An Actual Door to Knock On [cw]

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Peregrine Runner

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
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An Actual Door to Knock On [cw]
« on: February 07, 2019, 09:35:09 PM »
Tonight was the first time in weeks Peregrine left the house without the intention of being back shortly. It was strange to leave Birdy behind. And he didn’t like it one bit. Kite had to swear ten times over he wouldn’t leave. That he would sleep with the cradle in his room. The maid, despite Peregrine’s demands, was still a virgin. He didn’t know how to bring the subject up again without making her cry. And he hated the smell of her fear in the house. Around the baby.

What could he do other than grouse? Get rid of her, if she didn’t figure the shit out. But those were lesser problems for the moment. He would just not be able to leave her alone with Birdy. Which meant he would drag her ass across Terrielle to take care of his daughter, since it was her job and he couldn’t trust her with such a glaring vulnerability. The whole thing set the entire house on edge. Kite disliked the ‘bullying’. And Starling treated the very idea of a Virgin Night like a personal threat. None of it made Peregrine good company. And he had already decided he was sleeping in Meols. Either with Kirsi, if she had forgiven him for nearly killing them all, or in one of the fancy Red Moon Houses built over the hot springs.

One firm set of knocks was all the patience that Peregrine had. When Kirsi did not invite him in right away, or even probe to see who was at the door he opened it. If she had set locks they were beneath his notice this time. Frustration made his shoulders square. But concern liked the set of his eyebrows. A low curve that started on the far side of one and traced across his whole brow to the other. ”Kirsi?” He called.

Boots dusted off at the door he moved deeper into her house. Hovering in the space between kitchen and sitting room. Not sure which he was more likely to find her in. He wouldn’t invade her room. Or probe overmuch. But he had to know how much trouble was rising up around them. What she had told this sjef, if anything at all. The letter he sent to Solveig seemed filled with third party information more than fact. That way they could both be on their toes.

Which was a strange thing to even think of Kirsi. If ever there was a paranoid woman in the world it was that witch. Suspicion was the natural expression of her eyes. Annoyance the general mien of her person. Or maybe that was just for Peregrine. He had that effect on people. Arm stretching up over his head he gripped the frame of the entry to the kitchen and sighed. ”We need to talk.”

@dergon

Kirsi

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 05:56:12 AM »

A mouse. Kirsi did not think it had been in the house for long. There had been a lot of commotion recently. Plenty of opportunities for the little villain to gain entry in an attempt to outrun the cold. Her probes had finally chased the damn thing down. Deep in her bottom cupboard, it had begun making a nest in the far corner.

She was there when he knocked. The sound faint enough to be ignored with her head under a shelf, hands sliding pots and pans out of the way while she pinned the mouse in place with shields. She could smell it now, with her head in the cupboard with it. That searing ammonia scent they left behind. She would have to hire a hearth witch to clean the place, or at least put wards up while she did the scrubbing.

Maybe Arkyn knew a good one.

Startled, Kirsi’s head slammed against the shelf above it. ”Fucking hell!” She whined, jerking out from the cupboard and rubbing the knot on the back of her skull. Skirts a puddle around her, Kirsi sat on her heels, eyes glaring watery reproach as she looked up at Peregrine. Tall enough to hang from the trim around the kitchen entrance. The mouse shot free of the cupboard before she could say anything, racing across her knees and vanishing on the other side of the narrow kitchen.

”No! Damnit Peregrine! Don’t you ever knock?” She slammed the cabinet doors closed and used the counter to help pull herself up. Kirsi gave herself a moment with fixing her skirts, and measuring the tender swell with her fingers. She didn’t know what they might have to talk about, but she doubted it was anything good. A dozen possibilities swept through her mind. The worst was his giving up. Kirsi had been waiting for it. Things changed when you held your child.

Tucking her hair behind the tips of her ears, Kirsi looked at him. As prepared as she could be on such short notice. Which wasn’t prepared at all. Oh, how she hated hope. She had an empty room for a boy her webs wouldn’t speak of anymore, and it was killing her. ”Well. Start talking.” She told him, bracing herself against the counter.

Peregrine Runner

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 09:37:03 AM »
In a damn cabinet, of all places. Wincing at the hard knock of what had to be bone on wood Peregrine shifted his weight. And waited. Mouth turning up on one side in something parallel to sympathy. He had busted his skull on low doorways since puberty. Sometimes he wondered if Kite had purposely designed their boat to be a collision course with his forehead. Furniture building, too, meant a lot of bending over and sitting up too fast. It was a sharp pain he knew well.

”I did knock.” He bristled. At least he hadn’t been hiding in a corner waiting to stab him this time. Rubbing his side at the memory of the burning knick his hand passed over the tightly sewn patch in his wool jacket where her knife had penetrated. While his Craft darted across her kitchen. Racing the rodent until it hit the wall. Where he formed it into a tight tendril of telekinetic hold. The creature gave a short squeak. Sound cut off by the softer grind of tiny bones snapping. Pointing with a finger at where the little beastie dangled in the air- neck at a very morbid angle- he sighed, ”Where do you want it?”

The boat was often plagued with a rat or two. Bigger and smarter than this sort of nuisance. Before, the boys had not done much to prevent them since they stayed in the corners of the cargo hold without causing trouble. Now Peregrine was worried they would get into the house and put a plague on Birdy so his mother had put a few wards up. Catching them had become a sort of passtime for the brothers on quiet evenings and long trips, though.

Once Kirsi’s intruder was taken care of he picked a chair at the table to settle against. Standing because she was standing. Hands on the back of the chair with his elbows locked. It was well made and only gave a soft groan as its joints bore his weight. ”You have an admirer. Or at least a concerned acquaintance. The fucking queen of Reric swept into my house to find out why I was beating my woman and possibly holding our boy from her.” Peregrine cut straight to the chase. Trying not to let too much blame coat the words, but it was hard since he didn’t know if she were any amount of guilty. ”The sjef of Meols wrote her to find out if he needed to get involved.”

