Chapter 11

Damen woke them when he sensed the delivery men approaching. He went down to open the door and greet them as his team struggled to wake up. The delivery men were clearly nervous and trying to hide it. Damen made sure he stayed polite and calmly directed them to which floor each piece of furniture went to. As soon as everything was put in place they left just as fast as they could.

Everyone vanished to their respective rooms to unpack. Ace waited until they were alone to ask, "Is that fear what we have to look forward to for the rest of our lives?"

"No," Damen answered as he put his clothes in the drawers. "Some teams inspire fear and are cruel. They don't know what we're like, so they're frightened. Once we start doing jobs and get around more word will spread that we're not like that."

"Good, I really don't like feeling all that fear," Ace said softly, looking upset.

Damen reached out and pulled him into a gentle hug. "Word will spread faster here. Most likely every time we go out."

Ace relaxed in to him, but said nothing.

-Hey, Boss?- Carol asked suddenly.

-Boss?- Damen questioned incredulous.

-It is what we're supposed to call you. So, you may as well get used to it,- she answered promptly. –You do realize we have no sheets?-

Damen could sense the others listening as he replied. –We'll have to deal for tonight. No one is up to a trip to the supermarket.- He could almost feel their uneasiness at the thought of a super market.

-How are we going to get what we want when we won't all fit in a truck?- Takashi asked.

-That's easy,- Damen said dismissively. –I'll take three with me and whoever stays can 'look' through me to see what's there.-

-Why three?- Greg asked curious.

-I'm going to do several trips to different places. I doubt that any of you could handle a full day so I'm splitting you up to get as much done as I can and still have help. I can't do all of this by myself.-

-We never said we wouldn't help,- Amanda protested.

-I never said you wouldn't. I just don't want all of you to get overwhelmed in one day,- Damen explained.

-Do you have a mental list you haven't shared?- Ace demanded.

-You never asked,- Damen pointed out.

-Well, how about you share now?- Ace commanded.

-First step is to take some one eighteen with me as early as possible tomorrow to get a truck. Which reminds me, who wakes up the earliest?- Damen asked.

-I do,- Carol answered.

-Can you be ready to leave tomorrow by eight? Most places open at nine and it takes awhile to get anywhere by bus.-

-No problem,- Carol said confidently.

-Great. Second, I take Takashi electronics shopping.-

-Yes!- Takashi crowed.

-You just made his day,- Sarah said dryly.

-He knows more about electronics then anyone else,- Damen said defensively. –We need cell phones and laptops for each of us.-

-TVs and BlueRay players, too,- Takashi pointed out. –And stereos. It's way to quiet around here.-

-We have to outfit our kitchens first,- Ace cut in. –We can live without that stuff but we need dishes and food.-

Takashi gave a long suffering sigh.

-That's the next step,- Damen said easily. –We can get everything we need at the supermarket. Well, or at least the basics.-

-Who are you taking for that?- Simon asked warily.

-You for one.-

-Me?- Simon protested. –But I can't talk to anyone. That's really not fair, Boss.-

-I don't need you to talk to anyone. You can scan people to find what we need,- Damen explained patiently. –You can pick someone to go with us to be your voice.-

Simon considered that briefly. –I'll take Fredrick.-

Fredrick groaned. –Why me?-

-'Cause you'll See any disaster before it happens,- Simon answered. Fredrick sighed.

-Who else?- Ace asked.

-Julia,- Damen answered.

-And your reasoning behind bringing me?- Julia asked amused.

-Clothes,- Damen answered bluntly. –Our clothes are pathetic. We'll need something better. You saw how Smith and his team dressed. We look like we're kids. I realize that we are but we can't look it or we will have to be cruel to establish things here. And honestly, some of my clothes look like rejects from a second hand store.-

Julia positively radiated glee. –I get to outfit every one?-

-Only if they want you to. I think the girls might object,- Damen pointed out.

They could feel Julia roll her eyes. –I wouldn't buy their things, but guys are much easier since their clothes are loose. Girls have to try all their clothes on. Guys, not so much.-

Damen smiled faintly. –Well, I'm willing to let you shop for me.-

-I'd like some input, but I don't mind,- Ace said thoughtfully. Greg, Simon and Takashi all agreed with Ace.

-What about us then?- Carol demanded.

-Takashi ports you to Julia one at a time to pick out your own clothes,- Damen answered. –People are going to think we're odd enough we don't need to draw more attention by having all of you randomly show up out of no where all at once.-

-We can figure out clothes for everyone,- Julia reassured him.

