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To Keep My Wolves From Your Door

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It’s Bobbi’s first day, and she’s nervous.

She doesn’t need to be, not really. This isn’t so much a job as it is cover, although she’s not sure she’s enough of a spy to be able to use that kind of language. Either way, it’s a bit of a setup. The job came through a friend of a friend who knows Gonzales, the interview mostly a formality. It's a job she's qualified to do (at least according to her resume, which is mostly fake), and it gets her into the right place to be useful.

She goes to HR, where she gets her photo taken and tries to keep her nervous energy to a minimum. She gets a badge, looks down at the grainy photo of herself with the forced smile. The company logo is right underneath, a wolf silhouette and trees in a circle, the company acronym below that: Snoqualmie Habitat Innovative Endangered Lupine Division - better known as SHIELD. At the bottom is her name: Barbara Morse, Communications.

She goes from HR to the head office, where she’s due to meet Director Coulson. She knows him a little, a familiar face in the back of her interview and a profile from the company’s website. It’s still nerve-wracking to properly meet him, even if she does stand a head taller than he does. Bobbi gets like this on first days, more so when it’s not a real job but a pack job, with an objective that’s bigger than her. She needs to make a good impression.

She gets ‘oriented’ - nineteen pages of forms saying she won’t steal data or hunt illegally or generally embarrass the company. (Of course, she plans to do all three, but the whole point is that they don’t need to know that.) She signs without so much as a dilated pupil, calm as anything.

From Director Coulson’s office she goes back to HR, where she sits in a windowless office with the head of the department - this guy named Billy who uses the word dude like a frat boy circa 1999, and keeps calling her Ms. Morse. She lets herself slouch down a little, hunkers in to wait for the communications manager, some woman called Daisy.

 

+

 

Bobbi is thirty-two, and in a month she'll be starting at SHIELD. She’s fresh from a fight with Lance - the same bullshit, it’s always the same bullshit with him - when Hartley comes to see her.

Bobbi’s sitting on the grass in the common area of the pack co-op, back against a tree, so it’s not like she’s hard to find. Her house is right around the corner, and she could - she should - go inside, cool off, go to bed. But she’s still twitchy, furious with Hunter in a way that always gets right under her skin, until she’s not sure if she wants to fight or fuck or shift or all of the above.

“Hey,” Hartley says, slouching down next to her. “What’s up?”

Bobbi shrugs. “Oh, you know.”

“Yeah, I heard.” Off Bobbi’s look, she clarifies. “I think we all heard.”

Bobbi sighs. Joining the pack had seemed like such a good idea when she was twenty-four and wide-eyed, still learning about how to be a wolf. But it’s hard to have a fight in privacy when everyone you know lives within a mile radius, and harder still when everyone has enhanced hearing and a wolf inside that can feel her own.

“Sorry,” she says. She doesn’t really mean it - Hunter is being an ass and she’d yell at him all over again in a heartbeat, but it seems like the thing to say.

“It happens,” Harley says. She nudges Bobbi’s side with her elbow, and winks. “For the record, I’m with you on this one.”

Bobbi looks down at her hands, smiles. Some of the angry tightness in her chest uncurls a little. “Thanks.”

Hartley chuckles, and promptly changes the subject. Bobbi’s not surprised - she doesn’t do comforting without an agenda, not usually. “Just got word from Gonzales - they lost another one upstate.”

“Another one?”

“Yep. Third wolf killed this month, same way as the last ones.”

“Anyone we know?”

Hartley shakes her head. It doesn’t help, that it was a stranger. Bobbi runs a hand through her hair, feeling angry, impotent.

“I hate this, Is.”

Hartley raises an eyebrow and waits for her to clarify.

This,” she says, gesturing ineffectually to the trees around her. “All this pack bullshit, and Lance, and now someone’s out there killing us like we’re a bunch of animals.”

“Well, we are a bunch of animals,” Hartley says, gives her a dramatic stage wink.

