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(from Calling in Favors)

The woman pulled Aria through the door way, she nearly fell into the other woman as she tripped over the broken floor board in the entry way. The woman giggled, "Opps sorry about that.". Aria pulled her hand free of the other woman's grasp and looked up the stairs. Words didn't come out, Aria just nodded towards the entry way up the stairs. She could feel the world closing in on her, Aria sought peace and calm. Not expecting to find Dane so close, Aria latched on to him and prayed it would be enough. The reverberation of her own self was nearly too much. She felt like exploding, nothing keeping her inside her own self. The bubble she lived in was far gone, and completely unreachable.

Aria wondered if the woman had offered her name, in all honestly it didn't matter Aria would not be offering her own. She smiled down brightly at Aria "Lock it for me." And then she started up the stairs.

Aria nodded, but for some unfathomable reason she didn't follow through. Aria turned to shut the door, noticing the street for the first time. This reporter must truly need a good story, she lived in a rat trap. The street lamps lit the garbage from the dirty globes of yellow light. A bug skittered across her boot as she shut the door with a distinct thud, but she did not lock it. Something inside said don't. Instinct, fear of being trapped, it didn't matter, the door remained an exit she intend to use with ease.

Aria closed her eyes and took a deep breath, there was much more pain and pleasure to be had that night, and Aria didn't know what would win out in the end as she ascended the stairs after the down and out reporter.

Upstairs was not any better than the street outside. The windows were covered with make shift curtains, that looked like they could stand on their own. The kitchen sink off on the far wall was full of disgusting dishes, as if she had no time to do them. Empty take out boxes sat on the counter, the floor and just about every possible flat surface. The blond standing in the middle of the room stared back at Aria with a fire in her eyes Aria had not seen the likes of ... ever.

The disgusting details gave Aria a moment to snap back to some sort of herself. "Bathroom?"
Her new found 'friend' pointed in the direction of the bathroom with a satisfied smile.

Aria opened the door and was so very glad she did not live her, the bathroom was tiny and it only had a shower. Aria sighed as she shut the door. Annoyed at herself and her actions but she had to get the wallet. She was thankful for the break, what little good in the end it would do.

Aria grabbed her wallet and sent a text for clean up. Telling them to hurry. It was important that it not be there later. So very important.

Aria looked at herself in the dirty brown mirror. And turned away with distaste, not for herself but the state of the apartment, she was afraid to touch anything. What she did for the Atharim!

Aria took off her coat, and removed the single sword that sat at her waist and put the gun in her coat pocket so it didn't drop to the floor. She hadn't intended to wear anything that looked attractive to anyone but herself, but then all her clothes fit to her curves. The black t-shirt clung to her body and the jeans were very close fit as well. The only thing out of place for bar hopping or clubbing was the combat boots she wore.

Another deep breathe and Aria opened the bathroom door to find the blonde wearing nearly nothing at all. Aria tried to pretend she was interested. But from the look on the woman's face she had failed miserably. Aria stepped forward and caressed the woman's cheek and found the emotion she wanted, Dane wasn't far away, it wasn't hard. The memories flooded in and she drank them up. The woman smiled and handed Aria a bottle of beer. "It's all I have."

Aria was thankful it was a bottle and took a long drawl of the foulest thing she'd tasted in forever. The woman giggled and touched Aria's cheek. "It'll taste better after a few more." Aria didn't hear a word, the world flew around in circles. She barely noticed taking another drink. Aria ran her hand over the soft skin of the woman in front of her. Her desires were elsewhere, but she was here touching and being touched.

Aria's hands mimicked the half naked woman's in front of her. Very little registered with Aria, the longing turned to desire and the desire into something far more stronger. There was nothing else, except for the seemingly close calm center she truly sought, this woman was just a mere echo to what she wanted.

Edited by Aria, May 8 2014, 03:53 PM.
Dane followed, fascinated. His mind worked silent as well-oiled gears in his attempts to decipher events. Aria found the body. She kept the knife like the frayed bundle of black hair kept as keepsake in his pocket. He could not understand her.

From his distance, he could hear them laughing. The two girls held hands. The second woman's head glowed an angelic blonde with every street lamp the two passed beneath; Aria's was black as velvet night.

His stroll kept pace as even, gentle steps. His loafers made little sound on the sidewalk. His coat rustled with sleight movements, but his hair lay undisturbed across his forehead; the wind was calm tonight. As was he.

