“Mr. Martin,” she saw him flinch– he’d stopped being Handler Martin the moment he lost control, but this was the first time he’d had to hear it out loud. “While this is a serious setback, it doesn’t have to be the end of your career with the Corps.” She gave Gray a hard look, but the werewolf didn’t blink. “There are other wolves, less– challenging wolves, that could use you.” Martin didn’t looked particularly enthusiastic about the idea, but she nodded as if he had and the ex-handler sat a little straighter in his chair.
“As for you,” she turned her gaze back to Gray. “Martin was your seventh handler.”
“Yes,” Gray agreed mildly. He was still pointedly ignoring Martin– to a certain extent his ex-handler had ceased to exist. Once he lost control the man had been relegated to something slightly more important than furniture in the wolf’s worldview.
“That’s not a good thing.” She leaned forward slightly, not enough for Martin to notice but enough for Gray’s pupils to dilate in response to the increased threat. “Do you know what happens when there are no more handlers?”
The wolf went still.
“You have one chance left.” She pushed the manila folder across the table. “This had better be the last time I see you.”
Gray glanced down at the folder and then his gaze skittered across Martin almost apologetically before he locked back onto her. For a moment it looked like he was going to challenge her authority, but her gaze remained unwavering and he picked up the folder with a displeased hiss and stormed out of the office.
Once he was gone she relaxed, somewhat, her foot coming up off the now inactivate dead-man’s switch under her desk. Martin was watching her nervously, as if she was likely to sprout teeth and fur herself.
“Why did you join the Corps?” She leaned back in the chair, trying to get a better handle on the seemingly timid man on the other side of her table. He’d been working for her less than two weeks and the more recent failure aside, he’d seemed an odd match for the service.