Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 30

I was actually starting to feel somewhat hopeful. Except that when we left Eamonnn’s, there was a fire giant watching us.

I didn’t like that, and reached out to deliberately take Kanesha’s hand. Maybe it would put her in more danger, but he did seem to be backing off a little.

Or, perhaps, being patient. What was Kanesha’s lifespan to an ancient giant? I glanced over at the one on the corner – a woman. She winked at me. I wondered about her personal feelings for a moment, then dismissed them.

“Was that?”

“Yeah. Ignore her and keep walking.”

But that was the point at which she broke into a run, darting through traffic towards us.

I moved between her and Kanesha, but saw Kanesha shift into a stance out of the corner of my eye.
She could handle herself, I knew, but I was still ready to block any fire attacks. “We’ve got a real problem,” the fire giant hissed. “Run.”

“I’ve got plenty of real problems.”

“Run!” And she then took her own advice, tearing off down a side street. I thought for a moment, and then followed her. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but anything that could scare a fire giant warrior might be the kind of trouble I didn’t want to meet.

Kanesha’s footsteps were behind me. I slowed to let her go first, making sure anything really nasty would hit me rather than the fragile mortal. When had I started thinking like that?

I kept running, and the fire giant ducked down a different street, then zagged again. We could just about keep her in sight.

Behind us, I heard a faint thrumming sound, something that vibrated through me. “You hear that?”

“No!” Kanesha called, between pants.

Which was a bad sign – it meant it was definitely something supernatural. “Well, keep running. I think something’s about to blow up.”

And then it did, the wash from it falling just short of us. I knew instinctively that whatever it was wouldn’t hurt mortals.

Whatever it was had been aimed at supernaturals…and I sensed there might be a new player in the game. One who just wanted to hunt us all, regardless of sides.

I hoped Bruce was alright.

I hoped whoever it was only had one of whatever did that.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 29

“Kvassir’s Blood? I can probably find you some.”

I nodded. “I need it as a spell component.”

“I could see it working in some divining spells.”

“Anti-illusion, actually.”

He nodded. “Got it. Does this have something to do with Mike’s issues?”

“Yeah. We have illusion or shapeshifting or something involved.”

Bruce shuddered. “You have some enemies, girl.”

“And some allies. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. Just…”

“Oh, I saw the situation on the news.” He sighed, and then stepped into the fish and chip place.

Given how tiny it was, I thought that was a good time to stop discussing magic. It was a hole in the wall in the true sense, and we’d probably have to sit at the counter, but supposedly it had authentic fish and chips, not Americanized ones. I hadn’t been to Ireland, at least not to remember, so I couldn’t be sure, but I ordered the fish and chips anyway.
We sat at the counter, and I munched on battered cod. “Mmm…not bad.”

“It’s as close as you’ll get around here.” Bruce grinned. “I spent a year in Ireland as an exchange student.”

He’d never mentioned that. “What’s it like?”

“Very green, very Catholic, and fairies under every dang tree.”

Kanesha laughed. “So, just like everyone says. Don’t they like, call it the urinal of Europe because it rains so much?”

“Just means you appreciate the sunny days better. So, I should send it to Thea?”

I nodded. “Yeah. I’d pick it up, but I don’t want anyone in trouble for giving alcohol to a minor.”

“I wouldn’t think you’d count, but I suppose…”

“I do, legally.” I shook my head. “Not like I haven’t sneaked a glass of wine or mead, but…”

“I’ll get it to her. I’ll let her know what they want in return. Probably it’ll come in a bottle.”

I grinned. “Yeah. That seems fair. And she can have any we don’t use. I think she likes the stuff.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me.”

I thought about it and decided that a valkyrie liking a drink with the word “blood” in the name made entirely too much sense.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 28

“Kvassir’s Blood. All you need is to find one of the local Asatru Kindred,” Thruor said. “I don’t have any, but one of them should. It’s often used for blots.”

“Alright, and if it was made by them, it would qualify.”

She nodded. “Bruce might…”

“I bet Bruce knows somebody. I’ll call him.”

“I’m surprised…”

“He said he was doing it for Mike, not me. Or maybe, a little bit, for you.”

