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Title: But you're just troubled
Author: Live Nude Bigfoot
Rating: PG-13
Summary: "Reese has no idea what he’s going to do with the pills until he realizes that his roundabout journey has left him two blocks away from a place where Fusco drinks."
Warnings: Non-consensual drugging, excessively creepy thought processes, really debatable character interpretation
Word Count: 4,028
Notes: OK, so I know I said I was going to take a break for a while, but my beta seduced me with words. And ideas. Awesome ideas. Terrible ideas. I love her. <3



He finds Benton’s Rohypnol in the pocket of an old jacket when he moves from his lousy apartment to the new one Finch bought him. It’s still there, uncrushed, white and clean in its little plastic casing. His instinct is to throw it out, flush it, throw out the last reminder of that painful chapter, but what he winds up doing is tucking the pills inside a lone, unmatched sock at the back of the drawer, just in case he needs them.

It sounds awful, but you never know.

After a while, he forgets about it. It’s not something he has much call for; just not his style. If he’s immobilizing a perp, he uses his hands, his gun, cuffs, a roll of duct tape. The pills never occur to him.

They’re out of sight, out of mind until one night when he can’t stop thinking about them. He’s not sure why. He guesses that day was difficult. Stressful. Their number had been the devilish kind of smart; the kind that sent him and Finch scrambling, first in one direction, then in the other. He’d been snappish with Finch, kept his conversation with Carter to a few brief words. With Fusco he’d been…impatient.

Maybe laid the threats on too thickly. Maybe asked too much of him.

Whatever it was, Fusco threw one of his little half-rebellions, the ones where he puffs up all angry and starts trying to tell Reese how it’s going to be, what Reese can expect from him. Of course, that’s not how it works and ordinarily Reese would take the time to disabuse Fusco of his notions of control, but he was stressed out, strapped for time, so instead he just

(hit him)

cuffed him, gave him a rough little tap on the back of the head to snap him out of it. Nothing damaging about it. Fusco only paused in his tirade for an instant, momentarily frozen in a cringe, but then he spat out “What the hell was that for?” and he was back at it again, and Reese never should have bothered trying to hurt him because it just makes Fusco angrier, more willing to tell Reese in excruciating detail “what your problem is, buddy.” It was stupid. Fusco doesn’t care. Reese will give him a more effective reminder of his situation later. It’s all in the past.

That night, he takes the pills out of the drawer, slips them into his pocket, and starts walking. Just lets himself wander, no particular direction, up and down streets and into the subway stations, and wherever the trains take him.

Reese has no idea what he’s going to do with the pills until he realizes that his roundabout journey has left him two blocks away from a place where Fusco drinks.

And of course, yes, he knows where Fusco goes to get drunk. It would be irresponsible of him not to know, to keep an asset whose vices he has not catalogued. It’s nothing special; a dark, banged-up little sports bar that Fusco and some of the cops he knows frequent. All of them are dirty, but the place itself is clean. No illegal enterprises run through this bar. It is a place for corrupt men to play at honesty.

The idea appeals to Reese more than he’d like to admit.

He doesn’t quite fit in here; his suit is too good, but he settles into the shadows with a beer he doesn’t drink and he watches. Fusco’s in a corner booth with four others. Reese is familiar with them, knows them from their dossiers, the little short-form reports of murder and extortion Fusco brings him. They’re talking like friends, laughing together, telling stories. Fusco is holding his own out there, softened up by alcohol, keeping the conversation going.

Reese thinks he should follow Fusco around on assignment more often. He wants to know this happy, gregarious liar better.

It's disturbing, how easy it is to slip something in his beer without Fusco noticing. So easy, it almost makes Reese angry. It shouldn't be so easy. Fusco should be more aware. He has to know the danger he’s in. It would be even easier if Fusco knew he was there, if Reese was holding his attention instead of relying on the cops Fusco is talking to to hold it for him. He hopes none of those cops ever tries to take advantage of Lionel like this, because he knows they’ll succeed. It’s the simplest thing in the world to slip through the crowd in the dark, “accidentally” bump the table, let his hand pass momentarily over Fusco’s pilsner glass.

He feels a little pang of regret as the tablet dissolves and vanishes.

Now it's just a matter of waiting.

Reese wishes he knew Fusco's vitals better. He knows the requisite, what he's picked up from closeness and brief physical altercations, what he's managed to observe at a distance. He knows the patter of his frightened heart; the rise and fall of his lungs. Reese has seen enough to be worried about the possibility of a heart condition.

"You killed him," Reese whispers to himself as Fusco takes a sip.

But he's just being overcautious and it's hard to fight the wave of professional satisfaction that washes over him as Fusco begins to idle against the table, eyes heavy-lidded. It's a contrast to the energized, chatty drunk from earlier. As the minutes pass, he has less and less to say; he struggles to keep up with the conversation. He keeps blinking, shakes his head from time to time in an effort to clear the fog.

He won't know what it is, Reese thinks. He's probably never been drugged before. Although, he amends, that doesn't preclude recreational use. Not now, maybe. Reese has never seen him use. But at some point, when he was younger or just less afraid. Reese will investigate later.

Drugged looks good on Lionel, Reese decides. He's sleepy and relaxed and not worried, for once. One of the people he's drinking with claps a hand on his shoulder, and it takes Fusco a long second to even notice it's happened, but when he does, he turns slowly to look at who's got him. This shy, warm little smile plays over his face and Reese needs to take him out of here, because he can’t watch Fusco look at someone that way, like they are a brief, gasping light in his life.

