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Title OOC Date IC Date Location Cast
Turn Away Bright Eyes

Title: Turn Away Bright-Eyes
Date: October 15, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Grimm's bounty hunt takes him to Phoenix's territory. Tallulah ruins the night with her sunshine-y friendliness!

Night comes early in the autumn time, when just a few weeks since the harvest moon, Luna's eye only just starts to open again. The forest is darker than usual because of the new moon. Normally, this is not the time for wolves to hunt; this is instead the time of Owl and Rat's evening dance, for Raccoon's stealthy paws. For most wolves, this is the time when the pack rests. But Garou are not wolves. And one Garou, known to the humans as Grimm, known to the lupus as Long-Shadow, is hunting.

And his prey doesn't know. Three men breathlessly slog through the leaf covered dirt towards a campfire lit in the middle of the forest, their solar lanterns bobbing brightly as fireflies and casting their shadows up against the bark of the trees. One man tends the fire while another lounges against his travel pack with his leg propped over his knee, picking idly at something stuck between his teeth. Their guns lay within arms' reach, but nothing has alarmed them to the idea they're being watched. Good.

Unfortunately for them, little do they know that their fire sits on the edges of the territory of another monster. It's for this reason that Long-Shadow has stopped in the darkness, waiting.

Monsters are plentiful in this world, to the despair of many unwitting human. An enormous, dark shape moves stealthily towards the group, mixing with the shadows of the night forest. He approaches not the fire, but the hunting Garou, staying low and hidden from the humans, but not hiding himself from the Long-Shadow. The pony-sized wolf moves without fear, though his posture isn't aggressive. He's curious it seems, watching for Long-Shadow's reaction to an intrusion on his hunt.

So stealth. Much dark. Awoo.

But you know who's not stealth? It's Bright-Eyes. The scrawny blue-eyed wolf wanders into the men's camp, right into the firelight, with all the stealth and cunning of a happy puppy. Her tongue lolls and her tail wags as she looks around at the guys like, HEY GUYS, HOW'S IT GOIN :D

Didn't Phoenix leave her back at the Sept Cabana? why didn't she stay there, oh my god

It was almost the right moment. That moment when the three patrolling scouts return to their camp, could have been just the right time to spook the herd. But no. Grimm turns an ear toward the larger approaching wolf. His head dips between his shoulders, shrinking his silhouette to a neutral, unchallenging acknowledgment of Phoenix's presence. For a long moment, he doesn't look directly at the bigger wolf, instead still watching the men and their camp. Which is how, and why, his head shoots back up in alarm when Bright-Eyes bounds right up to the camp without a fear. Or an inkling of who she's approached.

The trio of men sling off their weapons by the fire eagerly - long has their patrol been - and "uneventful" by the report. "Good," says the lounging man without so much as an uncrossing of his leg. "We'll break camp at dawn and start toward Larimar, should get there by fiv- what the!?" The fawn-colored wolf bursting onto the scene tail a'waggin' throws everybody off. Even the man who speaks, who rolls away from the canine and grabs for his gun to point it towards Bright-Eyes. The others scramble, but they soon realize she's not attacking. "Uh… hey girl?" ventures one of the patrolmen.

Phoenix dips his head in return to Grimm's acknowledgement, pressing himself low to the ground to stay hidden from the prey, one ear turned towards them. He's opening his mouth to give the wolf a quiet greeting… but then there's a familiar wolf bounding into the clearing. His head jerks up, and all that calm confidence is gone as his whole body goes rigid, his lips curling in a quiet snarl. Gaia dammit, Bright-Eyes…

Still, the Ahroun stays frozen, watching the group to see what they do.

As soon as the gun's out, Bright-Eyes jerks back, ears going back and fear rippling through her posture. She may be missing memories, but she's not an idiot. She knows exactly what that is. She lets out a little whine — I was just saying hi ;-; — but when it seems they're not going to shoot, her nervousness retreats a little. Her head and body posture dips, she licks her nose nervously, her tail wagging slightly near her legs. No harm! Just hellos!

Ears pushed forward, Grimm remains sitting and still as he assesses the scene before him. Patience resettles like a blanket on the philodox as it becomes clear the men in the camp aren't about to fill Bright-Eyes full of bullet holes. ~It would be their undoing if they hurt her,~ he rumbles to Phoenix in a very matter-of-factly observation. For several reasons than just the fact that the men don't seem to realize what Bright-Eyes is. ~Your packmate?~ he then inquires to the ahroun.

Inside the camp, the majority of the men appear to be less nervous once they see the friendly, entreating Bright-Eyes. The leader's gun lowers to point toward the ground, but it remains out and unholstered. The friendliest patrolman slowly lowers down to a knee, holding out a gloved hand for Bright-Eyes to sniff at. "There's a good girl," he says lightly. "How'd you know it's a girl?" one of the patrolmen ask the other. He just gets a look from the man, like Really?

Phoenix growls his assent to Grimm, sounding like a semi truck idling. He snorts quietly, creeping behind a bush to peek over at the gathering. ~Not my packmate. A… cub I've met.~ And feels responsibility for, for some weird reason. Which might be obvious by his aggressive posture and how he tenses when one of the men reaches for Bright-Eyes. You better not hurt her! >8E

Bright-Eyes seems to relax more and more as they don't seem too aggressive, her posture lightening up until her tail is wagging again and she paws at the man happily. ~Are you part of the Sept?~ she asks brightly, sniffing all over his glove and then licking his palm. ~Are you a ragabash? I only know ragabash. Wait! No, I know Ahroun too. Phoenix is an Ahroun! I don't know what I am.~ Growlrowrlwrorawrrlwrrlr.

~Your cub is in the company of dangerous men,~ Grimm remarks to Phoenix before the larger wolf creeps to a bush. The Talon opens his jaws in a wide yawn to loosen up, and he adds, ~Their leader is my prey tonight. But now…~ He trails the thought, looking over to the big wolf with a quirk of his head. It's up to him now.

And, who knew the Garou Mother Tongue was so hilarious to humans who don't understand it? The growling 'talking' amuses the friendly man who doesn't reply with anything that sounds like he understands her. "Where did you come from, hm?" He reaches out more to give her a quick scritch on her head. "Alright alright," scoffs the leader once he watches the interaction. "Everyone who isn't playin' with his new bitch, secure the product and then get the fuck to bed. We're heading out first light." The men laugh at the expense of their peer, but the orders do get them to move on to do other tasks.

~She is kind of dumb,~ Phoenix replies, relaxing as the men move off to perform other tasks. His muscles uncoil, though he doesn't take his eyes off the man petting Bright-Eyes. ~Why do you hunt them? Especially into another Garou's territory?~ he asks Grimm. Not a threat, just an acknowledgement.

Bright-Eyes cants her head, leaning into the scritches with a happy chuff and a wagging tail. She then looks at the others, sniffing after them and following them around the camp with a happy loll of her tongue. ~What are you guys doing? What's the product? Is it food? I'm hungry. I got lost and I can't find home again. Are you gonna feed me?~ As if on cue, her stomach rumbles.

What's worse: that she just walked up to these strange men and started talking Mother's Tongue? Or that she's like 10 feet away from Grimm and Sky and doesn't even notice them or smell them? Some wolf she is.

Grimm rises from his seated position to all fours, his tail lifting with interest when the men start to move. Though he reserves judgment on the ahroun's observation of the cub, he is quick to answer on his reasons. ~Other humans made the request to stop the men. They do not hunt for themselves. So, they ask for a hunter to bring them the prey. This group brings poison powder to the city.~ He turns to stare at the ahroun, adding seriously, ~But. I do not wish to intrude. So I wait for them to move away from your land.~

It's almost as if the man understands her! Or maybe he's just going through the motions of pet care, smiling and reacting to the happy tongue and tail wagging and the stomach grumbling. "Oh, are you hungry, girl? Here, let's see…" He digs around in one of his utility belt pockets, producing a paper wrapped packet that he rips open the top of and pushes out a block of something that smells like a protein bar. Nutty, sweet, and why would any wolf eat it oh god. The other men busy themselves with hoisting a tarp over some packed boxes wrapped with rope and tape, unmarked and set in the middle of the camp where it's clearly visible that this is the product they're moving. The leader oversees this, but stares into the shadows past the fire's reach now, scanning the darkness watchfully.

Phoenix's tense attention turns to Grimm briefly, nonplussed by his explanation. That's it? They're poisoning other humans? Pffft… ~Hunt your prey, you have my blessing. But do not let Bright-Eyes be hurt.~ He turns away from the Talon, starting to circle the camp, keeping an eye on his ersatz ward. He's staying close, ready to leap to her aid if she needs the help. He's not very good at being stealthy, though…

~Don't eat that, Stink-Bug,~ he groans, ~That's gross human food, blech.~

Bright-Eyes, true to her name, brightens up and bites at the protein bar. She's careful not to nip his hands, caution in her half-delicate bites as her tail wags. And then, as if this indignity couldn't get any worse, she flops over on her back and shows her belly, tail thumping. Bellyrubs please!!

Though with her head tilted comically back, she finally catches sight of the other lupus…es. Lupi? Lupusususus. Her tongue flops out of her mouth in a happy smile. ~Sky!~ she exclaims. ~I made a new friend! And I had a bar! You should ask for one too.~

The Talon grunts an affirmative to the ahroun's reaction, obviously not bothered by the big wolf's response. Perhaps even agreeing with it. And with that permission given, it's all the signal Grimm needs. The Talon shifts through his forms, going from wolf to near-man in a short span of time. It's in this form that he approaches the camp.

"Atta girl, you got it, here." The man gives her the whole bar(!) and he even gives the bellyrubs as requested. "You know, you could stop playing around with that dog and give us a hand here," calls one of the men as he kicks a stake in to the ground. The deep growling rumble and hulking form of Phoenix catches the stake-kicking man's attention though, and his eyes go wide. "Fuck!" he yelps, scrambling back and tripping on the tarp rope, falling onto his backside. The men look toward Phoenix collectively, alerted like a herd. The leader also turns, and though he bites back a yelp as well, he doesn't hide a colorful swear as he lifts his gun to point to the huge lupus. And it's in that moment that Grimm lunges.

Phoenix freezes like a statue when he's spotted by not one, but two people at once. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck fuckeroonie. He stares back at the collective men, his eyes shining yellow in the fire light, a monster of a beast lurking in the shadows. Yeah, not at all comforting.

When the leader raises his gun at Phoenix, the wolf lets out what sounds like a roar at the gunman, but sounds like Mother's Tongue to the Garou. ~Stink-Bug! Get out of there now!~ He charges into the camp, hulking up into his Dire Wolf form as he goes, growing to the size of a horse.

All of Bright-Eyes' enthusiasm gutters when she sees the men threatening Phoenix. ~NO!~ she yelps, scrambling to her paws and leaping in the way of the gun's muzzle, as though her tiny wolf body could protect Phoenix. Which, of course, it can't, and which is … possibly … why she changes. She surges up to her own hispo form, snarling in frantic panic, backing up to protect Phoenix — and then rounding as Grimm makes the scene. PANIC!! STRANGE WOLF

Just like that, the peacefulness of the forest is interrupted with the thunderous roar from the direwolves and gunfire. The pistol in the leader's hand barks out a shot that goes wide, missing the fawn-colored hispo(!) that jumps in the way, nevertheless dwarfed by the giant black monster-wolf behind her. Grimm manages to punch the leader hard enough to send him reeling before the others get their wits about them, confused shouting happening as the camp falls under attack. The friendly man is no longer friendly, but frightened and grabbing his shotgun as he scrambles up to his feet.

~Stink-Bug, no! Get out of… here?~ Phoenix is given pause as the poor, dumb, little baby he was trying to save instead turns into a poor, dumb, BIG baby. Since when can she shift??

But there's no time to think as there are weapons being turned on the group. The poor guy going for the shotgun gets the briefest sight of a car-sized wolf leaping at him, before Phoenix's teeth bury in his arm holding the shotgun. There's a sickening crunch of bone, and the man is left standing with just a bleeding wound at the shoulder, and his arm is hanging mangled out of Phoenix's jaw.

The Ahroun drops the arm and roars ferociously. ~SUBMIT NOW IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!~

Big Dumb Baby's eyes are rolling in panic, every fur puffed out like a dandelion. And when the guy's arm gets ripped off, she lets out a screeching bark, pedaling backwards toward the trees with her ears flat. ~NO KILLING NO KILLING,~ she wails, now backed up against a tree as she watches one Hispo fuckin' wreck a dude, and one Glabro punch another dude out.

Grimm's focus is on the leader at the moment, but it doesn't mean he's unaware of the carnage that ensues near him. His Glabro-sized hands clamp on the man's pistol wielding hand while the other covers the man's mouth, grappling the smaller human. Meanwhile the other men are focused on Phoenix, being the biggest, scariest, monstrous being that's just torn off the arm of one of the men and left him bleeding on the leaf-covered ground. Of the remaining three men, though, two of them lose their nerve and turn to flee, and the last one fires at the giant hispo out of sheer terror.

Phoenix turns on the other men, bloodlust in his yellow eyes, saliva dripping from his jaws as he roars at them, ready to tear them apart for daring to attack him! But Bright-Eyes' cry gets him to falter, and he turns an ear back at her, glancing back at the terrified cub. He looks back just in time to see a gun trained on him, and in the instant the man pulls the trigger, the huge Hispo is darting in, jaws wrapping around the man's arm again as it fires blindly into the trees.

The poor gunman is overrun by the huge Garou, and he stares up into the jaws of death as Phoenix holds his arm in sharp teeth, growling angrily.

Bright-Eyes is cowering, flattened against the tree, eye whites bright rings around her irises. She is one big puppy. ~Please be good, please don't kill, please no more blood no more no more please no more!~ She's shaking, and she's one hair trigger away from foxing.

The scents of urine and feces, gunsmoke and woodfire, blood and fear create a potent mix in the air. The rifle shot rings out and ricochets somewhere into the trees and brush. The man's scream as the black hispo closes the distance in an instant sounds shrill in the blood-pounding rush in the ahroun's skull. It's the scream of prey, familiar and harsh all at once. Even in miraculous moment where Phoenix doesn't manage to tear the man to pieces, the gunman faints dead away, swooned by shock. Seconds pass, no more gunfire sounding out, no more roars of direwolves. In the light of the scattered fire, the friendly man gasps for breath, still alive but his heartbeat and pulse weakening with every beat that drips blood out of his grossly amputated limb's socket. Into the firelight, Grimm steps back in from the shadows, his Glabro expression as serious as his namesake. The leader of the group isn't in his arms now. He takes a look at the dying man, looming over him. ~Take the cub away,~ he advises the ahroun.

When the gunman faints away, Phoenix lets his arm go, his whole being quivering with the urge to hunt, to kill, the feel a prey's life end beneath his jaws. But he holds back, turning back to Bright-Eyes now that the battle has ended. His ears turn back, and he noses towards her. ~No killing. No more blood. It's done.~

When Grimm gives Phoenix that command, the Ahroun's eyes turn harshly on the man, and he snarls like he's about to snap in anger. But a moment later, he quells himself, snorting in agreement. He turns back to Bright-Eyes, taking a step towards her. ~Come. You don't want to see this.~

Bright-Eyes is quivering, tail latched against her belly, eyes rolled up toward Phoenix, every breath exhaling in a whine. But she manages to bob her head in a tight nod, skittering toward him and hiding under his bulk, letting him lead her away from the scene. Poor scared puppy. She doesn't know what to do with herself.||||||||
Whatever Lula Wants

Title: Whatever Lula Wants
Date: October 1, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: A group goes to discover the mystery that is Bright-Eyes Chicharronita the First.

The journey for Forest-Smell has taken them into the depths of the woods around the outer edge of the Maw-Sit-Sit crater. The greenery is thick and lush, the animals quieting at the presence of predators, but Bright-Eyes doesn't seem to mind. She's sniffing along the ground, leading her companions along behind her on a meandering, confused search.

~Ummm… this way,~ she says, for the twenty-sixth time. ~I think that smells like wolves. Do you think that smells like wolves?~ It does not smell like wolves.

~I think our whole group smells like wolves,~ Trouble replies, grumbling quietly as he follows the fawn-colored wolf while she tries to retrace her steps. The darker furred wolf occasionally sniffs at the air, and any one can see that his hackles are up. The ragabash is on edge, but he slinks along quietly as they travel. ~I'm getting a bad feeling about this…~

"Not me," Bel notes to Jason's observation, "I smell like cop." By her tone, it's hard to say that she thinks it's a better smell. "Chicha," she says, to Bright-Eyes, nickname funneling into an even more nicknamey nickname, "what do you remember about where you last saw Forest-Smell?" It's a cop question, because the cop might be ready to try something different than wandering around for hours. "Was there any running water? Were the trees dense or sparce? Bird song or not? Anything smell interesting besides the wolf himself?"

In the not-so-far distance, upwind from the trio of explorers, is the dark silhouette of another wolf loping along and headed in their relative direction. It's Light-Chaser in lupus, and he doesn't seem to have noticed them despite their scents carrying toward him, and instead has stopped to sniff at a patch of leaf litter at the base of a tree. Sniff, sniff. Ooh, mushrooms.

Bright-Eyes perks her ears and looks back at Bel eagerly, tail tip wagging. ~There was a river! We took a bath. I was covered in wyld stink and city smell. And the trees were really close together, but still wide enough for Forest-Smell to walk through. He was very big! I don't remember bird song, or other interesting smells. I could only smell the city because I was covered in it.~ She rears up to sniff at a tree trunk curiously, then hops down again and lopes forward and back a few times. Excitable puppy!

But on one of her successive forward-and-backs, she halts, fur puffing out as she freezes. ~Wolf!~ she yelps, before launching into a volley of barking in Light-Chaser's direction.

Trouble snorts in amusement at Bel's remarks, and even turns his head to bump his nose against her thigh, making a big show of sniffing her over. ~Mmmm… yup, smells like bacon! Man, now I'm hungry.~ When Bright-Eyes spots that extra wolf, though, Trouble puffs up as well, freezing and starting to grow into Hispo on reflex. But he stops himself, holding still for a bit to let himself calm down. ~Is it Forest-Smell?~

Taking in Bright-Eyes' description with a tilt of her head, Bel is quiet for a moment as she mentally works out possible locations. Her fingers drum out a quiet beat against her cheek before something seems to hit her. She turns to look at the new wolf, chuckling a little before she waves off both their barking and puffing. "That's just Tariq," she says when she gets eyes on the wolf. She crouches next to Bright-Eyes, shifting her attention by pointing her in a more specific direction. Something to bring them closer to the nearest river. "Try that way," she notes, with a gentle smile.

It'd probably be hard to tell that Tariq smells like the forest beyond being present in current, actual forest. It's the barking that gets his attention, and the dark-furred wolf pops his head up to stare at the trio at first. Triangle ears perk forward in recognition, and a pink tongue peeks out from between his jaws. Breaking off from mushroom hunting, he trots forward to join the group, his form shifting from wolf to man as he goes. "Hey you three!" he greets as he closes the distance. "Here for the grand tour?"