“You know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean," Hartley agrees, gently. She wraps her arm around Bobbi, resting her hand between Bobbi's shoulder blades and scratching a little, comforting. The touch helps. “Look, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you.”

“Oh?” Bobbi asks.

“Gonzales has a theory. He thinks this is all coming from data out of SHIELD.”

Bobbi's heard the name before - it's some organization up in Seattle, all conservation and environmental protection research, but as far as she knows they've always been harmless. “SHIELD?" she asks. "Like, the wolf conservation research hippies, SHIELD?”

“That’s the one.”

“Huh,” Bobbi says. She knows what Hartley’s going to ask next, and she’s sort of already considering it.

Hartley says it anyway. “He wants someone to go in, get to know the place, so we can figure out who’s targeting us.”

“Makes sense.”

“Might be a chance to get away for a bit,” Hartley says. She's looking at Bobbi sideways, and to an outside observer she'd seem pretty relaxed. But Bobbi knows her, knows that she's watching Bobbi closely for a reaction, with her eyes and all of her other senses, wanting to be sure she's up for this.

Bobbi sighs, looks across the lawn to the cabin she used to share with Lance. The lights are on, and she knows he’s inside - probably sitting with Idaho, half-drunk and bitching about how awful she is. She thinks about not having to see his stupid face for a while, not having to deal with all the fallout that seems to happen when packmates break up. Or at least to have a bit less of it for a few months. “Yeah,” she says. “Yeah, I’m in.”

 

+

 

Somehow, with a name like Daisy, Bobbi had expected a certain type of person. Someone sort of spacey, probably vegan, into not wearing makeup and organic clothing and drum circles. Instead, what she finds is a woman about her age, bright-eyed and dressed sharply in a suit and heels. (Of course, it could be an organic suit; it’s not like Bobbi can tell.) Daisy introduces herself, and extends a warm smile and a hand for Bobbi to shake.

“Barbara," she says, "But I'd prefer if you call me Bobbi."

“Right,” Daisy says, with an easy smile that meets her eyes. “Bobbi, cool.”

Daisy turns out to be surprisingly efficient and easy to get along with, and both of those discoveries are a bit of a relief. The communications team at SHIELD is just Daisy and herself, which means they'll probably end up spending a lot of time together, and it's nice to know that won’t be difficult. She orients Bobbi to the job - there are more forms, an information package on the communications department, briefings on all the ongoing projects - in all of fifteen minutes.

Daisy's also deeply curious, and that’s fine, but Bobbi finds herself scrambling a little to answer questions she didn’t think she’d get asked until her second or third day.

“So, what brings you to Seattle?" Daisy asks, after they've gone through the most pressing forms and chatted for a little while about work. "Coulson said you were new in town.”

Bobbi shrugs. “Oh, you know. Bad breakup. Needed a fresh start.”

It’s at least sixty percent truth, and Daisy nods along, accepting it at face value. “Yeah, I get that.”

There's a bit of a faraway look to Daisy's expression, like there might be a story there. She's silent for a few moments, before shaking her head and looking at Bobbi properly. "So," she says. "We could sit here and do work for a little bit, or I could give you a tour and introduce you to the rest of the SHIELD team. Thoughts?”

Daisy smiles, like her plans for the morning involve ditching work and maybe taking a long lunch. It's not a terrible start to the day, and a tour would be helpful for more than one reason. “Yeah, a tour sounds great.”

Daisy's grin widens, pleased to see that Bobbi’s on her wavelength. “Excellent.”

 

SHIELD takes up two floors of an office tower downtown - their main headquarters, Bobbi learns, augmented by several small field stations in Teanaway and a couple of the other national forests. Daisy takes her through their floor, which is mostly cubicles, introducing her to a half-dozen faces and names who work mostly in fundraising and education.

The floor below is the science division, and Daisy takes her down there next. There's an elevator, then a door that Bobbi and Daisy's badges will open. After that, they pass through another set of double doors and into the lab space, which is pretty much exactly what Bobbi expected. She hasn't done as much science as she'd like, but she remembers her high school chem lab pretty vividly, and the basics of the lab at SHIELD aren't so different.

