Janus & Hayley, cinnamon buns

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Hayley> (Well, cinnamon buns are yummy, and I think Janus and Hayley need to get a bit more used to being around one another...) <Janus> (I don't know if they can... I sense a lot of, um, tension... :o)

  • Hayley wakes up around 3 pm...

<Hayley> . o O (Uh-oh... hope I'll be able to sleep tonight...)

  • Janus will be down in his study, working on some theories, plotting some magical charts about how the curse's power might be weakening...

<Janus> Hmm...

  • Hayley looks fondly at the spot Janus had been lying in when she fell asleep, then throws the covers back and swings her little hooves out over the edge of the mattress.
  • Hayley looks sadly at her legs.

<Hayley> . o O (So ugly...)

  • Hayley decides she wants a bath... dust in her hair from the desert... oh, dear, the sheets. She bundles them up and makes a note to ask Tara for some fresh ones, and she'll offer to help clean the ones that are now dusty with Australian sand...
  • Hayley dresses and makes her way down to the bathroom... past Janus' study.
  • Janus nibbles on the end of a quil...

<Hayley> *clip-clop, clip* <Janus> ..?

  • Janus 's concentration is broken...

<Hayley> (He would have heard her door creak a bit as well...)

  • Janus gets up, and pokes his head out the door.

<Hayley> (awwww, already this ic has such a warm, cozy, homey tone...) <Janus> (until we start fighting about commoners... ;D)

  • Hayley is already past his study door and turning into the washroom. She raises a hand to her mouth to stifle a yawn as she ambles into the bathroom...

<Janus> ...

  • Hayley realizes there may not be any towels for her there... but smiles as she sees Tara's handiwork... three sets of towels, one for each member of the household.
  • Janus watches her, smiling...
  • Hayley closes the door behind her and starts drawing bath water... shortly thereafter she can be heard splashing about, and humming a bit.
  • Janus goes back to work, humming a little tune from his youth...
  • Hayley will emerge about a half hour later, after the occasional outbreak of a line or two from some song or other.
  • Janus feels better than he has in quite some time...

<Hayley> (awww... so cute)

  • Hayley feels better than she has in quite some time as well, hence the generally chipper mood.
  • Janus actually feels optimistic... He'll keep Hayley here, act as a benevolent mentor type, and break the curse on her before it's too late...

<Janus> . o O (No-one will have to suffer...) <Hayley> (benevolent mentor, hmmm?  ;^D ) <Janus> (Well, he doesn't want to take advantage of her.) <Hayley> (The way Bastard was, maybe...  ;^) ) <Hayley> (I know but it will be hard not to.  ;^) ) <Janus> (So when *someone* isn't distracting him with that merit/flaw (which is it), he tries to think of their relationship in those terms for now.) <Hayley> (you can hear the bathtub gurgling as it drains)

  • Janus plots out some astrological stuff.

<Hayley> (I know, I'm just teasing. and it's a merit. And besides that one, she also has voice of a songbird, which means she can sing the Gift of Pan, instead of having to play an instrument like most Satyrs do, and also even her speaking voice is rich with tones and inflections... she'd make a fine orator.) <Janus> Hmm, hmm.. <Hayley> (Her speaking voice can emote many things... you can practically read her soul when she speaks)

  • Hayley opens the bathroom door and clip clops back down the hall, still humming.
  • Tara_ has good ears, and hears Hayley up and about, and smiles to herself.

<Tara_> Your Lordship! Hayley! Come and have a snack, will you?

  • Tara_ calls up the stairs.

<Hayley> (What would Janus do without Tara?  ;^) ) <Janus> ... <Janus> Food?

  • Janus realizes he is very hungry...

<Hayley> (The smell of cinnamon rolls has been wafting up from the kitchen for a few hours now...) <Janus> *sniff, sniff*

  • Janus puts the quill down.
  • Janus strolls into the kitchen, humming a very old David Bowie song.

<Janus> Good afternoon, Tara!

  • Hayley pokes her head out from her bedroom door, then emerges carrying the bundled-up sheets.

<Tara_> Good afternoon, Your Lordship!

  • Tara_ beams.

<Tara_> . o O (It's so good to see him happy)

  • Janus smiles, looks around.

<Janus> I'm famished...

  • Tara_ has set the kitchen table up cozily (much more intimate than the formal dining room) with tea cups and saucers laid out for the three of you, a plate of still-warm cinnamon rolls, and she is just now pouring the water into the pot to steep the tea.

<Tara_> Glad to hear it. <Tara_> This's just a little snack to tide you over until the evening meal. <Janus> Well, they smell amazing...

  • Hayley comes down the stairs and pokes her head into the kitchen.
  • Tara_ beams at Janus' compliment.
  • Janus sits down, then stands back up when Hayley comes in.

<Tara_> Oh, it's nothing like what the fancy bakers used to make in London... <Hayley> Hi... Smells yummy. I'll be right back... <Janus> Well, I wouldn't say that.

  • Hayley shows the bundle of sheets apologetically.
  • Janus gives Hayley a puzzled look.

