Logs:Just a Coincidence

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Just a Coincidence


Characters: Lilium, Molly, Natalya, Sheena and Tris
Date: 2019-12-03
Summary: A handful of Lost have a very coincidental run in in Jackson Park.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Amidst the buskers haunting the square, a tall and fair young woman with elven pointed ears even in her Mask stands singing near a violinist. Wearing what is pretty certainly a dress from Firefly Path makes her look like something out of a fantasy, let alone the glasswing fine wings and diminutive horns, the glitter of argent scales across parts of her skin that catch in the dying light of the setting sun. She's singing Evanescence's My Immortal, and her voice somehow seems both higher and sweeter than Amy Lee's in rendition. Random passersby wind up stopping to throw money in the violin case of the humam nearby, and her eyes are closed as she gets lost in the song.

--

Molly doesn't immediately stand out from the tourists. She's wandering along, looking a little scruffy, her hair a shaggy mess, not counting the plumes seeming woven into it at intervals. She's in a faded black Harley Davidson t-shirt, lightly torn at one shoulder, skinny black jeans, blue Converse. A small olive green bag strapped across her chest. It's almost normal, really, if not for the hands, each ending in long strong fingers with vicious black talons. One scratches lightly at her chin, showing off quills set long her arms. She's drawn to the music, after a while of listening from afar, and moves closer in a lazy shuffle, waiting a short distance off for the song to end, so she can toss a shiny new quarter into the violin case.

--

When the song ends, the violinist seems content to offer Lilium part of the tips, but she just smiles and waves off the offer, once she notices Molly, drawn and intrigued immediately by sight of her clawed fingers, and, ducking the interest of a bystander or two who got caught up in the singing, she approaches Molly, slender fingers unfurling as she offers a wave. "Hi," she greets, looking the other woman over with curiosity and an unguarded smile.

--

Molly just stands there, one hand pushed halfway into a pocket, her shoulders slouching, body leaning ever slightly to the side. She watches the end of the song and the interaction with the violinist and the bystanders, then lifts her chin to return the greeting as Lilium moves her way. "Hey," she says, the corner of her mouth pulling up into a sharp, small smile. Not unguarded, however. Even the casual stance feels taut and tense. "You must be loaded. If I'd known I'd have kept my quarter."

--

"Presumably the young man with the violin is not," Lilium points out, eyes crinkling at the corners with the widening of her smile. Reaching into the ombre silk dress's folds, she produces a little ball of wadded up random money, mostly fives and ones and probably less than fifty dollars total, and offers them out to Molly as if to make up for the quarter lost. "I did not mean to make you feel I was unappreciative," she says, bowing her head and shoulders. The heavy mantle of spring about her manifests as petals dripping like lazy rain from her limbs and the hem of her clothes, and she adds, "I'm Lilium, pleased to meet you."

--

Molly rolls her shoulders, thick and almost feathery brows arching at the sight of the wadded ball of money. She stares at it for a second, then holds up a clawed hand, palm forward, turning down the money with a small shake of her head. "It was just a quarter," she says with a small smile. Her own mantle is subtle, a summery sheen of heat on bare skin. "Molly. It's real nice to meet you too. That was - nice singing," she adds, hand twisting to point a talon-tipped finger in Lilium's direction.

--

"Thank you!" Lilium exclaims, clasping her hands together delightedly. She steps a few strides back to put part of the wad of bills in the young man's case, before stepping back after Molly's direction. "I love to sing," she explains, "Sometimes it was the only thing to do to remember the sound of my own voice, you know?" She steps off toward a food vendor, and asks Molly, "May I buy you dinner?" with the same courtly politeness that seems beat and bred into her thanks to a centuries long durance as a "princess" in Faerie. "Your plumage is lovely," she adds, eyes full of lingering warm in their sea of shining blue, almost shockingly vivid against her generally pale hues.

--

"Not really, but I guess I kind of get it," Molly replies to the question after a brief pause, carefully rubbing at her jaw with the pads of her fingers for a moment. She tilts her head, eyes trailing after Lilium towards the food vendor. There's another pause, like she's mulling over the offer. "Sure. Thanks," she says at last, and walks closer to the vendor as well. There's not really much in the way of courtly politeness there, not in the way she snorts slightly at the mention of her plumage. She rakes her fingers through her wild black hair. "Thanks. Yours is - much nicer. Just maybe not as literal, right?"

--

If a lack of politeness ruffles Lilium, there is nothing to register it, if anything, it appears she might take it as endearing. Hot dogs, it would seem, are the exact sort of street food most easily found without looking far, and so it is she buys one for each of them. She starts loading hers down with sauerkraut and nothing else, really. Perhaps a holdover of the ghost of an eastern european accent barely perceptible at its thickest. "That's fair," Lilium reasons, "Over and over again, my time back in this place is proving how exceptional a time whose worst feature was merely endless loneliness is, compared to the suffering of so many." Her features shift to evince abiding compassion, and she lightly touches Molly's shoulder, as if to for some reason reassure.

Lilium whispers “The man who escaped with me was forced to live out his most formative developmental moments on stage, composing plays which killed thousands over the years.”

--

Molly eyes the hot dogs. Hers - will have all the fixings. Whatever they are. She doesn't seem to care. Her own accent is, if not local to New Orleans, not too far off. "Yeah? I don't think I - don't think I suffered that bad," she mutters, holding the hot dog in one hand. Her shoulder tenses at the touch, the light bumps of those small black quills that sprout through her skin seeming to tense up on approach. But she grins, like it's no big deal. But her fingers stroke down her jaw again, then pull away, and she glances from Lilium towards her clawed hand. "Just - by what, writing plays?"

