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Arianna Marie Trescott

The lonely London girl determinded to be in charge of her own destiny.

361 views · located in New York City

a character in “The Once and Future King: Book One”, as played by Kohananinja

Description

Name: Arianna Marie Trescott "Arey"


Reincarnation: King Arthur


Appearance: Tall for a girl at 5'10 with an athletic, though not unattractive build, Arey is a jock through and through. She was the captain of the women's soccer team at her high school, as well as a competitive member of the swim and track teams. Her hair is dirty blond, and she has a pair of crystal blue eyes that make her face memorable. Arey is actually quite pretty, but she has never really felt the need to dress to emphasize this fact. She can be feminine at times, and is more than willing to dress for an occasion, but she has always felt more comfortable in the world of sports, with all its mud and sweat covered glory.


Age:18


From: London, England


Occupation: Student, Ambrose University


Personality: Arey is a surprisingly quiet and private person, as she tends to be quite popular and well liked at her school. She is also a remarkably kind and patient person, though she can become agitated quickly is she thinks someone is lying to her, as she's always had a particular aversion to deceit. She is also an exceedingly practical person, and brings a very focused and determined energy into almost everything she does. Her sense of humor is the kind that tends to sneak up on people, due to her more serious and focused nature, but Arey is actually quite funny when she wants to be. She is also very stubborn, and once she's made up her mind about something, it's very hard to change it. Arey is very confident in certain aspects of her life, and could also be considered a bit of a control freak when it comes to her own life, but privately she is riddled with self-doubt regarding personal matters. When it comes to relationships, she especially flounders with unresolved trust issues that she has never been quite able to explain. Mostly she has chocked it up to the tumultuous relationship she has with her father.


Fun Facts: Secretly loves 80’s music, loves anything blueberry, hates little dogs, loves horses, and is alarmingly fascinated by American crime dramas.


History: Arianna Marie Trescott is the illegitimate daughter of Irene Trescott, and Lord Henry Byron of Kent. Her mother was a fresh faced country girl from Cornwall when she moved to London and got the job as the secretary at Henry’s office. She quickly became quite smitten with her new boss, and was rather charmed by his posh flirtatious ways. Henry was indeed quite the ladies’ man, and began what he assumed was a causal relationship with his admittedly pretty secretary. When Irene became pregnant however and tried to tell Henry, he didn’t believe her, and fired her soon after. He’d had other women with whom he’d shared similar arrangements with claim to be pregnant before to try and force him into marriage, and was a bit paranoid by that time.


Heartbroken, Irene didn’t try to push the issue with the man she thought she loved, and instead went about trying to support herself and her upcoming baby. She ended up lodging in a flat with a rather eccentric school teacher in North London whom, Arey took to calling aunt Josie, and while a bit cramped, life there was cozy and happy. When Arey was thirteen however, Irene was diagnosed with a rare form of tuberculosis and was hospitalized indefinitely. When social services were forced to step in, they looked for next of kin to place Arey with, and found Henry Byron listed as her father on Arey’s birth certificate. Henry, who was now a successful politician in the House of Commons with ambitions of one day being Prime Minister, was obviously dismayed by the news he had an illegitimate daughter, but did not hesitate to take her in with his family. After all, the scandal of having a child on the wrong side of the sheets was nothing compared to abandoning them in the public’s eye. Henry even paid for Irene’s medical bills and funeral when she passed away. That however, was little consolation to Arey, especially after the public story her father put out painted her mother as a strong willed stubborn Cornish Woman who refused to use her pregnancy to force Henry to marry her after they broke up. Over the five years she lived with her father and his family, Henry made an effort to become close to his daughter, but the combined resentment Arey felt toward him, and the uncomfortable feelings of guilt Henry had made their relationship strained. The antagonistic relationship Arey had with Henry’s wife Harriet and son Jonas also made living with them particularly unbearable. In fact, they only person in the house Arey had a good relationship with at all was her half-sister Jillian, who was too young yet to realize she was supposed to hate Arey.


When Arey finished high school, it was with academic honors from a semi-prestigious high school. Henry was set to have Arey go to Oxford for University, but Arey wasn’t keen on living under her father’s thumb for the rest of her life, so when she was offered a full ride to Ambrose University in New York City on a soccer scholarship, she took it and didn’t look back. She sends a letter about once a week to her sister Jillian, who’s twelve now, back in London, but otherwise doesn’t communicate with her father or his family.

So begins...

Arianna Marie Trescott's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott

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Most people hate rainy weather, either because they didn’t like the cold, being wet, or the gloomy atmosphere it provided. Arey wasn’t necessarily a fan of any of these things either, but she loved this weather for running. There was nothing like the feeling she got from pushing herself during a long jog in the cold. It was a high, it was freedom, and she loved it. Some days, when she was running in the cold like this, she even felt like she could be master of the world if she tried. Which was ridiculous of course, because Arey had never, and would never seek to be master of anything, much less the world. She bloody sure didn’t want that kind of responsibility, and anyone who did by her measure would have to be looney.
Arey’s run, as it had every day for the last month or so since she’d come to America for University, took her through Central Park. Usually, she’d run in the late afternoon, as she would have soccer (she still called it football privately, but had learned to use the word soccer around Americans who seemed insulted by the very idea) practice in the mornings, but a change in the team's practice schedule allowed her this more ideal time for running. Central Park was probably her favorite place in the city, probably because of the trees, and she loved running here, feeling untouchable and alive. She dismissed any other peculiarly exhilarated or strange feelings as byproducts of her runner’s high.

Perhaps because it was a Friday, and Coach Johnson was feeling generous by giving them the weekend off since he was flying out to Seattle for his daughter’s wedding, but Arey felt like pushing herself today before classes. She’d already finished the loop around the park, and began running back to campus to the older Armstrong fitness facility. The newer Jordon Fitness center was larger, and much more modern, but it was also on the other side of campus and crowded. Armstrong never was, and Arey was one of the few students who actually kept a fully stocked locker there, and the lack of student attendance at the facility showed. Part of her wondered why the university paid the upkeep on the building when it was so lightly used, but she was just happy that it remained open, especially since it was so close to the Student Union where her afternoon biology lab group met to study and work on homework before lecture.

Arey showered quickly in the locker room, which had surprisingly good water pressure for an older facility, before drying her hair and heading for the union. None of her other group members were there when she arrived, which was a bad sign, but she grabbed a table and began flipping through her book anyway, hoping at least one of them would show up. Attendance was pretty spotty on Fridays, mostly because Thirsty Thursdays seemed like a religious affair for this campus, and it wouldn’t be the first time her lab partners had bailed on her without notice. It was something she personally found annoying, though Amanda had made it clear the whole team was hitting the town tonight as well, Arey still wished they wouldn’t say they’d meet up to go over their work if they had no intention of coming.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Katrina "Kat" Rivera Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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“NO NO NO! Oh come on Lex, my grandma could kill a mountain troll better than that!” An angry voice rang out throughout The Round Tablet electronics shop. It was a slow day at the shop, but the few customers there were regulars, and didn’t seem surprised by the outburst followed by furious clicking coming from behind the counter. “GAH! No just use the flame sword Kyle, your stupid cleric staff doesn’t work for combat!” There was more clicking before an evil computerized laugh ran out from the speakers.

“Fucking noobs!” Kat growled as she yanked off her head set. How the hell was she supposed to get the scroll of Phoebus when her clansmen were complete gameplay greenhorns?! Granted this was her eighth game account, but still, gotta keep things fresh. “Dame Troll was only a level seven.” She continued to gripe, finally eliciting the attention of her boss (or legal guardian depending on who was asking for the paperwork) Vivienne, who was sipping coffee rather sedately as she flipped through a pretty ancient looking book. “Has your program yielded any results yet?” Her amber eyes flicking up to Kat’s.

“Nah, even by narrowing the search down to Manhattan residents under thirty, there’s thousands of profiles to process here and cross check with your data sheets. Even for me, that’s gonna take a few days. “Kat replied, almost sounding put out by the very idea. “Can’t your magic rock thing tell us anything else?”

“Perhaps.” Vivienne began vaguely. “It has been more active lately, so he must be close.”

“Yeah well, whenever the stupid thing decides to tell us something useful, let me know so I can narrow the search parameters. I’ve got a few leads on the knights I might check up on later though.” Kat replied looking over the other open computer with finished profile analysis.

“Hey Arin! Meet any hot chicks at work last night?!” Kat call cheekily as she saw her pseudo foster brother came down from his apartment on high.

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Twenty minutes went by, and none of Arey’s lab group had shown. That didn’t bode well for lecture either, considering that this was a Friday. That simply meant she’d be on her own when completing the homework this week, and she’d likely be hit up for notes from her absentee partners, which was just lovely thought. She was about ready to pack it up and cut her losses when a man around her own age with dark neatly kept hair and striking hazel eyes sat down abruptly at her table. It would be impossible to not notice how attractive he was, and Arey was honest enough with herself to admit she had a bit of a thing for boys with dark sexy eyes.

“Your lab partners bail on you too?” He asked with a sheepish grin. “I’m Matt by the way. I recognized you from my bio lecture with professor Keens.” He explained almost shyly, which made Arey feel compelled to talk to him.

“Ah yes, the hazards of Friday classes I suppose. I’m Arey.” She replied with a small smile. Matt seemed to grow more bold after that, grinning himself and pulling out his notebook. “British huh? I didn’t see that one coming. Mind if we go over notes together? I suck at biology.”

Arey agreed, and so they spent the next half hour going over the notes from last class before heading off to lecture together, which strictly speaking was about as boring as usual. After class they walked out together before exchanging e-mails so that they could set up a regular study time.

“Hey, if you’re not doing anything tonight, some of my buddies and I were gonna head to this cool bar right off campus called Galaxy if you wanna join.” Matt said hopefully.

“I’m already going out with some friends tonight,” Arey began. “But I suppose I could ask them if they’d like to go there tonight.” She finished as his crestfallen expression. Matt seemed like a nice guy. He was smart, funny, and overall just came off as a sweetheart, but there was sometime a little off about him that Arey couldn’t quite put her figure on. He seemed familiar, but Arey was sure she’d never seen him before.

“Well hey, no pressure. Just know you’ll be breaking my heart if you don’t show.” He said with a wink before heading off with a wave. Once he was farther away, Matt pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed dial option that read simply “professor”.

“Hey, found another one on your list. There should be about three of them showing up at the bar tonight. Do you need me there, or do you have it covered?” Matt asked, shy and sweet replaced with boredom in his voice.

“No, if one of them is Arthur, there’s no need for you to expose yourself further. I’ll have someone else observing tonight.” The professor replied before hanging up.

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In the end, it didn’t really matter whether or not Arey wanted to meet up with Matt or not, because Amanda had already decided their little group was going to Galaxy. Apparently it was the place for Ambrose students to be seen this semester, and Amanda wouldn’t hear of going anywhere else. Arey had decided to let her hair down tonight, both literally and figuratively, in a loose curly fashion. She also put on her favorite pair of black leather pants that never failed to make her feel sexy, and show off her bum. She finished the look with a shiny silver sleeveless top that hugged her curves and complemented the smoky silver eye shadow she wore to bring out her eyes. During soccer season, she usually was so busy with training, that she never really got a chance to go out like this, and really really enjoyed just cutting loose and primping like a girl for once.

Galaxy was already crowded when they arrived, which was good for dancing, and not so good for meeting up with people. Arey figured that if Matt was really so keen on seeing her, he’d turn up eventually, but for now, she wanted to dance. The set list was great, and so far, Arey was having a good time. Eventually, the girls decided it was time to get some drinks, and due to an unfortunate game call nose goes (which Arey had never bloody well heard of in her entire life), it was decided that Arey would go to the bar to order. Walking up to the nearest bartended, who happened to be a boy with beautiful bourbon colored eyes that seemed out of place with the brow piercing and purple tipped hair, before [placing in the order.

“Hey mate, can I get three rum and cokes, a white Russian, and a pint of whatever local spice ale you’ve got on tap.” Arey said, flashing her fake I.D. that proclaimed her name to be “Bonnie Scott” under her picture.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Deirdre finished her bagel. She ignored the book of poetry, apprehensive about opening it again and reading more of that poem. As much as she wanted to pass it off as hunger something about that whole 'dream' she had left her unsettled. The memory unsettled her like she was having deja vu from someone else's life. She focused instead on other textbooks, lesson notes.

She yawned. The freedom was nice but this whole school thing was dull.

Her phone beeped. Deirdre checked the text message. It was one of her roommates, Heather.

Going partying tonight? You in?

She smirked.

You have to ask? Hitting classes now, be back around 5. Grab some chinese and then get ready?

She waited for the response and began to plan her outfit in her head. She didn’t own much in the way of ‘club’ clothes but she didn’t care. Deirdre liked to dance and liked the crowd, the feeling of being lost in the push of people.

Sounds good to me. Rebel?

Deirdre stood and grabbed her coat.

Nah we were just there and I don't like the sticky floor. Galaxy?

They hadn't tried that club out yet but she heard the music was great and the bartenders were hot. She hit send and gathered her books into her bag. She headed for her classes, thoughts of dancing, the thrum of the bass and the crowd filling her head.

Deirdre was barely able to concentrate as she sat through lecture after lecture, taking notes and highlighting things. She retained none of it but didn’t matter she would just read it again later.

In her last class she sat, her phone out and was busy flicking through media sites when she overheard three girls in the seats behind her.

“Did you hear about the girl they found? Her throat was like slit or something.”

"I heard the guy took her eyes out and you know...."

Deirdre frowned she hadn't looked at the news yet. In fact she rarely did preferring fashion sites or social media. Sure there would things about some girl being killed but she had looked at that. Who wanted to be reminded the world was a messed up place? She had her own life to take advantage of there was no time worrying about what happened to some random stranger.

“Eww...some real sickos out there. Let me guess boyfriend did it when he caught her cheating.”

Deirdre felt wave of guilt come over her. She shook it off, confused at to what caused it. She had never kissed a boy let alone had a boyfriend. She certainly had never cheated on anyone.

“There is nothing about a suspect but apparently she had been out with friends before they found her.”

“So like every other girl over seventeen in this city. Nothing new, they will catch the guy and he will turn out to be some loner who wanted a girlfriend and she turned him down.”

Deirdre frowned. Her phone buzzed with a text. She thought it would be Heather again but instead sighed.

Hi sweetie! How’s our princess? Just wanted to say hello and to find out how you were doing.

Deirdre hadn't seen the news but clearly her mom had. She heard about the girl, about the murder and next would come the text about being safe, studying instead of going out, a good girl makes sure to keep her grades up. Deirdre did not want to try and spend time assuring her mother that she was safe. Avoidance was for the best.

Hi mom, in class. Can’t talk.

Deirdre waited for it.

Oh sorry honey! Just wanted to say hello and remind you to study hard, and stay safe. Daddy says hi to his little girl. Glad you aren’t doing like other kids and ditching classes to party. You are our princess. Love you!

She almost gagged. They would never stop, she knew it. They wanted her back in ballet, back under the careful watch of teachers and choreographers. Grueling hours that didn’t allow for her to have a life or friends. They didn't want her safe, they wanted her under twenty four hour watch. They wanted her in class and on stage. She wanted to breathe and to have experiences. She wanted to make friends and spend time having fun. Deirdre loved performing, hell she loved practicing but she also wanted her life to be more than just that.

Love you too.

She shoved her phone into her pocket and settled in as the professor arrived.

By 4:20 she was ready to go home. She hadn’t run into Tim again, despite detouring through the student union on her way to her classes. Hat on her head and coat done up, Deirdre slung her messenger bag over her body and headed out onto the campus. It had cooled down even more though the rain stayed away. Her finger hit a button on her phone and music began playing in her ears. It drowned out the other sounds.

