Participants:

Garou_icon.gif Seren_icon.gif

Scene Title Lion in the Sun
Synopsis A Healer and a Templar chat by the fountain
Location Courtyard, Circle of Magi
Date 23 August, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For How to break a Templar in one fealsy step.
Logger Seren

Seren had to answer a pretty tough question and, let's face it, all the prodding he's had to do to find a way to motivate his latest charge is EXHAUSTING. He didn't even have to think over the answer of what he'd wish for, and somehow it bothered him a lot more than it might have if he'd been prepared for it. So he's had to keep busy. Right now, he's sitting by the fountain- no nightwing, she's currently busy- braiding thick strands that look like silk floss for embroidery mixed with the soft, light wool that is often used for robes. That's right, that bulky too-big thing they sent him here in has been dismembered. At least it's evening and he doesn't have to be anywhere again until morning. Because that weird calm he's had for a week (more?) is back and he'd like to keep it there.

Garou is probably not the best person for keeping that calm, but he slows when he catches sight of Seren by the fountain. A low, sharp whistle accompanies his change in direction, an alert to the lionette cub who scampers after him with a comical level of excitement. "Back to braiding an escape rope?" he offers in teasing greeting. "You may have found the best use for these hideous robes."

Seren looks up and grins. "Possibly, but not for getting out of here. I'm afraid I'd need a lot more than a rope for the amount of people included." The cub gets his own greeting in the form of a wiggle of his fingers. "Hello, da'len." Then it's back to Garou. "It's actually a gift for you. I thought you might have us for it." It's said with the most every day tone EVER. "It's a tactile rope," he explains. "There are knots in the fibers to prevent slipping to indicate where knots can be tied." He holds the finished portion up for view and the colors at least blend pleasantly than in the originating garment. "I think they dug out the most hideous thing they could find to send me here in." This would be because he'd tried to foil the shackling by padding his wrists.

Garou snorts, folding himself to sit on the ground leaning back against one of Seren's calves. This, of course, is obviously a blatant invitation for Tytos to fly-pounce into his lap and clamber up his front to chirp and headbutt Templar dad right in the jaw. "Tactile rope, hmm?" Garou is incredibly indulgent of his cub's antics, rubbing at softly spotted baby down with more affection than is probably healthy for this being, you know, not his actual child. "But is that a gift for me or for Valentin?" he muses, mouth twitching into something resembling a grin, though only for a moment.

Seren laughs at the question and the cub earns a softer look reserved for the very young. "Why not both? The knots have another purpose," he points out, finishing off the length by tying it so that the remaining strands form a tassel, that is itself given smaller knots. "Here, hold your wrist out," he requests, holding the rope forward. "To tell you the truth, it started as my need to take something apart after the earlier part of my day. …for a morning that started off so pleasant…" He sighs, either unwilling to bother or just unwilling to finish the thought.

There's a moment - just a moment - where Garou hesitates. The memories that accompany bindings on his wrists are not pleasant ones; it is not a sensation he seeks out for himself and even without them, ceding control does not happen often… and thusfar only ever with Valentin. But it's the middle of the day. The sun is out. People are, well, not here here, but about. It takes inhaling a deep breath first - and his other hand is definitely clinging a little bit to Tytos - but Garou (in a show of budding trust that would surprise even him if he stopped to think about it) holds out his wrist for Seren to do with as he likes. Mention of that 'pleasant morning' earns a pleased and knowing grin. "So I've heard." But then the rest of that sentence catches up with him and there's the beginnings of a low growl in his chest before he even knows he's doing it. "What happened to cause a need for destruction?" He may not look like much, lounging here against Seren's leg with a growing lionette cub in his lap, but Garou definitely has a slight… over-protective problem.

Seren reaches out, sliding the rope over Garou's wrist, only looping it enough for him to feel the way the knots push into the skin before sliding it free. "You see? …heard?" Ok, he's not the type to try to look innocent, but the confusion? That's genuine. Garou could be talking about anything. "Macenaya happened. I understand, she's … well, she's told me enough but she doesn't WANT to find a reason, so she counters everything and I hate direct manipulation, but I had to resort to it to find out where the sore spots were. From now on I'll be parenting a stubborn child." You don't have to understand or enjoy, just do. He has to take another deep breath to restore his calm.

Oh… oh that's… surprisingly pleasant. Distracted by the way those knotted fibers apply pressure in various places, Garou almost forgets the fact that it's rope around his wrist. "That…" He trails off and clears his throat. "That is going to be an unreasonable amount of fun to play with." On others, but also possibly himself, later. Much later. "Thank you." It is a thoughtful gift - and that it's being made with shredded mage robes makes it simultaneously illicit and pleasing. His rebellious love should take some pleasure from that fact alone. "Yes, heard. Cenn came to see me last night." And it's far too telling, the way Garou's entire expression goes predatory. "It really should not be so much fun to push his buttons. If only he didn't blush so easily, then perhaps…" But that is neither here nor there. He shifts his weight again once his wrist is freed, resting the side of his head atop Seren's thigh like he's some form of dire lionette himself. "He told me a little of that, too." This, so much quieter, but when he follows it up, there is real, raw gratitude in his voice. "Thank you for looking after her. It means a great deal."