--

Voice lowering some as she tries to steer away from random humans once she and Molly's hot dogs are assembled, Lilium frowns a touch, as if torn in contemplation of the answer, before deciding to elaborate. "I was made to be the Dragon's consort, so I was mostly spared anything unpleasant, but I still feel responsible," she goes on, pausing to take a bite. "He came to me one day and told me he had a gift, and it turned out to be a theatre." She looks down at the hot dog. "Peter was the playwright, but also forced to act the lead." She pauses for another bite. "He explained to me once he escaped with me... that every death, every battle it was all real. The times someone fell in a writtem war... they were truly killed." Her turn to wince subtly but put on the veneer of a smile.

--

Molly tags along. She frowns, a shallow line etched on her brow as she takes it in. The hotdog is raised to her mouth, but she doesn't bite yet, stops, sniffs, lowers it. Once Lilium's finished telling the story, she makes a face, cringing, awkwardly unsure of how else to react. Not much of a poker face. "That sucks, dude. Like in a - weird mindfuck way." Look, she's trying to be sympathetic or something akin to it. "I was just - you know?" She flexes one hand. Then she looks down to her hot dog, untouched. Then she looks at Lilium's. And then, quickly, she leans in to steal a bite off the other woman's dog.

--

Laughing delightedly, Lilium goes so far as to offer the remaining half of the hot dog. Sharing comes easy for a playmate made for companionship, and Molly seems to otherwise be sympathetic and interesting company. "I like the sauerkraut more than the meat, really," she confesses. "I can't for the life of me remember where I had it, but I know when I was very little, I used to love sauerkraut soup." She veers off further from the main beat, toward a little area near the statue which offers a good vantage point of the humans passing by. "Mine was less of a mindfuck, as you put it, I think. I lived in a beautiful palace with basically anything I could ask for or dream of, kept gardens of living gemstone flowers, when I lamented feeling trapped, was given wings, even" She lifts narrow shoulders and smiles faintly, "I forgot that I was human for a long time. If Peter had not stolen me into the Hedge, I don't think I would have ever made it back," the latter is said with a haunted look despite the upturned lips. "I don't remember where I came from or who my family wasm, only that something terrible happened and the Dragon saved my life by stealing me away to begin with. The biggest curse of my time there was the loneliness. Time flows differently for Them, I think. Because it was nothing to go a decade alone, with nothing but my dolls when I was very little, and the flowers when I was older, to keep me company." It would bot be unfair to conclude those dolls may well have been alive, but with her generally scattered wits, Lilium does not seem to have put that together yet, of the myriad other ways such would have made her complicit in the suffering of less favored mortals.

--

Molly takes her bite, teeth just a little too sharp. Then she pulls back, chewing, head shaking as she turns down the offer of the rest of the hot dog. Her own, after all, is untouched. "No, it's cool - just, that looked real tasty," she mumbles around a mouthful of food. "Yeah? Uh. Dunno, sauerkraut soup sounds hardcore," she remarks, and finally starts biting into her own hot dog. She looks away from Lilium for a second, her eyes sweeping the park around them, narrow and attentive, before turning back. She leans against the fence around the statue, practically sitting herself on it, and listens. "That was - I wasn't there that long," she comments after a long thoughtful pause, taking another big bite from her own hotdog. "Mine wasn't - I was a - claws, you know?" She holds up a hand. "We all got our things, right?"

--

Nodding, Lilium smiles at Molly with a guileless puppy dog friendly quality which one might expect from peak Allyson Hannigan. "Peter has claws," she says, of her closest friend and ally, perhaps part of what drew her interest at the outset. It becomes somewhat easy to guess why Lilium isn't the most vigilant. She cannot help herself, and asks softly, "Did it hurt? The horns didn't hurt me, but I know some people, probably most I guess, their... uniqueness... came about painfully." The hope in her face speaks quiet volumes about her mission to find another whose change was not so painful, one less thing to make her feel guilty and complicit when reflecting on the half remembered centuries of a life spent almost entirely in Arcadia.

--

"Hurt?" Molly asks over her hot dog, staring at Lilium like she's caught off-guard by the question. After a moment, she shrugs, scratching at the outside of her forearms, where the bare quills jut from her skin. "I think so. I mean, yeah. The wings, you know? I remember that hurt," she wrinkles her nose, nostrils flared as her gaze drifts into the distance. Then she shrugs. "Don't think it was all that bad, compared to some people," she says, swinging one foot back and forward.

--

Nodding at Molly, Lilium asks, "Have you met any of the others like us yet?" Her own wings give a faint stir at the mention of wings, too small this side of the Hedge to offer any real use, but as if remembering their once purpose. "Do you have anyone, or need anythng? It was really difficult to cope when I got back, and this is the first city I've visited since then which didn't have like, this whole big support system and like, castle full of others like us running around and being accessible and stuff."

--

Molly finishes her hotdog with a final bite, then wipes at her mouth, licks her lips, and gives Lilium a blank look for a moment. "Not here," she starts, and takes a moment to glance across the square again, studying the nearest tourists. "I just got in town. Few days. I don't know, I'll need a job and a place to stay and..." she trails off, hands curling around the top of the fence she's leaning on. "You know, the usual things people need, right? And, I guess - that other stuff, too. How long you been here?"

--

"Since the beginning of November," Lilium answers, nodding at the things listed by Molly. She finishes her hot dog without any particular gusto, and says, "I don't know how much of that I can help with personally, but I can probably get you some money to afford a place to stay and to last while you look for a job. I sold the flowers I escaped with for what turned out to be an obscene amount of money, but I'm not even used to handling things like trade and money, so it's more or less a big abstract thing when I can't use it to help people like us, you know?"

--

Molly looks over, just past Lilium, fingers curling towards her palm as if counting. "Uh. Really? I mean, I'm - fine for now, at least for the next couple of days, through to the weekend. Longer if I have to," she muses, pulling a leg up and over the fence, half-straddling it in an awkward position. But she gives Lilium another pensive stare, eventually breaking as she cracks a grin. "Lucky you. Damn. I got out empty-handed, so that would've come in real handy..."