The contrast lies in the sheer volume of clutter in the lab Bobbi and Daisy are standing in. There are files and half-finished prototypes and diagrams everywhere, every possible free space occupied by storage. The space isn't that big, she's pretty sure - based on the size of the floor above - but from the entrance, Bobbi can't see anyone. As they take a few steps further into the lab, Bobbi's aware of the sounds of an argument, a male and female voice going back and forth.

Daisy makes a face that Bobbi can’t quite interpret - apology, maybe - and leads her further into the lab.

“Jemma, all I’m saying is that perhaps if you’d run the calibrations by me first, we wouldn’t be -“

“I’m trying to tell you that I didn’t need to, it’s not a problem with -“

“Well, it’s not calibrated correctly, that’s for sure.”

Bobbi and Daisy round a corner, past several racks of equipment, and finally reach the source of the voices. The woman is in the middle of rolling her eyes, and saying, “Ugh, Fitz.”

Her voice has a long-suffering, exasperated note that Bobbi can relate to. Daisy cuts in, announcing them both before the man - Fitz, presumably - has a chance to respond.

“Hey, guys. I’m here with a new staff member. It’s her first day, and I thought I’d introduce her to our excellent science division.” She puts an emphasis on excellent that implies best behavior, and the two scientists suddenly settle, looking mostly contrite at being caught arguing. “This is Bobbi Morse, she’s joining our communications team. Bobbi, this is Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, they’re the heads of our science division.”

Bobbi steps forward, giving them both a smile and offering a hand. Fitz shakes her hand gruffly, clearly still fuming.

The other scientist - Jemma - looks genuinely pleased to meet Bobbi, and not the least bit bothered by the interruption. She's cute, in a nerdy sort of way that Bobbi can appreciate. When Bobbi offers her hand, Jemma accepts it, making eye contact and stepping into it, a little.

“Welcome,” she says. She looks Bobbi up and down - a long look, as she’s quite short - and her ears go pink. It’s obvious, but in a sweet way, and Bobbi can't help but find it a little charming.

“Thanks,” Bobbi says. She rubs her thumb across the back of Jemma’s hand as she releases it, and doesn’t miss the way that blush deepens just a little. “I’m looking forward to working with you.”

It’s a statement that could be addressed to the whole team, but Jemma’s the one who responds, voice sweet and just a little flustered. “Likewise,” she says.

There's a moment there, one where Bobbi almost wants to say something more, talk to Jemma further. She's not sure why, but something about Jemma is just interesting.

Before she can say anything more, Daisy's hand is on her elbow and she's being steered deeper into the lab, to meet more people and learn more names. But Bobbi's almost sure she catches Jemma watching her, wide-eyed, as she leaves.

 

+

 

Agreeing to go out on an assignment means meeting with Gonzales directly. He doesn’t tell Bobbi much that Hartley hasn’t already told her - infiltrate SHIELD, feed back intel on their data collection systems and sort out whether or not they're connected to the dead werewolves turning up over the past few months. From the way he talks, it sounds like he’s not certain that SHIELD is part of a deliberate attack, and Bobbi can’t tell if she finds that reassuring or even more of a concern.

She gets her assignment - her fake resume, the details of her job interview, the backstory to a new identity - and shakes Gonzales’ hand on her way out.

The thing is, meeting with Gonzales is meeting with him, and it’s pretty impossible to meet with the head of the pack without everyone knowing about it.

When she leaves, Lance is outside, waiting.

He catches up to her on the lawn, halfway between his place and hers (the one that used to be theirs, not that she’s thinking about it), stepping right into her path. He’s got his arms crossed against his chest, puffed up as tall as he can make himself. “Anything you want to tell me?”

Bobbi sighs. She tries to step around him, but he steps out to meet her, stubborn. “Not particularly, no,” she says.

“You sure? No little tidbit about how you’re about to go off on some bloody suicide mission for Gonzales?” he asks. His eyes are practically bulging, and he’s got that tone again, that outrage like this is something she needed to ask permission for and god she just wants him to leave her alone for ten minutes.

