Hell’s Kitchen Angel

The Empire 
Okay, so mistakes were made. Most definitely. She hadn’t had the balls to try out the catnip until tonight. At first, she’d only done a bit. Experimenting, you know? But after an hour of nothing, she’d taken a bit more. And... a bit more. And then the whole bag. Gradually, there was something. A buzz. Warm feelings, you know?

Then, naturally, it hit her like a ton of bricks.

To say she was high would be an understatement. She was out of her right mind. She’d called into work, at least, so there would be no bad decisions on that account. It did not, however, stop her from making perhaps a gargantuanly worse decision. Fleur had called a cab, and had requested to be taken to the place she’d been getting Leopard signals from for weeks. The Empire.

She was all smiles as she entered, not in the right state at all to realize how stupid this was. Her cheeks were warm and vision swimming, but she was feeling nice and dandy. Her gait was graceful still as she wandered into the grand entrance of the casino, her beast immediately interested in the overwhelming smell of Leopard, despite her lolling focus on anything but the high of the catnip.

Without much direction, Fleur would wander until ultimately being found.

@Oliver Black


 Her presence was... irritating. Like an itchy sweater. Granted, it was an itchy sweater he could have ripped off at any time. So why hadn't he? Curiosity? Pride? He knew she could feel him - feel them. A part of him wanted her to come to him, but the rest of him wanted to do more than that. She was trespassing. He had been following her from a distance, now and again, wondering what exactly she was doing here. It seemed, basically, living and working. In his territory.

 His patience was wearing thin by the time he realized she was right under his nose, blundering around the Empire. He spotted her on a security camera, well acquainted with her features by now - her dark skin and curly hair, big eyes and button nose. Suffice to say he wasted no time in making his way down to the first floor, his beast rolling gratingly against his conscience.

 A waitress was moving between game tables with a tray full of drinks, handing them out to patrons, probably unaware of the female leopard sauntering through the casino. The two nearly collided - of course, Oliver was there to save the day, reaching out an arm to stop the rogue from walking any farther forward. The waitress turned around and gave a startled peep as she caught herself in turn, giggling softly as she looked between the two of them. "Excuse me!"

 Oliver nodded his head curtly, watching the human continue on her way, before his gray eyes darted to the leopard beside him. The familiar, pungent scent of catnip hung on her like a cloud, as telling as the hazy look on her face as he glared at her. His beast pressed forward unhappily, ears flat against its massive skull, teeth bared. Wordlessly, he put a tattooed hand on her shoulder, and lifted the other one to crook a finger at her in a "come hither" gesture. If she complied, he would lead her back to his office.

Busted! That’s didnt take long. Like a night in shining armor, a burly male came sweeping in to whisk her off her feet. Or, at least that’s how she would have liked to imagine it. However, event through her heady daze, she could feel the tension. See the curling of lips and flattening of ears. Her own beast paced, but in a more excited manor than a defensive one. Another leopard! She was too high to completely comprehend just how much shit she’d buried herself in just now.

He was silent as he took her shoulder and directed her along, and with a beaming smile, Fleur followed suit. ”Why, I thought you’d never ask.” She said, though really it felt like she was hearing someone else speak, as she could not exactly pinpoint the movement of her lips.

 She didn't make a fuss or put up a fight, which was better for everyone, really. She even flashed a big smile at him, though it would not be reciprocated; instead, he fixed her with his intense, vacant expression for a moment more before he turned to lead her along. She must be pretty high - which, Oliver was hardly one to judge someone for doing any kind of drug. Whatever. Not his problem. Not as irritating as a rogue regularly chilling on his turf.

 Oliver brought her to the elevator, silent for the ride up, and directed her straight to his office on the sleek third floor. The office matched the rest of the building - sleek marble, black and gold accents, dark oak furniture. He gestured towards the black leather couch for her to sit upon, resting against the outer facing edge of his desk to stare at her. His fingers interlaced in front of him, a frown on his face as he sat in silence.

Up an elevator; in which she felt as if she were littlerally floating throug space; then out onto the thir floor and to an office. It was nice and classic, quaint and quiet. A stark juxtaposition to the bustling lower levels. She was directed to a couch, upon which she sat comfortably, her long legs crossing and fingers running along her thighs in an experiment of the sensation. He perched against the desk across from her, and looked down at her with a placid look she probably wouldn’t have been able to read even if she were completely sober.

