Camp Baron family tree

house reference
right after this

It was just going to be one of those long days.

But Eli had managed to get the two women back to his house, miles and miles from where he'd found them. And it was to his blessing these days that he did not have any close neighbors, no one to peer at him as he parked in his broad, remote driveway and began to tote two naked, unconscious women from his back seat to the inside of the house.

He debated for a while about where to put them. In the end he put Heidi in the spare room on the bed, and left Brooke gently covered on the couch in the siting room where he could see her from the kitchen or wherever. Heidi would wake up knowing what was going on and where she was. Brooke would not. As such... having the grounding presence of another coyote at hand might help.

Not that Brooke would be awake until well after Heidi. Was the nature of the beast... but Eli had dared to hope that Brooke would be stronger by now. Something was holding her back, and after today he had a feeling she needed a change before they ended up with worse on their plate than just questions and concerns.

It gave him a lot to think about while he waited.
Heidi was first to wake of the pair of them, of course. Not more than an hour or so after she was dumped on the bed, she was rolling off of it in a startled jerk. Her jaw clamped so hard around the side of her tongue that she tasted blood immediately, but Heidi righted herself, before she entirely dumped her naked ass onto the floor. Peering sharply around, invisible hackles raised, the woman surveyed the alien room in a haze. A sharp inhale brought her the smell of coyote, it hung like a thick perfume through the house. That helped to unleash the flood of memories from the night prior.

Brooke, the shift, Eli, the drive... This was Eli's home. Sighing softly, she righted herself, and spotted the bundle at the foot of the bed. Clothing, which she shrugged on, and her phone, which was still dead. Great. She didn't know the time, but she knew it was well past the time she'd needed to get Jonas from her parent's house. She was sure there'd be at least 50 messages waiting for her. Likely her father had already gone up to Dog Run to ask around. They'd know she rushed out. What excuse did she have this time?

She took a moment to collect herself, finding a mirror to run her hands through her hair, which was a hopeless rat's nest. Failing to care, Heidi made her way out into the rest of the unfamiliar house, relying on her sense of the King to take her to the kitchen. As she passed, she spotted Brooke bundled on the couch, still asleep for hours.

"Can I make a couple requests or have you closed up shop for the night?" She asked as she made it into the dining room.
In spite of himself, it was a relief when his Second showed up to help him with everything as it currently existed. As such, he very nearly smiled for her appearance, and her request.

"Suppose it depends on the requests, but I can do my best."

He'd been looking through his phone, at rental properties, while thinking through the too-near future.
"A charger and a cup of coffee." She listed, counting with her fingers, and mustering a small smile, "Think you can swing it?"
"I've got you covered," he said, moving to stand. "Sit down if you want. Figure we've got a bit of a wait until our girl wakes up to tell us what happened."

He left his own phone on the counter and went to find his charger in his room before he'd come back to get her something warm and waking to get her through this day along with him.
"Gracious host," Heidi said with an exaggerated dip of her head, but the display dropped as she slumped into her seat. Exhaustion dragged her down, making her bones feel like they were made a of led as she reached to pull Eli's phone closer, peering at the time. An exasperated sigh raspberried from her lips. 10:15. Not as late as she'd feared, but an hour later than she was supposed to have been home.

Once Eli returned, she nodded in thanks to the charger, and went about plugging in her phone as he set out on coffee. "I have to call my parents. They're keeping the kid, but..." She waved vaguely into the living room. "If it sounds like I'm yelling," She added as she clicked the phone on, waiting for the screen to light back up, "It's just German."

Soon, the phone would turn back on, and she would be greeted with an explosion of texts and missed calls from either parent, and Jonas himself. Her heart clenched, and she frowned as she considered who to call. Either way, she knew she'd end up speaking to her mother. Regarding Eli with a brief tense glance, she dialed a call to her father, and cleared her throat before answering his worried greeting with a softened, "Hallo, papaaaa..."

If Eli cared to listen, it wouldn't matter unless he spoke German. The gist of the conversation went as follows; she attempted an apology to her father, explaining that an employee had to be rushed to the hospital, and that she was there with her now, only just being able to charge her phone. She was beginning to ask if Jonas was still up, only to be interrupted by her mother. It would be several minutes of tense conversation about communication, fear for her safety, Jonas' feelings about being left... in the end, she could only apologize, and tell them that it was best if Jonas slept over so she didn't wake him.

Grimly, she hung up, feeling like a child as she sat with her knees tucked up to her chest and pressed against the edge of the dining room table, heels perched on the lip of the chair she sat in. If the coffee had been placed before her, she failed to say anything for a few long moments as she burned her mouth with it.
He, of course, didn't speak German. But he could feel the tension on her, hear it in her tone. It left him to pace away and come back with coffee and then pace away again as if to check on Brooke.

