Author Topic: Settling In  (Read 802 times)

Ailis Grimm

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Settling In
« on: December 02, 2013, 07:20:32 PM »
It was always obvious when the newest member of the team was fiddling with his electronics, as evidenced by the flickering lights throughout the house, despite John and Rory's attempts to fix the problem. It was an old house in need of repairs, which they were making slowly but surely, but as they say back on Earth, Rome wasn't built in a day. "Damn it," John grumbled as he looked up from the gun he had spent the last hour or so meticulously cleaning, the lights flickering for the third day in a row. The wiring in the house was a nightmare and was taking far longer to fix than anticipated. No matter how many times John had warned their newest member about the ridiculously outdated electricity, it seemed he spent more time replacing fuses than getting any real work done. "How many times do I have to tell him to take it easy on the electricity?" John grumbled further, half under his breath as he set the gun aside and moved to his feet.

Even half under his breath wasn't low enough to save his comment from being heard by the woman in the bathroom attached to their shared bedroom. "Seems like it's as many times as I have to tell you to put your guns away and actually help with some of the work that needs doing around here," Ailis grumbled back at him, flashing John a vaguely insincere smile as she pushed herself back underneath the toilet to get on with fixing the plumbing down there. She, of course, had a flashlight on hand, tucking it between her teeth to illuminate what she was working on, and besides, she didn't have that much of a problem with the newest members of their little mercenary band. In fact, she took a certain amount of enjoyment out of how much chaos one of them could spread, just with a single comment.

John grumbled incoherently beneath his breath again, before pointing out helpfully, "There's not enough room for both of us in there, and if the Corporation ever catches up with us, you'll be glad my guns are in working order." He stood with his hands on his hips as if waiting to see what the outcome would be with the lights, when they flickered again, and he started toward the door, grumbling further. "I'm gonna put a stop to this once and for all."

Pausing a moment, Ailis removed the flashlight from her mouth to look over at Jon. "Like I'm going to believe that excuse," she answered his helpful point. They both knew there were more than enough jobs around the house to be working on, though the electricity, heating, and plumbing were taking top priority. It was already cold outside, and the last thing they needed was to have to all sleep in the same room to conserve energy. "No hitting," she called after him as he headed for the door, inserting the flashlight back between her teeth. Whatever was about to happen, she'd rather not witness the beginning if she was going to be needed to help separate the warring parties.

"No promises," John replied as he stomped from the room, boots thumping as he made his way down the hall to the room their newest members had been assigned. John gritted his teeth as he approached the room. It wasn't that he didn't like them exactly, but he hadn't been getting enough sleep lately, and the constant barrage of problems and annoyances that came with living in such close quarters was just getting on his nerves. Though Ailis might think the constant cleaning of his guns to be a tad obsessive, it actually helped to relax John's jangled nerves. He found the door open and paused a moment, as if having second thoughts, before rapping his knuckles on the wood.

There was no actual sound from inside the room, but though the lights were obviously off in there, the flicker of candlelight reflected off the walls. Leia was still having difficulty getting used to electricity, though that hardly explained why she was sitting in the middle of a circle of floating candles, doing something mysterious to a pair of Jensen's boots. As usual, it was the ferret who responded to the knock on the door. Sloti bounded over to the doorway, planting himself in John's path and chittering up at him accusingly.

It was no big secret that the ferret made John a little uneasy and he realized he was interrupting something, though he wasn't sure what. The girl was cute, but there was something odd about her that John couldn't quite put his finger on, besides the pointy ears. "Uh..." he started, unsure if he should address the ferret, the girl, or neither. It looked like she was performing a spell of some kind, but John didn't really want to know. "I'm looking for your boyfriend," he admitted at last, with a grim frown on his face.

There was a brief pause as Leia set the boots down in front of her, raising her violet eyes to John where he stood awkwardly in the doorway. Sloti made a rather rude noise in the soldier's direction and returned to his mistress as the candles lowered themselves to the floor safely, clambering up her arm to sit on her shoulder. "The last I heard, he was in the main room," Leia offered, moving to stand as one by one the candles began to extinguish themselves. The magic was one of the reasons she'd been allowed to join this little group - none of them had any real concept of magic at all, and in a place like Rhy'Din, it was close to essential. "Is there anything I can help with?"

The lights in the hallway flickered again, very nearly going out, and John's frown deepened. "Not unless you know how to change a fuse," he replied, turning on a heel to start downstairs and have a word with said boyfriend, who John just knew was to blame for the constrant drain in electricity. "Somebody besides me is gonna learn how to change a fuse around here," he muttered to himself as his boots were heard thumping down the stairs.

As the grumbling soldier moved away, Leia and Sloti exchanged a look in the darkness left by the last of the extinguishing candles. The last time John had come looking for Jensen, there had been a lot of shouting and the memorable sight of the Chief picking both men up by their collars and bawling them out until they agreed to disagree. Well, she didn't want to miss that. Rising onto her feet, Leia moved to follow John, Sloti clinging onto her shoulder.

John was halfway down the stairs when the lights flickered again and went out completely, leaving him in relative darkness, followed by a muttered, "Son of a bitch," and then more thumping as he found his way in the dark. The darkness didn't really bother him too much, his heightened sense of sight and hearing serving him well in the darkness. It was more annoying than anything else, but even so, he preferred to see where the hell he was going, rather than rely on remaining senses. "Aw, crap," another voice was heard, sounding disappointed.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2013, 07:20:56 PM »
From around the house, various other voices raised themselves in protest at the sudden darkness, though it didn't seem as though anyone was going to be actively seeking retribution this time. Behind John, Leia slowed to accommodate for his clumsy movement in the dark, her elven sight utterly unaffected by the lack of light to see by. After watching the soldier stumble for a minute or so, however, she decided she should probably help. "Would you like a light, John?"

"Please," John replied, fingers following the wall to guide himself down the stairs without tripping over his own two feet. It was times like this when a part of him almost expected for some monster to pop out at him around every corner, though he knew it was ridiculous. They were safe here, for the most part, at least from the things that haunted his nights. He halted on the stairs, waiting for Leia to produce a light before continuing on.

The light that was produced turned out to be a small orb of something indefinably sparkling that illuminated the entire width of the hallway and stairs from just behind John's head, saving him from being blinded by the light as it appeared. "Does that help?" the small half-elf asked from the top of the stairs. "Sloti could come and help guide you, if you would like."

"No, that's-that's fine. Thanks," John replied, frowning irritably. It was hard to stay angry when the girl was around. She was just too damned nice. What she was doing with a guy like Jake Jensen, he wasn't quite sure. The guy was a genius in his own way, but as irritating as hell. It was no big secret that he and John Grimm were oil and water. John continued on down the stairs, turning the corner and into the living room in search of a certain computer genius with a knack for blowing fuses.

Leia smiled to herself, sending a gentle sense of warning through the bond that linked her with Jensen. Whether he noticed it or not was another thing entirely, but what mattered was that she had at least warned him that something was coming. As she continued after John, Sloti chittered companionably on her shoulder, small eyes fixed on John's feet as though keeping an eye out for unexpected obstacles.

John froze in place as he turned the corner and stepped into the living room, his mouth dropping in undisguised shock at what what Jensen was up to in there. It took him a moment to find his voice, but it wasn't John's voice or footsteps that announced his arrival so much as it was Leia's warning. "The hell is going on in here?" John asked as he took in the view. What he saw - besides a rather perplexed young man with blond hair and wire-rim glasses - was a seven foot tall evergreen standing in the middle of the living room, covered in strands of unlit electric lights.

As Leia came up behind John, Sloti vaulted over the tall man's shoulder and scurried into the living room, leaping through the loops of lights to stand almost protectively in front of Jake, his bright eyes on John.

"Uh, surprise?" Jake replied, a little uncertainly. The tree was supposed to be a surprise anyway, but it seemed his plan had backfired. He pushed the rim of his glasses upwards and smiled at John a bit sheepishly. He knew the other man didn't like him much; in fact, it seemed he just barely tolerated him. Maybe this was his way of making a peace offering; maybe it was just Jake's way of bringing a little bit of home to Rhy'Din.

"A Christmas tree?" John said, doubtfully. "You're kidding."

"Geez, I guess they don't call you Grimm for nothing," Jake muttered under his breath.

"I beg your pardon?" countered John, crossing his arms against his chest and glaring at the other man.

