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Sunday, 26 February 2017
The moon is in the waxing New (Ragabash) Moon phase (6% full).

There's a kind of uneasiness to the Greek House when Yael arrives at it, post-moot (whenever that happens to be). Not anything between the Furies that are there, though Karin seems to make it a point to head to sleep. Actually, there's no real identifiable cause for it, save the Ragabash pacing to and fro in the kitchen, occasionally taking sips off a glass of whiskey, one hand shoved in her back pocket. She looks unhappy, to put it mildly, though that might have to do with the whole Mage-with-territory thing that's going on. It's hard to say, really.

It is past evening and into the night by the time Yael returns, though where she's been is anyone's guess, because she headed off by herself after the little gathering. But she slips in the door from the courtyard, shutting it quietly behind her, and then unpinning her headscarf once she's indoors. After all, there are no men here. Her shoes come next, and then the Strider plants herself in the doorway to the kitchen once she identifies who's up and about still.

"Alright," she offers to Monica, "you look like you need to talk." Despite the wording, the tone makes it gentle enough to be an offer to the older woman rather than an order. "Let's have it?"

It's a testament to how deep in thought Monica happens to be that the approach is made without her noticing. Silent Strider or no— the sneaky is baked into the name, let's be honest here— the woman's paranoid enough that very little seems to escape her notice. In this case, though? Everything in her goes tense at the sound of Yael's voice, the 'jump' causing some of the liquor to slosh onto the front of her shirt.

"Jesus, you scared me," she breathes, using her free hand to swipe at the small stain, after which she tents the sleeveless shirt to start doing that 'airing out' thing one does. "I'd say 'don't do that', but I don't want to sound like I'm giving orders," she amends, smiling lopsidedly, the levity not quite hitting the note she wants it to.

There's a brief, small smile, and then Yael lifts her shoulders in a bit of a shrug. "When I was little— younger," she corrects herself, and then continues, "they threatened to put a bell on me, once." There's a shake of her head, and then the Strider gestures from the kitchen towards the couch, another very deliberate and very obvious suggestion. "So, c'mon," she says. "Something or a lot of somethings are bothering you. Getting them off of your shoulders will help, maybe."

Monica doesn't even try to contest the 'bothering her' thing, at least not in gestures. She does say, "I get antsy around New Moons," with that lopsided smile still in place. "Waning or waxing, always makes me feel like I should be doing something." There's a pause. Then, loosing a sigh, she looks down at her drink, and considers.

"There is something I could use to talk to you about, though," she says, fetching the bottle from the kitchen table, and walking with a bit more haste than usual towards the couch. "And that 'something' is Reagan."

There's a nod. "I know the feeling, more or less," she responds to the statement about the moon. "Luna, Gaia bless her, is very shitty to us sometimes." That said Yael follows the Fury to the other room, flopping with apparently boneless grace onto one end of the couch and propping her head up with her elbow. "I think that the correct response might be 'oh dear'," she says, "but in any case, let's hear it."

Monica lets out a short, soft laugh at the initial comment, perhaps signaling that she's been at this drinking thing for a while yet. More than usual, if it's actually affecting her. She sobers, though, as she seats herself, eyes straying to the fireplace, regardless of the lack of fire. After that, her expression falls a little.

"I need to stop teaching her," she says. Or— blurts out, more like. "Like— need. As in soon. As in—" She leans back against the couch, her own impression of boneless more like a sack of potatoes than anything graceful. "As in months ago," she says. "I keep going like this, and I swear to you— I promise you, it'll drive her straight out of town."

Her lip curls as she raises her glass. "Or me straight into remedial training for murdering the only close friend I've got in the whole fucking state," is muttered over the rim of it.

"While murder is not precisely against the law," Yael says, and her tone is gentle even though there's a bit of what might be humour, hard to tell, "I usually strongly recommend against it. Especially friends." She nods, and then continues, more seriously. "Someone needs to teach her though, unless she plans to leave and lock herself back in a lab at some university somewhere, and that doesn't seem like a good idea to me. So I'm guessing," Yael grins, "that you'd like me to, while I am in town?"

"Would you?" Monica looks over at Yael with a kind of— pained might not be the right word for her expression. "There is—" She pauses, thinking it over, gaze turning back to the ceiling for a moment. "There is no way," she begins again, "to be 'nice' about training her. And—" she looses a slow sigh, "like you said, it's not a good idea, letting her go back to labwork. Also happens to be under the clause of 'not optional.' She's not here because it seems like a nice change of scenery, she's here because she's burned every bridge she can find. And a couple most of the folks back home didn't even know existed."

She pauses, thinking it over. "I thought it was crap when she talked about it before. She's an asset to the Nation, no question. But—" A pause. "I don't know. Something to be said for all her teachers just saying 'fuck it' and letting her go her own way. Thought I could be better than that, but here I am on the brink of saying the same fucking thing."

