With diligence, it seemed that starting over was beginning to pay off. Strolling down the street with a brand new soccer ball passing from hand to hand, Abel considered his progress in this, the first place he'd lived that wasn't the town where he'd been born.

He had cold-called auto shops and found a job in one that treated him decently.

He had found several friends, who were jaguars no less, that he felt comfortable reaching out to for support.

He could see the mountains from his window, and nobody here called him a fuck-up, or a waste of space.

A small list - two or three months of progress. Compared to everything he had had at 25, it was nothing, but if he looked at it that way there would be no point in trying, anyway; Abel always tried. And in this case, trying looked like setting grief aside in order to kick a ball in an empty park, thick legs hopping in an effort to be nimble. He directed the ball into a signpost and grinned as it bounced unpredictably back.

Ravenswood was a nice area for a home in his honest opinion. It was quiet, he'd only run into one other vamp and they'd seemed decent. Unaware of any of the drama that had taken place a couple nights ago in the area, the vampire was hanging out in a local park. There were a lot of trees and after nearing a particular one, the want to see how far he could get had him grabbing for the first branch. Within a few moments he was a few branches up before it was too precarious to try higher.

Leaning forward with an arm snuggly wrapping around the bark, Tikanni looked at the view that could be managed with the few breaks in foliage. This was calming. Wind hit the leaves all around, causing a cacophony of sound as they ran into each other, branches quaked, and the local wildlife occasionally buzzed.

A pang of force hitting metal had Tikanni pausing in looking further out into the forested green. His gaze changed to take in the floor below, noticing movement a few lengths away. It seemed they had a ball. Another wind gust brought the smell of something weird, but not entirely alien at this point thanks to the fox friend made a few weeks ago prior. That was enough to have him clambering down until he could safely jump down. The ground met him with a thump as he threw a hand up in greeting. "What's kickin'?" Maybe, this shifter would be friendly too and they could have some fun.

Scout had little time for games growing up. It was a serious lifestyle, everything you did was to ensure survival for the family. This never bothered her though, it was something she just simply accepted.

So when she saw a man walking down the street with a ball in his hands, she was ready to ignore him. She had better things to do, right?

But his quick hands passing the ball back and forth, back and forth, triggered her cat's curiosity. Ears alert, tail flickering.

Scout crossed the street quickly though still a distance away, keeping her eyes on the ball, but she paused. Eyes wide and nostrils flared, she caught the scent of him. Hesitation stopped in her tracks, but her curiosity was pressing her forward.

She observed closely as the man kicked the ball, her head jerking quickly to follow him. Oh god, control the urge to chase. Control it.

Scout watched as the ball bounced back, her neck pulling her head back. Her cat was crouched, ready to pounce but Scout held the reigns tight but then she sensed another scent. She was still several feet away, ready to shout at the man with the ball, but something dead filled her nose.

"Hey, what are you doi-" Her eyes narrowed, seeing another figure jumping down from a tree. Was it him that smelled like death? She held her breath.

Abel stopped himself in the motion of going for the ball, pulling back to smile quizzically at the young man who had just dropped abruptly from a nearby tree. You didn't see that every day...but also, looking at the guy, his cat sent him images of dead things. Rotted carcasses, stale caves. That was...odd. Still, he smiled and waved, walking to the errant ball and nudging it to nestle under one of his feet like a round, spotted egg. "Soccer ball," he answered dumbly, possibly making a joke? "What's hangin?"

Then a female voice called out assertively and he turned to face it, smiling sheepishly at the very serious-looking woman in the street. He gestured demonstratively and kindly to the ball at his feet in answer. "Hello!"

The answer was easy enough because he'd seen that. It'd been more of a greeting, but... and then the greeting back was very pun oriented and it drew a smile on his own face. A sudden assault of that pungent stink that wasn't the dude in front of him alerted Tikanni of another shifter right before she called out. Nothing threatening from either of him with his approach, but he'd take this carefully just in case. One shifter, fine, he liked them. Two, could easily turn bad and so he offered a wave to her in greeting as the guy next to him said hello.

"Do you play any," he asked, turning his attention back to the owner of the soccer ball. Perhaps all three of them could play if the other walked over to join.

Death waved to her.

Scout glanced around a bit confused, but eventually rose her hand up and waved back.

Waving felt weird.

She scoffed and looked away shyly. "H-hello."