--

Sitting next to where Molly is straddling a fence, Lilium grins faintly up at her, glancing down at the Firefly Path dress, before acknowledging of the elf princess couture, "I did get lucky," she acknowledges, looking up at the other woman, "It turns out dresses like I used to wear start at like three thousand dollars here, and they don't get magick cleaning, either." Good thing the one worn currently is green, there won't be grass stains.

--

If it wasn't for the overy tight bluejeans, tank top and knee high boots. And piercings You'd think there was a second statue staring up at Andrew Jackson. Just made more from old tarnished copper like the one in New York. If you were a changeling that is. Human eyes would just be watching a leggy blonde woman eyeballiling the statue. Two fingers raising, pointing at her own green eyes then back up at least at the horse. "That's right, I got my eye on you. No one is fooling anyone!" Sheena says.

--

Molly is awkwardly sitting on the fence that surrounds the statue at the center of the park, precariously balanced, one leg halfway to the other side. She's in a Harley t-shirt, black faded to gray, skinny black jeans and black Converses. She looks a little scruffy. It doesn't help that her hair is a wild thing, like she just crawled out of bed, plumes as if woven through her inky tresses. She scratches her side, clawlike nails raking lightly over cotton, rocking back and forth. "Yeah, I think I was - pretty much buck naked, tits out 24/7," she comments, then looks up. Her eyes keep sweeping the square, so it's no wonder they land on Sheena and stop there, staring.

--

If Tris were anyone else, then the dogs would be the most notable thing about his approach. His dogs are taking him on a walk (not the other way around). One is an enormous, brindle English Mastiff while the other is a downright petit cocoa-and-cream Frenchie, both running with wild abandon for all that they're both harnessed and the leashes end in Tris' hands. It's quite obvious that the man running has very little control over the present situation, but it also seems like he's both used to it and relatively able to keep up, dressed in designer fitness wear and swanky sneakers. All of this is still not the most significant part of his rapid approach to where the Lost are near the statue, because his scars drawn under jaw and around the backs of the ears and down his neck are gleaming like lines of gossamer gold, sapphire and rose.

It takes a tremendous effort on the part of the leanly muscular man as he approaches the statue to convince the dogs to pull out of their lopes in order to slow his own pace into a walk, but he manages, if only just. Tris might not disturb the others, really, though his dark eyes certainly don't miss any one of them as his blue eyes bounce from face to face from under the fringe of rumpled brown hair, except... well, his dogs are very friendly. That means that the Mastiff is heading for the copper hued not-statue and the Frenchie is off to dance about the edge of the bench begging for attention from the conversation partners. It means Tris' arms spread wide as the leashes go slightly different directions and he complains, in a tone that will surely get him nowhere with the dogs, "Tiny! Tank! Heel!" (Hahahaha, yeah right.)

--

It's modern habit not to smoke in public, though it's moderately more acceptable here on the street than it would be in a building. Natalya, wrapped in her red coat, is indulging that worst of habits with an air of not fully enjoying it, puffing away as she comes around a corner and -- and then there are dogs, and Tris barely balancing them, and all kinds of other strange faerie faces to observe. Her eyes widen. Too wide, too wide, that's creepy. But the Autumn finds a spot to lean against on an oak tree, smoke angling and mingling with her mantle as she takes an observer's post for a second. A vendor nearby, desperate to get rid of the last of his food truck, starts to approach her as if sensing a mark, but backs away when her eyes narrow and she makes a shushing gesture as if to tell him he's not as wanted as her observation of the pieces moving on the board. Or, well. Peoplewatching. Same difference. She's close enough to eavesdrop, and to be called out on eavesdropping.

--

Blinking in surprise, Lilium nods at Molly, quiet for a beat and clearly unsure how to respond. Of course, following her attention to Sheena results in the petal surrounded spring fairest giving a big wave in greeting and asking, "What'd it do?" of the horse. No really, what? She's so earnest. Doggos! As friendly and guarded as a puppy herself, Lilium ducks after the littler dog crowding close to the bench and smiles at him like he were a long lost friend. "Hey there little one!" she exclaims, lavishing it with affection if it allows her to, absolutely no mind paid to the insane couture she's wearing, blissfully uncaring, it seems, if it is ruined. She waves at Natalya but doesn't try to get her closer, if she wants to peoplewatch, well, who doesn't? Humans can be very strange. She tries not to stare at Tris' scarring when she spots it, and fails.

--

Without even turninmg to look at Lilium or the others Sheena grins. "They could be like me. Waiting, ready to spring and take someone." she says suspiciously. From metal horse and dead money guy, to big honking doggo, her attention is aimed. Luckily the sound of paws and claws on pavement make a distinct scraping sound. Turning to eye the sound of a mastiff bearing down on her, Sheena quickly whips her head to Jackson and makes that got my eye on you gesture again before turning with a fluid quarter of a pirouette and with eyes going big and bright tries to brace for being bomped over by a dog that easily out weights the skinny thing.

--

Molly pushes back her shoulders, shrugging in reply to Lilium's silence, the corners of her mouth just barely hinting at a grin. She swings her leg over to the outside of the fence, so she's facing the rest of the world, but her brow creases as it darts from the rushing dogs to its owner. The dogs, at least, get a smile. Their owner gets a longer stare. She blinks. Then she brings a hand up, as if to pick at her teeth with the tip of a talon, eyes continuing to narrow as they dart from figure to figure. "Damn, what is this, a convention?" Her tone is mixed. Underneath the light, joking surface, there's a taut note of wary tension, and her body language gets a little wound-up, all the way to the subtle quills lining her arms seeming to bristle slightly.

