Achievement Unlocked!

Pete, never being short on spare time, had been doing a LOT of scoping. She had been downright lurking, loitering, and lowering the property value all over the place, from half-dead mall to full-dead boom town. None of it made her doubt for a second that this was a town ripe for hyena-ing. The only stumbling point, though, was what would they do? They had a jumbled assortment of skills and professions and no particular desire from any of them to run anything real. But they needed something, a front, with a space where it was safe to let their hair down. So to speak.

Exploring another neighborhood on foot, Pete saw the glaring yellow wall and black signage and felt...a spark. A light of inspiration. She had hustled into the pawn shop, bought a switchblade, talked to the cashier who was oh-so-conveniently the husband of the owner. She had learned a lot in just an hour or so. And she felt giddy and ferocious as she danced out the door, ready to start a text, to look at numbers, to—

—To catch her toe on a two-inch upheaval of sidewalk, and swing with all the force of her good mood into the pavement, face-first.

 He had been on his way back to his vehicle, coffee in hand and in a more-or-less decent mood. His beast was hungry so perhaps he'd swing into the grocery store or attempt to find some cheap meal to hold him over. Regardless his day was not over by any means yet. So he slunk along the sidewalk minding his own business in his usual manner.

 Then he heard it, a touch sooner than he detected anything else. It was an awful sound really. The smack of somebody's weight on pavement. Startled and almost alarmed by what he might see, he looked up from his position a few yards away. He was not leaping into action or even offering words for the other. All that escaped him was a soft gasp as his face was etched into a look of concern.

Mother fuck.

She had heard things break, although splattered with her face still on the ground, she only knew that her face was fucked somehow, maybe in multiple ways. Beyond realizing that she was really focused on keeping the hyena leashed at the base of her skull.

It took a lot of concentration, and it took energy away from time she could have spent screaming, swearing, crying. She was uncharacteristically silent as she assured herself she was staying human and began to carefully scrape her face up off the pavement.

Immediately, blood. A lot blood, broken nose blood. But also something was wrong with her lip, she had bit a piece out of her tongue, and perhaps worst of all part of a front tooth was missing. Jesus fuck, dude. Barely able to open her eyes through the pain, she slid back onto her knees and blinked furiously.

Also, and really this was just an extraneous detail, but it was there: she had faceplanted into a penny. There was a penny, suction-pressed and unnoticed, right on her forehead.

 The good thing of all of this, to Lydus, was that his inner beast had not yet lost its shit despite all of the blood. Obviously that didn't mean his beast was happy but it wasn't totally trying to take the reins just yet. He was still left dumbfounded though. What was he supposed to say?! It looked a lot more like she had been through hell rather than she had tripped on the sidewalk.

 "H-hey! We have to get you help, sh-should I call somebody for you?" His coffee was set on top of someone's parked car as he patted himself for his phone. He took a few cautious steps forward and then he noticed the least important thing in all of this. There was a penny imprinted into the center of her forehead. Lydus had heard of the story of finding a penny heads-up was good luck but this seemed like insult to injury.

Okay, blinking, head clearing a little, enough to see the bloody pavement in front of her She drooled blood onto the backs of her hands and stared, mystified, as a penny clattered onto the ground. Where had that been?

But. Talking. She craned her head up to take in a slightly blurred man, tall, lean. She put together the word 'help' along with something about someone being called. Lol, remember when this happened to that little florist cat? "Yeah, yur fffucken mom," she mumbled back with a wet, satisfied smile, not, um. Not a hundred percent sure where she was right now.

#6 Well that was an odd response. "I don't think she'll help with this." He admitted awkwardly. Then it dawned on him that if there was this much blood perhaps her brain had been hit around a touch too much. Nothing he did was very graceful as he was careful to mind his own situation with all the blood around and still try to be helpful.

 "Come on. Please." He added for good measure because he was kind of scared she was gonna ask for his mom again. ): "My car's not far from here and you can sit there while we figure something out." He'd also probably have a spare rag or shirt to help soak up all the blood. This was a disaster.

