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  1. #11
    Clare Murphy

    Clare was glad she had been exercising regularly. If not, she wouldn't have been able to keep up with the rangy Lycan's long, quick strides. She had no complaints about moving at a fast pace, though. The more swiftly they moved, the better chance they would have of finding Declan alive. They had to get to him before his captors either decided to murder him outright, or harmed him more than a mortal body could bear.

    She appreciated Riff's confidence that Declan wouldn't dump her, although she didn't share it. Declan was indeed a good man - forgiving, yes - but this was certainly too far. Not only had she covered up a major lie of omission with a series of smaller lies for the entire duration of their relationship, but her deception had put his life in danger. How could he forgive that? She just hoped he would live long enough to have a chance to hate her.

    None of that was Riff's fault, though, and she gave him a tense smile. "Thanks," she said. "He is a good guy. Much better than I deserve. My name is Clare, by the way. Clare Murphy."

    There hadn't really been a chance for proper introductions when they met, and while the fans were generally aware that Declan was in a relationship, he had been conscientious about following her request to maintain her privacy. It was unlikely her new Lycan ally would know who she was, even if he liked the band.

    Before long, the trail led them to an old warehouse near the Transport Authority. It looked unoccupied from the outside, but the smell of human presence and human blood would be unmistakable to a werewolf nose.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #12
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Hot on the trail as he was, it hadn't occurred to Riff that no introductions had been made. When Clare introduced herself, he turned while running and held out a hand, a friendly grin on his face.

    "Right! I'd forgotten about that! Pleased to meet you Clare, I'm Riff - and that's Pepper."

    He ran into a mailbox, but somehow managed to stay on his feet. They had kept a good pace along the old cobble roads, but he pulled up short when the building ahead of them came into range. He held out an arm to keep Clare from running ahead.

    "Okay. He's inside. He's not alone. I think..." Riff paused, taking in the features of the warehouse. "I think I can boost you up to the second floor where you'll have a good vantage point. I can take care of ones inside. What kind of Fae are you, if you don't mind my asking? Do you do plant stuff? Glamour?"

    There had never been a thought in Riff's mind that she' be walking into whatever they'd find alone.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #13
    Clare Murphy

    "Plants and ice," Clare replied. "I can do a good fairy blast. I'm mostly a healer, but my combat skills are workable."

    It was odd to be talking so frankly about the subject. Spending so much time around humans, Clare was used to concealing her nature. Speaking freely brought up a strange mixture of homesickness and sense of belonging.

    With Riff's help, she boosted herself up to the sill and peered in the window. From that position, she could look down into the bowels of the warehouse. She was on level with a raised interior balcony, and below she could see three men standing. Cold Iron Brotherhood - she could practically feel the hatred rippling like rising heat. She didn't see any additional reinforcements.

    For a moment, she didn't see Declan either. She expected he would be standing or sitting. Clare didn't quite register what she was seeing when she first spotted his limp body discarded in the corner on the floor. He was bruised and bloodied. From this distance, she couldn't tell if he was dead or alive.

    Clare knew she should wait for her Lycan ally. It would be sensible to actually use the muscle she had somehow convinced to help her. But seeing Declan like that, helpless and brutalized, she couldn't contain her anger or formulate a sensible plan.

    Three humans. She could take them. If Riff followed her, it wouldn't even be a fair fight.

    Making no attempt at stealth, Clare shattered the window with a piece of loose stone from the sill and shoved her way inside, ending up on the metal balcony. At first the men just stared, shocked as they were by a Fae's sudden appearance.

    Clare, on the other hand, didn't freeze. "Get away from him!" she shrieked, even as she started firing fairy blasts at the humans.

    Declan opened his eyes and looked at her. Saw her fury and her power. Clare didn't pause, but her heart died a little. Surely he would see her as a monster now...

  4. #14
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Though Clare hadn't waited for him to get into position, she hadn't lost the element of surprise. Riff could hear the screams even as he ran around to the front of the building and shouldered his way through the door. The three men hadn't gotten very far. In his opinion, Clare's definition of a "good" fairy blast should be upgraded to "awesome". He shouldn't have been worried about her being on her own. Riff's eyes shifted to Declan. He looked pretty rough - the fact that he was conscious impressed the Lycan considerably.

