Homework Assignment (private)

Thaddeus fiddled with the button on his jacket while he waited for Palmer in the foyer, feeling a trace of impatience with his friend. They had agreed to meet here after he changed his clothes (on the premise of not wanting to look ridiculously festive in the midst of such a grave situation). What on earth could be keeping him?

He noticed, in a distant sort of way, that it was unlike him to be so restless and fidgety for no real reason. When his jacket button came loose in his fingers he could only shake his head at his own disposition. Perhaps he had time to get the sewing kit from his room...

But a glance up dissolved that notion; Palmer was strolling down the hall, taking his sweet time by the looks of it. At Thaddeus's frustrated expression, the huntsman stepped up his pace a little, and he in turn condescended to meet him half way.

"Where did you wander off...never mind, it's not important. The gardens?"Â?

Without waiting for an answer, he walked briskly ahead, leading the way to the Japanese gardens.

Palmer 17 years ago
Palmer drifted aimlessly from room to room, testing doors and exploring in a deliberately unmethodical fashion while he waited for Thaddeus. He hadn’t had much opportunity to look around the Manor since he’d come to Nachton, and he had to admit this was an impressive residence. The indoor pool gave him the willies though, even after he abruptly closed the door on it. As far as he was concerned, that amount of water inside a house shouldn’t be allowed.

Eventually he wandered out of a room that held nothing but vases to find Thaddeus waiting for him in the foyer. Hmm, he’d lost track of time. And his friend looked a little pissed off. Well, no surprises there; it had been a rough couple of days and he had every reason to be pissed. What was strange was that the nightsman seemed to be directing his annoyance at –him-.

Well, he supposed he could be moving a little faster. But no, even that wasn’t good enough; Thaddeus was now making his way toward him. Once the nightsman was in speaking distance, though, everything made sense; his friend was worried about people listening and wanted to go outside. Paranoid, perhaps, but in this case Palmer thought maybe it was smart too. He probably shouldn’t have been wandering around on his own with no ready explanation as to why, come to think of it.

Speaking of explanations, though, he wondered what Thaddeus’s was. Why was he being dragged out to the gardens for a private talk –now-, and why couldn’t the rest of the team be there as well? Thaddeus was worried, that much was clear, but not much else was.

He wasn’t proud of the satisfaction he felt at the thought of being chosen over everyone else to speak with in secret, but it was there nonetheless. Maybe he was a fifth wheel in this expedition but Thaddeus had gone to –him- tonight. At the same time, he questioned the nightsman’s motives. Why was he the most useful to Thaddeus right now?

It didn’t do any good to think that way. Instead, he walked through the doors after Thaddeus, and into the gardens.
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Thaddeus waited until they were over the small white foot bridge to speak, wanting to ensure privacy but also wishing for a moment to collect his thoughts and work out exactly what he would say. Somehow this place always gave him the clarity he needed to articulate ideas and sort out his thoughts, though just as often the Japanese gardens were merely a place of rest and respite. When he was ready, though, he stopped almost suddenly, looking up to the sky rather than at Palmer, and spoke quietly, and a little sadly.

“Sorin is going to lose the Eldership over this. I’m sure of it, and even if I’m wrong…we still need to prepare for the possibility.” He sighed before continuing, and went from looking up to studying his shoes to, finally, looking at Palmer. “We are in a unique position here and I think we need to acknowledge that. We have a short window of opportunity during which we might have some influence over who is next in line. Before word gets out.” He waved his hand, dismissing what he was certain would be an objection from Palmer. “I know, it’s opportunistic to even be contemplating this. It’s not pretty and I won’t claim otherwise, but I guarantee you there are people in this clan who will show ten times the devious aggression that I’m willing to, and we need the advantages we’re willing to take.”

He finally stopped for air, realizing he was headed toward ranting, and gave Palmer a chance to respond. It would be too much to hope that he was not the only one thinking in this direction, but he thought that there was a chance he could count on his friend’s support in this. Palmer was outside of the situation enough that he hopefully wouldn’t be offended by the idea of politicizing Sorin’s arrest, the way Claire might be, and he couldn’t take these sorts of clan politics to Christian or even Alfarinn, at least not until he knew his own mind on the matter.
Palmer 17 years ago
Whatever Palmer had been expecting (and he had certainly had time to expect quite a bit, considering Thaddeus hadn’t said a word until they were well into the gardens), it wasn’t the suggestion that they start pulling for a new Elder of the Night. Suddenly he was more than just pleased that Thaddeus had come to him; he was relieved that no one else was hearing this. Was there any chance he could tell his friend to forget he had ever tried to start this conversation? They could go their separate ways and never discuss this again. Palmer didn’t think that was likely, and so he answered, somewhat reluctantly.

