Logs:Bartering for Wine

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Bartering for Wine


Characters: Gast, Hudson, Rain, Sage & Slip
Date: 2020-03-27
Summary: Two changelings, two werewolves, a squirrel and one sage talk friendship and fairies over wine in the park.
Disclaimers:

It's a beautiful night, magnificently dark with only a sliver of a crescent occasionally emerging from behind drifting cloud-cover. With the city so much quieter than usual, businesses which might otherwise still be open at this hour closed, the light pollution is sufficiently reduced to allow the stars to seem more plentiful. The night's warm, teetering toward uncomfortably so, but a frequent breeze keeps it cool, mitigating the humidity for what few lost souls might wander out against official advisement into the half-empty city and its very nearly barren park. Really, there's nobody out here. All the events and festivals have been cancelled. Only a few distantly spaced runners make use of the trails. And a pair of Lost sit far too close to one another on a patch of lakeside grass.

There are only inches between Slip and Gast where they sit looking out over the water where all that pretty moonlight and starlight reflect into abstract glitter, just enough space, really, for a bottle--wine tonight, a nonspecific red varietal with a rather pretty rose-patterened label--to be passed between them while they talk. Their silhouettes might go wholly overlooked, really, mistaken for shrubs or an oddly shaped bench were it not for Slip's sudden burst of laughter that sinks quickly into self-conscious snickering. "I remember," she says needlessly, the outburst confirming that much. "But this wasn't like that. Not really. The guy still had his pants on."


Hudson has been going pretty stir crazy cooped up in the condo he shares with the rest of his pack. Not that it's not a nice place, or plenty big, but he wants to be outsiiiiiiide. He's been pacing around restlessly for days, but the arrival of Sage from out of town presents a good excuse to get out and get some fresh air. The northern edge of the city park is not too far from where the pack is based in Lakeshore, and it's not as though they've got anything much to fear from going out after dark, so Rain and Hudson are giving Sage a tour of the local area. Hudson isn't *quite* as bouncy as usual today, but he keeps up a good flow of conversation with his packmates as they move through the park, and it's likely they will be heard long before they're seen. "This place is pretty neat..." Hudson is explaining as the small group rounds the bend near where Slip and Gast are sitting "I think this is where I ran into Rain the first time, right? Do you reckon Jester is around?" Hudson asks, casting a watchful gaze about the place as though expecting to see him.


A potion by the 'ocean' - a bottle of wine between Gasp and slip as they look out over the water. "I don't think a taxi driver needs a guy's pants to be off to bar him entry, when he's trying to unlatch the door handle with a hard-on," he rebuts - though through chuckles spent at the reminiscing, indicating that while they may or may not agree on the policies set by cab drivers and whether or night denying service is a right, he is certainly having a good time. Fingers brushing fingers at the hand-off of wine without any notion of apology. He tilts his head back to take a long swig of it, missing out on the aroma to get right down to taste and effect. Should liquor stores cease to operate in the near future, he will surely regret this recklessness. But for now, he's living for the moment - as Darklings do, in shadow.

Gast has forgone layers, tonight - opting for the pants of a charcoal-gray suit, without the jacket. The sleeves of his aegean blue dress shirt are rolled up to the elbows of his lithe limbs, his tie a solid indigo. His chuckles taper off at an approaching voice. He hands the bottle off. And leans back to turn his head and watch for the source.


Rain, dressed conservatively in black jeans and a hoodie, walks on the other side of Sage. Protecting him, unconciously. "I'm sure he is..." Rain smirks a little. "I could find him but he usually finds me. Hears my voice, smells me on the wind. I expect any moment he'll..." And then, from a tree nearby, a peanut shell sails through the air, to hit the ground in front of Rain, and there's a little laughing chitter. Rain moves toward the tree, extends his arm, and a little Squirrel climbs down right onto it, moving to his shoulder, then burying himself under Rain's hoodie, head peeking out until Rain pulls out a peanut from his pocket to hand to the little squirrel. "Yeah he's around." He smiles. He looks over to Gast and Slip...And immediately knows they're changelings, just as they immediately know that he and Hudson are werewolves. In first tongue, which sounds a little like a guttural growly sort of language, Rain says ["Careful."] to Hudson.


Sage is in jeans and a v-neck t-shirt tonight that fits a little snug. He walks along, looking around, and he seems laid back. "You guys met here? That's so cool," he says. He starts a little at the peanut shell, then he look around more intently. He smiles with delight at the squirrel. "That's so cool," he says. "Does he bite?" He doesn't risk it by putting his fingers anywhere near the little animal.

