AN: Um it's been awhileXD And this is pretty short, but I think it's been long enough that I should really update. Still haven't finished what was supposed to originally been this chapter. And I'm resisting the urge to edit this story more (which has been making my ability to write chapter 9 horribly long and frustrating).
Jerked awake, Serena bolted upright in bed, prepared to destroy whatever it was causing that infernal buzzing. For only something truly unholy could make such a racket.
It took her several sleep-deprived moments to realize the noise was coming from her cell. She blindly groped around her nightstand before capturing the vibrating phone.
"Hello," she answered, glaring balefully at her alarm clock. Four A.M. Who in their right mind thought she'd be able to hold a decent conversation at this ungodly hour? It was really too bad she couldn't strangle whoever was on the other side.
"I'm so glad you answered!" an inappropriately chipper voice blared into her ear, "I hope I haven't awakened you."
Serena blinked. "Di?"
"It's four in the morning," Serena answered, pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation. She hadn't spoken to Diana—Luna and her mate, Artemis' daughter—in months. The young witch had recently moved to study magic at a prep school in England.
"Oh," Diana mumbled in response. There was a slight pause. She brightly added, "I did miscalculate then. Well it's noon here and I don't have a lot of time before my next lesson starts."
Serena scowled at the phone, "What is it then?"
"You're really cranky this morning. You should really drink some more orange juice," Diana advised, "Mama says a lack of Vitamin C can—"
"I'm hanging up now," Serena exclaimed. The last thing Serena wanted was to be stuck on the phone with one too-eager-to-help-doesn't-know-the-meaning-of-'shut up' blabber mouth. Especially this early in the morning.
"Wait," Diana blurted, "I've got a message from dad!"
For a moment, it seemed as if her heart had stopped. Serena clenched the phone, trying to remember how to breathe. She needed to keep her cool. If Artemis had gotten in contact with Diana, it could only mean one thing. After all, he was Mina's familiar.
"What did he say," Serena whispered.
"He said not to worry. That Mina's alive," Diana chirped.
Serena released a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding. 'Mina's alive,' she thought before flopping back down on the bed. It wasn't as if she hadn't known this; she could still feel the other psychic at the back of her mind. The problem had been not knowing where the Ghostwalker had disappeared to and whether or not she'd gone rogue.
"Dad says you shouldn't worry about her status as an MID agent."
Serena closed her eyes, feeling as if some weight was being lifted off her shoulders. At least Mina hadn't turned criminal. Serena didn't know of one agent who'd tried to escape MID rule and had survived; MID policy wouldn't stand for it.
"Thanks Di. Tell Artie I said hi the next time you spot him in the astral plane."
"I will," she practically sang. "Tell Mama I'll call her soon."
Serena hung up with a heavy sigh. 'Mina's okay,' she thought, relief flowing through her body. And the other psychic would continue to be fine as long as she had Artemis by her side. After all, Artemis had died to protect her and had stayed a ghost in order to continue doing so by becoming her spiritual familiar.
She flipped over and buried her face into the closest pillow. Though she was beyond relieved to hear that Mina was alright, a small part of her was furious with the Ghostwalker. After all she'd sacrificed in the search for her missing partner, Mina had taken the easy way out by using Diana as her messenger.
Serena's mind wandered to the three months she'd spent as a Sentinel. Mina's unknown status had been one of the reasons she'd allowed MID to turn her into a cold-blooded killer. She'd spent half the time sneaking around trying to discover if there was a hit out on Mina and the other half being judge, jury, and executioner. She hadn't been built to be a killer and her magic—what little she had of it—had viciously rebelled. If she hadn't suffered a psychotic break when she'd unwittingly almost gotten Amy killed, she would still be out there, spending her nights slowly losing herself.
Serena rolled over once again and stared at the ceiling. Except for the glow coming from her alarm, the room was completely enshrouded in darkness. There was no way she'd be able to sleep now, not with the way her mind was whirring with unanswered questions. And the possibility that she'd be besieged by nightmares or prophetic dreams was high. She wasn't at all sure she wanted to sleep. But maybe —just maybe— if she concentrated hard enough, she'd see something besides the usual carnage that haunted her dreams.
Serena tightly squeezed her eyes shut and thought of Mina.
