Situated in the center of a large, open meadow is a clustering of six trees, a flower bed, a few benches, and a plywood wall barricade. The area where the fountain was, and presumably the new fountain will be, is currently enclosed by high plywood walls. There is a door in one of the walls, firmly locked with a stout-looking padlock. The walls enclose much of the flagstone area, now, only leaving a little around the edges of the old courtyard. Scraggly hedges line one side of the courtyard, just behind some mostly graffiti-free benches and a chain link fence. Cars on the nearby street have an excellent view of the park as do any residents of the tall buildings which line the waterfront. The park is almost constantly devoid of people as its reputation for being one of the most violent and dangerous places in the city spreads.
The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire. A meadow surrounds the small glade.
The park itself is quiet, most of the folks being kicked out once night has fallen. And most of them left, except for Joey. It's quiet, and he likes it that way sometimes. Currently, he's enjoying a beer and a smoke while sitting on one of the park benches, looking out over the river. The paper bag around the beer can crinkles as the gnawer brings it to his lips, drinking down.
Bernie wanders into the fountain area, seemingly deep in thought, and pauses near the plywood barricade, tilting her head to the side and regarding it a minute or so, a half-smile playing across her lips. She turns then, heading toward a bench, most likely planning to read as usual, and blinks, noticing Joey. The half-smile shades into a quick grin as she waves, and wanders over. "Hey," she greets him.
Yanked out of his reverie, Joey turns his eyes from the murky water. In the dim light, it takes a moment for him to register who it is. Once he does, however, his mood brightens considerably. "Yo, Bern," he says, shuffling down the bench so she'll have a place to sit. "So, what's a Gnawer like you doing breaking the law and sneaking into a place like...oh, wait, that is kinda what we're supposed to be doing, ain't we?"
Bernie drops inelegantly onto the bench, and nods, cheerfully replying, "Yup! Not to mention it's pretty much my hobby." She grins again, and slips her backpack into her lap, unzipping it long enough to pull out a carefully folded black plastic trashbag. "'cha doin', just hangin' out, enjoyin' th' view?"
"Right now, yeah," Joey explains, taking another gulp of the beer before absently passing it to the girl. "Just had to get away for a little bit, you know?" His eyes go to the bag with no small amount of curiosity. "What's all that?"
"Which?" Bernie queries, accepting the beer and taking a sip. She makes a slight face -- can't help it, damn that corrupting Fianna influence -- and passes it back, continuing, "...Thanks..." Without waiting for an answer to her first question, she goes on, "th' trashbag, y'mean? I just come pick up th' trash here every couple-few days. 'cause it was seemin' like no one else did, like city sanitation or anythin'."
Joey's eyebrows lift at the admission. "That's right noble, you know," he says, impressed by it. He thinks about it for a moment, smiling. "Who knows what kind of Stuff you can find when you do things like that."
Bernie blushes slightly, barely noticeable in the dimming light, and grins. "Thanks... useta do it for th' park I useta hang out at b'fore I came up here, 'cause it wasn' technic'ly a park so no one really had th' joba picking up th' trash or anythin'... and I have found a couple nifty things, like last week I found the hood ornament off a Jag, which's kinda pretty, so I kept that."
Joey drives a fist into his opposite hand. "Bern, that's perfect. I wanted to tell you about Stuff. It's something Specific for Gnawers, with a capital S." He flashes a grin. "You up for another lesson? No Gifts, but this is all important shit for us Gnawers."
Bernie turns on the bench, the better to regard the other ragabash, and nods. "Cool, yeah," she replies, curiously, "pretty much always up for a lesson... so, okay, tell me about th' Stuff, then?" She sets the trashbag in her lap for the moment.
Joey puts the can down, rubbing his ungloved hands together for warmth. "Stuff is...well, Stuff. Gnawers collect Stuff, and the big dog always has the coolest Stuff. It's...stuff that isn't, like, real things, but it's not trash. Something in between, that you sorta know when you see it. Like, once, there was this thing I found I gave Jay. A little rubber toy mouse that glowed in the dark. That kinda stuff."
