02.12.3014: The "Shades Move"
Summary: Revelations complicate Luke and Helena's friendship.
Date: 22 Nov 2013
Related: None
Helena Luke 

The Atrium - Detritus, Inculta
The Atrium sits in the very center of the Meherian Dome, serving as the hub through which people travel to get quickly from one section of the building to another. The outer ring is set with various tables and chairs between large, rectangular planters boasting an array of flowers and plants to lend an air of 'privacy' to outdoor meetings. Stairs lead down into the depressed central portion of the atrium that houses a massive, four-tiered marble fountain topped by a hand-carved image of an energy transfer beam. Water flows down the beam and pools into the various basins of the fountain; colorful fish swim in the lowest tier amidst water plants and lilypads.

The domed ceiling that gives the building its name flattens as it arches over the atrium, and on certain days the round, clear tile can be retracted into a hidden pocket to allow in fresh air and sunlight. During inclement weather, the roof can be closed and reinforced with a shutter to protect the dome's inhabitants.

12 Feb 3014

It is a particularly breezy afternoon in Detritus, and the glass panels of the overhead dome have been retracted so that fresh air wafts in from above. The cheerful desert sun slants inward at an angle, casting wedges of light along one half of the circular atrium.

Seated at one of the many tables of alloy cleverly designed to look like iron is Helena. She is not alone, however; one of the Servants is standing behind her, peering over her shoulder at the tablet she holds in her hands. "We'll set out of these settlements in the morning, but we need a bigger guard. Lady Dalton's scouts place the Hostiles here and here, and I'm not in the mood to deal with them. The evacuation was a success, by the way. Please pass along that information. If there's nothing else, you may go. Send along a servant with some water, hmm?"

And so the man departs, leaving the Dalton alone for the time being to muse over her work. Because that's what she does. Work.

It is rare that Luke gets to see actual sun-of course he sees light and he sees fires and lava glow, so it is not as if the Grantham lives in a mole hill, or under the sea. Dressed, in lightweight fabrics, the knight does at least look presentable and like a noble. As the man departs another shows with the knight in tow-who upon coming before Helena, does have presence of mind to remove his sunglasses and let them hanging from the neck of his tunic.

"So, I've decided to not be rude and come to you, this time." unexpected? Perhaps, and certainly unannounced, Luke makes his way over to where the Lady Doctor is seated, and reaches out to take her tablet. "I do hope this is something important that I can utterly fuck with.." teasing of course.

In silence, a servant arrives and deposits a tray on the table with a pitcher of water and glasses. Perhaps she has the presence of mind to predict that Helena is going to have company, because no sooner is she disappearing off to other work does Luke arrive to brighten her day. Glancing up in startlement, Helena watches in amusement as Luke stows his sunglasses in one rather smooth move. "Did you practice that in front of a mirror before you came?" she inquires, loosening her grip on the tablet to allow Luke to whisk it away.

"Of course it's important," the Dalton replies, leaning back in her seat and crossing her arms over her chest. "I never waste my time on the unimportant. What you are looking at - and 'fucking with' - is a list of this week's outlying settlements where I am either delivering supplies to bolster their clinic or otherwise assisting in an evac. Hostile movements are fucking up everything, naturally. Sit down, Luke, have something to drink. It's not alcoholic, but I'm not sorry."

"Evacuations, I know how to do. We had to pull in some of our own from our outlining mining operations recently. But then we moved Legion units into those places and have set up a perimeter in which they like to harass us, and we enjoy fighting them." Luke says before he is taking a seat close by, eyes looking over the settlements. "Who are the closest?" he asks before passing the tablet back.

A faint smirk is given before he is smoothing his hands along his pants. "Yes, I thought, what would show how much Helena utterly needs me. Shades move." a shake of his head before he is reaching for the water.

"I think I can stand to have something healthy for my liver's sake."

"Your liver is grateful, I'm sure. It's flavored water, at least." Helena grins at Luke as she leans forward, happy to oblige him by pouring a glass and sliding it over the table in his direction. "Aw, you've been contemplating what to do to make me understand howmuch I need you? If you're not careful, Luke, people might start to mistake you for a human - sentimental and everything. I'll keep your secret, though." She taps the side of her nose before reaching out to place a hand on the tablet, pressing on it so that Luke is forced to set it on the table.

