Under the Bright Lights

The war between Vampires and Lycans has ended, but an even deadlier threat has risen: Humanity. The world of immortals is a secret no longer, and terrified humans seek to exterminate the source of their fear. Vampires, Lycans, and other immortal species now hide themselves, struggle to survive, and fight back. Their future and their very existence are at stake.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

His plans for the morning vanished like mist - like most plans, actually. Part of getting through life was getting your priorities straight and Riff figured that how he got his priorities sorted had worked pretty well for him thus far, so he mightaswell follow his instincts. Besides, he had a nagging feeling like he knew something that he should be telling Isaac and Gilda about.

"I'll come with. Awful good of that bus driver to spot them and wait. If they get spooked by that, at least you'll have an extra nose around."

He hoped it wouldn't come to that. He kissed Maria and Sofie on the tops of their heads and headed out with the Fishblatts. The drive gave him a moment to think on what it was that he should be remembering. What would make the girls want to run away - especially if they seemed happy where they were? What would make them leave a good thing behind and take a chance on the unknown?

"I think...it has to do with Alice. One of the Fae said something about her not being a minor. Maybe that's it? They're scared you'll kick Alice out if you know how old she is? I mean, it's obvious to me that you wouldn't...but maybe not to them, yet. Think those girls might have some trust issues."

Like most kids in the foster system. Like most Fae that have spent any time with humans that weren't as kind as those of Fog Island.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Gilda and Isaac Fishblatt

Gilda drew in her breath. "Oh. That makes sense. We just sent in paperwork asking to foster Alice, too. If she realized that, she must have thought we were about to find out."

Isaac nodded. "It doesn't make any difference how old she is, of course. It's not like you suddenly stop needing a family the second you turn eighteen. If anything, it only makes the legalities easier, since there's no question of who has formal custody of her. But I can see why she would be worried."

"And because Katie lied," Gilda said softly. "For understandable reasons. She was trying to protect her sister. But I suppose she thought we wouldn't understand."

The Hollywell bus station was small. Just a single outdoor quay with a bench, the garage, and a low, squat building with a ticket counter, waiting room, washrooms, and an ancient vending machine. Buses passed through a few times a day, headed toward Saint Mary or outbound for the even smaller towns further out on the island. It shouldn't be too hard to locate two young girls; if they were waiting for a bus, they wouldn't go far.

"We should split up," Isaac said. The lingering smell of bus exhaust would make finding them by scent harder, even with a Lycan nose. "If they see us coming, they may try to take off in a different direction before we get a chance to talk to them. Riff, if you find them first, just let them know it's going to be okay."

It would indeed be Riff who found them first, huddled around the corner out side of the garage with their backpacks, trying to watch the quay inconspicuously for the arrival of their bus.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

"Hey gals. It's okay - no one's mad or anything."

He hadn't wanted to startle them, but he realized as he opened his mouth that they hadn't seen him coming. Their wide eyes made him blurt out a general reassurance. Holding his hands out as if he could by gesture alone get them to sit back down, he took their pause to try to better explain.

"They know you're not a minor, Alice, but they aren't worried about that. They still want to give both you girls a home. These folks got a lot more love and understanding that you're used to, I think. Really. Isaac and GIlda...they're good people and they're not going to abandon you over surprise information."

He sat across from them, crosslegged on the grass, knowing that his position was visible from the parking area and thus Isaac and Gilda should be able to spot him and guess what was going on. There really was no need to call them as no one was in any real danger. Besides, it seemed like the girls could use a minute to soak up the news.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Katie and Alice

The girls hadn't noticed Riff coming, and they both jumped when he addressed them. Alice sank back against the wall, and Katie started scanning furiously for avenues of escape.

His words brought them up short. Katie stared at him - was he lying? Alice just looked baffled.

"Why? Why would they...?"

There wasn't time for much speculation, because Gilda and Isaac turned up mere moments after Riff - it didn't take long to search such a small area.

Katie folded her arms defiantly. Alice started to cry.

