Kass's Birthday

Starting the Festivities

The instructions would've been clear for everyone that the party would be out back on the patio. And that's where it is! To lead the way there are dogs in party hats stationed along the way. Yes, poor Lucky, Rollie, and Lucy have been forced to wear little pointy party hats, but they are being great sports about it. As for the back patio itself…
The patio has been arranged very nicely for this special, special day. The first thing that would probably meet anyone's eyes is the absurd amount of multi-colored balloons. There must literally be sixty, arranged in four bunches of fifteen apiece. Suspended between two bunches is a banner that reads:

Happy Birthday Kassie

A beautiful table has been set up for dinner with plenty of places for all of the invited guests. The chair for the birthday girl is very apparent: it's a beautiful wooden chair that's been painted blue and looks more like a throne than a normal chair, situated at the head of the table.

Lilith peers cautiously around as she carries a neatly wrapped box in both hands. She stares at the banner a moment and probably tries to slip in quietly, looking for the birthday girl and other assorted ladies.

There's no sneaking in, none at all. Lucky is the first line of defense, and Lucy is the last. Lucy starts barking in a slow tempo to announce Lilith's arrival. And not a few moments later does Ally come bustling out onto the patio with a basket of fruit for the table. "Who's here, girl? Who…oooh its Lili! Hi Lili!"

Kass's voice can be heard coming from somewhere, "Allllllly!!!! Can I come down *yet*?" Yes, somewhere in the house, probably upstairs, but with open windows and balconies it makes it hard to pin down exactly where she's at.

Johny is currently at the grill, stripped to his very very buff waist, an apron on that says 'don't kiss me, I'm not the birthday girl'. A selection of vegetables are roasting. He's been working for a while to make sure that the food is ready on time. The grill is being used for more than just grilling, as sauces, soups and other dishes (a lot of fondue-like dips) are underway.

Lilith smiles softly at Ally, laughs quietly at Kass, and gives Johny the necessary, but brief, once over before stepping forward with a rustle of her usual long skirts. She really tricked it out today, and peers around the box in hand. "Oi, Ally, Samuel. How's everything? The place looks lovely."

"Ooookay Kassie, come on down! Maya and I are ready and Lili just got here!" Ally yells back into the house. She bounds over to Lilith to give her a quick hug…a bit awkward around the present, and then disappears back into the house. A moment later she returns with Maya. "Thanks for coming, Lili. Kassie hasn't seen the balloons yet…hope she likes them."

Johny flips a selection of kabobs, looking over her shoulder. "Ally, you could have pizza at Dunkee Cheeze and she'd love you for it."

There is the sound of someone running full tilt through the house. The pounding of little feet can quite clearly be heard as whomever this is hits every third step, falls down, gets up, and tears through the house. Kassie bursts out onto the patio barefoot but otherwise dressed in a pink halter with the 'Super' logo on it and jeans, eyes bright as she looks around with interest and curiosity at everything going on. All three dogs bark as she bursts out, earning a laugh from the elf.

Lilith laughs again at the noise, and raises a hand delicately in the air to give Kass the same finger waggle she gave Maya. Her eyes sparkle a bit. "Why, *hullo* there, birthday miss."

Johny eyes the Halter top with the Super Logo. "It's a bird! It's a plane!" He says, reaching for a roasted carrot and biting in to it. It's not sausage, but for the moment, it will do.

"Nonono, Sam, we're saving Dunkee Cheeze for Maya's birthday," Ally tells him admonishingly. "Kassie would get strange looks playing there, I think," she points out. Ally whirls when she hears the sound of an elf tearing through the house, and Kassie comes bursting out onto the scene.

"Happy birthday, Kassie! Whatcha think!"

Balloons, dogs in party hats, a blue throne chair at the head of the table, Ally in a poofy pink skirt and tiara, the delicious smell of a feast being expertly prepared….

Kassie screams and bounces down the stairs, Ally saved from being tackled only by the grace of her small daughter that does not approve of such jostling. She does, however, have kisses rained down on her. "It's perfect!" Kass squeals again and kisses Maya, the baby looking at the older elf as if wishing she were a *little* quieter.

Kassie spins and hugs Lilith, who isn't safe due to lack of baby, "Thank you for coming!"

Lilith eyes widen and she stiffens for a moment at the exuberant attention, but then laughs along, her skirts flying through the air as she gets caught up in the spin. "Er…why, you're welcome! I'm glad to come!" She doesn't make much effort to hide a sudden giggle.

Johny has cooking implements in hand, sharp, poky implements of cooking torture murder death kill.

Maya is used to being hugged by her two mommies so she laughs and grabs with her little arms, getting riled up by all of the excitement that Kassandra has brought with her. "Oooof you're welcome sweetie," Ally giggles as she survives the flurry of kisses and hugs. "A first birthday party is an incredibly important event for anyone, and the night is perfect." Ally goes over to the table and pulls out Maya's carrier which will be her seat for the evening, and quickly sets up the baby safely inside.

Sharp implements of doom are no match for the power of SuperKassie. Determined, the small elven girl vaults up the steps and approaches Samuel, wrapping herself around his left arm in a quick hug, "And thank *you* for coming too and doing all this cooking!" She squeezes his arm and then backpedals and hurtles back to the table, circling it all and looking at the balloons and decorations.

Lilith staggers a bit as Kass leaves her, shakes her head with another faint chuckle, and then crosses her arms to stand and watch the scene unfold for now. "Goodness gracious me, Ally, you've certainly out done yourself this time. And it's grand to see you having such a party, Kass."

"These are just decorations though. It's really just special that you guys could be here with Kassie and us of course," Ally says, smiling over at Maya. "Good food, good company and fortunately a pretty decent night too, so it's perfect."

