8.2 Because Reasons

by Matt P.

“Dad,” Antigone said breathlessly as she followed them down the stairs toward the door. “I have to go to the hospital,” she repeated. “We need to talk about that before you go.” Walter turned to look at his daughter, sighing. She had changed after school in to sweat pants and a tank top, and didn’t look like she was bound for anything but a night in or possibly working out. “We…” she looked over at Siobhan. “We have a feeling that it’s important.”

Walter considered that for a long moment. He didn’t really like anyone going off on a feeling, but he considered her face and she smiled reassuringly at him. He sighed, shaking his head. “It isn’t like I can stop you from getting involved with the crazy crap in this town anyway. Just a feeling, or a full on vision?” He asked.

Antigone paused to consider for a moment exactly what it was, before she shrugged. “More than one, less than the other? It’s hard to quantify sometimes. It just feels all….oracle-y that we should probably be at the hospital. We’ll have Lacey and Monica, and bring our homework, and probably nothing is going to happen.” She offered a reassuring smile to that, and then quickly amended when she saw him about to say something. “And our pepper spray, and the Eisenhund and Bonnie’s sword in an emergency.” Both Walter and Antigone paused to consider how ridiculous that list had gotten recently, before shaking their heads.

“Wear shoes, have your cell phones charged, and text or call at the first sign of trouble,” Walter said with a sigh. He moved over to pull Antigone in to a hug. “At the very first sign of trouble. Things are getting even weirder, and you need to be safe,” he offered softly. He kissed his daughter on the forehead, and then let her go with a sigh. She grabbed Siobhan and went off to get ready, already puling her cell phone out to call her friends. Walter sighed again as he watched it, and turned to the others. Tania was standing there, and the sight of her shocked Walter into a startled laugh. “Christ Jesus, you people need to make some kind of noise when you’re going to teleport into my pantry.”

Tania raised a flame red eyebrow imperiously. “Do I? I think my actual appearance here means I don’t,” she answered simply. She was dressed in a dress that could have been the match of Morgan’s, except for being shorter and more daring and the exact same shade as her hair. She flipped her hair in a challenge, and then snorted when Walter rolled his eyes. “We’re taking your SUV, just as an FYI. And other three letter acronyms.” Following that pronouncement, she turned and walked toward the door, apparently ready to go. Ryan chuckled but then moved to follow her—apparently he was assigned to her for the evening. Which meant that he was likely on…

Morgan answered that by walking up to him, and smiling softly. He could tell that something was bothering her, and she didn’t have plans to hide it as she reached out to put a hand on his shoulder and frowned. “Walter…” she began, taking a long moment to consider her words. “You’ve seen Doctor Winters, and you’ve seen Morgan. You’ve even seen Aoife,” she offered wryly, shaking her head before growing serious again. “But you’ve never seen me come the Queen. It isn’t always pleasant, and it is not infrequently violent. Just…remember that the woman you know isn’t a facade.”

Walter met her eyes, and took her hand off his shoulder. He gently kissed the back of it, and held it as he spoke to her. “I understand, Morgan. Aoife,” he amended wryly, glad she had told him how to pronounce it before he had seen it spelled. “I really do. Ryan has seen me as Walter, and the Major, and…whatever it is you want to call it when things like Prague happen.” Now it was his turn to be lost for a moment, before he too shook his head to clear away the memories. “But the kids haven’t really seen that last one.”

Morgan cocked her head to the side, and raised an eyebrow, the very essence of curiosity. “Even when you were fighting Oberon?” She asked curiously. Walter ran a hand back through his hair as he considered it.

“No. That was so…desperate and crazy that I was just throwing everything I had in to it,” Walter explained with a little bit of a shrug. “I didn’t have the time to be the killer, or whatever. That’s when there’s a plan, and stakes that I actually feel like I can win.” Walter offered a little bit of a sheepish smile. “I didn’t think I was going to survive fighting Oberon, so it wasn’t the same.”

Morgan snorted slightly, sighing. She moved in to put her head on his shoulder. “I didn’t think you were going to survive either,” she offered. “I knew you probably thought you had something up your sleeve, but I thought I was going to watch you die.” She pulled back, and Walter was surprised to see a little tear starting to roll down her cheek. She wiped it away, and turned to grab something off the table that she had apparently left there. “To avoid that this time, or at least give you an edge.”

Walter reached out and took the black velvet box from her. It was heavy, or what it held within it was heavy, and he set it down on the island to open. Inside was a dagger in a style that looked similar to the leaf-bladed pugio worn by Roman legionnaires, albeit an incredibly well constructed and handled one. The blade was a rich golden copper color, as was the guard; over the tang there was a handle of rich dark red wood, inset with swirling gold lines forming acanthus leaves. Walter could almost see lines in the blade as well, slight variations in color spiraling like an unearthly version of Damascus steel. When he picked it up it had a heft to it, but was far lighter than it should have been.

“Orichalcum,” Morgan answered before he could ask. “True orichalcum, like only we can make. It’s the universal antidote of the supernatural world—it effects everyone the same. To a Faerie it acts like iron, silver to a werewolf, or gold to a vampire. And some others we are far less likely to encounter,” she offered with a wry smile. “It is incredibly rare, because it is very difficult to make. I had to barter with some of the grandsons of Ivaldi for that one, and it cost a pretty penny.” Walter took the blade and slid it in to its sheath, tucking it in to his belt at his back.

“Gold?” Walter asked. “Also…we’re going to have to put a pin on whatever the hell it is you just said, because I only tracked about half of it. How much are we talking about for the bartering?” He settled his suit jacket over the new addition, trading out the knife he had tucked in to his belt anyway—he figured it looked sharp enough to cut a human pretty good too in an emergency.

“Gold,” Morgan confirmed. “Werewolves are symbolically and alchemically linked to the moon, so the moon’s metal—silver—hurts them. Vampires have a symbolic and alchemical link to the sun, so the sun’s metal—gold—hurts them. Faeries have a symbolic and alchemical link to the Earth, so the Earth’s metal—iron—hurts them,” she explained. “Then we get in to things like demons and ghosts which mess with things, but orichalcum will still stab them but good.”

Walter nodded slowly. “You said all of that like it made logical sense, but I just want to reassure you it did not,” he informed her, before sighing. “Nonetheless, lets go hit up a vampire night club because…reasons.”

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