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Wayward Warlock

Chapter Text

Detective Lisa Reynolds was fuming. At the moment, she was driving her department-issued vehicle with the police lights off. A few hours ago, she had presented her suspicions—again—regarding the group of witches whom she believed were responsible for the disappearance of two young girls in the southern Vermont region. Eyewitness testimonies about members of the group being seen near neighborhoods were they Her boss had called it ridiculous, telling her that her obsession with the “new-age hippies” who were “probably just Myrddin groupies” was apparently harming the morale of the investigation. I need something; a new lead, anything.

She immediately regretted that thought when a young man suddenly appeared in the middle of the highway. “What the—?!” Lisa immediately hit the brakes of her vehicle, barely hitting him. She opened the door and stepped out of the car, hand resting on her taser.

“Where the hell did you come from?” Lisa took a few steps in his direction.

The young man groaned and looked up, wincing at the bright headlights. He was boyish-looking, tall with bright blue eyes. A large messenger bag was slung around his shoulder. He mumbled.

“Something went wrong. It never felt like that before. Who are…”

He blinked, looking at her.

“Stacia?”

She froze. Lisa drew her taser and pointed it at him.

“How do you know that name?”

He raised his hands up in a panic.

“Wait, no, you’re Mrs. Reynolds. It’s me, the boyfriend!” The young man suddenly squinted at her. “Wait, why are you wearing a police uniform?”

“My daughter is in a long-term relationship with her girlfriend. Who are you?”

The young man looked even more confused. “My name is Declan,” He stood up, swaying a bit from the effort. “Look, can you stop pointing that? It doesn’t work on m—,” Lisa fired. Declan fell to the ground, shaking and twitching. She slowly walked forward, then crouched to see his unconscious face. Lisa frowned.

“Well. This is going to be a long night.”


My body felt heavy. I groaned, trying to adjust myself to a comfortable position, only to discover that my wrists were cuffed, arms behind my back. Great. Wonderful. I looked around, trying to see details through my squinting eyelids. I was alone in the back of a sedan. How the hell did I get here? I tried to remember the last twenty-four hours.

Artifacts. We were trying to collect a strange magical artifact. With Omega’s intervention, the world’s nations had no control over their nuclear weapons. Thus, they turned to more arcane sources of mass-destruction: magical objects recorded in myths and legends that could supposedly harness the power of greater beings—in this case, Earth elementals. Well, more “get their attention and most likely piss them off,” which tends to be more highly destructive to the wielder than to the enemy. We figured that we’d collected all of them, and turned our focus into preparations for the defense of Earth. However, a few weeks ago, one of Omega’s reconnaisance drones that he’d tasked to find possible spots for defense installations found an energy signature in one of Cuba’s many islands. The weird thing was, there wasn’t any stories, myths, or legends that could connect with its appearance in the island chain. Once Omega recognized the signature, Chris, Stacia, and myself immediately went to locate and retrieve it. When we got there, we found a circular formation of black crystals protruding from the ground. Chris felt uncomfortable at its presence, but I remember being entranced by it. It was leaking so much magical power. I was walking myself closer when—oh. Stacia’s going to be so pissed; if I ever get back home. I stretched again, feeling the weight of the nanotech smartwatch strapped on my left wrist.

“Omega.” I whispered. No response. I was about to ask again when I heard a beep.

“Status: Main computation node inaccessible. Connection failed; could not find appropriate quantum signatures. Switched to core programming.” A flat voice intoned from the smartwatch. No connection? How could that happen?! Quantum entanglement allows for instantaneous communication across any length of distance. Not having a connection could only happen if I was in a different—.

My thoughts were interrupted by the car door opening.

“You hungry?” A woman’s voice. She peered into the back of the car. Blonde locks framed her face, hard green eyes staring at me. More memories came back to me: Lisa Reynolds, Stacia’s mother…and apparently a cop? How did that happen? And how the hell did I get tased? My stomach growled before I could form a coherent response. She raised her eyebrow. “I’ll let you eat if you don’t anything weird.”