"cause it was trapped
Trapped between two lungs
It was trapped between two lungs
It was trapped between two lungs

And my running feet could fly
Each breath screaming: "We are all too young to die!"

Between two lungs it was released
The breath that passed from you to me
It flew between us as we slept
That slipped from your mouth into mine
It crept between two lungs”


She hummed along as she headed home. Ti was all Deirdre could do not to dance down the stree. She was young and had the whole night in front of her. Friends, dancing and fun. She smiled.

Heather was waiting for her, containers of rice and stir fry on the small table. “No one else is home yet.”

The blonde handed Deirdre the bag with the egg rolls. She dropped her bag by the couch and undid her coat as she took the greasy bag.

“All good, not in a rush anyway right?”

She sat cross legged on the couch opposite Heather. Deirdre bit into the egg roll. “Mmm, thank you for grabbing dinner.”

Heather nodded a spoonful of rice on its way to her mouth. They ate in silence for a time.

“Did you see the news?” Deirdre put a container down, her stomach full. Heather nodded, “That girl? Yeah I saw. That is why we go out in pairs.”

Deirdre nodded, “Guess you gotta be careful. She was blonde like you.” She smirked a little at her roommate.

Heather laughed, “Right cause us blonde girls we get all the attention from the crazies.”

By 7:00 everyone was home though only Heather and Deirdre were up for a night out. They showered and dressed. Deirdre opted for tight black jeans and a loose red shirt over a lacy black tank top. Flats completed her outfit while Heather had chosen a tight skirt and low cut tank top.

"It's the blonde hair that gets the attention. Gotcha." Deirdre teased as she looked her roommate over.

By 9:30 they were making their way to the subway. Deirdre couldn’t wait to get there.

They walked up to the club, the line was stretched out, though not as long as at other clubs. Heather dragged Deirdre to the front of the line. The bouncer looked both girls over and smiling let them in.

The sound hit them hard as soon as they opened the door. Deirdre felt her heart pound with excitement, matching the vibrating of her ribs from the beat. They checked their coats and headed into the crowd. As promised the music was good and the place was packed. There seemed to be more women than men but Deirdre didn't care. She was here to dance. Heather would be disappointed but she came for different reasons.

It didn't take long for the girls to get separated. It happened all the time in the clubs though at the end of the night they always met up, even when Heather was not going home.

Deirdre made her way onto the dance floor and was instantly taken into her dancing. She moved with the music the way only a natural dancer did. Everyone around her was moving, some with partners and some on their own like her. Song after song Deirdre danced. About the fourth song in she felt an arm circle her waist and a body moved against her. Deirdre looked over her shoulder at the person. The man was good looking though he had obviously been drinking.

She continued dancing, not pulling away from him right away. A little dancing isn't a big deal. The song came to an end and as the next one began the man spread his fingers wide across her stomach. He pulled her hard against him. Deirdre frowned and stopped dancing.

“Let’s move off the floor.”

His voice was in her ear and as he leaned down to talk to her he left behind bit of spittle. She turned in his arm and he smiled at her.

Deirdre shook her head and put her hands up defensively.

“You, me and a dark corner. I’ll buy you a drink even.” He leaned down to kiss her.

Deirdre stepped backwards, bumping into a girl who was dancing. “Sorry”

Her attention was back on the man as he took a step towards her. He was smiling as if it was a game.

“Gotta go.” Deirdre gestured with her thumb towards the exit and then turning made a beeline into the thick of the crowd. She was glad there were so many people. There were faces she recognized from school, from various classes but no one she knew really well.

She began to skirt the edge of the dance floor looking for a place to dance where her previous accouster would not find her. Given his state it wouldn’t take long for him to forget about her and turn his attention to some other poor girl. She hoped the bouncer threw him out before he got too aggressive.

Deirdre found a spot and began to dance again. A couple of songs later she felt a bit guilty. With the girl in the news and the way the drunk man had acted she knew she should tell someone. She made her way to the bar and waited until there was space to get a bartender’s attention.

A man with dark hair, dressed in black came over to her. He had just finished serving a pair of women when she had stepped up to the bar. “What can I get you?”

Deirdre shook her head, “Nothing I just wanted to report a guy with really roaming hands in the crowd. He is pretty wasted.”

The bartender nodded. “Right, never fails. Always one jackass at the beginning of the night.”

He reached over and picked up a phone. It was only moments later when two men approached the bar. The came to where Deirdre stood and asked for a description. She told them about the man and the pair headed out into the crowd. The bartender went back to serving drinks and Deirdre began to slowly walk with her hand on the bar. Her eyes were on the moving crowd hoping to spot the man.

There were a few tense minutes where she feared they would not find him in the large crowd. The men approached. Mister drooly was between them and they brought him over to Deirdre. Her back was straight and she lifted her chin as she looked him over.

“This him?”

A simple nod was all she gave and they immediately began to usher him outside. Deirdre felt better knowing he wouldn’t be bothering anyone here for the rest of the night and headed back to the dance floor.

She danced and danced. Sometimes she stopped to get a glass of water. The dark haired bartender always seemed happy to hand her a fresh glass and she in turn was happy to thank him.

Hours went by and she lost herself in the crowd and in the music. Around one in the morning the crowd began to thin out. She was content to keep going and enjoyed having more room.

Less people meant less people at the bar. Maybe I should go talk to him. Her stomach went tight with nerves as she contemplated the dark haired bartender.

With a deep inhale she set herself the task to talk to him. She headed to the bar and was immediately disappointed not to see him. She looked up and down the bar but only saw one other man and it wasn’t him. Deirdre’s fingers drummed on the bar. Could just walk away or....

She raised a hand hoping to get the other bartender’s attention. He had dark hair as well but his was tinted purple at the ends. His right ear was pierced with what looked like a sword. She leaned on the bar and kept her hand up. “Excuse me...”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Katrina "Kat" Rivera Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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#, as written by varxint
Arin came down to Kat complaining, again, about the lack of progress. He understood her frustration, but for different reasons. Kat seemed to enjoy the whole process. She seemed to treat it like a scavenger hunt, using her computers to find bread crumbs and tracking them down like some private dick in the ‘50s. Subtly and subterfuge wouldn’t seem her speciality, but she had her moments. As if she knew his thoughts and wanted to prove his point she immediately started asking questions as soon as she saw him.

“Hey Arin! Meet any hot chicks at work last night?!” she called, cheekily.

Arin raised an eyebrow and shot a glance at Vivienne, “No Kat. Ladies night actually turns out to be a more accurate moniker than you’d think. Many ladies were there and I offered them the respect they deserved.”

Arin leaned in closer to Kat as he reached to grab an apple from a bowl on the nearby table. Whispering he continued, “Plus, there was no one there that would be as good looking as Guin is sure to be.”

With a wink he stood back up and bit into the apple, “No new news then?” He looked at both Vivienne and Kat, noting their slight scowl, “Well, that says it all. Right. I’m off for a ride then to the club. Should be a busy night. Let me know if something interesting happens here?”

He waved his apple at them in farewell and slipped out the door before Vivienne could give him any trouble about women at the club. Arin finished up his apple as he walked around to the back of the store. There was a small parking lot there and he kept his bike close to the wall, between the large metal garbage bin and the building. It was mostly hidden from sight there and deterred any random attention that kids might give it at night.

He wheeled the bike out into the open parking lot and leaned it on the kickstand while he donned his helmet. The bike was a striking sapphire blue with black trimmed, silver waves painted on the tank. The 1100cc engine rumbled to a start as Arin pushed the ignition. Many would call this sleek and sporty bike a crotch rocket and Arin didn’t wholly disagree. As he opened the throttle a few times to ensure it was warmed and ready he could feel the engine’s power under him. He grinned under his full face helm, lowered the visor, leaned down to grasp both handles and shifted into gear. Releasing the clutch and opening the throttle Arin took off with a small squeal of rubber.

Soon he had found some open highway where he could really open up and was flicking his bike through traffic. He was careful not to attract legal type attention, but he certainly pushed the limits as much as he could. He always had a rush with the control he had over the vehicle at speed. The vibration and high pitched buzz of the engine being used properly was one of his favourite feelings. He spent a good three hours zipping around the city, through the rural highways and side roads and back to the city to run other errands.

*

When it was time to start his shift he pulled up with his bike to the back of the club. Another thing about riding was he never had to worry about finding parking. He could fit just about anywhere and didn’t take long to secure his bike in a hashed off area. Carrying his helmet with a swagger he walked into the backroom of the club and quickly changed out of his riding gear. He locked up his stuff as his partner for the night, Shane Wallace, walked in.

“Hey Shane, good to see you. Think we’re in for a fun night or an interesting one?” Arin asked as Shane started gather his stuff.

Shane grinned, “Well, it’s the night for the uni chicks to come out, isn’t it? I think we stand a chance to get lucky Arin. Split tips and go for broke?”

Arin laughed, he knew Shane was a dark horse favourite of the women. Not the obvious, classical, good looks, but the dark and handsome type. It worked quite well for him as the night wore on and he was able to chat the women up. Split tips with Shane was a good deal for both. Arin got the attention early and Shane closed the deal late. “You got it bud. They won’t know what got into them.”

“Unless they wake up with one of us, eh?” Shane replied.

Arin laughed, “Fair enough. Let’s get at it.”

They both went out and got the bar ready for a busy night.

*

The night started typically. Arin was serving drinks efficiently and doing his best to flirt and keep the women coming back for more while still engaging the men with sports talk, or whatever they were interested in. Arin knew if he concentrated only on the women that he would lose his edge as a go to barman. The men had to know they were being served just as efficiently and competently in order to keep the club full. Men came to bars that had the women, but women only came to bars that had the men, as well. It was a balance that Arin learned to deal with well. It didn’t hurt that his fae blood gave him unnatural charm and charisma. Anyone talking to him for more than a few seconds couldn’t help but feel friendly toward him.

At some point in the night, a younger women that Arin had never seen before, came over to the bar. Arin’s attention was first caught by the intensely blue eyes accentuated in silver. The curly, blonde hair, framed a beautiful face. As she ordered her drink Arin took the chance to look her over. Athletic, curvy and happy to show it off, Arin had to catch himself before he spilled a drink. Her order was extensive, but not completely unusual for the university crowd. The spiced ale was different but Arin knew something to please and grabbed a pint of the local fall harvest ale.

He delivered the pint first as she presented her ID. Arin took a look at it and then back at her, “Well, you don’t sound like much of a Scot, but you certainly have the bonnie down. You and your friends all have this... appropriate... identification?” Arin raised an eyebrow and grinned.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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“Bit odd seeing as I’m from London, but at least I’m not Irish.” Arey returned with a grin. He was American, so unlikely to get the joke, but it was hard to resist sneaking it in either way. She eyed him as he handed her the pint, noticing how his muscles flexed when he moved. The guy was definitely an athlete, all muscle and cheekbones in all the right places. She couldn’t really help but be attracted to him really. But it was something else too, this kind of…aura of familiarity that she couldn’t really explain. Maybe it was just the atmosphere she decided. "You're not so hard on the eyes yourself mate." She returned with a smile. Arey wouldn't really call herself particularly experienced when it cam to flirting, but she figured she could manage a compliment.

“Oh unquestionably.” Arey replied solemnly batting her baby blues jokingly as if to add credibility. She was technically legal in her own country, so Arey didn’t really feel bad about drinking anyway. She knew her limits, and wasn’t about to let her friends or herself do anything stupid.

She took a sip of the Ale while the bartender started on the other drinks, and was genuinely surprised by the taste, which showed on her face. American alcohol in general, from what she’d had of it, tended to either taste like nail polish remover masked with fruit punch, or, to be crude, piss water. She had genuinely missed the pub scene in London with her friends when she’d first come to America this summer, but this was a good as any of the local brewers she’d find in any of her old haunts back home.

“Who makes this?” Arey asked, genuinely curious.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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With a pretty grin the woman riposted with a play herself. Arin understood that it was some type of British humour. Likely Vivienne would have laughed, or at least chuckled lightly. All Arin knew was she was playing off his joke. So he smiled big and nodded.

When she returned his compliment he felt strangely proud. Like the approval of this woman in particular meant more to him. While Arin knew these IDs were not quite truthful he felt that this woman could be trusted to not be trouble. Something in him said she knew what she was doing and would be able to keep her friends in line too. He went about making the other drinks but could not stop himself from continually glancing over at her. He found that he was not looking at her, but rather ensuring that she still approved and was engaged with him. This was an odd feeling. Never had he sought anything like this from a patron before.

In response to her query about the beer itself, Arin returned to familiar ground, “Ah yes. Funny thing. There’s this brew pub called King Arthur’s Brewery. I managed to convince them to send up some kegs to us. This is their Guinevere’s Wheat Potion. Not strictly the spiced ale you were looking for but the malts are still quite flavourful. Faint berries and citrus. Reminds me of the way the Queen might wear her perfume.”

Arin stopped himself. He suddenly felt like he was saying too much and he didn’t know why. He paused, the last drink this woman ordered in his hand. Yes, she was quite beautiful. Something about her....

“So, here is your drink, Bonnie. Though personally, I would like to know your real name. I am Eärendil, but you can call me Arin. I hope you’ll come back and order more.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Arey liked watching him work. It was kind of strange really, especially since she didn’t even know his name. There was just something comforting about it all, as if watching him was something that was both familiar and routine. It wasn’t, so she kept it to herself. A guy like him probably got hit on enough at work without her acting like some weird overly attached stalker. He knew his brews though, Arey thought impressed, listening with interest as he went on.

King Arthur…Guinevere. Arey felt a pang of anxiety she couldn’t really explain. Not from the bartender, just seemingly out of the blue. He mentioned berries and citrus and the Queen’s perfume. Arey’s mind wandered strangely to a woman with flowing sun kissed hair, laughing blue grey eyes, and a smile that left a strange constricting feeling in the pit of her stomach. “And heather…” Arey replied without thinking, almost sounding lost before blinking twice to shake the image away. Where the bloodly hell had that come from?

“Sorry, that was odd.” Arey said with a small laugh to try and shake the weird feeling off. “I’m Arey, nice to meet you Arin.” She said extending her hand out to shake.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Heather? Yes, that was it. Arin’s thoughts consumed him for a moment. It was convenient that this woman seemed almost as distracted.

Oh shit. Really? Finally?

Arin regained his focus and became more resolute. This woman, her distractions, her reaction to the brewery name. Knowledge of the Queen’s perfume. Arin tried to calm down and focus on his job. Otherwise he’d be leaping across the bar and taking her in his arms right now.

“No, not odd, really. Nice to meet you Arey. Really. I’m glad you came tonight. You might think, being a bartender I meet a lot of interesting people, but I honestly can say, I’m really happy to have met you. I do hope you come back for more drinks later.” Arin indicated Shane, “If you get his attention because I’m busy, please ask for me. He’ll understand. I hope to see you again, soon.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Was this flirting? It sounded like he was flirting. Cute bartender Arin was flirting with her! It wasn’t like she’d never flirted with someone before, but Arey had never really dated either, so she was paranoid sometimes about getting her wires crossed with guys. Sometimes, she honestly just couldn’t tell, but there were few things she found less appealing than unrequited affections, which was why she had always let the guy make the first move.

It certainly sounded like he was flirting, and the thought filled her with a kind of excitement that warmed her in ways the ale couldn’t. She couldn’t explain why his attention was affecting her this way, or why it made her feel so in awe about the whole exchange, but that was the reality. “Yeah, I’ll do that.” Arey said with a smile, almost leaving her number with her tip (but deciding that was too forward) before taking the drinks back to the table with her waiting friends.

