Someone to You

Mae's Mazes 
#51
 "Can't wait to see that group at the next meeting." A particularly dry mumble as she tried to consider the odds of those jaguars being one and the same. Surely low, no one could possibly be that goddamn reckless or unlucky. At any rate she sighed, tried to shift the tide again as she tugged down on his arm a few times. "The state bird is a Lark Bunting and it lays between two to six eggs at a time. This is valuable brain space I can never reclaim, Levka, you're ruining me."
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#52
She didn't want to dwell on jaguars, and frankly since as far as he could tell the group had no King or whatever to keep them from going to pieces all over town, he frankly didn't give much of a damn about them, either. They were just a headache. But so long as they didn't pull any of that shit in the Glenn, he'd just pretend they didn't exist. He was happier that way. And they didn't know it, but they were happier that way, too.

The lament that followed had him laughing. "It is not my fault. Next one we find, instead of reading you should be distracted by me again."

Oh hey, look. They'd found... something. It appeared to be an open space, likely towards the middle of the maze. And here... a fountain! A thought immediately came to mind and he turned a look to the woman with him, stifling a grin.
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#53
 "I would love that, but I'm afraid that every time we find one of these damn plates, you're so preoccupied with your pencil rubbing that you hardly noti-" She stopped her tirade on a dime when they pathway suddenly opened up and they found themselves in an open space. He was staring, she glanced over and looked at him with blatant confusion. "What are you smirking about ..."

 One fleeting glance over his shoulder and her smile fell - a fountain. Worse than any bird or horned sheep, a phantom or a black spot on her proverbial record. "Not funny. I bet I wouldn't miss if I threw you in there."
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#54
Absolutely giddy with the way she immediately understood his reason for the particular stare he'd taken on, he tugged his hand from hers and took a swat at her butt before shying away immediately as if he expected her to take this as a challenge for it.

Which uhm, maybe he did. A little. Not that he actually wanted to end up in the water, even if it did look a little nice. It would only be nice if he could stay there until things cooled down. If he went in and then had to tromp around in wet socks he wasn't going to be quite so smug.

"I could always see if I have coins. Might be easier to not hit anyone if you are this close."
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#55
 "Oh that's -" She cut herself off with a bout of laughter, reached back to block the swat a few precious seconds to late. Looking stern was too hard to pull off, so instead she moved to try to grab him. Rushed forward and tried to take a hold of both of his arms just above the elbow. "You're about to not have a date when I run off without you - you ..."

 Everything felt either too severe when she was nearing a burst of giggles, or too gentle. So instead she tried to shake him a bit. "You missed too, as I recall. And with our histories one would think you'd have the better aim, but - apparently not."
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#56
She caught him fast, as she deserved to. Frankly, retreating backward from a cheetah had not been likely to be successful, but it was hard to feel any real worry when she was nearly laughing like this. Boy, she was trying so very hard to disapprove of him, he could see it in her gaze and he put a bit of tension against her hold, as if he were still trying to pull away. Leaned back a bit one eye squinted, shying still and stifling his own laughter.

Harder to do with her shaking him, rattling a squeak of laughter loose. But then her final sentiment had him gasping. "Are you telling me I am not a good shot?"

Went for sounds of offense. Jaw dropped and everything. But he was just as bad at acting like everything wasn't just peachy as she was.
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#57
 "Da, Levka - that is exactly what I am saying." And while she was supposed to shove him back with all her force, was supposed to knock him into the rim of the fountain. Instead she softened the slightest bit, reached up and moved as if to force his jaw shut and remedy his horrified offense.

 "You're a terrible shot and now you're projecting." Which was not all together true after what happened, but - it sounded good, like the sort of thing that would shake loose a worthy reaction. "Pitiful."
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#58
The touch of her hand moved him away from gaping, but that didn't stop the puff of breath from his lips in defiance. "I am not projecting," he said, the rebuttal a blanket of ineffective argument. With one of his arms free from her grip, he saw his chance and he moved to hook his fingers into the band of her pants and pull her into him. Tried to grab her in turn once she was close enough.

