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Season's Passing

 
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FinMack
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject: Season's Passing Reply with quote

The air was thin and brittle, sharp edges poking at his skin with needle tips when an errant gust of winter air swirled around the lighthouse or rose up off the water. Fin's feet dangled over the edge from beneath the railing, forearms and forehead resting against the rungs at different heights. The cold metal made his forehead ache, at first, but now it was numb enough that he didn't much care about it. A beanie, a hoodie, and a denim jacket helped to keep him warm, fingerless gloves helping to keep his fingers from becoming useless. Below his perch, a perfectly frozen lick of ice rose up from the base of the lighthouse, helping to provide a windbreak so that he could smoke a cigarette.

The handrolled hung from his lips. Bright orange flared and breathed with the Scot, smoke pouring from his nose on each exhale where it was captured by the breeze, spiraling away from him and up to the stars. Both moons were full, the tide high - something Fin could feel in his bones, now, instead of checking at the docks. Stars twinkled in the clear sky, seeming brighter this season than any other.

Around his cigarette, Fin hummed, his eyes on the water beneath him.


He'd given Fin a seventeen minute window in which to expect him. Rhy'Din's lighthouse island is one of a handful of locales he's thought very little about revisiting. He ties the leaking dinghy boat off at the small spit of driftwood that serves for a dock and looks up at the dark spire of stone and iron. He's never seen it lit.

He can remember the last time he set foot on the shore, crunchy now with the remnants of a late Winter frost. Where he'd walked, and who he'd walked beside. How his boots sunk into the sand beneath him and how he wished he could just kneel down, curl into a ball, and fall off the face of the earth. Fox had trotted alongside them. Shae's concern, and a withering, black-eyed stare clings to the backs of his eyelids as he finds his way up to the thin landing high above. The dark stairs do not creak under his weight. It smells like seawater and fish, musty and damp. He's glad to be out in the chilly, open air when he pops the door to the gallery. He's greeted by humming and the welcome scent of handrolled tobacco.


The Scot hadn't checked the clock on his phone or counted the passing of time. Things like day and night were the most stringent labels he would apply, happy to let things meld together and pass him in a blur. Work, then time that he was alone with his dog. Sometimes there were other people that earned a memory in the monotonous march of days, offered just enough variety to keep him from feeling completely numb.

Movement to his left caught Fin's attention, face turning in that direction to see Cris come through the small door. It had been...Christ almighty, he couldn't even remember the last time he'd seen the Nephilim in person, confused it with previous memories. Even so, Fin offered a warm (but weary) smile, its life expectancy short as he looked ahead to the fractured reflection of the moons on the water.


His gaze finds Fin easily, despite the dark. He pulls the door closed at his back as a breeze propelled by the high tide whistles around them, buffets his hair and the thick collar of his coat. He finds that this year hasn't been kind to very many of the people comes in contact with. Frowning, he follows the gallery's gentle curve until he fills the space next to the Scot. Silently, he crouches. Sticks the length of his legs over the side to match his friend's, and rests both of his arms along the railing in front of him.


With the wind blowing steadily and the waves crashing against the tiny beach encircling the base of the lighthouse, it was loud enough that filling the air with speech seemed garish and obscene. Besides, the water was singing to him and Fin hummed back until the cherry of his cigarette threatened to burn his lips. Two fingers plucked it from his mouth and flicked it out, watching wind catch it before it hit the water.

It was so easy to fall into a comfortable silence with Cris, readily accepting his presence. People, like the ocean, had a certain ebb and flow to them. Some were washed out to sea, never seen again, but many came back with the tide.

By way of greeting, Fin pushed his silver case toward the other man, covering the few inches between them.


He doesn't know that a Warlock sat in almost exactly the same spot. The quiet scrape of Fin's case pulls his gaze from the darkness of the water. Stress in his exhale suggests he could have chuckled. He collects it, digs his thumb into the seam between lid and base. He takes only one, closes it with a click and puts it back where he found it. A cupped palm protects the small flame from a white lighter as he sets it ablaze.


Another lick of ice forms, this time rising higher with a wave of Fin's fingers to help Cris protect his flame and block the wind so the cigarette could be lit. Just watching the small action made his mouth water for another, a Pavlovian slave to his habit, but the Scot decided to prolong the anticipation a little longer.

