Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 20

“How did it go?”

I flopped down onto the lounge sofa. “They showed up. It was awkward. I really have very little to talk about that isn’t killing monsters.”

Kanesha laughed. “Or modeling.”

“At least they weren’t bothered by me doing that. Not that I expected him to be, but… My mother. I recognized her right away. Didn’t remember. Just recognized.” I let out a breath. “And she’s very serious. Nice, but serious.”


I nodded, glancing around. “Where’s everyone else?”

“They’re in Clara’s room watching a movie I don’t like.”

Now I listened, I heard laughter. Some kind of comedy, then. “Well…”

“I missed having you there, but I’m glad they showed up for you. Did he have any ideas on the bombing?”

“Told me to think like him. That was all he was giving me. But he implied it was a trick, a prank, rather than a real attempt to hurt people. Just like I thought.”

Kanesha rolled her eyes. “He does know you’re a suspect, right?”

“He’ll probably step in before I actually get arrested or anything like that. But in the meantime, I don’t want to think about it tonight.”

“That means you had a good time.” She grinned. “But so did I and I need to get some rest.”

I watched her vanish upstairs, but I didn’t feel like going to bed just yet. Not that I really needed to.

Belief. Awareness. And I felt wired. I honestly felt more like going out and hunting something than going to bed, but I was still afraid to be seen out after curfew.

Let alone with a weapon. I’d gotten careless with the vampire hunting. Careless, but Seb had been so desperate. He’d needed me and because of that I had helped him. And got away with it.

The bombing wasn’t aimed at me. If it had meant to be a setup they’d have planted something in my locker. I’d finally been allowed to get my jacket.

No. It was some crazy…oh, this was no good. Curfew or no curfew, I needed to get out of here. I slipped out, closing the door as quietly as possible. Pulled a hood over my face, concealing race and identity.

And, hopefully, age. If people thought I was older than I was, they wouldn’t stop me. The streets were cold and clear, but there was nothing to hunt. Maybe even the monsters were home with their families tonight.


Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 19

Thus, I didn’t expect him to show up. I expected I’d end up sitting alone and forlorn at a table picking at turkey and wishing I’d stayed with Kanesha and the others.

Despite that, I put on a nice skirt and sweater, over a blouse in case it was hot in the grill. It was, and I tugged the sweater off. The waiter offered to take it for me.

The maitre d’hote checked her list. “Your party’s already here.”

At those words I wanted to flee right back out the door. I hadn’t expected him to show up, I’d wanted him to show up, but the fact that he had was abruptly terrifying. Why? Maybe because it said that my hope and fear was actually true. “Okay.” It came out as a slight squeak.

The woman didn’t ask what was going on. Instead, she guided me to a table towards the back of the room. And he was there.


I didn’t remember everything. That would be a cliche. I still recognized her the moment I saw her. That blonde hair was mine, so were the eyes. “Mother,” I whispered.
The hostess pulled out my chair and then made the kind of quick retreat you did in the service industry when you detected awkwardness between the customers. There were no menus – it was a set meal, and I sat down. Our eyes met.


“I could not stand to stay away much longer,” she said in a soft voice. “Completely away, anyway.”

I reached for my water glass, hid my emotions behind sipping it, proud of the fact that my hand was not, in fact, shaking. Much. “I…do understand.” I almost remembered. Little scenes, little flashes, but they had a peculiar brilliance to them.

“You understand this is all Odin’s fault, then.” Loki, resting an elbow on the table.

“I understand why he did it, though. Stupid prophecies. Who needs them, really?” I had to stop as the waiter showed up, with a bottle of wine. I had a feeling I’d end up with a glass and nobody would say anything.

“I’m paying for the wine,” he assured me.

Glancing at the label I flickered a grin. “You’d better be.” I wasn’t going to talk about the school bombing, but I realized I didn’t have too much too talk about other than that. “I’m getting money together, but…”

“He told me you’re modeling.” She didn’t sound as if she approved or disapproved. Neutral.