"We can put a cat in the fountain, see who is pitiful then."
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#59
 Now this was a familiar move, the yank forward partially her own fault for not anticipating as she stumbled into him and laughed in the face of a very loosely veiled threat Instead of outright rebuttal she decided to reach up, patting him on the cheek that felt all too easy and yet oddly condescending when it was her gently tapping at the side of his face. "То бок, не так, як мы ставімся да людзей, якіх мы любім, Леўка." Fully aware of the strong possibility of it not crossing the language border, she still pouted in a brittle, dry version of false sympathy.
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#60
He understood so very little of that. He felt like maybe there was some version of 'love' in the mix, which he would have, well, loved to latch onto, but the rest of it was so turned around on itself he couldn't find reasonable purchase on the slippery word. So, with her patting his face, he kept her close and made the entirely adult and perfectly reasonable decision to try and bite her hand.

Public places? What are those?
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#61
 For a few split seconds she completely forgot where they were or what they were doing - the faintest gasp of surprise as he latched onto the side of her hand. At once she moved, taking her free hand from his arm and moving to shove him hard in the center of the chest whilst trying to tug away. "Oh, you're so lucky we're - oh ... I'm going to get you." The threats implied, at least wise enough not to go into any sort of details with where they were.
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#62
Successful, triumphant, he let his teeth find their hold and grinned around it at her. Tightened his teeth juuuust a little with her half-threats and her attempt to retreat. He wasn't going to open his mouth enough to speak a rebuttal. She was just going to have to deal with him being literally mouthy for a moment. She was a biter, he knew this. He could do that, too. If she thought one smack to the chest was going to do it...
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#63
 "Drop it." And despite their rather public surroundings, it was more growl than request, sharp enough that it nearly sounded like she was scolding a rambunctious puppy. Knowing better than to just keep pulling, she reached out instead, tried to jab her fingers into his stomach and shove him back in the hopes of shaking him off. "It's a pity that for your well-being we can never be alone again."
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#64
It was terrible that he found very real pleasure in this, even when she was going for a weak point with no small amount of force. Woman was stronger than she looked, no doubt about it. He had known that for a long while now and he was probably going to get reminded plenty often. "Oi!" was the immediate noise from his mouth as he did, in fact, let her slip the bite. Or more like, she made him let her slip it.

So even as he was wincing, he insisted, "I am not afraid of you." But he definitely looked ready to try and ward off any more incoming fingers.
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#65
 "You're not, Levka?" She tried to sound surprised, feinted as if she were going to jab him again from a couple different angles. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him, pressed in tight and tilted her head all the way back - squinting in the afternoon sun. "That feels like a rookie mistake if I ever heard of one."

 Bully or not it seemed, determined to crowd in and attempt to keep pushing him back and closer to the sound of running water.
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#66
Rookie mistakes, at least, were acceptable. Unless you weren't an actual rookie... Shhh...

She got his guard down with her false swipes and when she grabbed him in constriction, she caught one arm under hers, leaving him with only one arm to defend himself. Which definitely did not help when her chosen attack was to simply walk him backwards towards the fountain. He tried to put up a resistance, but she had the advantage with her forward-facing stance and it was only when he felt his calves hit the edge of the fountain that he was able to stop.

Or maybe that was because she'd let him stop.

Either way, a lock of his knees into a slightly crouched position, he grabbed for her shirt because if she was going to go through with this, he was bringing her with him.

Hopefully.
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#67
 As wicked as the notion may or may not have been - she considered all the things that she had on her person and their relative values. The only one that seemed to really matter in terms of her current plan being the cellphone that she kept stuffed into the back pocket of her phone. But perhaps if she got up quick, if she didn't fall all the way in ...

 Her eyes roamed over his face, tried to get some sense of where his thoughts were. It would be (or so she thought) relatively easy to give that final nudge. To shove him in and be done with it, eliminate any doubt about her commitment. But instead she leaned up, pecked him on the lips properly and held onto him - tried to keep them at the came crossroads.

"Apologize for teasing and I'll spare you."
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#68
She was a tease!

The kiss softened him against impulse that would have otherwise had him calling her on it, refusing to apologize on principle alone. Do it, he'd say, and she'd call his bluff and...

Hmmmm...