He had no way of knowing Crispin's last memory of this place, the companions that invaded that memory. He only knew that he liked the sound of the water and the fact that unless specifically directed, no one came looking for him here. He could spend hours lost in thought, listening to the ocean as it whispered its secrets, happy to have a confidante rather than be one.


His brows come together over the flickering light as he watches the growth of ice. A little cloud of blue leaks from his frown around the cigarette. He pockets the lighter, frees the handrolled from his mouth. "You're becoming quite adept at that," given that the last time they'd discussed Fin's newborn abilities, he was still discovering them himself, and seemed reluctant to even use them.


A flick of his shoulders lift them in a shrug. Turning his face, Fin rests his cheek on top of folded hands so he can keep Cris within view. "May as well, aye? They no be goin' away. Lucy has been helpin' to guide me." Smoke flowed between them as he savored the sound of Cris' voice in person, the low and solemn thrum of it through the air. It was good to hear it again.


He does the same, privately marveling at how easily the cadence of Fin's accent unravels a knot cinched around something in his chest. He's glad to hear it, glad to merely be there. Glad that he could. "She's not regained her own abilities, has she?"


Brows flicked together briefly and then smoothed out again. "Aye, she has. Some time ago, after...after Reginald." It had been an ugly business, one that left Lucy grieving all over again for a lost love. Fin had done his best to help prop her up but his own supports had been cracked and faltering for some time.


He nods, kicks some ash off the tip of the cigarette with his thumb. The leather of his coat creaks as he leans against the railing. "I see." He looks over to the other man. "Have you been well?"


Again, there's a slight shrug as he meets the solid hazel with an icy blue. "Well enough, I s'pose." The words word neutral, noncommittal, but the bone-deep wounds showed in his gaze.


Part of his mouth turns up. Easy in its amusement, but Cris mourns the loss of his friend's smile and the, what he had thought, bottomless pit of warmth that endears him so strongly. "We have that in common," he tells Fin, cutting off the other man's obligation to ask.


Fin was all out of warmth to give, not even preserving enough for himself. Not enough to dole out to his friend. All the masks were stripped away, this was all that was left of him. "Where did ye go?" Since the weather wasn't worth discussing and they'd already covered well being


He adds the chilly air to the long drag he takes in, holds it in his chest. The tip of his thumb circles the cigarette's filter. "France, at first."


"Aye?" he asked, brows rising. Fin was impressed, he'd never been much for travel but liked to hear stories of other lands, other cultures. It enthralled him to hear of a slice of life so foreign to his own. "How long did ye stay there?"


"We left at the beginning of December," he tells the water before them, watching the wan glow of the cigarette against the vast black nothing. "Stayed through the holidays."


"We?" wondering who the other person was. Realization dawned belatedly. "Did Leena go wit' ye?"


His nod comes slowly, "Yes, she did. It was her idea. She was born there, it's always been a sort of----" frowning, "comfort-----I suppose, to return. I hadn't in years."


Enough time had passed that the craving peaked, had Fin reaching blindly for the silver case. Muscle memory withdrew a cigarette, more ice forming to nurture the weak flame that struggled to light the thin paper. A quick, deep inhale brought a surge of life to the cigarette, the lighter abandoned on top of the case. "Did ye like it there well enough? Wha' was it like?'


"Quiet," he answers, refusing to entertain the reasons why doing so is so easy. "Quieter, at least, than it's been in town." He brings the cigarette to his mouth. "I spent time often, there, in my youth. Once Leena and I had kindled a tenuous friendship, I was invited to her home in the country. It's beautiful there."


Twin cherries glowed, moving at different paces but sharing life for a short span of time, just like the two smoking the cigarettes. "I miss the quiet. The sort tha' be filled wit' the noises o' sea birds an' game rustlin' in the heather. Waves crashin' below against the base of the cliffs where I lived. They brough' me peace as nothin' else does."


He's relieved that the path of their discussion seems to be on a turning point. "Do you spend time out here often?"


The ghost of a smile flares and dies by the time the cigarette reaches his mouth. "Aye," the word born aloft on a puff of smoke. "When I can. Or when I no' be up at the cabin." With his own car, he still went there without Ketch though usually not alone. Annie liked to hitch a ride and keep him company with her books and her dry laughter.