They entered a narrow, two-story building. The first floor was occupied by a corner-store, barred windows dark for the night. He stood on the sidewalk outside for some time, head folded back, eyes oriented upward. When a light illuminated in the upstairs apartment, he moved to the door, and gently checked the doorknob.

Open. He pulled the door with a hint of a smile, and ascended the stairs, careful of creaks, without interruption.

A narrow hallway led to an apartment barely large enough to occupy more than one room. Light gleamed around the framed edges of an ill-fitting doorway, and his hand itched to touch the knob, but instead, he licked his lips and was content to sit alongside.

He rested his head against the wall. Curled edges of peeling wallpaper seams pricked his scalp, but he did not move. He rested his arms on his knees, closed his eyes, and crafted a scene in his mind for every sound made behind the wall. The powers at the edge of his understanding became his in that moment, and with them, the softest of sounds became his knowledge. The pull of a zipper. The swishing of brushed hair. The escaping air from an opened bottle.

He listened, completely still, for minutes innumerable. Somewhere from the distant echoes of the pleasure and pain occurring out of sight, he felt the thin tickle of a spider on his cheek, but he was transfixed elsewhere, and never swiped it away.

More giggling, and Dane squeezed the bridge of his nose. His chest heaved with the strain of keeping himself from entering. This woman, this cold-blooded enigma he could not decipher, normally so isolated by the surface of her watery, self-inflicted graves, tangled in the arms of a stranger. Another woman, oblivious of the monster to whom she sacrificed her body and vulnerability. As indeed, Aria was a monster. Like him. A killer without remorse.

The place he went was dark with blood. It began innocently enough. He put his hands where he imagined Aria's went, and imagined velvety skin flushed hot beneath his fingertips. But soon, what phallic toys pulled noises of pleasure from behind the door, his mind replaced them with the cold edge of Aria's sword, drawn down the woman's stomach like the trailing finger of her lover. The girl's eyes met those of Aria's, of his, winced by the torturous prickle of teasing and pain, silently begging for more, then flared wide when the point plunged into the soft bulge of her lower abdomen.

The laughter was soon replaced with heavy breathing, and Dane could not tell whether it was theirs, or his. He stood.

He pushed on the doorknob with the lightest touch. It was unlocked, but a bolt would not have stopped him.

He stood in the threshold for some moments, drinking in everything his imagination had conjured. The air was thick with scents of cheap alcohol and old meals. The windows drafting cold air, were condensed with humidity.

But it was the two women, tangled in a bed kicked flat of bedding, that held the entirety of his attention. Each glanced over their shoulder, faces flushed, eyes glazed. Aria was otherwise impassive, as though she were not surprised at all by his presence. The other was looking rapidly between each of them as though she were unaware of what secret they shared.

Dane found where Aria had left her sword, and he smiled at it briefly. After closing the door behind him, he began to undress, and went to them.
The sound of the door brought their attention from one another to the door. Aria felt every emotion the woman beside her felt, it was just a haze of emotions but still it was there. Aria had missed the moment when Dane's presence disappeared from her senses. Aria swallowed. He held the power of the gods, the danger that lurked just the other side of his emotions.

Her companion didn't stir as Dane started towards them undressing. The woman started to shift uncomfortable in the strangers presence Aria put one hand on the other woman's leg and turned put a finger to her lips and leaned in and quieted her with a calm 'shhhhhh'
. She quieted in a near heartbeat, she felt the desire and longing Aria projected with a mere touch of her hand. The one thing Aria had longed for many months was mere steps away from her. Aria watched as her companion crawled to Dane like a cat stalking its prey.

Aria didn't move, she only watched. There was so much more than wanting to touch Dane, she longed for him to touch her. The reporter was not a novice, Aria had found that fact out in mere moments, unlike herself. Aria watched the other woman drew her hand up Dane's side. Aria moved closer and put her hand on the small of the bent woman between her and her biggest desire. She wanted him to touch her and to touch him, the quiet called to her. Aria felt what the woman felt as she drew her hand along Dane's naked body. Aria closed her eyes and just felt everything through the lone physical contact of the small of the fearless reporter's back. She didn't know what lurked on the other side of her touch. Aria knew, knew the power could be dangerous, but she didn't care.

Aria bit her bottom lip and opened her eyes and watched Dane. Every bit of desire flooded through her into the woman before her. Helpless to Aria's emotions the woman crawled closer to and knelt on the bed and pulled Dane to her body, just close enough they were barely not touching. Aria followed close to the woman, never taking her eyes off of Dane, her hand only touching the small of the woman's back.

