Around the Fire
Kiyo peeked into the clearing where most of his pack was gathered. He had never come to a fire without being expressly invited by one of his friends. Tonight though he had asked Evan to join them. Not as himself of course, sadly, but in his magpie form. He would get in so much trouble if anyone found out about this but he thought they were reasonably safe.
It gave him a lot of confidence knowing Evan was close. It made him bolder than he would normally be. That said, he was still peering around a tree sort of edging in hoping to see someone he knew. And sort of hoping someone he knew might save him too.
He was dressed in comfortable pants, fitted around the waist but loose all the way down the leg like a split skirt. On top he wore a fitted rust colored tee shirt. Around his neck was the pouch Evan had given him; he never went anywhere without it anymore. He had his poi with him as well, just in case.
Now if he could just muster up the courage to come out.
However, Kiyoshi invited him. The others had not and that still made him uneasy but if his being here helped Kiyo feel better about mingling with his own kind then he would happily do it.
He sat in one of the trees above the large bonfire and watched the werewolves, in various stages of dress and soberness, dance to the music being played. At the moment, in the clearing there were five drummers, one violin and a flute. Evan suspected that people came and went, both from the dance circle and the musical one. It seemed rather free form, with people drifting in and out of the various groups as they saw fit.
Nearest the bonfire were the dancers. Lithe bodies moved in front of the flickering flames creating mesmerizing silhouettes. Further out there was a ring of squared logs formed into three tiers of seats. These benches were just close enough to feel the warmth of the fire without becoming too warm. Most of the musicians stood while playing, though some of the drummers chose to sit. Even further away, small groups of people chatted here and there, mingling with drinks in their hands. Children ran around this area, tumbling and playing, squealing in excitement over events that occurred in their games, the rules of which only they understood.
With his keen vision, Evan spotted Kiyoshi on the very edge of the group, peering around a tree. If he were in his other form then he would have smiled. Instead, he chirped softly before taking flight and landing over in the tree that Kiyo was hiding behind.
"Ssssst.â€ He muttered in his high bird voice. P's were hard to say with no lips. "have fun.â€
He heard the voice from the trees and glanced up. He didn't want to risk a response so he simply shook his head and edged further out toward his own kind. Most of him wanted to run back into the woods with Evan. He focused on the crackling campfire though and took a step toward it.
"Right. Fun," he said to himself and to Evan, who could probably still hear him.
He didn't see anyone he knew and he was no good at casual introductions. So he stuck to the outskirts of the crowd until he thought he spotted Gris. Kiyo liked his packmate. Gris never seemed to be judging him and while his somewhat stunning looks were intimidating Kiyo was getting used to that.
He moved away from the edges of the shadows near Gris, still too shy to go right up to him. Instead Kiyo just sort of waited to see if the taller man would notice him. That way if he didn't, Kiyo could just pretend he'd never been there at all and avoid the humiliation of not even being noticed.
Leo gave no names but the description of the girl could be no other than the one that was a friend of Kiyoshi and Evan and had been present at Terminus for Kiyo's birthday party. The hair colour was different than it had been but, having seen the girl several times around the asylum, he knew that she changed her appearance often.
According to Leo, he had needed to steal something in broad daylight to prove his allegiance with the gang that he had been infiltrating and his willingness to commit a crime.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Gris was amused that Leo was bemoaning his trials to a lawyer. Still the story was quite entertaining. The short haired blond explained how he had tore off around the corner as if his life depended on it with the guy's laptop. He knew that the girl would catch him and it soon became obvious that he had snagged the precious electronic device of a fellow packmate because the guy stayed hot on his heels.
He had almost explained his way out of it and had been mentally patting himself on the back for managing to look good in the eyes of his new 'friends' while managing to not actually commit a crime, when the two other R'asa rooked him into doing some field research on the personality traits of the gang he found himself in.
The girl had even gone so far as to tell the whole story to Antoine and now the French Legionnaire thought the research was incredibly useful and wholeheartedly supported the whole thing. Antoine even wanted copies.
As Leo continued to regale them all with the unfairness of his life, Gris looked around the clearing. His eyes swept over the crowd and then came back to a figure standing nearby, on the edge of their group.
