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Layne stood just before the entrance of her family's [[estate]] with her mouth set in a slanted frown. She had come here of her own volition, without any single person pressuring her to, in fact, she had told her dearest cousin [[Nicolas]] that she insisted on the visit to clear the air between herself and her family, that, and she desired so badly to see her [[mother]] again; even if it meant facing [[father]] in the process. At the same time, Nicolas had said something in a letter about her father wanting to apologize. Fat chance of that.
Scratching at the back of her head she wondered if she should turn back or not. Certainly she was confident with the life she had made as a potion maker, and definitely confident in her own body, but did she have the strength to face her father and her mother with the same confidence? Could she handle the glaring eyes of her extended family without faltering and returning to childhood habits?
It was best to just get on with it rather than think too much. With a sigh she decided to:
[[Try the door]]
[[Knock]]<<if visited("mother") gt 1>> No sense in thinking about this anymore, even if the thoughts were hard to get rid of.
[[Time to move on|Opening]]
<<else>>Her mother was a beautiful feline with deep purple eyes that reflected her own right eye. Layne remembered the kindness that her mother had treated her with even though her father had been so harsh, but at the time her eyes showed a sadness that Layne could not understand as a kitten, and eventually that sadness manifested in her mother's silence. She had wondered as a child if her mother had stopped loving her.
[[Layne sniffs and rubs at her eye; just a bit of dust.|Opening]]<</if>>
<<if visited("father") gt 1>>[[Never mind thinking about that pompous ass|Opening]]
<<else>> Father was a dour old cat. At least, from what Layne could remember about him. She had always recognized him, as a kitten, by his yelling more than anything else. His cold stare had her frozen in place as a child; it had made her feel weak, and in some ways, the memory still did.
[[Best not to think about this|Opening]]<</if>>Beginning: Layne decides to give her family a visit, what a mistake that was, or at the very least she feels it is a mistake. As confident as she is about herself, her family was always a point of contention it was always frightening to think about revisiting her clan's home; even if she so badly wanted to see her mother.
Ending: Resolution, somewhat. Her mother in particular apologizes for all that has happened, her father still has trouble even calling her by her proper name, but at the very least he bends knee to ask her to come back home. Layne is flabergastered, unsure of what to do.
Theme: Turmoil, family, drama,
Tone: Dark, broody, sad, touching,
Ayla Luness: Layne's mother with deep purple eyes and black fur. She has purple bands around her wrists and ankles and is fairly tall. Though she has black fur, she is much sleeker than layne and less fuzzy. A sweet natured woman who stands for very little. She was worried and distraught over her Layne when she was just a child and allowed herself to be influenced by her husbands ideals.
Callister Luness: Father of Layne. A stone hearted man, short with black fur and blue bands around his wrists. He is shorter than his wife and looks much closer to layne in appearance, and for that he was proud, but only for just a moment. He now regrets being so strong fisted with his so--/daughter. Struggles with the concept of having a transgender child. With a sigh she just decided to take the knob of the door in paw and twist, might as well just get it out of the way, but when she tried the door it turned out that it was locked, of course it was locked, why wouldn't it be locked? She hadn't kept a key to the home, she had never grown old enough in this estate to even need a key so might as well [[Knock]]With a grumble, Layne brought her paw up to rap at the door, bushy tail flicking from side to side as the knock sounded off against the heavy wooden frame. Now she would just have to wait for someone to actually answer, hopefully, it wouldn't be her mother or father, she wasn't sure if she was ready for a face to face meeting just yet. Stars above forbid if it were one of her other several extended family members, the clan did live on the estate after all and she should expect to see one of the less savory lunar felines at any time. Please, please let it be Nicolas or a servant at the very least.
[[The door creaked open slowly|Welcome]]When the door opened fully, Layne's frown at least turned up somewhat at the sight of her dearest cousin Nicolas. He wore fine robes that hid his lithe form and looked as if he were going out for business rather than waiting for a family member, "Hey there Nic. I see your fur is as snowy as ever," She said quietly feeling just a bit nervous about seeing her cousin here of all places. She was worried that maybe he wouldn't be too happy to see her.
