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March 2, 2020 - 6:15am


What?...when?....I want……what do you mean he already said he wouldn’t talk to me?  Judy did you…. What about the chief did he……ya… ya…. ok…..I get it.


Phone snapped shut viciously before being jammed back into her front pocket.


Doji bakayaro koshinuke sukebe saitei………


Back of her head hit the wall several times as the string of insulting expletives continued to mutter from her lips.  It was the third cop from her district to jump ship to the Vanguard since the bloody moon events in November.  Men she had always known to be good cops were suddenly bigoted "kill them all" fanboys.




Last insult breathed from her lips as she pushed from the wall. Having the dispatch girl tell her was the final insult of just how pathetic Joe had proved to be. There was a reason they didn’t want to talk to her when they made such stupid decisions. She wasn’t called the barracuda behind her back for no reason. Her words could slice a man and leave him cowering in the aftermath.

And all this before her damn morning coffee.

The door she had just been grabbing when the phone had rung and interrupted was grabbed once more, pulled open a bit roughly as she strode up to the counter to wait her turn still half muttering under her breath when Rachel asked a second time if she wanted the usual.


Huh… ?.. oh sorry Rachel… ya… the usual… and one of those cinnamon walnut..things you keep trying to pawn off on me.


The girl behind the counter lit up. She was a bit of a baker and so was always creating something new for the café. Unfortunately the detective wasn’t a breakfast person so she was usually disappointed every time she offered.

Today just felt like a sit down and eat sort of day. It was going to be long and annoying; two things best dealt with on a full gut.

The small coffee cake was pulled from the top of the glass case as she turned to park at the table in the front corner, taking the seat with her back to the wall. It was a cop thing. Picking at the little coffee cake concoction while she waited for her triple espresso, she had to admit, the thing wasn’t half bad.

So…. big decision for the morning was did she go into the precinct and deal with this shit? Or just hit the pavement. She was strongly leaning towards the latter as the other method hadn't bought her any good will with the chief the last two times cops turned traitor on them.

Fuck Mondays.

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Spring.  It still chilled his bones.  Good coffee helped.  Always.


Paper was being read meticulously as the delicate clink of the cup made contact again with the saucer.  The college look again, doctorate perhaps, the glasses actually something he needed.  He had been a bit like a hibernating animal finally waking up, the newfound stalemate with his presence in the city something that was allowing him to be in the open a bit more.  There was a target on his back, a price on his head… most likely there always would be, but it was giving him the freedom to do as much as he could clearing up his existence before the axe finally came down… and feeding the growing aggression bubbling in his gut like molten.  Perhaps a suppressed character trait that had been controlled all this time by the discipline, he had no clue.


It still hadn’t taken away the razor sharp attention to every detail in proximity to him.  The eyes, the ears, the intuition.  It was always on.  Beaten into him. Over, and over, and over.  He didn’t miss her, paper only shifting slightly from its open position in his corner seat as his peripheral confirmed suspicions.  Law.  Military perhaps.  Her presence was mentally written onto the long list of things he was keeping tabs on while in the café.  Always ready at a moment’s notice.


Murder.  Mayhem.  The paper was always focused on the same thing.  He scoured it for anything else, a sign, signal… something that would give him another lead to chase. The rogue trusted no one.  Arma wanted him dead, but he was useful.  Order wanted him dead, but he was useful.  The rogues wanted him dead because he was useful.


Sigh soft, the paper folded in half and he lay it on the table, picking up his cup and saucer to retrieve more coffee.

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As she waited for her espresso, nostrils picked up on more than brewing coffee and baked goods. Expression remained blank as she picked at the small cake in front of her, nostrils drawing in a deeper breath.

Burning. Something was burning.

Brows knit ever so slightly as she let her hearing and sight fall away to focus on the scent trail, expecting something was left too long in the oven in the kitchen. But the kitchen was not where she was led. Amber refocused, flicking across the café to the man hiding behind the newspaper and chicken scratching in its margins. She had taken note of him when she entered but now her nostrils studied him.

No one else likely noticed, but to the petri dish of scents she lived in, he wreaked of fire and smoke.  Firestarter…. or mage. Seemed harmless in his corner of the world.