"The closest is still too far away to travel as safely as I used to. I imagine my cousin is appealing to Lady Dalton to increase my guard, but I don't want to pull too many fighters away from where they're needed. I don't want to say it in front of anyone around here, but I feel like our situation is a little more depserate than we're letting on. Still, it's my job, so I'll see to the evacs." Helena smiles briefly at Luke before taking up her drink and sitting back in her chair. "Enough talk of work. How are you doing?"

"I've tried cutting back. Sometimes it works, other times it does not." Luke replies before taking the water, a sip, and he screws his face, looking down to it, before taking another sip. "So I see.." chuckling softly, as he reclines easily, keeping a hand on his cool glass. "I'd rather them do that-personally. There's only so much the Crowseye, I can utterly stand."

Another sip And he is squinting, as he is still not entirely used to the sheer brightness. "If you have free roaming scout units, I would direct them in an irregular style-have them cover evacs much easier that way." Another sip and finally he sets the glass down on the faux iron table. "I am doing…Well. Yes, well-much better than you saw the other day."

Helena waves a hand dismissively. "Combat tactics aren't my thing. If he's looking for advice, I'll send Cynan your way to discuss strategy." And that is enough of that. Her expression softens as she peers at Luke over the rim of her glass. She swipes the pad of her thumb along the rim of her cup and considers something in silence. "Not that I'm interested in digging through all of your shit, Luke, but — well, okay, maybe I am a little bit."

The doc pauses again before leaning forward and resting her elbows on the table. She gazes at Luke intently. "What happened with Rook? I'm not judging you, because angels-know I am not in a position to do so, and I know it isn't going to change anything. I just wonder how you're doing - really."

"Really, and truly? I don't fucking know, Helena." Luke says following a short sigh. It's there, that he brings his hand up through his hair. "How we met is a bloody blur. I went to a party on the Ring, and managed to get myself stone drunk and into a fight. Apparently I took on a couple of burly Volkans over my eye-and needed to be patched up. She did that. When I awoke the next afternoon, I found that I was naked and had had sex-with her. I don't recall if it was good-or bad. It just happened." And now he is drinking more water.

"She hit me up a week later to let me know she was pregnant,and had said it was only me she had slept with." quiet for a moment longer as he looks away, watching something. "I was going to do the right thing-take care of the baby and her. That is the right thing." stressed as he looks back "I Don't part of me was fucking ecstatic. That I did that, that I was going to do that. I never figured I would-you know?"

Helena listens in silence, tracing her fingertips over her glass and collecting condensation until it begins to drip down her hand. "I know her, you know. Rook, I mean. We were - well, let's just say we were involved in some projects together, she and I, but after some complications with Nitrim - you know him, right? Lord Nitrim Khournas? After their relationship imploded, as is wont to happen when a noble and a citizen attempt to mingle, she withdrew. Left me with all of her crap trying to wrangle Nitrim singlehandedly. So, I wasn't super intimate with her or anything, but yeah."

The Dalton pauses, frowning down at her cup, before her lips twist into a wry smile. "Odds are she wasn't lying, you know. She probably thought it really was your kid. That's not really her thing, and I don't remember her ever wanting to be a mother or anything. She wasn't really in 'the place' for that, but shit changes when you're not looking, so what do I know? It's probably better for you now, though. Sure, people get a little excited thinking about being parents, but when it's unexpected, it's a little more painful than when you're planning for it. When you REALLY want it. When you're not just figuring out how to cope with it instead. Ahem. Well. Anyway."

"Yes, I do realize I've dipped my wick into the same ink pot as he." Luke adds with a wry grin, but that does not last. "As I can imagine wrangling one Nitrim Khournas is probably as easy as wrangling a fucking cat." Luke at least will come to leash when his brother says something, he is dutiful to his clan.