It was hard, sometimes. To be what they were, and still have some semblance of humanity that everyone else expected from them. How to explain these moments to your job? To your family? Once upon a time he'd considered himself with a future like Heidi's--human family and a lot of excuses. His burden was easier but much sadder without it. He found he envied her more than he should--no one had had reason to worry when he didn't come home.

Still, that was not something to say to her when the stress pulled at her seams.

Instead he waited until she seemed to come back to herself a little and drank from the heated ceramic mug and he wandered back into her periphery.

"Got it sorted?" It made him feel like a jerk, but that was the only part that was his business to ask.
If she could have, she would have left through the front door, gone to see Jonas and tell him she was sorry. In the end, she knew her sorries didn't matter anymore. It was better for him to sleep the night, with whatever excuse her parents had provided him to help him do it. In the morning he would ask her to her face and she would try her best to lie to him convincingly. It wore on her, and it was getting harder, the older he got. As for her parents... they were used to it by now. It would always be easier to tell them the truth, but she knew it would put them in danger. It was better that they just thought their daughter was an unreliable mother, as opposed to a bloodthirsty monster.

Anyway. Coffee. It really did make things easier.

It helped that Eli's proximity handed her an emotional pacifier. She glanced up at him, humming softly through her nose. "A German oma is angry with me." She told him, "It's sorted, but... not safe for me, I fear." Dry humor. Of course, her mother wouldn't do more than fling a shoe, at the most extreme. She knew that it was only fear and worry for her daughter, anyway. How could she blame her?

"What does a coyote King do to kill time?" She prompted.
He decided that was good enough to take a seat across from her, shaking his head. Poor Heidi, to be skinned by her own... mother? He had to assume, as that was a mother's right, to care so much that anger came with it.

"Not enough, I'm afraid. I think I have a pack of cards if you want to play war with me." A little friendly competition to talk around while they waited for their shared problem to become relevant again.
Cards. Well, Harriett had always said she'd be thankful to learn a few games one day. "Only if you promise to be a sore loser." She agreed with a small smile.

Over cards, she elaborated the details of Brooke's call with her. The panicked voices, the sounds of shifting, the sirens. The rest of the context was trapped in the mind of a girl that was unconscious on the couch. Hours crawled, more coffee was had, and she considered asking to borrow his shower before the sound of steady sleeping breaths from the next room shifted. Sometimes, her own hearing astounded her.

Rising from her seat, Heidi padded that way, ready to be accessible from the entrance of the living room in case Brooke woke as poorly as she had.
Waking up was like a slow and then all at once fast descent into reality that had her heart starting into a fast crescendo. Eyes jolting open with a huge gasping inhale was had as unfamiliar everything welcomed her and Brooke’s gut wrenched with a kick-start bout of fear and confusion. Kicking legs out to help get into sit, her wide blue eyes took in everything as things became very, very real there smooshed up against the couch. Naked. Strange house. Blurs of color. People. Fuck. She blinked. There’d been someone struggling to breathe. Someone dying. The need to tear.

An inhale was had that had Brooke coughing as it filled her lungs and tickled the throat, the coyote keying in on parts of a thick smell as it registered. She opened eyes again and finally managed to have her gaze focus long enough to recognize Heidi standing at the opening of the room. Oh. Okay, so not kidnapped and not picked up by a certain police chief. Okay. But.

”Where are we,” she croaked out in question, hands balling up the blanket's edge, still feeling her heart in her throat, having a hard time trying to place the missing hours that were gone. What'd happened?
It was hard for him to stay up like this. Without so much as a catnap, Eli was dragging by time there was a shift to wakefulness from their youngest trio member.

As such, when Heidi went toward the front room to look after Brooke, he decided not to crowd her and instead went to find her something to wear. Padding off down the other way through the kitchen and back to his bedroom where he was sure he had to have at least a t-shirt that wouldn't drown her. He really ought to keep a small stock of spare women's clothing in his closet now that he was thinking about it...

All the while, he listened.
Heidi kept her distance as the girl scrambled to gather her brain. She was there went he eyes settled, offering a small comforting smile as she stepped down into the living room, though she stopped at the end of the couch. "Eli's." She answered, "We picked you up from Layover." Around, really, but it would help to be general here. Probably the last place she remembered. There was the urge to demand details now, but she knew too well how foggy things could be. She'd let Brooke share at her own pace.
Eli’s. This was Eli’s place. She blinked around, letting that label of things settle worries from going so hyperdrive. Layover though, now that had her scrunching her face in confusion. Why had she been in Layover? Gas? That sounded right.

”Uh, okay.” Brooke stopped herself from asking why for a beat, trying to scratch up reasonings herself for why she’d shifted. There was a thread that felt right that she tried to grab in the hopes memories would plunge back instead of this afterthought unclear partial way. This was so stupid. Why was it somehow fair that she could just shift in the middle of the day?

