It was a miracle he got down the fucking stairs in the first place. Hell, it had been a surprise to wake up at all. After running into that...thing in the woods, he thought he was binned for sure.
But at the time, with the wolves at the door and Kirkley's life at stake, he hadn't really been thinking about it. And he'd been up and about since then—he'd had to be. For now, Wells decided he would count his blessings.
If nothing else, it kept him from counting hours, counting bullets, or counting the dwindling numbers of his men.
The pain was less than he would have expected. More than he could ignore, but it was really only the knowledge that glue was all that kept him from unraveling like an old sweater which rooted him in his seat when he felt like pacing. He forced himself to be content with letting Cooper handle the situation. And he knew he could trust Cooper with the welfare of his squad, but... Damned if sitting still wasn't beginning to make him a bit restless.
Ryan's calm demeanor wasn't helping that, either.
The captain sat in his seat at the table, an expression of smug disinterest painted across his face. Wells remembered the way the man had looked when they'd found him out in the woods. Half dead would, not to put to fine a point on it, have been a massively fucking generous assessment. Yet now he just sat there, calm as you please. As though he'd been invited to dinner and hadn't spent most of the evening tied to a bloody chair. Wells had lost three of his men. Ryan had lost his entire team. And he was just sitting there. It wasn't fucking right.
Wells had kept quiet through most of Cooper's questioning, eyes on the table as he attempted to ride out the pain. He'd only looked up once it seemed Ryan was through with fucking them around and willing to give some sort of answers for this damned mess.
As Ryan spoke, Wells felt himself becoming increasingly agitated. It seemed as though all the scattered pieces were finally starting to fall together. He hated to admit that bastard could be right about anything, but he sure as shit didn't like the picture he was starting to see. And as the smug, dirty fucker locked on to him with the coldest eyes he'd seen in a good long while—gaze accusing Wells of the deaths of his men, accusing him of failure, of weakness—he'd had to look away.
Only it wasn't what he'd found in the Captain's eyes from which he forced himself to hide—it was what he felt looking back from his own.
Because he had every right to be angry, but he shouldn't be this angry. He shouldn't be inches away from forgetting himself. That thrilling surge that swept through him when Cooper had his knife at Ryan's throat... That's not who he is, but, God, some part of him just wanted so desperately to see the man's blood spilled.
And as Captain Ryan sat there, outlining in that gloating tone how easily the bastard had signed off on the deaths of his men, something inside Wells broke.
He was out of his chair before he even knew, fist introducing itself savagely to Ryan's smirking face. The pain in his gut receded to a dull ache, his awareness all rage and thrumming blood and the crackle of the fireplace gunfire-loud in his ears. The air in the room seemed to press in on him, heavy and hot from all sides, the evaporation of sweat leaving the sergeant's skin feeling taut.
"They were my men!"
Bruce, Terry, Joe. His men. His...
With Ryan down his limbs shook shaking from the effort it took not to follow through and make sure he'd never get up again. And thank God Cooper was there, yanking the fucker to attention before he had the chance to lose that battle. But then—
Jesus Christ. His eyes. Ryan's fucking eyes.
"Live and learn, Cooper."
The pattern of his thoughts had turned high and incoherent by the time Cooper had thrown the fucker. Every panicked attempt at understanding this whole fucking mess halted woefully short of success, and at this point the words coming out of his own mouth don't make sense even to him.
"Whoa... I didn't hit him that hard."
"You shook something loose..."
There hadn't been a lot of time after he'd woken up for Cooper and the others to convince him of Megan's theory of what they were dealing with. He hadn't believed it, then. He couldn't believe what he was seeing, either, but Wells couldn't allow himself to deny that he was seeing it... And his mind latched onto the word, letting it echo hollowly in his head as he finally managed to fucking get it.
Werewolves. Jesus Christ...
Even once Ryan—it was out of sight, there was the screaming and—Jesus—the noises. Noises that seemed to pull on him in some way he couldn't name or understand...a twinge deep in his stomach that had nothing to do with physical pain and which fell damningly short of the horror he knew he should feel.
The scuffle immediately afterward happened so quickly that he didn't have to think. It wasn't until the commotion was over that it really began to sink in, the monotonous task of replacing the boards over the window providing a fitting rhythm to the idea as it hammered it's way into his head.
Binned. Bang. Binned. Bang. Fucking binned. Bang!
Wells worked quietly, letting silence and fear and resignation coat the back of his throat with bile. At the same time, his hands and fingers tingled from adrenaline. It made him giddy in a way he didn't trust, and he had the itching feeling that it wasn't going to ebb away any time soon. The high still hadn't worn off by the time he was finished and Cooper had fit another piece to the puzzle.
"But they're good people," Megan protested, following Cooper's intent gaze at the family photo from the mantle. "They're kind people."
Looking at the smiling faces in that picture Wells could almost believe it. He could imagine them going about their very normal lives, imagine the man in that photo kissing his wife goodnight twenty-nine out of every thirty if that was how it worked. His fingers closed around the hammer so tightly his joins creaked.
"More's the pity." Cooper said, though he didn't seem too broken up about it. Wells figured the young private was probably a lot more practical than Ryan had given him credit.
"'Cause we're doing to have to kill them all."
"Too right, mate." Wells agreed hoarsely, letting hammer fall. The impact webbed the glass with fractures, hiding the smiling faces from sight.
He wasn't a fool. He knew what lay in store for him, that he'd dropped the gavel on his own sentence as well. But he wasn't about to show an ounce of pity to these things. He hoped that, when his time came, someone would be prepared to return the favor.
But before then, he would do all that he could to see the surviving members of his pack out of this safe.