Concrete and asphalt give way swiftly to gravel as the trees close in on either side, a sharp reminder to any drivers down this thoroughfare that they had best go slowly. The long needles of ponderosa pine brush on either side; during the daytime, jays mock from the branches, and now and then come the bright flashes of hummingbirds. Rustles among the grasses and weeds hint that travelers on foot should take care - skunks and venomous rattlesnakes are hardly unheard-of in this area, and there is always the chance that some squirrel or rodent nearby might be carrying disease.
Some distance from the road, the gravelled way turns around a bend and opens abruptly into a clearing matted with creeping juniper. Mulched beds of rosemary interspersed with autumn sage arc protectively around a grassy space before a large cabin; a garbage can has been refitted as a small cistern, collecting the water from the roof to help irrigate the turf. Here and there along the driveway's edge, small downy-gray Apache plume shrubs are being coaxed into putting down roots, one day to shield parked cars from sight. On the downslope side of the clearing, a single walkingstick cholla claims attention with its spined branches and, at appropriate times, vivid magenta flowers.
This cabin is mid-sized, spreading itself some fifteen feet in almost any direction. Centered on the far wall is a grand hearth of hand-laid stone equipped with wrought-iron essentials. The craftsmanship of the woodworking in both the open beamed ceiling and the polished parquet floor is astounding.
Against one wall stands an overstuffed four-poster bed covered in throw pillows of emerald and eggshell colors, all shapes and sizes. A nightstand is placed at its side, holding a small but thriving potted rose bush with tiny red flowers. The remainder of the furniture is all of plain wood, stained and lovingly polished - including the dresser bearing a TV and VCR, these angled so that the screen is visible from anywhere in the room.
Doors on one wall open into the cramped kitchen and small bathroom - but are usually kept shut. Framed images and plaques adorn the windowless walls; all the light comes from the fireplace and lamps.
He's a tall young man, probably just reaching adulthood -- decently built, but with the lankiness of youth not yet finished filling out his approximately six foot frame -- and reasonably handsome, with lively sky blue eyes, full lips, and well-balanced, expressive features. These are not, however, the things most people notice first. Dark hair, near black by nature or design, is savagely gelled into spikes multiple inches tall, the tips dyed a flamingly bright shade of red found nowhere in nature; his eyebrow, ears, tongue, and the skin beneath his lower lip are all pierced, and his arms, at the least, bear tattoos. There's a spiked black leather collar about his neck and pyramid studded bands on each wrist; his nails are painted black, and the first and middle finger of his left hand are cloaked in articulated steel finger armor, with wickedly pointed tips. His black t-shirt stretches slightly across the chest, where "Practice Safe Sex: Go Fuck Yourself" is printed in large, helpful white block letters, and the sleeves have been ripped off, leaving a ragged edge at each shoulder. Faded black jeans, close fitting, are tucked into heavy, knee-high black leather boots fastened with far more buckles than strictly necessary.
At a glance, this tall, broad man is somewhere in his forties. The impression is lent testimony by the faint network of lines around his sky blue eyes. His dark hair is cropped short, with a scattering of gray throughout, rendered mostly silver at his temples. His expressive face might be handsome, but his features betray a dourness that places years upon him. The dark curves of his eyebrows are given easily to severity and otherwise full lips tighten too readily into a frown. However, on those rare occasions when he does smile, those grim features are utterly transformed, seized by mirth and made warm and alive. After a glimpse of the kinetic banter of moods on his face, the rest of him is almost an afterthought. Over a black t-shirt, he wears a black and red checkered shirt of dense flannel, and over that, a black leather bomber jacket. The layers of clothing don't quite hide the hint of a jagged scar curving a crescent into his throat along his collarbone. On the ring finger of his left hand is a gold band of intricately woven smaller bands.
Jeff is a young-looking, clean cut man in his twenties. His hair is short and brown, combed conservatively to one side, and he has half-sunken brown eyes. He's skinny, but tall, a few inches under six feet. At the moment, Jeff is decked out like the traditional (pretentious) young urban professional. White button-down long-sleeve cotton shirt, khaki pants so well-creased they look like they could cut someone, matching brown leather belt and shoes straight off the rack.
Gerald sits out at the picnic table, a cooler of beer nearby, and he drinks. There's already one empty bottle nearby, and he's getting a steady start on the second. He's got that look about him -- this is serious drinking. It's all business.
Well, hey now. There's something Adrian can help with! He parks his big-ass old truck and hops out, wandering over to the table and snagging one of the beers as he straddles the other bench. "Yo. 'Sup, ol' man?"
