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by: Maeve McLeod
Mae came back from the kitchen with a bottle of water for herself and settled on the couch next to Tristan, just close enough that her shoulder rested against his softly. She could tell he was exhausted, even if the stubborn arse would never admit it, and so was she for that matter, but beyond that Garou were highly tactile with packmates. Normally she tried to curb the instinct with Tristan because he was human and humans tended to be less comfortable with the casual touching that was natural to the Garou, but she was tired and stressed as well so her own self-control might have been a little slack, although she didn't think her companion would mind. If he did she would scoot over a bit to distance herself but until he did, here she would stay.

When Tristan asked Matt about salvaging his clothes she elbowed him playfully and chuckled quietly. "You say that like I would've just thrown the stuff out without askin' the man, Tris. I mean, I probably woulda just chucked your hoodie if anything," she teased him with a friendly smirk. The more exhausted she got the more prominent her strange blended American-Scottish accent became and she idly wondered if Matt would ask about it considering it was generally one of the first questions people tended to ask her. When the man apologized for his rudeness the petite redhead turned her attention to him and shook her head slighly. "Don't worry about it. Just eat and work on that dehydration I can sense from here. Manners can wait."

There was no answering reply to either her or Tristan, however, as Matt seemed almost to freeze in mid-action a moment later. His pulse spiked, heart beat speeding up and breathing as well... was he having a panic attack? Jesus, what had the poor guy been through that he was in this bad of shape? She observed him critically, particularly his hear rate and respiration since she could hear it unaided unlike Tristan, wondering if they would need to administer first aid if Matt didn't pull himself out of it. When Matt put his fork down and curled into himself with his hands over his ears she cocked her head curiously as a sudden thought struck her. He was trying to isolate intake of sensory information like sound and bringing his nose in close to his own body to reduce outside smells; that problem hit close to home for the small Garou and drove her to try to help him.

She stood smoothly and quickly padded back the hallway to her room and came back shortly with a small pillow-like packet that looked like it was meant to fit easily into a pocket and be inconspicuous. Mae slowly came around to the side of the couch next to Matt but didn't touch him, placing the little packet on the edge of the couch next to him. She waited until he sat back up to speak and kept her voice soft when she did. "Here, inhale this. Use it to focus on instead of everything else. Breathe in slowly and exhale evenly, Matt. Can you do that?" She didn't wait for an answer but moved back to her previous seat on the opposite couch with Tristan. "I understand sensory overload. Happens to me sometimes still, especially in the city. I carry that with me so I have something familiar to focus on to get me through it. It's just some dried herbs that smell like home to me," she added, her voice soft and oddly compassionate for the redheaded Garou.
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by: Tristan Viridian
"It's nothing, really. Couldn't let you spend the night in that old filth." Tristan chuckled, the tiredness heard in his voice.

When Maeve sat down, Tristan didn't move. He was too focused on assessing Matt at the moment, watching every twitch, every motion as he sat down. At first he studied him, doing a hard comparison against the man he used to know. Teenager. Clean-shaven. Thin. Pale. Nothing quite like the rugged-looking experiment that sat before him. The unshaven look suited the guy, sure. But the rest of it. Scars, age, time...lots of factors that changed the exterior of the man he remembered, and shaped him into the exhausted heap of a man in the room now. He'd been so focused on that, Tristan didn't realize that he'd draped an arm around his companion without thinking it--a protective and nurturing instinct to let her lean on him if she needed to rest.

But then Matt started to shut down. He zoned out, rather. Tristan could tell he was awake but he wasn't present. Something had pulled his attention away from here. He figured from what he'd been told, Matt was probably overwhelmed by his new surroundings. The penthouse was quiet, at least that's what he figured (and since Maeve didn't seem to complain about too much outside noise from neighbors on this floor), so he waited until the wave passed. His apology made Tristan cringe. Why would he feel the need to apologize? He pulled his arm from around Maeve and sat forward to bring his elbows to his knees. "Not your fault...don't be sorry."

His tired eyes drifted to Maeve, following her form as she trailed over to her room and back. Tristan could feel his hooded eyes start to slip but he opened them upon her return. He nodded as he recognized the small packet of herbs, as he'd seen her use it a couple of times before. Maeve was nicer than he gave her credit for sometimes, and maybe it was because they were all too tired to bicker, playfully at that, but he felt the corner of his lips curl upward in a crooked, appreciative smile.
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by: Matthew Cox
Maeve left and returned with a scented packet. It immediately reminded Matt of field training. Maybe it was the highland lavender, or the heather, or the fact that Tristan was right across from him, but he was brought back into his teens and training. Unthinking, he grabbed the packet and held it to his face, cupping his hands around it and breathing the scent in.