<Hayley> I've really got to stop making a habit of sleeping on your sheets when I'm full of Australia... <Janus> Oh...

  • Hayley grins sheepishly.
  • Hayley ducks out to take the sheets to the laundry.

<Janus> Well, we have more linen here than we know what to do with, really.. <Tara_> You can never have too much linen, is what me mam would say. <Tara_> Never know when you'll have unexpected guests.

  • Tara_ says sagely.

<Janus> Now that the children have all left... <Tara> They'll come back, for Christmas and such... <Janus> Christmas?

  • Janus looks puzzled.

<Janus> Why? <Tara_> (Oh, you guys must have celebrated Christmas! Even if it isn't a Changeling thing...) <Tara_> Well... because this is their home.

  • Tara_ says with conviction.

<Tara_> And they love you.

  • Janus is starting to get that I-dont-want-to-talk-about-this look.
  • Hayley traipses back into the kitchen and plunks herself down in a chair.

<Janus> Perhaps Aidan will come...

  • Janus gathers himself together when Hayley comes in.

<Tara_> They'll all come, just you wait and see. <Tara_> Rachel's only at the Countess' anyway. It's not far... <Janus> ...

  • Hayley raises an eyebrow, having only caught the tail-end of the conversation.

<Janus> Hello again, Hayley. <Hayley> What are they supposed to come for? <Hayley> Hello, again, Janus.

  • Hayley smiles, a bit shyly, perhaps.
  • Janus seats himself elegantly, flipping out the tails of his long jacket.

<Janus> Tara is being awfully optimistic. <Tara_> We're just talking about Christmas, dear.

  • Hayley purses her lips a bit at the term of endearment.

<Tara_> Well, shall we eat then? <Janus> My daughter delights in shaming and mocking me, and Tally and I seem to grow farther apart with each passing season... <Janus> (Oh please, boggans call everyone that :P) <* Tara_ pours tea into each teacup. <Janus> But perhaps we shall see Aidan... <Janus> Enough of that, though...

  • Hayley looks a bit uncomfortable at the way Janus describes his daughter and older son.
  • Janus waves his hand dismissively.

<Hayley> I'm sorry... <Janus> You don't need to worry about it. <Janus> I shouldn't have said anything; I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable.

  • Janus manages to smile for her.

<Janus> Well! <Janus> I am ravenous.

  • Hayley takes a cinnamon bun a bit disconsolately. She seems a bit doubtful, herself, but Janus smiling makes her feel more at ease.
  • Hayley smiles slightly, and cuts open a cinnamon roll, slathers butter on it.
  • Hayley takes a bite.

<Hayley> Oh, yummmmm, just the way I-

  • Janus prefers to unravel them...
  • Hayley stops short awkwardly, cutting off what she was about to say.
  • Hayley looks for distraction and sees Janus eating his cinnamon roll.
  • Hayley giggles.
  • Janus peels a bit off and eats it.

<Janus> What? <Hayley> If I'd done that at Aberystwyth, I'm sure I'd have gotten a long, cold stare for playing with my food. <Janus> My mother watched you eat?

  • Tara_ smiles.

<Hayley> Not usually, no. <Hayley> I didn't really take any meals with her. The other Squires, though... <Janus> Piffle... <Hayley> They loved finding another reason to dislike me. <Janus> Jealousy, I'm sure... <Janus> Anyway, I always eat them like this. <Janus> Windrider never said anything. <Janus> And after I had my Chrysalis... well, Mother was just so pleased that I turned out that I probably could have shoved them up my nose.

  • Janus shrugs, and continues eating.
  • Hayley doesn't quite know what to say to that, and nibbles her cinnamon roll in silence.
  • Janus doesn't seem upset or anything, said it very matter-of-factly.

<Tara_> . o O (Oh, Dana... these two are going to need a lot of work.) <Hayley> Did Windrider ever drive you nuts? <Janus> No, why?

  • Janus looks up.

<Hayley> I mean, with his being happy all the time? <Janus> I always found him to be...

  • Janus pauses.

<Janus> ...comforting, I suppose.

  • Hayley shrugs.

<Hayley> Sometimes I just want someone to sympathize, not try to cheer me up. <Janus> Oh... well... <Hayley> It must be weird for you, being able to understand what I say now without having to think about it really hard.

  • Janus tries to hide his awkwardness. Windrider is pretty much the only father figure Janus had...

<Hayley> Is it? <Janus> (It makes him uncomfortable to hear him slighted...) <Janus> Yes, I suppose...

  • Janus eats the last bite of his roll, the middle bit, which is always the best part...
  • Hayley continues eating her roll and drinking her tea, but has an eye cocked towards Janus.

<Hayley> . o O (What did I say?) <Hayley> (she's picked up on his discomfort) <Janus> (*Debbie* would know. :P) <Hayley> . o O (Oh...)

  • Janus reaches for a second roll.

<Hayley> . o O (*sigh*) <Janus> So, is everything to your liking in your room?

  • Hayley nods.

