Always Another Chore

[p] - Milos

POSTED: Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:36 pm

The day was clear, but cold. It was one of those days that promised winter was coming. Storm walked down towards the edge of Sister lake, weighed down by fishing gear and broken nets. He needed to fix his small canoe, repair a net and try and catch some more food. He knew it might seem obsessive, but winters were hard and it was important that Krokar had enough stores to see them through it. Though it felt like a long time ago, Storm could still remember the days when hunger was a constant companion and his ribs were so clear, it appeared as though someone had just stretched skin over bone. That had been a different life though, and Storm had never been averse to hard work. In the earlier days chores had focused his mind on the now, not giving him enough time to worry about the past or the future, and the winter storm eyed youth had been sure that was the reason why Gus had enjoyed keeping his younger brother so busy, so his soul could recover without the burden of contemplation.

Reaching the banks of the lake, Storm dropped the gear, doing his best to make sure the line and netting didn’t get too tangled, then he removed his shorts and jumped into the shallows, wading to his small canoe. The water was hip deep and with a bite that was just the wrong side of pleasant. Storm paid it little heed though as he turned the boat over and examined its underside. It was such a light thing that it still managed to stay floating, the stretched hide was worn. As he began his work, chores which were so familiar he barely needed to think, his mind started wondering. Milos and Liz had both become parents, and he’d not seen either for what seemed like an age. He’d gone to the hut, and mentioned his chores and Milos had made some vague promise of coming down to help, but Storm had demurred, not because it wouldn’t be nice to have his company, but because the Quartermaster was a dad, and Storm couldn’t help thinking the older male might not realise how much work pups were. Still, he glanced to the shore every now and again, to see if the other would appear.

User avatar
Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:16 pm

At a month old now, the boys were learning quickly about the world around them. Between nursing and naps, they had begun to play fight with one another and with Meerclar's brood of kittens. The cats, though younger by only a few days, had clearly acquired their mother's ferocity and held their own with few corrections from the tabby queen. With his soft, blunt snout, Bramble tugged on Logan's ear when the splotched puppy clambered atop his brother, giving the tiniest little growl Milos had ever heard. Their father smiled. "Gonna be fierce like your ma, I reckon!" he laughed, watching as the boys tumbled and rolled and, eventually, tired from their play. Logan's yawn elicited one from Milos as well and the thought of napping with his sons curled against him was tempting.

But he had promised to help Storm with his chores and, thankfully, Zyndea returned just in time to save him from being unable to keep his word. "Sorry I'm late," the speckled youth groaned as she slipped into their cottage. "Your stupid goat got out again. I chased her halfway to the Ruins before Abbott cornered her long enough for me to grab her. And then I had to give him a reward for 'helping' me, not like I even asked for his help anyway." She tossed her fishing supplies to one side and flopped down on Eliza's oversized armchair. "Jerk took the only fish I caught." Milos expressed his sympathies for the girls' troubles before an apologetic grin slipped across his face. "Still willin' t' watch th' boys? En't like t' be for long, I reckon." Zyndea sighed and nodded. "It's a good thing they're cute."

Once outdoors, Milos raced the short distance to Sister Lake and quickly spotted his quiet friend wading in the shallows. "I'm here!" he called out, slowing as he padded across the sandy shore. When the chill of the water touched his toes, he stopped. "Zyndy got caught up with Sela, sounds like." There was a mildly amused expression on his face. Though he empathized with her dilemma, he suspected she would laugh about it one day. He hooked his thumbs around his waist and looked out at the canoe in the water. "So, what's it that needs t' be done?"

[WC — 392]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:07 pm

It was only when the winter storm eyed Cormier heard his friend’s voice that he realised he’d been starting at the hull of the canoe and doing nothing for the past few minutes. Storm suddenly felt how tired he was, like a weight pressing on him. He knew it was nothing serious or overwrought, but he’d been having nightmares again recently, more vivid than they’d been for a while, and clearly, throwing himself into the chores had been more taxing than the Cormier had wanted to admit. Still, Storm turned and smiled at his friend, greeting him warmly.