Standing straight again he crossed his arms over his chest. Eyeing the tips of her ears as they held back her hair, and the clever shape of her blue eyes. He could see it. Why a sjef, or any man, would be in want of Kirsi. That mouth left something to be wanted, she was the sassiest shit he knew. Rude more often than not. But she was pretty, which was all it took. Prettier now than she had been in the cave since her cheeks were less hollow now she had decent meals regularly. ”Are you? Involving yourself with this fellow?”

Kirsi

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 10:12:56 AM »

He had, Kirsi knew. The faint knock ignored while she had been rooting in the cabinet. The neighbors came by so often, and Peregrine didn’t come at all, she hadn’t even bothered checking. She hadn’t wanted company anyway. Her life was almost peaceful if she stayed inside and kept the door and windows shut. Haunted only by her own ghosts instead of everyone else’s attention.

”You’re supposed to wait for someone to open it after that.” She bristled back. Kirsi refused to be afraid of him, or worry about his damn temper, when he was the one stomping uninvited into her house. Eyes darting toward the sound, Kirsi paled, watching as he pulled the mouse up into the air. ”Oh.” It all left her at once. Annoyance. Air. Blood. She licked her lips and pressed her hands into her stomach, trying to form an answer. ”Outside.” She had meant to catch it, and let it free outside.

Kirsi didn’t watch as he disposed of the body. Guilt riding up her spine at the death. They often brought disease, and ruined food and clothing, but it seemed so senseless to kill something so small. Peregrine was as tense as herself when he returned, settling his hands on one of her chairs. The little table stood between them, along with so many other things that could not be seen or touched.

At least he didn’t waste time getting to the thing. He laid it out plainly across the space between them, words hanging heavy in the air. Kirsi’s eyebrows rose in surprise and then dipped, forming a confused knot above her nose. Her hands slid up her arms protectively at the mention of Reric’s queen. No friend to Kirsi, though they did not know each other. Overwhelmed, she ran her hands across her face before turning them back to her elbows.

”I don’t understand.” Her head shook to deny his words, hair coming loose from behind one ear. Kirsi put it back, worrying the space behind the faintly pointed tips. ”I’ve never claimed you as my man, or told anyone about-“ She stopped, lips thinning. ”You old fool.” She whispered, hands bruising her eyes. She was the fool this time! She had told Trygve about Rias. Just that she had a boy.

Trygve and Arkyn. That damn old hunter! Kirsi had thought him her friend, not another spy like all the rest. And the sjef. The sjef! She had known he was trouble. She flushed at Peregrine’s question. Her denial only a breath faster than the memory of Arkyn’s craft down her shirt. ”No.” She could feel the heat under her hands. Wiping at it, Kirsi dropped them. ”No. I bought my house from him, and he was here fixing the fence when I got home from...” A shudder ran through her. ”Terreille.” After leaving Peregrine and the rest in Reric.

”She knows I’m here then, Ironeyes?” What else did she know? Kirsi plucked at her sleeves. How had Arkyn even known about Peregrine? Why had Trygve told him about her boy? She wanted very badly to go back to the wilds where no one knew she existed. Her secret still stashed deep in her heart. Hidden and safe. Not in this place with Peregrine scowling at her and everyone else trying to pry into her business.

Peregrine Runner

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 08:11:27 PM »
”Don’t stand around attracting attention, but don’t come in the house without permission.” Peregrine mocked in a singsong voice. Tossing up a hand. Twice. One for added effect as he complained at her complaining. The other was the flourish on an eyeroll as she turned ashen at the sight of the dead rodent. Or from the fact that he had killed it. Sometimes Peregrine wanted to just walk around and shake them all. Or chunk his cursed Ebon-Gray into the sea. All it did was force him to build emotional walls. The littlest bit of craft- something as minor as mouse murder- and people had to go looking at you like that.

He as glad of the excuse to walk it out front. Tossing it without ever having touched it at all. Some lucky cat would pick it out of the trash heap. At least then he might be appreciated for half a second. Back in the house he pushed away thoughts about Kirsi’s opinion of what he thought was a favor. It wasn’t his turn to be judged. He had already faced the charges and shot them down. Not guilty. For once.

Kirsi took her time puzzling things together. Tucked in on herself while she went from baffled to annoyed. Digging at her eyes, but she didn’t look quite as crazy doing it as she had in the cave. It crossed his mind briefly to be thankful she wasn’t clawing at his instead. Guilt creeped around in his stomach. Attention getting without gnawing. He got the whole message out and let her have her words before saying more though. Which might have been polite, but didn’t seem kind.

Paranoia flashed in her eyes. And Peregrine stood in case he needed to block the doorway. ”She had no idea who you were, Kirsi. No clue. She was not looking for you, and she isn’t looking for you now. She just wanted to make sure I wasn’t giving Reric a bad name. Or a worse one, anyway.” Solveig could put up with a lot of his shit, not that he gave her much choice, but that sort of a reputation- as a place where women were not safe. That was dangerous to a population. Cities had died out for that sort of crap.

”Look, I didn’t come here to upset you. I came to make sure you were being safe. If you are cozying up to this guy its…” Not fine. The word wouldn’t slip off his tongue. Fucking a sjef was dangerous even if you weren’t a murderess. They lived hard lives, in the line of fire when people got upset over justice. And most of them were that asinine Too Morally Upright for their own good type. Now he was just getting off on a tangent. ”I’m not jealous. Is what I’m saying. He’s interested, like it or not. Worried enough about you to make sure no one is hurting you. Better we work this out together than separate.”

He pulled the chair out. Remembering that his height and Jewels and tension were intimidating on their own. Mixed together they, well, he had seen barmaids piss themselves when he stood up too fast from a bad hand of cards. ”Because. Man, I tell you I didn’t know what to tell Solly when she came asking. And I don’t mean, I wasn’t sure what bits were safe for her to know. I mean I don’t know you. I don’t know your story. That’s… I need to know. Just like you need to know mine.”

