Part 1: Whoa, Here She Comes
Part 3: The Beast You've Made Of Me
Part 4: I Keep The Wolf From The Door
SCP-5760 Incident Log Delta:
As of 05/04/2016, SCP-5760 has breached containment and has not been reclaimed. Former Security Head Gonzalez appears to have organized its escape, in addition to contacting the Serpent's Hand and arranging pickup of SCP-5760. MTF Rho-27 (Good Boys) has been sent in pursuit. Below is a timeline of the incident:
[11:00] Dr. Lakshmi Agarwal enters SCP-5760's enclosure for a final meeting, as was permitted by Branch Security Administrator Lowell. Security Head Gonzalez waits outside, claiming to be supervising.
[11:02] All surveillance cameras in SCP-5760's enclosure cease function and security systems are electronically overridden.
[11:05] SCP-5760 escapes enclosure, carrying Dr. Agarwal with it, and all instances of SCP-5760-A following behind. It appears to be making its way to the helicopter landing platform. Site-81 goes into lockdown and security teams are deployed.
[11:09] SCP-5760 encounters a team of security guards equipped with tranquilizer guns. SCP-5760 is told to call off all SCP-5760-A instances and return to its enclosure. SCP-5760 manipulates the security guards' bony tissue and causes them to shoot themselves in the thigh with tranquilizers, and proceeds uninhibited.
[11:15] SCP-5760 exits the building onto the helicopter pad after disabling the exit override with assistance from Gonzalez.
[11:16] SCP-5760 and its cohorts are ambushed by a squad of containment agents, who attempt to open fire onto SCP-5760. SCP-5760 forces all agents to drop their weapons, and encases them behind a circular wall of bone tissue. SCP-5760 climbs the wall surrounding the Site-81 compound and evades capture by entering into the forest outside the compound, where a contingent from the Serpent's Hand retrieved them.
"Who are these guys again?" 5760's teeth were a little too close to Gonzalez's ear for Lakshmi's comfort, but she'd still rather have been in Gonzalez's spot. Crushed between 5760 and a particularly unfriendly-looking Serpent's Hand agent, she was practically sitting on Avery's lap.
"Kinda like PETA, but for SCPs."
The van went over a bump in the road, slamming 5760 and Lakshmi against the gruff Serpent's Hand operative.
"Watch your goddamn dog, will you? Jesus. Almost got crushed."
"She can watch herself," Lakshmi grumbled. "And she's not my dog."
"Are you going to be angry at me the entire trip?"
"I don't know, 5760. How long would you take to get over your anger at being abducted?"
"We didn't abduct you -"
"I was taken out of the site against my will and with no prior knowledge or consent to the situation."
"Okay, fair, but can you at least be angry at him, too?"
Gonzalez leaned over 5760 and towards her.
"I don't think you understand the situation. They had, well, compromising footage."
Snickers from the Serpent's Hand agents.
"Not that kind of footage, you sick fucks. But they saw you and her in the hospital room together. Ethics Committee was due to meet on what to do with you the day we broke out. There was no way they were going to do anything other than shoot you, kid."
Lakshmi looked away. "Thank you," she said sheepishly.
"There was no time to tell you," Avery added quietly. "We would have if we'd had the chance."
"And don't tell me you wouldn't have gone," Gonzalez said. "You're stubborn, but not that stubborn."
"Well…" Avery said. "That's…debatable."
"I swear to god, I will have you muzzled."
"You should get some sleep," Avery said. "You're exhausted."
"Sleep, Lakshmi, or I will sit on you."
Lakshmi leaned back and closed her eyes. The van was moving too much for her to truly fall asleep, but she was able to reach that half-asleep, restful dream state reached only in moments of transcendent meditation, exhaustion, or boredom. She overheard Avery's conversation with one of the friendlier-looking team members.
"It's funny, actually…We were dating before all this. I broke up with her a little while before she joined the Foundation."
"No shit. Really? Must've been a hell of a first date."
"Yeah. Really. She didn't know who I was at first, but we ended up…well, reconnecting isn't the right word. Pro tip: saving girls from gigantic, corrosive hairballs turns out to be one hell of a romantic gesture. Until it isn't. Hopefully she'll forgive me for all this. She's like that. Chew you out ferociously for a while, but she comes around eventually. Even then, though…it'll be rough going."
The agent laughed.
"Yeah. I can think of a couple of…obstacles."
A different voice. "Can I make the doggy-style joke, or is it too soon?"
