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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:51 pm Post subject: Spectrum
|31 January 2016
There would be no white worn for the death of Silvano. Not by Nicanora, not by Daniel, not even by Lidia, though judging by the quiet sounds of her crying in the next room, the younger Blackwater may have needed to mourn the loss. Daniel’s low rumblings could be noted between sobs, softly trying to comfort his sister on just the other side of the wall that divided the adjoining rooms. Nicanora had returned much later than she had initially intended, much to Daniel’s ire. Niamh had thankfully backed Nica up, ushering him out of the room under the guise of getting Nicanora to relax and hit the hay for the night and him back to helping Dia. Once he was gone, Niamh and Nica split the burritos that Will had given her while watching late night infomercials. Finally, Niamh had clicked the television off, leaving the girls to the relative quiet.
“So where’d ye end up wandering to?” The late hour accentuated her lilt until it blended into a rolling slur of syllables. Niamh propped herself up on her side, her arm folded between her head and her pillow. The narrow distance between the beds kept her tone low, her voice gentle.
“To the Inn,” Nica answered softly, not wanting to talk loud enough to be heard in the room beside theirs. She reached up to turn off the lamp that sat on the table between them. When she realized that it may be unclear as to where that was, she continued. “The city has an inn, the Red Dragon, it’s sort of a centerpoint of socialization around here. Mostly for their typically unmanned bar and cheap rooms.”
“Sounds like a good place to get into trouble.” Niamh chuckled as she watched the Nephilim’s expression, the small smile on her lips. She had known Nicanora for nearly six years now. She knew the contours of her face even in the dark, not as though the dark put much of a damper on her vision. “Find any trouble? Particularly of the handsome paramedic variety?”
“I stayed there for a couple weeks when I first came here. It’s not that bad. A little chaotic but not too different from like, staying in a youth hostel.” There were minute shifts in both her position and her expression, finding it hard to get comfortable when it came to laying down as well as speaking on the subject. “Saw a few friends there, yeah. No trouble with it...not really, at least.”
“I’m not knockin’ it by all means.” She was quick to make sure that Nica knew she meant no offense by her subtle inquiries. “So that’s a yeah then? Probably chapped Danny boy’s arse that ye were back so late after snoggin’ some other guy.”
“It’s not really any of his business who I’m snogging though it wasn’t like that. He just walked me part of the way back after I ran into him at the Inn,” Nica mumbled, turning her face against the pillow. She was grateful that in the dark, hopefully the red in her cheeks would fly under the radar.
“No snoggin’ but close ‘nough that ye smell like him anyways. Got it.” Niamh laughed.
“Ugggggh, Irish,” Nica groaned and grabbed for one of the extra pillows, winging it over at the blonde.
Niamh caught the pillow and stuffed it behind her back for safe keeping, her grin bright in the dark. “He seems nice enough in a weird way. Not your normal sort of brute but hey, if he *** like a Roman gladiator like he says, I guess I can’t really fault ya.”
Nica split into a laugh that made her shoulder ache. It hurt her stomach and her face too, but that was a nicer sort of pain that she didn’t really mind. “He said what?!”
“Ye heard me. Don’t make me say it again.” It was Niamh’s turn to throw the pillow, smacking the Shadowhunter in the face.
The thrown pillow was enough to mute her giggles for a few moments and when she pulled it away from her face, she wrapped her arms around it and squeezed it tightly to her chest. “He’s a nice distraction.” Her voice dropped a little, the laughter dying away. “Probably a little too much of a distraction, I guess.”
“What? Why d’ye say that?” Niamh pushed herself up into a sitting position, turning toward the other bed and pretzeling her legs Indian style.
“Because look what happened, just because he had the misfortune of being associated with me, they were willing to kill him for it. Just to make a point to me. I’ve know the guy for like...two months. We’ve had a lot of fun, I like hanging out with him. The food is great, the sex is awesome, and he doesn’t bore me to death. But where in that is an obligation to take an ass beating for it? They were going to kill him, Nee.” It all came out in a rushed whoosh of words that bled together. It was all she could do to keep them at a whisper’s volume.
“Thinkin’ he’s tougher than you give him credit for.” The wolf in human’s clothing was quiet in her response. She didn’t need to ramble, to lecture, to plead his case. It wasn’t her place and she didn’t think Nicanora would listen anyways. A single sentence was all she needed to make her point.
“I’m not saying he isn’t tough but you didn’t have to find him out in the snow afterwards. He’s a good guy. That was the last thing he deserved and it would be irresponsible of me to act like my presence in his life doesn’t put him at risk,” Nica continued just as quickly as Niamh had trailed off. Where the werewolf was a woman of few though well placed words, Nicanora had a habit of talking through her issues out loud from start to finish. As if hearing things from her own mouth made them more real.
Niamh snorted with derision. “Fer all’a the gifts yer Angel gave ye, I cannae believe that a martyr complex was one’a ‘em.”
Nica scowled into the dark at Niamh’s silhouette, huffed, and rolled over to put her back to the woman, wincing as she dropped a little too much weight on her shoulder. “I’m going to sleep.”
“Awright. Be careful on that shoulder.” Niamh laid back down, listening for the telltale pattern of slowed breathing to indicate that the Nephilim had gone to sleep at last.
It didn’t take long, maybe twenty or thirty minutes once she got her mind to shut down before Nica drifted off to sleep.
((Thank you to Niamh for this little back and forth <3 ))
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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:32 pm Post subject:
|1 February 2016
"Hell, I cooked for people who probably don't even want to meet me."
"That's not true."
"I imagine they've got their reasons for being paranoid. New, strange place and all."
"Yeah. Excuse me."
When she came back from her smoke break, rather than return to her seat, she stopped in front of Will and scowled down at him.
He looked up at her, leaning forward in his seat. He did it rather well for a man who had two ribs cracked just a week before. His expression? Will smiled for her, easy as you please and it typical Will fashion. "Cute shoes. All you need is a sideways hat, a chain wallet, and a skateboard now, gorgeous."
"No. You don't get to do that." She squared her shoulders, left arm held tight across her midsection while the right dangled at her side, hand wrapped tightly around the bottle neck.
"I don't. Or maybe I don't." He wasn't entirely convinced one way or another. But the paramedic didn't apologize. Instead, he fixed her with a softer stare and the slow fade of his smile into something more empathetic.
"You don't get to brush that off and try to put me in that spot. I feel bad enough about **** as is, I don't need more from you." She hadn't intended to say such things, not in the least. But a little liquid bravery and a whole lot of pent up everything say otherwise. "Those people are my people, regardless of what they think or feel about you or anyone else and you don't get to make me feel bad for letting them look out for me." She really wasn't the sort to cause a scene typically and she would likely be mortified with herself later. But the way she held herself at the moment said she gave exactly zero **** about anyone watching.
For his part, Will took the rebuke like a champ. He maintained the forward lean in his chair, staring up at her face; the man neither wilted beneath the heat of her anger and frustration nor did his posture make light of it. There was no smoothing it over with jokes, food, or other offers. His smile, always among the strongest of his expressions, bled away in drops, a war of attrition that was lost in a fighting retreat, until the rearguard failed in the end with a last twitch at the corners of his mouth. "You're right," he conceded eventually with a nod, an acknowledgement with no placation, the nearly full bottle emptied in two long swallows that might have been mildly impressive on another night. "It was more a tease than anything, but the timing was terrible. They're your friends. Your family. I know that much. They fought for you." His tone was calm, gentle. He read her body language and chose his words accordingly, sure, with the liquor taken into account, but he didn't patronize her. "They deserve better."
Somewhere, the clock had finished tolling midnight. She could feel the vibration of her phone before it even happened but she didn't take it out of her pocket, not yet anyways. There was a Will to contend with. "Of course I'm right!" Her voice lifted fractionally before realizing that he had been in agreement. Truthfully she had expected more pushback, more teasing, more fight. It was a perpetual state, always ready. Her brows furrowed, a dark knit that wrote her consternation out better than her words could. "They're what I've got. And they might annoy the Hell out of me but I will cut any bitch that speaks ill of them." She was distracted by the flash outside, a slightly liquored brain easily drawn to other thoughts. "Oh great! Now it's going to rain or something." In January. Sure. She threw her free hand up and immediately winced. At the very least, it hadn't meant tossed tequila.
"And you're lucky to have them." Another concession, but he meant it. His expression remained soft. Still no jokes or acerbic commentary. Will knew from experience what he was looking at, no matter how much her tongue stung. "You are." He rose to his full height out of the chair, his smile reappearing with a softer tilt before he collected both of his empty bottles.
Without her usual boots, she was the closest to flat footed that she could be while still wearing shoes. It made their height difference a little more marked and made her lift her chin further than usual when he rose. The steam had evidently sputtered even if she was still scowling. Nica huffed an exhale through her nose and, discernible only at such a close distance, her bottom lip wobbled pathetically. She reined it in with a tight application of her teeth to draw the lip into their grasp. "I accept your apology but I am still upset. And tired. Really tired." Quiet admission, shoulders falling by centimeters.
"You're shaking," he said softly. "And it's more than just the nerves. Is the heat working at the hideout?" Without asking or being asked, Will slipped out of his fleece lined coat and slipped it over her shoulders. "You also look dehydrated, which is a contributor to bad sleep. You need to drink more water." There were a half a dozen things he could have said that weren't an apology, for every ugly, painful reminder she had dredged up like picking at recently healed scabs. But his smile remained understanding, his stare stoic. Natural and practiced empathy held a tight rein over the simmering anger that was still buried deep. "I brought the Jeep. Do you need a ride anywhere? Or do you want some water? Or food."
"I'm not cold. I'm mad, okay?" Because anger was easier to emote than whatever else she was feeling. For the first time since he rose, she finally backed out of his personal space, a dip of shoulder declining the offered coat. Some rational part of her was doing its best not to let things well further in the face of his benevolent intent but another part, the side that was looking for a fight, didn't seem keen on letting things lie. "No. I don't need anything. I just...need..." She shook her head, scrubbing a hand over her face. "Nothing." Another shake of her head and she backpedaled further out of his space, intent on returning the tequila bottle to the bar under the weighty gaze of the other Nephilim in the room who had been watching the scene from afar.
Her shoulder dipped and his coat fell. Will picked it up silently and carried his empties to the nearest garbage can to dispose of them.
It wasn't the most graceful of prowls, not in sneakers and loose fitting sweatpants, nor with the way her hip barely glanced off the corner of an empty table. The squared set of her shoulders and jaw put her well into the realm of war over peace but she still managed the slightest softening of her gaze when she met the bar and Cris. The bottle, capped as it was, was set down roughly on the counter. "I'm done."
"I didn't apologize," Will said to her finally, pausing nearby and just close enough for her to hear without letting his voice carry much farther. "I admitted to being wrong. There's a different. And looking at this from just your side of the fence is hardly fair, Nicanora. This mess has hurt everyone who thinks highly of you. Everyone. I still think highly of you." He lifted his chin and smiled for Crispin and shrugged his coat on. Keys jingled audibly when he took them from where they were attached to his belt by a carabiner. The smile faded quickly when Crispin didn't return it and the paramedic was limping for the door.
For a moment it looked like the cogs were turning just enough that she might say more but finally she settled on a simple "Thanks." Her hair, the perpetual mess that it always was, was pushed back from her eyes. Anything she might've had for Crispin was instead set aside in favor of turning toward Will. The stare she levelled on him was the epitome of incredulous. "You're... ****ing kidding me right? Fine, my bad. You know, you're right. And for that I'm sorry. There. That's all I've got." But he was already walking away. So what could she do but stare after him.
Stepping carefully through the door, he took the steps slowly before resuming the previous pace his limp kept him at and headed for the jeep.
Each thud of her heart was a hammer's blow against her rib cage that she was certain was audible by anyone nearby. No answer, no acknowledgement from the paramedic. She stared at the door even after it closed behind him.
((Adapted from Live Play. Thanks you to Will (and Crispin) for being good sports during this spot of drama <3 ))
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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:36 pm Post subject:
|2 February 2016
New Haven's hotel sector was full of high rising towers that all sought to outshine their neighbor. Stay here, spend here, rub elbows with the Rhydinian elite here. The way the buildings reached high for the low clouds of the January post-snowstorm sky reminded her of Miami's skyline or maybe the silver towers of the City of Glass. It was an easy place for her to gravitate to even if it took her right by the empty fountain that she had said goodbye to Will less than a week ago before venturing through a Portal to go back home. Not even a week but it felt like everything had changed.
A long talk with Cris and the better part of a bottle of Ron de Motril both served to simultaneously clear her head and cloud it once more, to the point that checking in at the front desk had been a chore in and of itself. At the very least, she had brought her wallet at the beginning of the evening, the cards within doing enough to sate the front desk clerk's trepidation over whether to permit her a suite on one of the higher floors. No bellhop was needed since the Nephilim brought no bags, assuring them that she'd likely be ringing for concierge service the next morning. Despite her usual inclination to take the stairs, she instead utilized the elevator, took it to the 8th floor and found her room midway down the hall. The room offered a panoramic view of the city. Plush furniture and an oversized bed were the crowning glory of the suite, the very definition of opulence for any who might have the privilege to set their designer fashion clad asses on such glorious decor. Nica, in her sweats and tank top stuck out like a sore thumb but she cared little.
After all, she was alone.
Late night television did little to hold her attention so she turned it off and squinted at her phone as if willing it to ring. Thirty minutes of that failed to produce the results she was looking for so finally, after another quarter of Andalusian rum she set her worries aside and called the paramedic, intent on leaving him a voicemail. What she was going to say, she hadn't figured that out just yet, but that was neither here nor there. When he answered instead of letting it go to voicemail, she panicked and hung up, praying that she had done so in time for him to not have heard the slur touched swear that slipped from her lips. Another standoff ensued between the liquor laced Shadowhunter and her half charged device, seeing if he would call or text her back. She might have dozed off at one point but when she awoke, a hasty exchange of texts had her certain that it was all a mistake and that she was better off sleeping the rest of the morning away. So sleep she did.
Will wasn't a very good sleeper. He never had been.
Twenty-one of his near twenty-eight years had been spent combating his nightmares in one form or another. As a child it had been medication and therapy. With adolescence came the addition of more serious hobbying, from athletics to music. It served, for a short while, in soothing the post traumatic stress accrued at too young an age and soothed a temper that, at some times, had been near to frightening in its own way. Adulthood had allowed him to channel it all, for good or ill, into a purpose. Tragedies had a way assuaging some of these things.
All in all, the past had taught him to thrive on little rest.
No one who saw him leave the Inn hours earlier had known the paramedic enough to think he had left in anything other than anger or frustration. Or both. How could they know? As friendly as he was, sarcastic or sincere, Will didn't like letting people in. Ronnie, his partner, was as close to him as anyone in the city, and even the orkblood knew only so much. To the dark man's credit, he was wise enough to only poke at certain subjects. Exasperation had chased him out and back to his truck, certainly, but it was something else entirely that pushed him back to his apartment. The hurt he couldn't fix, the wound he couldn't heal, the pain he couldn't soothe.
Nicanora wouldn't be soothed. Not now. Not so close to a precarious edge. He didn't know her well enough to say what the breaking would do to her, or even cause her to do, but he had a good idea of what doing it in public might have cost her. Fond of her as he had grown, he only briefly wanted to cut her with what taking the beating from her, as he had, had cost him. That he came home to not heat was just icing on the turd cake.
Jury rigging an alternative only took as much time as finding the right material: concrete garden blocks from the basement storage, candles that would burn safely, and a large clay flower pot. It was a primitive solution, but damn did it work. He could have gone elsewhere, but there was Waldo to consider, for tonight at least. The Nephilim's anxious call and the texting that followed had eaten up some of that time, when he wasn't thinking out loud so the angelfish could silently pass judgement, making him pause in his task each time to ponder his response and then send it. The last thing he'd sent was deliberately vague, but his mind had been made up the moment the offer had been made.
It was a short trip by Jeep that late at night, but it allowed enough time to make a few calls. Arrangements for contingencies, as mundane as they were on one end. Mundane. Hah! Jokes on you, right Will old boy?
His arrival served to tip the scale of his mood, injecting a little mirth into his thoughts as he tried his best prostitute sauntered in despite the well worn carpenter jeans and fleece-lined blue flannel over his 'World's Best Oral Surgeon' shirt. The digital camo molle backpack riding one shoulder added to the contradiction. It didn't have the effect he wanted, of course. His host had looked just as out of place but her money was good, so they waved him up with only mild distain.
She had hurt him, if only a little, but he had prepared a good quip or two for his waltz through the door only to find her passed out in bed. It was a let down as much as it was a relief, but it allowed Will to be unabashed in his study of her, down to the gentle touch of fingers that brushed the mess of her hair from her face and allowed him to really look at her. In the end, what he found there was enough to get him out of his clothes and into something more comfortably worn. Tasteful pajamas, promise! She stirred only a little while he slid beneath the heavy warmth of the comforter and the thin sheet beneath it, his broader body molded to hers and one arm encircling her protectively.
Under the draught of rum induced sleep, gone was the tension that had been ever present since first waking up in some dim lit inn room in Dragon's Gate on Saturday morning. Swallowed by the oversized bed, she was an inkspill of dark against starched white, a wild halo of dark chestnut only partially tamed by the pass of his fingers through the strands. Tanned flesh looked darker between the contrasting sheets but not quite dark enough to blend with the loose fitting black tank top that peeked out from beneath the blanket thanks to a drape of her left arm over top of the comforter. The Marked eye on the back of her hand kept watch for her, even in the dark. She had crashed and crashed hard, her sweats cast on the floor at the bed's side while she curled on her right side with one knee drawn up toward her midsection. It was the closest spot to comfortable that she had been able to find, taking pressure off of her left shoulder and its lingering ache. Her skin was still hot to the touch and when he first slid up against her, her back arched away from the change in temperature, a low hum of protest buzzing on her lips as she settled back, the weight of his arm soothing her and gently pulling her toward waking.
"Where's Waldo?" Nica mumbled. Waking was a threshold she wasn't ready to cross just yet and she was drifting back to sleep before the words even had a chance to reach his ears. She found a certain amount of peace in his arms, enough to pass an hour and then two without so much as budging. But the longer she slept, the more time her brain had to drag her into the darkest depths of her subconscious. At some point between the second and third hours, it proved to be too much and she jerked upright with a start. The sun wasn't quite ready to rise, still tucked behind the horizon as it was, so it was still dark enough to cast shadows in shades of black and blacker over the suite's roomscape. Her chest was tight but she reminded herself that they had only been dreams and that she was, in fact, allowed to breathe without restraint. One hand balled itself against the comforter while the other caught the bit of blanket that set over one of Will's legs, the tight clench quickly relaxed in hopes of not waking him. She sat there without moving for two minutes then three minutes and finally into a fourth before she convinced herself to lay back. Unfortunately for her, and her impending hangover, there would be no falling back asleep.
Will didn't sleep so much as allow his body to relax. The physical led to the mental, softening both worries and instinct until his mind drifted off, not quite asleep but also making lucidity elusive. In the end, it was enough. He was dimly aware of Nicanora's sudden rise, her indecision, and ultimately her defeat at the hands of the comfortable mattress. Tempurpedics were like a drug! She settled again, somewhat, before his body sensed the need to react. At the time, it might have been what was best for the both of them.
It was her breathing that eventually brought him around and out of the dreamless haze, not even enough for sleep even if she did a good job of staying still. His bare arm found her again, making a claim that was never offered and hauling her slowly back in. He was warm and quiet and still smelled like the churros that had spent most of the evening inside of his coat.
There were no words. Just the presence.
A muted shudder tickled its way down her spine then radiated out to her extremities, there and gone as though someone had dragged a single finger along the curve of her back. As she sank back into the plush comfort of the bed and the familiar warmth that he offered, she twisted over onto her opposite side, grimacing through the intentional pressure put on her upper arm as she tucked herself against him. A winding tangle of legs and a burrowing nuzzle of her cheek to his chest further calmed the subtle chills that had lingered after her sudden wake up call. Warmth, comfort, distracting familiarity. She could have almost fallen back asleep. Almost. But her eyes were wide and each sparing blink likely brushed a draw of long lashes just barely against him, only noticeable had he gone without a shirt. At such a distance, she could feel his heartbeat; steady and strong.
