Let Loyalties Lie

Let Loyalties Lie

daniel_icon.jpg finnegan_icon.jpg ]]

Where: Reseda Country Club
When: August 5, 2020
What: For all the things these two werewolves have in common, their philosophy isn't one of them.

Optimism is the madness of insisting all is well when we are all miserable. - Voltaire


It’s been a few weeks of lying low, lying in bed, and - for the most part - some lying done just outside of the courtroom that has kept Daniel away from deviancies to routine. He still has his job with the firm even after all that hullabaloo, and that is perhaps what he’s most grateful for. But that isn’t why he’s come around. Trouble is the last thing a still-healing man like him is looking for around the scene of the crime. He’s back near the vicinity of the Reseda Country Club, however, likely to look for the appearance of a certain Otherworldly presence. Dressed in a decent suit, Daniel looks about as sticking out as a sore thumb might aspire to do so. Still, one might wonder, if he is dressed this way on purpose; rather, he appears dressed this way and has come this way with purpose.

“Yes, sir. Absolutely. … I’ll get right on it as soon as I’m back at the office.” Hanging up on his cellphone, Daniel slides the device into a pocket (with his good hand) and sighs before checking time on his wrist watch.

Coming out of the side door from the closed club, Finn folds a manila envelope in half, shoving it his jeans pocket awkwardly. His brows rise as he sees the other werewolf, and he jerks his head in the direction of the building.

“They’re not open til evening. Or you here to see Ryel?” he asks Daniel. He looks far healthier than the last time the other man had seen him, sweating from the silver shrapnel from the blast they’d both suffered.

When the side door opens, Daniel looks up to see who’s coming out and arches his brows in returned curious expression at Finn. A flick of his eyes goes to the manila envelope, then it’s back to the werewolf’s face. “Here for business today, not pleasure,” Daniel replies with a nod, “Though preferably just before the evening rush, given it’s almost quitting time.” His left hand reaches up to itch a spot on his chin, but there is still a grimace accompanying the movement. Someone hasn’t quite healed - but he’s also looking better than that other night in the clinic. “So. How are you doing, Finn? Is he in there?” The inquiry carries a sense of genuine concern, while the latter question seems to slip in around.

“I’m fine,” says Finn with a shrug, though he notes the grimace revealing the other man’s pain. He pats the envelope and answers the unspoken question about its purpose. “Back to working the basement. Not much vital on the outside of the ribcage and it wasn’t very deep. It was just that little piece of silver stuck in there that brought me to my knees last time.”

He pauses, a disdainful look coloring his features after those words, perhaps thinking about those who put the silver there, or just pissed at his own mortality for almost succumbing to such a small wound.

“Ryel’s in there,” he adds. “Getting your marching orders, or what?”

A puzzled look from Daniel answers Finn’s question, fleeting though it might be. “Marching ord-” It interrupts as it dawns on him, and is replaced with realization. “Ah. Hah, is that what you think? I believe you’re mistaken,” he says, shaking his head. “I’m just here to discuss a few things about the bombing and bringing the subjects who did this to ‘human’ justice. It should be classified a hate crime, though the law doesn’t exactly have provisions for hate crimes towards… different races…” His second grimace is not of pain, but of worry. His good hand lifts to lightly rest on the other man’s shoulder. “How’s his state of mind? Or yours for that matter. You were there, and you saw those guys’ faces when he threw them out. Sure you’re not thinking of a little retaliation?” Daniel studies the other werewolf closely, eyes focused on the face and body language.

With a cynical huff at Daniel’s words, Finn shakes his head. “Good luck with that. The law doesn’t generally come down hard on that side of things,” he says. To someone with Daniel’s ability to sense emotion, there’s bitterness there, the kind that tastes of past experience.

He doesn’t quite flinch away from the hand, but the muscles stiffen beneath. “I didn’t ask, and he didn’t say. Doubt he’s even aware I was there, and if he wants retaliation, it’s not me he’s going to ask to do his dirty work. Him and me, we’re not what you’d call chummy,” Finnegan says, reaching into his pocket for a set of car keys, jingling them in one hand. “I’m not going out looking for trouble, though if I see one of them, they might find it.”