He glances then to the wine. Then he notices there are people attached to it. "Remind me to stop somewhere on the way home," he says. "I need about a case to pinot noir to get through this transition. He isn't sure what Rain has told Hudson, so he just smiles pleasantly and callls over, "Hey, do either of you know where I can get some of that?" He nods to the wine bottle.


Slip spills into giggles as Gast issues his counterpoint, flopping forward to bury her head against her knees to quiet her laughter. Oh, how it carries while the world's so very nearly still! It's enough to make the oft-quiet darkling blush in unnecessary embarrassment. She doesn't pick her head back up, potentially heavy with that heady red already, until Gast catches the voices already on her radar, one odd ear tilted toward the pack meandering their direction. Despite the warning earlier in the day about recurring abductions, she doesn't seem the least bit concerned by the trio's approach. Until Gast is.

Though concern might be the wrong word. Awareness. Interest. She shares it, snagging the bottle before she turns to look at the trio, angling a bit of a tipsy smile their way. It's hard to get a good look at what she's wearing from her seated position, but it looks like a comfortable tee shirt and jeans, the former sufficiently dark that she nearly blends in with the world around her. When she isn't moving. If one doesn't see the logo on the front. "We've got another right here," she croons in answer to Sage's inquiry, shamelessly tempting him closer. Really, if all the liquor stores suddenly shut down, she's very likely to get deeply involved in criminal enterprises in order to support her recreational habits. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. "For a price," she appends with a narrowing of her eyes. "A story. Or secret. Or poem. Or..." Something. The thought trails off with the darkling still searching for more words.


Hudson starts slightly when that peanut shell comes flying down from a nearby tree, though he laughs happily when the little squirrel comes scampering on down to say 'Hi' to Rain. Huson is dressed similarly to the rest of the group, in dark skinny jeans and a black tank top, not seeming bothered by the cool breeze that wafts occasionally through the park. He glances up sharply when the wolves and the fae become aware of one another, the Irraka's nostrils flaring slightly as he draws in a deep breath, scenting the air. "Fairies" he murmurs to the other two, nodding in agreement with whatever Rain says, though when he looks back to Slip and Gast, he gives them both an amiable grin as his group draws closer, though coming to a halt short of being threateningly so.


Gast's Mien displays a clockwork eye in place of his left - to those that view his Mask, a discordance in that his left pupil remains permanently dilated. The clockwork possesses a camera's aperture instead, widening further still that what the low light of the park has set it to, with a gentle whir - allowing in the light from dulled stars, and what his kenning wants to show him. Wolves. And, one, seemingly not, who gets a second look for the company kept in case he missed something. Instead, he misses out on that blush he might have otherwise relished. He keeps his composure. Even puts on a crooked, but welcoming enough kind of smile to answer Hudson's amiable grin. He lifts his hands, shirt drawn taut to lean and hungry form as he half turns from his still-seated position, to show that they're empty. "Evenin' fellas," he offers over, tone a calming one, a, 'no need to start trouble' kind of attitude held by gunslingers in old western films. Only, he doesn't have the drawl. He doesn't have a southern accent in the slightest, really.

He opens his mouth to answer about the wine when - hey, is that a squirrel? He blinks at the critter peeking out from beneath Rain's hoodie. It is. Right. He doesn't comment on that yet, whether he thinks the question might insult relatives among the infrequently furry. Slip picks up where he left off about the wine and dips into Darkling opportunity. He doesn't contradict her not so sinister seeming racket of secrets when she makes her pitch. Just shrugs. What she said. Small talk? "Just out for a walk?" He squints, even as he says it; like that too might be taken as offensive to those of the canine persuasion. More used to the undead than the animalistic - save for the Beasts of his kin. And maybe he's had a little too much of that wine. As well as the bottle that preceded it.


Rain smiles at Sage. "Not unless you scare him, squirrels can be a bit flighty, but he's a brave little guy even so." He speaks softly to Jester, scritching his head that's poking out from under his hoodie as the little squirrel decides to stuff his cheeks full of the peanut he was given, shell and all, then hops up to Rain's shoulder, jumps back to the tree to go pack away his treasure in his nest, then dive-bombs from the tree back to Rain's shoulder, landing with a THUMP and a playful laughing chitter. Then, although this is atypical squirrel behaviour, he does a little jumping dance for a moment. "And...he's very amused by his name." Rain admits. "I got him to understand roughly what a jester was, and now he does little dances like that." He smirks a little. Then Jester decides to run over to hang out in the hood of Rain's hoodie, nestling in, peeking his head out a bit as he seems...less comfortable with the two darklings than with the wolves and wolfblood. At the offer, to Sage, Rain just says, quietly, "Be careful about making promises. In general, but...especially right now." He clears his throat. And gives the two a wave. "We were showing him around. He's..." a pause. "Ours." And that is ambiguous, but. They're wolves, so. Probably a pack thing.


