"You're going back already?" Grizz asked peaking his head out from under the covers. In his line of site was Ice Bear who was standing in the doorway with his back facing him.
"Ice Bear is sorry."
"No, don't worry about it... I know it can't be helped." Grizz laid his head back down on his pillow, eyeing the alarm clark that sat next to his bed which read 1:48 AM. He closed his eyes and kept them shut until he heard the faint click of the door shutting behind Ice Bear as he left the room.
After peaking up one more time to see that Ice Bear was really gone, Grizz rolled over on his back. He looked up at the dark cealing above him.
It had been a little over a week since he and Ice Bear had gotten together, and to be quite honest, things haven't really been all that different from before. They still go about their daily routines like normal as if nothing had really changed. The three brothers still eat breakfast together like they always did. They still do whatever it is they want to during the day whether it's hang out with Chloe, or Charlie, or just go into town. They still go shopping together. They still eat together.
Probably the only thing that has changed would be that nearly every night since, Ice Bear tends to go to Grizz's room so they can have some alone time. Of course, that's only long after Panda goes to bed himself as they can't risk the chance of him finding the two of them out. And even then, Ice Bear usually never stays for very long, much to Grizz's disappointment. The heat just gets to unbearable for him too quickly to spend an entire night anywhere but in his freezer. Especially in summer, which is just so happened to be right now.
Grizz rolled over on his side and reached for the the pillow that Ice Bear had been sleeping on for the past few nights. He held it close taking in its scent. As he did that, he couldn't help but notice that his and Ice Bear's relationship wasn't really as deep as he'd like it to be. He wondered if Ice Bear felt the same. Maybe it was because they were both a bit scared of change so they went at a snail's pace, or maybe it was because they had to keep it hidden from Panda, so they had to hold back. Grizz wasn't sure. Either way, the two of them had already decided it would be best not to tell Panda about there relationship. At least for right now. Neither of them were really ready for that just yet.
As he laid there, many things went through his head. Like when they should tell Panda, what would be the best time? What could he do to actually make his relationship with Ice Bear actually feel like a relationship? He thought about going on a date, but would Ice Bear even be into that sort of thing. They haven't really went on a date before, and Ice Bear has never really shown interest in one either. And besides, where would he even want to go? What would he want to do?
Grizz started to realize, for being in a relationship with him, hell, for being his older brother, he doesn't really know all that much about Ice Bear's interests when it comes to hanging out with other people. Grizz knows he's definitely into things he can do alone like cooking, knitting, and the like, but does Ice Bear even have anything he likes to do with others?
As Grizz was lost in thought, he eventually drifted to sleep.
The next morning, Grizz and Panda sat at the kitchen table like they always did waiting for Ice Bear to be done making breakfast. Grizz used this time to practice twirling his silverware in his paw before dropping it on the ground. Panda was too busy on his phone to notice. After Ice Bear was done with the food, he placed it in front of his brothers and sat down to join them. Pancakes for panda, eggs and sausage for Grizz, and a glass of iced coffee for himself.
"Hey Pan pan. Got any plans for the day?" Grizz asked before taking a bite of his food.
"Eh, not really. Since I was out all day yesterday at the library, I was just planning on just staying home to relax." Panda remarked, not even looking up from his phone like usual.
Grizz looked at Ice Bear who was just sitting there remaining silent while taking tiny sips of his drink every few seconds. "Hey bro, what about you? Got any plans for the day?" Grizz asked.
"Ice Bear has errands." Ice Bear said.
"Really, then can I come along too?"
Ice Bear stayed silent for a few seconds before answering. "Ice Bear... doesn't see why not..." Right away, Ice Bear felt a bit unusual. Normally since it's his job to get errands, Panda and especially Grizz would never offer to go along with him. In fact, he couldn't even remember the last time he actually went with someone else to pick up groceries.
"Hey, can I come too? I wanna see if they got that new-"
"Weren't you trying to catch up on that one movie series though?" Y'know, before the latest one came out in theaters? Don't you wanna stay home and watch that instead? Eh, what was it called again?" Grizz asked cutting off Panda.
"Oh yeah, that's-"
"So don't worry about wasting your time by coming with us. Just stay home and relax. You can just tell us whatever it is you want and we'll pick it up for you. I'll even pay for it." Grizz said, cutting off Panda again.
"Well that's... oddly nice of you... What's the catch?" Panda remarked, squinting his eyes as if observing Grizz.
"What, a guy can't just do something nice for his younger brother once in a while? You're starting to make me feel bad here." Grizz replied putting up a false pouty face.
"Then... uh, thank's I guess." Panda said before looking back down at his phone.
Grizz quickly gulped down the rest of his food then made his way to the kitchen to put his dishes in the sink. Ice Bear followed closely behind.
