Logs:Large Needs, Small Moments

From X-Men: rEvolution
Large Needs, Small Moments
Dramatis Personae

Kieow, Maya

2020-09-28


"If there is one thing I am good at, it is growing."

Location

<XAV> Conservatory - Xs First Floor


Tall panes of glass and a many-gabled glass ceiling protect this large indoor garden from the elements, while welcoming in sunlight to keep it warm year-round. Adjoined to the southern face of the venerable mansion and surrounded by more conventional gardens beyond, the conservatory is all Old World elegance from the outside. Within, however, it is lush and green and in certain corners--whether despite its careful tending by the groundskeeper or because of it--seems practically wild. Footpaths and a burbling artificial steam wind through the space, connecting its disparate parts. Benches are scattered throughout, thorough soft grasses or mosses under certain trees also invite rest.

The outside wall is lined with tropical and subtropical plants. The ferns and cycads and epiphytes are kept moist by artfully hidden misters that also give the place a sort of magical ambiance, dense foliage wreathed at times with drifting patches of mist. Nearest the building is a desert in miniature, with a few impressively sized cacti as well as palo verde and other trees adapted to arid climes. Between these, and by far the largest section, is dedicated temperate zone plantlife from around the world, the beds growing more carefully manicured and the pads less winding as one approaches the center, where a clearing with a small ring of seats is a popular spot for some teachers to hold court.

Curled up in the tropical zone, Kieow sits with her feet in the soil, toes wiggling in the loam. She reaches out and waters her feet once more, the soil draining away the moisture quickly. She watches, smiling, before turning her attention back to the pile in her lap. She is reading through an English assignment on Greek Myth, taking notes in Thai on a medium sized journal, with her phone being repurposed as a translation reference.

Her skin is as green as can be, open fern leaves and fiddlehead curls framing her face and down the side of her neck. A couple of the leaves are turned in another direction as a nod to traditional Thai headdresses and jewelry. She's tucked a sprig of Birds of Paradise behind one ear to add some color, but it is cut instead of grown in. Her torso is covered in Thai silk, the brocade giving the appearance of a loose wrap despite being quite securely tucked. Under that, she wears black capris with a pair of sandals set to the side.

There's a bounding-padding of heavy paws on the smooth path, a quiet clinking of metal tags. Ratri can be seen first, an mountain of black and rust and white fluffs, tail flagging a relaxed happy swish as the Bernese mountain dog lopes on ahead. She's stopped shy of Kieow, head tilting at a comically sideways angle one side and then the other, ears pricked high by the time Maya catches up.

Maya is bright as ever -- turquoise and purple intricately stitched salwar khameez, a gauzy paler gold dupatta draped over her shoulders, beaded sandals. She's just looking up from her own phone, eyes slightly wider as she watches the dog, one carefully-manicured hand going to her lips. "Ratri," she calls, and the dog reluctantly edges back to her side, still staring at Kieow. "She's friendly, sorry, she's just -- she's big. And curious. And always hopeful of snacks. Especially since getting here, everyone spoils her."

Kieow looks up distractedly at the sound of the collar, just trying to finish one last sentence before tearing herself away. When she sees the large fluffbeing stop near her and stare, her lips part, concerned. "Oh. Uh... Is this your spot? Should I .. move?" She stares at the dog, expecting an answer to her question. Her words are still soft, her lung capacity still lacking, but she speaks with a little more confidence. "or did..."

She stops and shifts her attention to Maya, blinking rapidly. She's intensely confused, glancing between Maya and Ratri before looking to the Bernese. "You are not a student?" She turns the question then to the teacher. "Ratri is not a student? I do not wish to be rude. I have met... so many types of people here, I do not know what to expect anymore. Plus, who does not like snacks? I... do not have any though."

Kieow's confusion is briefly mirrored in Maya's face. Small brow-scrunch. Small headtilt. A moment later: dawning understanding, her eyes fluttering big and her hand dropping. "Oh-oh, oh no, she's just a dog. She's just my dog, and she's been learning that living at a school is like endless stream of snacks and love. She accepts either. -- Sorry are we interrupting?" She flaps a hand toward the journal in Kieow's lap. "There's just only so much sitting in those walls we can do, you know? But we can wander a lot of places."

"Noooo. Please. Interrupt. The assignment is not getting any clearer." Kieow laughs lightly then holds a hand out to Ratri, beckoning her over. "And good to know. I wasn't going to pet her if she was a student. Dogs are good dogs." She works one handed to shuffle the books off her lap and over to the far side. "Wandering is nice. The temperatures are getting colder, but my brothers tell me it will get colder still. I am not prepared." She looks up to Maya with a smile. "Are you from this country or are you from a warmer place?"