Fingers still picked at the cake by the time her triple espresso hit the table. Faint smile came as she thanked Rachel by name, cup drawn up to breathe deeply of the dark aroma. It helped clear her "pallet".

Door flung open and a couple teens came in. The two males were typically loud and strutting their machismo in front of the barista. World had gone to hell in a hand basket but some things never changed. Rachel for her part, was unimpressed.

Espresso was scalding hot, just how she liked it as the first sips seared down her throat while the punks idea of flirting was to toss gratuitous innuendos at her about hot cakes and dipping their sticks. Kids that didn’t get spanked enough in their youth.

By the time they were leaving Rachel was flustered and near tears. She was a rarity in this day and age, an actual "sweet kid".

As the two dicks approached the door with their mocha cappuccino whatsits, her foot casually slipped up to rest on the front of the seat across from her. Timing, distance, effort, aim…. these were specialties of hers.

They were nearly there when muscles contracted and with complete casual indifference the chair flung out in front of the door, tripping both boys up violently, hot coffee spewing over both as they fought to catch themselves.  As a diatribe of cursing spewed forward she simply sipped her triple espresso.

It was hardly appropriate "cop" behavior, but she didn’t give a crap. They had it coming. As one scrambled off the floor, untangling a leg from the tipped over chair he didn’t get two steps towards her as she slid her right leg outside of the table, her badge flashing from where it was clipped on her waistband. Whatever he was about to say was cut short, his friend yanked to his feet as he half drug him out the door.

Head shook as she stood to retrieve the chair, taking the towel from Rachel as the flustered girl came over to clean up the mess, wiping the chair off herself before sliding it back under the table.


Ya ok Rachel?


The girl half smiled and nodded in appreciation as she took back the towel and wiped off the door and floor in front of it.

Rae slipped back into her seat to finish her coffee in peace, hoping the friendly fireboy in the corner wasn’t looking to start a fuss now too.

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He was being watched.  Briefly. Not just a passing glance, the intent was almost palpable in the air, then released as he was dismissed.  Mana… more specifically him, he couldn’t turn off.  He was unique.  As quickly as the attention disappeared, his eyes were up at the top of the paper, peripheral scanning again.  It was probably time for him to leave. Shame.  Of course, it could be just a tail from either of his two fan clubs- which had happened more than once lately. Or, the fan club that nobody wanted to talk about.


He’d just finish his new cup and move on to the library, eyes up again at the door. The force the two guys used to pull it open changed the pressure of the room, warmth whooshing out to be backwashed by the still cold spring. His skin shivered a moment, soft eyes following toward the counter and their behavior.  Paper was folded and tossed on the table, scalding coffee downed like a shot as he moved to “return” the cup and saucer.  One thing he knew a lot about was running a café, and dealing with asshole customers.  His presence at the counter drew their attention.  He wasn’t huge, but his stature was formidable, eye contact lingering and a soft shake of his head as he set the cup on the bus counter and slid it toward “Rachel”.  Seems it was enough to get his point across and they left with their shit attitudes, attention off them as he smiled softly at the barista.


“No mind,”  he said softly.


The mask was easy, the urge to follow and slit their throats was harder to suppress.  It was heavy in his limbs... like withdrawal.


The crack of a wood chair and skin hitting the floor knocked him out of the tumble toward violence and his assuring smile, quiver of the air over his skin hushed as the badge flashed.  Whoah he didn’t need that.  Rachel brushed past him with a towel to clean up.  He reached over the counter and grabbed a damp and another that was dry.


Ya ok Rachel?


His dropped to the floor and he knelt next to the hurried girl, taking care of the sticky mess it would become as the cop calmed her.  She was flustered, and flustered people tried make things go away as fast as possible to return to normal- not necessarily always in a good way.  He knew the drill; in his old life cleaning up coffee spills was normal.  Silver flashed briefly to the cop as he stood to toss the towels into the sink behind the counter; there were more discreet ways to take care of idiots.


“I should just hire you,” Rachel said quietly.  “You’re always here in the morning anyway.”


Smile was soft as he shook his head.


Eyes were on him again.  Time to leave. 


“Gotta get going, take care,” he returned to the table to snag his things, pausing a moment before slinging the messenger bag over his shoulder.  He was not shaking the urge to punctuate the cop’s “lesson”.  He needed to.


