[Hello! There's no guest art today, so I'm posting today's extra comic here and doing my usual treatment with the text. this will also appear in the Extras section for easy finding later on!]
For a while, they waited in silence, in the darkness at the bus stop. Their breaths clouded in the cold air.
"She seems like a good kid," Vlad said, after a long time. Shinobu glanced at him. "Liya does."
Shinobu said nothing. Vlad hunched his shoulders in the cold.
"I don't think you made her feel really welcome, though," he said matter-of-factly.
"I am just trying to look out for Yoshi's well-being," Shinobu answered rather stiffly. "I was not suspicious enough, last summer. That must be it, yes?"
"Oh, last summer," Vlad mumbled, "I really wish you would stop talking to me about last summer. Give the poor kid some privacy."
"It's just you!" Shinobu said indignantly, rounding on him. "Yoshi likes you. I wouldn't talk about this to just anyone. What do you take me for?"
"It doesn't matter, Shinobu," Vlad retorted. "I don't think Yoshi wanted me to know." And then, resentfully, "I don't know why you'd ask me for any parenting advice, anyway."
Shinobu showed her teeth in a sneer. "Oh, don't be an idiot. You don't know anything about being a parent. But you do know what to do in the face of trauma. I need your help."
"Sure!" Vlad snapped. "But it's not your trauma to tell me about!"
He turned away with a huff, for a moment, and Shinobu did the same.
"...Fine," he said after a while. "Here's what I think."
Shinobu looked at him.
"Knowing Yoshi, that bad shit's on his mind every damn day," Vlad explained. "But I think it's good that he made a new friend. I hope that means he's not still so scared he can't go forward. And Liya really seems all right. Troubled," he allowed, "but all right.
"I know you're concerned and all, but acting suspicious and chasing off his new friends is going to do more harm than good. All you can do is trust him, and be there if he needs you."
Shinobu looked at him miserably. Vlad drew himself up a bit.
"Plus, you're mean," he said, sounding aggrieved. "Just chill out, Boss."
"I shall try to be nicer," Shinobu murmured, ears flattening.
They stood in silence again for a while. Shinobu looked up the street, breathing a cloud of steam, before turning to Vlad again.
"This is why I ask, you know," she said sensibly, and Vlad sighed. "You give such good advice."