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Aberrant: Dead Rising - Chapter 12c: Fallout Baby

Dawn OOC

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This thread is for all the personal fall-out after chapter 12. Yes, this is likely to be a thread light on plot and heavy on personal stuff. If you want something else, come talk to me and I’ll set you up.

The Refuge greeted their returning heroes with smiles and helping hands. Supplies were unloaded and secured, families and friends reunited, and a general party atmosphere permeated the campus. People were already wondering about the new people they’d seen going into quarantine and rumors were flying, particularly about the unusually tall blonde woman.

But not everyone was happy. Jill wove through the crowds, looking for Dan. When she found him, she grabbed his arm. “Dan!” she all-but shouted. “Violet let and she hasn’t come back! It’s been hours. I’m starting to worry!”

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Nathan, for his part, was very restless. Draygo had helped carry the building supplies back to the Refuge quickly, but once there Nathan had taken over; Draygo had a tendency to scare the 'normal' people of the Refuge, and he was still trying to build trust.

He said a quick 'hi' to Dylan, after having made sure that he was ok, changed into some less gore stained clothes, and quickly buried himself into the task of loading his share of the construction materials into his trailer. With his focus on the task, though, it went all too quickly.

Still, even almost a day later, his mind was filled with the rush, emotions, and the loss of control that had resulted from his rage. He needed someone to talk to, but the only adult that he had met (that he felt even the slightest bit comfortable opening up to) was gone unexpectedly. Dylan, friendly as he was, was still too inexperienced in life to be of much help.

So after much pacing, he took his radio (in case anybody needed to get a hold of him), walked out of the front gates of the Refuge, let Draygo take back over, and took off.

He had to get a handle on what had happened and what that meant before it consumed him. The clear air (and lack of oxygen), up as high as only Draygo could fly helped calm him somewhat, but it also gave him time to both think and look for any undead that he could take his frustration out on.

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Dan had actually been looking forward to isolation, if only to collect his thoughts, clean his gear, and talk abit more with Sarah.

Jill's appearance and her revelation illicited a sigh from him.

"There's not much I can do right now. I won't go off half-cocked after her. Stay calm and don't worry, she'll come back."

He nodded "If she doesn't then I'll try to find her."

His steely gaze fell heavily on her. "Who did she leave with? It doesn't seem like any vehicles are missing."

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Returning to the Refuge, Kristin took a quick, reluctant shower in the quarantine area, disliking its public location - it was too easy for a man to steal a peek. She wasn't even dirty save for some dark zombie blood that had landed on her shirt in a rather artistic spread, but they insisted. She studiously avoided making eye contact with the infected, reminded too much of her own brother, whose life she ended.

That done, she went and helped distribute the supplies recovered from the fallen Vegas enclave. She only kept a small part of her own share, putting the rest in the communal stock, and holding aside another part to give to the women in the Red Tent. The short, muscular blonde couldn't understand how they could do what they did after being in Paradise, but as survivors, there was a connection between them, however tenuous, and she offered them what she could, even if the did seem to dislike her. It was also hard to approach them without men turning to look at her, there were always men at the Red Tent.

Before heading into Tent Town, Kristin stopped off at Violet's to change her shirt and to give Ashley an account of what she had salvaged - Ashley was a stickler for that. Not finding Ashley in the main room, Kristin just asked one of the women there to tell her cousin that she was back and in their room.

Ashley was busy making sure things were organized at Violet's, seeing that basic supplies were stocked up, that sheets and clothing was getting cleaned as possible, taking inventory, writing a list of what was low and what was needed. It was almost fifteen minutes before she got the message and rushed up the stairs to their room.

Ashley found her cousin turned away from her, her broad, powerful back bare and a T-shirt dangling from her hand. Her deep golden skin almost glowed with vitality and despite a new softness and roundness sheathing her hard, muscular body from her progressing pregnancy, there was something in Kristin's posture that told her something was troubling her deeply. Ashley barely heard Kristin's muted, choked sob before she was across the room, laying a hand on her cousin's thick, tensed shoulder.

"Kristy, what's wrong? Was Hawaii bad?" Ashley asked gently.

"It's-It's... Ash, I... I saw Hornsbeck again."

"In Hawaii?"

"Hawaii?! What, no! Hawaii was very nice, just weird. No, I saw him in Vegas... Only... it wasn't him, not really." Muscles like dancing steel bunched beneath Ashley's hand as Kristin hunched her shoulders, her voice dropping to a whisper. "Is... Violet here?"

"Kristy, no! You don't need... need that!" Ashley retorted sharply in disapproval, hands going to her hips. "Violet has been gone for half the day or more, Jill has been quietly starting to worry, so I've been holding the fort down here, so don't freak-out, 'kay?"

"'Kay. It's just-"

"I know, Cuz, I know, that place scarred you like I can't believe, but you'll get better, and it'll be you who gets you better. Look, what you saw, did you end up hurting anybody?"

Kristin turned around, sniffled, then gave her cousin a weak grin and she pulled on her plain, black shirt. Ashley withheld a gasp, still a little weirded out by Kristin's powerfully built, well-developed, mature body below her stunning, fifteen year-old face. "Well... I only hurt zombs, but I think I could have ended up hurting another guy, if he'd done anything suspicious."

"But you didn't, did you?"

"Well, no, but I-"

"But you didn't," Ashley said with finality, giving her cousin a fierce grin, followed by a tight hug. Kristin carefully hugged her back with one impossibly strong arm. "One step at a time, Kristy, one step at a time. Now, let's see what you brought in. And what happened to your axe?"

Side by side, Kristin and her taller cousin Ashley left Violet's, heading for their supply shack, as Kristin told her about what had happened in Hawaii and Vegas and her Axe, and Ashley determined what they could spare for the ladies of the Red Tent. Ashley didn't really agree with sharing anything with them - they supplied themselves mostly and not a one had done a thing for them in Paradise - but she understood Kristin's reasons and if it helped her recover from the trials she had suffered, Ashley wouldn't say anything against it.

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James had vaporized the gore off his body and found a pair of shorts while he was still in Vegas. He frowned in reply to hearing Jill shout out to Dan. V not being around halted any idea of talking to her. He'd avoided, barely, telling Dan she was screwing another super right then. If, when, those two fell apart he didn't want to be involved.

A quiet voice inside him asked if it was because he had hopes of picking up the pieces afterwards and he looked around for something else to think about.


James caught her scent. It'd be easy to follow her. He could and should go greet his ladies... but he'd been avoiding talking to Kristin for long enough. Fine.