Jeff is a speck down the road. Not actually here, now.
Gerald watches Adrian invade the cooler of Beerhalla's bounty. He sits at the picnic table, drinking. "Lots," he grunts dourly. "First off, if you want in, you have to talk to the right people. Second, that's ol' man-rhya to you, Cliath." He smiles thinly, then takes another swig.
Jeff gets a bit further up the road, turning towards the cabin clearing.
Adrian's brows lift as he settles in, popping the cap off his beer with a bottle-opener on his keychain. "Oh, yeah? Congratu-fuckin'-lations, then, ol' man-rhya. Go you." He takes a swig of his own, then, and studies the bottle approvingly. "So, a'ight, who're the right people I gotta talk to? They all still lookin' to lynch me?"
Gerald replies amiably, "Yeah, they are. And thanks. You need to talk to Leo or Tsukikage. I can arrange a meeting, but if you show these elders even a glimmering of disrespect, it's not going to be an issue because I'll rip your head off myself. Got that?" He glances around, scoping the area casually. Habit.
Jeff 's probably marginally visible at this point. It's that garish sweater!
Adrian has the nerve to look wounded, and spreads his hands in that 'who, me?' gesture again, slightly marred by holding on to the beer bottle with one hand. "C'mon now, pops-rhya, when've I been anythin' but tot'ly respectful?"
Gerald eyes Adrian irritably. "I'm not kidding. Leo's got a temper that'll peel varnish, boy. I'm trying to save you some scars." He spies the garishness and calls out, "Who the fuck goes there? You'd better be someone I want to talk to or I'm kicking your ass."
Jeff shouts back, "Sounds like you're having a lot of fun. I return to Beerhalla in peace!"
Adrian just grins and settles back with his beer, getting some drinking done as he watches the friend-or-foe test and studies the approaching sweater with some interest.
Gerald pauses, then says gravely, "Come forward, then, and drink of Beerhalla's bounty. State your name and preferred brew. We've got a few to choose from tonight." He palms the label on his bottle. No one needs to know the truth -- that he's drinking blackberry ale. Mmm, fruity.
Jeff walks for a while longer, approaching. "Jeff again. What've you got?"
Adrian gestures vaguely to the cooler with his bottle. "Check it. It's the variety pack."
Jeff glances slightly at Adrian, looking him over en route to the cooler. He turns to Gerald as if to say something.
Gerald shrugs and says, "Ales, beers, porters, pilzners. I don't know. I just grab stuff. It was on the way. Oh, hey. Jeff? This is my punk-ass little shit son Adrian. Adrian, this is Jeff. He didn't cry like a little girl when I dug a bullet out of his shoulder last night."
Jeff filters through the cooler. "Nope. Didn't bite a bloodstained shirt and moan like a baby. Nice to meet you."
Adrian whips off a little mock-salute with the finger armour. "Yo. Nice t' meetcha. Looks like the shoulder's doin' a'ight now, huh?" He has another drink, and leans toward the cooler himself, taking in the array curiously. It didn't get a close look before.
Jeff nods, snagging a nondescript ale. "Yeah, I'm doing alright now."
Gerald gestures vaguely as he says, "We're all related here, so no need to dance around it. Jeff, I talked to Leo today. I'm to make sure you and Kevin are suitable for induction. Capiche?"
Jeff hrms slightly, sipping and blinking. "Suitable, Gerald-rhya?"
The Gerald's Personal Data System rings.
Gerald answers his Gerald's Personal Data System
"Fine upstandin' young citizens with an unblemished moral an' ethical record an' no fallen arches or scoliosis or anya that shit," Adrian explains solemnly. "They don't want anya th' wrong element round here, y'know. Gives a bad impression."
Gerald hangs up the Gerald's Personal Data System.
Gerald eyes his phone, rattles it a few times, then shrugs. "Yeah, something like that. Make sure you're not a traitor or dangerously stupid. Got a test for you, but we'll do it later. Also, you'll meet Dylan, and he'll help me weed you people out." He frowns at his phone, then starts punching buttons. "Scuse me."
Gerald picks up the Gerald's Personal Data System and begins to dial.
Gerald hangs up the Gerald's Personal Data System.
Jeff ahs. "I've got no comment on the latter, but I can assure you against the former." He smirks at Adrian's suggestion. "But tests are tests. I'll do what's asked."
Adrian grins, and drinks, slouched comfortably against the edge of the table.
