Art by: Taibhrigh
Reese wasn't happy, and everyone in that warehouse knew it. His tale fidget, much like a cat when it was pissed off, and his ears were laid back flat. If anyone got close, he snarled low and deep, most ran quickly, a few taunted him.
Michael Westen, sat far from the dragon, but watched him closely.
He hated the assignment the moment he received it. His job was to protect the country from terrorists, not help them. Greer wrapped the assignment so beautifully in a patriotic bouquet, that this Machine needed to work under their parameters to save good Americans in the field. They could destroy all terrorism and the world would be at peace.
Michael wasn't that stupid, and he never drank the Kool-Aid.
He knew if the government had that much information, they would become even more corrupt than they already are. They wouldn't care about agents in the field, just how to manipulate the public in giving up more rights. Oh they would take down a real threat here and there, but a good bombing on US soil kept the horde just where they wanted them … scared.
Instead they would hunt down those they deemed as threats to their power. Or if someone had enough money, help them stay or take power.
Because terrorism was all about power.
And those who had the power would do anything to keep it.
Including kidnapping dragons.
Now that he had to admit was the strangest part of this whole assignment, discovering that there are actually dragons in the world, and they lived among humans. Michael had read up on Reese, the man had been an excellent CIA Agent, the fact it wasn't until recently they discovered he was a dragon showed how good he was at hiding.
"Ah is the poor baby dragon upset?"
Michael rolled his eyes. If there was going to be one person that was going to get eaten at the end of this, it was Root. "You know what they say about letting sleeping dragons lie."
She gave him an exasperated look. "He's not going to hurt me, not while we have his precious Harold."
"Except you don't actually have his 'precious Harold'." He stood, moving cautiously closer to the dragon.
He was beautiful, black and silver, sharp lines with an elegance to him. When he had seen him transform, it was amazing and scary as hell. Reese was huge and could step on any of them with ease. "He's already plotted your death at least a dozen or so times."
"Be careful Mr. Westen. I can have you killed." She straightened her back, arms crossed across her chest, to show him who was in charge.
Westen bit back the snort, what she and Greer didn't seem to understand was that they weren't in charge. It was this mysterious Harold.
"That's not really a threat." Michael stood in front of the dragon, watching him intently. "I'm still not sure what your plans are here. Hold the dragon hostage to catch this Harold, who will just give you some supercomputer?"
"I don't expect you to understand." She patted Reese on the nose, earning a snarl. "All you grunts are the same. It's a shame, Harry took up with this lug he's worth so much more."
"What makes you think, he is just going to walk in here?" He asked. He had been curious, and tried to look up anything on this Harold. The only thing he could find, was a connection to IMF and Nathan Ingram. If this was the Harold they were looking for, no wonder the only way they could find him was by grabbing Reese, the man was practically a ghost. He admired his skills, would've made a great agent, very old school. Reminded him of George Smiley from those Le Carre books he read on down time.
"Because he actually loves him." Root rolled her eyes at the very thought. "And if there is one thing that is predictable is how love makes you stupid." She stalked off, ending the conversation.
Michael watched her for a few moments, then looked back at Reese. "Love also makes you stronger." He sighed, running a hand over his face. "As one agent to another, I'm sorry. I read your file, you don't deserve this."
"Irony coming from the man who helped capture you, actually the dragon I was going after jumped off one of the high rises, it was amazing to watch."
His eyes narrowed.
"Do me one favor." He shifted until he got, closer to the dragon's ear. "When you get loose, eat the bitch."
The chuckle was deep and wicked.
Westen moved around the body, and gave into temptation. He was softer than expected, and the scales were smooth yet strong. He felt the dragon tense, then relax into the touch.
Decision made, he pulled the knife from his boot and took advantage of the fact that they didn't have any cameras in the warehouse, sliced criss cross across the duct tape that covered his tail. He slipped the knife back into his boot and made his way to his perch.
Harold blinked at the group of Dragons, all standing firm and glaring at him.
"Well it's a good thing none of you have a say in the matter." He pushed his glasses up his nose giving them a contemptuous look. "Reese is my Dragon and I will do what is necessary to get him back. You will back me up."
Aveline's eyes narrowed at the smaller man. "You are not fit for the field…" she raised his hand stopping his tirard, she had heard it before. "Harold this isn't staking out some wannabe drug dealer in the park. These are terrorists disguised as US Agents."
"Who want me alive, so I can give them what they want." He stood his ground, refusing to back down. "I've taken on worst threats than Greer, and Root is a whiny child who doesn't like it when she doesn't get what she wants."
"And she wants you." Harvey pointed out, the only calm dragon in the group. "She's killed people, Harold."
"But she won't kill me. Nor will Greer."
"What is so special about you that you can walk into the lion's den and demand they obey?" Brandt asked with a sense of curoristy normally reserved for Ethan. He glanced over at his brother, who was calmly sitting behind Harold. The bastard already knew more than he was letting on.
Or already had this argument, and knew it was futile.
"It's what I created, and no I'm not sharing that information, it is irrelevant to the situation at hand. Let's just say, even if I wanted to turn it over, I couldn't." He glanced over at Ethan, then back at the rest of the team. "And before you mention, Mr. Hunt's skill set as impressive as they are, we agreed unless Reese knew what was going on he would inadvertently give up the gig, so to speak, especially if he was in Dragon form."
Connor nodded in understanding, smell was a very important factor for Dragons, and Ethan wouldn't smell like Reese's Mate. "So what is your glorious plan to drive me wife batshit?"
Aveline glared at her husband, then continued her staring match with Harold.
"I'm going in with Harold." Ethan stood and moved next to him, showing he was backing Harold's play. "Connor, Aveline you're going over the fence as Assassins. Brandt, Jane you do what you do best, create chaos. Benji, I know this goes against your instinct but follow the instructions on the computer. Beckett and Harvey, I need you two to be behind the hangers catch the stragglers."
Harvey nodded. "Okay there's something you need to know and I would appreciate it if you didn't kill my mate."
Now he knew how Harold felt.
Becket was the first to turn on the lawyer. "When exactly in all of this chaos did you find your Mate?"
"When I pushed Mike off the building and jumped. He was the agent sent after us."
"Michael Westen." The moment Harold had seen Westen's reaction to Harvey's dive off the high rise, but the fact he pointedly looked at the camera as he went by, was enough to get The Machine to investigate him. "He knows more than he lets on, and he may be our way in."
"How?" Brandt demanded, still not liking being left in the dark. When his phone beeped and information about Westen started scrolling across the screen, he glanced over at Benji who was busy reading the same information.
"He's a true patriot, much like John. He is also a damn good Agent, his career is impeccable on paper, the amount of small comments made in the margins, is enough to know he has a tendency to buck the system and do what's right. I think the only reason he hasn't been 'killed' in the field, or Burned is that he's really good at his job."
"What's up with all the Spies lately?" Connor shook his head, glancing over at Harvey. "You're sure about this?"
"Yes." Harvey sighed, fidgeting slightly in the clothes he was wearing, they were itchy and annoying. "Every instinct I had wanted to grab him as I flew off, but I had Mike to think about. He knows more than he lets on."
"Oh I think he's smack in the middle of it." Harold was sure, Westen knew about The Machine or a theory about it. The way he looked at the camera, with an all knowing smirk. Hell, he was half tempted to check into Westen's family line, and see if it connects to John's, the two of them could easily be brothers.
"You think he could be an inside asset?" Ethan asked, making a note to have Brandt give him the rundown on the new Agent.
