Place : Farmhouse
Weather : Currently in Saint Claire, it is raining lightly. The temperature is 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). The wind is currently coming in from the southwest at 9 mph. The barometric pressure reading is 30.13 and falling, and the relative humidity is 89 percent. The dewpoint is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius.)
Time/Date : 14:44 Pacific Time on Wed Jan 12 2005.
Moon : The moon is in the waxing New Moon phase (15% full)
Farmhouse: Hallway and Living Room
All doorways in the front part of the house lead to the front hallway,
a J-shaped area with the short tail starting at the stairs, the front
door hitting the bottom curve, the doorless opening to the living room
halfway up the long side, and the also doorless opening to the kitchen
and dining room at the very top. The hall has a simple wooden floor,
and decorated with a generic print of soft-colored flowers hanging on
the wall to the right of the front door, and a tall table sitting under
the print which serves as a place to toss keys. A closet under the
stairs serves as a place to hang coats or to toss shoes.
The doorless opening to the living room is halfway up the side of the hall's J, and the word cozy might spring to mind when looking into is, as it seems to radiate comforting vibrations. A long couch sits against the south wall beneath a large bay window curtained only by sheers that manages to obscure the view in but only filters the day's light. A variety of out-of-date magazines are strewn atop a low coffee table; more neatly presented are the plethora of books filling the small bookshelves which line the eastern wall. Three chairs sit about the room, focused inward, to allow group conversations. Large floor pillows are stacked in one corner of the room, except one, which lies carelessly in the middle of the floor, apparently left out the last time it was used.
An opening in the northern end of the hallway allows access to the kitchen and dining room at the back of the house, while carpeted stairs twist up at the other end of the hall, leading to the second floor. A door at the base of the J lets out to the front porch.
It's a brisk day in St. Claire, and it's raining. Not hard, but a steady, persistant drizzle. From outside of the Farmhouse comes the sound of someone walking up the path. There's a rap at the door, which is then pushed immediately open. KL steps in to the hall and calls out a "Hello? Anyone around?". She's damp, her hair hanging in strings and her tank-top sagging slightly with moisture. In one hand she is clutching a plastic bag, which doesn't appear to have anything particularly heavy in it.
At a little over five foot tall and with a slim build, KL is hardly
awe-inspiring on first sight. She appears to be around seventeen years
old and still carries a teenager's air of disenchantment and
Her mid-length mousy-brown hair is brushed back out of her eyes and behind her ears. It's not exactly styled, as it appears to have been hacked at without any hint of hairdressing expertise, but it's at least had contact with a brush at some point recently. She would be quite attractive - in particular she has a very cute, upturned, nose - were it not for the sullen and aggressive set of her mouth and the hostility of her gaze. Her hazelnut eyes look out with disappointment and poorly hidden anger, as if the world were a holiday villa that didn't match the travel agent's description. Her skin is oddly pale, and on her right shoulder-blade a two-inch-square tattoo of a winged horse visible. Physically, she's well proportioned, and her bare arms show a tight musculature that speaks of regular exercise.
She's got a habit of slouching and of leaning up against any available support. When she forgets to slouch, however, she moves with a surprising degree of grace and compact poise.
She is wearing a faded and beaten up pair of blue jeans that are just a little too large for her, and have holes in the knees, a pair of worn combat boots and a faded red tank top with "And your little doggy too!" emblazoned across the front. The tank top has a badly-repaired tear across the chest, causing the word "little" to be have its second "t" deformed. Similarly, the jeans have a set of unrepaired holes on her left thigh, pale skin showing behind the rents.
Kevin is sitting, or rather slouching, in a chair in the living room. He's not reading, or paying much attention to anything around him; just sitting, looking fairly miserable. As he hears KL's query he looks up, almost grudgingly. "Just me at the moment. Not that I'm 'anyone', though."
Kevin Lockwood is a somewhat gangling mid-teenage boy. Starting at the top and working down, he possesses a close crop of very dark brown hair that might be mistaken for black in some lights; a long Caucasian face with a rather large nose in the middle; brown eyes under heavy eyebrows; a downturned mouth, and a distinct Adam's apple. He either doesn't need to shave yet, or does so closely enough to have no visible stubble on his prominent chin. Below the neck, his body looks fairly fit, and is clad in a rather grubby blue sweatshirt and grey sweatpants, both of which are too big for him and the latter of which has to be hitched up every few seconds. He's barefoot. His legs seem a little long for his body, as though he's just undergone a growth spurt and his lower limbs reacted to the hormones before the rest of him.
