North Glenn 
 It had been weeks. His life had been a low-frequency hum of routine, for the most part: work, patrol, drink, Cage, shift, sleep. The holidays had come and gone with little in the way of fanfare or celebration. No gifts. No decorations. Bah humbug. New Years Eve had come and gone in much the same way - although he had gone to some little human woman's house to end the night with a bang. Pun intended, sorry.

 That was perhaps the nail in the coffin in which his resolve lay. He had felt... gross. Something he struggled to put his finger on. The top of the mountain of unfamiliar and unpleasant things that had plagued him in the empty space left behind. He had no idea what to think - the wolf, even less. It only knew that something was amiss, compounding his restless displeasure.

 He bought a bottle. He had every intention of going home and killing it, but instead he was suddenly in bear country. His skin nearly prickled with the sensation of being in someone else's home. What was he doing here? Making a god damn fool of himself. Dante knew exactly where he was going; he didn't want to do it, but not as much as he wanted to. At war with himself and full of poor decisions, the man would be nearly done with the bottle by the time he parked in front of Alexandra Davidson's house.

 He loitered in his truck. Maybe she wasn't home - but she was. Her presence was as palpable as ever. He could leave. He could just go. He should.

 He shuffled up to her door, movements slow to reduce the drunken sway in his steps. What if the cops were watching? What if a cop was here right now? He leaned against the door frame, inhaling. There was no strong scent of human. No extra heartbeat. He exhaled in a quiet sigh, head lowered, hair hanging around his face. He was a fucking idiot.

@"Alexandra Davidson"


 It seeped in before it encompassed everything all at once, slow and then impossible to evade - wolf, as familiar as coyote or even goddamn bear by this point. Disarming in the sense that it made her stop in her tracks, a soft spot in the floor and suddenly she was up to her fucking eyes in panic. Surely this was bad, terrible enough that she wondered if it was official - it had to be ... right? She set the butter knife down so that the end hung over the sink, just in case she wanted another sandwich after all.

 The first few steps were shamefully slow and soft, tiptoeing around her own house like she was the one sniffing around strange lands. Glancing towards the front door like it was the end of a long and stretching tunnel to god knew what. Levka was probably picking up on this - she hoped that his nosy rooting about was a fleeting interest, that he wouldn't come sniffing at the back door and trying to peer through the slats of the blinds.

 The handgun and it's incendiary rounds were tucked away in the hall closet until a small mountain of underappreciated beanies and scarves;. She couldn't imagine using it on him, but after everything, there was a tiny voice in the back of her head that reasoned that, maybe, just perhaps, preparing for the absolute worst wouldn't be so stupid.

She left it where it was.

 Threading the chain from the lock before she turned the deadbolt, she pulled the door open and positioned her body to block the way in. Muscle memory, old tricks of the trade as she pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth and focused on that to try to keep her expression flat. "What happened?" Nodding to the bottle she noticed almost immediately, panicked at the idea of leaving him in plain sight on her doorstep. But pride was a hell of a crutch, and like fuck did she want to paw and drag him inside so readily.

 He didn't knock. He didn't have to. Her steps were nearly inaudible, but he could hear the soft, tiny details of her approach. Her breath. Her heart. The quiet brush of her pants as she walked. The metallic clack of the lock moving back, the twist of the knob. He straightened himself, movements delayed, as her face appeared in the doorway.

 What happened?

 Dante stared at her, stunned, as if he had meant to show up at someone else's doorstep. As if he'd thought she stopped existing. This was so surreal. What the fuck was he doing here? He had no plan. Just. Well. He wasn't sure. What happened? He pulled his weight off the doorway, free hand rising to rub down his face, pulling at his beard. He didn't know how to answer her question. The nearly-empty bottle swung slightly in his other hand.

 The dumb silence drew for a few long seconds before he finally muttered, "Can I... come in."

