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Topics - Kristen Rowe

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Disposable Heroes / A Bond Beyond Words
« on: January 01, 2019, 03:41:34 PM »
Living from motel room to motel room was not a calming existence, but it was familiar. At least this motel was clean, and the shower was decent. Steam billowed out of the bathroom as Kristen emerged, squeezing the water from her hair. She sighed, tossing the towel onto the back of the chair, and rummaged through her bag for the one luxury item she owned - her silk bath robe - tugging it on before rummaging further for her comb. She still didn't quite know what to make of what had been said at the bar, and Artemis wasn't answering her calls. It looked as though she was on her own for now.

It had been two days without any sign of either Artemis or Loki - at least, as far as Kristen was aware. Whatever the two immortals had been doing was unknown. Loki had said he needed time to think, but just how much time did an immortal need? Perhaps that question would be answered as an unexpected knock came at her door.

Of course, a knock on the door was always a slightly suspicious thing when you were a hunter in a motel. Kris looked up, easing her pistol from beneath the bag, and flicked the safety off, moving to look through the peephole.

The God of Mischief stood on the other side of the door, looking only marginally less forlorn than he had the other day. He had a to-go cup and a paper bag with him, which might or might not prove to be an illusion.

Kris frowned curiously, unlocking the door to pull it open, though the gun was still on alert on the other side of the wood. Just in case. "Can I help you?"

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" he asked, with a troubled frown. "I brought a peace offering," he said, holding up the cup and bag to indicate as much.

Her gaze flickered to the bag and cup, and she felt a smile make itself known, appreciating his attempt at a human interaction. "Come in," she told him, stepping back as she flicked the safety back onto her gun. "I will put some clothes on."

"You realize that won't work, right?" he asked, as he stepped inside, not even looking at the gun so much as sensing it there. He did sweep an appreciative gaze over her half-clad form before setting the cup and bag down on a small table. "Am I interrupting anything?" he asked, though he hadn't noticed anyone else there.

"It is force of habit," she told him, shaking her head lightly as she set the weapon down. His sweeping appreciation of her form made her smile again, a little less easy to embarrass now she had spent a little time in his company. "No, I have just showered," she said, pulling a t-shirt and underwear out of her bag. "Make yourself comfortable."

Offering to make himself comfortable could be taken more ways than one, but he assumed she meant a chair and so he deposited himself in a chair near the table to wait while she changed. "I hope you like coffee," he said of the dark liquid that filled the to-go cup. "Most mortals do."

"I do, thank you." She disappeared into the bathroom briefly, returning barely a minute later in a t-shirt and panties. It wasn't a huge improvement on the robe, but at least she felt less exposed and more comfortable herself. "I did not expect to see you again."

"I brought a doughnut, as well. I was assured by the sales clerk that you would like it," he called to her as she disappeared into the bathroom. He looked her over again as she emerged, brows arched upwards, unsure how what she had changed into was any more modest than what she'd been wearing a moment ago. In fact, he thought he'd like the robe better, but he kept that to himself. "I told you I needed time to think. I have done that, and so, here I am."

To be fair, she did pull a pair of jeans out of her bag and slide into them as he spoke, buttoning the waist before moving to slide into the other chair at the table and investigate his peace offering. "What decision did you come to?" she asked, curious but uncertain if knowing would be a good thing.

He tilted his head a little to study her a moment before offering a reply. "I have decided to agree to what Artemis was suggesting. I believe she suggested I touch you to prove whether you are in truth dedicated to me."

"She did, this is true." Kris nodded, sipping the coffee before setting it down. She was fairly sure that just touching wasn't what was going to happen here, but she would have to trust him at some point. She extended her hand toward him. "I have no objection."

"It is not so simple as that, you know," he told her, confirming her suspicions, though it wasn't terribly difficult either - at least, not for her. "Once I touch you, if you are truly dedicated to me, I will see into your heart, your mind, your soul. I will know what you know, what you think, what you feel. If not ..." He shrugged.

"If you were my father's choice, my family's choice, then I want to know," she told him firmly. "I need to know if I have been made to live a lie, just so that a goddess can use me as a pawn in her power play. I need to know where I belong - with her, or with you."

