Scholarly

First Draft 
#1
Outfit
Jan 14th, any time is fine



Mateo wasn't a reader. He barely could read in English. Could speak it well enough, but sometimes even texting was a bitch. English was a bullshit language. But, he was in a place that was mostly english speaking, so he had to deal with it when he had no other choice. That still didn't explain why he ventured into this book store. The explantation for that was simple; research. He knew how Were shit worked now, more or less. At least had the basics of it. But he realized he honestly didn't know much about lions. How they worked, their social structure. Maybe it didn't matter, maybe it was all different, but he felt wrong not knowing.

In the days since the full moon, four of them, he'd gotten settled with the idea that some of the impulses and urges he had were definitely not their own. He couldn't exactly see the animal in his brain, but he could sure feel it. It was a like a pacing, heavy, looming feeling. Every sudden move or loud noise set him on edge, feeling like every part of him was ready to jump out of his skin. He fucking hated it. Made him feel weak, like he wasn't in control of himself. He thought he was done with not being in control of himself.

The book store turned out to be one with a bar. Not something expected, but something appreciated. He knew he wasn't supposed to drink heavily, and that it would take a lot more to even feel anything, but it was out of impulse that he got himself the strongest brew on tap to sip on while he looked through the Earth and Science selection for books about lions. Turns out; there wasn't a lot of books about lions. Just some about some conservation and one about a guy that lived among a pride or something. All of it was kinda daunting, and put Mateo off. He might have just finished his beer and left it at that, gone to Google or something for answers. But, as he was moving through the store, he spotted a sign near the Children's sections that read "Animals."

It wasn't something he was proud about, but he figured maybe children's books were easier to digest. So, in he went, and to his surprise, he found something promising. Lions, A National Geographic Kids Reader. Frowning, Mateo moved to set his beer down on a spot on the shelf that was clear, and slid the book from the shelf. The frown remained as he flipped it open, thumbing through the first few pages. Less words, but still clear from what he could gather. A shrug to himself, and he went to flip one last page. Then there was a sharp, searing pain in the pad of his thumb, to which he grimaced sharply and let the book clatter to the floor as he withdrew his hand. What the fuck?

A glance down confirmed that he was, in fact, bleeding. A thin cut sliced right into the middle of his thumb, blooming a well of blood. How the fuck? Where the fuck? He was shocked, confused. Did the paper cut him? How the fuck was that even possible? As a man that had spent over twenty five years with skin that turned against any threat of being cut or bruised, the idea of a paper cut was incredibly alien. Maybe he would have drawn some conclusion if he'd ever been aware of that power. But, well, he wasn't. And it left him staring down at blood with hazel eyes as the looming creature in his brain took one look at the wound and gauged the panic, and decided that it was a good time to kick-drum against his ribs and surge to the forefront of his mind. Mateo too a stunned step back, knocked into a short bookshelf, and sent a few more books flying to the floor as he clutched his bleeding thumb. Fuck!
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#2


It was deeply amusing to find a children's section in a bookstore slash bar - did the 'tender expect to be swilling soda and milk to kids while adults caroused with beer and spirits? The thought was as absurd as it was wholesomely entertaining. After she'd wandered on into that portion of the store, Emily did remember that parents go to bars too and hey, maybe they wanted to pick up a copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish for their babies at home. She knew that life, but it had been ten years since she'd lived it.

Still, she stood between the shelves, smiling fondly as she flipped through a copy of Good Night Moon, eyes distant as she spent some time in her memories. The alcohol made it a bit more emotional - she'd come to terms with the fact that those years were good and done, but of course she still missed it.

The hard thump-thump of books and unstable furniture shattered her reverie and she rose to alertness - well, as much alertness as being two Blue Moons in would allow - and rose onto her tip-toes (a feat considering how she was already in soaring heels) to peek up and over into the next aisle. A man appeared to be wrestling with himself and Emily regarded him with dumb fascination before calling, "Hey, everything alright over there?"
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#3
Motherfucker. Mateo took in a sharp breath and, stupidly, moved his thumb to his lips to suck away the blood. Gross, but he did it, and regretted immediately. His guts twisted, but not from disgust in tasting his own blood, but from the lion as it wretched against the feeble restraints he had on it. There wasn't a full move toward a shift, but it was enough to have him sweating bullets and he paced the small aisle he was in. There was a voice that registered in the blur of trying not to let a tiny little cut turn him into a pile of snapping bones on the floor. He couldn't fucking shift here. Was everything alright? "Huh-" He tried to say something, but it came out only in a tight squeeze of his lungs, "Hhmm, yep." None of it sounded anything like what someone would say if everything was alright. Honestly, someone grunting in a children's books section was probably more alarming than it needed to be.
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#4
This was a situation. Not a Situation, capital S, where she needed to call someone or get her gun or something otherwise out of the ordinary an Officer Of The Law needed to attend to. It was just 'lower case s' situation - the kind people politely ignored until they couldn't anymore - and so Emily was not worried. Baffled and alert, yes, but not worried. Not yet, in any case.

Emily also was not politely ignoring it, because she'd inadvertently gotten involved and well... She just wasn't the kind of person to ignore this anyway. She was an observer, a conclusion-drawer, a theorist. A detective. It was a part of her that never really shut off.

To her eyes, the man - handsome, built like a fighter, Hispanic-descent, a conclusion that was lent currency by the accent that rode on his scant words - appeared to be quite drunk. Maybe even high. Perhaps he was far enough into his cups that whatever got him drinking was coming back in full force to torment him. Rocking back on her heels, Emily put aside her drink on a nearby table and cautiously rounded the shelves. She approached him, one hand out as if to catch a shoulder, but still respectfully, and carefully distant.

"You're looking a little green around the gills. Do you need me to call anyone?" She started in English, unwilling to start off with an assumption based off a few grunts and some fairly universal acknowledgement words. Also, her Spanish was only haltingly conversational at best.
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#5
Of course, he was drawing someone over. Couldn't he just deal with a fucking little cut like a bitch in peace? It riled him, made him jerk back as soon as a hand rested on his shoulders. Breathe, deep breaths. Green in the... what? Call someone? Fuck that. He wasn't about to have her call someone just cause he got cut by some kid's book. His thumb clutched tightly in his fist, he looked at the lady fully, "Nah, just-" Wheeze. Fuck. Sit down, he had to sit down. Over a fucking cut! "Um, just got cut." He tried to explain. Looked like a pussy, all pale in the face because of some blood. Wasn't because of the blood, but she couldn't fucking know it was because there was a lion on the verge of trying to fold his body inside out. His head felt loud. Echos of grousing uffs on repeat.
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#6
When he jerked back, Emily's hand fell to her side, to where her sidearm would've been, purely on reflex. She checked that motion and just patted her hand against her thigh, considering him carefully. He felt over-warm, stress coming off of him in waves. There was also something inexplicable about him that made her gut tense and watery, but perhaps that was just the beer.

"Must be one hell of a cut," She said, voice firm but still soft. He seemed... scared maybe? Whatever it was, the detective was intent on being calm. She would be a rock, as she was trained. "Want me to take a look? I know first aid and I have neosporin in my purse."
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