We must Eglish to speak gooder

The whole cat coming out to go boo thing at very inopportune moments? Totally didn't recommend. Very annoying. He was mentally stepping on his jaguar's tail way more often than before, trying to work to keep the bugger in check. Was it actually working?


He took Abraham's advice to keep physically active, exerting himself to the point he was happy to flop face-first onto the closest soft surface and pass out for several hours. Walking was good for that.

Current mission? Walking into town, looking for bookstore.

Did Fray have a interest in books? Nope. Not at all. So why a bookstore, you may ask?

His grand scheme was to like, find either some sort of book about South American jungles to try and read to the stupid cat, or just a book on how to tame a big cat. Because it was worth a try okay? Maybe picturing some romanticized jungle scenery would relax the little fucker. Or big fucker. That video Skuld took? Pretty damn big looking cat.

Anyway, besides the point.

Eventually, he'd found a very small bookstore chain a little further into town, walked in, started browsing. Trying to find the section on either cats, jungles, or better yet, jungle cats.

Weirdly though, bookstores also seemed to like selling weird non-book related items?

Like a whole basket of catnip toys shaped like various mice. Seemed to be hand-knitted or some shit. Legit, he almost went and stuck his entire face into the display, inhaling the fragrance that suddenly was more enticing than marijuana.

Ten of these? Yes please.

Really, he only got two so as not to arouse suspicion, but he cradled them somewhat lovingly as he browsed the rows of non-jungle related books. Hmm. Where'd he find those?

Someone was behind him, his spidey-senses warned, so he just casually decided to ask them. Because catnip was nice and he was very mellow right now. "Yo, you seen like a travel section around here or something? Or pets?"

They'd probably think he was some stoner, travelling cat-owner, and that was perfectly fine.

Cris was unemployed.

This wasn't going as well as she'd hoped.

The incident with Osvald was still very freshly in her head, and having little to do in the off hours was not helping that particular situation. She napped more than was healthy, and most of those naps ended with some fucked up nightmare of gnarled faces or corpses somehow dragging themselves across her place.


Eventually she would need to get a new job, if mostly for her sanity's sake. In theory, as long as she kept things up with her rich dead benefactor, she made more than enough to survive on. But every day nearer she came to the next feeding, the more unsettled she got.

She'd never been much of a reader. It was a struggle for her attention span, and she wasn't particularly fast at it. Bookstores still had some kind of time-killing value, though, and maybe she could find some weird shit to waste money on and make herself feel better. That was a thing people did, or something?

Thumbing idly at the ring on her finger, she eventually spotted something more notable than books. Some familiar fuckass who had stalked her in Cordova. The tables could easily be turned now, and she followed him quietly, watching him... pick up cat toys or some shit.

But eventually, he did turn around, and she answered in a flat tone.

"You didn't strike me as a literate kind of guy."


Fray turned around slowly, one eyebrow raised at the unpleasantly familiar voice. No way. Was this the pissy knife-girl? What the fuck was doing here, at this moment, in the exact same aisle of cookware books that he was just happening to browse. Creepy much?

At least this time, it was in the middle of the day. In a store. With people. And he was a big scary jaguar so just try to be bitch and knife him, lady. Please.

The insult was lame, so he rolled his eyes and snorted. "Didn't take you for the stalker type either." In no way feeling the need to be the one to scurry away, he pointedly decided to stop and regard the rows of recipe books. Maybe Skuld would like one or something.

"What do you think, Food Network too mainstream for an old hippy lady?" Fray asked her, sort of just.. Lightly poking.

Poke poke poke. What's your deal crazy-lady? Poke poke poke. Do you get off annoying strange men?

She made a noise of sucking her teeth to his response about stalking habits.

"You guessed wrong there, dude."

Cris said it deadpan enough that it could be taken seriously, or not. The reality was that she had a pretty extensive history of stalking people. For a lot of reasons! Most of them less than great. But she hadn't been stalking him to get here. She'd only happened upon him by chance.

He seemed keen to lighten things up, and she wondered how much slack she was willing to give him as a guy who had happily threatened her with her inevitable assault by whatever man wasn't as "nice" as he was.

"That shit's for soccer moms," she said. "Get something about paleo. Or vegan. Does she smoke weed?"

Her eyes fell on the books. Had to be marijuana recipes around here somewhere.

Suuuure he guessed wrong. But hey, whatever, she was being somewhat decent right now. Mega surprising honestly, even his jaguar making a snorty noise as it sniffed the air. Did they trust her?


Were they willing not to cause a whole scene?


Fray had zero idea what paleo was, but he had a solid answer on the last two. "Not vegan, and she's the queen of marijuana." Weres could still smoke weed, right? Just needed like. A lot more of it. Hmm.

It seemed a bit of a waste spending money on books, when they needed so much food lately. But they also needed to like. Live. Not just survive.

