Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

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Alexia Longbow
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Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 5:47 pm

A very large thanks to the immeasurably talented Mach for his collaboration.

Warning: Language and violence

Go to the Desert Sky Festival! It’ll be fun with food, entertainment, drinks, and shenanigans! That was the promise though the reality had proven to be much less appealing. Kites, prayer flag poles, and PTSD inducing hot air balloons are what had actually awaited him. A shindig not of his sorts, too wholesome and cheery without any wacky or debauchery. The night would have proven quiet the bust save for the last minute shenanigans that came along in the form of a chimera. Not exactly nice things to fight but not exactly hard for a fellow like him… unless you had squishy mages making the tactically poor choice of running to the front! Chasing down the princess he found himself on the wrong end of a lot of teeth. A stupid mistake, both the chasing and the participating to begin with given how much boom your average Rhy’Din denizen seemed to back. Should’ve just sat out with the peanut gallery and ate shrimp!

Hobbling along down the cobbled road, the hunter squinted at the landmarks that were both familiar yet foreign. Where the hell was he!?! He'd rendered a basic amount of first aid to himself at the festival but he'd skedaddled before anyone could worry too much over him. No need bringing down folks worrying over his broken ass! No, he knew how to take care of himself and that meant meat to replenish the blood he'd lost. After that he could wait for the regeneration potion to do what it did... maybe. He was starting to wonder if he'd make it before then though there was nothing doing now. Just had to keep on keeping on until he couldn't keep on any longer, alone as was the only way he knew how.

Stumbling past what he swore was the same statue he'd passed twice before the man blinked as he came to the back of a larger building. That... that didn't look like a steakhouse, that looked like a university building.... fuck.

He turned to look for a street sign but the entire world seemed to turn with him, shifting and suddenly wrenching to the side. Mach hit the ground with a thud, blood dribbling down his brow from a cut as the bandages around his leg soaked red despite the pressure he'd tied them with. Shit. Shit! He had to get, had to keep doing, had to... had to... rest. Yes. NO! His mind swam as he peered at the sideways world.

Within moments, soft footfalls neared the rumpled heap of a man. At first wary but the closer they sounded, the more urgency they took on. They of course belonged to a skittish little fae who happened to live nearby. Unbelieving at first, she was horrified to see it was indeed her friend likely dying just feet from her humble little home.

She crouched down beside him, gnarled little fingers reaching out to lightly touch his shoulder. A shaky little whisper urgently called to him.

"M-Mach? M-Mach, c-can you h-hear m-me?"

The man jerked a little at the touch to his shoulder, a spooked look crossing his very drunk looking features. Force of habit, he may have glomped on everyone but he was always aware of his surroundings. Then again when he wasn't typically was when terrible things happened to him.

Rolling onto his back that panic subsided as he saw a familiar face. "Oh hey! Lexi! What are you... um... doing onna ground like this?" He grinned drunkenly though not a drop could be smelled on him, he was obviously delirious from blood loss. "Shouldn look so worried, detracts from your pretty freckled face." A grin as even in such a state he had to schmooze.

Her brows knitted as she quickly went into assessment mode. She tsked softly before speaking again.

"A-Alright, l-lets g-get you in-s-s-side." She moved quickly but gently to try and hook a skinny arm under whichever arm seemed less injured. She certainly had no upper body strength to speak of, but if he would let her, she would push up under him with a surprising amount of leg power and quickly but steadily get him into her tiny home.

A trickle of blood ran down from his head, a jagged cut up his brow probably speaking to his bad decision not to seek medical help. Something knocked the sense from him and he had so little to begin with. Some black, tar like blood sat dried around his lips. Something about the blood was disturbing but seemed the least worrisome insult to the man as it looked well past being an active problem. That honor was for his tightly bound thigh, blood having soaked the pressure dressing and now staining the cobbles beneath.

"Oh... how lu-lurid! But you gotta boy you... um... like, yeah? I... I just need to find Patrelli's. Two 72 ounce steaks and I'll be right as rain!" He'd sort of lump for a bit before having a bit of lucidity helping her help him up. Back on his feet however and he'd begin trying to wander off.

She persisted and fitted herself neatly in his under arm, her thin arm snaking around behind him to hold him to her. With a placating tone, she murmured softly to him.

"Y-Yes, M-Mach. L-Let's get you s-s-some s-steak. R-Right after we c-c-clean you up." She guided him to her front door and pushed in. It was never locked anyway.

Or so she would attempt to placate him as she led him to get abode but the hunter had other ideas. "I don't need cleaning. I'm fine. I'm fine damnit!" He struggled some but not much feeling her thin frame pressed up against him. Bled as he was, he apparently still had some higher cognitive functions left and knew he could easily hurt the girl if he struggled with vigor. She was a waif and he was a well muscled and toned fighting machine afterall.

Being led he noted the dilapidated shack she led him to. Something about it's appearance seemed familiar though it didn't take long for even his oxygen starved brain to piece together. "Your home..." His words tired in a way they'd not been before, perhaps a touch betrayed promoting a bit more struggle. "Seriously, I'm fine. Just... I just.... I turned around is all...Let me go Lexi, I'm fine..." The words a mantra, as though if he said them enough times they would be true.

Indeed, much more of a struggle might strain a muscle or two on that delicate frame of hers. Perhaps more. Still she had to try. Scarred little hand gently stroked his back as she tried to guide him again.

"I-I kn-know. I-I kn-know you a-are. J-Just hu-humor me? P-P-Please? I-It's l-late and I'm s-s-scared." That much was true. She was scared. Scared if she let him out of her sight, she'd never see him alive again. Gentle but firm, shed'd try again to get him through the door and into the worn old arm chair in her tiny living room.

Mach growled lightly, a tired threat but it held no obvious malice. The man was self sufficient to a fault, much more so of recent months. And while he was usually really good at hiding this side of his dangerous life from others tonight had been an anomaly. Too many cooks in the kitchen, too many things to keep track of and he made a grave mistake. And rather than get the help he needed he sought to preserve the image folks had of him, a gallant, goofy badass that rode off into the sunset... even if that might well kill him.

Inner turmoil rolled for a moment longer before she'd feel that tension ease, a ragged sigh escaping. "Sorry Lexi..." He was in a bad way but it seemed he was still capable of processing what he was doing to others. Just how hard was he able to soldier on, to whip his mind and body to perform even on the brink of failure?

Moving with her now rather than against he'd collapse into the chair, fingers moving to pull at his depleted trauma kit he carried, looking for a few last supplies. "Got munched on by a chimera... lions head, no venom. Deep wounds. My... my regeneration potion isn't working so well and I'm out of spray plug so thought... thought..." He faded a little, head lulling before snapping back up. "Thought I just need some iron and protein. Can build blood quick. Better bandage and... yeah" He spoke clinically obviously very used to giving situation reports even half dead.

As he sank into the chair with grooves and indents that were unmistakably not Lexi sized or shaped, the little fae wasted no time with questions he'd likely be unable to answer in his rapidly declining state, and instead began bustling about. Clean linens and bottles of herbs and tinctures seemingly materialized at his feet.

Taking immeasurably great care, she quickly packed on more pressure, not daring to disturb what little barrier the previous bandages provided. Wrapped within the layers of new bandage, she applied leaves whose names were rooted in languages long since dead. Leaves that would help staunch bleeding for moderate injuries, but it was all she had on hand.

"D-Down to the b-bone..." she murmured, mostly to herself but loud enough to be heard.

"I-If o-only I c-could-" she cut herself off short, shaking her head. She'd learned her lesson the last time she tried to heal him and sent him to some unknown world. Three full scoldings from three separate people, present company included, and a tortuously long visit with an actual doctor later, she was certain she would never make that mistake again.

Still, she chewed her bottom lip worriedly as she looked at his ashen complexion.

Even as drain drunk as he was he could feel the void he filled did not match the waif... not that he'd checked her out for such or anything! Right. Yes. Okay. It was a mystery though then again what little he saw of the residence seemed to be one big puzzle. It looked to be hers and yet not, the two notions disjointed but undisputable. Still, that was a line of thought that would have to be back burnered for the much more pressing matter at hand.

He half listened, half watched, half faded as she worked. He couldn't feel what was applied but he could feel the muscles contract slowing the ooze if blood faster though even then it wouldn't staunch. Damn, he must have been nailed with some of the snake's head venom as well. Of course her assessment was correct, there were teeth marks for not the first time in his life on his femur.

Those last words, murmured with worry and impotence did warrant a dry chuckle as he reached out with that organic and of his the stroke her cheek gently on its way to ruffling the nest of her hair. "It's... it's alright Lexi. Don't... don't do anything dumb, yeah? I don't... don't want you hurt on... account... my account." His head lulled for a moment before snapping up again. "Gotta... take care of yourself... get gussied up and tell that boy how you... you feel. Me? I'm... I'm just going to... take a rest, yeah? I think I earned that... didn't I?" The last bit sounded distant, not spoken to the girl so much a question for the world at large.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 6:22 pm

She sat back on the floor in front of him, feeling useless for all her efforts and rudimentary training. Deeply scarred little hands covered her face for a moment before they continued on to weave into her hair. She clutched handfuls of it as her elbows came to rest on her knees.

After a brief moment of despair, her resolve strengthened. A look of determination set in her features. She was about to do something dumb. Yes, she was vaguely aware of the adverse side effects her magic, or anyone else's, had on the hunter, but desperate times called for dumb and desperate measures. Pulling her legs into a criss-cross position, she gingerly placed a bloodied hand on his ruined leg and closed those large dark brown eyes, ready to deal with the consequences of her decision as they came.

She pulled ever so gently. She pulled at his injuries the way one would pull at a splinter in a child's little finger. She made no attempt to calm or soothe through any ethereal means. No, her efforts were one way only. She pulled rips and tears from muscle and tendon. She pulled gouges and fractures from bone. She pulled toxins and poisons and potential infections from gaping wounds that would soon cease to gape. Shredded muscle would knit as her own rent asunder. She gasped and grit her teeth as pain seared in her own leg as it split jaggedly. Wounds seemed to open from within and her blood pressure dropped dramatically, making the color rapidly drained from her face.

As she weakened, she mentally prepared herself for what she was sure to come. She continued to pull even as she awaited his undoubtedly inevitable catatonia.

Undoubtedly, inevitable catatonia... if only the girl were so lucky. Despite all has outward appearances and assurances the man was still a hunter of mages, and a relatively successful one at that. And a fellow didn't get so far in his line of work without tuning themselves into the ebb and flow of the ether... and attaching a big red flag to that feeling.

Mach may have been drifting out but his hind brain acted, organic hand shooting out to push the fae away forcefully. "Shit... what?... No!" And now his fore brain kicked back to life, realization percolating through the haze of hypoxia and toxins that his brain swam in. He could only hope he broke the link though his right hand still flailed for the caster hung under his arm. "No, damnit, no!" He felt his wound closing but it was too much, felt toxins being drained when he literally drank them to begin with in the form of his potions. She didn't know about limits, didn't care about balance. She just healed and took with neither thought or concern for herself. And she did it impulsively, without thought to the end state. His leg would be closed but he'd still be hypovolemic and worthless even as her flesh rent. Then what?

And more so she just didn't understand. Completely his fault but still, it was ignorance nonetheless. That his catatonia and reaction to magic were two linked but vastly different things. His stomach rolled, a sick feeling climbing until a gulch of black, lifeless blood erupted out of his mouth. He tried to say something but the man could only wheeze as his blood pressure tanked. It was perhaps a small miracle he pulled that mostly depleted trauma kit out first as his fingers began desperately feeling through the few syringes left. Plucking one with a dangerously long needle he aligned the nasty looking then between his ribs before shoving it's length in, the dispenser plunger popped to send out a dose directly into his heart, kicking it so it didn't stop as it was threatening to. Still, the man reeled, slumping forward in the chair. "L-Le-Lexi... y-you o-o-ok-kay?" Words sputtered as he tried to hold on to conciseness.

She thought she had it all figured out. Foolish little fae. It seemed a bit late for a lesson in discernment, but rest assured, should the little halfling make it fully back to the living, she would most assuredly apply it to any future healings and dealings.

His push would send her tumbling back where she would lay sprawled at his feet, a mess of skinny arms and legs and ridiculously long hair obscuring a good part of her face. All save for the eyes. Those rich dark brown eyes that now stared empty and hollow at the tiny unlit fireplace just in front of the armchair. To the untrained, she was as good as dead. And really, she may as well be as still as she was. Hardly any recognizable breath or heartbeat. Yet, somehow a single thread, as weak and frayed as her simple clothing, tethered her to life. For now.

If either of them did. The man wasn't sure how well her empathic healing worked on replacing blood but it would be a moot point as the magic just pushed him past his saturation point causing massive damage in the form of that black vitae he vomited. So he was hypovolemic regardless on top of the fact that if she were sucking toxins out of his body she may well have sucked some of that regeneration potion he drank which was essentially cancer in a vial. If that were the case she might be in better shape than he as the potion was doing little for him but for someone else...? On top of battle stimulant which was essentially body altering poison drugs and epogen which would have seen her wasting what little muscle she had to make blood. All those potions almost made the true venom in his veins from the chimera that shut down his coagulation pathways seem mild by comparison. It was little wonder he needed an augmented liver to process his potions less they killed him.

Though it looked like Super (temporary) Alexia had not been made as they flopped down lifeless on the ground. Mach would have cursed if he had it in him but he really didn't. He was barely hanging on as it was, the needle left in his heart for another kick just in case. Running, or stumbling, through his options he moved to collapse next to the girl, hands stripping her of what modest bottoms she had on to check the damage transferred. Damnit, he knew he should have been more belligerent, just forced his way on by and collapsed elsewhere! The irony was not lost on him... Moving he'd wrap up that skinny thigh as he tried to assess what needed to be done to help.

The immediate weakness that came with blood loss was the problem. And had that remained the only problem, the various drugs may have helped. Or she may have overdosed. But that would never be determined. Because the very first problem brought her close to death. Not as close as she had come to it in the past, but close enough so that things in the ether that stretched from this world to dozens of others took notice. Some benevolent and some by far more sinister.

Of all the beings and creatures between realms of the living and the dead, this one in particular beat all the others to the punch. It was this being that would have the little fae's eyes slowly blink back to consciousness, leaving behind the warm rich spark those dark brown eyes once held. For the moment, she simply lay there, letting her senses catch up with her.

