What Are You Wondering? What Do You Know?

Cedar Creek 
#1


 This wasn't like an actual baby, there wasn't a standard way to handle it. Someone pops out a kid, you slap them on the back and tell them congratulations. It was more or less implied by their brief text interaction that Dante wasn't feeling very celebratory. No harm no foul in her book, she would probably feel the same way. More than just casually paranoid about him reaching out, cautious as she made her way clear across town to meet up with him at a quarter past eleven. Auto-pilot by the time she had hit Cordova, a familiar set of directions from countless nights of coming home after long days.

This wasn't coming home, but she had a few minutes according to her eta, so she could pretend as much as she liked.

 Ever late, she found a parking spot easily enough considering the late hour and kept her keys in hand on the walk up to the correct door. There was a chance she was supposed to just walk on in like the old days, but that felt intrusive with their new parameters. Her hesitation lasted only a second or two, knocking against the door and adjusting her hold on the six-pack hooked on two fingers. Like a celebratory cigar, but ... not.
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#2
 Dante already had a beer open by the time he realized Alex was approaching his door. He'd had a few, in all honesty, but remained unfortunately sober. It was hardly whiskey.

 He was on his feet as she knocked, pulling the door open to let her in. There was of course an instant sort of desire to squeeze her tightly, but it was overpowered by the urge to look outside after her, making sure no one was following - extra senses helped in that area. When he was satisfied that she was alone, he closed and locked the door.

 "Hey," he greeted her finally, and would give in to that initial want to hug her, keeping it brief before he gestured to the couch with the beer in his hand. "Have a seat."
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#3
 She wasn't sure what to expect exactly, but a hug was ... fair - a good way to meet in the middle. Allowing herself the indulgence of laying her head briefly on his shoulder before she slipped past and settled in on the couch to the left. Sort of like reclaiming a territory in a way, an idea she tried to skirt even as she set the cans down and pulled her legs up once her boots were off.

"Go on."
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#4
 She maneuvered past him and he would turn to join her on the couch, resting his beer on his knee. He sighed as he gathered his thoughts, watching the condensation roll down to soak a ring into his jeans. "This girl spotted me shifting in the woods, so I bit her." A blunt start. "I almost killed her. Ate her dog. I'm not sure she saw my face now, but that was my worry to begin with." He applied varying degrees of pressure to the bottle, rolling it around on its bottom. "Now I'm just not sure I can keep her from getting killed, you know. Dunno if she's tough enough."
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#5
 "I mean, you've talked to her about this shit - right?" It was more or less implied, but it was a little late to screen for prospective Were-hires, the girl was bitten, the situation couldn't be unfucked. "She's going to full moon with you all, all that jazz?" Skirting her own previous fuck up and how well that had went in the long-term scale of things.
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#6
 "Yes," he grumped at her in reply, in a tone that implied "of course!" He took another drink from his bottle, swallowing with a sigh. "Getting to that point won't be the problem, y'know. Obviously. I'm just wondering how much babysitting she'll require. She doesn't seem like the troublemaker sort, but that might change." Baby Weres could go up in flame like a dry tree in a lightning storm. What if this chick tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and hulked out? He leaned back into the couch, free hand scraping hair away from his face. "Worst case scenario, she gets put to sleep, I guess." No - he knew, but he could hope it didn't get that bad.
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#7
 Oh, yeah, of course - worst-case scenario, she could just go off and DIE. She sipped her beer to keep from commenting on that less than comforting resolution to a potential issue. Found it lacking but didn't complain as she watched him and tried to gauge how much alcohol was in his system already.

 "Don't get all doomsday, you're giving her a fair chance and that's what matters." Even if he was miserable about it, at least she wasn't torn to rags and bone fragments in the middle of the woods somewhere. "How's her living arrangement? Not a problem, is it?"
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#8
 He huffed a little at her reassurance. He guessed she was right, but even so, he downed his beer like it was his last supper. "I don't know," he grunted. "She's a fucking school teacher, so that blows. I told her she'd have to quit. Stay away from friends and family for a while." He shook his head a little, remembering how she'd asked what he had done. His life hadn't been nearly as turned upside down as hers was going to be. He had flipped the table of her existence - what was this guilt shit?

