At the Lake Again

[p] - Liza

POSTED: Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:07 pm

OOC: 657 words

Storm burst from beneath the surface, spray rising into the air and sending shimmering rainbows of reflected summer sun in all directions. As he breached, the winter storm eyed male gasped in a huge lungful of clean air. Sister lake was definitely the less enigmatic of lakes. She was friendlier and always welcoming to visitors. Black lake was sometimes a little bit of a trickster, and her sense of humour could be cruel. The young Cormier knew that his fever ravaged body needed a bit more coddling than Black lake would provide, but he’d been unable to stand it any longer. Each day since the world had stopped spinning or fading in and out, he’d gone to her and forced his body swim. The first days were embarrassing, a couple of strokes had left him exhausted and asleep on the shore. It had improved, but it was still too slow and it chafed him. Every night he went to bed with his muscles screaming at him, and pain had become a background irritation. He had to recover, he had to get back into the water and reclaim his passion and the place he felt most free.

Today it had all been going so well, the waters were calm and there was little breeze. The day was hot, and the water was refreshingly cool. He had pushed and pushed, but seeing now, he was less than halfway across the lake, and knew if he didn’t turn back he’d never be able to make it. Storm wanted to scream out his frustration until the birds flew from their perches and the sunset came. Instead he took a deep breath and let himself float on the calm surface, recuperating just a little. His muscles trembled slightly. Frustration suddenly flooded him and he slammed his fist into the surface, sending more spray up and around him. With a final, and heartfelt sigh, he began the slow swim back.

Finally reaching the shore with his shorts, spear and small amount of food and water, he dragged himself out, literally. As soon as the weight of land struck him, his legs turned to jelly and he crawled up the bank, his muscles spasming and his limbs trembling, almost too much to find a dry spot to lie. He collapsed, breathing heavily, knowing that he needed to massage his legs and arms or they’d stiffen up and he’d never get home, but right now just needing a moment to catch his breath.

The fever had passed now, Storm’s body had fought it off and won the war, but the cost had been pretty steep. He was gaunt, never having been a wolf with a lot of fat, the ridges of his spine were easily discernible, and his wrists were painfully thin. The fact that the water had plastered down his fur made the results of what the fever had left behind all the more obvious. He found enough strength to flip himself onto his back, grateful that his face at least, was shield from the sun by the waving shade of leaves. He really needed to massage his limbs, they were already starting to stiffen.

With herculean effort, he sat up and began rubbing at his legs. He dug his fingers into the wasted muscle and winced and shook from the pain of it. Still this was the only way, or he could take it easier like the healers had said, but how long would it take him to get back into the water if they were listened to? So he did his best to ease the muscle of his leg. He was disgusted at his own body, all the wastage of the illness had left him thin and all his muscles seemed to go into shock so easily. It almost felt…It was almost like….like when Gus had rescued him. A shiver swept through Storm that had nothing to do with the cold water.

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Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:40 pm

Eliza's eyes were shielded by one white-ticked hand while the other rested on the rough bark of a tree. She could feel grass tickling her ankles, sand between her toes and the sun on her back. Somewhere above there were birds, perching and chattering to each other, sharing secrets that Eliza would never understand. But her nutty brown eyes were trained on the water, and on the persistent yet clearly fatigued swimmer.

Liz had crept out to the lake day after day since her conversation with Gus, trying every time to muster the courage to speak to Storm. She had failed time after time. Instead of approaching her adoptive brother Eliza had stayed within the trees, sometimes standing, sometimes crouching or sitting; always watching intently. Every time she felt mixed emotions – elation when Storm made it a stroke or two further than he had the time before, and dread when she thought he might have spotted her. Reluctance, too, to disturb his exercise. Liz knew Storm would want to dive again. It was his outlet.

Goddess knew how much he would need that outlet once she finally plucked up the courage to speak to him. Today would be the day, the determined dog had decided.

