Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

Bosco was channel surfing waiting for the pre-pre-game to start when he suddenly smelled Brian out in the hallway.

"Fuck." If it weren't for the fact he could also smell pizza, Bosco would just ignore him. As it was, he dropped the remote and headed to the door.

There was no one with Brian, so Bosco unlocked the door and yanked it open before Brian had a chance to knock. Not surprisingly, when he got the door open Brian just grinned like he hadn't even been intending to knock.

"What?" Bosco demanded. The pizza Brian was holding had every type of meat on it known to man or wolf, and the only vegetable on it was onions. The good kind -- sweet, not sharp. He glanced at the box and saw it was from Maveloni's, an excellent wolf-owned and operated pizza parlor.

"Thanks, don't mind if I do," Brian said, and he pushed his way in past Bosco.

Bosco stared at him. "Did I invite you?"

"That only works for vampires." Brian headed into the kitchen, setting the pizza on the table and putting the six-pack in the fridge. It was the same brand of beer that he already had in his fridge; Bosco wondered if it was coincidence, or if Brian was trying to be nice for some reason.

They hadn't had a night-shift together in two months, and they'd only had one argument the whole time. Brian had won it -- so why he'd be here, now, bringing pizza and beer, Bosco had no clue.

"It also works for me kicking your ass," Bosco told him, shutting and locking the door. Brian just rolled his eyes, and walked out of the kitchen -- once again pushing his way past Bosco, their shoulders banging together with a hard thump.

"Nice place you got here," Brian said, looking and sniffing around. He stopped suddenly and turned to face Bosco.

"What?" He knew what was coming.

Brian's expression had gone serious and confused. "You live alone."

Yeah, that was what he expected. Every wolf he knew got onto him about it sooner or later, and Bosco was frankly sick and tired of defending himself. He took the opportunity to shove past Brian, heading back to the couch and the pre-pre-game that was finally starting. "So?"

He wanted to just turn up the sound and sprawl on the couch, but he knew Brian would take it as an invitation to make himself at home. *More* at home. So instead he stayed on his feet so he could easily show Brian to the door; he looked over to find Brian shaking his head.

"No wonder you're always grumpy."

"I am not--" He bit off the words. It wasn't really like he could deny being pissed off at the world most of the time. But it had nothing to do with how he lived. The world was just full of morons and idiots. "I prefer it this way," he said, but it was too late. Brian was getting a thoughtful look on his face; the same one his cousin Grace got whenever she got him cornered, offering names of wolves she knew who had or would make room for one more.

"The hell you do," Brian said, casually. He flopped down on Bosco's couch and picked up the remote. Bosco thought seriously about the damage he would happily do if Brian changed the channel. Luckily for Brian, he left it. "Nobody likes living alone," he said, staring at the tv and sounding as uninterested as if they were discussing the weather.

"Do you mind?" Bosco reached down to yank the remote away from him; Brian pulled it back and gave Bosco a shove with one hand. Bosco had to catch himself before he fell face first onto the couch and across Brian.

But he caught himself by shoving his hand into Brian's face, so that was all right. Brian pushed him back and this time he did stumble, knee first into the cushion and arm across Brian's chest. Bosco lunged for the remote.

He got his hand on it, but Brian knocked him off the couch. Brian tumbled after him because Bosco had a grip on the remote and he didn't let go and neither did Brian, so they ended up in a heap on the floor. Bosco brought his leg up to kick him off. Brian whipped his arm around Bosco's neck, trying to trap him into a headlock.

"Bastard!" Bosco let go of the remote so he could get both hands on Brian's arm.

"So why do you live alone?" Brian asked, letting go right before Bosco could pop his elbow out of joint.

"None of your damn business," Bosco snapped, reaching for another hold on his arm.

"Seriously," Brian said, panting just a little as he tried to get a better grip. Bosco twisted and threw him off; Brian recovered fast and lunged on top of him again.

Bosco got an arm around Brian's torso and reached around to grab onto his own wrist, locking his grip on Brian. There was no way Brian was getting free, now, and all he had to do was try to get around just enough he could get a knee up so he could pin Brian to the floor.

"What the fuck do you care?" Brian was trying to grab onto him, and Bosco had to keep shifting his head out of the way.

"'Cause I like you," Brian said, trapping Bosco's left leg and trying to flip him over. "Doesn't it drive you nuts?"

"Fuck off." Bosco got his leg free, nearly losing his hold on Brian in the process. He tightened his grip as Brian shoved them both backwards against the couch.

But then Brian held still for just a second, and he looked at Bosco. It was creepy having someone -- someone other than Faith -- look at him that way. Brian shook his head, then shoved himself down as Bosco tried to push him to one side. Bosco's knee jammed into something soft, and Brian yelped; they both let go immediately.

Bosco stayed where he was, half-sprawled on the floor. "You OK?"

Brian nodded, rubbing his stomach. "Good thing I hadn't eaten yet, though. Speaking of -- gonna get cold." He jumped to his feet and headed for the kitchen.

