Off to a rather trashy start...

Restaurant Row 
Waking up in an unknown place was nothing new, but waking up in a dumpster was a new low, even for him.

What the hell happened?

His head was pounding and something felt wrong. He'd been feeling a bit odd for a few weeks, that much was sure, but last night something... Something happened. A groan slid from his lips as he raised one hand to rub his aching skull, but the sound echoed back at him inside the tin box with all the force of a sudden clap of thunder. The groan became a yelp, his body jerking upright so that his head slammed RIGHT into the heavy plastic lid above him.

And... Down he went. It was all too much for him - normally nothing phased him - but this whole ordeal didn't feel like something he could laugh off. Instead, he collapsed back into the garbage, tears welling in his eyes. He laid there, crying into his favorite blanket while he regained his composure.

After several minutes, he began to question why his favorite blanket smelled faintly of lavender and why the rest of his car smelled so rotten -- before he remembered that, oh of course, he was still in a dumpster. How fortunate that someone had been thoughtful enough to splurge for scented trash bags... If only the rest of the neighborhood had been so kind. Taking a moment to assess the situation, he also came to the realization that he was naked.

Naked in a dumpster. Just grand. What a grand Sunday it was turning out to be. Was it even Sunday? He hoped it was, because he had Sunday off and he could really use a day off. Or a week. Scratch that, maybe a lifetime.

Unsure if he was wanted to laugh or cry, he slowly pulled himself upright and lifted the lid above him with a surprising ease. Strange, as he hadn't exactly been working out lately, but not the strangest thing to have happened today. Blond curls emerging from the darkness of the can, he poked his head out.

"Huh, nice neighborhood," he muttered, peering down the well-kept alley he'd found himself in. "But where the hell are my clothes?"

Ritzy place, Murphy thought. New town, new people, new fun. But, supposedly, he was just passong through. He was always passing through. It wasn't anything to be glum about; life was supposed to be an adventure, no? Otherwise it wouldn't be fun.

He'd decided to bleach his hair this time around, but he kept his beard its natural color - black - save for a couple of strips for pizzaz. The contrast looked cooler, to him, especially with those baby blues in his head. He took a shortcut through an alley, happy as a clam, when he saw the lid of a dumpster jerk upwards. Murphy slowed, dragging his feet as he raised a brow.

Big raccoon?

Oddly close, though he wasn't sure of it just then.

When that head popped out, curls bouncing, he nearly gasped. The man smelled like garbage, but looked like an absolute treasure.

"Well, hellloooo," He crossed his arms, tilting his head.

What was he up to?

Hiding from a gang? Maybe he crossed paths with a married woman. He was already imagining their daring getaway, the beginning of the bromance.

Colin's felt his ears physically twitch at the stranger's voice, as though they might rotate to hear him better. The sensation was a new one - and not one he was entirely sure he appreciated - which caused him to furrow his brow for a moment, rubbing one ear with his free hand as he turned his head towards the source of the sound.

In that exact moment, he also received the blessing of remembering that it was winter. Although relatively average in physique with the faintest hint of muscle-ton on a good day, he suddenly felt a tinge of regret that he hadn't eaten more before the cold came. His muscles beginning to tense in preparation for a good shiver, he mentally vowed to rectify that mistake next year. But for now... Well, for now he needed clothes.

Blinking and wiping the confusion from his face, a lop-sided grin spread across his lips as he turned towards the man.

"Yes, hello there! I seem to have had a rather... Strange night, though I dare say the morning has proved quite a bit stranger." His voice was bright and melodic, with a British accent that made it quite clear he hadn't grown up in this area. He gestured vaguely to his chest - then to the rest of him (which was still safely obscured by the trashcan). He figured he had to try his chances, no matter how slim; "You wouldn't happen to have a spare pare of pants, would you? I seem to have misplaced my... Everything."

Oh sweet God in heaven, he was British.

Murphy was giddy.

But he kept his cool. Because that's what cool guys did. And Murphy was the coolest.

"Oh shit, are you really naked in there?" Murphy tried to sound concerned, because he was, but someone pretty was naked, and that was distracting.

But no. Come on man. It's freezing outside, and you need to be a gentleman.

Murphy approached the man and unshouldered his leather jacket, glad he picked the fleece lined one, and held it out to him. "Let's make sure you're warm, first," he said, and this time he really got a good scent of the guy.

He wasn't human.

Murphy wondered if he knew that yet. The dude seemed so damn confused.

"My bike's just out that way, and all my stuff is on it. might not fit you well. I'm six foot eight. Sweatpants okay? You can at least tie them tight!"

Everyone always looked so cute in his clothes, so Murphy was never above sharing.

His fingers found their way to his hair, running through the messy blond curls as he shook his head emphatically. "Aye, I am - for reasons I have yet to deduce."

As the other man approached, offering kind words of concern and a jacket, he also caught a whiff of something in the air. Something was odd - different about this man. Lost in thought for a moment, he instinctually reached out with his free hand to take the jacket, but his hand paused mid-motion. Suddenly, the scent hit him with all the force of a speeding garbage truck. Right, I am in a wheelie bin.

He swallowed, unable to escape the smell now that he was aware of it. "I am so sorry about this, truly, I typically prefer the first time another man sees me nude to be under significantly better circumstances." If he hadn't been so damned cold, he would've told the man to keep his coat - surely cleaning it would be a hassle later - but he was so damned cold and so he took it anyways. "Thank you," he added, slipping it over one shoulder rather deftly before swapping to his other hand to hold the lid open so that he could slide his other arm into it's welcoming warmth.

Tugging it closed around his chest, he took a few seconds simply to appreciate how wonderful it felt, still well-heated from the stranger's body. But... there it was again, that scent. What was that scent? Doing his best to wipe it from his mind, he turned his attention back towards the man before him.

That lop-sided grin found it's way back to his face at the comment about the size of his clothes and he paired it with an equally lop-sided shrug. "Have no fear on the sizing mate, I am in no position to be picky." He quirked an eyebrow playfully, but in reality relief was washing over him like the warm shower he desperately needed. "And truly, I owe you at least a fiver for the washing bill."

It seemed luck was on his side today.

Oh boy. He had no idea, did he? Truly none at all.

It'd been a long time since Murphy had to help a newbie, but he'd never been the one that had to drop the bomb before.

In time, he thought. Lots of people didn't take it well. Murphy? Well, he was a rare one. Murphy was born this way. He never had to cope with his inner beast - it had been with him from the start. Good old Yogi.

He snorted at the flirt. "Be right back," Murphy grinned, jogging off. "Oh, and don't worry about the jacket!" He called over his shoulder. Nice of the guy, but he knew how to clean leather well enough. And if it didn't rub out, well, he could always buy another one. It was a shame he hadn't worn the duster, because he could have snuck the guy out lickety-split, though he would have looked like a textbook flasher.

Murphy disappeared out of sight, unlocking his saddlebags. He didn't actually remember what was where, having packed half-asleep that morning, but he could find them somewhere. The signature pair of grey sweatpants all the dreamy boys wore that girls couldn't get enough of. Sometimes he'd wear yoga pants under them. They made your ass look fantastic.

Got em. Murphy yanked them free from the bag, closed it with a click, and ran back towards the dumpster. He couldn't help but laugh at the predicament. Though, as he ran, his training came back to the surface of his memory: he had to scan the news for fatal animal attacks, make a plan to help him hide until he got control, and the trickiest part - figuring out where he could even go. Because he didn't smell like a bear, a wolf, or a lion - he was something else, and while the body chemistry was generally the same, Murphy could only help him so much, go so far. The guy needed his own kind, whatever his kind was, to be truly safe.

Once upon a time, Murphy had people he could call on for this.

He slowed, grinning again at the dumpster boy, waving the pants around. Looking at him, he seemed taller than Murphy had originally thought, which was good. The pants would fit him better. "As promised! He presented them as if they were a trophy. "Pants for my cold friend."

So, run into any weird animals lately? Get bit maybe?