Sage looks to Hudson and says, "Honey, so am I." Then he wiggles his fingers at the squirrel, and he steps closer to the Changelings, having no idea Changelings even exist. His education is sorely lacking. He glances back at Rain when Rain says he's theirs, and he grins, showing dimpled cheeks. Then he comes to stand before Gast and Slip, a dutiful six feet away, and he runs a hand through his artfully disheveled hair. "A story? Huh. Okay, when I was thirteen, I snuck out of the house to go to a church service with a Protestant friend of mine, only we snuck downstairs to the basement, found the communion wine, and drank it all. We got so wasted. He got in a huge amount of trouble, but I was like 'hey I didn't know any better' and they apologized to me for the whole thing. My Mom never found out, so it's a story //and// a secret."


Slip doesn't pay much mind to the squirrel and its comings and goings until it comes back again in so dramatic--and adorable--a fashion, the dance earning a quiet titter as she turns a little more to mirror her fellow darkling. Her own clockwork parts are more subtle to those who can see her mien: that odd distance in her pale eyes, a faint metallic sheen to her skin, the mostly hidden movement of oddly shaped ears beneath her hair. Really, she's not that far off from human, a creature of subtlety (when sober, at least) and shadows. Pay no mind to how her edges seem indistinct when not focused directly on her. Trick of the light, to be sure. Catching the description from one wolf and warning from the other, she angles a sidelong look to Gast, a brief thing that precedes agreement of, "Careful making promises in general. There are worse things in this world than the two of us."

But Sage is approaching, bold and unknowing, earning a straightening of her posture that she might hear his offering in some entirely made-up, self-appointed official capacity. "And thematic," she croons approvingly, deeming it worthy. One hand still holding their half-empty bottle, she reaches for another tucked against her hip. No, not that one. It's empty. The other. Right. There. Same stuff! Cheap but sweet, with enough earthiness to remind the world that it really is red. "Fairly paid and fairly given." Except that she's not getting up, and those six feet are a lot of distance to reach across. He's gonna have to come closer.


Once the initial wariness has passed, Hudson sort of visibly relaxes, his posture slouching a little as that state of heightened awareness slips. "Yeah, just getting some air..." he agrees with Gast, giving the guy a nod. Taking a step or two closer, Hud's head tips to one side, peering at Gast's mechanical eyes with interest for a few seconds, before his face eventually breaks into a grin. "Badass" he states simply, before his attention is drawn to Sage, who clearly missed the memo about fairies being an ACTUAL THING. Still, it seems harmless enough and Hudson laughs at the story, finding a spot to lean up against a nearby tree as the two groups are drawn into conversation about the bottle of wine.


Gast does his best not to get distracted by squirrel acrobatics. Only on several very brief occasions does his discordant gaze deviate from the presently bipedal among them to track the fluffy motion of the critter visitor until hiding itself once more, at the recognition of the presence of both Slip and Gast. "Yours. Got it," he acknowledges the claim, and lowers his hands. He misses the quiet prelude to Sage's 'So am I', losing out on what would have been worth a chuckle if only for not hearing the set up. Rather, when Slip gets that story out of Sage, he manages a, "Huh." That was quick. A knowing nod, backing what Slip says of things worse in this world that might seal a binding tongue. To Sage: "It won't taste as good as stolen communion wine. There's hardly any sin involved," he forewarns, adopting a less cautious, dryer and slightly more sardonic tone. "But enjoy."

For someone dressed in most of a fitted suit, he's not all too bothered by grass stains, sitting like he is, on the grass. Knees bent slightly upward, feet extended ahead of him toward the water - nothing between pants at the grass below. His crooked smile grows further into a crooked grin, pleased with himself as his clockwork eye - a camera's aperture with proper clockwork around it - should be deemed badass. And though things seem mostly to be calming, naturally, he gives the additional assurance to the trio that's met their duo, that, "I'm Accorded." Less awkward about the wolves, now that the initial meet (but not introductions) have passed.