Thruor grinned. “I don’t think he dislikes you as much as you think. He let you keep the horn.”

“He said he didn’t need it. I bet he can tell when somebody’s being truthful anyway.”

“Oh, definitely.”

I decided I’d almost rather have that particular talent than setting things on fire…even if I’d only done it a couple of times. “The tricky part is going to be getting them to drink it.”

“Going to take a lot of illusions…”

“Right, and the point is to break the illusion for them. Which means…hrm. They’d recognize Kanesha, or me, or you.” And they weren’t inclined to trust…Seb wouldn’t be a good call, and I couldn’t ask Father William.


I looked at her.

“You broke the control on him. Maybe he’d do it. He’s their lawyer.”

“The question is whether it has to be from the horn, or whether…”

Thruor pursed her lips. “Not directly.”

I nodded. “Hopefully the stuff isn’t too vile.”

She laughed. “When you find some, try a sip. I think you’ll find it’s not too bad.”

I caught that laugh. “Alright.”

Next step was to call Bruce. Or, on second thoughts, track him down. I was suddenly a little wary of discussing this over a cell. I couldn’t do anything that night – it had to wait until after school the next day.

Kanesha came with me, and we wandered down the street to the magic store. “Special mead?”

“I get the impression it’s just a recipe, but if it’s made right, it has some qualities. Kvassir was a giant who died and his blood gave wisdom, so representing it…I guess it’s red or something.”

Kanesha grinned. “Maybe it’s made with red berries?”

“I don’t know. I hate asking Bruce for it ’cause he could get into trouble, but I don’t know of any other way to find some. Maybe he can give it to Thruor or have them give it to her.” That was probably the best idea, thinking about it. I didn’t want anyone being arrested for corrupting a minor.

Bruce was in the store when we came in. “Hey.”

“Hey. Need something?”

“Yes, but we have time for a social call as well.” I felt bad that it seemed a lot of the time when we met up I wanted something from him.

“How about we go to Eamonn’s and get fish and chips, then?” he suggested.

That actually sounded good, at least to my stomach. He headed out of the building and we followed.

I felt a growing sense, though, of some kind of threat.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 27

Unless I could somehow turn it into one. I hadn’t worked out how to do so, though. Which left me somewhat helpless. I might be my father’s daughter, but legal stuff?

I was an idiot. A royal idiot. Law.


As soon as I was off the bus I ran for my apartment. I’d put the horn in the one place nobody who sneaked in would look for it – my underwear drawer. Habit, really.

I pulled it out. Truth horns weren’t exactly admissible evidence, unfortunately, or I’d make Mike drink from it and declare he wasn’t there. I doubted he’d mind.

But it wasn’t the horn itself I wanted. I carefully tucked it into a shoulder bag and headed out again. There was a dusty excuse for a park a block or so away. It actually had a couple of trees in it. A good spot for what I intended to do.

I tugged the horn out of the bag and sat down, cross legged, resting it across my lap. “Hey, Tyr. You about?”

No immediate answer, but I hadn’t really expected one. Tyr and Loki, after all, didn’t like each other that much. Something about Fenrir.

Then I heard a voice from behind the trees. “I will forgive the lack of mead this time – given mortal laws.”

I stood up and turned. He was tall and heavily built, much like Thor, but blonde rather than a redhead. Other than that, he wore modern dress and his right hand had been replaced with an obvious, but modern-looking prosthetic.

“Yeah. Got anything non-alcoholic you like?”

He laughed a little bit. “Juice will do.” He stepped towards me.

“Somebody I care about is being wrongfully accused. And I haven’t worked out a good plan. He got well and truly framed. By a demon.”

“A demon who appears to have all of Loki’s bad points and not a one of his redeeming qualities.”

I offered him the horn. He shook his head. “I don’t need it. You might.”

“I wish I could actually use it to, you know…but the people on the other side think they’re telling the truth.”

“On the other hand, break an illusion and it stays broken for that person.”

I nodded. “Alright. So, if I could get the witnesses to see that it wasn’t Mike…” I carefully put the horn back in the bag. “Wait…can this thing be used to get people to see the truth, as opposed to just speak it?”

“Not on its own.”