See, she could really have almost fallen back asleep. Instead, she broke the silence with a hushed whisper that felt louder than it was, if only due to the echo of silence around them. "You came."
One hand, lazy but purposeful, pushed a subtle path beneath the best of pillows the pairing of their bodies occupied, until it had emerged behind her head. Absently, the tips of his fingers combed through darkened chestnut tendrils and stroked at the back of her head, low to the base of her skull where her neck started. He counted time in his head to the near inaudible hum of some random tune, something that barely registered as a sound against his throat, until whispered words stole him from it and drew a look down to her face.
Will didn't say anything at first. This wasn't a battlefield. No one was bleeding out or dying, under beneath the threat of. Those were where his more reassuring words cropped up. In the civilian world, his natural inclination was to cut a joke. Not, yet but as soon as I get out of these pajama pants, would have sounded good.
Instinctively, he knew better. Instead, the paramedic said the words that he had wanted to say at the Inn. The expected result, and in public no less, wouldn't have been appropriate.
"You don't have to let it go. Just let it out."
Under other circumstances, the gentle passing of fingers through her hair would have likely lulled her back to sleep. But though she closed her eyes, she stayed well within the realm of consciousness. She felt the shift as he looked down at her but she didn't lift her chin to meet it, working her teeth over her bottom lip as she awaited inevitable wisecrack that was sure to answer such poor phrasing on her part. Instead he surprised her with words that she knew she needed to hear even if they were the last ones she wanted to hear. She gave him a soft shake of her head in protest, swearing that her lash line wasn't burning with the threat of tears.
"No. I don't want to...talk about it or cry about it or argue or...any of that." She mumbled against his chest, one hand tracing the line of an oblique. "I'm sorry."
"Do what's best for you, Nicanora," he said softly in response, craning his neck to press his lips to her temple. "I'm a big boy. I was made to take the beatings that other men can't." He didn't know why the words made sense when he said them, they just did.
His draping arm traveled, his fingers walking a casual path down the length of her spine and over the deific perfection of her posterior, and when he cupped it, it seemed as though his lateral acceptance of her apology was just a segue into a more carnal distract. It wasn't. When he cupped the swell of her backside, it was to draw her in close, deepening the tangle of her legs and then their limbs when his arms snaked around her. Rough stubble teased at he cheek.
The sex would have been easy. The companionship in the face of the evening's events?
That was hard. Somehow, Will managed.
First instinct was to offer an innuendo laden answer but she caught it before it had a chance to slip and she took a moment to consider something more befitting the situation.
"I'm not sure what that is anymore," she admitted, tracing fingers stilling with the touch of his lips against her head. A head that would assuredly be aching like Hell in a few hours once her body caught up on processing all she had drank. Nights that started with tequila and ended with rum seldom ended well, so that she found herself wrapped up with him when she was certain she was going to spend the night alone, was a small comfort and a big surprise. That he might prove distracting
"Even if that's the case, you deserve better than what you got." Of all people, Nicanora was well acquainted with being built to take an unwarranted beating, though hers were typically of a physical nature instead of verbal. That was readily evident by the number of fresh scars that marked her body, recent additions from the last week alone. Her hand had returned to its unpredictable line drawing, switching between index and middle fingers to swirl what may have been letters or shapes just above his hip. By her standards, she was unworthy of whatever he might have managed to offer and that certainty led to a readily evident hesitation in her next question. "Do you want breakfast?"
For her uncertainty, he had nothing helpful to add. Whatever sage advice her could have offered was better saved for another time when candid couple be coupled with logic. Logic had no place here. Not tonight. Err, this morning. He couldn't see the scars in the poor light, the ones that marked her skin instead of her words and tone, but he occasionally traced the outline of one with a finger, a touch as curious as it was tender.
"Story of my life," he replied to her second statement, intimating it with the wry lining that supported at least half of his usual humor. He didn't elaborate, but merely left the statement hang between them for a while. Tonight wasn't about him. The question was picked up on easily and quickly, causing a fresh constriction of limbs around her in half a protest. "Eventually, yeah. You?"
The scars were a map of where she had come from, badges of survival and pride, each bearing a story that could have been told. She remembered them all, every single one no matter how minute, whether they were from Marks long faded or the sorts of things she had dedicated the better part of her life to fighting against. They could have made many a woman, or even a man, self-conscious but she didn't shy away from his touch. For all she had offered in her apology for what she had done, she could never apologize for who and what she was. She simply had to try and figure out where he fit into the mix.
Easier said than done.
"I don't want to contribute to that further." Diffident at best, she couldn't quite summon the same amount of humor for her own words. He seemed keen to leave things left unsaid and she was content to abide. The squeeze urged her closer to him, as if such a thing were even possible, the wriggle indicating that she had no intention of drawing away just yet, even with the question she had posed. "Not yet, I don't think. But if you get hungry, we can order room service. I'm told they've got the best banana pancakes."
They had become very good at unspoken accommodation. It had been the cornerstone of their friendship thus far. He wondered, idly, how much longer they could let it all ride that way. At the mention of pancakes, Will grinned faintly and nipped at one corner of her mouth. "I bet I know a place nearby that has better."
It had been easy not to think about it when she was merely "visiting" Rhydin, borrowed time making it less important to communicate when physicality got the same points across. The twitch of her mouth read of a smile even in the dark, her nose scrunching in response to the graze of teeth. "Probably, but I bet you can't go there and eat pancakes naked, can you?"
"Your ass would make for the perfect plate," he conceded without missing a beat. It meant not having to overtly say that the beautiful brunette had a point. As an afterthought, he added, "and I did switch dispatch shifts. I don't have to be to work until late tonight."
"Syrup is so sticky though," she didn't sound like she was complaining. Nica knew she had a point. She usually did, after all. Talk of work briefly darkened her expression. It was inevitable, he had bills to pay, but that didn't mean she had to be happy about it. "No? So...how're you going to spend all of that free time then?"
"Half naked in your posh hotel bed. Then naked in your posh hotel bed." He ticked of his plans casually, tapping a finger against her hip with each. "Resting a little while you deal with your hangover. Sex. Pancakes. More sex. Probably a shower or a bath, or both. Each with a side of sex, of course. Sprinkle some making out over all of that previous stuff I mentioned."
"Or," Will added belatedly, "just pancakes and laying here in your posh hotel bed and talking about random dumb *** we like. I think I could be satisfied with either."
She had to bury her face against his chest to hide the smirk that grew with each tap. When all was said and done, she giggled softly, a short and sweet sound that died off quickly. "Should see the bathroom, it's got a sunken tub."
Nica peeked up with the after thought, her head tilting just a few degrees. "When do you have to leave by? I'm sure we can work most, if not all of that in..." A beat. "No dirty comments."
"Midnight to four in the afternoon the follow day," he said, his nose brushing past hers when she looked up. "I didn't switch my Tuesday shift, so I'll be deskriding a double."
"Deskriding..." She made a little noise in the back of her throat that led into a laugh. "Ahem. That's a shame."
"It is." His response was more sober than cheeky. "I don't like it. It's not what I'm meant for."
She traced a fingernail up the center of his back then back down again. There was a certain bit of comfort having him working dispatch but it was at the cost of stir-craziness and worse, his unhappiness. For a moment, she put herself in his proverbial shoes. "I know. And I'm sorry they sidelined you. When do you get to get back to it?"
"It happens." One shoulder shrugged and his tone told her that he didn't hold her responsible. "Could just as easily have been crushed by a rampaging minotaur or fallen down some stairs. I have to see the doc again at the end of the week for an update. Recovering from a dislocated knee is usually six to eight weeks."
Even if he didn't, she did. Nephilim, great at guilt. That should be their tagline instead of the stuffy Latin they used now. Hell, maybe it would even translate well. Magnum culpa, that sounded good right? "But it won't be that long." It wasn't a question but rather a statement. Yes, she had noticed how well he was healing.
"Maybe not," he conceded quietly. Whether in denial or merely uncertain, there was at least some conviction in the response. Will tended towards ignoring the weirdness that manifested itself. Tuned it out or tried to. "But I suppose I have to will myself better. Gonna be hard to keep up with you otherwise."
Quiet concessions meant even quieter chewing of her bottom lip. It wasn't a conversation for the moment so she tucked it away, earmarked for later. Her hand pulled away from its drape around his side, dragging over until she could reach up to tug at the neckline of her tank top. She didn't have to pull it far, the black Mark visible even in the dim light, right over her heart and just above a modest swell of cleavage. "That's a Stamina Mark. I've got an unfair advantage. The closer you put a Mark to your heart, the more effective it is, so you're essentially screwed in this case."
"Jesus," Will laughed suddenly, smothering the sound into a pillow with a flopping turn of his head. "If that tattoo was a dick, you would have just slapped me in the face with it. Are we measuring them now?" Fresh mirth danced in his eyes, creating fresh slivers of silver around lapis blue. Both hands shifted to rest on her hips. "I've been rigorously trained, Fanny, so you never know. I might just be able to keep up. Have I disappointed yet?"
The smile that etched itself on her mouth was all too smug. She was trying really hard not to laugh at the visual that he had just conjured up. "And here I thought you'd like an excuse to look at my tits. But if you want to be jealous, that's cool too." Nica didn't sound offended in the least, even if she feigned it with a tug of the tank's neckline all the way up toward her throat. Awkward, sure, but she had a point to prove. "Rigorously trained? In sex? Were you a prostitute or something? Man...the people at the front desk probably have the totally wrong idea." Tsking, she tried to put on a straight expression though it cracked with quivers at the corners of her mouth. "Have you heard any complaints?"
"I used to run twenty miles a day with fifty pounds of gear on my back." He had, strangely, turned the subject away from their brief, but very active friends-with-fantastic-benefits acquaintance. "The rest of the training was even crazier. Want me to help you get back up to snuff when we're both feeling better?" His understanding of her special healing was limited, so the offer was genuine.
"Oh, now who's doing the dick waving?" She teased through the impressed tick of her brows upwards. A deft wiggle gave her a subtle shift as he made the pitch and once the offer was on the table, she pushed a shoulder against his, intent on putting him on his back to make it easier to climb over top of him. There was no nefarious intent in the pounce, not judging by the almost childish excitement that glimmered in her smile. "Really? Like, really really? Yes, yes, yes, I'd like that!" An odd thing to get ecstatic over, but she could have kissed him then and there just for the well intentioned offered. So, she did exactly that.
Kissing was good. Will liked kissing. He liked the inappropriate touching that followed even more. In the end, it set the tone for the rest of their morning with the arrival of the sun.
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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:55 am Post subject:
|11 February 2016
"Trust me onnit, ye wanna be gettin' outta there at least fer a bit b'fore ye all go stir crazy." As if they hadn't already, the werewolf's beer dripping slur was meant as a less than subtle suggestion that bordered on insistence. "There's food innit fer ye, whoever comes. An' darts. An' beer. Or liquor, whatever'll keep the two'a ya from rippin' out each other's throats." The more she talked, the more she insisted, dragging out the conversation as she walked alongside Will down the streets of Dragon's Gate.
"Fine. Fine, fine, fine," Nica's exasperation was readily evident as she muttered into her phone. Her hair was a wreck and her makeup a smeared mess but the hastily etched iratzes, plural, were enough to handle any other obvious signs of distress. The room was a disaster, as if it had been ripped apart by a rampaging rhino while being swept away by the tornado. As she hung up the phone, she tucked it away and went to pound on the door adjoining her room to the other. "Get your *** together, we're going out. Niamh wants us to meet her for drinks and darts."
It was thankfully only a three block walk but it was spent in silence with no less than six feet of space between them as they walked. Tall and taller, the two Nephilim were a matched pair in black from throat to toe and an eerily similar gait that spoke of a warrior's readiness. Uncanny in posture and even in surliness, Nica and Daniel arrived sans Lidia at Niamh's declared neutral ground and promptly took up their separate spaces while they awaited Niamh, and unbeknownst to Daniel, Will.
Will listened to the one-sided conversation in respectful silence, as he had nothing useful to add to the gael's words and tried valiantly to pretend he didn't want to say anything. When Niamh finally hung up the phone, the sidelong smile delivered her way was sincere, if not muted. The companionable silence that followed was blessed the minutes eaten up by the sounds of their breathing in the cold air sometimes warring with the ambient sounds of one of the city's busier districts.
By the time they arrived, the paramedic was more interested in something hot to drink than something alcoholic, but had resigned himself to the latter for the sake of sociability. The smile was Nicanora was instant, a full curve of his mouth that was as cheeky as it was sincere, the later brightening deep lapis blue eyes and making small wrinkles in the skin at the corners. When he turned it on Daniel, it was no less amiable, though there was some tentative expectation that it wouldn't be reciprocated. "Alright, troops. I got grub from Juana Burrito. Wasn't sure who's got the delicate stomach, so there's a little for every palate in the bag."
Close proximity to the female Nephilim was sought out, though he didn't immediately seek physical contact.
As if a gauge of the mood, neither smile was returned. Not from Nica nor from Daniel. Though her frown lessened for the paramedic at the very least, she didn't quite have it in her to summon a smile. Save for the faint shimmer of lip balm, she had gone makeupless, wiped clean after the less than pleasant argument with Daniel that had inevitably ended in tears and running mascara. Not even the fun sort either, because such a thing existed. She was the picture of wary neutrality, her attention swinging like a pendulum between the two men. Niamh set them up with pitchers and any other alcohol they might've wanted before setting in on another burrito. Nica joined her momentarily after, crinkling foil with each peel.
"Will, this is Daniel Blackwater. Daniel, this is Will. You've both heard about one another but now you've got faces to the names," Nica said over top of the untouched burrito then took a large bite out of it, teeth chomping hard. It wasn't an introduction she was keen on making, not after the past few days, but it was overdue. Niamh had been right on that much.
"Mmh. Charmed." Daniel said dryly, extending his right hand to the EMT. The back of said hand was emblazoned with the same bold eye as Nica's left and his accent spoke vaguely of central Europe, not quite France, not quite Switzerland. Maybe somewhere in between if such a place existed. Nicanora cut the taller Nephilim a scathing look as if daring him to step out of line.
Nicanora had come to know that look. Niamh might still be learning it. No sooner had Daniel spoken, Will had picked up on the vibe, the aura of polite disdain the man was giving off. There was barely a pause between the introduction, the big Nephilim's greeting, and the eager shove of the paramedic's hand in his. No heavy squeezing, his hand was firm but casual. Relaxed. It wouldn't be a contest of strength.
His mouth on the other hand...
"Of course you are," he replied and smiled wider. "But the pleasure's really mine. Fanny over there thinks pretty highly of you, so the bar tab's on me tonight. And dinner. Kick back and let me deal with the mundanity."
Nica knew it was coming before it even happened. The tense tightening of her shoulders, the firm set to her mouth, she nearly stepped between the two. But Daniel managed a firm grip, one shake and then two before a prompt release of the man's hand. The next motion was unintentional, habit more than anything, but he wiped his palm against his leg, rough hands raking over black leather.
"Nicanora," he said pointedly and in clear disapproval of the moniker, "has told me plenty about you. But please, don't feel obligated. We're quite capable of covering our own."
"Beer!" Niamh called, pouring pitchers across glasses, filling them to the brim and shoving them toward the two Nephilim and the whateverWillwas. Nica took it, grateful and hasty in her downing of it. It would likely be the first of many on the night. It was half gone on the first chug and she relented when she decided she should probably breathe. The blonde gave the brunette woman a look and smacked down a handful of darts on the table they had claimed. "And darts. E'ryone loves darts, righ'?"
A single downwards tick of his gaze made note of it, but whatever goodnatured quip he would have made in response was chewed back and swallowed. "Probably only the good parts and not the great parts," he finally replied, trying hard to be jovial without being facetious. Man, it was hard. "And it's my pleasure to do something nice for you guys. You'll be good for it down the road."
Will reached for one of the full glasses, lifting it to the trio with him in salute before drinking deeply from it. With his free hand, he grabbed one of the darts, rolling it around in his hand to get a feel for it. "I love darts."
"If you're talking about your sex life, I've zero desire to hear about any of it," he answered bluntly, ticking a briefly unreadable look toward the other Nephilim, who looked absolutely mortified as she dropped her forehead onto her arms, which were folded atop the table. Niamh grazed her fingernails between the woman's shoulders in a soothing scratch, bending to mumble something beside her ear. It got a quiet giggle out of the Shadowhunter and she peeked up at her friend, one hand uncurling enough to accept the offer of three darts as given by the blonde.
"I've never played darts, but I imagine it's pretty similar to throwing anything else," Nica said in a quiet voice, straightening up from her hunched lean over the table and stepping over to the gap between tables that was lined with worn tape to mark off the no fly zone for those playing. Daniel wasn't far behind her, taking up a cross armed loom a few steps back. Nica glanced briefly over her shoulder, stared at him for exactly three seconds before shaking her head and looking back to the board. "How's it work? Hit the center?"
"I wasn't," Will snorted. "But thanks for making it awkward."
A brief, apologetic look was passed Nicanora's way, his smile fading with his amusement. Militant. That was a good way to describe Daniel, a generous moniker if one was willing to discount the faint hint of derision over the difference in their social statuses. For the lady's sake, he tried to ignore, instead choosing to focus on the mention of darts, which drew him back to her with a smile. "Depends on the game. I was always fond of cricket. Winner is the first person to fifteen through twenty at all three hash intervals and then land three bulls-eyes. It was a good way to kill time back in my younger days."
He was only briefly taken aback but it was a quick recovery that came in the form of a lifted chin and a lackadaisical shrug. "It isn't awkward in context, not knowing Nicanora like I do."
A harsh and short kick back of her boot heel caught him square in the shin and he grunted, meeting Nica's gaze as she looked over her shoulder at him again. "Enough, Daniel. Before I put one of these through your eye." Vehement as she was, it was easy to think that she was more than serious in her threat. He seemed nonplussed, giving her a look as if he dared her to try. That said, he didn't answer her and she instead looked back to Will as he explained. "So," she began, pinning a dart between thumb and forefinger. One look was given to the board and an easy snap of her wrist sent the dart sailing. It stuck in the narrowest part of the 17. "Was that good or bad?"
Nica fixed Will with her most starry eyed gaze. Daniel glowered. Niamh saw just how much beer she could chug before she started floating.
"I didn't know we were playing the intimate detail game." Where Will could have elaborated and made things more uncomfortable, he didn't. Instead he left the implications open in his tone, like a man who knew plenty of things the larger of the two Nephilim didn't. Likewise, he feigned a blithe ignorance to the tension that passed between Daniel and Nicanora, instead turning his focus to the toss of the dart, its landing, and his continued explanation of the game. "Gotta hit each three times, but, if you hit the outer hash mark on the pie slice, it counts as two. The inner counts as three. The better you are, the easier it is to close out."
"Nicanora," he said her name, putting the subtle curl on the tail end like he often did to tantalize her just a little. "Call my shot." He had let to lift his hand for a throw.
Nica shot Will a warning look, the beginnings of daggers if he divulged more. Thankfully he didn't so her shoulders relaxed just slightly and she looked back to the board. Her fingers rolled another dart between them as she tilted her head toward the roll of his name. It summoned thoughts best left for private, of cold walls and hot mouths. A minute shiver trailed its way down her spine and she slid him a lash veiled look that implied unspoken promises of the worst kind. "Sixteen?"
"Where on the sixteen?" Will's mouth twitched.
She slid him another look, this time skeptical. "The outer hash."
The paramedic flicked his wrist underhanded. In the time it took for anyone else to issue a sharp intake of breath, the dart was quivering in the center of the outer hash, its tail dipped at a downward angle.
Nica tipped her head to one side, eyeing the board like she wasn't quite sure if she was seeing things right. A subtle look angled over her shoulder toward Daniel and Niamh, the latter of which was almost through her first pitcher. Looking back to the EMT, she grinned. "Lucky shot. Call mine."
"Twenty. Center hash." The game, more for showing off than competition, curled a wider smile from Will. They'd played other games before, sure, but this was the first one that pitted a taste of her professional passion against skill she never knew he possessed. For a moment, he forgot Niamh and Broody Angel Hitler were there, and just soaked up the moment.