Someday their son would be home. There was no guarantee they would both get him back though. Every day he looked into Birdy’s eyes. Watching her learn to focus. Starting to track his face. One day that baby would be a little girl that wanted to know about her mom and all he had to tell her was a caste, some Jewels, and that she could really wrap her mouth around a dick.

He probably wouldn’t bring that last part up though.

Kirsi

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2019, 09:42:24 PM »

He could have left. That was what everyone else did when she didn’t answer the door. They left. Some of them cane back later, others left things behind. Gifts. Letters. Usually her neighbors, sometimes patients. No one just came in though, except for Peregrine. Came in and murdered her mouse. Gesturing wildly at her discomfort before storming outside.

Kirsi was tempted to shut and lock the door behind him, but she would never be fast or strong enough to manage it.

”You say that, but she knows now, doesn’t she? Who I am. Where I am.” She knuckled a bitter smile from her lips, thumb pressing it from the corners until it fled. Of course Ironeyes hadn’t know who she was. What did one girl matter until she stepped out of line? ”Story of my life.” She hissed to herself, desperate to bend over her knees and scream. She rubbed her upper arms, the skin beneath the sleeves of her dress was cold.

Peregrine was less concerned with Ironeyes and Reric than he was with Kirsi and Meols’ sjef. But he didn’t understand what it was to have her name on the queen’s mind. Would they look for her now? Would they care?

”Safe?” Eyes narrowing, Kirsi pinned him with them. Her nostrils flaring as he began down that road again. ”I’m not!” It was foolish. He was sjef. They were enemies standing on opposite sides of the law. He was attractive, Arkyn. But he was sjef. Was that what Peregrine meant by safe? He kept talking, face making it seem like he found his topic distasteful. Jealous. Kirsi shook her head, eyebrows twisting.

”Of course you’re not jealous.” There was nothing to be jealous over. And even less reason for Peregrine to care if she did decide to take someone else to her bed. ”Work what out?” Together? Kirsi tucked her already tucked hair behind her ears. He wasn’t making any sense. The idea of Arkyn being interested was amusing. Maybe he was. Maybe she was. But there was no point in fretting over something so impossible. ”This is pointless, Peregrine, and nothing.”

He sat, which made Kirsi retreat more. If he was sitting he was staying. Staying to work it out together, whatever any of that meant. Kirsi could feel a sort of hysteria lurking around her edges. This was insanity. All these people whispering about her. And for what purpose? She bothered no one. Kept her head down. She wanted out. Away. Solitude. Where no one was interested. Or worried. Or not jealous.

Solly, he called the queen. Kirsi remembered that he was male, like all the rest. That he had gotten his daughter on a queen. It put her hackles up and made her wary.

”You tell her nothing.” There was nothing Solveig Ironeyes needed to know about Kirsi. She hadn’t cared when Kirsi had been a resident of Reric. She didn’t get to care now when her attention was more likely to get Kirsi sold than anything else. ”No you don’t.” Kirsi blurted, ears and mouth swifter than her brain. ”You know me plenty and my story isn’t an interesting one. I was born, I was raised, and here I am.” Her hands held him back. Placating but raised in defense.

It was never good when they talked. Why did he want to know now? To tell Solly?

”I don’t need to know your story either, Peregrine.” Kirsi didn’t know what had possessed him, but she didn’t like it. All this talking about together and fixing things. Sharing stories. Was he going to sell her out? Would some of his sins be forgiven if he handed her over? Punishment for bringing the Reric queen to his door?

Peregrine Runner

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 11:44:58 AM »
”Yeah. Because your boyfriend wrote a fucking letter.” He told her flatly. Kirsi was building this up in her head. Eyes searching. For a way out or a place to hide. Hand pressing her mouth in some strange bid for a solution. Sighing to himself Peregrine shook his head at her slowly. ”Kirsi I swear, her concern for you begins and ends with its relation to me. You’re a citizen of Meols, she was ready to do her part and rescue your kid from me. She wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to see if I needed punishing. But she isn’t vindictive, she isn’t plotting to snatch you. As far as she knows you’ve done nothing wrong.”

Women! He was just about sick of them. At least the ones he couldn’t pay to shut up and bend over. Mother fucking Night they were nothing but a headache lately. As if he weren’t exhausted to start. They had to drain what was left of him like emotional leeches. Meeting her glare with one of his own Peregrine leaned in. ”Yes. Being safe.” She really was crazy. He didn’t need her out here drawing the attention of a man who could make his life harder. Either of their lives, really, but he had to think beyond Kirsi now. He had more to motivate him to stay free and alive than just Rias.

There was nothing in her denials that convinced him that she was being safe, however. Or even using good sense. She took a second too long to come up with very flat answers. And never once said she wasn’t interested back. Just that she was not purposely getting his attention. Not that intent made the result less a fact.

Somehow her agreement did nothing to stem his frustration. Which was made more frustrating by his inability to untangle it to something that made sense. A knot of emotion aching in the hollow between his chest and stomach. Heavy and nameless. Fists balled until his knuckles paled he pounded the side of a hand on the table. Just once, as if he could drive the reality home for them both. ”What we are telling people. This. All of this. You. Me. My kids. My motherfucking life.” He growled. ”LIke it or not we have a sjef and a queen with their eyes turned towards us. A missing son. And a thousand details between us I can’t react to because I don’t know them.”

He needed… clarity. To lay out the problems. ”I can’t.” He shook his head again with a sigh that came from so deep in his gut he shook when it worked free. ”I can’t come up with a strategy if I can’t see the whole issue. And I don’t know what I don’t know.” Temper was doing nothing to make Kirsi talk, though. She was sinking into the hollow of her own eyes. He could feel the walls jutting up around her barriers. Psyche pulling back.

