I'm gonna make you a believer

Continuation from this thread!

She didn't know how long they'd been on the road now, but it must've been longer than half an hour. Maybe forty minutes or something. Out of Larkspur and in the middle of nowhere with fields on their left and right, Amy slowed the vehicle down some more and went off the road. The Impala shook a bit at the rougher terrain beneath it, but overall, it managed just fine.

Stopped amidst the grassy fields as far from the asphalt as possible, Amy shut the lights but left the engine on just in case something else decided to jump them. The aching in her jaws had picked up since about ten minutes ago and she eyed Natalie with a near-pleading gaze which was, at the same time, apologetic.

"It'll just be a moment."

If only she could've made this night go by any smoother, she would've. Usually, fear stirred something primitive within her—excited her—but she didn't feel excited; not this time. All she felt was resentfulness for herself and the damned woman who smelled of dog piss, paired up with irritation thanks to a building hunger.

Please, Natalie.

Amy actually hissed at her. She was completely taken aback and it made her jump. It hadn't sounded human at all. She hugged her legs tighter to herself as what she assumed was an apology was out in the open. No, she wasn't taking it right now. Maybe later, but right now she was pissed and angry and very very scared.

As they passed road signs, her fear was almost palpable. They were out of Larkspur. It was too dark out here. There was literally no one around. If she did manage to get out of the car, where would she even go? Being in the dark in the middle of nowhere didn't seem like the best course of action right now with everything coming to light. She'd been warned of the woods at night and to be honest she really didn't want to try her luck with the fields.

They rolled to a stop into off the road some ways and honestly that felt like the most murder set up in her life. Warning bells just wouldn't stop going off and she was definitely in fight or flight territory. She wanted to fight for a way out, but that kept getting pushed away before she could. What in the heck was going on?

Amy turned off the lights to her car and left it running. Her voice cut the silence and Natalie shot a furious look at her, at least as much as she could around the terror and the few tears that had escaped. "Absolutely not, screw you," she said with a forceful voice that trembled on the last word. After everything, she was asking permission to bite her and that was definitely not going to be something given willingly with a 'sure, go right ahead :)'.


"Absolutely not, screw you."

Were it any other night, she might've humored this, but with the new moon so close, a live heartbeat next to her and the hunger rising within her, it was easy to say that she was rather pissy. Pissy enough to have her fingertips brushing against Nat's throat, the speed which the maneuver was perform blinding even for the blonde.

Her hand would ultimately land on the seat and stay rooted there firmly, fingertips digging against the faux leather.

The aching in her gums intensified to the point where fangs started to peek beyond the confines of her lips, amber eyes intensely fixed on their target.


Her attention went to the doors.... that were locked. She'd most definitely rather take her chance with the haunted demon dragon fields than in this car for another second. Before she could do anything to try to rectify this, she felt the whoosh of air, a graze of fingers against her neck before a hand slammed across the seat from her. Goosebumps rushed up her skin. That drew her attention back to Amy. Oh my god. That wasn't good.

That was a gaze that could kill if she ever saw one. The fangs making an appearance solidified everything for her right there and then. Amy was a vampire and that was an undisputed fact. She was in so much danger. She also wanted to hit her past self over the head with the biggest stick and get some sense into her.

Natalie twisted her weight, fully intent on kicking up and into the too close for comfort assailant. A kick to the neck or chest or something would be good enough. That would get Amy far away from her with enough time to maybe try something else to get out. "Get away from me!" Her knees were already pulled up so it wouldn't take much effort. However, she missed. The leather seats had no grip and she shifted just a bit too far to one direction. No purchase and only air.

Miss! -wheeze-

Natalie was making things so, so difficult and the short-lived shout most definitely didn't help.

There was a kick issued the blonde's way and she growled for it—twas a guttural sort of sound, much like that of a rabid dog—as she reeled backwards as far as she could to avoid being hit in the tight space of the car.

The sound of Natalie's pounding heart paired with the hunger and the frustration had her feeling hazy, the beginnings of bloodlust taking hold. She aimed for a swipe at the woman, the tips of her fingers somewhat sharper than before but would ultimately be unsuccessful.


That growl was messed up. She wanted out out out!

Amy made to grab her, and she shifted out of the way. The kick and shift had her half on her back and side, at perfect level to see the bag very close to her. Well thank god.

Natalie made a grab for it. Her hand made purchase and she successfully had them in her grasp. At least that was going right Now she had pepper-spray and keys between her fingers. She turned her attention back to Amy, ready to shoot it off.

Suggestion: fail & miss!

The haze was steadily settling over her mind, her eyes a bloody shade of crimson by now.

Natalie went for her back and grabbed her keys alongside something which her mind took a second too long to register, but despite that, she hissed a command out. "Drop it." But just like everything else tonight, it would fail and she would remain flustered. A cheap attempt would be made to grab the keys, but she'd lose the hold a second after she got it.