"Oh...it's like the highlands we did training in...I...I love it. Thanks, Maeve. It's helping. Not just the overload but...everything."

The heather helped him relax enough to get a small second wind. Tris was crashing and didn't have Matt's stamina or healing capabilities. Mae seemed mostly fine, but she was exhausted as well. Maybe it was time to just put all the cards on the table and see what happened.

"Howzis...if you have any absolutely pressing questions that need answers, ask them now. Otherwise, get your ass to bed. You're as tired as I am."

Matt sat back, the sachet still held over his nose as he buried his nose in the scent. The sound of the vacuum was still persistent, but he could choose to ignore that.
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by: Maeve McLeod
The Garou smiled a little when Matt seemed receptive to her help and came back to sit next to Tristan again. She stifled a yawn in the back of her hand and curled up on the couch once more, not even noticing at first that her companion had leaned back and draped his arm around her again. When it registered she raised a brow at him with a questioning half-smirk, but accepted the comfort, leaning against his side lightly and resting her head against his shoulder. The redhead turned her attention back to Matt when he thanked her for the herbs and answered simply, "I'm glad they're helping. You're welcome."

Mae felt her eyes getting heavy and the tiredness in her limbs made them feel almost heavy or leaden, but she stubbornly forced her eyes to stay open. Whether or not Tris vouched for Matt, he was a stranger and he was in her den with her pack; she wasn't about to close her eyes in front of him. Besides, there was a strange note in the man's natural scent that had her instincts on edge that she hadn't decided on how to address yet. The overabundance of soap and shampoo he had presumably used in the shower masked the more subtle fragrances in his natural scent but the one that drew her attention was the hint of Garou. He clearly wasn't Garou, either halfblood like her and certainly not more than that, so why did he smell similar? It couldn't be natural, could it? It didn't smell that way... it was similar, but there was an 'otherness' to the scent that made her think it wasn't a naturally occurring thing. It intrigued her but she hesitated to address the issue while she was this exhausted for the simple fact that the man was important to Tristan and she didn't want to upset him by being blunt and tactless. When Matt offered to answer any burning questions before they all crashed though, she decided to take the opportunity.

"I'm too tired not to be blunt right now, so I'll apologize for that ahead of time.... But, why do you smell like that?" She watched Matt closely for his reaction, wondering if he would be honest with her or try to lie about his scent.
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by: Tristan Viridian
Matt was calm. He didn't smell like sewage, and Maeve had eased his sensory attack with her own remedy. The two of them seemed to keep the conversation going, and while he wasn't dozing off, he was letting their voices wash over him. It was soothing. His companion and his brother in the same place at the same time--this was not the way he expected the evening to go. Then again, it wasn't evening so much anymore, with the sun shining over the horizon and into the penthouse. The windows dimmed block out the sun, a new technology that was installed by some local engineer based on vampire recommendation. Tris had no intentions of welcoming any bloodsuckers into his home, but he found the energy saving tech to be convenient and nice to have some control over the light with out hassle or heat.

"Hah. I'm not tired, you're tired." He said to Matt about his level of sleepiness, not caring whether or not it made any sense. It was such a classic response from the former jokester, so he figured Matt would have expected something like that. He shifted in his seat, getting a little cozy with the woman beside him, not minding that his arm was draped around her. It was comfortable, and she didn't mind which was quite nice. Maybe she was exhausted too, as he was sure she would have growled or snapped at him if she were wide awake and energized. Or if his hand slipped and he accidentally snuck a feel without realizing? Well, he'd probably come back with no hand.

Even in his tired state, Tristan practically snorted when Mae blatantly asked about his smell. Knowing her senses, and since he'd taken a shower, Tristan assumed she meant his mutation (that he was still not too certain about)--as it probably changed his scent when it changed his genetic makeup. Instead of inserting a stupid quip there, Tristan kept quiet, as he was curious to hear Matt's explanation to Maeve, if he would even offer one.
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by: Matthew Cox
A tittering giggle escaped Matt, revealing just how tired he was. Damn, but Tristan's humor was just the same stupid hilarity.

