Let Those Fools Be Loud

Belle Vista 

October 26th, 2018

@Yana Novik

They had agreed to postpone their outing until after the full moon. Something of what they were combined with what they'd done and said to each other as of late made that seem like one of the wiser moves they could have made. Levka, impatient as he was to see her and set things right, had not been inclined to argue in the least. The less cat-brained Yana was going into this, the less likely he was to have his head (rightfully or otherwise) bitten off.

This unfortunately put them at a time and a place where it was the weekend before Halloween itself, and so the pumpkin patch wasn't exactly a fortress of solitude. Still, before the sun went down it was still nice, and it would get them outside where he wanted to be. More than that, it was an excuse to do something other than talk. Admittedly, for the first time, the werebear was a little bit wary of what he might say.

Did his best to not think about the fact that the last time he'd seen her was her turning her back on him. Literally. Didn't dwell on his own march out of there to be ill-behaved out of spite.

He also showed up a full thirty-four minutes before their prescribed meeting time. The last thing he wanted was to be late and have her decide that today he was no longer worth the wait. It was probably a little paranoid, as she wouldn't have agreed to this date if she really wasn't feeling it. But all the same... wasn't going to test her patience.

While he waited, he sat on the hood of his car. The air was clear and lightly breezy, which he was enjoying as the temperature dipped as the afternoon wore out. Nice picket fences and beyond it was plenty more besides the sprawling pumpkin patch. He could smell something vaguely sweet but unfamiliar from one of the white tents set up selling various foods and other things. A real event, this. And classy, too. Classic Belle Vista.

Silently he scrolled through his phone, waiting her arrival. Going through pages of advice on how to apologize to women, positive that he wasn't going to take much of it to heart. So much of it just seemed odd and disingenuous. Especially the whole gift side of it. He'd come empty handed for once, mostly because he'd been turned off at the idea of apology cards with bad puns that he didn't understand and handwritten notes or... flowers for some reason. Did Yana even like flowers? They didn't even serve a purpose. And they were out of season anyway.

This was difficult.


 Was she nervous? Certainly not, at least not in any real way - at least not in so many words. Uneasy perhaps, maybe a little unsure of what the conditions of this ... meeting, were. But not nervous, not anything that would paint her as something juvenile and awkward. This was home, after all, her own backyard in which he was a visitor.

 So no, Yana Novik was not nervous. She had not been nervous when he had shown up at Work Release unannounced and reeking of an outsider. She had not been nervous for Alina, Avery, Jo. Not uncomfortable at the casino or the meeting - nothing. But this, uneasy, perhaps. She had been dressed and ready twenty minutes early. All the same, it felt absurd to go flocking there so early so she had waited, tidied up around the home and kept a watchful eye on the time.

 All the same she ended up a solid eight minutes early, just enough to play it off as a standard brand of punctuality. Catching sight of him, she slowly tried to catch him off guard, came up from behind after she took a moment to account for the wind. A quick lunge forward as she grabbed his shoulder and tried to give him a shake.

He was kind of keeping track of time, thinking he'd start being on the lookout in about... three minutes, probably. He fully expected her to be on time, perhaps even precisely on the spot. But so lost in his thoughts about how he was going to tackle this evening and everything they'd brought upon themselves, he failed himself.

Polar bears were great stalkers. Felines were better.

The feeling of the hand on his shoulder as he sat there unawares was enough to startle him even without the shake, and his grip on his phone slipped--perhaps even in part because he didn't particularly care for anyone seeing the research he was so pointlessly doing, and so instinct had been to try and put it down--hit his leg, then bounced off of him to tumble down the front of his car.

Less concerned about the phone than most, rather than make a grab for it he turned his head to assess his accoster, his eyes flashing in the briefest but still vibrant show of orange, as if she had pounced him out of a dead asleep nightmare. "Yana, дерьмо́, ты меня напугал," he said when realization came to park in the next second, saving him from making more a fool of himself. Even if... admitting that she'd startled him in so many words probably wasn't a conscious decision in the first place.

 "Look at you, so comfortable in my house that you aren't even aware of your surroundings." Unsure if that was comforting or sloppy, she decided to leave any harsh assessments to herself considering the climate between them. Coming round to scoop up his phone for him, she straightened up and waved it in front of her face before offering it like it might be the very first step in sorting their personal woes.