“Someone was chatting up the hot bartender!” Amanda teased before sipping on her rum and coke. Arey’s cheeks flushed, but she didn’t try to deny it either. Soon they were back out on the dance floor, working through the next set list, Arey with a renewed drive to impress. Would he be watching? Maybe, she thought. Arey honestly couldn’t explain it, but she had this sudden need for his approval, to impress him, and Arey was nothing if not determined.

After a while, Arey figured an acceptable amount of time had passed since she’d last been up for a drink. She wasn’t really sure what the next step in this dance was, but she wanted to talk to him again, social standards could go bugger themselves. When she got to the bar, Arin was with a customer, so she waited to the side. She didn’t want to mess with his work after all. A few minutes passed, and she was still waiting. Maybe she should just go back to the dance floor to wait, come back when he wasn’t busy. Standing here alone just felt awkward. Arey was about to do just that, when she felt a cold hand slide across her ass.

“What is a pretty girl like you doing up here all alone?” A masculine voice husked in her ear from the body from behind that had her caged between the bar and his back. He was touching her arm, her head felt funny, like she couldn’t quite think straight. Her pulse quickened and heat pooled as frighteningly swift and unexplainable attraction warred with an instinct buried deep inside that was screaming DANGER! “Such pretty eyes. I could take real good care of you sweetheart.” He practically purred.

“No thanks.” She replied, short and clipped, trying to pull out of his grip. He let her arm go, but he didn’t back out of her personal space either. “Oooh I heard British girls like playing hard to get.” He drawled in a voice that would be much more attractive had he not put her so on edge.

“We call it having standards.” She replied with irritation. This guy gave her the creeps, which made her reaction to him all the more strange. She just wanted him to go away. Arey saw something dangerous flash across his eyes, but in a moment it was gone, and he was wearing a predatory grin. He was definitely not leaving her alone, Arey thought with dismay, trying to peak around his arms for her friends to try and signal for a rescue.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Arin continued his night, but he couldn't quite get his mind completely off Arey. He tried to watch for her in the crowd, but he had other patrons to serve. He continued to do that with his normal aplomb, however he did cut down on his more obvious flirting. He didn’t do it consciously, more distractedly.

While serving a group of people he finally noticed her out of the corner of his eye. She was waiting patiently for him. He tried to get through the group quickly but they just couldn’t decide what drinks they wanted. Eventually he saw her turn away and he inwardly sighed. He finished the group order and turned. Arey was still at the bar. With another man.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Not hard for her to find interest, no doubt.

Arin started to turn back to his work but then he noticed the irritated body language and the avoiding of groping hands. Arin sighed for a different reason now. Some guys just couldn’t contain their alcohol and became massive creeps when their social inhibitions went away. Arin never liked to butt in, since he didn’t know the full situation. As well, his employer frowned on a bartender intruding in a couple’s argument. It hindered repeat business.

Arin also knew that not many women wanted a guy to come in a save them from harmless situations. It implied they were weak and needed a man to take care of them. Arin didn’t get the sense that Arey was a wilting flower. Still, she seemed to be looking for her friends, or something. Arin knew the best kind of cover story for this one. He poured another beer for Arey and walked over.

“Hello miss, sorry for the delay. Here’s the drink you ordered,” Arin placed the drink a little further away from the creep so Arey had to move some to grab it. He also leaned onto the bar to slightly impose himself in the creep’s line of sight. He was hoping to distract long enough for Arey to be able to get back to her friends.

He addressed the creep directly, “So, what’ll you have then?”

His friendly smile froze as he looked the man in the face. Arin narrowed his eyes. The fae blood in him tingled with a sense of danger. This man was not entirely a man. Arin could tell he was facing something from beyond the veil. Vivienne had told him about many types who might make it through. Arin had his suspicions on what he faced but he couldn’t remember all the details Vivienne told him to look for.

Arin tried to return to his job and give Arey time to move away, “C’mon then, I don’t have all night. You want a beer? I need to adjust the co2 pressure here, so let me know or else you’re going to get a glass of foam.”

With that Arin reached below the bar, where they kept the various tools they had to work with the keg lines. He pulled out an older looking, iron, wrench. He kept it around the place, just in case. It was easy to explain a wrench in a bar, even if it were older. Carrying around other iron items would probably draw too much attention.

He held the wrench casually on the bar but ensured it was close enough to the creep that it could be seen and almost felt. Arin wasn’t threatening with it, rather he was just making a point that the creep should move on and quickly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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“No problem mate. You looked pretty swamped.” Arey said playing along when Arin approached with a diversion. His presence brought her immediate comfort, and the panicked edge in her mind seemed to melt away. Nothing was going to touch her with him here. Arey didn’t know how she knew that, but it was a feeling she couldn’t shake.

She managed to move even farther out of the creep’s arms as she moved toward the drink, and she’d noticed the guy seemed to stiffen when Arin approached. Did they know each other? If they did, Arin did a good job of hiding it. The creep’s eyes flicked between Arin and the wrench a couple times before giving him a tight lipped smile.

“I’m alright thanks.” He said pushing off the bar. The girl was pretty, and she had a brighter soul than he’d seen in a very long time, but he didn’t need the hassle from some half-breed punk who was packing Iron. He was too hungry for that, and this place was full of girls just ripe for the tasting. And who knew, it was a big dance floor, he might just catch her around without the watchdog around.

And with that he slinked back off onto the dance floor, much to Arey’s relief, as she watched him warily until he was out of sight. “Thanks, something about that bloke gave me the creeps.” Arey said with a small smile. “Suppose that makes you the gallant knight eh?” Arey joked remembering their exchange from either.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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#, as written by varxint
The creep backed down and moved away from the bar. Arin watched it blend back into the crowd. He flinched slightly when Arey referred to him as a gallant knight. Something about that term, from her, rang less like a joke. Normally a comment like that would really grate on him, but he got an unfamiliar swell of pride. He turned back to her with a lopsided grin, “Yeah, creeps, I can see that. I’ll get the bouncers to keep an eye on him. Though I took away the best prize I’m sure he’ll go after another.”

Arin pointed at the beer, “On me. Also, why with the knight? I just took advantage of my position to provide a distraction. I think you could have handled him.”

Even though the creep wasn’t human, Arin really did believe that when he said it. For some reason he felt that Arey wasn’t in as much trouble as any other woman might have been in the same situation.

Arin leaned on the bar closer to Arey. If she was going to call him a knight, he was going to turn the tables and see how she responded, “Though if that's the part you wish me to play? A gallant knight often receives a favour from the lady when defending her honour. M’lady would do a great favour of leaving her number, if she found her champion worthy.”

He didn’t want to come on too strong, especially if this was Guin. Yet he also didn’t want to pass up the chance and lose contact. So he put on a friendly, charming, smile and hoped Arey felt some of the connection he felt.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach Character Portrait: Marty Johnston

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“Good, bloke doesn’t seem to like taking no for an answer.” Arey said frowning slightly. Part of her felt guilty for just watching him walk away, undoubtedly to harass some other girl, but what was she really supposed to do about it? She blushed a little at Arin’s complement, though for some reason she didn’t feel like she deserved it.

“Seemed appropriate considering our earlier conversation.” Arey returned. “Maybe he’s not the first grabby drunk I’ve handled, but it’s nice you still came anyway.” She said with a smile. And he really did have this knight aura about him she realized. Arey wasn’t sure why, maybe it was the whole King Arthur topic earlier, or just the cultural norm of a girl to equate the guy she fancies as a knight in shining armor, but the title seemed to suit him perfectly in her mind.

“Well I suppose if that’s the case…” Arey replied in a very conspiratorial voice as she reached for one of the napkins on the bar and a pen before scribbling her name and number down. “You gallant Sir, may consider yourself so favored.” She said with a flirty smile as she held out the napkin.

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“This way Martin.” The Professor called out from his dark table by the window, looking out at the street from a crack in the blinds. He sat there looking rather dignified and unruffled for a man who was essentially breaking and entering, but then the professor had a way of making important things like laws seem trivial on a daily basis.

“I’m afraid you’ve missed the main show Martin, but there’s still a lot to be learned here. Any idea what’s inside that bland looking office building?” He asked with a quirked brow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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A number on a napkin. Arin had seen this a few times before. He or Shane often ended nights with a napkin like this. Yet, for Arin, this was a completely different feeling. Never was there a conquest comparison between he and Shane, like he’d seen with other barmen. Other women’s numbers always were viewed as a honour to receive. Yet, this seemed precious. Arin almost couldn’t bring himself to take it. As though he were taking something far more valuable. He was excited and humbled. Nervous and proud. He had proved himself but was afraid of making a mistake. Yet, he had to play it cool. He could not pass up this chance at getting this close and just missing it. He didn’t want to turn this into a missed opportunity. He hated those kind of stories.

He reached for the napkin, brushing her fingers as he grabbed it. Even though he was half expecting it the shock of familiarity took his breath away for a moment. Vivienne had taught him how to handle the flashbacks. How to let them play through without overwhelming. However, he had not had any contact with others yet. He had no experience with what a joint connection would be like.

Intense flashes of unquestioned loyalty, deep connection, comfort of being around each other, overcame him. A quick intake of breath and a tensing of his hand on the napkin were the outward signs of his flash. He hoped hers did not cause undue reactions. If she had one.

“Thank you Arey. I will call, soon. Hope you like motorcycles?”

Just then another group of patrons came to the bar. Shane was busy so it fell to Arin to accommodate them.

“I’m sorry, please excuse me. As much as I would love to continue with you, I do kind of want to keep my job,” he smiled and moved to take care of the new arrivals.

*

As the night went on and the crowd thinned, Arin had more idle time. He found his thoughts coming back to Arey and Guin. Finally, he had found her. He would have to tell Vivienne, but he wanted to get to know her first. He didn’t want Arey learning about her past life to cloud anything they might have naturally. Viv would be pissed, but he would deal with that later. Could he tell Kat? Would Kat help him or go right to Viv?

A voice interrupted his thoughts. He looked up and saw a pretty brunette waving him down. He hadn’t seen her tonight. She was certainly pretty. No doubt she had her share of attention this evening. Arin nodded at her and started to move toward her. Just then Shane walked out from the back room. He saw the woman and Arin starting to move. He gave Arin their sign for, ‘I got this.’ Arin smiled and let Shane handle it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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After Arey left the bar, she felt elated. It was hard to really describe what it was she was feeling, it was all so jumbled, but it was strong. In fact, it was almost scary how much that one interaction seemed to affect her so emotionally. Arey had always been a level headed and practical person, and was slow going as far as emotional attachments went, so this was a first for her. Regardless, she still returned to her friends on the floor, grinning like an idiot while Arin went back to work.

As the night went on, the floor cleared out a bit, but the club was still far from dead. Arey continuously caught herself looking over toward the bar, but she didn’t want to come off as clingy, so she kept her distance. Arin said he’d call, and a little part of her deep down that she didn’t quite recognize knew for certain that he would, so she just needed to relax and let him do his job. She still could however, still take a peek every now and again from the booth she and her friends were taking a break at as she sipped some water.

Amanda was talking about some Lit professor she found dreamy, and Arey had mostly managed to tune her out, eyes wandering across the floor. That’s when she saw him. The creep who’d gotten a bit too familiar with her at the bar had a curvy blonde in a blue dress hanging on his arm as he sauntered into the girl’s bathroom. Arey might have dismissed the whole thing, except the girl he was with seemed a little off. Her mind flashed back to the incident at the bar, and how jumbled her head had felt when he touched her, almost like being drugged. Was that what was happening here? The thought left a cold chill running down her spine, and a spark of something else. Indignation? It felt stronger than that, but Arey didn’t know how to describe it.

“I’ll be back in a minute.” Arey told her friends as she left the table and walked toward the bathroom before her rational mind could catch up and scream to her that this was a bad idea. When she opened the door to the bathroom, the first thing she noticed was that the lights were off, which put her immediately on edge. It took her a moment of fumbling along the wall to find the light switch, and the light blinded her for a second before her eyes adjusted.

Lying on the floor with labored breathing, was the girl with the blue dress, but Arey had little time to process this before there was a hand at her throat shoving her against the wall. Her fingers clawed at the hand closed around her throat, and her eyes bulged as she felt a pair of lips descend upon hers, sending her mind haywire. He was the most handsome man in the world! So wonderful, so beautiful, she just wanted to be stripped naked and worship him! But he was so cold, it felt wrong. Why was he so cold? Arey couldn’t remember where she was, but she was burning and freezing and there was a voice in the back of her mind that was screaming.

Almost unconsciously, Arey’s knee flew up to meet his crotch in an unforgiving collision that sent the creep howling as he fell off of her. Some instinct inside drove Arey, as she sent another punch that connected with his face. He reared back, eyes looking almost red, and lunged at her, shoving her back toward the wall. Arey fell back, but rolled quickly out of his grasp when he tried to follow after her, and from her position on the ground, used both her feet to slam into his middle that sent him stumbling out the door. Arey rolled up, and crawled toward the other girl on the floor. She wasn’t breathing. Arey checked her pulse, finding only a weak one, but at least she wasn’t cold. Pumped with adrenaline she rushing toward the door, seeing the creep run pushing through the crowd toward the exit, but she didn’t have time to stop him.

“Someone call 9-1-1!” Arey screamed before running back to the girl on the floor, crouching down, and desperately beginning CPR.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott

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The other bartender was attractive enough and she might have been more interested in him if he had been helping her but he wasn’t. He nodded and started to come over. The dark haired one, the one who had helped her appeared and interrupted his action. He came over to lean on the bar in front of her.

“What can I get for you?”

He gave her a smile and Deirdre could not help but smile back. He seemed like the type at ease with charming the women who approached the bar. She was out of her element but that is what she wanted, the whole reason she had fought to go to school. Something new and exciting.

“Water please.”

He raised an eyebrow, surprised at her choice. “Wait a second. A college girl not using a fake i.d. to score a drink. I didn’t think they existed.”

Deirdre shrugged. “What can I say? I came to dance, not fall over drunk.”

As if to illustrate her point two stumbling girls came towards the bar. One tripped, bumping Deirdre and her friend tried to hold her up. All the while the two laughed.

The bartender glanced at them and shook his head before moving to get her water. He returned and placed the glass in front of her. He rested his elbows on the bar, leaning so that they were closer and conversation could be done at a more reasonable volume.

Deirdre took a drink and then stood there for a moment. She glanced to the dance floor as if thinking before turning back to face him.

“I wanted to thank you for calling the bouncers. The guy was being creepy and I was afraid he was going to get worse as the night went on.”

The man shrugged, “Part of the job is dealing with the jerks. Some guys don’t know how to be subtle.”

Deirdre nodded, “Or some girls.”

Her eyes moved to the people dancing. She watched as a girl in a short skirt ground herself against a guy. And they call that dancing... They weren’t even moving to the music, just dry humping each other on the dance floor.

She turned her attention fully to the bartender again. Deirdre took a drink, her glass now half empty. She was trying to kill the awkward silence. Deirdre put the glass down.

“Thanks for the water and thank you again.”

With that Deirdre turned and walked away. She felt like a fool. He didn’t seem very interested and she was terrible at flirting. Nerves and embarrassment mingled now and she couldn’t decide if she should try and leave or go dance. If she stayed, she vowed not to go back near the bar. A glance back saw another girl take her place and the bartender was making short work of talking to her. He was playing with her hair. Deirdre turned away from the bar.