Rain, unconciously protective of Sage, walks closer to the darklings, leaning back against a tree as Jester grooms the back of Rain's head. It's basically the highest complement a squirrel could ever pay you--treating you like a fellow squirrel. Sage doesn't seem to get that Hudson was being serious, and that just means Rain will have to have 'the talk' with him later. About fae, vampires, ghosts...Ghosts that he can now see, actually. They're particularly fun. But then he realizes no one has introduced anyone. "I'm Rain. This is Sage, and Hudson." He offers. "I will...expect as a professional courtesy that should our names have power, you will not exploit that?" He's mostly joking. But like. Faeries and true names are a whole thing. "Oh and this is Jester." He pulls Jester out from behind him, and speaks quietly to him and Jester, no joke, actually bows. "This is his home actually. We're all guests of his." Jester chitters again with that amused squirrel laughter, and hops onto Rain's head. "Best behaviour everyone." He jokes. "I'm accorded too. We will need to get you in on the accords." He mentions to Sage. "Soon."


Sage has been avoiding crowds and people lately, but for wine, he's willing ot take certain risks, so he steps closer to Slip and Gast, and he reaches out to take the wine. "It was the beginning of a lifelong affair with the stuff." He winks, then says, "Thanks. I was totally willing to give you money for it. Until I can get some shopping done, I'll take what I can get."

When Rain introduces them, he nods and says "Yeah, I'm Sage. I'm, uh, their friend's cousin. Just got here from New York." He steps away now that he's got his prize. "But I haven't been exposed, so I don't have to quarantine." He glances to Hudson and Rain, and he nods. "Okay. I've heard of the Accords, but I don't know a lot."


Slip's grin skews with wry amusement at the voice appreciation for Gast's clockwork eye, noting in a quiet aside to her companion, "I prefer the other one." Which might take on an entirely different meaning for anyone who missed Hudson's study of her friend's mien. "We can fix that," she quips of the absence of sin, the offer directed toward Sage. When he steps closer, though, her voice takes on a slightly different lilt, a little more sincere as she assures, "You paid my price. It's yours. But if you really want to up your bid?" She looks to the others to make clear the invitation extends to them. "Sit with us. Share a drink. Think you might be the first of your kind I've met." And by 'think,' she means know, but it sounds a little softer that way, curiosity framed in a slightly milder manner.

Turning a little further, she makes a shoddy attempt at a respectful bow, her seated position not lending itself well to the gesture, the regard paid entirely toward Jester as his position of import is noted. "We appreciate your hospitality, kind squirrel." She even lifts her bottle and drinks in his honor before handing their opened bottle off to Gast. Really, the easiest way to tell that this is the cheap stuff? The one in Sage's hand has a screwtop. That's concerning. "Slip. From Miami." No mention of her exposure. Best not to frighten them off after extending invitation. "What is it you do, Sage of New York?" With an arch of her brows, she extends that question to, "And Hudson with his keen senses?" A smile for the last of the trio, she notes, "We've already seen what you do, Disney Princess Rain." A term of appreciation, not intended in any derogatory way. Even if she might've been more tactful if more sober.


Gast's grin earns a thumbs up from Hudson in appreciation of the cyborg eye, which he keeps glancing at in apparent fascination. He pushes up off the tree he's resting against when Rain introduces himself properly and follows up with "Hudson Jones, Hud. Good to meetcha both." with a broad grin as he takes a few steps nearer to where the pair of changelings are sitting. When Sage indicates he wants to go shopping for wine, he helpfully offers "I've got skittles vodka I think. You ever make that? We could make Jello shots." with all of the class and good taste for which twenty-ish year old college students are so well known. When the invitation to be social is extended, Hudson lowers himself to the ground, within easy talking distance of the group, though just slightly out of arm's reach, for politeness sake. When asked what he does, he answers "I'm meant to be studying computing at UNO, but right now I'm mostly just slacking off" he explains with a lazy roll of his right shoulder.


Gast dips his chin downward, at the recital of names. And another nod extended to the addition of Jester, kind enough to host them in their realm. And his grin doesn't waiver at the asking that they won't exploit the nature of them. One hand back up. Scouts honor. "As long as you like at least one of them," he retorts to Slip as an aside when he lifts his chin; matters of prefered eyes. "I'm just happy to see from both." An ocular equal opportunity kind of changeling. A lift of one expressive brow and further amusement over Slip's note toward the potential inclusion of sin. He takes the bottle offered over, and waits to add his own moniker to the mix until Slip has.

"Gast," he introduces. His hand of scouts armor transitioning into a wave before its dropped - the gesture an affectation that seems right at home at an AA meeting. Along with habit of adopting names. He takes another swig and starts to swivel the rest of him around, further grass staining his pants - but putting the water behind him, where he sits, and the trio ahead of him, instead - Slip going from his left to his right. He holds the drink until she reaches to take it back. And exhales sharply at the Disney Princess comment. "She's just jealous of your squirrel friend," he assures. "And any pleasure is likewise," he replies to the group as a whole. Not contradicting Slip's invitation to proximity. "Had Skittle Vodka. Or something like it," he relates. "Ended up in the dishwasher to speed things up. Only someone added dishsoap and dishes to the cycle."