A small frown shows before he is shrugging. "It likely was. She will be indebted to House Lucian-which Fuck that. I would not want that of my child-and something tells me Lord Lucian is not the type to be intimidated by a Legion knight." And there he is reaching to refill his drink

"No, I know..Ideally bringing forth a child would be good if it was done properly-you know marriage and the like. But, let's be serious. I have fucked that road till it was dead and dry. My reputation has buried me. That was my shot." Of course that is Luke's opinion, which he shrugs off rather easily."I guess the whole thing got me reevaluating my choices."

Helena barks out a laugh, which surprises even her. She reaches over to pat Luke on the hand in a manner that would seem patronizing were it not for the fact that she's also trying to stifle a stream of giggles. "Honestly, Luke, you act like the world is caving in on you because you've been a bit of a troublemaking playboy. Consider that your reputation isn't as black as some - " she is, at least, polite enough not to mention any names - "and you still have many years ahead of you. Buckle down a little bit, maybe. You're handsome and funny and not so poorly placed that you don't have a chance int he world. You'll get married off before you know it, to some dutiful wife who will pop out fifty children for you. You'll be up to ears in dirty diapers and wondering why you ever wanted to give up the freedom of single life."

Helena, also know as Little Miss Sunshine, smiles at Luke in a manner that is far more smug than before. "And I will sit back and laugh at you, content in the fact that I've flown under Lady Dalton's radar for so long that I think she's silently allowed me to adhere to spinsterhood."

Luke snorts. "I am not a playboy. I don't own yachts or gliders, unless your version of a playboy gets drunk in the mead hall rather occasionally and picks fights with his fellow soldiers. Then yes, I am." A shake of his head. "No-It's not all bloody that- it's more the looks I am getting from family. Before I think my antics were easily tolerated. Now, I am not sure that I care for my own antics. I believe that is all."

The smug look gets a raise of a brow and a laugh. "Oh my dear, I doubt that will last for long. Not with all the Young Lords and Ladies suddenly vying to find someone to fill their beds."

"Filling beds is somewhere at the bottom of Lady Dalton's list - and mine - and my father's." Helena wrinkles her nose before dipping her fingers in her drink and flicking water toward Luke. "There is no need to be so damn crass about it, either. Let the children play at the marriage game, Luke; for people like you and me, it's a more serious affair than they would have it be. If it is meant to happen, it will, but in the meantime I have work to do. Perhaps you should find yourself a task to keep you occupied."

Helena is about to let the subject lapse, but the idea of a 'task' or 'project' causes her to sit up abruptly. Water sloshes over the edge of her glass as she refills it hastily while considering something. "You know, if you are desperately bored and can be spared, you can be my personal bodyguard when I have to go outside of Detritus."

"Alliances, however I do not think are out for Lady Dalton. Specially if you could bring troop support to an besieged Inculta." Luke quips, before he is chuckling. "I am ever crass-because that is the point. If we hide it behind niceties, we're just playing at games and not being truly honest." And cue more water being drained down. Damn Cheerful sun. "Hmm, like crossword puzzles on my tablet?"

Well that raises brows. "I do not know, I am sure if you sent a request to Marah it'd be okayed. I am back from the front at the present-so I know my free time is rather large unless you count in my training."

Helena watches Luke rather intently - not like a predator eyeing its prey, but rather like a mother trying to ferret out information from a reluctant child. "I don't go out as often as I used to, but if it's not your figurative cup of tea, I won't bother Lady Marah with a request. My guard is skilled, but…" Her voice trails off, and she blinks once before laughing. "No, I am not even of the main line, Luke. My marriage will not likely bring in anything useful at all. That is why I am left to my own devices."

Sitting back once more, Helena traces the tip of her tongue along her teeth while staring unblinking at Luke. A fingertip swirls around the rim of her cup. "There's something going on with you. What are you hiding from me, m'dear, I wonder?"

"Something, what do you mean m'dear?" Luke asks with a raise of a brow. Now he is glancing to his water glass for a moment. "And you sell yourself shot- You're definitely worthy some troop movements. You're a doctor and at least a somewhat well known one." He adds. "At least, I know you." a half grin there before he is shifting in his seat.