The music was still good and the crowd had thinned a bit more which left more room for her to dance. It felt good to be back on the floor. The failed attempt at flirting was forgotten as Deirdre moved with the music. She danced for a few more songs before the water caught up to her. Deirdre headed to the ladies room. She was about two feet away when a man barrelled out of restroom door and right into her.

“Hey!”

They collided and he kept going while she barely kept herself upright.

“Asshole!”

She moved to the bathroom door just as a blonde girl came to the doorway and shouted for 911. Wasting no time Deirdre pulled her phone from her pocket and dialed 911. She ran in behind the blonde.

Another girl was laying on the floor. Deirdre’s eyes went wide and she slid to the floor as the blonde began CPR.

“911 What is your emergency?”

The phone was to her ear. “I need an ambulance at Galaxy. A girl is unconscious in the bathroom. A-another woman is doing CPR.”

She looked to the blonde. Deirdre watched her. She was scared but something about blonde made her feel better.

“An ambulance is en route. Stay on the line with me. Does she have a pulse?”

Deirdre looked to the blonde. She did not want to interrupt the CPR so she leaned in herself and pressed a hand to the unconscious girls neck.

“Yes but it is faint. She isn’t breathing though.”

The operator’s voice broke through the growing fear, “Okay keep doing CPR they will be there soon. Stay on the line with me.”

Deirdre looked at the blonde. “She says keep going. You are doing great.”

Arey recognized that someone had followed her back into the bathroom and was dialing 9-1-1, but she didn’t really pay attention to who it was, as her focus was all on the girl she was giving CPR to. This wasn’t the first time she encountered someone in immediate distress, it wasn’t even her first time giving CPR, but for some reason Arey felt panicked, and emotionally invested in saving this girl in a way that made little sense. No one wanted to watch someone die if they had to power to help, but the way Arey felt wasn’t natural. It was like her entire world revolved around saving this girl, and Arey couldn’t explain why. The very thought of failure made her feel like she might shatter.

Deirdre's eyes were on the blonde as she worked hard on the prone girl. She did not know what happened in here but she was sure it had something to do with the jerk that had run into her.

"Does the woman still have a pulse?"

The voice on the phone startled Deirdre. She was focused on the blonde as she worked so frantically. Something about her face, the distress and panic in her eyes that bother Deirdre a great deal. It pulled at her like a weight in her chest. She wanted to reach out and help, to do something but she also did not want to be in the way. Her fingers went to the victim's neck. The once faint beat was now gone.

Her voice cracked, "N-no...there is no pulse now."

Minutes passed, and Arey kept up the CPR, though the girl remained unresponsive. She couldn’t even find a pulse anymore, which was a very bad sign. What they needed was a bloody AED Arey thought cursing as she went back to pumping her chest, desperately trying to keep oxygenated blood flowing. Arey had basically dissolved into a mindless rhythm, tears flowing freely down her face, when paramedics finally arrived. One had to haul her off the girl, when Arey proved to be unresponsive to their orders, before they applied the AED. Arey broke down in sobs after the first failed attempt still left the girl unresponsive, and after the second, she felt inconsolable.

The bathroom was suddenly full of people. Deirdre had tears in her eyes. She watched as the paramedics pulled the blonde away. They began working. Deirdre backed off and hung up her phone not saying anything more to the operator. it was slipped into her pocket and she moved to be closer to the blonde. Not just move. She had the overwhelming urge to be close, to console her. The woman was sobbing as she watched the paramedics work. Deirdre's eyes were not on the scene but the anguish in the woman's face.

Deirdre wrapped her arms around the blonde and hugged her tightly. She was quiet. The sounds of the paramedics were overwhelming. The bathroom was small and suddenly felt claustrophobic. Deirdre put her head down towards the girl's shoulder and closed her eyes.

Suddenly everything went very quiet. Deirdre hugged the blonde a little tighter. Things felt odd, as if they two were apart from the entire scene. Almost like a dream. There was an odd feeling of comfort, her arms around the woman like this.

Rationally, Arey couldn't explain why she was this upset. Feeling bad that she hadn't been able to save the girl who had been attacked would be understandable. Being in shock and going into a funk would be normal. This wasn't normal, a very small and rational voice that she recognized as her own was chanting it like a prayer in her head, but that did little to console her. Arey felt overwhelmed by the feeling of crushing failure. Faces she didn't recognize seemed to flash across her mind, each like a dagger to her heart that brought on such unbelieveable guilt that all Arey wanted to do was crawl into a bawl and die.

Then Arey felt arms circling around her, and she felt such immediate comfort and safety that she felt shaken in an entirely new way. Her mind was whirling and chaotic, and Arey felt like she was suddenly competing for space in her own head as another, stronger presence reared up; a tidal wave of chaos that was once the calm waters of her mind.

All will be well, dear heart. Deirdre suddenly felt like her thoughts were not her own. Yet, it felt entirely right as she held the woman. The woman was taller than she by a few inches and Deirdre rested her head close to her shoulder. It felt natural. She felt like she had been here, in this position before and on numerous times. It also felt like there was more than just comfort in the embrace. She stepped a bit closer and one hand reached up to stroke the woman's hair. Deirdre's eyes closed.

She wanted to say something but there were no words that formed. Every fibre of her being wanted to comfort her, to make her believe that she had done all she could. Deirdre opened her eyes.

Gone was the bathroom. Gone were the body on the ground and the paramedics. Instead there were stone walls and a stone floor. A tapestry hung on the wall in front of her. There was the smell of dirt, blood and sweat. She was still holding the woman, the blonde but something was different.

"The war is not lost, dear heart. There will be many more battles to come. You are stronger than those that oppose you."

"I am just a man Guin. How can I be what they need me to be? I do not know how to be a king...be everything they say I'll be. I can't even lead my men to victory in battle, how can I lead a kingdom?" Arey's voice shook with self doubt and despair, except it wasn't her voice at all. It was a man's voice, completely strange and yet hauntingly familiar. A part of her drew immeasurable comfort from this vision, but there was also pain and an aching sorrow that lingered as well.

Her face moved slightly, snuggling in closer to his neck. She inhaled deeply. The smell of him, even under the coppery scent of blood was comforting. He had returned to her.

"My heart, you are a man and it is because you are a man that they follow you. There was victory today. Not in the battle but in what you learned of those you fight. Those men followed you into battle because they believe in you Arthur, as a man and as their ruler. Not because of what Merlin says but because your men trust in the man you are. A kingdom is not built on prophecies and predictions. It is built by the work of men and those that follow them. Those men learn from defeat and fight harder against those that would bring them down. That is why you are stronger than those who would see the kingdom fall. That is why your men swore their loyalty to you and follow you into battle. They believe in you as Arthur, the man. As long as you have faith in them and the things you hold dear, they will follow you. That is what makes you the king you are."

Her face lifted. "I believe in you Arthur."

They were not just words. She loved him. She also fiercely stood by him. Every part of her knew with a certainty that Arthur was a leader. She was not fond of Merlin, there was even rumour that the man had told Arthur not to marry her and that she should have been drown at her birth but she did believe him when he said that Arthur was destined to be a great king. Guinevere knew this to be true. She knew the man, knew that he was a leader and king.

"I would be lost without you." The man who was not Arey declared with such sincere emotion as he clutched the woman tightly, one large calloused hand gently cradling her cheek. Arey felt overwhelmed by him, his love and devotion to this woman so strong that she began to feel it as well. As he rested their forehead against that of the woman's, their lips meeting in a desperate mash, Arey felt stripped bare by the sheer intimacy of the moment.

Her body was crushed tightly against him. She met his eyes as the hand came to her cheek. Deirdre was overwhelmed. The kiss took her breath away and she desired to be closer.
Deirdre could think of nothing else.

"Clear!" The voice of one of the paramedics shouted as they tried for the third time to start the girl's heart with the AED. "I got a pulse, grab a respirator and get her on the stretcher!" Arey was brought out of the hallucination suddenly, by the sound of the AED, only to find herself lip locked with the girl who had hugged her after calling 9-1-1. Arey jumped back as if burned, feeling shaken and confused, and very much in shock, as she managed to do little except stare and offer a token apology that resulted from instinct than any real thought process. "Sorry, I'm really not gay..."

Deirdre was brought back to the bathroom. Gone were the stone walls and floor. She was still holding the blonde but they were kissing. The woman jumped away and Deirdre's eyes were wide, one hand on her lips. They were staring at each other. There were words, an apology but she did not really register them.

Arey couldn't really process what was happening, and she wasn't sure how much time had passed when once of the paramedics cornered her. "Jesus, those are goinging to be some serious bruises on your neck. Were you assulted too? Do you need medical attention?" Arey just blinked, feeling dazed. Words simply wouldn't form when she tried. "She's in shock. Joe grab her a blanket. You should really come with us to get checked out, I see blood. The police are going to want to talk to you anyway."

Deirdre stood there as a paramedic led the blonde away a short distance. They were treating her and Deirdre looked around. Everyone was busy and it was a good time to get away. She was confused and a little freaked out but she wanted to leave. She slipped out of the bathroom. It was easily done with paramedics and police more concerned with the body and the blonde.

The blonde Leaving felt wrong. A part of Deirdre wanted to go back to stand with her as she talked to the police but she shook this away. The club was emptying of dancers. It appeared only the staff and a few scragglers remained in the building. She took this as a cure to head out.

“D! Hey D!”

Deirdre’s head whipped around to look for the source of the voice. Heather stood in the crowd. They lined the street watching with morbid curiosity. Her feet carried her quickly to her roommate.

“Let’s go.” Deirdre grabbed her hand and began pulling her through the crowd.

“What the hell? Deirdre, what is with the rush? Did you see what happened? Come on slow down!”

Deirdre was on a mission to get out of there as fast as she could. Her lips still felt like she was being kissed. Her first real intimate kiss and she did not know what to think of the whole thing.

“Deirdre!”

The woman turned and looked at her roommate. “Heather I don’t want to talk about it right now okay?”

She dropped her hand and walked off. Her roommate’s heels clattered on the cement as she ran to catch up. “Okay, okay....”

They walked in silence to the subway and remained that way all the way home. There were short good nights and Deirdre closed the door of her room and sat on the floor with her back against it. Her face went into her hands and she began to cry. Her shoulders shook with the force of the sobs.

She felt guilty, sad, elevated, desired and simply overwhelmed by the crazy mix of emotions that were running through her. She did not understand what had gone on but she did know that what she thought she saw, the stone room and the man felt entirely too real.

The kiss was certainly real. The woman seemed as confused as Deirdre. Did she have the same vision?

The tears slowed and Deirdre pulled herself up and into bed. Maybe it was just adrenaline.... A weak reasoning to attempt to get herself to calm down. Not bothering to undress she laid down.

Sleep came out of exhaustion but her dreams were filled with the man, his arms around her, his voice and his kiss.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott

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The ride to the hospital was mostly a blur for Arey. There were too many thoughts and emotions running through her head, but nothing to focus on. Trying to organize her thoughts at the moment felt like grasping at smoke; it was there, she could feel it, but she couldn’t grab hold. It didn’t take the doctors long to patch her up, considering how superficial her wounds were, and soon she was led to wait in the room with the other girl, who was apparently still unconscious, but stable. She spent the next half hour in a daze, replying to texts from her friends, assuring them she was alright. Probably condemned to wearing scarves for the next week or so, but alright just the same. She’d probably be out on the field again right as rain Monday morning, Arey thought fondly, though she wished she could dismiss the psychological trauma as easily.

It was probably just the stress of the situation she reasoned, or maybe the bloke just liked weird colored contact lenses. Who knew what kind of freaky stuff that guy had been into? The weird vision she’d shared during her hug feast with the brunette from the club however, was a little harder to write off, but she had just been assaulted and emotionally seemed to be all over the map, so maybe it was just a byproduct of the stress? Arey wasn’t left to stew for long however, as the detective she’d been told would want to talk to her arrived.

“Arianna Trescott? I’m Detective Velazquez. I’m here to ask you a few questions about your attacker.” The man who walked in had dark features, and looked vaguely Hispanic, though Arey couldn’t have told you from where. He was also handsome, and seemed pretty young to be a detective. He couldn’t have been older than twenty-five she guessed, but there was also an air of confidence and competence about him that also put her at ease.

“Shoot.” Arey replied quietly, arms crossing across her front. He asked her to describe the attack, and any details about the attacker she could. Arey recounted the story fairly calmly, tossing in her suspicions about the guy possibly drugging his victims as well.

“Her tox screen hasn’t come back yet, but we’ll keep that in mind.” Detective Velazquez said putting his pad away. The rape kit hadn’t been completed yet either, but he was fairly certain this wasn’t their guy. The captain had sent him sniffing on this one, seeing as their perp seemed to have a taste for pretty young college girls as of late. This wasn’t his M.O. though, too sloppy, and he never did his victims in the clubs. Those were his hunting grounds, not his place of action. The brass still wasn’t willing to call him a serial killer, partially due to his choice in victims being all over the place, and partially due to the panic that would ensue. A more concrete pattern was forming though, and that was bad news for the women of New York.

“Need a ride home?” David Velazquez offered the poor exhausted looking girl. The thought of her walking home alone left a gnawing pit in his stomach. Young, blonde hair and big blues eyes, his perp’s M.O. personified not five feet away. The worst part of working serial killer cases, was getting in their demented head space. Everywhere he looked, he saw potential victims, fitting them into behavioral patterns and analyzing the likelihood of them making the cut. It was exhausting to deal with, and more than a little disturbing for the young detective. Perhaps for this reason, David felt strangely protective of this girl. She agreed to the ride, and twenty minutes later, after being discharged, he drove her back to her dorm before calling his boss to give a status report.

Once Arey got home, the first thing she did was take a shower. She still felt numb, but the hot water helped. She felt drained emotionally, too much happening too quickly, and the only thing she felt like doing now was sleeping in, which was what she was planning on doing, falling into a restless sleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott

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The man was there. He had his arms around her. He leaned in to kiss her, just as he had before. It was hard and passionate. Her body leaned into him....

Deirdre gasped. Her dream, the kiss had left her breathless. She rolled to her back and stared into the darkness of her room. The evenings events had left her exhausted and feeling drained. Her clock said it was only forty five minutes she since had gone to bed.

She rolled to her side again and curled herself up under her blanket. She did not know who the man was but she knew him. Her very core knew him and wanted him. Deirdre felt shaken and raw. On top of that the woman, the blonde in the bathroom seemed to have something to do with it all. Deirdre could still feel her lips on her own.

Was I drugged? Were we hallucinating?

She knew the vision and the dreams weren’t real yet they were very tangible and very familiar, as if she were reliving things, events she had already done. It was not her though it was her. Deirdre was confused.

Her eyes slowly grew heavier. Her breathing slowed and grew even.

She stood at the window. The walls of the castle, the fortress were visible. She knew it would take a great deal for them to find her here. One pale hand slipped into her hair, brushing it from her face. It was tangled and dishevelled, falling from its stays but she did not care.

She placed her hands on the stone sill. It was cold under her palms.

She felt a fool for being caught off guard. She had wanted to see the dancing at the maypole, to see the festivities. The court routinely went though this year the king and his knights were gone away. She had put together the group who attended. She did not consider that anyone might come after her on this day. Her guards had not been enough to stop them.

Guinevere had gone with Meleagant to spare the slaughter of her men. She could not have them killed simply to defend her when they were so clearly outnumbered. She went but first gave one of the ladies in waiting her ring. She told her to get it to Arthur at any cost. To tell him what had happened and that she was safe.

Now she was in this room, in one of the towers of his keep. Meleagant had put her here and had no intention of letting her go.

“Dearheart worry not for me. I am safe.”

