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 Everything's Changing, Rin/Collin
Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 1 2013, 8:18 PM
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Collin had been at the clinic the entire day after he took Raj, where Bobby had done his best with what he could of the damage Collin had taken. The worst of it had been his eye, which the rat had wound up removing entirely, while Collin had been awake so he could immediately shift. By the end of the day he wasn't nearly as good as new, but he had two working eyes and the wounds across his face were at least closed and somewhat more faint. Which meant they weren't flaming red across his face, but still very much present.

Once they'd left the clinic, they hadn't said a whole lot of anything other than to call various relatives and others to let them know he was okay. From there to the Sault house, where Rin continued to leave Max in charge and packed an overnight bag, and then to Mari's.

They needed a place to talk that had complete privacy, and Rin's sister had gone to stay in the hotel for a night, help rally around the other cats since Collin wasn't there.

As he still had a key to what had initially been his place, he opened the door and let Rin in, following her inside and going to Mari's room to set down their bags.

Only then did he look at Rin and say, "If you're gonna let me have it, can we get that out of the way? The waiting's kind of killing me."


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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 2 2013, 2:23 AM
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She rounded on him immediately, got a hand up into his hair and glared at him even as her jaguar was twining around and around his leopard, grumbling out comfort and kitty love. "You could have been killed. Look at you! Your father and aunt are going to come out here, and you're going to deserve every minute of it. You wanted a pard so bad, you couldn't have taken Windprowler? You're moving out on me, now, just when we're finally getting it right? You cannot fucking have my sault as your satellites. You do realize that with Dri picking up insta-masterhood you just practically handed her the Key to the Pard if she ever feels like using it?" The questions and accusations came out rapid-fire and emphatic, but there was very little anger behind them. It was more like, and this was literally true, they were all the things she'd been saving up to say to him for the past 36 hours and she was getting them out of the way now.

"These cats are broken, Collin, they're a horrible mess and I don't want them to drag you down with them. You're going to be lucky if you don't have to import even more of the pard and sault from back home just to give you any chance of modeling healthy behavior. You killed Ruth, and I liked him and I know he was a shit Raj but he was a good guy. and you're mine," she caught hold of his shirt front, balling her hand up into a fist and yanking him an inch toward her, then sorta punching his chest from that same distance, "mine, and I'm the one that's supposed to get all torn up and amusingly almost-dead, not you, and I never want to see you with that much blood on you again, ever."

With the recitation finished, and while it had been quick and emphatic all the way through, there truly hadn't been any real rage to it, Rin pulled Collin forward again by his shirt front and kissed him hard, then let go of his much-abused t-shirt so that she could wrap her arms around him and lean her cheek on his shoulder and sigh, going more relaxed than she'd been in days.

"Oh Coll," soft, plaintive now. "My love. Why does everything have to be the hard way for you? I'm sorry you had to do it, baby. I know how much you never, ever wanted it."


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 3 2013, 8:52 AM
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There was just too much in all of that to respond to it all at once and even though he'd managed some rest, he was exhausted in a way that went beyond the physical. So for several minutes he just held onto her, letting their beasts wind around one another in a way that was far less complicated, closed his eyes and just breathed in her scent, which had been a part of his life and all but wound around his for as long as he could remember. It made it incredibly comforting.

"I didn't have a choice," he said, because that covered a lot of what she'd said. "But that doesn't mean I didn't want it, Rin." Things changed all the time, and Collin had changed his mind about how he felt about this over the course of months.




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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 3 2013, 2:19 PM
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"All right." Because she was tired too, and because she hadn't exactly always dreamed of taking Alta. It was just that when the need got sharp enough, that damned sense of responsibility kicked in and she'd had to do what what was needed.

She kissed the front of his throat, not wanting to stretch for a proper kiss because it would mean letting him go. Though she also said, "Come sit at the bar. I'll make you a steak and some fruit." Proof of love, in her Rinlike way. Steak like his Dad grilled it, with garlic and onion powder and a few shakes of Tabasco, sliced fruit with nothing weird done to it, corn (it'd have to be frozen, Mari almost certainly wouldn't have fresh this time of year) with butter and black pepper like his mother cooked it. She knew him well enough to know what would be comforting to him right now, and loved him enough to make each dish without adding even a pinch of cayenne or a little thyme to brighten things up.


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 4 2013, 3:05 PM
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He gave her an incredibly grateful look that had very little to do with the food, and did as she asked, sitting at the bar and watching her as she moved around the kitchen.

They had so much they had to really talk about, and he didn't know where to start, or if he should start yet. "Do you want to cook for a minute or three before we get into everything?" He knew it would help calm her nerves.


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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 4 2013, 3:17 PM
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"Let me just get the oven started and find my ingredients." She ransacked Mari's kitchen mercilessly, their mother's stamp deep enough on both of them that they kept things in similar spots.

Once the basics were set up and the steaks dropped into a zip-top bag and sitting under a running tap to bring them up to room temperature, Rin started cutting up the fruit, beginning with quartering two oranges with the rind still on and dumping them into a bowl the way Ree used to bring it to them when they played outside in the summer rather than supreming them into elegant little wedges the way Rin generally preferred them.

"All right." She set the bowl in front of Collin, along with one of Mari's beers. "I think I can be about half-rational. Start with the politics or the personal?"


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 7 2013, 9:20 AM
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Another thing he'd picked up from his mother: taking half the orange, halving it again and squeezing it into his beer. That done, he took a very long drink because it had been one hell of a night and he needed it.

