The thing that Eleanor has liked the most about moving to Hellawes is how easy it is to manage her monthly lycanthropic transformations.
Well— yes, she has greatly enjoyed living near her friends again after having gone their separate ways after university a while ago, and that’s a big factor. Not to mention that getting into UoH for her Ph.D program was fantastic as well, and her supervisor is… an odd man, but very competent and passionate and seems to like her fairly well.
It’s just that— getting to have such a great step forward in her career and social life, and have a fairly easy time of being a werewolf? It seemed too good to be true. She was a bit skeptical at first, yes, when Velvet and Niko told her that she wouldn’t need to rent a wolf-proofable basement flat— but they reminded her that the city was sandwiched between the coast and an entire mountain range, and the forest on the outskirts of town would be more than enough to accommodate her.
And it has. So far. The hiking trails are sparse enough that it’s trivial to keep away from human eyes, and she even found an abandoned cabin deep in the woods to hide in during the rainier nights.
But nothing in life is perfect, and… and that’s how Eleanor finds herself here, crouched behind a tree on the edge of the clearing, staring at the aforementioned cabin that is very much no longer abandoned.
“Hey, Wolfie!” the short, thin-framed woman with long grey-blonde hair shouts into the forest, cupping her hands around her mouth. “You out there?”
Good god. What is Eleanor supposed to do now? That’s where she puts her human stuff to keep safe until the three full moon nights are over. Her clothes are still in there. Her phone and wallet and keys are still in there. She needs those things.
“Pspspspsps—” the woman tries, pacing the clearing in front of the cabin’s door. “Here, puppy!”
Okay, that’s just insulting.
The woman sighs, putting her hands on her hips. “Sorry, that was kind of rude, huh? I didn’t mean anything by it, you know— just running out of ideas here!”
She huffs, then, collapsing down onto a makeshift log-bench with her legs stretched out and her shoulders slumped. “C’mon, seriously? You were all up in my tits last night, I hardly see the point of being shy now.”
She was— Eleanor was not all up in her— her— no! That’s not what happened! She was— oh for goodness’ sake, she was in a car crash. Eleanor was trying to help her. Yes, she had to stick her nose to the woman’s clothes to smell for blood, and yes, she shoved her head under the woman’s shirt to listen for any internal injuries or irregularities— but that was— that was just first aid! That was just the best attempt at first aid she could make while being an eight foot tall monstrosity, thank you very much!
“I’m not mad that you’ve been using my old man’s cabin as a hideout, if that’s what you’re worried about,” she grumbles.
So… this was her father’s cabin. That explains why she was driving up the mountain at night, in the pouring rain, no less— even her expensive-looking BMW wasn’t going to guarantee her safety on the muddy, unpaved road.
“I should be thanking you, actually— you going out of your way to fix it up is probably going to save me a ton of money.”
Oh, no, Eleanor didn’t do that much. She just… oiled the hinges, cleaned out the fireplace, re-did the finish on the wood, repaired the mold and moth-eaten parts of the deck, and…
And, she… she gets bored, being stuck up here for three days and nights, okay? It was kind of a nice challenge, seeing how many things she could fix up with her fairly clumsy and oversized hands. It’s not as if she’s able to get any of her RA work done.
“I’m perfectly willing to pay you back, obviously— but you’d have to come out here and tell me how much I owe you first,” the woman tries again, grinning deviously. “I’ll throw in extra for all the work you did, too. Not a bad deal, right?”
Well… no, it’s not a bad deal, and… yes, Eleanor could use the extra money. Her job pays enough, but universities don’t exactly pay the best wages to non-tenured staff. And her student loans are still looming over her head, though she’s better off than most due to being able to get a fair amount of scholarships, and… and yeah, those repairs were fulfilling, but kind of expensive.
“I promise there aren’t any hidden cameras or werewolf poachers lying in wait?” The woman says it like a question, almost as if it’s a last ditch attempt. “Not that I’d even consider turning you in when you saved my life last night.”
Eleanor hadn’t even thought that this might be a trap. The thought makes her even more reluctant.
