Kafka returned the phone to its holder, the conversation with Nicole over. Eyelids shutting slowly, she steeled herself. Emotions locked themselves away within the throes of her vast fae mind. Almost as though her mind was an office, she filed away her thoughts and feelings as a slip of paper shoved deep into a mental 'cabinet'. Picking up her lab coat and goggles, she placed them neatly in her bag and set off for the university laboratories.

"Hey Katherine," Kafka greeted the chemical store clerk. "Has my stock order come in yet?"

"Yeah it came in yesterday afternoon actually, I nearly forgot to call you about it!"

"Analytical grade I suppose? I can't use anything else for my intermediate," questioned Kafka hopefully. "I'm almost close to publishing a paper already about my latest cancer research if this one works."

"Here you go," Katherine's voice was muffled as her face ducked behind the door of a cryo-freezer and pulled out a box. "Be careful with this baby! Although I think you already know that. The azides are rather testy aren't they?"

"Thanks again Kat! You're a lifesaver!"

"Haha, no I'm only the store clerk and you did put orders for this a month back," Katherine smiled kindly at the younger girl.

Kafka slipped on some oven gloves to prevent ice-burns and picked up her azide gingerly, and walked off to her fume hood. She replaced the chemicals into her own personal cryo-freezer at negative eighty degrees Celsius and shut the door.

Walking back to the store again, she stopped short before making herself visible. Hidden behind the wall that separated her from Katherine, Kafka's eyes grew glazed. She gripped the wall for support and sagged slightly. A heavy aura rose around her as she directed her powers at Katherine.

Katherine stopped her paperwork, her pen hovering in the air, before lowering itself. Instead of the usual smile she usually wore to work, her face cleared into a blank expression.

Calmly, Kafka walked towards the immobile Katherine, and deftly picked up the form that Katherine was filling in. She looked at it carefully, so as not to make a mistake of what she was doing.

Item: Benzyltriethylammonium Azide

Hazards: Contact with acids liberate toxic gas – handle with care

Order No.: June 2008

Nodding imperceptibly, the paper charred in front of her eyes, destroyed. Kafka decided that she had enough fae magic for the time being and walked away from Katherine's desk. As soon as she disappeared, the hapless store clerk recovered from her temporary stupor, and wondered what she had previously been doing. She shrugged once, and continued her paperwork, unaware of what had transpired during her 'blackout'.

Laboratory sessions weren't scheduled for that day, but since Kafka was an Honours student and had her own project to handle, she was given special permission. She lifted the sash of her fume hood, and fiddled with the gadgets within. A chemical reaction was being run over the weekend, the round bottomed flask suspended with a boss and clamp holding it in place over a magnetic plate. The contents within swirled continuously, and stopped only when Kafka removed the flask from its holder and tipped the contents away into the liquid waste bottle. She washed the flask out with water and acetone, before placing her own chemical reagents within. After observing the swirling mixture for a moment, she transferred the flask into a neighbouring fume hood.

"Kafka, did you place an order for a batch of chemicals some time back?" Kafka started, and turned around only after she had calmed her racing heart somewhat.

"Which order are you referring to Kat?"

"See that's the thing, I know you placed an order, but I forgot what you wanted, I'm really sorry Kafka."

"Don't worry about it Kat, it wasn't a rush anyway, I just needed some analytical grade methanol that's all. I'm sure I can borrow some from the others for the current reaction."

"Oh dear, but I'm really sorry Kafka, your project's at such a crucial stage, and I'm hampering you!"

Katherine looked stricken that she had forgotten such an important task. Orders were not easy to process, especially with all the chemical regulations in place. To think that she might have disrupted a research project and jeopardised Kafka's grades made her upset.

"Kat, if I hear you apologise one more time, I'm going to come over there and throttle you," Kafka laughed, taking the sting out of her words. To prove that she wasn't affected by Katherine's blunder, she turned away from Katherine and continued her work as though nothing had gone wrong.


The soft underside of the cat was resting softly against the grass, but the cat was far from rested. Its muscles coiled in anticipation, back tense, and neck crouched low to the ground. A rabbit bounced closer, its whiskers twitching and front paws and head lifted to catch the scents in the air. It was a useless motion nonetheless, since its nose obviously could not pick up the smell of a predator lurking. Padding onto its front paws, it turned its nose away. The time to strike came, and in less than a second, blood was split as the rabbit hung limp. Its neck held securely in the jaws of the great cat.

Now no longer in hiding, the cat took off in the direction of a cabin in sight. Its pace was comfortable fast, but before it stepped close to the cabin, it paused, and hesitated. The bloody rabbit was dropped on the patch of grass before it, and the cat stretched languidly, its rear end raised in the air for the world to see. After doing so, it flopped down and chewed on its snack.

The meal disappeared down the throat of the big cat almost as fast as it had been caught. The feline looked pensively at the bloody grass patch, before digging at it, spreading the blood around, and in doing so, somehow or rather buried the evidence of the meal in the grass and soil.

It moved towards the cabin, and bones cracked as the cat morphed into a different creature. The naked human slipped unhindered into the cabin, turning the door handle with hands rather than paws. His skin was creamy white and unblemished, his hair long and slightly wavy. Unperturbed by his nakedness, the cat-turned-human moved silently around the little cabin, picking at things here and there.

Without warning, the man's head snapped in the direction of the sole bedroom, his nose twitching slightly. A frown marred his beautiful features and he went to investigate the source of the smell. It couldn't be could it? His soft brown eyes widened considerably as he stuffed his sharp nose onto a particular spot on the bed and breathed in deeply, snorting every second or so as he sniffed.

A woman! He sniffed harder, now climbing fully into the bed and allowing his nose to roam the expanse of the tiny bed. So absorbed was he, at his task, that he totally shut out the noise of a car engine being cut, and the very audible sound of the cabin door creaking open.

"What the hell are you doing," Seth's deep voice cut the silence to the quick. The sniffer yipped loudly in shock, his head hitting the wall in front of him painfully.

An enormously large and mischievous smile broke out on the man's face as he regarded Seth closely, all traces of shock clearly gone. "Went and got yourself a woman at last I see!"

Seth grunted noncommittally, instead answering, "I asked you what the hell are you doing, Aston."

There was a deathly silence as the smile was wiped away from Aston's face. In the next breath however, he had Seth in a vice like grip, giggling insanely.

"Aw! Seth it's been so long and you haven't missed me?"

"You idiot, get off me!" Seth tried to wrest himself out of the other man's smothering hold. Aston ignored him and caught Seth in a headlock, and used his other fist to ruffle the bigger man's hair.

"And you got yourself laid too! About time too, you did drive me out with your insanity after all!"

"For the last time, I'm telling you to shove off!"

"How many times you guys did it huh? No! Don't tell me! Five? Wait, no, at least six perhaps?"

Finally having had enough of the roughhousing, Seth flung Aston easily over his shoulder, sending the smaller built man sprawling across the bed. The tiniest hint of a grin peeped out at the corner of Seth's mouth as he regarded his friend.

"Shut it, you asshole. Nothing happened," he answered Aston's queries at last. Aston finally lifted his mop of hair off the bed to peer at Seth.





"Then why the hell was a woman here? A human one as well," all traces of playfulness were gone from Aston's voice this time. The two males looked at each other seriously, both knowing the other too well.

"I found my mate," Seth said after a long pause.

Author's Note: This one was done actually last week. Aston is my newest favourite dude around. You're going to see his significance in this story later on. Tell me what you think is going to happen now will you?

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