He hums a thoughtful sound. Mirrors Fin's earlier posture by resting his forearm along the railing, and his chin on his wrist. "I traveled some, through Western Europe. I hadn't thought it at the time, but I regret now that I did not spend time in Scotland."


This time, his smile lived a bit longer for the mention of his homeland. "Why did ye no' make it part o' the tour?"


One shoulder moves, "I do not know. At the time, I was not considering much outside the storm within my own mind."
He guides his hand through the air. The glow of his cigarette follows. "I picked a direction, and followed it through. That is all."


"Tha' be fair," he murmured. Finally, finally, his eyes crinkled slightly at the edges as he let slip a tiny ray of sun through the clouds. "I be glad tha' the path brough' ye back here."


He doesn't mean to snort, but he does anyway. Puts his palm against his brow to support the weight of his head. The breeze disturbs the tips of his eyelashes. "Defiance and regret did that, Fin."


The snort is returned, a gallows humor found in the answer put to him. "It be the same for m'self. This be a place made o' regret an' despair. Everythin' else is a distraction to make ye forget."


He's glad Fin does not ask, either. In the time between Fin's message and his own arrival, he'd thought about how this reunion would go, and it was not like anything he'd presumed it would be. At least, he tells himself, they're speaking. That's a vast improvement. "It makes one wonder why one returns, yes?"


"Mmmm," making a noise around the cigarette as he sucked in a lungful. His fingers were numb, the smoke held loosely between his knuckles. With a shiver, his other hand left the railing to point a finger down toward the ground and slowly spiral outward. An impossible warmth rose slowly to encompass the men, taking the edge off the bitter gusts of wind. "Some of us do no' have the luxury o' leavin'."


"That's ludicrous," he says. "If you've the desire, you have the ability to make it so. It all depends on how strong that desire is, or how much effort you will have to expound." He looks aside. "If you do not wish to stay, you have that freedom not to, Fin."


It was rueful, the bit of wryness that twisted one corner of his mouth. "Aye? Where would I go? To another place where I am no' wanted an' do no' fit?"


One brow arches high. He is in no position to lecture anyone on the reality of their self-worth, and so he resigns to say nothing until the desire to passes.


"I canno' go home, no' truly. Anywhere else be a pale reflection."


They made a rather melancholy pair. "I wonder which extreme is worse. The desire to be somewhere else, or the absence of any such desire to be anywhere at all."


Fin considered the question honestly. "I think the latter. If ye long to go somewhere else, ye kindle hope in yer heart tha' one day, ye will see the place o' yer longin'. Hope can carry ye far, through many trials."


He sucks his cigarette down to death, holding the filter in the curl of his palm.


He continued, not needing a response from the Nephilim. "But hope can be a heavy chain 'round yer neck. It can suffocate ye."
_________________
“[He] scares me because he has been the most miserable of all men, jailed & beaten and cheated and starved and sickened and homeless, and still he knows there's such a thing as love.”
~Jack Kerouac
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FinMack
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 12 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He feels tired in a way that sinks beyond muscle and bone. As though the act of drawing breath itself has become too laborious a task to continue. He lets his eyes close, the length of four scarred fingers sewing into his hair. It still needs a trim on top, possibly around his temples and the nape of his neck too, but judging by the length of stubble on his jaw, four days' worth now, he has not given it any thought. "I have not wanted to be anywhere, in a very long time," he confesses, "I have only felt the great desire to not be in the place that I am."


It's a feeling that, in its expression, Fin recognizes intimately. The Scot feels much the same with just a minor twist. "As I feel only the great desire to no' be who I be." One hand lifts to rest lightly upon Crispin's shoulder for the space of a heartbeat. He doesn't squeeze, don't apply pressure, only a light touch and then it's gone.


He does not flinch away from the contact, nor attempt to win more. Instead, he chuckles. Sadly and disjointed, like he does not truly know how, and pulls his hand down his face. "Ah, by the Angel, but we sound as though we've lived three times as many decades as we have."