Colin sank down slightly as he watched the other man saunter off to make his pants-dreams come true. Figuring there wasn't much point in holding the lid open at this exact moment, he lowered it, folding his arms on the edge of the metal bin so that he could rest his chin on his arms the lid gently on his head. His eyes made their way across the ally, fixating on a tiny crack across from his temporary den.

He couldn't help it now; his mind began to wander to the events of last night. The more he thought on it, the more confident he felt that it was Sunday. By proxy, then, last night had been Saturday night. He'd left work around 4:30, headed out to his car, and parked at his favorite truck stop near the border between North Glenn and Cordova. He'd washed up as usual, gotten changed, and then took a short walk before returning to the car.

He remembered hanging around his car for an hour or two, past sunset until the moon had started to rise in the sky. He remembered feeling a bit odd, and driving towards Echo Echo, planning to spend the majority of his evening there - and to see if perhaps he could find another place to stay for the remainder of it. But he'd gotten out of his car and...

Pain. He remembered pain - the worst pain he'd ever felt, in fact. He shuddered at the thought; not even the warmth of the jacket certainly wasn't saving him from the ghostly sensation of the memory.

There was nothing then, though. What happened? Was he hit by a car? Did he have a heart attack? A stroke? Surely he was too young for all that - and he hadn't even started drinking for the night then, he had been sober.

And how the hell did he -

He was jerked from his thoughts as his new friend reappeared to clothe him. Perking up immediately, he stood - the wall of the can conveniently covering him just up to the lowest part of his waistline - and took them. "Thank you;" his voice was genuinely relieved... Perhaps as much for the interruption of his memories as he was for the pants. Taking them happily, he spun around, leaning his butt against the edge of the bin (still supporting the lid with his head) and slipping them on. Though the other man was certainly MUCH taller than him, the pants still weren't the worst fit - and since he wasn't wearing shoes anyways, a bit of pants-on-the-ground was better than nothing. Pulling them tight and tying them with a loose knot, he finally hopped over the edge and onto real ground.

He clapped his hands, giving an enthusiastic nod of approval over finally being clothed despite looking rather childish in the oversized loaners. Without thinking about where he'd been, he thrust his hand out with a wide smile. "The name's Colin, and I truly can't thank you enough. What can I call you, other than a blessing?" That last bit came with a rather inviting wink as well.

Slightly loose jacket, gray sweatpants, and that grin. Murphy would need to collect himself, but later. The man hopped out of the dumpster gracefully, and looked mighty fine in that impromptu outfit if he said so himself. Chipper and bright, this one was - just his style, for friends or more. No matter what he was, Murphy didn't want him to lose his number ever, just in case. First, he'd have to give it to him. But first first, the matter of very gently asking Colin some questions he'd probably find odd before telling him something he probably wouldn't believe.

Murphy could easily show him that the things that go bump in the night were real, but he didn't want to scare the shit out of him. Yogi stirred lazily within him, curiously trying to work out what the other one was, and Murphy soothed him down. It'd be fine. Weres had to stick together, because if they didn't, the humans would have them in cages to study them, and that was the opposite of fun. In the old days, they were hunted - for sport and for fear. Murphy was glad to be alive now, where the secret was just an old legend.

"Murphy!" He said warmly, happily taking his hand and giving it a good shake. "But you can still call me a blessing," A playful wink followed by a laugh. "You're probably starving," He remarked. "Hungover? I know a great place around here. The only place I know actually. Just rolled into town today."

He knew he wasn't hungover, but this was a delicate process. The first change was the worst, so he was told. Feed him first, get him feeling better, then ease into it. Find out what he is, find his people, and he'll be fine. Easy peasy.

Colin, quite frankly, couldn't say if he was hung over or not. The thought had crossed his mind, but other than the blackout and bad memories he actually felt... Well, he felt fine. Rather stinky, but also rather excellent, in fact.

But he wasn't about to tell a stranger, no matter how welcoming of one, that he'd blacked out for an unknown amount of time after some kind of sudden brain aneurism and woke up in better health than ever.

That would be crazy.

He laughed, but despite his best efforts there was the slightest hint of discomfort in the sound. Thank god Murphy had offered him an excuse. "Of course! How could I not be, after a night that left me waking up in a dumpster?" He wrinkled his nose playfully before adding; "I guess you could say I'm a bit of a trash heap right now."

Withdrawing his hand from their shake, he absently wiped it against his pants... Not because he was concerned about the stranger's touch, but because his hand felt... Oddly sensitive. It was as though the ghost of the other man's skin was still pressed against it and he could feel every indent and line in his fingers. The sensation of his palm rubbing against the fabric of the pants did seem to help, much to his relief.

Taking a feigned bow, he gestured towards the other end of the alley, where he'd seen Murphy wander off to several minutes ago. "Lead the way, my savior!"

The diner wasn't in walking distance, so Colin would have to scooch up behind him on his bike. Oh no. How awful.

Murphy noted the discomfort, however slight it was, in his voice. Something was bothering him, and he was fairly sure he knew what it was. He was itching to pile on the questions, but Murphy laughed instead. "The friendliest trash heap I've met so far," he added to the joke, clasping the man robustly on the shoulder when he took the offer. Murphy started walking back towards his bike, gently squeezing his shoulder before letting go. A reassuring grasp that he probably didn't understand, but maybe the confused beast within did. Murphy couldn't imagine suddenly being willed into existence by a misstep, a fight with the wrong critter, or any other such manner; it was no small wonder that turned weres often rampaged the most. Not that being born one made him better, of course. A hulk-out was a hulk-out, and no one was immune to them - not even Murphy. It had been a hot minute, though, and he hoped it would continue to be so.

He wanted to know what happened to the guy, partly because it was usually a kind of funny story, but mostly because he could help him better if he could remember what bit him.

Murphy knew all of the recorded species, but in his sheltered upbringing had only met the other allied Clans. He couldn't put a scent to a species without knowing them first, so at least he'd ruled out what he knew. It was a shame Colin wasn't a bear. Yogi was getting lonely.

"I think you'd like it," He started, as they got closer to his ride. "They're an American style greasy spoon kinda place, a bit out of place for this area, but they've got a full English breakfast on the menu," He singsonged the last bit, wondering if Colin was homesick. "Might be an Americanized version, but the fatty meats are what you want right now, if you're hungover." Or if you need to refuel after a night on the town in different skin.

Murphy casually unpocketed his cell phone, browsing local news idly. Break-in on 6th street. DUIs. Nothing out of the ordinary. He thumbed to social media just to be thorough but tried to do this quickly. He didn't want to seem rude or distracted. Wild parties. Night club seemed hopping last night. Raccoon steals entire pizza. He'd have to watch that video later so he could laugh. Nothing, though. Good. Colin didn't kill anyone, at least as far as anyone was talking. And people talked a lot. He smiled down at him, eyes glimmering, and Colin would probably think he was being friendly but Murphy was quite relieved. It was really hard to keep a Were safe if they killed a person. You pretty much have to skip town, because they'll be trapping and killing any animal until the attacks stop, or they feel satisfied with their revenge.

And trapping an animal that seemingly can't die causes weird problems. Tricky problems. It wasn't just good that Colin hadn't hurt anyone. It was fantastic. He slipped his phone away as the bike came into view - it was shiny, red, and huge. It needed to be, with his frame. "There she is! My baby girl." He gestured with his arms wide to the one thing besides Yogi that had been with him through thick and thin.

Her name was Greta.

Colin couldn't help but smile at the other man's compliment, a genuine expression that made it clear how thankful he was for this man's help. As they wandered along and chatted, his mind kept wandering to the events before his blackout, and of all the minute things to stress about, he couldn't help but try desperately to remember if he'd locked his car... After all, it did hold his life's possessions - not that he kept much with him, really. He quite enjoyed the company of people and the ability to go where he pleased when he pleased, so living out of his vehicle suited him just fine.

Nonetheless, his car still contained his favorite blanket, a few mementos from home, and his clothing, and a bathroom essentials the truck stops didn't provide. He kept his wallet and phone on him in his pockets, of course... You know, the pockets of the clothes I didn't wake up in, he thought. He offered a silent prayer that perhaps they were somewhere near his car and hoped the opportunity would present itself to ask for a ride to Echo Echo after breakfast to look.

