Participants:

Garou_icon.gif Valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title Open The Door
Synopsis Valentin comes to fix a broken Rou.
Location Garou's Room
Date 30 August 9:31 Dragon
Watch For Affection
Logger Valentin

Sometimes it took Garou late into the day to circle around and catch
Valentin wherever he is. Some days all he gets to know his lover is alive is the jingle of a certain bracelet.
But it is enough, it has to be. When, however, not even that is provided him, Valentin worries. And then
that worry turns to fretting, and fretting turns to making himself sick. And he has to find him, or he won't
sleep, or eat, or focus. So Valentin walks quietly through the halls of the Circle, into the Templar wing,
keeping to the less traveled paths he and Garou often sneak through. It's slow, having to pause around
corners any time someone walks down the hall, but eventually, Valentin is at Garou's door, knocking quickly.

There is no sound from inside - not at first. The knock, however,
merits a chirping investigation, followed by a very familiar sniffing under the door and a soft pawing sound
from the other side. It's enough to tell Garou that it's a friend, but not so exuberant that he knows which
one
and so the only response from inside is a quiet, toneless voice saying, "Go away."

That reaction makes him frown, but Valentin crouches down to the sound
of that sniffing. "Tytos, dearest," Valentin says softly under the door, "Could you tell your father to open the
door please?" The worry is obvious in his tone, but he's not being pushy.

That voice… Garou is not at all in any kind of state to be with
company now, but there is no saying no to that voice. So he hauls himself up and unlocks the door, but
then turns and returns to his corner on the floor with his bottle and glass. If Valentin doesn't open the door
within a moment or two, Tytos will end up pouncing at it until it gives.

Tytos has no need to do that. When Garou unlocks the door, and
Valentin hears the click, he straightens, opens the door himself, and steps inside, locking the door again
behind him. "What is the matter, love?" Valentin asks, kneeling to say hello to Tytos properly, scratching
behind his ears and petting down his back.

There really isn't… an easy answer to that question. So Garou
laughs - quiet, bitter, mirthless, wrong - and takes a drink from his glass instead. "Seren came to see me
again, today." It's the easiest thing to impart. "Out in the training yard while I was working with Tytos."
And nothing about those words is out of the ordinary, but it's the lack of inflection that is the most
disturbing. It's like a dead man talking and it is so far removed from passionate, overly dramatic Garou that
it would be funny if it wasn't.

Oh, that is… Valentin stops his petting, places a kiss on the top of Tytos'
head, and moves then to Garou. With Garou sitting still, not speaking, he hadn't been able to place him at
first, but now… To be fair, though, Valentin really does not spend a lot of time at the edges of this room.
He's not quite sure where the wall is in relation to him that easily, much less where that would put Garou,
and he's just… A little bit lost. It's the drinking that helps, then, making the bracelet jingle and Valentin sighs
relief, orienting a little better, but still not perfectly. But he's frowning, because he told Seren to leave it
alone and… "What did he do?"

That's about all the information Garou can give easily. The rest of
it is a struggle to unearth; he'd been using the burn of the brandy to bury the rest of it beneath layers of ice
and dust that he'd spent decades perfecting - pushing it and pushing it until he couldn't feel it anymore.
Most of him doesn't want to - doesn't want anything to do with any of it right now - but Valentin's worry
is like a siren call. When it does come up, however, it's broken and disjointed. "Family," he begins, rough
voice hollow and pained. "He is insistent that we are family and…" But there's the phantom sensation of
bile once again at the back of his throat and he has a moment where he just Cannot.

Valentin settles down, then, just in front of Garou, his hand coming first
to his lover's knee unsteadily. But that touch is enough for him to orient himself firmly, and he shifts to be
beside Garou then. "Hush, love, come here." He coos, putting his arm around Rou and just waiting. He can
tell this is too much, and he can wait.

Garou is stiff and resistant at first, taking a long moment to bend
into his lover's wishes and tipping over slowly until his head is in Valentin's lap. It's not the ideal position -
that would be his face buried into his lover's neck - but it's all he could manage to think enough to get to.
"There was so much I didn't understand," he admits softly. "The story kept changing in the middle and I
didn't - I couldn't - " He stops then, taking deep and steadying breaths to try and get his life in order. "He
was upset that Macenaya does not trust Cenn or I because we are Templars. I tried to explain but… he had
told her… to make her trust me he told her… I don't know all of it, he would only say 'and lots of things that
would make you uncomfortable'." It's a lot for him to get out after having done his best to shove it far away
enough to breathe. "I think he told her about you to try and help? I don't know, everything became so - so
twisted up by the point. He kept touching me and I wasn't…" He is a hot fucking mess. "I have to go to
Isolde. Take full responsibility before the story gets twisted up and drags you down, too."

