"Have you ever noticed your boyfriend smells of homeless people and rotting fish?"
Charles frowned and looked up at Jasmin, who was now sniffing the jacket he had borrowed from Perseus in an attempt to look a little less conspicuous. "He's not my boyfriend." Charles stated sharply, closing the book he had been reading.
"Okay, not yet. Your crush, then?"
"Jasmin, shut up."
"If you make it that obvious..."
"I don't make it obvious!"
"You so do! The way you look at the guy with hearts in your eyes! It's adorable!"
"Jasmin, I honestly have no idea where you're getting this from, but-"
"Come off it, Charles. You love him to bits. Admit it."
The detective hesitated. "Call Cadence. She'll want to speak to you. She was worried about you when I called her."
"She's worried about me? I should be worried about her. She's charged with assaulting the Irish Elders and several Sanctuary operatives! She's been involved with vampires and...and yeah, I really should call her..."
Charles nodded. "And I should talk to Frivolidad."
"And tell him all about your feelings."
"Quit teasing." He sighed as Jasmin took out his phone. Perseus had left to buy a drink. Charles got up to go looking for him.
As Mist left, Erskine turned his attention to the reports on his desk. Yawning, he started sorting through them all, trying to decide what to do about the events in other countries and the loss of Ghastly in his own. Halfway through, a fresh pile of files came in. Most of it was the same thing. X has fallen to Mevolent, Y was invaded but held the enemy forces at bay, Q has been kidnapped, J killed, F attacked but survived, all that sort. They'd lost Russia, Scotland and the Czech Republic this time. Sighing, he picked something up marked urgent. It was part of the new batch of files. It must have been urgent. By the looks of it, it had been sent pretty recently. He opened it reluctantly, skim-read it and his eyes widened. "Zaf." he squeaked. It wasn't a full report of what had happened to her either. No, he would get that when he called the current administrator in the USA and asked about the Grand Mage's condition. He considered her a good friend.
Mist went for a walk outside. It was a nice day and she felt she could use the fresh air. As she approached the stagnant lake she began to wish there was at least one pretty part to Roarhaven, maybe a flowerbed by someone's house or something. Erskine didn't have a flowerbed at his house. Maybe she would plant one just for the hell of it. Something nice to brighten the old place up. Someone tapped her urgently on the shoulder. With an exasperated sigh, she turned. The person before her was scruffy and unwashed, not to mention grinning like a maniac. Mist stared for a few minutes as a pale woman about her size with long black hair joined the man. "Can I help you?" Mist asked at last. The man smiled wider.
"I didn't wish to do this while you weren't looking." And the next thing she knew, he had hit her very hard over the head with an aluminium bat.
Jasmin sighed as the next plane out to France was cancelled and the one after that delayed. He was sitting by himself now. Charles was off with Perseus, Moineau was chatting up some Russian tourist and he was just there at a loss with what to do with himself. He considered wasting time at a cafe or something but he just wasn't hungry and it would feel too awkward. Instead he just sat there swinging his legs to an imaginary rhythm. He had his eyes closed when the girl came up to him and put her head on the chair next to his. She was behind him and seemed to be making sure he was who she thought he was. As she pulled away, he sat forward and opened his eyes with a frown.
Then Cadence clamped her hands over his eyes. "Guess who!"
"The mail man?"
She laughed and took her hands away. He looked over his shoulder.
"Oh, it's you. Hi Cay."
They stared at one another for a few moments, her smile fading, before he got to his feet, slowly made his way around the chairs to her side and threw his arms around her. She hugged him back twice as hard and they stood that way for a long time before breaking apart.
"I haven't seen you in ages!" Jasmin exclaimed.
"God, I missed you." Cadence replied, looking sheepish.
"You got yourself in a lot of trouble."
"We got discovered and blackmailed. It wasn't my fault. I didn't want my brother to die."
"...Really?" She sounded sceptical. "You told me you were an only child."
"I have the same with friends and children rather than siblings." He replied coldly. She paused, frowning. The frown then turned sad and apologetic.
"I'm so sorry about Alice."
"...Can I have another hug?"
"Sure." She hugged him again. "I'm so glad you're here."
"Likewise. Can't stay long though, you understand."
"You have to go home...I'd love to come with."
He broke away. "You could. Perseus needs to find his old partner and you could have his ticket."
"I have to find my brother. He's in danger."
He nodded. "Again, I understand."
"I'm not meant to be here."
She suddenly stiffened.
"Cay?...Is something wrong?"
"I think I see one of Mevolent's men..."
Slowly, he turned. She pointed the suspect out as discreetly as she could and he nodded. "I recognise him."
"Is he French?"
"No, American. He was effectively a gaoler for captured Elders...and he's sneaking up on Moineau..."
He started towards the two before Cantankerous grabbed Moineau, heaved him up and twisted his arm behind his back. The French gaoler let out a squawk of pain and Jasmin stepped back instead. Rushing into this would just get people hurt. Cantankerous whispered something to Moineau, who spat at him. His arm was twisted harder and he cried out, attracting attention from all over, and Jasmin started forward again before two pairs of restraining arms took hold of him. The American man spoke to the gaoler more harshly and he shook his head. He then made the mistake of turning his head and seeing Jasmin and Perseus. He locked eyes with the Elder and mouthed 'run'. Malignance threw him to the floor and the Hispanic Mage grabbed Orage and Nightwish and forced them to comply.
Mist walked back into the Sanctuary, limping slightly, out of breath, the side of her head bleeding. Someone rushed up to her, asking if she was okay. She spun the story about being assaulted and gave a description of the scruffy man with the stupid grin. She walked herself down to the medical bay to have her injuries seen to and after a while left just as Erskine came to see her. They almost collided at a corner by the medical wing. He asked the usual questions. "Are you okay? Who did it? Did they hurt you? How badly?"
She gave simple answers. "Fine. I don't know. They did, but not too badly."
Then he asked if the baby was alright. He was hesitant and uncertain in the question and she was hesitant in answering. She hesitated a little too long and saw the slightly worried frown begin to form. "It should be okay..."
"Are you sure? You don't sound sure."
And you don't sound very concerned, she thought. "I think so, yes."
((And the twist gets plottier...wait...I don't think that made any sense...))