The women started to feel uncomfortable, like it was hard to breath, but Aria's emotions over-road everything the woman felt and she continued to court Dane's attentions. The heat of the moments disguised the cold sweat that started to bead the woman's body. For Aria there was nothing but Dane.

Edited by Aria, May 7 2014, 04:58 PM.
He stood at the edge of the bed, completely disrobed. Blonde woman crawled to him. The touch of her fingers at his hip shuddered his abdomen with goosebumps, but he did not move away. She climbed up the front of him, and the warmth of her chest radiated onto his, yet he did not touch her. She nestled her lips into his neck, but it was to Aria that Dane's eyes roamed.

She was behind the woman, guiding her with a hand at the small of her back. Blonde woman seemed mindless in her acceptance of Dane's presence. Like she was stripped of all executive thought and functioned on instinct alone. Instincts that did not hesitate, though it was clear she was torn between the hand behind her and the man in front of her.

Somehow, this spare human being became the conduit for his and Aria's desire. He wanted to possess his obsession if only to coerce another look of connection between them one last time. Yet as Dane breathed in and out, as his blood pumped a volcano surging deep in the bowels of his gut, he dared not touch her. The graze of his hands on Aria's hip, or the tangle of her onyx hair in his fist, and he would end up on top of her, squeezing the life from her throat with his bare hands.

Blonde woman was his conduit. She grabbed his hands, entangling her fingers in with his, and guided him down. Aria moved aside and Dane laid back. Lumps knotted bulges in his back. He was a flat, thin figure, with the gnarls of ribs showing on either side of his chest, his abdomen narrow, and the jut of his hips visible. Blonde woman positioned herself close, guided there by Aria, and she and Dane simply watched each other, like they were the two sitting in the audience and neither willing to admit the cinema unfolding before their eyes was real.

Blonde woman pinched his nipple with her teeth, and the sharp surprise flared with anger. He realized how he had been puppeted onto his back; she tugged and he moved; and both severely bothered him. His eyes flashed dangerously and he uncoiled a tangle of power across her face that bloomed her cheek hot pink. "Don't do that again,"
he said, but his tone was suggestive rather than commanding. Her eyes glistened, blinking.

He sat up, gripped her behind the neck, and switched places with her. She fell limp to his movements, one of her hands had gone to her cheek, but Dane's smile and the caress of her hair from her face put her at ease. The bloom on her cheek matched the bloodshot red to her eyes. The woman was drunk enough to dissect alive and never feel a thing. Interesting, but lackluster without the begging for mercy.

On his knees, he left her alone. Dane shuffled aside and looked expectantly to Aria. "What do you want to do?"
He asked gentle as a priest to his flock. He licked his lips and guided her eyes toward the naked woman on her back, oblivious to the two monsters hovering nearby, and then he flicked his gaze suggestively to Aria's sword.

But Dane could not help himself. His gaze soon returned to Aria's pale flesh, drawn back from the distractingly lethal weapon in the room. He reached a hand out tentatively, exploitative, but pulled back before grazing the point of her nipple with the side of his finger. He visibly shook with the strain of not stabbing her to death.

He was coiled tight, so he shuffled to the edge of the bed. If either woman touched him he feared he'd slaughter both of them, or worse, embarrass himself physically.

Instead, he nodded, the voyeur, for now. Blonde woman was beckoning Aria to come to her, and Dane silently urged her to do so.
The mind sees what it can decipher. The violent act Dane drew across the woman's cheek was not of this world. The power rolled inside of him and Aria's fears came bubbling up. Death it self didn't scare Aria, she knew she'd die, she knew the days were limited and the solid flow of air that struck the woman between them only enhanced that knowledge, but she didn't want to die. She touched the edge of it on a regular basis, but she didn't have the courage to do it.

Aria followed Dane's eyes and his suggestion. Her sword was hardly a play thing even if death was imminent, it was not the most ideal tool for the job. Aria took her eyes from Dane for the first time since he'd join their two-some. She watched the rise and fall of her chest before leaning over the woman and kissing the cheek Dane and reddened. Aria whispered in her ear "I'll be back in a second, stay still."

Aria glanced up at Dane before scooting off the far side of the bed. Her coat lay draped over a chair with her sword underneath. What Aria would have given to feel Dane's emotions as she walked away. She rummaged in her pocket but didn't find what she was looking for. A quick toss and the other pocket held the bloodied blade. The other woman was not watching Aria, she was watching Dane watch her. She smiled at Dane, it was not happiness nor humor. The long forgotten switch taught by father dimtiri flipped. Aria had been forced to practice on cadavers, how to kill a human. He gave them names, their real names and their stories. He made Aria feel for them before she was to kill them. He would say not all monsters are grotesque and gruesome. Some where human.