BARK BARK BAoh. Bright-Eyes smooths down and gallops forward to greet Tariq with a happy sniff-over. ~Oh! It's not Forest-Smell,~ she says to Jason. ~It's Light-Chaser! Hello, Light-Chaser!~ she crows happily. ~Tour of what? I like tours! I think. What's a tour?~ And then she romps back to Bel and wags. ~Okay!~ she says cheerfully, turning to lead them away from the towering cliffside paths and toward the river in the distance. ~Where's the bacon, Trouble? I'm hungry too.~

Trouble relaxes when Light-Chaser arrives, approaching the other Garou to greet him with sniffs, and together they head off through the woods at Bright-Eyes' heels. ~We're going to find the mysterious Garou Bright-Eyes keeps talking about,~ Trouble informs the newcomer, his gait long and easy. Bright-Eyes' question makes him chuff in amusement. ~Ask Bel. She's the one who knows all the pigs.~

They don't travel for very long before the trees do get denser, and the sound of a river starts to filter out over the treetops. Everything is going fine until the wind shifts, and suddenly the three wolves catch the scent of other wolves. Trouble stiffens, stopping so fast anyone behind him plows right into him. ~… Bright-Eyes, you said Forest-Smell was big, right? How big, exactly?~ The ragabash's tail is tucked, his ears laying back. He looks like he's getting ready to bolt.

"Not exactly," Bel says to Tariq's question, but since Jason explains it better, she gestures his way instead of adding to it. And when Bright-Eyes heads in the new direction, Bel follows with her. But Jason manages to get her to look back. "Are you calling me a pig, Trouble?" Eyes narrow. Arms fold. The cop of the group is possibly… Not Amused. But it doesn't keep her from the task at hand, and she doesn't mark the shift in wind until Jason speaks up again. She pauses and turns, not pulling her gun out yet, but her hand hovers. She, oddly enough, does not look ready to bolt. The opposite, in fact.

And Tariq has Joined the Party! "Hello to you, Bright-Eyes," Tariq greets the enthused fawn-furred wolf with dirty hands scratching roughly at her head. At her question of what's a tour, he just laughs. "I was playin', Chicha. But you'd like tours, I bet." Not that he gets the chance to explain, because she's already bounced back to the others. When Trouble explains their mission objective, Tariq utters a short 'oh' and furrows his brow briefly as he tries to recall if he's run across any others. "I don't think I've seen any other Garou around here," admits the theurge once he has a moment. And then Trouble makes that remark about Bel and Tariq's brows jump up, mouth forming an 'oooh' - not because of the burn, but because of the Look that comes out on Bel's features. He knows that look. It's not a good look for the one it's directed at. But there's nothing further to be said when the ragabash notes the scent of other wolves. He pauses in stride, almost bumping the new-moon. "Did any of you say this mystery wolf was part of the sept, and I missed it?" he stage-whispers to the three.

Bright-Eyes sniffs the air, and sniffs again, and then starts wagging furiously. ~Yes! He was very big! His wolf friend jumped off his head into the river! And I think that's Forest-Smell!~ Unlike Trouble and Bel, she's all wags and happy unconcern. Hopping from leg to leg, she throws back her head and lets loose a howl. ~Forest-Smell-Big-Wolf, I come to visit!~

Normally, when Bel gives Jason that Look, he returns the most shit-eating grin he can manage. But not today. The wolf is full hackles, trying to make himself as small as possible. ~Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap… We've never met him before, but if it is who I think it is… I need to get out of he—~

He's cut off by the movement of shapes in the underbrush before them. Two wolves advance from out of the forest, heads low and lips pulled back in warning snarls. Their body posture is clear: You're on our territory. But the notable wolf is the Hispo coming out of the woods behind them. He has the same posture as the wolves in front of him, low and threatening. But… no, that's not a hispo. That's just a lupus that's the size of a small horse.

~Trouble-maker,~ he growls, low and warning, ~I told you the next time I caught you on my territory, I'd kill you. Do you have a death wish?~

Trouble presses his belly to the ground, letting out a plaintive whine.

Watching the raggie start to freak out, Bel watches the trees, waiting for the worst case scenario to pop out. Who knows what she was exprecting, but it seems Big-Ass Lupus wasn't it, because she lets out a bit of a sigh and eases her stance. Probably not a good idea to look like a threat at this moment, even if she is just a kin. She glances to Trouble, then to Bright-Eyes, then back in the general direction of the giant wolf. "We didn't intend to tresspass," she says, her tone sincerely apologetic. "Belen Mejia, Heart Guardian Kinfolk," she notes, as an introduction. "We were hoping to find some answers about our girl here," she says with a gesture to Bright-Eyes, "we understand you helped her out. She doesn't seem to remember herself." That's right, the kin is stepping into this one.

In a way, Tariq also gets pulled in two emotional directions between Bright-Eyes' eager visitor's howl and then Trouble's fearful posture. The two snarling wolves that emerge first from the wood trip his internal urges, pulling up his shoulders in a human hunch. But when the huge wolf comes out, so do Tariq's eyes bulge a bit in disbelief before he regains his composure enough to step forward. Tactically speaking, he's put himself between the ragabash and the angry giant. ~Yes, we are here to visit. I am Light-Chaser of the Star Children. Greetings to you and your pack, Brother,~ he adds in a rough approximation of the Mother's Tongue using his human voicebox. Tariq keeps it simple for now, gauging the pack's overall demeanor.

~It's you! Forest-Smell-Big-Wolf! I was right!~ exclaims Bright-Eyes excitedly. But then as she notes the tension, her tail slows slightly, her head canting. And then her tail tucks and she scurries back a step or two, hunching down low. ~P-please don't kill Trouble… h-he didn't know…~ Oh, no, the most pathetic. She slinks behind Bel, whimpering softly, letting Tariq try to battle this one out semantically.

The giant wolf's snarl settles out a little bit when Trouble's friends and grudging acquaintances step forward. His ears turn up to Bel and Tariq, and he steps /over/ one of the wolves in front of him to sniff them over. It's a bit unsettling to be facing a wolf that's nearly as tall as you are. But eventually he dips his head at them in greeting. ~I am Tears-The-Sky-Asunder. Full moon of the Earth Rangers, and this is my territory. Consider yourselves welcome. Well…~ He turns why might be considered a baleful look on the cowering ragabash. ~Almost all of you.~

The two other wolves are circling around them, taking a hint from their alpha and their posture settling out. One goes about sniffing all around Tariq and Bel curiously, while the other sniffs at Bright-Eyes, her ears perking up in recognition. Hi hi!

Bright-Eyes' request gets a tilt of the big wolf's head, and he looks between the three of them thoughtfully. ~I made a vow to kill the ragabash should he enter my territory again. You would have me break this vow? Explain why this is something I should do.~

~Maybe because I'm so damn pretty?~ Trouble remarks, but he's silenced with a growl from the big wolf.

Watching him casually stride right over the other wolf, Bel's eyes widen for a moment. It's brief, but clear to anyone paying attention. She stands still for the sniffing over, although her eyes close until he backs off some. "Thank you for your hospitality," Bel says, as if he weren't excluding one of their little group. Maybe she missed that part. "He only came with a mind to help her," Bel says, as far as why Jason might be granted a stay of execution. "None of us knew whose territory we were coming to, or I imagine he would have stayed back." She glances to Jason there. You would have, right, Jason? "None of us meant to disturb your territory. But, for Bright-Eyes, we had to come and try to glean what we could. Maybe help her remember something about herself." She glances to Jason, maybe just trying to keep an eye on him, but when she turns back, her voice lowers. "I understand she was collared when you found her," she says with no small amount of concern on her words.

A full moon, that explains… so much. The glance Tariq turns on Jason when the ragabash continues to be, well, himself, says a lot too, though really it's more wonderment at the Howler. "Thank you for the permission, Ranger. Though it would be best to leave the troublemaker be. The new-moons are meant to test us," he says carefully, turning back to Phoenix. "And clearly, your vigilance about your territory is as strong as your body and pack." The theurge doesn't appear bothered by the close proximity of the wolves sniffing him. "But, it would also be hard to explain to the Alpha's friends who like this newmoon why his pieces are scattered across your territory." When in doubt, name drop, right? "Crees el va a matar este hombre lobo, Bel?" Tariq adds quietly to Bel as he tries to appear calm.

Bright-Eyes straightens just a little when the she-wolf approaches, sniffing and licking at her in greeting. Hi back! But then her bright blue eyes turn back to Sky and she licks her chops nervously. Adding to what Bel says, ~This one asked him to help me find you,~ she says uncertainly. ~I didn't remember where you lived and I didn't know your name. He came to help, but it wasn't until now that he realized who we were hunting, and he was ready to leave quickly.~ She bellies down and crawls toward him a step or two, ears flat. ~Please,~ she whispers, trying to swallow down the panic clawing at her throat. He can smell the fear stench. ~No killing. Please.~

~You would make me an Oathbreaker because of your ignorance?~ Tears-The-Sky-Asunder growls, his volume rising with a surge of anger. But he tamps down on his rage, listening to all of them speak. Tariq's words make his ears flick, and he regards the groveling Bright-Eyes before him, before giving his head a shake, growling with annoyance.

~Fine. For you, City-Stink. But my oath is still stands. If I see him on my territory again…~

~Noted! Duly noted.~ Trouble starts backing away, step by careful step from the group, head still turned submissively, ~Not gonna come back again. You are magnanimous, Tears-The-Sky-Asunder-rhya. And… honorable and strong and really sexy in a no-homo kind of way and… um."

Trouble pauses… Then whirls about and takes off at top speed back the way they came. The other Garou barely get time to tense before he's disappeared completely. The two wolves perk up in confusion, and hurry to where the ragabash was and start sniffing around, searching for any hint of the interloper's presence.

The big wolf just snorts and shakes his head in annoyance, and all the tension goes out of him as he regards the group. ~Yes,~ he growls at Bel, ~She had a collar on her neck. It was tight, and it was hurting her. I tried to clean her wounds, but she ran first. Come.~ He turns and starts to walk slowly off into the forest. ~I will show it to you.~

Bel looks at Tariq at his question, and she notes, "Nadie quiere un incidente." Which is to say, she thinks they have a good chance of talking him out of killing things. This time. And as it plays out and Jason takes off, Bel looks after him for a moment before whispering dryly to Tariq, "Podria haber tomado un solo bocado." But then she turns her attetion back to Asunder and nods to his offer. "Thank you, that would be a big help," she says as she moves to follow him.

Tariq lifts a hand, palm up in that supposed universal sign of peace… only to facepalm with the ragabash's placating phraseology. And let's be honest, he's also hiding the amused smile behind his fingers when Bel replies. Tariq sobers when there's mention of a collar, casting a glance to Bright-Eyes' neck and then back to the kin. He's about to say something but doesn't as Phoenix leads them off into the forest to find the offending object.

Bright-Eyes lets out a soft sigh of relief, tail starting to twitch a little in the direction of a wag. She trembles slightly at the near miss and shakes herself off, head low as she follows. Tariq gets a look at her bare neck, though the fur is starting to grow back! And the telltale silver burn has scabbed over and is healing! She'll be a whole wolf again in no time.

Still, they're heading off toward the collar and she skitters up closer to Sky to sniff at his heels. ~Thank you, Tears-the-Sky-Asunder-rhya,~ she says, apparently having picked up the honoriffic from Jason. ~What's a ragabash?~

~An asshole,~ Tears-The-Sky-Asunder replies sardonically, taking long, slow strides as he leads them further into the forest. He turns a baleful look towards Tariq. ~How can she have been with others and not know the auspices yet?~

Bel can't help it, Asunder's answer makes her laugh. It's a brief sound, like an amused bark, fittingly. "She's only been with us a few days. I think she's learning about the ragabash first hand, though."

Where Bel lets out a short laugh, Tariq clears his throat to keep from echoing the kin's sound. "We have as many questions are you do," he covers, stepping beside Bright-Eyes as the wolf gets closer to the giant ahroun. "And there is no need to rush in our search for the answers to them."

~Trouble-rhya was trying to teach me, but…~ Bright-Eyes trails off, slowing to a stop for a moment before trotting after him again. ~I think… I blacked out? I don't remember.~ She chuffs softly and sniffs at a passing plant. ~Wait, someone called me a ragabash once!~ And she's all sad and offended now. She's not an asshole! :C

~Gaia help her, then,~ Asunder says to Bel, his tail swaying in very slight amusement. He gives Tariq a sideways look as the man walks alongside him, and the big wolf gives a low chuff. ~The sooner you get your answers, the sooner you are off my territory. That is enough reason for me to hurry.~ And yet he still ambles. "Hurry" must mean a different thing to a lupus.

Bright-Eyes' remark makes the big Ahroun chuff in amusement. ~No, you are not. Ragabash are the new moons of the Garou. Like I am a full moon. It means he is a trickster and a thief by nature. Trouble-yuf is just moreso than most.~

"Of course. We don't wish to overstay our welcome," Bel says, and looks over at Tariq with a shake of her head. Freaking chillax star children. She keeps her pace in time with the Ahroun, though she might seem more eager to get this done than the others. "You'll learn about all the moons, Chicha, and the tribes, too. Maybe we'll be able to find out what you were born to, too. If not, I believe there's a whole ritual to ask the spirits to sort of… adopt you." She looks to Tariq, her expression questioning this time.

Tariq turns his eyes up to the canopy of densely grown trees only to remark, "Yes don't worry. Each one of us is like so. The trees grow close, but they do not bully each other. Auspices, named for the moon we were born under, let us grow in our own way. Each of us spreads out, and together we cover the spaces the others do not." Freakin' Star Children indeed! When he 'comes back down to earth', Tariq blinks at Bel and bobs his curly-haired head in a nod. "We'll see what they say. I have a good feeling."

Bright-Eyes takes all of this in with a good-natured wag, looking between them. ~So you don't know what my 'auspice' is?~ she asks, garbling the word a little. ~But we can find out?~ She lopes forward again. ~I hope I'm a good moon. I want to be helpful. Even if I'm still a lost wolf.~

The way Bright-Eyes bounces about seems to be the first thing to get anything like a smile out of Asunder. However much wolves can smile, that is. ~Let us hope, little one. If you can speak to the spirits for her sake, Light-Chaser-yuf…~ Tears-The-Sky-Asunder pauses, and sighs. ~I would be grateful.~

The ahroun leads them up to a boulder, probably a good 500 pounds. He braces his head against it, and with a grunt, rolls it out of its shallow hole. Underneath, in a smaller divot, sits a sad, dirty, broken collar. The ahroun steps back and sits down. ~Take it. If it will help, it is better in your hands than in a hole in the forest.~

The collar is old, dirty leather — though what color it once was is now lost beneath dried blood, stuck fur, and grime. The inside of the collar is lined with a strip of silver which is also covered in blood and flesh and fur. Dangling from the D-ring, there's a dented, pitted, rusted tag that's missing pieces, and while there was a name on it once, all that can be read now is "Lul" — maybe "Lula"? "Lulu"?

"Oh my god, Tariq," Bel says with a warm chuckle for the hippy child. But she turns to Bright-Eyes to note, "It'll be a good moon, because it'll be yours. Don't worry. We can definitely find out." She watches the Ahroun with a tilt of her head as he moves a giant freaking boulder, but she's also the first to come peer into the divot when he steps back. And she's also the one pick it up, because she's the one here who isn't allergic to silver. But, instead of just grabbing it, the kin pulls out a thin glove and a large evidence bag that she cracks open. Call it habit. She takes the collar with a gloved hand and slides it into the bag before sealing it up. Blood, fur, grime, it's all Evidence. "If we find who did this to her," she says to the ahroun, "you want to hear about it?" She's maybe not saying outright that she's giving the garou killing rights before she takes any legal action, but that's what she's saying. If you know what I'm saying.

"What? What did I say?" Tariq replies with a shrug of his shoulders. He has a smile right back for the kin's answer to the fawn wolf's question. "And always good to listen to the kin," he comments offhandedly as he watches Phoenix roll the huge boulder aside. The theurge's eyebrows twitch up and he approaches after Bel to also look down into the divot. The flash of sunlight against the moon-metal pulls the man's lips into a straight, thin line. "Bel…" he starts, but doesn't push on the matter. Instead, he holds a hand out for the evidence bag with intent to look it over more closely.

When the collar is lifted up, Bright-Eyes shies away, backing up a few steps to peek from behind Sky's trunk-like legs. ~My moon,~ she agrees softly with Bel, averting her eyes. ~I don't like the thing. Get rid of it? Throw it away? Please.~ She flops on her belly, paws up over her muzzle with a little whine.

Asunder watches Bel with a flat affect, eyes tracking that collar warily. When Bel asks him that, his ears pin back and he shows his teeth. ~Only if you want that person dead before the next sunset.~ He licks his nose, schooling himself back to calm again. So much for subtlety.

~You're safe now, little Stink-Bug. You won't have to wear the collar ever again. But maybe someone else will…~

Bel passes the bag over to Tariq when he holds his hand out, even though she didn't get to fill out the form on the front, goooosh. Her eyes don't leave Asunder, though. "I'll keep it in mind." It's only then that she looks over to Bright-Eyes. "We're going to get rid of it, promise. You never have to see it again."

Taking the unmarked (sorry not sorry Bel) evidence bag, Tariq studies construction of the collar and the dented tag to glean what he can make of the name. "Lu… Lula?" But his tone changes from mild confusion to sympathy at the whine from the cub. "Sorry Chicha. Here." He passes the bag back to Bel, certainly not wanting to hang on to even that bit of silver. Turning back to the ahroun then, he dips his head in gratitude. "You have our thanks, brother. Should find yourself in need of a theurge, send word my way." The favor noted, he looks back to Bel and Bright-Eyes expectantly, now that they've gotten a few answers, but opened up a bunch more questions.

~I'm not a Stink-Bug, YOU'RE a Stink-Bug,~ Bright-Eyes teases Asunder easily. Still, one ear twitches at the name and she blinks slightly at Tariq, her paws falling away uncertainly to the ground. ~Wait, that… sounds familiar?~ she hazards hesitantly. She looks between the three companions, ears flicking back.

Asunder bows his head back to Tariq's offer. ~I thank you. If you are able to help little Stink-Bug, then I would offer a favor to you. If you ever have need of muscle at your back.~

He gives the first hint of a smile at Bright-Eyes' teasing, his tongue lolling out briefly. He reaches out and puts a paw on her back, easily pinning her to the ground. ~Stink-Bug.~ But when she seems to be remembering something, he lets go, staring at her expectantly.

When the bag comes back her was, Bel shoves it into her pack. Out of sight and all that. For the girl's sake. She doesn't jump into the negotiations between the wolves, but when the name rings a bell, Bel (haha) looks over at Bright-Eyes. "Lula? Was that your name?" She looks to Tariq, her smile turning a little crooked, "It's no Chicharronita, but."

There's just something about seeing the giant ahroun playing with the smaller cub that gets Tariq to smile. The smile gives way to a curious, studying look right back at Bright-Eyes when she gets that twinge of familiarity. "There may have been more. The tag was broken, dented," he notes slowly, exchanging looks with the kin. "It's no Bright-Eyes either. But more importantly…" He trails, waiting to see if the wolf pulls up anything from memory with the hint.

Suddenly all eyes are on her. Bright-Eyes quails a little, scrambling to her feet after Asunder's thumping paw. She looks ashamedly up at the two humans, then back down to the ground. Then up at Asunder, then down to the ground. ~I… I don't know,~ she says, suddenly doubtful. ~Maybe? Maybe I'm imagining it. I— I don't know. I'm sorry. I'm wasting your time.~

Asunder snorts at Bel. ~I prefer Lula,~ he says, sounding it out with his ponderous wolf tongue, ~Easier to say.~

He lets out a slow breath, leaning down to lick at the top of Bright-Eyes head, right between her ears. ~The answers will come soon. Just keep looking.~

Bel gives Asunder a crooked smile at his observation and can't help but note, "You mean to tell me that between wolf speak, mother's tongue and english, you garou can't roll your Rs yet? Shameful." But her expression softens when she looks over to Bright-Eyes. "You're not wasting anyone's time, Chicha. Like Tariq was saying, there's no rush. We'll get there."