Nicolas brought his arms about her immediately, squeezing tight around her body and nearly crushing her before he pulled her away by the by the shoulders to stare into her eyes, his own red gaze just a bit misty as he began to chatter shakily, "Layne! I'm so glad to see you again, and here of all places...You know, you could turn back now if you're uncomfortable. I swear your father wants to make things right, but...If you don't trust that then don--"
Layne planted a paw upon her cousin's mouth to keep him from having an emotional breakdown and thus bringing her down with him, "Please, I'm a big girl now Nicolas, besides, make a comment on my dress, tell me I'm pretty, anything instead of stressing me out with your henpecking."
Layne was glad to see a smile from him and more so glad to actually see that he was more than just happy to see her even after she had sent the letter about the change in her appearance, and the fact that she wanted to move.
"Well, you do look great. Simple black dress matches your eyes perfectly and speaking of which, that purple eye is new, so's the band of blue on your neck, I wonder--"
Again she planted her paw against her cousin's sweet lips, "Okay, I said compliment my looks, not take inventory. Now, are we going inside?"
"Right! You must be tired, let's get you settled and we'll see about uh, well, chatting."
Layne sighed, "I'm not looking to stay Nicolas...Let's just get this over with."
"Not even refreshments?"
"Not even," Layne replied dryly
[[No turning back now. |Throughthehouse]]The manor itself on the inside was dimly lit with wisp flowers that hung off of the wooden walls in patches of vine and candles that were placed on desks and tables here and there. Layne looked up and around the entrance of the rustic manor with a shiver, flashes of the [[past]] touching her mind. For a moment she just stood there, her heart and mind both frozen in place.
Layne cleared her throat, looking away with folded ears as she swatted at the air before her eyes, "Sorry, a bit of dust."
Though she could never fool her cousin, he simply nodded and began walking again, leading her through the manor, through her old home.
She followed along closely, her heart and body feeling strangely cold as she proceeded deeper into what used to be her home. Everything was so familiar, so very familiar that she even felt just as weak as she had felt during her final days in this home as a child. She again felt the old pressure that had been placed on her as heir of the household, as a failure of a child to both her father and her mother; and perhaps even to Nicolas who was right there at her front. Perhaps turning back was a good idea, perhaps this visit could be postponed.
[[A sudden spark of warmth brought her back to her senses as Nicolas grabbed her paw. |Comfort]] <<if visited("Nicolas") gt 1>>[[Perhaps she was thinking about her cousin far too much, again.|Opening]]
<<else>>Her cousin. Always cheerful, always sweet; the only reason she was out of her family's household and happy. At the same time, she had hung on his every word, on his every action and sought his approval at every turn. Well, that was no longer the case, at least, Layne wished to tell herself that.
[[No sense in thinking about her darling cousin too much. |Opening]] <</if>>The estate was much larger than she remembered, a manor like no other with stone towers and various other buildings off to the sides where business was conducted. As towering as her father's ego. Being honest, it was a little daunting. Layne had run away to the countryside to live in a shack that eventually was made into a cottage, nothing as large as this.
[[No sense in staring at the place.|Opening]]"Just out of this door and we'll get you out! You'll see, you'll be happier away from here."
A young and sobbing Layne clutched at her cousin's paw tight, "But...Where will I go Nic?"
"I-I'll think of something. C'mon!"
Nicolas pushed the door with all his might and the sudden blare of the sun's light blotted out the memory...
[[Back to reality|Throughthehouse]]"I'm here with you. I know it isn't pretty, being here again, rather, it must not be pretty with all that happened, but I promise you I'm here to support you...And that every single thing will be just fine and if your father calls you by your old name, I'll well, I'll give him a bop on the nose to remind him."
Layne for a moment stared at her cousin, blinking as she saw the nervous smile on his face, touching her own cheek before giggling and giving his paw a squeeze, "You? Hit my father? You're such golden child, even if you're next in line I could never see you hitting dad for any reason, in fact, I can barely imagine you striking out at anyone for that matter."
Nicolas chuckled and turned to begin walking again, this time slower, this time side by side with Layne, paw in paw.
