“How do you do it?” I asked.
My companion, the Baron Samedi, “hmm”ed. He held a pawn in one hand, rolling it in his fingers, then set it down in an innocent-seeming spot that would ultimately set him up to defeat me. “I play chess. It has been around plenty of time to master it.”
“I mean being a god,” I said, looking over things. “All this power, and you can fix so many things, but then they start wanting everything fixed, even in conflict with each other. And then there’s the tail…”
“I was going to tell you to shut up and play, but the tail you say?” the Baron asked, leaning in.
“Seems kind of unethical never knowing if I’m projecting something onto other people… or changing people’s memories, that sort of thing.”
“You bring the conversation back to this every time,” the Baron said. “If you don’t want to risk hurting someone, you should go for just what you want. What you really want, and not just what your loins crave.”
“I mean…” I started. Remembering it was my turn, I moved a knight. “One situation I’ve gotten into wasn’t even trying to be all romantic.” I told him about it same as I’m telling y’all.
I was trying to find a natural opening with Dame. Not that kind of opening. Dame is a super thief with an uncanny ability to track me down who I ultimately treated really shitty. Like, took control of her body against her will kind of shitty. I’ve been trying to get close to her to see if I could find a way to help her out without simply making her forget everything that’s happened to her. It seemed like a shortcut that wouldn’t really solve her issues, and I was skeptical how much it would help to just magic her issues resolved. What doesn’t kill someone can often leave them weaker than they were before. While I’m not fond of Dame being 100% and a potential threat again, I’ve felt uneasy about how I treated her for awhile.
Part of my plan to help her mental state involved following her so I knew when slip in and get to know her under false pretenses.
Mainly, I was on the subway on her route home in Boston. She could have disappeared better in Empyreal City, but it’s such an active place for supers. Boston is a lot more tame as far as supers. Dame wanted tame. And relative quiet. So I was a relatively boring person on the subway for her commute. Just Delilah, hot and a teensy bit thicc. I was thinking maybe I’d get into some sort of fight over the phone and forget my purse, see if she bit. The night I picked didn’t quite go that way.
For starters, there car was unusually crowded, and the regulars were complaining about cell phone coverage until someone noticed, “Hey, it’s working in the next car.” Most of the regulars moved to the car in front or behind then. The ones who left were all people I’d never seen before, eight of them. They had coats on, but I felt the padding and knives beneath, except for the two guys with swords.
I walked up to pass by Dame and one of the guys with a sword who was holding it ready under his coat, then stumbled accidentally on purpose. The sword flashed out in the open as he tried to hold himself steady and push me off him.
“Shit,” someone muttered.
Dame snapped into action, grabbing one a pole and kicking the guy I’d stumbled into with both shoes. To his chest. He fell back onto some seats. That was the start of the fracas. The other noncombatants, all of whom weren’t trapped between the attackers and other cars, fled, some starting to call the cops. I was one of the exceptions, instead letting myself get grabbed by one of the guys who held up a knife.
Dame got a good punch in on one guy and then kicked one against a pole before the guy holding me called out to her. “Hey!” I stomped on his foot and bit him on the wrist holding the knife, grabbing at his hand. I could have dropped all these people without my godly powers, but I figured I’d make this work for me. The guy let go of me enough for me to look like I was struggling with him while Dame dealt with the others. I tripped one of them who passed me and my hostage-taker for a chance to fight Dame. He hit the floor hard.
Dame’s been practicing her fighting. She’s got some other tools with her, too. The other guy with the sword whipped it out and got a knife thrown into his shoulder that made him drop the sword. Another guy grabbed Dame’s hair and tried slamming her head into the wall of the subway car. She put a switchblade in his thigh, then pulled it out and stuck it through his hand.
I let myself get nabbed as a hostage again in time for Dame to finish up with that bunch. This whole attack just helped me too much. I just had to let this one douche hold a knife to my throat and act as if I was in danger from it. “You’re coming with us now!” he ordered in a French accent.
Dame grabbed a sword in each hand and pointed one at him, answering in French. “Come and get me.” Pretty hot. The guy ran the knife over my cheek, and I let him draw blood. I let out a pretty convincing scream, I think. Dame lowered the swords and stepped forward, eyes flicking down between my legs. I had a skirt on, and my legs were spread a little. I adjusted my stance and spread them further. When Dame got close, she kicked up right between my legs to hit my captor in the Johnny. I slipped away and let her smash the top of his head with the flat of one of the swords over and over until he was crumbled on the floor.
