Things That Go Bump in the Night
Kiyoshi had quietly left his room and trotted out along the trails into the woods. He wanted to be outside. It was getting a little confining indoors. Most people had been kind but Kiyo's own insecurities preyed on him nightly and he had a hard time settling. It was difficult to sleep.
He had been spending a lot of time at Terminus helping to get it ready for its opening, instead of making connections in his Pack. He did it to himself. He knew that.
Yet, he was too afraid to do it any other way. Kiyo supposed after a while fear became a lifestyle. So here he was again, slinking out of a real room with his sleeping bag under one arm, creeping down the hallways and finally out into the woods. More and more he was considering Evan's offer. Maybe he could stay with him.
He liked Evan. He might even like Guillaume... a bit.
Kiyo reached a little clearing just off one of the narrower trails in the woods. He laid out his sleeping bag and then reached into his pocket. He sighed happily as he slipped his fingers into the loops of his poi. Standing still for a moment and breathing deeply, he felt everything around him, taking it all in. The earth beneath his feet, the sky over his head. The soft noises of night birds and other small animals all around. He tasted the gentle breeze and found it soothing.
With that taste still upon his tongue he bent and turned each poi on. He wasn't using fire here in the woods. He had led lights in each one. As they glowed, a slow transition through all the colors of the rainbow, he suddenly began to move. Within seconds his poi were spinning quickly through the air and Kiyo had settled into a relaxing rhythm.
He'd met ThÃ©rÃ¨se after she'd finished work this evening. Guillaume had been keeping an very careful watch on her but since their first meeting her, he'd been very civil and open about it, checking in with her regularly. Tonight she'd seemed considerably happier. He wasn't sure how to feel about that. On the one hand he wanted her to be happy, on the other...
It had confused Navid enough that he'd shifted and run after seeing her safely to her room. He'd encountered two others also enjoying the night. They'd formed an impromptu hunting party and easily brought down a large deer.
The activity had released some tension he'd found his way back to where he'd left his clothing, shifted back and started dressing. Guillaume had only gotten his pants back on when flashing lights had attracted his attention. Rather than finishing dressing he followed them and was oddly unsurprised to see their new bar tender. Watching quietly for a few seconds he moved into the clearing and spoke quietly, loudly enough to be easily heard but not so loud that he should startle Kyoshi.
Lights floated and swirled through the trees in the distance. If this were home and he were a believing sort of man, he'd be inclined to believe they were wisps dancing around. There was something mechanical about the light though; perhaps the steady pattern of the rotating colours. He moved closer to investigate and found someone twirling a set of lights on a string...p something...pals, pods...It would come to him.
It seemed the glowing objects attracted more attention than just him. Gris frowned slightly in the direction of the Frenchman that he had met not long ago. He noted that the man was not fully dressed which probably meant that he had been one of the wolves that had been hunting in the woods. A smug smile tugged at the edges of Greer's lips as he thought to himself that at least this time he got to see Guillaume partially naked. It almost made up for their initial meeting.
Turning his attention to the dancer, he raised an eyebrow.
"I would guess you came out here to practice in peace? You know the woods aren't exactly the most private place around here." Not among the R'asa. He smiled and pulled a leaf from his hair.
"No," he said softly, not wanting to break the quiet of the night.
He wasn't practicing. He was just... relaxing.
They were joined suddenly by a stunningly attractive man with tousled, curly blond hair. Kiyo looked quickly away from him after that first glance. He didn't want to stare, but it had been a long time since he'd seen someone quite so... pretty. The new person smelled the same as Guillaume, almost... he was missing that metallic blood scent but the fear of his prey was upon him and that was just as harsh an odor, delicious in its way.
Kiyo made himself sick, sometimes.
He finally let his poi swing to a stop. He didn't know this beautiful newcomer and he immediately felt small and insignificant in the presence of two enormous Packmates.
"I didn't, I mean, I'm not practicing," Kiyoshi mumbled toward the ground. He shifted sideways a little bit, trying to move away from his sleeping bag, which was a dark color and hidden not far away in the shadows. "It was just nice out here."
He turned his head away slightly, exposing his throat out of habit and second nature. He didn't look at either man directly; that was far too forward a gesture.
Apparently he'd unsettled their bar tender. He didn't know how or why, but it also didn't surprise him terribly. Kiyo seemed shy and hesitant for the most part, unless he was preforming. Guillaume didn't know know how to put the smaller man at ease. So he simply didn't move much and tried to keep his body language relaxed and neutral, especially when Kiyo half flashed his throat.
