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Mood: Been Better

Hathor felt like she was practically dragging herself over the threshold instead of shuffling in on her own two feet, hardly even remembering to close the door behind her once she had made it inside. It had been a miserable drive home, every microscopic movement and jostle causing searing pain to shoot through her as tears had continued to fall against her will, blurring her vision while she drove. ’Why did he have to feel so miserable and guilty? Should have just left him with it. Stupid Ares!’, she thought while carefully shrugging out of her jacket, harshly biting her lip as she did so before tossing it onto the coat rack and not caring if it made it on there or not. She made her way to the kitchen, determined to eat her weight in ice cream because she was damn sure that would make her feel better even if only a smidge but upon opening the freezer she found no such sweet treat, only a container with just a bite or two left of the confection she craved.

She stared at the bottom of the container far longer than she should have, feeling complete crushing disappointment. Angrily, Hathor tossed it into the trash and raked her fingers roughly through her hair in frustration. She glanced at the wine cabinet, her foot tapping as she debated on if she really wanted to take that direction. She had been trying to get better about that after all and put the heavy partying behind her.
”Fuck it!”, she decided, snagging a bottle of her favorite homemade pomegranate wine, quickly working to discard the cork before making her way to the bathroom. If she couldn’t find her way to the bottom of a carton of ice cream then she was going to drown her sorrows in a bottle of wine. She took a swig, setting it on the sink counter before turning on the faucet to fill up the tub so she could take a well deserved bath. She pulled out some bubble bath gel, pouring a good amount into the water, only taking a moment to watch it foam before placing it back under the sink.

Hathor plopped down on the toilet lid, yanking off her boots even though the action of bending over to do so had been a horrible idea. It caused her to bite down on her fist to keep from crying out. She stood, panting softly and looking at herself in front of the bathroom mirror with a frown. Her lip was split open, looking more than a little worse for the wear since she had been biting at it. Her cheeks were swollen, already starting to bruise and her gums below them weren’t doing much better. She took a deep breath, slowly peeling the shirt away from her skin to have a look at where she knew the most damage was. She was already cursing and whimpering in pain by the time it was removed, deep bruises and some small cuts littered over her stomach reaching all the way around her sides. If she didn’t have a fractured rib or worse than she would be surprised. Hathor didn’t even bother to try and see her back, knowing it would probably be much worse than the darkened mass of skin on her front side. She thanked the stars that she didn’t have anywhere to be for the next few days, as she worked on removing the other items of clothing.

Phone and bottle in hand, she slid into water with a content sigh and shutting the faucet off with her foot. Setting the bottle aside for now, she looked to the text message on her phone and debated on what she should say. She didn’t want to give too much information since the last thing she needed was someone fretting over her or worse, getting upset with her over the actions she took. Hathor wasn’t about to ignore her pantheon though and not at least acknowledge that she wouldn’t be present.

To: Whomever & Egyptians
Sorry, I won’t be able to make it as planned. Something came up that couldn’t be avoided. I love you all and have a good time for me! 😘

With a small nod, deeming it suitable to send, it was off into the digital void and set the phone aside to pick up the wine once more. Instead of just drinking to drink as she had done earlier, she actually let herself savor the tangy sweetness of the pomegranate, relaxing fully into the water with a delighted hum as the heat soothed her physical pains while wine took care of the rest. It had been a long time since she had felt this miserable after a fight, she would give Ares that. She couldn’t exactly pinpoint the last time but it probably would have been somewhere in her mafia days, when she was helping Hades not only by being a doctor of sorts and giving them a safe place to stay with her bar but actually making certain problems disappear. Hathor knew Hades wasn’t blind to what she had done, with or without his permission. He played his mafia life like chess, moving everyone in the prime position and making them think it had been their plan all along. Hathor removed pieces from her chess set when she didn’t like them. It made a smile tug at her lips as she took another few chugs, closing her eyes and letting her thoughts drift even further than that.

The smell of cigar and cigarette smoke hung in the air, curling and billowing from various patrons. Smooth sensual notes from the saxophone rang clear over the other instruments creating an almost romantic sound as it echoed. The slow jazz poured out from the small stage while people swayed to the beat and held each other close in the dim lighting of the dance floor. Ruby painted lips curled into a gentle smile as obsidian eyes tenderly watched them, letting herself be entranced by their movements as she lazily wiped down the dark cherrywood bar. This place was her pride and joy, every piece of it held her own sweat, blood, and tears as she had been right there during the making of it. She helped to build every inch of this secret cove, a haven for those that were not ready to give up this kind of lifestyle.

The Mystic Waters was everything she had dreamed it would be, from the various rugged carpeting in shades of dark blue that made up everything but the dance floor, all the way to the soft lighting and crystal chandelier with drops of blue like glittering sapphires. The place was packed with clothed tables and cushioned wooden chairs to accommodate the crowds. Booths could be found around the outer edges of the dining area that could be curtained for a bit more privacy and often hosted many a VIP guest. It was easily one of the finest speakeasy around and she planned to keep it that way for a long time. Hathor had made it her mission to create this place, going as far as carving out a large portion of territory and claiming it as a neutral zone between multiple clashing mafia. If the gangs and mafia wanted to kill each other or duke it out in the streets, that was fine by her as it was their business but no blood was to be spilled on her turf and especially not here. It had been an unspoken rule but one she had backed up with her own hired help and a heap load of guns.

It would be an obvious lie to say there wasn’t tension when rivals decided to grace her pristine establishment with their presence but she always made sure to accommodate all parties fairly and kept them away from each other as much as possible. Sure, a few had to be thrown out a couple of times to get the picture but all an all she had been fairly lucky. She couldn’t help but be thankful that some mafia groups still knew how to be respectful instead of trying to challenge her. The thought of the mafia drew her attention to one such group that was currently seated, though her eyes instantly landed on a single man within the circle. Well, not really a man since a God could hardly be called such but her eyes took in his appearance, truly looking him over for the first time. He held himself in almost a regal manner but somehow still seemed approachable if one was cautious about how the interaction went. His eyes were dark, she could only assume they were brown from this distance but his stare seemed intense as he focused in on those speaking. Everything about his outward appearance was clean cut and precisely in place which seemed very different from the ruggedly handsome features of his face even as it continued to hold a seriously stern expression. While the seemingly cold or indifferent aura might be off putting to others, Hathor found herself intrigued by it, wondering what his personality was really like and if it at all matched his outward appearance. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she felt like there was much more than meets the eye when it came to the Greek God. The group was a frequent occurrence but the two immortal beings had hardly interacted at all. Hathor found no reason to really venture outside her pantheon, not going out of her way to make friends or get to know anyone else but for just this once the nagging curiosity was there or maybe it had been steadily growing with each visit.

The distinct sound of someone plopping down on one of the leather bar stools drew her gaze from the one in a crowd of many to focus her attention solely on her visitor, a dazzling smile lighting up on her face at his presence.
”Hey Suit, long time no see. How have you been?, she asked, pulling out two glasses from behind the bar. The man giving a crooked grin, chuckling and tossing his fedora onto the bar before speaking up,”Ya know not to call me dat, beautiful. I much prefer my name on your lips.”

