Friday, August 29, 2008

Something in red this time..

Yes, I haven't been rambling much with these posts, but I'm sure in some ways you're probably thankful for that, lol! I'm tired and it's late and I should be in bed, maybe I'll even go off in a few minutes. Haha.. she said. So here is another blog background that I made. If someone would like to use if for their blog, feel free to snag it :) Please use the credits below the preview if you use it.

Layout by: Lovely Creations
Scrapkits: 'Dreams' by Doris Castle;
'Raewyn's Wedding' by Meryl Bartho;
'Queen of Hearts' by Joanne Brisebois

Angel Fan Background

Here is a background I made, this one has an obvious theme of the series Angel, as shown with the characters featured. I once again had planned to use it myself but decided that I really don't need that many blogs. I like making the backgrounds so even though I may not be using them, they will keep coming as I am inspired to make them. If anyone would like this one for their blog they are more than welcome to snag it. Please use the credits listed below the layout.

From Lovely Creations

Layout by: Lovely Creations
Scrapkits: 'Decadence' and 'Dreams' both by Doris Castle

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's cooler in the shadows pt3

The hiss came from above her. "Then come get it," he laughed, holding it out for her to follow. He'd take the shorter route up along the lip of drainpipe that made its own shadow up to his floor. "Check your pocket. Fourth floor. Come up and we'll talk about what's mine and what's yours."

She let a long low growl out as she gazed up to the shadows and the dangling disk. She was going to friggin rip him apart if she could ever get her hands on him! The light hit her eyes as she turned reflecting in an odd way like a cat's would. She sprang from where she stood, catching the edge of broken fire escape far above where most would be able to jump or reach. She climbed to the third floor and ducked in through a broken window, heading to the stairwell to bring her to the next floor. Out of habit her hands went into her pockets as she walked. She was being set up, walking into a trap.. what the hell? Her fingers pulled the key out of the pocket and she examined it with narrowed eyes as she came up to the fourth floor landing.

"Here kitty kitty..." His voice carried down the corridor and a murky black pool moved over the floor at the end of the hallway, beneath the narrow space under his door. It wasn't so much a maze of entryways as his brother's hide-away but it was no less inconvenient for the standard traveler to find.

Yup.. it was definately a trap, but what sort of tricks was he up to? She needed and wanted her disk back and if all worked out well some sauteed balls for dinner. "Right.." She moved down the hall taking in the scents and sounds until she got to the doorway he'd disappeared under. Her fingers rubbed over the key for a moment before she set it to the lock and slowly pushed the door open. She cautiously walked into the room, her hands clasped lightly behind her after slipping the key back in her pocket. "Not fair you knowing my name.. I don't have anything to call you.." Besides a host of curse words.

"Who said a thing about being fair? You tried to claw off my hand. Not very sporting for a first date," he called from around a corner though he wasn't exactly hiding where he sat in his chair, inspecting the disc under a shop light.

"Well this isn't a date so I guess that doesn't matter. Besides you picked my pocket and stole my disk.. you asked for it, practically begged for it." She came around the corner, folding her arms in front of her now as her head tipped to the side and she regarded him. "You're an alright looking guy, you really that hard up for a date?"

He chuckled, turning with a piercing glance. "Not hardly. And it's only borrowed. Someone might be a little more interested than you're aware." In this light he looked even more like his brother she knew better. His attention went back to the disc that was inserted into an archaic device though it seemed to work. "Thank you for your kindness. Are you going to kill me now or wait to see what we're sharing tonight, hm? Come take a look at what you bargained for."

"I wasn't going to kill you, I was going to castrate you. You wouldn't neccesarily die from that." She flashed him a most sweet smile and eyed him more closely, seeing how much he looked like Tripp. "I told you already that I didn't want to share.. " She slowly came closer to where he was sitting, until she was standing next to his chair, looking at him with her arms folded and her pouting expression. "If not hard up, why ask the girl who tried to claw your hand off, for a date?"

"Who said I was asking? I gave you a key, you walked in." He chuckled again. "And who said I'd exactly mind your attempts. Ah, there you are lovely...," he said, watching the file directory appear for their reading pleasure alone, let alone what the contents appeared to represent.

"That's asking in an indirect 'I not man enough to just ask you' way." She smirked, her eyebrow arching as she leaned her hands down on the arm of his chair to read over his shoulder.

"I'm man enough, pet, but this still worked, didn't it? Either way, you're here." His grin shone again briefly then his eyes darkened, looking over the files. "Catch a pretty penny in the market for this little bit, yeah? At the going rate... keep you rolling nicely for a few months at least without another stop. If you weren't sharing... what were you planning to do with it?" He was certainly getting ideas and hadn't even started viewing the actual files yet.

She sighed and straightened up, chewing her lip and looking at him, going over in her head possible answers that she could give him. Finally she went with the truth, a sigh floating out. "Getting myself rolling. It was my ticket to.. a little bit of independance. Planned to keep a copy for myself of course.. and .. it's not really your business what I was going to do, okay."

"Perhaps... perhaps not." He shut off the monitor to prevent the distraction and keep the glow in the room down to a minimum, his prime working environment. He turned to face her, but stayed in his chair. "It bothers you that I know as much as I do yet you know so little in return, doesn't it? Believe me, we know the same people... and those same people are very concerned about your ability to roll... and effectively keep rolling."

Her arms curled tightly around herself and she half pouted , half glared at him. "Yes." She replied after a few moments, her voice low but clear. "It bothers that you know, what you know. I don't believe that you have any real interest in my rolling otherwise you wouldn't have stolen my means of earning something on my own, of getting out from under daddy's thumb as much as I can."

The smile curled and his eyes flashed their metallic shine again though he didn't quite disappear. "Borrowed... borrowed, I told you, not stolen. Getting you out from dearest daddy Milo's thumb is exactly why you're here."

She didn't return the smile, eyeing him cooly and then rolling her eyes. "Borrowed or stolen, I don't have it and I can't do anything with it if I don't have it, which totally screws me and all my chances of doing any of the things I intended. I'm here because you find amusement in toying with me. You're just f*cking with me and I'm not in the mood. I'm pissed off and I have work to do if I'm going to find another way to get what I want." She shook her head and turned to head back out the way she'd come.

This place was for him a sort of playground with many dark patches and murky corners to allow him ease of movement. She turned and he was behind her, around her, then in front of her, blocking the way to the door, again solid and immovable. "You're not listening, Calder. What you want is in this room... and it's not on that disc." His voice was colder yet hotter, steamy enough to melt even her if she cared to listen to it meander through the shadows and to her emotions the way he'd intended. "You can have the disc. That's not at all what I want or need. If you look at the actual files - you'll find that's true. It was only bait and now I need to explain the rest. Please sit down."

"Why do you do that?" Her hands sort of went up in an exassperated motion as he reappeared in front of her. It would hide the small bit of fear that tremored through her, he was unnerving with how easily he could move from one shadow to the next and she couldn't even turn around.. She swallowed and stared at him, usually she had the upper hand with her gifts. "And.. if I prefer to stand?" Her voice came softer than she'd meant it to and she bit at her lip, forcing herself to hold his gaze. "What do I want?... and what do you want for that matter?"

"Then stand," he said softly, his expression softening a little as well. "You said what you want. Independence. Your sister recognizes that as do we. You can't move, you can't even piss without your father knowing when and where and what pills you took that day. The regimen, the silence and none of the glory - it makes you a slave to him, Calder. What I want is to help you reach your freedom... and your potential. If you're not interested in either - I'll step aside."

Her eyes shifted to the side slightly, he was still in her sights but not directly as her jaw tightened and her shoulders squared somewhat. "How do you.. my sister.. This is about my sister?" She laughed though there was no amusement in the sound. "You're not interested in me, you're not here for me.. I should have known.. When you're speaking for you and not someone else, maybe I'll be interested." She took a step towards where he stood, blocking her way intending to walk through him if she could.

"No, this is entirely about you. Your sister has her place and I have mine, just like my brother. My brother's place is in your sister's bed, take that in any unsavory fashion you like, he'll hungrily admit it. I'm not quite as accommodating." His form shifted to allow her passage through him though he stayed in the same spot. "Not in the same ways."

She passed through him and stopped, looking around her with a slightly perplexed expression. "That's just.." She turned and pointed at him with one finger as she spoke. "I have no idea what that means.. except maybe some off hint that you want to get me in bed but I'm sure I'm probably just as confused on that part as I am on the rest.. Why did you want my disk, why did you follow me, what do -you- want with me? Besides whatever pleasure you're getting out of frustrating and confusing the shit out of me! Why am I still talking to you? I shouldn't even.. arrgh!" If she had something to throw at him she would have chucked it.

Kain had turned again to face her, stifling the chuckle that would only infuriate her more. "It was a set-up. What I want is you. Your success, your passion, your freedom... and frankly, your support. In exchange, you have your desperately desired independence.. if that's truly what you want. You're still talking to me because your senses tell you I'm not lying and you want to know more."

She growled, glared and then stepped back toward him. "I don't like you!" She pouted and moved around him or through him just anywhere but right there, looking at him, with those eyes and lips..

"You on the other hand... need better practice at fibbing. What do you like to drink? What will help you relax and listen?" Around or through him, she had her means to move where she wanted to be. He wouldn't be able to manage much more, but he was determined to keep up with her until she trusted him somewhat. "First off, I don't work for your father and I never will. I enjoy my spotlight... rather my pitch-black if you will... much more than that tedious little organization would ever give me credit for. Tell me that their deserving ever receive their true reward, hm? No fans, no thank yous, only more assignments and more secrets. Feh... not you. You can do so much better and that's why you want out, isn't it?"

"Nahhh I'm just in it for the chicks." She chuckled at her sarcastic comment as she sort of flopped gracefully into the chair he'd given up. She sighed, leaning forward to rest her arms on her thighs and rubbed her forehead with her thumbs. "I just want to breathe.. my father is.. very over protective, to the point of smothering and thwarting every chance we have at.. Jai is the only one of us to find someone who wouldn't back down or just give up if daddy pushed. He's gotten worse since she.. Roh has had all of one boyfriend.. and me.. thats just a joke without a punchline. I want freedom.. I want independance, I want to breathe, choose, anything without my father's hand guiding it."