Gerald glances at Adrian a little fretfully, for whatever reason. "Well, it's more like we need a Theurge to check something out for us. As far as I'm concerned, you and Kevin both proved you can follow orders, are intelligent enough to think on your feet, and don't bitch like pansy-assed babies when you take a hit. Promising. Plus, you respect rank. I like that. So this little errand is more of a formality. No need to sweat it. It's not for your inclusion, just the survival of our people."
Jeff mmmhmms, leaning against the table to drink. "Kevin... he's a Theurge too then? We never got around to actually introducing to each other."
Adrian arches a brow slightly at Gerald's look, but that's as far as the question gets. He drains what remains of his bottle, and sets it aside, leaning over the cooler to consider the options for replacements. He's probably listening, but it's hard to tell if he's tuned things out or something instead.
Gerald frowns at his boy. "I don't remember," he tells Jeff. "Maybe Philodox. I just meant the two of you were pretty decent last night. Hey, why don't you two introduce yourselves? Like I said, we're all related here."
From afar, Gerald . o O ( When they're quiet, they're thinking. I don't like it! ) :)
Long distance to Gerald: Adrian grins!
Jeff smiles slightly. "Introduce or *introduce*? I swear, I might as well print fliers." He drops his voice a bit (can never be too careful) and mock-advertises, "'Hi, Jeff Landers, Plots-Silently, Glass Walker Theurge, formerly of Lubbock.' Maybe get some bright colors and some clipart, slap it up in your cabin and let people figure it out."
Adrian grins, dropping back down into his seat with the chosen bottle, carelessly enough to shake the whole structure. "Adrian Quixwood, Weedkiller, Fianna Galliard, Cliath. Yo. I say, just work up a few posters an' slap 'em up around town. Get the word out."
Jeff laughs along. "Yeah, that's a good idea. Maybe leave an address so everything that goes bump in the night knows where I sleep. It can't fail!"
Gerald darts a glance at Adrian dourly, then grins, a little. Almost. "Make sure the clip art has bullets," he advises. "You both know me, but my title has changed since I introduced myself, so I invite you both to kiss my Fostern ass. Not literally." He gestures with his bottle to Jeff and says, "Not while you're sleeping on my couch, man."
Jeff says "I've got a ratty bed at the Last Resort for the rest of the week, I won't be on the couch again for a while unless something else tears me up."
Adrian arches a brow. "Shit, man, I dunno where that thing's been. We'll be keepin' that =nice= an' figurative, thanks." The bottle opener emerges again, making sort work of the second cap.
Gerald points out, "See, right there -- I can't imagine why our Beta taking issue with that? But he would. So be a nice little soldier boy when you talk to him." He gives Jeff an appealing look.
Jeff nods slightly. "You know me, Gerald-rhya. Obedient enough to stand up straight and kiss ass, dumb enough to walk into a warehouse and get capped by a druggie."
Adrian rolls his eyes slightly. "Ffft. Prollem with walkin' 'round with a big stick up your ass, someone's liable t' yank it out an' beatcha with it, someday." He takes a drink, and catches Gerald's expression. "Don't worry, I'll behave. Yessir nossir pleasedtameetcha."
Jeff finishes one bottle, shrugging. "If they're going to beat the hell out of me, they're probably going to do it anyway. I can minimize the chance of that by not saying anything too stupid." He adds, "And watching the moon very, very carefully."
Gerald sighs and says, "I am getting too old for this. Okay, okay. You'll both be fine. I'm paranoid, because I got a heap of responsibility today, and you know, responsibility doesn't settle well with me." He then spies a flicker of white out of the corner of his eye, and he grumbles, "What does she got?" The furry white creature darts off, and he gets up. "I'll be right back. I need to go kill this stupid cat. Lucky!" he bellows, stomping off.
Jeff chuckles at Gerald's pursuit. "Sorry if I come across as a snot. I've just got a lot more than myself riding on the decisions that get made around here."
Adrian takes another sip, and eyes Jeff, thoughtfully. "Nah, you come across a'ight. I was just gonna ask what broughtcha out here, act'ly. Though, I mean, Lubbock. I knew a chick from there, once; way she talked 'bout it even Nebraska was better."
Jeff cackles. Something hit home. "You're damn right it is. Nebraska probably has terrain... the only way you can tell there are three dimensions in Lubbock is all the dust blowing around."
Adrian grins again, taking a glace at the current surroundings. "She useta say that parta Texas was 'miles an' miles of nothin' but miles an' miles.'," he quotes, putting on a bit of an accent for it, and a slightly higher voice. It's not a bad little impression. "Yeah, Nebraska, you know there's three dimension's 'cause there's fuckin' grain growin' in alla 'em..."