Lilith smiles and brushes off her skirt, drifting forward to greet the other two girls. Maya gets a brief kiss on the cheek, Ally a soft hug. "Of course. And Samuel's a splendid cook and a lovely man entirely. And I wouldn't miss Kass's birthday for the world."

Pictures

Kassie digs in her back pocket, coming up with a tiny digital camera. She fidgets with the device and starts snapping little pictures of the decorations, the banner, the dogs with their festive hats. She laughs merrily and remarks, "But they *are* lovely decorations, Ally, and I like them!"

Johny takes the hug thats offered, wrapping his arms about the girl but not entrapping her. He lets her pull back when she does, offering a nod of his head. "I wouldn't miss it for the world." He says, then goes back to cooking. "Dogs with hats. Humiliating." He says a few moments later.

"Hey now, don't say that," Ally tells Sam with a look towards the dogs, who are all being very well behaved as they watch the goings on. "They got some steak out it, so they're just fine."

Lilith rolls her eyes, detaching herself from Ally. "And you, sir, I have not seen enough of lately. How are you doing, Samuel?" She sniffs, wandering over. She pauses a moment to give Kass a sneaky, random tickle, and with perfect innocence moves on. "Vegetarian only today?"

Giggling, Kassie swipes at Lilith's hands as she tickles, "No bunnies on the menu today!" The elf moves out to snap a picture of the decorations from further out, hmming thoughtfully.

Johny glances to the dogs. "At least they don't make YOU be vegetarians. THAT would be humiliating, sneaking out in the dead of night to hunt a rabbit just to feel like the mighty beasts you are." He glances to Lilith, offering a smile. "Hey, I'm around. I'm available. IF you don't see me, its cause you ain't lookin."

Lilith smiles as she leans up against the deck. "Indeed, and I'm the poorer for it." She takes a moment to stick her tongue out at Kass. "I'll have you know that rabbit attacked ME first!" A snicker before she turns back to Sam. "Anyways, it's good to see you again. AND I will make a note to drop by with cookies and perhaps a game of chess, if that's all right with you."

Ally bristles playfully at the mention of bunnies. "We've actually been training the bunnies out here in guerrilla warfare tactics in preparation of your arrival, Lil. So don't go wandering off without one of us.."

"One day a bunny will have to save your life." Kassie grins and shakes her head, scurrying to take another picture before heading towards the table, snapping photo after photo of the laughing Maya as she approaches, "Maya! Maaaaaaya!"

Lilith groans a bit. "Gods. I kill *one* rabbit by chance on a camping trip and this lot declares bloody war on me." She grins as she watches Kass clickety click Maya. "And yes, a bunny will save me life. It'll stop me from starving."

Johny chuckles quietly. "And yes. Vegetarian menu, but I have some fish I'm going to grill up when the veggies are done to keep the veggies from getting the scent of the meat."

Kassie takes one more picture of Maya and then slides the slim camera away, taking her throne and mentioning, "There are actually many other things to eat besides bunny, and probably better for you." She grins and mentions to Maya, "Bunnies are our friends."

"With a side of orange sauce." mutters Sam.

Lilith keeps an absolutely straight face. "Oh, they are friends. The best of 'em, to sacrifice themselves so nobly in the fight against hunger."

Ally shoots a little look at Sam, but she's not going to give him an earful. She knows that everyone's just teasing. "Oh Kassie gimme that camera, we've got to take a picture of you on your throne for this most special day. And then…I sure hope the food's just about ready, because it spells *delicious*"

Kassie raises an eyebrow at Lilith and shakes her head sadly, sliding the camera out of her pocket and over to Ally. She says, "Do I need to make some sort of pose, Ally?" She nods about the food smelling good, telling Maya, "We won't eat bunnies, will we Maya? No we won't!"

Johny glances over his shoulder, an eyebrow rising at the concept of posing. Hoooah.

Lilith giggles under her breath, watching them. "You look lovely, Kass. Do forgive the teasing." She winks at Sam and spins lightly on her feet, heading to the table. And, with a neat, perfect curtsy, spreads her skirt out in both hands and bobs her head to Kass. "Many blessin's, me lady." Her tartan nearly brushes the ground before she raises her head, repressing a broad grin as much as she can. "See, Maya? This is how a lady curtsies and addresses someone important. And your mum is *very very* important, isn't she?"

Taking the camera from Kassie, Ally turns it on and takes a quick few candids of Kass. "Sure, pose if you want to sweetie. And then I'll get the rest of these characters in a few shots too."

Kassie nods, "I am very important, Maya, I am your mommy. That is a *very* important position in the world, almost as important as CEO or President." Kassie nods to Ally, quickly fluffing her hair out and leaning back in her throne, giving Ally a quick smile.

Lilith expression gets…thoughtful, as she watches the scene, almost a whole new experience for her. "Yes, yes indeed, mummy Kass is right, Maya. Don't forget your mum Ally either."

Johny flips food. Yeeeeeeeeehaw. He is quiet, simply observing and enjoying. The dogs. The people. The food. The people. The love.

"Mommy Ally is *very* important too, Maya. Very very very important. Never forget that. Plus, she can turn people into frogs." Kassie grins and says towards Lilith and Johny, "So Ally got me a big honkin' gun for my birthday!"

Lilith snorts, shaking her head and coming out of her private moment. "Oh, is that what they're calling it now?" Said, of course, with an absolutely deadpan expression.

Johny glances over at Lilith.. then Kassandra… The Ally. "Well, it seemed a better idea than a… well. Adults have toys too."

Ally shoots Lilith a look, and the ever attentive Rollie picks up on it, offering a rather intimidating growl at the woman. Which quickly softens Ally's expression. "No, no, it's okay girl, Lilith's just a goof."

Blinking, Kassie looks to Ally and then Rollie, whistling once to call the doggie over. "You people *have* to get laid." She shakes her head, "An HK modular rifle. It is *sweet*, you should see it in action. She went all out so that I can be useful on a job."