As Murphy discussed breakfast, he nodded politely. In truth, he did feel rather hungry, but he also felt like he could eat just about anything. Although a traditional English breakfast did sound lovely, he couldn't help but feel that he missed an opportunity by failing to check the trash for any tasty -- wait, no, that definitely was not right.

We do not eat out of the trash, he mentally chided himself, although he had the strangest sensation that it wasn't himself he was scolding at all.

As they approached the bike, his gentle smile grew much wider with Murphy's passionate introduction. It was clear to see the man truly loved this vehicle, and as someone who had a live-in relationship with theirs, he could relate. His own car wasn't much, but she offered him space to sleep each night and kept him warm and dry. "A chariot fit for champions, truly! She's lovely."

And of course, it was true - she was lovely. Well taken care of and amply-sized for the both of them. Though, of course, he'd still need to ride cuddled up against Murphy... But after the morning he'd had, that didn't sound too bad at all.

Murphy snorted, mulling that over in his head with a goofy grin. A champion. He supposed he was, in a way, in spite of everything anyone thought of him back home. He'd never done wrong by people that needed him most., you know what? He never did. It was fit for a champion, because he fucking was one, but not in some asshole smug way, that wasn't how he rolled.

He stepped over the bike, dipping with his weight, and fumbled for the keys. Oh. Right. "Oh, you've got my keys," He held out his hand with a smile, laughing, gesturing to the right pocket of his jacket. Murphy admired those locks, pretending to be just a patient waiter, thinking to himself he'd kill for curls. It was a funny thing, that - lots of people with curly hair would tell him he doesn't want it, and go through their excruciating routine, admitting that some days it didn't even cooperate after all that diffusing, scrunching, and teasing. Whatever this guy was doing, it was working pure magic.

A look of surprise crossed his face, clearly taking a moment to process why he had the keys before it all fell into place. As soon as it clicked, he laughed, pulling them from the pocket and handing them over to the other man. "Damn, here I was thinking I'd almost gotten away with my dastardly escape plan."

He winked before climbing over the bike as well, the motion taking a bit more effort than it did for Murphy. Colin was of relatively average height for a man, of course, but that certainly didn't equate to being the right height for a motorcycle that was used to carrying around Murphy, in all his height-induced glory.

It took him a moment to settle in, tugging this way and that at his current attire to get it comfortable enough to at least ride a short distance in. Once he'd finally gotten himself into position, he leaned forward with a smirk, sneaking in a final comment in the moments before Murphy powered his chariot up while it was still easy enough to speak.

"Hope you don't mind if I hold on."

"Common scam? Hiding naked in dumpsters to steal keys?" Murphy bantered, laughing as he slid the key into the ignition, chain rattling. He had some kind of fuzzy poof ball, blue and sparkly, slightly dirty, hanging between his bike key, two others, and a bottle opener.

The bike roared to life, a great feeling. Murphy loved the vibrations - not, surprisingly, for any dirty reason, but because it felt like he was a part of the machine, racing and revving down the back roads. It was an intense feeling of freedom and danger, screaming down a mountain, across a dead desert highway, or disrupting the serenity of a thick forest split in two by humanity's smoothly paved arrogance. It was the closest, he felt, one could get to flying without assistance. The bike weighed about 300lbs, but he felt weightless sailing along on those tires.

As he felt arms hook around him, Murphy felt that cozy kind of feeling and giggled at the remark. "Oh, you'll want to. The torque on this model is nuts." Couldn't have Colin flying off the back and hurting that pretty head of his. That's not how he should find out that he's suddenly...inhumanly durable. Plus, he never got to be the little spoon.

Murphy really did try to ease on the gas, but it wasn't called the Chieftan for nothing. The bike jumped forward with a growl, and they were off, slowly speeding up to match the limit. Low profile, that's what he was supposed to be. He'd assumed that meant getting shit on by the law, so Murphy remained as flamboyant as ever, but now he went the speed limit.

The diner was only ten minutes away, but it would have been two minutes if he wasn't trying to behave.

With another chuckle at Murphy's response, he took the invitation to hold on a bit more tightly. He'd been on a few bikes before, so he had the general gist of it, but he'd always been more of a... Well, he was sure Murphy would be able to draw the conclusion as soon got his first look the beat-up Chevy he called home.

Colin's lifestyle wasn't flashy: it didn't need to be. He didn't need much space or too many belongings; he was perfectly happy working, socializing, and spending any remaining hours wandering or partying. He had virtually no bills and virtually no obligations and frankly, he was content that way.

Sure, every now and then it was a bit awkward to explain that there was no "mine" in "your place or mine?" but usually he could get away with making the first move ("Your place?") or finding a secluded place to park instead.

But at the same time, he thought as he leaned his cheek against Murphy's back, the man's large frame protecting him from quite a bit of the wind generated by the bike beneath them... Maybe it is getting a bit old. Colin was still young, of course - only 23... But he certainly wasn't the 18 or 19 that this sort of lifestyle dictated. Of course, he considered himself rather young at heart, but it might be nice to have a room to return to each night.

Then again, it certainly would cut into his 'fun' money.

Then again, it would provide a much safer place for multi-week naps this time of year necessitated.

He scowled openly now that he knew Murphy couldn't see his face. People didn't nap for three weeks at a time and he had a job. What was he thinking?

Doing his best to clear the thoughts from his mind, he nestled a bit closer against his ride and attempted to finish the remainder of the journey with a clear head.

Murphy spent the ride thinking about where to sit in the diner - if there were any private places, perhaps even outside seating, that would be an ideal spot to gently probe some weird questions. He hadn't been planning on sticking around for long, but he also didn't have a plan on where to go. So, he supposed, since he'd run into a new were in need - maybe he could stay awhile. It wasn't like he didn't have the money to just buy an apartment on a whim, or rent a house for a few months, or even just buy a house. That option typically served him well - instead of selling them when he left, Murphy just added them to his father's rental properties for a bigger cut of the share. One of the few functions he was still allowed to do. Sure, shaming the family would get you disowned, but that didn't mean they wouldn't still be open to making money off of him.

A small bitterness filled him about that. To be cast aside so easily, but still used for gain.

Oh well. It is what it is. Maybe someday he'd have his own clan, his own family, and it wouldn't bother him so much anymore. He didn't want to lead, build an empire, or anything his ambitious father had done. Just a home. Maybe someone to love, but, most importantly, great friends.

He slowed, turning into the parking lot of a place called Sean's. They did breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, and they did it well. Stomach already growling in anticipation, with Yogi stirring within him, Murphy already knew what he wanted. Pile of bacon, some steak tips, hash browns, eggs...the works. Shit, they could just mix it all together in a bowl for him if they wanted. He'd down it all.

"Man, I'm already hungry. Smell that?" The rich scent of maple and meat wafted out towards them, a small plume of smoke filtering out from the roof. Must be a rush hour. He had all day, so he didn't mind a longer wait. "They might be packed. You don't have anywhere to be, right? We could go somewhere faster if you do." Not that he knew another place. He'd let his nose do the walking there.

Colin could feel his stomach growl rather menacing as they pulled up. Even from a solid block away, with the wind sliding past them and his nose pressed into Murphy's shirt, he could smell it. Food. And food he wasn't going to have to work very hard for, at that.

He was nearly ready to jump off as soon as they'd parked - with the promise of food on the horizon, he realized he felt quite a bit hungrier than he'd realized. In fact, he felt absolutely famished. His stomach emitted another emphatic growl, highlighting that it wouldn't tolerate traveling anywhere else.

With that thought fresh on his mind, he wriggled himself off the bike even as Murphy was asking if he wanted to go elsewhere. Shaking his head to get his hair to fall back into place and licking his lips, he brightly replied; "No, I think this will do perfectly." Splaying his fingers over his stomach with just a pinch of drama, he also added; "Perhaps they'll spare us some buttered toast while we wait, though."