“It’s good money and anyone who confuses the profession of putting clothes on with that of taking them off will get his butt kicked.”

Loki smirked. “Unless you don’t want to.”

I gave him a clearly fake shocked look. But maybe we had more to talk about than we thought.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 18

Two days to Thanksgiving. They hadn’t found the bomber, nor had I got any response from…well…them.

I couldn’t even think of them as what they might be, as who they might be. Just…the people I hoped would join me for Thanksgiving. Maybe that was bad of me, but it was the way it was. For now, at any rate.

But there was so much tension and I knew I wasn’t off the hook as a suspect. In fact, I suspected I was rather on the hook. Talking to Mike about it might seem to be a good pre-emptive idea, but I knew better. It would only, at this point, make them wonder more about me.

If Martin had still been around…no, he wouldn’t have cared if anyone got hurt, as long as it wasn’t me. I was sure this wasn’t supernatural stuff to the point of trying to leave it to the cops.
Trying. Pipe bombs. A hole in the ceiling. They would be fixing it for a while. I couldn’t just ignore it, because, well, it could have nailed me. It could have hurt me.

Worse, it could have hurt Kanesha. Or even Barry. I knew it wasn’t Barry, he wouldn’t do stuff like this.

“Gods,” I murmured over my homework, then gave up. I finished it hurriedly and headed out until curfew. I normally ignored it. Right now, I didn’t dare, even if there were vampires to hunt or demons on the loose. I couldn’t hunt anything if I was avoiding the cops or breaking out of jail.

They could never hold me, I thought. But…and then Thruor pulled up next to me.

“You look like you have a lot to think about.”

“You’re actually around?” I’d been looking for her for days.

“Sadly, I’ve been…busy.”

I didn’t want to think about that. Or ask her where…I didn’t need to. There were the usual brush fire wars all over the place. Plenty of things to keep a valkyrie busy. “Somebody blew up a history classroom.”

“I saw that. Nobody hurt.”

“They pulled the fire alarm then set off the bomb. Either they didn’t want to hurt anyone, or somebody had second thoughts.” I let out a breath. “But they haven’t eliminated me as a suspect. I don’t have a great alibi.”

“Let me guess. You were at home in bed.”

I nodded. “Whoever did it, did it between 2 and 4 am. When everyone was at home in bed.”

Thruor rolled her eyes. “I’ll see what I can find out, but I’m not a detective.”

“And no sign of Loki, as usual, when I could actually make use of him.”

She laughed. “Of course not. He’ll show up right after you resolve it. You watch.”

“Better be sooner than that.”

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 17

“They know it was planted overnight. When pretty much nobody has an actual alibi.” I sighed and settled back into the chair. Me and Kanesha were in my room, which was rather less barren than it had been.

“Which means they’re never going to narrow down the suspect pool. Unless it’s true that Kevin Poole’s parents lock him up all night.”

I rolled my eyes. “If Kevin Poole’s parents did half of what Kevin claims they do, CPS would have been on them years ago. But yeah. Who can have somebody swear to their whereabouts between 2 and 4 am. Brilliant move.”

Kanesha rolled her eyes. “They can’t arrest…or expel…all of us. They’ll probably catch them because of something they left in their locker.”

“Assuming they don’t plant the evidence.” I wasn’t convinced they wouldn’t. They weren’t letting any of us get to them, either. Who knew when I’d see my jacket again. “Although there’s one thing. It was set off using a cell phone. So everyone who left their phone in their locker is out.”

“And they’re not letting people get them. Brilliant.” Kanesha sighed. “And hopefully obvious enough even for that pair.”

“The guy didn’t seem so bad.” I leaned back further. “Unfortunately, I had mine in my pocket.”

Which I had thought was fortunate until I’d thought of that. Not having my phone would suck, but being able to not worry about being arrested for something I didn’t do as opposed to something I did? That would be worth it.