"Sounds like torture, Leo. Next time you should just let the guy punch you in the face.â€
"What, this face? Are you kidding?! I couldn't do that to the ladies.â€
Gris rolled his eyes and with a sweeping gesture dismissed Leo and his protests. Turning away from the two soldiers, he made his way over to his quiet friend.
"Hello Kiyo. So, how did the camping go?"
"The camping... it, uh, it didn't. Yet." He looked down at the dirt, scraping his toe over it. Damn it, he hadn't wanted Evan to hear about the camping. It was supposed to be a surprise. That was what he got for inviting his boyfriend over to eavesdrop.
"I was going to surprise Evalyn with it," he said, dropping his voice down low. It was a secret, after all, even if the person he was keeping it from was technically not present. "I just have to get every detail right first. I haven't asked Evan to go yet either."
He bit his lip and looked back up at Gris. Kiyo was very much the perfectionist. He really did want every little thing right when he invited Evan to go with him. Looking to change the subject he smiled and said, "What about you? Any pretty wolves drop out of the sky on you yet?"
Part of him didn't want to bring up what must be a sore subject for Gris, but another part of him hoped something had changed for the blond, who seemed to Kiyo far too kind and definitely too hot to remain single. Kiyo had expressed that sentiment before, though, and Greer had mentioned that his family could be... trying. He hadn't elaborated on how, but they had been in a rather public place with company.
Kiyo remembered his slip-up at the time, too, and resolved to watch it here. It would be very easy, he thought, for Greer to reach the conclusion that Kiyo was seeing Evan. He didn't know what would happen if his Packmate found out. The first time they had talked, on the computer, Gris had actually seemed like he might not care about such things. That maybe he might... condone them. But that trust was a rare thing in a wolf pack. Kiyo did wish he could tell Greer though. Of all the people he'd met here, he felt close to Gris and Tavi and wished he didn't have to hide things from them. He didn't like lying to his friends.
Gris shook his head when asked if anyone had fallen out of the sky for him yet. "I confess that I haven't been sitting in my lawn chair out in the field to wait nearly as much as might be required for the cute date from heaven plan to work.â€ He had not tried it at all but that was probably obvious. The idea did still amuse him and he chuckled again remembering the visual.
Taking hold of Kiyo's hand, he drew the other man toward the benches and away from the two Legionnaires that he had been chatting with.
"It seems Leo got himself in trouble with your friend. What was her name? Tammy? Tracy?...â€ Gris waited for Kiyoshi to figure out who he was talking about and fill in the correct name.
"Hey, you brought your poi.â€ He pointed to the two spheres in Kiyo's hand. "Excellent. I would like to watch this time. If you don't mind.â€ Last time Kiyoshi was out in the middle of the woods almost alone and had been intending to practice in solitude. Gris figured that if his friend was bringing his poi to the clearing then, this time, he expected to be watched by at least a few people.
He had told Evan and Guillaume when they'd hired him that he would be happy to compete in tournaments with Terminus as his sponsor, and now that season was beginning. He felt a little thrill of excitement just thinking about it; he didn't usually go alone. Evan would be the logical choice to go with him and that would mean he would be with Evan, alone, for an entire weekend. He was excited at the prospect.
He turned his attention to Gris, though, when the taller man mentioned that he wasn't holding his breath for their long-shot romance to come true. Kiyo offered Gris an apologetic smile for bringing it up. "It will happen. Maybe not the way we thought but... I mean..."
He felt a blush rising. He'd told Greer what he thought about him before and his opinion hadn't changed. The other VR was a fantastic guy. Had Evan not come into Kiyo's picture he might have developed a crush. But Kiyo did have Evan and just the thought of his partner, so close by, watching from the trees, suffused him with warmth and love.
When Greer took his hand Kiyo trailed along a little helplessly. They went further in toward the rest of the Pack and Kiyo swallowed nervously. "You mean... Tavi?" He asked uncertainly when Gris listed names. Who wouldn't recognize her? "That's too bad for him... I wouldn't think she'd be very fun to piss off."
Not that Tavi was cruel or anything, but she had a strong personality. Kiyo didn't think she would let anyone get away with something bad under her watch. The subject passed though, and Greer noticed the poi Kiyo was holding.
