Circe had been frustrated when she'd passed Koa in the street, unable to take the time to stop and catch up. She'd thankfully been able to make an arrangement to meet up with him later at the diner, where they could share some food and catch up.
It was a lot to cram in, catching up with the people who'd been missed, filling them in, getting filled in, and she was interested to see how Koa's adventure beyond Summerview had gone, although she was mostly glad he was back in Summerview, and she was sure Roman felt the same. She'd already made a note to herself to catch up with him, stop by and see what new and cute animals he'd adopted since she'd been gone.
She'd found herself a booth in the Diner, holding off on ordering anything for Koa, she got herself a large milkshake to sip at before he stopped by, making a list on her phone for the next days errands after work.
Koa was never going to pass up on a chance to eat food with company. True to form he was late but only about ten minutes which for him was an improvement on his usually epic levels of tardiness, so he slid into the booth opposite Circe like a whirlwind, all big grin and boyish charm as he tugged his beanie off and raked his fingers through the hair-ruffled lengths trying to smooth them down.
“Hey C, so sorry I’m late, y’know I left on time but got distracted on the way and- uh, well y’know I’m here!” He shifted again on the other side of the table, energy brimming out of him the way it always had done. “When’d you get back to town? Tell me everything, where did you go? Are you back for good?”
"Hey," Circe never minded the lateness, she'd grown to find it cute, while Koa was a little younger and routinely getting distracted rather than being where he meant to be, it was good that he found adventure in simple things as much as the big things. "Don't worry about it, I grabbed a shake because I assumed you'd at least be a little late." And she said it fondly, rather than with reproach.
"Slow down, cutie. Order something and we'll get into it while we wait." Because it could be a long discussion, at the very least they'd have a fair amount to catch up on too. "Everything is on me, so get yourself whatever you want." Because she remembered his appetite. She already had a dessert in mind for herself, her sweet tooth aching for a little something to tide her over.
Once they'd both decided and placed an order, Circe leaned forward on the table, "So, I got back into town about a week or so ago, had to sort things out in the city for work. Yes, this should be me staying for good, I just had to pop home for a little while," the fun of mothers relying on children. Not that Circe minded at all, it was just a pity Gaelen hadn't come back with her.
"What about you, mister off to see the world? Did you have a magnificent adventure?"
Though it was said fondly, Koa did still duck his head a little, embarrassed. He had left on time, he’d intended on not being late but then often the things he planned and the things that happened were two totally different things. It was tempting to reach over and steal her milkshake and his hand had sort of crept a little across the table before he’d caught himself.
He leaned out of the booth and flagged down a waitress, placing an order for some food - and also two milkshakes because he was thirsty and now he’d seen Circe’s one he wanted one of his own, except it would disappear in less than five minutes so a second one to savour was definitely required. Now that the ordering was out of the way, he pushed his hair back behind his ear and rested his forearms on the table, leaning forward to rest his chin on them and looking up at her with large brown eyes.
“I totally asked you first, was it a good trip home? I mean, I hope it was and if it wasn’t I’m sorry and you just gotta say and I’ll stop asking or prying, I promise.”
"I totally answered you though," Circe just laughed, although she wasn't in the least bit surprised by the five hundred questions at two hundred miles per hour. It'd been a while since she'd really sat down with Koa though, and her trip was the least exciting of the two adventures. "It was fine, it was just popping home to settle some things."
Pixie family politics would always be complex, although she did figure that her family wasn't just as bad as they could be, they'd had one major spat in the last century, the one before that had been almost two centuries ago, although it did last almost twenty years. It was just how they were, far too competitive and temperamental as a race. "I enjoyed it, I did. I miss home, I miss my elder siblings," she missed Petra's cute little family she was building, "but I made a life out here, and it just felt like one of those family events, y'know? Like Thanksgiving?"
Only with a fight. Although, if the stereotypes were to be believed, that was exactly what Thanksgiving was like. "You know I don't mind the questions, Koa. I just wanna get to you. I'm sure my visit home was so boring in comparison to your trip."