"Hey now, speak for the otherrrs," Tariq protests mildly, teasingly as he rolls his 'r's just fine thank you very much. He stretches his arms upward above his head to look unbothered and at ease for the cub's sake, and adds, "And besides, now we have Bel on the case, just as good a hunter as the rest of us." There's a pause before he adds, with a sidelong glance to the ahroun, "in her own ways."

Bright-Eyes sighs at the little lick (big lick?) and the encouragement of the others, and at last her tail wags a little again. ~Thank you, Bel-rhya, Light-Chaser-rhya, Forest-Smell-rhya,~ she says with a wolfish smile, tongue lolling. ~I will try extra hard to remember and help and learn. Even if I am just a small wolf.~ Wag wag.

Asunder stares at Bel. ~What does that mean, rolling your Rs? I've heard of rolling your dinner and rolling your own, but never rolling your Rs.~

He stares at Tariq when her demonstrates, leaning in and growling. ~Like that?~ His tail thumps against the ground.

~This one knows you will, Stink-Bug.~ He looks back to the others. ~You should have everything you need to get started. Report back to me when you have any leads. Especially when they involve someone who needs to be killed.~

"You're a special case," Bel says to Tariq with a little smile. But when Asunder tries, she tries very hard not to laugh. "El es de Gringolandia, si?" That is also to Tariq. But to Asunder, she notes, "Practice makes perfect." Bright-Eyes gets a smile, a more genuine one. "You don't have to call me ryha, Chicha. Just Bel. And don't worry about being small, either." But to that point, she turns to look at the Ahroun. "And I should get our small wolf back to the sept house." And maybe collect their wayward Ragabash, but she leaves that part out.

Considering the growling 'R' that comes out of Asunder sounds like an idling muscle car's engine (can we say HEMI), Tariq just breaks out into a smile instead of explaining. "You'll get it," he encourages of the big wolf. "No lo se pero no quiero que me bocado," he replies around said smile. He scrubs at the space between Bright-Eyes' ears, and lifts a hand to gesture the farewells for the pack.||||||||

Title: Predictabilitea
Date: September 30, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Tariq and Bel in an interlude of post-work unwinding, as per usual.

Sunlight streams through the large windows along the southern wall of Tariq's yoga-slash-kickboxing self defense studio, a large space situated above a laundromat near the urban center of Palladium, the city of the future, where Technocrats and Green Dragons battle it out to sway the cityscape. Not so in Tariq's studio, though. Here, the Star Child promotes peace and balance, self-care and self-sustaining philosophies of harmony with one's surroundings and inner workings. The sun is just starting the last third of its trip through the sky, thus bathing the plants that form a natural curtain with life-giving energy and painting the studio with a calming green color. Taking opportunity of the quiet in the studio after his last class has left, Tariq wanders over to the south wall with a large watering can in one hand to water the plants in turn.

Interrupting his calm, Bel makes her way up stairs and into the studio without so much as a knock. "Hey, Tariq," she says, at least. She's still in her police uniform, working on removing her holster and guns before she steps to deeply into the space. "You don't mind company, do you?" Hopefully not, her tone implies. Her hair is up in a sensible bun, but once she sets her weaponry in a safe place, she works on unfurling it and fluffing it up a little before she puts it right back up again. But into a ponytail this time.

Calm is merely a concept, fleeting and precious. It is this that Tariq displays as the door to his studio opens and he doesn't even look up until he's finished watering a not-quite-ready to bloom, all bulb and no flower potted plant. "Not at all," he says once he's done and he turns to her. Tariq's expression shifts into a toothy smile of greeting. "Just got off shift? You want something to drink?" He moves over to the small side room that doubles as a half-kitchen as she fluffs herself, the side branch barely space enough to hold two people in it let alone cook a meal. Still, there's a refrigerator with cool drinks and snacks, and a hot water pot always available for tea or coffee.

"Yes and it was dull. Hours and hours of dull," Bel says, following him toward the side room, but lingering just inside the doorway, as if to give him as much space in there as she can. "My boss is doing this on purpose," she says, in true conspiracy mode. But then, she is a difficuly employee to get to slow down unless you force her. But, setting workplace considerations aside, she adds, "Yes, tea. Please. How's your day been? Pretty zen?" It's a tease, but just a gentle one.

The watering can slips into its usual spot underneath the sink with its exposed pipes and little moss and mushroom garden hanging out. "Pretty, zen, and pretty zen all at once," he says with a chuckle. Wouldn't you know, there's already tea set up like he anticipated the request - or it's merely coincidence. Never know with some theurges. Just add water! Which he does, and lets it run through a muslin cloth bag filled with something that smells like herbs of the home remedy variety. As the tea steeps, he leans against the counter, his brown-eyed gaze both attentive and taking her in all at once. "You know the boss isn't doing anything with purpose, let alone on purpose. But come on, it's good to have a slow day every once in a while. Street fighting isn't a good look."

"You say that, but I saw his face when he told me to man the desk." Suspicious! Bel lets it go with a sigh, though, and maybe a shake of her head. "Street fighting is better than death by a thousand papercuts." She holds up a finger wrapped in a small bandage, as if to prove her point. She nods her head to the tea, though, "Have I become that predictable?"

Straightening, Tariq leans in to check out the bandaged finger. "Pobrecita," he coos sympathetically, following it with a crooked smile and a duck back in further into the tiny kitchen. Not that he has anywhere to run should she swat him. "Mm, no not predictable at all. But, I do like that you come by here when you have a number of perfectly suitable other post-work options at your disposal," he says as he turns to pick up her mug - and yes, a designated mug for her and everything - to pass over.

"No empieces conmigo," Bel says with a light chuckle at his cooing. No swats incoming, apparently. Her smile turns a little more genuine when she takes the cup, but she shifts to a more wry expression a moment later. "I suppose, but I don't want to get in the habit of drinking alone. Even if it is just tea." That's a joke, probably. She blows on the tea a little and takes a sip, which gets an approving nod before she takes a real drink.

Tariq picks up the second mug of tea to do just that, accompanying the kin in drinking. "We're social creatures at heart," he agrees with a sip. "Even if you didn't tell me about meeting la chicharronita and Jason." It's a tease back, though, given that they're both busy people. "That does remind me that I should get out to Lapis some time soon, though. You still have that vacation time?"

"I suppose. Something in the blood, right?" Bel smirks at his accusation, though, "I'm a cop. I have to keep an eye on those troublemakers." Ragabash, probably. "Only a matter of time before I have to sweep something with their name on it under a rug." Just one of the many upsides of having a Kin on the police force. Her eyebrows lift at his question, "Weeks and weeks of it."

"His name is literally 'Trouble', so it's really only a matter of time for sure," Tariq laughs lightly with a shake of his head, curls bobbing as if the physical mirth extends to the tips of his hair. Leaning against the counter, he continues sipping at his mug and briefly turns his eyes up to the skinny window above the sink in contemplation until she answers. His head turns, eyes back on her. "Weeks? Bel…" he asks with a tint of 'are you serious?' to his tone.

"Can't say he ever tried to hide it, at least," Bel says, her smile crooked. But her free hand lifts when he looks back her way, "I accrue it fast! I've been working there forever! And… and I had a lot of cases piled up for a while. You know. Because Goddard was on maternity leave. And, you know." You know, Tariq.

The more she makes excuses, the more Tariq's eyebrows crawl upward on his forehead til the culmination of maternity leave. "Ay," he sighs over-dramatically like any proper abuela's sigh. And probably where he learned it from. "You're going to go grey faster than my fur," he says, finger wagging as he polishes off his mug of tea and sets the cup on the counter. "So you're saying they haven't gotten you a partner with all the cases? Or, you're hoarding the files." Of the two brows that slid up, one angles up a little further at the kin.

"Grey hair's distinguished. It means you'd done something with your life." Maybe. Bel finishes her tea, too, and sets her cup down near his, squeezing into the free space in the little room. "Of course I have a partner," she says, "She's a little green, though. I like to go over her work, make sure nothing got missed. Plus, you know, homicide isn't always for everyone. Gotta make sure she's handling it okay."

"Can't argue with that," Tariq says with a nod, "going in to that stuff can get heavy." His voice takes on a brief, somber tone with the subject matter, but then he straightens to give space, close as they are. "It's interesting that she took an interest enough to transfer to homicide, though," he considers aloud, then changes expression with a small smile as he adds, looking down into her two-toned eyes, "and you've now got a little bird under your wing. Can't help yourself. It's something in the blood, Guardian."

"It's part of my job to make sure she's there for the right reason. A lot of people try to use it as a fast track up the food chain only to throw up at their first crime scene. She didn't do that, thankfully." Bel seems, perhaps, begrudgingly respectful of that much. When he goes on, she leans back against the counter and shakes her head a little. "It's part of the job," she says, but her debate is only half-hearted. And mostly playful.

Tariq furrows his brow, making a face of mild disgust with the notion, "You mean people actually try to get promoted by stepping on the bodies of others." Yuck. "Glad you're the gatekeeper, in that case and all the cases." He quirks his head and directs them back out to the more spacious studio floor where it's more comfortable. At least, that's the idea. "As a citizen of Palladium, I'll be glad that your job stays dull. At least for a little while."

"Yes, they do. If you can prove yourself in my department, you pretty much have your pick of assignments." One has to wonder, then, why she's not moved on to less gruesome pastures. Bel seems less disgusted, although she's likely felt that way in the past, more disapproving. "Wouldn't have anyone else on the gate. I'm not easily impressed." Maybe more so that her superiors. She comes along to the bigger room, glancing over at his last word. "I know I joke, but I would be satisfied if there was never need for me to be busy."

There's a small seating area where visitors and people who'd just like a place to rest can do so near the sunlit south wall and look out over the street activity between the leaves, which is where they inevitably end up. Tariq folds himself onto one of the cushioned chair and does just that, people and environment watching. "Anyone else wouldn't be as impressive, and besides, you worked long and hard for what you've got," he affirms. "Though, do you imagine you as captain one day?" His curious question turns his gaze back onto her.

Bel takes a chair, too, but sits wide with her elbows on her knees, rather than folding herself up. She looks over at him at that question, reflexively making a dismissive noise. Pft. "Are you kidding me? More politics, less cases. More desk, less mech. Maybe when I'm actually grey haired."

Her dismissive noise is countered by a genuine giggle from the man. "That's the spirit," he says with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "Besides, judging by the alpha's fur color, being in charge of it all will really turn you silvery white in the end." And who needs that! After a moment more of people watching he throws in, "Since you just came from work, you haven't eaten yet, have you? Could swing by your place for a change, and I heard there's a pop-up bistro about halfway back. Supposed to be… homey comfort food." The theurge cants his head at her in implied invitation.

"It really might. You should ask him what color his fur was when he was young." Bel might be starting her own trouble there, but it's just a teasing suggestion. She might look a little sheepish at the call out on her eating habits, but since he's not wrong, she gives him a nod. "That sounds great, actually. But for the record, I wasn't hungry until you mentioned it." And with that playful accusation, she gets up to her feet to collect her weapon before they head out.||||||||
A Chicharron By Any Other Name

Title: A Chicharron By Any Other Name
Date: September 28, 2748
Characters Appearing:


"Let's face it," a low, gruff voice can be heard alongside the plodding hooves and the quiet squeak of an axle in need of a spot of grease. "We're lost."

"We're not," insists another voice, this one of a woman to her travelling companion. "Once we get through this fog, Pietersite Village is supposed to be through these woods. Maybe. Isn't it, Mr. Greenwell? Ms. Mejia?"

The two travelers look to their hired help. Tariq's most notable feature might be the puff of curled hair surrounding his face like a halo, but it competes with the black and green patterned vest and white long-sleeved shirt he's donned atop his jeans. The man walks beside the woman on her horse, the other side of her being her companion walking his bicycle-cart combo.

"It shouldn't be much farther, but we could probably pick up the pace, to get there before the fog really starts to settle," reassures Tariq quietly. Sure, he's calm on the outside. Those who know him should also know he's pretty calm on the inside too. Except for that little thing called being a Garou. He sends a look past the front of the horse to Bel, who he had warned it was a bit of trip, this gig, but the money would be worth the time. Honest!

Given that Bel was made to use some of her built up vacation time, and given that her boss was not having her back until a significant portion of it was depleted, she's had to find other ways of entertaining herself. Which is why she's here, hanging out with Tariq, perhaps making sure he isn't walking himself into an elaborate mugging. Her hands are in her pockets and she lifts an eyebrow over at him, shaking her head indulgently. "That's right. Just through the fog," she says, also sounding calm and reassuring. Although, unlike Tariq, she's much more likely to be a ball of stress on the inside. She hides it well, though!

It's nice in Jasper Forest during the day. It really is! … so what is that chill that runs through the four of them? Hair stands on end on the back of necks, goosebumps raise along flesh… someone's watching.

Or is it … something?

A flash of blue behind them. The crunch of a twig.

And then a bounding fawn-colored wolf emerges from the fog, tongue lolling. She sniffs along the ground for a few feet and then pauses when she sees the horse. She looks back over her shoulder and rowls at Jason. I found wolf and horse and Bel!

Another wolf comes trotting out of the underbrush, its fur a more reddish-brown, and its gait long and loping. Its ears perk when it sees the group, and it makes those growling/howling noises that are so familiar as Mother's Tongue. Bel! We meet again! But this time, the ADVANTAGE IS MINE! Bridge-Over-Troubled-Water tries to let out a cackling laugh, but it sounds more like a wolf having a coughing fit and trying to vomit at the same time. He trots over to the cart, stretching his paws up to plant them on the side, sniffing at the passengers. Who are these assholes?

The man walking his bicycle doesn't look convinced by their escorts' mutual statements, but he doesn't say much more to protest their group's progress. The woman is the more indulgent of the pair and nods resolutely. She's about to make a comment when her horse's ears flip back and the animal stops, mouth open and pulling at the bit nervously. The woman tries to calm the horse but she's busy handling the creature, too busy to notice the pair of wolves.

Tariq, though, takes a look around - especially the rear of the party - and his concern takes on a protective stance before he finally sees the fawn-colored wolf. His hand slides up, a palm up and out sign of both stop or peaceful greeting, one way or another. "Friend, we are merely travellers on the way to Pie—"

The emergence of Trouble, though, really sets off the horse and the animal half-rears with a fearful neigh overtaking the red wolf's attempt at a cackling cough. "Whoa! Whoooa!" The man holding on to his bike drops it to a side in favor of trying to grab for the horse's halter.

Chaos may be behind her, but when Bel sees Tallulah appear through the fog, the Kin croches down to greet her with head ruffles. "Hello, little friend," she says with a gentle smile. Nevermind that no wolf in the history of wolves could be described as 'little'. Of course, she knows by now that where the little one goes, Trouble follows, so she looks up without much surprise at his appearance. "Come on, now, you two are going to give the poor horse a heart attack," she says, straighten up onto her feet. "These people need help getting to where they're going. Tariq's helping."

The wolf pants happily, tail wagging at the head scratches. She snuffles at the ground and then pads over to Tariq, sniffing at him. Hello, new Tariq! This one doesn't have a name! And then she goes to sniff at the horse. Don't be scared, horse! I won't eat you.

When the horse rears and bucks, Trouble's ears splay back and he hops back a step. In an instant, a young man in a brown leather coat and jeans is standing up, holding up his hands to the horse. "Woah woah, sorry, buddy! Just saying hi! Hello, miss! Sir! Fancy running into more folks on the road! The name's Jason Bard!" He holds onto his lapels, flashing them a dazzling smile before glancing over to Tariq and sizing him up, before giving him a nod. Sup.

The little group is a perfect little yin-yang of calm and chaos! The man misses his catch of the horse's halter, much to the dismay of the woman who gamely sticks on as the horse fully rears despite Talullah's attempts to make friends. The horse paws at the air, blustering through its nostrils at the wolf. Poor Tallulah. Self-preservation is still strong in the prey animals around here.

"Please!" pleads Tariq with both hands up now. "Give the horse a little space, just to calm it down?" Thankfully, the change on Jason's part decreases that threat of WOLF OMG by half.

It's a little bit before the man and woman manage to maneuver the horse off the roadside into the trees, leaving the Garou and Kin for a minute while they calm the animal. As they do, Tariq exchanges greetings with the new faces, stepping up beside Bel to have a look at the pair. His head quirks at an angle at Talullah, then over at Jason. "As Bel mentioned, name's Tariq, Tariq Greenwell. Light-Chaser and crescent moon of the Star Children," he supplies more formally than his normal demeanor would imply, very much like he was taught the stiffness.

When Tariq comes over, Bel nudges him a little with her shoulder. "He's my sparring partner," she explains, as if this might be the more pertinent information about the man. At least, it might give Jason better social context. "The pup's kinda new," she supplies to Tariq, about their wolfy friend over there. "She's learning, though," she notes, with approval. Even if it's just approval for the sake of giving the girl some confidence.

Light-Chaser, the wolf repeats, before bouncing in place and running in a little circle around him. Meet so many man-wolfs! Then she looks over at Jason and Bel, tongue falling out of the side of her mouth and dangling. When do I get a name? Or do wolfs not get names?

Jason rubs the back of his neck sheepishly as the horse is lead off. In contrast to Tariq, he gives the man a casually salute with two fingers as part of his introduction, "Nice to meet you, Light-Chaser. I'm Bridge-Over-Troubled-Water, new moon and troublemaker of the Red Howlers. And Bel's secret lover. Oops, I said it out loud." He's grinning from ear to ear, and throws Bel a wink.

"So sorry about interrupting your job. We were trying to find out where wolfy here met the so-called Forest-Smells," he leaves over to ruffle Tallulah's ears. "Well, how about Belly-Full-Of-Pork-Rinds? You polished off that bag pretty fast."

Then it takes Tariq a moment, but he quickly realizes aloud as he's looking over Jason, putting two and two together. "You're Trouble? The Trouble?" Someone might be famous. Or infamous? One way or another. He clears his throat after the short outburst, regaining composure and breaking out into an amicable smile. "Word gets around, you know, don't trust a raven to keep secrets," Tariq notes with a roundabout gesture of his hand. The 'sparring partner' furrows his brow at Bel's nudge, stooping down to get more eye to eye on Talullah's level. "No name? Nonsense," he says, examining the fawn-colored wolf as he lets her sniff him more fully. "Pork Rinds? Haha… maybe, but then you'd be tempting too many Bone Gnawers to take a lick. Maybe… Bright-Eyes."

Bel can only roll her eyes at Jason's introduction, at least the bit that concerns her, but her eye rolling is legendary, born out of too many older siblings and ridiculous bosses alike. "Don't flatter yourself," she says before her attention turns to the wolf at her question. The two wolves might go back and forth over what to call her, but something Jason says seems to stick to the Kin and she gets a wide smile on her face. "Chicharron! Aww, mi Chicharronita!" She crouches down again to scritch behine the cub's ears as her speech devolves into incomprehensible Spanish that one could really only describe as 'abuelita nonsense', in that it carries a delighted tone but there may not be any actual words in it. She's an old lady at heart, perhaps.

