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by: Zeva Reid
March 18th, 2012
1 a.m.
Capitalum Building/Guest Living Quarters

Shadow couldn’t sleep. She got her good rest after a shift or a run, but tonight, she was unsettled. Everything about the agreement with the Order just screamed “bad news”, but Jace agreed? Even though she didn’t want to pay too much attention to these Wizard affairs, Shadow was almost forced to when Jace started picking up contracts for the Ministry. There was a lot of political bullshit and drama that was unnecessary, much like a damn soap opera. However, the one detail that she remembered about the Order did not bode well for them. Everything she’d heard, the public knowledge about the organization, said that this “Order” was dead. Disbanded. Done.

They had the former Minister in their grasp, a traitor, and a high-price target, that was for sure, but they didn’t kill him or turn him in. They return him to his daughter ALIVE? Darque pleaded for his life, surrendered with an offer to align his daughter’s alliance with the Lucky 7—and he wasn’t even considered a Beta level to be doing that? How the hell did these human factions function anyway? No wonder the Order couldn’t get themselves running, with offers just being handed out like that, to the next highest bidder.

That was the thing that bothered her. Well, one thing of many… The Lucky 7 weren’t a high-bidding anything. They were mercenaries. They were garou. Were they that desperate? The Order, that is. The pack got along just fine without this little turn of events, and then Jace decided he just wanted to sign them all into this deal where they weren’t allowed to attack anything within a certain radius or bitch slap the next wizard who wants to come up and gawk at them.

Shadow sighed. She was leaning up against the wall beside the door, standing watch. Except, she didn’t have to. Most of the little sissy wizard folk were already tucked in to go night-night, and the pack was left to fend for themselves. At least the mess hall looked decently filled, but that would change soon, given the way the pack tended to eat. She folded her arms and leaned her head back against the cold brick wall, watching the flicker of lights and candles in the other building across the way.

She huffed. That supposed leader, who hardly had a lick of Alpha sense in her, cast them out to the living quarters in their other building. Probably to keep the ‘boogeymen’ away, right? Shadow rolled her eyes at that thought.
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by: Jace Bryden
Something had been keeping him awake and he didn't like it. Maybe it was something as simple as not being used to sleeping on something not dirt or gravel in what felt like months. Maybe it had something to do with being in unfamiliar territory with "unknown allies" skulking about... Jace knew there wasn't anything to fear from the wizards. If anyone tried to enter the newly minted den they'd find themselves dead before they could even contemplate how stupid they'd been.

Eventually Jace decided that sleep wasn't going to happen anytime soon. He'd heard Shadow leave earlier... clearly she was unsettled as well. He'd got the feeling earlier she wasn't happy with the way things had gone in regard to Darque... With a sigh, the alpha pushed himself up off the couch he'd claimed as his own and stood. He didn't bother grabbing his jacket or knives. Jace didn't plan on going to far or being out for too long, so his current attire of jeans and a t-shirt would do. He slipped his feet into the combat boots he favor and headed outside to find Shadow seemingly standing watch outside the door and he took up a spot beside her.

"Something bothering you?"

It wasn't the greatest segway into a conversation but some days Jace wasn't a man of many words. Blunt tended to be better when dealing with the pack and he was comfortable enough around Shadow that he felt he didn't need to hide anything.
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by: Zeva Reid
Shadow folded her arms when she heard someone stirring. Jace, probably. She knew those footsteps better than anyone, and she'd always given him shit for walking like there was lead attached to his feet, in or out of his boots. "Hm." Without so much as a nod or glance his way, Shadow huffed. He must have picked up that she wasn't thrilled. No one was. The entire pack was a mess of emotions too. Not so much that they'd try to take a swipe at Jace--because she'd kill them before they even had that thought--but Shadow knew that there was a division among the pack regarding this deal. Of course, as the Beta, the burden of those emotions fell heavily on her shoulders and she had to figure out a way to talk to him without it coming to blows, but that was just their nature so she had to expect he'd lash back.

"The fuck is this, Jace?" She said, after a pregnant pause. So it wasn't the best response, but it got the point across. He was used to the way she addressed him by now that she didn't have to worry about him taking offense to the language but perhaps what the words denoted. "We had Darque. We had him in the bag. Could have headed back to base with enough food and money to last the week and you bring us here instead..." Shadow trailed a hand up to the scar on her left shoulder and brushed it downward, over her arm to relax at her elbow, just to feel the warmth of her hand on her skin that was chilled by the night air.

