Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 31

The station was bustling. I glanced at Thruor, then went inside. Foster daughter or girlfriend. I thought they were more likely to talk to the former.

“Oh…you…” The desk sergeant frowned.

“Is Mike stuck here?”

“Go in back. Talk to Detective Hargrove.”

My heart twisted in my chest, but I stepped back into the squad room, feeling oddly inside and outside at the same time.

“Jane…come into my office.”

I did so.

“Mike and two other officers are missing.”

Missing. “Not calling in? His girlfriend said he called her and then hung up.”

Hargrove nodded. “Is she…”

“She’s outside, and I’m sure she’d lend you guys the phone, if that helps at all. But I’ll help find him.”

“Miss Doe…”

“You know he trusted me. You trust me, or I wouldn’t be back here. Two more sets of eyes won’t hurt, right?”

“The girlfriend.”

“She’s not going to get herself hurt.” I didn’t mention Thruor also wouldn’t obey any instructions to stay out of it. We should probably pick up Kanesha too…except three people wouldn’t fit on the bike. “And she has friends. Tough biker chicks. Get them on the case and we’ll find them.”

Hargrove frowned, then he slowly nodded. “I’m not supposed to involve civilians.”

“Who are the other two? Warwick?”
“Warwick and Isabel Santez. I have…”

“I’ve met Warwick, but let’s get pictures anyway.”

“We really need to find a way to recruit you.” Hargrove studied me. “I don’t understand why you’re resistant.”

“Because…I don’t follow rules well.”

“One day we’ll have to recruit you or arrest you.”

Maybe, I thought. “That’s not important. Getting a good dragnet out to find Mike is.”

I was not going to let him be killed for me. I was not going to let anything happen to him. I was sure this was mob or gang related, though. Mundanes.

I could handle them. I took the pictures and headed out into the winter cold.

“We’ll find him,” I told Thruor.

She smiled. “I know.”

That smile told me people were going to die.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 30

Two weeks to Christmas, and I was starting to feel that life was…not stable, no, but at least enjoyable for now.

Mike was a pretty good older brother…that was how I’d decided to think of him. True, it was likely I was really the one who was older, but…

He knew things I didn’t. And was willing to teach them. Christmas shopping had to happen. I’d slated Saturday for it – if I could sneak away from Kanesha. She might be making the same plotting and calculations.

I couldn’t risk her finding out what I was going to get her. I already knew what it would be, and I knew she’d complain about the cost. But I had the money and I’d rather spend it on her than on myself.

Well, than on things I wanted rather than needed, anyway. I’d talked to Mike and now he had nominal control of the money I was squirrelling away, in an account labeled “Jane’s college fund.”

I wasn’t sure I’d make it to college, but I didn’t need the money right now. Friday evening, and I got home to an empty house.

I knew Kanesha had gone to the community center. And I wasn’t about to just follow her. But I’d expected Mike to be home by now. I prepared dinner…putting Kanesha’s in the fridge for when she came back. Then Mike’s, when he didn’t show.

If anything happened to him then I would slice and dice whoever or whatever was responsible. I knew if he’d planned on going out with Thruor he’d have said something.
Then Thruor showed up, looking a little disheveled. “Have you seen Mike?”

“No. Damn. I was hoping he was with you.”

“He called me, or tried to, then hung up mid word.”

“Was he working?”

“I don’t think so. Come on. I think we’d better go find him.”

I wolfed down part of my food, knowing better than to hunt on an empty stomach, then headed outside. “He was supposed to be home before me. I thought he’d got stuck at work – he was supposed to be off at 1pm, but you know what happens.”

Thruor nodded as she hopped onto the bike. “Well, let’s swing by the station first of all.”

I wasn’t sure about that. If he was missing I didn’t want anyone to know it. But then, if they already did, there was nothing I could do. Nothing except hope and pray, of course.

Hope and pray. Mike could look after himself, and I didn’t really pray, even if it had seemed to work. “At least he’s pretty tough.”

“He probably did get called back to work. But we’ll find out.”

I thought he would have called, but anyone forgets to charge their phone sometimes, and that would certainly have explained the mysterious hang up…

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 29

“The problem seems to be dealt with,” I told Mike. “If it’s not, I’ll have to beat somebody up.”

“I hope you aren’t taking to that as your first solution?”
I paused. “No. I know better. But sometimes it’s a good means of persuasion.” I perched on the end of the couch. “And besides, persuasion had been applied, and not worked. It’s all some people will take seriously. I just feel bad about having to harass the victim.”

