Author Topic: Second Moon  (Read 19254 times)

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Offline Harlequin

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Second Moon
« on: October 11, 2012, 12:38:33 PM »
The trainyard. 6:15 PM – just before sundown. A small figure hopping out of the exposed belly of an open freight car, staying low and dressed in dark clothes, she made for the fences and slithered through a slice in the chain link. Well below the barbed wire and out of the cameras’ line of sight, the yard cop still fast asleep in his little prefab bullhut – Morgaine was back from her week on the rails and good as gold. She whistled a little song as she straightened and headed into the gathering darkness of the warehouse district.

As she headed further into the maze of hulking buildings and shadow, she began to notice people. Too many people. People in business suits and little dresses and T-shirts and jeans. This in itself wouldn’t have been odd enough to make her think twice, but the fact that they were all moving in a single direction certainly was.

So, still whistling her song, she followed them, falling into step as they neared a warehouse. Some of them were chatting amongst each other in hushed tones, others were silent and brooding. A few gave her strange looks. They only thing really uniting them was an air of expectation; a certain thrumming tension that Morgaine couldn’t emulate no matter how hard she tried. Not that she tried very hard at all – she mainly just wanted to see inside that building that made everyone so nervous.

Just as she was about to achieve that goal, she found her way blocked by a very large wall of person. A thick, blonde, male person who glared down at her with a singular intensity.  “You can’t be here,” he barked at her.

She frowned, “Says who?”

Clearly not used to back talk, he blinked and air whoofed out of his chest softly, “Me. Now get outta here. Go on, scram.”

“Nnnnnnope.”

He stepped into her space, and when she didn’t step back, he postured up, clearly ready to go chest-to-chest (well, chest-to-belly, given their height difference) with her. An uncanny growl was emanating form within his chest. Morgaine smiled up at him. He showed his teeth in return, “Girl, I am warning you.”

People were beginning to stare, and normally she would’ve chosen now to make a scene, but there was something about him that made her stop, pursing her lips as she studied the angular face above her. He seemed familiar, but not. Something about the way he leaned over her, shoulders raised and tense, teeth bared in animal challenge.

Animal.

It clicked, then, and she snapped her fingers. The neighbor’s pit bull from when she was a kid. “Are you a dog sometimes?”

Startled, he reeled back a step, eyes wide. He shook his head, and made a sneezing sound, “What?”

She rolled her eyes, exasperated. “A dog. Do you turn into one? I’m thinking Pitbull.”

“Doberman,” he answered, still blinking at her in surprise. Then, realizing his mistake, and hating that he’d been made a fool of, his proverbial hackles rose again and the growl returned – ferocious now instead of warning, “I said get outta here! Go on! What are you doing here! Scram! Go on! Before I rip your lungs out!” He was truly barking now, vicious as he advanced on her, forcing the slight singer to step back quickly with her arms raised in front of her, defensive.

“Dude, chill, I was just looking for drugs! Calm down! Down, boy! Down! Heel!” She shouted over him. It didn’t seem to be working. His temper had gone to way of the Dodo, and people were well and truly staring now.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 03:58:13 PM »
From directly behind Morgaine came the sound of her name, exclaimed in delight in what was once a familiar voice.  When she turned, however, she might find she didn't recognise the mid-fifties looking man.  Tau was still tall and leanly constructed of muscle, clothed in a pair of blue jeans, a simple black T-shirt and no shoes, his blue eyes still glinting with intellgent curiosity - and now delight as he faced her.  His hair, however, was more grey than the dark curls he'd once sported, his face home to quite a few wrinkles, especially since he was smiling at her.

Looking beyond her at one of his shifter associates, he frowned.  "It's alright, Paul, she's safe," he assured the Doberman shifter.

"She's human, she doesn't belong here," the wall of man-dog sneered, to which Tau nodded.

