Ready or Not

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
She picked up the can and inspected it, “What? Did you want to eat this?” She joked. Just like a tiger, he was ready to feast. She wondered if he would feast on this if it were the last food available. Celesse put it back down on the kitchen island, “Oatmeal and eggs are so 18th century.” She teased, shaking her head to his question. Opting not to poke the tiger any further. She pointed besides the wall next to the silver fridge, “There.”

Celesse leaned her head into her palm, watching Benjamin. What was he hoping for when he got here? But she needed him for information, for whatever reason that still eluded her. “I can go grocery shopping for you, if you’d like.” She offered. If she were to become his friend, at least to come close enough. She would have to take a step back on everything in her usual routine. This tiger was a tough cookie. And from her observations, this tiger was a lonely one who preferred hunting solo. Celesse could relate to him not wanting to rely on her. He likely preferred to return to his shack. An idea popped up into her head, “You like video games?” It might’ve seemed odd, but did he like video games? Celesse’s google search into what men liked to do in their down time was mostly on hands stuff, heavyweight stuff that was a no from the start, sports, and video games. Most of the answers she found relied on the individual’s preferences.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin let out a heavy breath through his nose at the teasing, closing his eyes. What could he say...? It didn't really bother him more than surface level. And he found he actually appreciated having someone close enough to annoy him. It was much better than silence. "You would know, old maid," he muttered under his breath as he turned to find the lockbox. Benjamin operated the dials to input the code on the padlock, pulling it off and setting it to the side. He then flipped the clasp open and lifted the lid, taking out the four $25,000 stacks of cash - which he needed - and the pistol - which he wanted. He gave it a quick inspection, pulling back the hammer and looking in the chamber, flipping the safety off and on again and then releasing the magazine. Enclosed were normal 9mm bullets. There was an extra magazine in the box with more of the same, and two boxes of bullets. He'd prepped the lockbox before he'd really known what he was getting into. The bullets wouldn't do anything but distract a supernatural but it gave him peace of mind to have the weapon near, regardless.

"I can have groceries delivered, if you'd prefer that," Benjamin said as he set the unloaded gun back in the box, turning to face Celesse again. He was leaning back against the counter, his arms folded across his chest as he watched her. "Video games...?" Benjamin scratched at the stubble growing on his neck and chin. "I haven't played in years. We used to all the time in the military, though," he said with a faint smile at the memory. "You'd think the last thing you'd want to do after getting back from a week of patrolling the sand was to do more of the same virtually, but it was oddly stress-relieving. Plus, killing virtual enemies felt a heck of a lot better than killing the real ones. We played a lot of Call of Duty."
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
The shapeshifter shrugged her shoulders, “…Or you can do that, whichever you prefer.” Celesse retorts, listening to Benjamin reminisce on past times. She sits upright, “Perfect.” She smiled, “I’ll be back in a few hours. You…familiarize yourself with the apartment, if you want.” She wasn’t about to reveal her grand ‘welcome’ gift to the agent. This could be her chance of extending an olive branch to him, plus it would give him time to kill while resting. She hopped off the chair and disappeared back into her room, only ten minutes until she came back out wearing inconspicuous clothing with the essentials; her purse, wallet, and phone. Before she could fully leave, she turned to Benjamin, “Try not to kill yourself now. The value of this home could decrease once I plan on selling it.” She morbidly joked.

“And if you need me, you know my number. Ta-ta.” Celesse concludes, taking one last chance to poke the restless tiger’s cheek and dipping out before he gets angry with her. The daylight was still there, it broke through the tufts of clouds. At least the rain stopped altogether. The smile on the shapeshifter’s lips haven’t left as she heads away from the complex. A vehicle turns up right on the curb, Celesse climbs into the back and gives directions to head towards Seattle. While she was out and about again, she would have to investigate a tip that was sent her way; a rogue Demon. The details were vague since her contact at SIB was found out and consequently fired on the spot. Not only that, she planned on buying a console for the tiger with games. Admittedly, Celesse didn’t know much about video games and the ones she did were mostly ones from the ‘80s that were played in the arcades that used to populate the streets, not so much these days.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin frowned faintly as Celesse responded and then quickly ran back into her bedroom, sighing as he eyed the can of cat food. He was really hungry. At least now he had cash and could buy something. He slid the tin back into the cupboard with the rest of them and then returned to the couch, sitting down to order some food. What should he get this time...? Something high in protein. Benjamin's stomach growled. He decided on a burger and sweet potato fries, already practically drooling at the thought of sinking his teeth into something so delicious.

He had just finished ordering his meal and began to add groceries to a digital shopping cart on his phone when Celesse finally returned. "Kill myself?" Benjamin snorted, though he had a strange, uncomfortable flashback to the Siren stabbing the syringe into his heart. "I'll try my best not to inconvenience you," he said dryly. Benjamin took his eyes from his phone and sat up against the back of the couch just as she poked his cheek, his upper lip curling in a snarl but it was too late. She was gone already. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Greasy. He added toiletries to the shopping cart.

Once Celesse was gone, Benjamin lifted his shirt and pulled back the bandage covering his stitches. The wound was so neat, the cut so clean, it was difficult to imagine it had been made by the hand of a creature and not a scalpel. Overall it was about eight inches long and healing nicely. Benjamin smoothed down the scrubs again and added Neosporin and a large pack of gauze and medical tape to the list. After that underwear, a four-pack of white undershirts, and four pairs of basketball shorts. He doubted he would be leaving the apartment for the next few days at least while he tried to figure out how to move amongst society unnoticed. His tattoos were a giant calling card.