Guinevere stared out the window and imagined Arthur’s face as he was given her ring and told that she had been taken. It pulled at her heart to know that she would cause him such distress.


In her bed Deirdre tossed and turned. A light sweat broke out on her skin and she cried out softly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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#, as written by varxint
The shouts for 911 shocked him. Galaxy wasn’t typically the kind of place that inspired violence. Arin looked up and saw the pretty brunette heading toward Arey. Arey, bloodstained, looking shocked and yelling for help. Arin barely resisted the urge to hurtle the bar and go to her. It seemed that brunette was taking care of it. He felt an unexpected sense of calm, “It’s taken care of. They have it.”

Arin shook his head. He wanted to talk to that brunette now, and he especially wanted to make sure Arey was okay, but he needed to keep the other patrons calm.

Eventually he saw Arey coming out with paramedics. He looked for the brunette and caught a glimpse of her as she snuck out the door. Obviously she didn’t want to deal with the the questions. Arin cursed his not approaching her faster when she waved him down. At least to find out her name. There was something about her that he wanted to know. He was distracted from those thoughts as he once again noticed Arey, looking a little worse for wear, being escorted outside. Of all the times to be tied to work. He wished he could easily walk away, but he did need the job.

Finally, after answering his own set of questions from uniformed officers gather routine eye witness statements, he was able to close up and go home. He talked with Shane but found out his co-worker did not get the brunette’s number either. She hadn’t even introduced herself, so Arin still didn’t know her name. With mixed feelings he headed home. Excited about meeting Arey, but vexed with the brunette.

He went up to his apartment, which was thankfully empty. It was even odds that Kat had decided to get some quiet time and fallen asleep on his couch. Tonight he had the place to himself. He briefly thought it was too bad Arey wasn’t able to come home with him, but remembered she was kind of occupied with other business. That memory brought back some worry and he took out the napkin with her number, considering if it was too late to call to see if she was okay. He decided to call her first thing tomorrow and placed the number by his phone.

He took a hot shower, trying to relax before heading to bed. It partially worked, as he fell asleep quickly, but his sleep was not uneventful.

He was gathered with other newly knighted men. His new lord, Arthur, stood as he received the Queen’s lady with a message. Lancelot heard the lady say that the Queen was being held prisoner. He watched Arthur blanch. Though he was newly sworn a knight he found it too difficult to stand by while his lord and king was distressed, “Your grace, tell us what you need. We will act as your right hand and ensure this villain knows the critical mistake he made by daring abduct our Lady.”

A few other knights nodded and agreed with Lancelot’s proclamation. Lancelot waited for his King’s order.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach Character Portrait: Marty Johnston

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“Not quite.” The professor drawled, ignoring Martin’s snarky comments for the most part. He had come to associate such behavior from the boy from their brief association, and it wasn’t something he felt a particular need to correct. “I would advise however, you not let her touch you. Succubuses, nasty bottom feeders that they are, tend to be rather aggressive around individuals such as yourself.” He continued, not bothering to hide the distain in his voice.

“Tonight, you are going to learn how to break their thrall if approached. Then if we get around to it, we’ll cover how to torture one for information.” His smile was shark like, hungry but without malice. The hungry little unseelie inside had information he wanted; like what the new player on the scene looked like. He’d had his little birds out watching Vivienne’s errand girl for a while now, and it appeared they’d finally found one. Was it Arthur? There was really no telling, but it was enough of a possibility that he wanted to know exactly who this young man was, and what he looked like.

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Arthur had never before felt such rage; the need to draw blood and inflict pain never an urge so tempting. He wanted to hear the crunch of bone beneath his foot, and slash apart the man who dared to steal the light of his life. The urge to cause Meleagant pain was an all-consuming one, and for a moment Arthur felt a darkness trying to creep into his heart, but carefully he shoved it away. It would not help his love to act in rash anger, only to alleviate his own guilt and worry, which Arthur felt he did not deserve. When one of his newly sworn knights, Sir Lancelot, spoke, Arthur welcomed the distraction and listened. The man was charismatic and passionate as he spoke, and the young king felt a mixture of admiration and envy.

“Meleagant wishes to draw us into open warfare. His Cliff side fortress would give him the clear advantage in any battle we waged. We will need to outwit him if we are to rescue my Lady wife.” Arthur responded after a moment, quieting the call for blood that sang in his veins.

“Indeed.” Chimed in an old though sharp voice as the cloaked and wizened figure of Merlin appeared, and made his way to the king. “Fortunately for you my king the paranoia of kings past has left its mark through their masons.” The old wizard said smiling as he pulled out a roll of old parchment from his cloak. "There is another way to enter your foe's fortress."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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#, as written by varxint
Lancelot leaned in to watch the old man unroll the parchment. His eyes widened as the contents became clear. The entire layout of of this Meleagant’s fortress was laid out. Lancelot’s eyes scanned the information quickly. Lancelot thrust his finger toward the parchment, almost shoving aside the old man’s hand, “Here, Your Grace...”

The old man raised an eyebrow, “Yes. As this over enthusiastic young knight has astutely pointed out, there is a less than used ingress that would allow a means to extract the Lady. However, the fortress is well manned, and this is not the way for an army to enter.”

Lancelot had the grace to look chagrined as the old man rebuked him, yet quickly turned his attention back to the parchment. He pointed at an isolated room, “This is where she would be.”

Another raised eyebrow silenced Lancelot and he stepped back. He looked up at Arthur.

As Arthur gazed at the parchment, he was filled with a growing sense of purpose. The man within him wanted nothing more than to ride through the night and storm through the secret passage to rescue his captive love himself, and damned be anyone who stood between them. His inner tactician however, recognized how foolish a plan that would be. The best way to ensure his Lady’s safe escape from the fortress could not allow such reckless passion on his part. He needed to be smart, and keep his wits about him.

“I will lead a company of men toward the gates as if to do battle. By doing so Meleagant will focus all his attention there. He wishes to see me dead, and will be distracted by that goal.” Arthur began explaining, grabbing a stick from the ground and drawing up a crude map of their positions. “This will provide an opportunity for one knight to slip through the passage, rescue the queen, and take her back to the safety of Camelot.” He finished.

“The gate is where he wants you Arthur. By doing this you play to his hand. Do not forget that Meleagant is a practitioner of magic, and has proven himself to be a master of trickery and dishonorable conduct. He may try to curse you from his tower above without ever mobilizing his own men.” Merlin warned, as he was made uneasy by his King’s willingness to put himself in such a vulnerable position.

“No, he is also a man ruled by emotion and pride. He would not be satisfied with defeating me thusly. He would much rather run me through and watch; nothing else will temp Meleagant and his men from their fortress. There is no other way.” Arthur argued back, mind already made up. Merlin looked aggrieved with the decision, but spoke no more against it. Arthur turned to his knights, appraising them all as he tried to decide who to send through the passage. He did not doubt the intent or loyalty of any of his men, but he would need the knight who was the most tenacious and unyielding, to protect his wife. One among them stood out from the rest.

“Lancelot,” Arthur said solemnly as he turned to his young knight. “I would trust you with my most sacred treasure. Protect her with your life; bring her home.”

*

She sat, straight backed and hands in her lap. Meleagant had sent a servant with a tray for her but she refused to eat. Guinevere did not think he wished to hurt her but she was not willing to take chances. He himself, had not come to see her since he escorted her to the room but she knew at some point he would come to discuss what he wanted of her. She knew her guards were in a nearby room since she could hear them if she moved to the locked door. Guinevere took comfort in their still being alive and unhurt.

The queen knew that by now her husband had received her ring and was likely working out a plan for her rescue. Guinevere stood and crossed to the window again. The room was high up and the castle itself in a position of power. Any attack Arthur might wage would surely be for naught. Meleagant held the power here and while she knew Arthur to be a great leader and tactician she could not see how he could lay siege to such a fortress without losing many men. Her eyes lowered to the stone of the sill.

“Impenetrable....”

*

Lancelot made his way through the halls of the keep. He had found no resistance at the entrance. Other than avoiding a few servants there was very little activity. Meleagant had pulled all available resources to his battle with Arthur’s main force.

He found his way to the isolated section of the keep where he suspected the Queen would be held. Here, finally, he found some opposition. Two men left behind. The minimum to secure Meleagant’s prize. There would be no avoiding them and Lancelot would not attempt to back stab them. He would face them head on.

“Men, surrender your prisoner quietly. Arthur has come to reclaim what was stolen from him,” Lancelot stood, sword drawn, at the end of the hallway.

The two men turned, surprised to be challenged. After a brief hesitation to gather their wits they drew their weapons and charged.

Lancelot used the confines of the hallway to his advantage. Gracefully circling to keep the two men from being able to attack him simultaneously. He fought defensively in order to control the flow of the encounter. The clash of swords echoed in the hallway. Finally Lancelot found the opening he needed. A clumsy attempt as one guard attacked over the other. With a quick parry, Lancelot entangled the two men’s weapons and struck. With a quick reverse cut he was able to disable both men before either could counter. He quickly ensure neither man would be able to raise any alarm or report. Bloodied but unhurt he quickly found the first door and pushed it open.

Guinevere turned at the sound of a man’s voice stating that Arthur had come to reclaim her. She was positive however that it was not Arthur in the hallway. It was not his voice she heard nor was it the voice of any knight she recognized.

She moved quickly to the door. Outside in the hall there was the sound of swords clanging together. Men grunted with effort. Then it went quiet. Guinevere backed away from the door as someone undid the lock and opened the door. Her eyes quickly looked for something to defend herself with.

Guin darted to the tray the servant had left. She grabbed a chalice, silver and heavy. The liquid contents were dumped and she lifted it as if to wield it like a club.

Her eyes were on the door and the figure who moved inside. “Who are you and why do you use my lord husband’s name so freely?”

It was then that her eyes fell on the tabard. He was one of Arthur’s knights. Guinevere lowered the chalice as she looked the knight over. She did not recognize him which meant he was a newly appointed knight, someone from Arthur’s recent journey away.

“Your name good knight?”

Lancelot fell to one knee and bowed his head as the Queen addressed him, “My lady, you may call me Lancelot, if it pleases you. I use your husband, and my king’s name, as it was he who sent me here to assist your journey back to Camelot.”

Guinevere tilted her head, a smile gracing her lips. “Rise Lancelot. This is not the time for such formality.”

She placed the chalice haphazardly on the tray once more and crossed the room to him.

“Let us leave here.”

Guinevere looked down at him.

“There is always time for respect, my lady,” he rose as he said this, looking at her fully for the first time. She was beautiful, more so than any story could do justice. He found himself briefly lost in the blue depths of her eyes. With a cough, he blushed and moved further into the room.

“Yes. Leave. Are there others?” he tried to avoid being caught staring again, but found it quite difficult to keep his eyes off her.
Guinevere felt like time stopped briefly as he looked at her. Lancelot stood. She felt as if her heart might beat out of her chest. Her stomach tightened. Guinevere felt her cheek flush slightly.

“Yes.”

She watched him move away and felt as if she should move towards him but remained where she stood. Her head turned to look towards the door.

“Yes, my men are locked in a room close by. I surrendered to Meleagant’s demands to stop him from slaughtering them.”

Guin turned to look once more at Lancelot. Her eyes drifted over his form. Her eyes took in the blood. “Are you hurt?”

She crossed to stand in front of him again. Her voice was low and throaty as she drew near. She felt her pulse quicken once more. “If you are wounded we should tend to it quickly and then free my men.”

Lancelot resisted the urge to embrace her. Though he almost wished he was wounded if only to be attended to by her. He shook his head, “No, my lady. The men outside were not a challenge to a knight on a righteous and honourable quest.”

He could not bring himself to move away from her and yet the urge to reach out and touch her was torturous to resist, “Yes, your men. It would be good news indeed for Arthur to hear that the Queen’s guard were still alive as well.”

Though Lancelot could only imagine the blow to their honour they were feeling. The Queen captured and the guard without a loss.

Guinevere was relieved he was not hurt. There was more than relief there, though she could not name what it was for certain.

“Yes, good news.”

They were standing very close and she could smell the coppery scent of the blood. Despite it she could not bring herself to move away. Her eyes found his and stayed there.

“We should leave. Arthur shall be waiting.”

At the mention of his name Guinevere felt her blood drain from her face. “Where is Arthur?” She turned to look to the hall. “Where are the other guards? Meleagant?”

Fear gripped her and she reached out to grasp Lancelot’s arm.

“Have no fear. The king has engaged the villain’s forces, drawing them out of the keep to allow my furtive entrance. There is time,” He looked down at the hand holding his arm, stuck between willing it to release him or for it to run up his arm to his face.

Guinevere’s eyes were full of distress and concern. She knew that engaging Arthur, hoping to kill him is what Meleagant wanted.

“We should not delay any longer. The sooner we return to him, the better...”

She pulled her eyes from Lancelot’s to her hand that gripped him lightly. Her fingers relaxed and for a moment her hand lingered, gently on his arm. Guinevere let her hand slip from him. A faint blush stained her cheeks now and she looked away demurely.

“I will follow you Lancelot.”

Gathering his focus back to the task on hand, Lancelot found the Queen’s Guard, “Come men. We must escort the Queen back to Camelot. The King awaits.”

There was a general cheer and clattering as the men rose to Lancelot’s call. They quickly searched nearby rooms to find what equipment they could and Lancelot lead the way back. He attempted to stay as near to Guinevere as he could.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Timothy Matheson Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Katrina "Kat" Rivera Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Outwardly, Kat merely shrugged at Tim’s compliment, but internally she preened at the positive attention. She really did like making him blush too, it was almost like a game, and one she was rapidly becoming addicted to. Kat contented herself with ogling some of Tim’s finer anatomy while he went about his business clearing his schedule and contacting his coworkers. Similarly she enjoyed watching his face as he tried processing all the information she’d thrown at him at once before diving in with his questions. Kat wasn’t entirely sure how to answer them all, but she’d try to be as honest as possible.

“Right, which is why finding him is so important. The city itself is crawling with Unseelie, but dark fae aren’t the only monsters crawling around in the shadows. There’s a whole other world within our own that most humans are never aware of, but it’s dangerous, and there’s no telling how the other supernatural creatures are going to react to him.” Kat began a bit cryptically. “He should be completely human, but a soul spending that much time in the Fae world has to do something to it, chosen or not, the same with all of you.” She continued, and a rather disturbing thought came to mind. “For all we know, you guys could be some kind of walking talking power boosts to these guys.” It was already becoming a more common occurrence to see rogue vampires try to drink fae blood to increase their own power or break a sire bond, and though successful cases of these abductions were rare, they weren’t unheard of. And that was just vampires.

Sometimes, the biggest monsters didn’t have fangs. From personal experience, Kat knew the human variety could be much more cruel. Hoping her face didn’t show just how disturbed that line of thinking made her feel, Kat jumped to his next question. “Honestly, we don’t know how many of you there are. It could be the whole court of Camelot, or maybe just the ones the Gleaming deemed necessary to help Arthur protect the world. We don’t really make the executive orders on this, we’re just the cleanup crew.” Kat tried to explain, though she felt she was probably just making this more confusing.