She needed to cool it for a second before she got too riled up, but Shadow was far from done. She hadn't even looked at him yet, she was so frustrated. The buildings, the walls and gates, everything that cried out civilization and wizard scum just irked her. What the hell were they doing here? The open sky was calling to her but she couldn't run without hitting a border, without breaking a rule, without crossing some sort of line that the humans would just cry about later. Shadow inhaled deeply and sighed, exasperated and aggravated all at once.
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by: Jace Bryden
Her response was blunt and there was enough bite behind to know that Shadow wasn't happy at all with their current situation. Jace bristled and was hard pressed not to snap back at her, especially with her comments about Darque. The worst part was she might have had a point. Things we're normally pretty simple for the pack. Track down the mark, play with the food, listen to some begging, then turn in the corpse for coin. Jace knew he'd messed with the formula when he let Darque try and wheel and deal.

"It was a good opportunity Shadow. You can't tell me we're not going to make out like bandits because of it."

Jace was trying hard not to raise his voice. He didn't want to escalate whatever this was if he didn't need to and honestly he wasn't in the mood for a fight. And while he probably owed the pack a bit of a reason for hearing Darque out and then for all intents and purposes allying them with the fallen Order, but Jace sure as hell didn't feel like he needed to explain himself fully.
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by: Zeva Reid
God, it was hard not to scoff at that answer. So she did. Shadow was already over this little alliance and it had only been hours since the deal had been brokered. Not to mention, after a blood bond handshake, it all but solidified that in stone. Shadow had to hand it to that witch bitch, not too many humans took to that custom lightly. "What makes you think that they even have a plan? Darque walked us in here with negotiations as if he were some sort of advisor or beta and he isn't even close. You really think that woman has the balls to run this place?" everything around the deal and the timid woman, Kara, bugged her, so incredibly much.

"You know how everyone feels about walls." She grumbled, nodding toward the gates around the compound. "And they better show us a back way into this shithole, because I'm not playing through a maze every time we have to come back."

'If I come back,' she wanted to say, but that would have been a downright lie. Shadow wouldn't leave her pack and she was sure Jace wouldn't let that happen either, but her irritation was clear.
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by: Jace Bryden
"They don't have a plan. Hell I'd be surprised if they even knew how to function as a unit," he snapped back. "Darque's just a son-of-a-bitch that was out to save his skin and nothing more. And that Kara? She's a nobody that we're going to walk all over. Far as I'm concerned we'll milk this sham of a group for all its worth and then, when they've out lived their usefulness we can turn them into the Death Eaters. You act like we've never fuckin played both sides before."

It wasn't like Lucky 7 was some saintly group that did things by the books. No, the 7 did things as they pleased, how they pleased, more often than not the more brutal the better. And while it was more advantageous to keep to one side, the fact that they were a coined mercenary group gave them leeway to flop sides at a moments notice. There was a reason they had a reputation like the one they had.

"If they don't like the walls they can sleep outside for all I care and I'm surprised you haven't sent Tao and Rafe out to do recon. I'm not stupid enough to have us come and go by that damn front gate." Jace turned and fixed a glare on Shadow that clearly stated she should know better.
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by: Zeva Reid
She scoffed. Sure, they played both sides, it's what mercs did. It's what the Lucky 7 did to survive all this time, doing freelance work without worrying about exclusivity and contracts and all of that bullshit. "Sure. But nobodyor not, she's beautiful--" Shadow finally cast a sideways glare at her Alpha, "So help me Jace if you signed me up for this just so you could have at that, I will punch you in the throat."

Again, Jace was probably used to her threats woven into their banter but there was an intense seriousness in her tone. Shadow pulled the dagger from her belt and started cleaning the dirt out from her nails when she stopped as he'd made a tactical call into a scolding. "Maybe if you weren't playing googly eyes with that bitch we would know what the hell we were supposed to do in our corner shoved away from all the people. Forced to play nice-nice with the humans. Please."

He wanted someone to do recon? Fine. She started to walk off, not giving a shit if he'd follow.
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by: Jace Bryden
"Shadow..." Jace growled out her name in a way that made it very clear she was on the verge of crossing a line. He couldn't tell if she was deliberately trying to coax out his rage or not but whatever game she was playing it was going to get her wrecked. But it was as if Shadow didn't care, which wasn't really surprising considering their history. Shadow had always been one to speak her mind. The next bit that followed though he probably could have ignored but when she turned her back...

A savage snarl broke through and Jace turned quick as a flash and had her by the throat and roughly slammed up against the wall she had started to move away from. His rage was barely contained and he wanted to hurt her bad. What the hell was Shadow insinuating anyway? They'd run together long enough that she should know he didn't do the attachment bullshit and he sure as fucking hell didn't make googly eyes toward anyone, especially a weak ass human.

"You ever make an accusation like that again and I'll break your fucking neck." Fuck he was mad and it was so god damn hard to not just let the control slip. But this was Shadow, his pack, and pack was all he had.
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by: Zeva Reid
There was something different about this deal that was unsettling, maybe that's why it was keeping her up tonight, bugging her like it was bugging everyone else in the pack. Maybe it was Darque...or the woman, Kara. Shadow meant it when she said she was beautiful but leader? Perhaps not. She didn't even fit the bill for Beta, by the looks of it. The Order was dead as far as everyone was concerned and regardless of Jace's speech about being a double agent in this game--Shadow still didn't like it. Then she remembered there were the other two men there, the ones who apparently knew it wouldn’t be their place to speak up, lest they get a nice claw to the face.

