Logs:Cats and Computers
Cats and Computers
|Summary:||Phoebe discovers Ian's feline state. Discussion of recent events occurs.|
This wide-open space is furnished with multiple couches of muted blues, greens, and purples. There are tables formed of raw wood blocks with glass tops to serve as the centers for these little semi-circles of conversational spaces. Brick walls, exposed supports, and polished concrete flooring lend a clean and purposefully unfinished sort of look to the Center, one meant to evoke a casual comfort. A fully-appointed kitchen (stocked with both quick snacks and fresh ingredients as well as drinks soft and hard) is separated from the main space by a counter, but visibility is maintained. Above the kitchen, with a glass half-wall allowing visibility and sound, is a small computer lab and library - about a dozen computers (with high-speed access to the internet) are available here, along with books (fiction, psychology, reference, and history mostly) and board games. One whole wall (to the left facing the kitchen) nearly from the floor to the ceiling (which is twenty feet from the lower level's floor) is covered in windows that face the backyard.
Phoebe is above the kitchen. At a computer. Well, she's... she's near it. The changeling is standing, and frowning as she looks at the keyboard. Then she sits, and delicately presses the letter "H."
The screen turns on.
Phoebe jumps up and nearly makes it to the stairs before the staff is guiding her back patiently to where she was sitting. "I was trying to say 'hello!'" she explains to them, mournfully. "I didn't mean to offend it."
The staff manage not to laugh. They are very well-trained.
The center is a bit quiet today, but per usual, there are staff and there are felines. One of those felines, a large, rangy gray tomcat - the only un-cut tom in the place, in fact - comes gliding up the stairs to have a look at what's going on there. Ian is Cat. This particular cat has bright green eyes and a wary stare. His ear twitches distractedly as he circles Phoebe and the staffer, then leaps onto the desk and from there onto the top of the computer tower. Warm place found.
Phoebe smiles at the cat. "How lovely. Is it comfortable for you there, monsieur chat? Perhaps you can help me with this telegraph board."
"Keyboard," one of the staffmembers offers, helpfully.
Phoebe nods. "The keyboard. This enter-net sounds rather dangerous," she says in response. "You are sure this is how I can find gainful employment? I cannot place an advertisement in the newspapers?"
"MWARL," the cat says, and settles onto the top of the tower, reaching a lazy paw down to bat at the screen. It's an unhappy noise. "Mrarrrr." Thwap goes paw against monitor. Then that paw stretches out towards Phoebe. "Maaaul." Claws curl, extended, almost air-kneading, restless. Has Phoebe sat yet? Phoebe needs to sit. Otherwise the cat has Complaints.
Phoebe is sitting, now. "Mon cheri! Come." She pats her lap. "We shall learn this thing together, you and I."
Down leaps the cat. Ian as a cat is surprisingly dense - muscle, but skinny muscle. The cat settles into a perch on Phoebe's lap, then taps at the keyboard with one paw, then another. When five fast paw-taps are complete, the google search bar reads:
Phoebe looks at the screen and laughs. "He is better than I am!" Then she pauses. Reads the search bar. Looks down at the cat. "Monsieur Ian?!" she says, in a strangled voice. "Est-ce vous?"
"Mwarrr." The cat then curls up with a heavy /thump/ on Phoebe's belly and shuts his eyes. Ball of cat now. A throaty purr begins.
Phoebe gives the cat a dubious look, then shakes her head and laughs lightly. "I have the most foolish ideas, at times," she tells the man next to her. "Imagine, Monsieur Ian as a cat!" He smiles politely. "Now... how, exactly, do I seek employment?"
Some lessons follow. The cat on her lap is petted idly as she learns. Eventually, a posting for a French tutor has been put up in various websites. "That," Phoebe declares to the staff, "was remarkable. Truly remarkable. Thank you. I think I shall sit here a while with the cat, if you do not mind." The gentleman does not mind, and he moves off to assist others. Phoebe looks down at her lap and scritches the cat under the chin. "I shall feel very silly if anyone learns of this," she says. "Confusing a friend for a cat. Too much time in the cage..." Her voice dwindles, then, and she looks around herself somewhat nervously. "But I am not there, anymore. Free of l'Arcadie."
The cat yawns dramatically - big white teeth! - and then shoves himself up and rubs his cheek on Phoebe before batting at the keyboard again. The document gets a new addition:
The cat then grabs for Phoebe's hand - no claws - and drags it in for snuggles and clinging. "Mwooohw." Ian sounds... woeful.
Phoebe flushes brilliant moon-silver. "/What/?!" she exclaims. She lifts the cat up bodily and stares into its eyes. "You rested /in my lap/?!"