After looking through his list one more time and placing the order, Benjamin got up and gingerly stretched. His muscles were stiff and sore from being thrown around and then such a long period of inactivity afterward. He wondered if Celesse was seriously out getting him video games. How could he focus on such a thing at a time like this when he had so much he needed to figure out...? Who was after him, and why? And what about Celesse? What was her part in all of this? He sighed and decided to take her up on her offer and explore his new living space while he waited for his food to arrive.
 
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Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Disembarking from the Uber, she looked up at the building towering over her – Newmark Tower. She wasted a lot of her time looking after Benjamin. Celesse had 3 days reserved for the penthouse. The shapeshifter was lying to the ex-soldier about owning this place. She preferred to live away from the city. She waltzed in and took the elevator to the rented Air BnB. Once the elevator doors opened up, she made her way towards the last door at the end of the corridor. She was ready to turn the knob but stopped and peered over her shoulder, seeing a hooded figure standing there in the middle of the hallway. Celesse turned her body fully to face whoever this was. She tilted her head at the person, “Who are you?” She asked.

Silence.

Instead, the figure delicately pulled out a black box, smaller than the size of a deck of cards. They placed it on the ground followed by a card of sorts and turned tail. Celesse was dumbfounded, but not stunned to the point of her guard still being up. “…Okay?” She murmured, watching as the figure dashed around the corner. No sounds could be heard in that entire exchange. Just who the hell was that? Celesse approached the items with caution, her senses heightened to spread out for any impending traps. But nothing could be felt, no smoke and mirrors. Still, she kept her guard up as she grasped the items from the floor.

Upon grabbing them, she flipped the card over to find an address on it and a short message; Welcome Celesse. This puzzled her. Even more confusing was the item inside the box, a small USB, and a card with her name on it, emboldened with gold lettering against a black background. Celesse pocketed the items, deciding to figure this mystery out at another time when she had other things on her agenda. Returning to the condo, she entered and found it just as she left it. For sure, she thought someone would’ve swooped on by and-

“Sicarius.”

Celesse stopped in her steps and looked at the ominous figure standing in front of the panoramic view of the ocean. All clad in black from head to toe, except for the platinum blond hair cascading down the person’s back.

“Alaric.” She retorts. “What brings you to my bungalow?” Celesse makes herself comfortable on the single black couch.

“On your progress with Mr. Credit. How does it go? I know he’s not dead despite the Z’s announcing his death.” He says, “If that was your doing…”

“It was not.” Celesse admits, “He’s much harder than my usual cases. Don’t tell me you’ve move the deadline up?”

Alaric smiled, “While you were coddling Mr. Credit, unfortunately the Council’s made a decision.”

“Oh?”

“The Council is going ahead with Lucien’s execution.” He reported, “But I will still need that information from Mr. Credit. I’ve received further information that he was apart of a covert operation that directly involves Lucien. Now, I don’t know how or why they connect, but to answer your question: The deadline will have to be by the end of this coming week.”

“I don’t understand. If you plan on executing Lucien, then why have me continue to…”extract” information from your target?” She asked since she was genuinely confused.

“Because it will help me prove Lucien’s innocence.” Alaric lied, “You know I don’t want another faction war, but the creation of newborns is against the CTS’ laws for the supernaturals.”

“Right. I’ll be in touch then.” Celesse wasn’t convinced, but neither was she backing away from the chance that he was telling the truth.

Alaric left the condo after exchanging the phrase. Celesse looked out the windows and watched as the rain started drizzling from the clouds. Apparently it would not be nice out today. Or this was a sign?
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin was grateful for the speedy delivery of his groceries. His self-tour of Celesse's apartment had turned up nothing of particular interest, though he had located the second bedroom which he assumed she expected him to take for the time being. Finding himself dead was becoming more and more of an inconvenience. He tipped the deliveryman and put the food away in the fridge and cabinets, then sorted out the rest of his purchases on the bed in the guest room, breaking open the packages to his new clothes and toiletries. A shower was the first thing on his list.

Once he'd cleaned himself up, shaved, and applied a fresh bandage to his wound, Benjamin donned his new clothes. The undershirts and basketball shorts were a far cry from the suits he was used to wearing, but this was exactly the type of clothing he enjoyed for lounging around the house, which it sounded like he would be doing a lot of. He paused for a moment to look out the window at the rain streaking down the glass pane. How strange... Celesse had been gone for less than an hour and already Benjamin found he missed her presence. The snarky comments, her juxtaposed silence as she played on her phone... it was just nice to have someone there. A lot nicer than he'd expected. Ever since he'd woken up alone in that military hospital years ago, Benjamin told himself he enjoyed his solitude. Maybe he'd been lying.

"Fuck you," Benjamin muttered to himself, folding the new clothes and setting them neatly in the dresser against the far wall. Stop overthinking. The results of the past few days - the past week, really - were significant enough to cause anyone to feel a little unstable. He just needed some time to get back into the swing of things. There was another knock on the door as his lunch arrived and Benjamin took a seat at the island to eat. The burger was delicious, and the shot to his blood sugar helped to level out his emotions, leaving him in a better place than when he'd started.

Celesse. What she needed from him, he didn't know. But while she was working him, he could work her. She'd offered to give him information on how to fight the supernaturals who were now a daily part of his existence. Benjamin had an unfortunate number of enemies lurking out in the open, any one of which would likely come to finish what they started if they found out he was alive. He'd need the centuries of Celesse's experience to help him survive, if he ever expected to reclaim his old life back.

After the meal, Benjamin realized he was feeling drowsy. He collapsed onto the couch again and even though it was a little to short for his long legs, he slept well on it. He checked the news on his phone for a few minutes looking for anything interesting. After a while, however, he set the device aside and wrapped his arm around one of the pillows, closing his eyes.

