Oh, by the way [Attn: Ned]
Over the weekend, global warming had contributed to an abnormally bright and hot patch of weather, bringing many back to tank-tops and shorts to enjoy the freakish impacts of their changing climate in the assumption it would be their last chance to frolic in warmth for months.  Tuesday, though, that warm streak had snapped and they all awoke with frost carpeting the mountain valley and the skies gone gray and full with clouds.  It was the early afternoon and Margot had gone through her ritual of throwing open all the curtains and blinds in every room she decided to spend time in, leaving a path of rooms lit dimly by cool low light in the large living space downstairs, the formal dining room, and the kitchen.

It was the kitchen where she'd be found, hovering behind the kitchen counter with her hands folded over one another and rested atop it.  Her gaze was distant out the window into the front yard, unfocused, a mile down a path of thought and quite lost to it at present.

She looked ready to leave, though she'd announced no intentions or plans to go anyplace.  She'd been quiet the past couple of days, though, keeping particularly to herself and spending more time in her room than her preferred reading spaces-- the kitchen and living room.  On Monday she'd taken off in the morning, and when she returned she spent the rest of the nigh-80-degree afternoon kneeling in her garden shrine and focusing hard on something.

Not like now, though.  This wasn't focused.  This was lost, with a vague crease of fret between her dark brows.  Car keys beside her hands on one side, a mug of fresh-steeping tea on the other.
The living room had been a popular hang out.

Ned was present on one of several couches. It had become a secondary study for the young Orphan, who had been avidly avoiding the main Study with it's open space, electric wilderness that made everyone feel like the speck of sleep in god's eye waiting to be plucked out and smeared on some divine robe. Books were piled into a neat little shelf on one of the tables, several open onto contexts of anatomy while one notably larger volume had been investigating the depths of neuroscience. The jargon within was enough to give someone a migraine unless they were dedicated.

Ned was napping under the flaps of a book titled 'The Chemical Body' so it was hard to say what his level of dedicated was. When Margot had entered he hadn't gotten up and when she'd left with the drapes open, Ned had offered a vague sigh at the air of 'pensive' she left in her wake. It's what gets him up off the couch, plucking up the neuroscience book from the table and depositing the Body Chemical one in it's place.

He's wearing a simple black sweater too long in the sleeve and waistband. Plenty of room to suck his arms in and hug himself if needs be. His track pants have track pants to keep out the chill though he's bare foot and wincing with each step he takes across the cold floorboards, following in Margot's wake to the kitchen.

When he gets there, he plops the neuroscience book onto the kitchen table, open to a page then jabs it with his finger and makes a bit of fuss clearing his throat and pretending to read from the page.

"Patients who exhibit long term, dedicated behavior toward a particular emotional response, often find it significantly easier to portray and slip into that response no matter the level of stimuli involved."

He looks up at her without moving his head, lifts his finger off the book and pokes the air in her direction with it.

"That's you and worried. I read about it in a book so it has to be true."
The plop of the book grabbed her attention and was the first thing to pull Margot's attention to the fact that Ned had come to join her in the kitchen. She blinked a few times, receding from the mental journey and clearing the haze from her eyes to bring her attention over the countertop to the cabalmate standing across from her.

It took a half-second for her to process what he was getting at. When it registered she chuckled a little and shook her head, but didn't deny it one ounce. Instead she looked down at the book, then further down and off to the right, at a particular kitchen drawer near by and close to the ground. Margot stooped down to pull it open and dig around, and came back up not with a screwdriver or battery or other miscellaneous something that is typically found in the 'junk drawer', but instead a small wooden box that opened to show a neat and concisely-packed little kit-- pipe, orange prescription bottle holding ground weed, and a lighter. Packing a bowl kept her hands and eyes preoccupied while she spoke.