"...seriously though, Tris. You're tired, I'm tired, Mae's tired. Let's skip the pajama party, okay?"

Tristan's casual interest in his Garou friend wasn't lost on Matt. His radar was going fuzzy and his nose was full of lavender. All he wanted was to relax, ramp down, and disappear into the oblivion of sleep.

Alas, that seemed to be pushed off yet again. Mae had a question. A blunt, big, shoot-the-elephant-in-the-room question. How was he supposed to answer that? Matt mulled over the subject and took his time in answering.

"Well. In two words, genetic manipulation. That probably doesn't answer the intent of what you want to know. So...the long answer is that my government wanted super soldiers and my dumb ass volunteered. I'm part human, part something or other," he avoided saying Garou in an effort to not trigger a negative reaction, "and now I have all sorts of nifty, annoying, stupid tricks like heightened senses, strength, speed...healing..."

He drifted for a moment and snapped back.

"So yeah. I'm a mutant freak. That's why."
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by: Maeve McLeod
Tristan's shift in position and subtle effort to get cozier with her wasn't lost on the Garou, though she was too exhausted to deal with the implications of his action at the moment. She decided it was a topic better left until they had both gotten some sleep and could think straight. Besides, she was certain that it was just a natural tired reaction to seek comfort and warmth when sleepy, not any sort of interest on his part. Surely he wouldn't have initiated the contact if he was more awake and aware of what he was doing? Not that she minded, but still...

As she listened to Matt's answer Mae struggled to pay attention and actually absorb what he was telling her. Her eyes drifted closed for a moment as he finished speaking, her body beginning to relax against Tristan as she drifted toward sleep. When Matt started suddenly across from her, her eyes snapped open once more, although she didn't take notice that her hand had slipped off her own lap and onto Tristan's leg in her daze of exhaustion.

Genetic manipulation? Her instincts rejected that practice on principle alone. Garou were the protectors of the natural order, and genetic manipulation on the caliber of what Matt was describing was certainly anything but natural. But... he was Tristan's brother and he needed their help. If Tristan was comfortable with what his brother was telling them... then Mae supposed there was no reason for her to take offense at the situation, right? She didn't have to like what the man had apparently volunteered for, but so long as he didn't endanger her pack or give her reason to take offense to him...

The little redhead shifted slightly and looked over at Matt with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "Okay."
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by: Tristan Viridian
Holy hell, he was tired but he fought it with all his might. If not to prove his brother wrong but to also make sure everything fell in its place before everyone passed out.

"Pajama party?" Tristan chuckled softly, "By the way, Choir Boy--don't get too comfortable." He slurred a bit on the word comfortable, but it was still intelligible, and he was sure Matt would be able to decipher it, regardless, considering all of that time they spent together on tour. They were all even more exhausted than this, delirious and sometimes belligerent. He lazily raised the arm that wasn't draped around his companion and pointed at the bedroom down the hall. It was his room. "Take my room. I insist. And honestly, if you refuse I will newlywed-carry your ass back there." He chuckled again.

It was an empty threat, though Tristan would probably be stubborn as hell and try anyway if Matt chose not to take the offer. He yawned, smiling a bit as he felt Maeve relax against him, and when her hand trailed over to his leg, he didn't bat an eye. He just kept smiling and leaned his head down to rest on hers as his arm wrapped a bit tighter to hold her closer. This felt nice...

"Don't make me come over there." He said lazily at Matt, even though his eyes were closed.
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by: Matthew Cox
Newlywed carry him? Matt started to retort, then noticed Tris snuggle into his friend. Well, more than friend, then. A lazy, warped grin crossed Matt's face.

"I take it you'll be sharing her bed then?"

If he said no, or that he was sleeping on the couch, Matt would have a fit. He'd rather share the bed with Tristan than displace his brother from his own bed. It wouldn't have been the first time they'd have slept in close quarters...the last time had been winters field conditions and they'd needed to share heat to survive the night, but this wasn't THAT different. Matt stood slowly and stretched, slowly making his way to the bedroom.