“Arin seems pretty sure Guinevere’s here, and given their past life history, that could mean a lot of things. Maybe he just really wants her to be here, so he sees and feels what he wants to convince himself that she is. Maybe you all actually do have the ability to sense each other on some level, I couldn’t say.” Kat tried to supply, feeling pretty useless on this end. “Arin will know more on that end than me, but even he doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with that, you being the first knight we’ve found and all.”
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Steel clashing, horses screaming, and pain, maddening and unbelievably all-consuming pain. She was in agony, as she felt every muscle in her body feel like they were being torn apart. She wanted to scream, but it felt like the air was being sucked from her lungs. She smelt horses and fire, saw darkness and trees, but she didn’t know where she was, stuck between her own conciseness and a hauntingly vivid memory that was not her own. There was a man there with a sword, his eyes dark and gleeful, looking drunk on victory. She was going to die, she couldn’t breathe and a maniac had a lethal looking sword pointed her way. She felt so confused, everything hurt, she didn’t know where she was, and a looming sadness pressed in upon her. This was it, she’d never see Guin again…

AREY! AREY WAKE UP!” A voice screamed nearby. Somehow, amongst the fighting and the chaos around her it seemed out of place. Arey…she was Arey, and with that realization strikingly blue eyes snapped open and Arey began gasping desperately for breath, choking a bit on much needed air in the process.

“Thank god! Jesus Christ Arey, you scared the shit out of me!” Amanda blubbered, looking the most rattled Arey had ever seen her. “What happened?” Arey asked groggily, her voice sounding horse and gravely to her own ear. She felt sore all over, but it was quickly fading, more like a remembered pain than an actual injury. The feeling was bizarre.

“You just started screaming! I tried waking you up, but then you kind of…seized up or something and stopped breathing! I didn’t know what to do!” Amanda explained looking entirely lost and shaken up. “Should we go to the hospital? Oh god, I should have called 911. You stopped breathing and I just sat here shaking your shoulders like an idiot. Oh my god, Jesus Christ I’m stupid.” Amanda began rambling, and Arey reached out to grab her shoulder.

“Hey, it’s ok. I’m fine, just a bad dream.” Arey tried to reassure her friend, who countered with a disbelieving look. “A bad dream? Are you kidding me? Arey you looked like you were having a fucking seizer!” Arey just shrugged her shoulders, not really sure how to reply. It wasn’t like she had any clue what had just happened either.

“Was it about what happened last night?” Amanda asked gently, as if just remembering that her friend had been assaulted the night before. Trauma was known to do a lot of funny things to people after all.

“I don’t really remember what it was about.” Arey lied. She had no idea how to explain what had just happened, and she definitely didn’t want to talk about it. She’d been having a lot of weird dreams lately, but this was the first one she really remembered well, and she had no idea what it meant, much less how to explain it to someone else.

“Ok fine. I’m gonna go grab us some coffees. You try and move around and look less…traumatized alright?” Amanda finally said with a sigh before leaving the dorm. Arey could tell she needed to work off the tension, so she probably wouldn’t be back for about an hour, which left Arey alone with her thoughts.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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Arin fumed. He charged into his room and slammed the door. He began to pace.
Who was this guy thinking he knows better anyway? He just found out he was something special. I’ve been living with this all my life. You don’t think I’ve had those same thoughts, doubts? Screw that. It’s my only chance to try and not repeat. I know it.

I KNOW it.


He stopped pacing. He considered himself in the mirror.

I do know it, right?

Arin shook his head. He couldn’t let the doubts sink in, again. He was too close. Tim just didn’t understand. Arin had been doing this much longer. Once Tim got used to the whole concept, understood that they were more than just a repeat of their past lives, he would understand the attempt Arin was making to change things.

Once Tim, Kat, Viv, anyone, sees how well Arey and I connect, there’ll be no question.
With that thought, the memories of the dream came back. Memories of talking with Arey overtook those thoughts, as he focused on the present, rather than the past. Arin picked up his phone with a new resolve and dialed Arey’s number. The phone began to ring.

Moving around helped some. After Arey got dressed and finished her normal morning routine she was feeling marginally better, but the dread was still hanging heavy in her stomach like a stone. She didn't understand where all this stress was coming from lately, and the dreams, while consistent, also made little sense. The man in her dream was the same in all the others, and was the same as the stress hallucination she shared with the girl in that bathroom. Guinevere, her mind supplied seemingly out of no where, and with a frighteningly intense kind of longing. Where had that come from? It was like she was being haunted by King Arthur references lately, and Arey was finding it harder and harder to shake it all off as humorous coincidence. The alternative was of course that she was going loony, which not not a particularly comforting thought.

Maybe Amanda had the right idea. Staying cooped up in the dorms was just going to make her go stir crazy. She needed to get outside, do something, that always made her feel better. Maybe she'd go swimming today, she thought fondly, Arey hadn't been swimming in ages. The decision made, Arey made her way out the door, scribbling a quick note down for Amanda before grabbing her keys and mobile (Amanda still teased her for calling it that instead of a phone, just she didn't get American slang either.) on the way out. New York this time of year was beautiful, and loud, but being from London that didn't bother her much.

She'd always liked cities. There was a kind of energy to them that other places simply didn't have, an energy that seemed to swallow anyone and everyone whose feet touched the city's concrete.
Arey had been walking for a while when the mobile rang, and lost in the tranquility of Central Park, the sudden noise made her jump. Pulling out her mobile, Arey realized that she didn't recognize the number. Carefully, she hit the accept button and decided to answer the call. "Hello?"

Arin smiled at the familiar voice, "Hi Arey. It's Arin, from last night. The bartender. I hope you're not too shaken up by what went on. Not typical for the place, at all. I'd hate for it to scare you away. I hope I'm not being too forward by calling you this afternoon?"

"Oh, Arin hi." Arey greeted back with a surprised smile. She hadn't expected him to call so soon, but it was a pleasant surprise. She was deplorable at reading the rules of dating games, and it was refreshing that Arin didn't seem interested in playing any.

"Not at all, I'm glad you called. Forward is charming on occasion." Arey assured warmly as a bit of color bloomed on her cheek.

"I'm doing alright now, though I think I gave my dorm mate a right scare this morning. I had a bit of an odd dream." Why Arey felt comfortable enough to confide in him about that she had no idea, but she regretted it the minute it slipped out of her mouth. Way to sound like a needy prat, she thought harshly. It probably was the wrong line of questioning to keep their conversation light and flirtatious, but a part of Arey burned to know.

"Did they ever catch the man who attacked that girl? I don't know if you were there long enough to hear anything, but I thought I'd ask. The detective who interviewed me didn't say much about what happened afterward."

She'd read books about assault victims feeling powerless after their attacks, how they wouldn't feel safe until they knew their attackers were locked up, becoming obsessed with the police case. It felt different to Aey though. She wasn't afraid of her attacker, and he wasn't the reason she'd woken up screaming this morning. It felt more like, determination. She wanted that man put away because he'd hurt that girl, and a feeling deep in her gut told her he'd hurt girls again. If there was something she could do to stop that from happening again, she wanted to do it.

"Okay, great. I didn't want to scare you off by calling too quickly, but I really wanted to know if you were alright," the smile on his face was apparent in how he sounded on the phone.

That smile turned into a knowing grin as she described her dream, "Ah yes. I've been known to have the occasional odd dream. That kind of stress, meeting new people, all combined, seems likely odd dreams would abound."

"Did I happen to make an appearance?" he teased lightly.

As she turned back to the attacker he lost his grin, "No, I can't say that I have heard anything. I had to close amid the other upset patrons and keep things in order. Sorry, but I didn't get a chance to follow up."

"Oh that's alright, it really was chaotic. Hell everything past the restroom was pretty much a blur for me, and I wasn't having to deal with people." Arey reassured, when she realized she'd steered the conversation into unnecessarily serious waters.

"Thanks for worrying about me though. Very chivalrous." Arey said softly with a small smile playing across her lips as she tucked a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear. "My odd stress dreams are mostly jumbled nonsense, but last night I distinctly remember a rather fit looking chap with tight knickers and an admirable penchant for saving damsels in distress. There might might have been a passing resemblance..." Arey teased, returning to their earlier flirting banter.


Arin chuckled, "Might have been a passing resemblance? Maybe you need a reminder of what I look like to be sure? Just let me know when you plan on being in distress next and I'll be right over."

Arin smiled at the thought of 'rescuing' Arey. From the rumors he'd heard about last night it seemed she could take care of herself. However, being able to draw the parallel between Guin and Arey did amuse him. This time, though, he wasn't 'rescuing' her on another's behalf.

"Well now that you mention it, I might just be in distress tonight around eight. The whole evening in fact. I'm supposed to meet up with a bunch of my roommate's friends for a party tonight. I don't suppose you'd be interested in being my charming escort?" Arey asked impulsively, hoping she hadn't come across as too forward. She hadn't even been planning on going to the party Amanda had been raving about going to all week, partly because the underground party scene wasn't really her element, and partly because last night had left her feeling shaky. Now it seemed like the perfect excuse to see Arin again, and Arey did want to see him again. She couldn't really explain it, but he made her feel comfortable and safe, which was so far out of the norm she had with guys that it was laughable. They couldn't have been talking for more than five minutes, but already it was the best she'd felt all morning.

Arin thought furiously. He was scheduled to work tonight, but there was no way he was going to say no to Arey. Here was his chance, and it had basically fallen in his lap. He knew better than to tempt fate. Shane owed him a favor. It was early enough in the day still that Shane wouldn't have made plans in stone.

Controlling his excitement, but still sounding enthusiastic, "My lady, it would be my honor to escort you. Where should I meet you? Though I am rescuing a damsel, my mount is metal and rubber, rather than flesh and bone. I will supply the helmet."

A sensible little voice in the back of Arey's head warned against letting Arin pick her up at the dorm. She really liked this boy, but she didn't really know him either, and if this date went south, it would be better he not know where she lived. Arey usually listened to that voice, she was practical and hated drama, and sensibility was usually the most sure fire way to avoid it. But today she didn't much feel like being sensible. Trust was not a word Arey used lightly, too many people had broken it in her life for that. There was however an unusual sense of longing she felt to trust Arin. She wasn't really sure why that was, but for the moment she was willing to shelf the issue. Today was about fun and being young. She'd worry about the grown up stuff tomorrow.

"I live at Ashford dorm on the Ambrose campus." Arey replied listing off the address. "Pick me up at eight?"

"Done. I am looking forward to seeing you again Arey. Hope you enjoy the ride."
Arin hung up with an excited smile on his face. He couldn't wait to have his damsel riding behind him.

Arey quickly said goodbye as the conversation came to an end, a dopey little smile on her face as she walked back to her dorm. Amanda met her there with two coffees in hand, promptly shoving the one without whipped creme in Arey's hand and shooting her a questioning look. "You look pretty chipper for someone who had a fricking seizure this morning."

"I did not have a seizure." Arey shot back, smile not leaving her face. "And I have a date..." She finished vaguely.

Amanda's face was blank for a moment before she virtually exploded. "Little miss Prudy pants?! Details!" She clamored in good natured teasing, the tension from earlier this morning seemingly forgotten.

"Later. Right now I need help picking out an outfit. No skirts, we're going on a motorbike." Arey said grinning.

"Nice! Dudes who ride hogs almost always have nice asses!" Amanda exclaimed loudly, which made Arey blush, and suddenly everything was right again in her world.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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"Definitely the red blondey. It makes your hair look sexy." Amanda chipped in as they ransacked Arey's wardrobe.

"It's a rave party Amanda, I thought you're supposed to wear bright neon colors or white to catch the black light." Arey said dismissively, in no mood for her friend's teasing. Her hair and makeup were done with casual loose curls that had taken an hour to achieve and a playful smoky eye look she'd done over three times in an attempt to either look less like a tart or virgin. Unsurprisingly, it was a difficult balance to strike. Now she just needed an outfit to match, and it was crunch time at seven forty.

"True but you're gonna seem out of place with that 'posh' English accent of yours. 'Ye'll look cheap slummin' wif da seurfs m'am!'" Amanda joked, doing a terrible impression of and East London accent.

"Insisting on proper grammar does not make me posh." Arey bit back as she pulled out a sleeveless white lace top that she liked. It was pretty, but easy to move in, and was date nice, but not too dressy either.

"Sure thing grandma. The only lace you're allowed to wear on a hot date needs to be lining the unmentionables unless you want it to be the last date sweetie." Amada replied, snatching the top out of her hand.

"Here, I'll let you borrow this since we're the same size." Amanda said sounding aggrieved as she pulled out a hot pink bustier top complete with compromising back straps. "All in the name of getting you laid." She finished with a wink. Arey's face turned bright red at the sight.

"No way. I am not trying to look like a stripper either!" Arey replied immediately, to which her friend scoffed. "I got you covered. Literally." She said rolling her eyes as she pulled out a set of thin ripped white tank tops. "He'll get a peek at the goods not the full show."

*

"Thanks Shane. You know I'll have your back if you need it."

"No worries man. I owed you one and if we can't count on each other to help out, who can we count on?" The voice from the phone sounded cheerful and sincere. Arin found himself again wishing Shane was one of them. Sometimes people were great with each other without needing some historical connection.

"Preaching to the choir. Have a great night, see ya," Arin hung up the phone. He had immediately called Shane after finishing up with Arey. Sitting in his room, he took mental stock.

Rave? I've heard so many people talk about them. Galaxy just wasn't that kind of place. So, should I go for the role or just show up like I always would?

It didn't take long for him to realize that comfort on the bike would win out. He had offered to pick Arey up and he needed to be dressed for that. He would much rather have Arey comfortable behind him than show up to 'fit in' to a rave. However, he did have something that might cross the two worlds. He went to his closet and dug out some older racing leathers. They were a bit tight now that he'd been focusing on his workout and swordplay but they still fit. The black leather pants with white racing stripes would go well with the rave. He grabbed a plain white t-shirt that clung well and his blue, black and white leather jacket. Finally he made sure to take the extra helmet and headed out to his bike. He would have to make a few adjustments to set up for a passenger but would be on his way shortly. Showing up a few minutes early wouldn't be horrible. It would let him take the long way to the rave with Arey holding on.

*

Arin had no trouble finding the dorm. He made sure to make a noticeable entrance, letting his bike rev high and let the high pitch growl of the exhaust announce his presence. He pulled in front of the building Arey mentioned and killed the engine. He pulled the helmet off and ran his hands through his hair to try and restore some of the spikes. He dismounted, securing his helmet on the handle bars. With an ease he only partly felt he approached the door and buzzed.

In the end, Arey took the ripped white tank, but rejected the bustier, to which Amanda have proclaimed her a prude. Instead, Arey paired it off with a lime green tank top with the ripped white one over it and a pair of comfy jeans and her white running sneakers. Arey felt more comfortable in them than in heels, and at a rave, she figured it was the better choice. She'd just finished pulling everything on when she heard the sound of a revving engine.

"Hey, you didn't say your date was with sexy bar tender!" Amanda called from the window, laughing lightly when she heard Arey stumble in her haste to leave the bathroom.

"He's here?" She asked dashing over to the window. Outside she could see Arin dismounting from his bike, and nervously she turned to her friend. "Be serious ok, do I look alright?" Arey asked stepping back for her friend to examine.

Amanda paused for a moment before replying. "You look good Arey, don't worry about it." She said smiling one of her rarely genuine ones before her eyes turned serious. "And if he says anything otherwise I'll break his arm for you."


"Thanks...I think." Arey replied with a smile before heading for the stairs when she heard the buzzer. Arin was waiting there at the entrance door when she made her way down, and she had to shoo Amanda away, who was making kissy noises from the top of the stairs before opening the door and stepping outside to give them more privacy. Amanda meant well, but sometimes obnoxious was just...obnoxious.

"Hey!" Was her first less than witty greeting.

Arin looked up at the sound of her voice and smiled, both in greeting and in pleasure at the sight. He watched her walk down the steps as if it were a performance just for him. Though the clothes were typical rave she wore them very well, accentuating her curves in all the right ways. Something about the makeup and hair highlighted her eyes perfectly and Arin found his gazed locked until she stood in front of him.