It may not be ideal, but Valentin can work with this. His hand cards gently
through Garou's hair, rhythmic and light and a reminder that he is here and he isn't alone. And he listens,
at first starting with that still present frown, but it grows to something darker as Garou continues to explain.
"First of all, you will do no such thing." Valentin says, and though his tone is the one he takes when he will
brook no argument, it is quiet and soft. "You just settle down, I will handle Seren." Because he had said he
would. And there's a fire in his chest, both at this notion of a deep betrayal, and the fact that he had,
apparently, not been quick enough in speaking with the other Healer. He had not thought he needed to
after their talk of how Garou was not someone to push emotionally. "It is wholly inappropriate for him to
have been sharing anything, with anyone, that he knew would make you uncomfortable. He does not
understand the dangers of living in a Circle, he will be informed. And as for Macenaya? Honestly… As terrible
as this is, we have the grace of most people considering her to be stark raving mad."

Garou is honestly still in no position to be commenting on any of
this. Thankfully, he is also therefore in no position to argue either. He simply lays there very still and doing
his best to exert some control over the trembling of his limbs. Tytos, unsure of what exactly was wrong, is
doing his best to climb up Clanky Dad's legs to get at them both and Rou is not actually in any position to
notice, let alone help. He can't say anything for the longest time and when he finally speaks again, it is only
four words. "I'm sorry. I tried."

"You have nothing to apologize for." Valentin says softly, continuing to
pet Garou's hair. There's a small smile for Tytos as he can hear his collar as he makes his attempt at
climbing, but otherwise his attention is wholly upon his lover in his lap. "Everything will be alright. I am right
here. I will always be here." He leans then to place a kiss to Garou's shoulder, and just settle to wait there,
letting him be in his lap, and just be near.

"I couldn't understand," Garou argues, though his voice is weak. "I
couldn't make him understand." When Tytos reaches his hip, Rou scoops him into both arms and then
turns over so that he can still pillow his head on Valentin's thigh, but bury his face into his stomach, petting
the cub currently trying to nose his way up under one dad's jaw. "I had the same problem with Macenaya,
with Carys, with Ashalle… even Cenn was a struggle." He trails off into silence, then, and the question that
follows is so quiet as to almost be lost against his lover's shirt. "What is wrong with me?"

"Good boy, Tytos." Valentin says fondly as he hears their cub be cuddled
against Garou, feels him squirming to nose at Garou. His free hand brushes against a squirmy kitten flank,
smiling so much like a father seeing compassion from his young son. But those words from Garou, they
make him so sad. His brow knits, and he shakes his head. "Oh, no, Rou…." He says on a sad, shaking
breath, "Rou, you beautiful man. My beautiful love." It's got an edge of desperation as he pets Garou's hair
even still, "There is nothing wrong with you. Nothing. You are in a place so far from your home," He
begins, all gentleness and raw affection, "With people you do not know. Who act so differently. Some of
which who push, and feel, and need, and twist and… Trust me, Garou, I understand. Things
coming out sideways, or at least being heard that way. There is nothing," He pauses then, to move his
hand to Garou's cheek, "Nothing wrong with you."

Valentin is not wrong; Garou is very far from home here - not
so much in distance, but in reality. The day to day culture is… it's all so alien in many different ways.
And in most of those ways, he's managed to compensate one way or another, but this… It is anathema to
things that are ingrained deep in his bones. It's overwhelming and it takes the desperation - the urgency
- in Valentin's tone to cut through Garou's spinning mind and take any kind of root. He leans into the hand
on his cheek eventually, inhaling slow and unsteady breaths. But that is, at present, the best he can
manage.

And Valentin does not expect Garou to speak. He knows how hard words
are for his love, and he cherishes how easily he speaks to him, but he will never push beyond what is
necessary. So he just sits, and is, and gives subtle affections to both Garou and Tytos in equal measure.
And eventually, he starts in on gentle, Rivaini lullabies.

There are many things about Valentin for which Garou is forever
grateful, but this uncanny ability to understand, not only the words which sometimes come out sideways and
imperfect, but also how difficult they are to form altogether sometimes… that will forever be at the top of
the list. So Rou lays there, letting raw places be soothed here where they are exposed to the only person in
this world he can truly trust. It serves a dual purpose, letting him calm and center, but also allowing him to
reconstruct mental walls that had for a very long time kept everyone else at arm's length. Valentin doesn't
have to worry about them - he is actually impossible to defend against - but the rest of the world is going to
go back a few paces once again. "That's beautiful," he murmurs. "What is it?"