"Morgaine, come over here with me?" the cougar requested, indicating a space along the line of cars.  He wasn't game enough to grab her arm, though he once might've had no qualms.  He knew he looked different, though, and his animal instincts told him that in such a pressurised situation, sudden grabbing moves were not okay.

Sitting on the bonnet of one of the cars a few down the line, in the general area he'd thumbed towards when encouraging her to leave the entryway to the warehouse, was a man leaning his elbows on his updrawn knees, looking their way curiously.  Looking almost exactly like she would remember Tau looking, in fact, though it may not have been clear to her in the fading daylight.  Arik's general shape, size and colouring was the same as his father's (even down to the blue eyes), though his features were prettier and more closely resembled his mother's.

It would be a stretch for Morgaine to look at the young man if and when they got closer and recall Alacer's looks, but it wasn't impossible.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2012, 05:33:42 PM »
Upon hearing that voice, Morgaine's first instinct was to whip around to face its owner, jump on him, and cover his bug stupid cat face in pal-smooches. She carried through on the first part, but the face she saw brought her up short on the other one. Who was this? Tau's dad? 'Cause there was Tau, sitting on the hood of that car –

No. This was Tau. She remembered seeing him age before her eyes on that first night. He was what, fifty now, in big stupid cat years?  She couldn't keep the sorrow from her face. Then who was that other guy? Tau's–

son

Some guy that looked just like Tau. Probably not even. It was just the light. Yeah.

But the grin was right back, as she chirped "Sure!" And completed his thought, grabbing him by the elbow and leading him away as if it had been her idea all along. She paid the dog shifter no more heed – though he made a move like he might follow them, but had second thoughts, and the growling never really abated.

"Man, am I glad to see you! I thought I was toast!" Her eyes strayed to the young-Tau clone again as they came closer. Nope, definitely not a trick of the light.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 10:59:34 PM »
"I'm glad to see you!" Tau enthused, recalling all the wonderful things this woman had done for him and suddenly sad to realise that he'd let her slip from his life.  He'd had lots of other things to concentrate on, admittedly, given that he'd met her not long after he'd come to the city and his Oligarchy work had really picked up at about that time.  Plus, there'd been Alec and the babies.

They reached an area about a car's length away from Arik and Tau couldn't contain himself any longer; he wrapped Morgaine in an enthusiastic bear hug, figuring she'd never minded touching him before and since she'd grabbed his arm now, all worries were gone.  He sniffed her hair and her neck when he was close to her, recalling her unique scent.  When he'd had his fill, he pulled back and grinned at her, still hanging onto her fragile shoulders.

"Why were you trying to get into a werewolf warehouse anyway?" he chuckled, ignoring the curious looks he could feel his son throwing him from their car.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 02:37:20 AM »
The hug was returned with equal fervor, the singer standing on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck. When they parted, she was beaming up at him.

"Nah, I just saw all the people and thought there was a party someone forgot to invite me to. Werewolf warehouse? What does that even mean? " She reached up to clasp the hands on her shoulders. "And who's that? I thought cloning was for sheep, not big cats." She nodded toward Arik over his father's shoulder. Tau may have been able to ignore him, but Morgaine just couldn't.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 11:32:31 AM »
He allowed her to take his hands and he lifted them off her shoulders, his fingers entwining with hers between them.  She felt cool and smooth to him, though he always ran hotter than humans.  "This is the warehouse where werewolves come at the full moon, now that the Oligarchy has..." he paused to try to remember the words they'd told him at the meeting so many weeks ago but he couldn't.  His expression turned into a mild scowl of frustration.

"Well, since they split up and moved into districts," he finished at last, shrugging off his lack of memory.  "The werewolves get locked up here so they don't hurt anyone and we shifters are here in case something goes wrong and we need to run them down."

Something in him was reluctant to talk about Arik but he couldn't avoid it with Morgaine referencing his son so directly.  He looked at the younger, prettier version of him and flicked his head, summoning the cub silently.  His progeny moved immediately, in a likewise manner, slinking off the hood of the car and loping over to them on silent bare feet.  He was wearing jeans like his father but they were black and he had a light blue button up shirt on, the top few buttons undone and the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing sinewy, muscular arms.  The shirt wasn't tucked in.  He was the same height as his father.