It was hard to pay a lot of attention to him, but he did really seem to be trying. her. Because yes, she had done a real number to her fucking head. One hand came up to touch experimentally at her upper lip, which was gritty with dirt and partially split, maybe on that bit of tooth she'd lost somewhere. That probably hurt the least out of everything. The break in her nose made it feel like someone was driving their fists into her eye sockets.

But, all right. Not much you could do about it. She placed her hands on the ground and got her feet under her, unsteady but not toppling. "Jus' a bathroom," she suggested to him, as clearly as she could manage; her sinuses were full of blood, so she had no idea she was dealing with another shifter; she figured all she needed was to get the bleeding stopped and she could walk this off.

 She managed to get up which was a good sign. You know what wasn't a good sign? The godawful internal bear moaning he could no longer ignore. It was very scared, as was Lydus! So fitting! It had decided he wasn't doing enough to rectify this situation. Come onnnnn, I'm trying. Internal pleads were pointless though, he had learned this.

 His new goal was to get them somewhere private, a bathroom was obviously preferable but alleys made good backups. His eyes had already changed and there was a dull ache beginning in his bones. Nothing that couldn't be ignored for now. Maybe the bear was playing nice for once! "I think there's a public one just up head. Can you walk?" He'd be here to offer support but really hoped he didn't have to carry her there.

She had blood dripping down her neck. Blood pooling at the back of her throat. She figured everything came down to minor injury, but head wounds all just bled like a bitch. Spitting on the ground, and then regretting that use of muscle and pressure on her face, she reached a sticky hand out to latch into the man's sleeve and nodded. "Yeah bro." Ow. "Leh's do it."

 He could keep his internal struggle at bay as she grabbed onto his sleeve. He debated on asking her questions, keeping her talking to make sure she was still all there. Such an idea also seemed bad because of the obvious reasons. Like her face looked horribly messed up. Although he wasn't sure if it was or if it just looked that way because of all the blood.

 "Just a little bit longer." He hummed softly. The sign that pointed towards the bathrooms could only be perhaps ten feet away at most. She could make it. They would make it. Right?

Pete's face made bubbling sounds as she tried to breathe through it. That seemed sub-optimal, so she took her free hand and sort of cupped it over her nose and mouth, head tilting back so that she was dripping less all over the pavement. Swallowing all that blood, though, not to mention being so close to a were-bear she wasn't even clocking, had Becky trying to muscle back in to help manage things. Gotta...maybe get herself out to the outskirts, actually, so she could shift the worst of this off. Except she couldn't really remember where her car was. Or where she was. There was just some guy sort of leading her around.

It hurt to do everything, including think. She blinked dark eyes at him. "Where are we."

 His bear butted in more this time, likely spurred on the gurgling and bubbling coming from the person by his side. There was a panicked pounding of his heart in his chest. He was only further worried by her question. "Avondale." He gritted through clenched teeth as he less than gracefully bumped the bathroom door open. "W-we gotta wash you off." Maybe if they cleaned her real good, sent all the blood down the sink, he could leave and deal with his own beast problems in private. "Come on." It was a soft plead as he turned on the sink and frantically began grabbing napkins.

 There was the worry in the back of his mind that he would grow claws and shred them all. ):



What was she doing in Avondale.

Puzzling over this, she found herself in a dark little bathroom as well, and there was the sound of running water and, WOW! In the metal mirror bolted above the sink, her own stupid face squinting back at her. She bared her teeth a little to look at the crooked gap that used to be the end of an incisor.

Words hurt, so she settled for a fed-up sort of groan, bending down down down to put her face in the stream of water. It was surprisingly high-pressure! After a minute or so she straightened again, dripping and partially decrusted, and grinned at her accomplice. Well, grimaced. "Hey. I think I'm good, 'gcept I don' know where my car is." He could solve that right?

 He shoved himself in the corner while she rinsed her face, clutching onto the paper towels her had ripped out of a dispenser. They were supposed to be for her but his new problem was putting some space between them. He didn't want to watch her blood spin down the drain as she rinsed herself clean.

