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Black Magic Sanction

Black Magic Sanction: Page 104

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He glanced at my arms, held behind my back, and I wondered which had scared him more, that I might know a curse to boil his blood, or that I got out of a pair of charmed handcuffs.

"It won't ever be said that the coven wrongfully denied an accused witch due process," he said sullenly. "I will accompany her to the FIB to be sure that she doesn't escape, but she may officially enter the FIB's custody."

Someone in the crowd actually cheered, and relief took the strength from my knees. I would have fallen if Glenn hadn't caught my arm, and, as the crowd became noisy, he escorted me down the stairs to a waiting FIB car, Oliver lagging behind. Everyday people wanting to know about the fog pressed close, and Glenn had to force his way through. I felt small beside him, and damn it if a tear didn't well up. I'd done it. No, wed done it.

Head high, I placed each bare foot precisely, looking neither to the right or left as I crossed Fountain Square. I might be wearing nothing but an I.S. coat and six weeks' worth of hair on my legs, but this was my city, and I'd go to my cell with pride.

The clatter of pixy wings was almost unheard over the din and requests for answers from the press. "Way to go, Rache!" Jenks said as he joined us, flying a good two feet over my head. "Pierce says you did good. He's going to go watch my kids so I can come with you. He says you'll be okay now. You smoked them, Rache!"

"Good," I whispered. "That's good." The tear brimmed and fell, but there was only one, easily wiped away with my shoulder as Glenn opened my door and I got in, carefully so as to not let the coat ride up and show my ass. Jenks slipped in at the last moment, and the crowd became even louder as my door shut.

"Damn, Rachel," Glenn said as he got in the front and put on the lights. "When did you get your cuffs off? I didn't know you could do that."

"I can't," I whispered, not knowing what I felt anymore as I gazed through the tinted glass at the people crowding the car. I was shaky, watching them protest as I sat in peace. "Think they'll come talk to me?" This could still crash down and leave me with nothing.

Glenn chuckled, making his siren whoop twice before pulling out. "Oh yeah. They'll be there. Count on it."

The scent of subgum rose from the softly steaming takeout box, filling the gray interrogation room at the FIB with the scent of steamed pea pods, sauteed mushrooms, and broccoli. My chopsticks were not the usual splintery pulpwood, but a nice set of olive wood. Apparently Glenn was a regular at whatever Asian eatery he'd placed the order. More than a regular, I'd imagine. The sticks were beautiful.

I wrangled a water chestnut into my mouth, jamming the sticks to stand straight up as I reached for the fortune cookie.
I was never one to wait. The snap of the cookie breaking was familiar, and I smiled as I read, KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER.

Eating the entire cookie at one go, I pushed back from the scarred table, crossed my ankles, and gazed at the dirty ceiling as I chewed. I was dressed now in a pair of jeans and a short-sleeved top, patterned too brightly for my liking. Flip-flops kept my toes from the tile, and I was sporting brand-new blah underwear from the lockup downstairs. None of what I was wearing was mine, but it was clean and better than an orange jumpsuit. I didn't ask what had happened to the people who used to own these clothes. Someone had my red leather jacket.

I reached for the box of takeout and I rubbed my last demon mark, sore where Pierce's charm had burned me. My eyes drifted to Trent's statue, and I reached for it. Cripes, the thing was graphic. No wonder he hid it underground.

The knock at the door startled me, and I dropped it. Scrambling, I stood it upright. It was Jenks and Glenn, and I wiped my hands on my borrowed jeans as I saw the stack of paperwork in the FIB officer's hand. "Hi, Rache," the pixy said, doing a quick circuit and landing on the tips of my chopsticks, poking out of the takeout box, to enjoy the rising heat. "Trent's here. And the coven guy. Glenn's got your papers to sign first, though."

"Thanks, Jenks. Are you sure your wings are okay?"

Making a face, he sent them humming so fast that the dust from him rose high in a pixy-made draft. "Yeah, they're fine. Bastard I.S."

Glenn was smiling when he slapped the papers down on the table. "David is still stuck on the tarmac," he said as he handed me a pen, "but he had his brother fax everything here."

