lycanthrope had it in her to throw down when the occasion called for it. Daniel shook his head.

“You know that they don’t meet the requirements for proper training. Nephilim or nothing, that’s your choice.” His patience, though tested, seemed resolute. Nica’s jaw worked with the grinding of her teeth. He was legitimately her only option. Well, there was Cris, but he hadn’t seemed in the least bit interested in the prospect of training and the thought of going to him to beg him to train with her so she could get away with Daniel was a low that she didn’t think she could take herself to. Pride’s a killer like that. Their staredown continued for untold moments, Nica’s fury met with the calm grey-blue that stared back at her.

Nica was the first to break the silence.

“What’s the drill and where are we doing it?” Quiet, spoken through gritted teeth and begrudgingly at that. Daniel’s posture relaxed just slightly and his upturned hands gestured to their surroundings.

“Here. Six art endurance drill. Vale tudo to start, then more specific with judo, muay thai, and krav maga for review, then into taekkyeon and finish with sambo. Nail the submission in each and I’ll leave you alone until Friday. If not, we meet both tomorrow and Thursday for a double instead.” He was so soft spoken that it would have been easy to miss any number of pieces of integral information but Nica quickly committed it all to memory. The first four would be easy enough, even in the snow, but the latter two, she knew he had her beat.

That said, Nica had rage on her side.

In Portuguese, “vale tudo” meant “anything goes”. It was a brutal art practiced mostly in Brazil, no holds barred fights that weren’t restricted by rules nor used any protective equipment. They had no ring save for the deep, drifting snow, but truly, fights seldom occur within the confines of a boxing ring anyways. She kept her knees bent, her center of gravity low to give her the slightest of advantages against the larger man. Despite her anger, she didn’t go after him first, letting him come to her instead. It played well on her background in other martial arts, the deft evasion of his strikes and grapples keeping her out of harm’s way. When throwing down with someone as experienced as Daniel, patience was key. Each minute that passed and every slip of his grasp that she managed was one step closer to the takedown. One hooked blow caught her edgewise but she shook it off and hid behind her guard a little longer, their pacing steps wearing ruts in the snow. Already she could feel a bruise forming along her jawline. He was big and he was strong, but Nica was agile, putting her smaller size to good use with a quick duck beneath a swinging arm. The sharp point of her elbow struck his kidney and he faltered. It was the opportunity she needed. A slip of her leg, a twist of his arm, and soon he was down in the snow, his arm bent painfully behind his back. His free hand tapped at the side of her leg and she let him up.

“That’s one,” she growled, backing off as he rolled to his feet. He shook his arms out, taking a moment to ready himself for round two. Judo was one of the very first martial arts she had taken up, starting just after she turned five. It was an easy fall back and her footwork was sound. Every time he did manage to get his hands on her, a lithe skip of feet repositioned her for a more advantageous hold on her part. It was a sport in which a smaller combatant could easily handle a larger fighter and it took her even less time to get him down. Getting a tight grasp on his collar, she lifted at the same time that her opposite wrist turned, pulling him forward to destabilize him. The diagonal angle at which his body was moving made it the perfect opportunity to slip the back side of her thigh between his legs and swing it upward, throwing him with it and bringing his one hundred ninety pound frame crashing to the snow covered ground. That wouldn’t be enough though, she slid her hands down his arm,-- the same she had used for the prior round’s submission,-- and turned it into a straight lock. With an annoyed growl, Daniel tapped again.

“Two.” Just like the first, she sounded out the count. The next two went in much the same way as the first two. She had been unsure at the beginning, but moving through the snow hindered her little save for the fact she couldn’t feel her feet halfway through the fourth round. They were both wet and cold, soaked to the bone as they paced the wide, rounded rut they had worn into the ground. All of their shuffling and rolling had worn bare patches into earth, leaving pools of mud that splattered their boots and up the backs of their pants with each heavy footed squish.