Gerald emerges from the shadows with a piece of well-chewed bark mulch. He tosses it into the bushes and mutters, "Stupid dumbass cat." Flumping down on the bench again, he reaches for a beer, mumbling.
Jeff shrugs a bit. "Never been to Nebraska. Never been anywhere this hilly or cold, either. How do you stand this?"
Adrian shrugs. "'s not that bad, for late November," he remarks, glancing skyward. "Almost nice, really. Jacket an' practise, I guess." He adjusts his own jacket, while he's thinking about it, and has another swallow of his beer. "I like th' hills, though."
Jeff exhales. "I'll get used to it. The air's cleaner, since the dirt stays on the damn ground like it's supposed to."
Gerald says, "Eh, I've lived here so long it's home. Couldn't stand going back to Iowa. Or Scotland for that matter." He takes a swig from his bottle. "Anyway. Hopefully you'll both be inducted soon."
Jeff shrugs, reaching for a random drink from the cooler. "I'm not in a rush. You need me to go somewhere and do something just swing by and pick me up." Pop, swig, relish. "Besides, I'll probably hang around you half the time for the free drinks anyway."
"Iowa sucked," Adrian agrees, and studies Gerald curiously. "What's Scotland like? I mean, actually, not the, like, travelogue rolling green hills pamphlet shit."
Gerald replies wryly, "Scotland. Rains all the time, it's green. And everyone talks with funny accents." He then slips into a rather convincing accent himself, "We all wear kilts, too, 'an the whiskey floos like water." To Jeff, he asks, "What, you don't like my charming personality?"
Jeff smiles. "Oh I assure you, you've got an addicting charisma." He listens to the descriptions for a while. "If the whiskey flows like water, how... nevermind."
Adrian snickers, and gestures with his beer, "Hell, I'll wear a plaid skirt if it means copious kickass whiskey." He sips, looking thoughtful, "...though I'm prolly more likely t' wear it AFTER th' copious kickass whiskey, I guess. That prolly explains a lot, come t' thinka it."
Gerald says wryly, "Well, you've got my blood, so." He pauses, then says, "Hey, don't insult the Scots. You're a quarter Scottish, you know. And a quarter Cherokee. And whatever your mother was."
Adrian lifts a brow slightly at Gerald, and then grins. "=Three= quarters Scottish, then. And one Cherokee, huh? Cool. And hey, I can be prouda my ancestors without bein' deep into their fashion sense."
Gerald replies sagely, "Fair enough. I never wore a kilt, and as for skirts -- never you mind my sordid past. Just because you're a part of it. Oh, hey, Jeff." He pauses. "Shit. What was I going to ask you?" He takes another drink, Sure, booze will help his memory.
Jeff shrugs. "If it comes back to you, I'm here." He lounges, drinking and looking generally haggard. The sweater still itches.
Adrian lifts his bottle in a mock-toast to Gerald before drinking again, letting the table descend, if perhaps briefly, into boozy silence.
Gerald shakes his head and laments, "It's gone. Gone, gone gone. I think I should probably pass out or something. Hey, Jeff? Are you bleeding on my couch again, man? I didn't bother taking the blankets off because, well. You know."
Jeff says "Nah. Gonna take a long walk and pass out at the hotel. Can't abuse the hospitality of Beerhalla forever."
Gerald admits, "Probably not, but I don't mind. We're going to be expanding Beerhalla soon. I might even have a guest room added on or something, on account of all you deadbeats coming over here all the time."
Jeff hehs. "I'll keep that in mind when apartment-hunting. Get a guest room for you guys. Or a closet."
Adrian smirks. "Oh, fun. Everyone can come outta it an' have onea them big parades, or whatever." He shakes his head, and drains the rest of the bottle.
Gerald says wryly, "Eh, I came out of the closet a long time ago, but yeah, get something nice." He drains his beer, then says, "Welp, kids. I think I'm heading inside. Adrian, you staying?"
Jeff grunts, standing again and setting the second bottle on the table. "Alright, I'm gonna shuffle home."
Adrian nods. "Yeah, I'll hang a while. Can't leave you t' handle alla these yourself, or anything. I'm helpful like that." He rises, picking up his empties.
Jeff hehs. "See you both again, probably sooner than I'd expect."
Gerald waves amiably, "Take care, man. I'll be in touch. Soon. Real soon." He takes a drink, then realizes his bottle's empty, and eyes it, frowning.
