03.16.3014: Third Party Verification
Summary: Cyrielle, distraught with recent Nitrim issues, turns to the advice and comfort of Nitrim's one-time go-to brothel girl and their mutual friend, Catriona. Rumors of Evey and Nitrim on the InfoSphere make troubled problems grow more complicated.
Date: 08 December 2013
Related: Them Crooked Vultures is referenced.

Catriona Rey's apartment — Volkan Commercial District
The description for the room is included in the set.
March 16, 3014

Night begins to fall over Volkan and the last of the lengthened shadow cast by the ever-watching Blackspyre blends into the darkness that blankets the city. Streetlights and neon-signs from Volkan's commercial district spring to life, casting the rainy streets in new shadows that waver with the steam rising from the manhole covers and storm drains that line the paved roads. A new shift of Citizenry takes to the vein-like infrastructure, some hustling to their nighttime jobs while others descend upon the popular district for dinner and entertainment.

One such person who is not working the evening is Catriona Rey. The one-time and still occasional brothel girl is alone at her medium-scale loft apartment that overlooks one of the district's many nightclubs through a haze of iron fire escape architecture. The walls are clad in a myriad of popular art prints, cheap statues, movie posters, and silks all designed to cover up the unsightly brick and meager hardwood flooring. The sounds of light house techno music coming from the speakers that have been nailed to the corners of the walls only manages to drown out the occasional horn or speeding vehicle from the streets below.

With the last of her laundry put away, Catriona steps down the stairs from her lavish bedroom; her hands cinching the drawstring of a pair of light-material black pants over her hips. Patting her firm abdomen gently, she reaches for the pale blue shirt that rides its way down the stairs on her shoulder and slips it down over her body. Oversized and baggy, the shirt immediately falls over her shoulder, leaving her tanned, asiatic-featured skin bare. As she turns towards her kitchen, she scoops her long, black hair out of the back of her shirt and reaches for her teapot and sets the range of her stove to begin heating as the water is poured.

There have been a lot of things running rampant in Cyrielle's mind. Worries, primarily. She had begged leave from the overbearing nature of the household staff at Beacon to visit friends and stole away to Volkan to see Nitrim for the first time since her release from Willowtree. The visit didn't go badly, perhaps, but it didn't go well, either. The worries are digging deeper and deeper; small virii of their own accord as they work their way into her subconscious.

Not feeling up to returning back to Beacon where more fussing awaits and unsure where else to go, she finds herself moving the streets on those awkward crutches, voluminous hood up and over her head to hide her — somewhat — from the paparazzi that linger outside the Blackspyre and seek potential stories. Thankfully, Willowtree kept them at bay; no need to have patients beset by such pests. Parasites, the lot of them: living off the suffering of others.

Without anywhere else to go, Cyrielle finds herself approaching Catriona's place. She's not used to crutches and growing tired; it's a split-second decision, perhaps, with a hope that the woman is home. Inside the building and into the elevator… it's not long before she's before the door to that loft. Drawing in a breath, Cyrielle extracts her hand from one of the crutches and provides a light, rapid knock.

Cyrielle's knock echoes through the room, bringing a look of surprise to Catriona's face. Lips parting, she nearly responds, but the idea of an uninvited guest stops her. Huffing a lock of her long, black hair away from her eye, she quickly finishes pouring the water into the teapot and sets it on the stove. Grabbing a towel, she turns from the kitchen and strides to the door, wiping her hands clean as she goes.

Approaching the large, red door, she places her palms to the wood and leans in to look through the wall-eye. Her features bathe in curiosity annd surprise, and the sound of multiple locks ratcheting follows.

"Lady Cyrielle?" Catriona asks as she opens the door wide, moving out of the way so that her guest can have access to her home. "Please, come in. I was just putting on some tea; let me get your coat."

Crutches back in place, Cyrielle moves through the doorway into the room. There's a look cast for Catriona. "Please, no titles. Not when it's just us." Not when the woman has held her while she cried over Nitrim's state, after the battle in Obsidia. It just wouldn't be right. She straightens and carefully puts her weight on the new leg, making sure it'll stay proper beneath her. The buckles of the coat are tugged at absently and she lets it slide from one arm, then the other; opposite hand holding the crutches each time.