Clawed fingertips were proving to be rather problematic, the sound of jaws popping sounding a second later.

Red eyes were staring at her and yep, that was spooky as heck. This was a ride to nope-ville and she couldn't get off of it.
The words drop it were said, and Natalie wanted to laugh. Yeah, right. "No can do."

Clawed hands were grabbing for her keys and couldn't manage quite to get a hold of them. Natalie, just moved her hand out of the way and there was no problem anymore. Also, when did the vampire get clawed hands? Didn't Amy used to have like normal fingernails? That was a question for another time.

Setting her gaze, she hit the button as hard as she could. A stream of pepperspray went Amy's way.

A puff of fresh air reminded her that the back window was open, before the overall smell of well everything was covered in cayenne pepper. Maybe it was time she tried that way out since these doors had the locks she couldn't really mess with after a quick look that way as the pepperspray went. These locks went into the car door instead of a flip. That was stupid car design.

"No can do."

Of course no can do.

Pepper spray was used against her and she found herself feeling increasingly pissed. The damn thing sure as hell burned and it caused her to snarl in response, recoil for a few moments, before lunging forward out of instinct alone. This time her hit seemed to land, and she'd be sure to constrict Nat's neck considerably as she kept her pinned against the seat.

By that time, her jaws had unhinged fully and would not hesitate to sink themselves against the woman's neck.

Fucking stay still.

That did nothing, but really piss off the already upset vampire. Natalie had just righted herself and was scrambling to go for the back when a lunge threw her back against the seat. The action caused her to lose her breath.

A cold hand was very tight on her throat and she stared in terror and then closed her eyes, looking away with a cry as Amy leaned in quickly. The sight was definitely not the girl she’d met at Chupacabra’s. This was a monster and that just fueled her desperate attempt to push it off. She didn’t even know if it would do anything, but she could try right?

”Get off of me,” she ground out, pushing as much as she could with hands and legs. Natalie felt pressure and knew instantly what was happening and hated everything. This was too much, learning monsters were real then one attacking her and now successful putting her fangs into her. What the hell had she done to anger the universe?

Fangs punctured warm skin and blood flooded her mouth in an instant.

It held the same metallic taste it always did and the vampire relished in it, drinking greedily much like a stray who was deprived of water and food for one too many days. Clawed hands kept the woman in place, one placed on her neck to keep her head at the night angle and the other placed against her shoulder, keeping her pinned against the seat with considerable force.

Natalie pushed against the blonde, but the vampire wouldn't budge.

It was interesting seeing how, little by little, her heartbeat slowed down.

Just a little bit longer.

Pushing wasn’t getting her anywhere, but she tried still. She also couldn’t bring herself to open her eyes and look at what the heck was happening. Instead, she opted to keep them squeezed shut. It just needed to stop. ”Stop,” she coughed out, or at least as much as she could with a stupid hand on her throat.

Natalie had gone through waves of adrenaline and fear and of course the idea that a vampire could change people went through her thoughts right then continuing to ride that wave. Oh god, please no. She wanted nothing to do with that kind of life. Even as a child, she’d made the decision that was a nope just in case future her had that life option. Because what kid didn’t ask their friends and family what they’d be if they could be anything. Vampire was on her nope list for many, many reasons. Nope, nope, nope-ity, nope!

Her loss of blood was starting to be felt as Natalie’s head began to swim in lightheadedness. That was concerning. Her arms not being able to stay lifted as easily was also not good. She fought it, but it was damn hard. Natalie grimaced. ”You’ve got to stop,” she struggled to say.

Suggestion: fail


Just stop, Hale.

She couldn't.

Yet, at the same time she found herself growing more mellow as the seconds on the clock ticked by. Her grip loosened somewhat, the tips of her fingers reshaping themselves into something far less sharper compared to the talons they were before.

A sort of humming noise escaped her, the color from her irises receding and giving way to their natural amber hue. She could hear Natalie's heartbeat slow down and she remembered what Carmen had told her; take too much and you'll kill them. And even though this woman had pissed her off quite badly, Amy couldn't find it in her to blame her.

The blonde would've done the same.

”You’ve got to stop."

A breath against Natalie's throat and she pulled back, her jaws slowly returning back to their human appearance. Still keeping her in place with one hand placed against her shoulder, Amy removed the one from her throat and regarded the woman with a gaze that was intense, but held no malice to it whatsoever.

"I wish I could say you're going to forget tonight's events as soon as I leave you," cue a half-beat pause and her groaning internally at how sucky her magic was. "But, magic does not exist in this world." It did, but it was apparently being a dick with how close they were to the new moon.

"Just.. I didn't intend to fuck up your night, Nat." She'd dare remove her other hand from the woman as well, positive that she wouldn't move much at all thanks to the considerate blood loss. Amy's tone was apologetic and sincerely so; this was meant to be a quick feeding and not a fucking traumatizing experience for some poor human who didn't know shit.

