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First One's Always Free (Nu Sicily

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Exercise was often a comfort for Jacob.

When his blood was pumping, his muscles aching, and his heartbeat was like the pounding of a war drum, he didn't have to think about anything else. The politics of being the Boss of one of the Families, the stress that came with it, and the pressure to rebuild the Fedele name melted away; and there was only the task in front of him. Boxing was his favorite stress reliever; but as he had difficulty holding back, it was difficult to find partners. A close second to pugilism was weight lifting. The feeling of triumph when he managed to push himself a little bit further; lift just a little more than his previous limit was practically orgasmic.

Practically would have to do, he thought with no small amount of chagrin; as his duties kept him too busy to pursue any kind of love life. Often working from the small hours of the morning to long after sunset, he simply didn't have the time or energy to hit the clubs. He had occasionally thought about finding another member of the Family to pursue a relationship with, but the Don dating a subordinate would be frowned upon. Someone close enough to be practical, but far enough removed from the organization; that was what he needed. 

If only it were that easy...

Jacob had finished his last set and was racking his weights when his assistant informed him that his next meeting would be arriving in an hour. With a sigh, he bid farewell to the isle of tranquility that was his personal gym, and went to his room to shower and dress. By the time he arrived back at his office, he had enough time to finish up a bit of paperwork before he prepared to greet his guest. He was told she was an expert in multiple areas, and he hoped that was true. They were in dire need of an expert.

Now all that was left was to wait for her.

@-Lilium-

Spoiler

Let me know if there's anything you want me to change!

 

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"Why is it that you acquiesced to her request so easily?"

"Are we truly that busy? Are we unable to do this one small thing?" 

Tilted up and to the left is a crooked smile and a raised brow. Although tall, the woman isn't as tall as the man she's angling her head towards. Always just off to the side and back of her  right shoulder.  Indicative of his position to her person. 

"Where, Daemon, has your sense of adventure wandered off too?" 

A periodic verbal silence follows. Giving the two time to take in their surroundings as their walk continues. Despite the length of each city block they'd managed to walk five from their Inn. A quaint little rustic place, the larger not viewed fondly enough. It's a creature comfort really, that feeling of a home away from home. The elderly couple running the B&B had been thoughtful enough to arrange a ride, and feigning both kindness and curiosity the woman had to decline. In real want of seeing the changes to Nehalen with her own eyes. It had been so very long since she'd set foot here that she can't help but want a small self-endured tour. Especially being that this southern portion of Nu Sicily is a rising part of it. Very new to her indeed. Information speaks volumes of this Fedele family's past with so little to be said of its present to future.

"You know these children are nothing more than Gangsters and Thugs…? This reminds me of The Body Bordello back on the Terran continent."

"My, my...what would I do without that memory of yours? Are you saying we're going to pretend to care for prostitutes again and you'll rule the roost for me?" There's a flutter of soft laughter, "we work for ourselves now, that's what retirement is Daemon. Now we can do what we want when we want, and right now… I want to do her this favor."

Another silence, more a pause for thought before words once again climb through the temperate atmosphere between them. "And I will always be at your side no matter your wish, Doctor."

"And I thank you for that." Whispered, weighed cautiously with great care for private reasons. Things they both know must be said without indulgence or recklessness. 

Eventually they make their way to the Fedele Estate, timing is of course predictably early. The meeting having been set just after noon for this short escapade of theirs. And with nothing left to say in a spoken manner they engage the guards at the front gate, signing in with her name and a singular credential: Dr. Concordia.

Knowing the routine they follow and wait for announcement before being ushered into the room. As welcomed and expected guests without an ounce of hesitation in either of their bones they make themselves comfortable. Finding the normal positioning befitting the current circumstance.

As alluring as the pair may be their demeanor [a reflection of similar polishing] does not match the quality of their dressed down attire. Daemon does wear a suit, but in a faded form of fabric telling of its delicately aged quality even though with shifts in movement and changes in illumination it appears more fluid than solid. The woman, finding purchase in a seat before the desk is not garbed for the weather, rather looking as though she may be headed to the beach for a day in the sun. Not a single goose pimple to be found despite the chill in the air. Pale, pristine, cold and empty in both attitude and stature. Though she does delicately fondle the fringe of the teal skirt so that she may cross one knee over the other, a step out of the stiffness displayed. Fingers entwine and lock loosely yet protectively against the knees as she leans ever so slightly forward to listen to the young man at the head of this discussion. 