”Well, this is certainly everything I expected.” She patted the leather of the couch, then sighed lavishly, her feline all but splaying our before the male. Sorry it took so long to show my bright and shiny face.” She smiled a brilliant smile for emphasis. ”Sorta a coward. I’m Fleur. I assume you are King of this joint, Mr....?” She prompted a name. Why the stony silence?

 She spoke without hesitation, leisurely in her idle observations, far from cowering in his presence though he could plainly sense the submission of her beast. That was pleasing, but did little to truly soothe his ruffled feathers. She apologized for not coming to him sooner, a nice formality, though his frown deepened perhaps imperceptibly at her self descriptor of "coward."

 His brain gave an unusual signal, one he recognized vaguely in this situation, triggering unexpected speech. "Oliver," he said simply, his voice deep and resounding with the flavors of his homeland. He tried not to think too hard about the sudden willingness of his vocals, instead sticking to the present moment, considering the woman before him. "You assume correctly."

So stoic! It really worked with his intimidating look. She felt much like a child in kindergarten getting reprimanded by a teacher after class. If she wasn’t fucking out of her mind right now, she would likely be drawing back by now. But she was, so she wasn’t. Instead, she leaned forward some at his rich accent. ”A pleasure, Monsieur Oliver.” She said, her own faintly accented voice flowing with the French pronunciation.

When she sat back, she sighed and switched the crossing of her legs. ”I suppose we should talk about my living in Red Rock. I don’t mind playing by a couple rules.” If he wanted her out, that was fine, though she could hardly imagine why. She was beneficial. She could bring in money. Especially to a place like this, if he would have her.

 Oliver's expression was unchanging, even as she announced that it was a pleasure to meet him. His mind still lingered on how long it had taken her to show her face, partially indignant with himself for not pinning her down sooner. Still, he was continuously appeased by her willingness, that she was thus far yielding without being either a blubbery mess or a venomous bitch. She even brought up the lingering discussion before him.

 He sighed, the sound sharp and short as he considered her for a moment longer in silence. Of course he wanted another in his ranks, but not if she was unworthy. He was willing to give her a chance. "You cannae be a rogue living here," he began steadily, arms moving to cross over his chest. "You join, or you leave, and you never come back. If you join, you contribute. No free rides. Shall I go on?"

His accent was just. So good. She couldn’t help but grin. Her legs tucked so she could sit cross-crossed in her seat, listening with rapt attention. When he was finished, she readied a hand to salute him. ”Yis sir!” A jaunty nod.

”Give me rules, and I’ll follow them!” Her mouth felt like cotton. If that made sense. It didn’t make sense.

 Oliver frowned at the shit-eating grin she displayed, but attributed it to the catnip that must still be working its magic. He wondered what she was like sober. Would she still be this willing when it wore off? He sighed.

 "You need help, call someone. You'll be introduced. Don't be stupid, don't endanger yourself or any of us - don't get stoned outta yer mind and wander around crowded casinos." He cocked a brow at her. "Vampires are allowed to gamble here and that's the extent of their privileges. Any questions?"

His words were more like... just sounds. Her head was spacy. She got the gist. Call for help, don’t be dumb, get high. Wait, wait, no, don’t do that. Don’t get high. Vampires dance here. No. Gamble here. She needed to ask if she could dance here.

”Can I-“ Was her mouth moving? She heard a voice but didn’t feel it.

”I- can.” Her eyes blinked, and she slumped. Her consciousness lost to the battle that was keeping her eyes open. Out fucking cold.

 Oliver watched her, brows stitching and mouth pursing in a frown. She seemed to have a question, and then - nothing. The leopard sighed as she slumped over, burying his face briefly against his palm in frustration. He had never seen someone pass out from catnip - assuming that was the only thing she was on. In a matter of moments, he would find a blanket and toss it over her unconscious form, before pouring himself a drink. He settled in his chair, reclining with his feet upon the desk as he waited.

It would be... a longish nap. Full of the weirdest dream she'd ever had. She was spinning, and in a casino, there was a man with a Scottish accent, who was dressed as principal and she was being scolded while sitting in a huge leather couch....and in her dream, she fell asleep.

Then she woke up. Her face stuck to leather, her hair in disarray over her face, and the scent of leopard smacking her squarely in the face. Her cat roused first, tensing and leaping upward, dragging her body behind it. Fleur stumbled around the couch, backing herself into a corner, her eyes wide as they struggled to make sense of the scene. An office; the same one from her dream; a man sitting at a large desk. Sculpted brows knitted as she stared, unblinking in the moment as he beast assessed the hulking figure before her. Oh. Fucking. Hell.

It hadn't been a dream.

