Last Call
by Queen Mab

The bartender served her another whiskey straight and she downed it without a grimace because she thought it added to her valiance. Made her look grown up and not scared. Truth was, she was more scared than she'd ever been. Death was something she hadn't really come to terms with. Funny, considering that she'd been the cause of several deaths and had lost a couple friends along the way. Not so funny when it was her death she was contemplating. She knew she was going to die. Knew it in her gut. That's the thing about redemption.

No one believes you've been redeemed until you die for a cause. Don't misunderstand, she wasn't aiming to die for redemption, it was just her turn and she didn't resent that. Her hand had been dealt the minute she granted that wish. She felt cold all over when she thought about those twelve boys and shook it off with another shot of whiskey. Sure, she reversed the wish, but Halfrek died for it. And don't think she wasn't pissed as hell about that. Her horrible, painful death could be over and done with, but Nooooo...Halfrek had to go and ruin it. Stupid shoe thief.

So wrapped up in her thoughts of death, shoes and Halfrek, she didn't notice when someone sat down at the bar next to her.

"I'll have what the, er, lady's having".

Without looking up from her glass, she spoke to the newcomer. "I certainly hope you haven't come here to have the sex. I am not in the mood."

He choked on his whiskey. "Relax, luv. You're safe. You're a liar, but you're safe."

She scowled. "What are you doing here?"

"Same as you, I expect."

"Oh," she replied and fiddled with her glass. "Well, I s'pose we could..."

"No," he firmly interjected.

"For your information, I was going to say dance," she replied with unrestrained indignance.

He took a last swig from his glass and stood, extending his hand. "If m'lady would be so kind.''

She smiled and took his offered hand. He smiled in return and led her to the center of the room.

They held each other closely, clinging to their memories and their anticipation for what lay ahead, not saying anything. It felt like they had been dancing for hours when she finally raised her head from his shoulder. She glanced at the clock behind the bar. Reluctantly, she pulled herself from his arms.

"It's late, we'd better..."


She led the way out the door and outside into the cool night air. She shivered slightly. He noticed and began to offer her his jacket.

"Damn, left it inside. Be right back."

He walked back in and over to the stool where he left his leather duster. The bartender was wiping the bar, getting ready to close up shop for the night. She looked up as he approached. He picked up his jacket and turned to leave.

"Hey," the bartender called to him. "That clock is wrong, ya know." She smiled at him, the sweetest smile he had ever seen, and continued with her work.

He stared for a second, then shook his head and left, thoughts of the upcoming battle in his head.


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