A mirthless smile curls his lips, a snort of air that doesn't steam in the humid air around them. "Most days, tha' be how I feel. I am weary o' tryin'. Weary o' bein' alone. Weary o' feelin' tha' there be somethin' wrong wit' me because I do no' want to be alone when everyone else be tellin' me tha' I should."


Cris does not know what to say to Fin's confession, at all. He rarely knows what to say on any given topic. It's dark, quiet, comfortable. The necessity of pretense is a distant pipe dream. He pockets the cold filter of his cigarette. "I spoke to Ketch recently, as well. He seems to have escaped the insanity as you have."


Fin grunted and turned his face to the sea, staring out over it. "I be glad to hear it," he murmured, so softly that the words were almost torn away by the wind.


"Indeed." He crosses his arms along the railing. Considers the ocean as he sucks his teeth, then turns his head to the other man. "I received your messages whilst I was abroad. But I was not in the right mind to respond, and I'm sorry. But I wanted to thank you for them."


A small shake of his head before he sucked down the last of his cigarette and flicked the butt away. "I did no' expect ye to respond, tha' no be why I sent them. It warms m'heart to think tha' ye watched them, enjoyed them."


"I do," he says, with a faint nod. His hands fold together, aloft, over the several foot drop. "Multiple times, I've watched them. I could recite to you, verbatim, those that you sent to me directly after I rose. They were, often, the only interaction I allowed, prior to returning here to town."


Those videos had been a vain attempt to think that he could hold on to one person, that someone would come back. They were the culmination of a self imposed isolation, trying to protect himself from further pain. However, it surprised him to hear that Cris had watched them so often that he could recite Fin's words back to him. Brows rose and he turned to regard Crispin, the unspoken question plain in his eyes. Why?


Unfortunately, he hasn't an answer for Fin. Not one that he'd like to give, anyway. He knew, even before he'd spoken, that what he would say would come as a surprise. He doesn't take offense to the Scot's shock. He offers a half smile instead, ducks his head so he can push back some of the lank hair that's fallen across his brow, thanks to the breeze.


The half-hearted smile was answer enough. With a nod, Fin gathered his silver cigarette case and the lighter that rested on top of it. They were secreted away into his pockets. "The walkway here be freezin' m'arse where it rests. D'ye want to come back to the forge for a drink?"


He laughs, scoots back along the iron gallery and pulls himself up to his feet. "I'd like that, yes."


It was a somber and stately procession down the spiraling staircase. Fin's ears burned as the blood started to flow back into them, pulling his beanie down over them to help fight against the cold once they were out on the water. When they got to the short dock, Fin climbed in the boat with Cris, leaving the other out here. With a little smirk, the Scot eschewed the oars and touched the surface of the water, the sea itself propelling them toward the harbor.


He takes his time with the trek across the beach, casting his gaze over the emptiness of it like he sees things where there's nothing. He shoves his fists down into his coat pockets when he reaches the boat, springing into it with ease, grateful to be putting the small island behind him.


It took but a few minutes for them to reach the more substantial docks of RhyDin Harbor. The little dinghy was moored quickly and before long, the two men were walking side by side through the streets of Dockside. Fin kept his head down, avoiding his ghosts as Cris had done on the island.


More often than it seems, he's faced with the urge to break silence. He's let it hang over them through the short trip to the dock, and the last eleven blocks, but, finally, he adds his voice to the sound of Fin's footsteps and his own muted stride. "Work has been treating you well, at least, yes?"


The Scot finds comfort in a companionable silence, cherishing the chance to sink into his own thoughts with another person there to anchor him so he didn't float away permanently. They reach a bridge and cross the river that cuts the city in half, keeping to the sidewalks to avoid the traffic that never sleeps. "Hm?" It takes a moment to cut through the fog and realize what had been asked. "Oh, aye," offering a crooked smile. "Work be goin' well, makin' good coin for m'self. It has been m'salvation."


He nods, "My own lacking employment has begun to weigh upon my mind."


Another few blocks and they passed the grand fountain in the middle of the marketplace. "Aye? Have ye anythin' to mind abou' wha' ye want to do wit' yerself?"


Half shake of his head, "No, not exactly. Though, I've resigned to the fact that settling for mundane tasks will, and has, bored me to agony."


"Wha' d'ye consider to be a mundane task?"