"It is a lovely night you. You should have run with us."
It was a quiet gentle offer of friendship, or at least a suggestion that it wouldn't hurt to know each other better. While he didn't have Evan's more relaxed manner he didn't want to be scary.
He'd known someone else was approaching but it wasn't until the other man spoke that he shifted his attention to the new comer and apparently one of his hunting companions. Guillaume didn't know what to make of the man, Gris... Greer... whatever... but he didn't see a reason to pick a fight.
Although the comment about privacy made Guillaume raise an eyebrow at the man.
"No, hardly private people do tend to involve themselves in your business for better or worse."
Greer's interference probably had been for the better though, not that Navid would ever admit that. Without the presence of an outsider the odds were good the fight with ThÃ©rÃ¨se could have gotten quite nasty.
Guillaume said that the other were should have run with them so perhaps they did indeed know each other. "It is nice out here." Gris looked up at the trees and took a deep breath or clean night air. "If a bit warm for my blood."
Guillaume's next statement drew a cool expression from Gris. "Then perhaps you should leave. I would hate for anyone to consider you nosy and rude. I believe my own reputation is already irrevocably tainted so I guess I do not have to worry overly much." He turned and smiled at the man with the pans, poles...lights on a string. Stepping forward, he reached out a hand. "Greer Grayson." Speaking somewhat lower, he added quietly. "And despite what I said, if you would like to be alone then I can leave you to enjoy the forest in peace." He was not here to make enemies; he had enough already.
Guillaume's offer, even retroactive as it was, caused Kiyoshi to tense and shake his head vehemently. "Oh no," he said. "Not me."
Guillaume knew almost nothing about him. Kiyoshi understood he was trying to be friendly but Changing willingly? Never. Kiyo hated his wolf. Even now it howled and raged inside of him, dirty and disgusting, filling him with despair. His Packmates would not understand. They embraced it. Kiyo would have done anything to be rid of it.
"Maybe next time," he mumbled softly, offering Guillaume a weak smile. When hell froze over. He recognized the gesture though and it was nice of Guillaume to offer.
The new comer had apparently met Guillaume before, for he had some scathing words to deliver that indicated such. Kiyoshi glanced back and forth between them, considering leaving his sleeping bag there in the shadows and taking off, returning for it later, but then the beautiful man - Greer - politely introduced himself and offered his hand and Kiyo couldn't be that rude. He leaned forward and quickly shook it.
"Kiyoshi Salinas, sir." He looked around him, and then at the two people who'd been attracted to his poi-spinning. "It's all right. It's not my forest," he said.
They had as much right to be here as he did. More, really. "I just like it out here better," Kiyoshi explained.
"The offer stands."
Curious or not Navid didn't feel like he should pressure the smaller man into anything.
His first reaction to Greer's ever so 'charming' misunderstanding of what he'd said was to growl and snap right back. He had no desire to be overly polite to this arrogant presumptuous man. But, Guillaume also didn't want to give a bad, or possibly enhance what was already a bad, impression to Kiyo. So he checked that more gut reaction and thought for a second.
What in heaven's name did ThÃ©rÃ¨se see in the man? They were going to have to have a serious talk about her choice of company at this rate. But for his cousin's sake and knowing things might still get ugly he made an attempt not to alienate Greer any further.
"Apologies, that did not come out as I'd intended apparently."
He hated apologizing, but it seemed necessary and it was sincere if nothing else. Guillaume wished he had something of ThÃ©rÃ¨se's knack for dealing with people.
He smiled and kept his voice mellow and even, still trying to appear un-intimidating for Kiyo's sake.
"Perhaps not your personal forest, but you are family therefore, it is your forest. You are quite right to come out and enjoy it."
He shook his head slightly at the Sir. "I'm not a Sir unless I'm in a court room and there I'm still called "kid" so how about Greer...or Gris, if you prefer?" Gris smiled and stepped back after the introductions were made. Sir, to him, always had a false ring to it. Where he worked some people were obligated by his position to call him, Sir but ,considering how young he looked, many resented it. Most of the other lawyers called him 'the kid' or behind his back, 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' and other such charming names that spoke of his age or upbringing.
