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Anywhere and Else *Me (Thestarjar) and That Guy*

thestarjar

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Spindle smiled. "Yes, right!" He then thought for a moment, considering the implications. "Trees that live in sturdier ground... I- I have to wonder what sorts of properties would... what we could evoke from the- the leaves of something like that."

Theida was suddenly possessed with a fear that they'd actually try to find out, accompanied by a vision of enormous, toothy alligators invading their homes. "Ha, they're... pretty far, though."
 

That Guy

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Admittedly, Hother wasn't quite picking up what had her on edge all of a sudden, but he sensed her unease just the same.
"...A lot of the ground is stone and rocks, too. And the air, uh..." It suddenly hit him how hard this thought was to actually articulate. "...It...tastes different."
Bristlecone adopted a look of amused intrigue.
"How so? Like, it smells different, or..?"
"No. --Well, yes, but what I mean is..." He found himself tugging at his own ears in not-quite-panic; at frustration at how close, and yet how far, the concept was to being explained. "...It tastes like there's just...more air here. Not by a huge amount, but...Does that even make sense?"
 

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Theida nodded. "Yeah-- yeah! I think I know what you mean."

Across the table, Spindle tapped on his plate lightly in thought. "Isn't there..." He looked at Bristlecone. "Isn't there something about... being higher up makes- makes the air thinner? Er... How much did you two go downhill to get here?"
 

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The question disarmed Hother perfectly.
"Uh...Pretty far..?" The answer came with no thought whatsoever. If anything, the more thought he gave it, the more he realised he didn't have much frame of reference to measure it by, anyway. "But then...I don't know."
"That's what I'd expect." Bristlecone nodded, both in answer to his partner and in reaction to his guest. "You can sense that it's different, but not much-- but still enough to be noticeable. So..." The alligator stopped himself mid-thought. "...Ah, but then again, y'all might be more sensitive to that sort of thing, if that's what it's normally like where you come from."
 

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"I imagine it's better th-that you came downhill rather than uphill," Spindle noted. "More air is- is likely more manageable than... than less."

"Yeah," Theida said. "I came down from the mountains, so I bet it'd suck for anyone else trying to go there."
 

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"It's colder, too." It almost surprised Hother that it had taken this long for him to pinpoint exactly how to quantify that difference, in spite of its palpability. "More...wind. But then again, I think the trees down here are thick enough to protect you from that..?"
Bristlecone shrugged, grinning.
"I'm sold-- I think I can safely say I never want to go there-- oh, unless y'all invited us, o' course." He hastily adjusted his demeanour, apparently fearing coming across as crass. "I just can't be dealing with cold weather. It really gets to me."
 

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"Yes, a-and if it's drier like you said, it's no- no place for me either," Spindle added.

"Uh, yeah, you probably wouldn't like it then!" Theida said. "No need to push yourselves, I mean-- you're already meeting us here!"

"Tha- that reminds me," Spindle said, "Do you know how long you'll be staying? Not th-- not that you're under any pressure to, uh, give us a time. You're welcome to- to stay as long as you need!"
 

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"Ah..." Hother's eyes darted to Theida, then back, reprimanding himself for looking even remotely suspect. "I, uh...did we have plans? I don't think we had plans...I mean, no plans of what or when or how or--" He tugged at his ears again, a small amount of panic visibly setting in that each passing word, each fleeting thought, voiced or not, would somehow stand them in worse stead with their hosts. "...Nothing specific! We hadn't planned on just moving in here permanently, I mean!"
"So carefree..." Bristlecone offered his best approximation to a warm smile, aware of the irony of the remark, and at least attempting to calm the dog down. "I can respect that. Livin' each day as it comes. Nothin' wrong with that."
 

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"Exactly!" Theida said, latching on to Bristlecone's kind take on the situation. "We just want to see places! Well, I know I do. Here already seems way cooler than home."