I mumbled my acceptance, and she pulled herself back out of the car. She opened the door next to me and gestured for me to turn my back to her. I complied. She slipped the cuffs off my wrist, glancing at the sleek watch for a moment before offering me the plastic bag. Heavenly smells wafted out of the opening and I plunged my aching arms in, retrieving a paper-wrapped hamburger. God, I was so hungry. I unwrapped it and dove in, tastes exploding in my mouth and eating large chunks off the burger. Reynolds looked at me for a moment, then spoke.

“So, want to tell me who you are?” She questioned. I frowned a bit. Okay, not to be a narcissistic asshole, but my face had been broadcasted on a handful of television stations after all the stuff we pulled. Unless...

“My name is Declan O’Carroll. I was born in Burlington, Vermont, and I went to Castlebury High School.”

Reynolds looked at me closely, then nodded. “You’re not from around here. Or at least, not from this version of ‘around here.’ Your wallet has dollar bills instead of coins, and your driver’s license has a slightly different design than I’m used to seeing.” So, I really did get transported to a different universe. Really cool; also kinda worrying. She stood upright, retreating slightly from the door. “I also checked out your phone earlier. Different OS, and the lock screen has quite an interesting picture on it.” I remembered just which picture I set and my cheeks reddened. “Yes, it’s quite strange for me to see my daughter in such a… provocative pose. So, do you want to explain why you’re here instead of Aleph?”

I coughed and got myself back together, then frowned. “Aleph? What’s that?” Reynolds looked at me in confusion. “Didn’t you know about the alternate Earths? Earth Aleph is a version of Earth Bet but with a lot less capes. We almost went to war when contact was made with that world.” Earth Bet? Capes?

I shook my head. “I think I would notice if Earth suddenly was connected to different versions of itself. What are capes?” Lisa looked truly shocked. “Capes are people with superpowers. Flight, laser beams, super-strength, that sort of thing?“

“Sounds like a comic book plot.” I remarked. “I mean, I know that humans with powers existed. Werewolves, vampires, witches and all that.” She was looking quite incredulous, but froze at the last one. “Witches?”

“Uh, yeah? I mean, I’m a witch myself.” I blurted out. She stepped back, hand going to her sidearm. Oh, crap. I almost raised my hands in surrender, then realized what that would look like and stopped myself.

“So… witches are real then? The whole brewing potions and casting curses thing is real?” Lisa asked, a serious expression on her face.

“Well, to my Earth, yes. Don’t know about this one.” I was still looking at her sidearm. She turned to follow my vision and removed her hand from the gun. She looked at me, face clearing of expression.

“Explain.”

So I told her. I told her about werewolves and vampires and how they get their powers from getting infected by specific types of viruses. I also explained about witches and their circles, how powers are usually transferred from mother to daughter, and how their families go back centuries, partners carefully selected to strengthen the bloodline. She was incredulous about the parts regarding werewolves and vampires, but she nodded thoughtfully when it came to the witches.

“So, why do you want to know about witches exactly?” I asked. She looked at me for a moment, then spoke.

“I’ve been investigating a group of self-proclaimed witches for their possible involvement in the disappearance of two young girls in the southern Vermont area. I shared my suspicions with the captain, but he’s not really receptive to it. When I went to the PRT—,” She looked at my puzzled expression and explained further. “Parahuman Response Team. They’re the group tasked with responding to cases involving superpowers.” She scowled. “They rejected my request for assistance, telling me—in polite terms, of course—that magic does not exist and that there was likely no parahuman involvement. They also reported me to the captain. He wasn’t happy with that, and he implied that I was going to be let go soon.”

She sighed in frustration and stared at me. “However, you seem to know about witches. You claim that their powers are real, and I believe you about that. If you can help me with locating this group, I promise that I’ll help you with your situation, as much as I can anyway.” I thought about it. “If I don’t?”