"It's not my fault that the world has so much to worry over. Here, smoke with me." She'd paused, briefly, leaving a heavy dollop of she's about to say something in the quiet in the air between them before, indeed, carrying on to speak. "A man contacted me, and he claims to be my father." Another pause, to let that rock drop in the water bucket, but not long enough for Ned to chime in before continuing. "He says he's a preacher-Mage in the Celestial Chorus, and he found out I can do--" actual finger quotes are used here "--'miracles', and wants to... help with that path? Reconnect?"

She sighed in and out a deep breath before lifting the pipe and taking a similarly deep hit before setting it in front of him, lighter along with, and blowing the smoke off to the side and upward to the ceiling. "I'm gonna find out the truth of it in a couple hours-- that's where I'm headed, to meet him."
Ned doesn't say anything. Not when she pauses to give him a moment too, or when she finishes entirely. The kitchen air chugs with weed fill and Ned watches the smoke drift up to the ceiling with a look that says he may be constipated or may be disturbed or simply thinking. He leans forward onto the counter, sizable sleeves bunching up and over his wrists and hands until they are hidden from sight.

He takes up the pipe and the lighter, huffing a breath in and out for himself before setting the tools to use. A deep intake later and he is wafting his own toke up to the ceiling through pursed lips and blowing the rest out through his nostrils. He takes a second to scrub at his eyeballs and murmurs under his breath, the first response:


It's all he says for the next dozen or so seconds, trying to gauge the moment. He lets his eyes and brain drift over the interior of the kitchen, eyeballing the walls with a careful level of scrutiny.

"Watching paint dry isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. It doesn't deserve the metaphorical rep. it's been labelled with."

He coughs. A gentle thing to clear his insides out.

"Preachers looking to help you find the way are an old cliche. Sounds a bit bunk." He takes another small puff before sliding the pipe back her direction, the cherry still smoldering. "You gonna google him? Get a pic to compare maybe before you go out? Or some witch level equivalent at least?"
The answer that Margot gives isn't one that Ned will like. She knows that already, but sticks to her guns anyways. "I've thought about it long and hard. About what little I remember of him, and what Mom would say of him on the occasion that she'd speak of him at all." She took the pipe from the counter once more, but paused with it and the lighter cradled in her small hands while frowning thoughtfully. "The name is right. And the voice. I'll bet you anything the face ends up being right, too."

She took a hit, then shook her head after interpreting a look on his face (regardless of whether it was actually there or not, most like), and gestured over her shoulder toward the front door. "I've got my car bag of tricks. I'll bring some blood and ash along with and read for our connection when I'm there, but I think I already know how that's gonna turn out." A soft cough on her end, then that same old cast of worry that always made its stormcloudy presence on her face returned, and she met Ned's eye to voice her concern.

"I don't know how much he knows about mom... or Luke. If he knows anything at all. What he'll do when he finds out, if he doesn't..."

Ned can't speak much to Family. He's never said anything about his own and what little interaction he's had with Margot's is probably not the best of things to bring up in any conversation let alone this one. Ned is grateful for the weed. He doesn't offer her much more than that one word, staring at the kitchen counter with a lazy little nod and a murmur of something unintelligible that the orphan probably thought he was keeping to himself. When he finally does turn to look at Margot, it's with slightly sad and resolute eyes.

"Whatever he does or doesn't know, he'll find out eventually. When he does, the first and last fact you need to keep in mind, you always need to keep in mind is that all the shitty, hard, ugly, nasty, puberty, high school, nonsense with boys, nonsense with girls stupid, shitty, ugly parts of the last 20+ years? He skipped out on. You made your decisions on your own whether he likes it or not. Wasn't a thing he did about any of it, including going to find his son during those ugly parts." Ned's words don't ring with any sort of regret or fear. He had made up some sort of conclusion about where this all could lead already. Probably long before this conversation.

