The new uniform felt odd. Her original dress blues had been destroyed when her apartment exploded. She was used to them, to the feel of the fabric, and the weight of the metal of her badge and awards. The one she was wearing had been provided to her by Lady Maritza (and how odd that Anne as coming to think of the woman as Lady Maritza instead of Mrs. Hope). The new uniform fit better and made of better materials. It was smooth and flowed easily around her. Most importantly to the people standing a few yards behind her, it had some subtle magic woven into it that would protect her. Still, Anne missed her old one, which pretty much summed up the entirety of her experiences in the last week. She lost most of her old life violently, gained a new one that was in many ways better, and yearned for the old one.

Anne felt Kurt’s strong hand grip her gloved one and gently squeeze. Of the Avalonians, only Kurt and Samantha had come with her to the funeral. The others were getting her new home ready. Their new home, really. Lady Maritza had turned over an old hotel as their new home. The rooms had been converted to six large suites, but there was a communal kitchen, dining room, and day room. From what Lady Maritza explained, it had been a concept built to take advantage of the gentrification of the Riverside district.

The gun salute startled Anne. Then people were coming up to her. Most in uniform, but some civilians that knew Dale and her. She held up stoically until Dale’s parents finally made their way to her. Dale’s dad had been an old-time beat cop. He gave Anne a sad, knowing look. His mom, on the other hand, glared at Anne. The small, stout woman didn’t say anything, but it was clear that she blamed Anne for not saving her son. Worse, Anne was here with a date. Dale’s dad gave her an apologetic look as he ushered his wife back to their car. Kurt gently guided Anne away from the crowd. He scanned their area and gave her a small nod. Anne let the last of her facade crumble as tears streamed down her face. Without thinking, she grabbed Kurt, desperate for comforting arms, which he gave without hesitation. She looked up into his warm blue eyes.

“Look Kurt, I know–” she started before he placed a finger across her lips.

“Anne, I am not going anywhere,” Kurt said, “We have time for you to come to grips with what has happened and then decide what will happen in the future. Right now, I am willing to be whatever you need.”

“I don’t know what I need,” Anne said, softly.

“Then, I will patiently wait until you decide,” Kurt said, wrapping her in another warm embrace. Maybe this was all she needed right now. The future could wait until tomorrow.


Erik Jaegar stood in Lady Maritza’s office waiting for his new superior to get done with her petty psych games. He had enough to do without pausing to let the woman indulge in their new relationship. He could feel the waves of smug satisfaction coming off Lady Maritza as she pretended to be perusing a folder of reports.

“The Americans are complaining about your actions,” Lady Maritza finally said, laying down the folder, “Particularly your failure to keep them in the loop, but also little things like using fully automatic weapons in firefights on their soil.”

“Nothing we used was traceable back to us,” Erik said, ignoring Lady Maritza’s tone. “For a nation that professes such love of private ownership of firearms, they are very touchy lot. They don’t even let their civilians have automatic weapons. Kurt had to smuggle those up from Mexico.”

“They don’t have the fae showing up in their cities on a regular basis,” Lady Maritza retorted, “I know you are used to the Saint’s benevolent neglect style of leadership. I run my office in a very different manner. You will conduct no actions beyond the protection of Anne Hearst without my explicit orders, is that clear?”

“That is very limiting, especially in light of Detective Hearst’s career and her other protector,” Erik replied, sounding almost bored.

“I don’t care. I am not having another Commandante Affair on my watch,” Lady Maritza said, with a cold authority, “You have a direct line to me. If something is happening that may require you to exceed your current orders, I expect you to call, and I will give it due consideration. Do you understand me?” Erik suppressed the sigh and nodded. This was why he hated working with normal Imperial Security. Too much micromanagement. Lady Maritza looked back down at her folder.

“She’s coming into town in a few months,” Lady Maritza said, holding up a sheet of paper.

“I saw,” Erik said.

“You are not to have any contact with her,” Lady Maritza warned, “She is not to even suspect your presence.”

“This may come as a shock to you, my lady, but I actually do know how to run a covert operation,” Erik said, his patience finally breaking, “Oh don’t look so affronted. You’re not nearly as offended by my tone as you are pretending to be. We both know that each of us can’t stand the other, but we’re stuck with each other for the foreseeable future. Believe me, there’s nothing you can do that’s any worse than what’s happened in the past six months. I will follow orders and play the dutiful Whiteguard officer when others are around, but let’s not lie to each other in private.” Lady Maritza clamped down on her anger. Her face was neutral for a long moment. Finally, Erik felt her come to a decision.

“I think we have an understanding Jaegar,” Lady Maritza said, with a sneer, “You disgusting little half-breed.”

“The difference between you and me, my lady, is what part of my parentage we think is the detriment,” Erik said before smartly turning about and striding out of the office.