He knew her vanity, her pride, and her penchant for competition well enough. Her fingers found their grip on the dart and she squared herself up to throw. Though she didn't say it out loud, there was more than pride at stake, whether Will realized it or not. Her tongue ticked to the corner of her mouth, poking out just barely as she arced her wrist and with it, the dart. It stuck dead center in the 20's middle hash. "Bingo."
Whip, whip. It would have been hard to pinpoint when he'd grabbed the other two dart, let alone how, but no sooner had the 'O' been formed on her plush lips, ending the word, two more darts stuck out of the same hash, flanking hers. "You're pretty good at this, Fanny."
Her lips parted and her jaw worked if only to keep it from going slack. Golden brown gaze narrowed at the board and then lowered to his hands. Trailing up his body, she tried not to look too suspicious but the squinting sort of gave it away. By now, she was fully intent on the paramedic, their company left to the wayside as she tried to sort him out. "Call my next one."
"Bullseye. Inner." Will, had anyone ever cared enough to really look, presented one of Rhy'din's more interesting conundrums. He played at normalcy like he truly was normal, but talked at the worst the realm had to offer like he was bigger than like, like he truly was invincible. Most of the time. He surrounded himself in violence; violent people, a profession constantly exposed to the pain and suffering of others, but he continually professed a desire to do no harm to anyone, even in the face of his own suffering or death. He was ten times more athletic and coordinated than most saw, graceful in the need or great once, tough and energetic beyond the limits of most mortal men. He was so much more than the sum of the little details he dangled in front of the world, but let a little man's life.
Will was a great mystery that didn't want to be unraveled.
For all that she knew him, she really knew so little. He was hardly an open book and though she could trace every inch of him with practiced ease, he was still so closed off to her. It should have troubled her. In some ways, it did. In other ways, she could appreciate the need to keep certain things to himself. They all had their secrets, every single person in their little congregation. So she let him have his secrets and she let him have her. Nica stepped in close to him, her right hand moving to the side of his neck even as the left hand found just the right spot on the dart. One last glance at the board and then she turned back to him, leaning in to capture his mouth with hers. Normally she would have shied away from a display of affection like that in front of the other Nephilim and even Niamh, but she had a point to prove so her lips worked against his with a teasingly probing kiss long enough for her to make the throw, draw it out a little longer, and then finally break away with a quiet gasp. When she glanced over, the dart stuck just slightly off center of the middle of the bullseye. "Money shot."
Daniel was also standing over her shoulder, having moved toward them during the less than chaste moment. She could feel him there without looking. "What, Daniel?"
"Hardly an appropriate display of your ability, don't you think?" Chiding to a fault, he folded his arms across his broad chest and affected a look of general disapproval. It was an expression quite at home on the tense lines of his mouth.
She was playing to an audience. He could have been offended. Another may might have been. But the irreverent child in Will was more than a little wild-eyed in wanting to endorse the annoyance of Daniel and, better still, the taste of the slender Nephilim's mouth was a treat that he never tired of. He hummed something throaty into the kiss, letting it linger for far longer that she might have under the circumstances, initiated by her or no, before letting up.
"You said you weren't into that," he teased a reply before Daniel's disapproving question drew a look. Will fixed him with a curious, pensive look. "Your disapproval of my presence, not withstanding, is there something against her getting to simply enjoy some sporting fun?"
"I meant the board," she grinned in spite of herself and tilted her head to one side, nodding toward the dartboard that was more closely resembling a pin cushion the more that she and Will showed off. Her right shoulder bumped forward against his, some private show of affection before she reluctantly stepped back from his personal bubble so she could turn to face Daniel. Will was way ahead of her on answering him though and before she could get a word in edgewise, the taller of the two Nephilim was ready with a retort.
"Considering how far behind she is, her talents would be better suited in a more proper setting and application." Daniel was terse in his answer to Will, as if the very act of doing so annoyed him. It wasn't as though he owed the paramedic any sort of explanation. Nica looked back at Will then up at Daniel, her chin lifting with haughty defiance.
"Ranged practice is tomorrow, in case you've forgotten. Bright and early. I think that I'll survive one night of playing around." The scowl had taken over where a smile had been at the tail end of her kiss with Will. Daniel was able to match it quite easily.
"I've not forgotten even if it seems that you're forgetting why we're even training to begin with." Blue-grey moved from the Spaniard's eyes to the man standing behind her then back. "Not as though the Mundane would understand anyways."
"One woman's face is another man's bullseye. Who am I to judge?" It was terrible, but at least he could laugh at himself, which he did with a self-deprecating roll of his eyes. He was on the retreat during the back and forth between the two Nephilim, approaching the dart board to retrieve the pointy sporting implements. He contented himself in silence as the two went at it, but not without making silly faces at Niamh as a way to kill the time and entertain himself without getting in the middle of the heated banter. Nicanora was more than capable of taking care of herself and didn't need him to white knight for her.
It wasn't until Daniel had started throwing the verbal barbs at his back that the paramedic's smile faded. He didn't look over his shoulder as he spoke, instead studying the board. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was led to believe your people to be something like the caretakers of humanity. Is that incorrect? Please, tell me if it is. Because for someone who's tasked with protecting us Mundanes, you sure like to *** all over us with the way you talk. And how far above humanity do you need to place yourself before you don't feel the need to keep us safe? Because if you are a pinnacle example of what your people should be, then I fear for the rest of the sheep you shepherd. You know who else thought he was too good for humanity? Lucifer."
He added then, "And I understand better than you know. Not all monsters grow fangs, sprout claws, or throw spells. There are some things you don't know about the Mundane world that require just as much protection."
Niamh sat at the table with her head in her hands. It wasn't the first time she had been subjected to the holier than thou attitudes of the Nephilim but at this point, it was so tired that she could do nothing but let things snowball. While they bickered, she slipped away to see about refills. Likely they'd be needed.
On the verge of answering Daniel, it was instead Will's turn to beat Nica to the punch and she let out an exasperated huff and rolled her gaze from Daniel to the paramedic. Between the two men she couldn't keep up, her mind reeling from their back and forth. Daniel lifted his chin, looking down his nose at the slightly shorter man even from afar.
"The Morning Star fell not for thinking he was too good for humanity but rather for his disobedience. Obedience to a cause greater than himself much like the one Nicanora and I serve. Protecting the balance while knowing that Mundanes require a certain amount of delicate care is far different from rebelling when told to bow to what God deemed a greater creation, so don't you dare put my kind in line with that." He said with vehement disdain and before Nica could get a hand up to stop him, the subtle snap of his wrist flung a single handle-less blade at the dartboard, just to the left of the paramedic's head. Whether it was an intentional miss or not was left up for debate but Nica twisted around quickly, praying to every deity in existence that Daniel hadn't just stabbed Will.
Between the ticks...
One moment Will had been tugging the last dart free, his frustration building but not dangerously so. It was ironic that someone had referred to him as a bigot not so long ago when the more righteous personification of prejudice was talking right at his back. His copper tongue had grown more barbs as the conversation deepened into something less jovial and the words threatened to pour out of him in such a facetious display of Bitch, please.
In the next, the music filled him like it was his own life's blood. It raced through his veins with the blinding alacrity if a sunburst, fast as light. The paramedic's arm snapped up, a discordant note booming in his chest like fists slammed down heavily upon the a church organ, and caught the knife in his hand. The way he had turned just slightly, likely for fresh commentary, it would have struck him otherwise. Two rapid heartbeats later he whirled around and loosed Daniel's blade in a backhanded throw. It stopped with a hard tock! next to the big Nephilim's ear in one of the square oak pillars that ran from floor to ceiling in the bar. Half of its entire length was buried into the aged hardwood, followed a split second later by every dart Will had retrieved from from the cork dart board, patterned in a smiley face with the knife marking what would have been its forehead.
He shrugged out of his coat then, letting it fall to the floor. The right short sleeve of his t-shirt rode up with his shift in posture, showing off the ink high on his arm, unintelligible to anyone not intimately familiar with the Mundane world and its worldly protectors. The paramedic could have pointed it out and pontificated on it in an attempt to impress, and Nica has seem the same symbol on the knives he'd gifted her, but instead he used the hand to point to the Latin script on his left forearm.
Ut vivant alii.
"I live by these words. I die by these words. I know what's at stake every time I do, both as a privilege and a penance. I've seen the worst of humanity," he said and his tone implied he might have even counted himself among it. "And I've seen the best. No one's perfect, not even your precious Nephilim. You fight for us, but we're nothing serious for you, Mister Blackwater. But I respect what you do, despite your penchant for sticking your nose so high in the air that you've convinced yourself your *** don't stink." Will's expression softened. "Preach at me all you want, but remember that one of your own turned on you, took something precious from you, and then tell me again how perfect you are."
"I look at her," he pointed towards Nicanora,"and I see beautiful imperfection. A warrior bred but with a heart as wonderful as it is leonine. The sex is great, ***, the sex is amazing, but the more time I spend with her, the more I've discovered there's so much more about her that keeps me coming back. That keeps me letting her closer. You may think she's just slumming with some Mundane. Good for you. You're not the one who has gotten the priceless privilege of watching her sleep, silently sharing her grief, and wanting to touch the woman, the Nephilim be damned. I didn't want it to be, but for me, it's something serious, even if she ends up hating me for it."
His skin had flushed an uncommon red for the telling. Blushing? It wasn't impossible. With a bend at the waist and a snap of his hand, he snatched up his coat and started shrugging back into it. "And if you wanna come at me like you just did again, at least have the courage or, God Forbid, the respect to do it at some time other than when my back is turned. I didn't take the Nephilim for bitches."
His previously untouched beer was taken up from the table, tipped back and slowly downed during the first steps taken towards the door.
"Daniel!" Nica shrilled midturn only for the sharp objection to come to a screeching halt with the seemingly slow motion grab and return of the thrown blade. It wasn't possible. It couldn't be. Disbelief etched itself in the most obvious fashion across her face, her dark eyes following the thrown blade's path back at the other Nephilim. It was going to hit him, she was certain of it, so next her admonishment came full circle. "Will!"
Ultimately, the blade nor its dart tipped comrades didn't skewer the taller man, much to Nica's equal parts chagrin and relief. She smeared one hand over her mouth and kept it there, smothering the aghast spread of her lips, the rounded circle of shock that matched all too well with moon wide eyes. Midway through Will's monologue, someone poured cement down her throat and she felt the drowning of her heart in her chest as it sank like a stone to the pit of her stomach. A wound only barely scabbed over was ripped open anew and a hearty helping of salt was poured in and smeared over with each word that followed.
Nothing serious. The words had come back to haunt her. Words she hadn't thought he heard and even if he had, she didn't think they would have stuck with him like that. The needling jabs continued with the thinly veiled mention of all that Silvano had done. All that they had lost. That she had lost. Christopher. Just when she thought she could get him out of her mind, he was ripped to the forefront all over again. Her chest ached and her eyes burned but she set her jaw and tried her best to interject, the quietest of protestations.
"Stop talking about me like I'm not standing right here," she said weakly, her voice not rising quite high enough to reach the two men. Daniel stood stock still beside the pillar, stuck between shock and fury with his hands clenched at his sides. Nica didn't like the look on his face but then again, she didn't like the look on Will's either. It was a side she had never seen before. Gone was the carefree, happy-go-lucky paramedic and in his place was the picture of righteous indignation all the way up until he left. She visibly flinched as it all seemed to come crashing down on her. Something serious. Something serious, only to have him end with a proverbial bang, taking the pot shot at not only Daniel but her entire kind.
She didn't follow him.
Instead she stood just as still as Daniel, the only movement coming from the pan of her gaze and the short and shallow rise and fall of her chest. It hurt to breathe, like someone had stuck that throwing knife between her ribs and twisted it. Niamh tapped a toe against a floorboard to announce her presence behind the Nephilim, touching a few fingers against Nica's elbow. Nica looked back at the blonde, her expression a little too wide eyed to be perfectly impassive. Niamh stepped closer and slipped an arm around her shoulders.
"C'mon, le's get ye outta here. We can go drink, me an' you somewhere. Jus' the girls," Niamh cooed soothingly, lifting a short but pointed look at Daniel. He was not invited. Niamh's hand rubbed against Nica's arm. "Unless yer wantin' ta go with PJ there."
"PJ?" Nica asked, dazed.
"Ne'ermind that. Ye wanna go with him?" Niamh nodded toward the retreating paramedic.
"No." Her voice softened further, suddenly exhausted. That Nicanora wasn't leaving with Will seemed to relax Daniel if only slightly. It wasn't until Will had gone that he finally spoke.
"Nicanora," he said gently, taking a step toward her and the blonde. Nica's gaze snapped up to meet him and immediately the flame was rekindled. She bared her teeth but before she could go after him, Niamh's slim yet preternaturally strong arms slipped the Nephilim's waist and hauled her back a few steps. In her fury, Nica couldn't wriggle free though she certainly tried. "Go to Hell, Daniel. You ever pull that *** again and I'll end you myself!"
"Ah, yup, time ta go," Niamh sighed and awkwardly shuffled backwards toward the door, taking Nica with her. The further they got from Daniel, the more her struggle slowed and by the time they made it to the exit, Niamh was less dragging and more guiding the girl out into the cold. "We'll be back later, don't wait up for us."
((Thank you to everyone involved for making this scene a thing!))
Joined: 09 Dec 2015
See this user's pet
Jobs: Sword for Hire, Tutor
Can Be Found: Avoiding all the things
10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 12:47 pm Post subject:
|12 February 2016
Four AM found Nicanora and Niamh stumbling through the streets of Dockside. Well, Niamh wasn’t stumbling but Nica sure was. The gael had her arm slung around the Nephilim’s waist, fingers hooked in a tight belt loop to help keep her upright.
“I just don’t get it, Nee. ****ing men, I swear. Pissin’ contests galore. Dick waving and measuring and dios ****ing mio, Will will win that one every time,” Nica slurred through a vibrant peal of laughter. The world was a much better place when it came in a blurry double and her cheeks were rosy with the influence of copious amounts of whiskey.
“Win wot? Pissin’, wavin’, ‘r measurin’?” Niamh snickered, steering the drunk girl around an overturned garbage bin before she could trip on the detritus.
“Mostly the measuring,” Nica answered with a giggle, burying her hot face against the lycanthrope’s shoulder briefly then lifting to peek up at the blonde. “I don’t understand men. What is wrong with them?”
“Dunno, lass. Stopped tryin’ ta figure that’ne out when I was ‘bout twelve,” the blonde said with another laugh. Nica laughed too and leaned her head to Niamh’s shoulder again.
“Can’t believe Daniel. He could have really hurt Will.” From giggling to pouting, Nica’s bottom lip stuck out at the thought of it. For all of her implied indifference at times, she was quite fond of the paramedic.
“Mmm, I’ve got the feelin’ Will can handle ‘is own ‘gainst ‘im jus’ fine.” Niamh’s thumb rubbed against Nica’s hip soothingly. It did little to dull the petulant pout so Niamh continued. “Ye did nae tell me that he was Special Forces.”
“Huh?” Sucking her bottom lip back in, Nica lifted a curious look to her friend, her mouth scrunched into a tight purse.
“Special Forces. Air Force. That PJ thing I mentioned. His ink, haven’t ye seen it? Certainly ye’ve seen him shirtless ‘nough,” Niamh rolled her free wrist, trying to get the intoxicated Shadowhunter to put the pieces together.
“I knew he was in the Mundane military, whatever they might be. Ut vivant alii,” she mumbled, her tongue rolling over the Latin with practiced ease. “That others may live. I just figured it was a paramedic thing, since, you know, they save people and stuff.”
Niamh clicked her tongue. For all they protected the Mundane world, the ignorance of some of the Nephilim was absolutely astounding. “It’s a shorter version o’ the full motto, Haec Ago Ut Alii Vivant, which means These Things We Do, That Others May Live. It’s the motto fer somethin’ called the Pararescue. They’re like...wot’s a good word fer it. Who’s the best Shadowhunter that you can think of?”
“Probably...Jace Herondale,” Nica answered after a moment of consideration. “Why?”
“Well take that Jace lad, duplicate him thousands o’ times o’er and put ‘em all together, task ‘em with playin’ police force fer the world’s nastiest situations. Tha’s the Special Forces.” Niamh began. Nica’s mouth went a little slack as she considered the visual. “So, who can ye think of that’d be capable o’ goin’ in ta save ‘is arse when shyte goes arseways?”
“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I don’t know. Maybe Jonathan Shadowhunter himself?” This was hurting Nica’s brain.
“Awrigh’, so when shyte hits the fan fer the Special Forces, they send in somethin’ called the Pararescue ta get their arses outta there.” The blonde said finally. Nica was quiet for a few moments, her feet dragging with each step. Niamh bobbed her shoulder just to make sure that the woman was still fully conscious.
“Nnf. So like the guys with the green berets?” Nica mumbled against the bump of the shoulder. Niamh snapped and pointed at her.
“‘Xactly! ‘Cept they wear red, er, well, maroon an’ they’re the ones that save the green one’s arses when they need it.” Nodding, Niamh adjusted her grip on Nica’s hip. Dockside had faded behind them in favor of Old Temple and then the south edge of Dragon’s Gate.
“Oh. I thought that was just in the movies.” The Nephilim hiccuped.
“...No. No, it’s not jus’ in the movies. Fer feck’s sake, Nic, yer not honestly that thick are ye? That he lets ye treat him like such a sap is beyond me. It’s a righ’ puck, ye know?” When Niamh got going, she could really get going. She looked down to find Nica squinting up at her. Sometimes even the language rune on her neck couldn’t save her from the werewolf’s slang laden ranting.
“...what?” The single word came with a click of her teeth together. Niamh sighed.
“Jus’ give the boy more credit than ye are an’ keep Daniel the feck away from ‘im, if ye know what’s good fer the both o’ ‘em.” They were approaching the little inn that served as their hideaway, lost among the old buildings of one of the busier districts. “An’ if ye can weasel a last name outta him, I might be able ta find out more fer ya.”
“Si?” Nica’s curiosity had hit an all time high. The were unlocked the door and hauled Nica through, shutting and locking it behind them. The room, which had been a disaster before Nica had left, was pristine and the beds both made, one corner turned down on each.
“Yea’, I know people,” Niamh was vague at best. Nica kicked out of her boots and began dumping gear and clothing off in a rumpled pile.
“Bueno. Voy a ver qué puedo averiguar.” Throwing herself face down on the bed, she laid there without moving. Niamh bit back another sigh. Once drunk Nica made the switch to Spanish, she knew any remaining conversation was a lost cause.
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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:47 am Post subject:
|13 February 2016
Distractions. They came in many forms. In exhaustive training and bruises upon bruises. In lush fabrics and sky high heels. In blood red corsages and handsome dates. In terrible disco music and coat closet hook ups. In the back seats of taxis and high rise suites of swanky hotels. The highs were so high if only so she could have enough freefall momentum to carry her through the inevitable lows. They came and went like the tides but tonight she was riding at her emotional peak all the way from the Great Hall, across town and to the boutique hotels of Seaside, A wandering of hands traced salacious lines beneath red and black fabrics and by the time they made it to the room jackets were coming off, pins were being pulled from hair, and much like rounds prior they became an entanglement of limbs and mouths and bodies. She lost count before long, an endless tally added to like it was nothing, and when at last voracious appetites were temporarily sated, she curved an arm across his bare chest and nestled her head against the crook of her shoulder.
"Dios," she mumbled, turning her mouth to lose the words against his chest. It turned into a purse of her lips and a soft kiss before she settled once more. Only one of Rhydin's two moons were on its way to fullness, filtering long thin beams of light through disheveled curtains, closer to silver than to white. They stretched the shadows, making a dark caricature of whatever motion occurred in the light. Currently, that was the tracing her fingers over his left forearm. The backs of her nails dragged along the inside of his wrist then up in reverse across the Latin script that etched its own darkness into his skin. No matter the post-sex glow, the night prior still weighed heavily on her mind and her conscience. She didn't even realize she was grazing the ink until she glanced down and slowly dragged her fingers to a stop, the pads of her fingertips pressed gently to his skin. As drunk as she had been when Niamh told her what it all meant, she had still remembered enough to want to ask him more about it.
But she didn't.
"So, that's your impersonation of prom night then?" That worked instead.