"What is a Christmas tree?" Leia asked, leaning around John with a warm smile for the sight of her lover being protected by her ferret friend. The tension was already rising in the room, thanks to one unconsidered comment and John's already volatile temper. "It looks like a pine tree to me. What are you doing to it, Jake?"

"If the shoe fits," Jake told John with a shrug of shoulders. He didn't really mean anything by it exactly; he was just saying it like it was.

"You've gotta be kidding me," John continued. "Do you really think a Christmas tree is a good idea? Were you planning on putting a wreath on the door and stockings on the non-existent mantel, as well?" John accused, more irritated with the Grimm remark than with the tree. He didn't want to admit it, but it reminded him of things he'd rather not think about - like his parents and childhood.

"It is a pine tree," Jake said, turning his attention to Leia with a smile. "I was working on the lights, but..."

"You blew a fuse," John finished his sentence for him.

"John, mantels can't wear stockings, they don't have legs," Leia said mildly, inching past the increasingly annoyed mercenary to enter the room and inspect the tree. Sloti climbed up her leg, clinging to the material of her shirt to watch as she touched the string of electric lights thoughtfully. "I could light these without touching the ekeltrickysee," she offered with a half smile. "It's just a simple spell."

"Anything to make our holidays brighter," John remarked, sarcastically. It was going to take a lot more than Christmas lights to soothe his jangled nerves.

"How about some eggnog, little brother?" Sam broke in merrily as she poked her head in the room.

John pursed his lips as he glanced at his sister. "Don't tell me you're involved in this, too."  

"As a matter of fact, I am," she replied, stepping into the room and crossing her arms, almost mirroring her twin. "This place could use some cheering up and so could you. Don't be such a humbug, John. It's nearly Christmas," Sam implored with that look on her face that he was going to have a hard time saying no to.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 07:21:22 PM »
Jake frowned a little, worried he'd pissed the man off again, but the frown didn't last. He had a hard time frowning when Leia was around. "Elec..." he started to correct her, but decided against it. It sounded a lot cuter the way she said it. "Could you? I'm having trouble getting them to stay lit."

Leia nodded agreeably, ignoring the banter between the siblings, despite the obvious entertainment value of having John told off by his twin for being grumpy in the first place. "It doesn't take much," she assured Jake, and jumped violently when, all of a suddenly, all the lighting came on with a snap.

The string of fairylights in her hand abruptly popped and blinked out, and a voice made itself known from behind Sam. "How's that, Jake - oh." Rory grinned sheepishly, tucking his hands into his back pockets. "Seems like the surprise is gettin' smaller."

"Oh, for God's sake," John grumbled and started toward the basement stairs, where Rory had most likely come from. Whether the lights were going to work or not, he needed to replace the fuse - again - or they'd be in the dark all night. He didn't particularly like going in the basement, but there were worse things to fear than a little darkness. "Flashlight," he said as he passed Rory.

"Yes, you'll need one," Rory agreed with him. He didn't go out of his way to antagonize John, but a little respect in tone when he was being spoken to went a long way. He smirked at John, and turned his attention over Sam's shoulder to Jake. "How about you turn those lights off before I run the line from the new generator?" he suggested cheerfully.

"New generator?" John echoed, arching a brow at the younger man. The hell had been going on while he was upstairs cleaning his arsenal - er weapons - anyway? "You need help?" he asked, his grumpiness easing a little when he realized work was being done, and no one had asked him to help. It never really occurred to him that they might have been giving him a little slack lately due to his obvious lack of sleep.

Sam rested a hand on her brother's shoulder, as if trying to soothe his sore pride a little. "It's okay, John. You don't have to do everything, you know."

Jake reached for Leia when she jumped out of her skin, soothing her with a touch of fingers to her cheek. "It's okay. The lights just blew again. We'll get it fixed."

Reassured by Jake's gentle touch against her skin, Leia smiled, releasing the lights to burrow into his arms for a long moment. The intimacy was spoiled a little by the way Sloti inserted himself between the pair of them, making the most of the heat of their bodies to wallow in being hugged himself.

Taking his eyes off the odd little trio by the tree, Rory looked back to John. "Aye, new generator," he agreed. "Reckoned we needed a deeper reservoir, so I pulled in a favor and got a new generator. Once it's hooked up - and as few things as possible are turned on for the first hour - we should be able to run everything from that, and keep the wonky one as backup."

"Including Christmas lights?" John queried with a glance over his shoulder at the odd couple, his mood softening a little as he observed the tender moment shared between the pair.

"There might be hope for you yet, John," Sam remarked with a smirk as she stepped back into the kitchen, which was lit by a combination of candles and battery-powered lanterns. Light wasn't such a concern to her. Heat, on the other hand, was another matter. It had already snowed in Rhy'Din; winter wasn't far behind.

"Aye, including Christmas lights," Rory nodded. "The Chief's out collecting a small forest's worth of wood for the stoves to last us the month, and we should be able to rig up something more permanent for the heating in that time." He looked over at Jake. "Turn the bloody lights off, would you? I'm running the line now." Producing his flashlight, he flicked it on and jogged down the stairs to the basement, his footsteps fading from even John's hearing in the gloom.

Jake pulled himself away from Leia long enough to snap off a salute in Rory's general direction. "Yes, sir. Right away, sir." Never mind that he held a rank of Captain himself; that rank didn't really mean squat here. He flicked the switch on the lights, turning them off for the time being.

John frowned after Rory, looking over at his sister. "I better help," he said, moving to follow.

"John," Sam stopped him momentarily. "They need this. We all need this."

John paused a moment and then nodded, leaning close to brush a kiss against his sister's forehead in a brief moment of tenderness. Though Jake might get on his nerves, the guy meant well. "Yeah, I know. I'll try not to be Mister Scrooge, okay?"

She smiled back at him, "Thank you."

John grumbled a reply and followed Rory down the stairs to the basement.

A successful flush from above declared that Ailis had finally achieved her goal of sorting out the plumbing in her own bathroom, which probably meant that the main bathroom was next.

As John and Rory headed down into the basement, Leia offered Jake a giggle at his silly salute. "You never explained what a Christmas tree is," she informed him. "Apart from saying that it's a pine tree, but I've never heard of a tree called Christmas before. And John was talking about mantels wearing stockings. Is this a custom I do not know?"

Jake glanced at the ceiling and smiled at the sound of indoor plumbing. Success! He looked back at Leia as repeated her question, a small thoughtful frown on his face. "It's kind of hard to explain." He considered a moment, trying to figure out the best way to explain it to her. He was getting better at explaining things, but some things were easier to explain than others. "Do you know what Yule is?" he asked, hoping for some sort of frame of reference to start with.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2013, 07:21:49 PM »
"The winterland?" she asked curiously. Yes, she had heard of Yule, but undoubtedly it was not the Yule he was referring to. "It's a country far to the north, what does it have to do with pine trees that aren't pine trees and brickwork wearing lingerie?"

"No, no," he interrupted, lifting a hand to stop her before she misunderstood completely. "It's a holiday. Do you know what a holiday is? It's like a celebration. I'm not sure about the origins, but I think it started with Yule, and then later it became Christmas." He wasn't especially religious and wasn't about to explain the religious significance of the holiday just yet. It was hard enough explaining why he'd erected a tree in the living room, for starters.

"Are you talking about the Solstice?" Leia threw him a bone with a faint twitch of her lips as Sloti climbed up his leg and side to curl up comfortably on Jake's wider shoulder, nibbling affectionately on the man's earlobe for a moment. "The night of light in the heart of winter?" Yes, she did have a frame of reference, but she had never really celebrated the solstice, despite knowing about it. Perhaps it would be good to learn a little more about it this year.

Jake twitched, batting a hand at his ear before realizing it was Leia's pet ferret who was giving him an affectionate nibble. "Sloti, careful. I need that ear." He arched a brow back at Leia's mention of a holiday he was unfamiliar with. He knew what the Solstice was, but he'd never celebrated it before. "Not exactly," he replied. "It's a few days later, but sort of. It's sort of a winter festival, I guess. There are lots of traditions. This is just one of them." Oh, this was going to be hard to explain.

"I see." She smirked fondly, following the electric string to the plug, where she turned them off finally, pulling the plug free to examine it. "Why have you cut down a tree and brought it inside?" she asked then. "And covered it in lights that explode when you turn them on?"

