Foreverhome. Pt. 9
 

The dreaded day had come once again. It was starting to occur to Richter that he'd found a terrible hiding spot this time, not to mention childish. Sure enough the dreaded clattering of the access hatch lock sounded. In a moment or two he'd be scooped again, then the real hell would start.
 Still, he pressed himself further against the back of the sofa with a small noise of discomfort. Richter had become a mess over the last two days. He'd grown tired of bolting to bed every time Bear came for his nightly visit. And so changed tactics. Every night he found himself just laying in wait, then working on the shelter when that was over.
 This wouldn't be so necessary if Bear had just given him the space to himself. However, after allowing himself to be picked up and handled, Richter found himself being bothered more often. He'd be taken out of the enclosure and sat down to work with Bear regularly. Roaming in the now all too familiar playpen. Usually he'd have the privacy of the shelter.
 That changed however, when he was taken around the house. Removed from the shelter like a simple doll. An uncomfortable thought to be sure. Since then, Bear had removed him twice more. It was about then that the clear nature of those walls became all the more apparent. He couldn’t hide.
 It led to a lack of sleep, lack of co-ordination and overall lacking. It made him slow and sluggish, and sure enough, that effected how he managed things like being caught. As the hand started to move furniture Richter decided it was a brilliant idea to get up. He attempted to walk to the kitchen without Bears notice.
 Soon enough the telltale shadow of Bears outstretched hand fell over him. Richter stared over his shoulder in his groggy state. That hand, so big, and warm, and cushy. Richter turned to it, and without truly thinking, flopped forward. All thoughts of escape gone. He was simply, too tired to give a damn anymore.
 Carefully, the massive fingers around him closed. He was lifted into the air in a matter of moments, starting to doze off. Perhaps Neil was right. Perhaps he was getting too domesticated in his new comfortable set up.

Then again, was that really a bad thing? His thoughts were cut short, as a groaning, creaking noise sounded through the air, then a practical water fall. Grimacing, Richter scurried to the centre of Bears palm. Removing his shirt, shoes, and other effects for the time being. Better he do it himself than the titan.

Come to think of it, this was the first time he hadn’t even attempted to jump off the giants palms. Even after the regular interaction, The man had attempted to duck out of bath day every time. Even attempting to jump into the sink himself.

It was a little short sighted to say the least. With how high up he usually was, it would have been a bad fall. Funny how lack of sleep made thing stand out. Like the dark brown trim along the ceiling, or the gold glow of the walls.

As well, it was funny how the most important things seamed incomprehensible. Like the approaching stream of water. Water Richter now realized was a bit... “FUCKING CHRIST THAT’S COLD!” He pushed himself out of the way of the stream, attempting to climb Bears sleeve.

“Pfft. Okay a little warmer then.” The other arm loomed over Richter a moment and turned the silver handle of the hot tap. Cautiously, Richter stuck a hand under the water.  Waiting until it was a comfortable temperature.

“Mmph. If I could change just ONE thing about living with you. THIS would be it.” Ducking his head under the water a moment, Richter took the time to drown out the sound of Bears snickering.

Over all it went well, ending in a warmed up towel and a fresh change of clothes. Sadly, the comfortable atmosphere Bear always set up on bath day was a little too comfortable. Richter leaned to one side, starting to doze off.

The soft laugh from his master caused Richter to jump a bit. He groaned and attempted to cover himself. It was about then he noticed something glowing in Bears hands. Moving to get a better look, Richter found it was mostly fuzzy but... it almost looked like the glow was replaying his actions the night before.

~

“Another sleepless night Richter?” Staring into the spying spell, Bear cringed. Whatever was so important about filling his climbing dome with leaves? Richter was dead set on it. Sneaking out every night with some sort of lighting tool. A hand held lantern of sorts.

He’d spend most of the night just working on it. Bear would think it’d be done by now, but Richter was determined to fill every nook and cranny with branches. Even the non-existent ones. Glancing at the tiny being wrapped up in the soft fibres of the towel, Bear heaved a long sigh. Something would have to be done about this.

Eventually sitting down at the table. Now cluttered with breakfast dishes, and toys for Richter. Small things like ticklers, pester balls, and Richters apparent favourite, treat puzzles. Though, Bear had to be careful to take them away once solved. As Richter attempted to reverse engineer them. As Archibald said... Too smart.

He glanced around his kitchen. Gazing over the white cabinets and stained angelwood table and chairs. Every bit of his home sterile and clean. Small bits of iron were fastened to each hinge, every lower surface. Harmless to most beings. Aside from those of fey decent.

