Saviant followed the short fire patterned skirt and the small bat wings of the impish girl that had saved his butt in the office building the Hellions had taken over. It had been a close thing, if she hadn't showed up then he wasn't sure that he'd have come out of that fight on top. Her stiletto heeled knee high boots clicked on the pavement as he followed closely behind. Finally they reached her building and they slipped into the creaky elevator just before the doors closed. The girl spread her wings and sighed as she leaned back against the side of the elevator.
"You know, I really appreciate you saving me back there."
"Not a problem," her voice was somehow smokey and musical all at once. "I've had to have help at times too."
"So, I didn't get a chance to introduce myself earlier, I'm Saviant."
"I'm Hestia," she clasped his outstretched hand in her own. "Hestalana actually, but ... you know." She brushed a strand of strawberry blonde hair back from her face and tucked it behind one of the red horns sprouting up on the edge of her hair line and sweeping back from her face.
"Yeah, friend's call me Sav."
"Oh, here's my floor." The elevator shuddered to a stop and the doors squealed as they opened. Hestia pressed her palm to the sensor by the door and locked it behind them after they slipped inside. The technology would have been noticeable in such a low class apartment anywhere other than Paragon City. Here the science and technology easily stood side by side with mystical and magical items with nary a thought from anybody. Both Hestia and Sav used the handheld devices they each wore on their belts and let their respective superior officers know they were clocked out. Hestia tugged off her fire patterned gloves and tossed them on the table by the door.
"I don't know about you but I think I'm ready for a shower and food, in that order."
"I'll second that. Here's the guest bathroom, I'll meet you back in the kitchen." Once in her own door was closed Hestia quickly stepped out of her skirt and tugged her boots off, tossing them into the corner as she made her way across her bedroom to her own bathroom. The water sizzled as it struck her flesh before it grew hot. She didn't bother with a towel as she stepped from the shower; the water droplets were already evaporating from her warm body. Steam clouded the small bathroom and she wiped the mirror clean. Her long hair had already dried itself. There were several benefits to being from the depths of hell after all. She wrapped a lose sarong around her waist, leaving her tattoo covered torso bare as she always did.
Back in the kitchen Hest threw together some cold sandwiches and drinks and joined Sav, who had pulled a clean pair of shorts from one of the compartments on his belt, at the small dining table that was tucked into the corner of the living room. By the time they had finished the food and drink they were both feeling the effects of a rather long day and she was definitely missing the touch of a friend.
“There’s room in the bed for two,” she said shyly, almost afraid to meet the eyes of her comrade in arms.
“I was hoping you’d offer the couch at least, I’m not sure I could make it to the end of the hallway right now,” Sav replied with a grin. Hestia smiled with relief.
“I’m feeling the same way.” They cleaned up the dishes and she showed him to the bedroom. They climbed into the bed and pulled the covers up over them. He tucked her back against his stomach and held her close as they drifted off.
Hestia slowly became aware that somebody was standing over her. She rolled over, careful to keep the appearance that she was still deeply asleep. Her eyes cracked open and she peeked through her lashes at the person standing beside the bed. She could feel and hear Sav snoring quietly next to her. Slowly her eyes adjusted to the dim light coming through the window. The figure bent over her and gently stroked the hair off Hestia’s forehead and away from the small horns there. She nearly woke Sav up by giggling in relief when she realized it was her Mother crouching over her. She waited until her mom had walked out of the bedroom before Hest swung her feet to the side and tiptoed across the dark bedroom, unmindful of her nakedness. She found her mother waiting for her in the living room; the only light was the small overhead light in the kitchen.
“Mom! What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to check on you, I worry about you so much, you know.”
“Oh mom, I’m fine. I’ve got friends who watch out for me…”
“So I see,” her mother gently teased. Hestia was glad for the semi darkness that concealed her blushing from her mother.
“He’s, ah, well,”
“It’s fine daughter of mine, you know that as well as I do. I know he’s not the first, nor will he be the last. After all these hundreds of years you know I’m more than okay with what you choose to do with your body, so why the nervousness now?”
“I guess he’s a bit different.”
“No not really, I’m not sure I do either. Anyways,” Hestia hugged her mom tightly and led her to the couch, “what are you really doing here?”
“I missed you.”
“I missed you too mom, but we both know you wouldn’t risk dad’s anger just to check on me in person. I know you can easily check on me at any time from your rooms.”
“Well, I’ve been come across some information that may be important.”
“It seems that your father isn't thrilled that you're not providing the souls he's expecting you to and he's taken matters into his own hands. He captured a Hell Pixie and chained her to his will. He's set her loose on the citizens of Paragon City to do what you haven't."
“Mom, what’s her name?”
“I knew it!”
“Shh,” Her mother glanced towards the hall leading back to the bedroom. “What are you talking about?”
“Vancara, I found a paper with her name signed on it, like a letter, and the few words on it that I could make out made it come across as a set of orders, a list of things to do.”
“Where is it?”
“I gave it to Lieutenant David Wincott, my contact in The Hollows. Thing is though that he said it wasn’t important and they couldn’t go chasing off after leads based from random scraps of paper that may or may not have been forged. I threw it away then, figured they didn’t care, neither should I.”
"Never stop caring Hestalana, that will be your downfall."
"But what am I going to be able to do? Dad's stripped me of all my powers when he sent me here,"
"Except that as you use them and grow stronger you'll regain them back, one by one. Keep playing house with your man in there and letting your father think you've given up on his grand schemes. Keep doing what you can to keep the petty crimes off the streets and following the orders you're given as a member of the Hero Corps. When the time is right you'll know."
"I hope so Mother, I hope so." Hestia's mother caught her under her chin and tilted her face up so they were eye to eye.
“I’ve missed you Hestalana. Home isn’t the same without you.” Tears shone in the corners of her mother's eyes.
“Aw mom, don’t, if you do we’ll both be in tears.” Hest blinked furiously to keep the tears at bay.
“I know, I just wanted you to know.”
“Oh mom, I know, and I miss you too.”
“I’d better get going; your father will be looking for me soon. I love you Hest, please be careful.”
"I will mom, promise." Hestia gave her mother a tight hug before stepping back and watching her shimmer and phase out of existence on this plane. She sat on the couch for a moment, her chin resting on her knees as she mulled over the information that her mother had just shared. It looked like there was much more to this puzzle than she was seeing right now. She planned on seeing more of the big picture, and soon, but first she needed more sleep. She turned off the kitchen light before rejoining Sav in bed.
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