There's Fiery Skies

Belle Vista 
#1


Promising food was easy to do, easy to follow through on. He was practiced at food collection for his own sake as much as anyone else's. Called ahead to a place down in Belle Vista that he estimated was roughly about on his way to Yana's. Aimed to not get lost. Even used his GPS. And maybe Yana wouldn't fancy an assortment of protein-heavy American-chinese food dishes, but he doubted that. Besides, easy to pick up and show up with several option in case something was as disagreeable as pineapple on pizza or something.

Couldn't stop thinking about what she'd told him, though. Katya. In Belle Vista. At Work Release. Probably in Yana's office. Today. Hours ago. A ghost whispering past his hopeful but vague net for news of her. Katya... working for Yana. It felt oddly painful even though it was also very good. If Katya had to work for any leader at any hub here that wasn't his own... Yana was easily the number one choice. But still, it was the treat dangled just in front of his nose, refusing to be caught.

But it was his drama, and his drama was coming to bear down on Yana and so here he was, up the familiar walkway to the front door and though he knocked, it was only a brief moment before he was trying the door himself with bags in the other hand, feeling quite comfortable here with the idea of taking last time's permission into today.

The sooner he saw her the better, anyway.
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#2

 She made it home, took off her shoes and put away her jacket and her purse with time enough for another glass of liquor. And while she had no intentions of falling to pieces anytime soon, she used what few moments of solitude she had left to get openly. Because while nothing was outright wrong on the cusp of this revelation, it had all the letters to spell put trouble on hand. Enough so that she tried to think of all the ways she stood to get burned in this, tried to find comfort in the knowledge that most of them were personal and not professional.

That didn't really help when someone had the audacity to just ... plant themselves in your life.

It was a bit late to realize that.

 By the time he was close she had poured herself a second glass, paced the house and tidied up a bit to keep her hands busy. For a few fleeting seconds itr was a normal weekend and she reveled in that, at least until she heard the twist of the door handle and rushed back down the steps two at a time.

 About now, any other day, she would wish him a good afternoon. She would take some of his bags, she would tease. No matter what day, she would not fall to pieces. But what she did do differently this time made her sigh, coming close and wrapping her arms around his middle. She pressed her forehead to the side of his neck, breathed in deep at his collar and traced her fingers up and down his back before slowly loosening her hold without letting go.

"Sort of Chinese. Excellent choice."
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#3
She had that sharp scent of alcohol cutting through how he'd come to know her by smell better, but that didn't make her any less welcome to come up and interrupt his moment of taking his shoes off. Levka wouldn't even comment on it--it as a little bit of a surprise, but at the same time, he very much understood. Maybe it was an phase for food and a drink for them both.

But it illustrated something he hadn't quite realized, and he was utterly glad he'd had the intuition to offer to come. Where that intuition had come from, he couldn't begin to guess. It wasn't his way, was it? Or maybe he was learning.

Regardless. Relief to be here when it was clear neither of them were entirely fit for being alone in this. It was, bizarrely, more her problem. Or at least more her problem in the sense of its newness. It was ongoing for him and had the sharp bite of tragedy was now just the bruised hold of clenched jaws.

With only one hand available to him, the other occupied with the food she commented on, he had lifted a hand to her head and held her to him with his fingers in her hair. Best he could manage without smacking her with plastic bags full of paper containers and the like.

"Glad you like," he said, his own arm dropping first to touch at her back, then away as he gave her space so they did not just stand in her entryway. "Seemed like the right day for it." A lot of food, but protein and sodium would really hit the right notes. He almost asked her if he'd kept her waiting too long, but it also didn't seem like the sort of day meant for a) worrying about that, he was here, it was fine or b) making this about how slow he could be.
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#4
 The way that he tangled his fingers in her hair and held her close was as familiar as any bit of contact could be. A gentle reminder that nothing had to change. at least not - not yet, not here. Momentary weakness that she felt awful for, even as she shut her eyes and lingered, ignored the smell of food and focused on him, honed in on each sense in turn before she inched back just as quickly.