"They do toss you a basket of muffins, I think," He mused, trying to remember. He never really paid attention to finer details unless he really enjoyed giving them attention - a fine barbecue plate, something roasted with honey, a nice ass. A basket of muffins was welcome, but so very ordinary.

Unless they were lemon blueberry. Those were the shit.

He powered down the bike, looking back at Colin with a hungry grin. He gave Colin time to get off the bike first, then gently propped it against the kickstand, letting gravity settle it into place. He walked towards the door, smelling things no human could smell, appreciating the little notes of grease, fat, and searing meat.

Maybe he'd get the country fried steak instead of the tips, he thought. With that gravy, and that sampler platter as a side. Sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon...maybe the steak tips too, why not.

His stomach complained - stop teasing me! - and he tried to quiet his hungering. Murphy wondered if this was a bear thing or a were thing, because the Bear Clan back home could eat the other Clans under the table, but that wasn't to say the other families couldn't put food away.

Had a moment of rather passionate excitement at the prospect of muffins before reminding himself that they most likely offered American muffins... Not English ones. Ah well, some things couldn't be helped and quite frankly, American 'English' muffins were usually frozen anyways. The American kind could still be buttered and jammed, it was just a bit less typical. He didn't mind though, as long as they weren't too sweet.

The sweetness took all the fun out of it - that's what butter, honey, and jam were for!

As they headed towards the entrance and the door opened to let out another patron, the scent of the restaurant hit him in a way that made him feel like he'd never smelled food before in his life. It must have been the hunger getting to him, but he could've sworn he could smell every individual plate in the place. He couldn't exactly pick out each unique ingredient, but he could decipher quite a bit... Fresh bread, maple, sausage, bacon, grease... Even a bit of a smoky smell that he attributed to what was most likely heavily use equipment in the back.

His stomach grumbled again and he grumbled back at it. He'd never felt so impatient for food in his life, which seemed incredibly impolite and he didn't appreciate his body betraying him this way.

He wanted to change the subject to distract himself, but the only thing he could think to ask was if Muprhy had any preferred seats... That certainly wouldn't matter now though, the place was packed and it was clear they were going to have to sit wherever they could manage. He considered asking about food instead, but that also defeated the purpose of quieting his stomach.

Nonetheless, it was all he had at that exact moment.

"Any favorites?"

A sign stood near the entrance - "Feel free to seat yourself!" and Murphy scanned the place for any nooks, thankful there was a din of conversation. It was so loud inside, between the chattering and laughing and the chaos in the kitchen, that he felt the need to raise his voice a little to reply.

"It's hard to pick!" He pondered, slowly weaving through the place, hoping Colin was behind him in the tight spaces between tables. The temperature was significantly higher inside, and he half-hoped Colin could take the heat. He didn't have a shirt under that jacket, after all. He wouldn't care if it didn't violate the no shirt, no shoes policy.

Though, mischievously, Murphy secretly dared anyone here to try to throw them out.

In the farthest corner, tucked away, was a nice cozy booth - one Murphy anticipated nobody could hear a British man shouting "What?!" from - and he pointed wordlessly to it, making his way to slide into the seat. He grabbed a menu, gave the man time to catch up and sit, and refreshed his memory.

They had a family platter now. One pound of bacon, a hefty bowl of scrambled eggs, ten sausages, and a mountain of home fries.

Yes. This would do. He'd meant to suggest some things, but he was too busy looking at the photo of the magnificent thing.

The curly-headed mess padded in after his new companion, but as the entered his eyes caught a dated 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' sign near the entrance. Although his face remained neutral, he grimaced mentally and made sure to wiggle the bottoms of his lengthy loaner-pants down over his bare toes. Surely, if anyone deserved an exception today, it was him. If push came to shove, he'd probably be able to 'talk' his way out of it, but he'd prefer to avoid the effort right now -- he'd much rather eat than explain himself.

As he shuffled along behind Murphy, absently looking around, he wondered if he might run into anyone he knew. In truth, he really didn't spend that much time in this part of town, usually relegating himself to the Cedar Creek & Crestview areas. Although he was perfectly aware of Belle Vista, he never really felt the need to go much further than North Glenn, home to a couple of the nicer truck stops in the area.

In truth, even if he were in his usual stomping grounds, on days without work he was rarely up before noon and his standard company wouldn't be either. The chances he'd run into someone at a breakfast joint were pretty slim in general.

Slipping into the booth of Murphy's choosing, he picked up the menu, eyeing over the selection hungrily. He spent a minute or two looking and of course, found the full breakfast right away... But he couldn't ignore how badly he was craving some chicken as well. Chicken and waffles had been one of the finer points of American cuisine that he'd never really understood, but today it sounded exceedingly appealing. He eyed the line on the menu, debating on rather he could get away with ordering both on a stranger's dime - and if he'd be able to eat both.

His stomach rumbled - yes, he'd definitely be able to eat both.

Tucking one foot under his leg to face the wall and better hide his shoeless state, he thought back to Murphy's rather large - and expensive - bike. I suppose he can afford it... If not, I can always pay him back later. Without any bills to pay, the young vagrant had a decent chunk of money saved up; even after his voracious bar tabs. Unfortunately, of course, none of it was with him right now.

Then again, I'd have quite a bit more if I'd get a real job. He could almost hear his mother's voice chastising him now. There was a reason he didn't call home much, and it wasn't the phone bill.

Content with his food choices and brushing any debate about the odd cravings aside, he settled into the well-worn both beneath him in preparation for the lengthy wait ahead.

He watched Colin eye the menu, and when his eyes lit up he knew he'd found something he wanted. Or two. Smirking, he made sure to make the newbie feel at ease. "Get whatever you want, by the way," His voice was genuine, friendly. "I'm not trying to brag here, really, but I won't be hurting even if you ordered the whole menu." A laugh. He really didn't care to flaunt his wealth - even though he inadvertently did, with his nice bike, clothes, and taste in living spaces. Murphy checked his phone for a moment, swiping to his calendar idly.

He definitely wanted to be around when the next full moon hit. Colin was lucky already - he didn't kill anyone. But there was no reason to push that luck.

A waitress, curvy and tired looking, appeared with a forced smile, gently setting the complimentary pot of coffee in the center of the table, along with two mugs. Human. Poor girl was tired as all hell, he could tell. There were more than a few weres in the room, so she was probably running insane amounts of food. Murphy felt bad about what they were about to do to her. He'd tip super well.

"Are you guys ready to order?" She asked, her chipper tone not hiding her fatigue at all. She needs a good snuggle, He thought, and then, Don't be a creep, man.

"Sure are!" His smile was contagious to her, it seemed, because her spirits appeared to lift. The truth was she found him extremely attractive, but, for all his charm and swagger and flirting, Murphy was generally oblivious to that kind of thing, so he just thought his friendliness had made her day better. "I'll start with that family platter, it looks delicious. I'm, ah, training for a marathon, so I'll need it." A white lie. It's not like normal humans couldn't eat their weight, but he had come to learn that pretending to be an athlete really culled the weird looks. "Aaaand...lemme also get that sausage sampler." Maple, applewood, smokehouse, and traditional? Yes please.

She wrote everything down, smiling at them.

"Aaaand whatever my friend here wants, too." Murphy gestured to Colin.

On a full belly, his inner beast should be a little calmer. It would make it easier for Murphy to prove it to him, if he had to. He mulled over how he would go about that without freaking him out. These were things his father was good at, but not him. Murphy was the kind to quickly rip off the band-aid. Not much finesse. With the full moon coming, he reasoned that he at least needed to keep Colin close until he found his people. He'd be needing to find a place to live while he helped him. Maybe Colin needed a roommate? It wasn't like he lived in a dumpster. He had to live somewhere.

But Murphy was getting ahead of himself. Food first. Then the weird shit.

Colin nodded at Murphy's words, confirming his suspicions and easing any further hesitation he had. The most reassuring bit was watching the other man order his own meal though - he must have the appetite of a bear! Then again, he wasn't exactly one to talk with the way he was feeling.

