Let’s Rock and Roll

Ezra lay back on the blanket and stared up at the sky. In spite of the gathering darkness, Missy and Loki were still playing with some of the other children who had come to the park. Morgan was sitting on the blanket beside Ezra, while they waited together for the show to begin.

“It was a nice day,” she said, her voice soft.

Nodding, Ezra said, “More peaceful than normal – no complaints here.” He sat up and then looked over at the kids. “Loki! Missy! The show will be starting.”

As he was calling their children over, other parents were doing the same. Missy bounded over and flopped down in Ezra’s lap. She leaned back against him, like he was a chair. Ezra smiled fondly and settled the noise dampening headphones over her ears.

Loki knelt on the blanket beside Morgan, his eyes locked on the sky. “What are they waiting for?” he asked, sounding like the impatient child he appeared to be.

Morgan laughed and pointed at the sky. “Begin,” she said, her tone commanding. As if in response, the first firework exploded in the sky, spreading out in a spray of bright crimson and violet.

Loki looked at Morgan and then shook himself and focused on the show. “Time to rock and roll,” he said, grinning.

Ezra reached out and took Morgan’s hand. He couldn’t help but smile as he looked up at the fireworks display. The times when they could just relax and be a family together were few and far between. To Ezra, that made them all the more treasured.

Here We Go

Ezra looked at the things he’d gathered for their picnic. He had the blanket all set in the tapestry bag that it came with. The little trays were washed and ready to use. Plates, napkins and flatware were all packed in the picnic basket. He’d packed their sandwich fixings into little containers, along with their salads and some snacks. The containers were also packed into the picnic basket. Finally, there was a large thermos with lemonade. They had everything they’d need for the picnic.

He looped the tapestry bag over on shoulder. Then he took the thermos in one hand and the picnic basket in the other. “All set,” he said, grinning at Morgan.

Morgan flashed him a smile and handed Loki a bag of toys that he and Missy could use at the park. Then, she took the picnic basket from him. “We’re ready too,” she said.

“Here we go!” Missy said, as she scampered out the door past them. The little bell necklace she wore chimed merrily. It was the only remaining hint of her former nature.

Shaking his head, Ezra called, “Missy, your hat!” The growl of frustration made him smile. She was, in many ways, still very feline.

“Some of the noises she makes,” Morgan said, shaking her head in amusement. “I’m surprised that no one realizes the truth.”

“People often overlook things when they can’t wrap their minds around them,” Ezra said, shrugging. Then, they were outside and walking, while Missy alternated between running ahead of them and waiting impatiently for them to catch up.

Marching On

Ezra frowned slightly at Loki. The boy had grown, as boys are wont to do as time passes. However, some part of Ezra had felt that the spell that had made him a boy would keep him that way.

“Does it bother you?” he asked. He flushed when Loki looked up at him with a confused frown. “H-having to grow up all over again, I mean.”

Loki looked thoughtful and then shook his head. “It did at first,” he admitted. Then, he smiled and shrugged. “School is boring, since I’ve been through it all before. At the same time, though, I spent my first childhood wanting to grow up. Now, I’m just enjoying being a child.”

“So… does it bother you that you’ll leave this childhood behind as well?”

Looking up at Morgan, Loki grinned. “Beats the alternative,” he said, shrugging. “Time passes, the world keeps turning. What choice do we have but to keep moving right along with it?”

“None, I suppose,” Ezra said, nodding slightly.

The Bell Tower

Ezra looked up at the tower as the bells began to chime. For the first time since moving to the city, he realized that the bells weren’t on a timer. They weren’t rung mechanically. Someone was actually up there, ringing the bells manually.

“I wonder what it’s like,” he murmured.

Morgan frowned and shook her head. “What’s that?” she asked.

“Living in the bell tower,” he said, nodding at the tower. “Ringing the bells throughout the day.” He looked over at Morgan and shook his head. “I wonder who it is that rings them.”

“Maybe there’s a way you can find out,” Morgan said, shrugging.


Ezra hurried down the corridor, his hand clinging to Morgan’s as she half-dragged him behind her. The alarm was sounding. People were rushing towards them, all of them trying to get out of the building – away from the fire that Morgan had set. They were the only ones moving against the general movement of the crowd.

He was trembling slightly. If they encountered Keller or, worse, Severin, he might not have another chance to escape. However, they couldn’t leave without the person they’d come there to rescue, either. Too many people had died already because of his cowardice.

“There,” he said, spotting the room where the girl was being held. He skidded to a stop beside Morgan. As she began working at the lock, he stood there, blocking view of her actions from the people fleeing the building.

Ezra felt something tickling at his senses… danger! He gasped and scanned the crowd. Severin was moving down the corridor in their direction. He didn’t seem to have noticed them yet, but Ezra knew that meant nothing. The man was an empath. He could feel Ezra’s emotions – sense his thoughts.

“We have to leave,” Ezra murmured, focusing on the task of fleeing the building, on the fire alarm, on anything and everything except for what Morgan was doing. All he could was hope and pray that it would be enough to hide his thoughts and emotions from Severin.

I want to become someone that beautiful and strong

Ezra had to admit, if only to himself, that he admired Devin greatly. At first, he’d thought that admiration had been something different. However, it hadn’t taken him long to realize that was he felt was… a sort of awe.

Devin was, or seemed to be, everything Ezra was not and tried so hard to be. He was brave and strong. He didn’t back down when faced with adversity. In fact, the harder things were, the harder he strove.

He moved with a grace that Ezra had always tried to emulate. He was self-assured and bold. Everyone liked him and he always seemed to know just what to say. Ezra sighed softly and shook his head. “How does he do it?” he mused.

