Had to cancel plans to talk to Forgemaster. Doing that tomorrow.
I had dinner at my parent's house tonight. It was good seeing them. My father is a beer snob and so am I, the difference being that he's a snob for the hops filled bitter bastard beers. I like my beer with actual flavor. We started out complaining about how one of us has no taste, as always. Of course, it so happened on this lovely night that the coleslaw wouldn't be ready. Somebody had to go out and buy a case from the grocery store.
Mom told me what she wanted, and being a dutiful son, I got in my car and started out to the local store.
25 days to go. Not to mention I've got two friends in Japan right now. I've got plenty of things to worry about. And then, to top it off, As I drive I feel a very familiar presence in the distance. I recognize it, and wave it over.
SHE appeared in the passenger's seat. She was dressed in something frilly, with a black skirt and a black coat. No obvious weaponry. Her form gave off a presence that said, "I'm not looking for a fight." You pay a lot of attention to the intent and presence something gives off when you're dealing with it. It's the chief way to determine if you're in for a fight or a negotiation in my business. Even without seeing that though, I know I can talk to her. For better or for worse, we have rules after 6 years of her trying to kill me. She'll never wave me down to talk and then try to kill me, she'll try and kill me in the dead of night when I'm not ready. She's pale, with dark hair right now. SHE never takes the same form twice. My body does not change in the physical world. I keep driving. On the astral plane, my form changes, and I'm wearing some blue robes and I soften my presence. This is my way of saying "Okay. I see you're not here for a fight. I'm not here for a fight either."
We were silent for a moment.There's always that awkward moment where we both try to mentally prepare ourselves for what happens next. After all, SHE has only been trying to kill me for 6 years now. We can sit down and discuss this like civilized people. After all, we're directly connected across time and space, we always know what the other is feeling...we should be good at this by now.
SHE said to me, "I am sorry for your friends currently in Japan."
I nodded, stopping at an upcoming streetlight, "Thank you."
SHE said, "You know, I'm going to keep trying to kill you. And if I can't kill you, I'm going to limit you. And if I can't limit you, I'm going to give you headaches."
I said, "Funny how that works. I used to think it was because of how badly I screwed up trying to save you. So who are you working for again?"
SHE smirked, "You try that every time."
I said, "I love that little smile you get. The one that says 'my former sex toy is finally growing up.' Or maybe it just says 'why doesn't he ever give up?'"
SHE did this little laugh, and said, "You ENJOYED the female form."
I rolled my eyes, "Yes, yes, and you enjoyed getting to be a man, and blah blah blah, look, I'm over all that. It was all in my head. How much of what's happened in the last six years has been in my head, I'm still not sure of. You're really good at messing with someone's head."
SHE nodded, and said, "For someone in this line of work, your mind's defenses were always...lacking. You were always better as a bruiser. You were a cute little bruiser, and we were good together...but you're just that. A bruiser."
We're a cute couple. Yes, everything discussed in the above discussion happened. I don't like talking about it. Having your astral form become female for over a year because your murderous Ex wants to really mess with your head isn't any fun. Wondering if you're gay or straight because of magical muckery is one of those things that you do NOT like revisiting. I arrived at the store, and parked the car. Anyone who paid close attention might think I was having a conversation with a nonexistent person next to me.
I grinned, "I've had six years to learn how to analyze, think outside the box, and defuse mental constructs and high-grade illusions. I've had eight years to learn how to not die when someone wants me dead. Whether you like it or not, you just couldn't kill me. Now I've got twenty-five days before I have to fight to the death against something that's bigger and meaner than what I'm used to. If you get in my way, and keep blocking my senses, I will find a way to kill you. Now I've spent ..."
SHE was examining her nails, yawning. I'm trying to give the biggest threat of my life, and she's examining her nails. What the hell. The thing is though, I just don't care about threatening her anymore. It's just not worth it. I've done it before, after all. Jumping Jesus Christ on a Crutch, how many times have I threatened to kill her for this madness?
I continued anyway, "...six years with you trying to kill me. I've put up with it because lets face it, I'm the reason you're where you are now. Then you killed everyone else who put you in that position. Every single person related to what happened to you is a corpse. Now, you said you were doing this originally because I was the last person responsible for what happened to you. So it's my turn now, right?"
I leaned back against my car-seat as best I can, trying to look smooth. It didn't work very well.
I continued, "...Except you know what? You've been doing this for six years, and you've spent a lot more time keeping me blind and unable to see the flows on the astral plane than you have trying to kill me. And I have no idea what it is you don't want me to see, but I'm pretty sure that whoever you're working for that you don't want me to know about is what's really the story here. Let me rephrase in a way that makes sense: This has never been about killing me, it's been about keeping me out of the picture."
She blinked. Got her.
I continued, "Yeah, you spend six years rummaging through my head using that whole direct line between us. I may be a bruiser, but you think I didn't learn how to do a bit of mental muckery of my own in the process? Which agency do you work for, and why is keeping me blind on your list of priorities."
She said, "If they find out I cannot keep you blind anymore, they will go after you. People like us are dangerous."
I said, "Yeah. Because keeping the number of demons trying to kill people in the United States is obviously bad for everyone involved. Now I've got twenty-five days before Thinny McDoucheSuit is on my doorstep, and I've got a lot of work to do before that. Stay out of my way, and let me do my job."
SHE shifted, moving in front of my windshield to glare at me face to face. Anyone watching us would have just seen me relaxing in my car in front of the grocery store.
She said, "They are watching you. When they feel you are no longer capable of being controlled in the wild, they will take you. This has been for your own good."
I grunted, "Fuck my own good. Fuck my own good up its scrawny ass and out your fucking ear. If I was doing all this for my own fucking good, I would have walked away a long time ago and been a goddamn accountant. Sorry, I'm a Creative Writing major, WITH a degree, and I hunt your fucking demons on the side! Now are you going to keep this up, or am I going to have to start hunting YOUR sorry ass, up and down the goddamn universe?"
SHE brings the absolute worst out of me. She also brings out the need to be theatrical. I think about my speech back there, and I realize that it was one of the stupidest, most pointless monologues every delivered by man. If you haven't figured it out already, I try to cut down the obscenities unless they're well and truly deserved. They were deserved there. ...I suck at obscenity, I'm just not very good at it. She smirked, and nodded. I HATE that smirk.
She said, "Very well. I'll give you just enough rope that you can hang yourself. When they come for you, don't say I didn't warn you."
And she left. And dear god I have questions I need answered. I got the coleslaw though. Dinner was delicious, because I was able to get the frigging coleslaw, whoop-de-doo.