James followed Kristin's scent until he found her just wandering across the Refuge.

He called out, "Yo, Kristin, do you have a minute?"

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Kristin twisted around quickly at the hail, looking up at the half-naked Conan with wary green eyes. A hand closed instinctively, regretting leaving the pair of woodaxes in her room. James had taken off her metal collar. On the other hand, he was very big, very strong, stronger than her even, and seemed to collect pretty women like trophies.

And as few would let her forget, especially men, she was considered very pretty now. But she had just dealt with Hornsbeck again, even if it was in her own mind and using some sort of super-zomb as a proxy. She wasn't willing to back-down to any man, regardless of how uneasy she was.

"Okay, I can talk for a few, Mr. DeBeers." Her voice was a touch brittle, if polite.

Ashley heard the tone in Kristin's voice, then turned a flat look on James, her self-possession notable, for being to all appearances nothing more than an average girl barely sixteen, if a bit on the tallish side and prettier than many. She quirked a dark brow. "Go ahead."

"I would to speak to Kristin... alone, if you don't mind, Ashley is it?"

Ashley's expression darkened slightly and turned back to Kristin, laying a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. "I'm here, and if that's too much for him, then he can leave, Kristy."

"No, no, it's fine, I'm not scared," Kristin said stubbornly. "Keep going to our supply shed, I'll meet you there."

Ashley gave her cousin a look, slightly doubting her assertion, but nodded and headed away, tossing James a warning glare over her shoulder.

Kristin folded her strongly muscled arms across her chest, and looked back up at James. "What do you want?"

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James met Ashley's glance evenly and watched her walk away, then turned back to the girl-in-a-woman's-body. Focus James. Watch the face, not the chest. Yes, she could rival Violet some day. But this is going to get ugly enough without you being stupid.

You know you don't have to do this. It's not your place.

Yeah, but someone does.

James sighed and stated, "I was with you on point back in Vegas. I watched you and..."

James took a deep breath and said, "And this needs to be said. You and I aren't close, we probably will never be. Speaking as someone who doesn't know very much and isn't involved... what I saw in Vegas was painful."

James said bluntly, "You took risks I flinched away from because you're pregnant, and you want someone to end it for you. To hurt you so bad you miscarry. For god sakes, end your pain. Get an abortion before you kill yourself."

James waited for the explosion.

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Kristin's small hands balled into a pair of tight fists, a choking sound escaping her clenched lips, then another, followed by a snort. In moments, Kristin was bent over, hands on her thighs, laughing, the youthful, chiming sound turned dissonant by bitterness and self-pity.

"You think I want to kill myself?! I could only be so lucky! I wanted to die in Paradise..." Her voice dropped to a whisper as she looked down at herself, her hands, her arms, her breasts, full and large and beginning to swell with milk, then glared up at James with a venomous sneer. "You're fucking two women from Paradise - I know, people talk - ask them what happened to me there. They've seen what Hornsbeck and his men did to me, some anyway. And know, not a single women there felt sorry for me, they were just glad it wasn't them! And know also, everything they did to me, I let them, because otherwise, they would've tortured and killed my cousin!"

Kristin's lips bent into a grin, an ugly, malicious, almost condescending, grin. "Have you even been skinned alive, seen your muscles twitch and flex with nothing covering them? I have. They tried to burn and cut their marks into my skin, but it never worked, so they tried to carve my bones, but that didn't work either. Do you know what's it like to have no arms or no legs? I do. They needed to use chisels and axes, sometimes chainsaws. Everything grew back, they always grow back. I heard your eyes got ruined, took you weeks to get them back." Kristin snorted in utter contempt. "They plucked out my eyes more than once, they grew back in less than an hour. Have you ever held you eyes in your hand? Have you?! I have. Paradise couldn't kill me, even when I wanted it to, what makes you think I have to worry about a few zombs?"

Kristin's eyes dropped to the ground, a hand rubbing her abdomen, once sheathed in ridged muscle, now growing smooth with the tiniest beginnings of protruding from her progressing pregnancy. Silent tears glistened on her cheeks. "I gave my word, I would have the baby - I lived on a farm, I know about breeding, and I've seen just about nobody else pregnant - so I'll have the damn baby. It'll have a chance, better than I got. But I won't hide away or coddle myself. And besides... all being fucking pregnant has done to me is make me tougher, my body is going to make damned sure I have this baby. I doubt Hornsbeck could skin me anymore, let alone cut through my muscle and bone, just as I doubt Dr. Shattuck could even give me an abortion. So..."

Kristin looked back up at James, large, jade eyes narrowed dangerously. "... if what you see is painful, don't look! The women you're with didn't. The men, the men enjoyed looking far too much, and enjoyed participating even more."

Kristin turned leave. I saw him looking at me. He probably just wants to get rid of the baby so he can plant his own in me. I see, I hear, I know Conan only fucks the prettiest girls, and there aren't many prettier me, nor as tough. Men are all assholes. Even the ones who pretend to be worried about you are really thinking about themselves.

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James' eyes narrowed at Kristin's verbal attack on Helen and Jan but he ignored it. Instead he said flatly, "You're still there aren't you? 'You gave your word', 'Dr. Shattuck couldn't end it'? So poor Kristin has no choices at all?"

"You're not a slave any more. Make a choice and then own it."

Walk away James. You've done as much as you can, and if that's nothing then that's what it is.

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*The huge axe in her hand, it's wicked blade gleaming silver under the sun flashed as she swung it in a cleaving arc. The big, muscular man's eyes widened in surprise, an arm coming up... to be severed cleanly at the elbow. Screaming in pain and rage, his other arm came up, a blade of black flame flickering into existence. Kristin ducked his weak slash with ease, that shiny axe coming up and around once more, biting through his remaining arm at the shoulder. Now dis-armed, James tried to flee, strong legs bunching for a leap away from the murderous, beautiful youth... to feel one leg, then the other to cut out from beneath him from a tremendous, two-handed swipe of her axe. Whimpering on the ground, his great resilience preventing him from bleeding out, he felt a small hand grip him around the throat with crushing strength.

"Beg," she whispered with gleeful maliciousness, green eyes bright and rage-filled.

He begged.

She buried the axe between his eyes.*

Kristin shuddered, giving her head a violent shake, gleaming, golden hair flashing under the sun as she looked over a thick shoulder back at James.

"Bastard," she spat at him with cold venom. "I made my choice, I'm gonna keep my word and have this stupid baby like I promised. I never said anything about raising it. Being a man, I don't expect you to understand, but my word means a lot to me. So I'll hold to it, even if it kills me, or this." She slapped her belly hard with an open hand, the smack surprisingly loud.