Lilith nods sagely to Sam, then gives Rollie a *very* pretty smile. And Kass and Ally an even nicer one. "No comment, miss…but, gun or no, I doubt you're anything less then perfect help on a run."

Murmuring softly, Kassie remarks, "Don't bare your teeth at them when they are upset, Lilith. It's a sign of aggression and she'll think you want to fight. That .. would not go well." She shrugs a little and says, "My job is to know things. Anything else I do on a run is like icing on a cake."

Lilith nods, smiling gentler now. "I wasn't baring my teeth, but so noted. And yes, you are one of the wisest women I know. Runs aside."

Johny raises an eyebrow, watching the other persons involved at the moment. "Baring your teeth is an aggressive move for a canine. Don't do it unless you think you can win."

"I'm not all that wise. I just get lucky and know a few things, and usually know less than I think I do." Kass pets Rollie and murmurs to her quietly, patting her gently.

"Okay, so enough of baiting the dogs at any rate," Ally announces, looking mildly amused by it all. "Since the food is just about ready…going to take this time to do a little toast. Um… I traded in wine for apple juice, so drink heartily. But a toast to Kassie is most appropriate, I think."

Lilith claps her hands and then fishes a glass off the table and raises it with a grin. "Oh yes! Who's going to toast her first?"

Johny is cooking! He has no shirt on, but an apron that says 'kiss the birthday girl!'. He's looking buff and tan. And nipply. MAN NIPPLES.

Lilith is standing, holding a glass of apple juice, dressed up for the occasion in some Scottish type outfit. She's also grinning.

Kassie looks curiously at Ally, listening to what she has to say. She keeps a hand on Rollie, however, petting her gently.

Ally hmms a little bit, not having realized that other people may have wanted to toast her Kassie too. "Well…anyone who wants to can. I get to go last cause I got all the balloons," she says with a stick-out of her tongue.

Jester!

Jester had been audible on entrance, weaving his way through the house, dawdling as he has been known to do around things other people own. He has a dire need to touch just about everything, no theif, but its as if he doesnt believe its real unless he can slide a gentle finger across the cool wooden arm of a chair, rumple his fingerpad over the lumpy twirly frame of a picture. He's only been to this house once before, but knows where the glasses are kept, and with a light thump and woosh of the sink, he emerges water in hand and smile across his lips. "Long time!" he exclaims pleasantly.

Lilith blinks. "Don't you mean you get to go first, Ally dear?" Another blink as Jester enters, and a smile. "Elvis! Be a gent and raise your glass, it's Kassandra's birthday and we're going to toast her."

Johny turns as Jester enters the area. "Aragorn!" He calls out pleasantly, some kind of sly 'return of the King' reference.

"Nope. Last is most important I think?" Ally asks, though she suddenly seems a bit uncertain about that as she looks between those gathered. Jester's arrival is met with some intense looks from three dogs whom Ally calms very quickly, "Nono, he's okay too you guys. Part of the party!"

Lilith laughs softly. "All right, do we have to fight to see who gets to toast her first then? Perhaps Samuel should have the honour."

Johny glances to Lilith, then simply nods with his eyes to Ally.

Kassie chuckles quietly and murmurs to Ally, "Last is often most important or a position of honour in these things, yes, but however you want to do it will end up being fine, I am pretty sure." She leans over and touches Maya's hand, smiling at the little girl.

Toasts

Jester raises his glass "To Kassandra. A woman of substance, an elf of principle. As beautiful as the day is long, as smart as my knife is sharp." he breathes and blurts on "May she live a thousand years, and let the best of her past be the worst of her future!"

Ally looks to Jester as he gets right in the spirit, and she audibly 'awwwws' at the toast that he delivers. "That's so nice," she beams, going closer to where Kassandra's sitting (at her blue throne) to smile down at the elf.

Lilith blinks as Jester blurts out his toast, but smiles as well. "Ohh, well done, Elvis. Very well done."

Chuckling, Kassie shakes her head, "I'll settle for sixty or so good years," she remarks, casting a look to Aladriel and smiling shyly at her. She giggles and holds Maya's hand in the air like the others, nodding to her.

Jester meanders by Lil on his way toward Johny, tossing an arm around her and planting a juicy wet smack on her cheek. "Yatahey-baby, did ya miss me?" he asks, slandering his heritage cleverly.

Johny raises his glass. "Mah'uta Merrrrra-ah-ah-arg." He says simply, dumping the contents of the glass down his throat. He manages not to sound like a pirate as he uses the guttural language. Only barely.

Lilith gasps, giving Jester a look and trying not to appear flustered. "Elvis. I did miss you, but *really*." She relaxes after a moment and pecks his cheek in turn, much more politely though. She then nods to Johny, smiling at the simple toast.

Ally blinks curiously at the strange tongue that Sam toasts in, but she doesn't question it aloud. She just smiles. "We'll just assume that was something sweet, too," she murmurs to Kass with a wink, then looks to Lilith. "Anything from you, Lili?" she asks.

Raising an eyebrow at Johny's toast, Kass nods quietly and offers a shrug to the baby, chuckling at her attempts to mimic the motion.

Lilith smiles again, and raises her glass. "I feel that any words I speak are shamed by what has come before, whether in simplicity or sweetness. And Kassandra deserves it all, everything, light, peace, and of course Aladriel. Maya. Dear Kass, I hope you have many more wonderful days and birthdays to come with your blessed family."

Ally awwws softly at Lilith's toast and smiles at her. "That's very nice, Lili," she murmurs before she turns towards Kassie.

Lilith sips her drink, bows her head, and waits to hear Ally speak.

Johny picks up a slice of roasted tomato. Yes, you can roast a tomato. He turns to Ally, listening.

