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All Souls' Night > Shops and Businesses > Shifter Business

Posted by: Ash Garrett Feb 16 2013, 5:03 PM
Ash had called Annika and asked if the former Lupa could come meet her in the office some afternoon. She'd been sketchy as to the why's, but friendly enough in the invitation. They'd set up a time on a Monday afternoon, and when the Kin girl who Ash was training up as an office manager led Annika into, the firebug was waiting there with Bobby Riley, the new(ish) rat doctor.

"Annika, it's so good to see you." The Rat King's wife was dressed in her usual style of a over jeans, though given that the blouse was silk she probably wasn't planning on heading to any job sites today. Bobby was in, again very much in his usual style, and looking as saturnine and unbending as ever.

He let Ash do the greetings and introductions, ask after Annika's health and the baby's progress, offering only minimal polite responses while he waited for the womenfolk to get to the point of the meeting.

Posted by: Annika Wyn Feb 16 2013, 5:48 PM
She had been overjoyed when Ash had called and invited her over to the office. She had been missing the woman, but had held off contacting her until she had her feet under her. Ash had enough going on without Annika getting over-emotional and bawling all over her. When she needed a cry, she went to Leonardo, her new best friend. He always seemed to know what to say to make her feel better.

She smiled when she arrived, happy to see her and didn't hesitate in hugging her. She answered the questions about how she was doing, that she was fine and the baby girl was healthy. At four months, she had a little curve to her belly, but not too much of one. They had estimated the baby would be due in late July, so she had about five months to go.

She asked questions about little Jamie and how Garrett was, but kept it brief because it seemed as though there was something Ash and Bobby wanted to talk about, so she took an offered seat and smiled at the two. "So, what's up?"

Posted by: Ash Garrett Feb 16 2013, 6:01 PM
Ash led everybody over to the couch and loveseat and started pouring out tea for her and Annika, coffee for Bobby, served in plain mugs but with sugar and milk if people wanted them and a plate of thin, lightly-sweet cardamom biscuits set out. Living with Janos, Ash had come to appreciate the value of having small elegances as a part of meetings, the air of civility and welcome that it brought to a gathering was well worth the trouble.

As she held out the cookies to Annika she went ahead and started explaining. "Last weekend, Bobby met a girl named Abby Flanagan. It turned out that she's Maggie Flanagan's daughter, and that her mother was killed in the mess last month. Apparently, few people even knew that Maggie had a daughter, and nobody went looking for Abby. She'd been sleeping in bus stations and the like."

Ash shook her head, gentle and particularly calm. "She's staying with Bobby now, she's fine. But it got us wondering if there are other kids in Abby's position. Especially in the Pack, but in other groups too. A lot of people died, too many for any one person to count. And not everybody got their families involved in their group lives. Celeste is new, she doesn't know all of the Pack as it was, not the way you do. So we want to ask your help in figuring out who in the Pack had kids, and where those kids might have ended up. We want to check on them, all of them. We're checking all the other groups as well, and as we find kids who weren't being taken care of--and we've found three already--there's a sort of a, a monster group home being put together. A place for them to go while we figure out the best permanent place for them. Something that the human authorities can accept, with registered foster parents and solid funding. Politically held by all the groups, as neutral and safe as we can make it."

Posted by: Annika Wyn Feb 16 2013, 6:24 PM
She accepted the tea and cookies graciously, pouring some milk and sugar into her mug and using a cookie to stir it around. She was surprised to find out about the young girl living with Bobby, the one who had been orphaned during the attacks. She listened as Ash explained the girl's situation, and then asked if there were any pack kids who were in similar situations.

"Maylin has a few living at the studio with her," Annika told Ash, "She took them in after their parents were killed. With over two hundred wolves while Ashton was in power, there were quite a few who had children." She tapped her finger against the underside of her mug as she thought. "I can tell you for certain that there were forty-seven wolves who had children that Ashton and myself knew about. Since Anthony's death, I've been trying to find them, enlisting some help from pack members who knew about them.

