Graupel Canyon supreme


They had a reservation for 7:30, but it didn't seem like it was going to be all that crowded. Still, it felt good to be prepared, and Dakila had shown up a few minutes early to wait for Vidya. Benefits of living not far from here, and also having been off of work for a couple of hours now.

It was chilly up in the canyon area, but he waited outside anyways, his hands tucked under his elbows. He didn't feel too terribly cold--he'd adapted well from his warmer climates he'd grown up in, but also thanked the warmth he ran naturally these days. What had once felt feverish and strange was normal now, a thing he hardly thought about. The wolf liked snow, the cold--it struck him as the correct place to live and to thrive.

In a way it was a shame that the canyon was already occupied. And more a shame that he didn't want to politic enough to even venture the idea of sharing.

He saw Vidya's vehicle approach and stepped out to go and greet her there with a smile and a wave. He'd even open her door for her, if she didn't beat him to it.


She hadn't wanted to dress up to the point of being overdressed for a more or less casual date to Mexican food restaurant, but she definitely wanted to do more than her usual. It'd been too long since they had the time to go out like this, and it was for a special occasion! So she aimed for somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, aware that Dakila wasn't exactly someone that cared about what she dressed like. Anyway! She was excited for tonight, excited to see him, excited to get out of Alameda for a bit.

Graupel Canyon was somewhere she hardly ever went. As she climbed in altitude and the forest seemed to swallow the city, she decided it was an incredibly charming little place. One of those classic Colorado towns that people went on vacation. Trees and cabins, snow, and camping. It wasn't somewhere she thought she would enjoy living, but she could see Dakila and his cozy, comfortable presence fitting right in.

She spotted him as she pulled up, a few minutes early, herself. Both of them were like that, early because on time was late. She smiled at him through the car, and moved to gather her belongings up into her purse so she could hop out to greet him. She didn't know why she didn't expect her to come to the car, but she jumped a bit in delighted surprise when the door opened.

Grinning fondly, she looked him over as she pulled out her keys, taking in his familiar smell, though noting the way his presence felt different. The cat acknowledged it with mild interest, regarding the wolf she'd always sort of written off as insignificant with a newfound caution. "We almost match!" Vidya observed, putting the inklings of the cat to the back of her mind for the moment as she slunk out of the car and into his arms.
Oh, but it was good to see her. The wolf in him, as ever, was comfortable. Maybe even more so now. He couldn't have told you why it was he wasn't bothered by other weres or even humans in the way he'd heard other powerful figures tell it. Maybe it was a matter of what his priorities were--protecting and minding everyone, even as the pack had become more at the top of that long, long list. Inadvertently training his inner beast to accept that not everyone was going to be a wolf.

Either way, it worked out well, especially here as she lifted out of her car and it his arms and he could enjoy the warmth of that. A polite but familiar squeeze and he laughed, "We do," finding it nothing he would have noticed on his own, but amusing nonetheless. "Similar tastes," he decided, then whisked back just barely to take her hand instead. "You make the look look better, though."
She wanted to squeeze him harder, pull him up against her and just crush. A mingling of cat and human cute aggression. She just liked him a whole lot! But she held back well enough, smiling at his finding sense behind the coincidence. Though, it was wrong! She tsked as she stepped back, letting him take her hand, "What if we just both look equally good?" She posed. Neither was more better looking, alright >:[
That pushed him right into a grin. Flattered and amused in a way only someone like her could really get him. "Alright, fine, I'll concede so long as you're sharing the podium with me."

They got to the door and he swung it open for her, letting her go inside to the warmth and the heavy scents of fairly decent Mexican food. It was inviting on a day like today. On a day like any day, if he was honest, but particularly when he was feeling cold and ravenous. What he wanted to do was settle in for too much food and very good company and briefly, ever so briefly, just pretend like he had nothing else that could ever convince him to leave it.
She waggled her brows at that. That's right, they were both hot, make way, restaurant. Eugh. Alright, maybe settle down there, V. Still, she felt perfectly comfortable in his company, a good match with him as they strode into the quaint little place. It smelled wonderful inside, like sweet spices and fresh tortillas. She was immediately salivating, fighting the urge to follow her nose, and instead followed the friendly hostess that met them inside. Soon, they were situated in a quaint booth that was decorated warmly was Christmas lights and poinsettias befitting of the season.

