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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Gah, this is late, gomen! I wasn't home today. Anyway, for those of you who're just stopping by, this is the next chapter of a story I've been posting here. Previous chapters can be found by scrolling down! ^_~ Enjoy!

Chapter Five

"I'm sorry."

Aidan snapped out of his thoughts at his sister's quiet comment, and he turned to her with a raised eyebrow. "Sorry for what?"

"Your hospital." Leaning against his shoulder, Lily gestured to the blazing building in front of them. "Hope there wasn't anything important in there."

"Important? Nah." Aidan patted the cart full of medical supplies. "I got everything I needed. And what're you apologizing for, hm?" He lightly pushed her. "You didn't burn it, did you?"

"It's possible." When Aidan sharply looked at her, Lily's lips twitched. "I'm joking."

"Oh… right." Aidan laughed. "It's a bit hard to tell with that poker face, you know."

"That's not my poker face," she smugly replied. "You should know that by now."

"How should I know? I've never played poker with you before."

"I've never played poker before."

"Well, there you go." Aidan shook his head, staring into the flames. "But like I said… it’s nothing to worry about. We were ready for a change of scenery anyway, weren't we?" He paused, fiddling with the stethoscope on top of the cart. "Still… it is a bit…"

"Pretty." Lily smiled. "It's kind of pretty."

Aidan offered a wry half-smile. "Not quite the word I was looking for… but pretty works."

Lily vaguely nodded, then looked around her. "What are we doing about them?" she asked.

"What, the people from the hospital?" Aidan looked over at the refugees sitting in a small circle a few feet away. "Get them out of the city, I guess?" Aidan shrugged. "Although I don't think we can fit 'em all in that piece of junk van-"

"Not them." Lily shook her head. "Them." She gestured to where Tobias and the rest were tying groups of the insurgents together. Aidan could hear his new employers bickering about how many criminals should constitute a group, of all things.

"Well… I don’t know." He shrugged. "I hadn't asked." He looked like he was about to add something to that, but he stopped, squinting at his sister. "What's that?"

"…what's what?" she asked.

"There's a smudge on your face." Aidan tilted her chin up. "Looks like dirt, or—"

"It's dirt." Her expression barely flickered, and she licked her finger and began to rub it off.

"That Loki guy… he didn't try anything funny, did he?" His expression darkened.

"Of course not." Lily gently shrugged him off. "He did just what you asked him."

"You sure? We can leave right now if he's a problem—"

"It's fine." She patted her brother's shoulder. "Don't worry about it."

"…sorry, Lily." He awkwardly crossed his arms. "Next time I won't leave you alone, okay?"

"It's fine," she repeated with a reassuring smile, then looked over his shoulder. "…I think the hobo is waving at you."

"What?" Aidan frowned. "What hob—"

"Aiiiiiiiidaaaaaaan!" Tobias sang from across the lawn, jumping up and waving. "Be a darling and load those supplies into the van, will you?"

"I'll… be right back. Okay?" Aidan apologetically smiled.

"I'll be here," Lily mumbled.

Grabbing the handles of the cart, Aidan pushed it across the rough ground towards the van. Pulling the trunk open, he stared at the pile of trash lying there, dismayed.

"Need some help, Doc?" The chipper voice from behind him made him jump, and he swung around, grabbing the first thing he touched from the cart and holding it high in the air.

"Oh… Mrs. Croft." Aidan deflated. "I'm sorry, you surprised me."

"None of that 'Mrs. Croft' stuff!" Theo waved a hand. "And it's perfectly understandable. Besides, if I could be beaten with a roll of gauze, might as well quit this job right now."

Sheepishly, Aidan placed the gauze back on the cart. "I-I could use a hand, thanks."

"Good!" Theo began clearing a space in the back of the van. "So, interesting first night, huh?"

"You could say that," Aidan said weakly. "Sorry I can't be of more help."

"Ah, don't be like that. My first job, I was bloody useless." Theo grinned. "I think I ran away screaming."

"I can't really imagine that," Aidan blurted out. "I mean… that is… you looked pretty confident in there."

"Hardly," she laughed. "I'm still a coward, I'm just better at handling it."

"If you say so." Aidan began to load things into Blue Heaven. "Um, the rioters you caught… are any of them…"

"Dead? God no. Wasn't even much of a chore to subdue 'em." Theo shrugged. "An' a weapon's no use if you don't know how to aim it. Speaking of, I think I might've scared you earlier?"

"Earlier? Oh, you mean… no, I'm very grateful that you helped me," Aidan said quickly. "It just seemed a bit unfair, hitting him from behind like that."

"Unfair? I was doing him a service! This way, he can think it was some big tough guy that took him down… not a tiny woman with a piece of wood."

"I…I suppose that's one way to do it," stammered Aidan.

"He a friend of yours or something?" Theo asked.

"Well, sort of. He worked for my father for a while." Aidan paused. "And he may have had a crush on my sister."

"Oh," Theo said, slowly nodding. "Should I have hit harder?"

Aidan's laugh came in a tense burst. "No, that's okay."

"So, your sister, she's doing all right, then?" Theo glanced over to where the younger girl stood, staring at the captives with a sort of morbid curiosity.

"Yes, she is… I think." When Theo looked at him, confused, Aidan continued. "I just have difficulty telling with her sometimes. She never really shows what she's thinking, or says anything she doesn’t have to… most people find that creepy. She… doesn't make you uncomfortable, right?"

"Honey, look at me," Theo snorted.

"Point." Aidan flushed.

"But you don't think that's creepy, right?" Theo tilted her head to one side.

"No," Aidan said slowly. "She just… lives in her own head, I guess. Not that it's unusual, most mathematical minds are like that, from what I know."

"She likes math?" Theo smiled.

"I think she'd write in equations if you gave her the chance," Aidan said with a laugh.

"In any case, I'll bet she's fine. Loki's a good kid, I'm sure he kept her somewhere safe."

"I'm sure," Aidan repeated with a frown. "But next time, I'd rather he pick a place further away. I don't want her near any of this."

A moment passed before Theo answered. "Why?"

"…well, that's obvious, isn't it?" Aidan said loftily. "She's too young to be exposed to this."

An odd, unreadable expression crossed her face. "Too young?" She looked thoughtful for a moment, then her lips pulled into a grin again. "I guess so! But it's not uncommon, you know."

Aidan wasn't sure how to respond to that; instead, he helped her load the supplies into the trunk. As Theo laid one of the boxes down, something caught her eye, and she pulled it out. "Aspirin." She giggled. "I could've reaaaaally used this a few weeks ago."

"That's right, you were the medic before, weren't you?" Aidan must have looked apologetic, because she dismissively waved her hands.

"No no no, don't be sorry, I wasn't very good at it!" she assured. "Absolutely awful around blood. I'm sort of used to it, though… when Anton was a kid, he lived off thinking up creative ways to injure himself. Idiot," she fondly added.

"I take it you've known him a long time, then?" Aidan politely asked.

"Ages! Since we were brats, anyway. Wish you could've seen him then, you'd have hated him." Theo laughed again. "You know where Dhana Island is?"

