2019-07-01 - The Wolf Changes


An impromptu visit has Koa seeing at least some of the impacts on Keiko. What else there is? Who knows.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jul 1 08:16:03 2019
Location: Backyard

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Theme Song



It's been about a week since the events in Limbo and Live World. A very eventful week as far as Keiko is concerned - just different to how she's used to.

Sunday evening finds her in the garden again, enjoying the last of the sunlight for the day as dusk begins to descend. She's alone except for the huge demonic wolf that is dropping a ball at her feet. Its tail wags once as it eyes its mistress with dull red eyes.

The spirit caller isn't expecting anyone - not many know to find here. But then, it's been that type of week that it wouldn't surprise her if someone did just drop in out of the blue.

There's a knock on the back glass door. Koa is here. He's clearly checking in, that IS one of his jobs. It might be strange or possibly even alarming that he CAN get in here but then… well this is a WAND property and he has the master key set.

So yeah he can just let himself in. And to be honest in a place with a dimensional weak spot, that's probably a good thing.

"Gardening hrm? I didn't realize you had a green thumb." He's leaning on his left side on the doorway. Watching Keiko. And… Bella.

Keiko turns at the knock, Bella pacing to put herself between the woman and the door lips peeled back in a snarl. The change in the animal is terribly pronouced. No longer a glowing spirit of a grey wolf, this creature is a black demon wolf - its fur now scales and leather.

Keiko … looks better than that first day he saw her. Still serious, expression schooled to the neutral. At least her clothing is more normal now? "Koa." There's no smile "If you're going to let yourself in, you should be careful. Lots of twitchy people in this house." By that, she means her and probably Piotr.

"Not gardening. Between Sam and Piotr, I won't touch it. They would be worse than any Limbo demon if I did." Her cat slitted eyes take him in and she frowns. "Your injuries aren't healing?"

"Are you sure you don't want to be careful of me?" The thaumivore says with a faint smile. "Who one that fight two to one?"

Humor. He hasn't used that in a little bit. He's still got it, though it's wry and occasionally gallows. That pattern of shark tooth metal on his neck gleams in the dying light, stretching as he tilts his head.

"Slowly. They're healing slowly." It doesn't help when he gets reinjured, but he doesn't mention that. "I nearly roasted my arm clean off. That doesn't go away over the course of a week." He waves his good hand.

"Shame what happened to your spirits…" He holds out his hand to the wolf-demon. She knows him, doesn't she? He might be a bit sad if she does not.

"So if not gardening, then just enjoying the garden?"

"Would you care to try again in that state?" Keiko asks. It's hard to tell if she's joking, her responses are still muted. The woman he knew might as well as be dead. What Keiko became to be able to survive in Limbo … she doesn't know.

Her eyes narrow at the collar on his neck, her fingers rising to touch her own. "I would have thought, SHIELD or WAND had healers to help." is all she says, eyes dropping to watch Bella as he holds his hand.

The demon-wolf trots forward, sniffing Koa's hand before rearing up to put her massive paws on his shoulders. Leaning in, she sniffs at that shark tooth pattern and then … licks it before snuffling in the Agents ear.

Bella seal of approval perhaps.

"Seven years in a long time, Koa. Bella is the worst affected because she was with me a lot. When Elena came, I rarely sent her away." Does he understand why?

The last question gets almost a sheepish look. "I was … playing with her. I have got used to having her as my constant companion."

"Magic doesn't solve every problem, Keiko." Koa says, still not moving from the doorway. It's comfy here, though he is probably letting the cold air out of the house. "I wish it did but there are costs to it. And in this case, because the problem was caused by magic, removing it by magic is… far less an option."

WAND's churigons just don't have the wherewithal to heal this without causing other potentially worse problems.

"Woah, ugh you have demon breath…" Koa mutters as Bella gets up on him and snuffles. "Get off. Go get me that ball…" He says, reaching up with his good hand to scratch her ears.

"Playing with her. That's… probably a good thing." If she had not repaired the relationship those beasts might have turned on her as they become more demonic. "You had her protecting your daughter, didn't you?"

Koa might miss the very slight curve at Keiko's lips as Bella decides to play nice with Koa. "She knows you're Illyanas." she answers, delaying the time between picking up the ball and handing it to the agent. She's not going to try and help.

At the scritching, the wolf chuffs again and snuffles his ear. He'll have that ball in just a moment.

"Once Elena was born, yes. Along with Alexsi, Piotrs summon. Before, she was guarding me. It was the only way I could walk through the Citadel without Piotr by my side." Every step Keiko had taken was fraught with problems.

"Makes sense." Koa says, reaching for the ball and pulling it up in front of the wolf's nose. "See it. See it, Bella? Alright. Go get it!"

And he throws. Hopefully that gets him out of the very thorough inspection he's going through.

"You and me both, mmm?" Being Illyana's, that is. Koa of course understood what was going on with that far more than Keiko did. And being 'hers' doesn't necessarily mean that they're treated as property. It is, in a way, a compliment. Saying that she cares enough to protect them with the weight of her name. And to risk being entangled if someone comes after them.