“It’s not a suicide mission, Hunter, relax.”

He rolls his eyes, one hand moving to his hip and the other splaying out wide, like she’s the ridiculous one, here. “Relax? That's all you've got to say - are you bloody serious?”

He reaches out and touches her, fingers wrapped around her upper arm like they have a right to be there anymore. It takes all of her self-control not to deck him. “Hunter,” she says, and maybe there’s more danger in her eyes than she thinks, because he releases her almost reflexively.

She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath. She can feel her wolf, too close to the surface (always too close, when she’s around Hunter) and she has to bite back a growl. “I’m not going to die,” she says, voice as even as she can manage. “I’m just going to do recon. And it’s none of your business because you’re not my husband, and you don’t get to have a say in what I do, anymore.”

Hunter pauses, looking deflated. His mouth opens and closes a couple of times, searching for something to say. For a minute, Bobbi feels almost guilty. “Right, then.”

But it’s not - she doesn’t want to hurt him, is the thing. Not really. It’s not his fault that she couldn’t make things work the way he wanted, and she knows that he’s being this dramatic because he’s still hurting, in his own way. When she speaks again, it’s with as much gentleness as she can manage. “Look, I just - I’m an adult. I know what I’m doing.”

It’s awful, this thing between them. She doesn’t know if it’ll ever stop being awful.

Hunter gives her a look, the longing in it almost palpable. His eyes flicker wolf-yellow, just for a moment. She thinks about giving him a goodbye kiss, but the last one of those turned into an poorly thought-out weekend in bed and she’s trying not to hurt him any more than she already has. “Promise me you’ll be careful?” he says, and there’s so much heart in his eyes that she can hardly stand it.

“I will,” she says. She doesn’t kiss him, but she reaches up and cups his cheek. The feel of stubble against her fingertips is familiar and not, all at once.

Lance closes his eyes against her touch, and leans into her palm just a little before they break apart.

When they separate, she shoves her hand into her back pocket and does her best not to think about him anymore. She’s got work to do, and things to pack, and places to go.

A break might be exactly what she needs.

 

+

 

Her first project with SHIELD is a press release. Daisy assigns it to her with an extensive list of very clear instructions and an apology: “I planned this out before I met you, and I wasn’t sure how good you’d be. The bullet points might be a little excessive.”

They are, but they’re also helpful in keeping Bobbi focused (plus, a solid half of the resume that got her through the door was made up. Extra guidance is never a bad thing.) Bullet point six is: go to the lab and meet with the staff - get them to explain the science of what they’re developing because we need a straight answer before we talk with the media. (Jemma is best for this.)

So she goes to the lab, and asks to meet with Jemma.

 

She knows that she recognizes the name, but it’s not until Jemma is actually in front of her that she fully connects the Jemma on paper to the woman she met in the lab on her first day to the person standing in front of her right now. She’s shorter than Bobbi remembered, and - there’s not really any better way to say it - cute. Cute in a grown-up way, but there’s something about the way she comes to meet Bobbi, hair askew and safety goggles pushed up onto her forehead and just a bit breathless, that makes Bobbi’s heart do a little flip. “Bobbi,” she says, smiling.

Bobbi can’t help but notice the way that Jemma’s whole expression lights up when she smiles, and oh. Oh. This is going to be an issue. “Hi,” Bobbi says. “I was hoping I could grab you for a few minutes? Daisy has me working on this press release, she told me to -"

“Oh! Right. Of course,” Jemma says. Her hand flies up to her hair, presumably to tuck it behind her ears, but instead it finds safety goggles. She rushes to take them off too quickly, fumbling a little and patting at her hair with her free hand. “If you’ll - we should go to one of the meeting rooms, that’s probably a quieter spot.”

Before Bobbi can agree or disagree, Jemma’s walking forward, leaving Bobbi to follow in bemused silence. They make their way through several rows of lab equipment and benches to a small set of rooms near the back, tucked away like they might have started life as offices. Inside, Bobbi can see that each room is unoccupied, and bare save for a computer terminal, desk, and set of chairs. Jemma gestures Bobbi into the nearest room.