She narrowed her eyes. “The PRT would be remarkably curious about a person from another world finding themselves in Earth Bet. They’d probably be asking a lot of questions from you, and you probably won’t be leaving for a long time.” I gulped. Yeah, getting interrogated by the federal government isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

“Okay. I’ll help. But why would you trust me, uh, ma’am?”

She paused. “You know my daughter—or at least, a different version of her. I figure if you knew my family well enough that I could at least trust you.” Reynolds stared at me with hard eyes. “If it turns out that I’m wrong, I will not be happy.”

I gulped. The expression on her face was quite familiar to me; the only thing missing was the low growl and yellowed eyes. “Yes, Detective.”

Chapter Text

The space in front of me exploded. Again. Damn it, why can’t I use my magic? For the past hour or so since the sun rose, I’d been trying to cast something more substantial than a loud bang. The void inside me that I’d initially thought was hunger was ever present. Something about the way I was transported somehow dislodged some part of me that reaches out to the world. That, or there simply wasn’t enough magic being leaked out into the world. Could the whole cape thing have something to do with that? The door to the motel room slammed open. Sidearm drawn, Detective Reynolds barged in.

“What the hell happened here?!” She barked.

“Uh, I was trying to use my magic?” Tiny little sparks walked across my fingers. She slowly holstered her weapon, suspicion on her face. “Why?” she asked.

“Well, since I’m helping you, I figured I should be as prepared as possible. Someone, after all, did take my gun.” I grumbled. Lisa—the detective confused me. She was willing to take my weapon, yet seemed mostly fine about me using my powers and left me alone to stay in the motel room throughout the night. Then again, the fact that she also took my wallet and IDs might’ve helped. “I know full-auto mods aren’t exactly legal but—” I started. She interrupted.

“Actually, no. With parahumans in the picture, weapons law in the States is—as I understand—less strict compared to our Aleph counterparts. Anyway, that doesn’t look like what I imagined spells would be like; not that performing witchcraft in front of a sworn officer of the law speaks highly of your intelligence. Are you sure you’re not a parahuman, O’Carroll?” She didn’t mention anything further about my gun. I sighed.

“Nope. Pretty sure I don’t have any of those brain structures you talked about.” Apparently, parahumans have a structure in their brains that gives them powers. Most humans here actually have them, but they only come into effect after something called a ‘trigger event.' Information regarding that seemed awfully muddled, but the gist was that you reach some sort of limit, possibly a mental or emotional one, and your powers suddenly awaken. There’s also stuff about the Manton Limit—how powers seemingly have safeties that reduce or remove the effect to the user or to biological targets. That part wrankled me. I have a couple of issues regarding how powers work here; they seemed… too well-designed, somehow. Look at me, Earth’s resident not-super witch complaining about how bullshit powers are. Maybe it was just my imagination.

“Plus, in my world, witches existed since long before that golden dude came along. Probably since the dawn of humanity itself.” I continued.

“So you say.” She frowned. “So, what can you do?”

I stood up. “Well, thankfully my warlock glyphs still work.”

“Warlock glyphs?” I walked to the foot of the bed, placing my hands on the bottom edge. Black lines traced across my body, glyphs appearing and warping like liquid.  I lifted the frame easily, the headboard colliding into the wall with a huge noise, dust falling out of the ceiling.

“Oops. Sorry.” I slowly lowered it down, looking at the fresh dent in the drywall. I turned to Reynolds. She currently had a look of shock mixed in with exasperation. “Brute, and Shaker powers huh? Guess that will come in handy.” She looked at me and sighed. “I’ll pay for the damage.”


Lisa drove in her car with Declan in the passenger seat. She glanced to the right. Declan was looking around curiously at his surroundings. His eyes weren’t seemed to be focused on anything. She wondered what it would be like to suddenly find yourself in a world so much like your own, but not quite home. Lisa figured she wouldn’t be quite as well adjusted as Declan was. Or maybe he’s been hiding it…?, she thought.

