Into My Teeth

The Raven's Nest 

It was ever terrible, the week leading up to the moon that Romeo tried so hard to ignore. It had been bad timing, taking his first bounty of several months at this point, but the money had been good and the quarry seemed easy. One of those 'willing to pay anything' sorts of jobs. Personal. The sort of cash that was hard to snub, even if there was a fox in your head screaming for freedom all the time.

There was a high chance of shifting undesirably at a time like this, and so he had made a compromise with himself, and now he was scoping out the place on four paws, getting a feel for how it operated, and how people were getting into the dubious backside of this restaurant.

The fox was hungry, though, slightly distracted as he had parked himself beneath a table with a low shelf and a tablecloth, heavy with decoration, pointlessly taking up space. The fox had been carefully hidden for the last couple of hours, watching people come and go, looking for his target and mostly just trying to reign in the restlessness of the fox that he was attempting to use as a tool for once rather than denying its entire existence.

But it was altogether becoming too much--none of this fulfilled what the fox was after. It was absurdly boring, and with a grumbling groan he shifted in his spot on paws that felt numb. But the change of position proved foolish, as unbeknownst to him, his distinctive tail had edged out from cover. Worse than being seen, however, was what happened.

There was an ungodly shriek, inhuman and piercing, as someone trod right upon the tip, and the decorative table rattled as the fox twisted in pained offense.


The toe of his boot drove into the plume of grey and black firmly. His body tensed at the screaming cry, and Echo gritted his teeth as people cried out in surprise and looked his way. His eyes flickered about for a brief moment, before he knelt and grabbed the edge of the table cloth, pressing his weight further against the tail as he threw it up and away. There. A fox. One he hadn't seen but knew by the smell. A smell that permeated Romeo's home.

An ugly sneer of a smile stretched across his face as a gloved hand reached out to snag roughly around the little animal's scruff. "What are you doing in here, little thing?" He said to the creature, a facade of a good samaritan removing a wild animal. His eyes were hardened, though, and he tugged backward to pull him from beneath the table, his foot releasing the tail.


In pain and off guard, his space limited, even as the fox twisted to bite the hand that came for him, he was much too slow. Which would have been for the best, if the one who had grabbed him was human. Turning another person was not on the menu tonight. But it quickly became a shame as the realization blossomed as the shriek died and he caught the scent.

Hyena, and an all-too-familiar one. What had seemed at first an accidental injury now seemed incredibly purposeful as Romeo was dragged from his hiding spot by inhuman strength. And he fought it, twisting, but no amount of strange strength even from a little fox could break free from a hold like that without leverage.

Quieter now, little growls as he kicked against his oppression and being treated like a common pest.

Like the wild little vermin he looked like, Romeo screamed and thrashed in his grip. But his knuckles tightened around the fur, and he pushed himself to his feet, holding the fox out before him as he moved. People gawked and stared, some yelled for animal control, some about rabies. "Return to your meals," Echo said with a wave of his hand over the squabbling of the little rat.

They made it to the front door, his other hand coming to wrap roughly around the fox's muzzle to try to stifle him and pin his jaws shut. The meal he had been enjoying left behind.



The fox continued to thrash, eyes bugging slightly as the hand clamped down on his muzzle. The growls intensified, but muffled now, caught in the throat of the little beast. He had no idea what Echo's intentions were, but he trusted the man increasingly less these days, and right now the animal terror of the fox was up front and potent.

He tried to claw at the man with his front paws, even bringing his hind ones up to try and kick at the arm that held his mouth shut, but to little or no avail.

very appropriately, he miss


Wriggling, twisting little thing. Echo could not decide if he disliked the man or fox more. This one, at the very least, had a back bone. Echo marched through the front doors, then around to the side courtyard of the building. Directly for a dumpster, which was blessedly open and not too full of garbage. With a grit of his jagged, ugly teeth, Echo hoisted the wriggling animal over the edge of the dumpster and chucked him downward. Up and over he went after, his feet squelching on dumpster juices and trash. "Knew I smelled fucking vermin as soon as I sat down to eat." He spat as his hand reached for the hilt of the knife on his belt.

The moment he was released, the fox's mouth opened to shriek again, this time less a horror-movie noise and more a warbling trill of fury. He scattered backwards at first as the feet of his accoster came over the edge, but this was regretful. If he hadn't been turned around by the dumping, he would have seen fit to make a run for it. Getting out wouldn't be hard as a matter of jumping, but with Echo in the way...

He backed into a corner, bristling and wild-eyed, snarling warnings. His teeth bore but he stood his ground even as he realized that it seemed Echo had afforded himself a new knife after all.

He knew he needed to run for it, but he'd backed himself into the covered half of the disgusting box of trash.