"Tending a bar."
"Or anything in the vein of food and-or customer service."


Fin's lips twitched with genuine humor, remembering Cris behind the bar of Charlie's. However, that same place soured his smile before it could be birthed. "Wha' be yer passion? Wha' sorts o' things d'ye enjoy doin'?"


"You ask the impossible," through a half smile. He scratches the side of his jaw. "I enjoy doing what I was meant to. However, that seems to leave only two veins open to me, at the moment." He gestures at nothing, "Cage fighting," and then somewhere else, "mercenary. Neither of which are occupations that one can merely fall into by opening the local paper.

"This past month----I've been in more battles in a single night than I have in the last two years."


At this hour, the marketplace was more of a graveyard with the occasional ghost haunting its alleyways and dark corners. The two men passed through peaceably without encountering any of the specters. "I think ye be missin' somethin'," recalling the training that Cris enjoyed sharing with himself and Lirrsa. "Ye could teach others how to figh'. Make yerself a legacy, knowin' ye helped others protect themselves."


He glances aside, pleasantly surprised. "That would be something to consider should I suddenly require numerous social interactions," slight smile.

Then he lifts his hand. "But I appreciate the suggestion. I'd not thought of it myself."


A soft chuckle escaped him as they turned onto the street where his home squatted between other buildings. "Well, ye could take on one student at a time. Or 'haps teach the wee ones so ye would no' have to speak to them as such."


"Can you honestly see me speaking to a small group of children?"


He chuckled again, this one stronger, a wide smile creeping up on him. "They be easier to face than ye think. More willin' to please ye, to apply themselves than most adults." They approached the building from the back and Cris would notice that a fire escape had been built along the back wall of the forge - no more climbing a ladder up and down to the roof. The utilitarian staircase had a few flairs here and there, some knot work wrought in the railings. "Older ones, then, tha' no' yet be adults. Think o' how ye would love to injure their pride." Fin actually grinned before opening the door and stepping over the threshold. Liath yipped and bounded over to meet him, wagging her tail so hard that her entire back end swayed from side to side. With a word, Fin allowed her outside and she was out like a shot, seeking a place to pee.


"Your imagination is refreshingly agile." He gives the fire escape attached to the building an appraising eye. He knows very little about craftsmanship, but can at least tell the difference between something well made and a piece of trash lashed to a wall. This one is the former. Cris keeps as far out of Liath's way as he's able. "Young adults put me in mind of myself when I was their age, and I oft had the desire to injure my instructor."


The door was left open until Liath made an appearance through it, again. She slavered attention over Fin but when she looked in Cris' direction and stepped that way, Fin stopped her with a word in Gaelic. She returned to the Scot's side for a scratch behind her ears. "Did ye injure yer instructor?" After the door was shut, Fin moved to the fridge. "Would ye like a beer or somethin' stronger?"


Thank the Angel for that, because he'd retreated the step he'd taken inside when the dog turned her sights onto him. "Often," answering. "It was encouraged. Beer is fine, thank you."


Two long neck bottles were pulled from the cold box, callused fingers making quick work of the tops that normally required an opener to pry them off. "Ye would no' have to teach tha' way. 'Haps tha' be why ye wanted to injure them, because it was encouraged? But 'haps adults are better for ye," turning a wry smile onto this friend. Fin headed for the futon, dropping his case and lighter on the coffee table. Now that he was home and could unwind, he reached for a joint, instead, which sat on a small platter on the table.


"There were other reasons." He finds a place to perch on the arm of Fin's couch, taking the beer he's offered. "It's something to consider, at least."


Perched forward on the futon, the Scot took the opportunity to divest himself of gloves, beanie and outer coat, keeping on the hoodie until he warmed up. Then he leaned back, propped his feet on the table, and sprawled comfortably in order to light up the joint. "Ye could try one an' if ye do no' enjoy it, turn yer sights upon somethin' else." It was just a suggestion that Cris was free to take or leave. "Have ye e'er though' o' smithin'?" only half teasing.


Snorting. He picks the label on the beer bottle with his thumb. "No, I haven't. Not seriously, at least. I was considering, however, requesting the use of your forge for something that I'd like done."


