Look What Dragged in the Cat

Cast: date: 'August 31, 2012'
place: 'Prufrock Coffee, Camden Town'
participants: 'Gideon, David, Nathaniel, Cedric, Ruth'
synopsis: 'The Touched come in out of the rain for coffee, tea, sugar-water, and the like. Nathaniel''s attempts to go unnoticed are somewhat unsuccessful.'
log: "It's on the late side of the lunch hour at Prufrock's, and the coffee shop is relatively quiet. It's not time for the 2:30-slump crowd yet, and most people don't consume coffee for lunch. A light rain, really more of a drizzle, casts the windows in a dove-gray mist that collects as condensation around the corners. The staff are moving about behind the counter, and chatting amiably with one another; there is no line. \n\nThere is one person sitting among the comfy chairs. Visible in the window is Cedric, dressed in a dark red polo and black slacks, a half-empty cup of something warm in the largest size they have. He's intent on whatever is on the iPad in his hand, periodically swiping at it with a finger, and not really too interested in the rest of the world right now. The smell of cigarettes clings to him like a cloak, and one foot taps restlessly on the tile floor. \n\n\nRuth doesn't really drink coffee - ever. But that doesn't mean she won't accompany a fellow agent of the Watch. She can crib a few sugar packets. The dark-haired woman can be seen through the storefront windows, hands tucked into her jacket pockets, hood pulled up, squinting against the misting rain as she walks alongside David. She shoulders the door open and steps inside, keeping it propped open with the heel of her boot until David passes through as well. \"Bet your head's still hurtin',\" she asides, a trace of a grin quirking her lips as she looks the establishment over with a quick turn of her head. \"Oi, Ced.\" She pulls her left hand free of her pocket and tosses up a wave.\n\n\nA chill, drizzly day deserves something hot to drink, even if it is an off time for it. Gideon Parish is in his usual jeans and trainers, a black t-shirt and a brown jumper with the hood drawn up against the damp. He heads for the door, pausing in mild surprise to see Ruth and a fellow he doesn't yet know step into the coffee shop before him. He glances over to the man she hails, and takes thoughtful note of the familiar face busy flicking through his ipod. \"Afternoon, then, Ruth,\" Gideon greets, tugging his hood back and giving his head a bit of a shake. Not being made of poison everything, he can do things like that when he feels like it.\n\n\nDavid follows Ruth into the shop, offering a thanks as she holds open the door for him. He chuckles softly and nods, reaching up to touch the bandage on his forehead that covers the stitches. \"Yeah. I've been downing Aspirin like they were Pez.\" He says to her as they move to the line. As Ruth addresses Cedric, he turns and offers the man a wave. \"Hey Cedric.\" He says to him then his eyes move to Gideon as he addresses Ruth. Since there is no line, he immediately places his drink order. A coffee for himself and a hot cup of water for Ruth.\n\n\nAt the greeting, Cedric looks up, startled. \"Oy there, you lot.\" The greeting is casual, but becomes less so as he spots Gideon walking in behind Ruth and David. The iPad gets locked and tucked aside, on the chair next to him, and he picks up his coffee, taking another long drink of it, watching the man for a moment as he leans back.\n\n\"Right you are, sir.\" The girl at the front counter pushes herself off where she'd been leaning on it talking to the barista, and is prompt enough about providing both. She slides both of them onto the counter and rings it up.\n\n\n\"Should've ducked,\" Ruth remarks, another faint grin flashed for all of a half second. Then she's slipping past David as he makes for the counter — she's off to loot a handful of sugar packets from the dispenser. \"How's it?\" she asks of Cedric mildly, tucking a few extra sugars into her jacket pocket with a glance slanted towards the counter girl. Surely no one will mind. Then there's a Gideon, who receives a quick, head-to-toe once over as she reaches up to push her hood back, chin lifting a degree as she offers a neutral, \"Afternoon, Gid.\"\n\n\nThe look-over causes Gideon to hitch up a brow as he gets into line behind David. But he only smiles and tips his head in a nod. \"Bit dreary out, isn't it.\" He glances again in Cedric's direction before asking, lazily, \"He's another one of yours, then?\"\n\n\nDavid eyes Ruth with his eyes narrowed slightly, but a smirk playing on his lips. \"I did duck. Just not low enough.