 "I hope you haven't been waiting long." She kept commentary about the flash of color to herself, hid the most critical parts of judgment and took her time easing into the murk surrounding this whole outing.

Normally this would have been the time to make some flippant, easy-going comment about how of course he wasn't fussed when he was around her part of town. She'd made him too comfortable, definitely all her fault, teaching him to appreciate and trust the effervescent presence of chirping felines. Hadn't realized he'd needed to have his guard up. And so forth.

But... looking at her, really looking at her for the first time since their little fallout, and for the moment the playfulness couldn't find purchase, and as he shook off the startle she'd given him he managed only the most wan of smiles, a little bit of chagrin there to paint it all. He reached out to gently take his phone back from her, a little murmur of thanks there as he felt...

Okay. He felt okay. It was hard to equate the woman standing here, that he knew and earnestly loved, with the feelings he'd had in those fiery moments the last time he'd set eyes on her. Part of his brain just wanted to pretend like it had never happened, move along. But that wasn't how this worked. The texts and phone calls since then made that more than evident.

Slipping his phone into the inside of his jacket, "Not long," he assured, assuming she probably found it odd to have him here before her at all. But today that was not how the conversation went. He moved to slide up to his feet, and while there was some tug of desire to hug her and just apologize outright right then, he was... uncertain. And so instead he just stood near, looked at her, and then past her, towards the entrance of the patch.

"Want to go in?" he suggested.

 "Of course not, I thought that this would be it." Deadpan as she moved as if to hook her arm in his. She stilled herself though, didn't commit to it after all. Thought better of it, considering the thin ice underfoot - spidering and threatening to drop them back into troublesome waters at any moment.

 "Come on." She took one step and then another, slowly inched her way towards the entrance. "Do you actually care at all for Halloween?"

Normally this is the part where they would be inclined to gossip. To tell each other what all had changed since their last interaction. To offer up newcomers to their groups, the things that had gone well, and then complain about all that had gone wrong. He had plenty he could say. But to complain would only highlight the half-ton polar bear in the room (the one they weren't currently engaging in conversation about), and they weren't... ready yet. Even he could feel that. As socially reckless as he could be, that was a blunder he shied away from.

So... small talk. Sort of. Not the loathsome kind he would have wrinkled his nose at, but hardly a gripping conversation.

"Eh, I am not so familiar with it. It seems amusing, but I did not even know it had happened at first when I was here last year for the first time."

Funny that just now it struck him that he had been here a year. He moved along at her side, looking across at the handfuls of people milling about the field not far ahead.

 "Hm, ..." And maybe there was a smidge of judgment there, a little hint of a sigh. "I'm quite partial to it." Hardly festive, it still struck her as a holiday that was particularly pleasant. She considered him then, hesitated a moment before she briefly reached out, moved to grab hold of his fingers before she let go just as quickly - something small to make sure it was clear that the intent was there. They'd work through it, there was just no point in parking the car and diving head first into couples therapy.

 "Honestly though I always hated pumpkin carving. Too much mess, hardly any pay off." She slowed to a stop as a set of siblings darted past, considered the somewhat slim pickings as they toed dangerously close to the holiday itself. "Next year we should dress you up."

Partial? That was curious and unexpected, but not in a bad way. He forgot at times that she had grown up here--not here-here, but not far away and removed from American culture like he had. While his rather Orthodox upbringing had not offered much room for Halloween--the sort of thing you only heard the odd teenagers (not his kind of odd, the other kind of odd) getting into.

Here, it was not nearly so rebellious.

Well, if she had a fancy for it, however small, perhaps he could stand to learn a thing or two here. Taking a little heart in the brief contact she'd made a point of making, he surveyed the area as they paused together.

Afraid to get dirty, Yanochka? he thought, but didn't put out there. Maybe he might have... maybe. If she hadn't distracted him with another point. A glance to her, a little raise of his brow. "Правда? And what do you see me as, hmm?" Sincerely curious, as such a thing would never have occurred to him to pursue on his own.