    "I'm going to make sure this is the last of them." Riff skirted the scene and headed toward the back of the building. His nose told him that this was it, but he didn't want to miss out if there was a driver waiting in an alley somewhere with the car they'd used to move Declan. He could have gone to check on the man, but Clare had mentioned healing abilities - he figured he'd only be in the way. Spying no one in the alley, he worked his way back inside and started checking the Brotherhood's pockets for cell phones, flash drives or other evidence that would give them more information on how they'd found out Clare's secret.

  5. #15
    Clare Murphy

    This was only the second time Clare had been in a serious, life-threatening combat situation. The first time she had been young, weak - and she had lost, badly. That had been generations ago, and she had barely escaped with her life. Back home, the Fae lived in carefully preserved isolation to ensure peace, and she had never been called upon to fight. This time, older and more mature, fighting for one she loved, the power seemed to flow naturally. Killing wasn't the goal in her mind. Just stopping them, and saving Declan. But she was strong. Stronger than she had realized. When she saw that they lay dead on the ground, it shocked her, made her question herself and what she was capable of. There was no guilt, though. These were not innocents, and now they would never again harm anyone else as they had harmed Declan. Even so, the fact that she had taken three lives was jarring.

    Clare nodded absently to Riff, acknowledging that his idea was a good one, but her own attention was focused exclusively on Declan. Riff's search would indeed pay off. Each of the captors had a cell phone, a wallet, and a passport. It would take time to go through all the items, but there was sure to be something of use.

    Meanwhile, Clare knelt beside Declan. She had assumed he would be unconscious by now, but somehow he was still awake, and he turned his bruised face to look at her.

    "You're going to be okay, Declan," she promised.

    Declan shook his head weakly. "I... I don't think so, Clare. I don't think I'm going to make it. I think my back is broken, and my ribs..." Speech had become too painful to finish cataloging his injuries, but he knew they were there. There would be internal bleeding, organ damage - though he couldn't feel anything below his chest, which was both a mercy and a signal of how far gone he must be.

    Clare was crying now, but didn't realize it until she saw a tear plop onto Declan's face. "You're going to be fine," she insisted. "I promise. Just trust me..."

    As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Clare realized how ludicrous they must sound. Trust me. After he had just learned she had been lying for their entire relationship, and when he thought her lies were going to cost him his life, surely the audacity to ask for trust defied belief.

    To her surprise, though, Declan attempted a smile through cracked lips and said, "I do." Then his eyes rolled back, and he passed out.

    Clare quickly moved into action to keep her promise. She put her hand on his chest and concentrated, letting the damage flow into her, keeping her breathing slow and steady as she prepared to withstand it.

    She wouldn't be able to finish healing him here. Declan had been right that this wasn't a survivable amount of damage for a human - but for a Fae it was. Still, healing him fully would render her unconscious for several hours... and healing him fully was the only option she was willing to consider. Sure, she could leave some of the injuries to heal on their own, but she wasn't going to. She wouldn't let herself be the cause of any more suffering for him than she already had.

    Once Declan was stable enough to move, she turned to Riff for help. "He'll be okay for now, but we need to get him back to the hotel. Can you help me move him?" Clare asked. "It'll be safer for all of us if I finish healing him there. It'll take awhile." As an afterthought she added, "And we should. Um. Do something with the... the bodies?"
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-02-2018 at 07:09 PM.

  6. #16
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Riff pulled the sim cards out of the backs of the phones and pocketed the latter for later snooping. The wallets and passports he read and returned. When Clare addressed him, he turned to assess their situation. Bodies were inconvenient, that was certain. Like Clare, he didn't feel particularly sorry for these humans, though he did spare a thought for their families, if they had any. Nice people married scumbags sometimes. Whatever he did with the bodies, it would have to not only cover their tracks, but give someone else some peace.

    "I have an idea. Hold on."

    The Lycan doubled back to the second man and pulled a set of car keys out of his pocket even as he shouldered the man's body. Once to the alley, he checked again to make sure the coast was clear before loading the body into the trunk. He closed it carefully between each load until all three were stuffed in. Finally, he went back for Declan and helped Clare lift the man into the backseat, placing his coat over the fabric less for Declan's protection than for the preservation of the car seat against evidence he didn't want found.

