Send Them Off!

North Glenn 
#1
There was a terribly disappointed black bear wandering through the Glenn.

She was in search of food, primarily hopeful for the kind which was her favourite and came around spring and summer, and was clearly not available right now. So her nose sought leftovers as she sauntered moodily through the forest, ears alert for anything to flee from or stare blankly at, as it usually was.

If she had any luck tonight, she’d stumble upon something perfectly abandoned and have a feast. That was mostly what her nose was searching for. But the possibility of... ugh, hunting something, was also there.

The black bear would focus on the former for now, and take the lack of scent of any herds or nearby streams as encouragement towards this plan.
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#2
When it came to being forcibly shifted every full moon like some sort of cheap horror movie cliche, living in North Glenn was your best option. And being a bear. Since bears made sense in the forests of Colorado. Well, mostly. Maxine had it easier. A giant fucking Kodiak would be a little harder to explain away.

Speaking of that Kodiak, he was lumbering quite loudly through the thick of the trees. The brush was packed much too tightly together for him to even think about being stealthy. It didn’t ultimately matter, since who in their right mind would be out in the middle of the forest at this hour?

He was smart enough to steer clear of any hint of human, Be in the smell of a barbecue at a campfire or the stench of a rotting garbage can. The Bear was hungry, but Cliff was in control enough to tell him he had to work for his food.

So deeper and deeper still he went. Until finally, something of interest caught the Bear’s nose. Not food, no, but something familiar. He paused, lips slack and eyes searching as he nodded his giant head through the air, taking in the nearby smell. He let out a few low “moo’s”, feeling excitement prickle as he placed the smell with Maxine.
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#3
Onwards she went, paws pleased with the terrain as she ambled over it, even as it were in this spot of the woods. Her ears caught sound of light scampering somewhere off into the night, and a rustle in a tree nearby, but nothing beyond that.

Well, nothing until there were a few low calls she recognised as that of a bear. Typically this was not a good sign at all.

The black bear stopped in its tracks, eyes not yet widening but nevertheless gently concerned and cautious. If it was calling it was likely it had caught her trail, yet in the meantime, she smelt nothing with the breeze that wasn’t working in her favour.

Still, she lingered momentarily, eyes unsurely scanning the area from the direction the sounds had come from. This could be very, very, bad news.

Unless... somewhere towards the very back, Maxine considered it might be someone they knew?
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#4
No call back, and no sounds of an approach. With a low grumble, the bear stamped forward, fuzzy ears flickering atop it's massively disproportionate skull. His crescent nostrils flared, and the wind that drifted toward him lead him on a pretty simple path toward the black bear. She was upward a bit, for the ground was steadily climbing. Miles further north, it would suddenly jut into jagged foothills, then eventually mountains. It was still easily traversed here, and the giant bear made quick work of the distance.

Before long, he spotted her. She was so small compared to him, but still massive in terms of bears. He slowed some yards away, stopping to let out more low, greeting sounds. The Kodiak recognized the black bear immediately, having spent so much time around it. Cliff, on the other had, had never seen the beast before. In the very reaches of his mind, he noted that she was pretty adorable. Or, you know, as adorable as an overgrown bear could be. For all his recognition, and the comfort that the kodiak felt in her presence, he kept his distance. There was no telling how skittish she could be, or if she even recognized him at all.
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#5
Meanwhile, a certain grizzly bear was engaged in rubbing his back against a pine tree elsewhere in the Glenn.

The hunting had been a tragic prospect so far tonight, and the foraging hadn't been much better. Thus, the grizzly was somewhere between bored and aggravated as a result. He at least had the sense not to go scavenging campsites, as he was wont to do. As delicious as marshmallows, barbecue, and potato chips were, Lee had it within his power to figuratively box the grizzly on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper and warn him not to do anything stupid. The grizzly begrudgingly heeded the warning.

About the only thing that distracted him from his back rubbing, which also served the convenient purpose of marking one's territory, was the rumbling in his belly. What he could do for an elk right about now.
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#6
There was nothing, for a short time. Enough time for the black bead to decide, well, maybe that direction over there was nice. Yeah, it looked good now... and it happened to be the opposite way the calls had come from.

So she began that way at a saunter, until heavy steps began to near and she heard a deep greeting.

The black bear turned, looking at the larger bear in question silently. Unmoving. Even though it didn’t look like it, she was working very hard to try to decide her next step. Really, truly - the next step being which attempt to leave would work best.

Except... the bear was familiar? Something about it was? And so she inhaled deeply, working to gather his scent as she stood there.
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#7
She paused, and Cliff stamped his feet happily, mooing in a brighter greeting. He stamped forward a bit, but stopped short. His head bobbed, beckoning her closer. You know me! Remember? CliffBear remembered.
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#8
Ah...

The brown bear. The one she knew a little better, if only because she’d interacted with him some more. She was reminded of his face being thrusted into her on the day where she’d had some urges to find a certain striped cat.