It did, however, make him wonder what sort of night Murphy had had that left him so hungry. He did show up on a motorcycle though, perhaps he'd simply been driving a while without eating. Or, perhaps his own little predicament had severely delayed breakfast.

When the taller male clarified that he was training for a marathon, he couldn't help but quirk an eyebrow. Truly, Murphy didn't strike him as the athletic type but, he chided himself, you can't judge a book by it's cover.

As the waitress turned to him, he rerouted his attention fully to her and offered up his best roguish grin - not necessarily with any ulterior motive, but simply because the action came second-nature to him. Though of course, it certainly did seem to help him obtain whatever he was seeking at any given moment. There was just something about the sage-colored eyes peaking out from beneath that mop of a haircut he had that lent people to assume he must be good-natured. He was, or at least he tried to be, so he saw no reason to start off any given interaction with any other pretense.

The woman returned his smile brightly as he spoke; "Well, I'm no athlete but I am quite hungry this morning." He winked at her, eliciting a bit of laughter from her before continuing. "And I'm feeling quite worldly today, so as the man of culture I am, I'd like a plate of chicken and waffles along with a full English breakfast." He paused for a moment, envisioning the food in his mind to ensure nothing was missing, then added; "And a small side of bacon, please." Over the past few years he'd grown rather fond of American bacon. It wasn't the real thing of course, much like the American version of cheese, but it was delicious.

As the waitress finished taking the orders and turned away, he offered her one more playful; "Hurry back!" before slipping his menu back into it's home at the far end of the table and returning his gave to Murphy. With a quirked eyebrow and an expression that made it hard to tell if he was teasing, flirting, or genuinely curious, he asked; "So... An athlete, huh?"

Chicken and waffles. Damn, why didn't he think of that? Yogi loved sweet-and-savory, but, the maple sausage coming his way should be enough. He had a stash of honey-cured jerky in his bag if not.

He poured himself a mug of coffee, adding an irresponsible amount of sugar as if it was something you were supposed to be doing, finishing it off with enough cream to turn the brew a nice dark brown. "Somewhat," He answered with a smile. It was true, a little. "Mostly I just work out. Like a lot." Even without a gym. On the road, feeling the itch? Lift some boulders. Run a few miles. Plank. Whatever kept his bestial whims at bay until it was appropriate to go run around in the woods.

How was he going to ease into this?

"But I'm not training for anything, really," A mischievous glint. Murphy tapped his fingers on the table, watching Colin, wondering. If he could read minds, it would be nice. To know how he would react!

Ah, screw it.

"So. I've got a, uh, really weird question to ask you, Colin." He grew more serious, but you could tell he wasn't deadly serious. Words threatened to pour out - Well, maybe more than one question. I'm not good at this shit. Maybe I should send you to my dad. Nah, no, he'd kill me. Possibly actually. Like for real kill me. I can handle this, for sure. But you have to stick with me even if you think it's weird.

Yeah. It was probably best that all that stayed suppressed.

Colin thought to himself vaguely that coffee was probably a good idea as he watched Murphy prepare his cup - gratuities amounts of sugar and all. Colin had never had much of a sweet tooth by American standards; sure, he ate his fair share of biscuits back home but his tastes were positively bland compared to the lavish cereals and ice creams Americans fed their children. Even yoghurt came sweetened here - and when it wasn't, they called it Greek.

He slid his own mug a bit closer to himself, pouring in just a splash of milk and a single packet of sugar before filling it to the brim with the dark, strongly-scented brew between them. Before actually picking up the cup, he shifted in his seat, pulling one leg up rather unceremoniously so that his knee was pulled up loosely to one side of his chest and the other was tucked in front of it on the seat. His legs now perpendicular to eachother, he let his raised shin rest against the table with his resting arm on that corresponding knee, then he picked up his mug and took a deep whiff.

It smelled dark, slightly bitter, as to be expected. But most of all, it smelled strong and he wasn't entirely sure that it was because the coffee itself was any stronger than usual. A sip confirmed his suspicions; standard old bitter diner coffee... So why did it smell so different?

All the while he'd been listening curiously to Murphy's explanation. It was certainly easier to believe that he was simply a muscle-head than a marathon runner: it's not as though he wasn't large enough. He gave him a laugh with a feigned knowing nod; "Ah yes, of course... Gotta practice "The Rock's" diet for all those workouts."

But as he watched his new friend's face and sipped at his mug, he could tell the other man was struggling to say something. His stomach churned a bit in preparation for whatever it was: he was never good at serious talks. Quirking an eyebrow from behind his cup he responded quite simply with; "Sure, shoot."

Hopefully he was going to ask something stupid about the UK, or maybe he was a virgin and was hoping -- okay, probably not on that second one.

Then again, he didn't really look like an athlete either.

He giggled at The Rock comment, briefly wondering if that mountain of a man was also some kind of were. His cheat day meals were legendary.

Murphy was visibly struggling with how to start. He wasn't always the best with words - his strength involved showering others with compliments, or puns, or anything that involved a quick wit - but breaking strange news? Bad news? He'd rather crack a joke, or tell him his hair was gorgeous.

"How-" Open minded are you?


He sighed, frowning at himself.

"Okay, I suck at this, so I'm just gonna drop the bomb."

That was clumsy, too.

"I am pretty sure I know what happened to you last night. In fact, 100% sure, but, it's. You're gonna think I'm insane."

Smooth. ish. Or not at all. Also not a question. He sipped his coffee.

Colin's face remained politely neutral as his green eyes focused intently on Murphy, still curled up strangely in his seat and nursing his coffee. Behind those eyes, however, his mind was racing.


Top Search Results:
is Britain this time of year?
do you get your hair so curly?
did you end end up in a trashcan?
do you have sex with another man?

'... just going to drop the bomb...'

I'm not gay.
I think you're quite cute.
I actually stole that motorcycle.
I don't have a way to pay the bill.

If his eyes had been moving with his thoughts, they would have been darting around the room at a thousand miles an hour. But the words that came out of Murphy's mouth next were not the ones he expected.

He nearly choked on his coffee: suddenly it all made sense. He should have known he wouldn't be so lucky. This guy didn't show up magically with exactly what he needed, he knew where exactly where he'd be. He didn't have to ask him what happened at any point because he already knew.

A stalker. Bloody hell.

Suddenly, that jacket felt incredibly uncomfortable - some sort of attempt to apologize... Or to give him Stockholm syndrome? He couldn't exactly take it off here.

His eyes did dart around the room now, assessing his options. Should he scream? Run? How dangerous was this muscle-head? Should he slip a note to the waitress on her next visit?

Somewhere though... A tiny part of him kept him glued to his chair and instead, his face nearly as pale as the slender fingers holding onto his mug with a deadly grip, he whispered:

"You... Drugged me."

Murphy's entire soul fell out of his ass.

"Oh my god," He held up his hands, mortified. "Never! That' you..." He took a moment to compose himself.

"I know this is just the word of some dude you just met, but I swear, I'd never do that to someone. I've nearly killed someone for doing that before."

He clamored for the words, but couldn't find the finesse. Stomach in knots, he wanted to cry - and maybe his eyes were a little shinier than usual at the sheer thought of it - but he wasn't even mad. Murphy was sad. "I feel like shit for making you think something terrible had happened to you,"

He ran his hand through his hair. He couldn't say it now - it would sound like some insane distraction. "Do you remember getting bit by any animals? Especially like...weirdly large ones? I think you might have a sort of virus. The same one I do. That's what I...that's what I was trying to get at."

Murphy was amazed at himself for pulling that out of his ass. But it wasn't exactly a lie. For all intents and purposes, the closest thing one could call it is a virus.

No number of coffee sips could have restored Colin's exceedingly dry mouth to it's normal state. He was shaking faintly, every muscle in his body tensed - and although he couldn't see it himself, Murphy would be able to see that the color of his eyes had begun to darken slightly.

He was still shaking even as Murphy did his best to reassure him that his first assumption had been wildly incorrect. He did seem sincere, but the most logical parts of his mind still felt extremely unconvinced. Was he starting to tear up over there?