She found herself laughing, shaking her head at his antics before pouring them both a good shot of whiskey.”Sorry Mickey, can’t help myself. How have the Red Spades been treating you? Good I hope or should I crack open a few skulls for you?”, she asked playfully but actually was very serious about the matter. This shaggy sandy-blonde haired man with freckles dappled over the bridge of his nose who sat before her was one of the few mortals that didn’t make her want to pull her hair out. He had always been a pleasant fellow, sweet with words and kind in his actions. He had never given her a reason not to support him in his efforts though she couldn’t say she particularly cared for his boss, the Ace of Spades, leader of the Red Spades. The prick was always trying to cause trouble and more than once, she had been tempted to break his hand or maybe rip it off to beat him with it if he didn’t learn to keep it to himself. He also had the most over inflated ego and was the very definition of a slimeball which grated on her nerves but he had never crossed the line enough to flat out ban him. It was such a pity really but no one could say she wasn’t fair.

Unfortunately, it seemed like she might have hit a nerve with her questions to Mickey, the man turning his stormy blue eyes in every direction but her own and suddenly was unable to sit still. He grabbed the glass, tossing it back quickly, only focusing his attention on her for a brief moment before his eyes started to glance around the room for a second time, putting her nerves on edge.
”If it’s all the same to ya, I’d rather not talk ‘bout the Spades right now.”, he spoke, his words calm but his body language screaming he was anything but that. He locked his gaze onto her, looking straight into her eyes this time as he spoke once more,”Miss Sahraoui, why don’tcha skip out early? Let’s ditch this place, just you and me, have ourselves a night out on the town? Whatcha say? Ya in?”, he asked as if desperately pleading with her to take the bait. She didn’t know why he was asking but she knew something was up and she planned to get to the bottom of it.

”What’s really going on? The truth. I know we tease each other but we both know for a fact I’m not your type and we have never painted town red even as friends.”, she asked in concern, worry clawing at her gut and fearing something was seriously wrong. He bit his lip, groaning as he wiped his hands down his face before leaning slightly over the bar and gesturing for her to come in closer. Hathor leaned in just like he asked and waited to see what he would do or what he would answer with.”I don’t know the whole deal since I ain’t in the royal circle seems dat there was a tip ‘bout some kinda hot shot bein’ here tonight. I don’t know what the boss is gonna do ‘bout dis or the information. I just wanna make sure you are alright and to get ya outta here. I woulda never forgiven myself if somethin’ happened to ya if I coulda stopped it.”, he whispered honestly. She felt like she had swallowed a stone that sank into the pit of her stomach while her heart jumped into her throat. Her hands shook slightly as she grabbed the glass of whiskey and took a shot.

”Are you sure it’s going down tonight?”, she asked, frantically trying to think on who she needed to advise about this and how quickly she could get everyone out. If the Ace of Spades was out for blood then he would have no problems getting through others to do it, mafia members or not. Her men were stationed around her turf and even more heavily around the place but something seemed off if her friend was this desperate. Mickey was about to give an answer when a loud slam was heard near the front entrance, a string of bullets flying through the air, and a scream of terror rang out. The place turned into chaos, the innocent bystanders thinking it was the cops and starting to scatter while her own people tried to herd them out the back exit. Those in various gangs around the place decided to take up arms, the no use of guns rule suddenly not applying now that the neutral zone had been violated. Shots were being fired left and right, screams getting louder and growing in numbers, tables slammed to the ground as they were forcibly overturned while the glasses and decorative centerpieces upon them were shattered, and orders were being barked out from multiple areas.

”Mickey, get out of here, now.”,she ordered, as one of her men popped out from around the corner. She steeled herself, signaling over to him in which he nodded and pulled her own gun out from behind the bar.”I can’t just leave ya!”, he insisted, puffing out his chest and ready to fight.”Please go, as a favor to me. I’m a big tough girl and can handle myself. My men and everyone else will be after the Spades now that they have violated the rules. You are not safe.”,she pleaded softly, placing a hand on his shoulder. He caved after that with a nod, placing the fedora back on his head with a flare and sliding his fingers over the rim.”Fine, I’ll go but ya gotta promise ta be here when I come back.”, he said, not moving an inch until she nodded with an ‘I promise’ and just like that, he was making a mad dash for the exit.

Hathor stepped out from behind the bar, taking her weapon from her flunkies hand as fury swam through her veins. She confidently stepped out into the crossfire happening in the dining area as if one would while taking a stroll down the catwalk. She pulled back the hammer on the revolver, rapidly shooting any of the Red Spades that dared to cross her path, the intense rage clear on her features. She wasn’t one for guns, the vile contraptions were messy and could end lives far too quickly for her tastes but that did not mean she didn’t know how to handle one. She discarded her revolver once the bullets were out and rolled to scoop up a weapon off of one of the fallen men, making sure to take cover behind one of the turned over tables. She worked to check the new weapon over when she realized that she wasn’t alone, a pair of ebony oxford shoes right beside her. Eyes drifted up his frame slowly to catch a glimpse at the one standing off to the side above her, only to be pleasantly surprised as he in turn looked down to her as she sat in an awkwardly crouched position, probably appearing rather ridiculous.

Both their eyes met, yet they did not speak to one another, just a moment of silence passing between them where immortal acknowledged immortal. If the situation were different, she might have indulged in holding his gaze and let time slip by but they both had more important tasks at hand. Her eyes fluttered back onto her targets as she leaned around the edge of her cover, carefully changing locations to weave her way through the tables and make her way to the better position to have a look see at the ones who had caused such destruction to her place. It seemed there were quite a few of the Ace’s men, suit and royal alike but the coward himself had decided not to show from what she could tell which just made her blood boil more. He thought he was going to get away with this!? That his lacking presence absolved him of the blatant disregard of the rules she had set because he wanted to take out another mafia ring. Did he think that she didn’t know he had orchestrated this? Afterlife help him if it had been a stand or message against the God of the Underworld. He already had himself lined up for a dose of punishment from one immortal, two just meant he was fucked beyond his imagination and not in the good way.

She stood, firing off a couple of shots before ducking behind the table again, watching a few new holes be made. It wasn’t like she could die from something so pathetic but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like a son of a bitch when it happened. If she could avoid bullets directly, then she would. Thankfully, not all of them were what she would call sharpshooters. Hathor popped out again, squeezing off a few more rounds and hitting a few more targets before the distinct click of an empty chamber greeted her ears. She tossed it to the side, moving back into hiding again when the return fire was shot off. While she hadn’t been hit, the older gentleman one table over had been and he slunk to the ground in agony. She bit her lip, moving over to his position quickly, wincing as a bullet grazed her arm on the journey over. He looked in bad shape, his shoulder bleeding profusely and in a horrid amount of pain.

