Marvin walks up the path to the Hannard's Ford Sime Center for what seems like the ten-thousandth time. He's tired but high-field thanks to an excellent transfer.
Marvin zlins Bibi and a donor in the reception room, but there's no sign of a donation in progress, so he decides to go right in.
Nattin is in the reception room, replenishing the tea.
Bibi looks up and smiles.
Bibi: Welcome, Marvin!
Nattin draws a cup of tea and offers it.
Nattin: It's been a while since you came through.
Marvin: It has. Nothing but [English]kiss and ride[Simelan], as you might say, given my schedule lately. But tonight I get to stay over, assuming the house isn't full with yet another catastrophe.
Bibi: No catastrophe right now, for a change.
Nattin: We do seem to get more than our share, don't we?
Marvin laughs too.
Marvin: That's for sure. But if you do happen to be short of space, I could put up at the Hannard's Ford jail, I suppose. It's gotta be better than the Gumgeeville one was.
Bibi: We always have room for you, Marvin.
Marvin: Thanks, Bibi-o. Anyhow, notice anything different about me?
Nattin inspects Marvin carefully, with Gen senses.
Bibi thinks he's happier, or more content, at a deeper level than she's ever zlinned.
Marvin extends his arms, showing off a small but tasteful ring on his left ring finger.
Bibi smiles at Marvin with her eyes sparkling.
Nattin: That ring you're wearing is new. Is there a story behind it?
Marvin: There sure is. What do you think that might be? Hint: I didn't get married in the Church of the Purity, that's for sure.
Bibi laughs and hugs Marvin.
Bibi: You and Nattin can call each other naztehr, now?
Marvin hugs back with lots of enthusiasm despite his tiredness.
Marvin: You bet.
Marvin puts on a sober face, though his nager is still sparkling.
Marvin: Householding Teiu offers respect to Householding Frihill, Nattin, and full respect to the Tecton, Hajene Bibi.
Nattin: Then welcome, naztehr!
Bibi: Are they going to "salvage" your talents, the ones the Tecton rejects?
Bibi refers to the meaning of Teiu, which means salvage as well as other things.
Marvin laughs again.
Marvin: Quite possibly. Anyway, how could I resist joining something called [English] Householding Junkheap?
Nattin: Or do they just want to learn how you juggle selyn balls?
Marvin: That too, that too. The whole thing came as a huge surprise to me, but they are really all quite delightful people, and they seem to think I'll fit in. Fancy that -- Marvin fitting in. ~~ self-mockery ~~
Nattin: Marvin, I'm glad. You deserve a place where you fit in.
Bibi is ~~ radiating happiness ~~ for her friend.
Nattin: Come sit down and tell us all about it.
Bibi: Yes. Let's head back to the common room and get comfortable.
Bibi assumes Marvin's Donor will be along shortly.
Nattin knows Bibi's Donor is resting at the moment, so he fills in by collecting a plate of edibles to tempt the channels' appetites.
Marvin: Sure. I sent my Donor into town for, well, a few things I might need. He'll be with us shortly, I think.
Marvin follows Bibi to the common room and grabs a seat.
Marvin: So! Tell me all the news!
Nattin sets the plate in easy reach of the two channels, and picks up a piece of gingerbread to nibble.
Bibi: Nattin, go ahead and horrify Marvin with the story of Cristal's latest experiences.
Bibi would rather not describe what she went through during them.
Marvin: Oh, goody. Cristal horror stories are just what I like. ~~ interest enthusiasm ~~
Marvin figures it's going to be Cristal vs. the Wild Gens again.
Bibi: Oh, dear. You may not like this one.
Nattin: It wasn't the usual sort of trouble, that's for sure. Cristal got into a difference of opinion with one of the locals. And his mule, more to the point.
Marvin ~~ cringes ~~ nagerically.
Marvin: Oh no.
Bibi surreptitiously does a breathing exercise to help calm herself in anticipation.
Nattin: Yes. He was kicked in the stomach, and his spleen ruptured.
Marvin winces both physically and nagerically.
Bibi tries not to remember what Cristal zlinned like.
Bibi: Cristal was quite high field at the time.
Marvin: Easy, easy, Nattin. Let's not upset the channels too much.
Nattin looks at Bibi ~~ apologetically ~~.
Bibi: It's all right, Nattin. Carry on.
Nattin: He was jogging with Virginia Reel at the time, and she took him to the nearest source of medical assistance: Dr. Tavis.
Marvin: Don't tell me. And Doctor Tavis, umm, removed the problematic organ?
Bibi hunches her shoulders and nods.
Marvin: ~~ sympathy ~~ Oh, Bibi, what a nightmare.
Bibi: Uh, Marvin, I ran over there. He would have bled to death before the surgery if I hadn't stabilized him nagerically. But I couldn't hold it well enough.