Next year, though. A small phrase, harmless in some ways. But it told him one thing--she wasn't writing him off willfully after a single bad incident.

 "Oh, you're a cat if I ever saw one." She picked up her pace the slightest bit, lengthened her stride so that she fell just head of him and he would not be able to see the grin eating her whole face. She stopped at a pumpkin, lumpy and dirty as it was, grabbed it by the stem and pretended to be considering if it was worth of her doorstep. "Not a гепард," And that merited a glance over her shoulder - staring him in the eye as she shook her head adamantly.

 "котенок, definitely." Blending one language into the next easily as she straightened up and dusted her fingers off on the thighs of her pants. "We'll get you a little bell, a tail, maybe I can pin you long enough to draw some whiskers ..."

"Cheetah" / "Kitten"


A cat. Of course he thought immediately of her. But she was quick to turn that down. Oh no, he wasn't allowed to be like her of course. He frowned a little, uncertain what her current game was an... oh. A kitten. Literally 'kitty' to his ears. He tried to fathom this little picture she was building with vague details, scoffed to cover a chuckle and found himself looking down as he rolled a pumpkin over with his foot as if he had something in mind for the autumn-hued squash.

He didn't. But he also didn't quite give a lot of thought to the comment he let filter out of his head in. "What is this, trying to disguise me to make friends with some cat vampires?"

 And there they were, approaching territory handpicked to showcase that Levka Orlovsky had about the delicate precision of a pix ax. Her smile fell at once, almost a wince as he went for the throat and she continued leisurely along her way through the cluster of pumpkins both miniature and massive. "Perhaps friends is a heavy-handed choice in term."

 She stopped at a selection of pumpkins unusual in color, wrinkled her nose at the chalkboard sign that made sure the prices reflected as much. "Maybe I just don't want to kick the shit out of them." She left it at that, tugged a tangle loose from the ends of her hair with her fingers.

It was one of those things that as soon as you said it, you rather wish you hadn't. Not really intending to muck about in that just yet, but it did have that sort of cosmic inevitability to it.

Still, it could have been... worse. Her tone was not terribly sour and her choice of words, while pointed, did not rub his fur the wrong way or anything that would get him sulking again. Still, he wanted to point out that he hadn't kicked anyone... had he? He didn't think so. The night was a blur in some points and thankfully he ended up not making pointless protest.

"Well... kittens do not do much kicking from what I understand," he said, trying to loop it back around, take some of the claws out of it.

 She visibly relaxed when he decided that it was a trail that was not worthy of pursuit, the tension cutting from her body as she slowly fell back in alongside him. It was as much a dance as it was a test to see where they fell, a little give and some take - finding the right balance to make things return to something close to smooth.

 "Well then it's perfect - I'd suggest you pick for me but I'm not sure I'd like what you'd have to say." Enough time passing that she was willing to tilt her head and expose herself for a potential jab to her own sense of pride.

Next to her, in this field of pumpkins and various uninteresting humans, he raised a hand to her back, just to rest lightly between her shoulderblades. More lightly than normal, a touch that seemed to mean to be fleeting but then lingered as he met her eyes and raised both his brows this time. "What do you mean? Clearly you are a котенок with me." Matching was a thing, right? And beyond that, it would be nice to be the same as her, even if it was the most superficial.

Also. Yana. As a kitten. Queen Kitten. Sorry not sorry.

 It was very nice on paper, to scream about different and it's Stark beauty. But it would be nice, in all fairness - to be the same. She grinned at it, didn't bother to broach the issue of how it could be considered remotely offensive. Instead she closed in, tilted her head back to peck him quickly on the lips before she turned from him. "Next year." As much a promise as it was a reminder. That times were rough, yes - the edges still frayed. But they were not impossible, were not hopeless.

The twinge of familiar affection that came with the kiss was as desperately needed as it was welcome. The filigree of promising projections on their conversations wasn't unheard of, but today it was a little more eye-catching. At this very moment, at least, it seemed they were safe from their own power of destruction. His hand at her back moved around her shoulder to tug her sideways a little into him so he could plant a kiss on her hair before he slowly let her go.

"So, what else can you teach me of this non-Orthodox holiday so I can be better at it next year?"

