Graham had been in this new town for a whole of two weeks now. He felt familiar with the sleepy borough by this time, enough that he knew where to busk to make enough to cover his meals, and where to advertise offers of grass-cutting, weed-pulling, and other workman-like tasks. The Hunter had even taken a job shoveling shit from some squatter house near the edge of town, although the work was drying up as he completed more and more tasks. A few people were repeat customers, though. There was a sweet old lady who had him come over daily. She had a lovely face, marred only by a big, fleshy lump just between her ear and her jawline, and from it grew a single, long hair. It took all Graham's effort not to stare, but she made it worth his effort to rise before dawn so he could make it to her house in time; she made incredible breakfasts, and then gave him snacks and a packed lunch for the rest of his day, and she paid him up-front. For all that, Graham worked the hardest for her, even sometimes completing tasks she'd not given him. Graham assumed she had kids who stopped visiting at some point. Honestly, she was the reason he'd not ditched town on day five after spotting a faerie in the bar he liked. He'd been so terrified he drank all he'd ordered at once, and woke up to a broom smacking his face while a greasy, paper-lined basket rested on his head. The morning after, that lovely and sweet Grandma Josie insisted he shower at her house. She'd even scolded him! Absently, he pondered Grandma Josie while his feet carried him toward the bar. He couldn't stay until she keeled over, though. What if she added him to her will? What if he had to live in or sell her sweet old woman house? What if he was the only one who went to her funeral? His throat tightened, but he thrust his jaw forward. No, he had to leave before then, but he couldn't just leave her lonely. He kicked a pebble on the sidewalk, and then winced at the loud clank that came from it hitting a gutter on the opposite side of the road. Oops. Ah well. He rested his hands against the back of his head, fingers twined among the messy length just before it hit the shoelace that tied it into a pony tail. Still, that felt pretty good, and drew him away from depressing things, and just in time: the bar's entrance was only a few meters away! The bar was a run-down place, ill-suited to the friendly little town it claimed residence in. He arrived shortly after dinner and paused in the doorway to watch with interest as a woman 'opened up' to a man who whispered that he would make her a star. He reeked of lies, and she reeked of a man who wasn't present, and her ring only confirmed she was married. The Hunter shook his head with a quiet chuckle and took a seat at the bar, careful in his seating so he wasn't at an angle to stare straight at them, and far enough that he didn't look like he was being nosy. Not that it mattered. Everyone could see them, and his nose could smell them, and his ears could hear every little sound. His eyes narrowed with contentment. This sort of place felt like the good parts of home: rowdy people, decent enough drinks, a few good times, and people mostly kept to themselves. There might even be a chance at a fight! Chances were it wouldn't quite be fair if he became involved, but feeling his knuckles hit flesh always felt just too good! Did leave him a few murder charges he had to run out on. Good thing he didn't have a real identity in this... country? Was this a country? Probably. "Hey, I asked if you wanted something. You gonna order or just stare at the bottles til I kick you out? Where's your fucking shirt?" The voice that cut through Graham's thoughts brought a grin to the large blond's face. Graham held up two tens. "Overflowing pitcher of PBR and a glass. Anything left is your tip. Pitchers are what, twelve?" The man behind the bar grunted and took the money, then wandered off to find a pitcher. Graham watched him lazily, ten pulled out a five. "Oh, and some cheese sticks or wings or something like that. I'm freakin starved!" The man behind the bar glanced back, then grunted. It took about a minute before Graham's twenty-five dollars were gone, replaced by a pitcher and a tall glass of shitty hipster beer and a heaping, paper-lined basket of greasy sticks that claimed to have cheese inside. The fried lengths had only just entered the basket, and already, the blond could see how fat and grease dripped and formed a pool in the bottom. With one cup of ranch and one of marinara, he felt contented. Graham beamed broadly. "Thanks, bro." He kicked his feet on either side of the stool, leg movements slow as he took his first long drink of beer. He downed half the glass before he lowered it to the bar and gasped. "Whew!" He licked the foam from his upper lip, and his tongue grazed against a scar he didn't remember getting. Uncaring, the man reached for one of his sticks and bit down. "Ah! Ah ah ha! Sss!" Despite his utterances and hiss of pain, he didn't let go, but instead drew the drooping line of cheese with an agile tongue and careful teeth. Nobody seemed to notice him as he stuffed the rest of the molten cheese and its fried casing into his mouth and glance around. His tongue only remained numb and tingly for a few moments before he licked his lips again, his mouth and two fingers already shiny with grease even from just the one stick. Those who sat near him—all of two people who were within two meter radius—were similarly focused on what was in front of them. Graham took a deep breath through his nose, then let it out in a heavy suspiration of contentment, thick shoulders dropping as he poured some beer from his pitcher into his glass, then downed the entire topped-off thing without pause. The piss-colored liquid soaked into his mouth: cheeks, palates, gums, tongue. Even before it his his throat, he could feel the spreading warmth, and as he swallowed, he felt more soak into his system. This was the only thing that worked. He sighed happily, though couldn't help but feel a little regretful that the alcohol that hit so quickly also faded quickly. His first gulps would be done with their magic on his mind and body in only a half hour: forty minutes at the absolute most, and then he'd have to pee. The best way to get and keep drunk was to keep taking drinks every few minutes, and be ready to run, but despite the early hour for drinking, he decided he'd just suck it up and do his best to enjoy his night. It was, after all, another day he woke up alive, still undiscovered by the mysterious hooded Council, and another day of freedom. Once more, he felt grateful for this world. In his thanks to the world existing and not being horrible beyond his wildest dreams, he grabbed a still-hot cheese stick and devoured it like the previous. His hissing and exclamations accompanied, and he drank again.