 It struck her almost as soon as she had stupidly asked what this was, it was some sort of misplaced ... something. Digging at compacted dirt with the tips of your fingers, a fucking animal in a tank too small that bumped constantly against the glass and hoped it would be gone the next time. She'd been there - she'd done this, in her own way. It made her stomach twist to see it, nodding without a word as she shuffled back and motioned for him to come on in with a leery glance to the dimly lit street.

 "You changed your number." It wasn't a question, inarguable as far as she was concerned. Every attempt to contact him after the first ending in a dial tone. She supposed asking gave away the knowledge that she called, but that didn't seem so shameful since he'd shown up halfway drunk on her doorstep after well over a month of nothing.

"You want some water? ... A cup?"

 He hadn't expected her to let him in. It seemed more likely that she would slam the door in his face. Didn't he deserve that? But here she was, moving out of the way and leaving the door open, making some kind of movement that his brain registered as inviting. He stepped carefully, the bottle knocking clumsily against the door frame as he crossed the threshold. The floor threatened to wiggle under his feet.

 She spoke. He changed his number. Dante swallowed dryly, glancing at her face and sighing through his nose. Speaking seemed really hard. There was nothing he could say that would be good. Did he want some water? He looked at the bottle in his hand. He didn't want water. "I didn't change my number," he slurred, unscrewing the lid and lifting the bottle to his lips to drain it. The reason she couldn't contact him was because he had broken his phone. Saying as much felt idiotic now, even with his inhibitions blown to shit. "Sorry I missed your call."

 Quid pro quo, rolling over like stiff coyote taxidermy and ignoring a couple phone calls weren't remotely the same. Logically she knew that - that she had blown a fucking cannonball sized hole in things and he was blowing spitballs. That didn't stop her from balking, didn't keep her from clenching her teeth for a moment as she tried to settle with his indifferent response.

 "I can tell you're not fully functioning right now - but why are you ... why are you here, Dante?" Tired at the mere thought of having some tense and uncomfortable small talk with him. The contract to any previous arrangement simple - there was none. No term assigned, no guaranteed stay in one another's lives, they'd broken nothing but that didn't stop the feeling that this whole mess was tiptoeing around shards of glass.

"I don't think anyone gives enough of a shit to be staked outside my house, but I can't guarantee anything."

 She was going to make him say it, wasn't she? She was going to make him say something he didn't want to say, much less acknowledge. Shit, she probably didn't want to hear it. Dante screwed the lid back on the empty bottle, lowered it onto the coffee table and raked a tattooed hand back through his hair. Briefly, his eyes swam up to the window, as if he might suddenly see blue lights, and like a shaken bottle of soda, he exploded. She wasn't even done talking when he opened his mouth. Fuck the police.

 "You ruined everything, Alex!" He gestured sharply with his hands. No, that sounded not good. He didn't mean to say that. "I mean, I was fine - the silence in the apartment. Eating alone. Sleeping alone. None of that used to bother me." No, that wasn't good either. He growled, a very human sound, frustrated with himself and everything. "I've never. I've never..." The man trailed off, moving his dumb stare from her down to the bottle on the table. He'd never been made to feel that way.

 There wasn't even enough time to get pissed off about being accused of being a black dog - a goddamn death omen. Not enough time to form the syllables to tell him to fuck off before he spiraled further, nose-dived like a spectacular and humbling sort of disaster. It made her chest tight, a lump in her throat as the failsafe of the whole tongue-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth trick started to fail after all. She knew that feeling, that someone had taken the goddamn keystone out of a perfectly formed defense.

 "You never, what?" She cleared her throat, like all it took was some adjusting of the strings and she would be able to fill in the role of mature, composed. "Never thought of anyone but yourself? Never felt anything besides angry, horny, or hungry? That's fucking bullshit. Don't blame me because you have to feel your fucking feelings." A hypocrite perhaps, but that was one pointed finger she didn't want to bare single-handedly.