I nodded. “Let me guess. I need mead.”

“You need the right kind of mead. You need Kvassir’s blood.”

“That sounds unpleasant, but I assume it’s a recipe?”

“Yes, but it would also have to be made by somebody who knows the symbolism. Or…”

“Or by me, but I have no idea how to make mead.”

“And it would take six months to age.”

“So, I need to find somebody who already has some and is willing to stand me a bottle.” I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but I would. “Thank you.”

“I’m not doing it for you, but for your friend.” Then he turned and walked away. No vanishing. It made me wonder how much of a mortal presence he was keeping right now. The prosthetic said…quite a bit of one.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 26

I stared at my hand for a long time afterwards. Whatever this fire thing was, it was definitely getting stronger.

Or I’d forgotten I had it. And I was one quarter fire giant, so maybe…yeah.

But it had scared me almost as much as it had apparently scared Tyz’vel. Then again, a bird had implied I’d be able to take him eventually. Maybe that was the key to it.

And also the key to hurting a lot of people if I lost control. I didn’t want it, I decided. I really didn’t want it.

I turned and headed towards the bus stop. I was further away from school, but they weren’t trying to make me change, at least not yet. It wasn’t worth it, I thought. But having to take the bus every day was an annoyance.

Kanesha would, I knew, turn up later. If I hurt her, I couldn’t live with myself.

I had to talk to Thruor about this. Again. I called her from the bus, having to speak up to be heard over a loud argument between a couple towards the back.

The argument turned into a fight. I sighed. “Thruor, can we meet at my place? I need to go break something up.”

That was a bottle breaking against one of the poles. I let myself move close to full speed, grabbing the wielder’s wrist before she could bring the broken pieces into play. It had contained olive oil, the viscous liquid dripping onto me.

Olive oil’s very flammable. But nothing happened, except that the bottle fell to the ground. The driver slammed on the brakes…and the other person involved in the fight fell to the ground. I let the one I’d grabbed go. “Quit it. Or get a room or something.”

The driver looked over his shoulder. “All of you. Off.”

Joy. I’d be walking the rest of the way home. “Hey. The kid was just breaking it up.”

There was a rumble of support. The driver, who was a large man, hopped out of his seat and paced down the aisle.

I rubbed at the olive oil on my arm. “I was actually trying to break it up.”

“Are the other two going to leave or do I have to call the transit cops?”

They both left…by different doors of the bus, and in different directions. I let out a breath. “Sorry about that.”

“Eh. You get a pass this time.” He stalked back to his seat.

I realized I was quite, quite lucky there weren’t any transit cops on the bus. On the other hand, I couldn’t exactly have let them keep fighting.

It reminded me, though, just how tired I was of the legal shenanigans. I wanted a good, honest fight.

Tyz’vel was not likely to give me one.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 25

And then, I got heckled on my way out of school. And I saw Tyz’vel out of the corner of my eye.

I closed my hand on the bottle of holy water I was carrying. I’d break it in his face if he gave me so much as half an excuse.

A quarter of an excuse.

“You like us to sleep with but…”

“Are you calling me a racist?” I turned to face the person. “Because I’m not. I know I can’t prove it.”

“All white people are.”

I considered that. “Well, I try not to be.” I sped up, walking past them.

“Not hard enough.”

I sighed. “Well, maybe not.” I knew some people thought it wouldn’t be trying hard enough, no matter what you did. And I knew I’d benefitted from being white.

Tyz’vel was now moving forward. He’d donned the form of a young black man. With too much bling. Talk about racist…he looked like a walking stereotype. “Leave her alone. She’s not responsible for what he did.”

I bit back what I wanted to say, and just stood there for a moment, a rescue heading towards me that I didn’t want. I wanted to tell him to outright go away, but it would look rude.

Instead, I just spun on my heel and walked away in a different direction. He followed me, of course. “Lose the bling. It makes you look like a bad version of that guy from the A Team.”

“I thought you’d appreciate a little bit more femininity. Would you rather have this?” He changed into a woman. With no less bling.

“Get the hell out of my life.” I wasn’t in any mood to be nice, or charitable, or play along with his games.

“I figure you need more Hell in it.”