”How’d you know I was there?”
Don't mind him, he was just gathering up clothing. Brooke would be happier once she was home with some of her own stuff, but...

That just reminded him they had things to talk to Brooke about that wasn't just about today's shift.

Still toward the back of the house, Eli was quiet.
She watched her girl piece it all together, patient.

"You called me. You were already shifting, but you told me where." She reminded, sure that she wouldn't likely remember much through the pain of it all. Inhaling softly, she sat halfway on the arm of the couch, one foot still dangling toward the floor. "Not sure what was happening. I stayed on the line while I drove out, heard sirens?"
She’d been shifting in the middle of the call. Okay. Her eyes searched Heidi’s face before falling to the couch, not really recognizing the threads woven together, more so just stuck in her mind, searching.

As the woman joined her on the couch, the mention of sirens had it all rushing in a way that finally made sense with each sharp whooping cry of them, every pass more detail in sharper relief.

The girl! Whipping her head up, her body felt like a live wire, the coyote raising hackles and bristling with widened eyes.

”Did she get help? I called and, and, and she kept getting wor-r-se.”
That lit her fire. Heidi reached over to grip Brooke firmly on the calf, squeezing maternally as the hound nosed her way in closer to the pup. "Breathe, Brooke." She instructed, "No one was around when I got there. Can you walk usthrough what happened?"

Context told her that a girl had needed an ambulance. But why and how was a mystery. Had... no, don't jump to conclusions. She steadied her breathing.
She’d called, the girl had passed out, there had been panic and fear directed, and Brooke didn’t like how all that had felt decidedly pointed before black had taken over. What if this was all a dream? Or what if she was dead? What if the girl was dead?

There was a hand to her calf and she tried to do as Heidi asked after a beat. Taking in a shaky breath, it hurt her lungs and there was a lean towards that dangerous ledge. It would be too easy to shift, that ache was threatening, but maybe it was her body being tired or simply the other coyote being close or that Eli was in the vicinity, but she didn’t fully feel that slide. It was like she was wedged in between walls tightly while something tried to pull her down to no avail.

Another breath. It got slightly easier. Spotting the clothes at the end of the couch, she grabbed at them with a fast lean, pulling the pile towards her, easily making work of throwing the shirt on. As her head popped out of the hole, the shuffle of threads was reassuring as she considered Heidi’s words, some kind of armor against the reality that was right now at whatever hour.

Everyone was gone by the time Heidi got there. That had to be good right? No police tape for starters.

There was a lot she could preamble this all with in how she’d ended up at that gas station, about how distant things were becoming, how everything felt like she was under a microscope, that her parents didn’t really view her normally anymore, but Brooke just skated over it, started right at the heart of the events of the day. Loose sweatpants slipped under the covers as she tried to arrange a leg in at a time, the material pulling against covers. ”I was going to go inside to get a snack when this girl yelled. She’d gotten sick and I was trying to ask if she needed anything, but then, she just,” Brooke stopped, trying to figure out how to explain it as her hands now free of pulling on pants, rolled fingers into palms back and forth. ”She had asthma and couldn’t breathe and I didn’t know what to do, y’know?”
While Brooke was working herself down against the bad feelings Eli could feel all too starkly, coming back slowly to make sure Brooke was able to take care of herself, to be dressed and comfortable. A slight wander into the nearby kitchen, and in the end he came back with water and not a word, letting mom handle the talking here.

A medical emergency. Of all the things to get poor Brooke worked up into a shift... but what had happened? Did they have any way of knowing, of finding out?

Hovering just so, he offered their young coyote the glass, keeping his frown as internal as he could.
She averted her gaze casually as Brooke dressed. Nothing she hadn't seen before, but she wasn't looking to make her feel even more uncomfortable. She listened to the story. A girl at the gas station getting sick, probably panicked, having an asthma attack. Brooke there, trying to help, letting herself get worked up. Coyote probably in the back of her mind telling her that a struggling human was an easy meal. It was a bad situation in the making.

Heidi glanced up at Eli as he entered, thankful for his presence and the calm in booned them with. "So you called an ambulance, then me?" She prompted.
Eli’s presence had her looking up, taking the cup of water offered with a small pull of lips. Taking a small sip, she ended up more so holding the cup in her lap with more or less the same amount in it.

”Yeah, ‘cus I started to shift.” She sat with that for a moment. ”I dunno if I did anything else.”
"Well. Things were quiet when we got there, which is a good sign. Though... I'm not sure we're going to know what happened to her unless we get especially lucky."

Even as a doctor himself, it wasn't like Eli had access to records at local hospitals. He worked at his practice and that was his scope. But maybe... "I could check in with Frank, see if he heard anyone come into the ER with any problems around that time, but that's a shot in the dark, I suppose."

It would require an incredible amount of good luck that they had probably already used up on getting to Brooke and getting her back here in one piece.
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