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He saved her for last. That did not make her least. But this one was personal, so it was different.

Hey Vidya. You free to talk? Kind of having a bad evening here but it's nothing urgent.
Hey, was that ever a question.

of course <3 do you want to call or facetime or something?
FaceTime might be good, actually.

She straightened up from her bed, pulled up her camera to find a good angle, and fixed her hair so it didn't look insane in the curly bun on the top of her head. She didn't have makeup on, but she was alright with that, she guessed!

Soon, she was staring at herself as the call went through, then smiling softly at Dakila as he popped up on her screen. Briefly looked at herself, making sure that her camera hadn't lied to her and she actually looked like a swamp monster on FaceTime.


She greeted sweetly, swallowing down the worry in her gut.
Dakila looked tired, but not in a way that was... too unusual. Just the worn and weary man who always seemed to have just a little too much on his plate. But he was handling it. And he smiled at the sight of her.

Hey. So... I was going to meet up with Max tonight to talk about what to do with the gym regarding the move. Instead they--Max and Oryx, I mean--decided to... inform me that they're leaving the pack.
Oh, Dakila. She frowned lightly at how drained he looked. The words explained why. Her face fell into that of shock, offended by the very idea of someone deciding to leave Dakila.

What! Why?!

She knew mostly about Oryx; Emily; and how she'd been part of the STF. From what she knew of her, she'd seemed nice and settled into life in the pack? Of course, there always could have been more going on between them that Vidya wasn't aware of.
He could not help the lightly embittered laugh.

That was my question. I can't say I got especially satisfactory answers. Oryx stormed out in a furious huff that I'd even asked. I don't know what she expected. That I'd say... 'okay, see you later then' and not inquire?

It was ridiculous. But she'd struck him before as someone who reacted too strong at times. He had wondered at one point if she was suited for the work she had once done. He'd begun to think he'd judged her too harshly, but now he was back to thinking she was definitely better off well outside of the STF for more reason than merely being a wolf. A pity.
She pinched her face together, head shaking. What the hell? As if he was supposed to magically know why they were suddenly leaving?

And there was like... nothing indicating? What did Max say?
Not in the least. I even spent several hours with them on Thanksgiving and was none the wiser they were planning this. Max was a little more forthcoming, but not by much. Apparently they've had grief with me of some fashion or another since I told work about myself. Maybe before. Even after Max apologized for challenging me and then never... brought it or anything like it up again. Haven't handled things the way he'd like, has felt like I haven't listened to him. Claimed I vanished after the confession and then came back like nothing had ever happened, as if I hadn't been contactable for the last few months, which is starkly untrue...

With her, the bafflement came through. He didn't have to take the leadership role talking to Vidya. It was much more personal here.
All of this... sounded like they were describing someone else?

Everything Dakila had done, outing himself included, had been for the sake of the pack. Yes, he should have told them, but what was done was done. He'd been earnest with them, he'd been willing to do whatever it was that they wanted to make things right. And now it sounded like the very thing that Max and Emily had been upset with Dakila doing... they'd done themselves. Made this big decision without warning. Without making an effort to make things better. Where was the communication?


She repeated with a shake of her head.

I'd like to know where they think you went, because I sure haven't seen you more involved with the pack than you have been in the last months.
He tried not to get swept up in the validation. It was nice to hear someone saw it like he did, or at least close enough, but he also tried to remain objective enough to not get battered down in his own feelings.

Yeah... that was how I'd been feeling, too. I had told them all that if they wanted anything else changed or needed to talk further on anything I was available. I assumed their silence on the matter meant we were in the clear. It makes me feel like I missed something, realizing they've wanted to leave all this time.

He rubbed his hand over his mouth, fretful.
But how could you know if you missed something if they didn't show anything?

She countered with a shake of her head, exhaling slowly through her nose.

It just... sounds so hypocritical of them.
That turned his lips in a wry twist.

I told them more than once that I was here to discuss anything further. Guess they decided it wasn't worth their time to talk about it.
She exhaled a frustrated sigh, head shaking.

I guess so. Ugh. That makes me so mad.

She was... seething, really. Just... what the fuck! Okay. Deep breaths.

I'm sorry it happened like that, Dakila. Is... well, is the pack alright?
He supposed it made him a bit mad, too. Though that wasn't a feeling he really leaned into much, the sensation of offense had been... real. Just the complete lack of trust there. Like... they hadn't wanted to be convinced to stay, maybe. Max and his motives seemed so muddled to him now. Between the challenge first, and now this... What were their plans, he wondered? In the end it wouldn't change any of his own, but...

Overall, the pack's fine. Most people didn't even really know them yet. But... well, Natalie and Katya. They were fairly close with both of them so I messaged to see if they knew more than I did, and turns out they hadn't said anything there, either. I think Nat took it especially hard.
Gosh, but it was still so heartbreaking. She chewed her lip.

Yeah, well, I get that feeling entirely.

She exhaled through her nose. It sounded a lot like Asha and Abraham's departure. Except this one wasn't destroying the entire group. Well... wait, was it?

Its not going to make the pack fall, right?
That put a little smile back on him.

Doesn't seem like it. Not unless it pulls a few others out in their wake. Still have Natalie, got Dante, got Solomon and his granddaughter... We'll be fine. And I'm sure more will come along.

Right? It always seemed like such a surprise when someone new turned up, but the reality was it wasn't incredibly uncommon. Now if only they would stick...
Yeah, that's a solid group still. And, a group doesn't need to be huge to be good.

Looking at you, Rose View!

Aaaand, you have me!

She added with a simper in an attempt to spark them out of the dark lull the topic had dragged them into.

I make up for, like, ten wolves, right?
Her exclamation made him grin--a fair bit less tired than the rest of his facial expressions tonight.

You sure do. And you're about half the trouble, too. Kind of you, really.
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