"Precisely why you're here with me," he said gently, opening a drawer for a box he flipped open, taking out a plain white capsule he offered her. "For the headache. What did you say you drink? He for one doesn't know you're here. Your contact made sure he believes you're down in the square two sectors from here. Buys you time to think about my offer... and some time to breathe to see how you like it. I'm curious though... since Jaime 'what'? Found Tripp?"

"Found? Discovered.." She chuckled, shaking her head to his offer of the pill. "No, it's not a head ache.. it's.. frustration." She lifted her head and gave him a small smile, drawing her eyes over him more slowly now that he wasn't disappearing and fading into shadows. "She defied him, she stood her ground and Tripp stood it with her.. great for her.. not so great for the rest of us." She stopped at his feet and started back up, she'd never really 'examined' Tripp up close, but even from a distance could see why her sister might be attracted to him... this brother was sculpted very nicely. "What offer?"

"To defy like they did and reap the benefits from it... enjoy it rather than suffer it. I'll never work for your father. I work -with- my brother..." He left it at that for now. He slid the pill back to its stash and went to get them each a drink. She hadn't specified, though he truly had only a little to offer. The glasses he brought back weren't filled with the familiar synth-ahol, but rather pure grain contraband, clear and vaporously strong. "Ever have real vodka?"

"I doubt I've ever had anything real." She reached for the glass he offered, curling herself into the chair and the glass to her to 'investigate it' further. "How do you purpose I defy like they did?"

He took a sip from his own glass then offered a trade so she would hopefully trust the contents. "Work with me. Let me show you. The war's over so why hide what you are and what you can do? Use it, hone it, caress and love it... it's power Calder. That's what he doesn't want you to have. I do."

It wasn't just because she wasn't sure if she could trust the contents, it was also because she'd never had real alcohol before. Her expression was curious and a bit excited as he offered a trade, she quickly shoved her glass at him and snatched his into her hands. One finger slid into the liquid and she slipped the vodka soaked digit into her mouth, closing her eyes as the liquid hit her tongue. When her eyes opened they held a bit more sparkle to their pale blue as she looked directly at him, asking him a simple question. "Why?"

"Because I asked for this assignment... to work with you. You have the eyes and ears for the night - where I live. Your other talents, like my own, thrive in the cold and black. You can't tell me you didn't feel it. I was there, remember? Key in pocket, hm? Power, Calder. Untapped and unmeasured because he protects you too much."

"You asked for this?" Her head tipped to the side as her finger rounded the edge of the glass lightly. "He suffocates me." She said softly, sadly.. she loved her father but he was trying to hold onto her too tightly. "What.. exactly.. do you want from me.. I mean, what would I have to do?"

It's cooler in the shadows pt2

Trailing her like her own shadow, he flowed back into darkness and moved along with her, not feeling her shivering cold in this state. His form melted and ran along the cracks and seams of the walkway and in and out of the lines between the crumbling bricks in the wall beside her, her own shadow with a constant companion. Kain wasn't convinced she'd destroyed what she came for and he had yet to get what he wanted. He tangled a shadowy foot into form near her own feet as if the cracked pavement were suddenly a bit higher than she'd thought. He only wanted to slow her, not send her headlong into the alley.

She stumbled a bit and swore under her breath, a soft growl coming out. Calder had been pretty wrapped up in her thoughts of disemboweling that jerk that she must have mistepped. "Pay attention!" She scolded herself and took a deep breath. "He was just a 'boy' and boys are nothing. He's nothing." She whispered, taking a deep breath and letting it out with a smile as her eyes glinted in their feline way.

Even in his distorted, disorienting formless presence, he understood the tone if not the words themselves. He sped up and flowed in front of her, against the angle of natural lighting that was growing more and more dim as the sun dropped below the horizon completely. She'd insulted him and kept him wanting - not a good thing. A few steps ahead, he stretched out to form himself into the 'boy' she'd walked away from, nearly six feet of boy made of muscle, spit and vinegar with a darkly smoking expression that was a sharp as he was suddenly solid and in her way.

She stopped in her tracks and stared as he suddenly formed again in front of her. The sharp expression cause her smile to fade into a pout as she stared up at him, since he had to be taller than she was. "What? Did you want the gum that's stuck to my shoe too?"

His head shook slowly. The turn of her lips into the pout was quite inviting. "Not all interested in your shoes, but still quite interested in what you still have in your pocket. The real disc, Calder. Perhaps... you might want to check it before you take it home, hm? Would hate to see the disappointment if it's not worth sharing."

"Men all they ever want is what's in your p..ockets.. Get your own. Maybe I do plan to check this out when I get home.. and who says I'm sharing? I might be perfectly selfish and keep it all for me." Her eyes danced and her lips curved into a not so sweet smirk.

"I am getting my own," he smirked back, his eyes flashing briefly before going dark again like the rest of him, melting away again to do as he'd threatened, traveling the darkened shadows to collect the toy he suspected was still in her pocket. No substance to him beyond shadow when he didn't want to be, he at first seemed to disappear completely, unseen, unfelt except that uncanny creeping feeling perhaps of being observed far too closely. Eyes were indeed in the shadows, in her pockets and checking until finding what he searched for. Reappearing behind her, he held up the disc. "I think you only had it half right... perfect... but I fully intend to share."

She felt an odd shiver crawl over her and her eyes narrowed, searching the shadows for where he might be. Her hand went to curl around the disk as he reappeared with it behind her. Her empty hand came out of her pocket as she turned around, looking from the disk to her hand and then to glare at his face. She growled softly, frustrated as much as curious and that kind of pissed her off that she wasn't just totally pissed off and wanting to rip this guy to shreds.. she was intrigued by him.. perhaps facinated if she'd stop being angry that he'd gotten her disk from her. Okay she was still an angry kitten and she lashed out with a clawed hand at his hand which held the disk.

"Ehhht... not yet... pet. Bad kitty gets no cream," he teased, pulling the disc just out of reach though his fingers felt the glancing blow of her scratching on the way. "Mmm... time for more of that later, too. Careful... some of us like those sorts of toys, too." He chuckled a little, watching her wind up more.

If her tail had been showing it would have been flicking like crazy. "I'm going to hurt you.. and I'm going to enjoy every second of it." She warned him as he got her fired up. "What's the matter.. can't get any on your own? Are you just not.. solid enough?"

His expression warmed more with amusement as he tilted his head just enough for her to see the mirror-like gleam in his eyes again. "Solid enough to keep you occupied for hours. Keep making me promises like that and it could even be days."

"Mm sorry baby but you just don't get me hot and not even that disk could get me excited enough to want you.. I'm sure most of your dates don't talk or move.. even the ones you don't have to tie down to keep in the room." She lunged at him again, trying to find some solid piece of him to rip off.

She lunged and his other hand reached out to grab and tangle her. He chuckled again, keeping the disc just out of reach, but close enough like a carrot for this slippery rabbit... or cat. "No, they don't talk but there's far more entertaining reasons for that, pet. And quite on the contrary... those who like to be tied are the ones I keep. The others are weak and boring."

"Then give me my disk and be on your way.. I'd never let you.." She felt him tangling around her and if he was solid enough to do that then.. She flashed a sweet smile and twisted into him where he tangled, attempting to bite him.

"Interesting that you don't care for what's on the disc yet you seem to want it... ," he paused as her teeth met his arm and his concentration shifted, letting her gnash through to her own tongue as he melted away again to darkness. He was tiring but not enough to give up such an entertaining fight.

She felt her teeth hit her tongue and she gasped at the sudden pain, angry and riled now she spit the copper taste in the genral direction she thought he'd melted into. "Because it's mine." She hissed, her eyes shifting as she turned to try to find him again, though he had the disk now and was probably running off with it.

A lick and a promise... pt5

"I thought it was simple, but maybe I'm just used to this gig by now. They sent you out to kill me, or as far as you know, it was me. They'll only pay you if I'm dead... slight problem, right? Unless they don't know I'm alive and pay you anyway. There was blood there, you shot off a round, they'll probably test it out, find out what type of metal was in the blood that opened the wound - you're home free for taking something down and chasing it down, playing with it until nothing was left or whatever. Or, they decide that no body means no head for their pretty display, so they come after yours instead to put in its place. Forget the damned chip. It won't matter when they're done for feeling like you screwed them out of their prize. You want to keep your head on and get the chip out, right?"

She looked over at him as she sort of sagged against the wall, her fingers running back through her hair. "Not to burst your bubble or anything but they have never come after me before for not doing a job. What makes you think you're so special that they would now?"

"Exactly that. They haven't before, but one day they'll start and it'll be too late to say 'sorry' then. It's a scam, Tully. They just don't want to get their own hands dirty. How do you think the war started in the first place? Someone asked someone else to get their hands dirty instead and that someone, those someones happened to be people like us. People... they seem to forget that part a lot... that we're people. F*ck 'em and their state policies about people with gifts. Just let us live in peace since we earned it for you f*ckers in the first place." He wasn't talking to her now so much as talking to the window he glared at, through, even though the shade was still pulled.

"Okay so you're an angry wronged mutant.. I get that. I even understand it.. but I still don't understand this or.. well honestly a lot of things. Maybe because I don't remember so much.." She sighed, letting her head lean back against the wall. "I escaped from one of those.. facilities for mutants, you know the places where they cut and test and torture and train and you stop being a person. You showed me a scar and said the same.. I am just trying to survive out here.. four years I've been out.. four years I've been alone.. right now, this conversation.. I don't do that.. I hide, I talk to myself.. this, being here with you is very confusing for me."

"Tell me I haven't said anything you haven't said yourself, then. You're angry. You can't kill blindly without that." That wasn't true. Desperation and hunger so thick it made the bones feel hollow and ring with ache... it didn't take anger then, just determination and he and Marc had both been there. "I guess I'm just trying to convince you you're not alone, okay?"

