Wildfires

Chupacabras - Band Only 
#1
 Kai had been pretty distant. From everyone. She liked to attribute it to taking over Shift Happens and all the things that came with that - especially when she experienced a twinge of guilt over it all. After so many years on her own, it was practically instinct for her to be aggressively passive. Not my problem, sucks to suck, better you than me. And yet still, for some god forsaken reason she couldn't (or wouldn't) identify, she had showed up here after finding Jo's place empty with a sack of burgers and a bottle of liquor. Because these people were the closest thing she had to friends and they had been plastered all over the news with a fucking jaguar.

 So here she was, realizing too late she maybe should have texted one of them to make sure she wasn't bringing a sack of food to no one. Worst case scenario, she would eat them all and drink the whole bottle and pass out on a VIP couch. She liked the think Jo was probably here, though. The mechanic rolled through the door and could instantly feel the King's presence; as such, she peered around, standing perhaps comically on tiptoes as her eyes sought the woman out.

@Jo Wilsey
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#2
Jo didn't want to count the number of times she'd deflected "Hey, aren't you that girl who wrestled a leopard?" with "Naw, do I look dumb enough to wrestle a leopard?" She should've just left Chupas in Lia's capable hands, but she'd left for work this afternoon with a misplaced need to move and be productive. And after a frustrating day of paperwork and smiling vacantly at rude patrons (although blissfully few, given the weekday), she no longer had any desires other than to return home and curl up on the couch with a drink.

She didn't take failure well, which was a terrible joke when she was just a continuous series of mistakes and dumpster fires.

She felt Kai before she saw or smelled her, a faint metaphysical ripple that had her coyote turning in excited circles. Great. Just what she needed, someone else to lay into her. Jo heaved a sigh, rolled up her sleeves, and stepped out of the back room where she'd been bashing her brain against a sheet of numbers she wasn't even entirely sure she was reading correctly.

And there was Kai, peering around with a bottle in one hand and a bag of food in the other. Jo perked up, relief softening her stony expression and her insides scrambling in a way she wasn't sure she liked and blamed entirely on her diet of vodka and instant rice and absolutely nothing else. "Hey, man," she greeted, crossing the club to approach her bandmate. She tried for an impish smile, but the way her mouth sat felt a little frayed. "Whaaatcha got there?"
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#3
 Kai was thankful for the lack of a crowd; she was less likely to irritated by some dickweed and it was easier to spot Jo as she popped out of an office. The mechanic dropped back to the flats of her feet, chin tilting upwards in a mild greeting that completely belied that excited tail-wagging nonsense her beast was committing. Jo looked exhausted, and Kai found herself pitting the woman in spite of everything.

 "Brought you lunch," she offered, lifting the goods in her hands. Her stomach growled at the fresh waft of greasy meat. "You look like you could use a break."
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#4
That was... really nice? Nicer than she would have expected from Kai or anyone, really, and far nicer than her dumpster fire ass deserved.

"Don't tell Alex, but you're officially my favorite party-sized coyote." Which would have been funnier if she and Alex weren't undergoing some (probably irreparable, let's be real) turbulence and also if Kai wasn't her only sorta-friend left, but she wasn't about to point that out. "You wanna head up?" She indicated the stairs with a jerk of her chin, and if Kai agreed, she'd lead the way upstairs and flop onto a couch.
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#5
 The comment elicited a grin from Kai. "Look at me. Moving up in the world." She snorted. "C'mon."

 She trailed after Jo, dropping the bag of grub somewhat unceremoniously in the King's lap before rummaging around for a pair of glasses. Drinking necessities in hand, she moved to settle on the sofa beside the other woman, moving to take a burger from the brown bag before breaking out any liquor. "So... how's it going?" she prompted, taking a less than ladylike bite from her burger.
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#6
Jo graciously waited for Kai to join her before pulling a second burger out of the bag for herself. Grease and meat had never seemed so appetizing, and her coyote whined as its attention was split between food and their bandmate, like the mutt had never heard of multitasking.

She wrinkled her nose at the question and delayed her answer with a bite of burger. "It's sure been better," she admitted with a crooked smile, but the whole jaguar clusterfuck was the last thing she wanted to talk about. "Whattabout you? How's work?"
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#7
 Kai had sort of known that it had been better - but she wanted to know the details of "how things were going." How much trouble were they in? What should Kai be prepared for? She had half a mind to press that matter, to pry into the jaguar wrestling fiasco, but Jo didn't exactly seem eager to jump into story time. The mechanic huffed quietly, but allowed the question to come back to her for now, working in bites of her food between the conversation.