Like, sincerely. It wasn't the sort of celebration that bewildered him--he just had such a lack of exposure that it was literally foreign to him.

 "Children go around for a few hours the night of Halloween, they ring your doorbell in costume and you give them candy." She gave a flippant wave of her hand and stopped to nudge a pumpkin with the toe of her boot so that she could get a good look at the bottom of it. Brown and spotted and halfway to dead, she didn't bother trying to touch it.

 "Other than that? It's a lot of candy and horror movies - haunted houses and ghost stories and such."

The idea of small children coming to his front door--thankfully, he didn't really have one, but that was beside his disgruntled point--and expecting things of him did not entirely appeal to him. Costumes, fine--not really his forte, but it wasn't as though it hurt anything. Really, the only child he might have given mind to was Alejandra... He wondered if he ought to have sent her something?

Eh, next year. He could not be blamed for his ignorance here in 2018.

Otherwise, sugar and scary things. Alright, alright... No wonder his mother would have never approved of it.

"So then if you do not like cutting these," he said, a short gesture to a particularly tight cluster of pumpkins, one of which was looking rather green, "What is your favorite bit of it that makes you partial?"

 She shrugged her shoulders, sighed heavily at the questioning. "Is it too pretentious to say the atmosphere?" Probably, but then again she supposed she had said it in a roundabout sort of way. At any rate she sighed and laid her head briefly on his shoulder, a wateted down brand of a familiar sort of affection. "It's no New Year, but it's something fun and harmless. Never hurt to have more of that, hm?"

She used the word 'pretentious' and he chuckled a little under his breath. Yes, perhaps a little bit of that, but pretentiousness was just a byproduct of ego, and she had plenty of reason for that if you asked him. And though the sun was beginning to settle towards the horizon, he felt warm and quite content with how things were progressing. "I am never one to turn my nose at something enjoyed simply because it is enjoyable," he confessed, essentially agreeing.

"Do you find it easy to be scared by these things... like the movies and the houses?" He wasn't oblivious to them, in spite of a lack of first-hand experience. He just didn't find much to be terribly frightening.

 "No." It was immediate and confident, scoffing at the idea as she wrinkled her nose. "I mean, if someone or thing jumps out at me - of course I'll be startled. But, I don't scare about ghosts or demons or things that go bump in the night." She wiggled her fingers, moved to push them into his side, just below his ribs. "What about you? Scared of anything worth note besides myself?" An intimate topic perhaps but one that was different from others that they would commonly tread.

Surprise, they were the things that go bump in the night.

Startling was definitely one thing no one could be blamed for--he'd jumped pretty solidly earlier, doubtless. To deny that now would have been silly, considering. And while it was tempting to throw down a 'no' as simple as she did, he did pause to consider the answer. What was he scared of...? These days, it was hard to drudge up anything. Maybe when he'd been new and there had been things bigger and badder...

"I suppose not. Your job now to keep me humble."

Were that even possible.

 She reached out, grabbed a hold of his arm and tried to tug him around to look at her properly. It took work, but she kept her face hard - aimed for something close to serious. "Well? Do you feel humble?" Resisting that petty but ever-present voice in the back of her head that was quick to think about how nice humility would have been back in Avondale.

She didn't have to say it, really, as his mind went there, too. He looked away--the guilty pup caught in front of an absolutely shredded trash can and a terrorized bag of flour. Who, me? But feigned innocence garnered him no favors on a day like today. Endearing could quickly become annoying and the corner of his mouth pinched as he was tugged between a couple of different emotions that didn't jive.

"More than I am used to."

More than he wanted to be. Jury still out on if it was enough.

 She squeezed his arm, some effort to be comforting before she let go just as quickly. Seemingly pleased with that answer even if she didn't say it in so many words. " It's not a bad thing to be, in moderation." A bit of a hypocritical thing to say, considering who it was coming from. Still. She kept her eyes forward, crouched down to scoop up a moderately sized and surprisingly well-rounded pumpkin from it's resting spot near a staged block of hay.

"We'll be okay, won't we?" Seemingly prepared to tackle the elephant in the middle of the room.