As for the real Alexia, she was lost in darkness somewhere. She saw shadows of things she couldn't quite make out. Things that lurked just in the outskirts of her vision, blurring and dissipating when she tried to look. It was from within this oblivion she tried calling out. But without a mouth, much less a voice, would anyone hear her distant cry?

"M-Mach..." the faint echo whisked by like an errant breeze, here and gone in an instant.

Finishing with the dressing Mach, well, took a moment or three to fight back against the clarion of alarms that were going off in his head. He was in very bad shape but that didn't matter as Alexia lay there catatonic over him. Him! Of all the stupid, dumb, bird brained things killing oneself for a dead man walking had to be there dumbest! Stupid empath! Dumbass girl! The angry thoughts rolled, fueling that piss and vinegar he worked to channel to keep him going. Yeah, he was going to save her ass and survive himself just so he could chew her ass out up one way and down the other!!!

Brushing hair aside he'd lay his ear to her mouth and nose, listening and feeling for breath as he stared at her chest for the rise and fall of life, natural hand catching a wrist to feel for a pulse. She was there, but just so. Damnit! Reaching back he'd fumble to grab a vial from his belt - a small red ampule which he broke the top off and would proceed to pour into the little fae's mouth, fingers pushing open lips and wedging between teeth. Certainly not the romantic passing potions through a kiss but that was dumb as you lost a lot of potion down your own mouth that way. Anyway, this was a Rhy'Din grown and brewed health potion, useless and potentially murderous for him. He only carried a few ampules for idiot bystanders who didn't run fast enough away when he was working.

Faintly he heard something, was that Alexia? It was a soft call, barely perceptible and distant. What the? Yet still something happened. The girl's chest rose and fell quicker, her heart rate rose, the tickle of breath washed over his cheek. Lifting some he saw the spark of life once more in those big brown pools yet something was off. The gaze was cold, lacking something of the girl's usual look. "A..Alexia..?"

He pushed back, watching her a moment though the motion shifted what little blood he had causing the world to roll, his heart jittering. Fuck. He had to, to... He hit the doser button once more, a bolus of chemicals pouring into his heart trying to stabilize and prevent the muscle from failing. But the fight was lost on all other grounds as Mach fell over sideways, no energy to stop his list as he slumped onto his side. He mouthed a name, a word but he had no breath to give such voice, the world swirling dizzily before his conciseness slipped from his grasp.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 6:25 pm

Awakening Mach heard the soft lap of the pitch black waves before him, the coast of gray stretching out to the horizon either way while a sky of overcast hung above. It was a familiar scene to the man, handsome in his brown wool dress uniform with a mantle, two hands tucked in pockets as he took in the sight with his two cobalt blue eyes. A younger version of Mach, a man in their mid to late twenties when time had frozen for them.

Taking a drag off his cigarette he quietly contemplated the waves and the events that saw him at these crossroads once more between life, death, and the ether.

He was alone and then suddenly he wasn't. Behind him a beautiful ethereal figure with cascading waves of silky brown hair flowing about her shoulders. She was clad in long fine linens that enrobed her down to delicate feet that hovered several inches above the ground. The cause of her hover were a pair of gossamer wings that extended well above her head. They fluttered and let her descend to lightly touch down. Fathomless dark brown eyes regarded him with warmth.

A brow quirked as he regarded the ethereal woman that touched down behind him, world weary eyes taking in their details in a very familiar way. It was that sly assessment he gave everyone on first meeting, the hunter tendency obviously well entrenched even in this dead world.

"Well... you're not the usual entertainment... or you trying out a different look Sunshine?" Lips hitched into a cocky half smile as he spoke to what obviously was some sort of apparition. No, the residence of these crossroads ought to be that reaper of his, or so was his thinking. "Fancy a shag or we playing another game? Can't say I've got much to play with though." A sheepish grin as he pulled out a fistful of poker chips which shone almost painfully brilliant in contrast to the drab surroundings.

Old habits died hard. Thin smooth arms rose to hold herself in a timid embrace. She looked around, unsure of her surroundings, fading and reappearing for just a moment. When she finally met his gaze again, she spoke. Gone was the usual halting stutter, but the voice was still as sweet and familiar as ever to those who knew her.

"Mach? Is that you?"

That half cocked grin faded as the woman spoke in an all too familiar voice. Wait. "Alexia?" He squinted taking her in again but this time comparing the woman to the ragamuffin. Structurally... yes, it was the person though obviously this was the version of her... shit, when was she ever like this!? Thin yes, timid, absolutely, but it seemed the ragamuffin girl had been a real looker at some point... for those into the gangly fae look. Granted he'd certainly had fun with his share because, well, terrible.

Of course such thoughts made the man feel even worse still as he realized that something terrible had to have happened for her to be as she is. More so because it seemed she'd been a winged fae at one point but was apparently no longer... and Mach knew shearing a fae's wings was a most horrible thing to do.

As these initial thoughts passed the pressing questions arose starting with perhaps the most important. "What are you doing here? Do you know where here..." And something occurred to him, that fist full of chips hurriedly shoved back into his pocket. "Do you know what this place is? You shouldn't be here!"

She shook her head, a frown pulling down on soft pink lips. A single tear welled up and dared to mar her complexion as it trailed down her lightly freckled cheek.

"I'm not here... not always. Sometimes I'm in darkness. Sometimes I'm in my old home with Mama and Papa." A sad little smile tried to shine through but failed.

She took a shuddering breath and more hot tears spilled one by one. Her lower lip trembled as her large dark eyes slid closed.

"I... I'm dead, aren't I?" She whispered softly. Those gossamer wings moved slowly open and closed, much the way a butterfly might, before gently lowering and folding neatly, almost flush against her back to swirl and flow with the rest of her garb.

A frown crossed those handsome features as something broke within the fae, a tear rolling down as they spoke of darkness and their own representation of... damn it. That meant that she'd been here before, to the dead lands between. Serah had called it Valhalla or something like that but Mach only knew of it as the Crossroads, a place folks ought not be familiar with less they constantly put their life on the line. Alexia... probably did know of here because of course she'd heal another to the point she danced on the near shore. Damn it!

His teeth ground and yet he closed in on the woman in broad strides, arms opening to close around them in an embrace. Gentle, warm, comforting... that was the hold those strong arms evoked. Like a rock in a turbulent sea. "You're not dead." He spoke softly. "But this isn't a place for you to be. What are you even doing here? Last I recall you were walking up, your breathing normalizing. You shouldn't be..." A thoughtful pause before he shook his head refusing to release her from his warmth simply to be glib. "... here. What... what happened?"

She fell into the embrace. In the living world, her tiny frame hardly had any heft to it. Here in the in between, with far less physical substance, it was like embracing a breeze. A warm, soft breeze with sweet smelling skin of lavender. Her head lay gently on his chest as thin arms hooked under his to press lightly against the backs of his arms.

"I don't know. I tried to go back. I always go back. But I couldn't see and there were things, sharp hungry things pulling at me." Her body wracked with sobs. After a shaky breath or two, she pulled back just enough to look up into his face.

"You were right. I was so stupid! Please, yell at me and tell me how stupid I was!" Her eyes were pleading and despite how frantic she became, that sweet voice never became shrill.

Mach worked to comfort the fae in the only way he knew how, his body a bastion to seek refuge against as his mind worked through what was said. She'd tried to go back but couldn't. She couldn't see. Sharp things? Pulling? He racked his brains trying to coble as much about the in-between as he could.

It wasn't a land for humans, not really. Mages could recall it, some even able to access it though such was typically ill advised and taboo. Hunters had a passing familiarity with it though only so much that it was at the junction between the near and far shores. No, those that really were familiar with this place were those creatures with a strong connection to the ether... spirits, elementals, fae...

As she looked up at him pleading with him to yell at her he couldn't help but smirk. Alluring as any of the fairy folk, exotic and mysterious, this was still Alexia... with all the questions this notion brought. Leaning in he pressed a gentle kiss to her brow. "Alexia..." Cobalt blues delved into those brown depths, gazing for a long, tender moment. Then he head-butted her.

A caring headbutt though! With all the screaming pain and best intentions behind it! A hiss escaped as even he felt the throb from that. "Yeah, that was pretty damn boneheaded Lexi. We need to work on your gung ho attitude once we get back..." 'If I go back since you sort of fucked me good' crossed his mind but he didn't speak such words as he knew the woman would just shut down in guilt if he needled her as so. No, they needed to figure out what was going on before something happened to his or her state.

"You said this happens... often? How do you usually get back or prevent others from taking over?" He spoke frankly, going over things his training into magical investigation had taught him while still trying to piece things together. Damnit if only he were a scholarly type!

The sudden jolt cut short her sobs and pleas with a small mangled cry. Stunned, the fae futilely shut her eyes to the stars that flashed in her vision. When she opened them again, she was just the tiniest bit cross eyed for a split second. A shake of the head and several blinks cleared that right up.

"Others? No, I... I just go back. Everything goes cold and dark, sometimes I think of Mama and Papa, and then I'm just... back. These other places, bad places, I don't remember them." She looked around them again and her presence flickered again. Just a quick blink and she was back.

"I don't want to go back to the sharp place." She whispered, sounding more like her physical self.

Her head lowered to place the tender area back on his chest for a moment as she tried to collect her thoughts. When she lifted it again, she stared at his collar pensively.

"It's like when you're walking somewhere and your mind starts to wander. You just keep walking and before you know it, you're there, but you don't really remember how. Only this time... this time I never arrived." Her brows knit in frustration.

"I can feel it. I can feel where I'm supposed to be, here," she pulled one small pristine hand back to gingerly rest on her heart, "but I just can't reach it."

As if to emphasize her point, a soft light glowed where she touched and a thin thread-like strand of light curled out, reaching several inches, the end seemingly searching for something.

Well, that seemed to get her back on track! Who says percussive maintenance didn't work on folks? Listening to what was said he worked to try and shove the pieces into a cohesive picture. She just goes back and doesn't come to these 'bad' places. That almost got a chuckle out of him knowing she viewed this as a bad place. She wasn't wrong by any measure, it was just funny to the man to hear his personal connection to these shores as bad. Right giggle worthy though he kept such to himself as he continued to listen, watching as she demonstrated her connection to her physical form. Something about that warm light attracted the man, like a moth his own hand rested over her heart gently for but a second before he ripped it away.

Shit, that had to look creepy! Then again he couldn't help feeling some understanding. Souls attracted souls, and hers was brilliant unlike the bare embers that were his. Wait souls... body... can't reach. Fuck.

"So is it prickly and such when you do try to go back?" His voice gentle though there was growing concern on those handsome features, those arms around her squeezing in gently.

She watched his hand as it touched just above her left breast. The strand of light began to curl almost lovingly around his wrist until he pulled it away and it once more tried to search. Large dark eyes widened as she looked up at him, but not in shock but as if to ask, 'you see it too?!' His question darkened her face and she shook her head slowly.

"Not prickly. Sharp. Like teeth and claws. That's the bad place. There's something in my way and it pushes me there."

The strand, longing for the connection that was almost made, trailed delicately along his lapel.

Mach watched the light and listened to her words, a slow nod as realization occurred. "You've been possessed... your body that is. By an outsider..." Shuffling he drew out one of those brilliant poker chips, a motion for her to hold out her hand. He watched carefully as he placed the chip down and it... did nothing. "Fuck, that seals it..."

A look back to those big brown eyes of hers. "A piece of my soul..." Motioning to the chip. "Souls, as I understand, need bodies, are drawn to them. Yours..." He pestered the light that slowly crawled to him from her heart. "Is looking for one... mine. While mine isn't drawn to yours because something is already possessing it. So it just sits there." He thinks. This was awfully big brain stuff for the likes of him though he spoke of it with gusto. Would have been a pretty egg on face situation if that bit of his soul vanished into her but it was an experimental gamble he was willing to make.

Taking back the poker chips he'd pocket it while watching the woman's reaction.

She listened intently as she processed every damning word. She seemed to understand well enough as she watched the demonstration. A brief look of disgust twisted her lovely features at the thought of something inhabiting her body. All she could manage was a defeated nod. She drew in a breath and let it out slowly as she placed both palms on his chest and gently pushed away, taking a step back.

"I don't know what to do now." Her arms once again wrapped around her petite frame.

"I never told Danny-" And apparently she would never tell Mach what she never told Danny either, for as she spoke, she began to flicker again. She felt the pull and her lower lip trembled at the thought of returning to where unseen things clawed and gnawed at her. In and out, the last shreds of her being began to fade.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 6:35 pm

Mach watched as defeat twisted those features, the expression heavy like a slug in his belly. Damnit. Yet another thing he would have to headbutt her over when the time came, that her body was so much more prone to such. As a human he was not a creature of the ether, his body and soul were inseparably linked which made possession very unlikely without an active, aggressive approach. But fae were different, their bodies were but vessels as he understood which meant without proper wards others could potentially enter.

Chewing on his lip his mind raced as he considered his options. The woman hugged themselves, spoke but was cut off as her soul once more heeded the call of her body... even if something else would be waiting. No... no! Think damnit! There had to be something he could do, some vessel he could... could...

Mach looked at her, a dangerous glint in his eye. "HEY! SUNSHINE!!" He yelled out to the empty beach, a pointless gesture and yet as the words left his mouth a shadow came into focus just on the periphery of vision.

A tall figure, feminine and lean like her cast in a black hooded robe that clashed with the alabaster of their skin. Beneath the hood was a pretty, angular face painted like a skull. "So you finally call Elitia Vance Turner?"

Mach looked at the figure, that dangerous glint growing into a grin. "Damn right, I got a proposal seeing as you haven't been here from the start. Must mean I'm surviving, yeah?"

"By definition."

Mach fished out two chips from his pocket, holding them up. "I wanna take this one with me. Share my vessel with her till we can get hers sorted." And now he reached out, his hand clasping her breast to give that string of light an anchor to climb on. "What do you say!?"

For their part the pale figure just watched emotionlessly. "You know what this will do Elitia Vance Turner? It-"

"Can I do it or not!" A look back to Alexia checking on her as he made that devil's deal.

She flickered so dangerously, it seemed as though his hand would pass completely through her. Instead, it grounded her. She solidified with the faint sound of fabric tearing. The hem of her lofty dress fell at an odd angle as though something had snagged it terribly. She gasped at the shock of being anchored but had no complaints, only questions.