She yanked him up into a seated position before working on ripping the bottom of her dress. She folded it quickly, pressing it down onto the wound as he yelped with a fresh string of curses in her direction.
”I’m going to let that slide but just this once. Now, take your hand and keep pressure on that, even if you don’t feel like you are in pain. Keep pressure on it. Understand? Nod if you understand me.”,Hathor ordered, as she switched her own hand for his so he could apply pressure. She wished she had time to patch him up now, but it would have to wait and he would not be the only one in need of assistance by the time this was over. She felt the tingle of power rush through her as she placed a gentle squeeze on his free hand, a pain instantly ripping into her shoulder as if she had been the one shot and bleeding. She gasped, looking to her shoulder as she forced her mind to remember that it wasn’t real. The pain very much was but there was no wound, nothing to stress over as she forced herself to move. She grabbed her comrades' gun, signaling to one of her men to round up the group as she made her way to Hades. They needed a plan and she was happy to follow if he had ideas.

Hades and Hathor’s men closed in from both sides, slowly and strategically in their movements to carefully pin their opponents in as well as limiting their places to hide. The Spades didn’t have a chance, any hope of escape was thought of far too late, the group finding their ends swiftly while realizing the mistakes they had made, only a second before their demise. The speakeasy looked like a disaster zone, as though a tornado had torn right through it. She had to admit that it was a devastating blow for her, seeing the place in such shambles. She was usually the first to enjoy destruction but not when it was something precious to her. Instead it was sad and made her feel pathetic that she had not been able to properly protect her own.
”Jimmy?”, she asked in a serious tone, pointedly looking to one of her own. She could see him gulp, none of them ever wishing to be in her presence when she was in a foul mood.

“Yes, Ma’am?”, he asked cautiously, trying to remain polite and ready to assist.”Get me the med kits. I’m going to need them and I want you in my office tomorrow. I have an assignment for you.”,she answered before walking away, not bothering to acknowledge the answer as she knew he would not deny her request. She carefully picked up chairs that were still suitable for use and went to work on helping the remaining people get the worst injured into the chairs to be taken care of. It wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience helping these men but it was something that felt right to do since she had failed them. Hathor took a deep breath, pushing down her pride as she made her way over to speak with Hades and try to apologize for the situation.”Ha..”,she started to speak before pausing, realizing she didn’t actually remember what his mortal alias was and with all the others around it might not be wise to call him by his given name. She quickly corrected herself, changing the first word of what she was planning to say,”Hey, can I speak with you for a moment?”

Hades who had been talking with one of his Judges turned around when he heard someone attempting to get his attention. As he looked at the person that had approached him he wasn't surprised much to see that he was the owner of the bar itself, the Egyptian goddess herself. What did surprise him however was her need to talk to her, though he supposed it was something to do with the shooting. “But of course Ma’am.” Hades finished as he dusted his hat off a bit from bits of woods and shrapnel. As he moved to follow her so that they could speak in private he waved off his judges “You know what to do.”

She led him to the stage, taking a seat on the edge of the wooden structure while trying to find the exact words to say. ”I wanted to thank you for defending my bar against the Red Spades. The damage would have been exponentially worse without you and your mens intervention. I also wanted to apologize for the situation. It should have never been able to happen in the first place.”,she spoke, only pausing for a moment to touch her aching shoulder before folding her hands in her lap.”I would like to repay you. Not just by patching up your men and using my powers to numb their pain, but to offer a continuing partnership. I think we made a good team and I would like this place to be a safe haven for those under your protection. The rules I hold would no longer apply as I would see them as my own and protect them as such.”

“No need to apologize, after all it's most likely my fault this happened. Guess the bastard couldn't help but take the chance to try and kill me.” Hades took a second however as he processed the idea the Egyptian goddess had in mind. Hades was accustomed to people coming to him or rather his subordinates for partnerships amongst the crime world. But those were mortals who had no idea what or who he really was. “I'd be honored at the partnership but I must warn you, working with me does not look well from my Family.” He let the word family fall off his tongue with sarcasm. “And I can not guarantee it will be any different from the others as well.” as Hades finished he took a glance around the once pristine bar that had now been torn asunder in the storm of lead that just happened. He had to admit, it was sad to see something so beautiful in such a poor state. As he finished his sweep of the bar Hades let his eyes settle back on the goddess before him gauging her reaction to his statement.

Hathor smiled softly, glad to hear that he was open to a partnership but raised an eyebrow at him at the warning he provided. She could care less about what the Greek pantheon thought of her and others could think what they wanted. She chuckled lightly before giving a shrug as she replied,
”If they have an issue with who I spend my time with then it sounds like a personal problem for them. I believe that everyone should be judged by their own actions and not by the heresy of others. You have never done anything worthy of my scorn and you have never harmed any in my pantheon. I would be honored to have a partnership with you and hold no shame in being seen in your presence. I dare them to say something about it.”

Hades was happy to see that the egyptian goddess cared little for the stigma that often came with being near him. “Well I am glad to hear that Hathor.” he said let a smile grace his face as he stuck out his hand to seal the deal. As their hands met Hades eyes glowed a dim red before fading with the end of the hand shake.“And just like that, the deal is made.” Hades said with a wicked smirk on his face. “Now if you'll excuse me I believe I have a score to settle.”

If she looked back on that moment, taking the time to analyze it, that might have been when she started to walk towards the edge of falling for Hades. That genuine smile while holding out his hand to her so they could make the deal about their partnership official. In that moment, she felt no hesitation when she slipped her hand into his own and even as his eyes turned red, she hadn’t once felt regret for sealing such a deal but instead could only think about how wonderful it was to hear his voice saying her name, how magnificent he had appeared with a smile on his lips and how beautiful his gaze had been. Sadly, the deep dive into her thoughts and actions from the past were placed on hold as her mind was fuzzy and slowed. The bottom of the bottle was found long ago and the water was no longer as warm as it had been when she first entered. Time was irrelevant and every moment seemed fleeting in her eyes as she shakily tried to stand, slipping a few times back into the water with a laugh.

The pain she felt was like a distant memory, barely registering in her mind even though it was still there. It took a few tries to properly stand even as she did, she was still swaying on her feet as the world tilted around her. The bottle dropped from her fingers and sank into the water to be forgotten as she practically tripped out of the tub, catching herself in just the nick of time from falling but still having to sit on the tubs edge to not completely land on her face. Hathor frowned with a pout at the uncomfortable feeling of something beneath her and leaned to the side to retrieve the item, only to find her phone. A look of delight lit up on her face while staring at the piece of technology before cooing in a slurred voice that was trying to switch between languages,
”Dewe 'ou are! Why are 'ou hidin' fwom mwe?