Aria didn't know at the time any of the lore of the gods, she wasn't supposed to have know in the first place. She knew now why he had made her kill the dead bodies over and over again until she could do it in her sleep.

The blade cut into Aria's hand as she held it by the blade, she walked behind Dane, holding the blade by two fingers. She could kill a god, right now. But she looked over at the frail human that had been their toy and smiled. Aria ran the cold handle along Dane's back before gently dangling the blade in front of the woman's eyes as she crawled up on the bed and to the other side of the waiting pair.

Aria felt fear for the first time emanating from the woman before her, she touched the other woman and Aria gasped at the fear and sent it back to her, the fear building to a crescendo, the woman's breath was getting ragged but she was petrified with fear. Aria drew a fine line from the collar bone to her navel with the tip of the blade. The blood bloomed effortlessly on to her skin.

The woman started to whimper and let out a terrifying scream as Aria deftly slipped the blade underneath her rib cage, to pierce the vital kidney. Aria jerked the knife from her side at the scream. Aria held both her hands to her head, the piercing voice hurt her head. In a near instant the voice cut short into a bloody gurgle as Aria slipped the blade between her ribs and punctured her lung. No more screaming.

Aria drew fine lines across the neck and inner thigh, she didn't want a bleed out, but she practiced all the things father dimitri had taught her. She watched Dane as she drew the blade deeply across the woman's stomach. A deadly kill, very slow to die if help was not administered quickly. There was no help here.

There was only one spot left, the final kill. Aria grabbed Dane's hand, she didn't care if he wanted her to touch him now or not. She was ready to hold onto his hand if he fought back. She kissed it softly before taking his fingers beneath hers and started counting the ribs of the woman who was at death's door. She didn't need to count the ribs, but she watched Dane. Aria slide the knife slowly between her fingers right above the woman's heart. Aria pushed the knife deeper with ease. Aria didn't turn the knife to finish it off, she let the woman suffer on death's door, until she was no more.

Aria cocked her head to the side and held the knife up in front of her face and smiled. She could kill a god today. But she didn't want to. Aria turned the blade handle to Dane on the palm of her hand, held it out for Dane and waited.
Dane felt his expression fall heavy. The gaiety of before that held him posed between two utterly distinct, yet strikingly similar worlds abandoned him. What was left behind was a seemingly human creature. His skeleton was covered in flesh. His chest moved with each slowly drawn breath. Outwardly, he was a human male, one quite clearly transfixed by the retreat of the woman who'd been his obsession for months. Inwardly, he was a storm barely contained. One of rage, lust, and domination. The sensation of power he'd wielded to cataclysmic ends in the past, now served to heighten every visceral sensation rippling electricity through his body until he was numbed to all of it. Like the hand of his soul burned so badly the pain turned cold.

When Aria left, her friend whimpered at the absence. Dane paid her enough attention to strap bonds over her knees and shoulders, lain across soft as the feel of cold sheets on a warm summer's night. She did not notice her own captivity and instead continued to reach for him. Hands clutched at him, words swirling with salacious pleas for attention from his fingers, his tongue, his cock, anything. Dane ignored her; Aria was searching for something, and Dane had a silent hope for what it was.

The knife he used in the alley was something not so out-of-place in a kitchen. The wickedly sharp blade was single edged and curved: a paring knife. The kind used to peel the skin from an apple or other fleshy fruit.

She came toward him, and for the first time in his life, Dane witnessed a naked woman wielding a knife with deadly intent. The resulting imprinting upon his soul was permanent. Saliva built up around the edges of his gums. His breathing quickened. And a gleeful smile smeared itself across his mouth.

Then, rather than return to her lover, she circled to Dane. He could feel her breath on the back of his neck. He could see her shadow on their wayward victim broken by the block his shoulders. A cold edge drew up his spine, and gasping, his back arched instinctively. He did not move, however. He wanted to relax backward into the embrace of her arms and sandwich the sticky weapon between their skin, each of them blessing the tool for the instrument of reunion that it was.

Instead, Dane’s lids lowered. Every facet of him was ready to lash out, but the part of his mind that needed the intimacy of the kill, needed more than he’d ever experienced before. He needed the connection with another killer, to see the light in Aria’s eyes as she extinguished another’s. He needed to witness the instrumentation of anguish if only to understand his own deliveries of the same. If such were granted to him, life from there on out would be forever changed. Only in those final moments between life and death did he come close to understanding another being. With Aria and the blonde conduit, he could understand another being in ways never before experienced. He needed that contact like he needed air, and it never occurred to him that his life was in Aria’s hands.