Between Light-Chaser and Bel and Trouble, Bright-Eyes-Chicharronita wags frantically. She's just fuckin' so excited, and she licks Bel's face like crazy. BRIGHT EYES PIG CRUNCHIES! she exclaims, flailing happily. Squirm squirm squirm!

Jason's smile falls into a look of deer-in-headlights in the face of Tariq's smile, but it's followed up almost immediately by a snort, and he gives the man an overly dramatic bow. "Master of Darkness and Stealth, at your service!" he says with a laugh, "Bel, I know you're a big fan, but you may be talking me up a bit too much. Sparring partner, eh? So Tariq, I have you to blame for teaching her that vicious indian burn technique, eh?"

He busts out laughing at the wolf's happy outburst, hooking his thumbs in his pockets. "Bright-Eyes-Pig-Crunchies it is, then! I'll contact the Sept Elders and start the naming ceremony! Speaking of the Sept… I haven't seen you around, Tariq. Are you a new arrival, or just been hiding under a rock?"

Once Bel takes over the scritching and abuelita impressions, Tariq gives her that space to do so. He looks on with a sort of nostalgic tint to his gaze, colored at the edges with amusement. The two men wind up standing beside each other, Jason with his thumbs in his pockets, Tariq with his fingers interlaced behind his neck in a short stretch. "You do what you need to defend yourself," he says with a wink at the ragabash. "Not exactly new," he says after a pause to think, eyes looking up to the forest canopy as he contemplates time. "It's not exactly a rock but I've got a place, classes to teach, a studio. You should drop by some time, even. I guess it's high time for a meet at the sept, though, isn't it? New faces to name, to celebrate." He nods towards Talullah Bright-Eyes-Chicharronita in particular.

It's at this happy moment that a loud clearing of throats sounds behind them, and the man and woman can be found standing there watching all this go down. The horse is on a long rein, still standing amongst the trees, but calmed now and idly grazing. "If you all don't mind," the woman says, stifled mild annoyance in her tone, "we still have a ways to get to the village, do we not? I'd rather not stick around to see if the legends about these woods is true." The man chimes in, "And I'm sorry but we didn't request additional escort." His tone seems to imply there's no additional payments to be had.||||||||
City Stink

Title: City Stink
Date: September 22, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Strange wolves in the woods.

dearest PM
It's sunset in the fringes of Diopside, and the rest of Diopside too. It stinks of the battlefield of Weaver and Wyld, ape civilization building up and toxic waste burning down. He's on a mission to scout out the area for potential threats — specifically the rumors going around that there's some sort of toxic spirit accosting people.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder prowls along the shadows of the broken streets, his dark fur making him seem to slip in and out of the dim pools of not-light. His nose is to the ground, and all his senses are sharpened for any sign of a wild spirit, whether Wyld or not.

His keen ears pick up the distant rattling sound of ape metal on concrete. Could be a spirit! Could be just some crow having fun. Still, it's only about a block away, and he can probably sneak up on it if he's lucky. Get a good look.

Sky freezes, every hair on his being going rigid at the sound, his lip curling in a quiet snarl as his ears swivel. He changes course, all his attention and ferocity focused on The Hunt.

ROLL: Phoenix rolls: 2 + 2 + 0 - 1
ROLL: 3 9 9 = Success! (2) ( Stealthy! … not really )

ROLL: Tallulah rolls: 5d10
ROLL: 1 1 7 7 4 = Failure!

The scraping continues. It doesn't sound like his prey has heard his approach! In fact — CLANG!!! — there's a great cacophany of metal and refuse and oh, wow, yes, that definitely smells like some kind of sewer spirit!

And as he gets his first look to round out his sensitive sniffer, it looks like one too. Some sort of quadruped mud monster rooting around in human garbage. Its tail — if you could call it a tail, honestly — is wagging.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder freezes when the creature's noise fills the night air, and he peers at it from around the corner of the building. His ears turn back as his muzzle wrinkles in disgust. Perversions of Gaia's order… they're disgusting! His already large form bulks up, growing from a pony to size of a grizzly. His massive haunches coil… and he springs out into the open! His enormous claws chew through the battered asphalt as he sprints towards the creature, roaring his battle cry as he goes!

That battle cry gets the creature to whip around and let out the high-pitched yelp of a startled wolf. It scrambles backwards, tripping over its paws, stumbling over the garbage can it had been rummaging through, and falls over in a dirty heap. Clear blue eyes are wide in panic, a muddy muzzle parted in panting fear.
Don't eat this one! the thing's body language seems to say.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunger barrels on towards it, roaring and frothing with the rising battle fury! But as the thing turns on its back, the Ahroun is slowed, his charge turning to a slow lumber as he approaches the thing. He's absolutely massive, seemingly size of a house as he hovers over the sewer creature. He raises a huge claw… and pokes it in the belly. That's a soft belly, why does a monster have a soft belly?

This close up, his sensitive nose can smell that under the foul gunk and stench is… wolf smell? No— Garou smell! Under his claw is a wimpy little unknown garou, her ears flattened hard against her skull, tail curled hard against her belly in submission. Her blue eyes shut hard and he can see she's trembling under his sharp nail. Please just do what you will do to this one fast!

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder's ears turn up in amazement when he recognizes that smell! What. He leans in, sniffing her more… but snorting in disgust when he gets a whiff of sewer. He takes a step back, still the size of a Buick, and barks out in angry-sounding Mother's Tongue, What are you doing? (edited)

The poor wolf is shaking like a scared bunny when he sniffs at her, but when he steps back, she seems to collapse a little. Blue eyes peek at him again, ears flicked back in confused dismay. Her head tilts. What was that?

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder waits. And waits. And waits a little more. But as the wolf just looks at her blankly, he growls and says again, the guttural tongue slow and careful, What. Are. You. Doing? And for good measure, Who. Are. You?

But the wolf just looks bewildered, rolling to her belly and creeping down to lay as flat as she can. This one is confused, this one is sorry, what are those sounds? This one has never heard them before. As she prostrates, something jingles against the pavement under her, and he can see the way the fur and muck of her neck seems to be restrained, collar-like.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder tilts his head at the creature before him… and he finally lets out a long, annoyed sigh. Great. A cub. Just what I needed. At the jingling, his ears perk up. He moves towards the scared wolf again, his massive jaws going for her throat… only to push under her chin, nosing it up so he can get a look at what's under there.
With great annoyance, the Garou's form shifts again, and he becomes a huge ape-man crouched over her, brushing the muck away with his newly-formed hands, seeking out the collar under her fur, his hackles raising more and more as he starts to realize what he's seeing.

The wolf squeaks when he lunges for her, but when once again she isn't dead, she thumps her tail weakly against the ground. But then, he shifts and her eyes widen, nose working overtime. You changed! You were a wolf! Now you're a man! She doesn't seem to react to his seeking her buried collar.

Whether or not she can register the disgust on his face doesn't matter to Phoenix. He's shoving away months of muck from this poor creature, and finding an even worse sight: A collar! He growls audibly. A pet? You were someone's pet?? Ancestors be ashamed… He shakes his head, his eyes piercing down at her look of amazement, and he frowns at her. Why so awed, pup?

The poor wolf still can't understand his words, her ears flicking forward and back as she cants her head. Still, her nose strains forward, sniffing at him. You are a man-wolf??? Wow! This one has never seen a man-wolf! Sniffsniffsniffsniff. She's like an over-excited puppy now, tail wagging faster.

Phoenix finally sits up, his hands off her neck to let her stand fully upright. He suppresses a smile (badly) as she sniffs eagerly all over him, smudging her filth all over his bare, dark chest. Am I really the first Garou you've met? he asks, the words a deep growl in his throat. As she sniffs at him, his massive hands run through her fur, rubbing away the days of muck, revealing a surprisingly beautiful coat beneath.
He smells like nothing she can remember. Nothing like the city. Dirt and trees and fresh water… and blood.

Under all that sewage and muck is such a lovely fawn-colored coat to go with those blue eyes. She's probably a very pretty wolf: trim but powerful. Her nose is working overtime, sniffsniffsniffing until she sneezes and backs away a step, ears flicking slightly. She's gone from enthusiastic to somewhat nervous and off-put, though even she isn't entirely clear as to why, if her body language is to be believed. She looks afraid and confused, haunted but eager. Are you bad? she seems to ask. (edited)

Phoenix stares at her, non-plussed by that body language. Oh, he recognizes it. It's just… not one he's used to seeing on a grown wolf. So he leans forwad, placing his hands on the ground and shifts quickly back to his large wolf form. There he is, towering over her, smelling of blood and muscle and feral strength… and he leans in to glomp her muzzle with his own and hold onto her.

When he shifts, she looks briefly enthralled and excited before panic sets in again as he lunges for her! And then he closes his jaws over her muzzle and she stills, her tail dropping slightly…then wagging a little. She squirms slightly, licking at his muzzle and apparently readily accepting his dominance.

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder holds her, gently but firmly for a moment, and then snorts. Seemingly happy with the arrangement. He lets go of her muzzle, letting her lick at him a little, enjoying being the top of the food chain again. But he's doing that scary body-changing thing again too soon, reaching around to grab her by the scruff.
Hold still, he growls, seeming to grab… not her fur, but the thing around her neck? What's he gonna do—
With a grunt and a burst of strength, he snaps the thick leather of the collar in two. And suddenly, she can breathe!

She blinks as he shifts again, and then squeaks as she grabs for the Hurting Thing. As he yanks it, she yelps, snapping her jaws at the air in fear and pain as skin and blood and fur comes away with it, leaving a raw wound behind. Even worse? There's a thin band of silver on the inside of the collar. Enough to drive any Garou a little mad!

When it's gone though, she's limp in his hand, whimpering. Some of the wound is already healing but that silver definitely did some damage that will take a while to heal.

Phoenix's sigh of relief turns into a surge of anger when he sees the silver just inside. His skin burns at the touch of it, but he grips it tight in his fist. WHO DID THIS?? he bellows, all his fury at this horrid crime turned on the one thing nearby: the poor little wolf.

And when he roars in that weird language, she yelps and squirms out of his grip, skittering back far enough to fall over the trash can again. I do not know! she exclaims without thinking, some deep recesses of primal ancestral knowledge starting to work their way to the fore. Her phrasing is clumsy, her pronunciation atrocious, but there it is, Mother's Tongue.

Phoenix's anger is replaced by a look of surprise. His jaw drops open in a very human expression. Ah! he cries, breaking out into a smile, The Mother's Tongue! You do speak it! he says, throwing his hands in the air.

The… Tongue Mother? she replies warily, her jaw working awkwardly around those syllables. She's still hunkered down on the other side of the trash can, barely peeking over at him. Poor puppy. Speaking what is I doing? I hear you?

Phoenix's smile falls and he's back to that resting scowl. He kneels down, trying to make himself look smaller (not an easy task). Yes, we are speaking the Mother's Tongue. I was worried you were too young. Or just dumb. But you are Garou! You are Garou… He looks at her collar, frowning at the human writing on it.
He looks back up at her, searching. Do you have a name?

She follows along with his words with an intense concentration, resting her chin on the can. Garou? she echoes. I am what is Garou? But when he asks her name, she just tilts her head slightly. Don't know, she admits.

Garou is… ah, big question. Phoenix scratches vigorously behind his ear, looking thoughtful… then he shakes his head and smiles at her. I will tell you later. You don't know? Did no one give you a name? Were you born of a wolf mother?

…Don't know, she says again, looking ashamed. I do not remember. Do not remember anything. Am here, am remember only here, one day, no past.

Phoenix blinks at her for a moment, trying to process this. You… do not remember? No no, cubs always remember, even from before First Change. You just remember… differently? He shrugs, looking at her hopefully.

She shakes her head, a very human gesture. No remembering. Nothing. This one here, this city. Before that, nothing. I try but… She flops back onto her butt and scratches at her injured neck with her hind leg. Nothing. She finishes, getting to her paws and shaking off. But then she peeks at him, ears flicking back as she hunkers slightly in apology. Wish this one could help.

Phoenix's expression goes flat, and he just stares at her for a moment, his intimidating glare making her want to flatten. He stands presently, shifting easily back to his wolf form again. Follow, he says, with all the air of someone who expects to be obeyed. He takes her collar gingerly in his teeth, and starts to trot off towards the edge of the city, back towards the forest.

She does flatten again under his expression, and when he turns to go, she hesitates. She looks down at the garbage at her paws, where she had been hunting for a meal. But there is no meal as interesting as a Garou man-wolf. So after some hesitation, she starts after him, running with a slight hunker as she trails after his long loping strides.

Her new wolf friend is silent as he trots away into the wilderness. But he doesn't stop at the forest edge. Nor does he stop a little ways in. Instead, he takes her on a long journey through woods, skirting trails, around mountains… without any kind of discussion. It's going on an hour by now… will this trip ever end?

It probably doesn't help that her apprehension has once again melted away into a bottomless curiosity. She's sniffing everything, loping ahead, circling back, running down side paths, falling behind, circling around… By his count, she should be well into her maturity by now: at least an adult. But she acts like a puppy in a lot of ways, boundlessly fascinated and enthusiastic by everything she finds. Her tail has been wagging nonstop the entire time. It's making him tired just thinking about it.

Phoenix trots along like a mother cat amongst her kittens, following the smaller wolf's activities with his eyes, and a mildly amused swing of his tail. He's amazed at how she can be so energetic, even while being so clearly underfed. The wound around her neck is healing nicely, thank Gaia.

It's another two hours of traveling before Tears-The-Sky-Asunder finally stops. They've crested a small hill, the trees clearing so they can look out over the treetops of the forest beyond. The bigger wolf drops the collar on the ground and pauses, his tail wagging with lazy swings.

Unlike a puppy, her energy does have limits, and it's not long before she's plodding along behind him, only half-heartedly sniffing at new plants as they go. By the time they get to the hilltop, she's panting and she flops to her belly beside him. That's a lot of trees, she says.

His tail gives a quick wag at her words before stilling. And it's mine, he says proudly. A moment of silence passes, and then he tips his head back and lets out a loud, long howl that echoes over the trees.

A few moments pass, and two answering howls return, faraway and echoing across the clouds of green and yellow before them. He returns with another three short howls. Then he stands.

Come, he says simply, picking up her collar and making his way down the hill towards the forest, You will meet my pack.

She blinks a few times. Yours? she asks. You own it? And when he tips his head back to howl, her ears flick back in surprise. Partway through his howl though, she adds her voice to the mix: a warm, mellow tone at a higher pitch than his. The answering howls get perked ears and a little shifting of paws. There are more? Garou like you? she asks as she follows.

Not Garou, he mumbles around his mouthful, wincing a little when the motion has him touching the silver. Or is that from a small surge of sadness? But they are my pack.

Not Garou, she echoes curiously. Her nose works a little at his emoting, and she moves to bump his side lightly with hers. Or, well, his belly. He's tall! What is pack? Friends?

Tears-The-Sky-Asunder glances down at her at the bump, his tail wagging gently for the attention. He even steps sideways, giving her a gentle bump in return. Friends. Family. Home. The pack is everything to a Garou.

She manages not to stagger under the bump, her tail picking up its own wagging. Friends, family, home, she repeats, tasting the words curiously. I wonder do I have a pack, she muses.

You would know, he replies, as they make their way into the forest, the sun rippling behind the leaves above.

Oh, she replies, disappointment radiating through her. Then no pack. No friends, family, home. Just this one. She sneezes softly, padding under the canopy of leaves with Sky, tail dragging a little.

He looks at her, noting just how different she looks. It's like her ebullient self and this sad figure are two different wolves. But he says nothing.

Soon, she spies motion in the distance moving towards them. Tears-The-Sky-Asunder sees it too, apparently, because he drops the collar and picks his pace up to a trot. No, a gambol. He's gamboling. The motion resolves itself to two gray wolves who are bouncing towards them, and they meet Tears-The-Sky-Asunder with full body tackles. He goes down with them, the trio snapping and wrestling, tails wagging like mad at their reunion.

Eventually, the smaller of the two gray wolves breaks off from the tussle, spying the newcomer. Her ears perk up, and she sniffs intently in her direction, not moving from her spot. Are you safe?

She blinks and watches him turn into a puppy as he greets his pack mates, her ears perked and her head canted. Her tongue lolls in amusement, her tail wagging, but she sits where she is lest she break up the reunion.

When she's spotted, she ducks her head down in submission, rolling onto her back. She sure smells like apes and the city and filthy Wyld pollution.

The smaller gray wolf tilts her head when the newcomer rolls onto her back, and she drops her head down as she advances, sniffing closer and closer. When she gets closer, she growls, showing her fangs at the filthy smelling newcomer wolf.

The newcomer flattens herself a little more, trying to resist curling into a protective ball and instead showing her throats and belly. She whines hopefully, tail wagging ever so slightly, trying to placate the female.

Her flattening down only seems to get the she-wolf to growl louder, and when she gets close enough, she lunges for the newcomer's belly, teeth bared.

But she is knocked aside by Tears-The-Sky-Asunder, the huge, dark Garou looming over her, showing fangs that are bigger than her head. The she-wolf's posture changes immediately, hunkering down, ears splayed and tail tucked. She makes pitiful noises as Tears stares her town. The other wolf hangs back, his own posture instinctively submissive.

She can only stay open for so long! When her belly is in immediate danger, the newcomer bolts to her paws and hunches, tail wrapped around her haunch as she skitters away from violence. But then the big Garou has saved her from Certain Doom and she hunkers behind him, hiding in his shadow. Her ears are flat, her body dipped down, her tongue licking her nose in submission.

The she-wolf mirrors the newcomer's posture almost exactly, eyes turned up pitifully at Tears-The-Sky-Asunder. Eventually, he relaxes, stepping forward to nose gently at the she-wolf, who immediately takes to licking submissively at his muzzle, her body slowly uncoiling from its submissive posture to placate him.

The he-wolf slinks towards the newcomer next, moving carefully and watching Tears with quick glances. But when he gets close, his submissive posture changes to one of hesitant dominance as he goes to sniff her over.

And she hunkers away from the he-wolf, radiating fear. She smells like city stink and blood and fear and Wyld. As he gets close, she skitters away several feet, hunkering down near the ground and protecting her vitals.

When she skitters away, the he-wolf doesn't give chase. He stops, lifting his head and his ears at her, tilting his head curiously.

Tears pulls away from the make-up session he's having with his packmate, looking between the two of them. He lets out a huge sigh, and trots carefully towards the newcomer. I am sorry for how my packmate acted. Please do not be afraid. They know you're not to be hurt now.

She bolts under Sky, hiding under his massive body. i did not do anything why is she mad what did I do, she babbles. She looks at the two lupine pack mates, a whine escaping her throat. No friend family home, I go, I leave, she rumbles softly. But she can't quite bring herself to leave the safety of his shadow yet.

Both the packmates are looking at her now, the she-wolf still laying on the ground, the he-wolf on his feet. They don't seem to be picking up on her fear the same way Sky is. The big Garou puts a paw on her side when she talks about leaving, and he snorts. You are a new wolf. They did not know if you are friend or foe. They are not mad, they're just wolves.

i am just wolves, she protests, hunkering into his paw and peeking out. But slowly it seems to sink in that they're not acting hostile to her anymore and he can feel her muscles untensing. I am not attack? she asks softly, tail still tucked.

No, you are Garou. Better than wolves. Smarter. Stronger. He says it with such casual conviction, too. Like he can't imagine someone saying otherwise. You will not be attacked. I will hurt them if they try, and they know it now. Let them greet you. He slowly takes his paw off her, standing still and watching her.