Hathor stood, her full attention on her phone as she stumbled out of the bathroom, making her way to the bedroom with a lot of tripping and door bumping which only caused a flutter of laughter to be heard. She tossed herself back on the bed once she arrived, looking to her phone as her mind kept slipping back to the past looping to Hades. She wanted to see him. She didn’t want to be here alone. It was lonely. He should cheer her up. ’Oh, I hab dah bestes' idea!, she thought to herself as she went to her contacts to pull up his name. She clicked on it, moving to snuggle into her blankets as she listened to the constant ring. The sound stopped, her heart speeding up as she opened her mouth to speak but frowned as she soon realized she had gotten his voicemail and not the real deal. She listened anyway, enjoying herself as she waited for her turn to speak but instead of starting her greeting as she should, her mouth just word vomited the first thought on her brain.

”من النجوم ، صوتك لا يصدق….., she slurred out with almost a purr to her voice. It took Hathor’s brain a moment to catch up, trying to remember why her native language was not going to work if trying to speak with the Greek god. She tried again, though her thoughts and words weren’t much better than talking in another language since they were jumping away from the beginning of a conversation to the middle of one. .”Fo' wunnin'......why can’ am 'ou! Hadesss, why 'ou nu answew!!? …….Fwuffy miss 'ou.....I’m sowwy.....not cowawd, I’ww show 'ou......awso pwease don’t be mad....Awes desewbed it.....way what wass I sayin’? Oh, fowgot to say hewwo…..hewwo! Dis am haff by da waz!.....Tiwed, am tiwed. Isa gotta go an' hab some sweepies. Nighty dawk time, ظلي.”, she dropped the phone from her ear as she stopped speaking, cuddling into bed with it still on. It was hard to say how much of the message or the garbled mess of words had been saved but she found herself drifting to sleep fairly quickly and feeling rather content.

Collab Section with: @sly13
Mentions: Ares & Hades

I was the last one to post so can’t really go again :(

Mason’s Bar
Destruction & War

Mason’s Bar was everything the Blind Tiger wasn’t. It was a hole on the outskirts of Seattle. Surrounded by parking space for lorries. The highway was near enough that you could just still hear the roar of heavy trucks passing over them. It was an urban wasteland. Concrete and asphalt and old industrial buildings as far as the eye could see. Its pink neon sign outside has been flickering for as long as Ares could remember now, which was only five years. Yet he was certain it had flickered for a lot longer. Inside the place had no charm. No personality. The floor was cold concrete and the old, plastic chairs had none of the venerable age the wooden chairs at the Tiger had.

Inside music played but nobody danced. Everyone but the two guys who played pool in a dark corner sat down. Drinking beer, looking at the TV or their phone or nothing. Despite being lit well enough, the bar felt dark. It was a place where you wasted away some time until you had to leave again. It was only slightly better than standing outside alone. At least this place served beer. Lukewarm beer if you were unfortunate though.

Ares, in his custom fitted suit, stuck out like a sore thumb. He didn’t matter. The bar was practically his. Nobody inside interfered as he sat down. The barman came from behind his plastic, classless, pink-neon lit bar to put a bottle of beer in front of Ares before going back. And then Ares waited.

Hathor had planned to join her pantheon at Little Marjoram that evening to relieve the stress that had built from the nightmares, the Conclave, the unknown information on Hephaestus’s death, the nervousness on showing her true feelings, and now the situation with Tlaz but that is not where she found herself. Instead of standing before the wonderfully decorated building of Imentet’s shop, she was under flickering pink neon, curling and uncurling her fists as she tried to repeatedly remind herself that Tlaz wouldn’t want him broken beyond all repair, seeing as how her best friend was falling for the man despite the predicament. Hades also might not appreciate one of his men torn to shreds and having to watch to see if the God of War could stitch himself back together. There were also mortals to consider as jail was not the preferable option.

She took a deep breath, tucking the straightened tresses of her hair behind her ear before tugging the leather jacket she wore closer to her frame and finally taking a step forward through the entrance. Boots clunked against the concrete floors, her foot falling much less gracefully than usual as she stomp forward, obsidian eyes glaring darkly as they locked onto the man sitting at the bar. The one that had called her to this very location for reasons she couldn’t possibly fathom but it got her closer to her goal so who was she to complain. The destructive and all consuming rage she felt when she first learned the news of Ares kissing one of her most precious people, only to have her tossed aside as a mortal already held his heart, returned with vigor at that moment. Hathor had planned to sit down, get answers and maybe punch his face in one or two times but that plan moved out the window instantaneously the second she caught sight of him. She just prayed she had enough control to stop herself once she started, keeping in mind that those two didn’t want to see Ares harmed to the degree she could unleash.

She didn’t even give him a moment to react to her presence or speak, her fingers roughly lacing into his dark locks, a tingle of power rushing through her hand before swiftly shoving or more slamming his head into the countertop of the bar with a sickening crack. Hathor took the probable confusion and amplified pain she had inflicted to her advantage to kick out the chair legs from under him. She glared down, death possibly more inviting than her stare as she spoke with venom in her voice,”You’ve got a lot of gall, calling me out for drinks after the fucking bullshit you’ve pulled.” She took a few steps back to pace, ready for him to fight back but trying to keep herself together, not to black out in rage.

Her body was already shaking, fear running through her from the wrath swimming in her veins wanting to be unleashed but there was also that familiar pleasure she got from punishing those that deserve their fate. He had bought and paid for it the moment she had to hear Tlaz hurt over being a second choice or even possibly being a second choice. He was not being fair to Tlaz or his mortal. In her mind, he was being a coward and that was not a word that stuck well with this God. She wanted to know why. She wanted to know information….and there was a perfect way to get someone to talk as well as get some sense into them. The shaking stopped, her resolve hardened and she stopped restricting herself or giving into fear. She paused in her pacing, her eyes locking onto him as they sparkled with blood lust, a sadistic grin etching it’s way onto her features as she gazed into his eyes. ”I am going to teach you a lesson, one you will never forget. I won’t stop until it engrains on your soul and you understand every single word I speak.”

Quite slowly Ares got up, with his open hands up and arms outstretched. Showing Hathor he wasn’t fighting. “Let’s all just…stay calm.” He said, but inside his heart was raging. Blood trickled from his nose. The hit on the countertop did more than just daze him. The pain seemed to wake him up. Made him realize he had been sleepwalking for the better part of five years. Only when he fought was he truly, fully awake. But he couldn’t. As quickly as he felt it, he made it disappear again. He couldn’t unleash it. Not here. Not now. His eyes carefully trailed towards the mortals all around. Half of them were ready to attempt to drag the ‘crazy bitch’ away. Ares had noticed the shaking though, and it stopping as well. Anyone who touched her would die.

“Steady guys.” He said to the mortals. “I think you should leave now.” The mortals looked at each other for a second, then nodded and walked out. Leaving only Hathor and Ares. “Let’s just… all stay calm.” Let me stay calm. “We can talk about this over a beer.” Of course, it could only be about one thing. Tlaz. The vexing question that tore him to shreds now. His breathing remained ragged, but he was making a real effort to slow it down, and calm his heart. No matter what, he couldn’t allow himself to wake up. So he almost desperately begged Hathor just needed to vent something before sitting down.

