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z-Wakiki Izumi

World of Darkness: Attrition - Assault on a Rest Home

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Wakiki shot her a thumbs-up that was somehow jaunty and sardonic at the same time. “I always look worse than you do. I’m a guy. We aren’t nearly as sexy as you ladies. By the way, I babble when in pain.”

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“You must be in agony,” Calypso rejoined with a smirk.

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“I am not feeling happy, no.” Wakiki hissed as she knelt down and pulled his shirt away from the wound.

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“Here,” Calypso murmured as she brushed her fingers over his angry, abused flesh. After a second, the worst of the wound went away, disappearing with stop-action speed. When she removed her fingers, there was still an open wound, but it looked days old instead of minutes, and it wasn’t bleeding anymore. “Sorry, that’s my best.”

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“You best is better than Gary. And hotter. Soooooooo… Gary, this is Calypso, she of the magic-fingers, and Calypso, this is Gary, he of the… what do you do again, Gary?” He was sure that the fucking werewolf had said Gary was magical and okay to talk around, but the details were lost in a haze of pain and blood and bad jokes.

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There were times when Gary, much as he didn't like to admit it or notice, became disassociated from injury and death. Too much exposure did have that effect. Didn't mean it was good, or that he wasn't embarrassed with Imriel suddenly pointing it out. But, the hotness (if subdued by the marring of battle) of Calypso gave him a moment to yank away from that unhappy train of thought.

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On the other hand, getting too familiar with the details, might just be a little too soon. He hadn't been exact to Declan and Kaitlin, and they had been captives along with him. But Gary could be playful about it, speaking with a lopsided expression and grin. "Things. Ghoulish and ghastly, two-headed geestie things. Point is, I know you're mages, I'm supernatural too, and that should suffice for now, yes?"

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Declan understood well enough. Once the berserk rage of his own First Change had worn down, he'd spent some time trying to figure out how to go from four legs to two. Luckily for Kaitlin, she had a teacher. The vargr shifted easily, fur receding, fangs disappearing, the magnificence of his wild shape giving way to the still-impressive physique of of his two-legged form. He didn't seem at all self-conscious about his nudity, wearing nothing as easily as a king wore robes. Two sets of female eyes swiveled down, then up again hastily, but the werewolf seemed oblivious to that as he did to the healing claw and fang wounds Kaitlin had inflicted in her fury. The bleeding had mostly stopped, though the shoulder wound was still oozing a little, the blood showing black in the darkness as it painted his skin.

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"It's easy enough." he told the monstrous cat. "You gotta think yerself human. Think goin' out for a burger, think watchin' yer favorite show, think about laughin' and messin' around in the pool with Oneca and August and Aradia. Think about how it would suck to never do that shit again, how you want to stand on two legs and speak. The beast is always gonna be there in you, frail. You can bring it back just by thinkin' the opposite way. Time will come soon that it'll be second-nature, like breathin'." Dec's form blurred to wolf, then back to man over the next ten seconds. He shrugged encouragingly at Kaitlin. "Easy, see? You give it a go."

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Green-gold eyes narrowing, warm breath hissing heavily through ivory fangs like knives, Kaitlin absorbed Declan's rumbling words and tried to keep her eyes on his instead of rather lower. There was strength and speed in being a fucking big cat, enough to tear off some payback on a werewolf and a vampire.

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But there were things it couldn't do, as Declan said. She pictured riding her skateboard, hearing the wheels rolling on concrete. Going out to a bar or dance club; making out with a boy (or a girl); simply being able to talk instead of meow, yowl, chirp, chirrup, scream and whatever else big-ass cats do (except roar, she couldn't seem to do that).

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Slowly, Kaitlin peeled back the cougar sheath she was wearing, her growl shifting into a groan; it felt like taking off a diving suit three sizes too small. Tawny fur receded, bones twisted, and muscle slid and compacted on the emerging form of an athletic young woman, a little taller than average. Kaitlin flowed to her feet with an easy, almost feral grace, patting herself down, grinning at finding that she was herself again...

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... Mostly herself, she amended. Always athletic, with the lean, muscular figure of a gymnast, if unlike many, actually having a chest worth mentioning, her physique seemed even tauter, more defined than before. Her six-pack abs were showing even without flexing and her thighs looking fucking huge, like a world-class cyclist's or speed-skater's. She couldn't see that her eyes were just a tad larger and brighter, some of her teeth just a bit sharper. Her senses were almost painfully sharp, every motion drawing her eye, ears twitching at every sound, her nose picking up scents she had never noticed before.

