1996-02-24C: Pavlov's Pack


Jethro_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif

Scene Title Pavlov's Pack
Synopsis Jethro goes looking for coffee. Siobhan sneaks back into the Hospital Wing.
Location Hogwarts - Hospital Wing
Date February 24, 1996
Watch For Pavlov's magical puppies - oh, and Sio decided to Meddle.
Logger Bright One

Jethro is still around the castle, still protecting the kids. He strides up the Third Floor corridor, and pops into the infirmary, taking a look around. He's full of nervous energy, and he hasn't had a cup of coffee in a while. He takes a moment to sit down in an empty chair in the — apparently empty — room, and runs a hand across his face.

It's not empty for long. Bracing herself against the wall, a familiar young Slytherin professor is making her way 'back to bed' after her morning meeting. It's a slow, irritating process. Siobhan's actually pretty sure that if the castle didn't like her, she never would have made it back in one piece. "Jet?" she queries, her posture instantly wary. Trying to move while also trying not to advertise the kind of bad shape you're in is no easy combination, so Siobhan leans against the doorway to disguise the fact that she's not very good at standing up on her own right now. The air immediately surrounding her seems to thicken, like the electricity in the atmosphere just before a storm. "Having trouble with 11, today?" She forces her tone to be casual, but there is something like real fear in her eyes.

"Can't go home. And 'walkin' away' is more like 'walkin' around in circles' here." Jethro replies, looking up to see Siobhan. "Noble, aren't you supposed t' be in bed?" He gives her a small smile, understanding exactly why she's up and about. "You alright?" He catches her nervousness. "Need me t' throw you on your ass a couple times?" Yeah, it really is Jethro.

The charge in the air dissipates and Siobhan sags against the wall with relief. "Bless you and your rules, Jethro," she breathes, feeling a little shaky from the sudden adrenaline rush. "I was in bed and I'll be in bed again in just a minute." She gives him the look that finishes the sentence with So don't go tattling. Her progress toward her corner of the hospital wing is slow. She leans on medicine tables and bed railings to get her where she needs to be. Fiercely independent, this one. Only when she sinks onto the side of her bed does she look back up at him. "I'm fine," she lies, strengthening the argument with a tired smile. "Just tired, is all. Had a meeting with Minerva. Drew the short straw and the castle decided to make the trip longer than it needed to be."

"Served me well," Jethro says wryly. "Usually save Rule 7 for emergencies, though. I'm not your boss or your father, so I don't give a damn, and It's none o' my business. Your ass." He shrugs, and straightens up in the chair. "Usually get a little down time after a case like this. Talked to Snape, got his head screwed on straight, and been doin' little odd jobs since. Just tired." None of those rules deal with avoiding burnout. They ought to, though. "Meeting go well with the old cat?"

There's a moment where Siobhan stares at him hard. Reading, judging, waiting for the other shoe to fall, perhaps. "If that's reverse zoology, you're barking up the wrong tree." Okay, so she maybe heard the term wrong on that late night cop drama. Or maybe the show got it wrong. Not like there are many options on rabbit-ears. "Because I know you made Sev talk and you're not his boss or his father either, so. Save it. I'm fine." She's impressed that Jethro was able to get her rather infamously taciturn mate to talk about anything. It means she's got to be careful - if you can out-interrogate Sev, you're scary good. "Yeah, just prepping her on a few things. You get the paperwork from Jake, yet?" She scoots back to prop herself up against the pillows where it's more comfortable, gesturing for him to sit in Severus' vacant chair if he'd like. "I did want to say thank you for that, though." Even as much as it makes her cautious about what she says, Siobhan is grateful to anyone who looks after her man, even if it's just getting him to talk.

Jethro chuckles. "No. Not interrogatin' ya, not tryin' t' get ya to talk. "Don't need reverse psychology." He's not usually the one correcting the kids' English. Usually that's the others. "Made your man talk because he was in danger of eatin' his own wand. You're too much of a live wire for that." He'll step in if he sees danger to self or others, but otherwise, he's a fairly hands-off leader. Well, if it's outside work. "Yeah. Morgan gave me the paperwork." When she thanks him, he shrugs. "Just doin' my job." As he sees it, of course. "Zoology's studyin' animals. You a monkey?"