The mortals had long been forgotten during her fit of rage, her attention solely on Ares. She watched every small movement he made, like a lioness stalking its prey and ready to pounce. The others were meaningless for the moment in her eyes but at least they were now out of the way, just the two of them remaining. Ares could take what she dished out but mortals were a lot more vulnerable and accidents could happen. Hathor wanted him to attack, wanted him to be riled up so that this would at least be a worthy challenge but so far she was greeted with disappointment. He was speaking, the voice feeling distant and far away but his body language said he didn’t want to start anything with her. It just irked her more, to see him acting so pathetically weak. What happened to the God of War? What happened to fist first and talking later? What happened to the Ares at the Conclave who pulled guns?

Hathor stalked forward, her powers rushing through her as her frustration grew. ”Ooohhh, now you want to talk? Huh!?? It’s a little late for that don’t you think or have you just been so far gone that nothing matters!?!, she growled, grabbing one of the chairs and tossing it into a nearby wall in his direction. ”You left her! You left her even after saying what you said and doing what you did!?!”, she hissed, grabbing the front of his shirt to yank him into a punch to the face. ”She made herself vulnerable and you used it before abandoning her with no explanation!”, Hathor added with another harsh punch to the other side of his face. ”And worst of all, that isn’t even what makes you a goddamn coward!”, she spoke dangerously before harshly shoving him backwards to create some distance. ”No, you don’t get to sit down and talk with me, God of War. I’m going to make sure that every tear she shed is a notch out of your hide. I’m going to get my answers from you and anything I don’t like is going to be met with more blood.”

Dangerous didn’t even begin to describe what was happening. Ares felt the pain surge through him. Like his skin and flesh underneath was burning. It had been so long. So long since he felt this good. His mind awakened. Everything appeared distant now. He even laughed as he hung on the bar, blood dripping from his split lip. “You should stop this.” He said with a massive smile on his face. His blood was already heating up. Fires were being fanned. In his mind it felt as if light was piercing a dense fog. This brawl, it could not continue. For both their sakes. For everyone’s sake. Yet he wanted it. So, so badly. He fought the next words: “Or I’ll have to start fighting back.”

Fury bubbled over within her, the limit to her patience reached by not only his lack of acknowledgement in her words but also telling her that she should stop before he decided to fight back. It was laughable but proved that it would take a lot more than words to get through that thick head of his. If he wanted his ego to get knocked a few pegs before begging for forgiveness or giving her some decent answers then that was fine by her. It would be a pleasure to show him exactly why some wars were lost but how destruction always reigned supreme when it was brought forth. She would demonstrate why it had taken all have her patheon to stop her last time. This time, no one would be there to save him if she took it too far and right now, she was tempted. ”You can try.”, she stated with a simple sweet smile before rearing her leg up, placing her full body force forward and spartan kicking him directly into the edge of the bar with every intention to try and break his back or making it excruciatingly painful.

The kick broke the bar. An audible crack came from where Ares’ back hit the cheap plastic, slamming into the hard concrete behind it. The neon lights in it snapped, instantly making the bar look darker and taking away the last bit of color it had. Yet Ares never dropped his smile. Even though he knew he was bleeding from wounds suffering on his back. The pain was good. It was what he needed right now. For a second it felt as if his blood boiled, but then that warmth spread through his muscles. He shouldn’t give in. It was dangerous…

But he needed it now. Suddenly he felt more alive than ever. His heart didn’t beat as feverishly before, but it was beating strong in his chest. Every pulse it sent his strength around. That lethal concoction of painkillers and the strongest stimulants in the world coursed through his veins now. Called for Ares’ addiction to resurface. Slowly, he wedged himself free from the broken bar. Bits of concrete fell down. It sounded so clear.

A dash, a punch. Explosive movement. Straight towards Hathor. Aiming from her stomach. Shoulder locked, one step past her. He wasn’t trying to hit her. He was trying to hit through her and throw her backwards.

She knew there would be retaliation, that he would start to fight her but she had not expected him to come out of the wreckage quite like that. It gave her little to no time to block the oncoming punch so she didn’t. It should have been painful, it should have irritated her that he landed a punch in any part of her person but instead, she found herself laughing and filled with joy as Hathor laid among the debris of a broken table. She rolled her body onto her shoulders before springing up onto her feet into a fighting stance. She shrugged out of her jacket, tossing it to a random side of the bar and letting it be forgotten. Finally! Finally, he was being serious and open so that she could tear down his walls bit by bit as he was broken bone by bone. Hathor didn’t want a mask of himself. She did want to deal with Alex. She wanted to fight, ruin, and destroy Ares. He had just made it possible. ”Now we are getting somewhere.”, her eyes glittering with her amusement and a twisted grin locked into place on her face, ready now to turn his hits and strength against him.

For a second Ares breathed out slowly. Trying to calm himself one last time as Hathor threw her jacket away. He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t! No. He was in too deep already. Those eyes of Hathor. He recognized them. He had seen them in a mirror far too many times. That inner voice, the one he had buried underneath the words of what he thought was the love of his life, came crawling up to. Whispering those sweet promises in his ear. Not of salvation or forgiveness or redemption. They were whispers of hatred and the fall. Promises that things could only improve if he gave in. If he fell. If he hit his lowest point and gave in to the basest animal he was.

Ares answered Hathor by grabbing a chair and throwing it straight at her. He followed the piece of furniture quickly. Dashing forward with a right hook ready to hit her square in the face.

Hathor swiftly batted the chair out of the way with her right hand while her left one came up, palm flat out as she pushed his punch off course and she tilted her head to make sure it was avoided. She could have taken the opportunity to punch back, the shot open but his face was already beautifully bloodied and she wanted to make sure every inch of him felt pain. Instead of taking that opening, she grabbed his shoulders and brought her knee up solidly into his gut as a punishment for the punch to her own before working to do a roundhouse kick, hoping to land it into the side of his head or at least land it to create some distance again. It was harder to deflect up close and personal which meant taking some punches while changing tactics to hit his vulnerable spots with precision instead.

Ares took the knee to the gut. His abs screamed. He didn’t care. Pain was muted. The voice continued. More. More. More! The roundhouse came. Ares weaved under it. Then stepped in closer. He’d give her no quarter, no space to move. Right hook, left hook, right hook. He pumped up the pressure. Ready to weave around her attacks. Eyes not burning but focused. Looking for gaps.

She hissed at the counter attack, the hooks gathering in strength and force with each hit. She needed to get him out of her personal space so with growl, she waited for the next incoming punch, wrapping her arm around his own, yanking him forward to slam her head into his nose before roughly kicking at his kneecap and swiftly backing herself away. She needed to be careful how close she let him get and his arms needed to be taken out when the opportunity presented itself. For now, she needed to do a lot more than hits since it wasn’t going to affect him much. She spat out some of the blood pooling in her mouth and kept her defense up.