He was larger, and far louder at the moment, but strangely, the black bear was not freaked now that she saw him. It was likely a combination of things - familiarity, a patient approach, and the sense that made her feel like she had the right to be bolder than him?

A grunt escaped the black bear, looking somewhere between indifferent and willing to communicate.

Did he have any food to give her? That would be nice.

Blinking somewhat lazily, the black bear approached, closing the distance to the brown bear and demanding to be the one who sniffed him first. Hello.
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#9
The Kodiak was pleased as recognition finally crossed the black bear's face. His fuzzy ears flickered atop his round head, and he nodded for her to come closer. She did, this time with less caution. He let her sniff, and then he sniffed, his nose almost touching her fur as it drew in her scent then blew it out in short snuffles. With that out of the way, the Kodiak pulled his head up, and up, and up. Tilting it toward the sky as he sniffed in long drags at the air. There was little else besides her nearby. But he wanted food.

With a low grunt, he looked back down at the smaller bear, and jerked his head. An unspoken gesture that mean... food? Hunt? He could have spoken, but HumanCliff was largely absent in this exchange. There was bound to be a stream nearby, and streams almost always meant fish. He padded some yards away, his nose against the soil. It was dry here, but he could sense some faint moisture. They'd just have to root out where it was coming from, and follow it, and eventually reach the water source.
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#10
No surprise, his scent only grew increasingly familiar as she sniffed. The black bear regarded the kodiak coolly as he pulled his head back, wondering just what he was doing.

He was pleased, if his grunt was anything to go by, but what his head jerking signalling for - she was unsure. To go somewhere?

She did not follow immediately.

It was only as he began walking off, nose to the ground, that the black bear understood. Food, was it? She was unaccustomed to the idea of a scavenging or hunting partner, but went with it all the same, catching up at a leisurely pace.

The kodiak was no threat, and if he decided to take more than give, something told her she could tell him off despite being smaller.
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#11
Snoof snoof snuff. The bear plodded along, sure that the black bear was following along behind. It wouldn’t take more than ten minutes before the sound of rushing water became apparent. It giggled along jagged rocks, casting a song through the thinning vegetation. The soil gave beneath his gargantuan paws, and the air was heavier here.

The Kodiak rumbled deeply, pausing to crane his head over his mass of shoulder. The black bear was still close by behind. His ears flickered happily, and CliffBear continued onward.

Finally, the stream broke the monotony of the treeline. Bright, striking silver against the dark blues and greens of the moonlit forest. With it came the briny smell of fish, detectable even from above water. With a low huff, the bear picked up his pace, bringing them out onto the bank. He paused to lift his head, black eyes scanning the bank on either side for any sign of another presence. Finding that they were completely alone here, the Kodiak took a valiant dive into the water.

It was only a fee feet depth and width, so he splashed down into it was an underwhelming splash. It hardly submerged his underbelly, but he was thankful that at least there was water. Beneath him, the bed of the stream gave against his weight, and he flexed his toes against the slick pebbles. With something that almost resembled a smile, the bear turned to peer back at his companion to beckon her in with a loud ‘rrrraw’.
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#12
The black bear saw no reason to walk glued side by side, and so, kept a distance which conveyed both friendliness and familiarity while also not being overbearing. She liked to stop, here and there. Sniff a bush only to be disappointed by its lack of berries, rub against a tree, and then continue onwards, allowing the kodiak the responsibility of finding them something.

And then, water.

Colour her impressed. The bear made a mental note of their location for future reference, even though Maxine herself was completely aware of where they were.

He hopped into the water, and the black bear grunted loudly, heading on after him. It was cool, and nice, and while the challenge of tree climbing was her utmost favourite, swimming followed close behind.
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#13
The Kodiak stamped gleefully, thankful that his companion was not hard to coax in. I’m wife steps, he marched through the shallow water, making as much of a mess as he cold. Water splashed everywhere, but most of it was aimed specifically toward the black bear. He’d get to the fish he could feel darting around his legs eventually. After he had his fun.
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#14
The larger bear was making a terrible mess when they had a job at hand. Paw?

She waded after him, the water reaching higher up for her, staring between him and the tree-line opposite the bank. Call it making sure there was no danger near. Even though she didn’t feel particularly unsafe, competition around meals existed, and if they remained alone that would be preferred.

The black bear’s gaze shifted to solely rest on the kodiak when the mess he was making began to reach her though. With a complete lack of warning, she went to ram into his rear in hopes of tipping him over.

It was largely playfulness disguised as disgruntledness.
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#15
It was pretty convenient that Cliff had the size adavantage here. Her impact was significant enough only to shove him forward, but he was able to brace himself against falling face first in the water. The Kodiak grunted, and turned around in lumbering steps. He moooooooed, and moved to shove his fat head into her neck, shoving against her with all of his weight. Just sloooowly leaning into her, shifting everything forward, in the hopes that eventually she’d double over and he’d be able to just flop onto her. Probably not, he could try anyway.
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#16
He was shoved forward, and she was satisfied, thinking he’d maybe get to fishing.