 "Here," She sniffed, cleared her throat and offered a hand out to take one of the bags of food from him. "Let me help you." Hands tied in a lot of ways, she searched for the little things she could do - inconsequential but serving as salve on that particular burn. She didn't bother to ask if they were going to sit at the table, nodded towards the couch anyway. There was no point, living room meant they sat closer - meant less time wasted on stupid appearances and traditions and expectations and - enough.

 She stopped the nosedive of her own thoughts, glanced over her shoulder to him. "How has your day been?" A quick correction as she conceded to the implication of her phone call. "Before now, I mean."
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#5
Mundane. They could do mundane. They needed to do mundane when it otherwise felt like they were scrambling against the onslaught of odd twists and turns. Just when they felt like maybe they had a handle on things, could handle anticipation over knowledge, something like this just loved to happen. One moment, not a word about Katya. The next, she was delivered neatly on the doorstep of Yana's second home, oblivious to the web she'd started twitching the threads of.

So she took a bag and he followed her as soon as he had nudged his shoes off to the side to sit and wait until whenever it was he felt ready to come back to them.

Question reminded him of that phone call and it was a brief frown as he swiftly decided to bury that particular lead for today. Much as Yana's mind might have been able to make him make some sense of it, perhaps help him to decide what to do about it, if anything at all...

Not the time. It would be a bad distraction when they needed good ones. So instead he focused on, "Met up with my Second this morning," unintentionally, but nonetheless. "It was good to see him up and doing well on his own after all that has happened." Whether or not it had helped his bad mood of this morning was not the sort of thing he was going to go into. Yana didn't need to feel like she'd brought him down with her own call.

"Otherwise, it was a day. Circumstance aside, glad to come see you."

He put his bag down on the table before he settled onto the familiar spot on the couch.
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#6
 "Oh?" She glanced over, paid attention to the little things - how he settled in and the nonchalant way he glazed over the early portion of his day. "Well, I'm glad he's doing well." She supposed any other time she would comment on how she still needed to meet these bears - tease that perhaps he was ashamed of her in some way or shape. It all fell flat today though, she instead she set to work unpacking brown paper bag after brown paper bag.

 Once that was done her hands felt ...not like her own, unsure what to do with herself even as she started to tear into the plastic packaging of her fork. "I don't think I am much of a host today, Levka."
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#7
He helped and soon they had everything out. Personally, he had full intentions of ignoring the essentially complimentary boxes of white rice and instead opt for the fried variety and... yeah, okay he was definitely hungry, able to plot out his plan of attack in the lull.

Until she broke the lull, of course, and he was quick to shake his head and look at her. "I am not here to be hosted," he insisted gently.
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#8
 "I know, we are past the need for me to offer you a coffee." A quick correction as she pulled at the tab of her can of soda, hunched over the coffee table with her elbows propped on her knees. "I think I'm in a weird ... mood." Funk sounded pessimistic and dismal when she didn't want to be that way. Mood would make due, some sort of concession as she glanced over and held out the handful of fortune cookies.

"Pick one, they're luckier if you eat them first." Doubtful, but a tradition that stained and stuck around from her childhood.
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#9
A little quiet himself, he reached for one of the cookies she offered with her sentiment of luck. Well, if they couldn't use a little of that. So he turned it in his hand until he found the edge of it so he could open it without crushing the fragile thing outright. But her previous statement lingered and he had to offer some consolation. Well, he didn't have to. But he wanted to, and it required no stretching for kindness.

"If we only saw one another at our best, you would never see me," he pointed out, discarding plastic amid the boxes on the table. "My fault entirely."

She had this magical ability to see him at his worst downward swing and still she came back to him time and time again, so if she feared his judgement... well, she shouldn't worry about his perception.
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#10
 "I wish you would stop that nonsense." She waited until he picked his cookie, decided on one for herself and tossed the rest in the bag for the time being. For now she focused on unwrapping her cookie, snapping it in half and tossing one part in her mouth. "Mm, ..." She covered her mouth, nudged him with her elbow. "Read it after you finish your cookie or it won't work."

 In all reality, she put little stock into mass produced slips of paper and their effect on her life. But it was a routine and all in good fun, so she popped the second half into her mouth and kept the paper crumpled in her fist to avoid the temptation of peaking.
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#11
She was choosing to focus wholly on the here and now, this particular moment and he followed suit without another word otherwise. Cookie broken in half, he watched her and followed her example. Paper left upside down on his leg for the moment while he broke the cookie further into fourths and took to each one at a time.

