Already when the words “Come here often?” had been said to her for the first time, Erin had thought of Holtzmann as weird.
As they had started working together and had moved from colleagues to being friends, she got used to the weirdness, as much as someone with an affinity for order and routine could get used to weirdness; she figured that she’d never get used to the danger of dancing with blowtorches, or to the small to medium poofs Holtzmann regularly caused, but it was refreshing, too, after the stuffy, uptight atmosphere at Columbia.
It was refreshing, and somewhat exciting, because Erin quickly learned that “dancing with blowtorches” and poofs weren’t the only things which were weird about Holtzmann; and, ever the scientist, she quickly made it a sort of side-project to learn all the strange habits and odd things the engineer had and was doing.
It didn’t take long for her to realize that something was decidedly much more weird than she initially had thought.
There was the way, for example, Holtzmann seemed to have boundless energy; and it didn’t take long Erin to notice that said energy somehow increased even further once a month, the engineer so bouncy and excitable then that Erin was honestly surprised she wasn’t bouncing off the walls.
She also noticed fairly quickly that Holtzmann apparently had the best sense of smell she ever had witnessed in a human being, even if the younger woman tried to hide this fact from her friends; once Erin had noticed this strange skill though, she kept her eyes open for it, and noticed it more often than not.
How Holtzmann would sometimes grimace when someone took milk from the fridge, the milk each and every time turning out to be spoiled when the blonde had made a face like that.
How she was always the first to notice the smell of ionization in the air during busts, often quite a while before a ghost would actually appear.
How she would sneeze if their male clients wore too much cologne, or if there were strong scents around them, at their favourite bar or during busts.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Erin noticed more odd things, apart from the oddly good sense of smell the engineer possessed; while Holtzmann usually never said No to a night out for drinks or movie night at the HQ, Erin noticed how she’d decline once a month, and always on days when she’d been full of that odd extra energy.
There was the way Holtzmann’s hair always, always had a certain shagginess to it, even when she just had gotten out of the shower after a bust and had freshly styled her gravity-defying hairdo; there had been that time they had gotten surprised by rain when they had been out to get lunch and Holtzmann had shaken herself like a wet dog, and as Erin had started helping the blonde more and more in the lab, she had noticed the ease with which Holtzmann carried around heavy pieces of equipment and parts, bits and pieces which had made Erin struggle and pant when she had tried to move them.
And not long after she had started noticing all these little things, things which could have been shrugged off as eccentricities or quirks, Erin took note of other, bigger things, strange moments she couldn’t write off as “Holtzmann’s being quirky again” anymore.
The moment when Holtzmann’s glasses got knocked off during a bust, and Erin was sure that she had seen a flash of yellow in her eyes, just for a second, but definitely there.
The low growl she was certain she had heard come from Holtzmann during the same bust, when the ghost had thrown something at the physicist and she barely had managed to duck in time, the engineer clearly not happy to see her almost get hurt, but not even great grumpiness would have explained the threatening rumble Erin had heard from her, originating somewhere deep within her chest and breaking free through her slightly grit teeth.
She wondered if Abby and Patty had heard, and if they had noticed all these strange things as well; considering how long Abby and Holtzmann had been working together before the Ghostbusters had been formed, she figured that Abby certainly had noticed something , but perhaps had written it off as quirks, like Erin herself had, at first.
Since Abby was already teasing her though about how often she was looking at Holtzmann and about how much attention she was paying to Holtzmann, Erin didn’t approach her with these observations, not quite sure how Abby would react; she found herself wondering if what she was doing was creepy, if she was justifying it to herself by telling herself she was doing it for science.
And so, Erin kept quiet about her observations, and kept them to herself, not even asking Holtzmann directly about them… until one evening, when something so weird happened that she just couldn’t keep it to herself any longer.
They were both working late on that fateful day, Erin staying longer than usual to get some equations Holtzmann needed for her newest project done while the engineer was doing proton pack maintenance - “baby care”, as she called it, to Erin’s amusement - and even though Erin tried hard not to do so, she looked up from her work quite often, to watch Holtzmann work, fascinated by how nimble and quick her fingers moved, even after hours of work.
She was watching Holtzmann again when it happened, and this time, there was no way she could rationalize what she saw with any scientific explanation.
She saw Holtzmann’s hand slip, and heard the engineer yelp as one of the pack’s sharper parts cut into her palm; for a few seconds, blood was flowing, her eyes wide as she jumped up from her seat with a small cry of her own… only to widen even further when the cut closed again within seconds, gone so quickly and without a trace that it seemed as if it never had been there.
“Holtz…?” Erin brought out when Holtzmann stared at her hand, then looked up at her, with a deer-in-the-headlights look; she didn’t say anything though, not even when Erin hurried from her desk to her side and grasped her hand to take another look, a gesture which certainly would have prompted some flirty remark at any other time.