Jester waves little fingers at Maya as he passes by her on the way to Johny, the two are not well acquainted, but she's very precious and hard to ignore. To Johny, offers a fist to bump. "Whats really hood, rockin chair?" and even though chiding, his affection is apparent, he smiles to the wise warrior, his eyes wandering wistfully to the mouth watering comestibles who's smells waft wind up his willing nose.

Kass nods to Lilith's words with a smile before looking to Aladriel, biting her lip. She watches the other quietly, waiting to hear what she has to say. She fidgets with the ring on her left ring finger a moment, a silver flash coming from her right hand as well.

Johny bumps said fist. "Not much, Mr. Presley. Some adventure, some crazy globe trotting, nuclear reactor setting off adventures… some building. Been doing a lot of building."

"Okay, probably should've written this out," Ally murmurs as she looks down at Kassie, and then realizes she's not even holding her sparkling apple juice. That is quickly remedied. "Well. To Kassie….who, because of fate, is only now getting to really celebrate her birthday. And she is so wonderful, so kind, so nice, just….everything to me, that I sincerely think she should be celebrated far more often than once a year. And she makes me so happy to be here, to be alive… to share in her company each and every day. I'm so lucky that she's mine and she calls me hers…and I know this is your first party and so it's got to be the best one ever, but I can't wait to make each and every next one even better than the last, cause you deserve it. So…to Kassie," Ally finishes.

Lilith sets her glass down and applauds Ally. "Here here!"

Johny raises his glass then, smiling very slightly. "To Kassandra. May all her ups and downs be between satin sheets."

Lilith raises her glass again. "Aye, I'll drink to that!" She winks to the pair of women.

Jester drinks swiftly at that, to affirm his membership in the male sex as well to cover the misty eyed look he gleaned as the lover swooned over the object of her affection. He is briefly reminded of the loneliness waiting for him later this evening.

Blushing fiercely, Kassie rises and moves to Ally, wrapping her arms around her and murmuring something softly. She wipes at her eyes and laughs a little, looking to the others, "Thank you very much for your kind words. I don't appreciate friends like you, and I am glad you are here at this party tonight, it means a lot to me." She starts to say something else but then shakes her head, waving a hand, "Drink, drink."

Jester murmurs in self amusement, "I think he means Silk's sheets, Satin's a slut."(bong)

Johny nods silently, but emphatically, to Jester, looking back to Silk.

Lilith drinks, giggling softly to herself. "You're a blessing yourself, Kass. To all of us."

Ally hugs Kassie tightly, enjoying that quick moment with the elf while they share quick yet quiet words. It ends with a quick kiss and then Ally unwinds herself from Kass but keeps a hand. "Again, thanks to all of you for coming. Now lets not let Johny's hard work go to waste. Food!"

Jester lifts his t-shirt with molding hands and puffs out his brown belly, "Feed meeeeeee." he begs, as if starving.

Kassie shakes her head, not letting go of Ally's hand. "I'm just me," she murmurs, looking around at the decorations carefully, taking in everything.

Johny chuckles quietly. "Allow me to move in to the house to prepare the fish. I'll be back out in a moment to grill them."

Jester smirks salaciously with prize in mouth, "MMmmmmm white guilt." he teases Lil as he takes a seat nearby where he can socialize and eat.

Lilith gives Jester's belly a playful poke, then wanders over to give Kass and Ally a big hug. "You most certainly are, Kassandra." She steps back and almost shuffles her feet, looking just a bit awkward. "And you're a far better friend then I deserve. I really am happy for you in all this." A soft, very genuine smile.

Considering Lil's remark about being a better friend than she deserves, Kass nods quickly, "You are right, I sure am!" She laughs at that and shakes her head quickly, "No, not really, and thank you Lilith. I appreciate the kind words. It's nice to have a party for a change instead of hosting them, and for me no less." She chuckles faintly, squeezing Ally's hand. "I am owed a dance at some point too."

"You are, aren't you?" Ally asks, nibbling her lower lip as she considers dancing. "Mmm, okay. But I'm going to need to drink more of this apple juice before I'm ready for that," she teases.

Reassuring, Kassie shakes her head, "I can give you a rain check or we can wait till we are alone. I do not want to embarrass you, love." She lays her head against Ally's shoulder and watches the house, the people, the decorations.

Food!

Lilith steps back to the table and smiles, grabbing a plate. "Kass, let me get your plate. Want a little of everything?"

"Aw, you don't have to do that, Lilith!" Kass protests, but doesn't move away from Ally, "But if you are going that way I'd love a few of whatever he's made."

Lilith grins and nods. "As I thought. All right, deliciousness on it's way." She hums merrily as she begins to browse the table, selecting and even neatly arranging a pretty set of veggies. A wink, another curtsy, and she passes the plate over to Kass. "'ow's this then, m'lady?" Working the servant girl shtick too, it seems.

"Dig in, Kassie, dig in!" Ally encourages the elf quickly, her own tummy rumbling at the deliciousness on display. But the birthday girl gets to eat first. Thems the rules.

Chuckling, Kass takes the plate carefully, "Thank you, Mrs. DeWinter. But I wouldn't play the servant too much, Sam was talking about needing a good scullery maid." She chuckles and then looks at Ally's tummy and then to the mage herself. With a laugh she takes a quick bite and then snags another to feed to her love. "You eat too! Been too too long since you have!"

Johny returns a few moments later with a platter of un-cooked fish that has been seasoned and prepared inside. "And now, river trout and tilapia.. trout from our very own river here.."

Lilith snorts and drifts over to finally put together her own plate with a rather hearty pile of veggies for herself. "Hmmph. I'm no maid, but I'd be glad to lend a hand to that building project he's mentioned. Not sure what a soft, squishy woman such as myself might accomplish, though." She grins.