"Uh..." He frowned uncertainly again. "I'm not sure. That's just what we do. Back home..." He trailed off as thoughts of his sister and niece - his only living relatives - came to the forefront. "They used to use candles, I think, but... Now we use electric lights. It's safer, I guess." Not to mention easier, though keeping them lit was going to be a problem if they couldn't get the electricitiy sorted out.

"Oh." She smiled again, turning her attention to the electric string now in her hands. After a moment's thought, she began to mutter softly, and very slowly the lights began to glow in their various colors, without the need for electricity at all. Looking pretty smug with herself - and to be fair, rightly so - Leia grinned at Jake. "Will that do?"

Jake's face lit up, just like the array of colored lights all lit up and ready to be strung on the tree. "That's awesome, Princess. How'd you do that?" Though she didn't understand the reference, he'd taken to calling her Princess, after Princess Leia from Star Wars - an old crush of his.

Laughing at the endearment she still didn't understand, Leia crouched to tuck the obsolete end of the power cord underneath the tree and out of sight. "It is just a simple spell," she shrugged as she straightened up. "They will stay lit until you tell me to end it, and they do not need your ekeltrickysee to glow." She smiled fondly, reaching up to gently tweak the end of his nose. "I could teach you how to use magic, if you were able to concentrate on a single thing for more than three seconds."

"Magic? Me?" Jake echoed, huffing doubtfully. "I can't even do card tricks!" he confessed. "Here..." he said, reaching for the string of lights and draping them over the boughs to cover the tree in an array of softly colored lights. "When I was a kid, I used to take my glasses off and look at the lights all out of focus. They're almost prettier that way."

"So this is a family tradition, then," Leia guessed softly, moving to help him drape the lights against the dark green of the pine needles. She considered that for a moment, the lack of surprise in John and Sam, and the fact that Rory had not even blinked when he'd come up. "It's a widespread thing on your Earth, is it?" she asked curiously. "Only the others don't seem to find it as strange as I do."

"Yeah, I guess..." Jake paused a moment in thought again, glancing to the kitchen in quiet contemplation, as if he'd find the answer there. "I mean, we're from different Earths, I think. Or at least, different time periods on Earth. From what Sam's told me, she and John are from about thirty years in my future, but I'm not sure if it's the same Earth or an alternate version."

"So ... what is this Winterfest that is being talked about on the streets?" Leia queried in confusion. "Is it Rhy'Din's version of your Christmas?" She frowned, more than a little lost in the conversation as it was. On Jake's shoulder, Sloti chittered in agreement, and deliberately nibbled the man's earlobe again, purely because it was vaguely irritating.

"I think so. Something like that. Lots of cultures celebrate a mid-winter festival, or, I guess, even Solstice. What do you celebrate where you..." He broke off with a wince as Sloti nibbled at his ear again. "Ow, Sloti! Knock it off!" He reached to scoop the ferret off his shoulder and set him on the floor. "If you can't sit on my shoulder without wanting to take a bite out of me, then you don't get to sit on my shoulder!" He flushed a little in exasperation.

Far from being put out with being dislodged, the ferret took this as a signal that it was playtime. He bounced up off the floor the second Jake put him down, scrambling up the man's arm and down the back of his collar, chittering all the while. Leia watched, one hand over her mouth to hide her laughter, as her lover's shirt bulged with Sloti's progress around to his front.

Jake sighed and exhaled a long-suffering sigh as Sloti decided to play hide and seek in his shirt, which wouldn't have been so bad except that he was ticklish and Sloti had claws. "Ow!" Jake exclaimed, which was followed by laughter, doubling over as the ferret found a particularly ticklish spot. "Tell him to stop!"

"But he likes playing with you," she pointed out a little superfluously, letting out a loud cackle of laughter as Sloti's face appeared briefly at Jake's collar once again, whiskers twitching, before plunging back down inside his shirt and making what looked like a spirited attempt to bypass Jake's waistband and get into his trousers. "And you can't say you don't enjoy playing with him, too."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2013, 07:22:13 PM »
"Yes, but..." Jake twitched again, as he felt Sloti's attempt to get past his waistband. "Oh, no, you don't!" he exclaimed, tearing at his shirt to get a the ferret and, well, ferret him out. "Leia, help! It's not funny!"

A familiar face poked her head into the living room at the sound of the ruckus. "Is everything okay in there?" Sam asked from the doorway to the kitchen. She noticed they'd somehow gotten the lights going without the use of electricity and assumed it had something to do with Leia's magical abilities, which she didn't entirely understand but like most things in Rhy'Din, accepted at face value.

Leia was, of course, absolutely no help at all by this point, bent double with laughter as Jake twisted and pulled at his shirt. Sloti was an expert at evading capture, however, and pretty determined to keep up the game for as long as he could, pressing his whiskered nose down between the fly of Jake's pants and his skin with a worrying amount of strength for such a small rodent. Spluttering with giggles, Leia looked over at Sam, her violet eyes almost tearful with helpless laughter. "The-the boys are playing!"

"IF YOU EVER WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN, GET HIM OFF ME NOW!!" Jake shouted, loud enough so that the whole house could hear him, including the pair in the basement and the woman flushing toilets upstairs. Jake twisted and turned like he was playing some strange version of Twisters, squirming this way and that as he tried to get hold of the ferret and stop him from wounding his family jewels.

Sam winced at the shout, recognizing the panic on the young man's face. "Uh, that's not playing, Leia," she corrected, starting toward them to see if she could help.

It wasn't the panic so much as the fact of the shout that brought Leia's laughter to an abrupt end, startled in quiet astonishment by the threat Jake had chosen to use on her. As Sam started forward, she made a sharp clicking noise, and Sloti scrambled up and out of Jake's shirt, dropping down to hide under the Christmas tree before anyone sought retribution.

"What the hell is going on up here?" came the sound of Grumpy's voice as John thumped his way back up the stairs to make sure no one was dying. He looked between the trio, thankfully not noticing the ferret that was hiding beneath the tree. He'd seen some strange pets in his time, but that one took the cake, in his opinion.

Jake seemed to be as shaken as Sloti, his face a shade paler than it should be, even under the colored lights. The ferret might have been playing, but in Jake's opinion, the game had gone a little too far.

Aware that she had, perhaps, allowed things to go too far, Leia was silent in the face of Jake's pale gaze, beneath John's frowning demand to know what was happening. Guilt lit up her face, and she ducked her head, gesturing vaguely toward the door out into the hallway as she turned to slip that way, not wanting to be in the middle of anything in that moment. She was not used to sharing all of her time with other people, and on those occasions when she made a mistake, the embarrassment had been known to keep her secluded for hours afterward.

"Oh, for God's sake!" Sam muttered, seeing Leia slink away, John explode, and Jake look like he was on the verge of passing out. "John, go back downstairs and get the generator running. And take Jake with you."

"Me?" Jake gaped, with a slightly panicked look at the Grimm Reaper.

"Yes, you," Sam replied. "Power first, Christmas later. We're a team, remember? It's about time you boys learn to bond."

John huffed, wondering who'd put her in charge. She was only older by a few minutes, but he knew when not to argue, and he retreated toward the basement. "Come on, Junior, and hope you don't electrocute yourself."

"Boys bonding?" Ailis appeared in the doorway, cutting off Leia's escape. She frowned in vague confusion, looking from the downcast half-elf, to Jake, to John, and finally to Sam, who looked as though she might start physically forcing people to hug if they didn't do as they were told. One brow rose curiously. "Something tells me I missed all the fun," the Irish woman chuckled, blocking Leia's path away with the ease of practice that only comes when you've been a sister for a long time.

"He was trying to get into my pants!" Jake pointed out as he followed the other man toward the basement, looking sullen and more than a little defensive.

"That's what they all say," John replied as he stomped back down the stairs with Jake in tow.

Sam chuckled, obviously more amused than annoyed at what had happened. "I've been dying to do that for ages. Come on. I'll make us some tea." She waved a hand at the other two women to lead them toward the kitchen.

Given no choice but to retrace her steps and follow Sam back into the kitchen, Leia did so at Ailis' urging. She still wanted to hide away, the way Sloti was doing, but it didn't look as though Sam or Ailis were going to let her. Indeed, Ailis had slung an arm around her shoulders companionably as they followed Sam. "So," John Grimm's ever-patient life partner began as they passed into the kitchen, "what did I miss?"