Don’t worry. You didn’t have to come. Being a new dad can be hard work. The nets next to you need untangling though, before I can string them out again. Or you could stop be such a. he made a salty gesture get in the water and help with the canoe repair.

Storm smiled good-naturedly, his tongue lolling and mouth open in a silent laugh.

I saw Liz the other day. One of your pups was trying to escape through the cat flap. Liz looked…tired.

There had been a long pause before his last gesture, as though it was made with a great deal of consideration and tact.

I thought that perhaps you might have been riding. I’ve spotted you before.

Storm put his hands in front of him as if he were holding something and all of a sudden his entire body went rigid, stiff and utterly unyielding. Storm was no good at impersonating people’s voices, but when it came to their body language he was spot on. Finally he released the pose.

If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t do it. You’ve got enough on your plate anyway.

Perhaps Storm was a little more forthright than usual today, and perhaps that could be attributed to the lack of sleep, or maybe it was because he was so comfortable around his friend. Whatever it was, Storm seldom was so frank.

User avatar
Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:56 pm

It was good to be in Storm's company again.

Milos looked down at his feet where nets lay like twisted, knotted serpents in the sand. He met Storm's eyes again, a playful look of regret drawn out on his face. His expression quickly puckered to vehement repulsion when the Cormier suggested he pull up his big boy pants and actually get in the water to help with the canoe instead. But just as Storm's gestures were presented in good fun, so was the Parhelion's responses.

The truth of the matter was that Storm remained one of the few people Milos trusted wholly. Since before Marcella's appearance and the universal unveiling of his past, he had developed a kindred bond with the Cormier man that held fast despite the trials and tests their relationship had been put through. Without another glance at the nets, the Quartermaster took a step toward the lake until the water licked his toes.

"Yeah?" he laughed and shook his head. "Sounds like somethin' Bramble'd do. Yeah, th' boys've been keepin' 'er up," he responded as he continued to step into the lake. As his clothing soaked up the cold water, it clung to his body uncomfortably. "Try t' help 'er out's best I can but little good I can do without milk." It bothered Milos, seeing how hard his mate worked to care for their pups and knowing he could do little more than see that she was taken care of herself. "Hopefully it'll get easier for 'er, once they get older. But I reckon they're gonna give us both a heck of a ride."

Milos waded towards Storm, bounded across the lake bed until he was standing next to his friend. He laughed at the man's gestures but couldn't keep the amused surprise from his grin. It was unusual to see Storm so direct. "Right 'bout that," he replied, thinking again of his boys and all the commissions he had yet to complete. He certainly did have a lot on his plate. "Reckon a Drover outta know a thing'r two 'bout ridin' though, huh? 'Sides, gives me a chance t' learn a bit more 'bout Walker'n what he knows 'bout horses." After a moment's pause, Milos turned pointedly to Storm and smiled. "But enough 'bout me. How're ya doin', Storm?"

[WC — 401]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:15 pm

Storm’s expression must have appeared quite comical, because he was gaping slightly at the sight of his friend wading slowly into the water. The Cormier really hadn’t thought that Milos would do it, and was certainly only teasing him, a point he felt important to emphasise now.

Milos, I was only pulling your tail, you don’t have to come in, the water’s cold.

Storm frowned deeply, an unusual expression for him, but the lakes needed to be respected.

You shouldn’t keep your clothes on either, they’ll cling to you and soak through your pelt and to your skin. You’ll get ill, and then Liz will have….words with me.

His gestures and posture made it very clear that the sorts of words that Liz might have with him, were definitely the sorts he’d rather not be having. Of course, now that he was in, the repair would go more quickly if there were two of them doing it.

Okay, just grab this bit of hide and hold it tight. I need to stretch it over the hole and secure it.

He tried to work quickly, but didn’t want to tear the fabric and have to start again. Of course the work meant that Storm was silent, when his hands were busy it was hard for him to communicate anything more than simple feelings, it gave him time to think though, although when Milos mentioned Walker, Storm looked up, his expression clearly disapproving, but making no other comment, just looking back down at his work. The fabric was a little larger than it needed to be, but in the water it was far more malleable, once he took it out, he could dry it and it would shrink. Once he was satisfied he looked back up at Milos.