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She was also very naked, as was Declan. Trying to emulate his nonchalance, Kaitlin casually covered herself with her hands as she looked up at Declan, faint colour rising in her cheeks. "Guess it ain't like the movies were our clothes with us then?"

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"No it ain't, frail," Declan said with a smirk, giving her a look. While it was appraising, it wasn't sexual. Kaitlin's blush depended. "Not for us, at any rate," he added, glancing at Whisker. "Get used to it."

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"Fine." Kaitlin forced her hands down, stretching her arms and back with an almost eerily smooth movement. Her nose scrunched up, pink tongue dancing in and out of view as she worried at her teeth. "Now, wha- ugh! The fuck is-" Kaitlin spit out a clump of hair she had worked out from between her teeth. "That was fur! Dog's fur! Did I eat a goddamn poodle?!"

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"Yorkie, actually."

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"Gross!" Kaitlin exclaimed, following it up with some gagging noises. She apparently didn't have any qualms about chowing down on raw, wild pig.

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"This was your First Change, Kat," Declan explained, not harshly, but firmly. "The Beast was hungry. And it could have been worse."

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Kaitlin glanced at him, noting the fading scratches on him, and herself for that matter, face paling as she shivered, feeling the Beast inside stretch. It could have been much worse. Taking a few deep breaths to compose herself, she gave Declan a determined nod. "Right. Uh, so now what? Will I find myself turning into a raging beast once a month, then into a giant cat on the full moon?"

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Declan gave a short rumbling chuckle at Kaitlin's jest, shaking his head. "No, the Moon doesn't force a transformation. The stuff 'bout Silver is real though, and hurts like a sumbitch. But you're gonna have to give the Beast time to play too, 'cause one or 'nother, it'll be coming out, frail. Yer on the path between Man and Animal now, Kat. 'Nuff on the were lessons, now, we go back, check on those we left behind while you got in touch with yourself, and make sure there ain't no more fuckers putting people like us in cages."

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"'Kay, but a sec," Kaitlin interrupted. "You might be used to it, but I am not running around in my skin when we get back. Give me a minute." Kaitlin slipped away through the brush in the direction of the campers who had almost been lunch. Some traceurs were hardcore and went barefoot - she almost never did, but she wasn't having any trouble now. A minute or two later, Kaitlin came back, a pair of daisy dukes and a halter top in one hand, a pair of swimming trunks and a sleeveless shirt in the other. "Got you something too, Declan. As interesting as it is seeing you flapping around bare and free, it's distraction."

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"Thanks, but four feet are faster than two," Declan said with a nod, already beginning to shift. He favoured teaching folks by throwing them in the deep end - time to sink or swim.

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"Yeah, well, we'll be back on two legs soon enough." Kaitlin tied the clothes into a tight ball, then took a several deep breaths, focusing on the feeling of power and freedom that came with being a giant cougar. A predator with no fear of the things that went bump in the night. She was the one that did the fucking bumping! But don't force it, just go with the flow. The Beast was always there now, and she knew it for what it was.

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After a long moment, the transformation began, not as smoothly or swiftly as Declan, but the transformation came, like someone using an exercise machine for the first time. Taking a moment to settle into the form of the huge cougar once more. Picking up the ball of clothes in her mouth, she nodded her big head at Declan to take lead the back to the Rest Home.

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On the other hand, getting too familiar with the details, might just be a little too soon. He hadn't been exact to Declan and Kaitlin, and they had been captives along with him. But Gary could be playful about it, speaking with a lopsided expression and grin. "Things. Ghoulish and ghastly, two-headed geestie things. Point is, I know you're mages, I'm supernatural too, and that should suffice for now, yes?"
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“Not at all,” Wakiki said, holding out a hand to Calypso, who seized it and pulled him to his feet. Though he had to hang onto the wall, the Japanese native managed to stay upright. “With no offense to whatever you are and your not-doubt rich cultural heritage, I’m not down with yapping all about business that doesn’t concern you.”

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“That’s not very nice,” Gary observed with a slight frown.

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“I’m not here to make friends, just rescue people.” Wakiki kept his tone neutral, not wanting to offend the other man. Not that he was scared of him; mages were the top of the supernatural food chain. Still there was no point in riling the fellow up unnecessarily.

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“I think they’re back.” Gary was looking out the door and Wakiki leaned over enough to see the wolf and massive cougar. Whisker was behind them, dwarfed by the massive shifters. No doubt that was why she was walking behind rather than between them. Before their eyes, the two true shifters looked around, made sure they were alone, and then resumed their human form.

