Starting to Get This Vibe

The Gym - Were Only 

Finally, a free moment. Finally, the chance to break away and breathe past everything that had happened. Levka had done his share of responsible, reasonable, and perfectly reliable things for the month. Quota filled, right? (He wished.)

Still, stepping out for the evening was a chance to decompress, to think about something other than the fragmented sleuth and the state of Lee and everything else. Don't worry about the vampires or the dissenters or the looming deadline that was this fast approaching full moon and all it meant to him and to his estranged little family.

Deep breaths. Arrive early for once--overcompensating or perhaps just overeager. No sign of Yana's car around the lot and no scent of her recently passing so... Found himself a locker and instead of heading to the back to wait for her, he found a nearby bench and waited with eyes towards the entrance. His phone in hand instead of in his locker, rather than text her to tease her pointlessly for being "slower" than him for once, he set the stopwatch in his clock app to run...

And waited.

 "Shit." She had still been five minutes early and toeing just past the speed limit when she first realized that she wasn't going to be on time. It made some little section of her grumble, agitated at the thought of breaking tradition - but traffic and a fiasco involving a misplaced ring of keys and ... the saving grace was that he was never on time. That whatever they agreed upon, by now she more or less anticipated him to show up about five minutes after the fact. So even if he beat her - they'd perhaps cross one another in the parking lot, worst case scenario.

 Except there was an accident at her exit ramp and the one right after was at a crawl and it was now the time she should have been leaned against a locker looking all together too smug. Briefly she considered texting, decided instead to hold out hope that he faced the same troubles and put her phone on silent before she stuffed it into her bag.

 By the time she'd parked and made it into the gym, it was nearly a quarter past and her expression was all feigned innocence and mock-confusion at the definitive signature of bear. She didn't make it very far before she caught sight of him, slumped a little and smiled despite herself on the walk over, arms extended to hug him, to hopefully glaze all over this unfortunate development. "Evening."

This should have been annoying. It wasn't. Waiting was not something he was great at, but he'd flip back from one distracting app back to the stopwatch just to watch the numbers going up. At this point, he didn't even consider that something untoward had happened. Levka just watched the numbers grow with the knowledge that every new digit was just a point to goad her with.

He hit the 'stop' key the moment he caught sight of her coming his way, and tried not to just give away his irrelevant triumph. Bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning, and stood to take that offered embrace with his phone in one hand. Squeezed her and growled a, "Привет," in return. Took just a moment to keep her, and the much needed contact, before he was leaning back and holding her away with one hand so he could show her the numbers on his phone's display.

Exactly how long he'd waited, down to the millisecond.

"Ты опоздал."

And then he laughed, attempt to dart from any potential retaliation to do what he should have done earlier and put the phone in his locker.

"You are late."

 She rocked forward a bit and leaned into the hug completely, closed her eyes and enjoyed the contact up until the precise second it was taken from her. After that it was all down hill as he ruined it by using the word late and flashing her a - Levka, please. Her smile fell - eyes narrowing as she scowled at him and reached out to try to swat him in the arm with the back of her hand. Instead she ended up swinging at air alongside him, bumping her hip to his as she went to the locker just to the left and secured her belongings.

 "Ты асёл." Odds were that didn't translate - without a doubt that was more than just a little okay in her book. Still, she turned back to face him and stretched her arms high above her head. "All you're doing is making this worse for yourself - keep it up."

"You're an ass."

He would have deserved a good swatting, and whatever she'd just said--he deserved that, too. But it didn't dampen him a single moment, and he was positively glowing with arrogant victory as he turned to push the locker closed with a heel.

Watching her stretch, eyes flicking down once then up again, he shrugged.

"I am not so worried after proving that you cannot always be the fastest."

He'd stand his ground this time.

 "This is what I do - I lull you into a false sense of security and then I rip out your throat." She wagged a finger at him, tried again to hit him - this time a swat aimed at his middle. "Come now, if you needed to warm up your old bones you should have spent your time doing so, not gloating." Just - you know, since he wanted to be sassy all of a sudden.

He took the hit as some measure to appease her wounded pride and winced through a laugh. It wasn't much at all--not compared to what was inevitably coming. And in the context of their relationship... he hardly thought either of them were wounded by this interaction.

Okay, but maybe throwing 'old' at him did sober him a little, and he reached to loop an arm around her shoulders and lead her away.

"Please, I am always ready to have a go. Or did you forget that weres run warm?" Logic being that if they were warm to begin with, the idea of warming up was moot, don't talk about his age.

