Man's Best... Something

Bosco wasn't sulking. He had damned good reason to sulk, if he'd wanted to. But he very determinedly was not sulking.

It wasn't as though he didn't appreciate getting his three sickdays back every month to use for when he really was sick. Or, more precisely, for when he felt like goofing off. Werewolves were a lot hardier than humans and didn't get sick nearly as often. But being reassigned to the K-9 unit three shifts a month wasn't much better.

Normally he wouldn't have said he disliked Menetti or Delacourt -- Bosco didn't run into them often since they worked graveyard and Bosco worked third shift. He also didn't know either of them well enough to say if he liked them or not -- but the simple fact that Lou Menetti had gone to the Captain and told him he was "perfectly willing to let Bosco work with them those three nights" made Bosco want to bite him.

Bosco sat in the middle of his living room, not sulking, and waited for Menetti. Brian had told him Menetti would pick them up -- because how were werewolves supposed to get to work after dark? Subway?

All day long Bosco had thought about calling the Captain to complain about his changing Bosco's schedule without asking -- but Bosco knew what the response would be. His record wasn't good enough for him to go around demanding to get off work. He'd spent enough time arguing about it in the first place, refusing to let the Captain assign him to K-9 when he'd first been assigned here. He'd been within his rights to refuse, since it would have involved having a partner who knew what he was.

Of course, the fact that Yokas knew, now, was a secret Bosco intended to keep. Bad enough he had to work; he'd rather be stuck with Menetti and Delacourt than have Yokas reaching over and scratching him
behind the damn ears whenever she felt like it.

Bosco reached up and idly rubbed his head. Yeah, all right, so it felt good. But it was fucking embarrassing to want to roll over and wag his tail like a dog.

Especially in front of his partner.

With a sigh, Bosco stood up and padded into the kitchen. There was a towel wrapped around the fridge handle; he grabbed in his teeth and pulled. Not much he could get to that he really wanted. He wanted a beer, but leaving beer in an open bowl, or even tupperware, made it go flat before he could drink it. He wasn't worried about drinking before going on duty -- his body mass was great enough that he'd barely feel it. As such it wouldn't even relax him -- but it was the thought that counted. Having a beer would make him feel like he could have relaxed.

There were footsteps in the hallway, then a knock on his door. Courtesy only, since a second later Menetti was using his new copy of Bosco's key to open Bosco's front door. He stepped in and looked around, grinning when he caught sight of Bosco.

"Hey. You ready?"

He was, technically, about ten minutes earlier than he'd said he would be. But it wasn't like Bosco had to finish getting dressed. Bosco pushed the fridge door closed and walked over, trying not to look up at the human who was going to be his partner tonight.

"I should mention that I've been working with Brian for nearly a year now," Menetti said casually. Bosco cocked an ear at him, to show he was listening. Barely. Just as he'd passed his new partner, Menetti continued in a very dry voice, "I've gotten pretty good at reading his expressions. Like when he's feeling grumpy enough to chew on the seats."

Bosco stopped, and looked over his shoulder at Menetti.

Menetti smiled, but there was a warning in there as well. "And when he's pissed off."

Really, the only reply to that was to bare his teeth. Bosco did so. Menetti just took a step forward and looked down at him.

"So, you wanna go through some macho dominance posturing? We can do that. But I'll tell you one thing." He held up his hand, and wiggled his thumb. "It's opposable. Yours, right now, isn't. Think about
it."

Bosco thought about it. He thought about staying home, instead. He thought about pissing off the Captain who, he was sure, would care less that Bosco wanted to stay home. The Captain got to stay home, but then, he was the Captain.

He thought about opposable thumbs again, and beer cans. Bosco looked up at Menetti, trying to look reasonably unthreatening.