Tau looked from him as he arrived on his left (Morgaine's right) back to the human woman he was holding.  "This is Arik, one of my cubs," he introduced simply.  Arik looked at Morgaine from blue eyes surrounded by thick, dark lashes and said nothing.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2012, 02:35:53 AM »
The eye-roll she gave him this time was in sympathy. The whole supernatural-political structure of this town was such a clusterfuck. She'd given up on it long ago. Her eyes were just as soon alight again with understanding, regarding the whole 'werewolf warehouse' situation. "Ooooh, okay. That makes sense. I guess I never really though about that before."
 
She watched Arik as he approached, noting already the physical differences between the young shifter and his father – who too had been young when she'd known him before. The copy was imperfect, slightly more refined and elegant. But they moved the same, and that body was there, all slink and muscle. Not to say that Tau wasn't still a silver fox himself. Cat. Foxcat. Whatever.

"Oh my God, you had kids!" she enthused, tugging on his hands in excitement. He'd always been really about kids (animal imperative, she guessed) and while there was a pang of regret that their paths had diverged so radically, she was glad to see he'd found someone to make that a reality. Morgaine sure as hell didn't fit that bill. "Congratulations, that's so great!" It was probably a little late in their lives for congratulations, but this was all new information to her  so she gave them anyway.

It was strange to think that this young man was no more than three years old, but she decided it was better this way; Tau could actually share a life with his child.

A grin split her face as she untangled her right hand from Tau's (the left remained clasped), holding it out for a shake,  "Arik, I'm Morgaine." She watched his reaction carefully for any sign of recognition – had his dad talked about her at all, in the time they'd been apart?

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2012, 01:30:27 AM »
The youngster tilted his head to regard her curiously but his gaze gave nothing away as he shook her hand.  "Hello," he said simply, looking her over in the same frank manner his father always had.  After the once-over, his gaze shifted to where his father's hand was still connected to Morgaine's as his own hand was shaken and he and the human parted.  Their connection made Arik's perusal intensify but his father was, as usual, oblivious.

"Yes," Tau stated, agreeing with her assessment that he'd had kids.  "With Alacer.  You met her, a few years ago," he reminded Morgaine.  "We had four offspring.  Two are cougar shifters and two are snake shifters, like their mother.  My cubs age as cougars, like I do, but the other two are still very small children, ageing as humans do.  It makes things... difficult in our house," he admitted.  Arik's gaze was finally drawn to him as this gross understatement was uttered.

The sound of a motorcycle entering the parking lot outside the warehouse drew Tau's attention and he squinted thoughtfully at it, giving Morgaine's hand a squeeze.  "That's my other cub, Nebi," Tau informed Morgaine as the bike stopped a few parks down and the pillion rider dismounted first, pulling her helmet off to reveal a length of ruffled brown hair that fell from a central part to the base of her shoulder blades.  The male rider did much the same thing before he warpped an arm around the girl and started sauntering towards the entrance with her walking beside him.

"She went home with that werewolf this morning," Tau continued conversationally, narrowing his eyes at his progeny and she spotted him and then turned to kiss Caden.  Arik's attention was also rivetted on the couple, a spark of thought now twinkling in his eye.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 07:21:35 AM »
Arik may have looked like his father, but his personality could not have been more different. Morgaine's first impression of him was a cool one; almost aloof, though his eyes ran over her in the same way Tau's had the first time they'd met. She was also aware of the intensity of the cub's gaze as she continued to hold Tau's hand. She searched Arik's face for a reason, but was left guessing. What was wrong with hand-holding? Would mom not approve?