"I think he already is. He just doesn't realize it yet." Harold glanced back at the Dragons, giving them a once over. They were a loyal group, not just to John but to him. It was an awe inspiring concept, that such graceful yet deadly creatures would do his bidding. "The main goal is to get John, I really have no qualms about what happens to anyone else, well except for Mr. Westen."
Harvey gave him a look. "Is there anything that will come to bite us in the ass?"
"I'm sure there are many things that will likely go wrong." He put on his coat and hat. He was truly missing Bear, but knew the dog was safer with the kids. He wasn't quite sure how Beckett got Castle to stay out of the situation, but he was thankful he really didn't want anyone hurt while helping him.
"I'm not happy." Aveline gave Harold a pointed look. "But I'm going to go along with this, as I know how stubborn you are. If, more like when, the fighting escalates you will listen to one of us, who know what we're doing."
"By that time I'm hoping to have freed John, and let him wreak holy hell on those who dared put me in danger." Harold gave her a small smirk. "And if that doesn't work, I'll just sit back and let you explain the errors of their ways."
She rolled her eyes and huffed, but couldn't help the smirk.
"We have to take in consideration the other dragon." Connor pointed out. "We've smelled him over the past few weeks, and if he is part of this whole thing, he'll be there."
Harvey snorted. "And who do you think John is going to go after first."
"Root." Harold answered. "He didn't like her the first time she kidnapped me, and the only reason he didn't shred her then was we were in a public space, and he hadn't told me about being a Dragon yet. He's going to kill her, and then deal with the other dragon."
"I don't like this Root and I haven't even met her," Aveline snarled.
"So let me see if I get this right." Brandt leaned back against the wall, arms crossed across his chest. "We're going to let Harold walk into an obvious trap, with Ethan posing as a guard. Meantime the two Assassins and going full frontal, while Jane and I wreak havoc and destroy things. Benji is going to stay out of trouble running comms, while Beckett takes out screaming humans, and Harvey chases down his Mate."
Ethan chuckled lightly. "Well when you put it like that what could go wrong?"
"Everything." Brandt shook his head. "Let's do it!"
"Last chance." Ethan glanced over to Harold, who ignored him completely as he typed on his phone. "One day you'll have to tell me what's so important."
"Is this the Dragon or Agent talking?" He put the phone in his pocket, and shifted until he could look at Ethan.
They were in the car, parked down the street from the abandoned airport, waiting for verification that everyone was in position, before turning themselves in.
"Both." The Dragon was itching for information, but the Agent was beyond curious what would get the US Government to steal a Dragon to catch a 'helpless' older gentleman. If it was to control Reese he could understand. John was a formidable Dragon. He had done damage to the Axis Powers during the war, and his skills as a spy were legendary.
"Information." He said simply. "It's as simple as that."
"Information they want."
"They want the ability to get the information, to do with it their will. As I'm sure you of all people understand the detriment of too much information. The very idea that the government, no matter the country, or an individual with access to unlimited information is scary."
"Yet you have it."
"I do." Harold gave him a small smirk.
"John knows all about it." Ethan paused at Harold's nod. "Then he trusts you with this information, which means I'm going to trust that you know what to do with it. If everything goes to shit, which it will likely - stay behind me." He held up his hand to stop Harold's argument. "This isn't about you being capable. This is about protecting a fellow Dragon's Mate. I, nor my siblings haven't been fortunate yet to find one, but I know how powerful it is, just by looking at my parents. John is not a Dragon any of us are prepared to take on, especially if he loses his Mate."
"I'll protect my Dragon," Harold said with convection.
"Then stay behind me." Ethan smirked as he started the car, then tapped his ear piece. "Are we good to go?"
'Everything is in place.' Benji confirmed. 'Tell Mr. Finch I love his system and want to marry it.'
"You may get visiting rights." Ethan chuckled. "Connor, Aveline?"
'We're good. If a hair is harmed on Harold's head, I'm blaming you.' Aveline's tone indicated she wasn't kidding.
"How did you get an overprotective assassin?" Ethan asked as they made their way to the gate. Harold shrugged, still not sure how exactly that happened, then watched in fascination as Ethan shifted into a burly bodyguard. He looked like everyone he had ever hired before: tall, bulky, nondescript features, wearing a black suit and dark sunglasses.
"This is a restricted area." The guard leaned down to the driver's window.
"Mr. Finch has an appointment." Even the voice was deep and held an air that all bodyguards had, bored yet being paid well.
The guy looked into the car, down at his clipboard, then back at Finch.
Harold pulled out his phone, typed a few things before speaking. "Tell Mr. Greer I'm here. They aren't paying you enough to think beyond that." He continued to read The Machine's messages, and watch video of his team.
"You heard him." Ethan pushed the guard back and rolled the window up, ending the conversation. "IMF should hire you."
"Irony, Mr. Hunt I was thinking the same thing about you."
Greer stepped out of his office and walked down the stairs to the main hangar bay. He signaled his men to surround Reese weapons raised. Root stood right next to his snout, patting it while talking a mile a minute on how amazing it was going to be to finally be reunited with Harry.
Westen couldn't roll his eyes hard enough.
From the snort coming from the Dragon neither could Reese.
Every instinct was telling him, that this was going to go to shit in a spectacular way, and if he didn't play his cards right he would end up as dead as the idiots, caring shock batons and guns, surrounding a twenty foot plus Dragon who was pissed as hell.
It reminded him of Jurassic Park.
It didn't end well for the humans in that one either.
He stayed on the catwalk that was the length of the hanger bay, watching the proceedings below. Michael was curious on who this Mr. Finch was, and if he lived up to expectations. He wasn't expecting the small demure older gentleman with a limp, wearing a trench coat, scarf and fedora.
Maybe it really was George Smiley come to life.
Westen leaned against the railing, as he watched the 'exchange' go down.
He couldn't help the smile …
... Greer was so fucked.
"We have a breach in security." One of the guards stepped up to Greer, giving him a rundown of a two man team, that had come over the fences. The cameras also picked up two dragons on the perimeter, heading in fast.
Greer shooed him away, focusing on Harold. "Mr. Wren."
"It's Mr. Finch." He answered with a clipped tone, eyes focusing on his Dragon who was pinned down by five sets of brackets.
Harold could tell John was watching everything. Those large eyes shifted around taking in each guard and where they were located, then swiveled back around to glance at Harold and the guard behind him, before settling on the real threat.
Harold bit back the smile, John may look subdued but it was far from the truth. "I have come for my Dragon."
"He's the property of the CIA…"
For the first time, Harold turned and looked at Greer giving him a bored contentious look. "Is that the opening you're going with?"
"Mr. Greer if we're going to negotiate or have any conversation, I suggest you keep your pet psychopath quiet." He refused to even look at Root, knowing it would set her off.
"Shut up Ms. Groves."
"You want to control her, you'll need me." She snarled at Greer, before pulling a gun and pointing it at Reese. "Don't push me Harry…"
"Mr. Greer I thought this was supposed to be a civilized conversation? I've come unarmed, willing to talk and you threaten my Dragon?"
"Yet you brought other Dragons." He waved his arm towards the back of the hanger bay. "My men are already out there dealing with them."
"Well you know how Dragons get." Harold sighed giving them all a disappointed look. "They don't like it when you threaten one of their own. Since you are obviously not up to the skills of negotiating as I thought you were, I'm going to end this here. I'll be taking Mr. Reese and we'll be leaving."
"All we want is the Machine…"
"She deserves to be free."
"What either of you will never understand is that it was designed to protect, not harm. But more importantly..." He pulled a phone out of his pocket and started typing. "... it is already free." He looked at them with no expression. They would mistake it for someone uncaring, when in reality he was so angry he could bring down this whole place with one push of a button, but he knew Reese would do far worse damage. "And it really doesn't like it when you threaten it's Admin or Dragon."