"Oooooooh tilapia," Ally murmurs, her tummy giving another rumble. Fish, yes. Fish will be allowed this night. She distracts herself from the uncooked fish and takes a bite of what Kass offers her, mmmming as she savors the flavors. "So far so good, Johny," she tells him approvingly.

Kassie shakes her head, "Ally, you are not eating enough!" Kass sets down the plate with a frown, looking the mage over critically and murmurs something to herself, then hugs the mage tight to her. "You are so light you are going to drift away!"

And with that, the pair begins to rise up in the air slowly and carefully. "What did I tell you? You *have* to eat more!"

Lilith giggles quietly to herself as she sneaks a glance at the pair.

"While the fish cooks." Says Sam then, laying them to the side… He removes several pots and moves them to the main table. "A platter of roasted and uncooked vegetables, breads and cheeses." He takes a moment to fill smaller pots that rest atop small propane burners. "For dipping. Here we have a variety of melted cheeses, here, cream sauces, and here, chocolates of various stripes and sweetness."

Lilith beelines her gaze to Sam. Eyes narrow. "Chocolate? Fruit? Fondue?"

"That would be correct, Ms. DeWinter."

Lilith leaves off stuffing her face with veggies and all-too-casually makes her way to the fondue set. She grabs chunks of everything, lotsa strawberries.

Ally yipes as she lifts into the air with Kassie and giggles as her eyes glow. "Oooh Kassie, I finally did it! Got so thin a strong breeze could carry me away," she laughs, peering around her as Sam reveals the fondue. "Ooooh my….fondue!"

Jester asks between chews, "So…about this nuke thing?" its obvious he craves a tale of the days of High Adventure<tm>.

Johny gestures to Kassie and Lilith. "It's their tale to tell, Jailhouse." Says Sam as he moves back to bring out a selection of fruits and the dipping forks.

Jester ratchets willfully in his seat, eyes ablaze with expectation.

Johny has apparently decided every time he refers to Jester, he will use a different Elvis reference.

Laughing, Kassie shifts directions lazily in mid-air, sweeping them back towards the precious fondue. "I shall be directed by you, my love, and we shall get you fed before you continue to blow away." The elven girl lowers the pair to the ground in a slow spin, murmuring a soft phrase as bare feet touch the ground. "There you go. Feast!"

Lilith doesn't…ignore, Jester, chocolate is present after all, but she does quietly avoid answering the question for several moments. "Perhaps now is not the time to recall it, Elvis. Later."

Lilith rather savagely proceeds to stab a strawberry with a fondue fork. Simply. Cleanly.

"You're already a natural, Kassie," Ally compliments the elf at her flying ability as they gently set back down. Feet back on the ground, once more firmly within gravity's grasp, Ally snags a dipping fork, goes straight for the fruit and in no time at all she's sampling all of the dips. The look on her face says it all: just delicious.

After setting Ally back on solid ground, Kassie rushes over to heft Maya up and says something to her, the little girl babbling and laughing. Pointing one finger into the air, the elven girl and the baby rise up again, soaring to a good twenty feet straight above the party proper. Kassie talks quietly with Maya, who is used to this form of transportation enough that she doesn't freak out. Kass seems to be pointing out the stars to her.

Lilith swirls said strawberry into the chocolate, lifts, and proceeds to eat it in a fashion that should probably be illegal. From her closed eyes and the look of bliss on her face, she's enjoying every nibble and also probably not aware of herself. Mmm, chocolate.

Sitting cross-legged, Kassie sinks down until she is only a few feet off the ground, floating next to Ally. Maya is still babbling but seems to be tiring out from all the excitement. "Ally, I think the baby is going to crash on us soon." She ooos and snags a piece of fruit and samples one of the dips, remarking around bites, "May be time to put her down for the night."

Johny settles in for a bite of cantaloupe, dipping it in the molton swiss cheese. "It is not just Kassandra who is blessed today." Says Sam then, looking over to the woman. "Any party, any celebration of birth, is a reflection of those who celebrate, for people give as well as they get. In this case, from Kassandra, I get a friend beyond compare in most regards. I get a comforting feeling, knowing she is in the world and my burden is lighter for it. I get a listening ear when I of all people, need one, an ear that does not judge me, nor my methods, an ear that wants nothing from me save my peace, an ear that listens to all I say with the patience of the ages. I am thankful on this day, because it is not Kassandra who receives a gift, but I who receives the gift."

Floating in midair like some improbable faerie, Kassie blushes and shakes her head at Sam's words, "You are too kind, Samuel." She holds the nearly sleeping baby, face hot. "I just listen is all. I can't do a lot, but I can do that."

Lilith quietly swallows and then steps back from the group, letting them talk. She takes her plate to a quiet corner and proceeds to munch down the various goodies.

Johny shakes his head. "I am the most unkind man you will ever meet, Kassandra Cindel." Says Sam then. "I just -like- you."

Ally and Maya go off

Passing the baby off to Ally, who decides to take her up to bed, Kass floats over towards Lilith while making dum dum dum dum sounds ala Jaws. "What are you doing wayyyyy over here, Lilith?" She shakes her head, looking over her shoulder at Sam, "Well I am glad you like me, but I still think you are kind, and it is my birthday so I get to be right!"

Lilith looks up and smiles faintly. "It seemed like you were having a private moment with Sam. I didn't want to intrude."

"Actually." Offers Sam then…. "It was an invitation for others to speak in the same vein, or others. Birthdays are special, they only come once a year."

Laying out on the air as if it were a bed, Kass shakes her head, "If it were a truly private moment, he'd have drug me off to say it, not out in the open. Now getcher butt back over there with everyone else, or I shall pick you up and carry you!" She rises up into the air a good ten feet suddenly in a flash before settling back over with everyone else, albeit still floating.

