Prompt: We all know Dex is a trouble magnet with a super big heart. Maybe they work on a case and during a raid they find a little 5 year old bratty Therian Jaguar girl, whose needs looking after till her family can be found.
“On my signal.”
Sloane’s low growl carried through Dex’s earpiece, and he replied with a quiet, “copy that,” along with the rest of the team. They had an arrest warrant for a wolf Therian responsible for the deaths of two young Therians thanks to a dangerous synthetic drug he’d been dealing around the clubs. According to Intel, the guy was holed up in the multimillion dollar brownstone down the street.
They fell into formation behind Sloane, and quickly headed for the house in question. There were at least four other Therians in the house, possibly armed. The street was barricaded with the Sarge keeping surveillance inside their BearCat on one end, and West doing surveillance from Theta Destructive’s BearCat on the other.
They swiftly approached the front steps of the house, and followed Sloane up, standing to one side as Sloane gave the signal, and Ash hurried past with the breaching gun. As soon as he pulled the trigger, and the door was open, they flooded into the house shouting orders, and checking the rooms.
Sloane signaled for Dex, Cael, and Letty to check the rooms upstairs, so they left their team to check the rest of the house. Dex checked the first room. It was a bathroom.
“Bathroom’s clear,” Dex said before moving onto the next room. It was dark, but thankfully that wasn’t a problem for him anymore. He slowly crept around the room, checking behind the door, the closet, and under the bed before turning on the light. A small shadow appeared in front of him and he screamed. Holy shit! That had not been in the room a minute ago. That was the last time he watched a Japanese horror flick before bed.
A little girl stood staring at him. She was stinking adorable with her pitch-black hair tied up in a side ponytail and her pink Hello Kitty pajamas. She had on pink socks with little red hearts on them. Aw. The classification tattoo on her neck said she was a jaguar Therian—which would explain the silent ninja moves—and she couldn’t have been more than five or six years old. Her big amber eyes were fixated on him.
Sloane’s voice came through his earpiece. “House has been cleared. We’ve secured Hill and his crew. Sarge is pulling up the BearCat now. Dex? Where are you?”
“Upstairs,” Dex said quietly. “I, um, found something.” He crouched down slowly in front of the little girl. “Hi, there. I’m Dex. It’s going to be okay. You’re safe now. Is your mommy or daddy here?”
Her bottom lip wobbled, and her big amber eyes filled with tears.
Uh oh. Oh no, no, no. Please don’t cry. Please don’t cry. “Hey, it’s okay,” Dex soothed.
An ear-piercing shriek that nearly split Dex’s eardrum infiltrated his helmet, bouncing around, and making him hiss at the pain. It was followed by groans and curses from the rest of his team.
“What the fuck was that?” Ash growled.
Dex ignored him. “Uh, Sloane? I need you. Right now. I need you this second.” Dex tried to gently hush the girl, cooed at her, tried to soothe her. She glared at him and screamed louder. Oh sweet Jesus. How do I make it stop?
Dex felt Sloane’s presence before he even saw him. He glanced over his shoulder, relieved.
“Jesus, what the hell is making that noise?”
Dex stood, and moved out of the way, watching as Sloane’s eyes went huge. He stared at the miniature banshee intent on summoning some otherworldly beast.
“What uh….” Sloane cleared his throat. “What exactly is it you want me to do?”
Dex knelt down, and motioned for Sloane to do the same. They needed to show the little girl that they weren’t a threat. Dex smiled softly at her. “This is my partner Sloane. He’s a jaguar Therian too, just like you.” Dex took hold of Sloane’s chin, and turned his face so she could see his classification mark. “See.”
The wailing stopped, replaced by sniffles.
Oh thank God.
Her eyes remained glued on Sloane whose gaze darted to Dex and back. Dex nudged him.
“I don’t know. Smile.”
Sloane smiled tentatively, and Dex coughed into his hand so he wouldn’t laugh. Clearly, Sloane knew him too well, and elbowed him before clearing his throat and holding his hand out to the little girl.
“Hi, I’m Sloane. What’s your name?”
She squinted at him then looked him over. “Are you really a THIRDS agent?”
Kinda judgy for a five-year-old.
Sloane nodded. “Yep.” He pointed to the “THIRDS” name tape then turned so she could see the THIRDS patch embroidered on his sleeve.
She took her time thinking about something before sighing. It was the most put-upon sigh Dex had ever heard in his life. Like they were the most exasperating people on the planet and were eating into her very valuable time.
“That’s… a very unique name,” Dex said.
“It’s French. It means “solemn”,” she stated, her chin lifted high, and small hands on her hips.
Dex nodded. He held back a smile as he moved his gaze to Sloane. “It means solemn.”
Sloane peered at him suspiciously. “What?”
“If you take out the “g” in Solange, and move the “l”, you get another name.”
“What are you—Oh.” Sloane narrowed his eyes at Dex. “Funny.”
“Sloane? Dex? What’s going on in there?” Tony asked. “Everything okay?”
Sloane tapped his earpiece. “Yeah, um, we’ve got a Therian child up here.” He smiled at Solange. “Sweetheart, are your parents here?”
Solange shook her head. “They’re in an airplane. Nat was babysitting me at home, but her stupid boyfriend said he was bored and wanted to play video games at his place.” She folded her little arms over her chest, her scowl fierce. “He didn’t even let me bring Dolly.”
“Okay. Did you hear that Sarge?”
“Yeah, we don’t have Nat in custody. We’ll bring Solange to HQ with us, see if we can locate Nat or the parents.”
“Copy that.” Sloane smiled that big gorgeous smile of his, and Dex almost swooned. Solange certainly did. “Okay, Solange. How about we take you back to THIRDS headquarters with us, and we’ll see about getting a hold of your parents, okay?”
Solange nodded, her big amber eyes widening slightly. “Can we stop by my house and pick up Dolly?” Her bottom lip did that little quivery thing, and Dex had to give it to her. She was good. Sloane’s expression softened.
“Of course we can, sweetheart.”
She threw herself at him, and he caught her, chuckling before he lifted her into his arms. With a little sigh, she snuggled against him, her little arms wrapped around his neck. Sloane turned for the door, and she lifted her head to look at Dex then she stuck her tongue out at him.
Dex narrowed his gaze, and gasped when she mouthed the word “mine.”
Oh, it’s on now.
PART TWO next week. Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.