Rain laughs. "Not a princess today." He says mysteriously, "Although, you wouldn't be the first to call me that. Or the fifth." He admits with a shrug. And then moves to sit across from Slip, in a seiza position. "You know how difficult it is to get Hudson or I drunk without...spiritual assistance? Better not to waste the wine, honestly, more for Sage. Even if, as a former medical professional, I would advise against it." He shrugs. "But I doubt Sage is in any real danger." If for no other reason than the fact that if he DOES get sick, Rain will murder any disease spirits that come around him. Should help. Jester decides to retreat into Rain's hoodie, down the front. "Anyway it's not -all- I do. I do a lot of...odd things." He admits. "But I suppose speaking to animals does kind of stand out. I probably have more animal friends than people friends, to be honest." There's no probably about it really, he definitely has more animal friends.


Sage takes a seat beside Rain and says, "I'm an intern with the city government, though I'm mostly working from home these days." He tucks the wine bottle beside him with a loving, protective gesture. Sweet vino, his true passion. "Though what I really do is hang out at my cousin's place and do, uh, whatever he wants me to do, I guess. He's pretty easygoing, so I have free time." He glances at Rain and Hudson, deferring to them wordlessly, and he doesn't elaborate on what he means by any of that. He then asks, "Am I allowed to ask you guys why you're Accorded? You seem normal to me, but just about everyone does."


"I'm a big fan of slacking off," Slip notes approvingly to Hudson as he settles in a bit closer. "And skittles vodka. And jello shots." She doesn't look to be too far removed from legal drinking age herself, having maybe a couple years on them. By appearances. The wolves might know how deceiving looks can be. When accused of jealousy, she... agrees, lifting a hand to hold thumb and forefinger a half-inch apart to quantify that emotion, even if her remark wasn't born from it. "Off-duty princess," she concedes to Rain. "Nobility easily observed without the need for traditional fixings." Is that the word she meant? She thinks on it for only a moment before Gast's tragic tale of skittle-vodka-gone-wrong earns a dire look. "That's how people go winter."

When Rain settles in and explains about the werewolves' reduced capacity for inebriation, she gives him a sympathetic look, as if he'd said that someone he knows caught the plague. "If there's anything I can do to help," with his unfortuate situation of being magnificently resistant to the effects of alcohol? Yes. She's here to help. Somehow. There's gotta be a goblin contract for that, right? Still, on to brighter topics. No need to dwell on tragedy. "What makes someone a friend?"

Shifting her focus to Sage, her pale eyes brighten at the mention of his work, and she notes, "I had been working on a campaign until recently. Everything going down, guy decided to bow out. Decided his family was more important than his career, and it's hard to argue with that." So, no more governmental work for her at the moment. But plenty of time to answer questions! "We're fairies." No harm in repeating what's already been said. "Maybe, once you're all sworn in and promised to play nice, I'll show you." The way her words curl at the end, it sounds like a question, like she's offering a deal, and he need only agree to it. Bad, fairy. Tsk!


"Told you" Hudson jumps in immediately when Slip repeats that she and Gast are fairies. There's a slight tug at the leftmost corner of his mouth as a smirk threatens to form, though it doesn't last long and he falls quiet again, listening as the others talk. Even relaxed, he seems relatively watchful at being out so late at night, with occasional slight flaring of his nostrils and regular glances given about the surrounding area. He nods in approval as both Rain and Sage introduce themselves. "It's a new pack" Hudson explains when Sage trails off, gesturing vaguely northward as he adds "We're based up around Western Lakeshore" with relatively little concern, since the changelings are accorded.


Today. Gast catches that distinction, and it does get a brief but curious glance. But no further. Maybe balancing it against the possibility that it's an inside joke he's missing out on. "No such resistances here," he shares. Drugs and alcohol hit him as they do - maybe harder than they ever have, given his lean and hungry stature. He looks closer to thirty than to twenty, but not yet past that milestone. Maybe even younger, clean shaven - the fae smoothness of his once sun-kissed but now dulled pallor, and the rusted freckles across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose in mien.