Barbs pointing towards him as she turned defensive. With more foolishness than Peregrine could even fathom. ”Tell her nothing? And what? Make her more curious? Make her watch me harder to try figuring out what the hell I’m up to? That’s stupid.” He almost spit the word at her. Standing again because trying to stay calm was getting him results no faster than being annoyed had. Now he was plain ol’ angry.

”What are you so scared of Kirsi?” He demanded. ”I don’t know shit about you. Why were with you married to that guy? Why’d you fuck me? Why’d you keep the baby? How the hell did he take him from you?” The important questions. Whether she wanted to think so or not. Her raised hands spoke to something softer in him. Pushing him back towards the doorway despite the table and chairs already between them. He understood pain. The pain in revisiting old injustices and indignities. Living them again, but he also knew that it happened anyway. In dreams, and in the quiet moments of life. Letting it out didn’t take them away but at least then they would be less strangers connected by a split second of time.

”I need you to know. I need to know that you’ll have more to tell my son than a name and caste and Jewels if he never gets to know me.” He pounded two fingers against his sternum and prowled the doorway. Rubbing at his temples, the hairline above them singed short by small electrical charges. Nail tips blackened and static making his curls come to life. ”Fuck it. If that’s the way you want things then fine. Deal with it on your own since that’s worked so well for you up til now.”

Kirsi

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 12:48:12 PM »

”He is not and I did not ask him to! I don’t even know where he got the idea I was being beaten or your name to attach to the thought!” She gave her hair a sharp tug and twisted the bangles at her wrists. She’d sold the gold and replaced them with silver. It didn’t hold the web as well, but the marks had proved useful. Kirsi licked her lips, but her mouth was dry.

”Well there is no beating and no boy. She can leave it alone now.” Her eyes swept her house. Would they though? Arkyn or Ironeyes? Kirsi didn’t think they would. She thought of the room she’d asked Kite to add on to the house. A healing room. She felt a faint pang or regret. A hard resolution in her chest. ”Safe how?” She didn’t understand. Doubted it mattered. Not in this place anymore. She never should have left her cave. There she had been safe. Hidden. Secret. She had not talked to people except to heal them.

Had brought no suspicion or angry warlords down on her head. Kirsi jumped when he struck the table. The sound hollow, like a fist in flesh. She felt shields rise and die in her Red. She knew better. Shielding only made things worse. It might stop the pain for a moment but the tide would be worse on its breaking.

”I don’t know. I try to tell no one anything. I made a mistake, I told Trygve about Rias to keep him from the room, but just that it was his.” She couldn’t get her voice above a pained whisper. Panic rising in her gut. It was there, always there waiting to steal over the rest of her. Kept at bay by brews and constant motion.

Peregrine raged and Kirsi shrank. Still and small inside herself as she tried to survive. Her chin sank toward her chest, hair falling free to cling to her cheeks and temple, damp with sweat as her heart beat too hard. Fear making her clammy. ”I don’t know. I’m sorry.” She wished he would hit her. Get the beating over so his temper would be spent and she could put her thoughts back together with her body. But Peregrine didn’t hit her. Just railed, all his rage spent on words instead of violence until she couldn’t think at all. Frozen, waiting for the painful relief that would not come.

Fingers twisting, Kirsi pressed her knuckles to her forehead. ”Fine. Fine! Because my parents sold me to him. Because I was lonely. Because I was still lonely. And because I was not awake.” She shuddered. Of course he blamed her. She blamed her too. For all of it. They had promised she could keep her Jewels if she’d taken the yoke of marriage like she had taken the yoke of a plow. She had done it as she had done everything else, with sullen despair. She should have let them break her. She could have saved them all so much heart ache.

”All things no boy needs to know about his mother.” All things no one needed to know. No one had cared when they were happening. They had failed to meet her eye every time. She had learned healing mostly by mending herself. No one had questioned how she came by the craft when she shared it with others. No one cared now except that it was upsetting their tidy little lives. Kirsi looked at him. Looked and wished she had never said a word. Had hidden while he’d intruded in her cave. Or kept her secret instead of sharing it.

Too late now to take it back.

”Kite or Starling-“ Peregrine had family to tell Rias who he was. Family to love him like they loved the girl child he had brought home. But he didn’t let her get the thought before closing the door between them. She nodded. He had not wanted to know before. He didn’t really want to know now. He was just angry he’d been accused of beating her and kidnapping her son. ”Okay.” She understood. He had a baby at home. One he could hold and be sure of. One who brought no trouble to his doorstep.

She’d known. She’d known he would give up. Trust and hope. Kirsi hated both. ”I’ll take care of it.”

Peregrine Runner

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2019, 08:51:18 PM »

”No, no.” Peregrine deflated a few inches of his indignation. He would stretch the blame as thin as he could, but he wouldn’t put it where it had not been earned. ”He didn’t know my name. Just that your neighbors had seen you in company of a man with the Ebon-gray. Then someone else said you had a boy in Reric. Didn’t take much to put it together after that.” Most people in the territory knew him. A sort of point of national pride, to be of the same ilk that had sired his Jewels. Even though no one had ever come calling to see who had actually done the siring.

From shaking to nodding his head felt ready to explode. ”She is leaving you alone. But she’ll never stop hounding me.” He knew too much and behaved too little to her standards. Reputation and Protocol were the things holding Solveig’s tightly wound essence together. It made her crazy to have a loose end like Peregrine fraying the edges. And it made him crazy to pretend he was anything less than himself. A product of passion and capitalism that lived by those things and nothing else.

Except for his children. That was too fresh a fact to be taken into account yet, however.

Mercifully… or perhaps cusedly the only thing Kirsi wanted to hold him accountable for was existing when she didn’t need him to. They went back and forth. One growing taller in his frustration and the other shrinking. Stealing all the fire out his chest as she grew smaller. Frightened in a way he had not frightened her before. Even with a dragon on their ass she hadn’t looked that pathetic.