 "I didn't want this." She shook her head, looked away from him and stared at a corner of the coffee table that had been rounded and beaten up over time as she steepled her fingers and pressed them together until they curved. "I want to be there too, asshole - I didn't go looking to leave. But if I didn't take the fucking deal I would be in jail and they would go snooping around my loose ends - you're one of my loose ends." She looked back to him, interlocked her fingers and wrung them.

"So I did what I thought I had to do- for the both of us."

 She filled in the blanks with her own version before he could find the words to do it himself. She laid into him, accusing him, labeling him as a selfish dog. His face twitched in the shadow of his unkempt hair as the wolf devoured his anger with ease. She was wrong, he defended himself in his mind. He had thought of his brothers in arms. His brothers in fur. He’d thought of her too, hadn’t he? He heaved another sigh, audibly angry, teeth clamped on venomous words. He wasn’t sure he could make this better, but there was no question that he could make it worse.

 She carried on, and as she looked away he would look at her again, face furrowed in frustration. He didn’t like what she was saying - probably because he realized, with a sobering mental pop, that she was right. Some pig had dug deep enough to find her out. He had thought her selfish. Foolish. Now look at him.

 His insides squirmed, clenching with shame and fury. Dante was not a man who handled being wrong well, much less any complex feeling. He felt... emasculated. He slowly stuffed his hands into his pockets, lowering his eyes from her face to her feet, wordless for a while. His head was beginning to ache.

 "I’m an escaped convict, Alex," he muttered, as if he’d never revealed as much to her before. "I don’t know. I just. Didn’t get this far to be shot like a rabid dog if some cop sniffs me out, too. But." A shrug of giant shoulders from a man who felt like a child. He had never felt smaller than her before. There was no dignified way to tell her that he missed her. That a thousand regrets banged around underneath the callouses of anger. That he was real fucking sorry.

 "Well, I've done less than legal shit since before I could drive, so ..." A gentle mumble to remind him that, even if she'd never actually seen the inside of a prison cell first hand, she knew how long that shadow could reach. Silent for a while, processing just how many fucking ways the word 'but' could spider off into the good and the bad. "But here we are." Vague, but it felt like the best fit for their circumstances.

 She hesitated a moment, leaned in just enough to barely touch her shoulder against his, watched the ground. "I don't know if I'm as stuck as I thought ... but I don't know if it's worth the risk to find out."

 Yeah, he knew. She was as much of a criminal as he was, the only difference was that he’d been caught long before her. But here they were.

 God, he felt stupid. He felt weak. He wondered if ever there would come a time when wolf overrode man to the point that he could not feel these things.

 But she leaned against him, and though the touch was light the familiarity warmed him, intensifying his headache. A barbed hook in his mouth, even as she said what was perhaps the worst truth so far. It was a huge risk. Just being here felt like jeopardy to his freedom. Everything in him knew it wasn’t worth it.

 And yet here he was, lifting an arm to pull her around and against him. Unable to resist the temptation, moving without thought. If she would let him, he would press his face into her hair, aware that he probably smelled like he’d taken a swim in a pool of whiskey. "I didn’t change my number. The phone broke." It felt better to say than he had broken it.

 The pull inwards was not announced, treated as no big fuss even as she pressed hip to hip with him and half rested her head against his shoulder. Simple, innocent enough - but still nice to feel even remotely wanted. She closed her eyes, chuckled at the correction and found that it soothed her a great deal. "Big man break phone, angry." Mumbled under her breath, a few steps of an all too familiar routine. Content to allow the smell of liquor to slide, not a personal vice as of late but one she knew good and well.

 "I don't think he's told the rest of the precinct about me. But someone else has to know, right?" Hopeful he would quash that optimism, the idea that perhaps there was just one man between her and freedom once more. s

 Her Hulk impression was endearing, and he huffed a single breath of amusement, watching little golden tendrils of hair puff away from his face and then dance back down. It would be funnier if it wasn't sad. His thumbs drew small circles on her back as he resisted some childish urge to just drop all his weight against her.