"Beyond that? I hope he's nice. And brings you no less than a Decade's worth of birthday and Christmas presents. Back taxes, motherfucker..." Ned coughs again, a bit deeper this time as his insides threaten to parch up. He pushes off the counter, veering around it toward the sink. Then his body reminds him of the state he's in and he pops the fridge open, in search of the cakes the Doc had made a month ago...and failing to remember the effect probably did not last long enough for those cakes to be cakes anymore.

"The fuck ate all the damned cake?"
As Ned's speaking, reminding her of everything this Martin guy opted to miss out on and all the repercussions of guilt and lack of claim that would leave him to handle, Margot was wobbling between water trying to start stinging her eyes, her lower lip threatening to tremble a time or two, and smiling through that, for the reassurance and logic were doing more than the three-day-old gnawing worry was right now.

When he leaned back out of the fridge he'd find her grinning and wiping the pads of her thumbs under her eyes, chasing the starts of tears that didn't quite get the chance to fall. "Me and Will... It was gonna go bad," she added apologetically. The abandoned tea finally had the teabag fished out and deposited in the garbage, and she tasted the beverage before shrugging and taking a more committed drink from the mug.

"I can't really imagine what he wants. Maybe it is as simple as realizing he fathered another wielder, and maybe that's all he actually wanted out of his kids, and maybe he thinks he can just pick up where he left off and teach me some spells and call it good? But... I don't think anything's ever truly that simple. I worry there's more to it than that, and whether the intention is dark or not.." She shrugged and patted the pocket of her jeans, drawing attention to a lump that one would presume to be her car keys were they not already on the counter. "I've got my bones now, too-- I'll try to read the course of the path when it's gotten more than the first few steps in, and has found a direction." Margot learned a new trick-- not quite future-telling, but more of a likelihood-telling.
"Part of me feels like the more magic involved in all this, the less honest it's going to be. If he's showing up now because he's found out he's finally got something in common with one of his kids-" Ned trails off, a wince in his features though that might be for the sudden lack of cake in the fridge and the on-coming presence of the munchies that will be soon.

"Be careful." He says it like he knows she will be. Like he'll say it anyway. Like being careful had never gotten them in trouble before. "and be safe and if things go south, just tell him you need time or your evil menstrual goddess thingie will demand his heart for tribute or some other such stuff. I'm sure-" He pauses. Then laughs. Barks it even. "Oh man, does he even know about your witchy thing, this preacher papa of yours?"
She choked into her mug when Andraste was referred to as an 'evil menstrual goddess thingie', splashing red passionfruit tea over the rim of the mug and onto the floor, narrowly dodging getting any on the gray shirt she was wearing. The mug was set down and she wiped her mouth and chin on her hand, then the palm of her hand on a paper towel which would ultimately be dropped the the floor and used to mop the spill, pushed about by her big stocking toe.

"No, it wasn't exactly a... lengthy conversation. And honestly? There's a few things I'm a little more interested in sorting out before he and I start inevitably arguing paradigms." Her nose wrinkled, indignance sparking a small ember in her chest. "Like why he fucked off for the past decade-and-a-half. His accountability for his family. What he actually wants with me. How he's going to react to learn everyone else he left behind is dead. Then he can try sharing the love of the Light and the dark brambles of my paganism can try hard to smother it dim."
"Atta girl."

Ned looks a little taken aback by the resolute expression of 'killshot' in Margot's line of thinking. Enough that he is forced to rear back from the counter he's turned back toward. He settles his arms over the surface again, trying to focus beyond the haze of weed plucking at his thoughts and pulling their components apart like legs off a spider. He pops his lips to make the process faster and is then popping his lips just because he likes the sound and motion his lips are making.

"Well so long as you're not about to go charging headlong into that full 15 year gap over a couple of cups of coffee. Might want to think about spacing it all out over a few conversations first."

And then he sighs. A heavy thing he probably might not have let loose outside of being high.

"There's also the possibility he might just want to give it a shot and...if it doesn't work out...he'll up and leave again."

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