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    Grumpy Bear
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Worlds Apart - 3. Friends Reunited

It was nearly two o’clock in the afternoon when Siku parked his truck at the Marina complex in Sturgeon Bay. He walked around the building to the back side facing the docks, and looked up at the sign hanging over the door.

“Papa Bear’s Diner” it read, with a caricature of a brown bear sailor, puffing on a pipe. Siku smiled and walked through the door.

“Sorry hon,” a female voice told him after he entered. “We’re closing in five minutes, so if you want lunch, it will have to be a ‘to-go’ order.”

“Not hungry,” Siku replied, “I was just looking for Gunnar and Mike.”

The waitress stepped in front of him and looked up at the big man, scrutinizing him.

“Oh, I see,” she said, and walked to the swinging door in the back wall of the diner, pushing it open a few inches.

“Hey boss!” she yelled through the gap in the door, “There’s a werebear here to see you! From the looks of him, I’d say polar bear! You better get your fuzzy ass out here and say hello!”

She turned back to Siku.

“Go ahead and have a seat at the counter, hon. That should get him to come running. I’m Vera, by the way. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Siku replied, “Although I think we briefly met one time before, but you probably don’t remember me specifically because I was with a group of about thirty other bears.”

“Oh yeah,” Vera said, “I remember that day. Johnny the cook and I refer to it as ‘the day of the bottomless pits.’ That was the time that the bosses got called away to the Smokies for a couple weeks on urgent and dangerous bear business.”

Just then the swinging door opened with a bang.

“Vera!” Gunnar growled, “I swear to the gods, you won’t be satisfied until the entire town is coming after the resident monsters with torches and pitchforks! Yelling about werebears in the diner loud enough to be heard across the bay!”

Vera just chuckled.

“You have nothing to worry about, boss. If they hunt you down for being a monster, there would be nobody left to cook them breakfast! And… you do have a polar bear visitor I believe.”

“Siku!” Gunnar said. “I wasn’t expecting you so early. It’s good to see you!”

Siku stood and he grasped Gunnar’s outstretched hand by the forearm in the traditional werebear greeting.

“I made good time,” Siku said, “And my little human bedwarmer from last night had to hustle on his way early this morning, so I didn’t have a long, extended good-bye with him over breakfast.”

“Human bedwarmer, eh?” Gunnar asked with a grin. “Looks like you’re not wasting any time when it comes to mingling with the human population.”

“It was Axel’s suggestion that I stop in Minneapolis and go to the Brass Rail Lounge for dinner and drinks. He practically ordered me to find a one-night-stand to get my mind off of things in Atikokan.”

“Okay,” Gunnar said, “First I want the juicy details about your little human playmate in Minneapolis, and then I want you to tell me what’s going on in Atikokan that has you worked up. The first is a story for your friend, and the second is a report for your Councilmember who cares about the Atikokan community.”

“The guy’s name was Jake,” Siku said. “He was the bartender. Short little pocket bear, but man was he loaded with muscle and spunk. It was some kind of drag show night at the bar…”

“Oh yeah,” Gunnar interrupted, “Drag Race was on TV last night.”

“Right,” Siku continued, “And apparently, I’m the last queer on Earth to know what the hell that is, but I was trying to eat my dinner, and I was mobbed by a bunch of queens and twinks looking for a muscle-Daddy fantasy. Jake had to beat them off me with a stick… Metaphorically, of course.”

“Of course,” Gunnar replied. “So how did he end up in your hotel room?”

“Well, he was practically drooling over me the whole evening, and he was a pretty hot little firecracker Cub himself…”

“Wait,” Gunnar said, “Cub? Was he kindred?”

“No,” Siku said sadly. “I’m still trying to get over that. If he had been kindred, I’m telling you, my journey would be over, and I’d be a Papa already. It was practically love at first sight. I had to keep checking him over and over again all night long just to make sure that I didn’t miss the kindred scent markers the first, second, or third time.”