That question was answered quickly enough, as Tau revealed Mom's identity. Alacer. The housemate. "Oh yeeeeah!" she tore her face away from Arik's face, eyes lit up with understanding. Alec always seemed to like her well enough, but there had always been a distance in her. Morgaine had guessed it was due to jealousy and wasn't thrilled to find out she was right. Her heart sank further at the mention of their household. So they were still together. Guilt followed immediately after. She'd missed her chance, there was no reason for her not to be happy for her friend.

"I'm glad that worked out!" She beamed up at him. Every time she had thoughts of that pairing (and she'd had her fair share) she'd imagined their kids as some horrible mutant amalgam of cougar and rattlesnake, and the fact that things hadn't gone that route made her genuinely happy. Then she pictured their house – two three-year-olds and two teenagers that all had to be taught to function as Humans and animals and everything between all crammed under one roof. She grimaced. "...Relatively."

Then she was distracted by the sound of the approaching motorcycle. She'd experienced the overprotective father in the extreme before, and the look Tau was giving his child stirred up some long-buried feelings, "Hey, I'm sure she's fine. She came back, right?" She nudged him in the ribs with an elbow.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 06:00:19 PM »
"Of course," Tau answered, looking at Morgaine in surprise, like it was a strange suggestion that Nebi wouldn't come back.  "Perhaps she'll be more settled, now she's finally mated someone," he mused, turning to watch his daughter again.  Even if he hadn't been able to see her walk to know what had happened, he'd have guessed from the fact that she and Caden weren't able to keep their hands off one another.

Arik snorted at this comment, smirking at his sister and still watching her with those bright eyes.  Tau reached out to smack him casually, but Arik dodged beneath the blow just as easily, like he'd known it was coming.  The elder shifter shook his head, not genuinely upset enough to make a big deal of it.  He knew the situation he was faced with was partly his fault anyway, because he was the one who'd insisted they couldn't leave their rundown little apartment in case Jed ever came back.  It was obvious now that he never would and was likely dead anyway, considering the trouble he liked getting into but they'd stillnever taken that step.

Tau sighed and turned to look at Morgaine.  "I think I need to find a new place for Arik.  Maybe Nebi too.  They're too old to be near each other now."

Again, Arik snorted but this time Tau's retribution was more heartfelt; he snagged his son around the neck with his swinging arm, forcing him to bend down low, towards his knees.  Arik pushed and slapped at his father, wriggling his body as he fought wildly to get free but the older cougar's strength was still superior and he held the younger down until he stopped fighting a minute later and simply hung there submissively.  When he was released, he glared at his father and stalked away, running his fingers through his hair agitatedly and re-taking his position on the hood of his car.

Tau - who hadn't let go of Morgaine's hand as he'd calmly showed his cub who was boss - straightened his shirt and sighed again as he looked wryly at his friend.  "They're too old for any of us to be together, really," he conceded.  "But Alec's away a lot with the other two - or I'm out, working and trying to stay away from them - so... I haven't really done anything about it.  Shifter terrirtory's near the Meadowcrest Woods; do you know any good apartments or anything down that way?" he asked her earnestly.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2012, 03:25:38 AM »
"Oh. Right," said Morgaine, in response to Tau's assertion about his daughter. Well that sounded...healthy, she guessed. Having absolutely no frame of reference for this type of parenting, she left it at that.

The look Arik was giving his sister made Morgaine want to smack him too. Find a new place for him was right. There were just some things you didn't think about -- transspecies or no. The effort of trying to hold onto Tau's hand and trying to hold in her laughter as he got his son in a headlock was too much -- something had to give. So she laughed, loud and raucous as a crow as Arik stalked away. They reminded her of Ami and Chance. or Ami and her, to be honest. Thinking of her bassist caused a pang.

Speaking of which -- "It's kinda suburban out that way but there are a couple complexes. Condos and shit." She wrinkled her nose, "We had to go apartment hunting like a month ago. Our bassist totally fucked her room and then disappeared." She didn't tell him that she'd 'fucked the room' by way of absolutely covering it in blood -- way too much for a Human to live without. But from the phone calls they'd received, they at least knew she was alive. "We're subletting up in the Xavier for now; til we can find something better. I could show you a couple places if you want!" Her face lit up at the prospect.

