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    Tsukihana
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Thread of Fate - 9. Chapter 9

It was roughly 3AM and by all rights the world should be asleep and the streets emptied, but not New Orleans. Drunken revelers stumbled through the hotel halls and filled the streets outside.

Shutting the door with a decisive click, Oberon slipped the card key into a pocket inside his coat. Kaoru stayed close at his side as they made their way to the busy elevator.

“WHOOOO!”

A man with bloodshot eyes and reeking of rum grabbed Oberon’s gloved hand with a shake, slipping a necklace of plastic beads over his head.

“WHO DAT?!”

Satisfied with himself and his act of gregariousness, the drunkard tottered away down the hall to weave on his feet before a door, disappearing into his room to hopefully pass out in peace.

“I recommend that you stay close at my side throughout this. There is no telling just what we are walking into. Stay aware at all times.”

The shining doors of the elevator were just ahead of them, a pair of young women giggling and whispering with their heads together watched their approach. An aroma of alcohol wafted off of them, much like everything else in this city.

“Good Evening, Ladies.”

Oberon’s cultured tones were out of place, sending them into a twittering fit of giggles. Standing just off behind them, he did his best to pay no attention to the not so furtive glances they each kept darting over their shoulders at the handsome pair.

Out of some misplaced sense of hospitality Kaoru waggled his fingers in a little wave at the soused pair. Oberon surreptitiously jabbed his elbow into the dragon’s side. The last thing they needed was encouragement from the strikingly handsome foreigner. With great relief the elevator doors parted before them, a chattering wave of people exodusing to drift towards their rooms,

One gloved hand holding the doors open, Oberon gestured for the ladies and Kaoru to precede him before entering himself and letting the steel doors slide shut with a clink. True to his request Kaoru remained close at his side, his intelligent eyes scanning their surroundings. There was more going on there than Oberon had given him credit for.

He had reservations aplenty about what he was dragging the young dragon into, he’d be heartless not to. Part of him wondered if he was so set on doing this in some backhanded way of atoning for the sins of his past…or if he just wanted to do the right thing.

Beneath their feet the floor shook and cables whirred as they descended to the lobby of the hotel. As the doors swung open to the lobby, it could have been the middle of the day so full it was with people.

With a polite farewell nod at the pair of ladies, Oberon gave a little push to the small of the dragon’s back, propelling him forward. Kaoru sped up his steps, putting distance between themselves and the masses. So he could indeed take a hint. Good.

“There’s our ride. In the event anything does happen to me, you trust him to get you to safety.”

Kaoru nodded beside him, confirming he’d heard Oberon’s words. As they neared the doors leading out into the night, his steps slowed and surprise was written on his face.

Oberon couldn’t help his bark of laughter at the dragon’s reaction.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover. This guy has saved my life on more than one occasion.”

Through the shining panes of glass he could see the slightly dented but otherwise well cared for red Civic. In the driver’s seat was a man in his 30’s with dark blonde hair, his finger tapping the steering wheel in nervous readiness.

It was some years ago that he’d met Ben in a bar, drunk off his rocker and whining about his lovely wife who was apparently quite stubborn. After many more hours and drinks, he’d learned the whole of their courtship and how very much he loved his wife. A random friendship formed over drinks and talk of women. He was one of the few beings Oberon had opened up to about his own wife and his infidelities, even if he had been far too drunk to remember the details of the Seelie King’s secrets.

Hotel doors held wide before them, Ben hopped out of the driver's seat to open Oberon’s car door for him.

“You know you don’t have to do that…”

“Let me be fancy.”

With an overdone bow, he bent at the waist flourishing them into the backseat of the Civic.

Oberon let Kaoru precede him into the confines of the car. Shutting the door, Ben returned to the driver’s seat, buckling his seat belt and adjusting his mirrors.

“Wearing Mr. Seale tonight I see...so it’s ‘that’ kind of ride. New friend?”

Waiting patiently for an opening in traffic, Ben maneuvered the car out into the impossibly narrow lanes of Bourbon Street. Between the red lights and the overflow of intoxicated revelers weaving in and out of the streets, Oberon took the opportunity to lay out what was going on.

“This is Kaoru, a new associate of mine. We are headed to the Hilton on St. Charles Avenue where his belongings are currently located. An unknown number of unsavory characters are currently most likely keeping the location under surveillance in wait for us to make an appearance. Remember the incident in Baton Rouge late last year? It’s much along the same vein, except this time I’m not the VIP. If anything happens to me, I want you to get him to a safe house immediately, Mr. Benjamin.”

“I gotcha, Mr. Seale. Got a real live case this time...No worries, if things go south, I’ll make sure the chicken makes it to roost.”

The car jolted to a halt as a woman stumbled out into the street, prompting Ben to roll down the window and scream at the drunk.

“GET THE FUCK OUT THE ROAD IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GET HIT, BITCH. C’MON!”

The woman flipped them off before scurrying out of the way. Oberon took in Kaoru’s bewildered look with amusement at his innocent mindset.

“A hard as it is to believe, this barbarous behavior is commonplace here and his bellowing is only following suit of the social strictures of these parts. Don’t be alarmed.”

Copyright © 2020 Tsukihana; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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