“So did I. Although after this they’ll probably make us leave them in our lockers.”

I nodded. “They probably will. They’ve been looking for an excuse anyway, but some of the parents have made serious noise about how they need to be able to call us if there’s an actual emergency.”
The middle school kids had to hand theirs in to the office. We had more freedom. Until now, anyway. Nothing good could come of this. I closed my eyes.

“Pipe bombs aren’t hard to make,” Kanesha mused. “The recipes are all on the internet. And the cops aren’t revealing exactly what it was. They must be hoping the bomber will say something that indicates they know…”

“Knowing the exact design would rather indicate that you built it.” Which meant I probably shouldn’t do any research on the matter. “It was pretty potent, though. They meant to do damage.”

“But only to that classroom. Maybe they were trying to destroy everyone’s homework so the teacher would forget they didn’t hand theirs in.”

I laughed. Of course, for us, homework excuses…then again, Kanesha somehow managed to still get hers in. She was definitely the Hermione Granger around here. Probably had a time turner, too. “Maybe. Seems a bit excessive, though. Maybe we should eliminate everyone who has a dog.”

“Do you remember when Mr. Lowrie set fire to Helena’s homework with a bunsen burner?”

Laughter burst from me. “I do remember that. And she was just sitting there grinning, too. Letting him put it out.”

“Probably hoping it was destroyed. Let’s talk about something else for a bit?”

I could definitely go for that.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 16

It turned out it was not the chemistry classroom that had been blown up, but one of the history classrooms.

With multiple pipe bombs. The cops were going to interview pretty much everyone. I hoped they wouldn’t ask questions about anything other than the explosion. The problem was that it had been set off by a cell phone. Whoever it was hadn’t needed to be anywhere close when it had actually blown up.

Nobody had been hurt. I had a suspicion the intent was that nobody would be hurt. If they’d wanted to hurt or kill people, they’d have chosen a place where there would be more people and a time other than the switch between classes.

Besides. They’d pulled the fire alarm then set it off. No. This was somebody hoping to get a break from classes, in a rather dramatic manner.

Idiot. If you were really that mad at school, you could just skip. I’d done it, after all. But that it was a statement? I could get behind that. Not agree, but understand.

The cops were interviewing people in a small classroom. I stepped inside, and offered a smile I hoped read as genuine.


“Long story.” Neither of them was Mike. Neither of them was anyone I had seen before. Two detectives – a man and a woman. “It’s my legal name until I come up with a better one.”

“Huh. Total amnesia? That’s unusual.”

I nodded. “I know. There’s a possibility I’ll wake up one day and all of my memories will be back, but there’s a possibility I won’t either. I’ve got used to it.”

“Okay. What do you know about the explosion?”

I dropped my shoulders. “First I knew was the fire alarm going off. We’ve had a rash of people pulling it to get out of class, so I figured it was just that.”

“And the explosion didn’t happen until after everyone was accounted for?”

I nodded. “I figure whoever did it didn’t want to actually hurt anyone.”

The woman scowled. “Answer the questions, Ms. Doe. Don’t try to do our job for us.” She had a rather sour expression and sounded like she’d been sucking on a lemon.

“Be nice,” her partner scolded gently. “That’s the obvious conclusion.”

And everyone was a suspect.

“Did you come to school on your own yesterday morning?”

I shook my head. “I walked with Kanesha. She’s my housemate.”

“And where were you overnight? Home?”

I nodded. “Mostly home. I only work weekends. I stepped out to a convenience store once…on my own.”

Which might mean I didn’t have a good alibi. Well, I didn’t do it, and I wasn’t too worried about having it pinned on me. It was just a matter of finding who really had.

I didn’t have much faith in the ability of Detective Sourpuss to do so.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 15

The tension in the air grew, and I began to wonder if I was wrong about the explosion having been a bad science experiment. I began to wonder about the rain, too. I glanced upwards. No threat of a storm. Thus, no sign of Thor.