"I am not saying protecting your ass is not my cup of tea. I am rather good at killing hostiles and protecting those in my care." Luke adds. A glance back. "Would you want me menacing in all of my armor? I am rather impressive if you've not seen shots on the news."

Luke belatedly adds, "Marah just likes to know where I am, incase I cause shit."

Helena scoots her chair around, bringing herself much closer to Luke than traditional rules would allow. "Of course I'd want you in all your menacing armor, Luke. That is the job of a bodyguard, isn't it? Every woman likes to feel safe." Her smile is genuine, albeit brief, and she forces the subject to circle back around to him. "You were almost in a family way. Your response to that was, while surprising for some, not surprising for me. But when you spoke of it, there was a look about here —" she circles around her eyes with a finger — "and it was something I haven't seen before. She really got you thinking about settling down, didn't she?"

Luke doesn't seem to mind, when Helena comes around. After all he's known her for some time, and has easily shared some of his most embarrassing moments with her. "So I have been told. And tell me, do you feel safe with me, Lady Helena?" asked, teasing of course, before he is looking back-well taken aback by the next thing. "There was-in which eye?" because he is sure his cybernetic unit doesn't display emotion.

Eyes narrow, briefly-and then he looks as if to make sure someone is not just standing listening. "Maybe." Yes.

"Mmhmm." Helena slouches, leaning sideways to rest her elbow on the table and prop her cheek against her palm. She gazes at Luke with a knowing, almost victorious gaze - but it isn't smug. "Of course I feel safe with you, Luke, as safe as I feel around my brothers. Some girls might admire you as dangerous, but I know better." Her lips twist into a smile that is amused and - almost - sad. She ignores the question about his eyes.

"I'm almost mad that I care about you, because I can't even joke about this," Helena replies, her voice dropping into a quiet murmur. She studies Luke's face once more. "Who is she? Tell me about her."

"I am dangerous." Bluster not there in the declaration, but the chuckle stays with it, before he is looking about right at Helena. "You're looking at me with pity, aren't you?" And he is snorting now sure enough it's time for more water. Leaning forward his focus is there. "I am certainly more dangerous than a cat."

"Why would you be mad? I care about you. I think its a mutual caring-though I admit, you're less likely to give me gray hairs." And he glances back. "Oh shit." a laugh before he is drinking his water. "That obvious?" And now it's his turn to watch her for a moment's time. "Fine." the knight says softly. "An Orelle."

"It's not pity for you." Helena looks away finally, raising a hand to signal a servant forward. While she merely requests a fresh pitcher, she gestures for Luke to order whatever it is he would prefer. She knows him well enough to realize now is the time for a stiff drink. "I'm only mad because it's like open season for some quick wit, but I care about you too much to take advantage of your only vulnerability."

Helena waits for the servant to back away before continuing the conversation, perhaps out of some desire to preserve Luke's reputation. "An Orelle? That's a good start. Going to volunteer anything else or do I have to pry it out of you?"

"Pity then, for the person that I am about to name." Luke says as he falls silent. As for ordering something other than water, Luke for once does not. Rather he has resigned himself to the fate of flavored water for the day, or at least during this particular visit. A glance back before he is chuckling. "I give you permission to thoroughly skewer me, if that helps. The Six know, I have given you ample material today."

Eyes watch the servant come and go, before he is turning back towards her. "Lord Esiah's eldest daughter." A beat. "Do you know, Lady Doctor Rozlyn Orelle?"

Helena's lips purse, and for once she appears to be almost exasperated with him. "Nor pity for her, Luke, good grief." Rather than continue, she stifles her following words by practically drowning herself in her water; she raises the cup to her lips to take several hasty gulps. In the meantime, he has managed to fill the silence with his own words, which is all for the best. "I will not skewer you. Not about this. I'll save that for the wedding toasts."

The doc's eyelids flutter briefly as if some speck of dust has been blown into her eyes, and she turns her head away while dabbing at the corners with her fingertips. "Lady Rozlyn? I have heard the name, yes, and I have seen her around on The Ring before, but we are doctors of different sorts."