"There are fifty-five wolfkin children of various ages that I am aware of," she went on, "I had Lenore make a list of wolves who had children when Anthony was beating his way through the ranks. A lot of the families left Seattle when he started going in a dark direction, and I know there are a few children who went to other family members after their parents' deaths, but there are at least ten that I haven't been able to track down."

Posted by: Ash Garrett Feb 16 2013, 7:20 PM
See, and this is where the tea service came in handy. Because Ash leaned forward and dosed her tea with honey and lemon that she didn't really want so that she could have a moment before she spoke again. Because shouting at Annika that if she had been aware that there were children out there, missing, maybe alone then what the everloving fuck had she and her two idiot friends been doing keeping it to themselves instead of calling in the Clan, the Court, the pride and pard and sault and every monster and monsterkin in the city to find them? wouldn't have been helpful or useful here.

She'd been giving the wolves the benefit of the doubt here, assuming that they were too decimated and too grieved to mount an organized effort to gather the children. Finding out that they'd been half-assing it, that a month after the slaughter there were ten wolf children missing and Annika and Maylin and whoever the hell this Lenore idiot was hadn't bothered take the sensible, rational step of contacting the other groups made Ash want to scream and start punching things. It was what, four days since they'd started putting together the project of seeking out the children and they were already contacting every other group in town, putting money and time and political capital to work on finding and gathering the children as fast and as safely as possible and getting them squared away both legally and physically. And Annika and her friends had dicked around for a month, while Abby was sleeping bus stations.

Ash took a deep breath and glanced over at Bobby, happy to see that his expression at least was completely shut down, gone rat-blank. "If you'll get me the names of the ten children who you haven't located, the Clan, Court, and other groups will bend effort and resources to locating them. And if Maylin is feeling overwhelmed by the children she has living in, Katie Gaines has closed out her boarding house and set it up to take in kids from infancy to teens, and we've made sure she has the funds and the legal support to continue to do so for however long it takes to find these children, and any others who are orphaned in the future, real homes."

There, that had been nicely diplomatic and polite, hadn't it? Ash smiled at Annika and just had to hope that Bobby's die-bitch-die glare would be misinterpreted as normal rat crankiness.

Posted by: Annika Wyn Feb 17 2013, 11:43 AM
She didn't act like she noticed how the tension in the room had changed when Annika revealed that there were still missing wolfkin. They were having to individually track down fifty-five different people. Fifty-five. Nevermind the fact that Annika, herself, had just recently been allowed back in the pack and into pack business. She had been livid, herself, to find out that nothing had been done to find these children, and had tracked down as many as she could, personally.

"I can give you the names," Annika said, her voice a lot crisper than before at the judgment of two people who had an army of support who were ready to mobilize at the snap of their fingers. Annika would not make excuses and would not give these two the chance to tear apart anything she had to say. Instead, she just went right on with business.

"Shawn and Hunter Hastings, ages 15 and 17. Last known location was at their aunt's house on the city limits.
Jennifer Thatcher, age 17. Last known location was at her parent's house.
Christopher Vickers, age 15. Last known location, his grandmother's house.
Ben Quinton, age 16. Last known location, the bus station. He was last seen trying to buy a ticket. He has an older brother in Boston and we're in the process of getting confirmation that he went there.
Vanessa and Victor Smith, twins, age 16. Last known location, a group home for runaway teens. The home contacted us, but by the time we got there, they had already left. So far, we've managed to track them to the train station. They have family in California, and we're in the process of contacting them.
Zoe and Rashel Conners, ages 14 and 17. Last known location was the same home Vanessa and Victor were at. Home contacted us about them, but they also left when the other two did. No known family.
Amber Thagard, age 16. Last known location, her parent's house. She has two older brothers living in Alaska and an older sister in North Carolina. Again, we're in the process of contacting them."

She took a breath. "The ones Maylin has living with her are currently being placed with their own next-of-kin. We've gotten into contact with them and each one is coming out to receive them personally."