It was the scream she'd heard. In open fields, noise carried, and a supernatural animal with hearing as intensely good as hers had no choice but to catch to the distant sound. She had been full on in her jaguar form already, hunting solo as she often did. Her head perked, eyes staring into the distance.

Asha was likely better off not getting involved. But if there was something... terrorizing someone else, hurting them. Well, she had a history of shoving her way into things that weren't her business, for all she was the murderer herself.

Still, it was something that both she and the cat seemed to demand. At least see what was happening. Hide in the grass if need be. The cat wouldn't get involved if it was something she couldn't come out on top of.


That was until she managed to get close enough for a whiff of the scents carrying around on the air. A confusing, wispy trail of death and something sharp and pungent and, more than anything else there was the faintest tinge of blood.

Her pace picked up.

Her arms felt like a ton of bricks and she felt them drop. She was going to pass out if this continued and by some kind of freaking miracle the vampire moved away. Pressure gone, she opened her own eyes tentatively, just in case. Weight shifted and then the hand clamped on her neck let go. Natalie breathed a shaky sigh of relief then breathed in deeply.

She found it really hard to even want to look at Amy right now, but she slid her gaze over and hated how intense and non-monster those eyes were now. Natalie's own were trying to burn a hole into the ones she met. It would’ve been better to see Amy how she was with the glowing eyes than the normal version she’d said hello to at the beginning of the night.

Some stupid comment about magic was made and she huffed an almost laugh. That’s where the line got drawn? Did she even bet on that line when the one she’d had before was just ripped out from under her?

Amy gave an apology and finally removed her other hand. Immediately, Natalie wanted to get up and walk out of the car and just what? Walk home? Yeah, that’s what she’d do because screw being in this death trap any longer or anywhere close to the blonde.

Natalie, furrowed her brows and used an arm to prop herself up, wanting to be full upright, but nope that was a negative. Her vision swam and she saw dark spots. Natalie paused, breathing, eyes shut. ”You chose to do so… so don’t flatter me with half-made apologies.” Words were a bit hard for her to piece together in a fluid sentence right away, but it got easier as she went. One of her hands went up to her neck where it’d been bitten. She cringed, shaking. Yep, ok, that’d happened.

Opening her eyes after a few beats, the spots seemed better…ish. Oh and here were the tears starting to bubble up again, wetting her gaze. Natalie shifted slowly away from Amy and moved her arm to want to open the door. ”Just let me out of your stupid monster car… give me back my phone. I’ll call a ride.” Honestly, walking wasn’t going to be an option exactly now, but she’d rather sit on the asphalt near the edge of a street and wait for a ride than be in the car with Amy another second. She’d take her chances with the children in the corn any day.

”You chose to do so… so don’t flatter me with half-made apologies.”

That wasn't completely true; she didn't have full control at the end, but Amy would take it regardless. A breath escaped her and she averted her gaze, finding that staring at the steering wheel was better than staring at Nat herself; there was rage in those eyes and the blonde felt like she sincerely deserved it, but at the same time, she couldn't bring herself to meet that gaze.

Then the request to get out was made, but Amy was not too keen about it; she couldn't just leave this chick in the middle of a field. What if a shifter got her? What if she was turned into a were and ended up coming after her head? That thought rang strongly above everything else and Amy found herself shaking her head gently in refusal.

"I'm just.. gonna drive you back on the road and you can call a ride from there." That was the least she could do and she reached for the pocket of her jeans to retrieve a crisp pair of $100 dollar bills which she'd hand over to Nat if she would accept. If she didn't, Amy'd just leave them in the cup holder clutched between the two front seats and turn the car around.

She didn't have it in her to leave Natalie in the middle of a field.

She was about to all out ball her eyes out in Amy had said no. But in the end, Amy told her she’d just drop her off on the road. That made her skin prickle. The idea that the car would keep going and she’d be stuck again.

Her eyes were drawn to a hand going into Amy’s jeans, then towards her. It took a beat for Natalie to realize what it even was. Amy was giving her money? Who did she think she was? ”Are you for real right now,” she ground out. She slapped Amy’s hand away. Natalie wasn’t going to take money because of that. That couldn’t make up for anything.

Natalie tried again to get upright and succeeded, though spots flashed briefly. ”I can’t trust you to stop if you drive,” she said while gripping the car handle. ”If you actually are sorry, let me out right now,” she yelled, furious and hurt. The tears she’d been keeping in all evening finally let loose. They were hot and she despised feeling them slipping over her cheeks.

How unfortunate for the vampire that a shifter was, in fact, coming. The smells grew stronger, and with them her pace increased. She moved silently, but not completely so.

And then it didn't matter if she needed to be silent. Because there was yelling, distress, something wrong happening, and in the distance she could make out the smooth shape of the vehicle against the field it stood out in.

