Bjorn Ritter only wants one thing -- to live his life away from nosey, demanding bears. That's easier said than done when you're the son of the female running the Bayside Bear Community. Cecil Baxter might be a bat, but he grew up away from shifter communities and he's doing his best to continue to keep his distance. Shifters aren't an accepting bunch and Cecil has never fit the norm.
Already facing a dreaded meeting with his mother, the last thing Bjorn needs is a stranger using his elevator to escape a pack of werewolves. And Cecil, whose day just seems to be getting worse and worse, could really do without the added stress of finding himself trapped in an elevator with a huge bear shifter.
Still, what could go wrong in three minutes?
A panting young man was standing in the middle of the lobby. His dark hair was pointing in every possible direction, and not in an artfully styled way. His jeans were paint-stained and tattered, his black shirt had a T-Rex tangled up in Christmas lights and the text Tree Rex in large block letters despite it being April. His black-rimmed glasses sat askew on his nose. He was on the thin side, shorter than Bjorn, but most people were.
Bjorn grinned, but then a pack of wolves pushed through the door, and the grin died a quick death. What were they doing in a bear hotel? It didn't matter if they were low ranking and only in their twenties, they should know not to set foot in a bear establishment uninvited.
The man made a shrieking sound before diving for the shrinking opening into the elevator. Bjorn braced himself for the impact. The wolf in the lead reached for the man and would've caught him if he hadn't looked up at Bjorn. The moment Bjorn allowed his bear to peek through his eyes, the wolf dropped his arm.
By some miracle, the human -- he had to be human, Bjorn had never met a shifter with glasses -- managed to squeeze himself through and only brush up against Bjorn's arm for the briefest second.
The wolf took a step closer, his eyes locked on the man, and the naked hatred on his face shocked Bjorn.
Bjorn rolled his eyes. So he liked dick, why did every fucking shifter in this city have a problem with that? The door finally slid all the way closed, hiding him and the panting human from the world.
"Friends of yours?" Bjorn sought eye contact without success. Instead of his breathing evening out, it became more and more frantic. The scent of paint, panic, and coffee overtook the small elevator.
Wide, frantic eyes snapped to Bjorn's. Yeah, definitely panic there.
"Hey, slow your breathing. You got away from them, you're safe."
The eyes, if possible, got wider. "Bear." He could hardly make out the word between the breaths, but when he did, he frowned. How could he know?
The light flickered and the elevator came to an abrupt stop. Bjorn groaned. They stood still between floors.
Everything went black.
The man made a keening sound and a wave of magic washed over Bjorn. What the fuck? The sound of clothes hitting the floor made him roar. He'd assumed the man was human.
Fur exploded out of his body as his bones and muscles changed form. What could he be? Spider? Fear clouded Bjorn's mind. Snake? His clothes tore, the seams fighting to hold everything together as the fabric shredded.
Bjorn hit the wall, tried to sidestep and hit the other wall. Something shattered under his paw -- glasses. He winced and his behind hit the door. As a bear, he had excellent night vision, but the elevator was pitch black. He couldn't see the man anywhere.
Taking a deep breath, he willed himself to change back into human shape. It didn't happen. Something bounced against the ceiling and Bjorn tried to duck, but the elevator was too damn small for him not to hit the walls with every little motion.
A clicking, high-pitched sound bounced off the walls and Bjorn flinched. Bat? It was the sound of a bat, right? Bats couldn't kill bears, could they?
He took a nice, deep breath and slowly his body responded to his demand, and changed back to human shape.
"Come on, man, change back."
Nothing happened except the flapping and bouncing.