Freefall

Magic Hollow 
#51
Sokol was not completely out. He had woken several minutes ago, groggy and chilled, and pulled part of a sheet up over him as the lion recounted another less-than-exciting indoor shift. Just a lot of wrestling Iago and pacing through the little house, getting his damaged nose up under the window shades and looking, you know, carefully, at the neighborhood beyond.

Sokol was very depressed, but his cat was bored.

Anyway, it was easy to catch the sound of Iago and Ingrid talking outside the room, and he assumed with the regular dose of self-pity that they were talking about him, poor homeless faceless orphan. Doing a terrible job of leading, just hiding in Ingrid's house while she took care of everything and Iago hovered around him like a goddamned bumblebee.

He felt quite sorry for himself, as per usual, but his heart wasn't in it so much at the moment. Maybe the fresh round of healing and the physical effort of the shift had moved him along some. The door opened, and he went through the usual background panic of look presentable vs. hide, your face is hideous, sitting up and pulling a blanket over his lap, drawing his knees up to his chest. Then an elbow on one knee, face in hand to obscure the ugly, puckering wounds on the right side of his face. Hello, lions.
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#52
 Ingrid would take the lead down the narrow hall - just wide enough for giant fucking lions to pass through, for the wondering mind - and open the door shortly after delivering a light warning knock. She'd seen everything already, but it was a courtesy thing all the same. The bedroom, just big enough for her bed and the dresser-vanity combo, had only been seen by her in this manner for the last several weeks. Stepping in, checking in, but never waking up to it.

 "Good morning, Sokol," she greeted the man as he hid his poor face. Vanity and self-consciousness were not so reserved for women. She made room for Iago to come in, to settle into whatever spot he wanted and deliver food, and Ingrid would take a deep seat on the foot of the bed. Unsure of whether or not Iago's softness would keep him from taking the charge on the topic of Mateo, she would head in abruptly. "We've got a new lion on our hands."
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#53
The state of Sokol was nothing shocking anymore, but Iago could understand not wanting everyone to stare. Still, from what he'd already seen earlier... he was feeling pretty good about a little more healing. Every shift helped, and if it weren't for the fact that shifting in the house was exceedingly concrete-zoo-pacing levels of boring, he might have pushed that a lot more.

Very little helped the dull and sad feelings for long. Iago hoped that soon they'd be at least in a different home and maybe then they could start trying different things.

Anyway, Iago found his spot on the bed nearer the door--less climbing over Sokol to leave the room over their stay. Settled in carefully, offering over food wordlessly and somewhat tentatively, trying to think of how they were going to broach--

Oh.

Where Ingrid snapping up on the answer with Iago had felt a somewhat terrible mercy, her decision to go for it with Sokol was a fresh jolt of alarm. He absolutely was not ready!! As such, he was decidedly mute, trying not to sulk and give up the details from badly telegraphed body language alone.
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#54
There was something extra pathetic about being brought breakfast leftovers by the both of them, as if he were too sad to even leave the room, which he was. He eyed the eggs and bacon with more misgivings than were really fair, taking the plate in his left hand and. Hearing Ingrid say something ridiculous.

A new lion. As in...immediately, he was aware of somebody all of a sudden vibrating beside him, guilty as a dog. He turned to look at him, the hand falling away from his face to better stare in withering disbelief. "No."

He hadn't. In between...when, when Sokol was knocked out between shifts? If he'd mauled his god-damned brother Sokol would throw him out of the window. Abruptly he realized the eggs were sliding off of his plate and into bed with him. "Shit!"
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#55
 She'd set off a god damn bomb, apparently. Iago shrank into himself, and Sokol stared at him like he'd called his mother a whore. No! He must already know. Ingrid looked between them, patiently unimpressed, but scowled for the sight of eggs slipping off the plate.

 "Sokol, please," she said, tone sharp, just keeping herself from reaching across him to man handle the eggs back onto the plate. "It's being managed, there's nothing you need to do." Poor little prince, so bed-ridden as he was, need not worry, but he did need to be in the loop. Well... maybe he did need to worry. Mateo was a looming question mark, a bad decision on legs.
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#56
Trouble was, Sokol could read him perfectly!

