Into The Woods

Hollow Lowlands 
There was more than frogs and crickets out this evening. Mud and moss squelched beneath wide saucer sized paws, the hooked black nails at the tips of calloused toes pulling grooves up behind them as the beast that they carried moved with purpose through the woods. Hunting was good here, if not a more narrow selection. Deer came to drink, but only when the sun still hung between the trees. Fish were plenty, but required patience. The hyena preferred, most of all, the turtles that littered the shallow waters and shores of the snaking streams and ponds. That was why he'd come.

But, there was more than frogs and crickets and turtles and a hyena out this evening. There was more than one hyena out this evening. He knew, because he smelled it. Sensed it, in a way. Like a pull toward some direction, though he couldn't hope to pinpoint so easily. Silver eyes raked the treeline around him, rounded ears cupped forward and crescent nostrils flaring with vigor to sort through the muggy stench of the lowlands. From his low, barreled chest would flow a dissonant song of whoops and chatters, quieted some for the purpose of not drawing unwanted attention, but loud enough to lead the kin he sought toward him. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he did hope it was not someone he recognized. Perhaps Pete's lost pup, if he would be so lucky.

@Summer Lovin'

There actually was more than one hyena out this evening. The mud-scraggled animal held to some freshly murdered tiny deer. The prey matched the predator in its ill-fated existence.

The animal was wild-eyed, and angry at the feeling he felt. He did not like this sense of others around, stronger than him always, constantly chasing him down. He did not like even more that they felt similar to him. Smelled similar.

He stalked, hoping to maul and chase them away from what he'd animalistically claimed as his turf, eyes wild and watchful with ferality.

The brown hyena was in an entirely different state of mind. She wasn't hunting anything right now, having already upturned a small box turtle that she'd crunched down almost immediately some half-hour back. Currently she was wallowing, feeling really good and cool and protected from bugs as she quite literally coated herself from snooty to booty in dark muck that was darker than her chocolate fur and caked into her pale golden ruff.

This was why she didn't smell them, with mud all in her nose, enjoying the romp for the sake of it--a fantastic break after a long day at work.

She had so little experience with her own kind that she almost didn't even realize the sensation of metaphysical distances closing, flopping her head about instead to flick mud from her ears.

No answer save the growing beacon of a scent, and what the beast was certain was the rustling of nearby brush. He paused, tail arched high in a corkscrew fashioner his back as he lifted his square head. His broad muzzle titled upward, and he sniffed at the air to assess it. A heavy brow furrowed, and he directed his attention to one direction in particular, his elevated eyesight cutting through the velvet black and blue shadows that the moon's rays couldn't wash into clarity. A shape moving, though still some hundred feet off. The hyena padded a few steps forward, another low whoop of a call coming forth from his throat.

Then there were two, and he paused his stalking, head turning, ears angling. This was less favorable, always. Stock still, the hyena dropped his catch and attempted a fearful sort of bellow, though the intent was anything but submission. Fear produced aggression as easily as anger did, and feeling cornered between the two approaches, the animal flashed his teeth at the movements in the night.

Whoever appeared first would be his target.

There was something.

The brown hyena got enough mud out of her ears and snorted some out of her nose and managed to get her wits about her again when she felt more than heard the first whoop, just in time to actually hear the second noise that followed. Her fur raised--or tried to. Impossible, really, under the layer of muck that slicked everything down.

But still, she wasn't alone. At all. Was it Becky, she couldn't help but wonder? Blinking and turning, she shook herself out some more, hesitating on calling, waiting to hear if anything else followed, still somewhat muted from the mud and trying to parse out the reality of her world before she moved to action.

There, a noise. But it wasn't the same sound of curious greeting as he was extending. Instead, there was a fearful edge to it that spoke of an animal feeling cornered. Echo's ears flickered forward as he narrowed his scope onto the sound, and moved purposefully toward it. He could see now a figure, smaller than him but not by much, outlined in moonlight and trembling. The hyena stopped where he was, yards away, and called to the creature with a bark that beckoned it forward. It was defensive, but not threatening, and he worked to keep his posture much the same. Stiffened legs, head low as he watched what the unfamiliar hyena would do.