He was a passive voyeur of her violent act. The blonde struggled at first, confused by what was happening, but Dane’s bonds held her from escape. Aria’s lips curled sadistically and sanity frayed from both their grasps. A naked woman with a knife, carving her helpless victim, and feeding off the high of what passed between them, it alighted Dane’s soul with delight that was only enhanced by powers he did not understand; more so when Aria smothered the woman’s screams. It flowed through him like rapture, a delirium of euphoria he could not explain nor reproduce on his own. The reporter’s eyes were saucers, her mouth contorted in frenzied panic. Streams of red bubbled from the holes in her body, and near the end, Dane thought Aria was going to mutilate the woman’s genitalia, but it seemed Aria was disinterested in pleasurable flesh. It was another connection between them, as Dane had little interest, and less experience, with such anatomy.

Aria’s sin ravished him of all outward reaction. He barely realized the warmth of bodily fluid on the side of his thigh when he accepted the knife from her. The grip was slick in his palms, which he wiped on the mattress to clean his hands of blood, before holding firm.

He looked at the corpse. It was no longer oozing, but frozen forever. The lips were parted, the eyes still wet. It was a precious span of time when the body was an empty shell but not yet decomposing. These moments were beautiful, but transient.

He ran a palm along the body in ways he wanted to do with Aria, but that did not satisfy him for long. He laid himself onto it, perched on one elbow and brushing golden hair from a peaceful face. The salt of her sweat prickled his lips when he kissed her brow. The instrument went alongside. He felt himself warm and his innards writhe with desire. There were things he’d long contemplated to do with corpses, and here the opportunity presented itself perfectly. Aria could be the voyeur then, but when he looked back to her, Dane’s desires pushed him away from the body. He left the knife, thick with blood, alongside. His mind raced with momentary indecision, wanting more than one thing at the same time.

He grabbed Aria by the arm and flung her on the bed alongside her dead lover close enough their arms were pressed together. Her hair splayed dark along the dingy white of a mattress soaked with redder splotches. Her eyes widened like she gasped at Dane’s sudden movement.

He straddled her, chest heaving with exertion and strain. The cords in his arms and neck surfaced. He snatched the knife, its blade sickled like a red crescent moon, and held it over her with both hands. His lips licked themselves frantically while his body wanted to rip itself apart from the power surging within. His bones were going to sear themselves to dust, but he was frozen to act.

Sensations bubbled upward from where his hips rested upon hers. It was subtle at first, but the presence of another human slowly grew in his mind, something he’d only known once before in his life - the night they met in the graveyard. By the time he steadied the knife, ready to thrust its wicked point into her throat, the tranquility of her mind had leached into his, and his desires altered. He licked his lips and this time found them salty. He was sweating in the surprise to learn he didn’t need to kill Aria to possess her. Just by merely touching her, he was inside.

He threw the knife away, grabbed her and kissed her hard. Then he made love for the first time in his life, and to a living, breathing woman no less, unlike those that harbored his dreams. Though if Aria were to look while in the midst of his passion, she would find him groping the corpse during the act.
Aria watched as Dane pawed at the woman who was now dead. Aria smiled, her big story turned out bigger than she thought it would. She'd made the news, if anyone ever found out about it. But Aria's thought was fleeting as jealous took over, he touched the dead body like a lover and that was not what she wanted. He laid down on top of her and smeared the once clean lines that gravity and her heart had produced. The blood and the entails caressed his skin and Aria moved to make him pay attention to her, but the moment never came. Dane looked up at her, Aria saw indecision in his eyes before he flung her to the bed. She gasped at the action and could barely catch her breath as he sat on her.

The jealousy flew away to be replaced with adulation. She was his. Every fiber, everything that made Aria her was his. It flowed through her skin to his like a sieve. Every moment he touched her was blissful. Aria's gaze followed up from where their bodies met, over the blood smeared on his body to the knife he held precariously above her body. Fear drifted from her as quickly as it had formed, passing from her to him with little control. Aria closed her eyes and waited, death was near. She fought the world from crashing in on the both of them. She knew in that moment she could kill him, that too floated away on the currents between them.

