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t's just a job I do - edits

Teh second half of It's just a job I do with edits... if you are reading this drop me a note... if not well I feel all alone here.. LOL

 

I wake knowing Kevin is somewhere downstairs.  I dress and wonder briefly how all my clothes got here from the hotel.  I guess it’s not important, I’m sure it has something to do with Kevin and his Jeremy.  I will get used to it one of these days. 

 

I find him in the – oh I think he called it the morning room, and he has a guest.  Kevin looks board and vaguely annoyed.  His guest is tall and dark haired with lovely aquiline features.  He looks like a snob, but then again just this second Kevin looks like a snob as well.  I can’t bring myself to enter the room; the realm of the ultra snob isn’t a place I’m sure I want to enter. The dark haired one is speaking. 

 

“I thought maybe this killer, this Silverblade was you.  You have to admit it is quite the coincidence you coming back at the exact same time, but Erin was attacked while she was sporting. But Erin says it’s a woman; a human woman.”

 

“What makes you think Silverblade is human?” if I’m not mistaken I hear a sharp edge to Kevin’s voice.

 

Erin said it stayed in human form even after Erin bit her.  We can’t do that- not on a full moon. The pain would have driven her into her canine form.”

 

“I suppose…”

 

“By the way, old man, you aren’t here to try to get Erin back are you?”

 

“No”

 

“I mean she’s one hell of a lady, and we don’t marry for another week.”

 

“No, really,” Kevin stammers.

 

 I realize that now would be a good time to step in, so I step around the door.  I reach out for Kevin’s arm and rest my head on his shoulder, “I didn’t know you had a guest dear,” I chirp trying to be perky, “are you going to introduce me to your friend?”

 

“Lola, this is Dirk; we grew up together.  Dirk, this is Lola; one of the reasons I wont be going after your fiancé.”

 

Dirk looks me up and down, taking in the broomstick skirt and the long sleeved peasant blouse.  Look I know I’m no raging beauty but I’m not bad, maybe a little plain.   My nose could be smaller, and I could have more curves.  I don’t think I deserve the look that I get from Kevin’s friend. 

 

“I thought you had better taste than that, Kevin,” he sneers.  Part of me is hardened to the comments of Powers to be, but part of me wants to punch him in the face.  Kevin slips an arm around me. 

 

“There is nothing wrong with my taste.  And she and I have plans, if you’ll excuse us.”

 

“Ah I see.  I’ll show myself out then, shall I?”  Dirk turns and stalks out of the room.

 

Kevin leans against me, “I thought it would be longer before they all started snooping around.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“Dirk.  I’m sure others will come as well.”

 

“But aren’t they your friends?”

 

“No, we just,” he shrugs seemingly at a loss for words. 

 

“Not friends?  And the one from last night?”

 

“My ex.”

 

“Ah.”

 

“I can tell you all about it if you would like.”

 

“You don’t have to,” I want him to, but at the same time we almost never talk about the past. 

 

“When we met I was running away.”

 

“Yes, you’ve said that often.”

 

“I was running away from marrying Erin.”

 

“Weren’t you in love?”

 

“No our families wanted it.  She’s – well, you met her last night, she isn’t much different in human form.”

 

“A bit of a bitch?” I ask, smiling at my stupid joke.

 

“You could say that,” he says without pause, “and then there was you, and you were so… I had to go with you.”

 

“I know I was there remember?” I say it to lighten the mood.  It doesn’t seem to work, he smiles sadly.

 

“Yes,” then he seems to brighten, “I said we have plans, and we do.  I thought it would be nice to redecorate, so it doesn’t feel so much like a hotel.”

 

“I thought you liked hotels,” I say with a smile.

 

“Yes, but if we will be staying here for some time, I thought.  Well I thought it would be nice to not be sleeping on the bed I slept on when I was a boy.”

 

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The week is nice.  We spend most of it shopping and redecorating.  Kevin seems to enjoy replacing everything in the house.  I enjoy having a bed that we picked out together, one that doesn’t smell like other people.   We are all curled up one night and Kevin whispers in my ear something he had never said before.

