In the moon's pale light you looked at me

P. Inara | Biff's Bar

POSTED: Fri May 31, 2019 7:50 pm

Awkward as a river dog on land, Percival hovered amongst the regulars of Biff's Bar and tried not to make eye contact with any one of them while he waited for Inara to join him after her final dance. You belong here, he lied unconvincingly to him himself, his nutmeg eyes focused so fiercely on where he thought she would appear that he must have looked constipated.

"Hey." Percy's heart dropped into his stomach. "Hey, kid." Frozen in place, the young wolfdog stared sternly ahead and ignored the voice, willing it to go away. "Hey you. Kid!" The brief, gentle nudge that followed told him it wouldn't and, hesitantly, he turned his head to look at the homely mutt that beckoned him. "I got somethin' fer that."

Against his better judgement, the youth heard himself ask, "For what?"

"Fer yer, uh..." The sheepish grin that spread across the mutt's grizzled face was missing several teeth. "Predicament." And then, leaning in conspiratorially, the old man asked, "How long's it been since ya dropped a load?

Appalled, Percival jerked his head back and wrinkled his nose. "What?" His nutmeg eyes nearly disappearing beneath shaggy brows as he glanced away, hoping to see Inara making her way toward him but, whether due to being distracted by his present harassment or because she was nowhere in sight, he saw only a sea of unfamiliar and faceless canines.

A clicking of the mutt's tongue suggested impatience. "C'mon, ya know," he continued, seemingly oblivious to the youth's search for escape. "When's th' last time ya took a nice, big shit? A day? Nah..." Percy could feel the mongrel's eyes boring into him. "Three, then?" He thought he could almost hear the way the man squinted at him as he continued to evaluate his non-condition and, with a silent prayer to the River Goddess, Percival looked back out through the patrons of Biff's Bar for Inara's help.

OOC: set after [M] this thread, but when Inara finishes her dance. <3

[WC — 333]


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Luperci Diplomat I, Piscator I we were infinite; there was no time in those days They stole my dirty socks... :(
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timshel

POSTED: Fri May 31, 2019 9:12 pm

Word Count → 692
OOC → words

Inara was thinking of her next set of plans as Biff handed her her gifts and earnings for the day. She packed it into her satchel that now contained the red dress she was wearing for her performances. Now the gypsy girl wore a flowing brown skirt and a green tube top. It allowed her to move more freely and still look, she hoped, cute.

Sure she had everything together, she went out to find Percival. Just the thought of Percy being out there, waiting for her made her feel a rush of joy. He came to see her, he watched her dance. Not just once! Twice! The thought made her tail wag, and Inara pushed away the negative thoughts that tried to surface. She would try and go with the flow, try and not push or prod too much for fear she'd ruin everything that she worked hard to achieve thus far.

Her rich chocolate eyes had found in an instant. She giggled as he looked like he was trying to will something forth. Inara didn't want to even say to herself what he looked like he was doing. It appears, I have a lot to teach Perc... He was awkward like her when she first came...but in a different way. Inara was shy and unsure of herself, but she didn't try and force herself to look like a pooping statue. As she neared him she saw a scraggly mutt trying to get the Parhelion's attention and she ducked back with a grin seeing how Percy handled it. Oh boy.. She fought a bit of laughter which caused a patron near her to glance over at her with confusion and suspicion. Inara waved him away, "..sorry watching a friend who's new to here." The man looked over his shoulder to Percy. "Oh, the one who looks like he hasn't shat in days?" Inara laughed more openly this time, "Yeah...that one." With the laughter out of her system she looked back to the patron, "He's a bit too serious for himself, sometimes. " She said as she walked away, making her way to rescue the socially odd boy.

She moved herself gracefully between Percival and the mongrel, her eyes batted to the patron, "Hi, sweety!" She said the the homely mutt. He seemed a bit caught off guard by her sudden appearance and Inara took the opportunity like an ambushing spider, "You don't need to worry yourself about, Perc, here...I promise you, he ain't in need of your remedies...he's how you say...uncomfortable in social settings like this. But your concern was very thoughtful. I appreciate your kindness!" She flashed a smile over her shoulder to Percy, before addressing the patron, "To show my appreciation, have a glass of mead on me! Tell Biff, your drink if on Inara...he'll hook you up!" She gave the mutt a wink, then twirled to face Percy with one smooth motion she wrapped her arms around his and led him out of Biff's.

She felt a swell of pride in herself. Many many months ago, she would have been bristling and snarling at such encounters. Now, she was able to handle them with such charm and charisma that it even surprised her sometimes. But she had much more to improve on. She needed to have battle nerves but this wasn't the time to think of that. She had Percy to spend time with.