<Janus> Is there anything you require? <Hayley> Well... you know I like reading. It helps me get to sleep, sometimes, if I read for a while before turning out the light... especially if it's a good book so I can pretend I'm someone else... <Janus> Well, there certainly is no shortage of books here... <Hayley> I know... but what am I /allowed/ to read? <Janus> Just ask... <Hayley> All right... <Janus> *unravel* *eat* <Janus> . o O (Memo to self: put *that* book on a much higher shelf.) <Janus> . o O (... and hide 'Lolita.')

  • Hayley looks out the window at the trees briefly.

<Hayley> I wish you were near the sea...

  • Hayley says wistfully.

<Janus> I thought you didn't like it at the castle...

  • Janus says, puzzled.

<Hayley> I didn't, but I liked the sea... <Janus> Well, we could certainly visit the shore. <Hayley> I kept my window open even in the winter so I could hear it...

  • Hayley turns back to Janus and smiles wickedly.

<Hayley> You just want to see me in a bathing suit. <Janus> ...

  • Janus coughs.
  • Tara_ looks a bit startled.
  • Janus nearly chokes on the roll...
  • Janus turns bright, bright red.

<Janus> ...Wh-what? <Janus> I don't believe I quite heard you right...

  • Hayley just smirks, eyes knowing and maybe a bit challenging.

<Hayley> I think you did. <Janus> Well, that is certainly not the case...

  • Hayley reaches for a second roll herself, cuts it and butters it nonchalantly.
  • Janus turns a deeper shade of red.
  • Hayley quirks an eyebrow up.
  • Janus taps a butterknife nervously on the table's edge.

<Janus> . o O (Calm, calm...)

  • Hayley eats her roll silently, watching Janus.
  • Tara_ sips her tea, eyes sliding from one to the other, uncertain whether to be amused or concerned.

<Janus> (If I were her, I'd go with amused)

  • Janus gradually relaxes, the color fading from his face as he regains his composure.
  • Tara_ tries a ghost of a smile.
  • Hayley sips some tea.

<Hayley> So... <Janus> So...

  • Hayley leans back on her chair, hooking her arms over the top rail of the chair-back.

<Hayley> When are we going to the beach? <Janus> (what time of year is it?) <Hayley> (I'll say Spring) <Janus> Well... <Hayley> (a few months still before she turns 15) <Janus> That would depend on where you'd like to go.

  • Hayley blushes now... she didn't expect him to take her seriously and was actually hoping to get another rise out of him...

<Hayley> <m> It's all right... I was teasing. <Janus> . o O (Why the beach... I hate the beach... I always feel so ... exposed... ) <Janus> OH? <Janus> Oh! <Janus> Well, that's too bad... <Janus> *relief*

  • Hayley focuses on finishing her tea and roll.

<Janus> What *would* you like to do this afternoon? <Janus> Or are you still feeling tired...?

  • Tara_ gets ready to start clearing the table, since it seems like this little pastime is pretty much over.

<Hayley> I'd still be in bed if I was tired.

  • Hayley says a bit snappishly.

<Janus> . o O (Moody...)

  • Janus will ignore her rudeness.

<Hayley> I don't know what I want to do. <Hayley> What do you want me to do? <Janus> I hadn't planned an itinerary.

  • Janus ventures a smile.

<Hayley> I want to fight. <Janus> To fight? <Hayley> Did you use a sword or was it always the scythe?

  • Janus echoes in puzzlement.

<Janus> With me? <Janus> No, always the scythe... Why do you want to fight, all of a sudden? <Hayley> Because I don't want my skills to get rusty. <Hayley> I'm not expecting us to draw blood or anything. Just practice. <Janus> I personally don't engage in physical combat all that often... <Janus> I don't have any practice weaponry...

  • Janus looks a little dubious.

<Hayley> Who needs wooden dummies? <Hayley> Totally different balance; you can't beat the real thing. <Hayley> Unless you can't control the lightning. <Janus> I don't have any weapons at all, except for my own. <Janus> I mastered it quite some time ago, thank you.

  • Janus says, a bit more archly than he'd intended.

<Hayley> All right... so now I just need a sword. <Janus> But there is no accounting for accidents. <Hayley> Life is an accident. <Janus> I would have to disagree...

  • Janus frowns slightly.
  • Hayley shrugs.

<Hayley> We're each entitled to our own opinions. <Janus> . o O (She is trying to pick a fight with me....) <Janus> Indeed.

  • Janus says calmly.

<Janus> In any case, I don't believe I have a sword, Hayley. <Hayley> You could always make one. Hey, you asked me what I wanted to do, I told you. <Hayley> So anyway, what do you want to do? <Janus> If you really want to spar...

  • Janus sighs.

<Tara_> . o O (Oh dear...) <Hayley> I do. <Janus> Although I do not see the point.

  • Hayley smiles.

<Hayley> It's good practice. <Hayley> You never know when your magic will fail you. <Janus> It never has... <Hayley> Glamour is fickle.

  • Janus picks up the butterknife he was playing with a few moments ago.