 

“Tell me about the past.”

 

I knew it had to be coming; after all I’ve been walking in his past since we got here and we’ve always been an equitable couple.  

 

“You know that I am an Ulfheonar, right?”

 

“Yes I know you were trained as a Fury.”

 

“I don’t like being called that.  I don’t mind Ulfheonar I don’t mind Wolf skin, I don’t even mind Berserker but I don’t like Fury.”

 

“I’ll try to remember that,” I can hear his smile even in the dark, “but earlier than that?  I thought the Ulfeonar only took the Volsung?”

 

“My mother was a Volsung.”

 

“And your father?”

 

“I don’t know exactly.  He was either a red wolf, or maybe part coyote.  I never asked,”

 

“You would have to ask?”

 

“Yes, the two can look very similar.  I was born in Fairview, I have brothers and sisters, and when I was young my father took me for training.”

 

“Did he take any of your siblings?”

 

“My brother Toby is also a Ulfeonar.  We were the most like him,” at least that is what father always said. 

 

“What do you learn in your training?”

 

“Not much.  We learn to fight, we learn – well it’s hard to describe really, I guess it’s like prayer.”

 

“Right the Ulfeonar are holy to Odin.”

 

“The sagas say ‘those who fall into battle as wolves are beloved of Odin’, but that’s not the whole of it.  What were you raised to believe?”  

 

“It was simple really, some families were curse to live some time as the Wolf.  We were linked to the moon, burned by her metal.  What were you taught?”

 

“We were blessed by the gods and feared nothing but beheading and the removal of our hearts.  That is what I am trying to teach you, you don’t have to be limited by the beliefs that you learned as a child,” I touch Kevin’s face gently, “I want you to be as free as I am.”

 

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Meetings are dull and conference rooms don’t give you much to look at.  I didn’t know when I agreed to this job that I would be standing behind the Powers that Be as they discussed succession, my father was known for his work with succession, but me, well I’m not that subtle.  I find myself staring at the table that is shaped like a kidney and letting my attention slip from the task at hand.  At least the table has an interesting shape, nothing else in the room is interesting, the walls are white with no windows and around the table are gray office chairs.  I am also not paying attention so when the Power who paid me turns to me and asks a question I have the ask him to repeat himself. 

 

“I asked if you had ever had any experience with this sort of thing?”

 

“No.”

 

“Your father was gifted in these matters.”

 

“I am not my father.”

 

“No.  Our children are never quite what we expect,” he says with a smile, “Now we let in the ones that may replace us.”

 

I open the door to the waiting room, I am not surprised to see Dirk and the female I had wounded sitting out there.  Sitting with them are a couple that I don’t recognize, he has the obvious strength of a man who works hard at some job that requires much strength, the girl with him is a lovely red head.  Lastly I see Kevin.  I know I shouldn’t be surprised after what I’ve seen since we’ve been in town, but it is still a bit of a shock to really see him there.   I am careful not to let my surprise show, I’m not going to let the others see any weakness.

  

“You may enter now,” I say stepping back to let them through. After they enter I shut the door and take my position behind the Power that talks to me.  I want to go back to LaLa land, but the appearance of Kevin has piqued my interest.  So now I have to listen.

 

“Father,” Kevin says inclining his head to the Power who always speaks to me. 

 

“Kevin, welcome home.”

 

“This was a silly ruse,” Kevin says half heartedly.

 

“If I just asked, would you have come?”

 

“No,” Kevin says looking at me.

 

“Well then,” the Power says, “silly worked didn’t it?”

 

“Yes, I suppose it did,” Kevin admits with a small smile, “We need to introduce our selves.”

 

“Why?” Dirk asks, “We all know each other.”

 

“Lola doesn’t,” Kevin says quietly, all eyes turn to me and then I hear a snort.

 

“Why would she need to know?” Erin asks. 

