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All Souls' Night > Four Three Nine > Fever in the Rain


Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 17 2013, 5:01 PM
There are disadvantages to being optimistic and and easygoing, and Alice was running right smack into one of them today. In all fairness, Oryn had warned her that he was doing a double-shift at Madam Rose's today, first following Ben and Jack around to learn the ins and outs, then working the bar to observe the way it all fit together when the house was operating. He'd told her he'd probably have his phone off for parts of it, which made perfectly good sense. But it meant that when she woke up today, four days after Valentine's Day, with a high fever and a ravenous appetite but no other symptoms of illness she hadn't been able to do more than text him and hope he turned his phone on to check at some point today.

Worse, she didn't actually know how to get in touch with Collin. She hadn't thought to ask for his phone number, like an idiot, and he probably assumed that Oryn had given it to her. Alice knew he worked at the shifter hospital, but not where that was. She knew most of the pard was staying a hotel, but not which hotel. She knew that Oryn's friend Sam was a photographer, but not which studio she was at. Basically, she'd been so busy being accepting and mellow about everything that she'd screwed herself, hard.

In the end, she only knew three places where she could maybe find some help with this. Many Moons, which was not fucking happening. Winchesters, which was all the way across town from her house and Alice suspected that between the fever and the crazy, jumpy restlessness she was feeling driving wasn't a super idea. And 439, which was only about three miles from her place. A long walk, but totally doable and maybe the exertion would help her burn off this jittery energy that she honestly couldn't tell whether was a side effect of the fever or just straight up fear.

She walked the three miles fast, head down and the drizzly rain failing to cool the heat of her shoulders and bare arms. She hadn't thought to put on http://i2.listal.com/image/4875817/936full-joss-stone.jpg, but she wasn't shivering as she walked. She got to 439 sooner than she almost wanted to and stood inside the door, her hair weighed down with water, her hands gripping her bare arms and her cheeks pink with fever and fear.

Looking around the dining room, searching desperately for anyone she recognized, there was only one face that struck her as being in any way familiar. She didn't know who he was, only that she remembered Oryn pointing him out to her the other night. He'd pointed out a lot of people, and while she'd been paying attention and all there had been a lot of faces and a goodly number of those bright pink drinks and most of her attention had been on the cute geekboy and she just...didn't remember.

But with no other options occurring to her, Alice headed over to the table where the tall, bearded man was sitting alone with a newspaper. (People still read newspapers? Another time it would have kinda cracked her up.) Stopping a few feet back from the table and not even remotely noticing the man from the end of the bar who slid to his feet as well, Alice clutched her own elbows, noted distantly that she was finally starting to shiver despite that she still felt fever-hot, and asked the Rat King, "Excuse me, sir? Do you now where I can find any leopards, please?"

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 20 2013, 11:18 AM
Garrett wasn't, in all actuality, alone. Jamie was nestled in his bucket on the floor under the table, fast asleep. His periods of wakefulness were finally starting to really stretch a bit, and he was already a smiling, happy baby during said times, but when he napped, he napped hard, and this time of day the four was fairly quiet. Though, to be honest, Garrett wanted Jamie getting used to as much noise as possible. The Compound was not really a quiet place and his son needed to not be unsettled by commotion.

He sat reading his paper, the lifting of a single finger as he turned the page telling Harry to sit back down. She wasn't a danger to him. Maybe to Jamie, who she couldn't see and hadn't notice, but Garrett could handle that.

He leaned back in his chair, making the print on his http://joshholloway-online.com/photos/albums/UPLOADS/photoshoots/Photoshoots/Set35/jhonline_002.jpg more visible and looked the girl up and down. It wasn't remotely sexual in nature, but to a mundane eye could be mistaken as such. He noted the shivering, the red flush to face and skin, and gave an unsubtle sniff of the air. She smelled of leopard, but not like she was one. More like she'd been canoodling with one.

"Any?" he asked, his voice somewhat quiet, but solid, and with a bit of drawl in it. "What do you need a leopard for?" He had a very good idea, though.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 20 2013, 12:31 PM
The shivering was getting worse the longer she held still. Alice rubbed her hands up and down her upper arms to try to banish the slight chill that lingered from the rain, hoping that would stop it before it got even stronger.

And even so, when she smiled at Garrett it was bright and vivid, happy in a way that most people were too cautious to show a complete stranger. "Well, technically I'm trying to find Collin Moss, but my understanding is that any leopard ought to know how to find him. I know he works at the hospital, but have no idea how to find said hospital."