"Shoot the Dragon…."
"Is that electronic locks?" Harold asked, his thumb swiping over the face of the phone unlocking them.
The sounds of each of the locks, clicking open was loud in the suddenly quiet space.
Reese shifted from one foot to the other, as he pulled himself off the floor. He stretched back, then forward, looking like a really large dog doing it's morning yoga stretches, without a care in the world. With a shake of his head, he flung the collar into one of the walls, barely missing Westen, who dove further down the catwalk.
"SHOOT HIM!" Greer yelled.
Everything descended into chaos.
Those who hadn't pissed themselves, yanked up their weapons and started firing, and were promptly taken out by a swing of his tale, he shifted his weight and took out the rest. The few that dropped their weapons and fled, were heard screaming when they discovered the other Dragons waiting for them.
He glanced upwards at the catwalk giving Westen a nod, before lowering his head down to Root, and in a blink he grabbed her in his mouth and shook.
"Mr. Reese put that down. You do not know where it's been!" Harold yelled at his Dragon. "Put it down. Right. Now. "
Reese looked down at him, then dropped the body onto the floor with a wet splat. "Sorry Harold."
"At least you didn't chew." He wondered how much Listerine they would need to get that taste out of his mouth. "Now Mr. Reese…"
"Not now Harold." He looked past him at Ethan. "Get him out of here…"
Ethan shifted back into his normal human form to grab Harold, knowing the tone was not to be argued with. Aveline came out of nowhere to help, which he was thankful for, because despite the small dapper attire, Harold wasn't easy to move when he didn't want to be. As they escorted Harold out, the back hangar bay door was ripped open and there stood a huge Red Dragon.
Harold protested as he was physically dragged away from his Dragon. It wasn't until they were outside away from the screeching and growling, that he finally pulled out of Aveline's grip and stood his ground. "I need to be with Reese!"
"You can't help him." Aveline blocked his path, forcing him to look at her. "This is Dragon against Dragon …"
"No shit." He rarely cursed but he felt there were some moments the crudeness was the only way to express the stupidity of others. "I can help…"
"How?" She stood before him in all her gear, something he hadn't actually seen before.
The leather formed to her body, but it wasn't 'sexy' instead protective and lethal. Her hair was plated in three braids which were tied together, and tucked under a tricorne hat, an obvious throwback from her heritage. The red sash was tied neatly around her waist, with an array of weapons, including two glocks, a vicious looking knife, and he could've sworn a blow pipe.
Plus there was the hidden weapon on one arm, and the bracer on the other.
It was at that moment Harold understood what being an Assassin meant. The woman before him was not the woman who teased him, or somehow adopted him as a younger brother, but a person who killed.
She was deadly.
"What they want … " He hesitated the less who knew about the Machine the better, especially considering the Agent next to him. But he trusted Aveline, had from the moment she sat down next to him on a park bench. "I … "
"You built it didn't you." Ethan looked at him, realizing his hesitation. "This thing that pulls all the information together. The one they want access to."
Aveline looked between them. "That's what they want, a computer program?"
"It's more than that Ms. Aveline." He gave her a soft smile, then glanced at Ethan. "Yes, I built it. All in the name of protecting people, it was designed to find violent crimes before they happened, to prevent the next 9/11, but it went beyond its programing and if it fell into the wrong hands."
"I don't even want to think about it." Ethan shook his head, he wouldn't even trust Benji with that much information, let alone himself. "But you can control it?"
"No." He shook his head. "I'm Frankenstein in this equation, I created the monster and one day, I will likely die at its hands."
"Not with Reese around, and I doubt it will harm it's creator. It brought us here, told us where to go … it protects you."
"Yes." Harold nodded, then gestured towards the creaking hanger bay. "Hence I can help John."
"You can work with it to help him." Aveline stated, with a very small understanding of what the hell Harold had actually created, but grasped enough that he was more powerful than she ever imagined.
"He made a pact with it to protect me."
"Of course he did." Ethan and Aveline said at the same time.
Harold couldn't help the small laugh. "So I need to get back in there to help …"
They heard a crash, followed by an explosion.
"JOHN!" Harold moved for the building just as a section of it collapsed. Ethan pulled him back, as a Red Dragon flew upwards snarling down at the rubble.
Aveline recognized Harvey's bluish green form, fly past Samaritan knocking him to the ground as he dove into the rubble. "Shit, his Mate …"
There was a roar, as debris was scattered everywhere and Reese's black and silver form flew upwards, wings spread wide as he hovered just above the ground. He let out a spit of fire at Samaritan, who howled from being burned.
The red dragon shook it off as he launched himself upwards into the air, and headed straight for Reese.
Out of nowhere a long range missile screamed.
It didn't miss.
"You dare invade my territory?" Reese snarled at the other dragon.
"New York is a free agency." Samaritan sat for a moment, staring at the larger dragon. "Besides it was easy to infiltrate, you don't have a protected perimeter."
"Oh was I not supposed to know that you were roaming my city, sniffing around HR, checking on ways into my inner group. Must've annoyed the living hell out of you that Lionel told you to go fuck yourself."
Though it looked as if they were having a casual conversation, the one person privy to the whole thing was watching intently at the body language. Reese's tail was fidgeting, the snapper, flicking back and forth working through the duct tape. While the red one's front claws were extending and contracting.
Westen was smack in the middle of a Dragon Death Match, and nowhere to go.
"I'm also guessing I wasn't supposed to know about your encroachment to the school? You know how protective Erik is about his kids, you actually fucked up by trying to recruit one of them." Reese's shoulders slouched down, ready to pounce.
"The freak who Mated to a pathetic human who can't even walk." Samaritan shifted onto his hind legs stepping back. "Once I'm done with you and take over New York, I'll destroy them."
"I should let Erik finish you off, but you put Harold in jeopardy, and well that's a death sentence." He pounced, tackling Samaritan into the wall, creating a shockwave knocking everything over, including Westen.
He got his feet back under him, moving along the catwalk, searching for a way out. He heard the few soldiers who were still alive in the building, scream as railing and debris fell onto them. It was like a bad hollywood movie, except there were no stuntman or special effects.
He jumped onto some cartons, then to the ground, just as the dragons crashed into the catwalk he'd been on, bring it down around his head.
The only goal was getting out of the situation alive.
He was just about to the door, when he felt a large claw around his middle, and was suddenly surrounded by scales. All he could hear was the sound of the world caving in around them.
Reese had saved his life.
He was ready to thank him, when he was unceremoniously handed off to another Dragon. He blinked a few times, before realizing it was the same one that he had been assigned to catch, the one who jumped off the building.
He was even more beautiful up close, the green and blue scales shimmered as he moved. He looked upwards to see the Dragon staring down at him, before he could apologize, he was pulled closer to his chest, the tale wrapped around them for more protection.
He had a feeling his life just got more complicated.
'As a spy you have to think quick on your feet. You have to be prepared for any moment. They don't teach you how to deal with Dragons in Spy school, so I was winging it…'
Samaritan knew Reese would protect the pathetic human, and did everything he could to bring the hanger bay down around them. He snarled in triumph when the building collapsed on itself. He launched himself into the air to get the final blow, when a much smaller Dragon knocked him to the ground, before diving into the debris.
When he took over the territory, he would get rid of all those loyal to Reese. They were pathetic Dragons who lived among humans as equals. He snarled when he saw his enemy emerge from the destruction.
It was time to finish this.
Reese soared into the air pissed as hell, he sent a fireball straight at Samaritan, grinning wickedly when he heard the yelp. He watched and waited as the red Dragon pushed off the ground and came for him.
