Alli looked up at her mentor with a sigh. The older girl had her foot on the throat of the man that had whistled at her and the seasoned Cupid looked ready to kill. Sy's brown eyes flared with anger and she growled her threats with all the hatred she could muster towards the poor man. Despite the precariousness of the situation, Alli was grinning.
They had been working together for almost two years now and Alli had become used to Sy's gruff ways. Sy hadn't earned the handle "Wolf" for no reason after all. Alli recalled the first day she'd met Sy. She'll never forget the first words she said to her.
"You want me to train this?" Sy had said. Sy's cursing brought Alli back to reality.
"Don't you fucking whistle at me you god damned pervert!" Sy said putting more pressure on the poor man's throat.
"Wolf? We're going to miss our um…meeting…" Alli said nudging the older girl in the side. Sy growled something under her breath, and reluctantly left the quivering man alone. Something about Alli's blue eyes always made Sy's anger go away.
"I should have hit him…" Sy muttered beneath her breath as she picked up her bow and walked away.
"We'll miss the target if we stay any longer and besides," Alli said smiling, "Robin is the Spirit on this one." Alli said teasingly. Sy groaned.
"That cocky son of a…" Sy began.
"He's the only friend you have." Alli reminded her.
"Well that's one too many…" Sy said with irritation.
"How did someone as gruff, irritable, and sarcastic as you get into a job that helps people fall in love?" Alli asked shaking her head.
"The pay was good." Sy said sarcastically. Alli rolled her eyes realizing that Sy was never going to talk about her past.
Sy pressed a button on the earpiece she wore and began climbing up the fire escape in the alleyway they were standing in. Alli followed suit. None of the passerby's noticed the pair as they climbed. The button on their earpieces allowed Sy and Alli to become unseen to ordinary people who don't possess a high enough spiritual energy level to detect their presence.
When the two of them reached the roof Sy crouched down by the lip of the roof. Alli took out her binoculars and scanned the crowd.
"See the target yet?" Sy asked as got into a comfortable sniping position.
"No, not yet. Call Robin see what's keeping him." Alli suggested.
"No. I don't want to talk to that…"
"This is Robin come in Wolf?" Wills voice crackled over the earpiece's communications' system.
"This is Wolf," Sy replied, "where the fuck are you?"
"Over here." Will said. Sy looked across to the opposite roof top and saw Will waving like an idiot. Alli grinned and waved back. Sy rolled her eyes, turned her attention back to the street below and sighed.
"Christ Rookie cut it out." Sy said.
"Would you stop calling me that? My name is Alli! A, L, L, I!" Alli said with emphasis, "I've been in the I.A.C. for a while now…"
"And you're still a rookie, now knock it off!" Sy said. Alli pouted.
"Quit pouting…" Sy said without turning around. Alli glared and once again scanned the crowd with her binoculars.
"I see her!" Alli said excitedly, "Twelve o'clock, blue sweater, blonde hair, with a poodle."
"Copy that I have a visual." Sy said. Alli put down her binoculars to watch Sy. Sy tucked a few strands of her brown hair that had escaped her black bandana behind her ear. The older girls face hardened into concentration and bright red arrow of light formed at her fingertips. Carefully Sy set her sights on the girl walking the streets below and steadied her aim.
"Olympus this is Wolf, come in HQ." Sy said into her earpiece.
"This is Olympus, over." came the deep voice of Jacobs from headquarters.
"Target is in my sights, do I have clearance to fire, over?" Wolf asked.
"Clearance granted." Jacobs replied. Sy let the arrow fly. It landed soundlessly in the young girls heart. None of the people seemed to notice anything had happened and Alli sighed happily.
"Just think Wolf, she now understands that she's in love!" Alli beamed at Sy whose face was cold.
"Just because she knows she's in love doesn't mean the bastard will love her back." Sy responded bitterly, "We Cupids can help them to understand their emotions. The Spirits can try to provide the opportunity for them to share their feelings, but no power can make an unwilling lover confess their love."
"Well you could look at it that way I suppose." Alli said unhappily.
"Come on, let's clock out and go home." Sy said wearily shouldering her bow.
Sy finished the paperwork on her target and filed it away in her drawer. The office of the International Association of Cupids (I.A.C.) was busy with various agents going about their business. Sy rubbed her eyes and looked at her watch. It was late. Sy searched for Alli's smiling face, but did not see it among her fellow agents. With a slight grin Sy grabbed her coat and headed for the roof.
Sy opened the door of the stair well and smiled. Alli was shooting arrows at the target on the far end of the roof. The young girl had pulled her long wavy black hair into a ponytail and had a serious look on her face. It was only during archery that Sy ever saw Alli look serious. After a few moments Alli sensed Sy's presence.
"You're done already?" Alli asked as the smiled returned to her face. Sy nodded.
"Okay, first one to the car picks the radio station!" Alli called mischievously. Alli rushed past Sy and ran down the stairs. Sy rolled her eyes and sighed as she walked over to the edge of the building.
Alli went from the roof to the front parking lot in record time but when she got to the car she found Sy waiting patiently in the drivers seat.
"How?" Alli asked breathlessly.
"I slid down the drain pipe." Sy said shrugging. Alli sunk into the passenger seat and groaned.
"Why didn't I think of that?" Alli asked as she smacked herself of the forehead.
"And that," Sy said turning the key in the ignition, "is why I still call you Rookie."