Asha wasn't a hero, but maybe she sort of was. She was the same woman who had jumped work to follow an obscenely drunk gun-waving girl into an alleyway and almost got herself shot at multiple times just trying to get her home. She was the same woman who, upon seeing Abraham's leg snap in half, first thought to call him an ambulance before he sunk his claws into her.

And now she was following what appeared to be yet another violent vampire, only this time she was fully equipped to do something about it.

She lowered to a crouching prowl, seeking to close the distance without giving herself away.

Look, no one said Amy had the best plans—Amy herself didn't even say that—but if she was abducted by a vampire and said vampire drove them to a field in the outskirts of Red Rock to feed, she'd sure as hell accept some money after all the trauma she had to go through.

But, apparently, not everyone worked that way.

Her hand was slapped, but at this point, the blonde was done feeling angry, so she merely placed the money in the cup holder and listened to the chick plead to be let out of the vehicle. "Okay," she said, simple as that, tone calm, perhaps even exhausted. There was something in the air, but it was so faint and mingled with the scent of pepper spray that Amy pushed it to the back of her mind for now.

"Just one thing."

Said after a second as she shifted, her hand literally hovering above the button to unlock the car's door. Amber eyes shifted over to Nat, begging she look at her.

Please, darling, one last time.

The simple ok was not what she had expected. It didn’t seem real and a sob got through a rushed out exhale.

Her eyes tracked what Amy was doing, not trusting any movement. Natalie saw her hand move to the direction she dared not hope for. The vampire was going to follow through and that seemed beyond real.

Amy began to speak again while her hand hovered over the button. Natalie looked up at the blonde’s face questioning in her gaze. Her own hand was still grabbing onto the car handle like a vice, ready to open the door as soon as that button clicked. ”What,” she snapped, or least tried to in her watery state.

Suggestion: fail (ofc, what's new)

Natalie snapped, but at least she bothered to look Amy's way, something which the blonde was grateful for. A breath escaped her as she mulled over the words she wanted to say, amber eyes fixed against brown ones. "You will never, in any shape way or form, share the details of this encounter with anyone," it was a shame it was yet another failed suggestion, but there really wasn't much that could be done about it.

"There are both shifters and vampires who are more than willing to kill you for having witnessed something like this, Natalie." Hopefully she'd have the brains to keep her mouth shut, but hope was.. quite useless in situations such as these and that was something the blonde knew well.

The phone would handed over to the woman then—still deactivated as it was—and she'd unlock the doors.

True to her word, Amy would be out of there as soon as Nat stepped out of the car and shut the door.

There was no point in lingering.

-fade for amy, unless asha decides to give chase!-

Things seemed to quiet, though as she neared, the tone of the words she could hear but not totally make out were no better than before.

Asha would pause when someone stepped out of the car, and then watch the car speed messily away, leaving the woman behind.

Her cat could pick it up, the blood, the vaguely familiar death smell of a vampire, the nasty acidic peppery smell coating everything.

At this moment, she wished she was in human form. Because there was no soft way to be an approaching gigantic jaguar who could speak. The fortunate thing was there was... no civilization for miles.


This girl hadn't seen her unshifted.

So. "Are you hurt," Asha spoke aloud, still some yards behind the girl, voice throatily raspy with the cat's vocals.

Natalie furrowed her brows at Amy's try to what? Silence her?. What the heck kind of talk was she spouting? No one would believe her. Who actually would, especially with how many weird turned the night went? As for telling vampires and shifters? She didn't want to run into any more of the, let alone have a heart to heart. Her to do list was to go home, cry it out, probably never leave it again, the end. Not realistic, but it sounded like true goals at the moment.

Amber though, Amber she was calling and spilling the whole thing to. She was the only persons she felt sure in confiding her entire last hours to.

She just set her jaw in response to Amy, no words. Suddenly, her phone was back in existance and she reached for it quickly as soon as it was offered, scared it'd be taken back. The car's locks shot up and the noise urged her to immediately pull and push the door. It swung open.

A rush of fresh summer air hit her and it was surreal.

Not taking her chances, she snatched her bag, swung her feet out of the car and onto the ground, and leaned out. Getting to her feet, hesitantly making sure Amy wasn't going to do anything to bar her way, before shutting the door. The car immediately shot away and she flinched. It's noises left and summer Colorado noises enveloped her. That and the darkness. It was still better than being trapped as far as she was concerned. Natalie switched on her phone, intent on using the flashlight to find the road as she called for someone to pick her up. It lit up just as a rumble behind her sounded, asking if she was ok. She visibly jumped a bit in surprise, before turning around, bag ready to be swung if needed.

What met her were shiny eyes set in a rather large cat head. It was definitely not an elk and it had spoken. In fact, if this night was going how it had been so far, this was probably a shifter. She was probably about to get eaten. It wasn't like she could outrun a giant cat, shifter or not, so she stayed where she was, prepared to swing if it called for it. "No," she choked out. Natalie was hoping beyond hope that this was a friendly werecat.

