if I just let go, i'd be set free

She had awoke that morning as Kenzie.

But there on the sidewalk down the road from her destined address stood someone else. Kenzie had tidied up her hair and clothed herself in a few fresh thrift-store finds: a white dress top over a compression shirt that further smoothed and concealed her small breasts; a black tie; slim-fit black slacks with a black belt featuring a stainless steel buckle; men's square-toed black oxford shoes; and a pair of reading glasses to tie it all together. On her left wrist she wore a simple black-faced watch with a black strap and nothing else. Flexing her androgyny to its fullest for this purpose, Kenzie had made herself into Secretary Sam; her gender entirely up for the eye's debate.

She shot off a quick text to Fletch.

Reporting for duty. Fingers crossed.
Secretary Sam

Her normal attire and everything else she owned was in her canvas knapsack. It had been stashed elsewhere. She carried only a black notebook and blue pen in her left hand as she arrived at 1618 W Raven St. Her eyes roved the stately apartment complex, then she glanced at her watch and took a breath. With smooth, assured confidence not usually seen when she was not masquerading as a secretary, Kenzie Sam headed for the entrance and pressed the call button for apartment 702 at precisely 10:00am. Standing straight, with her head up and expression that of stoic professionalism, she awaited Mr. Isle's client to answer her ring and let her in.

Secretary Sam looks a lot like this.


The buzzer gave a loud buzz and Yujin's voice came through choked with tears. "Who is it?"

He was crying, the tears were staining his face leaving trails down his cheeks. His eyes were red and puffy from the last several bad nights and the tears. Ollie was in the hospital, had been since Sunday night. He had only found out hours into a panic driven Monday morning. After he had trashed both his and Oliver's rooms looking for any clue as to where his bodyguard had gone.

Ollie had been in surgery Tuesday and Yujin hadn't been able to go see his bodyguard yet. The worry and fear had lead to more nights with only a few hours of sleep, and a great deal of crying, along with spending a few hours as an otter intermixed. Thankfully he hadn't been able to get outside as a small furry animal, but he had torn through several of the food bags in the pantry, leaving a mess in the kitchen.

He wiped at the tears and took a breath waiting for a response, the meeting had been completely forgotten in the face of Oliver's injury.

She blinked upon hearing the choke in the boy's voice.

Uhh. Is he upset?

Perhaps she misheard.

She pitched her voice lower as she answered — not too much but enough that it better matched her appearance. "Mr. King, this is Sam. I am here on behalf of Mr. Isle." She spoke smoothly and clearly, as though she truly were the professional she confessed to be; someone who had addressed clients this way many times over.

"Sam? Mr Isle?" He asked confused. It took a few minutes for the information to dawn on him. He was suppose to be having a meeting this morning. "Oh, uh, right. I'll buzz you up."

The door gave a loud beep and the lock unlatched with a hiss.

In the apartment Yujin hurriedly moved about the living room trying to make it look like a wild animal hadn't been living there. He had fixed up Oliver's room already, but the rest of the apartment was still trashed from his panic on monday. He lifted the coffee table back onto it's feet and brushed out the carpet. The couch was tipped back up straight and it took a few minutes to find the pillows as they had been scattered around the room. One of which had been torn apart by one panic shift. The otter liked the feathers that were inside. He deposited the ruined pillow into his bedroom ignoring the immense mess that lay inside.


Was she at the wrong place?

Suddenly, the boy remembered he was expecting a Sam-on-behalf-of-Mr-Isle.

The door beeped and Sam stepped into the apartment building, securing the door behind her. She took her time navigating to the room; a deliberate effort to maintain her calm and keep her heart rate low. When she arrived, she rapped her knuckles on the door three times and then stood with her hands held in front of her belt, her back straight and head up the same as before.

He threw Ollie's blanket over the couch and ran to the door when a knock sounded. With the same hurried energy he threw the door open...and immediately regretted it when he smelled the woman who was standing there.

Teeth. Sharp. Tearing through soft belly. His belly.

A predator. One that set the otter on the attack. It squeaked and yipped inside his mind, wanting to claw it's way through his skin. To flee and run away from the sharp teeth. Tingles spread over his hands. He stumbled back his eyes lightening a little to a dark brown, not fully out of control yet.


Small body, long thick tail.

Oh right. Otter. She had almost forgotten.

The young boy stumbled backwards in alarm and Sam raised her hands. "Easy," she said calmly, not entirely sure what had startled him but assuming it had to do with a certain preternatural presence. "It's okay, we're allies in this." Sam smiled. She didn't move and said no more, just remained calmly in place, affording the boy a chance to relax and realize there was no threat.

He wanted to run, or attack, one of the two. But the woman didn't move towards him just raised her hands and gave him a smile. He gulped down some breaths clenching and unclenching his hands. The tingling slowly faded from his skin, leaving a few prickles over his wrists. "You can come in"

He gave her a short nod and took another step back. His leg hit the couch and he let the momentum carry him down into a seated position. Ollie's blanket was there, smelling thickly of pine soap and that sweet molasses like scent. He pulled it close, wrapping it around his shoulders and pressing his nose against it. Tears slipped out of his puffy eyes.

