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Some 'Splaining To Do


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Lynn and Gretchen's Apartment. Tuesday, March 14th, 2017. 1:05 am


It had been a long night for the Shrike; Grimalkin's website got an anonymous tip about a human trafficking operation in Greenbank, but it didn't sound like it would be too dangerous. Lynn and Gretchen had been working on inventory with a little informal help from their new roomie Moira when the tip came in; thinking the situation would be quickly resolved, Gretch offered to take the op solo, though Lynn insisted she call her the minute things got too dicey.


Gretch found the operation all right; it just happened to be run by a den of Greek witches who loved throwing vipers at their enemies, and hired ex-Spetsnaz 'eyegougers' for security. The young barista repeatedly tried to call Lynn, but the witches somehow blocked magical communication, which left the ringwielder fighting for her life for the better part of an hour in a freightyard. But all those hours playing first person shooters and training with Lynn really payed off; by the time the cops finally showed up, Gretch had personally subdued seven witches and nine Russian bad guys. The FCPD was suitably impressed, and the officers thanked her once they got her statement.


Not ready to head home just yet, Shrike grabbed a coffee and slowly savored it on a rooftop, her feet dangling over the edge. Part of her was glad she wasn't able to reach Lynn; it was nice to know that if the chips were down and her back against the wall, she, Gretchen McDaniels,  could kick serious ass.


Now flying back towards home and the comforting arms of her lover, Gretch gently probed to see if Lynn was still awake; if she didn't get an immediate response, it usually meant the changeling was passed out somewhere already. If she wasn't in bed, Gretch used the Ring of Power to carefully pick her up and float her into the bedroom and tuck her in.


The invisble crimefighter landed in the small lightwell patio between the two apartments and opened the door, stepping into the dining room. There was a soft flickering glow coming from the living room, which probably meant Lynn had fallen asleep watching home movies on her beloved PictureBox from Otherworld. Not wanting to wake her girlfriend, Gretch floated silently into the room to an unexpected sight: Lynn and Moira, sleeping on the sofa together under a blanket. All she could do was float and stare at the two of them for several minutes. At length, she finally crossed her arms and spoke.


"Well, then."

Edited by Heritage
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Really, it wasn't supposed to go that far. The two were supposed to binge watch a show called Demonchaser Jo, if Moira remembered correctly. It wasn't on any streaming site, Lynn had actual recorded copies. Archaic! Moira's birthday was the next day. They had a nice bottle of wine to celebrate. Not some around the corner cheap stuff. Dionysus' personal stock.


Moira enjoyed the show. It knew what it wanted to do. Kick ass action with some drama to float between there. Moira had never watched before, but Lynn had such glowing reviews of the show, that  she felt like she knew what she was in for. She and Lynn got close as they watched the show. About two bottles in, neither of them were watching the show and had lost various bits of clothing, both of them covered only by a single blanket. 'For warmth'. She didn't even remember who started it, but Moira was under the cover first.


Though the carnal action didn't last long. Or as long as Moira wanted. She and Lynn were greeted by a sharp rebuke. Moira heard it barely, she but it was enough to stop her in shock. Laughing stopped and a four letter word crossed her tongue. She stuck her head out from under the cover to see Shri... Gretchen. "Oh man," the heady buzz was fading. "Uh, hi," Moira said with a smile, "this is not what... this is totally what it looks like." She sighed man there was explaining to do.

Edited by Moira Morley
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Lynn blearily shook her head clear as the hazy streamers of alcohol drifted away. "Hey, what-?" Then she saw the cold fury on her girlfriend's face, and she was instantly sober.


-Oh God, honey, I-


Gretchen shook her head curtly. "No. Out loud. I want you to hear whatever you have to say."


Lynn nodded, then hung her head for several seconds. Finally, she looked her lover straight in the eye as tears formed and her voice caught. "I'm sorry. I know we said we weren't, like, chained to each other, and I know you've always said you...were willing to, like- "


The young barista held up her left hand, and Lynn was shocked to feel her mouth shut tight. It wasn't done with great force, but just the act itself spoke to just how furious Gretchen really was right now. "Stop talking." Then she turned to Moira, her face a stony blank. "On the roof. Now." And then the young heroine flew out the door, presumably to wait for the former goddess.