No, not hurt.

Asha watched her body language, heard the way she spoke, and decided to do the only thing she could to appear as nonthreatening as possible. She lowered herself to the ground, lying down.


The cat had no qualms devouring this shaky woman before her, but Asha was reining her back with all she had. Don't eat. Don't even bite. Just let her handle this one.

"I heard you yelling at the vampire."

Perhaps she'd misunderstood the whole situation. But if that was a friendship sort of argument, then leaving a friend in the middle of a field miles away from the road was the end of the friendship.

Instead of leaping or stalking towards her, Natalie watched as the werecat just laid down. Not even a sign of claws or a growl. She didn't trust it, not after such a night. But a further rumbling of good did in fact confirm this cat had talked and was interested in her well-being. Or at least acting like it now.

Next sentence that came out had her brushing tears off her face that just couldn't seem to stop. Taking a steadying breath that did nothing at all to help that out, she just shook her head, trying not to just break down in front of the cat. "She, they... they weren't supposed to be real." Her hands trembled. "You'd yell too if you had a vampire kidnapping and then biting you against your will."

She realized belatedly the girl was crying, or perhaps the crying had just started. Asha blurred between the jaguar's brain and hers, seeking to retain a control she normally didn't force on the beast.

The girl apparently still came from a world where you could be skeptical about the reality of vampires. And probably weres, too.

It reminded her of Fray, against her will. Except she'd been too late for this one. Already fed on, and forcibly too, so that she was traumatized in the aftermath. Asha's muzzle wrinkled briefly in distaste.

"I would," Asha agreed. In fact... once, she had. Just hadn't realized the woman grabbing her arm and licking the blood off it had been a vampire. To be so human and naive.

The vampire was a she, and that made Asha hungry for more details.

"Who was she?"

A name, an appearance, any and everything she could get. Would all be helpful for... something, she told herself.

The cat wrinkled its muzzle at her words which had her a bit spooked till she understood it was merely body language agreeing. A simple 'I would' had her feeling a bit understood even if it was from a shifter. Under that fur was a person, a superhuman like the one who'd attacked the car, but a person nonetheless.

Natalie heard the next question and considered how to approach that. Amy had asked her not to for Natalie's own sake. A part of her was wondering if it'd put the vampire in harms way considering a mention of shifter relations had been brought up earlier. She was angry, upset, tired, and that loose apology didn't mean much to her right there and then. This werecat seemed concerned for her, or was at least playing at it enough, and Natalie sincerely wanted that to be true.

"I don't know. She went by Amy." She didn't know much else she realized. It'd been all very vague except that name.

She went by Amy.

Asha knew of an Amy-turned-vampire. She was the reason Fray told her to turn him. A hefty snort followed, rustling the grass before her.

"So she feeds forcibly. Abandons you here."

And now Asha was here, with another one of this girl's broken remains. There was a temptation to offer... something.

"I am going to get up. I need you to not run."

That was more of a warning than she needed to give, but Asha rose slowly nonetheless, padding forward a step to just... press her nose to the girl's hand.

No teeth flashing. No anything. Just a press, and a good sniff that might possibly end in a sneeze because mace was terrible, but she was also trying to pick up this Amy's dead vampire scent, as well as... show some sort of gentleness.

Maybe there was an especially strong drive to do just that in the wake of the extra evil torturous vampire the girl had just encountered.

That gave her a loud snort and she cringed.

When you summed it up like that, it made the whole ordeal feel like it could be neatly packed away and stored for later perusing. It didn't hold all the trauma that was sure to follow, all her fear, nor how much her world had changed. It didn't sit right and some part of her wanted to scream at the cat that she didn't understand.

Before she could say anything in response, the shifter was warning her not to run and telling her that there'd be no more laying down cat. Natalie knew very well that that running wasn't a good option at all right now. She didn't want to be food... again. "Ok" So she just nodded very slowly while watching the cat pad forward. The sheer size of it did nothing to calm her down, especially as the head of said jaguar? leaned towards her hand. She was trembling, but the touch from its nose was soft as it sniffed.

There was no sneeze, even though it was tempting.

She did manage to pick up something that wasn't human or mace. Death, but not the same twang as Beauregard's. A different sort of pungent that she wasn't accustomed to.

Aware of the girl's fear, she offered what was meant to be a very comforting lap of her rough cat tongue against her hand. The smells on it were awful, so it was no surprise that the taste was also awful, and her tongue curled on itself in brief disgust before she shook her head, before looking back up to her face.

"What is your name?"

