Spend Your Days Biting Your Own Neck

Cobalt Ridge Ski Lodge - Sleuth Only 
@Lee Joyce
@Esperanza Castillo
@Kroc Saurturi
@Jackal Volkov

details of anyone other than Lee left vague so you can decide when they arrived (or have yet to arrive), how they may have helped, and where they are now!

It had been a bit of a trial, getting Lee upstairs without any onlookers, but it had been managed. A miserable state of affairs being what it was, Levka did note that he did not hear a peep back from the betrayers, but it was what it was, and he didn't want to put his energy into them right now anyhow. For the best. As terrible as 'best' was right now.

So it was, the benefits of having the second suite upstairs made itself known when there was a bed ready and waiting for Lee without any fuss about it. No one displaced, no cramming him onto a couch. He had a full proper bed and private. Not that he'd realized it yet, unconscious and likely to remain that way for a few hours beyond the point of being put in it.

But the quiet was plenty, and gave Levka too much time to think. Pacing had not helped as the events of the day had caught up to him. And a bear was in distress, however quietly he manifested it. And it was with some private horror he realized he had little control of what came next--just barely managed to get his shirt off before the crack of a stress shift knocked the breath out of him.

If anyone asked, he'd done this on purpose. And thus, Levka became the first one to really test the integrity of the reinforced floors.

A tense shift rather than an angry one, he'd fretfully chewed an honestly really terrible wicker chair to pieces in the corner of the bedroom before he'd anxiously settled in, right next to the bed, for however many hours it needed to be that he played vigil. And there he was now, with dark settling in, listening to Lee breathe, a single paw on the bed while his head lay heavy across the blanketed lap of his Second, the massive rest of him on the floor, waiting for him to wake. A state of lightly dozing, as waiting was tiring business.

 Levka had said not to rush, but Esperanza felt the urge to get to the aid of her sleuth as quickly as she could. She felt scrambled, worrying about Cliff and Maxine, about Lee - all of them. Her maternal instincts were kicked in high gear as she shuffled around, contacting Alejandra's regular sitter while throwing together a meal in the kitchen. It ended up being a casserole-quiche sort of mashup, a pan overflowing with fluffy eggs packed with chicken and whatever else might be high in protein. Ultimately, it turned into a breakfast feast, as she baked bacon and breakfast sausage as well. Who knew how many stressed out bears needed a hot meal. Hopefully it would taste as good as it smelled, but for once, food was not really her first priority.

 The sitter came, gracious and understanding as ever, for which Esperanza was eternally grateful. She would miss the young woman when she moved to the Glenn. She bustled around some more, making sure her oversized medical bag had all she might need before nestling the food into her back seat. She couldn't get on the road quickly enough.

 Of course, the drive did little to quiet her mind. She worried teeth against her lip the whole way. She wanted to text Maxine. Wanted to force things to be right, to make them want to stay. It was beyond her control, this she was bitterly aware of. How had Lee crashed? Was he so upset over the departure of their friends that he lost control? What kind of shape was he in?

 All these and a thousand more things streamed through her mind as she drove, struggling to keep herself at the speed limit. By the time she finally pulled up to the lodge and parked, she was more fully anticipating her move here.

 Esperanza looked like a classic frazzled soccer mom as she trotted up to the giant building: wearing jeans and one of the few t-shirts in her wardrobe (of questionable cleanliness, thanks stains), hair hair in a haphazard ponytail, with a massive bag slung over her shoulder that she had to pretend was heavy and her arms laden with all the food she had made. Her beast rubbed anxiously against her psyche, easily awakened by the knowledge of distress and the scent of food. She was doing her best to assure the blonde creature that she definitely knew what she was getting into.

 She wasn't sure who all was here as she hurried up to the suite, as the familiar scents of several bears lingered in the lodge. It didn't really matter, as much as it did; she wanted to be with them all, but it didn't take her long to find Lee and Levka, hearing their pulses and the soft sounds of breathing through a particular door. She managed her way inside somehow despite her full hands, gave a small gasp of startlement at the sight of the massive white beast, and tried to get inside and close the door as quietly as possible. Not that it really mattered at this point. She put down the still-warm dishes on a table and moved to lower her medical bag to the side of the bed, glancing between the King and Second cautiously. Her beast released a guttural sort of whine in her head, pawing at each of the men. Esperanza would gently relay that message; first to Levka, if he would let her, sinking her fingers into the plush fur on his massive neck with a melancholy smile. The other hand moved to Lee's forehead, brushing hair away from his face to inspect the puncture over his eyebrow. "Ouch," she whispered, and unless stopped, would move to open her bag and get ready to assess the damage.

Esperanza arrived, and it felt like a blessing. The woman's gentle presence was utterly required right now, and she was permitted with a rumble from the polar bear to touch and be close. The presence of the kermode as well, friendly and familiar, was welcome after so much tension with other bears. Maybe some part of him knew he didn't deserve her, but she was here and he was keeping her all the same. Turning his head a fraction to look at her, one orange eye half-open. He wouldn't move much, but he did ease back a couple of inches to give her room to look at what bits of Lee he wasn't resting his head on.

He'd stay right here, unless asked to move at all. It wasn't like he could leave the room anyhow, and he had no desire to stop being vigilant.

The past few hours were the best sleep Lee had in a while, which was to say that he couldn't feel a damn thing. Unfortunately, all good things came to an end, and the bliss of unconsciousness as no exception.

Of course, the first thing to come back to him was a widespread ache throughout his body.