Bernie grins, sitting up slightly straighter, "...so... like, when I had just changed, Max gave me a nifty magic 8 ball? An' later I found this etch-a-sketch I gave her, only 'steada bein' red, like mosta 'em, it was made outta this shiny gold plastic, with black knobs an' all... so would eithera those be Stuff, or just, y'know, plain nifty things?"
Joey rubs his chin, thinking over that. "That's got the nail on the head, right there, girl," he says. He reaches into a pocket, pulling out another of those magic 8-balls, this one much smaller, and on a keychain. "I was gonna give this to you, as an example of what stuff was. Sounds like Max beat me to it."
Bernie grins at it, and unzips the main pocket of her backpack, pulling out the full-sized Magic 8-Ball and moving it toward the little one. "Look," she addresses it, "your long-lost kid!" She flips it over, and checks the response. "...Don't count on it," she reads, and laughs. "Okay, so time for th' paternity test..."
Joey shakes his own fortune teller. "C'mon," he says, chortling. "Who's your daddy. Is it this guy?" He beams as he flips it over. "Signs point to yes." He laughs loudly now. "well, this is a Jerry Springer show just waiting to happen right here."
"Magic 8-Ball Family Feuds: Outlook Not So Good," Bernie agrees, laughing, and shakes her head. She slips hers back into the backpack, asking, "...so what're we s'posta do with th' Stuff? I mean, I wouldn' wanna be doin' it wrong."
Joey hmmms, turning so he's actually sitting on the bench the right way. He leans his head back, cracking his back. "We...we collect Stuff, and show it off. It's only cool to those of our Tribe, or those who like us a lot. Matt might like Stuff, but don't count on the rest of his Tribe. When you enter a new city, bring Stuff to give to the Uncle or Aunt in charge, an offer of peace and stuff."
Bernie nods, filing the information carefully away. "...Matt 'preciates it, I think," she replies, with slight smile that fades as she shivers slightly and continues, "...but I can't even imagine a situation right now where I'd be inclined t' show anythin' nifty t' Steven." She thinks a moment, "...so when I go back home t' say hi t' my fam'ly an' see if they're kin an' all, I oughta bring Stuff an' find whoever's runnin' th' Gnawers 'round there an' give it to 'em? Or only if I moved back there someday, or what?"
"Both," Joey says, with a light shrug. "If you ever go wandering, and you think there'll be Gnawers there, bring something to give to them." he turns back to Bernie. "Month ago I went to Seattle, to find my folks. I learned Questing Stone to track them down and all. I brought Stuff with me, just in case. But Elan done told me there ain't any Garou 'round there any more."
Bernie is seated on one of the benches, along with Joey as he dispenses wisdom and etc, backpack beside her, and a folded up trashbag in her lap. She blinks at his latest comment. "How come? I thought we were ev'rywhere... an' what's a questing stone?" A quick grin, "...does it gather any moss?"
Joey chews on his lower lip a little, remembering. "From what Elan told me," he starts. "Something Evil came and drove them all away, or killed them all or something. It's why I found my folks, and convinced them to follow me back here. And Questing Stone is one of those Rituals I done told you about. You can find anyone or anything, most of the time, when you use it."
Matt is on foot tonight, so the only warning of his approach is the jingle ofthe chain link fence as he pushes it aside to enter the park. He's got a small rucksack over one shoulder, and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He heads directly for the fountain, and coming around it, he seems totally unsurprised to find Bernie and Joey.
Bernie thinks about that quietly for a few moments, and nods. "Well... I hope the Something Wicked doesn't This Way Come... the ritual, that sounds really useful though. That's onea th' things you gotta be rited b'fore you learn though, right?" She doesn't notice the jingle of the fence, nor Matt's approach, as yet.
