Bright Dreams in a Dark World

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Scarlette, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Shots fired out of the dark, narrowly missing Belle's right ear as they whizzed past. She twisted, pressing her back against the nearest wall, away from where those bullets had come. She snarled, and called out "You're only making this worse for yourselves; give up now, and we'll make this painless!"

    Three more shots in their direction were her answer, accompanied by the sounds of a couple running as fast as the Renegade's feet would carry them. "Damn it all, why don't they ever give in when I offer mercy?" she asked, cocking her own weapon and whisking herself away toward the roof, after the sounds of hurried footsteps. She had no idea where her partner had disappeared to, but of course that wasn't really any of her concern just now.

    "Alexander de la Bar'ac, you imbecile, give in now, or I swear to all that is dark in this world I will make your death as slow and painful as possible, you fucking worm of a man!" she called after the pair ahead of her. She heard the latch to the roof open, and heard someone slip through. Whispers filled with despair and some kind of twisted version of love reached her ears, and she snorted.

    She peeked around the corner, her firing arm up and ready, and was met with a bullet in her shoulder. Pain blossomed, and her arm fell to her side, before she heard the second person slip through the door to the roof. "Damn." she groaned, feeling her arm for an exit wound; the bullet hadn't gone through her arm, thank goodness, but it hurt like all hell, and she was about to lose her targets. "Damn, damn, damn."

    Deciding that she could and would handle the pain later, Belle pushed herself away from her wall, and ran toward the door. She held her bloody hand out the door, palm outward, a sign of temporary peace. "Look, give in now, and this will all be over soon." she called. She listened for a moment, and laughed as she heard that fatal last click of an empty chamber. "Bingo." she whispered to herself, and she was out the door in less than a heartbeat. She spotted her target, Alexander, and his Changed lover, and grinned. She took step after leisurely step towards them, a grin on her face. "Unless you're going to jump down fifty three floors to your inevitable death to escape, it seems we've come to our conclusion." she said, raising a dark brow in sardonic amusement. "Oh, I do love my job."

    Taking another step, Alexander threw his hands up, and stood in front of his lover. "Wait! Wait, please, I beg you!" he pleaded. She snorted, and crossed her arms, forcing herself not to wince as her arm pulsated in pain. A few drops fell down her leather-sheathed arm, and landed on the roof. "Oh, this should be good." she laughed. I suppose I ought to wait for the newbie to catch up anyway. she thought to herself, smiling.
     
  2. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="--"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> <m:rMargin m:val="0"/> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup"/> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440"/> <m:intLim m:val="subSup"/> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr"/> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> Ducking beneath bullets, he dove forwards in order to dodge another, his fear of getting shot far outweighing his fear of Belle finding out he might have lost their target. Straightening, he looked around through the dark, trying to get his bearings again.

    “Damn it,” Braedon cursed, realizing the very thing he had been worrying about. He’d gotten lost. Keeping low, his weapon held close and at the ready, he made sure that he wasn’t too large a target, and tried to find Belle from the sounds of her voice.

    Wincing after hearing the Renegade plead for the life of him and his lover, he tried to get closer, not wanting to startle Belle and get a bullet in his arm for his trouble. Finding them all on the roof, he approached, announcing, “I’m behind you, Belle,” moving slowly towards her, seeing the poor fool and his girl.

    Though he wasn’t the sardonic, ready-to-kill, lover of her job that Belle was, he did know that there was a certain joy to be had in killing a Renegade. Brushing back a fair-colored lock of hair with his free hand, he kept the one holding the gun pointed at Alexander, before replacing his hand on the gun.

    “You’re bleeding, Belle,” he says, noticing the wound. Biting his tongue before he said something out of place, he looked from her to the targets, a light frown on his face.
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  3. "Welcome to the party, Braedon; you're just in time." Belle replied, never taking her eyes off of the couple in front of her. They made a pretty picture, that much she would admit, but every fiber of her being, everything she had been taught as a Hunter during her training, told her that this was inherently wrong, and she must put an end to it.