"Really?" KL says, pushing the door closed behind her with a careless *thump*. She takes a step towards the living room, and then stops, looking down. "Say," she says, as rainwater drips from the hem of her trouser legs onto the floor. "You don't have a towel, do you?"
Kevin shakes his head in response. "I don't have a single possession to my name any more. Not even the clothes I stand up in," he adds, heedless of the fact that he's sitting down. "But there's probably something in the kitchen." Taking a closer look at the newcomer he decides that she is, indeed, someone he's not previously encountered. "I'm Kevin," he introduces himself belatedly and briefly.
"Hi Kevin." KL says, taking a walk towards the kitchen. "I'm KL. Back in a second." She's as good as her word, returning moments later with a towel in her hand. She appears not to have noticed the wet footprints that trail from the door to the kitchen and then back again. "So...where you from?" she says, toweling herself off.
Kevin says "A galaxy far far away," Kevin quotes ruefully. "England, actually. But I don't suppose I'll be going back there in a hurry, after... what's happened." He eyes KL with a slightly suspicious air, wishing he knew a way of telling for sure whether another person is Garou or not, and deciding to speak in vague terms only, just in case."
"England, hey? Land of Hugh Grant and Sean Connery? Cool." KL says. She tips herself onto a sofa, dumping the plastic bag next to her, and towels off her hair. "This place is supposed to be safe, but it's usually a good idea to be careful. So, you new?"
Still looking slightly mistrustful, Kevin nods assent. "Been here a couple of weeks now... since just before Christmas. The night of the solstice, if that's significant. I take it you're... not new." He peers at the plastic bag, trying to work out its contents from its shape.
The bag in question appears to have something very thin and light in it, possibly some paper. "Kind of. I've been away for a bit, so I'm basically new in town. I've got a couple of...family...here. Have you met a girl called Helen?" KL is also talking around the subject, though not very well.
Kevin's face becomes a good deal less sullen at the mention of Helen's name. "Hell yes," he responds, swinging his legs out from underneath him and down onto the floor. "She's one of the few people I've met since I got here who I trust at all. Are you... one of her people?" The cub is obviously hoping for an answer in the affirmative.
"Yeppy. I suppose we've done the being discreet thing enough. I'm KL Cole, Cliath Ahroun of the Black Furies, rited Escapes-From-Money. Pleased to meet you." KL says, flipping the towel onto the floor and running her fingers through her hair in an attempt to neaten it up.
Kevin laughs and smiles. "Kevin Lockwood, new-moon cub, and unclaimed by a tribe as yet... nobody seems to know quite where I fit. Including me." His smile slides off his face and is replaced by the previous frown. "Frankly I don't feel as if I fit in this world at all, but I'm told that's not uncommon at this point." He tucks his feet back underneath him. "I've not seen Helen-rhya for a few days, though. More's the pity."
"Yeah. I remember, though it was a few years ago." KL grins at the thought. "I haven't seen her since I got back. One of these..." She points at the bag, "is for her. Nah, I haven't been home in four years or so. Not that it was much of a home anyway."
Kevin exhales breath noisily. "They say you can't go home again," he murmurs, "and I guess it's true for the likes of us... Garou. I just wish I could stop worrying about my mother... since Dad got killed I'm all she's got... and now..." He gestures wordlessly. "Oh, what's the use?"
"It's better. Definitely. I mean, I don't think I'd object too much to seeing my Mum again, but Dad..." KL's voice trails off, her eyes hard and her lips curling in to a snarl. "Yeah, it would be bad if I saw him. Despite the fact that I've been living off the land for the last year, being a Garou is definitely a damn sight fucking better than what I was doing before."
Kevin puts his head on one side and looks at KL for a long, silent moment. "Perhaps I shouldn't ask, KL-rhya," he eventually responds, "but I'm getting the feeling you could say more if you chose. I just wanna say, don't feel you've got to sugar coat your story on my account. After what I just found out you guys do to metis babies, I think I've gone beyond shockable." His voice is controlled but his eyes flash fire, betraying his inner anger.
"Don't 'rhya' me. It worries me. Do what to metis cubs?" KL asks, a look of genuine puzzlement on her face. "And have you met one?" She leans forward in her seat, leaving a noticeable wet patch on the cushion behind her.
Kevin gives a nervous apologetic smile. "Sorry. I never know who likes it and who doesn't... No, I've never met a metis, and I'm not surprised, if what Stace was telling me's true. That..." He pauses, mouth dry, and swallows. "That they tend to get killed as soon as they're born."
KL's frown deepens. "Um...that might be true of some Tribes and some Septs, but in general it isn't, as far as I know. I don't know 'Stace', but he or she is not being one hundred percent truthful." She pauses, "Look, I'm not going to go all Coggy on you. Most metis get a pretty raw deal. But they don't get killed at birth."