<Hayley> And soon there may not be much of it to go around. <Janus> Such a negative attitude is unbecoming.

  • Janus concentrates on the knife.
  • Janus closes his eyes, trying to visualize the simple runes that make up the object's name.

<Hayley> (*Fatalist* *Fatalist* in blinking lights...  ;^D ) <Hayley> (I'm sure he gets them) <Hayley> (cause he's just cool that way)

  • Janus bends the knife as he twists the runes, and it becomes a simple shortsword.
  • Janus opens his eyes, and looks over the item.

<Janus> When one possesses gifts such as ours... <Janus> Nothing is impossible. <Janus> Is it to your liking?

  • Hayley smiles covetously.

<Hayley> It looks good.

  • Hayley holds out her hand for it.

<Hayley> But is the balance all right?

  • Janus hands it over resignedly.

<Janus> I would not know.

  • Hayley takes it and hoists the sword, twists it about a bit, makes a few short jabs pointing away from anyone/thing she could unintentionally damage.
  • Hayley looks satisfied.

<Hayley> It's good.

  • Janus watches her stab the air with the same look of resignation.

<Janus> Very well... <Janus> The garden, then?

  • Janus stands up.
  • Hayley nods.

<Janus> I'll join you momentarily. <Hayley> How about the orchard? We can use the trees as cover.

  • Janus ducks into his study, where the scythe leans against a wall.

<Janus> Certainly... <Hayley> . o O (And I'll have greater manoeuverability)

  • Janus shucks his jacket, and picks up the old weapon.

<Hayley> . o O (With a short sword, over a long arm like a scythe...)

  • Hayley waits for Janus at the door.
  • Janus contemplates cantrips, briefly.

<Hayley> . o O (Unless he plans to Flicker Flash there...) <Janus> . o O (Oh, no need to *cheat*, for goodness' sake.)

  • Janus wanders out eventually.
  • Hayley waits on the stoop, smiling.

<Hayley> There you are!

  • Hayley says cheerfully.

<Janus> Yes, there I am...

  • Janus smiles.
  • Hayley reaches for his hand and leads him towards the orchard.
  • Janus thinks...
  • Hayley stops halfway there and turns to face him, a bit guiltily.

<Janus> . o O (Better off using it as a staff in these trees...) <Hayley> Do you really want to do it in the orchard? <Hayley> I chose the place because I knew you'd be at a disadvantage... <Janus> I know. <Hayley> But that's not very courteous of me.

  • Janus says nonchalantly.

<Janus> Wherever you like. <Janus> . o O (Let's just get this over with.) <Hayley> Let's go someplace it is fair for both of us.

  • Hayley leads him towards the fishpond instead.

<Janus> The fish pond??

  • Hayley nods.

<Janus> I don't want to get *wet*... <Hayley> There's open banks on its edges; we can fight there. <Janus> . o O (It smells like fish in there!) <Janus> Very well... <Hayley> Most of the rest of the garden's all wooded over, unless you changed things...

  • Janus smiles gamely.

<Janus> No no... <Janus> Not a thing.

  • Janus drops the scythe on the bank and does a few stretches...
  • Hayley also warms up.
  • Janus looks up at the sky.
  • Hayley then assumes the starting stance, sword held at her side as if sheathed, and waits for Janus.
  • Janus unbuttons his shirt and throws it on a patch of grass, before picking up his weapon again.

<Hayley> (he's bare chested? Now Hayley's at a disadvantage...  ;^) )

  • Janus assumes a stance with the shaft of the scythe held out in front of him, angled away from his feet, like a quarterstaff.

<Janus> (ho ho, now who's sneaky)

  • Hayley tries not to look too obvious... but can't hide her feeling of desire... she swallows a bit nervously.
  • Hayley collects herself.

<Hayley> First the salute! <Janus> (anyway, although I don't know how dexterous Janus is relative to Hayley, he does have a 4 or 5 melee, specialized in this particular individual weapon... I will attempt to block her blows with that curved part of the handle that sticks out (the guard, you know), maybe try to catch the sword on one of the hook things that comes off it, and try to hook her feet with the bottom of the staff...)

  • Hayley 'draws' her sword and holds it high in salute to Janus, then swings it down to her side and bows gracefully.

<Janus> (Knock her down and such.)

  • Janus will reciprocate, planting the scythe solidly in the ground beside him, and bowing deeply.
  • Janus then resumes his stance...

<Janus> . o O (I feel ridiculous!) <Janus> . o O (At least no-one's watching.)

  • Hayley brings her sword into a combat-ready position and begins circling, looking for weaknesses...

<Hayley> (except Hayley...)

  • Janus is patient, waiting for Hayley to present an opportunity...
  • Hayley holds her sword very competently, and as soon as she assumes the combat-ready position, her features seem to harden, all business..
  • Hayley moves in and makes a feint towards Janus, slips aside...

<Janus> (I hate describing combats...)

  • Hayley keeps making feints... seems like she plans to tire you out.

