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Jun 05, 2020 7:40 AM
storms & palatinates in the anita blake-verse
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Adrienne speaks quickly, and quietly in French, until Aubrey shifts somewhat, not out like Anita requested, but far enough away that he is not an immediate threat.

"Are you alright, Ms Blake?"

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"I'm done is what I am. What the fuck was this supposed to be?!"

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"This was...not my doing. Please, I need your help at this moment."

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"Why the hell would I help you now?"

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"Because I can get you and your friend out of here alive. And you have my word that I will do so."

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"Your word means nothing to me." But she pauses, looks over to Catherine and then back. "Realise that I am a vampire executioner and if anything happens to me or my friend...."

She doesn't actually need to finish that threat.

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"I understand that. But Aubrey did not act on my word, and I have people who rely on me staying in business. Employees."

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She wants to tell him to release Catherine, but Batiste's words give her pause: 'Did not act on my word'.

"What. Do. You. Want?"

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"A small show is all, reassure the crowd," Adrienne holds out a hand, not quite close enough that if Anita doesn't take it it will appear to be anything more than a gesture. "And then I will explain, as far as I am able."

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Anita looks to the crowd. The room had fallen silent. The audience knew something was wrong. They had seen the truth behind the charming mask. There are a lot of pale, frightened faces out there.

She takes Batiste's hand. She has no other option here.

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Adrienne gives a grateful smile and guides Anita and Aubrey to the front of the stage. "We do hope that you enjoyed this little drama we played out for you. Rather realistic, was it not?"

The silence is uncomfortable. Adrienne turns slightly to Anita. "Forgive me."

And pushes up Anita's sleeve, revealing the cross-shaped burnmark on her arm, before turning more fully, and pulled aside her own top, to reveal the matching scar on the swell of her bosom.

...The applause is almost immediate, and loud.

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They think she's a vampire, that it was all an act. She stares at Batiste's smiling face and the matching scars: Batiste's chest, her own arm.

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Adrienne draws Anita down into a bow, and as the applause begins to fade: "We do need to talk. Your friend Catherine's life, regrettably, depends upon it."

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She meets her eyes and says, "I killed the things that gave me this scar."

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"Quite the coincidence. As did I."

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-- great.

She follows Batiste through the curtains at the back of the stage, Catherine coming up behind them. Anita is not letting her out of her sight.

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The first thing Adrienne does, when they are away from the crowds, is turn to Aubrey and deliver a resounding slap to his face - a slap that leaves lines of blood where her nails rip into his skin. "I expressly forbade you doing that."

"You are not my master," Aubrey hisses back, one hand coming up to the marks on his cheek.

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Catherine moves to Anita and clings to her arm, watching all of this.

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Adrienne takes a deep, careful breath in. "I may not be your master, Aubrey, but I do not think anyone would place money on you should you continue to press me."

Then she turns to Catherine and Anita. "Shall we talk in my office?"

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Anita keeps a tight grip on Catherine and nods.

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"What was that, Anita? You're as much a vampire as I am."

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Aubrey hisses silently.

"A little misdirection," Adrienne explains carefully. "Necessary for the greater good."

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"Come on. I'll - they'll explain everything." She looks to Batiste. "Right?"

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"As best I am able, certainly."

Adrienne gestures along the hall. "My office?"

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"Lead on."

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