Once you decide to do right, life is easy – no distractions.

“Why can’t things be just a bit easier?” Chris groused. When Ezra bit off a laugh, he looked up at his companion with a frown. “Something funny about that, Ezra?”

Shrugging, Ezra said, “I just… I realize these assignments aren’t simple. Nothing is ever quite so straightforward as it seems.” He looked thoughtful. “When I was with the Organization – the Underground, if you prefer – I always had to be careful what I said. Would I be caught in a lie? Would someone realize that I was forging artwork? Would I say or do something that would displease my superiors?”

“Yeah,” Chris said, blinking. He nodded. “What’s the point?”

“I just find things a great deal easier – far less worrisome – now that I’m out of that group,” Ezra said. He shrugged. “The only thing I have to ask myself now is, is this the right thing to do?”

A faint smile touched Chris’s lips. He chuckled softly. “That kind of thinking does rather cut through the complexities of life, does it?” he said. Maybe he was so used to working in the system that he was making things harder than they needed to be.

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It’s Finally Friday

Matthew watched the group of agents critically. He knew they were agents because he recognized them from work. However, they were hardly acting like professionals. Not only were they loud and drunk, they were rowdy.

Two of them were dancing on the tabletops, much to the delight of their companions. The bartender looked less pleased. Matthew beckoned him over.

“Have you considered cutting them off?” he asked.

Chris laughed. “I did that already. Might be a case of too little, too late,” he said. He looked over at the group and shook his head. “It’s like this every week with them. I figure, so long as they aren’t destructive… it’s better than what they could be doing.”

For a moment, Matthew wondered what he could mean. Then, he remembered some of the rowdy times he’d had with his brother. He chuckled softly and nodded. “I see what you mean,” he said.

“If they’re bothering you, I could ask them to quiet down,” Chris said. Matthew shook his head and waved him away. Maybe they needed to blow off some steam. If that was the case, he wasn’t going to spoil their fun.

Waiting In Darkness, Part 5

When they arrived on the scene, they could see that a group of monsters that numbered somewhere near a couple dozen had Chris and Jewel surrounded. Chris was holding them at bay with a shield, but Connor knew there was only so long he could keep that up.

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Waiting In Darkness, Part 3

Connor breathed a sigh of relief when he pulled into the garage underneath the Agency tower. He parked his car in its usual space and got out. He locked the vehicle up, all while chewing on his lip nervously. What was going on? Some sort of spell, Chris had said, and he’d mentioned attacks.

Suppressing a shiver, Connor head towards the elevator that would bring him up to the floor where he worked. Hopefully, Chris could explain it to him when he got there. He walked briskly, with his head down, focusing on the task of getting to the elevator.

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Waiting In Darkness, Part 2

When Connor stepped outside, the city was as dark as night. His brows furrowed and he looked at his watch. It was only twenty minutes to eleven. “Why is it so dark?” he murmured.

Shaking his head, Connor started down the street towards the lot where he’d parked earlier that morning. His frown deepened when he noticed that the attendant wasn’t in the booth. He knew the lot wasn’t attended at night, but it was the middle of the day – in spite of how dark it was.

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You did not even know how to breathe.

Ezra frowned at the mask that covered his mouth and nose. His brows furrowed and he looked around. His gaze fell on Chris, who was sitting beside his bed. He arched an eyebrow at the other, silently asking what had happened.

Chris sighed. “You were hit by some soft of spell,” he said, his voice soft. “Lyn thought they were going to lose you. Keenan was able to get you stabilized, but… the machine is basically breathing for you.”

For a moment, what Chris was saying didn’t make any sense. Then, Ezra realized what he meant. A spell had struck his aura, which was reacting violently as a result. He nodded. He looked at the machine and then at Chris, silently asking how long he would be this way.

“Want something to write with?” Chris asked.

Even as Ezra was nodding, Keenan spoke up from the doorway. “He might not be able to write yet. Give him a keyboard, so he can type.”

