Your Guardian Angel

Lanning Pawn and Armory on 17th and “O” in the Hard Way, Saint Martial supplemented the business of pawning and small arms sales with information trade. It was actually a pretty reputable place considering the neighborhood. Word was that Mary Lanning got blacklisted after her handler went rogue on the CIA, and after fighting the lay of the land for five years she gave up on government work and started running her own agents. The shop had started as a front for the spy work, but over time it had gained a life of its own. Loan rates and outright purchases were extremely competitive given that the real money from the place was intelligence, and Lanning was known to help out locals that were down on their luck whether it was by loan, getting them a job or taking them on as a client pro-bono.

It was a good place to get information, and Lanning encouraged friendly agents to hang out at the shop. The fridge full of beer and the decrepit pool table Mary had recently acquired helped the atmosphere of the curio filled establishment immensely.  The ground rules were simple.  Nicknames only, don’t start trouble, and if you want a beer, pay into the fund.  Information was all dropped to a numbered box through chutes, so privacy was assured there.

Selene Summers opened the first door, then waited politely in the hall for the inner security door to open.  Finally the locks clicked, and she stepped inside, wrinkling her nose slightly at the pungent smell of cheap cigars.  I see that Big Tony’s in the building again.  She walked to the rows of numbered boxes along one wall, and opened hers with a brass key stamped 777.  Inside were two sealed envelopes, which she placed into a inner pocket of her motorcycle jacket before turning to the half-dozen or so pool players.

The cigar smoker paused to nod to her, the dragon tattoos on his enormously muscled biceps flexing as he lined up his shot.  “Oi, Angel.  Game’s just started, so will be a bit before we can get ya in.”  Selene nodded, then stretched and grabbed a bottled water out of the fridge and threw a pair of one dollar bills in the pot on top of the fridge before popping it open and wandering into the maze of display cases and racks.

She barely glanced at the weapon displays. There wasn’t anything new and while Lanning only stocked quality arms, she wasn’t in the habit of keeping around the “toys” that Selene was most interested in. The only time Selene had actually considered buying a weapon from the shop was when she had been staying at the Ice Palace and had gotten a pistol as part of Bhael’s cover ID. Seemed like years ago, but it had only been six months. A lot had gone down since then.

She sighed, sipped her water and then turned a through a few aisles until she was in front of the new arrivals. Maybe there’d be something she could get for Namie, earrings maybe.  She blanched at the jewelry case’s contents as soon as she peered in. It must have been “sell off gaudy ninety’s bling” week or something, the selection was truly tacky. She turned from the case, ready to go watch Tony whoop ass when she found herself blinking at the instrument case.

Inside the case was a limited edition Zemaitis acoustic guitar, and while she hadn’t touched an instrument since her father had been declared missing in action seven years ago, this guitar was begging to be taken home and shown the love that only sweet music could give.

She was still staring at it a few minutes later when Lanning came in and noticed her. “Something I can get for ya Angel?”

Selene turned to Lanning, a certain fire in her eyes. “Do you have picks?”


“Guitar picks?”

Mary shook her head. “Just whatever the instrument had with it…”

“Ah… well… there has to be a music store somewhere in Martial?”

“Yup. Radmacher’s across the street from the Marchand Building in the Jackpot.”

“Kay. That one in the middle with the spruce and mahogany?”

“Uh huh?”

“Does it have a case I can wear on my bike?”

Lanning bit her lip and then shook her head again.

“Rrright. I want you to get it ready for me, I need to run to the music store and get a few things. Should be back in an hour tops.”

With that, Selene shot out of the building her new mission in mind.

Later that night Namie and Bhael arrived at the Garage around seven and were greeted by the mysterious sound of chords being plucked. They weaved their way through the garage and finally found Selene sitting crossed legged surrounded by various music books and other assorted accesories, on the california king sized bed in Bhael’s loft.

They stared at her from the door and she looked up and smiled and started in on the chords again, a song coming to mind as they curiously edged in the door. She closed her eyes and played the intro and then started singing in her clear, beautiful soprano.

When I see your smile
Tears run down my face I can’t replace
And now that I’m stronger I’ve figured out
How this world turns cold and breaks through my soul
And I know I’ll find deep inside me I can be the one

I will never let you fall
I’ll stand up with you forever
I’ll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to heaven

Selene opened her eyes to give the two demons a very warm smile as she finished the stanza, and then placed a hand on her stomach gently before beginning the next stanza.

It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.
Seasons are changing
And waves are crashing
And stars are falling all for us
Days grow longer and nights grow shorter
I can show you I’ll be the one

I will never let you fall
I’ll stand up with you forever
I’ll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to heaven

She grinned at Namie who had settled for kneeling with her head lying on the bed to listen and plunged into the next lines with a crescendo.  Namie wiped a tear from her eye as Selene’s angelic voice lifted again in song.

‘Cause you’re my, you’re my, my true love, my whole heart
Please don’t throw that away
‘Cause I’m here for you
Please don’t walk away,
Please tell me you’ll stay, stay

Use me as you will
Pull my strings just for a thrill
And I know I’ll be ok
Though my skies are turning gray

She took a breath and almost giggled as Bhael was awkwardly moving some of the music books out of the way to sit down on the bed. He pulled Namie into his lap and they continued to stare as she continued.  Both began to smile smiles of pure joy as Selene played the chorus, her voice tender and sweet.

I will never let you fall
I’ll stand up with you forever
I’ll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to heaven

I will never let you fall
I’ll stand up with you forever
I’ll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to heaven

I will never let you fall…



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