Like the countless time previous, Will had proven an ardent and energetic lover. The coat closet and the cab ride had been games, a pregamed tease that might have been taken as serious had it been anyone other than Nicanora. In that, at least, she knew him better than anyone, playing along to the tune of sweet sin until they had stumbled through the hotel room door and the night really began. They kissed, touched, and reciprocated raw passion like not a single hard feeling had ever passed between them, or like there were a thousand hard feelings to make up for. In the end, they were just two tangled bodies, a thin sheen of sweat glistening where the light played amongst the shadows.
Will hadn't forgotten what had happened in the bar; the harsh words that had been passed around still rang in his ears when he couldn't distract himself with something else, the confusion of the music little more than an eerie undertone to what Daniel had done. What he had done in response. He wasn't ready to let it go and, worse still, he wasn't sure he was ready to address it. Not with the larger, more autocratic Nephilim, at least.
The light touch of her nails on his skin, gentler than most times, drew a look from the dancing shadows on the curtains down to tracing fingers, lips pursed for a brief moment before he summoned up a smile. His free hand made the slow crawl up her spine to her hair, combing fingers through loose strands idly. The question made him laugh. "My actual prom night was far less fun," he answered her honestly. The paramedic usually did. "The girl wasn't as pretty, a lot of fights got picked, and the only backseat I ended up in was a squad car. This was a far better revisitation."
Words failed where actions spoke and when actions were exhausted, she didn't know how to fill in the silence. She hadn't called him or texted him after he left the bar because she didn't have the words to do so and she had let most of the day pass without contact too. The radio dedication had been a Hail Mary pass of sorts. She wasn't sure if he had heard it or if he'd take the time to listen to the song beyond its less than encouraging title. Friends. Is that what they were? No, they hadn't been just friends for some time now. Friends didn't look at one another the way they did and while even friends with benefits may have gone at it with the sort of fervent exuberance that they did, friends with benefits seldom let the more tender moments linger. Because feelings.
Feelings ruin everything. And so she stuffed hers a little bit further down, beneath a layer of superficial smiles and self-deprecating humor and a thick shell of aloof evasiveness when it came to examining just what it was they were. She had convinced herself that he was just a distraction. Nothing serious. The words stung like venom on the back of her tongue but he was talking about prom and the past and telling his stories as he was wont to do, so she listened with a small smile and heavy eyes, weighed down with assistance from the raking of his fingers through the mess of chestnut.
"Fighting..." She sounded less than convinced. The bitter was rising, threatening to throttle the sweet moment right where it was. Her jaw worked, she took a slow breath, and exhaled to a mental ten count. The smile slipped back into place with practiced ease. "How much trouble did you get in for that?"
"A lot," he confessed almost immediately, but let the admission hang between them for the time it took him to steady his breathing. His neck craned, warm lips brushing over her temple. "I was a very angry kid and some lessons were harder to learn than others."
Will paused again, the lingering smile fading from his mouth into something a little more fragile. More open. "That's not what you really wanna ask."
"I had a phase like that. When I was about fourteen," she said absently, sharing a tidbit for a tidbit. Idly her fingers had gone back to their tracing, finding the barest hints of the transition between ink and bare flesh. The touch of his lips against the side of her head had her eyes closing further, settling into something of a generally companionable quiet. But she didn't have to see his face to know that the smile had faltered, especially when his question followed.
"There's a lot I want to ask but none of it is important so instead," she finally reopened her eyes, tilting her chin so she could peek up at him. "I'd rather kiss you again and not worry about it."
There was a subtle intensity to his stare, the little ambient light that occasionally reached them making stars dance across the deep lapis blue of his eyes. He gave her what she wanted, his left hand rising to stroked gently beneath her chin and keep it properly tilted up for the arrival of his mouth. The kiss was slow, sensual, and tender, open mouthed but not particularly penetrating. It was shorter than it was long and in the end he murmured words against her lips. "You're important to me. So when wanting to ask becomes important to you, I'll answer."
She could get lost in his eyes. She could get lost in the touch of his mouth to hers. She wanted to. Desperately even. But what could she do when her distraction had become...well, this? Though her lips skimmed his, lingering with the barest remnants of vanilla lip gloss, long since lost to the smothering mouth to mouth he had given her in the coat closet at the ball. The ending mumble against her lips sent the conflicted emotions into tumult again and she bit back a little sigh. Not quite petulant, more resigned than anything.
"It's important to me, but what's important to me and what's important to the grand scope of things are often two very, very different things." Her tongue grazed the edge of his lip, left to right before she lowered her chin and averted her gaze. It was easier to talk when she wasn't at risk of drowning in the summer sky that happened to be his gaze.
"Niamh told me," she mumbled, her fingers tapping gently against the Latin script she had been tracing almost incessantly since her fingers found it. "About what it means. What you were... are. Why didn't you tell me?"
He leaned in further, burying his nose against the mess of hair crowning her head. The scent of her was less distracting that it was a good opportunity to enjoy something small while collecting his thoughts. The first response he expected. Duty. Above most things if not all. He understood it, had been there, and seen it break other men as it almost broke him.
"Were," he corrected her quietly, though she had gotten it right the first time. The arm shifted beneath her touch, not out of conscious self-reproach but to curl it back around her slender frame. She'd seen the words often enough. "Sometimes I don't want to remember. It's nothing I wanted to hide from you. It's just... I guess it doesn't matter anymore. Or I don't want it to, if that makes any sense. So far as Earth, my Earth, is concerned, that Will is dead. Maybe this Will can be a better man. And, in an attempt to be realistic, though **** me if I don't want to ruin this, but I half thought it wouldn't matter because you're eventually going back to the Cause. Back to Miami. I just wanted to enjoy soaking up your light and being with you while I can, without ruining it for either of us. So, uh, oops?"
After another pause, he finally tipped her chin up to find her eyes again. "Never lied to you. I wouldn't lie to you."
"Are." A correction for a correction, she was insistent. "Once, always. You don't lose a warrior's heart just because you stop doing warrior things. It stays with you, for always. The good...the bad...all of it."
With his arm drawn around her instead, she set her hand over his chest, pressed flat to feel each thud contained within the cage beneath. Moonlight deepened the shadows across her face, the knitting of dark brows creasing lines across her forehead. A month and a half old scar along her hairline stood out from the angle at which she laid her head. It was an expression out of place on granite cut features, smoothed to a pretty polish by sand and sun and the good in the world. "It's just as much a part of you as anything else in life. And...I...I think, and I might be wrong, but I think that maybe I can understand wanting to forget. I can understand that. The Angel knows there's so much I'd rather forget."
She went quiet, giving him plenty of time for his explanation even if her dark eyes still tried to avoid the light of his even after the gentle adjustment to the angle of her head. There was more to say, so much more to say. It was just a matter of if she could get herself to do so. "I didn't think you lied to me. I was just...stupid and didn't ask. I assumed and...and that makes me look a colossal as*hole. But I think maybe we're both making assumptions. I didn't ask but you also didn't think it would matter, so, where does that leave things?"
"It didn't matter then, for both of us." It was almost kinky, the one hand in her hair and the other around her torso, but used as one to pull her slowly atop him until she was a blanket of naked flesh atop him. It put them face to face, his smile a faint curve of his mouth but making the words no less sincere. "It matters now, if we let it."
His hands settled lightly along her hips, fingers splayed for the occasional stroke of skin. It was idle, a small reassurance even if he failed to find the right words. "So here we are, fighting and trying to hide the scars," he murmured. They were song lyrics, a band that served up a far more serious fare than what she had been used to hearing him play. "It leaves us... you're more than my friend. I don't know how much more. I don't know how long we have to find out, but I'm not going anywhere, so... I'm going to be more than nothing serious. Unless you won't let me. Patience is one of my better virtues, I'm told." His mouth quirked in a wider smile, tentative.
Under other circumstances, she would have taken it as an invitation rather than something more innocent but it put her eye to eye with him and she settled into a comfortable drape of tangled legs and chest pressed to chest. Interlacing her fingers over his sternum she set her chin down on her hands and studied his face from the lower angle.
"It matters to me." She said finally. The why not immediately expounded upon. Unfamiliar lyrics didn't register as such and instead, they fell so easily into the line of the conversation that she glanced over it to take him in. Every line in his face as he spoke, every word that spilled free. They were committed to memory even as the lines in her own deepened with something bordering on consternation, unable to match the hint of his smile no matter how much she wanted to.
"That's twice," she mumbled and just as quickly as he had drawn her over top of him, she rolled off. Not stopping with a slip against his side, she tumbled over onto her back and stared up at the ceiling, shaking her head. It would be three if she counted the snip that Niamh had told her, an exasperated recollection of venomous barbs offered with petulant contempt. "Twice that I've had words not meant for you thrown back in my face. Evidently your virtuous patience extends to awaiting just the right times to do that too, hmm?"
"In context, the words matter." He plied his gently, plainly, turning slowly onto his side to face her and propping himself up on an elbow. "Forget what you told your old man. What you said is still relevant, because up until those words were repeated by anyone but you, they were close enough to true. No, not entirely, but close enough in the same way hand grenades fragment and affect something in the area they land. You know why the words matter? Because Thursday night. Because now. Hell, because of a back alley where I got beat like a pinata. I could've run. I stood my ground, because if I ran one way maybe they would find Taneth. If I ran the other, you. The words matter because I don't just want to **** you. I want to touch you."
She kept her eyes up on the ceiling even as he turned. Not because she didn't want to look at him, because oh how she wanted to look at him, but rather because she couldn't. The knuckle of her thumb rubbed at the corner of the eye furthest from him. She likely would have written it off as dust.
"Forget it? I'd love to, except for the fact I seem to be reminded of it every chance you get. I said it to shut him up. To get him to stop needling me about you. I didn't say it to be hurtful, I said it to protect you. Because I thought that, maybe just maybe you needed it. Kind of like thinking maybe just maybe I was right to run headlong and unprepared into something that should have otherwise killed me because I thought I was doing right by you, to right what they did to you because of me." Her voice shook by the time she finally took a breath and said breath trembled too on both the intake and the slow exhale. "You didn't fight back. Not because you couldn't but because you wouldn't, and I'm not sure which is worse...thinking I need to protect you and carrying that guilt that I did that to you or finding out you're perfectly capable of doing so yourself, you simply choose not to. You. Didn't. Fight. Back. And you let me think...the worst. You want more but I don't even...I don't even know you."
"Lot of judgement flying around in here at the moment," he observed drily. "All we're missing is a Catholic priest and some indictment papers."
That was Will. When in doubt, make a joke.
"Okay, dead horse. Beaten. We've both made our points on what's serious and what isn't. Wasn't." He put his hand on her hip then, a gentle clasp of warm fingers. They didn't try to pull her back to him or move her at all, instead settling as a steady presence connecting them as he spoke. Touch had been the way with them since early on. "I wish... man, isn't this ironic. Will doesn't have the words. But yeah, I wish I had the words to explain to you the why. Maybe in time I'll find them. Right now, I just... well, I don't. But I never meant to mislead you. I've made a choice about my life, or what passes for it, and I have to fight every day to live with it. I don't want you to think the worst of me and, believe me, I worry someday you will see the worst of me. How much of me would you like to see laid bare, Nicanora? How many layers deep? Tell me and I'll get the knife."
"I...," she began but fell quiet without continuing. How could she respond to that? Though his humor may have been lost on her, the steadying touch to the curve of her hip wasn't. She wanted to melt beneath it, to rewind the time until she reached a point where she hadn't opened her mouth. For all that she thought getting it off of her chest would help, she was sorely mistaken. But...did he just refer to himself in the third person? That garnered a tick of her gaze aside that went with the arch of a single brow. It was enough to get to twist to her side, rolling beneath the graze of his hand. There was so much being said that she didn't know where to start, so she settled on a steady lock of dark eyes on light, a glimmer of gold just barely brought out by the silver of the moon.
"I don't have an answer for that. I don't. But...what I do have is...this, I guess. I want to see the good. I want to see the bad. I want to see whatever you deem me worthy of seeing so long as it's real. I'd...I'd take all of you if I could, because no matter the fact that you **** like a dream, I'm kind of a fan of you as a whole too. But no knives. No cutting is needed, I don't want to have to put you back together." A flicker of a small, sort of sad smile caught her mouth, her gaze lowering to the rumpled sheets beneath them before lifting again. "So...let's start small. What's your favorite color?"
It wasn't lost on him, any of it, and Will would not wither beneath her stare. Despite his choices, the man was ninety-nine percent spine, and in the face of her seriousness, her sadness, he lifted that hand from her hip to cup the side of her face. It was that one percent that he had to worry about. The anger and the fear. The latter pricked at his spin in little jabs and made it take some time before he finally responded. "Let's start small," he agreed. The paramedic knew the deeper conversations were far from over, but this? It was something. "Blue. Like a Broncos jersey, deep but vibrant. Yours?"
It was a start. And more importantly, it was a way to drag her away from the precipice of words and thoughts and actions that would have otherwise completely changed their dynamic. Save for little, tiny things, she liked their dynamic.
"Navy blue then. There's a place down across the river that makes a spot on paint in that shade. Something like, NFL dash one seventy-two A." She dipped her chin slightly, the most minute display of diffidence. "I mean, in case you're looking for ideas for your new place or something. But, uh, I like saffron. It's a, um, sort of yellow-orange. Like sunrises."
"Like night and day," he mused, letting the conversation lapse into details more mundane (haha, see what he did there?) leaning his face closer to hers. "Or close to the Denver Broncos colors..."
Was that pleasing? Certainly.
"You also love flamenco, heels that make you as tall as most men, and warm churros, mostly as a breakfast food. When I'm not in the bed, you wrap yourself around the long pillows like I am. You love a good hot chocolate, a better tequila, and everything Star Wars. For the last, you get a faraway look in your eyes, farther than the galaxy far, far away, like for as much as you love it, it's painful too. Christopher introduced you, which makes me like him even more, as much for his good taste in movies as friends." It wasn't a contest, not really, but in the wake of the pain and frustration they'd both shared, maybe him sharing all the little things he'd cared enough to remember might mean something. Bringing up her lost friend, her parabatai (he had deliberately butchered it for Crispin's benefit, mitigating his intelligence and playing up his harmlessness), might have opened the wound anew, but maybe offering it in such a positive light might assuage some of the sting.
He leaned. She leaned. Both forward, magnets with an inevitable pull. It let her drop her voice further, affecting a well won intimacy in the warmth of her breath that dared to brush across his bare chest on the exhale of her words. Conceding, "Or like Denver Broncos colors."
The more he spoke, the further she leaned, until her forehead bumped against his gently and stayed there. Her eyes closed most of the way, long lashes brushing at her cheeks as a small hint of a smile began to bloom like a defiant rose in winter. There was a stinging hitch in her breath, a stumble over the steadiness that had been building with the list. He caught her, fair and square with that one. Read her like a book in a way that she couldn't reciprocate. Hell, she didn't even know his last name. Niamh's reminder rang in the back of her mind but she pushed it aside for the time being. "He would have liked you. I think you would have liked him too."
He drew her in, slowly, and pressed a kiss to her mouth. It was a gentle thing, warm but lacking the fire that tended to spark the passions that led to long, deeply satisfying nights. Gratuitous sex, duh. This time he was tender and when he drew back, it was to whisper words against her lips. "I don't think I could dislike any man who was good enough to be your parabatai."
Then he kissed her again.
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2284.16 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:06 pm Post subject:
|1 March 2016
It… wasn’t exactly a house. The old warehouse loft had boasted a ruggedly handsome exterior, its rough brick surface more brown than red, with minimal cracking or chips. The broad window frames showed only the faintest signs of warping and had been given a fresh coat of paint. There was only so much use for a building of its like, packed in as close as it was to other dwellings designed to be far more habitable with minimal effort. And for all of the exterior charm, time and misuse had reduced the innards to a dessicated mess of broken furniture, busted plaster, and a devitalized ambience that was suitable for human habitability by only the basest standards. To Will, it was a description far worse than the reality, as there was running water, a decided lack of pests or vermin, and the spot he had chosen boasted a wealth of potential. Even Nicanora, whose critique of the rest of the building had been very unforgiving, had shared in the image for the future he had painted, indulging him with her support and even agreeing that it looked far better than the realty reviews had implied. It had been at the top of her list of the places that she had looked when they had found the time in their busy schedules to do it together (out of the ones he could afford, anyway). After all, no neighbors to complain…
He had signed the lease without telling her.
Warm was… debatable. The heating system in the old warehouse space was full of archaic ductwork, busted in some places and pushing out only a minimum of heat, but the lease agreement had included, among other things, the promise to have a new system installed in the space he was to occupy within two weeks of signing. It was empty, or mostly so, and impeccably clean. It would be another week before he could move it, but for tonight’s purposes, it was perfect.
Lately texting had seemed a more convenient vehicle for conversation than actual talk, with his job and her training schedules conflicting so much (what a coincidence…) that stealing time together had been gained at a premium. The sex had been less intense and more hurried, and events that the Nephilim had only vaguely touched upon had created a pall of melancholy tension. It had given the paramedic a lot of time to think on things. To come up with a plan. It was a gamble.
The text he had left for her was simple:
Hey. Signing the lease on the new place tonight. I think you’ll approve. Meet me at the place we looked at on Fangor and Wilshire North. Planning on wining you and dining you after, maybe some dancing, so dress accordingly. Maybe bring an overnight bag. 2000 Hours.
Everything was in place when she arrived.
To say that the accommodations were spartan was being generous. A thick and fluffy red blanket lay spread out before a large and beautifully archaic stone fireplace, missing a stone here and there marking it in sore need of a mending, but playing host to a low, cozy fire (consolation for the heating issue) that spread a modest dome of warmth outwards. The blanket was marked at its corners with cheap electric Coleman lanterns, battery operated and spilling a lazy yellow light over the area. At its center was a big, raggedy wicker picnic basket and an Igloo cooler filled with ice that kept a bottle of wine and a sixer of Badsider on the chill.
One of the loft’s many support pillars had been made creative use of, with the help of a few salvaged 2x4’s and highbacked antique dining room chairs of questionable origins. A deep emerald green blanket had been tossed over the jury-rigged frame, with a single sagging opening to given a glimpse of the interior. An old mattress had been covered and accented with another trio of blankets, numerous pillows, and a flat screen television that let the red light of the Netflix logo spill across it all.
All black everything and exhausting drills had been the flavor of the week (like usual right?) and so when Will texted her with the promise of dinner, alcohol, dancing, and maybe enough activity to keep her overnight, she had jumped on the opportunity to break routine. She ditched the black leather and traded it out for silky satin in a shade of blue so dark it was typically found an hour or two before daybreak. It hung close to her curves before flaring at the waist. To further accent the sky-shade, she had paired it with strappy heels in a sparkling silver to go with the glittering accents worn in her earlobes and at the hollow of her throat. She tossed a bag of stuff and things over her shoulder and called it good. Of course, that close to Dockside while still sticking within Old Temple's wall, she received her fair share of catcalls and whistles. Under typical circumstances she would have preened and taken it as proof of how damn hot she looked but she waved them off in favor of a brisk stride down unfamiliar streets until she reached Fangor St. It took her to Wilshire North where she hung a left, pressed through the heavy door of the old warehouse and climbed the aged staircase all the way to remodeled building's top floor.
It was charming in its own right, the loft that he claimed to have signed the lease for. Sure, it hadn't been her favorite of the spaces they had checked out or of the ones that he had sent her to review on the tiny screen of her phone during her training breaks or while he was at work. But there was a certain appeal in the boyish grin that pulled at Will's mouth when he talked about everything he wanted to do with the place. Much like the paramedic himself, the loft had so much potential. So she humored him with the caveat that he wasn't going to drag her into remodeling the place.
Home improvements? Totally not her thing.
When she reached his door, she rapped her knuckles against the frame and jiggled the handle with the threat of entering. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
"Knock, knock handsome. I'm here for wining and dining and... other stuff."
Like some back alley skulk, Will had chosen one of the dark corners of the open floor to lurk, beyond the reach of the soft light that filtered through the windows from the outside and giving him full vantage of what Nicanora would see upon finally entering and getting the lay of the land. More importantly, he'd get to watch her face, study it, and tailoring his own behavior to the reaction he saw. It wasn't that the paramedic wouldn't be real. He was who he was and, good or ill, made few apologies for it. But tonight was about touching the Nephilim and not necessarily about the physicality they so typically enjoyed.
Tonight was meant to say: I heard you. I'm trying.