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Wakiki found himself eyeing Kaitlin. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen it before, or at least he had seen the nakedness. The going from Catzilla to chick was new, or at least, she hadn’t been displaying that trick for him at the party. This is probably supposed to feel awkward. Thank god I’m in too much pain for me to notice.

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Ironically, an almost identical thought process was going on inside Aradia's head as she eyed Dec up and down, remember the last time she'd seen the attractive but rugged man. He'd been wearing nothing then, too, but for a very different reason. She remembered the growling, the belt buckle, the -- Down, girl! You're here on business!. Even as she remembered that, her attention turned to Kaitlin, and her eyes widened in true surprise. For if finding out your one-night-stand and roommate's friend/personal trainer was a fucking werewolf was cause for a double-take, finding out her other friend/roommate was a were-cat came as a total shock. She crossed the distance between her and the other (admittedly slightly freaked-out) girl, gave her a hug, and pulled back to eye both her and Dec.

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"Holy shit, you two.. how long have you two been here? I just saw you, like, three days ago, chica. What the hell happened?" Kaitlin shook her head at Aradia, memories of how long she'd been here and what had happened to get her there still fuzzy, and a little mixed up with the predatory impulses of her first hunt. Aradia turned to Dec, her expression concerned and worried. Twenty minutes ago they were supposed to be rescuing random supernatural creatures from a bunch of Seers. These were her friends, dammit! "Are you two okay?"

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"Peachy." Dec said, his own surprise at finding Aradia with the others had been well-concealed behind wolfy features, as he had smelled her scent before even coming around the corner. Still, it was good to see a friendly face with all the strangers. He smiled and gave her a quick, unselfconscious hug. "You look like you've been dragged through a hedge ass-backwards, though."

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"Always the charmer." Aradia said with a small laugh, blushing a little at the naked hug. "So you're okay?"

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"We're okay now." Dec said. "You guys came in the nick of fuckin' time." He glanced at Wakiki and Gary. "I'm assumin' you're one of these guys, that is. Not a prisoner?" As Ari nodded, Declan gave an eloquent grunt.

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"Alright then. They holdin' anyone else here? How'd you guys get involved?"

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Gary snorted and took a few steps past the were-creatures. "Don't kill the messenger, but... Imriel says we can't. Apparently, discussing the people who kidnapped us or anything related to that is..." He threw on his best bout of sarcasm for this, "Yapping about business that doesn't concern us, I quote."

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Tilting his head back to regard the Asian mage for his assine words, Gary added, "But next time you'll be forthright and just admit you're a prick. Thank you for that."

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"Izzat fuckin' so?" Declan considered Wakiki, then glanced at Aradia, one eyebrow raised. He pondered for a moment, then shifted that silver-eyed stare back to Wakiki. He scrutinised the magus for a long moment, considering before he spoke.

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"I'm bein' nice, and askin' nicely, because you're obviously a friendly, nice guy who came to help us poor schlubs out. I owe you guys one. So why don't ya tell me what you feel you can tell me, like who the fuck these fucks were and why the fuck they wanted to cut us into still-quivering chunks." Declan's voice lowered into a faint growl, the type of noise that made people reevaluate food chains as he added.

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"Pretty fuckin' please."

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“I’m willing to tell you what I can, but a lot of the supernatural groups in LA think that just because we’re all shadowy hanger-ons to humans we should be buddy-buddy and trade information.” Wakiki shrugged then winced. “I’m not one of those, just to be forthright. It doesn’t make me a prick.” The last was added with a glare at Gary. “It means that I’ll play nice with you, but there are lines I can’t cross.” Wakiki didn’t like this crew. That dislike had started with Gary’s asshole nature, grew with Declan hugging Aradia—for reasons Wakiki was going to ignore—and culmulated with Declan trying to throw his supernatural weight around when things would have been fine if he’d stopped one sentence sooner.

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The mountain lion became a beautiful woman with dark hair and gray eyes. Unlike the others, she shifted into her form while still clothed. Silently, she moved to stand behind Imriel; the mage knew his mentor agreed with him. She was the one who had taught him to keep his mouth shut. Imriel paused to see if she wanted to take the lead, but Whisker was clearly going to let him do the talking.

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“I'm Imriel, for those of you who don't know, and this is Whisker. The people who kidnapped you were those interested in doing experiments on supernatural creatures all across LA. They came to the attention of my group when they tried to nab one of our own.” Imriel shifted slightly, trying not to hurt himself further. “They failed to get her, but we investigated and found out that she wasn’t the first person they’d tried to grab. That led to us hitting them tonight. We have an inkling of who they are—which is, in short, a group that wants to destroy the world as we know it. What we don’t know is why they were conducting these experiments.”

