Strange Places

Strange Places

(Cass Part 7… continues from here)

Days go by and I don’t think about Stormtrooper. Much. I don’t see him at all either and can only assume he’s left or is avoiding me. Luka was still bringing work home so I found myself out every night. I ran the first night and the second one. Then it was Friday night and I didn’t want to end up alone and pathetic on a roof top again so I went to a club instead. Aspect was busy as usual, the dance floor crowded, the bar busy. I waved to Liam who was serving drinks then joined the writhing crush of bodies.

I lost myself in the music, dancing alone or with whoever appeared in front of me until Liam himself did so, a bottle of water in his hand. He jerked his head and I nodded and followed him off the floor and down a hallway to the staff room. He punched in the code and we went in, the sound of the club muted while a wall mounted screen showed the security camera feeds which we could see from the table we sat at.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Liam said as he passed the bottle to me and I opened it to drink thirstily.
“Was going to say the same thing. Where have you been?”

He grinned and shrugged. “Life, you know?”

I shook my head and laughed, knowing Liam that meant he’d been busy chasing his latest. “Really? Anything serious?”

“Surely you jest,” he said and I rolled my eyes. “What about you? Luka keeping you chained to the bed or something?”

“I only did that the one time with you.” I poked my tongue out at him cheekily.

“Anytime you want to try it again, let me know,” he shot back and we grinned at each other for a moment.

We had been kids at the time, Liam wanted to be a magician since he couldn’t do real magic. He’d lost the key but luckily my Da had been able to pick the lock then we’d sworn him to secrecy.

“I’m much better with keys now,” Liam said with a smirk and I nodded acknowledgement. He shifted in his seat leaning forward to brace his elbows on the table as his smirk turned to a frown. “How’s your brother?”

“Hunter’s the same pain in my ass he always is. Why?” I asked with an innocent flicker of my eyelashes. I’m sure the look he gave me worked wonders on his employees but it just made me laugh. “Oh you mean Dean?” I feigned surprise. I didn’t know what had happened between my best friend and my brother and neither of them would say so I gave them as much grief as I possibly could anytime they asked about each other. “He’s his usual cheerful self,” I said with a shrug.

Liam snorted. “I’ll give you a dollar for every time he smiled last time you saw him. What do I owe you?”

“Yeah, yeah,” I muttered with an eye roll as I stood up. “I’ll tell him you asked about him,” I promised as he stood and followed me to the door. “Unless you want to do it yourself? We’re going to paintball tomorrow.”

“Yeah Sam told me,” he put his hand on the door handle but didn’t open it yet. “She took the night off so she can be well rested so I think I’ll skip that early start.”

“Mmm, good excuse,” I allowed. “Speaking off, I should get home so I don’t get annihilated.”

Liam’s “Be safe,” trailed after me as I let myself out the staff entrance.

The next morning I was lounging in the back of Dean’s whale of a car as we headed upstate to the paintball field we frequented. Sam was beside me, her head tilted back, her eyes closed behind her sunglasses. Hunter was riding shotgun telling us about the visitors from the Rocky Mountains to talk about the next round of survival training our kids would be going on.

“Well speak of the devil,” he said as Dean pulled into the parking lot. “That’s Rory’s.” He pointed to dusty SUV parked beside a motor cycle.

“They’re in the city what, a day? And already need a run?” Dean shook his head. “I don’t envy you keeping them entertained brother.”

“Wait till you meet Rory, you might change your mind,” Hunter said as he opened his door and headed to the check in office.

“Tell me we don’t have to go watch our brothers flirt,” Sam muttered to me as we followed a few steps behind.

“Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll already be in a game?”

We weren’t lucky. We walked around a corner to find Hunter smiling down at a slim red headed woman. “And those are my sisters,” he said without turning. “Sam and Cass.”

Sam echoed my “Hey” before heading to sit with Dean who was slouched on a bench sorting through a pile of gear.

“Cass is one of our teachers,” Hunter said as I stopped beside them. “You’ll see more of her Monday.”

“How are you enjoying the city?” I asked looking at the three people ranged behind her for a moment.

“Some of us better than others,” Rory said with a wry grin. “Sky was feeling a little antsy so we came out here.”

One of the helmeted bodies raised a hand in a wave and a feminine voice called out. “That’s me. Rory and the boys were kind enough to humour me.”

“That’s Harry and X,” she added and the other two raised a hand in turn.

“Are you all looking for a race or just out to shoot each other?” Hunter asked and one of the men snorted.

“As if anyone could outrun you,” a low voice said and I frowned. Was it familiar or was I imagining things?