Shadow didn't even have to tell Jace a few of the Pack, even Mia--who had magic in her blood--didn't want to be caged in this damn compound. Shadow rarely showed this much emotion beyond her normal stoicism unless I should felt by the others in the pack...it was like she soaked it up like a sponge. She hated that.

She yipped as she felt the force of his hand at her throat, moving at a speed even so couldn't anticipate, and she hit the brick wall with a loud crack. It was enough to make the others stir inside but no one dare come out to interrupt them. "What? I strike a nerve?" She grasped at his arm as he pinned her in place. Shadow could have fought back. Clasped her fingers together and pulled his arm until it gave or gave him arm nice busted knee for his current effort to threaten her. But she didnt. It was hothead vs hothead and she was going to vent until his ears bled. "Don't tell me you hadn't thought about that as soon as we walked through those hedges."

Ooh, she was pissed and wasn't going to let down easy. He had buttons to press here, her way of assessing whether or not his head had really been clear when making that decision because noone liked hindsight coming back around and giving them a swift kick in the ass. Sure, Shadow trusted Jace with her life but sometimes he needed to hear what was on her or the Pack's mind.

The way she saw it? If he didn't like it...that was too damn bad.
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by: Jace Bryden
"I hadn't until you opened your god damn mouth!" He shouted it right back in her face. Jace was clearly starting to loose the little control he normally had. He slammed her back against the wall for a second time. "What do you want me to do Shadow. Rip her apart for you and decorate our new found territory with all the pieces? Or maybe we could to that to Darque and those other two for shits and giggles."

Jace stopped talking at the moment and took a few deep breaths and forced himself to let his beta go lest he choke her out or worse. The alpha turned and took a few steps away before turning back. She needed a reason for all of this or she wasn't going to stop. "We've been running ourselves ragged the past few months with increased garou activity in our territory and trying to track down marks. You can see the burnout starting to take hold. Sure this isn't the best place to hole up but it was an option that gives us room to maneuver."

Clawed hands flexed and clenched and his gaze shifted from Shadow to the ground as he fought to keep it together. He hated explaining himself, hated that the need was there, hated that the pack apparently though his judgement was skewed on this issue... everything he'd done was in there best interest, so why was it so fucking hard for them to understand that? A low hum that was the beginnings of a frustrated growl was let out, though it wasn't directed at anyone in particular.
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by: Zeva Reid
Kill the girl? Flay the Minister? It wouldn't be completely out of character, no. But Shadow noted his defense on the matter and understood that he was here to stay, and the Pack would have to deal with it. His intentions with the woman notwithstanding, Shadow still had a bad feeling about all of this.

She yelped again as he hit her a second time against the bricks. Shadow's heart rate was running rapid and her clawed hands were balled tightly into fists at her sides as she tried to gasp for air. When he released her, she grasped at her neck and staggered to the side a couple of paces...she heard the door open.



"NOW." She barked. Back talking little shit always finds the worst possible time to interrupt. Idiot.

Once the door was securely shut again, she put her back to the wall and bent her knees, placing her palms on her thighs as she tried to catch her breath. She spit somewhere to the side as she stood upright and put her hands to her hips. She knew he was right. They were all getting sloppy with their tactics and she knew it. Everyone was exhausted, day in and day out. They hardly had a good rest after a shift and it was definitely wearing them down. "I'll take first then, let them sleep it off." Shadow reached for her dagger that had fallen out of her hand in their tussle, and tucked it back into place. She strapped the crossbow that she had sitting beside her over her shoulder. "Don't worry. I won't harm any of the precious humans." She spat, bitterly.

If he had anything more to say, he'd say it, and she'd let him before taking off to start her scout patrol over the grounds.
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by: Jace Bryden
At the sound of a door opening Jace's head snapped up toward the sounds and a savage snarl was let out. God help the rest of them if they wanted to pick a fight because he was certainly in a fighting mood thanks to Shadow. It didn't help that he'd recognized the voice as belonging to Carver either. Stuck up little shit was always running his mouth. It seemed like Shadow wasn't going to stand for interference either and she barked out a rebuttal to the intrusion before he could. Once the door was shut and he could hear footsteps retreating he set a red eyed gaze back on his beta.