The woman groans, then, turning sideways to lay back and drape herself lengthwise over the log while throwing an arm over her eyes.
“If you could come out here and eat me or something already, that’d be appreciated,” she mutters under her breath— Eleanor wouldn’t have been able to hear her at this distance if she had been human. “At least I’d know I haven’t completely lost what few marbles I still had left in my skull.”
Hurgh. That’s not fair. Eleanor knows very well how awful it feels to question one’s own understanding of reality— forcibly contracting lycanthropy at eight years old hasn’t been easy, after all. She’s had her share of trials and tribulations and horrible visits to various psychiatrists that never ended well, and…
And she would hate, more than anything, giving an innocent bystander some traumatic event to forever cast doubt on her perception of reality and ability to remember things. There’s nothing more terrifying. Not even a huge, scientifically impossible wolf monster.
The stranger shoots up from the log when she hears Eleanor’s paws crunch in the fallen leaves and branches— which she did deliberately, of course, so as to ensure she didn’t frighten the woman any more than necessary. With each step she takes, the stranger’s smile grows wider, and she’s giving Eleanor a blinding grin by the time she finally sits down at least ten paces away.
“Wow,” the stranger sighs. “You’re even better-looking in the daylight.”
“C’mon,” she says, scooting back to the other side of the log and patting where she was sitting. “Sit with me? Normally, I’d be perfectly willing to come to you, but I like these jeans and don’t really feel like getting mud on my ass.”
She… she’s. Inviting Eleanor to come sit with her. Eleanor, who is currently eight feet, at least three hundred pounds of muscle mass, and very much not human.
“Here, I even brought a little something to help— I’m assuming you can’t speak in full words with your wolf mouth, right?” She says, rummaging around the small backpack at her feet before pulling out an honest to god ouija board. “Now you just have to move this thingy around to talk to me.”
She cheerfully slaps the little triangle onto the board before setting it on the log much like an impromptu chess board. Eleanor can’t help but stare.
A ouija board. To help her communicate.
“Hmm.” The stranger frowns. “Actually, do you even speak English?” She turns her body towards Eleanor and the board, folding her leg on top of the log in a half cross-legged sit. “Deutsche? Français? Español? Pусский?” Putting her hands on her shin, she leans forward with a frown. “Uhh… shit, I dunno— ʻŌlelo Hawai’i? 日本語? Ἑλληνική?”
Eleanor blinks rapidly as the stranger rattles off various languages in— as far as she can tell— perfect pronunciation, one after another. Good god, she can’t actually be fluent in that many languages, can she?
She pads forward before the stranger has to flip through any more options, reaching out hesitantly to… to slide the ouija marker over to ‘yes.’
(This is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing she’s ever done.)
“Yes as in you speak Greek, or yes as in English is fine?” The stranger leans even more forwards, propping her elbow on the side of her knee instead to press her face against her hand. “Put it over ένας for nαί Ἑλληνική, two for the latter.”
This… she’s really doing this, huh? Might as well. She carefully slides the marker over to the gaudily inked ‘2’ at the top of the board.
“Oh, good!” she chirps, grinning like a cat. “I’m not sure if they make these things in other languages. I mean, probably, but I couldn’t be bothered to check.” She shrugs. “Now, on a scale of one to ten— one being a grade schooler and ten being a fully sober twenty-something— how sentient would you consider yourself when in wolf form?”
That’s an incredibly specific question. Certainly not what one would think to ask upon being faced with a werewolf— but this woman hasn’t proven to be very typical to begin with, has she? Eleanor goes to move the marker to ‘1’ and then ‘0’, then hesitates.
Can she really fully grasp her own level of sentience in wolf form? She’s certainly less inhibited by things like insecurity or embarrassment or the need to act like a mature, functional adult— there’s a lot of freedom in being a creature with no human obligations, and she… she’ll admit, she likes to indulge in the feeling. And yes, it could result in behaviours that are somewhat more… not animalistic, per se, but immature, certainly. And— she’s not all that good at gauging her own ability to make rational decisions while she’s drunk, either, so who can really say? Maybe she is less sentient as a wolf, and she wouldn’t even know. But, when she’s in human form, she doesn’t really remember having less autonomy over her thoughts the way that she remembers being drunk, and—
The stranger laughs. “Okay. That answers that question. Chronic overthinker, huh?”