Hooded are the eyes that stare him down, when in some cases a woman may do it to seem delicately attractive this one displays something other. Calculated, bored, humorous, ticksy… and deathly in their lies. A resolution of power and poise all displayed just beyond the darkness swirling at their centers, otherwise warmed by the bright amber hues surrounding them. They pay no mind to anything else but the gentleman so carefully wrapped in his suit. Her yellow suns locked into the blues of his skies.

Try not to forget these are the Mafioso of Nehalen, not just any 'gangsters and thugs' as you so endearingly choose to refer to them as. Be concise and respectful. I'd like to still have all my limbs intact when we leave.

"We've been led to believe you have a blood-sucking undead issue that needs to be cared for." However, she is not the one speaking. Maybe the man standing behind her seat can sense it, or just generally knows the feeling of humans toward most Vampires. However insulting the words may be, their diction is precise and holds no grudge. Rather just a statement and clearly not a personalized opinion. Evidence that they two have no true care for the creature needing attention but that there is attention needing to be paid.

Edited by -Lilium-

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The woman who walked into his office was striking not just in her looks; but in the way that she almost stared down Jacob as she sat down. Most people were, if not deferential, then at least comported themselves more delicately than they normally would. But the good doctor, while stopping shy of disrespect, regarded the Don as she would an equal. Of course, that was fine by him; his position had never made him feel superior to anyone else; but outside of the other Don's and his sister, he had rarely encountered someone who could look past his rank and just see him. Plus, the man with her seemed both confident and capable. 

Were they... no. It didn't matter.

"You've a talent for understatement, mate."

Jacob couldn't bring himself to look away from the doctors gaze as he gestured for his attendants to offer their guests refreshments; tea and biscuits, just like his mother had taught him. Something in those orbs seemed to grab hold of him and refuse to let go. 

"If it were as simple as seeing the blighters off, me and the lads could have done that ages ago. But there's history and politics between the vamps and my family. Either of those things would complicate matters, but both at once is a bloody mess... no pun intended."

The Don took a sip of the tea placed before him, and for a moment he was reminded of his mom; gods bless and preserve her. His father had loved him dearly; but the old man never quite seemed to know how to show it. Mom on the other hand had been freer with her affections. Every day when he would finish his lessons, she would make tea for him and his sister. Isadora took after their mother so strongly it was almost uncanny. No wonder his sibling had always been his guiding star.

"But we've reached a sort of detente with the vampires; which is why I'm inclined to believe them when they tell me they had nothing to do with this."

Grabbing a small vial of liquid from his desk, he slid it over for the doctor to inspect.

"I'm told it's called Nightkiss. As potent a narcotic as your like to find in all the isles, so naturally it got popular pretty quickly. Then the side effects started popping up. Namely, symptoms of vampirism. Thirst for blood, violent reaction to sunlight, and a nasty silver allergy. But the thing is, the poor sods are still firmly human."

Jacob leaned forward, "And that's where I need your expertise, love. I want to know what this drug is, where it comes from, and if the effects are reversible."

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Purely reflexive concessions are born from Jacob's polite offer, fingers removed from the frame take gently to a cup and a biscuit. One to busy each hand as Daemon passes them dutifully to her, now filled they rest together atop her knee. Wrist over wrist. Kindness-when granted them-is never disregarded or tossed aside. Honey, nearly as good a trap as a hidden snare for catching the wily.

"If it were as simple as seeing the blighters off, me and the lads could have done that ages ago. But there's history and politics between the vamps and my family. Either of those things would complicate matters, but both at once is a bloody mess... no pun intended."

It's neither a challenge nor struggle for power, or even a flare-up for whom should be on top. The reason her eyes still view his entirety is her want to astutely observe this young man sitting before her. A simple study of his human nature, the contours of his face, the angle of his brow, cheeks, chin. Without roving eyes or batting lashes. This is how she finds the subtle change brought on by a pause of memory. Creases ever so slightly formed when recollection is taking place at the sight of tea on the desk. The faintest dullness in his once bright eyes.

He's terribly forlorn for such a young person, yet holds together so very well.

If you don't eat that, I will.