"Oh... uh, hey back," He blinked and became aware of his staring and realized he hadn't even responded yet, "You look amazing."

"Thanks." Arey tried to reply smoothly, though the blush that spread up to her cheeks ruined the effect. Arey wasn't really used to compliments, and Amanda constantly teased that she blushed way too easily, so she was a little self-conscious about it. Getting a good look at Arin in all that leather was kind of intoxicating as well. Arey had a bit of a type, and the common factor tended to be leather. "You look great too." She replied with warm cheeks, hoping she hadn't been caught staring at his bum. It was just hard not to notice was all...

He looked down at the helmet in his hand and back up at her hair with trepidation, "I should have warned you not to do too much with your hair. It looks gorgeous, but this," he held out the helmet for her, "Will create a style all it's own. Sorry."

"It'll probably be too dark to notice anyway." Arey assured with a smile before taking the helmet and strapping it on. "Besides, I probably would have spent an hour doing it anyway. Kind of a girl thing." Arey joked as they walked back to his bike and they both got on.

"However, I promise you, the ride will be worth it. Exhilarating speeds, engine vibrations, the feel of the open air. Just be sure to hold on tight and move your body with mine so the balance isn't thrown off."

He was looking forward to taking a little extra time to get to the party. He wanted to show off his riding skill and give her an exciting, and memorable, start to their date. Having her holding onto him the whole time was not something he was looking to end quickly, either.

"Okay." Arey replied, almost nervously circling her arms around his middle. He smelled like grass and fresh water, and there was some kind of spice there she couldn't identify but found instantly comforting. Almost as soon as she touched him, Arey felt more comfortable, a sense of acceptance and rightness settling over her. "I'll hold you to that then, but forewarning, I'm a 'jock' so it takes a lot to get my adrenalin pumping." Arey teased, circling her arms around him a little more tightly.

Arin chuckled as he pulled his helmet on, "Okay, jock, let's see how you handle not being in control then?" He fired the engine and revved high a few times. The bike rumbled pleasantly under them. He turned his head and asked, "Ready?"

Arey wasn't sure why that comment sent such a shiver of anticipation down her spine, considering she was usually suck a control freak, but it was kind of thrilling.

He patted her left thigh just above the knee as a signal and then they were off. An easy start but he kept the revs high at first. Partly to show off the sound of the engine, nothing like a high powered engine being used well, and partly to keep the bike vibrating. Adrenaline or otherwise, now that Arey challenged him he planned to keep her attention.

He navigated quickly through the residential areas before finally getting onto a highway where he could really open up. He had had Kat rig up a fancier radar detector. Nothing like this existed on the market. So he knew he had some clear sailing and could really push it. He lowered his left hand and grabbed Arey's hands around his waist, signaling her to hold on tighter. Once he was sure she was ready he twisted the throttle moving from fourth to sixth gear in a matter of seconds. He slalomed through traffic that seemed to be standing still. Horns blared and curse words that couldn't be heard were hurled their way. Arin wore a huge smile but his focus was all on the flow of the traffic. He watched for openings and movements, always one step ahead of the other drivers. Soon they were leaving the city limits and Arin knew he'd have to turn around if he ever wanted to get to the actual party. He choose the next exit and pulled off. Finding a nearby parking lot he slowed and pulled in. He wasn't quite ready to head back and wanted to find out how Arey was. The bad thing about riding two is it is difficult to have conversation.

As they took off, the speed was impressive, and Arin definitely delivered on the promise he'd made for a thrilling ride. By the end of the ride, face half planted against his shoulder, she'd been laughing merrily and grinning like a loon.

After shutting down the bike he raised his visor and turned his head, "So, what'd you think?"

"I think you sir, are a man of your word." Arey said popping the visor up on her own helmet. "I've never been on a motorbike before, but that was incredible!"

Arin felt a flush of pride when Arey made the seemingly throwaway comment of being a man of his word. He knew why it would make him react that way, of course, but this was a little more intense. It felt more like he was being recognized rather than complimented. And it seemed a little odd. He shook it off quickly because it was still a good feeling, regardless, and brought himself back to the situation at hand.

"Good to know I didn't disappoint on the first impression of the date. Now, let's see if I can live up to saving my lady from the 'distress' of being at a party. Shall I take it easier on the way back?"

"No way." Arey said grinning as she pulled the visor back down. "The ride here was way too much fun to go slow now."

"I'm happy to hear you say that."

They rode off again. This ride not quite the exact repeat of the previous one but it was close. Arin made sure to find a few sharp corners where he could really lay the bike down as he turned. He felt Arey move with him like she could read his mind. It was easier, more comfortable, than any other passenger he ever had. He was hyper aware of her presence but she had almost no effect on how he had to handle the bike.

Finally they pulled into a lot near the party and dismounted. He collect the helmets and locked them to the bike. Once again he ran his fingers through his hair quickly to restore the disordered spikes.

"Now. Let's see if the rest of the night can hold up on the thrilling excitement," he grinned.

"Sure thing." Arey said shaking her hair out a little before pulling a hair band out of her pocket and throwing it up into a quick ponytail, guessing it was going to be hot in there. Feeling a little bold, Arey slid her hand into his as they walked into the party, that warm feeling from earlier spreading through her more.

Arin took her hand with a comfortable grasp. It felt like it belonged, as though they had known each other for a long time already. The warm feelings of comfort and friendship were welcome. Arin felt quite attracted to this woman. Yet, the instant pull, the overwhelming desire that he remembered from the dream with Guin, wasn't there. He didn't think about it too long. It wasn't important. He was happy that they were hitting it off right away.

The music was loud, and it looked like the other party goers had already gotten a substantial head start with the alcohol. Arey was more of a social drinker, so wasn't really inclined to head straight to the bar right away to catch up. "You wanna dance?" She asked smiling up at Arin. Raves weren't really her sort of thing, but if they didn't take the whole scene too seriously, then it might just end up being fun, especially with Arin here.

Arin took in the crowd as they walked in. He always liked to survey his surroundings. Viv always told him to be prepared for anything, anywhere, and this seemed like the place that would attract unwelcome attention. Still, he didn't want to miss out on anything with Arey. So after a quick look he nodded, "Of course. The bike was a good start but I don't think I've had nearly enough of you being close." He followed her into the crowd, trying to carve space for themselves.

Arey smiled, silently pleased by the compliment. The music picked up to a quicker beat, and the crowd pushed in more, forcing them to stand practically on top of each other. One of her hands landed on his hip, and there was a sudden flash of light. For a moment she didn't see neon or black lights, there were stars and a giant campfire. Instead of alcohol and hairspray, she smelled horse and earth, felt companionship and contentment. And then as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. The glare from the disco ball shining in her eyes she blinked hard before shaking it off. That was weird...and a really random daydream to be having on a first date she been freaking out over all day.

Arin felt it coming. He had learned to recognize the build up by now. The flash of light and scene change was almost second nature. The campfire was a bit less expected. He couldn't remember a time when he and Guin had been around a fire. It vanished before it could really develop into something. He saw the confusion in Arey's eyes, but she seemed to recover quickly. He didn't want to press anything just yet. He felt it might be better to let her experience on her own before he put ideas in her head. He wanted her to come to the conclusion on her own and not try to live up to some expectation he had set. However, that didn't mean he couldn't help it along a bit. He pulled her closer and moved his mouth near her ear.

"I do think this is quickly over taking the excitement on the bike. I'm quite enjoying our evening so far," he could smell the perfume and under that, her. It was strangely attracting. Not strange, like he didn't expect to be attracted. Rather, strange in that he didn't feel the expected, deep seated, Lancelot, attraction. He was quite attracted to this girl, Arey. It felt odd to feel something as Arin only. He didn't know if it was weird or if he enjoyed the lack of predetermination.

"Me too." Arey said returning the smile. "So what's your favorite color?" She asked out of the blue. She had the urge to really get to know Arin, and the own attraction she felt toward him only intensified that feeling. She figured that was a safe first date question.

Arin chuckled, "Currently, purple. It changes though. But fair enough. I'm moving too fast," he backed off just a little bit, but now he could look her in the eyes.

"You mentioned you're a jock. What's your best sport then?" Arin genuinely wanted to know more about Arey. He had been so wrapped up in Guin that he'd sort of skipped past that in his mind. Being reminded was a good thing. Focus on this pretty girl in front of you, man. Not the one in a past life.

"Soccer." Arey replied without hesitation. "I play forward at Ambrose."

"What about you? Obviously you have some wicked skill on a bike, what else are you interested in?" Arey asked.

"Soccer? With that sexy accent you didn't call it football? Stooping down to my Yankee level?" He grinned. He just wasn't able to pass up a little teasing.

"Yes well you yanks all seem rather defensive about it. Practically gave my coach a heart attack when I told him I had no idea who the bloody Jets were." Arey teased back

"Yeah, I tend to focus on what I want to be good at. Then I get really good. Bike. Mixing drinks. Swordplay. Other activities that may, or may not, be pertinent at some time," he winked. Talking about himself was something he was quite comfortable with. He knew it often came across as bragging but he could back any claim he made. He enjoyed being good at what he did and didn't see the harm in talking himself up a little. He tried not to go overboard.

"Mostly I do the bar. Do the swordplay thing. I tend to read a lot of history books. I like to research the various battles and tactics. Always fascinated me. Also, my sort of sister gets me some real cool, hard to find stuff," Kat had been able to really did into the archives of some old libraries and get him digital copies of super rare books. She was a total enabler of his focus on fighting and tactics.


"Swordplay?" Arey asked, that being the thing that jumped out at her the most. It was an unusual hobby, but strangely she could picture Arin handling a sword, sweaty and shirtless with muscles bulging...

"H-how'd you get into that?" Arey asked clearing her throat quickly as he face turned into a tomato. Good thing it was dark.

"I'm a bit of an odd fellow. Like I said, history, battles, fighting. Always been of interest to me. I got hooked on medieval combat. Knights in armor, riding horses, that kind of thing. One main reason I went to the bike angle. Anyway, I found a local place that did some recreation of historical battles and took it from there. Of course, it all started by being controlled and looking good for spectators at fests and things, but I wanted to learn the real thing. More books. More research. A few of us all got together and just started doing things a bit more seriously. We actually get armored up, plastic and foam, not real metal, and beat on each other. Fun times. Excellent practice. Interested in joining up?" He grinned. He knew he'd be baiting her. Yet, now was as good a time as any to start getting her used seeing the fighting that will likely have to happen.

Arey chuckled at the picture he painted, and another feeling of warmth came over her. "Sounds like a lot of fun." Arey admitted.

"Soccer at the school. When you aren't playing, what are you studying?"

"I haven't declared a major yet, but I'm thinking either medicine or law. It just depends on what I end up liking better I guess." Arey replied, somewhat embarrassed.

"No reason to jump the gun. Figuring out what you want is better than struggling through because it's what someone told you to do."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering Character Portrait: Timothy Matheson Character Portrait: Arianna Marie Trescott Character Portrait: Katrina "Kat" Rivera Character Portrait: Eärendil Ablach

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"True enough. Nice thing about being on scholarship I guess. No parents trying to push you into their dream career." Arey conceded. The music had just changed over to a rare slow song, and Arey had shifted her arms up almost shyly to circle round Arin's neck. Arey hadn't slow danced since year 9, and that had been an awkward mess, but she figured she still knew what to do.

Not long into the song though, a shirtless man came pushing through the crowd and stopped when he saw Arin. Apparently they knew each other Arey thought in confusion. The guy seemed vaguely familiar, but Arey couldn't place him. A classmate maybe she reasoned? "Do you two need a minute?" Arey asked awkwardly, feeling like she was intruding on something.

Arin was enjoying the closeness when someone bumped and grabbed him. Exasperated he turned to brush off a suspected drunk or otherwise over served when he recognized Tim, "What? Why the hell are you here?"

Tim looked completely unsure and cut off anything else Arin might say, "I-Kat...." With a deep inhale he relaxed just a little. "Look, sorry I need you to come to the bathroom. Kat's not okay. And...." He looked over at Arey. "Things aren't what you think they are."

He gave Arin a look that asked him to trust him. He knew he had only just met him but he hoped that their past bond would count for something. "You can bring her too but...not sure that is a good idea."

"Kat? What?" Arin sighed, "I should have figured she wouldn't leave well enough alone."

He turned back to Arey, "Kat is that sort of sister I was talking about. Tim here is a friend. Apparently they must have got wind of my plans to come here and wanted to join the fun. You're more than welcome to come meet Kat. Despite what Tim says, it's probably fine," Arin had a sense of dread. He knew Tim wasn't going to speak lightly, but he really didn't want to desert Arey. He looked to Tim, trying to convey the spot he was in.

Why do I feel liked I've just been insulted? Arey thought taken aback. Wondering why Arin's friend seemed so put off by her. They hadn't even bloody met, and she was already getting pointed "ditch her" looks from his friends. She wasn't really sure how to respond to that, but at the mention of Arin's sister being in trouble, she back off from the issue mentally. Maybe he was just anxious was all.

Tim looked ill. "Nice to meet you, wish it was better circumstances." He held out a hand and braced himself. "I am Tim. Sorry about all this, really. Bad time here and all..." He felt terrible but he was incredibly certain that this was not going to go well.

"You too." Arey replied, reaching out to take his hand until she got a better look at his face, and reached her hand up to feel his forehead instead. "Bloody hell, are you alright?! You're burning up!" Arey asked concerned, the pre-med student in her kicking in as a strong urge to protect and take care of this man came over her.

Tim shook his head, eyes wide. "No. No things are not alright." He looked to Arin. How did he not know? How did he think it was Guin? Tim knew, the moment her hand touched his forehead. He saw it all. The kneeling as he was knighted, the discussions over maps, the laughing, the battles. His eyes moved from the woman to Arin and back again. He had to fight the urge to kneel at her feet. Oh Arin....

Oh fuck. Really? Arin inwardly winced as he watched the two react to each other.

Tim didn't know if she felt it too but he knew. Trust your instincts Kat said. Well I fucking win the prize now don't I?

"We need to go to the bathroom...." It was all he could say. He stared at Arey, the woman before him with admiration and respect in his eyes.

"I think you need some water." Arey replied, seeing the look in his eyes snapping her back to reality, and making her feel insanely uncomfortable. A little warning of trepidation flared up from somewhere deep inside, and something screamed at her that she certainly did not want to go anywhere near that bathroom.

Arin looked to Arey and half shrugged, "Maybe you should come. I think you might be interested in meeting Kat too. She's cool."

"You're friend said she wasn't feeling well, are you sure she'd want me there...?" Arey asked uncertainly. She trusted Arin, probably more than knowing him for two days warranted, but there was also a growing anxiety rising up that she couldn't put a name to.

Arin was feeling pressured. Obviously Tim and Kat have had some kind of event, happening or something. He couldn't just leave Arey here. Yet, Tim was quite insistent that her coming was bad. He knew Tim for less than a day but something in him was sure that Tim would not be frivolous about this. Arin needed some kind of assurance that Arey wouldn't just leave. Meeting Kat at a rave and getting it all laid out wasn't his plan. He needed to do something to make sure that Arey would be here when he came back, or at the very least, there would be a second date.

"I'm pretty sure things are okay. If you'd like to meet her now, shouldn't be a problem. If not, wait here, I'll be right back," Arin leaned in toward her, sliding a hand behind her head. He kissed her, gently, but fully. He was hoping for some kind of spark, flashback, something to convince her to stay. It was extremely pleasant. He quite enjoyed the kiss. However, it was a kiss. Nothing else.

He stepped away, "I... I'll be right back. Or... you know."