Nodding in understanding, I flipped to the first flag and signed with my first name, middle initial, and last name. "This is for the trial, yes?" I asked as I found the next flag.

"According to David," Glenn affirmed as I finished. "I won't file it unless you say so or go missing for more than three days." He glanced at Jenks, then me. "Rachel," he said, seeming to lose some of his professional polish, "I'm required by law to inform you that your proposed actions are both risky and prone to landing you in prison, permanently incarcerated if not worse - "

"It's all she's got, Glenn," Jenks said, rising up on a silver column of dust.

Hand raised, Glenn smiled. "Personally, I think it will work," he finished, and the pixy relaxed. "I don't know Oliver well enough to give an accurate estimation of what he might do, but if what you say is true, I think he'll go for it."

"He'll go for it," I said, worried. "Can I keep the paperwork here? Visual aids help."

Glenn nodded. "You signed two originals," he said as he took half the stack and tucked it under his arm. "If you're ready, I'll send them in." His gaze dropped to my dinner as I picked it up. "Good?" he asked.

"Delicious," I said, reaching for it. "Thanks, Glenn. For everything."

The man smiled wickedly. "Any time, Rachel. Have fun."

He left the door open, and I could hear Trent's beautiful voice in the hall. He was talking with Jonathan, and Jenks's wings clattered as my blood pressure rose. I hated the man. "Jenks," I said on impulse as I dug into my dinner. "You go, too."

"What?" Peeved, Jenks confronted me. "Why can't I stay?"

"If you're in here, Trent might want a witness, too. I don't want Jonathan with him."

The pixy turned in midair, hands on his hips. "I could do a little dusting," he said, and my lips curved up in a smile. Jonathan wouldn't know what hit him.

"You do that," I said, then drew back as Trent pushed the door open. Oliver was behind him, all bluster and huff. The two men gave Jenks a cautious look as the pixy laughed, darting out over their heads singing "London Bridge Is Falling Down."

Watching me, Trent shut the door with the tip of his shoe, and the silence of a sort-of-soundproof room soaked into me. "Please, sit down," I said to the two men, gesturing with my chopsticks. "I'm glad you agreed to see me. Do you want anything? Coffee? Subgum?"

Sitting on the green, thinly padded metal chair, Trent clasped his hands and rested them on his crossed knees. His face lacked all emotion, waiting. "No thank you." His eyes shifted from the paperwork to the statue, and I smiled. Thanks, Nick, even if you are a bastard. God! I couldn't believe he went behind my back to work a deal with Trent. On second thought, I could. And what was it with Trent not telling me he thought I might be able to do that elf trick of shifting realities using ley lines?

Oliver stood, his arms crossed. "You are a black witch," he started, his words harsh.

Going back to my subgum, I said mildly, "And the coven of moral and ethical standards is corrupt, having a demon-summoning black-arts practitioner among their number. You sure you don't want a coffee?"

"We do not!" the man exclaimed.

"Wrong!" Taking a breath, I jammed the sticks in the takeout box, thinking they looked too aggressive pointing at him like that. "Brooke tried to make a deal with me to put one of my demon children in her cradle and me off the lobotomy table intact and in her private army."

Oliver's round face looked horrified.

Trent unclasped his hands and tugged his sleeves. "Can we skip this part? I have an appointment in half an hour with the press."

His hand fumbling for the back of a chair, Oliver sat. I didn't think he'd known that. Good. Maybe he would listen to me. "Sure," I said slowly, answering Trent's question. "We can come back to it if we need to. Let me tell you what I want." I'm going to make a deal with two men who tried to kill me. Was I stupid or really smart? Sidereal didnt have a problem with it.

Oliver scoffed. "You're in jail. You're in no position to be asking anything."

Trent hid a smile, and I picked through my dinner to find a water chestnut. "I'm in jail because I choose to be. You don't think that performance in Fountain Square was anything other than to get the media's attention and you in front of me, do you? It's safe here, and the food's better than at Alcatraz."

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