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“As in,” Whisker finally spoke up, “we know that they’re doing these experiments to further their knowledge, but not in what way.”

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“Right.” Imriel nodded in agreement before addressing the former captives again. “What were they doing to you guys? Anything in particular that might shed light on their ultimate purpose?”

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"Uh... what?"

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Kaitlin's large green-gold eyes were wide with confusion and surprise as she gave Aradia a tight hug after a moment of hesitation and stepped back, giving Wakiki a crooked, tentative grin. People were saying things that barely made sense to the newly revealed were-cougar, Dec was being all growly, and a fun one night stand and one of her room-mates had come to rescue to them - well, not them specifically, it seemed, considering how surprised Aradia was, but someone the Bad Guys had captured - and were some sort of supernatural... things too.

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"Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I swear I've seen a vampire and a werewolf before, and now another werewolf, a wizard, a snot-man," the taut, perky blonde gestured agitatedly at Gary, then at Aradia and Wakiki, " and whatever you guys are. Witch-hunters? Your last names aren't really Grimm and Van Helsing, are they? What the fuck?!"

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Kaitlin hugged herself, trying to stifle stressed-out snickers. She was just coming to rough terms with the fact she was a were-cat, and getting more and more piled on top of that was turning into a real strain. "Vegas scared the shit out of me, but is everyone in LA a super-freak? I was just feeling... y'know, Ari, weird, and partying hard the last week or so, then next thing I know, I'm in a cage, with some others, one of whom is a roomie's boyfriend - who is a fucking werewolf! - and another guy made of goo - even if he don't look it. The assholes take our blood and piss for tests or some shit, and sometimes they take someone into the other room and we don't see him again, but we hear the screams, and-"

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Kaitlin's rambling explanation came to a sudden stop as a horrible realization occurred to her, the pupils of her green-gold eyes turning into vertical slits. "Jesus fucking Christ! Did those fuckers turn me into a were-cougar?!"

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One moment, Declan was giving Imriel the benefit of a silver-eyed gaze that declared, with no particular rancor, that he was trying to figure out which side they were on and wouldn't much care either way. It wasn't particularly hostile. It wasn't particularly friendly either. It was utterly neutral, a wolf's stare that said "You communicated a thing, and I know by your tone and scent that you aren't my friend. By your words and deeds, you're not my enemy either, and so I'm figuring out what I need to do about it. Make no sudden moves, as being bitten may offend."

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Perhaps the most chilling thing about it was that he wasn't trying to look mean or throw his weight around right now. He was being what he was - an apex predator with human intelligence.

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The next moment, Kaitlin blurted out everything that had happened. Declan nodded once or twice in confirmation as she spilled the beans, then the newly-fledged shifter summed up with...

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"Jesus fucking Christ! Did those fuckers turn me into a were-cougar?!"
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... and the vargr gave her an incredulous look before starting to laugh, impassive alpha-wolf stare gone. It started with a snort, then a chuckle, then a bark of laughter that dissolved to a grin and a shake of his head.

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"No, kid, they didn't turn you into anything except a scared 'shifter. You already were one of us..." he paused. "Well, I say 'us', but I ain't a cat. But you know what I mean."

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"No. I don't know what you fu- ... What you mean." Kaitlin corrected slightly as she met his eyes. There was a time and a place for profanity: more to the point there were people you could cuss at, and people you shouldn't. Besides, he might be the only guy here that could tell her what was going on.

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"I'll tell ya... Later." he said, giving the mages a significant glance. "Seems the theme of the night is to keep our own damn counsel, so that's what we'll do. Right?" The question was directed at Kaitlin, but the mages were, being 'wise', well aware that it was for their benefit also. He bent down and picked out the swim trunks and the sleeveless shirt from Kaitlin's bundle, then dressed with swift economy before straightening up.

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"So there it is. There's likely no-one left inside, we're all outside, and I'm ready to hit the road 'less there's a good reason to stay." The statement was not-quite a challenge. He looked at Kaitlin appraisingly. "You got a choice to make, frail. You can stick around - I'm sure Aradia will help ya out - or you can come along with me and I'll tell ya what I can. I ain't gonna be an asshole, though. If you stick around here, you can hit me up later for the do's and dont's."