"What are you doing?" It was unclear if she beseeched the hunter or the wildly flailing strand of light that now wrapped firmly but gently around his arm, snaking up to reach for the same spot in his chest.

Mach shot her a little smile, watching as that light crawled up his arm like a vine. Rather than answer he turned back to the robed one. "Can I?"

"It is your vessel Elitia Vance Turner, you may do with it as you please. But there will be consequences."

"Ain't there always.* That last bit muttered to himself though it didn't stop him from tossing the chips to the skeletal figure, the brilliant pieces shattering almost tragically in their grasp. Looking back now Mach shot her an apologetic look. "Sorry Lexi, think you get to be angry at me next for being stupid. If you can, call out, I don't remember stuff from here, yeah?" That smile crooked into a grin. "And sorry, just gotta do it once, hope you forget too..."

And with that he pulled her to him, his lips meeting hers in a kiss as he drew her in opening himself to that light which reached for him. Giving himself in to partial possession, yeah, this was a very stupid idea but it was the best way he could think to protect the woman. And so it would be up to her to cling to him or not as he began to flicker and fade, the price paid so now he was returning to his miraculously still running body.

Her eyes went wide as he pulled her in. She tried to protest but his lips cut off anything she might have said after an abrupt 'No-!' Tiny fists beat at his chest and tried to push away when she realized that even if she succeeded, she would likely cost him more than he had already put on the line. With one last tear rolling down her beautiful ethereal face, she once again gave into him, her eyes closing, giving the last shining tether to her soul a chance to attach to him and fade away with him wherever he would go.

Mach knew he was robbing her of agency, forcing her hand to his half baked schemes but to him it was the only kindness he could offer. He could see how distressing being pulled back to whatever took over her body was and he'd had personal experience being a fragmented soul in the in-between and knew what scars such left on a person. At very least he could try to protect her from such even if she may grow to hate him for it. But that was a risk he was glad to make. And this kiss? Well, this was Mach afterall, it would be impossible to tell and good luck getting a straight answer out of him!

Feeling the warmth of her soul intertwined with his, the man shuddered but held fast as those tendrils made a home within him. If she were so tuned she may notice that she was the second to have a connection to his soul. Another presence, inhuman and very magical was deeply connected as well in a way much different than her. More parasitic in nature, a strain though something about the connection felt broken, incomplete. What in the hell had the man been doing in his life!?

She went willingly now, firmly attached and eternally grateful. The other inhabitant, though unseen to her for now, she felt the overwhelming urge to avoid at all costs. Her shining soul followed him back to the physical, a soft warm glow, soothing and comforting, settled into the tiniest corner she could find. There she would curl up and sink deep into the folds.

As the dead crossroads faded his senses did as well, that press of lips vanishing until there was nothing but void. And then…
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 6:39 pm

And then there was pain. And sickness. And all around feeling like crap. A groan escaped as that lone cobalt opened against better judgement just to lay there dead. "W-what the f-fuck happened..." A moan to the world at large as he worked to will his noodly arms to function.

Her poor little body, now infested with something, writhed, every inch of it staticky with pins and needles. Fresh wounds from the most recent healing attempt knit and repaired slowly but surely. Weak, but gaining strength with each passing moment, she sat up and groaned, her voice deeper than usual. Taking a cursory glance around, blurred shapes swirled. Too soon.

"Where am I?" She rasped to no one in particular?

Mach flopped a few times, a curse escaping as he rolled into the heart kicker syringe still sticking out of his chest. This would be pulled out with much less vigor than he'd hope. Dammit he just felt drained. Drained. Cold. Crappy. Pained. And somehow alive. Damn that Alexia and their meddling! Then again closing up the most egregious wounds before he shoved her away was probably why he was still of the land of the living... if just so. Rolling to his back he totally regretted this as his low volume of blood sloshed, sending his world reeling for a good minute before he was able to focus on fishing out a vial from his belt which he tucked away in sleeve not wanting the fae to handle it. An epogener with included bolus of iron for making blood, to be taken when Lexi wasn't around.

Hearing a voice the man looked over to the curled figure. A voice? Something seemed off about that tone though perhaps the odder thing was the manner. "What?" Asked to the non-stuttering Lexi. Did... did they heal him so hard he broke their stutter!

Images slowly steadied. Those hollow dark brown eyes turned to the barely alive Mach and regarded him with a coldness even a perfect stranger would take issue with. Eyes narrowing, she shifted into a kneel with one knee down and one foot planted on the floor, not quite steady enough to rise. Yet.

"Hey... friend," she tried again to survey the room, taking note of the blood and bodily fluids, bandages, the overall wreck of the immediate vicinity.

"Be a lamb and remind me where we are, would you?" Those rapidly pinking lips parted into a smile that existed only on a paper thin surface.

Resting as he could, the schmooze sort of watched Lexi as they moved, a chill holding to those usually warm yet timid features. This rose alarms in the hunter who was always watching, always taking note of the world around even when playing the fool. This was abnormal and abnormal usually meant trouble. Still, it wasn't like he knew an awful lot about the girl, maybe this was just a thing. She was pointy ear touched after all, they tended to be an eccentric lot.

Moving carefully he rolled onto his side, a thought before his hand slipped behind to support him. "Lamb, eh? Have a little fun and already forget my name?" A woozily cheery smile offered. "We're at your home at the university... I think. Why?" Friendly and dopey, that was Mach as he lounged there looking a few shades of blue.

The word 'fun' called her attention down to her lower half, now clad only in a modest undergarment. One could almost see the wheels turning in her head. A soft chuckle spilled from her lips and her smile leaned into the seductive side.

"Sorry about that... Tiger," Sultry tones poured from her like honey. "You know how it is when things get rough and kinky." She moved a touch closer, trying to get a better look.

It wasn't the best idea, but it was all she could come up with at the moment and she rolled hard with it. Her movements lengthened into a feline like crawl. To the common dupe he pretended to be, it would seem she was just angling for round two instead of trying to locate weapons, advantages and disadvantages, and an exit strategy.

"Oh, you minx." That grin curled wickedly. "We fucked things up so badly last time, yeah? And you wanna go at it again? Shit... guess a fella can only be so lucky going doing something they love. Why not take off the shirt so I can see that bounce, yeah?" He motioned to her chest as she crawled towards him, a lurid look to his eye as he all but licked her down with his gaze.

Whether they took the bait or not it would only require a moment's distraction for Mach's hand to snap back around from behind, sidearm in tow and thrust forward towards the center of mass of the slender fae. His gaze turned hard with a quickness as he stared down the woman. "I ain't sure who or what you are, but you ain't Lexi. Hands up, ankles crossed. Make any sudden move and I'll drill you."

His tone was cold, hard, steady. This was the hunter, for as much bluff as he could muster. His caster would have been much better for this sort of thing but he didn't have a spell in him that wouldn't kill him at the moment. Just what the hell happened to Lexi!? Was... was this really a thing or was this an abnormality? His mind raced as he stared down the gangly woman before him.

His ruse had worked. She had in fact pulled back to rest on her haunches and begun lifting the hem of her blouse in that alluring cross-armed style. It seemed like a half decent idea. He was certainly good looking enough. Granted he seemed more metal than man but that never stopped this particular being before.

She hadn't made it far, just enough to expose smooth if not questionably thin midriff. His command had her crawling backward like a cornered animal, a sharp toothed hiss twisting her features.

"A hunter," she all but spat the words. "I might have known." She growled as she once again observed the intense blood spatter among other things on the floor.

As she backed into the space below a quaint little window seat, a cruel smile spread with realization.

"You won't hurt me. The way you say her name? No, it's all bluster. You'd never hurt your precious Lacey." She gave her newly mended legs a test step and found herself slowly rising. She took the opportunity to rip off the small thin curtain and begin to fashion a less eye catching attire than simply bottomless.

Mach kept up that ruse with ease as he used that age-old way to lie like a champ, include a hint of truth. Not that broken skeletal girls were his jam or anything but there was enough interest in the girl in the right ways to stretch for believability. Helped that he was generally terrible too.

Hearing that title come from the woman in a hiss as they retracted gave him pause. So they knew that term and used it with revile. That told him something even if his brain swam in it's hypoxia. Damnit, keep it together!

He couldn't quite figure out what was going on, didn't have enough in him to piece things together but he did know a bad situation when he saw one and something bad was going on with ‘him and his’ which did not sit well at all. Moving against his warning he watched the woman rise, mocking him as it crafted some modesty. His gaze didn't change as he tensed up in, was that impotent rage?

No, it was stabilization as he pulled the trigger. The first round snapped high and to the right sinking into the wall next to the woman. Adjusting his aim the second would drill them in the right shoulder with 220 grains of full metal jacketed 45 ACP. Not the best round for dropping squishy targets but beggars couldn't be choosers. Besides, he knew she could heal and had health potion on board but that didn't mean he wanted to grievously maim her! For all he knew Lexi was still in there begging for him to stop!
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 6:50 pm

This was all a gamble and one he played seriously as he centered that semiautomatic again. "I said don't move. You know how hunters are, we care for nothing but our prey. Now. Hands up, down on knees, ankles crossed or I'll drop you." He called it as his expression hardened, his muscles tensed as he held that gun level and true selling the threat.

The first shot into the wall made her start, invoking rage as her eyes widened. But before she had a chance to become indignant, the next shot blew her shoulder back like it was hit with a battering ram. A terrible shriek from deep within, almost primal. Her good hand flew to the wound as she sank slowly to the floor.

"Bastard!" Her voice guttural and venomous. "Alright! Alright!!" Frustrated, she relented, shifting carefully to cross her ankles, only the one good hand rose.

Holding that deathly glare the man raced through his options. Damnit, he hadn't thought this far! He knew he needed to stop them but then what? It wasn't like he was in any shape to really apprehend them and he couldn't do any magic to try and fix this somehow. Damnit! Maybe it would have been better to let them get all up in the Mach popsicle before he drew the gun so at least they'd have been in his arms already! Then again he wasn't really sure even he could be such a bastard as to assault the girls body even for her own good. Seemed there were lines the man didn't cross even if he denied such.

Moving cautiously he broke the top off the epogener vial, the contents sucked back without taking his eyes off the woman. Steam escaped his lips as the potion took hold and he slowly moved to rise to his knees, hand stabilizing him as he went though that gun would remain thrust forward.

He held onto that glowered threat, his bluff of control as he found his knees, free hand now moving to fish out a pair of cuffs which he tossed over, a mental curse as he wobbled when he did this. "Put those on, behind your back." His jaw flexed as he bit down hard, fighting gravity as it stole precious blood from his brain giving him an ashen appearance. "Hurry up!" A snap and an internal plea.

A single eyebrow quirked, slow and high. The bloodied shoulder was given a deliberate look before turning those barren eyes onto the pair of cuffs on the ground, then back to the hunter, a slow, cruel smirk pulling at one corner of her mouth.

"And how do you propose I do that, Tiger?" Saccharine dripped from her words. Still keeping the demanded posture, she pulled her lower lip in to tease and torture with pearly white teeth. Meager as it was, her chest still held plenty of appeal when she pressed it forward, letting what remained of her top, and any waning modesty, slip down.

"Come on, now, handsome. There's gotta be something we can work out?" A throaty, salacious chuckle worked its way through.

"I'm not all that bad... unless you want me to be..." It wasn't as though she actually expected any of that to work, but really, would anyone blame her for trying? Anyone besides the innocent counterpart lodged in his existence, that is.

"No?" Soft lower lip jutted out in a tempting pout and long feathery lashes bat a few times. Soon enough, the act would drop and an almost bored expression took its place.

"Fine. Your loss. But, really..." She cocked her head toward the blasted shoulder.

He growled threateningly as the stranger teased him, making him really second guess his strike zone. Oh who was he kidding, the man had certainly made considerations and could tell there was a beauty under and that gangly ragamuffin. Didn't change the fact that it was very uncomfortable being tempted with such by what was most probably not Alexia. Like, yes, but, like, very no! That lone cobalt did roam a bit pissing on the skeleton of his 'good' conscious though it never lulled far from the target at hand.

Damn, they made a decent point though he knew they did it just to get him close. He knew he didn't look like he could put up much of a fight and honestly a paper bag could probably stave him off in his condition. Shit. Shit!

"Bad on command, huh? Right. My loss but that ain't yours to give, yeah?" A prod testing out what theory his mush brain had concocted. Maybe this was possession in which case where the hell was Alexia!?

Making a few considerations he'd begin to scoot over. "Turn around, lie down, ass up, arms to your sides, palms to the sky."

That foreign seductive smile returned as she slowly lowered her arm, the other still hanging, immobile.

"Change your mind, did you?" A delicately pink tongue slipped out to moisten her lips. His expression didn't let her keep up her tease for long. She laughed snidely as she moved to follow his new instructions, which proved difficult using only one hand already slick with blood from her wound.

"Oh, don't be such a sour pus, I'm playing nice, see?" Her back to him now, she lowered herself deliberately slowly.

"Har, har, get on the floor." He'd watch as the woman slowly lowered themselves to the floor, half expecting them to 'accidentally' lose the makeshift skirt and modest undergarments beneath simply to try and tempt him more. No, this most certainly wasn't a different 'side' to the fae or else he was sure he'd have heard about it in the circles he traveled. So the only option was possession which meant he'd have to capture the body and drive out whatever had taken residence. Considering a moment he pulled out another vial from his belt, the contents thrown back quickly as the woman settled onto the floor.

He'd shudder, his heart pounding as the potion took hold whipping his body to push forward even as it burned through what little energy he had left. Shuffling the rest of the way over he'd plant the barrel of the gun into the back of the woman's head, the cuffs snagged before he grabbed to shackle the useless arm first.

As her injured arm was grabbed, she hissed in pain.

"Easy!" She growled, turning just enough to glare back at him. "You really gonna shoot poor Lizzie's brains out?" She snarked at him,

He leaned in, that injured arm wrenched uncomfortably as he bore that gun barrel into the back of her head painfully. "Would I? Yes. In my profession it's the kind thing to do in these situations. And the name’s Lexi." The words an angry growl spit into her ear as he made his point. It was stupid letting them get under his skin but then Mach wasn't really up to thinking straight. Pushing back up he wobbled a little as that pistol was drawn back and shoved into it's holster so he could grab the woman's other hand to feed to the cuffs.