Leaving the comforting smells and sounds of the tree line, Liz padded down to the shore, her arms wrapped about her torso as if she was holding herself together. She could feel an apprehensive tightening in her chest, a knot which she tried to knead into nothingness.

He was shivering, and for the first time Eliza wondered if it was because of the water or because of unpleasant memories. Gus' tale of how he'd found Storm had not left the lone female sibling – nor had what she had seen when Storm had been talking to his dead brother. As Liz kneaded at her stomach, Storm was pressing his fingers to his legs. They didn't seem as solid as they once had.

Finally they were face to face, but Liz avoided the wintry eyes.

“Need a hand? 'm told I give a decent massage.”

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Don't Stop Me Now

POSTED: Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:21 pm

OOC: If the PP is too much please let me know and I will re-edit. 417 words

Storm’s thoughts were miles away when his sister appeared in front of him. His reveries were shattered and he stopped rubbing at his legs, smiling a greeting and signing a quick hello. Storm’s stomach tightened at being seen looking so pathetic, but the larger part of him was glad to see Eliza. He knew that she might bully and they might argue occasionally, but she was loving and loyal and every Cormier had always been there when he’d needed them, and he hoped to think the reverse was the case also.

The smile faded slightly as he saw she had her arms folded. Now, Storm might not talk, but he was a good listener and even better at body language. Eliza had at least six ways she folded her arms, there was the no nonsense way, there was the don’t even think about it way, and of course there was the I have no idea what to do with my arms way. The way she had them folded was none of these though, this way was I’m worried about something

If you wouldn’t mind. he gestured, gratefully accepting her offer of help.

As she knelt and began to rub, Storm allowed himself to lie back, feeling his muscles beginning to shiver as the tension eased in them. For a little and quiet while, there was quiet companionship between the two of them. Occasionally Storm would wince as Eliza found a particularly sore part. His legs didn’t stop trembling as she rubbed them, the muscles were exhausted, what was left of them that was, and even when he quietly gritted his teeth to try and stop them, it didn’t work, it just made the muscle tense and harder to rub. Deciding that he couldn’t stand the self-loathing of his body any longer he raised himself up.

What’s the matter he asked, making sure his sister was watching him. She didn’t answer him of course, she just raised her eyebrows in that oh so Elizaish way. He almost rolled his eyes, and responded by doing a rather good impression of Eliza’s pensive face and crossed arms, holding it for a few heartbeats before continuing.

You only look like that when you’re either thinking over a problem or worried, and when it’s a problem you’ve usually got your braid stuffed in your mouth.

Of course all this was conveyed in gestures and body language, but if the body could have a tone, Storm’s would be smug and impressed with himself.

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Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:01 pm

Storm smiled at her and Eliza felt a sinking sensation in her gut. Perhaps she had been hoping, however foolishly, that her little brother might have remembered seeing Will – speaking to Will, though it had been Eliza all along. No such luck – it was clear from his greeting that he had no recollection of the feverish hallucination. It was a struggle to maintain a smile and a bright voice as the female made her offer, but it was one she took on with gusto and succeeded in overcoming. She wanted a few more moments to compose herself before she fessed up.

Still, her arms were tightly crossed so that she could feel her own heartbeat in them – he was sure to notice that.

The wolf accepted the dog's help and Liz knelt to press her fingers to his calf muscle. There was little muscle there to work with, and Eliza did her best to be gentle but she could still feel Storm's leg trembling. She could sense fragility and for a mad moment she thought of running away – surely she should wait until he was recovered physically as well as mentally before admitting that she'd spoken to Gus about him behind his back – but something kept her there. Cowardice, perhaps: she needed to get things off her chest for her own sake as much as his, lest the weight of all she had learnt slowly crushed her.