He started actually looking through the books then, still cradling his lovely new best friend - Mr. Nip. Who knew catnip could be so lovely? "What's paleo anyway?" he asked conversationally, since knife-lady was also a foodie.

Ooh, maybe she collected kitchen knives.

Whoever she was became a moderately better person because she wasn't a vegan. Fuck anyone insufferable enough that they had to make a moral stance on eating cheese.

She moved down the aisle, eyes scanning the titles for something that might appeal. What ultimately caught her eye wasn't a word, but a leaf. You know the kind.

"Vegetarian dinosaur," she answered flatly, which was a joke minus the enthusiasm. Snatching the book off the shelf, she glanced to the back. "Even contains a bonus section on hemp skincare products."

Looking back to him, she held out the book.

"Great for your grandma."

Vegetarian dinosaur? What the hell did that even mean? Wasn't a vegetarian dinosaur just a.. Vegetarian? Like some of them ate plants and shit right? Wasn't that character from The Land Before Time a vegetarian?

Whatever man. This chick was weird.

He followed her anyway, further down the aisle. And low and behold, where she stopped melded into the travel section, so he brushed by and started browsing through the more colorful covers. "We're actually seeing each other, she's not like. Ancient," he decided to explain, as he picked up the hardcover and flipped it open to read.

Ooh. "Stimulating" recipes.

Fray grinned then, nodding. "Oh yeah, she'll get off on this. Thanks." For being both helpful, and not stabbing him.

She wrinkled her face in an unabashed expression of "too much information." It did not improve as he continued. "Get off on this"? Dude, gross.

"How old is she, then?"

This was an answer necessary to know exactly how much judgment was about to go down here. The result was almost definitely going to be "a lot," but there were different levels.

Cris was probably not in a place to talk shit about anyone hanging around an old person, but that was very different than fucking one.

Ooh damn, he got her to make a face. Button pushing? On point.

Seriously though, what'd she care about him banging an older lady? They hadn't even actually banged yet. Just once. Way back.

... The question was, exactly how old was Skuld? She probably had told him at some point. He knew it was like. Older. How old exactly? Apparently, smoking weed fucked with your memory because he couldn't fucking remember how old she was shit.

Fray picked up a book on jungles, feeling a weird wistfulness at the cover image. Was he gonna venture a guess here? Sure.

He hummed, shrugging. "Like, late thirties," was his best guess, which was.. Painfully inaccurate.


"You made it sound like she was sixty or something," she said in a huff.

Late thirties wasn't that old. Certainly older than Cris, and older than whoever the fuck this mustache was, but not old.

Her eyes fell on his next choice of books, which was... pretty far unrelated to-

Oh. And the catnip.

"She play with cat toys, or you just have a really wide variety of interests here?"

He chuckled, pulling a smirk to the girl. "What, would that have been weird? Love knows no bounds you know." It'd be.. Kinda gross banging a sixty year old lady. Maybe. But if the gal was cool, and fucked well? Why should he care?

At the mention of cat, his jaguar rooed pleasantly. Hi yes, it him. Mr. Handsome. Please love him.

Fray gently shook his head, as both an answer to her question, and to clear it from weird cat feelings. Think fast, man, why were you buying catnip?

Duh. "Bit of both man. We have two cats, and I like a wide variety of shit." Wasn't a total lie, even. They were going to have two jaguars soon.

And hey, if he had money? He'd totally love to go to uh.. Rio Dijon or whatever it was called.

"Love knows no bounds" was a creepy fucking phrase for reasons she wasn't about to get into with some rando. She rolled her eyes. Men were, as a whole, pretty disgusting.

"Sounds like you live a real domestic life," she said. Settling down with an "old lady" and two cats to cook together while talking about trips to Fiji or some shit.

Taking a few steps further down, she wouldn't be torn up if he didn't follow, but maybe she was also down for some more casual insulting. Her eyes fell on a few language learning books, and her hand went for one on Swedish. How the hell did you learn a language from a book? Wouldn't there be some kind of pronunciation issue? What did the symbols around the letters mean, exactly?

There was probably an app or something she could download instead.

Oh he was totally down for more lowkey insults. Honestly, he must be developing some damn thick skin, because none were even mildly hitting home yet. Maybe it was just the knowledge he could shred her like a toy if she decided to do something stupid? That he was pretty much above lowkey insults.

He wasn't an asshole. She was, however, an obviously bitter bitch.

Fray kept a hold on his jungles of South America travel book, the cannabis book, and of course, his cat-toys. Onto the pet section. "It's getting there. Makes a change from the circus I'm used to." A lie - his life was way more circus level right now. There was that little beam of hope, though.

Just a tiny one, saying this might turn out okay man. Hang in.

He looked at her choice of reading with a small frown. "I dunno how you can learn a language like that. Was hard enough trying to understand Spanish in school." A few phrases and words (mostly curses and insults) stuck with him. The rest?

