“…Your bra’s in my bag.”
Rosa wanted to punch a wall. Amy was nauseatingly, sincerely flummoxed, with horror starting to dawn across her expression. The exaggeration of her features, though, did nothing to loosen the grip she had on her shotgun, or the tension in her stance. She wasn’t firing now, but a second ago she’d planned on firing- a second from now, she might just pull that trigger. Rosa growled in frustration, and as if to prove her point, Amy took a quick step back and resteadied her gun.
“I’m not going to attack you,” Rosa said flatly. Her voice still rumbled, still not quite back to human. The sound didn’t exactly convince Amy, not really, but that might have been Jake’s fault- he was still snarling protectively only a few feet away. “Jake, lay off.” He didn’t stop, didn’t even look Rosa’s way. She turned her head quickly and growled back at him, until his snarling became a yelp and he stepped off. She brought her focus back to the girlfriend with the gun pointed at her. “He’s not going to do anything stupid, so you don’t either.”
“Stupid like, I don’t know,” Amy stammered, shrugging, “Dating a werewolf when you’re a werewolf hunter and not knowing that she’s a-”
“No. Stupider than that.” Like being a werewolf and not knowing that your girlfriend was a hunter. Rosa really wanted to punch that wall right now- how could she have missed it? She hadn’t been looking for it, that was a big part of it, she knew- she’d gotten comfortable, complacent. Thought that everything would be cool because Amy was hot and had that smile, and hadn’t tried to shove a gun in her face for the first month or two of their relationship. “Wait- you didn’t know? You’re a hunter, and you didn’t know?”
That seemed almost more absurd than Rosa’s self-chastising, now that she thought about it. Rosa could buy a hunter trying to get close to a wolf, tricking them into going to their den…but that’s not what this moment was. If that was Amy’s plan, she would have fired at Rosa and Jake already. Rosa would be, at best, helping Jake deal with a bullet, and at worse she’d be dead. The stand off, and Amy’s expression, was enough to say that Amy was as flabbergasted as Rosa was-
-and more importantly, didn’t know what she was going to do next.
“No, of course I didn’t know!” Amy hissed. “What, do you think I usually go around dating werewolves? Because I don’t- it’s not exactly good for my career…” She swallowed, shook her head, and readjusted her shotgun. “Shit, shit, shit…you’re the pack. The pack that’s been killing- You’re part of the pack that I’ve been tracking-”
“What are you talking about?” Rosa stood up. Amy blinked at the movement, and it took Rosa a moment to look down and realize why. “Get over it,” she said, already moving to the side. Amy snapped her shotgun back, training it on Rosa. Jake started to move, but glanced back at Rosa hesitantly, one paw raised. “I’m grabbing my clothes so you don’t keep staring and losing focus. How long do we have until whoever else you were with comes in.” Amy opened her mouth but sound didn’t immediately come from it. “My pack isn’t killing anyone. We don’t do that.” They were way more likely to throttle each other, to be honest. “I wouldn’t let that happen. That’s stupid.”
“Stupid?” Amy let out a laugh of disbelief as Rosa grabbed her underwear from where she’d abandoned it. “No, it’s murder and-” She narrowed her eyes. “Why would I tell you anything?”
“Because I need to know how long I have before some idiot comes in here shooting at my head,” Rosa snapped, stepping into her panties. A quick glance around , and she found her t-shirt too.
Amy was silent for a moment, her hand going to her ear. Rosa thought about how stupid the move was- how she could have easily taken the gun at that point. “Status?” A pause, and then Amy responded to whoever was on the other end. She looked pale. “Stay where you are. I don’t want to make too much noise.” She locked eyes with Rosa, her expression both panicked and pleading. Rosa watched her shaky breaths as Amy lowered her hand. This time, she lowered the gun. “They aren’t…they aren’t coming in.”
“But?” There was something. There always was.
Amy swallowed and shook her head no. “We’ve been following your pack for months- nearly a year. More than a year, really, when it was just rumors. You…oh my god, you-”
“Amy, I’m taking a step closer to you, okay?” Amy nodded dumbly as Rosa finished pulling on her shirt and walked closer. Again, she thought about how easy it would be to just get rid of that gun, but she wasn’t risking Amy telling the rest of her hunters to come in- not with Jake on edge, and wherever the fuck Boyle was, and Gina not being back yet. She raised her hands and put them on Amy’s shoulders. “These are my wolves, Amy. My pack. We don’t kill. I know who you thought we were, but we’re not that pack.”
“There’s another pack?” Amy shook her head. “That’s impossible. Ridiculous-”
Rosa glared. “Are you calling me a liar?” The look that Amy through back made it clear she wasn’t sure how she wanted to answer that. Rosa sighed, shaking her head. “Longer we talk, the more likely my pack ends up dead. Are we fighting, or are we running?” Rosa had to cut through the awkward tension, because she couldn’t deal with wasting time- or the look on Amy’s face. The look on Amy’s face was bound to either piss her off or break her heart, and tonight wasn’t the night she wanted to figure it out.
The directness seemed to help, Amy, at least. “Where are you going?”
“I’m not telling you.”