Looking over at Guillaume, Gris considered the man for a long silent moment before deciding that the apology seemed sincere enough for the moment. He did wonder how exactly the man thought those words were going to be taken in light of their past encounter. Still, honest or not, there was little reason to continue holding a grudge against a pack mate. Enough enemies already and all that. He nodded to the Frenchman in response in an effort the curb any more sharp words from exiting his mouth as they had a tendency to do.
It seemed to be decided that the woods were pack property and everyone had a right to wander them as they chose. Greer personally thought that didn't mean they couldn't be decent and leave the guy alone to commune with nature however he saw fit. He would be pretty hacked off if strangers came and interrupted him and then refused to leave.
Ah well, while they were all standing around here anyway...
"May I see one of your po... What are they called?"
He nodded mutely at Guillaume's standing offer, feeling awkward, like he'd done something wrong. He shouldn't have reacted so strongly. He could have declined more politely.
Guillaume had called him family before but it still surprised him to hear it reiterated. He flashed the taller man a tentative, quick smile that faded just as quickly.
In the meantime Greer had requested to be called by something other than sir, which seemed to be a recurring thread around here. Oh, Kiyo had run into one or two older people who seemed to assume the title was their due, and that didn't bother him. But for the most part he was often asked to drop it. He tried.
"Okay. Greer," he said. When Greer asked if he could see one of Kiyo's poi Kiyo nodded. It didn't even occur to him to say no, although his initial internal reaction was one Luis had beaten into him over the years; don't give away your poi or you won't get them back.
He didn't resist because the other lesson was worse... if you don't give him your poi, he'll just beat the shit out of you and take them anyway.
"Poi," Kiyo supplied the correct name in a murmur. "Sure. Here."
He handed both to Greer, since it didn't make sense in his mind to just have one. Once his hands were empty he just stood there, still feeling awkward.
"Have you ever used them before?" He finally asked, for the sake of trying to be sociable.
He half chuckled as the 'sir' was discussed and dropped. Poor Kiyo, he was just trying to be polite and everyone had shut him down on that point.
Happily Guillaume allowed himself to blend into the background as Greer asked about the poi. They were fascinating he couldn't fault Greer for wanting to inspect them, possibly try his hand. But more to the point Navid wanted to watch both Kiyo and Greer from a different vantage point.
It was possible he had misjudged them both, he wanted to reassess his opinions now before they became too fixed.
"No, I've seen them from time to time around the camp fire or at a few clubs but I have never had a chance to try and kill myself with them."
Giving Kiyoshi a mischievous grin, he stepped back far enough not to take out the other man with his potentially wild and dangerous swinging of the..,poi. As an afterthought, he looked around to make sure Guillaume was still where he last saw him and also not in the way. It would not be wise to hit the man over the head just after their somewhat shaky truce.
Spinning the poi slowly in circles at his side, Gris got an easy, steady rhythm going before looking up and Kiyoshi. "Okay, now what?" This part was not difficult but it hardly looked like the fancy exciting movements that the other man had been doing when he walked up.
Guillaume remained silent and watchful so Kiyoshi focused on Greer, who was swinging the poi around gently. "Well, what you're doing there, that's same time. You can try split time."
He demonstrated, moving his hands as if on the pedals of a bike.
"Or opposite, where you swing one forward and one backward."
Once more he showed Greer with his arms, circling them around as if they were poi themselves.
He figured that was probably enough to work on for the next five minutes; Kiyo knew when he'd first started spinning poi he was more than a little confused by the complex patterns he saw, and had ended up tangled in his own poi more than once. He still did, when trying something new.
"Try to think of a bunch of walls around you," he said to Greer. "You spin your poi along those walls, so they stay flat at your sides, when you're doing these sorts of moves. Then you can start to figure out how to flow around them."
He demonstrated, windmilling his arms again as if they were poi. Then he began to move slowly, showing his Packmate exactly what he meant. His shyness had dropped away in light of being invited to talk about one of his favorite subjects. He tried to subdue the vague fear that Greer would just pack up and leave with his poi. Maybe if the lesson went well, he'd get them back.
At the same time he remonstrated himself for thinking like that. Not all wolves were Luis. He suspected most of them would be inclined to dislike Luis.
He almost said something about getting the tassels to spin in opposite directions, but he had just decided to try and be approachable. Instead he smiled and some humor worked into his voice.
"Just like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time."
Something Navid couldn't really get the hang of. He wasn't sure any one could.
The impromptu lesson put both men in a good light. Kiyo came out of his shell a little and seemed to be a competent if not enthusiastic teacher. And Greer, well it was possible he might understand a bit of what his cousin saw in the blond. He was willing to try something new and potentially look like a fool, but he also did it was a certain confidence and flare.