When they arrived at home Sy checked the mailbox and Alli went inside to start preparing dinner. From the kitchen in the back of the house Alli could hear Sy pacing in the living room and cursing. Alli smiled realizing that the bills must have come. After a few minutes the smell of Alli's cooking brought Sy into the kitchen.
"Are you done yelling at the bills?" Alli asked grinning.
"Next thing you know they'll charge us for breathing…" Sy muttered grumpily as she sat down in her chair.
"Well since you're in a foul mood anyway, I might as well tell you…" Alli said while stirring a pot on the stove.
"Tell me you aren't trying some original recipe again. I don't think my stomach can take it." Sy said wearily.
"No, I'm not." Alli said, "It's just that Sanderson told me that I'll be going to the Novice Cupid training grounds this summer."
"They chose you to represent our branch?" Sy asked.
"Don't act so surprised Wolf. I know that the mentor has to nominate the rookie officer for them to even be considered." Alli said as she turned off the heat to the soup she'd made. Sy didn't say anything in response.
"Look I only brought it up so you'd know I won't be able to pay rent. I won't be working and I won't even be living here from May until August so…"
"Rookie, shut up and eat your soup." Sy said. Alli didn't say anything more for the rest of the evening. After dinner was finished Sy went outside and shot arrows at the target she'd set up in the back yard. Alli hummed softly while she washed the dishes and listed to the rhythmic thud of the arrows against the bulls-eye. The rookie tried to determine her mentor's emotions. Out of all the people Alli had met, Sy was the only one she could read like a book. Something was obviously bothering Sy, that much Alli knew, but she couldn't determine if it was because of the bills or because she would be leaving. With a sigh Alli put the last of the dishes away and headed to the bathroom to take a shower.
Sy tried to clear her mind as she shot the arrows, but was finding it impossible to do so.
"Why am I so hard on her?" Sy thought to herself, "I should be happy she's going to train. It's a great honor. Hell she'll probably win the silver arrow in competition." Sy shot another arrow and it landed flawlessly in the bulls-eye.
" I wonder if I've driven her off by being too gruff…" Sy mused, "No, I'm doing what I need to do to prepare her. Anything less than that and she could end up hurt or killed…" Sy lowered her bow and sat on the cool evening grass. With a sigh she flopped down on her back and stared up at the sky.
"Maybe I'm just afraid that she'll get her badge and go work somewhere else." Sy thought. The young Cupid tried to imagine her life without Alli and found it most distressing and utterly dull. Angrily she rolled over on her side and watched the fireflies. After a few moments Sy heard the back door creak open.
"Wolf?" Alli called softly. Sy winced inwardly.
"Yeah Rookie, what?" Sy said not half as gruffly as she'd have liked.
"Nothing, just making sure you hadn't died or anything." Alli said. Sy could hear the concern in her partner's voice and the sound made her cringe with guilt.
"Get off your lazy ass and help her prepare for the training!" Sy mentally chided herself. Sy stood up and brushed the grass off her clothes.
"Is there any hot water left?" Sy asked.
"I think so." Alli was still studying the older girl with concern.
"Good I hate cold showers…" Sy said as she walked back into the house. Alli let her pass without asking what was wrong. She knew better. Sy never told her anything unless she needed to know. Alli locked up the house and wearily shuffled to her room at the end of the hall.
Sy fidgeted uncomfortably as she studied the bus schedule and Alli could hear a steady stream of curse words flow from her mentor's lips. Alli grinned but something pulled at her heart when she realized just how much she was going to miss the stubborn ass. The bus finally pulled up to the station and Sy helped Alli load all of her luggage onto the bus.
"Wait a minute, what's that?" Alli asked indicating a medium sized brown box.
"That is for you, from me." Sy said simply.
"What's in it?" Alli asked eagerly.
"Stuff." Sy replied. Alli gave her an irritated look.
"Okay, fine then be that way." Alli said.
"Just, don't open it until you get to the training grounds okay?" Sy said averting her eyes from Alli's curious gaze.
"Alright…" Alli said slowly, as she studied Sy's reaction.
"Well? What're you standing here for, get going! Go on, get!" Sy said aiming a kick at Alli's ass. Alli side stepped the kick and stepped in grabbing her mentor in an unexpected hug.
"I'm going to miss you Wolf." Alli said softly. Sy was too shocked to move. After a few moments Alli got on the bus and was soon out of sight. Sy stood on the bus platform completely dumbfounded for a good fifteen minutes before she slowly walked back to her car.
The second that Sy walked through the door she felt Alli's missing presence. Everything seemed lifeless and sad. It was as if the house itself missed the young energetic rookie. Sy found a note taped on the refrigerator.
I left some meals wrapped in foil for you in the fridge, space them out a bit so you've got home cooking for a little while after I'm gone. I know you get sick of dining out. But hey, this could be your chance to learn to cook! Not that you will, I know the stove scares you.
When I filled out the emergency form for the training grounds I listed you as my contact. You have no idea how silly I felt filling in 'Wolf' for the name of my contact. Do you realize that no one has any idea what your real name is? They said you deleted your file from the records office! You have to tell me about that sometime!
Anyways, I hope you don't burn down the house while I'm gone, I'd like somewhere to come back to, so be careful. And Wolf, I'll miss you…
Rookie (damn you've got me doing it!)
Sy felt tears well up in her eyes. Alli's words, "no one has any idea what your real name is" echoed guiltily through Sy's mind. Sy took the note folded it carefully and placed it in her wallet. With a heavy sigh she took out one of the dinners from the refrigerator and began four months of gloomy waiting.