Posts by Dee.

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    cover your crystal eyes —

    It was starting to take quite a bit of willpower for Dee to not to just crawl into his boyfriend's seat next to him, but his darling deserved his own seat at the head of the table. He told himself he was honoring the position by staying in his own chair, and for the rest of the meeting, this reasoning succeeded in holding him back. The canine couldn't help but smile at the way he started things. It was amusing, if not endearing, and Asimov seemed to start most meetings with the same energy, regardless of the fact that this had been a difficult week for him.

    As usual, Dee made a point out of searching for the joiners to give his usual engaging smile and respectful nod. The night market preparations weren't a surprise to him, and he put a paw on his chest and tilted his head as if posing for a picture and telling the group- in case you didn't know, that's me. The second time he was mentioned, Dee turned back to the crowd, pointing a claw beneath his head and smiling. Boyfriend- that's me too. The mood, however, quickly changed at the mention of Kaia. Dee was expecting to need to reach out, to reassure his darling, but he found that things were the other way around. The capo nodded his agreement, any emotions hidden behind a thick, somber mask.

    Worrying about Kaia or replaying anything he could have done wasn't going to bring her back, and he trusted that there would be repercussions. His paws itched to do more every now and then, to be able to use his claws on the clan who had taken her, but he knew he wasn't alone.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    The little aquatic hybrid is the first to arrive, and Dee gives him a warm smile. "Good morning," he greeted in a sing-song tone, "How convenient that I wanted to teach, then." Dee shrugged for his joke, but he froze his paw in the air as his eyes caught the black of King's pelt against the wall. "Both ovens are taken, King," he explained with the same smile and playfully narrowed eyes, imagining that the militia capo planned on using the kitchen, himself. Oh, that was just too bad.

    "Hello, hello," Dee responded to Jasper, next, raising his paw in a loose, mock salute. Jasper wasn't the first person he expected to attend, but he was certainly welcome. There was a sense of pride in the fact that the feline trusted him to lead this, and seeing Cairo, that feeling only grew. "And hello to you, too, hon! Welcome!" He beamed. He had seen Cairo simply scavenging the cabinets rather than cooking himself before, and if he couldn't drag their underboss for every meal, then maybe he could at least set him on the right path to make something half decent for himself in his free time.

    "Alright, I think it's time to get started. Now you all have buckets and soap in front of you to start by cleaning your paws. I wash these floors enough to eat off of them, but no one here really wants to know where everyone else's paws have been, no?" He joked. "I've already started the fires in the stoves, so I'll be checking on those periodically. The one thing I have to briefly go over is fire safety," with that, Dee raised a paw for emphasis to show off the uneven texture of the pad, thick with cut and burn scars that had accumulated over years of stubbornly touching hot stoves and cutting himself while chopping too carelessly. It was a butt of a joke to him, at this point, and he made this clear with the amused smile that formed on his maw. He was self conscious of it his first month or so in the Cartel, but there wasn't any point to that anymore, was there? His boyfriend thought he was hot despite them.

    "Unless you want to end up like me, you're going to need to follow the proper precautions. Aukaneck, always ask an adult to help you with the stove. Cairo and Jasper, I don't think this is new, but to irritate- don't touch any part of the stove with a bare paw at any time. Do not leave the doors open, and hold yourself at a distance from them, using tools even if you only plan on adding twigs. We have tongs for that. Boring things, I know," Dee gave his own words a rather unimpressed brow raise and sympathetic smile, but he didn't plan on being responsible for anyone burning themselves. While he talked, everyone could finish cleaning their paws, after all.

    "A good temperature to cook pancakes at is 350 to 375 degrees, which can be read on the thermometer right here, marked with the needle." Dee padded across the counter to tap the object with his claws to point it out. "Adding small, quickly burning fuel items like twigs will help raise the temperature of the fire, and this key here- the damper, can be turned to give the fire more or less ventilation. Keep the damper mostly open to allow the fire to grow to a self sustaining point, then make small adjustments, closing it somewhere around three quarters until the temperature has climbed to 350, and keep an eye on it to make sure it's not still climbing. Any questions? Or can we move on to putting together ingredients?" It was certainly a lot, but hopefully nothing new, and they had notes in front of them to follow.