Begrudging as he was to be humble at all, he was at least glad that it seemed to be what she wanted. There wasn't even any loftiness in him to consider the hypocrisy. Perhaps he saw her being here at all as a concession against her own pride. He knew how that felt. Sometimes admitting that something was broken enough to need mending was a trial in and of itself.

Which was probably why he felt a little squirrely when she pointed out hole he'd put in the drywall of their relationship. Wondered what he was meant to say, or how much he was meant to say.

"I think we are... okay. Now. But perhaps the goal is better than this okay."

For all he'd been wounded the week prior, the phone call had actually done a lot more damage control than he'd personally initially realized.

 "I would like to be more than okay." There was no harm in admitting it, no foul in acknowledging that they could and had done better in the past. "But it's a start, and I'm glad we can say that we have that at least." A different sort of maturity and one that was hard to accept when there was still some ever gnawing impulse to be stubborn and unyielding.

This was all strangely... well, something. He wasn't sure the word for what he was feeling existed in his own vocabulary, or maybe even anyone else's. It wasn't bad at all, if anything it was a relief. It was straightforward without being clinical. Oddly simple for all he had fret over what he might say to her face. But... effective. Good. Maybe what they needed? Or maybe what circumstance was willing to offer them, anyway.

He eyed the pumpkin she had picked up, went to say something, then paused instead and encouraged himself to look up to her face before he went on. "It is... something I am sorry for. Letting myself hate him more than he deserved because you deserve to trust me more than that." Maybe it could have been better articulated, but it was a thought there. For a brief and terrible moment he'd let his hate of something be more than his love for her, and when he'd come to that epiphany the other night right after the full moon he'd hated himself, for a moment.

 "You're allowed to hate as much or as little as feels right to you, Levka." Formal because the situation called for it because the last thing she wanted was to seem like she was infringing on his rights as an individual, not to mention as a peer. "My issue is when you act on it and make us a sloppy group of disorganized fools and not a well-oiled machine." This time at least it was level, calm and not just reactionary scorn.

"I'm sorry if I was snippy." The least of what she had been, but a start.

He nodded to her point, though he would keep to himself the fact that he knew he had overreached in his fury. Sayed had been at the wrong place at the wrong time--the still tender burn on his own palm notwithstanding.

"You could have justified doing worse," he said by way of forgiveness, frowning, but only lightly.

"I would have smacked me into the wall in turn."

 "Then I suppose we are most fortunate that the tables were not turned, Levka." She pushed the pumpkin she had picked up out and towards him, clearly expecting him to play the role of a makeshift cart of sorts. "Because if you were to smack me into a wall, I would have had no choice but to rip your throat out." She reached out, squeezed his shoulder and went back to her search for a good second pumpkin to accompany her first.

"And then we would most definitely not be okay."

Oh, so we're taking his pumpkin. Cool. He took it, apparently not put out with the idea of being pack mule. Perhaps if this had not been his idea he would have protested having anything to do with the pumpkins, but given the circumstances that would be beyond silly. As it was, he took it and held in one arm in anticipation of a second.

And laughed, short but sincere. Maybe he shouldn't have--maybe the idea of her ripping his throat out wasn't meant to be funny, or the follow up that they wouldn't have been alright in that case. And it wasn't really so much that it was humorous as it was something he understood. At least the fallout from that would have been easier to navigate, even if he didn't get murdered outright.

"I find it difficult to think of a time where I would be that upset with you," he confessed. Less about his triggers, more about the fact that she really was just... so put together.

 This, regrettably, was a somewhat common jump that made her sigh sadly each and every time. "Contrary to any and all argument to the opposing, I am human." Well, she supposed, that saying did not really apply in any technical sense. "I mean, I do get pissed." There was a laundry list, as long as her forearm. Instances she could refer too but did not have the shamelessness to bring up then and there.

 "I am glad we have not really reached that point just yet, however."

"Let me live in the illusion," he implored with a smile and a shrug. He supposed, in a way, he might have already been quite irritated with her when she'd been irritated with him, but hurt had turned him away rather than lashing out to her directly. The chances of his being petty or passive aggressive would have been much higher if he'd not been so desperate to make things better so he could stop emotionally limping.

He swore he knew she wasn't perfect, wasn't infallible. But, well, you know...

Feeling strange just coming off of apologies, but feeling a little more bold, he felt it was time for something to be said.

