Bitter Mint and Chocolate : Chapter 4

Wordcount: 2,128 words
Rating/Warnings/Genre: PG-13, Cursing & Violence, Urban Fantasy/MuseFic
Summary: Jru takes over the POV in retaliation for being captured, Jeremy stops by to cause chaos, and everyone slowly realizes the ‘verse is missing lots of basic information.

NOTE: This is a MuseFic in which the Writer, the Muse, and her fictives work to create the rough draft of a story (or just worldbuild). There will be spoilers for the story being drafted, which will most likely contain plot holes, retcons, and other inconsistencies.

< Previous Chapter | Story Index | Next Chapter >

~*~*~*~

Worldbuilding via Floor Pizza

Most of the things that Control knew about werewolves were variations of the truth, built from myths and half-tested hypotheses. They still hadn’t realized that not all wolves were the same, but sometimes James thought even the other Agency wolves didn’t notice a difference.

Which was why their handler was refusing to allow James or Alec near the captured wolf even with two Sinks guarding her cell, citing their natural ‘territorial instincts’ and ‘inability for Alphas to control their protective rage.’

Even the fact that they’d managed to bring her in alive was hand-waved away since technically she hadn’t been in their territory until after Control had taken over.

Mother and Alec were amused. James was not.

“This is your fault,” snapped James once the handler had left them alone again. Ever since he’d returned from the undercover mission with a freshly recruited Alec in tow the new rules, new assumptions Control was making about him were growing.

Alec at least had the courtesy to look a tiny bit sheepish about it. “In my defense, I was mostly drunk when I met Jeremy and Wolf is, well Wolf.” Alec’s wolf had always been the sort to maul first and apologize later. “He did forgive me, eventually.”

“Jeremy is much too nice for his own good.” James paced their shared suite. Of the three other Agency wolves Jeremy was the only one who’d actually taken Alec’s unexpected attack in stride. “We don’t have any idea what she can do. They should have brought her to offsite containment, not here.”

“That doesn’t sound territorial at all.” Alec grinned. “But yeah, Wolf’s not happy either.” He glanced at the door, shifting in his seat on the couch. “You want to break some rules?”

“No.”

Alec frowned. “Why the hell not?”

“Because this isn’t my mistake.” James forced himself to sit down. “As Mother keeps pointing out.”

She was quietly smug in the back of his head.

“If Mother’s not worried– why are you worried?” Alec relaxed back on the sofa. “I thought this was her pushing, not you.”

“Because no one will tell us what they were after or why.”

“Ah, so you were hoping you’d Mother it out of them.”

James shrugged.

“She’s right, let them have this mistake, maybe they’ll listen to you next time.” Alec unpaused the television. “Now shush, I’ve got twenty years of ‘cultural enrichment’ to catch up on.”

***

“So this is happening shortly after the end of In Plot Pursuit,” James said thoughtfully. “I would have thought we’d put years between the two, not months.”

“It would have to be at least a year or we’ll have to retcon me being on my own inside the compound then,” said Alec. “No way they’d be letting me go anywhere without a Sink or you to control me.”

“I don’t think we ever hashed out the actual layout of the building,” the Writer admitted. “Other than you are in separate quarters from the rest of the Control’s pack. Jeremy might have forgiven you, but I doubt Mike will have gotten over it yet.”

What,” interrupted Eighth with annoyance, “are you talking about.”

There was a long pause.

“And this is why you shouldn’t be working on two stories in the same ‘verse at the same time,” the Muse pointed out dryly. “We did worldbuilding over in Plot Pursuit and you’re using bits here without explanation.”

“Oh.” The Writer scrolled back up the story with a confused frown. “Oh, yeah, I see– we skipped the whole ‘you’re not werewolves so much as people with wolf-themed magical symbiotes’ part.”

“We’re what?” Jru took the laptop away from the Writer and started reading the other story. “Ooo, I like this! But how did I become a werewolf then?”

The Writer blinked. “Err, either you asked and a wolf answered or a wolf offered and you accepted. I think.”

“But we needed Mother to call a wolf over for Alec,” James pointed out. “If they don’t have someone to play matchmaker, is it even possible to get a spirit’s attention?”

“It has to be,” pointed out the Muse. “Otherwise the other wolves would be much more aware of the fact that they weren’t ‘normal’ werewolves. You do need to retcon the bit earlier where James indicated that the idea that Sinks could control wolves was a myth. It’s a myth that they can control every wolf.”

“But why would anyone still think that it’s a bite that turns people into a wolf? Or the bit about silver bullets?” Eighth waved his hands in frustration. “You can’t have a giant wolf spirit conspiracy if none of them are actually talking to each other.”

“Because the people part of the pairs don’t understand what happened,” Jru said, as if it was obvious. “Mother took the time to explain it to James, at least enough so he could understand what the memories meant. To everyone else, something traumatic happened and boom, wolfiness. What they do remember is too muddled to make sense and people had to explain it to themselves, so they picked stories that fit.”

“So not every wolf talks to their humans?” The Muse hummed thoughtfully. “No, that makes sense, Mother’s communication was mostly emotional once they got used to each other. She’s just old enough that she’s learned how to ‘talk’ as well.”

“Wolf’s never said anything,” Alec offered. “He just– is.”

“So I’m a super empath and he’s a super werewolf,” said Eighth with a sigh. “This is all going to get retconned back into workable powersets someday, right?”

“We can only hope,” said the Muse, who had been down this road a few dozen times too many.

***

Jru hadn’t been pleased when she’d been kidnapped by Agency werewolves, even less so when they didn’t take her to the expected holding facility. But thankfully Yusra had insisted Jru make contingency plans for her contingency plans so all Jru had to do was stay quiet and wait for rescue.

