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Aradia McConnell

World of Darkness: Attrition - Welcome Back (to the Inquisition!)

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It was Thursday night. Saja had left for the duration of the summer, headed to San Francisco for an internship. August had made her first appearance at the house that same day, for the first time in the month since Oneca had left. Earlier today, Aradia had received a text message from Oneca that she was heading back into town as well. They were about to spend an entire summer together under the same roof - thankfully a Saja-free one - and still her two roommates were keeping her in the dark. August had spent most of the last month with Dec, the hot-as-hell werewolf. They had a shape-shifting were-cat 'crashing' (Hah! - She'd been living there just barely shorter than Aradia had, at this point!) in one of the spare bedrooms. Yet, all of the life mage's attempts to extract who (or what) her roommates were up to now had been rebuffed, ignored, or flat-out rejected. It was like living in the center of a minefield, and yet everyone kept insisting it was a city park.

She stepped back and surveyed the battlefield that was the den. Fruity drink mixes were August's favorite, and the add-your-own alcohol versions allowed for Oneca to get as plastered as she so chose. She'd sent August a text with the time to be here by, stating vaguely that they "should hang out, since Oneca was gonna be back". She knew August loved Greek food, and there was enough pita bread involved there to keep Oneca from getting wasted too quickly. The delivery guy had just dropped it off, and she'd laid it all out on the huge cocktail table that was centered between the deep-seated, soft, curl up in it upholstered furniture that outfitted the entertainment-centered room. She'd rented a few movies from Redbox, a variety of different things meant to appeal to whatever random mood the other two were in, although honestly Aradia didn't care if they got around to watching any of them.

She took in a deep breath, and then checked her phone briefly for the time. August should be arriving any minute, and Oneca shortly after that. If I can't get them to talk this way, I'm going to have to resort to more extreme measures.

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“Ya sure?” Declan asked, his voice a rumbling purr in her ear.

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“Yeah, I’m sure.” August made sure he heard the regret in her voice. “I haven’t seen Aradia in almost a month, and I’ve seen nothing but you in the last month.”

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“Yer not tired of me yet.” Another man would have made that a question—Declan knew the answer and was stating a fact.

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“Not even close.” August twirled her black hair around a finger, imagining that it was his hands playing with her hair. “I do however, need to spend some time with my friends, who I do miss.” She also needed to go job hunting and she forgot to do that when she spent so much time around him. Granted, he had his job, but she found that she slept a lot when he was at work, because she didn’t get much sleep when he was at the house. “I’ll see you tomorrow at lunchtime, okay?”

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“Can’t wait.” There was a pause and Dec added, “If ya get lonely tonight—”

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I’ll miss you too. The sex was great, and she knew that he liked her, but she knew that she loved him. She just wasn’t sure he was at that level yet. “I have a key,” August assured him, “and if I get lonely, you’ll be the first to know.”

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“Good. Have fun, August.”

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“You too,” she said before hanging up. Even as she missed him, she found that she was looking forward to hanging out with Aradia and Oneca—and no Saja!

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She was grinning in anticipation by the time she hit the door to the den. “Hey, chica,” she called as she spotted her friend waiting for her. August opened her arms and Aradia stepped in for a hug. “Was Saja okay with you?”

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“Nah, but I know how to handle her,” Aradia replied, even as she pulled back and gave August an arch look. “I would have appreciated the support, though.”

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“Ugh. She tolerates you, but she hates me,” August sighed as she sat down on the couch and pulled her knees to her chest. “But you know what? Screw her! She’s not here and we are! Gimme a beer, it’s time to celebrate.”

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“Beer?” Aradia blinked.

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“Oh, yeah. Dec’s introduced me to these local breweries, and some of them are really good. But hey, I’ll take a mojito or pina-mix, too.” As August popped the top on a pre-mixed ‘mojito’ wine-cooler, she said, “So what’s the plan for the girl’s night, anyway?”

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A loud thumping noise came from the front door, followed by a, "Hey, hands full here!"

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The two other women booked it for the front door and divested the black-haired beauty of her luggage, shoving it into some corner of the front hall as the three girls hugged. The first thing either woman noted was that Oneca was tanned. For a girl that acted like sunlight was her own personal kryptonite while living in LA, she was bronzed from head to toe. It brought out the Persian in her ancestry; she looked like she could have stepped directly out of Xerxes harem in 300. Despite the tan and the wide smile for her cousin and best friend though, there were still circles under eyes and a weariness that had nothing to do with jet lag or even being tired. Whatever was wrong with their erstwhile hostess, a month in Greece being pampered by a very wealthy man and his lover hadn't touched whatever it was that was draining the soul out of her.