Eleanor huffs. That’s not— inaccurate, but. Uncalled for. The stranger just grins wider.
“Now, you don’t have to tell me exactly, of course— but are you twenty-five or older?”
Eleanor’s starting to feel more and more like this is some sort of… interrogation, or interview. For what, exactly? She pushes the marker over to ‘yes’.
The stranger then briefly bites her lower lip, almost like— she’s excited or very pleased with herself. Or the situation. Eleanor’s not sure. This is all just… very odd.
“And if you really had to choose, would you prefer to be called a good girl or a good boy? Put the marker on ‘no’ if you’d hate either.”
She struggles not to— choke or sneeze or whatever the wolf equivalent of abject shock would be. Does she— oh, good lord, does she have to phrase it like that? Can’t she just— can’t she just ask like a normal person?
Again. Not that Eleanor’s in any place to call anyone else abnormal. She sighs and puts one claw on the maker again, sliding it over to the… rather tackily illustrated ‘woman’ on the left side of the board.
“Wow.” the stranger shakes her head, then, her smile taking on an almost— almost dazed look as her eyes roam all over Eleanor. “You’re really just gonna up and turn out to be the best case scenario, huh?”
What does that even mean? Eleanor’s starting to feel a bit desperately confused, maybe even a little distraught. Oh. She shouldn’t have come out here. She should have just waited for this woman to leave.
“I’m twenty-eight, by the way. She/her, AB blood type, Gemini sun, Virgo rising, Scorpio moon, venus, and Leo mars,” she says with a waggle of her brows, as if— if Eleanor would know what that means? “Jewish, most likely some kind of Slavic but I’m adopted so I can’t really say and I’d rather sell my kidneys than get one of those DNA tests. Also, my name is long and boring and you can just call me Magilou. Any other questions?”
And she— she says that as if Eleanor had been asking any questions to begin with. Yes, it’s nice to finally know her name, and the astrology stuff was interesting save for the fact that Eleanor’s not all that familiar with what all of it means, but…
This is all so strange. Eleanor just wants to grab her stuff.
She puts a claw on the marker again and moves it over the letters, slowly spelling out: ‘a r e y o u o k a y ?’
It’s a reasonable question, right? The stranger— Magilou— had been in a car crash. One that could have gotten quite grisly had Eleanor not been there, seeing as how her car slid over and down the cliff edge it had been precariously teetering on— only moments after Eleanor had ripped out the driver side door to pull Magilou out of all the broken glass and bent metal.
Magilou sighs again. “You’re far too sweet, you know that?” she says with a soft smirk. “I’m fine. Didn’t even get a concussion or anything, thanks to you.”
Phew. Good. Eleanor had been… a little worried. Especially with how Magilou had done nothing but stare at her with wide eyes until the ambulance finally came up the mountain trail.
Eleanor pushes the marker again. ‘Y o u r c a r ?’
“Completely totalled, obviously. I think it’s still a pretzel at the bottom of the cliff, actually, I can’t imagine they’ve managed to deal with it as of yet.” She shrugs. “Don’t worry about it. Thankfully I moved all my work stuff into my garage last weekend, and I can just borrow a van from a friend for now.”
Well. That’s fortunate. Eleanor can’t help but feel a bit disdainful, however. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to wave off the loss of a car so nonchalantly. And such an expensive one, at that.
“I mean, I’m kind of glad it’s gone, anyway. My old man bought it for me after I got out of the madhouse as a bribe to keep me quiet. Couldn’t have his precious reputation ruined by his brat of a daughter being a complete failure, right?” She says it so lackadaisically, waving her hand in a careless gesture. “Nevermind that it was his fault I tried to off myself in the first place. Hysterical that it almost killed me in the end, actually.”
“Whoopsie— sorry, I probably should’ve asked if you were good to hear that kind of thing first.” Magilou grimaces. “Want me to shut up about the koo-koo stuff?” she asks, making the signature twirling motion at the side of her temple, and it’s…
Everyone copes differently. Eleanor isn’t one to judge.