<Janus> . o O (Hmmm...) <Janus> . o O (This is so banal...)

  • Janus sees that this approach will not work..

<Hayley> (her Dex is 3, and she has about 4 dots in melee, specializing in sword (thanks to Siobhan and Marjolaine) so they're probably actually pretty evenly matched... except Hayley's Stamina is twice Janus' (4 compared to his 2... unless he's been working on that over the past century)

  • Janus waits for her next feint, just like every other time, then will attempt to hook her little goat legs up when she goes to move to the side this time...
  • Hayley makes a sudden flurry of movements, achingly graceful; the sword seems to be an extension of herself...

<Janus> (Well, even if he did get a little more resilient, he wouldn't be a 4) <Janus> (Is she using a cantrip?) <Hayley> (No, she's just a natural with the sword; it's like a dance... she is poetry in motion, as always, but there is more tension, more energy to her movements when she wields the blade.)

  • Hayley hits Janus' staff with a resounding *tock* as he blocks a blow that would have made it into him if he hadn't reacted so fast.
  • Janus frowns ever so slightly.

<Janus> . o O (She's actually trying to hurt me..?)

  • Hayley seems lost in her own little world of sunlight flashing off her blade...

<Janus> . o O (A physical extension of her earlier behaviour...) <Hayley> (She may have forgotten she's not supposed to hurt.)

  • Janus tries to concentrate more on the fight...
  • Hayley moves quickly around Janus, feinting, dodging, blocking...

<Janus> . o O (I really hate this.) <Janus> . o O (I'm tired, and hot, and *sweating*... ugh!!)

  • Hayley 's mouth has curved up slowly into an exhilarated smile; she seems to really enjoy it.
  • Janus looks for some way to end this ordeal.

<Janus> (Aww nuts, I can't describe anything cool, it would just sound dumb) <Janus> (or get me stabbed, anyway

  • Hayley moves in quickly; sensing Janus' distraction, will she get him?

<Hayley> (gonna block it?) <Janus> (yes, yippee)

  • Hayley overextends her reach...

<Janus> (you don't have to let me win :P) <Hayley> (ok)

  • Janus will try something she won't expect, though...

<Hayley> (do it...) <Janus> * as Hayley makes her attack, instead of just blocking, Janus will slide down the shaft of the scythe and try to actually kick her legs out from underneath her... Janus despises brawling, so it should come as a surprise... <Janus> (whether it is a successful one is another matter)

  • Hayley loses her footing, surprised, and falls to her back, the wind knocked out of her. In spite of gasping for air, she manages to bring her sword up instinctively to block a killing blow.
  • Janus hops to his feet, and reassumes his original stance.
  • Hayley struggles back up, still trying to catch her breath.
  • Janus is breathing heavily, and his hair is all dishevelled.

<Janus> ...

  • Hayley 's face is flushed and her eyes shining with excitement.

<Hayley> You could have taken me...

  • Hayley gasps.

<Hayley> Why didn't you? <Janus> What?

  • Janus lowers his weapon.
  • Hayley sucks in big breaths, trying to re-establish proper respiratory function.

<Janus> Why would I want to hurt you, Hayley? <Hayley> No, not really... <Janus> *pant* <Hayley> Well, never mind... <Janus> (Unlike a certain satyr in this garden, *I* don't thirst for blood. ;) <Hayley> I guess it wouldn't really be smart; I forgot they were real...

  • Janus drops the scythe on the ground, grimacing.

<Janus> I think I'm getting a cramp.

  • Janus flops down on a patch of soft-looking moss.

<Hayley> I always got kind of an adrenaline rush in practice when someone beat me and brought their practice swords to my throat or whatever... to mimic a killing blow. <Hayley> Don't sit! <Hayley> Keep standing, bend over and breathe.

  • Janus makes a face, but gets back up.
  • Janus bends over, his hair spilling down over his shoulders.

<Janus> I feel silly. <Hayley> That's it. <Hayley> No one can see you but me. <Janus> It's going away...

  • Hayley moves closer and reaches out to lightly brush to the side a strand of sweaty hair from the nape of his neck.

<Hayley> That was fun.

  • Hayley removes her hand.
  • Janus shivers involuntarily.

<Hayley> . o O (What am I doing?) <Hayley> Oh... <Janus> Heh...

  • Hayley glances at her arm.

<Janus> (Did you forget I was ticklish? :) <Hayley> I didn't even notice in the heat of the moment... one of your blocks must have got my forearm...

  • Janus straightens up slowly, stretching out his arms.

<Janus> Oh... sorry about that...

  • Hayley goes over to the fishpond and washes away a stream of blood oozing from one of her suicide attempt scars.

<Janus> . o O (not) <Hayley> It's all right. <Janus> Oh, that looks unpleasant.

  • Janus makes an endearing grimace.

<Janus> Not the *fish* pond! <Hayley> Why not? It's water. <Janus> It's filthy! <Janus> Full of.. bacteria, or algae, or ... or fish droppings! <Hayley> I wish they'd heal... Don't ever try to cut yourself with cold iron... the burn blisters take forever to heal... <Hayley> I guess beng diabetic doesn't help.

