It’s a delicate moment, as Agatha and Deek try to forge a working relationship that doesn’t lead to them killing each other. Deek’s not that good at delicate moments (to put it delicately), and he would much rather discuss bears. Agatha is annoyed, and Deek barely escapes with his life.
I’m trying not to fall into the “I hate you so much I must like you” trap with these two, but its steel jaws are open and waiting for my careless step. It’s a fun formula, dating back to the dawn of courtship, so it’s not inherently evil. It’s just… not this story.
So here’s a fragment of the scene. There are some other bits in the scene I was tempted to share, but this part stands on its own pretty well and isn’t too long. It’s a little bit edited because Agatha’s physiological reactions would be distracting without the context that came before. She’s not human, after all.
Agatha leaned back and studied Deek as he returned to his pancakes. “You seem very blasé about it.”
“About my people hunting and killing you.”
“Oh.” Deek scratched his head. “I dunno. I’m not pissed off at bears.”
“Yeah. Bears eat people, right?” He swirled a slice of his pancake stack in the lake of syrup on his plate.
“Bears are stupid animals. We are far more dangerous than bears.”
“You ever fought a bear?”
“There you go, then.” He gestured to show the argument was closed. “You call yourself some kind of badass bear slayer, but when it comes time—”
“Deek, I could kick a bear’s ass with one hand tied behind my back.”
Deek smiled. “Uh, huh.”
“You wanna go to the zoo and prove it?”
“I— no! What the hell are we talking about bears for, anyway? Who gives a shit about bears?” Agatha looked up to see the waitress standing over their table, holding a steaming pot of coffee. The woman’s lined face was set in a frown as she glared over her reading glasses at Agatha.
Deek positioned his cup for a refill. “Apparently she doesn’t like bears,” he said, his eyes arched in an apologetic shrug. “I happen to think they’re all right.”
The waitress threw him a ghost of a smile. “Am I in the presence of another bear afficianado?” he asked.
“Bears are all right,” the waitress said. She filled his cup but didn’t seem to notice Agatha’s. She left on squeaky shoes to visit the next table.
“I can’t believe you don’t like bears,” Deek said.
Agatha pressed her palms against the cool formica. “Deek. If you say that word one more time—”
“Yes. Bear. If you say ‘bear’ one more time, I will kill you. Not just the metaphorical kill or the hyperbolic ‘kill’ people generally use at times like this, but I will really, truly kill you. Do you understand?”
Deek raised his hands in surrender. “All right, all right. You’ve got some kind of aggro thing about… animals that shit in the woods. No need to get all bent out of shape.”
I don’t think I’m giving away too much to say that Deek says the forbidden word one more time.