"Uh... yes, I brought them," he said. "You said you might want to learn. I thought, if you still wanted to, I mean, I could show you some more."
He tried to edge back away from the benches a bit, subtly. Maybe Greer wouldn't notice. He was fairly adept at maneuvers like this. As he sidled away he flashed his throat at the other man, turning his head and tossing his hair behind him to help disguise the gesture.
"Was there something in particular you wanted to see?"
Reaching out, he laid a hand on Kiyo's shoulder and patted the other werewolf gently. "Its okay. I'm good with being single until my 'one true love' or however the fairy tales go, shows up to sweep me away to happily ever after.â€ Gris smiled. "Until then I promise you that I am not wasting away at home, knitting scarves and caring for stray animals.â€ He went clubbing, found one night stands here and there. It was not a perfect life but it wasn't completely lonely. His family was not crazy about him not finding a nice girl to breed with yet but at least he had not completely dashed their hopes.
"Yeah that's the one.â€ Gris nodded. "I agree with you; I think making her mad might be a bad idea. Luckily for Leo, I think she was just taking the piss.â€
He looked at the poi in Kiyo's hand and nodded. Shrugging when his friend asked him what he wanted to see, Gris said. "What ever you feel like demonstrating.â€
Kiyo backed in the direction they had come in and Gris watched him for a moment, looking back over at the group of musicians where he had set his drum and then back at Kiyo.
One of the musicians caught his eye and gestured with his chin, tilting it upward several times in a beckoning motion. Gris held up a finger and mouthed "in a bit.â€ He gazed purposefully at his drum and then back at his mate. The guy nodded and shrugged about the delay, continuing to drum for the dancers in the inner circle.
Knowing that his drum would be looked after, Gris walked toward Kiyoshi. "Alright, give me a refresher course before I try so I don't wrap those things around my neck.â€
He still didn't think much of his own intelligence, in spite of his having begun to read a few educational books. Mostly he was focusing on the things Evan seemed to like, like Anthropology, but he had also picked up a book about candlemaking and a math book. He wasn't very good at the math yet since it had been so long since school for him, but it was slowly coming back to him.
And maybe not everyone could flairtend, but Kiyo hadn't had to do anything special for it. He was fairly dextrous and agile, and he had a good sense of rhythm. He could dance well enough, and those things helped. He couldn't really pin down any quality that made him win competitions though. He just hadn't yet found a trick that was too difficult to perform. With enough practice they were all possible.
Kiyo laughed softly at the visual Gris brought to mind, knitting and playing the fairytale princess. "You do sort of have a long way to go before you can let down your hair," he said. Greer's blond curls weren't short, but they weren't as long as Kiyo's hair, or Evan's silky black waterfall of hair.
Gris motioned to the musicians and Kiyo felt a little guilty. "I don't want to keep you," he said hesitantly, but Gris was waiting for him so he glanced over at the others again then back to his friend.
He slipped his fingers into the loops of his poi, made sure no one was standing too close, and with a little flick of his wrists, set them spinning. "This is a three beat weave," he said, spinning the poi in the proper patterns. "And if you move your hands this way," he demonstrated, bringing his hands in front of him, "it's called a butterfly."
He went through several different variations of weaves and butterflies, not deviating too far from the basics. He stopped soon enough and, from his pockets, produced another pair of poi. He handed the ones he was using to Gris and put the new ones into his own hands.
"Go ahead, try it out."
He watched Kiyoshi spin the poi around, fairly slowly and simply at first and then up to full speed with some variations and combinations. It looked impressive and graceful.
His friend then handed him the poi and pulled another set out of his pockets. Gris grinned and accepted the first set. They were lighted poi with three lights, orange, yellow and red. He supposed they were the next best thing to fire.
Getting the poi going, he first tried the weave that Kiyo had showed him. That ended up with poi tangled around his arms. He started them again and tried the weave a second time and ended up with them knotted together. Going on to the butterfly, Gris found that he had no problem with that particular trick. He performed it several more times, starting and stopping the poi and then going into the butterfly maneuver to prove to himself that the first time was not a fluke.
Then he went back to the weave. It took watching Kiyoshi do it a few more times before he figured out where he was messing up. After another almost successful attempt, Gris finally successfully completed the basic weave. Having done it right once, he then practiced it several more times until he was sure he could do it again.