Garou? But I don't change man-wolf, she says in confusion. just wolf, no man. As he releases her, she carefully climbs to her paws, still hunkered down a bit, and creeps out from beneath him. She sniffs toward the male first, since he's the least threatening, keeping a low, submissive profile as she approaches.

The he-wolf's ears were starting to swivel elsewhere, but as she starts to creep towards him, he turns his ears back to her. He stretches his head out, sniffing at her, but his eyes are on Sky. The big wolf takes a seat, watching the interaction.

Emboldened, the he-wolf creeps towards the newcomer as well, posture high and confident. He gets close enough to bump his muzzle against hers, if she'll let him.

The filthy little wolf sniffs at him, tail slowly uncurling from her rump. And as he gets close with no outward signs of hostility, she seems to be relaxing. Her tail starts to wag and she sniffs at his muzzle and his neck and body, starting to trot around him, taking in all the scents of him.

He sniffs right back, his posture high and interested. They circle each other, taking in each others' scents. He gets a big whiff of her city stink and sneezes, hopping back in surprise with a glance to Sky. The big wolf just lets out an enormous yawn, so the he-wolf tentatively steps back in, trying to stick his nose under the newcomer's tail.

She doesn't seem to mind the invasion, instead just doing the same to him. Sniffsniff!! Her tail wags excitedly and she bounces at him, playful and hopeful, scampering in a circle before dropping into a bow, wagging like crazy. She even chuffs at him.

He returns the gesture, bouncing about in front of her, his tail wagging as he lunges in and tries to get on top of her, his body language happy and open. The she-wolf even rises to her feet, hopping in and bouncing with them, though a bit more tentatively than the other.

Sky hangs back, his tail thumping lazily against the ground, watching his family get along.

The newcomer bounces and rolls, yipping happily. When the she-wolf joins in, there's only a moment of wariness before she opens up again and nips at her playfully, until all three are roughhousing and rolling around.

Eventually, she extracts herself, panting, and flops over to rest. I go back soon, but this is fun, she says, resting her head on her paws.

The two wolves try to keep playing with her when she flops over, but when it's proved that she's too tired to continue, they start wrestling with each other.

Sky opens his eyes when she says that, his ears turning towards her. Go back? Go back where?

City, she replies. Home box. Find food. Hungry. She yawns and sneezes, a paw scraping at her muzzle to drop a bunch of muck off her fur. Eugh.

Sky flicks his ears when she says that, peering silently at her. Then he heaves a great sigh and rolls to his feet. Come, he says to her, trotting off into the forest. The wolves pause in their playing, watching him walk away, before they fall into step behind him.

She flicks her ears in response and gets to her paws, following as well. Where we go? More trees?

To hunt, he says, glancing back at her, But first, to bathe you. You stink like the city. You'll scare away the prey.

Hunt? she asks in confusion. She shakes her fur, slowing a little, then speeding up to keep up. I stink like city because I live there!

Then you shouldn't live there, Sky replies, like it's the most obvious thing in the world. He snorts. You stink. Like a stink bug.

She slows again, and speeds up when he starts to lose her. Is that bad? Stink bug? She sniffs at a tree, then speeds up so she can run beside him, looking up at the enormous wolf. But I live there, she says, uncomprehending.

He looks down at her as he trots along, his pale eyes looking so big on his enormous face. Why do you live there?

She looks up at him, her own blue eyes blinking in response. …I live there, she replies in confusion. There is where I live.

He looks away from her, eyes turned to the forest ahead. In the distance, she can hear running water. You should live in the forest. In the wilderness. It's where wolves and Garou belong.

Her ears perk, then swivel back. I am not a man-wolf, she says hesitantly, one ear tilting. I belong in city stink. I have no pack here.

As stoic as Sky is, he still has the wolf body language. His ears droop a little when she says that. Very well. But you will eat tonight before you leave. And you will have to be clean before you can hunt.

She just seems confused though. unsure of what to make of him or this conversation or any of this really. I am hungry, she admits. And I would like a wash… She just looks like such a lost puppy right now. A sad lost puppy.

Sky glances her way… and shifts towards her. He'd lean on her if he wasn't so much bigger than her. Ah well. Maybe this will be comforting at least.

When they get closer to the river, the two wolves take off at a run, tongues hanging out and gamboling down the bank to splash through the water. The she-wolf stays in the shallows, pouncing on fish as they go by, trying to catch one. The he-wolf just dives right into the deep end, paddling around as happy as a clam.

Sky keeps his sedate trot down to the riverbank.

She does at least seem to maneuver closer to him at the attempted comfort, her tail wagging slightly.

Once they get to the river, she watches the other wolves for a moment before trotting after Sky. She sniffs at the water, patting at it lightly with a paw. She looks at him for a moment then takes a hesitant step in. Has she ever bathed before? Because she doesn't seem like she's sure of this.

Sky watches her, ears turned towards her. Can wolves look bemused? It's water. It's clean. He pads into the shallows, the top of the water coming up to his belly, and turns to look at her expectantly.

She paws at the water again and follows after him at a slow clip, unsure of how to walk through this water that is up to her haunches. She shakes her fur a few times, dancing a little in place. Cold! she exclaims.

Sky chuffs, an unnatural sound for a wolf. He's laughing! Yes, rivers are cold. Come deeper, you'll be safe. He steps towards her, nudging at her haunches with his nose.

She yips in surprise as he pushes her closer. She scrapes on the ground, paws wheeling slightly, but he gets her up to her neck and she squeaks, paddling frantically. She splashes around, unsure of if she wants to swim or run back to the shallows.

Sky sits calming in the shallow behind her, watching her paddle around. His tongue lolls out of his mouth, happy to see her starting to swim. And maybe a little schadenfreude.

The he-wolf paddles over as well, happily churning along through the river, and he bumps her with his nose in greeting. Yay! We're swimming together!

Flailing! But over time she seems to be getting used to it, and she starts to bounce and frolic a little more. And, thank god, the water is washing that muck off of her. In time, gamboling with his packmates leaves her squeaky clean and very pretty, fawn-colored with a soft cream underbelly.

She finally crawls out of the water and shakes off, flopping on the bank with a wide yawn. That was fun, she says.

While she's getting clean, with the help of her wolf friend, Sky wades into deeper water and lays down until just his head is above the running surface. The she-wolf climbs up onto his head, crouched… and uses him as a springboard to try and pounce on fish! She does this over and over, and he just seems to be happy with it.

Water is good, he rumbles happily, eyes closed and basking in the cool water running over him, Are you ready to hunt?

She watches this, bemused. How strange! But when he asks that, she cants her head. Hunt what? Food? I have not seen any metal boxes around here.

Sky opens his eyes, tilting his head curiously, making the she-wolf scramble to keep her footing. Metal boxes?

She opens her mouth… and then looks confused after a moment. Metal boxes. Like… I was looking through earlier. When we met. I was hunting. She cants her head at him, confused.

Sky stares at her passively, silent for many long moments before responding, //The Bone Gnawers would love you.

He snorts. No, that's not real food. I will show you how to hunt real food. (edited)

She tilts her head again. Real food? She trots over to sit beside him in the shallows, looking out over the river. Okay. I will hunt real food… What does it look like?

It can look like anything, Tears-The-Sky-Asunder replies, closing his eyes for a little longer. 5 more minutes, mom! All that matters is that it is slower than us. We catch, we kill, we eat. That is the way of the wolf.

She jerks back slightly at that, ears going flat against her skull. …Kill? she replies softly. No… that's okay. I'll… no thank you.

Sky's eyes slit open. You don't want to kill? Where do you think that food in the metal boxes comes from?

Humans, she replies, hunching up as she backs up a little. Little cakes and veggies don't need killing.

Sky makes a look of disgust. Cakes and veggies are not proper food for wolves. We need meat.

No, she replies again, backing up a few steps. I'm not a wolf. I'm not anything. The more they talk about this, the more she seems ready to bolt.

When she starts to back up, a growl begins in Sky's throat. You're right. You're not a wolf, you're a Garou. And as a Garou, you must learn to value both life and death. He rises out of the water as he speaks. The she-wolf yelps as her perch is disturbed, and she falls into the water with a splash.

No! she exclaims, shaking her head hard. As he rises and growls, she keeps backing up. I won't! I won't kill! I won't!! Her voice comes out in a keening yelp, all her muscles tended and ready to bolt.

You will hunt, Phoenix growls, his lips pulling back in a snarl, each sentence punctuated by a stomping step up the riverbank, You will kill. You will eat. Because you are Garou!

Every step bringing him closer seems to bring her closer and closer to wild panic. No! she cries again. I AM NOT GAROU! And that seems to break the spell; she turns in blind fear as it chokes her, bolting into the forest so fast it's like she barely touches the ground.

Sky tenses when she turns to bolt, his hackles raising, and he has to hold his urge to give chase back. His wolf packmates tense, watching their alpha for instruction. The poor Garou stays un-chased as she disappears into the forest.

And off she goes, a ghost in the night. Or day. Or, whenever. It was nice knowing her for all of a few hours!||||||||
Crab Battle

Title: Crab Battle
Date: September 23, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Jason and Dreamy meet a new wolf on the beach.

"How's the head?" Jason asks Dreamy as they stroll along the beachfront, leaving the Sept House in the distance. Over Jason's shoulder, the bridge leading back to the mainland stretches off over the water, an enormous landmark against the rolling greenland of Lazuli.
"I've never known anybody who got infected with wolfyness before. Maybe headaches are common?" the dark-haired man says, shrugging. He's traded out his sneakers for sandals, his coat for just a thin t-shirt, and his pasty white Irish legs are sticking out from under cargo shorts.
Dreamy has been dressed in fresh clothing as well (her old ones were pretty shredded), and she's sporting a pretty white dress meant for a girl half her age, and some flip flops. She's also been lent a tablet, the better for typing out her thoughts, hopefully.
(OOC) Jason: Dreamy and Jason http://www.mrinitialman.com/OddsEnds/Sizes/sizes.html?base_ft=4&base_in=10&comp_ft=6&comp_in=0
(OOC) Dreamy seems legit.
(OOC) Tallulah is reminded to update her desc. Woop woop~
(OOC) Jason: Dreamy and Phoenix: http://www.mrinitialman.com/OddsEnds/Sizes/sizes.html?base_ft=4&base_in=10&comp_ft=7&comp_in=3
(OOC) Tallulah works on thta.
(OOC) Dreamy who is this giant named Phoenix
(OOC) Jason: My new Garou!
(OOC) Jason: Apped the same time as Tallulah. He's out in the woods. And he's angry.
(OOC) Jason: Also, he has literal wolves in his pack. It's pretty dope.
(OOC) Tallulah finishes her desc. There we go.
Strong and lean, but small and almost dainty, this young wolf radiates gentle energy and playfulness. Her coat is a soft fawn color mixed with a cream underbelly, with fur that has only recently been cleaned and probably needs a good deal of mats brushed out. Her eyes are the pale blue of a winter sky, her nose a chocolate brown.

Around her neck, there's a ridge of bare, furless flesh still healing where a collar was once embedded. Though the surface wounds have healed, the aggravated chemical burn speaks to long-term silver exposure.
Huh? (Type "help" for help.)
Strong and lean, but small and almost dainty, this young wolf radiates gentle energy and playfulness. Her coat is a soft fawn color mixed with a cream underbelly, with fur that has only recently been cleaned and probably needs a good deal of mats brushed out. Her eyes are the pale blue of a winter sky, her nose a chocolate brown.

Around her neck, there's a ridge of bare, furless flesh still healing where a collar was once embedded. Though the surface wounds have healed, the aggravated chemical burn speaks to long-term silver exposure.
Tallulah has looked at you.

Dreamy in a dress. She never would've guessed that would ever happen. Nevermind it's meant for someone not as old as her, not that she's all that old to begin with. The flip-flops are alright, though once in a while she does stumble over the general lack of foot support and all. Hey, sneakers are /important/ when running for ones life is a daily occurrence.

Jason mentions headaches, and Dreamy favors him with a look somewhere between a pout and a pitiful expression, apparently still not completely impressed with the idea of being 'infected' with anything. Let alone things that give her headaches of all things. Thankfully she has this tablet thing! So she can…type. Touchscreens are a hell of a thing. At least it saves on paper. She taps out a message and holds the tablet up!

'If wolfs have headaches all the time that explains the growlyness. Also I'm not a wolf yet! Maybe my head just hurts because someone tried to rip it open?' After all she hasn't /changed/ yet, right? Maybe that whole potential wolf smell is just…not…?

Jason winces when she gives him that look. "Ah, sorry. I don't know of any Pain Killer spirits, or I'd try to hook you up." He kicks a rock down the beach, letting it skitter ahead before they catch up to it again and he repeats the process. He squints at the tablet, turning it a little so it's not reflecting the sun. He flashes her a toothy smile. "Hah! Yeah, being on the receiving end of Garou fury will fuck you up. Though I would say a headache is a best case scenario. And trust me, there's nothing 'not' about it. You are absolutely family now."
He crouches down, snatching up a rock and weighing it in his hand. "To be honest, I'm not really sure what to make of it. The only kinfolk I've known were ones that were born into it." He tosses that rock side-hand, sending it skipping over the white-capped waves. He looks at Dreamy and shrugs. "I guess… ask me questions?"

Down the beach, something moves. It's — a wolf! And one Jason doesn't recognize. Its fawn-colored fur had blended in well with the sand but now that it's moving, it's easy to spot as it sniffs at the sand, then skitters back. Then sniffs again, then skitters away again.

As they get closer, they might see that the wolf is having a battle of chicken, so to speak, with a hermit crab who's waving its pinchers menacingly as the wolf paws at it then jumps and backs up again, tail wagging lightly.
(OOC) Jason pfffft! <3

Dreamy makes another distasteful face. Family. She had a family! Granted they were kind of a messed up family… That expected her to steal for her supper. And stuff. But still. FAMILY! So of course right now she's a little grumpy about the thought that she's now some kind of 'special case'. She was already a special case, too, and it's still not in a way she appreciates much.

All of which just means she's Grumpy McQuietdress right now, squinting at Jason, then to her tablet, pondering a question to ask, and then…MOVEMENT!

Dreamy blinks, tilts her head, and points out at the beach. Because puppy! Or at least, not big intimidating wolf! Gosh they sure look a lot less threatening when they aren't hulking monsters of total doom and destruction.

Jason skips another rock, and takes a moment to realize she's pointing. He follows her finger, and he is taken aback at A Random Wolf out on the beach. He frowns. "Is that… Bruce? What's he doing out here? And is he…" He puts a hand over his eyes, squinting at the distance figure. "Is he fighting a chicken?"
The Ragabash grins, cupping his hands over his mouth and calling out, "HEY BRUCE! Having problems?"

Dreamy lifts an eyebrow and just kinda..stares at Jason for a long moment. She types up a quick message:

'Pretty sure it's a crab. Last I checked chickens don't have shells and claws.'

The wolf sniffs at the crab and then yelps as Jason addresses her. Or, maybe that's because as she scampers back, there's a crab hanging off her nose. She shakes her head quickly, tangling over her own paws and falling ass over teakettle onto her back. Her legs are windmilling, paws flailing. This is as far as you can get from an intimidating warbeast.
(OOC) Jason waits for Dreamy?
(OOC) Dreamy oh
(OOC) Jason: Also, lol, oops. I read "crab", I remembered "crab", but for some reason I wrote "chicken".
(OOC) Jason: I can go! Either or

Dreamy doesn't wait for Jason to read her oh-so-scathing witty commentary. It's probably better that way. She does stick her tongue out at him for a moment, then tucks the tablet device under her arm and ever so carefully begins picking her way down from the bridge to the sands, approaching the poor downed crab-snapped wolf-type. Y'know. To offer a helping hand. To 'family'.

"Yikes, Bruce, got a chicken on your nose again? That su— wait… how is a chicken staying on your nose?" Jason calls, following Dreamy down, curiously making his way towards the hapless creature. He stays behind her though, letting her take the lead here.

By the time Dreamy gets there, the wolf has flopped over onto her side and is nudging sadly at the creature still on her nose. She whines at it, sneezes at it, and even tries to rub it against the sand. But that crab is very upset!

The newcomers, however, catch her attention and she scampers up to her paws to face them. She looks slightly wary, but the tentative wag of her tail keeps her from looking too fierce. Well, that and the crab still clinging to her nose.

Dreamy gets to look concerned now! She glances back at Jason with a total 'wtf' expression. Still on that whole chickens thing. She shakes her head, and hands her tablet to him for the moment so she can have her hands free, turning back to the Tentatively Timid wolf.

She crinkles her nose, crouches down and just holds out one hand to the crab-bitten wolf, offering a smile!

Jason is looking pretty WTF as well, staring in confusion at that wolf. "That's not Bruce… I don't know who that is," he says, quiet enough for Dreamy to hear. He doesn't sound worried, though. Because honestly, who could be worried of that?
He's just lost in bafflement for a bit, and it takes him a moment to take the tablet from Dreamy. "Man, how did you even get into this mess?" he asks with a grin at the wolf, hidden behind a hand.

The wolf cants her head toward Jason, uttering with perfect, if gutteral clarity, Bruce? But then she's distracted by Dreamy and she sniffs at the girl hesitantly, her tail wagging a little more. And then she gives the most pitiful look, whining and pawing at the crab. Q_Q save meeeee

Dreamy can't resist a pitiful look like that! She sighs and, once this new wolf seems okay with her helping and all, considers the plight of the crab claw. She looks around for another shell, beaches are usually pretty littered with them, and finds a suitable long and thin one she can use to wedge between crab claws, helping to pry the darn thing back open again so the crab can drop harmlessly down into the sand. And off a wolf nose!

"Yeah, Bruce. Funny guy, dirty blonde fur, likes to get lost on the beach," Jason says, starting up a conversation with his erstwhile friend. "I mean, um…" He clears his throat, and speaks in a growling, drawn out manner. Ever seen Finding Nemo? The whale speech? It's like that, but more wolfy. "Whaaaat's Youuuuur Naaaaaaaame?"

With Dreamy's help, the irascible crab (which is my Reel Big Fish angry metal coverband) drops to the sand and scuttles away. The wolf snorts and shakes her whole body off, pawing at her nose a little as though rubbing the pain away. Then she plunks her butt in the sand and wags more eagerly, jaw dropping and tongue lolling. Thank you! she rumbles, unintelligible to Dreamy.

When Jason starts talking like that though, she cants her head in confusion and stares at him before chuffing. What?

Dreamy, too, cants her head in confusion and stares at Jason once they've removed the crab from their new wolf friend and bear witness to the oddest growling ever. She reaches a hand out in a gesture towards the tablet she'd given Jason, at least favoring him with a smile. If a slightly pained smile. Another of those headaches is coming around…

Jason looks at the wolf expectantly, before noticing Dreamy looking at him, and he blinks innocently. "What? That's how he was talking. Oh! Right." He hands the tablet back, blinking at the wolf. "Oh! Um…" He clears his throat, and starts to growl right back at the wolf in a way that sounds like he's just going crazy to Dreamy. You're welcome! What's your name?
(OOC) Jason: It probably sounds really ridiculous coming from a human throat.

The wolf scootches a little closer to Dreamy, having apparently made a friend, but her head tilts the other way now at Jason. Her ears even flop ever so slightly. Don't know, she rumbles. Don't remember. Lost, ran, confused? Where am I?