“Holtz, what just happened”, Erin demanded to know, still holding her hand, her gaze jumping back and forth from her miraculously unharmed palm to her face and back again, “and don’t tell me nothing because I saw it!”
“I heal fast”, Holtzmann replied, technically not a wrong answer, but still not a helpful one; Erin gaped at her in response, and felt oddly hurt when the engineer pulled her hand out of her grasp, turning back to the proton pack, wordlessly dismissing her in a way she never had done before.
“Holtz”, Erin started again, not willing to give up so fast and to just drop it; clearly, Holtzmann had other ideas though, barely glancing at her before she focused on the proton pack again, the frown which now creased her brow showing Erin that she wasn’t happy with her persistence.
“It’s nothing”, the engineer grumbled, “alright? Just drop it.”
“You cut yourself and that cut vanished within seconds”, Erin defended her interest in this, “and that is not the only slightly odd thing I noticed, Holtzmann. I’m not going to judge you or anything, I just want to know.”
“Drop it, alright”, Holtzmann snapped in response, sharper than she perhaps had intended; her tone was harsh enough to make Erin flinch, the physicist unable to keep the hurt from showing through her eyes and features when she gave a brief nod and, without another word, hurried back to her desk, not looking up from her work again until she heard Holtzmann leave a short while later.
In the next day, Erin tried to act as if nothing happened, and from what she could tell, so did Holtzmann; apparently though, neither of them was doing a very good job, since Abby cornered the physicist when Holtz and Patty had gone out to get lunch and demanded to know what was going on.
“Did something happen between Holtz and you?” she asked when Erin didn’t answer right away, “when you were working late last night?”
“Kind of”, Erin mumbled, “but I don’t want to talk about it, okay?”
Abby still looked concerned, but nodded, not pushing to find out what had happened; and as she made her way back to her own desk, Erin found herself wondering if perhaps, she shouldn’t have done the same the previous evening, unable to stop thinking about the way the wound had just closed up again, so quickly and without leaving a trace.
She wondered if Abby knew about this, but Holtzmann’s reaction had shown her that the engineer wasn’t happy with others knowing; and she didn’t want to risk making Holtzmann even angrier by giving her strange secret even to even more people.
As she pondered these things, Erin realized that telling Holtzmann about how she had not said anything to anyone might be a good way to mend the fences; and so, she impatiently waited for the day to go by, and the moment Abby and Patty had gone home, she made her way upstairs to the lab, where Holtzmann was busy at one of her workbenches, Erin only feeling worse when she saw that she was working on the proton shotgun she preferred to use during busts.
“Hey”, she said, not quite eloquent, but not sure what else to say; Holtzmann glanced at her and mumbled an equally short greeting, then looked at the proton shotgun again, her hands stilling though, just hovering over the equipment.
“I didn’t say anything”, Erin said, more to break the uncomfortable silence before it could fully form than to justify herself, even though she felt the need to do so, “to Abby and Patty, I mean. About… yesterday.”
Holtzmann let out a small sigh in response and put down her tools, then turned on her seat so she was facing Erin; she pushed her goggles up into her hair, and despite the tense atmosphere between them, Erin felt a by now oddly familiar jolt at how intensely blue her eyes were.
“I’m sorry”, the engineer said, one hand coming up to briefly touch her pendant, a clear sign that she was uncomfortable, “for snapping at you. I know you didn’t mean any harm, it’s just… it’s… complicated.”
“Holtz”, Erin gave back, feeling a bit better and more confident after the apology, even managing a smile as she walked closer to the blonde, “we trap ghosts for a living. I have no idea what is going on, but do you really think it could freak me out? After all the things we’ve seen ever since Rowan?”
“A good point”, Holtzmann had to admit, making Erin smile with a bit of pride, “but… you might change your mind once you know. It’s… kinda big.”
“You don’t have to tell me”, Erin reassured her, “if you don’t want to. But… Holtz, you’re one of my best friends, you mean a lot to me, and you should know that you can trust me with it, whatever it is. Honestly, if you told me now you’re an alien, I wouldn’t even be very shocked.”
To her relief, the little joke worked out just the way she had hoped, as Holtzmann let out a snort of laughter; then, she shook her head, relaxing visibly as she replied.
“I’m not an alien”, she let Erin know, sounding amused, “I might act like one sometimes, but I’m an earthly citizen, born and bred.”
“Okay then”, the physicist gave back, “no alien then, got it.”
Holtzmann gave her another smirk, and even though Erin was still all too curious, she fought the urge to ask, telling herself that she didn’t want to ruin the moment by pestering Holtzmann again.
“No alien”, Holtzmann said again, distracting her from those thoughts, suddenly finding it hard again to look her in the eye, “but… Damn it, why is this so hard?”