Another grunt of pain tore from her lips. It easily turned into a humorless chuckle as he corrected her. Call it a small victory regardless of whether misnaming the poor little fae was on purpose or not. Angry words forced into her ear pulled an involuntary shudder and moan and she almost pouted when he pulled away, turning again as the pressure to the back of her skull was relieved.

In that flash of a moment, her demeanor shifted. No longer taunting and crude, but calculating. She didn't know that the reason her shoulder had almost immediately knit back together after dramatically soaking what little shreds of clothing remained was majority in thanks to the capsule the hunter had shoved down the halflings throat earlier, and she didn't care. But she would make full use of that nifty little piece of information.

Dropping the feigned immobility, she wrenched out of his grasp to put both palms on the floor and push up with full force. She waited for her head to connect with his face just enough to stun him, not enough to further damage this shiny new vessel, and scrambled up and out the nearest door.

It was a rookie mistake as he focused on the prize and not the situation. Then again his brain was mush and his body whipped dry so he had to be given a pass, right? He saw the one hand pull away and grabbed for it only giving the other a chance to do the same... and then he saw stars. He cursed as the world spun, his mind reeling for much longer than it should have. Damnit, move!

Stumbling to his feet he started after the woman drunkenly, everything heaving and yawing by his perception. He'd hit the door frame which spun him, throwing his world into disarray, everything just falling apart. "D-Damnit! G-Get b-back here you-!" Everything went sideways and suddenly black as his head struck hard cobbles robbing him of consciousness on the drying puddle of blood where he'd been found.

In that lithe, dainty little frame, she slipped away easily, laughing as she did.

"Don't worry, I'll take real good care of sweet little Lexi for you, Tiger!" Her taunt echoed and bounced off of trees and backs of university buildings. She was gone.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 6:51 pm

Everything hurt. A groan turned into a groan as reality returned to the man like a ton of bricks. Well, if pain meant he was still alive then he was feeling very alive right now! With effort he drug the arm draped over his face off, a wince as it flopped and bounced still woefully attached to him. A few more moments were spent feeling very sorry for himself before he dared to crack open that lone cobalt eye of his.

A canvas of aged offwihite plaster pocked with the marks of bad decisions laid before him. Yet another ceiling he didn’t recognize bathed in midmorning light. Shifting a little he felt his mouth crack like dried basalt, parched and wretched feeling. This in turn elicited another displeased groan as he considered the sweet bliss of death to all this life.

"Dude! He's alive!!" Another groan, hissy in flavor as the exclamation was nearly shouted in his ear. A thunder of footfalls meant that when he dared open his eye he was greeted by at least 4 men now staring down at him from before that ceiling. What the actual hell? None of them looked to be medical professionals; but rather a gaggle of young men barely old enough to smoke than treat anyone of anything but common sense.

Swatting miserably at the crowding faces found him being hoisted upright, a move he was very not onboard with until he felt something wet touch his lips. A room temperature flat beer, or the damn nectar of the gods as it felt to him as he greedily chugged down the liquid. Another was fed to him before someone found sense to give him water and, bless them, a fresh beer too.

Nursing that last treat, Mach looked around his surroundings. A smallish room without even a door separating it from the commons area. It looked aged with use: a few pinup posters on the wall, a few random thrift store chairs, a side table with a candy dish of condoms, and a couch where he was pretty sure he didn't even rank in the top ten leakiest things ever to grace it. "W-Where the hells am I?" The question barely a croak as he was already stealing a cigarette from one of the younger looking fellows.

"Alpha Alpha Nu!" He and a few others winced from the chant shouted moniker from one of the more excited looking guys.

"This is the Ahh Nookie frat house buddy. Louie here found you down and out and brought you here…" Blue eye blue slid to the motioned to Louie - a sour looking emo sorts by his reckon.

"How long ago was that?"

"About 4 days ago."

It was no wonder his torso felt itchy. The soul scar of when he was ripped in half by a dragon was obviously acting up since he'd not dosed on regenerative potion for so long. Scratching a little he let one of the young men light his cancer stick. "Shit… so it's Wednesday?"

"Thursday."

"Fuck." A few tentative drags were taken off his cigarette as he tried to remember what the hell happened to him. He remembered the desert sky shit show with the chimera; chomp, chomp; look for steak… He thought he remembered something about gangly limbs and anger and seduction and shooting and cool ground and… he shook this head trying to shake away the haze but instantly regretted that as the side of his head just throbbed. Damn, there was a goose egg and everything! Must have downed pretty hard into the ground which knocked him well and truly out. "So… why did you bring me here?"

"Well, it was obvious you needed help and here was close!"

"Why not call an ambulance?"

This… got an uncomfortable amount of silence as the boys shuffled about. "Well… being Aah Nookie, um…"

He raised a gloved hand cutting short the explanation. "Riiight. Disciplinary woes, got it." The tension noticeably eased as he got it on one. Then again with a nickname like that and the party favors laid out it didn't exactly take a genius to make such a connection. "You know, ambulance calls are anonymous unless you stick around to answer questions…"

More lightbulbs turned on with that then should have. Right, disciplinary issues and dumb as rocks. It was a wonder he was even alive! Then again that was a curiosity as he recalled his leg being in pretty bad shape and his potions doing a fat lot no good for it. Maybe after he collapsed it got its act together? Another mystery to throw into the back of his mind as he had much more pressing issues at hand. "So, uh, hey, any of you know how to get to Patrelli's? I'm fucking famished and…"

Looking around he got a lot of blank stares save one woefully studious looking sort. "Oh, I know where that's at. Down Tulane street to the left of the elephant fountain by the Department of Psychology quad."

Right! He knew he took a wrong turn! Looking about his unlikely savior's he let a little sigh, a half cocked grin pulling on his still dead feeling lips. "Nice. Hey, who wants some steak? I'm buying, can discuss things there."

This idea went over very well as the room erupted into jubilation, a few of the men running off to tell the rest of the house of their personal corpses generosity. Whatever, it wasn't like he could take money with him when he died, might as well spend it while he was here. And so struggling to his feet with the help of a few new 'bros' he would head out with Alpha Alpha Nu for a nice morning steak brunch looking ripped apart, bloody, and half dead… or Rhy'Din casual as he knew it. He couldn't exactly ditch the feeling that he was forgetting something, or several something's important. But those could probably wait till after steak, right? Well they would regardless as him and his frat bros headed off.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 11:32 pm

She practically strutted up the front steps, deftly avoiding some kind of commotion that seemed to be leaving, and pulled on the handle of the front door. It didn't budge at first.

"The hell..." She muttered under breath. A look of determination set in her features and she gave it another more firm tug and it relented. The smile that spread was almost smug.

Wasting no time, she headed directly for the bar. As usual, she wore a fraying top, except this one was jet black and intentionally torn to show off a smooth, if not a tad skinny midriff. Dark black pants to match and a pair of ill fitting but sort of stylish black boots thudded softly as she pulled a price tag off the long sleeve and put it in his back pocket.

Most notably, her hair was slicked back and pulled into a high ponytail. Gone were the wisps of stray hairs that fell endearingly into her face. A smooth grin for the lady behind the bar as she leaned in on her elbows.

"Hey, there, gorgeous, how about a double whiskey, neat?" Accented with a quick wink.

Danny wasn’t particularly paying attention to the newcomer, his attention fixed ahead on his drink. Curiosity of course got the better of him and he spared her a glance. At first there was the barest hint of recognition. Then it truly struck. The bare skin, styled hair, and lack of stutter couldn’t hide that face.

Alexia.

Danny’s jaw hung open, his face registering complete and utter confusion. He just stared at Alexia, speaking without her stutter, somehow seeming both familiar and utterly alien to him. The last time he’d seen the girl, they’d walked hand-in-hand to her place, Alexia still her delightful, modest, stuttering adorable self. Just what the hell had happened in the past few days? Or, possibly, did she have some...incredibly forward twin he didn't know about?

"You made it in just in time." Quick flash smile to Alexia, snagging a glass to fill with a generous pour of whiskey, setting it in front of her. With the drink served, bar somewhat cleaned, Yeardley tossed her bar towel into the bin.

"Music to my ears." Her voice was a bit lower than usual, almost sultry, husky. In a fluid motion, she pulled out a wallet that definitely did not appear like it belonged to her, and pulled out a hefty payment.

"Keep the change." She took up her drink and took that first sip, her dark eyes sliding closed for a moment. When she opened them again, they drifted over to the man staring at her, a seductive, toothy smile spreading slowly.

"See something you like, handsome?"

Keep the change? The bartender was keeping all of it, right into one of the many pockets before she snagged her coat off the peg. "Help yourselves to the pie." A smile to both, and a wink to Danny. "Careful, it's a night of poisonous bites." Reminding him before she made for the door.

Danny remained completely oblivious to the bartender’s farewell. Green eyes remained transfixed upon the fae sitting before him, struggling to find the words to even address her.

"...Alexia?" he finally managed to croak out.

A single eyebrow rose slow and high. She paused, that smile faltering just a moment before softening into a friendly grin.

"Ah... yeah, that's me. How you been... tiger?" She leaned into him ever so slightly, unsure just how intimate she should be with him.

"What the hell happened to you?" He looked her over. He’d be lying if he said it wasn’t a good look on her. (Hey, he was a polite guy, not some sort of saint.) Yet, at the same time, it just wasn’t her.

She pulled back and gave being timid the old college try.

"Oh, you know, crazy weekend. It's all a blur, really. But I'm really glad to see you." Her voice oozed honey as she reached a small hand out, intending to touch his arm with a trail of fingers.

He had the look of a man expecting an attack. Danny wasn’t anything more than a typical human man, yet even he could sense some hint of danger with her. His eyes drifted down to those familiar, scarred little fingers. Goosebumps raised upon his flesh involuntarily at her touch. A touch he’d normally have relished every second of. But now, he just suppressed that feeling in his stomach. "Yeah...it's good to see you, too. Uh...so...when did you start drinking? ...and do all...this?" He gestured to her, in general.

A mirthless chuckle passed her lips as she glanced back to her glass, then down her lithe little body before casting a glance around the room.

"Oh, you know, just trying new things. There's nothing wrong with reinventing yourself a little, you know?" She turned her attention back to his face, slowly snaking her fingers up to his shoulder.

It was too much for him. This was wrong. Danny reached up and took her hand, gently pulling it down from his shoulder. He spoke softly and comfortingly. "Whoa, whoa whoa...Hey. Come on. Talk to me. What’s going on? I mean...you're really not yourself and, frankly it's kinda scaring me."

Those green eyes searched hers for some semblance of his friend and found absolutely nothing. It was as if she’d been emptied...just a shell that happened to look like Alexia Longbow. In his 4 years living in Rhy’din, he’d seen a lot, but this would be new.

Roni stopped just long enough on the porch to peer into a window. It seemed pretty empty, save for Danny and Alexia. She felt fairly comfortable with them, so it was only a couple moments later that she walked through the door.

With a half defeated sigh she pulled her hand away and reached once again for her drink, muttering into it.

"What is it with the men in this ass backwards town, anyway?" Before taking a healthy dose, nearly emptying the glass. Admitting defeat, for now at least, she hopped up into the nearest barstool and crossed her legs one over the other, letting them both hang as neither of them quite reached the rung below.

"Look, it's not a big deal, okay? I'm just trying to have a little fun, that's all." Softening again, she turned back to him with one last try.

"Don't you want to have fun with me?" She reached out again, this time running her fingers through his hair just above his ear as she leaned in. With heavy eyelids and parted lips, she snaked her hand behind his head and tried pulling him in.

"Mmph!" Their lips connected, Alexia taking the dominant role. He’d been thinking about doing something just like this for weeks. Never sure if she’d be up for it or allow it to happen. Now, here, with her lips pressed to his, all he could think about was that it was wrong. Danny mustered up every bit of willpower he had and pulled away, gasping in a lung full of air. Strong arms held the stranger in Alexia’s body at bay. Someone had done something to his friend and he was NOT happy. "Who the hell are you?"

Wide eyed, Roni stared in the direction of Alexia and Danny.

She began to pout as he pulled away until he held her firm and asked that essential and damning question. All levity instantly evaporated and her face became cold and hard and now more than ever it was evident those deep rich brown eyes were now hollow.

"Okay, what IS it with this chick, huh?! What is so goddam special about her that everyone seems to care about her but nobody wants to screw her?!" She pushed his arms away in exasperation and snagged her glass with what tiny bit was left of her drink.

With a soft thud, she slid down to the floor and made her way around behind the bar in search of the bottle that was used to serve her. Finding it fairly quickly, she opened it and made to pour herself another, but stopped. Instead, she simply pushed the glass aside and tore a long pull straight from the bottle before lowering again.

She was trying to get laid in another person’s body? The thought made him feel slightly ill. Ill, and more than a little angry. "Answer the bloody question. What did you do to Alexia?"

She rolled those lifeless big brown eyes.

"I didn't do anything to your precious little Alicia." She lifted the bottle for another pull.

The fae didn’t drink. Yet another on the list of things that seemed wrong to see. Danny glared "Her name. Is Alexia. She’s my friend, and I swear on everything holy, if you've harmed her..." There was something in his voice and the look in his eyes that seemed to indicate more than just a friend's concern. Not to mention, the length of that kiss. There was a willingness there. A desire, poorly hidden though it was.

A tiny, familiar, yet at the same time, entirely foreign little hand went up.

"Whatever. And I didn't do shit to her. If you care about her so much, you should really be mad at that bastard hunter that shot me! He probably did something to your little girlfriend and tried to cover it up! Made a real mess of her crappy little house." The bottle finally touched her lips and she drank deeply again.

Sliding through the break brought Roni closer to the woman that... was her friend, but clearly not. "What hunter?" That's asked as she scooted along, towards the cooler so she could find her juice.

She almost startled, when the hell did she get there? Bony shoulders rose in a shrug.

"I didn't exactly think to ask him his name as he was trying to kill me." Her voice dripped with sarcasm as she began making her way for the break again, brushing past everyone and heading, for some reason she couldn't explain, to the hearth.

Danny barely registered anybody else in the room. He’d deal with this hunter thing another time, right now the only concern was this thing masquerading around as his friend. "I want to know where she is. I want to know what you did."

"Take it easy, lover boy, I saw a chance and I took it." She plopped into the overstuffed seat with the high back. She sprawled languidly on the seat, taking another pull from the bottle.