"You missed John being John and Jake being Jake!" Sam explained with a chuckle, which explained nothing and everything all at the same time. She went to the sink and filled the kettle with water before turning to set it on the stove. She was slowly getting accustomed to the crude accommodations, at least, compared to what she was used to, but seemed to be settling in nicely. And her relationship with Rory wasn't hurting matters any.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 07:22:38 PM »
"Did I miss the fighting, or did you send them to do that in front of Rory?" Ailis asked with a grin. Like Sam, she was completely unfazed by the antagonism between John and Jake, of the opinion that if they just got on with things, it would sort itself out slowly but surely anyway. She looked down at the half-elf staring fixedly at her feet with a faint frown. "What's up with this one?"

Sam chuckled again, "I told them to quit screwing around and help Rory with the generator." At least, more or less, that had been the gist of it. She glanced at Leia with a small frown. "I'm not sure. I came in on the end of that. It had something to do with Sloti, I think." Sam left any explaining for Leia, as she had only caught part of what had been going on in the living room and didn't want to make any wrong assumptions. She went about assembling the necessary items she'd need for tea - cups, spoons, milk, sugar. Everything they needed could be found somewhere on Rhy'Din, and one of the first things she'd done upon arriving was get the kitchen in good working order.

Which was just as well, because for everyone else in the little mercenary band, the kitchen was a little lower on the list of priorities. Ailis could cook if she had to, but she preferred not, more of a warrior doctor than a woman, really. She nodded to Sam's explanation, nudging Leia to sit down at the table. "What did the ferret do this time?" she asked, waiting patiently for an answer that was a long time coming.

Leia fidgeted awkwardly. As much she liked being a part of a group, she was still uncomfortable when it came to the bonding part of that role - the girl talk, in particular. Biting her lip, she shrugged. "Sloti was playing with Jake," she explained softly, staring fixedly at her hands. "And then Jake got mad and shouted at me."

"Jake got mad?" Sam echoed. She had never seen Jake Jensen angry even once. Not even when her brother was swinging his fists at him. "I'm sure Jake isn't angry with you, Leia," Sam said, reassuringly. Without even knowing it or meaning to, she'd somehow taken on the mother hen role of the group. "What was Sloti doing that made Jake angry?" she continued, needing more details.

Ailis glanced at Sam as she queried the little half-elf in their midst. She couldn't recall ever seeing Jaken Jensen get mad, either, but she assumed Leia knew what it looked like.

Leia shrugged, rubbing a hand through her hair. "He was just playing," she defended her furry little friend, finally looking up. "They've done it before. Sloti gets inside Jake's shirt and scrummages about, and Jake's ticklish, so he can't really get him out."

"Okay," Sam replied, understanding that, as odd as it sounded. "Did something different happen this time?" she prompted, thinking there had to be more to the story than what Leia was telling them. She leaned against the cupboard while waiting for the rest of the story and for the water to boil.

"I don't really know," Leia admitted, and to be fair, she didn't. It hadn't been clear from outside Jake's shirt just what Sloti had been up to, after all. "You said that maybe it had gone too far, and then ... then he yelled at me. He's never done that before."

Thumping into a seat across from Leia, Ailis rolled her eyes. Boy trouble was a relatively new concept for her as much as either of the others, but in this case, she hoped John had given Jake at least a dead arm for upsetting his elf.

Sam gave Ailis a pointed look. "He was shouting something about children and sounded a little panic-stricken to me," she said, letting Ailis fill in the blanks. She hadn't seen everything that had happened, but it wasn't that hard to put two and two together. Just then, the kettle went off and she turned her back on them to turn the stove off.

"Ah." Ailis smirked as she caught up. "Sounds like he thought the family jewels were in danger, Leia," she explained to the little half-elf sat despondently with her. "Most men get antsy when they think their manhood is about to be bitten by an animal."

Leia looked startled. "Sloti wouldn't bite him!" she protested against the slur on her furry friend. "They're friends!"

"Men don't always think properly when they think their manhood is being threatened," Sam pointed out helpfully, as she placed a teabag in each cup and filled each with hot water. She then turned to carry a tray laden with cups, spoons, sugar, and milk over to the table and set it down. "I'm sure Jake isn't angry with you, Leia. He doesn't seem the type to anger easily."

"Then why would he ..." Leia trailed off, her frown deepening as she recalled the exact words Jake had used when he shouted. "Why did he threaten our future?"

In the process of reaching to add too much sugar to her tea, Ailis paused, her brows rising in surprise. "Threatened your future?" she echoed, flicking a curious look to Sam. "Does one of us need to talk to him?"

Sam set out a plate of cookies she'd just baked the day before and took a seat at the table, reaching for a mug of her own. She had a thoughtful look on her face at Leia's revelation. She had heard most of what had happened, since it had only been in the other room, but she hadn't been paying that much attention. "What did Jake say exactly?"

"If you ever want to have children, get him off me now," the half-elf thief repeated verbatim, curling her hands around the third mug without adding anything to it. Though it wasn't too bad, as shouts went, it had obviously shaken her badly.

Ailis' frown relaxed, however. "That's not so bad, Leia," she tried to reassure the little woman. "It wasn't really a threat."

The thief shrugged, unconvinced.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2013, 07:23:04 PM »
"Exactly what was Sloti doing when Jake said that?" Sam asked, as things started becoming a little clearer. She added a bit of milk to her tea, but no sugar, and stirred, leveling her gaze on Leia and putting her powers of deduction to good use.

"I don't know, I wasn't inside his shirt with him," Leia protested, wondering why she was being badgered with questions when all she wanted was to go and hide in her room for a few hours.

Across from her, Ailis gently nudged Sam. "You were there too, right?" the Irish woman pointed out, looking over at her brother's not-quite-girlfriend. "What did it look like to you?"

Sam shrugged her shoulders. She had seen most of it, though not all, only poking her head into the living room after Jake had shouted in alarm. "It's hard to say, but it looked to me like the bulge in Jake's shirt was just above Jake's, well, you know..." She said, not wanting to be too vulgar. "It looked to me like he was trying to get inside Jake's pants." Fortunately, it was Jake Sloti had been playing with. Had it been John, Sloti might already be a late ferret.

Ailis snorted with laughter, utterly failing to suppress the expression of amusement even for Leia's sake. "Oh, well, that explains it, then," she laughed, turning her dancing eyes onto the half-elf. "He was frightened his balls were going to get bitten, Leia, that's all."

Leia frowned at the laughing woman, shaking her head. "But Sloti wouldn't bite him," she argued fiercely. "And he knows that. He shouldn't have shouted at me."

"Yes, dear," Sam added, reaching for Leia's hand. "But Jake is a man and men don't always think. Give him some time, and I'm sure he'll apologize. He seems to be a good man, and he obviously loves you." She gave her hand a motherly or sisterly pat before wrapping both her hands about her mug again and taking a sip.

"You could always try doing what I do with John," Ailis suggested with a mild grin. "Yelling back at him usually seems to do the trick. Once we've ... worked on his issues a bit, anyway."

Sam chuckled at Ailis' remark. "Yes, we all hear you two working on John's issues," she said with a smirk, inferring something about when the bed is a-rocking, don't come a-knocking. The only person who knew her brother better than her and was able to handle his mood swings was Ailis. "I don't think yelling would work as well with Jake. I think talking would be better. Just tell him how you feel, and I'm sure you'll work it out."

As Ailis dissolved into quiet chuckles, Leia bit her lip thoughtfully once again, considering what she was being told. Unfortunately, in-depth talking never really seemed to come up when she and Jake communicated. Between the bond that had entwined their souls and the fact that they rarely crossed the line with one another, they had little need to verbally express themselves in such a way. "I don't know how to do that," she admitted uncomfortably. "He usually already knows how I feel."

And if to almost prove that point, Jake came thumping back up the stairs and into the kitchen with a look on his face somewhat akin to a child who'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He looked between the trio, looking somewhat guilty and shameful before turning to Leia. Bonded to her, he already knew what she was feeling, and now that the intial fear had passed, he felt like an idiot for upsetting both her and Sloti. "Um..." he started, uncertainly. "Can I talk to you for a second?" he asked, unsure if she even wanted him to talk to her anymore.

Sam smiled and glanced knowingly at Ailis. "You know, I just remembered... There's something I wanted to ask you about John. Do you have a minute?"