He heard it before he saw it.
Missiles have a distinct sound, and one was heading straight towards them.
He jerked backwards, instinct to get out of it's way, wondering how the hell Greer got a hold of sea to land missile, only to watch in awe as it hit Samaritan dead center, killing him instantly.
Not much could take down a Dragon, especially when he was in his natural form.
Usually another Dragon.
Though a Machine, who was protective of it's Admin, with access to all computer programs, including US Naval ships in the Atlantic, also seemed to work.
Reese settled on the ground, staring at the crater.
"Well that was anticlimactic." Beckett's voice came over the wind as she walked up to the destruction, her brown and tan scales ripping in the sunlight. She sniffed at the hole, then recoiled at the smell, doing what she could to avoid it. "That's going to be messy to clean up."
"Fuck." Brandt landed nearby, his purplish scales vibrating with excitement. "That was Harold wasn't it. That was your scary as hell Mate."
Reese puffed his chest out in pride.
Connor found his wife escorting Harold pass the destruction to where the Dragons were sitting in the open field. She was outwardly calm, as all Assassins were, but he could smell she was upset about something, he would ask later, once they were settled and decompressed after the mission.
Harold startled when he saw him.
"You were expecting the Dragon?"
"Yes…" He took in his outfit, there were similarities to Aveline's, but only a few … the main one being the red sash and variety of weapons. The long white and blue coat looked Colonial, yet the pants were leather and very distinguished to Connor's Native American heritage, along with the boots and tomahawk that hung from his waist. "Why aren't you in Dragon form?"
"If I have my gear on, I don't transform. It's too expensive and some of this," his hand smoothed down the coat, "has been with me since I was born. This coat is my grandfather's."
"It survived all this time." Harold was totally distracted, hand reaching out to touch the soft leather.
"It's been repaired a time or ten. Though if I was honest, there's barely any original material left, but it's still the same coat, and I learned to be who I am from him." Connor let Harold touch, he threw back the hood, showing off his mohawk and feathers.
"He must have been a good guy." Harold realized what he was doing and stepped back.
"He was an asshole of a pirate!" Connor laughed lightly, eyes softening as he thought of his grandfather. "But he was dedicated to the Assassins, and made sure I was trained properly. Rumors and 'history' had him taken out in his parlor in England, when reality he died an old pirate bastard surrounded by family. My father was the asshole, who betrayed us. Grandpa Kenway took care of mom and me, despite learning everything on the fly on how to take care of Dragons. The man was born for the sea, and lived his old years training a Dragon living in the wilderness. He was a feared pirate that made people think he was the devil dressed as a man, but I only remember the laughter and gruff voice singing me sea shanties."
"Sounds like someone Reese would love."
"At times he reminds me of him." Connor glanced over to the Dragons, then back at Harold. "Let's get you to your Dragon."
Harold made his way through the rubble with the help of the two Assassins, the moment he got close, he held out his palm. Reese snorted, but put his snout into the open palm. "Harold."
"John." He moved closer hands moving up his nose giving him a soft pet. "You are not kissing me until you have brushed your teeth and had at least one bottle of Listerine."
He chuckled, moving down onto his belly, to give Harold better access. "It might be awhile before I can become human again, they gave me something to stop the transformation." His body ached, tail was a mess, and he was hungry and tired all at the same time.
"Our mutual friend is already scouring their servers to find more information about what they gave you. It worries me the CIA has a drug that can do that to Dragons. It implicates they know more about them, and going to use that to their advantage."
"Considering there's a US Navy Destroyer out in the Atlantic having a panic attack of epic proportions, that one of their missiles, just happened to launch and strike US soil, I'm sure our friend can deal with the CIA." John knew they would have to talk about what the hell happened at some point, but right now he was going to see if there were any sheep in the area, then nap. Once he became human again, he was going to brush his teeth, gargle, shower and fuck Harold into the bed.
Then deal with the aftermath of this incident.
"Go check on Westen." John nodded towards Harvey who was not letting the poor human out of his clutches. "He's likely been Burned and is out of a career. I'm just going to lay here and nap."
Harold leaned forward and kissed his nose, before he made his way over to Westen. Beckett curled next to Reese laying her head on his back, both basking in the afternoon sun.
Westen was taking being clutched by a Dragon with an aplomb that only a skilled CIA Agent could. "Hi I'm Michael Westen, I used to be a spy." He gave Harold a smile.
"Don't worry Mr. Westen I may have a job for you." Harold glanced over to Harvey, who was practically growling at everyone who came to close. "As I was the last human who ended up discovering Dragons I get to explain…" He waved his hand at Harvey.
"He keeps growling mine, I'm going to guess that means exactly what I think it means." Westen adjusted slightly in his seat in the palm of a Dragon's paw. "Considering I just watched Greer try to use you against Dragon Reese, I could be a bad complication."
"I have my ways, Mr. Westen."
"And if that shouldn't scare the shit out of me." He gave Harold a real smile. "I only ask one thing, if you can. My mother is in Miami, make sure this doesn't blow back against her."
"That can be arranged." Harold glanced at Harvey. "Are you going to transfer back anytime soon."
"When the site is secured." He shifted around, noticing Connor and Aveline taking out anyone who was left alive. "I already owe you for helping Ross …"
"As one Dragon Mate to another, we protect our own." Harold focused back to Michael, only to hear a distinguished crunch and wet slurp. He closed his eyes, shivering slightly. "Get used to that."
"He just swallowed a whole cow." Michael looked on in awe and disgust. He had been watching intently as two other Dragons one purplish, while the other was more dark blue, herd cows closer to Reese and the other one who was napping with him. He was pretty sure, the brown Dragon was fully alert to everything around them, but making sure Reese was calm and resting.
"John is the largest Dragon in the area, so he needs a lot of food. That's one of the most important things about being a Dragon Mate is making sure your Dragon feeds properly. Harvey, already has a space of his own, plus access to food. So your job will be to make sure he takes care of the Dragon. As I have a feeling he's a damn good lawyer who works long nights to help people, but won't admit it." Harold ignored the continued chopping, and the snort from Harvey. "Also Listerine."
Westen laughed lightly. "Will they always be this protective?" He nodded towards the fact he still had a Dragon wrapped around him.
Harold looked around the destruction, then back at Westen.
"Never mind." Michael gave up and leaned into the warm scales, his body ached from avoiding the Dragon Deathmatch, and he was beyond tired. "I will likely have more questions."
"We meet every other Tuesday for coffee." Harold gave him a small smirk. "Harvey, you can explain everything else. I'm going to go be with Reese, and once he's human again I'll take him home."
"It wears off within six hours, they had to keep dosing him," Michael informed him. He likely had a lot of information that would be helpful to Mr. Finch, especially about how much the CIA knows about his Machine, but right now he had a Dragon to deal with. "Give it another hour, he'll be fine."
"Thank You." Harold wandered back to his Mate, and sighed at the carnage, but could tell Reese was more content. "I'll contact Joss later, she can clean this up."
"How are the kids? I overheard them plotting their extraction." If they had harmed any of the kids or those he protected …
"From the way Anthony tells it they kicked the Agents asses." He settled next to his Dragon. "Oh and Elias really is his Mate."
"That's going to be fun." Reese laid his head on the ground, leaning into Harold. "I'm sorry Harold."
"No, it's me who should be sorry. They hurt you to get to me." He petted the soft scales, soothing the Dragon until he dropped off into sleep. It was rare they could sit like this Dragon and Human, he was going to enjoy while he could.
John let the water cascade over his aching body. It had taken a few hours to transfer back, and all the aches and pain shifted to human form. Ethan gave him some clothes, while catching him up on everything that happened.