“Being an empath is a big help,” Morgan said, smiling wanly.

Surrender now… fight later?

Ezra chewed his lip thoughtfully as he strained against the bonds on his wrists. He glanced over at Morgan. His brows furrowed. She still hadn’t woken up. Just how hard had Severin struck her? Maybe it wasn’t as simple as that. Had he done something to her as well? Maybe he could use his powers to keep someone unconscious.

The door opened and Ezra tensed. He looked over as the visitor stepped into the room. “Master Johannes,” he breathed. He shivered slightly.

Keller frowned as he stepped over to Ezra. “I’m very disappointed in you, Ezra,” he said, folding his arms behind his back and leaning forward to look into Ezra’s eyes. “Very disappointed indeed.”

Ezra dropped his gaze. “I – I don’t know what to say,” he breathed. It was the truth. He had no idea what Keller would do, now that he’d gotten Ezra back. His eyes darted this way and that, as he tried to think of something – anything to say. He squeaked when Keller caught his chin and lifted it, so that Ezra was looking into his eyes again.

“You’re like a son to me, Ezra,” Keller said, cupping his cheek with surprising gentleness. “If you weren’t happy with your assignments, you could have told me.”

“I…” Ezra said, blinking. He couldn’t tell if Keller were serious or not. “I didn’t know what to do,” he said, his voice faint. “Montague ordered those people killed and then I was implicated and – and…” he trailed off. Blinking away tears, he said, “What was I supposed to do?”

“Poor little fox,” Keller said, hugging him gently. He smoothed circles into Ezra’s back and added, “You just got in over your head, didn’t you?”

Shivering, Ezra nodded. “M-Master Johannes,” he whispered, “Morgan…” he stopped when Keller cut the ropes binding his wrists.

“That woman’s an agent,” Keller said, easing Ezra back and looking into his eyes. For a moment, he just stared at Ezra. Then, he smiled. “Aw, has the fox found his vixen?”

A flush warmed Ezra’s cheeks. He really was getting tired of all these fox puns. “Y-yes,” he breathed. “I – I know she was an agent, Master Johannes, but – but I love her. Does that count for nothing?”

“Of course not,” Keller said, patting his cheek gently. He smiled. “Love counts for a great deal, my boy. You be good from now on and no one will hurt your little vixen.”

Ezra swallowed thickly and nodded. He didn’t doubt Keller for a moment. Unlike some people in his organization, you could take Keller at his word. The question was: just what would “being good” entail? Ezra cast a glance at Morgan, then, he looked back at Keller. “Yes, sir,” he said, his voice soft. “Just… tell me what you want me to do.”

Poetry is the street talk of angels and devils

Morgan read over the words that Ezra had written. Then, she looked up at him with a surprised expression. “How long have you been writing poetry, Ezra?” she asked.

Ezra looked over at her and scowled. “I… don’t write poetry,” he said, shaking his head. He saw the book in her hands: his personal journal. A faint flush of color touched his cheeks. “That – that’s not poetry. That’s just… it’s what I write when I can’t sleep at night.”

“It’s written in verse,” Morgan said, smirking. “Most people would consider it poetry.”

Shaking his head, Ezra stepped over to her and plucked the book out of her hands. “It’s not poetry because… poems are deep and emotional and they’re cultured. These verses are just… the ravings of a sleep-deprived man.”

“Which are very deep and emotional, even if they’re rather unpolished,” Morgan said. She smiled and kissed him. “I think they’re lovely, Ezra.”

“Thank you?” Ezra said, blinking in surprise.

The dusty corners of my brain

Ezra frowned at the image and tilted his head from one side to the other. There was something distinctly familiar about it. It was as if he’d seen it someplace else. He bit his lip and then sighed.

“Morgan,” he called. He seldom invited anyone to see a work in progress. This, though, was a special case. He certainly didn’t want to go through the trouble of completing a piece, only to learn he’d subconsciously copied it – especially with how he copied things.

Morgan came in behind him and chuckled softly. “Ezra, love,” she said, pointing at the canvas. “You need to stop painting that picture.”

Ezra blinked. “It looked familiar,” he admitted, nodding. “It is one of mine, right? I’m not copying someone else, am I?”

“Oh, no,” Morgan said, still laughing. “That’s one of your originals. You’ve just painted it about eight times, that I know of.” She patted him on the shoulder and added, “It’s a little different each time, but the theme and elements are always the same.”

Ezra heaved a sigh and shook his head. “I can’t see why it keeps emerging from my subconscious,” he said. “Clearly, I’ve been missing something in the other iterations.”

“So, you’re going to finish it… again?” Morgan said.

Shrugging, Ezra said, “Only reason I was hesitant to do so was that I was worried it might not be my own work. It’s mine… I can paint it as many times as I please.”

“Whatever makes you happy,” Morgan said. Then, shaking her head in amusement, she returned to the other room, leaving Ezra to paint yet another image of a hollow tree in a field. Maybe, someday, he’d get it just right and he wouldn’t paint it again.

Never Noticed Before

Morgan frowned slightly. She’d never noticed before that Ezra sent her such lingering gazes. Now, as she stood on the stage singing, while Devin played the piano, she wondered how she could have possibly missed it.

She finished the song and then bowed, as the people in the club applauded. “Thank you,” she said, into the microphone. “We’re going to take five.”

“That was lovely,” Ezra said, as she stepped up to him.

Morgan looked at him for a moment. “The song or the singer?” she asked.

His cheeks darkened and he leaned closer, so that no one else would hear when he said, “Both.”

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