Bibi feels actively ~~ nauseated ~~ at the memory, as well as ~~ horrified ~~.
Nattin: It was the only way to save him.
Marvin goes around to Bibi's chair and offers her ~~ comfort and support ~~.
Bibi leans on Marvin's nager, and expresses her ~~ thanks ~~.
Nattin: And it did. He's recovered nicely from the surgery.
Nattin is a little ~~ surprised ~~ by that, since unlike the channels he wasn't raised out-T.
Bibi: The doctor was quite impressed with how fast he healed, with me working on him. He didn't seem to realize what I was doing at the time.
Marvin: Well, he wouldn't, would he. [English]Needs must when the demon drives.
Marvin: So where is he now? I don't -- no, yes, I do zlin him.
Marvin waves his tentacles in a generally upstairs-ish direction.
Bibi: Yes, I'm still encouraging him to take it easy.
Marvin: Is he actually able to work, or did they send you a new Donor as well?
Bibi: Oh, well, it's not like they have Donors to spare!
Nattin: Cristal tires easily, but he seems to be able to cover the essentials.
Bibi: He gave me a very good partial about a week after, and I was able to work without him most of the time.
Marvin: Good, good.
Marvin secretly wonders, but decides to say no more.
Marvin: So, Nattin, how go your students' theses, then?
Marvin pulls his chair over to Bibi's so he can drape a ~~ comforting and protective ~~ arm about her.
Bibi leans into the arm and sighs with ~~ pleasure ~~.
Nattin: Well enough, although I never thought to meet a Sime enthralled with Gen firearms.
Marvin buries his face in the tentacles of his other hand.
Marvin: I know. What a revolting development. Still, a degree is a degree, I suppose.
Nattin: It does have the advantage of novelty, I suppose.
Marvin: That can't hurt when he goes up before the discernment committee. Speaking of discernment, what happened to that crazy naztehr of ours who tried to give transfer in a horse cart?
Nattin: She went back home for a while, of course. Her Sectuib was not pleased with the risk she took, even though Dar is more tolerant of such things than most Houses. I believe she is reconsidering how to complete her degree, since the adventure will have changed Gumgeeville's attitude towards her.
Marvin: Hmm. I don't know if you'd call Teiu "tolerant" or not. They're as result-oriented as Dar is, but, well, Dar has a lot more clout, so it can get away with more.
Nattin: They also have a certain exaggerated respect for hotheads and adventurers.
Bibi smiles at Nattin's evident conservatism.
Marvin: Teiu just goes on saying nothing in its quiet way, and burying anything the Tecton wouldn't like to hear about under the Householding veil.
Nattin: Frihill respects tradition. It makes it easier to understand the past.
Marvin: Teiu respects tradition, too, but mostly its own. That reminds me! Bibi, you know that ~~ private signal for simulated transfer ~~ stuff? ('Scuse me, Nattin, I need a little channel-to-channel here.)
Nattin nods ~~ tolerantly ~~.
Bibi nods ~~ affirmatively ~~.
Marvin: Well, that's a standard Teiu practice -- essentially all Teiu Gens donate that way. Isn't that ~~ amazing ~~?
Bibi: It's startling... Wait, aren't most of them rated as Thirds?
Marvin: Yes, they are. That's pretty ~~ amazing ~~ too, but apparently Qualifying just isn't that big a deal for them, given all that practice.
Bibi remembers the things Sosu Robur ambrov Teiu, the Donor-ex-machina who served Flint in First Transfer, told her.
Bibi: Ah. It's training, right? They're in training to be Donors, and simulated transfer is a training method. Clever.
Marvin: It sure is. And I personally got to take three donations during the day after my pledge ceremony. In-Householding, so the Tecton has nothing to say!
Marvin drops his showfield to show his underlying ~~ wild enthusiasm ~~ about it all.
Bibi: Oh, Marvin! ~~ delighted ~~
Nattin: I don't want to spoil your delight, but is that going to make you susceptible to entran?
Bibi: Then he'll just have to take some more donations, right?
Marvin: Sectuib thought about that, and scheduled me for some therapy time with Drupal, who's a QN-2 Donor-Therapist. All's well. But yes, I'm sure I'll be dropping by Teiu every few months -- for reasons of health.
Bibi: Will you be working out of Konawa district now? ~~ concern ~~
Marvin: No no and not at all. I'm staying right here on my regular route.
Nattin: I'm selfish enough to be glad of that.
Bibi: Me too.
Marvin: [English] Home is where the heart is [Simelan] as I told that foolish girl, and that would be right here.
Marvin beams at Bibi and Nattin, though more at Bibi.
Nattin can hardly blame Marvin for finding Bibi more scenic than he is.
