Ridgefield departures and arrivals
The city was too much for him in a lot of ways. Overwhelmed with sensations that made the dog and man cower as he walked along a sidewalk. He knew what he was here for and where he needed to go. Just a quick trip, he promised himself that. Meet up with Max, touch base and scamper back out to Hawknell.

He slipped inside the restaurant with ease after a quick double check of the address. Eyes scanned the visible parts of the seating area before him, as if it would be a giant wolf in a chair to greet him instead of a man. A...powerful man. Powerful wolf.

Whenever he might have spotted Max, Julian would offer a timid wave and thin smile before he’d approach for a more personal greeting, perhaps. It always stirred some odd feelings being around another wolf.
The Chinese restaurant wasn't crowded at all, most of the tables unoccupied and customers coming in for take-out, quick and brief. So Max had settled in an out of the way corner, but still easy within sight of the door with how small the place was.

Pointlessly, he was looking at the menu. He knew it by heart, but it gave him something to do while he waited for Julian to arrive. It didn't take long, that familiar sense of a wolf nearby, the familiar feeling of Julian in particular. Not so familiar these days, but... well, that was always the case. Too much distance, most of the time, even when they were pack. He regretted letting that happen because he did have a choice, he just made the wrong one.

Looking up, the sight of a timid and nervous looking Julian was also familiar, Max recognising that it must've taken a lot for the kid to do this. He didn't know why, he could just see the signs. Similar, but different, to how he'd acted immediately after coming home, still struggling with civilian life. Still did, with how he dealt with authority and what he expected from authority. He wished he could know why Julian was so jumpy, but it'd felt too invasive to ask.

He did get up from his seat, reaching for Julian to take his hand and pull him into a hug if the kid let him. It was nice to see another wolf, always. Nice to see one that wasn't in the mess Max had managed to kick off in their old pack.

"Julian, hey!"
He softly sunk into the hug as he tended to when it came to Max. Maybe not so quick to grapple the other man or be openly affectionate, but he welcomed it still. The wolf a whole explosion of the things that Julian did not do. Whines and submissive licks. It always embarrassed him to some degree.

"Hey." He hummed softly in response with a timid smile. Once released he would easily settle into his seat. Eyes grazed over the menu before they'd look around the room once more. The place smelled wonderful and was decorated decently enough. Not that he cared about such. It wasn't as if he ate in public places often.

"Ordered yet?" Easy small talk before they dug into each other's lives and the things that happened between encounters.
Max and the wolf that made up his core would always be happy to see Julian, whatever had happened, whatever small little rejections he perceived. The black wolf gave a sedate but no less enthusiastic greeting as Julian met them, the human happy that Julian went into the hug easily. In respect to the kid's usual reticence around physical affection, Max didn't linger in the hug.

Settling back down into his seat, Max glanced around, knowing the familiar face of the usual waiter would probably come over soon. He'd mentioned waiting for someone and with Julian here they'd have some time to decide.

"Nah, waited for you. Don't think I know your tastes when it comes to Chinese." He could've ordered a little bit of everything, but there was something about letting people order their own damn food. "Their soup dumplings are great."

Small talk! At least he knew this conversation wouldn't derail dramatically.
It was all nice.

Everything felt okay and not...forced. He had been invited out for lunch, he had offered to come out this way. Any grand delusions of an ill meeting had not been met yet. They probably wouldn’t be, but he couldn’t help but wither and worry in his own mind.

So he smiled. Shy but toothy and tried to plant some humor in his voice for his words. "Wonder how many dumplings we can order before they ask questions or kick us out." Followed by some awkward laughter because it was sort of a genuine concern?!
Huffing a laugh, Max shook his head very gently, smiling at the joke or possibly serious consideration. Max knew the answer, him and Emily having displayed their monstrous appetites plenty of times.

"They're... used to it," he admitted, ducking his head with another huffed laugh. "Emily and I are on and off regulars here, they've seen us put away a lot of food."

Not regulars enough to make it seem like they ate piles of food each day, but that was a razor sharp edge to balance on. Was the shifter metabolism public knowledge? He knew plenty of humans who put away insane amounts of food, but even they paled in comparison to what a shifter could put away. They did try to not go overboard, of course. There were limits to suspension of disbelief.
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