"Did not realize there was a method to this," he admitted. While he never wasted them--he didn't waste food--he also never put much thought into the cookies or the mints that often got shoved into the bags with them. Chewing for the moment, he reached for his own drink, because fortune cookies were dry as anything.
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#12
 "I don't know if it's universal or just some bizarre thing my family had picked up along the way. It's just how we were always told to do it." Some small confession on the off chance he brought her fortune cookie technique with him somewhere else. Regardless she finished off her cookie, unfurled her fist and smoothed out the strip of paper as she skimmed over the little blue text.

 Her sigh was heavy as she folded it in half and set it on his knee just below his own neglected fortune. A short stranger will soon enter your life with blessings to share. "I forgot that I am not very fond of Fortune cookies."
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#13
That was genuinely interesting to him, and he hummed around his drink and nodded his understanding as he put it back down on the table. She read hers and he watched until she sighed and he raised his brows a bit. Picking hers up instead of his own he unfolded it enough to read it and tilted his head curiously. He wasn't sure he got it. Short stranger? But blessings didn't seem too bad. Maybe it was that brand of bland that she had a distaste for, or she read into it more than he did.

"Here, you not like that one, may as well take mine." And without having even read it himself, he picked it up and handed it over. If she did deign to read it... it wasn't really much better, probably:

You will be aided greatly by a person whom you thought to be unimportant.
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#14
 Smoothing out the strip with her thumb and her index finger, she hunched a bit to read it over. This one it seemed met some sort of criteria, made her chuckle. And while she didn't believe in the mystic powers of a stale cookie, the words still pressed at her chest. Even if she didn't wish on dandelion puffs or she had made the same wish on her birthday candles for the past several years - each time entirely unsurpised when it failed to come true - some things were unavoidable. Like the search for patterns or some inkling of a greater design.

 " You're right. Our fortunes got mixed up." And while she wasn't short, there had indeed been a time where he was set as unimportant in her mind. That category was gone, miles in the rearview as she leaned over and kissed him gently on the cheek. Without sharing she slipped it into her pocket, picked up a container and settled back against the couch cushions.
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#15
Whatever it said, it seemed to satisfy some part of her current needs. ESo much so that she claimed it in a seemingly permanent, offered a brush of affection, and left him to take her formerly discarded one and claim it as his own. He could use every blessing he could get, really. And while normally this would have been the perfect time to goad, to try and draw the facts of the fortune out of her and take every bit of information he could...

Sitting here comfortably with her, taking his own box of breaded, sauced chicken, and eating sounded a lot more appealing, given the mood.

Hers was odd, she claimed. Maybe his was a little, too. Some half thought in coming here had worried she'd have the scent of Katya still on her, or maybe the less familiar traces of... Katya's wolf. But there were neither. At least not past food and the cut of alcohol and the not ignorable scent of Yana herself. All the same, there was some caution with himself, the sidenote in his head that there were still pitfalls to be had if he didn't keep off of the throttle.

"You know," he said after a few moments of what he considered an easy silence. "It occurred to me the other day that you have a key to my place but I do not have one to yours."

Offered her a pleasant little side-eye for her consideration.
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#16
 "It is not my fault that you give away keys to the kingdom to every woman who so much as laughs at one of your jokes." An accusation that she was pretty sure was entirely without substance, but she kept her face hard all the same. That was a still fresh memory, the jarring surprise of being given a key card to his private property within ... well, it had been quick by her account. And while she didn't like to think that perhaps she was a bit too careful - a little too guarded for the same sort of behavior, she thought about all the time spent beside one another.

 "I have a spare in the junk drawer in the kitchen - it's yours once I finish stuffing my face with questionable takeout." She kept her head down, avoided looking him in the eye as she committed to what felt like a big jump of trust. At least for her - apparently not so much in his world.
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#17
He made a noise of dissent and a quick, "Yana..." of vague disapproval at her trying to accuse him of giving out his security feature like it was candy. As a result, she was simply downplaying her own importance, maybe for her own comfort, if her next concession was any indication of her continued insecurity over the matter. The 'yes, okay, fine, but dont look at me,' way of things was entirely endearing even if it made him want to roll his eyes a little.