 He stood, chunking the empty bottle in the bin and moving to the fridge to grab a fresh one, popping the top off with his hand as he maneuvered back to the couch. "If she doesn't hate me already, I figure she will soon enough."
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#9
 "Imagine that shit." She chuckled against the lip of the bottle, made a sort of whistle of a sound in the process as she sipped. A kid skips ahead in the directions, a giant feral dog flipping desks and sending children pouring into the hallway like a violent human tidal wave. After she'd trailed off and started to think about it, deciding to keep that to herself out of fear of him not thinking it was as funny as she did.

Distance had a funny way of letting you appreciate shit like that - he was hellishly close to ground zero.

 "I would think the opposite, really. She might resent you more but once there's that little shitty nagging voice in her head ..." Misery loved company, and there was little value in pretending she'd felt anything but loathing and misery in those earliest months. But hell if even the asshole who bit you wasn't better than no one. "It's going to be like raising a shitty moody teenager. ... You ever turned anyone before?"
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#10
 Dante nodded, listening to her points. Even a new-born beast would recognize the need for companionship, even if its human host didn't get the drift at first. It would be rocky, sure, but Natalie needed him - or someone, at least. That someone might as well be the one who was responsible for her. He scoffed a little laugh at her comparison of his progeny to a hormonal teenager. It seemed accurate. Even if she did come off as a pleasant chick.

 "No," he said simply. He had never had any desire to. Permanently silencing someone had always seemed easier than taking on an extended babysitting job. "You?" He looked at Alex now, curious. Maybe She was speaking from experience here.
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#11
 "Yeah. On accident, once ..." She trailed off, shrugged her shoulders and decided to indulge the line of inquiry. Her fault it came up anyway, and maybe it would distract from the infinite number of ways this shit show could take his life from stressful to hellish. "I got too cocky and I thought I could help someone and I couldn't."

 She glanced over, nudged him with her elbow as she took a drink. "Might not have any chance in hell of real kids but at least I know with a hundred percent certainty I'd make for a shitty mom." Best to keep it light, really - make a joke out of her own failure so she didn't come across sounding like some sort of shitty ghost of fuck-up's past.
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#12
 He watched her as she spoke, brows rising some at her words. She didn't get into too much detail or anything, and he decided he wouldn't pry into old wounds. He did privately wonder what had happened to this fledgling of hers. Then she launched off into a joke, and Dante huffed a laugh despite himself, rubbing a hand over his face as if he could wipe away the worry. "I'd probably be a shitty mom, too," he retorted, punctuating it with a long pull off his beer, wiping his mouth with the back of his other hand. "I just can't imagine myself not fuckin'... breathing down this kid's neck every day for the next several months." A disaster seemed inevitable.
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#13
[inden]"To be honest with you, back then Jo sort of took over for what I lacked ..." Something that felt oddly more embarrassing when she admitted it to present company. "Hindsight being twenty-twenty, yeah - breathe down her neck. She'll give you shit for it now, but it'll be a headache for the both of you if you don't."" To hell with whatever his kind-natured accidental pet project thought about it personally. ... But also sorry, it was a lot easier to be that confident and clinical when it wasn't directly her problem.
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#14
 His eyebrows rose some for her confession. She sounded less than proud, but Dante kept judgment at bay in favor of just learning from her. He nodded a little. "I’m sure she’d rather be annoyed than dead," he grumbled. The memory of her begging for her life was proof enough of that. "Who knows. Maybe she’ll come into it better than we think." Being changed had benefited his entire life. It was difficult to imagine that being the case for this girl, but anything was possible. "What about you? How’s cop life?"
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#15
 And there they were, back on this hole in her head and making her grimace as if she had tasted something particularly bitter. "It's going." Which, allegedly, wasn't a total lie and that alone had to mean something. "You know one of yours is a fucking cop, right?" A coincidence that hadn't really connected until then as she stared at him.
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#16
 Exciting. He frowned some at Alex’s response. "Yeah. The uh. Da... kila, right?" He was a good Second, promise. "You met him or what?" That must have been a hairy situation. He frowned deeper with his next thought. "He’s not outed is he?"
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#17
 "What?" A moment of stupid confusion before she immediately caught up and scoffed. "No. No Squall's completely in the dark about him." Quick to reassure as she reached out as if to squeeze his arm before she thought better of it. "I was randomly assigned a point of contact and with good luck I got him - I didn't talk about you though ..." Not personally, at least.

"I was just ... y'know, making sure you knew."
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