“Not pretty? Oh, you think?” He shook his head. “Alright, I’ll bite. Just what agenda are you trying to push, Thaddeus?”

He held up his hand, wanting to get another word or ten in before Thaddeus could have a chance to go on the defensive. “You know I think this stinks, right? Let me just make that clear; this –stinks-, Grey, and you know it stinks, and you’re still standing here talking about it and I don’t know what to make of that, I really don’t.”

He backed up a little, crossing his arms over his chest. “Look, maybe you should just be happy you’re alive and not try to push the envelope any more than you have.”
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Alright. That had gone badly. Thaddeus was half tempted to throw his hands up and walk away, in fact, but this was important and he would just have to fight it out. Palmer’s high and mighty stance frustrated him to no end but he had to admit he was grateful as well. He needed his friend’s honest, objective viewpoint to get him through this, perhaps even more than loyalty, even when it was hard to bear.

“You think I don’t –know- that, Palmer? Damn it, you think this is what I wanted? I know, I –know- what this looks like, but we can’t…” Suddenly realizing that his voice had come out louder than intended, he dropped his volume considerably, until he was almost whispering. “…we can’t push the Elder of the Night out only to make room for another Sorin. And that’s what we’d have, if Thomas Marke wakes up one night and decides he’d like to lead an Order. Alright, maybe he –wouldn’t- betray his clanmates, kill his own, and God only knows what other atrocities, but he would be –exactly- wrong for Anantya. He would perpetuate the idea that we as a clan are morally bankrupt, aging dilettantes who have no interest in being relevant in the modern arena.” He breathed sharply through his nose before continuing. “And don’t get me started on Meski, or Guevara, or any of a hundred other possibilities that –will- come out of the woodwork in a matter of hours or days.”

Upset now, he reached up, pinching the bridge of his nose. “We have a responsibility, like it or not, and if we stand by and watch a Marke become Elder it is –our- fault. And that’s why we have to act. I couldn’t…”

He had meant to say that he couldn’t live with an atrocious choice for Elder when he had the chance to prevent that outcome, but he trailed off instead, finding the potential for harm overwhelming. Eventually he realized that he had stopped speaking, and concluded his thought, awkwardly.

“…I have enough on my conscience. I have to do what’s right for the Clan.”

It was impossible to articulate just how terrible it would be to end up harming Anantya in the course of trying to do the right thing, and he simply had to hope Palmer understood.
Palmer 17 years ago
Palmer took another step back as Thaddeus, seemingly unknowingly, moved closer, invading his personal space just a little. The nightsman’s voice was raised and he remembered that his friend could be a little unnerving in his vehemence. And, he had to admit, infectious; that little speech almost brought him around.


Thaddeus was, of course, making the situation worse than it really was. That was tactics, Palmer suspected. Blowing something to crisis status to bolster the cause was the oldest one in the book, but he had to give Thaddeus credit for meaning it, for believing it. And at least he had quieted down; the aggression was so unlike his friend and he hadn’t known what to make of it. Of course, now he just seemed agitated but there was little he could do about that.

“Thaddeus, just…”

Just as he began to speak Thaddeus looked up and started again, and as Palmer wasn’t entirely sure of what to say anyway he let him go. There was something that troubled him about his friend’s remarks, but in the heat of the moment that subtlety was lost to frustration with the discussion. He spluttered at the idea of it being their fault if the wrong Elder ascended, then laughed incredulously before exploding into speech with much less hesitation than before.

“It’s only our fault because –you- had to go and –tell- me you were concerned! If you had kept this to yourself it would just be –your- fault and I would be able to go on in blithe ignorance!” Flippant, perhaps, but how else was he supposed to respond to this except by way of ridicule? He laughed again, throwing his head back. “-God-, Grey, this is…it’s not your fault! None of this…” His head snapped sharply back to look Thaddeus in the eyes in sudden comprehension as his background thoughts caught up with the conversation. It was almost trite, he thought, to say the ‘it’s not your fault’ line, but there was a reason it had become a cliché. “…you know that, right?” His voice went quiet. “You know this isn’t your fault?”