As the cool night hit her cheek fur she smiled brightly up at him, and loosened her grip. A part of her wondered if he would want her to let him go, or continue to hug his arm. It was a fleeting thought, but one she did want to know. "Biff gave me a nice bottle of wine. There's a nice clearing behind the stable that has a great view of the stars." Her tail softly wagged beneath her long skirt, as her rich browns searched his nutmeg's. The only way she could get an idea of what was going on with the Parhelion were his eyes, sometimes.

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POSTED: Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:41 pm

Somewhere, near enough for the young Parhelion to hear it, someone snickered and Percival closed his eyes in a slow, grounding, blink. He resisted, barely, the urge to start panting anxiously and focused his entire being on ignoring the overly helpful mutt. If it was possible to somehow transport himself anywhere but this singular horrifying moment, he was certain that he would.

And then, as though the Goddess herself had answered his pleas, Inara seemed to almost materialize from the sea of strangers and slip herself firmly, though gracefully, between Percival and the offending mongrel. Percy pushed his drop ears back reflexively with her sweet nothings towards the mutt. He righted them again quickly, watching in silence as his friend – his friend, not his sister – attempted to placate the patron.

"Well shit!" the mutt barked, his rotting teeth showing between a broad smile. "If that's th' reward, I'll do anything t' make ya feel appreciated." And, with a suggestive look at Inara, the patron leaned in close. "In fact," he purred. "I could make ya feel like a goddess."

But Inara, whether because she hadn't heard him or because she was bigger than such insinuations, spun on her heel and took Percival arm before leading him out of the suffocating air of Biff's Bar. Bewildered, the wiry-coated Shoalman glanced back a the mongrel, whose face appeared, for only a moment, disappointed before it recovered at the memory of a free drink.

"Thank you," he said, feeling equal parts relieved and sheepish. Percival breathed in the cool air of the night and felt his nerves settle slowly. "You were, uh... good back there." Realizing she might think he was referring to her dancing, he amended: "I mean, with that old guy." And then, with horror, he considered how Inara might think he didn't think that her dancing was good and glanced quickly at her. "And your dancing was, too! Good, I mean." He cleared his throat and looked away again. "You danced really good."

The weight of their earlier conversation – of the revelation surrounding Inara's big heart – hung over him like the the promise of a storm. When he looked at her again, Inara was smiling brightly up at him and Percival felt his tail begin to wag. "Great!" he chirped, trying (and failing) to sound natural in the midst of all the butterflies fluttering around in his stomach. "Remember th' last time we watched th' stars together?" he asked, calm easing over him slowly with the memory. "It was so cold." And he smiled, the vibrancy of it dimming quickly.

It might have been warmer if they still had Krokar to return to.

"How'd you find out about this place?" he asked when they arrived, his neck crooked upwards at the inky infinite sky. From above, dots of starlight winked back down at him.

OOC: Lookit your pretty SS star! x3

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timshel

POSTED: Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:47 pm

Word Count → 000
OOC → words

It was easy to ignore the scraggly old mutt. She'd heard many lines in the months of dancing at Biff's. At first she was bashfully unsure of herself about it. She didn't understand, but slowly she realized what they were hinting at. She had no interest and she learned how to handle them. Typically, she'd ignore, or she'd smile and flirt a little bit before charmingly shutting them down.

Inara looked at Percival when he thanked her. She gave a warm smile. She understood what he was referring to, but before she could respond he clarified, and then added more. She'd never seen him stumble over himself like this before. It caused her to tilt her head for a second before she ended up giggling, a grin on her thick muzzle. She watched him for a second before sitting down in the clearing.

"Ah, it took quite a bit of practice...both things" She sat the bottle of wine down beside her, "...I'd say the social bit took a lot more practice." Inara added before she looked back up to him as he reminisced about the last time they watched the stars. She grinned, her eyes going up to the night clouds that threatened to cover the stars as they lazily passed over head. "Yeah...I was so tired and couldn't sleep...if I recall right. I used to hate sleep...but it ain't too bad anymore. The terrors don't get to me as often." She thought about her words and tried to recall the last night terror that came to her in her sleep. It was several weeks ago. She was happy that the terrors didn't come to her as often.

She then thought about how Percival was affected more by the cold than her. Her thought was interrupted by his question. She went flush for a moment, then her ears went warm, and so did her cheeks as she went to respond. "Uh, I...went on a quest....of sorts..." She pulled the cork from the bottle and drank a good portion. The liquid warming her throat as it went down. "...I wanted to find the girl you liked.." She remembered her quest, and how it was fueled by jealousy. She hadn't asked anyone about the woman, she simply hoped to find her based on his description. For all she knew she could have found her, but no female fit the description she was looking for.

