NaNoWriMo 2007 – Eight pt02

Eight. (in its unedited NaNo mad glory) 
Its Magic. Idiot.
Sitting down on her bed she pulled her laptop onto her lap and connected the camera to it uploading both the videos and deleting them from the camera, before she began the email to Jamie.
From: scotoma@scotomashop.net

To: lil_J@jspace.net
Subject: Vids

Hey guy,

Here is the video I mentioned. According to big J he saw nothing but I am attaching it anyway and another video of myself performing the motions I saw the statue perform. We got a new supplier as well, he’s designed new suppressors and big brother apparently does not like it which is a good enough reason for me to give the guy a chance. Do not worry I will test them out before I sell them on his word.

Anyway have a great night.

Bye,
SPJ

****

Approaching the building she felt as if she could already smell the sterility along with fluids most people never smelt in their lives. Entering the building she flashed her ID and the aging security guard waved her in with barely a glance. She stopped at the cold metal doors and with a grin swiped her ID pass and entered the room.
“Be with you in just a minute.”
“Sure,” she replied glancing at the current body on the slab. It was covered from the waist down and its chest had been opened so she had no idea what gender it was. Glancing closer she noticed something that looked like a second heart and wondered how such a body had made it into the morgue in the first place. She did not hear her father approach behind her but his voice was directly in her ear.
“Someone is coming in for it in a couple minutes and brining a decoy body. Apparently they had gone rogue from their tribe.”
“What killed them?”
“No idea, you know I only know humans, three vamp species and were.”
“Yes dad, but I still say were does not count, I mean they turn back when they die.”
“There are some bone abnormalities and enzymes in the bone. Not to mention the genetic differences. They just look the same which will not hurt us if they died of natural causes but then its rare for a were to end up on a slab. Now I know you did not come to talk to an old man about his work.”
“Old man right,” Sera said with a roll of her eyes. Built like a football player with shoulder length brown hair that curled even in his pony tail, blue eyes and an imposing six and a half feet he did not paint the picture of your traditional medical examiner who Sera usually imagined as short thin and pale. He looked in his late thirty’s early forties at the most instead of nearing sixty.
It did not help that her father’s regular partner fit nerd to extreme degree. From his stash of Star Wars and obscure video game shirts, his greasy black hair that always fell into his eyes and that Sera had towered over the 5’5″ man since she was 14.
“Where’s Barry?”
“He has a hot date.”
“Really? I guess there is someone for everyone.”
“Barry’s a nice guy.”
“I did not say he was not he’s just that guy that never gets a date you know? He still talks to me like I’m five and makes all these Star Wars jokes even when I told him I had never and will never see those movies.”
“When was the last time you tried to watch them?”
“When he gave me the box set for my birthday.”
“You were ten.”
“Details details.”
“I get off right after the switch want to grab a bite?”
“A bite?”
“You moved out, I do not have to cook for you.”
“But you will right? Cause you love me?” Sera asked with a grin looking up at her father who rolled his eyes but smiled.
“I have some chicken.”
“Awesome,” She said hugging him and he buried her head under his chin and stroked her hair.
“You used to have such nice hair, brown just like mine.”
“Black and red are lovely colors.”
“Because pinstriped hair is so normal.”
“It can be.”
A throat clearing itself had Sera glancing over her shoulder and noticed a group of people standing behind her a body bag hovering in front of them.
“Is this really the place for this?” One sneered looking between the two.
“The place for what?” Sera snarled.
“Look, Charles let’s just get the body what ever kinks these two have over dead bodies is no concern of ours.”
“Kinks,” Sera snarled, “You disgusting degenerate.”
“I’m the degenerate? Who’s the whore all over the guy in an examining room?”
Glen who had been reaching for Sera’s shoulder to calm her frowned and took a step back. He watched as the air around her distorted, a usual precursor to one of her rages. He would not interfere unless she started to hum since he could tell this Charles had found his daughter attractive. If his leer had been anything, a part of him remembered Sera returning from her first date crackling because her date had offered her drugs and sex in quick succession.
Not taking no for an answer she had broken an arm in retaliation.
“You are taking offensive action against employees of the order; such things can be grounds for binding you or imprisonment.”
“Do not they give you guys a memo? They ca not touch me. They were stupid enough to try and seal their own doom. Heck guy I bet you are fired,” Sera added noting that the rest of the group was gathering the body and replacing it with a double.
“Son of a…its her,” one suddenly stated as he paled.
“That skinny little thing? That could not bring down the order. Her magic barely made my hair stand on end.”
“A challenge?” Sera grinned. “Ever heard of shields little boy?” She asked opening a few in her mind. The heat in the room surged to painful proportions and she watched as a bead of sweat slid down Charles bald head which was eerily the same shape and color as a brown peanut M&M.
“Do you know your head is shaped like an M&M?” she asked casually as the temperature in the room easily surpassed 110.
“She’s not even trying, if the order says she’s off limits she’s off limits. Charles let it go.”
“She’s impeding our job, hanging out in a morgue…”
“Dad, am I impeding your job in any way?” Glen smiled serenely, the only one in the room beside Sera not sweating. The other two extractors looked at Charles suddenly and backed away slowly as if he had the plague. Already opening a portal silently in the background.
Charles glanced back as they started to leave without him, if not for a running sprint they would have.
“Idiot,” Sera muttered the heat vanishing as she shut doors and boxes in her mind. She knew her shields among other things were unorthodox. Most teachers had tried to tell her to form walls that would fall when needed. That had caused nearly uncontrollable surges.
Instead her mind had doors built into her walls, that would open to give forth magic. Gates in other parts where some magic was allowed to flow through and boxes prepared here and there for an instant effect to keep everyone guessing.
“What?”
“Nothing, let me put this new Jane Doe on ice and let’s get out of here.”
“Great.”
*****