Seren coils the rope and hands it over. "I thought you might like it." And then there's the explanation. Oh, that…" He grins, though there's definitely color in his cheeks. "I think it's rather endearing," he replies. "I was almost worried that you might be a little cross with me," he admits, but it obviously didn't stop him. He reaches down to trail his fingers through Garou's hair. "It is no trouble. I dislike direct manipulations, but she's wounded and trying to protect herself. When the wound is on the soul you have to find it before you can treat it. I'm sure she's not going to forgive me for what I'm going to do, but she'll live. It's hard enough entering life the first time. Doing it when you're certain you know how everything works is much harder."

"Cross with you?" His face might indeed be turned away from Seren's but the furrowed brow is evident in his tone. "Why in the world would I be cross?" He doesn't expect the fingers in his hair - short and spiky as it is, he can't imagine it being an overly pleasant tactile sensation to anyone but his wild love, not the way Valentin's curls seem to draw everyone's hands - but though he startles a little, he settles into the caress with remarkable equanimity, content to lounge there and be pet while scritching Tytos behind his ears. "I know little about handling someone so… delicate. Pushing is all I know. I would be constantly afraid she'd shatter under the pressure." At least from what he's heard so far, what he's seen in work-type observation and what's actually in her record. "I know it is selfish, but I am glad it's you and not me. I would do no more than make an even bigger mess." He'll stick to being overprotective on the perimeters - keeping people out and away, that sort of thing. He's good at that.
"
So soon after he's just found a way to try to live… You know when I arrived he couldn't look at me? He could barely talk to me. And now this? I would have had words with me." Seren's fingers never stop playing through Garou's hair, as if the action were just that relaxing. "It's not selfish. You're giving us the time to accomplish what she needs." Yes, he sees it. "You would push, I intend to pull her. She can't be allowed to sit back and hesitate, waiting for someone to come ease her out of it. "She needs to be pulled in the way I was pulled. I admit, a fade spirit gave hope back to me, but the three of you did the rest." He laughs softly. "By showing me the duty I was neglecting."

Garou tips his head back - which is an interesting motion when it's sideways on someone's leg - and nips reprovingly at Seren's fingertips before settling back into his former position as though he simply expects the petting to resume. "You are not Rylan and Cenn is not an idiot." That might be a gross oversimplification of things, but Garou has faith in these people who've become his pride. Whether or not that faith is misplaced… well. He's only human. He can't help the way his mouth twitches up at one corner, though, because - "I'm not sure it was found so much as shoved down his throat. Things will get bad again. He'll fall down again. We'll drag his ass back up again. That's how these things work." And he says it with such confidence for a man who hasn't had a family of more than one in over twenty-five years. "Besides, you're the one who said things start innocently in clans, were you not?" He's not quite to the point of purring, but there is sunshine on his skin and he is being pet; his life is really not that bad right now. "You find your hope in duty?" He sounds curious, but not judgmental. "I always found mine in people." Which would be why he'd spent so long without.

Seren takes in a sharp breath at those nips but, as expected, his fingers thread through Garou's hair again. "No, in the people it was my duty to care for," he answers. "It was a little frightening, letting myself love people again, harder to realize I'd given up holding onto my old life." And then he laughs. "Garou, do you know how long it's been since my thoughts about the three of you have been innocent? But yes, it started innocently enough. Just as a need to care for without having the hope to make it work. At least there are more of us to do the dragging. "

"Ah, yes. That makes more sense." For someone so generally gruff and grumpy, it may seem odd to be so people-oriented, but these are pieces of Garou that had been buried from the time he was ten years old until the day he met Valentin… unearthing them entirely has been a long process and some of these aspects have not seen the light of day in almost thirty years. It's not always the most…comfortable ordeal, but it's been good for him. And you know, thankfully he's Orlesian as fuck, so that use of 'love' is taken in stride, assumed to be hyperbole and glossed over in favor of the rest of it. Which mostly means he grins along with that laugh, though he does rub his cheek against the leg it rests on. Because he is actually a cat. "I would certainly hope so, otherwise I would have some serious questions about what exactly you and Cenn got up to." That grin grows and goes a bit crooked. "I've never seen anyone look that satisfied from knitting."

But then there's a pause as the actual structure of that sentence catches up with him. "…wait, how long has it been, exactly?"