--

Oh, the Frenchie wants all the attention anyone will give him. Really, they both do. Maybe Tris just doesn't love them enough, maybe they just really love people. Probably Tris is just horribly over indulgent. He shifts toward Lilium and Molly, letting the small dog's leash go lax so he can make joyous-want-to-lick-your-face friends with the woman with the air of innocence, meanwhile trying to tug on the bigger dog's leash, just in time to jerk it enough that although Sheena is likely to get massive paws, the dog's weight has been balanced back the other way by his fairly inept owner enough that she won't need to go down under the battering ram of love that was headed her way. Of course, if she doesn't want to get licked, that's a while other battle.

"Shit," is a general probably apology-ish thing even though the words 'I'm sorry' don't leave the man's lips. He gives another yank on the Mastiff's leash, which at least convinces the dog to get down and sniff around the woman's feet and legs, his shoulder rising to her mid-thigh at least. Though he's obviously distracted, his eyes do another take across the faces, perhaps trying to see if he recognizes any. In the sweep of that look he takes in Natalya's eavesdropping position and flashes her a lop-sided smile that holds some measure of recognition.

"We didn't mean to interrupt," he offers more broadly to the other three Lost nearer at hand. He looks at his dogs a moment, perhaps deciding that just dragging them off is a lost cause at this point, so instead, he offers up, "This is Tank," the Frenchie, "and that's Tiny," the gargantuan, "and I'm Tris. I don't think we've met," he squints around at the face again, tone colored briefly with a shade of uncertainty and wariness.

--

Natalya gives a bit of a chuckle when Tris shoots her a smile, a sense that her response might be encouraging, even appreciative, of his chaos and that of his canine companions. She waves with the hand with the cigarette towards Lilium, and calls, "I'll come be friendly once I'm not polluting the atmosphere." At least if she's trying to stay on the fringes, it's nothing too sinister or hostile, despite her moment's intimidation of the food-truck guy. Even that might be for a purpose; he comes closer to her while trying to pimp his product and she takes a step up that sends the man backing up a little bit, the slightest taste of fear in it as if he sees something that disturbs him now in her strange face. Sampling the glamour wares more than the mundane square's offerings? Might be.

--

Really, Lilium can't help it, she just bursts out laughing, nodding at Sheena's reasoning. Seems sound enough, to her. She tells Molly quite awkwardly, "I've never had my, erm, /tits out/ before." The words are spoken as if foreign. Noticing the vendor, plus the dogs, she pushes up to her feet, wandering over once he's been spooked by Natalya, starting to negotiate in quiet tones to get whatever he was trying to foist on the woman as a treat for the dogs instead, if her gesture to the pups is any indication. She visibly cheers when she comes back with the rubbery leftovers of hot dogs for the pups, laughing delightedly again at Tris' words. "When I heard the names, I knew, just knew, that it was the tiniest Tank," she says, explaining the sudden mirth. She introduces herself to Tris, as "Lilium, pleased to meet you." Gesturing between Molly, Sheena, and Natalya, she introduces "Molly, this is Sheena and Natalya. Natalya, Sheena, this is Molly." She prepares to be mobbed by the animals when she sets out the leftovers in offering, bracing a hand against the bench cautiously.

--

The big mastiff at least manages to land a hug on the skinny greenish blonde. Hands on the dog' chest scritch and bare arms flex to try and set him down and she can almost avoind being pulled down, keyword almost as she buckles knees briefly and sinks to a squat before she can wriggle out. There's no avoiding dog slob kisses and licks though. Thankfully it's nothing Sheena can't deal with and she's rather amused. "Yes you're a new friend. I think Lil's god food though. You should go hug her. You're clearly good at it." she points out with ear scritches for the big mutt. Free hand waves a hello to Molly and Tris. "Hi!" she greets, trying to not grin as she overhears wardrobe issues during durances.

--

Molly rests her bony elbows on her thighs, leaning forward. She gives the Frenchie a curious look and a small smile, just watching for a second. "Hmm? No? Uh. It's - uh - cold?" That's what she has to say on the subject of being buck naked, tits out, with another slight shrug in Lilium's direction, barely keeping a grin from forming on her face. "Hey," she says at last, lifting a clawed hand in a sort of greeting aimed at Tris, at least at first, though she extends the wave to encompass the others. "Right! Molly." She confirms her introduction once Lilium offers it to the other Lost. "So... not a convention? Just a coincidence, I guess? Or is this, like, the local watering hole or something?"

--

Whoever said that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach might also have met a few dogs in their time. HELLO NEW FRIEND WITH FOOD! Both dogs abandon their previous positions to seek out Lilium when she returns with those offerings. It's too bad that some dog friendships are not more real and lasting. Tris' look is something between exasperated and amused as he looks on, though he daren't drop those leashes, even happily distracted as the dogs are.

"Who the hell cares?" Tris lifts his voice enough to carry to Natalya with her paltry excuses. He beckons at her, whether or not anyone else has feelings about the pollution to their immediate air or not. It's less than comfortable to have a conversation at the present distance and evidently he desires a word with the strangely angular Lost.

His dark gaze goes to Molly briefly, then Lilium, his lips crooking into a smile that's awfully close to a smirk, but like the smart man he isn't, he doesn't comment on their topic of conversation just now, surrounded by women as he is, except for his dogs. "It's a good place," he gestures of the square to Molly. "Good for exercise, good for people watching. Good for other things." He probably means harvesting, and a subtle look flashes Natalya's way.

--

"I care, clearly," Natalya replies, and casts aside her cigarette after stubbing it out, tossed into a nearby receptacle rather than more recklessly disposed of. "Not that I can lose the smoke entirely, but it's not really couth to blow it at you all." She primps an errant curl into place as she comes a little nearer, and agrees: "Good coincidence. Happy accident. Nice to meet you, Molly. And how fortunate to get to meet you with...tits in?" That's not how to put that, but maybe Natalya just has a vaguely askew sense of humor.

