Meat Cute 

Okay, so Cliff was sometimes what he’d heard people call “bougie.” But he couldn’t help that he liked nice things, alright. Splurging was healthy. But honestly he hadn’t ever really given a thought about the quality of food he bought. Usually just the quantity, since his bear liked to inhale entire cow’s worth of meat daily. Not really, but it felt like that.

But he’d been maybe watching too many documentaries on the meat sold in supermarkets. And even though he couldn’t get diseases and had a high metabolism, it was still pretty fucking unsettling. So here he was, attempting a change. By finding a local butcher that didn’t use processed meats that were shipped from across the country. And probably terribly overpriced, but maybe it was worth it?

Walking in made him have to do a sort of pause. The bear went fucking insane at the overwhelming smell of raw meat and blood. If he hadn’t just eaten, he was pretty sure he’d be a giant bear right now. But he steeled himself, and strode purposeful toward the counter. Totally in control.

Generally speaking, Devin was only put at the counter if his boss wanted to make fun of him, but the man had presently gone off to lunch. Devin was free to loom and mumble without commentary. Hearing the bell, he made his way reluctantly to the counter and put an absolutely miserable-looking smile on as he looked down at the heavily-tattooed man who had entered. "Welcome, can I help you."

If his boss was here he would have to contort into even more painful friendliness, but he thought he could get away with light surliness for the moment.

The guy at the counter looked... fucking miserable. Cliff offered him a friendly and somewhat apologetic smile for obviously being the source of his discomfort. God, he remembered being a kid and just fucking miserable at taking calls for his dad. Anyway, he was determined to make this as painless as possible for-

Something slowed him. There was, of course, the smell of meat and blood surrounding him. Tugging his bear from his sleepy bear cave. But as he got closer to the counter, and ultimately closer to the back room; there was more. Something incredibly familiar, especially recently. Bear. Definitely. Cliff's brow furrowed some as he fixed his gaze on the kid. A subtle inhale to pull in his scent. Nope. No, that was a human. But somewhere, radiating from... really all around, there was bear.

Okay, okay. He couldn't just stand there stupidly and sniff around. So he recovered quickly and pushed onward. "Heya, yeah. Ah, can I get two pounds of turkey, and four tenderloins." So much meat, but he was feeding a bear and a half. Okay, the half was on occasion. But still >:[. His eyes wandered past the kid as he spoke, soft os subtly peeking toward the back room for any sign of someone else.

Drawing power from Cliff's embarrassed smile, Devin blinked serenely as the man waffled for a moment and then ordered. He nodded and moved to the ground turkey, placing a square of wax paper on the scale and grabbing wads of pink meat in one gloved hand.

Ground turkey was gross.

Devin occupied himself with meatboy duties, keeping his customer in the corner of his eye.

Silent but compliant. Cliff nodded to himself as he sort of kept his head on a swivel. A little awkward, but there was a mounting question that tugged at him any time he eyed the back room. "You have to work alone?" He aimed for it to feel something like a pity thing? Like 'man, that sucks that you have to be alone all night' kinda thing.

Devin's hand froze in the act of transferring meat, and in fact he went still as a statue, nothing but dark eyes moving to stare implacably at Cliff. "My boss is next door for lunch." Fucking creeps. Fucking supernatural creeps.

Anger bloomed in his gut and reanimated him, and he was peeling off a glove to wrap up the ground turkey, writing the weight on the paper in sharpie. Never mind that if the tattooed man really was some kind of monster, he could tear Devin's ass in half; meatboy was now showing off what a poor target he would make, volatile and suspicious. He didn't ask Cliff what chops he wanted but picked four off the back.

The froze up like he’d asked him his social security number. Cliff shifted uncomfortably in his stance as he eyed the guy with a furrowed brow. The bear was immediately itnterested in the display of what a predator would consider vulnerability. He had to take a second to steel himself down before clicking his tongue lightheartedly.

“Chill, man.” He said in attempt to diffuse the suddenly unbearably awkward situation, but it likely just made things worse.

Unexpectedly triggered, Devin's emotions continued to boil over, and he wrapped the tenderloins with trembling hands. "Fuck you," he replied tersely, even as he moved the two packages to the register.

He couldn't look up, and if the man stepped up to pay, he realized, he would break and run.

He stepped back, hands straining in fists at his sides. Fuck. "Just take it and get out."

Of all the things he expected, a "fuck you" from a teenager wasn't one of them. Cliff's brows bunched at the sudden swell of tension, and he found himself taking a half step back. There was quick movements and slamming and another sharp exclamation. And for just a moment, hie grip on the Bear loosened. Of course, that's all it would fucking take. He was in a building full of meat and blood, being yelled at by some kid. Just. Really? Fucking. Really?