    "Please, please just listen to me! Haven't you ever wondered what it's like to fall in love, Hunters?" the man asked, reaching behind him to hold the woman's hand. Her wild, terror filled eyes met his for a moment, and she buckled at the knees. Alexander turned to face them again. "Why don't you question what you're told? Why don't you wonder what the world is like beyond what the Elders tell us? You're blind! Blind and fools!" he yelled. "Kill us if you must, but know that you are ruining a wonderful, beautiful thing that doesn't happen every day in a vampyre's life! True, undying love, Hunter!" he screamed, his voice hysteric now, eyes wide and tear-filled.

    Belle snorted in disgust, and took a few more steps toward them. "You know very well that you could have found another to love, serrah. You had a good millenia left in your life to find someone worth living for, and instead you chose to break the one rule that you knew would get yourself and this abomination killed. What if she had exposed you for what you are? What if she had chosen to expose the entire vampyre community?" she shook her head. "You disgust me, Alexander, to have stooped this low. You know as well as I do that mortals are no better than dogs; and you, sick twisted bastard, chose to go and make love to one! You deserve your fate, just as any other Renegade does." she said, before pulling her weapon and putting a bullet right between his eyes; she let the woman scream in despair and fear for a moment, before delivering the same fate to her.

    It never pleased her to kill someone, especially someone that had been a close friend of her brothers', but her job was her job, and she was not going to fail to complete her duties just because it happened to be someone her family cared about. They would understand, just as they understood that being a Hunter was her life's calling. She turned to face her partner, and smiled. "Well, not as bad as some of the newer ones do, that much I can say." Belle said, holstering her weapon, and then raising her hand to her shoulder. "Woulda been nice to have you here a minute or two ago though; bullets hurt." she said, before her strength finally gave out, and she collapsed from blood loss and pain, groaning as her knees hit the ground.
     
  4. Braedon ignored his partner's initial jibe, bolstering himself for what he knew was to come. Repeating in his mind the very words that had been drilled into him since training, "It's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong, turning others into vampires is wrong," he watched the two for any sign of a stray movement, ready to shoot.

    Taken aback as the man tried telling them about wondering what falling in love was like, he bit his tongue, resisting the urge to make his trigger finger twitch just so to send a bullet through the man's chest and it would be over like that. Hating how Alexander was screaming, hysterical and terrified, Breadon wished Belle would just finish it, but instead she chose to speak.

    Trying to keep any expression from his face as she told Alexander that mortals were nothing more than dogs and he was some sort of monster for loving one, Braedon jumped slightly as she finally pulled the trigger, both sad and glad that she had finally ended the poor fools' suffering.

    "Sorry, I sort of thought I was going to be in the Communications Department, not field work..." he answered as she commented towards him, still looking at the bodies, before looking back up. Seeing her fall down, he kneels next to her, saying, "Are you--are you okay? I think we need to get you back..."
     
  5. Belle sighed. "Alright, Techie, help me get this jacket off, I'll take care of it, and then we'll go." she said through her clenched jaw. She kept her eyes focused on one spot, while he helped her, and finally managed to breathe enough that she could rip the arm off of her jacket, and wrap it around the wound in her arm. She sighed, and looked Braedon in the face. "How did you say you got stuck with me again? I know this isn't exactly what you signed up for, so forgive me if I'm a little nosy." she said, pretending there wasn't still blood dripping down her arm to pool on the ground.

    A gentle wind brushed over the rooftop, rustling her dark pixie cut hair, as she took a deep breath. The tattoo across the bridge of her nose looked as oddly out-of-place as ever, blood red on the pale flesh of her face, as if brushed there; tight black jeans clung to her legs, disappearing into the tops of her boots at her knees. She could feel the pressure of her holster at her hip, and for once wished that she didn't have to go traipsing about the globe to track down idiots. Getting shot tended to turn her thoughts a little melancholy.

    She rubbed her face for a moment, and sighed, closing her eyes. Dropping her hand, she looked at her new partner again. "You know, I'm not some kind of monster. You can stop looking at me like I'm some kind of boogyman now." she said, moving past him to make her way to the rendezvous point on the third floor, where they would treat her wound, and they would eventually find out what intelligence they could about their next assignment.
     