 Without hesitation she mocked his laughter, a particularly dramatic bastardization as she leaned into the arm around her shoulders and bumped her head against him. Content and without any true malice, pleased enough with herself as she finally rolled her shoulders to shrug him off and pulled the hair tie from around her wrist to make sure she was as ready as she could be, piling the whole mess atop her head.

 "Then stop talking so much and try to hit me, Леўка" A bit condescending as she felt in the dark, hoped to press into anything soft but not terribly tender. Just a bit of loving mental warfare for the sake of exploiting any possible benefit.

With the mats underfoot, he walked back a bit from her, hands up in a shrug as he mocked a frown.

"Sure you do not want first hit? If speed is your only advantage..."

Two could play this game. And with them, two nearly always did.

 Maybe this was still the time for banter, maybe she was supposed to dig her heels in and wag a finger. But it felt better to take advantage, gave her more satisfaction, with that in mind she waited until both feet were on the mat before turning around and moving to try to swat him across the cheek with the back of her hand. More playful than anything else for now, less intent behind it as she shrugged her shoulders and inched backwards.

"If you insist."



Levka liked to think he had a pretty good feel for Yana by now. What would get under her skin--what would make her act out, however small. So when she swung at him with a sly backhand, he'd already been mostly prepared for it. A lean back and turn of his head and he avoided the brunt of it, taking very little of the backs of her fingernails across the late-day scruff.

But she was backing off, putting space between them. With first swing taken on the mat, however...

Maybe it wasn't fair to not wait until it was clear she was ready for him, but in spite of his spoken confidence he knew he needed every advantage he could grasp to take her down. And such was the intent as he dove for her with a first move that wasn't exactly his usual--a shove. Not with intent to bowl her over, not unless he accidentally caught her mid-step backwards and in a very bad point of balance.

But if he could get her mad, she'd lose her particularly sharp edge that he knew to fear. Pushing her around like a schoolyard bully may very well get them there.



 The problem with this fight versus the one of not too long ago, at least in her mind, had a lot less to do with titles and a lot more to do with knowledge. She had a far better sense of him by now - how he reacted to things, what would agitate and what would surprise. It was an issue because she would accredit him with the same, a theory proven as he rushed in and shoved her.

 She didn't fall but she stumbled all the same - managed to correct her footing and avoid falling down or to her knees as she braced on the tips of her fingers and scowled. Like a elementary school bully or a young girl looking to hash out some deep seeded aggression. Seriously - who shoved someone in a spar!?

 Comforted in the knowledge that there was no need to mask herself, she growled as she pushed up and reared forward, swung her arm back and tried to dodge his arm to punch him (hopefully) just below the ribs.

Honestly, who shoves someone.



Apologies entirely too late, but someone got his Fighting Degree from the Bullying School of Intimidation.

The shove wasn't a damaging move, but it did exactly what he wanted it to... perhaps a little too well. The first real blow went to Yana as she lashed out in the moment following, and he took her fist to his core with non-negligible force. And she managed to connect in a point that knocked the breath out of him for a moment. He reeled back, jaw locked as he got serious about this, finally. Arms up, he waited until he was able to draw two good breaths and then bounded at her again, swinging for her head.



 "Up, up, up - come on." And maybe it was like nails on a chalkboard, but they were safe to let loose here and she had compulsively focused on the fact that he shoved her. Shoved. Which had to be an intentional bit of mental warfare, impressive while als- she inhaled sharp, lurched back and twisted her head to the side when he swung out properly this time. His knuckles connected with cheek - dodging some of the force but still reaching up to push her fingers to the splotch of red.

 And perhaps it was a bit too reactionary, not planned enough to be considered good business - but she righted herself all the same. All at once moving to try to hook her leg around his and knock him back and hopefully off his feet.



Neither of them were inclined to play terribly nice. No holding back and willing to goad and needle as it felt right. If he lost, he'd claim to have gone easy, but he certainly would not have. The slight slice of his knuckles to her face was actually more frustrating than having her duck out the way would have been--close, but you lose anyway. If he'd drove forward just another inch--

Not that there was much time to consider his mistake as she was back, moving at his legs with clear intent to get the upper hand. She clipped him instead of hooking, sending him moving sideways to avoid the imbalance. And rather than let himself move away to regroup, he took the chance of proximity and grabbed at her, incredibly certain that if he could get her in a headlock of any fashion, she'd hate that very much, too.