She pushed off the wall and moved slowly to stand in front of him, her gaze intense as she studdied his face. "Fine, I'm not alone but your brother doesn't want me here.. where does that leave me? Same place I always go when the job is done and there's nobody else there." She sort of smiled and her expression softened a bit. "What's your name?"

"My brother is my problem. His name is Marcus... Marc. You can call me Biff. It's William, but I... just call me Biff. Look, he's all bark, okay? He looks out for me and he'll look out for you, but just needs to warm up some. Part of it was the blood. He got stupid, smelling it on me and on you and he ... he'll be fine."

Her head tilted to the side a little and her expression was curious. "Biff.. alright.." She got a feel for his name as she thought about everything he'd said so far and she carefully asked her next question. "Biff, when you say stay.. you don't me just for right now, do you? You.. mean stay here, with you, be part of this?"

Nodding slowly, he found it hard to look at her, like she felt it was all some ploy, a trick... he didn't want to force her. "I'm offering, that's all. I just want you to seriously think about it before you get told that to get what you want when you want it... that you're forced to ... do what you do."

"I.." She started and stopped, seeing how he had trouble looking at her now, she wondered if she'd been wrong to question him. "I will consider it.." She waved her hand around the room at the walls and covered windows. "Where I have been living is not like this.. it's.. not a house.. it's below ground. I have made it.. to my liking.. would I be able to do that here? My weapons are close at hand and things.. no rooms just the one space there.. no beds, no chairs, no tables.. " She motioned around to his things, it had been so long that she'd lived how she had, using these things was not normal for her.

"For as long as we stay," he shrugged. "We could be here a week or a month, maybe a year, before they get too close and we move again. Fix it how you want but keep it ready to pack. If that's all it takes, then go for it. Let me know when and we'll make it a clear path for you."

Tully nodded, running her hand somewhat nervously over her hips and into her pockets then back out as if she wasn't sure what to do with them for a moment. Finally one hand slowly lifted to touch his face again, and turn his gaze back to her. "After we have rested a bit.. I will take you there."

He could feel her fingers running over the whiskers that had grown out since he'd showered. By night, his beard would be thick again. "We... ? You trust me enough to sleep now?" He smiled and covered her hand with his own, taking it down gently. A softened thump of a door closing downstairs echoed up the hallway. "Rest up all you need. There's something I need to take care of."

She looked to the door with a small pout coming to her face, she looked down and then back up to him almost shyly. "Will you return.. to rest with me?" Her eyes searched his features, she wasn't sure how she felt about being in here alone, not knowing anything beyond this room and him. He may have earned a certain amount of trust but the rest still remained to be seen.

What could he say to that? "Sure. Sure, I can do that. Just... go ahead and lay down. Let me talk to him. It could be a while. He'll stay out of the room."

She eyed the door and then her gaze returned to his face. "He will.. are there any others, here?" A simple and direct question as perched just on the edge of the bed and watched Biff.

"No. Not anymore. It's just us unless he brought home 'dinner'. I'm kidding," he chuckled, though he couldn't deny that the healing he'd helped her with had left him dangerously hungry.

She didn't quite get why he told her he was kidding, it wouldn't have bothered her if he'd been serious about the dinner for him and his brother. "Very well."

His expression turned curious like hers. "Okaaaay, so... get comfy and start counting sheep or whatever you count to fall asleep. Hopefully this won't take long. The door didn't slam ... that could be a good sign he's over whatever was stuck up his a** earlier. Do you want more soup or anything?"

"I have already taken too much from you." She answered him quietly, indicating the shirt and bandages, as well as the empty soup bowl. "I will be fine waiting here for your return.

"Geezus, this is going to take time," he breathed out quietly, looking at the door then back to her. "We've got ... it's just soup. It's fine. Fine, okay, rest or whatever. I'll be back."

She gave him a small smile and nodded her head, letting him go off to take care of what he needed to.

A lick and a promise... pt4

"No." The man shook his head a little. "You can't. That's how it always is. One more job, then one more after that, then they forget you. Or make you forget them and make anyone you ever knew forget they ever knew you. I'm sorry." His eyebrows arched a little with the sincerity and a bit of dismay. "Like I said... we know people. Don't go back. Let us help."

"I don't know anyone." She shrugged and made a face as it shifted her neck. "They already made me forget.. your friend doesn't want me here and doesn't want you to help me." She stated the 'facts' quietly as she stared up at the ceiling.

He chuckled and looked up where she did at the ceiling. "My brother just doesn't like anybody much. Don't take it personally. We just need to be careful, but you know. You can be so careful you never get to do anything." He sounded like a rebel teen in some ways. "I got your back, okay? Don't worry about Marc being a sh*thead about it. He'll get paid."

"Brother.." She echoed in a soft whisper, she wondered now and then if she had siblings and what happened to them if she had. "I wasn't taking it personally." Tully half smiled, almost looking like she might start laughing. "I'd probably feel the same way if I were him." Her eyes shifted and seemed to be searching for something but it wasn't anything she'd find on the ceiling. "Why.. why are you..why have my back?" She started, stopped and then restarted her question, trying to word it right. "I don't understand... why you'd risk anything for me?'

"Why not? Seriously. Why not? It's not like you were trying to actually kill me or you would have." He sat up slowly, feeling better for at least staying still a few minutes. "Gotta live a little. Never know how long it's gonna last. Someday Marc might figure that out and get the cattleprod out of his a**."

"If I hadn't been distracted I would have been trying. I was sloppy. I'm not usually sloppy." She told him quietly, slowly turning her head toward him. "It's not personal, i just have a great desire to get this chip out of my head. I didn't expect I'd actually be speaking to you or anything."

"A girl without expectations? That's cool, babe. Look, if you want it out, you'll get it out, but you shouldn't have to go through all this bother to do it. Killing people for money is nasty business." He for one knew that well. He rolled his way around to standing up and took another look out the window. "So, he's not back yet. What do you want to do?"

"What do you mean what do I want to do?" Her head shook a bit in confusion as she watched him move and look out the window. Her hand ran over her forehead, she wasn't up to full strength yet. "Given your earlier warning about him. I should probably leave before he does get back." She rolled to her side and pushed herself to sit up. "I never really thought about it while I was doing a job.. or after. It's easier not to, thinking about it being nasty ends you up on the wrong end of the deal. It's all I've known really. I can keep myself alive, I can fight, and I can kill stuff... I wasn't given many options. It's not like one night someone attacks the transport you're on and hands you a guide of how to live once you're free. It was more run, duck, hope the bullets don't hit you and try not to leave a trail."

"Maybe it's time to live free, then," he shrugged. It was only fair to show her to know whose side he was really on. He moved the collar on his neck, turning his back to her to show her his own scar. "Freedom looks like shit, but it feels like nothing else on this godforsaken hellhole of a planet, believe me. That's what he's afraid of is ever going back. He'll be fine. I'll make sure he's fine."

She was stunned to silence, only a small gasp that came at the unexpected sight of the scar he revealed. "You.." She rose from the bed, taking the step to reach him as her hand lifted, lightly touching the mark. It was almost as if she was afraid of it as her fingers barely brushed over it. "You know what-..?" So many questions were tumbling out at once. "How.. how long has it been?"

"Two, almost three years for me, five for him since he did the same for me that I'm offering for you. I didn't know about the chip, that's not why I wanted to help you. It's because they know what we are and they want us dead because of it that I'm on a mission to show them .. I'm not what they think I am."

"But I'm not them.. I don't understand how this shows them.. and I don't know if we're talking about the same them anymore." Her finger traced the line on his neck and her hand dropped away. "Four years. I haven't met anyone like me.. us.. that I know of, before now. I've been alone."

He spoke over his shoulder, hearing her, smelling her as she moved away. "No, you're not them. You didn't start the war and you weren't part of it. You and me, Marc, others out there like us, we got pulled in and tagged for a reason. They think we're all beast, heartless killers and that that's all we know... well because I'm a mutant. So, if you have a chip, then someone thinks you are too. So what's your specialty, hm? You know mine," he said quietly, turning to face her, wondering what the rest of her story was.

She chewed her lip for a moment and then let her gaze meet his. "I barely remember my own name. This chip is a cage I can't escape and I can't remember who I was before or what I did or even how long I was in their cages.. I don't know much about what I did while they had me. Flashes, images here and there. I know there was pain, it always hurt, it still hurts but if I can feel it, I know I'm still alive. I don't know if I had brothers and sisters, I don't remember my mother, I don't know if I was born in a cage or not. I don't know much.. only what has been in the last four years. Well a little bit from a damaged piece of my file.. It told me my name and my father's and that the chip in my head inhibits whatever I am. He was furry.." Her eyes closed as she tried to pull up the faint memory she had of her father.

"Furry? But you'll kill others with fur. That's nice, babe. For all you know we're from the same litter, heh?" He chuckled dryly at that irony. It wasn't like he and Marc didn't scrap on the best of days, but they never really did that much damage, let alone tried to kill each other. "Don't try to break past the inhibitor. It only causes more pain. It's also a question of how much you try, it might bring them right to your doorstep. Take it easy and lay down a while. I'll deal with Marc."

"Look, I don't know what your deal is here.. and I didn't know you had fur until you showed up in it. I took the job same as any other, I do what I need to and I don't spend time pouting about the choices I have to make after it's done. It keeps me alive and it keeps me fed and it was my way of paying to get this chip out of my head and be done with it. For better or worse to finally be finished. They've had four years to find me if they wanted to, if they are even looking.. fours years I've survived on my own without anyone holding my hand or patting my head or telling me what to do. I don't need you to tell me about the chip like I have no clue about it. It is the one thing I remember because I live with it there everday.. until I get it taken out. When that happens then.. actually I don't know what happens then and I don't care."

He listened and slowly folded his arms. "Finished? I was trying to be helpful. So why I don't I tell you something you don't know. You won't need a scarf. In about two hours, it'll just look like you and your boyfriend had a good time, but that's it. I offered my help if you want it. The door's there, help yourself. Bed if you want to sleep in it. I'll be downstairs trying to care as little as you do about the future."