“A chance.” Danny said, the word dripping with spite. He took a few steps toward Alexia...or rather, the thing posing as her, completely unsure of what to do. This woman was not going to cooperate, and this was certainly NOT his area of expertise. He didn't know much about magic or any of that, but he knew he couldn't stay with this thing parading around in the woman he...in his friend's body.

Suddenly remembering, she propped herself up on one elbow and reached into her disappointingly modest cleavage. From there, she pulled out a sealed pack of cigarettes and a very expensive looking lighter. Setting the bottle down in the back corner of the seat, she peeled off the plastic and pulled out a cigarette to nestle loosely between soft pink lips.

“How dare you.” That cigarette was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It wasn’t enough to defile her image, now she was practically poisoning the girl.

"I have to leave.." It came out in a croak. He stopped at the door and turned back. "I don't know what happened. But I’m going to find out. Don’t get comfortable in her skin. I’m getting my friend back.”

"So long, lover boy!" She shouted around the cigarette after him as he headed out the door. She lit it and took a long drag, wincing slightly as the smoke hit pristine lungs.

"Damn, did this girl have any fun?"

With a sigh she rose, grabbed her pilfered bottle, and made for the door as well, heading off to drink herself into oblivion for the night.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sat May 16, 2020 11:37 pm

Eternal gratitude to the very sweet and talented Dah for his collaboration.

It was dark and uncomfortable. Like being stuck in a crowded cellar. Sharp corners jabbed into her sides making it hard to breathe. But she wasn’t in a cellar. She was lost in her own mind. Her soul may have been safely attached and hidden away with Mach’s somewhere, but a piece of her consciousness remained. The poor little fae was fragmented. The part of her that felt pain, fear, despair… the part of her that had only just begun to learn what it was to feel happiness and hope was pushed aside for the creature that took over her body.

It seemed hopeless and just when she was about to resign herself to this tragic fate, she saw it. A soft glow at first, like the beautiful beginnings of a sunrise. She peered into it, not wanting to lose sight lest it disappear. But it only grew stronger. Brighter. Shapes came in and out of focus, but she could just make out a familiar form. It was familiar and comforting but she simply could not place it. That is, until she heard something.

"...Alexia?" That voice. His voice. She would know it anywhere. All the time they had been spending together in recent weeks were some of the happiest she could remember in a very long time, and there he was, blurred and muffled, but unmistakably there.

She wanted to reach out to him, to grab his hand, his face, fling her arms around him and hug him tight. But the creature controlling her body had pushed her far far back. Trying to move at all was like slogging through mud as high as your knees.

“...talk to me. What did you…” His voice faded in and out and she could feel herself being pushed further back. Refusing to give in, she pushed forward desperate to keep the connection to her senses.

“... not yourself and it's kinda scaring me." The concern in his voice made something shift. She wanted to call out and beg him for help and his intense green eyes searching, searching for her, gave her a burst of strength.

D-Danny! I-I’m here! I-I’m t-trapped! But the creature drowned her out through sheer will, and a heavy dose of alcohol. Her little voice, halting and sweet, only bounced around, eventually fading.

She peered out again through the drink induced haze just in time to see her own small hand reach out for Danny and pull him toward her.

W-Wait! N-No! Y-You can’t d-do that to h-him! But her lips were already on his. The creature, well experienced, kissed him deeply until he pushed her away. What surprised her more than the actual kiss was the disappointment she shared with the creature when the kiss was broken and the anger of being robbed of the choice to do it herself. Confused and possibly drunk for the first time in her life, her thoughts raced.

D-Do I w-want to k-k-kiss D-Danny? Y-Yes… I-I do… H-He d-didn’t l-like it. B-But th-that’s n-not r-r-really m-me. D-Did he w-want to k-kiss me? Th-The r-real me? Wh-Why w-would he w-want that? Before she could ponder it any further, she heard the change in his tone.

"Who the hell are you?" Those green eyes were staring again and for a moment she could have sworn he saw her through the mire.

Y-Yes! Th-That’s right, i-it’s n-not me! I kn-knew y-you would f-f-figure it out! For a moment, she thought her nightmare was over. Danny had put the pieces together and now all she had to do was regain control. She just had to reach out to him, talk to him, and somehow he would help her find the strength to push this being out and get her life back. For a brief moment her hopes soared. That is, until her hands pushed his grip off her and she moved away.

N-No! D-Danny!

Her thoughts and vision swirled as the creature imbibed a deluge of hard liquor. Angry and frustrated, she thrashed about, but having no control of her body, it was like trying to wrestle with the air. Exhausted and dispairing, she sank back and only vaguely heard herself saying horrible things to and about her friends.

"I didn't do anything to your precious little Alicia." Never before had she hated the sound of her own voice than that moment. Mustering what little strength she had left, she poured it into indignation.

M-My name… i-is A-l-l-lexia.

"Her name. Is Alexia.”

W-Wait, what?

“ And I care for her more deeply than you know. If you've harmed her..." There was something in his voice she couldn’t quite put a finger on. The waning energy and continuing flow of alcohol was not helping matters. Growing more and more groggy, she desperately tried to listen. Even the small comfort of her favorite seat in front of the great fire was no consolation. She had seen the hurt in Danny’s eyes and it destroyed her.

"Take it easy, lover boy, I saw a chance and I took it."

Y-You didn’t t-take a chance, y-you t-took a l-life. M-MY l-life! She thought weakly. Her vision was rapidly darkening. Danny was leaving. The last thing she felt as she slipped back into the crushing darkness was the searing pain in her lungs from a long drag off a cigarette.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Wed May 20, 2020 10:22 pm

The hangover that finally caught up to her was one for the ages. More accustomed to heavy drinking in other bodies, she was not accustomed to the consequences in this one. It had taken her the better part of the last two days to recover and she spent them wandering aimlessly through neighborhoods and marketplaces, taking what she needed, like fresh clothes, water, and pain killers, and what she wanted, like several wallets worth of money, lock picking tools, and a fresh pack of cigarettes and a silver cigarette case inscribed to someone's 'Dearest Penelope' to match the silver lighter she had stolen before.

Long after the headache should have subsided, she still felt pressure in her head as though it were far too full. After a while, it started to seem like she was no longer wandering aimlessly, but with a purpose she was thus far unaware of. It almost seemed like she was having a literal internal war with herself as her legs carried her of their own accord to a certain apartment building.

Now with a deep scowl, she tried the door. Locked. No matter, she simply pulled out her brand new kit from the pocket and was inside in no time. Climbing up the creaky wooden staircase was torture. Each painful step made her head pound but somehow she knew it would be worse if she stopped.

Finally, she arrived at a door labelled Dubek. With knitted brows, she scoffed her confusion and resolved to turn right around and leave. Instead, she paused, rolled her eyes and sighed, and this time opted to knock.

After a moment, she could hear the locks turning behind the door until he finally pulled it open. Danny stood shirtless, a towel draped over one shoulder while his free arm tried to dry his hair. Alexia would likely remember the scent of his body wash, a pleasant, earthy note of fresh shiso. Sammie saw the things that Alexia had probably taken little notice of. He took pride and put a lot of work into his body and it showed. His body was lean, athletic, a visible six pack abdomen and a muscular v just visible at the waistline of a pair of jeans.

Dark hairs spread over his toned chest, tapering down his long, slim form. Scars dotted the landscape of his body, the most visible of them at one side of his stomach from an appendectomy and the barest hint of the marred flesh of his shoulder peeking from behind him. Others were smaller, but less noticeable. Veins traveled along solid, powerful arms, a thick bicep straining against fair skin as he stopped drying the damp mess of auburn atop his head, beholding the stranger in his friend’s body standing before him.

Judging from the bags under his eyes, he hadn’t slept in days. For just a second, he allowed himself to hope his Alexia was back. But the scent of smoke and booze emanating from her disabused him of that notion immediately. As hope turned to disappointment, his face fell and his armor went up. He said not a word to the impostor, just stared with a silent, tempered hostility.

It wasn't often she was taken by surprise, but as soon as those hollow dark brown eyes took in the sight of him, that cool demeanor faltered ever so slightly. An uncharacteristic touch of color bloomed in her cheeks for the briefest moment, hinting at something vaguely familiar, before it disappeared and she regained composure. A single brow quirked slowly along with the spread of a wide grin.

"Lover boy?!" She let out a short snide laugh.

She casually leaned against the door jamb, affording him full view of her scantily clad figure. She placed a scarred little hand on a bare hip between a low hanging denim skirt, short and tight even on her slender body, and a very strategically placed pink thong strap. No need to worry about catching a cold, she was wearing a long sleeve fuzzy black sweater cut off just below her ribs. It matched perfectly with her thin black flip flops.

"Well? Are you going to invite me in?" That saccharine sweet voice dipped low and suggestively as she gave him unabashed elevator eyes.

Danny firmly and purposefully put an arm across the doorway, fire in those emerald hues as he glared daggers at her. He'd never truly seen much of Alexia's body, always draped in loose fitting clothes. It took all his restraint not to give in to curiosity and blatantly check her out. Though, he’d be lying if he didn’t admit to taking full advantage of his peripheral vision. And he’d certainly never voice the “Daaaaaaamn…” that echoed in his thoughts.

"I think you're in the wrong place." He said icily. "And the name is Danny."

Cold dark eyes rolled as a smirk pulled at her lips. It took just a simple ducking motion for that petite figure to slip under his arm and into his apartment, scarred little fingers trailing across his bare abdomen as she passed. A glance over her shoulder offered a better view of severely burned flesh at one shoulder...and the tattoo in fancy, cursive script reading "Talula" on the other.


"Reel it in, tiger. I need a drink and we need to talk." Flip flops smacked against the floor as she walked. The hand that touched his torso now reached up and tugged at the hair tie that held her dark tresses in a bun, now sending it tumbling down to only reach the small of her back instead of down to her knees.

An unavoidable chill ran through his body as her fingers brushed his skin. He hated that she could still cause that sensation. All he wanted to do was stay strong and impervious to her. But that was still Alexia's body. He still greatly desired her...just not like this. He sighed, a small, annoyed growl rumbling deep in his throat.

His apartment wasn't big, but it was very well maintained, except for the books currently lying all upon most available surfaces, mostly about possession and exorcisms. Danny gave the door a shove and turned around to face her, pulling a grey t-shirt off back of one of the kitchen chairs.

"What do you want?" He asked, tugging the pleasantly snug-fitting shirt onto his lean body.

All details locked away for now, including the titles of the books. She gave them a chortle as she passed and headed straight for his cabinets. Tiny crooked fingers could only grasp the bottom corners, but it was enough to coax them open and peer in.

"What I really want, you won't give me, so I'll settle for your best scotch. Ooh!" An appealing bottle caught her eye and she turned to him to bat long feathery lashes once more.

"Be a lamb and help a girl out, will you, tiger?"

Danny walked over, eyes staying on her as he reached up towards the bottle...but at the last minute, took down an empty glass, filling it with water. There was a malicious, taunting sort of pleasure in his eyes that he just couldn’t hide. "You don't need more liquor. You need to hydrate before you kill her." He set the glass down on the counter with a clink. "Now, again. Why are you here?"

Her eyes narrowed as she sucked her teeth. Denied carnal delights, alcohol, but at least he hadn't kicked her out... yet. She took the glass and sipped begrudgingly, accenting it with a low 'ugh.'

"Like I said, we need to talk." Forgetting for a moment that clear liquid was not vodka, she took another swig for effect, pulling a frown from her mouth. That lower lip popped out in a soft pink pout. With a shake of her head, she set the glass down and reached into her blouse for the cigarette case and lighter. She quickly lit one and took a long drag while her free hand ran through freshly cropped hair. Looking him up and down again, she bit her bottom lip before speaking low, practically purring.

"Mm, you know, you really are wasted on her..." Smoke passed through her lips in curls as she spoke.

He positioned himself in front of the cabinet lest she try again to get at the liquor. His arms crossed in front of him defensively. He certainly didn't seem amused by the cigarette, but at least this time he didn't say anything. "Can't say I know what you mean." He wasn't playing her little flirting game.

"You wanted to talk?" He said, a curt nod toward her. "What are we talking about? You have some ideas for new drapes or, should I settle in for your insurance pitch?"

She didn't let up. If anything, she took it as a challenge. Popping her hip out so the denim and thong strap separated just a smidge more, she smiled as sweetly as she could.

"So grumpy. You know, I could make that all better if you just give me a chance..." She put her hand on the counter and leaned into it, her bare ribs completely exposed. When she got absolutely nothing, she sighed deeply and dropped most of her flirtatious air.

Danny just stared, unmoved by yet another vain pass from the woman in Alexia’s flesh.

"Fine, have it your way. Your loss. But I'm just doing you a favor. I know you have feelings for Stuttering Stacy." Her brow quirked again in that almost familiar Alexia way as she anticipated his response.

"Don't talk about her that way." He said, his voice low and with a hint of menace. It wasn't even anger in his voice. It was pure calm. Which somehow seemed worse. "What did you expect? You come here, wearing her skin, poisoning her lungs and showing off her body and I'm just going to look at you and say 'Forget that you’ve stolen the life of someone I care about! Take me to bed!’”

The muscle in his jaw rolled beneath the skin as he clenched his teeth. Danny leaned back against the counter. "You're violating one of my dearest friends. I still have no idea where she is and if she's safe. So...tell me...in what world do you believe I'm going to look at YOU...pretending to be HER and even remotely feel like climbing into bed?"

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” He asked her with narrowed eyes. “Alexia is not a favor to handed out and her body is most certainly not yours to give.”

"And she's not yours to have." She hadn't missed a beat. Matching his calm, she took every word with a small cold hint of a smile playing on her lips. Taking another quick drag, she took a step forward.

"And, yes, I AM offering you a favor because having her this way, with me at the wheel, is the only way you'll ever have her." She pushed the smoke out with a slight cough and a wince that she chalked up to having brand new shiny lungs to blacken.

"You had time to make your move before I came along but you didn't. Probably because you know deep down that she doesn't want you the same way you want her. And you definitely want her." Another step. Another cough or two.

"Wanna know how I'm privvy to all this choice information? Let me tell you a little something about possession that you won't find in your books. No matter what, there is always SOMEthing left behind," index finger on her free hand tapped her temple.