    //Long story short Dee is just saying how to heat the stove while he expects everyone to be washing their paws. That's literally all this is. I'm sorry for the length lmaoo

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee was neither a fighter nor associated with the militia division in any capacity, but at the end of the day, Kaia was a friend he was invested in seeing rescued. As much as he hated to admit it, King knew what he was doing. The canine wasn't quite able to keep himself from following at the call, but it wasn't to criticize the other capo, nor was it to offer his opinion in a topic he'd admit he knew little about. No, Dee was there because he felt like he needed to be. Perhaps this was less of a shock the first time he had seen a capture, with Battery, but he could remember the dripping wounds he had stumbled home with- he remembered his friend's pain and fear, and he could only pray to heaven knows who- anyone willing to listen, that Kaia wouldn't suffer the same fate.

    She was one of the most innocent, out of all of them. She didn't deserve to be caught in a rivalry she had no paw in escalating or supporting, and maybe- maybe if Dee hadn't drunk as much as he did that night, maybe if he thought to get started cleaning on the grounds instead of passing out on some fucking sofa while the friend he wanted to protect was whisked away, maybe she'd still be here.

    Silently, the canine would have taken a seat further away from the group, listening in with a solemn expression. Asimov was no longer pregnant, which meant he'd be attending but-- Dee swallowed his discomfort, not at the calm, even threat, given as a promise, but the knowledge that the exact bravery and drive he was hearing could get himself hurt, or one day, killed. He appreciated that his clanmates wanted to keep Penny home, at least. They were right.

    Dee opened his mouth with lowered ears, wanting to ask if there was another way for him to help, but that would be childish, wouldn't it? If he couldn't fight, then what could he possibly offer? "Mara could carry her, if need be, and Lily has his invisibility," he added simply, finding Asimov with a worried gaze. He needed him to come home safely.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    The night market was certainly going to require quite a bit of work- Dee remembered how much there was to do when Battery was tasked with preparations, but he was always up for a challenge. The canine wasn't easily overwhelmed by large projects, and he often found joy, not stress, in marking out the details of larger pictures. No, the anxiety usually came with one, tiny little thing: the need for help coupled with his perfectionism. Thus, when he was ready to pull people into the parlor room, he didn't appear to be taking suggestions as he had done with the masquerade. Everything was already planned out on a list, displayed on a giant pad of paper and its usual easel:

    - white and green theme

    - white tablecloths, dark green table runners

    - usual metal lanterns & posts, unscented candles, chains hanging between posts with ivy wrapped around them (ivy cleanup is needed on one of the south walls, how convenient), origami white flowers spaced between

    - new path marking signs (metal scrap can be found in storage for posts, actual signs in carved wood)

    - trellises can be moved to block off other routes of the garden and create more cohesive paths

    - alcohol bottling & cooking help

    - stepping stones need washing

    Many items on the list were simply moving or cleaning things outside, and honestly, yard work was going to be his least favorite part about this. That would hopefully be where his family came in. They understood he was short right? He didn't like to bring it up all the time, no, but you know how much better suited Ilya and Cairo were for reaching the tops of posts? Very. And his claws were good at folding paper flowers, so if you asked him, everyone had a neatly designated spot at the table. ...He'd bring the boys lemonade if he got them to work like that, of course. He wasn't that cruel.

    "Night market preparations are happening in the parlor, loves! I could use some free paws!" He called out into the hallway before returning to the couch to continue with his origami flowers. The stack of white paper on the coffee table still paled to the number he had tossed in a box at his side. He had picked up the practice from books as a pup, and he didn't need them now when he had the steps memorized. For how slow he was at folding, however, he didn't plan on stopping as he tried to assign his clanmates to other tasks. The canine's focused gaze was easily broken by the smiles he gave to anyone who answered the call, but only briefly so.