Her lips curved with a mean cunning. "Too bad you don't like it, but I don't give a fuck. At least I'm owning my choice more than you are yours... Y'know which one..."

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James matched her smile and ignored her fishing line. He replied coldly, "Dislike? Me? This isn't about me or men in general. And when you don't give a fuck you'll find... never mind."

James lost his cold edge and replied, "Take care of yourself Kristin."

Ignoring whatever she said next, James walked away.

James thought, So much for dealing with other people's luggage. A for walking away before it got violent. Maybe a C for making things better, not worse. Maybe I should ask Violet to say the same things?

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Kristin stalked away, broad shoulders straight and all but bristling in barely constrained fury. Turning a corner around a building, Kristin leaned against the wall, panting heavily. If she had had a weapon in her hands, she'd have attacked James, she was sure of that, and purely because he felt sorry for her. He was right, a part of her was still in Paradise. She was afraid a piece of her would always live in the hell.

But at least she hadn't lashed out, she'd been able to walk away. A fist pounded against the wall she was backed against, cracking concrete. She'd get through it - Paradise hadn't lasted forever, only felt like, and her pregnancy would be same thing. The baby would be someone else's problem after - she'd only promised to bear it, not raise it.

Kristin scrubbed the tears from her cheeks, composed her self and went to find her cousin.

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Venus appreciated Han’s sincere words and willingness to keep contact with the Refuge if she managed to part in freedom. She gave him a tender kiss and whispered into his ear, “I belong to Olympus.“, and smiled at him before she reluctantly departed. Even though she felt mostly comfortable in her current outfit – an almost complete see-through cream colored babydoll made of lace and chiffon she knew it wouldn’t be the best choice of attire for the Refuge.

She waited briefly for her helpers to pack most of her clothes and personal belongings before she picked up her light-grey medieval cut dress. It was still a perfect fit although she had added a few inches in height ever since she got pregnant, a subconscious reaction to maintain her outrageously sexy proportions. Her waist was still waspish slim but given her overall size of 6‘3“ it gave enough ‚space‘ for her triplets. The skirt of her dress now barely reached her ankles but she didn’t mean showing some more legs, it only added to her overall breathtaking appearance. The newborn Goddess checked herself one last time in her mirror and adjusted the topknot of her laced corsett which struggled bravely to contain her mammoth sized breasts. No matter what she did, almost half of their amazing size was in full display generating a cavernous cleavage that could make a man lose his mind over. Oddly enough, her self-awareness had dramatically increased ever since the orgy at Mount Olympus. Her senses were sharper and as she placed one hand on her womb she could actually feel her unborn children which made her smile warmly. Then she suddenly gasped... How... can this be?. Her new found body awareness suddenly flodded her with information she wasn't aware of. Until now she was assuming that Myf's diagnosis was precise but she slowly remembered that she said she saw 3 life signs... at least. Venus' hands kept carressing her womb as she reaffirmed herself of what she felt, of what she was suddenly absolutely aware of: she was expecting Quintuplets, 3 boys and 2 girls... Something is different about one of the girls. As if... A broad smile crossed her face and her heart jumped in excitement which Han could feel, too. It was pure joy – but unfortunately she had more unpleasant things to do first before she investigated this new experience.

“Han – if you feel panic or fear all of a sudden, then I’m probably in danger. I’ll be careful, I promise.“, with long sexy strides the Goddess of Love left her quarters making sure no one was around before she left the building.

Jill is probably at the smithy – I’ll tell her to go back and pack her stuff, she’ll have to wait for explanations later – first I have to talk to Dan.

Jill was unfortunately not at the smithy and from the looks of it she never went there today. She probably went to the Covenant..., Venus contemplated her next step when she saw James‘ half naked body cross the compound towards the Covenants tents. Maybe he knew where Dan was, they went on the mission together and it was a perfect opportunity to ask him a favour.

Venus didn’t need to call out to him, James could feel her presence. It was like a tidalwave of sexual energy, an aggressive aura that followed her wake and when he turned to face her he could see that she had changed. Venus stood there, smiled at him with her hands placed on her generous hips, her eyes were sparkling with amethyst fire and her lips had turned into a deep seductive red which perfectly matched her long wavy auburn hair. “Good to see you, Stud – can I borrow a minute or two of your valuable time, my dear?“, her mellifluous voice echoed through his mind like the sweetest sound he ever heard – she was undeniably irresistable, especially when she was putting on the ´heat´.

Click to reveal..
Since James knows her best he is most likely able to tell the obvious and not so obvious changes Violet has gone through. While she tried to hold back in the past, trying to suppress the subliminal signals and sexual implications, she now actively takes advantage of the effect and tries to compliment it as much as possible
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Kristin had taken no more than five steps before a sultry, melodious voice drifted faintly through the air, drawing her attention like a lodestone. Almost against her will, Kristin staggered to a stop, head slowly turning, gaze coming to rest upon that Goddess she had come so close to losing herself in. Even with her back facing her, that drastically curvaceous figure was unmistakable.

Her bronzed flesh flushed with sudden yearning, green eyes hot and lips parted by her rapid breathing. One hand closed into a tight fist as the other ran through her short hair. She knew she should look away, walk away - run away - so soon after asking after her and overcoming a Paradise-induced panic attack. But she couldn't. Even knowing the seduction in her silken caress and the force of her desire could destroy her, Kristin wanted Violet still. And knew, if she succumbed to the painful yearning, the shadow of Paradise would always be lurking to drag her down from her Violet-induced bliss...

A spike of jealous fury rose beneath her breast at seeing James being the focus of her attention, imagining cutting his head off again to take Violet all for herself and hated herself for feeling this way. And yet, her rising rage helped her resist succumbing to the Avatar of Venus, a vivid warning and reminder that the balm that Violet offered was just an illusion, hiding her mental scars, not healing them.

Still, the temptation persisted and Kristin kept looking...

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James felt Violet's presence over the link and then heard her voice. She was back. Venus felt a wave of relief from James, much stronger even than his attraction, he'd been seriously worried about her.

James instantly replied, "Of course" and then looked at her. Venus felt James' hunger for her, it was intense and non-sexual. He wanted her, but not for sex. The last time she'd felt anything similar was from JoAnna. Something had changed.

James took a long, lingering look at the new Violet and Venus felt his recognition/puzzlement. She also felt his older more familiar hungers stir.