“Sorry,” she mumbled to every wince, and when it finally seemed that Storm had had enough she let her hands fall to the sand, tracing swirls and stars. She wanted to concentrate on those senseless patterns, but it was too late for her to pretend that nothing was wrong: it was written as clearly as if she had traced out letters instead of lines in the sand.

So she lifted her gaze to Storm's, still aware of his gestures. It was getting easier to look at his face while he used his hands to communicate, a testament to the fact that they had spent a fair bit of time around each other. It hadn't been like that in the early days: plagued with envy and guilt, Eliza had done all she could to avoid the lanky wolf whom Gus had taken in.

“Guess you've got me all figured out, huh?” she responded with a smirk. It was good to know that Storm knew her – perhaps he would know her well enough to know she had never meant him any harm, during her days of bitter jealousy or the ones which had followed. The dog slid her legs from beneath her rump and out to one side, her hands hovering over the designs she'd created in the sand. She huffed lightly as her gaze slid to the water.

“Last time we spoke – the fever still had ya. D'you remember any of it?”

The water was sparkling too brightly for her liking and soon she could look at it no longer. Nutmeg eyes slid back to Storm. If Eliza was going to out herself then she refused to be too cowed to look him in the eye while she did it.

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Don't Stop Me Now

POSTED: Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:27 pm

OOC: 331 words

When the exquisite agony of the massage had ended, his legs throbbed in time with his heartbeat. Eliza seemed to be arranging her thoughts, that couldn’t be good. His sister, whatever she might be, was always a fire cracker, throwing herself with her all her strength and passion into whatever she did, this more contemplative side of her was beginning to make his fur prickle.

It took longer than it should, but he levered himself up into a sitting position using his elbows, arms and what was left of his core muscle. In truth his memories from the fever were all a jumble. There were parts of scenes, dreams and then just blanks. So when Eliza asked her question his brow furrowed and he stayed quiet, not because he was unsure what to say, but rather because he struggled to remember. His gestures were slow to start with, hesitant, as if he was starting to remember stuff for the first time now that he thought about it.

You told me I was amazing. You said I was the most impressive Cormier, and that every argument we’d ever had was your fault and I was always right?

His face split into a grin, doing his best to ease the moment for her. He let the statement hang in the air between them for a little before his body bean the conversation again.

My memories are fuzzy. Some aren’t even there. For example, I remember eating, and the next thing I remember I’m standing somewhere, or being lead back to the house by someone. I remember you helping me with the nets. he paused, his hands still as he thought and then unsteadily beginning again. You were worried about your friend? Or sad about your friend?....Peony?

He looked wondering if this was the reason she looked so worried Has something happened to them?

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Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:45 pm

It seemed to take Storm a few seconds to cast his mind back, and Eliza felt a pang of guilt at asking him to recall a time when he had been so ill, but she was still – stupidly and selfishly – clinging to the faint hope that he would remember seeing Will, remember his own fear, accidentally shared with the one Cormier who evidently couldn't keep her mouth shut about anything.

Eliza had to remind herself of her conversation with Gus; remind herself that she hadn't given the Captain every single detail, though guilt stung at her for that, too.

A hybrid of a guffaw and a snort left the dog. “Yeh, right, 'n' the caribou had started flyin' 'n' I grew about eight feet 'n' took a vow o' silence...” She trailed off, the momentary brightening of her features receding into shadow. She could have made a more valiant effort to continue the fun banter, but what was the point in dragging things out? She nodded stiffly as Storm explained in gesture that he had pieces of memory and missing pieces. Putting the puzzle together might be frustrating, as Liz found most puzzles, but she desperately hoped that Storm would feel better once he saw the finished article.

Still, she had hoped he'd remember on his own, and that hadn't come to pass.

A deep sigh worked its way through Eliza's lips. “Not heard anythin',” was the succinct answer. “No, this en't about Peony.”