Jace felt his rage flair again at the mention of precious humans and he turned and stalked off in a random direction. He wasn't thinking straight thanks to Shadow and he knew he needed to get away before he did something he'd regret later. In hind sight he should have went back for his jacket and knives but right now he didn't care. He needed to find something soft and fleshy and shred it with his god given claws. Maybe that would turn into some recon. Spirits knew he wasn't going to be sleeping any time soon and when the inevitable did happened Jace didn't whether it was in a comfortable place or passed out covered in blood under the stars.
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by: Zeva Reid
Shadow was already a few feet away, and she heard his footsteps stalk in the other direction. She had her anger in check, save the bit she used to lash out at Carver, but Shadow knew that Jace had trouble toning it down when he got riled up. The red eyes were a clear indicator that he was too far gone, and that stupid sliver of a conscience she had, knowing that they'd made a damn deal with these damn humans meant it was her duty to keep an eye on her Alpha. This was his decision to stay here, after all, no need to break his own words, even if they were stupid, with that wannabe.

The beta let out an exasperated sigh as she turned heel. "God dammit."The grumbling alpha went somewhere in the opposite direction, but as he was not thinking clearly, he might have gone in a straight line, leaving heavy, obvious tracks in his wake. Shadow would follow, though not straight away, at least to keep watch and make sure he wouldn't do anything he'd regret later. No, Jace rarely regretted his decisions, as an act-first-apologize-later kind of guy--even though apologies were hardly part of the process either. She was sure to be careful, following at a safe distance, and it gave her a chance to use her stealth skills while doing some recon as well. Shadow was always good at multitasking.
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by: Jace Bryden
The longer he walked the more enraged he became. Jace wasn't even trying to hide himself or mask his steps the way he normally would. The man was gone, cowering in fear while the wolf was slowing succumbing to the sea of red that clouded his mind. It was times like these where it was just easier to give into the call of the rage, to hurt things before they could hurt you and not care in the slightest. He needed the fear, the terror, the violence. He craved it. Jace wasn't even fully aware of where he was going. He let his feet and his senses lead him. To the forest. To home. He could hear the heart beats of smaller prey animals nearby, he smell the deer that he knew were aware of his presence...

At some point he felt a sharp tug on the sleeve of his t-shirt and he lashed out with a savage roar at whatever had dared to grab him. Fists slammed something solid. Claws ripped through the armor of whatever was in front of him. The smell of pine sap flooded his nose and it enraged him even more. A sharp crack rent the air and he felt something give way in his grasp. The wolf was hungry and vicious in its drive to kill. And kill it would. Blood needed to be spilled. Jace gave into the desire fully. Eventually his motions slowed and he was vaguely aware of his knuckles hurting and his arms and legs feeling as if they'd been weighted down with something before passing out.

Jace wasn't sure how long he'd been out, but when he finally cracked an eye open he was laying in the dirt under the wreckage of what he presumed used to be a tree. A tired laugh broke the stillness of the night as he pulled his hands up to cover his face. His muscles screamed in protest of the movement, having gone cold and stiff when he'd finally wore himself out. it was then he noticed how tore up they were. The thought to get up was there but right now he felt like hell. He tilted his head in a few directions to see if he recognized anything that would tell him where he'd wandered off too... not that it would be a huge deal once he was up and moving... he could find his way back to the pack or they'd come find him. The question right now was did he really care? We're they all that bent out of shape with the deal he'd struck? Shadow sure as hell seemed to be and that didn't sit well with Jace. He let out a soft sigh and looked up at the canopy of trees... maybe if he just stayed here a while longer there would be less shit he needed to deal with later.
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by: Zeva Reid
It had been an hour or two since she followed her Alpha to the edge of the compound, near the fences. It was wooded here, and she liked that, mostly because it cooled the air under the shade of a tree--yes, even at night--and the sound of rustling leaves brought her comfort. Shadow was perched by the tree across from the victim of Jace's assault, shaving the bark off a few twigs she pulled up from his oh-so-vicious attack. When she heard him stirring, she smirked and shook her head, letting him laugh and just take his breather as he came to. Good, he was in better spirits now. Or rather, he was in the equivalent of 'good spirits' by Jace's standards.

Sometimes she hated herself for just how damn loyal she was to this man. He was the only real family she had left, that's why. Anyone else by with her name meant nothing to her; Like her piece of shit father who skittered off was a useless waste of space, and then there was some bastard brother who had no idea she even existed. She and Jace were stuck together, like some God awful married couple, except no kids, no jewelry, just all of the heated arguing and maybe the occasional romp that meant nothing. Though she did have to laugh at the thought of the five in the pack resembling their children because they were like their kids, just short of having to wipe their asses, and they would have to listen to "mom" and "dad" fight.


"Well hello there, Sunshine." Shadow ran the edge of the blade over the bark, and was pleased to see she'd shaved it down to a nice, perfect point. This odd little habit of hers was quite relaxing. "Feeling better?" She asked, almost teasing. They always did that to each other when one flew off the handle--the other was there to catch them, recover them, and take little joking jabs at their shit-fit.
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