Changing to circle one forward and the other backward was hard to do smoothly and Gris bounced one of the lighted poi off his leg as he tried to bring it to a stop. His brow furrowed slightly as he pondered how to do that better. Deciding that the basics were more important than grace at this point, he looked up and smiled at Kiyoshi.
"At least it wasn't on fire."
He was not entirely sure what his teacher meant about the walls because sometimes those people who spun poi had them going in all different kinds of directions. However, they did need to keep a straight circle or whatever move was being done; if it was erratic or wobbly then it threw the timing and balance off. Gris supposed that was what Kiyoshi was referring to. In his own mind he envisioned the poi leaving a trail of light and tried to make that trail look smooth and perfect.
Their audience of one mentioned it being like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. Gris never understood why that was considered very difficult. The easiest method, and the one he practiced as a child, was to start one action and then add the other. The best way to keep it straight was to keep the image of you doing both things in your head. However, he suspected that the analogy was decently accurate. A person did need to keep in mind where the spinning ends of the poi were at all times and often they wouldn't be going in the same direction.
"Like that except that your hands would be on fire, or, in this case, lit up. Much preferred, if I were being honest. I sometimes have a hard time taming my hair but I would still like to keep it." He would leave the fire spinning to the experts until he was sure he would not become a human torch.
He turned and glanced back at Guillaume, the beginning of a mischievous smirk forming. Gris slowed the poi down until they stopped. It still was not done perfectly but at least this time he didn't hit himself with them. Gris held the loops out to the Frenchman.
"Care to try?" Turning back to Kiyoshi, he smiled. "If that's alright with you." The shorter Were might just like his poi back and for the two of them to be on their way. He certainly hadn't come out here in the middle of the night to play teacher.
He shrugged with a smile when Greer voiced his doubt about his hair. Kiyoshi flipped his own long braid over his shoulder to show him. "I haven't burned it off yet," he said. "I had a few near misses though, at the start."
Guillaume mentioned the popular child's game and Kiyo flashed him a grin that disappeared quickly, demonstrating his skill in that area as he patted his head and rubbed his stomach. "It's just how you think of it," he said softly. "Just keep each action separate in your head."
When Greer threatened to hand his poi away to Guillaume Kiyo agreed immediately with a nod; he couldn't do otherwise. He was conditioned to do as he was ordered. While Greer hadn't done such a thing he had clearly made the offer to Guillaume, demonstrated his desire to pass off the poi. Kiyo wasn't going to gainsay him. Besides Guillaume didn't need a pair of poi. Did he?
Suddenly Kiyo began to suspect that perhaps he should hide some poi in safe places where he could find them. Just in case he ever did lose a pair he liked.
Navid sighed and shook his head. It seemed like every on could master that that little trick but him. Since it mattered little he could he found that he could smile about it. It was rather amusing after all.
He found himself beginning to relax a little, and Kiyo's promotion of the bar cemented it. He laughed. Guillaume might not understand Kiyo and he might even intimidate the other were a bit but... that was... funny. It didn't sound like brown nosing or even teasing it was quite honest, dutiful but not resentful.
"Would you like a sandwich board for later?"
He asked with a smile that was almost as bright and teasing as his cousin's. After all Navid was teasing, he really didn't expect Kiyo to do extra promotions on the side.
Eying the poi warily he tried to decide how much of a fool he was willing to look like. He -should- be able to manage some of it given all his martial arts training Well if nothing else, should he look foolish it might be an olive branch cement the tentative truce he had developed with Greer.
"If you don't mind... I do promise not to put you out of a job though. This is just an experiment."
He accepted the offered poi and experimented a bit with their weight and grip, trying to determine how fast he had to spin them so they would move evenly, fluidly. While he was working cautiously it wasn't overly clumsy just naive.
Feeling moderately confidant he tried to try and change the direction of one of the poi. It ran into the other they tangled together and fell from their orbits.. Navid cringed as they fell hoping to avoid getting hit with them.
"So what is this place that has spinning balls of fire on the weekends?"
He raised his eyebrows at the long braid that the other man had yet to burn off and then turned to Guillaume who helpfully mentioned they should 'Stop, Drop and do somersaults' in the case of catching fire.
"That seems counter productive to smothering the flames but I suppose it would draw a crowd."