 He shrugged lightly at her words. "Probably," he muttered flatly. If she had a file, and someone had come at her to make a deal, whatever officer had infiltrated her life probably had higher-ups or peers that were privy to the life and times of Alexandra Davidson. That meant he would just have to get over missing her filling up one side of the bed, emptying part of the fridge, sending him stupid jokes. There was a tight stretch of silence as two parts of him warred over what was to be said and what wasn't.

 "I'm sorry. If I hurt you." It couldn't be as bad as almost being slaughtered over a dirty tub, right? Or maybe it was worse. Fuck. "I uh. I'm gonna miss you."


 She wasn't stupid, but just as some people started talking to god when shit hit the fan - there was a fearful sort of hope in the idea that it could be so simple. Probably not. She nodded to show she heard him, didn't trust her voice to say anything further about it without getting weird and whiney as her throat started to feel tight. A self-made cage in a way, having bought all the supplies throughout the course of her life only to end up isolated inside.

 The apology was worse though, made her exhale in a huff, a sort of laugh she supposed that was more dismayed than anything else. A considerate caveman, stomping up to her door and apologizing for messes that they didn't even acknowledge. "Yeah. Same." Quick enough, two words before she cleared her throat and sat up a bit straighter.

"I'm not dying, Dante."

 Yeah, same. Good enough. Suddenly, Dante couldn't recall any time she had hurt him, besides slamming a toaster into the side of his skull. The last text she had sent him had felt really painful, but he'd learned that lesson. It would seem that he was the shitty person here. They were both rough around the edges, but man, didn't she deserve better than that?

 She wasn't dying. He huffed a breath that was both amused and frustrated, but didn't immediately speak. Instead he would draw back some, enough to look at her as he lifted a hand to her face. Brushing hair behind her ear, touching her cheek. "I wanna go to prison as much as you do," he said lowly, forlorn. They both knew what prison would mean for any were. They'd be lucky if a quick bullet to the brain was the only thing that happened. "So. I dunno, Alex. I guess... call me when you've been pardoned."

 Maybe his heart wrenched. Or maybe it was just his writer's heart.

 Prison as a Were meant death - the moon was unavoidable, his hands were a weird combination of warm and rough. She tilted her head, leaned into it the slightest bit and stared at him. Imagined choking him for this, for showing up less than sober and biting into half-healed bullshit wounds, for pouring gasoline on a fire that was halfway out.

 "I'm not going to be pardoned, Dante. I helped someone sell people. I killed people - I ran a weapons ring, I -" She stopped, shrugged her shoulders and pressed her fingers together to keep from touching him in turn. "I'm not going to be pardoned." She turned from him, swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded to herself as she accepted the words, swallowed them and tried to settle with it.

"I missed you."

Not yet ready for setting that feeling in the direction of the future.

 Her response was a lot like a slap in the face, and Dante could feel very centimeter of his expression fold into itself in anger and confusion. She wasn't going to be pardoned. The hand that had been at her face was left to cup air, and instead moved to rake back through his hair, tugging at it in silent frustration until he felt a couple strands snap out of his scalp. She wasn't going to be pardoned.

 Another long silence would expand between them in the wake of her more vulnerable words. He had missed her, too. A lot more than he would ever care to admit that he had missed anyone or anything. He inhaled slowly, but the air moved out in a rush. "You're... if they're sending you to prison anyway... what's the point?" He might have sounded a little exasperated, a little desperate to understand. What was the benefit of being a rat if you still got stuck in a cage? Why couldn't she have just ghosted him? It would have been easier than this.

 He seemed frustrated - it made the whole goddamn thing a table for two, but she decided now wasn't the time to be so immature as to point that out. Instead, she looked back at him properly when she realized what he was getting at and immediately shook her head. "No, sorry - I am pardoned. That whole file is waived, but ... that pardon came at the cost of this informant deal." And that was a different sort of life sentence as far as she could tell - not the sort that could be cut loose with enough brown nosing and finger-pointing.