“I know how you feel,” Gunnar said. “When I first started my journey, I’d only been on the road for a day, when I stopped at a bar in Lexington and fell in love with a rugged hunk of man named Roy. He was a horse trainer at a local ranch, and I talked my way into him giving me a job cleaning stables and brushing down the horses for a month.”

“A month?” Siku repeated in surprise. “What finally ended it?”

“Well, we were living together, and the sex was great,” Gunnar said, “And you would have had to see the guy to understand. Picture a younger Sam Elliot, but with the same big sexy mustache he has today. All cowboy, all man. Anyway, things were going just fine the way they were, and then one night after he’d finished giving me a ride on his baloney pony, he said the words…”

“He told you he loved you,” Siku said.

Gunnar nodded.

“If he had been kindred, I would have bred him and turned him that night, but he wasn’t, and I couldn’t bear having a mate who would grow old and die while I remained the same age forever. So, I wrote him a long goodbye letter and bugged out in the night.”

“Jake seemed really nervous this morning when he left,” Siku said. “But even as he was getting dressed and heading out the door, I still smelled waves of desire washing off him. He looked like he was about to cry when he left. He gave me his phone number and made me promise that I’d call if I was ever in Minneapolis again. I said I would, but…”

“But it’s too hard knowing that if he’d only been kindred, he would have been the perfect mate,” Gunnar said. “I understand. I think that Jake must have felt something similar. To him, you were a once-in-a-lifetime amazing one-night stand, but if you hadn’t just been passing through on your way somewhere else, he could have pictured a life with you.”

“Gods, Gunnar,” Siku said. “Is it going to be this difficult everywhere I go?”

“Hopefully not!” Gunnar replied with a grin. “At least while you’re here, you’ll be among friends, and we’ll come up with a gameplan to point you in the right direction.”

“Gunnar,” Siku said, “I have something shameful to confess about my night with Jake.”

“Okay,” Gunnar said. “I’m listening and I won’t judge, I promise.”

“The first time I was fucking him, I was so sure that he was the perfect mate, and I was angry at Fate for putting him in my path but making him non-kindred. For the last minute before I came, I had decided to bite and breed him anyway, planning to feed him and build up his muscles during his change months so that he would become dababbi.”

“Oh Siku,” Gunnar said, “You hoped that you could take him back to the Shaman to have him cured and changed into a kindred, and then he could be your own polar bear cub?”

Siku nodded, tears running down his face.

“What stopped you?”

“Well, just as I was shooting my load inside him, my bear fangs bared, ready to bite, a voice in my head told me to stop. That it wouldn’t be fair not to give him a choice. So, I kept myself from biting him at the very last second.”

“I’m glad,” Gunnar replied. “I know it must have been hard, but you did the right thing. Promise me that you won’t even think of doing that again, no matter how hot the human is.”

“I promise,” Siku said, wiping his face with the back of his hand. “Anyway, on the topic of hot cubs, where’s that blond Viking of yours that you call a Mate?”

“It was pretty slow in the Diner after the lunch rush was over,” Gunnar said, “So Johnny the cook left early, and Mike took off to tend to some business over with the fishing fleet.”

“I’m kind of excited about the fishing fleet,” Siku confessed, “Do you think I can go fishing with your crew while I’m here?”

“Absolutely!” Gunnar replied. “Unless I can convince you to work in the fish house cleaning the catch!”

“Maybe,” Siku said. “Let me get out on the water for a little while first before I do the dirty work!”

Gunnar laughed.

“It was worth a try! I’ll bet Mike is helping out cleaning fish as we speak. Let me finish getting the diner closed up for the day, and we’ll run over there and say hello to the other bears.”

Vera had been bustling back and forth finishing the stocking and cleaning as the two bears talked, and Gunnar was pleasantly surprised to find everything done. He caught Vera just as she was about to head out the door for the afternoon.

“What would I do without you?” Gunnar asked.

“Men!” Vera snorted with a sly grin, “You’d all be running around like roosters with your heads cut off if you didn’t have a woman picking up after you. Go on and get out of here. Take your friend over to the fleet. He looks like he could be a good fisherman.”

Gunnar and Siku walked out of the diner and out into the late-summer sunshine in the Marina.