A few more sniffs and then something warm and sand papery met her hand a few times. She realized immediately the jaguar was licking her hand. It reminded her of the few times housecat's had done so to her. It was meant as a non-threatening gesture and maybe... comfort? Over the last few minutes the shifter had talked with her and now was this close without attacking while offering cat licks. If they wanted to harm Natalie, she assumed it would've been done now or when they first met. It was hard for her to put any sense of trust into a new stranger, not to mention a giant cat, but whoever this was was winning her over just a bit. Enough for her shaking to cease and tears to calm.

The cat shook its head, done with her hand, before fixing those giant orange eyes on her.

Werejag asked for a name and the rumbling up close reminded her just a bit of how Aslan had been presented in the latest Narnia films, paired with the fact this was a giant cat. They were terrifying, but gorgeous.

"Natalie Wright," she said while wiping at her face again now that the effort would be worth it this time. "What is yours, if you don't mind," she asked quietly, not wanting them to take offense. Some part of her just really wanted confirmation that a human was under this fur. That she wasn't talking to some other thing. That this wasn't an illusion and that yep shifters actually did shift into animals.

Natalie Wright. She could have gone with a nickname, or just her first name, but if this was her real name, then it was her real name in full.

Asha might have smiled were she not... catfaced.

The question that followed was a reasonable one. It was unfortunate that she couldn't answer it.

"I can't give you my name unless I turn you into one of me," she said, and her rumbling voice was as gentle as it could get.

There was that offer, dancing on her sandpaper tongue. She pondered the words, the chance to... what, really? Make another Fray? Someone who would stab her in the back and toss her fake smiles when she didn't approve of their actions?

There was no guarantee that everyone was as awful as Fray.

"Unless you don't want to be a target for vampires anymore."

Abraham would hate her, but they were doing so much better now, so what else was new in their never ending cycle of ups and downs. At least this time she'd tell him the truth.

Asha eyed the hand she'd lapped, aware that she'd brought it to wiping away her tears, and realized belatedly that a single wrong swipe at the wrong part of her face could have done the job already. But if not, there was the offer.

That question went a direction she didn't like, saying she'd have to be turned to know the name of the jaguar. Turning in a vampire was the first on her no can do supernatural list. Turning into a werewolf, shifter whatever, prob a second on that same list. Nope, she wanted to stay human, that was a solid fact. Knowing that monsters existed was one thing, turning into one crossed a boundary she wouldn't be ok with. It wouldn't be her. She unintentionally took a small step back.

The second sentence that rumbled out felt like some kinda of warning of future events. She didn't want that either. What was she supposed to do, fight them off with a hairbrush? Considering they were in a giant field in the middle of the night, Natalie was very grateful to have a shifter nearby. Her two encounters with the kind and they'd been a lot better than what a vampire had been. Even still, she didn't want to become a monster herself just to be safe.

Swallowing thickly, she shook her head. "I.... no, thank you." She'd just keep calling her werejag in her mind as a substitute. It was an answer to the statements the shifter had said. Natalie figured they summed that thought up pretty well.

Refusal. For some reason, it came as a surprise, and it shouldn't have. No one in their right mind would have wanted any of this, and Asha the human had to remind herself of that.

But the cat expressed a powerful urge to bite her at her step back. Asha wanted very much to avoid that kind of thing, forcibly turning someone, especially when she'd already said she didn't want to... but holding the cat back while shifted had been such an unfamiliar sort of struggle.

It was a single moment where control slipped to the selfish animal, and the jaguar took a step forward to attempt the smallest nip at the girl's fingers.



Natalie hadn't been expecting the cat to take a very real swift step towards her after being so calming, but she'd been prepared for the worst just in case. Her heart leapt up into her throat as she let loose a startled gasp. Before she could do anything, Natalie felt teeth nip into her fingers.

Immediately, she pulled away her hand and swung with the other, wanting to hit the jaguar in the face with the bag she'd had at the ready just in case. Right before it made contact, the strap broke and the rest of its contents spilled out. She just stared wide-eyed at the giant werejag as pain caught up with her hand that felt just a bit wet now, and everything clattered. Well that was just great. The shifter had attacked her and then when she had wanted to protect herself it had failed which was probably going to anger it further. Honestly, she hoped it had a sense of humor or something.


That was an Asha thought, and she reeled the cat back mentally with all she had and scrambled for an explanation while the animal huffed mightily in frustration as the bag swung for her head and missed. She stepped back a hefty pace, eyeing the girl warily.

"I'm sorry— I just had to— needed to make sure you weren't already infected from before," which was a lie in the moment, but became true as she said it. If Natalie Wright had been infected from swiping her jaguar-lapped hand all over her face, then the nip would have immediately healed.

"Look at your hand. If you're still bleeding, you're still human."

Likely not more than small beads of blood from such a small bite. Even the jaguar had hesitated to truly hurt her.

It had stepped back and huffed. She was glad for that at least and watched it wearily. Goodbye bag, it was nice knowing you. Friendly jaguar was not meant to be trusted and will bite, noted.