Jeff says "If you need me for anything, I'm checked into Room 1 at the Last Resort for a few more days. Landers J., should be on the register."
Adrian scoops up the cooler, too, and de-straddles the bench, in preparation for heading it. "Nice meetin' ya, an'all."
Gerald promises, "I'll send over some druglords with high powered rifles. Take care, man." He gets up, too. Somewhere in the night, a brain-damaged white cat yowls, probably at a particularly menacing blade of grass.
Jeff starts off down the road, walking backwards. "You too! Finish the cooler off for me!" He turns and trods off down the road.
Gerald mutters, "Stupid cat," and meanders inside, dragging the cooler with him. He looks tired. Haggard. Cranky. And middle-aged, to boot, but that stands to reason. The white cat emerges, trotting up to meow at them both curiously. She's kind of cute, if one isn't opposed to white-furred blue-eyed cats.
Adrian gives a hand with the cooler, managing to make it come off more like he's not willing to risk it going away than like he's concerned about any tiredness or anything there. Hey, it's beer, it's moving, don't want it to move =away=... he eyes the cat, and mews back at her. Just to see what she'll do.
This confuses the creature, and she pauses, then trots up quickly, desperately, like Adrian has delivered a message of great importance, and suddenly, he's got a cat scent-marking his leg and weaving between his feet, meowing. Jerry nudges open the door and grunts, "Come on in, stupid." This to the cat, presumably.
Adrian follows, trying =not= to trip over or step on the cat, and... well, he manages not to fall over or cause any big yowls, so it's close enough to success. "You have a cat," he remarks, not a question, since it's quite evident.
Gerald sets the cooler inside, then starts sweeping blankets off the couch. Some of them are blood stained. "Yep," he says. "Rescued her when she was a kitten. That's Lucky, as in she's damned lucky I haven't made a throw rug out of her yet." Lucky trots in and hops up on the back of the couch, immediately and viciously attacking one of the blankets.
Adrian looks her over, watches the mad attack on the innocent linens. "...heh. She's kinda cute. Not the brightest bulb on the tree, though, huh?" He steps over to the cooler, and snags another bottle from it, without really looking. Not too picky, apparently.
Gerald sighs and says, "Retard." He tilts his head to one side, patting his shoulder as he says, "Lucky! Fur stole!" The cat stops, hunches, wiggling her tail, then vaults a graceful leap onto Jerry's shoulder -- it's not that much of a jump from the back of the couch. He doesn't seem to mind the claws digging in, either, as she curls around and drapes over his neck. "Heh. Taught her to do that as a kitten."
Adrian laughs, and shakes his head a little. "Cute, man. Good thing she ain't bigger, though. End up with onea those twenny-five pound farm cats who think they're still kittens." Out comes the bottleopener -- he stores the cap in his pocket, for now. "Always thought that one Raggie gift for openin' shit'd be kickass for drinkin', y'know?"
Gerald snorts and says, "Yeah, I guess it would be. I usually just bang 'em against something. I got the gift, though." He moves about, and the cat digs in her claws for purchase so as not to be thrown. That has to hurt. He doesn't seem bothered though. He puts the blankets away in the closet and takes out ones that aren't all bloody. "Learned it recently, actually. Comes in pretty handy, yeah."
Adrian grins, and flops onto half the couch, now that it's vacated. "Yeah. My old pack, had two Gnawer Raggies with it... fuck, that was fun. I mean, useful. Heh." He drinks, getting comfortably settled. Yup. It's all good.
Gerald tosses blankets on Adrian, shaking his head as he says, "You're a Hazeldine." There's something wistful his tone, grudgingly. "Damn, it's eerie, too. Like a ghost of the past with spiky hair." Lucky finds something interesting on the lapel of Jerry's coat and sniffs at it most intently.
Adrian catches the blankets -- poorly, the general one-armed clasp that just keeps something against you once it's hit -- and bundles them messily in his lap. "Yeah? We do kinda look related, I think. Never looked a lot like Mom." Who was short and blond, so it goes without saying, really.
Gerald smiles a little, looking pained. "Yeah, you got the family look. Personality, everything." He sighs, then looks away, shrugging. "Anyway, you can hang out here if you want. Everyone else does."
"Cool," Adrian acknowledges the invitation -- and the verdict. "...s'wrong?" He's not quite drunk enough yet to completely miss the pained look. He works on the current beer, though. Few more and we can fix that.
