Paradigm Shift 14

Park had at least given him a shiv blade he'd be able to use if he had to. There wasn't a lot of science behind it and he figured that even he could manage to punch a hole in someone's gut if they got too handsy. Park hadn't trusted him with any kind of projectile weapon though, which he thought would be more useful, but beggars couldn't be choosers.

Gregor shifted to fit more comfortably in the little hidey hole. They were inside the partition between their balcony and the next. It was a narrow space they'd barely fit into, but there had been no time to find a better hiding spot.

Before the Horde had come to take them away, Zero and the bodyguards had rearranged the chairs to help conceal Gregor and Park before sliding the boards back into place. A Third would be a treat for the Horde, but a Magister to torture and kill would almost be as good.

Gregor was surprised Zero had been so brave, but the guy hadn't even asked to hide too. He'd known the Horde would be looking for him specifically--the heir to the Duadenora Family was big news--and everyone had seen his arrival. Still, there hadn't been even a hint of wistfulness on Zero's face as he tucked them inside.

It was just lucky the Duadenora were too paranoid to advertise they were wooing a Third, or there was no way Gregor could be hidden. As it was, if Zero kept a cool head he'd be ransomed with the rest of the wealthy theater goers, no physical harm done.

"Can you see anything?" Gregor asked in a whisper.

Park reached out in the darkness to pat Gregor's hand in what was probably supposed to be a soothing manner. "Sh. There's not much happening yet. I think they're waiting for the negotiator."

Park had used some mysterious tool to bore a hole he could look through, though he refused to let Gregor see. Considering all the
screaming and disturbing sounds earlier, Gregor wasn't too upset about not catching a peek.

He shifted around again. It was tight and dark in their hidey hole and his tuxedo felt constricting and uncomfortable. The once perfect fit now made him want to rip his clothes off so he could breathe.

"Um, is this a good time to mention that the suppressants have started wearing off and I might be going into heat soon?" he asked, glad the darkness hid his expression.

Still, he could *feel* that he'd captured Park's complete attention. "What?"

"Yeah, it's kind of happening as we speak, but as the doctor said, once the suppressants leave my system I'm gonna have a whopper of a heat." Gregor huffed a laugh that sounded more like a choked sob, but his body was betraying him and he didn't know how to stop it. "I'm actually pretty scared."

There was a drawn out moment of silence. "It's going to be all right," Park finally said. "We're going to get out of here and go back home and everything will be fine."

"Do you promise?"

"I never promise," Park said. "I just swear to do my best."


Gregor clutched the shiv in one hand while he wrapped his arms around himself. He wasn't going to mention it aloud, but Park was beginning to smell really good to him.

It wasn't a good sign.