“Go. Back. To. Hell.” I turned to face him. Or her. Or it. I was quite happy to denigrate Tyz’vel to an it right now. “Before I start causing you the trouble I’m planning.”

“You don’t have the power or the experience.”

I felt fire build up within me. I let it, lifting my hand. It felt easier this time, even though I hadn’t tried it since…since the shadow demon.

“Oh, now, that I wasn’t expecting. Beautiful.”

I grinned. “Care to find out if it burns demons?”

“I think not…this time.” And then he actually turned and left. Which probably meant he thought it would.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 24

They’d called a grand jury. It was going to take weeks. In the meantime, Mike was on paid suspension. It was a situation absolutely none of us liked.

I furnished my apartment, made sure the door and windows locked properly, and bought some cookbooks – I knew I wasn’t the best, unless it was making brownies from mix.

A knock on the door surprised me while I was making a shopping list.

I looked through the peephole, then opened it. “Hey, dad.”

Loki made a face. “Dad.”

“Father. Whatever. Come in.”

He did and glanced around. “All those models you hang out with have improved your taste,” he quipped.

Not that I had much to have taste for. Given I knew I wasn’t staying here all that long and would have to move anything I bought, I’d kept it simple. “I don’t have any brownies yet.”

“I’d give you a traditional gift, but…”

“But it’s alcohol, isn’t it.” I flickered him a grin. “I’d say nobody’d have to know, but let’s not risk it.”

“…so I brought this instead.” he offered me a large bar of chocolate.

With salty bacon bits in it. I laughed and took it. “That works.” Given it was spring, I moved to put the chocolate in the fridge so it wouldn’t melt.

“I also am working on getting Mike off. But it might take some work even for me.”

“Tyz’vel stitched him up good, although I talked to the lawyer and got him some protection.”

“Good work. I’m really getting quite tired of him.”

“You are?”

“He was amusing to start with.”

“Some people say the same thing about you.” A bit of a low blow.

Loki laughed. “No, I’m just amusing to everyone but my current victim.”
Which was mostly true. Mostly. I pushed the entire thing with Baldur out of my mind.

“Tyz’vel might be amusing to people who aren’t his current victim too.” I let out a sigh. “Look…”

“People’s memories are notoriously faulty. Give them something more like what they think they saw.”

“They saw a cop kill a black kid. Another cop kill another black kid.”

“You might be surprised what could be done.”

I let it lie. He had centuries of experience on me, after all. And I trusted him. When he wasn’t pranking me personally.

Amusing, as he’d said, to everyone but his current victim.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 23

I shook my head. “I have my own apartment. And I’m filing for emancipation this week.”
The social worker studied me, then nodded. “If you can handle it.”

Like I said, they were glad to get us out of the system. “I can. I’ve been accepted into college, and it’ll be easier for me to get financial aid this way.” I paused. “I…was hoping…”

Her lips pursed. “I shouldn’t allow it. I’m supposed to find her a placement.”

“In a group home. Seriously…why waste the resources when I can pay the rent and food for both of us?”

“I could officially place her with a roommate and then turn a blind eye. Are you living together or just friends?”

I wanted to snap out, “Does it matter,” but she seemed reasonable. I let out a breath. “We’ve discussed getting engaged.”

“Good luck with that. Marriage is hard enough without society being against you.”

She had a point. “Thanks for not being part of society.”

She laughed. “Honestly, the thing I care about is getting kids out of the system, any way I can. We don’t have enough resources and we just had to downcheck three foster homes for various things.”

I grinned. “You’re too nice to be a social worker.”

“I try. I think most of us get…bitter. But most kids don’t have your luck. I saw your modeling income.”

A slight blush, I could feel it. “It’s harder work than people think.”

“I can imagine. And your…friend…wants to be a teacher. That’s one of the hardest of all.”

I grinned. “So…we’ll work something out.”

Sympathy and help. I wondered if my mother had something to do with it. Tyz’vel wasn’t the only person who could nudge and influence things.

I wouldn’t put it past anyone involved not to fudge the personnel thing to get a nice person assigned to our case. To give me that one little break.

I’d let Kanesha pick out some of the furniture. It was one little thing.
And we weren’t going to let Mike go to jail.