\" He says as he pays for the drinks then waits for them to be made. He offers the woman a thanks once they arrive before he heads back to Ruth after picking up some sugar and cream for himself. He offers her the cup of water before he fixes his coffee how he likes it and takes a drink. \"How are you doing?\" He asks Cedric before he returns his attention to the man he doesn't know yet.\n\n\n\"Getting on well enough.\" That's a cagey answer for Cedric, who is usually friendly enough. Something's probably on his mind, but he doesn't say anything about it, instead eyeing David's forehead decorations a little warily. \"Didn't duck fast enough, then? You all right?\"\n\nGideon gets a brief glance, but he returns his attention to David, admitting nothing. Instead, he takes another drink of his coffee. \"I should get back to the office,\" he admits.\n\n\nRuth brings a gloved hand up to accept the cup from David, a nod of thanks and a wan smile given as her fingers curl around the steaming container. A table's staked out, not far off from Cedric's, and she nudges the chair back a few inches with the toe of her bootwhich leads to a delightfully loud 'skreeeee!' sound as the chair legs scrape against the floor. She doesn't appear to notice. \"S'always dreary,\" she answers Gideon, seating herself. There's a good ten second pause, during which she rips open a few sugar packets and dumps them into the cup, before she adds: \"Saw that friend've yours.\" It would appear she isn't going to answer Gideon's question regarding Cedric. Did she even hear it? She does look at Cedric, however, treating him to the same once-over Gid received. \"Cheers, then.\"\n\n\nGideon places an order for a plain old cup of tea, paying for it with a few coins before accepting the cup. He'll have it just as it is, it seems, because there's no stop for sugar or cream before he heads over towards Ruth's table. His chair pulls out more quietly as he drops into the seat across from Ruth. \"Did you?\" he asks with a quick smile. \"How'd it shake out, then?\"\n\n\nDavid offers Cedric a raise of his cup as he mentions going to the office. \"See you later.\" He offer the man before he moves over to sit next to Ruth, sliding out a chair with some noise, but not as bad as Ruth. He takes a drink from his cup before he looks to Gideon and offers a hand to him, deciding to introduce himself. \"David Darkholme.\" He says to the man, since Ruth didn't introduce him. How rude.\n\n\nOutside, the drizzle has picked up into a steady rain that patters on the sidewalk and windows. Cedric has stood up, tucked his iPad into the back of his trousers, and is preparing to take his coffee and leave when he spots that. \"Reckon the office can do without one more drowned rat for a bit,\" he amends, peering at the rain outside. A glance at the group at the table, and he adds to no one in particular, \"Mind one more?\"\n\n\nRuth also nicked a coffee stirring straw, apparently, and she's using it to stir up the rather syrupy mixture of hot water and sugar crystalsbut it's Cedric that she's looking at as she does this. Staring at, really, nostrils flaring as she draws in a sharp breath. Her lips part, but she doesn't say anything to him. Instead, she just gives her head a quick shake, like a dog with water in its ear. Then Gideon and David are joining her, so her rude-as-shit staring is cut short. \"Oi, yeah. This is Gideon.\" See? Less rude. Faded blue eyes snap back to Cedric when he approaches. She stretches a leg out under the table and shoves a free chair out about four inches (skreeee!). \"Have a sit.\"\n\n\n\"Gideon Parish,\" he so named tacks on to Ruth's introduction. \"Nice to meet you, Mr. Darkholme.\" He blows lightly on the top of his tea before taking a sip. As Cedric joins them, there's another vague nod in the tech man's direction. \"Hello, again,\" Gideon greets after he swallows his mouthful of drink.\n\n\nDavid nods his head as Ruth and Gideon introduces him. \"Nice to meet you too.\" He offers in return before his attention is turned to Cedric as he returns to the table. \"Nope. Not at all, mate. Sit.\" He says before he takes out some Aspirin from the bottle in his pocket, takes out two pills and pops them in his mouth and takes another drink from his coffee to wash them down with.\n\n\nCedric pauses briefly at the stare, looking distinctly uncomfortable, and shoots a quick, wary glance at David before seating himself. Still, seat himself he does, although one fist clenches tightly by his side as he does so. \"Didn't realize you two knew each other,\" he greets Gideon, nodding to Ruth as well in thanks and offering a hand to shake. Since introductions are going around, he adds, \"Cedric Moseley. A coffee shop's a small world, I reckon. Did you ever catch up with your girl?