More FCW- 'Your deeds speak so much louder than another's words'
I like 'actions speak louder than words', myself; simpler! but this bit of fortune-cookie wisdom speaks to Ski perfectly, so I'm gonna swipe it.
"'Less talking, more doing!' is classic Ski," Daria said to Bear.
"Funny, he never seems short with me..."
"You have all of us and he follows; unless he doesn't agree. Then he'll let you know..."
"That seems ominous."
"No, that's not a threat- and calling it a promise isn't one, either. But he will communicate with you in a clear and timely fashion!"
Bear laughed. Being Bossman was a pain (there were just so many opinions and ash-holes!), but it was worth it. Especially at times like these.
"I'm glad you two joined us-"
"Not as glad as I am," Daria said in a rush.
Bear looked at her expectantly. It was his gift; why he was a good story teller, because he also listened.
"We probably would have made it- we three, because that dog of mine is one of the best..." she wiped at her eye. "But he needed this, for the pressure to be off for a while, to have somebody else to depend on."
"Breaking a leg will slow you down," Bear mused. "But you two do a lot of heavy lifting, too. Thanks."
"Daria and Ski, kissing in the tree..."
Ski turned around and fixed the three juvenile delinquents with a blank stare. One stopped immediately, then another, but the third one continued on, oblivious until the other two dragged her away over her loud protests.
"It can't be helped, you know," Bear said apologetically to Ski's back, and the little man (concentrated, not short) turned to his friend and sighed.
"When it was just the walking dead, it was so much simpler, you know?"
"I can just imagine." Bear chuckled into his tea. Ski couldn't see what the man saw in the stuff, but he drank it because there was no coffee, and tea with Bear was better than no beer or hard spirits. The latter made decent trade goods, everybody wanted it and nobody was making any more, not for a while, or not forever. It got carried away, or it burned up; they had all seen a lot of burned-out liquor stores, gun shops and gas stations.
"Zombies are completely single-minded things," Bear went on. "People are trouble. But you had problems with that guy, Kermit, didn't you?"
"He was a druggie and I got him out of one of those minimum security lock-ups for 'recovering addicts'. He was thirsty and hungry, but scared of breaking out, of getting eaten or bit. We... had a discussion about all of this, then and there. We had a lot of 'discussions, Kermit and I... but he went back to his old ways right after he conned me into helping me raid his dealers' house. Of course, he didn't tell me that part."
"What'd he sell you on?"
"Guns, survival gear and rations. I know, guns are a bad idea, but I wanted them just as bad as he wanted his junk." Ski considered that for a quiet moment, while Bear considered him. "I should have left him, high, for zombie-chow, but I couldn't... we found homemade granola, dried fruit, plus water, and a little bleach to sterilize more, one cap-full at a time, although that's nasty! The food lasted us three weeks."
"Forty-odd days worth of food, maybe more, if one man were to stretch it out..."
Ski smiled at Bear. "You never would have done that."
Bear shrugged. "Maybe. But I think that you would have done it. Maybe should have? Was Kermit worth it?"
"There were times... he got the benefit of the doubt because the last guy I was with insisted that everybody deserves to be given a chance, you know, to prove themselves, to themselves. That guy was... you'd have liked him, Bear. Henry was like you and Daria. But not like Kermit; although, in the end, Kermit did turn out to be a man. I was his keeper for a while, he was my friend, and he came to get me when I fell and broke my leg." Ski paused. "He went and did the right thing when he got bit."
"You told me... how many?"
"It was thirty, last time," Bear said, smiling.
"Might be I was wrong..."
Bear sighed, and asked the question he really didn't want to ask. "You didn't kill him, or get him killed, because he was bothering Daria?"
"No." A simple answer, not too quick nor too slow. The two men met each other’s eyes, nodded.
"I had to ask; got to look after my traveling circus..."
"What if I'd said 'yes'?"
"Well, you didn't, did you? And you didn't lie to me, which is much more important to us, in the here and now, than whatever you've had to do to survive."