"Uh-huh." Menetti folded his arms. "I know that expression, too. But it'll do." He gestured towards the door and Bosco headed out.

~~~~~

So far it had been a quiet night. A few potential criminal wannabes intimidated away from doing anything stupid, and one almost-mugging broken up before it got started. Otherwise, they'd driven around for an hour just looking for something to do.

Bosco was lying in the back of the car, ignoring Brian who was scooted forward and peering out the grill window between the back of the car and the front seats. It was there, Menetti had told him, because regular K-9 units used the vehicle as well.

Menetti was talking to his partner, holding a conversation like Brian was talking back. Maybe he was. Or maybe Menetti and Delacourt had been partnered long enough they knew what the other was likely to say.

Like those long shifts when he and Yokas would argue without ever saying a word.

"He still sulking back there?" he heard Menetti ask. He saw Brian look at him, not particularly concerned about Bosco's mental state. In fact, Brian was suddenly looking at him with a positively evil expression.

Bosco bared his teeth, warning him from doing anything annoying. Brian moved closer to him anyway.

Quickly, Bosco sat up. Surely he wasn't going to--

Brian darted towards him and nipped his ear. Bosco growled and fought him off, perfectly willing to bite him on the ear for real. Brian fought back -- just playing, it was obvious. Just like those times back when Bosco had still spent his nights with his parents' pack, wrestling with other kids and tussling like Brian was trying to do now.

But Bosco didn't feel like playing around. He got a hold of Brian's ear and bit down -- not as hard as he'd have liked, because he knew damn well whose side opposable-thumbed Menetti would be on if he did so. But when Brian stopped trying to get at him, he pushed the other wolf away and went back to the very rear of the car and laid down again.

Brian gave him a long look, then went back up to sit near his partner. Menetti glanced in the rear view mirror. "Yeah, I guess he's still sulking."

For once, Bosco was glad he didn't have fingers right now. Flipping off a superior officer probably wouldn't be a good thing.

Fortunately, a call came over the radio. A 24-hour shop had been held up, and their unit was only three blocks away. Menetti put on the sirens and called in; Brian looked alert and ready, like a well-trained german shepherd.

Reluctantly, Bosco sat up as well, knowing he'd look the same -- ready to charge out of the car as soon as Menetti opened the door. He and Brian could hear the suspects' descriptions clearly, over the radio, and they knew what to look for. They scanned the streets as Menetti drove, but neither of them saw anything.

Menetti pulled up at the shop and leapt out; two seconds later he was at the back door letting Brian and Bosco out as well. Bosco took a sniff of the air; nothing useful. No blood trail leading helpfully away from the scene, at least.

As soon as the shop owner saw Menetti, he screamed and shouted, "They went that way!" Two other patrols cars were pulling up as Menetti called to Brian and Bosco to follow him.

They took off in pursuit of the suspects. It was difficult to stay more-or-less near Menetti, but to all appearances they were trained police dogs, not sentient beings in canine form. No one would expect them to know they were looking for three short Asian men dressed in dark pants and dark shirts, carrying paper bags of stolen loot. If they caught sight of the suspects, they'd be free to take off, but for now Bosco and Brian had to reign themselves in to Menetti's pace.

They darted through the sparse crowd, scanning in every direction for signs of the suspects. Bosco could smell the fear from a few of the humans they passed; the scent became distinctly sharper and he angled towards it. Someone ahead of them was causing confusion and fear -- 'someone' like three dangerous-looking men forcing their way through a crowd of pedestrians.

He caught sight of two men matching the descriptions exactly even as Brian did as well; they both surged ahead, and a second later Menetti shouted, "Police!"

Brian and Bosco took the men's subsequent attempt to speed up as permission to give chase freely. Bosco spotted the third man just ahead of the two they'd seen first, all trying to get through the crowd and someplace where the cops couldn't follow.

It felt great, running at top speed through the streets of New York City. Bosco found the way clear and sped up, knowing just how far behind him Menetti was falling. Brian was close behind, though, and Bosco wasn't worried about either of the other two cops losing track of him or the suspects.

Bosco raced up to the suspect closest to him; he jumped up and knocked him down, then ran off to grab the next one, leaving the first guy face flat on the ground for Menetti. He saw Brian about to reach the second suspect and headed off to chase down the last guy.