Disquieted, he leaned in, thinking that he had just struck something in Thaddeus, some persistent part of his makeup that made such perfect sense and yet he had somehow missed it before. Thaddeus wasn’t making a power grab, and Palmer suddenly realized the absurdity in thinking that he was. Thaddeus was…overwhelmed, and probably more than a little upset, not to mention the fact that there were things going on below the surface that he didn’t have the first clue about. Something had been very wrong since Thaddeus had walked out of that apartment, in fact, but the nightsman was, in spite of all of that, fighting to do the right thing. He’d been wrong; he was big enough to admit that to himself. Perhaps not big enough to retract anything that he still felt needed to be said, but he was at least a little more sympathetic. He could, considering everything his friend was going through, give him a small break. He didn’t know what to say when Thaddeus awkwardly concluded his speech and instead waited a little expectantly for his friend to remember that he was still standing here. The nightsman looked a million miles away and he really hoped this wasn’t a prelude to some sort of horribly awkward moment.
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Thaddeus studied the smooth stones that made up this section of the pathway, biting down on his lip and looking for all the world like a broody eighteen year old. One might suspect that his expression was an attempt to contain his temper or some other strong emotion but in truth he was simply trying to keep his feet planted and his mind on the present conversation. What was the matter with him? This was important, and yet all he wanted to do was walk away.

And Palmer had been speaking. Ranting in fact; what was it he had said? His mind brought the salient details to the forefront and he was relieved to realize he’d been listening after all, but it was still a trifle unsettling to realize he’d lost himself momentarily.

He waved his hand at Palmer’s somewhat gentler inquiries, suddenly quite uncomfortable with where this conversation was headed.

“Let’s…not.” After another awkward moment with some foot shuffling on both sides, he continued, keeping his voice low. “I need you with me on this, Palmer. I need your perspective. Will you help?”

He felt almost sick using this tact, mostly because he knew it was what would work for his friend. Palmer respected a certain level of humility and while his was certainly genuine, he was absolutely choosing to show his vulnerabilities to get the huntsman to do what he wanted. There was simply no time for drawn out persuasion; if Palmer didn’t see his side of this, then he would have to ask it as a favor.

Why was it that even when he was being honest, he was manipulating people?
Palmer 17 years ago
Palmer felt that overall that painful little moment could have been much worse. At least there didn’t seem to be any lasting weirdness.

He sighed at Thaddeus’s request, thinking the nightsman was just short of giving puppy eyes, but he knew that he would comply even before he’d fully considered the matter. He wasn’t an expert in large scale politics and he didn’t spend his days plotting and scheming, but he thought he knew how to be a good friend.

“Shit, Thaddeus, you’ll have my –perspective- whether you want it or not, you know that. But if you want it…I damn well expect you to –listen-.”

Smiling, he ran a hand over his face and looked to his friend expectantly.

“So. What do we do?”
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Thaddeus smiled with uneasy relief at Palmer’s answer, though he was quite careful not to feel too…vindicated. After all, it wasn’t as though the huntsman had admitted he was right about this (even though he was). Rubbing at his chin for a moment as he organized his thoughts, he suddenly pointed and shook one finger at Palmer while he spoke. A sentence into speaking and he was pacing.

“I’m coming up with a list of names. Nothing committal at all – I haven’t even written anything down. You’ll know a lot of these names, because of Blaine…in fact…” He stopped pacing and looked to Palmer, interrupting himself with his own ideas. “I suppose that should be my first question. Is Blaine the one we’re looking for?"
Palmer 17 years ago
Palmer wasn’t really surprised that Thaddeus was already forming a plan, though for all his talk of going on the aggressive he didn’t think this was quite as overbearing as it could have been. Still, when the subject of his creator came up, he realized that if he were going to be useful at all in planning, it would be in disabusing everyone of the notion that Blain would make a suitable Elder of the Night.

And this would be his first test of whether or not Thaddeus would actually listen to him.


That was it. No explanation, no reason why. Oh, he could have argued that if Marke would turn Anantya into a pack of disaffected ancients, Blaine would turn the clan into a gang of oppressive thugs, but he truly wanted to see if Thaddeus would push the issue.
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Both eyebrows went up at Palmer’s quick and resolved response, and Thaddeus waited a moment to give the huntsman the opportunity to go on. When it became clear that he had no intention of doing so, Thaddeus went back to pacing.

“Right. That’s that then.”

His own restlessness was beginning to surpass his ability to remain calm and deliberative, which was disturbing to him in light of the importance of this matter. Still, he moved, he gestured, and he spoke rapidly and decisively, plowing through the conversation almost recklessly.

“Well at the very least we know who we –don’t- want and can take the necessary steps to keep them at bay. I think I can handle Marke…we share an interesting relationship. And…well suffice it to say that I imagine I’ll be writing quite a few letters.”

He shoved his hands in his pockets, then pulled them out again. “For now…I need you thinking of names too. We can compare, and soon.” A moment’s hesitation, and then he added: “And if you want to bring Claire in on this…I’ll make that your call. I would be alright with it.”