“From what you said, he brought it on himself by going after somebody else’s man.”

I thought about that. “He had a decent motivation. It was stupid, but it wasn’t evil.”

“Stupid and amoral.” Mike settled onto the other end of the couch, his arms above his head.

“Fairy. They’re all amoral to at least some degree. Not much to be done about it.” You couldn’t change what people were.

“Seems to me that supernaturals have a lot fewer choices than mortals.”

I considered that. “You can’t change what you are. ‘Human’ is just a lot broader than ‘fairy’ or ‘demon.'” Or maybe you could. “Or maybe you can, thinking about the Einherior.”

“Who aren’t human any more and are defined by the choices they made when they were human.” Mike considered that for a long moment. “I’m defined by my choices too. The more choices you make the fewer you have left. We have a choice ration.”

I digested that. “I have choices too, but I think they’re rather more limited. But I have to do what’s necessary.”

“You care, though.”

“By choice?” I tossed that back at him. “Do I choose to care or was I made to care?”

“You could go with Surtur tomorrow.”

“Caring is what stops me. And this is getting meta.”

“It is,” he agreed. “Analyzing yourself too much will give you a headache. You said you had special brownies.”

I laughed. “You make me sound like a drug dealer.”

“Brownies are almost addictive enough to count.”

He hadn’t had mine, though. “Watch out. They really are a Loki attractor,” I noted as I hopped up and headed to the kitchen.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 28

A sense of anger followed me home, though. Somebody wasn’t happy about Thor raining on his parade. And there was no sign of the big guy. I changed course, trying to stay in public places for now.

“Next time, little girl, stay out of things that don’t involve you.” The voice came from next to me.

“Next time don’t threaten people under my protection.”

“Your little dark-skinned pet? I suppose I can leave her out of things.”

I didn’t look. There was no point. Whatever form he wore wouldn’t be his real form. But I also knew he couldn’t really hurt me, knew it with strong confidence. “Stop messing with me.”

“Or you’ll call your father.”

“Or I’ll call my uncle.” I suddenly felt I might be able to deliver on that threat, and if there was anyone major demons were going to be scared of…

“Threats, threats.” But the sense of a presence was gone.

He couldn’t hurt me. He could hurt Kanesha, but I thought I’d made it clear the threats extended to her. And making enemies was going to be part of my life. I wasn’t stupid – I knew it was going to be part of my life from now on and forever.

As long as none of them took me out somehow. I knew I shouldn’t be overconfident.

A moment later, Thor stepped out of a doorway. He was wearing biker leathers, much as his daughter did, and the hammer wasn’t particularly visible.

“Thanks for earlier.”

“Thanks for getting my attention.”

“I know you didn’t come to help me.”

He paused, then nodded slightly. “You didn’t need it. Is the real target still around?”

“I told him I’d beat him up if he stayed, and I think he left.” Beat. “Persuasion didn’t work.”

“Don’t bother. I’ll do it,” he offered.

The only other time I’d seen him he’d been looking for Loki to drop him in the Reflecting Pool. I cracked a grin. “He’s not worth your time. I can handle him.”

He stopped walking and I turned to face him. His hair was red, but a different shade of red from Loki’s. And he had very clear blue eyes, the same very clear blue as Thruor. “You look like your mother.”

“I noticed that.” I stretched a little bit. “Doesn’t matter, I suppose.”

“Maybe it does. But a lot’s still not decided. Be careful.”

“What, you actually care about me?”

“No, I care about Ragnarok not happening quite yet. I have a few things I’d like to get done first.” He winked at me and strode off.

I watched him go. They all seemed determined to accept me despite my parentage. Or maybe the comment about my mother meant something more than just physical appearance.


Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 27

Oddly, I wasn’t afraid for myself. The deadly rain wouldn’t hurt me. I knew that. But it would hurt the others…and I needed help.

I felt something stir within me, but it was unformed. A desire to have power that was not quite formed into the power itself. It could have been fire or ice or something else, but it wasn’t what was needed.

But some of it went, nonetheless, into the repeat of the name. Thor. More in my mind than on my lips. I wasn’t praying – I was just trying to get his attention.

And the cloud was reft in two. It happened so quickly that I blinked and saw an afterimage of it as it was. Lightning came through the gap and caused people to scatter. “Thank you.”