She rubbed harder at her arms, trying to banish those shakes and also trying not to lunge forward and steal the burger off the table next to Garrett's. "I'm supposed to call if I start feeling all...infected, but I don't have a way to reach him."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 20 2013, 2:17 PM
Suspicion confirmed, he pushed Jamie's bucket just a little further under the table with his foot, then stood and went to her.

"Congratulations and condolences," he said, then pulled her into a secure hug which had exactly zero to do with either thing. She needed shifter baking, and while she was apparently going to be a leopard and he was a rat, it didn't matter because she'd not shifted. She just needed the heat.

"TJ," he said, loud enough for the younger man, who helped managed the place, to look up questioningly. "Get Moss on the horn for me."

"Yessir," TJ said easily enough, picking up one of the cordless phones that were located in various inconspicuous places throughout the pub. All leadership was under coded speed dial.

"You need to come sit down by me, sweetheart," Garrett said as gently as he was able, which was much better than Gentle Voice had been before they'd had Jamie, "We'll get you feeling better."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 20 2013, 3:31 PM
Luckily, Alice was the kind of person who sometimes hugged complete strangers anyway, so she didn't freak out when this big, tough-looking man stood up and started with the cuddle. Plus, once he had his arms around her, it felt really, really good. Like the kind of good that hugging Oryn felt, despite the slight awkwardness. Also luckily, she'd had the experience of physical contact with Collin too, so she accepted the tingle-warmth feeling of touch with a lycanthrope without freaking about about how good it was and deciding that it made her a whore for having those kinds of feelings when she was supposed to be dating somebody else. Which Alice was totally capable of doing under some circumstances.

She leaned her forehead against Garrett's shoulder and felt the heat of him sort of surround her, feeling so good despite/because of her own hot-and-cold shivers, and some of the miserable tension that had been making her back ache eased away. "Um, thanks?" She laughed, always laughing, the world never stopped being funny and ridiculous and she was the most ridiculous of all.

Following Garrett's lead, she sat down beside him, still snuggled into his side in a way that ought not to have felt as lovely as it did and which would have been stupidly uncomfortable if she'd known who he was. She let out another breath, relaxed a little more as the shivers started to ease, and tilted her head back to smile at him. "So, my name's Alice. Hi. Nice to meet you."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 20 2013, 7:13 PM
"Garrett," he said as he reached his outer arm out to take the phone that TJ was bringing over.

"Got one of yours," he said, obviously not talking to her now. "At the pub. Fever shakes and flush and looks about ready to eat the table we're sitting at, says her name's Alice." A beat. "We'll be here."

He hit end and tossed the phone on the table, using one of his feet to rock the bucket beneath it in case the noise startled Jamie. Thank God he could multitask.

"It's not my habit to cuddle with total strangers," he then felt a need to explain, "But the heat'll do you good. You're starting to transition to running hotter, only a lot of your system hasn't gotten the memo. It's why you feel like you're burning up and can't stop shivering. It's a pain in the ass, but it'll pass after the moon. TJ," he waved him over again, "She needs to eat. Get her something."

TJ nodded and went to the kitchen.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 20 2013, 7:29 PM
"Oh." And then the name finally clicked with the face and with the funny hard bulge she felt against her side where she was edged up to him and, "Oh," again. "You're the Rat, um, Boss." Like Cake Boss? "With the private army and superhot wife and fairy Botox and you're carrying a gun right now so I'm going to stop describing you before it gets any worse. Sorry."

Another laugh, a bit nervous, but she didn't pull away. She did, though, say, "Thank you. I wasn't sure where else to go. I knew staying home alone and pretending that DayQuil would fix it was a bad idea, but my boyfriend, if that's the right word, is mixing drinks in a whorehouse until late tonight and not taking calls. And there had to be a way to find the other leopards, but I couldn't think of it. Plus? Somehow I feel like an idiot for no real reason. Well, no reason before I started talking and talking and talking with no ability to stop myself."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 20 2013, 7:37 PM
Garrett, whose arm was already around her shoulder, simply lifted his hand and curled it around her mouth. "You're welcome."

He grinned though, and let her go. "It's King. I'm the rat King, yes. The rest of it's accurate enough, though," the corners of his eyes crinkled again as he didn't grin but couldn't totally hide his amusement. "My wife is super hot."