“Where is your fleet and the fish house, anyway?” Siku asked.

“Look across the channel and about a quarter mile to the North,” Gunnar said, pointing. “See the blue and white building over there on the docks? That’s the fish house. There’s only one boat at the dock right now. They must have caught their quota for the day early. The other two won’t be in until they’ve caught their quota as well.”

They walked around the building to the parking lot, and Gunnar told Siku to jump in his Jeep for the quick trip across the channel.

As they drove, Gunnar remembered the second thing he wanted to hear from Siku.

“Tell me what is happening at Atikokan that caused you to make such a hasty departure yesterday,” he said.

“Ah,” Siku began. “You recall Corbett the Ancient that Axel and Adam discovered living in the far North in Canada on a remote island in the Arctic?”

“Of course,” Gunnar replied. “Atikokan was going to be participating in an exchange program with their village, correct? There were several mated pairs of bears going to live with Corbett in the Arctic, and some single bears from their village coming to Atikokan, right?”

“Yeah, that was the situation,” Siku said. “Those bears arrived in the village the day before yesterday.”

“Don’t tell me they immediately caused trouble in paradise?” Gunnar said.

“It’s a little hard to explain, especially since I can hardly wrap my head around their backward thinking myself, but the gist of it is during the two thousand years that they lived there in isolation, they never saw any other were-creatures besides themselves. The only bears they encountered all that time in the wild were polar bears. They, themselves, are all brown bears when they shift. So, over time they came to believe that brown bears like themselves were the advanced life forms of the world, and the polar bears were wild, savage, and dangerous.”

“Seems like some fuzzy logic,” Gunnar said, “But keep going.”

“Anyway,” Siku continued. “When they got to our village, they were shocked to discover that there were werebears living there who transformed into polar bears. They immediately assumed that the three of us were some kind of savage sub-species of werebear, that we were dangerous animals, even though they initially met us in our human forms.”

“Hmm,” Gunnar said. “That’s not good. We can’t have the harmony of Atikokan disrupted by what amounts to racial bigotry.”

“That was our thought as well,” Siku said. “Erik, Max and me. We tried to let it go, but that evening when we were in small groups beginning bonding playtime, I mistakenly thought that one of the newcomers had grown more relaxed than the others around me, and since he was in my small group, I went down on him.”

“How’d he react?” Gunnar asked.

“He reacted like we had tricked him into having sex with an animal. He actually described it to Ezekiel as bestiality!”

“Ouch!” Gunnar said, “I’m really sorry about this Siku. I don’t blame you for choosing that time to make your exit. What are Erik and Max going to do about it now that you’re gone?”

“Well, Axel found out about the situation on the morning that I left…”

“Ah,” Gunnar said, “Axel probably didn’t take that news well.”

“No, he did not,” Siku replied with a chuckle. “Bottom line is that the newcomers are on probation, and it essentially depends on Erik and Max. If they feel slighted or put down by this group again, Axel is going to personally kick their asses all the way back to the Arctic.”

“That’s really disappointing,” Gunnar replied, “But an additional concern that I have, as a member of the Council, is why an Ancient like Corbett is fostering that kind of a mindset to begin with, and how are the fifteen werebear couples from Atikokan going to be affected when exposed to that kind of thinking.”

“You’re right, Gunnar,” Siku replied. “This goes beyond just how three individual bears are being treated. The leader of the ten bears described to me that they considered polar bears nuisance animals that were exterminated like vermin if they ventured too close to their village. In addition to killing an endangered species, you now have me wondering if they might really have encountered polar werebears over the years and have been killing them as vermin as well. I’ve never understood why more of my species have not ventured south as I did many years ago. If brothers are being killed in the far North, I would want that stopped and these bears prosecuted by the Council.”

“Let me discuss this further with Axel, Ezekiel and Joel,” Gunnar replied. “Those three need to do some subtle interrogation of these newcomers and find out if they really have never encountered polar werebears before, or if they were lying to you, and were aware of your existence before their arrival in Atikokan.”

“Thank you, Gunnar,” Siku said. “I can’t tell you enough how much better things are for bears everywhere now that we have the five of you on the Council.”