 Her frustration turned sharply and started to grow inward, agitated at herself as she went off half-cocked and was rewarded with a whole lot of nothing. He stumbled the slightest bit and she righted herself just in time to have his arm around her throat - a genuine flash of gold as she bent at the knee and tried to recoil, reached back blind to try to drive a fist into the side of his lower back.



He had a hold of her--but only just. She moved and he knew what she was going for, and he wrenched them both sideways to avoid the full brunt of the blow, deflect enough to take her forearm across his flank rather than the full weight of a swung fist. Still, he he a feeling that that was just a taste of what she had in store in her efforts at getting away. So rather than keep a hold he barely felt he had an advantage in in the first place, he let her slip free, only to immediately swing for her again with a half-fisted swipe, not giving her the space to reassess.



 As off color as it might have seemed, she laughed when he twisted the both of them and she was forced to oblige. Less ha-ha, more frustrated as she gritted her teeth and stumbled back when he let go all at once. He was better at this then she remembered, enough that she actually had to focus and didn't feel the need to look out for his pride - which pressed at hers in the meantime.

 She didn't make it as far away as she would have liked when he swung at her, flinching and freezing just long enough to be rewarded with a punch to the side that she was almost certain would linger. Instinct had her reached over, trying to drive the palm of her hand into the side of his head with as much force as she could muster.



He pulled his shoulder up as she retaliated, and he took the brunt of her forceful blow to the shoulder and the upper side of his head. He sidestepped from it, but the stinging sensation from the force of her fingers wasn't so easily escaped. It was quite obvious--she was holding nothing back, short of actually seeking the sort of harm that only came when one was fighting for reason other than the mutual thrill of it.

A throaty growl and this time he was quite serious as he swung his foot between her knees and swept out to try and pull one leg beneath her and take her to the mat. Someone needed to go down, and it wasn't going to be him.



 She heard the rumble of his apparent frustration at about the same time she had felt his foot at the back of her leg. Not enough time to truly react as she hissed when she lost her balance, twisted a bit to brace herself. Even so it stunned her for a split second, the sharp ache despite the mats covering the ground. Lurching forward, she didn't allow herself a second to rest - locker room bolstering set aside in favor of action as she moved to hook both hands at the back of his knee and bring him down with her. If this was to be a floor fight it was at least going to be a leveled playing field.



The rule of thumb when you got someone down was to either back off so they couldn't grab you, or to go for the pin.

Problem was, when your opponent was a were, they were... very quick. Yana, particularly so. So while he was torn between the hasty backpedal and going to drop into a straddle, he had the choice made for him: neither. He was going down, too.

Leg buckling under the pressure of her pull, he went down on his back practically perpendicular to her. Jarred by the fall, the swing out was a defensive tactic to keep any immediate assault at bay, reactionary rather than purposeful as he swung his arm down towards her on the mat--but just a bit too out of range to do much--if any--good.

miss - of the nat 30 variety, omg


 It would have been a grievous lie to say that she wasn't particularly proud of herself. She smirked, lurched back when he swung out and was rewarded with only the slap of fingertips. "Terrible." Gruff and rushed out as she moved on a particularly unsportsmanlike impulse and tried to drive her leg into his side.



He felt her knee to his side and rolled into it, letting it shove him on the mat without doing any lasting damage. In the same movement, he rolled a bit more, got a knee under him, and grabbed at her arm to push it down into the mat while he tried to crawl up on her. Not the safest position to put himself in when he didn't have full control of the situation, but if he could just get knees on either side of her, she'd have a hard time finding leverage.

Pinning her was risky business, though.



 She growled as he came in close - bristled when he wrapped his hand easily around her wrist. She tested that hold as much as she could, pulled and yanked downwards to try to break free as she saw it coming from a mile away. If he won this, there would be no living with him - no space for anything to thrive alongside his ego

 Giving up almost immediately on trying to break free, she attempted to twist on to her side. Tried to keep the whole process trying for him as she swung wide and wild her free hand towards his face.



And here it was, the struggle. It spurred the bear some, flashing his eyes when they had mostly managed to not, even in this controlled and safe space. But her fighting back in a situation where he had a serious upper hand fluttered something dangerous in his chest and he growled at her as she twisted beneath him.

Might have risked saying something as he leaned into her resistance, if not for the hand than came up at his face. He had to rear back, lift his chin, and he still got the smack of her appendage across his jaw. Not enough of an impact to daze him, but it had him shaking it off even as he made his own next move, steadying himself hard on his knees over her.