"I guess I really don't understand much of anything you've said to me.. I really have no idea what you're even talking about anymore. You tell me not to go then make remarks about what I do to survive.. and talk about my chip like I haven't been living with it in my head for at least ten years.. I'm lost. What scarf? What boyfriend, who is going to see me? What help? Can I have my weapons back?"

She didn't fold her arms but raised her hands to her temples, fighting off the pain the surged through her head. Four years totally alone, other than making contact for jobs and there was little conversation during those meetings.

"Okay. Sit. Sit down, don't talk and try not to think of how much you hate me right now. You can't have them back until I'm convinced you're not going to fall over dead as soon as you walk out the door. One.. the scarf for your neck I told you to tie there to hide the scar. There isn't one, okay? Two... the mark that's left right now that someone, anyone, might assume was some guy snacking on you for good times. That is if you remember anything about good times, and trust me, they're hard to come by. Three... whether you want or need my help, you need to rest. Here, on a street corner, under a damned bus if you need to, but cut the tough girl crap and the 'i can do it myself' and ... would you please, just let somebody...let me help you? What difference does it make about why? I just do. So, do you want to hit the street, going back to your ... your boss or whatever he or they are... and explain to them why I'm still alive or do you want to bypass that touchy little issue and understand they're probably not going to want to hear it?"

The first reaction was shock and her staring at him as her hands slowly moved toward her neck, afraid that she was going to find cloth there that she didn't remember putting there. She didn't remember tying a scarf around her neck to hide the scar or wanting to or caring that there was a scar there. That was scary in itself to not know something she must have recently done. "Good times?" She looked at him blankly, for a long moment before she realized what he meant. "Oh.. I think.. me and some guy.. having good times.. You mean breeding? I hadn't been used for that yet to my knowledge." She shook her head a bit, backing away from him, still terribly confused even about her own self. "I have never needed help.. this.." She waved her hand around the room. "I don't know this.. I don't understand this, you.. here.. why you help.. There was the cage and then there was the streets.. I was young when they took me or I was born in the cage.. I'm not positive.. " She shook her head, trying to clear it. "I don't have a boss to explain anything to.. I don't go back to anyplace but where I stay.. I don't work for a certain person.. I.. independant.. contracts, jobs, whoever needs my skills and pays.. I don't have to explain, I don't do the job I don't get paid."

"And if I'm alive... then your job isn't done, right? Your options are... kill me now and go and get your paycheck so they can drill a hole in your head. You may even survive it yourself. Or, you sit still a minute and try to understand. You stay alive, I stay alive, you get what you want... everybody's happy.... except whoever wanted my hide for whatever reason they wanted it."

"I decided not to kill you when I woke up to find out you hadn't killed me." She admitted softly, she stopped backing away, but was almost against the wall anyway. Her eyes watched him warily, it seemed like she was lost and confused, which she was. The more time she spent with him the more obvious it became that her real interactions with people had been limited. "I want to understand.. please."

A lick and a promise... pt3

The soup was consumed slowly at first until her hands grew more steady. She finished the bowl and set it aside, wiping a few drops from her lips with the back of her bent finger. Tully sighed, watching the man as he slept on the bed, she'd seen his eyes slip closed and though he 'rested' his expression wasn't a peaceful one. Her hand almost reached out to stroke his cheek again but she stopped herself and slowly eased from the bed. He brought in a shirt and she found a bowl of water and a towel that he'd used to clean her up before she assumed by the looks of it.

Going to the mirror now, she used the towel to clean up the fresh blood and looked at what she assumed would be a permanent scar across her throat. "Marked.. that's putting it mildly. Well there goes my super model dreams." She spoke quietly to herself in a sarcstic tone, not even thinking about the fact that she was speaking out loud. She didn't have friends or family, she'd been alone for at least four years and she talked to herself to keep from going insane in her isolation and with the silence. "I kind of like it.. better than what they did to you in the labs now ain't it Tul, ole girl.. This job was supposed to be the one Tul.. the last one and you'd have enough to get that pesky chip out of your head. You sure you want to do that now hmm? Maybe you're like him.. " She stopped speaking and stared at herself in the mirror. "It's still better than this cage I can't get out of.."

She dropped the towel by the bowl and reached to pull on the shirt he'd brought her. She sat on the edge of the bed, her back to the man as she stared at the wall, trying to figure out what to do. "Could have killed me, probably should have.. why didn't he?" She was whispering to herself again, her hands running back into her hair. The tone of her voice varried back and forth as if it were two people talking to one another within her, but there was just her.

"Because maybe he thinks you're worth keeping." The voice was muttered from thin sleep. He'd heard most of what she said but he was too deep to really answer her. "It'll fade. Can't leave yet."

"Worth keeping?" Her head tipped to the side as if she was pondering this thought and she slowly eased down and turned so she was laying on her back next to him. She was tired herself, the soup had helped but she was nowhere near full strength, of course she wasn't sure what her true full strength was. "Can't leave, yet?" She sighed, her eyes closing as her hand drifted over to rest on his arm.

"The chip. We know some people," he muttered again, pulling himself awake enough to talk to her as he felt her weight shift the bed. He stayed still though he watched her. "How long have you had it?"

"The chip.." She sighed, the back of her knuckles brushing over his arm gently. "Long time.. mm my tether, my inhibitor.. my cage even though I escaped." Her other hand rested lightly on her stomach. "Ten years..more than.. maybe fifteen." Her voice was softly murmured as she thought back to things she could barely remember. "I think it keeps me from remembering.. before it was there. Going to get rid of it. There's a guy.. just one more job and I'd have enough."

Not that way pt5

"Not interested in talking for a few minutes if that's okay? And 'sweet' is something I've never been," he smiled, charmingly, darkly and sweetly in a way that threw that theory far away from their hiding spot. The jumbled memory of 'home' that skittered into the fog in her consciousness made him smile wider. "Home.. is only where you feel comfortable... like this," he murmured, shifting slightly.

"Bet you'd be sweet to me if I kept you." She murmured warmly over his lips, letting that thought linger with the kiss that followed. She curled and shifted with his movement, brushing her fingers tenderly over his cheek. It wasn't the walls that made home -it was the two girls who were all the family any of them had had for the past few years. She nodded to his words though, he was right.

"Who's keeping who?" His head tilted and his eyes shone brighter a moment with the kiss.

"Nobody's keeping anybody but me waiting and a not-so-nice guy holding your ride, Rase. Sector 9 was a b*tch and a half tonight. They must be looking for somebody out there. You steal her off a loader or buy her fresh off the truck yourself?" Joe was back and in a mean mood as if he wasn't to start with, looking impatient and bent up like he'd been kicked at least once.

Her eyes lifted at the sound of the other voice and there was an instant of distrust, where she faltered within on whether she could depend on any of them to get her home safely. The mention of stealing or buying her had her eyes darkening with and anger that otherwise went undisplayed. She wasn't going to voice her doubts as it wouldn't do any good if they were justified.

She'd feel his hand leave her side as it swung out, grabbing his 'friend' in the most uncomfortable of places, pulling hard and giving an erstwhile twist. "Accuse me of that ever again and I'm going to enjoy roasting these over my next campfire and sharing a bite with the new bartender. Clear?" He hissed and the vaporous venomous cloud of fear was directed entirely to Joe as he nearly folded in half around the pain. Rase let go and wiped his 'soiled' hand on the man's painted cheek, patting him and blowing him a kiss. "You go when I say and stay until I say. So glad we could have this little chat. Vara? Sorry about this, but I guess our ride is waiting." He tossed the crumpled man a sour grin and shifted to help her out of the booth.

The interaction was watched with a calm expression, though it didn't lay all her doubt and fear to rest. She had her share of things to hide and she knew that she was likely in over her head. These were not people to be triffled with, but she'd made her choice about what she'd done tonight... and there was no going back. Getting tangled up with Raser wasn't part of the plan, which otherwise had gone well, running into him and the patrol all at once had been an unexpected twist, though she found she didn't mind so much running across him. Vara hoped she wasn't going to regret trusting him. She scooted out of the booth behind him, reaching for his hand and wondering if he already knew her 'secret'.

Joe held onto the table, keeping out of Raser's reach, looking up at the man as if he'd already removed his choice 'appendage' from its socket. He had little to say from behind the fear - wholly terrified to move or speak or even breathe until Raser let him, just like he'd said.

Standing, waiting, Raser held his arm out for Vara to curl comfortably into if she wanted. For her, the touch was refuge and protection, but only for her. "Don't move... don't even breathe," he said quietly to Joe, repeating the man's earlier words as his eyes flared brightly, nearly like lightning-strike.

Joe seemed striken just as suddenly, trembling and gasping for breath, his mouth working on words that failed to come forth, airless and lost. The man's grip on the table was all the held him up only for the moment before he swooned, strangled by nothing but his own fear.

Rase watched him collapse, letting him bounce harshly off the table's edge and again off the floor as he fell. The shine in his eyes dimmed and the man took a pained breath from the floor, clawing incoherently for air or substance or anything that meant his continued miserable life. "Thanks for the ride Joe... merry christmas."

With the display continuing Vara curled into the protection of Raser's arm and shifted up close. She watched Joe crumble and gasp, with her head resting lightly against Rase's chest and shoulder, her arms around his waist. She swallowed and lifted her head to murmur quietly. "..and you're sure I don't need to be afraid of you?"

"Don't screw me over and you won't ever need to be afraid," he snipped, though not meaning to sound harsh to her. It was taking a moment for his anger to shift aside as he let go of Joe's psyche completely. He took a deep breath himself and looked down to her where she curled against him, his eyes shining like they were before, at rest and peaceful, absorbingly warm. "I'm sure," he added, offering another kiss to calm her before turning to head out to the back stairs down to the lower level where their 'car' waited.