  6. "They mixed up my files with a "Jason Wilks" and sent me to you right after training. They didn't switch them until after training, when I'd already gotten the training for Communications, and Jason got training for field. Lucky for me, Techies get basic field training, so I'm not completely lost," Braedon said, helping her to get the jacket off. "I'd file a request to be moved, but Jason hadn't yet, so I don't think I will yet..." he trailed off, watching as she tore the arm off of her jacket, using it as a bandage.

    Trying not to shiver as the wind blew over them, Braedon waited until she was ready to move. His outfit wasn't nearly as severe as his partner's: the standard uniform jacket and looser jeans. Sure, they would be something to grab if he was running for whatever reason, but he hadn't been able to get a new set, and was sticking with his Techie clothes for now. Though he didn't have any face tattoos, he had one on his arm. It was the Hunters Communications seal, along with his Squad's number in training, 739. Everyone in 739 had gotten the same tattoo, the guys all thinking that they would be in the same department after training. No such luck for Braedon, it seems.

    Looking away as she mentioned how it was he was looking at her, Bradeon followed after her, not wanting to get lost again. "I'm sorry," he said, biting the inside of his cheek slightly. "In training, targets were never up close like that. And we were always told not to talk to them in real life..."
     
  7. Belle sighed. "forget a lot of the crap they told you in training, Techie, and you'll be just fine. Once you get past the fact that essentially you're a paid assassin, the job's pretty easy. Most of them don't really put up a fight once you corner them." she told him, her voice a little more sympathetic. It hadn't been all that long ago that she was just as new to the job as he was, and she'd puked on her first assignment; she attributed that to the fact that she'd accidentally beheaded her target with a falling pane of glass, and her partner hadn't done anything to make it easier on her.

    "I talk to them before they die to give them the chance to repent, and come back into the fold of the vampire community. A few of them have taken my offer, but not many. Most of them are like that one back there, clinging to some hope of mortality, rather than the long lifespan we enjoy as what we are. Those that repent are sent back to the Elders with my blessing; those that cling to their foolish ways, die. It's very simple really. And, besides, I like hearing what excuse they have for breaking 'the Big Taboo.' It helps me understand the way their minds work." she explained.

    They rounded another corner, and were greeted by a team of three Technies, each wearing the standard field uniform, same as Braedon. She grinned at the most familiar of the three, and plopped down in a chair nearby. "Bloody bastard got my arm, Alice; who's teaching plebs how to shoot these days? It used to be that I could go out and do my job without worrying about getting shot at!" she joked. She had more than her fair share of injuries, but this was a long-standing joke between the two of them. Alice laughed, and removed her makeshift bandage, so that she could get to work on the wound beneath. "Well, if you weren't the one sent to kill them, I doubt they would ever take their weapons out at all!" the woman replied as she peeled the bloody cloth of Belle's shirt away from her arm. "Looks like you're already starting to heal up, though, so no big deal, stop whining. Just let me get that round out, and you'll be good as new in an hour or so." she stated quickly. Alice glanced over her shoulder at Braedon. "Why don't you go and see what your next assignment is while I tend to Miss Guns-A-Blazin' here? She can get pretty nasty when it comes time to pull things out of her." she said, winking at the young vampire.
     
  8. Braedon waited in the back, watching with morbid curiosity as the woman Belle called Alice began peeling away the blood jacket arm from the wound. He had never been one for the medical field, and when he had been deciding what department he wanted to go into, Medical was at the bottom of his list. It wasn't that he got squeamish around blood, he just didn't like caring for others who were injured, especially when their life hung in his hands. That job would just get too stressful.

    Nodding as Alice told him to go see what their next assignment was, he gave them their privacy, and went around a corner to make the call. Taking out his mobile phone, he dialed the number to the Field office.

    "F.O.," said the voice at the other end.

    "It's Whyte, calling in to report. The Renegade Alexander de la Bar'ac has been eliminated," he stated, still uptight and stiff when making calls. "What's our next assignment?"
     