Slipping out the door, keen eyes found their path and set after it.  Just a fat lip.  Embarrassment often brought retaliation, and the cop wouldn't always be there to flip a damn chair.  They needed to know there were consequences, with a dash of paranoia that someone was always watching.

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She hadnt missed his soft reaction to Rachel. Sweet on her? Perhaps.

Not really the cop's concern. So long as he wasn’t a threat to her morning Barista she didn’t care where his affections lay. She wiped down the chair as he wiped down the floor, not missing the flashed gaze.

The big guy didn’t approve of her disciplinary tactic. She didn’t have time to lecture a couple pubescent teens. Dropping in her chair she polished off the triple espresso and cracked off a large chunk of Rachel's cake as she listened to Rachel kid she should hire the guy.


Strange. They must be on different hours. She knew the regulars that came in during her morning routine.

Amber orbs followed him out, noting it was immediately in the direction of tweedle dee and tweedle dum. Shit.

Sighing quietly she picked up her plate and cup to bring them up to the counter.


He gonna do something stupid?


Rachel bit her lip slightly, clearly unsure and worried for the man. Perhaps sweet on him back. Sigh came again from the cops lips.


Don’t worry…. I got it.


Hand slid around her waistband, tucking the gun properly in as she strode out of the door and moved in the direction of the teens as well.  She should just let it go but honestly it was better than heading to the precinct and throwing a fit with the chief.

Despite her fairly diminutive height, she could make long strides look effortless, eradicating distance quickly between herself and Rachel's "beau". One good thing was her jeep was this way anyway so she wasn’t really wasting time.

The silver-eyed newspaper reader paused when the kids chatted up a girl opening the bakery down the street, she took the opportunity to pause behind him, still several car lengths behind him.

Arms folded over her chest as the words came quiet.


It aint worth it you know.

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Lashes had lowered slightly, the world warping.  He was dangerous.  Literally, figuratively.  All magus were dangerous to their own extent.  Trained and untrained.  Then, there was him.  Something else entirely.  His danger didn’t come from that, it came from the fact he was now so unpredictable. A bi-polar shift that almost was becoming more effort to control than to just let go and deal with the catastrophic


It was through that, he knew exactly the second the cop had stepped out the door.  He could kill her.  In a second.  Nobody would ever be the wiser, thoughts spiraling deeper, senses becoming honed to focus on a pinpoint.  Strides became more and more silent as he effortlessly wove around, through, over, and under every obstacle; becoming invisible to the general public.  So normal, so smooth, so slick he could slice a throat and walk away… disappearing before anyone would ever realize what had happen.


Reality rushed back against his senses with frightening speed, pulling him from the dark spiral, and he stopped.  Two.  Three?  One?  He wasn’t phased that the thought of killing them all had passed through his brain… or that he thought it was okay to do so.  Hand adjusted on the worn bag strap as he seemed to be a pedestrian just figuring out his surrounding and finishing his coffee before hailing a cab.  The ones before him were his interest, but the one behind was his target.


It aint worth it you know.


Soft snort exhaled through his nostrils, finishing the last of his coffee. He could move in another direction and leave the whole issue alone. He could.  Some shiver of a spark deep in his gut though wouldn’t.  Agitation.


The about face as he turned in her direction to throw his cup into a trashcan was purposeful, casual glance at her disinterested, a twitch to his cheek as he took several steps backward away from her calmly before turning away to continue the momentum and close the distance between himself and the idiots.  Skin had been humming at its normal low burn to this point, and literally sprung to life at that moment into a heavy heat. It was brazen, blunt, and screamed of not giving two fucks she was there.


Did he care anymore that he stuck out?  Perhaps.  He was already a dead man if whichever side decided he wasn’t useful got to him first.  He would go out swinging… and bring half the world with him.




This was just his contribution to the whole while he still had the means to do so.  Muffins seemed interesting at the moment, standing unusually close to them both as he was “selecting” a few to buy and take back to the church with him for the Vicar.


*npc*  You… you were at the coffee shop.


“Mhm”  came from his lips quietly as he waited patiently for the young lady to be ready to take his order.


*npc*  You follow us here?


The under breath hiss brought the girl’s eyes to him, nervous.