"Now I need to get me a pair of these so I can keep in practice.â€ Otherwise he might find himself forgetting what he learned. It was great hobby for around the campfire. They soon had one or two people watching. Poi and fire staves were not unheard of at R'asa gatherings but they were always fun to watch, even if you saw them often. Kiyoshi was great and Gris thought people would happily watch him spin for as long as he was willing to do it.
Greer started to follow Kiyo's instructions. Kiyo remained silent for the most part, with the exception of a little tip here and there, but for the most part Gris had it figured out pretty quickly. Kiyo pulled his own poi out of his pocket, similarly lit but with two flowlights on each end. These weren't his usual fire poi, which he would have brought but he didn't really know if he'd be approaching the fire. These had LED lights in them. Both sets had one light that was amber and gold and white and one flowlight that was blue, aqua, and white. When spinning they looked like a good 'sun and moon' combination.
"See, you have it," Kiyo said encouragingly as Gris continued to spin. Then, when his Packmate mentioned getting a pair he smiled. "I sort of thought you might want to keep those."
He held up his own. "If you like the colors, anyhow. If not you could have these?"
Kiyo was very attached to his things. He didn't often loan out toys. He wasn't sure if it made sense but he would rather give someone a set of poi as a gift than loan his own out and be afraid they might never come back to him. When he gave something away, he did not expect it back and that made it easier for him.
Not only that but he liked Greer a lot. And his Packmate had come to his birthday party, spent time with him on numerous occasions, and was kind to him, understanding to a fault. Kiyo liked having a present for Gris, as small as it might be.
"Try doing a stall now," he suggested. "Just stop the poi moving at one point in its arc. The top is an easy one to start with."
He demonstrated for Gris, spinning his poi around once, lifting his hands, and although his hands moved quite a lot, the poi appeared to have stopped in mid air. Kiyo brought his hands down again and spun the poi around, then stalled them at the bottom of the arc. He repeated it a time or two so Greer could see what he meant. They had attracted a few onlookers by now; things like this usually did. Kiyo didn't really mind although he would have been happier just hanging back talking to Gris.
He smiled off his lack of grace and then turned to his pack mate. "Are you sure?â€ Studying Kiyo a moment, he smiled. Gris watched his friend's poi as they moved and, finding a moment where there was an opening, slipped between the two spinning leashes. He grabbed Kiyo into a fierce hug, picking his friend up off his feet for a moment before setting him back down. "Thank you.â€
"These are great. They are both pretty.â€ Gris liked the contrast of Kiyo's and the warm colouring of the ones in his hand.
They went back to spinning and Kiyoshi suggested he learn to do a stall. He had unintentionally stalled them before and they crashed into his body. This time he would try to focus on what he was doing. He figured the trick was to counter the circular motion enough to make them stop but then to get them moving again before they fell.
The stall at the top was easier than the stall at the bottom. That one took more work but the good side of it was that trying to stall the poi at the bottom meant they weren't likely to smack him in the face.
"So how is work? Anything new and exciting?â€
He didn't think Evan would mind, then, if he returned Greer's embrace so he did so enthusiastically, his heart pounding at the idea of being hugged like this by a friend. And, maybe a little floored at the idea of being hugged by Gris in particular. Kiyo had absolutely no hesitation, no doubts, that he loved Evan desperately. He would not give up his partner for anything - but yes, he might have had a tiny lingering crush on Greer.
When he was placed back on his feet he tried to ignore his own blush, smiling at his blond Packmate. "I'm glad you like them," he said.
They continued to spin, Kiyo nodding his approval as Greer managed to make his poi stall just right. Kiyo then began to connect the moves he had shown Gris so far, making little patterns in the air with the flickering flowlights.
"Work is work," Kiyo said when Gris asked. "Nothing really new or exciting. I guess that sounds boring but it's not. I like my job."
What could he really say to Greer? Oh, I was asked to make a Tropical Orgasm the other night. Yeah... that was fascinating all right, right up there with working as a lawyer. Kiyo's job was hardly impressive compared to Greer's. It was funny, how the grass was always greener - Gris seemed to think Kiyo had it better.