"I'm sorry!" Alice sobbed. "I shouldn't have... I didn't mean to... well, I did, but..." She gasped, trying to catch her breath. "I turned eighteen three weeks ago. Three weeks! How much difference does three weeks make? Enough that I should die...?"

Gilda's brow creased with a concerned frown. "Three weeks makes no difference at all. But why were you afraid you would die? Was it because you had nowhere to stay?"

Alice shook her head. "I'm sick. Not just from the experiments Dr. Kraus did. I was sick before that."

Katie was visibly startled; she hadn't known that either.

"Sorry, Katarzyna. I should have told you," Alice looked miserable. "I didn't want to worry you. I have HIV. It's... not going well. But if I was a kid, it could have gotten better. I could have gone to the doctor and gotten medicine. I could have gone back to high school. I could have been just a regular person. Not... how I was living. But I'm sorry. Gilda, Isaac - you've been so nice, and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have lied."

"It's okay," Isaac assured her. "We understand. Now that we know, we can sort this all out. Your health, your schooling - this is all fixable, Alice. But you girls have to stick around so we can help you. No more running away."

"I promise," Alice told him. Katie, chastened by what had just happened, nodded too.

"And then I think we all need a break," Gilda said. "A little getaway from all of it. Maybe a camping trip? For the Pack, so we can get to know our new people. What do you think, Riff?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

Alice being sick from something other than horrible experimentation was a bit of a surprise, though Riff realized it shouldn't be. Stuff happened all the time. To adults. To kids. Horrors and bad luck didn't pick and choose their victims based on some sort of moral code. And while that all might be true, it still hurt his heart to see it happen.

He had smiled almost with relief as Issac and Gilda renewed their commitment to the girls. Both girls. He had never really worried that things would go any way other than in which they had, but still. For two people to take bad news, look it in the eye, and say 'we can deal with this' - was less common than one might think.

Gilda's suggestion set the werewolf right back into his positive, cheerful self. "A camping trip sounds like a great plan! Oh boy!" Riff was nothing if not enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, despite having spent cold nights outside and on the road, Riff hadn't a hot clue about what camping entailed. Sure, he'd seen pictures and heard stories - which had the whole thing rather romanticized in his mind - but he'd never actually gone and done it himself. But really, how hard could it be? It was just another adventure to take with his w...girl and his daughter.

Catching a ride back to the motel with the Fishblatts, he had just enough time to put together a picnic lunch and walk over to the library to pick up Maria and Sofie. Ducks were watched. Sandwiches were (mostly) eaten. The morning's excitements relayed. It was an enjoyable way to take a mid-day break. After Maria went back to work, he hit the pavement once more, finishing up his tour of Hollywell. No bites, though he'd helped a guy load a couch into the back of his truck, carried an elderly woman's garbage to the curb and played hopscotch in a back lane, much to the young creater's delight. All in all, a good day. Maybe when they got back from camping, he'd have somebody thinking that maybe they did need an extra pair of hands around.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Gilda and Isaac Fishblatt

Almost immediately, Gilda could see a change in the girls. Of course, they were all still getting to know each other - truly feeling like a family would take time. But the girls seemed more open, less guarded. More willing to speak, and less cautious, no longer weighing every word. It was a nice change... and a foundation to build their bond. Gilda hoped that with time, the girls would truly come to consider her and Isaac as their mother and father. Katie and Alice were their foster daughters, but Gilda hoped that they would be willing to consider being adopted by the Fishblatts someday.

For now, though, they had a camping trip to plan. The rest of the Pack had been enthusiastic. They'd gone camping together before, and it was always enjoyable. They hung a 'closed' sign on the motel and restaurant, and Keisha made clear to her patients that for the next few days, she would only be available for emergencies. Then they packed up and headed for the woods.

Declan and Clare, along with their new arrivals, had been invited too, and also turned up with camping gear in hand - Declan and Clare often went camping, and they were happy to bring the kids along.