Tim froze. Oh not good...not good... He waited, holding his breath and frowned as Arin stepped away. No shock, no surprise. My instincts have been right. He’s deluded. His mouth formed a straight line. "You both coming or what?" Still not a good idea.

The kiss was unexpected, out of the blue really, but not unwelcome either. She didn't exactly have a lot of experience with the whole kissing thing, and she was pretty much forcefully blocking out the insident from last night completely, but this definitely hit the top of her list. A little unsurely, she kissed back, enjoying to feel of his surprisingly soft lips against hers as she tilted her head back for a better angle. It was over too quickly, and she felt a little breathless afterward, but she was smile once the broke away, a little confused but happy.

"Sure..." Arey said hesitantly, lacing her fingers through Arin's when Tim asked if she was coming or not. It didn't really feel right to just stay behind after sharing that, and he was asking her to meet his sister. It would be rude to not go she reasoned, pushing away the nervous feeling.

Tim sighed and led the way to the women's bathroom. How do I explain this to him. Shit this is going so beyond bad. What would Ywain...I mean I do? Tim didn't have a clue.

He pushed open the door and looked down at Deirdre and Kat who remained where he left them on the floor. "I found Arin but you should know I found out that..."

Deirdre looked up as they entered. She paled immediately. "I have to go."

Tim shook his head. "No you have to stay. We..." He looked at Arin. "Lock the door would you?"

Deidre was shaking, almost violently. She kept shaking her head.

Arin looked at Tim, confused by the request, "Huh? Why? And who's... oh, wait. I remember you. From Galaxy."

"No, no you don't." She gently moved Kat. "Arin is here. I have to go." She couldn't bring herself to look at the blonde woman.

Arey didn't notice the other woman at first, as she'd sent an odd look Tim's way when he said to lock the bathroom door. When she heard Arin say he recognize someone from Galaxy however, she turned her head to look at the other occupants in the bathroom before going as stiff as a board, and almost forget to breath.

ITS HER! a voice she didn't recognized in her mind screamed, though Arey certainly recognized her from last night. She wanted to leave, and Arey seconded the motion, suddenly overcome with the urge to flee.

Tim sighed, "You can't leave."

Deirdre's lip trembled. "Yes I can." She stood gently leaving Kat. Her eyes moved from the woman to Arin. "This is a big joke. That is why I am here. You want a reason? It is punishment for what I did. I am to watch them..."

Tim reached out to grab Deirdre as she headed to the door. She stopped dead in front of Arin who blocked her path. "Let me pass please." Her voice was full of sadness and pleading.

Tim shook his head. "If you do Arin you are making a big mistake."

Deirdre raised her eyes to meet Arin's, "Please."

The pain in the other woman's voice felt like a physical blow to Arey, and her hand dropped from Arin's as if burned. She was confused, felt jumbled. Part of Arey wanted nothing more than to pull the other woman into her arms and hold her until her pain went away, a deep voice that was not her own demanded it. The other part screamed at her to run, fast and far and to never come back. She started breathing hard instead, inching closer to the door as the other woman approached.

Arin's world flipped. He felt like he must do what this new woman asked, as though he should be only out to ensure her desires. Looking into her eyes as she pleaded with him to let her pass all the flashbacks with Arey replayed in his head. Every one of them included Guin. Yet, every one of them included Arthur. Arin felt the color drain from his face. His one chance to make it right. His whole goal in this new life, missed because he mistook the person in the vision. There she was and he had left her to Shane.

He turned to Tim, "I don't know what to do now. Help?"

He sunk to the floor.

Tim looked pained. "I-"

Deirdre watched Arin sink to the floor, she could hear the woman behind her, breathing hard out of anxiety. "I have done it already." There were tears in her eyes. She looked at Tim. "You should tell them. Help him."

She looked down at Arin and knelt beside him. Her hand brushed his cheek. "I am sorry...."

Tim was at a loss. He crossed to Arey. "Here, come get a drink of water..." He wanted to clear space, to give the three of them room and right now Arey looked in the most need of some sort of breather. "It's okay, it is a lot to take in."

Arey didn't know what had happened, couldn't explain it to herself in any way that made sense. Not five minutes ago she'd just had her first proper kiss with a boy she liked, and now it felt like the world had just flipped on its side. Arin sunk to the floor, looking as lost as she felt, and she didn't know what to do. Arin was hurting, that woman was hurting and she didn't know how to make it stop. The woman looked heartbroken, and she leaned down next to Arin, apologizing as she brushed his cheek.

And that was all it took. Like a flood gate had just been opened up, pain, anger, betrayal all felt fresh and new. She saw flashes of images, people she recognized but didn't, and then there was just pain. In the back of her mind she felt a presence, trying to crawl its way to the surface, trying to gently edge her back for control, and that, more than anything else, terrified her. With a will power she hardly knew she possessed, she beat back at it relentlessly until it finally slunk away.

"I don't want any water." Arey replied hoarsely brought back from the brink by Tim's voice. "I don't know what the bloody hell you're talking about, but this is...is..." Arey didn't finish that sentance. Instead she turned on her heel and launched herself at the door.

Deirdre stood and put her hand up to stop Arey. "Don't. Don't leave. You are scared and confused. We all are." She was surprisingly calm. Her eyes met Arey's. Their blue depths made Deirdre feel like she was drowning for a moment. "Please. Don't leave him, not like this. We all just need a moment."

Arin sat on the floor, looking straight down. His attention had been totally focused on Tim or the new woman until this point. Now, he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, Kat, laying on the floor. He turned to look at her. She did not look well. Arin shook his head and suddenly, the Lancelot part of him fell away. What had happened to Kat. He turned to Tim and almost growled, "Is Kat okay? What happened? Who did this to her?" He dragged himself over to where she lay.

"S'okay...I barffed up most of the drugs…I think." Kat mumbled, head still pounding too much to get up.

Tim inhaled. "Incubus. He got a hold of her as she was chasing Deirdre and got her drunk but I fought him off. She is okay just still a bit drunk. He got me as well, while I was trying to find you to tell you I found...well you know. She stayed with Kat but I think she needs to get home."

Deirdre looked at Arey, "You will be okay." She gave her a smile and squeezed her hand before turning for the door.

Arin stood up, a resolve coming back that had been missing for a time, "Don't." The soldier in him started giving orders, "There is no guarantee this Incubus has left. Or that it's the only one here. If you leave now, when they know you are here, you are unlikely to make it to the door. Now is not the time to play with the past. We need to focus on the present and get us all out of here, safe. Tim, that cross, it's iron?"

Arey didn't know what to think. This was the girl who had comforted her yesterday when she'd thought the world was crashing down around her. Her eyes were earnest and a part of Arey called out to go to her. She couldn't believe a words the woman way saying though, it just all sounded too insane.

"Don't yell at her." Arey practically growled. An anger rising up in her that was partly her own, but mostly not. "What the fuck are you talking about?" Arey felt like shouting, felt like punching someone, and a lot of that anger seemed highly directed for some reason.

Tim nodded slowly, his eyes on Arey's back. All kinds of fucked up now. "He warned me there were more out there."

"Perfect. I have a set of, well not brass knuckles obviously, but iron. You and I will cover the others," he turned to Arey. He knew what she would be feeling. He saw it in her face, but he didn't have the ability or desire to explain.

"I am not yelling. I am trying to ensure none of us end up as a midnight snack. Please, be pissed at me all you like, swear at me up and down, but do not go off on your own. If you are so pissed at me that you can't accept my help then accept Tim's. For her sake." He pointed at Kat.

"We need to get her home. She will explain it all."

Deirdre was still looking at Arey. She didn't move though she wanted to.

"Help from what?!" Arey exclaimed in frustration. No one was talking sense. Incubuses? What the flying fuck!? Was this just some kind of game? Get his buddies from Galaxy to pull some stupid prank on one of the girls who was fool enough to give him their number at the bar? That seemed a hell of a lot more plausible than anything they were telling her now.

"Help from those that would harm you, and them. I know it makes no sense and defies all reason but it is the truth. They will protect you even though you don't know that you need it." Her voice was calm and reassuring. There was a levelness to it that should not be there given all that had gone on. "There are things that are strange and unusual out there. Haven't you seen the crowd?" She offered Arey a reassuring smile.

Arey just stared hard, at each and every one of them in turn. "Do you have any idea how bonkers you sound?"

"Only every idea," Arin nodded.

"Yes" Tim said.

Deirdre nodded.

"Look, you said you were thinking about being a doctor? Think of it this way. This young girl needs help out of a rave and she's currently surrounded by a bunch of loons. Seems like it's the only reasonable thing for you to do. Help her get home safe," Arin knew there was no way he would convince her of the rest of it. So, he fell to something more mundane.

"I thought she was your sister? Or was that a lie too?" Arey asked eyes hard, though they softened a little when she looked at Kat. She looked dehydrated and definitely under the influence of something. Medical attention there would be wise.

"I always said, sort of sister. She's not directly related but she lives with my mother," Arin explained.

"She crazy too?" Arey shot back, though her eyes stayed with Kat, the overly morally compelled part of her being too easily swayed.

Tim moved to pick Kat up, cradling her in his arms. Nice play Arin. He gave the man a look of appreciation.

Kat gave an exaggerated cough, playing along. "Help me they're nuts..." She joked weakly giving Arey a wink. Arey just blinked, not sure what to say to that.

"Not helping Kat," Arin whispered to her.

Deirdre backed up very slowly to the door. She hoped to make an exit while they discussed. She stopped when she noticed Tim's eyes on her. The look he gave her made her pause.

Tim whispered to Arin. "Don't let Deirdre slip away. She is going to try, I know it."

Arin nodded, "Noted."

Arin looked to the woman Tim called Deidre, "It's really, really not a good idea to leave. You know that. Tim says you've experienced it. Nothing in this room is going to be worse that what one of those things will do to you," Arin spoke plainly. He wasn't trying to convince her, he was just laying it bare. Too many balls in the air and he was just barely keeping it together himself. The only thing going for him was the knowledge that Viv had given him. He knew damn well that, if what Tim said was true and there were more of those monsters out there, then the only way they had a chance was sitcking together.

Tim nodded, "Shall we then?" He hoped that it was settled because he wanted to be anywhere but right here, right now.

Deirdre looked away from Arin. She couldn't face him. "I am aware but I thank you to leave me to my own decisions. You have enough on your plate."

Tim crossed the bathroom, Kat in his arms. He passed Arey, "Come on. Stay close." He moved to the door, slipping past Deirdre. "Don't you dare disappear."

"I do have a lot on my plate. Yes. And you taking off will only add to that burden," Arin sighed.

Tim opened the door and exited the bathroom. He gave one last look over his shoulder to make sure they were all following.

Deirdre stepped out of the way, letting Arey move past. "You should stay close in case she gets sick again. There was more than just booze that he gave her."

She looked at Arin, "I will not add to your problems here. But I cannot stay once we are outside. I shouldn't be here."

"I will not tell you what to do outside of any threatening situation. However, I strongly advise you to continue with us to a safe place. We will then be able to arrange anything that needs arranging," Arin's tone was one of resignation. He didn't have the will to fight multiple battles. He just wanted to get everyone safe and be allowed to focus on that. It was the only thing allowing him to function currently.

Deirdre smiled. "I know who I am. I know who I was. I know what is out there...mostly. I won't interfere with what you were doing." She turned and followed out the door. Her chest hurt and she wanted to cry but couldn't. There would be time for that later.

Arin turned to Arey, "Please?"

Arey felt conflicted. They were obviously crazy, all of them, but they made it clear they weren't letting her leave the bathroom unless it was with them, and apparently the club to. Arin said safe place, which implied he was trying to take her somewhere. There was no way in fucking hell she was going to let that happen, but for now she'd play along until they got out to the streets. She could break away once they were out there, and she was confident she could outrun any of them of foot. It was survival mode now, so silently she followed along, tense, and waiting for her chance to bolt.

"Where'd your shirt go?" Kat asked absently to Tim, as if just noticing that it was gone.

Tim blushed, "Ugh well....Incubus took it off of me. He well...I fought but he managed to get close. Strong bugger."

"That code for he put the whammy on you?" Kat replied tiredly, but some humor played across her face.

Tim looked chagrinned, "A little but not because I wasn't trying. It was not easy for him."

"Never said it was." Kat agreed. "You're a strong bugger too."

"You are sweet Kat. I still feel like I failed and with..." Tim shook his head. "Never mind. You just rest sweetie." He hugged her a little closer, feeling very protective and overly aware.

"You didn't fail anything." Kat protested. "I'm the one supposed to be looking out for you noob." She gently patted him on the shoulder snuggling closer for reassurance. "Can't help your MVP gettin' KOed in the first quarter." She tried to tease.

Tim blushed. "Rest you." He looked up towards where they were going.

"Oh yeah." Kat challenged. "Make me." She finished sticking out her tongue.

"Careful there half pint." He smiled down at her.

"Are you really gonna make that a thing?" Kat whined at the nickname, but smiled back.

"Maybe. You gonna make me stop? Half pint?" Tim gave her a wink.

"Don't tempt me toots. I can be pretty creative when properly motivated." She grinned back, pleased.

Tim chuckled.

Deirdre walked, back straight and held slightly tilted. She heard Arin ask the woman to come along. She felt a twinge of guilt that she hadn't done enough to calm the woman down and still put up a resistance of her own. When she saw them walk in together it was like someone had stabbed her. She immediately knew who the woman was, no doubt. Maybe it is for the best. I won't have to be the thing that relieves his guilt. He will have Arthur, he will have her. No conflict, no hiding. They can have a bond that is as strong as it was before and there will be no worry that I might come between them. This is right. She tried to convince herself of that and her rational mind knew it but another part of her was heartbroken. She had hurt them by her mere presence. I told Tim he should have just let me go. If Arin had figured it out after they had been dating then I wouldn't matter, Guinevere wouldn't matter. She was lost in her thoughts as she followed Tim out into the club and to the door.

Tim moved through the bodies, Kat in his arms. He was not gentle as he shoved people out of the way. His eyes darted around, watching for signs of danger as well as behind him to make sure the women followed. He knew Arin would ensure it as well, he trusted him. He fought back his sense of dread, replacing it with duty and alertness. There was no time now to worry about what might happen once they got out of here.

The front door loomed ahead. Tim was almost holding his breath. He worried about what might be waiting for them out there. Not just now but in the coming days. What would happen with Arin and Arey? What of Deirdre? Could this be repaired enough that they could still win this battle that seemed to be coming or were they doomed before they really had gotten started?

Arin finally followed the rest out of the bathroom. There was no time to wallow in his self-pity, he had to make sure they were safe. He watched the crowd and the group in front of him. Deirdre walked just like Guin did. Proud, regal, beautiful. He shook his head. Stop, that's over now. Focus. He saw Tim and Kat exchanging grins. Good, she seems okay. Arin was just realizing that Kat meant more to himself, as Arin, than anything about Guin did to his Lancelot part. It was seeing Kat helpless on the floor that kicked him out of his stupor. Sort of sister? I think I can drop the sort of now. Finally he looked back to Arey. She looked jumpy, shocked and scared. No doubt, and she hasn't even been told who she was yet. Arin sighed. This beautiful woman, who he was actually finding himself attracted to and not as Lancelot, but as Arin, turns out to be his king and best friend ever. What's next? Merlin is some sort of skeptic that rails against any type of unexplainable anything? I can't imagine this becoming more awkward.

The shock of the cold as Tim opened the door refocused Arin's attention. Good job at keeping an eye out. he berated himself.

With a shove he opened the door. The cool air hit his bare torso but his concern was for Kat. He held her closer against him. "Cab?" He looked to Arin.