You Idiot

The Cage 
During fight night, after Alina's match

What is wrong with you?

Eric turned a cleaned off wing bone in his fingers, jiggling his leg under the table. Ever the rollercoaster in his head, he was now in a nose dive, to the wolf's annoyance.

A whirlwind. That's what it had been. He went from being a mountain man to living in a fantastic house with an intense woman in the span of days. He went from trying to figure out how to ambush his own wolf to actually wanting to be alive.

Not without it's pitfalls. Definitely not. There was no 80s werewolf training montage, just him being flung around by his ass like a rag doll...metaphorically and literally.

Just say it.

He clung to it. He didn't know how to reconcile it, how to assimilate. Eric couldn't shake a lifetime of human etiquette. He also couldn't deny he probably needed a therapist, because who the fuck gets depressed after seeing a naked woman?

Just. Say. It.

The bone shimmered despite the dim lighting. His pushed his hair out of his face and sighed, tossing it to the little pile of finished wings. This was normal for them. For all of them. He was the only one that felt weird. Clothing optional. No taboos. He'd slept in a pile of near strangers. They'd dug debris out of him and scrubbed him clean.

They took care of their own. Even when they were responsible. Humans didn't do that. Not by default. They would get consumed by their own embarrassment of their mistakes and hide instead of making things right.

Say it.

"I'm not human." He mumbled. And that was the problem. Or rather; the problem was that his habits, his brain, or whatever it was - his soul? Couldn't let it go.

 "Who here is?"

 Alina pulled out the chair across from him, a fresh black tee and a pair of sweats covering her skin. Bra and panties had been a no-go since she hadn't stashed any in her office but this would do for now. The stitches across her face were tight and uncomfortable, drying blood flecked over her skin that was red and angry. The sign of a good fight.

 She moved stiffly, reaching across the table and plucking one of his wings out of the basket before sitting back to eat it. "What's up?" He was being broody and quiet and she could feel whatever emotion he was experiencing right now. With everything else going on tonight, however, she didn't have the mental capacity to identify it. So what better way to figure out what was going on than asking him directly?

He jumped, then gave a short laugh. He didn't think anyone would hear him over the clamor, much less Alina, but maybe those more experienced than he enjoyed the benefits of sharper hearing.

"I suppose no one," Eric shrugged with an amused smile, but his outward cheer did nothing to quell the emo fit his mind was having.

It took Eric a second to figure out what she was asking.

"Just hangin out. Your fight was awesome-oh." There it went.

He leaned forward on two elbows, raking all ten fingers through his hair with a weird smirk and a soft sigh. He was trying to be light hearted. Genuinely, Eric wanted to find this funny. But he felt like some dumb nerd sitting in the corner of the cafeteria with no friends.

You were literally that nerd though.

Shut up.

"I'm...just..." He rested his cheek in his hand, studying her stitched up wound. That looked painful, but if it was she wasn't showing it. He wondered idly if he could help her heal like she did him, but that was a question for another confused episode.

"I don't know how to be what I am. I'm uncomfortable all the time. I don't want to be, but I am. the same time, you know, I feel it in my bones that - this is where I need to be."

Eric was not great with words, but he liked how that came out.

"I was just a normal idiot for thirty two years, and everything I know doesn't apply anymore."

What should stay? What should go? Was he even him anymore? Would what he was right then slowly burn away into something new?

Someone needed to write a fucking book on this. So Your Body is Changing Into A Goddamn Animal, a Guide.

 Eric was awkward. Really, really awkward. Still, she tried to leave it be as much as possible, nodding in response to his compliment. "It was fun. Definitely something I needed." The chance to exert energy and violence in a fight was always, always more satisfying than just beating the shit out of a punching back or anything else that didn't bleed. It was a form of therapy she would have recommended to any Were, fighters or not.

 The dissonance between Eric and what he was wasn't a surprise to her. A lot of shifters struggled with it, though it wasn't something she had really dealt with at all. "It takes time. You can be a Were for a long time and never feel comfortable until you've got the right support system. Just being here right now is a step in the right direction." Sucking the meat off the chicken wing she'd stolen, Alina chewed thoughtfully for a moment before continuing.

 "Eating, fighting, and sex are all ways to keep the beast happy and under control. The more under control you are, the more you learn how to keep that control, even under pressure. It's all a balancing act. Learning and experiencing." She shrugged. "Dakila would be a good person to talk to. Or even Liza. They've both been with me since they were pups." "Pups".

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