--

Lilium laughs at Sheena's suggestion, but steps back from the food all the same. Shaking her head at Molly, she says, "I think that is what this club called Salome is, but this is the first time I've been out here in the evening, so it's possible this is one, too." She nods a bit at Tris' words, having been here to sing for something similar earlier when Molly arrived, herself. And again at his desire to get Natalya closer, uncaring, herself, about the smoke. She just beams at how happy the food makes the dogs, content to stand back a pace and let them eat. She grins at Natalya's attempt at mirth, and scratches behind dog ears.

--

Sheena manages to extricate a lot of the extra dog slob from her hands to her thighs, the course denim good for that. A big goofy grin on her features as Tiny takes off for foods along with Tank. Natlya gets a beckoning smilke as well. Like a girl that looks like she's smoked way worse than tobacco would be bothered by said leaves burning. "I've had worse. Better too." she adds with a shrug of her shoulders, and that big playful smile.

--

"Fleecing tourists?" Molly offers a suggestion of 'other things' this place might be good for, quick tight smile flashed over in Tris's direction. "Yeah. Don't care either. I'd rather be smoking first-hand than second, but it's fine," she comments with a shrug aimed at Natalya, a soft snort that's almost a laugh held back behind a smirk. "Right? I mean, me too. They're fine, but I'm not really up to putting on a show, I guess, so..." she tugs at the collar of her t-shirt, and sits up a little straighter. "Coincidence. Okay! Okay, I can buy that. I'm new in town, so - I'll believe your lies, it's fine!"

--

"Maybe it matters," Tris directs to Natalya once she's closer, his head tilting slightly, because it's not a complete sentence expressed. There's more that's just subtext. Still he's just disagreeing, not actually telling her she's wrong. It might all be in the nuances of how long a life expectancy one has. Still, despite the disagreement he levels a charming smile at the woman. "The food you made for Thanksgiving was fantastic." It's not even all buttering up; possibly just //part//.

Food is a good way to make friends, as Lilium is presently proving from all the hot dog snarffing going on with the dogs and their new bestest buddy. They're really focused on the food, but once it's run out, Lilium can have her share of hot-dog-smelling kisses if she's not swift about fending off eager muzzles.

"Thanks," he has for the generous Lost. "Maybe they'll behave a little more the rest of the walk." Hear that? It was a walk they were having, not a brisk run, and even Tris seems to be aware that he's overly optimistic since his tone is one of wry humor, even if the appreciation was genuine enough.

The Millennial's eyes shift from Lilium over to Sheena, giving her a look over that might be general interest in another Changeling's evident mien, but might be just to make sure that she's actually fine after being friend-glomped by his poorly (read: not at all) trained companion. His eyes come back to her face at her words and he tosses her a playful smile that might, just might, mean he appreciates her words. "It could be good for fleecing tourists," he allows Molly's suggestion with humor starting to brighten his dark looks. "How new is new?" To town, is inquired of Molly, while the more general, "You been in town long?" gets directed from Sheena and then Lilium and finally back to Natalya all with a sweep of those blue eyes.

--

"I don't think anyone like us you meet has been in town very long. Even if some of us are...experienced? That's a terrible way to put that," Natalya suggests. "Still, most like us have moved here or arrived here only within a matter of brief months, or so I've been given to understand. I realize that sounds about as crazy as claiming this is coincidence, but -- nonetheless." After this curious statement, though, she gives a laugh and clarifies to Tris: "Bought, not made. My cooking skill is minimal, so I stick to things that are foolishly simple and that I've practiced at office potlucks. But I'm glad you liked what I brought. I'm only sorry I couldn't stay longer. I like a party. Invitation or coincidental, like this." All that emphasizing coincidence practically makes it seem like she thinks that it can't be one, either.

--

The uncomprehending look and questioning smile offered by Lilium at Sheena's words suggest that she has never tried a cigarette, leaving alone anything harder. She looks to Molly, nodding for a second before she gets what the 'they' referred to was, then offers a faint chuckle. Centuries of wandering alone in Arcadia have seen her especially susceptible to affection and the dogs are an embarassment of riches. She cuddles and pets and kisses on both with indiscriminate pure joy, little glasswings aflutter as they poke out of the shoulderlesd cut of the silk chiffon cape and backless grass colored couture 'elf princess' gown. Her immense lapis eyes are full of warmth and laughter as the heavy warmth of the floral breeze stirring about her is, all evocative enough of a strong spring mantle. She tells Tris, "Since early November, but this side of There for a couple months beyond that. She looks to Natalya a long moment and shakes her head a little, brow furrowing, "You must have been this side of the Hedge much longer, by that sound."

--

"It's more than what most of us can do." Sheena points out in regards to any culinary abilities. "But differing skills is the spice in the melting pot. Or something like that. I can probably rig a stove to blow up. By trying to pour cereal. I like cereal." the corroded copper girl states. "Otherwise the best food is food you don't have to cook yourself." she adds. "Still dunno why we couldn't move here before then. Who died to let us in I wonder." she adds with more shrugs, enough she's practically bouncing while she shuffles her weight from left to right via hips, almost in time with the varying music playing from varying speaker systems. Never quite settling on a single beat, it just looks fodgety.

--

Molly draws a breath. "Yeah. I'd heard something like that about this place..." she says in a vague pensive tone, then shrugs, pointing at Sheena after the remark on who might've died to let them in. She rakes her talons through her hair, both hands, and hops down off the fence. "Couple of days." She holds up two fingers for Tris, then pauses. "I mean here here, not - this side of things in general. I mean New Orleans." Though the birdlike woman can't be from too far away and out of state, judging from her accent. Her eyes are drawn over to the dogs around Lilium, and she allows herself a small smile.