I can repair the rest of this out of the water. I’ll let a fire, and you’ll have to sit next to it holding the repaired patch to the fire for a little bit.

Of course it would also have a dual purpose of drying his friend out as well.

Grab the end of it and walk slowly out, I’ll take this end.

The canoe was very light, it was essentially a hide skin with light wood holding it all together, it was surprisingly fast and manoeuvrable, but Storm seldom used it, preferring to dive and swim, but on the odd occasion it had come in handy.

Once they were out, Storm paused and began gesturing once more. In truth the winter storm eyed Cormier was tired, as tired as he’d ever been in fact, but it seemed like too nice a day to spoil it with such talk.

I’m doing well. I met up with Liz and saw them both, I’m sure they’re going to be big lads, see if I can convince them to swim.

He smiled again and set the fire going.

User avatar
Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:14 pm

Subjecting himself to the discomforts of sodden clothing was well worth it if only to see the surprise on Storm's expressive face. Milos laughed and dismissed his friend's worry with a shrug. "An' miss th' look on your face?" he replied playfully. "Anyway, reckon it's too late t' go back now."

But the reflection of Storm's concern wore away the humorous surprise and the Quartermaster softened his own jocular mien. In a rare show of physical reassurance for the clothed wolfdog, Milos cupped his friend's shoulder with one dripping palm and squeeze it gently. Bright eyes searched Storm's agouti face for those familiar stormy blues. He smiled. "I'll be a'right, Storm. I can handle this," he replied cheerfully, his voice weighted with sincerity. And then the moment dissolved into humor again when Milos gave an exaggerated shake of his head and gritted his teeth comically. "But you're right 'bout it bein' cold. Let's get this done so's we can get back ont' dry ground, huh?"

Following Storm's instructions, Milos held his length of hide tightly and watched his friend work. For almost as long as he'd been working with animals, the Leatherworker had been working with pelts and hides — his task here was easy. But for Storm the task appeared much more difficult, if not familiar. Stitching was a large component in his his tailoring duties as well, though he could confidently say that he'd never thought to fix a canoe in a similar fashion.

When their eyes met again, Milos nodded agreeably and helped the Cormier man walk the canoe out of the water. As his body rose above the surface, his clothing clung like seaweed around his frame. Internally he groaned but kept his disgust to himself, conjuring a characteristic smile to his face with ease.

While Storm worked at creating a fire, Milos watched his friend carefully. Did he look more worn than usual? The thought nibbled incessantly at the back of his mind and cast a shadow over his smile. "Wouldn't trust no other t' teach 'em," he replied with a chuckle. "Prob'ly don't even need t' convince 'em, Bramble 'specially." Milos rubbed at the back of his neck. "That pup's gonna give Liz'n me both grey hairs b'fore our time." But the inflection in their father's voice was warm with adoration.

He matched Storm's smile and allowed the silence to stretch a moment before facing his own concerns head-on. "Glad you're doin' well, Storm. Jus' that ya seem... tired," Milos began carefully, his eyes firm on his friend's face. "En't gonna push ya but we're friends an' I hope ya know ya talk t' me." He grinned and shrugged. "Don't gotta be now, don't gotta be ever if ya en't got nothin' t' say, but jus' know that ya can."

[WC — 495]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:13 pm

Storm enjoyed Milos company. The sunny eyed male was calm, patient and endlessly generous with his time and attention. The winter storm eyed Cormier knew that their relationship had gone through a bit of a hard time, but that was in the past and things were patched, and Storm was better off for having done it. It was only looking back at what had happened that it had been petty to be so angry at Milos, or even Eliza. The heart was a fickle thing, and it wasn’t fair to expect anyone to stay in a relationship where there weren’t the same feelings, it was unfair on both parties and the chance for resentment was something Storm hated the idea of happening.

The wet look suits you.