Which he... did. But it was fine because she was still very engrossed in her food at her lap.

Perhaps a little bit of a backtrack of his earlier statement, he still felt inclined to make it clear, "If you really want to only, of course. For all that I know, you think I am a bit of a security hazard."

As much as he was casual about his own sharing, it was only because it had felt utterly right, not because it was easy.
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#18
 She snorted at the idea of seeing him as some sort of threat - and while she knew they were matched when push came to shove ... surely things could never be so messy between them. She stepped back to assess that optimism, as out of character as it was, and shelfed it in the meantime in favor of another bite of broccoli and a shake of her head. "No. I had the key made after a certain stuffed polar bear was gifted to me - it's always been meant for you." A tiny confession, nothing of substance, or at least that was how she chose to play it for the time being.

 "I suppose I was just waiting for the right time to say something ..." Genuine in that regard at least, dancing around it once it was done - reluctant to just ... spring it on him through one of their routine texts or phone calls. "So ... good timing, несці"
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#19
Meant specifically for him... admittedly, he had not quite anticipated that, and it was for the best that he was also involved in eating because he might have been a little too touch for his own good. And he would have just embarrassed her, really. Chewing on the plastic tines of his fork, he heard her out the rest of the way, stuck the fork back into the takeout box, and leaned back a little as if to really look at her.

Maybe he could have apologized for jumping the gun, stealing her thunder and all. Instead, still warm and still feeling like today was steeped in surreal happenings that made it not all quite real, he took the less humble route. "Decided you liked my being here the night after all?"

Words phrased as if meant to tease, but tone betrayed him. There was a bit of sincerity there that couldn't be chased off by false swipes of ego or feigned nonchalance.
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#20
 She felt him shift beside her, saw him vaguely from the corner of her eye as he leaned back as if he was holding her at arms length to make some sort of assessment. She made a game of coating a forkful of rice in sauce, like it was open heart surgery and her thoroughness would be brought into question.

 Part of the fun was knowing that Levka would bounce back - that she could diminish and shrug him off and he would spring back up and scoff at her attempts. Still, this time it felt like shooting herself in the foot to do, so she sipped her coke and set her container down before twisting a bit to look at him properly. "I did, yes - quite a bit. Satisfied?"
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#21
Another moment of that giddy feeling, which he was beginning to have with increased frequency and more unexpectedly lately. He had to grit his teeth a little to keep from seeming too pleased, but... "Yes, and it is good to know I am not the only one." Clearly, clearly no one was walking about from these interactions feeling like they had been short changed.

"So, what happens the next time I decide to keep your bed warm for you? Access to your fridge?" As if this was somehow very exclusive as rights went.
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#22
 Perhaps, just maybe, there were times where the road less traveled was the better suited one. That's how she chose to see things then - smirking at the mention of his house privileges and rolling her eyes as she turned back around to face the coffee table. "Let's call a spade a spade, Levka - within reason you more or less have free reign in the common areas." Teasing was easy, not burrowing up in your comfort zone was imperative no matter who you were.

 "You are third home." Not the resort itself - but him. Though she wouldn't specify that, wouldn't remark on her own less than proper English. But past thier surroundings, besides the gallery, there was a polar bear in Mountainside. "That's means ... well, you know what that means."
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#23
"Ah," he said, as if just realizing for the first time that he was very welcome here. Common areas, she said, like he hadn't battled his way into her bedroom last he was here. The recollection of the chase up the stairs was a welcome one and he shifted enough to put down his current box of food and pick up a second in order to mix things up.

The next sentiment, however, was deep enough that he wasn't about to play with it. It would have been easy. A flippant 'do I, though?' or some other dig to get her to say it. But fact was... "I know," he agreed, feeling the fact that he at least thought he understood what she was saying was as potent as her pointing to the implication in the first place.

"More and more and more I am thinking buying out property on the border sounds very necessary."

