A word to my Sookie/Eric readers: The Mercy Thompson series is an amazing work, acclaimed by Charlaine Harris herself, (check out the covers of the last four books). I couldn't recommend this series enough. Read the first few pages of Moon Called on Amazon (I have a link in my profile) and I guarantee you'll be hooked.

Disclaimer:The world and characters of the Mercy Thompson series belongs to Ms. Patricia Briggs. I'm just borrowing it a moment to parse out what might have happened in a scene which was never revealed. This transformative work constitutes a 'fair use' of any copyrighted materials as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright... Or at least that's what a Buffy vs. Twilight YouTube video led me to believe is the case. Please don't sue me.

Premise: Set during Moon Called. We never did find out what Samuel said to Adam in the vanagon on the way from Aspen Creek to the Tri-Cities. I didn't see a fanfic on it, so here's my take. Reviews are the reason I publish here, please leave me your feedback! Sorry for all the lines-this is written in the third-person style of Briggs' Alpha and Omega series and I wanted to make clear when I was switching from one perspective to another.

Samuel opened the vanagon's door gingerly. Adam Hauptman, the fourth most dominant werewolf in North America, had his eyes closed, but Samuel wasn't fooled. He could hear his patient's heartbeat and he knew the werewolf was enraged. Hauptman had a typical werewolf temperament, and being wounded was doing his self-control no favors.

"She is my mate." The words were spoken softly, full of menace and a promise of violence, but the declaration itself caused a deeper wound than a physical strike ever could.

Samuel's wolf stilled, a fate he hadn't even allowed to cross his mind had just blind-sided him.

Every muscle in his body burned and there had been but one focus to his thoughts, rescuing his daughter, Jesse… Until he watched that old wolf lay a hand on Mercy's thigh. Adam knew the stories, secrets were hard to keep in Aspen Creek, even if they concerned the love life of the Marrok's son-perhaps especially then. Adam had spent enough time in Montana to know the reason Mercy left the pack and never looked back. Adam was baffled that Samuel believed he still had a right to her after wounding her so deeply.

Mercy was stubborn, independent and tougher than most werewolves Adam had ever met-but that strength had come at a cost. As he'd run along the river that bounded both their homes, Adam had spent many hours contemplating what made Mercy tick. He'd never heard of a coyote besides her, and Adam couldn't fathom what that must feel like, the short time he'd spent as a werewolf without a pack had been daunting, and to have always been alone-he marveled at her resilience.

To be raised as a stray, then have the only father you'd ever known choose to abandon you and end his life just after you'd lost your foster mother-it was more than any child should have to bear. And it was just two years later when the millennia old wolf sitting in the passenger seat had tried to conquer her. The patient hunter in Adam knew the coyote pacing along the shoulder of the highway would flee at the first overt romantic gesture, he supposed she was a different person back then-back before Marrokson, who should have known better, betrayed her trust.

"She doesn't seem to know that." There was no challenge in Samuel's voice. There didn't need to be; the observation was painfully obvious, and he knew Adam was close to losing it. To say Mercy, not to mention his father, would be upset about a physical altercation between the two of them right now was an understatement.

"My entire pack can vouch that it's true. You'd know if they were lying." The second sentence was of course unnecessary, but it worked to highlight the Alpha's upper-hand.

Samuel knew it was possible to declare one's mate without the other's knowledge, but it came at a cost, and it meant the mate bond hadn't been sealed. Adam's position wasn't so guaranteed, and he knew it; which is probably why he'd reacted so viciously to Samuel's casual touch.

"She hasn't accepted, and my wolf has prior claim."

Adam let out a soft grunt, "Can you imagine Mercy's reaction if she knew what we were saying?"

They'd been keeping their voices low to guarantee she wouldn't, even though it probably wasn't necessary with all the highway traffic zooming by, but the thought roused Samuel from his scheming.

"She'd skin the both of us before moving halfway across the world with no forwarding address." Samuel's words were spoken with mirth, but they pricked an old wound that he'd been foolhardy enough to believe had healed years ago.

Adam contemplated the physician, his eyes taking in more than even an average werewolf would see. Samuel looked… exhausted. Not just physically, but a deeper, world-weariness Adam had seen in some of the older wolves. It made Adam pause and think a long time before choosing his next words.

"You know, you're the reason she's so alone," Samuel's face remained still, but Adam could have sworn his skin blanched a couple shades. "She's never gotten over you." Adam paused, considering whether to continue his attack, but looking into Samuel's eyes, he knew it was unnecessary to say the rest.

Samuel knew. He knew just how deeply he had wounded her, and he had lived with that knowledge for more than a decade. Adam was a wise fighter, and he knew Samuel's internal monologue was far worse than anything he could say, so he let Samuel stew.

The declaration that Mercy still had a place for Samuel in her heart, renewed a hope he'd been cautiously toeing around and helped dull the familiar ache of knowing he'd hurt her. But he knew there was more, Samuel's guilt-or perhaps sense of fairness-made him state what Adam may not have figured out by now given all the chaos.

"She cares about you-deeply. She wouldn't have faced Aspen Creek for anything less," Samuel paused, his wolf lighting his eyes momentarily, "It seems to me we have a battle ahead of us, but only Mercy can declare the victor-if she'll even have either of us."

Adam contemplated the old wolf, perhaps this would be better. The memory of a past love is impenetrable in ways a flesh-and-blood opponent is not. And Adam was confident he could out-court Samuel.

He knew Mercy, the woman, while Samuel was still operating on old information. His outburst at her back in Aspen Creek showed that he still viewed Mercy as a child. Adam knew better. He was glad to have her at his side while he searched for Jesse; she was a force to be reckoned with.

A grin slowly spread across Adam's face and as he relaxed, he let a healing sleep overtake him.