Tiger Pawn (cackle only) HEHEHEHEHEHEH
#1

Outfit is sneakers, cutoff shorts plus this cool thing with sleeves cut off



How did you throw a good party? According to Pete, the details didn't matter at all as long as you went big, you left out a lot of alcohol, and you were around to put down the eventual belligerence. This planning method was evident in her decoration of Tiger Pawn, which was by no means extravagant, but by all means prolific. Paper flags looped all along the ceiling, fluttering gently in the AC and competing visually with a half-dozen HAPPY BIRTHDAY banners strung in conflicting directions. The mounted bison was wearing a dingy sombrero and had a cigarette dangling out of its lips. As she had had a pretty large budget and several whole fucking days to decorate, pretty much the whole place was tampered with, dressed in a costume that was three parts Cinco de Mayo party and two parts assorted dollar store purchases. On the jewelry counter was an enormous orange and black punch bowl with a white porcelain skull rising out of something that smelled like Hawaiian Punch and gasoline. And inside, past the punch and the motion-activated dancing leprechauns, was a break room absolutely laden with barbecue.

Pork ribs. Beef brisket. Smoked turkey. Baked beans. Green chile mac and cheese, coleslaw, collard greens, sweet rolls, pickles and potato salad, it sat in long aluminum trays and radiating with an inner light. It was, she thought, the best and flashiest, most satisfying welcome party she could give these fuckers.

Over the Norteña music blasting through the speakers, she stepped outside to light a cigarette and survey her new kingdom. Raw fuckin' hide.
#2

this plus skinny jeans



How long ago had Summer moved out this way with prospects of hunting down her own people, only to have the cackle whose territory she'd moved into... fall apart? Like, so fast?

Ridiculous, really, and maybe that had spurred some of her attachment to Pete. Pete gave a shit. Pete would do what had to be done. Pete was crazy, but Pete was the right kind of crazy. Not like Echo, who was just... the unfun kind of insane. Who wouldn't be here today, cause... hahah!

Pulling into the lot and not wasting as second in getting out and approaching the front, she was arms up, tiny little gift bag dangling from one of her thumbs, something long, flat, and metal in her other hand.

"Smells good, what the hell!" because that was a greeting to the single solid friend you'd made outside of work in at least a couple of years.
#3

Outfit



With the invite’s official time and place given, Diana had been excitedly buzzing through her morning routine, the hyena rolling about happily with the idea of meeting others. Even though Lora had explained food seemed to be covered she couldn’t just go empty handed. Making a quick crisp cucumber and tomato salad, she’d chilled it in a glass tupperware bowl for a few hours before heading out.

The direction took her to a pawn shop that she almost would’ve double checked was correct before noticing two women standing by the front. The hyena gave a woop and she reached over to grab the bowl, taking that as all the confirmation needed.

Stepping out of the car, Diana put on a smile as she cradled the salad between both arms, the door closing with a thump. ”Are you Lora’s friends,” she asked while walking up.
#4
She felt Summer coming. God, and she was such a babe, she was practically pulled out of some asinine Pete fancy — the loyal fuckin' bombshell who had her back and laughed at all her jokes. She finished taking a drag of her cigarette and grinned, emitting smoke.

After that bit of theatricality she blew the rest away and accepted what was surely an oncoming hug, thinking, how weird to hug a woman your height! Taller! She gave Summer a lipsticked kiss on the cheek and made sure not to get ash on her head wrap. "I mean, I wasn't gonna make you eat a fuckin' salad."

Which, funny she should say that. Becky grunted and went on further alert, which Pete took for a second to mean Lora had got there...but instead, it was some old lady in a power hat and a toddler dress, coming up to them like she was already part of the club. Pete stubbed out her cigarette in the ash tray and smiled, taking in the look and the glasswear. "Sure are. This is Summer, an' I'm Pete. Kickass hat." She swung her hand out for a handshake that would become as complicated as Pete was allowed to make it.
#5
Big hugs, good hugs. Summer smiled right through that kiss and ignored the bad habit that Pete was indulging--much like she ignored other, bigger questionable Pete things. The salad quip made her laugh as they split apart and then she turned with some surprise to the unexpected addition. Oh look at that, a stripey! And a fuckin' old one, at that! Pretty damn surprised but this, Summer was still all smiles but raised eyebrows at the old lady inquired.

