Participants:

Garou_icon.gif Seren_icon.gif

Scene Title The Wrong Topics
Synopsis Seren meets Garou in the training courtyard
Location Training Courtyard
Date 29 August, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For A Healer taking the wrong turn.
Logger Seren

Ordinarily, Templars and mages only mix on the mage side of the tracks. There are a lot of reasons, but when you're a healer? Well, you can circumvent some of those rules and social regulations because Templars- especially those young or in training- get hurt. In this case, it's two overestimating their ability to pull their swings and possibly a flared temper or two. And did they get the look and the 'you are not toys that can be broken and mended' talk? At least in abbreviated form, yes. So now Seren is making his way back through the training yard, shaking his head.

It still gets hot enough during the peak of the day that many of the Circle's Templars opt to train in some form of toplessness. Garou is no exception, but today his training takes a… slightly different form. At nearly five months, Tytos is developing into Trouble - capital 'T' intended - and after he'd tricked both dads into fearing for his health just because he wanted everyone in the same room? Rou has decided it's well enough time to start training him properly. Basic commands are easy enough, provided he can hold the cub's wandering attention, so when that proved to be not at all a challenge, Rou started assigning different whistles to each one, the way he calls for the cub across a room. It… does not take as long as it should for him to pick up on this game. So by the time Seren is crossing back through, Garou - sweaty and a little bit sunburnt - is sitting cross-legged in the dirt while babby lion pounces on and wrestles with his hands and arms.

Seren stops, regards the Templar and cub, and then wanders over. He's still uncertain that he should actually speak to them, but.. well… Look. That sight AND the cutest cub ever? He's going to watch. "You are going to be terribly warm tonight if you don't have that skin looked to," he informs. "Tytos, is he putting you through training too? Don't let him talk you into the vigil. I hear it's far too much sitting still."

At the sound of that voice, man and cub both look up and over, Tytos losing interest in wrestling with Templar Dad in favor of scampering over to jump up so his great forepaws are resting on Seren's hip; it's the perfect vantage to chirp and creel and grunt - all the kittenish noises to tell Seren all about his Very Important Business of the day. As for the man still sitting in the dirt, there are a few seconds when Garou looks wary of Seren's approach, but the quiet laughter at Tytos' antics chases it away fairly swiftly. He twists his head to one side and then the other, checking on the state of his pink arms and shoulders. "Doesn't look too bad." Brushed off the way health and self-care beyond the immediate and emergency is often brushed off. "He can't sit it anyway. That cub outranks us all."

Seren laughs, reaching down for a greeting scratch behind the ears and giving every indication that he's listening intently. "I know, no one really understands how hard life is for cubs and healers, da'len. One day they'll all see sense, hm?" He glances over at Garou and shakes his head, giving a faint rill of his eyes. "Yes, yes. It's fine, nothing to worry about. No one ever listens to their healer." The last is said to the cub, as if he alone understands the plight of the underappreciated. "What are you teaching him? I was distracted by the young and overly confident when I came through." Of course, at that moment, Revas decides to make her appearance and makes her landing on the ground in front of Garou. "Really, Revas? You're over here?"

Tytos is always thrilled by an appreciative audience, especially when that appreciation comes with ear scritches. Garou on the other hand simply gives Seren a very dry look, the expression rounded out by an amused little 'hmph' in the back of his throat - an auditory method of expression that's become a deeply ingrained habit. "I listen to my healer all the time," he says mildly. "I'm also not going to die of a little sunburn." The Lieutenant watches Revas make her explosive entrance with a shake of his head, but no real deviation from his 'not unpleasant neutral face'. Once some of the hullabaloo settles, though, he does answer the question. "Basic commands. I used words first, now whistles. And once he gets bored with these too, I'll introduce hand signals." It's fairly straightforward. "And when he gets bored with those, we stop altogether and spend the next few months incorporating all three into playtime until it's easy and natural and fun." It's easier, somehow, to string words together when there is no real nuance, no grey area, a simple recitation of facts.

Seren gives a long suffering sigh, but it's tempered by the amusement in his expression. "At least eventually," he agrees. "You hear this, Tytos? Your schooling has begun. I warned you off dangerous things." Revas tips her head, gives her elf a scolding hoot, and then turns to regard Garou with that look. "Revas… Permission first." He shakes his head. "At least he has a very good teacher. He's a lucky cub."