"Let me get it.." Meaning, the thing that is obviously in her eye- and he's leaning forward to reach out a hand. "Your sand here, I am surprised you don't have worse lung problems than I who smoke.." he adds, before he is shaking his head. "Fine, save it for then, if it lasts that long. I am positive she'll bolt," he adds as an aside.

"She's a very different girl, than what I am used to. And I like that. She's- I bloody don't know how to talk about her." he adds before offering Helena her glass of water. Luke doesn't pause for long. "I know, she studies the stars, an astrophysicist."

Helena flicks Luke's hand away and shakes her head, turning back to face him after a moment. "It's fine, I got it," she answers, sniffling as she draws a finger beneath an eye to wipe away the water. "The arid desert can dry us out, I admit, but we take our precautions - like drinking more water than we do liquor. Thank you." She accepts her water and takes a sip, gazing down at her hands. When Luke mentions Rozlyn's job, Helena offers an amused snort. "I can look her resume up on the 'Sphere, darling. That doesn't tell me what she's like, though. What do you like about her? Besides that she is 'a very different girl.' What makes her different?"

Luke peers. "Are you crying?" almost shocked there in tone, before he is waving a hand, and reaching for his own water. "Right." another sip as eyes look back, even if he doesn't face dead on. "She's two entirely different people. Much like myself. She has this..armor she's put on that is cool, and intellectual, and underneath. She's still intellectual, but there's this whole deeper person. She cares-though she tries to hide it away, she is work centric." a nod in Helena's direction. "I don't know. There's something I cannot quite describe that excites me about her." A beat. "I think it is because she accepts me for who I am."

"Crying? Really? You've never seen someone get something in their eye before?" Helena stares at Luke for a moment, lost for further response, but is relieved from having to be snarky by the change of subject. There isn't much that she has to say - or that even needs to be said - and so the Dalton is silent. She offers a listening ear and nothing more, allowing Luke his time to work through his thoughts.

Only when there is a very obvious pause in the conversation does Helena offer comment. "She sounds very lovely, although…" She bites down on her lower lip and shakes her head quickly before offering a warm smile. "Actually, no. This is really good, Luke. If you are happy, then I am happy for you. How long have you been spending time with her?"

There's a look before he is taking another drink. Brining the bass up carefully, Luke runs the moisture on the outside along his brow before lowering it. "I believe, I have-I've seen many things go into an eye." he adds before setting his glass down. "I didn't mean to insinuate or insult."

A raise of a brow"No-you were going to say something. Say it. I am ever, if honest with you, you can do the same with me." And he folds his arms at his chest-though he does answer the question. "We have seen each other off and on at different times. It's not courting, really."

Helena presses her lips together in a thin line, and it is obvious that she is really hesitant to naysay anything that makes Luke happy. "I was going to say that it's wonderful you both have much in common, but this armor - this facade - people wear masks because they are hiding something or hiding from something. I know this, and you know this too. So just be wary about the baggage that comes along, and don't wave it off just because you're bringing your own." Isn't it just odd for the inexperienced to be handing out relationship advice willy-nilly?

"Anyway, just be careful. I took an oath as a doctor to never do harm, and I don't want to have to break it for your sake. I'll do it without hesitation, though." Helena allows the doom-and-gloom to linger for only a moment longer before she straightens in her seat, flicks the last of the water out from beneath her eyes (NO, SHE IS NOT CRYING) and offers Luke an exceedingly cheerful smile. "Be careful about 'seeing each other', Luke. What you might not consider courting, her parents may."

"I think she is aware of my baggage.." Luke says as eyes narrow in a most scrutinizing way. Clearly he is not entirely buying the concerned doctor routine, but in that same breath, he is not pushing to question it either. "I will be careful, lest my heart is shatterd-though I must say I find it amusing, picturing you in my head going into some lab to start a fight. Beakers flying and the like." the knight adds on.

"Oh I think we're being careful in that I don't think anyone has courted her before. We've had drinks, and we've sparred. She is planning to come and visit soon. To drink in the mead hall-so that should be interesting." he adds.