Was this just another form of manipulation?

His eyes darkened another shade and his vision blurred. Suddenly he didn't feel hungry. He felt... He felt... Wrong. Was this what a heart attack felt like?

Desperate to stop whatever it was, he tore his gaze away from Murphy's, focusing instead on his coffee cup and trying to control his breathing. After a moment, his vision re-focused -- and that was when he saw it. In the space perfectly between where his fingers were pressed into the cup like the jaws of life, a crack had formed. It started near the top of the cup, snaking it's way down into the murky depths of his coffee.

His examination was so intense that his mere gaze might have lengthened it another half inch.

He was sure it hadn't been there before.

A tiny, hot droplet fell on to the fabric that had the misfortune of being beneath the assaulted mug.

It was leaking.

From the crack that hadn't been there before.

With one motion, he slammed the mug back onto the table, further damaging it's integrity so that a small ring of liquid began to form around the base of it. Colin didn't notice though, instead bringing his arms around his leg so that his hands could grip each other to hide his shaking body.

He didn't answer the question; he barely heard it. He was staring at the bench beneath him as he asked;

"What virus?"


This had been a bad idea. A public place, with multiple other weres in the room, telling this poor guy he was a were-something but fucking it up so he thought he was Murphy's victim instead.

Colin was freaking out. His eyes changed, and he began to crack the mug he was holding. If he changed right here, there would be utter hell to pay for everyone involved. Especially Murphy. It would get back to his father. And that would be the end of it. No more money if he was lucky - but no more being alive if he wasn't.

"There's things in this world science hasn't even begun to touch, let alone explain," He said calmly, trying to get Colin out of it. "This one hasn't really been discovered on a mainstream level."

He tried to keep his voice steady.

"But it's not dangerous. You won't die. It actually makes you stronger. I bet you can smell every scrap of food in here, can't you?" Make him think about something else, he thought. Try and help him calm down. "I bet you can smell me, too, if you focus, which is weird, ain't it? I'm not wearing any cologne, but I bet you could find me in the dark."

Please believe me. Please calm down. God, he hoped Colin wasn't an Alligator. He couldn't subdue one of those fuckers.

He could hear something. Drums? Was there music in here? Colin wasn't sure: before it had seemed so loud in the crowded diner, but now all he could was a distant roaring noise and that pounding rhythm.

Ah, yes. It's my pulse. Is this the virus? Am I dying right here, right now?

Murphy had said he had it too, but perhaps Colin wouldn't be so lucky.

Typically, he was extremely relaxed. He rarely felt stressed and he'd certainly never been in a situation like this one. His charisma and good looks got him out of most situations - and the accent didn't hurt, either. But because he'd never felt true panic, it couldn't occur to him that he might be having a panic attack.

However, Colin was - despite everything that was rapidly occurring within him - incredibly logical. And although the logical part of his mind was quarantined to a corner right now, it still found a way, and through it he understood that he had to calm down.

He couldn't stop the shaking, but he could breathe, and so breathe he did. With a restraint that felt painful to his fluttering lungs, he breathed in through his nose then out through his now-chapped lips. In, out. In, out.

Still breathing, he focused on Murphy's voice. Stalker, crazy person, or otherwise, he had to put his faith in something right now. Otherwise, he thought to himself, my heart might really fail.

And so, closing his eyes, he listened to what Murphy had to say.

He was right, of course. He could smell everything. He could smell everything from blocks away, in fact. He'd brushed it off as hunger and imagination, but Murphy was right.

It wasn't normal.

His eyelids screwed shut even tighter, his eyes darting around behind them like a trapped animal. Focus on breathing. In through the nose...

And there it was, that odd scent that he'd found oddly comforting just a little while ago. Murphy.

He opened his eyes and although his panic was fading to mere fear, it was painted more clearly across his face than the emotion had ever been in his life. Throat pulsing with a forceful swallow, he responded to with a weak nod. Then he asked the only thing he could think: "Am I going to die?"

The waitress interrupted the moment, and Murphy put on an instant grin for her so hopefully, she wouldn't think something was amiss. She had to bring their stuff on a cart. "Sorry it took so long!" She said, and he dismissed her with a playful wave.

"I mean, we did order enough to feed a small country," He liked making people laugh. The waitress handed off plates to him, and he set them down in front of himself and Colin.

"Anything else before I check on other tables?" She asked.

"Oh, this is mighty fine for now. Thanks a bunch."

He waited until she was out of earshot, the focused back on Colin, shaking his head, but also shrugging. "The virus won't ever kill you, but it can get you killed, if you're not smart." Ravenous, he took a moment to bite one of the sausages more than in half, moaning. That was a damn good sausage.

"We uh. Aren't technically human anymore, Colin. We are, but now we have something inside us that makes know what? Kind of better. Definitely better." He pondered for a moment. "You like comics? We're basically X-Men now." And all of them were The Beast.

"There's a lot more to tell. It gets...really weird. But get some food in you. Your body's been through hell."

It would always hurt, the change. But in time, Colin would find it bearable, even oddly pleasant - like stretching a sore muscle.

To say Colin was in a daze when the waitress appeared would have been an understatement. Her timing could not have been worse, but then again... It always was. On another day, it would not have bothered him. He would've laughed it off and invited her to stick around for a quick chat. Hell, he might've even given her his number - it probably would have made her day.

But today was not that day and it felt like he'd left that version of himself on another plane of existance.

The gentle tapping of each plate on the table sounded hollow to him. His pulse had slowed and his blood pressure had fallen, so he could hear the restaurant cacophony once again - but it was nothing more than background noise.

What he did hear were Murphy's words as the waitress wheeled the cart away and he continued to explain. X-men? This whole thing was absurd. He might have laughed if there wasn't some small part of him that - god save him - actually believed it.

He didn't want to eat, but he didn't know what he wanted to do. Fresh air? He'd clearly had enough of that last night. Go home? His car didn't seem as safe and cozy as it normally did right now. Go back Home? And tell his mom what, that he blacked out after not calling for months and some crazy man told him he's sick?

No, no, and no.

So instead, he sat there, staring at his food. After a few moments, he felt something stir within him, something angry. He was angry with himself for not eating? But he didn't want to eat. Why would he be angry with himself for that?

Scowling as he tried to work it out, his stomach rumbled. This was a full-on revolt and he was trying to have a mental breakdown here. He did not appreciate this betrayal.

Sighing, he took a hesitant bit of his food, then another... Then dove in with all the voracity his 'night on the town' required of him.

Relieved to see him give in and fuel up, Murphy took the silence as an opportunity to stuff his own face, trying a little bit of everything. He also went over where he should start. The weirdest part, or the little rules?

You're going to change into whatever bit you at least once a month. Was...not what he should say. Even if it was the truth.

He wanted to just eat up, pay the tab, and whisk Colin away to the middle of nowhere and him.

Yes. Traumatize this man who thinks you drugged him.

He wished he was a bear. Then Murphy would just reach out, metaphysically, and give his inner beast a big thumbs up. But for all he knew whatever was inside Colin was terrified of bears, or untrusting of them. Not all of them could work together in perfect harmony right off the bat.

He knew a tiger that was best friends with a rat once, so Murphy knew that it was possible.

Man, what if Colin was a rat? It would explain the dumpster slumber party.

He didn't want to overload him. So Murphy just let him eat. He knew he would feel better on a fill stomach, in more ways than just not being hungry. A satisfied beast was a happy beast.

It might not have been possible for someone to be as mindful in their eating as Colin was in that moment. Being a homeless bar connessiur, he rarely had any sort of substantial meal. For him, home-cooking was a microwave dinner at a truck stop or McDonald's in the park. Occassionally someone would cook for him, but the type of people that invite you over for a drunken one night stand aren't usually the type who wake up early to cook you breakfast the next day. He could afford to eat out at restaurants, he just didn't see the point.

Until now. Murphy had been right about one thing at least - this place was amazing.

He didn't bother to think about his night out, he didn't bother to think about Murphy's awkward exposition, he didn't bother to think about rather he was sick or not.