Sera heard the door bell ring and sigh. She was in a great part of the novel she was reading and honestly did not want to be bothered. The door bell rang again and she hoped off the window seat and headed to the door.
“Yes?” She asked even as she looked through the peep hole. Sighing at what she saw there. A man in a black suit and white driving gloves and drivers cap. She also knew Salil could probably break her in two if she was a the kind of girl that would actually let him get his hands on her.
Opening the door with a sigh she looked into empty brown eyes shades darker than his lighter brown skin, set into a face too strong and chiseled to fit her definition of handsome and instead made her think solider. He filled out the suit well and one of his arms was likely bigger than her thighs put together. His black hair was cut short, and neatly combed she saw when he pulled off his hat and smiled.
Despite his appearance and the fact the smile did not reach his eyes he returned it. The pair of them had had an uneasy alliance ever since their first meeting when his boss had tried to prove she was unfit company for his son. Too weak to deal with him daily, she had lied through her teeth, forced illusion, but it had worked.
It made her wonder what sort of tests Salil had to pass to be Lord Nova’s right hand man.
“My lord wishes yours and his son’s presence at a gathering he is holding this Friday. Clothing will be sent to you both. It is a masque, and you must be in proper attire or not even being his youngest son will earn you two entrance.”
Sera took the envelope carefully looking at the flowing script. “How about a first name Salil?” She asked.
He smiled a little life coming into his eyes as that was there own private joke when he had mistaken her nickname for her true name and asked who would be named after a mathematical constant. She had smiled and asked what kind of name was Salil and he had responded Sur. The only sight she had ever seen of the dangerous intelligence that was most likely lurking behind those eyes.
“We will be there, tell your boss if he sends heels I will make him eat them.”
“You do not want to give Lord Nova ideas; you will not escape him unscathed twice. And his son may not always be there to save you. There are some who fear you he is not one.”
‘Thanks for the personal delivery,” Sera responded not about to open that can of worms.
“I will return Friday, with your clothing and to bring you to the house.”
“I will let Joshie know.”
“Good day.”