The matter of fact way Jethro says that - 'danger of eating his own wand' - makes Siobhan's blood run cold. "He - " Her mouth and throat are suddenly very dry and Siobhan reaches for the pitcher of charmed-cool water on the side-table, shakily pouring some into a glass she can sip at for the next little while. "I'm a snake." She misses the joke, apparently. "Then I'm supposed to remind you that Professor McGonagall needs to be included in debriefing. This is her school, now." And those involved with this side of things trust her more than her predecessor. She takes a sip of that water and then another, finally breaking the silence to ask one question in a voice that's awful small for this big-mouth 'live wire'. "Was it really that bad?"

"Not yet. Just had that look in his eye. I had it. First time it didn't take me that long to think about it, second time it snuck up on me like a soldier. Wasn't any other signs but that look. Figured I'd cut it off before it got that bad." Jethro shrugs. "S'why I told him about my girls." And that's all he'll say for now, which may infuriate the curious woman. "So, maybe y' do need a zoologist. Hmm. See if Duck knows one." She should be able to tell he's joking by the flash in his eyes and the small smile on his face. "I'll go tell her what she wants to know." He much prefers her to her predecessor as well. Even without the events at the end there.

Siobhan's curiosity is legendary, apparently. Even so, there are some things her 'people sense' tells her it's best not to touch. Jethro's girls? Definitely one of those things. There's a seriousness to her voice and expression that belies her young age. "Then I owe you one, Jethro Gardener." She means it, too. Live wire she may be, but the combination of a shredded bond and the loss of her best friend all in one go? There are worse things than death. "Listen, there are … some things your guys need to be on the lookout for." She drops her gaze down to stare at her hands, at the fading bruises on her arms… At the scars. "Shadow will be out of a job before too long." And no, she doesn't say how she knows. "If we want a prayer of catching him at all, it'll need to be between when he gets the boot and when he gets his bearings enough to go back to ground."

"Give us a warning and we'll get 'im." Jethro nods. The 'case' is still open. It will be until they get that bastard. It will roll around inside his mind, eat up time and space. He knows he's not going to be Agent or Auror for long, though. "Wait." The thought that he isn't really doing anything 'official' for either agency makes him ask: "Which paperwork you talkin' about? I got the statements from all the Order members that were at your rescue. Don't have any other paperwork. Don't know what other paperwork you're talkin' about." There will probably be other paperwork. There always is.

"If I have a warning, you'll get it. If I don't … " Siobhan sighs, running a hand back through her hair in frustration. "Sev is who you'll want to talk to about details." He's the one forced to work with the twisted sonofabitch, after all. "But if you've got a profiler, they'll want to talk to me." Her fingers twist the edge of the blankets beneath her. "He, uh." She drinks again. "He uses glamours, illusions - Polyjuice, maybe. Changes his voice, his face, his walk. Looks like people you know. A lot like 'em. Fucks with your head. I didn't figure it out until - " Until he tried using Jethro's face to make her debrief and didn't know the Rules. She hazards a quick glance up at him but is very soon back to staring at the water in her hand. "Until almost the very end." Shaking herself, she clears her throat. "Not that paperwork. Jake will be in to talk to you, I'm sure." She's not about to step on his toes with this. "And probably soon, I'm supposed to meet my team this afternoon."

Jethro's eyebrows quirk up in curiosity. "Morgan's got paperwork for me?" This ought to be good. When she mentions how Shadow tortured her, how he fucked with her mind, he growls. "That bastard." Uh-oh, cue another protective man. "Sounds like the bastard's smart, but we're smarter. We'll get 'im. Have to find a way to mark 'im. Test his magic… I'll have t' sit down and get the information… Profiler? Duck's good at that." Ducky and Snape. That might be an interesting conversation. "Probably wanna talk to you, too." Since she spent so much time with him. "What ya need, Noble?" It's how he offers. The offer is genuine.