Before Jake came into view, Leia had already turned to look at him, somewhat confusing the women with her. Ailis glanced between the odd couple, throwing a smirk at Sam. "Sure, I have tea and a toilet that flushes," she offered. "Let's talk." Rising to her feet, she gave Leia a gentle nudge and a smile, turning that smirk onto Jake as she slipped by.

Sam didn't really need to talk to Ailis about anything in particular. Both women knew their men well enough not to have to swap notes, but Sam had noticed that John had been having trouble sleeping lately and wanted to ask Ailis about it. She could guess what was at the heart of that problem, but nightmares were something all of them dealt with at one time or another. She took her tea cup in hand and rose to her feet to follow Ailis from the room, a small smirk on her face, as well. She tossed an encouraging wink at Jake before leaving the room, which only served to confuse him.

Left alone in the kitchen with Jake, Leia rose slowly to her feet, tucking her hands behind her back awkwardly. She could feel his guilty discomfort as well as he could feel her quiet distress, chewing on her lower lip as she listened to the sound of Ailis and Sam moving out of earshot. "You shouted at me," she said softly, clearly the reason she was most upset.

"I know," Jake replied, keeping his distance, though he wanted to reach for her and wrap his arms around her and beg her forgiveness. "I'm sorry, Leia. I thought Sloti was going to crawl into my pants, and I just panicked! I didn't mean to yell at you. I'm an idiot." John had called him worse than that, but he didn't want to repeat such harsh language in front of Leia.

"He wouldn't have hurt you," she told him, her voice quiet in the strange acoustics of the kitchen. She felt very out of place in this strange little band of people, all of whom were human and couldn't even begin to understand how she related to them. On the rare occasions that she and Jake crossed wires or appeared to fight, Leia felt very isolated and alone, and found it difficult to explain that to him.

"I know," he repeated. "I'm sorry." He frowned sadly. He had adapted to Rhy'Din fairly easily, but even he felt out of place among this small band of mercs who seemed to know each other all so well. While he was hopelessly in love with Leia and had accepted the soul-bond she had with him, he was still only human and a long, long way from home. "I'm not mad at you or Sloti. I'm sorry I yelled at you." He wasn't quite sure how to make it up to her or if she'd forgive him and trust him again.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013, 07:23:28 PM »
He needn't worry about being forgiven; that had already happened, the moment he had apologised to her for his outburst. What might take a little time was the very necessary explanation of why it shocked her quite so much whenever she felt he was angry with her for any reason. As it stood, however, all was forgiven, and she didn't want to leave him in any doubt of that, surging forward to wrap her arms about his waist, hugging into him fiercely.

"I'm so sorry, Leia," he apologized again as she surged forward and he wrapped his arms around her to hug her close. "I'm an idiot. I trust you. I do.  And I trust Sloti. I just wasn't thinking." He wondered briefly if she even wanted children someday with him or if it was even possible between them. He felt a brief pang of homesickness, though it was more him missing his sister and niece than anything else.

"You're not an idiot," she promised him softly, still holding tightly to him in the gloom that still enveloped the house, despite the new generator. "I'm sorry I didn't call him off sooner." She lifted her head, violet eyes meeting his with gentle amusement. "But you have to admit, it was funny."

"My mom used to say, 'It's funny until someone gets hurt'," he pointed out, unsure why he'd said that. He rarely, if ever, talked about his mother or anything about his past, for that matter. "We should go find Sloti so I can apologize," he added, with a further frown, knowing he had probably frightened the little ferret more than the ferret had frightened him.

Leia opened her mouth to point out that no one would have gotten hurt, but stopped herself. Obviously the situation had been serious enough to shake him badly, and that was hurt, in a way. Instead, her expression folded into one of apologetic concern, sorry she'd found so funny something that had upset him. "He'll come out when he is ready to," she told Jake instead. "It's no use trying to coax him out. He bites when he's upset."

Jake's frown deepened, sorry he'd upset them both. He wasn't quite sure how to explain why he'd been upset. It had been more a reflex than anything, knowing deep down that neither Leia or Sloti would ever consciously cause him any harm. "I was just... worried we wouldn't be able to have kids or something," he said, realizing how ridiculous that sounded when said out loud.

The half-elf in his arms frowned thoughtfully. "You know, in the village where I was born, there's a man who performs with weasels," she offered, attempting to explain why he and his family jewels hadn't been in any danger in a roundabout way. "He puts them down his pants and they dance. It was a very simple place," she added, realising how daft that sounded. "But his weasels aren't even that intelligent. Sloti was a wizard's familiar before he decided to join me. He's very clever."

Jake arched a brow, a little surprised at her tale, though he had long ago realized how very different they were, as were their home worlds. "I know," he said in regards to Sloti's intelligence, that sense of shame and guilt coloring his face again. "I'm just not used to having a ferret for a..." He trailed off, realizing pet was not quite the word he was looking for. "For a friend," he corrected himself.

"It is strange, to begin with," she agreed, reassuring him that it wasn't an everyday occurrence, even in Allansia. "It took me more than a year to get used to it myself. He should have ratted me out to his master when I broke into the old man's tower, but Sloti just decided then and there that he would rather spend time with me than with an old wizard who smelt bad."

He hadn't heard too many stories about Sloti and Leia's adventures and always enjoyed them when he did hear them. "What were you there to steal, and why did he decide to go with you?" he asked curiously, relaxing a little now that she seemed no longer upset with him.

"Oh, I wasn't there to steal anything specific," she admitted with a smile. "I was just curious. Everyone told me I should never break into a wizard's tower or upset a magic user, but no one told me why. So I thought I'd test the theory." The grin on her face was more than a little playful as she recalled the evening in question. "In retrospect, I should have realised something was up when the skull on his desk started talking to me."

"What happened?" he asked, maneuvering himself into a chair and her into his lap, as she shared her story. He was glad she was smiling again and he hoped she would stay that way. He had brought the tree there for her, after all, hoping to bring a smile to her pretty face with the lights and the magic of Christmas, even if he was far from home.

"Well, I'd learned about traps, but I didn't know about magical triggers," she chuckled, curling into his lap easily. It never ceased to amaze her how interested he was in these little episodes from her life, often leaving her wondering how mundane his life must have been to find the everyday ordinariness of hers so fascinating. "I blundered into a trigger and ended up suspended by one ankle above a spiked pit." She shrugged, smiling faintly. "That was when Sloti decided to come out and say hello."

"Oh!" he exclaimed, startled by her answer, though she had obviously escaped successfully, presumably with Sloti's help. "How'd you get away?" he asked, prompting her to share more of the story with him. He'd had his own adventures, but he always thought her stories were so much more interesting than his.

Leia flushed, a little embarrassed by what she was about to relate. She liked to think of herself as a very accomplished thief, but some episodes in her life proved that even accomplished thieves needed help from time to time. "Um ... a ferret tricked a magic carpet into lying over the top of the pit to catch me, and chewed through the rope holding me up," she admitted through her smile. "It's a little humiliating to own up to being rescued from a silly trap by a ferret."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013, 07:23:52 PM »
"Really?" he exclaimed, with boyishly wide-eyed wonder. "That's awesome! That's so much better than any of my adventures." He frowned a little at that realization. "There's no magic where I come from, except in stories. It's kind of sad really." Maybe that was why he liked Rhy'Din so much. Earth seemed pretty drab in comparison. "When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a hero. You know like, Robin Hood or something." He shrugged his shoulders, knowing he'd accomplished a few good deeds in his lifetime, though most of them had been done from behind a computer keyboard.

"Maybe one day we'll find a way to visit Allansia, so you can see some of these places I talk about," she mused thoughtfully. "I couldn't imagine a world without magic. I couldn't exist if my world didn't have magic. It's a part of Elven heritage." She tilted her head back to look up at him as he expounded on his childhood ambitions. "But you are a hero," she pointed out. "Just because you didn't do it with a sword and shield, it doesn't mean that the heroism in your past means nothing."

"I'd like that someday," he admitted, remembering the almost child-like longing for adventure he'd had as a boy, before he'd realized those kinds of dreams only happened in fairy tales, though in a way, he was living one. He shook his head, as she met his gaze. "No, I'm not. Heroes are people like... like policemen and firemen and soldiers. People who put their lives at risk to help other people. All I've ever done is what I've been paid to do." That wasn't exactly true, but it was the way he saw things.

"The motivation doesn't matter to the people you help," she pointed out to him. "If a man gives up a seat on the tram, it doesn't matter to the person who sits in it that he did so for his own reasons. All that matters is that something was done that made that person's life a little easier."