She took the kiss but as he turned she started to pull away from him, it wasn't just what he'd said but how he said it. Sure he'd been warm a moment later but she felt he was sincere in the sentiment of getting screwed over. "Rase.. maybe.. We should go our seperate ways right now.. maybe some other time.. you know?" She watched him as she slid her bottle safely away and tried not to think about what else she had hidden in the liner of her jacket or how much her room mates needed it. They had stood up for and with her and gotten torn up because of it. She was lucky in how she was able to heal, medical supplies were not easy to come by. She'd only taken what they needed but still it was serious enough that he might think she was screwing him over by not telling and what if someone had seen her? What if the patrol was out looking for her? She knew it wasn't likely that they could ID her but until she was home that tremor of fear would remain.

"I made a promise to get you home safe. Like he said, sector 9's hot. You're not making it past that patrol on your own. Your business if you want to try, but I'm hoping you won't." He stood, waiting, softened in expression and non-threatening, but he'd only wait so long.

She sighed softly, watching him and wanting to be curled back into his arm, but she also didn't want him pissed at her for things she hadn't told him. It's not like she could tell him when they bumped into each other. -Oh hey, come here often? I'm a Leo, I like cuddling and candle lit dinners.. yeah I stole some medical supplies earlier tonight, and you?- She closed her eyes for a moment and then slowly nodded. He was right again -she'd need help getting past patrol if it came to it and he did have a way with people. "Alright." She stepped back towards him, twisting her hands together a little.

From a few feet away, the memory he glimpsed wasn't as clear with the fog of a hundred other people clouding up what he saw and tried to focus on. He wasn't like a typical telepath that could latch onto words and specific trains of thought and some part was like being an empath drawing off the emotional imagery as well as the physical. His was more the imagery itself, literal, figurative, like watching someone else's dream. Sometimes there was no sense to be made, and sometimes there was too much, blaringly direct and sharp. He smiled, comfortable in not knowing. The emotional imagery alone was so similar to daily thoughts, it was like pulling on a favorite shirt only she was softer and smelled enticingly sweeter. His hand reached out for hers. "I'll make it up to you somehow. You weren't counting on the show tonight... that show anyway... and neither was I. He's just sore that I got sidetracked. We'll iron it out later." He shrugged, back to giggling as if it had only been a punch on the arm between brothers.

He was not like anyone she'd ever met, but that was something she liked about him. His laughter brought a smile to her lips, even if it was only a small one. Vara nodded and reached to let her hand slip into his, there was something comforting about having him near, and it really had nothing to do with the current circumstance and everything to do with him. If not for the pleasant effect of the ink she'd likely be very sore and -she wanted to get home before it wore off or she ran out. This bottle was the last of what she had and she didn't know when she'd be able to get more. "You don't have to make it up.. really. I've had worse days, believe me." She stepped closer, looking shyly to those incredible green eyes of his.

"Not trying for worse, here," he snickered, watching her move. The glimpses were only shadows, familiar ones of angry fists and rapid breaths taken by runners, climbers, those looking to get out and away from where they were, and some not succeeding as planned. He wasn't sure if it was her or her friends or simply something seen by a bystander, but he'd pay attention for other clues. "But yes, I do believe you. Hopefully I can take your mind off all of that... half hour of starts and stops, maybe longer if the sector heats up more and we can't get through for a while."

"Don't take this wrong, but I hope we can get through." Her smile was weak, but semi sweet. "I just need to get home." Rave and Ni needed her to get home, one had a broken wrist and both had various other injuries. Some burns as the 'thugs' had tried to brand them right in the street before even getting them on the truck! A girl with a brand like that was going to have a lot of trouble anywhere she went. Vara wasn't as concerned with her own marks, she'd manage and could heal with the aid of inks and dyes -the other girls weren't that lucky. The pain was what got to her -it still hurt like hell while she did heal.

"I understand," he nodded, gently compassionate unlike a minute before. He curled his arm around her to keep her safely close to the back door. Being closer, he might get a stronger image to clarify what he'd thought he'd seen. "You tell me if you need anything else, okay? I mean that... anything at all."

She shook her head gently, lowering her gaze though she curled and rested against him. She couldn't reveal their business to him.. yet he was comforting and she felt that she could trust him. "Nothing.. unless you know a good healer and an artist with some ink to spare. There really isn't anything.. thank though for the thought."

The laugh might have been completely unexpected, almost as unexpected as him letting her know the strange truth. "One of each, actually two, brothers and good friends of mine. Go on and tell me more and I'll let you know what we can do for you."

Her face tilted up and her gaze was nearly disbelieving -he knew people who.. what had she done so good to deserve such a twist of luck? "Really?" She asked him softly, her fingers picked absently at the hem of his shirt as she stayed close in this embrace. "The ink would be for me.. it's not only for fun.. it nourishes and will help me heal. This bottle is all I have left and it's not really enough to fix.. everything. My girls.. room mates are in need of healing as well. That's really why I was out tonight. I was trying to get what I could to bring back for them." She swallowed and chewed her lip nervously, she'd just told him a lot -even if not the specific details, though those images flashed through her head as she spoke.

"Make me a list. You worry about your girls and I'll worry about bringing back what you need," he promised, his eyes flaring again gently as he gave her more to call on in memory, names and a way to contact the brothers after tonight. "You'll know them this way, but let me get a hold of them first. Your turf, you decide where, when and how much you really need from them. They'll bend over for anyone that I trust."

She shook her head slightly. "Anything will help.. a lot of cuts, bruises, some burns, and a few broken bones.. I was able to get a few things, but not alot.. only what could be concealed without being bulky. Something for the pain, some ointments but I don't know.. I'm not a doctor.. I don't know if it's enough."

"I couldn't tell you, but my boys can. Let's get you home first." The back passage led down to the area where the music had been pounding loudly. It was only the music, meant to mask the wind and screech of the shuttles. Beyond the next door the air whipped coldly through the tunnels below, where the sun never warmed and heat was no longer piped.

Vara nodded, going with him through the back passage, the loud music made her cringe a little but as they went further she understood why it was so loud. It was cold and her coat only offered so much warmth over the party dress she was wearing. It had served its purpose well, making people notice what she wanted them to and distracting them from what she didn't want them to see. She shivered at the whip of colder air and looked around as they stepped through.

"Sorry, I didn't mention the cold. I can make that up to you too," he teased, or warned. The platform was a few yards away and a man about Joe's age stood watch for them, calling them over. Raser approached, trusting and willing.

She was still wary and cautious as they approached the man, but where Rase appeared to trust him and moved without hesitation, Vara went with him without pulling back. She stayed quiet and close, letting the two men exchange what words they might need to and hoped she wouldn't have to say anything for now. Her mind was busy with the ideas Rase had put there with his simply comment about the cold. Quite the array of ways he could make it up to her or warm her up came to mind and she very nearly blushed. She was thankful the cold could be blamed for any pink that showed in her face.

Hardly a word needed to be spoken. The man on guard was more wary of Rase than Rase was of him. The nose of the metalic eel hissed into place to let them board through 'gils' that slid open part-way, but enough to get inside. Where there had once been lights in the traincar, broken hulls remained of jagged plastic, the flourescent innards having been stolen for an array of misuses elsewhere. The tube was dark, illuminated only by the random lights that still lined the tunnel itself and the two of them, the only passengers to ride. They would strobe past, blurred and virtually unnoticed between the stops. Raser entered first and beckoned to her to join him. "A little over half an hour. They've made some progress and scattered the policers for now. Timing is everything," he winked.

She moved to slide between the split of the doors and reached for his hand in a natural gesture that surprised her a little. It would be good to get home, more comfortable clothes, knowing her girls were alright, her own bed.. she really didn't need much in life to keep her happy. A smile from Rase, the feel of him close to her.. were added to her list and her own smile brightened a little.

The tube for all it's damage seemed clean at least, even as the door closed and the air itself seemed to shrink away into shadow. The runners that used it must have given that little something back in return, or simply those that maintained it felt the price they could ask would be higher for the pleasure of the lacking stench. Their guard at the platform stepped a safe distance away and the tube began to shift forward as Rase guided her to a seat.

Her eyes moved around in curious observation of what she could see, she was almost child like as she let Rase guide her to a seat. She'd never been on one of these and it was interesting even in a rundown state. She smiled shyly to Rase as her gaze drifted back to him, a small giggle parting her lips. "Do you do this often?"

The shrug itself was almost a guilty admission, but of what? "Define 'this'. Take the runner's line home? Steal away to a private place with a beautiful girl? Offer candy to strangers?" His comments teased quieter and closer as he relaxed and pulled her closer, the lights fading to hints of grey outside the tube as they sped a little faster.

She laughed softly, moving closer with a sparkle in her eyes, her hands against his chest. "Hmm I was asking about taking the shuttle.. but now I'm curious about the rest.."

Raser was curious about the rest as well, delving in gently to discover bits and pieces of her past and current life between discoveries of taste and touch. He encouraged her to take advantage of their private and dimly lit coach as much as he did, finding her journey hadn't been at all gentle to her so far, each of the sores and scratches making themselves known with the whispers. Luck was on their side, but only to get them through the heavy-fire districts and into her sector without delays. "The boys are good when they try hard for a pretty girl," he said sadly as the cars slowed. "We only have a few seconds to hop off when it stops. There's not a lot out here to buffer the sound and you can bet if they didn't get the policers cleared off, they'll be down in the tunnels in a heartbeat looking to catch themselves a runner. Sorry... did I forget to mention that part?" His eyes lit up a little more, seeming to feed on the danger and excitement that they could draw the fire she'd wanted to avoid.

She'd been pleasantly distracted during the trip, exploring him gently with kisses, whispers, and light fingers that grazed over his torso. She'd discovered, tasted, and felt enough to make her want more and for her eyes to give a very faint glow of their own. His energy tasted delicious and she licked her lips, lifting her head to gaze at him. His words took a moment to sink in and she started to pull away from him somewhat, the small tremble ran through her at the thought of the danger she'd been hoping to escape by taking this ride with him. He'd caught her off guard with his 'confession' and she pouted a little. She wasn't all hard core, tough girl, though she had that side to her and could hold her own in many situations and didn't like feeling weak or helpless. "Yeah.. you did. Anything else you failed to mention?" She chewed her lip gently and tilted her head to the side, regarding him quietly.