"Perhaps you belong with us both," he speculated. Such things were not unheard of before the gods fell out of favor with humanity. He was tempted to ask about her family, but decided it would be better to learn about that when he touched her.

Kris hesitated, not willing to disagree with him openly - not yet, at least. If he was her god, if she was bound to him, he was going to have to get used to being scolded when he did selfish or stupid things, however. "Would you prefer that?"

He shrugged again. "I have never been very good about sharing, but they say there's a first time for everything," he replied with a hint of a smirk. "I have to admit I am puzzled by her claim. I have not had any followers in centuries, and even there, they were few. Why would your father wish to dedicate you to someone like me?"

She shrugged, shaking her head. "Perhaps he thought you would be the best guiding hand in a world walking on the edge of ending?" she suggested. "I do not remember much about my father. Any of my family, in fact."

"Perhaps," he said, not fully convinced, though he did not think she was lying. He would find out himself soon enough, as soon as he gathered the courage to go through with it. "There are those who believe I am to blame for the end of things - for Ragnarok - but I am not. Nor am I to blame for what has happened here on Midgard."

"I have never believed that you are responsible for the tragedies of this world," Kris mused. "Humanity can quite easily make a mess of the world without any divine intervention. My race is not collectively very responsible."

"Nor is mine," Loki was quick to admit. It might seem he was referring to his Asgardian bloodline, but it was hard to know for sure. "But angels ..." he started. "Angels take the cake, I believe is how the saying goes."

She grimaced. "I would happily live out the rest of my life not seeing another angel if I could help it, but I know there are still some out there."

"There are plenty, but that is something we have in common. The truth is, Gabriel would never have freed me if I had not promised to help him," he told her. It was hard to know if he was telling her the truth. Truth, as he'd already said, was subjective, but he had no reason to lie.

"Gabriel freed you?" she asked in astonishment. "Why would he do that in the first place? I ... from what I know of him, he has nothing but contempt for every other living being."

"Precisely," Loki said. "As I said, he only freed me when I agreed to help him. Otherwise ..." He shrugged. "I might still have been bound to that rock, and the end would still have come about without me."

Disposable Heroes / Keeping It Low-key
« on: December 04, 2018, 12:55:52 PM »
Canton, SD, was a small town on the outskirts of Sioux Falls - an odd place for a Norse god to have stopped on his journey, but not a bad place to make contact, in Kristen's opinion. She'd scouted the few bars and places of entertainment, and decided on Noid's Gaming Parlor as a place that would entice a being who enjoyed chance and chaos. She charmed her way into ownership of one of the pool tables early in the evening, and there she stayed, taking on all comers. After all, what hunter doesn't know how to hustle pool?

There wasn't anything special about Canton, SD. It was just another small mid-western town without much to do on a Saturday night but hang out at the local watering hole, which in this case was Noid's. It was enough to bore even a demigod with its predictability, but this particular demigod wasn't there for the booze or the women or even the games of chance. He was there because he'd sensed someone was tracking him, and that someone was here. The big question was which illusion to wear tonight. He didn't want to draw too much unwanted attention, but he was too cocky to wear an illusion that would just blend in with the crowd. In the end, he chose one of his favorites - a tall blond man with ice blue eyes and a build that said "Don't mess with me." He looked like something of a cross between a biker, a bodybuilder, and a Viking, and though it wasn't his true form, he wore it with ease.

"Oh, come on!"

The complaint came from a young man by the pool table, throwing up his hands because his attractive opponent had just potted every ball on the table in front of him.

Kris straightened up, leaning on her cue, and grinned at him. "You're the one who said a woman couldn't do it," she pointed out. "Pay up."

She kissed his cheek as he grumbled, taking the little wad of notes from her now blushing vanquished opponent. Her eyes skimmed the bar, not even hesitating as they passed over the apparent Viking who was ever so slightly blurred around the edges, thanks to her pin. Loki.

"Anyone else?"

