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What Hides in the Shadows

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They’re running down an arms dealer in Jersey when Cooper’s world gets tossed on its head.

He’s doing it as a favor to Victoria, and for less honourable reasons, but who can say no to watching Frank Moses in action? And it starts out simple enough, grab the dealer, get his supplier and then take him out. Then he loses track of Marvin and Victoria in the maze of hallways beneath the hotel they’ve found Kowalski in. Not long after he loses track of Frank too.

He’s never going to find his way out at this rate, he’s got a great head for directions but this place has him so turned around it wouldn’t surprise him if the others managed to complete the job without him. He guarantees Frank would find it funny to leave him down here, chasing his own tail for a few hours.

His luck comes through though. Shortly after he’s resigned himself to this theory he spots their target.

Unfortunately Kowalski spots Cooper too.

He pulls his gun, chasing the man through the maze of halls, deeper and deeper until he’s certain he’s fallen down a rabbit hole.

They round a final corner and there’s nowhere to go. Kowalski lost his gun awhile back and Cooper grins, bares his teeth in smug satisfaction.

“Hands behind your head.” He orders, keeping his gun level. He’s not a rookie, he knows exactly where to shoot to get him to do what he wants without killing him.

“Fuck you.” He spits, gaze bouncing around the hall. There’s no escaping though, Cooper has him cornered and he knows it.

And then his eyes flash.

Cooper blinks, momentarily thrown off balance.

“Now.” he tries again, keeps the steel in his voice and puts it down to a trick of the light.

Kowalski grins and there’s something very wrong about it, it's too wide, too sharp, there’s too many teeth .

Cooper shoots.

The bullet hits Kowalski in the shoulder but he barely flinches. The blood that stains his white dress shirt isn’t red but black. He stalks forwards, like all of a sudden Cooper is the prey and as he comes closer he can see the man’s eyes have changed from muddy brown to a sick, mucus green.

He fires again. The other shoulder, the man’s knees.

They barely slow his stride.

And then his smile grows, bigger and bigger, his mouth opening, wider and wider, jaw unhinging and Cooper wavers.

Kowalski lunges.

Something huge and solid slams into Cooper and they go tumbling. He skids along the tiled floor, breath knocked out of him. Something heavy covers him and a moment later there’s a shriek , something so inhuman it makes nausea pool in his gut, makes his skin crawl and ears pop.

He blinks, feels weak, hands empty without his gun, without a means to defend himself.

The weight on him lifts itself enough that he can draw in a deep breath, fill his lungs and try to steady himself.

And then he chokes because there’s a fucking wolf laying on him.

He tilts his head and Kowalski or whatever the fuck it was is on the floor, ripped to shreds, that black blood leaking onto the tiles. A second wolf, smaller, white coat, is standing over Kowalski, paws and jaws covered in black.

Cooper stays perfectly still, terrified, confused, and that's when Marvin comes skidding around the corner gun in hand.

“Oh,” he says, taking in the scene, remarkably calm. “I missed all of the fun.”

Cooper blinks and realizes he hasn’t been breathing for fear that it will set off the wolf above him.

“Marvin,” he hisses, flinching when the wolf above him noses at his cheek suddenly.

Marvin rolls his eyes and nudges Kowalski’s remains with his shoe.

“Frank,” he says, like that explains anything . “Get off of him. He’s going to have a heart attack.”

The wolf whines and almost reluctantly climbs off of Cooper. He doesn’t go far, sits back on his haunches and watches Cooper looking... pleased .

Cooper does not want to say he knows that expression.

Unfortunately, he’s pretty sure he does.

“You’re fucking with me.” He accuses.

Marvin’s stepped away from the mangled body, but only to pull out his phone and text. That in itself is surreal enough for Cooper.

“He probably is.”

“I meant you.”

“Frank, just change back already. You know Victoria won’t.”

Cooper chokes a little as his gaze bounces to the smaller wolf now cleaning itself with a disgusted air about it.

He clenches his eyes shut and decides that he has a concussion, or was drugged, or even better-- is still in bed asleep.

But there’s the sickening sound of bones breaking and he forces his eyes open as the wolf before him whines and whimpers and finally is no longer a wolf .

“Shit,” a very naked Frank Moses groans, standing and shaking out his arms. Cooper tries, and fails, to keep his eyes on Frank’s chest and higher.

Shit.

“He’s going to pass out.” Marvin remarks and Cooper thinks, who? Frank?

“He’s fine.” Frank replies but there’s concern in his voice and a moment later his face appears in Cooper’s line of vision. When had he looked away? There are strange spots floating around Frank’s face too. He feels strangely numb, detached to the situation. “Actually, you don’t look too good kid.”

Cooper blinks, slowly.

“What the fuck .” Sums it up nicely.

Then he passes out.