\"\n\n\nRuth should probably mutter some awkward apology, but she does not do this. Instead, she wets her lips with the tip of her tongue and shifts her attention towards her cup, tapping gloved fingertips against the brim for a moment before bringing it up for a sip. It's probably scalding hot, but she doesn't appear to notice. She shifts a bit in her chair, just an inch or so further from the table, maintaining her bubble of personal space. \"We've met a time or two,\" she eventually says, regarding knowing Gideon, but she says it about five seconds too late for it to jive with the flow of conversation.\n\n\n\"The world is a small world,\" Gideon replies wryly. \"As Ms. James says, we've met a time or two.\" Sip. \"I haven't caught up with her, yet. Haven't really tried. She seemed a bit harried and anyhow, I'm running low on laundry. Though I thought I might drop by the shop she mentioned. Murdoch's in Lamsbeth. See what it's about.\"\n\n\nDavid picks up his coffee again and takes a long drink from the cup, falling quiet as the conversation turns to a subject he doesn't know anything about, so he sits content to sip his coffee and listen until his headache goes away. His eyes move from person to person as they speak, following along with the conversation.\n\n\nIs it possible for the sense of frazzled nerves to precede one into an establishment? If it is, that's definitely the sense one gets as Nathaniel walks in. He doesn't appear to have an umbrella, rain notwithstanding. Or even a hat. So by the time he gets into the coffee shop, he's all but drenched. At least he's wearing a coat. He's frowning too, the expression of someone that's rather caught halfway between being in a hurry and just wanting to /stop/ for a minute. If there is still no line, he heads to the counter and places his order — black coffee — in a quiet voice that sounds like he's trying to keep it from carrying too far.\n\n\n\"Too right,\" Cedric answers, nodding to the truth of Gideon's words. \"Though if she blunders into someone with her coffee again, reckon I'll bring a towel just in case she shows up.\" He takes another sip of his own coffee, and looks up as Nathaniel enters, looking most bedraggled. Sympathy momentarily flits across his features, but he says nothing yet, returning to the conversation at hand.\n\n\"Coming right up, sir.\" There's still no line at the counter, and the one group that seems to be sharing a table is the only group of people aside from the staff in here. The overly perky girl sets the full cup of coffee on the counter and rings it up quickly enough, one corner of her lip between her teeth.\n\n\nRuth's got her cup of …hot sugar water. Gideon's words on laundry have her flicking a quick glance towards the watch (black, like the rest of her rather dull wardrobe), then her attention shifts back towards her tablemates, lingering on Cedric for a moment. But then there's someone new to stare at uncomfortably - Nathaniel! No flicker of sympathy is apparently in the dark-haired woman's eyes as she looks the frazzled man over, cup brought to her lips for another sip. \"Might go back to that curio shop,\" she remarks, apropos of very little. \"See all the bits 'n bobs. That wind chime was interestin'.\" Conversation - she is making it.\n\n\n\"Certainly seemed a place worth exploring,\" Gideon agrees mildly as he also glances in the poor, soggy Nathaniel's direction. Or maybe Gideon's just stealing a peek at the girl behind the counter. Well. She is perky. Oh wait, that's just her personality. Returning his attention to the folks at his own table and his tea, Gideon offers a small nod. \"Suppose you could just bring a towel everywhere. Just in case.\"\n\n\nDavid continues to listen to the conversation until Nathaniel makes his way into the coffee shop. He looks over the man for a few moments, wondering how anyone in London doesn't carry an umbrella. He shrugs his shoulders slightly before he turns his attention back to the group, now only half-listening to the conversation at hand.\n\n\nNathaniel offers a polite nod to the girl who rings up the coffee, pays for the drink, and goes to another seat. He sits heavily down in the chair, heaving a sigh. And he leans his arms on the table he's sitting at, his head's down. It's likely he's waiting for his coffee to cool enough to drink it. But who doesn't love the smell of fresh coffee, right?\n\n\nCuriously, Cedric goes silent at the mention of the curio shop, and shakes his head, taking another long drink of his coffee. He doesn't seem suddenly to pay Ruth or her staring a lot of mind, but his foot beneath the table starts tapping incessantly. \"Yeah, not my sort of place,\" he answers shortly, before taking another long drink of coffee and a deep breath. \"Reckon I'll leave the shopping to you, Miss James.