The big blond man came to a halt at the bar, drawing a few admiring gazes from a few female patrons and envious ones from the males. He ordered himself a beer, and took a lean on the bar, as he quietly surveyed the small crowd, which looked fairly typical for a Saturday night. The woman at the pool table drew his attention. There was something different about her, but for now, he was content to simply observe.

"Yeah, I'll play you," a hoarse voice said, belonging to an older man with shoulders like a minotaur. "All or nothin'?"

Kris considered him for a moment, and nodded. Loki was a trickster, he liked games; she had to take a risk or two to keep his attention. "Sure, all or nothing," she agreed. "I'm so nice, I'll let you break, too."

The big man casually sipped his beer, while he watched the crowd, his gaze lingering on the woman at the pool table and her challenger. For a moment, he almost forgot himself and straightened his own broad shoulders, as if sizing himself up against the older man.

"Does anyone care to wager?" he inquired, just as casually, in a baritone voice with a slight indecipherable accent.

"Depends who you're bettin' on, sweetcheeks," a bawdy female voice declared from behind the bar. "She's been rolling all comers since six."

Over at the pool table, Kris watched as her opponent broke, studying his form. This one might be a challenge. Possibly.

The big man flashed the woman behind the bar a smile, his ice blue eyes sparkling in amusement. "My money's on the girl," he said, dropping a Ben Franklin on the counter, which might or might not be real.

"Well, you know, that's just a real pretty smile you got there," the woman responded cheerfully, opening the till to lay another Franklin on top of his. "I'll take that bet. George, you better win that damned game!"

George scowled at her, turning back to concentrate on his shot.

"How about we raise the stakes?" the blond man queried. "If she doesn't win, everyone in the room gets free drinks on me, and I play the winner," he challenged further, just for the hell of it.

"Oh, and if she does win, free round on the house and you play her, huh?" The woman behind the bar was grinning again; it didn't look like she was going to back off on that one. "You're on, honey. What's your name?"

"That sounds fair," he agreed, pausing a moment to come up with a name. People didn't always ask him that. "You can call me Erik," he said, which sounded convincingly common enough to him, while still having Viking origins. It wasn't his real name, nor was he claiming it as his own, but it was good enough for his purposes. He very pointedly didn't ask for hers.

"Well, Erik, my name's Martha, and you're still payin' for your drinks until that game's over." She chuckled warmly. "Strangest way to get a woman's attention I seen this week, but whatever floats your boat, darlin'."

"Oh, it's not your attention I'm looking for, sweetcheeks. It's hers," he clarified with a nod of his head toward Kristen. He said no more, waiting for the woman to offer any information she liked, while he set another bill on the counter - this time bearing the face of Alexander Hamilton. He tapped a finger against the bill, as if to make his point.

"Oh, really?" Martha looked positively delighted with this information, swiping the Hamilton out from under his hand to ring up his change. "Gotta work fast then, honey - she's just passin' through." From the pool table came the sound of George swearing, drawing the eye just in time to see Kris bend to take a shot.

"Really. What else do you know about her?" he asked, lifting a hand to refuse the change. "Keep the change." The blond man tilted his head just a little to admire the view the female pool player was giving him as she bent over to take her shot. It wasn't often he found himself attracted to a human female, but there was something about this one. It was too bad he was probably going to have to kill her.

"She's foreign, got some kind of accent goin' on there," Martha told him, dropping the change into her tip jar. She kept talking even as she served her regulars. "Good English, good manners. If she's cheatin', no one's called her on it."

"Just passing through, you say? Where's she going?" he asked, though the barmaid might not know that. He had a funny feeling the pool player just might be the one who'd been tracking him. Shame, but this might prove fun for a little while anyway.

"Oh, I don't ask that, honey," Martha told him with a shrug. "Anyone's welcome, so long as they don't cause trouble. She's kept my regulars entertained so far - seems like none of them ever expected to get out done by a woman."

"No, they wouldn't, would they?" he remarked, with just the hint of a smirk that somehow didn't look right on his chiseled, handsome face. "Refill, please. You can keep them coming," he told her, repeating what he'd heard said a hundred times before in a hundred different bars.

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