It was enough that the other feelings were stronger. Now this animal that appeared before him was bigger, too. Aggression being his only respite, unwilling to share his kill or his space.

The smaller hyena launched at the other, throttling his weight in a full leap as he sought to bite at the lengthy side of the other's neck.


She could hear them. The sound ahead that paired with the sensation of familiarity. A feeling she'd been dying for really, more than one hyena. So she shook out her fur as hard as she could, swiped her forepaws over her face to try and clear them more. She was a mucky, muddy mess, but she didn't care too much about her appearances, and set off to find them, unaware of the fight that was breaking out as she did so.

There was a singular bead of silence that hung in the air between them, in which the hyena sought to fill with a low chattering call. It was cut short and redirected into a higher pitched whoop of surprise and warning as the smaller, scraggly hyena rushed for him. He threw his weight onto his hind legs to pivot away, tail flagging stiffly into the air as he cackled in that trademark sound. He was a beat too slow, though, and he let out a snarl as the teeth sunk easily into his flesh and the weight of the other hyena crashed into him.

Anger broiled hotly through him in an instant, reasoning being torn into pieces as the pain of the bite spurred a reaction he would never deny himself. So he pivoted back into the smaller male, his head jerking free of the grasp as he lunged to take in the upper part of the hyena's back leg, his wide jaws snapping around what he could as a chorus of high pitched, whistling sounds echoed from his chest. With his hold, he sought to shake his head with as much force as he could muster, meaning to shred and tear the skin and muscle.



It was a shrieking, rapid thunderclash of movement. He had a hold and lost it, and the other punished him resoundly, shredding his furred flesh to ribbons. The hyena flailed in the grasp but could not escape it, attempted to land repeated bites at the other's body but found his teeth scraping ineffectively. He was unable to keep himself on his feet, at risk for twisting himself onto his back just there.

But he wasn't done, naturally; not enough to try to escape. Where could he escape to, when he was cornered!



Her obliviousness did not last long, and she heard the noises of her own kind--in distress and anger. Her pointed ears perked and her green eyes widened, and suddenly her eager lope was more like a gallop. She dodged scraggly trees and all but tripped her way through some muck, but there they were--just ahead, and locked in battle.

Both spotted, one smaller, weaker than the other, nearly on his back, at the mercy of the larger one to her eyes.

She had no idea what was going on, but she wasn't about to stand there and let them tear each other apart. Ducking her head and squaring her rough-furred shoulders, she charged and sought to barrel into the larger one, to knock him away from the one being shredded.


The smaller creature buckled under his attack, struggling to remain standing, failing to get his bearings back. If he could have, Echo would have laughed cruelly. For all the gall he'd started with, it was easily ripped from the whelp. Echo sought to bring him to the ground, brutalize him enough to keep him down for at least a few moments. He wouldn't get far, though, before his body was wracked from another impact. This one was smaller, but did not lack the punch of a healthy creature. His grip faltered, and the hyena wailed angrily as he staggered to the side, then pivoted around to face his new assailant. His lips peeled back, teeth yellow and crooked. A hyena, though this one was a different make. Smaller, striped, sporting a ruffed mane that struggled to stand on end through a layer of mud.

This one wasn't so weak as the one he'd torn into. He had a few fleeting moments of consideration. She seemed defensive, aggressive, but not immediately tooth and claw. Likely seeking to break up a fight before it escalated. Did she know the sniveling whelp? This wasn't Pete, but perhaps she knew her. Perhaps this was the fledgeling that wished to die. He'd made a promise, but he'd never said anything about what he'd do if the child attacked first. There was a lesson to be learned here. And with the pain of the skin at the side of his neck coursing through him, he was not so inclined to refrain. He needed her gone.