Lora. What a link to have. Summer grinned and waved in a small fashion when she was introduced, more than happy to welcome someone fresh, even as her mind tried to wrap around a were this old. How old was this? 70? 80?

"Yeah, I love it," she tacked on about the hat.
#6
There was a great spotted one and a striped hyena staring back at her, but nothing hostile about it at all. In fact, she was immediately made to feel welcomed with a quick introduction of the two: Summer and Pete. Both had young, pleasant faces, their grins infectious. The comment about her hat from both had a smile growing widely. ”Thank you. I wanted to look my best.”

Moving the bowl to be situated in one arm, she made to shake the hand given, the hyena excitedly moving in to sniff curiously, tail flicking about. ”My name’s Diana.” The proceeding attempt of a complicated handshake from Pete had her trying to follow and immediately caving within a few motions unable to keep up with a laugh. "I'll have to practice that one."
#7
Heh heh. Pete let the handshake go, looking the woman — Diana — in the eye. "Ahh, don't worry about it. You like barbecue?" That was more of a rhetorical question. What were didn't float after the smell of meat like it was a cartoon pie? She opened to door, adding a little bell jingle to the thumping music, and invited them into her little kingdom.
#8
Her best. Adorable. Old people were amazing.

Pete, of course, handled her with chaotic majesty, and soon they were turning back towards the store to go inside, the smell of food beautiful and stronger.

"As requested," she said to Pete as they entered, offering out the long strip of metal to the woman. Decor for the back room? Only the first of many things that Summer would inevitably find and decide her friends needed.

"And for you because I could," she said, and offered the tiny little gift bag with a box inside, holding a second surprise. (Gold, though, not silver, she wasn't insane.) "Thought it might be fun for punching the next idiot to cross us." This last part offered lower and with a conspiratorial tone.

The others would be along soon, she was sure, and she was feeling very enthused about it.
#9

outfit



Yellow!!!!!!

THE BUILDING WAS YELLOW!!!!!

Everything about this day until this point had been extremely exciting, but pulling their yellow van up to a yellow building dressed in yellow... it was almost so overwhelmingly perfect that they did sort of start crying a little. Mohawk was going wild, wiggling and sniffing and puffed up all big at the smells they were getting. Hyena smells! Stranger smells! So many exciting smells! Heart fluttering, Logan didn't waste any time in getting out. Eyes on the prize of the building, they also didn't waste any time in catching the toe of their boot on a giant crack in the sidewalk.

Logan, meet pavement. "OW!"
#10

outfit



Lora wasn't far behind the rest of them. If there was a closer bus stop than the one she'd gotten off at, she'd forgotten - anyway, it was a few blocks' worth of walking. She hadn't spent Pete's allotted money on any decor like she'd meant to. She had no fucking idea what to buy - in something of a last-minute choice, she'd dug Beau's gift out of some pile of still-packed belongings. She wasn't sure why she hadn't thrown it away or set it on fire. This seemed like a good enough re-purposing to her.

Her timing was impeccable. Ahead of her, Logan was traipsing out of the parking lot, and suddenly fucking eating it on the pavement with a shout. Jesus, dude.

"Logan!" she called as she hustled up to them, hovering without yet offering a hand. "You alright?"
#11
”Who doesn’t,” she agreed eagerly, looking right back with a smile to her gaze, wrinkles pulling heavily around the eyes. Following in through the door, the little jingle a cute companion on the way, she took in the shop. It was chalk full of all kinds of bobs and whistles, the music not necessarily her favorite, but boy did it have energy, booming right into your chest.