“Friday huh?” Joshua asked as he settled on the couch eying the invitation on the coffee table as if it would jump up at them.
“Yeah he said he’s bringing clothes.”
“Do not worry about that, if it’s a Masque it just means ball gowns, feathered masks and all and tails for me. And a performance, I know father is partial to Cupid and Death, nothing to worry about. Though some of the lords and ladies do switch off, never assume gender.”
“I’ve met your father.”
“I’ve been to these parties, father’s downright manly.”
“No my father’s manly, yours is delicate and evil. Why does he want me to come?”
“He thinks you beat him, he will respect that. Or he may want to feed you to the lions so to speak.”
“Lovely.”
“Look at me, you can do it. You are illusions have gotten stronger.”
“And I’ve been single for the last year and a half. Not the best time to go into a den of succubae and incubi.”
“And have been living with one for quite some time, and snuggling too,” Joshua reminded of their twofold morning ritual that helped to desensitize her to his charms as well as get the extra sunlight that streamed through his bedroom window. Sighing she slid across the couch and settled against his chest. “It’ll be fine; we will get you in a dress and heels…”
“There will be no heels.”
“Little ones an inch or two, you will fit right in.”
*****
Drawing himself up he looked at his twin, despite the gender difference they were mirror images of each other. They did not touch dormant for longer than they could remember they had been awoken and now had to do something they had never done in all the millennia of their lives. Separate.
They turned away from each other neither looked back as each step took them thousands of miles from each other.

*****
Shaking she pushed herself harder her chest burning as she pushed herself onward the bright orange T-shirt on Joshua’s back remaining in her sight, ignoring the fact that for him it was barely any exertion. The man was not even sweating and being behind him she had seen many a jogger slow down and stare.
As they neared the Nethermead she watch as he slowed down and she began to do the same, suddenly feeling the pain, the ache in her joints and worst off the shortness of breath.
“…doing that.” Sera heard as she turned pulled off her headphones. “You are mostly human and worse yet your greatest weakness as a fire child is lack of oxygen.”
Sera said nothing, not that she could now that she was gasping for air and there was blackness creeping in the corner of her vision cutting off her periphery in bursts.
Cool hands ran up and down her back as her breathing settled. She looked over her shoulder at Joshua and tried to ignore his deep frown. Smiling slightly, she sat on the grass and began to do her stretches. Halfway through her butterfly she glanced up at Joshua again and he was still glaring at her.
“Sorry,” she mumbled suddenly feeling like a guilty child that had been caught.
“Just take care of yourself. And do not push so hard. You have already improved since we started this. You know you get deprived of oxygen more rapidly than most.”

****
Sera approached the lounge and tried not to think about any thing but being there. The next night was the Masque at Lord Nova’s and she was not looking forward to it.
She smiled at the bouncer and he waved her in with barely a glance, both ignoring the protests from the line that was shorter than usual for a Thursday night. Entering she glanced at the bar and eyed her roommate who barely slowed as he poured her a vodka cranberry and slid it across the bar as she reached it.