For a while, they walked together in silence. Layne's memories were calm for now. She knew they were heading towards her parents, she knew that they would be seeing them soon, but there next to Nicolas she felt at least somewhat safe and she was reminded that she came here on her own and that she should be confident in herself, confident of the life that she had made for herself.
They rounded a corner into a hallway and kept walking, step by step, the only noise their padded steps on the wooden floors. They stopped at an ornate pair of doors she recognized. It led to the family dining room.
[[Nicolas grabbed onto the handle of the double doors, letting go of her paw in the process as he opened it. |Theretheyare]]Pacing back and forth back and forth was her father wearing robes as fine as Nicolas', his black fur peppered with bits of gray, his blue eyes sunken and his brow furrowed. Layne's mother sat calmly at the long dining table with her eyes closed, cup of tea in paw, her fur still as beautiful as ever, including the purple bands around her wrists. There they were; Ayla and Callister Luness.
When the door was shut behind Layne and Nicolas. Her father looked up with wide eyes. Layne felt her fur frizz, her ears drawing back as she found it difficult to even look at [[him]].
"Layne..." Came the soft voice of her father using her name rather than what he had called her when she was younger. Fuck, she couldn't just break down here. She had planned to be indignant, to be proud of what she had accomplished, but it was so difficult! So hard! She couldn't even look at her mother! So frustrating!
A shaky and pretty voice touched her ears then, "Layne honey, look at me please, look at us, let us see you."
Layne looked to see that her mother was looking at her with big eyes, saucer-like eyes with tears streaming down her cheeks, the cup tipped over on the table spilling tea on the fine wood. Damnit, her own tears came, the tears came and they wouldn't go away. Not in front of her, why did it have to be in front of [[her]] that she broke down!
"I'm so sorry," Came her mother's voice.
Layne choked, "You wanted me gone...You both hated what I was, what I am."
Her father spoke without looking to her, a dot of something wet touching his cheek hidden from sight, "No...I didn't want you here, and what a mistake that was. I couldn't accept that you were slow a learner, that you wanted your own life...and for a long time after you ran away, I couldn't understand it. I just wanted what was best for you."
Layne approached her father with fire and tears in her eyes, "But you called me a useless child in whispered tones, behind closed doors! When did you think that was even remotely okay!?"
Her father began to shake as he uttered the words, "I can only beg for forgiveness Leo--Layne...I can't even ask you to come back home even for a visit after this."
Layne wanted to hit him, wanted to hurt him, wanted so badly to hold her father. Her father who had seemed so imposing, so strong, so hateful; and yet, now he stood there crying before her, begging her for forgiveness, something that she could never give! If anything, she wasn't sure if she could even forgive her mother for standing idely there while she suffered as a child, but holding onto the past wouldn't do anything for her and her family were right here apologizing and crying as if they had killed her, and so she wrapped her arms around her father's shoulders tight and squeezed, "I always thought you hated me. Always, always, always."
It took a moment, but her father returned the embrace and soon Layne's mother was there by her side arms around the two, "Neither of us hated you, sweetie, we would never hate our own blood."
The three there held each other there, and though Layne was not even close to forgiving them, she at least felt some comfort to know that her father, her mother, did not hate who she was, did not hate who she had become and that they could look at her and still call her their blood. It shouldn't have made her happy, but it did, now time would tell whether or not everything would be okay. There the memory flashed,
"Leon. Your magic is weak, but you are still young. If you hope to succeed as head of the clan, then you will need to train diligently instead of spending your precious moments dabbling with potions and dresses. My boy, I. Do. Not! Want to see you sporting a dress again or even touching one. Focus on your studies, that is all."
As he left the room, Leon no--Layne could hear him scowling, "Useless child. I loath to think that my seed could have produced such an heir."
Layne remembered sitting there as a young child in her room, sobbing quietly so he wouldn't here. Her father never saw her magic develop in full, nor did he see her fully grown.
[[Until now. |Theretheyare]]The memory played:
Little Leon saw her mother staring at her with such sad eyes, but she didn't know why. Leon had been looking for mommy, wondering why mommy hadn't come to tuck her in, but when she found her mother, mommy could only stare and look so sad, "I'm sorry dear...," Were the only words that were uttered from her mother's mouth.
[[The memory fades. |Theretheyare]]