There is at first a kind of odd expression on Garou's face, as though something in his reality isn't quite right, but with Seren playfully scolding Tytos, he seems ready enough to move on to less uncomfortable sensations. For his part, the lionette manages a moment where he looks pitifully contrite, but only a moment before scampering back over to the familiarity of Templar Dad and a wrist to pounce and chew on. Garou tugs Tytos into his lap properly, resigned to being a chew toy for the time being. Revas is eyed, then, not with fear but definitely with a respect for how much a bird that big had to weigh. "What is it she wants to… do, exactly?"

Seren shakes his head. "She wants to come say hello to you, Garou. …quite possibly groom you. Cenn indulges her and I think she forgets that she must ask with you." He seems to think the situation over for a second and then sits. "And if you do indulge her, make sure you make your limits known to her. We're both bad at that and, so, I owe you an apology. I'm learning to balance myself again and sometimes fear is still a large part of me. Which is, I suppose, to acknowledge the dragon that sits between us." As for Tytos' expression? He laughs. "For that look, da'len, I suppose you could be forgiven anything." And with that said, he moves right along. "I talked to Maceyana. She said you visited with her."

You know, Rou had been doing so well. He'd been incredibly relaxed the last few days and had genuinely given up worrying about this into hands he trusted more than anything. But at the way his question is answered, and the way that answer becomes a segue into things he was not thinking about, his level of comfort disappears in an instant. It's not a drastic change - his posture remains the same and his expression alters precious little - but there's a tightness now that wasn't there before. "I would prefer that she didn't." Which… actually says nothing at all about his feelings toward the bird and everything about how much he does not want to talk about this dragon between them. So he is perfectly willing to move on. "Is that what she calls it?" he asks mildly, almost rhetorically. "I did see her, yes."

Seren nods at Revas. "You heard, Revas. No grooming. Say hello politely." Of course, Revas has ideas of her own and she moves over as close as she dares get to Garou, fluffs up her feathers, gives the man the weirdest upside-down head look manageable by her species. Once that's accomplished? Chirpiest hoot ever. "I…am not even sure how she comes up with these things." He loves his bird. She's weird. "Well, she said she saw you and that you kept your back to her. I did explain that I did trust and have trusted you with my life. …but I suppose that there is going to be a lack of trust there for a very long time. She said she could avoid you." Apparently the dragon isn't going to be mentioned again.

That… is a very weird bird. In Garou's defense, he does better with animals than people. If she's close enough, she'll get the backs of fingers stroked down soft breastfeathers. Otherwise it's just a sideways-tipped nod of his head in an oddly birdlike acknowledgment of her hello. At Seren's explanation of Macenaya's version of the story, however, he sighs. "She was at the fountain after curfew. Tytos ran over and I followed." It is evident that he is not accustomed to having to explain himself when a superior officer is not involved. "She was made deeply uncomfortable by my presence. I was going to take my cub and leave so that the stressful factor was removed. When I had turned, she stopped me." He shrugs. "I'm a lot less terrifying when my back is turned." Not to mention that it's so much easier to hide how uncomfortable he is when no one has to see his face.

"You're not terrifying," Seren insists. "Not really. It's what you represent. She said she wanted to try for me. Yet we see how well it went." Seren shakes his head. "I should have kept this visit at a few words before leaving. Being here is beyond ridiculous when it makes you uncomfortable. I wanted to thank you for taking time to speak to her. …with your back turned she thought you didn't want to look at her." He motions for Revas with one hand. "I'll let you get back to your lessons. I'm sure Tytos will take no time at all to learn as long as it's fun."

Garou is exactly the most confused. The sudden change in Seren's demeanor baffles him and that much is plainly evident in his expression. "Why would she want to try and talk to me for your sake?" Look, he is occasionally not that bright on how Feelings work, okay? "It was an accident. I've been avoiding that whole situation because I would make it worse. Why does that accident merit gratitude?" Garou is the most confused and that confusion comes with its own dose of distress. Not that he's going to hurt anyone, he's still sitting in the dirt with a rowdy cub in his lap teething on his wrist, but still distressing.

"Because I was so adamant about you. …because she cares for me and she knows that I care for the two Templars she has met here. So she tried." Seren might actually be giving the heaviest sigh ever. Black holes hold less gravity than that thing. "Yes, but you still spoke to her. It was an effort and I'm grateful for it, no matter what your reason was. Because she needs to at least try. …come along, Revas." Except that bird isn't budging. She's just going to watch Tytos with all the interest in the world.