Nobody can wear a mask quite like Helena. She slouches back in her seat, letting her water cup dangle from her fingers as she looks to Luke with an amused expression. The hard-working doctor was born armored. "I am not that kind of woman, Luke, which is probably why you're so amused by the picture. I wouldn't do anything directly harmful, at least not physically. But a girl doesn't just give away her secrets, even to you, so that's all I'll say." She shifts in her seat, crossing her legs at the knee and setting her foot to bounce lightly. "That should be interesting."

"No, they do not, whatever those secrets may be." Luke states with a crossing of his leg over the other. "You bloody well know I've not said a thing you've ever shared to me." Whatever that has to do with all this, isn't explained further. "Yes, I offered perhaps a more appropriate venue, but she is set on seeing where I bullshit with my friends. Her quote." he adds-though if one could imagine it likely came from Luke first.

"You would tell me, if there should be some other reason of concern or something for me to think on, would you?" the knight, asks.

Helena laughs quietly. "Ohhh, Luke, don't act so injured. I don't really know what I'd do, so I just pretend it's a secret, but I'm not even going to pretend your heart is fragile. I'm just saying the silly things best friends say. I mean them, though." Still chuckling to herself, she leans forward and refills her water glass for the umpteenth time; it's probably a miracle she doesn't have to use the bathroom yet.

"Oops." The pitcher slips from her grasp and lands on the table with a clang before tipping over. Helena's free hand darts out to snatch it up. "I'm sorry, what did you ask?" She swipes the water off of the table, letting it splash to the ground; they are outside, after all, so it'll dry up quickly. "The mead hall is a crappy place for a date."

Luke rolls his eyes. "Oh please, Helena. I'll act wounded if it suits." A shake of his head and he is getting up, before reaching for the pitcher. Nothing like a force of hands in this situation. "Let me, please. Your home I'm ever your guest and humble." he adds, before he is looking back to her. "Of course it is, but it is Ignis, is it not?" he asks, before he is swatting away some of the water.

"Seriously though, You would tell me, yes?" And now he's focused on her in a way that a pitcher of water shan't save her. "Don't knock over your glass this time."

The doctor has the decency to blush a little as Luke rises to help her clean up the little mess. "Oh shut up," she snaps at him, wrapping her fingers around her water glass and glaring forcefully at some point around his chin; she isn't meeting his gaze this time around. "And you're a complete cad. Don't ask me questions like that. Don't force me to be that kind of person, the kind who throws in the wrench. I am trying to deflect gracefully to save a little face and be the better man. You are not helping anyone by trying to force my hand."

Helena's voice slowly rises in pitch, but oddly enough lowers in volume until she is hissing out a harsh whisper. She punctuates her final statement by slamming her glass onto the table, causing it to slosh wildly. "Accept my happiness for you, Luke, and give yourself a pat on the back for being the only person to piss me off."

There's a bit of a blink there in that moment before he is tilting his head ever so slightly. "Oh, you have to be bloody kidding me." Luke says softly, before he is raising a brow back at her. "No-no. I am sorry it's not that fucking easy." he says as he remains there. He rises up and she does. "I am not going to give myself a. Oh gods dammit." All rambled out mish mash.

"Are you not telling me, that I have overlooked something for the past some odd years-because I took." And he is quiet for a second, before sliding his hands into his pockets. "This." But Luke, cannot finish it.

If Helena were a teapot, there would be steam coming out of her ears. "It would have been that easy if you'd have just fallen in with the usual social graces and let me bless you and send you along to your date, Luke. I am the bad person now, so I will take my punishment gracefully by blessing you and sending you along on your date anyway. This is starting to sound like a drama 'vid, and that is why I am a workaholic. This is why I worked so much that I was injecting enough stims a week to revive a dead drake."

Helena rises abruptly from her seat, but standing feels just as awkward as sitting. She drops down onto the edge of chair, leaning forward to press her elbows hard against the surface of the table. "This is ridiculous. We are friends. Forget the rest of it."

"You are not a poor person, if you are speaking your feelings. Besides, I believe if you've got something to share you should bloody well share it." And there Luke narrows his eyes for a moment, before he watches her come down to sit. And there he walks over, placing a hand on her shoulder. "I can't forget the bloody rest of it."