A grunt that might be slight jealousy at the ability to talk to animals - or maybe it's the opposite, disregard for wanting to hear the chittering of critters. Only an empathetic may know for sure, the specifics of the sounds translation, in this case. "Gotta get along, to get along," he tells Sage, the intern in politics (a point he expects Slip to pick up on) and the supernatural, to answer to why he signed, aside from what he can't see and what Slip recalls (faeries). "Just made settling in, for however long, a little easier; not being on the outside." Which is a statement made more pragmatic for another aside, in response to Slip. "It was fine. Just a little sudsy."

"Anywhere worth eating or drinking, out that way - you know, when everything opens back up?" he asks Hudson. Further evidence that he's quite new in the area.


Rain looks to Sage as he asks the question. "I'll...give you a rundown of what's out there, later." It's gonna be quite a talk. "Uh. They aren't...actual faeries. Or not. True fae." A pause as he turns to Slip and Gast. "Sorry, I'm certain you two can explain this better than I can, but I think we can all agree he should know actual fae are not as...harmless as you two...nor as trustworthy, I'm certain. Although I know little, I know that much. Better not to get the two confused." He pauses. "Anyway...As for what makes a friend a friend...That's sort of philosophical, but I can tell you that I've had several animal friends who trust me with their lives, against all instinct to the contrary, and what more could you ask of someone but to make themselves vulnerable to you? Jester is a squirrel. Do you think he'd get this close to just anyone? He trusts me. I guess that's what friendship is. Deep trust. Also I would -absolutely- fight to protect him. If needed. He isn't just some squirrel, he's someone I'd protect with my life." There's a chitter from under his hoodie, and Jester climbs out from underneath and climbs up the front of Rain, back to his shoulder, chittering lowly to him. "Well they asked, and I answered. Why, how do you define it?" Chitter chitter. And then rain sighs, and pulls out an almond for the little squirrel, who grabs it and runs off back to his tree. "Apparently Jester thinks friends don't give other friends peanuts when they have almonds or cashews they could give instead. He thinks he's so funny." He laughs.


Sage tells Slip, "I always play nice." And look at that innocent face, would he lie? Probably, and laugh while he did it. Still, there doesn't seem to be anything overly treacherous about him in the moment. It's a lovely night, and he's in good company. Color him content. "Fairies," he says quietly. "Like... fairies?" He glances at Gast and Slip, and he just can't see it. "I don't know anything about those, except what they have on TV and in books, and I already know that's never an accurate representation."


Slip wiggles a bit to reorient herself toward her fellow darkling as her expression goes unduly serious. "Gast?" She's concerned. "Sudsy is not fine. Not anymore." The sober facade is already starting to crack, a hint of a grin preceding a reminder that, "We have standards now." Like cheap, screwtop wine with no soap bubbles in it, which she snags back from him before teetering back around to face the partial pack again and take a swig. Which draws a bit long when Rain mentions True Fae. Her expression when the bottle comes back down demonstrates the difference between feigned weight and genuine gravity, the mention of that assortment of horrors earning acknowledgement and correction. "Yes," for Rain. Then, to Sage, "We're changelings. The Lost. Broken free from real fairies and their inhuman machinations." It sounds like an awfully big conversation. But it's one they've already broached. And so, with a deep inhale, she summons her smile back up and circles back to, "I certainly hope you don't. Always play nice. Just... on this. Best we all keep each other safe, mm? What would you like to know about us?"

She keeps an ear tilted toward Hudson at Gast's inquiry, a slight metallic lobe peeking past dark hair at an angle incongruent with its partner. Her gaze, though, returns to Rain to listen to him speak of friendship so openly, a warm smile settling in. And brightening for Jester's reported addition. "I like both those answers. Someone you can be vulnerable with. Someone you share your best with." Yeah, that's a happy thought.


"There's some sick places dude" Hudson nods enthusiastically when Gast asks about places to eat and drink. "You like fish or lobster? There's a bunch of wicked seafood places all along by the marina there" he explains, gesturing vaguely northwestward from where they're currently sitting "plus it's kind of a residential area, so it's not rammed full of out of town types" he explains, before laughing awkwardly and adding "Not that there's anything wrong with that!" with a slight lift of his shoulders. Hudson glances over at Rain as he starts explaining all manner of things to Sage, blinking thoughtfully once before turning his attention back to the pair of changelings. He winces slightly when he catches Slip's expression dropping so suddenly, though it seems to pass quickly enough. When Hudson catches sight of a metallic earlobe, he is quick to once again enthuse "Sick!" with an approving nod, before declaring "It'd be pretty cool to be a cyborg."