She wanted to flee, but her feet dragged her closer as her cat wanted to see this ball up close. Pat at it, chase it, bunny-kick it. Her cat was ready to go go go. Chase mode was eager to be activated.

A finger outstretched to point at the soccer ball except any words refused to come out of her mouth, so she just stood like a weirdo pointing at the ball. Goddamn. No one people thought she was stupid. Cave man, hermit. She was too shy to get any words out, having a new being standing a few feet from her.


So, this was odd, but he was willing to try to make it work. After a glance to the stink guy that said something like idk what her deal is, he kicked the ball gently toward her, smiling hopefully. "You wanna kick it around with us?"

The shy hello didn't go unnoticed and as he watched the girl make her way over, it seemed all verbal communication was gone. In its place was just pointing at the ball, causing him to look at her questioningly while the other guy offered her the opportunity to play with them. Fine by him! The more the merrier.

Ball going her way now, Tikanni smiled hopefully. "It'll be the bee's knees. We got enough room out here to have a good time."

They offered her to play with them.

Her eyes lit up and a slow growing smile formed on her lips.

"Yes!" she shouted, nodding her head quickly. A million yes's. Finally a word came out. Her cat was desperate to play and chase. And so was she.

Scout looked down at the ball that was kicked her way excitedly.

Her cat sent her images of prey, but Scout laughed, knowing she was completely wrong. Scout used the tip of her boot to kick the ball back towards the two men.

Stink guy made Abel smile; any time a random person was nice it made him glad to be part of the world. Also, bee's knees was a ridiculous thing to say and he liked it. The woman, who was definitely a little odd, sent the ball back to him with a laugh, and he swept it off with him as he trotted further into the park, looping around a tree and punting it quickly over to the man. "Heads up!"

The shifter lady decided she definitely wanted to play and that made him smile broadly, especially as she started running after the ball. And then the guy smiled at him, and everyone was smiling and this was great. Honestly, this was shaping up to be a much better night than sitting in a tree by himself.

Ball coming back their way, the guy snatched it up before heading out a bit for better distance. At the chime it was his turn, he anxiously waited the ball. As it rolled up to him, Tikanni successfully got up to it, but had to stop it before being able to redirect it correctly towards the girl. "Here ya go!" With the shout, he kicked the ball in her direction with a bit of unintentional spin to it.

Scout watched them, standing still, while her eyes went back and forth between the two.



She finally gave him and ran after the two, laughing and smiling as she caught up to them.

The human world was much more fun and laid back. Being happy seemed to be one of the main goals and she wanted to learn more.

"Heads up!"

Scout stopped and watched the other shifter kick the ball over towards the death man, her eyes wide in excitement.


Eating pizza rolls with Dakila was fun, eating peanut butter cups from the machine was fun, and so was this.

The death boy kicked the ball back her way, giving the ball a spin. Her eyes widened and she ducked as the ball zoomed over her head. She paused watching but, but started back up again to chase it down. Quickly, she got behind the ball and kicked it back towards the two, to no one in particular. The ball arched up high, climbing to it's highest peak and then came flying back down.

The ball sailed towards him, more or less, and he ran to catch it clumsily on his knee/stomach with a little grunt. It ricocheted back into unclaimed space, and Abel took the opportunity to look for something that could work as a goal.

He pointed over at a trash can approximately goal-length distance from a tree. "Anyone wanna practice goal kicks?"

Oops! That hadn't been the intention of his kick, but she seemed to not mind. Quick enough, she'd kicked it high and the other shifter tried to get it, but it rolled further. Instead of going to claim it, the option to goal kick was brought up. That seemed fun enough of a change.

Bringing his hands behind his head, he nodded. "Sure! I can be goalie." With that, he made a sort of jog over to where the trash can lay before turning around, motioning with a thumbs up he was ready.

The two started to run around and get into some sort of formation which made her nervous again. Scout was unsure what the two were doing, and it was probably something she should know too. She frowned and took a few steps backwards. She didn't know how this worked, she didn't know any of this worked.

"I-I don't know how to play," she croaked out, grabbing a fist full of her shirt nervously.

Abel jogged toward the ball, seeing the woman falter and take a step back. He was already summoning an encouraging smile when she spoke, looking as if the world rode on her handling a ball game properly.

Well, he knew how that felt.