So he would rush forward, snarling and barking, his teeth gnashing as he sought to drive her away.

no attack dis round just tryin to be scary


The other one he'd felt appeared and she... attacked the one that he'd been attacking as he faltered on his shredded leg. What was happening? Who was she? He didn't know, but he still didn't want to share. Maybe they could get rid of the first one together and then he could get rid of her. Or maybe he should help the first one get rid of her and then get rid of him.

He panted and whooped, looking for whatever opening he could manage, and then stumbled forward on three legs to go for a bite into the male's hip.

hit :[


It was successful and she felt powerful for it--bold. She might not have been the biggest or the baddest around, but the brown hyena had a personality that knew little of fear and everything of determination. When the large spotted boy was shoved harshly away, she stood her ground, her legs wide and prepared for a fight if he decided to be an asshole.

Which he was, coming screaming at her, and she screamed right back, not about to be made into a chicken just because he had balls on him.

But the smaller one seemed to think it was time to gang up on the mean one. She supposed he couldn't be blamed, but he would have been better off retreating--and she wasn't here to make this two-on-one any direction. She had no grief with either of them.

So while the smaller male was making a mean mess of Mr. Snarly, she took her chance with the distraction that likely saved her from getting a face full of teeth herself, and repeating her prior action she shoved herself bodily and forcefully into the new attacker, to separate the males once more.


The female was dog headed enough not to flee, and he could not help but establish some level of respect amidst the swelling of frustration. He may have lunged again, but the whelp was more inclined to but up more of a fight than what he was worth. Echo rounded inward, his hindquarters pulling toward the earth as he pivoted in attempt to evade the attack, but it was once again to no avail. Small as he was, he was quick, and the younger male managed to snag painfully in on his haunch. The hyena cried out his pain, and it tapered into a snarl as he wheeled his front half upward and attempted to throw his weight atop the smaller hyena. But, the charging mud covered female bowled into them, and shoved the smaller spotted male away from his clutches, which tore at the wound it was slicing into Echo's hip.

miss for tackle/grapple


She was the target, then. This he decided as she suddenly crashed into him, sending him rolling as he failed to keep his weight on the injured limb.

He yelled, whooped, screeched, and all around made a scrabbling and desperate attempt for her next once he'd righted himself, but he would miss her face by inches.



Separated again, the little one had no love for her or for anyone, and perhaps a little tickle in the back of her brain told her that this could be exactly who she'd been looking for. Not that it mattered so much when he was making a lunge at her face. She scattered backwards to avoid his teeth, but otherwise held her ground. She didn't make any move to strike--either of them, but bristled and growled at the weaker of the pair, posture demanding he mind himself.

The brown would bite if she had to, but she'd really rather not. That warning went for both of them.

The smaller male rounded on the female, whom evaded him, but just barely. She was angry, aggressive, but very clearly intending to end the fight. His lips peeled back around his teeth, but he regarded her with acknowledgement. It wasn't her fight, and he wouldn't bring it to her. The pup, on the other hand, needed to be driven away. He was weak, and injured, and it was likely he would suffer from his wound. Echo himself was in a bad state. So, he rushed forward, but did not intend to strike the younger male unless he refused to run.

Even battered and bruised up, the idiot refused to back down. His human was useless, and so it was up to him to defend his kill. The other male sought to charge at him, but the injured hyena managed to pivot on his better paw to meet him, aided by some supernatural blur of speed and general rage.

He landed a fierce feral bite on the other's muzzle, and sought to shake his head roughly for all that would likely compromise the hold.



What a little ASSHOLE.

He should have run. A smart hyena would have run. She felt more and more like she wasn't dealing with a smart hyena--or a nice one. It was weak and in a sense it was outnumbered, and yet it persisted to fight. Didn't he realize she was trying to save him from himself?

She lunged forward, thinking she would grab the smaller one as kindly as one could by the leg when you had a mouth full of crushing teeth and a sense of deperation, and try and drag him away from the other.