Gast doesn't step in to help, on what he or Slip is. Only offering faux shock at the suggestion that they have standards now. "Since when?" the teasing retort. As if it's news to him, with regards to his place in that. But he does listen in on the summary, gaze shifting with his curiosity to quietly assess what outside sorts might know of his kin - curiosity arriving with the same, casually quippy regard, implying no danger. Accords furthering that. The philosophies of what gets a friend, as urged by Slip, has him on the sideline, taking back the wine only after a brief departure from it, on matters of True Fae, another pull of the wine that she and him have kept to share. But he attends it with momentarily quiet interest. Curious and listening, even if he's the one with the clockwork eye and the mostly mortal ears. And that's not just because he wants to watch the squirrel some more, outside the usual behaviors of the ones he finds in parks - avoiding his drunk or high self and keeping to the trees. "We don't," the following quip, added to Slip's on the subject of playing nice.

He returns the wine to between he and Slip. A glance her way when she replies, on friendship. And back to the wolves and their Sage. And the multitude of 'sick' places that likely don't mean pandemically so. "Yeah. Sure." Fish AND lobster. All of the above. "No, I get it. Last port of call was in Florida," he adds, not offended by the distinction. Local and not. The droves of outsiders making for a strange ebb and flow of transient populations. "Aside from the whole battery-changing part. No easy way about it," he tells Hudson, observing Slip. Misleading with an entirely straight face as he steals a need for mischief from those around him.


Rain considers. "Is it better to know all this or to be blissfully ignorant of it?" He wonders. "I didn't know anything until a few years ago when I suddenly became a werewolf. Well. I had a spirit telling me things but spirits have a particular view of the world so it was hard to really get much meaning from it. All I knew is that I had what appeared to be an imaginary friend who I could speak with in my own made up language...and that turned out to be a spirit speaking to me in first tongue, and me speaking back in first tongue. Imagine my surprise when I changed..." He pauses. "A lot of our...origins...Werewolves and changelings both...can be pretty traumatic. And best not spoken of. But suffice it to say, it can be a sort of catharsis. Transition is always painful though. The best you can hope for is to have friends helping you through it. Or to find friends after the fact to help you cope with your new state of affairs." He frowns a little at that, looking to Sage. "Sorry, I don't mean to be so philosophical suddenly. In any case, we are what we are and now we all have to deal with it. I didn't expect I'd be policing the spirit world, but here I am. And there are side benefits." He leans forward and, slowly and intently, grabs that empty bottle next to Slip, drawing back and, after a moment, he reshapes it as if it were clay, forming it into a ball, then gently working it in his hands until, after a few moments, it becomes a glass rose, stem and all, handing it to Slip after with a smile.


Sage glances from face to face as he listens. He's a good listener. Something clicks when Changelings are explained further, and while he doesn't seem to get it entirely, he's not floundering. "What I'm getting from this is to avoid the True Fae at all cost," he says. "I guess, as far as what I'd like to know, is how to best not offend you. I don't want to be an embarrassment to my pack." He defers to Rain and Hudson again with a glance. "I was, uh, raised being told about werewolves, and that one day I'd be serving the family in some capacity. No one told me about anything else, though. I guess they didn't think it was important." His eyes widen as Rain brings forth the glass rose. "Oh, wow."


When her assertion of newly developed standards is challenged, Slip's eyes go all shifty as she tries to search back through her impeccable memory to find the moment things changed. One can almost witness all the instances crossed off mentally. Not then or then or there. Nope, not that either. There's no verbal concession when she comes up empty, just a dip of her head to accept her defeat, to acknowledge their general lack of standards. And possibly how they don't tend to play nice. He's got a point there, too. Easier to quip, "I'll change it for you," of his make-believe battery, but there's no denying the lascivious edge to her suggestion. Ahem. She pushes back her hair on one side as she looks to Hudson, revealing to him and Rain the oddly proportioned ear below, its shape not precisely human, its substance even less so. "It has its advantages," a diplomatic way of dodging any talk about the cost.

The unveiled ear pivots unnaturally toward Rain as he explains his first change, of the strange experience of seeing what others can't, understanding what they don't. All of it new information for her, soaked in through a filter of cheap wine, stored away for future reference. There's a question in her eyes, something she wants to ask him, but when he speaks of the trauma of the change, she opts to hold her tongue for now. Though she does watch intently as he reaches for the bottle, casually considering the lines of his form before returning her focus to Sage. "New Orleans is different than anywhere else I've been. Not that I've don't a lot of traveling, but... mm. Most places? This wouldn't happen. Wolf packs would push others out of their territory. Vampires would fight to take it back. The Lost would keep to themselves. And nobody would talk with anyone." Which earns a sour face. "I like this. It's better."