"Come on, man," said the first agent. "Don't be a fucking creep."
"It's the elephant in the room!"
"The elephant in the room is a giant bonewolf that has teeth the size of your hand," Lakshmi murmured sleepily, no longer content with merely listening. "Learn to read a room."
Avery bounded through the woods of Canada, her muscles lithe and powerful under Lakshmi's legs. It was easier having them run alongside the van like this - the roads were deserted, and it kept from Avery crushing everyone in the van whenever they hit a pothole. Lakshmi had decided that the fresh air was worth the potentially awkward conversations with her ex.
"So," Avery said, after they'd been running for about twenty minutes. "You heard us talking earlier."
"I want you to know that we would have asked you if you wanted to come with us, if we could have. If we had another option. But we both would have died otherwise."
Lakshmi said nothing.
"Look, I get you're angry. I do. I really do. But you're all I have left, Lakshmi."
"Maybe you should have thought of that earlier."
"I'm never going to see my family again. Or any of my friends. I'm alone now, except for you. And you're pretty much in the same boat. Could we at least try to be friends again?"
Lakshmi paused to think for a moment. "I suppose it would be best if we could at least be on speaking terms. All right, then."
Lakshmi nearly dropped the stack of books she'd been carrying.
"Don't just - make noise when you move, why don't you?"
"I made plenty of noise. I think you were just concentrating. Looking for something?"
"The Tome of the Valkyries, Volume Three, annotated edition." Avery reached up and plucked the book off of the shelf for her. "Thank you."
"Any time. Um. Can I ask you a favor?"
"So, um. I've been having a little bit of a difficult time with…um. God."
"Do you want me to pluck burrs out of your fur again?"
"No, although thank you for that. I…I need help. Reading. I mean, I can read. It's just. New physiology isn't too well designed for turning pages." Lakshmi merely looked at her for a moment. "You know what, forget it. It was a stupid idea. I can ask one of the weird creatures they have around here to do it for me. You're super busy with researching how to make me human again, and…yeah, just forget it."
"Of course I'll do it," Lakshmi said. "Of course."
They spent hours together in the little loft Avery calls a bedroom, Lakshmi reading aloud from tomes with fragile pages. She read about possession rituals and exorcisms, about the northern spirits, and beings made of hunger. They read until long after sundown, falling asleep in a pile of books and notes and candles.
Lakshmi already woke up screaming. The bestial face looming over her when she opened her eyes didn't help. She grabbed the first available object and flung it at her assailant. It's only after the first volume of The Necessity of the Beast whacked Avery between the eyes that she regained enough calm to realize who's in the room with her.
"Nice aim," Avery said, rubbing her nose. "I heard you screaming in your sleep. As did half the Library."
"For somewhere that's so fixated on being quiet, I'm shocked their walls aren't soundproofed."
Avery lay down next to her. "What were you dreaming about? Christ, Lakshmi, you're trembling. Was it -"
"8004, yes." Avery didn't say anything, but merely pulled Lakshmi closer, against her side, where Lakshmi could feel her deep, rhythmic breathing and smell the pine and winter air smell of her fur.
"I'm here," she murmured in Lakshmi's ear.
"Avery?" Lakshmi whispered, as she began to nod off. She was somehow still embarrassed, like a child running to her mother after a nightmare. But the shame was overwhelmed by the fear and the exhaustion. "Will you stay?"
"Of course," Avery said, but Lakshmi was already asleep. "I love you," she whispered, before lying down and closing her eyes.
That phrase must have found her way into Lakshmi's dreaming mind, because the first thing she said upon waking was "I love you too."
"And they all lived happily ever after," Lakshmi said, and closes the book quietly.
The audience of children and adults, human and not, gathered around them leaves after Lakshmi shoos them away . Avery and Lakshmi watch them go.
"Our little reading sessions have attracted quite an audience," Avery said.
"And to think it only started because your paws were too big for books."
"So, They've finally managed to get us a room. With an actual bed. I think we should go break it in."
Avery pressed herself against Lakshmi and wound herself around her. "I love you," she said.
"I love you too," Lakshmi said, and went to kiss her.
It was…harder than it looked.
"Okay, do you know how sharp your teeth are?"
"Sorry. Sorry. No teeth."
They tried again, and broke apart just as quickly.
"Can I use tongue with getting it bitten off, or is that just not an option at this point?"
"I'm sorry! I just forgot, okay!"
"I'm not certain this is the best approach."
"Well," Avery said, nuzzling her, "we'll just have to figure it out."