 "Fine. Busy. Paperwork sucks ass," she said with a shrug, adding lightheartedly, "Now I know how you feel here." Another bite of her burger, and she had eaten just enough to calm her stomach and beast alike so that she could crack open the bottle she'd brought and fill up their glasses.
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#8
Jo hummed sympathetically as her brain hopped on a one-way train and took off from paperwork to responsibility to shit somehow she's the king to hey maybe she should kind of bring Kai (and Ben) up to date on the latest disaster.

A dumb sense of responsibility fought with a personal desire to never speak on the subject again, and the former only just barely won.

As she mentally chugged away, Jo watched Kai pour two drinks with a wrinkled brow that smoothed out when she reached to take one, burger dropped to her lap in favor of alcohol.

She took her drink without even making a face—she'd just about burned out her tastebuds in the past week anyway—before adding abruptly, "A cop showed up at my place. Looking for the other jaguar—uhh, not Asha, the other guy who was with her." And then, because apparently she needed to inform everyone she wasn't a snitch, "I didn't tell them anything, 'n they're not digging into my shit, just the jags'. But. Y'know." She shrugged, finishing rather lamely.

Maybe she should've said all that before Kai both fed and boozed her.
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#9
 Kai downed her drink at almost the same time Jo did, less washing her food down than burning it down thanks to the tequila. She picked up her burger and bit into it again as Jo suddenly started up - with "cop" being one of the first words, no less. A cop had come to her place. It made her stomach squirm a little, but the mechanic maintained a poker face. She had to think - the other jaguar dude? Must have been the guy driving the getaway car in the video. Huh. She chewed slowly, considering the story. At the end of the day, as long as they were safe - they being the coyotes, and primarily, herself - that was what mattered most to her.

 "Well... if you need help getting rid of bodies, you know where to find me." Nonchalant, perhaps, as she took another bite of her burger. It wouldn't be the first time she had eaten someone to avoid trouble with the law.
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#10
Half a beat after Kai did, Jo opened her mouth to retort—defend herself, maybe, but probably to just apologize—only for the words to catch in her throat when the other coyote veered off in an unanticipated direction.

Oh.

"Oh," she said as much out loud. A dumb, reflexive reaction that she definitely didn't mean to voice and that she definitely needed to work on because it just made her sound like an idiot. (Even if it often made other people think she was laid-back and thoughtful and not totally confounded by their life choices.)

"I really appreciate that?" And it shouldn't have come off as a question, but Jo was so wholly unprepared for this chill kind of acceptance that her entire brain decided it needed a breath and went wandering off to smell pansies or some shit. "I mean. I'm not worried, s'long as they stay in the jags' shit. But I'll let you know." She tried for a sheepish kind of smile, even as she puzzled over whether that had been a sincere offer or just like. A joke. But this was Kai, so Jo was inclined toward the first option.

Glass empty, she leaned forward to refill it. Then decided that might be rude and presumptuous and so hesitated there, forearms draped across her knees and glass dangling from a limp wrist. Then decided that Kai was the one who showed up with food and booze and when had Jo ever been anxious about this shit before, so why not, and she grabbed the bottle to refill her glass and then glanced at Kai expectantly, bottle in hand, to refill the other coyote's if proffered.
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#11
 What could she say other than she was full of surprises? At least, Jo certainly seemed taken back, probably having expected the tattooed dumpster fire to flip her lid. It was a roll of the dice some days.

 She merely nodded in agreement. As long as the cops were too preoccupied with the jaguars to worry about the coyotes, she was a happy camper. Amber eyes watched Jo flounder in uncertainty for a moment as she chewed, jerking her head in an affirmative sort of "go for it" gesture when the bottle lingered over her own empty glass.

 "As long as you don't bring the cops around the rest of us, I'm chillin'. Any situation with me and cops that I can imagine just doesn't end well in my head, so." She shrugged and took another bite, before continuing with the food stuffed in her cheek, "Alex okay?"
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#12
Jo downed her drink as Kai continued, then pulled her legs up onto the couch to nestle into the corner, socked toes tucked into the cushion seam between the two coyotes. She returned her attention to her burger, gracelessly wiping damp fingers off on her jeans.