That was it, then. The pup signed away any chance of being allowed to walk freely with just a torn up leg. The hyena squealed angrily in its pain, and with the shaking of the younger male's head, he ways able to wrench away. Not to say he did not lunge right back in. He lunged forward, once again attempting to latch his forelegs around his neck and bring him down.

and he MISSED


A scrape to his hind leg and he might have whirled to face the other, but it only earned him another scrape across the face from the former; hits that intended to be deeper and left shallow only by virtue of his constant movement.

Finding his mouth closer to the male, he moved to lurch back for him and return to face mauling.



She needed to get this pup OUT OF HERE! But he wasn't paying her any mind and the big dude was understandably pretty intent upon doing some damage. Still, her heart pounded as she made another grab at a hind leg, only for it to miss again completely. She cackled in frustration in the split moment before she moved her head for what she hoped would be an easier target to grab--his rump.

two attacks per agreement of all parties involved, both misses!


Enough. Enough. He wanted the whelp put down. Whatever attempts the female was making to break it up went ignored fully by Echo as he muscled his way into the younger male's space. The grazing snap at his face brought him at a close enough angle to reach forward and clamp into the side of his neck. Teeth tore through flesh, and his tongue pressed backward as his mouth was filled with dirty fur and blood. With his hold, once again he aimed to grapple the wriggling body and push him to the earth.

a hit and den a miss


More mild nips, minor threats he couldn't respond to in full. They were closer now, and it was harder to breathe, to get a second to realize that he was better off pushing through them and hobbling away. There was only all these teeth.

A moment of attempting to snap for the female left the larger male with an open invitation to the throat, and his body thrashed wildly, seeking to free himself. It would only serve to make it that much easier for his weight to buckle, and his rear half sunk in trying to overcompensate.

Something in Summer's heart screamed as the smaller hyena was grabbed by the bigger one. The scent of blood was suddenly much heavier, and she knew, terribly, that this was probably the end if it did not stop immediately. Let him go, let him run! What was the point in any of this, what offense had been made?

She broke away from any attempt to pull the little one away, and instead launched her teeth for the face of the big one to try and make him let go.

but she seriously misses


He was squealing beneath him, he was buckling. The female still sought to intervene, and he just managed to pull his bloodied face out of her reach as he doubled down on pinning the smaller male below him. Fully pinned now, the pup was at his mercy. Echo had no interest in going easy on him. He'd been foolish enough to put himself into this situation, and a lesson was to be learned here. Thus far, he was undecided if it was at the cost of his life. The beast was in control in this moment, and it wanted nothing more than to tear the child's throat out. And so he readjusted his grip, seeking to bite further into the wounds he'd made and pierce into more vital spaces.

two hits :]


It would be enough.

Buckling to the ground, his limbs flailed and kicked what they could. But far too late now his stupid survival instinct kicked in, rendering him still for the slow suffocation of the other's hold.

That was until fangs punctured in.

His eyes grew wild with a sudden panic, crying out a gurgled chattering that fumbled on his own voice. His body fell into a wild convulsing. Blood welled where there should have been air, every pump drowning him closer to death, and seeped from his mouth in staggered coughs.

What was the point?! What was the fucking point?! I was all she wanted to know. Maybe there was good reason, but fuck all if she couldn't even see it. She knew the sounds of death when she heard them, the terrible rattles and squeals. She'd committed many similar acts in her time. But never on another like her. Never on something that could have been spared at no loss--

She screamed at the larger spotted one yet again, lunged for him, seeking to knock into him, to bowl him over, push him away. In the same movement, she looked to grab him as well, maybe the back of his neck or his ear. Anything to just make him stop taking what wasn't his to take.

but really this is just not her day because MISS MISS


It was almost too easy. The vital veins and wind pipe buckled and tore beneath his jaws, and he was intent on carrying through to the end. But the female was in his space, knocking into him and gripping at him, despite her failure to shove or get a good hold on him. Still, it was enough to annoy him, and he abandoned his hold on the whelp's neck to instead round on the female and aim a singular warning snarl into her face. This fight wasn't hers, and it wasn't her job to break it apart.

It would naturally happen that he would be left to die. And he was dying, the veins in his throat severed beyond repair. The animal scraped at the ground, body roiling and contorting as he was caught amidst the inability to breathe or vomit or cough further.