Endymion hung up his cell and rocked back in his chair, staring out the window at his panoramic view of Elliott Bay. It was a beautiful sight, and one he never got tired of.
With a sigh, he wheeled his chair back to the safety of his desk. Through the glass office door, he could see Elizabeth at her own desk working. Or maybe she was gossiping online, one never knew with his secretary. At least she'd only given him a knowing grin this morning before they went over his itinerary for the day.
Endymion stretched against the chair back and stared mindlessly at the computer screen monitoring the markets. It didn't take much effort for his thoughts to lazily drift to the subject of his mate. He couldn't wait to see her again, to get a whiff of that intoxicating fragrance that continued to drive him out of his mind. Bold and delicate. Sweet yet tart. It seemed as if her womanly scent had been imprinted into his senses. Just the thought of her delectable scent was enough to make him hard and aching. Not to mention irritable as hell.
He was still torn and conflicted as to what his next move with her should be. He'd been prepared to wage an aggressive battle to win his mate over. But according to Sapphire, that would be the worst thing he could do and the last thing he wanted was to alienate his Chosen. But he had a feeling he'd already done that.
He didn't know what he'd been thinking yesterday when he'd cornered her. But the one thing he knew for certain was that when she'd challenged him, something in him had snapped. He'd been blindsided by the gut-twisting need to possess her. He had let the hunger take over. He'd been more than prepared to take against her car. But she'd freaked out.
He could understand why his actions might scare her.
He needed a new game plan. If his second-in-command was right, he'd have to slow his pacing. But he would still pursue her just as doggedly. And though knew he would never relent until he had her marked, the Beast in him was prepared to do whatever it took to make her his. Plus he was a mature adult, not a hormone driven adolescent. He could deny himself; he could control his base urges.
This was a game he couldn't afford to lose. And in this game, knowledge was power. The more he knew about her, the easier it would be for him to know how to act around. He wanted to know everything there was to know about her, which was probably why he'd ordered a background check on her. He'd been incensed by the fact that Sapphire knew more about his mate than he did and had taken the necessary steps to rectify the situation.
The sound of Elizabeth laughing brought him out of his thoughts. 'She's probably chatting up the mail man,' he thought with a scowl. Had he been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't heard the telltale squeak of the mail cart? He decided to firmly ignore what was going on outside the glass walls of his office.
Enymion peered up from his laptop when Harmony walked into his office. Her appearance put him squarely back into office-mode.
He raised an eyebrow as he took in her appearance; dressed in a tailored navy suit with a matching pair of pumps, her hair was a cascade of riotous black curls. He was quite curious about her visit. She never left her office on the thirtieth floor where she ran the IT department with an iron fist.
Closing the door behind her, she seated herself in front of his desk with one tiny rock of her chair to convey the necessary arrogance. Once she was comfortably seated, she crossed her long legs and tapped a thick folder against her thigh.
"What are you doing here?" he asked before she had a chance to open her mouth.
"So quick and to the point as always, cousin," she murmured, her eyes twinkling with mirth.
Endymion's expression remained impassive.
"Mind telling me why you had one of my people digging through MID's database?" she asked in an exasperated tone.
'Oh,' he thought amusedly, she'd found out about his little excursion in her department. Leaning back against his chair, Endymion linked his fingers and smirked. "Not particularly."
"You really piss me off sometimes," she growled. "Did it ever cross your mind that I'd have a problem with you using one of my mages to hack into MID?"
Endymion's shoulders lifted in an artless shrug. The thought hadn't even crossed his mind. "Not really."
Her lips pursed into a tight line. "I see."
He frowned at how terse she sounded. Though he was very awkward at times when it came to interacting with his family, he was certain he hadn't crossed any lines he wasn't meant to.
"I know you don't really care," she stated before standing up in a fluid motion. Walking up to his desk, she laid the folder on his desk, and added, "But I thought I'd personally deliver this to you since you'd been gracious enough to use my people to do your dirty work."
He didn't even blink at the censor he heard in her voice, he instead picked up the folder and skimmed through it. The thought of having a word with her people did cross his mind. After all, he'd specifically asked for this information to be sent to him via email. He really needed to remind his employees exactly who was boss.