"You think I am that scared of water?" he huffed, but before she could follow through, he was quick to add, "I could not do it, you know. I am sorry if you thought that I would, but you are far too striking to make look pitiful and drowned, I promise."

Still a bit of a punk, but a complimentary one.
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#69
 Quiet like how the ocean went in and out, such was the nature of her patience in the presence of Levka. A moment in which she was taken back by his arrogance before she laughed at the somewhat backhanded compliment afforded to her. "Wow." Sarcastic and deadpan, she narrowed her eyes and loosened her hold on him until it was nothing at all, a false and filmsy effort to give him some sense of security.

 "And what if I just -" At once she committed, moved to push him in the center of his chest. Not too hard, not enough to be construed as violent as far as she was concerned. But, perhaps enough. "You're already pitiful, Levka - might as well seal the deal."
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#70
Perhaps he'd learned a little too well to trust her when maybe he should have been at least a fraction of wary. She let go and though she did not move away to give him room to slip away from the danger zone, he did drop his own hand from where he'd grabbed at her in turn, about to put up more than just that to turn that sarcastic notion into something a bit more sincere when--

Like the mighty savanna cat, she strikes!

The shove was strong even if it wasn't hurtful, and with his heels already flush to stone, there was no space to adjust footing or find balance. He took a swipe at her as he went but missed completely on the hope of making her pay immediately for her crimes, and though the lip of the fountain was side enough to catch a good bit of his weight as he went down, it was only an arm twisted down into the water that saved him from a shallow swim

Splashed in the face, though, from his own disruption of the water, he sputtered on a laugh or maybe a yowl he didn't particularly want to give her the satisfaction of.
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#71
 Almost immediately she felt the slightest tinge of guilt taint her satisfaction. Slightest, marginal - only a bit guilty. Enough that she raised her hand a bit to reach out and try to steady him but did not commit to the gesture itself. He went down hard, she laughed behind the flimsy cover of the back of her hand at the surprised and pitiful sound that eked out of him.

 "That's what you get." Still, even as she said it she reached out, offered a hand out to help right him and yank him back up and onto his feet. "If it's any consolation, I still think you are striking." Managing a straight face all the same.
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#72
Mercifully, with sleeves rolled up, the soaking he took was minimal. There was a bit of fabric past his elbow that got drenched, and up to his shoulder go spattered. And he was blinking a good misting out of his eyes when he managed to catch sight of Yana's offered hand and he didn't hesitate to take it. Grabbed it with his dry hand instead of his wet since the one in the water was keeping him from going in the rest of the way--headfirst into a fountain was a questionable ping on his dignity--, and then he was up, assessing himself swiftly before her final comment which was clearly meant to appease.

But her appeasements were always rooted deeply in truth, and though he was still very much in a position to end up in the water if she was vexed enough for a round two, he relaxed enough to lean to kiss her, quick but not fleeting--

But not long, either, as within a second or two of this he took his still-wet hand and pressed it to her face and then tried to escape sideways from where he stood now.
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#73
 The problem with these little kisses and bits of attention were that they had a tendency to make her complacent and drop her guard like a curtain all at once. Such was the case then, shoulders dropping as she raised her arms and moved to cup his face in her hands before he pulled back too quickly. Except then he moved to be tender and she averted her eyes and - the asshole, his hand was still wet.

 "No!" Sharp as any command could be and followed by a bout of laughter as she lurched forward and moved to grab on to his arm. "You don't get off that easy." Moving then to try to twist around him, grab onto his shoulders and pull herself up and off her feet.
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#74
The sharp sound of her voice when she got the shock of his damp touch was a triumph to him. And yes, he deserved what came next to him. Too slow to escape her retaliation, she was a limber creature and he quickly took her weight. A little surprised by this tactic she'd taken, he bent his knees a bit if only to hoist her a little higher and make sure he kept his balance with the new mass to mind.

Not that she threw him off too terribly, of course.

"You looked hot, I was just trying to cool you down," he insisted in a blatant lie.
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#75
 "It is hot." She conceded perhaps the tiniest bit to his flimsy excuse for an explanation. Still, her head dipped as she moved to bite down on his shoulder through his shirt - not enough to wound, not enough to mark him even briefly. "That is why you've been selected to carry me through the rest of the maze. Congratulations on this assignment." Truthfully, she was sure she'd give up before then - but for now she rested her chin where her mouth had been seconds prior, squeezed him with her legs.