\"\n\nNathaniel's whole demeanor makes him look over at the man, frowning, and he takes another deep breath. That seems to settle him some, although the foot continues tapping. \"Like the Hitchhiker's Guide?\" he answers Gideon finally, adding on a chuckle that isn't totally relaxed.\n\n\n\"Was sort've weird, that shop.\" Ruth admits with a nod towards Cedric, slender shoulders lifting and dropping in a shrug so lifeless that it barely registers as a twitch. Her attention snaps back to Nathaniel, and maybe she tilts forwardjust a centimeter or soas she watches him intently, with something of a predacious glint in her eyes. Under the table, she knocks the tip of her boot against David's first, then Cedric's, lifting her chin just slightly in the direction of Nate.\n\n\n\"Mmm?\" Gideon asks, glancing over at Nataniel. It takes a moment but then *click*. \"Oh, yeah,\" he agrees with a polite smile, \"just like. Never know when the planet'll be bulldozed for an intergalactic highway.\" He doesn't get a foot tap, but he does notice the little chin lift of Ruth's and so he asks, \"You all right there? You look clear soaked through and worn down besides.\"\n\n\nDavid starts to get back into the conversation until he feels Ruth knocking boots with him, which draws him back to look at her then to Nathaniel again when she nods towards him. He studies the man for a few moments as he studies him. \"Be right back.\" He says as he notices something about the man. He picks up his coffee and then stands from the table before he starts to move towards his table. \"Had a rough time?\" He asks Nate as soon as he's close enough.\n\n\nMight be a particularly bad way to be right now, but Nathaniel appears to be ignorant of any scrutiny from the other people who happen to be there. Don't worry, he's not eavesdropping. That frown on his face is muted now, thoughtful. So he's probably thinking about something. It's only Gideon's words that pierce into the little foggy funk (or would that be funky fog?!) he seems to have firmly wrapped around him. He gives a surprised, inquisitive sound, and tilts his head up, blinking in the direction of the table. A moment later and he looks around, to see who Gideon might be talking to besides him. There's probably not anyone else in his general direction, so it has to be aimed at him!\n\n\"Oh, er… I'm fine. Hectic week,\" he replies, offering a pleasant smile that doesn't look too faked. It's by chance he's looking up as David seems to be approaching him. And he offers a similar answer. \"Yeah. House is giving me a contractor's nightmare.\" He offers a wave of his hand, dismissive.\n\n\nCedric snorts a wry laugh at Gideon, but doesn't respond at once as Ruth toes him under the table. Then David gets up, and anything else he was going to say — or think — gets lost in momentary confusion. Still a little on the edgy side, his foot continues to tap under the table, but now he looks over at Nathaniel - and /looks/ hard at him, using David's cover to hopefully keep Nathaniel from seeing him do it. \n\nIt takes him a minute, but … uh-oh. Suddenly, he settles down, and glances at the window to see if it's stopped raining yet. It's slowed but not stopped, and the man shakes his head just slightly and nods to Ruth, but opts to let David handle it.\n\n\n\"Ah, well. All kinds of nightmares to be had in this city. You get acclimated after a spell,\" Gideon says. He glances at the clock on the wall and swallows the remains of his cooled tea. \"I best be off. Afternoon David. Cedric. Ruth.\" He offers the girl a parting smile. \"Hope you find what you're looking for in that shop.\" He tugs his jumper's hood back onto his head, standing and making his way back out the door.\n\n\nRuth's attention snaps back to the here and now when David stands. Apparently she's also opting to let David handle it, because she's not pushing to her feet to follow after. No, she's just going to finish off her cofsugar water. She sighs out a breath, shifting and settling back in her chair. \"Cheers, Gid,\" is paired with a lift of her hand, a half-hearted wave at best, but the wan smile that accompanies it seems genuine enough.\n\n\nDavid nods his head slightly in response to Gideon's words as he takes his leave. He's focused on Nate at the moment, those at the other table are forgotten for the moment. \"Are those contacts?\" He asks with his voice lowered slightly then he motions towards a seat at Nate's table with his free hand. \"Mind if I join you?