That was, he realized, low of him; he didn’t feel he could go to Claire with this, given recent complications to their friendship, and so he was hinting that Palmer could do it instead. He was so well intentioned, but once again he wondered what on earth was wrong with him.
Palmer 17 years ago
Palmer blinked and stepped back, his head spinning at what had just happened. Damned if he hadn’t just changed everything with one word. Well, perhaps that was overstating it a bit, but he still felt he had done something significant.

He found it was a feeling he missed and wondered where that left him.

Apparently, though, Thaddeus had an answer to that unasked question. It left him writing lists. He would have to think over whether to include Claire…

…oh, hell, who was he kidding. He’d likely go to her quarters tonight or first thing after sunset. In fact, he wondered why she wasn’t here now.

It only took a moment for him to figure that out, though, and when he realized that Thaddeus couldn’t possibly ask Sorin’s child to politically undermine her ‘father’, resentment was the furthest thing from his mind. It was a good move, asking him to do it instead, and he appreciated that Thaddeus had left that to his better judgment.

“Alright professor, I’ll have my homework ready for you first thing tomorrow.” He smiled, hoping to lighten the mood. “But you’re going to need to do something for me.” Going serious, he put a hand on Thaddeus’s shoulder.

“What don’t I know? About you, and that apartment?” His eye contact was steady and unrelenting. “I can’t help you, Thaddeus, if I think you’re not being straight with me.” Rethinking that word choice, he quickly amended. “Straightforward…I mean…shit…”

So much for asserting the fact that he wasn’t an idiot and wouldn’t remain politely oblivious to the fact that there was something bothering Thaddeus, something that ran deeper than just this investigation. Even as badly as he had just fumbled that question, though, he was still dead set on getting some kind of answer.
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Thaddeus had expected to be on his way now that their business was complete for the moment, and the hand that came down on his shoulder stressed him more than it probably should have. He needed to be leaving…but he could see that wasn’t going to happen.

He couldn’t even bring himself to crack a reassuring smile at Palmer’s faux pas, and so he simply ignored it, which in immediate hindsight likely made it appear he was annoyed.

“I don’t suppose I can say ‘let’s not’?”

Not bloody likely, but he didn’t have –time- for a heart to heart and was in fact becoming exasperated. A completely unfair feeling, really, considering Palmer was helping him, but he’d done any number of unfair things tonight and somehow he had the impression this wouldn’t be the last. He sighed and looked down at his feet, thinking of the quickest way to satisfy Palmer and leave.
Palmer 17 years ago
Palmer shook his head, his smile easy but his grip on Thaddeus’s shoulder still very much present.

“Not a chance; you already played that card tonight.” His smile turned reassuring. “Come on; you think I wouldn’t notice something’s up with you? Palmer Calhoun does not miss a tick. You put up a good front but I know you better than you give me credit for.”
Thaddeus Grey 17 years ago
Thaddeus looked up only when Palmer was finished, a loophole coming to mind at the huntsmans’s words that might get him the hell out of here before the bloody sun rose.

“Oh…yes, I suppose I have been transparent. I’ve been…” he gestured in an abstract way and looked off into the distance. “…distracted, to be honest, by things that happened quite a long time ago.” He reached out, gripping his friend’s upper arm. “I suppose our pasts always do come back to haunt us…”

Hoping that would be puzzling enough to give him a chance to make a break for it, he let go and took a few steps back, speaking again only when he had a fair distance.

“It’s a long story though, and it’s been a long night. We should go get some rest.”

He turned around and started to walk away, though he did call out one last remark over his shoulder, just for good measure.

“Go home, Palmer.”
Palmer 17 years ago
Haunted. That was the word he’d been looking for to describe Thaddeus as of late. In fact, now the nightsman was acting stranger than ever, as though he could only barely focus on the conversation. He’d even admitted to being distracted, which seemed very unlike Thaddeus, at least in Palmer’s opinion.

Before he had much time to mull over what to say, though, Thaddeus was walking away. Shit, was he upset? That was all they needed, an emotionally unstable nightsman running around with a great deal of dangerous information.

“Hey, take –care- of yourself, will you?”

Like that would do any good. Maybe he should follow…no, that would never work, Thaddeus was too paranoid. And in any case, while Palmer was, as always, certain there was more Thaddeus was not telling, his friend did have a point; time marched on and while there were still a few hours before the sunrise, that did not mean it should be spent having a heart to heart in the Japanese gardens.

And Thaddeus had someone to go home to, after all. Palmer smiled at that thought and ran one hand over his head as he watched his friend walk away, wondering all the while who Claire would want on their list.

And wondering if Claire was on Thaddeus’s.

/ooc both out