She wasn't the only one finding the comfort of home and familiarity of being specifically wanted in someone else.
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#24
 Despite the wealth of pride she kept stashed away, there were some things even she deemed inappropriate to tease about. So she was quiet when he mentioned the fleeting hypothetical of some sort of middle ground - or the closest they might hope to ever get to one. "I was thinking about that, actually." You know, since he had thought to mention it in the first place.

 "If you're serious then I would be interested in helping to uh - fund the endeavor." Even if it ended up being more bear than cheetah where ownership and territory was concerned. If it was truly on the line, it would still be a grave improvement from the fringes he called home. She shrugged her shoulders again, scrambled to find some sort of logical explanation for throwing her funds at something like this. "As an investment in our time and peace of mind."
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#25
"Once I am recovered from buying Big Bear, very serious," which had been a somewhat hasty acquisition, leaving him toeing a less than amazing line when it came to finances. He wasn't worried, but it would be a bit before he felt recovered enough to sink his teeth into something else. "But in the meantime... I do want your input. What do we do? This would be for us. Yours and mine, you know. That is how I want it."

For someone who wasn't fantastic at sharing, he could do it when it meant having more in the long run. "Time and peace of mind is very good, but we can do better than peace."

Settling for mere contentment? Out of the question.
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#26
 She smirked at the mention of his diner, the bear (or perhaps, bears) that she knew to be a player in the moving of that particular chess piece. "No, now - I expect you to be able to juggle all these plates at once." Dry enough to border on brittle as she slowly closed the paper tabs on her box of rice. reached out to grab an egg roll from a wax paper bag.

 At any rate, us was a simple word - but it held a connotation and an implication that made her straighten up a bit as she took a bite. It was, at the end of the day, a sort of commitment. Come what may whatever they funded would stay there - a tangled mess that weaved them together until someone bought someone out or -

 If it was possible to glare down one's own thoughts, she would have divided and done just that. Annoyed by that streak of rationalism that rooted around worst case scenarios. Instead she returned to the present. looked away from the curtain that masked the uncertainty of days to come. "Do you have anything in mind?" There was a hop and a skip between a ski lodge and an art gallery, after all. Something she would only remind him about with a gentle nudge of her leg to his.
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#27
Looking to the future was not his forte. Perhaps that was part of his issue with patience, but it also had the strange benefit of his not fretting too hard over making decision that felt right in that exact moment. Whatever Future Levka had to deal with, that was his problem. Right now? Present Levka was having a surprisingly nice time, considering their reason for convening today.

She nudged his leg, and he nudged back but distracted from it rather quickly with his answer. Leaning in a bit, he took on as serious an expression as he could, which right now was pretty decent then said, "Yana, I must tell you a secret." And without giving her time to decide that she didn't want the burden of more of his personal information, he said, "It should be said if we are to do this that I am not a businessman." The serious attempt was lost as he grinned.

"Do not tell any of my employees."

Ahem.

"But also this means I am not full of ideas, either, yet, as well."

All he knew for certain was the 'I want' factor. This endeavor was far less about the thing and nearly completely about the proximity and outcome.
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#28
 "Color me absolutely stunned." Her tone said otherwise as she hovered her free hand beneath the other as a makeshift plate while she finished up the rest of her egg roll in three easy bites. Wiping off her hands she finally twisted, turned her body towards him and pulled her legs up - tucking them beneath herself.

 "You must think about where we are and what we have in front of us, that's the most important part." She draped one arm lazily over the back of the couch, clicked her tongue to her teeth. "I have long established families, higher incomes, a lot of cultural endeavors, shopping ... restaurants." Don't get her started on the debacle of that half hatched restaurant idea, a whole different mess that didn't have a home today.

 "You have dirt." She hesitated, cracked a smile and reached out to squeeze his arm before she corrected herself. "A lot of locals, yes? Mm a sizable tourist population all year round, ... tree's and dirt." Making it abundantly clear that perhaps some jokes were for forever. "Now, what can marry the two?" A narrowed down idea came to mind immediately, she held onto it - curious to see what he might think.
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#29
Yana humored him so beautifully. His elaborate 'I have no idea' was met with a woman who seemed happy to distract herself with concepts and plans. Not that this was a mere distraction. He was quite serious about all of this, and he had no doubt that if Yana was going to talk him through it like this, so was she. Of course, that would mean she would want to do it right...