Kevin has evidently learned enough to recognise the slang term 'Coggy'. "Stacey is a Child of Gaia," he explains. "She told me all about what the other tribes do. It made me feel pretty mad... I guess that was her reasoning. It made me confused too... after all everyone's always banging on about how few of us there are and how many there are of the adversary... and yet they killed metis cubs? I'm afraid I lost my rag." He blushes. "I had to go out to the barn and smash things about a bit. I only just managed to get out of these clothes before I changed... Alicia-rhya's going to get me some proper clothing soon, she said, but till now this is all I have, and that's only thanks to Helen. Which is why I was so grateful to your sister in fury," he adds, not ungraciously.
"And she told you that we," she indicates herself, "kill all our metis cubs." She's speaking very quietly and intently, and her right thumb is rubbing against her middle finger repeatedly.
Kevin senses KL's rage building like a slow steady column of lava inside a volcano and is quick to seek to defuse the situation. "No no! She didn't specify any particular tribe. And I wouldn't have believed her if she'd said that you Furies did," he adds hastily. "Of all the tribes I've met members of so far you're about the only one that doesn't scare me, repel me or generally confuse me... if I say it's too bad I can't ever be one of you, please don't think I'm mocking you." Kevin shuffles in his chair nervously, hoping this is enough to calm KL.
KL lets out a long slow breath. "Well, yeah, we're obviously superior to other tribes. And who told you that you couldn't join?" She smiles brightly, leaning back on the sofa and relaxing.
Kevin's head swivels round to look KL in the eye, suspecting a joke on his cublike ignorance. "Trevor-rhya said you were all girls. I'm..." He doesn't bother finishing the sentence, as he can't think of a way to do so that's not blindingly obvious, trite or stupid.
"Well, yeah, but there's a rite for everything." KL says, a study in cheerful seriousness. Possibly _too_ studied. That bright smile does _not_ look natural. "It has to occur on a particular night...there's moonlight, and prayers to the Goddess, and then we take a big silver knife and..."
Kevin's eyebrows disappear right up into his hairline and he shrinks back in his chair. He opens and shuts his mouth a couple of times, like a frog catching flies, with no sound coming out. Then he regains enough speech to croak, again rather froglike, "You. Have. Gotta. Be. Kidding."
The corners of KL's mouth twitch a bit, then her eyes screw up, and about then she starts giggling. "Of course I'm kidding." she manages to say. "Oh...but the expression on your face..." The giggle become full-blown laughter, and she rocks forward, bending over almost double, shaking slightly with mirth.
It's obvious that Kevin doesn't like to be taken for a fool. His brow furrows into lines of annoyance and he glares at the laughing Fury with eyes that would shoot laser beams if they could. "Ha extremely ha, what jolly fun to make mock of the new cub," he snaps bitterly. "It's hard enough to absorb all the true information getting thrown at me without having to cope with hoaxes and witticisms." So there. He pouts crossly.
As if a switch has been flicked, KL stops laughing. Her head comes up, eyes flashing rage. "What kind of fucking ragabash are you going to fucking well be if you can't take a fucking joke yourself?" KL spits, hands on her knees, knuckles white with the pressure she's exerting. "We've all fucking well been where you are right now and we all fucking coped. And you know what? It's fucking well worth it. So get a fucking handle on yourself."
Kevin jerks upright, taken aback at KL's sudden anger, not to mention her tirade of what to the prudish Briton is a stream of very bad language. Perhaps it's his inner wolf that makes his instinctive reaction to submit instead of fight back. "I meant no disrespect," he says in low tones. "And I intend to cope as others have coped. I don't know what kind of ragabash I shall turn out to be, but I hope others will agree that in my case it /was/ worth it." His head is bowed as he looks at KL from under his brow, his posture one of deference to the older Garou.
KL says nothing for a moment, eyes wide, chest rising and falling as she breathes heavily. Eventually, she speaks. "Yeah, well it probably was a bit out of line for me to wind you up like that." She pauses, and her mouth twitches again. "Is there anything I can actually help you with? No jokes, promise."
Kevin exhales a long breath and dares to look directly at KL again. "I don't know," he replies frankly. "There's a lot I have to learn still but it's so very new and different to everything I've known before that... well, to ask about it I'd need to know something about it, and much of the time I don't." He pauses. "Oh! Do you know how long... just roughly... I'm liable to be kept here until I'm passed as safe to go any further than the barn out back? I know I can't expect to be Rited for months yet, but I'm getting cabin fever sitting here all day, not to mention my form's going off really badly without proper training and exercise... I'm a runner, y'see."
