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Desire was small and tucked out of the way in the middle of busy Chicago, but its popularity meant they couldn’t delay reopening it once the power came back on. Which was good, because Wes didn’t like waiting and he was itching to go out on patrol. He loved going on patrol with new people. He liked seeing what they would do and how he could work his powers around theirs.

But there was, of course, the waiting. Thank goodness for the club. He had to wrangle the band and the dancers and go over the music for the night and of course Angel had to put up a fight about her set list and they had to have the usual fight about how it didn’t matter that he wasn’t going to be there to watch her sing. He owned the club and he wanted things the way he wanted them, and she would sing the songs he put on her set list. And then he had to deal with the ice situation and get an electrician in to fix something with the wiring to the lights on the left side of the stage that he did not understand and it was all wonderful until everyone was too helpful and he was done earlier than he expected.

Wes didn’t like waiting, and that was all he had left to do.

He sat on the floor in the backroom office of the club, half-listening to Angel rehearsing on stage with the band, half-just staring at a wall plastered with posters they made and posters of other bands that had played there.

Jo sat beside him, playing a game on her tablet. She didn’t care for the noise of the club and if she was ever at Desire, she stayed in the backroom office unless someone dragged her out. He watched her match the 2048 tile with another 2048 tile after having watched her match a lot of other tiles to get to those numbers and it wasn’t any more interesting now than it had been when she was matching blocks of two and two.

Luckily--mercifully for him--she broke the silence. “So you’re dragging my boyfriend out tonight to hang out with some weird government people.”

“To be fair, he invited himself. I’m not doing any dragging.”

“You realize I want to marry him, right?”

“I am aware of that. But if you sneak off to a justice of the peace or something without my knowledge, I’m gonna be pissed. I want to be there.”

“You’re not my dad.” She nudged his shoulder. “I’m just saying that I will be upset if something happens to him. Violently upset. You may not survive. At the very least, you’ll be maimed.”

“Oh dear,” Wes said mildly.

They fell into silence once again, until she asked suddenly, “Should I go with you?”

“Should you?”

“I could beat them up.”

“The one guy is a magus.”

“I can beat up a mage.”

“Maybe,” he said doubtfully.

She narrowed her eyes. He had roused her competitive spirit. “I can beat you up.”

“I’m not sure I could beat up a mage.”

“I could beat up a mage.”

“A lie has to be repeated seven times for someone to believe it. Try saying it four more times.”

She nudged him harder. “First of all, that sounds like utter nonsense-”

“It’s not.”

“And secondly, it’s not like I can’t sneak up on him.”

Wes grinned. “You’re not really the sneaky type.”

Jo glared at him, affronted. “I can sneak!”

“You can’t even walk down the hallway in our apartment without sound like a herd of elephants.”

She punched him in the arm. He knew it was a quarter of her power at most but it hurt like hell anyway, and he made his feelings known. “Ow!”

“I do not sound like a herd of elephants,” she snapped.

“You sound like the fluttering wings of angels as they glide down from the heavens,” Tom said from the doorway. He leaned against the frame, grinning at them and Jo beamed back at him.

That sounds like bullshit,” Wes said, gingerly rubbing his arm. “You ready?”

“Yeah,” Tom said. “You?”

Wes glared sideways at Jo, though there was no real heat in it. “It’s getting uncomfortable around here. So yes.”

Jo wrinkled her nose but she was looking at Tom now. “Should I go with you?”

Tom arched a brow. “Do you want to come with us?”

She frowned at him, and said as if he was dragging it from her, “Yes.”

“And does what I say really matter?”

“Not really.”

“How much not really?”

“It matters ten percent.”

“Is that a very vocal minority?”

Jo pushed herself up and linked arms with Tom. Wes sighed. “Well, there goes the even number.”

“I thought you said I couldn’t beat up the mage,” Jo said cheekily. “So it hardly matters.”

Truthfully, Wes didn’t think it would matter. He knew Brigid’s boss would be happy to learn more about all of them. But he didn’t like losing any more than waiting, so he said, “So you accept that you can’t beat up a mage?”

Jo couldn’t help herself. “Oh, I could beat up a mage.”

“Here we go,” Tom said, grinning, and the argument started up all over again.

Click here, where you can see them all meet up and look for trouble.