"I hope I'm not intruding," she offers once the coat is removed, held lightly in Cat's direction. "I just… I didn't really know where else to go and I was getting tired."

"What? No, no it's quite alright, Cyri, I just didn't know if you had a crowd with you." Catriona leans out of the doorway to look from left to right before she closes the door behind her guest, locking it once more. "Leave it to your boy to make a girl paranoid about tails and tabloids."

Throwing the towel onto her shoulder, Catriona follows closely beside Cyrielle, offering her an arm for support as she leads her towards one of her many comfortable, leather sofas. "Nitrim mentioned you'd got some work done, poor thing. I'll make you a cuppa and get you comfortable. You know my door is always open for either of you." The words, however, slow, taking on that knowing tone of curiosity, as the talented courtesan has caught on that something is out of place.

"No crowd," Cyrielle says with a soft snort. "I think I just managed to catch them before they got back from dinner. There were only a couple out there and I guess they don't recognize me or had something else in mind." She ends up with a tail every so often, but as she's just Nitrim's latest interest and doesn't get into as much trouble — that they witness — on her own… they get bored swiftly. Especially since she's not a Paramount, nor of a Khournas vassal.

Settling into a couch after disengaging from Cat, Cyrielle sinks back into it and extends her legs out. The right moves a bit slower, a bit more haltingly. "He did?" There's that piqued curiousity in her tone. "What… ah, did dhe have to say about it?"

"Nothing specific." Catriona leans across the large sofa to grab a pair of pillows. Offering one to Cyrielle, she sets the other onto the nearby coffee table to allow a comfortable, elevated position for her new, cybernetic leg. "He didn't go into in much; it was a really short conversation. He just said he was heading into Landing to see you at the hospital and said he had a gift box for you."

Leaning in to give Cyrielle a quick hug, the hostess slips away back to the kitchen. She opens the fridge door and some cupboards, preparing a snack of some sort. "Are things okay with you two? I saw that thing with him and the reporters on the Sphere."

"He brought by a few things," Cyrielle affirms, shifting to get more comfortable. Those things now hold important places in her room at Beacon. And likely will be even more important within the treehouse, once she's able to resume residency there. The Hollolas does remove her boot, sitting back to study the bare, gleaming foot. It's still so surreal for her.

"What thing?" There's a glance towards the kitchen area and Cyrielle leans around slightly, "I… haven't seen anything on the 'Sphere recently." She's evading the question for the moment.

Catriona's almond-shaped eyes look up from the delicate gathering of ingredients: a bowl, hummus-like paste and a lightly garlic collection of flatbreads. Her eyes meet Cyrielle's briefly, a new concern threading into her eyebrows as she kisses a brush of garlic away from her knuckle.

"The control for the box is on the coffee table, it should be in my history." Catriona nods towards the small, plastic device in question as the teapot begins to whine, prompting the woman to return to her work. "I think it was the reporter starting a question about his sister that set him off, and he nearly hit the guy. I was really happy to see that he didn't." She pauses for a thoughtful beat. "Then - you know him - he went on one of those walks it looked like."

Biting into her lip, Cyrielle shifts and leans forward, grabbing the device that controls the Infosphere display. She works through the history until she finds it, letting the footage play out at a muted volume while she adjusts her leg again. Fingers rub, absently, at that space above her knee where flesh meets synthetic material.

"Reena was the member of his family least likely to get caught up in something like that," she offers after a moment. The young woman is frowning though before switching the display off as the footage ends with his back disappearing into the streets. "I hope he's alright…" There's a brief moment where she considers reaching out to him and yet…

Cyrielle's view of the screen is replaced by Catriona's hip as she returns with a small tray. The hummus-like food is centered between two mugs of steaming, woodsy tea, spoons, a small bottle of honey, and a bowl of sugar. Sitting down beside Cyrielle, Catriona leans out and takes one of the mugs into her slender hands. The spoon makes quick work of making Cyrielle's preference before the drink is handed over.