Which might possibly be the reason the agent is reticent on certain details.

"I've not seen Piotr's dog since Limbo. Has he lost it?" Just a question that occurs to him. "How are you doing, by the way? Illyana dropped by to check in on me - decent of her - and mentioned that you and Piotr were a bit… stormy."

It does. Bella pushes against Koa's shoulders though - it might hurt - and bounds after the ball. She's able to show her pleasure at this far better than her mistress. Turning on a pin as her massive jaws snap it up, Bella bounds back towards the agent and stops in front of him… drooling a bit.

"You and me. Much to Piotrs distress." Keiko answers. "When it was done to me, I accepted it but I … " there's a deep breath before she says the next words "… didn't understand what she'd done. That she not only claimed me but linked the two of us. You knew though, didn't you?" This is costing the peruvian asking the questions and admitting her failings.

As to Alexsi, Keiko shakes her head. "Alexsi can't be summoned." is all she says. Why? Good question.

"I … made an appointment to see a counseller. I will see them next Thursday. I … am … surviving, Koa. It's all I can do. I have Elena and Piotr to care for."

As to stormy, that's get a catseye look "More of his part than mine. He doesn't, didn't understand what had happened on that last day. The things that were done to me. Why I … can't … show any feeling."

Koa takes the ball and throws it again. The wolf-demon seems to enjoy it and if the ball is getting sticky, he can wash his hands on the way out. He's happy to entertain the beast for a little bit. That it CAN still enjoy something like this means that it's original nature isn't entirely gone.

"I deal with demons a lot. She'd laid plans to keep us alive in our efforts, and putting a visible claim on us was part of that. Otherwise we're expendable and Sifror would expect at least one of us to die. If we're not hers and she takes pains to save us, she looks weak, and she might have bigger trouble later."

Koa had understood a bit, yes. "What I didn't know was that she'd laced the collars with promethium…" The same metal in Keiko's tattoo. The metal in his neck. The very stuff of Limbo.

That cannot help but have significant consequences for the both of them.

"I cannot believe that it has been entirely beaten out of you, Keiko. It might be numb right now. But you're still human enough that it shouldn't be dead."

And even if she were a demon, she should still feel. Just not soft things. Sharp things. Hard things. Anger. Want. Not tenderness.

But she isn't a demon. Not completely. Not yet.

Bella's original nature isn't completely gone, it will probably fade over time though. That's going to be hard on Keiko. Watching her wolf go the way she'll eventually go.

"I understand that now, better than you think." the peruvian answers "Every day for seven years, Koa, we couldn't show weakness. Not even to each other." Blowing out a breath, Keiko shakes her head "She made an investment in us. Prometheum is a finite supply." What does it mean to her now? The prometheum on collar has blended with the leather which has melded with her skin. How does the tattoo on her back affect that. She doesn't know. She doesn't even really know the full extent of the tattoo.

"Maybe in time, Koa, I will be able to. Certainly with Piotr …." she looks away to watch the wolf as it brings the ball back.

"I don't know what I want. All my life, I've belonged to someone. The Nightfall, Illyana's, Piotrs in Limbo. Now I'm back … I don't know who … Keiko … is."

"How do you do … deal with it?"

Koa throws again. He can keep this up for a bit. That's an angle he hadn't considered though. He knows, because he was told, that there's only so much of this stuff. That she would invest it in the two of them is… curious.

And this is before Keiko had her brother's kid.

Shaking his head, Koa pushes those thoughts and questions aside. He'll attend to them later.

"Certainly with Piotr, what?" Koa has absolutely no idea how big a thing it had been to the big guy that the two of them had been connected.

:How do I deal with what, Keiko?" Belonging? Or something else. Knowing who he really is perhaps. Since… he's got two very different Koa's struggling with one another.

It wasn't something that Keiko had considered, it's just something she knew instinctively. Bella returns with the ball but this time, she drops at the Agents feet and slowly starts to fade.

Keiko shakes her head "He didn't understand. Thought I didn't… want him and telling him is difficult." beat "He thought I wanted to be with you."

And Illyana had bound them, her two pets.

"How do you know who you are?"

Koa kneels down to scratch Bella's ears and murmurs as she fades. "Recuerda te…" Remember. There's a hint of power when he says the word. A message for the wolf-demon's ears. Remember what?

Remember what she is, perhaps.

"Oh…" Koa blinks. The idea that someone WOULD want that is not entirely foreign to him but he has not permitted it to happen in a long, long time. There are too many bad memories associated with it. Too many nights that have ended in tears or worse, blood.

"It's taken me a long time to learn, and even a longer time to accept. I am Koa, an archeologist, an agent, and a predator that rips life from others to give himself power. I cannot deny these things. But I can decide what I will be. At least… while I have will, I can decide."

It's a bit difficult for Koa. It's not that simple. Deciding what he will be is not just an act of will. It's an act of balance, and one that is slowly spinning out of control. Every time he draws on his power, he tilts himself that much more toward the predator. When the day comes that he has lost the balance, who will he be then?