There are several nods as Yael listens— though none that are timed right to the point of being acceptance of the question in and of itself. Instead, Yael straightens up a bit and reaches for the bottle of alcohol, grabbing it, undoing the top, and then taking a significant sip before handing it back. All without sputtering, but it might just be the gravity of the situation that she manages that bit, because her nose still screws up in the way of people unaccustomed to drinking.

"I won't make promises," Yael says, "but I can try. I have to say this isn't precisely what I had in mind when I stood up in front of the moot and mentioned teaching? But perhaps, as a stranger to her and to this place I am a good person for the job. Because I have no relationship to damage by strictness and harshness." There is a pause, and then Yael continues, "She is one of the Children of Gaia, yes? How did you come to be teaching her in the first place? I… will need to speak to her elders, you understand."

There's no immediate amusement at the Strider's reaction to the taste of the whiskey this time, the bottle accepted— at which point, Monica instead hands her the half-filled glass, as if to quietly suggest that Yael be allowed to take the more civilized approach to drinking. Out of the two of them.

The mention of the Coggie elders gets a little wave of Monica's hand, then, and she says, "When Alicia talked about remedial training, I offered to do it. I figured I'd be the one who could at least understand her. The way she gets when her temper starts flaring— she'll say some shit that'll stand your hair on end. And this is coming from someone who was never exactly a cheerleader for the Nation to begin with."

She takes a swig off the bottle now, looking again at the empty fireplace. "Anyway," she says, "since I was the one that volunteered, I'll be the one that cops to having to give up on it. Even if I take a hit for it, that's— fine." A pause. "As it is, you'd be doing the Nation a favor. She has some interesting views on how things work, even if they're a bit— broken. Question is, if they can be 'less broke' and more communicable in a way that won't get her ostracized."

The glass is accepted, although rested on her knee after one more sip, and Yael nods. "I'm not exactly a frequent cheerleader for the Nation either," Yael admits. "The Nation as I have often known it is broken, full of in-fighting and drama and petty differences that distract people from a common enemy." She snorts. "If Reagan says too many things… I don't actually believe in Ostracism, honestly. It's stupid as a punishment goes, ends up with good Garou turning away from the Nation entirely, or getting killed in the process." She shakes her head. "But there are other options that I do typically find effective." She nods. "For what it's worth," the Strider adds, "you tried. And there is still honor in being able to admit what you are unable to do and making sure it is taken care of."

"She doesn't believe in basic spiritual tenets."

Monica pauses on that for a time. She looks over at Yael. "And has some strange ideas about spirits in general." A pause. "I realize what I'm implying with that - whatever you think I am implying, you're probably right - and it's a lot to take in. It's also something you'd need to know before moving forward— and something I realize I might be a little too trusting in saying out loud. To anyone."

She gets a bit of an uneasy look on her face, then, bottle raised to take a pull off of it. "So," she says, "while I appreciate what you're saying— trying, I mean… There's a lot of work to be done, here. And she's the type that runs circles around people if she thinks she can get away with it. She'll pretend she's listening when she's not. Quietly harbor all her own opinions, and never tell you what she's thinking— like she's still some goddamn teenager."

Yael's brows furrow, and she nods, and then she takes a fairly significant sip from what's remaining in the glass. About half of it, all at once. "Gaia help us all," she murmurs. "A theurge who doesn't believe in our world and what makes us, us." There's a slight grin that follows, though, and Yael leans her head on her free hand before looking at Monica. "I didn't make adren by letting people run circles around me, you know." The tone of voice makes it clear that she is not chiding the other woman, by any means. Commiserating though, maybe. "And I can see that… I was talking to her when I dedicated her clothing for her, and she kind of has that arrogance that usually gets beaten out of people by the time they're eighteen in our world. But I think I'll manage."

Monica visibly relaxes in response to what's said, and she doesn't even bother hiding that fact. If anything, it's just further confirmation that yes, Yael's assessment is pretty much right on the nose. The not-chiding earns its own smile in response, one that gains ground towards gratitude as it becomes clearer that the proposal is likely to be accepted.

"I'd owe you one," she says softly. "Hell, I'd owe you several. Several of what, I don't know, but…" She pauses. "Seeing as there's no 'kind of' about it, you're not exactly in for a walk in the park. But you knew that already." She takes another, smaller pull off the bottle. Then, "Anyway, add this on to the fact that she's at such odds with her wolf that they may as well be separate entities, and— as it stands right now— we're looking at a powder keg that's either got 'RONIN' written in huge block letters across the side, or 'RIP'. Maybe both. So I think it goes without saying that you'd be doing her one hell of a favor, too."

Beat. "You wouldn't be without backup, either." A pause. "I can 'tough love' from the sidelines, at least. Give her someone to vent to outside of the whole thing, offer support where she actually needs it. Make her feel like less of a walking target for everyone's ire."

