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Creative Training (IC)

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Talya was really at her limit of clever ways to disguise a pregnancy and while she could probably call in a favor for an image inducer, or get extraordinarily creative, she wasn't about to go through that effort for the classes she taught. For most classes, it simply meant that she stopped with concealing wardrobe and suffered through the well meaning well wishes of the students that she worked with. There was one student, however, that warranted a little more effort than that. 


It had been a few weeks since Raina's last session at the studio between school and apocalypses, and that sort of thing. It was only now that Claremont had gotten back into the swing of extracurriculars. The Espadas school was familiar and it wasn't unusual for the desk to be unmanned, especially if the teachers were setting up or tearing down for classes in the dojo proper.


What was unusual was a small note on the counter attached to a very small Tiffany's box sitting on the countertop. In Talya's elegant handwriting, it said simply "Keep your shoes on today." Inside the box was a sterling silver keyring, empty but for an elegant pendant in the shape of a stylized lock on one side. 

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In the nearly nine months she had spent as a semi-willing guest at Claremont, Raina had missed half as many classes as she'd attended, and for most of the rest she'd made little effort to be on time. Training at the dojo was different though, and today she arrived punctually and with her workout clothes already on, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. The box caught her attention instantly, and while the note grabbed her curiosity, the pendant itself quickly took up her entire attention. "Pretty..." she murmured appreciatively, holding it up to the light. "Talya? Are you here?" 

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"Sorry, I wasn't sure how long it would take me to shower and change," Talya apologized, her clear, crisp tones preceding her down the stairs. She was dressed casually, capri pants and a light spring top with flats rather than the high heels she usually favored when not training. With her purse slung over one shoulder, she looked like she could have been a mom straight from a Pottery Barn catalog except for the wicked smile on her features. She dangled the car keys from her hand. This particular course of action, Talya had NOT run by Erik but then, she was responsible for Raina's training in the dojo, wasn't she? Or out of the dojo as the case might be. 


"I thought we'd practice a critical life skill today," she said as she held the car keys out to make her intentions plain before laughing, a quick and easy laugh as she twirled them around her fingers to stick them in her purse. "I'll drive us out of the city though. Always best to practice where its not remotely crowded, don't you think? Today we're going to be learning about cars." 


Of course when Talya said cars, she meant driving, hot wiring and probably breaking into them. The skills that Talya found critical to the life of a modern woman were many and varied and only about half of them were really illegal per say. She tipped her head to the side, "Does Merlin want to stay here for this?" 

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Raina looked completely blank for a minute, as though she couldn't begin to comprehend what Talya was sugges"ting. The shock was quickly replaced by mounting excitement. "Are you serious?" she demanded, her eyes going wide. "You're gonna show me how to drive?" From inside Raina's backpack there was an alarmed chirrup, and moments later Merlin stuck his head out. Merlin thought this was an idea fraught with difficulties, chief among them being that Raina should not be trusted with anything more technically complex than a can opener, and probably not an electric one at that. 


"Oh come on," Raina objected, glaring at her familiar. "If you're just gonna be that way, you don't even have to come along." That idea didn't sit well either, as Merlin opined that if Raina were going to do something dangerous, he'd better be there to make sure she didn't kill herself doing it. Raina heaved a sigh of the much put-upon. "We're both going," she reported to Talya, brightening up immediately. "What kind of car?" 

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"Its a 2012 Volvo - not very exciting but it's not going to distress me to rip wires out under the console to show you how to hot-wire it either, or perhaps Merlin," Talya was well aware of the monkey's predilection for electronics. She gave a wave of her hand as if to dismiss the matter, "It also won't matter if we scratch the paint when I show you how to get into and out of a car. It's a bit more exhaustive than a typical driver's ed course but one should be well rounded, don't you think?"


She gave Merlin a bemused smile, "Don't worry, it will only be moderately harrowing for everyone involved. Besides, don't you think its better that we learn now than she tries to suss it out on her own later? I certainly do." 

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Merlin indicated with a certain air of offended dignity that he could already hotwire a 2012 Volvo if he so desired, he just typically did not do so because Raina would have to be the one to drive it. Raina stuck out her tongue at him. "I could drive a Volvo right now if I wanted to," she assured him. "It's not exactly rocket science, right Talya? Couple of pedals and a steering wheel!" She very carefully tucked box, pendant and note into her backpack, then all but bounced out the door to the car. Merlin put his little head in his fuzzy hands, resigned to going along too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Well, not rocket science, no. It takes a bit of practice, though - which is why we're driving out to where you can practice rather than doing so inside the city." Talya agreed as she followed at a more sedate pace towards the car. The white volvo easily blended in with the cars on the streets of this part of town, looking neither too nice and new nor too old and beaten up to really stand out. Which, honestly, might have been exactly why Talya owned it. She opened the car and then let herself into the driver's seat before easing it towards the town limits.


"So, how's school going?" Talya asked as she maneuvered the car towards the suburbs. "And your social life?"

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Raina waved a dismissive hand to the question about school, craning her neck to watch Talya drive and get some idea of where all the switches and levers were. "It's school, it's all stupid stuff I'll never use and long lists of what not to do. At least we'll get summer break soon. They signed me up for classes for summer too, cause otherwise I've got noplace to go, but at least it's not as many." She indicated her opinion of this development with an eloquent finger pointing down her throat. . "Anibal's good though. Maybe I'll get to visit his place this summer, remember how the other half lives. What about you?" she asked in return. "How's your... thing going?" 

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"My 'thing' with Erik and Min?" Talya asked with a sidelong smile, her eyes crinkling but not in a way that made it seem like she was laughing AT Raina, more that she was bemused with the turn of phrase chosen. "It's alright to ask. I won't feel you're prying, you know, if you ever have questions about relationships - mine or in general. We're good. I've been moving my things over from my safe house in with Min and Erik - which isn't something I've done in any previous relationships, so that's a rather large step. Odd, too. Occasionally fraught as Erik had some very different ideas than I do about the acceptability of owning fire arms."


Talya paused, the hesitation almost imperceptible from the generally glib spy, "We're going to have more little Espadas in the not too distant future so really, life revolves around trying to stockpile as much sleep as possible before we're outnumbered by the children."

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