By contrast to the hard hitting, militaristic styles of earlier rounds, her transition into the next required far more thought. Taekkyeon was a softer sport by her standards, meant for taking down one’s opponent without inflicting heavy damage by using kicks and throws. It was subtle, almost dance like in its rhythm, but it was a beat that she didn’t know nearly as well as Daniel did. He gained easy ground on her, slipping her guard time after time until finally the hard bridge of his boot connected with the side of her head. Lights exploded across her vision and she crashed to the ground. Unlike the other rounds, there was no focus on any sort of submission but rather a two-out-of-three mentality as was the case when the sport was practiced in competitive settings.

“That’s one.” Daniel said smugly, hauling her to her feet by the back of her jacket. There was snow in uncomfortable places, melting and dripping and awkward. One more kick like that and her shot at getting rid of Daniel for a couple days would be gone. It took some maneuvering but her opening presented itself after he failed to get a solid enough grip on her for a throw or trip. She spun back, straightened and with a snap of her foot, kicked him right beneath the chin. His head snapped back and he toppled back onto his ass, dazed. Nica kept her guard up as he climbed back up to his feet, working his jaw with the heel of his hand. His teeth were red but he was grinning. “See. That was a good one.”

“Even. One more,” Nica scowled, refusing to beam beneath the praise. Daniel swished his saliva around his mouth and turned his head to spit to one side. He hadn’t even had the chance to straighten out when he was met with a blur of black and tan, his legs swept right out from under him and just as quickly as he had gotten up, he was right back down. It caught him so off guard that he could do nothing but laugh, sitting in mud and snow and looking up at her. She towered over him for once, her hands on her hips. The picture of righteous fury, she finally extended a hand down to him. “That’s two. You’re losing your touch, Blackwater.”

“Hardly,” he scoffed, taking the hand up. Brushing mud from his pants, he flicked a spatter of muck at her and backed up. “Last one, you gonna go the distance?”

Sambo. Oh how she loathed thee. Take Krav Maga, add vodka and drunk Russians, and you have the eclectic combat sport known as Sambo. It was fast paced and aggressive and not nearly as neat and clean as the other arts she had under her belt. That became readily evident when Daniel swung right through her block, catching her in the diaphragm and forcing her to bend at the waist to catch her breath. He followed up with a hammer handed blow but she managed to dodge left, grab hold of his arm and yank him toward the ground. On the way down, he tore at front of her jacket, pulling her down with him. A twist on the way down put her beneath him when they landed and she took the full brunt of his weight. There was no time to breathe though and she squirmed until she got a foot against his midsection, kicking out to throw him off of her. Nica scrambled to her feet and swung a backhand out as Daniel advanced again. He deflected and countered smoothly with a forearm that broke her hastily thrown guard, immediately following up with an overhand blow that caught her in the temple. A second hit hammered the same point and she dropped like a rock. Face down in the mud, she felt his knee come down between her shoulder blades, pressing to the point she couldn’t breathe. She kicked back at him but he had an advantageous enough position to keep her held down. It felt like he was crushing her ribcage and just to make matters worse, he caught one of her flailing arms and jerked it into a hard lock. Nica sputtered mud, the taste of cold, wet dirt gritty on her tongue and teeth.

Still, she didn’t tap out.

Daniel leveraged her arm further, careful not to put too much strain on her shoulder. Every inch she moved, he countered cleanly and tightened his hold. Finally, he leaned down toward her ear.

“You’ve got to the count of ten to break it or submit.” Ten seconds passed too quickly. Her pride refused to let her tap no matter how bad her lungs hurt. “...nine, ten. You’re out.”

The pressure was relieved and Nica was left to lay there, wallowing in her frustration until she pounded her fists against the ground and rolled over onto her back. Her body ached and she was covered in mud. Even the Thermis rune wasn’t quite enough to stave off the cold.

“I won five out of six,” she said, petulant to a fault.

“That wasn’t the deal. All or nothing, Nicanora. I think we’re done for today. Meet me here tomorrow, same time.” Daniel was calm and collected as he walked away. He had known her long enough to know a bruised ego paired with her temper was a combination best left alone. He was long gone by the time she got back to her feet and trudged back to her room for a long, long bath.
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