"I, do uh... have some small news. Things have gone oddly since then. That night, I mean. I warned the others and it seemed to be well. We have not had any trouble from anyone in the Glenn. But Lee did decide to go back home to Texas. Left me with a girl he'd just sired."

 She kept even with him, smirked at the idea of an illusion, a trick of the light that painted her like some sort of unwavering testament. It was nice but it wasn't really, she wouldn't fight over it any further. "He just left her!?" It was almost a yell, voice raising as her nose wrinkled in distaste. She tried to imagine a world where Mathis would do something so self-serving, decided she didn't want to after all.

 "I am sorry to hear that - how's the girl taking it?" They could dissect the rest of that absurdity at a later date.

Left her. Left the Sleuth. It was all an irritation that Levka felt come and go as the days went on. Some moments made it more frustrating than others. Disappointment came and went. Not having Lee on the constant fringes of his awareness while he was at home was a bit like he'd cut his hair and then kept touching it, forgetting that the length was gone. It was just... off.

"The girl is... fine, I think. She is difficult for me to read, but she makes a good enough bear. No fuss in joining me, even after she was left high to dry. So I suppose she is my new project." A little bit of a sigh, but it wasn't nearly a dire as some things lately, so he would deal. "She still lives with her parents, I am attempting to convince her to put an end to that."

 "She's going to end up eating them." And no it wasn't the clinical sort of tact that one would necessarily hope for or anticipate with her background, but then again that was a different life. And besides, the sun was bright, the grass was green, a new Were-bear had a high probability of mauling her parents, making a meal out of the bones and all. "That'll be a mess Levka, watch out." Doubtful that he wasn't prepared for it, but she felt obligated to prepare and protect all the same.

"How many pumpkins do you think? For the steps - four?" Like he cared, half a test and half out of curiosity to see what he would say.

Pretty much his sentiment, too. He'd given Beata his number and a firm command that was perhaps more a plea that she call him if anything happened. With her out in Red Rock it was harder to keep an eye on her, but he was determined to make the best of it. Beata was... oddly stubborn. He could not quite place her motivation for being what she was, or why she behaved as she did, but outside of her high likelihood of breaking her own home with her teeth, he almost... enjoyed it?

Maybe? Jury was still murmuring.

"Sleeping with one eye open these days," he said by way of assurance, then glanced down at the pumpkins in hand as she made the more mundane request. "Mmm, do five, maybe. I do not care for even numbers." Too much balance was boring. Three on one side, two on the other--that was his immediate imagining. An opinion without any real grip--she could leave it at one and he'd shrug in the end.

"Actually, there is a matter with Beata--the girl--that I could use your mind on, if you do not mind."

He had not meant to ask tonight, considering all the things, but he was feeling less uneasy by the minute.

 "Five?" She balked a little, thrown by the idea of the odd number, a little more comfortable with the idea of everything having its place - with perfect symmetry. All the same, she asked and it felt rude not to go off of that, smiling weakly as she moved to add a second pumpkin to the growing stack in his hands.

"Go on."

Five was only one more than four. If she wanted less, three was fine, too. But he wasn't invested enough to make that suggestion, and merely smiled a controlled smile as he moved his free arm to take the second pumpkin for a moment, only to transfer it so he was holding it by the stem in the hand of the arm already occupied. Still, did leave him somewhat indisposed for sorting through the pumpkins himself.

Didn't stop him from toeing a rather wide one with his toe as if to draw her attention to it.

But other things on his mind... "So while Beata is old enough to move out, and claims to like the idea of doing so, she apparently had... some fashion of illness, before? Something that required her to be under a lot of care of her parents. I do not know exactly what. But she says that if she is to move out... she needs an excuse, a reason or a way for her to move to the Glenn that will not raise suspicion or what have you."

A pause.

"Admittedly I had no answer for her, but maybe you are smarter."

 She moved as if to shoo away his foot like one would a pest, leaned down to scoop up the pumpkin and turned it round in her hands to assess it from every angle that she could. Seemingly satisfied, she offered it out to him before turning her face to consider the cluster a bit to their left. "In what manner was she sick to begin with, Levka?" Important depending on how they could possibly proceed.

