Wordcount: 1,109 words
Summary: In which Zee meets Mira and she is Not Impressed.
Move Along Little Doggie
The art studios were a ring of buildings, melding into one another in mismatched layers, like growth rings on a tree. Of course it would have been one ugly tree even before they started carving studios out of it, so on the whole the analogy didn’t work as well as Zee had thought it might. Rude thoughts he could do, he just needed practice on analogies.
The restaurant was across the street and down a bit of a dip, but was thankfully much more mundane looking. At least on the outside.
Zee parked away from the other cars, although there weren’t many, giving himself time to settle into the situation before heading inside. Outside he had a myriad of options if something went wrong, once he put himself inside four walls and a roof the options narrowed disturbingly quickly. He still wasn’t getting even the least feel of a territory or even a wolf nearby, but paranoia was still his favorite hobby.
Having stalled for as long as he could manage without starting to attract attention, he made his way into the diner. There were a few windows, but not the full wall he was used to seeing in more populated diners. It looked more like a warehouse someone had converted into a restaurant, and his mood dropped with the light levels. Thankfully it was seat yourself, so he picked a corner where he could glare happily at the other diners without putting himself in danger.
Not that he was likely to be in much danger from the handful of retirees, artists, and two slightly dazed looking tourists. He figured they were still recovering from either the roads or the sight of the studios.
The menu was pretty standard fare, but with enough variety that he was able to find something palatable. The restaurant seemed to run more on the fact that artists would eat just about anything in their rush to get back to their artwork, than on any real tourist trade. This was good, because cheap basic food was infinitely more palatable to taste buds grown up on even more basic palates than suffering through a chef’s attempt to win awards.
He settled for a steak that tasted fresher than he had expected it to. There was a certain sharpness to frozen meats that he still hadn’t gotten used to, and he was pleasantly surprised. And if he started into his meal with slightly more relish than was polite, he certainly didn’t care.
Of the people scattered among the tables, only one of the younger locals was paying any attention. He kept an eye on her, subtly, more out of curiosity than concern. There were very few things in the world that could truly harm a werewolf and late-teen hippie children were definitely not one of them. She didn’t seem to notice his covert attention, but appeared to take serious offense at his enjoyment of the meal. He looked over, deliberately making enough of a movement for her to notice and her glare didn’t waver. Ooo, fun. Vegetarians!
He raised an eyebrow, in rather open condescension and took another bite of cow.
Which was apparently all she needed to haul her soot-covered self over and bring the fight to his table. Well, as much fight as a human could bring at least. She stopped just shy of arms reach– his arm’s reach, which he noted with amusement.
“What are you doing here?”
He blinked and took another bite, but the girl was waiting for an answer. He looked down at his plate and then up at her. “It’s called ‘eating’.” He offered her a forkful of steak. “You should try it, it’s fun.”
She crossed her arms and the glare dropped several degrees below zero. “It’s not that good.”
“I’m sure the chef will appreciate your honesty.” He took another bite. “Mmm, yummy!.”
“You had half a tank of gas left,” she snapped, “you didn’t even look at the tourist trap store on the way in, and you didn’t get food to go like any sane person who was doing something useful with their life.” The other locals seemed amused by the conversation and the two tourists just looked confused.
“I’m looking for someone.” His tone was still causally mocking, although he had to admit the ‘useful with their life’ had ruffled his fur a bit as it was too close to what he’d been hearing from Donovan lately.
“Do they live here?”
He paused for a moment, dramatically thoughtful. “Nope.”
“Do they know anyone who does live here?”
“Not that I know of.” At least he was pretty sure Jon didn’t, but that was something he was here to find out, so he gave himself points for honesty. Which, when added to the points for smarter, faster, stronger, older, and wiser, meant he was some nine billion points up on the kid.
“Then look somewhere else.”
“Any reason in particular?” He finally gave in and returned her glare. There was an edge to her tone he decided was becoming really annoying. And he was tired of being annoyed. He could feel the subtle shift around them as the humans hindbrains started picking up on the fact that there was a large grumpy predator in their midst– even if the rest of their brains were hopeless at putting ‘predator’ and ‘tourist’ in the same context.
“You annoy me.”
Which, oddly enough, broke the tension that had been setting his teeth on edge. ‘She’ was annoyed at ‘him’. HA. Sometimes humans said the darnedest things.
He grinned, suddenly finding the situation infinitely more amusing than it had been a moment ago. “I’ll keep that in mind.” He cocked his head. “So, any hotels around here I should be sure not to stay at?”
“Get out.” She leaned forward, uncrossing her arms, but before anything more interesting could happen she suddenly paled and her hand flashed to her neck. “Just–” she took a step back, blinking. “I mean, go.” She gave her head a little shake, her hands coming back down to a more defensive stance. “Find something else to do, someone else to annoy.” She turned away, heading back to her table and her abandoned lunch, still not meeting his gaze, “Seriously, get a life.”
“Nice meeting you too, hun.” He watched her go, gather her things and head back out the door, assumably returning to whatever studio she had crawled out of.
She might not be ghost wolves or Jon or anything at all useful in terms of Donovan of the local Alpha, but she was interesting. So maybe he would stay another day or so…