Aria waited for the distinct feeling of the knife cutting into her body as she had before, but it never happened. Dane grabbed her and pressed his lips to hers so hard that Aria could taste blood. Aria returned the kiss and gasped with the pain and pleasure of a man entering her body. The carnal act of sex was lost upon Aria. The mere minutes it took before Dane collapsed on top of Aria spent was an eternity to her. Every touch of their bodies sent sparks through her body.

Dane's collapsed form pined her to the bed. Minutes, hours, Aria didn't know passed before she actually became aware of what had just happened. Aria saw blood everywhere she looked. It covered Dane's body. Her hands were sticky with congealing blood. Aria noticed for the first time the mark on Dane's neck. It was hard to see from her vantage point, pined another underneath him as she was. Aria pushed him off carefully, she didn't want to wake him. Aria wondered if that was how her neighbors ended their trysts. Once free of his touch, the world returned to her but was still muffled from her through the guise of the alcohol still running through her veins.

Aria saw for the first time what she had done. The guilt and pain of her actions floated across her mind with little affect. It washed away with the suffering of the world. The suffering she endured day in and day out. The day she feared had come. Aria sank to the floor at the end of the bed, but the guilt, and sadness rolled over her. The tears that should have fallen did not, the haze of the beer muffling even her own feelings. To have felt anything at all proved to her how much of a danger she was to the world, to anyone near her.

Aria saw the knife that had been the implement of her destruction. The day she knew would come, the day that her sanity left her. The day Father Dimitri had feared. He was right.

But there was still the mission. The entire reason she was here in the first place. To keep the Atharim safe, to keep the world from knowing what monsters existed in this word. The irony of it all was lost upon Aria as was everything else.

Aria crawled across the floor and grabed the knife. She looked back at Dane, it would be such an easy kill. He slept. She knew the calm of his presence again, it had been missing through the entire thing. Aria stood up and slowly walked to the bed, he slept with the dead. The images before their affair were seared into her brain. He had alwys wanted her dead. He had killed the dranaika. Dane was the monster who could kill something that she could not. He had defeated the foresight and he lay such an easy target. Aria looked at Dane. She could kill him, she should kill him. But this, this was not his fault, this was hers.

The knife in her hand was sticky with blood. It felt like it ate at her skin. Aria turned away from Dane. She couldn't kill him. Her heart sank at the possibility, what little control she had was due to him. He was the calm center in the world that raged outside. She wasn't ready to lose that, not yet, maybe not ever.

Aria searched for the woman's coat and purse. The wallet was somewhere. It had been the whole reason for the entire escapade, but Dane had changed the way it was supposed to go. It wasn't supposed to end like this. Aria let out a sigh of relief as she found the top of the wallet sticking out of the reporters coat. Aria tried to open the view screen but it was password locked. Frustration poured over her but not through her. The alcohol skewed everything Aria had come to know and to hate. But she was not herself with out her emotions. The bare thread of humanity she had clung to had been severed by the foul tasting substance despite the blonde's insistence it would get better. Aria glared at the tipped over bottle of beer that had emptied it's contents onto her coat. Aria slipped the wallet into her own pocket, she'd deal with it later.

Aria could remember the scene clearing, and she remembered not caring, as if this whole thing had been a set up from the beginning. That this was the way it was supposed to be, Aria would have clung to the hope that it was not fate, not the will of God, but nothing stayed inside, nothing. Without the connection to another being she was cut off from herself. She could only hope it returned once the haze of the alcohol returned.

Aria took two wash clothes from the bathroom rack, they were clean, she hoped, they didn't look nearly as bad as the rest of the apartment. Aria would have taken a shower, but it was too disgusting to want to step into. How could anyone live like this?

Aria cleaned all visible parts of her body. The rest would be hidden, and Aria didn't want to spend another moment in this god forsake place. It had truly been god forsaken. She should never have come, but the allure of the human touch was too much for Aria. She watched the rise and fall of Dane's chest as she rinsed the blood from the cut on her hand. It stung, the pain floated away. Aria cleaned the knife with care. She didn't know why it mattered, but it did to her. Aria left the hot water running.

There was nothing. Aria grasped for Dane's calm, to feel at least something. He was dangerous, deadly but she couldn't help but be drawn to him like some alien magnet drawing her body, her feelings toward him. It took all her effort not to go to him, to touch him. She was angry, but not at him. He hadn't made the choice. It all came down to that one word... choice.

Aria pulled on her clothes, and shifted to find Dane's and set them upon a fairly clean chair. Aria belted on the sword and put the gun back at the small of her back. Memories flooded her mind as her hand grazed her shirt. Aria knew that the report was going to die that night, and it would probably have been gentler than what she had actually done. But neither way would have been pleasant for her.