“Did he do it?” she asked abruptly.

“I’m sure he didn’t. Hopefully we’ll manage to prove that.” I let out a breath. “But nobody ever seems the type.” I knew he hadn’t, but I couldn’t bring this nice person in on things.

Tyz’vel might hurt her.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 22

But there was something else I had to do before signing the petition. Sign the lease on my own apartment.

That had proved to be tough as anything. DC isn’t exactly a cheap place to live. I’d found a place. In, well. Southeast. Not the worst part of Southeast. It was a 350-square-foot studio and cost about 700 a month.

I could do that with what I had coming up – as irregular as my income was, I could probably do more. But it had a major downside. No air conditioning.

Beggars couldn’t be choosers. My other downside, of course, was not having any furniture. I’d bought a futon, and was looking for cheap tables on Craigslist. Kanesha leaned over my shoulder.

“I’m sorry.”

“We’ll work something out. It’s a lousy spot for you anyway…”

“I’ll manage. You know. And this place is controlled access, at least in theory. What do you think to this table?”

“And it’s only until we both graduate,” Kanesha pointed out.

“Yeah.” Technically, they’d still be able to touch her until 21, but they usually wanted kids out of the system as soon as they were out of high school. “One year lease, and then I can go month-to-month until we get out.”
To New York. We were both getting out of this city. I wasn’t sure we’d come back. “New York’s worse, though, housing-wise.”

“But has way more opportunities for you to make a ton of money. And plenty of need for teachers,” she pointed out. She slipped an arm around me. “And they might not even notice if I’m not actually at whatever place they stick me in.”

I giggled. “If they noticed, it would be a first time. As long as we don’t get some homophobe watching us.”

“If we do…”

I grinned. “We’ll deal with it. But not by hurting them.”

“I was more thinking of as many PDAs in their presence as we can get away with.” She grinned again.

“Evil woman.”

“If they’re going to accuse us of flaunting our lifestyle, I’m dang well going to flaunt our lifestyle.”

She had a point. “So, you sneak in with me. I did get a double futon. We’ll fit.”

That made her blush.
“What? You’re the one wanting to flaunt our lifestyle.”

“You’re the one making me want to go upstairs right now.”

So, well? We did.

Episode Fifteen: Legalities: Scene 21

“So…your hearing is in a week,” the lawyer was saying. “And I got one for Kanesha. You’re pretty much a slam dunk, once you sign the lease on an apartment. You have one, so… She…”

“We can’t do what you suggested. We aren’t ready yet and I…take that kind of thing seriously.”

She nodded. “It was worth suggesting, but I was rather hoping you wouldn’t say yes. Too many people rush their relationships.”

“Exactly, and I don’t want to lose her…and a measure of my own honor.”

“There’s no way you’re really seventeen,” she quipped.

I laughed. “That’s what my ID says.” But I didn’t have a birth certificate. I wasn’t sure I could even prove I was a US citizen.

Actually, thinking about it, I was an illegal alien. The thought was vaguely amusing.

“I think they missed a year or two. Given your circumstances.”

“No. I got…I found some stuff out about my family,” I admitted. “But they can’t take me in.”

She nodded. “Money, I suppose. It’s usually about money.”

It was all about money I thought. Now the question was how Tyz’vel would attempt to disrupt the hearing.

Or would he? It might be in his interest to see me declared a legal adult. Or not something he’d want to stop.

“Yeah, it’s about money. But at least I know something about what I still can’t remember.”

Soon, the raven had promised. But it had been Foresight that had promised. I’d rather hear it from Memory.

“That’s good. It’s a…who are they?”

I shook my head. “It…they don’t want to be in my life in that sense, and they have good reason.”

I couldn’t tell her the truth. Telling Fitz had been enough of a risk.
“They don’t want you because you’re gay.”

I decided not to disillusion her on that for now. I knew how far from the truth it was, although I did correct one thing. “Bi. Not gay.”

“You know how it is. You’re with a girl, so everyone’s going to see gay.”

I winced. “I know you’re right. But I’m not sure I like it.”

“You shouldn’t. But you’ll have to live with it from some sources.”

I knew she was right.