He thought about that a moment, but the confident smirk returned as the cars lurched more and came to a stop. "Not that comes to mind. Ready? You can really run in those, right?"

"As ready as I can be.. and yes I can run in these." She sort of smirked in return, reaching to lace into his hand and shifting to follow closely. She'd let him lead her out, not sure what they might encounter when the doors opened.

Like the older subways, there was a platform but no tracks to be wary of under the cars. A narrow space curled away below eye-level and instead of climbing out and away, Rase indicated he was about to jump down into the crevasse as the doors opened as far as they would. "Watch your step..."

Vara wasn't confident that there was going to be enough room for both of them in the small dark space, but of course with it being dark she couldn't be sure how much space there really was. There was also little choice in where to go and no time to waste thinking about it, so she followed Rase down.

Not that way pt3

He sucked down the rest of the lit cigarette in a couple long drags before they reached the door, arm in arm and comfortable by the time he reached to open it. The small butt remaining was ground out against a brick and held carefully in his palm. Littering carried nearly as high a fine as the smoking did, but from the looks of the bobbing and slinking shadows beyond the door, there wasn't much concern for either one here. A rough cut haze hung jaggedly from the ceiling, melting in front of ineffective fans that seemed only to move the smell around, but not keep the place cooler. Dark, heavy music pounded beneath the floor and a few drinks still spilled across the bar although last call would have been over a few hours. It was the private party now. He leaned down to give her any hope of hearing him and feeling the gently affectionate nibble at her ear. "Nothing to fear but fear itself," he muttered, hoping she would understand in a minute.

Her eyes closed briefly at the voice and breath on her ear, the nibble sent a pleasant chill over her. Her fingers curled where her hand rested, her arm around him -he wasn't making it hard to 'pretend' that she really liked him. Vara gave a small nod, her eyes drifting out very briefly to take in their surroundings. The music was felt from the floor and carried up through her, she wondered if this was a place he came regularly -he seemed familiar with it.

He stepped forward, keeping her close. The crowd seemed to shy away from them easily, his eyes flaring gently in warning to let them pass. Rase headed toward the bar, looking for someone in particular. "Joe... Joey?! Get yerass out here." He looked around and behind them, not seeing the man right away.

Any conversation that began with that was (usually) either old friends or trouble. Vara wasn't sure which would be better in this case and just stayed close to Raser. She kept her gaze lowered as not to irritate those around her who might not be comfortable with a stranger observing them, but she was still well aware of people's movements.

Someone came out from the crowd, hopping over the bar to stand in front of them. He looked barely old enough to be in a place like this on one side of his face, but the scars on the other, and the implants, prized silvered lenses staring blankly from the heavily art-styled profile, indicated he was probably much older, or just very lucky so far. He seemed to be peeled off the very walls of the place and pulling them deeper in. "You're late, Rase. Whaddya get me for Christmas? I've been reaaaally good this year." He smiled luridly, metal capped canines shining sharply as he looked over Vara. "Ohhh.. you really shouldn't have."

"Not for you, Joe." He looked at Vara, trying to remind her not to be afraid. "She's with me. It's her birthday... sweet sixteen," he teased.

Joe stood back and looked at them both, disappointed, but curious. He gave Rase a more curious glance. "You buyin'?"

Her head tilted as her gaze swept over Joe -her artist's eye was very interested by the way he looked. She felt a spark of inspiration as he smiled, though she shifted slightly closer to Raser, her fingers playing over his chest lightly. She even giggled very softly to his teasing, her eyes lighting up as she turned to look at him, curling into his shoulder a bit more.

"Told you, she's with me." His arm curled tighter around her as she snuggled closer. "Are we clear? Oh, and Santa's gonna be a little late. One of his elves was very naughty." He giggled, himself, giving Vara a wink.

Joe looked more disappointed still and watched Vara more closely. The smile spread slowly and his gaze flicked back to the shaved man. "Happy Birthday!" He nodded, slapping the countertop. He pointed a black painted finger in Rase's face. "Wait here, don't move, and if you let her go, it's my Birthday tonight." He bounced away the way he'd come, over the counter and into the crowd.

If this was just an act, why did she like it so much when Raser's arm curled tighter, his laugh and wink making her give a genuine smile in return. The interaction between the two men brought questions to mind of what it was all about, but she left them unasked -at least for now. All but one, that is. "You're not going to let me go.. right?" Her lips twitched a little and she looked over his face. For all she really knew -he was luring her in so he could sell her off or trade her for something he really wanted. At least she had a trick or two of her own that would help her if that was the case.

Two glasses appeared on the counter, set down by a blur of hands almost too fast to see. The shimmer of someone scuttling back and forth fogged the view of the bottles along the wall, but it was clear the drinks were set down for them. "You're going to want that," he muttered, close again to Vara's ear, taking the moment to enjoy that closeness and nibble again, lingering to let her enjoy it too.

She leaned into the nibble a little this time, curling to return it with a tiny nip to his neck. "Why is that?" She asked softly, the tip of her tongue teasing over the small pinch she'd just inflicted on his neck.

"Slot shuttles pack a hard punch. Better if you're relaxed first," he whispered over her skin, enjoying the tickling tingle as it passed over his lips and tongue more sweetly than the drink on the counter. The ride he'd spoken of was a risky venture on a good day. Slot shuttles, magnetically propelled and braked tube buses had replaced the old railed subways. They were put out of commission and lost to obscurity as quickly as they'd been put in use, buried beneath red tape and political shuffling about accidents, and still buried beneath the city's feet, used now by runners and others who wanted to bypass checkpoints. Connections meant more than they once did.. and Rase had just secured theirs.

She lifted her head from the teasing and stared at him a moment -he was serious. Her eyebrow arched slightly and she bit her lip, stifling a nervous chuckle. "ah.. well then.. I better not." She gently shifted her glass closer to him -if he wanted it. Her arm dropped from his shoulders though her leg curled around his -keeping them comfortably tangled. She reached into an inner pocket of her jacket and pulled out a small bottle -it looked like the ones tattoo suppliers had used for thier ink -before most of the shops went with the rest of the city. "How soon?" She swirled the dark liquid in the bottle a little as she eyed him.

Concern flashed briefly through his expression as she refused the drink and reached to her jacket again. Sudden moves were gauged carefully, his hand at the ready, but the flask wasn't what he was expecting her to produce, especially one that looked like ink. His hand dropped to the leg she'd rustled against his. If she was still acting.. she was doing a damned good job. "Long as it takes for them to deal with sectors 9 and 14 to leave us a hole to break through. About a half hour, fifteen minutes if the boys are bored. What did you have in mind?"

She bit her lip and giggled softly, her leg curled higher, shifting under his hand and she shrugged. "Just trying to gauge when to drink this.. my reaction to it... let's just say I could be very very relaxed after.." Her smile seemed a little shy, like the sweet girl who was just aching to be naughty. She pulled the top from the bottle and let a few drops of the thick dark blue ink pool on her fingers, indigo was her favorite 'flavor'. Her hand lifted to her mouth and a bit of the ink smeared her lips as she licked the rest from her fingers. Her eyes fluttering as she enjoyed the small taste.

The blue-black stained her lips a little, enhancing the pout as it darkened. He'd never seen anyone drink the stuff before, but everyone had a poison of preference. The flutter of her enjoyment of the liquid made him want to taste her more, the tingle, touched with that had to be sweet. His fingers curled around her leg, holding her where she was as he sought another kiss. "I can't say I'm relaxed right now," he smirked... nor that he was just acting this part.

Her head tipped so her gaze met his, her eyes flaring softly with the color and effect of the ink. Her lips curled a little, her tongue pulling the rest of the ink from her lips, though a stain was left from it, her free hand curled up around the back of his neck. This bottle happened to be one of her 'best vintages' so it took only a little to get her revved up -which is why she had it with her, in case of emergency break glass. She chuckled at the thought as she arched up to meet his kiss with her own hungry mouth. The ink acted on many levels for her depending on how much she took. This was like an aphrodisiac for her, sending pleasant sensations through her, the right amounts and she had to be careful -another reason she didn't bother with men. Her girls helped her by keeping her in when she got all fired up with the stuff.

Not that way pt4

The blur behind the counter stopped, taking the form of a short girl with multi-colored hair. She appeared mannequin-like as she suddenly stood still and reached to grasp Rase's arm. She said nothing, but nodded mechanically for them both to slip back to a quiet booth that no one had discovered yet. She smiled as if she'd said something, but it wasn't audible to Vara.

Rase smiled and looked back to the corner. "Thanks. We can wait there just fine," he chuckled and groaned quietly at the same time to Vara, trying to behave. "She'll tell him where we are. Join me?"

Vara smiled a little, her fingers playing over the back of his neck her chuckle was soft as she nodded slowly. "Somewhere a little less open?" She whispered, glancing around them at the others who gathered in this place. What a show they might get from her if she wasn't careful with her ink and with Raser so close, so warm, so handsome... She didn't have her girls with her now to stop her from just following the sensations and reactions.

"Everything's in the open here, just not many people care. I care," he said, stretching against her touch. "Never know who may try something just to prove a point out here, either. Let's go. We've still got some time before Joe comes back."

She nodded in understanding, she wasn't trying to cause that sort of trouble for him.. though to be honest she wouldn't mind a different sort of trouble which involved just the two of them. Her fingers curled tightly around the precious bottle and she stayed close to him, ready to follow him off to a less open spot. She liked him even more for caring about being out in the open and not wanting to have something start. There were so many people who were always trying to prove a point, spending more time doing that than anything else. It was tiresome and boring -all the time-. There were always times and places when stands needed to be made but when it was done over everything it lost meaning.