Storm commented with a grin as his friend’s clothes clung to him, and while he might be imagining it, Storm was pretty sure Milos was gently steaming as the fire warmed the fabrics, that looked pretty amusing as well.

You’re a very suspicious person Milos. There’s not always a deep story behind me being tired, sometimes I get grouchy.

Storm huffed as he checked the patch on the canoe facing the fire. The stitching wasn’t great, and if the fabric dried too quickly it would crack and the work would be for nothing. Still, there was not much he could do right now, except wait a few minutes. So Storm sat down across from Milos, taking out some water, fish and meat, and a little bit of goat cheese. He’d not tried it until recently and found he absolutely loved it. He offer Milos the supplies, putting them on the ground so he could speak.

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to try and talk more. When I went to visit Liz, I spoke to her. I know I I’ve done it in the past, but its only ever with you guys, one on one, so I thought I’d start slow. After Liz I went to help Gus with some chores, he had Ilse with him. I thought it would be a good time to try a longer conversation.

His hands paused for a moment.

He felt like such an idiot, this was such a stupid problem, and it frustrated him that it even was such a big deal. How could it be like this? How could, after all this time, and all the things he’d been through, his dad, or alleged dad, still have this sort of power over him?

I’ve started having nightmares again.

He finished simply.

They weren’t like before though. These were so real that sometimes when he woke up he was confused for a moment as to where he was. The feeling of the rough boards under his back, and a body pressing him down, many times stronger than he was. The smell of an unwashed body, salt, blood and above all else, the horrible stink of fear. Storm could feel each finger curled around his muzzle, squeezing it painfully tight and feeling hot breath talking into his ear about how he should be quiet, should never speak. The voice was filled with anger and so much hate, and Storm never understood why.

Even now, with Milos there and the fire crackling merrily between them, Storm found his mouth going dry.

So that’s the mystery, not really that deep or interesting, just not sleeping well. What about you? Is it really just the pups making you look that tired? You’ve been frowning a lot, I can see the creases when you do.

Storm pointed on his own forehead where the lines appeared.

What have you been thinking about?

User avatar
Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:47 pm

Though he had had Liz to distract him, the turmoil that had wormed its way into his relationship with Storm all those months ago had made his heart ache. Milos knew what he had done to his dearest friend was questionable at best and downright abysmal at worst, but he couldn't deny the needs of his heart. Fickle — and oftentimes reckless — though it could be, the heart could also be true and resolutely persistent. He didn't regret his decision to pursue Eliza's love but he certainly did regret how it affected his relationship with the wintry-eyed Cormier.

If there was anything the Drover could possibly find positive to Marcella's untimely appearance, it would be that it seemed to pull the two of them together again.

Milos glanced down at his dripping attire and fixed Storm with a dashing grin. "Think so? Might be I outta sport it more often," he replied with a laugh, giving his arms a gentle shake. Droplets of water sizzled in the flames but the fabric continued to cling incessantly to his flesh.

But of Storm's next succession of gestures, the Drover merely raised his ivory brows and waited for the man to continued. When he only huffed, Milos shrugged casually and turned to the flames. "Reckon we're all entitled t' that," he replied agreeably, allowing the silence to stretch between them as his friend checked the patchwork on the canoe. When Storm offered him a taste of his snack, the Quartermaster accepted with an appreciative nod.

But then Storm began to sign again and Milos paused, watching with rapt attention to his friend's gestures. Expressively, his brows rose and a smile pinched the corners of his eyes. "That's great t' hear" he replied cheerfully, his eyes bright. Behind him, his ivory-crested tail thumped at the cool sand gently.

His friend's conclusion, however, was not what he'd been expecting and the revelation of it clawed at his heart. The wagging of his tail stilled and his clenched his jaw, his molten eyes gleaming with concern. "Storm," he murmured through a subtle whine. He cleared his throat. There was no solid advice he could provide for his friend to counteract the nightmares for even Milos, years later, was still victim to heir insidious ways, so instead he simply reached out one sodden arm and gripped Storm's shoulder. With warmth enough to melt the poles, he peered into his friend's eyes. "'Fraid I en't got much in th' way o' advice but..." He shrugged and tried to coax a smile to his face. It was weak and heavy with emotion. "Well, I'm here." Milos paused only a moment. "Ya wanna talk 'bout 'em?"

