She sat at the back of the room, the slow burn of irritation needed only the smallest of kindling to flare into an outright inferno. Grace tried to interject a few times. Didn’t matter, the rest of the pack wasn’t listening. The bickering debate about the next step forward was being passionately waged and it was clear whose opinions weren’t needed. Whispy argued with Matt while Jake and Brian tried to talk over the room. Bri watched the arguments unfold with amusement or maybe it was distain, she was always so damn hard to read. Mo was trying to be the peace keeper and Alex did what Alex did best, which was basically nothing. It was clear that he wasn’t going to call any sort of order.
Grace shook her head as if to clear it, but the anger kept building. Her hands folded together into tight fists even as her shoulders rolled forward. Just as she rose from her seat, a gentle hand came down on her shoulder.
“Easy killer.” The touch made Grace flinch even as it fed her anger. Grace’s gaze followed the offending arm up to its owner.
“Chris, these fucking assholes…” Grace began.
Crystal made a sharp gesture cutting off the rant mid-stream. “No point in bitchin’.”
“That’s obvious,” Grace sneered. “They’d never hear it above the sound of how fucking awesome they think they are.” She had to raise her voice to be heard over the increasingly loud arguments of her pack.
“Well, you can’t spell Garou without ‘ego’.” Chris commented dryly.
“Are you stupid?” Grace responded testily. “Yes, you can.”
“Sorta like you can’t spell kin without ‘liability’, or maybe it’s ‘weakness’, or it could be ‘burden’. Don’t know, it’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a dictionary.” Crystal gave Grace a long sideways glance. Despite her anger, Grace let out a laugh, and then a sigh.
“They don’t want to hear a word we have to say.” Grace said.
“And here I thought I was the smart one.” Crystal replied.
“Look Grace, you just need to understand that from a Garou perspective you’re the weakest link in the chain, what with having the kid and all.”
“Yeah, well your stock has fallen quite a bit, what with being a traitor and all.”
“Fair enough,” Chris replied. “But neither of us are helpless in this deal.”
“Don’t know that I believe you.”
“Bullshit, Grace. When you’re not getting a seat at the table, you’ve got to demand it.”
Grace sat forward and even as the voices around her grew louder, hers lowered. “What do you have in mind?”
“I’ve already got a plan and Sparkle is on board. All you have to do is make sure those guys don’t see me slip out the back door.” Chrystal explained.
“What’s the plan?” Grace asked.
“I’m going to go get that damn horn. I’ve listened to Bri talk about it, and I’ve watched her study it. If I don’t make a move, she’s going to.”
“Sounds stupid as hell.” Grace said.
“But also necessary. Grace, if we don’t start stepping up to the plate, we’re gonna get permanently stuck in this lovely mountain side wilderness for the rest of our lives with titles like ‘kin coordinator’ or ‘nursemaid’ or some other made up crap designed to keep us pacified and off mission. Now you do whatever, but that’s not how I envision my destiny.”
“So what do you want?” asked Grace.
“Same thing as you used to, to actually make a damn difference.”
“That’s not fair.” Grace protested.
“The truth often isn’t.” Chris replied. “Look, are you gonna help me or snitch on me? Because acting like throwing a fit is somehow going to make them respect you is dumb. It won’t. It will just make them see you for what you are.”
“And what’s that?” Grace could feel the blood rising back to her face.
“A scared little kin, in way over her poor pretty little human head.” Chrystal let her words rest as Grace digested the thought.
Grace focused back in on the Garou still arguing about strategy when she heard Mo suggest, “Ok, so we’re in agreement that Chris and Grace fall back. Now, who is taking point?”
Grace leaned in to Crystal, “I’m in. What’s the plan?”
“We need to take the long view on this, but for the next ten minutes or so, here’s what I need you to do…”