As the two women shared presents, Diana made herself at home and over to the table. Setting down the bowl, she took off the lid, already feeling the presence of some incoming others.
#12
Peter made the appropriate shouts of approval at Summer's sign, moving on to open the jewelry box as they stepped inside. It was a fucking hyena power ring, and it was so good and perfect that she was forced to feel something like a real bond, grimacing with joy and slipping it onto an index finger. "This is my new favorite thing," she said sincerely, and gave Summer another grappling hug to get past it.

Diana was making herself at home, and — she heard, she definitely heard the sound of hard impact on pavement, and it brought back a visceral memory of splitting her face open outside. "Uh oh." The bell rang again as she opened the door and leaned her head out. Some kid, who was also a hyena, was sprawled out on the sidewalk, twitching like roadkill. And there was Lora! She yelled at them. "Aw, shit!"
#13
Was there ever a moment happier in recent memory? Summer didn't think so. Both items being met with great enthusiasm felt, to Summer, like everything she could have hoped for. If the cackle was just this feeling and a lot of food, she was in it for life, end story. Hugging her friend back, she only let her go when it became evident something else was up. Not overly concerned, but pretty curious she watched Pete go, then turned her gaze back to the old lady they'd picked up. Pete would handle whatever disaster was happening out in the sun.

"You been a were a long time?" she questioned as politely as one could. It was a bit like asking age, but maybe a little more open to inquiry.

Summer's phone snuck out of her pocket because she was going to take a picture of all of this amazing food to plop straight onto instagram.
#14
One time when they were younger, Logan fell really hard on a skateboard and busted their chin open. It really had hurt a lot, and they remembered that they shifted, but that was before they could ever remember any of the time they spent shifted. This time, there was less blood. Only abrasions on their hands were immediately apparent, because they managed to catch their fall. It helped them swallow down the urge to let Mohawk take over.

They only got to really take a moment to realize what had happened before Mohawk peeped loudly, and Lora was there above them. Blinking, they turned themselves over on their hip, peering dazed up into the orange hair. And then from behind, a loud voice! Logan pushed up onto their butt, heart hammering in time with the paws of Mohawk as they pattered around inside their mind. "Uh..." They said, breathing big, and pulling their hands up to look at their palms. Little beads of blood were bubbling up, surrounded by sidewalk dust. "It's okay I think." They said, but sounded a little shocked.
#15
Lora watched tensely as the kid rolled around to look up at her, looking stunned. There was a flux in sound, the radio-gristled blast of an accordion and Spanish singing, and Pete was yelling over it from the doorway. Lora spared the woman a brief glance and a tight smile. This was them, Pete! The baby!

"Yeah. It's okay," she offered as some kind of affirmation. She could see the little beast in Logan's head dancing a jig, and her own hyena whooped and swayed, thinking of playtime with companions. Except no thanks. "C'mon. Bet I can find you some bandaids inside while you meet the others, yeah?" Stay cool, kiddo. If Logan let her, she meant to help them to their feet, without touching their scraped palms. Inside inside inside, chanted the hyena, but in pictures instead of words.
#16
Everything just so, she decided a look around might be in order. However, the voice of the girl, Summer, had Diana’s attention instead.

A grin bloomed out. ”It’ll be about, oh, three years now,” she informed. Time had certainly flown to reach this point, hadn’t it? ”How about you?”
#17
Well Lora looked fucking not-into-it as usual. Pete sloped out the door, not being one to wait around, and dug her hands into her pockets as Lora got the kid ambulatory. Becky shoved out to touch her daughter and kept one rolling eye on the little fuzzy thing beside them. "Shit! It got you good, didn't it! I wiped out on that thing the first time I came here too, knocked a fuckin' tooth out. C'mon, we'll make you feel better."