For her part, Lynn was twisting her hands into knots, and tears were pouring out of her eyes as she sunk to the floor. "Oh God! This isn't happening...this isn't happening..."

Edited by Heritage
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To hear the two argue out loud was something Moira didn't expect. A cringe crossed her face as the sharp, loud words flew. Then Gretchen wanted to speak to her alone? Well, she expected to be booted out of the apartment at the very least. She wanted to hold on to Lynn and tell her it would be OK. "Lynn, baby," she whispered sympathetically, "just know that I love you no matter how this turns out."  She pecked her on the cheek. Sighing, she picked up her clothes - a red sports dress with hoodie - and hastily slipped it on before adjusting her frazzled hair. It was time to meet the firing squad.


Making her way to the roof, slowly, collecting her thoughts. She wasn't about to fight this lecture, but she would explain. It probably didn't help that this felt eerily familiar. But she had learned from last time. When she got there she stood there silent for a moment, assessing the situation. She did not want to seem weak, but she did want to seem like she was trying to do what Gretchen thought she was doing. "Listen, before any of this starts. I am deeply sorry. For many, many reasons."

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Gretchen just stared at Moira, her intense dark blue eyes burning, though her face was taught and expressionless. At last, the younger woman spoke. "You could have asked. You could have said, 'Gretchen, your girlfriend is beautiful. I've known her for years, but now that she's in touch with her sexuality, I can't stop thinking about her. Would you object to me spending some time with her?' And then Lynn and I could have talked about it, like adults, and I probably would have said 'yes,' after setting up some guidelines."


And then her voice got very tight, and tiny tears began to form in her eyes.


"Because I do not own her. She has a right to be happy, and to explore herself. She is...a light that I could not hope to contain. That I would never want to contain. Because she...is love. And now the woman I love thinks I hate her for cheating on me, because you did not give us a choice. As two people. As adults."


The tears were flowing quite freely now, her fists tightly clenched.


"Why would you do that? Why would you make her think that about me?"

Edited by Heritage
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While she was not as close to Gretchen as she wanted to be - they were roommates, and you generally wanted the people you live with to like you - she understood her distress. Moira was not a monogamist. And now that she listened, neither was Gretchen it seemed. Still, it was Gretchen who loved Lynn and Lynn who loved Gretchen. They were a couple. They were bonded. They made each other happy.


And here Moira was with only one excuse. And it was and excuse. The feelings were there long before the wine. She'd playfully flirted with Lynn even before she left for Olympus. Still it felt awful. "Gretchen," she said walking towards her, but not too close, "There are many feelings. I'm not about to lie and say it was only the wine that we drank. Lynn is part of my heart. But seriously, I understand it. You guys are special. I do not want to break your bond with Lynn. I do not want to break Lynn's bond with you." She stood there for a silent second to allow the teary girl to process. Moira's body language was open, Gretchen could tell that she wanted to comfort her.

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Gretchen squeezed her eyes shut, and continued to stand were she was, fist clenched and body rigid. The amount of emotions flowing through her right now was agonizing; she did not like this feeling, being so out of control. Then she opened her eyes and sighed. "I have to ask you a question. But first I have to talk to Lynn, and let her know that we are all right."

Then she had a seat on the edge of the roof, closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.


-We are not over. I love you more than you can ever know. We will work through this. Take deep breaths. Drink some cold water. Splash some on your face. We are fine. You are loved. I will be down soon.-


Gretchen knew her lover well; she knew how her mind worked, and all about the swirling mercurial emotions just below the surface. She would not be able to respond to these sendings, because she would be crying, but at least now, they would be tears of relief. When she opened her eyes to speak to Moira, there was a hint of smile on her lips, because she knew that she and Lynn were going to be okay. But her eyes were still sharp and angry.


"Okay. You said that 'Lynn is a part of my heart.' Explain that to me. What exactly does my girlfriend mean to you?"