Done abruptly without so much as a sound between the two, her hand rises not lifting completely but instead bending at the elbow where the biscuit is plucked from her grasp close to her shoulder. Fingers falling closely into their original state wipe their tips lightly along a fold in her skirt.

Their dance is an unrehearsed kinship of movement, entirely without fault or misstep. As soon as the vial is exposed Daemon instinctively removes the cup from her hand before she leans forward to retrieve it from the desk. 

"If it were as simple as seeing the blighters off, me and the lads could have done that ages ago. But there's history and politics between the vamps and my family. Either of those things would complicate matters, but both at once is a bloody mess... no pun intended."

"A pretty label, though the lack of originality is a tad on the distasteful side."

Light does little to define the contents, but hold it up she does anyhow. Opening the small cylindrical object is another matter, its contents a  novel of information. She needn't bring it close to her face as the aroma is pungent enough to immediately slap anyone with a keen sense of smell.

Repulsive. Disgusting.

A drop is procured by placing a finger over the opening and tilting it just enough before returning it upright and closing it.

If you’re thinking about doing, what I believe you’re about to do-

Don't be grotesque, there's nothing tempting enough in this world to get me to stick this poison in my mouth. I want you to taste it.

I will do no such thing.

Then lend me your sleeve. And he immediately does, holding it out over her shoulder so that she may wipe the drop on it before taking his arm back.

They may not be speaking but there is a vague demonstration of expressions channeled randomly as they converse inwardly. Not even in view of one another's eye widened faces. The Doctor's attention, having gone from Jacob, to vial, to blood drop, suddenly returns to Jacob.

"Three things…" There’s no turning back now that the vial is in her possession. "A map showing the areas most affected." Though low hanging the count down of fingers-middle to pinky-accentuates the necessities required for her dedication to his issue. "A space in which to work. In particular a building of at least a thousand square feet, empty, no windows." Now her hand lifts higher. Meaning the last is most important. "As much as you may want to question the method in which I work, and find yourself wanting to stop me...Don't. That's for your safety, of course."

A deal with the damned holds meaning; and for that she slides from the seat to stand. Closer to the front desk now with her pinky extended towards him. Appearances in this world can be very deceiving, especially for this childlike form of promise making. But power is power no matter the form it takes, and once its bound...the contract is set. "Should you choose to accept, a simple hook of the pinky and touch of thumbs will suffice. You agree to the three, and I agree to help solve your Nightkiss issue." Clear concise and straightforward terms.

Power comes in many forms… Should he commit, Jacob will at first feel the chill of death in the flesh he touches only to find it an inferno of heat that ignites a contractual spell between them. Branding their hands in spiraling fuchsia glyphs imbued by runes before instantaneously disappearing. Hidden from plain sight.

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Watching Daemon and the Doctor interact was akin to watching machines on a factory floor perform their tasks with well-oiled precision. Each might move independently of the other, but were nonetheless in perfect sync. As soon as one of them needed something from their companion, the other would already be moving to accommodate the partners need. To the untrained eye, it would probably seemed eerie; and even to Jacob it was a strange thing to see in action. But he had learned a long time ago to notice even minute changes in facial expression and body language. To him, the Doctor and Daemon resembled two people having a conversation; which made him think that perhaps the two were communicating mentally. Of course, he had no way of proving this, and he wasn't about to ask. That would be rude.

The Doctor laid out her terms; and though he had no qualms about the first two, the third did give the Don some pause. She was telling him not to ask questions; and it was a restriction that he found slightly suspicious. What was it that she had planned that the good Doctor would think he would feel compelled to stop? But he'd made far more questionable deals in his line of work, so he would accept it. 

"You got a deal."

Jacob stood and hooked his pinky around hers, and touched their thumbs together. For a moment he felt only the warmth of her touch, and he found himself enjoying the simple sensation of physical contact with another person more enjoyable than he remembered. Then his hand felt as though it had been dipped in ice water before burning like he'd plucked a coal from a furnace. Strange symbols flared into light on his skin before vanishing. 

Well. That was odd.

"I'll have someone fetch a map. As for your workspace, we have an old greenhouse on the grounds that should meet your size requirement. We can of course modify the space as needed."

The Don stepped out from behind the desk and gestured for the pair to follow him.

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"You got a deal."

Not a single hint of retaliation or scrapping of chess pieces across the board is noted in the touch received. Impressive. 