Ares had to stop his relentless onslaught as suddenly Hathor locked his arm. The headbutt was unexpected. It hit him right in the face. Though it didn’t daze him. Wounds on his face began to bleed through. He was in time to see the kick and turned his knee. Hathor’s kick fell on the side of his knee. A pang of pain shot through unmuted. Making him wince for a second. Before his mind sealed off that receptor as well. His body was screaming out, but it was distant. Unimportant.

Ares didn’t relent though. Every time he got pushed back, he came in close again. Keeping his guard up. Defending when he had to, or tanking the hits from Hathor as they came. Blood and sweat stained his shirt. Some hits from Hathor caused pain to shoot through him, unmuted, like a bullet. Though he kept up the pressure. Staying close. Fighting back. Hathor hit him more than he hit her but he could take it. It kept him focused and pushed away those others' thoughts. Yet every time she nearly broke an arm or a leg, there was a second of distance between them. A moment of respite he desperately did not want. Every time he fought to get close again. To have his mind singularly focused on one thing: breaking Hathor. He rolled away, dodging a femur-breaking stomp from the goddess by an inch. Distance again. His mind wandered towards Hathor’s words. Coward. Tlaz’s tears. He left her. The thoughts caused him to shiver as he came up close again. Again their sparred. Fists blocked. Palms deflected. A knee cracked one of his ribs. Blood began to flow from the both of them. It wasn’t enough. Every time she nearly broke a bone, her words began to cut him. Until he couldn’t bear them any longer. He burst into a charge, ready to grab Hathor and break her through a concrete pillar.

Hathor was ready for the sudden charge this time, waiting for him to get close before jumping up and using Ares own shoulders to push herself up and over his body so she was behind him. She swiftly turned to face his back once more, using his own momentum plus her body weight to shove him into the very pillar he was planning to use against her. She brought her leg up to keep him pinned, both hands tightly grabbing his wrist in an iron steel grip and yanked his whole arm harshly backwards, continuously pulling the full force of her strength until she heard the satisfying pop before backing off. She had no doubt that the wound she had dealt him would be handled eventually but for now, he was down a limb which meant she had on less obstacle.

His arm hung limp. Coldness gripped it. Wrongness gripped it. The pain, even numbed, was feelable. Like a glow radiating from it. Telling him it was all sorts of wrong. He didn’t care. Hathor made a mistake. She gave him space. Distance. With one hand he grabbed his limp arm. His teeth were clenched, and yet through them he roared as the sharp pang of pain shot through him. But with his arm set again, he could move it at least. It would hurt like hell tomorrow, but in Ares’ mind there was no more tomorrow. This was the end. “It’s not fair...” He whispered. His breathing ragged. Ares looked down at his own hand as he tried to close it in a fist again. As he opened the balled fist again his fingers were shaking and a tear dropped onto it. “My life… was finally good. I was finally...happy.” His voice was shaking. It sounded exhausted. Not just physically. He felt the reins of his mind slip, and no matter how hard he clutched, they didn’t stop getting away from him. He closed his fist again. His eyes looked up but his head remained downcast. He saw Hathor, and a faint smile crept along his lips. “You wouldn’t understand it...would you?” He said with a taunting, arrogant tone. “Always loving. Never loved…enough.”

Hathor leaned back lightly against one of the tables they hadn’t managed to break, wiping some of the blood from her face while biting back a hiss from the bruising as she listened to Ares speak. She acted like he wasn’t a threat but while her body may have looked relaxed, she was ready for him in case he decided to pick up where he left off. His words weren’t confusing to her, the conflict clear but in her opinion he was blinded before, living in a fantasy. The reason it wasn’t fair was because he was in the world real once more and he wanted to hold onto a fantasy. She didn’t have a chance to speak though as the next words he spoke were barbed. A dog lashing out to bite because it was convenient and because it was a wound for her. One that when taunted, utterly infuriated her and it wasn’t hard to notice. She hadn’t hid how her love life had been and how sensitive a mark it was.

She already felt her muscles tense, her hands slamming down on the edge of the table and gripping it as if for dear life. Hathor met his gaze, hatred and anger swirling in their depths as she wanted to wipe that smile from his lips. She wanted to tear into him but if he wanted to fling barbed words then two could play at that game.”At least I don’t live a lie.”, she growled out before continuing.”Tell me, does your mortal know you? The real you? All that you are? Could you be certain she would accept this?”, her hand gesturing up and down to the way he appeared right now before her.”You haven’t given all of your heart….if you can’t show all that you are and have them accept you anyway with all your flaws, then you are living a lie and fooling yourself. How many times have you lied to her? Do you even feel guilt for what you are doing to both these women by being a coward? By not being honest.”

“Every day.”

“But she accepted more of me than my entire family ever could!”
How could she understand? He was going to tell her as well. Tell her everything. His divinity. His domain. All of it. Before he would ever think of offering her the ring he was now subconsciously fiddling with in his pocket with. “And someday I would have to stop lying to her.” That he knew in his heart. His face turned away. “It should’ve been her I saw.” But it wasn’t, and if he didn’t know Aphrodite’s trick for many centuries already, he would’ve believed she just spun some yarn. The problem was that he just lied again. There was one person he never had to hide himself from. One person who accepted him in every way. His oldest friend.

He was losing himself in his own thoughts again. Now he couldn’t fight it anymore. Everything he felt and knew would refuse to go away again. But that voice whispered in his ear again. If he could not push it away, flagellation would numb the guilt and the pain and the weakness. Another grin formed over his lips. “But of course you’re not lying are you? To yourself…about Hades.”

The words that he just spoke were ones that drew her back to what Tlaz had told her. The words that he had spoken to her that day were ones that gave her a sneaky suspicion but being confirmed to be correct, made her heart jump. Tlaz wasn’t like her. She wasn’t a second choice. It was a harsh reality that Ares had to face and come to terms with. Hearts have always been a fickle thing. The question was, was he going to let a true chance slip through his fingers or not? Love was something she could help other people see and sort out. It was part of who she was and maybe she could help him figure this out.

Her thoughts froze when Hades was mentioned, her gaze sharpening as she removed herself from the table to kick her leg back, letting the sound of wood crashing against concrete echo. She stalked forward, reeling her hand up and slapping him viciously across the face. ”It would do you well to hold your tongue before I cut it out.”, she hissed before slamming up against a pillar and holding him there. ”I don’t lie to myself, Ares. That is all you deserve to know.”, she stated coldly. Hathor had never lied to herself about her feelings. She knew that for a fact but his words still set her off and made her blood boil because while he hadn’t hit the right mark, he still was able to remind her that she had been being a coward same as him but just in a different way. Ares didn’t want to see that he had come to a fork on the road on his path of life. Hathor had been sitting continuously at a crossroad, afraid to choose the wrong path and not be able to turn back.