“Shit…” Amy thought for a moment, before nodding to herself. “Clear out. I’ll, um…fire a shot or two into the wall, draw their attention when you’re gone.” It was more of a solid plan than Rosa would have expected. “Go, before I regret risking my entire career for you.”
Rosa tilted her chin up, narrowing her eyes as she took Amy in. They hadn’t been honest about what Amy did for a living, but Rosa was well aware of what Amy’s career meant to her. She hadn’t known the implications of it, perhaps, didn’t know what it all entailed.
That, plus the simple plan, made something swell in Rosa’s chest. After a second’s evaluation, she was sure that it was beyond pride- it was straight up respect. “I owe you one.” Amy’s jaw clenched, and Rosa wondered what it was she wasn’t saying. “Jake,” Rosa barked without turning, “Get Charles, make sure you have your phone, and go through…”
“…the way I came in,” Amy filled in.
“You heard her,” Rosa finished. “You’ve got thirty seconds. Now.” Jake moved so quickly it that the order seemed like overkill. Rosa threw Amy a look. “Your friend wasn’t bit. He’ll be fine.”
“I know.” Again, there were a dozen things that Amy wasn’t saying, but she wasn’t holding the gun up in Rosa’s face. “I still…uh…”
“I see you again without a gun,” Rosa interjected. “Maybe I let you return it to me.”
Five minutes later, far enough from the warehouse where she could breathe, Rosa heard a shotgun blast. “It’s going to be a pain in the ass to find somewhere else to stay,” Rosa muttered, trying her best not to think about everything else that was going to come after.
Trying not to think of the fact that Gina hadn’t replied to Rosa’s message yet.
Amy was facing a knocked out and restrained Gina in the back of the van. Her eyebrows were raised so much she wouldn’t have been surprised if they hit the roof. “You captured one of them? Oooh…that’s…” She nodded as her throat went dry. “Good? Good. That’s good.”
Gina wasn’t moving, but she was breathing, and that was something. The pit in Amy’s stomach was becoming a chasm, and for the first time in her adult life, the fact that her first real hunt was turning into a disaster was the least important thing in her world. There was so much that was so much worse than her not having a werewolf to present to Holt.
So much worse.
“Taking down the pack is far more important than any individual wolf,” Holt explained from the front seat. “Terry suggested that it might be more…efficient if we captured one of their rank. I’m inclined to agree.” Scully was awake now but constantly drifting, leaning on Amy’s side. She grimaced, pushing him up with a quick jerk of her shoulder. “I’m sure you can see the advantage, considering that the rest of the pack escaped, yes?”
Of course Amy could. If she wasn’t panicking at the thought of Rosa’s reaction, she might have come to the same conclusion herself. “We can question her, and she’ll be an effective lure if we need to spring a, a trap.” Her voice was shakier than she would have liked, and her hands were sweaty.
She bagged her shotgun, because she didn’t trust herself not to drop it with the way her hands were shaking. It was insane- she was a crackshot, far better than any of her brothers, and certainly better than most hunters she’d encountered in her life. She was good with guns, good with weapons- but she suddenly needed her weapons as far from her as humanly possible.
Hitchcock started leaning again. This was what hell felt like.
“Wolves aren’t great for questioning, unless you’re sure they’re the weak link of the pack,” Jeffords was explaining from the driver’s seat. “Wolf packs by necessity are way too loyal for that. What they are good for is luring the rest of the pack back in.” Amy knew all of this already, she remembered clearly what she’d been taught when she was younger. Loyalty demanded that they protect their pack, but it also meant that werewolves always went back to grab their pack members.
The moment that Rosa found out where Gina was, it was going to be bad. Worse. The worst. For this ride, Amy was going to have to focus on her breathing, on not letting herself hyperventilate- a task easier said than done. Calm, even breaths and unshaking hands.
She didn’t mean to push Hitchcock off of her so roughly that he startled, waking up with a series of snorts and half snores. He blinked, turning to look at her and apologize- but something in her expression stopped him. She wondered if she looked traumatized or furious. Or maybe some mortifying combination of both. Amy turned her head away, cursing herself under her breath.
“Santiago?” Holt questioned.
Amy wasn’t sure what he’d seen either, but when she glanced up, she was positive that he was looking at her with concern, in spite of the fact that there wasn’t any discernible movement in his face. “Yes sir?”
She nodded, forcing a sickly smile. She could feel how malformed the expression was as the the van shook over the road. Her stomach lurched. “Oh yeah,” she nodded. “I’m fine, I’m just…” Just? Just what? In a pile of shit that she absolutely could not share because she’d just let a werewolf and three-quarters of her pack run off? Just allowing wolves to run wild after knocking Hitchcock out because…because she couldn’t imagine firing a shot at Rosa? Because her heart broke at the mere thought of it?
It was so much worse than Amy thought it would be. She was so much deeper than she’d had any intention of getting. She swallowed a lump in her throat.
“You did well, Santiago,” Holt said after a moment. His compliment made it all so much more painful. “Most hunters lose their cool during their first real encounter with a pack.”
Her sickened smile stretched further across her face because she couldn’t run from the conversation.