James suppressed desire for her (she was with Dan), looked her up and down and asked, "Violet?"

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Venus smiled at him enjoying the mix of emotions she received from him. She reached out with one hand drawing him closer to her but stopping short of kissing him. He could feel her now, not only her presence but also physically and she gently traced with her fingertips over his massively muscled arms – something she always enjoyed. James couldn’t help but stare at her insanely proportioned body and while he felt that she wasn’t disinclined to have sex with him right away she also lacked the urge she used to have. Surprisingly she seemed far more balanced than ever, as if she... as if she had accepted who she was with all the consequences.

“We shouldn’t talk here, my love. Maybe you can escort me to the Covenant’s tent? I’m also looking for Jill, she wasn’t here when I came back from Olympus – she needs to pack her stuff, I don’t have much time and I have to talk to Dan, too. I’m glad I’ve met you first, though – I really am.“, she wrapped her arm around him like they used to when they were together and slowly guided him to walk her towards the tent-city.

“You won’t believe what I’ve found.“, her voice remained as sweet as honey and he could imagine that any normal man could go mad with lust and desire by only listening to her.

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Violet touched James, placed her hand in his arm and it was like old times. He suppressed the desire to take her off somewhere and screw her brains out. She was pregnant, he wasn't the father. That... almost didn't hurt. She'd present Dan with triplets and enable him to have the same or more. There was symmetry in that. Justice. He'd eaten of the apple of knowledge and grown up.

And he wasn't the only one. She'd changed. Something important had happened. Personality merge? James slowly walked V into tent city with dozens of male eyes following them. If any of them went mad with lust he'd put them down like a dog. It wasn't a problem, just a fact.

James said quietly, "You've changed. Also... I felt you last night up here." James tapped his head. He didn't bother to add that it wasn't with Dan. Dan was in Vegas, V was not.

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Venus gave James a heartmelting smile and squeezed his arm laughing joyfully, “I would say I’m sorry if I was but honestly, you missed out on something truly amazing – What you felt doesn’t come close to what really happened. It was like heaven.“, her sing sang voice echoed like the ratcatcher’s tune through tent-city and she didn’t seem to be bothered at all that they were gathering a small crowd.

As they continued their path towards the Covenant’s Tent Venus lowered her voice a little as she leaned a bit closer to James brushing with her humongous assets into his side. “I’m packing my stuff and wanted to offer you and the Covenant to come with me. The Refuge isn’t the right place for us and I’ve found something far better than rotting away in this mess. I doubt that there’ll be much opposition for having me leave, except for Dan maybe.“, she sighed briefly as she thought of Dan and the very likely drama that would follow when she told him she was leaving.

“So I was hoping you’d come with me, you and the girls, of course. I’m sure you’re going to love Mount Olympus.“, she flashed him her sweetest smile and rubbed her voluptous body against his‘ to underline her request – it wasn’t like she forced him to decide in her favor, she only used her `natural´ charms.

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Shocked, James said somewhat louder than he meant to, "You're leaving???"

This was a problem. This was a real problem.

James lowered his tone and added, "I mean we're leaving???"

Huh? Whatever was going on wasn't part of Dan, and wasn't fall out from Vegas and Hawaii. V seemed happy, which might or might not be a good thing. She also seemed more stable, which fell into the 'too good to be true' category.

Hawaii had been a bust and V had changed a lot. He needed a lot more information.

James added again, "I mean, tell me about Olympus. And there's some things you need to know that can't be public."

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"Sure, you belong to Olympus, just like I do.", Venus smiled keeping her voice just above a whisper. "While you were out on your mission, I was visited by someone very special. We talked a little and I slowly realized that all problems I had were tied to two things - the Refuge and the restrictions I put on myself because I tried to live up to anybody else's expectations. Expectations I could never fulfill because they were against my nature. So I asked our visitor what I was supposed to do? And his answer was so simple, I couldn't believe how blind I was.", James could see a sparkle in her eyes he has never seen before. Venus was bursting with energy and confidence, it was palpable as she subliminally transmitted those emotions over the link she had established to him.

"He showed my Olympus - his home and I instantly knew where I belonged to. It is the perfect place for us Exalted. I know that you belong there, too. I can feel it.", they had reached the tent by now and once they were inside Venus came dangerously close to kissing James again but she stopped herself and gave him a teasing smile instead. Her control over her urges was surprising, he could feel the sexual energy, the tension behind her desire but she wasn't nearly as needy as she used to. It felt almost as if she was a different or totally new person.

"Now what do I need to know that can't be public? I can sense your confusion and... concern? I'm flattered that you still have such strong emotions for me, James...", he could see that she pronounced his name with a slight frown.

"And you should change your name - James doesn't suit you anymore. James was your mortal shell - the man before you became. You should choose a name more fitting, like Ares or Mars.", she winked at him and intentionally used his term instead of saying he was exalted. Her seduction was carefully arranged and yet aggressive and cunning but she did know that James was easily manipulated, especially concerning her. That knowledge made her smile as she glanced at him with lusty lavender eyes.

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As Violet and James walked into Tent City and out of sight, Kristin shivered, finally free of her conflicted, captivated state. Still needing time to collect herself before she was willing to face Violet, if then, Kristin skirted the edge of Tent City on her way to her Supply Shed near the Garage.

For a little while, she could still hear Violet's honeyed voice, indistinct with distance before it faded away, yet men turned towards the sultry sound, drawn to it like a Siren's Song. And though the Siren Song tugged faintly at her as well, Kristin was glad of it - it meant fewer men staring at her, fewer eyes raping her with their not-so-hidden thoughts.

Kristin slipped into her Supply Shed, leaning against the door with a sigh of relief. She had thought she was over Violet, the addiction, but there was something... different about her now, something just in the way she stood and moved that made her presence even more... potent.

Ashley hadn't been idle while she'd been 'talking' with James. Clip board in hand, she was noting what Kristin had retrieved from the fallen Vegas Enclave, adding it to their previous tallies. She even had a crate set out, slowly filling up with the few supplies she deemed they could spare for the women of Red Tent.

Ashley looked over at her cousin. "Kristy?" She could see the shorter girl was flushed, tensed, muscles rippling like taut, steel cables. "Are you okay? What did James say to you?"

"James? He was just being a bastard, Ash, like every other man." Kristin to say it with a casual nonchalance, but Ashley heard the bitterness underlying her tone. "No, it's... Violet's back..." Kristin's head turned to look in the direct they had gone, as if her eyes could pierce the corrugated steel wall. Ashley noticed the increased rise and fall of her full breasts. "Her and James went into Tent City..."