 "It doesn't have a shelf life, this could be forever if I don't ghost or kill him. That's all I meant." She pulled her legs up despite her boots, took a deep breath and laid her head back. "Guys got a hard-on against vampires though, so I'm trying to focus him on that."

 Dante stared her down as she spoke, and when she cleared up the misunderstanding, he released a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. Still. An informant for life. He ran a tired hand over his face, eyes closing for a moment, head drooping. Thinking. It was hard to make his brain work around so much shit.

 Eventually, he would move to settle beside her, leaving just enough space between them that they weren't touching. His weight poured forward, elbows resting on his knees. "At least he's a vampire hater," he muttered with some half-assed attempt at humor. Really, though; could he bring the guy a vampire head on a platter and get some kind of pardon, too? Doubtful. A nice fantasy, at any rate.

 His head pounded with the deep end of what would hopefully be a short-lived hangover. Dante sighed, glad to focus on physical pain over any other kind for a little bit.

 He leaned forward, she stayed where she was and watched him cradle his head, chewed on her lip and rolled her eyes at the attempt at humor. "Yeah. I told him about a run-in I had a couple weeks ago and he actually got me a gun." She shrugged her shoulders. " I've not officially been issued it so - that's what makes me think he's not really operating as he should be. But they got incendiary rounds and UV flashlights so, small progress."

She didn't want to think of what they had where Were's were concerned.

Careful, she barely crossed the invisible borders between their bodies, brushed the tips of her fingers against the back of his arm.

 Dante listened to her speak, privately impressed by the information she gave. Incendiary rounds and UV flashlights. He wanted some of those. At least she would be well-equipped for whatever kind of shit this line of duty got her into. Not that she wasn't already perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but having a couple extra proverbial stakes for the heart sure didn't hurt. He hummed a quiet note of approval.

 She touched him again, and his eyes opened to focus on the floor. He sat up a little straighter, turning his head enough to look at her from the corner of his eye before he let a hand settle on her knee. "I missed you, too." Soft, mushy Dante. Vulnerability was so very alien, it nearly made his skin crawl. But Alex had earned it, really, and the fact that he might go another several weeks at least without seeing her again was... kind of helpful. Knowing that maybe this would have an opportunity to scab over soon.

 She watched his hand on her knee, annoyed by all the sentimental bullshit that now cluttered up her brain space. Long deleted texts, stupid shit like mornings spent dicking on her phone and trying not to wake him up after a closing shift. Mundane crap that meant nothing but still stained. Calmly, slowly, she hooked her arm with his and tilted, leaned in to press her cheek against his shoulder as she laid her hand over his.

 "Don't interrupt me and don't respond if you don't want to ..." Not drunk, but pretty resigned by then all the same. "I don't want you to go. I know you should, I know you will - but I hate it. I don't expect shit from you, you know? Never have." Still. "But I'm going to try to find a way to fix this."

 She leaned into him, covering his hand with her own and began to speak. He would respect her time, quiet as he listened to her spiel. Her words reached some deep corner in him as he was struck, suddenly, with the realization that he was not alone on his little island of bizarre feelings. She had missed him. She didn't want him to go. He fixed her with his gaze. She didn't expect anything from him? He wasn't sure what that was supposed to mean. Like, commitment? He didn't know if he could bear to share her; having her stolen by the FBI was difficult enough. But she was going to try to fix it.

 Dante leaned his cheek against the crown of her head, quiet for a while. He wasn't sure how to respond.

 "Please do," he finally resigned himself to say.

 The single most aggravating thing in all this shit was that there was nothing more she could ask him to do in good faith. Anything further was really just pure selfishness, asking him to put out more than she could provide. He'd voiced his disappointment, he'd explained himself, it was done.


 Stupid as it was, she focused her attention on how he rested against the top of her head, closed her eyes and relaxed there as long as she could before it got too intimate and telling. Ducking out from beneath him, she kissed him on the cheek. "While you're here -" It still wasn't fair, but she'd allow herself to steal a few seconds at least. "Have I missed anything exciting?"