*npc*  It’s okay… they’re fine…


Her shrug pissed him off, the whole situation pissed him off.  Unwanted attention… it brought the edge of his memories to a boil.  He passed her the total for his stuff and took the paper bag from her, nodding once.  His look toward the “wonder twins” however, was anything but kind.  Challenging… “I just pissed on your shoes” unkind, shoulder brushing the larger man’s enough to agitate them both.


He would take a shortcut.  A shortcut through the alley courtyard to the subway drop.  A shortcut away from the bustle of streets and attention of passersby.


They followed him off the street into the alley.  To kick his ass.



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A feral….


At least that was what she would have thought had her sense of smell not already eliminated the option. She still went with fire mage or elemental due to the scent of burn in the air around him in the coffee shop. But now the way he moved; so fluid and calculated; vanishing within a crowd. She added to her assessment; trained, skilled and likely dangerous. The average Joe couldn’t become invisible like that, hell most cops couldn’t come close.


Dark amber watched the pause and the way her words were left distinctly answered as he turned and tossed a casual glance in her direction. Hand on her hip, a brow lifted at his assessment, herself not making a move either. She wasn’t trying to start shit, but seemed she was always walking into it.


Nostrils flared as heat again spilled off his skin. Well that could really make her day suck. Pick a fight with fireboy or walk away. Decisions…decisions.


As he paused to assess muffins, she paused to lean against the street light pole, right foot hooking around the left ankle as arms lightly crossed her chest. Thick lashes dipped as she watched the entire exchange, the man's last look to the two was an outright dare. Kids were going to be toast. Stupidity set in around thirteen for boys and seemed to linger well into their twenties.  These two were right in the middle of their stupidity years as evidenced by their steps following the man into an alley she knew would seclude them.


She could walk away. Then again, she was still a cop.


As the two disappeared around the corner, she stopped at the bench that sat along the front sidewalk. Foot climbed on the seat, hips perching on the back rail as her back pressed to the brick wall. Sensitive ears focused around the corner as she settled in. These days jail never seemed to scare anyone straight. Maybe this would.  Problem was, she wasn’t sure he was looking to scare them or peel their flesh from their bones.


Hand slid into her front pocket to retrieve the pack of gum, a stick unwrapped and folded between her teeth  as she settled in and simply listened.


She was still a cop.

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"Dude, what is your fucking problem?"


He kept walking.  Was irritating to be annoyed by someone you didn't want bothering you wasn't it?


"Sergeant Pepper, I'm talking to you!"


Eyes narrowed slightly at the jab about his hair.  He flipped up his hood.  Somewhere along the way he'd decided to just get on the subway and go "home" in peace, maybe... it had crossed his mind, the distance he was putting between himself and the street behind him cooled a bit more.




There it was, the unintentional reflexes.  Intent to harm the priest, and the hand that was supposed to grab his shoulder to ready him for a punch was twisted up behind the guy- his face on a brick wall.  It could have become a brawl, it should have, but it wasn't.  The lunge of his friend to help staved off as effectively as pointing a gun.  Except, fire.


It didn't go anywhere, but the palm held up swirled in a blue flame so hot it made the partner flinch and fall back a few steps.


"Stop.  Annoying.  Women."


It was the only thing he said before letting the offender go and yanking him back off the wall to shove toward his friend.


They both looked at him incredulously, backing up.


"Fuck you buddy!"


Saving face, of course.  Fingers flicked at his side, skin of his hand lighting up again.  They took off.


Sigh was light, looking at the offending palm at his side before snuffing it out and picking up his muffin that had been dropped.  He stood a moment, blinking after them.  It felt, strange.  Strange he wasn't running to hide his kill.


"I wasn't go to kill them," he said to the gum he could smell being chewed not some forty feet away.  "Should have bloodied a nose or two though."

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White film billowed from between pursed lips as well massaged gum began to swell with air before lips parted and sucked it back in. Brow quirked at a thuggy looking owner that came out of the cigar shop beside her perch, marching up to her, chest filling with air to go on a tirade that got choked back as her hand slid away from her hip to glint at him her badge and gun.




Even if she wasn’t a cop, she was perched on a bench that wasn’t even in front of his shop window. In other words, no reason to go picking a fight with her. He pivoted and headed back into the shop with a huff, the scent of hundreds of cigars tickling her nostrils causing the bridge to wrinkle in annoyance as she went back to listening to the exchange in the alley.