The voice grumbled out again and she glared, not wanting to be attacked again. She knew very strongly that it if werejag decided to attack again, she was up shitcreek. However, the words made her shift her gaze to her hand that was hurting, worry rattling everything else out. "Before?" Before what? What would've changed her if the cat hadn't attacked? Turning it over, while using her phone's light, Natalie was thankful to see her fingers only had a small few punctures and not anything worse. Blood had beaded up which was why she'd felt wet fingers, but nothing significant at all in the long run.

Her questioning gaze looked towards the shifter as it was explained that if she was still bleeding she was human. That was a scary thought. What if she hadn't been? "Well I'm still bleeding, thank god." If she hadn't been, after trying to accept her life was a fur beast, she'd have a few choice paw swipes at that jaguars face later on. As it was, she desperately wanted to grab some bandaids that'd fallen to the ground, but moving had been bad last time and that had been by accident. So she just stood there, considering her choices and feeling backed up to a wall even though they were in the middle of nowhere with a field all around. This was all so unsafe and so wrong in her idea of how today would go and her rollercoaster just wasn't ending.

"This is just....." Too much. "Honestly, I just want to go home," Natalie said softly, non-injured hand grasping onto her other arm. It came out before she could think to keep that internalized.

"When you wiped your face after I... your hand," she explained in rumbles, glancing at all the items strewn about. "Saliva."

The girl was exhausted, and truthfully Asha sort of wanted her to just. Go home safely. Be human forever if she could manage it, and it seemed that, like Safi, she could.


"Can I walk you to the road until you get a ride. I'll stay back." And she would hold on even tighter to the cat, as long as the girl just. Stayed calm and walked and didn't show fear and all that.

In a gesture of goodwill, she took another three steps back, increasing the distance between them. Practically speaking, she could still leap that distance easily. But it was more about trying not to be threatening anymore. Which would hopefully help keep her calm?

The explanation that spit could've changed her surprised her. She'd just.... oh she'd touched her face. Oh god. Without even thinking, she'd almost infected herself unintentionally and that hadn't been the jaguar trying. Way to go almost screwing yourself over then. Well as soon as she could, she was going to use hand sanitizer and then just douse hot water over her hands with lots of soap. Make that all over her body, she wasn't taking any chances with vampire or werewolf over here with all their weird infection differences that books didn't state.

Werejaguar offered to walk her to the road which was great, because she still didn't know where that even began. If she just left the shifter to do so on her own, Natalie was very concerned it'd just literally stalk her without her seeing, not to mention any other things out in the night. Nope, nope, nope, she'd take her chances with the one she could see and had talked to. Even if it had bitten her and scared her and was a giant freaking cat.

It then walked back a few more steps, indicating it really would do so and wasn't trying to be threatening anymore than the presence already brang. "Yes, thank you." She was scared what else would show up if she said no. "Please."

She felt a tug at her heart. Natalie had no real reason to trust her, but... perhaps it was her naivety that allowed her to agree to it.

Asha would make every effort not to break that tentative trust, and took a further two steps back. Angling in the direction of the road, she made to lead the human safely. Privately... she was sort of relieved it hadn't worked after all. She didn't need two more angry jaguars hating her.

She would keep silent unless the girl had anything to say while her cat pondered imagery of casual violence. nO, cat.

Two more steps back and then took what she assumed the lead. Natalie felt just a bit of tension leave her, not much considering, but enough. Werejag wanted to help despite previous actions. Her gaze went to the bag's contents and she figured not much could be rescued, so she bent down and grabbed her wallet and left the rest. Keeping her hands free and ready was the best course of action even if it didn't mean much to anything not human. It still made her feel better than stuffed arms full of useless stuff she could just buy at the supermarket later.

Natalie then made to follow her furry acquaintance on high alert. Her eyes wouldn't stop roving the fields and she hated hated hated feeling more like prey than she ever had in her life.

After a minute or so, her gaze landed on the shifting shoulders of the giant cat for a few beats. There was power in that walk. Her phone light shined on the spots and something clicked. She'd seen a cat similar to this in Amber's photos. "Are there more jaguars that look like you?"

She was okay to commit to silence. Talking through the jaguar's voice was an effort, which was why her speech was more often shortened than not. Still an untrained skill, for all she partook in it.

But the silence didn't last long. She flicked a small ear to the question, or to the sound of words happening really.

"Just me."

It was a lie, but it protected the other jaguars. If Natalie stayed human, she never, ever, ever needed to know about the rest of them. That was more than Fray had done for her, and she took some comfort in knowing that.

Besides, she was the cat that had been on TV in the Larkspur Incident anyway.

The answer was short and not what she'd expected, but it confirmed that this was the jaguar she'd seen in photos and probably tv if she'd been paying attention to that. It almost seemed lonely though to be the only of your species. Perhaps her and that coyote were friends or at least knew each other. Oh gosh, why was she worried about friendships and how lonely this werejag was. Because it kept her mind from going down that spiral it desperately wanted to do, that it would do when she closed her front door.