Chris nodded and slipped a small datapad under his hand. Ezra typed his question and then Chris showed it to Keenan. “I was wondering the same thing,” he admitted. “He’ll recover, right?”

“His aura was practically shredded,” Keenan said, his expression grim. He looked at Ezra. “It’ll take time and we can’t know how complete the recovery will be, but you’ll improve.”

Nodding, Ezra relaxed. He’d recover. He’d do whatever it took to get his quality of life as near to what it was as possible. The first goal, in his mind, was to reach the point where he could do the basic things – like breathing on his own – again.

Just What I Feel

“What will you tell her?”

Ezra frowned slightly. He turned around and looked at Chris. If felt like it wasn’t all that long ago their roles were reversed. He was the one standing where Chris was, helping him prepare for his marriage to Winnie. Now, Chris was helping Ezra to prepare for his marriage to Morgan.

He looked thoughtful for a moment. “The vows, you mean,” he said. It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. They both knew that Ezra hadn’t written his vows yet. It was the day of the ceremony, but he had yet to put the words down on paper.

Chris stepped closer and said, “Are you going to write them?” The unspoken question was, Was he reconsidering marrying her? The answer was the same.

“No,” he said, shaking his head. He laughed and shook his head. “I’ll just… speak from the heart. I’ll tell her what I feel when I see her standing there, in her wedding gown.”

“You aren’t afraid that you’ll freeze up?” Chris asked, sounding nervous.

Ezra laughed and shook his head. “I’ve never had trouble talking, Chris.”

The random cause of its loveliness.

It had taken a few months, but Ezra was smiling happily at the repotted pieces of his late jade plant. The pieces he’d salvaged had grown nicely. Once they had roots, he was happy to see that they began to grow quite nicely. Now, instead of having one sickly jade, he had five healthy jades.

The corners of his mouth quirked at the little note he’d written. Jade were succulents – kin to cacti. They didn’t need much water. That was one of the reasons he’d decided to have a jade plant in the first place. His biggest problem was forgetting to water things. For the jades and the cacti on his desk, the best thing for them was to dump water on them, let them dry completely and repeat.

He looked up as Chris entered his office and looked at the note with a frown. “What’s with the note?” he asked.

Ezra shrugged. “I figure that whomever helped me with my plants might like to know that they don’t need to water them this week,” he said, as he turned back to his work.

I’m about to say go alone.

Chris stared at Keenan. “What do you mean, you aren’t coming?” he asked, blinking.

Keenan frowned. “I don’t think I stuttered,” he said, his tone just a bit acerbic. In an exaggeratedly slow voice, he said, “I am not going with you!”

Scowling, Chris bit his lip. “That means… I’ll be riding all the way there with Haruko and – and I’ll have to make conversation with him!” He grabbed the front of Keenan’s shirt. “You have to come!”

“You know what I’m about to tell you, don’t you?” he said, arching an eyebrow. “I can’t go and, if you don’t wanna go with him…” he trailed off. “You get the idea.”

the whole war

Keenan was looking intently at Ezra, his brows furrowed. He shook his head and leaned over to Chris. “Who’s is his father, d’you know?”

“Allen… Pemberton,” Chris said, blinking. He looked thoughtful for a moment and then nodded. “Yeah, I think that was his name. Why?”

A soft chuckle escaped Keenan’s lips and he nodded. “I thought so,” he said. He pointed over at Ezra, who was regarding Devin with a sidelong glance somewhere between an indulgent smirk and a scowl of disdain. “His father used to throw that same look at people. It’s a rather singular expression.”

Chris blinked and looked at Keenan. “You knew his father?” he said, his voice faint.

Keenan nodded. “He was the one who got me started in the Agency,” he said, his voice soft. “It was partly on account of Allen Pemberton that I freed my village from the Berklian forces.”

For a moment, Chris just stared at Keenan in shock. That single event had set off a chain reaction that spurred the rest of the nation to action. If not for that event – if not for Allen Pemberton – they might never have won free of the occupying forces. He looked back over at Ezra and said, “I wonder if he knows.”

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