She headed toward the door, then paused and turned back. "I hope you find what you're looking for because my mage nearly died to get it."
"I'm sorry to hear that," he responded, sincerely concerned that one of his valuable technomages had been hurt. There was probably a reason few dared try to hack into MID.
"I hope you really mean that," Harmony stated from the doorway.
"I do," he implored, hoping she'd see the honesty in his eyes.
She left with a curt nod.
Once Harmony was gone, his thoughts lingered for a moment. He'd have to find a way to make this up to her. Not only because he hated the thought of her being angry with him (she was after all one of his more tolerable cousins), but also because he knew that she genuinely cared for those under her command. He hadn't even thought of where the information he wanted would be coming from. But the mage had succeeded from what he could see.
He glanced over at the day planner on his desk. He was meeting Serena around 11, by then he should at least have a decent idea of what kind of woman he was dealing with.
With a loud groan, Serena dropped her forehead against the messy surface of her desk. If she had to call one more pet store, she was going to skin the first cat she saw. Why had she agreed to call the local area breeders again?
Oh right, because she was trying to see where this attraction between Raye and Jared would go. In a very Mina-like move, she'd decided to play matchmaker and threw the two together as often as she could. And so far, she couldn't tell whether or not it was working. Sure they were more civil to each other, but that seemed to be the only progress they'd made. And she'd resisted the overwhelming urge to peek into the future. The nagging feeling that was her intuition kept insisting that she'd ruin their chances.
Lifting her head, she peeked through her fingers down at the list of remaining breeders to call. Fifteen. Dear God, how was she going to get through this? She and her big mouth. If she hadn't bitched and moaned about them not following the cat lead, she wouldn't have been stuck on the phone all morning.
With a heavy sigh, Serena pulled out her phone and emailed Raye the results of her latest inquiries.
At least she wasn't suffering alone.
'How had things deteriorated to this?' Raye thought in horror as she stared dumbfounded at the tall brunet holding a kitten in her direction.
Raye promptly looked away, only to have her eyes land on more of the pitiful creatures. She didn't know which was worst, the deplorable beasts staring curiously up at her or their manic breeder who kept insisting either she or Knight take one of the creatures home. She really needed to leave this place before she did the breeder—who'd turned out to be a tiger shapeshifter—or one of the pathetic creatures some harm.
'At least he's been somewhat helpful,' she thought begrudgingly. She'd been pretty pissed when Serena had sent her on what seemed like a wild goose chase with her least favorite person. Really, what the hell did the missing cat have to do with anything?
She'd been more than ready to call Serena and cuss her out, but after they'd arrived at the ranch styled home and questioned the breeder about selling one of his prized cats to a man matching the description of their perp, Raye felt as if they were finally getting somewhere. Apparently their suspect had paid an obscene price for one of the older sterilized male cats. She really hadn't been prepared for the ambush that came next.
"I guess it wouldn't hurt to hold one," she heard Knight say. Raye's head snapped back to look at him. She let her gaze turn stony when Knight actually took one of the dismal creatures into his arms.
Jared shrugged at her icy look and said, "They're tiny and fluffy." As if that actually explained why he was consorting with the enemy.
"She just darling, ain't she?" the shifter cooed at Knight as he petted the thing, which in turn purred at his touch. Raye turned away in disgust.
When her side buzzed, she quickly pulled out her phone and read the new message from Serena. Clutching the cell in a tight fist, she resisted the urge to punt it at either Knight's or the breeder's head. She did not want to spend the rest of the day being stared at by these wretched creatures.
I really hate you right now, she texted rapidly to the other psychic. I'd rather be anywhere but here. Aren't you the cat lover?
Would you rather be stuck in the office doing nothing? was Serena's miffed reply.
Anywhere but here!
Better that we'd followed through instead of wondering later on.
Raye scowled at the reply. God she hated when Serena decided to be logical and actually make sense. You're coming with me to Scion tomorrow night. End of. There was no way she was going with Knight. If things continued as they were, her inevitable destruction would come a lot sooner. Plus the owner of Scion was a vampire (a very weak one at that, she'd deduced since he had refused to meet during the day—even the threat of letting the public know his club was one of the killer's hunting ground hadn't budge him).
Fine. But we're still meeting at your place tonight, right?