The words poured out of her, slick with the specific fraternal charm that Pete dealt in; she jostled them both and sped them back to the shop, talking, without ever seeming to care what they did with it. Come along for the ride, the message was, I will make it interesting. And maybe Lora didn't want to, but this little one would. What was her name? Logan?

In just a minute they were inside, and Becky pushed again, bristling with possessive joy. All hers! So many! She would rule them all!! And the feeling translated pretty good, too. Pete was proud, excited. Maybe, despite being too old for something so stupid, she was a little bit hopeful for better things to come.

"You ready for another dart contest, Red?"
#18
Only three years! Imagine getting bit as an old lady, yikes! Still, Summer thought it was pretty badass, actually, to be figuring out this whole life changing disaster when you'd already lived a whole life, probably.

"God, maybe, six, seven years? Not forever, but yanno," she shrugged and pocketed her phone, deciding the time was now to load up on food instead of just documenting it. Especially cause she caught sight of the others coming back in and she lifted her gaze to grin at Pete first, then put a little wave at Lora, and then.. dang! Look at that one! The brown hyena in her own head yapped in particular interest over the odd duck out--the aardwolf was a novelty she wanted to get all up in the business of.

For the best that she needed food now and realized she had all the time in the world for other stuff later.
#19
Lora was cool, and that meant it was easy for her to keep Logan calm about it all. It was alright, just a fall, no biggie. She offered some band aids and help up, which Logan nodded in agreement to both of. Hoisted up, they jumped from on foot to the other, and looked up just in time to be crowded very suddenly. A big, tall person with springy hair and a large mouth that said many words. Many of those words were words Logan was not supposed to say, but they came out of this woman's mouth so easy. She was like one of those "bad-ass" characters in movies that made swearing and smoking cigarettes look cool.

Immediately, Logan knew this big spotted hyena was Pete. Stunned still, they grinned and staggered forward along with Pete's ushering. Wide steps, uncoordinated, casting glances back at the lifted pavement that they apparently weren't the only one that wiped out on. It made them feel better immediately that they weren't alone in it. "Okay..." They agreed, but had little time to say much more.

Inside was... a lot. A lot of things to look at, to hear and to smell. Food, music, objects of every kind imaginable, but the back room contained two things that took presidency. Two more hyenas! One that looked kind of like Mohawk but was bigger; like Mr. B! The leader of the Cackle! That was what his hyena looked like. But the lady looked nothing like Mr. B. Instead, she was small and old and looked like a grandma! Logan didn't know grandmas could be hyenas, but a lot of people didn't know babies could be hyenas, and Logan existed. There was also a lady with brown skin and pretty hair who's hyena looked very different than anything Logan had seen before. It was all a lot and very surprising, but Mohawk clucked and circled, and Logan peered around with orange eyes. "Um... hi!" They waved.
#20
Pete came sauntering out in all her piping glory, plainly in a good mood. It was borderline infectious, mostly to the hyena part of things. Lora, for her part, was just doing her best to not hold her breath in her chest. She felt a little like the odd man out here, the only one uncomfortable with her beast, and perhaps the least stoked to be here. Still, she met Pete with her small smile that might speak to a little discomfort, and where they touched, her dumb brain animal greeted Becky with eager screeches and a flapping tail.

Logan was keeping it together, at least, so that was a plus. She wondered what Diana was thinking about all this. Felt weird to have her around someone like Pete. Would they mesh, or clash? Guessed she'd find out. Still, she fixed the older woman with a slightly more genuine smile, differentiated mostly by the crinkling around her own eyes, and a wave to Summer, thinking of their brief meeting at that fight club. Food smell seemed to ooze from the walls themselves, and the music was loud and cheerful. Not what she would have pegged Pete for. The decorations seemed pretty on-point, though.

"Yeah," she said to Pete's dart challenge, knee-jerk, sounding more confident than she felt. Loosen up, Red. She cracked a wider smile, trying to figure out who to be here, somewhere between the Lora she was in front of Diana and the Lora she was in front of Pete. "You gotta drink that tiger concoction if you lose, though."
#21
Ah, that was a good amount of time and a knowing nod was given as she took it in. ”I do,” she responded to what was perhaps a rhetorical addition that completely bypassed her. ”That’s a good amount of time.”

