Day 011: The Power Of Pucker
Summary: While at Coesbur, Fiona tracks down Niner to clear a few things up.
Date: 16 05 2016
Related: All of the first Coesbur visit logs.
Fiona Niner 

Helping the medics is important, and Fiona is doing her fair share if being an extra set of hands. But that's only part of why she came with the group, and she sees to that by interacting with the Trikru. Learning the language, socializing, getting a feel for the culture, learning about them now so she knows how to approach them later. And it's later that she comes looking for Niner, starting first at the Seat. It's arguable as to how lucky she is to find him straightaway.

The Delinquent medics have saved the day. Possibly. Maybe. They haven't all been arounded up and killed, at least. With the first hurdle successfully leapt, more mundane things are addressed — like getting a dozen Delinquents fed, watered, and maybe even washed. Afterwards, Niner's made his way back to the Seat, a structure with nice, sensible floors meeting nice, sensible walls and a lack of steady traffic. Standing in front of one of the statues, he stares up at it with hands linked behind his neck.

Fiona sidles up next to him casually, her own posture relaxed. "Hey." she says, in a not unfriendly way. "Can you help me with something outside?" The Seat is not the place to have a possibly quarrelsome conversation. She doesn't even want there to be an indication that there might be quarreling.

Now and again, one of the sick Grounders in the adjoining room can be heard coughing, but otherwise the large room remains quiet. Niner's head turns slightly as Fiona's footsteps near, as if he's watching her through his peripheral vision, but it's not until she speaks that he looks directly at her. Assistance required? That's all he's here for. Ideally. Throwing himself at an entire village of Grounders to try to save the others? Considerably less ideal. "Yeah. Sure," he answers her, dropping his hands to his sides before he moves to follow her. "Someone figured out some fans for the room in there?"

"Not sure." Fiona admits as they walk. She seems to have a direction in mind; an open area where it wouldn't be easy for anyone to eavesdrop, but within sight of their likely present watchful Trikru guards. Once she feels it's safe enough, she turns around to face him. "I want to know what you think it is I'm doing." Not an accusation, not even a question, really. She's calm and quiet. Everything's fine.

A village of 500 makes for a lot of eyeballs on them. Doubtless they're being watched like kids who can't be trusted to stay out of trouble, as opposed to being minded as any sort of threat. Niner looks around the room a final time before following Fiona out the door. When Fiona stops and turns to face him, he looks around her — there's nothing here for him to help with — before realization kicks in. He starts to fold his arms across his chest, stops with a faint wince, and digs his hands into his pockets instead. "That what this is about?" he says. He watches her watch him, silent for a few seconds before he replies, "I think you're sucking Grounder ass like an industrial vacuum pump, that's what I think you're doing."

"Okay." She simply nods to this - no argument, no agreement, no denials. "Let's call it that for now. Why would I do something like that?" There's a tilt of her head. "I mean, so far, I'm probably the person who knows that most about their language and culture of all of us. Which isn't much, but there it is. So tell me why."

Wary dubiousness starts to pull Niner's brows together, and he shifts his weight in unease. "You gonna ask me to tell you about my mother next?" is his first, sarcastic retort. His shoulders hunch inward a little, as if he's reconsidering folding his arms across his chest, and he looks away, scrubbing an agitated hand through his shaggy hair. "How in fuck should I know?" he says when he looks back. But he's trying to answer. The little brain-gerbils are running like mad. "We're still figuring shit out, and they're not. If you get yourself in sweet with them, that keeps you sitting all pretty."

"I want to make sure we understand each other." Fiona's arms cross over her chest, and while she has to crane her neck to look up at him once she steps into his space, she does it anyway. "I dug the shit pits. I was there to help when we got our people back, right in the middle of the fighting. I was one of the people who got us to this moment." She's not trying to claim all the. credit, but she won't deny what she's been working toward. "Me and Morgan and Quinn are about to go talk to their leaders, and there's a lot we don't know about how they tick, and they're not very forgiving of when we don't know the rules. So if I am trying to get in sweet with them, have I given you any reason at all to think all I'm looking out for is myself? Nevermind that you don't like what I'm doing, why do you think I'm doing it? Who am I doing it for?"

Niner's got ten or eleven inches and nearly a hundred pounds on Fiona, yet somehow when she crosses that invisible line and gets all up (down?) in his grill, he tenses slightly as if threatened. He could probably put a hand on top of her head and hold her out of swinging reach, if he wanted, but he stands there, tensely keeping his hands down in his pockets, watching her as she coolly dishes out her words. As her questions end, he licks his bottom lip and looks up and away, again trying to marshal his thoughts. "These Grounders. They're not like the Council. That Oxfor fucker, he's not leader because he's the smartest. He's there 'cause nobody can force him out. Yeah?" He's working up to a counter-point, maybe.

Fiona smiles just a touch. "Not because he's the smartest, no. But not because he's the strongest, either. It's both. These people aren't idiots, Niner. Sure, their tech is out of the Dark Ages and their culture is brutal, but they've adapted to survive this world. If he was just a dumb brute who fought good, he wouldn't be where he is. Can you honestly say I'm wrong?"

Niner's weight squirms again, as if unconsciously pantomiming a /kinda, BUT…/ answer. "Yeah. Okay. He's not just a thug. He's protecting his people. But he wouldn't be in charge if he couldn't /make/ people listen when he had to, neither. So. Uh." A point, Niner. You were going to make one. One hand comes out of his pocket, starts to gesture in the scant space between them, before he stuffs it away again. "You're coming at them all sweet as you please, oh yes sir, mister Oxfor sir, can I suck your dick a little harder sir, and no way they're gonna respect us for that. Someone like him- like ALL of them- all they're gonna see is us rolling over and showing our bellies before they even have to make us. We gotta make 'em think they gotta try or we're fucked."

"I'd have to disagree with you there." She points out mildly. "I mean, if he actually thought I wanted to blow him, where do you think I'd be right now?" She laughs at that, pointing out, "I get that you don't like what I'm doing. That you think it's a position of weakness. But being respectful, acknowledging their strength, it's smart. It doesn't diminish my own, or ours as a collective. I talk. I listen. I watch. And I have a way of persuading people, getting them talking. I got you talking, right?"

There's a flash of resentment in Niner's greengrey eyes at Fiona's last observation. A muscle in his jaw twitches once, twice, before he begrudges her a, "Yeah. Okay." He pulls in a deep breath, holding it a few seconds before he looks away and sighs it out. Again he pulls a hand out of his pockets, but this time he hooks it behind his neck, rubbing. All this thinking makes the head hurt, it seems. "So then you're saying- you're telling me I'm supposed to just trust you, that you're not fucking the rest of us over just to save your own ass." He watches Fiona, searching her expression, as he asks this.

Fiona cants her head to the side. "As much as you trust Quinn or Morgan to do right by all of us. We're the ones people chose. I'm the one who stood in the middle of camp and told people that if we don't live together, we're gonna die alone. So it's up to you to decide if you want to trust me, and you can look at everything I've done so far to make an informed decision."

Niner makes a dubious, grumbling noise, mouth curled sourly. "I didn't choose any of you," he tells her. "Kissing enough ass to convince people to see it your way doesn't mean you want to help anyone. All it means is you've got the better pucker." He frowns down at her for a few more seconds before he makes a waving, one-armed shrug and starts to turn away. "Fine," he says. "Made your point. Guess we'll see who you're watching out for soon enough, anyway." There's no meaningful, warning glance cast back to her, only the heavy scuffs of his booted feet heading back to the Seat.

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