He doesn't know. And that scares him.

But Keiko doesn't know that. And he doesn't have to say it.

Bella licks Koa's nose just before she fades, the smoke retracting into the tattoo on her arm. Remember? What?

Keiko nods slowly as the Agent tries to explain. "I didn't know myself before Limbo, Koa. And now … I'm different." It's going to be difficult for her, but she'll manage. Won't she?

Looking at the sky and then back to Koa. "Anymore dreams like the other night?" She hasn't forgotten.

"Of course you're different. You could hardly be otherwise." Koa says as he stands back up. "You've been through hell, literally. You've had a kid. You've gained, and then lost, the ability to feel some kind of affection for someone." Affection he assumes she must have felt toward Piotr at some point if she had his daughter.

"You can't helped but to have changed Keiko. Everyone changes."

He sighs, and shakes his head. "More normal nightmares. Nightmares every night, unfortunately but nothing like that. I'm working on something that I hope will prevent it, in between my casework. Still looking for those missing kids."

There are likely some things that Keiko will never share about her time in Limbo. At least not willingly. Not even to a counsellor. If she thinks on them now, she's not … proud of them, but she did what did so they would survive. All of them.

And she'd do them again if she had to. That's left an indelible mark on her.

"Nightmares. I think we all have them. Not the like the one you were having the other night, though." Her catseyes are serious as she looks at the Agent "Have you spoken to anyone about it? You said Illyana dropped in…"

She doubts he has. They might all call her stubborn, but Koa could probably give her a run for her money.

"Any news on that? I… could do with something to distract during the day."

"She did. Apparently she wanted to see how I was doing…" Seeing as how he cooked his own arm getting her out. She felt somewhat responsible. How she feels now Koa isn't entirely sure. That conversation had been… interesting.

"I haven't mentioned those particular nightmares no. I'm sure it will be fine. Keiko may well not believe that but Koa said he was working on something to deal with it and he would know. Wouldn't he?

Maybe he would. It had seemed pretty bad when she found him, though.

"I've got a book she lent me that I'm doing research on anyhow. She wanted to know what I thought about dream wards. I get the distinct impression she's thinking on warding this house. That she doesn't want to have things slipping in that way. Can't say I blame her, really."

Keiko just looks at Koa, raising an eyebrow. Of course everything will be alright. She totally believes it. Which is why he might be getting some visits over time.

"Mmmhmmm." Is all she says. Not willing to argue.

"Someone came through Piotrs dreams the other night. The night they recovered Mikhail." Keiko murmurs. Does Koa know about the third Rasputin? "It kind of freaked everyone out. So I don't blame her. If it keeps Elena safe, I'm all for it."

"Something came through his dream?" That doesn't sound at all good to Koa. His eyes narrow and he straightens himself up. "Before the- what's a Mikhail?"

Mikhail sounds suspiciously like a Russian name. And the only two Russians that he knows for a fact are living here are both Rasputins. And that means.

"Is there a third Rasputin, Keiko?"

That's not putting her on the spot at all.

"Someone. That Illyana and Piotr knew. I didn't ask who but I guess … a mutant?" She shrugs. Koa might need to ask Piotr or Illyana about that. Keiko seems to have developed … an apathy towards all thing mutant. Maybe since she was told that letting her know where her daughter was schooling was a bad thing.

Keiko holds Koa gaze as he asks that question, debating on whether to tell him … anything. "Yes. He was stuck in rift, I think. A long time. He didn't know he had a little sister."

"You won't do anything to harm him, will you?"

Koa mutters and pulls his good arm across his chest. Which is almost but not quite like folding his arms. "I remember reading something about Piotr having a supposedly dead brother named… Mikhail, if I've got that right. I didn't pay much attention to it because my research at the time was focused on Rusputins who were splinter lords."

He sighs. "This family…" They're cursed. Or something like that. Hauled away to awful dimensions while the world goes by around them. "No, I won't do anything to harm him. But I'm going to need you, and Illyana, and Elena to come by so I can get paperwork settled for you all." Because, uh, no one has proper ID cards and Illyana's paperwork says that she's like thirteen.

"And maybe Guthrie, because I only have one good hand and this is mostly his fault to begin with…"

"But they're family, Koa." Keiko says. "You should see them together…" She shakes her head. It's so totally foreign. "My family …" she corrects.

"I'll have to take Elena out of school that day but we'll do it. You'll need to make up birth dates for the two of us." Keiko doesn't know anything about herself, really. And Elena. They've no idea when she was born - just a best guess. "Sam is back at work, you can get him when come by."

"Would you like to stay for a drink?"

"That's fine. WAND's got procedures for people who are refugees from other dimensions. It won't be hard to get you set up in the system. That'll make work a bit easier to get too…" He can get away with this mostly because now he can pretend the Keiko is a dimensional refugee.

And to be perfectly honest he's probably going to do the same for Mikhail when it comes up as inevitably it must.

"Sure, I could use a drink at this point." Koa half mutters. It's odd. He likes pretty much everyone in this house. But things just keep happening around them.

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