He tried hard to remain stoic, but even then, she could see that her words hit their intended mark and they HURT. But the look on his face wasn't sorrow. It was pity. Pity for her that she was so small, so petty that she took such joy in hurting him. There was a time when it would have made him angry. Made him lash out and maybe scream back at her. But now...she just seemed so incredibly sad.

"And what she left behind wants nothing to do with YOU!" Taking the last step to close the distance between them, she took that same index finger and poked him square in the chest, a cruel confident smirk on her features. But it quickly faded. This time, instead of coughing, she doubled over in pain. She dropped the cigarette and both hands went to cradle her head.

"AAHH! You little BITCH!" She cried, another howl of pain bringing her to her knees.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Wed May 20, 2020 10:38 pm

The moment she fell, the side of him that couldn't keep from trying to help had him on his knees in front of her. "Whoa, hey, hey...you okay?" He leaned his head low, trying to find her eyes, his hands on her shoulders.

Breathing hitched, her voice came out in a pained growl. "What do you c-c-ca" A gasp cut through parted lips and those rich brown eyes went wide as she looked up to meet his gaze, and for the most fleeting moment, something was in them. Something faded and far away. And just as quickly, it was gone. Hollow again was that gaze, only now the youthful pilfered face looked almost haggard with exhaustion.

"G-... Get off me..." she whispered feebly, confusion mixing with growing irritation. "I said get OFF me!" She pushed his hands away and pulled back to lean against the lower cabinet. She had zero regard for modesty even when standing and sitting normally, and she certainly had none now as she pulled her knees toward her and rested her elbows on top.

It was more surprise than the force of her push, but he fell back onto the tile of the kitchen floor, his hands reaching back to brace his fall. He just sat there in silence, watching her. For a moment, he had sworn he'd seen Alexia in those eyes...but maybe that was just wishful thinking. He might have even noticed her utter lack of modesty were the circumstances different...but as it was, he was more concerned.

"Why?" He said in a quiet voice. "Why her?" It wasn't accusatory or aggressive in the slightest. His tone dripped of grief. "Why not any of a thousand people in Rhydin more deserving of this? Why Alexia?"

A humorless smirk pulled at her lips as she lifted her gaze to meet his.

"I could ask you the same thing, lover boy." She winced suddenly, eyes going wide immediately after. It sort of looked like some unseeing force smacked her upside the head.

"Ow! GOD, okay! Danny, Jesus!" With an exasperated sigh, let her eyes slide closed for a moment.

"I picked her because she wasn't paying attention, okay? Her soul was so far away from her body and that last little tether was just so weak and begging to be cut. So I did, and- wait... Rhy'Din? Did you just say I'm in Rhy'Din?!" Another pained expression twisted her features.

"Oh, FUCK me! I fucking HATE Rhy'Din!" She let her head loll back to thud on the cabinet, forgetting it had been in a vice like grip just a few moments ago. She let out a whispered 'ow.'

Confusion set in as he watched her apparently get into a screaming argument with a ghost. Danny remained unmoved by the following outburst. He wasn’t sure he fully understood the mechanics of what had happened, but shaming, yelling, and intimidation hadn’t shed any light, so he decided to try a new tactic.

"Who are you? Where do you come from?" His voice lightened considerably.

Still a bit weak, she simply shook her head slowly, mumbling at first.

"Fucking Rhy'Din..." She sighed again and let her legs unfold to lay out in front of her on the floor.

"Sorry, tig- Danny, but you don't get my real name. Nobody does. But I am getting kinda sick of hearing her name all the time. Alexia, ugh, it even sounds weak." She paused for a moment then rolled her eyes.

"You can call me Sammie." She said finally. "And the short answer is, I'm from a place called Earth. Sort of."

THAT, he didn't expect. His brow furrowed as he tried to decipher if she was fucking with him. "Earth? Seriously? Whereabouts?"

Letting both hands fall to either side of her, she put both palms flat on the cool floor.

"It's been so long, it doesn't even exist anymore. I can’t remember the name now that I think about it. But, yes, seriously. I was a witch. Joined a coven and everything only... Okay, yeah, I was a witch and I wasn't exactly a good person, but the shit they wanted to do? It was a bit much, even for me. Hurting kids and innocent old people. It all just... kinda sucked. So I ran away and just kept to myself mostly. Eventually I figured out how to travel to different worlds only I got a little too ballsy and got stuck." She shuddered involuntarily at an unspoken thought.

He nodded slowly, listening to her story. "You know...we still tell stories about witches there...but that's all they really are anymore. Stories. Magic doesn't really exist on Earth these days. Not real magic anyway...not like here."

She looked at him with those empty eyes and snorted.

"Sure, hon, if you say so." With a groan, she pulled forward, suddenly remembering her cigarette. She looked around a bit before spying it just a few feet away, extinguished but still only half smoked. She reached for it with badly healed fingers.

"Place is...mostly mundane now. Just people going about their way...living a life free of magic. Technology probably replaced it all at some point." He shrugged and plucked that spent cigarette butt, sliding it away from her. His eyes simply said ‘don’t.’

She glared at him at first, hardly as much venom in it as before, and it quickly dropped. If history proved anything, it was that she was usually pretty good at picking her battles. Today was just an off day. She sighed and shook her head again.

"Why do you think they're only stories now? Because of witches like me and the hags that I escaped. We spend half our time working some kind of spell and the other half covering it up and convincing people it isn't real. How do you think you came to this hell hole in the first place? Sure as hell wasn't by bus, I'd wager. Think about it." She gave her legs a try and rose slowly, wobbly at first. She held onto the counter for support and even willingly took a sip from the glass of water that still sat there.

His head bounced back and forth as he weighed it. It was certainly something he’d never once considered "I admit it sort of makes sense. I just mean it's not quite as commonplace in public as somewhere like Rhy'Din."

She nodded, holding the glass in front of her, her free hand crossed underneath to rest just under her arm.

"Damn right. If you think technology is mundane, then we- they've done their job. Let me ask you something, this girl, she's not entirely human, right? Does magic like it's as simple as breathing?" Another sip.

"You ever try to get her to touch a cell phone or tv or something? Ever notice she can't or won't? That's because it's probably a darker magic than hers."

He nodded slowly to her question. He'd never quite considered why. He just figured it was general discomfort.

She nodded along with him.

"Yeah, see I check in from time to time just to see if I could survive there if I ever had to go back. And I guess I could, I just wouldn't feel like I belonged anywhere." She shrugged. Suddenly straightening, she cleared her throat and downed the rest of the water, surprised at letting her guard down even for a minute.

He extended his legs, trying to get comfortable. His feet were bare and the right leg of his jeans rolled up slightly. The beginnings of another deep, nasty-looking scar running up his calf peeked out from beneath his pant leg. "What happened to you...when you were stuck?"

Glass now empty, she set it back down and looked at him, her eyes serious and surprisingly without any cruelty.

"Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answers to." And with that, she turned and walked away. Not far, just to continue being nosy around his apartment.

He pushed himself up off the ground, keeping an eye on her. "I wouldn't ask if I didn't want to know." He leaned a shoulder against the fridge, watching her wander around his small place. "Call it quid pro quo. You tell me what I want to know, and I'll tell you something... if you want."

She had been rummaging through the collection of books on possession he had, snickering at some, tempted to tear some pages out of others. She looked over her shoulder with a sly grin and a wink.

"I show you mine and you'll show me yours?" She tried to laugh, but it fell flat. With another sigh, she moved for his couch, slipped her shoes off, and sat down, tucking herself deep into the corner made from the cushion and arm of the chair.

"It's... not a nice place. I mean, I know I've talked a lot of shit about this place, but where I was, I had to escape. I know it's hard to believe, but I never wanted to hurt your... friend." Her eyebrows rose and her eyes rolled to one side.

He moved over to his desk, pulling out his chair and sat across from her. His elbows propped on his knees as he clasped his hands. Somehow, he was getting the feeling that she wasn't really the evil demon he thought. Maladjusted and a bit of an asshole...but still not 100% bad. "You had to escape. And...she was your way out. The most available host."

The wheels were turning. "That means you can choose, right? You can choose the host, or whatever you want to call it?" He turned those eyes up to her. "So...take me. Take my body and let her come back."

She looked at him fully, eyes wide and eyebrows high with surprise. It took a moment or two, but her expression changed to one of pity. Oh, he had it bad. She tsked softly and shook her head, a slick smile eventually working its way in.

"Oh, tiger, I love that you offer up your body to me, just not like that." That smirk lingered for a moment before fading.

"Look, the truth of it is, yeah, I can choose, but only to a certain extent. Your girlfriend was available. You aren't. And if you can't appreciate that irony, then you're even more hopeless than I thought." She started chuckling but was cut off with another wince.

"What I mean is, you're in your body, get it?"

He looked to her, mild annoyance on his face. He was willing to converse with and listen to her in good faith...the fact that she still felt the need to play the smart-assed antagonist was getting on his nerves. "No, I get it. But...is there no way? No way to get her back?"

"You'd have to find her soul, for starters. Wherever that is." She crossed her legs at the knees and draped an elbow over the arm of the chair.

Once again, he was reminded of how over his head he was in all this. "Listen...I have no desire to see you harmed or stranded. And I have no doubt in my mind that you are...not exactly happy in her body. So, maybe we're at common purpose here. Maybe...maybe we could work together, find her soul, find you a new body. Let you...live the life you were denied. And then...I get Alexia back."

She softened unrecognizably, a faint trace of the human she once was centuries ago.

"You really care about her that much?" Her voice was soft. Not as soft as the rightful owner, but there was no cruel mocking tone to it this time.

"I do." He said softly. "I've never met anyone like her. She's funny, intelligent...the kindest person I've ever met. And she's brave. Braver than anyone gives her credit for. People walk past her and don't even realize they're passing one of the most incredible women alive. They don’t see her for what she is. But...I do. I see her. I'm lucky enough that...even in some small way...she sees me too." A sad smile crossed his lips and faded. "Even if it's not in the same way."

Her nose scrunched and she pressed her lips into a thin line until an entirely exasperated groan tore from her. Head lolling back, she muttered to herself. "Fuck."

Drawing a deep breath, she sat up again and uncrossed her legs..

"The two of you are so goddam sweet it's making me sick. I lied! Okay? I lied about what I said before because I wanted to make you give up and I could keep this body, maybe have a little fun. But you both just had to be so noble and sad and ugh! So, yes, okay? If you can find me a decent body, you can have mosquito bite tits back."

Out of some kind of muscle memory, she pulled her hair over one shoulder and began gently raking through it with her fingers, only now it no longer piled in her lap, but hung just above it.

The corner of his mouth upturned in a lopsided grin. "You will? Thank you. Sincerely, thank you!"

"Yeah. And for the record, she is cr-OW! Okay, what the hell?!" One hand quickly went to the back of her head.

He quirked a brow to her, but when she didn’t explain what just happened, he stood, running his hands through his hair. Then, he turned as if just remembering something. "Okay. So...in the meantime...we're going to have to set a new rule."

"Ugh, seriously?" But she couldn't help but smile, too. It would seem Sammie was a bit of a softy. Danny gave her a stern look that only made her roll her eyes.

"Alright then, what's your rule?"

"No more smoking." He pointed at her authoritatively.

"I'm sorry... what?!" She just stared at him.

"Look, you get another body, light it up, have a blast! I might light one up with you if I've had enough to drink." He said. "But the owner of THAT body...does. Not. Smoke. And I don't really feel like having to help kick her off a habit she didn't even choose."

She continued to deadpan for another moment or two, but finally relented with a roll of her eyes.

"Fine. No more smoking."

Danny looked her in the eye, a grin forming on his face. "Well, then Sammie. Let's get to work."

"What? No celebratory drink first?" She did her best to pull off puppy eyes, but even she knew she wasn't equipped for it.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Wed May 20, 2020 10:44 pm

Alexia was fragmented. Her soul was missing and her consciousness was beaten down by sheer force and a lot of alcohol. But she had seen a light. She had seen him and she was desperate to see him again. Danny’s face twisted with hurt and grief haunted her memories and she longed to make it right somehow. She just wasn’t sure how and being stuck back in the darkest corners of her mind, displaced by this strange entity, wore on her.

Close to giving up, she suddenly saw a glimmer of light just like the one she had seen the night the creature ran into Danny at the Inn. Expecting his face to come into focus any moment, she was disappointed when all she could see was what looked like a hastily written name on thick paper. She strained to see but it began to fade and she cried out in the shadows. N-No!

Much to her surprise, the image suddenly cleared and the name Dubek came into view. She wished she could have cheered, but for now the prospect of seeing Danny again was enough. The sight that awaited her when the door opened, however, was not the one she had expected. It wasn’t the sight of his bare torso and muscular arms that shocked her so much as it was her own reaction. She could feel heat building in her face, her actual physical face, as she struggled to sort out her overloaded senses.

A myriad of theories sprung to her mind, and yet she had so little time to think them through, much less test them out. She had to act fast. In a move uncharacteristically daring, she poured all her focus into the tips of her scarred, nimble little fingers. At first, nothing happened. She tried again, pushing with her mind to reach out and touch anything, his arm, his face, anything. Hope began to fade as her body was on the move again. With one last herculean effort, she willed those little fingers to reach out once more.

And that was when she felt it. A brush of skin, featherlight on his abdomen. The being inhabiting her body didn’t even seem to realize what had happened. She had managed to touch him, feel him. This brought up a very confusing array of thoughts and possibilities. She recalled how this stranger had forced her to kiss Danny, robbing her of the experience, the choice to make for herself. Only then had she realized she had feelings for him. Feelings she didn’t think her lonely little heart capable of. If only she didn’t feel so fuzzy and sluggish, she might have been able to make sense of it.

Then, suddenly, like an unexpected bit of rain on a hot summer day, her thoughts cooled and cleared every so slightly. The haze of alcohol and dehydration cleared for just a moment and their conversation began to sound less muffled and distant.

“... feelings for Stuttering Stacy.” She felt her eyebrow quirk. This person was talking about her? She took her life, poisoned her body, taunted her friend, and now she was insulting her. Alexia felt a slow burning anger begin to build.

"Don't talk about her that way." Danny’s voice lent her strength. If he could find value in her, she could find it in herself! For too long she had considered herself a non entity, not worthy of more than a passing glance, much less of friendship, compassion… romance… But now, after so long, she finally felt like she had something to fight for. Not just the prospect of love, but for her very own existence.

"... and her body is most certainly not yours to give." Th-That’s right, D-Danny, she thought. I-I belong to m-me.

