It was a beautiful August afternoon. Almost disgustingly gorgeous, actually. The humidity had finally fallen to an acceptable level and it was showing up as a very lovely 80 Fahrenheit (27 Celsius to Kayla, it would always be 27 Celsius). It was beautiful and safe ... it'd probably be awhile before Kayla felt like going camping again. Nobody had been hurt too badly, but it'd still been an awful mess, and Rose hadn't really been the same after it. 

It was perfect weather for a dip in the lake. Not too hot, not too cold, no real wind. And it was also an absolutely perfect opportunity to take her new swimsuit on a trial run. 

Kayla had always loved water, since she was a little kid. She remembered her father always joking that she should have been born a dolphin or something. She'd never have made a swim team in any significant way, but swimming had come naturally to her- but even more so, just the feeling of being in cool water, floating, treading water, even just standing in it. 

If other people joined her, that was awesome, but she didn't mind being alone either. Like a complete goon, she started running down the pier and jumped into the water.

Her favorite wine, her favorite cheese, a 40 year old bottle of cacha├ža for Marcelo, and a packet of fine tea to go with one of his wedding gifts. They were as well-chosen bribes as he could gather without seeming suspect. Alistaire announced he would be stopping by to see his favorite aunt a few hours in advance, already knowing her schedule. He really didn't mean to spy on her, but it just seemed like common sense, for the barely half a dozen people he knew that he'd find their deaths regrettable.

The best skeleton keys his money could buy and his own mutant gift let him bypass security (again, he really doesn't mean to be rude, he just doesn't have the patience for doormen, security, intercoms...), and he knocked at Stephanie and Marcelo's door in the husband's building.
 Rachel had warned her that the fourth of the turtles would be the hardest of all of them. That was precisely why she hadn't set to track him down. He was, after all, a ninja. He'd be good at hiding from her. So, instead, she had decided to draw him out. She had holed herself up in the library, wearing one of her simplest outfits, with a full afternoon tea spread out in front of her. It wasn't a whole Japanese tea thing, no. Brooke didn't know too much about that, and the last thing she wanted was to insult the turtle any. So, she'd kept it simple, and done tea the way she knew how. 

A well-worn copy of The Tale of Genji sat next to her, untouched. Was it there for decorative reasons? No. Brooke was honestly intrigued by the idea of a Japanese noblewoman from way back when having written such a large, classic tomb. But she didn't want to seem too occupied. She wanted - she needed - to seem welcoming. 

Gingerly, Brooke scooped some sugar into a delicate china cup and mixed it in with the tea and milk. The delicate scent of the Assam tea wafted up and Brooke sighed a small sigh of contentment. She really did enjoy this process of afternoon tea, but she usually took it in her room, where no one could disturb her. 

Today, though, she fully expected to be disturbed.

She took a delicate, dainty sip, and she waited.

Please, let this work.



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The Next Generation of Marvel Heroes

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June, 2013

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