Which was a lot easier on paper. She’d owe Yusra at least one batch of brownies to stave off the I-told-you-so’s when she got home.

The cell they’d locked her in appeared to be decorated in the hopes of calming nervous werewolves. Every surface was an off-white a few shades brighter than beige, even the mattress on the bed built into the wall followed suit. Other than the faint ghost of disinfectant, the only scents came from the air vents and the soundproofing was good enough that she could barely tell there were guards on the other side of the huge one-way glass windows covering the wall next to the door.

The decor did little to squash her frustration, much less her wolf’s, but she’d found that any spike of strong emotion was met with efficient and immediate sinking. She’d rarely run into sinks before, so it was turning into a crash course in how to handle the sensation.

Most of her incredibly boring week of incarceration had been spent sitting on the bed and daydreaming about what she was going to eat when she got out. They’d taken all of her belongings when she in-processed and while she knew she loved gum, she hadn’t realised just how much she loved gum.

She was seriously considering answering questions for a piece and if there’d ever been proof that empaths weren’t telepaths, that had settled it.

***

“So… I thought this was Eighth and James’ story, why am I a POV?” Jru eyed the scene warily. “A really boring POV.”

“I need to worldbuild and I’m not sure how to handle you or your storyline,” the Writer waved a hand at the Endless Whiteboard. “It probably will end up as a DVD extra, but humor me.”

“Still a boring info dump.”

“I’ll rewrite it into a DVD extra then, now shush.”

***

There was a knock on the window and when she turned to look, the transparency adjusted so she could see the man sitting at the desk, leaving the rest of his small office blurry but recognizable. Interrogation time again.

“Is there anything you’d like to tell us today?” The PA system relayed the sound into her room, slightly out of sync with the faint echo she could hear through the glass. The man asking the questions didn’t bother to look up from his paperwork, which he’d started bringing a few days ago when it became apparent that she wasn’t going to cooperate.

He was always the same, although he’d never introduced himself, but the two others dressed in the same dark blue sitting in the back of the room were always different.

She’d expected him to up the ante when she’d first refused to answer, try force or bribe answers from her– but instead he’d just started ignoring her back. It was oddly comforting.

She watched silently for another half hour as he worked, occasional muttering to himself. It was normal, routine. And then all of a sudden it wasn’t.

“So, I brought you a pizza,” said a lean, brown-haired man in a dingy orange and yellow uniform as he opened the door to her cell and walked in without warning. “I don’t know if you like pizza, but at this point anything has to be better than the mush they normally feed us.” He grinned, brandishing the pizza boxes as she stared at him blankly, too startled to react.

“Jeremy, what are you doing.” The man in the interrogation room was very good at pretending to be calm. The two blurry blue blobs behind him, not so much. Jru watched one vanish out the door with rising alarm and then blinked as they sunk her fear away.

She was never going to get used to that.

“Hopefully sharing a pizza?” Jeremey turned to grin sheepishly at the window. “What? It’s not like the door didn’t lock behind me. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I could kill you,” Jru offered, not sure if she should be offended or not.

“Eh, Alec didn’t manage it,” Jeremey shrugged and sat down on the floor and opened the top box. “I wish they’d given you a table, but floor pizza is still pizza.”

Jeremy.”

“Not listening, boss. Pepperoni or, err–” Jeremy peered into the other box, “everything? I should have stolen these from Accounting, the HR team always has lousy orders.”

“He’s right, this is stupid,” Jru was not expecting to have sympathy for Agency lackeys, but apparently the interrogator had grown on her.

“Is it?” Jeremey shrugged in the middle of inhaling a slice. “Either you’re a good guy and this is just making friends early or you’re a bad guy and you might as well have some pizza before you get tossed to the non-literal wolves. The global success percentage of interrogating werewolves is somewhere around zero and what-the-hell-were-you-thinking, so it’s a pretty binary outcome.”

“Everything then,” she said after a pause and moved to the floor as he handed over the box. She was close enough to reach the pizza, but far enough away that her wolf agreed they’d be able to dodge any attacks.

They ate for a bit in companionable silence while the office on the other side of the glass filled with new people and muffled arguments.

“What counts as a good guy?” she asked, once she’d had her fill of pizza.

“I have no idea,” Jeremy admitted. “For normal people, I think it means ‘not a threat’ more than anything else, but for us–” He shrugged. “Someone who’s not actively trying to kill us?”

“The bar is a little higher than that,” objected his boss, who had grudgingly gone back to working on his paperwork, ignoring the chaos behind him.

***

“Ignoring Jeremy’s lack of survival instincts,” Bond nodded to the other werewolf who’d wandered in from the mists, “he has a point. What’s Control’s plan for handling rogue werewolves like this? They must have one.”

The Writer looked hopefully over at her Muse who shrugged.

“Ooo, ooo, can I answer this one? I love making up rules to break.” Jeremy summoned his bean bag and cooler from the nothingness and dug out a beer. The faux-Hawkeye had been practicing his control over the story mists since the last Plot Pursuit update and the bean bag was starting to be alarmingly sentient.

“I don’t see your boss around, so sure, why not.” The Writer tossed him a whiteboard marker.

“Wait, how much of the Agency and Control have you actually hashed out yet?” interrupted the Muse. “A lot of how they’d handle capturing enemy agents, werewolves or not, is going to depend on just what sort of organization this actually is.”

There was a long pause.”Right, worldbuilding roadtrip, GOGOGO!” Jeremy waved the marker gleefully and the mists descended.

< Previous Chapter | Story Index | Next Chapter >


Leave a Reply