Joey nods slowly. "Yeah," he says. "The Rites'll be learned after you pass your Rite. Maybe a Theurge gets to learn some stuff before they go, since they're the more Ritual types. There's Stone, and the one that you use to make sure your clothes stay on when you shift. Elan's gone and told me about a few others, that call Spirits to help you and all." Now, Joey does catch the jingle, and his mouth snaps closed, lest a Veil Breach happens, and he looks around quickly, watching for whatever's coming.
Matt is in a remarkably good mood. As he approaches he swings his ruck around on his shoulder and reaches into it. He pulls out a brown bottle and tosses it to Joey, just before saying "'allo, mates. Catch!"
Bernie immediately turns at the voice, breaking into a bright grin again at the sight of the other cub. "Matt!" she exclaims happily, "'sup?" She slides over on the bench, making some more room, and gestures toward the spot as she moves her backpack to the ground. "Y'wanna join us?"
From before, Joey is already on his guard. So, he smiles broadly as he finds it's Matt approaching, and is able to make the catch easily. "Thanks!" His eyebrows lift again, and he looks at the label, wondering just what it is.
Matt returns Bernie's smile warmly, and pulls two more beer from the bag. "'ere, Books, 'ave a Macready's. Oi'm celebratin'.
Bernie accepts the bottle, turning it a bit in her hands and looking it over. "Yeah? Whatcha celebratin', then?" she queries, glancing back up to the Fianna.
Joey just blinks, never thinking Matt could also get beer from where he works. He'll make a mental note of that for later. A lot of notes. "Yo, cool," Joey says, looking around furtively for a moment. Seeing no one around, he grins and stares at the bottle. In a second, the top pops open without the male Gnawer laying a finger on it. "What're we celebrating?"
Matt pauses while digging in his pocket to raise an eyebrow at Joey's trick. An application he obviously hadn't thought of. For his own part, he pulls out a bottle opener with the Union Jack on it, applying it deftly to pop the top of his own beer. "Oi got that fookin' couch up the stairs." He grins. "Turns out the bloke in 414 lifts weights, an' 'e was kind enough ta take the other end."
Joey 'hmms?' from behind the bottle of ale. He lowers the bottle, and thumps his chest once, now realizing why Bernie makes those faces all the time. "Couch, stairs? You all got a place, Matt?" he seems fascinated by this.
"Hurrah!" Bernie exclaims, laughing, and grins at the bottle opener a second before following the other Gnawer's example and popping the bottle cap off apparently by smirking at it for a moment. She giggles, "...I was gonna try an' get it there while you were at work, r'cruited Yi t' help me an' all, but then we went t' find other people t' help an', well, it di'n' work out. Glad y'got it handled though." She take a sip from the bottle, and does -not- make any of 'those faces'.
Matt makes absolutely no faces whatsoever at his beer. He and beer are good friends. Particularly this beer. He removes his cigarette to take a swig, then answers Joey's question. "Aye. Not to long ago. Coupla blocks from th' Rialto. Elson Avenue." He smiles, proudly. "Been savin' up for eight monfs, all me tips from the restaurant whoile Oi was at the farmhouse, layin' out fer nuffin' except fags and stellas. Managed ta save enough ta buy the place. Got a mortgage and everyfing."
Joey just shakes his head, just amazed by the whole thing. "That sounds so grown-up," he muses in his fifteen-year-old wisdom. "But, hey, a private place for yerself to crash ain't no small thing. It's worth celebrating about." And he does. With more beer.
Bernie nods in agreement, grinning as she takes another swallow of her beer. "Def'nitely. 's very cool, I know I'm suitably impressed," she remarks, teasingly, though it doesn't appear to be untrue. Looking to Joey, she remarks, "...'s pretty nice, too... prolly even nicer now that th' couch's in there."