The Strider drums her fingers against the side of her head, thoughtful, and then twirls one strand of her hair for a little bit as she listens. "I think," she says, "that it just might work. No one gets through this alone, and maybe that is another part of the problem." She tilts her head a bit owlishly before returning to upright, and then finishes off the whiskey in the glass. "I mean, you're older than me, and Reagan looks like she's older than you? And that means that she has more or less been without friends and certainly without friends who can support her in the context of who she must be within the Nation, for a very long time."

Monica offers a faint smile in response, though it's largely humorless. "She's a little younger," she replies, "but the point stands." A pause. "Without a tether, she doesn't have much of a foundation to build on. All she's got is the constant fear that she might lose the one friend she's got. And about the only person she feels comfortable with when it comes to exploring her nature. That part—"

She shakes her head. "That part, I can keep helping with. It's everything else that keeps getting in the way." She looks back to Yael. "And I wouldn't be leaving you without a tether, either. There's things I won't talk to you about in any overt sense," and her tone suggests that her wording there is very precise, "for the sake of maintaining confidence, but I'll let her know that we'll be talking about her progress. Out of everyone here, I'm the one that knows her best. So… if there's an approach you're thinking of taking, something you could use to hash out, my door'll be open."

Yael listens, and nods, and then there's a moment or three of silence at the end before she continues. "Much appreciated." She considers, and then continues, "I'll probably take you up on it, because quite honestly," she sighs, "I've got plenty of experience teaching rites, and teaching gifts, and teaching about Garou culture. But all of that is with people who want to learn. I never taught cubs, for instance. I delivered one or two when there were lost cubs in African cities to the Wheel of P'tah and let someone more settled take over from there. And this is much the same but with the stakes so much higher because all of this is things that she should know already."

There's a pause (another one), and then Yael adds, "And the same goes for you, you know." She glances at Monica, and then past her, towards the rest of the room. "It is hard to support someone if you yourself do not also have support."

Monica doesn't look discomfited by the offer, or even all that taken off-guard by it. If anything, she just thinks it over, thumb skirting idly over the rim of the bottle, her gaze remaining on the fireplace for a time.

"Think that might be part of what's been bugging me," she says. "Probably what's bugging her, too." A pause. "We both thought we had someone likeminded in what we got— both with the same mandate, 'sink or swim'— and thought we'd have a support structure of some kind. Even asked if she wanted to pack together, eventually. I'm just not what you'd call Alpha material."

Not a slam on herself, really. Ragabash are usually better in support roles, period, even if one becoming Alpha isn't entirely unheard of. Rare, but not unheard of. Then, "Think it'd be nice," she says, looking sidelong at Yael, "having someone around who isn't a teenager. Been in the shit without getting covered in it." She offers a faint smile. "And it's always good to have the equivalent of a lawyer on your side, anyway," is amended, with a note of levity. "It's, ah—" A pause, her expression sobering. "It's appreciated."

The glass provides a convenient fidget, but aside from the fidgeting Yael's expression doesn't change. The glass gets turned around, and then turned around, and then turned around again. A brief something— almost unidentifiable— flits across her eyes, and then the nearly professional calm and resolve is back. "And I guess if I'm going to be teaching Reagan," she says, "then I'm going to be sticking around." She takes a breath in, and continues. "I don't… really do that, very often."

That phrase, 'it takes one to know one' is fitting in this case. The 'something' that's stymied, put to rest, doesn't go unnoticed. But rather than call attention to it explicitly, Monica instead makes it a point to catch Yael's gaze, and offer a look that may as well amount to 'it's okay; I won't ask'.

Subtle, but there for the observant to catch sight of. Both women harbor their own secrets; easier to leave them at rest, for however long they need to be.

"Only so many ways I can say 'it's appreciated,'" Monica says, offering a faint smile, then. "But, seeing as it deserves an encore: seriously. It's appreciated." A pause. "As for Alicia and Dakota, I'll be going with you to speak to them. Like I said, I planned to cop to this the moment I made up my mind, and found a good teacher." Beat. "Just never expected to have one practically fall from the sky," she adds, unable to keep from breaking into a broader smile.

There's a brief dip of her head, not quite a nod. "That's good," Yael says, "because for one, I wouldn't know how to get to wherever they are. The rite to find people is often very useful, but does not account for local geography and also," she grins. "I don't drive. Or at least, not in civilised Western countries," there's a slight hint of snark to the tone of that phrase, "I don't. Most of the places I have ever driven there were no roads, let alone traffic laws."

"I've got a car we can use," Monica says, the smile refusing to fade for the time being. For all that there was a Heavy moment a second ago, there's no denying the weight that's been lifted from her shoulders overall. Plenty of relief to be found in that.

Makes the conversation that ensues over drinks far more light-hearted, some discussion made of the other new entrant into the sept's chilly reception, some comments on the Mage and the Fury's upcoming meeting (what little of that can stay lighthearted), and, of course, the occasional drunken rambling from a Ragabash that is six sheets to the wind. But happy for it, at least, by the time the evening comes to a close.

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Kianan Rowan Abrams

July 2017

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