She was wrong.

The kodiak turned, leaning into her neck. It wasn’t so easy to flip over a bear already mostly submerged in water, and her paws worked to try to... keep her balance.

Well, the black bear thought she wouldn’t tip, anywho. But she definitely started to under his increasing weight, left shoulder sinking deeper first. With a loud huff, she raised a paw out of the water to bat his face as this happened.
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#17
She batted his face, and he snuffled her paw noisily. She was sinking a bit, and that was enough for him since he didn’t want to drown her or anything. Just teach her a lesson about who was the best head-butter. So after a moment, she jerked away, and straightened up to shake his fur out. Satisfied, he waded away, against the current toward a more secluded section of the stream. It was there that he settled, stance wide and head hovering above the water, eyes fixed on the jetting silver forms of fish as they passed.
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#18
He was walking off in a way which made it seem like he’d won something. The black bear did not like it in the slightest. Not when she felt like - again, for some intangible reason - she should be doing that.

She had been bullied. And... if not for her extremely demanding belly, she might have tried something the moment he turned.

Instead, the black bear grunted deeply as she gained her balance again.

She would follow the kodiak - albeit with more reluctance - and when they reached a more secluded section, she continued upstream, before she parked a fair distance away from him. Not too far to not be able to reach in a dozen or so seconds, but not too close, either.
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#19
Fishing was an easy concept to grasp as a bear. It just came naturally. It was a skill that the human Cliff somewhat envied, if only for the fact that he figured he’d be a lot less stressed all the time if he could just clear his head with something so mundane as waiting for a fish to bite. Alas, he was always too jittery. Besides, it was much more fun this way. Almost like a game.

He stood, stock still for a moment, keen eyes trained on the moving bodies. And in the split second that one floated too close, massive paws slammed down in quick succession. Razor sharp, six inch claws sliced through the water and into the tender body of the fish, and in a single motion, the bear tossed the flopping body from the current, and into his awaiting jaws.

Clearly happy with himself, the Kodiak tumbled and lumbered toward the bank, leaving the black bear in the proverbial dust for the time being as he settled down to tear into his morsel. For, after all, a single fish was an hors d'oeuvre to an oversized Kodiak.
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#20
While the kodiak was having his fair share of luck, the slighter black bear was not in the same boat, so to speak.

Her eyes were trained on the water, ready to throw herself at the fish.

She was not a hesitant hunter, nor exactly one who thought much when it came to tactics. So when the first fish darted by, the black bear stuffed her head in the water to grab it with her mouth. Her teeth felt the tail end of it as it successfully slithered out, and she lifted her head, left with nothing.

A huff through her nose and she took a step forward, eyes waiting for the next one to swim by.
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#21
The fish didn’t last long. In a matter of minutes, there was nothing but bone left. The kodiak’s tongue slapped lazily across his lips as he rose up and lumbered back toward the water. He spotted the black bear there, diving for fish and coming up unsuccessful. He lingered for a moment, watching, debating. In the end, the human voice that was a distant echo in the back of the Bear’s head was loud enough to make a decision. He lumbered forward, sloshing through the water toward her.

He stopped a few feet away, and turned his attention to the fish. A few well placed steps and a quick dive downward, he plunged his face in a snagged a fish between his wide jaws. The flopping animal was still with a crunch, and the Kodiak looked to the black bear with his lips pulled back in what only could be described as a smile. His head reared toward the bank, and he stamped toward it before tossing the fish onto the mud. He didn’t watch her long enough to know if she would accept the gift before returning to his own hunt.
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#22
The black bear was about to try yet another time when the kodiak returned, hardly graceful as he neared. She... glanced at him, when he appeared with the fish in his mouth, before moving a few paces upstream, unaware he’d intended it to be hers.

So, she tried again, and emerged with a fish wriggling and smacking her in the snout. With a rumble, the black bear tried to press it against some rocks in the shallow water, one paw on it as she tried to... stop the stupid flailing. It wasn’t helpful.
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#23
Rejected.

He took it in stride. More for him, then. He lumbered onto the bank, water dragging his fur downward against his body. The fuzz on his belly hung in pointed tufts, all acting as a spout for the water runoff. He didn’t bother shaking out, because food was too important. So he settled down and dug in, fish clasped between two crossed paws. This time, he ate idly as he watched Maxine struggle. He chuckled a very human chuckle.
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#24
The fish began to slow its twisting, and when it became manageable, the black bear moved to shore. It was then that she glanced at the kodiak, sincerely puzzled as to how he had already retrieved two more fish, but still impressed with her own prize.

The black bear grunted to him, before settling up the shore and gladly devouring her meal in peace. His company was okay, but males. Hrm. They could be overbearing.
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#25
They are at a comfortable distance away from one another, and though there was always that longing to be close and cuddly, food was a different story. Soon enough, though, he was finished with his meal. So he pulled himself up, and went back in for more. It would be a while until he was sated, and he was perfectly fine with leaving the sow to do her own bidding.
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