Benji, with made up a 'Missle Test' for the poor ship that was still freaking out over the loss of one of their missiles. The Admiral, had stared at the computer, listening to Benji in his crisp accent, explaining that the CIA had arranged for a 'Missle Test' unfortunately it worked. They had hacked into the ship's Missile System to see if they could launch one, and accidentally destroying their own headquarters.
The Admiral wasn't sure if he wanted to scream, cry, or laugh hysterically at the stupidity of some CIA geeks. Benji assured him they weren't in any trouble, and that everything was 'taken care of'.
Beckett transferred back into human form and changed into jeans and t-shirt. With a call to Joss and her own team, she set up a clean up crew for the hanger bay. The crew took orders from Ethan who was mimicking a CIA Agent, add in Jane and Brandt behind him wearing crisp black suits, the NYPD crew decided it wasn't worth their jobs to argue or ask questions.
Mike showed up with clothes and an SUV, stated he got a text message and directions, and with everything that was going on he didn't even question it, instead got the needed supplies and headed out.
Harvey transformed back to human, and quickly dressed into some of his casual clothes. He introduced Westen to Mike, both eyeing each other for a few moments, until it came out that Ross had an Eidetic memory and worked for Harvey.
One of Westen's eyebrows went up and he started asking questions about Harvey.
Mike answered them with ease.
Harvey glared, they ignored him … he was so fucked.
Westen went home with Harvey, to start his new life. He had no idea what it would entail, but he had a feeling that it wasn't going to be boring.
Aveline drove John and Harold home and informed them she would be in the area just in case, but left them in peace. Once she was sure they were settled, and protected she went home to her Dragon. There was a lot to talk about, and despite knowing that Harold was way more powerful that she had anticipated, and had the resources that were quite frankly frightening, yet she was never, not going to feel protective streak for the older man.
Harold got the last confirmations from The Machine, that everything was cleaned up and no traces left behind. He set the phone down on the table, and made his way into the kitchen to fix some tea. It had been a long couple of days, and all he wanted was to sleep next to John.
Just as the kettle boiled, John came out of the bathroom, wearing low riding jogging pants. There were still marks on his body, showing the wounds of the battle against Samiratian, but they were healing quickly.
He grabbed a bottle of beer out of the fridge and handed it over, and without a word they settled onto the couch, both asleep in moments.
Ethan walked into the CIA, flashed Greer's badge and waltzed through the corridors and into the highest restricted sections. He wasn't surprised that this 'Machine' had contacted him, explained in detail what needed to be done and how. The siblings at first were hesitant, but Ethan pointed out they were already trusting the 'voice on the phone' as they were calling it. He had no doubt it was working in Harold's favor, which at the moment was in their favor.
Besides, it had been a while since he broke into the CIA, his skills needed some work. Brandt rolled his eyes, but set up a backup plan, while Jane went to get a Firetruck just in case. Benji, stared at the computer for a long while, then back at Ethan.
'He did it, didn't he. The one thing us computer geeks and hackers never thought possible. He built an AI.'
'Yes and no.' Ethan shrugged adjusting his look, making sure he was a perfect match from Greer. At this moment he wasn't sure where the Rogue CIA Agent was located, but he was trusting the info they were given.
'I can't hack into it, and I'm good Ethan.'
Hunt turned towards his youngest sibling, giving him a soft smile. He was right, Benji was damn good at his job. IMF wouldn't threaten to remove him to the Cyber Espionage division on a daily basis if he wasn't. He had saved their hides more than once, with his fast skills and ability to retask satellites.
'But you trust it. Trust Harold?'
'Yes, I do.'
He nodded, frowning slightly. 'Then let him know I'll do what it says, but if it goes after my siblings or turns on us...'
He left the threat hanging, always loyal to family.
They all were.
If someone went after one of them, the other three were downright vicious.
They all remember Jane kicking the assassin out a 100 story building, or the time Benji blacked out St. Petersburg. Let alone the fact Brandt had blackmailed a Senator, and Ethan's rampage through Beijing was still notorious.
'As long as we don't try to kill Harold or John, I think we're fine.'
'Yeah like going after either of them is a good idea!' He snorted, then started typing away at the computer. 'There's construction on floor twelve, that you can use to get up to the fifteenth level. Also word has it Westen was working for the IMF, and is now on a special assignment in New York.' Benji smirked up at him. 'I kinda feel sorry for him.'
'He'll have the time of his life.'
Benji guided him through the floors, until he was standing in front of the inner, inner server room. They would've never found it on their own.
Benji was sitting in the employee lunch room, on the sixth floor, eating a tunafish sandwich, along with chips and a soda. His glasses recorded everything he was seeing, and his computer running diagnostics.
Brandt was up two floors, in the analyst rooms, making sure the new cover for Westen was solid. While Jane was in the training stalls, kicking recruit's asses.
Everyone was wired in, and prepared for anything. The comms were still working as they moved through the CIA, which surprised him, yet not. Brandt had a least three ways out, Jane another two, and Benji had ran every scenario and given them an 82.3% chance of not being seen.
He put his palm on the platform, then looked into the retina scanner. The door opened with no problem.
Ethan stepped into the room with a sense of dread and awe, then snorted ... it looked like every other server room he had broken into. The moment the door closed behind him, he lost communication with the team, but they had suspected that would be a problem, so they would wait with bated breath until Ethan emerged or the alarms started going off.
Whichever happened first.
Following the directions on his phone, Ethan went to the fifth row, second bank, and third terminal.
Typed in a string of codes. Then watched as it started going through the system.
'Samaritan Files Deleted'
'Dragon Files Deleted'
He watched as more files just disappeared. "Not sure if you can hear me, but you couldn't get into this system before because it's closed? You needed someone to walk you in."
'Confirm.' Typed along the terminal window.
Shit! Ethan stared at the terminal. "So I just unleashed you onto the CIA?"
He laughed out loud. "Your welcome."
'Job done. Terminal secure.'
"Does Harold know what you're up to?" He asked, walking back towards the door.
'Irrelevant information.' It popped up as a text message on his phone, then disappeared as quickly.
"Oh naughty." Hunt looked up at one of the camera's. "So this means we're friends?"
'Asset. Team Asset.'
He paused at the door, and asked. "What does that mean?"
'Can help Relevant and Irrelevants. Reese - Primary Asset. Helps Irrelevants.'
He read the text messages as they appeared and disappeared as quickly. "So we work for you now."
Well fuck. Ethan slipped the phone into his pocket, and exited the server room. The moment he got the team on comms, he realized they had a problem. Of course they did, why wouldn't they.
Greer was in the building.
Ethan slipped into a bathroom, shifted into his normal look, and then headed to meet Brandt, while Jane grabbed Benji. They were close to the exit, when two guards stopped them, stating The Director wanted to see them.
Ethan loved his siblings.
Each of them, looked around, assessed the situation, calculated the odds, then looked at him for confirmation. He had done the exact same thing, but the only difference was that he had a text message saying 'hold'.
"Sure." Ethan shrugged. "Not like I have important save the world stuff to-do today. Though I was hoping for some lunch."
Brandt handed him a candy bar.
They all knew transforming took a lot out of him, especially when he flipped disguises. He chowed down on the candy bar through the elevator ride, then licked his fingers as they moved down the corridor to the Director's Office.
The new Director was more cautious than Weeks, considering he had died a horrible death a few years ago. No one in the CIA was quite sure what had happened, but he was honored with a star and everyone moved on.
"Agent Hunt." The Director stood and moved around his desk to shake his hand. "I heard about many of exploits."