"You lived there?" Aidan blurted out. "I vacationed there when I was a kid… it's gorgeous there! What are you doing all the way out here?"

With her back turned, Aidan couldn't see Theo's expression, but her voice stayed the same. "That's slightly more complicated," she said cheerfully. "He'd be there right now, if…"

She turned back towards Aidan, smiling brighter than ever. "I should really go check the rioters, make sure they're tied up tight an' all. You can handle the rest by yourself, right? Later!" She bounced off across the lawn, leaving Aidan standing by the van, mouth half-open.


Lily hummed to herself as she walked in a slow circle around the building, swaying a bit as she moved onto her tiptoes. Buried in thought, she barely noticed what she was doing until a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"Easy there, girly!" Loki hissed as he dragged her behind him. "Tobias and Silas're discussing business." He jerked his thumb to where the two men were standing, seemingly deep in conversation.

"So… you were listening?" asked Lily.

"No!" snarled Loki. "…a little. Unintentionally. I was—just hush!" He flushed. Lily complied, leaning forward.

"—don't understand why you're going along with this, is all," Silas was grumbling.

"Going along with what?" Tobias casually replied.

"Can you just slow down for a minute and think about it?" Silas growled. "We don't really know what happened here."

"We don't have the time to think about why," Tobias retorted.

"We have plenty of time, Tobias," Silas sighed. "If we knew the whole story—"

"Why do we need to know? It's their business."

"If it's their business, we shouldn't have done this in the first place."

"Si," Tobias placated. "You can feel sorry for them, if you want. But I've seen plenty of people deal with stress without becoming raging pyromaniacs."

"How can we know it's just 'stress?' From the way that kid was talking about it—"

"Talking about what?" Tobias mirthlessly laughed. "He didn't seem to want to talk about it at all."

"There seems to be a lot of things he doesn't want to talk about." Both Tobias and Silas jumped as a third voice slid into the conversation.

"Anton… what have I told you about giving people warning?" Silas breathed.

Tobias instantly snapped into a cheerful tone again. "Aww, he's just showing off again," he said with a grin.

"I'm serious." Anton crossed his arms. "You don't know a thing about that doctor… or his little sister, for that matter. Don't you think we should be a bit less hasty?"

"Now, if being on this crew required a full resume, we wouldn't have the pleasure of your company," Tobias said smoothly. "Or your lovely wife's, for that matter. And speaking of, you could follow her example?"

"She's just being polite," Anton grumbled.

"Jealous?" Tobias sang.

Anton didn't answer the question; he simply huffed. "I just think you should consider the fact that he may not be trustworthy."

"That's not my concern," Silas butted in. "It's irresponsible of you, taking on someone so inexperienced."

"You talk like I'm gonna drag him out on jobs every time," Tobias laughed. "Listen, I don't want either of you to even think about it. I have it entirely under control."

"Tobias," Silas said warningly.

"Si, Si… how long have you known me?" Tobias purred. Loki and Lily thought they saw him smiling. "Have I ever made the same mistake twice?"

"…if something goes wrong—" Silas began.

"Then I'll fix it." Tobias clapped a hand on Silas' shoulder. "Have a little faith, hm? Both of you."

Anton shrugged. "It's not important."

"Your wife can handle herself." Tobias threw the other arm around Anton. "Now, smiling faces? They'll be here any moment to collect the— well, look, there they are!"

From Loki and Lily's perspective, they couldn't see the cars pulling up the driveway, but they could hear them sliding up the pavement.

"Ah, finally!" Loki exclaimed. "I heard Tobias saying some important guy was gonna be here, too… Mr. Wittenberg?"

Lily's eyes widened, and her fingers closed around Loki's wrist. "Let's go back to the van."

"Huh?" Loki frowned. "I need to go out there—"

"You don't." Lily tugged on his arm. "You don't need to see them at all."

"Girly, what's wrong with you?"

"Please?" Lily pleaded. "I just want to go sit in the van, now."

"Okay, okay!" With a loud sigh, Loki let himself be pulled over towards Blue Heaven. "I guess it'd be useless to ask."

Lily ignored him, looking around them. "…w-where'd Aidan go?"


"You don't know how grateful I am to you all!" rumbled a portly man in a business suit, vigorously shaking Tobias' hand. "You'll all be handsomely rewarded, of course, only the best for the people who saved my city!"

"We hardly saved it, Mr. Wittenberg," Tobias said smoothly. "I only wish there was more we could do to help."

"Well, I want all your names, at least!" Wittenberg chortled. "I'm sure some of our citizens could learn from your example… wait a minute!" he cried. "Is that Aidan Connors?"

"Mr. Wittenberg," Aidan said stiffly. "It's been a while."

"Too long!" Wittenberg shook Aidan's hand as well. "I should've just known you'd be out here, helping, always such a dedicated young man… but tell me, how is your sister? She feeling better yet?"

"Much better," Aidan mumbled. "We were going on a short vacation, actually, get her some quiet time."

"Of course, of course," Wittenberg replied, his voice bubbling with sympathy. "We've all been quite concerned about her, to say the least… well, do tell her that we're all waiting for her return!"

"A little at a time, sir." Aidan stared at the ground.

As the last of the captives were loaded into the police cars, Wittenberg clapped Aidan on the shoulder. "Well, good luck to you, my boy, and to the rest of you, as well! Here's my number, Mr. Locke, we'll have to arrange another meeting soon to discuss your payment." With a genial wave, he climbed into his black sedan.

"See? That's how all city officials should be," Tobias laughed. "Polite, and… oh, excuse me! You in the brown suit! Mister…"

The blond man trailing behind Wittenberg turned around, smiling. "Hawthorne. Mr. Hawthorne."

"Yeah, you dropped your cigarettes!" Tobias handed them to Hawthorne. "Owww… what happened to your face?"

Hawthorne's smile widened. "Pretty dangerous people out there, Mr. Locke." With a polite nod, he climbed into the front of the sedan, coasting down the long driveway as the flames swallowing the hospital slowly began to dim.

Feedback makes me happy! ^_^

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Saturday, March 4, 2006

It's technically Saturday morning!
And here's the next chapter. ^_~ Thank you all for commenting and making me so happy! (And Mimmi? Don't worry, I have not yet begun to develop Tobias! *bwahaha*

By the way, you all should check this out: http://www.deviantart.com/view/29819929/

One of my friends was awesome and drew a cast picture for me, and it's gorgeous, so bask in the beauty. *__*


Chapter Four

"What the hell was that?" Aidan yelped as he stuck his head out the supply room door.

"Welcome parade in our honor?" Tobias said as he followed suit.

Aidan paled at the faint glow at the end of the hallway, jumping slightly when the sprinklers jerked on. "Now would be the time to get that thing open."

"Right!" Tobias sprinted back across the closet, bending over the padlock and jiggling the paper clip.

"Do you really know how to do this?" Aidan moaned. To his dismay, Tobias simply shrugged jovially.

Aidan leaned further out of the closet to get a better look. Despite the sprinklers pouring relentlessly, the orange blaze at the end of the hallway wasn't dimming; it seemed to be growing. The explosion jerked the hospital to life: wild footsteps reverberated from the ceiling, and Aidan heard snatches of frantic voices from above him.