"Oh..." The news of Violet's return worried Ashley more than whatever James had said to Kristin. Appearances to the contrary, Kristin could deal with brutality, had dealt with it. What Violet offered was something else entirely. She glanced the crate filling up with supplies for the Rent Tent, then back to Kristin's green eyes. "So, do you still want to...?"

Kristin followed Ashley's gaze, shrugging a shoulder. "I still want to give the stuff to the women, but... but I don't think I should go there right now, there's too much of a chance... Just not right now."

Ashley was privately elated Kristin resisted her obvious desire, and smothered her relieved grin. It was progress - Kristin arrived to that conclusion instead of needing to be led to it. "If that's what you want, Kristy." Ashley looked around their Supply Shed, considering what could be spared, then nodded firmly.

"How 'bout this, Cuz? The people in the Box, the ones that still have a chance, they'll need some non-Zomb-gooped clothing right? We got a lot of extra clothing from when you hit that Walmart, so why don't you take them some, and I'll keep packing up the crate for the Red Tent Women for when you're ready?"

"Sure," Kristin readily agreed, eager for any reason to stay away from Violet, for now at least. She just needed a bit more time dealing with her flashback in Vegas before facing Violet.

The two girls chatted back and forth as they packed their respective supplies and Ashley kept the tallies accurate. Ashley suggested certain supplies to look for, if possible - they could really use some more paper - Kristin talked more about Hawaii, and both shared the few bits of gossip they heard around the Refuge. Though Ashley heard a lot more, both of them mentioned the group of kids that hadn't been seen since they left on a sanctioned supply run. Ashley knew one of the boys, they had talked some, and tried to downplay her concern.

Kristin frowned, thinking about her brother, her brothers, even her pet goat Chewy that she had forgotten at their old camp, her thoughts at the time still fogged by her time in Paradise. "I was going to take a look around to find a virgin field that we could use, see if purely organic farming will work. I'll look around for any sign of them too - though if they took off..." Kristin gave Ashley an uncertain shrug.

Ashley shrugged back. "Nobody can ask for more."

Soon, Kristin had two big bags full of casual clothing - nothing high-end, but all well made and serviceable, and either too small or too big her her or Ashley - and took her leave. Ashley continued filling the crate with the bare minimum she was willing to let go and organized their latest acquisitions. "See you later, Ash."

"If I'm not here, I'll be at the Mess Hall or Vi - our room."


Kristin walked around the garage, then down the worn path towards the Quarantine Zone, a pair of large, heavy-duty bags slung over her broad shoulders.

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James relaxed marginally. Whatever Violet was up to apparently included him. It was becoming clearer she had changed and had a new way of looking at things. Something had snapped her out of her destructive cycle. He’d warned Jill something like this could happen, pregnancy was preventing her from shifting back, her old ways of dealing with the world were failing. Perhaps Jen had snapped and merged, perhaps she’d looked in the mirror and not been able to convince herself she was ugly. Violet was more confident, more self controlled… and hopefully less self destructive.

Hopefully. Smart money said she’d found a new settlement and a new boyfriend. Ergo she might be dumping the father of her unborn children. It was Dan’s turn to have his heart in a blender. Thankfully this wasn’t his problem. In the back of his mind he wondered if he’d ever be able to fully trust V again. Hopefully not. He could love her, want her, defend her, sleep with her, kill over her… but whoever the new boyfriend was (even if it was him), sooner or later his heart was going into a blender too.

James gestured at people on the other side of the tent and replied quietly, “I’ll do that last. It’s grim. If this gets out then the world as we know it ends. As for names…”

James looked in Violet’s eyes and said gently, “I’m always James and I’m always Ares. And Mars, and I have different names in other languages.” James tapped his heart and said, “I feel it here. Always. Names don’t change things. I know what I am.”

James said matter of factly, “I’m living war. Violence made flesh. Hand to hand combat personified. A walking weapon. There are unfilled graves everywhere waiting for my efforts.” James winked to counter balance the weight of his words but Venus could tell over the link he was serious. There was no doubt in his voice or mind, he'd thought this through and accepted it long ago.

James expanded, “The refuge adapts to me, not the other way around. I inspire love but expect some to hate. Life isn’t fair and war isn’t just.” James gestured at his gathering ladies. Jill was still out looking for Violet but with that exception the coven was here. They’d known something was up before Violet and James had walked in. James’ Violet-inspired feedback overload had been sort of ‘obvious’.

James continued, “We’re nature spirits, and this isn’t our first time. A long time ago I was a guy named Ares and now I’m James. I’m the spirit of war and I try to channel that constructively. War can be useful and constructive… but only if you work real hard.“

James shrugged and concluded, “I’ll answer to Ares but won't insist on it.”

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Originally Posted By: Courier

James continued, “We’re nature spirits, and this isn’t our first time. A long time ago I was a guy named Ares and now I’m James. I’m the spirit of war and I try to channel that constructively. War can be useful and constructive… but only if you work real hard.“

James shrugged and concluded, “I’ll answer to Ares but won't insist on it.”

Venus‘ smile remained enticing and flat out heartmelting. She felt like falling around his neck and thank him for every word he said but that would’ve been unnecessary impulsive – he would feel how she felt like it over the continued subliminal stream of emotions she transmitted to him.

Excellent – Ares will join Mt. Olympus and the Covenant will follow us.

Venus stepped forward placing one long finger on his chest where his heart was and then palmed his oversized pectoral muscle just above his nipple. She could feel his strong heart beating in his mighty chest and smiled happily. He was staying true to his word, that was something she could always rely on.

“Wonderful, Ares – You can feel how much your words mean to me. I will tell Han that you and the Covenant will join us. I suggest you explain briefly why we have to leave and then gather everything you want to take with you – we depart from my quarter’s at Violet’s as soon as I’ve talked to Dan and Myfwany – I owe her a good-bye, she’s been very nice to me in the past. Can you please find Jill for me, too?“, she was standing close to him, her hand still gently caressing his large pectoral muscle and then gave him a kiss. They had kissed a lot in the past, hot and passionate, fast and extensive but this kiss was unlike any other before. Venus‘ heart beat fast and quickly adjusted to Ares‘ strong beating drum as they reached an unison which was partially induced and guided by the emotional link she shared with him.

Ares could feel her sincere gratitude and love. She was honest about what she revealed to him and held no ill intentions in her heart yet the love she shared with him was different, purer, untainted and indiscriminate. As their lips parted there was no regret or envy, maybe a touch of longing that always lingered when you tasted something as wonderful as Venus‘ kiss.