The heavy drizzle outside helped him sleep for a solid three hours. When he awoke again and realized that Celesse still hadn't returned, he groped around for where he had left his phone and opened his messages. 'Bored AF. Gonna make dinner. What do you want?' Benjamin sent before turning on his back, resting his hand against his forehead and staring at the ceiling. Was this his life now...? Relegated to being a housewife out of sheer boredom? Damn.
 
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Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
After the untimely encounter with Alaric, Celesse cleaned out the penthouse. Living in the Vampire’s faction was undesirable at the moment. Or at least till she could get Benjamin to safety and what she needed from him. After gathering her things, she left with a small bag in tow and checked out of the booking altogether. Celesse probably looked like she was on her way to give a presentation with her black duffel bag.

She continued away from Newmark and towards the mall by Uber, of course. There was no way she walking in the rain. Celesse’s hair already curling up from the rain that already came down around her. One thing she always needed was a car, but she found it more convenient to just travel via shifting as a bird or public transportation—despite the bad rep it gets. Mortals in her sense were an advantage, just being among many masked her scent alone from other supernaturals hunting her.

After being dropped off at the mall, she donated her clothes away to a Goodwill that was nearby. Materials were always replaceable, even better to donate to those less fortunate or even a second-hand store like this one. Celesse even got rid of the bag, then headed into the mall. Despite the gloomy weather, it was still packed with people. She headed towards the large map display in the middle of the floor, finding the store called, “Game Stop.” She didn’t know much about game stores, but this one was mentioned a lot online from what she could recall.

Celesse tried to be inconspicuous, yet it didn’t work while she blended in with the crowd. It was her overall appearance that made her stand out, making her appear as a celebrity among the commoners. She would have to ask Benjamin how to look less “noticeable” since he presumably seemed to be good at it—except for the ink that covered him from what she observed. She entered Game Stop and joined the short queue till she finally was up at the counter. It looked like two nerdy kids behind the counter, one was plump and the other skinny like a stick.

Her exchange was relatively short. The two kids were helpful after she mentioned that she was buying a system for a grumpy teenager at home. A joke at Benjamin’s short-temper. Celesse bought a machine called a Xbox with several games that appeared violent, but if it kept the tiger happy then she would get them all. Leaving the mall, her shopping adventure was relatively short since she was only there for one thing.

The shapeshifter was ready to head home. Instead of calling an Uber, she called a delivery assistant—because anything is possible—and had them deliver it to her address on Mercer Island. Celesse wasn’t ready to leave Seattle yet, not when she still had a rogue to capture. She took public transportation to an address on the other side of Seattle. While she was on the bus, she looked down at her phone lighting up with a text from the tiger.

Snorting at his text, she responded with, ‘Your dinner was already made; the milk in the saucer. What else do you need?’ She joked before sending another, ‘Go ahead and eat without me. I won’t be back till late. Also, there will be someone arriving soon with your machine called a Xbox. Enjoy ;)'
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin eagerly pulled his phone out as he felt the vibration from Celesse's response text, only to groan at the first message. Why did he even bother? What a nuisance she was. He was so damn bored, and he was pretty sure an Xbox wasn't going to cut it. With a heavy sigh the ex-soldier tossed his phone onto the couch as he stood, stretching. He shot a glance at the hallway that led to Celesse's bedroom and for a moment entertained the notion of hacking into her computer and finding out some answers as to who she really was. What could she do to retaliate, after all...? For some reason she needed him alive.

But, besides the fact that Benjamin had little to no hacking skills, he also enjoyed having his own privacy and didn't want to infringe on anyone else's. Even a frustrating, cryptic shapeshifter's. He dug into his groceries and decided on a simple pasta dinner with Italian sausage and Parmesan cheese. Normally he would have gone with a fresh block of Parmesan and grated it himself, but he only had so much money and he didn't know how long he would have to live off it, so he had gone with the cheap shelf stuff instead.

Halfway through his meal, the delivery assistant arrived with the Xbox. He was young, probably even still in high school, and looked over Benjamin's tattoos with interest. "I can help you set it up, if you'd like. Looks like you got some good games, I could show you how to play?" he suggested eagerly.

Benjamin gave the kid a dry look. "No, thank you." What, he didn't have a console of his own at home...? Kids were so weird. "See you," he said, pushing a ten dollar tip into the delivery assistant's hand and then shutting the door on him. Poor guy was probably just lonely, but there was no way Benjamin was going to spend his evening with a child he didn't know, playing videogames.

He sat down to finish his food and then cleaned up before getting to work trying to set up the console. The most difficult part was finding Celesse's wi-fi router and getting the thing hooked up to the internet. Several curses were issued before he finally got it to work. Once all of that was accomplished, Benjamin sorted through the games and picked the only familiar one: Call of Duty. Sticking the disc in the machine he flopped back onto the couch and began to play.
 
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The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Celesse disembarked from the bus, dropping her off at Sunset Hill aka Demon Territory. Despite the amount of mortals living in the area, Demons influenced a lot on this side of Seattle. The shapeshifter looked down at the note, Shilshole Bay Marina was all that it said. The handwriting looked like chicken scratch, a result of her contact’s presumed disruption in relaying the information to her. She could recall the distinct scent of the rogue still lingering in her mind. But being in this faction? It smelt the same everywhere, if one could see scent, the colour of a demon’s would be black as their wicked nature.

Pulling her hood over her head, the rain continued to drizzle. Like a calm before the storm. She crossed several blocks before reaching her destination. Celesse crumpled the paper and tossed it into the bin. Even if someone were to come across the note, it would just have ‘Shilshole Bay Marina’ written on it. She stuffed her hands back into her coat pockets and looked at the sign with the same name on it. Boats lined the docks set out. She didn’t know much about boats, but this place reeked of demons.