 

“Because they are mated, I thought you would have guessed,” Dirk sneers to Erin.

 

“Oh,” Erin says quietly, then in a much louder voice, “Is that why you came after me?”

 

“No,” I say in a voice that I hope is emotionless, “You were chasing a human.  That is against the Laws.”

 

“The Laws are old and outdated!”

 

“No some are not,” I don’t like her not one little bit. 

 

“This isn’t what we are here to discuss,” says the strong one, “My name is Olaf and this is Amanda.  The rude ones are Dirk and Erin.”

 

“We’ve met,” I say with a smile. 

 

“That makes sense,” he says with something like a shrug, “Right then, the Alphas are, he gestures to the two that have mostly done the talking, “the O’Connell’s, I assume you’ve met them as they are Kevin’s parents,” I nod, as if I knew that before today, “those there are Dirk’s parents, the Cartwright’s” he jabs a thumb at one of the Alpha couples, and then the other, “The Thatcher’s are Erin’s parents.”

 

“Olaf and Amanda are here because they were chosen by the rest of the population, as is our way here,” this was Mr. O’Connell speaking, “You have until the next fool moon to resolve the order of your hierarchy.  You may all go now.” He turns to me, “Even you, my daughter.”

 

I notice Erin’s glare and then nod to Mr. O’Connell and then to the other Powers that Be.  I am the last to leave the room and by the time I get out into the antechamber Kevin is the only one there.  He seems a little nervous.

 

“You aren’t angry about my parents, are you?” He asks gently.

 

“No.  You haven’t met my family,” I shrug and smile.  It seems to put him at ease. 

 

“Next time you should where your cloak and broad sword.  You look so impressive in them.”

 

“I don’t have them to impress the likes of Dirk!”

 

“I know you don’t,” he says putting an arm around me, “but when we all fight you should, it’ll scare the piss out of them.”

 

“What do you mean, fight?” 

 

“We have to fight the others.”

 

“Why?” 

 

“Because that is how these things are done.  And if we don’t fight then Dirk and Erin will end up governing.”

 

“I thought you ruled as a group?”

 

“Well – yes, but the one that wins the fights sets the rules of the city.”

 

“And is the one that sets the rules now, is it your father?”

 

“I don’t think so,” Kevin says slowly, “the Alpha’s don’t talk about it.”

 

“So what you are saying is that we are staying here.”

 

“I thought you wanted that?” he asks.

 

“For awhile, but not necessarily forever.  I’m not Alpha material.”

 

“Of course you are!” he seems shocked that I would think I wasn’t, “But we wont have to stay forever, just until everything is settled.  Then we leave when we feel like it.” 

 

 

 

When we get home Kevin sits down on the couch and flips on the TV, he hasn’t even looked at me since we left the office.  He seems, well, sulky.  I take his hand in mine, Kevin never sulks and it seems strange.

 

“You alright?” I ask.

 

“Fine.”

 

“If you are fine, why aren’t you looking at me?”

 

“I don’t want to do this,” he says turning to me, “You’re going to get mad because I never told you any of this.  And I know you hate to fight for no reason.  And now we’re going to fight.  I just don’t want to do that.”

 

“I’m not mad at you.”

 

“You weren’t?” He says in a completely disbelieving tone.

 

“No.  I don’t think this is a time to fight between us.”

 

“Really?” he asks slowly.

 

“Yeah,” I say taking his hand, “this is a time to teach you how to survive in a fight.”

 

“You can’t.  The rules are we go into this fight with the skills we have now.”

 

“You are kidding right?” I ask incredulously.

 

“Why would I make a joke about that?” he asks turning away from me again. 

 

“I don’t know,” now I’m worried.  I have no idea how Kevin will handle himself in a fight.  Not once in all the time we’ve been together has Kevin had to fight.  Maybe it was a mistake not to let him into the world I work in.

 

“I’ll do fine,” he says with a smile, “and if I don’t then we just leave faster than I had anticipated.”