And so he releases his hold on her shoulder. "I do wish though, you would have said something. Anything." as to her exclamation about it being a drama vid, he just chuckles, though weakly. "I don't- I don't know."

"Not poor, but bad, and bad because of my timing." Helena reaches up to pat Luke's hand briefly before it slips away. She drops her hands to the table and curls them around her cup. "It was never a very good time, and I was never very sure it would matter anyway. I was raised believing it was weakness of character to invest in love when so many marriages are arranged. Anyway, do your best to forget it, darling. You are my friend first no matter what. So come on, sit down, gossip with me some more about Lady Rozlyn or something. I can't bear for you to leave before we've erased this. You said that you both had sparred? I wasn't aware she was much of a fighter; she's so slight of stature."

"Darling, you're not bad. But-had you said something. Still say something, It could be." and he doesn't finish his sentence before he is coming over to sit down by her. "We are ever friends, and will be ever friends." that much is certain. Of course, this now leaves the knight in an odd place. Luke does move to sit down close to Helena. "Darling, I do not think this is something that is easily erased. And it does give me much to think on." quiet for a second. "I was not either, but she had challenged me or rather I offered when she spoke about it. She's quite good, really."

Helena glances sidelong to Luke. Perhaps it is promising that he is not exploding at her or storming away. Her smile is tentative but genuine. "I have no intention of putting you in a difficult position, Luke. As you say, we will ever be friends no matter what happens, so know that." She pauses for a moment before lets slip a quiet laugh. "You should have seen your face. You spluttered. I don't even think you finished a single sentence. I'm pleased to know I can still unsettle you, the Crow, the badass." Reaching out, she chucks him under the chin. "I'm leaving tomorrow. I'll be gone about three days if all goes as planned."

"Assuming Hostiles don't find us and end up skinning us alive," Helena adds cheerfully.

Luke raises a brow to that. "Are you going to the settlements then, because if so I will come along. After all I did agree to be your bodyguard." He adds before he chuckles softly. one hand catch hers, before he is reaching to box her cheek lightly. "You will ever be able to do that. I think you're one of the few people who know how." he adds, before he chuckles. "Well, lets hope that the Hostiles are not planning on joining us on our vacation. I am sure that'd add strain and what not to an otherwise cheerful trip into the desert."

A shake of his head. "Please do not call me the badass You'll give me a head, or something."

"Hah, cheerful trip? Realize that if you volunteer to help me, you'll be hauling supplies like a pack mule. I may even have you rough up a couple of administrators who have been thorns in my side for months now." Helena opens her mouth, leaning in toward Luke's hand to mime biting him as he pulls back. Her amused smile drifts away after a moment, however, and she squints at the Grantham. "Are you sure you want to come along, then? It's only a few days, I know, but a few days of roughing it while also dealing with bureaucracy. The settlements aren't as lavishly laid out as Detritus. 'Tent in the desert' isn't just a saying."

"I am fully aware of what happens, when I am roped into volunteering with you, Helena. I know all too well, that I am likely to be abused, should have my armor present and will need to simply be on my game as The Crow, if you are to get your way with your administrators." A shake of his head before he is squinting back. "If you need the protection, then I am your knight." apparently being in the desert or in tents doesn't seem to phase the knight who lives amongst volcanos. Luke raises a brow. "So, be here on the morrow or?"

The sharpness of Helena's grin softens, and she stares at Luke in silence for a minute. "Alright," she offers finally, finding no other reason to keep him from saying yes. She is, at least, skilled at containing her glee, and instead busies herself with collecting the pitcher and their drink glasses and arranging them on the tray to be picked up by a servant. "Bright and early in the morning. We're getting an early start so that we can get there before dark. They don't have a Waygate, but we can take one to the closest location and then drive the rest of the way."

Helena is quiet for a moment before she reaches for her forgotten tablet and taps the screen on. "Speaking of which, I have a meeting to attend and then have to double-check our supplies before we leave tomorrow. Thank you, Luke, for everything. I — don't drink too much tonight if you can help it. I'll have fluids on standby in case you do, though."

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