"Ice Bear is ready to go whenever you are." Ice Bear stated before putting away his dishes as well.
"Cool. Panda we're heading out now. What was that thing you wanted to get?" Grizz asked as he and Ice Bear made their way to the front door.
"Ah, don't worry about. I'll just go shopping myself this weekend.
"Suit yourself." Grizz said as he and Ice Bear left the house.
Grizz and Ice Bear strolled along the sidewalk through groups of people as they walked through town. Their arms were full of groceries, and other errands they had gotten while shopping. It was already well past noon, but according to Ice Bear, they were only about half way done. Grizz couldn't believe Ice Bear actually made this sort of thing a routine he does once or twice a week as exhausting as it was. Ice Bear pulled out the list of errands and began looking through it. "Next, Ice Bear needs to get- Uh, Grizz?" Ice Bear paused as he noticed his brother was no longer walking beside him. He turned to see Grizz sitting on a nearby bench in front of a local ice cream parlor.
"Man, i'm exhausted. Think we could take a break for a minute?" Grizz asked sinking into the seat.
Ice Bear looked back down at his list. From all the things he planned on picking up today, they would need another hour at least without any breaks in between. He definitely didn't want to waste time by resting, nor did he really even need to. But despite that, he went over and sat down next to Grizz anyway, placing the bags he was carrying on the ground in front of him.
The two of them sat there silently giving Grizz enough time to catch his breath before Ice Bear spoke up.
"Ice Bear has a question."
"Why did you decide to go shopping with ice Bear?" Ice Bear asked, still looking ahead at all the busy people walking past them on the sidewalk.
It took Grizz a little while to think to himself before actually speaking up. "I guess... because you and I don't really get to hang out all that much together. Y'know, just the two of us. At home, Panda is always there so we have to watch the way we act around each other. Or at least I do... Not too sure about you."
"That's why you were so quick on speaking up when Panda asked if he wanted to come too."
"Pretty much... I know it's stupid. I just wish we could have some more alone time. I figured that by going shopping with you, that would kind of make me feel more at ease, or something." Grizz slumped back further against the wooden bench.
"So... is this meant to be a date then?" Ice Bear remarked.
Grizz's head shot up. A hint of redness quickly appeared on his face. "What, no, no way. I mean, I didn't plan on it being one or anything. Do you... want it to be a date?"
Ice Bear nodded.
"Ice bear has never been on a date before... but Ice Bear would like to give it a try."
"Okay, so, uh. I guess this a date. But, where should we go? Shopping for errands really isn't all that exciting." Grizz placed his paw on his chin as he thought to himself. As he's never really been on a date before, he wasn't really too sure on where they should go. There wasn't really anything playing in the movie theaters that the two were interested in seeing. Grizz didn't really bring enough money to go to any restaurant. Just the right amount for the groceries they planned on buying while they shopped around.
Then, as Grizz was lost in thought, he heard the faint sound of a bell chiming. The sound came from a bell hanging right above the entrance of the ice cream parlor just behind them. A young boy and his mother had just exited the store with an ice cream cone in his hand.
"Hey, ice cream! We both love ice cream! How about it?" Grizz asked excitedly.
Ice Bear nodded. "Ice Bear enjoys cream..."
"Cool! Let's go!" Grizz quickly got up from his seat and bolted over to the entrance of the store like an over excited child. Ice Bear, however took his time to pick up all of the bags they were previously carrying and slowly made his way over to the store as well. Grizz held the door open allowing his "date" to walk in before him.
To their dismay, what was in the store just so happened to be someone they can never seem to get along with, yet, somehow, always seems to run into at the worst of times. Nomnom. Other than the tiny Koala, the only other people who were in the store, looked like what appeared to be one his his bodyguards, and a single cashier standing behind the glass counter full of all ice cream of all sorts of flavors and variety.
Ice Bear did nothing more than give out a tiny grunt of disgust and annoyance. An obvious sign that he wanted to leave as soon as possible. And if that wasn't enough of a sign, Ice Bear immediately tried to turn and leave, but was quickly pulled back by his brother.
"Hey, come on. I'm sure it'll be quick. He's only here buying Ice Cream just like we are. I doubt he'll start any drama as long as we don't pay any attention to him." After hearing Grizz's words, Ice Bear Reluctantly turned back and and slowly walked up to stand a few feet behind Nomnom to where they were next in line.
"No, I asked if you had eucalyptus ice cream. Do I need to spell it out for you?" The tiny Koala stated very loudly in a very bothered tone. Grizz and Ice Bear shared a quick glance with each other.