Rase led her without force, gently directing to the hard-to-see table that was partly obscured by a vending machine that once sold packs like the box in his boot. It now delved out healthy alternatives, if it were plugged in. It was lit only on the top to appear as it should for the daylight customers who abided the new laws but left it ignored. Even the machine had secrets, ones he knew as he reached behind the bench to bring it to life and punch a button. The pack that fell out held tablets, six neatly aligned on a pale pink card that looked hand-wrapped in cellophane. He kissed the wrapper and slid the card away in a zippered pocket before unplugging the machine again. He let Vara slide on in to the corner out of sight ahead of him.

She slid into the booth, across the bench and nestled into the corner -after checking it out a little to make sure there wasn't anything undesired lurking in the shadows. She turned to watch Rase come in after her and pulled her bottle open again, trying to carefully dose herself to be relaxed for their transportation -she knew what other effects the ink had on her -and she enjoyed those as well but could get carried away easily.

He looked up to see her with her dropper on her tongue again and smiled as he slid in beside her. He didn't know if she saw the 'purchase' he acquired or if she'd know or care what it was. "What's it taste like? To you. I can tell you what you taste like after you do that," he said, nuzzling over closer again.

She lapped the last drop from the dropper and set it back to the bottle for now, her tongue moved in her mouth playing with the flavor as she looked at Rase. She giggled and gave him a sort of shy smile as she shrugged. "Mmmm.. candy I guess.. to me anyway.. it's not easy to describe. This one is my favorite.." She tapped the bottle with the dark blue ink. "..makes me all tingley and happy.." Her eyes flared with blue and sparkles and her mood seemed more playful than before. She shrugged her jacket down a bit so it was off her shoulders, but still on.

"That's what you taste like to me," he grinned. Even in the dark corners his eyes shone pale green, lit from within. A card like the one he'd slipped away was pulled from a different pocket with a single tablet remaining. "This one's my favorite... everyone has their own poison," he whispered, voicing his opinion this time as he unwrapped it and dropped it in his drink, watching it foam into nothingness at the bottom. "Totally herbal," he chuckled, raising an eyebrow and his glass to suck it down. "Makes me tingly and happy... sometimes for days."

She giggled at his comment about poison and eyed him for a long moment after, her teeth catching her lower lip as she considered her effects. "Whatever keeps you going.... but um.. speaking of poisons.. that reminds me.. don't bite me.. well at least not hard.. K?"

"I only bite hard when asked to," he reassured, although nibbling gently was still on his mind. After the drug worked its way down, his eyes brightened more but seemed more sharply dug into his cheeks. "What happens if I change my mind? I'm a nice guy, but you don't know me and I don't know you... as much as I intend to find out."

Her eyes were bright as she leaned against the bench watching him with a slight amused grin. "I wouldn't advise playing that game.. " A memory flickered of what happened to the last person who thought she was some tart to grab and sell off to the highest bidder -it was a very unpleasant mistake. "Lets just say I'd leave a bad taste in your mouth if you do.." One you'd likely die choking on.

He chuckled but not at what she what he saw. The girl had more than a few surprises hidden away. "Don't worry... I don't play the shell and sell game... honey. If I don't want your company for myself, I don't waste my time... or yours. Hopefully you're not bored." He wasn't going to explain the coincidence of his comment to her thoughts. She was a smart girl and he expected she'd figure it out soon enough. "Besides, I really like the taste... of you.. and that... on me."

"It's good that you don't.. it's becoming quite the business it seems." She commented but didn't hold onto that thought for too long, not wanting to ruin the mood with discussion of the deteriorating state of the city. One of her room mates was still healing from that encounter with the group of thugs who had tried to grab them.. thankfully all three girls were gifted and skilled. She turned her attention back to the man next to her -he was dark and gorgeous and she decided that she was very glad he wasn't one of those kinds of men. Vara didn't exactly live her life following all the lines and rules -but she hadn't sunk so low as to be a rat or snatcher. She ran her finger down the line of Rase's jaw and smiled softly. "Do I get a taste of you now.. ?"

He considered that a moment then his finger drew along the bottom of his glass to gather the drop or two on the bottom and the bit of concentrated drug that accumulated there. He offered her the taste of that alone first. It was obviously a stimulant, but he hadn't said just how strong it was. It's affect on his gifts was more than apparent. "Tell your friend I'm sorry. If I ever see the guy, I'll do my best to send him her love," he snipped, upset that anyone had gone out of their way to hurt anyone, though his own passtimes might shed a hypocritical light on himself.

She reached to take the taste he offered her, cautious about doing so, things reacted in her system differently than others. His words registered as she sat back against the bench again, rolling her tongue with the taste on it -she liked her ink better. "What?" She asked softly, she hadn't said anything... Her eyes narrowed a little and she licked her lips, watching him carefully. "How.." She trailed off again and chuckled quietly. "I suppose I'll have to be careful what I'm thinking about, around you." Vara sighed and brought her gaze up to his eyes, how they were lit up sort of amazed her. "I'm sure she'll appreciate that. Are you sure you shouldn't be called Hood instead of Pan?"

"I'm sure. It's short for Panic... and I don't rob from the rich to give back to everyone. I'm not a communist.. my family left that life decades ago. I'm my own charity... but I'm still a nice guy," he explained, bouncing off the topic to reassure her again. "Don't worry about what you think around me. It's random usually... unless I have a little help." He raised his glass again.. the drug was just that sort of help. "Raser for mind eraser, though, since I like you, I'll tell you you have nothing to fear... but fear itself. Not me."

"Oh I'm reassured." She chuckled again, eyeing him and shaking her head a little. "So you're not going to show me a good time tonight and make me forget you by morning?" The way she said it with the hint of a tease and tugged his sleeve was almost inviting.

"I'll let you know after I show you the good time, first. When's the last time you were on a slot shuttle with someone you just met?" He teased back, not necessarily talking about their ride.

"Hmm never.. this is my first time.. are you excited?" She teased him back, reaching over to run her fingertip over his jaw. Just a taste.. she licked her lips and smiled.

Even her fingertips tingled on his skin and he chuckled, reaching up to scratch at the tickle. "You tell me," he grinned, his eyes seeming to pulse a little with that excitement. His hand shifted away to bring her closer for the rest of the taste she wanted, to taste how the tingle felt.

"I think you're a very naughty boy and a good girl like me should be careful.." She whispered, just before her lips brushed against his. She shifted forward, nearly in his lap as she reached for a deeper taste. He was delicious, better than her candy and she wanted more. She knew part of it was her ink and part his drug, and a lot of him making her all tingley.

He nodded, finding a better way to tell her he agreed by lingering this time, aware, unafraid of onlookers. Joe mattered and he already said the girl was with him, but anyone else that might want to break in on their good time would regret it severely. He intended to be naughtier, but they were short on time until their ride came. "How do you like the taste of danger? The shuttle has to take a few unexpected turns... could be half an hour all to ourselves."

Her arms wrapped around him and she settled into his lap, stradling him in the booth they shared, she kissed him once more and then pulled back with a playful smile. "I like what it tastes like so far.." Her hand smoothed down over his chest a bit and her eyes were heavy with desire.

"Don't let me stop you. I'm keeping you safe, remember?" He looked back behind them briefly for a glimpse of Joe or the silent girl that had given them the tip. Nothing yet, which was something. The boys must have been busy enjoying himself, so he'd enjoy himself. The ride wasn't leaving without a paying customer. His eyes cooled watching hers draw him in.

"Right.. just not safe from you.." She laughed lightly, not bothered by that idea. Vara nuzzled in closer, kissing his neck and nibbling his ear. "Who is keeping you safe?"

"From you? Daaawwwg, better not be anybody, baby," he chuckled, getting chills from her attention that soared along the heightened senses the drug had already sent aloft. He reached behind her to steady her in his lap. "How about I just talk about keeping, period, safe and everything else?"

His choice of words earned him a slow pass of her delightful tongue over his neck. "Sweet talker.." She teased softly, trailing tiny kisses along his jaw. "Keeping.. I think I like that.. keep talking." She was comfortable right there in his lap and for a few moments thoughts of getting home faded, replaced with him and how good this felt.

A differnet brand pt3

He bent to help her with her boots and she gave him a smile, not saying much about the pain which had begun to bother her again. She was most concerned with letting the other girl's have the medical supplies she'd stolen for them. They didn't have the same healing ability that she did, though it didn't erase her pain or wounds instantly. Rase had seen her slip and she sighed, reaching with a wince to start taking off the party outfit which was becoming uncomfortable. She wanted something softer or nothing at all against the bruises and scrapes she'd hidden from him thus far. Her fingers reached to brush over his cheek after she'd loosened her top a bit and she smiled. "Thank you." Her toes flexed and curled now that they were free of the boots.

"No need to thank me, just don't pass out on me or I can't help you any more than this," he said, pushing the boots out of the way and watching her start to undo the rest. "If you want me to turn around you'll have to tell me. I'm a little dense sometimes," he winked, not embarrassed.

She slowly pulled the top free of her arms and let it fall to the side. A small smile played over her lips. "Let me know when I'm supposed to make you turn around.. this is new to me.. you could hand me those boxers and tank top.. please?" She pointed to the discarded garments she'd worn the day before.

He was curious about the garments she asked for and fumbled around with them a little as he handed them to her. "Sorry, not every girl wears boxers. Did he put up a good fight for them?"

"Who?" Her eyebrow arched up and then she shrugged with a soft chuckle. "I don't know I pulled them off a rack at the second hand store in sector 8." Her eyes passed over him and then she pouted a little.

He laughed as she did. "Sorry," he raised an eyebrow as he found himself surprised at his own jealousy and chuckled more. "I'll just... ," he motioned a circle and turned himself around before sticking his foot in his mouth any deeper. "Sector 8's a tough place for a casual shopping trip. Must have been on your way?"

"Had a line on some good ink.. I made a special trip to do some bartering. .. So yeah it was on the way." She chuckled again, shaking her head as she slipped off her skirt and replaced it with the boxers. "Okay." She let him know it was okay to turn around as she pulled the tank top down over her torso. She was eyeing him with a mischievous smile. "If I wanted yours.. would you put up a fight?"

