it's easy to change if you give it your attention

North Glenn 
#1
Kenzie found herself a bench outside the Jade Gardens and there she sat dressed in a black tee shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Her bag was with her. There was a sweater in there in case she got chilled. She was quite a bit early; she had left her apartment immediately because she did not know how long it would take to get there and was worried about being late. The sky was cloudless and the sun warm.

Despite the niceness of the day and her excitement over hanging out with Liza, she still felt a bit restless. Resisting an urge to fidget and fold paper, Kenzie instead drew a deep breath and leaned back on the bench. She closed her eyes and focused on simply being in the moment, on trying to relax. In the stillness of this, she was aware of a sensation. Her nose twitched. She had felt something similar several times before but it had been smothered by every other thought and feeling she had then, and she had afforded it none of the attention or consideration that she did now. It felt like walking into a strange person's home for the first time.

There was a smell too. Unfamiliar.

Hrm.

She let her eyes wander around her surroundings as if expecting to see an answer.
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#2
Kenzie wasn't the only one feeling restless. Liza was thrilled for the opportunity to get out of the house and do something -- and the opportunity to do it with a new packmate made the chance all the more lucrative in her eyes. Ever since the escapade at the planetarium (which, much to her chagrin, she still couldn't even remember having happened), things had been tense to say the least. The chance to simply let loose and spend some time with a confirmed friend was one that Liza didn't intend to pass up.

She arrived rather promptly, though perhaps not as promptly as the ever-eager Kenzie, garbed in a simple, stringy black haltar top and a pair of dark stained denim jeans. She spotted Kenzie almost immediately, grinning broadly as she did so; her wolf was over to greet the other woman's in the metaphysical space between worlds before Liza could even get a word of greeting out.

"Hey! Gosh, you beat me here. And I thought I was going so quick, too!" She stamped her foot in a mock display of huffy disappointment. Still, she caught Kenzie's gaze, and an eyebrow arched as she followed it towards... Nothing. "Looking for something?"
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#3
Her eyes still trained elsewhere, Kenzie was first distracted by awareness of her wolf's excitement. It had rose from where it lay somewhere beyond her consciousness and was suddenly bouncing forward eagerly. She turned to see Liza arriving far sooner than expected. She did not mind this at all. Rather, she was relieved to not have to wait long and thrilled that Liza seemed as eager as her.

"Hey!" She grinned, standing to greet her friend. "Oh, no, I uhm..." Kenzie glanced around again and shrugged when she affirmed no one else was really in ear shot. "Do you feel or smell anything here... I don't know how to explain it. Like you know how someone else's house smells somehow different than yours and you feel a bit out of place there when you don't know the people well?" She made a face, her mouth drawing to one side as she hoped Liza could get the gist of her explanation.

"I sort of noticed it as soon as I left Cedar Creek... and I know I've felt it before elsewhere too I just. Have always been bad at sort of paying attention to these things or understanding them."
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#4
Liza grimaced -- a facial gesture somehow mirrored by the wolf within, though it manifested more in the baring of frustrated fangs than anything else. "I get it," she confirmed with a sad nod. "I don't know the specifics, but -- I think it means someone else holds sway over this place, the way we do over Cedar Creek." She shrugged her shoulders a bit. "Hopefully whoever it is is alright with us being here. I imagine that they are, given that nobody's come to kick us out yet."

Her eyes flared blue for the briefest of moments; the wolf was acknowledging the potential danger of the situation, bringing itself ever so slightly closer to the forefront of things. With a chiding mental jab, she put her other self back in her place. "Anywho," she said, her smile returning, "I'm sure we'll be fine. So! Let's just focus on having an amazing day, yeah?"

She cast her gaze upwards, towards the place that Kenzie had invited her. "So what is this place, anyhow? I didn't have time to google it before I got here."
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#5
"Oh."

That made sense. It made even more when she considered the other times she could remember having felt similarly misplaced.

"I hope so."

Kenzie smiled but it faltered when she saw how Liza's eyes changed color. Blue like hers but of a far lighter shade. "I'm sure we'll be fine too," she agreed quickly, smiling again. She truly didn't feel in danger just... respectful. Like she wanted to be careful not to track mud anywhere or forget her manners. This was the unease she picked up from her wolf too as though it knew that this was not its territory. Who am I kidding. Of course it knows. Liza's discomfort did unsettle her a bit however; called to mind a thought about gangs and turf wars.

"I don't know exactly. Jade Gardens. I guess there's jade and... plants... in there..." Kenzie giggled and held her hands out with her palms out. "It sounded nice. Peaceful. I figured it was worth having a look for something to do with a friend. Come on!" She beckoned Liza to follow with a wave of her hand as she set off toward the entryway to see what awaited them.
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#6
Liza was glad that Kenzie felt confident. For some reason, she couldn't shake the sense of unease that settled over her at the mere thought of being in someone else's territory. Idly, her thoughts drifted back towards the planetarium once more.
Nope, still nothing. Inwardly, she scowled.