Actual answer to the question posed is delayed when Rain offers up that glass rose, earning a grin from the spring courtier. "Aren't you a charmer." Drawing it close, she sniffs it, the hand-crafted bloom redolent with the tannin-rich sweetness of the red wine it held before its transformation. Her gaze lingers on him for just a second or two longer before she gets back to Sage's inquiry. "We--" She points to herself and Gast. "--aren't easy to offend. We only bite if you ask nicely. But others? Mm. Your charming friend made a good point about wording. We prefer Lost. And... uh..." It's hard to think about anything else others might find trouble with through the wine-fog.


Hudson grins good-naturedly at Gast as the two of them talk about places to eat, before snorting with laughter at the idea of having to have his batteries changed. "Nah, you could get a little wind turbine put in!" he suggests, setting a hand upright on top of his head in a way that looks more like he's imitating a shark than a windmill. He ends up being distracted by Rain, not so much by the philosophy talk as the rose, which earns another broad grin and a nod of approval. "That's pretty neat" he agrees. He watches as the others speak, though before too long he ends up looking like he's about to push to his feet once more. A glance is given to Raon and Sage, to whom he explains "I gotta pee" with a grin and shrug of his shoulders before adding "See you two at home". His attention then shifts to Gast and Slip, adding "It was cool to meet you two. Keep safe!"


Gast keeps his composure - face wielding the same smile as before, when matters of traumatic origins are touched on. "The truth will burn you up to know too much of it. Ignorance will drop you into the deep end of a cold, uncaring ocean." Happy time thoughts! "The trick is to take it all in. And then to party it back out for brief reprieves, so you can sleep without the flames licking at your slippers." What gets through his composure, is the offer from Slip to change his battery - a surprised snort and a chuckle, and a deeper shade to the rust of his freckles. Still, he doesn't directly address the philosophy on friendship. And he opts to blink with surprise, watching as the bottle is reshaped with clear interest for what he can see of the process - and a clearly impressed grunt when it's made a rose, to be handed over to the other Darkling.

"You are in the company of the not-easily-offended." A confirmation of what Slip promises. An Autumn and a Spring and a couple bottles of wine in the park, after dark. "Kind of also makes us a poor choice to grill on how not to offend others," he adds, with a half-squint. A drunken narrowing of one eye into an expression that doesn't end up readable through the inebriation either. And to Hudson, on the application of a wind turbine in place of a battery. "Sounds like quite the expense. It's not easy" Being green. He stills his tongue. He's drunk, but he knows that maybe, just maybe, a meet and greet with other supernatural sorts in a city much more keen on allowing them to mingle isn't the best place for a bad pun. If there ever was a good place. He clears his throat instead. Nods. Yes. Turbine. "Until next time," answers the farewell.


Rain blushes a little. "Am I?" He asks softly. A charmer, he means. He looks to Hudson. "Don't claim the park for yourself, I already told you it belongs to Jester." He jokes, making no immediate motion to stand and leave as well. But looks to Sage. "You should probably go with him. Not like. To watch. Just, to head home. It's gonna wind up getting cold. I should go too I guess." He admits. "Although I might poke around a bit and say hi to some friends first." Alley cats and such mainly. He has some treats for them in his pocket.


"You're absolutely a charmer," Sage says to Rain. He gets to his feet and stretches, then takes up his wine bottle. He has a date with that later. To Slip and Gast, he says, "It was really nice to meet you two. We'll have to drink wine in the park again sometime, "and I'll not put that hard-to-offend thing to the test." He winks, then tells Rain, "I'll go with him. See you soon, okay?" He smiles, gives Rain a squeeze on the shoulder, then trails after Hudson. "Hey, wait for me."


Did one werewolf just tease the other about peeing on stuff to mark it as theirs? Don't laugh, Slip. You can do this. Don't laugh. So much better to just stare in wide-eyed delight at that exchange, leaving her, "Bye, Hud!" a bit belated. Much like the, "Don't judge me for his bad jokes!" which follows. One should always be judged on one's own odd sense of humor rather than suffer any guilt by association. With the other pair taking their leave as well, she sing-songs, "Bye, Prince Charming. Bye, Sage of New York. I'd like that. The wine in the park part. Not the playing polite part." She mirrors back a wink of her own then falls quiet as she watches them go. Just at the edge of what she thinks might be normal earshot, she murmurs to the man still seated beside her, "An assortment of pretty boys and we let them all go," as if that might be evidence of something. Reaching for the wine with her free hand, glass rose in the other, she leans in closer to Gast, till her chin is nearly at his shoulder, and croons drunkenly, "You and me? We're friiiiiiends," out of current context, profoundly pleased with this apparent revelation.