Awake, Oh Child of DestinyMature

That morning had been strange for Xenia. She had woken curled around a cat which she was quite certain was Persephone. At least, she had hoped it was Persephone as Xenia found herself quite naked aside from an edge of blanket she had tugged up sometime during the night.

There had been some time to lie there, considering the night before, time she had gladly taken. Memories surfaced, distorted but there, and she had to face up to what she had done, and what she had wanted to do. She remembered the taste of blood, could still taste it when she woke up. It had made her gag slightly, but she'd swallowed and managed not to vomit.

The worst of what she remembered was the desire to hurt. To kill. Had she had the ability, and been given the chance, she knew she would have killed that member of the Fraternity. She would have relished it.

For a woman who had not resorted to violence of any sort since she had been a child and pulled someone's hair, it had been a shock to her. Self-loathing had threatened to well up inside her, disgust at the monster she had become. Yet at the same time, was she truly more a monster than a man who chose to hurt and kill the innocent? At least she had an excuse, a beast within her who demanded the violence. What excuse did that man have? What did he tell himself that he thought it was ok? She knew part of the rage that had driven her had come from a need for vengeance, for retribution.

What of Greg? Was he a monster? He was a doctor, he helped people. And Persephone was no monster. Certainly less a monster than that man Xenia had attacked.

By the time Persephone had stirred, finally returning to a human shape and digging up some clothes for Xenia, the woman felt a little better. Still troubled, still worried. But better.

The only nagging worry was about Marcus. Would he see her as one of the monsters now?

That thought had returned over the course of the day. While she cleaned herself up and examined the sore abrasion above her eye that had been a cut the night before. While she ate and helped Persephone tidy up the space they had used, she considered Marcus.

Her bruises were minimal and she even felt rather cheery when Persephone said she had to run out to go check in with Greg. It left Xennie alone to do some more thinking, although not for too long. It was only an hour or so before the werewolf from the night before, the one who had looked after her and coached her a bit while she attacked the Fraternity guy, darkened the door and cleared his throat, clearly waiting.

She wouldn't have recognized him by sight, but she smelled him. It was confusing to her and took a few moments for her to puzzle through why she was certain she knew him. He just smiled at her and waited patiently.

"Oh! You're... from last night. Right. Hi." She flushed a little, feeling a bit ridiculous. What had happened was nothing shocking for him, and he hadn't laughed at her lack of skills either. "Were you looking for Persephone? She went to talk to Greg. The doctor, at Heights?" A shy half-smile quirked up one corner of her lips as she looked at the man standing there. Not bad looking, a bit too muscled for her own sense of aesthetics, random scars showing on his arms beneath the sleeves of his t-shirt.

"No, it's ok. I just came ot check on you. 'Sephe said she had to run an errand, asked me to say hi. I can't really stay to chat, but if you need to, let me know. I remember what it was like for me. Or I know some gals who would be up to talking if you need someone. It's tough, but... it's freeing at the same time." He stopped then, looking away as though to avoid intruding, then frowning slightly and cocking his head.

Xenia smiled, and nodded. "Thanks. I'll keep it in mind"

"No problem. I need to go. I have a feeling trouble is on its way after last night. You be careful." With that he was gone, off down the tunnels. It was only then that Xenia realized that she had no idea what his name was. Persephone would know though.

Xenia frowned a bit. Persephone should be back soon. Where was she? Did it really take that long to get to the hospital? The girl had admitted she was skipping out on school, but that it was ok, Greg had given her a note for it. But where was she?

It was just what that guy had said making her nervous. That, and thoughts of Marcus.

That was what she thought as she slowly stood and stretched. She was no fighter, no athlete, but she did at least know that stretching was better for her than sitting there getting stiff. There had to be more she could do though. Some weapon she could use, something that would give her a bit of an edge in a fight. She would learn how to fight as a wolf, obviously, how to use the weapons nature gave her. But running into a fight seemed like a dumb idea to her, especially if the Fraternity carried guns and throwing knives.

As she stretched something came to her, although she wasn't sure it was really that great an idea. But she had taken archery when she had been younger. Actually, she had really enjoyed it, thought about joining a club. Maybe she could do that now. Guns made her nervous. A bow, though, there was some poetic justice in that.

Those were the thoughts she was contemplating when she saw a small, dark shadow streak into sight in front of her. Only moments, and Persephone was staring at her, eyes wide with panic, her entire body trembling.

"Xenia, you have to hide. Get in back there, behind the grate. I'll put a blanket up. We'll just have to hope he doesn't spot you. It's the best I can do, and I know it isn't much." Terror came in waves from the girl and it made Xenia tremble, made the beast within her stir, ready to run. Or fight.

Persephone shoved her, and she gathered enough of her wits to head into the shadows, to pull the grate closed as silently as possible. Then a blanket was draped over the front, the rest shoved in a pile. Xenia could still see through a little crack.

She saw Persephone gather a breath, then begin to change. It was the first time Xenia had seen her in one of the inbetween shapes, neither fully cat nor fully human. A strange mixture, leaner than the wolves, a tawny hide like a cougar and green-yellow eyes. The claws on the girl's hands were lethal enough.

Just as Xenia was considering this, a shadow came around the corner. She realized that she had heard no sounds of other people, which was a bad sign. Worse was the man that came around the corner.

She had seen Alex once before. He had dumped Marcus on the sofa the one time he had been so badly wounded that Xenia had taken him to the hospital. Alex had simply stared right through her, utterly cold, taken a look at Marcus, shrugged, then left. Like it didn't matter. Like Marcus would recover, or not. Xenia obviously hadn't been worth noticing.

There he stood, armed to the teeth. Fear trickled down Xenia's spine and she felt the beast within her rise, felt it wriggle through her. Her bones threatened to creak and she bit her lip, clenching her fists, trying to hold it together. Persephone was out there alone, trying to protect her. Xenia knew she would be no use in a fight. Especially not with this man.

The first blow she didn't see. Suddenly Persephone stumbled back, a hand to her shoulder, then rumbled. It was a warning sound that made Xenia very much want to find somewhere nice and safe. She couldn't though. All she could do was watch.

For all Persephone could do, Alex took no injury. Instead he toyed with the cat-woman in some twisted game of cat and mouse, yet here it was cat and killer. Ribbons of blood began to darken Persephone's fur and Xenia could smell her fear.

Where the hell was everyone? Why was no one helping them? Xenia wished there was something she could do, anything.

Persephone's scream of rage and pain echoed through the tunnels as Alex sliced into one of her ears, splitting the tip. A demonstration of skill, of prowess.

"What do you know about Marcus? Tell me, and I will make your death clean and quick." The first words he had spoken, but it was clear Persephone was not going to believe them.

"Go to hell," she hissed, swiping at his face as she aimed a kick at his knee.

Neither landed. Instead he grabbed her foot, ducking out of the way of her claws, and twisted, sending her tumbling to the ground, still pinned by his grip on her ankle.

"Well, they always said there was more than one way to skin a cat. I know 11. Do you think we could find a 12th if we tried?"

The End

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