Bobbi sits down in the nearest chair. As she does, Jemma disappears, with a, “Just one moment, I’ll be right in,” over her shoulder.

Jemma returns - true to her word - a few moments later, carrying a few sheets of blank paper and a pen. She moves her chair over until they’re seated side-by-side, instead of across the table from each other. She leans forward, and as she does, Bobbi breathes in, catching her scent.

She’s not trying to, or anything. But Jemma’s sitting so near, and - well, she smells really good, is the thing. It’s complicated - layers of cosmetics and hair products, and underneath all that the smell of her skin, salt-warm and inviting - but Bobbi catches herself breathing deeply, teasing out all the layers of it, on instinct.

“Alright,” Jemma says. It breaks Bobbi’s concentration, and that’s probably not the worst thing.

“Right.”

“So the product - Romulus - is an algorithm, sort of. SHIELD has been monitoring local wolf populations for the past few decades, but up until recently, a lot of that monitoring involved physically going out and putting tracking devices on individual animals to collect data.”

Bobbi nods. This, she knows. (She also knows a funny story about the time Mack came home from a full moon run fitted with a GPS collar, but Jemma doesn’t need to know that.)

“Well, what we’ve developed is a computer system that uses remote data to allow for monitoring of local packs and individual animals using existing satellite infrastructure, without tags.”

“No tags at all?”

Jemma shakes her head, clearly quite proud of her work.

“And you can keep track of individual animals - how do you know they’re wolves, instead of coyotes or bears or whatever else?”

Jemma’s gaze turns up, just for a moment, clearly searching for the right words. “Well - mathematics, is the short answer. Fitz developed that part. I can have him go over it with you, but honestly, he’ll spend half an hour talking your ear off about computational biology and I’m not sure it’ll make things much clearer.”

Bobbi nods. “Right. Math. Simple. I can work with that.”

Jemma smiles kindly in reply.

Bobbi takes a moment, trying to focus. She’s trying not to think about what this means, about the fact that SHIELD could be watching her whole pack right now, dozens of little wolf-readings on a monitor flicking in and out of existence with every shift. She blinks, willing herself back to the present. “What did you say this thing was called, again?”

“Romulus.”

Bobbi gets the reference immediately - the Roman legend, a warrior raised by wolves - and smiles. “Raised by wolves,” Bobbi says. “I like it.”

Jemma’s cheeks flush, and she reaches up to tuck her hair behind her ear. “Exactly,” she says.

This close, Bobbi can hear Jemma’s heartbeat, and it’s hard for her not to notice the thumpthumpthump of her pulse suddenly grow faster. “Um, it’s also -“ Jemma starts. Her voice comes out high-pitched, flustered, and she catches herself for a moment. “It’s also scalable to other ecosystems beyond the Pacific Northwest, which has really interesting implications for conservation on a national level, and that’s one of the other reasons Romulus is so exciting.”

Bobbi forces herself to nod and starts to make notes. She needs to discuss this all with Mack (and several beers), and she needs to think about what Daisy will need for her press release. But most importantly, she needs to think about staying professional, because every time Jemma leans in to speak to her, or draw a diagram, all of that fades into the background. It's a distraction, one she should be able to ignore.

But her wolf is doing that thing, that oh, hello that happens when she’s around someone she’s attracted to. It’s not - she’s not shifting, she’s not a teenager, but her senses sharpen just a little more, and her wolf reminds her of just how long it’s been since she was attracted to anyone new. (Longer than she’d like, and then some.) It makes all that desire, all the things she’s noticing about Jemma, suddenly appear in high-definition.

She still smells good, and -

Bobbi takes a deep breath, trying to focus herself. Instead, she ends up inhaling Jemma’s scent even deeper, and by the time she realizes what she’s doing she’s already spent a good ten seconds staring at Jemma’s mouth.