    // wrote this to be either post or pre Kaia capture, depending on what y'all are thinking

    cover your crystal eyes —

    As chaotic as Dee could sometimes be, drifting from task to task when he wanted to be busy, he was never long between checking on the state of his children, kitchen, and boyfriend. He had been trying to tell his darling to find him, himself, or have someone else fetch him the moment he needed anything, but... Asi's moods had the tendency to either blindside or creep up on him. It was hard to say when you needed help. Dee knew this, and he never blamed his darling for the times he found him struggling. He didn't mind checking up on him as often as he did.

    Of course, seeing the crowd that surrounded Asimov wasn't really a good sign. Dee managed to catch some of Asimov's slurred, shaken mumbles before Cairo's response, and he was quick to find his way over, making a rather forceful beeline for his boyfriend. "I'm here- I'm here-" he announced, his ears pressed back against his head hearing his name from both Asimov and Cairo. If uninterrupted, the canine would have leapt up onto the remaining space on the seat beside Asimov, immediately wrapping his front legs around the kitsune's shoulders and nuzzling into him. This was far from the first time he had seen their godfather like this, and he certainly didn't expect it to be his last, but no amount of practice staying calm about it was going to sooth the pain in his chest. Dee's movement was slow and smooth rather than stressed, but the furrow of his brow and tilt of his eyes gave enough away about his concern.

    "I'm here, darling. I know you're very good with numbers, and the Cartel has never had a better godfather, but Cairo's right. Why don't we try to rest while he finishes up the work for you? You deserve a break, and I've been waiting all day to be able to hold you again, you know that?" he repeated softly, trying to gently pull the bottle from his boyfriend's paws to give to Cairo. He hadn't seen Battery give him the bottle, else he would have had a few words. The same could be said for Jasper's advice, Lucian's handkerchief, and Penny's gift, all of which he hadn't arrived in time to see.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    While Dee had said time and time again he usually didn't enjoy drinking to the point of getting drunk, sick, or dealing with a particularly bad hangover the next morning, alcohol was one of the favorite things he had in common with Battery. Of course, it seemed like his friend drank for the effect while he drank for the taste, but you know what? Both of those motivations lead to drinking, didn't they? With Asi finished nursing, Dee was free to drink and smoke as much and as often as he pleased. One of his favorite friends to laugh with for a glass or two just happened to be free that evening.

    The canine was currently hanging over the arm of a couch in a parlor room at- oh god, it had to be past midnight now, but they were far enough from the bedrooms. One of his front legs limply hung over the edge, while the other was only raised for the cigarette hanging between his claws. He had set his wine glass down on the floor, but he was too lazy to push himself forward enough to reach for it, perhaps for the best. He had been going through glasses quickly enough that his eyes had a certain light to them, his normally clean cut smile a bit lopsided in his unregulated joy.

    "Talk to me- Bats talk to me, hon," he started, dramatically rolling himself over and gesturing as if the narcotics capo hadn't been doing just that for the past hour. "When are you and Cairo happening? You think I don't see what's going on? If you don't hurry up and tell him something I'm going to do it for you. You don't want me to do that, do you? Take that as a threat. I want to see you happy, and I love you hon- I'm gonna find that happiness for you. Don't make me find happiness for you," he laughed, rapping his paw on the back of the couch for emphasis on the last sentence. He had to imagine that the wolf knew by now how exaggerated his words could be past the first couple glasses- he wasn't serious, but yet again- this was Battery.


    Name: Dee

    Division: Host

    Cicerone or Alunno/Alanna?: Both capos can be alunnos right lmao?

    What skills does your character want to teach / learn?:

    - Teaching: entertaining guests, feigning joy or interest for the sake of business, manners of speaking, safe practices as a host, cooking, cursive writing, painting, etc.