 Dante could have gone to sleep with his aching head resting on hers. His eyes landed somewhere on the opposite wall and zoned out, blinking back to life only when she moved again. He straightened up, taking the peck on the cheek with unspoken warmth. He huffed a short breath of a laugh and shook his head.

 "No." A pause, then, "Well, I did have an interesting run in with some dude at a laundry mat. Someone pissed in his Cheerios and he thought he was going to take it out on me... so I put him in his place." A proud moment, really. "Guess he wised up because he left pretty quickly."

 "What a badass." Deadpan and immediate as she allowed herself to shift, put her legs over his as if to keep him anchored further, an additional security measure. "I ran into the vampire from Night Vision at a thrift store a while back - I think he tried to do some fucked up mind shit again." Think was the understatement of the century, but she didn't want to paint herself as helpless or in distress.

"Basically, everything sucks."

 Just the thought of some putrid bloodsucker attempting to brainwash Alex made him bristle. He stiffened palpably, inner beast alert to his aggravation as his hands lowered to settle on her legs. This could feel normal if it weren’t so totally bizarre. Again, she was perfectly capable of protecting herself, but damn it if he didn’t wish he could help. This looming separation made him... anxious, in that regard. At least she had the cops on her side, right?

 "He didn’t, though, right?" he grumbled, eyeing her warily.

 "I don't think so? The asshole seems smart enough to cover if he did though." She place her hands over his, curled her fingers to hold him there. "Like I said, I got him on a vampire kick ... I'll call you if that changes?" Clearly, not talking about a vampire in the furniture section of a thrift store any longer.

 Dante didn't really care for that answer, but... she didn't seem any different as far as he could tell. That was good enough for him, for now. He lifted his thumbs to curl over the backs of her hands. Little things like this. He was going to miss this. How he had taken anything about her for granted baffled him in this moment.

 "I'll send him vampires to appease the FBI gods," he muttered. "If he gets a taste for wolf blood I'd appreciate the warning." The man lifted her hands to his face, brushing his mouth over the backs of her knuckles. He sighed against her warm skin. "Guess I should leave you my new number." He would trust her not to save it under anything conspicuous - maybe she wouldn't save it at all.

 He guessed. This wasn't personal, it was smart - it was the right thing to do ... keep a safe distance, protect the pack, Were's can't go to jail. Smart. She nodded, tried not to take offense even as she retracted her hands from him but kept her back to the arm of the couch, her legs over him. "You don't have to." She grimaced, looked up at the ceiling as if she were inspecting for water damage and shrugged her shoulders.

"If you don't want me to have it, I get it."

 Dante frowned some at her, watching her retract into herself. She looked up as she spoke. "I would like you to have it," he assured her, words gruff, reaching out to brush her chin with his fingers. "I just. I trust you to be smart about it. You know." Escaped convict. If the cops sniff through your phone, don't tip them off to the hulking criminal werewolf.

 The slightest touch and she looked back at him, nodded just enough to hopefully not discourage his hand away. "I know, I wouldn't." Resigned, for the most part - still happy enough to see him, still glad. But it was like being under house arrest in a way, the illusion that all was fine and then a sharp beep of a warning from time to time to serve as a heavy reminder that it wasn't, just when she got a little too comfortable.

"Believe it or not, you can trust me."

 "I better," he said, and for all there might be some humor to the words, he was serious. After all this, hell yeah, he better be able to trust her as much as he did. The hand at her chin touched her cheek again, curled a lock of hair behind her ear. Then it fell away and he leaned slightly, pulling the cheap phone from his back pocket so that he could exchange numbers with her. It felt a lot like finalizing this meeting. He hated it.

 Sadly enough, there was some impulse to follow his hand like a dog that had gone too long without acknowledgment. She didn't do it, hoisted herself up above that level of pathetic as she leaned to the side to slide her phone from her pocket as well. She didn't move her legs, added a new contact and hovered over the on-screen keyboard when it came to entering a name.