  9. The man on the other end of the call chuckled a bit, the sound carrying over the line with a little static. "Relax, Whyte, we're not all as crazy as Trixie over there; you can loosen up a bit." he teased. "The name's Gray, generally the one who will answer these calls and give you your assignment. Your next target is a little farther from home than even your partner has gone before, somewhere over in China. The name is Jiang Xu, who has gone as far as to change children. We've gotten reports that the little monsters and their father have gone crazy; may as well be rabies infected feral cats, from what I'm reading here." he explained.

    "Tell Trixie that I wouldn't bother trying to talk to this one; she's head-over-heels like the last one, and won't even consider reforming. Good graces only know why that woman even bothers to offer the choice to her targets, but that's not my problem." he complained. "I'm wiring money and your flight information to your partner's phone as we speak, and you two will be on your way within the hour." There was a pause, and Gray cleared his throat. "Oh, and Whyte? Good luck."

    The line went dead, and Belle's swearing could have been heard from a million miles away, of that she was almost entirely certain. "Well, HELL! Why don't you just cut the damn arm off if you're going to do it so painfully?" she swore. Eventually the bullet was out, and the wound almost entirely closed already by the time she caught sight of Braedon again. She sighed, and took a couple of deep breaths, before standing up and dusting invisible debris off of her pants. "Any chance we got some good news this time?" she asked, crossing her arms.
     
  10. Braedon was silent as Gray told him what their next assignment would be, leaning against a wall. Though he wouldn't admit it, a flutter of excitement filled him at the prospect of going to China. However, all excitement left him once he was told that there would be children who were turned. Finally turning off his phone once the line went dead, he replaced it into his pocket, hearing Belle screaming and shouting curses his mother would have slapped him for when he was younger. That woman had a mean backhand, too...

    Startling out of his thoughts at the sound of Belle's voice, now much closer to him, he straightened off of the wall, and said, "Gray said," he tries to remember the correct pronunciation of the Renegade's name, "...Jiang Xu, in China. He's changed children," he adds, his voice softer. "He also said not to try and talk to them, that they're too crazy to think about it..." He paused before relaying the rest of the information. "He's getting money and flight info to us right now," he concluded, brushing a hand through his hair.

    Taking a deep breath, he tries to come to terms with the fact that they might have to kill children this time. Not knowing if he could, he decided not to voice these worries, not knowing what Belle might say.
     
  11. Belle sighed. She'd had an assignment like this, decades ago, and it hadn't been any easier for her the first time around than it was right now. Sighing, she pulled her phone out of her pocket, and confirmed that information on her phone's screen. "Hail a taxi, I need a breather before we head out. We're flying out of O'Hare, and it's a long-ass fourteen hour flight over to Beijing. Hope you brushed up on your languages, Techie."

    She led the way down the last three flights of stairs to the busy street below, and leaned against the wall, breathing deeply, keeping her silent, stoic air in tact.. Once in a great while, she still had nightmares about the first time she'd had to kill Changed children; their faces had been filled with horror and a total lack of understanding that was heartbreaking to remember. She slammed her fist against the brick wall beside her, and tried her best to keep her facial expression neutral; calm, collected. That was what she was supposed to be at all times. She was a Hunter, for goodness sakes, she should never be unable to fight of emotional displays because something was difficult! Red eyes flashed at passerby, who would most likely dismiss it as some kind of "emo get-up", a trick of the light, or anything they could think of to dissuade themselves of having seen something out of place in their world.
     
  12. Nodding, Braedon followed Belle down the stairs, his hands in his pockets, gun holstered at his thigh. During their walk down the stairs, he was trying to remember all he knew about China, and the language, he had gotten from a language class a forever ago. The pronunciations were always what got him, when to pronounce the 'e' and when not to. Sometimes, he would be asking for a phone or directions, and he'd end up saying his lips were purple. Though he hadn't ever been to China, it had always interested him, and he was eager to see how much he still knew.