 Yet she grimaced at him and he thought his heart might burst. Not from any warm or fuzzy feelings. The sheer anxiety of it all kept him on edge. Awkwardly he'd extend the arm with the hand full of clutched paper towels. They were for her and he was hoping she'd might be so kind as to try and soak up whatever was left. Or whatever continued to run after the rinse.

 "Car...I-I can do that." He had already headed for the bathroom door before it dawned on him. He would be out there for eons attempting to guess which one was her. "What do you drive?" The words were meek as he held onto the door knob, ready to go. What did he plan on doing once he found her car? No clue.

Hey, napkins! Napkins for her face. She grabbed the wad and pressed it into her lip, pulling it away almost immediately to note that something on her face was still bleeding industriously. Well. She smashed the napkins back on.

Her head was still blurry, but not so blurry she couldn't tell this guy was being, like. Extra weird. "You all right, man?"

 Oh, okay, she noticed. Deep breath in to steel his nerves. "I don't do well with this much blood." Which was like...pretty much the truth, right? "But you needed help and I'm...I'm glad I could help somehow." Truly he was pretty proud of himself for helping out instead of turning tail and running. Which would have been a lot easier honestly. Maybe he should have done that.

 Was it too late to do that?

God, all right, whatever. The corner of her mouth lifted in what she could manage of a smile. "Me neither." Ha, ha.

It did enter her head, however, that blood was probably a good way to accidentally infect someone. She shouldn't...bleed into this guy's mouth, or whatever. "Preciate it, though. I got...a Crown Victoria, it's green with a face on it." Conveniently easy to spot. The paper towels were dissolving in her hands, so she threw them at an unfortunate trash can.

 That sounded super easy to spot. A green car with a face on it would kind of be impossible not to spot. "I'll go find it and then come get you. Then...then we can make sure you're good enough to drive out of here." He almost prayed she didn't expect him to drive her out of this place.

 If she did not say anything else, he'd slip out of the bathroom before doing an awkward half jog down the side walk. The fresh air was welcomed, the metallic scent of blood no longer overwhelming his senses. He'd wander around with an almost dazed look as he searched for her car, no doubt earning an odd look or two from any passerby.

 The bear would make all sorts of unsatisfied sounds with the building stress and anxiety of it all. But buddy!! They had to be in the home stretch now!!

Just like that he was out the door, and Pete was...on her lonesome, pulling more paper towels off the dispenser and padding them around her nose. Another look in the mirror at her car crash face.

She couldn't remember coming to Avondale, or hurting herself, or how she'd ended up in this bathroom. She had some theories but all the specifics had been shaken loose. Even the fact that she had a kind stranger trying to find her car drifted off somewhere, and so she turned her attention back to washing the gore off her swelling face.

 It took him almost ten minutes (eight if we're going to be exact) of looking around before he finally found it. Truthfully the walk from there to the bathroom would not take as long, considering he now knew what route to take. So he'd rather hurriedly make his way back to the bathroom where he hoped she had stayed. Although if she had decided to wander off maybe that would be easier for everyone.

 Awkwardly he'd lean against the bathroom door and compose himself for a second, a few deep breaths. Then he would crack it ever so slightly. "Are you okay in there still?"

She was still in there, having progressed to pulling at her split lip and trying to pick some bits of gravel out of it. The knock on the door startled her, but you know what, yes, there had been a guy in here earlier. She pulled the door open and looked at him for real this time, finally. Her nose was completely gummed up, but even breathing through her mouth, she caught the scent this time. "Oh shit, you're a bear!" Oh!!!

 He had expected a yes or no, even a maybe so. What he had not expected? Her loud shout of what he was.

 "Oh shit, you're a bear!"

 "Shhh!" He'd offer sternly as his face fluctuated between embarrassed and frustrated. He didn't know what she was, not exactly so he was not pleased with her dragging all of his stuff so out and open like this. "Why would you say that?!" Perhaps he was more hurt than angry as his voice barely reached above a strained whisper.