"Thank you."

The apartment was half trashed. Sam didn’t look around much; no more than a glance. She kept her attention on her client...

...who also appeared to be half trashed. He had a blanket draped around his shoulders and was starting to weep.

Uhm. Okay. Fletch, what have you got me into here?

Kenzie was an empathetic and compassionate creature. But Sam had come to collect cash and notes and that was all. Sam didn’t acknowledge the sad state of affairs; her earlier offerings of reassurance just a means to get in the door. In the end, it was none of her business what else was going on in the boy’s life.

She took out her notebook and opened a page, blue pen at the ready. "So, Mr.King, is there anything else you can tell me about the man you are looking for? Any place besides Union Square that he might frequent? We’ve enough information to work with, but any other details could only help."

He sniffled and wiped at some of the tears. But kept Ollie's blanket around himself. The scent of it was calming. "No. I think he lives in his car so he could really be anywhere."

It wasn't much help. But then he wasn't in a particularly helpful mood either. He had completely forgotten about the meeting, and there were more pressing concerns on his mind now.

If he could talk to Fletch, he might be able to find out about the weres that lived in Lavender Heights, and possible what had happened to Ollie. He was pretty sure Oliver had gotten attacked at the house, why else would the man go back to Lavender Heights. Which meant that it was probably a were. How dare they hurt Oliver. Anger forced a short hiss of breath between his teeth. His eyes lightened a fraction of a shade. "How quick could Mr Isle find Fletch if I tripled the money?"

He wanted answers. But most importantly he wanted to know that Ollie was going to be alright. Possible Fletch would know, or would know someone who would know.

There was no other information. There was, however, a hiss and a question hinging on a promise of even more cash.

Inward, Kenzie was prematurely celebrating the score and imagining the look on Fletch’s face when she showed up with more than she came for (and that was a startling amount in and of itself!).

Outward, Sam was nonchalant.

"Mr. Isle keeps a full schedule," she commented, closing her notebook and clicking her pen. "That said; triple the agreed upon amount would elevate you to the current highest bidder for Mr. Isle’s time and skill. With the information provided, I estimate he could find the man in question within the next 5 days at the latest. Fewer would be more probable." Here she paused a moment. "I will require $3750 today if you wish to have your case given this utmost priority."

Yujin got to his feet and moved back towards Ollie's room. "Stay I'll be back with the money."

He wouldn't be able to handle the smell of the predator behind him. He stepped into the clean room and went to the closet where Oliver kept his weapons and the safe. It took a few turns before he opened it up and shifted through the money. The cash was suppose to be for emergency only, but he could withdraw the money from his bank and replace the cash easily enough.

Money in hand he returned to the living room. But stopped before approaching her. "Can you drive?"

She remained where she was, calm and composed, bottling up all the oh shit omfg excitement!!! to spill over Fletch after. This was too good to be true.

Mr. King returned, cash in hand, but stopped short, offering a question instead of the payment. "Yes," Sam answered. What 28 year old didn’t know how to drive? Kenzie, that’s who. Kenzie who was now thinking crap, this was going too smooth.

Sam held out her hand with a polite smile. "I’ll see to it that Mr. Isle begin his work on your case this afternoon."

She could drive. Relief began to spread like heat over his chest. "Could you drive me somewhere? Of course I would pay for the time and gas and supply the car for the ride if needed."

He kept the money in hand. Not that he wasn't going to pay, he would. But first he needed to know the answer.

The problem with having a driver was that Yujin did not know how to drive himself, or how to use any of the wonderful rides like taxis. There should be three or so cars down in the garage just waiting to be used. He needed to see Ollie. Hopefully this woman could take him.

"My apologies, Mr. King, but I’ve another appointment and haven’t the time. I must be on my way."

Kenzie wanted to offer to call him a cab (not that he couldn’t call himself, she assumed), but while Kenzie was willing, Sam the professional was not. Sam the professional found his request rather improper.

He gave a sigh before handing the money over. He probably shouldn't have asked, but it would have been the safer method instead of doing what he was now planning on. He was going to go see Ollie no matter what. "That should be enough."

He was pretty sure there was around $4000 in cash that he had handed over. Good enough to hopefully find Fletch soon. He pulled out his new phone while waiting for her to count the money and searched (Through Bing) the location of the Lavender Heights hospital. A walk would do him good. "Do you know what kind of weres live in Lavender Heights?"

Sam took the envelope and counted the cash inside.

$4000. More than the agreed upon amount; a tip included? Sam was not about to argue.

Holy. Otter? This kid is a golden goose that just keeps laying eggs!

"Thank you," she said with a courteous nod. Before she could leave, the boy had another question for her. Sam shook her head. "I am afraid I do not." She could not recall that she had ever been to that area. "As I said, I will see to it that Mr. Isle begin his work this afternoon. Take care, Mr. King." Sam turned and headed for the door to see herself out.

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