    Once outside, he stood at the curb waiting for a taxi to pass by so he could get the driver's attention. Seeing the approaching headlights of one, he walks out onto the street a few steps, his hand flying out, an odd look on his face that all people made when they were hailing a taxi. Like they needed to go to the bathroom and were shouting at someone at the same time. As it pulled over, he turned to see Belle smashing her fist against the wall next to her.

    Seeing the look on her face, he walked to her, gesturing towards the taxi for it to wait, and said, "Are you okay?" wanting to know if this would be a problem during their mission.
     
  13. Belle sighed, and opened her eyes, returning to her usual all business profile; it was easier to pretend to be the badass, gunslinging bitch that everyone thought she was than to have them know that she had feelings, and could be hurt. It was just easier that way; easier for her to protect those that she loved, because no one knew what bothered her, or who meant anything to her. "Fine, Whyte. Let's get a move on." she said, already on her way to the taxi.

    "O'Hare, and an extra two hundred if you get us there in half an hour or less." she stated once her partner was seated next to her. The driver nodded, and turned on his meter before turning out into traffic.

    "Tell me about yourself, Techie. Your dossier didn't say much other than your name and credentials." she said, suddenly paranoid.
     
  14. "Because I'm really a spy sent to infiltrate your ranks and get close to one of the best Hunters out there only to assassinate her in her sleep," Braedon said seriously, looking at her. After a moment, he cracked a grin, trying to lighten the mood. "Kidding," he told her, chuckling slightly. Waiting a moment to see if his joke didn't fall flat, he keeps his grin on, resisting the urge to burst out something even more outrageous.

    "I'm just Braedon Whyte," he said after a few seconds. "I'm twenty-two, like long walks in the park, and want to meet someone to spend the rest of my life with," he added, joking again. "But really, I'm generic Techie number 82. I fix radios, phones, stuff like that, and was supposed to do it for the Hunters once I got out of training. I'm mostly fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and am decent in American Sign Language, on the off chance that I was in the Languages division in Communications."

    "Anything else you want to know about me?" he asked with a smile.
     
  15. Belle had to smile at his attempts at joking. Not many people were that well at ease around her to say anything like that, and here he was, Mr. Confidence. "Well, Mr. Fix-It, your skills may yet save our lives on this mission. I'll admit that never spent much time in China, and usually had to find someone who spoke English to get anything done the last time I was there. Granted, I was just a little thing then, only fifty-four years old." she laughed, glad that he wasn't all stiffness and military discipline like most of her other partners had been.

    She'd gone through so many of them just in the past decade, they were finding it difficult to find anyone willing to go on an assignment with her anymore. She generally took the lead, and got pissy if someone tried to take the reins from her; she'd been known to literally drop kick someone for going against her orders just two decades after starting her job.

    She sighed. "I suppose you'd like to know a bit more about me than what the stories say, hmm?" she said, arching a thin brow at him. "I swear I'm not the all-controlling 'holier than thou' type my past partners have made me out to be in their tall tales, really. I just know exactly what to do and how to do it." she said, aware that she wasn't making her case any better.

    Sighing again, she tried to think of something about herself that wasn't involved with her job. "Well, outside of this, I generally don't have much of a social life, I like to wear fashionable, sensible clothes for work, and someday I hope to make little vampire babies of my own. There. I'm a sappy romantic, same as anybody else." she laughed, almost embarrassed to be saying it.
     
  16. Braeon chuckled slightly, trying to imagine Belle with children. It was rather comical, to say the least. However, he had to say, "I forgot to mention earlier, but I can only speak Chinese, can't read it. All the characters confused me when I was learning..." He remembered how difficult it had been remembering exactly what a character meant, and the difference between the zhe, hai, and guo characters, which looked similar enough that they could have been exact copies.

    After a moment he said, "I never really heard any stories about you, though. There was the occasional one from one of the guys in 739, but we mostly didn't hear about stuff from the Field Department. Only on those rare moments when we weren't competing with one another to see who could take apart our cellphones and put them back together the fastest." Smiling slightly, he continued, "There was this one time, though, when, on a dare, I was told to reprogram the computer in our C.O.'s room to say things like, "We know where you are," whenever he tried to log in...." He trails off, losing himself slightly in his memories.