“Are you okay?” Lisa finally asked. Declan blinked, seeming to come back to himself. “Yeah, I’m fine.” He said, puzzled. Lisa continued. “It’s just that, you’ve found yourself in another world and you’re taking it a lot better than I would’ve expected.”

A wan smile stole across his face. “I guess it hasn’t really hit yet. I’ve been through a lot these past couple of years. It’s like a never-ending cycle of world-ending hazards, mixed with short amounts of relaxation.” He sighed. “Plus, being without my magic…” he trailed off. Lisa waited.

“I don’t like being helpless. My magic has always been part of me from the moment of birth. This whole situation brings back a load of bad memories.” Black lines appeared, skin darkened under the sunlight. Declan noticed her gaze and immediately they disappeared. Lisa remembered an earlier conversation. If Declan was to be believed, he was one of the core members of what was their version of a Protectorate—if slightly more of a macabre theme; with members consisting of werewolves, vampires, and witches. In fact, going by his implications, the young man sitting beside her was essentially a part of their equivalent of the Triumvirate. They kept silent until they arrived at Lisa’s destination.

Declan’s brow arched slightly. “A diner?” Lisa nodded.  “One of my sources of info regarding the suspect frequents there.” They walked to the entrance. Declan moved forward and opened the door, the bell affixed to the frame chiming. He was angling his body slightly and scanning the interior; Lisa wondered if he even noticed. Oddly, it reminded her of the way her colleagues would enter a potentially hostile situation. His gaze seemed to lock on something. What

“Hey! Lisa!” Both of them looked at one of the few occupants in the diner. A middle-aged man waved at them. Both of them finally entered the diner. As diners went, it was pretty decent. The morning news played on the ceiling-mounted television. They approached the man’s table. Lisa began.

“His name’s Martin O’Connell.” Martin reached out with his free hand. “Call me Martin, lad.” Declan shook it. “I’m Declan.” “Aye, Declan. You’ve got the look about ya. Where’re your people from?” The man grinned.

“Tipperary,” Declan responded, smiling slightly, seeming to remember something. “Declan is my… consultant.” Lisa said, somewhat weakly. Damnit, I was so excited that I forgot to discuss things with Declan, she thought.

“Looks a might young to be in working law enforcement, does he?” Martin raised his eyebrow as the two sat down. Declan responded, “My aunt’s a deputy and my mentor used to work for the NYPD. I know my way around.” Lisa pressed before Martin could ask any more questions, “I brought him to help with the case.”

“Ah, I knew it. This about Mrs. Finnegan?” Martin asked. “Yes—,” Lisa started, but at that moment the waitress arrived. The woman was younger than she was, with styled brunette hair. She was a new hire, someone who’d been working here for only a few months.

“Can I take your orders?” she said brightly, holding a notepad in her left hand. The wooden bead bracelet rattled a bit. She’d always worn that since Lisa had met her and she wondered where the waitress had gotten it. Lisa went for a black coffee, while Declan asked for a bagel and bottled water. The waitress wrote their orders down and left. She looked at Declan. “Not a fan of coffee,” he said at Lisa’s questioning gaze. “This fine establishment serves tea as well,” Martin noted, raising his own cup. “Mm.” The young man didn’t elaborate further and made himself comfortable on the seat.

“So, Mrs. Finnegan.” Lisa prompted at Martin. He nodded. “Aye, she’s been a fixture of this town for almost thirty years. Rumor was, she used to be quite the psychic in the Big Apple. Everyone looked to her for marriage advice, investment opportunities, finding their lost cat, that sort of thing.” Martin drank his tea. “Then the capes came along.”