She told him the answers he had asked for but didn’t want. He glazed over them at first. Each one sinking in while he poured the rest of his feelings into the air. A crack of static tracing blue light across her windowpane. Angry red burns marking his face where his fingers trailed on their way to lay limp at his sides. ”This is how he knew. You’re waiting for me to hurt you I can practically see the thought buzzing behind your eyes.”

Peregrine stopped only once he had gone too far. Cutting her from his protection once again. Throwing up his emotional blocks out of instinct. Pawing over his face he sighed into the heels of his hands. Then found the seat he had left once again. Pulling it from the table and dropping heavily at it. Long legs bent at the knee so his feet could tuck under and his back could slouch. ”I don’t want you to be sorry. Or to take care of this alone.”

Nipping dry skin from his bottom lip he looked at the grain on the table and pondered its source before going on. ”One day there will be more than just questions and fears between us. There will be a boy. Who deserves to have both of us working in his interest. As a pair, because I have no illusion that we would work as a couple. It just isn’t in me and I’d hurt you both in the trying.” Raising blended families was not unusual in the least. Not here. Rias would be more an odd boy out for having married parents. ”It is just… so hard for me to throw myself at you and find resistance every time. I know it sounds like arrogant shit but its not a thing I’m good at. I don’t try. I help when I’m asked for it, I leave when things aren’t easy.”

That was just his nature. Clearing his throat he sat up a fraction straighter and met her eye. ”But I won’t be that man that leaves a son to wonder for his whole life. We can be friends, if you let me be your friend. Let me help you, let me help take care of you. Caring for my boy’s mother is the only thing I can do for him right now. And I want to be sure that you can come to me when you need.”

Kirsi

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Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 11:01:24 PM »

Kirsi shook her head. Lying with her body because she couldn’t get the words out. Of course she didn’t expect him to hurt her, though he was singeing her house again. Wood smoking and filling the air with its stink. The stone had made a clean, hot scent. This time she worried he would set the house ablaze. Kirsi cooled the wood with her Opal so the heat wouldn’t spread to the curtains which would take less to alight.

Peregrine wasn’t going to hurt her. Just give up. She felt guilty. Rias deserved two parents searching for him, but Kirsi didn’t know how to keep Peregrine looking. Maybe he would look on his own. She hadn’t been of any use recently anyway. None of her webs spoke of Rias. Maybe there was a reason for it. Maybe he was better off where he was. Or better off without her. She couldn’t manage to spend a season in a city without falling into hot water.

She wiped tears away, waiting for him to leave so she could have her sorrow in private. Let the emotion out like a lanced wound and then put her life back together again. She’d get a better price for the house if she left the furniture behind. She’d go somewhere else. Be even more careful. She yearned for her cave. No one but a bear to watch her coming and goings. Shivering Kirsi tried to hold it all in until she was alone, but Peregrine didn’t leave.

She looked at him as he pulled the chair out and sat in it. Kirsi drew her hands from her face and tucked them into the pockets of her dress like she’d been caught at something. Peregrine stayed, to remind  her of her place. ”I never expected us to be a couple.” She’d never expected anything from him, and nothing had passed between them since he’d sneered at her offer. Kirsi hadn’t made another and neither had Peregrine. She touched the trailing edges of the scar on her stomach.

”I haven’t asked anything of you, have I?” Was it pity that stopped him? It was too late to save her, now. ”I never asked and I never had expectations. Not then and not now..” She couldn’t imagine when he’d thrown himself at her. He had offered to help find Rias. To bring her food for her webs. Kirsi had made no demands on him. Why he changed his tune now she didn’t know. He didn’t want to hear what she said but asked questions anyway. Pulling her hands from her pockets, she held her elbows, forcing her back straight.

”I don’t need you to take care of me Peregrine. Or be my friend.” She’d never in her life had a friend. Trygve had been a mistake, a false friend. Telling her secrets to others because she had told no one else. ”I don’t need any of that to raise Rias with you.” If they found him. She was just as afraid to find him as she was to not. What a mess she was. ”Let me fix your face.” She called her kit in and set it on the table, body leaning away even though she came closer.

”I’ll talk to the sjef. Clear this up. Tell him Rias lives with you.” She wiped the scorch marks on his face with a damp piece of cotton doused in something cool and minty. And then she would move. Her sorrow wanted out. It made her eyes wet and her nose tickle. ”I’m sorry they bothered you. I can’t do anything about Ironeyes, but I’ll talk with the sjef and move out of Meols. Fyrkat as less people, I think.” She wasn’t sure she could actually do anything about Arkyn either. But she would try.

”Hold still.” She followed the path of the cotton with craft. Healing the raw burns he’d left behind. ”You’re hands are next, if you leave them to Starling you’ll be the only fingerless smuggler in all of Kaeleer,” she choked.

Peregrine Runner

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • Warlord
  • Played By: Jones

    Traveling Kaeleer
    136 Posts    0 marks
Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2019, 02:03:31 PM »
”That’s your takeaway point?” Peregrine asked with a hollow chuckle. ”Did I say you expected that? What I mean is we have to be a team. Sometimes that involves leaning on one another. But you never lean in, you only ever pull away.” Part of him liked passing the blame around. Lessening his own portion. Felt a lot better than heaping guilt onto his own shoulders. Some things couldn’t stay avoided forever, though. It was his fault. A huge stinking mess of it was on him.

She made that clear without even trying to pass the blame back. Blocking it instead with words that were so true they rattled around in his chest looking for a place roost. Setting their pointed toes in his bones. ”No. You haven’t asked. You didn’t then, and you don’t know.” His hands opened as if he were waiting for her to step into them. He didn’t expect her to, of course, but the gesture was instinctive and invitational. ”If you had I would have. I would have protected you, and we could have raised our son together. He wouldn’t be Mother Night knows where. ”

He swallowed. Biting back the bristle in his spine as she rejected his offer then turned around to try mending his burns. Leaning away, as usual, while she did. The scalded skin hurt so he let her work her craft. Wrist relaxing on his knee where he drummed his fingers on Kirsi’s leg. Eyes closing as she cleaned the sores. Not because of the brief sting or the relief that followed. But she smelled like salty tears and misery. ”You can’t do that, Kirsi.” He corrected gently.