Of course she would ask that.

He took the third squash on, hissing almost silently when the shift of his hand to make sure it was secure pressed it flat to the still-tender heel of his thumb. A small distraction, but it only took him a moment to secure his hold and think back to the night where Beata had informed him of what little he did know.

"Uncurable stomach issue, I think. I am not sure what it is exactly--I did not ask." Why would he? It was gone now, she didn't suffer from it any longer. And even if she did, it wasn't as if he were a doctor. "She is a skinny thing, though."

 "I was not that kind of doctor." Fair warning as he gave her ... a couple of vague clues but nothing of definitive value. "I mean, you could always show up and eat them." A definitive fix for certain, but without the kind edge that he was probably hoping to demonstrate where his newest bears were concerned. "You need a more medical mind for this ..."

Sometimes he forgot she'd been any kind of doctor at all, really. Not to say she didn't hold the part well--she absolutely did--but he just didn't think of her that way. The suggestion to eat them himself was a weird sort of tempting--not really a temptation so much as something impulse found appealing. The stuff impossible daydreams were made out of. But no, Beata seemed... fond enough? Maybe? He really wasn't sure, and beyond that... he personally put a lot of value in family. He'd encourage his bears to keep what they could of their human blood ties. Just... safe was also important. That initial distance was necessary to keep affection from becoming deadly.

"I do not know if I have a more medical mind to pick," he admitted with a sigh and a shrug. But the fact that Yana was as clueless about what to do with the situation as he was... did help his own ego a bit. Not that he'd felt a failure in the first place, but having Yana essentially shrug at him did tell him he wasn't unreasonable in being at a loss.

 "I have a cheetah." A sudden outburst, though she kept her voice low enough as to still be acceptable. "She works at a hospital not far, very polite and well spoken - if you'd like I can pass on your phone number?" Networking, after all, was the very root of why she had laid any sort of foundation on which to meet with him in the first place.

 It was then that she picked up a far smaller pumpkin that she had almost stumbled over, considered it. Not perfect, a little oblong, but at this point half the fun was stacking another in his arms and trying to see how many it took to inconvenience him.

For the moment, he didn't even seem to notice the additional pumpkin. It was more balanced on what he already had in hand than taken, and he visibly perked at the mention of a medically inclined cheetah. "That would be good, if you are not bothered to share." For all investigating some advice was really sharing. It was a bit inconvenient, that the bears didn't have anyone particularly intent upon the medical field. But it was no surprise--it was a hard career for someone in their line of life, and it wasn't like they were numerous to begin with. Weren't good doctors hard to come by? That's what he'd heard... somewhere, at least.

He wouldn't know. Going to an actual doctor had been off the options list for most of his life, really.

Either way, he had yet to meet a cheetah he didn't like, so Yana directing him there was most welcome.

 "Da, her name's Jackie - I'll touch base with her and then have her reach out." Wanting to keep the ball in her own's court. The last thing she needed, to give Levka her number and to hear back about an aggressive King texting her in broken English and seemingly making demands out of what should have been questions.

 She took a moment to consider him, how he looked with hands and arms full of pumpkins, none of which he seemed particularly interested in. "You look very nice like that." Deadpan as she motioned for him to follow her towards the small shed of sorts set-up to pay.

Jackie, alright. He seemed to recall... something about this cheetah. Was this the one who had called Yana up out of the blue and basically made her sound famous? A good one, then. Though, from what he understood... they were all good. Not perfect, but good. He was rather jealous at times of the competent sorts that Yana seemed to attract.

It was only when she seemed done with her gathering that he realized how many pumpkins he really had in hand and he scoff-laughed at her compliment. "This feels domestic," he decided, moving after her and carefully adjusting his grip on a few. They weren't heavy in the least, but they were also not really built for carrying. They were probably lucky that they had gone to a better patch, really, else he would have been at risk of the stem he was carrying one of them by just breaking off.

This had... been a good idea, he decided. A good distraction, something to do while they sorted their feelings out loud to one another. Perhaps there was more to be said, more grievances to be had, more apologies to be wrought. But this had been a soft-pawed handshake--the reminder that, more of than not, they stood on the same side of any given divide.

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