Lilith blushes, then, and nods, rising to walk back over.. "So I hear." She looks to Kass and smiles again. "You have a far greater depth and strength then I have ever seen in a woman. You have done more then tolerate me and my nonsense, you've even called me friend and been one of the first people to ever truly care for my well being. You deserve so much, so much blessings, all of this, and more. And am I glad that you have let me be a part of this, and be a friend."

Kass stomps mid-air, shaking her head. "I am just me. I'm not very strong and I'm certainly not deep." She glances at Sam and raises a warning finger, heading off whatever X rated comment might be coming. "But thank you for the kind words, I'm just .. well, just being who I am, or who I am trying to be."

Lilith laughs softly. "Are *to* strong and deep." A faint giggle even, but a serious light in her eyes all the same.

Johny smirks, spearing a strawberry now. "I think that borders far to much on my sexual innuendo protocols, for my liking."

Jester comments quietly "Y'all slots are crazy."

Snickering, Kass leans to one side and grabs up one of the strawberries Ally left, dunking it in chocolate and eating it. She looks at Jester and bobs along in the air like one of the many balloons around here, "I am not crazy, I am just .. differently abled."

Lilith shrugs. "As hell." She grins, then, and gets up to swiftly fly over to the pile o'presents…selecting hers, and a firmly wrapped up plastic baggy, she lightly floats herself and tries to deposit the box right in front of Kass. "Presents now! This 'un's for you." It's largish, but shallow and flat. Lil grins and waggles the bag. "And these are actually for the dogs, I figured I better make a peace offering." She also takes a moment to sniff at Sam.

Lilith also makes sure no one can see up her skirts. Dirty bastards.

Ooooos at the idea of presents, taking hers. "And you people are jaded! I am floating and no one even notices! I could be naked and just ignored!" Kass giggles and shakes the present gently, listening to it.

Lilith giggles. "I'm floating too!" The shaken box sounds heavy, a solid object thumping back and forth.

Johny glances at Kassandra. "I assure you. Were you naked, or again in a wet tee shirt as so pleasantly today, I would be VERY rapt in my attention. But I can fly, and Ally has never -but- flown in my association with her. I have come to accept some level of… eccentricity… from the women of my life. And you, Teddy Bear…" He says to Jester. "Are one to talk."

Lil's Present!

She's been living with Ally way too long. Kass glares at Johny and shakes her head, then sticks her tongue out. "Yes, but you've never seen *me* fly!" She distracts herself with opening the present, oohing. Inside is a big book on flowers and herbs, illustrated and carefully detailing how to grow them. There are also many bags with seeds, labeled with what is what. "Thank you Lilith! I wanted to start learning how to garden and about plants, since Ally says I am a tree hugger."

Lilith snickers. "Bloody elves. You don't just *hug* trees." She smiles brightly, seeing how Kass reacts, and bobs in the air, leaning over to hug the woman. "I'm so glad you like it! I just knew it'd be the perfect gift."

Johny quirks a brow, looking at the selection. "Nice. Fresh vegetables are always a welcome thing."

Kass looks over the seeds and then book, nodding to what Johny said, "Indeed. I've been meaning to learn how to do this, but I got distracted with all the other myriad things I keep wanting to learn." She sighs, shaking her head, "There is just so much to learn!"

Johny sips a bottle of beer. "You have time, Kassandra. You have time." He says, setting the beer back down. "I didn't bring any gifts."

Lilith folds her hands in her lap, sitting as neatly and properly in the air as she would in her armchair. She smiles again. "Aye, you have time, lucky girl."

Time. Kass just nods quietly, eyes going to the house a moment, then she smiles, "I have time, yes, but only so much of it, like any of us. And you didn't need to bring anything Sam, I told you that, *AND* you cooked. I told you just being here is enough."

Later that evening

Two or three hours later… Ally is upstairs, asleep with Maya. Lil and Jester have… gone off to do whatever they do when they are not on screen. Sam is out at the grill, using both hands to scour it back down to its metal, grease and fleshbits falling away.

Her book carefully put away with the seeds, Kass has shooed Rollie and Lucy upstairs to guard Maya and Aladriel, while Lucky, being the Alpha, spends his time prowling around downstairs while his mistress is still awake and outside.

The elven girl has returned to the outside, padding around quietly without shoes, as usual when at home. "Thank you again for cooking, Sam, I know *I* appreciated it."

Johny glances over to Kassandra as she approaches. "Any time. I find it to be an interesting challenge to cook with only vegetables, fruits and grains and make an interesting, varied meal devoid of animal products." He says quietly, continuing to scrub at the grill. "Do you know when your actual natal day is?"

Watching him clean the grill, Kass is quiet a moment then nods, "As near as I can tell, it was April 26th. There were certain files kept, certain pieces of information." She hmms, quieting for a moment and then shrugs, "It was April 26th. The other files were not .. were not accurate enough, there were missing pieces of information." She shrugs again.

Johny nods then, eying the grill critically then. "I know what you mean." he says, closing the grill and cutting the power. "They seem like simple enough affairs. Another year older, family gathers, words are said… but they are the essence of humanity, in a way."

"I wouldn't know." Kass smiles a little, the outside lights playing across her face, the balloons wiggling in the winds, "We didn't have much in the way of anything like that when I was .. when I was younger. All a birthday would mean, if you were lucky enough to know when yours was, was that you were either more or less desirable."

Johny glances to Kassandra. "Now you do."

"Now I do, yes. It's important; it was important to Aladriel to do this and it was very nice of her to, and for you all to come. And it was .. important for me too. It helps separate who I was and who I am now. It helps put a nice capstone on the last several months and close off the past." Kass remarks.

He reaches for his beer then, the other hand coming up to wipe his forehead with the back of his wrist. "So. Whats it like to be the ripe old age of 1?"