Continuing her way onto the pier, she walked along the barriers set up. Her eyes scanning the many names of the boats. None of them stood out to her. At this point in time she was searching for anything or anyone. Narrowing down the rogue to a Demon helped her, sure, but it didn’t help that the Demons were the 5th or 6th largest faction in Seattle. Sifting among the scents, some were stronger than others, but there was one that stood out among them all—it was coming from the largest boat at the end of the docks.

Whether this was her rogue, or it was the smell of food being cooked, she couldn’t tell. Celesse’s footsteps to become silent like a cat, though it’s still daytime she would still be seen. Or would she? The shapeshifter took this moment to look around. No one was there. It was almost chillingly devoid of life, like an apocalypse happened. Then, Celesse used a quarter of her energy to fade into her surroundings, turning invisible. The rain becoming her cover to jump onto the boat; the scent got clearer and louder—if possible. She dipped beneath the windows, being overly cautious as to not be seen. Celesse entered below the deck of the boat, the scent growing stronger with each step she took. Only stopping in her tracks to check for other beings on the boat.

After several minutes of remaining in place, she found no one else aboard. Breaking her cloak, she let out a deep breath she was holding in. It always took effort on her part to remain invisible to the naked eye. Celesse started snooping around. She double-checked the area for others and confirmed no one else was aboard. She started sifting through papers sitting on a desk, the lull of the boat being the only sound and the crinkling of papers. Celesse found nothing of importance. Perhaps this wasn’t the-

She stopped in her tracks and knelt down to the floor. There was a slight draft coming from the floorboards. How that was possible on a boat, she didn’t know nor cared. Celesse knocked on the wood, finding it hollow just below her knuckles. Not caring to be subtle anymore, the shapeshifter punched into the board and found a box sitting in the dark with a thick padlock on it. ‘You make it too easy.’ She thought to herself as she hoisted the box up to her level. Celesse brought her right hand into her eyesight, her nails started growing long and sharp. She clawed away the padlock on the box, taking two hits before it broke off. Once off, she yanked the box open to find several documents, photos, tapes, and random materials.

Intrigued, she was ready to sift through her new treasure when she heard heavy footsteps above her. Irritated that someone interrupted her, she shut the box and tucked it underneath her arm. Using another amount of energy to turn invisible again. The same footsteps came down, sounds of men talking and joking to each other. That was until the same men saw the floorboard broken through and once they appeared below, curses went flying out of their mouths next.

“We have to tell the boss.” One said.

“Shit. This is bad.” The other said, the panic clear on both their faces.

They rushed off the boat and out of the marina. For Celesse, this was the perfect time to slip away. Just who were these men talking about?
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Schaefer Ulrich didn't have to say a word to make his demon minions tremble before him at the news they had just brought. Someone was meddling in his plans again... Whether they were doing it with full knowledge of his plan or not, that was another question entirely.

Ulrich wanted war. Messy, bloody, life-ending war. The thought of the pain that would be involved once the various factions started rising up against each other like dominoes falling sent a chill of pleasure down his spine. It had been so very long since this country had experienced such a pleasurable purge of life and peace. The demon had utilized his position as captain of the SIB to make certain information 'disappear' - like the growing population of the werewolves. Of course at this point it was public knowledge on the street that the werewolves were growing, both by breeding and by turning new victims, but it wasn't being reported in any official capacity, so there were no official steps being taken to curb the brooding war.

However, it seemed like the factions were beginning to take notice of the violence bubbling just under the surface. This could be a good thing, or it could be a very bad thing. If the various heads of the factions were heated enough to lose their reason, their anger would lead to the exact kind of war Ulrich was hoping for. But if they decided to be peaceable and amenable about it, well... there was a sudden bad taste in the demon's mouth.

"It is vital you recover that box immediately, do you understand me?" Ulrich asked, folding his fingers together and resting his elbows on his desk, watching the two minions over his hands. "But under no circumstances are you to make any kind of public scene. We must make this problem go away as quietly as it came to us. If you can capture alive the creature who stole it, all the better. But death is a fine substitute, as well." The demon gave a heavy sigh, sitting back in his seat and massaging his temples. Sometimes being evil was such difficult work. It wasn't that there was too much good in the world to overcome, but rather there was too much stupid sometimes.
 
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The Dread Wolf★
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Celesse wanted to sift through the contents in the box on the spot, but with the goons finding out about her break-in. Let’s just say she’s in the hot zone, likely on the rogue’s list or someone’s list by now. The shapeshifter exerted her energy as far as she could before becoming visible again. She stepped out from behind the alley, the box now in a bag. How she got the bag? Buying it off a homeless man. Despite the foul smell coming off the bag, it diverted attention away from it, which is what Celesse wanted.

She took public transportation to head back out of Demon territory. Celesse relaxed yet still alert to her surroundings after leaving the demon faction. She departed from the bus and took a cab towards Mercer Island, appearing just on the curb outside of her condo. By now, night had fallen, and she figured her tracks were as covered as she could get them. But it would only be a matter of time before someone came to collect the bounty on her head.

Celesse entered the condo with the bag in tow. Finding the ex-soldier playing the console. She shut the front door and locked it. Even if the flimsy lock wouldn’t help against anyone breaking into her home, it would alarm her to their presence. The shapeshifter shook her shoes off at the front door; she padded further into the condo.

“Better get proper sleep, tiger.” She spoke to break the only sounds coming from the tv. “Much as I would like to entertain you tonight, I have work to do.” She winked at him, “Just holler or smash the tv if you need me.” She joked and disappeared down the corridor, into her bedroom to lock the door behind her as soon as she shut it.