Phoebe does not seem happy about this. She seems, if anything, scandalized. And perhaps a little angry. "I pray you have an explanation for this, monsieur."
Okay, more than a little angry.
The cat dangles there as only a cat can, somehow sad-eyed. "Mwooowh." It's low, woeful. The tail twitches just slightly at the tip, left and then right - the feline isn't sure he likes being held like this. Feet come up and kick half-heartedly at the air.
Phoebe places the cat very firmly on the desk. "Are you ensorcelled?" she asks him, eyes wide. "Do you need help? Is this some sort of..." She trails off.
Phoebe says, "...is this the effect of the Wyrd?"
There are contracts that allow this sort of thing, and Ian could have used one of them - from the kittens frolicking downstairs, this place is a haven for cats, which would be a key component in making him able to use that ability freely. Very likely, unless this place has been under some sort of attack, that's what happened - Ian fell into a Chrysalis. Of course, given the part of the kitchen downstairs where the brand new counter is shattered in one spot, something probably /did/ happen. In any case, Ian immediately oozes forward and moves to curl up in Phoebe's lap once more. Apparently he doesn't see the impropriety. A plaintive, kittenlike mew follows.
Phoebe blushes furiously. "Monsieur, I am a /widow/," she hisses. But she pets him gently. "I suppose if you are a cat... You will tell /no one/ of this. You have made a contract, then? Mistress would take the form of a beautiful hummingbird, at times..."
Oh thank heavens. The cat's purring immediately starts up again and he presses close, curling once more into a ball, his eyes sinking shut. If Phoebe isn't careful, she may end up trapped there - Ian fully intends to sleep where he finally feels safe, and this is not conducive to things like... walking. Sooner or later he's going to have to change back, and talk, but... not yet.
Phoebe simply sighs. "You poor thing. At least I could move around my cage." She strokes him gently, delicately. "To be still for so long... I remember well Master's lessons in stillness. They were horrible." A thought occurs to her. "I grew so lonely with no one to talk to, and so I talk to everyone. Perhaps you are more used to silence? Or at least, not speaking." She shakes her head. "I am sorry, monsieur. I should not pry. These durances... it is enough to make a woman doubt, at times. I confess that I feared God himself had abandoned me."
A little dip of the feline's head, the human-like gesture resembling a nod, and Ian lifts a paw to catch Phoebe's hand and groom it for a moment. Lick lick lick goes the raspy tongue. Good human, get cleaned. Then back down he goes. Maybe he could just stay a cat? That could work, right? If he were a cat he wouldn't have to worry about people things.
Phoebe laughs slightly despite herself. It is the soft pealing of silver bells, or a charming mountain brook. The sound surprises her, and she shuts her mouth abruptly. "We are all so changed. Robin informs me we have you to thank for this center. It is so lovely."
The cat curls up tighter, paws over his face. Human things. Flinch. His ears twitch as if by flicking them he could rid the whole idea from his head. At least he's listening and not... bolting under a couch somewhere?
"Forgive me," Phoebe says. "I shall speak no more of it." She keeps petting Ian and leans back in her chair in comfort. Then, softly, she begins to sing. Her voice is clear and warm, a lyric soprano, and each word is sung clearly despite her low volume.
"Au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot..."
It's soothing, and that is exactly what Ian needs. Sleep comes swiftly to the skinny, rangy cat, and with it a feeling of safety... and with that, relaxation of the grip he's been keeping on the Wyrd. Slowly Ian becomes a dead weight in Phoebe's lap - fortunately not too suddenly. He just sort of grows until he's himself again, half on the floor, his head on her thigh and his eyes still shut. The horns might be a bit pointy. The wings sprawl out, getting /everywhere/. He's dressed in a tank top and jeans, barefoot.
Phoebe goes stock-still as the cat turns back into the Changeling. Her hand is resting in his hair, and her ears and face are burning silver. "Monsieur, your head is in my lap," she manages.
"Mmpf," Ian mumbles. "Mrwar." Then something about his voice wakes him and he stirs - and a wing promptly knocks over a chair, which produces, "Ahh!" and the wings suck in and flatten to his back as he bolts upright and looks around in wild-eyed alarm. "What-! What's happening, why-- I'm -- no?" Blink. Back to Phoebe. "Oh god I talked."
Phoebe just nods, staring at the man. She's smoothing out her dress somewhat frantically.
Ian stares at Phoebe for a moment... and then his face falls. "I'm sorry," he murmurs, back to his faintest voice. "There was a bedlam. Robin's not all right. I'm not all right. Stupid solstice."