Laughing, Kass remarks, "It's nice, although I'm going to have a hard time getting into bars now!" She toys with a lock of hair, shrugging. "It's been an interesting day. And it is nice to just start over, to have a new life, new goals and dreams."

Johny nods, setting the beer down, looking at the way it sloshes in the clear glass bottle. "Don't do it too often." He offers. "It gets… painful."

Jester had been content to listen quietly for some time, and had set himself down on the grass nearby, perhaps under an available tree. He'd watched with 2 ton eyelids for a while, but eventually, closed them and drifted off. He issues the occasionally rumble, a mere seed of the snore to come some twenty years from now at the mirthless sigh of his wife as she lays beside him. Then she will push a firm but loving palm into his shoulder and roll him over, satisfied as the drilling of his palette ceases, and falls into a deserved slumber. Until then, the assembled band's tolerance, acceptance, and friendship will have to suffice.

"I don't plan to. We're pretty happy with our life, although there is one change left. After that, I'm not willing to keep starting over." Kass shrugs, "Ally is happy, and we'll do our little part in this fight."

Johny glances to Kassandra. "One change?" he asks curiously.

"The wedding, of course. After that, I think we've changed enough." Kass shrugs with a smile, "I managed to convince her that I really really wanted to marry here and that I wasn't going to change my mind." She laughs a little and shrugs, "I think she was nervous that I'd suddenly wake up and decide that I didn't want to be with her or something. The usual cold feet. I often think that she is going to think the same thing."

Johny shakes his head. "I really doubt it. You complete each other very well for being two whole persons one your own. I'm no guru on love, lord knows, but I know what you and she has.. is far to valuable…" A pause as he choses other words… "Far to precious… to simply falter."

"I think so too. I .. well. I don't think that we're going to separate or get cold feet or whatever. I know it hasn't been a very long time as most people think of it, but .. it seems like it." Kass shrugs and bounces down the steps lightly, heading to collect anything left on the table. "And we're happy. I've never been this happy in my whole 756 years." She winks at Sam.

Johny rolls his eyes. "Kids." He says gruffly. "Back in my day, love was hitting someone in the head with a rock, then painting a bison on a cave wall for em."

"True. They hadn't invented words back then." Kass smirks and starts carefully collecting the chairs and moving them back towards the patio, folding them neatly.

Johny grins. "As far as I know, I'm actually only about 60."

"Aha! See, you aren't that old, not really. Sixty is just getting started." Kass shakes her head, "And you act like you are so ancient. Of course, does that count the years in the machine?"

Johny shakes his head. "No, it doesn't, nor does it count concurrent memory strings, nor does it count that for a human operative, 60 is ancient." He admits. "The machine would add another… twenty… thirty years to it. It would be very awkward to visit the red planes people again, a tribe of orks that look like me."

"I can see how that might make things a bit difficult when sitting around chitchatting and whatnot." Kass laughs a little, "Well, I haven't lived nearly that long, so I don't really have much basis for comparison. But you are looking pretty good for someone sixty or so years old, you know?"

Johny nods… "My curse, good looks for the rest of eternity, or at least until I get a sudden case of lead poisoning." He says with a hollow grin.

"Ah, the Elven Curse. One of the many reasons most of the other races hate elves so bad, I think. Not only are most of them insufferable asses, but they are good looking insufferable long lived magically inclined graceful insufferable asses." Kass chuckles, shaking her head. "I can't say I blame them."

"Made to be overlords." Says Sam then, reaching for his beer. "Made to be overseers. Perfectly so made, save in one function; Pride."

"Pride goeth before the fall, or so the books tell us." Kass shakes her head, "I try to stay away from pride; another strike in the old Elvish score book. They are going to repossess my ears."

Johny grins then. "One hopes. We will see a societal shift in the next few decades. A shift of economy. Elves and dwarves on the top, humans in the middle, trolls and orcs on the bottom. It's a question of earning power and economics. You, for example, you spend say, a hundred thousand dollars on a fine education. I match you on that education. Your education purchases you 400 years, with occasional returns to school, of earning power. My education, but 40. A man can amass great wealth in the time of 40 years. In forty more, Kassandra… can you imagine what an elven nation can amass?"

"I imagine, assuming they are burned down, that they can quite easily take control of just about anything they want." Kass frowns, hmming. "Of course, there are going to be others who know this or can predict it and take steps. Dragons, other elves, other races that find clues. "And therein may lie some of the problems over the next few decades."

Johny nods. "The dragons created humans to serve. They created the elves to rule. The elves rebelled and the dwarves made… they failed. The Drakes made. The drakes were too innumerous to be more than personal servants."

Kass says, "And now thousand of years have passed and most everyone sitting around today doesn't know the old rules. And won't they be surprised when say .. Lofwyr .. decides that he wouldn't mind being in charge, or some dragon we've not heard of wants his servant back. I imagine there will be some .. excitement."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "Welcome to my world." He says simply. "As if Horrors and the Scourge weren't enough, we still have to contend with the old blood rivalries."

"And we're at a disadvantage, because we'll either be seen as a tool of a dead dragon, Ehran, or one of the other little power groups running around." Kass shakes her head, "Exciting, as I said. With a dash of screaming and running."

Johny nods. "And then there is the conundrum of the Immortal Elves, called Great Elves in the old world… who work for Dunkelzhan, despite the… shall we say… war.. that rages between those two kind."

"What a headache." Kass shakes her head, fidgeting with the silver ring on her right hand. "There are bigger problems than some old rivalry, I would think. The Horrors, the Insects, blood mages, loose nuclear weapons, all the stuff that happened with the comet."