"Maybe," he replied, though he thought there were far better ways to be a hero than simply giving up a seat on a tram. That was simply a matter of good manners and politeness. "I've made my share of mistakes," he said, thinking of one incident in particular, though it hadn't really been entirely his fault. He didn't think about it very often; it upset him too much. She might sense a little guilt creeping back into his usually good-natured mood.

"Everyone has," Leia reminded him gently. Her slender fingers stroked down the line of his cheek, turning his eyes to hers once again as she noted the guilt in his expression, feeling its echo in that part of herself she knew was linked inextricably to him. "What is it?"

"Nothing," he shrugged again, not entirely convincingly. "Just something that happened once." He wasn't sure he wanted to talk about it. It was something he'd never told anyone, not even his sister. Especially not his sister. She had no idea what he really did for a living - or used to before he'd wound up in Rhy'Din - and it was probably better that way.

Violet eyes narrowed as she looked up at him, calling him out on the unconvincing lie. She didn't mind if he didn't want to tell her, but pretending it was nothing wasn't going to fly with his intuitive, persuasive lover. Luckily for Jake, Sloti chose that moment to creep into the kitchen, jumping from the floor to crawl up Leia's leg and curl up in her lap, whiskers twitching uncertainly.

"I-we-my team made a mistake and a lot of people got killed," he admitted soberly, but that was about as far as he was willing to go. Thankfully, Sloti reappeared, allowing Jake to change the subject. He glanced at the ferret, unsure how to even begin to apologize. Where Leia could sense his feelings and thereby, accept his apology, he wasn't so sure it would be as easy to regain the ferret's trust.

Her hand descended to stroke a single fingertip from the high point of the ferret's brown right the way down his spine. The gentle touch made the little furry body shiver contentedly, shaking out what little tension remained with a quiet little chitter as Sloti lifted his glittering eyes to look up at Jake. Leia smiled gently, turning her own gaze onto the man who held her. "See? He's not mad at you."

While she might understand what the ferret was saying, Jake did not, though he could sense some of it through the bond he had with Leia. He frowned doubtfully as he glanced to their little furry friend. "I wouldn't blame him if he wanted to bite me."

She laughed softly. "Don't be silly. Just stroke him, let him know you're not mad at him." She took Jake's hand gently in her own, guiding his fingers onto Sloti's soft fur. The ferret stood up on his hid legs, pressing his head into the curve of the man's fingers, eyes closing in acceptance of the caress, even if it wasn't entirely voluntary.

"Do you understand what he's saying when he talks to you?" he asked curiously, watching as she guided his hand toward Sloti. His fingers tentatively touched the ferret's head and then slid backwards along his back, as gently as he could, in an attempt to make peace with the furry creature.

"Not really," she admitted, watching as Sloti pressed into Jake's stroking fingers, emitting the soft little purr of sound he usually reserved only for when he felt everyone needed to know he felt safe and happy. "It's more that I can read his body language, I suppose. He understand us perfectly, but for some reason, he never learned to communicate with speech."

That was all he needed to know really. He leaned a little closer so that Sloti knew he was speaking to him and not to Leia. "I'm sorry, Sloti. I didn't mean to scare you. I know you were only playing." He turned his hand palm upwards in a gesture of trust and apology.

The ferret met his gaze with that disconcertingly intelligent look in his eyes, accepting the apology without ceremony. He leaned forward to sniff Jake's palm, jumping up onto his hand with a sinewy ripple of his long body, and very carefully crawled up to the man's shoulder, tucking himself in close to rub his head against the line of Jake's jaw. Leia's smile deepened. "I told you he likes you."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2013, 07:27:52 PM »
Jake smiled finally, feeling better now that he knew Leia and Sloti weren't angry with him. "I like him, too," Jake said reaching up to stroke a fingers against the ferret's head. "I never really had a..." There was that word again that didn't really define the ferret very well. A pet was something you adopted by choice, raised, and cared for. Their relationship with Sloti was different. He had chosen Leia and stayed with them by choice.  By definition, he was more of a friend than a pet really.

Leia chuckled softly, knowing which word was tripping him up. "I don't think he would mind you calling him a pet," she offered sweetly. "It's not a very accurate description of the relationship, but it's a word you're more comfortable with than familiar." As she spoke, Sloti very gently nibbled on the fingers stroking his head, rubbing close to Jake's neck again. If John Grimm thought that the man and the half-elf made an odd couple, he would have goggled at what was going on now.

"He doesn't really belong to me, though," Jake pointed out. "He's-he's... he chose you." He fumbled with his words again, unsure how to explain what he was thinking. He held his hand very still, allowing the ferret to nibble at his fingers, in that show of trust once again, and he realized that Sloti's nibbling was his way of showing his affection for the people he'd chosen as his companions. "Why's he stay with us?" Jake asked. He had always wondered whether Sloti was jealous of his relationship with Leia, though that didn't seem the case.

"He's chosen you, too," she told him in a soft voice. "If he hadn't, he wouldn't try to be your friend. He wouldn't play with you so much." Tucked close, she laid her head against Jake's other shoulder, charmed by the slow growth of the friendship between her lover and Sloti. "He stays because he wants to. If, someday, he chooses to go, he'll just go. We won't see him again."

"Doesn't he want to... I dunno... meet a girl ferret and make little baby ferrets?" Jake asked, equally charmed by the way Sloti and Leia both found his shoulders comfortable and trusted him enough to lay their heads there. He'd never really had that before in all his life, except where his niece was concerned.

"Maybe someday," Leia shrugged. She'd never really considered that. "It's his decision. I'm not even sure if he's a true ferret anymore; most familiars are mutated and adapted by their wizards to fit more easily into their lifestyle. Sloti might not need to procreate."

"What do you mean? You mean he doesn't want to or he can't?" Jake asked, with a curiously arched brow. He wondered whether or not Leah wanted to make babies someday, but he tried to stifle that thought. The timing wasn't really right for that yet.

"Maybe both?" she suggested, lifting her head to meet his curious gaze once again. On his shoulder, Sloti stood up on his hind feet once more, one paw resting against Jake's cheek to balance himself as he then nibbled at the arm of the man's glasses. The ferret had never quite worked out why Jake wore glasses at all, but enjoyed investigating the face furniture in any case. "I don't really know. I've never heard of a familiar mating, that's all."

"What a familiar for?" he asked, carefully, prying his glasses away from Sloti. He only had the one pair and needed them or he was as good as blind. The idea of getting his eyes fixed permanently had occurred to him, but for some reason, scared the heck out of him. "I mean, I don't really know much about magic and wizards and things. I always thought only witches kept familiars."

"They can be for all kinds of things," she shrugged, clicking her tongue gently at Sloti as Jake reclaimed his glasses. The ferret took the hint, dropping back down onto the man's shoulder and curling himself there securely. "Some are kept for companionship, some are used as reservoirs of strength. Others, like Sloti, are kept because they have skills and intelligence of their own that compliment that of their master."

"Are you his master?" Jake continued with yet another question, as curious as a child. He wasn't sure why he hadn't asked these questions before; they just hadn't seem to have come up. They'd been too busy just trying to survive, until they ended up here. Jake wasn't really sure if this whole merc thing was a good idea, but it was all he really knew, all he'd ever really done.

She laughed softly. "No, I don't think so. He chooses to be here with us, there's nothing about us that holds him here. When he broke from the wizard, it hurt him badly. It took weeks for him to recover and come to find me."

"He's fond of you. There's something about you, Leia," Jake said, touching her cheek, as gently as he'd touched Sloti's fur. He couldn't deny there was something about her that was different from any girl he'd ever met before, and it wasn't just because she had pointed ears and a ferret for a pet.

It could just be that she was the only girl who had ever broken him out of prison on their first meeting and then spent the night making herself completely unforgettable. Leia didn't really see herself as all that memorable or special, just another face in the crowd, more apt to blend in on Rhy'Din even than she had been on her home world. "He is fond of you, too," she told Jake, gently nuzzling her cheek into his touch affectionately. "Perhaps he sees in you what I do."

"What's that?" he asked, almost dreading what she'd tell him, though he knew deep inside that she loved him and only saw the good in him. Love was blind sometimes, after all, or maybe he was just too hard on himself. "A clumsy computer geek with poor social skills?"

