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 There's Always Room for Work, Josh/Miri
Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 1:42 PM
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"You can just take sips," she conceded grandly. "Being all frail and so on like you are." She plopped down in the seat next to him and, true to her word, draped her legs across his lap in an unsubtle claiming to keep anybody else from trying to nab him.

She reached over and tugged the ends of his hair. "Are you really that fragile?" She wasn't teasing this time. "I don't know many humans, truth be told." And the last group she'd spent any real time with had been hardcore drug addicts, they could probably drink formaldehyde without their systems being all that shocked.


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 1:48 PM
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Josh had no idea what she was doing, he just wasn't familiar enough with the behaviors, but he wasn't going to complain about a hot girl's legs in his lap, even if he had a feeling it was a bad idea to let her.

"Compared to you and shifters and vampires," instead of 'monsters', because he wasn't stupid, "Yeah, we really are. I've seen my brother and his friends drink a bottle of Jack each and barely blink. I wouldn't be able to finish a bottle, and if I drank that hard would probably black out." If not, as he'd said, die. But Josh was not really a drinker.


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 2:25 PM
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She shook her head, the teasing actually gone from her expression and voice. "Weird. I can't even imagine that." She appropriated his hat and set it on her own head, though mostly so that she could keep toying with his hair.

"And you never wanted to go shifter or vampire or anything? You prefer being human?" He felt warm under her legs and fingertips. Not hot, warm. It was odd to her perceptions, even Jared ran hotter than most humans these days. He felt...fragile. Breakable. It was odd, like petting a baby rabbit, aware of how easy it would be to hurt him but not wanting to stop, either.


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 2:29 PM
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He looked at her like that was an odd question. "It's all I know," he said simply, trying not to fidget while she toyed with his hair. He wasn't used to casual touch outside of his family. "Would you rather be something else?"

He was very aware he hadn't answered her question, but it was only because he wasn't sure what the answer was.


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 6:43 PM
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She regarded him with a focus that was too intent to be normal. "Not right now, no. But there have been times that I would have given anything not to be what I am. To be more, or less." If Miri even noticed that the touch was weird to him, it didn't stop her. "I guess the real question is whether you're happier being half-out and half-in to their world."


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 6:49 PM
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"Until recently, they weren't in 'their world', " Josh pointed out. "Katie still isn't. She's a wolf living with rats, claimed by the vampires. That's not anything homey, if you ask me." And still he wasn't answering. "She should go live with Eddie's pack, but she's being stubborn."

It was easier to shift the focus. But he recognized he was doing that. "I came here to see. She's still learning, I can learn with her and keep an eye on her and let her ruin my shirts with her crying jags. If everything I see makes infection look like the better option, then maybe."

A shrug. "That's where I'm at."


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 7:17 PM
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"So the decision rests entirely on other people's actions and your reactions to them?" It was a challenging question but that wasn't how she asked it. She just sounded curious as she pet down the back of his neck, traced the line of his skin just above the shirt collar with a fingernail. "Though I hate to break it to you? Being a wolf living with rats claimed by vampires is living in this world. Making home, family, safety where you can find it. The politics are secondary to that. Life's too dangerous not to."


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 10 2013, 7:40 PM
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"What should I base it on?" he asked, still trying valiantly to ignore how much he was not accustomed to being randomly petted. "I can't do a test run as a shifter, can I? I can only go on what I observe and what people tell me. Things like that," he pointed out, "About how dangerous it is. Not exactly a selling point."


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 11 2013, 12:15 PM
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She nodded seriously, "It's not a selling point. There are months where I wonder why anyone would come into it on purpose. Then something kind of amazing happens and I remember." She slid forward onto his lap and got an arm around his shoulders, murmured, "Don't stare, but look."

Nudging her cheek against his to get him to turn his head, she tilted her chin to indicate a couple leaning against the bar and laughing at the antics of the drinking-game crowd. "Vampire and rat. The one who looks like he'd have to be the vampire, is. He's about a century old and has spent that entire hundred years being the most arrogant, difficult, miserable son of a bitch he could manage to be. Then he hooked up with the tattooed prettyrat and started unbending a little. Then a couple of months ago the pair of them found a baby in a dumpster." Her lashes flicked upward, acknowledging the weird improbability of that. "She's eighty-seven different kinds of messed up, health problems, she's just finishing up methadone treatment for being born addicted. And the pair of them adopted her. Played the politics to be allowed to do it, bought a house, and they're raising the baby and the rat's other adopted daughter. And they're happy. Fifty incredibly unlikely things had to happen to make it so, but there they are."