Lee felt like shit.

Although, he was comfortable and warm—in bed. The man heaved a deep breath before his eyes opened.

This wasn't his bed, and Espy was there. Those two things together made Lee wonder just what the hell he had done before-

"Holy shi-"

Needless to say, waking up to a massive polar bear resting his head in his lap wasn't something Lee was used to. At all. Sitting up with a start, the Texan immediately regretted it and winced at the pain he felt all over. "Fuck." Sinking back down into the pillows and blankets, Lee looked around as he tried to piece everything together.

Bear. Polar bear. Levka? Levka.

Espy. Chef Espy. Food. Hungry.

Fancy bed. Fancy bedroom. Fancier than Lee's house.

Lodge? Lodge.

Hurting. Sore. Wreck.

"Christ..." Lee blinked, looking back at his fellow bears, still confused but no longer immediately terrified.

 Being close to these two, able to touch them and see that they were generally fine, brought her a fresh sense of comfort. Missing Maxine and Cliff moved to the back of her mind for now, sure to come back around later; at present, she had a job to do.

 Lee's deep breath was her first warning to his waking, but his outburst gave her a start of her own. She abandoned her bag in favor of reaching a hand to his chest, a touch that was meant to be both reassuring and guiding, to press him back into the pillows. He did a fine job of doing that himself, though, as soon as he realized the pain, judging by the way his wincing. She hovered in silence for a moment, releasing a held breath as he seemed to get his bearings again and returning to her bag.

 "Good morning, Lee," she offered gently, moving to sit on the bed beside him so that she could dress the wound on his face. "This may sting," she followed with a warning before applying a germicide to the wound - he probably wouldn't need it, but better safe than sorry - and then an adhesive bandage. "How do you feel? Do you remember what happened?" This as she fished out a small flashlight, shining it into each of his eyes one at a time to check his pupils for any sign of a concussion.

So intent upon his second and his status as he was, Levka felt the slight shift to coming consciousness. The slight uptick of a heart rate, the slight change in cadence of breathing. Small ears on a big head rounded forward, expectantly, and he heard the inhale and felt relief. He had known without a doubt that Lee would wake, but it was still somehow very reassuring to have it come to fruition.

What he hadn't anticipated was Lee's tension, and for now he didn't even connect that fear to himself. What bear would freak out about another bear? (Possibly plenty of bears after being woken up a dead sleep, but okay, sure.)

Levka might have tried to push Lee back down, but Esperanza did it much better and much more gently, and Levka rumbled in his throat at the battered man, edging in juuust a little closer. With Esperanza doing the talking, Levka was quiet, intently watchful and... he snuffled into Lee's hand that had come untucked from the blankets in his waking. Warm breaths and then... okay, so he licked Lee's hand. Or really, it was more like licking his forearm because the bear was far too large for licking just even a big hand like Lee's.

He won't interrupt your examination, but he's glad you're up.

A guiding hand pressed Lee back into the sheets, and Lee didn't fight it. Still, the Texan didn't take his eyes off the polar bear; not that he had ever seen an normal polar bear before, but this was a monster of a polar bear. Such fear quickly passed, though, once Lee felt a cold nose nuzzle into the palm of his hand, reminding him of a dog. Then Levka's nosing around for attention gave way to... the rather unsettling sensation of a bear's tongue licking the length of Lee's forearm.

Lee tried to pat Levka on the snout—he assumed it was Levka—before turning his attention to Esperanza.

Was it morning? Lee had no idea what time it was, nor how long he had been out. Also, warning Lee that something was about to hurt rarely ever prepared him for it.

The Texan inhaled sharply when Espy applied a germicide to a particularly sore spot on his forehead, but he refrained from behaving too much a child in the nurse's office. Once a bandage was applied to the cut, he sighed a breath that he didn't even realize he was holding. Something between a frown and a grimace disturbed Lee's beard when the woman asked how he felt, if he could remember what had happened.

"Feel like I got the shit kicked outta me," he answered, not exactly in the appropriate mindset to watch his language in a lady's presence. "Like I've been in a wreck."

In other words, he remembered.

He refrained from blinking while Espy shined a light in his eyes. Lee didn't know what she was looking for, but dilation of his eyes weren't congruent, one more dilated and slower to react than the other. Another groan escaped him, and Lee blinked once the shining bit was over.

Damn, were his ears ringing. The Texan chalked it up to nearly being given a heart attack.

 Esperanza would frown softly at the man for his clipped explanation, but it was quick to fade as she went to work. Hard pressed to begrudge him for anything right now, she couldn't blame him for his language, but would take that to mean he remembered pretty well what had gotten him into this mess. She observed his pupils individually, noting their out-of-sync behavior. "Concussion," she declared softly. "It can take normal people a couple of weeks to recover, but you should be okay in a few days. Try not to strain your brain too much." The flashlight turned off with a click, and she tossed it back into her bag before looking down to his decidedly crooked shoulder.

 "Oye," she said sympathetically, prodding it with her fingertips. "It is hard to say without an x-ray, but you may have fractured your humerus. Definitely dislocated... we are going to have to pop it back in." She met his gaze with almost sad eyes. It would hurt; granted, he could probably fix it with another shift, but doing it now would make things easier for him in the long run. Gingerly, one hand moved down his abdomen, testing the lumpy looking sections on his rib cage. "Some fractured ribs most likely. Does it hurt to breathe?" She glanced at Levka. "I cannot do much for those. Levka and shifting should speed things up though."

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