Very. But he does plan to keep your work close by, which means he'll inevitably need to know what you're doing. Smart man. Does the weight of this new burden wear on you?

They'd followed the Don as gestured, all the while the Doctor had been absent-mindedly rubbing the contractual hand from the wrist down to her fingertips. Movement that suddenly stops when brought to her attention. 

It's been a long while since I've chained myself to someone in this way for work. 

So what is it that bothers you...his genuine want to see this done, no deceit involved? Or that you don't think you can do it and will be forever stuck in his service? Laughter trickles through her mind, not of her own making.

"Daemon." Cold, commanding, and verbal. "Please send for my things…" As if catching herself about to reprimand him in front of their new boss, the Don, her voice calms and switches over to a formal businesslike tone. 

To fill the little time on their walk and redeem her mood as well as give Jacob information worthy of chewing on for the time being… "I'm sure you're already aware that...drug is comprised of Vampire blood. Even as a base it brings many questions to mind. One, if the vampires are aware of this why are they allowing it to continue? And believe me, if they've come across a vial or two...they know as easily as we do. Two, if they do know, whomever the blood is coming from may not be a part of their family. We should ask them if they know of any new bodies traveling into the city, they're generally pretty good at keeping a count of their own numbers. Three, is whether or not they've recently had members go missing and if they're willing to share that depth of information to begin with. Appearing weak isn't in their nature."

By now they've reached the proposed setting for her work. Though dull and fogged from age the glass and its framing hold a beauty that calls to her. Oh how fond of such places she is. Although it's not a gift, but a business decision on the Don's part, a whisper escapes her, "it's perfect."

Daemon, salvage what you can and bifurcate that area there. Bring whatever plants can be saved over here and it will be my space. Make sure to wall off the rest. One door into and out of the stage, straight to this area here. 

Her hands sway, fingers moving as they indicate several points within the greenhouse. Daemon's head nodding here and there as they follow the path of the roving appendages. 

Three cages will be centered over there, and make sure every inch of the stage is sealed inside and out, above and below. We cannot afford a single break between chain links, otherwise one might escape...or someone may try to get in. If possible, I'd prefer not to upset the Don's estate with recklessness.

Will you be staying in the anteroom garden?

Obviously. I can't just leave the stage unguarded, not to mention breaking down the contents in this vial to unravel the spells within will need a ventilated environment. Make sure to add some at the edges of the wall and roof.

"Do you plan to go with something solid for the stage, or would you prefer to keep it glass like the anteroom...?" A well calculated question interrupts her otherwise busy mind, instantly deflating her sense of purpose.

"Solid. Glass does a little too much 'See what I am doing? I've got you now!' Don't you agree?"

When did you become so blatantly lippy?

Daemon quietly smiles and turns to the task at hand just as she begins to speak again, already knowing what she's about to say. Taking stock of the area and pulling out a notepad to take measurements on.

"Daemon you will stay and coordinate the adjustments to the space. And...Don Fedele," less authoritative and more respectful, "l require a guide. Someone who knows the areas on this incoming map well enough to get me in and out quickly when necessity calls for it. If possible I'd like to begin this evening and be back before dawn."

Lilium steps forward to pluck an unruly dead leaf from the edge of a pot. Matter so dry it quickly crumbles in her delicate grasp. Sunlight becomes an autumn orange that follows the calmly distant words slipping uninhibited from her lips; and effortlessly swallowed by the dark sigh that dawdles behind it. Give the girl a flower and she’ll love you until it’s dead...give her a garden and she’ll love you forever…

Let’s fix this place for the young man, so that he and his consort may properly enjoy it.

As you wish, Doctor.
 

Edited by -Lilium-

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Jacob wasn't sure what caused the sudden chill in the Doctor's voice; but he suspected that Daemon might as he noticed the slightest upward twitch of the mans lips. One thing he knew for sure; he had no desire to ever be the one responsible for pissing that woman off. Though that thought left him briefly wondering what he would like to be to her. He quickly pushed the thought from his head. Right now there was work that needed to be done. Whatever strange thoughts he was having could be sorted out after the people he had sworn to protect were no longer under threat.

The Don listened to the Doctor pose her questions before answering, "They almost certainly know; but as you said, the last thing any bunch of vampires wants is to appear weak. No way they'll ever admit to me that someone is taking them. But they do keep a close eye on new arrivals, vamps and otherwise. Don't see any reason why they couldn't tell me that. I'll send word."