"Politics," he said, because in many ways, that was the easy part. "We already established allies but not extensions of one another," as he'd already explained to the Pard. "Your Sault is your Sault. Conversely," he added pointedly, because he loved Rin but just because she considered her Sault hands off didn't mean she'd feel she had to reciprocate, her need to adopt and feed was just too strong, "My Pard is my Pard. We make that clear to the other groups and to Shiloh." Not that he expected anyone to believe them, that would only come with time and proof.


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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 7 2013, 4:45 PM
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She nodded, setting Mari's good cast iron pan to heating up and then reaching across the counter to touch his wrist with chilled fingertips. "We going to try to bind closer than we are? I'm not sure I want to be as tangly as the pard and sault back home," Rin in particular tended to avoid the word 'incestuous', "but I kinda worked to keep us apart from the pard. Partly because I didn't want us getting dragged down if Ruth self-destructed." The apology was there in her tone, Rin had liked Ruth, she considered him a real friend. But he'd never made her feel confident in his leadership.

"We've got you and me, Si and Tommy, Ness, Jon--whether he likes it or not. That's two-thirds of a major alliance right there. So are we going further in or not? I'm inclined to say yes, but how do you feel about it?"


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 7:33 AM
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He took her hand, enclosing it in the both of his. "I don't know," he said honestly.

"We're so broken," he sighed, because he hated that and wished there was a way to snap his fingers and fix it. "You know how we always laughed about other pards everywhere, how it was like leopards everywhere else were wired to be their own downfall?" They'd never believed it, not really, but, "It's like these guys got that memo. I don't even understand it. Ruth wasn't the best Raj," and there was regret in his voice there, and some guilt, because he'd liked him, too, and he'd killed him.

"Anyway," he shook his head, coming back to the real topic, "If we tried to be closer, looked like merging, I think they'd implode. I think we should keep it as an alliance for now, let them all intermingle and interact and see what happens. But I don't think going for anything more is a good idea until we're healthy."

He hated saying it, honestly, because of course he wanted to be closer to the Sault, and not just because of Rin, though she was a huge part of it. But he had to do what was best for his cats and, secondarily, for him and Rin.

"We need to get our leader legs fully under us," though she had hers pretty well in hand, "And see how we do as us," he kissed her hand, "And Alta and Raj. It's possible," another kiss, nip, and then smile as he looked at her from behind their hands, "We may kill one another."


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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 8:01 AM
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Rin stepped around the counter and up to press against Collin's legs, her eyes on his. "Okay. We'll take it slow. But I think we should do some stuff with both groups. The sault's pretty healthy," she wasn't bragging, it was a lot easier to keep six people healthy than forty, especially when half of those you infected yourself, "even though we're mourning Beau right now we're still doing it in healthyish ways. I don't wanna say that your kitties need to be shown healthy cat behavior, but..."

She trailed off with a tiny grin, but that faded quickly and she pushed up closer to Collin so that she could press a kiss to his jaw. "Collin? I love you very much." Not something she said tremendously often. Not never or anything, but it wasn't a phrase that fell easily from her lips.

Leaning in, nuzzling at his shoulder and throat, she gave him a particularly kitty version of comfort as she sent her jaguar stalking out to find his leopard and the two cats twined and rubbed together, more comfort and love.


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 1:25 PM
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"I love you, too," he said, reveling as he always did in her proximity, and in the way their cats interacted. It was easy for him to say, that was just the kind of guy he was, but that Rin wasn't like that made it even better when she told him.

He hugged her to him, kissing her temple. "It's not how I pictured my life going," he admitted, "But we're make Seattle our bitch." It was an echo of something Evie Simons' dad was always saying, and he was laughing softly before he even finished the sentence. He needed the levity just then.


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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 1:37 PM
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"Damn right we are." She laughed but also cuddled in closer to him, the safest person in the entire world plus also that happy flutter of attraction in her stomach. It seemed almost unfair that she should get both in the same man, but Rin's greedy self wasn't going to be complaining about that. "We'll show 'em all what kitties can do, make 'em righteously fear the claws."

She kissed the center of his chest. "And we'll take care of our people. Because it's just what we do." What they'd been raised to do, from a terribly young age. Nobody had necessarily expected that they'd end up leadership, but it was deep in the culture of their parents' generation, that the most important thing you could do as a shifter or human or anything else was to take care of those who needed you.

Speaking of, "Have you called home?" There were people who would want, even need, to know.


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 2:29 PM
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"No," he admitted, and his tone said that he knew he needed to but was avoiding it. "You're right, Dad and Aunt Gen are going to be on the next flight. But you're right, I need to talk to Daniel." And his parents, and his Aunt, but Daniel was at the top of the list for several reasons.

"Give me five more minutes of pre-Mom freakout peace."


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Rin Cooper
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 5:00 PM
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Another kiss to his chest through his shirt, she stayed snuggled up. She'd moved away too fast, too eager to fall into the comfortable routine of cooking to try to normalize things between them. It was that damned emotional obliviousness of hers. She was always underestimating not just the emotional needs of other people, but her own as well.

She tightened her arms around him, just enough to be snug, and nuzzled at him. "Take however long. We'll recognize their ring tones if they call. And I don't think Mari will tattle about you being home yet." She nuzzled at him, and (miracle of miracles) went quiet for a few minutes as she concentrated on holding him.


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Collin Moss
 Posted: Feb 8 2013, 7:27 PM
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He nodded, sinking in to holding her and just letting himself breathe. They'd been through so much in their lives, and he somehow felt jaded to everything, like he'd seen and done it all when it came to horror. But this was a first, he'd never killed someone he liked. He'd never had to.

"I'm not sure I can get past the guilt," he finally said, though he knew it was maybe that it was so new to him that had him saying it. But maybe not. "I never thought I'd actually do this."

That was messing with him, too, more than he liked.


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