--

"Ahh," Tris' understanding sound to Natalya's explanation is enlightenment with disappointment, "I see. Tasty," he has enough manners to reinforce, because it wasn't the food that was disappointing. "Next time," he adds with a smile on the matter of parties, something sardonic in his expression even if it might not have anything to do with the here and the now.

The dogs continue to lavish their attention on the one that seems to need it most, though whether that is happenstance of the food or some innate sense that some animals seem to have is anyone's guess. Tris' dark blue eyes shift to Lilium as she answers and they linger a thoughtful moment. He shifts the leashes again, adjusting his hands on them. He's with the group, but he's not standing all that close to anyone, keeping a bubble of personal space that the dogs probably would flatly disrespect if they had any interest in their owner just now. "Do you have a job yet, Lilium?" Maybe he's distracted by his own thoughts just now for he seems to gloss right past her observation about himself and his time returned.

The man's eyes flick to Sheena as she contributes suggestions, "Cereal," he says like it's a new thought, and, just maybe, it is. Still, the next thing Tris says with lifted brows is. "Rigging stoves to blow up sounds handy, when the right need arises." Does he know about such needs? Perhaps, perhaps not, but he is shifting the leashes again to withdraw a wallet from the pocket of his designer basketball shorts (who knew these things came in fancy brand names?). What he withdraws are four identical matte black business cards with white text. The paper is fancy weight and they just reek of class, despite the man's attire. They all read the same, 'D. Kesel, Kesel Holdings, Photographer' and a phone number. He offers one first to Sheena, "Add me to your contacts, if you would." Maybe he anticipates a need for explosions, or just likes fire.

As he offers that card to each woman in turn, the unmistakable heat exuding from his skin is there to be felt by each and every one that gets within arm's reach to take the card. His eyes stay on Molly a thoughtful moment before he asks, "Do you have a safe place to stay?"

--

Natalya laughs again, and brushes fingers against the pocket of her coat. "Well, it might be spoiling it not to take more credit. But I have been back long enough that that's a safe bet, longer than many." When Tris offers his card, she plucks it up in her fingers and twists it around to read. "Photographer. Huh."

--

Lilium is letting the dogs slobber all over couture for the sheer joy of sharing their affection. She gives Tris a curious look at the question. Not curious as in strange, curious as in intrigued. "I sing," she says, which isn't exactly a job, but Molly might be able to vouch for her ability, at least. She tries to wave Molly over when she sees the smile, like an invitation to come and 'get in on this'. She gets periodic stares from people passing by between the height, clothes, and the body modification to make her ears look elven even to humans, but if they consider disturbing the dogpiling cosplayer - surely a cosplayer, right? Well, she isn't approached, in any case. She takes the card and turns it over in slender fingers, and tucks it away, after an uncomprehending look at it. "Photographer?" she asks. "What sort of photographs?"

--

The card is looked over briefly, then slide down into one of the front pockets of her jeans after navigating the metal studs of her belt looped through the waistband just above. "Useful, sure we'll probably need someone casing stuff for us." she says with a grin. Lives of crime can lead to pragmatism as the tweaking dancy Metalflesh demonstrates. "You'll probably get asked that a lot." Sheena adds with that wide grin of her's aimed at Tris while the blondeish woman never quite stands still. At least she gets her arms to behave by folding them against her chest.

--

Molly holds out a hand, and carefully pinches the card with the pads of her fingers, flipping it up towards herself for a quick look. She reads over the card, looks up at Tris, looks back at the card. "Kesel Holdings?" She skips right over the photographer part. Everyone else is already asking about that. "Hey, you must be the one percent I've heard about, right?" Her tone is light, joking. The question gets a shrug from her, as she tucks the card away into the front pocket of her jeans, which is a whole thing requiring some finesse. "Safe enough? Got a motel room for the next couple of days, at least. And a place crash with someone - probably. I'll figure it out as soon as I get a job, it's cool."

--

"Uh huh," is an easy acknowledgement from Tris to Molly's observation about his financial status. He's not bragging (now), but neither does he seem to mind confirming. "You've met Jules, then?" He guesses when she mentions someone to stay with; maybe he just thinks the world is that small, or that Jules' beneficent reach is just that long.

His eyes find Sheena and then Lilium, his hand coming up to scratch unconsciously under his jaw along the line of rose-and-violet-and-gold there, shimmering through the groomed stubble of a beard, "People, mostly. I'm thinking about..." But whatever it is ends in a shrug. "I only arrived here a few weeks ago, too." It sort of goes without saying, but the remark implies he's still settling his own affairs in New Orleans, too. "Sheena, I'd like to talk more about your skill set. But not here." He might look all ease in this park, but he's not quite as lacking in wits as he might immediately seem. It's an invitation though, surely, for something, for sometime.

He tilts his head toward Lilium to comment, not about her singing but, "You get along with my dogs. I need someone reliable to help with them. Interested?" Nevermind that his animals could probably drag the elfin thing along much more effectively than they do their leanly muscular owner. Details!

"It just means I can't ask you to teach me to cook," Tris' smile is a little crooked as he attempts to mollify the Academic. "It might be a task as hard as economics, really." See? He was paying attention at Thanksgiving.

--

"There are some things that are easy about economics," Natalya says, smile going wide. Wider. Would that her mouth wasn't so prone to overrun her face. "One thing that's true is that being in the one percent can buy your way to all kinds of things, both good and bad. But I suppose it can't purchase trust or other kinds of security." She taps a finger to her heart, a strange little gesture that's interrupted by her phone ringing. She tries to check it casually and play it off as something to ignore, but the smile instead downturns into a scowl that might show some of what scared off the hot dog guy. "Excuse me. I have to cut my part of the party too short." It's abrupt, how she turns on a heel and answers the phone, trying to keep her voice low and failing, brusque talk into the phone as she strides off again: "You were supposed to forget this number, and my name, and how to breathe if I'm lucky..."