Matt looks a little dubious at his being labelled a grown-up, even indirectly, but..."Th' couch isn't anyfin' ta write 'ome about, Books. Oi got it at Goodwill. But it's comfortable, an' it matches everyfin' else in the flat, in that it doesn't match /anyfin'/. By the way..." He digs in his pocket again, this time coming out with a chain similar to the kind dogtags usually hang on. This one has a bulky silver key, which looks to be freshly cut. "Got this fer you, and anyone ye choose ta share it wif, wiffin reason." He opens the chain and places it around her neck, fumbling a bit with the clasp when he can't see it.
Joey is silent as a stone, drinking his beer and letting Matt talk. He chuckles a little as Matt describes his apartment as any type of home he's ever seen. He goes quiet after that as Matt gives Bernie the gift. He knows there are sometimes even Joey should shut up, and this is one of them.
Bernie lifts a hand to touch the key, glancing down to look at it as Matt fastens the chain. She smiles almost shyly, and looks back up to him, closing the key in her hand for a moment. "Thank you," she says quietly, and lets the smile shade into more of a grin, "...I promise not to let any Amway salesmen in." Pushing a curl back behind her ear, she adds, "...and wait, you mean couches are supposed to -match- the rest of a room? I'll hafta r'member t' mention that in my next letter home..."
"Whot's an Amway?" Matt asks. "Joey, this goes fer you too. If you need a place ta kip, Oi've got a spare room."
A rattle comes from the direction of the fence; as Rina drags a stick along it; then she turns the corner into the park, heading for the fountain. Something in her expression eases when she sees them--the cynical smile softens into a more genuine grin, a flash of white teeth.
"I dunno, about two tonnes? Or that might only be a -Grand- Am..." Bernie grins, and shrugs, shifting more comfortably on the bench and taking another drink from her beer. "...Amway's like, a multi-level marketing scheme, where people come by an' try t' make you buy soap an' stuff from 'em." The noise of the stick on the fence draws her attention, and she peers through the gloom to see who's causing it.
"Still say that sounds like an airline," Joey drawls, taking the time to light a smoke as Bernie gives an explanation. He looks to Matt, lifting his beer in thanks. "Thanks, man. Though, I got a place or two myself, in case you all need to get away from stuff." He hasn't noticed Rina just yet, intent on the other two.
"Hey," Rina calls out. "W'sup?" She offers Bernie a grin, and then glances to the other two Garou, giving them a quick nod.
Matt turns to see Rina. His smile dwindles, but does not disappear. He nods, and stifles the desire to say something caustic by taking another draught of beer.
Bernie lifts her free hand, and waves a bit to the approaching kin. "Hey, Rina," she greets the woman, "...jus' chattin' mostly I s'pose... 'sup with you?" She sips her drink again, and adjusts her glasses slightly.
Joey pulls his legs back up onto the bench, taking a puff and a swig in time and nodding back to the Kin. "Yo," he says, as his manner of greeting.
Rina's smile fades a little, as she catches Matt's reaction. She tips her head slightly, and glances from one face to the next. "Ah. Should I leave, or somethin'?" She catches her lower lip between her teeth.
Matt shrugs. "Nah. Public park and all, neh? S'not loike we're plottin' ta overfrow the government or anyfin'. Cobblers, isn't even /my/ government."
Rina presses her lips together, her expression wary. She steps to Bernie's side, touching a hand to the girl's arm. From somewhere she resurrects her smile. "They treatin' you okay?"
The boy Gnawer's answer is also a light shrug. "Hey, I can't complain. Like Matt said, it's a free country, so'n we're being told and all." At this point, Joey passes a calm look to Matt, then to Bernie before looking back at Rina.
Bernie blinks, and glances at the boys, then to Rina, "Who, them?" She looks back at them, and grins, teasing, "...nah, they're torturing me, they only took the bamboo splinters out from under my nails 'cause they heard you coming..."
Matt lapses into silence, though Bernie's comments do bring his smile back. He alternates between cigarette and beer, wreathing himself in redolent smoke.