She had kept her feelings locked away from others as much as she could and hadn’t spoken them to Hades because of that fear but Tlaz had made her realize that she was done sitting at the crossroads. If she never tried, then she would stay longing which wasn’t pleasant. She had her heart broken before and had been able to place it back together. The problem was that she cherished his friendship, just as much as she wanted him to love her. Hathor had realized though that even if she was rejected, she had to put her trust in Hades just like she always had. She needed to trust that their built friendship would still be there even if things didn’t go as hoped. It was why she had made her decision on what path to take. Now, Ares needed to get his shit together and make his because unlike the time she had been graced with, she wasn’t going to let him have that much time. He needed to figure it out because she never wanted to see Tlaz hurt like that ever again. She deserved someone worthy of her and she was going to make sure that Ares proved himself or got lost.

With Ares’ shirt finally so tattered that it fell off his shoulders, it didn’t just reveal his stone-chiseled body, but also the faint red glow burning in his chest. And Hathor could see it grow. He didn’t answer her, instead aggressively shoving her off him before he grabbed the furniture around him and started to throw it at the goddess. Tables, chairs, anything that wasn’t bolted to the floor ended up being thrown. Either to be destroyed at Hathor’s hand, or broken against the wall. The fight continued. Both sides interlocking. Hathor continued fighting and keeping her distance. Ares kept getting close but dropped his guard. Hits landed, bruising his body. Steam rose from the wounds, healing and sealing them. He stopped blocking the goddess, and instead launched into a flurry of kicks and punches of his own. His body turned bloody and bruised but healed again and again and again. It screamed out. He ignored it.

His assault was reaching its peak now. Ares found the gaps in Hathor’s defence. Fist and kicks began to land. Until finally the god of war broke her balance. With a bullrush he managed to send her flying through the bar. Hathor slammed into the wall and the pool cue rack falling from the force.

She winced when her back and head came in contact with the wall, her body crumpling and sliding down as cues tumbled the ground along with her. Her back ached, a dark bruise probably building under the skin but luckily, nothing appeared to be broken as she carefully moved onto all fours. Her feeble mortal body screamed at her to stop from all the various cuts and bruises she had received but she shook that off, the thought of ‘it will heal’ setting the desire to halt aside. She took deep breaths, trying desperately to calm herself once more as she was playing a razor edge of trying not to take it too far. She had kept it to mostly hits and trying to break bones but right now, he was royally pissing her off and aggravating her. Hades and Tlaz cycled through her mind, but even that wasn’t quelling the need as it had been earlier. A shiver ran up her spine at the thought of causing him true harm, the clawing beast she forever kept locked away begging to show him more. It begged to be set free, lose who she was, let the wrath and destruction reign so he could see just how worse it could be.

Hathor’s eyes drifted to the pool cues scattered about, that flutter of excitement gripping her as she thought again, ‘it will heal’. She felt the slip in her control, the world becoming hazy while she curled her fingers around the smooth wood of the cue. She stood slowly as if in a daze, her fingernails cutting into her hand at how hard she gripped the cue but it wasn’t even acknowledged to her. She moved it out horizontally in front of her, her free hand coming up to grip the other side before slamming the middle section down on her bent knee to break the instrument in two. Now having two sharpened ends to deal damage with, the thought and need to make him bleed was the only thing in her mind at the moment as she paced from the side of the pool table she had landed behind to his.

Hathor picked up her slow, almost lazy pace, to charge forward at full force but instead of slamming into him as he had done to her or even drop kicking into his chest as she might have done earlier, she moved into a slide and deeply stabbed his thigh with one of the broken spikes while moving past him. She rolled, flipping herself back onto her feet before thrusting the second spike into the shoulder, not as deeply as the first but good enough to bleed before slashing down to drag diagonally across his back. The flow of blood paused the thirst for a moment, the nagging feeling of guilt crawling up as she tried to remember why she should care if her prey was badly hurt or not. Why feel bad at all? Why should a predator feel bad for taking what it needed? A cheshire grin split on her face, ready to strike again and seeing how he dealt with a joint being attacked when she paused right before breaking the skin on his shoulder.

Everything loudly screamed to back off so she moved away, listening to the instinct and placed her hands loosely over her ears with the weapon still in hand. She tried to focus, shake away the haze and remember what she was doing and why she was here. Why was she here? Protection. It was always to protect, but who? One of her precious people…..the female…which one…..Tlaz….that’s right, she had been hurt. She was trying to make Ares see reason. She felt herself gripping control again, shoving the haze a little further away and got back in defense. She had given him too much space while she was gaining control and with what she just did...the result couldn’t be pretty.

The god of war had been forced to his knee. His body felt as if it was ripping itself apart. The open wounds healed, but never fast enough and never without more pain. Pain that was no longer dulled but at the same time didn’t seem to matter. Blood streamed from the open wounds as he once more rose up. The fire in his chest kept growing, but he knew he was reaching his peak. Slowly he hauled himself upright, holding on to a broken piece of a concrete column. “So much…blood. For something you don’t understand.” He said, sounding full and truly exhausted. The pain really did help make things clear. “Never the one to break hearts. Always the one to get broken.” He murmured that more to himself than to Hathor. But then he did look up to face the goddess. “You know how much that hurts. I bet you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. Then why are you wishing it upon a mortal who never did anything but love?”

He didn’t want to break Julie’s heart. She didn’t deserve that. Two weeks ago he wouldn’t even have thought about it. Now…the accursed pink smoke screwed everything up. No… No not just the smoke. It wasn’t that simple. He had to know. And he knew, from the kiss, that what he saw was true. That kiss burned still inside of him. A beacon towards what was right. What he had to do. Hathor was right. He was a coward for not going there, but despite what everyone said, he wasn’t cruel either.

Hathor looked at him, her face calm even though the emotional wounds of her own heart were bleeding. Yes, she had never broken a heart. Yes, her own had been broken time and again. Did she pity the mortal for what she was going to feel? Yes. She was not cruel. It gave her no pleasure to see that hurt on another. However, with her experiences came understanding and this was one thing she knew to be true. ”I do not wish it on her to be cruel. I wish it on her to be kind. Broken hearts can be fixed. Betrayal and broken promises create wounds so deep, that they do not heal. They can be sewn and patched but just a fragile prick, it all comes spilling back. If that pain isn’t enough, then it’s the future they poison. Will this one do the same? Will this one be fake? Can I trust him? Ares, no matter how you look at it….you have already betrayed her. She doesn’t know all of you and you can say you will tell her one day but if you haven’t done it yet…it’s hard to say when you will find the right time. She has shown you love which is a gift but she is loving only a portion. You have kissed another, someone who has already seen and accepted what you are as you are. Can you say with fact that you would not do it again or want to? Am I wrong? Your mortal, deserves someone that will put her first and be able to fully hand over his heart to her. Would you deny her that? Would you allow Tlaz to believe she is second best?”

He couldn’t help it. His body surrendered to the inevitable as he sank through his legs again. Hathor had extinguished his fire. Leaving him with nothing but pain, regret and sadness. There was nothing left to fend off his demons. Nothing left to protect him. Another tear fell from his eyes. Then another. ”NO!” He yelled as he slammed his head back against the concrete pillar. He could hear a dry crack from behind him. A wave of sickness washed over him. HIs stomach shrunk to nothing, making him feel as if he had to vomit. His eyes wandered. Taking in, for the first time, the full devastation the both of them had wrought.