\" He asks as he pulls out one of the chairs without waiting for an answer.\n\n\nThose words of nightmares draw a nod. And then as Gideon seems ready to leave, Nathaniel offers a backwards tilt of his head, a salute of sorts for the parting. And then suddenly David's there, asking about… contact lenses? Which actually prompts a bit of tensing in Nathaniel's shoulders. But he seems to be trying to play it off. \"…Hm?\" The inquisitive sound comes with a raised eyebrow. He's never been asked about his eyes before. \"No, I don't wear contact lenses.\" And the question of whether he could join? Nathaniel motions to the chair David's pulled out, regardless of whether the question was merely for politeness's sake or not, and offers a pleasant (and practiced!) smile.\n\n\nAs Gideon gets up and leaves, Cedric raises a hand to him in a casual fashion. \"Cheers.\" Once he's completely gone and the door closed behind him, he murmurs in a lower tone to Ruth, \"I'll file the paperwork later, but your Miss Murdoch comes here. The shop he mentioned is for her.\" It's an aside, and one for later, as he looks out the window again. \"Later for that, though.\" He shoots another glance at David and Nathaniel. \"All right over there?\" he calls to David and Nathaniel. \"Reckon he can come join us, if he likes.\"\n\n\nGood ears on that girl, Ruth hears David's 'contacts' question posed to Nathaniel andjust for a second, there's a little roll of her eyes heavenward, beseeching. Never a dull moment. She swirls the sugar-sludge around in the bottom of her cup, acknowledging Cedric's low-spoken words with a faint cant of her head towards him. \"I'll keep that in mind,\" she murmurs, absently tapping a gloved fingertip against the brim of her cup. There's a good five second lapse before she nods at those latter words. \"Sure.\" The smile she turns towards Nathaniel falls… just slightly short of friendly.\n\n\nDavid starts to sit down at Nate's table before he hears Cedric's question, chuckling and giving him the thumbs up before he looks back to Nate. \"What do you say? Wanna come over and join us?\" He asks as he motions towards the table he came from. \"I promise we don't bite.\" He pauses for a moment and looks over at Ruth for a second before he looks back to Nate then adds, \"Except her. She's a biter.\" He says with a soft chuckle.\n\n\nThe call from Cedric pulls Nathaniel's attention over to that table, and… that tension does not go away. Fact, there's a slight shrewd narrowing of his eyes, and he looks between Cedric and Ruth. He spends a moment looking at Ruth's reaction to the invitation before he decides how to answer it. The hesitation it long enough for David's invitation to be added, and Nathaniel looks at him too, that suspicious look in his eyes. However, it's with the utmost politeness and decorum — fact, he sounds like he's turning down a much-wanted invitation from a friend! \"Oh, no… Thank you. But I wouldn't want to impose,\" he replies easily, with a polite smile.\n\n\n\"You wouldn't be, not at all.\" Cedric stands up smoothly, flashing a smile intended to be reassuring at Nathaniel. He looks like an office worker, perfectly polished and smooth, complete with iPad in the back of his trousers. \"You look like you could do with a good stiffener, though.\"\n\nPicking up the empty coffee cup, he tosses it in a nearby rubbish bin and glances at Nathaniel. \"I'm not going anywhere till this lets up, mate. Don't fancy a drowned iPad. May as well have someone to talk to while I'm about it.\"\n\n\nTap, tap, tap; Ruth's gloved fingernail clinks against the brim of her cup again and again. She snorts quietly at David's words, a faint smirk forming as she mutters out, \"I'll show you some bitin',\" and pushes up to her feet as Cedric gets to histhis time moving the chair slowly enough that its legs don't scrape against the floor quite so shrilly. Then she's off to the counter for another cup of hot water. \"Have a sit,\" she suggests to Nathaniel, somewhat friendly-like.\n\n\nDavid chuckles softly as he glances back to Ruth and her comments. \"Don't threaten me with a good time.\" He offers back before he looks back to Nate and nods his head towards their table. \"Come on. Join us. I bet you'll find we have quiet a bit in common.\" He says before he starts back towards the table and sits back down in his seat, letting Nate have Gideon's seat since it's now open.\n\n\nAgain Nathaniel looks to Cedric as he speaks. The frown on his face seems to ease a little at the explanation. Ruth's tease back to David draws a bit of a smirk, but it's just right at the corner of his mouth. Though her invitation added to Cedric's seems to get the frown to ease a little more. It's David's mention of 'having quite a bit in common' that draws that frown to return.