The cloud scattered, broken into tiny pieces. Small amounts of rain fell, and some hit a tree, causing bark and leaves to hiss.

“Back inside!” somebody yelled. We ran back inside, even though the fire alarm was still blaring. Acid rain. They’d probably say it was some weird pollution thing. But as I glanced back outside I saw Thor standing there. He glanced over his shoulder, winked at me, and walked off.

I knew he hadn’t actually come to help me. But I didn’t care. I only cared right now about one thing. Ignoring everyone else, I stalked through the crowd until I found Merrifield, and kept stalking until he backed into the nearest classroom.

“You’re leaving. Now.”

“I’m not…”

“You’re not responsible for the actions of your enemies, no, but you know it’s the only way to get this guy to stop. Go to the courts. He can’t get to you there. Everyone will be safe. I can’t fight him, but I can probably beat you up if I have to.”

“After last night?”

“That was between you and him, not you and me, and that was before somebody tried to kill the entire population of this school to hurt you. Go. Or at the very least find a good disguise and move to London or something. Or I will hurt you.” I was angry, and I knew I was being somewhat unfair, but I couldn’t get to the demon.

I could get to Merrifield. And he knew I meant it. I didn’t plan on doing him any permanent damage, but I’d give him a set of bruises he would not be proud of.

I meant it. All of it. I was going to hurt him if he didn’t leave.

He fled the room, brushing past me and heading for the door.

“What did you say to him?” Kanesha’s voice.

“Something I hope he won’t repeat to the principal. But it would be hard for him to explain.” It did occur to me Merrifield could get me suspended if not expelled. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t.

I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be seeing him again.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 26

For now, though, I was willing to leave the matter of the fairy and the demon to my dear old dad. I bumped into Kanesha outside the house. “I talked to you know who.”


“He’s going to try and convince our less than heterosexual friend to go back home for a bit.”

“Less than…oh dear. What kind of convincing?” She tailed off as I felt the heat grow in my face. “Well, what do you expect? The stories do make it clear…”

“…but he doesn’t have to talk about it to me!”

Unfairly, she laughed. I was unable to stay mad with her, though. I followed her inside and, relaxed for once, we curled up on the couch and watched a romantic comedy. It wasn’t that funny, but it was fun to watch it with her. Maybe that’s what being in a relationship meant.

People would do things for their partners they wouldn’t normally do because when the other person’s happy, you’re happy. It took this to teach me that. And it was pretty late before we finally made our way to our separate beds.

The next day, the history teacher was present, but looked hung over. Or like he’d been doing other things last night than sleeping.

I wished he wasn’t there. Melchior, or whichever demon it actually was, would do something else today. I could feel it in the air. “Be careful,” I murmured to Kanesha.

“I won’t touch any black sticky stuff.”

The idea of her dying scared me. I wasn’t even sure what would happen, or what it really…but I managed to conceal it. “I trust you.”

I did trust her. To look after herself. To look after my heart. It wasn’t entirely easy to do so, but I did trust her. She was a good person and I knew it.

I thought in that moment that I hadn’t really done enough to deserve her. But then the fire alarm went off.

I was almost relieved as I headed back outside. If the alarm had been set off, then whatever it was had been spotted quickly and people would be clear. I hoped.

If anyone died, I wanted to take it out of the demon’s hide, but I wasn’t stupid. I knew who I could and couldn’t take on. I was totally going vampire hunting or something after this, just to remind myself that there were plenty of things I could handle.

As soon as we were outside, clouds gathered. No. Oh no. They weren’t natural. I could see the greenish tinge to them.

“We need to get back inside. Now.”

Kanesha’s face was pale. “I see it. But there’s no way they’ll let us.”

If it started to rain…would it be more liquid hellfire or acid or…something? It wouldn’t be rain, I knew that.

A name came to my lips. The name of the one person I knew could do something about this. “Thor.”

“It’s not…”

“No. Hush.” I was sure I had got Loki’s attention, but that was different. We were connected. He couldn’t stop this, though. It wasn’t his specialty. Thruor could call Thor. I probably couldn’t, but I had to try, even as I pushed Kanesha behind me back towards the building.

If I could save nobody else, I would save her.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 25

I had the rest of the evening to think about it. Borrowing the Book again didn’t seem feasible. Sooner or later, somebody would get suspicious about just how much Will wanted access to it.