"Oh. There was a brawl the other night," he said, spinning his poi a little faster, showing Gris a few new variations on weaves and butterflies. "Evan sorted it out though."
And it had been beyond hot, Kiyo thought a little distractedly, watching Evan diffuse the minor scuffle before it could become anything serious. Then again, he was of the opinion that pretty much anything Evan did or said was hot.
"What about you? I know you probably can't discuss your cases but how do you like working here in Nachton?"
"I am glad that you like your job. The fact that it is calm is probably a good thing. Drama is disruptive.â€ But interesting.
Kiyoshi asked him about working in Nachton. Gris smiled and then grimaced. "I like it fairly well. I am currently with a brilliant lawyer but he is...intense. He likes everything just so. He's also something of a workaholic from what I have seen. He spends many a late night working on his cases. I haven't seen his as much lately. Which makes most people in the office breath a little easier. Its kind of funny really. They all became incredibly diligent and on their best behavior when he's around.â€ Gris shrugged. "Apparently Mr. Haong went to the intimidation school for leadership. I suppose everyone has their own style."
Kiyoshi worked at a bar. A large and very active bar. Things were always going on, things were always changing, and he didn't necessarily know which things Gris was interested in. Angelina had been working that front more often, under Evan's supervision as promised, and Kiyoshi had shown her a few flairtending tricks which she'd picked up on quickly. She wasn't exactly on her way to competing any time soon but she seemed to like learning some new things here and there, and those things were necessary at the front.
The move had, of course, created a little bit of jealousy amongst the other bartenders but Kiyoshi couldn't imagine for a second that was the sort of drama Greer wanted to know about. He dismissed the topic as it had just been a passing question, really, and listened to Greer talk about his boss and his own job.
"I've had bosses like that," he said with a grim little smile. "That's not so much fun."
He hated feeling that way when at work. Kiyo loved to work and would have made anyone a great employee if they'd only understood before this point that he would miss several days a month. Terminus, and Evan and Guillaume, had been a blessing.
"Lots of them," he elaborated. "It's hard to hold down a job when you keep missing work at night. I think most of my bosses hated me. Until now, of course."
Greer would understand why. He knew about Evan, Kiyo was sure. Evan didn't hide the fact. Kiyo smiled to himself, reflecting on his current boss. His partner. The person he loved. Even before they had begun a relationship Evan had been kind and understanding. Now, Kiyo breathed easier when Evan was present - not when he left. His favorite shifts at Terminus were when Evan's hours and his overlapped. Of course, Evan couldn't be at the bar all the time. He owned the place and there were many things to grab his attention. But he did still work the front bar frequently, and Kiyo adored his presence there.
"Maybe you should take up flairtending," Kiyo said to Greer with a smile. "How did you decide to be a lawyer anyway?"
It was said without censure, just curiosity. Kiyo personally thought Greer could do anything he liked. He was charismatic, attractive, and intelligent. He was the kind of person who would just be naturally good at anything, in Kiyo's mind.
His friend then expressed distaste for Mr.Haong's style of dealing with working relationships. Kiyo said that he had bosses like that more than once in the past. Gris smiled. "Well, I don't have to worry. He isn't my boss. I have my own practice. We were working together on some contracts for some very demanding but well paying clients. Perhaps that is why the drama does not effect me as much. I might feel differently if I worked for him instead of with him.â€
Kiyo then explained that he didn't have to worry about explaining his absence from the bar for three nights out of the week. He supposed that was Guillaume's influence. He was glad to see that the grumpy Frenchman was taking care of his pack mates. Gris thought the guy might be okay after all; their last conversation had actually gone along pretty well. Neither of them walked away with a black eye or anything so he considered that a win.
"I'm glad to hear that you've found a place that you can stay without worry about their misunderstanding the situation.â€ He looked at Kiyoshi and added. "That means you are planning to stay for a while, right? Not going to wander off to the next city?â€
Gris laughed when Kiyo suggested he take up flairtending. "I would end up drinking a lot of my profits.â€ It looked like fun and it was certainly amazing to watch. The plethora of hot guys to look at wouldn't be terribly upsetting either. Of course they might make it difficult for him to concentrate. A flairtender who dropped something every time a cute guy smiled at him wouldn't keep his job for very long.