She looked down at the sand again, stared at the swirls and stars until when she blinked they remained behind her eyelids. Then she blinked rapidly, not wanting the images to fade until the light had faded. Eliza and Storm had shared a short time of simple companionship. They had come a long way from the wild boy who had tried to attack Gus and the jealous girl who had all but refused to acknowledge him. She didn't want to set them back.

“It's 'bout Will.” Eliza leaned away ever so slightly from her brother, her ears drooping even lower than usual.

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Don't Stop Me Now

POSTED: Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:03 pm

OOC: 244 words

His mouth opened in a silent laugh at Eliza’s retort, and Storm would have continued the banter, but her manner changed, so he stayed silent. For a little while there was only the sound of the rustling leaves and the lapping of gentle waters, it was very soothing. Storm also remember what Lucille had told him once. She’d said that sometimes, not saying anything was a great deal more effective than all the chatter in the world.

When Eliza said his brother’s name, it felt like a jolt of lightning had gone through him, and for a moment he was rooted in place. He looked to one side, but the ghostly form of his dead brother wasn’t there. Doubtless he’d turn up soon, but for now it was just the two of them. Storm hadn’t realised that his hand had closed, and it took him a moment to realise it was the hand he’d been clutching his brother so tightly with. A heavy sadness settled in his stomach. The day seemed somehow cooler and tiredness pressed on him like an enormous weight. It took a moment to occur to him, and doubt crept into Storms mind. How did Eliza know about Will? She couldn’t be talking about another Will could she?

How do you know about Will? his gestures asked, simply.

There wasn’t any anger in his demeanour or his gestures, but a sadness had crept into him that hadn’t been there before.

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Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Sat Jul 04, 2015 4:24 pm

Liz saw the change sweep over Storm like – well, a storm rolling in with impeccable speed. Her hands twisted together in her lap, fingers in disarray. For a moment she wondered if Storm was having some sort of absent seizure, though she wouldn't have known the name for it. It felt as if the bright sky had darkened just a little.

But there was no anger in his motions, more a sort of weary melancholy which made Eliza want to stuff her ponytail in her mouth and take that vow of silence she had joked about just moments earlier. She was surprised by the pain it caused her to see Storm go from joking in gesture to frozen, to motioning with sadness.

The worst was yet to come – and Eliza suddenly wanted to get it all out, all at once in a jumble or a torrent of words, but she drew in a deep breath and endeavoured to answer the question.

“Ya spoke to him. Well, me. With the fever 'n' all ya must've seen him in my place..” Again the dog's words faded into silence, and it was an intense sort of silence, the sort that could be bitten down on. She was still tensed, her jaw working as if chewing on a non-existent morsel, but one hand managed to leave her lap and reach towards her brother. From being afraid to confront him, now she was afraid to sever the connection between their gazes. What if, when she'd told it all, he never looked at her as a sister again?

Eliza sucked in another deep breath, her hand still outstretched. “'n' I was worried about ya.. so.” Her brow furrowed, her lower lip jutting out in a pre-emptive show of defiance. “So I went to Gus..” Would she ever finish a sentence properly? “..'n' he told me 'bout the night he found ya.”

The sepia dog snatched her hand away then, flinching at her own words. “'m sorry, Storm. I'm sorry I went to Gus before I came to you. Yer still my brother, right?” Her question was asked in a mousy, most un-Eliza voice, more of a squeak than anything.

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Don't Stop Me Now

POSTED: Sat Jul 04, 2015 5:22 pm

OOC: 393 words

Storm saw the hand reaching for him, and perhaps he should have taken it but he didn’t. Instead he could hear the screams and smell the acrid scents of burning flesh. He could see the blurred outline of Gus as he stood over him and the only thing that was exposed of Storm was his muzzle. Storm could feel the iron strong fingers prising his grip. The old feelings of desperation and hatred flooded him again.

Storm raised his hands to say something, but his fingers twitched and formed no discernible symbols. Instead he just held them there. Talking about Will was always painful, but the idea that Gus had told Eliza? It made him feel disloyal to think that, but it had taken a lot of courage for him to tell Gus that and now Gus was sharing his secrets? Still. Could he really hold this against Eliza?