(It’s not a bad mouth, is the thing, and the way she twists her lips when she starts talking about conservation applications of her research is gorgeous, and -)

“Anyway, I think that’s everything. Unless you have any more questions?”

Bobbi blinks, forcibly shaking her head to clear it. “No,” she says. “No, I, um. I think that’ll be all.”

She glances down, pretending to straighten the sheets on her clipboard. “Good then,” Jemma says. She collects the sheets she’s been diagramming on, and gestures toward Bobbi’s notes. “If you think they’ll be helpful.”

They will be - probably, maybe - and Bobbi needs to get her thoughts out of her pants and back into work, wolf attraction or no. “Thank you, yeah,” she says. “That helps a lot.”

“I can, um. I don’t mind walking you out. The lab area can be a little labyrinthine, and I know you’re just starting, so -“

“Yeah, that’d be great,” Bobbi says, and she swears she can see a blush rise on Jemma’s cheeks.

“Good then,” Jemma says. Her hand rises to her hair again, tucking it behind her ear. Bobbi wonders if it’s a bit of a nervous habit.

They make it through the lab corridors, Jemma leading Bobbi in silence until they’re back at the main entrance. “Do you think you’ll be able to find you way from here?”

“Yeah, I should be fine.”

“Oh,” Jemma says, sighing like she’s been holding her breath, a little. “Good.”

Bobbi’s not sure what to say to cap things off. Her wolf is giving her lots of suggestions, but none of them are helpful or work-appropriate, and she's having trouble ignoring them enough to figure out what a normal person would do. “Thank you for taking the time to meet me,” she manages, and extends her hand.

Jemma takes it, shaking once and lingering, just a little bit. Her skin is soft and warm and Bobbi can smell salt and jasmine and it’s a conscious effort for Bobbi to relax her fingers and break the handshake.

“You’re welcome,” Jemma says, voice soft. She’s blushing again, bright pink.

As Bobbi walks away she can hear Jemma’s heartbeat rabbit-quick in her ears, thumpthumpthump.

 

+

 

Bobbi spends the rest of the workday focusing very hard on finishing her press briefing, and trying to ignore the way those handwritten sheets smell vaguely like Jemma. She does her best not to think about Jemma’s smallness, the way that she’d fit perfectly against Bobbi, and how nice it would be to rest her chin on top of Jemma’s shoulder.

(She absolutely doesn’t think about how much she likes seeing Jemma flustered.)

She goes home, she makes dinner, she has a beer.

That doesn’t help, either.

She’s just - she’s twitchy with it, her wolf saying hello and her body’s not used to this. She’s used to dating wolves, where everything is so much simpler: my wolf likes you, your wolf likes me, let’s do something with that. (Which, of course, has its own drawbacks.) She hasn’t had to deal with all the stuff that comes with being attracted to someone who can’t feel her wolf, who can’t sense that yesyesyes pulling her closer and understand.

It’s also been ages since she’s felt like this and hasn't been able to act on it, and she feels it everywhere - under her skin, between her legs, underneath her ribs - like an itch.

She can't work off this energy the way she'd like - not with Jemma, and certainly not with Hunter - so she goes for a run.

There’s a spot near her apartment, a park that bleeds into a path that leads to forest. There are trails for joggers and dog walkers, but there’s also miles and miles of barely-maintained woodland, and that’s what Bobbi needs, right now.

She finds a clearing, just far enough from the path that she won’t be seen. She strips her clothes off - sweatpants, tank top, sweatshirt, shoes - and sets them onto the branch of a nearby tree, tucked into a spot where the trunk splits. She breathes.

Her wolf is restless, now, anticipating the shift, unspent energy rising to the surface. Her hands shake a little bit as she leans forward, takes another breath, and allows the change to happen.

It’s familiar, now, the feeling of a shift taking place. Her wolf waking up fully, rising from under her skin and filling it from the inside out. Her hips-knees-back-shoulders pop as bones shrink, change shape, change alignment. The world tilts as her feet shift, toes to paws, metatarsals rearranging themselves to tip her onto all fours. She feels the soft, vaguely itchy prickling along her skin as fur sprouts along her back-belly-thighs-limbs, covering her completely.