Apparently Kiyoshi sorted out the head patting and stomach rubbing by using the same method he had just been contemplating. The man continued his role as teacher by giving Guillaume a quick little tip on how it was done. Gris smiled at Kiyoshi as the man clearly demonstrated that such a technique had excellent results.
The poi were passed to the taller werewolf and Gris moved out of the way so that he could observe the Frenchman's attempts, taking a step back and turning fully around to watch. He crossed his arms over his chest and mostly hid the smirk of amusement when Guillaume quipped about not causing Kiyoshi to lose his job.
"Who knows you might be a natural and then you might want a career change. A life as a traveling performer has many perks.... you meet new people, see new places, live under over passes, and work crowds for food money. Very Exciting!"
Instead he addressed Greer's question. "It's a new bar we're opening. Guillaume runs it with our friend Evan. They were nice enough to let me come tend bar for them."
He stopped there; it was Guillaume's and Evan's bar really, not his. Although he loved Terminus so far. It was starting to become a home away from... well... maybe it was just sort of starting to feel like home. Once again he thought about Evan's offer. He glanced at his sleeping bag, still hidden in the shadows. Would Evan mind if Kiyo took him up on it? Maybe just for a night. Or two. The little werewolf didn't require much room. A couch, a chair... even a spot on the floor. He generally curled up in as tiny a ball as possible and made very little noise.
He dragged himself back to the current conversation in time to nod at Guillaume. He minded, but just a little. He didn't really think his poi were in danger of vanishing. Kiyo turned to Greer and said, "It's not all it's cracked up to be."
Then he realized Greer clearly meant that same thing, for he had been sarcastic. Kiyo immediately felt stupid for not having noted it. Moreover, now his Packmate knew that he had not exactly lived a glamorous lifestyle, and that made Kiyo self-conscious. He immediately clamped his mouth shut and watched Guillaume nearly take an eye out with a poi, quite the accomplishment.
He grinned as their bartender explained Terminus. They were going to have to give the Kiyo a raise or a PR stipend or something. Guillaume appreciated the enthusiasm though. With any luck that would relay to the customers and they would have a successful business.
"After that show you put on we'd have been fools not to."
He didn't know if Greer was still baiting him or if he was naturally sarcastic. He was willing to give the other man the benefit of the doubt. It didn't make sense for them to still be snipping at each other though. So while it was sarcasm, he chose to take it as humorous and grinned in response.
"Unless you are offering to be my agent, I think perhaps it will be best to stick with the business venture. Perhaps you will come by for a drink some time and judge which has more potential?"
Guillaume looked to Kiyo but while his expression was clearly questioning he didn't say anything. Apparently this was something their poi spinner had experienced. While he'd had his fair share of troubles at least Navid always had had the pack. Some day he would like to know what had happened to Kiyo, it seemed like there was a story there.
Without asking though he took up with the poi again, this time he did manage to get them spinning in opposite directions. He laughed shortly at his success. But, rather than pushing his luck he brought them to a stop before too long and offered them back to Kiyo.
"I can see the appeal, but I shall leave it to the experts."
"Sounds interesting. When the evil soulless bloodsucker that I am currently working with stops sucking the life out of me one case at a time then I might have some time off and could stop by." Grinning wryly, he gave the two men a little shrug and an explanation. "He's a lawyer and, well, I am too." But he wasn't happy about it if that counted for anything.
He turned and looked more squarely at Kiyo and said seriously. "No, its not." Gris had not lived out on the street; his family was too self righteous to ever have a Grayson living beneath their status but he had moved from place to place in his attempt to run out of boarding schools that would take him in. Sometimes he did sneak out of those and sleep out under the stars when he wanted a little time to himself away from all the other unwanted boys. It was funny how you always wanted to have what you didn't and rarely appreciated what you did. He had made some very good friends in those schools and perhaps those made up for not having the Rockwell family that was seen gathered together happily on all the Christmas cards.
Stroking his chin thoughtfully, he peered at Guillaume and appeared to consider his offer. "It might have more appeal than long hours in a stuffy file filled room researching information for cases...however we would need some sort of gimmick for advertising, maybe find a niche that is not currently being filled in the poi spinning world...upside down? Hmm, might be exciting once but it would lose its appeal. Perhaps you could be on fire instead of the poi... it would, by necessity, be a short performance. Flame retardant does not last very long."
Gris watched Guillaume hand over the poi back to Kiyoshi. "Ah well, I guess its back to the office for me in the morning."