"Come now, we don't have all day."
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#76
The bite didn't hurt, sure. But by that virtue of not being hard enough to wound, it instead tickled. He squirmed a little for it as he got his hands down under her thighs to make sure she didn't simply slide off. He laughed in spite of himself, turning his head to try and catch her eye, but she was in exactly the wrong spot for that.

"Fine, fine, but only because you weigh nothing." Thank you obscene were-strength for making grown women negligible additional weight for at least a while. "And also because I would be pissed if you selected someone else."

And so off he set, off. There were several entrances from the winding maze paths into the fountain area, so he picked one that felt removed enough from where they'd come from and set off.
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#77
 She told herself she would give him five minutes or so, just a bit of distance before she would drum on his shoulders and loosen her hold. For now though, she kept her arms loosely around his neck, content it seemed with the pathway he chose as she hummed the slightest bit. "Pissed, hm?" Seemingly a strong enough word as she tried to seem nonchalant and unfazed one way or the other by that hypothetical reaction.

"Are you implying that you'd be jealous, Levka?" She emphasized it as if it were some sort of sin, a dirty word.
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#78
It was good that she couldn't see his face from where she was. Couldn't see the silent grin that totally didn't go with the scoff through his nose that he offered up in perfect indignation. Him, jealous? But the attempt to play it less on-the-nose didn't last even a single word, though. "It is not a little implication."

He turned his head as it to nip at her arm where it rested in his peripheral, but his teeth were even softer for the would-be bite than hers had been.
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#79
 "I must never let you know about my other dates then." Deadpan, she scrunched up her face at the feel of his teeth, bumped the crown of her head to the side of his before she tapped on his shoulder and loosened her hold a bit to signify that she was ready to be set back down and on her own two feet. "What you do not know can't hurt you."
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#80
He knew, absolutely, that she was joking. "With your schedule?" The immediate retort of logic, the torch not normally his to carry. But it was a swift cover for something a little less desirable--the unexpected little bristle at the mere concept. He hadn't quite realized he felt that way, but he... apparently did.

That was... new.

Shook off the brief disbelief as he let her down, then turned to use her tactic briefly--walking backwards as they proceeded so he could look at her straight on. "I must warn you, I am very good for finding things out when the subject is of interest to me."

Go for teasing and implied compliments. That was a good diversion.
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#81
 Wasn't rooting about to find things what had originally brought them together in the first place? Regardless, she didn't remind him of that little snippet of information then and there - instead she watched him move backwards and lifted her shoulders high before dropping them in a dramatic shrug. "They're lunch dates - and not all those meetings I complain about are strictly work related."

 It was then that she realized at once that this was a familiar path but one she did not want to go down - not with him. Experimental and manipulative and murky in it's intent. She swallowed that small pang of guilt, decided to focus instead on trying to fix it. "There's only you, несці."
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#82
He scoffed at her continued fabrication, but there was probably a bit of a growl there. A little too much bear that betrayed him, and either she caught it or she simply thought better on her own, but she was quick to back off.

Only you. A phrase he let himself mull on for a few steps, really assure himself when he hadn't had any worry before. And still didn't really have any worry, he just...

Walked backwards into the hedge, startling himself. Cursing briefly in Russian, he laughed and then turned his head to look accusingly at the plant. Swatting at a jutting branch he looked back to Yana and shook his head. "This is what happens."

When what? What do you mean, that's an incomplete thought?
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#83
 She supposed a good ... whatever she was, would have warned him. But this was a hedge maze and not a mall or city sidewalk, it was riddled with subtle curves in the path and sharp corners. It did not take a PhD to deduce that walking backwards was, perhaps, a trick best suited for other scenarios. Still - she coughed to mask a bout of laughter at his expense when he retaliated towards the offending shrubery. "That will teach that busy to grow there."