It started in the ribs, like it usually did. An audible, sickly "clunk" of bones snapping and shifting out of place. Cliff gasped at the pain, and moved a hand to grasp at his ribs as he shuffled forward and grabbed the counter for support. "Fu-ck" Fuck, you, kid. "Fucking, run." He managed at least that as he twisted and grunted as his spine decided it would be a good moment to lengthen and shove him into doubling over. On his hands and knees, he gritted his teeth so hard he could taste blood. Not. Here. He couldn't keep doing this. He couldn't infect someone else. Get a fucking grip, man. His hip threatened to pop out of its socket.

He had thought that the man jumping over the counter and biting him would be the worst thing, but then the actual worst thing happened. He heard butchering sounds coming from inside this man, and that was absolutely enough for Devin to be fucking OUT, skittering along the back wall and bolting through the back room and out the delivery door. He was out of the building in under a minute. He had his phone in his hand as he sprinted through the back lot, too panicked and clumsy to unlock it. Luckily he was a far better runner than a thinker.

Smart kid. Unfortunately for Cliff, it was too late to run. This was happening, and he couldn’t stop it. Sorry, whoever owned this place.

After a few agonizing minutes of snapping and grunting and growing, a twelve hundred pound bear lay on the floor of Meat Cute. It grunted as it sloppily stood to its feet, his shoulders coming level with the doorframe. For now, the human side of Cliff’s brain was knocked out of focus. Meat was all he cared about, and there was an entire buffet right in front of him. Separated by some pesky-


Glass, no more. The bear didn’t care much about some glass in the mix. Dinner time!

Hey!! You know what wasn't really cool!! Coming back to the shop after her lunch break and immediately getting a wave of BEAR!!!!!

Batman grunted to life as she usually did whenever Ayane came to the shop (it was common to find her snacking on the trimmings of butchery at her bear's behest), but this coming to life was even more immense. It was... the bad kind of coming to life. The kind where the Dark Knight took over. And usually left her stranded and naked like a day later.

Not at work not at work.

"Hey!!" she shouted as she abruptly shoved the door open to find a mess and meat everywhere and POP WENT HER HIP BONE and she gave a little screech of pain.

He was huge. And terrifying. And destroying her shop. Where was Devin.

"I don't— you can't be doing that here! Please!"

Well, neither could she, as she struggled against it, but she was often on the losing side of this equation.

This was amazing. The display counter was a feast every little bear child dreamed about at night. All kinds of meat, all different cuts. He was in Bear Nirvana, and nothing could deter him from-

There was a ruckus. The Kodiak grunted as he turned his stupid head with lips covered in meat and traces of blood. A human. Or! A human sized someone that smelled intensely like himself. There was no human Cliff present to register that this must have been the source of the smell from earlier. All that he knew was this was a bear and she was screaming!!

The Kodiak gave a loud, bellowing MOOOOOHHH at the For-Now pesky little annoyance. Go away, little bear! The Kodiak huffed and turned his attention back to the meat before him.

Yeah well she didn't have a chance in hell, did she?

Ayane whimpered as the bear made bear noises at her, crumpling as her body continued to break and snap. This was the end. She was gonna lose her job. She couldn't possibly pay enough paychecks to fix all this damage.

It was a wonder all these broken bones didn't bust out her skin, she thought foolishly to herself, right before her consciousness went under.

If allowed, the bear would continue to burst out right there, unleashing a series of agonized abd fearfully defensive bear sounds.

There was popping and agony behind him, but food in front of him. It was a hard decision, which to devote attention to. In the end, curiosity won over and he shifted his fat head to look at... a writhing body slowly growing bigger.

There was the snapping of bones and the sounds of pain and somewhere, deep within the mind of a bear, it clicked. A human thought. ‘She’s shifting.’ A girl, a shifter. Shifting because he was shifted. He watched as he chewed a piece of steak as a bear materialized from a broken body.

When it was all said and done, a smaller black bear lay on the floor. He huffed as he watched, waited for movement. His nostrils flared as he peered down at her. Don’t try and take his food >:(

When it was all said and done she was a frightened creature. Always. This bear was bigger than her, stronger on multiple levels of existence, and he was eating food she nibbled from usually.

She made a groaning bear sound amidst snorts, agonized and pacing around at the door she was now too large to fit properly out of.


The bear moved, and he grunted as she stumbled back toward the door. She was afraid, groaning and pacing. Not coming at him, though, so he wasn't entirely bothered by her. He was almost convinced to just carry on with what he was doing, as there was still food to be devoured. But something caught his interest. She was black, but not the kind of black that he was used to. She had a weird chest, and a funny shaped body. Incredibly new. Interesting. New bear. Another bear. Someone else, out of the woodworks. The Kodiak stared a long moment, huffing in her scent and flickering its ears.