Johny shrugs. "The ability of all sentient beings is to be able to make decisions based on a future that has not happened yet. One that does not yet exist. One that our choices make. It is the desire of most sentient beings, to wish to control that future. Each finds themselves to be the superior being to lead us through all of our trials and tribulations. Every great man wishes to be an Emperor, every fantastic man, a Mohammad."

Kass grunts, shaking her head. "Well, they are welcome to leading, but I have the strangest feeling it isn't quite as easy as everyone wants to believe. Once you are in charge, you have a whole nother list of problems to deal with." She shrugs a little, "Still, it won't be boring, will it?"

"Not for a moment." Says Sam then. "It won't be boring not even for a moment. I am many things in my life. Bored is never one of them. Tell me." A pause. "Are you up for a trip to the Arctic again?"

"The Arctic?" Kass hms a little, eyes drifting to the house. "I don't know, honestly. I'd prefer not to be that far separated from Ally, truth be told. I'm getting a little old to be flying all over the world getting shot at in Soviet Russia." She offers a little smile at that.

He smirks. "So take her with you. You will likely need the Magical support to survive up there."

"Now *that* we can do." Kass looks more relieved at that. "I'd rather have her watching my back than anyone else except you. And since you usually drop me off with some other people, that isn't an option." The elf looks back at the house and nods, "We'd be glad to go do work together. We're getting better at it, and invested a great deal in training and gear. We might even impress you."

Something Improper

Johny quirks an eyebrow. "Kassandra, may I say something improper?"

Kass laughs and shakes her head. "I should record some of the things you have said in the past, you'd see why that was a funny question. Please, by all means, say something improper."

Johny smiles slightly. "There is a difference between a clear joke with nothing but mirth behind it, and things said in the quiet of the night that have nothing behind them but the truth."

Kass nods, still smiling, and waves a hand. "Go ahead and say something improper, Samuel."

Johny chuckles quietly, reaching for his beer. "The first moment I saw you, you impressed me. The first moment you spoke, you impressed me. The first moment you stood close, you impressed me. And you have not stopped impressing me with your ability to adapt, to change, to grow, to overcome. In the months I have known you have I known disappointment only once, and never dismay with you or your actions. I think there is very little you could do to disappoint me."

Colouring at the praise, Kass shakes her head. "I don't know what I do that is impressive, but thank you. I worry about disappointing you, about disappointing Aladriel. Other people, not so much, but I .. well." She sighs, shaking her head. "We just want to do a good job and take some of the burden off you, and I know we've been .. not so good at it recently."

"You have been better than you know, Kassandra. Simply having a night like this, has lessened my burden, by making me stronger for it. And your hands are felt, known."

"Well this night was Ally's doing. She wanted to have something special for friends and family, which, as you can see, isn't a lot of people for us." Kass chuckles a bit, "Still, we .. well, me mostly, but Ally sort of too .. we've been just hiding out here instead of being as busy as we should have been, and with Alex getting sent all over creation, that can't be easy."

Johny shrugs. "It is what it is, Kassandra. It is what it is. The work will be here when your ready for it. Don't rush. Don't run blindly forward out of a sense of duty. Take the jobs I need done, but don't feel like you are not contributing. Don't think that for even a moment. Take this life you have. Take this love you have… and invest it in yourself. I won't tell you in 5, 10 years it will be here… so enjoy it in the now."

Nodding, Kass sighs, "Well. Alright. We're doing that, and trying to do more as well, taking on some of the little jobs that I talked to you about, and we're more than willing to do the jobs you need. Working together would be much better for us, truth be told. We've each got some .. problems .. that having the other there helps limit and correct."

Johny nods. "Such as?" He asks curiously.

"Indecisiveness, lack of focus. Things of that nature." Kass looks a little uncomfortable, clearly not willing to criticize Aladriel at all nor say too much about her own quirks. "It's easier for me to deal with .. people .. when she is around as well. Some days are better than others." Kass sighs, shaking her head.

Johny nods to Kassandra then. You can't really expect an unbiased or clear critique of someone's spouse. It's one of the reasons most organizations forbid interoffice or interunit romance. "I understand, Kassandra. I wish I had the ability to put you on the same mission every time, but I don't always have that luxury."

"We'll see. Things will undoubtedly get better. Or they could get worse and I could go back to never leaving the house." Kass laughs a little, "I had a few months like that a few times. Fortunately places deliver in most cities."

Johny grins. "Indeed. I found that to be very helpful in a lot of cities myself. Stakeouts get so boring on taste-e-soy."

Kass chuckles faintly, "Indeed." She shrugs again, "We'll see," she repeats, toying with her engagement ring. "Right now .. well. Like I said, there are good days, there are very bad days."

Johny nods, reaching for his keys. "I know. I really do, Kassandra. A sea of uncertainty and a life buoy of a woman." He says with a slight smile. "It.. is a story not unknown to me."

Nodding again, Kass sighs. "Sorry." She cuts off the apology with a wave of her hand, "And I am supposed to stop doing *that* as well." She takes a breath, lets it out, forces a smile, "I will do my best, Samuel. We'll operate as best we can, and if you just *have* to only have one of us on a mission, you are probably going to get both of us anyway, the other will just have to hide somewhere. She's .. well. We are sort of interdependent right now, although I do not think she is as bad off as I am."

He looks back to her… "She's more developed emotionally, has known love before, I think, at least in principle, while you are just now seeing it, feeling it, for real. She has been in the pool, it's still icy to you. Enjoy the brisk."

"That may be it." Kass smiles faintly and shrugs, "I imagine there are all sorts of factors to it all. Regardless, we'll .. work something out, or something." She shrugs again.

He smiles, then steps down the patio stairs to head for the Garage. "Go inside, cuddle with your wife. Cup her cheek, hold her breast to yours, dream your dreams."

Nodding, Kass rises and heads for the door to the house, "I'll do that. Goodnight, Sam, and thank you."

April 26 and 27, 2009

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