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A Homecoming Dance (Ka'Ri, Glen, and Sunrise)

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"Who? Thimb?" Ka'Ri asks suddenly. "Not that that'd be a problem if so."

She hopes she is portraying earnestness. It would be okay if Thimb liked her instead of her. It'd be a wonderful joy if she liked her in addition to her, but either way would work. Thimb deserved to be happy.
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"No. Um." She blushes. "Sithani. Well. That's... a thing. Okay."
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Ka'Ri's brow furrows as she begins to piece a few things together from what Sunrise has been saying. "Wait... are you ace like Captain Caroline?"
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She nods easily. "At least I think so. I haven't met anyone I wanted to have sex with yet, but I suppose it's not impossible. I don't hate it." She shrugs. "I just don't... you know."
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Ka'Ri smiles happily at Sunrise. "Yeah, it makes sense. What Captain Caroline describes is very similar. Wow, this is so cool that two of my heroes share this in common."

Her brow furrows. "Um... if anything I'm talking about makes you feel uncomfortable at any point, please tell me."
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She raises an eyebrow. "Only being called a hero. I thought you didn't like politicians. Or people who live in places like this."
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"I don't," Ka'Ri's eyes twinkled. "But I got all the afterlives of respect for someone who can make fools out of the nobs and plays them for everything they can on behalf of folks who actually need it. You've been building yourself quite a reputation, even though it must be killing you to play their game."
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"Gotta play to win," she says with a shrug. "And you've met Veshti and Luther. Not everyone's awful." She sits back in the water with a sigh. "I want to build something, you know? To make real change. No one has to take me seriously now, no one has to listen to me, but if I won a council seat? If they had to deal with me?" She shakes her head. "Give me six months to build a coalition and I swear I could change this city for the better." She sighs. "I care about Gwyn and Laerdya for their own sakes, and for the good of the city. But this is also my chance, you know?"
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CW: fears of transphobic violence

"Yeah," Ka'Ri responds with a twinge of awe as she scrubs her sweat-stained arms furiously. "Part of me... part of me feels bad that I responded to all the wrong by running away, but it feels good that someone is trying to save this cursed city. Make it something to be worth being proud of instead of something I lie about not being from. So yeah... in that way, you're one of my heroes."

She pauses for a moment. "Do you really think it's as easy as just asking Thimb if she'd be interested hanging out more? Like... I'd like that. I'd like that a lot." The crimson shade returns to fully mask her face. "It'd be really nice if it could be that simple like it is for... well for folks who aren't like me."

Her hands wring each other. "There's always those stories you know..." she says nervously. "Folks like me who approach what they thought was a cute person at the tavern only for them to get angry or violent. Or being felt up by the wrong patron. I know it's only a small number, but it leaves a mark, you know, that makes you scared of being too forward with anyone."

"And with Thimb," a sort of wistfulness returns to her voice. "I really don't want to scare her away. If all she can offer me is friendship, that's enough, but I don't want her to see me as some floatsam that's trying to get more from her than she's comfortable with, y'know?"
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"For what it's worth, I don't think Thimb is the type to react badly," she offers. "And while you can never guarantee that someone won't feel uncomfortable, being honest and straightforward with her - and ready to accept any answer she gives - is actually gonna reduce that risk. Most people would prefer someone be upfront with them." Then she grins. "And hey. If she is into you, she can't say yes if you don't ask."
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Ka'Ri dwells on this thought for a moment as she scrubs her legs raw and then smiles brightly. "I suppose that's right."

She smiles for a bit longer in silence before fully turning to Sunrise. "Thanks... I think I needed that. Do you need any help with Sithani?"
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"I don't think so?" she says after a pause, soaping down as well. "Just gonna play it by ear I think." She pauses. "I do have a question about something else, though."

Leaning back, she looks at Ka'Ri. "I know today got intense. You and Glen gonna be good to work together tonight?"
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Ka'Ri looks surprised. That was not the name she was expecting Sunrise to bring up. "Of course! Why? Did it seem like I was tearing him down?" She suddenly seems deeply concerned and starts considering a specific moment. "I mean, I hope he didn't take it that way... if he did I definitely need to apologize because that was absolutely not about him. After all I understand where he is coming from and I have a lot of sympathy for that. More than you might know."
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She makes a sympathetic noise. "I mean. Honest answer? From where I stood it felt a little harsh towards Glen and Rik both." She shrugs, her expression gentle. "But it's Glen we're gonna see again tonight before anyone's had a chance to sleep on it or anything."
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"I'll apologize to Glen then. I really didn't mean to hurt him," Ka'Ri says a little chagrined before scrubbing her front. A small smile creeping across her face at how much it didn't hurt again to do so.
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"Mmm, it was a stressful day for everyone," Sunrise says complacently. "But yeah, I think he'd appreciate it."

Raising one eyebrow, she adds, "Should I ask about Rik?"
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Ka'Ri's face darkens slightly as she twists her arms around her back to scrub off the last of the grime there. She studies Sunrise's face for a short while as if trying to read something in her carefully constructed impassive expression. Her mouth grimaces after a bit and it's clear she's failed to read anything one way or another.

She opens her mouth and then closes it, takes a deep breath and dips down under the water again and rises up, constructing a neutral face, but largely failing.

"How do you mean," she asks at last.
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She shrugs. "I mean. Same thing? We're not gonna have to deal with him tonight, but we will eventually. That gonna be a problem?"
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Ka'Ri's brows furrow and her voice gets a little rougher, betraying the years she spent on the street. "Ya want my honest opinion on that?"
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She nods, watching Ka'Ri's face.
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Ka'Ri shrugs. "He hits some sore points for me, but I can work with him."
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[Thread Close. Continued in Songs and Secrets.]
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