Author's Note: Wow! Two chapters in one day. Actually the other one was to long and so I had to split it. But still it's the idea of the thing. *grin* This will probably be it for awhile...... I'm not abandoning the story it's just that I have other muses screaming rather loudly at me at the moment and college is kicking my hindend very well.
In the other room mother and son stood in a heartfelt embrace as three years of heartbreak began to finally heal the pair of battered souls. After several minutes and a good crying jag, the two parted, Alexx wiping away the tear tracks marring Speed’s face.
“Baby. What happened?” She asked softly as she stared him in the eyes.
“Let’s go ahead and call everyone else back in. I only want to explain this once,” Speed suggested as he drew out of her arms and tucked himself back into a corner again.
“Horatio, honey, ya’ll can come back in,” Alexx called as she settled back down on couch and watched as Tara winged in and settled carefully on Speed’s shoulder, instantly starting to preen his hair with the occasional nuzzle under the chin. Everyone else filed back in and arranged themselves so that they could watch Speed and block his escape routes at the same time.
“Speed? You alright?” Horatio asked quietly as he tilted his head and glanced at the still distraught Crow out of the corner of his eye.
Speed scrubbed his hands over his face a couple of times and the sighed. “Yeah. Just been a day….week….month….hell life.” He grouched with a smirk.
“So why don’t you tell us about it?” Eric prodded with a smirk of his own.
“Well, I was born in New York…..,” Speed snarked with a mischievous grin, laughing when he had to block the pillow Calleigh sent winging his direction in retaliation.
“Jerk,” she grumbled with affection as she settled back again.
“But you love me anyway,” came the rapid fire retort.
“Which is why I’m only going to kill you a little bit for getting killed in the first place and then a little bit more for not telling us you were back either when you rose or when you got back into town,” the blonde promised with a sweet, butter-won’t-melt-in-her-mouth smile.
Speed sobered up instantly and seemed to deflate a bit. “Yeah. About that, I have *no* idea why my gun jammed. I had cleaned it just that weekend and it was in perfect working order. After I rose Tara here told me I couldn’t come to you guys immediately because I needed to learn how to be a Crow, so I wound up spending six months in Port Columbia and then the rest of the time just roving around. Then about two weeks ago I was in Georgia when someone showed up and told us to haul tail here because something major is starting to go down and it was going to hit the lab like the mother of all shit storms.” He held up a hand when he saw several mouths open. “And before you can bitch at me about not announcing my presence from the start, think about it. What was I supposed to do? Walk up to the receptionist and ask for my old badge back? I’m dead, people. The only reason I was brought back was because my soul wouldn’t leave the higher-ups alone and they decided this was a good way to shut me up.”
‘And to reunite you with your soulmates,’ Tara added helpfully as she tucked herself under his ear.
‘Yeah, well they don’t need to know that part yet,’ Speed replied with a hush you look out of the corner of his eye, not that he could actually see her but it was the principal of the thing.
“So how are you up and around anyway,” Eric asked, curiosity shining from his dark eyes as everyone else nodded.
“No idea. I know I don’t bleed like normal, I don’t need to sleep or eat, hell I’m not even sure I need to breath. I just know I clawed my way out of my grave three years ago with no clue who I was, until Tara touched me and that triggered all of my memories. I’m nearly impossible to kill, I have the ability to touch someone or something and get flashes of the past and I’m stuck here until I rack up enough Merit Badges to get called back to the Land of the Dead and hopefully on to Heaven or wherever,” Speed explained with a shrug as he crossed his arms and shifted to get a bit more comfortable.
“So do we know what this big, bad threat is?” Frank asked after a short pause.
“We think it’s a Snake,” Speed answered with a small wave between himself and Tara. He held up that same hand to stop the torrent of question he knew was about to happen. “Just like with everything else in nature we Crows have an opposite; they’re called Snakes because their helper is a serpent of some sort. Where we Crows try to help people and general stay on the side of Justice a Snake just does whatever they want. A Snake is created when a Crow kills an innocent or a bad guy. If it’s an innocent, then the Crow becomes a Snake. If it’s a bad guy then the bad guy comes back as a Snake,” he paused to let all that sink in. Once he saw various light bulbs go off he continued. “One other thing about Snakes and Crows, we are the only ones that can take each other out directly. See Snakes tend to hunt Crows, can’t have the do-gooders running around mucking up all the anarchy they try so hard to start.”
“So how do we know if we run across a Snake?” Eric asked as he tried to make sense of everything.
“Well, they have all the same powers Crows so if you run across someone who wears white and black make-up, has a snake somewhere nearby and is incredibly hard to kill…… I’d say you’d found yourself a Snake and you better run like you’re trying to set a new land speed record,” Speed informed him as he met the eyes of everyone there to make sure they knew he wasn’t exaggerating. The group spent the rest of the night peppering Speed with questions about being a Crow, where he had been for the last two years and just generally reconnecting with their lost team member.