Soon enough he was left with a case of the shakes, and if anyone would watch, they would see the gruesome reversal of his final shift as both the were and his virus sunk into death.

He moved on her, snarling, and inside her she was quaking with fury. The second and third hyenas sye had ever seen with her own eyes, and one had killed the other. He warned her but she wasn't afraid of him. This big, fucking, nasty bully who saw no value in another of his kind. Would just murder and remove and--

She stood her ground, green eyes blazing, and though she made no move to hurt him--little point now, and he was kin even if he was a awful motherfucker--she screeched, everything rigid as she dared him to do the same to her.

She squared off against him, but did nothing to harm him. Therefore, he would offer her the same kindness as the one of the three of them that had been too stupid to be that sensible gurgled below them. He fixed his silver gaze on the smaller female, lips peeled and body the picture of a defensive hyena. In his periphery, he watched the whelp slow, then die. It was a simple process he'd seen well over a hundred times. And, after a few tense moments, the body would begin to break itself backward and into the form of a bloodied young man.

The hyena ran his tongue across his teeth, his body aching and fur soaked in blood. His gaze snapped away from the female, and he watched the process unfold. From somewhere in the depths of his chest, a gravelly, baritone voice that did not belong to anything human came forth. "He attacked first. Would not run." To Echo, this was suitable consequence.

She heard the body breaking, reforming. It was a familiar noise, but unexpected. She'd never seen another of her own kind die, and the only reason she didn't think for a wild moment that maybe he had survived and was changing back in an effort to hold on was the fact that his presence melted away and his heartbeat and breathing had stilled to complete nothingness.

Heart aching, she heard his explanation and wanted to spit furiously for it. "Coward!" she accused.

A spat insult. His lips peeled in an ugly grimace over his shoulder at her. "Would you let him tear you apart?" He questioned darkly. For his weakness, for his foolishness, he had torn into him. If he had backed down, it would have only fueled his delusion that he would come out champion in all of it. Echo was not a foolish man. He did not let children with knives stab him to make them feel less inferior.

She kept his gaze, stared at him, her hackles raised and her entire body ached from how angry she was. Marching closer again, into his space, she still did not strike, but it was clear she was coiled to act, one way or another, if he did.

"Death is not a lesson," she snapped. It disgusted her, the pointless finality of it all. Fight back, defend yourself, hurt him and see him off into the deep woods to think about what he'd done--those she could have understood, could have even done herself. But this?

"He was one of us."

The most fucking precious thing in the world and he acted like nothing had been lost.

The female closed in, and despite it appearing as if he could not have possibly done so, the beast bristled further. Every muscle in his body tense, his neck aching from the wounds, his face bleeding and mangled. The child had attacked him, sought to harm him, and yet she defended him as if he'd plucked him from his crib and wrung his neck. "Did not act like it." He rumbled back, glancing sharply down at the blood-spattered floor. "He would have seen both dead." Speaking was taxing, however necessary.


The other hyena hadn't ever touched her. Not even one time. And sure, mister big-shot here wasn't in the best shape, but he wasn't fucking dying either. Ripping the whelps throat out!

It was much easier to stare at the other furred creature than let herself be distracted by the horror that was a death-shift.

"Coward," she accused again, seeing it no other way.

She would not be swayed. It was grating, and he found himself unwilling to speak further on the topic like this. And so, he would make to move past her. "Respect him, then." If she did not stop him, he would reach for the still warm body, and begin the process of disposing of his body.

Respect him, the terrible male demanded, and she snarled at him. But his point was there, and stuck in her head. They couldn't leave him out here to rot, and as much as part of her thought to stand there and watch the spotted bastard do the deed himself, some part of her feared he would merely take pleasure in all of it.

She hated everything about it. She was not one to cry, not ever, and a hyena could not even if she wanted to, but she had the burning sensation of furious tears in her soul. More so when she drew close to the body and confirmed what she'd feared. The description she'd been given by Pete... If this wasn't Abhi, it was a sickening coincidence.