Miri pulled back so that she could see Josh's face. "The thing about this life, what makes it fucked up and miraculous, is that it's life turned up to eleven. The highs are higher, the lows are lower. What's that line? The million-to-one shot happens nine times out of ten. People find love that seems impossible and ridiculous, too over-the-top to be real. But it is. It's true, and it happens all the time."

"Not just romances, though I could give you other examples. The Rat King's wife built her business from her own college graduation to a multi-million dollar architectural house and specialist construction company in seven months. One of the vampires in tone turned up obscure and nearly-penniless and now owns and manages the only preternatural-focused four star hotel in the state. This life doesn't lend itself to mediocrity. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad one in your eyes, but it's one thing I know for sure about the monster world."


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 11 2013, 2:19 PM
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He listened to all of that and, perhaps it was a little telling, landed on the success bit. "You're saying there's not one person who's a monster who's mediocre?" It seemed unbelievable in the way that vampires and rats finding dumpster babies was unbelievable.


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 11 2013, 2:31 PM
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She grinned at him, making no move to get off his lap. "Not none. Anybody can be mediocre if they don't-try hard enough. But even a back-bencher lion, living in the pride, working in a cubicle and driving a seven year old sedan and haunting match.com because he's just not charismatic enough to meet girls in person? Still turns into an apex African predator once a month and races across the grasslands, hunting for the rush of hot blood. He still is part of a city where the fae come to town and reshape destinies. He still gets wrapped into wars, fights for the sovereignty of his pride, makes decisions about what he will and won't stand against with his life." She picked up Josh's hand and laid it on her thigh, since he was being so stuffy about it, then traced her fingernail along the back of it. "They're still living a life more raw and urgent than your average corporate drone, and that gives them an edge that tends to show, even if people don't necessarily know what they're looking at."


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 11 2013, 3:16 PM
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He looked at his hand where it was now resting on her thigh and blinked. Several times. What was she doing? He looked up, narrowing his eyes at her, the conversation about what it was to be one of the preturnaturals in Seattle not forgotten, per se, but most definitely on hold.

"Are you setting me up in some way?" he asked, looking around and while most people were paying attention to all the other things to be watching, he caught more than one person looking their way. "Have I done something to make you want your Master to break me in half?" In no way could he fathom that her boss, Master, whatever, would be okay with this.


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 11 2013, 3:29 PM
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She looked at him in what at least appeared to be honest confusion, then looked down at his hand, back at his face.

"I'm sidhe, Josh." She explained it calmly, weirdly reminiscent to the way that people with special health needs learned to explain their disabilities and requirements to laymen. "I need touch more or less the way that you need clean water. I wasn't planning on boning you up against the bar, though you're kind of cute and if you wanted to discuss an option for later I wouldn't be opposed, but we're having a nice conversation, and if you don't mind the petting it helps me out considerably."

She covered his hand with hers where it still rested on her thigh. "Shiloh knows what I am, how I function. And none of us demand monogamy from one another, it's simply not practical. People are watching because people watch, they probably wonder if I'm trying to draw you into some deep dark vampire plan or something. But nobody's going to break you in half."


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Josh Gaines
 Posted: Feb 12 2013, 1:45 PM
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That was a lot to take in and Josh found himself repeating it all in his head, from the near-clinical offer to the fact that he wasn't going to be hurt because she was crawling all over him.

Finally, he nodded. "Okay," he said, "But you can't blame a guy for being worried. The big names around here have a pretty bad ass reputation." And though he was technically under the protection of one of them, he felt he couldn't be too careful.

Which was why when he slid a hand up her arm, it was far more cautious than a touch like that should be. But hey, he was trying, here. "Sidhe," he finally repeated, "One hundred percent?"


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Miri Hughes
 Posted: Feb 12 2013, 2:00 PM
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Miri relaxed noticeably against Josh as he started touching her in return, her other hand came up to play with the back of his neck. "I know they do. But I'm not trying to set you up for anything, I promise." And that was true. Which wasn't to say that there was no ulterior motive here, but it truly wasn't to push Josh in any particular direction. Rather, Miri was working to do something about the gossip that was still going on about her and Jared. Too many people were noticing too acutely, it was throwing off the balance. She needed other lovers, or at least other people to flirt with and spend time with, to preserve the fiction that Jared was a bit on the side rather than someone she was actually cuckolding Shiloh with.

"And no, not one hundred percent. I had one human great-great-grandmother. So one-sixteenth human. But as the fae operate on the old 'one drop of tainted blood' principal, I'm considered a partblood, faeblood. But I was raised in the sithen, I grew up fae, not human. Didn't come out into the human world at all until about nine years ago."


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