Besides, I didn’t really want his attention right now, not when I was trying to get Loki’s. It wasn’t like they got on.

Was it Loki? It was sort of within his style to make us all stand out in the rain, but no.

This wasn’t anything I knew, this building tension. Going through culprits wouldn’t benefit anyone. Instead, I started to drift back away from the building. People tended to follow, tending to drift away and mill about even further away. A couple of cars pulled up that, no doubt, contained parents. Annoyed parents, likely. The rain fell even harder, and there was something unnatural about it.

“Thor,” I whispered. Maybe I wanted his attention after all, because this might fall within the thunder god’s milieu.

What fell within mine? Nothing, as far as I knew. Thruor saying I would never be her sister, and a sudden feeling of loneliness, uncertainty. Of not belonging.

Then I knew it wasn’t my feeling of not belonging. Instinct made me hit the deck and drag a couple of other people down with me, all I could grab, right as the second explosion blew out the wall.

Not many people were close enough to be hit by it. One of the people I’d pulled down swore profusely.

“The wall was bulging slightly,” I claimed, not wanting to admit that I could feel the perpetrator. Sense them.

Was that something to do with who I was? Or who or what they were.

It wasn’t a ghost. Nobody had ever died at the school.

No. It was somebody with actual real explosives, and then the tension faded. It was over. I knew it was. Except that they were going to hassle all of us until they found the perpetrator. Whoever it was was in deep manure when they were caught. A few people had been hit with bricks, but none seemed seriously hurt.
“Okay. We’re going to send you all home. If you need somebody to call your parents, raise your hand.”

I just shrugged and walked to the gate, but I was determined to find the bomber before they ruined anyone’s life. So far, they hadn’t. It was probably a student, probably somebody angry about their grades or their girlfriend or who was being bullied.

In some ways, it wasn’t my purview. But it was. And until I graduated, I was stuck there. Unless Ragnarok happened, I thought wryly. Or I bailed somehow.

Bailing somehow had a certain appeal to it right now. Kanesha fell in next to me, but neither of us said anything.
We just went home.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 14

Based off of the grumbling, whoever had pulled the fire alarm was not going to be very popular. Sure, we were getting to miss class.

But it was raining and not everyone had been close enough to their locker to grab outerwear or umbrellas. I sure hadn’t been, and now my bookbag was getting soaked. I hugged it to myself, hoping that would keep the contents dry. Or dryish, anyway.

Then the explosion happened. It wasn’t a huge explosion, but it was definitely an explosion. I thought it was vaguely in the area of the chemistry lab.

“Oh man. Somebody’s experiment went really wrong.”

I shook my head and narrowed my eyes. No sign of fyrhunds…mine had wandered off when I stopped working somewhere with industrial ovens…fairies, or anything else suspicious. For once, it didn’t seem to be magic. So, that guess was right. “Guess so. Didn’t think it could be a real fire.”

Which meant none of us were getting back inside to get our coats any time soon. The rain didn’t bother me particularly, but I wasn’t about to let anyone know that, so I shivered – if anything more than the others.

“I left my phone in my locker,” one girl was complaining. “And now they won’t let us in for hours.”

“Shouldn’t be using it at school anyway.”

“Yes, but if I don’t have it turned on the moment school ends, I’ll be yelled at.” She sounded pretty miserable.

I had a little bit of sympathy for her, but not much. Such problems tended to shrink when you were hunting vampires and worried about demonic stalkers, after all. Sometimes I felt that other people only thought they had problems. Then I reminded myself that was an unfair thought.

Leaving her phone in a burning building probably was the worst thing that had ever happened to her. I reminded myself of that as the rain came down even harder and colder.

A teacher was doing a head count. Hopefully that meant they’d get us somewhere indoors soon. I wasn’t sure how, though. The firefighters were there, moving into the building to check it. But everything was connected to everything else.