"I'm sure half of them are real." Ethan smiled, then motioned towards his team. "I wouldn't be able to do half the stuff I do, without my backup."
Jane rolled her eyes at him.
While Brandt looked bored.
"Is there a reason you called us to your office like school children?" Jane asked, gaze shifting towards Greer, who was standing in the corner.
"Agent Greer has brought up some charges against your team…" Director frowned at the Agent, before moving back to his desk. "Agent Hunt and his team have exemplary careers …"
"They stole vital assets from my mission…"
"You mean the mission, where you used a rogue hacker, that is rumoured to have tortured and killed Director Weeks, to hack into the US Navy Missile Guidance System and unleash a missile at your bidding. Which subsequently destroyed your base of operations?" Benji spoke as he grabbed his laptop out of his bag, and walked it over to the director. "Let alone how do you explain, your entrance to the CIA's private servers." He opened it and showed The Director video of 'Greer' using his clearance to enter said highly classified servers.
"I haven't been in any servers!"
"Notice he didn't comment about having Director Weeks killed." Brandt pointed out, pulling pictures out of his satchel adding them to the Director's desk. "We've been watching him for a while, IMF was worried about a Rogue Agent inside the CIA trying to solidify power by taking out it's leadership."
"The woman you in the photos is Samantha Groves, aka Root. She was ordered to kidnap Weeks, torture him for information about a project he hired Nathan Ingram to design." Jane added to the tale, pointing out the woman in the picture. "She was arrested, declared insane and put into an institution, when she started threatening former employees of IFT."
"Greer had her released into his custody, where they started to work together to unleash the program Ingram had developed … Ingram thought he was doing what was good for the country, but come to find out, in the wrong hands, it was dangerous." Ethan used Harold's own words, to make the story perfectly believable.
"What was the program?" The Director looked through the images, files, and the video of Greer's moving through the CIA Headquarters with no hesitation, going into restricted 'restricted' areas.
"A computer program, that will get the user into any system. It's Cyber Terrorism at the highest." Benji moved closer to the desk, pulling up more footage of Greer's talking with Root in areas around New York. "The only problem you have to plant it, where you want it. So, for example, if you wanted to hack into the CIA mainframe and get into their secured servers, you would need to get into the server room and upload it."
"We were given the case, as the CIA wanted an outside influence." Brandt glanced over at Greer, then back at the director. "We recruited one of your Agents, Michael Westen and put him undercover with Greer, he was the one who gave us the information we needed."
"Westen was Burned for selling information…" Greer tried to interrupt, but the Director cut him off with one hand gesture.
"Westen is working for IMF." Hunt ignored the fuming Agent, and focused on his team. "Benji show him the footage of the missile Root released onto US soil."
The director stared in shock as a missile was launched from USS Ironside and hit an abandoned airfield in upstate New York. "Tell me no one was killed?"
"Just Greer's men." Brandt shrugged, as if not caring that some thugs were killed. "Ms. Groves was also killed."
"Well no loss there," the Director shook his head. He read over the reports from the Admiral, who was livid at being used as a tool for the CIA. "Someone get Admiral Reinhardt in here, so we can explain the CIA didn't hijack his ship." He then looked up at Greer. "Well what do you have to say for yourself?"
"I didn't do any of this." He waved his arms at the evidence. "This is them, setting me up. Hunt is a Chameleon Dragon, he could look just like me."
Ethan blinked a few times. "Okay, I know I'm good, no really I am. But really a chameleon? I worked hard on my disguises, Benji and Brandt here work just has hard to make sure I walk and talk like the mark."
"Wait?" Benji looked at Brandt, Jane, then at Greer. "Did you say Dragon? As in fire breathing Dragon? I'm from Scotland so yeah I believe in Dragons, but haven't seen any roaming Langley, well not recently."
The Director stood, staring down Greer. "So you weren't working with this Ms. Groves?"
"She was helping me get The Machine, a program that will help us catch terrorists." Greer tossed his own folder onto the desk. "She said she knew who truly built it, Ingram was just the front man, and that she could control it."
The Director looked at the folder, reading through the reports. "Who is this Harold Wren?"
"No one." Brandt shrugged. "We looked him up, couldn't find him anywhere. We think it was an alias for Mr. Ingram."
"Who the hell is this 'Man in the Suit'?" The more he read the more he felt as if he was reading a John le Carre, novel with hints of Tolkien. "You're telling me that you hired a psychopath who killed the Director of the CIA and at least one Agent, maybe more, to find a ghost."
"He's alive, protected by Agent John Reese, the Man in the Suit."
"Who was declared dead in China, three years ago." Jane handed him another folder. "Mission gone bad, his partner turned on him. She was later recruited by Greer, looks like Agent Snow, their handler took her out, in the process he was killed. I'm not sure what type of ship you're running here Director, but a lot of agents are dying. No wonder we were called in."
The Director dropped the file, and picked up his phone. "Janet get me security." A few moments later, a group of men and women wearing dark suits walked in. "Greer, you're under arrest until we can figure out what's going on."
"It's all lies!" He yelled, pulling his arm out of the security officers hand. "They work for Wren, protecting their Dragon."
Benji's eyes went wide, as he grabbed his laptop. "Wow, that isn't awkward or anything."
"Look in the servers: Operation Samaritan…"
The Director frowned, but he was a man who looked at all angles, that is what CIA Agents did. And if sounded unbelievable it probably was true, though sometimes fantasy was just fantasy. He grabbed his own laptop, and pulled up the operation. He sat down with a thump into his chair, as the lines in his forehead got deeper. "You were working to set up a cyber terrorist attack on our own soil? Steal information from Congress, the White House, and all our Agencies including this one? Let alone our allies, the only ones you weren't going after was our actually enemies!"
"Wait no … that's not." He turned the laptop around to see a detailed report of what he actually wanted to do with The Machine, not the bullshit report he designed. There were no mentions of Harold Wren, Reese or the Dragons.
All his photos of Samaritan, the Dragon, were gone, along with the footage of Reese in the hanger bay. The drug that was designed to keep the dragons controlled, was gone. Everything was gone. Except for incriminating evidence against him.
He had been out played.
Greer stood and looked at Ethan Hunt and his team, who passively stared back. They knew. They knew about the Machine and helped. They set him up.
He didn't say a word as they dragged him out of the office.
He vowed vengeance.
He wasn't sure how, but he would destroy Mr. Wren and his Dragons.
The Director blinked a few times, then looked at the IMF team. "I don't like that IMF was working against the CIA, but for this I understand. Though he has a point, Mr. Hunt I've seen your work and you are a chameleon."
"Thank you." Ethan bowed his head. "I'm hungry, can we now go and get some food?"
Brandt rolled his eyes and pulled out another candy bar.
Harold stretched lazily in the warm bed, and shifted until he was further in Reese's embrace. After they had woken up from their nap, and after he made sure John had brushed his teeth … twice, he pounced.
He needed to feel that John was very much alive.
He hadn't expected to be taken up against the bathroom counter, but despite the crowded area, and awkward location - John had taken care of him, never once hurting his hip.
Oh he was sore in all the right places, and had a few marks that showed John's possessiveness.
John got them into the shower, washed them down, then carried Harold back to the bed, where he licked, sucked and kissed every inch of his body. Then gave Harold a show as he prepared himself before sliding down his hard cock. He took his time, slowly riding him, pulling out the pleasure until they were both teetering on the edge. Harold took matters into his own hand, and stroked John's thick cock, until he tensed and came with a low growl, sending Harold into his own completion.
After a few moments, John moved and cleaned them up, before curling around Harold. He hadn't let go since, and Harold was pretty sure he wouldn't be for a while.