"I'll be right back," Aidan muttered, starting for the stairwell a few doors down.

"Hold it, hold it." Tobias didn't look up from his work. "They found their way in, they can get out."

"That's different! They might not know where the emergency exits are!"

"Well, the glowing red exit signs are kind of a giveaway," Tobias chuckled.

"Spare me the sarcasm!" Aidan growled. "This is serious!"

"You know what your problem is, Aidan Connors?"

"No, but please tell me."

"You have to concentrate on one thing at a time," Tobias said with a nod. "Slow down a bit, even! And besides, I'm sure those people are perfectly capable of getting out on their own."

"Capable, sure." Aidan glowered. "Any capable person would have left the city."

"Well, you're here, aren't you?"

Unable to think of a retort, Aidan simply turned on his heel and marched out of the room, striding towards the stairwell. It sounded like there was a large group on the second floor. 'Probably in the break room,' he thought, quickening his pace.

"Don't move." Aidan froze at the growling voice behind him, followed by an almost inaudible click.


Loki couldn't move his legs.

Every inch of him wanted to step forward, to grab Lily by the arm and get them both as far away from this room as possible, but as a slender figure slid from behind the door, Loki's feet were glued to the tile.

"M-Mister Hawthorne?" Lily whispered. Her demeanor changed almost instantly; the air of rushed confidence melted into tension and nervousness, and she took a tentative step backwards as the color drained from her face.

"My, my, it's been too long, Princess." Hawthorne tucked his blond hair behind one ear, looking Lily up and down critically. "Although I must say, you haven't grown much."

"Not that long," Lily mumbled. "Less than a month."

"Ahh, is that so?" Hawthorne smiled. "I guess the time just passes more slowly without you around… well, that's a lie. Although I suppose it's not the same when you're gone… for one, I wouldn't have to watch his property so closely." He waved the notebook in front of her face.

"That's mine," Lily said weakly, taking a step forward and grabbing for it.

"Is it now?" Hawthorne lifted the notebook over his head. "I guess you'll have to jump for it."

Before he knew what he was doing, Loki strode over to Lily's side, pulling her back. He started to growl a threat, but as the silvery-gray eyes fixed themselves on Loki, his voice died in his throat.

"You have a bodyguard now, Princess?" Hawthorne laughed softly. "Cute. So tell me, Sir Freckles, how well do you know Miss Connors?" When Loki didn't answer, Hawthorne shook his head and sighed. "This is what happens when you don't read the fine print, Sir Freckles."

"Get away from her," Loki spat out.

Hawthorne laughed a bit louder. "Well, aren't you just darling."

"He's not part of this." Lily tried to duck out from under Loki's arm, but he pushed her back.

"But he's here anyway, isn't he?" Hawthorne leered. "You seem to be quite good at that, Princess… dragging people down with you." He gazed around the room, as if looking for something. "Speaking of, I don't see your brother here."

Lily tensed. "You told me you'd leave Aidan alone."

Hawthorne looked thoughtful for a moment. "Did I really say that?" He leaned in closer to her, and Loki pushed her back further. "Besides," Hawthorne purred. "I've been wanting to talk to him for the longest time-"

Pushing Loki aside, Lily snatched the switchblade out of her pocket, flipped it open, and swung wildly at Hawthorne's face. "You said you were going to leave him alone!"

The room crashed into silence. Hawthorne covered the left side of his face with his hand, his expression hidden. Lily's arms slowly fell to her side, the blade still clutched in her right hand. Loki stood pressed against the wall, afraid that moving even slightly would draw Hawthorne's attention to him.

Finally, Hawthorne's hand fell away from his face. The gash extended from just below his left eye to his chin, and the taunting smile had disappeared. In its place was a wide, cracked grin that stretched his face like a melting wax figure.

"Have you forgotten already?" Hawthorne ran a bloody finger down Lily's cheek with a soft chuckle. "No… I didn't think so." He shoved the notebook into her arms so roughly that it threw her off balance. "Remember, Princess…" He pressed the finger to her lips. "Not a word."

Lily backed away slowly, as if from a dangerous animal, and murmured to Loki, "We're running now."

"Glad to have your permission!" Loki shrieked, grabbing her arm and bolting down the white hallway.


"Well, this is my lucky day… Bill Connors' son." The rioter smirked at Aidan, keeping the gun trained on him. "I thought your kind would be long gone by now."

Aidan held his hands up, trying to pull off a calm, soothing expression. "Mr. Porter? What are you doing here?"

"Just enjoyin' myself, Connors." Porter grinned. "Your old man was never this much fun."

"Mr. Porter…" Aidan smiled weakly. "We’re friends, right? Put the gun down."

"Friends?" Porter snorted. "Must be nice, Connors, ignorin' everything you don't like," Porter growled. "You think just 'cause you work here, you're suddenly a saint?" He glared at Aidan. "We ain't friends. Never have been. And if you think-"

With a loud crack, Porter hit the wall and slid across the wet floor. Theo stood behind him, holding a piece of driftwood like a baseball bat. Dropping it with a loud clatter, she punched both fists in the air. "Strike!"

Anton seemed to materialize behind her, shaking his head. "Theo, a strike is when you miss the ball."

Silas followed, with a placating smile. "That was a line drive to right field, at least."

"Only a line drive?" Theo deflated. "I'm losing my touch."

"Excuse me," Aidan said weakly. "What are you…?"

They only just seemed to notice Aidan then; Theo flashed a contrite smile, Silas looked sympathetic, and Anton remained unaffected. "Sorry," Theo laughed. "You okay?"

"Where's Tobias, kid?" Silas asked.

"Here, right here!" Tobias slid down the hallway, pushing the cart and beaming. "I told you I'd get it open, Aidan, but you…" He trailed off as he took in the scene, his eyes lingering on the motionless figure on the floor, and on his three crewmembers. "When did you get here?"

"Just now!" Theo said.

"We'd been following them," Anton jerked his head at Porter, "for a while now. And when they torched the place…" He shrugged.

"Thought we'd check up on you two," Silas finished cheerfully.

"You didn't have to…" Aidan muttered, gesturing towards Porter.

"Hm?" Theo glanced at him. "You say something, hon'?"

Aidan opened his mouth to finish the sentence… but as he looked over Theo's shoulder, he forgot exactly what they didn't have to do. Soundlessly, he pointed at the end of the hallway.

At least two-dozen men stood behind them, all armed, and all looking very, very irritated. Theo, Anton, and Silas didn't turn around; the group stood perfectly still, as if moving would aggravate the insurgents further.

"Okay… here's what we're going to do," whispered Tobias. "I'm going to call Loki, tell him to bring the van around… you three, deal with them for now, I'll be with you in a sec… Aidan, why don't you take the cart and get outside?"

"But the people upstairs…" Aidan began.

"I'll go," Silas interjected. "Can you two deal with them in the meantime?"

"Sure!" Theo said cheerfully.

Anton frowned. "Long as you hurry it up."