-Not very many outfits,- Damen cautioned. –Just get a few basic outfits for every one. We'll go to the mall for nicer outfits later.-

-All of us?- Takashi asked.

-Yes, after I teach someone to drive and we get another car,- Damen answered. –Better to get it over with all at once, trust me.-

-So, we're doing all of this tomorrow?- Simon asked.

-Yeah,- Damen answered.

-Then I think I see a flaw in your plan,- Simon said dryly. –What are we having for dinner?-

-Take out,- Damen answered. –Pizza or Chinese?-

-Pizza,- everyone answered together.

-Well, that made it easy,- Damen said laughing. –I'll go and get it since I don't think any of you want to go out again today.-

-I'll go with yo,.- Ace told him. There were several snickers as the others faded back to their own minds. It didn't take long down a nearby pizza parlor and bring it back. Dinner passed with soft chatter. After they all drifted off to their own rooms to finish unpacking and go to bed, knowing the next day was going to be a long one.

/~/~/

A week later they received their first job in the mail. Damen took one look at the small print and legal wording and handed it to Ace. Ace was quiet reading through it twice before nodding. "Call the number at the bottom. When you get an answer tell them the Knights will take the job and hang up. Don't wait for an answer."

"Ok," Damen answered, baffled.

Ace grinned. "Trust me, attitude is better with this one. I can tell by the wording they'll try to push us around. You won't give them a chance."

Damen nodded. "I can do that. Read me the number."

Ace read it off and Damen punched it into the land line in his office. He did exactly as Ace told him speaking in a cold tone. Ace laughed. "Perfect. I'll go start dinner. We'll all eat together tonight to talk the job over."

"'Kay," Damen replied, smiling as Ace left. Not long after he was gone, Greg came up to lean against the doorway. "Yes?"

"We got something to do, Boss?" Greg asked.

"Yeah, came in with the mail," Damen answered.

"Cool," Greg grinned, "I'm so bored, I'm ready to start climbing the walls. What are we doing?"

"Not a clue," Damen shrugged, "I handed it off to Ace."

Greg gave him a steady searching look. "You have a headache?"

"Not bad," Damen said instantly.

"…You're hiding it from Ace."

"I'm fine."

"If you were fine you wouldn't be hiding it," Greg said pointedly. "You never got them this often at school. What's different?"

Damen sighed, slumping back in his desk chair. "I don't know," he said plaintively, running a hand through his hair.

Simon popped up behind Greg. –We need to figure it out. Ace was actually considering having you see a doctor.-

Damen and Greg cringed.

-My thoughts precisely,- Simon murmured. –When was the first one?-

Damen frowned in thought. "Six days ago, Wednesday afternoon."

-And the next one?- Simon prodded.

"The next morning," Damen answered, "I was fine all day Friday but got another Saturday evening."

Greg and Simon went quiet thinking trying to find a connection. From behind them Takashi pushed them in to the office and joined them. "I think I've got it," he said as Simon glared at him. Takashi didn't look very happy.

"What?" Damen asked warily.

Takashi sighed. "We set up your laptop Wednesday afternoon. We set up your office computer Thursday morning. You and Ace filed paperwork for most of Saturday. That was when your headache was bad enough that Ace knocked you out for the night. You even missed dinner."

"The computers?" Greg asked startled.

Takashi nodded. "I don't know if it's the reading or just the lighting from them, but something about computers clearly sets off his headaches."

"You have another headache and didn't tell me?" Ace said dangerously. He stood in the doorway with his arms crossed, a dark scowl on his face.

Simon, Greg, and Takashi quickly got out of his way. Ace stalked in and they slipped out. Damen went pale, "Ummm…"

"Damen," Ace growled.

"I didn't want to worry you," Damen said quickly.

"Then don't hide things from me," Ace snapped, placing his hands on Damen's temples. His look darkened further, "Go lay down. No lights."

Damen sighed, "I'm fine."

"Ha," Ace snapped. "Go, Damen, and no more computers until I can monitor you with them."

Damen sighed, "Yes, Ace." He stood and left as ordered.

As he passed the others, Damen heard Takashi mutter, "It always amazes me that everyone thinks Damen is in charge."

"I heard that!" Ace yelled from the back office. Takashi was suddenly very busy working on setting up Greg's computer. Damen laughed and made his way up the stairs.