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But at the moment she was all smiles and hugs and exclamations of, "Two months free of the monster! One in Greece, now one here with my girls!" She pulled them back to the den, abandoning luggage without a thought. She went straight for the bottles of hard liquor and mixed herself up a Four Horsemen and Hell Follows in a glass and took an energetic swig. "So, my ladies of the night, what are the plans?"

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Aradia shot August a small, concerned frown behind Oneca's back, as the other girl bypassed the fun girly drinks and went straight for the hard liquor concoction, as usual. She had been hoping some time away from Saja would stem her newfound cousin's destructiveness a little, but it wasn't looking that way so far. She grabbed a mojito herself and twisted the cap off, taking a short drink. "Well, I was just thinking a catch-up night, y'know? Hang, drink, eat, watch some movies. I swung by a Redbox and grabbed a few I thought you two might like."

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She walked over and picked them up, flipping through them and tossing them onto the large cocktail ottoman as she read them out loud. "Let's see, I got Avengers for the hot guys, Hunger Games looked kinda cool, Cabin in the Woods is some kinda horror flick, the new Bond movie, cause Daniel Craig. Django looked fucked up, but everybody said it was awesome. And Bachelorette looked pretty raunchy." She tossed the last one down, and flopped down into the big chair and a half, curling her legs up into it. "But screw movies for now, I wanna hear all about Greece, and how many times a week Dec is good for."

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August choked on her drink. “What?” she gasped, pressing the back of her hand to her lips as her face erupted in a bright blush.

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“Come on, you know… how many times a week can you mount that stallion and ride him into the wild blue yonder?” Aradia asked, not catching the cowboy references until after she’d uttered them. Wisely, she didn’t remark on her subconscious connection to her night of debauchery with August’s boyfriend. At least she’d gotten to mount him before August had tamed him.

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“Uh… enough…” August was really red now, and looking anywhere other than Oneca and Aradia.

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“Enough for… what?” Oneca joined in with a grin.

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“Enough to satisfy.” August shrugged, trying to appear casual. “I don’t want to kiss and tell.”

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“Oh, yes you do.” Aradia leaned closer. “C’mon, spill!”

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“Well… I’ll say this. You shouldn’t be asking how many times a week he’s good for.” August grinned at the other two girl’s expectant expressions as she paused for effect. “You should be asking how many times a night.”

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“Liar!” Oneca laughed, throwing a pillow at August.

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“I swear!” August ducked the projectile, giggling.

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“So… the answer to my question is ‘at least seven’.” Aradia had no doubts that August was being honest. “Your protection had better be hardcore.”

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“It is. I’m not interested in p- babies.” August shuddered. “Me a mom. Can you imagine?”

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Oneca snorted. “I’m trying to picture Dec changing a diaper, and it ain’t happening.”

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“I know, right?” August shook her head. “We haven’t hit the ‘L-word’ yet, so let’s not bring up the ‘P-word’. So, now that I have been left with char marks from my grilling, what about you, Oneca? How was your trip?”

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"Beautiful," she sighed in pleasure. "Greece is just....the cliffs, the water, the white buildings, it's kinda mind-blowing beautiful." She sipped at her drink now, smiling. But the smile was still somehow...blocked, less than what it should be, and there were still dark circles around her eyes. "It's nice to have Peter back in the states, though. I was kinda worried we wouldn't be able to pry him back," she grinned at the two girls, "but Remy can be so convincing when he wants to be. Besides, I think Peter missed everyone."

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She motioned back to the luggage that had been abandoned in the front hall. "I've got pictures and presents, of course." She slammed back the rest of her drink and started making another and added conversationally, "Y'know, we should go on a girl's only trip. Maybe Japan or Europe or something? We could go next month I could avoid Monster for another month." She saluted both of them with her glass and arched a brow. "What do you guys say? My treat. I could tell my parents I'm thinking of a career in travel journalism or something, maybe get them to pay for part of it. I think one of the degrees I got had something to do with that."