Tobias tilted his head to one side. "Should we draw a diagram or something?"

"Mr. Locke, they're getting closer," Aidan moaned.

"On the count of three, then?" Tobias mused.

"Just go!" hissed Silas.

"Okay!" Tobias chirped. "Go!"


Loki slammed his foot down on the gas, the tires screeching across the pavement as he floored Blue Heaven away from the marble house. Lily was huddled in her seat, curled around her notebook as if expecting someone to take it again.

A few miles later, Loki's cell phone rang, causing both teenagers to jump. Loki pulled into an alleyway, still breathing heavily.

"Hello?" he squeaked. "Oh, Tobias! No, I'm fine! I was just… exercising! …Yeah, running laps! … No, really, I'm good, I'm just… the hospital? Yeah, I can see it from here… now? … No, it's not a problem! … yeah, I'll be there in a second! … Good luck to you too." He clicked the phone off.

Putting it in his pocket, he turned to Lily. "Back there… who the hell was that?"

"An… an associate of my boss'…" Lily mumbled. "I'm sorry… I didn't expect him to be there."

"'I'm sorry?'" Loki echoed. "That man could've hurt you, girly. What am I supposed to tell your brother then?"

"He wouldn't have," she replied. "It's… not really his style."

Loki was about to reply scathingly, but faltered at her expression. "…what's in the notebook?" he asked.

Lily clutched it tighter. "Nothing."

"C'mon, girly, you said you'd show me."

"It's not important!"

"Back there you said it was!"

"It doesn't-"

The notebook slithered from her hands, falling open as it hit the floor of the van. Loki leaned over and grabbed it, scanning the page… and his eyes widened as he realized what was written there. "…math problems?"

Every inch of the paper was covered with graphs, functions, and numbers; each problem was so overlapped with another that Loki couldn't see how she could differentiate one from the other. He looked up from the page at her, eyebrows raised. "What is this?"

Lily snatched it from his hands, closing it. "It's just so I remember everything," she said quietly.

"It… doesn't matter, really," Loki said with a shrug, putting the van in gear again. "You got it back, right? You don't have to explain anything."

Of course, Loki wanted that explanation… but every answer he'd gotten from this girl so far was something vague and nonsensical. He chewed on her reaction the whole drive to the hospital, wondering how a series of math problems would help someone's memory. 'Maybe it's code,' he thought as they drove up the hospital's driveway. 'She could be a spy or something… or an assassin! The way she handled that knife, she totally coulda been an assassin! Either way… this chick's definitely not norm-'

Loki was jerked out of his thoughts as a body crashed into the windshield, just as they pulled up behind the hospital. "Christ!" he yelped, swerving out of the way and barely missing running over the person. Quickly examining the windshield for damage, he grinned weakly at Lily. "See what I tell you?" he said. "Indestructible."

"Sorry 'bout that, kid!" Tobias waved from the broken window. "Didn't see you down there!"

Shaking, Loki clambered out of Blue Heaven, taking a quick look around. The fire had spread throughout much of the first floor, but from what Loki could see, Tobias and the others looked unperturbed by it. Aidan sat a ways from the building, surrounded by a ragged-looking group of people and resting one arm on a cart piled with medical supplies.

"That you, Loki?" Theo shoved Tobias from the window, sticking her head as far out as she could without cutting herself. "Could use some help in here!" she yelped as she was dragged away from the window.

Lily climbed out of the van. "Are they all right?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah, definitely!" Loki patted her shoulder awkwardly. "I'll be right back, okay? I just have to…" He turned to the burning building with a sigh. "…work."

Hope you enjoyed! Feedback makes me a happy Becky!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

   Fat Tuesday! Yay!
Mardi Gras is upon us, everyone. Go get beads, even if you're not in N'awlins! Even if you're not in AMERICA, for that matter! Any day is a good excuse to get beads, right?

Also, to everyone who commented on my writing posts: y'all are so sweet. So sweet you made me use the word y'all! XD (I've been living in the South for four years, and I've managed to be immune thus far... see what you made me do? *giggles*) Thank you guys SO much!

So, a lot going on with my favorite myOers in the next month, what with the loverly Molly tying the knot, Miss Mimmi relocating, and my partner-in-crime Aurus hitting SakuraCon with her awesome Yoruichi costume. So, darlings, good luck in all the aforementioned endeavours.

So what are the rest of y'all (I DID IT AGAIN) up to in the month of March? I'll tell you what: I'm getting these exams over with and enjoying my Spring Break! Not to mention my birthday on the 22nd... eighteen, baby! Even though I don't smoke, I'm not a huge porn person, and the next election isn't for two years... it's the principle of the thing.

Hasta luego, chicos y chicas!

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

   Since people don't seem to be tired of it yet? XD
Here's chapter three of my novel! And those of you who were slightly confused by the influx of characters: don't worry, there's not as many in this chapter. *grins* Hope you enjoy!

Chapter Three

The flames gutted out the buildings around them and curled around the open windows like fingers as Loki and Lily clambered out of Blue Heaven. Lily looked around her, her eyes wide and fascinated. Loki, on the other hand, stared at the building in front of them.

"Well… what d' you know…" Loki mumbled. "I thought it was some kind of euphemism… instead of an actual, y'know… marble house."

The building was hardly a house. It loomed above the two teenagers, four stories high with columns that seemed to guard the thick, vault-like double doors. Majestic gold lettering a few feet above them proclaimed what looked like a fancy Latin saying, but by the flickering light of the fire, Loki couldn't make it out. Every inch of the building seemed to be made of white marble, and while the structures around it burned, the marble house was untouched.

"This must've cost a fortune to build," Loki breathed, eyeing the gold-trimmed stairs at his feet.

"I suppose." Eyes still fixed at the smoky sky, Lily began to climb the stairs.

"Hey hey hey, wait a minute!" Stumbling, Loki followed. "We're going in?"

"You can wait out here, if you like," Lily said. "Someone might steal your van."

"Are you insane? I'm s'pposed to keep an eye on you, remember? And besides, even if they wanted t' steal Blue Heaven, they couldn't." He rapped on the windows with a grin. "I saved up for months so I could fortify her! You couldn't break these windows if y' tried. Go ahead, throw a rock at it or something!"

"…maybe later." With a weak smile, she continued up the stairs. "This'll only take a few minutes."

Nervously, Loki hurried to keep pace with her. "Okay, okay! We'll go in! What is it you want so bad, anyway?"

Reaching the top of the stairs, Lily turned around to look at him blankly. "I was in a hurry, and I left something here. We're just going to go get it."

"Whatever you say, girly." Walking past her, Loki grunted as he pulled at the heavy door. Flushing slightly at Lily's amused look, Loki frowned. "It's just a little stuck, is all. I'll get it!"

"That's not necessary." Pulling a small, plastic card out of her sweater pocket, Lily swiped it through a small slot next to the door, which flashed from red to green. The door popped open with a click.

"…that works too…" Loki threw her a shifty look. "What is this place, anyway?"

Smiling, Lily pulled the door open. "I work here."