“I thank you, Ares – we’ll talk about everything once we’re in Olympus.“, Venus stepped back from him and nodded to Nashwa and the women of her circle, then she left the tent disregarding that outside many men and women were waiting for her to come out.

Venus smiled at them briefly and then simply headed towards Violet’s knowing that many would follow her and eventually try to touch her or at least talk to her. The tall seductress didn’t seem to care much about the ´Wolves´ that followed her knowing that they couldn’t hurt her and that Han would be there to rescue her should she really get in trouble. The large building was close by and she reached the door in time unharmed.

“I suggest the Red Tent guys unless you want to deal with my friends if you dare lay your hands on me.“, she opened the heavy door to find Han already waiting for her. She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck giving him a pationate kiss beaming at him with joy.

“He’s coming with us! Ares is coming with us – I told him to gather the circle, they should be here soon. I still have to talk to Dan, though.“, there was a slight hesitation in her words and her joy was subtly suppressed. It was a surprise and she didn’t know how Han would take these news. She hoped he would accept him and she let him feel that Ares would proof no threat to her dedication to him and Olympus. Han could also tell that knowing Ares was coming with her made her feel even more exalted and content.
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"Ares... James?" Han asked. At Violet's look, he smiled. "Void spoke with people while we were occupied yesterday. She learned a great deal of information, just talking to people. I wanted to know what the Refuge's soft spots were, just in case they were violently opposed to losing you."

"Most of them will be happy to see me go," Violet replied, her voice soft but not hurt. It didn't hurt, she was surprised to feel. She really didn't care about what most of the people in the Refuge thought anymore.

"Then they are fools," Han said sharply. His face curled up in a half-smile. "And we are lucky to have you and Ares. Can he be ready soon?"

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Venus mirrored Han’s smile and rested her head against his broad chest closing her eyes while she tasted his scent. Her senses had sharpened since the orgy, the world around her had become much clearer and she experienced new impression she wasn’t aware of before.

“He’s talking to his women, telling them to prepare to leave. Ares is very protective of his herd, I suggest not interfering with what he considers his property. But don’t worry, he’ll listen to me should there be an argument, my love.“, Venus had one hand one her womb gently caressing herself as she explored her new body awareness. Her smile became warm and motherly and in her minds eye she could already see her infant children.

Her thoughts kept wandering to her next task – talking to Dan. She frowned a little and Han could feel the subtle tension rising in her but she managed to keep it low. Another sigh escaped her lips but the frown remained. Venus remembered the ceremony, that special day she had prepared and was looking forward to for so long. She wanted it to be perfect and had every step meticulously planned. It was somewhat of a gamble to surprise him with her proposal but that was part of the entire ceremony – she never expected him to say no...

He said no...

The memory still hurt her – it had burned a hole in her heart but she bravely smiled not wanting to ruin the special moment although it was ruined. While she tried to be patient and understanding in the past resentment slowly invaded her thoughts. She kept those negative thoughts away from him and never spoke her mind because she truly wanted to believe in this love but she felt she was failing.

“Such a simple thing to do...“, she whispered and Han placed a hand on her head carefully caressing her wonderful hair. He didn’t quite understand what she meant but he could feel that she was going through an emotional turmoil which probably was related to Dan.

Reluctantly the superhumanly beautiful seductress broke the embrace and looked into Han’s ´eyes´ - “I better go and try to find him – just keep an eye out for me, ok? I honestly don’t know how he will react to this. He probably won’t be in agreement and he might explode although I doubt he will. I’ll be careful.“, she gave him a tender kiss and slowly stepped back towards the door. Han followed her and opened the door for her giving the lecherous gathering outside a cold, intimidating glare. The crowd backed off a little giving Venus enough room to leave unharmed and head towards the quarantine area. She had heard that Dan would be there.

Click to reveal..
Continued in 12d 12d: The Box
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Once Dylan had gotten back he set the laptops to recharge. He sent a quick message to the RUS, informing them he had the information and would be getting it to them soon but circumstances had required they retreat, and they should have the satellite codes ready for him. After that he mostly stayed in the trailer, checking its batteries and working on his generator. His mind raced at the implications of what he had seen. There were hostile supers out there. It was time to put some thought in to defenses against supers.

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Non-plussed, James watched Violet leave and reviewed their conversation, Wait, what? I said I didn’t mind being called Ares, that’s not the same as agreeing to leave the refuge. Did she just leave me here to convince everyone to leave when she hasn’t convinced me?

OK… realistically, what are your options? She is going to leave. She’s found a new compound, probably a new relationship.

…darn it, that woman needs a keeper.

…the more things change, the more they remain the same.

So… if I just announce we need to follow her, Helen will no doubt talk about my dick thinking for me and V tying it into a knot again. Let’s start with the background. I think their first question will be what the heck happened last night.

James looked at Nashwa carefully. What they’d done a few hours ago worried him less than the loss of control. Two months pregnant, she wasn’t showing just yet. A little… well… a lot of sex shouldn’t cause any problems. On the other hand he was deeply relieved he couldn’t smell blood and doubly relieved when she smiled back at him.

James moved to the middle of the tent and sat down on the floor. He said, “Ok, get comfortable. A lot has happened, most of it important. Hawaii. Vegas. And god help me but I had a heart to heart conversation with Myfwany. And finally Violet. We’re leading up to big decision time.”

The women grouped themselves in a loose circle around him. His women plus Pat. JoAnna ordered, “Start with Vegas.”

James thought, Right. Jo has a real soft spot for Vegas. James said, “While we were in Hawaii a super with Fox’s transport power showed up looking for help. Adam told us the Vegas enclave was overrun. We went back, killed all the zombies but it wasn’t much of a victory. Vegas is no more. There’s a few survivors, except for Adam we think all of the adults were infected.”

JoAnna tried to look stone faced but instead looked grief stricken. She didn’t grow up there but part of her thought of Vegas as the center of the world. James squeezed her knee and said, “I’ll spare you the blow by blow. Fundamentally Vegas was well organized but one super wasn’t enough.”

James waited a moment then said, “Hawaii… isn’t for us, but it was interesting. I’ve said Fox’s is the best run place I’ve seen, but Hawaii makes us look small and weak. The zombies are gone except for one volcano. They’ve solved the crop failure problem.” Everyone looked sharply at James, thus far he was describing paradise but from his attitude there was something wrong.