Gerald sighs, and he's quiet, his back to Adrian, and he lifts the cat up, murmuring to her, "What've you found there? Go get some dinner." He puts her down, oddly gentle, and then he starts transferring beer from the cooler to the fridge. "Just weird," he says after a moment. Lucky browses at her dish and settles down to eat, crunching dry food contently. "I mean, I've got a son. You're my son."
"Yup. An' I've gotta father. Which, y'know, logically, Mom sure's hell wasn't the virgin Mary, but." He watches the disappearance of the beer, working on the disappearance of his own. "Haven't figured out why we weren't s'posta know 'bout each other, yet. I mean, 'less it's the fruit thing, but, y'know, I c'n deal." And so graciously, too.
Gerald huffs a laugh, seeming okay with the graciousness. "Nah, it wasn't that. I know what it was, but I'm going to need some time, Adrian. I mean I won't keep it from you just to lord it over you. I just need time. Need to think of how to work it out. I... There is a place I'm going to take you, if I can. Kind of where it all began. Not far from here. I mean, you're my son. You have a right to know." Just who is he trying to convince?
Adrian studies Gerald silently over his beer, for a little, and then nods. "Yeah, a'ight. I c'n wait a li'l. Long's it's not gonna jump up an' bite me in th' ass before I'm prepared for it, or anythin'."
Gerald hesitates, then says, "It shouldn't. No. You need to ask Tsukikage-rhya or Leo-rhya for permission to join the Sept. He was pissed you didn't give a howl of introduction. It might be better to ask her. She wasn't here to be pissed about it. But ask, and do it soon. Then I can test your mettle and see if you're Sept material. Dylan can help, that's his job. He's another Fianna. About your age. The sooner the better, kiddo."
Adrian rolls his eyes a little. "I wasn't plannin' on doing anything 'rou-ly, just finding my dad. Whatever. Yeah, a'ight, I'll look for her, I guess. Want me to howl now? I don't particularly care."
Gerald shrugs and says, "Eh, sure, if you want. Frankly, I think it's a good idea to get the lay of the land before yowling out to everyone hey, I'm here. I'd just talk to Tsuki discreetly now that she's back. Tell her what you told me: you were just looking for your dad. Say you didn't think you'd be staying long, but then it turns out dad's 'family' so."
Adrian nods, gesturing vaguely with his bottle, "Yeah; I dunno how things are =here=, but 'round where I came from, you gen'rally try t' keep th' howling to a low level, or next thing you know it's wolf season and that bright orange shit doesn't fit real well in lupus." He shrugs, taking a drink. "So... where'm I likely t' find this Tsuki?"
Gerald offers, "I can introduce you. I could probably coax her out here." He smiles faintly, awkwardly. "Lotta people kind of eager to see this unexpected kid. I mean, I've been here longer than anyone. People kind of know me, and a son. Well. That threw everyone."
Adrian laughs. "Well, yeah, I mean, what with the havin' to fuck a chick part of the equation an' all, I guess... an' yeah. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan, have 'er over an' all, an' that way you c'n kick my ass if I'm outta line, or whatever."
Gerald says wryly, "That's the best part, right there. Get up. Come here." He putters around the kitchen, tidying up as Lucky crunches away. Mmm, dry food.
"Yeah, well, I ain't promising I won't kick =back=," Adrian returns, grinning, and unfolds from the couch, tossing the blankets down so that they half-sread out before he wanders over toward Gerald in the kitchen. Obedient, but nothing even vaguely resembling in a hurry... and the fact that he seems to have just finished his beer might have influenced the decision, possibly.
Gerald stops puttering and turns to look at Adrian, and for a moment, that's all he does -- he actually -looks- at the young man, taking in his features without flinching at the similarities, taking in the hair, the piercings, the oh so charming t-shirt (which gets a wry grin). Then, he says quietly, "I have a son." He he clasps Adrian's shoulders, letting something else in his expression show through all the worry and dread. Pride. Like it doesn't matter what the kid has done, will do, might do any second now. He's got a son.
Adrian grins, and ducks his head a little, a touch of colour coming to his cheeks. "Yeah, well, don't shout about it, or everyone'll want one," he quips, embarrassed pleasure peeking through the flippancy. He doesn't exactly rush in for a hug, but he doesn't pull away or tense, either.
Gerald looks a little awkward, like he's not sure what comes next, but then he smiles crookedly and says, "Nah, not after they meet you." It's flip, but there's genuine pleasure there, beneath the insult. He hesitates, then claps Adrian on the back in a Manly Hug (tm). "It's weird how you can have a dream come true you never know you had."