The door to the loft was unlocked, the handle opening with ease and the portal gliding open without so much as a squeak. He had oiled the hinge that afternoon.
Otherwise it would have been creepy.
Luckily for Nicanora, she hadn't seen too many horror movies so the ambiance wasn't enough to be any more off putting than a typical mission. Okay, so maybe comparing it to a mission was a bad sign but still. She pushed open the door on the tail end of another wiggle and peeked inside. Lit by lantern light and flickering flame, the long shadows that stretched across the open space welcomed her and the click of her heels on worn boards. The strap of her backpack slid down her arm and she stooped briefly to deposit it just inside the door. Free of that burden, she took the opportunity to take in the spread of the decor laid out before her. Rich colors, warm light, an impromptu picnic and the glowing allure of Netflix's call from within the blanket fort.
A quiet spill of breathy laughter slipped from barely parted lips that had been painted a deep shade of crimson soon bled into a slow but steady curl of her mouth, the upward tug undeniable even in the dim light. She caught a curled strand of brown and pushed it over the shell of her ear and came closer, her hands clasping in front of her sternum as she got a better look at the details.
"So... either I'm in for a good night or they'll be finding my body in a ditch with an APB out for a serial killer by morning..."
So, maybe she had seen some movies.
"So, maybe, just maybe, I told a little white lie. I signed the lease this morning." Will's voice was casual and easy from his spot in the darkness, a spot he vacated as the jig was up and a lazy stride carried him into the light. By contrast, he was dressed far more casual than his date, in clean work pants and a buttoned shirt left open to reveal the snug white wifebeater beneath. A single rose dangled from his finger but was lifted to touch her cheek when he was close enough. "You've been working hard. I've been working hard. There's been stress...
"This," he pointed at the surprise. "Is for de-stressing. And something more. So, hi. Don't punch me."
It wasn't as though she would tell him she had pinned his location around the time she had dropped her backpack off but she trusted him enough to have not needed to even venture a glance his way. So his voice didn't make her jump when he finally spoke up. Pivoting on the balls of her feet to face him as he neared, she tilted her cheek to the silky soft brush of petals along her jaw. His explanation and subsequent plea for clemency when it came to not decking him was met with a stoic stare and a slight lift of her chin. It was the judgy-judgy-Nephilim-stare.
"You lied to me..." She began, her voice steady but low. For a solid thirty seconds she stared at him like that before the first quivers of a smile caught hold of her mouth again and she broke into grin. There wasn't a snowball's chance in Edom that she could really, truly try and be mad about such a thing.
"This...Will, wow. Just, wow." The remaining space between them was closed for a curl of fingertips around the side of his neck in time for a barely there brush of her lips to the corner of his mouth. Enough to offer him a taste of gratitude without smearing him with scarlet. She drew back before further contact could sidetrack her. "You came up with this all on your own?"
Sometimes it was fun to pretend that Nicanora was normal, that their relationship (whatever its definition now) was normal. And really, he bought the stern act about as much as she had bought his ability to ninja-vanish in the dark, a heartening balance of harmless false expectation that eventually ended with one arm wrapped possessively around her waist and fingertips teasing idly at her hip as they talked.
"Nope," Will replied and shook his head. "Got it out of a recently discovered Dr. Seuss book for older kids, entitled: How The Paramedic Stole Dat Ass. It's all the rage in the first responder community. Putting dating sites out of business."
The grin faded a fraction and he eventually returned the kiss, touching his lips lightly to the underside of her jaw. "We talked about taking some things more seriously. So yeah, here's a little serious. This cool with you?"
She could pretend that she was normal. That he was normal. That they were normal. Every part of it was anything but, but still, the pretending was half the fun. For a few moments, she could be a well dressed Alice in an inexplicable Wonderland. Melding against him and the wrap of his arm, she could play pretend ever more efficiently, easily pushing out thoughts of training and mud, politics and drama.
"Mmh? Maybe Dollar Store Lex Luthor," she still hadn't learned his actual name, "won't have to rely on those shoddy mail order bride sites anymore, right?"
Wishful thinking. Her chin lifted with a relaxed thrum, savoring the warmth of his breath against her skin. Taking things seriously. Such a troublesome yet alluring thought. She couldn't help but humor it and him. Finally she offered him a soft nod. "Yeah, yeah. It's cool. Show me what you've got, Casanova."
"I kept it simple," he told her as she was guided over to the thick blanket and lowered her demurely with his hands in playing the part of a gentleman. He didn't even hip-thrust at her face. "Grilled cheese and tomato soup from Grillenium Falcon and some warm churros still wrapped in foil. Figured the former was still worth a go with just a little cold weather left. Beer, wine, and a little bourbon, depending on what you want."
Will lowered to seat himself across from her, lotus style, but allowing his knees to touch hers. One hand reached for the cheap picnic basket. "Can't go wrong. Feed you, get you liquored up, then having my way with you, right?"
The food was dug out and arrayed before her on cheap paper plates.
As she sank first to her knees, she half expected a lewd gesture and quietly snickered to herself when it never came. Spreading the skirt of her dress out over her thighs, she tucked her curled legs to one side in such a way that gave her a natural lean toward the paramedic.
"Wait, so you don't mean to tell me that Grillenium Falcon's off the table once the weather gets nicer?" Nica's stare was incredulous, challenging in the way she dared him to confirm this. It didn't keep her from plucking up a churro and biting a chunk out of it as she tried to restrain a grin. "Hell, you definitely know how to treat a lady."
Of course there was a caveat. Wasn't there always?
"You said maybe some dancing. I came dressed to dance, so, don't let me down..."
"Well, no, but it always seems to hit the spot more during the cold months. Weather gets warmer, I start to think about hero sandwiches and meat and veggies grilled over charcoal and wood chips."
He listened to the caveat, fought off a smile for the small amount of concern and the the subtle way in which she implied some potential disappointment. Instead he reached for her, his hand falling to rest lightly on one of her thighs but without the added cheek of a squeeze. "I said dancing. There will be dancing. I've got you all night, so I certainly won't be letting you down, Fanny."
Will, it seemed, didn't have much of his usual appetite and was content to let Nicanora eat her meal with minimal interruption, his own consumed in slow bites that came between idle looks around the new living space. There was something else, no doubt.
"My allegiance lies with the Falcon," for obvious reasons of course, "but you've yet to lead me astray, so I'll trust you for now. For now."
He was quiet in a way that Will was seldom quiet, solemn in a somber sort of way that seemed to weight his mood in a way akin to how her own had been dampened by external forces over the past few weeks. Idly she wondered if perhaps looking at him now was how he had to look at her at any given time recently. Her smile lingered regardless, as much for his benefit as it was her own. She pushed the last of the churro past her lips and washed it down with a swig of beer. She was a classy lady after all. As she pulled a gooey grilled cheese sandwich in half and threatened to dunk one side into a styrofoam cup filled with thick tomato soup, she lifted a look to meet him once more.
"I know you won't. But, um, you all right?" Dunk, white bread bled orange-ish red with the spread of soaking soup and once it was perfectly saturated, she dragged it against the cup's edge to catch the drips, then brought it up for a big enough bite to give herself something tangible to chew on other than his relative silence.
"Yeah." The paramedic nodded after a few moments pause. "Yeah. I'm good. Just got something I wanna get off my chest. Something I want to share with you but don't know how it'll go over. So, I'm gonna do it and deal with whatever comes from it, and I'm hoping you'll see it for the gesture it is."
He reached towards the picnic basket again, this time slipping a hand beneath its heavy bulk and producing a manila folder filled with papers. A single glance fell to it once, a pause though his expression seemed less filled with resignation and more so with worry, before offered it over to her.
"I can try to fill in some blanks, just maybe not as well as you're gonna want. But here it is."
Her expression faltered mid-chew, her smile going wooden in the way it tried to hang on her mouth. Her mind went a million ways at once as she tried to figure out where he was going with things. Something to get off his chest... what could it be. He wasn't going to drop the L-bomb or try any of that first-date-soulmate stuff on her, no, he wasn't like that. Maybe he had been living a double life and the guilt got to be too much. Maybe he was gay. Oh that would be a shame. It could have been anything.
Instead, he pulled out a folder from beneath the picnic basket.
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2284.16 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:07 pm Post subject:
|Swallowing slowly, she dabbed at her mouth with a paper napkin and let her gaze gloss over the folder. Nica set her plate aside, the last half of the sandwich and the remaining soup left to the wayside in favor of whatever the manila folder held. At first she wasn't sure what to think but as various conversations replayed in her head, she felt her mouth go dry and a sudden pit grew in her gut.
"Will..." she began, hesitant in her desire to even touch the folder let alone open it. But finally she took it and set it on her knee, caught between curiosity and guilt. She knew exactly what it was. "Where'd you get this?"
There was a softness around his mouth and eyes that hinted at a certain level of stress in the giving, but when he looked at her it was easy to tell that it was a decision willingly made; it was something he wasn't pushed into.
"William Michael St. Jude," he corrected her with a wan smile. "You know where I got it, Nicanora. But where I got it, how I got it, they don't matter. It's yours now, so toss it when you're done, keep it for late night reading, or beat Daniel over the head with it. Doesn't matter. But whatever blanks it doesn't fill in, I'll try to. But fair warning... I can't fill in everything. There's some things I don't know... or don't remember. You wanted to know me. This is me..."
It was the softness that wrenched her heart. That it would have to come down to the contents of a single folder. Man, that was quite the kicker. Nica licked her lips to try and sate the dryness on her tongue to no avail.
"Cutie Loaf, Senor Loaf, Loaf Supreme," she corrected once more, her tone far more final than the gentleness of his own. He confirmed her concerns and though her first thought was to throttle Niamh the next time she saw her, she couldn't help but squirm beneath the weight of her guilt. When she looked down at the folder, she realized just how tightly she had gripped it and one by one, she focused on relaxing each of her fingers until the color returned to her scarred knuckles. Her thumb wiggled at the edge of the folder as if she might open it. After all, how much of his life could have been contained within the flaps. So much that she could have learned and then... it hit her.
"Not like this," she murmured. Golden-brown gaze lifted toward him for just a moment then dropped to the folder and before she could change her mind, she twisted just slightly enough to chuck the whole thing into the fireplace. All dry paper as it was, it caught quickly, pale manila curling black and smoking as the flames licked at paper and ink both. She watched it for only a moment and then turned back to him. "Hi."
He watched it all through the furrow of sandy brown brows, furtive consternation only allowing some of his relief to show through. After all, there was some small liberation of sharing his old life with someone, and he could only be glad that it was with her. So he tried to measure each little twitch of emotion that limned her expressions and then... Poof! She surprised him by tossing the things into the fire without even the casual perusal of the first page. Worry turned into surprise, which finally bled into a tentative, semi-appreciative smile.
Moments later Will was on his feet and offering her his hands. "Think I owe you a dance."
"And here I thought you'd never ask." When he seemed to relax, she did too, her hesitation fading as he go to his feet. Adjusting her legs beneath her, she took the offered hands and got to her feet. Once upright, she still didn't let him go.
"Look, I'm sorry..." She began, drawing herself close to him. Even without music right off the bat, she had no issue moving her body with his, her right hand cupping his as the left slid up his arm to rest against his shoulder. The grating of her teeth on her bottom lip was brief, losing out in favor of a quietly sheepish admission. "I thought maybe if I could find out more that... I don't know. Maybe you'd find a reason to open up the rest of it to me... but you're Will. You're more than flat stats on a page and more than instructors' assessments of your skills and merits and fitness as a soldier."
Nica huffed out a soft laugh and shook her head. "Sorry, I'm rambling. Just had a lot of time to think on things lately."
One hand left hers long enough to slid his phone from a pocket, thumbing over on a tap and then tossing the device with its face down onto the blanket. The music that eventually filtered through it was generic, but Will didn't care. It was something to move to and it gave him all the reason he needed to slip both of this arms low around Nicanora's waist and haul her easily against his chest.
"That's what sucks about being a soldier, doll," he said softly, swaying with her. "Eventually all you are is a statistic. The guys you served with? The people you saved? Stats on someone's logistical board. I... I was angry enough without a license to kill someone. Sometimes humans are scarier than monsters."
The acoustics in the big empty loft were perfect, naturally amplifying the music just enough to give it the proper lift it needed for ambiance but not so much that it drowned out their quiet conversation. Though at their proximity, she was certain that he'd even be able to hear the hammering of her heart against its cage even over the music so she wasn't too worried. Her arms slid up and around the back of his neck, easily falling into the two step, stand and sway. It meant closeness, which after the past few weeks was a welcome reprieve from her self-imposed exile.
"I know. I know, I know. But you are more than that to me. Forget what you were to them," she whispered, dragging her nails across the back of his shoulders, tracing little letters and shapes against the fabric of his shirt. The lift of her chin was slight, barely needed with how the strappy heels lifted her nearly to his height. Long lashes closed over her eyes for a second before reopening with a tilt of her head. Will, angry. Will, angry enough to kill someone. Will, as something scarier than a monster, perhaps even a monster himself. Her sweet, pacifistic, fun loving Will.
Maybe the double life thing wasn't a stretch after all.
"Humans, even at their worst, can always find redemption if you seek it. It's what separates us," not them but rather a collective us, "from say creatures like Greater Demons that not only can't seek penance but wouldn't even if they could. Did... did you think something in that folder would make me think differently of you?"
The idle steps were easy, keeping them moving without requiring a concentration that might have otherwise hampered the conversation. It moved them across the floor in a lazy pattern that resembled more of an oblong circle than anything more complicated, a pronounced arc that led them towards the pillow-blanket fort.
"I like hearing those words from someone. Especially you. I'd never given a whole lot of thought to letting someone else in. Not that I'm not capable, I just... I didn't. There was never time. Or the right circumstances. I mean, the sex is great, Nicanora but... man, I like what I see when I look deep into your eyes. I like the me I see reflected back ." He turned her in his arms and pulled her back in, his chest against her slim back, both hands falling to hold her around the middle. Gentle words found her ear as he nuzzled it with his nose. "Most of what's in that folder would probably get you wetter than a notebook in a rainstorm... it's the question I can't answer that concerns me."
Movement was such a natural state for her that she could follow his lead with ease, especially in such an empty room, void of stumbling blocks. She didn't even have to look for where they were going, instead deferring the navigation to him while she drank in the angles cut by the lantern and firelight's shadows on his face; the laugh lines at the corners of his eyes, the way his eyes looked closer to gunmetal than blue in the lacking light, and the way his mouth shaped every word up until he spun her and pulled her back against him. It was a comfortable position and the reasoning was twofold. Not only was he a decent dancer but he was one of the few that she didn't mind having her back to. It was an unspoken vulnerability even in the rhythm of an innocent dance.
"Emotions are stupid, messy things. It's always easier to get lost in the physicality than it is to bare parts of ourselves that can actually be broken." She tipped her head to one side to allow him easier access to her ear and the the tanned, Marked flesh of her neck. Her hands slid over his, interlacing fingers in a same to same pattern, right to right, left to left. It allowed her to guide his hands over her body, trailing them over her hips, down along her thighs toward the flared hemline of her dress to brush just briefly before drawing them back up toward her stomach. "Mm, your assumptions for what gets me wet aside, what question might that be?"
"Or lost in the work," he agreed quietly.
She got to play with his hands and Will got to get lost in the moment. He stole little memories during their face. Her beautiful face in profile, subtle in its happiness. Each little smile as it unwillingly played itself across the perfect red of her mouth, lipstick as of yet smeared or rubbed away under the usually onslaught of kisses that ranged from the mouth to the inside of the thighs. The depth. Nicanora was getting deep with him, something they had only hinted at in recent weeks. She was letting him in, reminding him why he had decided to give her the file in the first place.
For a short time, the play of his hands being guided towards the hem of her dress distracted him from her questions. It was the importance of it that brought him back around. "Who I really am. It's as much a mystery to me as it is to you."
"Ah, yes. That." They were both guilty of it after all. Guilty. As. Charged.
Her hands tugged his in a cross over his midsection, settling there comfortably in one of the lesser distracting spots upon which his hands could have sat. Granted, his hands had a way of being incredibly distracting no matter where they went, but she could try her best while they stripped away little layers of guarded protection rather than stripping away layers of clothing. To be naked wasn't to take off your clothes but rather to bare the parts that others didn't get to see. For so long she had watched Christopher live his life in a perpetual state of vulnerability and time and time again she watched his heart broken over this and that. It was why she had resolved herself to never suffer the same fate yet there she was, offering Will an in to little bits and pieces of herself traded in kind for his own.
"Who you really are is Will. Paramedic and food truck savant, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts, random trivia extraordinaire, bearer of churros, and one of the coolest guys I know." Against her better judgment, she twisted in his grasp to face him again so that she could look him in the eye properly. "If there's more than that, we'll get there. Eventually. Or you will on your own, if that's what you'd prefer. Either way."
"Oh, wow," he breathed the words with a chuckle dangerously close to her mouth, splayed fingers moving up along her back and then down in a slow rub through the thin material of her dress. There was something more reassuring about the gesture than sensual, though the latter would have counted too. "Hitting me up with the Harry Potter flattery." It was a joke but the reality or something far more appreciative lingered in his lapis blue eyes. "You really wanna be my girl, don't you?"
He didn't wait for an answer after the playful tease. He wasn't sure either of them wanted to be responsible for the answer and what came of it, but rather, he segued from one tender moment to the next. "I like the idea of figuring that out with you. And some other folks, like Cris, Tannie, Ketch, and Fin. Maybe Nee. Mostly? Mostly just you. I like thinkin' about you."
Raking her teeth against the full pulp of her bottom lip, she did little to dissuade the crimson's stained hold on her pout and did even less to mute the growing grin that came in response to his reaction. The introduction to Harry Potter had been a new one, but one that she had watched with rapt attention. While Will certainly didn't resemble the movie's half giant (at least above the belt of course), she was pleased that he got a kick out of the name drop. She sucked in a quiet little breath in response to his question, her eyes lowering from his and her lips parting as if to answer.
He moved on though. Quickly enough that she swallowed the words and dragged her gaze back up to meet his. The dim light helped mute the faint flush in the apples of her cheeks, her next exhale coming on the breath of a quiet laugh. "Yeah? This place seems like a good one to figure out who you're supposed to be as opposed to who you might have been."
He didn't give her his answer right away. Instead, Will kissed her, slow and thorough. It wasn't the sort of kiss that they usually shared, the sort that led to a desperate war of tongue and preceded falling clothes, traveling hands, and furious coupling. He guided her over to the fort, one hand at her shoulder forcing her slowly towards her knees and then guiding her into the warm, cozy interior.
"I'll find myself," he reassured her as he followed her inside. "There'll be help and there won't. Some things you gotta do on your own, when you're ready for them. I don't know if I'm ready. I guess we'll see. Until then, I like where I'm at."
She thrummed a pleased note against his lips, content to drag it out for as long as he'd give her. It wasn't nearly long enough by her standards but the distraction of finishing their trek to the fort was enough to placate her for the time being. Kicking out of her shoes on the way, she cut him an amused smirk as she slowly sank to her knees. Usually such a motion would have come with far more unzipping but the red hued light of the fort's insides was calling to them and so she obliged.
"If you're not ready, you're not ready. You've got people in your corner regardless." It was a reminder for herself as much as it was for him. As they both made it in, she tugged at his arm to get him to sprawl so she could tuck herself against his side with her head set to his chest. "And now? Now I like where I'm at too. So don't move, you know?"
“There’s always more questions than answers,” he confided in her as he ducked down and followed her into the cobbled together dwelling of juvenile design, adding suggestive levity in contrast to his words with the slip of his hand beneath the dress she had worn to tease the tender flesh there with his nails. He fell into a rolling flop on the cushions at her urging, interrupting his response in a huff of laughter and a lot of wiggling as the Nephilim made herself comfortable.
“Don’t move?” He asked finally, giving her a defiant grin and moving as much as it took to push her chin up and press his mouth to hers. It lacked the typical energy of their kisses, especially positioned like that, and was something far more sweetly tentative. It was broken with a hum and a squeeze of his arm around her athletic frame, then a lazy stretch. “Moved. Ha.”