“You don’t have to tell me”, Erin told her again, not wanting to make her feel bad or pressured, “really, it’s okay. I shouldn’t have pushed like that yesterday, I’m sorry, but, well, you know… Scientist and all.”
“Yeah”, Holtzmann sighed, running one hand through her hair, “I’m not blaming you for being curious, especially not after the… incident yesterday. But… I’ve told people before, you know, not many, just a few and… reactions were never good. So… I trust you, I really do, and you mean a lot to me, too, but… I’m scared.”
She looked small and vulnerable as she said the last few words, and Erin’s heart flew out to her; not allowing herself to stop and think, she stepped closer and moved one hand to cup Holtzmann’s jaw, the engineer having a second to give her a look of confusion and surprise - before Erin leaned in and kissed her, acting purely on impulse, one of the rare times in her life she allowed herself to let this happen.
Holtzmann was surprised for about a second, then she kissed Erin back, wrapping both arms around her and pulling her close; the kiss deepend fairly quickly, and Erin found herself unable to hold back a soft moan as her lips parted.
The noise prompted Holtzmann to pull her even closer, until they were pressed against each other; and when they finally pulled apart again, both breathing noticeably heavier, Erin saw the flash of yellow in Holtzmann’s eyes again.
“You don’t have to be scared”, she mumbled, still gently cupping the younger woman’s face, “I promise, whatever it is, you can tell me, whenever you’re ready.”
“Perhaps I should just show you”, Holtzmann gave back after a moment, making Erin shrug, then nod; she had no idea what to expect, and so, took a step back when Holtzmann asked her to, even though this meant she had to leave the engineer’s embrace.
Holtzmann took in a deep breath, and Erin had a few more seconds to wonder what exactly she would be shown… and then, Holtzmann let out the growling sound Erin had heard from her before, the yellow not only flashed this time, but took over the blue of her eyes, the physicist’s eyes going wide when from one second to the next, hair grew and spread.
This explains the shaggy hair , she crazily thought to herself as she watched, said hair spreading from Holtzmann’s head down her cheeks and along her jawline to her throat, until she looked as if she had megalomaniac sideburns; and as if that and the yellow in her eyes wasn’t enough, Erin could see that her teeth were changing, as well, growing longer and sharper, until they looked more like a predator’s teeth than those of a regular human.
“Holy crap”, Erin brought out, fascinated; Holtzmann, despite her somewhat threatening new features, managed to look sheepish as she waited for her reaction, raising an eyebrow - which now was much bushier than before, too, Erin noticed - though when Erin merely appeared fascinated and not freaked out the slightest.
“This is… wow”, the physicist said, daring to take a step closer again, not even surprised when she looked down at the engineer’s hands as she did so and saw that they now were covered in hair too, the nails having changed from the carefully clipped and filed ones Holtzmann usually displayed to something looking more like an animal’s claws, “Holtz, this is amazing! You can do this at will, anytime?”
“Yes”, Holtzmann gave back, clearly not having expected this reaction, Erin noticing that a slight lisp had come with the longer and sharper teeth, “there’s… an even more drastic change when…”
“...when it’s a full moon”, Erin finished for her, unable to hold back a giggle at the way Holtzmann gaped at her in response.
“I’ve noticed a few things, you know”, she told the engineer, “as I said, scientist and all. And one of those things was that you are even more energetic than usual once a month, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that those days always were before a full moon night.”
“I’m impressed”, Holtzmann gave back, earning a bright smile, “and… quite pleasantly surprised at how easily you’re handling this. Not everyone would be so relaxed after learning they just made out with a werewolf.”
“Well, I’ve been wanting to make out with you for a while”, Erin admitted, blushing a bit, “which is one of the reasons why I never brought all the things I noticed up with Abby, because she’s already been teasing me enough about how often I stare at you.”
“Good to know”, Holtzmann said, grinning, for a moment forgetting about how much this showed of her wolf teeth; and clearly, Erin didn’t mind, since she simply smiled back, then reached up and gently ran her fingers down the younger woman’s cheek, her smile widening when Holtzmann swallowed noticeably.
“It’s so soft”, the physicist marvelled, “I thought it’d feel rougher.”
“Yay?” Holtzmann gave back, still a bit surprised by how easily Erin was handling all of this; she figured that the physicist had seen enough for now and pulled the wolf back, the extra hari vanishing as quickly as it had appeared, a familiar twinge flashing through her jaw when her teeth went back to normal.
“No one knows about this?” Erin wanted to know once the change back was finished; Holtzmann shook her head, then shrugged, correcting her first response as she answered Erin’s question.
“Well, Abby, Patty and Kevin don’t”, she let the physicist know, making Erin wonder if Abby hadn’t noticed any of the oddities she had picked up on or if she just had shrugged them off as Holtz being eccentric, figuring that the second option was probably the more likely one, “Dr Gorin does. She’s the one who, um, turned me.”