Grizz knew that Ice Bear didn't really care for Nomnom as much as he, or even Panda did. Sure the little guy always seems to get on their nerves, but Grizz knows that's more than likely because of the lack of friends he has. Or at least, that's what Grizz tells himself. He could be completely off the mark for all he knew, and Nomnom really could be the little monster that he himself makes it out to be. Of course, that doesn't stop Grizz from acting somewhat friendly around the little guy.
"I'm sorry sir, I really am. We just don't carry that flavor here." The man behind the counter held his arms close as he was clearly a bit intimidated. More so from the big muscular bodyguard rather than the tiny koala himself, but of course, that didn't really stop the koala from acting like the most superior one in the building.
"Listen here... Do you have any idea who I am?" Nomnom asked squinting his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose.
Just as the man from behind the counter was about to speak, Nomnom quickly interrupted him.
"I've had a really long day, and on long days like today, I just want my eucalyptus ice cream. According to this stores website, it flat out says this is the only store in all of San Francisco that has eucalyptus ice cream. Do I really need to pull the site up on my phone to show you?"
"I uh... I really don't know what to tell you. Our site hasn't been updated in about three yea-" The boy flinched as he heard the sound of the bodyguard cracking his knuckles while giving him a death stare. "Y-y-you know what? There's a store right next door that sells eucalyptus leaves! How... how about I run over there real quick, bring it back here, and mix it up with some vanilla ice cream? It'll take less than five minutes!" he nervously exclaimed while stuttering on his words.
Nomnom let out a sigh that seemed sort of like a mixture of both annoyance and relief. "Fine... that'll do I guess. Just make it quick. I have somewhere to be."
With that, the cashier quickly took off his apron, threw it on the counter and quickly fled out the back door, leaving Nomnom, his bodyguard, and the bear brothers alone in the building. The room was filled with an awkward silence before the koala finally spoke up. "I swear, I have to do everything myse-" As he turned his head to speak to his companion, he instead caught the gaze of two people he knew all too well.
"Well well well, if it isn't dumb and dumber! Where's the fat one? I don't think I ever see the three of you apart! You're like a rats in that way." Nomnom asked raising a brow.
Ice bear simply scoffed and turned his head away from the koalas gaze, giving his brother the obligation to speak up for the two of them.
"Oh, we're uh... just picking up some errands. Panda stayed at home to-"
"Yeah, yeah. I don't really care." Nomnom remarked turning his head back to face the counter.
Soon the room was filled with the exact same silence it had just been about a minute ago. Ice Bear gave out another tiny grunt, this time, clearly to draw Grizz's attention. As grizz turned to give Ice Bear the attention he wanted, it was clear from his gaze alone, that he wanted to leave.
Grizz let out a sigh. "Fine. Let's go." Just as the two of them were about to leave however, that cashier quickly slammed the backdoor open, panting heavily, while carrying what appeared to be a couple grocery bags full of eucalyptus leaves.
"Hey! Three minutes! That was faster than I thought! I admit I may have underestimated you!" Nomnom declared crossing his arms.
Soon enough, the cashier did exactly what he said he was going to do. He chopped up the eucalyptus leaves, and mixed it around in the vanilla ice cream. He then took a scoop and placed it on top of a waffle cone, then handed it to Nomnom. He took one lick of the ice cream cone then silently stood there as if he were judging it. It didn't take long for him to take another lick of the ice cream.
"Eh, not really what I was looking for... but it'll do I guess. Pay him." The koala said before taking another lick of his ice cream cone as he headed for the door. After paying, the bodyguard quickly followed suit close behind.
After making sure they had left the building, Grizz and Ice Bear slowly made their way up to the counter. Grizz immediately started eyeing all the ice cream in the counter wondering which he should get, while also trying not to make it too obvious that he was now drooling.
"Sorry for the wait, what can I get the two of you for today?"
Grizz turned his attention to Ice Bear for an answer.
"Ice bear will have plain vanilla. One scoop. "
"Okay, I'll have a two scoops of mint chocolate chip, and he'll have one scoop of plain vanilla. Both on waffle cones."
"Coming right up... Oh, I apologize. I just mixed all the vanilla Ice cream with the eucalyptus leaves. If you give me about half an hour I can whip up a new batch though."
As the man behind the counter said that, Grizz heard Ice Bear let out another faint grunt behind him. "No, it's cool. we'll both just have mint chocolate chip. Uh, that's cool with you right, bro?" Grizz asked, now giving his brother his full attention.
Ice Bear simply nodded. Grizz could tell by the look on his face, that this was going on for far too much longer than he'd like.
After getting their ice cream, they went back outside to sit on the bench they were previously sitting at. Grizz had eaten all of his ice cream in less than 3 minutes since they sat down, while Ice Bear had barely even touched his Ice cream. He preferred to take his time when eating anything cold, or more specifically, anything that could melt, as it wasn't going to last very long anyway. As they sat there, neither of them really said a word to each other for a long time.