The twisted paper caught and Fin took a long exhale, coughing out a cloud of smoke just after Cris spoke. Muscles tightened while the Scot curled forward with the force of it, gasping for a breath and smiling to himself when they abated. "Aye?" his voice hoarse but his curiosity intent.


The pungent smoke begins to waft, pinching at the tip of his nose and at the very forefront of his brain. He nods, lifting his beer.


Lips twitch again, fixing Cris with an expectant look. "Are ye goin' to tell me?"


He sucks the sip he takes through his teeth, frowning. "There is something that I'd like destroyed, but it requires a receptacle powerful enough to withstand the strength of the flame necessary to bring that about."


Fin straightened - Cris had his attention. Thick brows knit together as he concentrated through the cloying haze of smoke. "What are ye wantin' to destroy?"
_________________
“[He] scares me because he has been the most miserable of all men, jailed & beaten and cheated and starved and sickened and homeless, and still he knows there's such a thing as love.”
~Jack Kerouac
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FinMack
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 299
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: at Iron Clad forge
18324.14 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"A dagger," he says, despite the discomfort wreathing his core from the inside out. He washes it down with another drink. "It's forged, primarily, of silver. But there are enchantments weaved upon it to strengthen its integrity. I've since Marked it with my own set of runes, but I can do away with those myself. It's the spellwork that needs to be melted away."


Magic. Oh. Fin digested that whilst chewing the inside of his cheek. "Eh, when it starts to melt, will anythin'...happen?" Was it going to explode in a fireball, cause his forge to implode on itself or release a phantasm that would ravage the city?


His brows pull in, "Not that I'm aware. Though, I would not put it past her to've weaved some sort of booby trap into the protections. I Marked it, easily enough, and if it's withstood the Angel's language without retaliation, I think it will be all right."


That gave him some sense of relief, shoulders dropping back to a relaxed posture, unaware of the way tension sang through him at the prospect. "Alrigh'," he murmured, taking another pull on the joint. "Ye said there may be some other metals in it? Wha' be the handle made of?"


"Silver," with a nod. "I believe there to also be pewter in the grip, though not much. Chips of amethyst dot the pommel, as well. I care nothing for keeping them."


The stones would crack and fall apart in the heat of the forge but if Cris wasn't interested in saving them, that was his business and not Fin's. "Aye, it should no' be difficult, pewter an' silver melt easily. Eh, it will no' leave any...trace o' magic in m'forge, will it?"


"As far as my understanding of enchantments go, once they've run their course, they merely dissolve. Though if you're concerned, you could request for a cleansing of the space to rid it of any lingering energies."


A cleansing. It sounded like the steps taken to ward this place and the two witches he knew capable of such things were not around. A light frown wrinkled his brow but Fin nodded, committing that to memory. "I may if I feel anythin' amiss after. How soon d'ye want to do this?"


"As soon as you'll allow," he answers, raising his beer to swallow down the acidic flavor of his request.


Brows rose but he could sense the urgency underlying the request; something that Cris wanted over with rather than delay. "As soon as ye could bring it to me. If ye wanted to fetch it now, I no' be goin' anywhere."


Squinting, he shakes his head. "It would take time to collect. I'm content enough that I've spoken this request to you, and you're allowing it. Thank you."


A soft smile made an appearance. "O' course, Crispin. Ye know tha' ye always be welcome in m'home. For all tha' we ha' disagreed, I consider ye a true friend."


Snorts, "That was almost kind, Fin." But he smiles regardless. "Within the week, yes?"

With a snort, Fin reached over to playfully shove the Nephilim's shoulder. "Aye, well, almost kind be the best ye deserve, aye?" The smile morphed into a sharp smirk then eased when he nodded. "Aye, any time after shop hours. Would no' want anyone else walkin' in to find us doin' such." It seemed like it should be a private thing.


He's equally grateful and concerned for the fact that Fin understands, and understands so easily. But he doesn't question it. Cleaves to the former emotion rather than the latter, and stands from his perch on the couch's arm with a nod. "I shall bring it with me soon."


He, too, rose to his feet when Cris did. "Whene'er ye like. Ye do no' have to leave now but if ye want to be off, I understand." Fin reached out a hand, expecting nothing more than a shake for now.