--

"About the type of pictures he takes?" Lilium asks Sheena. She kneels before Tank and throws her head back, offering her best long and soulful puppy howl, the sort of thing dogs let out to keep a passing ambulance from hurting their ears. "You wanna sing with me buddy?" she asks, grinning still at the pooch before going, "Ow-ow-Owoooooooooooooooo," with a bit of a wind up to a surprisingly good approximation of such a howl. She grins at Tris and says, "I like them a lot, but can make no promises beyond playdates, visits, and lots and lots of treats and love." It's probably a mercy that changelings have so little likelihood of having kids, because extrapolating her attention and affection, it's no hard guess how spoiled anyone she cares for deeply might wind up under constant doting. She looks worriedly after Natalya, asking, "She'll be alright, right?"

.oO( Lilium rolls 10 Dice )Oo...............................................o. Roll: Presence +Expression Result: Success (2) -- (4 5 8 2 6 7 5 6 7 10 1) .o...................................................oO( success (public) )Oo.

--

The doggos get more Sheena scritches when she gets close to them while Lilium is encouraging singing and howling. Though with Tank she has to actually bend down to make the reach. "I swipe stuff. Not gonna model, or dance on camera. Did enough standing around looking pretty like for other people. I do what I do for me. Sometimes for friends and free hold cause it comes back to me in the end." she says without any anger and reaches for both Tank and Tiny in order to deliver ear scritches again. There's a pause when Natalya has to slip away. "See ya." she farewells cheerfully. Then back to petting dogs as she sinks to a squat to be more comfy working her nails over dog fur.

--

"Jules?" Shrug. Obviously, Molly hasn't met Jules. "No. I just, you know, got acquaintances?" She explains, vaguely and not sounding terribly sure of what she's saying. But there's another shrug to punctuate her reply, and a light skimming of her fingertips along the side of her head. As Natalya wanders off, she tilts her head, glancing over, with a faint start of a wave in that direction. Her attention strays back to Lilium and Sheena and the dogs, smile going wider, then twisting into something bigger, toothier, snorting half a laugh at the howl.

--

Tris' smile flashes again for Natalya's words and then his eyes follow her briefly when she walks away, expression turning thoughtful. He doesn't answer Lilium's question about the angular Lost, but his attention is drawn back by the howl and bemusement briefly reigns on his face. "Well, if you decide you'd like to be paid for your time, I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement. Dog walker is a real job, you know." Maybe she doesn't, maybe Tris is just trying to be helpful. "There are two cats, too." This may be simply helpful information in considering a real job offer or something he hopes will sweeten the deal. The dogs for their part are happy enough not to howl just this moment, but they do make some ruffs and other happy doggy noises that briefly cut into the conversation. Aside from that Tank and Tiny are in dog heaven, with all the attention being lavished on them between Lilium and Sheena. That's probably why they haven't tried to jerk Tris off yet. They must have already had the better part of their walk-not-a-run before ending up at this statue.

Although Sheena gets a grin for her answer to his words, Tris doesn't let the misunderstanding stand. "Not interested in that. I was thinking toward your words about casing things." Maybe now she can see why he doesn't want to talk about it in a public park. "I don't lack for models when I want them." Really, he's quite sexy. It's a very believable statement, especially when one adds in the one percent appeal of sweet rides and swanky stuff.

"Jules Landry," he fills in for Molly. "He's looking to eventually have a place where those of us who are new to the area," or recently Returned, "have a safe place to get set up from. Frankly, his house is still a bit of a wreck, but..." He frowns slightly, letting go of something that's probably beside the point. "Why don't you let me put you in contact with him and you can sort for yourself if it's a good temporary option for you?" He might place a slight stress on 'temporary,' but that would be a critical word.

--

Zero self control. Lilium has no actual skill with animals. She would do terrible training them. But she has two things in absurd amounts, affection and enthusiasm, and soshe is bound to get on famously with the very untrained dogs, especially when she actively encourages them to follow through on instincts that would make a normal person recoil or lash out. She scoots a little to give Sheena more room to fuss with the pups. She laughs as she looks between Tris and Sheena before she tells Tris, "Cats are alright. Kind of indifferent for my tastes, but, they are very pretty."

--

There's an eyeroll from Sheena and she just otherwise keeps on scritching dogs. "I'm sure there's a line waiting. Lotta girls down for that kinda thing. Big break and all that wannabe stuff." Sheena states with a grin up at Tris while helping Lilium shower the dogs with affection. "You feed a cat enough and make sure it's safe I'm sure it'll snuggle as good a these two. If not as big. Also, I can understand wanting to keep quiet about what I like to do. It's not for everyone and that horse looks so fucking shifty." She looks up and squints evilly at the statue. One metal thing to another.

--

Molly's staring at the dogs, with a distant grin for a moment. "I like cats. And dogs. I'm better with birds," she says. Because of course she is, baby feathers in her hair and all. She blinks back towards Tris, giving his offer a moment's consideration. "Sure? Can't hurt, right? And I'm pretty dang sure I've stayed in worse places than whatever that's like, Mr. One Percent," she adds with a grin, right on the edge of taunting. Then she slumps back into the fence. "Thanks. I'll keep it as an option until I figure out my living situation and all."

--

If one takes a look at Tris and his dogs, is it really a stretch to imagine that Lilium could literally do any worse? Possibly not. It might just be training one animal inept with a lot of enthusiasm for another, but at least Tris is willing to pay her for it? It's entirely possible that if Lilium didn't discourage it, the enormous Mastiff is sprawled on as much of her as he's being permitted to be snuggled up with and the Frenchie is still dancing as if he has a chance to nudge in there. He's contented by Sheena's attention, trying to lick the Metalflesh's hand. "Cat affection is quieter, but no less deep," Tris quips toward the pixie-like Lost, but he's not pressuring her to take the job.