James continued, “I met their leader, he’s impressive. Smart. Charismatic. Powerful. Organized. He’s got more than 20 supers backing him. I’d love to call him George Washington, but a more apt comparison is Adolf Hitler. He’s got serious problems with white people, which includes all of us…”

James doubted Hawaii’s leader was open minded enough to make an exception for Janella's Latina skin. He nodded to her and added, “His solution for 'the-white-problem' is somewhere between old South Africa and Nazi Germany. The whites have their ‘own island’ where they have problems getting enough food or even clothing. Further he is leading his people over a cliff in other ways too. Hitler comparisons are appropriate.”

JoAnna muttered, "Paradise as run by Nazis."

Helen asked quietly, “Do you know how they fixed the crops?”

James nodded and replied, “I think so. Apparently the… curse or whatever is keyed off how we cultivate. It might be as simple as not using a tractor, but whatever is going on isn’t crop specific. Just gathering naturally growing food works.”

James sighed and said, "And... all of that, even the crop news, pales next to having a heart to heart with Myf and Violet. Myf is leaving, I've no idea where or when or why. Violet claims she has found a better refuge. More open minded towards us, lots of supers, that sort of thing... she wants us to relocate..."

Please dear god let that be what she means.

James looked around his circle of women, it was time to let them know about the nuclear secret, "And... and... I used to think that Violet's fertility power was a solution in search of a problem. But Myf told me that including Nashwa, there's been a grand total of one non-super pregnancy."

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“Who cares what she wants?” Janella asked bluntly. “We have a good place here. What’s supposed to recommend her new place over this one? You say more open-minded… what does that mean exactly?”

“Wait, I’m it?” Nashwa asked. She’d paid more attention to the last bit than the part about Violet. James had already guessed that she and Pat would have the least objections to moving. Helen and Janella would object just because Violet had suggested it. And JoAnna…

Jo had been more subdued since the last time he’d almost succumbed to Violet. Her rants about the purple-eyed woman had ceased at that time, and since then, she’d not really spoken against her again. Right now, she was silent, still lost in the grief of James’s news about Vegas.

“Who says V is responsible?” Helen asked. “If supers are required to have children… well, how many people around here are having sex with supers regularly. Dan and Violet – pregnant. Daniel Craig and that one girl – weren’t there rumors that she was knocked up too? Kristin, with someone at Paradise. Now Nashwa. The key in each case at least one super was involved. Not two.” She shook her head. “It’s possible that Violet did something to Nash, but the simpler answer is just that humans can’t reproduce anymore. They need at least one super mate. And the implications of that are terrifying enough.”

“Yeah, stop trying to find reasons to need Violet,” Janella added, crossing her arms. “I’m still not convinced that we need to move just because she wants us to. She’s the one moving without consulting the rest of the coven.”

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James listened to everyone then replied, "On the subject of the other refuge, I'm not sure. Hawaii raised the bar for what 'good' means. If it weren't for the whole race war thing I'd..." James sighed and said, "...never mind. What with Myf leaving, I want to know what they've got."

James addressed the more serious issue, "Jasmine, that's Bond's girl, is a super. After that how many people are we betting aren't having sex? Priest? Pre-Violet Dan? From the rumors at the wall, both of those had or have live in girlfriends. James Bond had *one* girlfriend? Adam from Vegas was active. Who does that leave? Fox? Primal and that scientist?"

James looked at each women in turn and said, "And more personally, I know what we've been doing. JoAnna has an implant, but... Jillian, Helen, Janella, and pre-Violet Nashwa?"

James added, "Months ago Myfwany told me the problem with the crops was the seeds were afraid. Seeds are eggs. This sounds like the same problem."

With an undercurrent of desperation to James' voice he said, "I really, really want, to believe a superman can father children normally, but we've never seen that. Nashwa is the only non-super and she conceived with V's help. This isn't me looking for reasons to be close to Violet. This is me, shaking in my boots terrified because the survival of humanity may depend on an unstable self-destructive woman with multiple personality disorder."

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"Fine, so Nash is also the only non-super woman we know is having regular sex with a super. Even if they are having sex with non-super women, you don’t know that they aren’t using protection. We just don’t have enough information to make those kind of statements," Helen said, her voice reasonable. "As for me and Jan, we just came out of a traumatic situation and stress can cause temporary infertility. Besides, it hasn’t been that long and you’re spreading things out among four women. Super or not, that’s going to reduce your sperm count. For that matter, Jan or I have never had children and we don’t even know if we can in a normal situation.” Helen shook her head. “You’re basing this theory of Violet saving the world on a lot of assumptions. Before you’ll sell me on it, you’ll need to give me better proof then a lot of ‘what if’s.

“However, I’m going to be honest, this is not my main concern,” Helen replied.

“No shit it ain’t.” Janella didn’t resort to profanity often but she looked pissed now.

“As Jan seems to agree,” Helen said wryly before she continued. “James, you’re talking about moving based solely on the opinion of… what did you call her? An ‘unstable self-destructive woman with multiple personality disorder’? Even if you’re right about Violet, that’s no reason to move to an unknown location.”

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From James expression, what he most disagreed with was that 'spreading things out among four women' would in any way reduce his virility.

Instead he paused, considered, and replied, "You're right."

James paused to let that sink in then continued, "About moving anyway. First priority is always staying alive, if V wants to move to a weaker enclave then it's her mind we need to change. But for perspective, if Hawaii had different leadership I'd be packing."

James shifted to the other subject, "As for the rest, I learned all this minutes ago and I'm still in act-now mode...."

James reflected and said quietly, "You're also right in that we don't know. But we should be worried and thinking of contingencies. V doesn't know yet." You don't stay alive by ignoring the worst case.

As an afterthought James said, "We don't even know if V really does have a fertility power." Although we could test that again...

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Helen's look of gratification with the first words out of his mouth changed into annoyance when he clarified. "Look, James, I don't care if Violet dies. I don't wish her ill, but from all that's been said about her, I'm just as glad not to know her personally." Helen stepped forward and put her hand on James's arm. "We need to know more about this place before we move our family there."

"Go ask Violet about it," Jo said. "I'm sure if she wants us to go there, its fine."

There was a beat of silence. Jan gave Helen an inscrutable look, which Helen returned with a subtle shrug. "James, I'd feel better about moving, with the baby and all, if we knew more about it, too," Nashwa said, breaking the silence. Pat, standing behind Nash with a hand on her shoulder, nodded in silent agreement.

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James nodded and replied, "Let's hope so. If V has something Shrek-ish in mind... then either I talk her out of it or she goes by herself. Family comes first."