Shedding her coat, she folded it into the empty space beside her, sat her purse on top, then relaxed into the booth across from Dakila. Smiling contentedly, she propped her chin on her palms and leaned slightly forward, taking him in in the multicolor glow. "How was the rest of your day?" She prompted.
They both settled for the time, his own coat off, his collar loose and his posture in the booth casual. No one here to answer to, no questions that would demand impossible answer. No philosophy, at least for the moment. This had nothing to do with business, in spite of Vidya being his semi-frequent sounding board.

"Distracted," he admitted with a smile. "Leaving Rice Bluff after I called you was oddly difficult. Being home knowing it's close is... also difficult? I don't know how to explain it outside of just feeling like I should have been there all day." But he was here, and he was the master of his own decisions, even if the supernatural summons lingered in his consciousness. "Work was fine, though, nothing too critical so it worked out. Did you manage to go back to sleep after I woke you or did you need to get up anyway?"
She listened as she moved to pull the menus the hostess had left between them. Idly, she opened hers, but didn't look down just yet. She sort of got it. It felt strange, being away from the source of the magic. And she wasn't even a leader. She could imagine the way it felt like an anchor, dragging him in its direction no matter where he went. She nodded, smiling coyly to his question, "I was getting up anyway." A lie, but she wasn't about to let him feel bad for waking her up with good news.

"Is it weird to have the magic? Can you always sense the others, or? I don't think I actually know how it works." She admitted. Some Queen she would have been. That was mean to think, but it only reinforced her assuredness that her choice had been the right one.
He shook his head, thoughtful about it. "Doesn't seem so. No one's living in Rice Bluff so I couldn't tell you where any of them were or anything. But I know Alina used to be able to tell when something was up within the territory, so it must be tied to that. I could feel a few rogues, though." Odd. Just... 'feel' wasn't even the right word, in some ways. "Definitely weird, definitely going to take some getting used to."

But he found that he wanted to. It wasn't a burden, but it did motivate him in ways he hadn't really anticipated.
Just in the territory, sounded about right. She nodded, thinking back on it all. Asha and Abraham, then Frank. Yeah, that made sense. "I'm sure you'll adjust." She said in full faith, deciding absently on having a platter of quesadillas. "Sometimes I wonder how you manage to do that." She added, nose scrunching some playfully. She knew it wasn't easy for him. In fact, she thought that maybe she was one of the only people that knew just how difficult it was for him to adjust to things. But in the end, he always did.
He laughed lightly. "Only out of sheer necessity, I assure you." She'd been with him on a few occasions, through things that were rougher than he liked to admit at times. He did things because he had to more than because he chose to, but deciding to embrace those needs was also a choice. Dakila wasn't one to complain.

"I look forward, I hope, to a little bit of stability after this. Knock on wood." He rapped his knuckles on the polished table. "But in the meantime, live and learn."

Where she was mentally falling for quesadillas, he was already intent upon a taco plate with one of every kind.
He didn't give himself enough credit, but he was always humble that way. She laughed softly, head shaking as she mirrored his knocking. "All we can do, I suppose." She said, then looked up to him with a grin as she slid the drinks menu over to him, "That, and celebrate where things go right." What was the point of accomplishments if not to be able to celebrate them for yourself? It could be in many different ways, but nights like this were the easiest among them.
He took the menu with a glance, figuring tonight he may as well have something. Celebration, right... He did feel good, it was amazing what a difference it made. He still wasn't over it and he was pretty sure he was still going to be double-taking at his own state of existence for at least the next week.

"Have been going a bit more right lately," he agreed, still thinking the timing of getting back together with here had been... immensely fortunate. It had set her up to immediately have to deal with possibly his biggest crisis, but she had been such a solid voice of reason when he'd needed an outside voice.

"You still feeling good? With new jaguar around and taking a step back from leadership?" He hadn't heard complaint, but he did want to check in while he could look at her while he did so. He could read her face better than her voice.
She wasn't self centered enough to give herself any credit for that, but it was good to hear nevertheless.