“My reputation precedes me eh?” Hunter smirked and took a bow with a little flourish of his hand.

“Capture the flag then?” Rory said and got nods and sounds of assent.

We moved off to gear up and since Rory’s team was already kitted up they headed out first. I watched them go, looking for what I wasn’t sure. Had I heard that voice before? I couldn’t have, Hunter had said they’d just arrived.

“How long are they in town for Hunt?” I hoped I sounded casual as I zipped up my suit.

“I think a week. We’ll look at a schedule for them to visit all the kids headed out on Monday and go from there.”

“And they just arrived?”

“Yeah, drove in. We weren’t sure when they would arrive, just that they’d be here Monday.”

“Right.” I nodded as I adjusted my helmet.

“We all set?” Sam asked as she stepped up beside me, her quiet grumpy mood from the drive up still in place.

“Ready,” Hunter said and Dean and I echoed him. We’d already discussed our strategy and Hunter and Sam moved out first.

“Liam says hi,” I said softly as Dean checked over his equipment again. My brother was beyond cautious, check, check and check again.

His hands went still and he nodded slightly. “He okay?”

“Same old Liam, he never says much, you know.”

“Heh, tell me,” Dean muttered. “What about you? Anything you need to talk about?”

“Nope.” I shrugged. “Everything’s great.”

Dean sighed and muttered beneath his breath, “Waste of time lying to a seer sugar.” Then louder he added, “If you say so… don’t dream it…”

“Be it,” I finished and he huffed a laugh then walked off. “Don’t get shot,” I called after him as he disappeared into the trees.

Our plan was simple. Sam would get the flag while Hunter served as a distraction. He was the fastest so they would expect him. Meanwhile Dean and I got to skulk through the shadows to pick the other team off. They were good and it was a while I heard a yell that let me know someone had been hit. A high whistle came soon after, the signal that Sam had their flag so we should head towards their base and focus on protecting her retreat.

I heard the shot and flowed to the side seeing a spurt of red appear on the tree beside me, two more followed in quick succession and I cursed as I felt the hit on my shoulder.

“It’s not a kill shot but I think that’s your shooting arm.”

There was no question in my mind that it was his voice as I turned to face my opponent.

“Actually I’m ambidextrous,” I said with a smile and shot him in the chest with my still good arm. “Now that’s a kill shot.”

“Yeah I think you got me good Princess,” he admitted.

I let my pistol fall to my side as I looked at him curiously. He was tall but I’d known that. Broad shouldered, he looked solid and strong. His face was still a mystery though as he wore a tinted helmet.

“I thought you said you had no friends?”

“No. I said I had none that you knew,” he countered and I could hear his smirk loud and clear.

“So you are… no, not Harry. X then?”

He inclined his head. “Zavier, X to my friends.”

I frowned in confusion. “Not Z?”

He laughed, “No, it’s Xavier, I’m just a lazy pronouncer.”

Brilliant conversationalist that I was all I managed was, “Oh.”

“Well, looks like I’m dead so I should head back in.”

“Right.” I nodded as he tapped a finger to his temple and stepped past me.

“Nice seeing you Princess,” he said as he walked by.

“You too Stormtrooper,” I replied with a low laugh and went back to hunting his team mates. I tagged Rory and Harry but didn’t see Sky when the whoop of the game over siren sounded and I headed back to base.

Sam was standing triumphantly unmarked while Dean lounged beside Harry both of them sporting mortal wounds. Rory walked in behind me then a couple of minutes later Hunter and Sky joined us, both with hits to their arms and legs.

“And that’s how it’s done,” Hunter declared as he pointed at Sam.

“You were an excellent distraction,” Sky said with a flutter or her eyelashes at Hunter. “I had fun chasing you.”

“And I had fun being chased,” he flirted back as I looked around for Xavier. “You seem to be missing a team mate,” Hunter said what I was thinking

“X messaged me he had to go,” she said as she sat down and accepted a bottle of water from Sam and taking a drink. “He’s a bit of a lone wolf,” she added. “Though I don’t think he’s actually a wolf.”

“You don’t think?” Hunter collapsed on the ground almost on top of my feet and leaned against my leg.

“I know him from home but he’s not part of our group. Harry bumped into him yesterday or we wouldn’t have known he was here.”

“So why is he here then?” Hunter asked.

Rory looked at Harry who called out, “I think he said he was visiting family.”

A reasonable explanation and it matched with what he’d told me about having ‘personal business’ in town too. Was that why he’d left? Had something or someone needed his attention? Or was he just avoiding me

…to be continued

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