"Thank goodness!" Tobias beamed at the unharmed brick building in front of him. "Maybe they decided to leave this one!"

"Or they haven't gotten to it yet," Aidan grumbled as they walked up the steep road to the hospital. "Maybe they didn't feel like climbing this hill."

"Positive, Aidan! Be positive!" Tobias chastised.

"Let's just get this over with." Aidan looked around them furtively as he stepped up to the entrance.

"Aidan?" Tobias laughed. "When one is trying to be sneaky, it's probably not best to walk through the front door-"

"There's no one to hide from," Aidan said with a shrug. "All the patients were evacuated yesterday."


"Bomb threat."

Tobias whistled. "Makes our job easier!"

"That's one way to look at it." Aidan pushed the door open, motioning for Tobias to follow him.

Tobias followed, looking around the darkened lobby with an almost excited air. "I've never seen one of these empty before."

"I don't think they ever are," Aidan replied wryly.

"Except now?" Tobias asked.

"Obviously. Pick up the pace, will you?" Aidan began to walk faster.

"A little paranoid, are we?" Tobias said with a sly grin.

Aidan felt he had good reason to be paranoid. The emergency lights flickered on and off at haphazard intervals, lighting one part of the long hallway and throwing another into shadows. Below them, Aidan heard the hum and felt the vibration of the old generator.

"I think I prefer the rush," Aidan muttered.

The words had barely left his lips before the sound of hurried footsteps reverberated down the hall, retreating away from them.

"…I thought you said no one would be here?" Tobias asked, raising an eyebrow.

"There… there might be a few people waiting out the fire here." Unconsciously, Aidan's voice dropped down to a whisper.

"Makes sense!" Tobias' voice seemed much louder by comparison. "What better place to go, right?"

"Be quiet," Aidan hissed. He pulled Tobias by the arm and strode down the hallway, finally stopping and gesturing to a door labeled 'Supply Closet.' "This is it."

"Do you have a key?" Tobias asked.

"Of course I do!" Yanking the keychain off his belt, Aidan sifted through the handful of keys, finally separating a small, bronze one from the rest. He jammed the key into the lock, and putting his shoulder against the door, shoved it open. "You know what to look for, right?"

"Yes sir!" Tobias purred.

"Then start looking."


"This place is huge," Loki whistled as the two of them moved through the building. "How do you not get lost in a place like this?"

"You learn your way around," Lily murmured, the heels of her boots clicking against the marble floor.

Loki couldn't see how anyone learned their way around a place like this. Each curved white hallway they'd walked down looked the same, twisting off into several other hallways that looked just like the first. There were rows of rooms, all their doors closed, and labeled with numbers in the same gold lettering as the entrance.

As they moved through long rows of marble cubicles, Loki noted that while the hard-backed metal chairs lay against the opposite wall, everything else was untouched. Papers were strewn across the desks, a pen lying on one of them dripped ink onto an unfinished sentence. Coffee cups sat at the corner of a few desks, dark rings spreading around them as the Styrofoam began to weaken. To Loki, it looked like the people working there had disappeared.

"What is it you're looking for?" Loki asked, agitated.

"Shhhh," she whispered. "We're almost there."

They wandered down the hallway in silence for a while, the only sounds coming from their footsteps. Loki was so busy looking around, taking everything in, that he almost ran into Lily when she stopped abruptly.

"What's wrong?" He followed her gaze to the door in front of them, nearly identical to the thousands of other ones they'd passed, only without a number. "'s just another door."

"…you're right." She finally turned around to look at him, smiling. "Just another door."

Pulling the card out again, she swiped it in another slot. This time, Loki felt apprehension twisting in his stomach as the light flashed from red to green, and the door clicked open.


"Hey, hey, Aidan!" Tobias waved around the stethoscope. "Hold still so I can listen to your heart!"

"That's not a toy, Mr. Locke," Aidan snapped as he perused the shelves, grabbing antibiotics that they'd probably need. "Just put it on the cart."

"So cold," Tobias said mournfully, placing it on their cart. "At least let me play with the gauze?"

"We can't waste any, you idiot!" Aidan willed his teeth to unclench, focusing instead on looking for syringes. "Does anyone in your crew have persistent health problems? Diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure?"

Tobias seemed to ponder that as he toyed with the disinfectant. "Anton has this eye-twitch?"

"Understandable." Aidan picked up the insulin, just in case. He'd almost found everything he thought they'd need when he heard a gleeful snicker behind him.

"I've never actually seen these things before!" Tobias laughed as he picked up the paddles of the defibrillator. "These are those 'CLEAR!' things, right?"

"C-Careful with that!" Aidan waved his arms frantically.

"Relax, it's not even plugged in. See?" Tobias slapped the paddles together, and jumped when a small electric shock jolted them apart, dropping them to the floor with a loud clatter. "…it's amazing what people can do with batteries these days!" he said with a nervous laugh.

"Mr. Locke, if you'd stop treating this like a playground and…" Aidan trailed off and stared at Tobias.

"What?" Tobias looked back innocently.

"…put that on the cart," Aidan said.

Tobias' eyes widened. "Have a little faith!" he said, laughing nervously. "My crew has the longevity of… something that lives very long!"

"I'm sure you do," Aidan said impatiently, "but I'm talking about the battery."

"…I like the way you think." Grinning, Tobias placed the defibrillator on the bottom shelf of the cart.

"Right, that should be everything? Let's go."

"Hold on a second," Tobias cut in. "We need painkillers."

"We have some, right there."

"Nah, something stronger." Tobias shrugged. "Can't you get us some morphine?"

"What kind of injuries are you anticipating, here?" Aidan said slowly.

"Well, always best to be prepared!"

"…that locker, right there," Aidan pointed at the gray, metal locker in the corner. "I don't have the keys, though."

"Why not?"

"Only the personnel on duty can carry them, keeps people from forming habits."

"How annoying." Tobias frowned. "Know where they are now?"

"Not here, that's for sure, they'd never be left unattended. Someone probably took them when they evacuated."

"Don't tell me the lock's unbreakable."

"Close enough," Aidan said as he eyed the lock.

"You sure? There's gotta be something heavy enough around here… ooooh, the rioters have Molotov cocktails out there, we can use that!"

"Wonderful idea,” Aidan said sarcastically, shaking his head. “There’d be no morphine left to take. You’re a criminal, aren’t you? Pick the lock!”

“Criminal?” Tobias looked highly affronted. “First I’m a mercenary, now a criminal? I have been insulted many times in my life, Aidan Connors, but I have never… pick the lock?” He cocked his head to the side. “…didn’t think of that.”

Aidan buried his face in his hands. “You, Mr. Locke, are an idiot.”

“Probably!” Tobias chirped. “Got a hairpin?”

“Does it look like I’m wearing a hairpin?”

“You never know!” Thumbing through the rack of inventory folders, Tobias found what he was looking for: a paperclip. “Perfect!” he said, straightening it out and jamming it in the lock. “I’ll have this opened-“

An explosion blasted from the direction of the lobby, rattling the shelves and shaking the floor under them.