He leaned a little differently in the chair, getting comfortable for the wait for the Raj or her food, whichever came first, stretching the outer leg out into the aisle, the inner one still rocking Jamie's bucket gently. "Coming here wasn't a bad idea, someone here was bound to know what to do. You chose wisely. Your boyfriend's a leopard, too?" It was an easy guess to make. Garrett had lost track of how many cats he knew over the years who got infected during sex. It was like a thing with them.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 20 2013, 8:02 PM
She laughed into the cup of his palm and actually snuggled closer to him as she relaxed with him. "King, gotcha. And she really is, I saw you two the other night, and I don't swing that way but how could I not notice? And again, going to stop describing, but go you."

"And yeah, I'm dating Oryn Blake. He works at Winchesters and now maybe going to work at that Rose place. Which I'm trying to be calm about and stuff, but I'm sorry, it's weird. Even though I'm sure he's not engaging in constant sexyfuntimes with the cast and crew or anything, if only because I'd be able to tell within microseconds because he would blush himself puce as soon as he walked in my door. But it's still strange."

A deep breath, like maybe she was going to continue in that vein but she stopped and blinked. "Is that your baby? Or--wow, who else's baby would you be hiding under a table? But why are you hiding it under a table?"

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 20 2013, 8:04 PM
Utterly serious: "Because I don't want you trying to eat him."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 20 2013, 8:32 PM
"Oh." She thought about that for a second, trying to find the joke. It took her longer than it should have to figure out that there wasn't one. "Hey! I wouldn't eat your baby. I only barely eat red meat. And, okay, it's possible that if that cute guy doesn't come back with food soon I might start gnawing on the sleeve of your leather jacket, but a jacket's not the same as an actual baby. Especially not a cute one. Ugly babies I might be more inclined to flexible morality, but that's just doing a service to the species."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 20 2013, 8:41 PM
He snorted, couldn't help it, but shook his head. "You don't get a say in what makes good prey," he told her, "You ever watch Animal Planet? It's always the fawns the cats are going after." It wasn't a pretty truth, but one she needed to hear.

It wasn't TJ who showed up just then with her food, but Jesse. "Heavy on the meat," he told his King, placing the shrimp and chips, burger, order of fries and two orders of cheese curds down on the table.

"Thanks," Garrett said. To Alice, he said, "Eat. Start with the burger or the shrimp."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 20 2013, 9:13 PM
She had to stop snuggling up against his side because she needed her smart hand to eat with, but she didn't scoot away far. Alice was already far more comfortable with the Rat King than she probably should ahve been and stayed with her leg pressed against his as she snatched the shrimp like she thought she might have to fight him for them and started eating.

"I hate shrimp," she informed Garrett happily between bites. "I looked up a phylum chart once and they're uncomfortably close to Madagascar cockroaches, genetically." Munch, munch, munch.

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 21 2013, 10:17 AM
"It's all protein," Garrett shrugged. When you'd been eating warm and wriggling food for thirty years, you lost a lot of the squick factor.

"You're allowed to say no or tell me it's none of my business or it's cat business," he then said, making it clear he knew she didn't know the rules and sort of trying to help, "But how'd you wind up infected? Boyfriend?"

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 21 2013, 11:22 AM
"I suppose so," she sighed. But then realized how that sounded and shook her head with a little trill of laughter. "I mean, I'm suppose I'm infected, not I suppose it was Oryn."

She looked up at him sort of pleadingly. "I mean, is there any real doubt at this point? It couldn't just be a tapeworm?" She sounded worried and sad in a way that she wouldn't let herself sound with Collin or Oryn. She didn't blame Oryn, truly didn't. But she hadn't wanted this, and it was a lot of big, scary change to be confronting all of a sudden.

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 21 2013, 6:03 PM
Softening hard truths was not really Garrett's thing. "You're running a fever that would kill a human," he told her, though he did manage to keep his voice as gentle as he was able, more so as he added, "You're a shifter, now, sweetheart."

Comfortable with casual touch, more than a lot of rats were, he ran calming circles over her back. "I'm sorry this happened to you, and being sad about it's a normal reaction. But there's a lot of good that comes from our condition, too. Try to hold on to that while you mourn your humanity." It wasn't a question of if she would. She would. Everyone did, even those who wanted infected, who embraced their lycanthropy.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 21 2013, 7:00 PM
"Well...crap." Alice rested her head on Garrett's shoulder and closed her eyes, too busy questioning everything else in her life to question whether she was entitled to play cuddles with the Rat King. "This is going to make things really complicated, you know." She didn't even sound that complain-y. Maybe sort of chiding, like it was all Garrett's fault but she considered him more to be pitied than censured.