 Gently she closed in, tried to hook her arm with his and coax him towards the trail again - face forward this time. "Do you mean 'this is what happens when you have no idea what's going on around you'?" Because in that case, really, she would have to agree.
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#84
Honestly, he lost the point of his half-finished thought pretty much as soon as he'd said it, or perhaps even before, which would explain its truncated nature. But with her back on his arm, the desire to go pulling plant matter off of the shrub was eased and he stepped sideways into her, pushing her a little more towards the other wall of green. "I suppose. But not all the blame can go to me. This would be so much easier and such if you were not here."

And like, infinitely more boring.
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#85
 "You might not need me, Levka Orlovsky - but if I was not here you'd be bored to tears." Confident it seemed, assured as she reached out and took hold of his hand. Squirming a bit to try to slide her fingers in the spaces between his. "Just like how, if you were not here, I wouldn't have anyone to laugh at." Which, wasn't true at all - but that was ultimately besides the point.
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#86
He laughed shortly, shaking his head. "Okay, it will be said--you know me too well by now. I was just thinking how awful and dull this would be without you here. If I wanted plants I could find more interesting one at the Glenn and get just as lost there."

They needed to hike sometime, maybe. He was into that, but he honestly had no idea if she ventured into the greater wild on whim any more than feline soul demanded. He was no wild man like Lee himself, but he did have a lot of experience in a non-urban setting, and he couldn't honestly say if Yana could say the same of herself. Did life in San Fransisco afford camping or things like that?

Maybe a conversation topic for another time. When he inevitably brought up the concept of taking her out into the middle of the forest for whatever. It was going to happen.

"Laughing at me is a bad habit of yours, but the only way we can break it is if I stop seeing you, and that just will not happen so I suppose you are stuck with it."
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#87
 "I think you mean that you're stuck with it." A quick clarification as she considered where they were - the fleeting stretch of solitude before they would inevitably catch up with another gaggle of friends or a family enjoying a warm afternoon in the sunshine. For now though, she took what she could - didn't squander it as she lingered close and coaxed him to take a sharp left turn as they came upon it.

 "Anyway, that's fine with me - being stuck with you." Little admissions that felt like testing the ice on a lake, edging her way out and applying a bit more pressure with each step forward before she retreated just as quickly. Deciding in the meantime to not think of when she would inevitably need to commit - sink or swim.
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#88
Amenable to her unspoken directions, he was uncertain they were going to find the next station anytime soon but frankly had stopped caring. Most of his curiosity for that lay in wondering if Yana would see fit to inform him of the facts that she read off of the pictures or not. All he could remember now was that goats... had two to six eggs. Well, no, that wasn't right at all, so he honestly he remembered nothing already.

"Mutually stuck, then. And happier for it." Not even a question. It was a fact, now spoken. He wouldn't even really give her room to deny it. Not that he knew what she was like when he wasn't around, but he knew what he was like when she wasn't around, and he would definitely mark a non-insignificant difference. And they were similar enough people that he was willing to bet some of her smiles were just for him.

"I am beginning to be tempted to see if we cannot dig our way through some of these shrubs."

Was that cheating? But seriously, if they listened hard enough he was certain the could pinpoint spots where people stopped and then just... beeline for them like they were radar.
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#89
 "You're so lazy." And while it had to be a lie, based on where he was in life, it was still astonishing to hear him suggest that they burrow their way to the exit. "All these extraordinary senses and you want to weasel out." She reached up, lifted her hand to the side of his face but didn't touch - let it linger there for a moment before shaking her head and pulling away.

"I was trying to see if I could feel the steam from all those cogs whizzing about."
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#90
He wasn't the least bit ashamed, and though he was perplexed at her gesture at first, in the end he threw his head back a bit in a laugh. "Do you think I am trying too hard to outsmart this maze?"
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#91
 "I think that intelligence is a lot like language - there are a lot of different types and perhaps you're brain isn't ..." She pursed her lips, teasing still as she moved to take a hold of his hand again. "Perhaps we just let me lead, hm?" And maybe she would find them the quickest route, put him both out of their sunny and warm misery. Or maybe some things were worth momentary discomfort - perhaps she would milk her time through a few wrong turns and moments spent hmm-ing and hawing at crossroads.

But if he asked, it was coincidental - always coincidental.
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