Spindle smiled. "I-I'd almost consider myself envious. I mean, I'm certainly--I'm happy with the stability we have, here." He gave a fond look towards Bristlecone. "But I'm sure that seeing n-new places is exciting."
 
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"It takes all sorts, I reckon." Bristlecone returned the smile, then brought a broader look to encompass their guests, too. "...Now, should we get to talkin' about sleeping arrangements. It probably ain't anything like what y'all're used to, but then again, how different can it really be?" He offered a playful smirk. "Or are y'all about to tell me you don't sleep where you're from?"
 

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"I definitely sleep," Theida said, and looked to Hother. "Do you sleep?"

Spindle jumped up from his seat. "Bristle, a-are we prepared for guests? W-We've been in town all day, and I don't think we've fixed up the room since... goodness, since Magnolia was over! I don't--I-It's probably all dusty and dry and..." he rambled, pacing back and forth.
 
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That Guy

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Hother prepared to offer her a look, but cut himself off and just nodded. Whether she already knew or not was immaterial; they had a point to make, here-- not that they were still paying attention, apparently.

"Ah, it'll be fine." Bristlecone showed no signs of any kind of panic. "And if it ain't, I'll fix it up myself, so don't you go worryin' that precious li'l head of yours like you do."
 

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Spindle stopped pacing and took a deep breath. "Yes. Yes, of course, I'm... Th-this is silly. Won't know 'till we check. Really, we should get the table cleared first," he jumped back onto his chair and lifted his own plate, glancing around at the others. "Oh, but I don't mean t-to rush you all! Have you had enough to eat?"

Theida nodded. "Yeah. Yes. Definitely. Good stuff. I'd help clear up, but..." she wiggled the claws on one foot. "Not made for this type of thing."
 

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"O-oh, right, uh..." Hother hastily rushed through the last of what was on his own plate, then stood up just quickly enough to throw off his sense of balance, but only for a moment. "And I'd help, too, but...I wouldn't want to get in the way."
"Aw, don't even worry about it!" The alligator stood, apparently amused at their display. "I wouldn't feel right about askin' guests to do chores, anyway."
 

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Theida did the expression-equivalent of raising an eyebrow at Hother, while Spindle stacked Hother's plate on his own and moved back towards the kitchen, leaving the other two to his partner.

As the hosts went, Theida whispered with slight amusement, "Did you think I was faking or did you actually not want to help?"
 

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The dog blinked, favouring no particular avenue of reaction as Bristlecone followed Spindle out, the remaining tableware in hand, and, after a well-developed pause, simply replied,
"...Yes."
 

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Theida laughed. "I can respect that." She hopped down from the chair and stretched. "Well, I don't feel very dead of poison. Do you feel dead?"
 

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He placed a cautious paw to each of his own wrists in turn, and then his neck, as if literally every other facet of his continued existence offered no clue as to whether or not he was still alive, and, satisfied that he still had a pulse, nodded.
"Yes. --No! ...Yesn't. ...I don't. Don't dead. Yeah." He pouted, as if to reset his thought-process. "I'm inclined to start thinking that-- maybe-- we were caught up in some kind of comedic misunderstanding about the whole thing. I mean, they seem nice enough. What would a sweet couple like them want us dead for, anyway?"
 

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"I dunno. What sweet couple talks about how to poison their guests?" Theida asked, but she seemed less certain regardless. "Ugh, strangers being this nice is weird! ...But I guess you turned out to be not-evil."
 

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Hother coughed out a chuckle of uncertain mirth.
"Well... Likewise." His gaze drifted upwards, idly, his nose twitching, as if scenting the air would yield any insight whatsoever. "...Maybe we're too cynical. --I mean, I know, we're in uncharted territory, with nobody to rely on but ourselves and the kindness of strangers, but... like, why should we be so quick to assume that that's hard to come by? Wouldn't we do the same, in their position?" His face fell somewhat. Overthought was setting in, evidently. "...Wouldn't we?"
 
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