"Should I order breakfast?" Harold whispered.
"I doubt you'll bring me a sheep." John murmed with humor.
"Mr. Reese!" His indingence was thwarted by a yawn. "How about we get dressed and go to the diner, and you can order their hungry man plate."
"I like the way you think, Mr. Finch." John kissed him quickly, then moved out of the bed. He ignored the pouting from his Mate, pulling him gently from the bed. "You promised a Dragon food, Harold."
"I see." He shuffled off the bed with John's help. "Shower?"
John gave him a saucy grin.
Michael Westen stared at the other members of the Dragon Mate club.
'As a spy you work alone. You learn to handle situations without help, and trust no one. Now. Now he had a writer, assassin, and a hacker as co-conspirators in a Dragon Mystery.'
"I would say I'm the odd one out of this group, but I really don't think I am." Michael settled into his seat, sipping his coffee. "I do have, well actually I have a lot of questions, but the main one is - what's up with the can openers?"
"Don't touch them!" All three practically yelled at the same time.
Westen's eyebrows went up, as he stared at the group.
"Did Harvey tell you about Dragon Hoarding?" Harold asked, as he worked through his own sandwich. He had to admit, at least this cafe had better food than the last one they had went to.
"Vaguely, I think the word he used was mine." Michael sighed, rubbing his forehead, he was still adjusting. He was a spy, he didn't do well, living with others - let alone relationships. He was living in Harvey's back bedroom, the lawyer understood that Michael needed time and space.
The phone and computer arrived a few days after he settled into the Penthouse, it was better than anything he had while working for the CIA. He had been 'transferred' to IMF, and then put on special assignment in New York.
He really wasn't that surprised when the Numbers started coming in.
It had given him something to do, which helped him adjust to everything else. The few jobs he worked with Reese, gave him insight into the man and Dragon, and also helped him deal with Harvey.
It took time, but he knew he belonged with the Dragon, and the idea of a same-sex relationship didn't bother him, nor ironically did the inter-species one … it was the idea of a relationship at all that had him freaking out the most of the time.
He was thankful Harvey was patient, 'cause he knew he was going to fuck this up at some point. Hence he attended all the Dragon Mate Club meetings as they helped him deal with not just the Dragon but the whole Mate thing.
"Dragons hoard one thing. Do not touch it, move it, do anything with it, without their permission. They will get unbelievable pissed. It's not healthy, it's technically a disorder, but they are Dragons and this is what they do." Harold warned him, he didn't want to see anyone go through what he had gone through with Reese.
Westen opened his mouth …
"Pens." Castle smirked, stealing a pen from the waitresses booklet.
"Feathers." Aveline shrugged, like it made complete sense.
Now the last one wasn't nearly as shocking.
"So he hoards can openers?" Michael blinked a few times. "Well okay. So no touching the can openers, he has boxes of them…"
"Learn to live with them." Aveline, gave him a pointed look. "And be prepared to accidently fuck that up, it's okay we all have done it. Just call us we'll help."
"I'm not good at this stuff." Westen leaned forward in his seat, resting his elbows on the table. "I'm a good spy. I'm good at being someone else. I'm terrible at maintaining normal healthy relationships."
"You think we are?" Castle snorted, shaking his head. "I get lost in my writing, forgetting everything around me. I missed so many of my kids plays, dates with Beckett, and hell once my own birthday party I planned. I'm amazed my daughter turned out to be a well rounded level headed intelligent woman. Beckett has shown me a new world, but I still get lost in the ones I create."
"I'm an Assassin." Aveline gave him a look. "Yes, we both work well together, but there are times I totally forget he's bigger, stronger, and meaner than I am. And I'm not just talking about the Dragon. I've put myself in harms way doing the job, more times than he wants to even contemplate. But it's what I do."
Harold gave Westen a look. "I let the woman I loved think I was dead, because of my secrets. So you're not the only one who is trying to figure this out."
"Does she know about Reese?"
"No, she still thinks I'm dead, and it will stay that way." Harold's tone indicated there would be no further conversation. "So I guarantee Mr. Westen you'll accidentally use one of his can openers to open a can of soup one day, and he'll flip out. My suggestions …."
"Naked covered in can openers." Castle wiggled his eyebrows. "Also start looking up the history and finding old unique ones."
Michael laughed lightly. "And when he works late?"
"Take him a can opener." Aveline leaned over and squeezed his hand. "You got us, you'll figure it out."
He leaned back in his seat, a true smile on his face.
'Spies don't make friend, instead they ended up Mated to Dragons and joined a club'
It had been a few months since the incident with Greer, and things had settled back into relatively normal life. Westen recently Mated fully with Harvey, settling the Dragon down. He was becoming a figure at the law firm, and a few times has helped investigate cases.
The time he took on a rival firm, because they tried to blackmail Harvey, was a sight to behold.
Michael Westen was a damn good spy, and his ability with accents had amazed everyone.
Harvey's tells the story with delight about how his Mate waltzed into the other law firm, acted like a haggard clerk who was looking for information, broke into the file room, and stole the files against Harvey.
Castle had fistpumped Westen, then whined at Becket of why she won't let him do cool things like that. "Cause you would get caught in three seconds." She pointed out, trying not to roll her eyes.
Elias was now part of the Dragon Mate Club, which was awkward at best and downright scary at worst. Harold told him if he goes after his Dragon he wouldn't care about protocol and sick Aveline on him. The Assassin had laughed, but then gave Elias a look, indicating she would actually do harm.
"So our little club has an assassin, a writer, a spy, a mob boss, and a hacker."
"We could take over the world." Elias smiled brightly at Harold.
Harold set his Sencha Green Tea down - finally a place that served it. "That's so 1980's."
Westen snorted, the others chuckling. It really was a weird group of people, but despite everything, they relied on each other, something none of them were used to but had learned to cherish.
Things were settling down, almost routine - well as routine as life can be when dealing with Dragons and the Numbers.
When the Machine alerted them to a break in at the Warehouse. Harold expected John to go on a rampage, and was ready to call in reinforcements to either deal with the idiot who broke into John's stash or help him calm his Dragon down before he destroyed sections of New York.
Only to stand gaping at his Mate, who looked at the video, smiled softly then calmly told Harold to pack up, they were going to the warehouse.
Bear even looked startled.
Harold gave the dog extra treats, then scurried behind John, who as far as he was concerned should be stalking to the car, not taking a casual stroll.
Reese pulled the vehicle up to his warehouse, eyeing the car parked close to the front entrance. "Looks like we got guests."
"Are they friendly?" Harold asked, still ready to call back up. "And why are you not freaking out over this?"
"I know them. They are friends, but at times they have no manners" He stepped out of the car, and stalked over to the front door, slamming it open. "Get out of my bullets!"
There was a rustling of metal against metal. John sighed, as the Dragon likely went deeper into the crate. John looked over at the younger man, who was waiting by the parked SUV. "How long has he been in there?"
"Only about twenty minutes." He smiled up at John. "You know how he gets with that much metal in one place. It's good to see you, it's been a while - despite the fact that you're only a few hours away from us. Heard there was a problem a couple months back."
John gave him a look. "Does the guilt trip work on the kids."
"Always." He turned towards Harold, smiling brightly. "Even more upsetting is you haven't brought your Mate to visit. I'm pretty sure, he's trying to figure out who we are, how you know us, and what you're hiding now."
"It's like you know him." John pulled Harold close to him, ignoring the narrowed eyes. "Harold this is Charles Xavier, his Dragon is swimming in my crate of bullets."
"Well that's rude." Harold glared over at the open door, hearing the commotion inside.