"Oh ok," she said, not wanting to push the subject nor upset the cat. In better situations she'd have complimented how gorgeous the shifter was as a follow-up.

It was quiet again except for their walking and she only jumped four times when a bug jumped on her and didn't cry at all, thank you very much. Her feet then met gravel before feeling a more solid pavement and she wanted to leap with joy, but didn't. Shining her phone, she saw they had made it to the road. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she breathed out to the jaguar. Turning her attention fully to the screen she was so happy to see reception this time. It was surreal for her to unlock it and then dial 911 after a few moments of deliberation. Uber or Lyft were off the table. Those drivers she didn't know and she'd had enough of that tonight. The police though... she could probably trust? She assumed her jaguar friend would be able to tell her if they weren't human and she took heart in that as the other end picked up.

Nothing after, which was something of a relief. She'd nearly expected a "WOW SO THAT WAS YOU?" and truthfully she wasn't sure how emotionally equipped she was to handle that.

So. She flinched to one jump, but when it was nothing, resorted to using her senses to be sure nothing was behind them.

And then eventually, they were at the road and she was... calling someone. Asha heard "911, what's your emergency," and she tensed.

She was calling the cops.

Asha would listen to what she said to them and hope to God for her sake she wouldn't mention a gigantic fucking jaguar.

She listened and stared at where she was, looking around for clues of some sort. Her gaze had went to her jaguar friend as they asked what her emergency was. Yeah... they weren't going to believe a single thing of this except maybe some highlights. Warning in mind from earlier and the change in tension the jaguar was immenating, had her pause. She needed to be a bit tactile with this. Werejag had done nothing to get scared off by pistols, not to mention she'd be left alone with the giant cat till someone came to get her. They didn't need to know that part, they just needed to know she needed help for now. And it wasn't from werejag, but from everything else lurking nearby at this moment.

"Uh, I was kidnapped and kind of just dropped off in the middle of nowhere... in the outskirts somewhere outside of Larkspur. Can I please be picked up?" That last bit came out trembly despite her best efforts. Natalie wanted to say vampire as well, but that didn't seem right and she'd balked. That was still news she was processing and so it hadn't rolled off the tongue. Thankfully, she'd paid attention to the directions Amy had taken enough to know she wasn't in a direct city area. She had some information, but the rest was all new roads and areas she wasn't familiar with. They'd probably have to walk forever to get to a main thoroughfare and that was disheartening.

She heard them tell her to stay on the line with them as they sent a police vehicle her way, thankfully able to track her phone's location after a few moments. A sigh of relief as she met the shifter's orange eyes.

What she managed to tell the officer on the line was good, and Asha relaxed for it. But the officer stayed on the line, and... that meant she would just have to keep quiet about final warnings and all that.

Or. Maybe she could conjure something. Maybe they wouldn't even pick it up if she said it quietly.

"Could you... not. Talk. About me."

No one ever seemed to respect that, but it was an effort worth asking for it anyway.

Natalie waited a bit in quiet until the jaguar very softly asked her to not talk about them. She took a moment of just looking at those eyes and the furred and spotted form. This was a person who'd had the power to hurt her and hadn't intentionally meant any hard. In fact, they'd taken her to the road and were waiting with to make sure Natalie was safe. They'd even tried to comfort her, all shooken as she was.

Slowly, she nodded, putting her hand over the microphone on her phone. "I won't," she promised. Natalie would try her best. In her day to day, she didn't intended to terrify kids or teachers about a giant jaguar prowling in the dark. As for the authorities, they wouldn't know anything about the cat. There was no reason to tell them when even though she'd been bitten, it hadn't been in malice and she wasn't infected.

She had no way to believe it was true, but she supposed a promise was more comforting than a brazen lack of one. Asha would have nodded if it wouldn't have looked utterly ridiculous as a giant cat.

"Thank you."

She would, unfortunately, have to move away as she heard the approach of a car from some distance. The last thing she needed was cops shining a flashlight on her and shooting at her.

"Get home safely," was what she departed with, and then she was gone in a flash of werespeed, and to the human eye leaving only disturbed grass and empty space in her absence.

She hoped Natalie Wright stayed safe.

A rumble of thanks before she heard a car approaching and a headlights in the distance starting to light up the fields around. The werejag wished her well and that let loose a bit of warmth in her chest. The cat was there and then suddenly not, grass shifting.

Turning her attention back towards the approaching cop car, she waved at it as the dispatcher confirmed it was her ride. Oh thank goodness she could go home now. She probably looked like hell as she climbed gratefully into the car of the well meaning cop whom was thankfully human. Natalie had had enough with supernatural anything for a while. Her gaze went to the fields once more before closing the door, a silent thank you expressed in her thoughts for whomever that shifter had been.

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