Loki blinked into the harsh light, stepping blindly into the hallway in front of them. The fluorescent emergency lights seemed to be burning too brightly, reflecting off the white walls and floor and making the entire hallway glow. As his eyes began to adjust, he noticed this passage had only one door, at the end.

“So… is this where they do the government experiments?” he said with a laugh.

Lily turned around to look at him blankly. “What?”

“You know… like in the movies? With aliens and brainwashing and all that?”

“…no?” Lily turned to face the door again.

Loki sighed to himself, deciding that his companion didn’t have a sense of humor. “Fine, fine… where’re we, really?”

“My boss works here.” Lily pushed the door open casually, and Loki peered over her shoulder, expecting to see something out of a science fiction movie, and was disappointed when it was a simple, spartanly furnished office, with nothing but a mahogany desk and a white leather chair, with a few file cabinets against the wall.

Lily paused at the doorway for a long moment, and then rushed in, threw open one of the desk drawers, and pulled out a dark blue notebook, which she clutched to her chest. “Okay, we’re leaving.”

“That’s it?” Loki stared at Lily in disbelief. “We came all the way here for your diary? I thought this was important-“

“It is, and I’ll show you when we’re outside, but we have to go now,” she said quickly, striding towards the door… before a hand reached out from behind the open door and pulled the notebook from her arms.

“Leaving without saying hello?” a voice purred. “You’re rude as always, Miss Connors.”

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Monday, February 20, 2006

The backroom is telling me that some of my buddies posted today, but when I go to their sites, there's no new post. Wonder if myO's having issues?

In other news: *stabs Fiction class for being a bunch of lazyasses*

EDIT: ... my userpic is gone. Oh, dear.

EDIT THE SECOND: My user icon is back. To loosely paraphrase Gwen Stefani, this site is bananas.

EDIT THE THIRD: And gone again. WTF, myO. WTFingF.

Comments (7) | Permalink

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Onward march!
First of all: BurningDeamon has to leave us for a bit, so everyone drop by her site and wish her well!

And, as promised... chapter two of my novel-in-progress! (If you didn't read chapter one and you'd like to, just scroll down a bit. ^_^) Hope you guys enjoy!

WARNINGS: Other than mild language, nothing much.

Chapter Two

"What's going on?" Lily demanded as she warily eyed the stranger. Tobias smiled at her, and she shrank further behind her brother.

"Ahhh, and you must be Miss Lily!" Tobias exclaimed as he extended his hand towards her. "You're even lovelier up close!"

Ignoring him, Lily turned to Aidan. "Who is this?" she questioned.

"It's fine, Lily," Aidan muttered, moving himself between her and Tobias. "Mr. Locke here was going to offer me a job."

"And naturally, I wanted you present, as well," Tobias said, withdrawing his hand and running it through his hair. "Aidan here needs your approval, after all!"

Lily paused as she looked Tobias up and down, frowning, and then nodded quickly. Aidan gave her a small smile and patted her shoulder. "It's just for a few minutes, I promise."

"So we're all in agreement, then?" Tobias gestured for the siblings to follow him. "The rest of my crew are aaallllll the way over there!" He laughed. "They're just so shy sometimes!"

The three of them walked about a mile away from where the other refugees were clumped together, slowly leaving the glow of the flames behind. As they approached an abandoned building, Aidan could see a small bonfire with four people huddled around it, and hear little snippets of conversation.

"—well, it's not like there'd be any left for him to go to," a woman's voice said thoughtfully. "But some of the people here might strike his fancy—"

"C'mon, Theo, he's not that bad," chimed a boy's voice. "I mean, he can be like that sometimes, but in a situation like this, Tobias knows that—"

"I know what?" Tobias smiled as they approached the small group.

"N-Nothing!" the boy stammered, turning a shade of red that matched his thick hair. "Theo was just sayin' stuff, like that you were…" He trailed off as his eyes fell on Aidan and Lily, and his mouth fell open. "Oh…"

A tall man with graying hair and a silver crucifix frowned. "Tobias…" he warned, and then turned to Lily. "Miss, is this man bothering you?"

The small, olive-skinned woman grinned at Aidan. "Oh, Tobias, is that one for me? How thoughtful!" She seemed pleased as Aidan flushed, and the slender, dark-haired man sitting next to her looked at her sharply. "Okay, okay, sorry… they new clients or something, Tobias?"

"Not quite!" Tobias responded, sitting down and motioning for the siblings to do the same. "Hmm… well, I guess I should introduce everyone first, shouldn't I? Everyone, this is Aidan and Lily Connors! They're siblings," he purred, leaning forward. "And, Aidan and Lily? This is Anton Croft."

The slender, dark-haired man inclined his head with a cold politeness, but said nothing to either of them. Tobias moved on. "And that's Theodora Croft!" He gestured to the olive-skinned woman, and then to Anton. "They're married, but they're not siblings."

"I should hope not," muttered the gray-haired man.

Unfazed, Theodora waved cheerfully at them. "Yo! 's a pleasure! You're welcome to call me Theo, though."

Tobias pointed next to the red-haired boy. "This is Loki Tomren." He turned to Lily with a sly smile. "Cute, isn't he?"

"T-Tobias!" If possible, the boy flushed even redder. "I-I'm sorry, Miss," he stammered, addressing the ground rather than Lily.

Tobias didn't seem to notice Loki's embarrassment. "And lastly, that's Silas Bristow. He's our spiritual advisor!"

"Far from it." The gray-haired man sighed heavily, but smiled at Aidan and Lily. "Sorry about your home, kids."

"Yeah." Theo shook her head. "Although it could've been worse… looks like a lot of people got out. What happened, anyway?" Her quizzical look rested on Aidan.

Caught off guard, Aidan couldn't think of how to respond for a moment. "It's obvious, isn't it? Some lunatics set fire to the place."

"We know that," Loki prodded. "Who was it?"

"There's been non-stop rioting in the Inner Districts for a few days, now." Aidan's tone became clipped with annoyance. "It just finally escalated beyond picketing, is all."

"Picketing what?" Tobias asked.

Aidan paused. "…just the troubles again," he said with a shrug. "I hadn't given much thought to it."

Theo's face fell. "Aww… well, we'll find out for ourselves soon enough, I guess!"

"Ahh, that's right!" Tobias beamed. "Loki, have you found a way in yet?"

"Yep!" Loki crossed his arms, puffing out his skinny chest. "Took me forever, but there's a spot they left unguarded by the South Entrance, should be easy for us to get in."

"You're still crazy for even thinking this, Tobias," Silas said with a slight smile that didn't match his words. "You know how dangerous this is?"

"Maybe so," Tobias said, grinning, "but as a very wise man whose name I forget said, the ends justify the means! And… oh, that's right!" He gestured grandly to Aidan. "Boys and girl, Aidan's agreed to be our medic!"

"Hey!" Aidan frantically looked at Tobias. "I told you, I haven't decided on anything yet—"

"We don’t need him," Anton interrupted. All six pairs of eyes turned towards him, showing various degrees of surprise. Anton shrugged. "Theo's just fine at it."

"Anton…" Theo fidgeted. "You know it was only temporary. Besides, I'm much better at making people bleed than patching 'em up-"

"Making people bleed?" Aidan echoed.