James walked out and followed V's trail.

And it was V's choice that she's not family. But the bottom line is still none of mine die because she wants to punish herself. If this is something self destructive, then we'll just have to hope she gets the chance to learn from mistakes.

And if she doesn't... or even if she's still around...

I need to treat this fertility thing a lot more seriously. Could Myf learn to do what V does? Could I? Would just being able to smell what's going on be enough?

(Continued in Chapter 12d: The Box)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Continued from 12d: The Box...

Stepping into Violet's, Kristin felt the desire flowing from Venus coming even stronger after she flexed. Her firm breasts rose and fell as her breath grew more rapid from trying to endure Venus' assailing sensations. There were heady, but powerful and not a little scary. It was beginning to feel too good, and she remembered what had happened before when that had happened.

Kristin was almost able to deal with it though, until James turned his judging, condescending eyes upon her, upon them. Suddenly, her burgeoning confidence popped like a pricked soap bubble, the link between her and Venus unconsciously narrowing to a tiny trickle both ways, just enough to tell them the link was still there.

Kristin twitched, looking up at Venus, her expression unsure and a just a bit wary. It wasn't a full relapse, but it was a crumbling edge.

"I... um, I'm just gonna go upstairs to my room, see if Ashley is here and done with the... done, I'llberightback," she finished in a rush as she ran up the stairs without waiting for a reply, stifling a near sob when Venus' caressing touch released its hold on her ass.

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There was a young man lounging in the main area of Violet’s. He was leaning casually against the counter, his elbows tucked up. He seemed to be supervising the group of people who were carefully packing objects. He pushed off the counter, not much to look like, but carrying an air of power.

Before much could be done or said, Kristin hurried out of the room. The young man's eyes were on her as she fled, but whatever he thought of the situation was hidden behind his black sunglasses. The tall blond man, as thickly muscled as Dan or James, watched her go with pursed lips and an admiring stare. The same wasn't true of the Asian man who watched quietly, his arms folded. His expression, even when it fell on the beautiful women, was neutral. Only Venus and the other Olympians knew what passions he hid under that stoic gaze.

Stepping forward, the lounging man offered his hand to Fox. “Morgan Fox. I’ve heard much about you, from Gabrielle and Venus,” he said, his smile warm. “I’m Han, and I'm glad to finally meet you, in person.”

“It’s good to meet you as well,” Fox said, adding his own charming smile to the mix. The men shook, then Venus offered further introductions, ending with James.

“And I’ve heard much about you as well, from Venus,” Han said, offering his hand to James as well. “I understand you might be moving with us as well?”

“While you two talk,” Fox said quickly, “I’d just like to talk to Violet about a few things before she goes. Do you have a moment, Violet?”

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Kristin's sudden departure was commented with an exaggerated sigh on Venus' behalf who simply switched the focus of her affection to James pullling him closer to her as he asked his question.

Originally Posted By: Courier

James waited until they were in Violet's then couldn't contain himself any longer. Not waiting until they were alone he said, "Violet. I have to know. Two months ago, did you help Nashwa?"

Violet could feel the intensity of James interest, but after that it got confusing. This was a 'weight of the world' question, but he wasn't sure whether he wanted to hear 'yes' or 'no'.

Rising an eyebrow at him while one arm was slowly grasping, or trying to grasp around his massive biceps, she replied in her mellifluous voice, "Of course I have - I thought you wanted to have children? She wouldn't have been able to conceive without my help... what is worrying you?", she replied and asked in return. She could feel his concern and general. If something was wrong with Nashwa he would've asked a different question so there must've been another issue she wasn't aware of.

Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
“And I’ve heard much about you as well, from Venus,” Han said, offering his hand to James as well. “I understand you might be moving with us as well?”

“While you two talk,” Fox said quickly, “I’d just like to talk to Violet about a few things before she goes. Do you have a moment, Violet?”

The men were just getting acquainted when Fox asked his question and Venus briefly nodded at him, currently more concerned with James' question.

"Of course, Captain... why don't you and the women take a seat at one of the tables, I join you in a minute.", she kindly requested but also making sure that she wanted to solve the issue with James first before dedicating more time to a conversation with the Captain. Venus' eyes remained on Han the entire time, they were sparkling with a mysterious glow and her smile was unmistakably admiring the handsome Asian.

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Originally Posted By: Venus
Rising an eyebrow at him while one arm was slowly grasping, or trying to grasp around his massive biceps, she replied in her mellifluous voice, "Of course I have - I thought you wanted to have children? She wouldn't have been able to conceive without my help... what is worrying you?", she replied and asked in return.
James inhaled sharply like V had struck him. That had been more information than he'd expected. Nashwa couldn't have children. By inference, a superman wasn't enough. Pretty much the worse case... and perhaps it's solution. Despair mingled with a ray of hope.

James answered V's first question saying quietly, "Yes, I do. Thanks" while he stood there and tried to get his head around everything.

Just because V said it, didn't mean it was true. This might be V making assumptions rather than her powers telling her things.

Just because Nashwa needed help, didn't mean the others did.

Just because Santa hadn't shown up last Christmas didn't mean he wouldn't next.
Originally Posted By: Dawn, OOC
“And I’ve heard much about you as well, from Venus,” Han said, offering his hand to James as well. “I understand you might be moving with us as well?”

“While you two talk,” Fox said quickly, “I’d just like to talk to Violet about a few things before she goes. Do you have a moment, Violet?”
It took a moment for James to realize there was a hand in front of him but he reached out and shook it and replied, "Um... I think."

James shook himself back to the present. First things first. James focused on the young man and he said seriously, "I mean, tell me about it."
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Though conscious of James' brief exchange with Violet, Myfwany's attention was all on Han, and his friend. If he noticed her staring at him, he didn't appear to react. Perhaps he thought she was caught up in his good looks, or in the confidence he exuded.

In truth, she was looking past the mask of skin and muscle, blood and bone, to see what the pattern of the power beneath was.

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Venus waited a short moment and then raised one hand to make Han wait with his answer.

"Excuse me... Ares? You're not entirely sincere, I can feel that. What is on your mind, what is troubling you?", his emotional confusion was giving away his intention to play over it and Venus didn't want to let this thing unsolved if she could do anything about it. Something told her that he had more questions and maybe she could answer some of those but why was he so agitated all of a sudden.

"I thought we had spoken about everything with the Coven.", there was true concern in her voice now while she gently squeezed his bulging arm and her eyes were now focused on him instead of Han.

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