|2046-02-20 Stripes and Solids|
|Location||Ian's Apartment - Avenue B Apartments|
|Summary||Natalie attempts to teach Mr. Bandit to play checkers. Ian just wants to drink a beer.|
| It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and flurrying.|
It's evening, and Natalie is back at the apartment, sitting on the floor by the coffee table. There is a raccoon on the other side of the table, up on his hind legs, and between them on the table is a checker board. "No, no. Don't chew on the piece," Natalie can be heard chiding the animal. "You can't even move that one. No--" She leans forward to gently pry the piece from the raccoon's little paw, placing it back on the board. "Pick either this one, this, this, oooor this one. You can move those. The rest are stuck." It's better than the time she tried to play cards with the raccoon, or chutes and ladders. At least most of the pieces are still on the board, and almost none of them are chewed on.
It's evening and Ian has just made it home from work. His key clatters in the lock for a moment before he steps inside, a jacket hanging open over his scrubs and a knit toque on his head. A moment is taken to stare at the scene that Natalie has created as she attempts to teach the raccoon to play checkers. "You do know he's not a person," Ian reminds, probably not for the first time as he pulls off his hat and coat. "Raccoons are not documented on their game playing abilities last I heard."
Natalie looks up as she hears the rattle of keys and the lock turning, smiling at her brother as he steps into the room. "I know, but they're smarter than most people give them credit for." Though not smart enough to play checkers, because Mr. Bandit has gone back to chewing on one of the red checker pieces. At least it's not one of Ian's socks though. That was earlier. Sorry Ian. "How was your day?"
"Well, that's true enough. Teaching him how the refrigerator works was not the best choice though," Ian quips with a smile, dragging a hand back through his hair and leaving it hopelessly ruffled. The raccoon is constantly swiping things from the fridge now. Sneaky striped jerk. He eyes the Mr. Bandit as he gnaws on the edge of a red piece. Stop that. "Not too bad for a Saturday shift." Bending down, he briefly unlaces his sneakers before dropping down on the couch. "How about you? Get that paper done?" For mid-terms, presumably.
"I probably shouldn't have taught him how to do that," Natalie admits with a rueful smile. "At least he's not climbing into the garbage now, though?" Because he's too busy climbing into the fridge. Maybe not the best trade off. "Yeah. Almost. I just have to do the last bit, and then go through the editing process. I just got tired of working on it, and decided to take a break."
Ian chuckles, kicking his legs out and leaning his head back against the couch. It gives him sort of a scarecrowish flop. "Not having garbage everywhere is probably for the best," he agrees with a cure of his lips. "Maybe we can teach him to get me a beer?" He has given up and accepted that the raccoon is now a permanent house guest. It's not in the lease, but it's not /against/ the lease, and it is far from the weirdest thing in the building. "That sounds like a plan. We will have to work out dinner too."
"I bet we can," Natalie perks up at the idea, it's simple, and useful, which means Mr. Bandit might be able to stay longer. Her focus goes back to the raccoon at the rattling sound of many checkers moving at once, only to find the wee beast gnawing on the side of the board. it's with a sigh that she carefully tries to pull the board away, sliding the remaining pieces off to fold the thing up. "Mr. Bandit, I'm going to teach you what beer is." This is definitely going to go well.
"Well, he's got the whole fridge thing down." It's simple and somewaht useful, even if they are going to have a racoon delivering entirely too many bottles. HELPFUL. Ian's brows lift at Mr. Bandit chewing on the board as he sighs, "Dude." /DUDE/. Really. "Don't let him drink any." Please. "There should be enough left for you and me though. I am thinking Thai?"
"I won't let him drink it," Natalie promises as she takes a napkin and dabs at the soggy corner of the board, then puts it back in the box. "I don't think that we'd like what happens if he did." The picks up the pieces a handful at a time, reaching across the table to pull one from the paws of the raccoon to drop it into the box as well. Mr. Bandit gives up at trying to get more pieces and vanishes into the kitchen. Is he getting beer, already? It's hard to say. "Thai sounds good." The door to the fridge opens, that can be heard, and then some clinking. It's possible this is just rummaging.
"Drunken raccoon hijinks just seems like a recipe for disaster. Also like PETA is going to pop up out of the woodwork," Ian says with a groan of not entirely mock horror. The raccoon gives Natalie a little bit of a fight over that piece. Tilting his head, he squints towards the kitchen as the raccoon rattles around in the fridge. "Cool. You wanna walk and get some in a bit? Or should we attempt to take out."