Shrugging he explained his choice in career. "I would rather have continued my education and gone on to study botany. I wanted to do research in better more natural medicines. I think the chemicals that are in everything these days are killing people.â€ Gris smiled crookedly. "Not us but humans are people too. I find plants are fascinating and quite useful.â€
With a sigh, he continued. "But running around in South America looking for a cure for athlete's foot was not something that my parents considered a very good use of my time.â€ They didn't say it quite like that. He didn't even speak with his father much but every time he joined the family for holidays there was always the frown of disapproval whenever his intended field of study came up. Doctor didn't mean much to a bunh of people who never got sick; especially since he would be a researcher more than a practicing physician. A part of him was surprised that his father hadn't been happier with the choice. Gris would have been spending large portions of his time in remote countries stomping around in rainforests and such. It was nearly impossible to be further away from his family than that without actually leaving the planet.
"So I changed my major and began studying law.â€ It didn't help. His father ignored him pretty much the same as he had before. His choice of career was perhaps the last real attempt he had made to make his father proud. These days he was beginning to wonder why he bothered.
When Gris asked him if he was planning on staying in Nachton Kiyo slowed his poi down and stopped them, then sat himself down where they were. "Yes," he said enthusiastically. "This is the first place I could be where it was... all right. I won't lose my job over the full moon, I don't think. What about you? You're going to stay here too, right?"
He still worried that people at work like Gordon would make it tough for him to keep his job but Evan had reassured him there and Kiyo trusted Evan. Not to mention, even if he had no job he would find it difficult at this point to walk away from his partner. The very thought made his heart wrench in his chest. Leave Evan? For any reason? No! He simply couldn't.
He listened as Greer told him what he'd rather have been doing with his career, feeling sort of mingled sympathy and envy. Of course, having his parents' disapproval sucked. But Kiyo couldn't help thinking that at least Gris had parents who had an opinion on what he did. As far as Kiyo knew, his own parents had promptly forgotten about him the moment they shut the door in his face in Manaus. Certainly they would have been able to track him down if they wanted to, but he had never heard from them since.
"Can't you do both?" he ventured cautiously to Greer. "I mean, we have some time."
Their kind did not age as quickly as humans. Kiyo wondered if there was something stopping Gris from pursuing his love of plants even as a side hobby or a second career. There were so very many years in the century or century and a half they had to live. That thought gave Kiyo hope too... he might not have forever with Evan but if his vampire lover kept him around, Kiyo would have many good years. It was too soon, really, to think of what would happen when he grew old, but sometimes it crossed his mind and he tried to consider werewolf nursing homes or such things. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that.
"Do you like being a lawyer?"
It was a question Kiyo hadn't actually asked Gris, not in those terms. But his Packmate had made it plan that law hadn't been his profession of choice. While Kiyo couldn't fault Gris for choosing it (he might have done the same too if he'd had family pressure) he wondered if his friend really actually liked it.
After explaining to Kiyo what he would rather be doing, his friend asked why he couldn't do both. Gris shrugged. "I suppose I can but not right now. The kind of things I had wanted to do would involve travel and research and those don't work well with long hours working on cases.â€
He resumed spinning the poi, finding it relaxing. The talk of law versus what he had dreamed to do was somewhat depressing; he saw his hopes of doing something useful for the larger population of the planet slipping away from him. Gris had hoped to do something different, worthwhile and unique. Instead he got to be another suit in one of the most hated professions on earth.
"In the beginning I did. I had thought that I would be some defender of the weak, protector of justice or something. You know like the shows on the tele.â€ He favored Kiyo with a crooked grin. "Truth is that the weak can't pay and the criminals can. So occasionally I could manage to win a case for a client against some corporation who had wronged them but often the team of business lawyers would use some loop hole to wiggle out of paying the little guy anything.â€ Sometimes they settled and he could have made a decent career out of taking on businesses that way, however he wanted to win. It was in his nature to win.
"I want to make a difference before I die.â€ To someone at least. Maybe it didn't have to be his father, maybe it could be someone else but he had yet to find a person who's approval meant more to him that trying to earn his father's.
He watched Gris spinning the poi, his movements very easy. If he continued to practice he would certainly become very good. Kiyo liked knowing he might have helped his friend find something new to enjoy learning. He stood back up and began to spin as well, watching Greer's movements and making his own a mirror image of his friend's so the brilliantly colored flowlights played off of each other.