This was good dinner conversation, because food gave him reason to have no inclination to interrupt her, and by time he slowed down, so had she. He rolled his eyes a little at the dirt comments, as if she didn't find good use for that dirt herself.

At any rate, he took a solid moment to consider the brainstorming guidelines she had offered. He was... uhm. Not an idea person, and he knew it. There was a reason he swooped in to claim the lodge, and then Big Bear. They already existed. Easy to say 'mine now' and tweak a few things and call it good. Building from the ground up was a big task when the only thing you firmly wanted from it was location.

Still. Dirt. No, not dirt. Locals. Tourists... money, culture. Mix them together and you got!

...

An out-of-his-depth polar bear.

"I do not... uhm..." Trying to articulate a non-thought too early was a mistake and he just committed to he first thing that came to mind. "All I can think of are gardens and I do not know why."

He didn't even really like gardens?! Maybe Mae's Mazes were stuck a little in his head thanks to present company.
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#30
 She kept still and listened, made sure she looked every bit as interested as she was and worked very hard to keep the grin off her face when he seemed to flounder for a moment. A garden. There were worse ideas, but there were better ones to boot. "Well," She cleared her throat, brushed a thumb over one of the buttons of her shirt that caught her eye in the light and gently tried to steer him elsewhere.

 "I'm not opposed to a garden but how that would suit us in terms of a place to stay, I'm not quiet sure. I don't want to camp year round, Levka." Not to mention he had a garden of sorts in the Glenn, the maze, a grand botanical garden not that far from here ... she kept it all to herself. They would focus on the issue of their sleepovers, that was less scolding or diminishing.

 "Psychology lesson, bear." She cleared her throat and waved off any hesitation - it would be brief. "There is a generally accepted hierarchy of needs. At the bottom is of course, food and shelter." She waited a beat. "Restaurants, markets, specialized businesses like bakeries or what have you, even. Then there's hotels, motels, ... shall we go higher or entertain this?"
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#31
She wasn't opposed to a garden, but he was. His own suggestion was bad and she was much kinder to him about it than he would have been. Just put up a fence, Levka. There you go, a North Glenn garden. So thrilling. Yana will be the most excited to show up there, absolutely. It'd be cheap, anyway.

He was a lot happier, turns out, to listen to her thoughts on the matter. He turned his head, a little intrigued by this 'lesson' as she put it. He'd never learned any of this in the formal sense, but he could see where she was leading. Every creature needed these things she spoke of now. "There is potential there but..." Not that he would push them completely off the table, but he already had food and shelter covered with his own existing ventures. More wouldn't hurt, but why not... "What is higher?"

Maybe he was also just a bit curious about this hierarchy.
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#32
 Shucking off any lingering sense of stern composure, she twisted and laid down, draped her legs over the arm of the couch at the knee and tried to reach back and grab him by the knee to move him so that she could hopefully use his leg as a pillow of sorts. "Next is safety - things that protect those resources." Her face suggested that was an endeavor she didn't wager she'd be particularly useful in.

 "Then there's the social aspect - friendships, relationships. all of that." She stared up at him, drummed her fingers on her arms. "What do people do together for fun? Keep it clean, Levka."
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#33
Safety... yeah, other than keeping his bears and any local weres in a state of secure existence, he wasn't exactly down for that, either. He didn't mind her shooting past it without lingering, if only because he could not see himself caring much at all about the general populace of his territory outside of how their well-being influenced his own. Remember that firefighter bear? Yeah, him neither.

Social, however, he could do. People were interesting for watching. Take Yana, for instance. All composure and elegance until she decided she'd rather lay down and literally put her feet up. Other than a brief pause in which he put his food away, settled enough to forget about it for now, he had no hesitation in letting her put her head in his lap.

Taken as an opportunity to play with her hair a little, he mulled, unable to resist the smirk that came with her addendum. "I was going to," he insisted, though now it was sorely tempting to... you know what, he was just going to do it, he couldn't resist the cue he'd gotten. "Brothels are clean, da?"
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#34
 "Levka, please." And while she tried to sound horrified even as he played with her hair and her eyes closed for it., it all was ruined with a bark of laughter as she gently moved to try to swat him in the side. "For the record, not the one's I have been to." And while it took work, she did everything in her power to try to seem entirely serious, if only in the hope of giving him a taste of his own medicine.