Raye's brows furrowed in exasperation. Yes. And stop sending me more locations. The last five were enough to grate on my last nerve.
There are 15 breeders left on the list. Bet you 3 of them breed only Maine Coons.
Raye bit back a moan of despair. Bitch. The other breeders better had something useful or she was going to set something—or someone—on fire.
The decision to head for Amy's office was a simple one. Serena had finished talking to the last of the breeders (only four of the fifteen purely bred only Main Coons) and had decided to pursue one of their many other leads: the camera feed from the courthouse. It had taken a lot longer than anticipated to get the feed from the courthouse. And by the time they had gotten it, both she and Raye had forgotten about it.
She briefly knocked on the naiad's door before waltzing in. Amy, who was staring at her computer screen with a deep scowl, didn't even twitch in acknowledgment of her presence. She only garnered a reaction when she moved to perch on her desk.
"What do you want?" Amy asked tersely, eyes still on the screen.
"Um," Serena replied clumsily. She let her eyes roam over Amy's desk, which was littered with plastic CD casings. 'Okay so she's been a little busy,' she thought in mild amusement, 'now how do I ask for the recordings without incurring her wrath?' Clearing her throat, Serena tried again. "So have you gone over the courthouse feed yet?"
"Been kind of busy," Amy replied before picking up one of the casings. She frowned as she examined it. "Come back later today. I might be able to go over it then."
"O-okay," Serena stammered as she started to inch backwards toward to the door while Amy went back to entering more data. Serena paused in the doorway. "Um, Amy—one last thing?"
Amy looked up distractedly from her computer. "Have at it."
"Have you figured out what's wrong with the timeline the perp's been using?"
Sighing, Amy stopped fiddling with the disk in her hand and stared at her with a faint frown. "Not really," she replied, chewing on her bottom lip. "But I have a theory. Since he's trying to Change these women, the week of the full moon is going to be the most crucial. I don't think he has a certain day that he kills them. The full moon just confirms whether or not the vic's survived or not."
Serena frowned in concentration. "Yeah, that makes sense," she commented. "Do you think—"
The blaring of her phone interrupted her mid-sentence. Serena frowned at the ringtone. It was someone outside her contact list.
"You should answer that," Amy stated with a faint smile.
"Um yeah," Serena stammered, frowning at the unknown number. "I'll catch up with you later," she added before answering the phone.
"I'm picking you up in twenty minutes," a deep, familiar voice greeted, causing Serena's entire body to stiffen, "be ready."
Biting her lower lip, Serena forced herself to walk again. With some difficulty, she found her voice once again. "Good morning to you too."
"Morning," he answered, his low voice rumbling across her skin. For a moment, Serena's mind seized, scenes from their encounter the day before flashed through her mind, paralyzing her.
She shook her head in an effort to banish the thoughts. Clearing her throat, Serena primly replied, "I'd rather meet you at the coroner's office."
There was a brief chuckle over the line. "Are you afraid to be alone with me?"
Yes! her mind screamed in quiet desperation. "No," she answered, voice clipped and dispassionate, "But I'd like to advise you to keep your hands to yourself."
He chuckled deeply. She shivered at the sound as it reverberated through her ear. "Dully noted sweetheart," he replied in dark intensity, making the hairs on her arms stand up, "I'll be seeing you."
'Oh God,' Serena thought as she slid down against a nearby wall, cell phone still at her ear. There was no doubt about it, she was going to let him touch her again.
AN: Hey you guys, even though nothing really happens in this chapter. . . the next one will be long. And how do you guys feel about a contemporary fic starring Rei and Jedeite?
There's an eight hour time difference between Seattle and London (which is where Diana is. No Hogwarts for her).
 Artemis is dead, but can communicate with Luna and Diana via the astral plane since he's a Spirit. And only Spirits can access the astral plane. Beings that possess a spirit can consciously visit the astral plane through: astral projection, meditation, near death experiences, lucid dreaming and other means.
 The type of mage I'm referring to is a technomage (well they're not really mages, but psychics). The psychics in question either have cyberpathy (the ability to intercept, generate, and interpret electronic, digital, and radio transmissions with one's mind) or technopathy (the ability to control and manipulate electronics with the mind)