"Given that I still don't know what a computer is and the word geek makes no sense to me, am I supposed to understand that?" she countered with a fond smile. "I see a good man with a good heart, a man who is loyal and brave and extremely intelligent. A man whom I love, whom I am not afraid to love."

"I'm not perfect, Leia," he pointed out with a small frown, feeling strangely humbled by her assessment of him. She'd said nothing about his confession, made no judgements or condemnation, seemingly willing to accept him as he was, no matter what the transgressions of his past - as he saw them - seemed to be.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2013, 07:28:15 PM »
"No, you are not," she agreed with a warm smile. "If you were, we would not have met in a prison. Perhaps we would not have met at all. A perfect person would have no time for a thief."

"You're a thief and I'm a... Hell, I don't even know what I am anymore." A computer geek? A hacker? A soldier? A spy? A mercenary? A guy with big dreams and a small paycheck. That wasn't exactly true, but his paycheck had always mostly gone to his sister to help raise her daughter. He felt a little guilty thinking about them, but he also knew going home would mean prison or worse.

"You are mine," she told him softly, leaning up to kiss him, her fingers playing along the line of his cheek as her lips plied his tenderly, ignoring the tickle of Sloti's whiskers between them as the ferret transferred himself from Jake to her, tucking himself underneath the heavy hang of her hair.

He smiled into her kiss, that definition being good enough for him, at least, for now. The two of them were so engrossed in each other, they hardly noticed when the lights suddenly flickered and came back on, and a few minutes later, Sam peeked her head into the room.

"Is it safe to interrupt?" she asked quietly. "Now that the power's back on, I want to get dinner started before a certain grumpy brother gets hungry."

Leia giggled as Sam interrupted them, blinking as she noticed the artificial play of light over them had been restored. "Maybe we should go and finish what you started with the tree," she suggested to Jake. "You can finish explaining to me the meaning of Christmas."

Jake frowned a little as their romantic interlude was interrupted, but they did need to eat sometime and he wasn't the best choice for cook. Decorating the tree, though, was something he could do, and he had big plans for that project, which might require the use of more electricity, but he'd cross that bridge when he got to it. "Can you keep those lights lit indefinitely?" he asked, excitement as his chosen project building again.

"Yes, I can," Leia promised him, rising from his lap with Sloti peeking out from under her hair. The ferret fixed Sam with a curious gaze as Leia turned to pull Jake onto his feet, peering through the sun-bleached curls as though they were forest greenery. "The spell will remain constant until I release it - those lights will stay lit until that moment."

Jake wasn't sure how John would feel about that, but he'd be damned if he didn't bring a little holiday spirit to their otherwise dull existence. This place needed some warmth and personality - and maybe a decent decorator. He smiled as he was tugged to his feet, content to relinquish the kitchen to Sam so she could make dinner.

Sam smiled as they swapped places, glad the two of them had made patched things up. Now, if she could just convince John to give Jake a chance, but maybe it was better to leave that to Ailis.

Of course, one thing that could be said for the multiple couples now sharing the same living space was this - they provided the myriad wonder of love in a single snapshot. With Rory and Sam still hesitantly dancing around each other, and Jake and Leia now made up and facing forward, it would have come as no surprise to anyone in the house that at that moment Ailis was standing nose to nose with John, glaring straight into his eyes. "What sort of excuse is that?" she demanded as the door to their bedroom shut behind her. "Are you honestly trying to blame your grumpiness on a ferret?"

"I'm not blaming it on anything!" argued John, not backing down. "And I'm not grumpy!" he pointed out, as he tried to make his way around her. He was grimy his work in the basement and wanted nothing more than a hot shower - if there was any hot water left in the tank, that is. He wondered if the half-elf could conjure him up a hot bath. She had to be good for something other than lighting Christmas tree lights, but he'd yet to see it. He'd yet to see what Jensen was good for either. If he was so good with a computer, why didn't he figure out a way to augment their income so they could actually make this place livable? He kept these thoughts to himself, of course, at least for now. He trusted the Chief's judgement, but he was starting to get antsy.

"You've been almost as bad tempered as the Chief gets without a drink of an evening," she informed John, not letting him past her. In fact, she backed right up against the door. If he wanted to open it, he was going to have to lift her out of the way first, and they both knew what happened when he touched her if they were in the middle of a discussion. "And don't even begin to try and tell me you're not sleep-deprived. I sleep next to you, I know you're not getting a full night."

He glowered at her, more because she knew him too well than because he was annoyed with her. "What do you want me to do, Ai? Sing Deck the Halls and play Santa Claus? Feel like I'm gonna start crawling the walls any second here."

"How about not looking down your nose at the people who do want to celebrate the season?" she suggested a little harshly. It was going to be a rocky Christmas for everyone in the house - too many faces were missing for the first time for it to be anything but. "You should get out of the house and find something to do that doesn't involve complaining about what everyone else is doing. Go and chop some trees down with the Chief next time he goes. Take some of that temper out on something that isn't going to call you out on it."

As usual, he took Ailis' scolding better than most, even better than he did from Sam. Had it been anyone else, he might have snapped back, but with Ailis, he held his tongue. He knew he'd been more grumpy than usual lately, but he'd been feeling cooped up for too long and he was anxious to do something other than clean his guns or work on the endless tasks that needed doing around the house. It didn't help that he was having nightmares again, even if he would never admit it, and Christmas wasn't something he was looking forward to either. It only reminded him or who wasn't going to be there this year. "Fine," he agreed half-heartedly. "Maybe I'll take up bowling."

She rolled her eyes at him, shaking her head. "Not quite my point, but nice try," she complimented him, allowing him to take back a little of his dignity now he'd conceded that there might be a problem. She looked him over, only just noticing the dust and grime clinging to him. "You look like you came out worst in a fight with a spider."
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2013, 07:28:40 PM »
"Cobwebs, mostly," he clarified. He hoped he didn't have any spiders crawling around on him. Odd for a man who had gone up against countless zombified humans all on his own. He frowned, his crusty mood softening a little. He'd feel better once he had a shower and some food in him, but a good night's sleep wouldn't hurt. He hadn't resorted to a tranq yet, but if he didn't get some sleep soon, he might have no choice. "Sorry, Ai. I'm not very good company lately, I guess."

"You'll get over it," she promised him. "Maybe taking something to help you sleep would be a start, but in the long term, you're going to have to start looking at what it is that's keeping you from having a full night." her hand crept into his as she gave him a tug toward their own bathroom. "I fixed the shower, too. Come and give it a go."

Fortunately, she hadn't seen what he'd seen back on Olduvai, but he knew she had plenty of nightmares of her own. He knew what was bothering him, and he knew there was nothing he could to do wipe that nightmare from his mind, except to let time put a distance between him and the all-too vivid memories of that place. He wondered if he should talk to the Chief about it, but that would mean swallowing his pride a little. "You gonna wash my back?" he asked, not entirely joking.

"Only if you ask me to," she informed him, leading her reticent bundle of raw nerves toward their own bathroom. He wasn't the best at expressing himself, especially where she was concerned, but over the months, she'd gotten a little more used to it. At least, they hadn't had any more awkward conversations such as the one that had very nearly derailed their relationship altogether after she'd spent a few hours out without him.

He remembered that night, when a small misunderstanding had turned into an argument that had very nearly ruined their relationship before it had barely gotten started. He couldn't very well change who he was, and he wasn't never going to be the warm and cuddly type, but there was no denying his feelings for her. He had been denying those feelings for years, but no more. Life was too short, and despite his grumpiness lately, there was no place he'd rather be than here with her. "Do I need to say please?" he asked, actually cracking a small smirk.

"Manners maketh the man," she teased, pleased to see even a tiny smirk on his face. "Want me to beat a please out of you?" She paused beside the shower, raising a brow as she looked him over. A faint chuckle escaped her lips as she actually took in how dusty and grimy he was. "What on earth were you doing down there, anyway?"

"You don't want to know," he grumbled. He didn't really mind manual labor, but once it was finished, all he wanted was a shower. "Rory doesn't look much better." How Jake had managed to stay somewhat clean was a mystery, but he'd come up from the cellar a lot sooner than the other two. "This place needs a lot of work," he said, stating the obvious. It wasn't exactly homey yet, though that wasn't really all that important. John would be happy with warm and livable. "It's not that I'm not grateful, but I don't really plan on spending the rest of my life here." He tugged the grimy shirt off his back and tossed it into the laundry basket.