“I’ve got you.” The words came to him unbidden after a few moments of silence and the lucid realization that it was one of those exceedingly rare moments they had spent together that didn’t involve interactions that were filled with superficial entertainment, laughter, or raucous sex. That he had consciously chosen to make it so real was both daunting and liberating. “I’ve got Ronnie. Who else I’ve got remained to be seen but I’m optimistic enough to think you’re not the only ones gravitating into my corner. That’s heartening, Nicanora. Despite my casual optimism, that’s the best thing I’ve felt since I ended up here by accident, intense sex with you being the chief competitor for the honor…”
Will turned his head then, nuzzling the tip of his nose against her temple.
“I never intended to be a combat medic, you know,” he began after another long pause, encouraged by the silence, her smile, and the openness of her stare up at him. “Let alone a PJ. I just figured the G.I. Bill was a good way to get money for college and I knew I wanted to work in the emergency medicine. I mean, I’ve always been athletic, really athletic, and according to both my high school gym teacher and my drill instructor, I’m too senseless to be afraid of anything. But the notion started at boot camp, when in the middle target practice, a munitions stockpile went up and…”
The talking went long into the night, marking the first late night together in memory that didn’t result in sore bodies or noise complaints.
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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:33 am Post subject:
|2 May 2016
I hurt myself today,
To see if I still feel,
I focus of the pain,
The only thing that's real...
It was almost noon when the pain of prickling thorns and a branch sticking him in the back finally rousted Will from his drunken slumber. The thick canopy of trees overhead spared him the sting of the sun's wrath; little shafts of yellow light still broke through in places, dancing around his impromptu (and uncomfortable) bed to light up the area around him. The pain of pricked skin made for a surprise in waking but as he winced and grunted his way through extricating himself from the entangling bush, his foggy mind only dimly registered the lack of a headache.
"You're still drunk," the paramedic snickered at himself when he realized the words were aloud and then promptly stumbled, nearly toppling back into the bush. "Whoops. F***. What a mess..."
He was half way through another fit of juvenile laughter when the drunken amusement sputtered out, seamlessly transitioning into a dry, tearless sob. The events of the night (and the previous week in its entirety) came to him in a Technicolor rush of images, sounds, and emotions. It felt him doubled over again, retching in nearly the same spot he had vomited the night previous before losing consciousness. Crispin. Nica. Harsh words. Hurt feelings. Collecting himself took some time, steadying himself a little longer, but when everything was bottled back up tight inside, Will was on the move. It was a long stumble back to home.
Only, he didn't want to go home. Instead he wandered, drunken and with a renewed anger at the world. By the time he finally stumbled through the door to his apartment, he had added a fresh collection of bruises and scrapes, a shallow cut above one brow (head wounds are messy), and the start of what would later be quite the unpleasant hangover. Some part of him had expected to find the Nephilim there waiting for him, angrier than concerned, but still ready to forgive him. Part of him didn't want to be forgiven. Disappointment made for a sad jab to the gut when she wasn't there, stealing the last of his energy and resolve. Sluggish steps propelled him towards his bed and Will was only vaguely aware of the messed up dress littering a bed that was made when he abandoned it the morning before.
She was here.
He scooped it up when he collapsed on the bed, drawing it in and tight against his chest where he curled up. She was here. Was. There was blood on the dress. And other things. A bloody dress and no Nicanora. A dress and no body. It meant she was alive.
But he was still alone.
And then sleep took him.
Sunrise found her still wandering, her path aimless in hopes of dropping any tails that might've attached themselves to her after her little run in with Beckett. With the sun came relief and for an hour beyond its rise she drifted, a mess of red and white, black and blue. Though she was quite capable, she didn't let the tip of her stele bring relief from the pain, the night's reminder doing well to keep her from thinking about all that had led up to it. The odd stares she received didn't faze her and truthfully she didn't blame them for staring at her disaster of a dress or the blood that had dried down her chin. Still, the girl at the coffee stand served her with a chipper smile despite her disconcerting appearance. The smile widened when Nica tipped her accordingly, taking two steaming to-go cups of black coffee with her back to Will's. She had arrived hoping to find the paramedic there. Instead, she found a neatly made bed and an otherwise empty apartment. One coffee was dumped, the other drank before it was within a comfortable drinking temperature. Her split lip screamed with protest but as soon as it was down, she stripped out of the ruined dress and climbed into the shower. Losing count somewhere around the twenty minute mark, she stood under the stream until it ran cold and clear instead of hot and pink.
"Well, Waldo, where's Will?" Nica asked the angelfish as she tapped brightly colored flakes into the water from an open slot on the top of the tank. As expected, Waldo offered no wisdom so the Nephilim sighed and shut the grate then climbed into the medic's bed alone. For all of her exhaustion, sleep didn't come easily and she awoke only three hours later. Still alone and no better rested than she had been. Her stomach protested its emptiness and her heart thumped an agreement of its own so she stole a threadbare Broncos shirt of Will's that had definitely seen better days and threw it on over a pair of athletic shorts that she typically reserved for running days, and took her leave. Better judgment kept her from retreating to the next closest thing she had to an ally, knowing Daniel wouldn't understand and likely wouldn't care about her plight. So she kept wandering. Her first stop had been to the Carnaval de la Vie to ride the Tilt-a-whirl until she threw up. Twice. Her second had been to replenish what she had lost. A plastic bag full of tacos was looped around her wrist and a blue penguin was stuffed under her arm as she made the climb to the top of the staircase that gave way to Will's apartment. When she reached the top, she hesitated at the door.
He would either be there or he wouldn't.
And she wasn't sure which she would prefer.
Her key turned in the door and disengaged the lock. Beyond the opened door there was no sign of the paramedic initially but once she pushed through the doorway and shut it behind her, his bed was more readily viewable and atop it, the passed out man clutching her ruined dress to his chest like a security blanket.
Needless to say, it was strangely endearing. It also gave her a chance to watch him without him realizing it. She wanted to be mad but this made it quite difficult to say the least. Nica cleared her throat.
"Wake up. You should eat."
"I don't wanna," he replied with a belated mumble, staring off to the right like some petulant child with a squint. "I'd rather be angry and caustic and an overgrown baby. And drunk. I'd much rather be drunk."
It was all a lie.
Will always came off as harmless to nearly everyone he met but never vulnerable. Here, like this, he was every bit vulnerable. The Nephilim had seen it before but with the comfort of her arms around him. What lay before her was someone who desperately wanted to withdraw into themselves and get lost. He smelled terrible. He looked like hell. He might have even been fighting.
"Then don't eat. I let coffee go to waste this morning, what's a bag of tacos." She affected a flat tone with the faintest bite of sarcastic vitriol. It was the only way she could keep herself from setting the bag aside and going to climb into bed with him. Hugs and kisses and soft murmurs would make it all better, if only for a little while. Raking her gaze over him, she was conflicted on whether to be smug or upset that he looked just as bad, if not more so than she did. She lingered on his hands, the beginning blossoms of what looked like bruises possibly drawing her curiosity and inching her right brow higher than the left. In turn, she looked no better with her bruised wrist and throat and the pale tint to what should have been the rich tan of her skin.
At least she smelled better.
"It sucks. It sucks really bad and it hurts like Hell, but you can't do this to yourself." The second time around she was a little more gentle. A little.
The soft grunt of pain was a sign that he had bitten his tongue to hold back whatever unflattering Willism he had loaded in the chamber that would have made things worse. It bought him time, moments he desperately needed to organize his thoughts and plunge through the continued haze of the alcohol still in his system. What was that stuff anyway?
Candid. Nicanora always got candid from him.
"I never mourned them, you know?" Will didn't look at her, instead choosing to continue to stare at the wall. "My guys. My team. My brothers. They died and I lived and I never... well, I never took the time to give them their due. I was too busy trying to figure things out here, survive here, and make a place for myself since there was no going back. I didn't let myself think about them... what they lost. What I lost. Crispin... I, well ***, I know we weren't close. We could've been. Bet we would've been. I think... maybe he saw something in me a lot of people here don't. He was still my friend, though. Even if only for a little while. Losing that, it makes me think of my brothers. And just... yeah. Whatever. It's stupid."
This was an oh honey moment if she had ever known one. It made her chest ache and her lashline burn. The hard swallow made the bruise around her throat bob as she set the bag of tacos aside. She kicked her shoes off, the sandals still the same ones she had worn the night before. The leather straps were flecked with dry blood that had turned a gross shade of brown compared to the still vibrant red splattered across the previously white dress on the bed. She climbed up onto the soft mattress and crawled over to him, sitting down beside him with such unceremonious grace that she bounced with the motion. No sooner had she settled did she tentatively slip an arm around his shoulders in hopes of drawing him over to her.
"It's not stupid. I didn't know, I'm sorry. I... it's so... easy to get detached but sometimes, I guess, you've gotta feel it before it can get better." Some part of her expected a dirty comment in reply, another part of her feared it would come. It would have been a true gauge of the moment. Nica sniffed back and rubbed the back of her wrist against her eye to extinguish the beginnings of what would have been an unpleasant deluge. "It'll be okay...eventually."
She got what she wanted easily enough and when she reached for him, Will was rolling into the warmth of her personal space. He was a dirty, stinking mess, but it didn't seem to matter. So instead of getting lost within himself, he got lost in her. No words, no sounds. He simmered in silence and just let it all boil away. For now. Never forever. Just for now. For now it could boil away.
"Yeah. Everything'll be okay. Just gotta get it out of my system, I guess."
Her arm looped around him, bruised wrist pivoting an up and down swipe of her hand. It was supposed to be comforting even if it was a little stiff. He hadn't even begun to crack a smart alec comment and that troubled her more than his words ever could. Seldom was it what was said but rather what wasn't said that made the difference. She gave him the silence but no space, leaning against him as a clammy offer of there-ness. Presence, sometimes it was all she could give.
"I'm not... really qualified, I guess, to give any sort of advice about feelings... I mean, we," it was a royal 'we', "aren't exactly known for our emotional depth but... I can give you this." Another sniff steadied her before she continued, her hand still rubbing along his arm. "I lost my mom when I was fourteen. It was... uh, well that's a story for another time, but it wasn't expected to say the least. I mean, no more than death is expected for us usually. But... I lost a part of my father when that happened. He shut me out and I was left to try and figure out how I was supposed to process this. I didn't, um, I didn't do so well with it. I brought other people down with me like some... f***ing glorious train wreck. Somewhere along the way someone reminded me that I wasn't alone though. That I had people that wanted to be there for me. To drag me, kicking and screaming through my Hell until I made it through."
The deep breath made her pounding heart hurt, rattling its cage with renewed vigor. One more sniff put the kibosh on the ever looming threat of tears once more. "What I'm trying to say is that you aren't alone in this. I... I'll drag your sweet ass through your Hell and high water if you need it. If you'll let me..."
A beat. Then two and three. "Once you take a shower though. You smell like the dumpsters behind Juana Burrito."
"You turned out okay," he reassured her through the stolen shirt, somewhere against her rib cage. The paramedic was stirring, first with a grunt and then a low groan as he forced himself out of the heap he'd made half in her lap and rose up onto one knee. A small smile ruined all of his previous attempts at dragging his way through the hurt, the real emotional stuff, and a dirty hand combed fingers through her hair along one side of her pretty head. "Obviously you're doing something right if you've got a big dicked hunk of my caliber stumbling all over himself to be around you, key to the apartment and all. I mean, I'm in it really for the Most Amazing Ass In Rhy'din, but I think I'd still want you if it wasn't. Maybe."
"Nicanora?" He always used her full name, like it was his and his alone to say. Will had climbed off of the bed and stood between her and the bathroom. "I'm, uh, gonna go get cleaned up. You can come joins me if you want and then we can totally do the mind blowing make-up sex thing since I totally missed out on defiling you in some forest tent or against a tree. There's a bottle of that really nice fancy shampoo you like in the drawer of my nightstand. You can grab it and meet me in there before I Meat You 'In There'."
With another quick smile, he was disappearing into the bathroom. The shower started up almost immediately.
It was nice that someone thought so even if she didn't. She could have argued, picked herself apart in front of him and explained just how wrong he was. But she swallowed it down and fixed him with a wan smile instead. It cracked further when he fell into something more befitting Will, her Will that is. "You're a sucker for a headcase, what can ya do?"
For all the weight of his words, he sounded unsure of himself, like what he was offering was something she wouldn't take. Swinging one leg over the side of the bed, she kept the other curled beneath her and didn't get to her feet just yet. "I hear the tents were in high demand, no vacancy. Maybe you can make it up to me this summer, hmm? Go get yourself cleaned up before I have to groan at your terrible puns."
Shooing him off, she watched him until he made it through the bathroom door. Curls of steam were already wriggling out from beneath the door when she leaned over to tug open the nightstand's drawer. Secondhand and well used, the wood groaned beneath the pressure of her pull but it gave eventually. She braced it with scarred knuckles, expecting the shift of weight inside to be more substantial than it was. When nothing moved save for a tinny tink of metal on metal, she craned her neck to peer down into the drawer's depths. Contained on a silver ball chain, two black metal tags had been discarded in the bottom of the drawer with nothing else to keep them company.
Definitely no shampoo, that was for sure.
Nica scooped them out for closer examination and glanced toward the bathroom. The debossed print on the black metal tags was easy to read despite their wear, not as though she was unfamiliar with what they were or what they meant.
Condensed to five lines as deemed by his government.
At the core of his being.
Who he was before Rhydin.
Her hand closed around the tags to leave only the chain to dangle. It swayed when she rose to pad barefoot into the bathroom. Without letting them go, she peeled the Broncos shirt off and wriggled out of her shorts and underthings. Climbing into the shower with him, she stayed out of the spray of water that ran dirty at his feet and down the drain.
"Um." She lifted her clenched hand and swallowed, sorting out her words. "Esto no es champú. But, um, I might steal 'em anyways..."
Standing beneath the heavy fall of water from the showerhead, Will watched her in silence as it cascaded down and over his face, washing away all of the dirt and grime. When Nicanora's hand lifted and she showed off the prize she had found, his mouth quirked again in a smile. It came easier to him this time. "Yeah, sure doesn't look like shampoo. But I think they'll look good on you. They're even black."
They traded pieces of themselves in moments of rarely seen vulnerability. His for hers, hers for his. She released her hold on the tags but a looping of her pinky finger through the ball chain kept them from falling to the shower floor. They caught and dangled, swaying like a pendulum after the sudden stop of their fall. Bringing it up, she pulled the chain on over her head and let the metal tags fall flat against her sternum. Much like her Marks, the black stood out against the tan as if it belonged there. Chin down so she could look down at them, she lifted her eyes to meet him.
"I'm not looking at my own rack, I swear." Her mouth sought the corner of his for something soft and tentative, fleeting and ephemeral before the separation. "I'm sorry."
"I do enough looking at your rack for the both of us." Will snorted and then reached out with a hand. "I'm clean now but I wanna get dirty again. Come over here and let me f*** you stupid, then we'll eat tacos and be all feelsy and stuff. Angry make-up sex, Fanny. STAT."
Joined: 03 Apr 2015
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2284.16 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Fri May 13, 2016 12:31 am Post subject:
|A call unanswered, a text ignored. It wouldn't typically be worrisome, Nicanora was hardly the best at responding to any sort of communication in a timely manner. But today. This day, it was different. Even from a realm away it had Niamh worried. Enough so that when she went an hour without hearing back, she cleaned the grease from her hands and stepped away to send another. Not to Nica though.
Text to Loverboy Will: seen nic 2day? not answering txts/calls.
Text to Loverboy Will: its christophers bday
Text to Loverboy Will: check on her 4 me?
Text to Loverboy Will: owe u 1
A world away, Nica was oblivious to the exchange, still submerged in her empty bathtub with a bottle of whiskey. It had been unopened when she liberated it from it from the cabinet but already the sloshing level of amber liquid was fast dwindling in favor of clear glass wrapped with white knuckled hands. Her stomach had tied itself in a knot and made every swallow a hard one. Somewhere, beyond a fourth wall, It's my party and I'll cry if I want to played on endless loop. Though her eyes were wet, she hadn't let the tears fall. It was a close call though. Every buzz of her phone in the other room was a straw added to her unbreakable back that made her slide further and further down in the tub until she had no choice but to drape her legs over the rim.
The world didn't exist, the world didn't exist, the world didn't exist.
Maybe if she repeated it enough it would come true.
Will called it Wednesday.
Very few days on the calendar had significance for him since he had settled in Rhy'din. With spring in full effect, it seemed the realm had (briefly) traded insanity for something a little more sedate and his shift had been reduced to little more than a few stabbings, one carriage accident (Note To Self: Do NOT f*ck with feuding Amish families in the marketplace), and treating a fat woman for friction burns after she spent two hours stuck inside an industrial oven when trying to gauge its size at one of Rhy'din's less prestigious big box stores (Have you ever looked at People Of Wal-Mart?!). Texting (okay, sexting) back and forth with the sultry Spanish Nephilim was often a habit between trouble calls but she had been strangely silent all day. Three texts and a call went unanswered, enough to dampen spirits that had slowly been on the rise since news of Crispin's death had been given, and make him antsy about his shift's end.
Ronnie was just pulling their ambulance into the station house when his phone began to boisterously crow an Oi! Oi! OI! at him.
Hmmm. Not Nicanora. Niamh. This couldn't be good...
He glanced down at the screen and scrolled through the texts, his frown deepening. It wasn't physical danger, but I kind that concerned him even more when it came to his badass bisexual angelic warrior lover food truck goddess.
"Sh*t," Will mumbled, drawing a curious look from Ronnie. A brief explanation earned him a good fatherly shooing, before Will was grabbing his gear and calling it an evening. The shower could wait and he had clean clothes in his bag, his only stop along the way being for an exchange of goods at a certain favored food truck before he was making for her new pad.
With her not responding to her phone, Will simply knocked.
There was knocking. Nica groaned and pulled one bare foot into the tub to push against the wall enough to slide into a halfway seated position. Her mouth sought the bottle for another swig, saturating her tongue once more with the smokey liquid. Turning her chin toward the bathroom door, she tuned a keen ear on the apartment's front door. It was likely Daniel, there to convince her that everything was fine and that she could get through this.
Everything was not fine.
She could not get through this.
The knocking didn't stop, not right away at least. Though it required lifting her hoarse voice up enough to be heard through two heavy doors, she shouted. "Go away Daniel. For the Angel's f*cking sake."
"E'scuse me, Meesus Nicanono? Eez hoss-keeping." The paramedic had affected his best timid latin lady impression, willing his voice up a few octaves in an effort to get the authenticity down. "You want me scrub poo-poo bowl? You want me turn down bed? Want me oil down sweet Spanish culo?"
Bloodshot eyes narrowed on the bathroom door, as if maybe if she squinted hard enough she could see through it. She couldn't. Growling like the bear she was being, she capped the bottle, set it down in the tub and began the arduous task of climbing out of the deep basin. It was a less than graceful mess of long limbs and awkward positioning and somewhere through the cloud of liquor she was glad no one was there to see it. See, foresight. It took her three tries to get the bathroom door unlocked and open and midway through the living room, she tripped on her shoes. Only thanks to the Angel's gifts did she not end up on her face just short of the front door. That said, the sudden stop at the door came with a hard slam of shoulder against reinforced oak. Sluggish fingers fumbled with the pair of locks shutting her away from the world, leaving only a chain lock in place. Nica pulled the door open until it jerked to a stop at the end of the chain's length.
"You sound like an illegal Mexican immigrant. That accent is horrific." Judgmental Nephilim was judgmental. Drunk. But judgmental.
"Excuse me, Miss? Miiiiiiiiss. I'm looking for my girlfriend. Smokin' hot Spanish number. Tall, long legs, ass like whoa. Fights like Bruce Lee, sucks dick like Pamela Lee? Have you seen her?" Maybe he had made more than one stop on his way to her. A single bright and brilliant red rose poked in through the shallow space between the door and the frame, dancing back and forth where it was held by the step. "I have a kiss I've been holding onto for her. Along with a sixer of Badsider, a bag full of delicious sh*t from Grillenium Falcon, and a handful of really well choreographed martial arts movies. Ohhh, and her favorite sausage. Willwurst. Think you can point me in her direction?"