Apparently harmless to Richter, so iron bars could be used to keep him in the shelter at night. Though it seamed cruel. And the last thing he needed to see was people behind bars. Again.

The thoughts came back. Less so, now that he was dealing with professional help.  But still. The popping feeling under his feet. The screams. The pressure on his left collar bone. It all started to well up.

~

Something was wrong. Richter could see that much even while over tired. Or perhaps because of it. Bear was starting to sweat. Starting to pant heavily. Not in a good way. He was starting to panic. Whipping his head side to side, Richter caught sight of something unpleasantly lime green.

Approaching the object, a small part of him knew what it was. One of those fuzzy things people waggle in front of cats. With a sigh, Richter reached for the skinny plastic bit. It was lighter than he’d expected, but still a bit heavy in his tired state. The tickler rolled on him and landed over the man, leaving him stuck.

“Shit!....Um.” Richter just lay there, confused. It wasn’t too heavy to squirm out of, but then, he was trying to drag Bear out of his thoughts. Finally he heaved a sigh. Resigning himself to the up coming moment.

“HEY!” With that, the giants attention snapped to him. Richter could see confusion at first, then a smile start to well up.

Much to his displeasure though, the man opted to take pictures first. Holding a sort of clear paper up to the scene. Slowly Richter could see the image of himself trapped under the tickler make it’s way onto the paper. Black and white for some reason. But clear as day.

“Oh just help me.” He grumbled. Soon enough the toy was lifted off his stomach. With a sigh, the man stood up, only to fall back over. The tickler had returned. Only this time, the fluffy end. Batting at his face and arms.

Sputtering and coughing, Richter began grabbing at the fluff and shoving it away. A soft laugh sounding just above him. Eventually the man attempted to tackle the offending object. Hanging off the fluffy end with a growl.

This backfired as gravity pulled him down toward the table top. His shirt rolling up and the soft fibres trailing slowly over his bare skin. “PFFTAHAAHAHA! No~” He fell from the tickler attempting to cover his belly.

~

Bear could only smile brightly as Richter began rolling on the table. Failing his attempts to keep the tickler from touching him. He was starting to feel better. Richters antics bringing him back around slowly. “Ah, what am I going to do with you buddy?”

The laughing figure was finally released from his torment as the man reached down to collect him. Bringing the giggling mass to his palms and heaving a long sigh. Something had to be done. Richter wasn’t sleeping. Well, not at the right times anyways. It worried Bear.

But then, there was nothing saying that simply blocking the door wouldn’t work. Let Richter work on his little project out side. Then let him in at night. Oh, but there was the issue of food and water. Perhaps only letting him in at feeding times, and leaving a dish of water out.

Bear attempted just that. Filling a shallow cap with water and placing the climbing wall in front of the door. Placing Richter back in the enclosure once he’d settled down.

Richter gave the blockade a stunned look, glanced up at Bear, then inspected the new water dish. That he drank from before finding his way under one of the peach trees and laying down. It wasn’t long before Bear realized he was attempting to take a nap there.

“Ricky...” Richter seamed to twitch as his name was called. Opening one eye cautiously. Bear heaved a sigh, scooping the man once more. Richter, again, gave little resistance. He’d been better behaved since breaking that picture frame.

Humming, Bear took Richter to the table. Taking the water dish with him. Soon the man was set down in his little play area. Gazing around in wonder.

Bear had read that training should take place away from the cage. If Richter was going to refuse to work on his own project. He’d have to work on Bears. With a little hum, the giant began looking over a few simple tricks. Reaching a hand down to Richter, he smiled.

“Shake.” He said before reaching out to one of Richters hands. Picking it up from his side, Bear gave it a tiny shake before letting it down. He reached out again, and repeated the command.

~

The whole day had continued like that. Richter felt tired, and humiliated. It was clear at this point Bear didn’t understand him to be an intelligent being. This was normally fine. Aside from days like today. Days when it really stood out. Days in which Bear took it upon himself to directly interact with Richter.

He gave a long sigh as the day came to a close. Having ate from a cap on the table. Much like the water dish. He’d been placed back in his shelter, and instantly made his way to the one room he’d been thinking of all day. The rest room.

That night he just slept. Not even waking for the nightly visit. He staggered down the clean white stairs the next morning. Sitting at his feeding station with a huff. The blockade had been removed from the door.

Bear stared at him, a small smile on his face. Clearly proud of himself. If Richter were to be honest. The sleep felt nice. A good, restful night. Without the hard work of the day.