Edited by Heritage
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The was a sigh of relief from Moira. Better to see happy faces than troubled ones. Still, Gretchen had more questions. Valid ones. Moira put her hand where her heart would be, "Gretchen, love, I have a lot of friends. I am friendly. But there are only a few people that I am close to. Lynn is one of them. We go beyond friendship. It's one of those forever bonds. Someone I will think about to the end of eternity. My heart." She offered the hand to Gretchen, not expecting her to take it, "You, dear, however, are someone I am friendly with. Whether you're keen to it or not." Moira did seem sincere in the gesture, then again, she didn't know what was going on with Lynn and Gretchen's mind conversation. "I'm not expecting reciprocation, but since we are roommates..." She let Gretchen fill in the rest of the sentence.

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Gretchen simply stared at Moira's hand for several seconds, head cocked to one side with avian scrutiny. Finally she rose to her feet, and twisted the Ring of Power, returning her clothes to her normal civilian identity.  Now wearing Doc Martens, ragged jeans and an Army fatigue jacket, she turned her back to the former goddess, arms crossed tightly across her chest.


"My father left my mother when he found out she was pregnant. She was a college student struggling through law school at Columbia University. Both her parents were gone, and she didn't talk with her only sister, my aunt Caroline. She raised me alone, with the help of a few school friends. Once she passed the bar, she took me home to Portland. She dated here and there, but there was never anyone who stayed around long enough to be a father. We were alone...but we were unstoppable."


The young barista paused to compose herself; it was the most talking Moira had ever seen her do in the month she'd lived with her.


"The winter I turned fourteen, my mother was killed driving home in an ice storm. It was decided I would move to Freedom to live with Caroline, a woman I barely knew. She's a musician, like me. She introduced me to a lot of great music, but she was never there for me when I needed her. Staying out all night with her boyfriends, every promise broken. She kept me alive, I guess, and for that I am grateful."


Finally she turned to face Moira, and took a step closer to her.


"Lynn is the one person in my life who's always been here, who kept her promises. That is why I love her, and why we are together."


Gretch paused to look her fellow superheroine up and down.


"You can stay here, or not. If you give me time, I may forgive you. I cannot say if we'll ever be friends. I usually don't like friendly people, with one notable exception. But I'll forgive her, because I understand."


And here she paused to wet her lips, eyes downcast.


"I've...wanted to be with you since the first time I laid eyes on you. Who wouldn't? You have an easy sexuality, uncomplicated by guilt or logic. It just...is. So I understand."


Gretch took a deep breath, and finally looked back into Moira's eyes.


"I need to go. I need to be with her, to let her know it's okay. See you around."


And with that, she hopped off the roof down to the patio, and headed inside.

Edited by Heritage
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Well, that was a hand full to note. Not speaking during Gretchen's story and confession, Moira did not expect this. She expected a long conversation about roommates and boundaries and got very mixed signals. At least one was blunt. Very, very blunt. It was like the lightest fluffiest bit on a pile of rocks. Poor girl had been through so much. Moira felt like a heel, but bow there was interest at least. She looked up into the night sky and wondered aloud, "what would you guys do?" She heard an 'ahem' in her mind.


"Dear," Aphrodite spoke to her, "you know I'm not up there. But if you want my opinion."


"Sure, why not, mom," Moira said touching her bracer. She didn't need to 'activate it, she just fidgeted with it some time when talking to her divine family and friends. "What would you do that wouldn't get me kicked out of the house. Threesome is out of the question."


"For now, at least," Aphrodite said with upward inflection. "But really, you should tell her the truth. That you have that feeling in the back of your mind that makes you think of her like Lynn."


"That's kind of changed now, knowing her story," Moira pointed out, "I really don't want-"


"Yes, you do," Aphrodite said sternly, "just that you want to wrap her up and protect her on top of the carnal thoughts. She's the type you fight for in this who superhero thing. Right? Truth, justice, yadda yadda yadda."


Moira huffed, her mother was right. Though she wanted to learn more about Gretchen. Sex was fine, but connection, that was what she loved. Empty one nighters were fun, but did nothing for her. Spending time with friends, knowing what made them them? That was something she thrived on. "Yeah, something like that."


"Good," Aphrodite chimed, "now ask Dionysus for another bottle of wine and go back in there-"


"Not right now. Talk to you later, mother." Moira straightened herself to non-wrinkled, at least, and went down the stairs to meet with her roommates.

