Sat Feb 26 03:40:22 2011
Yellow Bungalow: Living Room - Taylor Street: Little Italy
This likely used to be a small living room and a smaller dining room, but it has been opened up to a single space. The floors are old wood that, though recently stripped and waxed, show years of wear. Windows face the drive to the south and open west to the front porch. At the east side of the room, an arched opening in the south corner leads to the kitchen, and a hallway on the north side runs to the back of the house. The walls are painted off-white, almost cream, and show signs of having been patched.
A Mission-style hall tree with mirror, storage bench, and hooks for hanging coats stands next to the front door. Beyond it, a brown leather couch and matching oversized chair form a sitting area around a red and green Oriental-style rug, with a side table for the chair and a low green chest serving as a coffee table. These face the shelving unit that holds a television, audio equipment, a sparse rack of CDs, and a few, mostly practical books. A round table set with four ladder-backed chairs sits in front of the bay window at the west side of the room. One picture hangs over the couch, another over a shallow table holding a cordless phone that is set against the east wall.
Evening and Robert is home from work. The sleet had passed over during the day and the man is settled in the couch, resting a bottle of beer on his leg as he watches the game repeats on the television. A peaceful and calm scene, with no indication of which team he is supporting.
Raymond comes out of the hallway, humming a bit to himself. He is in the clothes he usually wears, just the ring on the chain around his neck the only difference. Though of note the last couple nights were silent from his room. He notices Robert sitting there and takes a breath. "Got a moment, Robert? Or would you rather I wait till the game is over?"
Robert mutes the television, glancing up at Raymond. Apparently the request isn't a surprise and he makes a gesture to the chair nearby. "Take a seat, Raymond." His voice is a low rumble, that slight edge of a growl haunting it as he leans forward, resting elbows on his knees.
Raymond nods and moves over to take the seat in the chair. He settles and looks at Robert. He almost has second thoughts at that slight edge of a growl he hears but goes ahead. He thinks of Karmen for a moment, which helps give him strength and then looks at Robert, "I want to be a part of the plan." he says simply, "I will admit right off that I do not know all the details, since I only really heard about it as Ricci was speaking to you about it as I passed through the warehouse, but I want to help."
Robert considers Raymond for a long moment before he speaks, softly and slowly. "Raymond, what I need at my back this coming trip are experienced fighters with cool heads, able to take orders. You often become emotional, and I need to know that the people who have my back will not flinch. This is why you are not on this trip." Blunt words, spoken gently, with Robert's serious gaze resting on the younger man's face. "What I will ask that you do is protect those wolves left behind, in case this is a trap to lure me away. I have set MJ and Madison to protect Ricci, and the others are your responsibility. I expect that you take this responsibility and use it to show me that you have a cooler head than you have so far shown me, are able to put aside your feelings for the need of the pack, instead of being ruled by them.
Raymond looks at him for a moment, "Is that why I wasn't even being told about it? That I had to hear in rumor?" there isn't any emotion either he just doesn't have any or he is keeping the reigned in. "I became emotional because we all had loss, and I don't flinch from a fight. Maybe ask Logan about my abilities, since he is the only one that has seen me fight recently." hs shakes his head, "If that is what you wish, there are some that will not take my being their protection well." and he is being only logical after all unless he is taking most the other wolves, that puts him protecting quite a few that are higher in rank than himself.
"Do you, as a pack member, question my decision as Ulfric not to tell every single pack member about my plan? A decision made to protect those of us who are going from leaks of information." Robert's words are blunt but there is a growth in his power, prickling across the skin of those in the room, a sign of displeasure. "Your abilities in fighting are not the sole measure I take of a pack member. That you think it is reveals more to me about your beliefs than I had hoped. Strength is not mere physical stamina. I am Ulfric, and yet when I spar with Riley, we barely evenly matched. Does that make him stronger than I? A better leader? No. It means that he is physically fit. You are missing the lesson I set you, Raymond."
Raymond shakes his head, "No, you were the one that mentioned needing fighters." he still doesn't let his emotions right, "And I don't question anything, it is not my place. I know there is more involved than physical, one just wishes the opportunity to show himself, to prove I have grown in many ways." he pauses and then nods, "I shall complete the task you set before me, Ulfric."
"Fighters are not made purely from muscle, Raymond. Fighters come with tactical thinking, with clear heads. You come to me complaining that you were not told, not seeing that the bigger picture, the tactical picture means you and many others were not told for a reason." He points the neck of the bottle at the other man, using it to emphasis his words, as his power does. "I told you before to take responsibility. I am now giving it to you, because you do not take it. Others came to me with plans, asking if I considered this aspect, and they took the responsibility. Do you perceive the difference? You came with a complaint, they came with solutions and thought out plans."
Raymond almost loses it for a moment but doesn't. He nods, "I appologize that it seemed like I complaint, it was not meant as such, as more it was meant as an attempt to take more responsibilty, to be a bit more agressive. I do see the difference." He pauses as if considering something.
"Then we move on to the other. You are not offering them protection, Raymond. I am ordering you to guard duty, along with Karmen, to put them in a place of safety. I expect you to return to me with a plan for this." Robert's words are softer, his energy dropping with his voice, as he tilts his head. "I suggest you look to my second, for the reasons she is my Geri, and to those I take with me, to understand why I take them. Strength is not pure muscle, Raymond, nor aggression. It lies in the control of the emotions, in the thoughts that place someone as a leader and another as a bodyguard."
Raymond watches him for a moment, "You will have my plan, after I talk with Karmen and work out fine points if she is going to be doing it with myself as well." he listens to the rest. He already knows no what they have that he lacks. He doesn't need to say it though. He has done well controlling his emotions.
"Excellent." Robert's nod is abrupt, the approval showing briefly in his eyes as he leans back into the chair, taking a swig of the bottle, before he makes a gesture at the television with it. "Do you care to watch the …" He hesitates, peering at the screen for a moment. "Bears play." Proof perhaps that someone was not watching it very closely.
Raymond nods, and shrugs a bit, "Do you want Karmen and me to move out?" he asks, he continues keeping his emotions under control but he did give it some thought.
"Why would I want that?" Robert slants a glance at him, faint amusement in the man's impassive face. "Despite the sensitive hearing, both Eden and I are capable of pretending not to hear you." The dry humor in his voice is light. "Unless you have a burning desire to be louder…"
Raymond shakes his head, "I don't know, just wanted to make the offer, we will go out now and again, on weekends or such…when we have the desire to be louder."
Robert nods, shooting the other man a look that is amused, lightly affectionate. "Or let us know, so we can go out for dinner." His light teasing ceases as apparently someone on the field does something worthy of attention, and the crowd roars, and Robert's gaze flickers to it.
Raymond nods and then dips his head and stands, "I should get some rest, supposed to go out to the ranch early tomorrow, they are bringing in a stud to cover the mares."
Robert nods, settling back to watch the game in contented silence, enjoying his beer.