The rattling continues. This is probably not a beer delivery. Natalie slides the lid onto the box and pushes onto her feet. "We could walk if you're feeling up to it, if not I can run out and pick it up since you just got home from work." The offer is delivered as she heads for the kitchen, and it's from in there that a sigh is heard. "That is definitely not beer. No-- no, don't take a bite of more than one!" A sound of protest is made by the raccoon, followed by yet more clinking, and then she reappears with two beers in her hand. "The raccoon delivery system is going to take some work." She holds out one of the beers to him.
Sunken into the couch cushions, Ian flashes his sister a smile that she likely misses most of as she heads for the kitchen. "I might take you up on that if only to get a shower in," he admits, dragging his fingers through his hair. "I don't think he should be eating glass!" He calls. He isn't worried enough to get up and go help though. His green eyes open with a tired squint that turns into a grin. "This worked out well. The Natalie delivery system." He flashes her a smile, accepting one of the beers with a nod of thanks.
"He's not eating glass," Natalie calls back. "He found the apples, though." Once she's back in the living room, and the beer is passed over, she drops onto the couch beside her brother. "The Natalie delivery system is more likely to bring you things that aren't pre-nibbled. Which is generally a good thing when it comes to food."
"Jesus." Ian stares up at the ceiling with an expression that universally means 'Why me?' "That rodent is lucky that you like him," he accuses, nudging his sister with his beer bottle after taking a sip. "Also that he doesn't have rabies." Really, they are all lucky about that. "It still amazes me that you thought a service raccoon would work better than a dog. I am never leaving you and Knox alone for extended periods again."
"He's very well behaved for a raccoon," Natalie protests, leaning closer to him so she can gently bump into his side. "And I knew he didn't have rabies." A pause. "I was almost entirely certain that he didn't have rabies. He doesn't, though, so see I was right." Settling back against the couch again, she brings the beer up for a drink. "A service raccoon is a wonderful idea. They have tiny hands that can do more things for you can some regular old dog. Not that there is anything wrong with dogs, but I got Mr. Bandit to mop up part of the floor. It was with a rag, instead of the mop," and because he's the one who spilled the jam all over the place to begin with, "but he got it mostly clean."
"Uh huh," Ian says with a hint of disbelief. Just a hint. For some reason. Swapping which hand his beer is in, he wraps an arm briefly around Natalie to give her shoulder a squeeze. Then he pauses entirely. "You mean you brought home a raccoon that you kind of mostly thought would be safe?" He says slowly, exhaling a long, slow sigh of frustration. His green eyes dart away as he takes a sip of his beer, looking for the bandit in question. "Mostly it means he gets into things he shouldn't be able to. Closets. Bedrooms. Fridges."
"It's not like they all have it, and usually when they do there are certain signs, I can usually tell," Natalie insists, head tilting to the side to smile up at Ian. "I did keep him in a cage for a while, just to be sure. I'm not going to actually risk us. I'm not that foolish." There's a pause, and then she adds, "And he's getting better about getting into things."
Regarding his sister with a crooked smile, Ian shakes his head good naturedly. "You are unbelievable." It's a compliment and a bit of sass. In all ways. "My animal-speaking sister. I should just be happy you're not constantly bringing home all manner of things," he teases with a little bit of a pinch. Taking a sip of beer, he nods at that. "He is. At least he's not wreaking havoc in the entire building." Just in here on occaision.
"I know," Natalie's smile brightens her features for a few moments. "No one out there quite like me." She wriggles away from him at the pinch, laughing. "He hasn't ever wreaked havoc in the building. I'm better at training animals than that! Also he can't figure out the door locks yet, so as long as we keep it locked, he won't be able to do that."
"Not that I've met. I'd worry for my sanity if that were the case," Ian admits, chasing after her with another pinch before he removes his arm. "Thank god for that. Please do not teach him anything with door locks. Although, I think he'd just keep coming back. I accidentally left a window open unattended the other day and he had no interest." Taking a sip of his beer, he stares seriously at her. "I think the raccoon is smitten with you. Me, he just wants to steal my socks."