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She snorted, obviously already tipsy. "I really should look that stuff over. My councilor filled out the paperwork and he looked like he was gonna have a fit or something because of how many different things I qualified for. That's what you get for six...or seven?...years of taking classes. I think I impressed him with how long I'd gone without actually finishing any one of them until the 'rents put the hammer down." She shrugged, "I figure I've got a few years before they start making noises about a job or joining Mom on the charity circuit."

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She swirled the alcohol, thinking muddy thoughts. "Maybe Peter'll say I'm working for him. 'S kinda true."

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Aradia chewed on her lip slightly, then frowned and sighed, looking a little distressed. "Girl, if you're gonna make it that long, you're gonna have to ease up a little."

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"Who says I wanna make it that long?" Oneca downed the rest of her second drink in a long swill, and August and Aradia shared a deeply concerned look this time, before Aradia walked over, and started pulling the alcohol bottles and putting them away.

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"Look, I guess I'm just gonna have to get straight to it. I didn't plan this to be an intervention or some shit - hell, I brought the alcohol. I guess I was hoping being away from the bitch for a whole month would have mellowed you a bit, but I see I was wrong. But you've been home for ten minutes, and you're halfway to plastered already. So we can get back to this later if you want, it's your body, cuz." She tossed the last of the hard liquor into the bar cabinet, and handed Oneca a mojito. "Here, if you need to drink during this conversation, fine. But I need you a least partly coherent for a few minutes. Then if we wanna forget all this shit for now and drink and eat and look at pictures of hot Grecian guys, awesome. If you want me to fuck off, well, I guess that's fine too. But everything that's fucked up in this house is tied to weird. You know it, I think August knows it, I sure the hell know it - you just didn't know that till now. I know you drink because of Saja, I know she's not right."

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Oneca rolled her eyes, looking flippant. "No shit."

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"Don't get snippy with be, damnit - she's not human. I can tell." She rounded on August, her brow furrowed. "And there's something wonky with you too, girl - I can see it! But neither of you are mages.. so what's going on?" She sighed, taking a gulp of her mojito, and sat it down, looking apologetic. "I'd like to know what I'm living in the middle of here."

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“Wait… you know about this stuff?” August glanced at Oneca, who shrugged in confusion. “And Saja isn’t human? How can you see wonky stuff? What are you?”

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It was unnerving to be found out, and August had sudden insight into Dec’s reaction when he’d started to flee LA. She kinda wanted to run away from the girl who had so much information about August, without August having the first clue about her.

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“I’m a mage,” Aradia admitted, “that’s how come I can tell you guys aren’t.”

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“You’re being awfully open for one of the supernatural types talking to a non-supernatural.” August frowned and crossed her arms.

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“You guys are my friends. The truth of you guys won’t change that.” Aradia looked between August and Oneca. “So c’mon already. Spill!”

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August swallowed. “I see dead people. I have most of my life. I also do the automatic drawing thing, though that’s creepy and I’d rather not.” She glanced at Oneca, to see if she’d be more willing to share than August was initially.

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Oneca shrugged at Ari, an amused glint in her eye as she took a long drag of the mojito. "I've met a few mages. Mostly they were hot. One was a little twitchy and bitchy, but it was kinda a tense sitch anyways. As for Monster, I can't really talk about that. Literally."

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"As for my own weirdness," the bottles in the cabinet rustled and the Everclear wedged its way out, sailing over to Oneca's hand more like it'd been tossed than the smooth-on-wires look movies usually gave telekinesis, "there's that." She undid the top and took a swig, challenging Ari to try to stop her, "and I set shit on fire. Damn near burnt down a forest in Greece trying to start a campfire, so I guess I don't have that one down all the way or somethin'. M'not a mage, 'cording to the ones I met before. Something like a mini-mage. I got a couple of tricks for my pony, but I'm not scrying LA from the Ferris Wheel or anything."

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She snorted in amusement at her personal in-joke and swung her arms wide. "So, August see's dead people but is way less creepy than that little kid, I set things on fire but I spent my prom banging my date so I didn't get the chance to go all Carrie on the rest of the kids. Monster is....Monster. What's your particular bag of tricks, if we're doing show and tell, 'coz?"

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"Oh!" She held up a finger, sloshing the bottle of near pure alcohol in the process, "and I see shit, but I can't talk about that really either. 'S why drunk is better. Makes her kinda stupid too."

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