"Who the f*ck is Pamela Lee?" At the very least she knew who Bruce Lee was. She could thank Christopher for that. The dull ache in her chest crested into a sharp stab that stole her breath for a beat. Through the narrow gap between the door and jam she squinted at the man on the other side, leaning back from the waggling flower. She shut the door hard enough that the door bit right through the rose's stem, making it droop at a sad angle as she wriggled the chain lock free. When she reopened it, the flower tumbled to the floor, its broken stem section doing much the same in the hallway at Will's feet. Nica didn't stoop to pick it up or even linger to let him enter, she simply left the unlocked door open and turned on her heel, retreating back to the bathroom away from the one beacon of hope that might draw her from her wallowing.
"Never seen her." She said over her shoulder as she crossed the threshold from living room to bathroom, leaving that door open also. One long leg lifted over the tub's edge again and then the other. Just like that she was dropping down to sit in it again like a petulant child mid-fit.
"No?" Will didn't bat an eyelash for the rose's demise. It wasn't her favorite flower anyway, but it was the best the cheap convenience store had on a Wednesday evening when respectable florists were already closed. "My girl? Psssh. Well, let me tell you, I hate to see her go but I love to watch her leave. I've never seen a booty clap like that."
He stepped in and shut the door behind him with the kick of a boot, lapis blue eyes following her retreat back to the bathroom. When he finally followed her, it was after ditching the bags and shrugging out of his jacket, casual strikes tracing the bath she took to step through the doorway. Sandy brown brows lifted for her choice of seats but he didn't hesitate to join her, shifting shoulders moving her to the side and forcing her to make space for him.
And then? Blessed silence.
"No," she said tersely. On most days, the paramedic's sense of humor was more than enough to beat her worst moods into submission. This was not most days. As she settled in the tub again, she scooped up the bottle and brought it close in a possessive cradling close to her chest. Thudding boots got louder with each step, his path reverberating against empty floors and walls both until he too crossed the bathroom's threshold. From wood to linoleum his steps dulled. She didn't look up. A twist of wrist liberated the bottle's cap from its mouth and she kissed it with all of the need of a woman in a desert. No protest came when he joined her save for a grunt and a grumble at the tight fit of two tall bodies in a tub not meant for such. But once he got settled, she twisted against him and curled into his side, burying her face against his side. After a sniff she shifted instead to mush her face against the edge of his pectoral muscle instead.
"Drink?" She mumbled, holding the bottle up in his general direction.
Instinctively, he slipped an arm around her, the movement drawing her closer and then half across her body until she was firmly captured in a possessive embrace. His own face disappeared into the mess of her hair, where he kissed the crown of her head and breathed slow and even breaths. Will, surprisingly, has nothing else to say and declined her offer with little more than a shake of his head. No more words. Just presence.
He wouldn't drink so she did, doubling down with a healthy swig from the corner of her mouth. Just beneath her right collarbone, the peek of a fresh rune stood out against tanned skin, red instead of the typical black. Beneath it, the long faded parabatai Mark could barely be made out. She grazed it with a thumb and sniffed hard again. "I miss him. So f*cking bad, Will. Some days I think I'm going to be okay and then I remember he's never coming back and I think a stiff breeze will break me all over again."
The paramedic only hugged her tighter.
"I could say I understand losing someone close to you, but I can't imagine even trying to do the injustice of trying to compare it to your loss, babe." He kissed her hair again. "I can't tell you not to grieve. Not to hurt. And I won't sell you some *** story about him smiling down on you from Heaven. I wish I had been able to know him. Anyone you can hold that special in your heart, I'd... well, I'd like to thank him for being there. And, uh, learn what his secret is. Guy's my hero. Here's what I'm sure I do know. He wouldn't want you to fall apart. He'd want you to mourn, sure. That's natural. That's love. But I also bet he'd want you to remember better times with him, live life, and continue the fight. Plus other inspirational blah-blah-blah stuff too."
"He's only three-ish months older than me." Three months and eight days to be exact. Christopher reminded her of that fact often. Had. Was. Past tense. The next swallow of whiskey was particularly bitter. "Was three-ish months older... now he's dead. Our dads are parabatai, you know? They raised us together as much as they could. I spent more time with him than with either of my parents, I think. He was my hero too... but he wasn't supposed to die first. That... that wasn't the plan. Just not how it was supposed to go."
Nica swiped the back of her hand across her nose and took another drink. The bathroom had doubled itself, hazy echoes of itself dancing in her vision. The knot in her stomach had dissolved under the weight of whiskey and sent into tumult instead. "You would have liked him... ... ... he would have liked you too."
"If only life were a Saturday morning cartoon," he mumbled, trying to maintain his smile and only partially succeeding. Fingers tried to soothe her with light strokes along her side and at the back of her neck. "Or like some simpering Young Adult Fiction novel. I heard Cassandra Clare is popular. Let's go live one of her books."
Will drew in a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. "I already like him. He helped make you the woman you are and I happen to be super freaking impressed with her. And not just her ass."
Had it been The Office, she would have looked right at the camera with the most deadpanned look possible. But it wasn't, so she didn't. She simply lifted her chin to eye him. What sort of Saturday morning cartoons was he watching, death and all? The bottle came up for another drink but she paused, caught staring too intently to take the swig. "I literally have no idea what the f*ck you're saying right now."
"But. It doesn't matter. He's gone so it doesn't matter that he was the careful one. Because when we are what we are, it doesn't F*CKING matter that he was the one that was supposed to hold me together when I want to fall apart. Which is often, in case you haven't noticed. It just doesn't matter. At all. Because we're Shadowhunters and we die. It's what we're made for. Christopher died. Crispin died. We all die and it's so f*cking stupid, by the Angel, I need some Ugg boots because I can't even right now, Will. I just can't."
The dam broke as her voice did.
She meant it when she said she couldn't. It was a wellspring of hot, burning salt. Not that kind either. Worse. Gross, ugly Kardashian sobs that racked her shoulders and spread the remnants of her eyeliner down pretty cheeks to paint her like Pollock's answer to Romanesque Gothic art of the 12th century. A beautiful mess all in all. Undignified, unabashed, unrepentant. She would hate herself in the morning.
That was about the time that the paramedic hauled the Nephilim into his lap, fugly sobs and all. There was no words to comfort her, no balm to soothe the pain of her loss. So Will merely held her. He rocked her. He buried his face into the side of hers and let his even breathing temper her emotions, if it was even possible.
"I'm not him," he told her softly, eventually. "But I'm here. You don't have to even. You can even later, after I get you a pumpkin spice latte. Until then, I'm here, Nicanora."
All long limbs and soft white fabric as she was, she crumbled against him under the weight of mourning long tucked away. She could have saved it for a rainy day, to take it out little by little so it didn't hurt so bad but never did it assuage the ache. There was a part of her very being missing and in Christopher's absence, that hole was left to atrophy and the pain to fester until the pressure of it gave her no option but to burst.
"I can't," she mumbled, her tongue thick with the slur of sadness and whiskey. Also known as a typical patron's night at the Inn. The back and forth shake of her head came with the heady smell of honey, freesia, and cigarette smoke, the latter likely contributing to the rough gravel tones in her voice. "I can't, I can't, I can't. He promised. I promised. They never told us it would hurt so f*cking bad. Why would you let kids make that kind of commitment to each other."
Nica wanted to regret it, to forsake the wound that lay open and bare to the world, but she couldn't. No matter how much she might question it, she just couldn't.
"Shhh." The sound was soft against her hair as he rocked her, clinging to her tightly as she rode the tumultuous waves of her pain. Will didn't like being helpless but the situation left him with little choice but to feel that away, as he was unable to do anything at all to offer her proper comfort. "I know, babe. I know... Shhhh."
The floodgates were open and every ugly, raw emotion was laid bare to see. Everything that she so tightly concealed and refused to feel like some sort of black leather wearing Disney ice queen was all left to bump and grind against all of her exposed edges. There didn't seem to be a single nerve untouched but each harsh sob seemed to help take the edge off little by little. Five. Ten. Nearly fifteen minutes of it slowly liberated her from the built up grief of five months, eleven days, nineteen hours, thirty-six minutes, and eight-nine-ten-eleven seconds.
When the worst of it passed, she was left a sniveling mess of tangled chestnut, blotchy cheeks, and whiskey warmed limbs in the lap of a man who likely couldn't have anticipated such a reaction to his arrival that evening. Nica swallowed another rattling breath that made her ribs ache, her chin lowered and her eyes on the open bottle in her right hand, the edge of an A-embossed family ring peeking up at her in silent reassurance. "It's supposed to get easier. With time, you know. But it only cuts that much deeper when I do think about it. Like I think I'm on the way to healing, enjoying life, living again, when a song, a smell, a passing face in a crowd just rips the band aid off again. It doesn't get easier."
"It never gets easier." Will response was soft murmur, whispered against her ear as if he feared anyone but her might hear it. A soft kiss sought out and touched down on the skin just beneath the delicate lobe, tender affection delivered through all of the painful confession. "It never hurts less. It never goes away. We just learned to deal with the pain. We accept it and make it part of us. Assimilate it. We give it its due and honor it, but we don't forget it. Sometimes, eventually, we maybe take it out on a rainy day and remember it a little better or a little worse than usual, but on the shelf or in our hands, it's still there. You can do this."
"I can," she agreed though the broken tone likely contradicted her words. "I can and I will but only because I have to. Because I have to do everything I can to make sure that when my time comes, they put me beside him. 'Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.' I made a promise and the only way I can hold up my end of the bargain is to stuff all of this back in its own little box and keep it there."
She tucked her face against him, breathing in the scent of a long shift on the paramedic. Nica sighed and pulled back only as far as was needed to speak without it be a muffled mess of lips on fabric. "You brought food and I should probably get out of the tub."
She couldn't see the purse of his lips, nor the pain rising in his expression when she spoke, but when she finally seemed to come around he was painting a better face on. A strong face. A happier face. Nicanora mentioned getting up and he was rising with the words to help her do so. "We'll get you fed. Then we'll take a long hot shower. Then we'll do whatever. Whatever you need, we'll do."
Joined: 09 Dec 2015
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Jobs: Sword for Hire, Tutor
Can Be Found: Avoiding all the things
10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 12:17 pm Post subject:
|24 May 2016
"I'm still not really sure what Mundanes' fascination is with Sweet Caroline at sporting events," Nica quietly remarked as the eighth inning wrapped. Only three strikes earlier, the park's tinny speakers had been blaring Neil Diamond and the entire crowd had sang along as was tradition at every Red Sox home game midway through the eighth inning. Except Nica. She mostly looked incredibly out of her element despite the crisp Colorado Rockies ballcap on her head, through which a rather sporty ponytail had been drawn through the back. The grey material of the matching jersey had long since slid down her right arm to expose a shoulder seemingly free of runes. Thanks glamour, now she could pretend she was just another normal human being going to a normal baseball game with her normal guyfriend-hookup-steadypartner-maybeboyfriend on his normal birthday. The back of the jersey was emblazoned with some name she didn't recognize but had been assured was one of the more popular players on what was otherwise a rather mediocre team. All in all, she made the bandwagon thing look damn good. Denim, low slung on her hips and trendily distressed through the thighs and calves, led to mid-calf boots laden with more metal than most security teams would be comfortable with, all artfully stowed away still within reach but not within view. But hey, glamour. Shadowhunter's best friend.
It had been a day to say the least, starting off with a late morning departure from Rhydin by way of Portal to Boston. There, Nica had met with a friend of Niamh's to make sure they had a way back when the day was said and done, but after that it was a day of food, jokes, stealthy public sex acts, and finally; baseball. Nica didn't understand baseball, not in the least. But she understood Will and his affinity for Mundane sports and so the day culminated with a Colorado Rockies game (his fave, right?) at the legendary Fenway Park. Niamh had insisted they get seats on the Green Monster, which was green but other than being tall, wasn't much of a monster by Nic's standards. Nica had complied just the same, intent on making the experience as memorable for Will as she could. Plus there had been cotton candy which certainly made the game far more tolerable even if it left her lips and tongue an artificial shade of blue. "And they keep throwing their arms up in the air at just the right time to make the whole crowd look like it's rippling. Talk about hive mind, how is that even a thing?"
"Everyone has their traditions," Will told her benignly, the amusement dancing in lapis blue eyes and making war upon an eager enjoyment of the game. Nevermind that the Rocks were losing. It didn't matter. The Nephilim had gifted him something he hadn't thought possible. It was a taste of home. Nicanora was given a nudge that might have been reproach before he slipped his arm around her slender waist. "Crazy, silly, or otherwise. Makes them feel like they're part of something. And the song isn't that bad."
A kiss touched down on her neck, smothered over a bruise already forming from an earlier escapade in an out of the way place. It certainly brought new meaning to the 7th Inning Stretch.
The paramedic had displayed all the shock of a child surprised with a last minute trip to Disney World. Between fervent kisses and his thanks, he looked at their surroundings with wide eyes and the excitement of a man who never thought he'd see Earth again outside of the occasional trickle of news and vids. Boston was a familiar city. He'd been there three times in his adult life and knew which sites to drag her too, most of them historical and having to do with armed conflict, save for a few bars and one delicious restaurant. And then there was the game... She might have missed it, the subtle looks he ticked her way between cheers, jeers, and the hoot of encouragement to his beloved Colorado. It was a thoughtful and priceless gift, something that spoke volumes about what he might mean to her. What she meant to him.
In true fashion, they didn't speak on it.
"It's called the Wave, Nicanora." Will laughed and tugged on her. "Another silly, stupid tradition. But it's got its own charm. You sure you don't wanna try again?"
"It's pretty terrible. Sweeeet Ca-ro-liiiiine bum-bump-bahhhh and some blah-de-blah-de-blah-blahhhhhh." In her mind it was a pretty spot on rendition of the song, complete with hip bumping sway into his grasp. Her teasing gave way to a grin, a broad spread of a neutral toned gloss wide around pearly whites. He knew all the right places to kiss her to remind her in public of their more private moments. It was one of the many things she loved about him.
Love. What an odd thing.
Never did it quite fit neatly into the boxes that for so long had made up her life. It was messy and difficult to understand. And it led to things like arranging a Portal back to Earth (against Daniel's advisement of course) and buying tickets to see his favorite team at one of the more prominent parks in the country, all for a sport that she knew nothing about and cared little for.
Love. What an odd thing, right?
"Ummmm, I think I'll pass on the synchronized flailing. But you go right ahead. You're kind of cute when you do it." Even as they went back and forth, the game progressed. It wasn't looking good for the Rockies. Truthfully it hadn't looked good since Jackie Bradley Jr smacked a double off the Green Monster some time in the second inning. Carlos Gonzales cut a ground out to the pitcher and left the Rockies with two outs at the top of the ninth. Down five runs (Nica could do math well enough), unless the next batter made some magic, the game would be over soon. Very soon. "After this, you wanna go for a drink? Otherwise I can catch us a... uh... ride back."
Will grimaced one last time at the scoreboard, threw out one last cheer for the rest of the masses. It was only then that he finally chose to give up the ghost on the Rockies' chances and turned to the Spanish beauty who had been tucked against his side for the last few minutes. His own baseball cap was turned backwards, making it easy to tilt his head to one side and dip in to capture her mouth with his in a long, deep kiss. He wasn't even away the pair of them were on the Kiss Cam when he did it, but he was possessive in the way he wound his arms around her waist and clung to her.
"We can do whatever you want," he murmured against her lips when the kiss finally ended. "Pretty sure this day can't get any better than you made it, so I'm willing to bow to the lady's desires in this matter. I'll go anywhere you want tonight, Nicanora."
A lift of her chin and a bump of the underside of her bill against the top of his head had it pushing upwards and out of the way as he came in to kiss her. Wholly oblivious to the Kiss Cam or that such a thing existed, she hadn't the slightest clue that anyone might be watching the toe curling tangle of tongues and arms, complete with less than stealthy grope of a seemingly unmarked left on his crotch. She was smiling against his mouth when the kiss broke and his quiet words reached her ears. Drawing back, she glanced up at the video screen to see how close they were to the ending, only to catch the replay of the salacious smooch. So sweet, it made her heart swell to the point she thought it may burst. Instead, Nica coughed and nudged him, tipping her head toward the screen.
"We had an audience." That grin, it was completely shameless. "But, um, I've got a room held at the Verb. Nee says they've got a pretty cool Japanese bar off the lobby. Sake bombs and a nightcap? We can go back in the morning"
One, two, three.
"Or the afternoon."
Upon seeing the screen, he coughed up a laugh immediately, rubbing a hand at the back of his neck before he swept a look back her way. Of course, he grinned. And then he kissed her again.
"Mmm." It was the only sound between them for a short spell, something like approval for her suggestion. When she was finally allowed to breathe again, Will slipped an arm back around her waist and began tugging her along the aisle towards the steps, talking as they went. "I like your plan. Grab some sushi and some sake, then... well, I hope that Stamina rune of yours is all fired up. I have a lot of gratitude to get out of my system."
Never would she turn down a chance to kiss him, Kiss Cam or not. When it was all said and done, she lingered with a hip against his until he began pulling her toward the steps. Weaseling two fingers through one of his belt loops, she made sure that they wouldn't get separated, sticking close as they navigated the departing crowd. It would have been so simple to etch on a Mark and disappear in the masses, slipping through effortlessly on her way out. But alas, Will was no Shadowhunter and despite the fact he was most certainly not a Mundane by most standards, she still couldn't Mark him and pull him along with her.
She wouldn't admit it, but she was kind of okay with pretending to be normal.
"Supposedly they've got some of the best maki rolls in Boston. And," she nipped at his neck even as they walked, hanging there to keep her words close to his ear, "you can also be grateful that I can double up on them too. If anything, you better hope that you're up for the task."
Lucky for him it was only a seven minute walk to the hotel from the park.
They weaved through the other patrons quickly, with Will going as far as twirling the beautiful Nephilim a few times in a dance, before pushing her out through the exit with a generous application of his hands to her ample posterior. Push, push, push. It wasn't long after that they were ambling through the streets of Boston again, her back beneath the comforting drape of his arm, the words to Sweet Caroline rising from the paramedic for only a few moments before he was silenced with an elbow to the ribs and another kiss. He had grinned for all of her seeming concern for his inability to perform, both of them knowing better, but when the hotel's lights finally came into sight, he was leaning to whisper into her ear. The tone was a sensual tease, the words were something more.
"Best. Girlfriend. Ever."
Set to the soundtrack offered by the paramedic, they made the march from Fenway to the Verb, the crowds dwindling the further they got from the field. It made their laughing louder, clearer in the late May evening and no longer drowned out by the general din of over thirty-seven thousand people in a small area. It was reminiscent of nights in Rhydin, giggling their way from the food truck of the night to whatever dwelling they were making their own for the evening. For all of the jest between them, she sobered slightly with the tickle of three heavy words against the shell of her ear. Nica's teeth pinned her bottom lip then raked over it until it paled, her chin angling to afford her a better view of his face in the long shadows cut by moonlight and fluorescence.
"That so, huh?"
It had thrown her off, just slightly, the title never discussed but dropped twice now that she could remember. Sure, two black metal tags captured on a ball chain hung around her neck to say that she meant more than the average lay to the paramedic but titles. That was... well, she wasn't sure. Even in the dark, the red in her cheeks was easily seen, cresting above the curve of a small, private smile as they made the final leg of the journey to the hotel. "Still want those drinks or would you rather go up?"
"That's so." It was a simple confirmation.
His hand lifted to tease fingers along the the reddened flesh of one cheek, the pad of his thumb dragging in a gentle caress over her lips. The laughter that was usually in his eyes faded in the tender moment, something serious and unspoken passing between them when their gazes met. "Let's take some drinks up to our room. Unless there's music. Then I wanna dance with you. Think you can manage?"
At the door, he reached over her shoulder and caught it, pushing it open and holding it for her.
Seldom did they do soft or tender. No, they were loud and boisterous, unabashed in their wanton desire for one another. Soft was the last thing they were. The moments that came were glimpses, snapshots of something she wasn't sure she could face but something that she might want to try facing. Maybe. Nica bumped her butt back against him as he caught the door, offering him a playful smile turned over a shoulder as she slid over the polished threshold. It was a trendy vintage boutique sort of hotel and despite it's innate "froo-froo-ness" (Niamh's words, not Nica's), Nica quite liked it within moments.