"You are?" KL grins. "I am too. Well, amongst other things. And I'm not that quick. But I like to run lots." She pauses. "But I can't make the decision to let you go further. I guess the answer 'when you can be trusted not to do anything dangerous'. But I don't really know when that would be. Can't you like...run around the Barn?" Any trace of former anger is gone as quickly as it appeared, replaced by keen interest and enthusiasm.
Kevin senses the further change in the evidently mercurial Ahroun's mood. "Oh, I've been doing that some," he clarifies, "but it's not exactly a cinder track, and besides I've no decent running shoes... hell, no shoes at all until Alicia-rhya gets round to fetching me some. I'm quick but I've not got much staying power, that's why I'm a sprinter. I was over here as first reserve for the British under-16 team, no /not/ the team itself, yes I /was/ angry... when everything blew up." He makes an eloquent gesture indicative of chaos and strange things. "I take it you're more of a long-distance type? You've got the build for it." His eyes appraise KL's body, not in a predatory way as of male to female, but professionally as one athlete to another.
KL keeps grinning. "Yeah, I'm more your long distance type Ahroun. Fights the Wyrm wherever it dwells, provided it's quite a long way away. Did a couple of years of karate lessons when I was younger and I've sort of kept that up too." She shrugs. "Comes in kind of useful sometimes, but I'm no Daniel-san. British under-16 team, hey? Even as reserve, that must make you pretty damn quick. Glad I didn't challenge you to a race. I'd have had to cheat to even stay anywhere near you."
Kevin gives a faint smile. "I'm no slouch, but frankly I suspect if half what I hear is true about how much fighting I'm going to be called on to do in Gaia's name, the karate would have been more useful to me. I don't know the first thing about self-defence or combat... though now I've had chance to examine myself in crinos form I must say I look pretty terrifying. Hell, I scared myself!" He chuckles wryly. "You said you had something in there," he gestures to the shopping bag, "for Helen? Will you be waiting till she comes back here, or leaving it for her? I'm afraid I've no idea when she'll be back."
"Well," KL screws her nose up a bit, "all Garou are warriors for Gaia, but there are many different sorts of fighting. Though you need to be able to do the obvious sort at least a bit." She pulls an envelope out of the bag. "Nah, I'll drop it off at the Greek House. No, the reason I'm here is this." Another envelope, crisp and white with "Megan" written on the front, comes out of the bag. KL holds it between two fingers, across its width, somewhat thoughtfully.
Kevin leans forward to read the name on the envelope. "'Megan,' he reads out. "I've heard much of her, but I think I was asleep when she was here last, so I never got to meet her. She's one of the elders, yes?"
"I believe so. Anyway, I'll just kind of leave it around somewhere here, and hopefully I won't get eviscerated for territory breach." KL says, standing up. "Look, I better be off, as I have to get back to the city tonight, but keep your chin up, pip-pip and it will be a jolly good show." This last bit is in the worst English accent ever. If it was any worse, a red bus would go past outside and a cockney would appear purely to say 'Gawd bless you guv'nor'. Where KL was sitting is a nice large wet patch, and the towel is still where she discarded it.
Standing, Kevin collects the damp towel and looks at the damp patch without commenting on it. "Put it over the fireplace, it'll be safe there," he suggests. "Give my regards to the city..." He gives a very wry smile at those words. "And perhaps some day soon we shall meet again. I have learnt from your visit... thank you." These words are delivered with apparent full sincerity.
KL's brow furrows a tiny amount at this, but she doesn't say anything immediately, instead walking to the door and opening it. "At least it's stopped raining," she says, looking out at the grey, but now dry, weather. "Should make the walk back a bit more pleasant, as it's really quite a way." She turns to face Kevin again. "I can't think it'll be that long before you're allowed out. Maybe we could go for a jog then?"
Kevin crosses to the window, rests his knuckles on the sill and peers out. A momentary gleam comes to his eyes as he notes the comment about distance back to St Clair, then it's gone as he regards the dull day outside. "That would be good... you can't have too many people to run with... and I guess it goes for wolves even more so," he agrees. "May your journey back be safe."
"Well, I hope so. Though the demons of the Wal-Mart can be quite a handful," KL says, grinning. "Seeya." With that, she steps through the doorway and onto the porch. Two steps away, then she remembers, turns round and closes the door behind her. Not quietly, of course. That would be too much.
R's Comments: "Mercurial" is an excellent way to describe KL. She gets angry real quick, but if the source of irritation is removed, it goes away just as fast.