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Gary hid his expression when Imriel started talking to Declan - please, the guy had said, in more or less terms that the moment Gary admitted to not being a mage, that any discussion about their counterparts, the ones that had kidnapped Gary and company, wasn't for him. That certainly changed a bit when Declan made his commentary, like Gary intended - who keeps up that claim to a werewolf?

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Imriel = Prick. And one trying to dress up his claims like his reasoning was anything related to his own previous words. Gary noted that Aradia and Declan knew each other, forming an interesting triangle of past experience between Kaitlin, Declan and Aradia. Interesting if he ran into any of them again.

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"Me, I'm out. If you don't mind, I'll join you Dec, if you do... I'll make my own way out then."

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"Wait a minute. No, we are not mage hunters, Kaitlin." Aradia scowled slightly, looking a little frustrated at the tension that was suddenly mounting between the parties. She gestured to Gary slight with a small shrug. "I don't know about this guy, and since he's not willing to tell us anything about himself either, then whatever. But Kaitlin's my roommate, and Dec is my other roommate's boyfriend, and they're not hiding anything. These are my friends, Imriel - isn't there anything else we can tell them about what's going on? I mean, they were kidnapped, treated like lab rats."

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"I did tell them what I can." Imriel frowned at Aradia but he wasn't angry, that was clear. He was concerned about her words, as if talking to them meant more than sharing secrets.
She chewed on her lower lip, looking a little upset, then sighed and shrugged. "Sorry guys, you basically know what I know anyway, except it has something to do with politics and war." Her voice took on a sardonic tone. "Phenomenal cosmic powers!!! Aaaaaand, here's your war."

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"Aaaaand, itty-bitty living space?" Kaitlin commented with a smirk and a raised brow, the absurdity levels as high as ever.

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"We're not genies, either, Kaitlin," Aradia grumped.

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"I know, I know - I just love that movie. Had to say it." Her father hadn't had much money, but each year for Christmas, he got a Disney movie, and she guiltily loved every one. Kaitlin swung her head, blond hair falling in front of her face as she looked between Aradia and Declan. Then she gave Aradia a quick, tight hug before sliding smoothly next to the silver-eyed man, bare feet not bothered by standing on the asphalt.

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"Tell me what you can when you can. Now though, Ari, I think I've got to find out what I am. I'm gonna head out with Dec. Next time you see 'em, tell... tell August and Oneca I'm okay, just... I dunno, I was out partying, then headed to Vegas to see my Dad for a few days, 'kay? I'll be back soon, once I figure things out."

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Thinking of Vegas, Kaitlin thought about really heading back to visit her father. She'd been afraid to go back since encountering the things that go bump in the night and Madison dying. But she could bump back now. She just wished she had been able to bump back long enough to save Madison.

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Kaitlin stretched in an entirely too feline manner, then glanced up at Declan with lambent green-gold eyes. "I'm ready to go when you are, big guy"

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"Right." Declan said tersely, casting a final glance over the three magi before nodding to Aradia. A faint lupine grin curved his lips. "See ya at the next beer, pizza and movies night, cowgirl. Be safe." He winked as he turned away from Ari's answering grin and nod, then led the newly-Changed Kat and the curious Gary away into the night at a fast walk.

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"So what-?" Kaitlin began, then hushed as Dec pressed a finger to his lips warningly.

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"Let's get our asses most the way home before we jaw." the vargr told her. Kaitlin, bursting with questions though she was, saw the sense in this. Declan cast a glance at Gary, who returned it calmly enough while being scrutinised.

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"Okay, you can stay for some of the talkin'." Dec allowed. "Guess yer curious, and it ain't like I'll tell ya dick that you could either use against us or don't already know."

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"Good to know." Gary said with a smile. Dec grunted and broke into a jog, the other two moving to keep up as he led them on a winding route towards the UCLA campus.

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Kaitlin kept up with Declan easily, jogging at his said, despite her bare feet. She was a freerunner, she was used to running. It felt the same, but it felt like the Beast ran with her too. She wasn't tiring as quickly. Bare foot or not, every movement was easier, smoother. And the muscular thighs she could barely fit through the legs of the cut-offs she had stolen were functional as well as decorative. In parkour fashion, instead of jogging around obstacles, she jumped or flipped over them or off them.

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The first time, she badly misjudged how much she put into the jump and nearly impaled herself on a picket fence. After that she was more cautious, but still didn't know just how far she could jump. It was certainly something that would blow Olympic records out of the water. Awesome! I'm gonna hafta test this out!

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Kaitlin let out a whoop, surprisingly loud in the early morning light. This was freaky-ass shit, but there were some definitely bonuses.

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