\n\nNonetheless? \"…Well, I suppose a little while couldn't hurt,\" he agrees. He stands from his table, bringing his coffee — he's been sipping at it idly since he sat down — with him. And then he'll occupy the seat previously occupied by Gideon. Notably he's going to /try/ to keep an open pathway between where he's sitting and the door….\n\n\nHaving gotten Nathaniel to join them, Cedric flashes a grin at Ruth and David. \"Reckon we should let the lovebirds sit together, no?\" Smoothly, he steals the chair next to Nathaniel, leaving the chair next to David open for Ruth. \"Cedric Moseley,\" he offers, offering a hand for a handshake. The man clearly works out. His voice is a rough baritone, and his foot goes back to tapping underneath the table. Lot of energy there.\n\n\nAnother snort from Ruth at the suggestion of her being involved in any sort of good timeand at the mention of lovebirds. Still, she did engage in some degree of playful banter! Fresh serving of scalding hot water retrieved, she nicks another handful of sugar packets and ambles back to the table, hooking two fingers through the slats of her chair to drag it out a few inches before she seats herself. Cedric gets a glance, and an all but imperceptible trace of a smile. She offers no handshake, but her tone's even enough, bordering on pleasant, when she addresses Nathaniel, \"Ruth James.\"\n\n\nDavid makes himself comfortable in the seat as the others return to the table and make their introductions before he finally makes his. \"David Darkholme. Glad you decided to join us.\" He offers before he takes a drink from his coffee then setting the cup down. He waits for everyone to be at the table before he looks back to Nate, making sure to keep enough space between him and Ruth. \"How long have you been back?\" He asks, his voice lowered to keep the conversation private.\n\n\nThe mention of 'lovebirds' gets a chuckle. And then as Cedric introduces himself, he returns the handshake. Though he waits until everyone else has been introduced before offering his own name. \"Nathaniel Valentine.\" His voice isn't baritone, it's not quite that low. Perhaps on the low end of the tenor range? But it's nonetheless a smooth voice, one that's meant for charming people. And then… wait what? Nathaniel looks to David quickly. David might see a momentary expression of shock, before it becomes a confused blink. \"…Back? From where?\" Hard to tell if he's bluffing or not. But that line of tension's back in his shoulders again.\n\n\nCedric shoots David a sharp look at the question, but waits for Nathaniel's answer before jumping in. \"Relax, mate,\" he tells Nathaniel, holding up a hand. \"You're wearing your rough week all over, is all. Go on. Tell us about it.\" He flashes another one of those intended-to-be-reassuring smiles, and the foot slows down under the table. \"Sometimes we all just need someone to talk to.\"\n\n\nThere she goes again, knocking boots. *CLUNK* The toe of Ruth's work boot connects with the side of David's shoe. Hard. She doesn't actually look at him as she, more or less, kicks a ranking agent under the table. No, she's very focused on ripping open sugar packets, six of them, and dumping them into her cup of water. Nothing weird about that. She swirls a red coffee straw anti-clockwise, precise, watching the little whirlpool that forms on the water's surface. When she does look up, it's to offer Nathaniel another wan smile. \"Good listeners, the lot've us.\"\n\n\nDavid looks up at Ruth at the kick then to Cedric as he speaks up, falling back to let them take point on this conversation (since his player can't think straight). He sips his coffee and looks to Nate, nodding. \"You look like someone who has been on a long trip and all jet lagged.\" He offers before he takes a long pull from his coffee.\n\n\nCedric's reassurance, and Ruth's added words, do seem to put Nathaniel at ease a little more, as his shoulders relax. And then David's assurance, that draws a nod. \"Mm. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.\" He gives a bit of a sigh, though, when he's asked to talk about his week. \"…Eh. I buy, fix, and sell houses. One I bought, I was having a quick look 'round the attic.\" Measured pause. \"A cat was hiding up there, ran past me and startled me, and I… suppose I fell. Might've taken a bump to the head, I can't say.\"\n\n\nCedric simply waits, wearing an expression both intent and encouraging. \"See something odd?\" he asks to the explanation.