Seren laughs, though the cheek rub earns a look that's genuine affection. "Did he look that satisfied?" He's laughing again and, yes, blushing. "It's different for each of you, I suppose. Longer for Cenn than Valantin, but then Valentin stripped off his robes in the fountain and even I had to pay attention to that. You? Shortly after you stood guard for me. I didn't look at you before then. I should have. I would have seen more than just how handsome you are."

"In his way, yes." Rou can acknowledge that Cenn - for all that the boy is unquestionably an open book far too often - is occasionally not on the same page as most people, communication-wise. It's comforting to him, in a weird way, because of just how much he can relate. Seren's laugh is pleasant and Garou listens to his explanation comfortably, pretty content with his life now that the squirmy lionette cub has settled down to nap on his lap in the sunshine. He even huffs out a soft laugh at the mention of Valentin in the fountain with his thin shirt clinging to that sailor's body in all the most appealing ways. He honestly can't blame Seren one bit. Valentin is… beautiful and vivacious and magnetic in a way that baffles him, but also leaves him smiling across the room like a besotted old fool. But then his own case is mentioned and Rou freezes. He does not do emotions well in the first place - he's gotten better, but still not… great. Add that to a set of layered compliments and he is as awkward as a fish flopping on the docks. "But that was… weeks ago." Excellent, Garou, way to pick out the least salient point in all of this… but his brain is somehow stuck on that timeline. Weeks and weeks.

"Yes, weeks and weeks," Seren agrees. "And I hadn't let anyone touch me voluntarily since before the Spire. …and your accent… Well, it wasn't the same but it was close, but then you let me take myself back from those men. Even with the seed of hope from Kitty, I couldn't have come back if it hadn't been for that. So, you see, you gave me back my will to try. It's strange the way the pieces have fallen together. Valentin reminded me of what being a healer is, Cenn certainly reminded me of what it was to feel peace. …and it all sounds so very self centered. I was ready to lay the blame solely at Kitty's feet. She was only one of the culprits. …why should it be surprising that it was weeks and weeks ago?"

Garou listens to all of this, but it takes him a long time to formulate any kind of reply. Even then, it's halting and slow, betraying his inexperience and discomfort with such topics outside of very specific circumstances. "I… suppose in part because my baseline for most things is Valentin, who… most of the time there is not much of a gap between thinking and doing." It's a function Garou has stepped in to fill over the years, but only when actually necessary; he prefers to have his wild love absolutely as free as he possibly can be. "Also because it takes me much longer to decide if I find someone attractive or not, most of the time. I honestly hadn't made up my mind - with regards to you or Cenn - until very recently." Like… about a week ago recent. "But mostly I suppose I thought I was uncomfortable for you to be around for most of that time." And then, half a heartbeat later. "Who's Kitty?"

Seren listens, all the while alternating between petting Garou's hair and caressing the side of his face. It takes a while for him to speak, and when he does the reason becomes obvious. "You haven't made me uncomfortable since that night," he says in the Orlesian of a person who is still doing their best to learn the language. "That was probably terrible." He's not above laughing at himself. "I would never have acted on it until you became comfortable with me. It would be … rude? Irresponsible?" He shakes his head. "One or both. Kitty? She's the fade spirit who gave me that seed of hope. She said it would go away, but either it didn't, or it just opened the door for hope to come back. She's either a tiger, an Avvar woman, or an elf, but always female. Or at least that's all I've seen. She has apparently been around since the time of the Creators. It was an odd conversation, really."

Rou can't help the way his eyes slide closed when that petting begins to include the side of his face. It's soothing and pleasant and he is entirely comfortable in the silence. When it's broken by, frankly, terrible Orlesian, he cannot help the way his whole body jerks and cringes. It is the most overboard reaction, but he cannot help being who he is. It could be worse - that cringe could be followed up with practically any number of awful things, so the fact that it's breathless, shaking laughter is pretty close to harmless, all told. "I appreciate the effort," he eventually manages, stupid grin still plastered across his face. He's not commenting on rude or irresponsible. He is, himself, so painfully aware of the power inequalities inherent in the state of their lives that he would never feel comfortable initiating anything sexual with a mage not his own. Valentin has that prerogative; he does not. "That's…" There is really no delicate way to put this, he is so ignorant of most of elven culture. "Is she… one of your Creators, then?"

"It was worse a week ago," Seren points out, but he's not even going to try to defend his effort. The Dalish accent is never going to mix with Orlesian. EVER. His finger tips slide over Garou's neck as he thinks. "I… I'm not sure. She's something? She mentioned Mythal as if she knew her, and… By the end of the conversation I decided I was either delusional or mad. Then I woke up. It was confusing. Something about being a mother, herself. So I imagine she may have been something close to it. Or at least a very long lived spirit. Our Creators were tricked into being sealed away by the Dread Wolf, or so the story goes. There's so much that's lost that… well, either you're very certain it's all the way the stories say or you think there may be more to it. I waver between the two, most of the time. At least now."