 

“But you could be killed!” Look I don’t know much about the way things happen to guarantee succession.  I haven’t lived in the same place long enough to know, plus I think each city may have its own rules.   But I’m not sure.  I could call on Father, he’d know, he did this sort of thing for a living.

 

“I won’t be killed.  The worst that will happen is banishment.”

 

I know for most Wolves banishment would be worse than death, but I guess time wandering with me has changed Kevin’s mind about that.  I still don’t want him hurt though, “Will you take a few pointers?”

 

“No, most definitely not, I’ll see to it that I’m matched against Dirk first,” an image of Dirk comes to mind.  He doesn’t look like he’s fought any more than Kevin has, but I’ve learned that looks can be deceiving. 

 

“I’m sure he’s been training.”

 

“I’m sure,” Kevin replies in a lazy voice, “as have I, in my own way,” he reaches over and pulls the ring his father had given me from my finger.  He closes his hand around it with a look of concentration and then opens his unscathed hand, “That should catch him off guard,” he says placing the ring back in my hand with a smile, “Oh and I just love the scar you gave Erin.  I’m surprised she let herself been seen that way.”

 

“I didn’t notice,” I really didn’t.  But I hadn’t looked for it either, “It must be small.”

 

“It is.  But she hates not being perfect.”  

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t help it, I’m still worried, I guess it’s normal.   I just don’t want him to have to do this; over the next week I must suggest sneaking out of town at least fifteen times.  He’s not hearing it, either he wants to do this, or he feels like he has to.   I can’t say I understand, but he is Kevin and he has stood by me through some odd things.  I can’t count the nights he’s patched up injuries I’ve gotten at work.  We fall into a pattern over the week; Kevin makes some attempt at practicing with weapons but mostly he practices with the silver.  I read him passages from the Book of the Ulfheonar he is partial to ‘and they killed many men but they were themselves unharmed’.   My feeling is that he is a little nervous as well or he wouldn’t have keyed in on that line.       

 

The week goes all too quickly and soon the six of us are gathered again in the meeting room that belongs to the Powers that Be.  Each of us has to place a weapon on the table, for me it’s my silver dagger.  Each of the others seems to have also chosen an edged weapon.  I don’t want to be doing this so much I can taste it.  I kill people as a job, I don’t want to fight in my private life, where is the profit in that?  And I don’t want Kevin hurt.  We are told that the point here isn’t to kill your opponent.  I’m not paying as close attention as I should be, because Kevin and Dirk are facing off before I even step away from the table that is holding our weapons. 

 

Dirk takes my knife.  I know that was the plan; I know that is what Kevin was betting on but fear closes around my heart.  What if Kevin can’t sustain a wound from it?  I start forward, but a hand on my shoulder stops me.  I look back and see it is the Power that paid me – Kevin’s father. 

 

“He has to do this himself.  He is strong enough, and if he’s not he doesn’t deserve to win.”    

 

I want to snap at Kevin’s father.  To yell and stop this silly fight, between two men that are so obviously not fit for a battle.  I want to say ‘let me fight for him’, but I don’t.  I just stand there watching as Kevin chooses his weapon; I think it’s the one he brought the one he has been practicing with.  Well at least that is a blessing; he’s not too bad with it. 

 

I watch as the two men circle each other.  Neither looks truly confidant but Dirk seems to be hiding it better.  I don’t want to watch, but I can’t pull my eyes away.  They circle again and then Dirk rushes in, knife flashing.  Kevin grabs Dirks hand and pushes him back.  Good lord these men can’t fight.  I should have started teaching Kevin to fight when I first met him. 

 

“I’ll get you O’Conner. I’ll get you with your girlfriend’s knife.  It’s silver, it’ll kill you.”   

 

“Get it over with then,” I don’t like the sound of Kevin’s voice, he sounds resigned.  They circle again and as Kevin’s back is too me, Dirk thrusts again.  I don’t have to see Kevin to know that the knife had bitten into his flesh I can feel it.   Through the pain blossoming in my stomach I wonder if this is why Kevin always seems to know when I’ve been hurt when I’m out working.  I watch as Kevin stumbles and sags under the weight of the pain.  I would rush forward to pull Kevin away, but the hand is still on my shoulder, and it stops me.     