Feeling strange, almost outside her own body, she reached for the dead man's leg with her teeth.

It would be a lengthy, bloody process. The sounds that filled the forest would be sickening to the passing ear, wet tearing and snapping, guttural growling of a natural instinct to protect what he was consuming if the female grew too close. It was lucky the boy was thin, and before long there would be nothing but scraps that would be cleaned by other scavengers some time later. By the end of it, Echo was aching from the wounds he'd received, which had stopped their slow trickle of bleeding, but were prone to reopening with any odd movement.

Eventually, he would move away from the remains, licking at his lips and grumbling to himself at the sting of his muzzle. It would be an ugly injury to wake up to. Shifting back needed to happen. Recouping, discussing what had happened with this woman more precisely. Likely, she would not hear his reasoning, but he was willing to make her. If she knew Pete, it was probable she would seek her out to confirm what Echo himself suspected. If that was the case, he'd rather do it himself, or with her along with him to vouch it had not been a murder in cold blood. Something told him that would hardly matter anyway.

For now, he was tired, full, and ready to shift back to tend to his wounds. So he would approach the female with no defensiveness. "Follow. Shift. Speak after." He instructed. His car was not terribly far, and he had plenty clothing stored for both of them.

Honestly, though she helped, she really did leave the bulk of it for him. Appetite had fled in her fury, and the reality of it turned her off further. Still, she was not innocent of this duty in the end, and she spent a lot of the time staring at the other hyena and being glad he was hurt. That Abhi had gotten some blood from him, though it was hardly the fair price for the end result.

The demand that followed did rankle her, for all it was given freely. She wanted to snub him, to tell him to go fuck himself, to turn and go back her own way. But she needed to see his face, to know what she was dealing with, so for her own reasons, she nodded her head in agreement.

She didn't have to like it, and she wouldn't, but she was seeing this through. As a witness to all of this, she felt the need to know all she could. What she would do with it remained to be seen.

Good that he would not have to force her.

With nothing more, he would make to lead her the distance to where he had parked his car beside the bank of a pond. In the hubcap, he'd tucked a blanket and his keys for later retrieval. For now. he would find somewhere beside the car to settle down, unsure of how long it would take before he woke again. Truly, this was the most inconvenient thing about being what he was.

He would wait for the telltale signs of her shifting back to mentally shift the gears and force himself back as well. The wounds on his neck and face tore and bled and warped in a messy process as his body reformed. The shift, ultimately, did help to clot the bleeding. When his body was that of a man once more, the wound the hyena had spored against the side of his neck now extended from the base of his neck and into the curve of his shoulder. It looked to be a few days old, though it was red and a mess of blood and dirt. As for his face, there was a severe series of mangled tears along his left cheek and through his eyebrow. The top lip was torn, not entirely sutured back by the shift, and the bridge of his nose was warped.

It would be roughly four and a half hours later that he would come back to himself. The sun was somewhere in the midst of climbing back toward the sky, painting it an eerie beige above them. Echo grunted his pain, a dirty hand coming to clutch at the side of his neck as it throbbed with the movement of him stirring awake. Anger seeped from the depths of his memory, and the night's events flushed in like ripping the scab from a heeling wound. Echo grimaced painfully, and would take some time to stare into the sky above him and listen for the sounds of the female before he began to roll to his feet and make for where he stored the blanket and key.

She'd gone to the other side of the car, putting some distance between them. It irked her increasingly. Part of her was still drawn to him, the idea of more hyenas other than Pete. But after what he'd done, after revealing himself to be something that wasn't like her at all on the inside, she didn't trust or care much for him so far. She had no idea if this was the shady asshole that Pete was on about a while back, but she wouldn't be shocked if he was.

Shifted back, she was longer to linger in the world of unconsciousness than he was, as if reluctant to rise and face it. But when her eyes opened again, curled on her side on the unyielding ground, still with dirt on her skin in strange streaks that were broken up by how her body had shifted, back, she felt the need to take care of this, one way or another.

