Fandom: Person of Interest (TV), Iskryne Series - Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Bear (Person of Interest), Harold Finch, John Reese
Summary: "Only about three packs in the world throw wolves like this. The funny thing is, those packs? They only teach them Dutch." Yes, John thinks, you deserve a better pack than this.
Crossover Fandom Note: This is a fusion crossover with A Companion to Wolves. Basically, some people bond with large psychic wolves. That's all you need to know.
John Reese is captured and surrounded, along with two people under his protection. Not for long, of course, but enough of a challenge to get the adrenaline going. Aryan Brotherhood, never the brightest of men, but big, give them that. Warehouse, yes. Ball-gags, creative. Guns, standard. Large, snarling... wait. That isn't the man's wolfbrother. A trellwolf, yes, but not his wolfbrother.
Their leader's making all the standard threats. "Looks like Butcher here's going to eat well tonight," the man says, patting the trellwolf. The long-legged trellwolf with the distinctive caramel coat.
No he won't, John thinks, as he's sucker punched and sinks to his knees.
"Nice wolf," John says. "Belgian lines, from the coat pattern. But you know, trellwolves aren't dogs. It's all in the body language. He's not looking to you for direction, he's looking at you in anxiety."
"And? So?" The lead Aryan asks, gesturing with his pruning shears of torture.
I know something you don't know. It's hard not to look amused. "So, clearly he doesn't respect you," John says, and chokes out a laugh.
"Something funny?" his opponent sneers, and yes, something is. I have you now.
"I knew one of those in my unit in Tikrit," John says. "Only about three packs in the world throw wolves like this. That coat, the build, you need it on both sides or they won't breed this true. The funny thing is, those packs? They only teach them Dutch. And I'm guessing you don't speak Dutch."
"Foei! Stil," John commands, and the wolf calms. "Af, liggen," he says, and the wolf lies down. Yes, John thinks, staring into the trellwolf's eyes, willing him to hear him. You deserve a better pack than this.
And oh, he feels the pack sense, but no, this is not his brother. A manless wolf, like a wolfless man. Fair enough, he thinks, and nods. He tells the wolf something quite different, and they make short work of the Aryans. "We'll get along just fine," John says to the wolf, holstering his gun. Butcher isn't right, he'll have to think of something else to call him.
Later, much later, Finch is retrieved from his captor. Wounded, disoriented, but whole, they stagger out of the elevator. "John, what are you doing, who is that?" Finch asks, eyes wide. Bear stares up at them hopefully.
"Harold, meet Bear," John offers, because what do you say? I hired a wolf?
"He doesn't look like much of a conversationalist," Finch says, looking at Bear warily, but then their eyes meet and something changes in his face. John would have hoped for this, if only he had thought of it.
This is what John doesn't say, but he would, if anyone needed to hear it:
Once there was a soldier, and he had a wolfbrother. But when they returned to the wars, they didn't have a pack. A partner, but never pack. They slipped in and out of the darkness like shadows, silent death. But when the wolf died, valiantly, the man's partner said "Good, you're better off". So he was a wolfless man after that.
This is what John can't say, but he does, as long as he can skip the words:
Thank you. Even men need a pack.
Bear wakes to the sound of his pack at home. His brother and the other one, heavy frost and smoke. He burrows deeper into his nest, stretching luxuriously in pleasure.
"I'm afraid he doesn't want to give your coat back, Mr. Reese. Separation anxiety, I suspect."
"Then maybe he'd appreciate some quality time?"
On the edges of the pack sense, the other one is thinking of the hunt. Satisfaction and blood. Bear's ears perk up, and he looks to his brother with an expectant whine. Resignation, amusement, love. Go.
"Don't ruin his dinner, Mr. Reese."
Down the stairs and to the car and off! The other one is ready, poised to strike. This will be a good hunt.
Sea air and salt. Out of the car and into a large shack. A man is waiting. He smells like cheap hamburgers and strong soap. Two other men, behind crates, the smell of chalupas. Mm, chalupas.
"You called me here."
"Yeah, I did, you. What's a wolf doing here?"
"Whatever he wants to."
"Fine, whatever, one wolf, you think I care? I've seen you sniffing around my patch. I have a good operation here, I don't have time for this crap. Back off, and we'll forget this ever happened. I'll even do you a favor and I won't tell my friends. The ones with connections in Albania. How does that sound?"
"Well, that's a very generous offer, isn't it, Bear?" Rumples the fur of Bear's ruff. Lazy threat posture, Bear mirrors him, licks his chops extravagantly. "I have a counteroffer. Stay away from Kathleen McCormick, and your life will be a lot easier."
"I know what this is, you think I don't? You want a cut. She's my mark, back off."
"That's certainly an interesting perspective."
"I'm not sharing this payoff, I've been working this for months. You think I'm going to let some jumped up tough in a suit muscle at the last minute because he's got a friggin wolf? Think again. I didn't come alone." The men behind the crates come out, without the chalupas.
Bear's packmate shows his teeth, signals now, forward. Bear feels his anticipation. "You should take that up with my associate. Bear, what do you think?"
Bear growls, paces forward, feels the other at his back, ready to join in a strike. It is good to have a hunt.
"That's what I thought."
There was a wolf in his library, Harold remembers thinking. A wolf nervously chewing an Asimov first edition. Get abducted and dragged halfway across the Eastern seaboard and you come home to a wolf in your library.
He bent to take the book back, never taking his eyes off the trellwolf, when the wolf had looked up and met his stare. And suddenly he was awash in a sea of new data. An entirely new sense waking up in his mind, at his age. Deep brown eyes and the scent of grass and clover in crisp spring breeze. A feeling of deep want, and shy questioning.
Yes, Harold caught himself thinking, of course yes.
The warm welcome and eager hope that broke over him nearly brought him to tears. Tea and warm wool under the scent of air after a violent thunderstorm, the wolf gave him. His name, apparently.
"If anyone ever messes with you, he'll eat 'em," he came back to himself enough to hear Reese offer. True, he had suddenly known, but utterly beside the point.
There have been a lot of hunts between them since then. And now they are in a room full of smiling strangers, Bear neatly draped in a service wolf blanket and harness, Harold leaning hard on his most practical cane. One of these people - perhaps the woman with the red hair and the mimosa, perhaps the young man who is laughing so loud, perhaps anyone - one of these people has murder in their heart, and will act on it before the night is over.
Seek, Harold tells Bear, wills him to understand. Seek anger/death/fear/rage. Reach out, stretch, hunt.
Bear looks up at him, confused, but eager to please. Questioning, non-pack scent minds? Hunt feelings?
Harold sends a wave of affirmation. Good Bear, brilliant Bear.
"Mr. Sparrows," his hostess asks him, "Do you need anything?"
"Oh," says Harold, smiling carefully gently and harmless, "I think we're well taken care of."
End Notes: Contains scenes and dialogue, transformed and reimagined, from episodes 201 (Contingency) and 202 (Bad Code).
Dutch commands come from the extremely useful help of this post: http://pofinterest-fic.livejournal.com/3