The touch is for but a few seconds, but it’s enough. Daniel pulls away with a short nod of understanding that bitterness lingering in the back of his throat like swollen tonsils. “I know the feeling,” he remarks. A shrug of his shoulders shows not ambivalence nor complacency about the situation, but a sense of ‘come what may’ resignation. “But, would still advise not to act unless you’ve got backup.” He reaches in an inner pocket to grab his wallet, fishing a business card from within and offers it over. On it, a normal, professional card with Daniel’s firm name and contact info. “Don’t take this as an advertisement, but a standing offer, alright? We could all use a little help these days. Until things get better.”

Finnegan takes the card, glancing at it before sliding into his back pocket. There’s another soft huff at the last comment, and he gives a quick shake of his head. “I’m not holding my breath on that. You must be new to this. Still all… altruistic.” It’s spoken like a dirty word.

The keys are jingled again, but Finn doesn’t yet turn toward his vehicle. One brow lifts quizzically at the other man. “Do I seem the type to go all vigilante, or are you projecting?”

“Think the word you’re grasping for is ‘optimistic’,” Daniel counters. That Finn doesn’t toss the card away and spit in his face is another thing to hold hope for, as it reads through the man’s features in that crook of a small and almost (almost!) teasing smile. Still, the man means well in his regard for the other werewolf. His answer comes with due consideration, a moment’s pause to ponder Finn. “I think you’re the kind of guy who’s just trying to do right by himself and others. Maybe you’ve gotten the short end of the stick more than lately. And that’s all really anyone should ask of anyone - yet you’ve probably had your share of disappointments and high expectations.” Daniel’s head tics in the direction of the small manila envelope tucked away in Finn’s back pocket, noting it as he adds, “So you’ve set the bar askew for yourself and taken up some different tasks. Forging a new path perhaps? But you shouldn’t have to do it alone.” Daniel takes in a breath as his eyes flick towards the side door of the club. “Nobody should bear the burden alone.”

Finn glances away with irritation — but the sort that’s born of someone cutting a bit too close for comfort — then reaches back and pulls the manila envelope out of the pocket. He smacks it into his palm, then holds it up. “This? This Is just my cut for a fight the other night. I’m not forging shit. And I’m not Ryel’s hit man if that’s what you think. I leave that to the Fidos.”

Meaning he’s not one.

He takes a couple of strides toward a ten-year-old gray Jeep parked on the street before turning back. “I didn’t set my bar askew. They did that for me. For the record.” Finn nods toward Daniel. “I’m guessing you were a volunteer. It would account for your… optimism.”

Head tilting slightly, Daniel remains relaxed in the face of the irritation, more studious even of his current subject. His eyes don’t leave the the other’s back. “You’re not the type for that wetwork,” he agrees, tone kept even. “And for the record on my side? I didn’t volunteer either. Actually no, I take that back. I volunteered to take on defending the case of one, was bitten for the trouble, lost a partnership at the firm, fell hard into the bottle…” The smile that was there disappears, but there is no less impassioned fire wrapped in his gaze. “…and somewhere along the line was helped out the other side by those ‘fidos’. Say what you will, the root of their name means loyalty. Can you say the same for any of your Brothers?”

There’s a slight look that might fall under the category of “contrite” when he hears the abridged Cliff’s Notes version of Danny’s story, but no apology makes its way to Finnegan’s mouth.
“Consider me an only child,” Finn says wryly.

“Or maybe the redheaded stepchild. The Cursed would likely tell you as much.” He doesn’t call them his Brothers deliberately, and the emphasis on the word Cursed is notable. “Good luck with Ryel.”

The wryness isn’t lost upon Daniel, and what minute changes of body posture and facial expression ease back into something more relaxed than a forced evenness. “Being an only child doesn’t mean you don’t have family,” points out the lawyer with an air of knowing that topic well yet lacking in the bitterness one would perhaps expect. The emphasis on Cursed draws out a short huff - perhaps he doesn’t disagree with the diction entirely. With Finn wishing him well, Daniel nods in thanks. “Anyway, please don’t forget about the card. Those don’t come free you know,” he says with a dark humor. The man nods once more in farewell, and turns towards the club door to knock upon it.

Finnegan looks like he might argue for a moment on the topic of family, but he gives an amiable enough nod and a short huff that might resemble a laugh.

“Apparently you anticipate me needing a lawyer sometime soon,” he says. “If I do and they actually let me have my Mirandas, I’ll be sure to give you a dial.” It doesn’t sound like he’s optimistic about due process, either.

He’ll leave the optimism to Danny.

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