Koa nodded, feeling that her answer was actually pretty vague so even though she'd technically answered him there were no juicy details of who yelled at who or if anyone exploded in a shower-spray of glitter. And though he did want to know, he was also conscious enough that some people didn't like to air their laundry everywhere and to anyone that would listen so he didn't pry again, just listened and wrinkled his nose. "Thanksgiving at mine is probably different to most houses," he pointed out, "'cause it's just me and dad and whoever else wants to come along but since we don't have any other family we kinda just hang out and eat too much and watch football."
He waved his hands, opening his mouth to speak but distracted by the arrival of a milkshake. When he stuck his straw into the first one, there was an extra blob of ice-cream at the bottom and his whole face lit up. "Dad's in the kitchen!" he exclaimed, having not been back long enough to have learned his father's work schedule, that was a surprise to him, but a good one. It meant that he'd get extra food without technically being charged for it. And, after Circe had to leave he'd be able to go back for extra.
He cleared his throat, "I mean, my trip wasn't that exciting. I made a couple new friends, didn't make it to the border, got shot, got to see the Grand Canyon and nearly walked into Death Valley, that was a rush." He slurped at his milkshake. "I hitch-hiked a lot."
Circe wished she knew what a quiet family event was like, maybe she could skip the next time her family decided to wage a prank war against each other, maybe she could just remain neutral ground -like Switzerland, just stay out of it all. She did know that was unlikely to happen. "It's good for you and him though, just being able to relax together, not worrying about anything but how much food you can eat." And that was what Circe figured family holidays were meant to be about anyway.
The arrival of Koa's milkshake, one for now, the other probably when their food came, potentially a smart thought out move, brought a glance over towards the kitchen, even though Circe couldn't exactly see through walls to see Roman anyway. "Oh that's cool, maybe we'll get a chance to say hi later." Since Circe hadn't had the time to say hi to everyone yet.
She was almost caught up enough in the news of seeing the Grand Canyon and half worried about the hitch-hiking that Circe almost missed the comment about being shot. "Wait, you were shot? How? Where? Why?" She felt like maybe that should've been mentioned a little sooner, like before she prattled about family and missing home and milkshakes.
Koa nodded, thinking that was a great idea to go back and say hi to his dad after they'd eaten. He slurped his milkshake; it was already half gone, because despite his best efforts he was immune to brain freeze, which he was supposed to be pleased about but honestly he felt like he was missing out. He used to copy Gabe and Luke when they reacted to sticking cold things in their mouth just so he felt included.
He opened his mouth to start talking about how he'd seen the most awesome stuff while going through Texas and beginning the litany of talking about the friends he'd made on the way when suddenly Circe's expression shifted into something that was less interested and more concerned and he took another slurp of his milkshake, licked his lips and shrugged his shoulder.
"I'm okay now, obviously," he said, "though I've got a wicked scar on my thigh." He rubbed the side of his face and then tapped his fingers on the table. "I- uh- the full moon just gone, February's one. I ran across some people hunting a werewolf and apparently they can't tell the difference between the werewolf they were hunting and a different one and they shot me instead."
Obviously, Circe could see that Koa was doing fine now, sitting right in front of all, probably all healed up from the whole event. But the fact that any of it had happened at all was disappointing to her. People were so prone to shooting first and asking questions later, it seemed like a pandemic. And the fact that Koa's experience in the world was now marred by a scar? "Oh, but I'm sorry that happened at all." At least he'd made it home safe to rest up and recover.
"I'm glad you're doing okay though, and I hope the rest of your trip was better?" She would rather hear about the better parts of his trip, where he'd been, what he'd seen, if he'd tried new things or seen something wild. As much as hitch-hiking wasn't exactly the safest bet in the world, she knew that Koa could at least take care of himself, and it was a good way for him to see all different places.
Their food was sent over, so Circe took a moment to let the plates be arranged and laid out before she picked up her spoon, "So, what was the best thing you saw out there?"