Warbling little rodent of a were. Echo frowned around his bared teeth, his silver eyes boring into the crouching creature. "Stop your screaming." He commanded as he pulled the knife free. With a slow movement, he crouched, pulling the lid closed over them. It was dark and smelled horrible, but he could see the little fox just fine. "What are you doing, you stupid man? Shifted in a fucking restaurant. I ought to skin you and wear you as a hat." Stupid fucking man. Someone who refused the luxury of what their beast had to offer, shifting in public. Inside a fucking building with people all around. There was no sound reasoning.

Was that what this was? A lecture?

"No one notices a fox," Romeo finally snapped, trading his foxy fury for something more intelligible. Still bristled, he put as much space between himself and Echo as he could, but it was close quarters. It wasn't a strictly true statement, but even if they noticed a fox... it wasn't like he was a hyena. The worst that would happen would be a call to animal control, and he could make his escape from such a scenario with almost no fuss.

Unless, of course, he was caught by someone like Echo.

Echo spat out a laugh through his teeth, his head nodding sarcastically at the comment. "Until a fluffy little tail makes an appearance." He huffed, the smile that had flashed across his lips fading almost as quickly as it had come. "What were you doing? Begging for table scraps?" He questioned, eyeing him with a hardened look.

He wasn't sure there was much coming back from this. He hated this man with an incredible fury, but he was in such little position to do anything about it.

Romeo wasn't a dog. The fox wasn't a pet. They took equal offense.

"Surveying," he snipped, knowing the thought would never occur to someone like Echo, who turned into a monster far too large to be useful for anything other than the kill itself.

Surveying. If this was Romeo's version of stealth, then he wondered how he ever did make it far in the Cataclysm. "A job obviously well suited for a fox beneath a table, as opposed to a man." Echo agreed with no measure to his sarcasm. "And what if I were human, and you'd bitten me? Another fox for you to ignore." Stupid, stupid, foolish man.

What was any of this to Echo, really. Wouldn't he just love to watch his old ally fail? Wouldn't it please him? Or what, had he really been so attached to Chloe that he was that keen to dig in on the grudge?

There as no point in defending himself, Echo was already decided on how he felt. Wasted breath--and difficult to form words anyway. Instead the fox just chattered irritably for the moment, hackles raised.

He had a feeling he was going to need to test the weight of the dumpster lid and pray his small weight was enough when combined with the power of supernatural fox legs. He turned slightly, but kept his eyes on Echo even as he sought for a better place to put his paws for escape.

Spineless. Not another word, and a move to make an escape. Echo clicked his tongue as he moved in some, brandishing the knife nearer but not moving to touch him with it. "Maybe you're seeking out fame. Want to be featured on all of the news channels, hm? Couldn't stand seeing so much about Chloe circulating?" The hyena grumbled against his confines, more than eager to be let at the tiny little creature. How easily its bones would break.

The brandishing of the knife did not encourage him to stay and listen. The words themselves, offensive, but the least of his worries right now. If Echo thought any of that was Romeo's goal in reality, he was a fool. And if he didn't believe it, he was just looking to get a rise out of him. Either way, he deserved no pleasure for it.

So, taking his chances, the fox put his eyes upward and in the next heartbeat launched for the edge of the dumpster where the plastic lid met corroding metal. A normal swift would have bounced right off, but the preternatural strength of the beast carried just enough momentum to lift the heavy lid.

Not quite enough, however, as he got halfway out before the lid came back down on him. Front legs, head, out. Hind legs stuck behind as he was high-centered a moment, kicking to get himself free the rest of the way--just not as quickly as he'd hoped.

No answer, of course. Or, not in words, at the very least. Instead, the answer came in the form of the fox launching himself up toward the closed lid. Echo did not reach to stop him, would let him go.... if he had not gotten stuck. The hilarity of it all was too much to keep Echo from splitting into an ugly, toothy grin as a laugh came from his belly. A scrabbling little creature too weak to lift the lid of a dumpster, stuck with his ass hanging before him. It was too much of a temptation to reach out with his knife to aim to press the flat of it against his little rump. How pleased he'd be, if he left a scar for Romeo to see on his ass when he woke.

but he rightfully misses


Thankfully, Romeo never got the real sense of what had been coming for him, as in the second during which the abhorrent silver came for him, he managed to hook his hind claws onto the cusp of the dumpster. This gave him enough leverage to hoist himself free, the lid coming down on his tail but not heavily enough to hurt or pin him--just tripped him up a little as he slipped free all the way and landed awkwardly on the asphalt of the alley.

With all his fur on end, stinking of a tepid cesspool of garbage from a restaurant, he didn't waste any time shaking some sense into himself, and instead bolted into the dark.

The job could wait. Fuck Echo.

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