"We're getting there," Ailis pointed out, leaning back against the door to watch him as he stripped out of his filthy clothes. She hadn't had the question, or even the please, yet, and had decided to wait for him to make his intentions abundantly clear before she made any move to join him this time. "But I know what you mean. When we get some money together, we should be able to get a better base sorted out." She didn't dare suggest that John might be thinking about somewhere for just the two of them, though it was a distant dream. Still, John Grimm was difficult to read at the best of times; she didn't want to prod too hard at his grumpy exterior today.

"I've been looking into the Spaceport," he admitted as he unzipped his jeans and pushed them down off his hips. Mixing business with pleasure was not unusual for him, though once he distracted himself enough, he was able to forget about work for a while. Now that their numbers had increased, he assumed the Chief had been working on finding them some work, though he wasn't sure exactly what kind of work the man had in mind. "It's a little closer to what we're used to," he added as he stepped out of his jeans, which only left his shorts and boots and socks. And he had yet to say please.

Tucking her arms about herself, Ailis took full advantage of the view slowly being unveiled before her, lips curved in an appreciative smirk as her gaze raked his body. "The technology is definitely closer to our range," she agreed. "The Chief's putting out feelers, but aside from the occasional bit of merchant guarding, nothing is coming up yet. Personally, I think we need to be thinking about secondary jobs to hold down for a while. Perhaps we should get a ship - we'd have a wider range then."

"I draw the line at flipping burgers," John remarked, adding almost as an after-thought, "or whoring myself out." He'd rather starve than do either or those things, though he didn't think it would come to that. He figured it worse came to worse, he could find work doing security or working on the docks or something. "What kind of ship?" he asked, leaning against a wall to keep his balance while he untied and pulled off his boots, one at a time.

She shrugged, enjoying the play of muscles beneath his skin as he pulled at his boots. "I would probably suggest a modified freight ship," she mused. "Something with enough space in the cargo hold for a vehicle to project force. There'd have to be crew quarters, of course, and a lab for Sam. But I don't think it's such a big ask. Given the economy here, we might be able to get hold of a ship like that for less that we would back home. Plus, with freight space, we could take on cargo runs to supplement our income."

"Sounds like you've been doing some thinking. Have you mentioned this to your father yet?" he asked, as he pulled off his socks and tossed them into the laundry pile, along with his jeans. All he had left to remove was his shorts, but before he did that, he wanted to make sure the water wasn't going to be ice cold.

Ailis shook her head. It was a strange quirk of her nature that while she had her own opinions, she rarely expressed them to her father. She'd been brought up as a soldier, obedient to the orders she was given, never encouraged to question or think for herself beyond the boundaries of her role. Unfortunately, that meant that she did not approach the Chief with thoughts like this one, even when she had so obviously spent time and energy researching that thought. "He has his own plans, I'm sure," she said, carefully not admitting to the vague fear of poking her father's temper by expressing an opinion he hadn't put into her head.
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]

Ailis Grimm

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Re: Settling In
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2013, 07:29:43 PM »
"I'll mention it to him if you want," he volunteered, understanding her reluctance to mention it to her father. John didn't feel either dominated or intimidated by the man, and unless one of them approached the man with the idea, they'd never know what he thought about it. "I'm getting antsy to do more than rework wiring and patch concrete walls," he admited his impatience, though he knew they wouldn't get where they wanted to be overnight. He bent over and turned on the faucet, running his fingers under the flow of water to see if it was sufficiently warm for a comfortable shower. "So..." He quirked a faint smile. "Care to join me or am I being an insensitive jerk?"

"Remind me to show you where I've been keeping my notes before you talk to him," she smiled ruefully, glad he understood her reluctance and wasn't going to pressure her into moving forward with it herself. At his question, her smile grew, teasing and challenging all at once. "You know, I'm still waiting on the P-word."

He rolled his eyes, though he guessed she was only teasing him this time, and he had been the one to mention the dreaded P-word. "Would you care to share the shower with me, Miss Warren?" he asked, a little too formally and over the top, but he was admittedly not very good at this sort of thing. Marines, as a rule, didn't really need to learn good manners, and he'd been a Marine for a long time.

"Oh, I'd very much care to," she assured him through a grin that told him she knew she was pushing her luck. "Sadly, I'm still waiting for a certain word that just hasn't been used in the right context yet." She blew him a kiss for good measure, one hand dropping to lock the bathroom door.

He arched a brow as she locked the bathroom door, assuming she had more in mind than just a sharing a bar of soap. "Please," he enunciated very carefully, as if the word was foreign to his tongue. He hadn't had to ask for anything nicely in a very long time. Living with three women seemed to be slowly teaching him manners, though it was doing nothing for his grumpiness.

"There it is," Ailis chuckled, pushing off the door to catch his face between her hands, pulling him down into a slow kiss. Strange, how heated discussions had slowly become something to be shared and resolved over the last few months, rather than left unresolved while they distracted each other from their fits of pique. Running her fingers down his back, she spanked him just because he was within reach, and made to step back again, shrugging her shirt down her arms.

The kiss mellowed him a little, far more effective than scolding or a tranquilizer, his body reacting almost immediately to the kiss with a rise in heat and quickening of pulse. "Did you just whack my *ss?" he asked, chuckling for the first time that day as she stepped away from him, pausing a moment to admire the view as she started to strip the clothes from her body.

"Darn tootin' I did," she agreed, laughing at his reaction as she turned away to drop her shirt and tank into the hamper, toeing out of her boots in the process. "Why, are you going to tell me you have a kinky side now? Want me to find a belt and paddle your rear end until you explode?"

"It'll take more than a spanking to make me explode," John remarked, quite possibly referring to a different kind of exploding that what she had meant. "Define kinky," he prompted further, wondering if her idea of kinky was the same as his. He was still watching her undress, but had yet to finish doing the same.

She snorted, glancing over her shoulder at him as her pants made the downward journey to expose long legs, pausing just a moment or two to get her socks off before dumping all three items in the hamper as well. "Anything not vanilla can be considered kinky, John."

"Like taking a shower together?" he asked, arching a brow. He really didn't know that much about the intricacies of sex, other than what went where and why, and despite what others might think, he hadn't really been with all that many women in his life. Certainly, none of them that had meant as much to him as Ailis. She was, in fact, the only woman he'd ever loved or who he'd ever even considered having a long-term relationship with.

"Could be considered kinky, yes," she agreed with a smile, keeping her back to him as the last of her clothing slipped away. After all, she'd fixed the plumbing, not made the hot water tank bottomless. "But I suppose most people consider everything above elements of BDSM to be more vanilla than kinky." Finally she turned to face him, nipping a fond kiss to the end of his chin, and snapped the waistband of his underpants impishly. "You're overdressed for a shower, dusty."

Was it odd that a man who was a professional soldier could be so naive when it came to sex games? Maybe naive was the wrong word - inexperienced was more like it. "And you're being a bit of a tease, gorgeous," he countered with a smirk as he stepped out of his shorts and into the shower, offering her a hand to join him.

"Only a bit?" She chuckled, taking his hand to join him under the warm spray, easing her arms about his neck fondly. "Maybe I should be trying harder. What do you think, sergeant?" The tip of her nose brushed his, each smirk and chuckle she drew from him more reason to smile. John didn't often let anything crack his, well, grim expression, but she seemed to see more of his smile than others, treasuring each one he gave her.

"I think you're getting the desired results," he replied, his arms going around her waist as he dipped his head to press his lips to hers, though they both knew this wasn't going to end in a simple kiss. Once they got going, there'd be no stopping until they were well and truly satisfied - or until Sam called them for dinner, whichever came first.

Passionate was certainly the word to describe their pairing. Everything they did, be it arguing, working, or enjoying one another, was done with the same level of energy, the same enthusiasm, the same passion. Instead of consuming each other in their own flames, they seemed ot feed each other's fire, each happy to feed and be fed from as they passed from one state to the next. It might have taken them years and a few tragedies to reach this point, but there was no going back now. Ailis and John were well and truly ensconced in each other's psyches, never to be separated.

[size=9]((Finally, we have all our mercs under one roof in time for Christmas! Should be an interesting celebration. Hugimungulosa thank yous to all!))[/size]
[size=9:9aa1933e78][color=darkred:9aa1933e78][b:9aa1933e78][i:9aa1933e78]Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.[/i:9aa1933e78][/b:9aa1933e78][/color:9aa1933e78][/size:9aa1933e78]