"A week ago?" Rou looks entirely puzzled by this turn of events. "Why did you start attempting Orlesian a week ago?" He listens to the rest of it - talk of mothers and spirits and wolves - but honestly most of it goes right over his head. "I thought Spirits were simpler than that, distilled to one characteristic they embody like Hope or Pride?" He's been listening to a lot over the past few years - a fair bit of which has managed to stick.

Seren chuckles. "Because I want to understand the language. If you can understand a language, you can understand something about the culture." He thinks over the question of the spirit. "Most of the time, yes. I've met a spirit or two that seemed a little more, but we Dalish don't tend to deal with spirits much. We're more tolerant in Rivain, perhaps, since they're everywhere. This one seemed very old and more complex, yet even she was lost and confused, unable to make sense of or remember certain things."

Garou turns his head to rub his face back and forth along Seren's leg with a motion approximating shaking it 'no'. "If there are things you wish to know, ask and I will do my best to explain, but I can almost guarantee that the language has nothing at all to do with the beautiful clusterfuck that is my home." This? This is nostalgia.

Seren's fingers go back to Garou's hair. "I'm afraid I'll ask you the wrong things. Seeing you content is important, and I'm completely ignorant of anything beyond the masks and what you've told me. It seems that, some of the very bad parts aside, it's a beautiful place." At least he's a broad minded Dalish elf? "I know it's important to you. You love it, I can see that when you speak about it."

Being petted is really the easiest way to circumvent most of the grumbling 'grumpy lion' responses from Garou. It's not an avenue open to many people, but when available it does a fairly decent job. Mostly in that for a moment, it looks like Garou might have dozed off for a nap with his cub. "I do love my home," he admits quietly. "I miss it terribly. But I know better than many just how exquisitely cruel it can be." He does not elaborate further, but there is a weight to even this simple statement. "You cannot offend me by mere curiosity, Seren. Not at this point."

"I want to hear what you love about it," Seren replies. "I only know parts no one wants to see. I think it would make it easier if I knew that there was at least beauty there. That someone I care for cares for this place. "There are cruel parts to every culture. Even mine. …I'm tired of thinking of those. Because if you miss it that much, there have to be more than just a few good things."

"I love its independence," Rou answers finally. "The Chantry is much-beloved and my countrymen are devout in their belief, but not even the Maker has been allowed to rule every aspect of our lives. We have always been a proud and headstrong sort." He pauses then, letting homesickness be soothed by fingertips along his face. "I love the decadence, the understanding that life is both wonderful and terrible, so that the former should be enjoyed to its fullest, hedonistic extent before the latter removes the opportunity. I miss the passion. The Game often requires deference and tact, but my people feel strongly. About everything. Whether that is love or hate, you will find almost nothing about which someone does not have strong feelings." It is only a small sampling of the things he loves about his home, but they are all he can get out now before his throat gets tight with the missing.

Seren listens, his fingers never stopping the soothing motion along Garou's cheek and hair. "I can see why you love it and miss it so much," he finally comments. "This is why you are what I try to think of when I think of that place now." He gives a hint of a laugh. "Strange to think that it took being sent here and finding you to finally remove me from that cell. Thank you.

Garou doesn't… know what to do with any of this. It's sweet and deep and impactful in ways he does not deal with well and part of him really, really wants to make a swift and ungraceful exit. Instead, he inhales a deep, slow breath and releases it on a sigh. "I will do everything in my power to make sure you never see the inside of one again," he answers, quiet and serious. "That is not what the Circles should be."

"Thank you." And it's all Seren says for a long while. As if he's content in the silence there in the sun with the water behind them and the napping cub. Finally, he takes in a breath. "It's strange. Maceyana asked me what I would wish for if I could have anything. …I realized that my wish wouldn't be going back to being the man I was, to his family and clan. It troubled me. Now I realize that the man I am has a clan here. A family. People I love. It's not that I can't go back, it's that I don't think I want to. It would mean undoing all of this. Not having the Valentin and Cenn. Not having you, who reminds me so much of someone else I loved but without all the hurt that was wrapped up in. …but I'm thinking too much. Because here you are."

And you know, Garou has done a very good job so far - for him - of resisting the urge to actively flee from words that carry such weight, from sentiments big enough to push the air right out of his lungs. But this… this is more than he can handle and there's a moment where that shows in his pulse pounding at the temple under Seren's hand before he ducks his head and sits up correctly. The lionette is scooped up in his arms and he unfolds himself to stand up with surprisingly swift motions and then just… stands there, back to Seren and entire frame tight with tension. It's awkward and tight, this silence, stretched thin and brittle and sharp. "I'm sorry." It's all he manages over his shoulder and then he is booking it out of the courtyard, retreating somewhere dark and quiet and safe.


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