‘I t s o k’, she marks out, settling into a more comfortable sit.
“You sure?” The stranger smiles lopsidedly again when Eleanor nods. “Well, just growl if I say something you don’t like. Since we can’t exactly implement safewords right now.”
The emotional whiplash is just about to do Eleanor in. What— what in the world is up with this person?
“Anyway, you don’t need to worry about last night being a relapse, or whatever— I’m fairly intent on staying alive, for now, and it was a complete accident.” Okay, that’s… actually really reassuring, yeah. “But enough about me. What’s your favorite color? Do you like girls?”
Oh— she’s— oh good god, she’s hitting on Eleanor.
Right now?? While she looks like this?? Really??
“Ah—” Magilou scrunches her nose and smiles wryly. “That’s gonna be a no on the homo front, huh?”
Well— no, that’s inaccurate, obviously, and even though she’s still not 100% on how she feels she can safely say she’s dated exclusively women so far without having explicitly chosen to exclude men from her prospects, it’s just that— this is so sudden, and—
She reaches for the marker with both hands, stopping just above the board, frantically scanning it for something to say to adequately explain. What— what even is this situation?
“... yes homo?” Magilou asks, her smile turning sly again.
Oh. God. She’s really doing this.
She groans, covers half of her face with one hand, and uses the other to move the marker over to ‘yes’.
“Yes homo, but not into me?”
Magilou raises a brow, and, well— that’s not necessarily true? She’s not an unattractive woman. Her brows, for one, are very symmetrical and elegantly shaped, as are the rest of her features— she’s got an angular sort of look to her face, but not overly or unsettlingly so. Her eyes are catlike, but with a soft, rounded underside, and are also a striking shade of light green that… actually complements her hair, and…
Okay. If Eleanor’s really looking at her, she’s quite charming, actually. She has those ears that are angled in such a way that they sort of look pointed or elf-like from the front, and it’s really cute.
Magilou tilts her head, still grinning… well, wolfishly, irony aside. “Okay, let me put it this way— if I came up to you at a bar trying to get your number, would you give me a chance?”
Y...es? It would depend on Magilou’s… approach, really. Which. Has been. Actually quite respectful so far. Wow. A bit forward, but not aggressively or overbearingly so, with plenty of caveats and prompting for boundaries thrown inbetween.
(And— the more she looks at Magilou, the more… yeah. She’s. She’s actually very attractive. The sleeveless crop top that she’s wearing— that actually seems to have been a regular t-shirt of some sort before being cut— shows off the soft-looking slope of her shoulders and her smooth midriff and…)
“So, verdict…?” Magilou reminds her, raising her brows.
Eleanor sighs. Well, if it’s an honest question? She taps the marker, reconfirming her ‘yes’.
Magilou’s grin grows wider again. “Okay, score. But I’m not coming up to you at a bar as of now— would you say that you’d still give me a chance in the current circumstances, or no?”
Eleanor stares helplessly, because— these questions are focusing on the entirely wrong aspect here. By any rational standard, if there were a werewolf and a human woman having a conversation, the focal point should not be whether or not the werewolf would be inclined to give the woman a chance, right??
“Mm.” Magilou hums solemnly, nodding. “And is there anything I could do to change your mind, or is that a hard ‘back-off’ I’m sensing here?”
No— no, Eleanor did not say no, she did not say anything, actually, she’s just— she’s just trying to wrap her head around this situation!
She growls and huffs, briefly covering her face with both hands before giving Magilou a pointed look as she gestures to her— her own general form. Please, hello? Are they seriously not going to address this?
And Magilou laughs. Eleanor is here, confused and bewildered out of her mind, and Magilou is laughing.
“That’s what you’re worried about?” she gestures dismissively with her free hand, snorting. “Oh, please— you think I’m going to get my life saved by a big handsome monster and not be into that?” Yes! Yes, Eleanor thinks that’s very strange, actually! “Besides, I’d still try to hit it if you were pretty gnarly-lookin, but you,” she says, and there’s a— oh, goodness, there’s a suggestive breathiness in her voice now— “are an extremely good looking wolf, I have to say.”