Siobhan laughs at that; the sound is bitter. Her large eyes - so expressive - are wet and bright, but nothing spills over. Nothing ever spills over. "I used to think I had nightmares." It's a non-sequitor, but it seems like it's the trigger for a lot. "I saw some pretty awful things done to people who didn't deserve them. I'd see them again when I slept. I got a little hooked on Dreamless there for a while." Her hands start to shake and she rests them and the glass on her lap. "But there he … " Hard swallow. "There were Muggle drugs and potions and combinations of the two. There were whole days you didn't know if you were awake or not." If what you saw was real or not. "Now that I'm here, everyone wants me to rest - to relax. To take it easy. Sleep." She shakes her head. "They don't understand. I can't fall asleep without - " She cuts herself off sharply. "If I'm alone, I can't fall asleep. My body can be so exhausted that I literally can't move and I'll just lay there and stare at the ceiling but if I say anything… If I tell anyone, they'll just…" Give her drugs or potions and call it a night. She laughs again, looking down at her hands. "I don't need Muggle drugs and I don't need potions." When she looks up, it's straight at him with eyes that are cold, dead and filled with icy hate. "I need to watch the life drain out of his eyes, Jet." Then she could sleep alone again.

"I get that." Jethro does. "Got the man that killed my girls. Went off-grid to do it. Fucker died." Jethro's eyes look about as cold as hers, but it's an ancient pain. Deep, dark and old. He sighs."Didn't change a damn thing. Still dreamed. Not as much, not as often, but that woulda happened with time anyway. Just added new dreams to the old." However, he's not hypocritical on this point. "You want my help bein' there to squeeze the life outta him, or kick him in the head, or whatever you need t' do, I'll be there." He stands from his chair, moving closer to her bed. "Abby got a fortune cookie day we met." He opens up his wallet, and pulls out a small piece of paper. 'Today's new friends are tomorrow's family'. "Unwritten Rule: You always do what you gotta do for family." He knows he's a part of this 'team', or whatever anyone else wants to call it. "Til then, we'll get someone t' sit with ya when your man can't." He understands the flashbacks and the need to lash out as well, or maybe better, than anyone.

"This is the third time this guy's come after me, Jet. When I wring the life out of his sorry hide, I'll know he won't be coming back for more." Which is where the biggest draw is. There is recognition for the loss of his girls. Siobhan's intelligent enough to piece the rest of it together. She'll break the unspoken rule of distance between the two of them, then, when he hands her the fortune to look at. She'll squeeze his hand tight for just a moment before letting go and returning the slip of paper. "You know, it's funny. You call that the Unwritten Rule. We call it the Noble Rule." Because nothing unites that sprawling family quicker than a threat to one of their own. She'll even crack a smile. See? She's okay, really. "Guess that makes you a Noble, huh?" She's teasing, mostly. But the underlying sentiment is there. Yes, you're family. Reaching over to lay her hand on the side table, Siobhan stares hard at the wood until glowing numbers light up on its surface - a handy wandless Tempus. "He should be here in about half an hour," she surmises. "You got a few minutes? I'm curious about this 'case procedure' I keep hearing people talk about. What the hell is an AAR, anyway?" There, back to normal, curious, pestering Siobhan.

"Man like that doesn't stay in lockup long." Gardener nods. His eyes flash with amusement when she includes him as part of her family. "Not that noble, Sio." He shrugs, but he'll take the acceptance anyway. "S' a good rule." When she asks him about case procedure, he sighs, moving to sit in the chair right next to her bed. "AAR's actually military term for it. Means After Action Review. Done with the op, done with the actual fightin', you sit down, write down or tell your CO — commanding officer — what you did wrong, what you did right, how you coulda done better. Then, if you're in a team, you think about what your teammates did. Not necessarily t' get 'em in trouble, but to make sure you're all workin' as a cohesive unit. You see the way Michaels and Doran work? They don't even have t' talk to each other. I see that with you and Snape, but that's a whole different ball 'a wax." He grins, knowing that the two of them work together so well because they are so aware of each other, in every way. "Case procedure's kinda like that, but instead of havin' an eye toward a functional fighting team, it's focused on havin' everything lined up for whatever court you're prosecutin' in. In America, gotta make sure t' read 'em their rights, make sure you got all the evidence labeled, and prepared for the lawyers," he rolls his eyes at their very existence, "and keep the chain clear, so if one of 'em has a question, you know who to ask. Awful good idea, but a helluva lot of paperwork."

"Oh." Siobhan blinks. "Well why couldn't he just say that?" Shaking her head, she offers a bit of an explanation. "I must have pestered Cam for 45 minutes yesterday afternoon about all that stuff. He kept making up big words so I'd leave him alone." At least that what she thinks, anyway. As far as the whole 'working without speaking' thing goes, she's not in a position where she needs any perceived advantage, so she's not gonna take much credit. "I'm pretty sure Sev and I cheat." Because there aren't many bonded pairs working in active combat. Or … well, active anything really. "Most places tend to discourage spouses from working together." Although for the life of her she can't really figure out why. "And even in the group of those who do work closely together, I've been told that our … weird magic thing isn't normal." Like one-of-a-kind not normal. "So, unfair competitive advantage." It gives her pause. "How is paperwork supposed to make people work like they're - like me and Sev do?"