"He's a metal hoarder." Charles said as if that explained everything. He shifted slightly, as he maneuvered his wheelchair towards the door. "A crate of bullets is like a spa day for him."
"Metal?" Harold felt his phone buzz, likely The Machine sending him information about this Charles Xavier, and how he knew John.
"Erik is…" Charles turned his chair around and looked up at Harold. "Special. I don't mean that in the way you think either."
John made his way over to the large crate to see Erik's head propped up on the edge. "Enjoying yourself?"
"Yes." He squirmed a bit more, sighing softly. "Nice security system you got here, really sophisticated. And I don't mean that sarcastically, the cameras are good, the infrared is top of the line, and there's at least one trip wire. To bad I'm really good at getting past all that. Though I did show off in front of the cameras, figured it would get your ass here, since you've been ignoring Charles' voicemails."
"So you set this all up to say hello?" John moved a few of the bullets around to let it slide down the Dragon's back, who shivered in happiness.
"That and I really needed a Spa Day!" He wiggled further into the bullets.
"How did you get in?" John glanced around trying to find how the Dragon slithered into the secure space.
"Used my tail as a key." He lifted his tail to show the spikes. "Figured you would be here sooner, but hey, I got an extra long soak." He climbed out of the bullets and onto the floor, shaking the excess out of his scales.
Harold understood what Xavier meant about special. Erik was metal, his scales were not flesh or even armour like, but actual metal, as were the spikes on his tail. He wasn't large, sitting on his butt, shoulders back looked to be barely eight foot. Considering the smallest he had seen was Ethan, and he was 10 ft long, as he didn't have the ability to sit up, with his long sinewy body.
In a flash a six foot man stood, not shy that he was naked, in front of John. He reached over and started to dress in the simple jeans and turtleneck that was hanging over the crates edge.
Harold glanced down at Charles.
"I'm guessing that's not normal." Every Dragon he met, had flesh scales some were like armor. When he had finally seen Connor in Dragon form, the assassin was huge and the scale plates were massive, but still flesh.
"No." Charles gave him a soft smile. "But he's perfect to me."
"Go ahead and take a longer soak, just leave them behind, when you're done." John smiled when Erik quickly shifted and slithered back into the box. He knew how much these carefree moments were needed for every Dragon, but especially for Erik.
He walked over to Harold, chuckling when Charles wheeled by, to sit by the crate and play with his Dragon. He took his Mate's hand, and moved him towards their sitting area, letting the two have their privacy … though with the Machine there was only an illusion of privacy.
"I don't understand." Harold stared at John, eyes wide as he tried to figure this out. "You were about killed me for losing a piece of your stash, yet he's swimming in it."
"He's not taking it, and I know that. You noticed Erik's not a normal Dragon?" He reached into Harold's pocket and took out his phone, not surprised to see as much info The Machine could find.
Erik was well off the radar, most of the information it had found was on Charles, including the death of his parents, the car accident, and the fact he owed a mansion up in Westchester and had a School for Gifted Youngsters. Erik was listed as Headmaster of the school, taught languages and history, but not even one photo could be found.
"Is he metal?" Harold hesitated not quite sure how to describe what he saw. "Or is he like Ethan?"
He sat Harold down, to tell him about the closest thing he had to a son. "Erik is a survivor of the camps." He could see Harold zipping through all his history lessons, trying to figure out what camps… "He survived Auschwitz."
"Oh dear." A hand went over his mouth, as his eyes closed. Everything he read about the horrors of the camp, the pictures of the survivors, and even now the disgust at people denying it even happened. "How does that explain his uniqueness?"
"When they took him away from his parents, he flipped his shit. Standing in the midst of the soldiers was no longer a young twelve year old, but a Dragon. He took out at least five before he was shot. It's hard to kill a Dragon in its natural form, so he survived but ended up under the care of Herr Klaus Schmidt, s a doctor who experimented on 'unique' individuals. No one knows what he did, or how he did it, but by the time the Allies liberated the camp, Erik was a fourteen year old boy, whose Dragon form had been altered irrevocably."
Harold glanced over to the sound of soft laughter, and the twinkling of metal against metal. "How did you meet him?"
"He was an angry young man." John smirked slightly. "Hunting Nazis searching for Herr Schmidt. I got a hold of him, as he was making too much show of his Dragon and not caring. I discovered his grandfather was a Dragon, but his mother wasn't, so they hadn't even known his gift until that day. I was able to handle him easily, and when he acted up to much I sat on him."
Harold's lips twitched.
"It took awhile but he finally calmed down, and we learned how to deal with his form. He never got over 8 ft, whatever Schmidt did he damaged him enough that the Dragon was muted, but with the metal scales he was invincible. The fact he hoards metal is just a byproduct."
"Met him in the 60's. You should ask Charles about their first few meetings. After his car accident, Erik emerged himself in his life to help him recover. They found a purpose together, and now they have a school upstate New York that takes in orphaned Dragons, kids from non-Dragon parents, or unwieldy teenage Dragons that are having a hard time and can't be in a regular school. Samaritan was poking around up there, Erik had called to let me know there was a Rogue Dragon in the area."
"So he's special to you." Harold looked up to see the now man, dressed in jeans and a turtle neck, walking close to Charles as they made their way over to them.
"Closest thing to an annoying teenager I'll have." John smirked over at Erik, who rolled his eyes.
"You should bring all your friends to the school." Charles gave him a pointed look. "They could talk to other Dragons, than the few you got here. By the way Logan is now with us, just so you know."
John sighed. "I'm sure you're good for him, and he's good for the kids. Let alone a damn good protector."
"He's the one that sniffed out Samaritan." Erik settled in one of the chairs, hand reaching to take Charles. "His claws were enough to send the red bastard running."
"Well you don't have to worry about him, he was taken out." John wasn't ready to explain The Machine to them, but it was time that they were introduced to his team. The school could use the backup, and he could always use a few extra Dragons under the radar.
"Oh tell me that missile launch…" Erik smiled with glee, at John's evil smirk of confirmation. "Couldn't happen to a better Dragon."
"I'm sure this is a bit overwhelming." Charles glanced over at Harold.
"I'm getting used to it." He smiled slightly, liking the idea that John had a 'kid'. "I would like to see this school, I never even thought about the need for one but it makes sense."
"The children are wonderful…"
"Pain in the ass."
Charles gave his Mate a look. "But they are a delight to teach."
Harold had a mischievous look on his face, then glanced at his own Dragon. "I should invite Charles to the next Dragon Mate Club meeting. We can add Professor to our long list of characters."
"Is this as bad as it sounds?" Erik demanded, eyes narrowing.
John laughed lightly. "I'm sure they're plotting world domination over tea."
"I could use a day in the city!" Charles smiled, he hadn't really known or talked to other humans Mated to Dragons, so this was heaven sent. "I'm sure there's discussion on how to deal with these annoying yet lovely creatures."
"If we keep adding to the group, Castle is going to want to get jackets." Harold commented with a soft smile. "We meet every Tuesday, will make sure you get the info." He glanced at Erik. "Dragons are not welcome."
"That's okay, we meet at the Speakeasy." John gave Erik a look. "It's about time you settled into a pack." He could see Erik's hesitation. "They aren't going to judge."
"We'll be there!" Charles squeezed his Mate's hand, smiling brightly at him. Erik could never say no to Charles.
"Oh I have feeling life just got even more interesting." Harold leaned back in the seat, his own hand reaching out to Reese, who just smiled happily at him. So now they had friends and family, and he knew his Dragon well enough that the school was now in the zone for his protection. "Castle is going to squee when he discovers there's a school of dragons."
"What tell he meets Logan." John shook his head imagining the writer's reaction to a whole new world of Dragons.