Bosco grabbed the remote, then climbed back onto the couch. He turned the sound on and found out that the announcers were still going on about last week's trade as though the world had ended. But Simpson was a jerk and even if he could hit the basket almost every time he shot, he couldn't handle the ball when he wasn't setting up to shoot. Bosco thought it was good riddance and figured their chances of winning hadn't really changed at all.

"Here."

Bosco took the bottle of beer Brian was holding out. He said nothing as Brian set the pizza on the floor at their feet, concentrating on the whining still going on.

"So?"

"So, what?" Bosco knew what he was talking about, but there was no point in giving Brian permission to interrogate him. He should be tossing Brian out -- but hell, he'd brought beer. He'd even opened the bottle he'd brought out to Bosco.

Brian elbowed him, not hard enough to make him spill his beer, but hard enough to get glared at. "So, why do you live alone?"

"You sound like my grandmother."

The announcers switched to the visiting team, and Brian frowned. "Please tell me you're not rooting for the Knicks?"

"What am I, mentally retarded?" Bosco sneered at him and leaned down to grab a slice of pizza.

"We're still trying to figure that one out," Brian said, grinning at him again. He grabbed a slice of pizza as well and settled back to eat and stare at the tv. They listened to the announcers wrap up their what-the-fuck-were-they-thinking analysis now that Simpson was gone, then the pre-game was ready to start.

Bosco sighed. "I never found anyone I liked well enough to live with." He wasn't sure why he was telling Brian anything. But he knew from experience that if he didn't answer, he'd just get nagged until he did.

"Don't get along with many, huh?" Brian sounded casual, like he didn't know how much Bosco hated talking about this stuff. Bosco just shrugged. He got along fine with most wolves he knew, he'd just never wanted to live with any of them.

"I lived with some friends right out of high school," he admitted, quietly. "Lasted two months." He still didn't know exactly what had gone wrong. Maybe it just wasn't a good mix, like they'd said. It happened. "Never managed to find another roommate."

He realised that Brian was staring at him, now. He glanced over, saw the dumb-founded look on his face, and scowled at the television.

"You've lived alone for nearly ten years? Jesus, no wonder you're fucked up!"

"Fuck you," Bosco sneered, and rammed his elbow into Brian's side. He expected Brian to keep after him -- but for some reason, he didn't. He shoved Bosco back, then returned his attention to the tv.

Bosco was glad to let him, and he settled in to eat his pizza, drink his beer, and watch the game.


The game ended in overtime, long after the pizza and beer were gone. Bosco had been yawning for the last fifteen minutes -- the one thing he hated about working the late shift was how much his schedule got fucked over the weekend. His body thought he should have been asleep two hours ago.

He reached over and shook Brian's shoulder. "Hey."

After a second, Brian opened his eyes and looked over. "Mm? Game over?"

"Yeah, you missed it. Knicks won by twelve."

"Huh." He blinked a couple times, eyes not-quite focused on anything.

Bosco kicked his ankle. "Wake up, already. Game's over, all the food is gone. You can't drive home unless you're awake."

"Can't drive home at all, after having four beers." Brian yawned and sat up.

"You stole one of my beers?" Bosco had had three of the six-pack Brian had brought. He counted the empties sitting on the floor. Seven.

"Technically, you stole three of mine," Brian said. "And half my pizza. I gotta take a leak." He pushed himself off the couch and headed down the hallway.

Bosco just let him go, and started half-heartedly cleaning up. The bottles and pizza box went into the trash can, lid on tight. There was nothing worse than the stale odor of food and beer. There was one thing about having a wolf over -- Brian was as careful as he was about not spilling stuff on the carpet.

After the trash was thrown away, there wasn't anything else to do but switch the tv off and kick Brian out. He headed for the bathroom, getting to the door just as Brian came out. Bosco shoved his shoulder into Brian, moving past him into the bathroom. Brian just pushed back and didn't say anything.

When Bosco came out of the bathroom, he stopped. He turned and followed Brian's scent -- right into the bedroom.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Brian opened one eye and looked over at him. "Shut up, Maurice."

"Are you drunk?" There was no way he could be drunk. Four beers did not make a wolf drunk.

"M'not driving," Brian said, and he grabbed the blanket and tugged it up over a bare shoulder.

"That's what the fucking couch is for!" Bosco stormed over, intending to yank the blankets down and kick him out of bed. He knew he shouldn't be surprised. Brian would be used to sharing a bed with one or more of his roommates. That's what wolves did -- they slept in piles, as many as the bed would hold. Most wolves. Bosco slept alone.

Brian stared at him, both eyes now open. He didn't say anything, and Bosco knew there was a lecture just waiting to happen. He was tired, and it was late, and Brian was already falling asleep again.

"Fuck." Bosco turned around and took off his shirt. Jeans and socks followed, then he stopped. Normally he'd have stripped down to skin. Normally he didn't have a pushy-ass wolf in his bed.