"Hey, it's not like I do it for kicks or anything… I mean… Tobias explained to you what the job was, right?" At Aidan's blank expression, Theo bit her lip to hold back a smile. "…he didn't, did he."

"…no, he didn't." Aidan turned to Tobias. "But I believe he owes me an explanation now."

The grin slid off Tobias' face a bit. "Well… you see… we're frequently employed by... certain... businesses who need some kind of service done that they can't do themselves! And we carry out that service, in exchange for a small fee!"

"…oh God," Aidan moaned, putting a hand to his forehead. "You're not a private practice! You're all mercenaries!"

"Now now, don't go throwing around words," Tobias chided.

"Yeah," Theo assured, "we're absolutely dedicated to helping our clients!"

"We're just also very broke," Loki added.

Silas, on the other hand, nodded. "Mercenaries… yeah, that sums it up nicely."

"Just slow down, here," Tobias soothed. "This is a perfectly legitimate business we run here! In fact, we've been hired to assist your fine law enforcement officials in cleaning up the city tomorrow!"

"If you were hired," Aidan began, "then why were you talking about breaking in?"

"We haven't been hired yet," said Tobias with a shrug. "But once we make their jobs easier, I'm sure they'll be grateful enough to pay us!"

"Come on, Lily, we're leaving." Aidan took Lily by the arm and stood up. "Thank you for your offer, Mr. Locke, but we're not interested."

"Really?" Lily's question was so soft that Aidan wasn't sure he'd heard it at first. "Are you really not interested?"

"Sweetheart, now isn't the time for this." Aidan pulled her away from the group. "Let's go back now, okay?"

"Will you wait for him?" Lily addressed Tobias now. "Tomorrow, before you go in… you'll wait for him, right?"

"…tell you what." Tobias smiled warmly at her. "We leave at 8:00 tomorrow. If your brother changes his mind, you can meet us at the South Entrance?"

Before Lily could respond, Aidan tugged her arm harder, dragging her away from the bonfire and back towards the crowd.


"Why did you say something like that?" sighed Aidan, wrapping his leather jacket tightly around his shoulders.

"You were going to change your mind anyway," Lily said as she played with a strand of her hair.

"What, are you psychic now?" Aidan snapped.

"No… just know you want to do something, is all."

"There's plenty of other jobs to be had." Aidan shrugged. "I don't need to stoop to that level."

"There's not." Lily looked at their surroundings. "You can tell by the way everyone's just sitting around. There's nothing productive to do here." She looked back to her brother, pausing before she continued. "You don't have to be productive, either."

Aidan laughed mirthlessly. "That would be nice, wouldn't it?"

Lily studied the ground for a long moment before she spoke again. "…if you go into the city tomorrow, can you take me?"

"Neither of us are going in there," Aidan said. "If I do say yes, which I haven't yet, we're going to wait for them by the gate." He put an arm around her shoulders. "You don't really want to go back there again, do you?"

"Well… that depends," she replied, fingers twisting in her hair. "I left some things there… in the marble house."

Aidan tensed. "…Lily, you don't have to worry about the marble house anymore." He smiled reassuringly. "You never even have to look at it again."


To his own surprise as much as anyone else's, Aidan found himself standing at the South Entrance the next morning.

"Everybody here? Great!" Tobias clapped his hands. "We can cover the most ground if we split up into small groups… although it looks like we have an uneven number." He pouted. "I guess Anton and Theo can go that way," he pointed left, "Silas can go that way," he pointed right, "and Aidan and I go that way!" He pointed dead center, looking pleased with himself.

"Wait, who said I was going in?" Aidan scowled.

"We have to go get you supplies from Wittenberg, right?" Tobias said loftily. "What good is a medic without the medical things?"

"Tobias?" Loki asked. "You forgot to give me my job."

"My boy, you have the most important job yet!" Tobias clapped him on the shoulder. "You're going to stay here with Miss Lily and Blue Heaven!" He gestured to the girl, and the rusted powder-blue van parked a few feet away.

"I'm not leaving Lily alone with him," Aidan said quickly.

"Hey, hey, she'll be perfectly safe with me!" Loki growled.

"How am I supposed to know that?" Aidan shook his head. "No, I'm staying here."

With a sigh, Tobias pulled something out of his coat pocket and handed it to Lily. "All right, dear, point the red end away from you and push that button?" Slowly, she did, and jumped as a blade popped out. "There," Tobias sighed. "She's armed. Better now?"

"…fine." Aidan glared daggers at Loki. "But if you let anything happen to my sister-"

"Now now, Aidan!" Tobias shouted. "Death threats create a negative atmosphere!"

"We're wasting time." Anton gave the group a contemptuous glance. "I'd like to get this done sometime today."

"He's right, of course!" Tobias grabbed Aidan's arm and dragged him towards the entrance. "Remember, everyone, never say die, unless you're really serious about it!"

As the group departed, Loki flopped onto Blue Heaven's driver's seat halfheartedly. "Well, looks like we're gonna be here a while, Miss Lily, so—"

"Is this your job?" Lily asked. "Babysitting the car?"

Loki frowned at her. "I've been on plenty of jobs with them before… 'm only here now because Tobias needs someone capable to protect you!"

"Then surely someone as capable as you could take me somewhere." Lily climbed into the passenger seat of the van.

"Oi, oi, you heard what your brother said." Loki grimaced. "If he finds out we left this spot—"

"You could probably take him," she intoned.

Loki's laugh came in a nervous burst. "You're crazier than I thought, girl." He pulled the keys out of his pocket. "All right, where to?"

Lily gave him a small smile. "We're going to the marble house."

Comments? Questions? Kicks in the head? All quite welcome. <3

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day, all!
Or Singles' Awareness Day for people like me. ^_~ Enjoy it, all!

Also: http://kevan.org/johari?name=Becksicle

Since everyone and their mother is doing it. *grins* Choose the words from there you think best describe me!

Oh, and question... a couple of my myO buddies seem to have disappeared from my buddy list since Sunday, and I can't get to their pages from their comments... what's with that? o_O

Have an awesome day, all!

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Writing post! (Yay!)
Thank you so much to everyone who replied to the last post! ^_^ Okay... so if you guys want to read more, I'll post a chapter every Saturday morning... at least until I run out of chapters! (I have 14 written already out of a planned 23, and I write a chapter about every two weeks... too lazy to do the math, but I'll probably run out of chapters before I finish posting them all XD) And then I'll just put them up as I write them. Sound good?

As for the story itself, the first chapter came out of an image someone gave me as a prompt, and then took on a life of it's own? *grins* Also, I apologize if it's confusing to anyone; the second chapter makes things a lot clearer.

Ready? Onward!

In Descending Order

Chapter One

"Hey, kid! Catch!"

Aidan's hand shot up instinctively and caught the leather object before it hit his forehead. He scrambled off the rusted car he was leaning against, ready to jump to his feet as the cheerful tenor voice laughed, but in the thick clouds of ash and smoke that swirled around the junkyard, Aidan could barely make out the silhouette of a man. His eyes darted to the object in his hand, and he raised an eyebrow as he saw it was his own leather wallet. ‘Thank God for small favors,’ he thought with a grim half-smile. ‘Someone actually took the time to find me in all this chaos?’