Abel Smile blasting, he tapped the ball forward, moving it and himself closer, to teaching distance. "That's okay! It's really simple. See, you score points by getting the ball past the goalie," he pointed at Tikanni, "who guards the goal. Here...I'll take a shot." He nudged the ball toward the impromptu goal, realizing that the reflexes and kick strength on a vampire/shifter game was out of sight anD OH WAIT WERE THEY DOING A TWILIGHT SCENE. Seriously was this literally something that happened in Twilight??

Shook to his core, the kick he aimed at Tikanni was kind of shitty, coming at the left side of the goal at about chest height.

Sensing hesitation as he turned, Tikanni looked at the two and landed on the girl who seemed to be getting a bit apprehensive, drawing into herself. Concerned, he took a step forward, but the other shifter began to explain with a wide smile. A the point back to him, he waved when mentioned and motioned to the "goal" behind.

The kick that then went Tikanni's way wasn't the best, but it was enough to help them explain to the other what they were doing. Catching it without much of a problem, the ball made a noise of complaint as it was clasped. "See and since I caught it and it didn't go past, no points!" Lowering the ball back to the ground, he kicked it back just enough so it'd get to the two of them. "You try," he called back with a smile.

They were both really friendly. And it helped ease her nerves.

Their smiles and their demonstration boosted her confidence. She watched them closely as one kicked the ball and the other jumped to block it.

"Okay, I think I understand."

Scout nodded. She was starting to understand. And when the ball was kicked her way, she gathered herself and took a few steps back before rushing forward and kicking it to the goalie. Again, the ball arched up high, looking like it would completely zoom over the goal instead of toward it. She frowned, watching the ball in anticipation.

That seemed like more than enough explanation for the woman and soon enough she was kicking the ball back. While it zoomed over, the arc did manage to land near Tikanni in a way he could deflect it with chest bump and then kick back. With everyone then in play and understanding, the kicking back and forth would go at a steady fun pace.

After a while, it seemed like a good enough time to take a breather. Kicking the ball one last time back, he sent it back to the two. "I think we need a break, aha." Jogging over he called out. "You both are great at this. We should do this more." Beaming, he stopped, seeming to remember something. He hadn't shared his name! "I'm Tikanni by the way."

The dead man was right. It was fun. Scout would definitely do it again, and even again with these people.

Scout let the ball roll past her as the dead man kicked it their way. He shared his name and Scout convinced herself that she would commit it to memory, but there were no promises her mind would behave.

"I am Scout," she nodded before turning to the other shifter, waiting for him to introduce himself as well. She was excited to be meeting more people in hopes it would truly immerse herself in the ways of human life.

Scout refrained herself from commenting on the dead man's smell. It was a newer one, but she decided to hold it back instead of just blurting it out.

You smell dead, she said on the inside.

He was panting a little by the time they called it quits, endorphins buzzing deliriously in his head. He wished he would have known that this was possible, this simple, unexpected happiness. "Supernatural soccer club, yeah!" How great would that be??

He stooped to pick up the ball, a little grubby now from sneaker-kicks and grass stains. "Abel King," he supplied faithfully, smiling from one to the other. "You guys live in Ravenswood?"

Scout was a good name for a shifter like her. He almost wanted to ask what each of them turned into since they both weren't the same foxy smell he knew from experience. But part of him realized that'd probably be overstepping it just a bit for their first interaction.

At the mention of a supernatural soccer club, he brightened more if that were possible. "Heck yeah!"

With Abel telling his name, he made a quick memory shoot for both, going from one face to the either to remember. Yep! He got it. Scout and Abel, two soccer friends and definitely people he wouldn't mind joining a team club thing with.

"Yeah, live and work. How 'bout you two?" An expectant gaze was given to each in turn.

Her eyes darted back and forth between the two as they explained their location of living. Ravenswood. Is that what this place was?

Scout tilted her head to the side, listening carefully, learning.

"I live in the national park," she explained with a slight frown. She didn't necessarily live there, it was just were her current camp was...

"I want to play this game again with you guys sometime," she nodded her head in confirmation. Yup. Play again. Definitely.

Abel listened to Scout with a baffled smile, not his first of the night. There was clearly something going on here with her upbringing, but it didn't feel like quite the right moment to dig into that. "Well, I come down here all the time, anyway. If you're up for a game next week, maybe stop by at the same time? Unless you have a phone?" This last bit obviously directed at Scout.