He waits for the opening he needs. Eventually, a new round coincides with a smoke break, and as the group disperses, Fusco is momentarily left behind, easing slowly out of the booth only to collapse at the knee the moment he tries to stand. He catches himself on the table, but Reese is there an instant later, hand on his arm.

Fusco’s gaze is slow, travelling up Reese’s sleeve to his shoulder to his collar to his throat to his face and Reese can’t fight the stab of disappointment he feels when Fusco does not smile at him. “What do you want?” he slurs, forehead wrinkling.

“Just checking in. I think you’ve had too much to drink, Lionel.” He slides one arm across Fusco’s shoulders, grabs hard at his elbow. For an instant, Reese has this idea that they could stay here at the bar, tuck themselves away in a sequestered booth and sit beside each other, hands on hands and hands on thighs, and Reese could protect him in this moment of weakness and Reese could pretend to be someone else entirely. He dismisses the notion just as quickly.

Fusco laughs at him, scratchy and humorless. “With you here? There’s no such thing.” He shrugs, as though this will brush Reese away.

Reese traps him gently, coaxing Fusco away from the table, making himself the only thing between Fusco standing and Fusco dropping to the barroom floor. “Let’s get you some fresh air,” he says.

“No,” Fusco mutters, sullen and pouting just a little, but he doesn’t have it in him to stand on his own right now. When Reese begins to move, Fusco moves too.

“Take a walk with me,” Reese says to him, like he has a choice. He wraps one of Fusco’s arms around his neck, lets the arm resting on Fusco’s shoulders drop to his waist, and they’re off, Reese stooping a little to match Fusco’s height. Reese glances back, thinks maybe he’ll have to give an explanation to Fusco’s friends, but they don’t seem to know that he’s gone.

Outside, he actually walks Fusco past a little knot of his friends, wreathed in pale, heady cigarette smoke, and none of them says a word. Reese wants to prop Fusco up someplace, against a wall or a parked car, and just lay into them for letting him steal Fusco away like this. But he can’t. He has things to do. He has a responsibility to the man leaning on him.

Fusco shivers in the night air and Reese holds him closer. Reese had a plan to make him get on the subway from here, but Fusco’s stumbling gait is breaking Reese’s heart a little, so he asks “Where’s your car, Lionel?”

“’S down the block.” Fusco’s half-asleep, head pillowed on Reese’s shoulder, but looking right at Reese’s face. He’s blinking again and again, trying to puzzle it all out. “Where’re we going?”

“Home,” Reese says. “I’m taking you home.”

“Oh. Okay.” He seems to accept that for now, and Reese takes advantage of how agreeable Fusco is for the moment and makes him walk a little faster. Fusco doesn’t speak again until Reese leans him back against the side of the car and opens up his jacket, pawing around for the keys. Fusco exhales with a shudder. “It’s cold,” he says.

“I’ll put the heater on.” Reese fishes out the keys, takes a quick look around. Nobody’s looking at them, nobody’s noticing them, nobody’s stopping him.

He shouldn’t be doing this. He’s completely out of line. He’d take Fusco back to the bar right now and get one of Fusco’s friends to look after him, but Reese trusts them even less than he trusts himself. He unlocks the car, brushes trash and paperwork off the back seat and onto the floor. He takes hold of Fusco again, sits him down on the backseat, protects his head from striking the top of the door, lays him out across the back seat on his side, makes sure his feet are inside the car before shutting the door.

Reese comes around, settles in the front seat and gets the engine running, turns the heater on like he said he would. In the back, Fusco’s struggling to sit up. “Where are we going?” he asks again, rubbing at his forehead.

“Home.”

“Yeah, but…” He pauses a moment, pulls himself together. “My home?”

“Yes, Lionel. Your home.”

“Oh.” He lies back again, sighs deeply. When Reese has pulled out into traffic and is driving the two of them home again, he says, “I didn’t have that much to drink.”

“You can barely stand.”

Fusco says, “Yeah, I’m messed up, but that doesn’t mean…” he trails off and Reese checks the rearview mirror compulsively to make sure he isn’t dead, but he’s just working something out in his mind. “I only had three beers, Reese.”

Two and a half. He never finished the last one.

Voice soft and incredulous, Fusco asks him, “Did you give me something?”

An uncomfortable pause ensues as Reese decides, gradually, that honesty is the best policy in this instance. “Yes,” Reese says. “Yes, I did.”

“Why’d you do that?” He sounds miserable, betrayed, but curious. Reese tries to keep his eyes on the road. He shouldn’t have put Fusco in the back, he realizes now. He’d thought that Fusco would appreciate the chance to sleep, that he’d be out of sight and out of mind back there, but instead it’s just distracting. He should have put Fusco in the passenger seat, where he could look at him and touch him without worrying about crashing the car.

“I don’t know,” he says. “I haven’t decided yet.”

“Oh.”  They’re quiet again. Fusco’s hand reaches out from the backseat, rests in the space between the two front seats, fingers digging into the plastic. He asks, almost shyly, “Are you going to kill me?”

Never. “Of course not, Lionel.” Never, never, never. Reese takes one hand on the steering wheel and puts it over Fusco’s, holds on tight.

Reese drives the rest of the way like that, holding hands with his victim.

Part 2

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