Rina laughs a little. "Well. Just tell me if I gotta hand out any whoopass for ya." Her grin is brighter now. "And I kinda meant people in general, not these guys in particular."
Joey stifles the coming chuckle at Bernie, drowning it in his ale. He takes a few more sips, finding he likes it. he gives Matt another look, and nods approvingly. Rina's comment gets a tiny smirk, hidden by his bottle yet again,
"Noted," Bernie replies, taking another sip of her own beer, "...thanks." She grins at Matt and Joey again, adding, "...hear that? No more bamboo for you! And the water torture has to go as well..." She shrugs, and replies more seriously to Rina, "...act'ly everyone's been nice an' all. Okay, granted, stretchin' th' definition of 'nice' for a person or two but I gather it's their version of nice anyhow, so..."
Rina nods, glancing down. "Good. Glad t'hear it." She looks up, giving the girl a little wink. "You get any trouble from them, you just lemme know."
Joey rolls his eyes, chuckling as he leans back. "Well then, I guess I'll give that Rack I bought back to the pawn shop, right there. Same with the Iron Maiden." He smirks, wryly. "Sheesh, getting to be no having fun with cubs nowadays, huh?"
"Books," Matt nods, "you really know 'ow ta take the piss out of a bloke's weekend."
Rina glances to Joey, sly. "Ya know, I know where you could sell off that stuff..."
Bernie giggles, and glances sideways at Matt, "Welll. All right. Maybe a -little- water torture, but the hot pokers have -got- to go. And there will be no burning at the stake. None! That's right out." She grins, and sip her dwindling drink again.
Joey lifts another eyebrow. "And I know a place, a club, downtown that liike like they could use that stuff, but I haven't gone in there so I might be saying stuff that ain't all true. Besides, it ain't my bag."
Rina flashes a grin. "Yeah, 's'where I was thinking," she answers.
Joey looks a little intrigued now, but not all that much. "Underground, huh? What's the deal on that place?"
Matt shrugs. "If you say so, Books." He glances between Joey and Rina. "Underground? You 'ave an Underground 'ere? Oi aven't seen a single station."
Bernie sits out of the conversation for the moment, pushing a curl back ineffectually behind her ear and just listening as she works on finishing off her bottle of beer.
Rina shakes her head minutely. "It's, ah. Not the London kind."
Joey takes his empty bottle, and puts it on top of Bernie's plastic bag. "What's that mean? Dunno what the London kind is. Underground here looks like some kinda club."
Matt smiles. "The Underground. The Tube. Trains whot run under the city? You don't 'ave anyfing like that?"
"Subway," Bernie says, opening the bag and dropping in both empty bottles, then leaning down from her seat on the bench to pick up the bottle caps as well. "They got one in L.A., an' some other places, but I don't think they got one here..."
Joey shakes his head quickly. "Seen 'em, slept on them some nights, too, but this city ain't got nothing underground except the usual shit."
Rina snorts. "Yeah. Sewers, rats, banes."
Joey nods quietly. "Usual, as I said," he says.
Matt continues smiling, behind his cigarette. "Didn't figure. So if it's not an Underground, whot is it then?"
Bernie shakes the bag, making sure everything within falls to the bottom of it. "Hey, nothing wrong with sewers or rats," she protests lightly, with a slight smile.
Joey stands up, chuckling grimly. "Just never go there alone, whatever you do." He turns to Bernie. "I need to go check on someone. You gonna be all right?"
Bernie gives Matt and Rina exaggeratedly suspicious looks, and then relaxes back into a smile, nodding. "Yeah, 'spect so. Thanks... have fun, an' all."
Joey nods again. "You too, hon," he says. He tips the bill of his hat to both Matt and Rina, and turns around, going elsewhere.
Rina watches the boy leave, musing a little. "Nice kid," she murmurs, turning back to Bernie with a small smile. "Mmm," she says then, remembering something. "Either of you know who's territory the park is, these days?"