Aria pulled a single candle from her pocket. She hadn't needed it ages, but the flame would serve her for another purpose this night. The emptiness of her protection would do nothing against the haze of alcohol. And there was no battle to be one with sword or gun this night. The battle would rage on in the morning, and there would be no clear victor. Aria knew the morning was going to be painful. She begged it to be so.

Aria put the candle on the table and her zippo lighter next to it. She was thankful that there was a gas oven in the apartment, accidents were so easy to cause. Aria put an empty disgusting pot on the burner, just in case. Aria walked back into the bathroom and wet the last clothe until it was warm and soaking wet. The water ran cold and Aria turned it off. She rang the dingy white clothe until it was damp.

Dane shifted in his sleep and Aria really didn't want to wake the monster that he was. But she'd had enough death for the night. It would be just as easy to leave him to the flames she was about to set. But she touched Dane's shoulder and shook softly. "Dane we have to go."
Dane was woken into a world of bliss.

A smile spanned his face before he ever opened his eyes, but when he did, what a glorious sight did they behold.

Aria stood over him, but Dane was little bothered by her interest. He slid his palm up her forearm until his grip snaked around her elbow. He wanted to pull her down onto his chest, and simply feel what emotions sparked across the darkness of her mind.

Her resistance darkened the beatitude of his horizon. He frowned and released her as his head rolled to look at what was beside him.

The face was greener than before, sickly and pale. The eyes were empty, ever-staring upward. Aria's glee would have been the last thing the woman that once occupied that body would have seen. It was a scene Dane wished he could bathe himself in forever.

He did not want to leave.

But the stench of freshly spread alcohol burned his eyes. Gas etched at the insides of his nostrils.

He sat up and saw his own pale abdomen smeared with blood. Not his, and not Aria's. His gaze was inevitably drawn to his bedmate. Only hours later and already the growing loss of intimacy downturned his expression sadly. With Aria's help he could have this again and again. Every night, another tendril sewn into his connection with humanity. They needed to leave, and he needed to cleanse himself of evidence that might place him at the scene of this crime, although technically, he did nothing illegal. This time.

"Very well."

His clothes were a pile by the door, and he donned them without bothering to wash his chest and legs. The scents of copulation and sweat lingered like a foul perfume, but he wore them proudly.

Covered with the clothes of Dane Raphael Gregory, and smothering his hair with his palms, the monster was once more a gentleman. His study of this room of glory passed over the unlit stove and abandoned zippo and fell upon the corpse of temporarily-satiated desires.

He licked his lips, sad to leave this place.

"I am ready."
He said, forlorn as a mountain spring.
Edited by Dane Gregory, May 14 2014, 01:53 PM.
Dane woke with a smile, it made her smile despite the lack of feeling anything else she was glad he was there. He tried to pull her back into bed, she wanted to. His hand on her arm sent sparks through her body. It took everything she had to stay standing, the gas was on, there was blood everywhere and she had nothing else to wear out of this building. The guilt from earlier melted away at his touch and Aria was saddened when he let go.

Sadness drifted across Dane's emotions, she clung to the new feeling, his feeling, feeling anything was better than the emptiness that the alcohol produced. Aria wasn't sure what he was sad about as he got out of the blood soaked bed, the reporter stared glassy-eyed up at the ceiling. There was little left to be done now.

Aria walked around the room making sure she had everything she had brought into this room. The black leather trench coat was the last thing Aria put on, she'd have left it off if not for the weapons at her waist. There was one more thing she didn't want to forget, she grabbed the knife that lay on the bathroom sink and carefully, gently stuck it in her coat pocket.

Aria stood in the bathroom door way and watched Dane don the rest of his clothes. She wanted to go to him, make him stop. She saw their bodies entwined in her mind and felt his lingering touch. The world slowed when he touched her, the mere thought of it nearly took Aria's breath away. But the world went on, and this was no place for a repeat performance. Aria pushed away the images from her mind, her body ached but there were things to.

Dane was ready to go. He'd finished becoming the man she'd met in the graveyard while her mind wandered. One final thing to do. A bag of emotions floated around Aria's head as she walked towards the door. Nothing stuck except for what she felt for Dane. The entire thing was foreign to Aria. The world was just outside her mind, muffled by the alcohol but she couldn't feel exactly what she was feeling for more than a moment at a time. She could barely understand any of that, and now was not the time for her mind to wander.