"I think everyone would, it's a pretty reasonable response," Natalie laughs as she's pinched again, slapping at the retreating hand a couple of times. "He just likes me because I gave him a safe place to rummage, and access to unlimited amounts of food. In his mind. He's happy here." She grins. "He have some grudge against your socks though, I don't understand that one yet."
Laughing Ian quickly pulls his hand away as Natalie slaps at it, ruffling her hair as it passes back. "I suppose it must be nice to know he's happy," he admits, watching the raccoon's tail disappear around a corner from the kitchen. "It's always my cool pairs. Like the bananas." He is a grown man with banana socks. It happens.
Natalie tries to duck the ruffling hand, but she's not fast enough and her hair is sufficiently ruffled. "I didn't mean for him to get those. It might've been the color of the socks?" she muses. "I'm trying to find another pair of them for you, just like the ones with all the holes in them now." Her face scrunches up slightly. "Cool pair? Are you sure that's your cool pair of socks. Are there actually COOL socks?"
It has survived worse. Her hair. "I think he just has a vendetta for things that go near my feet," Ian suggests, gesturing towards towards his striped sock clad toes. These ones. Natalie's admittance earns a smile. "Thanks." Her next words just leave him sputtering, "Hey! Those socks are awesome. They are far more exciting than just black or white ones. The kids in pediatrics think they're cool." Ian that is a low bar.
"I sometimes forget that your standard for cool is measured against what little kids like," Natalie repies, but it's not a criticizm. There's far too much fondness in her tone for that. "Fine, by those standards they're definitely cool. I don't think Mr. Bandit agrees with that, but I don't know that I would judge myself by raccoon fashion either." Because that's not a thing.
"As bad as my sense of style may be," Ian replies with a roll of his eyes, "I think the raccoon who refuses to wear pants should probably not be in charge of it. He'd probably be wearing a lot of the checker pieces if he could." Mr. Bandit is heartily against his socks. "Well, I'm not pulling that many ladies either way..."
"I wonder if I could get him to wear little pants," Natalie suddenly muses, probably getting some terrible ideas. "Oh, or little hats. Can you imagine how cute he would be in little hats." Yes, this is a bad idea. Mr. Bandit will not thank you for this one, Ian. Even if it's not actually Ian's fault. "You're not pulling in the ladies, are you. When is the last time you even went on a date?"
Ian shakes his head and drinks some more of his beer. It is emptying quickly. "You need to join a club," he decides with an amused edge to his voice. "Or pick up a job before you start torturing the raccoon with tiny hats." Flashing his sister a grin, he shifts to rise with a bit of a heavy lean on his good size. "Who's got time, sis? It must be the socks." He is not answering that.
"It's hardly torture, nothing that adorable could possibly be torture," objects Natalie, sitting up a little straighter. "I should get a job though, I don't want to burn through all of my savings before I'm done with school. A club wouldn't go amiss either. Something." So she can stop torturing raccoons, and her brother.
"Have you seen how sad dogs look all dressed up?" Ian counters, polishing off the last of his beer. So sad, Natalie. So sad. "You should. I mean, you've got to be bored of my company by now?" He is not super exciting and works way too much. "Didn't you like doing the yoga thing back home?" That's kind of a club. It's active, at least.
Natalie opens her mouth to argue, but the truth is, those poor doggies do look awfully unhappy. She can't do that to poor Mr. Bandit. "Well, I'll ask him about it." Because she can do that. "We'll see how that conversation goes." Her beer is only about half gone, but she sets it on the table all the same. "I did like doing it. Maybe I'll start doing that again, it's been a while. I do so much walking here that I don't feel like I need to, but it was relaxing." She completely forgets that question about her brother's love life.
Ian takes that as a successful conversation shift on both accounts. Hopefully the raccoon will appreciate what he does for him, even if he kind of finds the creatures annoying. "Probably a good plan," he agrees with a smile. His empty beer is ferried over to the kitchen for a rinse before it is tossed into their recycling bin. "There's people though. Maybe the university has a thing?" Studio. Yoga thing? "Speaking of relaxing, I am going to hop into the shower. If you wanna grab thai while I do... that'd be cool.""Yeah, they probably do, I haven't looked at all the clubs," Natalie admits as she gets to her feet and slips her shoes on. "Yeah, I'll go pick up the food. Want the same thing as last time?" she asks, grabbing her jacket and slipping it on. "Mr. Bandit, you keep an eye on the place while I'm gone. No eating more of Ian's socks." He probably won't.