Once the door closed and was locked, she went to work of bringing the box out. In her favour, she had plenty of room on the floor to look through the documents and contents of the box. Celesse tossed the stinky bag to the side and brought the box to the floor, bringing the contents out and laying them side by side. The first thing capturing her attention being the manilla folder with the obvious ‘look into me’ confidential stamp right on top.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
He glanced up as he heard Celesse returning, pausing the game and taking a look at his watch. Had he really been playing for that long...? Benjamin was stunned. He'd thought for sure he had only just finished the tutorial an hour ago, but in reality he'd been pumping bad guys full of bullets for hours. "I'd tell you dinner's in the fridge but you don't keep anything stocked, so... any food you find in there is mine. Hands off," he said, watching as she disappeared around the corner and slumping back into the couch to resume his game.

Another hour later and Benjamin was starting to get tired, his eyes weary from following the graphics. He'd honestly forgotten how much fun it was to play, though it had been tough getting used to the controls again after so many years away. Just as he turned the TV off, however, he caught a whiff of something burning. Sulfur...? He glanced to the kitchen, but he knew he hadn't left the stove on. There was suddenly a blinding streak of lightning and then a shadow of a massive dog was cast on the dark living room sliding glass door. Benjamin simultaneously grabbed his gun from under the pillow next to him and rolled off the couch, silently catching himself on the ground. He shuffled backward out of view from the patio, his back pressed against the side of the couch and his heart leaping in his chest.

Shit. Was he making stuff up because of the videogame? And then he heard muffled voices down the hallway - voices that sounded like they were drawing closer. He set down the gun and pulled out his phone, shooting off a text to Celesse. 'Don't make a sound. Lights are off. Possible intruders incoming. Werewolf? on the porch. Two voices in the hallway.' Benjamin had a moment of uncertainty. What if he was wrong...? Was he just paranoid now after being nearly murdered so many times? Celesse would never let him hear the end of it.

The two lesser demon brothers had borrowed a hellhound from a friend in order to track down whoever it was that had been in the boathouse. They really didn't have any other leads - the intruder was a phantom. They had left no trace whatsoever. The demons were uncomfortable being so far outside their district, and especially finding themselves located around so many mortals in this apartment complex. There were strict rules about being seen or interacting with humans. They paused at the door, glancing at each other. They needed to grab the thief, get the box, and get out. The older brother nodded to the younger and then grabbed the door handle, melting it right away and kicking in the door.
 
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The Dread Wolf★
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For the past hour, Celesse couldn’t believe what she found. She uncovered the reason SIB hired a mortal, for a nefarious reason. What she found surprising was that a Demon was the head of SIB this time around. And apparently, a cycle of bad and good always surged with each Head of the SIB department. The former Head being an Angel, no wonder they weren’t focused on taking her down or maybe they were just focusing on more urgent cases, who knew?

The shapeshifter took the time to upload copies to her external hard drive, scanning them one by one at an inhuman speed. After scanning the last one, she went through the other files piled on the ground. It was barely the surface of what she uncovered before a text came through on her phone, sitting beside her. The text was from Benjamin. Ready to scold the ex-soldier for texting her instead of coming to her room, she read it and stopped what she was doing. Turning around in her sitting position in time to see the doorknob turning. Celesse immediately disappeared into her surroundings.

Kind of like Spider-Man. The shapeshifter jumped up onto the ceiling, using her extended claws to dig into the plaster. When she was secured, the door was kicked in. In came two Demons, likely the ones she saw on the docks. Why her luck always turned just when she came to the good stuff was questionable. The documents were scattered across the floor and the box off to the side. Celesse’s computer was offline, but one thing she forgot was her phone. It was still on the floor. It lit up with a notification from Uber Eats, confirming her food was en route to her place. The situation altogether was hilarious in her mind.

Celesse could toy with them, but that was the second thing at the back of her mind. The first priority was Benjamin’s being. Despite how well he handled himself, the tiger would be no match for a Demon. They were fallen angels from God’s Army, a despicable being made to do the opposite of what he did. Not that Celesse was religious, but the mortals were right about the part of Angels and Demons existing, just not in the way they thought of them.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
As the voices grew closer, Benjamin looked down at his gun. He knew he couldn't use it. For one, he didn't have any of the specialty bullets, meaning the normal rounds in his pistol would likely only slow down any supernatural intruder, if that. And secondly, gunshots (especially so many gunshots, since he would likely empty the clip) would alert the neighbors, they would call the police, and then all kinds of hell would break loose. With a scowl Benjamin slid the gun under the couch and then, just as the knob to the front door was given a little jiggle, he sprinted to the kitchen. He grabbed a knife out of a drawer and then ducked down on the far side of the island, out of sight. Just in time, too, as he heard the door being kicked open.

"Great, like no one is going to be alarmed by that," the younger brother rolled his eyes as they gingerly stepped inside the apartment, looking around. The entryway appeared deserted, but there was a soft light emanating from the hallway. The older brother in front tilted his head in that direction, and the younger brother nodded in agreement, both falling silent. The older demon gripped the door handle to Celesse's room the same way he had done the front door, the metal completely melting and dripping down the painted wood. He slammed the door open, only to find - nothing. Or at least, no one. "Is that the stuff? Are those the papers that were stolen?" the younger one asked, peering over his brother's shoulder at the papers scattered all around.

Barefoot, Benjamin snuck up behind the stinky demons. They smelled like they had eaten nothing but rotten eggs for a week and then rolled around in a fire pit for good measure. He couldn't see Celesse, but he was fairly certain she was in her room somewhere. Either that, or she had escaped out the window. Without making a sound Benjamin drove the knife into the younger demon's back down to the hilt, the creature shrieking in pain. He snapped the handle off to make it more difficult to remove the blade and then, as the demon's back was arched and his center of gravity off, dealt him a hefty kick to send him flying forward into his brother, the two of them collapsing in a heap on top of the papers spread on the floor.