She kept her eyes closed. "My parents are going to flip their shit. They weren't exactly thrilled about me being a grad student instead of trolling the country club for a good husband. But a shifter? How gauche." She tried to laugh, but it came out on a sigh.

"On the other hand? Superpowers. Maybe it's a good trade after all." It was just her nature, Alice couldn't stay gloomy if she tried.

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 21 2013, 7:31 PM
'Yeah, we're awful crass," Garrett said proudly. "Take your Raj with you when you tell them. He's so pretty it confounds people. They'll take the news much better confounded."

That said, "There's no reason it has to complicate anything. Unless you're in medicine or a school teacher. If you're not either of those things, your life doesn't have to change all that much."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 21 2013, 7:54 PM
She pulled back enough to be able to see his face, smiling at him with serious eyes. "That's sweet of you to say, but it's not really true, is it? I've been doing a lot of reading this week, books on lycanthropy but also news sites and internet forums where people talk about life as a shifter. And there's this huge need for your group, and the community your group creates. Learning the animal's instincts, getting control of them, figuring out how to eat and fight and run and have sex without it eroding your control. And there was that horrible thing last month with the wolf pack, I found some godawful stories about it online and when I made Oryn tell me about it he said people didn't just get killed, they also got tortured and raped and really awful stuff." Her eyes cut toward the bar area where Janos had been earlier, but then came back to Garrett.

"So it's not the end of everything, I'm not trying to be dramatic. But it's not going to be just the same plus the addition of a cuddly kitty, is it?" She didn't notice that she'd wrapped her hand around his wrist for comfort. "My life doesn't have to suck now or anything, but if I'm going to be good at this, if I'm going to be a shifter and do it right, my focus is going to have to change a lot." It wasn't that she didn't want to be wrong. She was just fairly certain that she wasn't.

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 21 2013, 8:00 PM
"You choose how far you sink yourself into the life," he said. "The wolves tortured and killed people outside of the community, too. Bad things happen, shifter or human. People hurt people, shifter or human. Humans have their fair share of serial killers, psychopaths. The danger level's higher if you let yourself be really involved, but you don't have to be. It's a choice. There are those with lycanthropy who never see that side of it, because they opt out."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 21 2013, 8:22 PM
She thought about that, first chewing on her lip and then reaching out for one of the baskets of cheese curds now that her shrimp was gone. "Okay, fair enough. But let's face it? Opting out is lame. Not gonna be that guy. Girl."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 21 2013, 8:36 PM
"Atta girl," he said, sounding proud of her.

Jamie started stirring, making very unhappy noises as he stretched in that way that babies had that was stretching the upper half but the lower half frogged up and got more compact. He'd never say it out loud but he found it to be about the cutest thing ever.

"Go back to eating, please, so you don't try to attack my kid. I like my kid."

That said, he ducked down to pick Jamie, dressed in jeans and a long sleeved onesie that read 'King in Training' (he had no idea where Janos had found it), and settled him into his arms while he finished waking up. His son never woke up from a nap in a good mood.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 21 2013, 8:47 PM
She took a good swallow of Coke and started eating cheese with happy focus, watching Garrett pick up his son and making a little full-mouth cooing noise at the cuteness.

"Holy wow," she managed between bites. "That is the cutest baby in the history of cute. I think you and your wife should preserve DNA samples for the sake of humanity. Let them clone up a few of your kids every five years or so, improve the genetic pool." She popped another cheese curd and chewed thoughtfully, then gave Garrett a bright smile. "Did that sound as creepy out loud as I think it did?" She kept eating because she really didn't want to know if she'd actually want to eat the baby if she stopped. Thus far Alice was managing to keep things fairly calm, but if she tried to eat a baby she would lose her shit. For reals.

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 21 2013, 8:57 PM
"Little bit," Garrett said, voice lower, far more soothing than it had been even with her, because he didn't want Jamie to start caterwauling. "But thanks for the underlying compliment. We're pretty fond of him, so we're biased, but I think he's a handsome guy."

He didn't even care that he sounded like a pussy for saying it.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 22 2013, 2:54 AM
"I wholeheartedly concur. And as I'm sitting here watching him, it's kind of disturbing me how many of the phrases people use to talk about cuteness are devouring-related. Saying you could eat him up, calling him sweet as sugar, and so on."