 "Perhaps instead we might consider ..." She chewed her lip, thought about the generic things such as theaters first and worked her way down. "Well - almost anything else. If you're working we'll never make our money back."
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#35
Yana Novik visits dirty brothels. Please let this be put to the record as fact. Fact that she was clearly not ashamed of. Absolutely irrefutable.

He huffed and tugged a little on her hair. "Ruining all my ideas," he chose to grouse, though even with what little he knew of business and the expectations of the city... there was a feeling it wouldn't have flown in the area he was considering, anyway.

Next point, however, went towards productive and then again sharply away. A necessary dance as they mixed business and pleasure. Last comment yanked a bark of his own laughter from him and a hand came down over her eyes as he demanded, "What is that supposed to mean?"
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#36
 "How dare I take your brothel from you, Levka - whatever will you do?" Forcing herself to keep her arms pinned down to her sides for the time being, to resist the knee jerk impulse to swat his hand away. "You're not stupid, you know very well what that means." And even as her words kept staunch and she didn't immediately apologize, she turned a bit to bump her head against him.

"Там заўсёды ваша абаяльная асоба, мядзведзь." And maybe it was below the belt to steer clear of English, but it felt like the best bet.
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#37
"Как вам не стыдно," he offered flippantly for a couple of things: firstly, that she would imply things about him! And secondly, for the dip into Belarusian that was perhaps the least intelligible he'd heard from her in a while. Complete nonsense except for the fact that she was addressing him as 'bear' again. That part was fine, but the rest of it was...

Well.

He made the attempt to move his hand from her eyes to her mouth so she could see him pout at her. "You cannot speak like this if we are going to run this brothel, the girls will never understand you."
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#38
 Shame on her indeed, particularly when she erupted into another boisterous bout of laughter just as he moved his hand. Squinted at first at the sudden shift from nothingness. She supposed she could have put up a fuss but his palm over her mouth didn't do much where perceived threats were concerned. Still - they were apparently not done speaking about brothel's and the possibility for booming business as they broke ground.

 Problem was it was hard to give him lip with a hand over her mouth. So at once she moved, not wanting to harm as she settled instead on licking his palm before reaching up and trying to tug his hand away. "Nonsense, we'll teach them the superior language. ... What are we calling this new crowning jewel of ours?"
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#39
No matter how much you liked a person, there was just something distinctly unsettling about having your palm licked, and it didn't take much more than that to encourage his hand from her mouth. Were the stakes higher, perhaps she would have had a fight on her hands, but there was not much point to it when he did, in fact, want to hear what she might say.

Not disappointing, turned out. Scoffing openly at the phrase 'superior language', he instead moved his hand beneath her chin to grab there and shake her head. Gave him a second to think before he resolutely declared, "Кот Логово." And then tapped her on the nose. Yes, perfect, a name for their absolutely real, totally-going-to-happen brothel.
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#40
 She trusted by now that he knew good and well it would be a cold day in hell before she acknowledged which dialect truly reigned supreme - instead beaming at the reaction she stirred up. Taking a hold on his wrist when he shook her a bit, keeping him steady and scoffing louder still at the pitch. "I bet you think you're very clever."

 Still, she reached up, patted him on the cheek before she pinched and dropped her hand back down at her side just as quickly. "Any other ideas for this business? Perhaps something a little more legal."
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#41
As a matter of fact, he did think he was clever! And he would maintain that inevitably if it ever came up again. A bite at her hand that was gone far too quickly for him to have made even half-hearted contact, he then shifted a little so she was a bit more in his lap and he was a bit more comfortable as he pulled up leg up to tuck one foot beneath himself. A little cozier for it.

Edging back towards more serious discussion, he went back to playing with her hair. Something to do while he honestly put some thought into this. "What do your rich blood people do for fun?" He had so little experience with that kind of mentality, but he found himself thinking. Back home, far away from here, people were all about the theatre. Plays, opera, ballet...

His own brushes with such had almost always had ulterior motive, but he wasn't completely ignorant.
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