“What”, Erin squeaked, for the first time showing a reaction other than calm acceptance, Holtzmann a bit amused that it had been this little nugget of information which had startled the physicist, “Dr Gorin is a werewolf, too?”
“Yeah”, Holtzmann confirmed, smirking as Erin was still gaping at her, “she kinda saved my life when she did that, there was… an incident at the lab, a rather big poof, and if she hadn’t bitten and turned me, I would have bled out and died.”
“Oh wow”, Erin let out, grimacing at the mental images which flooded her mind at those words, “remind me to thank her the next time I see her. If she hadn’t helped you back then, we never would have met…”
Holtzmann grimaced too at the thought, then shrugged the unpleasant thoughts off and smiled at the physicist, feeling giddy when Erin immediately smiled back at her.
“I was already weird and energetic before that, you know”, she let the other woman know, giddiness only growing at finally being able to speak to someone other than Dr Gorin about this, the fact that this was someone was Erin only making it better, “being turned only… enhanced that. You should have seen me during the first full moon after that, I think I gave Dr Gorin some extra grey hairs for her fur.”
“Aw”, Erin let out, amused, “poor her?”
“Well, she knew what she’d be getting into”, Holtzmann smirked, earning a giggle from Erin, “ending up as my mentor for that, too. I’ll be forever grateful to her though, if she hadn’t turned me…”
Nodding, Erin embraced her again, smiling when Holtzmann hugged her back at once; then, the physicist leaned in for another kiss, unable to hold back a soft sigh at how good it was to feel Holtzmann’s lips on her own.
“Wait”, she mumbled once they had pulled apart again, “I just realized… so if you accidentally bite my lip or something, I’ll be a werewolf, too?”
“No”, Holtzmann gave back, to Erin’s relief, “there’s a bit more to turning someone than a simple bite, I just gave you the abridged version. No worries hot stuff, a little nip or two won’t do any harm.”
“Good to know”, Erin mumbled, then pulled her in for another kiss; and just like that, all the tension between them was forgotten as they held each other close, fully focused on each other and how good the kiss was making them both feel.
For the next two weeks, Erin and Holtzmann got used to the change in their relationship, from friendship to something more; neither Abby, nor Patty had been very surprised when the two had announced that they were dating now, Abby just congratulating them and telling them she was happy for them while Patty had exclaimed how she had been waiting for them to figure it out for weeks.
Erin kept Holtzmann’s secret, knowing it wasn’t her place to tell anyone; and while she reassured Holtzmann that certainly, neither Abby nor Patty would mind, she respected the engineer’s decision to keep it to herself for now, the younger woman not quite ready yet to tell the others.
So, Erin kept the fact that she was dating a werewolf to herself; and it didn’t take long until she learned one of the biggest plus points of doing so - Holtzmann had a lot of stamina, not just during busts and at the lab, but in the bedroom, too, Erin feeling more satisfied after one night with her than she had felt ten years of her pre-Ghostbusters life combined.
And as the full moon approached, Holtzmann’s energies only grew; it made Erin wonder if she would be actually able to handle being intimate with the engineer when she was on the height of the cycle, only to realize that she had no idea if this actually was possible, Holtzmann not having told her anything yet about how the more drastic change she had mentioned would actually work.
“So, Holtz”, she thus decided to bring it up, one night before the full moon, as they were at her apartment and snuggling on the couch after dinner had been eaten, “tomorrow’s a full moon.”
“Yeah”, Holtzmann gave back, “I usually go to a park not far from my home then, it’s mostly empty at night. Enough room and no prying eyes when I do my thing.”
“Can I come?” Erin wanted to know, earning a raised eyebrow from the engineer; she blushed a bit and shrugged, didn’t backpedal though, holding the younger woman’s gaze as she continued.
“It’s part of you, and you mean a lot to me, all of you”, she told the engineer, making her smile again, “so… I’d like to see this, too. If it’s alright with you. I won’t freak out, you know that…”
“I know”, Holtzmann reassured her, making her smile, too, “it’s just… the only person who’s ever seen that kind of change from me is Dr Gorin, she’s there each full moon, too. That’s a big step…”
“It doesn’t have to be this month”, Erin told her, not wanting to risk their newfound happiness by being pushy, “but I’d like to see it some day. If it’s okay with Dr Gorin, too, of course.”
“I’ll show you”, Holtzmann promised her, making her smile once more, “not this month, but one day, I’ll show you, I promise.”
This was enough for Erin, and she nodded before she pulled the younger woman in for a gentle kiss; there would be challenges, she figured, surprises and twists and turns she wasn’t expecting or aware of at the moment - but Holtzmann was Holtzmann, werewolf or not, and she knew that they would be able to handle it all, as long as they had each other and would stick together.