Kids were really just as stupid as she had first assessed as they taunted a big silent guy that had followed them in the first place. Entirely no sense of self preservation. Head leaned against the brick as she listened to the attempt to scuffle with the man… it didn’t go in their favor as nostrils again picked up the scent of fire.


"Stop.  Annoying.  Women."


Smirk slid her lips as gum moved to the other side of her mouth, arms perching on raised knees as she leaned forward. Kid tried again to be a big shot but the thicker scent of fire only set feet to pavement quickly. Not so brace now were they.


They got off light…… damn light…. considering how bad the streets were these days.


Brow quirked as they both blew by her with all the swagger of a lizard being hunted by a hawk. Actually, that was a slight on the lizard.


"I wasn't going to kill them. Should have bloodied a nose or two though."


Shrug came with a faint nod of her head as she watched the pair of nitwits round the corner and vanish from sight, smirk on her lips before the head shook slightly.


Yup…probably should have.


Ya... not a typical cop reaction but..eh...

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Pupils narrowed to pinpoints, then flared after the duo as he came to the edge of the alley to “confess”.  They were startled, afraid of him, the odd feel of an attack dog wanting to chase overwhelming his senses.  He’d never let anyone run away from him before.  Nobody ever feared him; they never knew he was there before he slit their throats.  It bothered, and relieved him at the same time.  The thrill of a potential chase though, that was unexpected.


Yup…probably should have.


Side glance to her perched form on the bench was not amused.  She had no idea.  He had to remember that.  He also needed to remember he needed to stay under the radar.  Being seen by a cop following and setting people straight was one thing.  Talking to one, sticking around for one to get a good look at him after he’d terrorized two kids was another.


He snorted slightly, taking the muffin out of the bag and crunching up the paper.  Looking after them, he enjoyed his muffin, tossing the bag into the nearby trash before nodding to her and moving back down the alley toward his subway drop.


“They keep harassing people, maybe they need to be taught more than just a lesson.  You're a cop, right?  Protect and serve.”


Not snarky, just... obvious.  Tripping people in cafes that ended up leaving and causing more trouble wasn't exactly the best plan.  Of course following them with intent to... maim wasn't either.  Thank goodness he still had some shred of self control.

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The glance that came her way was far from amused. That was fine, she wasn’t there to amuse anyone. Pink billowed from her lips as she blew another bubble while he snorted at her and finished his muffin. Seemed he wasn’t going to make chase after tweedle dee and tweedle dum.


“They keep harassing people, maybe they need to be taught more than just a lesson.  You're a cop, right?  Protect and serve.”


Frown dipped her brows faintly as the bubble was sucked back in with a snap. Eyes rolled after the guy started down the alley.


Right….teach harassing kids a lesson…. that’s a good use of my time….


Mutter was half under her breath as she hopped off the bench and stuck her left hand in her jean pocket, right absently gesturing in the air as she talked to herself walking back to her jeep. Several on the street watching the woman as if she were crazy. She didn’t give a crap what they thought.


Cops flipping out and leaving the force… lycans on the rampage…. outworlder homicides… someone fucking with the viruses….and I am supposed to spend my time teaching idiot teens a lesson about manners…..


Truth was she had been following to ensure there wasn’t a homicide… it had nothing to do with the stupid teens. Thankless job… but she was used to that. She didn’t do it for the thanks.


As she crossed the street the head fell forward halfway there as a chuckle murmured in her chest, head shaking. Hands stuffed into her jeans she lifted a foot once she was there to push on the tire with the large bowie knife stuck in the side of its wall.


Well that’s just perfect.


This wasn’t her first busted tire. Cop car parked anywhere was in danger of being vandalized these days. Reaching down she yanked the handle from the rubber, another souvenir to add to her collection. Hand began spinning the lock on the spare that hung off the back of her jeep, pulling the heavy wheel from its perch to bounce once on the ground before she rested it against her bumper. Code was entered on the panel of the metal storage box on the back of the jeep, lock popping as she flipped the heavy lid open and tossed the knife inside with her litany of weapons before grabbing the jack out.


This was her last spare too... she was going to have to go scavenging in Jersey again to find a few more of the big wheels to keep on hand.


Fuck Mondays......

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