We were, yes, stuck on the sports field. Another student was whining about how she was going to catch pneumonia out here. Which seemed unlikely, but I was betting there would be a lot of people sick.

“We can’t go back in until the fire department confirms it’s contained.”

There were groans. One boy yelled, “Just let us go home.”

Another was pulling out a cell phone and breaking the rules by texting. Probably to get their parents to come get them.

“It won’t…”

The noise became a cacophony. I wasn’t surprised. Nobody wanted to be standing outside in this, and I wondered how many would slip off now the head count was done.

That was when I started to sense a tension in the air.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 13

I still wasn’t sure they’d show up, even only a few days out. But I could hope. Or I could sit there and be miserable. Or, heck, I could call somebody else at the last minute. Kanesha was putting together a southern style dinner for the other girls. I donated a pie from the Dupont Circle farmer’s market.

It was only fair, given she’d assumed I’d be there and I was bailing on her. I felt guilty about that, but this was important.

Or would blow up into some kind of massive fight that might even take out the Old Ebbitt. I didn’t know. All I hoped and prayed was that nothing else would happen between now and then.

Well, not prayed. I wasn’t even sure who to pray to. I wanted to know, that was all, and if I was right, I wanted to…connect.

Connect with them, work out how I really fit in. Even though I knew everything could end in disaster.

Maybe everything would, I thought, as the history teacher droned on about something or other, his voice such a monotone that I was reminded of the ghost teacher in Harry Potter.

Sometimes he showed more enthusiasm. Not today. Maybe he was coming down with something. I was nasty enough to hope he was, so we’d get a couple of days of a substitute.

The last substitute history teacher we’d had had been funny, although he’d been recycling his jokes within three days, so keeping him around might not have worked.

Which all meant I was thinking about family stuff and not…oh, right, he was talking about the 1920s and the boom and the craziness.

I made desultory notes in the hope of remembering it all, and barely stopped myself from doodling in the corner. In the mood I was in, I’d probably doodle an eight-legged horse. Then again, these were my notes. The teacher wouldn’t see them. In defiance, I sketched a quick version of exactly that, then went back to taking notes until the bell rang, pretty much mid sentence.

He did that a lot. Never seemed able to time his presentations properly. He stammered out a reading assignment even as we fled the room. There wasn’t exactly much time between periods, after all.

I was pretty sure half of the class hadn’t heard it. I was nervous, though. I felt more like I was meeting a boyfriend (or girlfriend)’s parents rather than confronting those I was still not 100% sure were my own.

Yes. It felt much more like that, but I knew I had a connection to him. I’d known it from the start. Just not wanted to admit what it was.


The fire alarm went off. With a sigh, I changed course to the nearest exit. Somebody had probably pulled it to get out of class again.

Somebody who wasn’t me, at least, although it had been at times tempting. But I didn’t fancy being suspended when I was finally caught.

Outside, it was raining.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 12

Getting a Thanksgiving dinner together? It wasn’t, I realized, something I could just put together. Not without inviting all of the girls in the house.

Kanesha approached me two days later. “I’m doing Thanksgiving for everyone.”

“I…think I may have other plans. Kanesha, just when did you work out who my father was?” There was no accusation.

“Uh…it…I guess it was creeping up on me for a while. But really?”

“I’m going to…well, I’m not saying any more.”

I had money from the modeling. A bunch of places would do a traditional turkey dinner for…not that very much. More or less at random, I picked a Victorian-style place near the White House, which was likely to be full of politicians, but at least it wasn’t a chain.

The question, of course, was how to get him there. Cayenne brownies weren’t likely to be on the menu. And if he knew what I was up to, then it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

Oh, yes, I had this all planned out except for that one small problem. I had the reservations. Not for two. For three.

I just didn’t have my target.

