Games Wolves Play

Bosco didn't even bother arguing when Brian showed up on Saturday afternoon. It was the fourth weekend in a row, after god-knew how many weekends of every-other. Brian showed up at some random time on Saturday, with varying kinds of bribes, and somehow didn't end up leaving until late Sunday night. Bosco had tried every argument he knew, including just not opening the door.

That had only worked for half an hour, anyway, because Brian had gone downstairs and somehow convinced the building manager to let him in. Judging by the pleased smirk on the building manger's face, Bosco had a suspicion that "somehow" had involved telling the truth; the guy was a wolf, himself, and when Bosco had moved in, he'd taken up where everyone else hadn't left off and started introducing Bosco to a bevy of daughters, nephews, and friends of friends.

He'd thought seriously about moving.

But the world was apparently still scheming in the "get Bosco a roommate" plot, despite the fact he didn't *want* one, because here was Brian, not even bringing a pizza, or beer, or rented videos. Just standing on Bosco's doorstep like he was expected.

Bosco stared at him, wondering if it was even worth it to slam the door in his face. Brian would still get in, of course. Probably climb in through the window if he had to. But Bosco sure as hell wasn't going to ask--

"What the hell do you want?"

"You know, it wouldn't kill you to say hi, how's it going, once in a while." Brian kept standing out in the hallway, which boded well for Bosco successfully barring him from getting in. Maybe.

"You sound like Faith."

"We're just trying to domesticate you," Brian said. "Be glad we don't decide the best way would be neutering."

Bosco didn't even dignify that with a response. Instead he leaned against the door, making sure the entryway was completely blocked. "What do you want, Delacourt?"

"World peace, more leash-free parks, and a million dollars?" Brian sighed. "I'll settle for you, a basketball, and Sutter's, afterwards."

So now he knew why Brian hadn't come bearing gifts, this time. "Why do you care if parks are leash-free?"

"Lou and me play frisbee." Brian grinned, and dear god but he looked like a brainless dog when he did. Big grin like the best thing in the world was running around after a round piece of plastic.

Bosco shook his head, trying not to think about the games he used to play when he was still a kid. When he'd been really young, his grandfather had had a couple human friends. They'd come by sometimes, and -- well, Bosco might have played a little frisbee once or twice, but damned if he was going to admit it to Brian.

"Get your sneakers on, already, and grab your ball."

"There is no way I'm wasting my afternoon shooting hoops with you."

"So, waste it shooting hoops against me. I don't care. Geez, take a break and let's just have some fun without the drama, OK?"

"There wouldn't be any fucking drama if you'd leave me alone!" Bosco started to slam the door -- got it halfway closed before Brian got his foot jammed up against it. He held it, demonstrating that for all he was thinner and lighter than Bosco, he was just as strong, and possibly just a little more determined.

"Ball. Then we go to Sutter's and have some good pasta, great beer, then we come back and you can bitch about how I cheated and you want a rematch."

"Like you'd beat me," Bosco sneered, and he reluctantly stopped pushing on the door. He knew what Brian was doing, trying to taunt him into shooting hoops just to prove he could beat him. He was almost tempted, because there was no way he could lose. He'd seen Brian trying to make a basket into a trashcan, before, and the guy had all the coordination of a eighty year old grandma.

But if Bosco kept saying no, he might actually get to spend the weekend *alone*.

He stood there for a long moment, thinking about how nice that would be. Thinking about how much he didn't get why Brian kept turning up, no matter how much Bosco told him off.

He stood there a second too long thinking about it, because Brian lifted his eyebrows just a bit, and gave him a pair of big, brown, puppy eyes.

Bosco shook his head. "Not falling for it, Delacourt."

Without dropping the look, Brian asked, "Did I mention that Mickey Sutter owes me a couple free dinners? Includes two rounds of beers, so we'd only have to pay for what we drink after that."

Bosco glared at him, then finally stepped back, and gave the door a hard shove. It bounced off Brian's foot, like Bosco had expected it to, and he headed for his bedroom.

He dug his sneakers out of the closet and grabbed the basketball off the shelf. He threw it as hard as he could at Brian, who was waiting in the living room.

"You're driving," he snarled.

"Duh," Brian said. "I've been in the car with you before."

Bosco told himself not to even bother. It wasn't like Brian ever warned *him* that he was coming over. He just showed up unannounced, like he knew if he called ahead Bosco would be gone. If he had ever stopped by while Bosco wasn't home, he hadn't mentioned it.