\n\n\n\"Lot've weird shit to be seen in those old houses. Moved into my flat, had to clear out all sorts of odds 'n ends,\" Ruth comments around her raised cup, taking a small sip of scalding sugar-water. Nathaniel's offered another ghost of a smile - it seems genuine, for as faint as it is.\n\n\nDavid chuckles softly at Nate's story and nods. \"Yeah. There seems to be a lot of stray cats in the city. It's bound to happen sooner or later.\" He smiles and takes another drink of his coffee before he moves a hand back up to the bandage on his forehead again, taking another set of Aspirin and washing it down with his coffee.\n\n\nNathaniel blinks. \"Odd?\" He shakes his head. \"Not that I can recall,\" he notes easily. Though there might be another foot under the table that's tapping due to nerves, since Nathaniel's doing that now. Granted, just ever so slightly. Ruth's mention of odd things in old houses draws a nod. \"That's one of the first things that needs to be done. All the… stuff in there needs to be cleaned out.\" There's a pause before he says the word 'stuff'. And he seems fascinated with his coffee cup, since he's looking into it as if he might find an answer there. David's mention of stray cats prompts… a wince? Something like one, though it's suppressed somewhat. \"…Yeah.\" It's a woefully inadequate response — and from the sound of the single word, he knows it — but he doesn't seem to know what else to say. He just looks into his mostly empty coffee cup again.\n\n\nFinally, Cedric sighs. \"Know it's not easy to talk about, mate, but ….\" Just then, the iPad in the back of his pants chirps, and he sighs, pulls it out, swipes. \"/Bollocks,/\" he swears suddenly. \"Database is down. I've got to go. Can you lot handle this?\" Suddenly, he's in motion at breakneck speed, shooting from his chair as if blasted, stuffing the iPad back where it was. \"Nathaniel,\" he says, low and earnestly, \"we've been where you are, mate.\" That's said very quickly, and he waits only for a moment before turning and striding for the door at what is almost a run.\n\n\n\"Ease up,\" Ruth advises David as he knocks back another couple of aspirins, brows arching faintly. \"Going to get a paper cut and bleed out.\" She rubs at her nose with the side of a gloved finger, slanting another glance Nathaniel's waythough it's less hawkish than her previous once-over. She nods back at Cedric, two fingers lifting and crooking in a wave as he departs. \"All've us have,\" she agrees quietly.\n\n\nDavid looks up to Cedric as he heads out. \"Good luck.\" He offers them before he looks to Ruth and smirks slightly. \"Tell that to this headache. It doesn't want to go away.\" He says, reaching up for the bandage again before he looks back to Nate. \"What do you do with all the stuff you clear out? Have a big sale or something like that?\"\n\n\n'Handle this'? Nathaniel's brows draw down slightly, both in confusion and suspicion, at those words. He obviously doesn't like the sound of that. But there's no time to ask Cedric, at the very least. He just offers a wave as Cedric leaves. \"Good luck!\" he offers. And then he turns his attention to Ruth. \"'Been there'? Been where, getting knocked on your arse by a cat in an old house?\" He's really trying to hide the suspicion. And he's also trying to keep it all sounding lighthearted, and offers the rhetorical question with a jovial tone. David's inquiry is a little easier to deal with, and he replies easily, \"Sometimes. If it's trash it gets thrown out, if it's antique it gets appraised — all depends on what I find, what condition… all that.\"\n\n\nRuth's expression is somewhat bland as she looks back to Nathaniel — either she doesn't buy his attempts to conceal his suspicion, or she just has one of those expressionless faces. Or perhaps both. A hand's brought up, gloved fingers extended to tuck an errant lock of dark hair behind her ear. \"Cats. Heh. No, can't say as I have.\" Slender shoulders lift and drop in another low-energy shrug as she lifts her cup again, tone casual, \"Look at me, mate. Both've us.\" —here her head tips towards David, but her eyes remain intent on Nathaniel's. \"What do you see?\"\n\n\nDavid sets his cup down on the table and looks at Nathaniel as Ruth tells him to look at the both of them, his arms folded on the table top. He leans closer towards Ruth, but doesn't touch her so he can look at them both at the same time. \"While cats and I don't usually get along, I haven't had any run-ins with them. We tend to keep away from each other.\" He offers.\n\n\nNathaniel's frown comes back in full force once Ruth speaks. What did he see when he looked at them? And as he looks between them, he starts to answer David's comment, \"…I've got to say, that's a shame. I always…\" And then he pauses, blinking. That frown deepens, and the confusion's back. He looks between them again, narrowing his eyes a little, leaning forward just a little….