    Coming back to reality a second later, he said, "Before I went to training, I was thinking about going into engineering, but I realized that I'd rather be doing something more productive with my skills...Do you have any family, Belle?" he asks, smiling slightly.
     
  17. Belle chuckled, and shook her head. "Well, I really don't think reading it will be too much of an issue. Just a little translation, I believe. Nothing too difficult." The driver took an especially sharp turn, and smacked her face against the window, cracking the glass. Scowling, she ignored it and replied to his next statement. "Interesting to know there are still a few in the ranks that don't think I'm a baby eating killer." she laughed.

    Imagining this guy as a geek with his cellphone a bunch of other Techies was an entertaining thought, and she smiled, until he asked about her family. Her smile disappeared, and she stared out the window at the passing lights of the city as they drove through. Minutes ticked by, and finally she shifted just enough to get the numb feeling out of her left buttock.

    She sighed. It seemed she was doing a lot of sighing as of late. "I have my brother, and my sister." she stated quietly. "But that's not really a topic I'm interested in discussing right now." she said, her voice flat and emotionless, the sentinel she'd been compared to countless times again.
     
  18. Immediately seeing that the question he had asked was a sensitive one with Belle, he was about to drop it and change the subject, just to fill the empty silence, but then she spoke. Nodding, thinking that her answer was acceptable, he didn't say any more about it, figuring she could have her own privacy.

    Hating how the mood had darkened, he decided to try and lighten it. "Ah didnee know tha' tha subj'ct was aye diff'cult one," he said, assuming his native Scottish accent. He had learned from experience that lots of people thought it funny when he suddenly started speaking with his Edinburgh accent after talking nonstop in his learned one.

    Waiting to see her reaction, trying to hold back a goofy smile, he tried not to say something crazier.
     
  19. Belle giggled, snorted even, upon hearing his native accent. She couldn't help it, that accent was atrocious! Turning to look at his goofy grin, she smiled back. "Alright, alright, I get it; no more Miss Doom and Gloom, until absolutely necessary." she said. She wondered at herself even as she spoke the words; normally she was completely businesslike and professional towards any and all coworkers, but this time seemed to be... different, somehow. Perhaps it was that he actually tried to hold a conversation with her, instead of only speaking about this mission they were on, or staring at her in shock and awe, looking at a living nightmare their mothers had told them as fledglings?

    She smiled at the thought, and looked out the window again to see that they were approaching the airport. She handed the driver the promised payment, and slid out of the cab, flexing her wounded shoulder, happy to find that it had already healed. Glancing at Braedon, she nodded toward the doors, and started making her way into the building. Her phone buzzed in her pocket; she flipped it open, only to find that it was Gray calling. "Belle here."

    "Lighten up, Trixie, just a quick update, for your ears only." he stated. "We've had eyes on the target for a week now; don't bother with any of that bullshit you pulled with de la Baar'ac. Jianghas completely lost it; she tried to kill those kids she turned this morning." Snarling, Belle cursed. She'd trained with Xu, and had formed an almost family-like bond with the woman. "If you have to, let Whyte take the shot, Bellatrix; don't compromise yourself if you don't have to." he finished, before ending the call.
     
  20. Braedon was glad that his accent had worked, and laughed along with her. He used to hate it, back when his family moved here and he still had it really strong, but he never really forgot it. Really, he had forced it down in public, but his parents had wanted him to have it at home, at least, but eventually, he didn't have it all anymore. However, that didn't mean that he couldn't call upon it when he needed it, and it had proved useful in situations where he had needed to startle someone long enough to gain the upper hand, or simply lighten a mood.

    Getting out of the cab as soon as it had stopped, stretching his legs, he waited for Belle to pay the driver, following her when she gestured for him to. Stepping into the building, the rather unfamiliar sights of an airport hit him, and he paused for a moment while Belle answered her phone.

    "Where are we going?" he asked her once she was finished, smiling. His speaking slightly formal and strained from his reversion to his native accent. It would go away soon, he knew, but it still sounded funny to him.