    - Learning: basic combat skills & defense and/or how not to kill every plant he touches

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee had to admit that he had his reasons for choosing the Solaris Kingdom to visit, next. Asimov, his boyfriend, and his sister, Kaia, had old ties to the clan, and their sun festival had been rather impressive, as far as he was concerned. If there was one way to draw the canine in, it was with good food and tasteful décor. He had made a point out of adorning himself with recently polished silver and diamond jewelry against his black fur, and the minute he believed him and Ilya (who he had burdened with carrying most of the wares. He was twice his size, after all) were close enough to the border, he would have straightened his posture and held his tired head high. The host capo knew how to put on a face, after all.

    But heavens- did he hate the feeling of sand under his paws.

    "This should be close enough, hon," he turned to Ilya, giving the boy yet another appreciative smile. He wouldn't be able to carry half the goods on his own. Rather than sitting himself directly down, however, Dee pulled a blanket from one of the bags that the two had brought, and he took the time to spread it over the ground before sitting himself down, gesturing to Ilya that he was welcome to join. (A single grain of sand stood out starkly on his fur, mind you.)

    The canine began pulling a few items from bags to show off, although it was clear that he had much more. He took special care in selecting what goods he thought would most interest the clan. For the Solaris Kingdom, this was a pair of gold and ruby earrings matched with the thin chains of a layered gold necklace displayed in an open box, a white silk table cloth and cloth napkin set with golden embroidered edges (Kaia's doing, of course- bless her), a white porcelain teacup set with black floral details, and of course, baked goods as always: a peach crostata covered in powdered sugar, salted caramel millionaire squares, and butter pecan cookies. With that, the canine would have finally announced himself. "Cartel merchant! I have jewelry, dinnerware, and baked goods, darlings!" he called, smiling with his usual charming grin and analytical gaze.

    // ILYA A.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee preferred to simply address customers as they came to the border, but at the end of the day, he supposed he should be taking a more proactive approach as capo. His legs ached easily when travelling, but he had brought Ilya as a much larger companion to shoulder most of the weight of any goods, and he had been in a relatively high mood lately. Since their militia capo had been quick to take on other associates, the canine took the excuse to pay the Sanctuary another visit.

    He chose to remain the Cartel's ambassador to the clan for a reason. The scenery was gorgeous. The people were a unique group to see, and- well, in high spirits, he was easily attached. He had recently seen three of his cubs leave for the Ruins for the alliance litter, but his pledge of remaining sober with his boyfriend for as long as he was nursing was over. It was clear enough by the way that cigarette smoke clung to his pelt. He hadn't hesitated to throw away all the work he had put into quitting, and the familiar comfort was certainly contributing to his mood, even if he wasn't eager to smoke or drink in front of Ilya.

    Now, Dee had his usual white messenger bag, himself. He politely stopped at the border to relieve himself of its weight, carefully readjusting the silver jewelry that hung by his neck and ears to prepare for company. "You can drop the bags, love. Thank you again for coming," he smiled at Ilya, briefly giving him his attention before turning his head to announce the both of them. "I'm here as a merchant, not an ambassador today. I have alcohol, baked goods, party supplies, and jewelry, if anyone is interested!" As always, Dee had taken on a rather practiced smile and accent for business. His natural accent was something humans could have recognized as mildly new england, but he was skilled in code switching into a smooth, transatlantic voice at this age. He dropped his 'r's at the end of words and rounded his 'a's into 'aw's past a certain number of drinks or with enough emotion, but he didn't exactly enjoy the sound. It reminded him too much of his father.

    With that, the capo would have begun taking out a few items for show, including containers of connolis and raspberry tarts, a few aged bottles of wine, a jade bead necklace, and pieces of a silverware set with vine and flower engravings in particular. He didn't expect Sanctuarians to be the type to go for the wine and jewelry as much as the baked goods, but that wasn't a bother for him. Besides, alcohol assuredly fell more directly under Batterychicken's division. (He almost thought to bring cigars, but that would be insensitive, no?)