He checked the clock to make sure the alarm was set; Brian's shift was later than his, but if Brian wanted to complain, he could sleep in his own apartment. Then Bosco crawled into bed and gave his pillow a thump. Two seconds after he'd settled in, Brian was on top of him, arm and leg draped over like they were kids.

Bosco would have told him to shove off, but Brian was fast asleep. He closed his own eyes, wondering if he could transfer to a precinct in New Jersey where there were no other wolves at all.


It was two hours into his shift the next day when he saw Faith give him a bewildered look.

"Problem?" He raised an eyebrow, trying to figure out what he might have done lately.

"Did you have sex last night?"

He was really glad he hadn't been taking a drink of his coffee. He stared at her, wondering he'd have to kill Brian. "Excuse me?"

She shook her head, glancing at him as she drove. "You're in a good mood."

"I am not," he protested.

Faith laughed. "Yes, you are. What happened?"

"Nothing. I did *not* have sex," he said, clearly. That was all he needed, Faith thinking he'd had *sex* with Brian.

Faith still looked confused. "Did you win a lot of money on the game?"

"Fucking Knicks won. Like I'd bet on them?"

"So?"

"So, what?" There was probably no chance she was going to drop this, except that really he was more stubborn than she was. Sometimes.

"So why are you in a good mood? If the Knicks won I'm surprised you haven't been complaining all afternoon."

He hadn't wanted to mention the game at all. He'd have to mention that Brian had been there, that the company had actually been kinda nice. That he'd woken up buried underneath blankets and a warm body.

"I could start," he offered, but he found he didn't even really care. The Knicks hadn't won by much, after all. He'd been proven mostly right, that losing Simpson hadn't made that much difference.

"It might make you seem yourself," Faith said. "Bitch about *something*, at least, before I take you to the doctor. Or the vet?"

"Funny." He sneered at her, then sat back. Watched the street, listened to the sound of the people. No trouble brewing.

A few minutes later Faith asked, "Can't think of anything to complain about?"

"Brian's got cold damn feet," he said, the words slipping out before he could shoot himself.

There was a long silence. Then, "You *did* have sex last night?"

"I did *not* have sex. He was over to watch the game."

"And... he put his feet in your lap?" She grinned, waggling her eyebrows suggestively.

He could always kill Brian *and* Faith, right? "He stayed the night because he'd had too much to drink."

"You slept together?" The teasing was gone and she sounded sincerely surprised.

Bosco hastened to explain. "It's not like that. Wolves are... social." Crap, but he was going to have to repeat that fucking lecture. "Wolves live in groups. Family groups, or just friends -- they live together in packs and do *not* say 'just like real wolves' or I swear I will bite you."

"Did I say a word? How big of groups?"

He shrugged. "Sometimes just pairs. Usually it's about four to ten. I heard about a clan of sixty that lives together. I doubt they all sleep together, though."

"Sleep together," Faith repeated. "Without having sex." The corner of her mouth quirked.

"Believe me, it was completely platonic. And he was *supposed* to sleep on the couch but I couldn't get him out of my bed." There was no way in hell he was going to tell her how little he'd tried.

There was more silence from the other side of the vehicle until finally he couldn't stand the suspense. He looked over and found Faith looking thoughtful.

"What?" He was sure he didn't want to know, but if she didn't say it now, she'd spring it on him later when he wasn't expecting it.

"So, you sleep with someone and you're in a good mood the next day?"

"Only until someone starts in on me about it," he growled.

"So why the hell do you live alone?"

Bosco closed his eyes. The hundred and fifty thousandth time... "Shouldn't we be trying to catch criminals, or something?"

"They haven't called us," she pointed out. "So answer the question."

"I don't like anybody, all right?" This was worse than arguing with his grandmother. She, at least, would eventually grow bored and leave him alone. Faith could nag at him for years.

"You like Brian?"

"I didn't kill him, if that's what you mean. And before you ask, I am not moving in with him."

"Who said anything about moving in? But maybe you could invite him over more often."

"I didn't invite him this time."

She didn't even act like she'd heard him. "Hell, I'll even spring for the pizza."

"I am *not* inviting him over." He ignored the fact that he realised he wouldn't actually mind. Last night had been OK, and waking up with someone had been... nice.

"Does it have to be another werewolf?" she asked, suddenly. "Can it be humans?"

Bosco raised an eyebrow at her. "You're offering to come over and sleep with me?"

She shook her head like he hadn't just said what he'd said. "Not me. I was wondering if you could babysit this Saturday."

"Can't. Saturday's the first full moon."

"So? They'll babysit you after it gets dark." She gave him another quick grin.

"I do *not*-- fine. Yes, I'll babysit." He really didn't want to listen to her list all the favors she'd done for him in the last six months. Because she would, in lurid detail, until she'd decided he owed her *another* favor.

"Overnight?"

"Yes, overnight. But you have to get them *before* ten o'clock this time."

"I promise." She nodded, looked sincere, and he knew that he was going to be feeding her kids lunch. Again.

One of these days she was going to owe *him* favors.


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