"You'd better get your ass to a bed, hers or share with me, or I'll fight you."
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by: Maeve McLeod
Despite her best efforts and natural stubbornness, exhaustion was taking its toll on the redheaded Garou. Her emerald green eyes drifted closed and she dozed lightly. Tristan was laughing at Matt's comment, his soothing baritone vibrating through her as she leaned against him just making her more relaxed and sleepy. What was he saying? Oh, he wanted Matt to sleep in his room instead of on the couch out here; that made sense. The man looked like he needed a nice bed to rest in and get some sleep. But where was Tris going to sleep then, was the question her sleep-fuddled mind asked.

Mae's own retort was cut short when her companion tightened his grip on her and pulled her closer to himself, however, and coherent thought ceased altogether when he nuzzled his head against her own. The sleepy Garou let out a barely audible chuff of contentment and cuddled against Tristan lazily, almost missing Matt's question.

"I mean... he can if he wants to," she slurred in reply, Matt's snark going right over her head as close to falling asleep as she was. " 'S a queen-size. Not like there's not enough room..."
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by: Tristan Viridian
(with permission to use Maeve from Sarah ;) )

"Yeah yeah...I'll fight you tomorrow. Bright and early." he uttered, hearing the quiet steps of Matt's barefooted trek to the bedroom. Matt had to know that Tris would make good on his threat to carry him, and the threat for the fight was more of a playful one. He yawned and stretched, careful not to move too much, but he lazily waved at Matt as he retreated. "Nighty night choir boy..."

Then, his attention shifted to Maeve. She was so peaceful, her heavenly face at rest in his arms and he smiled at her before he he carefully maneuvered to stand. "Alright, up we go." He uttered. Tristan was already up with Mae in his arms if she let him carry her, heading towards her bedroom. He was working on autopilot, his steps heavy but careful not to drop her or let her hit any open surfaces like tables or walls, or even the door frame as they passed it. He carefully set her down on the bed and put a blanket over her, watching as she slightly stirred.

Once she was settled, Tristan turned away to head back into the living room. He had every intention of sleeping on the couch, not to challenge his brother by any means, but to make sure Maeve had her privacy and Matt too, but something tugged on his shirt. He stopped. He thought he'd snagged it on something when he stood up but when he reached down, he felt the soft, cool hand pulling on the fabric.

"Stop being such a prude, Viridian. There's no reason to sleep on the bloody couch, get the hell over here." Maeve didn't open her eyes. Hell, she didn't even move from where he'd placed her, and her crankiness could be heard in her little growling threat. He found that adorable.

Tristan looked at the open door and chuckled, bringing a hand up to scratch the back of his neck before submitting to her request. He was too tired. The couch was too far. And if she decided that sleepy-Maeve made a bad call by letting him stay, earning him a punch to the face or something, he'd probably deserve it. But he wouldn't be rude and take off anyway, so Tristan crawled into the bed and curled up beside her, draping his arm over her waist if she let him. He breathed in the wonderful scent of her hair and the soft perfume of her skin, relaxing him almost instantly, and he was quickly lulled to sleep.
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by: Matthew Cox
His sleep was troubled. It had nothing to do with the high thread count sheets, the divinely soft mattress, or the just-right firmness pillows. Matt's problem was his dreams. Every time he closed his eyes and drifted, his anxieties rose up to gnaw on him. Three times he awoke in his sleep cycle and three times, he managed to lull himself back to sleep using the lavender packet. In the late morning, a dream woke the mutant again, forcing a personality slip. The Devil...Sunshine...whomever he was, found himself pressed back to back with a warm body. The scent told him it was Tristan. What the hell? He'd said no cuddling, hadn't he? Sunshine gave a good-natured, quiet sneer and slipped out of the bed away from Tris. He gave the man a quick evaluation, curious at the odd fondness he felt for his benefactor. Dorito was not to know how broken Matt was...he was not to know about Sunshine.

The best solution would be to get dressed and leave. Sunshine gathered up the borrowed clothing from early this morning and considered Tristan's shoes. They were easily three sizes too big. Damn. Barefoot would do. He wasn't far enough from the warehouse that running over there wouldn't be implausible. He might run into Cora, but...he'd handle that when the time was right. Or, he could go over to the safehouse and pester Corrigan. He'd need to do that anyway and tell her the story all about his life got flipped, turned upside down...Sunshine grinned and padded to the kitchen quietly. If he was going to go and leave the penthouse, he'd need protection, and that mean that little beauty of a paring knife. It was small enough to conceal, sharp enough to do some wicked damage, and easy enough to grab.