“People proven to have powers, and she was dismissed as a fraud?” Declan put in. Martin shook his finger “Don’t be interruptin’ the flow of the story, lad.” He placed his hand back on his cup. “The whole superpower thing came along, and New York was only one of the many cities thrown into the ringer. Lots of violence, lots of gangs aimin’ for power and influence. Mrs. Finnegan left not long after the violence started, along with her family and friends. And yes, when she tried to establish her practice back, she wasn’t treated very well.”

“Psychics and illusionists claiming to have powers tended to be targets by villain gangs,” Lisa added. “Some of them think they might be hiding in plain sight unlike the rest of the capes. Mostly, they just get offended and decide to make an example out of them.” Martin nodded, somber. “Apparently, some of her friends got done in by villain gangs during the early years.”

“She doesn’t have a high opinion on capes, then?” Declan asked.

“Nope, not a bit. Called ‘em ‘onesie-wearing fools,’ often said the capes loaned their power and that someday, someone was going to collect.” Lisa glanced at Declan, who was looking thoughtful. “It became a lot worse, however.” Martin took another sip of his tea.

“What happened?” Declan asked.

“Three years ago, something bad happened. A couple of small-time supervillains wanted to rob an armored car that was on their way to a local bank. They ended up using explosives to blow the vehicle off the road. Only, they must’ve underestimated how much of an effect it would make, because the amount of it ended up shooting chunks of the highway into a car that was going the other way.” He looked down. “Finnegan’s daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren died in that attack. The car was found in the bottom of a ditch. Heroes arrived and captured the villains, but it was already too late.” Martin finished.

Lisa gazed at the table. She already knew the story, of course. It was a tragedy for sure, but it also contributed to her difficulties in pinning the case on the old woman. She looked at Declan, who seemed sad but also angry.

“Well, that’s all I know.” Martin exhaled explosively. He stood up, rummaging in his pocket, and placed a couple of dollars on the table.

“The name, Finnegan. Was she from Ireland?” Declan asked. Martin looked at him and nodded. “Yeah. Came here a while ago. Family troubles, from what I gather,” Declan nodded in thanks and the man walked away. Lisa figured she was the only one that noticed the near-imperceptible widening of his eyes at the last part. As Martin exited the diner, the waitress came back. “Anything else you’d like?” she asked.

“No, we’re just leaving,” Lisa asked for the bill. The waitress produced it, then was called back by the loud voice of the chef. As soon as the waitress left out of view, Declan started rummaging in his messenger bag. He pulled out a bottle of hand sanitizer, and using the napkins, started wiping down his small plate and her cup. Lisa raised her eyebrow at him. Declan glanced up and grinned. It didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Well you know, health and safety and all that,” he said, a slight edge in his normally joking voice. Lisa was immediately on guard. Both of them stood up. She left the appropriate amount of money, plus a tip for the waitress. They exited the diner, the bell chiming.

“W—,” Lisa started.

“This place is wonderful, it reminds me of my hometown. I love to kick back and leave my troubles behind so they wouldn’t follow me home,” Declan said suddenly. Lisa understood, and she stayed quiet as they reached her car. Even then, both of them were silent the rest of the ride to the motel.


As we both walked to the entrance of the motel, I thought back to the story Martin said. A witch who emigrated from Ireland to escape something related to her family, only to end up losing her new one after thirty years. It resonated with me so much, and it also made me wonder. How much of this Earth’s history was paralleled with my own Earth? I glanced at Lisa. There were multiple similarities between her and Stacia’s mother, but the detective was more direct, outgoing. Less burdened by the world. I then wondered about my own family. The Irwin clan, whether they still remained as witches. My mother.

I froze. Was she still alive, here, in this planet? If she was, did she stay in Ireland? Became the new head of the Irwin Circle instead of that two-faced old hag? If she was, what could I say if I ever meet her? Or maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she died again, though from different circumstances. I then had the surreal thought of suddenly meeting my own self, still cleaning dishes at Rowan West and never leaving the warded safety of my home.