Another set of arrivals was even more unexpected. Isaac had sent a message to Iphigenia through Clare that the Fae of her court were welcome to join them. Isaac had not seriously expected them to take him up on it... but a short distance from their tents, he noticed signs of movement in the woods as several temporary Fae shelters were constructed from fallen branches and leaves.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

As enthusiastic as Riff was about camping, it was quite clear that the man had no idea what he was doing. They'd borrowed some equipment from various pack members, hiked out with everyone else reasonably well, but after an hour and half of making camp the tent was no closer to being up. Instructions long lost, and being new to the whole idea of a tent, Riff was approaching his wit's end. He was staring at his guitar case wondering if he might be able to use it as part of a makeshift shelter when it finally occurred to him that he could probably ask for help. From the tent's owner, perhaps. Sheepishly, though perhaps moreso for taking so long to ask for help than in the actual asking, he sought assistance and found it given readily. Of course it was. He had the feeling that they had been waiting to be asked but thought that maybe Riff really wanted to set it up himself.

Already the intended purpose of the camping trip was bearing fruit. For a long time now, Riff had been giving his help to other people. It was kind of his life. And now that he had a Pack again, he needed to re-learn how to ask for help when he needed it too.

The main campfire was already going and having the tent up meant that they could relax a bit. There were a lot of names to put to faces, as Riff had met many of the members when they chased down the Nazi pack, and of course Maria and Sofie hadn't met them yet. There were several members none of them had met besides - and their significant others and children. It was at the same time overwhelming and comfortable.

Not ones to make anyone feel left out, they stopped by Declan and Clare's campsite. Riff wanted to meet the new addition - and he wanted to ask Declan if he'd brought his guitar. He not-so-secretly hoped they could have a sing-along tonight. That was part of camping, right? For a moment, though Riff stood admiring the pitch of the tent and the way they'd organized their stuff.

"You've done this camping bit before, eh?"
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Declan McDermott

"Yeah, Clare and I do this a lot," Declan replied with his characteristic easy grin. "A lot of people around here do. Not much city life on Fog Island - when you want to get away from it all, you go to the woods. You know, it's funny. Sometimes when we went camping, way far out away from anything, I could almost imagine the fairy folk were nearby. Little did I know I was sharing my tent with one. Heh. It's crazy how different things are, after just a short time. And a few of the Fae coming out on this trip too? Definitely didn't see that one coming. Seems like the theme recently is 'Declan being constantly surprised.'"

Another of his recent surprises rounded the corner - a teenage boy, carrying firewood, which he dropped off by the spot they would build their campfire later. Evidence of the recent beating the kid had suffered was still clearly visible, the bruises starting to fade from purple to green.

"Riff, I don't think you've met my nephew? This is Elijah. Elijah, this is Riff."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

"Funny how things work out."

Riff was happy that the pair now got to share their passion for camping with a couple more. When Declan introduced him, Riff extended his hand and his own friendly grin.

"Hey Elijah. Glad you could come on out - do you play any instruments?" He leaned to the side in a faux-confidential pose, "I am secretly hoping for a campfire sing-along. Brought my guitar juuuuust in case."

The thought occurred to him a little on the late side that Elijah was possibly very new to the whole idea of Fae being real. Declan had taken it well enough, but the kid seemed to be riding it out just fine.

"I think this is a pretty chill crowd, so I think there's a good chance of it."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Elijah McDermott

Elijah nodded. "I play the tin whistle, and I'm learning a bit of guitar from Uncle Declan. My father always thought it was silly, but... well, I guess that doesn't matter now."

He definitely didn't intend to spend the camping trip talking about the trauma that had just wracked his family, so he hastily changed the subject.

"Who knew werewolves are real, huh? Well, I guess you did, but it's news to me."

Noteworthy, perhaps, was what Elijah didn't say. He had expressed surprise only about Lycans - not Fae. He seemed aware of their presence in the woods, though, and would occasionally dart a glance in the direction of the stand of trees where they were allowing their presence to be known without yet really showing themselves.
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