\n\nSuddenly his posture changes, and he scrambles back, pushing his chair back, his eyes wide as if startled. No, not startled. Genuinely frightened. It is very likely the shock that keeps him from bolting from the place immediately. The expression's pretty clear on his face, even without him having to say anything.\n\n\nIt's a fair reaction. Ruth's not the prettiest, when gazed upon closely by a fellow Touched. Faded blue eyes and pale skin give way to something decidedly more… insect; compound eyes that are an alarming blue-green, chitinous green skinor is it a carapace?with broad yellow and black stripes. It's cause for alarm, if one's not prepared for it. \"You're among friends, mate,\" she, it, that creepy-as-fuck thing sitting across the table from Nathaniel says quietly, cup raised for another sip. She makes no move to inch closer, or any move at all beyond the somewhat mechanical lift of that cup.\n\n\nDavid keeps his place at the table until Nathaniel is able to see them for what they are. He doesn't make any movements except to move back in his seat and taking a drink from his coffee as his eyes stay focused on the man, letting him take the time for everything to process and to see what his next move is. He offers a reassuring nod along with Ruth's words.\n\n\nNathaniel's rather clear reaction persists for a long moment. Even as Ruth proclaims him among friends and David confirms with his nod, Nathaniel just sort of sits there, looking like… well, like he currently has a rather malfunctioning brain! Which he probably does. But he at least /starts/ trying to get his brain in order. Sadly, the attempts are rather futile at best, evidenced when all that comes out in his attempt to speak is, stuttered syllables. \"…Wha…? H-how…?\"\n\n\n\"Bit've a long story, that.\" Ruth admits, cup set aside, gloved hands coming together in her lap. \"And not the sort that should be told 'round here,\" She manages another faint smile, one with an actual glimmer of empathy somewhere in there, head inclining just slightly towards Nathaniel. \"But you're not alone. There are people…\" Her gaze becomes somewhat meaningful here, \"like us, who'll help you.\" Her attention shifts towards the window momentarily, eyes tracking the rivulets of rainwater running down the panes of glass. \"It's a lot to take in, I know.\"\n\n\nDavid offers a reassuring smile as Ruth does the talking. He remains silent for now since she seems to have things under control. He takes up the cup of coffee, draining the last of its contents before he sets the empty cup down as he looks at Nathaniel. \"We can try to answer any questions you may have as well.\" He offers.\n\n\nNathaniel looks between the two of them again, frowning sharply. \"…Help me? What do you mean 'help me'? Help me what? Find the time I lost?\" Ah-ha… a bit of disclosure, finally. But then he quiets, pressing his lips together as if having said something he shouldn't have. Then he tries again, his voice less sharp now, \"I don't understand what you mean by 'help' me.\"\n\n\n\"But you do,\" Ruth answers flatly as she pushes up to her feet - slowly and deliberately, she's not making any sudden moves. \"In a small part, at least. Lost time, changes, things like that. Things're different for you now, you know that.\" Leaning forward just a little, she plucks a napkin from the dispenser, then dips a hand into her jacket pocket to retrieve… a pen. A number's scribbled down on the napkin, which she slides a few inches closer to Nathaniel's end of the table. \"You want to talk about it further, you ring that number.\"\n\n\nDavid stands as well after Ruth gives the number to Nathaniel, offering him a slight smile and a quick nod of his head. \"I hope to hear from you and it was a pleasure meeting you.\" He offers before he follows Ruth to the exit and out of coffee shop, his hands in his pockets.\n\n\nNathaniel takes the napkin as it's slid over to him, looking at the number dumbly. His gaze shifts to Ruth and David as they both make to leave the coffee shop. And still he says nothing, but watches them as they leave. That 'say-it-ain't-so' expression stays for a moment more after the two of them leave. And then Nathaniel clenches the napkin with the number on it in his hand tightly. Then he leans forward, propping an elbow on the table, propping his head up. The gesture is half just propping his head up, and half covering his mouth in shock. The lost expression is pretty clear.\n\n…What did he do now…?"

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