The zippo lay next to candle on the table near the door. Hopefully the room didn't fill too quickly with the gas from the stove. Aria smiled wanly up at Dane, reached up slowly and caressed his cheek. Aria bit the bottom of her lip and wished she had not put her gloves back on before turning to open the door and pick the zippo from the table. First murder, now arson, what a toll she was taking today on her humanity, but this was necessary and she really didn't care anyway, her emotions were nothing to her. Not right now at least, she prayed they'd return, but it was probably her punishment. With a deep breath Aria lit the candle and shut the door behind them.

One step, two... The farther Aria got from the room the darker and heavier the world seemed. She opened her self to the emotions surrounding her. Fighting the fog was one of the hardest things she had ever had to do. Sleep, contentment was the predominate feeling everyone near gave off. Aria wished for it to be clear to her again. There would collateral damage on this one, Aria felt a couple who were the closest people to them as they descended the stairs. Another crime that Aria pushed away.

That was not the only problem. Aria wanted to stop, but stopping meant dying. Aria did not want to die. She whispered, mostly to herself "Someone followed me."
Aria would have had a moment of panic if it weren't for the lack of feeling that possessed her body. The running man, who had stopped at the alley way was one of Takeo's men, he had to be by the way he had not actually left the scene. But they couldn't stop. And he couldn't know, couldn't see what was about to happen.

Aria pulled open the outer door, but she could see nothing in the dim lights. but he was there somewhere. Aria tried not too look around, she damned the beer, the horrid stuff, never again she vowed in her head. As they walked father from the apartment of the reporter, the more sure she was that the man had heard and/or seen too much.

Aria curled her fingers between Dane's and leaned in to him. How she wished neither were wearing gloves, she longed for the touch of his fingers. Aria fought to push her longing away. She looked up at him with that same longing in her eyes. There was no mistaking how she felt, but the words did not match. "We have someone watching."

Aria made sure to keep walking until they were around the corner before Aria stopped and pulled Dane close to her and wrapped her arms around his neck and stood on her tip toes. It was mostly for show, but it had its benefits other than that. Aria kissed Dane softly just as the apartment exploded around the corner.
Edited by Aria, May 15 2014, 06:37 AM.
"Someone followed me,"
Aria intoned before wrenching open the door. The interest that briefly spiked black through Dane's heart was not concern, but jealousy. Who would dare to follow what was his?

On the sidewalk, his gaze snapped this way and that, seeking the intruder to his charming world, but there was no one. Only his immediate company, and the small thing Aria did broke the spell of his ire.

He was surprised when she took his hand and led him away.

Dane looked down upon the top of her head - she was so much smaller than him - and attempted to decipher what it was that enticed her to clasp hands. He didn't let go, however little he was able to discern, but rather twined his fingers closer through the palm of her hand. So much smaller. He could crush those child-like, spindly bones with his fist. He soon forgot the news of their stalker.

His fringe of his scarf swirled in the breeze. The morning air was a refreshing splash against his face. He hadn't realized how suffocatingly hot the apartment had grown. The humidity of the small space filled with the droplets of three sweating bodies. The odors clogged the tubes of his lungs, which he cleared with every deep breath of the icy Moscow atmosphere.

"We have someone watching,"
was the preamble to a kiss that once again took him by surprise. He didn't ward her away, however, but was neither overly receptive of the romanticism of their embrace.

Until her lips pressed upon his. Sensations snapped through his mind. Her urgency and regret was mixed with desire and longing. It was like reading Chinese symbols, to Dane, they were nothing but chicken scratch, but with Aria's immediate touch, the plump ridges of her mouth, the wetness of her tongue, the alien shapes began to make sense.

He wrapped her close, unwilling to allow her to separate her face from his. It was the only connection he had, and it thrilled him with the reminder that the connections he sensed in her bed would not be the last time he knew such intimacy. He kissed her like he was going to devour her body and soul. This was his. This creature in a woman's body. Was. His.

The explosion wrenched his face away. His gasp was startled despite what logic anticipated the moment she lit the candle. The mushroom of fire reflected tiny shapes in the pupils of Dane's unblinking eyes. His grip on Aria's shoulder tightened instinctively. "I should have done that."
What he uttered to himself, not even Dane knew the meaning. Would he have done it because Aria asked? Or because he would have done a more thorough job? Or because he forgot how much he enjoyed such spectacles and was thusly annoyed with the Aria-induced amnesia?

He rubbed his throat, bothered by the turn of events. The intensity of his silent monologues turned upon Aria. "Who is following us?"
He leaned close to her ear, "And where are they?"
He would satiate one need this morning.

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