Not a thing.

He looked like a guy whose life had been a circus. But apparently he had it together now, which was more than she could say for herself.

Eyes on the Swedish book, she huffed in a goodnatured kind of way to his comment.

"I was just thinking that," she admitted, flipping through the book and shaking her head. "I want to try to learn something, but I don’t even begin to know how to pronounce any of this."

She pointed her finger to a phrase, eyebrows rising as she read it off.

"Vad heater do? Jag heater Cris."

Pretty... rough pronunciation.

Look at Fray, making friends and shit. Or well. Maybe not exactly a friend, because he legit trusted this girl about as far as he could throw. Which in itself was a stupid expressive, because he could probably throw her pretty fucking far.

He looked over her shoulder at the jumble of text, eyebrows raising. "Probably easier if you looked online, or had a teacher. Then when you know how to say the shit, expand with the book."

Because her attempt? Sounded fucking odd.

Fray actually snorted, shaking his head. "Sounds like you're saying that heater tho. Uhhh let's see.." He scanned down the line of basic phrases, picking one out and doing his best attempt. "Her mar do? Jag mar bra."

.... Yeah this probably wasn't right.

This guy was absolutely not any more fluent. Cris could do without having him lurk over her shoulder, though, and she tensed a little.

"I’ll find some website. I’m a shit student," she said. That wasn’t entirely true, but she was a bad one ever since her power rolled up.

One last glance to letters whose symbols she couldn’t even begin to guess the meaning of, then snapped the book shut with a dismissive and definitely made up phrase.

"Jag my dick, Swedish."

Yeah, well. He understood the desire not to repeat the whole schooling thing again. A nod, a shrug, and he backed off from her, wandering further down the row. Did he really need the book on cats?

Ehhh.. Better to be safe, and check it out.

"There's probably a more useful language to learn, than Swedish. Like how often do you think Jeez, really wished I knew how to talk to people in Sweden." If he could, maybe.. Russian or something. Or Mandarin. Though in his honest opinion, he'd probably be pretty shit at the later.

Fray crossed into another section, this time with pets and stuff. Big Cats of the World stood out, but it might seem.. A little obvious if he picked it up in front of her. Besides, didn't help him understand what his cat wanted - maybe just tell him his genus name or whatever.

What about simply.. 50 Ways to Train your Cat? Seemed legit.

That was true, sure. Probably more common languages to pick. Spanish would likely be a good start.

But this was a specific choice.

"I need it to impress a seven hundred year old vampire," she said, looking to him with a faint but definitely present smirk.

It wasn’t about impressing anyone, she told herself after the fact. Food didn’t impress people with its linguistics, and that was probably what Cris was to Osvald in the end.

Whatever. She just wanted to learn if he was shit talking her or not.

... Yeah so this was fucking direct.

He snorted loudly, but not derisively. Fray believed she probably did have a vampire friend, because this town? Completely fucked. Supernaturals running around all over the place.

"C'mon, and you were giving me looks for seeing a 30-something year old." Fray was wondering how mummified her vampire was.

... Probably very.

Flipping through the book, while the others were shoved under his arm, he contemplated throwing her a tidbit back. Did he..? "Funny, I've a vampire compadre too." Though listing Kam as a 'friend' was a bit of a uh.. Loose term.

Cris shook her head, but she’d admit it was a fair jab. One point, mustache.

"I don’t ‘see’ people, much less an ancient guy," she corrected.

Impressing someone for dating purposes was a concept that irritated her even to think about.

"They pay you, or y’all just friends?"


One of those huh? To be fair.. He'd been that level of bitter after he left Kam. But he managed to get over it, because he was an attention whore at heart.

"Hmm," was his reply to that, scanning over some instructions on how teach your cat to sit and other useless tricks. He flipped further ahead, looking for more.. Useful info. Like how stop a cat from wanting to chew your face off, etc.

It took him a moment to figure out what she meant by pay, but the whole weird blood-donor situation popped into mind. "Did that once with someone. Wasn't my thing. But no, we're friends."

That was as much as he divulged, while he squinted at the prices of all these fucking books.

That was an answer, she supposed, if not a super interesting one. Cris wondered why he stopped doing the blood thing, but she supposed her brand of stupidity wasn’t for everyone. She simply nodded.

Taking a few steps further along the shelf, her thumbs found her way to her pockets.

She’d been nice enough. Cris did not owe him a goodbye.

Without fanfare, she would move a few rows down, then ultimately make her way out of the store unless he made any comment.

The goodbye would have been nice, but fully unneeded. At least she hadn't tried to knife him this time.

He'd watch her wander off a moment, before looking back to his selection of items. It was.. A bit expensive. But if all went well, he'd find a job eventually and pay it back.

Besides, they were all useful.

Maybe he could like, train the jaguar to stand on its hind legs eventually or some shit.

Smirking at that thought, he wandered his way to the cash.

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