His hand was around the grip when he heard someone stirring. Quickly, Sunshine drew the knife and tucked it into his waistband at the small of his back before turning his back to the counter to face whomever was coming in.
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by: Maeve McLeod
Exhaustion had claimed the small Garou at last before Matt was even out of the living room and reached the hallway toward the bedrooms, her determination to stay awake all but overcome. After being up for nearly twenty-four hours straight the day after the full moon AND having to run an operation for their employer AND having to deal with the fallout from said operation, it was practically a miracle that she had stayed awake as long as she had.

Mae could feel the gentle rumble of Tristan's voice as he presumably addressed his brother but his words were lost in the haze of sleep as she relaxed against her companion. When Tristan's arms shifted to cradle her and stand up, she protested weakly with a tiny grumble of annoyance and a barely-intelligible mumbled, "I can walk y'know..." Contrary to her protests, however, the little Garou curled up in his arms and nuzzled sleepily against him as he made his way back the hall. When she felt herself sink slightly into her own bed and his arms withdrew to be replaced by a blanket Mae grumbled and stirred once more, not letting go of him until he relented and crawled into bed next to her. Mae let out a tired chuff and instinctively rolled over and snuggled into Tristan's chest, tucking her head under his chin with a little yawn as he draped his arm over her waist.

Late morning sunshine filtered through the window next to Maeve's bed and fell across her eyes, making the woman grumble and roll over in a huff. She had intended to snuggle into Tristan to hide from the annoying light but was surprised and a little disappointed to find him gone when she rolled over. Had she kicked him out in the middle of the night, or day, or whatever the hell time it was? She didn't recall waking up at all, but that didn't mean she hadn't, she supposed. She let out a huff and considered going back to sleep when a faint noise from the common area of the penthouse drew her attention. It sounded like someone was poking around in the kitchen, if she wasn't mistaken. Maybe she should just get up and go help make breakfast since she was awake... Ugh.

With a sigh Mae sat up and stretched with a languid little yawn and got to her feet. She padded into the restroom and washed up quickly before making her way out into the living room, still in the shorts and tank top she had slept in. When she saw Matt standing in the kitchen she smiled, although once she took in his tense stance and the subtle changes in his scent and demeanor she was more than a little confused.

"Mornin', Matt. You ok?" the Garou greeted him. She kept her stance relaxed so as not to spook the clearly on-edge man, but watched him carefully.
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by: Matthew Cox
Great. The wolf. She'd probably out him faster than a landlord with late rent and a grudge. How did he play this? She already knew something wasn't right; Sunshine decided to try to just be brutally honest and see what happened. He shook his head slightly and spoke in a low tone.

"Not Matt. And not okay. I need to leave."

He slid along the counter to the fridge, then turned to open it. Sunshine's nose wrinkled slightly at the scents coming out of the fridge all at once. There was an apple, so he took it and tossed it up in the air casually, catching it on his opposing hand while his right went for the knife he'd tucked away. With overconfident ease, he began to cut the apple.

"How about you? Tris took his time coming to bed. Guessin' he stopped by yours first eh?"

He grinned around the slice he chewed, knowing he was needling the Garou.
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by: Maeve McLeod
Not Matt? What the fuck was that supposed to mean?

Maeve padded toward the kitchen keeping her pace slow and non-threatening to avoid spooking the man and subtly took in his scent and his bearing. He was tense but didn't seem to be afraid necessarily, more like a soldier ready for a mission or a brawler expecting a fight. A touch of anxiety and annoyance flavored his natural scent as well, concerning the Garou slightly. Had something happened to upset him? Tristan would be upset if it had, but she couldn't think of what could have triggered the emotions she was scenting from his brother. Maybe her normal blunt approach to things wasn't the way to go this time...

Maeve leaned against the counter across the kitchen from Matt so as not to make him feel crowded with her presence and kept her voice down to avoid waking Tristan. "If you aren't Matt, then what should I call you? And can I he-"

Her offer to help him was cut short by his needling quip about Tristan being in her bed. A low growl of indignation rumbled out of the small Garou and she bared her teeth briefly at the gall of the man. How dare he talk about Tristan like that, especially after he took the mutant bastard in! Brother or not, that was NOT okay.

"Tristan went to sleep with me. SLEEP, okay? He's a gentleman and I don't appreciate you implying that he would have taken advantage of being in my bed while I was sound asleep before he even put me there," the redhead growled in annoyance.

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