"Yeah, I don't think mixing cops with any of us dumpster fires ends well." Jo had a shady past, had killed more than zero people, and was getting bankrolled by the mafia. Alex was the mafia. Kai apparently had no qualms helping cover up murder, which implied previous murders. And who the fuck knew what Ben did but he was very possibly a serial killer, according to Katya.

"Alex is fuckin pissed. But otherwise okay." Another shrug. No point in glossing over it, really, and it was probably a fair reaction to the entire situation, even if it felt kinda unfair.
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#13
 Kai bobbed her head in agreement to Jo's observation. Coyotes and cops - it sounded like a bad action movie or lame childhood game. Another bite of food, washed down with another shot; the glass would be quickly refilled as Jo made quick work of explaining Alex's state. The mechanic scoffed, licking mustard off her thumb. "Shocking!" she remarked with tangible sarcasm. Alex was kind of a brat in Kai's experience... to put it mildly. Nevermind that being caught on television with a giant fucking jaguar would probably piss her off too.
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#14
Right. Jo was not about to put herself between Kai and Alex as either a mediator or instigator, so she just hummed a low note as she finished a bite of burger.

"You should come to the Cage with me one night," she offered as she streeeeetched to reach the bottle without moving and subsequently failed. She shifted, uncurling her legs to sit up and fill her glass. "Not only has the wolf king promised me a drink, but also a fuckin tranquilizer gun if I beat her in a fight."

She grinned, impish and smug in equal measures. Wolves might have the upper hand on coyotes, but that didn't count for much on two legs.

Oh fuck, what if they fought in war form? That would be awesome.

She threw back her shot and dutifully poured herself another one, glancing over at Kai to see if her glass was empty yet and refilling it if so, ever the gentleman.
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#15
 Kai wouldn't turn down a trip to the Cage. Her eyes said as much as she bit into what remained of her burger, managing to swallow before she got out a laugh. She wasn't too surprised - it seemed right that the local leaders would be well acquainted. Jo being a boxer added to that probability - no doubt Alina would find the woman at the Cage if anywhere on her turf. "I would pay to watch you fight Alina." That promised to be exciting in more ways than one. She grinned suggestively, before finishing off her burger and crumpling up the wax paper with an affirmative nod towards her own glass. She downed the fresh refill and reclined against the couch with her fries in her hand, munching on them contentedly. There was a certain comfort to be found here with Jo, a satisfied stomach, and alcohol, especially with all the serious talk taken care of. "Are you going back to work or are we dedicating this time to getting trashed?"
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#16
Jo all but cackled a laugh at Kai's implied assent. "Yeah?" It would be an awesome fight -- two supernatural boxers duking it out.

She finished the last bite of her burger as Kai lounged back. "It's like you don't even know me," she complained, albeit with a wide grin. (That faint crying in the background was Jo's liver.)

This felt good. It was the first time she'd felt relatively normal since the jaguar incident, and Jo wondered if she should wonder at that. She probably shouldn't take this much comfort from just... Kai's general existence.

No this was absolutely fine, Kai was her bandmate, they were supernaturally tuned to be like this. Cool, wondering done.

"Lia's covering tonight," she added, probably needlessly but she felt compelled to establish that she wasn't just flouncing off to fuck around when she had a business to run. She might be horrifyingly unqualified to run it, but she wasn't a flake.

Jo balled up her burger wrapper and stuffed it back into one of the empty bags, then took her shot with a little wince before settling back into the couch.
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#17
 Yeah? Oh yeah. Kai's expression said as much, eyebrows raised and pressed together, lips pursed into a sarcastic smirk as she nodded her head. Oh, Jo. The mechanic chuffed slightly at the taller woman, stuffing another couple of fries into her mouth and talking around them gracelessly. "Shoulda known." What was more fun than getting trashed with her favorite trash dog? Duh.

 Lia was covering, which... didn't really matter to the selfish coyote, but she guessed that was good. She understood the ins and outs of running a business, don't you know. Couldn't just leave shit hanging. Or something.

 Eventually, the calm french-fry munching would devolve in the way their time together with alcohol usually did - they forwent the glasses and drank straight from the bottle, and before it was all said and done, the VIP section had been locked by a perhaps overly-eager mechanic who was all too content to have the King all to herself.

-fade!-
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