At least Dreamy can interpret the hunching shoulders, the sad droop. Aw. Sad puppy! And up close, Dreamy can see the bare ring of skin around her neck where a collar would have been, still cracked and oozing with some kind of bad burn.

Collars aren't an uncommon sight among street rats. Kids who get caught and sent to special places to do things for unscrupulous folks… Once in a while they'll escape or get rescued. Of course she's never seen what that would do to a wolf, but rings around ones neck are pretty universally understood.

This means she has to go against her initial instinct of wanting to HUG THE SAD PUPPY! And instead settles for..what, head-pats? Maybe a rub behind an ear? Look you can't not pet a sad dog. Or wolf. Especially since she doesn't understand the noises they're making yet. Though something about that's really putting a fresh bit of pressure right against her temples.

You know how you don't realize something is there until it's gone? Ever since Dreamy met Jason, she's seen a perpetual smile behind his eyes. And she realizes this now, because suddenly it goes away, and he's left looking truly distressed. Don't remember your name? What do you remember?
Jason comes to sit down by the wolf, tentatively reaching out to let her sniff his hand, looking at her neck with a wince. "She says she doesn't remember her name. She's lost and confused." He clears his throat again and growls out a stilted, You are safe. You're near a Garou home. Where did you come from?

Poor Dreamy, left out! The puppy looks like she could really use a hug. But she does sniff Jason's hand, her tail thumping again. At least she radiates a calm, if playful, energy, rather than tension or anger. Her ears perk as he speaks and she chuffs softly. Not much. City. Eat from metal boxes. Then big wolf, say I am Garou, man-wolf, but I am not, am just wolf. We go to forest, but he wants to hunt so I run… She looks uncertain then. Her Mother's Tongue is atrocious and even more stilted than Jason's, apparently newly acquired. Now am here? More Garou? Please no hunting… She whines then.

Of course Dreamy still doesn't understand, but she gets whines and posture! The new wolf's whining finally does earn a hug, if a brief one around the slumped shoulders. Her eyes widen at Jason's translation, and at 'she', holding up her tablet to tap something out on it to show him.

'Sounds kind of like how I found The Boss. I guess you're her Boss now?'

Jason's expression goes grim as she describes all of that, nodding along with her. At her last remark, he smiles and pats her gently on the shoulder. No hunting. You want food? Good food. No hunting needed…
Jason glances down at Dreamy's tablet, and a horrified look crosses his face. "Boss? What? I can't be a Boss. I'm not even responsible enough to take care of a goldfish!"

She looks relieved at that, ears craning. She even flops into Dreamy's hug, her own tail starting to thump a little more. But she looks confused again at Jason. But you are in charge of this pup, she says, indicating Dreamy. Aren't you?

Dreamy must have been thinking something similar to the wolf. When Jason raises a fuss about being a 'boss', she clears her tablet and types up a different message: 'You're kind of my new Boss now, too?'

Jason looks between the two of them now, getting this from both sides. "Holy Gaia's Garters," he mutters, sitting back and running his hands through his hair. "I have cubs. I have two cubs, Gaia save their souls." He shakes his head, letting out an amazed laugh.
"Fuck. I'm sorry for both of you. But there's one thing that I know cubs like…" He stands then, brushing sand off his shorts and flashes Dreamy a smile. "Let's go back and get some grub. How's that sound?"
He turns to the wolf, licking his lips, then gestures for her to come with him. Come. We'll feed you. Tend to your wounds. Good?

The pup wags her tail more. She brightens considerably, practically wiggling beside Dreamy. What she says next is a complicated bunch of Mother's Tongue, but there's no doubt what it sums up: Twinkies???? she says excitedly.

Dreamy smirks at Jason's reaction, giving the wolf leaning and wiggling next to her a little nudge with her arm. She types out a couple more notes:

'I'm still older than I look.' Dreamy's note insists, the lass sticking her tongue out and following it up with a second message: 'You know what I meant by 'Boss'.'

Then the subject of food comes up and she's quick to nod her head, getting up off the sandy beach and brushing her dress off. Seems food sounds like a great plan to her!
(OOC) Jason: And I think it's time for bed for Caytlin and I.
(OOC) Jason: Good news! You have your RP hooks now! :D
(OOC) Dreamy nods!
(OOC) Dreamy yay!
(OOC) Tallulah: Lolol aww I wanted to see Jason's reaction to twinkies XD
(OOC) Tallulah: BUt yeah good idea haha
(OOC) Jason: Hahaha, oh right, I'll put that out

Jason smiles at Dreamy, bemused at her messages. "I'm not so sure I do. But we can work that out, I guess," he says, showing his hands in his pockets. When the wolf speaks up, he bursts out with a laugh. "Twinkies, really?? Uh, sure…" He shakes his head, walking down the street with two new "cubs" in tow. Let's talk to the Bone Gnawers. If anyone knows where the Twinkies are, it's them.||||||||
Post-Apocalyptic Twinkies

Title: Post-Apocalyptic Twinkies
Date: September 25, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Shenanigans go awry, but one wolf comes up on top.

A little subtle whispering goes unnoticed behind the front door to the Sept House. But what follows is hard to miss: A Glabro stomping into the room, looking distraught as all hell. "Help! Help! Someone, help! She needs a theurge!"

In his arms, carried like an over-large baby, is a full-grown wolf. Apparently something's wrong with her?

The wolf in question, fawn-furred and blue-eyed, looks baffled as the glabro stomps through the house. One ear twists, her tail wagging uncertainly.

Bel is the only one inside the house at the moment, taking up a chair and sitting sideways in it so her legs dangle off the arm. She seems to be reading something on her phone, but she's on her feet pretty quick at the call for help. Occupational hazard. "What's wrong?" she asks, but only takes a couple steps that direction, because once she sees them and interprets the wolf's confused expression, Bel mirrors it with confusion of her own and looks to Jason, questioningly. "There's… no theurge here. I could call one?" It's an uncertain query.

Jason's expression is distraught and panicked (perhaps a little too much), as he hurries towards Bel, holding the wolf out to her as if she's supposed to take it in her arms. Um no, wolves are heavy. "There's no time! Quick, go to the pantry! She's DYING!"

After a few moments of confusion, the wolf seems to remember that she's supposed to be doing something, and she lets out a bellowing howl of… I guess you might call it pain? Or maybe just a tone deaf dog singing along to country music. "BAWAAAAWWOOOOO WAAAAWWWAAHHH!!"

She might be a step behind, but Bel seems to catch on, and as the glabro holds the wolf out toward her, the kin crosses her arms and cocks out a hip. The stance of the disapproving. At least there's an induglent look on her face, as much as she might be trying to chide them both with a look. "Tell me this one isn't a raggie, too," she says, wryly.

"What?" Jason asks, trying to look affronted. Or is he supposed to be indignant? Panicked still? Yeah, okay, he goes with panicked, and sets his face in wide-eyed terror. "No! Yes? I don't know! Quick, Bel! You need to get her some Twinkies before she dies of hunger!" He cradles Tallulah close to his chest, looking down at her like a mother would at her dying child. But shooting quick glances at Bel from under his thick brows. Is she buying it?

And the wolf's ungodly howling tamps down into whimpers, big ol' blue eyes looking at Bel with hope and injury both. Though, from the way she glances at Jason, there's also the air of 'am I doing this right?'

The sharp-eyed kin might note the rather wide swath of bare skin around her neck, where a collar likely was, and a silver one too judging by the nasty aggravated burn that's still healing. The wolf doesn't seem too injured though; clearly she's doing okay if she's trying to con Bel out of Twinkies.

By the way her eyebrow lifts, she is not buying it. Bel fixes Jason with a Look, then turns her attention to the wolf. Her expression softens as she looks her over, catching those details, as she is quite keen-eyed. "If you want a twinkie, sweetheart, I'll get you one," she says, before straightening to look at Jason again. "You'll have to get your own." A harsh punishment, indeed. But she turns to cross to the kitchen, proving that, even if the ruse didn't go as planned, it turned out alright in the end.

Jason sags in visible relief when Bel acquiesces. "Oh, thank Gaia! Bel, you've just saved a l—what??" His relief turns to actual sincere shock. "Why not??" he protests, following Bel into the kitchen, Tallulah still in his arms. "C'mon, where's the gratitude for the selfless hero?"

~Yellow cake log cream snack!~ the wolf rumbles happily, tail starting to wag. ~Nice lady feeds the wolf!~ Her Mother's Tongue is certainly stilted but she seems to be getting on alright. Still, her enthusiasm isn't making it easy for Jason to hold onto her.

"I have a lot of gratitude for selfless heroes," Bel says, her tone implying that maybe she just doesn't see one present. She pulls out a twinkie and turns back to the pari as they cross into the kitchen. "That's right! You just remember who's nice around here," she says to Tallulah with a firm, but playful nod. And maybe she aims to make Jason's job of holding onto a squirmy wolf a little harder, because she holds the twinkie out in front of her and opens the package in a single, dramatic movement. She looks up at Jason, her eyebrows ticking upward. There might be a grin, even. Just a brief one.

"Ouch! My pride!" Jason groans, standing in the middle of the kitchen, trying to keep from dropping a squirming wolf. "Shot through the heart, and Bel's to… okay, woah, woah now, puppy!" When the Twinkie opens, Jason's job becomes 10 times harder, and he even gets muddy paw prints to the face. "Hold still! Stop… just… I'll put you down, just stop moving!"

!!!!! The wolf starts squirming in earnest, tail flailing in excitement as her jaw snaps at the air, far out of reach of the snack. ~SNACK SNACK SNACK!~ she howls, paws booting him in face and belly both. She will not stop or hold still for him to put her down. THERE ARE TWINKIES.

Bel can't help but laugh, even if she hides it behind a hand. The snack is opened up the rest of the way and Bel lays out out on the wrapper like it were a clear, plastic plate. She is very aware that those teeth belong to a wolf, after all.

"Pup, no, don't… I can't… AUGH!" Jason goes for a grab, trying to readjust his grip on her to keep her up, but a lunge throws him off-balance. He wobbles and twists in mid-air, but it only results in him landing hard on his back, with the wolf on top of her. The impact makes the floor shake, and Jason glares up at Bel with a groan. "I hate you."

But the wolf doesn't hate Bel :D She goes for the twinkie and scarfs it up, tail wagging a mile a minute before she snuffles up to Bel and licks her hands. ~Yum!! Yellow cake log cream snack! I am grateful!~ And then she's snuffling around on the floor for any other treats she can find. Thankfully, that leaves Jason some room to get up.

Leaning on the counter, Bel looks down at Jason, her smile gentle, but teasing. "You don't, either," she says to him. Maybe he'll feel better once the wolf is off him. She reaches down to ruffle Tallulah's fur. "You're welcome."

Jason groans when she finally hops off him, and he shrinks slowly down to homid form as he holds his ribs dramatically. But through all that, he smiles up at Bel, giving her a wink. "No, I don't, either. How've you been, Bel?" For all his drama, he spins upright easily, rising to his feet and brushing himself down. "Caught any bad guys lately?"

And the wolf snuffles around a little more, though Bel's ruffle certainly makes her rumble happily. She finally yawns and stretches, flopping down on the floor to lick her paws clean. Her ears perk at the conversation, tail thumping again. ~More food?~ she asks hopefully, ears flicking.

"You know, busy. Just how I like it." Bel is somewhat notorious for having very little freetime, on both sides of her life. Maybe someone ordered her to take a day off today. At the latter question, though, she makes a pft sound. "All day, every day." Might be a bit of an exaggeration, as there has to be room for paperwork somewhere in there. Digital paperwork. Screenwork. There's a glance to the wolf at her question, then Bel looks back to Jason. His turn to feed her, apparently. "How long has she been around?"

Jason grins, raising an eyebrow and slipping his hands in his pockets. "Still? I figured with you here, the force had forced you to take a day off, finally. Or did you discover someone's been smuggling bootleg beanie babies under the floorboards, and you're just here to investigate?" He stop on the linoleum for dramatic effect.

When the wolf noses at his foot, Jason grabs two Twinkies from the bag, unwrapping one to hold out to her. "I just found her yesterday, actually. Fighting a crab on the beach, and losing. Poor girl doesn't know who she is or where she's from. I really thought amnesia like that only happened in the movies."

~Beans?~ she asks, when Jason mentions beanie babies. But then he's offering her another Twinkie and she scarfs it down excitedly. As the conversation turns toward her, she chuffs in affirmation. ~Wake up, scrounging for food in big city,~ she explains. ~No name, no home, no family. Just me.~

"They might have told me that I had too many vacation days saved up and needed to use some." Maybe just one, but it's something. Bel looks over to the wolf as he explains and as the wolf herself explains, and a frown comes over her features. "Poor thing. Well, you don't need to scrounge anymore. We're all going to do what we can to help you." When her attention turns back to Jason, she tilts her head some. "Are you thinking something spiritual had a hand in it?" Since this is not the movies.

Jason's jaw drops and he slaps his hands against his cheeks. "Mein gott! Belen Mejia, taking a vacation day?? I though the apocalypse had already come and gone! Are we set for ANOTHER end of days??"

When Bel asks about the wolf, Jason just shrugs broadly. "Perhaps? Spirits aren't really my bag. I wanted to snag a shaman, but they're all off on a spiritual retreat or some shit, I guess." He reaches down to idly scratch at the wolf's ears. "Supposedly she'd met another mean Garou out in the woods previously. Any idea who that could be?"

She leans into the scritches, a low happy sound in her throat. But when he mentions the 'other Garou,' she pulls away, offended. ~Not mean! Just mad. Forest-Smell was very nice. But mad I don't hunt.~ She huffs softly, ears planing slightly before she lays her head back on her paws. Sigh.

"Shush," Bel says to Jason's shock, "Only because they made me. We'll just see how they did without me, though, won't we?" Probably fine, really. But. "I'm sure one of them will be around sooner or later. I'm not sure where they hang out when it's auspice only." She looks down at the wolf, taking in her addition before she looks back to Jason. "I'm not sure. The woods aren't my usual stomping grounds. You need a pair of eyes to go check it out?"

Jason grins at Bel. "I'd appreciate it! I don't usually go looking for trouble intentionally," he says with a wink, "Trouble just ends up finding me."

He glances down at the wolf and back up to Bel, eyebrows raised. "Mad that she wouldn't hunt. That sure narrows it down, huh?" He kneels down to the wolf, gingerly petting her scruff. "Think you can take us to him?"

Her ears twist a little and she looks uncertain. ~I dunno if he'd like it… he has a pack. Good pack. Not man-wolf like him. Just wolf-wolf, like me.~ Someday she will be convinced otherwise. Probably. ~But… he did take the neck-thing off… Maybe he will be okay with visitors?~

"Isn't Trouble your middle name?" Bel asks with so much sincerity that she just has to be teasing him. She turns to the wolf, though, her head tilting some. "Well, that was good of him, to take off the collar. And you don't have to show us right now, but if you ever feel up to it." And back to Jason, she adds, "If there's anything you need for her, you know. Let me know."

"Hey!" Jason wags a finger at Bel severely, "No peeking at my birth certificate! That's purely confidential!" He rubs at his chin thoughtfully. "I was wondering about the collar. Do you think it has a nametag or something on it? Though Gaia knows why someone would collar a Garou like a regular dog. Unless they were looking to be killed horribly."

At the offer, Jason flashes her a charming grin. "Actually, since you've finally got the night off… There's a wicked cool band playing in Larimar tonight. Wanna go grab some drinks and arrest underage drinkers?"

~There was a dangle thing. Is that what you mean?~ Though she huffs. ~I am wolf-wolf,~ she insists. ~But… I will maybe go find him myself, and ask permission. Or maybe ask him to come to here?~ She cants her head, puppylike, then yawns and stretches out, flopping over. ~Have fun, I sleep.~

"Too late," Bel says, spreading her hands helplessly. "I wonder about the collar, too. It would be worth… looking into." Someone who would collar garou, probably not a good person. And Bel does so love to catch bad guys. She looks over at the wolf, but permissions and such are a think she leaves to the furry side of the family. But Jason gets her attention and she smiles crookedly, "Yeah, let's do it. I haven't got to arrest anybody all day."

"Hah! Excellent! I'll call ahead and tell Greg to put on some pants before he takes the stage this time." Jason claps his hands once, excitedly, rubbing them together.
"Hey, good news, sounds like there's a dog tag!" Jason ruffles the wolf's ears. "Alright, you sleep off the Twinkie coma. I'm gonna find how much booze they have left socked away in this house."||||||||
It's A Living

Title: It's A Living
Date: August 24, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Sloane's latest job turns out to be Trouble.

In the shadowy alleys of Old Diopside, where the civilized folk are afraid to go, shady deals are being wrapped up.

Sloane has been hired to assist in picking up goods her client had requested for retrieval by a third party. The exchange location is the yard of one of the factories near the city's outskirts, well after sunset. Guttering street lamps barely make a dent in the darkness of the nearly abandoned city as her car bounces along the unmaintained roads.

Her client — well-dressed man in his early 30s with slick, black hair and a hawkish nose — lounges in the back of the car, peering out the window at the ghosts of the long-abandoned factories lining the river. "Have you ever been out here before?" he asks quietly, breaking the long silence.

Sloane is not well-dressed. Her jacket is worn, her jeans are torn and her boots have skipped right past 'worn in'. But at least she's not a bad driver, so she has that going for her. She's been quiet for the drive, at least after the initial greetings. So when he speaks up, she looks at the rearview mirror, as if mildly annoyed by the disruption, then back at the road. There's a stretch, like she just might not answer, before she speaks up. "Have you?" Instead of inquisitive, the question is spoken like she knows the answer already.

The man snorts, as if the very idea is ridiculous. "No. I was hoping I'd get someone who'd know the lay of the land. Ah well, you get what you pay for." He tugs at his cuffs, gray eyes flicking to each building as they pass it. "You said you're good with a gun at least?"

He doesn't get an answer to that, just a glare via the mirror and, a few moments later when they arrive, she hits the brakes sharply. Probably on purpose. "We're here," she says as she climbs out of the car. She takes a moment to take a look around, watching for anything suspicious. Her hands slide into her jacket pockets and she leans back against the side of the car. It doesn't look very bodyguard like. But then, he is getting what he's paid for.

He jerks against his seatbelt when she stops, wincing and rubbing at his shoulder. He mutters something about sloppy drivers as he gets out of the car, straightening his jacket and peering around the darkness. Both he and Sloane are well out of the pools of lamplight, and it's the moon up above that gives most of the light, though it ducks in and out of sight behind the clouds racing across the sky.

"He said he was going to be here at 10:30," her client says, checking his watch and grunting in annoyance, "Where is he?"

"Waiting for you," comes an amused reply, as a cloud's shadow races across the ground. A figure steps out from behind a lamppost (though Sloane's pretty sure she got a good view of that post on the drive in), and starts to walk towards the car, his hands in his pockets. He's at least 50 yards off, and just strolling across the open lot towards them. "Evening, Mr. Suit. I've got a present for you."

Mr. Suit squints into the darkness, his hand going inside his jacket, possibly for a weapon. "Mr. Trouble?" he asks, sounding suddenly a lot less sure.

Sloane doesn't get a chance to reply, because their contact does instead. She looks toward him, then looks around again a little more carefully. She was absolutely sure that she looked that lamppost over, but that's all the show of surprise he gets. She's back looking at him after a moment. When they address each other, Sloane brings a hand up to her face and groans into it. "You guys are killing me," she says, but then she steps out in front of her client. Maybe to keep him from doing something stupid. Like drawing out a weapon. "Can we do this without the cloak and dagger?"