Maybe. Some people in the Church still believed in demons. Others didn’t. I wasn’t sure which side of the line his immediate superiors were on. I was pretty sure the very higher ups did, because they had to have all of the evidence.

Not for the first time, I wondered what interesting things were hiding in the Vatican basement. Probably a lot of interesting things. Well…I couldn’t get to the Vatican basement. I could get to…


Leaning on a lamp post at the street corner ahead of me, complete with a silver topped cane. He fell in next to me. “You really need to stop attracting demons.”

“It’s not me this time. It’s the fairy.”

“Says you.” He winked at me.

“Got any advice? He’s already turned one poor girl into a suitable follower for Tyr. I don’t want any more of this.”

Loki actually winced, although whether it was Tyr’s injury, Fenrir’s imprisonment, or both… “You already know how to stop the stuff, and that you can do so without damaging anything else.”

“Right, but that’s only a start. Besides, I care more about how to stop the guy sending it.”


I frowned. “Name’s on my list. The highest ranking name on my list. Maybe I should just let him have the fairy.”

“He won’t actually try to take him. The Courts would object. More likely he’ll keep hurting kids.”

“Then the best way is to convince the fairy to go hide back in the Otherworld for a couple of hundred years, isn’t it.” I glanced around. “Maybe the demon will get over the grudge.”

“More like a thousand or so if it’s him, but yes. If the fairy leaves, the demon will go away.”

“That’s harder than fighting the demon.” I hadn’t much faith in my own powers of persuasion. “Maybe you could talk to him?”

Loki studied his fingers. “He’d probably try to jump in bed with me.” A pause. “Is he good looking?”

My eyebrows elevated. “If…uh…maybe…not my type…” Before, that would have just seemed smarmy. Knowing who he was to me just made it creepy. One’s father talking about jumping into bed with somebody?

“Maybe I’ll try it.” He grinned, tapped the top of a cane with a nail.

“Worst case scenario, I suppose, he won’t listen to you and somebody else will have to try. Like Kanesha.”

I definitely had more faith in her powers of persuasion than my own.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 24

I had his use name. Unfortunately, I had probably lost the element of surprise, depending on how his servants worked. I headed over to the church as soon as I could. This time, there were no angels hanging out in the sanctuary. I thought that was both a good thing and a bad.

No angels, but a very harried Father Will. “I won’t bug you right now, but can I raid your library?”

“What are you looking for?”

“Liquid hellfire,” I whispered.

“Ugh. I think you might find something helpful in the red book on the top side, labeled Incoendo. Don’t worry, the Latin’s translated.”

I ducked into his office. Incoendo probably was some version of fire, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t really care, as long as it wasn’t all in Latin. I should pay somebody to teach me Latin, I decided. It seemed useful if I was going to keep bumping into demons. Which, it seemed, I was.

I started to rummage through it. I was looking for entities that might be inclined to use liquid hellfire, and who used or were known by names beginning with M.

The first thing I found out was that the stuff wasn’t that popular. It was tricky to make and inclined to have a mind of its own. Not at the sentient level, but at the animal level.

At the animal level. I thought of the fyrhund. If I could find it…but wouldn’t that be embracing fire?

Maybe. Only if I summoned it or something. I shook my head. Could this thing be in league with Surtur to…

…no. I knew that it wasn’t. I knew, too, who I needed to talk to. But I was able to put together a list of names.

Very short names, and none true names. For that we’d need to borrow the Book again, and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be as easy this time.

I glanced through a couple more books to see what more I could find on those on my list, then slipped out through the back door. That door was generally locked from the outside, but it was an easy route to the outside.

I promptly started to shiver a little. It had to have dropped thirty degrees in the time I was in there. A promised cold front, or Thor. I glanced at the sky and decided it was most likely just the promised cold front hitting. Still, I wished I’d brought a heavier jacket…briefly.

Then I seemed to adapt to it. Just the surprise, I thought. The sudden drop. Winter closing in around us. When was Christmas?

In a couple of weeks. I had a feeling they would be a very long couple of weeks.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 23

I cornered Merrifield again. “Your enemies tried to chase me down. You’re going to tell me why a demon’s after you.”


“What? You slept with his boyfriend?” I’d meant that as a joke, but the look on his face was classic.

“You did sleep with his boyfriend. Smart. Not. Well, given what happened between me and them we’re probably about even.” I grinned at him. “Let’s send this one packing too. I got his use-name out of his servant, and I have contacts.”

“You know an exorcist?”