"Yeah, I mean, the shooting is what ended the trip so until then it was awesome. I mean- I- I didn't get to the border since I just sorta.... went wherever the people were going who were driving the car or truck or whatever I hitched in." He scratched behind his ear, "I met some cool people, made some new friends which was pretty awesome."
He finished off his milkshake, distracted once again by the food before he tapped his fork on the plate in thought, tugging his second milkshake closer. "Have you ever seen the Grand Canyon?" he asked, eyes alight, "Cee, it's amazing."
The way that Koa spoke of things, the excitement in his voice, the wonder in his tone, it was a soothe to the worry over his injury. It might’ve cut short his exploration for now, but it didn’t seem to have dampened his spirits. And for that, Circe was glad.
She’d always loved how bright eyed Koa was, how eager to learn and see new things. That bright spark of his.
“I haven’t seen it, no.” She’s seen very few of the gifts the human world had to offer. But that was largely her own fault. “But it does sound like a fabulous place, and I’m glad you got to see that.” It was good for him, surely. To see what was out there.
“Have you kept in touch with many people you met?”
“A couple of them, yeah,” Koa said with a grin, “I met a guy called Noah who is awesome, and then in California there was a girl called Ainsley. So beautiful, man you have no idea and she had a power and we hung out some and so told her about this place. So maybe she’ll come visit one day. But yeah, there were a few others too but they were the two I really hit it off with.”
He shifted again, “You gotta go to the Grand Canyon, and also Niagara Falls, they were, like, stunning. I kinda wanted to see if I could survive if I went off the edge but it was too close to the full moon for me to risk breaking something.”
A little life experience was nice, and Koa deserved an adventure, and it sounded like just that, even with the unfortunate wounding incident. He met people and saw sights, and even with that, he came home for comfort. Circe couldn't help but grin back at Koa while he told her about his new friends.
"Well, maybe some day I will, see both of them. So long as you promise me you'll never go over the side of a waterfall," because that was just a terrifying thought, werewolf prowess or not, "there are some things that no one is meant to do Koa, and that should surely be one of them."
Koa snorted, "Never say never, never figured I'd be okay dropping over the falls here, but they are smaller than Niagra so probably a decent training platform?" He grinned, only mostly joking. "At least here there are people that can help magically patch me up if I end up breaking something."
He knocked her foot gently under the table. "But I don't really- I'm not in a hurry to do that, if it helps any?"
Never say never? Oh, Circe would just hope that the jump and landing wasn't too terrible and Koa's werewolfism assisted his ability to withstand impact. "Heart in my throat just thinking about it, kiddo." Probably because she couldn't ever get past the memory of young Koa when she'd first arrived in Summerview. She knew he was a young adult now, but she still knew that young excitable boy getting into all kinds of things.
"The first time you break something, I'm going to be right out there with a stern face and my 'I told you so' finger wag." Even if she would try not to be so babying towards the young man now. It did help that Koa was at least going to pace himself. "Definitely helps, maybe stick to less deadly and dangerous hobbies for now."
Koa grinned up at her, all boyish charm and cheese. "I'd expect nothing less, Cee. I'd be disappointed if I wake up from my concussion to find that you're not standing there wagging your finger and looking at me all reproachful like."
He stabbed his fork into his pancake stack and ate a large mouthful, politely not saying anything until he'd swallowed. "I mean I don't really have many hobbies right now and getting out and about is better than sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day. Science says that'll kill you."
"Oh, Koa, why would you mention head injuries? Don't tease." Really, she figured it was likely a possibility, he could get hurt just walking down the street, especially in Summerview where everything could do something. And Koa was too energetic to just sit still.
"You have a point," which he did, and Circe understood entirely about needing to get out and move around too, "just be careful, please, that's all I ask." Even if she was just being a big old worrywart.
Koa grinned, "I will be careful," he promised her, slurping at his milkshake once more. "Besides, I'm back home now. How much trouble can I really get into?"