“That’s not – ?” Boyd starts, blinking at Erica.
“Do you have a death wish?” Isaac hisses, looking around the abandoned train station. Who knows what shadow Derek might be hiding in?
“It’s cold,” Erica replies stubbornly, pulling the worn leather jacket tighter around her shoulders. “If Derek didn’t want anyone taking it, he shouldn’t have left it lying around.”
“He set it out to dry after washing the blood off of it yesterday,” Boyd points out, his tone deadpan, but with perhaps the slightest inflection of concern.
“He should take better care of his things,” Erica snorts. “I hardly got any blood on my clothes during our last training session.”
“Yeah, well, I’m pretty sure Derek will make sure you get plenty on them this time if you don’t take off his jacket,” Isaac says, eyes still darting around the room nervously.
“It’s not like he won’t be able to smell me on it if I take it off now,” Erica says, shrugging.
Boyd and Isaac are silent, conceding the point.
“Boyd, Isaac,” a voice says, making the betas jump as Derek melts out of the shadows. He pauses for a moment. “Erica.”
She stares back, her gaze unwavering.
“Take the jacket off,” Derek finally grunts.
“But it’s cold,” Erica protests, mouth set in a stubborn scowl.
Derek narrows his eyes at her, his own lips turning downward. Neither of them budge, stuck in a standoff.
“Don’t get any blood on it,” Derek says.
The next day when Erica, Boyd, and Isaac arrive for training, three brand new leather jackets are laid out in a neat row. Derek doesn’t comment on them and neither do the betas.