Still. That shelter was a must. It had to be finished TODAY. Bear. Or no Bear. Richter began wolfing back his meal with more gusto than he normally employed before bolting out the door. As always, the grass had a warm, stiff smell that only an indoor garden had.

Richter had become more that accustomed to that smell. Finding overgrown houses in the rubble of society. It was amazing how fast plants sprung up like that. He’d even spotted a few saplings. As Richter began manually snapping branches and filling them into the small gabs of the climbing dome. The cutters made it easier. However, if Bear saw them, they might be taken.

With all the hard work he was putting in, it was finally looking to be done. The only problem was, Bear was watching. Leaning on his palm with a satisfied smirk on his face. Richter backed against the dome a little.

It didn’t look as though the giant was about to reach for him. However it was getting uncomfortable. Richter leaned up a bit before shouting. “Just leave will you? What do you want? What?!” He backed into the covered hut shaking a little. Bear paused a moment, then shrugged.

The giant reached in, running a finger down Richters arm a moment. He spoke softly now, bringing Richter out of his panic. “Easy, Easy Ricky. It’s just me. Just me.” Giving a soft sigh, the man started leaning into the touch.

“Right. I have do something extreme for anything to happen.” He squirmed free. Thinking it best just to show Bear what he’d done. Pulling the access panel he’d put together. Richter entered the dome. He could hear a small noise from Bear. Soon enough a large finger prodded at Richters hard work, then receded.

~

“Hah! Made yourself a hiding place eh? Clever little guy!” Bear could only marvel at the little project. Most likely all this contact was overwhelming the man. With a smirk, the giant looked to find a small bag. Pulling small pillows and blankets out from it.

He’d bought them as a back up in case. Placing them next to the hiding place, Bear found Richter peeking out. Soon a single pillow was dragged in. Then a blanket. Two more blankets. Bear set a toy within reach, and it was dragged in as well. Then pushed back out and replaced with a blanket.

It wasn’t long until most of the spare sets were pulled into the little hiding place. A part of Bears mind drew up the image of Richter in a pillow fort. Though, he figured it would be more of a nest. Like Richters actual room.

“Well... you can keep it so long as you don’t start living in there. And no hiding on bath day.” He waggled a finger in front of the peering eyes. Turning away and heaving a sigh. Guilt. That’s what it was. Utter guilt.   

Often Richter would act far too intelligent for what Bear expected. It would catch him off guard every time. Part of him wanted to know just how intelligent Richter was, but another part didn’t. Bear didn’t want to know how much he was demeaning the poor little thing.

Perhaps he was just projecting. Hopefully he was projecting. With a stalwart sigh, Bear started for the living room. Giving Richter a little time to himself. Time to explore and play on his own. Bear would have to speak with Archibald about all this. Get a clear head for things.

~

Well that was better than Richter anticipated. He wasn’t punished for this. In fact he was rewarded. Leaning against his new pillow palace, the man sighed with relief. As always, Bear returned that trust and care tenfold.

With that said, Richter was starting to wish he could do more than just play with or climb over Bear. He was starting to wish for conversation. Perhaps a companion. Though, he was unable to ask for such things. It would also be a much larger burden on Bear.

‘Burden’ that was a word Richter hadn’t used in a while. He used to consider his girl’s father a burden. Though, he never said anything of the like. For fear of hurting the poor girl. That was one thing Richter could never bring himself to do.

Staring at the woven ceiling of his new hiding spot, Richter heaved a sigh. He wondered if she managed to live through the ordeal. Perhaps she was alright. Looking for them in the vast wasteland that was once Ottawa. What a strange thought, naming the province he’d grown up in.

These days a human was a human. There was no real race, or religion only people. A small part of Richter wondered if other countries ended up in such a state. Maybe there were places in the world where giants and dragons were still just stories.

The thundering footsteps of his master shook the ground once more. Richter always knew where Bear was, now that he was paying attention to things. A deep bubbling noise made him smirk a bit. The kettle.

Around this time Bear would make a hot pot of some sort of sweet drink. Probably as a way to unwind. It always smelled like Caramel to Richter. However, from experience generously given by Archibald, Richter knew it was more bitter than the scent indicated.

He could hear the water come to a boil, massive bubbles rippling over the waters surface. If Bear weren’t vegetarian, Richter would have thought it terrifying. Now, it was more a soothing sound. Many of Bears natural noises had become relaxing.

Soft breathing nearby indicated he was being checked on. Richter poked his head out, smiling at the fuzzy giant. The gesture was returned and he was left alone again. Able to mind his own business as he pleased. That said, Richter was troubled.

If only there were a way to talk to the guy. If only.

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