The last suspect darted into an alleyway. Bosco gave chase, ignoring -- with difficulty -- the assault of disgusting human odors that hit his nose. His paws splashed in something disgusting, but he didn't slow down. Just a few more feet and he'd catch the guy; Bosco saw him glance over his shoulder and smelled the spike of fear that followed. He growled, just once, and the guy stumbled in his haste to get away from the huge canine that looked like it was about to eat him.

The suspect nearly fell before Bosco could jump on him; for a second Bosco thought about merely cornering him, but he was already beginning to regain his balance and momentum. Bosco jumped on the guy's back and his ears rang with the terrified shriek the guy let out.

He grabbed the man's jacket with his teeth, and bore him to the ground. They landed with a thump, and Bosco stayed on the guy's back, holding him down securely.

He was sitting there, feeling a damn sight better than he had all night, when Menetti and Brian finally made their way into the alley. Menetti gave him a grin, "I think he's stopped sulking."

Brian ran forward and poked his nose into the suspect's face, who responded by gibbering to Menetti to call them off. Menetti took his time walking up, and then he stopped and looked down at the guy. He shook his head, slowly. "Got to wait for another unit. I'm currently out of handcuffs. You just sit still, though, and they won't hurt you."

Menetti gave the guy a look that Bosco was pretty sure he'd learned from Brian.

Suddenly, Bosco liked Menetti a lot better.

When another pair of cops came up, Menetti finally told Bosco to get off the guy. Bosco did so, watching with glee as the guy practically threw himself at the cops, holding out his hands to be cuffed and lead away. The other two suspects were already in custody, and due to be booked swiftly -- they'd still had their guns and the bag of money on them when they'd been caught.

"All this for two hundred dollars," said one of the other uniformed cops as his partner read the criminal his rights. Bosco glanced up and read his nametag - Nelson.

Menetti shook his head. "Split three ways, that's not even a night's work."

"Who's your new partner?" Nelson asked, nodding towards Bosco. "You're not getting rid of Eddie, are you?" Eddie was Brian's middle name, Bosco knew. Brian was sitting there, looking the epitome of police dog. He even thumped his tail on the ground when Nelson petted him on the head.

"Nah. Just training him." Bosco saw Menetti look down at him, and Bosco knew he was going to seriously regret whatever came out of Menetti's mouth next.

He turned his attention to his paws. He'd stepped in a puddle of mud and feces -- his front and rear left paws were coated in it. There was no way in hell he was licking them clean.

Maybe he could borrow the criminal's coat. Unfortunately, wiping his paws clean on cloth would look decidedly non-canine.

He was surprised when Menetti knelt down in front of him. "Here, let me." He'd taken a rag out from somewhere, and was taking hold of Bosco's paw.

And wiping it clean. He rubbed the fur easily, removing most of the mud and crap, then leaned back and took Bosco's other paw. Bosco sat still, stunned, until Menetti tossed the rag aside and stood up.

"He looks a little confused," Nelson laughed.

Menetti touched Bosco on the top of the head, lightly. "He's just not used to it. He's well-trained, but not completely socialised." There was a lightness in Menetti's tone that said he was teasing Bosco, as well as responding to Nelson's laughter.

But the look in his eyes said he was also serious.

"You got it under control?" Menetti asked, and Nelson's partner nodded.

"Be sure and stop by to turn in your part of the report, Menetti," Nelson said.

"When do I ever forget my paperwork?" Menetti asked, and Brian gave a sudden wriggle of laughter. Menetti gave him a sharp look, then got them headed back to the car, Brian walking along on one side and Bosco on the other.

When they got to the car, Menetti told them to sit by the front door. Menetti opened it, and took out a short tube. As he popped open the top, Bosco recognised it as a can of handy-wipes.

"Figure you're gonna be whining about the specks I missed between your toes," he said in a teasing tone, and he crouched down again to wipe Bosco's paws. "Have to listen to Brian go on and on about how I might not smell anything but he can and he'd not about to lick shit off his fur."

Brian growled softly, and got a used handy-wipe on the nose for his trouble.

Menetti set Bosco's paw down. "There. Smell clean?"

Not sure what the hell Menetti was doing, Bosco checked his paws. They didn't even smell too much like cleanser; he realised Brian must have picked out the brand. Smelling like antiseptic or "lemon fresh scent" was nearly as bad as smelling like crap.

He gave Menetti a nod. Clean. What the fuck.

Menetti reached over and rubbed his head, petting him hard. "Good boy." He grinned.

Bosco growled. As soon as he had thumbs, Menetti was going to get it. He climbed into the back of the car as Menetti let them in, and he laid down in his back corner. After a moment, he gave his front left paw a lick. Clean.

Huh.


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