O-oh. She… she is?
Wait— Eleanor shakes her head vigorously, because— no, no that is not the point! Also, by what standards, anyway? It’s not as if there’s some sort of conventional attractiveness to werewolves that she could compare herself against!
(... is there?)
“What, you don’t believe me?” Magilou smirks. “Come on. You don’t even have that weird hairless, wrinkly face that some shows put on their werewolves— you’re like, the prettiest, handsomest gray wolf, but just slightly wider and a bit more lion-like around the face,” she says, gesturing at Eleanor’s head with a smile. “Also, best of both worlds, much? Pretty as a picture, but still a hulking semi-biped instead of that weak-ass anthro het furry shit where the wolf is clearly just a human bodybuilder with fur and a dog head.”
Weak- what? Eleanor only understood half of that sentence— she thinks it’s meant to be complimentary, but…
“Hey,” Magilou starts, reaching out halfway between them. “Can I…?”
She can’t be serious. She wants to touch Eleanor. Eleanor stares at the pale hand hovering a respectable distance away from her head, waiting for her permission. This is ludicrous. This is absolutely unfathomably, ludicrous, and yet…
If… if Magilou doesn’t have a problem with it, then— then what’s the harm in it?
Eleanor tilts her head towards her hand just slightly. Magilou absolutely beams, putting her hand between her ears and threading her fingers through her fur in a surprisingly tender and soothing motion, and—
Oh. That feels nice. That feels really really nice.
“Wow,” Magilou breathes, rubbing gentle patterns onto the top of her head. “You have such a soft undercoat. Are your eyes this pretty as a human, too?”
She— she thinks Eleanor’s eyes are pretty?
She chuckles quietly. “Yes, your eyes are very pretty. That perfect shade of green with a little bit of amber— I’m jealous. Goes really well with your fur, too— I’m guessing you’re a redhead as a human? Not that you have to tell me, of course,” she says, gently scratching her way behind Eleanor’s ear, down the side of her face, and along the bottom of her jaw. “You are just so perfectly pretty and sweet, I can’t believe you’re real.”
That’s… those are really not the reasons that someone would have difficulty believing anything about Eleanor being a werewolf, but…
Magilou pulls her hand back, and Eleanor has to stop herself from trying to follow, because, she’s free to stop whenever, of course.
“So, whaddya say?” Those sharp, piercing eyes roam all over her again. “I would really, really like to take you on a date. Gimme a chance?”
Oh, gosh. This is really happening. This is all so absurd. Magilou’s waiting with her cheshire cat smile that’s still somehow very sincere and honest. She’s been nothing but kind and respectful so far, if a bit flirtier than Eleanor is really used to. And she is quite pretty, and…
And… there’s… not actually any reason to say no, is there?
Eleanor puts a claw on the maker, moving it over to the ‘maybe’.
“Does that mean,” Magilou says, sounding careful. “That I have permission to try and woo you?”
That’s— that’s really not the dynamic they should be having. But… it’s just, Eleanor wouldn’t be opposed to trying it out, per se, but she’s not sure enough to give a definite answer and she doesn’t want to get Magilou’s hopes up for nothing. And she’d really like to spend more time with her to be sure, if Magilou herself isn’t opposed to giving her a while to think.
So, for most intents and purposes…
She slides the marker over to ‘yes’.
Magilou sits up straight, laughing with delight.
“You know what? I’ll take it.” She grabs the ouija board and packs it into her backpack. “Loathe as I am to leave now that I’ve got your attention, I have to get back to town to deal with some work stuff—” she chatters rapidly, pulling out a set of keys to set on the log instead. “But here. The silver one’s for the cabin, and the brass one’s for the generator box in case something goes wrong. Make yourself at home, and I’ll see you next month?”
Magilou doesn’t quite wait for an answer— she just slings her backpack over her shoulder, winks, and blows Eleanor a kiss before cheerfully skipping off to her car. Eleanor watches her, then looks down at the keys.
What a… strange person. Just what has she gotten herself into?