In that time, a human consciousness was able to burst through the floodgates. A flip of a switch, indicated by blinking eyes and a startled grunt as he pulled his head back. He shook it roughly, pulling in air in a human-like gasp as he looked blearily around at his surroundings. What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck. He had fucked up, destroyed the front of this shop. Scared some kid off that was probably going to call the cops. Scared some shifter he didn't know into shifting.

Cliff's head turned back to peer at the bear. It was terrified, cornered like a wild animal. Fuck, fuck, fuck. The kodiak moaned miserably to himself as he slowly wheeled around to face the bear. His head was low, his brows raised. A low, almost apologetic grunt came from his lips as he bobbed his head and stepped forward cautiously. Hello? Anyone in there?

Hello! No one was in here. Just a sad, frightened little® creature who was being advanced on in what she'd viewed, rudimentarily, as her territory.

She was confused, she was spineless, and she was kind of angry about that but not angry enough to angry swipe. Yet.

Ears flattened to her head, she gave a very pained moo that somehow managed to say all that as she hugged herself down to the floor before his approaching gigantic form.

Fear. More fear. If there was anyone in there, they couldn't come to the phone right now. Cliff grunted as he looked down at her. This was fucked. This was FUCKED. He couldn't be here. Someone would walk in, or call the cops. That kid was probably going to call the cops. Thoughts flickered in a storm through his brain, and he stood there stupidly for a moment. Out. He needed out. The bear's head turned toward the back, behind the counter. There was a door there that swung either way, likely for ease of carrying things in and out. It was tiny, but. But he had to fucking try.

The bear turned back to look at the female. A low, pleading grunt came from his chest as he jerked his head toward the door. Come. Follow. Fucking, please. Without waiting for her response, he turned to... just climb right over the counter. It was low enough that he could do it with little issue. When he got to the door, he paused. His shoulders were about five inches too wide on either side, and he barely cleared the top of it. Fucking. Hell. He shoved himself into it, his face smacking into the door and forcing it open. His shoulders immediately rammed into the frame, and he let out a low "Hurck" from the impact. It was the fucking tree again.

He was a huge bear, and he kept grunting at her. She felt like a cub, lost and wailing in sad bear language, and yet there was something there. Some sense to... at least see that he was leaving. Sure.

Except, when she got there, he wasn't leaving. He was struggling.

And some very small part of her wanted to bite him on the rear for making her afraid, but the rest of her was afraid enough not to chance that.

So instead she kept her distance, pacing and swiping at sawdust and meat trimmings sadly.


There was pain at his shoulders as he shoved his weight forward, blinking into the back room. It was cold back here, and smelled of meat and blood. There was a moment where he nearly lost it again, but being stuck in a doorframe helped keep things human. He shoved and squeezed and grunted and groaned, and there was fear that the bear behind him would strike. She'd been so afraid, though, that she was easily written off for now.

With a low huff, Cliff pulled backward some, then slammed his shoulders forward. A hollow thud, because there was nothing but metal lining the door. He groaned again, and slid downward some as he tried for a different angle. Nothing. If he wanted to, he was sure he could figure out how to tear the doorframe down. But he'd already destroyed so much. So. He was fucking determined to get through this door. There was an open delivery door just feet away. Just. Get. Slam. Through. Shift. The. Streeeeeetch. Door. Something gave. He managed to get one shoulder through, shift to a forty five degree angle, and get his other through.

In a grand shove forward, he tumbled into the back room. Momentum carried him straight into a table, which toppled over loudly and spilled knives onto the ground. He hardly noticed as he regained his balance and just. Fucking bolted. He couldn't think about the chaos he'd left behind, the girl that would shift back and find her shop destroyed. He just knew the cops would come, people would swarm. And he couldn't be here. So out of the delivery door he went, thundering across the back parking lot and into the trees that lined the back of the shop.

He wouldn't stop moving until he was for sure out of the city, in the outskirts. He would wait for sunset (which wasn't too far off), then sneak through Magic Hollow; thankful it was pretty populated by trees and the like. One hop of a fence later, and he shamelessly would shift back in his own back yard. Goodnight, Bear.

It was very, very tempting as he wriggled, helplessly stuck. She almost really did attempt it. A bite.

But suddenly he popped free, and she tumbled back onto her ass, crunching glass and meat in the process as if he might suddenly round on her or something. Luckily not, fraidy bear.

He barreled away and she flinched for every terrible sound and noise. And then finally, finally he was gone. And you know what. She should be gone, too. The bear was a bear but this was no place to be a bear.

Well, that was a lie. Eventually, when she felt brave enough, she moved for a big meat carcass thing and dragged it out with her.

Ravenswood was named aptly, and it didn't take her long before she was heading out into safe wilderness with her prize. Ayane would wake up miserable, lost, and terrified, as she always did.

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