"…adamant?" Yes, Garou is actually the worst at this sometimes. He sighs, setting Tytos down on the ground and giving him a little nudge to go say hello. "You can't force trust, Seren. No matter how adamant you are that she can trust me. A good Templar is an honest Templar. I don't need her to like me, I just need to protect her."

Seren shakes his head. "Now I'm the one having trouble talking to you," he points out then apparently gives up on leaving altogether. Finally, he turns to put his back to Garou. "It wasn't that I was trying to force her to trust you. She kept talking about how you- none of you- could be trusted. I… it was unfair when you were the one making sure that she was safe, when you stood guard on me when you could have just killed me just to make sure what you saw didn't become worse. It's unfair when Cenn…" He shakes his head. "If she trusts you, that's up to her, but I can't … I won't let her lump you in with the men that hurt her, or the kind that marked me. Because that is absolutely not true."

Garou listens. He's many maybe not-so-good things, but he makes for a pretty ace listener. When Seren is done, however, his first question is fairly simple. "Why are you facing that way?" It's fairly evident that he doesn't understand… even a little bit. Not at all, in fact. "I am lumped in with those men, Seren. I am a Templar." It's a truth very plain and simple now that he's come to terms with it. "If she cannot trust a Templar, that's entirely fair. No one should take that away from her. I don't need her to justify that fear and nor should you."

Seren shakes his head. "If she would say 'I don't trust them', then I could accept that. I understand why she fears them, she told me. For that, I would fear too." As he speaks, his posture tenses and his fingers dig into the robe he wears as if he'd like to shred it. "For less than that I'm still afraid. It was the accusation that you would do things because you are a Templar. You would not." He leans a little, looking over his shoulder. "Trying it. Not watching you feel uncomfortable does make it easier to speak. I don't know if it does much to help you or not."

"Mostly it looks silly from this side," Garou admits, a little stilted. "But so long as it helps." And maybe it's not the best trait in the world, but he's stubborn. He's stubborn and soft-spoken and he doesn't understand any of this, but he's trying. "She doesn't know I wouldn't. How could she possibly know I wouldn't? She can't trust us and that's what trust is, Seren. Believing in something without requiring evidence. What evidence could she possibly have that either Cenn or myself - or any other Templar - aren't the danger to her that others have been?"

"Other Templars could be. I've … seen looks." Seren replies, but he gives the question some thought and finally scoots back enough- past the playing cub and nightwing, because she's trying to settle on and nest the cub either seriously or in jest- and shakes his head. "I am the only proof she has, and there are times when she thinks I see things in you that aren't real. …it's probably unreasonable of me, but I'm sometimes unreasonable when it comes to those I care for. Even when they're stubborn and let their skin burn in the sun."

Garou is absolutely getting pink in the sun. It could be part of why he looks so uncomfortable. Or, you know, it could be that there are these pesky feelings that are being brought up again. Either way, he does his level best to remain calm and participate in this conversation like a normal person. "What things are those?" Tytos is going to end up nested upon, whether he likes it or not.

Seren reaches back to run his fingers over Garou's hair. "Things like the absolute sense of duty you have, that you are a good man, and a lot of things that would make you uncomfortable. but are still true. …and you really are starting to color in the sun. Even if you won't allow me, you should see Valentin soon. I know burns are uncomfortable, even if I've never been burnt in the sun."

Garou goes very still, neither pulling away from nor leaning into that questing hand - despite the fact that they are out in the open training yard, deep in Templar territory. "…what things could you possibly be discussing about me with Macenaya that would make me uncomfortable?" And for the first time, his voice is small and almost… frightened.

Seren finally leans back so that he can regard Garou. "Look at me? Because I wouldn't discuss … most of those things with her. But it does make you uncomfortable, doesn't it? Saying that I care for you, that couldn't possibly trust you, much less care for you this much if you were one of those Templars. The fact is that I like there to be peace between us. There is too much that is tense and dangerous about this place without that peace being disrupted."

Garou does as requested - he's had too many years with superior officers to resist that habit just at this moment - but his expression is rapidly closing in on itself. "Most…" he says flatly, swallowing convulsively around the sudden and irrational urge to vomit. He knows he needs to stay. He knows he needs to get a better idea of what the exact parameters are for 'most'. He knows. He also knows that if he thinks about this question too hard, about this demand for an answer, that he will break down and that he absolutely cannot do here. He makes to stand, but another facet of this irrational fear raises its head and he ends up on hands and knees vomiting a rush of bile into the dirt. "Valentin," he begins roughly, wiping his mouth with his forearm. "Did you mention Valentin when you told her you… cared… for me?"