Lilium was clearly not the type of woman to let much slip past the face that she presented to the world; but Jacob can just about hear the words she whispers. A smile comes to his lips unbidden, but not unwelcome. He watched as the Doctor and Daemon did more of their silent talking; occasionally listening when they lapse into audible conversation. Eventually she turns to him, and he finds he doesn't care if she see's the grin for just a moment before his expression turns neutral once more.

"Daemon you will stay and coordinate the adjustments to the space. And...Don Fedele," less authoritative and more respectful, "l require a guide. Someone who knows the areas on this incoming map well enough to get me in and out quickly when necessity calls for it. If possible I'd like to begin this evening and be back before dawn."

Of course, there are dozens of people in his employ who could escort the Doctor around the city just fine; no need for the Don to do such a thing himself. But then he did like to go out amongst the people; remind them that he gave a damn about them. The thought of spending more time with the Doctor was hardly unappealing either. Not that he's going to think to hard on that last bit just now.

"My evening is clear. I'd be happy to escort you around the city."

 

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"My evening is clear. I'd be happy to escort you around the city."

In a daze she looks up, drawn from her private revelry to once again deal in reality. This is when she finally notices the weight of Jacob’s true depth. All the while she had spoken, conversed with him in explanation, as well as with Daemon in their foreign and silent manner. Never once had the Don interjected to stop her, questioned her motives or even embedded his power on the subject. With very little speech he carried and conveyed the importance of this objective.

What do you think?

I find him intriguing in his silence. He knows what he wants and somehow believes us to be knowledgeable enough. And it has become ever apparent he wants to see this problem eradicated, quickly. 

“...” Her frame shifts all at once, gently spinning on her heels to take Don Fedele’s measure. Thoughtfully, inadvertently, the bottom lip is caught between her teeth. Words slow and careful in their formulation, clearly preparing to speak but the words significantly delayed in their exposure. Sight is important, as is forethought. Lilium had already felt this might happen, though the timing of that prediction is quite off. His offer having come much sooner than she originally planned for him to. So her eyes wander, as this proposition marinates on her thoughts, finding their way to his hands of all things.

A lack of propriety is endured, though briefly as she once again reaches out to him. Without an invitation or visible purpose. All that time wasted talking, without sparing an ounce of energy to take in her surroundings. She was neither prepared nor ready for his help but now… Gently she takes his hand, lifting it up to not only feel the worn texture of his skin but view the wear of his fingers and knuckles, running the pad of her thumb softly across them. 

You expected him to be more delicate, or lazy perhaps?

“Alright…” Soft but heavy is the sound of her acceptance; and with it is the prompt release of his hand. Her fingers curling in their downward fall as her arm drifts back to her side. “Just try to remember, and hold onto the third portion of our agreement.”

Involuntarily her hand, warmed from his skin, stretches and relaxes. “Daemon, may I have my bag please.” Having taken measurements and looked around the barren green house long enough he meanders silently back to her side. With little presentation he unbuttons his coat and from its darkness he pulls a rather large leather doctors bag. Careful not to shake or tip it he sits it on a wooden rack intended as a potting station. 

“While you prepare, I will gather the rest of your belongings. If you don’t mind, Don Fedele I will request one of your men to escort me out.”

Already preoccupied with the worn and rugged looking bag, Lilium merely waves her hand at him. Like always she will know where he is and they can still converse from that distance if necessary. Without too much more of a farewell Daemon takes his leave. 

From the bag two rolls of wrapped leather, several colors of chalk bound together, and a swirled glass pen are procured. One at a time she unrolls and lays out the long strips of narrow leather, marking them at certain points with black chalk, then tracing patterns on them with red and silver. What she does next is with the swirled glass pen. It has no ink and the tip is but grooved with a flattened point similar to a calligraphy pen. A point just sharp enough to cut into the pad of her thumb and when held upside down absorb it into the handle. This process is done with extreme precision and speed. Such a concise need eventually exposed after she imbues each piece of leather. Once metallic liquid suddenly turns into a powdery black within the pen. A few shakes at her side and the ash disperses.

“Once we have a map, we will triangulate the area in the middle that is more than likely the sale point. When we get there, you will wear these. I will wrap them on for you to make sure it’s done right. And again…” Repetition, repetition, repetition, “remember the third portion of our agreement...Jacob, I may not be able to protect you.”
 