Her chest rising and falling rapidly, Fleur straightened herself some, though her legs still bent and arms still crossed defensively before her, poised to flee or fight. "What happened?" The memories of anything before falling asleep were hazy and unclear, only snippets from the dream which were fading fast.

 Eventually, Oliver tired of sitting in waiting for her to stir - he would be quietly doing paperwork when she finally came to. She was up in a sudden jolt of movement, her beast's anxiety registering just a split second before she leapt to her feet. A flash of gold came and went through Oliver's gaze as he watched her, completely unmoving aside from leaning away from his desk, relaxing against his chair. Making a sudden move or holding harsh posture may only worsen her sudden fear.

 "Y'came to my casino high as a kite, Fleur, agreed to join my Pard, an' passed out mid-sentence." His tone was level, free of malice or anger, his expression passive. "Donnae be afraid."

The man only sat back comfortably, but she watched him with the intensity of someone preparing to flee for their lives. As he spoke in that thickly accented voice, however, the realization weighed on her heavily. That had not been a dream. She’d eaten an entire bag of catnip, and by the time it was too late to find somewhere safe to go, her dumb ass had wandered into the heart of Leopard territory.

The absolute horror gripped her chest like a vise. A hand came up to move her hair from her face, and she breathed out a heavy, disbelieving sigh. ”I-I?” She’d just made a complete ass of herself in front of the Pard King. Fleur moved back to the couch and sunk down, her legs crossed and she rested a elbow on them so she could support her head by the bridge of her nose that she pinched.

He head shook. She had been so stupid. She shouldn’t have even taken Abraham’s word for the catnip. Why had she wanted to try it anyway? ”I can’t beleive it. I... I beg your apology.” She could not bring her gaze to meet his, but her cat stretched out against the proverbial ground to expose her belly.

 A time of sitting in silence with a bit of alcohol had cooled his jets - he had eyes on the rogue, knew exactly where she was, and anticipated her behavior once sober. His temper was cooler now as she displayed her embarrassment, his own beast sated by the submission shown by hers. As such, he was as calm as still waters as she apologized, lifting a hand and waving it gently. "All's well." A beat of silence, before he continued, "Tell me about yourself, Fleur. D'you make a habit of wandering into strange places on... catnip?" There was a hint of humor to his voice, though his eyes maintained their intense shine as he stared at her.

All was not well, sorry. Fleur buried her face in her hands and pressed the tips of her fingers against her hairline. Then he sought to, what, make light of the situation? Fleur took a deep breath in through her nose, then straightened up some. She pushed her hair aside out of her face, and leveled her gaze on his. "It was... a lapse in judgement. A, er, jaguar told me it had some effect on his friend. I took it, not really believing it would work... and, well." She waved a hand, and sighed out a feeble chuckle. How unlucky was she?

"I don't usually do stuff like that. I try to be smart."

 Oliver listened to her shaky explanation with the same stoic silence. The herb was an unpredictable one - some feline Weres were completely impervious to it. Some were not - he would hardly divulge such a thing, but he personally enjoyed it. In small doses, usually, but still - could he really be critical of her? Well, yes. What if she had been so unlucky as to wander somewhere that she was severely unwelcomed?

 "Well. My invitation for you to join the Pard still stands, if you recall that conversation at all," he responded, rather than commenting on her story. He watched her steadily, waiting for her reply.

And for all of that... the invitation still stood. Fleur straightened some, her hands clasping at her lap. She eyed him with some disbelief, trying to spot any hint of mischief on his stony features. Nothing. She took in a deep breath, then let it out again. "Thank you, er, Oliver." She did remember his name. "Really, I am sorry. I can promise you something like this will never happen again." A nod of reassurance. She felt like there was something more... ah, but she couldn't remember.

 He didn't know her, not really; he knew where she lived and worked, but not well enough to be certain that she would stay true to her promise. His eyebrows rose slightly in a paternal sort of warning, as if to tell her it better not happen again. "Good," he remarked simply. He would run the rules by her again later. He would add that he didn't care what substances she took, as long as she could keep herself in check.

 "You should eat. And get some rest. You can sleep here, or I can drive you home. I'll introduce you to the others this week." He rose from his seat as he spoke, preparing to take her wherever she requested.

He was surprisingly, and probably inappropriately understanding. Fleur would not take it for granted. She would do as he said and eat here, but she would insist on getting an Uber home. It wouldn’t be until she returned to her bed that she realized she hadn’t asked if she could work at the Empire. Fuck. Another time.


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