"Go on," Maya urges gently, nudging lightly at Ratri and stepping forward as well to encourage the dog to move again. At this permission she wags harder, loping back over and immediately setting her large head straight in the middle of Kieow's lap. "Oh no yeah I've always been in New York. It gets much colder -- and sooo pretty out here? I mean the city, it's lovely too, there's twinkling lights everywhere and that's gorgeous but the way the trees get all frosted here in the mornings --" Her fingers squeeze her palms, pressing briefly close by her chest as her eyes squeeze up with a wider-pleased smile.

An apologetic nose-wrinkle comes on the heel of this. "I guess it might take getting used to if you've just come in from somewhere -- not-so-much with the snow. It was Thailand, right? Will this be your first winter here?"

Kieow leans over and kisses the top of Ratri's head as she goes in for the good behind the ear scritches with her hands. "{Who's a fluffy baby and the best girl? Who is it? Is it Ratri? Such a good fluff.}" she cheerfully babbles baby talk to the dog in Thai, though not all of the words have sound. "This is winter in Bangkok. Cool air in the morning and night. Comfortable during the day, but only if you are wearing enough clothes. I know it gets colder up north but..." She has to pause and sit up straighter, taking deep breathes and centering herself again. "Yes. I never traveled before. It is not easy for me... to leave the house."

The quiet babbling is just encouragement for Ratri, who takes this opportunity to lumber right into Kieow's lap, leaning up against the girl's chest now and trying, simultaneously, to turn her head so that she can attempt a slurp. "Not easy?" Maya's dark eyes flicker over Kieow quickly, "Not easy like..." She hesitates, uncertain. "Like people make it difficult or like a new country is difficult or like it's hard to find the energy or -- something else?"

"Back home, people thought it was okay for me to be different when I was small. Cute, maybe." Kieow does not object to the more aggressive doggo cuddles, but turns her face away, scrunching it up when the slurping starts. "but then parents think -- I don't want my child to be friends with the green kid. And... why doesn't the green kid go away?" she leans into Ratri and relaxes her face when it's allegedly safe. "So I had to stay home. No one thinks Kieow should be out, really. My mom think I will get hurt. My brothers and sisters think people will be mean. Friends don't want to embarrass their parents." She speaks quieter. "Then I got sick... and that made it hard to do things with my body."

"Oh -- oh." Maya's brows knit together. She drops down to sit a short distance away, kicking her slippers off as she folds her legs beneath her. "That's a lot. That's rough. Just kind of a whole storm of things, huh?" Ratri is settling, somewhat, tail still whumping hard as she leans heavily into Kieow. Whole body. Aggressive cuddle. "I hope people are less jerks here but I know it's not always so simple." Her fingers twine at the end of her braid, twirling her hair around the first two digits. "What kind of things do you want to do? Is there any way we could make it easier?"

"OH, I should say," Kieows begins but finds herself full of dog fluff. She starts to lean back, throwing an arm around her neck, "{oh please do not crush me with your love.} That I am not sick now. My brothers helped. I am just recovering." She twines her fingers in Ratri's fur. "Things... I want to do start with English. Um. And breathing. And food. I am very boring right now. many large needs, not necessarily.. fun. What do you like to do?"

This only knits Maya's brows deeper, but only for a moment. Her expression dissolves soon enough into quick-smile, quick, laugh, hand shifting to wrap her braid against her face then let it drop back to her shoulder. "Oh, me? I don't know. Music-making, dreaming of dreams. Helping other people dream a little, too. Life gets pretty heavy if all you're given space to do with it is staying alive."

"That is.. very Poem? Poet? very pleasant words. I like them. They make me happy." Kieow pushes on Ratri until she can sit normally once more and not in danger of being toppled over. She still runs her fingers through the animal's fur, with more calming motions now. "You teach poems? Or, wait. Music, yes?"

"Poetic," Maya supplies lightly. "I teach music. I love music. Kinda got me through a lot, even when --" She hesitates, eyes lifting up toward the glass ceiling. "Even when my world got really small for a minute." She hops back to her feet, wiggling her sandals back on and click-clicking her tongue; Ratri is slow to extricate herself from pettings and return to Maya's side. "I hope you can find something. That helps yours start to grow again."

"I will. If there is one thing I am good at, it is growing." Kieow wiggles her toes in the dirt as she gentle guides Ratri away. She also starts to rise. "Class soon, yeah? I should get a drink first." She stacks her books together. "Thank you for sitting with me."