Inara held the bottle up to him, offering the bottle to him in hopes of saving herself from drinking the bottle to drown the embarrassment she felt.

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POSTED: Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:54 pm

When she settled atop the cool grass, setting the bottle of wine next to her, Percival followed her lead and lowered his own rump gently down. When he looked back at her again, she was grinning and the sight of it made his stomach perform somersaults. Overhead, the stars watched them.

"Your nightmares," he remembered soberly, nodding. Listening, Percy was glad to know that her terrors didn't find her as often as they used to. "But you still have them?" he asked, pushing his ears against his skull unhappily. It wasn't impossible for the young Shoalman to understand why she had the nightmares but his experience with them was not so constant nor as horrible as Inara's was. "I wish you didn't." But what good were wishes?

As the conversation shifted, Percival felt himself ease back into the familiar comfort he felt with Inara. "A quest?" he asked, perking his floppy ears. He watched as she tipped the bottle against her lips and drank deeply, thinking that that seemed an awful big gulp for the occasion. "What kind of quest?"

If he had had a mouthful of wine when she responded, it would have sputtered straight back out of his mouth in a forceful mist. Instead, he stared at her with nutmeg eyes wide and lower jaw drooping. "Oh." Somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped feebly.

Percival accepted Inara's offer of the wine the instant that she lifted it up to him. Then, tilting it to his lips, it was his turn to take a sizable swig. The alcohol burned as it slid down his throat, warming his body only moments later. With his fingers gripping the neck of the bottle, he pulled it back away from his mouth and set its base back against the earth.

"Did you..." No, he didn't want to know if he had found her. It didn't matter. He shook his head. "Inara, why didn't you tell me? Back then, I mean."

OOC: hi my name is mandi and i am the worst :'c but now that DCG formation stuff is done i'll be better i promisssssssse <3

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Luperci Diplomat I, Piscator I we were infinite; there was no time in those days They stole my dirty socks... :(
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timshel

POSTED: Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:29 pm

Word Count → 000
OOC → *snuggles* It is okay :3 I <3 you no matter!

A ping of guilt hit her as she thought she may have dropped the mood, but Percival's sweet words touched her and she scooted a bit closer to him so her body would touch his. Her head had found his shoulder for a second before their conversation shift. Her body readjusted so there was a small gap between their bodies.

She feared looking at his face when he said 'oh'. The liquid warmed her entire body, but as the silence fell over them, she thought about taking the bottle back and downing more. Alcohol is not going to help you...you need to face your choices, 'Nara! She scolded herself. Still, it could make her feel less embarrassed, right? She then noted, he too, took a big swig. Was that her fault?

She glanced down as he began to ask a question. Her scarred ears hid in her hair, for a second as she began to analyze what his unfinished question was exactly. Was it about the girl? She licked her dried lips. Then her eyes looked over to his, ears popped back up. She didn't fully understand the question but she didn't want to ask him to clarify, she'd feel stupid.

Her muzzle dipped to hide her eyes rolling. They were rolling at herself, not him, and she didn't want him to misinterpret the gesture. "...about how I felt about you....or...about me coming her to compare myself to what you liked?" The words fell out as matter of fact but she didn't look up to see his face though she did glance over to his body, hoping to gauge him just by how his body posture was.

After several glances she reached for the bottle and took a more reasonable sip of the liquid and placed it back down.

In a way, she was very happy to be having this conversation with him. It was a long time coming even if she felt a bit uncomfortable about confronting her own feelings and her own actions up to this point. And once she recognized that, she let herself relax a bit more and finally look up to his face.

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POSTED: Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:53 pm

Her body next to his – her body touching his – sent a shudder through him and, without knowing what to do, Percival felt himself freeze. And then, just as soon as it happened, the moment passed again and a pointed coolness replaced the points of contact where Inara's body had pressed up against his. He released an inaudible breath but the tingling of his nerve endings remained.

It was weird, he decided, feeling this way. Weird, but not unpleasant. It was exciting.

Percival watched as her ears – already small from whatever trauma had befallen them – disappeared behind her mane. Her pink tongue smoothed her dry lips and, in a flash, her ears reappeared. If he hadn't been so focused on keeping his face straight, he would have smiled at that one simple and, more likely than not, entirely intuitive act.

He did not see the rolling of her eyes, but her voice was loud and clear.