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Jacob almost flinched when Lilium reached out to take his hand; though not because he was worried that she would try to harm him or cause mischief. It had been a long time since another person besides his sister had touched him. There was a measure of intimacy in even the most mundane physical contact between two people; one that was often taken for granted by those who experienced it every day. Even he hadn't realized how much he had missed the touch of another person until he felt the doctors fingers trace the contours of his scarred hands. As she pulled away, he had to quash a faint impulse to take her hand in his. To do so would have been improper. 

Improper, no matter how satisfying it might be.

“Alright…” Soft but heavy is the sound of her acceptance; and with it is the prompt release of his hand. Her fingers curling in their downward fall as her arm drifts back to her side. “Just try to remember, and hold onto the third portion of our agreement.”

"I don't tend to stray from my word."

The words were spoken without any kind of animosity or reproach; just a plain statement of fact to serve as an assurance that he would do as she asked. He reacted to Daemon's departure with little more than a nod as he watched the doctor do her work on the scrolls. Jacob knew little of magic, but it was a fascinating process to watch. As he watched, it was clear that Lilium had done this sort of thing often enough for it to have become practically muscle memory. 

“Once we have a map, we will triangulate the area in the middle that is more than likely the sale point. When we get there, you will wear these. I will wrap them on for you to make sure it’s done right. And again…” Repetition, repetition, repetition, “remember the third portion of our agreement...Jacob, I may not be able to protect you.”

Jacob smiled, hopefully reassuringly, and flexed his right arm; the muscle straining against the cloth.

"I'm pretty capable, Doctor. I might just surprise you. I'll return to call on you this evening."

He turned on his heel and began to make his way back to his office; mentally chiding himself with every step. Flexing? Really? Was he a goddamn child? No chance that little maneuver wouldn't be replaying itself in his regrets for the foreseeable future.


As the day passed, Jacob found it nearly impossible to focus on the work he was supposed to be doing; his thoughts drifting back to Lilium all to easily. Thankfully it was a rare day where he had no other meetings on his schedule; so at least he didn't humiliate himself. Once his official duties were attended to, he had taken a shower, shaved, and put on his best suit. For once he was grateful that Isadora was out of town; as she would no doubt have teased him mercilessly about how he was cleaning up for the evenings outing.

He made his way to the greenhouse, and knocked on the door; marveling at how nervous he could feel in his own home.

 

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It’s a calm time of preparation, organization, and remodeling. Despite the rhythmic noise of construction at the hands of Daemon and a small crew as they frame out and fill in her architectural design, she cannot hear it. Lilium’s mind preoccupied with the plan of the night. In either ear rests a small bud, blocking out the world around her; leaving one to assume she is listening to something else. When in reality they are turned off and just sit as she reconnoiters with otherworldly things internally. Merely listening to the goings on elsewhere.

I’m still looking into things, but so far there’s no trail or answer. Here are the maps we’ve drawn of the disappearances so far. Thankfully what we do have is a long winding trail that seems to begin in Kharatumni. Though the First and Last Abode have yet to complain of known disappearances at this time. 

At least they’re willing to speak with you.

We dress accordingly, and have learned to shift our dialect to an older version of Terran. It helps. They also know we’ve wandered up from Khaznah. Are you going to come and help, or are you still...otherwise engaged?

It may be a few weeks still, but I’ll make the move. Don’t worry. 

Hands busy themselves by clearing away dust, debris, and dead foliage, only to fill these empty spaces with pots. Those diligent digits then fill them with soil found under another shelf further in the greenhouse, reusing it and wetting it with water, and placing a plant inside. Nothing really goes to waste. Even the crumpled leaves are broken further and mixed in, becoming fodder for the new seedlings being planted.

“I’ll return to call on you this evening.” Words proven true, as Jacob now stands inside her new and humble abode, this ‘home-away-from-home’ for the next few days. She feels him enter, and plucks the buds from her ears, pocketing them as she turns to greet Don Fedele. Although taken back by his prim and polished nature she doesn’t hesitate to give him a weak smile of approval.  "Good evening, Sir."

In a small basin off to the side she cleanses her hands of dirt, drying them on the folded towel beside it. Readying herself to begin. 