Gunnar nodded with a smile and turned the Jeep into the parking lot outside of a large blue and white building. The sign on the front had the image of the same sailor bear as the diner, but this one said, “Papa Bear’s Fisheries.”

As soon as Siku stepped out of the Jeep, he heard a cacophony of voices from inside the building shouting “He’s here! He’s here!”

As soon as he walked through the door, Siku was lifted from the ground by a pair of strong, hairy arms and swung around in a circle.

“Siku!” the enthusiastic bear shouted. “I’ve missed you so!”

Siku grinned at the bear as he placed him gently back on the ground again. It was his old friend Barry, a grizzly bear who was not nearly as tall as Siku, but was nearly twice as broad at the shoulders, packing a tremendous amount of muscle on his comparatively short frame.

“Barry!” Siku exclaimed, grabbing the bear by the sides of his face and planting a big kiss on his lips. “How have you been?”

“I’m covered in fish blood, scales, and guts,” he said, “How do you think I am? I’m fucking fantastic!”

“And where’s that cub of yours?” Siku asked.

“He’s out on the boat right now,” Barry replied. “So, if you want, you and I could maybe find a private spot in the warehouse for some playtime, yes?”

“Tempting offer,” Siku replied with a grin, “But are the rest of these guys invited too?”

Barry turned around and saw the crowd of bears lining up to greet Siku and frowned in disappointment.

“Just like Barry,” one of the bears said, “Trying to hoard all the Siku for himself!”

“I saw him first,” Barry grumbled, but he pushed Siku toward his fellow bears who were all waiting eagerly for a chance to hug and kiss their brother from Atikokan.

They led the polar bear through the building to the processing floor where several tables stood in rows, each piled with the catch of the day from the boat moored at the dock.

“Is that Siku?” a voice boomed from above, and the bear turned to look at a set of stairs leading to a 2nd floor office. Standing at the top of the steps was the embodiment of a Nordic Viking. Tall, broad-shouldered, and muscular, with flowing blond hair held back in a topknot ponytail, and a thick, full beard. The Viking ran down the stairs halfway and then leapt over the handrail, landing lightly on feet clad in rubber work boots.

The blond god strode confidently up to Siku and took his face in his hands, locking his ocean-blue eyes to the ice-blue eyes of the polar bear before planting a deep, kiss upon his lips.

“Welcome brother,” the Viking said, turning his face to the side and whispering the greeting into Siku’s ear.

“Thank you, Mike,” Siku replied. “I have not been greeted this warmly in a very long time. I am glad to be here.”

“I heard you were injured rescuing the actual god Thor from a giant snake monster?” Mike asked, “Is that true?”

“Partly,” Siku said with a chuckle, “It wasn’t Thor I was saving, it was Bernhard Odinson, a human and bear-kindred descendant of Thor, but the combination of Thor’s blood and werebear blood in his DNA makes him a demi-god. When he calls for Mjölnir, and he transforms to his Viking-god form, he actually looks a lot like you, Mike!”

“Interesting,” Mike replied, absorbing the compliment with a grin. “I miss those adventures every now and then. Hey, if you’ve got time, you can tell me more about it and I can show you the back corner of the warehouse. It’s very private, and…”

“Cub!” Gunnar bellowed, walking onto the processing floor. “I thought you were coming here to help the team clean the catch, not to lure our guest into your little sex trap!”

“Well, Papa,” Mike replied. “I was ready to start gutting fish, but Boris let me know that there was a mountain of office work piling up. There were two weeks’ worth of orders from our retail and restaurant customers that needed to go into the distribution system, and a month’s worth of boat fuel bills to be paid. I know that nobody moved to Sturgeon Bay to sit up there doing office work all day when they’d rather be fishing or cleaning the catch, but we’re seriously going to have to look into hiring an office manager for this kind of stuff.”

“Is that so?” Gunnar asked, looking casually at Siku, “Is that something that might tempt you to stay here in Sturgeon Bay?”

Siku laughed.