The older demon let out a string of curses, stumbling back to his feet and glaring at Benjamin. "What is that awful smell...? A mortal?" he said, a slow grin appearing on his features as he advanced on the human. His teeth were all sharpened points, a mouthful of death. "Oh, we can have fun with this one, little brother. We'll torture him until he tells us where the supernatural creature is who took our boss's important documents. They must be here somewhere... They just ordered dinner," he said with a smirk, looking at Celesse's phone as it illuminated.

The smaller demon was twisting around, trying but failing to reach the knife that was wedged between his shoulder blades. "Ooh, torture?" he asked hungrily, pausing in his efforts. "Maybe we should let the Hellhound eat him, one piece at a time," he said with a vicious grin.

Benjamin was backing away from the door as the demons advanced, hoping that drawing them away would give Celesse a chance to do... something. Anything. "Good luck with that. I might smell human, but I'm actually immortal," he said with a smirk. Well, at least he was so far. But even at the top of his game Benjamin was no match for even the smaller demon, who pounced on him and easily pinned him to the ground. "Bring in the Hellhound, brother!"
 
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Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
Celesse was having a hard time holding her laughter in. She sorely underestimated Benjamin’s stealth attacks. Considering its only been a week since she’s been around him, there was still a lot to uncover about him. Celesse was watching the two Demons, rolling her eyes at them, mentioning her dinner. If this were a show, the audience would probably laugh or leave altogether.

The shapeshifter thought she was hallucinating with the nauseating scent of a hellhound around. Her suspicions correct when the Demon with the knife in his back confirmed it. She took this time to crawl from her current position on the ceiling towards the door and out into the hallway. Bits of plaster falling below. While she was passing Benjamin and the smaller Demon by, she wondered how many times he’s been pinned down in the past week alone. She dropped from the ceiling without a sound after she made it to the front door, cursing in French at her melted door.

Without hesitation, Celesse went out the front door, following the smell of the hellhound skulking about. The beast was just around the corner, Celesse revealed herself to the supernatural dog. Its fiery glowing red eyes staring right at her, baring its teeth at her. “Tsk, tsk, tsk.” Celesse spoke, “This is animal abuse.” Hellhounds were made for a few specific reasons and one of them was not hunting down supernaturals, rather they guarded them and the supernatural world. This one in particular was going against its nature, which meant it was twisted for a different path.

“C’mon chérie.” She smirked, “Fetch your prize.” Celesse disappeared before the dog’s very eyes, but it had a good grip on her scent already, making it easy to track her. The hellhound ran from outside and into the condo, growling as it ran around the corner. Celesse was on the ceiling and it was following her the entire time. She jumped down and out the hellhound’s way as it jumped at her, instead going over her and onto the two brothers at the same time.

This gave her a window to reveal herself again and pull Benjamin up, “Getting frisky with your Demons, Benny?” Celesse joked. She pushed him down the corridor and into the den, in time for the Demons to come crawling out of her bedroom. Celesse hit a button on the wall, it blended in well with the wallpaper. And the couch that the ex-soldier was calling his bed. The cushions flipped upward to reveal a small arsenal of blades, bullets, and hand held guns. The only thing Celesse needed were the small knives specially handcrafted by angels.

She grabbed one of them and shoved it into Benjamin’s hands, “Use this.” She didn’t have time to explain what it was before the older Demon came knocking her away from Benjamin’s sight and into the sliding wall. Temporarily knocked out of wind, Celesse got back up in time to catch the Demon’s fist coming at her to toss him back and into the mounted television. Before he had a moment to recover, Celesse tossed two hidden knives into the Demon’s palms, nailing him into the wall. The Older Demon was yelling in pain, smoke could be seen coming from the pierced skin.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin knew going into this that he was going to struggle in this fight. His body was already responding slowly, his heart rate elevated after such a small struggle. It was easy to believe he had recovered quickly from his experience with death when all he was doing was sitting on the couch playing videogames, but dancing with a demon was a different story altogether. He wasn't sure what the creatures were exactly, or what they were made of, but the smaller one on top of him felt heavy like he was filled with lead.

"Let's feed him a finger at a time!" The little brother said gleefully as he sat on the ex-soldier, straddling his waist. "This little piggy went to market~" he reached for Benjamin's hand, but the man slapped the demon's claws away and jammed his thumb into the creature's eye. As the denizen of the underworld yowled in pain and reeled back Benjamin bucked his hips, sending the demon off-balance and freeing him from its weight. The human scrambled to get into a position he could defend himself from, curling the broken handle of the knife in his fingers to support and harden his fist as he pounded it repeatedly into the demon's head.

"Hey! Get off my brother," the older demon snarled, grabbing Benjamin by the arms and hauling him from the smaller attacker, slamming him face-down into the ground. The soldier grunted in pain and bared his teeth as the older demon helped the younger one pin him down again, one hand on the back of his head and the other pulling his arm around his back at an uncomfortable, and then dangerous angle. Benjamin let out a muffled shout of pain into the wooden floor as he felt the muscles and tendons stretch and begin to tear. Then he noted the sudden weightlessness as the two demons were tackled and dragged off of him by some massive beast he only saw out of the corner of his eye.

Benjamin winced as Celesse pulled him to his feet, one arm tucked under the other with his fingers probing the sore muscles of his shoulder. "Took you long enough," he growled in response, freezing in place as he saw his favourite nap location turn into a whole arsenal. "The fuck?! You didn't think it was important for me to know this was here?" he asked, his eyes scanning all the various types of weapons, several of which he didn't recognize. No wonder he liked that couch so much.