    // ILYA A.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee turns his head once he hears Mara's voice, blinking for a moment as he processed the words. He had seen both her and Whiskey around the Cartel before, but he had a hard time saying that he'd ever get used to her imposing size. (He did appreciate that she had laid down to face him.) His first thought was that he was going to need to have someone raise some of the light fixtures and chandeliers about the mansion so she wouldn't have to worry about hitting her head, and his second thought- a bittersweet, but nonetheless appreciative smile settled upon his maw. It was a rather sensitive question compared to the hardened expression the lupurca wore. "I'm afraid it wasn't my choice. I've known that this was coming for a long time now," he answered simply, implying that if it were up to him, he'd be pulling them right back to the Cartel. Their home.

    Dee turned his attention back to the blank page, his eyes lost in thought. He always knew this was coming, so why was it hard? Just as quickly as he lost himself, however, Kaia was bringing him back into the room with the touch of her wings. He smiled, genuinely, seeing what she had brought. The woman was quite the empath, wasn't she? "Thank you, hon. I'm sure Cleo and Cyprus will love them," he purred, tilting his head to hopefully hold her eyes for a moment. The capo's smile widened into a full, proud grin seeing Valery had brought gifts as well, and the feeling in his chest warmed considerably. What did he do to deserve such a sweet darling?

    "Speaking of bones- These are all perfect. You're such a sweetheart, you know that? Did you pick these yourself? They're lovely," he praised, gathering up the flowers, sticks, and grass between his paws to immediately tuck them into the basket. His claws quickly began arranging the sticks and grass to make it clear that they belonged in there alongside the flowers. Every piece of Val's work belonged in the bouquet. "-Oh, no rush, pumpkin! I'm not going anywhere!" He turned to call at Dunya, who had disappeared through the doorway as quickly as she had came.

    Now, Dee almost felt guilty that the girl was giving away her coins. Considering he didn't know where she had gotten them, he couldn't imagine that she had many for herself. "I'm sure they can buy themselves something very nice with those. It's very sweet of you," he responded, getting a bit emotional, now, for a very different reason than he had started with. Maybe he'd talk to Asi about giving them an allowance, provided that they kept their rooms clean, helped him with the dishes here and there- oh, that sort of thing.

    "Oh- thank you, Penny. I don't mind washing them, not at all! I'm sorry you're ill, hon. It means a lot to me that you'd even leave your bed for this," he went on, gesturing with his paw when his energy seemed to have quickly returned to him. Penny was thoughtful enough to distance himself, as well, which he appreciated, and silently, Dee thanked him for being kind to the children despite any dispute he had with Asimov. "Thank you. All of you. I'm writing a letter to go alongside the baskets, and I'll add your names," he added more softly. He hadn't expected such an overwhelming response to his call, but that was just how their family was. He shouldn't have been surprised to have so many thank you's to give.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee suspected Asimov had fears surrounding the topic, but he would be overjoyed, himself, to see the children take after their papa. Driven, brave, charismatic, as confident as Asimov could be on his high moods- the capo could only watch with pride and joy as he learned more about who the cubs may be as adults, and he'd love them regardless, but that didn't mean that he couldn't have his hopes. Valery clearly resembled Asimov. He had pointed it out too many times, now, how much he loved the markings and reddish hue of his fur. Dee was always tolerant of antics, too, and the cubs likely knew by now that he often took pride in their cleverness instead of scolding them for technically, by a book definition, misbehaving.

    Now, the canine was only planning on checking up on the boy. He was never long between taking note of where the cubs were, or asking for the umpteenth time if they wanted anything to eat, and beside it all, he wanted to check that they were keeping their rooms clean. Dee set down a tray of sugar cookies on the floor to have his mouth free. "Valery," he sang softly, tapping his paw twice on the door with his usual smile. He heard the cub's paws on the floor, so he knew he was in there. "I have cookies, love. Can I come in?" Asking permission was a relatively new thing for him. They deserved a bit more privacy at four months, didn't they?

    cover your crystal eyes —

    "Hi, hon." Dee returned softly, pulling the cart in behind him. He wasn't surprised to see she was in her usual spot on the bed, but it still wasn't hard to feel the weight the small feline was under, as if it was something that settled about the entire room, pressing them both down. She had lifted her head to see him, and despite the hoarseness of her voice, she had greeted him, as well. The effort wasn't lost on him. The canine returned the look with a small, knowing smile, immediately leaping up onto the bed beside her once he had the tray close enough.

