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Righting a wrong is often times hard enough. When you're righting a wrong that's solidly embedded into how you see and carry yourself, it's damn near impossible. And that just the task set before Raph; righting a wrong that is...him. It's every fiber of his being. It's...the tree to his forest. The existence of water to his fish. The...well, you get the idea.

Raph had been stewing over Alanna's words for some time now. He'd killed many a bottle of Sam Adams in his attempts to see things from this completely new-to-him point of view. It was working, was that work slow going, and even as he did so he knew the hardest trial was yet to come: how best to approach Abigail. The hours rolled into days, and still he had made no headway into how to confront the woman he loved,...the woman he had inadvertantly wronged. Until one day, when he could stand the separation no longer, he returned to Tortall.

Standing outside the door to the barn where he knew her daily routine would most assuredly place her, he takes a deep, calming breath.
Instantly a memory from a few days previous surfaces.

Raph was helping Mike with dinner preparations, ie: setting the table, when suddenly he threw caution to the wind and asked his brother:

"How would you go about apologizin' to a really really angry woman?"

"Oral sex. Lots oral sex," replied his hedonistic youngest brother, without so much as missing a beat.

Raph had no words.

"But that's just me. For you?" Mike continued, ever unflappable. "I'd suggest something a little more Pop Warner and a little less Varsity. Flowers? Coupon for a free kick to the nethers?"

"I hate you so much right now."

"I know. But if you're asking me for advice, you clearly don't hate me nearly as much as Abigail hates you right now."

Mike wasn't wrong. Infuriatingly, he usually never is.
Which is why, as he pushes open the barn door, he's carring a Star-gazer Lilly in one hand.
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April 2013

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