"Mine?" Bernie suggests, with a half-smile that implies it isn't completely a joke. She shakes her head though, and continues, "Act'ly I've been kinda-sorta lookin' inta that kinda thing, an' despite appearances," a flash of annoyance, there, "what I'm hearin' is that last time anyone talked 'bout it, it was sorta communal everyone-protect-it territory."
Rina frowns, shaking her head. "Y'oughta call Kyle, maybe. I seen him and that other Get chick out here a lot. And I wouldn't wanna piss off Kyle... dude, if he says it's his territory he can /have/ it."
Matt shrugs. "If it's everyone's, it isn't really anyone's, roight? If we all protect it, we all have every right ta be 'ere, no need ta ask anyone."
Bernie shrugs. "I dunno Kyle," she replies, "but I'm th' one pickin' up th' trash an' all. An' he can't be here that much 'f I've never seen 'im here, that's for sure. Speakin' of th' trash, though," she stands, trashbag still in hand, and starts picking up the various litter around the bench, to begin with.
Rina moves to help, flashing her a quick smile. "Well, then you got plenty a right t'be here, no matter what."
Matt bends down to pick up the top to his beer, and drops his cigarette butt into his empty beer bottle.
"Should hope -so-," Bernie replies almost grimly, continuing her work. Important to her, apparently. She brightens up a bit as she pulls something from the flowers, though, and laughs, turning it over in her hand. "Okay, that's kinda cute."
Rina glances over, lifting her head. "Do I really wanna know?"
Matt raises an eyebrow. "Somefin' interestin', Books?"
Bernie takes the few steps back over to the bench, and holds the item out to Matt. It appears to be a plastic figure about three inches tall -- Daffy Duck in a Batman outfit. Judging from the short length of chain on a ring through his head, it was probably a keychain at one point, but the main keyring and any keys that might've been on it are gone.
Rina raises an eyebrow, and goes back to her work with a faint little smile. "Cute."
Matt hms. "Daffy Duck, eh?" He takes the figurine and holds it out in front of him. "Wabbit Season!" he says with a fair imitation (accent notwithstanding) of the duck's voice.
Bernie giggles. "Duck Season!" she retorts, going back to picking up the less exciting candy wrappers and soda cans from around the ground. She makes a face, pulling back slightly from one discovery, and uses another candy wrapper to pick it up and drop it quickly in the bag, muttering something inaudible about gloves.
Rina brings a couple of handfuls of trash, beer cans and wrappers, to toss into Bernie's bag. "Merry Christmas, Santa baby."
"Duck Season!" Matt growls, circling away to find some trash to pick up.
"Wabbit season," Rina murmurs, delivering a lunchbag to Bernie and flashing her a quick smile.
Bernie holds the bag open for Rina's bounty, softly singing, "...come and trim my christmas tree, with some decorations bought at Tiffany..." and grins, shaking her head. "Tweety Season," she suggests, "no one'd miss him."
Rina grins to Bernie and sings, quietly. "Santa baby, put a sable under the tree... santa baby... I've been an awful bad girl, but Santa baby, come on down the chimney to me..."
Matt counters with "Fairy tales can come true, it could happen to you...if you're young at heart..."
Rina giggles, a sound that makes her look a good deal younger than she usually does.
Bernie shudders at the song, but giggles as well, and meets the challenge by launching, rather more loudly than she usually sings, into, "It's a world of laughter, a world of tears, it's a world of hopes and a world of fears...."
Rina groans. "Augh! Not /that/! Evil! Unclean!" Her fingers make a cross to ward off the singing Disney.
Matt frowns. Not the Sinatra tune he knows. "Wasn't. Ol' Blue Eyes. For it's hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind, if you're young at heart...."
Bernie smirks at Rina, having had the desired effect. "'course it wasn't," she replies to Matt, "but neither was Santa Baby..." She considers a second and adds, grinning, "..granted, you singin' that would be even weirder than me singin' it..." Another patch of ground is clean, and she moves over to the next spot.