"He pushes himself too hard. Always." Catriona reflects as she begins work on her own drink, favoring honey over sugar. "I haven't heard from him since it happened either so your guess is as good as mine, Cyri. You know him better than I do, though. Do you think he'll be fine?" Catriona glances down her shoulder to Cyrielle. "Are you going to be fine?"

Cyrielle's view of the screen is replaced by Catriona's hip as she returns with a small tray. The hummus-like food is centered between two mugs of steaming, woodsy tea, spoons, a small bottle of honey, and a bowl of sugar. Sitting down beside Cyrielle, Catriona leans out and takes one of the mugs into her slender hands. The spoon makes quick work of making Cyrielle's preference before the drink is handed over.

"He pushes himself too hard. Always." Catriona reflects as she begins work on her own drink, favoring honey over sugar. "I haven't heard from him since it happened either so your guess is as good as mine, Cyri. You know him better than I do, though. Do you think he'll be fine?" Catriona glances down her shoulder to Cyrielle. "Are you going to be fine?"

Taking the mug, Cyrielle murmurs a soft thanks as she wraps her hands around it. Winter may be finding an end, but there's some things the warmth of a hot drink can always soothe. Worries are one of them. The woman looks towards the 'Sphere display, hitting a button on the controls to let it run, but at a very muted volume. Perhaps keeping an eye out for anything further on the errant Khourni lordling…

"I just worry," she voices finally, glancing over towards their mutual friend. "About him, mostly… About what he might do, now that he's lost family. He can be so reckless…" Cyrielle draws in a slow breath and blows across the surface of her tea, before taking a sip.

Watching Cyrielle over the rim of her mug, Catriona blows gently over the tea, sending rippled waves across its surface. With a scoot of her hips, she turns to face Cyrielle and draws her knees up to her chest. She takes her first, pensive sip.

"So there wasn't a fight or anything, right?" Catriona asks, blind to the message notification that pops up on her InfoSphere screen. "I think you're right to worry, but I knew the Nitrim then and I know the Nitrim now, and I can tell you that he's a lot more in control of who he is now." Catriona pauses for another sip. "He's damaged goods, but he's yours."

There's a shift and Cyrielle looks towards her foot again. The new one. So foreign; each articulated toe still clearly showing where the joins are. There's no synthskin yet; maybe she'll never get it. Her nerves are taking longer than she — or the doctors — wants to integrate. She waited too long.

The message notification doesn't go unnoticed by the Hollolas and notes the subject line. Curiousity gets the better of Cyrielle and she taps the control to bring it up. The image is there, glaring them down. Cast in the brilliant light from a streetlamp. Jaw shifts slightly and she envinces a frown. "Is he?"

The image on Catriona's screen becomes an instant weight to the conversation. The awkwardness of it layering thick enough to be cut with a chainsaw, Catriona cannot help but stare. Her well-plucked brows knit together and she lets out a long, pained sigh over the rim of her mug.

"Have you tried messaging him or calling him? Is he blocking you out?" Catriona asks, setting her mug down to turn and offer her hand to Cyrielle. "I…it looks suspicious, but he's not smiling, I don't know. If he calls, he cares, but…" Catriona glances back to the image on the screen, this time frowning deeply. "I don't think he would now, Cyri. I really don't but…has he mentioned anything like wishing his life was different? Has he been dodgy?"

The expression on Cyrielle's features is unreadable. The woman hasn't had cause to dissemble much as of late; the situations in which she feels the need to hide her feelings had been more rare. Now, however… it's less a desire to hide and more the fact that she doesn't kno. Fingers tighten on the mug she holds, but she leans towards Catriona slightly.

"I… I haven't seen him much. He.. hadn't come to see me after I was released from Willowtree. So I went to see him and- well, you saw the state he left Blackspyre in. He's so upset about… about Reena, I thought…" But now? Now Cyrielle isn't so sure. Her jaw tightens and she swallows, leaning forward to set down the mug. To free it from her hands lest something happen. "What if… what if the rumors are right, Cat? That he was only interested because I was broken? What if being fixed… what if he's bored now?"