When Sloane steps forward, Mr. Suit doesn't seem purturbed by the extra body between him and the man approaching. But Sloane's movement does get the man to stop his approach. He pulls his hands out of his pockets, raising them up, as if to show he's helpless. "What, you don't like the dramatic reveal?"

The clouds move again, and moonlight slides across the parking lot, illuminating their contact. Rather than the scarred and dour characters Sloane has come across in her past work, this guy looks… young. Or rather, he has boyish good looks that make him seem more like a young man than a hardened criminal. The playful smirk doesn't help his appearance any.

"But everyone loves a dramatic reveal!" he adds with a chuckle, putting his hands back on his hips. His blue eyes are surprisingly bright in the dim moonlight, and Sloane can see them move from her client to her. Trouble eyes her for a moment, and she can see his nostrils flare as he sniffs the air. The motion sends a shiver through her, and she known, just like she's known so many times before… he's Family. Dammit.

And he definitely knows her as well. That's how it works. Though all he seems to do with that knowledge is give her the smallest of nods, before looking back to the client. "Anyways, like I said, I have a present." He reaches slowly into his jacket pocket, and pulls out a memory stick. One of those sticks that are designed such that they're only usable once. "Do you have the money?"

"Well, I don't. I like getting paid. So, the sooner we can manage that," Sloane says, letting the end of her sentence hang. His smirk and youthful looks don't seem to ease her any. In fact, they seem to put her more on edge. It isn't until that recognition hits her, and until she sees it hit him, that tension seems to go out of her shoulders. She responds to his nod with a sarcastic, and rather lazy, salute. When he pulls out the stick, she glances to her client, then nods toward the car. "It's in the trunk." She glances to her client, her expression so much less than friendly, "You're up."

Mr. Suit seems a little put off by the other man's appearance. He's squinting at him, and Sloane can see the calculations going on behind his eyes. "Mmmm. Yes, just a moment." Her client turns to go towards the back of the car.

While he's distracted, Mr. Trouble (apparently) looks back to Sloane and she gets favored with one of his friendliest smiles. He even returns the lazy salute, though he seems to take interest in looking her over. Sizing up a competitor, maybe?

"Here," Mr. Suit says, coming out with a briefcase. He pops it open, to reveal piles of bills, each in the high denominations. Mr. Trouble's eyes widen perceptibly at the sight. He must suck at poker.

"Glad to do business with you, Mr. Suit," he says, stepping forward, but Sloane's client puts up a hand to stop him.

"Ah ah. The data first," he says, gesturing to the memory stick.

Mr. Trouble sighs, and stays where he is, lazily underhanding the stick towards Sloane.

Friendly smiles seem lost on Sloane, as all he gets in return is a furrowed brow. She doesn't watch her client, though. She watches 'Mr. Trouble'. Even as the briefcase is opened, she seems unimpressed. And by the noise she makes at Trouble's reaction to it, she doesn't buy it. But, as the stick is held out her way, she steps over, reaching out to take it. It's clear, at least to the werewolf in front of her, that she was expecting more from her client, but whatever questions or procedure she thinks is missing, she doesn't do the work for him.

Mr. Trouble seems unperturbed by the unprofessionalism, giving Sloane the stick without a fuss. He even flashes her a small, friendly wink when she's within arm's reach. "Whatever he's paying you," he whispers, "It's not enough."

When Sloane gets the stick back, Mr. Suit has closed the briefcase up and set it on the ground behind him. He takes it from her without comment and sticks it into a handheld reader. Its contents spill over the screen, and it's enough to make his expression change to delight. "Excellent! I didn't think you would actually come through."

"I always finish my end of the deal," Mr. Trouble says, with a small shrug, "Now you finish yours." He gestures to the briefcase. "And let's make it quick. I have a hot date in a half hour."

"Actually…" Mr. Suit tucks the handheld reader and stick away in his jacket, "I have a better idea." With the click of a slide locking into place, he pulls out a small pistol, leveling it at Mr. Trouble, who goes stock still, the smile washing off his face immediately. "I keep the data and the cash, and go home. That seems much more amenable to me. Start the car." The last is said to Sloane, like he expects her to comply.

"You're damn right about that," Sloane says, to his whisper. She gives the memory stick a bit of a twirl before she hands it over to her client. She watches him open the files, her arms folding at his change in expression. And really, she must be quite familiar with this part of town and this sort of exchange, because when he pulls out a gun, her only reaction is a sweeping gesture of her hand as if to silently query: What the fuuuuuck? When he addresses her, she shrugs, though, and starts forward. Only, she passes near her client and reaches over to brush his arm, sending a quick, jarring electrical pulse through him.

"Dude, c'mon! Not cool!" Mr. Trouble cries, holding his hands up, careful not to make any sudden moves. He doesn't look happy.

"Hah! You think I got to where I am today by giving away money when I didn't need to? You're ignorant if you thi—AUGH!" He jerks at the sudden shock of electricity that runs through him, and his back arches painfully. Worse, his trigger finger clenches and the gun goes off with a loud report.

Mr. Trouble nearly throws himself to the ground when it goes off, staring at the both of them in surprise.

"What the hell was that?" Mr. Suit snarls, whipping his head towards Sloane, trying to turn the gun towards her, but his arm doesn't seem to be workign too well, and he only manages to turn it in her vague direction.

For her part, Sloane seems pretty decent at seeming surprised when he jerks and she lifts her hands when the gun comes her direction. "How the hell am I supposed to know?" she says, which is also quite genuine. "Maybe you should know better than to open questionable flash drives right here on the street. Just a thought." Her hands stay up and she doesn't exactly look in Trouble's direction, but it might be obvious that she's purposefully keeping the guy's attention on her, seeing as she isn't trying to get away. Or shutting up. "Everyone on the street knows better than to trust a suit, you know that much, right?" Maybe she doesn't need to sound so much like she thinks he's a dumbass, but… you know, she thinks he's a dumbass.

Mr. Suit looks very angry, and his aim is quickly steadying on Sloane's head.

Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Trouble stand up, reaching inside his coat…

And then he's standing beside Mr. Suit, gun pressing against his temple. She didn't even seen him cross the distance. One moment he was dozens of yards away, and the next he's close enough to touch. Mr. Suit's eyes go wide, his aim drifting off of Sloane as his eyes roll towards Trouble without moving his head.

"Okay, this WAS going well," Trouble says, sounding annoyed, "But then you had to fuck it up. Now you're going to do what I say, got it? First, you're going to put the gun down."

Mr. Suit does so without question, putting the gun on the roof of the car, lifting his hands up like Trouble was moments before.

That does surprise Sloane and she blinks at his sudden swiftness. But then something quite similar to a smile curls the corner of her mouth. When her client puts his gun down, Sloane scoops it up. She knows, you know, less about guns than she might have claimed in order to secure a job, but she knows which end to hold and where to point it. Which is to say, at her client. "And I quit, by the way. You are about to have a hard time finding protection, 'Mr. Suit,'" she says, although the name comes out sarcastically.

Mr. Suit looks even more distraught when he realizes he now has two guns pointed at him. But Trouble just looks pleased.

"Alright, briefcase next," Trouble says, and Mr. Suit looks distraught as he kicks it over towards the werewolf, who catches it on his foot, and kicks it up into his arm. Trouble looks between the two of them, then at the car. "Whose car is that?"

"It's mine, so please don't shoot it," Sloane says, dryly. She lifts her chin a little, eyeing her client before she adds, "The trunk's pretty empty." Her eyebrows lift and she grins at the attempted doublecrosser in a way that is probably not very reassuring. "Can't promise it's roomy, though."

Trouble barks a laugh at the insinuation, and Mr. Suit whimpers, "N-no, p-please… I'll, I'll triple your pay!"

"Hey, how often do you have clients who grovel, eh? That's certainly a perk!" Trouble says, tucking the gun back under his jacket, curious where this is gonna end up going.

The offer makes Sloane tilt her head, as if in thought. And it is in thought, because after a moment's consideration, she takes a step toward him. Gun still up. "Triple. And you give me the best damn review you've ever given. Then I'll let you walk away. Provided," she adds, "you behave yourself. And don't try anything fucking stupid. Anything else fucking stupid, anyway." She gives Trouble a glance, and a smirk that might imply that it happens often enough.

Mr. Suit nods vigorously at that. "Yes! Yes, whatever you want! 5 stars, I promise!"

Trouble looks like he's trying not to laugh, hand over his mouth, when she looks his way. He responds to that smirk with a huge grin and a shake of his head. He's just enjoying being a spectator for now.

"Alright," Sloane says, her hand moving to her hip. She looks at Trouble, eyebrows lifted, "He's gonna do both right now, so don't shoot him unless he pulls some shit." And then the hand on her hip gestures to her client, ushering him to follow through. Seems the guns aren't going anywhere until he does.

Mr. Suit reaches slowly into his coat, pulling out his phone. His hands are trembling so hard, he's having trouble holding the device. Eventually, Sloane gets a buzz on her phone indicating she's been paid triple her usual rate. Then a few minutes later, a glowing review on he notifications feed. "Okay, okay! That's it. C-can we put the guns away now?" Mr. Suit stammers.

Trouble has gotten hold of himself, wiping at his eyes from the silent laughter. "Oh wow, you just lucked out, buddy. I've seen drivers shoot their clients for less than sticking a gun to their head."

Sloane waits, even patiently, while he works out how to use his fingers again. She pulls out her own phone, even though she doesn't strictly need to, to look at her alerts. "Thank you for the prompt payment," she says, in a parody of the Customer Service Voice, "it's been lovely doing business with you." She lowers her gun, but doesn't exactly ask Trouble to do likewise. "Start walking," she says, her tone returning to a harsher one.

Jason tucks his gun away, and Mr. Suit finally relaxes. He looks at Sloane with great distress. "But… New Diopside is miles away! I'll never be able to walk there!"

"Not with that attitude, you won't!" Trouble says flippantly.

"There's a train. Cabs. It's probably too late for the city bus," Sloane looks over at Trouble, as if to get confirmation on that point before she looks back to her client. "You tried to cheat your way out of this meeting. You pointed a gun at me. At both of us. Your feet will recover. Gunshots take a lot longer."

Huh? (Type "help" for help.)

Trouble gives Sloane an incredulous look, shrugging. "Do I look like the kind of guy who takes the bus? But yeah, you better do what she says, man."

Mr. Suit stares at the both of them, before his expression turns angry. "You… you stupid bitch! I pay you triple, and now you're going to stiff me? I'll make sure you never work in this town again!"

"Okay, time's up." Jason steps forward, pulls out his gun again, points it in the air and fires, cutting Mr. Suit's temper tantrum short as he quails in fear. "Get those feet moving before you lose them!"

Sloane puts a hand to her chest at the insult, like she's never been called such a thing before. She might have some smartass thing to say, but Trouble cuts into the conversation rather pointedly, so she just crosses her arms and scoffs at the man's threat. "Chop, chop, Mr. Suit. You've got a lot of work to do if you're going to try to freeze me out of work."

Mr. Suit looks like he's about to say something, but Trouble fires into the air again, and he ducks his head, taking off at a run with a yelp.

When he's out of earshot, the other man breaks out into peals of laughter, nearly doubling over. "Ahahaha! Holy shit, did you see his face?? Hahahaha, you had him pissing himself! That was amazing!"

When the man starts to run, Sloane lets out a sigh, as if that didn't all go how she wanted it to. But then, Trouble starts to laugh and she looks over at him like he might be crazy. But after a moment, she smirks in reply. "Me? You're the one shooting. I think you need most of the credit." She unfolds her arms and turns toward him, "Was it unclear that he was paying me to not shove him in my truck and dump him in the ass end of nowhere?" She also passes the gun over to him, seeing as he seems to know how to handle them and she does not.

"I wasn't the one who negotiated triple my pay AND blackmailed a guy for a 5-star review! Holy crap, that was genius!" He settles down, wiping at his eyes again. "Hee hee… no no, that was crystal," he says.

He glances down at the gun when she offers it out, but he does take it with a cheeky grin. "Not a fan of guns, huh? Too bad, you could pawn this for a few hundred, I'll bet. It's an expensive model."

"Well," Sloane says with a crooked smile, "it isn't like he made it hard. He's still going to have a hard time finding a bodyguard next time. The community doesn't particularly like stunts like that." Whatever the community is. She laugh dryly, briefly, when he goes on. "I'm more likely to shoot myself in the foot before I make it to a pawn shop." There's a pause before she holds her hand out toward him. "Sloane."

"There's a bodyguard community?" Jason asks, more to himself than to her, "Do they have a Facebook page or something?"

When she offers her hand, he slips his into hers with a smile, shaking it. "Trouble. Is what my customers call me. The Family knows me as Jason." He flashes her that boyish smile again. "So how much do I have to pay you to give me a ride back to civilization, and not dump me in a ditch?"

"Something like that," Sloane says, as far as what the community is and where they might gather. She returns the shake, then slides her hands back into her pockets. "Jason, then. Not very many people have been able to sneak up on me. I guess I'm glad you're family." At his question, she smirks and nods toward the car. "Buy me a coffee, we'll call it even." Nevermind that it's the middle of the night.

Jason looks plenty pleased at that, puffing out his chest and grinning like an idiot. "Always glad to run into more family. Might be easier to get a drink than a coffee, though. I know this place in New Diopside that makes amazing Kahlua milkshakes…"||||||||
Urchin Hunting

Title: Urchin Hunting
Date: August 22nd, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Jason meets Amber and Jason and Amber meet Dreamy and her ragtag gang of urchins.

It's a warm night in Bloodstone Gulch, the desert town still radiating heat from the blisteringly hot day. The road down the middle of town that delineates the dirty bandit rats from the clearly upstanding citizens of the town is empty at this time of night … except for at least one person.

The slim figure of Amber Fanin slides conspicuously across, tip-toeing almost, to the Bad Side of Town. Her heart is pounding, her hand fumbling compulsively in her pocket. She doesn't belong here, and it's clear … but she's stubborn, and by golly, she's doing it anyway.

The bad side of town certainly seems more interesting. The local saloon is hopping, judging from the noise inside. There's yells, laughter, dancing… or maybe that thumping is running? Or maybe it's—
That line of thought, dear reader, is answered quickly as a body flies through the saloon doors and Jason lands on his back, skidding a few meters before rolling backwards, and finally coming to rest, still and unmoving in the middle of the street.
"I'm gonna kill him!" comes a yell from inside the saloon, "I'm gonna kill that no-good, cheating, lying sonnuva bitch!"

The tense Amber staggers in surprise, yelping before clamping her mouth shut again. She skitters behind the nearest building. No, no need to get involved. This is not her fight. … And yet, that dude's not moving. … She keeps an eye on the saloon doors, hoping they don't bust open again as she creeps carefully toward the guy.

She makes it all the way over to him, but he's still laying there completely still. She can see he's a dark-haired young man in a leather jacket and beat up jeans. He has a big welt on his cheek and his eyes are closed. She'd have more reason to be worried if she couldn't smell the Wolf just pouring off of him.
She's practically on top of him when one of his eyes pops open, looking up at her. "Don't move," he hisses quietly, "His vision is based on movement."
After he says this, the hulking form of a man who's half-muscle, half-beer guy shoves the saloon doors open, glaring out into the darkness. "Where are ya, Bard?? I'm gonna shove that smart mouth of yours right up your own ass!"

She creeps closer… and closer …… and halts, grimacing. Ah, shit. Another Garou. And here she'd been so good avoiding them. But her worry is replaced by confusion as the young man whispers to her — and then mild alarm as his adversary appears on the scene. She stays as carefully still as she can, peering down at the bruised young man under her newsie cap, her hair all bundled up beneath to keep it out of the way — making her boyish in appearance. She squints. "What'd you do, anyway?" she whispers.

That singular eye squints up at Amber, not able to see well in the dark twilight, but his nostrils do flare, and she sees the flash of a smile from him. "Just a little cheating at cards. Really, he should have seen it coming. It's his fault."
"I can hear you out there, you little turd!" the man bellows, still squinting into the dark street as his eyes try to adjust, taking slow steps down the stairs.

People who don't belong are obvious in a place that paints such folk with big targets. Surely one doesn't come to a place like Bloodstone without knowing its reputation. Or at least being warned where not to wander. Some folks get away with a short visit and a quick scurry back to safer places. Some folk end up scampering back a little lighter of pocket. Some folk get blackjacked into a gutter, or worse…

Like tonight, where some fool apparently went and ticked off a bunch of tavern-dwellers bad enough to get roughed up. That guy is a 'target'. That girl, who's now apparently checking to see how he is? Yeah, that's a target too. A shortish figure in a dirty green hoodie watches from around the building's corner, just tucked in a darker alley shadow. She's not alone. There's two other figures, shorter than her but not by much, in similar hoodies. Their hoods are pulled up, hers is down, as is the way of things. She's watchful, because there could still yet be a fight. A fight would lead to someone possibly getting knocked out. Knocked out folk are notoriously easy to lift a wallet from. Just a pair of green eyes peeking around a corner, that's all.

She snorts in amusement and shakes her head slightly. "Let me guess," she whispers. "Ragabash?" Then she stands, oblivious to their newest watchers as she approaches the aggressive man. "Excuse me, sir," she says, tipping her head up. "I've been looking for a young man, about six feet tall, dark hair. Have you seen him?"

The angry bar patron stops at the bottom step of the saloon, right before the dusty street, and peers at the woman calling to him out of the darkness. "Hmmm, I just threw one like that out on his pasty white ass, in fact. And I'm gonna get my money out of his ass, too. What of it?" he says, with a snarl.
Jason's open eye goes wide, flicking up to Amber. "What are you doing??" he hisses, "You can't talk to him like he's a normal person!"
"It'll just confuse him! And he gets angry when he gets confused!"

It's an interesting scene unfolding. There's opportunity. But the shortish lass isn't too keen on watching a fight break out. She starts to scoot back out of sight, when both of the other hoodies give her a firm nudge from behind. She gasps a quiet breath, flails, and stumbles out of the alleyway, pitching forwards into the dirt with a light scuff of dust. For a moment she just…lays there, quietly pulling her hood over her head as though embarrassed that she'd 'tripped' like that, peeking up just enough to keep an eye on the scene unfolding, lest she become the Big Man's target for having moved so uh, suddenly.

"Oh, yes, he owes me too," Amber says. She is not very good at this. "Oh! There he is! I see him running! QUICK, AFTER HIM!!!" She points! And realizes there's a kid in the way. She yelps. "Errrr, no, wait, THAT WAY!" Slightly different trajectory!

The angry gambler's eyes follow Amber's pointing finger, and his eyes and nostrils both go wide when he sees a figure stumble into the dust. "THERE YOU ARE, BARD!" he bellows, starting to lumber off towards the poor girl, pulling a revolver out of his hip holster as he goes. "I'M GONNA TAKE MY PAY OUT OF YOUR HIIIIIIII—oof!"
The man gets only a few steps down the road before Jason's foot sneak out, catching him by the ankle and sending him into a belly flop onto the road with a loud WHOMP!

The big man trips and goes crashing to the ground! The hoodie-clad girl winces at the fall, but knows an opening when she sees one. She's quick enough to get up out of the dirt and run, away from the alley and directly over the fallen giant, using him like she might a vaulting horse to get past and skid her way to another alley, pressing herself against the side to seem as small as she dare be in those other shadows.