  • Hayley pulls her arm from the water and puts some pressure on the bleeding to make it stop.
  • Hayley looks up at Janus.

<Hayley> Cramp gone?

  • Janus is looking a little grossed out at her talk of cold iron and blisters.

<Janus> Ah, yes.

  • Janus smiles.
  • Janus sits back down on the moss.

<Janus> Much better.

  • Hayley moves up to sit next to him, continuing to put pressure on her arm.
  • Janus looks concerned...
  • Hayley is still flushed with exertion; it brings out the colour in her lips and cheeks quite prettily.

<Janus> I really didn't mean to hurt you... <Janus> Let me see?

  • Janus holds out a hand.

<Hayley> Heather Balm won't work, because of the nature of the wound... but take a look if you want.

  • Hayley lays her arm in his hand and removes her pressuring hand slightly.

<Janus> Well, we could use my shirt to wrap it up... <Hayley> It's slowing down already...

  • Janus looks at it, almost flinching.

<Hayley> It was stupid of me to try... but I couldn't think of any other way out, and I was desperately, desperately unhappy... <Janus> Hayley, I don't ever want to see you try to hurt yourself like this again.

  • Janus says sadly.
  • Hayley laughs.

<Hayley> Yes, daddy. <Janus> I'm serious!

  • Janus says indignantly!

<Hayley> I'm not about to try again. It didn't work and I'm not into self-scarification.

  • Hayley says seriously.

<Hayley> Unlike some people...

  • Janus stares at her arm, saddened.
  • Hayley nods at the thin traces of scars on Janus' own arm from his blood magic efforts.

<Janus> What? <Janus> Well, it has to come from somewhere...

  • Hayley traces a finger lightly down a scar.

<Janus> ... <Hayley> (One of his scars)

  • Janus 's skin tingles...

<Janus> I look like a map...

  • Janus laughs lowly.

<Hayley> I wish you didn't do such magic.

  • Hayley says sadly.

<Janus> Why not? <Hayley> It's wrong to spill Faerie blood. <Janus> That's never stopped anyone before.

  • Janus shrugs.

<Hayley> It used to mean something... <Janus> It's exciting... <Janus> One of the few mysteries left for me... <Janus> And my experiments harm no-one... <Hayley> It frightens me because it is easy to lose oneself. <Janus> Nonsense; I'm just the same as I ever was. <Hayley> They harm you, and the ones who love you. <Janus> How so?

  • Janus lies back on the ground, staring up at the clouds, hands folded under his head.

<Hayley> Because we worry. <Janus> You shouldn't. <Janus> I'm always in control.

  • Janus says confidently.

<Hayley> Why are you allowed to worry about me when I do stupid things, but I am not allowed to worry about you when you do the same? <Hayley> Cutting yourself is cutting yourself, no matter what excuse you use. <Janus> (because I'm not a raging bundle of hormones and past lives?) <Janus> I'm not trying to cut myself. <Janus> It's practically the same as using medicinal leeches. <Janus> (hurt, not cut...)

  • Hayley flops down next to Janus.

<Hayley> Whatever. <Janus> Really! <Janus> Those leeches saved lives, you know.

  • Janus tries to stifle a laugh.
  • Hayley isn't amused.
  • Janus sighs.

<Janus> Well, onto the next topic. <Hayley> Your turn. <Janus> My turn to what?

  • Janus turns his head to the side to look at her.

<Hayley> To decide what we're going to do or talk about. <Janus> I decide that we're going to lie here another few minutes.

  • Hayley is looking up at the clouds but slides her eyes over in Janus' direction.

<Janus> Because I feel positively *wrecked.* <Hayley> Weakling. <Janus> Piffle. <Janus> Some of us aspire to intellectual pursuits.

  • Janus says teasingly.

<Hayley> Well, aspire away. <Hayley> I'll listen and add my own two cents' worth. <Janus> I'm not sure, but I think you just insulted me!

  • Janus reaches over and playfully tugs on one of her curls.

<Janus> . o O (What... what did I just do there??)

  • Hayley 's hair is smooth and silky, completely different texture from Debbie's.

<Janus> . o O (...but it's so soft...) <Hayley> (and the natural curls feel kind of neat in and of themselves)

  • Janus continues fingering her hair, fascinated...

<Janus> (but not pulling it!)

  • Hayley smiles in satisfaction and lets him play with her hair.
  • Janus marvels at how the colour changes from root to tip, and how the curls spring back when touched or pulled straight...

<Hayley> Having fun? <Janus> Huh?

  • Janus starts.
  • Hayley asks when the curl-boinging gets a bit too annoying.

<Janus> Sorry... <Janus> I hadn't... realized.

  • Janus drops his arm down to his side.
  • Hayley catches his hand in both of hers.

<Hayley> It's all right... it's just the boinging is a bit annoying. <Janus> . o O (Propriety... propriety...) <Janus> I won't do it any more. <Janus> . o O (but it was so cute...)