Percival swallowed but found that his mouth was dry and the back of his tongue stuck uncomfortably to the roof of his mouth. He glanced away. "Well..." he began softly, catching the movement of Inara's hand as she gripped the bottle's neck and lifted it to her face. "Gods, I don't know... Both?" He cleared his throat awkwardly and then looked at his friend's face again. "But I guess..." Again, his eyes drifted to the bottle. "I guess... I'm more curious why you never told me how you felt. About, um... me."

And then, like a shot, Percy reached out for the bottle of wine and tipped it back so its blood poured down his throat again. He relished the burn and, when he was done, he lowered the bottle and lifted his eyes hesitantly – almost shyly – to meet Inara's. "Did I do somethin' to make you... not wanna?"

The truth was always hard to hear and Percival braced himself for impact.

OOC: <333

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Luperci Diplomat I, Piscator I we were infinite; there was no time in those days They stole my dirty socks... :(
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POSTED: Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:21 pm

Word Count → 534
OOC → words

Such a simple question. Why? Why didn't she tell him about it? Inara shifted her weight to one hip so she could let her feet stick out of her dress and she leaned to rub her foot. It was a way to distract herself more than to actually ease the muscles. Her eyes glanced up as he went on, and she stopped abruptly. Her brows furrowed in surprise, "No! You didn't do anything to make me not wanna tell ya'. " She looked back to her feet. "I...I don't know. I was confused. We had been friends for so long. We were under the same roof as family. I always had thought you were cute...but..I.." How do I explain this? She felt her stomach churning in knots.

She huffed in frustration. "I didn't want to tell you..and find out that you didn't like me in the same way. " Inara shifted once more, bringing her legs into an Indian style position as she became restless with agitation. "And really, we are friends...and that was all I thought I liked you as. Then...then I found out you liked someone, and I suddenly felt a pain I didn't know....like someone hit my chest. " She couldn't bring herself to look at him as she gripped handfuls of grass and ripped them out, "I didn't know how to react, I didn't know what to do....I knew I hated the woman...that I was jealous. You found her beautiful, it seems...and you never found me beautiful...or attractive..." Her voice trailed and she then sucked in her top lip and bit it a little before glancing up to see his expression. "I had to see what she was...who she was...and what made her catch your eye....but I also remembered how the dances of my culture were designed to attract and allure....so I worked on remembering them and even creating a few of my own."

..There's no turning back now..truly...there isn't.. The voice hissed. Inara's ears went back as she hushed that venomous voice in her head shut up! Her eyes went to the ground and she gripped a handful of grass. He knows how screwed up you are...and then you confessed to him? Confessed it all? he cackled, and Inara felt the tremor go up her spin and she bit the inside of her lip hard to snap herself out. Her eyes then looked to the bottle. There was a small amount left and she grabbed for it. She emptied it hoping she could drown out the voice, that hissing voice.

"...anyway..that is all of it...I realized I like you, like you. I know I can still be friends...but I like you more than that..and I can't stand being called your sister...cause I'm not..I am not your sister...nor can I ever be your sister..." Speaking she was able to shut out the voice in her head, and bring her words to a conclusion. Her eyes once more looked to his the moonlight allowing her to see their expression. Hers were filled with worry, but there was optimism there too. It was small, but there.

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POSTED: Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:57 pm

It was a relief to know that he had done nothing to contribute to Inara's hesitation. But the question remained. "Then... why?" he asked again, gently. He watched her with soulful eyes, his thick brows relaxed now from the usual, heavy way they tended to perch above them. When she first attempted to answer, Percival tried to understand – truly he did – but he found himself drawing parallels to his own thoughts: he had grown up thinking of her more like family; more like a sister.

By the time he was old enough to recognize and understand what allure and attraction felt like, he had long since (and entirely unconsciously) put his blinders up when it came to Inara. But even now that they were gone, and he had begun to think of her in a different light, he still felt hopelessly confused about his own feelings.

At least they could both agree that they were friends, if nothing else.

When she began to talk about the woman who had enchanted him so, Percival's ears began to burn with renewed embarrassment. If it hadn't been for Inara draining the rest of the wine, the young Parhelion would have done it himself. "She was... she was just..." He sighed, frustrated. "I dunno what she was, but she's nothin' now. I think I just... Maybe it was just 'cause she was the first woman who ever seemed interested in me. I didn't know any better." While he tried to explain this, he kept his eyes pointedly away from Inara for his feelings of shame.

Silence followed the conclusion of her words and Percy, too, looked up at the silvery moon. "I still dunno what these feelin's are that I got, but I'll never call you my sister again," he promised at last, breaking the silence. He tipped his head back down from the inky sky to look at her with a smile. "Just so long as I can still always call you my friend." With this chapter in their lives closed now, a new journey could begin.

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