Some of the others were starting to come to when the car stopped. Dame grabbed my arm and led me off, while I asked, “What was that? Who? What’s going on? Why did he slice me?”
“Come on, quiet or they can follow,” Dame said. She led me out of there and toward her apartment. She glanced up at the building and muttered, “Shit” under her breath but we headed inside and toward the elevator. I glanced back and saw some guys come around the corner just before the door closed.
“They’re here, aren’t they?” I asked.
Dame nodded, then reached over and held the button for floor seven for a seven seconds. The elevator stopped at the fifth floor and the rear opened up. “Come on,” Dame said, walking me into a hidden room and pressing another button that closed up the elevator and sent it on its way.
“Where even are we?” I asked.
“We’re in my bolthole,” Dame answered. “Those guys are after me, and you got in the way. I was going to look after that cut, but they’re here, too.”
“Oh… thanks,” I calmed down. Dame had let me go and grabbed a first aid kit. I sat down on a stool at the counter. It was an apartment, if a bit cramped, but with a kitchen, living room, and bedroom area. No windows, though. Insight from my omniscience showed me that it was the extra portion after an apartment was turned into a maintenance room. The rest of it was bricked up, but then Dame bought up the building and made some adjustments while trying to lay low.
My attention was brought back to Dame when she came at me with a rag covered with alcohol. “Here… doesn’t look too bad. They know I’m a better person than they are.”
I was quiet and still while she tended to me with alcohol and glue and a bandage. After she was done, I smiled, then cringed at the tensing of the facial muscles. “Thanks, doc. Will I ever be a model again?”
Dame chuckled and started checking herself over. She had some minor cuts on her arms. I hopped off the stool and walked over. “Need my help?” Between the two of us, we started getting her patched up. Most weren’t that bad, but she had one where I had to help do stitches.
“You could be a model,” she said at one point.
I laughed it off. “Thanks, but I was just joking. I know I’m not model material.”
“You’re pretty. You’ll look like a badass with that scar.” She smiled. “You are a badass, helping me fight those guys.”
“Thanks, but you were the badass with the swords and speaking French,” I said.
“Do you know French?” she asked.
I shook my head, then finished up the stitching, tying and snipping and all that. “No, I’m terrible with French. Just doesn’t make any sense to me.” Which was true before the godliness thing. I had to become nigh-omniscient to figure out those pronunciations.
“I wish they told me what they want. I’ve stolen so many things from France,” Dame said.
“Those Louvre guards mean business when they say you should tip the Starbucks barista.” I held onto her arm a bit, running my fingers gently over the skin around where she’d been sliced.
Dame smiled. “You can let go now.”
I pretended to notice what I was doing and let go, tucking my hair behind my ears and turning my blushing face away. I started packing up the first aid kit while Dame went on. “They don’t worry about tipping the same way over there, but the Louvre never sends thugs. They send lawyers and insurance investigators.”
“Oh,” I said quietly. “Um, I guess, how do I get out of here?”
“There’s a back way,” Dame said. “I can’t let you go.”
“What?” I asked.
“They know you were with me when I ran from them. If they find you near here, they’ll know you know where I’m hiding. I need you to stay the night,” she said. She blushed a little. “Not that way, you know.”
I shook my head. “No, I see… you spot a pretty girl in the subway, you hire some French guys with swords to get into a fight so you can bring her back to your hidden apartment… it’s cute, but you could have just asked me out.”
Dame laughed. “I don’t even know your name.”
“Delilah,” I told her.
“Stefani,” she introduced herself, holding out her hand for a handshake. We shook… and then next thing you know we were making out in between the covers with our clothes all over the floor.
Back at the chess game with Baron Samedi, he laughed while holding a bishop. “What is the moral conundrum? You didn’t make her like you. It is rescue sex, and it is fun.” He gave me a lecherous grin, but the Baron’s a bit of a horndog. “Check,” he said upon setting the piece down.
I sighed and moved a rook. His queen took it, allowing him to follow-up his innuendo with more, “And mate.”
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