Wordcount: 1,312 words
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, Cursing
Summary: So Say We All—wait, where are you going??
Best of Bad Situations
I wish Donny were here. Meg glanced over at Christopher, who had taken to slowly circling the living room as they rest of them cleaned up from dinner. I can’t do this.
“Hey,” Susan whispered, bumping Meg with a hip as she passed. “Don’t sweat it, we’ve got this.”
“Right,” Meg muttered and took the last load of dishes into the kitchen where Theo was making soap-bubble sculptures and pretending to wash things. The last thirty years in the dump pack might end up being the one highlight of her life. I’m going to miss this.
The rest of the pack started trickling in as they finished with the dishes, which should have relieved some of the tension, but since Southside rarely gathered every new wolf ratcheted the stress level upwards.
A normal pack had their own neighborhood or apartment complex, but the closest Southside werewolf lived twenty minutes away and the rest were scattered over a fifty mile radius. They weren’t used to each other and they didn’t want to be.
The last thing dump pack wolves wanted was to be reminded that other wolves existed.
Christopher kept to himself, watching the new arrivals from the far side of the loving room and Meg did her best to keep things from boiling over. The 8:10 bus arrivals signaled the end of the slow trickle, public transportation was limited and the remainder were at work or on their way out of town.
But more of them showed up than Meg had expected and fourteen new wolves milled around the living room by the time Christopher signaled for their attention.
“The Council is sorry for your loss,” Christopher started off ignoring the angry mutterings. “And we apologize for the delay in our response, but things aren’t as simple as they should have been.”
He paused to glare around the room until the muted conversation stopped. “How many of you knew that Donny was giving oaths for money?”
There was shocked silence and Meg felt Susan tense beside her. Werewolf society had very few capital crimes and abuse of kinship oaths were at the heart of all of them. What the hell did you get us into Donny…
“You’d better hope none of you can answer ‘yes’ to that.” Christopher said, the threat heavy in his voice and his eyes flat yellow, suddenly more menacing than anyone outnumbered seventeen to one had any right to be. “Because if you can, we will find out and you will pay.”
“But we haven’t had anyone news assigned here in years,” objected one of the other pack members hesitantly, after the initial shock had worn off. “We would have known if there were wolves in the area, right?”
“He didn’t take the oaths here,” said Christopher. “He took them out of state or at the edges of the territory. Didn’t any of you wonder why the northern pack hates you?”
“Because they always have,” said one of the older wolves. “It’s been that way for centuries since the packs split and Donny hasn’t been here that long.”
“So wait, if he was taking money, why are will still broke?” Interjected another wolf as the pack started to try to regain ground.
“And where did the wolves go if they didn’t come here? Someone would have noticed rouges and traced them back to us by now.”
“That’s where it gets messy.,” said Christopher. “From what we can tell, he was selling family oaths indirectly. He would take the oath then they would renounce, leaving their children still under oath and untraceable– at least until we start talking to their relatives.”
There was an uncomfortable shifting. Most of the accidental werewolves had refused to rescind their family oaths because of medical issues and Donny had always had a soft spot for kids. It’s hard to turn down the chance to escape a terminal diagnosis, no matter how much pressure the Council brings to bear.
“It’s taken us a long time to track this down, long before Donny was killed and that’s what makes this so messy.” He looked out across the pack. “We still aren’t sure that one of you didn’t find out and kill him first.”
He paused for a moment to let that sink in. “But to be honest, we don’t care. He was the source of the problem and now he’s dead. We’re tracking down those he’s given the oath to and they’ll be taken care of.”
“Like you took care of us?” Muttered Susan.
She wasn’t the only one who seemed to be siding with the fugitive wolves and Meg cut in before things could turn uglier. “But where does that leave us?”
“You’ve got two choices,” said Christopher. “You can stay here and fall under the control of the Northside pack or you relocate. If your family packs won’t take you, which I’m assuming is why you’re here in the first place, then you can go to Bay Point or East Mountain.”
“Oh hell no, you want us in East Mountain? Fuck those psychopaths and fuck you.” Snapped one of the other wolves and Meg gave up trying to mitigate the damage. East Mountain was all the worst of the Baron’s madness locked up tight under the Council’s direct control.
“Bay Point’s tiny, where are we going to find jobs?”
“Why can’t we stay here? This is all Northside’s fault!” Ah Will, trust you to immediately turn to the conspiracy theories.
Things broke down into general chaos at that point and Meg sat back and watched as the pack sorted themselves into opposing groups.
“What did you want to do?” asked Susan quietly.
“I didn’t think they’d give us a choice,” said Meg. “I don’t know… From what I’ve heard the packs split for good reasons, Northside is more likely to run us off than assimilate us. East Mountain is a decoy, they only offered it to get us to take Bay Point. It’s a choice without a choice.”
“Option D,” said Theo popping in behind them. “‘None of the Above’.” Meg raised an eyebrow and Theo grinned. “I say we pick a new Alpha, refuse to leave and let the cards fall where they may. What have we got to lose?”
Everything. “My sanity,” said Meg dryly. “Can you imagine what it would be like with Will in charge, or Quentin?”
“Or you.” pointed out Susan mildly.
In the midst of the debate the phone rang and Theo answered it, but no one was paying much attention until her happy go-luck demeanor vanished, replaced by a barely controlled rage.
“Shit, what?” Meg flinched when Theo turned and her eyes were the cold ice blue and yellow of her wolf.
“Someone shot Keeper,” she snarled, “We’re going. NOW.” She put the phone back with a careful controlled motion and stalked towards the door. Which mean Theo’s honorary little brother wasn’t dead, thank God, if he hadn’t been—-
“Christopher, we’re leaving.” Meg snapped as the wolves scrambled to get out of Theo’s way. “Yusuf, you’ve got the pack, everyone stay put, lights out and we’ll call you as soon as we’ve got more info.”
Yusuf nodded curtly and Susan stepped in behind him, reinforcing his sudden promotion.
No one argued, which was a first, and the three of them were on the road a few heartbeats later.
Keeper was only a few minutes away even with red lights, but with Theo growling in the backseat Meg was tempted to run them anyway. The last thing they needed was to get pulled over, so she didn’t.
Christopher had started calling for backup the moment they left the house, but the closest wolves he could muster were at least an hour away. He kept calling, but it looked like Southside was on their own. Again.
How the fuck did this day get worse?