“I know one who can be trusted not to try and exorcise you or me while he’s at it.”

Merrifield laughed. “Got it, because, I…”

“…you’re not a fighter. I can tell that.” I flickered a grin. “I’ll do the fighting if you’ll help with the research. And tell me exactly how this all started. Deal?”

“Well, I didn’t know the guy was…” Merrifield paused. “It’s his mortal boyfriend I slept with. And I didn’t know he was dating a demon. I knew he was dating an asshole.”

“You were trying to rescue him?”

“Nah. I was trying to show him how a good person would treat him so he’d rescue himself.”

I laughed a bit. “And he…”

“He’s dead. I wasn’t able to stop it.”
Able or willing, I thought, but I wondered if there was anyone who could break the guy out of hell. He didn’t deserve to be there for having lousy taste in men, and he probably hadn’t known who or what he was with anyway. “So. Do you have the demon’s real name?”

“If I did, I’d have looked for an exorcist. I thought…I thought he wouldn’t harm kids.”

“How much experience with demons do you have?” I demanded, suddenly angry.

He looked away.

“You aren’t responsible for the actions of your enemies, but if there’s anything you can do to help Molly, please do it.”

Still not looking at me, he nodded. “There’s…I’ll give her a luck spell.”

A luck spell from a fairy probably meant quite a bit. “Thanks. There’s not much I can do for her other than point out Tyr manages well enough with just one hand. So…what was the name of the boyfriend?”

“Clint Marrick.”
“Okay.” I’d have Mike run that name, find out how the guy died. That might give me some other aliases the demon was using. Fighting his creatures, as easy as they were to defeat, wasn’t going to be helpful.

I needed to go after the being himself.

Episode Nine: Fairies: Scene 22

It was much easier to get to school from Mike’s place. And he only, I thought, had to put up with us until we went to college or something. Or, worst case, until we turned 18 and then we could get our own place.

But having an extra gun around kept me relaxed. I trusted him to be able to defend himself and us. He’d talked about how cops avoided lethal force, too. Techniques I hoped to learn.

I didn’t always want to fight the enemy. Heck, sometimes I didn’t want to fight them at all. Maybe he had a lot to teach me.

No, I knew he had a lot to teach me. My practical memories were those of a warrior, somebody trained to fight and kill. A hunter had to do that, but a hunter also had to work with others – I thought I’d done pretty well on that – and come up with solutions that weren’t always killing things or sending them back to hell.

School was quiet and subdued. I found out the girl’s name, Molly, and that they’d had to amputate her hand. Flesh eating bacteria. We were all to watch ourselves for symptoms and they’d closed the cafeteria until everything was cleaned up. Which meant the free lunch kids were screwed.

I’d been prepared for that and brought a sandwich, which I ate in the gym. It was too cold to eat outside, so they were letting us do that. The janitors would have to sweep the place afterwards, of course.

Prepared for that, but I didn’t feel as prepared as I liked, not at all. I still did not know who had done it and with everyone gathered in the gym, if somebody had been aiming for a body count.

But nothing happened until the end of the day. Then, I was heading out on my own. Kanesha was staying late to talk to one of her teachers, which meant I had no back up. That was, of course, when things happened.

No back up and no weapons. It was the same stuff, but this time it had formed itself into a creature. I did the only sensible thing I could – I ran. I chose a course that, I hoped, wouldn’t be crowded. Anything it touched…when it ran across the grass, the grass died. I thought it couldn’t kill me, but I wasn’t sure.

I also thought it didn’t know who I was. Realizing it couldn’t catch me, it turned into the shape of a man. “You need to stay out of the things you…”

I glared at it, turning. “Do you have any clue what you or your boss are dealing with?”

It only repeated the words. Not intelligent, I realized. Programmed responses, like a robot. “Who sent you?”

It gave a name that I suspected was a demon’s use-name, unpronounceable by most.

“Demon. Got it. You after the fairy?”

No response. Maybe if I gave it too much to…and then Thruor was riding past and tossing a lighter at it. It burst into flames.

“Thanks. I should take to carrying one, except they’re banned at school.”

“Like everything else useful. Hop on.”

“How did you know I was there?”

“Sheer luck. I picked up on that thing and was heading to deal with it. It’s some kind of demonic servant. Not, as you noticed, very smart.”

“That’s a good thing. I want to go home.”

It wasn’t after me, I knew. It hadn’t even known I was there.