Lowering her knees, Catriona slips closer to Cyrielle's side on the sofa and wraps an arm around her slender frame. With her free hand, she brushes her fingertips through Cyrielle's hair and makes a pained, sigh-like sound. She switches roles quickly - from ex-girlfriend, to friend, to counselor - like a woman in her profession is trained, and the transition is seamless in appearance.

"Nitrim wouldn't lie to him if you asked him." Catriona's fingers tuck a lock of hair behind Cyrielle's ear. "I think that…the two of you both being on the mend is what helped you two become friends, but with everything he did I don't think he's that guy that just wants new things. Cyri, I—" Catriona's voice catches in her throat. "I don't think that's what this is, but if it is he doesn't deserve you. I just don't think he's that kind of bastard."

When you keep walls up around so many, they crash all the harder around those specific few. Catriona is one of the few. Cyrielle falls against the woman as she's brought in, resting her head in against the shoulder provided once she's within the former-courtesan's arms. Quiet for a moment, she drinks in the offering.

"I'm afraid to ask him," she admits after a moment. "What if something has changed?" Cyrielle lifts a hand to drape against Cat's shoulder, fingers curling into the flesh bared by the over-sized shirt. "I didn't ask to fall in love, Cat. It's not fair."

"Oh, girl…" Catriona breathes, wrapping her arms in a cradle around the noblewoman, fingertips continuing down Cyrielle's scalp in simple lines as her arms squeeze and draw her into the warmth. The sofa becomes a cocoon; an attempt at a safe place. "…your heart picked a tough one. I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's not fair with them, Cyri. It never is. You're doing just fine, okay?"

"The truth about him, Cyri, is that things are always changing with him, but there's something about him that doesn't change. I think it's different for everyone he comes across. It's like he has little cubby holes that he puts people in at his heart and sometimes those things fester, and sometimes they make all the difference to him." Catriona whispers. "He can be so hard to read."

It's a place safer than most. Cyrielle has done her best to never have a tail when visiting Catriona. She's taken some tips picked up from Nitrim for it, as well as some of her own tactics from hunting. Anyone who finds her here… perhaps they deserve to locate her, for all the effort that'd be put forth.

"I don't want to be compartmentalized," Cyrielle says, voice showing the pain. "I don't want to be sectioned and filed away. He has the whole of me…" Or so she thinks, in that way a person does when they've built up so much, even they forget what lies beneath. "He knows I don't want him to do anything reckless… and I fear he'll push me away so that he can."

"I think that he doesn't feel safe unless he's doing something reckless. Maybe this is what's been bothering him? Maybe he wants to change and he's having a hard time of it." Catriona replies, her hand coming to a stop at the back of Cyrielle's shoulders. Her slender body turns, pressing her back into the cushions, and offers her lap to the noblewoman to stretch out and get comfortable.

"He doesn't talk to me about you; I don't think he talks to anyone." Catriona continues, her bare shoulder rolling against Cyrielle's fingertips as she brushes a hand down her back. "What do you need me to do? Is there something I can do to help?"

With the shift, Cyrielle draws her leg from the table. She tucks both legs up under herself on the cushion, draping against Catriona. There's a brief, stray thought that Nitrim would like to see the two of them like this… The beginnings of a wry chuckle break from her before she cuts herself off.

"There's being reckless because it's the right thing to do, because someone needs to and there's… being reckless just for the sake of it." Cyrielle turns her head into Cat's shoulder, drawing in a deep breath. Trying to hold a calm. "I'd almost rather he be back on red-eye than chasing some adrenaline high by putting himself in danger at every turn."

"On red-eye he's thoughtless." Catriona breathes the words out heavily as her cheek comes to rest against the side of Cyrielle's head. Her hands begin to move again, one brushing her hair while the other gently rubs against her spine. "He…he gets like a paper bag in the wind. It's not self destruction, it's more like he just doesn't fight the flow. Girl, you would not want him back on the red-eye. The fact that he's trying to stay off of it means something but…you'd lose him to it. Even if you were married, it would be his first wife and you'd lose track of him. It…fuck I shouldn't be sharing this but," Catriona swallows. "There came a point where I wouldn't spend time with him while he was on it because I wanted to make sure he could even tell I was who he thought I was."

