That it should all end

“I had no idea you were seeing someone,” Ezra said. His brows furrowed and he leaned forward, resting his chin in his hand. “How’d you two hook up anyway?”

Winnie laughed. “I had just finished a tough job and went into this club to blow off steam,” she said. She looked thoughtful and said, “They had this rocking band and they were singing. Chris was behind the bar. I made him dance with me.”

Ezra chuckled softly. He couldn’t imagine anyone making Chris do something he didn’t want to do. At the same time, he could see Winnie convincing him that dancing with her was exactly what he wanted to do. “You make for a pretty intense couple,” he said.

“If we can make it last,” she said. Winnie’s brows furrowed. “Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, especially in this business.”

Frowning, Ezra thought about Morgan. Could he hope to maintain a relationship with her? They were, almost literally, from different worlds. He bit his lip and stood. “Let’s go to Chris’s club,” he said.

Winnie smiled. “That’s what I like about you, Ezra,” she said. “So impetuous.” She stood and nodded. “Let’s go!” They didn’t know if they could make things last, but they would enjoy the ride while they could.

More Than Words

Prompt: the twilight language

“Hey, Kitten,” Ezra said, adjusting the microphone in front of his mouth. “Can you hear me?”

“Loud and clear, Fox,” came the drawling reply. “What say ya talk me through this here security?”

“That is what I aim to do,” Ezra replied. Where Kitten’s words came out in a lazy drawl, his own were delivered in a clipped, precise tone. His lilting accent was similar to, but somehow different from, hers.

Ezra adjusted his glasses and looked at the schematics on the viewscreen in front of him. “They don’t have any guards,” he said. He wondered if she could detect the hint of nervousness in his tone. So many things could go wrong. Would the Organization blame him if their top thief were captured?

“Steady on, Little Fox,” Kitten said, as if she could somehow see his worried expression. He knew it was impossible, but it was comforting somehow. “No guards means they’ve got top notch security. What do ya see?”

Ezra nodded. He could almost imagine her crouching in the grass outside the wall. His gaze drifted over the schematics again. “Motion detectors and tangle vines just inside the walls,” he said. “Trip a motion detector and lights come on, waking the tangle vines.”

“Can you take out the motion detectors?”

As his hands danced over the keys, Ezra said, “If you land too heavily or make too much noise, they’ll still wake.” He hadn’t changed tone in the least, but somehow that didn’t seem to matter.

“Don’t you worry, honey,” Kitten said. He could imagine a sly smile flitting over her smooth, even features. “They don’t call me Kitten ‘cause I’m a young cat burglar, after all.”

Ezra smiled. “Of course not,” he said.

“Shoot, Fox,” Kitten said. He could almost hear her blush as she added, “Bet you’ve got that know it all smirk, right? The one that says, ‘Naw, they call ya that ‘cause you make that tight suit look good.’ Am I right?”

That was all it took. Ezra chuckled lightly, now completely calm and self-assured. “Isn’t it?” he said. “It’s either that or because you’ve got the agility of a cat.” Kitten snorted and Ezra keyed the last part of the sequence. “Let’s just see how agile you are, Shadow Kitten. The motion detectors are disabled.”

The Age of Asparagus

“He actually said that?” Chris said, grinning. He shook his head slightly and wrapped his arms around Winnie’s shoulders. “What’s it even mean?”

“When asparagus is ripe?” Winnie suggested. She chuckled softly and snuggled closer to Chris. “There’s so much about our world that he just doesn’t understand.”

“Just imagine what it would be like for us in his world,” Chris said, his voice faint.

The ashes of what you once were

Chris frowned slightly and stepped up behind Winnie. “What are you doing?” he asked, his voice soft.

Winnie smiled faintly and took Chris’s hand. “Nothing,” she said. Her gaze slipped down to the photograph that was burning to ash in his fireplace. As the last of it crumpled in on itself, he caught a glimpse of her master – the man who had raised her and taught to be a cat burglar. This was the last remnant of her former life.

He gave her a shocked look, but she smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “That’s the past,” she said. There was finality in her tone.

Happiness is being sad together

“What’s wrong?”

Winnie looked up from her work and gave Chris a weak smile. “I was just… thinking,” she said, her voice soft. “What if Bradley’s dead? What if I’m… too late?”