    If he could, he would have reached out a paw to start running his claws through the fur at the top of her head, gently smoothing it over. "Chamomile, chai, raspberry leaf, or hibiscus, love?" He asked rather simply. The canine had decided to forgo 'if' questions fairly early on. It was always when, which, or who with him, to avoid giving her any opportunity to say say that she didn't need the help. He had other things he wanted to say- asking how today was compared to yesterday, and telling her matter-of-factly that he planned on carrying her on his back outside today for some fresh air after they had tea and cookies, but he wanted to take things slow and give her ample time to respond.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    As interesting as Cartel lessons could be, Dee had a special interest in seeing others learn a few things from Kaia. The canine, himself, had quickly found that any of his reminders were nothing more than that: unsuccessful, annoying repetitions, and if anyone could instill a new habits into his clanmates, he had to say it was the resident princess. Now, he found some of his clanmates' bad habits to be endearing at this point, but that wasn't something he wasn't going to readily admit. It was all fun and games for him to act exasperated by Battery's ketchup problems -yes, plural- but someone needed to take up a position against him. It was just the natural balance of things, else the dinning room would degenerate into a truly lawless place.

    "Don't mind me," he smiled, taking up a position in the corner rather than directly in front of Kaia. He didn't need the lesson, himself, of course, no. He was just here to observe Kaia's students. Dee would have only given a polite nod and smile to Kaia, and he made a point out of keeping his posture straight and his head high as he surveyed the room.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    As much as Dee enjoyed control at times, the concept of ownership, even service without proper pay, could make him uneasy. He understood that Lily's period as a servant had been given with purpose, but in the comfortable, secure place he had found himself in, sympathy came before the itch for power. He spent much of his time cleaning, cooking, and fetching things for others, himself. Maybe that was what bothered him more deeply than any sympathy, any morality- he was nothing less for wanting to take care of his family. It was something he still struggled with every now and then in his worst moods, how he could be both a capo and caretaker. His father always said he wasn't a businessman. He was at best, a housewife, and at worst, a whore.

    And on his good days, he found satisfaction in knowing that he could be all three in the Cartel, if only to spite the man.

    Now, if hearing the words collar paired with owner wasn't exactly what he wanted to hear from a stranger at the border, but approaching the group, Dee found that this wasn't what gripped his mind the hardest. He could see how malnourished this stranger was, and the worry was clear on his face seeing it. The canine's brow was furrowed, and his mouth had settled as a tight line, rather than it's usual smile. "I'm going to die of exhaustion hearing one more word out of you, King," he sighed, only briefly turning to King to give him a second-long glare. He could already hear the serval telling him that he'd enjoy that outcome, but there were more pressing matters.

    "What was the last time you had something to eat, love? I... Don't believe you have an owner here, but if your memory is failing you, you might be in need of rest, and you're more than welcome to stay here," he explained as gently as he could, his eyes roaming over the strange purple hue and smoke that accompanied his pelt. There were too many things Dee wanted to address- how was it he knew he was owned by someone if he couldn't name this person? Collars could just be accessories. Nothing more.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee had been lounging in his usual chair, pensively watching the conversation unfold. He had smiled at the joke on King's behalf, making a point out of trying to find eye contact with his dear friend, demonstrating the very thing he seemed to always lack. At this point, he'd be overjoyed to see the serval smile. What a sad life he must lead, that he never finds the reason to. The mention of Wavepool's division, however, had Dee raising his brow at Asimov in light criticism. The same way many people hadn't come to the border looking for hosts lately, they hadn't come asking for herbs, either, so his darling didn't need to be so harsh about the delivery. He knew he couldn't change him, and by no means did he ever want to, but that didn't mean that he was going to agree with everything he said, either.