He also didn't bother to think about how much syrup he wanted on his chicken and waffles, the result of which was that the plate ended up nearly overflowing by the time he was done.

Oh well, he'd just pretend he was Canadian. Moving to Canada might be a good idea anyways. Maybe he could become a recluse in the Canadian wilderness.

An option, for sure.

If he had been thinking, he might have wondered where all the food he was eating was going. He tore through it like a tornado, savoring every bite but stuffing himself with surprise speed and accuracy. Occassionally he'd take an extra swig of his still-dripping mug, oblivious to the trail of droplets it was leaving behind it each time he picked it up.

Eventually, he slowed, left only with a final slice of bacon and a few tomatoes and mushrooms around the outskirts of his English breakfast plate. Seemingly contemplating them for a moment, he dutifully finished the remaining bites and then leant back rather forcefully in the booth with a hearty sigh.

He did feel better, more human even. And although nothing had truly changed about his situation, he certainly felt like he could think much more clearly. His leg had retreated under the table long ago, which left him clear access to rub his stomach absently. Peering at Murphy with a gaze that betrayed any number of calculating observations flowing through his mind, he simple asked; "So what happens now?"

Of course he would have questions, but right now he felt like he knew so little that he couldn't even begin to formulate them.

Murphy had mowed through the sausage and most of the pound of bacon before Colin felt full enough to rest and breathe, and, eventually, ask the question. It was a good question. The answer wasn't easy to give.

" where...honestly it gets. Your instinct will be not to believe this, let's just say that." He laughed, raising his brows as he sighed.

"I was born this way, so it was easy for me. My parents have it too, so I was prepared. Newbies, like you,'s a lot. And I'm sorry for that." Whoever bit him needed a good talking to. This shit wasn't cool. If every single were could be on the same page, Colin wouldn't even be in this situation. Don't lose control and maul people, for fuck's sake.

"It is passed through reproducing and bites. Whatever bit you is actually a person most of the time, but they fucked up, and now you have to deal with it. If I find em, I promise they'll apologize, or else."

He was trying to keep it casual, light hearted, and most importantly, sincere.

Colin had to trust him. Otherwise Murphy would have to stalk him - for everyone's safety, including his own.

It gets what? He thought to himself. Weird? Well friend, I got bad news, it's already weird. He paused in his conversation with himself, smirking visibly; And you don't even know I live in my car yet.

But as Murphy spoke, he felt himself growing a bit frustrated with the words. The other man was still dodging something, flirting with some idea that he just wasn't letting out... And Colin didn't get it. But he needed to if he was going to be okay.

Assuming there was anything wrong with him in the first place and Murphy wasn't a stalker -- which he still hadn't completely elliminated the possibility of. Though, he noted to himself, He really wouldn't have had to resorted to stalking. He could have just asked. There was a bright side at the end of the tunnel at least: if he was a stalker, at least he wouldn't have to be informed about the car situation.

Now he did have questions. Although he didn't number them audibly, his fingers did so on the booth table between them. He stacked his plates to one side, placing one finger firmly down a few inches from Murphy's current plate.

"What do you mean, 'bit me?'"

A second finger tapped the wood. "What do you mean, 'a person most of the time?' What else is there, a chicken?"

And finally, his ring finger. "What is actually going on here, Murphy?"

The idea of a were chicken just tickled him. Murphy tried to imagine a person just filled with an insatiable lust for eating bugs out of the dirt when the full moon drew near. Then his mind wandered to the fact that a man would be a Werecock, and he nearly lost composure.

But this was serious. Colin was getting frustrated. He wanted the straight and narrow, no fuckin' around.

"I can prove this, for the record. But what you are now - what I've been my whole life - is a Were." And he let it hang, knowing that Colin would find it ridiculous. "The most popular are the wolves. They sucked at staying hidden in the old days. Those legends span continents, civilizations, and timelines for a reason."

A British Were-Thing in...wherever the hell they were.

Not the catchiest title.

He glanced around the room briefly, wondering if he could risk doing something very stupid in public. He could shift just his hand. Maybe hide it behind a menu.

And Colin would probably freak the hell out and everyone would look. Hmm.

Colin did find it ridiculous, but at the same time he also wasn't terribly surprised: Murphy would have been more straight-forward if it weren't so absurd to begin with.

After a long moment, he ran his fingers through his hair, pausing at the back of his head with a tight handful of curls. And then...

He laughed.

He couldn't help it, the sound bubbled up from his throat uncontrollably. It felt like one of those moments where everything possible goes wrong during sex and even though you're frustrated and the moment is ruined... It's hilarious and you can't help but laugh anyways.

Of course, Colin didn't exactly feel like he was having sex at that exact moment. But the feeling of ridiculousness was something he had plenty of experience with indeed.

Butt this exact situation, this was not something he had any experience with whatsoever. His eyes were watering and he was still giggling quietly even as Murphy began to seriously whispered about werewolves and legends. Somehow, the waitress didn't even look up, and he became sure in that moment that this was the weirdest dream he'd ever had.

Now at ease with the complete absurdity of it all after determining he was asleep, he decided to play along. "Alright, Mr. Werewolf," he began. Although Murphy had mentioned that the "most popular" were wolves, it was stretching the fourth wall of his strange dreamspace a bit too much to believe there were other animals, so of course Murphy had to be a wolf. "I haven't been bitten by any wolves lately - or fucked any - so how do you figure I'm a werewolf?"

Murphy rested his cheek on the heel of his palm, smile growing wider as the guy laughed. He had a nice laugh. A contagious one. He lost control several times, giggling along, but also feeling a little sad for him - his whole life was going to change whether he believed him or not, and it would be just lovely if Colin stuck near him. At least until the inevitable happened, and he could say, 'I told you so', and get to really helping him.

There was no cure.

This was Colin's life now.

And it made him angry. This is why the organized were community would kill you for turning someone without their consent.

When his laughter quieted and he asked several questions about werewolves, Murphy chuckled again. "Oh, no. I said they were the most popular. They get all the fun. The movies, the merchandise, and they're not even the strongest of us. There's like...20 species? Give or take?" He couldn't remember.

"Good people, though. The wolves. I talk shit but they're loyal as fuck. A wolf always has your back."

Soon Colin would realize he wasn't messing around, call him insane, and they'd part ways. Murphy would have to keep track of him, and when the next full moon hit, or something stressful happened, he'd be there to help.

Or, maybe, Colin would believe him.

"You haven't been bitten by any wolves lately, but you have been bitten by an animal. It healed weirdly fast. I bet you felt feverish and sick after. And I bet you have a few hours of lost time, and in your gut you know you weren't asleep."

Murphy offered a knowing smile, hoping Colin would remember. It was weird that he didn't remember. Maybe he was drunk when it happened. Maybe he fell asleep outside and got chewed on? That would be the weirdest way he'd ever heard.

Colin had experienced a handful lucid dreams before, but usually they were a bit more exotic than this one. Everything made sense here - the details, the sights, the sounds, the people... Everything except the monstrously tall individual sitting across from him telling him that they were both werewolves.

Well, not wolves, or so said Murphy. Were-animals. Apparently he could be any of one twenty... ish animals.

Although he was largely focused on the other man, he couldn't help but wish that this were a different dream. Perhaps one about hooking up with Mila Kunis. Yes, that would definitely have been an improvement.

No offense to Murphy, of course.

But then, of course, the unspoken question arrived: what animal had bitten him? He thought back, surely even if this were a dream there would have been something that triggered it, some event, some interaction. His gaze shifted to his fingers, which he'd been absently tapping on the table. Strange, he'd had some small cuts and scratches on them and...

A bite. That's right, it'd been a week or two ago; he'd been more than "a bit" drunk and had gone for a wander around the park before bed. The next day when he woke up, he couldn't be assed to remember what happened, but now that he was thinking about it, he did seem to remember something.

He'd been hungry and someone had left a pack of fresh chicken tenders on a park bench - they were still steaming slightly. Normally he definitely wasn't that desperate, but he was drunk, it was late, and he hadn't been making the best decisions. But he wasn't the only one who'd seen them...