  • Hayley draws his hand up towards her head again... drops his hand when he says he will stop.

<Janus> . o O (shut up!) <Janus> ...

  • Hayley starts dropping his hand but brings it to her lips instead and kisses it.

<Hayley> (heehee) <Janus> . o O (Soft, fluffy... just want to bury my face in it...) <Janus> ... <Janus> . o O (I'm a terrible person) <Hayley> (just watch out for the horns... which are pronged, unlike any other satyr you've ever seen...) <Janus> <w> What are you doing? <Hayley> Kissing your hand. <Janus> <w> Hayley... <Hayley> Yes? <Janus> <w> You know... <Janus> . o O (I'm burning...)

  • Hayley 's eyes flash briefly with hurt and she lets go of his hand.

<Hayley> I know...

  • Janus turns over onto his side so he can look at her better.
  • Hayley edges away from him and won't meet his eyes.

<Janus> . o O (We should go back to the house. That is what we should do. Definitely.) <Janus> <m> Hayley, don't be upset, please...

  • Hayley 's eyes water a bit with strain.

<Hayley> I'm not... <Janus> You know, you're very beautiful... <Hayley> It's just, it's so hard, fighting it off... I just want to give in. <Janus> ... <Hayley> Thank you.

  • Hayley says a bit bitterly.
  • Janus cups her face with a hand.

<Janus> Don't be like that.

  • Hayley slides her eyes away from his and swallows.
  • Janus wipes a tiny tear from the corner of her eye with his thumb...

<Janus> ...

  • Hayley closes her eyes briefly.

<Hayley> Once you would have counselled me not to try to fight off what the Dreaming wants. <Hayley> Why is it different now? <Janus> Did I say that...?

  • Hayley forces her eyes open and looks at him.

<Janus> <m> Why, indeed... <Hayley> It's your reasoning behind the right to rule of the Sidhe. <Hayley> Why then should I not extend it to the other Kiths? <Hayley> Didn't you say the Sidhe rule because that is how the Dreaming makes them. <Janus> <m> You are a clever girl... <Hayley> I'm not a girl!

  • Hayley hisses.

<Hayley> I'm older than you.

  • Janus withdraws his hand, taken aback.

<Hayley> Or am I? <Janus> It's a figure of speech.

  • Janus says, wounded.
  • Hayley 's voice has settled back into more conversational tones.

<Hayley> Where do I fit in, Janus? <Hayley> Where? <Janus> . o O (What is wrong with me...) <Janus> What do you mean?

  • Hayley 's voice is hitching a bit...
  • Janus looks like he is, perhaps, having some trouble thinking clearly...

<Janus> ... <Hayley> How do I reconcile all these people in me? <Janus> I don't know what to tell you... <Janus> But I would like to help... <Janus> I want you to feel safe here, with me...

  • Janus brushes her hair back from her face...

<Hayley> I feel safe all right. Maybe too safe.

  • Hayley says petulantly.

<Janus> Hm? <Hayley> (referring to his restraint in carnal matters)

  • Janus doesn't get it.

<Hayley> Never mind. <Janus> (O-blivious.... ^-^) <Janus> I don't get it... <Hayley> It's not important.

  • Hayley sits up, a dark cast to her features.

<Janus> Okay...

  • Janus stares up at her

<Hayley> We'd better get back to the house before Tara wonders if we've both died or something. <Janus> It's nice here. <Janus> I don't spend much time outside, for some reason... <Hayley> It's dangerous here. I might rape you any minute. <Janus> What?

  • Janus laughs.

<Janus> A chance I shall have to take, I suppose...

  • Hayley looks quite angry.

<Hayley> I wasn't joking.

  • Hayley gets up and picks up her sword and Janus' scythe.

<Hayley> Let's go back to the house.

  • Janus sighs.
  • Hayley hands his scythe to him.
  • Janus flops back over onto his back, holding the scythe across his chest.

<Janus> . o O (Neither was I... what the hell.. Did I just try to seduce a fourteen year old??) <Janus> . o O (... not to mention, fail at it...)

  • Janus scowls for the briefest of instants, involuntarily.

<Hayley> (only because she figures Janus is uncomfortable with the idea and so she's trying to protect him) <Hayley> (by fighting off the urge) <Janus> . o O (I don't want to go in the stupid house!) <Janus> *Conflicting emotions scurry furtively across Janus' face... ;) <Hayley> (it's not even been a day... ;^) ) <Hayley> Are you coming? <Janus> (Hayley is maddening!!) <Janus> You go ahead... <Janus> I need to... pick some plants for my spells. <Janus> . o O (... beat my head against a tree...) <Hayley> Really? <Janus> ...

  • Hayley brightens up.

<Janus> No.

  • Janus says meekly.

<Hayley> I can help you with that. Oh. <Hayley> Well, I am taking the hint that you want to be alone. <Janus> Never mind... <Hayley> So I go, I go, see how I go. <Janus> I don't know what I want.

  • Janus says, frustrated.
  • Hayley quotes Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream unthinkingly...