 

“Is that all you got?” Kevin asks through clenched teeth.  I see him straighten and then he gathers himself and jumps, bowling an unresisting Dirk over and the two fall to the floor.

 

“You should be dead,” Dirk says.

 

“I’m not,” Kevin says.  He’s doing something, but I can’t tell what until I see my knife in his hand.  He places the knife at Dirk’s throat, “but you could be.  Yield?” 

 

Dirk holds off for a long heartbeat before he nods.  Kevin stands tall for a few seconds before I brake away from his father and touch my Kevin’s back, “Kev?”

 

“Oh fuck…” he says as he starts to – well deflate is the closest word I can think of.  He leans back against me and then his legs fold up under him and I ease him gently to the floor.  There is blood all over him, but he smiles up at me, “See I told you I could take the silver.”

 

“I know… hush I’ll get you home.”

 

“You didn’t say it would hurt so much.”

 

“Would you have listened?”

 

“No…probably not.”

 

“I didn’t think so,” I say with a smile, “you hush now,” I look up at the Powers that Be and ask, “You must have a doctor here, right?”  the Power that was introduced to me as Erin’s mother nods and then gestures to someone.  A door I never noticed opens and two young women step through it, between the two of them they lift Kevin and take him away from me.  They leave me kneeling where Kevin had been. 

 

“You fight Erin now,” Kevin’s mother says gently. 

 

“No, I’ve fought her before and won,” I should be with Kevin not fighting some stupid girl.

 

“You have to.  It’s the way things are, and you agreed to it,” Erin says.

 

“I don’t have to do anything,” I say looking up at her. 

 

“You do or you forfeit,” Kevin wouldn’t want me to forfeit, but I really want to find Kev and make sure he’s all right. I start to stand and Erin rushes at me.  I stand stunned for a split second, not wanting to believe that she would be silly enough to attack me.  Then, without thinking about it, I attack.  Soon she’s against the wall I’m holding her against the wall with one hand and the other has her face turned so her throat is exposed to me.   This is stupid.   I shift my hold and slam her head against the wall; she goes limp and I drop her.

 

“Guess I don’t forfeit.”

 

 

 

 

It’s all a blur.  Finding Kevin where he is with the healers, patching him up.  It should be me, being patched up.  I should never have let him fight.  One of the healers, a young man, not a werewolf, looks up at me and smiles, “He’ll be fine, the wound was half cauterized when we got him.”

 

“He believed the silver wouldn’t hurt him.”

 

The healer makes a snorting noise, “It doesn’t work that way,” he says, his tone of voice soothing.  I could argue with him, but I don’t.  Why let everyone in on my secrets?  I just let the healer continue, “So we’ll be ready to move him back to the town house soon,” I nod dumbly, relived that Kevin will be alright, “He’ll need rest and time to heal.  Are you capable of caring for him?”

 

“Yes,” I want to be insulted by the question, but I’m not, I’m just happy that Kevin will be alright, “I’ve taken care of the wounded in the past.”

 

“Good then.”

 

I sit and wait, while the healers finish with Kevin.  Then we are escorted as I carry Kevin to the car, well to a black minivan.  His eyes are still closed as I set him down on the back seat.  I take a seat on the floor next to him and the van is started and we are driven home.  He still seems asleep as I take him up to the room and tuck him into bed.  I sit next to him and smooth Kevin’s hair back off of his face and he stirs under my hand.

 

“That was… unpleasant,” he murmurs, “but at least it worked.” 

 

“You were incredible,” I say with real pride.

 

“Was I?  He did stab me.”

 

“That’s fine, you survived and you won.  Now you rest.”

 

“And I’ll feel better in the morning?”

 

“You just might,” I say as he slips back off into sleep.