"These don't come in like, butcher knife size?" Benjamin asked as the shapeshifter pressed the small blade into his palm. There was no time to continue the discussion, however, as the demons came barreling out of the back hallway. They were losing their cool, their disguise melting from them and revealing long, whip-like tails, blood-red skin and large horns curling out of their foreheads.

Benjamin knew from his first fight that he couldn't use his size or weight against the demon - he was outmatched in both classes. Instead, he had to be quick and slippery. As the younger demon came at him again he sprinted for the kitchen island, sliding over it and using it as a barrier between them. The demon moved around one side of the island and Benjamin moved opposite, keeping the distance between them. With the dagger in his right hand he quickly ducked to grab a frying pan with the other. After a few fake throws he tossed the frying pan at the smaller demon who ducked, laughing at the foolish attempt to harm him. Benjamin used that brief moment where he was out of view, however, to launch himself over the island again. He came down on the demon just as the creature was popping back up, slamming the blade down at the joint between the denizen's neck and shoulder. Immediately smoke began to trail out of the wound and the younger demon stumbled backward, tripping and falling onto the floor.

"What now?" Benjamin asked Celesse as he grabbed up the frying pan again, adrenaline surging through his body, his chest heaving with the effort. There was a rustling from the back of the apartment as the hellhound finally got back to its feet again, charging out of the bedroom and into the den, its teeth snapping dangerously.
 
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The Dread Wolf★
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Celesse wandered over to the smaller Demon that Benjamin knocked down. With another duo of hidden angel blades, she nailed each of the Demon’s hands into the carpeted floor. Smoke was slowly trickling out of the wounds. The shapeshifter kicked the demon in the temple, knocking him out. From the tousle, she knew these were the two goons that were sent after her, likely the ones were on the boat from earlier.

“You rest. I’ll handle the mess.” She retorts. The shapeshifter turned towards the direction of the hellhound and caught it by the neck. She hardly struggled to keep the beast in her arms as it continued snarling and snapping against her.

Celesse was looking for the placed engraving on the dog’s neck, finding it hidden in an obscure place right underneath its snout. The black, spiked collar was guarding it. She slipped her finger underneath it and pressed her index to the glowing red symbol. In Sumerian, she spoke in fast whispers as the symbol faded after a few minutes of her chanting, then the hellhound stopped altogether. It instead looked up at Celesse, sniffed her and howled, then it ran out of the condo.

She stood up and made her way back towards the older demon, who was still awake. “Who sent you?” She asked nicely. This was a mess of things and if she killed these Demons, it might end up severing her contract with the Demon faction. Not that she needed to omit those details to Benjamin, he didn’t need to know more about what she truly did.

Like a comical villain’s lapdog, the Demon spit at her. She dodged the black ichor as it flew past her and onto the ground. She grabbed hold of the angel blade in its left hand and drove it deeper into the wood. The Demon started yelling in pain.

“Tell me again, who sent you?” Celesse spoke in a commanding tone. Her eyes shifted coal black at the Demon who looked back at her. Almost in cowardice.

“Ul-ulrich.” He gasped out between groaning in pain.

“Ulrich, huh? This Ulrich got a full name?” Celesse’s right hand grew pointed nails. She drove them deep into his abdomen.

“Schaefer Ulrich!” He gasped out after yelling in pain.

“That wasn’t so hard, eh? Now go. Leave and tell this ‘Ulrich’ I’ll be coming for him.” Celesse said just as she yanked out the angel blades from his palms. The Demon collapsed to the floor, groaning in pain. His wounds wouldn’t heal on their own, and he knew that. Celesse blurred across to do the same for the younger demon. She’d kick the demon across the floor and into the other demon’s legs, collapsing over him again.

“If you come back here again, you know what happens to Demons who break the law, right?” Celesse warned the Older one as he stumbled to get up.

“You’ll regret this!” He yelled back.

“Do you want more than you came for?” Celesse warned, throwing two angel blades at him. The Demon got the message and picked his brother up, throwing him over his shoulder and ran out of the condo. After they left, Celesse walked over to the front entrance and mumbled beneath her breath before turning back towards Benjamin.

“Looks like we’ll be moving again.” She smiled, “…least till the door is fixed. I know a place, but its on the other side of Seattle - it won’t be within the city, so you need not worry about your best friends coming after you yet.” She added.

Celesse went into the corridor, “Before you ask, they weren’t after you. Let’s just say, you better watch your own hide, Benji. Like I said before, you can’t trust anyone but yourself when it comes to the supernatural world. I understand if you want to leave after this, but I can promise that something like this won’t happen again.” Celesse then went down to her bedroom and started cleaning up her place, opening a bag to pack.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin had grabbed up the frying pan again, but now that the initial dose of adrenaline was wearing off he could feel exhaustion rushing to overtake him. Damn his half-dead body. Damn the siren who had tried to steal his life from him. What an inconvenience. He braced himself as he caught a glimpse of the hellhound out of the corner of his eye, but he quickly relaxed as Celesse tackled the beast. That was probably the fourth or fifth time she'd saved his life. Not that he was counting.

The ex-soldier leaned heavily against one of the kitchen pillars as the shapeshifter took to interrogation, though his eyes were sharp as he watched the two pinned demons. Demons... he never would have imagined this is what he'd be facing. Never in a million years. Without Celesse's angel-forged blades, he would have been done for. How in the world had the SIB expected him to survive his job...?