Phoebe stands and moves to embrace the man gently, if he will let her. "The issue with the gentleman author?" she asks. "Robin was... enthusiastic. Perhaps overly so. But what has happened to you, monsieur? You look hale."
"Robin is /angry/," Ian says softly. He permits the hug, though he stays all wrapped up in his wings for it, and barely manages to return it. "I think Robin is hurt. And Robin exploded." Not for real, or there'd be a lot more damage. "In the kitchen." Where the counter is shattered. "I... decided to stay a cat for a while." He shoves his face into her neck and finally clings. "What happened to Robin?"
Phoebe says, "They... They were in conflict with a gentleman at the solstice. An author. The author called them 'it,' and they took it... poorly. And there were threats. Arguments about the proceedings. It is my fault; one of the Spring courtiers should have stood as master of ceremonies."
Ian's head jerks up and his eyes widen at that. "I was a thing for most of my life. I was an /it/. That's /horrible/." Especially to an Elemental. "What are we going to do? Why would someone do that?"
Phoebe says, "I do not think it was intentional. And I called Robin 'monsieur' many times. Their... their appearance is, erm. How to say it... they look very unique. If Mistress had not insisted on my learning the many shapes in which the Gentry might arrive to balls, I would... it would be difficult for me. But I believe that this is a thing that has changed, yes? Like marriages. The world is very different."
Ian blinks at Phoebe. "No," he says, very quietly. "There's a problem. Not like... an accident. That person is an author, you said? Someone who knows words. Robin is a person who was made to be a /star/. I was made to be a glass dish. A thing. /Things/ are not people. That's Keeper sentiment. Did he take it back?" A worried look, and Ian's wings flex anxiously at his back.
Phoebe looks concerned as Ian's words sink in. "I... I do not recall. I believe he apologized, but... I do not know if he specifically recanted." She looks at the man, wide eyed. "Do you think he is a loyalist?"
Ian's brows furrow together with worry. "Maybe he's just... stupid." There's doubt in the words, but the wide-eyed innocence on his face is still there. "He could have been trying to insult Robin somehow. Like... like a human." Another shiver. "I don't know. I want to say we should find out. But we should keep Robin safe. That's more important. Perhaps... someone else could investigate. Watch him." He winces.
Phoebe nods nervously. "We need to do that. Robin is... Robin can be dangerous, and I think that danger might extend to themselves."
That gets a small frown. "Robin is beautiful and there's nothing wrong with being dangerous. Robin hurts bad things, not us. Or themselves." This is a difficult idea for Ian to comprehend. He /might/ have just a bit of a crush on Robin - but doesn't everyone who looks at them? "Robin is /supposed/ to be scary. She's-- they're the most Summer person I've ever seen. That's what Summer /does/." Still, Ian's sticking a bit close to Phoebe. Physical contact is how he takes comfort, even if it takes a while for his glass skin to warm up.
Phoebe rests her chin on Ian's shoulder with a sigh. "You said they /exploded/. How is that not a danger to them?"
Oh. Ian considers that for a thoughtful moment, then offers, "They were making a sandwich. An... /angry/ sandwich." If that's not the most /Robin/ thing out there... "They... messed up? I don't know. I was cat. They messed up and they stabbed the sandwich, and the cutting board, and the counter, and they screamed. Everybody went nuts. I got in a fight with Charlie. Some staffers started yelling. Bedlam." He slumps. "I don't... feel like... me. Not yet. Still feel like cat. Want to hunt. Been fighting it." He presses close for another hug, head ducked.
Phoebe embraces him more tightly this time. "You are much more than a cat. You are a kind and gentle person who has suffered much." She smiles slightly. "So, you think Robin is beautiful, do you?" she asks. A mischievous light dances in her eyes. Literally. Her eyes are glowing.
Ack. Ian's eyes widen and he lifts his head to look at Phoebe with astonishment - and a smoky hue in his face that probably indicates a blush. Oh no. Words. He flails vaguely for them while the smoky hue gets darker. "Um," he manages eventually. Great answer, Ian!
Phoebe laughs, then snaps her mouth shut as soon as she hears the sound of her laughter. But she smiles. "You /do/," she says. "Oh, you should court them!"Ian's eyes are now round as saucers. The inarticulate noise he makes is... well, weird, because it sounds like the strings of a glass armonica, mixed with his human musical talent, and then he gives in to the impulse and just... melts, right there and then, into a gray feline. The cat, unlike the Lost, has /no/ problem using his voice. "MWAR," declares the feline, and bats idly at a kitten bounding by. There, safe, no more hard questions or terrifying human thoughts.