Feeling up her hip with kneading fingers when he finally looked back up at her. ”Leaving now is going to look suspicious. On the both of us. Besides, Fyrkat’s full of pussies and soft dicks. What are you going to do in that shithole?” They wouldn’t let Peregrine in there either. He had robbed too many of their ships and cut them out of their underground opium trade with Little Terrielle. If she went there he would have to murder people just to see her. ”Just keep your head down. Let this pass over. And stop flirting with that sjef.”

Bit by bit she soothed the burns away from his face. Peregrine didn’t realize until she mentioned them that his fingertips were blackened too. A blister rising up on one, glossy and pale through the electrical burns. Sighing turning to a snort he pulled on the hip he had stolen. ”I would manage. She’s just not a natural like you. She does good work, though. I don’t know why the two of you can’t play nice.” He wanted her in his lap. Where she couldn’t run away from the things he was trying to say. Or fall into her own paranoia and miss the point.

”Kitten, I know you don’t need me to take care of you. Or friends. But it would make things a lot easier for the both of us.” He didn’t know how to say what he felt in his chest. An unfamiliar and clenching need to fix things. Without knowing what or how was broken. ”I know I’ve let you down. You shouldn’t have had to ask me to help you back then. I should have realized you were too strong and too hurt to ask for what you needed. I should have been man enough to just do what was right.” There were reasons though.

He sighed. Debating the sharing. But she had opened up once he had pried. Maybe giving something for free would get him where anger and annoyance and begging had not. ”I learned the hard way not to get involved when you aren’t asked. Not to put that emotional investment in people. They will screw you over more often than not. So I looked away when we were done with one another. I have to live with that. With everything that happened to you after. With whatever has happened to Rias. So-” Peregrine swallowed phlegm from the back of his throat and tried to thumb away the tears pooled at the corner of Kirsi’s eyes. ”I can’t be sorry enough but I can be better going forward. Some. Anyway. I’m not ever going to be voted Sjef. Sorry. I know how hot you think that is.” He teased to break the tension running through his limbs. "Can we just start over? You and me?"

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    108 Posts    390 marks
Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2019, 03:06:37 PM »

Kirsi bit her lips, eyes dark beneath the shadow of her lashes. ”I tried.” Panicked words bubbling upward until his temper had wiped them from her tongue. She had tried, fearful he would demand a payment she could not possibly pay. Only to sell them later. Sometimes Kirsi dreamed of handing them over. He would have been richer for them and probably never darkened her door again.

She shivered under his words. Standing near enough to touch. He did not touch her though. ”I didn’t know.” Mother Night. She hadn’t known. She swallowed, and then swallowed again. Her heart broke under the knowledge. All she’d had to do was ask. A thing she had never thought of. To beg help from a stranger that even the people she lived next to wouldn’t give. ”I’m sorry.” Would they hate her forever? So much she hadn’t known. All her ignorance ruining Rias’ life before it had even begun.

She would never forgive herself for it. Wishing she could go backwards and break beneath the yoke rather than fight it. Rias never would have existed at all, but Kirsi could not say it was a worse fate the one he had gotten. Knees locked against her pain, Kirsi tended Peregrine’s wounds. There was nothing that would ever heal hers. Body mostly whole again but the rest of her was ruined. Hale enough to stand up against the agitated work of his fingers. She ignored it.

”Why not?” She demanded, ignoring too the way he handled her hip. Arkyn had grabbed her there too. She was tempted to tell Peregrine so, but it would be a pointless observation that would only make him think there was more between her and the sjef than she had said. ”Same as I do here. Heal who needs it.” What did she care what the people were like? So long as they left her alone. More than the people of Meols had.

”I haven’t flirted with him! All the men must be addled in Glacia if “go away” is not invitation to stay!” It never had worked. Not a once she had uttered it, but Kirsi did not want to think of the other times. It had been long years since she had been forced to anything more than unwanted intrusions in her yard. Today was full of unwanted invasions, however. Or waited demands. Her body followed his hand, easing into his when he yanked on her. ”That is not holding still.” But he never listened.

”Because she is a brat, and dislikes my methods.” She pulled his hands into her lap, her hip nestled into his hip as she sat in his lap. He was confusing. Asking her to give all the things that upset him. Her craft pulled the heat from his blisters, setting his skin to pink again. She shook her head, and then brushed her hair back when she found it tangling between their bodies. ”You didn’t let me down, Peregrine. I had no expectations. I did not think you would stay or save me or be anything but what you were.” She had given up idle day dreams long before Peregrine had arrived in her life.

”What is right, Peregrine? He was my husband. You cannot take a girl without reason from the man she made vows to.” And no one had had reason. He’d been careful. No marks to prove the hurt he inflicted. And there had been no love between her and Peregrine. Just sex. Hardly even words. Both dark Jeweled and young. And stupid. ”I know.” She thought of Trygve, laughing at her table and then speaking of her son once he’d left her house.

”That was not your fault. I never imagined he would be so angry or so cruel. Not even him.” She pulled Peregrine’s hands away, his thumbs making her tears spill over so that she must sniff them back into her body lest he break the dam. Kirsi choked. Idiot! ”You’re the wrong caste, I think.” And a law breaker. Her cheeks rounded, wet with the tears he had wiped free.

”I don’t think we ever started at all, Peregrine. I don’t know how to be a friend. Or a team.” A team. Kirsi did not know how they would manage it. Hardly able to talk to each other. She was afraid, too, to lean in. Her body yearned to, hand touching his jaw. Always looking for shelter or pleasure in his arms. But he hurt her. Scorned and blamed her. Kirsi could not fault him for it but she was afraid to try trusting again.