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By the time Moira made it back into the apartment, she found her two roommates on the floor, leaning up against the sofa; they were holding each other tightly, eyes squeezed shut, their foreheads gently touching. Lynn's eyes and nose were red from crying, and a few tears were visible on Gretchen's cheeks as well. It was not too hard to guess they were in intense mental conversation.


After a few seconds, Lynn looked up and wiped her eyes with the ball of her hand. "Hey. Uh..." She paused and looked around blankly for a few moments, attempting to gather her thoughts. Gretchen looked up at the former goddess with dark eyes, apparently not happy about the intrusion into their private moment.


"We're gonna need a few days...to, y'know, work this out." The changeling blinked and sniffed. "I'll shutter the store up, y'know, put up some signs." She waved a hand around vaguely. "You can stay here...uh, help yourself to what's in the fridge." Lynn abruptly stopped and met her girlfriend's intense gaze. "Wr-write down...what you eat; like, keep track of it, so..." 


She trailed off, idly running her fingers through Gretchen's hair. For her part, the young barista was still glaring at Moira; this was not a look of rage or fury, but rather more protective, as a dog might give you if you approach his bowl as he eats.


Stay. Back.

Edited by Heritage
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It would be adorable if she hadn't known... caused the situation. Gretchen looked mean as a puppy. Still, she knew the girl's plight and kept her distance. Moira nodded when Lynn spoke. "I understand," she nodded. An idea shot into her mind, "you don't have to close up the store though. I can tend to things while you're gone. And will do so for free." It was a gesture, an olive branch. She didn't expect them to say yes, but she did have experience in running a business.


"Don't worry," she said politely, "you go do what you need to do. I'm a text a way." She made a quick escape to her designated room. She wanted to stay here, but she had a feeling this was her last days.

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Normally one might expect to hear murmured conversation after one leaves a room, but Lynn and Gretchen were anything but a normal couple, so there was no trace of any mental conversation that might have taken once Moira left the room. But apparently something was discussed, because a few minutes later, there was a gentle knock onthe guest room door.


"Hey. It's me." Lynn opened the door and leaned on the frame; despite her still somewhat red eyes, she seemed almost herself again. "So yeah, we're gonna try it your way. Gretchen says giving you a chance to run the shop for a week would do a lot to rebuild her trust. Especially since it it gives us a chance to, y'know-" And here the changeling made a fairly obscene gesture. "Gretch says it's a good thing I don't have to breathe, because...well..."


Then the young barista joined her lover in the doorway, and put an arm around her shapely waist before sternly addressing the former goddess. 


"I will leave a detailed list of instructions. I expect you to flirt aggressively with anything that moves, so I better see a marked increase in sales while we're gone. As far as sleeping with staff goes, try to keep it to a minimum, except when it comes to Merge. She's a duplicator and I don't care if she lives or dies, so...have fun with that."


"And on that note," a laughing Lynn said as she pulled her girlfriend away. "We need to get to bed; got an early day ahead of us."


"I'm afraid you are mistaken. I will be going to bed. You will be sleeping with the ferrets. You're still on my list."


"Fine, I'll freeze my ass off with the ferrets..."


"You don't even get cold..."


And with that, they left Moira alone with her thoughts.

Edited by Heritage
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  • 2 weeks later...

Moira was quick to grab a sheet to cover up as Lynn popped in. The roommates usually wouldn't care if she walked around au naturel around the apartment, but this was a different moment in time. Not that she was embarrassed, but Lynn probably needed less distraction tonight.


She smiled at their acceptance of her running the book store and coffee shop, it would be an experience. She kept her distance from Lynn, still wanting to be close to her friend to comfort her sadness. "Thanks, Lynn, you won't be disappointed, and-" She cut herself off as Gretchen came in. Nodding at the 'instructions' - as if flirting weren't her natural state of being around lovers, friends, friendly acquaintances, paying customers, some strangers - though stopped nodding and quirked an eyebrow, when Gretchen let her know her feelings on Merge. She thought it the playful psychopathy that Gretchen displayed every once in a while.


After they had gone, she sat down on her bed and reached for her phone. Looking at a few pictures of her and Lynn and Gretchen over the past month, they'd always been fun. Gretchen even smiled a few times. Still, friends are friends. She just hoped that she and Gretchen could grow closer. If even just a not-wishing-for-her-death-behind-her-back way. Baby steps.

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