Mimosa wouldn’t stop crying, and it was drawing stares.
Magnolia did her best to glare at each and every civilian as they passed through the early-morning crowd. Most acted reasonably, giving a quick look before they pointedly averted their gazes.
Some weren’t as smart, those were the rubberneckers blocking the path, or staring, breakfast bagels and sandwiches halfway to their mouths, coffees forgotten in idle hands whilst their owners stared at a weeping prisoner.
There were no back routes to take, no secret halls or entrances – the Local Court hadn’t been designed for discreet dealings – most of those who needed secret passage could fade through the areas that hadn’t been specifically blocked against transport magics.
Shifting didn’t work either – even as much as the Agency had apparently argued for it over the years, no Local Court was system-friendly – no shifting, no requiring, no respite from gawking fae.
The exit was close – the Local Court had multiple loading bays, some were kept purposely unused for occasions just like this. Everything would be fine, if only the local idiots stopped staring.
Usually it was a good thing – there’d be a healthy dose of fear, of reverence for the Agency and even the occasional compliment from a fae who didn’t mind the boys in suits.
Compliments didn’t seem likely now – everyone was too busy staring at the woman who was looking more and more like a crying child with every stumbling step.
A woman with a healing factor she shouldn’t have.
Taylor’s growl was unending – a constant but barely audible sound, though it was growing louder with each step.
After another ten steps, he stopped, grabbed Mimosa, and threw her over his shoulder.
It was a potentially risky move – there was no telling if whatever had given her the healing factor could be dangerous, or could be something fae that would cut straight through blue.
On the other hand, it was a calculated risk – it was likely, that with all the weeping, if she could escape, she would have at least made an attempt.
Magnolia slowed her pace a little, keeping in step behind him, keeping her eyes on Mimosa, just in case she made a move.
Mimosa, for her part, had stopped squirming and was letting her head hang down, her forehead bumping against Taylor’s back with each step – the fight entirely gone from her.
For a moment she envied how close the girl was to Taylor – it wasn’t often that Magnolia got to drape herself over her commander like that.
They finally exited the Court.
‘Shift, or drive, sir?’
Taylor reached one of his hands up, grabbed Mimosa by the back of the shirt, and dropped her onto the rough concrete of the loading bay. She landed on her bag with a crunch – and she screamed, near-incoherent words of threat and pain and loss.
Magnolia took two steps forward, jerked her knife up from her boot and cut through the strap of the messenger bag around the girl’s neck, pulling it free and tossing it aside.
‘No!’ Mimosa managed. ‘No, don’t-!’
Magnolia stared at the bag.
‘Don’t leave him behind! Please!’
Magnolia glared down at the ex-recruit. ‘Who the fuck are you talking about?’ She looked back to the bag – it was a standard messenger bag, but large enough to hide one – or a few – tiny fae, especially something as small as a misick or an undersized fairy.
She looked to Taylor – who nodded, if there was another person involved then they needed all the information they could.
She sheathed her knife, bent and began to tear through the bag – tossing aside a brown takeaway bag, a laptop, a wallet-
Mimosa cried out as the laptop went skittering across the concrete.
Magnolia stood and looked down at her. ‘Are you talking about your damn computer?’ She took a step forward, and pressed her boot down onto one of the girl’s legs. ‘Is there another lifeform in your bag?’
Mimosa shook her head slightly, then looked up, her face a lot more calm than any point in the last five minutes. ‘You have no cause to destroy my belongings. You-’
Magnolia shot out a hand and grabbed her face. ‘You’re about to be on the blacklist, that means kill on sight, and you’re already legally dead. It’s not a crime if you’re dead.’ She let Mimosa’s face go; and the should-have-been-a-tech seemed to shrink in on herself.
Taylor squatted behind the girl and pushed a metal circle to her shoulder – metal scraped on metal and Mimosa yelped again as the booster sank its claws into her.
His answer was clear – they were going to attempt a shift, and whatever he’d seen on his scan indicated there could be a problem in trying to shift her – which probably meant some kind of fae interference.
The booster provided an immediate shot of blue and – so far as Merlin had explained – assisted in keeping an object, or person, together when there was a chance that a shift might be risky.
Taylor stood and looked at her – she gave him a single nod, and the loading bay blurred.
She wasn’t at all surprised to see the holding cells come into view.
The Agency had several kinds of cells, as different people warranted different holding procedures. There were standard-looking jail cells – ones with metal bars; there were others that were plexiglas boxes; others still that were made of reinforced wood.
Taylor picked Mimosa up and threw her into one of the plastic boxes – there was nothing in the room aside from a box-shaped toilet, there wasn’t even a bed in the cell.
Mimosa stared crying again – it was a pathetic display.
And the Agency didn’t take any notice of tears.
Taylor turned to her and she snapped to attention. ‘I’m getting Jane. Watch her. No one else.’
She gave one sharp nod. ‘Yes, sir.’
[table id=15 /]
Mimosa wouldn’t stop crying, and it was drawing stares.