Speaking of the SIB - Benjamin was startled to hear his boss's name being uttered, but he managed not to show it. Schaefer Ulrich had sent two demons to take Celesse out...? But why? He was starting to grow uncomfortable, getting a gut feeling that things were going to get a lot more complicated before they went back to normal. Or whatever the equivalent of 'normal' was in this new life he was living. He watched silently as the elder demon scooped up the younger one and took off again, closing his eyes as the shapeshifter moved to check out the door.

"Celesse..." Benjamin started hesitantly, sliding the frying pan onto the kitchen island before following her to her bedroom, standing in the doorway and looking down at the papers strewn over the floor. "That name, Schaefer Ulrich... that's my boss. The head of the SIB. Those demons probably don't know or care who I am, but if they report to my boss that I'm still alive..." he shrugged. If the demons were questioned, which he couldn't imagine they wouldn't be, and they described a big, tattooed man, well... Ulrich would put the pieces together. And Benjamin didn't know why his boss would be sending non-SIB employed demons to do his dirty work, but that did not bode well at all. Someone had let that crazy vampire girl into SIB headquarters the night he'd been attacked, and now Benjamin had a good idea of who it was.

"What is all this, anyway?" he asked, nodding to the papers on the floor. "I don't think you can get away with the whole 'they're after me, not you' idea anymore," Benjamin frowned, rubbing at the back of his neck. "Whatever's going on, if you want to keep me alive, I've gotta be more in the loop. If those demons had come while you were away and I died on that couch not knowing there was an arsenal of weapons and tools underneath, I'd have come back to haunt you for the rest of your immortal days," he said with a growl.
 

Dan

The Dread Wolf★
Benefactor
As Celesse was shovelling whatever she could into a bag, she stopped momentarily to look up at Benjamin, “Lucky for you, Tiger, we’re moving.” She winked at him, turning to her computer to pull out the hard drives and stuff them into the duffel bag. So…Schaefer Ulrich was Benji-boy’s boss and the one who was sending his henchmen after the ex-soldier. Or that’s what she gathered from the papers before the Demon’s lackeys came in and disturbed her alone time.

It was a problem that it would out Benjamin the moment the Demons returned to their boss. But by the looks of things, there wasn’t much she could do about that. Not when laws dictated her life and Alaric could end hers at a moment’s notice. Celesse hadn’t notice herself going quiet to think things over until Benjamin spoke up again, nodding to the strewn about papers on the floor. The shapeshifter picked them up in a blur to shove them into the lockbox.

Celesse stood up to look at Ben, frowning at her. Celesse smiled at his threat of coming to haunt her for eternity. She shrugs, “I don’t know. That wouldn’t be so bad. I would rename you Casper the Angry Ghost, though.” She joked before turning serious. Well, she figured he would find out eventually, but it was better than to keep the ex-soldier in that dark. Eventually she would have to tell him, considering she just learned about the information just hours ago, herself.

“Technically, they’re still after me, but you’re right. They’re after you, too.” Celesse looked the Agent in the eyes and said, “This Ulrich? Your boss, you said. He’s a Demon and well, let’s just say you being hired to SIB was no accident or “new age” to transition mortals into the department. Your Vampire girlfriend and Siren lover? Both hired to kill you. Your girlfriend was rather mad that you killed her dog, and she wanted revenge. Vampires are notorious for holding the longest grudges among the supernatural. The Siren is an assassin, so you might’ve had a wet dream while you were recovering. There’s more to it, but Ulrich’s, undoubtedly behind your misfortune.” Celesse explained, hoping this would be enough to satisfy the ex-soldier.

Celesse moved in a blur around the room, stuffing important things into the duffel bag before zipping it up. “Well…your place here was relatively short, but we’ll be going across the city – toward Olympic National Forest. You like nature, no? Perhaps you will welcome the next scenery for a welcome change.” She smiled at him.
 
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rawheight

Wake me if you're out there.
Benjamin pressed the side of his head against the doorframe, a look of irritation on his features. Yes, obviously it was clear to him now that it had been his boss who had sent both the vampire who literally tried to steal his heart, and the siren who wanted to put him down like a rabid dog. But that still didn't explain why. All because he had killed Harold? That didn't make any sense. If Ulrich wanted him put away for that, he should have just pressed charges. He could have easily manipulated the system to have Benjamin locked up. But no... the demon wanted him dead, and he wanted it done under the table.

"Fuck you, you know?" he growled as she zipped around to gather up the papers before he could get a good look at them. "Why can't you just be honest with me? What's the point of hiding this stuff?" he motioned to the now empty floor, exasperated. He hated feeling like this. Like a toy in someone's game. Useless, powerless. The worst part was not knowing who was pulling the strings. Ulrich? Celesse? Some other hidden entity?

"If they're after you, let me watch your back. Don't make me sit around like a fucking purse dog," Benjamin glared at her for a moment before turning away to pack his few items, too frustrated to continue. He supposed his mistake was believing that they were on equal footing. That somehow because of everything they'd been through together, they were friends. Or at least fellow soldiers. But Celesse made it clear: he was just a target. For the time being, until she got what she needed, she was simply a glorified babysitter and he was an unruly child.

Benjamin grabbed one of the paper sacks that his food had arrived in and started stuffing it full of non-perishables. Hiding out in the woods wouldn't be so bad. It would be nice to get out of the city. Nicer if he didn't have random supernatural creatures trying to drag him down to the grave, but nice all the same. He finished packing up the food and set the bag by the door, moving to the bedroom he hadn't even had the chance to sleep in yet. Benjamin stuffed another bag full of the clothes he had just bought and closed up his lockbox, tucking it under his arm.

He had doubts about following Celesse to yet another location. He was tired of this cat-and-mouse game. But especially after seeing the arsenal she had hidden under the couch, he knew he had to stick with her for at least a little longer. She had said she'd teach him how to fight against some of the supernaturals, and he needed that knowledge.
 
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