    "I have an idea of where your hotel might be, I'm sure I can find it without you telling me. Getting him in without someone noticing might be trickier, though."

    Riff's plan was to drop Declan and Clare off, then take the car to the mountains. A car accident would be good cover, and had less potential collateral damage than a warehouse fire. Riff was sort of done with fires. Pepper hopped in the front seat and he instructed Clare to keep her head down as he drove through the back lanes back to the hotel.

  7. #17
    Clare Murphy

    "I'll get us into the hotel," Clare said with complete confidence, then added with a hint of grim chagrin, "I've got lots of experience lying to humans about the whole Fae thing. Don't worry."

    She fished around in her purse and handed Riff some crumpled Euros. "Get yourself something to eat, okay? I know you didn't do it for money, and this isn't payment for services rendered or anything, but you shouldn't have to go hungry after helping us. Oh, and..." Another root around her purse, and she produced one of the myriad key cards the hotel had inexplicably provided even though only two people were registered for the room. "I don't know what your living arrangements are, but if you need a place to stay, there's a pullout couch. Nothing fancy, of course but it's a roof and a place to sleep if you need it. I don't know if Declan will still be here or not but... yeah."

    Clare knew there was a good chance that Declan would simply walk out. Not that she would blame him - it was what she deserved. She hoped he wouldn't report her to the authorities. She probably deserved that too, but it risked other casualties among her family and friends.

    "Thanks so much for what you did, Riff. I couldn't have found him without you."

    When they got to the hotel, Clare leaned Declan against her and simply walked in the front door supporting him as best she could. "Excuse me, sir?" she said to the front desk attendant, standing at a distance where he could see Declan was hurt but not the specific injuries. "My boyfriend got into a serious bicycle accident in the park. The doctor says he'll be okay, but he needs to rest. Can you call the Tšubchenthal and let them know Declan McDermott is too injured to perform tonight, while I get him settled in our room?"

    The lies poured out with practiced ease. Appropriate girlfriend-concern without a need for panic. No attempts to hide the situation, a mundane explanation provided, medical help already supposedly attended to, an avenue by which the desk attendant could be helpful and fulfill his job responsibilities without hassle or getting too involved.

    "Of course, ma'am," he replied in perfect English, and picked up the phone and began dialing. Clare thanked him and supported Declan to the elevator. Declan wasn't with it enough to help much, but it was better than nothing.

    When they got to the room, Clare dragged Declan onto the bed, pulled off his shoes, and did her best to make him comfortable with a pillow beneath his head. She picked up the hotel stationary pad and waffled for a moment about what to write, then settled on a simple "I'm sorry" and tucked the note into his hand. Then she lay down beside him with the length of her body against his. It would be awkward for him, when he woke up to find the woman he had loved and must now hate sprawled against him, but it was the fastest way to absorb such an extent of damage, and she would need to be fast to stay conscious long enough to do it.

    She didn't touch him more than necessary. Before, she would have shown him affection without a thought even with him unconscious - but things were different now. Clare had no idea where the boundaries were set anymore. She just gave him a long look, and then closed her eyes and focused on her work.

  8. #18
    Declan McDermott

    When Declan woke up, he wasn't quite sure what had happened. He had strong memories of something terrible - being beaten within an inch of his life, threats to Clare, and supposedly she was a Fae? - and it had all seemed so real, except that he would have died from his injuries or at the very least have been in incredible pain when he regained consciousness. But no, he felt fine. Just like Clare had promised. Like she had promised... in the dream? It had to be a dream. He was uninjured, and Clare was sleeping peacefully beside him, her face pressed against him, hidden completely by her thick hair. They must have slept through their alarm.

    He gently rubbed her arm to wake her, but instead of rousing, she simply lay limply. Concerned, he shook her shoulder a little more urgently, and her head flopped sideways. Declan could see bruises all over her face and neck, with more likely present beneath her clothes. What the hell? That didn't fit the memory at all. He remembered that he had gotten hurt, but Clare had shown up like some avenging angel and saved him from his captors. She hadn't been beaten - in fact, when last he had seen her she appeared to have come through the fight without a scratch. So why was she suddenly unconscious, looking like she'd been through a war, when he himself was completely unharmed?