 It didn't feel like her place to call him out of his name, not anymore at least. And besides it was important to use discretion, so she opted for a pizza emoji before saving it with a weird sense of somber finality. "I just - I just wanna know, ya know? Are you really going to like, text me and stuff or ...?" Was this like the adult version of writing HAGS & KIT in a yearbook.

 He looked at her as she spoke. He hadn’t really thought about it. This had seemed to him like a “just in case” type of exchange. Keeping in touch with her might make the weird pain in his chest worse. Maybe it would make it better. Keeping a light sort of tabs on her - making sure she was still alive.

 After a while, he said, "Yeah. I can do that." He heaved a sigh, glancing at the clock on his screen. The hour was late. Surely no one was creeping around at this hour except him. He put the phone aside, squeezed her knees in an attempt to tickle her. He needed some fucking levity.

 Could, not would - like it hadn't been the plan but so be it. There was no time to dismiss it before he started dancing his fingers around the back of her knees and she started twisting and trying to pull away from him. Moving at once to lurch forward and hopefully shove him down and onto his side. "Don't get your ass beat - again.." Laughing the whole while.

 He tickled and she shoved, with the customary threat, as was so normal. There was a bittersweetness to it. He could ask her to take him back to the bedroom, to spend one more night. But that also felt like it could be salt in the wound. It felt like standing on a perilous tightrope - stay, or go? Stay, or go?

 Rip it off, just like a bandaid. Lose a little less hair for it.

 He sat up, grin fading to a neutral line under the cover of his facial hair. "I gotta go," he informed her sullenly. Gotta muscle past the longing.

 She imagined knocking him off, knocking him on the floor between the couch and the coffee table for old times sake. Instead, she froze just long enough that he had managed to let doubt creep in and any jovial innocence that had managed to sneak past was now dead in the water. "No you don't. No one's making you." Not quite so willing to make this easier than it should have been. "But you're going to anyway - so go."

 Her words warranted a frown. No one was making him go - just himself, for a higher chance of survival. And yet, her answer irritated him. So go. Just like that. He knew she didn't want him to; maybe that was her version of ripping off the bandaid. And yet here he was, finding himself staring sullenly at her, like she'd just kicked a puppy. Why did this hurt so much?

 Dante moved, but instead of wiggling out from under her, he would grab her face in both hands, and if she would let him, he would kiss her. Just a taste to tide him over, right?

 This wasn't going home, it wasn't even the first step to getting that done - not even making it to his own feet before he roped her in. More annoyed than she had any right to be that he couldn't do her the immense favor of being the responsible party even when it hurt to do just that.

 Still, she pulled one knee up onto the cushions, leaned over him and slid her hands over his. "You fucking suck." Muttered against the corner of his mouth.

 Wow, he had missed this. The simple act of being this close to her, pressed against her warm face, breathing her in. She moved, leaning over him, cursing him. Who sucked more, him or her? It was a close tie. He kissed her again, a little tug at her lower lip. A sigh.

 He should go. He really should go. Right now. Instead, here he was, putting his hand on the back of her thigh so that he might pull her over into his lap. The other hand went for her neck, fingers combing up the back of her scalp as he kissed at her jaw. He should go. But he really didn’t fucking want to.

 Really needed to go, but it was easy to turn this into a challenge, to lessen the guilt by trying to make it a game of keeping him as distracted from reality for as long as possible. Make up a scenario - it was a Thursday night, she had ordered a pizza on his dime, she was a dumb ass who didn't edit out the address ... there were no cops or bargains to avoid jail time.

 The perfect pretend world in which she could squeeze his shoulders without guilt, lean back enough on his legs to tilt her head back and predict each kiss. Sliding her hands down to his sides and turning to lean in and nip just below his ear - selfish as she tried to leave the tiniest little mark there. Nothing crucial, just ... something. Whispering there and closing her eyes tight when she wanted to scream at herself for it.