The other two hoodie-wearers watch this, but don't really make their presence known. If one could look in, there would be the distinct feeling that they'd be face-palming right about now.

Amber squeaks a little when the man goes down, and she gives the street urchin a somewhat panicked look of relief. Good! You're not dead! Probably. And that's about as far as her Wild and Crazy Ambitions take her, because she grabs the thing in her pocket and throws it down, shouting, "SCATTER!"

Where it hits, greenery bursts from it, exploding out into flowers and grass and leaves and even small trees. She bolts toward the girl, aiming for home free!!

But before she can get far, a big meaty hand grabs her ankle and she falls hard on the ground, knocking her prone.

Jason lets out a breath of relief when the gambler goes down for the count, but it's followed up by a series of yelps when suddenly there's a girl leaping over him, greenery exploding everywhere, and suddenly Amber falls to the ground beside him, the gambler's hand around her ankle.
"Sonnuva!" he yells, leaping to his feet with surprising agility, and swinging a hard kick that catches the gambler right in the nose. Blood spurts all over his tennis shoe as the man cries out, letting go of Amber to clutch at his face. "C'mon, c'mon!" Jason yells, grabbing Amber's arm and helping to yank her upright, dragging her in the direction the little urchin ran.

The green-hooded lass doesn't get much of a chance to breathe before coming to the (potentially wrong) realization that she's being chased. Explosions of greenery and people running her way don't help that image any! Green eyes widen and she gives a hitch of breath in a gasp as she turns tail, quick to get dashing back down the alleyway, taking a small jump at a link fence marking one property from another. Beyond is another alley, practically a twisting labyrinth of them, the perfect sort of place for the chasee to lose chasers!

Amber is dragged to her feet, running as fast as her feet can carry her. And the urchin is running too, that's good! Right? Maybe? This has turned very topsy turvy. And she's wasted her bomb. Darn it. "Where are we going?" she asks, stumbling over her own feet.

"I have no idea!" Jason yells, glancing back at the gambler who's struggling towards his feet, having to fight the clasping vines that are wrapping around his arms, torso, neck. He doesn't let go of Amber's arm, dragging her into the alley that the urchin went down, smiling when he sees her vault the chain link fence.
"There!" he calls, and lets go of Amber's arm to run towards the alley wall, run up it at an angle, and sling a leg easily over the fence. He reaches down, offering a hand out to the redhead. "Hurry up!"

The green-clad girl lands in a crouch, glances back just in time to see Jason pretty easily ascend to the top of it. She blinks wide eyes, that's not a good sign! She has to book it! Off she goes again, running off one direction in those back alleys, spinning and skidding as she attempts to round a corner a little too quick and having to spend a moment to right herself to take off again.

Amber gapes as Jason just leaps over the fence like that. She looks back over her shoulder and then takes a jump toward him, legs flailing, hands grasping, trying to hold on tight. She's got a good grip, but her maneuverability is certainly lacking. He's going to have to pull her over. "Hey, the kid is getting away!" she yelps. Not because they're chasing her, but because the kid seems to have a better idea of how to navigate this area than they do!

"That's it! C'mon! Up!" Jason chances a glance over his shoulder when Amber calls out, and he frowns. "Well, crap. She probably knows where to go better than we do. Kid, wait up!"
Turning back to Amber, he gives her a determined frown as he hauls on her as hard as he can. Which is pretty hard, it seems, as he pulls her all the way over the fence, and they both go tumbling to the ground on the other side, with her on top of him.

Wait up? Are they crazy? That's what all the chasers say! Wait up! We won't hurt you! We just want to ask a few questions like WHERE DID MY WALLET GO!

Well she's gone. Around the corner, sneaker steps fading, that's the last anyone'll ever see of this little urchin!

The two other hooded kids though, they run by just a couple seconds later, slowing down to blink at Jason and Amber in their pile. They pause, glance at each other, as though they weren't sure whether to offer help or keep running.

"WhooaWHOA!" Amber cries as she topples onto Jason, sending them both into a pile. As boyish as she looks with her hair tucked under her hat, her, uh, figure is not so boyish up close and personal. She blushes furiously and pushes off of the other Garou, staggering to her feet. And when the other kids are staring, she just crams her hat down tighter on her head. "Come on," she mutters to Jason. "We gotta catch up if we're not gonna get lost."

Jason groans on the ground, dazed for the moment from the knock his head made with the dirt. He blinks up at the boy… no, girl on top of him, and a grin spreads across his face. "Oh, hel-LO. You have beautiful ey—Ooof!" He's stopped short as she shoves her hands into his chest, and he rubs at his ribs with a small pout. "What?" He glances at the empty lot behind him and swears quietly, "Dammit. Alright, c'mon!" He's up on his feet in a flash, grabbing for Amber's hand and taking off in whatever vague direction the urchin ran off in.
Why? Why not!

"Lost?" one of the hooded shorts-kids chirps. "If ya didn't wanna get lost, ya shouldnuh hopped the fence. This place ain't safe."

"Yeah, s'our tur-" the other kid starts to say, when the first kid gives him a brief elbow to the gut. "…rm..s'our backyard. Oy! I wouldnuh go that way!"

The two kids look at each other again, if Jason and Amber insist on running, why they'll be more than happy to run along with the poor lost Garou! Offering helpful tips like, "That way!" "This way!" "Turn left!"

Though the first urchin is long gone, no doubt there's a hint of her scent left behind. These city kids don't exactly get a lot of chances to bathe, y'know. Funny thing, the urchin's path doesn't quite match the path of the two other hooded brats trying to guide Jason and Amber somewhere in this maze.

Amber flushes red. "Hey—" she squawks when Jason grabs her hand, but then it's too late. They're running, and the urchins are helping. But, being as aware as she is of social cues, it doesn't take long for her to slow to a stop and glance around. "They're taking us somewhere we're not intending to go," she says firmly. "I'm pretty sure the other one went somewhere else…" But where? Her nose is not terribly advanced.

Jason happily goes along with the urchins helping their retreat! He's running along with them, following the path left, right, left, left, right… But he's stopped as Amber slows, and he looks back at her urgently. "C'mon, we have to—what?" He pauses and looks around as well, blinking and squinting at the unfamiliar area. "Where, uh… where are we intending to go anyways?" he asks. He squints at the two urchins, and sniffs in their general direction.

As Jason and Amber slow, so do the two urchins behind them. Naturally cautious that their quarry have figured out the plan, they share a glance, and then speak up, "Well, you said you didn't wanna get lost, right?" Kid One pipes up.

"So we're goin' where ya won't get lost!" Kid Two concludes.

"It's just a little further up, one more corner an' you'll be there!" Kid One continues, grinning from under his hoodie.

"I thought we were following the other kid," Amber says to Jason, frowning. "…but I guess we didn't need to. I just wanted to make sure they didn't get hurt." She looks at the two urchins, grimacing thoughtfully. "…Hey. You kids eaten lately?"

"Oh really?" Jason asks, putting his hands on his hips and peering down at the urchins. "Where would that be?" But Amber's question gets a curious look from him. Huh? What's she getting at?

As mention of food is made and more scrutiny is put on their odd directions around the maze of back streets, both of the kids look like they might've just been admonished at Amber's words, and a little wary at Jason's. "Funny you should say that." Kid One says, making another, less enthusiastic motions down the alley they had been going, "We were leadin' ya home, cuz' food's there."

Kid Two nods hastily, "Yeah, food! An' backup!" Spoken before Kid One can quite apply another elbow. Kid Two seems to catch on to what he said though, adding in a sheepish tone, "In case we were bein' followed y'know? That big guy looked awful mean an' had a gun an' everything!"

Speaking of up ahead, apparently the noise of conversation has alerted someone to something or another. Or maybe this was just a regrouping place. Because a green hoodie peeks around the corner, bright green eyes blinking at the small group, going wide with a soft gasp at realizing just *who* is there, and ducking back around the corner.

Amber lifts her brows skeptically, folding her arms. "Food and backup, huh?" she asks drily, before she sighs. "Well, I was going to offer to get you guys something to eat, since I can't imagine it's easy on the streets. Buuuut, if you're already all set…" She pauses, peering into the gloom. "Hey! Kid! It's you! I'm offering to feed you too, if you want."

Jason folds an arm over his chest, hiding his smile behind his hand with the other. "Backup, you say? Good to know you have good data habits. Don't want to lose those spreadsheets to a power outage." He waves happily to the green hoodied girl, apparently thoroughly enjoying the current situation.

The pair of talkative kids blink at Jason. Of the three urchins, one gets the joke, though she doesn't exactly laugh at it. She's been spotted though, called out even, so she sighs and turns back around the corner, putting on her best (and almost-but-not-quite-genuine) smile. This is her 'working face'.

Both of the other kids stop for a second, One waves at the hoodie kid. "Oy Dreamy! We brought company! Y'remember'em? Uh, what were yer names again?"

Kid Two blinks at Kid One, "Thought their names were both Mark." he says in a confused half-whisper.

Dreamy, as she's been called, just barely avoids rolling her eyes at the other two, though she does shake her head and approach the two obvious adults close enough to offer a sort of curtsey in greeting.

Amber snorts in amusement. "I'm Eliza. Funny enough, his name *is* Mark." She grins at them, and then she offers an elegant curtsy in return to Dreamy. "Nice to meetcha, Dreamy. What are you two's names?"

"I prefer Marcus," Jason says, "But nice t'meetya anyways." He doffs his hat at her with a small bow. Then realizes he's not wearing a hat, and frowns at his hand. "Shit, lost my hat. Again." Siiiiigh!

Kid One blinks in surprise as Kid Two might've got something right. "He is?" he says, then jumps, "Oh of course he is. See, what'd I tell ya? He looked like a Mark a mile away." Then their names are asked and both the Kids straighten up to offer their names.

"I'm Smudge!" Kid One claims proudly.

"I'm Sludge." Kid Two says, then points beyond to Dreamy, "An' that's Dreamy. She don't talk none, but she understands real good."

Dreamy, meanwhile, seems intent on following up her curtsey with a slightly more genuine smile, because she does actually happen to like meeting people. When she isn't supposed to be distracting them. She also reaches into her hoodie pockets and produces a small notepad and a broken pencil, starting to write words down to show the two.

The words say: 'It's nice to meet you. You shouldn't be here.'

'Eliza' snorts in amusement as 'Mark' realizes he's lost his hat. "I'm sure we can recover your hat," she says, shaking her head. "Smudge, Sludge, and Dreamy. Nice to meet you three." And then Dreamy offers her notepad and she leans in to look. "Hah. Tell me something I don't know. Sorry, we didn't mean to intrude, truly we didn't. And I really am offering a meal if you guys need it, but otherwise… perhaps we should be on our way?"

"Well, I fucking hope so. It was a nice hat!" 'Mark' replies with a dramatic pout, running his hand through his black hair, like it's uncomfortable to be left uncovered.
Dreamy's smile get a sunny one from the young man, and he bows down to peer at the paper in her hand. He raises an eyebrow at her, and looks up at 'Eliza' as she makes her farewells. "Everybody likes a good, hot meal. I think the Feeding Trough even has its happy hour!"

As 'Eliza' and 'Mark' lean in, Smidge and Smudge do a thing. Namely they attempt a quick bit of pickpocketing. Because that was *their* job when a target is sufficiently distracted from them. Really only time to check one pocket, pass or fail they'll lean back and give the brightest of smiles.

If Dreamy's noticed what her cohorts are doing she's certainly not giving it away. She patiently waits for the few seconds it takes to read words and speak, seeming to consider, and then she scribbles another note to show the grown-ups:

'You seem nice. I can lead you out somewhere safe if you want. Legit safe. Wouldn't say no to a meal.'

(OOC) Amber: Okay, Jase, who wants to get pickpocketed :D

ROLL: Jason rolls: 1d2
ROLL: 1 = 1
(OOC) Jason: Guess that's me!
(OOC) Jason: I think they'll need to make a roll for pickpocketing. Probably Dex + Larceny? I wonder what I defend with…

"Oh, don't pout," 'Eliza' says with a smirk. "Here, you can wear mine if you want." She tugs her newsie cap off, handing it over to 'Mark' and letting her long red hair cascade down to her butt. How the hell did she hide all that under that little hat????

"Well, if the Feeding Trough has a happy hour, who am I to say no?" she laughs. "C'mon, Dreamy. I hate to see hungry kids on the street."

ROLL: Dreamy rolls: 4d10
ROLL: 1 + 3 + 1 + 5 = 10
(OOC) Dreamy pffff
(OOC) Amber: Oop :x lolol
(OOC) Dreamy blames Kid Two
(OOC) Amber: Let's see if Jason perceives it lolol
(OOC) Jason: HAH!

ROLL: Amber rolls: 4d10 DO I NOTIEC
ROLL: 2 + 1 + 3 + 9 = 15
(OOC) Amber gets one success haha

ROLL: Jason rolls: 5d10
ROLL: 10 + 6 + 5 + 9 + 1 = 31
(OOC) Dreamy nuuu
(OOC) Amber: Poor chilluns XD
(OOC) Jason: Either way, Jason isn't gonna stop him.
(OOC) Dreamy is pretty sure nobody is surprised.
(OOC) Jason XD

"Hey, neat! Thanks, Red!" Jason brightens up immediately when she puts the cap on his head, and he takes a noticeable amount of time adjusting it on his head. Plenty of time for Smudge to snatch his wallet out of his back pocket and secrete it away somewhere on his tattered outfit.
When Amber notices, Jason catches her eye and gives her a friendly wink. It's alright, he's got this. "Smidge? Smudge? Do you want a free meal tonight? The only rule at the Feeding Trough is that you need to be able to see over the bar. Though… maybe we should get Dreamy some stilts."

Dreamy makes a face as Jason suggests stilts. It's tough being short sometimes. Smidge and Smudge look all sorts of proud of themselves though, now torn between being greedy and getting food on top of their good fortune of someone's wallet, or of cutting their losses and calling it good to let their lure lead the marks out of danger. Smudge's even nodding his head while Smidge looks contemplative, eventually nudging Smudge with his arm and shaking his head.

"We really ought'a go." Smidge says, "Cuz' we got friends waitin' for us 'round that corner and you prob'ly don't got enuff to feed alla us."

Smudge sort of scuffs one sneaker at the dirty alley, "Yeah I s'pose. Dreamy can still go with ya though, she can't say nothin' so she don't hafta report nothin'." Smidge lets out a sigh, reaches up, and puts Smudge into a headlock, "Lemme do the talkin'!"

Dreamy, whlie Dumb and Dumber are trying to decline the polite offer, just scribbles out another note for when attention comes back her way: 'If you want to leave without losing anything else we should go.'

Amber inhales, eyeing the sneaking hand, about to say something — but Jason shakes his head, and she snaps her jaw shut, letting out a disapproving sigh. In the end, she just shakes her head. "Well, you guys report back. Dreamy, you're with us." She at least smiles at the note, reaching back to tie her long hair back. "…So, Mark, the Feeding Trough isn't where you were just forcibly ousted from is it?"
(OOC) Jason: Okay, so Jason is going to try to Pickpocket back. He also has a merit that makes it a normal roll, not a Contested roll.

ROLL: Jason rolls: 7d10
ROLL: 4 + 6 + 7 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 6 = 39
(OOC) Jason: Are you fucking kidding me
(OOC) Jason: He has a Larceny specialty of "Theft". So I think that means he gets an extra die?
(OOC) Amber: LOL!!!

ROLL: Jason rolls: 1d10
ROLL: 6 = 6
(OOC) Jason flips a table.
(OOC) Dreamy waves goodbye to the wallet

Jason laughs at the pair, and grabs one in each hand, separating them gently. "Alright, alright. You two make sure you get home safe, okay?" he says with a laugh, patting each on the back and snatching his wallet back.
Or he was trying to, but he can't find it! Shit, this kid is better than he thought. He flashes a worried look at Amber. Uhhhh, uh oh. "Huh? Oh, no, it's um… naw, that was the Greasy Spittoon. Too bad, they make some really good poutine."

Smidge and Smudge flash a thumbs-up at Jason, looking smug at each other. Dreamy makes a thin line with her lips, holds up one finger to Amber and Jason, and then steps sideways to poke the two other urchins. She reaches into her hoodie again, pulls out another wallet, and offers it to Smudge. When Smudge goes to take it, she jerks it back, narrows her eyes, and points at Jason. Smudge blinks. Then Smidge blinks. "Awww, Dreamy, do we hafta?"

Dreamy nods, dangles the other wallet over Smudge's head. "Oh fine…" Smudge says, brushing past Dreamy, but not lifting his head to look at Jason as he fishes around in his pants (!?) and pulls out Jason's wallet, holding it up while scuffing his sneakers. "Sorry mister. Gotta be careful down here, people drop stuff." he mumbles.

Smidge doesn't look happy either, but at least Dreamy is content enough to give them the wallet she'd snatched from the big ugly gambler way back when. At least they got one thing to take back! Never go back empty-handed, that's the rule!

Amber watches all of this and seems at least moderately mollified; and she smirks a little. "Yeah, we'd better be careful," she agrees wryly. "I'd hate to lose anything important. Thanks for the help, you three." She winks at Dreamy, though Jason's answer gets a grimace. "I… think I'll pass on eating at a place called the Greasy Spittoon. That… yeah. No, thank you."

When Smudge pulls out the wallet, Jason is looking like he's seriously considering whether he wants the wallet back or not. "Uh, yeah. Hey, thanks, kid. Good advice." He eventually plucks it out of Smudge's fingers with his finger and thumb, letting it dangle and air out a bit.
"Hey, your loss, Eliza," Jason says with a grin, "At least the Feeding Trough has a good deal on feedbags. You don't even need silverware!"

Smudge looks back at Dreamy for approval, whom nods with a satisfied smirk. She gives Smidge and Smudge the wallet she'd pilfered to compensate and then points towards the corner where the two boys swiftly scamper, lest they stick around to be further admonished and/or ridiculed for their theft.

Dreamy dusts her hands together, then tucks them back into her hoodie pockets, turning her head to regard Jason and Alex again. Now he's talking about feeding troughs. She pulls out her notepad and does the quickest little stick figure sketch of someone wearing a feedbag and a question mark, one eyebrow lifted as she lifts this picture at Jason as though confirming that's how he eats. Or likes to eat.

Amber just shakes her head after the boys and then looks to Dreamy… and then over at Jason with a smirk. "Feedbags, huh?" she asks. "That sounds… messy." She leans in to casually stagewhisper at Dreamy, "I bet he doesn't know *how* to eat with silverware."

"No see, that's the point! It's a feedbag, so there's no mess!" Jason says, sounding more and more excited. He looks between the two of them, and Dreamy's drawing. And his smile falls. "Oh, alright, fine. They also have normal plates and silverware. If you two want to be BORING." He rolls his eyes and sighs dramatically.

Dreamy takes this into consideration. She puts pencil to paper again, and next to the stick figure with the feedbag (upon whom she draws a fantastic feathered hat) there's a table, and two other smiling stickfigures with plates and forks. At least they could be forks. Either forks or fingers. They're stick figures darnit.

She actually rips that picture out of her notepad and passes it to Amber, then starts to walk down one of the alleyways, lips curled in half a smirk and one hand lifted in a 'follow me' sort of gesture. Totally the opposite way of where Smidge and Sludge scampered off to. Awaaaaay from the trap of many thieving children…||||||||

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