Trust comes as it is earned, and it has never been an easy thing for Rou,
and Valentin knows that. While it will hurt to see him step away from the world so, Valentin will be patient. It
is the only way. If nothing else in this world would be, if nothing else would wait, he would. Always.
"Something my father used to sing to me," Valentin answers softly, "When I was young, and would go on
trips with him, and it storm and I could not sleep and my mother was not there."

They are soothing to the raw and throbbing places aching deep in
Rou's soul, these patient lullabies. He doesn't reach for more of the brandy he'd been drowning himself in
when Valentin arrived; it's a double-edged sword, that. On the one hand, he remains himself, letting his love
offer comfort so much richer than what could be found in the cold arms of a bottle. On the other, there is
no burn in his stomach to force this sense of betrayal to come up and out of him. It is left in the pit of his
stomach to twist and fester under slowly-solidifying layers before the melody finally begins to lull him toward
true rest. "Thank you," he breathes, for sharing the song and for many other unspoken things besides. He'll
get up here in a moment, really he will.

"Always, love." Valentin says then, smiling, "Always." And maybe the
brandy would give him voice, but right now, Valentin just wants to get him in bed. "Change into something
clean and soft." He says gently, "Wash your face, come to bed, and have one glass to drink." Nevermind that
he knows Rou was drinking before he came in. One glass once already in bed might settle nerves. "And I will
sing to you, or tell you stories, or talk with you until you fall asleep." And he would stay. It's unspoken, but
there was little in this world that could compel him to do anything else.

Garou takes a minute to process all of that, to think about not so
much whether he wants to do all of it, but more whether he can do all of it. It should be doable, but
everything beyond laying here feels momentarily insurmountable. So he inhales a slow, deep breath, nods
against Valentin's stomach and then pulls himself up to sit. That's when the cub in his arms gets
deposited in Mage Dad's lap and Garou pushes himself to his feet. Glass and bottle are put up somewhere
they won't be a hazard for Valentin and then Rou is kicking his boots and pants away. He's still pink and
sensitive from his time shirtless in the sun, but there are soft sleep pants that will be just enough, tonight.
The rest of his healer's orders are followed without comment, but when he crawls into his own bed, it's with
motions that still haven't lost that jerky, unnatural cast to them. Not quite beyond his own head, then.

As it turns out, Valentin had not asked for grace. So there is no surprise
at the mechanical way that Garou obeys his instruction. No, Valentin just takes his time, standing, moving to
the bed. Setting Tytos down with a kiss to the top of his head. He strips out of his shirt and shoes, settling
into bed and waiting for Rou. And when his lover joins him, he curls into his side, hand tracing light
nonsense shapes against his chest, letting him drink without interruption.

This one last bit of instruction is the first place in carrying out as
he's been told to becomes… he hesitates, staring down into that drink like it holds the secrets to life, the
universe and everything. Eventually he does toss it back, but he can't tell if he feels better for having done it.
Or not. Garou is going to lie down, burrow under blankets, wrap around Valentin and go with 'Not'. "You
don't have to do anything," he says softly after a moment. "Just you being here… it helps. A lot." Articulate,
Rou. That's real smooth.

There is nothing even remotely related to the number 42 in that glass,
except maybe the age of the liquor in it, so sadly Garou could likely be looking awhile. You know, if he didn't
have the good sense to drink the brandy instead. And as Garou settles down, he earns nuzzling from
Valentin, purring warmth not unlike their cub. "Alright." He answers simply. He doesn't need eloquence, he
doesn't need words at all, he's happy to just be. This is the only place he's happy to just be.

There aren't many people who would call drinking the brandy good
sense at this point, but it doesn't seem as though Garou is too much worse for having done it. Mostly he
just is. Laying here wrapped around Valentin with nuzzles and purring warmth, he can drift. "I love
you." He doesn't sleep - that's probably going to be beyond his capabilities tonight - but he can lay there
and hold his lover, rub affectionate circles over his back, try to calm his pulse down again to something
manageable, breathe deeply. These are things he can do; these are things he does. This is going to be a
very long night, but he isn't alone in it and that… that makes a world of difference.

"And I love you." They're the only words offered, the only one needed.
And as Garou does not sleep, nor does Valentin. It's a night filled with warm nuzzling and gentle kisses, and
when the fear grows to be too much, soft lullabies until Rou's heart has decided to settle once more.


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