Shit, she'd done made him mad. Or, embarrassed? Not really clear. Pete blinked at him in confusion, torn for a second between answering honestly and...heeding the warning she was getting with body language here. She shrugged a shoulder helplessly up instead. "I didn't notice, man. Sorry." The words coming out slowly around busted lip and tongue, with the tone on 'sorry' implying she was sorry he was being a bitch about this. "Not like it ain't obvious."

 He sighed, defeated easily by what seemed like an honest apology. He couldn't be mad at her and he certainly couldn't bring himself to lash out at her. "Maybe between us it is but the rest of the world out there," A thrown back hand to gesture outside of the bathroom. "Not everyone just knows." Another sigh as he slumped against the wall.

 "I don't even know what you are." Another defeated sigh. He felt dumb in that moment that she had read him so openly and he could not piece together what she was. She was something though. That much he knew.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Soft boys, she knew how these worked even with a raging head wound. She made for the door and patted at him as she pushed back into the daylight. "Hyena, baby. King of the jungle." So, all right, he had to find her fuckin' car.

 His mouth parted as though he was about to say something but stopped himself. He was pretty sure he had heard lions were the king of the jungle? Lydus was not about to argue with her when she was rather messed up. "I've never met one before." He softly settled on as he aimed to lead them towards where her car was. It seemed like she was already ready to rumble and so he hoped this walk was brief and smooth. No more tripping.

Pete's mouth cracked into another broken smile at that one, and she reached a damp and slightly bloody hand to interlace with his. "Aw, I'm your first?" Heh! "I'll be real gentle."

 Any other time he would have perhaps crawled out of his skin from such affections. Not only did she reach a bloody hand to hold his, she said that. Yet he was fueled on by pity and the idea that if he played nice this might all be over a lot sooner. "Please do." He'd offer meekly as he aimed to look at their interlaced hands. It was weird. Very very weird.

What a fucking milksop, she thought with an inward sigh. No spine. But he seemed helpful, and his bone structure was nice. She dropped the Fabio act but did keep hold of his hand. "All right, sure. Are we...wha're we doin' out here." She was pretty sure she was trying to get home?

 A soft frown settled onto his features at her question. How much did she forget and how quickly was she forgetting all of it? "I'm taking you to your car so you can go home and rest." A touch of concern in his voice. Slowly his gaze left their intertwined hands and looked to her injured face. "Should I call someone or do you need me you?"

That...was probably...a fair question. She ambled down the street alongside him, looking out at the road and trying to figure out where her impairment landed. Not great, not terrible, she thought! Probably she could get home all right if she took it slow, it was hardly a busy time of day. "Nah, I'm good dude. You ever get hit real hard before? In the ole cabeza?"

 He was not sure he completely believed her statement. Even his bear seemed to make deep moaning sounds of anxiety. Don't let her go alone. What if something happens? What if, what if, what if... He tried to push it down while they closed in on the place of her car. "Not exactly, been close a few times." He didn't think hitting his head on the ground after being swept by a werebear exactly counted. Especially sense the damage had been done predominantly to his neck. "Do you do this often?" Small talk before he convinced his bear to let her go alone.

How did you get close to having a head injury a few times? Who said that?? She would have made a mean snort at that sentiment, but you know, face all blood. Not a lot of air was moving through there. But he'd located her car, and...patting at her pockets, she found keys and a phone and a wallet, which was better than some of her more recent forays into blacking out. She ignored any hovering bearman was doing to unlock the driver's-side door. "Buddy, I don't even know what I did. But we got that..." she patted a hand against her chest, collapsing into the seat and leaning over the wheel, "magic blood, you know. So I'm gonna walk this off real quick."

 Try as he might, he could not argue with her logic. They did have that magic blood as she called it. "Okay, take care." Was all he would offer her. Despite the insistent uncomfortable groans his bear wanted to make it was not his job to police her. So he would wait to watch her drive off or close the door. Assuming she did not instantly drive into a light post, or another parked car, he would take off to do his own thing. Which would probably be worried moping.

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