She shakes, settling into the weight of her coat, the shape of her body. Long ears flop against the sides of her head, and she pants out a grin, tongue lolling. She is Bobbi, she’s not-Bobbi, tall and fast and sleek and eager. She breathes deep, and recognizes a hundred different smells, rabbit and human and deer and car exhaust and cheeseburgers and trees.

Her wolf is there - her wolf is her, awake and eager, mind racing with thoughts of hunt and hungry and run.

She lets go.

 

+

 

Bobbi comes in from her hunt happy, exhausted, with the taste of blood and rabbit in her mouth. She arches her back, thinks about music and sidewalks and feet instead of paws, and waits as everything moves backwards. Fur to skin, short legs to long, shoulders and hips arranging themselves into angles that want to be upright.

She finds her clothes - still where she left them, thankfully - and checks the watch in her jacket pocket. 02:00.

She dresses, walks back to her apartment and all but collapses into bed, exhausted.

 

+

 

The next day is work - on two legs, in professional clothing, indoors. Everything feels a bit alien as Bobbi gets dressed, drinks coffee, eats cooked eggs and toast instead of meat, but she pushes through it. She’s used to this, the wobbly not-wolf feeling that comes the morning after a shift.

Everything’s a little bit heightened as she leaves her apartment building - smells seem brighter, more distracting, and her hearing is even more sensitive than usual. She leaves early and walks to work, not quite ready to face public transit and the sensory overload she knows she'll find there.

When she finally makes it to her desk, she’s already hungry again, and ready for a nice, quiet day of not talking to anyone about anything.

Daisy breezes in a few minutes after she arrives, smelling like soap and hair products in a way that makes Bobbi’s wolf-stomach turn. It’s not Daisy’s fault - it’s Bobbi, it’s shifting and then having to be around people who don’t understand about wolf-senses - but a wave of nausea hits her all the same.

“Hey,” she says, taking off her coat and setting it on the hook by the door. “How was your night last night?”

She tugs off her scarf, fluffing her hair back into place with a free hand, and the movement sends a wave of scent in Bobbi’s direction. She smells good, is the thing, but it’s so much and Bobbi’s stomach is churning. She needs to not throw up on her third day undercover from a goddamn wolf hangover.

“Good,” she manages, trying to focus on keeping her voice even, instead of her senses. “I, um, didn’t do much. What about you?”

Daisy shrugs. “Oh, you know. Hung out at home, mostly.”

She keeps speaking, moving toward Bobbi’s desk to lean on the corner of it. She’s launching into a story about something - she has a new neighbour with a loud television, Bobbi thinks - and the smell of her is overpowering and her wolf wants trees and air and she can’t tell if she’s sick or ravenous from it. It’s too much. Bobbi closes her eyes, trying to focus all of her energy on not smelling.

“You okay?” Daisy’s voice asks. There’s a hand on her shoulder, and when she looks up, Daisy’s frowning at her, expression searching.

“Sorry,” Bobbi says. She’s acutely aware of how sick she feels, but also of how this looks bad and is the opposite of inconspicuous. “Um. Is it okay if we open a window? I think I’m just feeling a little overheated, is all.”

“Yeah,” Daisy says, gesturing to the window behind Bobbi’s workstation. “Yeah, of course.”

Bobbi turns to open the window, trying not to look as desperate for fresh air as she feels. There’s a gentle, plastic-sounding click as the window uncatches and slides open. Bobbi breathes in deep, letting the rush of clean air - ocean and sky and trees and city - wash over her. It helps, a lot. “Sorry,” Bobbi says, taking another deep breath and forcing in memories of two legs and fingers-not-paws and what her senses are supposed to feel like. “Sorry. That's better. You, um. Your neighbour?”

Right,” Daisy says, and slips right back into her story. It’s actually funny, now that Bobbi feels a little better, and she uses Daisy’s words as a focal point as she comes back to herself.