“No offence, but I don’t think I’m office material,” Siku replied. “I need to spend a little time getting my head together and do some fishing, and then I need to go on my journey of self-discovery, hopefully to find myself a Cub or a Mate.”

“I understand,” Gunnar replied, and he turned back to Mike. “Hey, isn’t Vera’s daughter set to graduate with her MBA soon? Maybe we should offer her a CEO position with Papa Bear’s Fisheries.”

“Worth a try,” Mike said. “I’ll run the idea by Vera tomorrow. It would be good to keep all of our operations within the family.”

“Did I hear this big strapping bear say that he was here to do some fishing?” a robust and ruddy-faced man with a full beard and thick mane of red hair said, stepping forward. “Fishing is so good right now; I’d really like an extra set of paws on my boat!”

“Siku, do you remember Domhnall?” Gunnar asked, “I don’t think he was in Atikokan for very long before he and his Cub left to come here to Sturgeon Bay.”

“I can’t say as I recall,” Siku replied, grasping Domhnall’s offered hand by the forearm in greeting.

“Aye,” Domhnall said, “I don’t think we spoke much if at all. We were only in your crowded little Canadian village for a month before the offer to come here and fish was announced. I remember you, though. Polar bear brothers are exceedingly rare, and I admit that I admired you quite often from a distance during the short time I was there.”

“Well, you’ll have your chance to get to know him a lot better for the next few weeks at least,” Gunnar said. “We’re only the first leg of his journey to find a Mate, but we’ll put him to good use while he’s here.”

“I can think of a few positions for him already,” the bear said with a twinkle in his eye. “And please, just call me Dom.”

“Ahem, right,” Gunnar said with a grin. “You’re back very early today, Dom. The fishing was that good?”

“Aye,” Dom replied, “We filled all the available fish totes we had on board by noon, so we had to come back in with the maximum quota for the day. I planned to pull twenty trap nets today, and we only got through the first eight of them before we were full, so the remaining twelve will be tomorrow’s priority.”

“Siku,” Gunnar said, “Will you need a day to rest up from traveling, or will you be ready to join Dom’s crew tomorrow?”

“I’m ready to go!” Siku said. “What time do we start tomorrow?”

“Be here at six o’clock in the morning, laddie, and be sure to wear your rubber boots!”

“We have extras back at the house,” Mike said. “You’re staying with us in the guest room for as long as you’d like. We get to the restaurant at that same time in the morning to get it ready to open for breakfast, so we’ll get you on our daily schedule!”

“Now that we have business squared away,” Gunnar said, “It’s almost four o’clock now. Let’s get you home and settled into your room and get your belly full of dinner.”

“Obviously the bosses are calling first dibs on our hot visitor,” Barry said, elbowing Dom in the ribs as Gunnar, Mike and Siku walked back through the fish house toward the parking lot, “But tomorrow he’s all ours, right?”

“Aye, laddie buck,” Dom replied, “We’ll put the big bear through his paces tomorrow, that’s for certain!”

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Grumpy Bear's Werebear Tales

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The bear cultures are colliding. My concern is for the couples that went to Corbett's neck of the woods. I'm certain Axel is monitoring Atikokan, but we might need him and Adam on a trip to the Arctic...

Uh oh. Siku's become the new boy-toy in town. Plenty of playtime heading this way, and it might even be on a boat! 

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3 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Uh oh. Siku's become the new boy-toy in town. Plenty of playtime heading this way, and it might even be on a boat! 

I hope Siku has got a good pair of sea legs - he's going to need them!

Great chapter again @Grumpy Bear

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3 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Plenty of playtime heading this way, and it might even be on a boat! 

Siku:

boat-im-on-a-boat.gif

look-at-all-of-the-fucks-i-give-im-on-a-

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56 minutes ago, Howzat said:

I hope Siku has got a good pair of sea legs - he's going to need them!

Great chapter again @Grumpy Bear

34 minutes ago, Grumpy Bear said:

Siku:

boat-im-on-a-boat.gif

look-at-all-of-the-fucks-i-give-im-on-a-

If the boat's a rockin', don't come a knockin'.

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