Adrian grins and leans in, returning the hug somewhat awkwardly, with the traditional three I'm-Not-Gay back-pats before pulling away. "Yeah, then they'll want two," he tosses back, and runs a hand across his spikes, which does not do any appreciable damage, to hair or hand. "It's... well, y'know. I always wondered."
Gerald laughs and says, "Gaia, help me. It's eerie." Shaking his head, he draws back and glances around. There's more puttering to be done. Dishes. No kinfolk around to wash up tonight, sigh. "So, uh. Yeah. I think I'm pretty happy about this. Even if you are Fianna."
Adrian hehs, and leans against the counter, setting his empty down. "Yeah, me too. Even if you are Get." He looks around, thoughtfully. "Nice t' actually have family, again, kinda. Mom's folks... well, anyway."
Gerald says quietly, "Yeah. I. Adrian, you have a right to know, whatever the Sept things about induction. In matters of family, you have a right to know. Watch your back, kid. Okay?"
Adrian arches a brow, and goes a little more serious, for what that's worth. "Yeah, all right. Is it likely t' get messed with, then?" He pushes off the counter, heading for the fridge, and snags another bottle, without really looking, again. Hell, it might be ketchup, for all the attention he puts into choosing it.
Gerald reaches over and says, "Hand me one." Then, with a sigh, he says, "Kid. Most of my side of your family was murdered, and it doesn't seem to have stopped. You happened to show up around the time the spirals that killed your grandparents, uncle, aunt, and great aunt did. Those spirals are dead. Maybe it's finally over, but I doubt it."
Adrian winces, and hands Gerald the bottle he'd retrieved, going back for another. Turns out it IS the ketchup. The one he comes out with this time is, in fact, a beer. "I guess I was late, then," he remarks, "...I mean, if I was earlier, I coulda helped make 'em dead. What... I mean... yeah, what happened?"
Gerald offers the ketchup back and says, "This is a little strong for my tastes. Do we have any beer in there?" Then, he says, "Well, maybe. Our Sept fought well, and I'm proud of them. There are still unanswered questions. Tell me, Adrian. About your mom's wreck. What happened?"
Adrian takes the ketchup back, blinks at it, and then laughs once, trading it for a proper drink. "Sorry. Gettin' more vitamins in your diet? Anyway. Yeah. Um. Well, she managed t' roll the truck off the highway, at onea the curves. The other truck, I mean. It was like 2 am, raining, an' I figure she was speeding. We usually take it 'bout eighty, most days. According to the coroner she's been drinking, but she wasn't over the limit or nothin'." He reports it all calmly, without a lot of emotion, but he focuses mainly on the act of opening the beer while he does.
Gerald frowns, tapping his bottle against the counter with his hand to uncap it. The cap skitters across the floor, and Lucky pounces on it, brave warrior that she is. He listens, nodding slowly, then takes a long drink before he says quietly, "My sister Mary was run off the road and died, car wreck. Mum and da, same thing. Marty, he and I both were in a wreck not too far out of town. Someone shot the tires out."
Adrian grins faint- and fleetingly at Lucky's little hunt, and takes a good swig of his beer. "...So basically, we got car accidents runnin' through the family as a hereditary illness, cancer an' heart disease kin'a thing," he says then, slowly. "There wasn't any obvious signsa it bein' anythin' but a basic one-car accident, or they woulda investigated harder, but..." Yeah, he's thinking about it now.
Gerald nods slowly. "And some other shit's gone down that you'll learn about once the Elders say you're in. It's more Sept related than family related, but it ties us here in a big, scary, bad way. But Adrian, that's ... there is more in your blood than most people know. It's why I wasn't there for you. Why Marty didn't want your mom to tell you about who your dad was. It's pointless, but it's not. It doesn't change anything, except knowing it kind of changes you."
Adrian gnaws his bottom lip a second, down to where the spike sits through the flesh, and takes another drink. "Well, now y'got me all intrigued," he remarks, almost certainly more lightly than he really feels. "I'll hafta meet that Tsuki chick soon, I guess."
Gerald smiles crookedly as he says, "Tsukikage-rhya doesn't even know about our blood. None of them do, except Min, and she doesn't even know the details. I'll tell you because you have a right to know. It's not that big of a deal, I guess, but it's why they hunted us."
Adrian nods, watching Gerald curiously and taking another drink. That part's pretty much automatic. Bottle is in hand. Bottle goes to mouth. One hopes he never gets distracted holding, say, the vinegar.