    Declan reached for the phone to call the front desk operator, to ask them to get him the number for a doctor or hospital... but no, that wouldn't work. He dropped the receiver back in its cradle.

    Clare was Fae, he reminded himself. He couldn't simply take her to the hospital for emergency care. Exactly what he should do, he had no idea, but definitely not that. The doctors would surely figure out quickly that their patient was an immortal.

    She'd left a note, but all it said was I'm sorry. No instructions for how he should proceed.

    Declan sat thinking for a moment, his mind reeling, gently holding one of Clare's battered hands in his. There was danger everywhere, now. Such great risk to her, being Fae, and he'd had no idea. He felt so... mortal. Helpless. Too weak to offer her any real protection, much as he wanted to.

    What was he going to do...?

  9. #19
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Riff had done his best to cover their tracks. He cleaned out the truck and threw the emergency gear back inside. He buckled in all the players. Then, he jerry-rigged a jamming device from the thinnest wire he could find. It would burn up in the resulting fire. Riff dropped Pepper off in the alley where his guitar was stashed, then drove the rest of the way. The racetrack wasn't exactly busy on a weekday afternoon, so there weren't many people around to observe him hop out and switch seats with another man who seemed unconscious. A few adjustments and the car was underway on its own power and he was heading in the other direction through the park. He heard the crash, saw the flames leap up and managed a grim smile. Covering for casualties was not his favourite part of the job, but sometimes it was necessary.

    It was a far jog back to the alley. He pulled the money out of his pocket, counted it, then stopped in at a small deli to purchase a meal for him and Pepper. After a moment's thought, he picked up a sandwich for Declan too. Riff had an idea how fairy healing worked - magic had its price - and he figured that he'd find Declan up and Clare down for the count. Maybe he could help answer some of the basic questions the man would have before Clare woke up. Maybe he could still help.

    Dog, guitar and knapsack reacquired, Riff walked in through a back entrance as a launderer was loading up lobby rugs. He took the stairs to avoid cameras and soon found himself at the door that matched the number of his key card. He knew Clare had offered him a place to stay, and he was touched by her thoughtfulness, but he was a bit worried about what sort of state Declan might be in. He didn't want to make anything more complicated or more dangerous for Clare. Still, Riff felt as though he needed to touch base and make sure everyone was okay - and that Declan wasn't going to turn in his girlfriend.

    He knocked on the door briefly, then inserted his key card. The lock opened obediently and Riff cautiously stepped inside even as Pepper barged her way in. "Hey, Peppper, come back here." he whispered, but the dog was already running further into the room towards the bed. She got to the foot the bed and laid down, whining. "Hello? Declan? My name's Riff...I uh, I helped Clare get you back from those thugs. Thought you might want to talk about it."

    Riff had closed the door to the room, but hadn't moved past the entryway.

  10. #20
    Declan McDermott

    Declan tensed when he heard the knock on the door followed by the key card. Instinctively, he moved to block Clare from whoever was coming through the door. A futile gesture - what was a musician going to do to fend off an attacker? - but it was better than doing nothing. Was it more of the people who had kidnapped him? Or had the authorities somehow caught wind?

    But no. It was... a dog. Declan instinctively reached to pet it as it climbed on the bed. He liked dogs, and seeing this one was a reminder of his normal life that now seemed so far away. The dog was followed by a man. It took Declan a moment to place him, but when Riff reminded him, he realized he had seen the other man before, with Clare back at the warehouse. One of Clare's friends, he supposed. At the very least not a threat.

    His tension eased slightly, but Declan still looked harried. His thoughts were spinning off in a thousand directions.

    "Thanks for the help back there," he said, gesturing that Riff was free to enter the room. "I sure needed it. So I guess you already know about... well... all of it. It's just a lot, ya know? I still don't really understand what happened. And how did Clare hurt? And what... what am I supposed to do about all this?"
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 09-08-2018 at 08:26 PM.

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