"Jade and plants sound great," she laughed. Feeling bold, she reached out and grabbed at one of Kenzie's outstretched hands, gripping it and giving it a little squeeze in her own. She followed intently behind Kenzie as the pair meandered into the gardens.

A pair of massive koi lazily circled some unseen locus in a massive pond filled with floating lilies. The place was humid, placid, and altogether beautiful; a butterfly fluttered past Liza's nose, prompting a giggle from the girl even as the wolf within told her to chase after it and catch it in her mouth for fun.

Sometimes being part lupine was weird. Alas.

"This was a good decision," she giggled, clambering up onto a little inlaid step near the edge of one of the garden patches. "I haven't seen this much beauty in -- well, maybe ever. Indiana isn't really the most elegant place."
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#7
Surprised by Liza's sudden move, Kenzie's impulse was to flinch, her arm twitching in instinct to pull it away. But not half a heartbeat later she was grinning and return-squeezing her friend's hand before giving their arms a small swing as they entered into the gardens. The friendly contact was welcome, appreciated.

Kenzie was drawn immediately to the koi in the pond. Her eyes traced their languid paths as they swam beneath the lilies. White bodies with splotches of orange and red and even some black made her grin widely. "They're so pretty," she hummed. She wished she could wade into the water with them. It had been far too long since she had swam and played in a pond, or lake, or stream, or even a pool.

She looked to Liza who was commenting appreciatively on her choice of hang-out spots. "I'm sure it has its own beauty. Like how deserts are neat in their own way and then forests are a different kind of neat." Kenzie giggled and shrugged, meandering over to join her friend. On her way, her fingers brushed against the smooth broad leaves of some of the greenery. "I love nature. It makes me feel peaceful."
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#8
Liza beamed, and happiness radiated from deep within her. It had been a risk, albeit a minor one; she knew it wasn't something she would have gotten away with had her companion been one of the more serious-minded wolves. Kenzie, though, seemed to be something of a kindred spirit, and Liza reveled in the contact and the latent familiarity alike.

The great white wolf within Liza wanted nothing more than to leap into the koi pond and cause mischief -- an impulse which Liza reined in, even though a part of her shared it. "Gorgeous," she agreed with a grin. "This place would be dangerous nearer to a full moon; our pet dogs would be ALL over the place." Still, the metaphysical proximity would have to do.

She snorted quietly as Kenzie referenced the latent beauty of her home state. "I suppose that's one way to put it," she agreed, "Though I think I'd much prefer deserts and forests to... Well. Flat and boring."

She peered closely at the texture of the leaf that Kenzie had chosen to examine, noting the little bevels and shapes on its surface -- telltale indicators of the very microsopic building blocks that lent the plant structure at all. "It's honestly amazing," she agreed, before adding: "...The longer you're -- well, you'll see. As time goes on, cities tend to feel more and more stifling."
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#9
"Oh?" Her attention lifted from the plants to her friend. She had been smiling to think of wolves splashing around in the koi ponds and had daydreamed a bit about how things might be once she became one with the beast. "I used to go camping a lot with my Dad. I loved it out there. I miss it..." Kenzie hummed in thought. She had picked up on what Liza was suggesting, and it made her wonder about the pack's business and choice of locations. Cedar Creek was not the most appealing place and certainly not close to nature.

"Do you think you'll want to move out of the city some time?" Kenzie ambled onward, her fingers finding the petals of some flowers growing on a pair of bushes next. The delicate softness of the deep pink blooms felt wonderful against her skin. She bent down to have a sniff but was distracted as a butterfly fluttered past her nose. She watched it go, and then her gaze found Liza's face again.
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#10
Liza arched an inquisitive brow. "I haven't really thought about it!" she admitted. "I've been living with Trick and Alina since my stuff happened. Every day has been so much in terms of novel experiences -- I guess I haven't really given much thought at all to the future." The brunette frowned a bit at her own revelation. What had she been doing? Writing here and there, sure. But it was more of a stopgap, than anything else; a coping mechanism to get through the day. What did she really want out of the months and years to come?

The girl buried her face in some fragrant blooms as a means of distracting herself from thoughts of existential fear. "Maybe we could go camping some time?" she proposed. "Get all the gals together. Fuck around during the day, hunt and play at night. We could make a whole weekend out of it, if we wanted to."
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#11
She noted her friend's frown and sympathized immediately. It seemed her and Liza were alike in that regard; so absorbed in the day to day happenings in their life that plans for the future had fallen to the wayside. Kenzie stepped closer and bumped her shoulder to Liza's. "I'm with you there," she smiled reassuringly.