As for her, she nodded easily, smiling in a distantly relieved way. "Very good. Blair is sweet, and I'm glad I can put my energy into helping just her, in a way." She explained. Was that a selfish thing? Only wanting one duty? Maybe, but she was helping take the stress away from Frank. He didn't have to worry about Blair.
"Sometimes it's nice to have a focused project," he agreed. "To make a difference in one space. I miss that sometimes." His earlier detective days had been somewhat like that, really. Have a case, follow through on it with little else to distract. These days though... an endless sea of dead ends and complications piled on top of a whole wolf pack. Go figure.

"She's settling, though?"

This asked just before he realized they had a waitress coming for them, finally, and he knew they'd have to lull a moment to order.
She softened at that, smile fading just a bit. Did he have to sound so downtrodden? She wished he didn't carry so much weight on his shoulders. Biting at her lip, she reached over to brush her knuckles across the top of his hand. He sought to keep the subject on Blair, but before she could steer them back, the waitress arrived. Pulling her hand away, she turned her attention on the girl so they could place their orders. A quesadilla platter, with a strawberry margarita, sugar on the rim, thank you!

Once the orders were in place and they were left with a basket of chips and two glasses of water between them, she nudged his shin with the toe of her boot, "You still do that, you know." She told him.
For him, assorted tacos and a paloma. Though nothing stopped him from plucking a chip almost straight away, even if he didn't get a chance to dip it before Vidya was digging gently for the good in him when he was being critical.

He gave her a fond look. "Maybe... but it doesn't feel like it," he admitted. The feeling had diminished somewhat as he'd pulled back and refocused on certain aspects, but the point was that he still felt like a lot of what he was currently doing could have been done by most anyone. No one was going to look at his current efforts and think 'we couldn't have done it without him.' And while that didn't bother him, per se, it also didn't satisfy him.
"You make a difference in this space." She gestured between them. Quiet, softer than she meant to be. "Probably not entirely what you meant, but." She shrugged, grabbing for a chip for the lack of anything else to do with her hands. "You make a difference with me." Is all she meant. Gushy, yeah, but he needed to hear it.
It wasn't what he meant, but also... god, it was touching. It just... okay. Even if he couldn't focus on one case, one problem, one life, having Vidya as someone who filled a space that no one else did, and him being able to the same for her. It did mean something.

He reached for her hand, needing it if she'd let him take it. "I want to make more time for each other. I know it's not always feasible, but I really think... you help me."

It wasn't a thought he'd taken the time to put into better word, but it rolled around behind his eyes, warm and earnest.
It was a good thing she had nothing else that she wanted to dedicate her time to more than Dakila. She took his hand easily, squeezing it softly. "I think that would be good for both of us." She said gently. It was endlessly rewarding to hear that she helped him, even if she thought she complained to him or weighed him down with too much of her own baggage. In the end, they were both making the choice to share each others burdens.
It wasn't really a new decision. But it was an affirmation of a decision they'd come to more than once. Maybe that was who they were and what they needed--a lot of tugging at each other as good support sources and being blatant about it.

"We'll worry about each other," he decided with a soft laugh, knowing they both could use that. "You're beautiful, Vidya. I could say that even before we got out of that dark room we met in." A small, tender throwback, sullied only slightly by the way his smile turned amused. What a time that had been.
That was a good plan. Worry about one another, for one another. She couldn't worry about her own silly dilemmas when she was worried about his. That wasn't to say she would ignore her problems!! Just, you know, it was good to not have to be the only one to overthink things.

He was being too sweet to her. She laughed, had shaking as she hid her face. "And I could tell you'd be a good cook." She teased back, wiggling a bit in her seat.
That made him laugh, and it was a good feeling. Today had been unexpected but welcome in a lot of ways. "We should watch About Time again sometime," he said, remembering it fondly but not really the sort to sit and watch a movie on his own.
Aw, wait, that was so cute. "I'd love that." She agreed, pausing with a growing smirk, "I don't think we made it through the whole thing last time." If she was remembering correctly. Not a complaint :3
"A risk I suppose i'm willing to take again." It had been a nice night, all around. A throw back to the way they'd met, a good movie, and excellent company.
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