"There's music wherever you go, hermoso, and I'll always dance to it with you." Grazing the back of her hand against his, she left him with that, drawing away from him in favor of the front desk. There they got a mostly fake name but a wholly real card to back the bill and that was that. With a pair of keycards in hand, she returned to the paramedic much like she always did. "Okay, where were we?"
The bump of her butt was worth a quick, sharp slap. It wasn't a gesture she was unfamiliar with and it was delivered with a wide, leering smile. He lingered inside the doorway, watching her while money exchanged hands and procured them lodging for the night. His gaze ticked back up to her face when she made the return trip, his hands reaching out to catch her by the front hem of her jersey and tug.
"Room. Dancing. I'm probably gonna say a few more sickeningly sweet things before peeling you out of those clothes."
It wouldn't be enough to leave a handprint but the night was young and she was certain that could change before the evening was over. Her return heralded a waggle of keycards as he drew her in, his grasp popping the bottom most button on the grey and purple jersey to expose a swatch of tanned midsection. Nothing he had never seen before but still a promise of things to come. She grazed her mouth along the edge of his, grinning too much to kiss him.
"I'm not opposed to tearing them off either." Promises, promises. She took him by the hand and rather than lead him to Hojoko, they were instead on the way to the elevator. Room service could bring them drinks later. If security didn't get there for noise complaints first...
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10144.52 Silver Crowns
|Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:17 am Post subject:
|23 June 2016
June in Rhydin had her pining for home. Unlike winter in the weird city, summer's heat was just what she was used to. Miami and Madrid were both well beyond hot by this time of year and as luck would have it, Nica (and Will) were going to experience both within the coming weeks. It had taken everything to keep her focused on training but Daniel didn't seem to mind too much considering how far along Lidia was getting. While she wasn't due until early September by their best estimate, they didn't want to wait too long to make the trip back home. Needless to say, the whole trip was cause for quite a bit of disruption to everyone's routine.
Nica was doing her best to not think about everything that could go wrong with such a trip. The list was rather long, even more so if or when the Clave caught wind of their return.
Still. She wasn't going to think about it. Not when Will was so excited about it. His excitement was infectious even and so for another night, the subject of conversation drifted back to preparations. The paramedic's apartment was a better refuge than her own and it was there that she sprawled across his couch on her stomach, her chin propped on her arms. "Niamh said she can meet us on the Miami side of the Portal, make sure everything's good from there. But um, I haven't sorted out exactly how we're getting to Spain from there..."
Will had long ago learned to be an adaptable man. With close to ten years of military service under his belt before the circumstances that brought him to Rhy'din, he was used to being anywhere and finding some way to enjoy it. It would have been why he liked the Realm so much. It was a little bit of anywhere, everywhere, and nowhere. But the pull of Earth was still there. Maybe not his Earth, but it was Earth. Home. The birthday present from Nicanora was a reminder of that. Despite her apprehension over the impending trip, it meant another long lost taste of the familiar for him, and in good company.
Nicanora could worry about what would occur in Spain. She was the worrier, masks be damned. Will was her optimist. He had enough for them both.
"She taking us to rent the car? I was thinking a convertible Mustang or Camaro. Could cruise the strip and check things out. Go grab some Cuban or Dominican food. Have sex under a beach umbrella." Tonight the Fundane was very mundane, watching her from an adjacent chair while he folded his recently done laundry and piled it up neatly. Hey, it wasn't going to do itself. He glanced over at her on the regular, for the subject matter just as much as the ample backside pointed up so prettily. "She still owes me a drink, you know..."
"You've really never been to Miami, have you?" She snickered, sitting up a little more to prop her cheek on a lifted hand. It lent a pleasant slope to her spine and the thin navy blue cotton t-shirt laying over it. The thought of cruising the strip for fun was almost enough to make her cringe but he seemed excited by the notion so she rolled with it and humored him a half-crook of a smile. "She can do that. Whatever we need and whatever a Mustang or Camaro might be, I'm figuring a car," because context clues, "and anything else. Daniel and Lidia are going to stay there so it'll just be us when we go to Spain."
She had a thought and twisted slightly to pin him with an intent look. "Wait. Do you even have a passport?"
"Nope. Just the dive training in Panama City. Only time I've ever been to Florida. No Disney World, no nothing." He spread his hands and shrugged, not very concerned about it despite his excitement for the trip. A freshly folded pair of jeans was tossed onto the pile before he sat back to pin her with a lingering look. She was nice to look at. "Good. Don't know how interested I am in spending hours upon hours alone with that guy in a plane. But still... wait, sh*t..."
He hadn't considered the necessity of a passport until then.
"Uh... I used to have one. It was wherever my personal belongings were stowed after I was probably declared..." The paramedic didn't finish the sentence, letting it trail off into nothing with the minor wave of a hand. He reached for his beer a moment later and filled the silence with a long sip.
"I've never really had a desire to go to Disney World really. Is that weird? I don't mind their movies, but something about thousands of mundies and their hot, tired, cranky hellions just doesn't sound like fun, you know? Now Panama City I have been to. That's up in the Tallahassee Institute's territory but we ran a consult up that way and hit Panama City during what is it called... when the college kids flock to coastal places to go and party and drink excessively during Spring? That. Anyways. Good times." Nica realized she was rambling and snapped her mouth shut, red suffusing the tan of her cheeks. Her chuckle was entirely self-deprecating but the subject moved on and so did she. "He's much more pleasant when Dia is around, believe it or not. She's good at making him a softy, it's kinda funny."
Will faltered. Nica faltered. Sh*t indeed.
"It's okay, it's okay!" She said quickly, pushing herself up into a sitting position on the end of the couch closest to him. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure Niamh can either help us out or if push comes to shove, there are plenty of 'locks in Miami that'll take the quick cash to get us a Portal to Madrid."
"Spring Break," he offered her with a chuckle, ignoring the but about the 'mundies' and their children. "I was never stateside when it was going on and all of my college education was done via the internet. Most of it was, anyway. Going to Mardi Gras someday might be cool. I'm sure it's on my bucket list or something."
For a moment things got awkward, but it didn't seem to last long, and Nicanora's suggestions had him bobbing his head in acknowledgement between sips from his bottle before he eventually responded. "Or we can find someone here who can just fake the passport. Not sure which would be cheaper, a good forger or the Warlocks. Either way, we'll make it work. Hang a little in South Beach and then kick it out to Spain to chase some bulls and get gored by your father."
"That." She snapped a point at him. "Miami's a big place for that and my condo... well, my old condo was a stone's throw from one of the big schools there. College looks like it could be fun. Unless you do it on the internet, I suppose. That sounds incredibly boring actually..."
Catching herself, she cleared her throat and cut him a sheepish smile.
"But a good education, regardless of how you get it, isn't anything to scoff at. I've actually never been to Mardi Gras. Always wanted to but, um, New Orleans isn't a very good place for... my kind... right now, I'm told." Smoothing her hands over her thighs, bare from the hemline of dark wash frayed cutoffs down, she leaned to snag his beer for a short sip of her own before passing it back to him. "I've never had to fake a passport but a Portal from a reputable 'lock can run a couple hundred. Not too bad for good work. It's way faster than fly--"
Nica nearly choked on her laughter. "Dios f*cking mio, Will. I think an actual bull might be more pleasant."
"I know, I know," he flipped a hand at her. "Boring old Will is boring. Mundane in the streets, Fundane in the sheets. Just remember that."
He shrugged again and smiled.
"I would have liked to go to a real college, but the Air Force ate up so much of my time and it was good work, I just never much considered mustering out. I did get to see and experience a lot of beautiful places. I suppose if the paramedic thing doesn't pan out, I can always open a restaurant. Maybe a food truck or too..." She sipped, he pinched, getting a good fingerfull of her ass before reclaiming the bottle and finishing it off. "We can swing a few hundred easy. And I'm not worried about Spain. I made, and make, a living out of running into places no one in their right mind should be. It'll be one more bullet point on my resume."
"Ugh, so not what I was saying. I just meant that you're a super social person so studying solo like that sounds like it would be a drag. I got stuck with a tutor for all of my schooling, which is more than most of us get. Did you know they usually recommend academic studies to Nephilim that aren't able to fight anymore?" Fun facts from the dysfunctional world of Shadowhunting! Nica bobbed her brows at him for comic effect, if only because she already knew how ass backwards her society seemed to someone like him. "Other than things to satisfy our proficiencies of course."
Nicanora pondered his words for a solid minute, eyeing the butt grabber thoughtfully. "I could see that, the food truck thing. You'd be so adorable. Too adorable to let my father at you, so there's that."
"Nothing wrong with academia. Not everyone can be, or continue to be, a fighter. I mean, it's not like you'll end up a Shadow-burger-flipper." His hands empty for the moment, Will pushed up to his feet a lurched the few paces it took to reach his battered old sofa, his weight pressing down on her when he climbed onto her back to lay. His chin touched down on her shoulder. "I'm really not stressing meeting your dad. I can weather his disapproval if you can."
"No, I mean that they don't recommend academic endeavors until you hit that point. I know Shadowhunters that are incapable of things taught to some teenagers in regular schools even." And she only knew because she had been lucky enough to have an overachiever for a father who insisted that she was not only a well rounded warrior but also a well rounded scholar as well. As he came to join her, she wriggled beneath him, both to get more comfortable and to also antagonize him in all the best ways. That ass after all. "If it were as easy as saying that yes, I could, that'd be great. I'd be lying if some naive optimistic part within me hopes for the best but thankfully the jaded realist is good at beating that part into submission with some reality. Anyways, whatever may come to pass, I'll handle it. At the very least we'll have Pamplona."
"You should still let me teach you to drive. And to scuba dive. Skydive." She wiggled and teased and Will laughed, pushing one hand beneath her to smooth over her taut belly, the other reaching around to squeeze her cheeks in a fish face. So sexy. "You're warriors. A whole society of them. I'm one of the ignorant cattle, part of your mission to protect but not... I don't know that I can find a way of putting it that you might not find offensive. But let's be real: your people have very little use for Mundanes. I get it. You're super slummin'. To the Nth degree. It's not your job to run interference, Fanny. It's mine to prove him wrong. In my own dashing, charming, and eloquent way. I will be the image of diplomacy."
He leaned in to bite her shoulder. "We'll have Miami. Pamplona. We'll sex it up on some historical monuments, send Ronnie selfies to commemorate."
"I think... I think that would be doable... eventually. Skydiving for sure. Can you go scuba diving in a pool?" Not only was she pinned but she was being molested with the squishing of cheeks until her full lips puckered awkwardly. Nica scrunched her nose and squirmed, turning her head against his hold so she could peek over her shoulder at him. Normally they had far less clothing on when they were in a position like that. Of course, there was far less fish facing too, so it wasn't exactly the same, she supposed.
"Will." She began softly, the start of a frown beginning to wrest hold of her mouth. "It's old fashioned blindness at its best. Besides, you're a Fundane remember? There's a huge difference. Mundanes are boring. You're interesting and..." She trailed off, because once more pointing out that he was anything but mundane probably wasn't a realm they wanted to venture into again tonight. He changed the subject and she went with it gladly, shoulder bite and all. "Where else do you want to see while we're there?"
"You're not gonna get attacked by sharks, Nicanora. I would straight up uppercut any sharks that even came close to your delicious ass, okay? Promise. Everything's gonna be cool. We're gonna have a great time." She looked back at him and was instantly engaged in a kiss, one of those long, lingering ones that involved pleasant sounds and indecent amounts of tongue. When he finally spoke again, it was to murmur against her lips. "I don't know," he mumbled. "I'll have to get one of those tourist maps or something. We're already gonna do the one thing I want, so... what about you?"
Nica was of a mind to protest. After all, as magnificent as Will may have been, he was no shark matador. But that mouth of his was pretty distracting and so her protest was left to fall away in favor of tangling tongues and an ample squeeze of a grope for good measure. Though he spoke, her eyes stayed closed and a pleased smile angled itself across her mouth.
"Tourist maps are for tourists. You only get the squeaky clean pieces. If I can get you to Barcelona, I will. There's so much there. The Barri Gotic and the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia are both must sees, tourist or not. But that's the totally wrong direction so if we've got to stick to the Northeast-ish, maybe we'll detour to Llanes. There's always a party or festival of some sort going on and the beaches are terrific. Toledo would be an easy trip. They call it the City of Three Cultures and that's just the Mundane ones." She grinned at him. After all the Shadow World had an established presence in many of the larger population centers too. "There's plenty to do and see. I'm sure I can fill that time pretty easily. Orrrrrrrr there's plenty of me to do too, so regardless. It'll be a good trip. Right?"
"You're there," he replied with a grin. "That's all I need to make it a good trip, Fanny. Everything else is a bonus, all right?" He kissed her again, only shorter this time, and then leaned to bite her neck gently. It was more a graze of teeth than anything. "Doesn't Spain have some of the best swordsmiths in the world? That might be pretty cool to see. Nude beaches?"
His arms tightened around her slowly, possessively. From her neck, he moved to her ear to murmur softly.
"What's it gonna take to make you worry less? Tell me what I can do?"
"Alicante has some of the best swordsmiths in the world." Slipping an arm beneath her head to keep it turned toward him comfortable, she gave him a crooked smirk. Of course, there was an Alicante, Spain too, so it was up in the air as to which she was speaking of. Wriggling beneath him, she turned a giggle into her arm. "Plenty of nude beaches though, if that's your thing."
He tugged her tighter and the heat of his breath on the shell of her ear under other circumstances would have easily led to more carnal responses but the questioning had her shaking her head instead. "I don't know, Will. Part of me feels like it's a bad idea to go at all, but I need to be there when Lidia goes back. There's just so much that could go wrong and the last thing I want is for you to get caught up in any of it. Especially with your penchant for running headfirst into danger."
"What? Is there something wrong with wanting to watch other men and women drool over the sweetest ass they can never have." He offered up a smug smile and winked one lapis blue eye at her. "I'll be the envy of every man there. It'll be great."
She shook her head and shot it to him straight. She had always been pretty good at that. It didn't seem like Nephilim were ones to mince words, at least not from his limited experience, and it was something that Will respected. "Seems like no matter what trouble comes your way, I'm gonna make it my business to be involved however I can be. For you. If I'm willing to run into a fire or a hale of gunfire for a complete stranger, what do you think I'm prepared to endure if you need me? I'm not gonna stand behind you. I'm not gonna stand in front of you. But I'll still stand with you, for whatever good I can do."
"I dunno, there are some pretty sweet asses there. For instance, the one laying on top of me right now is pretty sweet." Matched smile for smile but only for as long as it took for the conversation to venture into more sobering subject matter. It was a good opportunity to twist and turn beneath him until they could lay chest to chest. It was easier than having a conversation over her shoulder, especially one of such importance. Her mouth thinned then relaxed with a lick of her tongue across her bottom lip.
"That's your job though. You do that out of obligation." She knew it was more than professional obligation and that often he went above and beyond the call of duty but it made her feel better to think that maybe just maybe all paramedics had such reckless disregard for their own safety. "That said, we'll probably have to do the real talk thing before we go. As much as I'd like to say that meeting my father is the worst case scenario, he's been one of the few things standing between myself and the Clave's Inquisitor when it comes to... to... what happened in January. I just want to make sure we're prepared for anything that could go wrong."
"Awesome for him." When Will said it, he meant it. There was a respect to the tone that bore no grudges. The paramedic didn't know the man. He could make a hundred jokes, but he couldn't judge the man before meeting him for himself. A mysterious organization of ominous purpose? Well, he'd judge that until he was given a reason not to. "I just got you. They don't get to take you away, Fanny. Not now. Not ever. They try... well, I will have some very, very terse and unflattering words with them. Personally."
"But maybe I'm wrong," he shrugged them. "But maybe... you know, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition."
She arched a brow and tipped her head to one side, gaze sweeping over his expression. The man was so fluent in sarcasm that it took her a few moments to decide whether he was being facetious or not. It didn't seem that way. Grinding her teeth over her bottom lip, she released it so she could tilt her chin up for a gentle, short lived kiss. "Sometimes we don't get a say in the matter and they don't take kindly to outside influences, terse words or otherwise. Regardless... I'd sooner their attention be on me rather than you."
Reasons that were left unspoken because she was too busy staring at him in the most confused of manners. "...After the Crusades, the Inquisition really couldn't have been that big of a surprise..."
Whoosh. Right over her head.
"I know what we're watching next movie night..." He chuckled and kissed her lightly before he added one final note to the topic they likely both wanted to avoid. "Whatever happens, you've got me, Fanny. Heaven or Hell, good or bad, I'd rather have you around than not. Just don't forget that, okay?"
Reaching out, he grabbed her wrists and slowly pinned them above her head, kissing her a few more times. "So suck it up and deal."
"I know," she said quickly. Almost too quickly. "I know, I know. I'm just... bad at the whole... open thing, so I'm trying. For you. And us. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, right? Something like that? Right." She spoke between kisses and pinning, her hips rocking side to side beneath the press of his weight. "Trying to deal but you're being awfully distracting, you know."
"I don't know, you open up pretty easy with the right pressure applied in the right places." He grinned again and pushed his hips down against hers. "Distracting? Distract back. Or change the subject."
"Hardly fair. True. But hardly fair." She scoffed, lifting her chin to affect an air of haughty indignation to match her tone. Her wrists lifted against the hold he had on them at much the same time she looped one long and mostly bare leg around his, her ankle sliding along the reachable length of his thigh, knee, and calf. "Kinda hard in the position I'm in so I might have to settle for a subject change."
Maybe. But not before an angled buck of her hips to make him either reclaim his hold or get the hell off. Either way.
"Something's hard." She bucked. He ground his hips. Sandy brown brows bobbed. "Must be me. Must be your fault, Fanny. All the good times, they must be your fault. It's a good kind of blame, I think."
And then? Then he was staring down into her eyes. There wasn't anything carnal in the stare. Okay, not entirely. There was something else there. Something deep.
"I just thought you were happy to see me." Nica grinned and bounced beneath him. The grin softened to something more private, befitting the moments where it was only her and him. Her fingers curled until they could graze against his grip on her wrists. "I think I'd be okay taking the blame for that, misplaced as it might be. Here I thought it was all your fault..."
Whatever else it might have been, she crossed her eyes at it just the same.
Then he kissed her. Slow, sweet, and deep. He let time stop when his tongue curled around hers and allowed the world to melt away. Nothing else mattered in the moment but the kiss. The taste of her lips. The smell of her hair as it fanned around around her. The feel of her.
Long lean lines and plush curves, honeysuckle and freesia, vanilla and the sun. She made soft sounds of approval and encouragement and squirmed. Not the sort of squirm that had her wanting to get away but rather the contrary, as if she could meld herself to him completely. After a few moments, she hummed a little purr against his mouth and mumbled softly. "Hey Will?"
"Yeah?" He drew back from the kiss to glance down at her.
A lick of her lips to catch the lingering taste of him led to a nip at her bottom lip where her teeth lingered in a slow graze. "Te amo. That's all."
He paused at that, the silence hanging between them for a few long moments before he was reaching back for her wrists and pinning them anew. "Lo sé."
It was her turn to pause, blinking a few times before she reopened her eyes to stare at him. That... no, she hadn't heard that correctly, had she? Firstly, Will understood her. Secondly, he answered in Spanish. Thirdly...
I love you.
Finally she laughed quietly and bounced her hips against his. "Seriously?"
"Why so surprised?" Will grinned and nipped at her lips.
"I... I don't know?" She said through another laugh, tipping her head to one side in a half-assed attempt to avoid his nipping teeth. "I don't know what I thought would happen but definitely not that."
"Oh, come on." He dipped his face lower and nipped repeatedly at her neck. "It was perfect."
After a few moments of giggling and squirming, she finally conceded. "...it was. Stop teasing!"
"Say it to me again?" He asked quietly, breathing the words against her neck.
A warm flush filled her cheeks and her mouth went dry. The first time had been so easy but put on the spot, it was a whole different monster. Twice she swallowed, quiet for a long moment before whispering. "I love you, Will."
"Probably a good thing," he conceded softly in reply. "Because I love you too. A whole f*cking lot."
"Oh." Because what do you say to that. She tightened the wrap of her leg around his and pulled against him, nudging her chin against him to get him to look up again. "Oh good then."
Because that would have been really awkward otherwise.
"So..." He painted on his best smile. "Wanna... make love?"
Nica giggled and scrunched her nose at him. "Shut up and kiss me."
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