He caught the phone as it buzzed, before it could wake her up, but the feeling of him getting out of bed had her stirring in her sleep and reaching for him. "Back to dreams, lyubovnik
," he said softly. "I've just gotta go clean up a mess. Nothin' worth stirrin' over." Pants, boots, shirt; all still jumbled where he'd left them when they'd gone to bed just a couple hours before. He was pretty sure neither of them had actually managed to get much sleep in, either. Hours 'till dawn.
Good, good. Some things called for darkness.
Vitaly hadn't relaxed his restriction on Grey visiting the safehouse, just rolled his eyes and accepted the inevitable once he'd snuck in. Coming or going, he had to be subtle about things; it was good practice, and he'd noticed more than one hole in their security that had desperately cried out for patching. The exit through the basement into the storm drains had been one, but they'd rigged up a couple nasty surprises that would make even a demon think twice about trying to gain access into the house. It made a nicely subtle escape, though, and the fact that he was able to knock out a big, fat rat on his way and bring it along was just an added bonus.
Dockside wasn't far away at that hour, not with a bike as fast as his. Not that the bike was really
Grey's - he didn't have paper on it, or nothin' - but it wasn't like he'd stolen it, either, and the previous owner had no more use for it. Not where he'd gone. It looked something like the designer had been inspired by the light bikes from Tron, but they'd only had a World War II era factory in which to build it. It was a good thing he was parked a couple blocks away, because the roar of the engine would have woken the whole damned neighborhood up.
This part of Dockside was a maze of twisty little alleyways between warehouses, all alike. You could get lost pretty damned easy, but since the docks didn't have the West End's unreasonable enmity towards technology or magic he was able to follow the coordinates he'd been given unerringly. He pulled to a stop, put the stand down, and stepped off. A section of the brickwork shimmered, and he pulled the rat - with its legs and muzzle thoughtfully tied with string - out of the bike's storage compartment and lobbed it underhand.
Jaxx caught it in air. "You always know where I am. I don't like that." Her skin stopped matching the bricks behind her, became its usual gray-green; almost harder to see in the gloom of the docks.
Grey shrugged. "Gotta keep my hand in. Where'd she leave it?"
Jaxx hissed softly, and ate her rat in a single bite. It was a sight that never ceased to amaze and disgust Grey; her jaws unhinged and she simply swallowed the rugby ball sized rodent whole. Then she gestured towards the alley. "Left him
," she emphasized the pronoun firmly, "behind the dumpster. Like usual. You're gonna have to talk to her. She can't keep leaving them laying around like this. And she's taking too deeply. She must be burning a lot of energy up there."
Grey made a face. "I really don't wanna think about those two burning a lot of energy. Anyway, she's been feeding on the hoof less and less. She's got... other sources." He rubbed his eyes as he walked towards the alley, looked in. The man huddled against the wall didn't see him, his eyes fixed on the nameless distance, pale and shuddering. His whimpers, like a beaten dog, echoed softly off the alley walls. "Crap. This one's in rough shape."
"Sooner or later, she's gonna break someone beyond your ability to fix." Jaxx crossed her arms across her chest, scales making a dry slithering sound. Grey glanced over as she blinked, first one set of eyelids, then the other.
"Is that going to be an issue for you?" His voice was cool. "I mean, if you don't think you can do the job..."
"I can do the job," she said flatly. "I think you're
flushing good money after bad with this. You mammals are too sentimental."
Grey shrugged. "Yeah, well... that's my problem, isn't it?" He shook his head and stepped into the alley. His voice shifted to calm and soothing as he approached the huddled form slowly. "Hey. Heeeey. Hey. Shh, shh, shh... it's alright..." His hand moved sharply, and the figure sagged. "No dreams, just peace."
"Putting him out of his misery would be kinder," Jaxx said. Grey backed out of the alley, hoisting the limp figure over his shoulder as though it were light as a bundle of twigs. He lobbed the spent syringe into the dumpster. "Cheaper, too. Even you don't have a limitless supply of Lethe water and lotus blossom."
"Bets? Anyway, we all do stupid things for the people we care about," he said with a shrug of the shoulder that didn't have a body on it.
"My people don't have that issue."
"Your people lay eggs and try to eat each other in the middle of the mating process."
"Keeps things interesting." Her smile was truly terrible to behold. "Speaking of, any time you're so inclined..." Grey put his cargo on the back of his bike and started strapping him into place.
"Appreciate the thought. Prefer my partners warm-blooded, though."
"Heard that." A harsh bark of a laugh as Jaxx poked her head into the alley and made sure there was no evidence left behind that could tie them to the scene. Other than a puddle of urine, there was no trace anything had happened. "From the sounds of things, your girlfriend's hotter'n most."
" Grey shook his head. "Whole friggin' city got nothin' better to talk about these days?"
"Word gets around. What do you plan to do with him?" She gestured at the comatose body.
"Same as the last couple. Grab his wallet and his shoes, leave him outside the Diggers' hostel down by the Crossroads."
"You rob them?" If she had eyebrows, she'd have lifted them.
"Eh, technically." Grey waggled his hand as he finished checking the tie-downs. "I mean, I drop the money into the Diggers' collection box, and any IDs or plastic into the mail bin."
"If you're not gonna keep the money, why bother taking it?"
"Can't just go leaving unconscious bodies lying around without a reason. Someone might start wondering."
She shook her head. "You're a strange one, Grey."
"But my money's good." He flashed her a crooked grin as he mounted up his bike. "Until next time, hey?"
"I'm serious, human. Talk to her. This is getting out of hand, and sooner or later, the Watch are gonna get there before me and realize their little 'terror in the Dockside' problem hasn't actually gone away."
"Burn that bridge when I come to it, Jaxx, just like always." He fired up the engine and zipped off into the night.
[size=9]((This is connected to the Terror In Dockside!