His eyes roll as he looks back toward Sheena, "I was only that kind of photographer briefly." The boyish smirk probably explains what shameless walk of his life that behavior happened in. "Mostly I take more useful forms of images. Or did." He shrugs as if that isn't important, but something in his tone certainly makes it seem more significant, even if it is just a passing remark. He follows her eyes up to the statue and shrugs and nods. He can agree to that, even if he doesn't seem to have any personal suspicion of the statue in particular.

"What's the best way for him to reach out to you?" Tris directs to Molly. "I don't have any birds." That's topic jumping, and back again, "Do you have a phone?" Some don't. It's probably a valid question.

--

Sheena finally stands herself up, moving fluidly as her back arches and rolls into verticality. "I should scoot. I got a bunch of stuff in the pipes so mama gotta get cracking. Cool meeting you two..." and then she looks up from the dogs and grins. "You guys too! I'm sure we'll party soner or later." she adds with a playful tone and turns to make her way from the statue, glaring at the horse one last time. She's got her eye on that thing.

--

Sheena moves to add tummy rubs to the smaller of the pups. The dancing metal chick more than happy to fawn over doggos. The smile big and wide and very happy. Even the ring in her lower lip seems shinier for it as said lip curls. "I can get you a phone if you need one. Every girl should have a burner and a fake number. Safety tip for a modern age. Still have a lot of stuff I'm catching up on since I missed about forty years of stuff." she adds with more bouncy shrugs.

--

"That's fine. I won't think any less of you for it," Molly replies to the news that Tris doesn't have any birds. "I don't either. Used to have a dog, though," she admits a second later with a despondent sigh and a soft click of her tongue. She presses one foot back against the fence, then nods, reaching into another front pocket. "Uh, yeah I got a phone?" She says, looking from Tris to Sheena. Apparently, as far as Molly is concerned, that's not a valid question. Her tone suggests that of course she has a phone, who doesn't have a phone? Her phone is cheap, not new, and somewhat scuffed, it's a phone.

--

"I'm told that's not uncommon," Tris observes of the time gap Sheena cites. Even as he does, he's digging into another pocket, putting his forgotten wallet away again in the process. Leash handles are shuffled and he produces a sleek cellphone, briskly manipulating it with all the aplomb of a lifelong user. He proffers it to Molly after a moment.

The screen is open to a text message in a new conversation. The heading is labeled 'Jules' so the recipient is obvious. The message typed so far is: "Hey. Ran into Molly. She's new to the city and might need a place to stay. Here's her number so you can get in contact: ' And that's where it stops. Apparently, he's hoping she'll fill in the rest. He flicks his eyes back to Sheena whether he's relieved of the phone or not to ask, "You have what you need to get started here?"

--

"I'm good, I got a phone. I got a place. Nothing fancy, probably the opposite but I got it sorted. Even has working plumbing." Sheena points out with more of that big tweaky smiling, sounding as proud as she looks. The dogs get more and more pets and rubs. "Sheena got her own shit sorted. Cause mama makes ATM's her bitch." technology is no problem to a Metalflesh's touch.

--

Molly takes the proffered phone, quickly scanning the message. "Sounds good," she says, and inputs her phone number, quick and efficiently in spite of long black talons, before handing it back over, warm to the touch. Warmer. "Thanks," she says, glancing in Sheena's direction and letting a bigger grin break out. "Well, that sounds like a pretty damn useful trick," she says, raising both hands in a shrug, showing off her open palms. "I just do it the the old-fashioned way."

--

The photographer accepts his phone back, fingers shifting to send the message off before brushing his fingers along the back of the phone thoughtfully. Tris studies Molly a moment longer and then tucks away his phone before giving a tug on the leads of the dog. "I should get these boys back home." He says before giving another tug that actually forces them to pay him any mind at all, although both are reluctant to leave their new fanclub. "Couldn't have said it better myself," he seconds Molly's assessment of Sheena's skills. "I hope you'll be in touch," he nods to Sheena before he looks to Molly, brows dipping down.

He tugs the dogs closer (the dogs who immediately set about lacing him into the leashes in their meandering course, which causes Tris to shift to automatically evade becoming entrapped by the very mundane bonds. "I'm going to use your number, Molly." At least he's being polite and warning her, "because I think we have something in common, something valuable and scarce." He's not actually asking her permission, but then... that's how Summer rolls.

--

Sheena finally stands herself up, moving fluidly as her back arches and rolls into verticality. "I should scoot. I got a bunch of stuff in the pipes so mama gotta get cracking. Cool meeting you two..." and then she looks up from the dogs and grins. "You guys too! I'm sure we'll party soner or later." she adds with a playful tone and turns to make her way from the statue, glaring at the horse one last time. She's got her eye on that thing.

--

At some point, Lilium literally gets distracted and wanders off, and, making up a random rhyme, opens a car door into.... the bottom of a well. And it probably wasn't even her car. Good grief.

--

Molly watches Tris with the dogs, her own phone returned to the pocket she got it from. She's leaning on her elbows, lightly, legs crossed at the ankle. She lifts an eyebrow at Tris's last words. "Uh. Valuable and scarce?" She looks confused, but shrugs it off. "Sure?" Bringing a hand higher, she waves him off. And the dogs.

--

"We'll talk," Tris assures in the face of Molly's confusion. He does have a pretty solid sense of authority about his person for all that his dogs are doing their level best to undermine him completely. Obviously, though, he intends to make things clearer, later. For now, Tiny spots something, yanks the lead and off they run, dogs not quite dragging the fleet footed man behind them for the rest of their "walk."