Everything on the inside of the bar had been reduced to rubble and splinters. Only a handful of lights still flickered. Broken cues laid scattered around. Many of the coated in Ares’ blood. Concrete was reduced to broken stone and dust. In his mind he could retrace every step they had taken as if it was a choreographed dance of violence. Where had hit her, where he hit her. Every spat of blood he could tell whose it was.

It didn’t stop the tears from flowing freely now. “I was happy.” He sounded meek. Hathor kept talking about the mortal. About Tlaz. How he was harming them both. She was right. She was right about it all. He was poisoning Julie’s future. But at the same time, his heart was already broken. It had been shattered for three days and he couldn’t accept it. Not then, and he desperately wished the goddess hadn’t forced him to accept it now. Yet she had forced his hand and now he was reduced to sobs. His eyes looked up at the ugly, grey ceiling. “I’m sorry Julie. You deserve someone better than me.”

She watched him break and crumble before her. Guilt and sorrow weighed on her heart as she watched in silence. This is what she did. This is who she was wasn’t all of who she was. Hathor stepped forward, leaning down to gently wrap her arms around him as a mother would to comfort a child. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes tightly, preparing herself for what she was about to do. The familiar rush of power flowed through her as she held him, this time not to amplify or harm but to sooth. She wouldn’t take his physical pain, her own body was already objecting too much for that but she could give him a reprieve from his emotional pain. It would give him a head start to fix his own heart before having to do the hard task ahead. Hathor felt tears spill down her cheeks, that crushing pain of having to hurt something you love. The guilt, the broken, and the horrible emptiness that came with his turbulent emotions. She let go of him, walking away to a random portion of the bar to kick away the debris and retrieved her leather jacket before slipping it on. ”Go...and make ….this right, Ares., she sobbed, the tears never stopping even as she exited the building.

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Hana’s grin widened, ecstatic that the other girl had not rejected her offer and was allowing her to join. She skipped forward a bit, her fingers linking behind her as she did so, only her pace slowing back down to a casual stroll once she was at Alayna’s side. They didn’t speak, just enjoying the nature around them even if there was a current lack of activity within it. There was no rustling of trees, scurrying of animals, or even the sounds that came naturally with the veil of night strewn across the sky. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence for her though, just a peaceful stroll to relish in and a much better situation than the one at camp. The night always being one of her favorite times of day plus who could resist the smell of the wild that lay in the forest. It was getting rather chilly though and she found herself rubbing her arms a bit.

She was pleasantly surprised when Alayna struck up a conversation, seeing as how she had seemed to be avoiding her a bit. Heck, they had never really talked much so maybe the other girl was somewhat shy like her. She smiled gently, thinking about how the day was so far and answered, ”Truthfully, not at all like I had expected it to be. Even though it was different than I had imagined...all and all, it has been a good day….well, minus the boiling tension and anger at camp. I could have done without that. I had hoped we could all get along or at least try to play nice.” It was what it was though and they couldn’t be expected to change over night. Hana has really been looking forward to just camping and doing normal activities though. ”The ritual was a strange feeling but it didn’t cause too much trouble.”, she added, while thinking to herself that the location had been a much more pressing problem for her.

She looked over to her companion, tilting her head slightly as she asked,”What about you? Did you have trouble with the ritual? There were so many of us, it was hard to make sure everyone was alright.” Hana had really wanted to check in on everyone after the ritual, even the ones she hadn’t healed but that had been impossible once the panic settled in. She could only hope that Alayna hadn’t needed her and that she didn’t fail to assist. It was possible there were problems, just look at the reactions some of the others had had. It was at least behind all of them now.

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Speaks With:Alayna@Qia

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Hana felt relieved that Alayna had actually paused for her to catch up. She was worried that she hadn’t heard her at first which would mean that the other girl would be wandering alone. It didn’t matter that they were witches in her opinion. These woods were not to be trifled with and she doubted the Elders had planned for them to full on trek around in it even if they had probably cleared it out a bit. It did hurt a bit that her company didn’t seem all that welcome but no one should have to be alone and it was safer in pairs. ”Of course! Two casters are better than one when faced with a challenge and besides, it’s no fun to do things all alone, right?”, she replied. They were here to bond and have fun, get to know each other since they would be around each other for a long time and work together.

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Speaks With:Alayna@Qia


Location: Tea & La

”Not if I have anything to say about it.”, she said gently to Jemmu, trying to calm his worries before focusing her attention back on their guest. She listened to him carefully, not surprised that his back was the biggest problem seeing as it had taken the brunt force of the shop wall. It wasn’t going to be easy to help that along in the healing and was probably not going to be a pleasant experience. She knew she could handle stitching him back together but it was going to be a lot worse before it got better. Kyouna nodded softly, thanking Jemmu for the water as she scooted it a bit closer. ”Don’t worry, Siyu. I will have you back on your feet in no time.”, she replied with a soft smile, trying to keep him calm. Kyouna was about to warn him about the unpleasantness he might feel before getting started when a new guest entered her shop.

She turned her attention to the man that entered, feeling a chill run down her spine at the look on his face. The aura he exuded made her on edge and leery of what he could do since she had a child as well as someone in a vulnerable state that would need her if anything went sideways. He was not someone she felt comfortable having in her company but it was best to play it safe for now and not make a move. Her turquoise eyes darted between Jemmu and the man she now knew as Hiro, wondering exactly what their connection was. She didn’t like the tone of the boy’s voice and the question made her worry about why he was here now. Kyouna kept her expression neutral even though she was annoyed by Hiro’s mocking smile and lack of manners at answering a simple question.

She didn’t want his attention on her but unfortunately, she had it anyway. Kyouna listened to his words, giving a small bow of her head to show some respect as he had shown her but moved herself in front of Siyu as to block the disdainful gaze that Hiro shot. If she could keep herself as a shield or keep his focus on her that would be better for all of them. ”Thank you for your kind words. I will take your generous offer into consideration but this place has special meaning to me and I am not sure I could part with it. A lot of love and care went into this shop.”, she answered politely, not moving her eyes from him. A frown graced her features as he approached Jemmu, fearing that something might happen but stuck where she was since Hiro had not made a move to harm anyone which meant she had no right to attack.

She didn’t like how he treated the boy that had been placed under her care for now. Why was he even here when Jemmu’s parents had worked out a deal with her? It felt like this had been the plan all along and giving someone hope to rip it away didn’t seem right or fair. Kyouna stood, making sure to keep herself between Hiro and Siyu as she spoke, making sure she was ready if this turned ugly. ”Excuse me, but does he really have to go? As you can see, my shop is in quite the disrepair and it would be helpful to have another set of hands to help out for the day. I would also feel more comfortable hearing from his parents if Jemmu will continue serving out his punishment here or not. We both understand the actions he took and the mistake he has made but he has been working quite diligently here to absolve himself of those past actions. I wish for him to remain here to learn that lesson if that would be acceptable.”
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