Peregrine Runner

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • Warlord
  • Played By: Jones

    Traveling Kaeleer
    136 Posts    0 marks
Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2019, 08:40:50 PM »
Of course she hadn’t known. Peregrine believed her. Because just as he hadn’t said what needed saying then he didn’t tell her now that there was no blame in his heart. Just guilt for what should have been done better. At least this time he didn’t know what needed saying. Back then he had not had the excuse of ignorance. She had put on a good front, but exposed and vulnerable in their moment of passion he had seen the signs. A bruise on her thigh where no one else would notice. The way she twitched away when he moved too fast. Or tensed for pain in moments that should only have made her anticipate pleasure.

Signs that this damn Sjef saw too. He was a different sort of male, the sort that would have helped her back then. Whether she wanted him to or not. No need for motivation the way Peregrine did.  Pushing away the bitterness he gently groped her instead. Snorting at her question before he explained the why of it. ”Fyrkat is hard living, Kirsi. More a big outpost than an actual city. Their ships get robbed an awful lot, too. All the reasons not to go there aside, you have too many reasons to stay here.” There was no guilt in the grin he flashed. He didn’t tell her that he wasn’t welcome there. It would probably just make her quicker to move.

”If you say so.” Peregrine sniffed around her barriers with a curious probe. Careful not to touch directly and make her angry. He believed her, but he wasn’t convinced. ”Maybe he just likes snippy women.” Some guys did, he knew. They wanted to be pulled around by theirs ears- or balls. Told what to do and how to behave. Craved more mothering, maybe. He wasn’t that sort. Kirsi’s attitude was cute, because she was cute. But it was equally exhausting. Why anyone would want that permanently he couldn’t imagine. He couldn’t imagine bedding the same person forever at all, actually. Life was complicated. You needed different things from different people over time. Tying yourself to one was waiting for a disaster.

With a small huff he nosed her hair and worked tension out of his shoulders. ”Alright, I’m holding still now.” Mostly. As well as he could at least. Chuckling in agreement with Kirsi’s curt assessment of his sister. There were no to ways about it. Starling was a brat. ”She’s still a kid, Kirsi. A spoiled rotten one thanks to Kite and my mother.” Nevermind he funded a large majority of that spoiling indirectly and protected her attitude with his reputation. ”I think she likes to be the best, or at least think she knows best. And since she doesn’t understand your craft she can’t compare them side by side. Which frustrates her. She’ll grow out of it.”

Or be a brat forever. He sighed, ”Someday. Hopefully. If she doesn’t end up splitting her chalice before then.” Maybe he could get a Black Widow to weave him an illusion to show the girls what happened to a woman who didn’t protect herself. It was just sex. Ten minutes tops. He could help Pug himself, it wouldn’t be that easy for Starling but he knew a few good men he could trust. Ah well. Problems for another time.

Watching her craft smooth the damage to his fingertips he hummed lightly under her excuses for his past. Any arguments rising in his chest set aside in favor of the next. ”Unhappiness is a reason. You weren’t his slave. I could tell you wanted out. I just didn’t want to be responsible for you after. I was too young and stupid to do anybody any good.” He had been a loser. Not that he would admit as much now. But he would have gone to Hell and back for Rias. Even then. He’d go now if that was what it took.

”It was no one’s fault but his. Nobody should be that cruel. Even if we deserved his anger. Rias didn’t. He was innocent, and that bastard..” He bit the words off. Kirsi knew. She didn’t need him to say it. Or to reburn the wounds she had just healed. She pushed him back from drawing the tears out. Not ready to trust him with that pain yet. Peregrine almost insisted. Lance it like an infection. But he didn’t have the capacity to dig in that deep yet. Letting the tension defuse with humor he shrugged at her, ”Wrong caste for sjefing, or being hot?”

He grinned, certain that he knew how to spark a woman’s interest. And glad that she could at least admit they were not off to a good start in whatever they were doing. ”Same. I thought I was pretty set in my ways, but I’ve been proven wrong recently. So we can learn together. How to lean.” She did now, with her body if not the more delicate inside parts. Turning his face into her palm he pressed a kiss at its center. ”Hi. I’m Peregrine the Runner. Carpenter, smuggler, professional privateer. I knocked you up a few years back, maybe you remember. Sorry about the after bit, but I’d like to buy you a drink.”

There were a few good places he could think of. The sort that really knew how to work the tension out of a man. Unless, he slid his hand a hair higher up her side, Kirsi wanted a bit of the tension worked out of her too. Voice a few octaves lower he put the offer on the table. ”Or we could stay in. If you wanted me to stay.”

Kirsi

    Blood Opal to Red
  • Black Widow Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Glacia Kaeleer
    108 Posts    390 marks
Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2019, 09:52:00 PM »

”I don’t have any reasons to stay here, and I lived in a cave, in case you’ve forgotten.” She had moved to Meols for Rias, not herself.  Any city would do so long as it was not Reric, and Rias was likely to spend time there anyway. Maybe all of his time one day. She had no promises that he would love her as she loved him. And once he knew the story, wouldn’t he hold her to blame as she deserved?

Peregrine had carried on with the conversation without her. Kirsi pretended to smile. ”Maybe he does.” How could there be interest? Peregrine made her sound wholly indesirable. She pushed him away, and had tried hard to keep the sjef at a distance. But now Peregrine wanted to be friends so they could raise Rias together. And minutes ago he had been ready to leave. Kirsi couldn’t keep up. His hands worked at her. Drumming her knees and kneading her hip. Tugging her close.

Did she want close? She’d always desired him. But trusting him with her secrets had proven painful. How could she give him anything else? Be friends? What would he tell Rias about her? That she was snippy and insane? ”I know, you don’t need to defend her to me.” There was no one to love her past her faults and defend her against others. If she wanted Rias to know her she would have to show him herself. Would she need to love herself too?

