"Do you think this one looks OK with our kitchen, or should we go with this set instead?" Hazel asked. "Frank. Frank!"
Frank shook his head and tried to pay attention. He knew that he would see less action now that Hazel and he had decided to muster out and move to New Rome, but he hadn't expected the utter boredom of shopping for china! Hazel had looked at him with those big golden eyes, and he had been more or less forced to participate.
"Um, I think the flower ones, I guess. It doesn't really matter to me." He said to her now. "Can I wait outside while you make your final picks? It's just pretty cramped in here."
Hazel nodded absentmindedly. Frank carefully began to plan his route around towers of plates and other dishware. Some stacks looked like models of the Leaning Tower of Piza, others were neatly arranged onto dusty tables, but all of them seemed incredibly fragile. He knew that if he chipped even a tiny piece of the smallest teapot, the owner would have a hissy fit worse than Terminus. Finally free, he collapsed onto the bench outside.
Before too long, Hazel came out of the shop as well, laughing with the owner like she had known him her whole life. It was one of the things Frank loved most about her, whether she was visiting with Aphros and Bythos in the Atlantic or chatting with a store owner in San Francisco. Just as she was saying goodbye to him though, Frank grabbed her arm.
"We have to go back inside," he whispered urgently. "I just saw a gryphon, and we don't have weapons right now."
She squeezed his hand, then pretended to look in her bag. "On second thought, I think we might need another plate, for guests." The owner led the way back inside, but slowly. Too slowly. The gryphon circled once, then landed on the sidewalk.
Frank was out of options, he HAD to transform. He wracked his brains- what animal was better than a gryphon? No birds- they would be much too small. When the gryphon was about to pounce, Frank morphed into a bull and charged.
Being a bull was more difficult than most animals. The majority of his brain was instincts. Sometimes that was helpful, like when he flew as an eagle or breathed water as a goldfish. This time, not so much. His world was narrowed down to himself and the immediate threat. He charged at the gryphon and head-butted it in the side. It let out a shriek, but it wasn't even close to dead. Frank the human would have tried a different spot, but the bull just head-butted it again. Luckily, Hazel was there as well. While the gryphon was distracted, she was able to pull a chunk of celestial bronze from the ground and pound it into sand.
With the immediate threat gone, Frank lost control of his instincts. He galloped into the china shop before he registered what was going on. He pictured Hazel's face, and it gave him the willpower to morph into a human again.
"Oh, no," he muttered. Understatement of the year- the small shop was littered with shards of china and splintered displays. Hardly anything had been left alone. Even with the Mist on their side, he didn't see how they could repair even a fraction of it. The only good part was the owner had fled the shop, saving himself from injury and from seeing the sight of his precious pottery.
Hazel ran over to him, and nothing else seemed to matter. "Are you alright?"
Frank took an inventory. No bones seemed to be broken, though he was covered with a plethora of scrapes and cuts. "I'll heal." He decided. "The shop, on the other hand…"
She nodded. "I'll see if I can fix it with the Mist, but we have to get out of here. Can you make it to the bus?"
Even after Frank decimated an entire china shop, she was able to keep her head and focus on priorities. Gods, he loved her.