    Considering there were enough people already in favor of remaining neutral when it came to providing militia work, Dee decided to finally address matters concerning his own division. "I planned on taking Ilya to see if any associates would be interested in buying food, party supplies, planning, catering, that sort of thing. I don't expect to have the success of alcohol, but it's something. I was considering selling jewelry, and other miscellaneous crafts as well. That would fall under my division, no?" He asked, gesturing with his paw and waving his claws for emphasis.

    Despite the lazy way he had relaxed into his seat (a comfortable position he would never have thought of falling into his first few weeks in the Cartel), his eyes held genuine curiosity. Narcotics sold drugs and alcohol. Nurse sold medicine. Militia sold weapons. Host was left with prostitution and parties, so was it much of a jump to use his tongue for selling jewelry?

    cover your crystal eyes —

    While Dee had had his paws full between the children, checking on Pastel, and party planning lately, he hadn't forgotten about the task Lily had given him the week before. (As much as he hated water, he was excited to get a spa day going too. Relaxation was something he could feel from others. He didn't need to partake in it to enjoy it.) Part of him had a rather dark satisfaction in being relied upon for meals, but he knew he would enjoy hosting a cooking class, too. It was a joy he could share with his family. Now, he didn't expect to have all that much success with one lesson, but that was another story. What mattered was the effort.

    Thus, the host capo had made his usual signs to hang on doors and around the halls, displaying his neat cursive with the words: "Cooking Lesson with Dee - Learn how to make pancakes and syrups!" Below, of course, was the location (kitchen, where else?), time, and date, and for each one he made, he had also doodled cartoon little pancake stacks and syrup bottles in the corners, alongside his usual borders and underlining. (Cleo would have loved them, wouldn't she?) Pancakes were such a small thing, but he was going to have to teach kitchen hygiene and how to safely use the wood burning stove as well. If this went well, he could have more lessons in the future, which was really just lovely.

    Dee was currently waiting in the kitchen, being small enough that he could comfortably fit at the head of the room in the gap between the counter and the cabinets above. He had four small stations at the ready on the island, with mixing bowls, individual bags of flower, measuring cups, written directions to go alongside his words, the list went on. Things could become crowded if he added more positions, and beside it all, he was going to need to supervise no more than two people at a time in using the stovetops. Still, he was visibly excited, curling his long, sleek tail from side to side and offering a grin to whoever had entered the room. He had even tied an apron about his middle, one with a joyfully bright blue color against his black fur.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    Dee hadn't quite been the same the past few days. He set the table as if Cyprus, Cleo, and Niko were still present, and he had been spending too much time in their old rooms, assuring others that he was only 'cleaning' the already spotless spaces. Still, Asimov always knew how to calm him. His darling had been the one to suggest that he put his energy to good use; idle paws were much more likely to roam the halls in melancholy, but work, especially work that would benefit the cubs, was more than enough to keep his mind occupied.

    The host capo was currently filling three fairly large baskets with various Cartel-esque comforts, from his own cookies, to a few forgotten toys, blankets, new booties, more clay for Niko to write in, and a teaset Cleo. The gaps were decorated with flowers that grew on the territory, and Dee had woven bright yellow ribbons into the sides. Still, there was always room for more. "I'm making gift baskets for Cleo, Cyprus, and Nik, if anyone wants to add to them!" he'd call out into the hallway before returning to his spot on the kitchen table. His claws were never long in between adjusting the ribbons or moving something ever so slightly to the side. He could already imagine the smiles the three might have seeing the baskets, and they were a warm reminder for both him and the darlings- no amount of distance nor time was going to stop him from being their father.