The cheerful crackling of flame seemed inappropriate. Milos ignored it and tiled his head curiously before glancing at the canoe.

"'Sides th' boys eatin' us t' starvin'?" he joked with a chuckle. It slowly died to silence. "Know anything 'bout that new Greenhorn'a ours? Walker?" He found Storm's eyes again.

[WC — 513]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:00 am

The lack of often talking out loud and made Storm a very physical creature. His gestures, his work and his show of affection, so it felt inordinately good to have his friend’s hand on his shoulder. Milos’ hand was cool, slightly damp and rough, but it was solid and very real. Storm smiled shyly, his head tilting down and slightly away, feeling shamed and oh so childish.

I think I could sit here all day and explain things, but…[

He drifted off, a hesitation.

I think I’m broken Milos. he said, surprising himself with the gesture and taken aback.

I’ve thought it for a while. Despite all that Gus and Lucille have done, and the life I have here, despite Willow, Liz and you, despite every good thing in Krokar, I still can’t talk. He broke me Milos, and..

Storm huffed a breath, his chest tight, wondering what he was doing.

I don’t think I can be fixed. I always wanted to ask him. Why? Why did he hate me so much. I’ve never seen hatred like it since. He hated me Milos, in a why I can’t make clear enough.

Storm took a breath, and with his unique control, made his body go blank, showing nothing, the muscles and expressions were smooth. He didn’t allow the Magnate to make a comment, but as soon as the story had rushed from him, and before anymore could, Storm gestured again.

Walker? I think he attacked Elias. Elias won’t tell me for sure, but…I can recognise it. If the last part had been spoken, it might almost have sounded bitter.

I don’t know much about him. I know he’s in love with you. What do you think of him?

Storm had seen the way Walker looked at Milos, it seems so obvious, he was surprised no one else seemed to notice. Of course, it wasn’t the only reason Storm had mentioned it. He felt more foolish than ever for allowing so many of his fears to bubble up, and doubtless the comment might divert Milos attention.

User avatar
Draiko
Luperci Come sit by my fire

POSTED: Sun Oct 23, 2016 3:29 pm

OOC: nice distraction, Storm. xD

While the fire crackled happily away, its light licked the darker man's dusky face and washed it in golden warmth. The features of his smile slipped away, leaving behind a soft line of silent consideration, but his eyes remained bright. Compassion and love melted the shadows of his own pain and doubt. Without a word, Milos watched Storm's gesticulations carefully, the combination of every tiny gesture forming a meaning that weight heavily on his heart. He was glad to shoulder it for a while, hoping to give his friend a moment of peace.

This inner turmoil, this endless torture — this was something as intimately familiar and painfully uncomfortable as a unwanted mistress. Milos allowed a length of meaningful stillness and silence to pass between them. "Storm," he began gently. His voice was a warm fire on a frigid winter night.

He was not given the opportunity to continue.

Quickly, before Milos could utter another syllable, Storm began gesturing again. His rapid-fire signs cut him off and brought a frown to his face. Walker? Attack their Flotsam? He pursed his lips, twisting them tightly in a show of confusion. In his eyes was a single question: why? Why one earth would a Greenhorn — and one who joined after the Austringer Hostility — want to attack their meekest pack mate?

And then, as seemingly nonchalant as suggesting an new fishing hole, Storm declared something so wildly outlandish that Milos was fairly confident he had whiplash. "What?" he snorted loudly, amusement on his face. But his friend offered no evidence of being funny or kidding around. His features expanded: jaw falling open, eyes widening, ears splayed. "What?" he said again, this time sharply and without humor. "Storm, I don't... Walker en't in love with me, he's..." He shook his head, allowing a small smile to return to his face. "Nah, he even tried hittin' on Liz a while back."

But the Southern wolfdog did seem odd around him at times. Was it love? He looked at Storm, brows furrowed. "Ya really think that?"

[WC — 345]


User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

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