Oh no. No, no, no.

Oh come on, what kind of fucked up dream is this? Why couldn't it have been a WOLF?! The phrase; 'you can't make this shit up' came to mind. It was almost so ridiculous it had to be real. He'd been staring at Murphy blankly as his thoughts swirled through his mind, but as the thought train prepared for it's last stop he'd begun scowling. Then, his eyes refocused with a look of desperation.

"Murphy..." He took a deep breath, "It was a raccoon."

Please wake up, please wake up, please wake up.


They were generally best paired with muscle, great with their hands, made the best tech guys. At least, that's all Murphy knew of their major family - the Briggs'. Generally not trusted by his father, so Murphy had never met one before.

Clearly, a rogue one was romping around this town. At least Murphy knew how they smelled.

He wished he knew how they reacted to bears.

"That's fine. Just breathe. Don't panic. I checked local news and shit. You didn't hurt anyone. Raccoons aren't exactly...well, not normally super violent." it clicked in his brain, the brief video post he'd seen, and he giggled. "I think you stole someone's pizza, though, according to Instagram."

He wanted to make Colin laugh. He also wanted to tell him everything would be fine. But neither was realistic. He shoveled some eggs down, thinking.

"We can deal with this easy, most likely. For now let's just finish our food and you try to stay calm. Stress can bring it out of you. You can be in full control once you learn the ropes. The big rule to remember, though: it's gotta be your secret. Humans have hunted us for centuries and it's no different now. Never talk about it unless you're with others like you."

Not always the rule, but there was no point in taking chances. Some humans would stumble upon things and be amazed. A handful were allies to the cause - not that there was any kind of war brewing. The cause was simple: to exist and live.

In a perfect world, that wouldn't be a problem.

Wake up, wake up, wake up...

Nope, nothing. He was left with no choice but to continue to hear out Murphy, who took the news surprisingly well. Here he was, damned to a life of monthly dumpster dives and general fuckery by moonlight and all Murphy had to say was that Raccoons weren't violent and he hadn't killed anyone.

At least if he'd killed someone he could add "brooding and mysterious" to his repertoire when out hunting at bars.

But now, instead of hunting bedmates he'd be hunting abandoned chicken nuggets and stealing pizza. Yes, that would certainly go over well with hopeful bedroom-pals. Ah yes, you know I can be a real animal in bed... 'Oh, what kind?' they'd ask with a giggle. Then he'd hit them with the 'ole; Oh, you know, a raccoon. Give me your pizza and oh yes, sorry about the smell.

If the table had been a bit closer, his head might have hit it. Instead, he just stared at Murphy with an incredulous expression. Murphy was probably something sexy, like a lion or hawk. Narrowing his eyes slightly, he silently wished Murphy would turn into skunk so at least he could feel his pain.

Of course, Murphy was also over there saying it had to be a secret. Colin had never been very good at keeping secrets, especially with his drinking habits. But the good news was, barring the events of the last 24 hours, he was typically pretty calm, at least. 1 out of 2 wasn't too bad, right? Anyways, he thought to himself, Most people probably won't believe me while I'm drunk anyways. I certainly don't.

He picked up an abandoned piece of bean-less toast and munched on it absently, still side-eyeing the were across from him. Speaking rather unceremoniously with his mouth full, he asked; "So what animal are you?" Then swallowing but immediately taking another bite, "When do the monthly were-nonymous meetings start?"

He wondered if Colin was playing along or legitimately accepting this.

Either way, so long as he let Murphy stick around, he would be okay. He had to be okay, because if Murphy couldn't keep him okay, what good was he?

"I come from a long ass line of overly prideful Bears," Murphy replied, getting ready to finish off his food entirely. Only a few bites remained, and he was feeling mighty stuffed already, but he would manage.

"There aren't really meetings. Not a lot of support for turned people, either."

The families definitely had a prejudice for weres that hadn't been born as such. Some even viewed born weres as superior, and, well, that never sat right with Murphy. It was the reason his life was upside down for good, in fact. Well, one of them.

"But now that we know what you are, we're more than halfway there. I can help you a lot. Another Raccoon, especially one more experienced, can help even more. Most of us live very normal lives about 90% of the time." Murphy wasn't aware that never truly being a regular human probably skewed his definition of normal.

He couldn't help it, he was curious what Murphy's definition of a normal life was. After all, the man had enough height to carefully examine the top of most doorframes , he'd showed up out of nowhere on a very nice looking motorcycle, ate like a - well, bear, and was talking about this whole were thing as casually as if it were were completely normal.

Then again, as a homeless vagrant and all around scoundrel, he was one to talk.

His own life wasn't exactly normal, though he couldn't deny he had quite a craving for the mundane after the past few hours. The new normal might have included support groups, but Murphy quickly dashed that hope. A hopeless extrovert, Colin thrived best around others... And if he was going to go through some sort of bizarre raccoon puberty dream that he wasn't waking up from any time soon, being able to crack some jokes and a few drinks over it was much better than being alone.

As he finished off his toast, he switched to holding his mostly-empty mug and swirling the remaining liquid inside of it around absently. As he stared into it, he took a moment to process the rest of Murphy's words as well. A bear, huh... Definitely an improvement over a raccoon, though at least he could take a little solace in knowing at least Murphy wasn't a complete storybook were.

He furrowed his brow, thinking about his future and wondering how they were going to find another were. "How do you find someone pretending not to exist?" He mumbled to himself, forgetting that Murphy's heightened senses could probably pick the statement out easily.

With a soft sigh, he tilted his head as he peered across the table once more. Finding another raccoon-were sounded about as possible as finding platform nine and three-quarters, so for now, winnie-the-were was all he had. He immediately chided himself internally - Murphy had been quite nice to him; there was no need to poke fun. It was a pretty good nickname though.

Regardless, it was time to clear some things up.

"Alright, well... There are probably some things you should know about me. For starters..." He paused for drama; "I'm British." He waited for just a moment, as though expecting Murphy to act shocked, then laughed. He was stalling.

"I'm kidding, I'm sure you guessed that I'm actually Spanish."

Still stalling.

"Actually I'm not living anywhere right now, which you're about to find out as soon as we leave." The words were hurried and uncomfortable. Usually his lifestyle was exactly what he wanted, but right now it felt like the biggest issue in the world - after his monthly menstrual-raccoon-cycle, that was.

Murphy belly laughed, giving the man time to say what he needed to say, mulling over his quiet question. He had great news for Colin on that front - and, once he'd said his piece, he had even better news.

"Well, once you're in tune with your inner beast, you can smell others like you. Now that I know what you are, I'll be able to sniff out any others. But, also, your new little friend will be drawn to his own kind. You may find yourself accidentally bumping into them without my help."

He inhaled through his nose quietly, gauging the room. A few wolves were here, but no raccoons, and a bunch of others he'd never met in person before, so he couldn't pin down the scent. Some of them were glancing at him, so maybe they knew what he was. Nobody came over to the table, at least. Murphy didn't like being recognized, and he certainly didn't like fighting. Weres shouldn't hurt each other. Hell, he even disagreed with hurting humans. Sure, some people needed a kick in the ass, but Murphy always preferred talking his way out.

"As for having nowhere to live, that makes two of us." Judgment-free zone. He sat back, stretching. Murphy's shoulder popped audibly. "I've been kinda just roaming around the states, actually. I was just passing through fact, I was about to get going when I found Goldilocks in a wildly wrong bed," He giggled stupidly at his joke. "I can't leave you here to fend for yourself, though. Wanna get outta here? Find an apartment or something. Maybe a house to rent."

Or buy.

If Murphy owned the place, he could fortify it without pissing off a landlord. He had to make it so that a large raccoon couldn't get out in a frenzy. Had to account for those damned opposable thumbs, too. He was honestly excited, but considering how downtrodden Colin looked, Murphy reigned it in. He'd never worked with a raccoon before, and he was sure that Colin had no idea how awesome he could become. In time, he'd tell him. For now, he caught the waitress's eye and nodded with a smile to let her know he was ready for the check.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)