Summer could hear him moving, and she sat up slowly, pulling her legs to her so she could sit with her back to his car cross-legged and frowning at her hands. Wished she'd had her phone here. Contacting Pete felt important.

He pulled out the bundled blanket, and the keys wrapped in it. A click of the fob had the locks clunking mutedly, and Echo padded around toward the trunk with the blanket before him. There, he saw the woman, sat up but facing away from him. He eyed her a moment, deciding that he did not in fact recognize her, and stepped forward to drop the blanket beside her wordlessly. With that, he turned to the truck and reached in to pull forth a duffle back. Inside, wet wipes, and a few changes of clean clothing.

Echo pulled the pack of wipes out first, uninterested in wearing underwear with forest floor stuck to his ass. He'd pull a few free for himself before turning to toss the pack toward the woman. If she caught it, he did not stop to check. Instead, he went about Wiping himself clean enough to feel comfortable in easing on a pair of underwear. Movement was painful, and he was careful as he dug for two pairs of gym shorts. One for himself, and one for her. He set hers aside on the tailgate, and then prized two shirts free next. For his own, he set it aside, and worked on pulling on pants. "Will you help me tend to my wounds as we speak?" He questioned finally, his voice hardly more clear than it had been in the form of a beast. At least now, his vocal chords were better suited for speech.

She listened. He was smart--not fucking saying anything to her as they pulled themselves together. Summer was pretty sure she could have ripped his head off--figuratively or literal to be determined--if he'd tried. She was not the most gracious waker, and she had blacked out in a foul mood. But she listened to him move, heard the hitch of his breath as he was doing so, knowing he was hurt. Glad for it. She wasn't one to wish suffering on someone, but he had...

He'd done so much worse. Being left to deal with the consequences of that was literally the least the universe could offer her. Or Pete. Or Abhi.


The wipes were taken and she half-heartedly cleaned herself up, finding it difficult to care too much about that. She spread the blanket out just enough to sit on as she did so, and then when she spotted him putting out clothes for her, she wrinkled her nose and went to retrieve the shorts first, pulling that on and then making the movement to stand within his line of sight, not particularly caring about the state of her otherwise as he asked his big question.

"You sure you trust me that much?" she asked, needling.

He sounded awful. Looked weird, too. Had to be the messed up motherfucker Pete had mentioned. Summer wished she knew more than that.

She stood before him bare-chested, but he hardly gave her a glance as he reached further into the trunk to pull forth a dark grey bag that sported an assortment of pockets. At the question, he huffed at her, and moved to ease himself to sit on the tailgate. "I turned my back to you, didn't I? You could kill me easily right now." And yet, he knew she would not. She'd been so heartbroken over the whelp. He could understand the disappointment of snuffing the life of someone so similar to themselves, but that was as far as it went for Echo. Disappointing. But, if he'd been stupid enough to turn himself against two of his own kind, then there was no chance for his survival in the next life-threatening situation that came along. Maybe he could have been taught, trained or bullied into being smarter. Disappointing.

His answer made her roll her eyes, and she leaned into his space to claim one of the shirts she could see he had pulled out. Pulling it on mostly because the morning air in a swamp was actually pretty cool even in the dead of summer, she was tempted to test him. Maybe just, slam him down while he was distracted then find something to beat him to death with.

A tempting sort of daydream, but one she knew she wouldn't follow through on. It was an impulse, but it wasn't her nature.

"Well, I don't know what you want to talk about. I think I saw plenty 'nough to come to fucking comfortable conclusions."

Well, there was no immediate protest to help him, so he would go about bringing the bag to his lap and unzipping it to retrieve gauze and alcohol. She was just as stubborn in her thoughts as she had been as a beast, and he sighed sharply through his nose. Speaking, truly, was painful. "You did not see him attack me when I approached him non-threateningly. You did not see him continue to attack me when I tried to drive him away. He would not stop." Echo offered her the supplies, and would tilt his face toward her. That was all he needed assistance with, as he couldn't entirely see it.

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