Chris crouched in front of her, taking her hands in his own. “Winnie,” he said, looking into her eyes. “You’ve got to keep a positive outlook. We’ll find him and… even if the worst is true, you aren’t alone anymore.” He reached up and cupped her cheek. “I’m here now.”

“Thanks,” Winnie said, giving him a weak smile.

How do you redefine something that never really had a name?

Ezra stared at the form and sighed. “They want to know how I’d define my style,” he said, his voice soft.

“So?” Winnie asked, frowning slightly. “How do you define it?”

“Mine,” Ezra said. He sighed again and looked at one of his paintings. “When I paint forgeries, it’s easy. I’m painting in the style of that artist, who did this style. My own style, though?”

“Well, you paint landscapes,” Winnie said.

Ezra shook his head. “That’s not a style of art,” he said. “That’s… a subject, I guess, you could call it.” He sighed and shook his head. “They aren’t even real landscapes. I get them out of my imagination, by listening to music.”

Winnie grimaced. “I’d call it pretty,” she said, looking at one of the paintings. It had sort of a fantastic air to it. The colors were vibrant and varied. Each one was given the title of the song Ezra had been listening to when he painted it. “Well,” she said, “just describe it, then.”

Nodding, Ezra bent over the form once more. “I hate art shows,” he mumbled.

And the cold magnet Earth

Chris stared out at the pouring rain. It was, he supposed, better than snow, if only marginally. He squinted as lights flashed along the drive. Without a second thought, he hurried to the door and flung it open.

Winnie got out of her car and grinned at him. “Great weather, eh?” she called, over the sound of the rain on the wooden overhang of the porch.

“For ducks, maybe,” Chris called back. His eyes widened as she tugged off her raincoat and spun in the rain. It soaked her to the skin in moments. “What are you doing?” he called.

Winnie laughed and beckoned to him. “It’s not cold,” she called. “It’s refreshing!”

Sighing, Chris grabbed his umbrella and sprinted out to her. Standing in the middle of the lawn, he couldn’t help but smile. It was as if they were the only people in the world. Impetuously, he let the umbrella drop. Then he pulled her to him and pressed his lips to hers.

applying old words to new

“So,” Keenan said, looking from Ezra and Winnie to Chris. “They were members of the Underground, but now they aren’t. Have I got that right?”

“Yes, sir,” Chris said. His brows furrowed. “If you’d allow it, I’d like to be the only in command of them.”

“Their sponsor?”

“Is that what they decided to call it?” Chris said. His brows twitched as he tried not to laugh. That word made it sound as if they were recovering from some sort of addiction.

Keenan shrugged. “My vote was for either mentor or sitter and Bertram suggested supervisor,” he said. He grinned and added, “Alistair vetoed our suggestions and we ended up calling it a sponsor instead.”

“What, exactly, is he meant to be sponsoring us in?” Ezra said, arching an eyebrow.

Smiling, Keenan leaned his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his folded hands. “You’re recovering criminals, Mr. Pemberton. He’s meant to guide you on the road to becoming law abiding, productive citizens.”

“That’s one way to put it,” Winnie said, smirking.

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.

Winifred Calliope Tanner

Winnie was born on Terra (Earth), in a small town in rural Texas. Her mother died when she was very young and a man arrived soon afterwards, claiming to be her father. He produced proof of his relationship and was given custody of Winnie. Once he had legal custody, he returned to North Lake, in Shynia. He revealed then, that he didn’t know who Winnie’s father was. However, she was most certainly half-Shynian.

The man, Bradley Northrope, began training Winnie, who was already skilled in gymnastics, to be a cat burglar. Although he was not her biological father, Bradley cared for her and treated her like he would his own child. It wasn’t very long before Winnie began to gain a reputation as a thief. Soon, everyone knew that the Shadow Kitten, her alias when committing crimes, was not one to be trifled with.

Winnie might have continued her life of crime, except for a few chance occurances. The first was that her mentor and father figure was kidnapped by the Underground. Since they held him, she had to obey them. However, whatever trust or loyalty she might have felt to the organization was gone. She now worked with one goal: to find a way to free Bradley.

Soon after Bradley’s disappearance, a prominant North Lake family was murdered in their home. Winnie used her connections within the Underground to learn the reason for the murders. When she was captured by Shynian Intelligence, she used that knowledge as leverage to secure her freedom. The Underground is going to wish they hadn’t crossed paths with this “black cat” by the time she’s through.

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