Could have gone for throat, but didn't. Not today, at least not right now, and instead he went for the far more sportsmanlike decision to grab for the hand that had just struck out against him, hoping to twist it down under his knee to pin it with that.



 Her hand stung from the impact across the face, a good and slight inconvienance as she dropped or down to push at one of his thighs and try to nudge him off from over her. Instead he caught her right and she hissed, yanked down with all of her force. With all the focus on getting her free hand under his knee, she managed to slip the other free.

 The decision was easy, swinging hard to drive her knuckles into his gut and hopefully knock him off balance and from his position looming over her.



When Yana connected with full purpose behind a hit, you could really feel the difference. All of his efforts on pinning her were lost as the sensation of being struck took the breath out of him. He fell forward a little, and that gave her the chance to overthrow him. He felt his shoulder hit the mat and for a moment he was dazed, but...

If she was like him, the first thing she would do would be trying to reverse the situation, and she'd tried to get him while he was down and keep him down. So, less than gracefully, he struck with a foot towards her core, to keep her from doing just that.



 She was pleased with the slight jolt of pain, the adrenaline of her fist finding firm purchase against him. Happy when he bowed over, a little smug when he was easy enough to toss aside. Of course the next move made the most sense, lifting her far shoulder from the mat first as she moved to roll over him. The knee to the stomach was both wise and incredibly infuriating, the air knocked from her just as she committed to swinging a leg round to straddled him.

 Instead she lurched forward - coughed and gasped for air as she glared down at him and moved to try to grab him by the throat and hold him there.



Yana took the hit and faltered from her course, but did not relent. He lifted his own hands to try and keep her away from a grab at his throat, perhaps distantly amused at how willing she was to play dirty. A proper schoolyard scuffle. But he managed to deflect her enough that the pressure of her hand as his throat was brief, and if she wanted to have a grip it was going to have to be at the collar of his shirt.

For his own part, he tried to shove her away, looking for the distance to regroup.



 She growled when he knocked her hand away, managed to bunch up a fistful of his shirt and held on tight. It was that same hold that kept her from being shoved too far back and rolled off of him. Enough that she let go and refocused instead on trying to take hold of his hands and attempted to dig her knee into his ribs.



There was a hefty snarl of protest at the feeling of her putting her knee into him and he twisted away from it. Yana managed to grab one of his hands, force it away from any purchase, but he rolled the other one out of her potential grip and with a wide arch he brought it around to the side of her head to take a blow to grab and force her back down into the mat and off of the slight high ground she'd managed.



 He connected with the side of her head and for a split second she wasn't sure if she was just dizzy or moving. A low growl that was pure anger - dropping the banter and teasing for the time being as she rolled a bit and twisted onto her stomach. And while it was fleeting it was a particularly strong flash of anger - enough that she reared out to try to punch him square in the nose.



Getting slammed in the face by an angry Cheetah Queen felt a lot like something Levka couldn't think of right now because he was absolutely reeling for the hit. He'd taken it hard to the side, just under his eye and it had rocked his head and split his cheek or--something. All he knew for absolute certain that there was blood, which was fine, this was fine--

Now if only he could see straight.

Having dropped back to the mat, decidedly rattled, he swung blindly under the strong assumption that she wasn't going to let her upper hand go to waste.



 Some microscopic voice wailed from the back of her mind - desperately reminded her that this was someone whom she was actually quiet fond of. She would keep that in mind when the time came to tend to his wounds. For now she swung round to straddle his chest and tilted her head back as he flailed. His knuckles clipped her jaw, his fingers slapped against her cheek - she held fast.

 And even if this was different it felt like home in a new way, reminded her of days and lives gone by. You know, like the ear incident or all the fights before and since - spars of different levels of light heartedness and the faint marks they left.

 She tried to seat his hand away, dropped close to press her forearm to his throat and try to keep his head tilted back and pinned to the mat. "Say the word I'll let you up."



As expected, she settled on him intent to keep him there and part of him rallied to fight back, but when he completely missed and his head was still swimming, he realized that he'd most certainly lost a good chance at the high ground. Practically a death knell in a fight between two pretty evenly paced opponents.

And wow, ow, she hit hard when she was done messing around, and he couldn't even put up a proper fuss as she restrained him with a strong arm and the dominant sort of offer for mercy.

His teeth ground at the idea of tapping out, but now that he'd been laid out he could feel the physical burn of the exertion it took to go toe-to-toe with the Queen. He lifted a hand, but it was only to bat lightly at her in apparent defeat. But he rather stubbornly refused to say out loud that she'd won right now.