You know now, I had a brother called Will, and he died. Storm decided that it’d be better not to add ‘because of me’. If you are feeling bad for being curious then please don’t be. You knowing about….him….changes nothing.

He didn’t want to feel betrayed, he didn’t want to be angry at Gus. Gus, the dog that had saved his life, the one that had managed to stop making a wolf stop hating him, but Storm could see his past and his present crashing together and he was scared. He didn’t want to have a past. He didn’t want to remember that there was a time before the Cormiers, and it yet it was something he was reminded of everyday when he looked into a pale of water and saw his reflection.

Yes….yes of course we’re still family. Why wouldn’t we be?

As he made the gestures though, he could feel the anger at Gus for talking about his past, and it might be a double standard, and it might be irrational, but he had told Gus and Gus alone. Still, this wasn’t Eliza’s fault.

I hope I didn’t upset you when I thought you were Will. was what he finally found himself saying. He wasn’t sure why he said it, except that Eliza’s discomfort was now so obvious and he hated to think that he was the cause of it. If only he could stop feeling the growing betrayal at Gus.

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Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:24 pm

Storm seemed lost in thought, or perhaps in a time gone by. Eliza let her hand fall, unsure of how to pull him from his reverie and unsure if she wanted to. Thinking of Will obviously placed a strain on him which she felt she couldn't compound by bringing up the rest of what he'd shared with her by fever-ridden accident. Some things just had to be given time or left alone altogether. Liz wasn't looking forward to harbouring that knowledge, but she had never before felt so wary of hurting someone's feelings.

When Storm's hands finally started working to communicate with the shame-faced dog again, he excused her curiousity. Liz's mouth fell open to argue – her propensity to gossip was her greatest downfall, surely he knew that? But she couldn't bring herself to highlight her weaknesses any further when she had already displayed far too much weakness. On some level she had always wanted Storm to think of her as strong despite being the baby of the Cormier family prior to his arrival. She was his big sister, if not by blood then by time spent together, and she wanted him to look up to her.

But he had looked up to Gus first; it had always been clear in Eliza's eyes that Gus was Storm's hero. The notion that she put have put a strain on that relationship, even if he hadn't alluded to it, caused her yet more grief. She licked her lips, uncertain of how to proceed. Getting things out in the open was supposed to make her feel better, but Liz only felt small. Her admission had changed nothing between them, and she hadn't wanted things to change – not before she'd spoken. But now? Now she fully realised that some part of Storm still gripped his brother tightly, and her awareness of Will hadn't changed that.

Storm was gesturing again, telling her that he hadn't meant to upset her. Eliza frowned. “Nope.” The word was too casual, too clipped for it to be true. She had been shaken by the realisation that Storm had had a life before becoming a Cormier, but she could hardly place the blame on him for that.

For a moment Eliza turned away to try and unravel her thoughts, but she made little headway. Another sigh left her, this one short and weary. Her head felt clouded, her own thoughts a challenge to interpret. She wanted to lay out on the sand and stare at the sky until the clouds passed. She wanted to have a clue why it mattered so very much to her that Storm hadn't suddenly let go of Will.

When the dog turned back to her brother it was with a sad smile. She made none of her usual quips – instead she threw herself forward and flung her arms around his neck without warning, ignoring the jab of bones beneath a thin layer of skin and fur. Maybe, in time, Storm would be able to forget the horrors of his past, and Eliza would grant him that time.

“Don't shut us out, 'kay? We've all lost people too 'n' we don't want to lose you.” Liz leaned away and ruffled the fur on Storm's head, acknowledging the patronizing gesture with a glimpse of her tongue poking out. "We love ya."

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Luperci Mate to Milos as one we are everything we need
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Don't Stop Me Now

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