She was still eating happily but also watching Garrett with his son, because there's something almost unbearably wonderful about watching tough, manly men cuddle on babies. This did not at all stop her from chatting. "On a related note, this cheese thing is delicious. I take it that given the fact that the Hissing Cockroaches of the Sea were also delicious, this massive appetite thing will not be going away in the near future? Do I just need to invest in fifty-pound bags of quinoa and flats of canned tuna and accept that I'll do nothing but down protein for the rest of my life?"

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 22 2013, 10:28 AM
Jesse swung by, setting a bottle down by the King, who then picked it up and gave it to Sir Fussypants. As long as the bottle was full of breast milk and not formula, Jamie didn't seem to mind, snob that he already was.

"It gets better after a time, and that varies from person to person," Garrett told her while Jamie sucked away. "For the first while, though, yes, you'll crave meat. As fresh as possible. If you have any pets, you may want to board them for a while." His face said he wasn't kidding.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 22 2013, 4:48 PM
Her smile widened a little bit. "They keep bottles around for your kid? You really are a King." She couldn't help but watch that for a minute, the tough guy/baby cuteness thing hitting her all over, but then got back to the main point.

"No pets. But a human roommate. You think that's going to be okay? I'd really rather not devour her, she's my best friend and her name's on the lease."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 22 2013, 7:28 PM
"I brought them with me," Garrett said, the amusement plain in his voice, "But they need refrigerated. They keep 'em in the kitchen and heat 'em up when he wakes." He spoke like he'd brought the baby in more than once already, which he had.

As to the room mate. "That's up to your Raj," he said, "Lotta groups take their new infections in for a little while, while they learn control."

Posted by: Miri Hughes Feb 22 2013, 7:37 PM
Looking absurdly crestfallen, "Way to ruin the image. I was picturing a heavily-armed man with tattooed biceps carrying around a cooler, a special mini-fridge just for his bottles."

She tilted her head and considered the baby. When she found herself reflecting that he really was almost alarmingly tiny and soft-looking, she started back in on the fried cheese. "The pard's in a hotel right now. Egh, I guess I'll figure it out. Or Collin will make decisions and I'll accept them with as much grace as I can manage despite my inner feminist. Whichever."

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 22 2013, 7:57 PM
"We'll make decisions together," Collin said as he approached the table, dressed in jeans and a http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/M/MV5BOTU2MTI0NTIyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTA4Nzc3OA@@._V1._SX214_CR0,0,214,314_.jpg, hair pulled back. He nodded to Garrett and, at the return nod, sat himself down. "I want what'll work out best for you, I promise."

He leaned in, dragging his cheek along hers, letting his beast out and, unsurprisingly, getting a small response this time. All the confirmation he needed, he let his cat wrap around hers, weak though it was, in comfort. "Thanks for calling me," he said to Garrett.

"Don't mention it," Garrett said, flipping Jamie over onto his tummy so he could rub circles on his back. he'd learned to stretch him across his legs so that when he inevitably threw up half of what he'd just eaten, it went directly onto the floor.

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 22 2013, 8:34 PM
"Hi!" Alice beamed at Collin in a way she wouldn't have managed an hour before. But the food, the warmth, the reassurance of talking to Garrett and getting some of the scariest of the questions answered she was able to smile and at least pretend calm. Notable, though, that she didn't transfer herself from Garrett's side to Collin's.

"So, um, I guess the kitty is happening. I would have called, but I didn't know your number. Sorry. But, um, now what?" She pressed her knee against the Rat King's so that she could keep sounding light and cheerful all the way through that.

Posted by: Collin Moss Feb 22 2013, 8:46 PM
"I'm sorry about that," Collin said, very much aware of how Alice was sitting with the Rat King, who was giving him a look of amusement and something else Collin couldn't quite identify. "I thought Oryn would have given it to you." Next time he'd be sure to just do it himself.

He leaned back in his chair, his leg pressing into the other of hers. It seemed casual but was very much on purpose. It was clear she felt safe with Garrett, and for now he'd allow it, but eventually she'd have to let go some, give in to the pull of the cat.

"Now we get you as prepared as we can for the moon," he said, "And we find out if Oryn's strong enough to subdue your beast, or you. If he can, he can stay with you while you learn the ropes. If not, we'll figure something else out that keeps everyone involved safe."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 23 2013, 2:37 AM
"Nobody's fault but mine," she said, staunchly defending Oryn from any implied criticism. "He offered to give it to me on Valentine's Day but my phone was in the other room, then like a moron I never asked again." One thing Alice had going for her, she was a loyal beast, and wouldn't support Oryn getting in trouble for any of this mess.