<Hayley> Join the club.

  • Hayley slouches and heads off towards the house...

<Janus> Don't go.

  • Hayley stops.
  • Janus stands up.

<Janus> Don't...

  • Hayley waits for Janus, but doesn't turn around.

<Hayley> . o O (What does he want now?)

  • Janus grabs his shirt and catches up to her...

<Janus> I don't want things to be so difficult between us... <<Hayley> (you can tell she's listening, though; her ears swivel back slightly in his direction. They're only marginally manoeuverable but they really make her look a lot like a deer...

  • Hayley turns to face him.

<Hayley> So what do you propose? <Janus> ... <Janus> Did you just swivel your ears? That was amazing!

  • Janus is distracted.

<Hayley> It's a talent I have.

  • Janus grins.
  • Hayley says dryly.

<Janus> No really... <Janus> Fabulous!

  • Hayley gives him a typical teenaged "Oh, puh-leese" look.
  • Janus stops when it becomes obvious his compliments are not appreciated.

<Janus> Well, *I* thought it was rather cute. <Hayley> They're just ears. <Hayley> And they're big. <Janus> Not as big as mine. <Janus> ^-^ <Hayley> (they're pretty big, actually... one of the things that prevents her from attaining that full-blooded Sidhe level of beauty. <Janus> (pfft I say) <Hayley> (heheh) <Janus> And mine won't do anything interesting. <Hayley> Well, off the topic of ears now... <Hayley> What were you going to say? <Janus> Say? <Janus> Oh yes. <Hayley> About not wanting things to be so difficult between us? <Janus> I remember now. <Hayley> Yes, that. <Janus> I wanted to tell you that I really am very happy to have you here... <Janus> Honestly... <Janus> And I shall try to be more relaxed, if it would put you at ease... <Janus> I am merely unused to such company... <Janus> Eccentric recluse, I believe is the phrase...

  • Hayley half-smiles.

<Hayley> At last you admit it. <Janus> In any case, I will do my utmost to be a better host to you, and now I am going to put my shirt back on...

  • Janus says all in one breath.

<Janus> *phew*

  • Hayley looks a bit disappointed at the shirt announcement.

<Janus> Or not? <Janus> I'm still rather warm... <Hayley> Put it on. What would Tara think?

  • Hayley says regretfully.

<Janus> Tara would think we were out sparring, and she would be correct. <Hayley> Oh, Janus... <Janus> If I'd gotten grass stains on it, she'd have had fits. <Janus> ... <Janus> Yes?

  • Hayley suddenly looks small and frightened.

<Janus> What is it?

  • Hayley moves in close to him for comfort.
  • Janus looks attentive and concerned.
  • Janus puts his arms around her...

<Janus> What's wrong? <Hayley> I am so frightened... <Hayley> Am I doing the right thing, being here? <Janus> Yes. <Hayley> What if things don't work out... <Janus> I think so.. <Hayley> I don't know, I just don't... <Janus> You don't have to know... <Janus> Just don't worry about it, for now.

  • Hayley sniffles a bit and nods.

<Janus> I'm doing all I can, so maybe soon you won't have to worry anymore... <Hayley> I'm an emotional mess... <Janus> Tell me about it. <Hayley> If you don't like my mood, just wait five minutes...

  • Janus smiles.

<Janus> I thought that was me. <Hayley> And if you don't like my personality, wait a day. <Hayley> I wish I knew who I was... <Janus> I have some idea... <Janus> I know you're confused, overwhelmed... <Janus> But I sense that under that, you're a wonderful person... <Janus> <m> A light, as beautiful as love itself...

  • Hayley sighs and sinks into his embrace, trying to draw strength from his presence but unsure if she even has a right to do that...

<Janus> . o O (Just don't get worked up about it...)

  • Hayley just seems to want to stand there and draw support from Janus for a while...

<Janus> (fine with him, it seems...)

  • Janus will stroke her hair and neck...
  • Hayley just stands there, breathing in the scent of Janus (strong now after the sparring, I daresay, but still much beloved) and feeling his bare chest against her cheek; his hands lightly soothing and she will allow herself some moments of pure joy...

<Janus> (You know what they say about pheromones...)

  • Janus kisses the top of her head...
  • Hayley is tensed like a coiled spring but as they stand together, Janus would feel her slowly relax as she lets fall her troubles for a few moments of peace... by the time he kisses the top of her head she would be completely relaxed...

<Hayley> <w> The one thing I know for sure is that I love you. <Janus> <w> And I love you... Always.

  • Hayley 's breath catches in her throat and he can feel her muscles tense up again to hug him - not a tension due to stress or anything negative. He can feel her muscles harden and relax again with each small movement. It's amazing how much two bodies can communicate without words...

<Hayley> heheh. They cuddle together until their feet ache, I guess... she actually doesn't have any sexual intentions for once... let that go during her meditation in Janus' arms. <Janus> (so cute...) <Janus> alright then <Janus> One whole day passes without me being overwhelmed by Hayley's satyr-ness!