He did not want to. Not entirely, not underneath it all, but he also could not stomach staying. There's a restless energy coalescing in the pit of his empty stomach, reaching with its icy fingers up through his core, on a path for his limbs. Cris looks at Fin's outstretched hand, then his face. His own brow stiffens in a scowl.


The Scot's brow puckered in concern at the scowl, thinking that perhaps Cris didn't want to be touched at all. The hand was retracted quickly, shoved in the pocket of his hoodie. "Eh..." He meant to apologize but it wouldn't come out so he trailed off awkwardly, hoping Cris would give a cue on what would be acceptable.


"When I last spoke with Ketch, it was undoubtedly the most awkward interaction that he and I have suffered through in the entire length of time we've known each other." He motions between them with a scarred pair of fingers, "Are we to be the same?"


Fin couldn't help the chuckle that slipped out, grinning warmly. "When has it no' been so?" but he spoke with affection. Fin stepped forward and, even if Cris hit him for it, embraced the other in a tight hug.


His hand closes around the neck of his beer. "True, but it's rare that it comes from you," he answers as he steps into the embrace that he, for once, knows is coming. One arm wrings tightly around Fin's neck, the other, Fin's ribs. He closes his eyes. Five fingertips dig into the meat of his friend's shoulder and he swallows with the effort it takes not to grip more firmly. Perhaps if he allowed this more often, he would not be starving for it in those rare times it happened. He doesn't think long about that.


The fact that Cris is so willing, the way he holds on to Fin, is cause for worry but he doesn't comment on it. Not now. Right then, all he did was squeeze and hold on tight, provide as much silent support as he could for a problem that was mostly a mystery to him. Didn't matter, though - bottom line was that Cris needed a friend and Fin would be that for him, whatever that meant. The hug is allowed to last as long as Cris wants, waiting until he feels the other man loosen his hold before doing the same. As he does step back, he places a quick peck to the side of Crispin's head, a sign of brotherly affection. "Come back soon, aye? I miss seein' yer face 'round here."


He breathes in deep the scents of metal and marijuana, smoke and beer that come off of Fin. He's glad that he can stand to be there, locked in a tight hug that stretches three beats, four, seven longer than he usually lets them. There's a rock in his throat where his larynx should be. It hurts when he swallows, nods, and claps Fin's shoulder roughly to pass off the embrace as nothing more than customary reunion decorum. He sets himself back from Fin, with a final grip to the space between the other man's neck and right shoulder. He does nothing for the peck in his hair. "Likewise," rough, like gravel and broken glass.


The soft smile is back, crinkling the corners of his eyes. "Ach, be off wit' ye, then. M'hand be jealous o' the time yer spendin' wit' me." There, a dirty joke to break the tension.


Snorting, he raises both hands and his beer. "My apologies, you should've mentioned that you had a date planned." He withdraws a single step and turns for the door that will let him out, a brief and furtive glance winged off in case the dog is somewhere nearby.


Liath has been in the room with them the whole time but she was lazing happily in the dog bed that sat to the side of the futon, nearer to Fin. Her head rose and she glanced to the men as they both stood, tail thudding softly against the floor a few times, but she lay her head back down and stayed in place when Cris stepped off by himself and Fin remained.

"It had been some time since I saw ye, I decided I could wait a few short moments before shovin' ye out the door." A silly grin for Cris, the kind that hadn't surfaced in months though the Nephilim wouldn't know it.


"Be certain to moisturize," fanning his fingers. He looks back when he's halfway out the door. "Good night, Fin."


A laugh spilled from his lips, making a face at the idea of Cris knowing when he rubbed one out. "I would ne'er seek to injure m'self, worry no'." He was trailing behind the other man but giving him space enough not to be uncomfortable, intent on locking the door behind his departing guest. "Good eve, Crispin. Be well."


"Bigger concerns, yes?" He holds up his hand. Index finger and thumb three inches apart. Then he turns, busying his easy smile with a swig of beer as he heads down the road, away from the forge.


A bottle cap was thrown after him, bouncing harmlessly in the street a few feet behind the disappearing Nephilim.
_________________
“[He] scares me because he has been the most miserable of all men, jailed & beaten and cheated and starved and sickened and homeless, and still he knows there's such a thing as love.”
~Jack Kerouac
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