So? I had to think. Leaving him a note? Could be picked up by anyone. Including mystery shooter, whoever he was.

I could, of course, do the old weird note in the personals thing. Somehow, I imagined Loki reading the personals.
And then there was the matter of the third person I wanted to be there. With whom I’d had no contact. Who might not even be involved, except I suspected she was.

Which meant? It meant I needed Thruor’s help. Needing her help was easy enough to admit to, at least, and this time when I knocked on her door, she was present. “Hey.”


“I know.” I stepped past her into the flat. “I know who my father is.”

“Took you long enough,” she said, wryly. “You know why I couldn’t tell you.”

“Because I’d have punched you one. And called you a liar.” Which I knew to be the truth – it was exactly how I would have reacted.

“You’d have tried,” Thruor noted.

I pretended to throw a punch at her, which she dodged with a slight grin. “See?”

“Eh, if it had been a real punch it would have been harder. Anyway. I’m planning something.”

“If you’re planning a prank war, he’ll win.”

I laughed. “A surprise. But I’m not sure how to get his attention and even more not sure how to get Sigyn’s.”

“Oh. Leave that to me. I’ll talk to her.” A pause, while she looked at me.

I interrupted before she could say more. “Why hasn’t she paid a visit?”

“Because…seeing her might have triggered things prematurely.”

Which answered that question, indirectly, but definitively. “Well. I want both of them.”

Then, I explained what I needed.

Episode Eight: Bloodlines: Scene 11

My anger cooled quickly enough. Thruor’s place was near Georgetown, and I wandered past the alternative stores, sure nobody was paying any huge attention to me.

I did need to know, now. I definitely planned on asking Thruor. I had a feeling she might tell me the truth, if I asked her outright, if I made it clear that I already suspected.

Maybe even more of the truth than I’d worked out. I looked down at my hands.

A woman with Aesir blood. And Jotun blood. It was rather obvious and I knew the only reason I hadn’t worked it out before was because I simply hadn’t wanted to.

I’d wanted to stay in ignorance longer. The one person who could stop Ragnarok. A princess.

Everything was crashing down on me and I wanted to go back to being Jane. Right back to being her, to being just a girl, a nobody with no past. Maybe I’d even asked for this.

No. At least not outright, not like that. The identity of the person who had shot Mr. Clem faded next to my own. I changed course, walked down to the C&O Canal. The mules were gone for the season. They pulled the boats in the summer. I envisioned them with their long ears drooping slightly as the barge floated behind them. It helped, somehow.

You can’t stop thinking about something, but resolutely thinking about something else? That definitely helps. It was a good something else to think about, too. Cute floppy eared mules.

Except then I remembered Loki’s other offspring. I shook my head. This was ridiculous, I needed to clear my thoughts.


I needed to know. I needed to know badly. I looked upwards. “No ravens when I actually need them.”

Nope. Not so much as a black feather. Or maybe they’d all decided to leave me alone to work this out.

Or maybe Odin’s one eye was focused somewhere else right now. Did I talk to Kanesha?

Kanesha knew.

I was suddenly sure of that. She knew and had been trying to work out how to bring it up, or she was afraid she was wrong. Or, even more likely, afraid she was right. I would be afraid I was right in the same circumstance.

I focused on the mules again. Harmless, cute mules, pulling a barge along the river. Built the image of it in my mind until it almost seemed like everyone else could see it.

Maybe they could, for a moment, but it did help. It helped me to relax, to get my breathing back on track. Then I let the image go and looked at the actual, real canal.

The sky above was grey with the threat of rain. Not snow, surely. The winters here seldom brought very much of that. Well, last year had been an epic exception…most of which I didn’t remember.

And besides, I had a feeling I was used to worse winters than this. But…

It was almost Thanksgiving and suddenly all of my thoughts crystalized. I was going to find him and I was going to get the truth out of him.
Then I was dang well going to get a Thanksgiving dinner.