Fourteen

Zara arched a judgmental brow as her spine remained straight despite the curved back of the metal chair, her arms crossed but her elbows not quite touching the glass surface of the cafe table. She watched her brother seem to get an excessive amount of amusement out of flicking the crumbs off of his coffee cake so fast and powerfully that they managed to knock small birds off balance on the decorative fencing, that served more to boast the cafe’s property jutting into the sidewalk than to actually keep passersby distanced from the patrons. Rather disappointing, in Zara’s mind, since it was late evening and the sorry saps who had already begun to hit the opening bars–tourists, going to bars that knew to rip them off–kept swinging elbows and shoulders dangerously close to her. Dangerous for them, as she felt her temper begin to thin.

“Would you leave the poor beasties alone,” she pushed through gritted teeth, imploring her brother to stop. He looked up with eyes wide in faux innocence, making her scoff. “Honestly, nearly a century old and yet you could fool anyone into thinking you’d been mentally stunted as a child.”

He smirked. “The contemporary saying is, ‘dropped on your head as a baby’, Sis.” She rolled her eyes, and he mocked a pout. “Why so bitey? And I don’t mean in the fun or normal ways.”

She sighed, none of the tension leaving. “I’m bored. No, restless. That girl is gone, and we shouldn’t have let her.” She leaned closer, making sure her voice dropped so low that even something with supernatural hearing would have to conspicuously lean in. “I want to know what that thing was.”

They’d had this conversation several times over the last week, and she expected him to sigh heavily and comment just that. But, rather than his usual sympathetic defense that the poor girl probably had enough to deal with and they should leave her alone, he paused and tilted his head. Zara could practically see the gears and scales turning and tipping in her twin’s mind. Anticipation twitched her spine even tauter.

“Maybe we should go,” he began slowly, but his eyes suddenly sharpened as they focused on her. “But just to check on it. No agenda, no ambushing the poor girl. We can just observe, and see if there even is an explanation that arises.”

“You liked Cass and just want to spy on your crush,” Zara smirked, unable to resist teasing him a bit, and knowing his ears would have been red had blood circulated their bodies naturally. He nodded.

“She was rather smashing, yeah,” he agreed enthusiastically. She laughed at her brother, but it faded after a moment.

“But really, Z, take it easy,” he implored. She nodded, realizing she didn’t actually have a plan in her mind already. But the girl and that…thing…were already off the damn continent, and maybe it was another dead end, but Zara couldn’t dismiss it without at least trying. Marco was looking at her with a mixture of curiosity and concern.

“You’re not hiding a plan from me, are you?” she shook her head, honestly. His expression deepened. “Not very characteristic of you to not have a plan.”

She shrugged. “You’re right, all we should do, and all we can do, is find her and just watch. I can’t plan anything I don’t know,” she admitted uncomfortably.

Marco just nodded. “Ok.” He looked at the glass table for a moment, his lips twitching. Zara nudged him with a black heel-clad foot, and he looked at her and voiced his thoughts. “Do we know where exactly she is?” Zara bit back a groan.

“We know enough,” she stated through gritted teeth. The two stood and disappeared from sight before the loud tourists and other cafe patrons even noticed the abandoned, crumbled cake.

***********************

“And after that, well, the uniforms returned my little battered up body to whoever claimed to be my mum at the time, who turned out to be pretty disgruntled when she only got leered at by ’em instead of some reward,” Daniel concluded his third childhood story in the last few hours. “But really, what was she expecting, answering the door of a bloody brothel?” He threw his hands up in question comically, as if delivering a punchline.

Lars, for once, was a bit grateful for his incessant chatter. It kept him distracted, and offered more insight than he believed Daniel meant to give. The boy was chuckling madly, but Lars could hear the tinges of sadness and bitterness underneath the humor. He tried to say as much during the first tale, one which did involve him meeting his birth mother on accident, but he had just snickered and dismissed his insight.

“But you knew who your mother was?” Lars tried, and Daniel nodded.

“Oh yeah, by the time I was a toddler everyone said I was the uncanny spitting image of her. But that didn’t mean much, just lowly peasant folk talking. And when I finally did see her face-to-face, and she saw me, well it didn’t matter by then,” he shrugged, not laughing. He appeared a bit thoughtful. “So, it’s your turn now.”

“Pardon?” Lars asked, caught off guard.

“To talk,” Daniel answered as if it was obvious. “I’ve divulged some stories, and you’re thinking you have some deep, unique insight into my sexy bad-boy persona. Now, I’d like to hear more from you. About you, or, preferably, Cassie. She seems interesting.”

“Does she?” Lars deadpanned, remembering when he tried to mention Daniel to her, just to explain who she was, and the girl had looked like she’d swallowed rancid fish. Perhaps his view was fogged after spending hours with him, but Lars was suddenly unsure of how much the boy was messing about. He was looking at him quite seriously, seeming intent on an answer.

“I’d like to know about her. Where’d you find? How did you find her? She seems…unusual. But trust me, that is not an insult,” Daniel elaborated.

Lars sighed. “I found her near her home in Boston, alone and…unusual,” Lars stated carefully. Just because the boy was chatty himself did not mean he was trustworthy, and the less the Supernatural world knew of her, the better. “And that is not her name,” he added, scowling at the nickname Daniel had unwelcomingly bestowed. It was more like a pet dog’s name, especially the way he said it.

Daniel sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes. “I see where she gets her sense of humor, lordliness.”