Gerald takes another drink, glancing around, but the only one he can see that isn't Adrian is Lucky, who is batting a bottlecap around the floor and couldn't even pretend to care about what these two are talking about. "You're a quarter Get," he explains calmly. "The other half of my blood, from my mother, your grandmother, is Croatan."
Adrian blinks, and his eyebrows threaten to climb off his forehead for a second there, piercing and all. "...no shit?" he asks, studying his father for signs of hilarity. "I thought they kinda all... took the big tribal dirtnap."
Gerald is dead serious, alas. Maybe he's just really good at pulling the wool over a guy's eyes. "Well, yeah. They have, more or less. The last pure blooded one I know of is a kinfolk, my cousin, who was adopted into the Fianna tribe. That's pretty much it for the Croatan."
Adrian considers this, beer bottle hovering, poised midway to a sip. "Huh. ...good tribe choice." The sip is completed -- more of a swallow, really. "...so the spirals are workin' on finishin' the job, or what?"
Gerald says sourly, "I have issues with the Fianna, and now I have issue among them. We'll work it out. Anyway, aside from making my existence obsolete and spitting on the sacrifice of my family, they're not a bad tribe. And yeah, there was a pack of spirals working on finishing the job. I killed their leader. There were others. I can't talk about them beyond that."
Adrian arches a brow again, but doesn't seem inclined to start a tribal debate at the moment. "Mm." Another swallow, and he watches Lucky hunting inanimate objects for a few moments, again. "Good stuff t'know, I s'pose. Thanks."
Gerald shrugs a little and says, "Eh, yeah. If you find someone trying to kill you, at least you'll have a heads up to why. I mean, yeah. I guess it matters more to me because I was supposed to protect him, and it took me away, and it's why I couldn't be there, and now he's gone, and."
Adrian looks confused, and his response supports the theory. "Huh?"
Gerald sighs and starts to pace. Lucky bats at his foot in passing, then goes after the bottle cap again. "Okay, my cousin. Before you were born -- quite awhile before you were born -- my aunt got pregnant. It was kind of a big deal, because of her bloodline. With me so far?"
Adrian nods, leaning on the counter. Nice counter, to help him stay standing so easily. Not that there's any problem after only four or so beers, but still.
Gerald should probably tell this while Adrian is sober, but good luck finding a Fianna /and/ a Hazeldine that way. He paces, and he talks. "She's the one they went after first. She had the baby near here, stashed him somewhere, and ran. They found her before we did, and some people found the baby. Anyway, I had my first change just out of town around here, tracking her, finding her dead body in the desert."
Adrian makes a face, and nods a little. "So. What happened then? You bring her back?"
Gerald shakes his head. "No time. Buried her. Anyway, this is a long story, and I kind of had an idea of how I wanted to tell it, but it wasn't like this. What say we take a drive or something soon? You're barely staying on your feet, Danny Boy." He offers an arm to help Adrian stumble to the couch, not that he's all that steady on his feet either.
Adrian fffts, and waves a hand dismissively, though he ends up taking the arm anyhow. "I'm fine. Takes a few more'n this to put me down. Soon works, though. Not like eithera us're goin' anywhere in the near future, right?"
Gerald says cheerily, "Oh, I'm sure you're just tired from the day's, uh, stuff. And yeah, I don't plan on going anywhere. Unless, you know, we all die horribly, which is a distinct possibility, but until then, I should be around." Over to the couch he goes, and Lucky follows after curiously.
"Well, actually. Yeah. I went 'partment huntin'. Didn't find one. Did find this cute chick in the middlea movin' across town whose friends crapped out on her. So." Adrian gestures vaguely with the bottle toward where his truck's sitting outside, and shrugs, then grins. "She was pretty happy not t' hafta carry her own bed an' dresser an' shit up there." He drops onto the couch, having a seat. Just getting comfy. Yup.
Gerald sits on the floor, and Lucky promptly jumps up to inspect this newly created lap on her couch, sniffing at Adrian's leg thoughtfully before climbing aboard and curling up. "Oh, well, aren't you the gentleman. And here, I was just trying to cover for the fact that, man, you're -wasted-." He smiles sunnily.
Adrian pets Lucky absently, finger armour and all. "Am not, he insists, "Only had, lessee." Pause. Count. "...a'ight, seven, I guess, but the first three were a few hours back. 's only =beer=. Hey, by th' way, d'you mind if I smoke in here?"
Gerald eyes Lucky, who stretches out under the scritching in a shameless display of, well, cat behavior. "I don't particularly care for it, and I'm sure Steven will skin you alive. C'mon, we'll head outside. You don't want to make the little blond Polack mad. He'll getcha."