Because of course that was the only reason Iago would look so plunked straight into the deep dark pit that was guilt. Wasn't a common feeling for him, though Sokol wasn't seeing for the first time. Granted, last time had been different, the guilt at having forgotten vital details about vampires more ignorance and embarrassment than a man who had consciously done something wrong and knew everything about it. It hadn't been the most willing situation, but he'd still put himself there. He'd still done it.

"Ingrid went out with him last night," he said, refusing to say Mateo's name as if it was a cursable offense. "Dumb fuck got himself mauled by a hyena and when I went to rescue him he pulled me into a fight."

He didn't care about the eggs or the bed, very focused on staring into his own crossed legs where he sat.
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#57
Saving the eggs from the bedding distracted him for just a moment, in which time Ingrid was chastising him, as if-?! Excuse me?! He shot her a look of mild offense as the plate clattered to rest beside him. He didn't need to do anything. Because he was a bedridden recluse who had relinquished all control over the group he had been forming. Iago bit his brother, the drunken angry failure, but that's nothing he would need to weigh in on!

Intentionally or not, this proved to be a good way to anger Sokol out of his self-imposed exile. "'Dumb fuck'." Looking back at Iago, he repeated the line in a tone that suggested there was more than one dumb fuck in this story. How could he be so fucking stupid.

He held onto his anger rather than letting it loose in a volley of criticism and accusation, knowing that Ingrid would push back and he had no leverage to use. But it lodged in his heart, a dark spot. "What did you tell him?"
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#58
 Sokol seemed to be on the verge of a temper tantrum. Iago gave him a brief explanation, and she watched the pair carefully as Sokol repeated some choice words to the smaller man. She sat rigidly, hands folded lightly in her lap, every bit a beast that was simultaneously relaxed and wound to strike. There were a lot of feelings in this room. She would do well to stay the steady hand, wouldn't she? So, for the moment, she would stay silent, prepared to interject.
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#59
Iago was not a future-thinker. He had had, in his head, some very small notion that Sokol would hate this turn of events. But he hadn't let himself think on it too hard, knowing he'd just have to deal with it in when it came. It was one of the many strong reasons he had hoped that Mateo would turn out as a hyena--this was not a conversation he relished.

It hurt, frankly, and it pissed him off, too. The latter was made worse by the fact that he couldn't even disagree with Sokol's scathing assessment. He stared intently into his own lap, swallowing hard on a throat gone raw and the flush feeling that blanketed him in an unwelcome way. He wasn't sure if it was better or worse for Ingrid to be here.

The question didn't set well with him. What answer was Sokol looking for here? Iago's instinct was still to insist, nothing! for all it was a lie and obviously their secrets had become forfeit when Lorena had chewed on Mateo. As if Sokol was looking for secrecy rather than getting Mateo educated. The latter was more likely, for all Iago didn't want to go at this conversation again, with this mood that had swept in furiously.

"Told him what to expect up 'til the moon. Ingrid told him more 'bout stuff," his tone danced between contrite reassurance and flustered aggravation, soft, clipped. Keeping himself together, just barely. "Gotta talk with him again today now that he's... goddamnit--mine." He wanted to leave. That was a feeling he had and he didn't like it at all which was probably the only reason he stayed seated right there in pure defiance of what was coiling inside him.

"I'm not going to let him fuck up, Sokol, I don't want his trouble any more than you do. I was trying to get rid of him before--fuck." He was choking on guilt here but what else was he supposed to do?
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#60
It was better for Ingrid to be here. For Iago's sake, anyway. Sokol had a dozen cruel things to say that anyone with a backbone and a clear head could argue against, and like a shark he smelled blood in the water and knew that Iago would topple. Without backup. Which he had.

Denied an outlet to anger at Iago's foolishness and his own inertia, he pointed his silence at the both of them, furious, obscurely ashamed. Iago's brother had shifted into a lion last night.

Iago had petered off, and Ingrid sat silently, in waiting. Finally he answered, quiet. "You think you can control him."
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