 With nothing but a half-assed swat that she could more of less dodge with little but a tilt of her head, her anger started to dwindle. Not willing to accept the half defeat all the same, she bore down a bit harder and growled. The slightest metaphysical raise at the idea of blinking first while she loomed over him. "Levka do not make me put you to sleep in the middle of Cedar Creek." For this she leaned down, whispered next to his ear. "It won't be so bad, staying over. I'll even let you get away with not sleeping on the floor." In defense of her arrogance, he shoved first.

She leaned in , pressing tighter, and he gave a thin noise of protest, one heel kicking into the mat. Gut instinct would have had him fighting back, forcing her to do her worst just for the sake of pride. But her murmured words were a reminder that... there wasn't really anything to be lost here. Her winning afforded a good outcome. And less continued punching in the face.


It was a reluctance in his admitting she'd hit him too hard for him to just shrug off. Maybe the motivation for beating her wasn't great enough, but at all the same...

"Out, out. You win," he finally said, relenting with a flop of one arm to the mat and the other lightly on her thigh. See? No more fight. Pat pat.

 The words, while perhaps not the most sportsmanlike of reactions, made her chuckle and smile - pulling her forearm from his throat and staying on top of him all the same. Balanced partially on her hands to either side of his head, it was only then that she really assessed him. Ignoring their leap from home in any sense, she leaned down - kissed him gently on the cheek.

 "See, that wasn't so bad - was it?" Making it apparent that she still had every intention of doing her victory lap as she dropped onto her arms and bore some of her weight onto her elbows. "Terribly sorry about your face ..."

And just like that, the atmosphere changed. The sideways halt from fury too easily found and straight back to this. Them. Yana chuckling and victorious, sating his own hopeful-and-then-dashed ego with a bit of affection. His growl was tepid, begrudging. All show.

Turning his head--still feeling literally sore, not entirely fully functional in the brain just yet--he squinted at her and regretted it because the movement of his face muscles was particularly unkind. The cut reluctant to close up and go away, what with being borne under the fist of another were. That was the only real problem with picking on someone your own metaphysical size.

"You are the one who has to look at it," he grouched at her.

 Her laughter only grew, gently then as the aches and pains started to take precedence over the dimming heat of the movement. Her head hurt, her body ached, he was warm and she was just tired enough to afford herself a couple more seconds of more of less draping over him. "It's a sacrifice I will make." Pleased with herself, she sighed - brushed her fingers through his hair and furrowed her brow as she assessed the cut before leaning to one side and rolling off of him.

"Next time, I won't go so easy."

Where a moment ago it had been a position of defeat, he didn't mind her staying where she was for a moment. Closed his eyes as the much gentler touch of her fingers to his hair, and sighed to himself as she removed herself from her perch. He stayed where he was, catching his breath and wiping his hand over the busted patch of skin. Not bleeding to heavily, the beginning of the healing process swift enough even human-slow on a perfectly healthy were body.

Still. He scrubbed his hand clean on his shirt and stared at the elevated ceiling. "That was you going easy?"

He didn't believe that. Sorry. Not buying it.

 "Yep. I guess you'll need to practice." She tried to sound firm, smiling as she draped her hands across her middle - missing the contact and solving that minor inconvenience by swinging her leg over one of his and pulling herself to be shoulder to shoulder with him. Staring up at the ceiling as she drummed her fingers and stretched. It might not have been true, but there was comfort in not providing him with the satisfaction of knowing that the victory was decidedly hard earned.

"So, when are you staying over?" No, she was not letting that go.

He huffed. Supposed it was maybe worth seeing if one of the other polar bears was willing to throw around on occasion. Though he'd never admit it out loud, he was maybe a bit out of practice. There just wasn't reason for it in his life so much anymore. Though... Yana could probably argue the same, so it was flimsy excuses at best.

"Two for two," he told her, as if she needed the confirmation that she'd done what she'd set out for.

With her closer, he wanted to shift a little more onto his side, toward her, but that would... take a minute. Had to work up the willpower for such a small action and he wasn't there yet.

The reminder of their wager had him rolling his eyes and smiling in spite of himself. "When do you want me?" he replied.

 "Two for two." She repeated it all the same, smiled wider as her breathing finally leveled out completely and she reached out - moved to try to take a hold of his hand. "Don't ask questions you know the answer to, it's unbecoming." Whenever, plain and simple. Still she knew he was coming down from a lot of chaos where the Sleuth was concerned, didn't dare push too hard - she was patient.

"How're you feeling?"