Catriona's head shifts, something about Cyrielle's laughter giving her a way to break free of the tension. She chuckles, too. "What?"

"He was on red-eye the night he heard the news about Reena," Cyrielle murmurs, voice still quiet. "We had a vid-call and… I was scared for him. He visited me in the hospital and he wasn't on it, but…" She worries. Worries that he is. Worries that it's the reason they've had less communication lately. "I'm off the AMP myself," comes a sudden admission. "I took a trip into the Forest of Eden… Didn't take any with me." Which meant a detox.

The question draws a slight glance towards the 'Sphere display. "I just… realized he'd like seeing us together. It was a selfish thought."

"Oh for fucks sake turn that off." Catriona mock-grumbles, her fingers untangling from Cyrielle's hair to reach for the remote control. With a press of the button the InfoSphere changes from the picture of Nitrim and Evey to a muted station playing music videos and rockin' news reports of entertainers rallying for the war effort. "You don't need to see that, Cyri. Fuck that picture." The remote is tossed to the sofa, where it bounces off of a cushion and bats Cyrielle in the thigh.

Arms back to Cyrielle, Catriona laughs gently against her shoulder and presses a kiss to the side of her heard. "I…don't doubt that he would." Catriona laughs once again, breathy and whispered. "But I wouldn't want him here tonight anyway. I was going to stay in and I think I needed the company, too." Her fingers begin to trek through Cyrielle's hair once more. "Are you feeling any better?"

There's a mournful look for the Sphere's display, but Cyrielle won't protest it. She knows Catriona is right about this. She doesn't need to see it. Or she'll obsess over it. She'll watch it over and over again. "That's Lady Evey in that picture," she says, unable to hold back all of it. "she… she has an interest in him." Which could explain why it affected her as much as it did.

r"I'm glad you were home," Cyrielle says, shifting against Catriona to find a more comfortable position. A place to put her arms around the slim woman. It's a cozy sort of thing. "A little better… but a little worse, too. I don't know what I'll say to him."

"Then don't think about it tonight." Catriona replies with a little laugh, draping her arms over Cyrielle's shoulders languidly, stretching them out until they close like doors around her body. "Because you're comfy, he's complicated, and we're going to order food and stay in. You're staying over. You've got no choice in this."

"So if Nitrim is being bad and if Evey was a Citizen, I want you to know I'd totally guard the door while you shave her head." Catriona giggles, pressing a kiss to Cyrielle's cheek. "But hush, okay? He's just being moody and he isn't fucking some girl. I promise. Promise."

"I really don't," Cyrielle says with a soft grunt; half-agreement and half-surprise. All put on, perhaps. "This is far superior to home, where they fuss over me like I'm some fragile doll from the Vale." Sure, her leg aches and she can't get around even like she could pre-surgery yet, but she doesn't like being fussed over so. This is better.

"I know you would," Cyrielle says at the offer, unable to contain a soft laugh of her own. Eyes close and she settles in, breathing a small sigh. "I know he isn't," she admits, voice soft, "but I'm still afraid. He's never been like this with me before."

"Maybe that's a good sign. If he's the guy that runs or just disappears and he's showing you a different side, then maybe he's trying to say something?" Catriona is all open-ended questions this night as her chest rises and falls with a deep breath. With gentle hands and a softness to her words, she plucks a stray thread from Cyrielle's shirt and brushes it aside, grooming her. "You are just a ball of stress," Catriona continues, her fingers kneading into the knots at the back of Cyrielle's neck. "You have so much going on and you're worried and I just want you to get comfortable, okay? I'm not too boney, am I?"

Already, Cyrielle is relaxing. Catriona just knows where to get at those knots. The Hollolas lets out a small sigh and sinks into the sofa further. "You're never too bony, Cat," she teases softly, stretching to press a kiss to the woman's cheek. Something with that familiar edge to it. "There's always something going on, it seems."

After a moment of quiet, just cuddling there with the woman, Cyrielle adds: "Thank you, Cat. You've been there for me more than I could ask." And from there, she's perfectly content to put everything else aside for now and just try to relax and eat some of the delicious delivery that Volkan has to offer.

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