Marvin: So what have you heard from Seruffin? Has he been through lately?
Bibi: No, he's been very busy in New Washington, and hasn't been called back for consultation recently.
Marvin: ~~ mixed emotions: sorry for Bibi, not so sorry on his own behalf ~~
Bibi smiles as she interprets the ambient around Marvin.
Nattin: The last time he came through, he was a little preoccupied with chasing down some fugitives.
Bibi: We helped him find a lost Farris channel and her formerly rogue Donor!
Marvin: Ah. And they would be...?
Bibi: Katsura Farris ambrov Sat'htine and Nick Reckage. Notorious Nick Reckage.
Bibi projects an ~~ exaggerated swoon ~~ over Nick's nager.
Nattin: The Nightmare Donor who sends channels running -- at least until they zlin him.
Marvin: Oooh. Much too notorious for the likes of you and me, Bibi, then.
Marvin: Speaking of notorious Donors, where is that big fella when you need him? ~~ ready to spring a surprise ~~
Marvin ~~ grouses ~~ audibly and nagerically.
Bibi smiles in ~~ anticipation ~~.
Marvin: I do hope he isn't off after another of those snipes, eh?
Bibi: Eugen, again?
Marvin makes the-winnah-and-next-champeen gestures.
Marvin: All good things are coming true this month, it seems.
Bibi: He likes you, Marvin. He doesn't mean to slam you around like that.
Marvin: I know. And anyway, he's much more... selective about it now. He only does it when he thinks I require it.
Bibi wonders whether Eugen is developing better control, or if Marvin is just getting used to Eugen's limitations.
Nattin: Perhaps he was delayed by the gingerbread?
Marvin: Perhaps. But I'd put him up against that old witch any time.
Marvin just can't keep the silly smiles off his face.
Nattin: Well, I left a train of gingerbread crumbs straight here, I'm afraid. Perhaps he'll follow them to you.
Marvin folds up laughing and ~~ smears the ambient ~~ with his ~~ joy ~~.
Nattin: Or isn't that the way the out-Territory children's story goes?
Marvin is too busy laughing to answer.
Bibi ~~ basks ~~ in Marvin's joy, and wishes Nattin could share it nagerically too.
Marvin recovers eventually.
Marvin: You're the expert on out-T culture, Nattin. Bibi and I were just born here.
Nattin: And that's why you understand the people here so effortlessly, while I am constantly having to analyze and research to find clues.
Nattin: On the other hand, it's made me good at following clues. Perhaps I should go see if there's a clue to Eugen's location yet?
Marvin: Umm, sounds good to me. ~~ sincere ~~. I could use him. ~~ not so sincere ~~.
Marvin would never lie to a Gen, of course. What's the point? There are too many Simes around.
Nattin is well aware that Bibi and Marvin have much to discuss in his absence -- and channeling issues are the least of it.
Nattin: I'll see that he's fed, rested, and ready to report for duty when you call him.
Nattin intends to make sure that Eugen doesn't report until called for, of course. He's also willing to go so far as to ask any additional donors if they mind coming back tomorrow.
Marvin: Thank you much -- naztehr.
Nattin: You're welcome... naztehr.
Bibi is ~~ charmed ~~ and feels another ~~ rush of happiness ~~~ for Marvin.
Nattin pushes the plate of edibles just a little closer, and leaves to intercept distractions.
Marvin zlins that Bibi is still a few days before turnover.
Marvin: Umm, Bibi? Do you remember the last time that Eugen and Nattin broke in on us?
Marvin: Maybe we should go somewhere where that won't happen again?
Marvin drops his showfield again, revealing a different set of emotions now that Nattin is gone. He picks up a goodie and nibbles on it suggestively.
Bibi finishes her tea.
Bibi: Are you sure a Householder should be doing such things with a mere Houseless channel, Hajene? ~~ teasing ~~
Bibi can zlin that Marvin's post. She's still a little pre-turnover, but is willing to go for a good snuggle and some nageric intimacy and see what develops.
Marvin: Depends on which Houseless channel. Hajene Seruffin, definitely not. The quilt would clash too much with his skin tone.
Marvin: You and I, on the other hand, match perfectly.
Bibi: Let's go to my office and see what I've got on the settee in the way of quilts today.
Marvin does one of his manic head-nods, but although he's ~~ eager ~~, he's not actually ~~ manic ~~ any more -- it's just an act. He gets up from his chair and offers Bibi his arm.
Bibi takes the arm and wraps her tentacles around it as she rises.
Marvin is more than willing to see what develops too. It's been a long, long time since he and Bibi were even slightly in sync. He knows he can't be more than friends-with-benefits with Bibi, even though he'd like to be -- so he enjoys what he can, when he can.