Posted by: Ash Garrett Feb 17 2013, 2:01 PM
Ash had her tablet and stylus out and noted down the names and details with the sort of quick, careless swipes that indicated that these days she did more work on tablets than computers. She nodded when Annika had finished. "All right, I'll pass the details along to the other groups so that they can help try to locate them. Is Celeste involved in the search?" She was assuming nothing at this point.

Posted by: Annika Wyn Feb 17 2013, 7:42 PM
She shook her head. "No, she's not involved. She has the remainder of the pack to worry about." While it didn't seem like a big job to most, Annika had seen how much work even the fourteen wolves would need to get back to at least where they had been under Ashton.

"We really appreciate the help," Annika went on, figuring she'd best at least express that much, since she was sure Ash was thinking of all the ways she would've handled a situation like this and condemning Annika in her mind for not thinking of them in the first place.

Posted by: Ash Garrett Feb 17 2013, 9:05 PM
Gently, far more gentle than she'd have been if she wasn't inwardly raging, "The children are everyone's business, everyone's to guard. None of them should ever slip through the cracks. I'm hoping that by starting this system of checks and cross-group cooperation, we can see to it that no child is ever lost again."

Ash looked over at Bobby, who was alarmingly grim, even for him. She hadn't exactly intended it as permission for him to speak, but the doctor took it that way anyway. "The Clan, the Pard, the Sault, the Court are all in on this, we're talking to the Pride and to Celeste tonight, the hyenas tomorrow. All it's taken with any of them is to say 'children are at risk' and they've been right there with offers to help. Money, time, feet on the ground, anything it takes. All it took was mentioning it, once. I took Abby to safety ten minutes after meeting her. Wil Croft and Drew Carmichael adopted an infant because they found her. I don't know how the Pack worked under your rule, but any half-healthy group knows that one person's child is everybody's child. They're too vulnerable and too important. One word is all it takes."

The firebug laid a hand on Bobby's shoulder, his back twitched and he gave her a flat look but subsided.

"I'm glad you've been looking for the Pack's kids," Ash said, meaning it. "I'm glad so many of them have been found. We'll work together to find the rest, okay?"

Posted by: Annika Wyn Feb 18 2013, 5:41 PM
She winced at the doctor's words, feeling like a child in the principal's office. She hadn't meant to do anything wrong...the pack had always worked on their own, Ashton had made their clear with his disdain of the other groups. She had never seen the pack work with the Clan, Sault, Pard, or any other group. The wolves had always been their own entity.

"The pack's been on their own for so long, it's hard to even know how to begin asking for help," she said, "Part of our downfall, I suppose." She looked between the two. "Still, thank you. We're so close to finding the missing ten...having more hands will surely make it happen."

Posted by: Ash Garrett Feb 19 2013, 12:38 AM
Ash set down her mug and rose smoothly to her feet. One thing that can be said about rat recruit training, it was grand for getting yourself back into shape after childbirth. She probably wouldn't be recommending it to anyone else, especially given that the first week she'd gone back into training she'd come home and cried in the (very hot) bathtub for an hour because it hurt that badly, but three months almost to the day after childbirth and she was actually about five pounds under her pre-baby weight and taut under that layer of softness that she'd long ago given up on ever dieting away.

She smiled at Annika and reached out a hand to the woman in a clear indication that the meeting was ending now. "We'll find them," she promised. "All of us together, and we'll make sure that no children will ever be lost again."

Posted by: Annika Wyn Feb 23 2013, 9:54 PM
" lost children..." Annika repeated, feeling the words deeper since she carried one of her own. She didn't know what she would do if she lost Ashley, or what would happen if her daughter lost her. It had been this thought that had gotten Annika started on the crusade of finding the missing wolfkin in the first place.

She stood, getting the hint that the meeting was over. "As we find them, I'll let you know. And I'll talk to Maylin and see how many she has at her studio and see if she'd like to put them up at Katie's until their families arrive." She gave Ash's hand a squeeze and nodded to the rat. "Thank you again." The woman then turned and left the two, feeling both more burdened and lighter at the same time.

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