Something else he'd said caused her brow to furrow, however, "But...can I ask why you'd want too get away from your family?"

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 09:14:04 AM »
"Thank you," Tau beamed when Morgaine offered to help him look for a place, reminded of their past when she helped him with his phone.  He'd come a long way since those days; the Oligarchy had forced him to become far more technologically savvy and faster with all his literacies, really, but he still credited this woman for being his primary assistant in learning to get along in the human world.

At her final question, his expression became much more sheepish, his gaze sidling away to check that neither of his cubs were within earshot.  He shuffled closer to Morgain and leaned down to speak quietly to her regardless.  "Because they're noisy.  Casi's always hanging off me but she's just a baby... male cougars aren't meant to be parents!  Well, not the ones that raise the cubs, anyway.  And Alec and I fight if we spend too long together, she's always angry at me.  I think it's because I don't do things a human mate does and she wishes I would."

His expression was both apologetic and baffled at this stage.  He was looking at Morgaine like he believed she'd take his mate's side, because she was a human female and she knew what women liked, whereas he didn't have a clue, but he was resigned to that.  He'd become resigned to these female mysteries long ago, once the children came out and Alacer became this person who didn't have time to relax with him and who insisted he do things he was very uncomfortable with.  He'd been a mother and a father to Nebi and Arik because of it, but it didn't sit well and he thought he'd done a terrible job, overall.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 09:25:28 AM »
As Tau described his household, Morgaine's grimace returned full force. That sounded like a grade-A Mongolian clusterfuck. Growing up, Morgaine had known a lot of kids with parents who stayed togerther solely for the sake of the childern, and it was almost always to the detriment of said children. And this was way beyond that.

It was also tough with him looking at her like that, all sheepish and confused, like he'd already let her down. She wished she had some actual advice for him, but this was so far from her sphere of experience that the most she could offer was a sympathetic look and another brief embrace.

"Like what does she want you to do? Wash the dishes? Comb her hair?" She definitely couldn't picture Tau doing either of those things (well, the hair-combing, maybe. Cats were very hair-oriented animals.)  "Nobody should have to go against their nature just to be able to be around someone else. That's total bullshit."

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2012, 10:48:32 AM »
He frowned at the notion that Alacer might want him to brush her hair and he imagined he wouldn't have half as much of an issue with that as he did the rest of it.  "Well, I had to train my cubs to hunt because she couldn't, but it's a mother's job.  Usually we disagree on things to do with the children and she wants me to look after them, which is also a mother's job.  And then, when we're alone, she wants to talk about feelings and how much she loves me and why I don't love her.  It's always... awkward and I don't like talking about it," he admitted, looking awkward as he described the horrible times where his mate bailed him up and wanted to talk about their human emotions.  He'd rather have his claws pulled out (or his fingernails, technically) than endure it, hence his desire to leave the house as often as possible.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Second Moon
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 11:06:05 AM »
Looking pained, Morgaine chewed on her bottom lip as she listened to him. Nope, that sounded like a normal relationship to her. Honestly, she could understand Alec's frustration. While having never experienced it herself, she understood that it couldn't be easy to be in love with someone who didn't love you back. Like pouring your soul into a bottomless pit.

But she knew that animals were capable of love, right? Was it just Alec, then? Damn, that had to suck for her.

It also sucked for the kids that aged like Humans. Their father would be gone before they'd be able to remember him, anyway – but then Alec would be all alone. Maybe it hadn't worked out so good, after all.

But this conversation was taking a dark turn. He didn't want to talk about why he didn't love his sorta-wife, Morgaine wouldn't make him. Not now at least. She squeezed his hand and placed her other hand on his forearm, "Well I'll be your alibi, then, for a little while at least. Later this week? We could meet up at my place."