Lilium’s now different than before,having exchanged her more comfortable clothing for something else more akin to adventurous. As in dark leather leggings and a teal tunic tucked in at the waist. Clothing she can easily move in should the need suddenly arise. Quite opposed in dress they two are. However she deems him worthy, nearly enough so that her hand automatically rises to adjust the collar of his suit before freezing an inch away from it before doing so. The look is questioning of why she’s done it, eyes bearing down on the appendage before retracting and gently rubbing it with the other. “My apologies.” It cannot be out of habit as she’s no one to make adjustments to, but maybe those long lost words of being ‘called on’ in the evening hours have pulled forward something old in her mind.

“Here, sit.” She’s already turned to clear a few bags from the cot that had been placed in the small room.  Daemon, having done as instructed, set her up first before moving on to the rest of the greenhouse’s work. “I’ll be sure to get a more suitable chair in the near future.” Should there even be time to do so. “For now it will have to do. I want to make sure these fit appropriately and comfortably.” Again those straps of leather are brought forth, but rather than two there are now four. Two are set aside and she kneels in front of him after he makes himself comfortable. 

You look as though you’re about to make a proposal. May I suggest a more romantic place than your dirt filled room?

Enough.

She was once again taking Jacob’s hand, the left to be more accurate, and froze with his palm hanging off the tips of her fingers. The unexpected mental intrusion causing her to hesitate in her actions. However, in this pause is an unusual warmth that radiates from his hand, burning away the chill of her own with prickling tendrils of unnerving energy. It forces her to move a little more quickly than she would like. Pushing his sleeve upward as far as his musculature will allow the cloth to go, before wrapping the leather carefully down his forearm around his wrist and thumb, and even his knuckles before tucking and tightening it. “Now, flex and contract by making a fist and releasing a few times. Then we’ll do the other.”

Again she does the same to his right hand, standing once finished. “Do the same with this hand.” While he does what she instructed, she begins to wrap her own forearms, wrists and knuckles. Deftly and quickly, practiced even. “Alright, let’s give it a go, but more than anything, take a few swings at my palms, but what I really need you to do is block. The idea is to draw them in and force them to bite these rather than another portion of your body.” Lilium doesn’t explain in detail, but knows that he will eventually get the idea.

Hands up, palms forward with a slight bend in each elbow, feet angled and spaced for a bracing posture, ready for his movement. “Let’s begin.”
 

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It was remarkable that Lilium and Daemon had been able to turn the dusty old greenhouse into a functional workspace in the span of a few hours. Jacob had been looking into having the building renovated, and all of the contractors he had spoken to had provided estimates that called for bags of money, and at least a few weeks of work. Just went to show that the right people with proper motivation could achieve wonders. The Don was about to compliment the Doctor on a job well done; but couldn't manage to get the words out when he laid eyes on her.

As a member of Ni Sicily's high society, Jacob often spent time around the cities rich and beautiful; and to be honest he found them exhausting. It was all a facade; everybody putting on a happy face and making banal conversation while drinking copious amounts of alcohol to numb their minds. Women often paid him a great deal of attention; some hoping to curry favor or land a spot as a trophy wife; others just drunk and not thinking clearly. Most of them were attractive in the way that rich people could afford to be, so he had seen no shortage of beautiful women.

Yet when he saw Lilium, it was as though his brain had skipped like a record. The clothes she wore were simple; yet to him she couldn't have looked better if she was wearing the best finery in the city. He manages to offer a smile and wave when she greeted him; and then his heart nearly stopped when she reached toward him. Old instincts told him to be wary... but he couldn't deny that he anticipated her touch with held breath; only managing to exhale again when she pulled back.

“My apologies.”

"Not at all," he said quietly.

She takes his hand, and he's briefly surprised how cold her skin is. Then she rolled his sleeve up to the elbow before sewing some kind of leather wrap on his arms. At her command, he clenched his fist a few times; feeling somewhat like an awkward teenager flexing to impress a girl he fancied. Once his left and right arms are done, she explains that the wraps are there to bait a vamp into taking a bite out of them. When she asked him to take a few shots at her hands, he grinned and squared up.

"Let me know if I'm going to hard."

One of his sparring partners in his youth had opined that Jacobs punches were quicker than lightning and hit like thunder. Given that the lad had taken a knock to the head, the Don had taken it as flattery. But as his fists blurred toward Lilium's palms, he wondered what she would think.

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