"Sorry about that."
As Ice bear heard Grizz' voice, his ears quickly perked up.
"We should have just done what you suggested and left the moment we saw Nomnom in there. Because of him, it took us longer to get our ice cream than it took to eat it." Grizz said leaning back into his seat crossing his arms. "Some date this is."
"It's fine. Today was fun." Ice Bear said. "Normally Ice Bears goes shopping for errands alone, but it felt nice going to with someone else for a change." Ice Bear looked straight ahead at all the busy passerbyers. "And ... Ice Bear's happy it was with Grizz of all people."
Grizz could feel his cheeks heating up as Ice Bear said those words. "Ah man, how can you say that with such a straight face? you're making me blush here..." As he shied his head away, he noticed the sun, which was high up in the sky before, was now ready to set soon. "Hey, how about we head home? It's getting late. We can get the rest of the errands tomorrow."
Ice bear pulled out his list of errands and was disappointed to see the lack of things they had actually gotten despite how huge the list was. "Mmm..."
"Come on. we can head out first thing in the morning. Promise!" Grizz began picking up the bags of groceries that were sitting on front of him on the sidewalk. "Besides, our date hasn't really ended yet. The way I see it, our date doesn't until tonight, if you know what I mean." Grizz gave out a tiny chuckle, which got louder the moment he noticed a hint of redness appearing on Ice Bear's cheeks.
"But, Panda..." Ice Bear reminded Grizz.
"Don't worry about him. He still doesn't suspect a thing. As long as we play our cards right, we can keep this hidden from him for as long as we live."
"...You promise to go shopping with Ice Bear again, tomorrow?" Ice bear asked, turning his head to his brother.
Grizz quickly leaned forward, and pressed his lips against Ice Bears. Ice Bear could feel the fur on the back of his neck stand up from the sudden sensation. "It's a promise."
"O-oh man! This is too good!" Both bears heads quickly shot up as they heard a familiar voice coming from behind them. To their dismay, Nomnom was standing just a few feet behind them. "and what's this I hear about Panda not suspecting a thing?"
"You were spying on us?!" Grizz shouted as his eyes widened.
"Hey, I wasn't spying! I just sent my companion into the store next door to buy some of those killer eucalyptus leaves. You guys just so happened to be sitting directly in my view. Well, me and my camera that is." Nomnom snickered as he proudly flashed his phone he had been hiding behind his back.
Both bears quickly got to their feet but were immediately petrified at the site of the phone in the Koala's paw.
"Oh, no. Don't get the wrong idea though. I don't judge. Believe me. But uh, that doesn't mean I don't... what's the word? Oh yeah, blackmail." Nomnom explained as he played back a video of the two bears kissing, as well as their little talk about their brother. "With this baby I bet I can get you guys to do whatever I want."
"Blackmail?! Not if I get that phone first!" Grizz quickly jumped over the bench, but stopped in his tracks the moment Nomnom's bodyguard stepped out in front of him. Grizz took a couple steps back as he realized the bodyguard was practically double his size. "Ah geez... H-hey there big guy. This is between me and him. So if you'd kindly step aside..." The bodyguard didn't seem to pay Grizz any mind as his curled his right hand into a fist. "Uhh..."
Before either the bodyguard or Grizz could make another move, Ice Bear quickly intervened and pulled Grizz away. "You're drawing too much attention." As Ice Bear said that, Grizz realized he was right as a few people were now standing around them curious as to what was going on. "But..."
As Ice Bear and Grizz stepped aside, the crowd of people who stood around out of curiosity from before, were now flocking to Nomnom's side asking for autographs and the like. Nomnom had also climbed high up on the bodyguards shoulder as if he were a king sitting on his throne. "Whoa, easy there everyone. You'll all have your chance for an autograph."
"Hey, you two!" Nomnom called out to Grizz and Ice Bear who were now picking up their bags. "Just so you guys know, I may need some help with something tomorrow, so try not to make any plans, okay?"
As soon as Ice Bear had finished picking up the bags, he started walking away down the sidewalk completely ignoring Nomnom's words. grizz quickly followed suit, but not before looking back one more time at the koala's smug expression.
In less than half an hour, they were out of the city and on the trail heading to their cave in woods. The entire time, neither one of them said a word as if unsure about what just happened.
"About what he said back there. You don't think he's actually going to try and blackmail us, do you?" Grizz asked despite already knowing what the answer would be all too well. Of course he's serious about blackmailing them. The guy's already tried to flat out kill them on multiple occasions. Even going so far as to try and bury Ice Bear alive. This is nothing compared to what he's done to them in the past.
"Ice Bear doesn't know, and doesn't care..."