"Sittin' down, writin' stuff out…" Jethro begins, pausing to consider how to phrase this. "Makes you think through what you're gonna say. You ever not able to say somethin' out loud, so you sit down and write it out? Used to do that all the time. One thing goin' away t' war did." He grins now, and it's a little boy's grin. "Made me real sure what I wanted t' say t' Shan, because not only was I not sayin' it to her face, she wasn't the only one readin' it. They didn't give a damn about I love yous, but you say somethin' about where you were, or what you were doin', that got colored in." Made it kind of embarrassing to realize that they were reading his letters, but it made him very good at expressing what he did need to say. "Hones it." He sighs. "Also, gives fodder for the wingnuts tellin' you how to do better." On Cam's evasions, he rolls his eyes. "Cam's a good kid, but sometimes…" He mimes a slap to the back of the head. "Don't want to send couples out together because if somethin' happens, both are gone. Used t' be, they would work together. We get kinda weird about family lines and all that now. I'd send you and Snape, though, because you both fight like hell as is. For each other, you'd be a terror to see." He snorts. "Nobody'd get in your way."

That makes Siobhan laugh, at least. "Nobody gets in his way now." She recognizes that he's American, so tries to explain. She's been to America before, maybe she can translate. "Your country is bigger than most of Europe combined. Even your wizarding population is insanely huge. The culture is different. So saturated with IVM and Hollywood - " Okay, so she got some of it right. " - your Muggles don't think anything is magic because it's all easily explained away with their computers and gadgets. You guys can spread out, live as you like. Here?" She laughs. "I think there are more people in your state of Texas than live here, if I remember right. People don't trust things they can't understand. Even Muggles struggle to make tech boom here because the whole place is too steeped in tradition. We have to be insular to survive." Which would be why the whole damn community is so … borderline incestuous. "Imagine … Imagine growing up on Hawaii. Your island is your world. There's one school, one city and people live sort of scattered across the rest of the land. Everyone on that island is going to know everyone else. Sev went to school with two of my brothers and taught all the rest of us. But that's not unique. He went to school with Potter's dad and Draco's parents and Tonks' mum, too. Then he taught their kids. There's not a single person under 40 who doesn't know his temper and there's not a single person under 30 who didn't learn to fear that temper." She happens to be a fan of his temper, but that's because she has very little sense of self-preservation where he's concerned. "Send him to America and yeah, I could see him needing back-up, maybe, but anywhere on this island, he doesn't need me to get shit done. People just get out of his way." Like Pavlov's magical puppies.

Whether she expected to or not, Siobhan is talking. So, Jethro sits in his chair, nodding his head and absolutely not smiling. He listens to the story, and then shoots big holes in it. "I know that feeling." He is kind of the same way in his little world. "Between Marines and MBI, folks know to listen to me. Not quite the same all the way across the board, but same general idea." He walks into one of those two places, and a road clears. "Doesn't mean the man doesn't need backup. It's not just for safety." He had to point this part out to Severus, too. "Not about gettin' a wand pointed at you. Not all of it. Part of it's knowin' you're not fallin' one way or the other too far. Too much fightin' or too much yakkin'. Neither's good. Good balance of wand and word. Can't do that alone. Also need a partner to keep your nose clean. You're by yourself, the temptation is to start doin' things a bit shady. Not that anyone would, but when things get tough, everybody starts doin' those little things they promised they wouldn't ever do." It's a human thing. "Doubly important with you green ones. Not for your own sake, but because of how people see ya." He knows the value of having an ambitious tactician on the team. However, he also knows you cannot operate if everyone thinks you're sliding as a matter of course. "Also, partner's invaluable in gettin' shit done. He'll think'a somethin' you won't, and vice versa. You're well-matched, your ideas might come outta left field, but it makes him think of somethin' and that works." This is hard-won truth for Jethro. He shifts in his seat, then finishes with, "Besides, when you're the one goin' through shit, you need someone who can give ya an objective perspective. Somebody's fought with you enough, they can give it."