But Bosco was surprised to find that he actually felt a tiny stab of guilt at going away for a three-day weekend without warning Brian to not bother stopping by. By the end of the shift Thursday night, he'd pretty much beaten the guilt into submission -- which meant that as he and Faith pulled into the lot, there were Brian and Lou, just coming in. They were still in their civvies, still had half an hour before roll call.

Lou gave them a nod as Faith started towards the building. Bosco started to follow her, not meaning to even glance over at Brian. He didn't care, and Brian could just take it as a hint that he wasn't welcome.

"Crap." Bosco stopped, and looked over. Brian was staring at him, with an expectant look on his face. Bosco told himself to just head inside, already, and ignore him, but somehow he ended up taking a step towards Brian, and that apparently was enough.

Brian jogged over. "What's up?"

"I'm gonna be gone 'til Monday so you shouldn't waste your time trying to...whatever the hell it is you're trying to do."

"Hang out? Make friends? Annoy you so much you pop an artery?" Brian didn't look at all put out by the idea of having a weekend off. "Where're you headed?"

Bosco scowled. He hadn't even talked about his plans with Faith, other than to tell her he was going out of town. She'd pestered him a little, but then they'd spent the entire shift chasing down the pettiest petty criminals ever. One guy had stolen a pack of gum, and got collared by the shop owner. They hadn't been able to talk the guy out of pressing charges, so there was an hour spent bringing the perp in and filing paperwork for 'shoplifting and causing a nuisance.'

Brian just shrugged. "If you're shacking up with some girl, then just be sure not to bring home any--"

"What the fuck do you care?" Bosco started walking away, pissed at himself for even trying to be nice. He hurried after Faith, who'd stopped and was watching, waiting for him. Within earshot, he realised, and that didn't bode well for her asking him how things were going.

She'd told him she was starting to love Mondays, because he was almost always in a good mood after Brian spent the night. He didn't think she cared that whatever good mood she thought he was in was tempered by the fact Brian was really, royally pissing him off by never leaving him alone.

Bosco didn't know if she and Brian were making plans together to make his life miserable, but Bosco wouldn't have put it past them.

"So where you off to?" Brian was walking alongside him, acting like they were just having a casual conversation.

"What do you care?"

"I don't, I'm just wondering if we should call ahead and warn them." Brian gave Faith a grin, which she returned.

Bosco kept walking, got to the door and yanked it open. "I'm leaving town. That's all you need to know. Not that you *need* to know anything, but otherwise you'll be hanging around my apartment and somehow make it *my* fault that you wasted your weekend waiting for me."

He turned and went inside, and was grateful when only Faith walked in after him. He was doubly grateful when she didn't say a word about it. He wasn't sure *why*, but he was grateful.

There wasn't really any reason *not* to tell them, except that the whole idea of going away was to spend some time alone. Being alone meant not being accountable for every last second of his life -- so there was no reason to share the details of his weekend with them.

He'd rented a cabin, like he did every couple of years, and settled in to spend three days doing nothing but kicking back. It wasn't a full moon weekend; the campground got insanely crowded those weekends, and only marginally less so when the full moons came midweek. Despite everyone agreeing to share the territory, the instinctual tension made for a vacation that wasn't very relaxing at all.

During the new moon the campground could be nearly empty, depending on the time of year and the weather. Early spring it was usually the die-hards, humans and wolves who appreciated the woods without needing all the niceties of comfort.

Bosco didn't go so far as roughing it with a tent and campfire; he did like having a roof and a mattress and a hot stove to cook on. But he enjoyed being in the middle of the woods, and sitting by the lake, and wandering around at night thinking about nothing at all but the scents on the breeze and the sounds in the distance.

He didn't bother hunting -- much more fun in wolf form, anyhow, which was impossible due to the crowding. But he rented a fishing pole and managed to catch his dinner more often than not.

Best of all, everyone left him alone. There weren't many people in the first place, human or wolf, but those he did manage to catch sight of tended to do no more than nod, and not say a word as they went on their way. The solitude was perfect. No one talking to him, no one nosing into his space, no one arguing with him about stupid crap.

The first night he stretched out in the bed, loving the way he had the whole damn bed to himself. He rolled over and pulled the blankets around him, and closed his eyes. He told himself that come Monday, he was going to tell Brian once and for all to leave him alone. It was over, and he wanted his life to go back to the way it was.

As he fell asleep, he pulled the blankets more tightly around him, and told himself that he didn't really mind that it was cold.

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