"Sorry! Didn’t scare you, did I?" The man strode out of the haze, running a hand through his shaggy black hair and grinning. Aidan knew right away that he was homeless: he wore a rumpled, torn black suit that looked like he snatched it from a dumpster, and a frayed tie loosely knotted around his neck. But the man was considerably younger than the average tramp; he looked to be in his thirties, at least. "Couldn't think of a better way to get your attention! That's yours, right?"

“Yeah... thanks.” Aidan absently nodded, brushing his long bangs out of his eyes. “Where’d you find it?”

"Oh, it was lying somewhere over there!" The tramp gestured towards the smoke. "Your hair was a bit shorter on your ID, so I wasn't quite sure it was you, Aidan Connors!"

Aidan drew back, wrapping his brown leather jacket tighter around himself. “You… you looked through it?

"Just in passing!" The tramp dismissively waved a hand. "It's not like I stole from you… you’re as broke as I am!" He laughed again. "Mind if I sit down? I'm not a suspicious person or anything, I promise!"

"Do what you want." Aidan turned away, wondering what kind of person would say something like that out loud.

The tramp flopped down next to Aidan with a long sigh. "Thanks… been on my feet all day!" He turned to Aidan with a bright smile, despite the uncomfortably rocky ground. "I'm Tobias. Tobias Locke. Did you…" Tobias hesitated, and then jerked his head towards the burning city behind them. "Did you live there?"

Aidan simply nodded. "Ahh… I used to, but I don't anymore," Tobias continued. "Guess I brought back some bad luck, huh?”

"I suppose," Aidan mumbled.

"Although it's ironic, isn't it?” Tobias prodded. “That we'd all end up in the Back Wards like this."

Aidan turned around to face Tobias, frowning. "How is that ironic?"

"Well, you know!" Tobias said jovially. "Everyone crammed into this hellhole, it's ironic, right?"

"That's not irony," Aidan shot back. "That’s just unlucky. And besides, look around you. The evacuation route for the Inner Districts is all the way on the west side of the city. Most of these people live here, this is hardly a change of scenery for them." 'Or you, for that matter,' he silently added.

Tobias nodded thoughtfully. "…well, it's ironic for you, right?" he finally chirped.

"You're very persistent, Mr. Locke," Aidan sighed, the formality dripping with sarcasm.

"But you live in the Inner Districts," Tobias said, smirking. "Sandalwood Avenue, that's pretty ritzy, last time I checked. And you work at Wittenberg Memorial, right? Even the janitors there get paid royalties, I can only imagine the kind of money you'd see as a doctor. Oh, excuse me, intern," he corrected. "Never met a doctor as young as you."

"So you can read a few ID cards," Aidan said dryly, tucking his wallet into one of his pockets with a slight flush. "That's not going to impress anyone—wait, what was your point?"

"My point is," Tobias concluded, "that for you, at least, this is ironic!" He beamed at Aidan. "Which means you're wrong."

Aidan opened and closed his mouth a few times soundlessly, then gripped his jacket tighter and moved further away. "Either way, it's not important."

"Sore loser?" Tobias sang, warming his hands over the fire. "You're pretty uptight, Aidan Connors."

"My home is burning down, Mr. Locke, forgive me if I’m hardly cheerful." Aidan forced the disdain out of his voice. "And besides, I've got…" He trailed off, suddenly sitting up and looking around wildly. He stopped when his eyes rested on the teenage girl standing a little past the lines of drum barrel fires, and he shouted, "Lily!"

The girl swung around, eyes wide and pale red pigtails whipping around her face. When her gaze locked with Aidan's, she visibly relaxed. "Don't go any further, okay?" Aidan called. "Stay where I can see you." She offered a quick nod, and turned back to face the city, raptly staring at the steadily rising flames.

"Lily, huh? Pretty name," Tobias commented, leaning forward and squinting to get a better look at her. "Pretty girl, too! She your girlfriend?"

"No!" Aidan spat the word out so forcefully that Tobias stared at him, and Aidan sank back, blushing a little. "That's my little sister."

"Ohhh…" Tobias nodded slowly. "…she your girlfriend?"

"I-I just told you she was my sister!" Aidan spluttered, turning a dangerous shade of purple.

"Well, I never know with you aristocratic types!" Tobias said with an oblivious laugh. "Some of 'em like to keep it in the family!" Aidan stared, speechless, and Tobias leaned in, squinting at him. "Although I suppose I can see the resemblance now..." Tobias pushed Aidan's bangs out of his eyes, and tilted Aidan's chin up to get a good look at his face. "You're kind of pretty, too!" he teased.

Aidan scrambled backwards, trying to put as much distance between himself and Tobias as possible. "I'd appreciate it if you'd leave me alone now, Mr. Locke," he said loudly

"C'mon, I wasn't serious," Tobias said with a soft smile. "And I'm not just bothering you for no reason, you know… I wanted to make you an offer."

Aidan stiffened. "Whatever it is, I'm not interested."

"You're not, now?" Tobias raised an eyebrow. "I thought you might want something to do, seeing as you're not helping out your Wittenberg coworkers-"

"All the exits on the west side are sealed off," Aidan interrupted. "I couldn't get to where they are if I tried."

"That's right, you are pretty far out of your territory," Tobias remarked.

"I was running an errand with my sister," Aidan shot back.

"I didn't ask," Tobias said casually, "Just making an observation. So, how about it? It's going to be a while before the rioters get cleared out. How about making yourself useful elsewhere in the meantime?" He tilted his head to one side. "It's not that you're not any good, right?"

"Of course not," Aidan retorted.

"And there's your sister to consider, of course," Tobias continued. "I don't know how you'll provide for her without a job—"

"You never said this was a job,” Aidan said warily, his defenses crumbling.

"Well, sorta," Tobias drawled, waving a hand in the air. "It's something of a… 'private practice' that I run with my crew, and, well, you could say we have trouble holding onto a good medic."

"What kind of private practice?"

"Well… it's not something I can explain easily." Tobias shrugged. "Why don't we talk somewhere more private? And your sister's more than welcome to listen, too."

There was a long pause, as Aidan stared down at the hard packed dirt… then with a deep breath, he stood. "You have ten minutes. And keep in mind that I haven't agreed to anything yet."

Tobias smiled broadly. "Step right this way, then."

(Feedback is muchly appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to read!)

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Thursday, February 9, 2006

A question for you all...
Since someone asked me about this, I figured I'd pose the question...

If I posted chapters of my novel on here, would anyone read it?

Thanks in advance ^_^

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Monday, February 6, 2006

Jolly good...
So needless to say, my teeth feel lots better, as does the rest of me ^_^ I got featured in this thingy on deviantArt, thanks to Aurus, who is the sweetest person in the world and recommended me, so that made me happy!

And you know what else makes me happy? Eating.

I will now face all the drama the world has to offer with confidence.

*Rides into the sunset*

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