Why fuss over a pair of legs?

Ezra was almost afraid to look at the advertisement depicting his mother Will was crooning over. Whatever it showed obviously excited the man. “Need I remind you that the woman in that magazine is my mother?” he said in an exasperated tone.

Will sighed and showed him the advertisement. “But look at this, Ezra,” he said.

It showed his mother in a swimsuit. Her slender, bare legs were folded in front of her body and she smiled coyly at the camera. Ezra frowned; then sighed in relief. “Is that all?” he said, blinking. He shook his head. “Master Will, that’s a one piece suit. My mother used to were bikinis when I was a child and we went to the beach.”

“Got any pictures?” Will asked, his eyes brightening.

Ezra flushed. “Go soak your head,” he snapped. Then, he tried to focus on his work. He had reports to write up.

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Subtle, sweet and totally overrated.

As Will entered the office, he was hugging a newspaper to his chest, as if it were a treasured possession. “Have you seen the advertisements for that new perfume, Trebuchet?” he said, excitedly.

Chris arched an eyebrow at him. “Trebuchet?” he repeated. “They’re naming perfumes after siege engines now?” It was possible they’d just liked the sound of the name. He could remember an incident like that with the name for a pair of ladies’ sneakers.

“Who cares?” Will said. He held up the advertisement for them to see.

The image took up almost a quarter of the page. It showed Maeve Sweetin from the shoulders up. There were three captions. One read, “Knock your man dead, with Trebuchet.” Chris was pleased that they seemed to realize what they’d named the perfume after.

The second caption read, “The subtle, sweet fragrance of Trebuchet will attract the attention of any man.” As Chris read the third, his cheeks darkened faintly. In quotes, meaning that the model was saying the phrase, it read, “It’s the only thing I wear.”

“That perfume’s not worth the cost,” Morgan said, from her desk. She shook her head. “It’s nice, but it’s not the most amazing scent of the season.”

“Who cares about the perfume?” Will said. “The advertisements have a naked Maeve Sweetin!”

“You can’t see anything,” Chris squawked. The image cut off just low enough to show a bit of cleavage. He sighed and then shook his head. “That’s Ezra’s mother!”

Will looked up, his eyes bright with glee. “Think I could get him to ask his mother to sign it for me?” he asked.

“When the sanctified dead rise from their graves,” Ezra replied, from the doorway, “I will consider it.”

Devin chuckled. “I’m thinking no, Will,” he said.

All we ever see of stars are their old photographs

“Do you know who this is?”

Ezra looked away from his painting and sighed. Rolling his eyes, he said, “My mother.” As he turned back to his work, he could almost guess what Norton was going to say.

“Ezra, this is Maeve Sweetin!” he said, sounding excited. “She was a huge movie actress. I watched everything she was in while I was growing up.”

He looked back at his work and sighed. “That’s the only photograph I have of her with my father and me,” he murmured. “The only place I ever saw her smile was in her movies.” He sounded bitter and he knew it. However, it hurt. “And she completely ignored me while she was filming those movies, Mr. Norton,” Ezra said. He glanced over at the agent. “She blamed me when her movie career ended.”

“Everyone was shocked when she vanished from the public eye. Those movies and some old photographs are all you ever see now.” Chris said. “But… it was her choice, right? Why’d she blame you?”

Ezra shook his head. “I never understood,” he said. Frowning he set his paintbrush aside. He wouldn’t be able to focus now. He hadn’t seen his mother since he’d left home. Did she even think of him?

The art of losing isn’t hard to master

Devin smirked as he saw the scowl form on Ezra’s face. He pressed his advantage, then, attacking his opponant with several well placed kicks.

Ezra stumbled back from him and fell backwards, landing on his backside. Devin moved in, torn between finishing the fight and helping Ezra to his feet. In that moment of hesitation and distraction, Ezra kicked outward, tangled his feet around Devin’s knee and brought him down.

A moment later – before Devin could react – Ezra had him pinned, one hand poised to strike.

“Break,” Will called from the sidelines. Ezra hopped to his feet and took a step back, then he held out a hand to Devin.

“That was a bit of a dirty trick,” Devin said, as he stood and brushed himself off. “You fell on purpose.”

Ezra chuckled. “Dirty trick,” he said, arching an eyebrow. “I suppose you expect members of the Underground to fight fair?”

“You’re not part of the Underground anymore,” Will pointed out.

Ezra shrugged. “That doesn’t mean I like losing,” he said. Grinning at Devin, he added, “Any more than you do.”

“Losing’s easy,” Devin said, smirking. “It’s winning that takes skill.”

William Norton

Will was born in the city of Northport in Loyalia during the occupation of Loyalia. Although life was not always easy, he was never really unhappy. His father ran a local tavern which also functioned as a meeting place for members of Shynian Intelligence.

As Will grew older, he became more involved in the resistence. When he was old enough, he became a full member of Shynian Intelligence, working undercover, first in his father’s tavern and then traveling all around, spreading news and gathering information.

After Shynia gained its freedom, he took a break to learn the healing arts. During training, he met Emma Lakes. The two were married after he finished his schooling. He returned to the Agency, but wished to act as a healer, rather than an undercover agent. He works closely with Devin, Chris and Morgan, mostly tending to any injuries they might suffer while performing their duties.

school-men and metaphysicians

“The question isn’t so much related to who he is, but what he is,” Ezra said, looking up from his work. When the others simply stared at him, he shrugged and set the brush aside. “Would you like me to elaborate?”

“Are geysers hot?” Norton said, his tone sardonic.

Ezra smiled. “He’s said that his name is Yori Hummel,” he said. “Therefore, we know who he is. Why ask a question when you already have the answer?”

“Because we can’t find any record of someone by that name existing,” Norton snapped.

“Which is why we need to ask what Yori Hummel is,” Ezra pointed out. “Obviously, he isn’t a being from the world we know. He isn’t a ghost, because ghosts have no substance.”

“He definitely has that,” Winnie said, her cheeks warming at the memory of him kissing her. Whatever he might say, it was still a kiss – and a fairly passionate one.

“So, he’s not a person and he’s not a ghost,” Norton said, sounding irritable, “What does that leave?”

“Ezra didn’t say he wasn’t a person, Will,” Chris pointed out. He frowned and looked at Ezra. “He’s not a person of the world we know.” He glanced through the clear glass at the person on the other side. “What world is he from then?”

“What is he?” Ezra repeated, nodding.

Devin shrugged. “Why don’t we just ask him?” he suggested.

**

Continued here.