Kiyo listened to Greer speak, not responding. He wanted to hear everything his friend had to say. When Gris mentioned making a difference Kiyo's hazel eyes got wider still.
"But you do," he said.
It was hard to elaborate. He didn't know if Greer wanted to hear about his point of view. Gris made a difference to Kiyo. Sure, Evan made the most difference. But without Tavi and Gris and Guillaume Kiyo would have less will. For everything, including life. He didn't really think highly enough of himself, however, to think that making as difference for him would really count as having done anything spectacular in life.
So he spun his poi, thinking he was, perhaps, fairly inadequate as a friend tonight. He finally did stop, after some consideration, to say very softly, "I know it's not much but you make a difference to me."
He resumed swinging his flowlights again, glad the darkness around them would probably cover his blush in spite of the firelight and the poi. Kiyo thought that if Nachton hadn't worked out so well... well... he might not have wanted to bother living anymore. He wasn't sure he should ever say that to anyone. It might make them feel obligated to continue hanging out with him and he wouldn't want that.
He smiled at Kiyo when his friend said he made a difference. Shrugging, Gris supposed that as a defense lawyer he had made a difference to the people he had managed to help. Not often these days, corporations were far less thankful, much more demanding and way less deserving. He would admit that he felt much more fulfilled while taking those smaller cases for people who really depended on the result. He had worked much harder for them and yet did not seem as tired and listless as he did coming home from work these days.
After a few moments of spinning in companionable silence, Kiyoshi stopped his poi and said that he made a difference to him. Gris brought his own poi to a halt and turned to look at his friend. Tilting his head sideways, he eyed Kiyo thoughtfully. "Keep that up are you are going to get the stuffing hugged out of you again.â€
Grinning, he leaned over and wrapped an arm around Kiyo's shoulders. "I'm glad. Having a real friend here, part of my pack, makes a difference to me too.â€ He made friends easily but very few seemed to last. It was probably because he shared very little of himself and what mattered to him. Kiyoshi was different because he was a werewolf also and seemed to be less judgmental that some of their pack. Evan was the only long term friend he had, aside from his cousin and Therese. The guy managed to get small bits of information out of him after long years of playing together. After a while he felt he could tell Evan almost anything. It was too bad he wasn't a werewolf.
Giving Kiyo's shoulders a final squeeze, he let them go and returned to spinning. Their short break had the effect of dispersing the crowd, who had decided that the show was over for the moment. He was just as happy not to be the center of attention, especially if it helped Kiyo feel more comfortable.
"So what do you want to do next time?â€
"I'm glad," Kiyo said, although he suspected Gris had plenty of friends... maybe not though. Evan had said he needed more. Why wouldn't Greer be buried in piles of friends? Kiyo couldn't see any reason why his attractive Packmate didn't know everyone. He was charming and personable, friendly, and just an all-around good person. Granted Kiyo didn't know him intimately but he didn't think Gris was hiding some odd sordid past behind his quiet, affable demeanor.
They went back to their previously scheduled activity, which people now realized was merely a lesson for they had begun to drift away giving Kiyo and Gris a small amount of relative privacy once more. He showed Greer another variant or two on the weave, although the tougher ones were difficult to learn. He was doing so well with the basics, though, Kiyo thought another trick or two would be fun.
Greer's question took him by surprise. Next time? He had hardly thought about doing this again. One time seemed like enough to him. Hanging out with his Pack intimidated him. Granted, the Nachton Pack didn't seem to be stuck in the past like some others. He was the low man on the totem pole here but he had friends who made sure he didn't get taken advantage of or too terribly abused. The same did not go for the full moon, when Kiyo remained aloof. His wolf was far more aggressive than he was. He didn't dare try it.
But, he realized, he was actually enjoying himself with Gris. He smiled again. "You pick," he said softly, trying to resist the urge to turn his head to the side and show his throat. It worked, halfway.
"I brought these tonight," he said, twirling his poi in a flower pattern. It was a mild little challenge, playfully given. "I don't know what else would be good to do."
That much was true. Kiyo almost never hung out with his Pack this way. He really was still learning.