“—clan? Declan!” a voice broke in my thoughts. I looked up, startled. The detective was looking at me from the counter, the college-aged dude sitting behind it surreptitiously looking at her hip area. “Come on, we need to discuss.” She walked away from the counter. The college dude stared at her retreating form, then grinned at me.

“Damn bro. I saw the damage,” he made air quotes, “earlier. You hittin’ that?” The dude waggled his eyebrows.

I coughed hard, the most uncomfortable image entering my thoughts. Nope. Not thinking of that, not any further. “She’s like, my mother-in-law.” I snapped. I quickly followed the detective back into the motel room, ignoring the faint “Even better, man…!” that came from behind me. I reached the open door, closing it as I entered.

The detective turned towards me.

“Okay, what’s going on?” she asked.

“The waitress is a witch.” I said. She blinked, then sat down heavily on the sole chair.

“Well, shit.”

Chapter Text

“Do you know that for sure?” Lisa asked. Declan sat down on the edge of the bed. “I have something called the Sight. It allows me to see auras, or ‘quantum particle emissions’ if you listen to some of my more technical friends. It’s one of the few abilities I still have at the moment,” he said, slight frustration on his face. Tiny blue electric sparks briefly walked along his fingers.

“So you looked at the waitress and immediately saw that she was a witch? Wait,” she had a sudden thought “all those times you were staring at something off in the distance, that wasn’t you moping around was it? That was you using your, uh, Sight?” Declan looked mildly embarassed, probably at the way she’d worded it. “Yes…?” he offered.

“How does it work?” she asked.

“Well, everything gives off certain energies or particle emissions. Witches are trained at a young age to sense these sort of things. However, not everyone has the Sight. For witches, as far as we know, it’s passed down through families. Other supernatural critters are more likely to have this the older or stronger they get,” he continued. “Me and Chris can See things the same way.” Chris, the vampire-werewolf hybrid who’s also apparently angelic. Lisa still didn’t know how to feel about the last one. “So, for us, normal humans have a blue aura. Witches have blue with spots or patches of flat black.”

The implications hit. “I wonder, can you tell if a someone has parahuman abilities?” Declan frowned thoughtfully. “Probably, I don’t know.”

“That’s… a really dangerous ability to have, Declan,” Lisa said slowly, “You should keep that secret.” Declan looked puzzled. “Why?”

“There’s something called the Unwritten Rules.” Lisa started, Declan listening intently. “As I understand it, it’s a set of informally agreed upon guidelines that both heroic- and villainous-inclined capes follow. Don’t use lethal force, avoid civilian casualties, that sort of thing. One of the most important ones is avoiding learning about someone’s secret identity.” She breathed in.

“With your Sight, you can basically identify a cape’s identity at will.” Declan looked worried. “What happens if I break the rules?” he asked. Lisa answered, “The other parahumans enact punishment. Worst-case, you either get sent to the Birdcage, or you get a kill order on your head.” Declan’s eyes widened in alarm.

“I could just not use my Sight when I’m out—,” Declan started, but Lisa interrupted, “No, actually, you should use it.” He blinked. “It’s an incredibly useful advantage to have, Declan. Besides, these kinds of rules only apply to capes.” He looked at her suspiciously, “You seem surprisingly okay with this. I thought you were the law and order type?” Lisa scoffed, “The PRT sure didn’t bother when I asked for help with the case. Plus, I’m sure you can handle yourself. The way you describe it, the supernatural seems to operate on its own set of laws.” He nodded. “Well, it mostly revolved around ‘keep the masses unaware on pain of death’, but yeah, some.”

“Okay, you saw that the waitress had a blue aura mixed with black, right?” Lisa asked. Declan shook his head, “Actually, the bracelet was the one that caught my attention,” he said. At my expression, he continued, “It had magic in it. I also saw bracelets like that on a lot of witches in my school.” School… right, the one where all the werewolf and witch children went to learn about their powers and the supernatural. Still odd to think about, though it probably made more sense than putting kids in spandex and thrusting them into law enforcement without even a taser for backup. Declan continued. “I used my Sight to confirm that, yes, she was a witch.”