The mention of going camping had her grinning from ear to ear. First she had recaptured her love of riding a bike. Next she could recapture her love of camping. The thought was making her heart sing with longing. But as Liza went on to suggest hunting at night, Kenzie was made to pause and blink. "Hunt?" She inquired. "So you mean go on the..." her gaze shifted from side to side, making sure there was no one in ear shot. "Full moon? Or like with a bow or gun? Normal hunting?"
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#12
Liza cackled at the very notion of a bunch of werewolves sporting -- muskets? What did one hunt with, anyway? "Full moon, half moon, whatever moon you'd like. Definitely meant indulging our pet dogs a bit, though. I don't know about you, but I don't think I could get away with smelling the scent of prey without bringing her along." It was enough of a veneer to only sound bafflingly strange to any eavesdropper without giving away the proverbial ghost in its entirety. Here, though, Liza didn't much care for censoring herself. They were alone, after all.

Kenzie's reaction had spurred a likewise change in mood for Liza. Feelings of discontent were discarded and forgotten in favor of notions of sheer joy at the possibility of a camping trip for the wolves. "But yeah! It could be super fun. Telling ghost stories, swimming in some lake somewhere. It'd be a nice way to get away from it all."
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#13
"Oh."

She studied her friend's face. Curiosity and perplexion writ in her soft expression. Kenzie understood their words should be chosen a bit carefully here. They were alone for now but what if someone walked by suddenly, or was just lurking in the plants somewhere (hey, it could happen). Her mouth twisted to the side as she considered her own phrasing.

"I've only ever had my dog out when he demanded. I never thought to... let him out for the fun of it. Uhm. Because I wanted to?" She smiled uncertain and sheepish, hiked her shoulders to her ears and let them drop. I hope no one is listening and judging me as a terrible dog owner, god.

"I'm totally down for it, anyway..."

But could you please elaborate? Can you shift at will??

Her gray eyes were expectant, her attention entirely Liza's for the moment.
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#14
Liza blinked. The way that Kenzie was staring at her was a little strange; she realized, belatedly, that she was the one with experience in this particular relationship. It was a strange thought. Liza had always been the proverbial runt of the metaphysical litter in terms of age, but Kenzie was new to the pack and seemingly new to the game of shifting at all.
She smiled, snapping out of her stupor. She had to set a good example! "I don't know about 'wanting' to," she said.

"She always 'wants' to. It's just a matter of... Relaxing and finding something that the dog might wanna focus on. You know? She has a pretty good habit of finding her own way out, if need be." She wasn't too worried about listeners at this point; as far as she could tell, the pair were entirely alone save for the butterfly that had fluttered lazily past and was now resting on a nearby bush.
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#15
Why did I refer to 'my dog' as a he?

This idle thought was set adrift into the air and dissipated as the soft off-white fuzz of a dandelion might be. Liza's answer slightly deflated Kenzie, who had been hopeful at the prospect of some future capability of shifting seamlessly and easily back and forth like a shifter in a book or movie might. But as with so many other portrayals of things in fiction, the reality was as of yet far less entertaining and cool. By her understanding, indulging their dogs simply meant exposing them to a triggering situation and letting come what may.

"Who else do you think will come?" Kenzie knew of only two other gals: her roommate and her King—

"Why does Alina call herself a King instead of a Queen?"

The blurted out question was chased by a slight duck of her head and a chuckle.
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#16
"Well, I don't know. Honestly probably not too many people, unless I really pull out all of the waterwor-- what?" Liza stopped mid sentence, finally processing Kenzie's most recent question. She canted her head doggishly to the side, her full brunette curls bouncing in response to the motion. "I -- you know, I'm not sure," she said with a shrug. "Or at least, I don't know that there's a specific reason behind it. She's in charge, you know? That makes her King."

That made perfect sense in Liza's head, even if it answered approximately nothing with regard to the center of Kenzie's inquiry. But she didn't exactly know what else to add -- and she certainly wasn't about to speak for her King with regard to her own motivations.
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#17
But a woman in charge would be called a Queen...

King sounded better to be fair. If Kenzie ever became a leader she'd rather be King Kenzie than Queen Kenzie. It was probably the tomboy aspect of her nature that made that appealing over the traditional woman's title... and maybe that was the basis for Alina's choice as well. Either way it mattered little; a curiosity and nothing more. Certainly, she harbored no suspicions about her leader's gender.

"Fair enough." She was smiling as she meandered further into the garden. There was a small wooden bridge crossing over a small joiner between two of the koi ponds. Kenzie leaned over the edge and peered down at the fish again, once more marvelling at their colors.

"I kind of want an aquarium." She hummed. "Can't have cats anymore. Fish don't seem to care though." Cocking her head, she studied the idling koi a moment before moving on.

"Oh hey, do you have a bike?"
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