I'm A Giant with An Appetite

North Glenn 
A few days before the full moon

 Winning did not always come easy, that much Isolde had been reminded of over the past week or so. Remy had dealt her his own hand of injuries, and though her busted nose was easily the worst of it, the rest of her head and her torso, even her leg, had some bruises to show for the rest of it. Yana, though probably better off than herself, could likely benefit from this little freelance shifting herself.

 She'd surrender the privilege of driving to her Queen, content to be a passenger with no real responsibility for keeping eyes on the road. She had, at least, taken up the responsibility of packing a meal that could be kept in the cooler for when they woke, extra changes of clothes, a hairbrush that would be direly needed. Small, easy preparations for a night she was quite looking forward to. They did not spend as much time together as she thought they should, especially for her being Yana's guardian. That she was not much use for the role, especially with her cryptic disability, was a thought that required frequent snuffing, as persistent and resilient as a swarm of ants leaking inside through an undetected crack.

 For now, Isolde would choose to keep it light. "So, when's the wedding?" she asked in the soft darkness of the ride, grinning with some cheekiness to the other woman. "Please tell me there'll be a brawl instead of a dance at the reception."

 They were prepared and that helped her to relax that much more - the whole trip a little more low key than she was prone to be. No makeup, no effort where state of dress was concerned, just elastic waistbands and a t-shirt that could be pulled over her head in one fluid motion. Hair down, it provided some partition between Isolde and herself as she smirked at the road and drummed her fingers on the wheel.

 "We were thinking instead of a toast, you'll fight the best man to the death - how does that sound?" Past the point where the remark would earn an icy scowl and no further effort. It was what it was, and while she had little interest or need in a ring she couldn't fucking wear (or to change a name she had personally built from the ground up), if Isolde cared to rib her for it, so be it.

"But this isn't an area of torture you're free from, is it?"

 Isolde chuckled for the mental image. Who even would Levka's best man be? Perhaps the mountainous bear who had been there with him, his second. "As long as his best man is not too valuable to him," she retorted, exuding some playful confidence. Surely he was not so differently built than Remy the rat. She could take him.

 She hummed, grinning through the windshield for the retort. Her own feelings on this were similar to Yana's - it was just the way things were. "I'm trying to convince him to move into Belle Vista." Matter of fact. "Apologies in advance." Cheeky, for all marriage was not really something that had come up in regular conversation with Charlie. It was hard to imagine herself as a bride to begin with.

 "You'll have to take your moments of intimacy outside, I'm afraid the role of constant mental nuisance has been filled by Mathis and his significant other." You would have to be outright blind not to see it, but she wouldn't name drop unless she heard either of them do it themselves first. "In all reality I wish you the best, it would be safer for him if he did."

 Her eyebrows rose a little, chuckling. She thought to make a joke about fighting him for that right, but opted not to. Her shoulders shrugged, head nodded. "I think so too," she conceded simply. "How is Levka doing, anyway? He looked like he got off worse between the two of you." Less blowing smoke up Yana's ass and more a genuine curiosity, wondering if he'd had to shift a few times to squeeze his internal organs back into their rightful places.

 "Oh, I'm sure that he shifted once or twice to ease the worst of it." Trying not to sound too proud although it probably fell a bit short of it's humble mark. "It was well-matched but just between us, I think I won too." Murmured as she turned off the main road and slowed to a crawl. A small rotation of shifting spots that she didn't make a habit of openly sharing outside of the coalition.

"You did well too, maybe next time we let nostalgia take over and fight one another, assuming you're up for it."

 Isolde laughed a little. There was nothing misplaced about Yana's pride, she thought - it was easy to agree that it had been well-matched, and equally easy to agree that she'd been the winner despite the declaration of a draw. She watched the darkness creep by out the window, sighed softly for the notion of fighting Yana, the self-pitying irony that threatened to bubble up in her brain.

 "I believe that'd be more of a massacre and less of a spar," she retorted with a grin. It was not so much that Isolde lacked the skill, but she was easily out-powered by her friend and leader. "But - I won't turn it down." Shooting the other woman a look, her little smile still in place, a visual representation of some inside joke. "After my nose heals, at least."

 "Speaking of that nose of yours ..." She grinned to herself, having little intention of risking a withering scowl from Isolde with anything that could be compared to locker-talk like insults. She put the car into park, turned round in her seat once she unclipped her seatbelt to pull her backpack to the front before she pushed open the door and got out to pack all her clothing up safe and sound.

 "In all actuality, not to get sentimental with you - but I'm happy for you." Easier said with her back to the other woman, less difficult to dismiss as casual conversation. "You deserve this."

 Yana's light teasing warranted a sidelong smirk, but little more where responses went - instead, she'd mimic the other woman's movements, pulling her own bag out as she slipped from the car. Tugging the tie out of her hair, pulling forgotten earrings out of the silver-scarred holes in her earlobes. She stared into the dark underbrush around them as she listened to what was a kind compliment. Isolde, for all she was very proud and not the type of person to dog on herself, was not so sure she did deserve it.

 "Thank you," was all she would say in turn, pulling her shirt up over her head and kicking off her shorts. She tried not to think about it too much, clinging to the idea of optimism. "I think we've both come a long way since California." Through dead siblings and vampires and all manner of other bits of bullshit, here they were.

 Stuffing her bag away, she'd stretch herself slightly, and try to open the metaphysical doorway for the cheetah to come break her bones.

 A long drive and a huge Wikipedia article since California, a small novella of footnotes nested there from the things seen and survived. Time had this funny way of expanding and shrinking depending on the angle from which you looked at it. On one hand, she was certain if she closed her eyes and properly focused, she could recall the precise details of the moment where she had felt her tolerance crumble and she had texted Isolde under the weight of the mediocrity of the people that came pouring in through the hairline fractures of her life.

 But that meant more for her memory than it did the freshness of the event - friends, enemies, and a whole swath that fell in a gradient between the two. It was something to ponder as she rolled up her things neatly and managed to toss her bag back, mostly zipped. "Long way to go too." More of a murmur than anything else as she focused on the tightness in her chest.

The impossible to predict the way that beast cast a long shadow as she happily took a back seat, sunk into the twitching tension.

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