Kirsi wasn’t sure she could.

”It doesn’t matter, Peregrine. It was a long time ago.” She ignored the old feelings and the new. They were intwined with each other. The fresh, bloody hurt of a girl to the worn and tarnished resignation of a woman. None of it would do her healing work any good. Or even herself. She had no way of changing her fate. Not her past or even her future. She would always be herself. A total made of many broken parts.

”I know.” Kirsi tried soothing him. It was a lie though. She didn’t know what her husband had done. Only that he had gotten rid of Rias somehow. The details lost if he ever revealed them. Her memory surrounding that time fog shrouded. Peregrine tried to comfort her as well, but Kirsi could not accept the kindness. She was not ready to spill her tears in front of him. To be vulnerable. He seemed calmer now, maybe even happier, that she was in his lap. Lips flashing smiles she could not interprit.

He was confusing.

”Both.” She answered, trying to bouy herself with his playful mood. His words kade her heart ache, though. Hands covering her face. It couldn’t be so easy. To just start over. Kirsi looked at her empty palms, hands cupped near her face. ”I’m Kirsi.” Who was she? She had no people. No title. ”Healer.” She was that. She was a healer. She couldn’t meet his eye. A drink. It seemed shallow and foolish. What good would a drink do? ”I remember.”

Peregrine’s hand moved higher, forcing Kirsi to look at him. Voice pitched to send a shiver down her spine. Now he offered her more than a drink. If she wanted. The last time she had asked him to stay he’d refused. Feelings raw from her fumbling tongue. How could they ever manage friendship? ”Are you sure? You did not want to last time.” She had not offered again after. And she had tried to keep herself to herself. To not upset him with her fears or her worries. To not want him.

But she was still lonely. And she still wanted him.

Would it be any different this time? There was only one way to find out. By leaning in. Which Kirsi did, hands leading the way for her mouth. Skimming his shoulders and neck before she kissed him, lips full of a tenatitive wanting.

Peregrine Runner

    Sapphire to Ebon-gray
  • Warlord
  • Played By: Jones

    Traveling Kaeleer
    136 Posts    0 marks
Re: An Actual Door to Knock On
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2019, 10:27:22 AM »
”Running isn’t going to do anything except make them look at you harder. And I’m not welcome in Fyrkat, so you’re going to need someone else to move your bed.” He told her grudgingly. Shoulders shrugging away any follow  up questions. Surely she could imagine why. And whatever she did imagine was likely less shocking than the truth. The cities were not allies, all they had was Peregrine’s for the taking. In his youth piracy had been much more lucrative than smuggling. It had taken time to build a network of clients. ”And you do have reason. You leave now and you’ll have to start over with a fresh wave of nosy neighbors and sjefs and whatever else. They’re getting used to you here, and once they do they’ll stop noticing you as much. You’ve got patients here, and its close enough for a day trip if I want to see Rias once he’s home. Plus they tolerate me better than most.”

No reason to stay. Peregrine tried not to roll his eyes. Maybe he shouldn’t have encouraged her to stay. Just to go somewhere else. Like Stavangar. He was welcome enough there. Knew a very friendly and very pretty tattooist too. Anywhere but Fyrkat really. Though Odense would have made him uneasy. He had never met their queen, but she found him from time to time. Fussing, or trying to soothe. That was rattling enough without being close for a well placed bond to leash him.

”Or maybe he just thinks you’re cute.” Peregrine offered up, not fooled for a second by her flat smile. Cheeks rounding but eyes hollow of amusement. He could tell her all the reasons he found her attractive. But there was no guarantee a single one would be the reason the sjef cared. All his talking was getting him no nearer to soothing her raw emotions. From pretending to grin at his teasing to half frowning over his sister she sat in his lap and healed his fingers without really connecting at all. ”I’m her brother, it’s sort of my job. She gets the same talk, you know. I don’t like her being a shit to you either.” He was an equal opportunity fusser.

Who was doing a poor job of herding this woman in the direction he wanted. Too on edge from his arrival. From the news he had brought and the temper he had seared through the room. Past dredged up to make it all worse too. Peregrine was sorry, but he also thought it was all necessary. Mostly he was just sorry it made it harder for her to feel good about him now that his own chest was lighter. None of that relief had translated over to Kirsi. Without intending to she showed him why.

Hiding behind her hands while she tried to think of who she was. Teasing a hank of her hair he let her take her time. Filling in the blanks with a few words of his own. Adjectives instead of nouns. The things that Kirsi were. ”Healer.” He agreed, thumb brushing her jaw while she avoided his eye. ”Healer, Web Weaver, Survivor.” There were few women of Kirsi’s substance in the world. Made strong by the pain instead of folding.

She didn’t tell him if she wanted a drink. But her question made it clear she was considering the other option. Clearing his throat Peregrine danced around the thought of pushing the answer away. That wasn’t how to lean in though. ”It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I just… you tried to pay me. I was just looking at the bracelet and you tried to pay me for fucking you. It made me feel stupid and I didn’t want to fight again so I had to say no.” He hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings. Protecting his own had seemed the wiser choice at the time, though.

That must have been an acceptable answer. Because she came closer. Palms rubbing their way from the round of his shoulders to his throat. His own hands held gently against her back without pushing. Mouth parting around her lips to suck them into plumpness. He could feel the longing in her touch. It reminded him that he was very much wanting too. Spear quick to wake from its sleep. Unused to disuse. But he had been too busy to see to that need. Maybe Kirsi had too. Busy or shy. She had been wild with it during both of their previous encounters. Desperate to get to the climax. This time he would go slower. Show her the pleasure could work up from deeper, and be twice as satisfying. "We could have the best of both... I've got a bottle of something strong in the cabinet. And a trick to make it stronger." Charis' trick. Strengthening the alcohol until it worked even against his Jewels.
 

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