    Once he had finished with the ribbons, Dee would have moved on to begin writing a letter to accompany the baskets, but the page remained blank. He could only hold his pen above the very blank sheet of paper, trying to find words other than I love you, or I miss you. They knew he loved them, and he didn't want them to feel guilty for something they couldn't control. He wanted them to think that he was alright--- god, what was he saying? He was looking out for them, and not the other way around, no matter how strong Cleo's sympathy could run.

    cover your crystal eyes —

    What was the last time they enjoyed a glass of wine together? It was strange to think that he had been sober most of their relationship. As much as he didn't want to say that wine made any of his decisions for him, especially not romantic ones, he hadn't had it to soften the blow of any arguments or calm any of his anxiety along the way. He didn't need it with Asi. His darling fit next to him like a puzzle piece, and he relished the warmth of his touch, forcing himself to lean away from it just enough to pour their glasses. "I love you," he echoed with a bit of a chuckle. How had he found a man that loved to repeat the words as much as he did, Dee didn't know. He was going to jokingly toast to being free from sobriety, but his darling's expression changed.

    His smile faded once he felt the tone shift, and he silently set his glass back down on the table. Dee would have pressed a paw to Asimov's shoulder to say that he was here for him, whatever he wanted to say, and tilted his head to hold his eyes, letting him know he had his full attention. Dee knew it wasn't easy to talk about the past, and while his mind was already thinking he was here to comfort him, the curiosity was there as well.

    Dee shifted in his seat at the word ghoul. He knew the word, but memories of it were vague horror tales he heard from family members, and-- there weren't pleasant images that came to mind. It wasn't something he expected to think of when he was sitting in front of Asimov. It took quite a bit from him, but his expression remained neutral, and when his darling paused and reached for his paw, Dee's mind was slipping all too quickly into the horror of not being able to control himself. He could imagine the disgust, frustration, and now-- the remorse in Asimov's eyes for something he likely couldn't have prevented. Dee lowered his ears in worry, pressing his nose just under Asimov's head, but tilting his own to be able to hold his eyes.

    //the actual post is pretty much below

    I killed someone a few months ago had him freezing. He said he had it fixed with shapeshifting- But he had his explanation soon enough, and his breath was hitching on it just the same. Dee pulled his head back to speak, but he only found himself opening his mouth and blinking. Asimov always knew how to leave him speechless. He was the one person Dee didn't mind having that sort of power over him. He started shaking his head, trying to keep himself together when he felt the sting of tears pressing at his eyes. "You know I'd die for you and the kids, don't you? You're everything to me, and I'm always going to be right here. As long as you'll have me." I'm in too deep, sweetheart.

    Dee wasn't sure what he was doing- His darling could have leaned first to kiss him. He could have been the one to, just as easily, but it didn't matter once he had him. His eyes fluttered shut, and while he let Asimov lead, he raised a paw to press at the back of his neck, desperate to close a gap that was no longer there. He knew his boyfriend. He knew his lips and the way he kissed, but that never stopped Dee from losing himself to it every time, kissing him back as if he needed to take his time learning him all over again- slow and deep. He wanted him to feel what they had shared with one another, and they had all the time in the world.

    That's why it had been so easy to stop drinking. That's why he was able to quit smoking as quickly as he did. Asimov reminded him time and time again what a powerful drug he was, and Dee didn't need anything else.

    Dee pulled back just enough to stop the both of them, not trusting himself not to escalate. They had wine to drink, and he had a pair of eyes he was rather enjoying focusing on right now. The canine began gently running his claws through the fur on the side of his face, smiling at him all the while with the same adoration in his eyes he was sure his darling was used to seeing. The first topic was lost- Nothing Asimov could tell him would be enough to come between them. Not for Dee.

    "Darling, your name isn't Ornias anymore, is it?" He asked softly, but expectantly, knowing that he was likely touching something difficult. Asimov wasn't his first name, not when his children held it as a surname. Dee wanted him to understand that that was what was most important to him. He didn't care what Ornias had done- He cared about the man he had fallen in love with, and what he was doing now. If he wanted comfort over the past then he'd always be here, but none of it defined him in his eyes.

    And yet, Dee was sure he'd love anyone his darling was capable of being. Wherever time took the both of them, he meant his words- he'd be here for him.