He turned back around to see her lounging more casually and the eyebrow shot up again. "Only if you wanted me to. I've got this whip..," he said, pointing a thumb to the general direction where he'd left his bag, though the way he approached her didn't have anything to do with 'that' whip. "Or I could just give in."

"I'm too tired and sore to fight.. though I'm sure I'd could give you a run." She smiled, patting the bed beside her though he was approaching her anyway. "You could just be nice and give me anything I want.. starting with a kiss.." She reached to gently hook him with one toned leg being careful of the few tender marks on it.

"Mercy, please," he teased, giving in to her demand as he fell into that grasp. What had started on the train was far from finished and never would be completely as far as he was concerned. "Not sure I have the right kind of ink to get you high."

"Funny.. I was thinking you might have exactly what I need." Her arms reached up to wrap around him, bringing him down toward the kiss she desired. "I may have to sample what you have before I can answer that for certain.. it may take me a very long time.. I hope that won't be a problem?" She gave him a pouty look with a bat of her lashes that made her look adorable and sexy all at once.

A different brand pt2

It wasn't easy to move and lay down, but she did it without complaint, only a hiss of pain before she settled and stared up at the wall. Focusing on the stained plaster to distract her through the wave and ache.

Venge chewed the meat slowly, hoping not to make himself even hungrier by having the nibble. He came out to the front room again, wondering how Sari was faring and how much he hadn't been told, not that she'd say anything Rave hadn't already. "When's Vara due back? Patrol's been heavy tonight," he yawned as the last bits of flesh were swallowed down.

Sari was pacing the front room, looking worried. She turned with a heavy sigh and shook her head. "I thought she'd be back by now.." She closed her eyes and clenched her scraped hands into fists, breaking open some of the sealed scratches.

"Sari, it's bad, but none of your are telling me how bad. That's my sister in there and she's got a taste for blood right now," he needled, pointing to the other room. "What happened out there? Who were they? Where? Before it happens to anyone else, I need to know."

"Maul." She whispered softly, sighing again and starting to pace nervously again. "I think they were his goons.. look at the mark.. I'm pretty sure it's his." Her fingers raked back through her hair and she fought at frustrated tears that threatened. "Where? about three blocks from here.. we were just out for the day, supplies, work, know.. it was in the middle of the day Venge.. They jumped us and dragged us in the alley.. about ten to fifteen guys.. Why? Heh.. have you taken a look at Vara or Raven...? Beautiful, young, healthy, no visible scars.. and not hanging around a lot of guys. Maul's had his eye on them awhile.. all three of us shot down him and his boys at a party a couple weeks ago.." Maul was known in other sectors where he'd gotten control and had alot of muscle, he was the one to go to if you wanted to buy or sell or arrange a snatch and sell.

Venge’s expression darkened more still. He couldn’t do much about any more than two at a time and Maul was no lightweight on his own. Iain could hold his own against a few, but they’d need more than just themselves. “I’m not sure that accepting their offers would have turned out any better. You need a better watchdog. I can’t be here often enough.”

"We probably need to move.. honestly, how long do you think it will take for them to find us? How are we supposed to get food or work?" Sari nearly punched the wall but turned away and just swung at the air. "I'm so.. everything right now!" Her arms folded around her middle and her head shook sadly.

“One day at a time. They best you one day, you take another route, go another way, find a way. You do what you have to do to survive. Right now, that might be finding a way to be sure they don’t.”

"I've.. we've survived this long, three girls on our own. No men to keep or protect us or abuse us.. But it's just us, Venge.. We can't go up against Maul and his men.. look what happened with us all together.. we got away but not without a cost." She held up her wrist to show the half mark that they had managed to get on her, if it hadn't been for Raven -freaking out- when they branded her, Sari would have had the full mark and Vara would have been dragged into the van. Both she and Vara had poison in their blood, so once they could get a hand free -they used that as a weapon. "Maybe it's time to find a little bit safer place.. not that there's much.. but we've been here long enough to be known if they come looking."

Her key was so quiet in the lock and she moved in almost silently, she'd warned Rase to follow behind and be quiet, her hand was laced with his as she came in. She stood there listening to Sari go on in her frustration, anger, and fear.. Vara knew too well what she was feeling. "If we had a place to go, that would be wise.. we don't have anywhere to go." She spoke quiet, trying not to startle Sari as the words just came out from her thoughts, which reflected Sari's statements.

Venge felt the air change as the door opened and listened as Vara entered, tipping his head at the curious stranger behind her. The hand clasped in her own told him he was a welcomed guest, not someone forcing his way in behind her. “You could go anywhere you wanted in the world. It wouldn’t be any better, though. Glad you’re alright,” he said, coming closer to Vara to greet her warmly, though wary of the man with her. “I haven’t met your guest. Can I help you with your things? Rave’s in the back and I can just take them back to her to help put them away.”

Rase walked in slowly, taking in the surroundings that seemed light and cheerful compared to what he was used to. The dark-haired man moved strangely and reminded him of the people in front of the med center once the docs were done taking what they needed and poured the patients out in the street. “Pan, like Peter,” Rase smiled, letting lose of Vara’s hand to offer his to Venge.

Sari spun at Vara's voice, the relief washing over her face in an instant, though just as quickly her expression shifted to wary and suspicious of the strange man. "I'm glad you're home.." She watched this Pan guy with a guarded trust, Vara was holding his hand and had brought him in with her. "I didn't know you were bringing a date home.. I would have picked the place up." The apartment was far from messy, kept mostly tidy and clean by he girls, it was a little run down but still much brighter than one might find elsewhere. Their art and decor is what really brought the place to life despite the blemishes of the building.

Vara gave the girl a bit of a smile and she tugged Rase gently into the room, closing the door behind them. "This is Venge, Raven's brother.." She introduced him first as he'd approached them while Sari hung back -not quite glaring. "..and that's Sari.. Raven is resting?" She looked to Venge, knowing he had probably started tending to her. "How is her arm?" She shrugged out of her coat, handing the heavy garment to Venge as it held what supplies she'd been able to lift, in its pockets and lining. She glanced at Sari as the other girl's wings fluttered. "Pan helped me get home safe.. and saved me from a few run ins with the patrol.." She explained how they came across each other in a brief statement, but it was likely enough to appease the others a little.

Venge took the coat and not the offered hand in greeting - who knew where else it had been. The man looked rugged and dank, smelled worse and the name seemed too ‘cute’ for him. “I’ll just get this out of your way. Glad you’re home.” He blew a kiss for Vara and slid away to the back to tend to Rave with whatever he could find in the pockets, being careful of all the contents.

“Friendly bunch,” Rase muttered to himself, taking his hand back and brushing it down his jacket. He unslung the pack from his shoulder, hoping he’d be offered someplace to put it and himself that wasn’t the center of attention. “Sari, nice to meet you.” He tried with the girl at least since this was her home.

Sari watched Venge go off and she exchanged a look with Vara that said she had many questions. With his movement and words Sari's attention turned to their guest. She offered him a slight smile and a nod. "Charmed.. I'm sure." She held out her hand to him where Venge had not. "You'll forgive our manners.. it's late and we've been worried. I'm tired and sore -it makes me a touch cranky."

At least Sari was being somewhat friendly, maybe not warm with open arms but she wasn't trying to toss him out or injure him. Vara watched the two interact -she hoped the girls would like him -since she had the intention of keeping him. Sari's colors were darker tonight, shades of deep purple and blue -reflecting her 'mood', tired, in pain, worried.. dark.. even so -she was beautiful. The wings of a butterfly.. she looked like a fairy.. Vara sighed and tried to stretch a little to keep from getting stiff.

Rase took the other girl’s hand in a brief light grasp, not trying to delve into the images that flowed freely in her forethoughts, though it was usually inevitable. The questions that took form enough for him to ‘see’ made him smile a little. “I don’t want to be a bother. I just wanted to make sure she came home in one piece.“

Sari chuckled ever so softly and gave another small nod of her head, letting go of his hand as she motioned around her. "It's not a bother.. really. Please make yourself comfortable. Thank you for seeing her home.. in one piece. We're quite fond of her." She took a step to move to the side of the room, nodding to Vara in acceptance of his being there. He made the tiny feelers on her hand tingle enough to put a small smile on her face. She eased herself down into a chair that accommodated the wings, sitting sideways to lean into the cushions a little.

Vara was relieved that Sari wasn't being more sour, they'd all been through quite a bit and being so tired, sore and on edge did have a way of making people unpleasant. She kissed Sari's cheek on the way by. "I'll check on Raven a little later.. let Venge get her settled and rested I hope." She moved past her friend and motioned for Rase to go into the room to the back of the common area.

Rase wasn’t sure staying was a good idea although her friend’s welcome was warmer than the man’s had been. He followed Vara’s lead for now, giving Sari another smile, keeping the thoughts to himself about what he’d seen in her recent memory. The girl was a strong fighter and had a mouth on her when riled, something he’d keep in his own memory just in case. He hadn’t met the other girl yet, but assumed the dark haired girl with them was Raven, the girl at the back, sister to the man he’d just met. “I’m kinda fond of her being in one piece, too.”

Sari chuckled again. "Good.. then we agree to do our best to keep her that way.." Her head tipped against the chair and she closed her eyes for a moment, the long day was starting to win out on her.

Vara reached to lead Rase into her room, even if he only stayed a few minutes to be sure she was settled safely she felt they would be more comfortable in her private space rather than the open room. She dropped down on the end of the bed and bent to pull her boots free, but stopped and grabbed the post of the bed instead. The bruises and scrapes were starting to ache again as the effects of her ink wore off. She bit down on the sound and slowly sat up, leaving her boots on for now. "Thanks for getting me here.." She breathed out a heavy exhale and tried to ignore the pains for now.

“What was that? Let me see. I thought you were feeling better,” he said, watching her carefully now. He didn’t want to talk too loudly, not sure how thick the walls were. It was out of habit to talk quietly when he wasn’t in the club. He dropped his pack on the floor and helped her with the boots.