The slip of her hand into his was not protested at all. Not even in Cedar Creek, in an establishment where their identities would be impossible to keep completely off the radar. It was quiet, anyway, and he threaded his fingers into hers, as if minute ago that same hand hadn't been sorely desirous to strangle him.

Chuckling dryly at her telling him off for being cheeky in his way--knowing the answer was 'now', 'tomorrow', 'anytime'--he closed his eyes to will away the headache that growled at him at the sound of his own voice rattling around in his head.

"I think I was mauled by a cheetah," he remarked, joking but true, before he got a little more serious. "But I am... or will be fine."

In all respects.

 She curled her fingers, pressed her palm flush to his and thought about the simple way that it helped to settle things. There was no residual aggravation, no desire to keep him at arms length now that all was said and done. Instead she snorted at the cheetah remark, brushed her thumb over the back of his hand and kept her eyes closed. "If we'd shifted it would have been much worse, I assure you." And while she would not say it in so many words, the idea of that fight was daunting even to her allegedly unshakable confidence.

 "I didn't even bite once - I could have ... next time." She turned her head, looked over his profile and bumped her chin against his shoulder. "I didn't just mean - how are you holding up all together, Levka?"

The idea of a cheetah, no matter the size, going up against a creature that weight over half a ton... Well, that was a thought to entertain him, even if he'd never suggest it. The last thing he wanted was to do actual damage to her spotty self with a bear-sized backpaw. Not to mention, he didn't have much fancy for meeting her feline teeth in any way other than... well, you know. Getting frisky.

It had taken a few days to shake the marks she'd left last time, and she'd hardly been overbearing to begin with.

Her clarifying told him she wanted more information, and he let his head roll enough to the side to look at her, too.

"There is a lot going on. I was afraid for a bit that going down two bears would give the others reason to leave, but it seems like that might have just been my being paranoid."

There had been a particularly dark moment where he'd wondered if Kroc and Jackal would declare him a sham as well and move along, but that had been terrible of him to even consider. They had put their trust in him far earlier than anyone else would have considered, and there had been no love to lose between them and Maxine or Cliff.

"Funny, to realize I am capable of being paranoid, really."

Paranoia, at least to him, seemed to come from an overabundance of caution, which he'd never suffered from before.

 "Imagine that, Levka Orlovsky ..." She shook her hand free of his - winced at the ache of her stomach as she rolled over to to prop herself on her arms beside him, to look at him properly. "People respect you - they want to follow you." She rolled a little, nudged against his side and studied him.

 "It just means you care, perish the thought." She set her head in her hands, curled her fingers and pressed her knuckles to her lips, muffled the words. "I won't tell anyone you're a big sensitive soul - you're safe with me."

It seemed like they were both hurting a bit more this time than they had the last. But he'd been trying to crawl out of a very deep pit last time they'd tussled. He may not have believed she'd gone easy on him tonight, but he did know she'd done so the first time.

And yet, he kept losing regardless. This time had been tight, but one bad strike had forced his hand back.

But she studied him out, and he looked right back, content to stay down as if this mat was far more comfortable than it actually was. His hand flat against the mat on her side edged over to tap his knuckles against her side. Press a little and pluck the fabric of her shirt with his thumb and finger.

"Selectively sensitive," he insisted, wanting to protest outright but realizing he... couldn't. Whatever. It was certainly more flattering than whatever else his protesters might have said about him. Who was more accurate didn't matter when he much liked to believe Yana's opinion was closer to reality than most.

"Cliff messaged me the other day to ask if they could come back to the Glenn to get their shit. Figured it was not worth keeping them out for that day or two, so I let them do that much. But he tried to get more information from me about Lee. I was having none of that. They do not get to chat with me when it is convenient for them."

A little lingering ire, spoken to someone who might understand.

 "You're sensitive around me." She reached out, made a point to aim for gentle as she brushed the tips of her fingers below the cut. Now that the dust had cleared, there was some stain to the victory - a tiny sense of guilt for anything beyond a well deserved bruise or a sore group of muscles. Instead she focused on his dilemma, scoffed at the story he outlined and pulled her hand away - welcomed the slight tug at her side without any direct acknowledgement of it.

 "If it mattered so much to them they should have come to visit - did you ban them from seeing him?" A move she would not have personally recommended, but she aimed for indifferent all the same. "Either way, I don't blame you. Their personal relationships outside of the context of the Sleuth aren't yours to manage." A bit petty perhaps - but the tone was set, it was just paying it back in spades.

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