"And she's not yours to have." Those cruel words had come from her lips. Her anger flared. She wanted so badly to stop the creature from spewing her viciousness. She could hear every word now clear as a bell, almost as if the intruder were purposely trying to hurt both Alexia and Danny. To break them. Make them lose hope.

"And, yes, I AM offering you a favor because having her this way, with me at the wheel, is the only way you'll ever have her." Th-That’s n-not true! S-Stop it!

"You had time to make your move before I came along but you didn't. Probably because you know deep down that she doesn't want you the same way you want her. And you definitely want her." Y-You’re h-hurting him!

"Wanna know how I'm privvy to all this choice information? Let me tell you a little something about possession that you won't find in your books. No matter what, there is always SOMEthing left behind." Wh-Why are you d-d-doing this?

"And what she left behind wants nothing to do with YOU!" NO! Alexia thrashed about, not caring she was hurting herself in the process as long as she hurt this cruel stranger as well. She strained and lashed out, screaming into the dark corners of her mind, bursting through every wall that had been put up to trap her in.

"AAHH! You little BITCH!" Stunned, she stopped. It worked! She hurt her back! There was a flash of guilt but she pushed it quickly aside, reminding herself she was also stopping her from hurting Danny.

She felt her physical self fall to her knees and was grateful for it as she sagged, exhausted from the effort. Then a familiar touch brought her a small surge of strength. It was Danny’s hands on her shoulders. The warm sensation was calming and welcome and called to her. Seeing her chance, she tried to push forward and almost succeeded. She saw his wonderful face and could have sworn they locked gazes for a moment.

“Why her?” Her heart ached for him. All she wanted to do was comfort him somehow.

"I could ask you the same thing, lover boy." His n-name is D-Danny! She gathered a small pool of strength to lash out once more.

"Ow! GOD, okay! Danny, Jesus!" More than just a little pleased with herself, she settled into a smugness at finally being able to show some form of protest. However, it would be short lived.

"I picked her because she wasn't paying attention, okay? Her soul was so far away from her body and that last little tether was just so weak and begging to be cut.” All airs of righteousness quickly dissipated and she suddenly felt deflated. She had to admit she was right. This entire mess was her own fault. She knew Mach and her magic simply did not mix and her own stubborn arrogance had nearly gotten them both killed. She thought she had it all figured out and now here she was, fragmented, her soul somewhere out there, no clue if her friend even survived, and her powers rendered ineffective for who knew how long.

Would she ever get her body back? And even if she did, would her powers return? Or would they be lost to her forever in a most fitting form of karmic punishment? Feeling quite sorry for herself, she sunk deep into the shadows of her broken mind. For a moment, she considered just letting go, letting herself slip into oblivion.

“And then...I get Alexia back." Her attention snapped back. Danny hadn’t given up on her!

"You really care about her that much?" The creature seemed to understand. She could feel tiny cracks in the barriers she had put up to trap the little fae in and the faintest bits of light crept in.

"I do." He said softly. "I've never met anyone like her. She's funny, intelligent...the kindest person I've ever met. And she's brave. Braver than anyone gives her credit for. People walk past her and don't even realize they're passing one of the most incredible women alive. They don’t see her for what she is. But...I do. I see her. I'm lucky enough that...even in some small way...she sees me too. Even if it's not in the same way."


Oh, D-Danny… i-if only y-you kn-knew… It felt different now. She no longer felt the hardened determination to keep her locked away. Instead she felt some sort of acceptance, almost an agreement. But she hadn’t the strength to delve into it now. No, now she wanted nothing more than to rest. But first, she had to make one thing very clear to this new forming ally. Anything that had to do with Danny was on her terms.

"And for the record, she is cr-” N-No! She worked herself up for one last jolt.

“OW! Okay, what the hell?!" I-I get to t-t-tell him. That was the last thought she pushed before sinking into a deep rest.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Thu May 21, 2020 10:39 pm

Not long after she suggested a celebratory drink, they MIGHT have had a small drink and discussed everything that had happened. Her hangover and his utter lack of sleep didn't lead to a very late night. Sammie passed out first on the couch and Danny had put a blanket over her and let her sleep before he wandered off to bed.

Sunlight beamed in through the windows, stirring him from his sleep. He propped himself up, with a long stretch. Danny ran his hands down his face, yawning as he scooted to the edge of the bed. He shuffled into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge, grabbing a carton of orange juice. He almost had it to his lips when he saw her there, still asleep. Alexia’s hair hung in her face, once again looking like the woman he knew. Just the thought brought a wistful smile to his face. That lasted until he smelled the stale scent of smoke and his smile faltered.

Deep rhythmic breathing was the only sign of movement from the still figure. A familiar serenity had long sense eased over her face, much like in the way it had when the little fae had once smiled over a bioluminescent flower. That night seemed so far away now. Soon enough, a deeper shuddering breath pulled those soft features into a grimace of confusion.

She groaned her hungover displeasure as scarred little hands reached up to rub at her eyes. Eventually able to sit mostly upright, she looked at the blanket a long moment before smirking and looking around.

His steady gaze and faltering smile surprised her for a second.

"Not the sleepover I had in mind." Yup, still Sammie. Her smirk renewed as she reached for a glass she hoped had a few gulps of alcohol left.

Once again, the clear liquid in the glass was disappointingly NOT vodka. He'd set it out the night before knowing she'd need it come morning. "Hey, quit complaining. That couch is comfy as hell." And it really was. He'd almost fallen asleep on the damn thing in the store. "You hungry?"

With a small sigh, she dutifully took a few sips, set the glass back down, and tossed the blanket aside, once again exposing her barely clothed body. She leaned back to straighten her legs and reach into a tight front pocket of that hiked up denim skirt and pulled out a hair tie. Danny turned his head away, in attempt to provide some modicum of modesty. It didn't take long before her hair, missing a few feet of length, was easily pulled into a simple ponytail.

"Starving." There was a tone in her voice, sleep tinted, but still lecherous. She arched her back, straining the fabric of her sweater against the modest but undeniable curve of her bust, and turned to look at him. There was a slight blush to his cheeks and a mild disapproving look. With a light laugh, she slipped her flip flops back on.

“Kidding! I’m kidding! Geez, take a joke, lover boy.” Rolling her eyes, she moved to stand over his pile of newly acquired books.

"I could eat, sure. We gotta talk about your books at some point, though." She casually moved them around, affording herself a better view of their titles and authors.

He stifled a smirk, a self deprecating little chuckle leaving his lips. "Alright, I was flying blind, okay? It's not like a friend gets possessed by a foul-mouthed, chain smoking, pan-dimensional booze-hound witch every day.” he said over his shoulder, making his way into the kitchen. “And PLEASE stop calling me lover boy. You're making me sound like a terrible 80's rock band..."

He moved about the kitchen, gathering bacon, eggs and bread. His tone had changed since the day before. The contentiousness that had dominated his tone since her arrival had switched to a playful note. Getting to know her and what her journey had been gave him an entirely new perspective. Once she dropped all the bitchy, antagonistic window-dressing, she was actually kind of enjoyable to talk to.

She had started shuffling them around, sorting them into some semblance of organization.

"You flatter me, handsome." Her tone was flat and only half paying attention.

"Actually, some of these are okay. Not great, but okay. These are crap. And this one..." She snorted dryly and shook her head.

"Unbelievable." She muttered mostly to herself before speaking more clearly again.

"This one was written by the very hag that recruited me into her bullshit coven. If you try any of these spells, not only will it not end the possession, every single one will end in YOUR possession."

A look of disgust twisted her features. Even she had a line in the sand somewhere. The book was deposited in the nearest receptacle.

He looked over to her and peered at the book, a smirk tugging at his lips.

“Oh, I’m certain if I tried any manner of spell, I’d end up blowing myself up. Or turned into a toad or something.”

Satisfied for the time being, Sammie wandered now toward the kitchen, watching Danny with many levels of appreciation.

"Sexy and he cooks."

There was a little smile that he tried to keep hidden. He wasn’t beyond flattery. Even from a shameless flirt like Sammie. One of the books was legit "The Exorcist" novel. Yeah, he got that just for funsies. The bacon was in the oven and he was scrambling eggs in a skillet. "So...I gather finding an old priest and a young priest isn't necessary. But what's the nitty gritty on this?"

She took a languid lean on a nearby counter to watch as he worked and to afford another view of that easy-on-the-eyes dimpled face of his.

"That one's actually in the not too bad pile. As far as demonic possessions go, it's good to have, but our little ménage à trois is a bit different. I'm not actually a demon. Shocking, I know." She smirked as she folded thin arms under her bust, hiding the line where fabric met torso.

He glanced over his shoulder seeing the Exorcist at the top of one of the piles, he brow quirked curiously. That dimpled smile came rushing to the forefront, a laugh escaping him. "Well, that's debatable..." He teased with a little smirk to himself. As if the thought just occurred to him, he turned back to her. "Please don't toss me down a flight of stairs..."

"Don't worry, despite my better judgement, I kinda like the two of you. In a disgustingly cute kind of way." She brought a hand up to examine the simple, clean fingernails.

"And, no... it's not. Demonic possession is unlike any other. If Rapunzel were inhabited by a demon, it would have killed you without a thought. Just for fun, snap every single one of your bones where I only tried to jump them." There was no hint of humor in her tone, nor of salaciousness. Just truth.

"Alright, Pazuzu, take it easy." He jokingly chided her sudden turn toward the serious. Hey, turnabout was fair play! The timer on the oven went off and he threw on a mit. Danny pulled the crackling bacon out, setting the tray on the stovetop beside the eggs. "So...where do you think you'll go? When this is all over, I mean."

Even the likes of Sammie couldn't resist his banter. The upturn in his overall demeanor was more than a little appealing. Or was that the bacon? Either way, her mouth watered.

"You've done this for her before." Her softer tone, the non accusatory words, surprised even her.

He wasn't prepared for the sudden shift, his brows knitting together. "I'm sorry?" He asked over his shoulder as he pulled down two plates from a cabinet.

She drew a small shuddering breath and cleared her throat of something she hadn't felt in a long time. Something she'd almost forgotten the name of.

"I just... I get this, I dunno, vision I guess, of you doing just this for her, only somewhere else." Everything in her very nature was screaming for her to stop sharing, but as she had said, they had gotten under her skin.

"Oh." He blinked, memories of that morning flooding back. That was the day he'd realized he had feelings for Alexia. He nodded, fixing a plate for himself and leaving the rest of her. "Yeah. I cooked for her one morning. I came over the night before...blind stinking drunk... and she let me stay with her." He distracted himself, buttering a piece of toast.

"Figured I owed it to her."

Of course it was more than that. He'd wanted to share a morning with her. Spend as much time with the girl as possible. But...he wasn't mentioning that out loud yet, especially to her.

She followed suit, grabbing a plate and loading it up. Body stealing was tiring work! Plucking up a piece of bacon, she bit off a chunk and chewed pensively.

"Sure you did." She said finally, only teasing instead of needling.

He gave her SUCH a look. Danny carried his plate to the table and took a seat. "Seriously, though. You hate Rhy'din...so...what's after this for you?"

She couldn't help the chuckle that reaction pulled from her. Just a few steps behind him, she sat across the table, her legs crossed at the knee.

"Not Earth, that's for sure." She mumbled with a small scoff. "I dunno. I guess it all depends on the body we can scrounge up for me. Maybe this time around, Rhy'Din won't be so bad."

Danny was quiet a moment, lost in thought. "You should really swing for the fences this time around." He said around a piece of bacon. "For your body? Really do something out the box. Like...go minotaur."

A deeply scarred hand flew to her mouth to catch the snortle of laughter that erupted around a mouthful of food.

“Just saying. I bet you could pull off hooves.” He tried to play it off as if he was serious, but eventually that grin snuck through.

Thankfully, she managed to keep it all in. When she regained some control, she shook her head and feigned a glare at him.

"Asshole." She muttered, smiling through a much smaller mass of food. Danny couldn't have looked prouder of himself.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Fri May 22, 2020 9:48 pm

Another heartfelt thanks to Mach for is help and words.


“Aruba… Jamaica… Ooh, I wanna takeya…”

“Not again…” The little fae groaned to herself. She sat on a beach towel with her head in her hands, elbows lightly propped up on bent knees. She thought she had moved far enough away for the crashing waves to drown out the song that had been on repeat since she finally woke up in Mach’s subconscious. And in truth, she had. It simply found her. It always found her.

She spent the first few times simply wandering around, confused and trying to find her way back to Rhy’Din as though all she needed to do was get her bearings. It wasn’t until the hundredth time or so the memories came rushing back. Finding Mach bleeding to death on her doorstep, the terrible decision to try and heal him, the dangerous time spent in the ether, Mach’s sacrifice to bring her back. And there was something else. Another memory, much darker and terrifying. Teeth and claws. Sharp, hungry, tearing. It was then she realized just how bad a mistake she made.

“OFF THE FLORIDA KEEEEEEEEEYS…”

As the song worked its way from a faint echo to a full roar, she placed her palms over her pointed little ears and squeezed her eyes shut. After a while, she noticed a large shadow cast upon her. Following it, she eventually found herself looking up at a smirking Mach wielding a coconut drink complete with paper umbrella.

“You sure you don’t wanna slip into something a little more comfortable?” He asked her for what had to be the hundredth time. In all fairness, she still wore the same long dress from when he rescued her from the clutches of the ether. She sighed and shook her head,letting her hands fall to her sides.

“No, thank you, Mach.” Smooth, nimble little fingers brushed futilely at errant grains of sand that clung to the folds of her dress. Still missing was her usual stutter. Her soul far away from her body and the binding spell attached to it that affected her speech, she spoke as clearly as she had in the spirit realm.

“Come on, it’d be a lot more fun that way, yeah?” he winked at her with his one good eye. Technically he could have simply been blinking, but it was fairly safe to assume the former.

“No. I already told you, I don’t even know what a…” She paused, her brows knitting as she tried to remember the word. “... a b’keeni is.”

The hunter moved to sit beside her on the beach towel and for a few moments they both stared out into the shining blue ocean. After a long while he took a loud, slurping, slurging, crackling sip from his coconut drink before leaning in to speak, his gaze still focused on the endless ocean horizon.

“You know, you’re not like the other dream girls round here. Much less smiles and giggles, much more pouts and clothed.” He mused, now taking the paper umbrella and tucking it behind his ear.