 In the face of this opportunity, the wolf gave no fucks about a potential police encounter or emotional strife. It urged him onto a single track, which began with this, a woman right where the most primal part of him wanted her to be. Where his sides flexed and relaxed against her touch, where his mouth left her neck only to have the action reciprocated. Her teeth stung his skin, and any notion of leaving right this damn minute was torn to shreds and thrown into the wind.

 There was an edge of ferocity as his hands moved to the hem of her shirt, a special brand of frustration making his movements a little rough as he made to tug it up over her head. Frustration in what he should do versus what he was doing; for taking something he shouldn’t, an act that had never bothered him before. His head dropped to her shoulder, exchanging bites and kisses in a heady trail across her collar.

 The plan had been to indulge the slightest bit, to take a few seconds and then send him off. She wouldn't text, wouldn't pester, if he wanted to talk she would be there and if he did not then so be it. But when her arms raised half out of instinct to aid him in tossing her shirt to the side as if it burned, that felt less important by the second.

 Tensing at the relative chill of the room, she nosed against the part of his hair, huffed there and pulled to try to urge his head back to look him in the eye. "Dante ..."

 There were so many stupid cliches he could think of in regards to this moment, if he could think of anything beyond warm skin. That was short-lived, as she pulled back, spoke his name. For all Dante was not a gentleman and was full of terrible qualities, he at least had the sense to stop when she seemed uncertain, as much as he really didn't want to. He looked up at her, considering those baby blues as he leaned back against the couch, then lowered his gaze to the marks he'd left on her, what might soon be a necklace of bruises. "Sorry," he muttered, hands lowering to rest complacently on her legs.

 "Look, don't." It was the sort of thing were, if it were any closer to the moon, if it had been another day, maybe she would have taken a swing by then. But it wasn't, and so instead she was stuck with a lot of urges and a contradictory and nagging reminder of his completely sane logic from when he'd first shown up. Bad touch, jail time, trouble - and maybe that would be a gamble she'd selfishly take if it wasn't for the fact that he had the good fortune of having a proper pack, being a notable part of that pack to boot.

 "I want you to stay, I want to move back and I promise I won't throw anything heavy at you anymore and -" She wasn't drunk, and a half a mind of Were knowledge told her he was falling out of that mindset rapidly. "I like you." Gross understatement, but if now wasn't the time for awkward pawing and makeup sex, maybe it also wasn't the time for voicing shit that made her want to throw up if she thought about it too much.

"I gotta figure out what the fuck to do with this asshole first."

 She was probably doing both of them a favor. Even if her sweet words also stung. He liked her too, or whatever, but saying as much out loud right now might make him spontaneously combust. So he merely nodded his head in somber acceptance, breathing a long sigh.

 "Yeah," he agreed gruffly. Alex was right. This couldn’t be sloppily done - whatever “this” was. They needed a plan to skirt the consequences of being fucking delinquents. "Alright." He leaned up, kissed her on the cheek, slowly returning to that feeling that he should be gone, but... less regretful in some way.

 Yeah, alright. She took a moment to glance over her shoulder, tried to be as nonchalant about it as possible. Her shirt was too far to reach without getting up properly, so she accepted that she would be going without for the time being. For all she knew, the second she got off his lap he'd be halfway out the door. And for as fair as that might have been, it didn't feel very fair when she was trying to cut off what she could to stow away.

"If I had an idea and I told you about it, you'd tell me if it was fuckin' stupid - right?"

 There was a moment of silence, and Dante was eager for it to end. What now? She spoke up, and he leaned back into the couch a little more, still holding her legs. "Tell me," he grunted. She could count on him for bluntness if nothing else.

 Well, that was an answer in a round about way. She leaned back a bit, did what she could to avoid hurting him as she placed move of her weight on her knees. "I can't run and not leave a mess for you and everyone who knows me. I can't kill him." She chewed her lip at the absurdity. "What if I turned him?"

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