She found herself relaxing a little more at the feel of Collin's...energy or whatever it was. Was this what it felt like, to touch someone's beast? She'd done some reading but hadn't really been able to imagine what that would feel like. Between the solidity of Garrett at her side, the good-right feeling of Collin, the full belly and the cute baby and the warmth coming at her from both men, she could have curled up and gone to sleep happy right then, she was that comfortable.

Kind of trying to express that, though in her own inimitable way, "So, is this free rein to rub myself up against gorgeous men and claim it's because of the lycanthropy last beyond the Training Mode period of infection? Because if it does, I think I just found my first upside to shifteriness."

Posted by: Collin Moss Feb 23 2013, 7:08 PM
"Yes and no," Collin said with a laugh. "Personal space is a lot different for us, but sometimes you still need to watch who you try to cuddle up to."

"Like the rat King?" Garrett asked, trying to look innocent and failing miserably.

"Sir," Collin said with a shake of his head, because it paid to be deferential to the most powerful shifter in Seattle, "If I weren't here seeing it for my own self, I'd have a hard time believed the rat King cuddled at all."

"You think this baby made himself, son?"

Collin laughed. "So anyway," he said to Alice, "It can be a perk, yes."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 23 2013, 7:28 PM
See, and pointing out that it was a privilege reserved for only a very few only made it that much more certain that Alice would snuggle into Garrett's side like she was optioning a long-term lease on the position. "Fantastic. I like this perk.So there's that, there's no cancer and fewer wrinkles and hypermetabolism and pretty leopard spots. Really, I'm starting to think I should have done this years ago." No, really not. But she was just bound and determined to see the bright side of this, not to angst over what couldn't be changed and wasn't going to actually be improved by sulking. This was happening, and moping wouldn't change one single thing about it.

Without remotely giving up her spot, Alice asked Collin, "So what do you need me to do now? What's my very next step? Does it involve more fried food?"

Posted by: John Garrett Feb 24 2013, 8:36 PM
"It can, if you're still hungry," Collin said, "But while you won't gain as much weight as most people, you'll still get righteous gas and liqui-bowel syndrome if you eat too much, so...think about that."

"I didn't really want to think about it, doc."

"Collateral damage, Sir."

Garrett scowled and handed Jamie to the leopard. "You two talk shop, I'm going to go be somewhere else."

Collin took the kid like the old pro that he was and waved happily. "You need to be with some of us starting about two days before the moon. You can stay with one of several of us, or we can have Oryn plus one stay with you. It's up to you how you work it. But the night of the moon you'll come Run with us. You won't remember it." His tone gentled. "It takes a couple months before you stay aware. We'll take care of you through it all though."

Posted by: Alice Vance Feb 25 2013, 1:21 AM
Alice pouted at the loss of her ratty space heater but comforted herself with soda. "Way to ruin the moment, Collin." The urge to reach out and play with a tiny baby foot was almost overwhelming, but she was too afraid she'd try to take a bite out of him. In fact, it was rapidly becoming a paranoia.

Holding onto her soda glass with both hands to keep herself from fidgeting, "Oryn plus one? How does that work? I mean, are you figuring there needs to be shifts, or is there some reason that Oyrn isn't able to handle, or are you trying to avoid issues because of the dating thing?"

She lost, she was flicking the tip of one fingernail against her straw, agitation rising up whether she wanted to admit it or not. "I've got to be honest here, I'd really like if it Oryn were around right now. He's working his shift, and I'm trying to be reasonable about that because this gig with Adrianna is important to him. But despite cuddling on the really scary guy and tasty food and all that, I'm scared to death and I still feel like I can feel actual air molecules bumping off my skin everywhere, plus like I ought to be giving off little wavy heat-lines with this fever."

Her voice didn't crack because she didn't let it. She tended to blow it off as nothing because it wasn't where her focus was, but in every way that mattered Alice was a trained voice and stage actress and she controlled her tone without even having to work at it all that hard. "I just, this is not what I wanted to do with my life. And even though I keep being reassured that this doesn't have to be my whole life, I can't shake the feeling that it actually does. That this is going to change my perspective so much that I end up being a totally different person than I would have been without it. And honestly? I was pretty okay with the person I already was. I kinda wanted to keep being her."

'
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