Matt mutters, something about getting "...one o' those stick-fings..."
Bernie pauses, blinking at Matt a moment, and then comprehension seems to dawn, "...like with a spike on th' end?"
Matt nods. "That's the one. Used ta see bloke in the greensward usin' 'em alla time, so they wouldn't afta bend over so much."
Bernie nods in response, and thinks about that. "'s a good idea. Already d'cided I gotta get some gloves... coupla th' things I come 'cross I just -don't- really wanna touch, y'know?" She makes a face, and adds, half to herself, "...you'd think it'd be too cold here for that kinda thing this timea year," before she shuts up, and colours slightly.
Matt furrows his brow for a second, confused, then gets it. Oh, his facial expression says. "Mebbe they were keepin' each ovver warm..."
Bernie actually laughs a little at that. "...yeah," she grants, "could be, I s'pose. Still..." A quick shake of her head, curls bouncing.
Matt abandons his public works project and finds a seat on the bench. A cold gust of wind forces him to zip up his jacket a little more, and he digs his cigarettes and lighter out of his pockets.
Bernie glances over at the boarded up fountain thoughtfully, and puts a last can in the bag herself, for the evening. Bag in hand, she wanders back to the bench, and takes a seats beside the other cub. "We still gotta do our recon," she points out, now that no one remains to ask questions about it. "Get things goin' on that... oh, and I found some stuff out 'bout th' park an' 'bout packs t' do with it... oh! An' also, I found 'licia's brother." The girl grins, and lets the bag settle beneath the bench.
Matt perks. "Alicia 'as a brovver?"
Bernie nods, "Mmhmm. She never mentioned him t'you? Twin brother, 's name's Benedict. He works at th' McDonalds, an' I was like, hey, you look kinda f'miliar, an' turned out he was 'licia's brother, an' wan'ed t' see her an' all, only she was still off doin' th' wolf thing, so I took her his number an' oh, she's back t' normal now by th' way, an' she wrote him a letter an' had me take it back t' him 'cause she's still grounded from th' city." She stops to take a breath. "So, that's nifty an' all..."
Matt nods, every so often, trying to keep up with her. "You've 'ad a lot of sugar today, 'aven't you," he quips.
Bernie laughs, and ducks her head, giving the Fianna a rather sheepish smile. "Sorry..."
Matt smiles. "'ey, at least you got somefin' ta eat. Oi was on my way 'ome ta make mesel' some jim. So, ye can't form a pack ta protect this place, 'cause that would be claimin' territory, and the park's claimed by everyone?"
"Somethin' like that," Bernie replies, deflating somewhat, with a sigh. "'pparently, Joey wan'ed t' do th' same thing, a while ago, an' they told him no 'cause everyone was s'posta look out for it. But he said, if I wanna give it another try, he'd help too... an' Li'l Tim said, this almost ended up bein' a Gnawer caern at one point, an' t' talk t' Pete Barlow 'bout th' pack thing t' get th' 'fficial story thing." She's talking a bit slower now. "I say I don't see why just 'cause everyone's supposed to take care of it, that's hurt by some people paying special attention to it. I mean, 's not like anyone seems t' be workin' real hard on it as it is, y'know?" She runs a hand through her curls. "An' we oughta feed you, then. No good you starvin'."
Matt grins. "Can Oi offer you a plate o' ramen? 'sa kind o' noodles. Foun 'em in the grocery store and they don't take many pictures. Quite good, actually."
Bernie grins, and nods, "I know. Staple food, 'n my house. An' yes, please... I'd love t' join you in a bowl."
Matt stands then, and offers her the crook of his elbow. "At your service, Miss."
Bernie swings her backpack up onto her shoulder, picks up the trashbag, and slips her other arm through Matt's as she stands. "You're too kind," she replies airily, with a bright smile.