That makes Sio burst into a fit of giggles. Holding up her hand for just a moment, she tries to regain some semblance of control, offering her explanation between bouts of laughter. "There was this Auror, requested reassignment just before you lot were brought in on castle rotation. Name's Phoenix. He used to - used to - " She takes a deep breath and shakes her head, still grinning. "He used to run his mouth like … a thousand words a second while fighting." While not fighting, too. "Drove the Brig absolutely mental, because he just - he never stopped." It's funnier if you know the Auror and the Task Force Director involved. "Probably why he said he didn't need a partner - handled the fighting and the 'yakking'." That last part's a little less amused and a little more bitter, but not by much. "I guess I see your point, though." The pair of them have this odd knack of arriving at the same conclusion from two impossibly different routes. "And I can't deny it's a nice thought." The idea of working with her mate in an avenue where there's no impetus to pretend they're little more than strangers is very appealing.

"Lone ranger like that…" Jethro shudders. He can see the amusement, but it scares him. "It is a nice thought." He'd love to find someone to connect to both in work and love. But it's so rare. Were it not for the fact that wizards live so very long, he would give up on the idea of a mate entirely. Four chances is plenty for most. "Just kinda how I'm used to doin' things. Safer for some things. Hurts like hell when somethin' happens to 'em, though." Even if they're solely platonic.

"Yeah, he … he lost his wife and kids during the last rise of Voldemort. Death Eaters." Siobhan is quiet for a moment. "I thought…" Shaking her head, she grins. "I was dumb. He's a good man, though." And she wasn't good enough. Sensing a little of the wistfulness in his agreement, Siobhan's smile turns wily. "Hey, I know this Romanian werewolf Auror lady. Super hot, hates Sev, kills bad guys for a living." So right up his alley, right? "She filled in for Potions last half of last year. I bet Minerva'd have a contact address." Just the tip of her tongue pokes out between her teeth when she grins. Her 'tell' that she's teasing. Mostly. "She'd give you a run for your money, she would." Siobhan - matchmaker extraordinaire.

"Romanian Werewolf?" Jethro's eyebrow quirks. "Not a redhead, is she?" He has a weakness for redheads, but hey, … he shakes his head. "Naw, not sure now's the right time t' try t' start somethin' like that." His life is in flux; he's unsure about where he'll be. He would assume that Morgan has something for him, but he will never assume. "Understand how that makes a man… everything compares to them." Cue the voice of Personal Experience. "Like they're perfect, frozen in time. Hard t' compete with that." He catches something of her emotions on her face. "Snape oughtta be here soon, shouldn't he?" He casts the tempus. "Unless he's doin' that prowlin' thing." It might be his night to patrol for a bit.

"Nah, not a redhead, sorry. You'd wanna look at the Weasleys for that and I think you're a bit old for Ginny." Even teasing, Siobhan realizes that she has zero room to talk on that score. "Circe, if he's prowling corridors this early it probably means someone told on me." Another tempus - this one done on the glass in her hand - makes her nod. "Yeah, he told me about now, so it shouldn't be long." Which is her kind of clumsily telling him he can go if he needs to. She'll be fine. "Although, if it's redheads you're after, shack up with Shepard so she's got something better to do than being pissed at m'Da and taking it out on Sev." Joking! (Mostly.)

Jethro snorts. "Ginny. She's …" He calculates. "Younger than my kid was." That's a bit disturbing. When she mentions Jane, he holds up his hands. "Jane and I… We tried that. Forced on us, but we lived together for a while. We'd kill each other inside of a week." The sex they do well. Everything else is like butting heads against stone walls. Not good. "If it won't be long, I'll sit with ya 'til he shows up." In a rare show of affection, barring her preventing it, he leans down to press a soft paternal kiss to her forehead. She's one of his kids now. "Sleep if ya can." He'll keep watch.

Siobhan's face kind of … twists sideways. "Okay, I was totally kidding. She scares me." Which makes that whole scenario just kind of … weird. She'll accept that kiss, grinning at him before she shifts her body to curl up under the blankets for a while. "Thanks, Jet." She can't sleep, because no matter how much she adores him, Jet's not Sev. She does, however, close her eyes and let him think she'll sleep. He's pack. She'll protect him - even if it's just from feeling bad that she can't sleep.

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