And it seemed Summer would be heading to the food. Already following suit with grabbing her own plate, content to stake her claim of a small portion and ready herself to take in the rest of this get together. However, the door opening again had her attention and the hyena let out a soft whoop as Diana laid eyes on a newly arrive Lora and then a child that smelled of blood.

”Hello,” she called over to the two newcomers of the party, meeting Lora’s smile with a bright one of her own. Diana was delighted her friend had made it after all, a small puff of uncertainty squashed. Setting the loose plate down for now, she walked over to greet them. ”I see you brought in a friend. Who do we have here?” The hyena was leaning in, grey muzzle sniffing with interest at the small being.
#22
Lora still had that way about her that made Pete slightly anxious, like she was bungling something. It bothered her that she couldn't make this girl love her, when she had so much to offer. Kidneys! A kingdom! But maybe she was cursed to be rejected by all her hyena babies, and that was just the way it was. It only flickered in her for a moment, that anxiety, and then Lora was smiling more, and Becky was fitting her daughter's face into her mouth. She let the contact go and let them reconfer, the unwilling daughter and the strays she had dutifully dragged in.

Quickly, she piled slabs of brisket onto a bun, pickles, onions. She bit into it and felt feral, eyes closing, and let the food soak into her for a second as she thought. Get them drinking. Just a cautious amount at first, something respectable.

With half the sandwich hanging out of her mouth, she turned to the punch bowl and poured into paper Paw Patrol cups, syrupy pink punch as strong as paint thinner, topping each off variously with a 2-liter of Sprite. Half and half for little Logan, a little more for Diana. Stiff drinks for everyone else. She passed them out with smiles and sandwich grunts, reading everyone's chemistry and picking the most effective target as she muscled down the last of her snack. "Hey, dumb question, but any of you ever been in a group before?" Ha ha, Echo was the one who knew about all that, may he rest in fucking pieces!
#23
Seriously, that kid was just a kid! But everyone seemed really happy to mingle and say hi, even the ones that had never been here before. Were they joining up? Sure hoped so, Summer was absolutely chomping to have a bunch of hyena friends, it had been her dream for ages, even if it looked nothing at all like she had always imagined.

So with food and a seat and oh look a really dangerous drink from Pete! Summer was happy to mingle in the small ways, to pick up names as she heard them, offer her own where it made sense.

Pete's eventual question was easy to answer, and it was an answer Pete already knew about her, but would be good to throw out for the rest of them. "Not me!"

Shoulda happened ages ago. But hey, timing aside, she was happy with how this had gone in the end. Better Pete than whatever mysterious broad had preceded her in Alameda.
#24
This was a whole lot, but a good lot. Enough to fill probably two whole tapes when they got home! For now, they soaked up the moment. Beaming, they shuffled in and got comfortable as Pete talked to Lora all casual about some darts, and the old woman and the tall woman asked who Logan was. "I'm Logan!" They said in response. And if they gave their names, they would try hard to remember them.

Food was a thing that was top priority aside from being nearby other hyenas, so Logan did both. They wiggled closer to Pete as she got food, mirroring in favor of looking like they were comfortable here and knew what they were doing. It was fine! A bunch of strangers, sure, but they were hyenas! Hyenas were always nice to other hyenas.

When the question came and Summer answered that she hadn't, Logan was surprised. Ma and Pa said not everyone had a group, but Summer seemed like the kind of person that would. Maybe Logan didn't actually know what kind of person that was, but they were just sort of surprised that they were youngest here and knew more about something than someone that was older. "Um, yes! I have one my whole life." Have? Had. That was a big thing about leaving home. Right now, Logan didn't have a group. That was sad to think too hard about.
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