****

There were many rules when attending a Masque. Attending one thrown by Incubi was even more difficult to navigate. Almost as difficult as the gown she was wearing had been to navigate. In red and black she assumed to match her hair, since most colors went well with her skin tone, at least the four colors she seemed to wear the most. black, white, blue and red.
All other colors were occasional at best. She would have much rather attending in her Levis and converse. That was comfortable attire to deal with things that could drive her to madness or death. It also did not help her mood that no matter what she did her hair looked like it had been under a hat for the last week.
Walking out of her bedroom barefoot she walked into Joshua’s to see him sneering into the mirror.
“Most people practice their smile you know.”
He laughed and turned. And in true Joshua fashion looked perfect. Though she had yet to see a male that could look bad in a properly tailored tuxedo. Granted even with a slightly…key word slightly bad fit the man in question would look much better than they had in their street clothes.
It could also explain why men’s formal wear had barely changed in hundreds of years. Shaking her head she walked over to the mirror. Tossing an arm around Joshua she turned so they both looked into the mirror.
“One of these is not like the other,” she sing-songed and her head warmed a little volume coming into her hair. “Huh.” She said with a shrug.
“Make-up?” Joshua asked feigning innocence.
“Make what?” Sera snarled.
“Come on, I know you have some.”
“You would you bought the damn stuff.”
“Just do your eyes, match the dress and your hair, you can stick to chap stick, most of the lipsticks are too bright anyway.”
“Are you sure you are not moonlighting as a stylist?”
“Its in the blood,” he said with a smile picking up his mask. “Want me to do it for you?”
“Can you?”
“I used to do my mother’s eyes,” Joshua admitted quietly before rolling his shoulders and dropping off the emotions that he was feeling. With a smile he lead Sera back to her room and sat her at her dresser, pulling the makeup set out of the rarely used side drawer.
He rummaged silently for a while before let out a soft ‘ah’ as he began rubbing something against his fingers.
“Hey if I’m wearing a mask why do I need to do any makeup?”
“The masks will be removed at some point during the night. Most likely after the performance.”
“Ah I see. How many of these have you been to?”
“I lost count after the first hundred,” Joshua said with a shrug brush in hand approaching her eyes. “Are your contacts in?”
“See the lack of squinting?”
“Just checking I do not want you have to try to put them in after I do this. It would hate to have to do it again. And where are your shoes.”
Sera mumbled something under her breath and sighed gesturing towards her bed as she stared up at the ceiling and allowing Joshua to have his way with her eyes. It was over in a few minutes and was surprised at what he had done.
“Wow, if I ever went insane and actually wanted to wear this stuff I would have you teach me.”
“You do realize you are female right?”
“Oh yeah, and I have the mind numbing monthly reminder if I ever forget. Oh that and the boobs. Starting to understand the appeal of the corset,” She said glancing down at herself.
Joshua followed her glance, “false advertising.”
“Not like you are a boob man.”
“I like big butts and I can not lie, you other brothers ca not deny…” Joshua stopped and burst into laughter with Sera.
“Do not ever do that again, its just so wrong. I’ve never noticed to be honest though you do lean towards the super exotic every now and again.”
“It was the Asp woman?”
“And the half siren.”
“He was cute.”
“Wolf woman.”
“That’s just cool, wolf that took human form and all, it was great.”
“That guy from Jersey.”
“Jersey?”
“He was weird.”
“Well it is Jersey,” Joshua said with as shrug walking into her bathroom to clean makeup off his hands. Standing as she heard the water running she went back to the box and pulled out the black strappy sandals. There was a part of her that wanted to ask Joshua’s father where he had gotten such nice shoes with only a one inch heel but she was not about to have a chat with Lord Nova about anything. There was no reason to give him any idea.
Slipping into the shoes she smiled as the dress still covered her feet. The skirt had a more modern fit with a slit up to mid thigh on one side. Which would greatly help her not look like a fool when she took the steps that were mostly not suited to a skirt but the longer stride of an impatient New Yorker in a well worn pair of Levis and battered Chuck Taylors.
She opened her various jewelry boxes going for antique silver, and some items with rubies. Something told her to stay far far away from all her costume jewelry and she went with it. Cutting down on her rings to two on one hand and three on the other, with a matching pair of earrings and necklaces she looked around for Joshua who was sitting on her bed.
“What?”
“Nothing, its just the focus you get with jewelry. That and you have six boxes of the stuff.”
“I like jewelry,” She said with a shrug.
“When did Salil say he would be back?” She turned to her wall and her dragon cookoo clock and sighed. “Half an hour.”
“You know you could act like you were not marching to the firing squad.”
“Joshua, I’m wearing makeup, a dress, and going somewhere where if not your father someone else will want to play poke the mortal.”
“Mortal?”
“Mortalish- I still age, its just a tad bit slower than normal humans is all.”
“Well I would tell you to practice your sneer but its your smile you really have to work on.”
Sera flicked her finger at him and a spot of flame appeared on his tux that he hastily patted away until he realized it was an illusion that was not dissipating. “That’s just mean.”
“Well you caught on did not you?” She said turning away as the flame faded.

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