Rat Handling

Red Rock 
Practice mindfulness.

Commune with the inner beast.

Meditate upon your goal and see it actualized.

Rafe had been reading up on anything he could get his hands on (including things that seemed....unlikely to be relevant) and had decided that it was time to try practicing learning how to control his rat. Or, at least, figure out how to turn the shifting on and off. Not that he figured he'd need to be spending a lot of time ratting out, but just...it seemed like a thing he should learn how to do. And maybe it would help his memory a bit?

He was also...sort of curious how it would turn out. Like, would he still be all tiny? Was he always tiny? Maxine had made it sound like that was unusual, so. In the name of science.

But, in the name of not shitting where you eat, he thought it was a good idea to drive out away from where he usually camped, just in case something went sideways. If there were going to be any rumors of giant rat-monsters running around, he'd rather it not be where he was staying.

So. He drove out to a reasonable looking rural area, parked the truck somewhere inconspicuous, stripped down in his decidedly goat-smelling truck camper, and....


Commune. Commune with the beast. Come on, rattigan, you're always up there freaking out, you can come out and play.

Shifting around self-consciously, he closed his eyes and tried to focus.


It must have worked. He was pretty sure it had, somehow, at some point. But how much time had passed? He wasn't sure; he'd made the progress at least in winning over the wrestling match for his consciousness but...where even was he.

Why was it dark out already.

Why did his mouth taste like copper and plastic and....why were there frayed wires fizzing and sparking nearby?

.....oh. oh shit.


For the most part, Jane liked living in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, Red Rock. Sure, internet and cell service sucked, and it was thirty minutes to the nearest grocery store, but there was no one to bother her (except her neighbors half a mile away whose parties somehow managed to pierce that distance through some combination of quantum physics, rednecks, and beer), she could shift without worrying, and... okay, that was about it. But those were two very important things for her.

However, bumfuck nowhere became significantly less cool when her power cut off in the middle of a clear, still night.

Significantly less cool because there was absolutely no reason for her power to cut off unless she was in imminent danger of getting murdered. She watched horror movies! She knew exactly how this went down!

Not today, motherfucker.

Thoughtlessly fueled by a surge of adrenaline, Jane scrambled off the couch and to the kitchen, where she armed herself with a steak knife. One of those big, pointy ones in the wooden block with three others of mysterious function. She decided to grab another, slightly smaller one for good measure. Just casually dual wielding steak knives in her flannel pajama pants.

Her beast simultaneously approved of this defense and also was flipping the fuck out and she really didn't need that right now, thanks, she was just fine panicking by her lonesome.

She eased open the kitchen's back door, as silently as she could, and crept out, pressing her back against the rough brick wall. Jane sidled along it until she reached the corner, where the fuse box was mounted on the adjacent wall.

Alright. Come on, Jane. This was exactly what she'd been preparing for! The punching lesson with Julia, and the subsequent hours spent at the gym getting her ass in shape.

She was definitely about to die.

What if it was him? The thought popped belatedly and suddenly into her head. Her skin pricked with a phantom chill, like the metaphysical energy of her wolf too close to the surface was static.

Keep it together, Jane!

She dared a glance around the corner and—yep that was a person oh god wait were they naked? Jane ducked back against the wall before she could properly parse the scene.

There had been a moment, tense and completely absurd, where she could have come around the corner to see a dog-sized white-furred rat sitting up on its haunches merrily gnawing away at her power box.

It would have been, probably, a slightly less alarming scene than a pale skinny white boy hunched up in roughly the same position, staring in complete confusion at his surroundings, bleary-eyed and tousled and looking very much in need of a nap.

Also naked. Very naked.

Where the hell had he parked the truck. Where had he stashed his clothes. Why was there a house here.

His eyes were still crimson, and he was supremely close to just curling up in the bushes outside this house and sleeping right now because oh god he was so tired but also he was...not alone.


He couldn't see her -- he'd been facing the wrong way -- but he could smell...something. Predator-smell. Someone-whose-house-you-shouldn't-fuck-with smell.

Hi? What?

Her wolf recognized the man's beast-shaped hole. Even recognized the scent as distinctly prey, which should have made everything fine except this knowledge just panicked it even more. Which panicked Jane even more. Ad nauseum in a vicious cycle.

Her skin itched with the urge to shift. Except if she shifted, she couldn't dual wield kitchen knives. Granted, she'd have an entire mouth full of them, but she'd black out and she didn't trust her beast.

Not that she had much of a choice here as her left hand slowly twisted into something monstrous and thoroughly unusable, bones cracking in miniature agonies. The smaller of her two knives slipped out of her grasp, grass muffling its fall.

It's fine. This is why she had two knives.

"I'm armed!" she warned the intruder from around the corner. "W—whatdoyouwant?" The words smooshed together and rushed.

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