“That’s because I’m not one of your dream girls.” Her tone was more than just a little defeated. They’d had this conversation so many times, hardly deviating from the same script. Only this time, it was finally too much. Alexia’s soul had been separated from her body… and Danny… for far too long and she could no longer hold it in. Large tears welled in her even larger dark brown eyes and spilled one by one down lightly freckled cheeks, accented with a tiny but very audible sniff.

“H-hey now! Don’t do that!” He set the now empty coconut down and placed a comforting hand on the little fae’s shoulder for a gentle pat before leaning back on both hands, that charming, ever present smile returning to his rugged face.

“This is Mach’s Smexy Beach Babe Extravaganza! There’s no babe crying on smexy beaches at this extravaganza!”

“That’s just it, Mach, I’m not part of your dream. I’m real and I can’t find my way out. I’ve tried so many times to get you to realize that and nothing has worked!” Her voice trembled as she spoke.

It was true, she tried in vain to explain the complexities and limitations of a human brain in various stages of sleep. How the typical brain could not produce new information, only remember and reorganize things it already knew. How, when unconscious, Wernicke’s area of the brain also lay dormant and rendered the ability to read within a dream impossible. She tried to get him to understand that she could do all these things and more because she was not a figment of his imagination. All to no avail.

“I know your name is Elitia. Elitia Vance Turner.”

“Good on you, I sometimes forget so...”

“I told you my full name, Alexia Milisindiel Longbow.”

“Matter of public record, doll.”

“I wrote it down so you could see it was real!”

“Is that what that was? I thought you were trying to slip me your digits on the sly.”

“I miss Danny, I miss my own body, and I just want to go back to the way things were.” Tired and frustrated, she pulled her knees up within the soft lengths of her dress and circled thin arms around them. It was in the fold of her arms she would bury her face, her gentle sobs muffled.

“This is a punishment. It has to be. I broke my promise to you and tried to heal you again, I nearly killed both of us, I left my body open for possession, I put our souls in danger, cost you a piece of yours, and this is my punishment. I’ll never see him again…”


“Afternoon deliiiiiiight... cocktails and moonlit nights… That dreamy look in your eye... give me a tropical contact hiiiiiigh… Way down in Kokomo… Aruba, Jamaica...”

After a long moment, another long slurping sound slowly brought her gaze back up to the hunter. A new drink had appeared in his hand, this time in a hollowed out pineapple with not one but two paper umbrellas and he had a cobalt blue lei around his neck. She stared at him until finally he spoke again.

“Seems to me, darlin’, if you wanted to leave you could just exit stage left, yeah?" He motioned with a nod of his head. Following his gesture, she looked off to the side to see a simple door that hadn’t been there prior. It couldn’t be that easy… Could it? Had she finally gotten through to him on some level and this was his way of letting her go? Or had he been keeping her there on purpose for safe keeping? Or, as a small part of her suspected, as punishment? There really was no way of ever knowing. She turned back to him, her eyes wide with surprise. He only smirked at her, his eyebrows waggling.

With a teary laugh, she looped one thin arm across his collarbone to rest her hand on his opposing shoulder, and leaned in to whisper a soft ‘thank you’ before she quickly stood and moved for the door. She closed the distance between herself and the door, only a few steps, really. When she tested the handle, it opened easily and she could hear faint whispers beyond. She turned back to try and find something to decipher in his countenance, but he was already up and moving toward a group of laughing beckoning women wearing coconuts for clothing and very little else, some of their faces terribly familiar.

“Ladies! Who wants to be a part of Mach’s Smexy Beach Babe Extravaganza? What's that? All of you! Well, what's a Mach to do but serve…"

With a small smile and shake of her head, she turned back to the door and, with a deep breath, pushed through.

“... thaaaaat’s where we want to gOooOo…” The warmth and sunshine and the song and the laughter faded.
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Re: Once Bitten, Twice As Shy

Post by Alexia Longbow » Sun May 24, 2020 12:15 am

More heartfelt gratitude to the incredible wordsmith Dah.

The books were a total bust. He'd find nothing for this situation on those pages, Sammie made that pretty clear. He wanted to see Alexia’s place...even if he didn't know what he was looking for or what he hoped to find. Maybe it was just another connection with her to cling to. He and Sammie walked down the path he knew so well, a slight chill in the night air as they approached.

Even as they approached, somewhere deep down, he felt a darkness to the place. The specter of what had happened there hovered over the usually quaint, pleasant little cottage. It was almost like coming upon the scene of a murder. The fact that the hunter was out there and Alexia was by his side, if only in body, was of little comfort.

"Don't say I didn't warn you, tiger. It's pretty bad in there." She had tried to warn him repeatedly from the moment he mentioned it back at his apartment. Without going into too many details, she tried to change his mind to no avail. She was a step behind him but hesitated at the door. Some of her reluctance may have had something to do with the slowly fading scar on her shoulder, hidden strategically with well placed clothes.

His hand gripped the knob, and gave the door a little shove.

Instantly, he could feel the change in the air. Smell it. Taste it. The heavy, coppery, metallic essence of blood lingered in the air, overwhelming the normally pleasant scents of her home. Sammie wasn't lying about the state of it. His stomach turned, and his blood seemed to run cold.

Normally Sammie was quite unbothered by the sight and scent of blood, even her own. She had survived much worse attacks without so much as a hitch in her step afterward. But being back here in the tiny home with so much blood suddenly made her feel quite unsettled.

With arms spread, a hand on either side of the door jamb, she steadied herself as she took it all in. The floor between the armchair and tiny fireplace was the worst as it's where both the hunter and the little fae bled profusely from the same wound. Littered around were rolls of bandages, empty tincture bottles that belonged to Alexia and empty capsules and potion flasks that belonged to the hunter.

Danny stepped up to the blood-drenched floor, swallowing hard at the sight of it. He’d seen horrible things in his life, but it didn’t make the moment at all easier. He wasn't sure what blood belonged to who, and it didn't matter at this point. He ran his hand through his hair, trying to calm his nerves. Those green eyes turned up to Sammie, sympathy filling them. "You woke up to this? Jesus, that must have been awful."

Attempting nonchalance as she took a tentative step inside, she crossed her arms and shrugged.

"It's not the worst thing I've woken up to. Would have been a lot nicer if that hunter had just taken what was offered to him instead of getting all bossy."

He knelt beside it all, inspecting the area for...well, he didn't quite know what. As soon as she said "offered", his attention snapped up to her. "Can I assume you 'offered' him the same thing you offered me?" His brow quirked, accusation in his eyes.

What little indifference she had managed to muster up quickly and visibly faded and something akin to guilt prevented her from looking into that intense emerald glare. Crossed arms pulled into an almost familiar self embrace as she tried to speak with an even voice.

"I was just trying to get away. Besides, he didn't even think about it, okay?"

He shrugged, the slightest hint of smirk peeking through. "Just saying. If you could maybe refrain from offering my friend's vagina as a 'get out of jail free card' from here on, that would be just swell." He shot a look to her, brows knit together. "What WAS your life before all this? Were you offering a shag to get out of EVERYTHING?"

She couldn't help but smirk at his latest request, although, admittedly, it was a fair one given the circumstances. She wandered to the tiny bedroom not far away, inspecting its pristine condition with passing curiosity.

"If I can save my own ass and get my kicks while I'm at it, why not?" She tossed over her shoulder.

"Can't argue with that, I suppose." He muttered, rising to his full height. "Long as it's yours to give." There was nothing here. The blood wasn't going to offer up anything for him other than worry, but Danny couldn't stand seeing the place in such a state. He moved into the kitchen, to fill a bucket of water.

After a while, she turned and plopped softly onto the little bed, bouncing a few times.

"Yeah, well, like I said, he had zero interest." She stretched out to her full length, naturally she fit perfectly as it was Alexia's bed after all. Thin arms reached back to cross above her head.

"Actually, now that I think about it, he called her something..." Her brows knit as she stared up at nothing in particular.

His head canted to one side as he glanced in her direction curiously. Was that a hint of barely hidden jealousy in his eyes? "What's that?"

Hollow eyes lost their focus and a suggestive smile slowly spread, halting only when she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth as the memory slowly surfaced.

"I think it was... Lexi." Her voice dipped as the name rolled off her tongue.

"Lexi?" He repeated, tasting the name on his tongue. He wasn't sure how he liked that nickname. It didn't feel like HER, if he was honest. "Well...at least it clarifies that he knew her...for all the good it does."

Sitting up again, she shrugged and absently smoothed some of the blanket she had disturbed. Not out of any true concern, but more out of habit that wasn't quite her own.

"I guess. But really, how many one eyed hunters could there be around here?" She stood and left the tiny bedroom, finding herself almost immediately back in the living room. This time, she looked toward the piece of wall between the little window seat and the front door. Her shoulder ached as she caught sight of the bullet hole in the splintered wood.

"I mean...it’s Rhy’din.” He said wryly. Suddenly, that humor turned to realization. “Wait..." he looked up from the bloody floor, about to start scrubbing. "One-eyed hunter? You never mentioned that part before."

Sammie didn't need much encouragement to tear her gaze away from the bullet hole.

"Didn't think of it 'til just now."

The wheels turned in his head, piecing the puzzle together. It wasn't a completely clear picture, but it was better than nothing. "There's a man...Don't really know his name. Saw him around a bit. I’m pretty certain he made a pass at me once…”

He tried to come up with a name, but he’d simply never caught it. “Kinda tall...dark hair? Eye patch?"

"Yeah, probably. I mean, there aren't a lot out there that don't seem tall to Tiny Tina... But the dark hair, for sure." Now feeling the urge to test out the little window seat, she plopped down on that next with a surprisingly hollow thunk.

It was easy to forget that it was someone else behind those eyes. If he allowed himself, he could almost believe it was Alexia, just sitting at her window. Albeit with a bit of a haircut and wildly different wardrobe. Alexia with a whaletail was something he'd never thought he'd see. "Now all we need to do is find him. Whatever the hell his name is..."

Curiosity got the better of her and so she stood, turned around to flash that whale tail at him, and lifted the window seat. Kneeling, she began to rifle through its contents, pausing only to look at him over her shoulder.

"You're on your own there, tiger. I have no desire ever run into him again." She turned back and continued rooting around.

He scrubbed at the bloody floor a little smirk. "Oh, thanks." He shot back sarcastically. He pushed on that brush, doing his best to scrub the dried blood from the floorboards. "So...what kinda...body are you looking for? Any preferences?"

"Boobs." No hesitation whatsoever. "Bigger, bouncier, and with a lot more mileage, not that that should be too difficult."

Done being nosy in this particular area, she stood and let the seat thud back down into place.

He couldn't help but laugh. "Maybe we can find you a catatonic stripper or porn star?" He grinned her way.

"Now you're talkin'!" On the move again, she noticed a boarded up section and frowned. She stood in front of it, eyes narrowed in thought.

Danny looked back at her, still hard at work. "What were you like before?"

"You mean my very first body? My human one? Not much to look at really. Kinda plain, dirty blonde hair, forgettable face. That was without any glamour, of course." She reached to trace one of the boards, curious if there was some sort of release or hitch she just needed to find.

"What's in here?"

He shifted his gaze to see what she was talking about. He really wasn't certain. He had his guesses, but it hadn't ever come up between them. "To be honest, I don't know. She mentioned an uncle she used to live with...I've always assumed that was his room."

"Hmm..." Not finding any sort of secret way to open, she conceded it was simply boarded up and moved on. Another few steps found herself in the tiny washroom. It was time to take a really good look at what she was working with. She turned her head this way and that in the aged mirror, practiced pretty pouts and saccharine sweet smiles, batted feathery eyelashes…

She exchanged the flirty expression for a frown. Her reflection seemed cloudy and smudged. Instinctively, her forearm lifted to scrub the glass clean with the sleeve of her crop top sweater, but it made no difference. It took a moment for her to realize the mirror wasn’t the problem. Her body was. Narrowing her eyes, she took a small step back and whispered a simple spell.

“Revelabo stultitiam…” the result brought an even deeper frown to her face. Crude sigils and runes were etched into her very essence, binding her, limiting her powers, making her meek and small. Sammie had grown oddly protective of the little fae in the last few days and this did not sit well with her. Some of the sigils were rock solid and she didn’t dare try to break them for fear of blasting the very vessel apart.

Others, however, seemed unstable. Like components of the spell were missing. The best she could figure was they were tied to the little fae’s soul and now that it was disconnected, some of the binding spells were structurally unsound enough to remove. With a sweep of her hands over her arms and shoulders, first one side, then the other, faintly glowing spells began to slough off. They splattered on the floor like globs of translucent slime only to vanish and leave no trace they ever existed.

Fairly pleased with her work, she took a step back toward the mirror and admired her reflection, now considerably more clear than before.

“Not too shabby…” She muttered quietly to herself before calling out over her shoulder.

"Ooh! You know what would be really good? A shapeshifter's body." She smiled at her own brilliance in the aged mirror.

Danny chuckled, plunging the brush in the bucket again. That dimpled grin flashed up to her. "So...not just boobs...ALL the boobs?"

"Damn right!" She laughed. It was much lower than Alexia's laugh and more husky, but at least this one was genuine this time. She turned to admire her backside in the mirror as she reached into her blouse, searching for something within.

Danny laughed and shook his head. "Well, you gotta aim high, I suppose." He grinned up at her. "I hope we can find you what you're looking for."

"You and me both, handsome." Re-emerging from the washroom with an unlit cigarette in hand, she leaned in the door frame.

"How much longer you gonna play housemaid for your little sweetheart?"

"Almost done." He said. He didn't give her a glare or anything about the cigarette, but he saw it. Rather, he trusted her not to light it. "I don't want her coming back to...this. Besides...you got a better plan at the moment?"

She shrugged, cigarette twitching between crooked little fingers. She stared at the scars as much as the cigarette with mild curiosity.

"Wouldn't mind a drink."

He dunked the brush one last time before dropping it in the bucket. He could come back and deal with this another time...and after the past few days, he could honestly use a drink. Danny rose to his feet and walked toward her. "Well...if you want to hit the Inn… I'll come with you."

Dark eyebrows rose high in surprise and a smile spread.

"Yeah?" She tucked the cigarette behind her ear and adjusted hems and straps and off shoulder things just so. Another force of habit.

"Let's go, then! I can hear the whiskey calling to me."
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