Seren swears under his breath. "This is why I didn't want to say anything," he informs as he rests a hand against Garou's back. "I don't mention you or think of you without thinking of Valentin. Do you think I think of Valentin without you? The two of you are never separate in my mind. I am not that …" And here are where words fail him. "There aren't lines between the two of you. It's hard to express in a language based on the sound of coin and the exchange of goods, you understand? It's not a cutting out and taking away so that you can own like a thing."

And while at another time that explanation might have sparked a more productive discussion, Garou honestly processes almost nothing after being told that he is never separate from Valentin to Seren. He doesn't even have enough of his wits about him to shy from the hand making a well-intentioned attempt to soothe him. Tytos, alarmed by Clanky Dad's distress, bounds over and starts making plaintive noises while sniffing at his face and hands, headbutting his chin. "So he is also implicated." It's all he can choke out before scooping up his cub and pushing himself unsteadily to his feet. He can't be here anymore. Not without raising unwanted questions.

Seren shakes his head. "Implicated in what? Because I have merely told her that I care for the three of you. Nothing more than that. You are family to me. She knows nothing more than that. …what do you think I am telling her?" He is clearly very confused. "Most of our discussions have been … vastly different from this. She asked me what I would wish for, I told her. She said no one here could be trusted, and I told her she was wrong. Do you think I'd put you in danger? Because if that is the case, you must ask to have me transferred back."

"Family." How one word could sound so hollow, so… so agonizing, it defies understanding. But it does. If Seren had put a knife through Garou's back he couldn't have hurt him so much as this. "You said," he chokes out, trembling with a very fine tremor that seems to come and go at random now. "And lots of things that would make me uncomfortable." Searching almost desperately for some sign that this isn't exactly what he fears.

Seren's features settle into concentration. "Can we sit? I promise I won't say them again. I want to understand this. Because I believe I do, in a way that is more feeling than words. That is a dagger of fear. But I don't mean the same dangerous thing. This is why I find the limits of this language frustrating beyond belief sometimes. You don't speak mine and I don't speak yours, and somewhere the words that should mean a thing mean too many things. So if you give me your words- even if they don't seem to fit together right- I can find the picture they make. You understand, this is why I hesitated at your question?"

"No," Rou chokes out, looking toward the entrance as though he expects to see a class of recruits coming around the corner at any minute. "We cannot." Standing like this, escape is quick and easy with no wagging tongues. Sitting is not… not so clean. And he doesn't understand. He doesn't even know what Seren is talking about anymore. "No. I don't… I don't understand any of it." And he does not want any part of this conversation, but if Valentin is in danger of any kind, that is worth facing any fear, all discomfort. "You told a stranger known to be unstable that you care for me. You told her other things that would make me uncomfortable. It is possible that the center of my universe is actually in danger whether you intended him to be or not. So if you could just…" His voice breaks, then. "I don't know what is wrong with me. I don't know why I can't … communicate but I can't. So could you please just tell me simply, clearly, whatever it is you told Macenaya about me and whatever it is you told her about Valentin."

Seren shakes his head. "I told her I trusted you, I told her I trusted Valentin, I told her that I did so with my life. That you were like a family to me, Garou, not that … I haven't mentioned to her any connections outside of my experience. Nothing about your connections to eachother. This is what you worry about? Maceyana isn't as unstable as you might think. She'll live past the frost, I believe, but I also believe that she isn't going to harm anyone. You must understand that I have lost …" He has to stop for several seconds to bring his voice under control again. "…and I will not lose again. I am very careful, but you must understand that the things I know, the things you trust me with, can't go to anyone else. I would tear anyone who offered you harm apart with my bare hands before I let you come to harm. You will live even if it means I don't."

There's that word again. Family. It's an anchor around Garou's ankles; the albatross around his neck. He physically flinches from it. "I must understand… I must understand…" His face takes on a vaguely greenish tinge, but he keeps from being sick again by sheer willpower. "You are a fool if you think…" But he can't. The words just stop and it's too much it's all just too much. So he turns on his heel and strides for the exit - for a dark, quiet place to calm down, to regroup, to think.


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