Lisa frowned, thinking hard. “That girl was hired only a few months ago. I remember being curious why the previous person no longer worked there, but I never asked. She’s even the right age to be a daughter of one of Finnegan’s followers. Why hadn’t I ever…” Declan nodded.

“Witches can make charms that can redirect someone’s attention,” he explained. “It’s one of the reasons we were so good at hiding from the rest of the world. Witchhunts and the Salem witch trials were a strong motivator for us to keep ourselves and the supernatural hidden.”

Powers that can affect perception. Lisa froze. “Can witches do mind control?” His eyes widened and he shook his head. “No, that kind of thing is iffy as hell and dangerous to the witch as well as the victim. People who do that a lot in the supernatural world don’t tend to live long. That does remind me though…” Declan reached for the messenger bag that he always carried with him. He rummaged inside for a few moments, then pulled out a silk pouch with a flourish.

“What’s that?” Lisa asked. He pulled out a small disk of wood. Elaborate shapes and symbols were carved on its surface. “Protection amulets, with a slight bit of luck thrown in. These can ward off direct magical attacks, including mental ones. I figured it’s a good idea for you to have one.” He tossed it to her and Lisa caught it. “Really? Huh. Wait, did you make this recently?” Declan shook his head. “No, no magic remember? I always carry a couple of spare amulets for my team.”

“So this will protect me from any kind of damage Finnegan or her witches can do?” Lisa asked dubiously. Declan was rummaging inside his bag, “Well, no not all damage. It can block a fireball, for example, but the heat will still affect you, although not as much as it would’ve without the amulet. Or they can make stuff fall on you or something,” he mumbled. She felt the markings on the surface for a moment, then reached over her head to put it on. “These look really nice. Professionally made even. How much do you think are these worth back in your world?” she wondered. He answered, distracted,“Thanks. Dunno, I heard they can sell for five, ten-grand each.” She almost dropped the amulet. “What?!”

Declan glanced up and shrugged, “Lydia was probably pulling my leg with that one. Stacia seemed to agree though.” Lisa coughed, making him wince. “Right. Bit weird having me talk about your daughter that I’ve never met.”

Apparently, the Stacia he knew was currently part of the pseudo-superhero group that Declan’s in. She was his… mate? He didn’t really elaborate on it much and Lisa didn’t ask, not entirely sure what to do with any kind of information regarding alternate versions of herself and her family.

Declan finally found the thing he was looking for, a sigh of relief escaping him. A bracelet with a black glass-like rock affixed to it. “That another one of your magic items?” He nodded. “Best to be prepared for everything.”

Lisa’s phone buzzed in her pocket. She pulled it out, scowling at the caller ID displayed on the screen. “My captain.” she said to Declan’s questioning look.

“Detective Reynolds, BCI.”


The detective did not seem happy. The conversation went on for a long while and she’d stood up and left the motel room earlier.

Me? I was still trying to access my magic. The amulets helped, being that they were made with my Craft, but actually moving magic from one place to another was still beyond me. The warlock runes could draw power from myself, but the fact that I couldn’t replenish my core with outside energy made that very risky to use. I could also produce small sparks from my hands, which was something I guess. Maybe I could tingle spooky child-abducting witches to death.

I heard the door open and looked up. Reynolds had a scowl on her face. “What’s the news?” I prompted.

“Captain’s pulling me off the force in two days,” she said simply.

“What?!” I jumped up. “How could he do that?”

“He made a case for insubordination. Apparently, me calling the PRT really pissed a couple of people off in the command chain.” She glanced at my open messenger bag. “Pack up your things. We’re going.”

Confused, I picked up my bag. “Where?”

“The diner. We’ll scout out the place and follow the waitress.”