Scout's answer had him looking to her in surprise. She lived in National Park? Like, the actual park? That almost sounded like something he'd do years back. Abel changed the subject before he could exactly ask what was up with her not potentially having a house, or perhaps, having a cool as heck house out in the mountains.

"Yeah, whatever tickles both your fancy, I'm always down. Here you go," he said, fumbling for the phone in question, unlocking it and holding it out. They'd played a game and seemed chill enough. Tikanni honestly didn't fear either of them taking it and running at this point.

"I can meet here again, I can do that," she nodded.

The girl had no phone so she had to live what they considered old school and meet people in hopes they would show up at the right time. She watched the dead man whip out his phone and hand it over to the other were. Jeremy said she should get one. Hmm. Were phones expensive?

Whatever tickles your fancy.

She arched her brows widely at the man. Tickle your what now?

"Please refrain from tickling me."

Abel accepted the phone with a smile, offering his own in trade before carefully entering his name and number into contacts. He was in his element, making new connections, for the first time in his life with other...hmm. Supernaturally disabled people.

The last thing out of Scout's mouth froze him in place, and he side-eyed Tikanni blatantly, passing this one to the vampire to handle.

Yay, so the girl shifter would be down to hang out as well! They definitely had a group to get the ball rolling here. As Abel took his phone, Tikanni gratefully took the one offered and inputted his first and last name without a second thought. He had a good feeling about these two, no need to be all secretive. They were soccer buddies, after all.

Scout's response had him pausing, looking to her to Abel. Well the other wasn't going to say anything this time so it was on him. Tikanni was a lover of expressions and well, a lot were outdated apparently, so he was used to this. The "tickle" one wasn't, he didn't think? So maybe, she just was out of the loop. Also, maybe it played into the weird form of speech going on here too. "Oh! No, no, no, no, no that's not what I meant. I won't, don't worry. I just meant whatever works for you." This was hard to do without hands, so he used the free one not holding the phone to annunciate this. "It was just a thing people say sometimes."

Tikanni gave the phone back to Abel after saving the information.

Scout narrowed her eyes at his explanation of his reasoning behind tickling her, or at least just saying he was going to tickle her what now? Fancy? Hm.

He became really flustered as he explained but Scout remained suspicious. "Good, I do not like being tickled. I would have probably crushed the bones in your hand if you tried. "

Simple as that.

"I will be in the area again next week so we can play again then. People have called me old fashion for now having a phone. I am not sure what old fashion has to do with not having a phone though." She shrugged.

Abel giggled nervously at the hand-crushing line, which was a thing that he forgot he did in this sort of situation. To atone for this, he reached out to pat briefly at Scout's shoulder, trying to make them all feel comfortable again. "I bet we don't need to hurt anyone's bones, okay? You can always tell us if something makes you uncomfortable-" he glanced back to Tikanni, bringing him into this, "-and we'll respect it. Sound good?"

Abel's eyebrows poked optimistically up.

She felt a hand on her shoulder. Scout looked down at him and tracked it back up to the were. Words struggled to form themselves in her mouth so she simply nodded instead. His facial expression calmed her so she gave a slight smile.

Bones couldn't hurt, it was the nerves that made the feeling of pain, but she held her tongue on that comment.

"I had fun with you guys. Now I have to go. Goodbye, Tikanni. Goodbye, Abel, " she said and spun on her heel to leave. The feline had a busy schedule to keep.

Yeah, he'd thoroughly confused her apparently. His brows went up in concern as Scout escalated it to breaking people's hands. How about they didn't?????? But he nodded to her agreement to meet back here next week. That sounded like the plan and it was exciting to know he now had a sort of soccer group to hang out with each week. Score one for socializing and making friends.

Abel then tried to smooth things over about the bone comment, explaining they'd respect her boundaries. At the look at him, Tikanni nodded his head. "Absolutely, I promise." Scout's honor for sure here and he probably would've said so, but didn't want to risk confusing her again with a saying, especially since it was her name.

He waved goodbye to her as she decided to leave. "Nice meeting you and see you next week." Turning to Abel, he offered a small smile. "I guess I'll see you then as well."

Scout left like an absolute weirdo, and it was only at her leaving that Abel felt a slight apprehension. Sometimes there was a line crossed that meant too weird, you know?


He pocketed his phone and gave a crinkly, what on earth smile to the vampire, still happy with tonight's surprise. "Yeah, man, I'll see you around. Have a good night!"

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