Ok. So after the initial freak out and explanation the team begins to accept and adapt to the fact that Jensen is a Wolf. They make is back to the States and settle back into their lives with a few adjustments. They all decide that it would probably be easier for Jensen to keep with at least one of the team during the full-moon Shifts, because he looks like a large dangerous animal, that if not accompanied by a human, would probably be captured, impounded, or simply shot on sight (like he’s a large wolf, people will freak out). Cougar automatically volunteers for the job, though Pooch is open to taking a turn every so often. They get Jensen a camo collar with his own pair or DOG tags (not military dog tags, like actual dog, dog tags) with two tags on it. One is a simple steel tag which has his “owner” contact information (Cougar), an the other is a bright neon green tag that has “Hi! I’m Jake!” on it. (“Jake” and Cougar’s contact number are also embroidered in white on his collar) They also got a harness from a friend with the K-9 units that fits Jake’s wolf form.
They also, as a joke at first but Jake kind of loves it, get him a couple of dog toys for him to play with when in Wolf form. Tug ropes (playing tug-of-war with Roque and exhausting Roque), frisbees, tennis balls (Pooch rigged a ball launcher made from PVC pipe and compressed air), and Jake’s favorite, the squeaky ball painted to look like the moon.
So every month, or whenever Jake really gets an itch to go for a run, he will either Shift in their house on base, or will go out with one of the team and Shift out in the woods nearby, and go on, code word ‘Walkies’. (Jake came up with that code word). Like I said before, Cougar is usually the one to go out with Jensen on these Walkies (and whenever he Shifts, they call him Jake), and they usually end up in a park with a large field and play fetch. Or sometimes they will end up in the woods and play hide and seek. Cougar will hook up an old school pager to Jake’s harness and then Jake would wait while Cougar went off into the woods to hide. When Cougar was hidden, he would page Jake, signalling the ‘Go’ and then Jake would track him by his scent (like hunting but more fun because he would find Cougar at the end). And he would always find Cougar.
On a side note: It became clear pretty quickly that Cougar was more than just Jake’s best friend. He’s Jake’s mate. Jake didn’t force anything on Cougar, like suddenly yelling “YOU’RE MY MATE! LET’S SEX IT UP!” No. He courted Cougar as a man and let him get close to the wolf. Letting Cougar accept him at his own pace. Or at least Jake thinks its was him courting Cougar. When asked about the subject of who pursued who, Cougar would only smirk knowingly and give no answer.
After Bolivia they don’t go on Walkies much anymore. They’ve kept it from Aisha, and she probably wouldnt have suspected anything if she hadn’t followed Jake and Pooch that evening.
She heard them through the partially opened door.
"Yeah? What up Pooch my man? Need me to hack another satellite for ya’?" asked Jensen, not breaking pace in his typing.
"Um… nah. I got to talk to Jolene and my boy this morning." replied Pooch.
"Jensen. No. Just no."
"Come on. Its adorable and totally works. Pooch’s spawn called Puppy. Makes sense." Aisha could hear the sarcasm in Jensen’s voice.
"Stop referring to my son as my spawn."
"Well, what’d ya need?"
Pooch was quiet for a moment. “I just… do… does Jake want to go for a Walkie?”
Aisha heard Jensen’s pace falter for a moment.
"No." Jensen said solemnly. "I dont do that anymore. Not… no Pooch."
"Come on Jensen. When was the last time you went out?"
"Pooch, please dont-"
"Not since before Bolivia right? You’re tense man, more on edge and pushing yourself. You need a break. Come on a Walkie. Stretch your legs, go for a run. It’ll do you good."
"I’m fine Pooch." Jensen said curtly.
"No you’re not man. I know you’ve been fighting it each month. And if I can tell, Cougs must have known the whole time. Why fight it? You know what it does to you? Enough of this masochistic bullshit man!" argued Pooch, sounding more and more angry.
"I said I’m fine Pooch. Leave it alone. Mind your own shit!" countered Jensen. He had stopped typing a long time ago. Aisha tensed, expecting to hear a fight from inside the room. She hadn’t expected to hear how desperate and broken Pooch’s voice sounded as he replied.
"Then… then do it for me. Do it for me man. I need a Walkie… Its cathartic… All this shit with Roque and Max and crap leads and being away from Jolene… I… I need to let loose. And I worry about you man. Do it for me."
The room was silent for a long moment.
"I’ve still got that moon ball you guys got me." said Jensen, more gently. Pooch huffed out a laugh.
"I knew you would… I’ve got some bungee cords in the van. Could rig up a sling shot." Pooch offered softly, almost pleadingly. Jensen let out a long sigh.
"Alright. But you carry my shit." said Jensen. Aisha could hear Pooch relax and smile.
"You got it man. And thank you."
"And dont you dare lose my glasses."
"I wont. I promise."
Aisha heard both men stand and start to move about the room. She slipped past the door and into the communal living area, plopping down next to Clay on the couch. Cougar sat at the kitchen table, habitually cleaning out their stash of guns.
A few minutes later Jensen and Pooch came clattering down the safe house stairs. Clay looked up from the tiny tv to stare at them as they started towards the back door through the kitchen. They froze for a moment, looking at Clay and then glance at Aisha.
"Um… Pooch and I are uh… going on a Walk….ie." said Jensen, glancing hesitantly at Aisha once more. Aisha glanced at Clay and Cougar. Cougar had stopped what he was doing and watched Jensen from under the brim of his hat. Clay, on the other hand, smirked and nodded knowingly.
"Alright. No man out alone. Be back by midnight."
Jensen and Pooch nodded and went out the door. As Jensen passed Cougar, Cougar reached out and patted the side of the hacker’s leg. Jensen paused and looked down at the sniper. Aisha couldn’t see his expression, but it made Jensen’s dopey smile spread across his face. Then they were out the door.
Aisha waited 15 minutes after the pair left before going up to her room. She silently slipped out the window and down the drain pipe and followed in the direction Pooch and Jensen had headed into the junk yard that laid outside the house. After a half mile she heard Pooch just around a stack of broken fridges. She kept close to the cold metal and peered around the corner.
Pooch stood in the middle of a large cleared area, his back to Aisha’s position, watching and waiting for something to happen.
Suddenly a large brown and tan dog leaped over a tall junk pile. The… ‘Is that a wolf?’ Aisha thought, landed firmly and bounded across the open area. Its muzzle was drawn back to show its sharp teeth as it ran at Pooch. Pooch didn’t even flinch as the wolf came to a skidding halt in front of him.
*GRRR* SQUEAK! *Grrrr* SQUEEEEK SQUEAK!
The wolf was gripping a ball painted to look like a moon in its teeth. With every movement of its powerful jaw the ball would let out a high pitched squeak.
"Alright man! That was awesome! Hand it over." said Pooch to the wolf. The wolf *ruffed* playfully and danced around Pooch, moving away every time Pooch would reach for the ball.
"Come one man." laughed Pooch, fainting left and going right. Slipping his arms around the neck of the wolf, wrestling it gently in a loose headlock. The wolf wriggled and slipped out. He turned on Pooch and shoved him down onto his back with his front paws. Pooch laid there with the wolf standing on his chest, laughing up at the blue-gray eyes looking down at him.
"Shit! Get off. You’re fuckin’ heavy!" laughed Pooch. The wolf dropped the ball on Pooch’s chest (it gave a soft squeak) and then lapped at Pooch’s face.
"Aww man! That’s fucking gross! Stop it!" Pooch laughed, pushing the wolf off his chest. The wolf trotted off and circled, looking back at Pooch as the man sat up, wiping the slobber off his face with the edge of his shirt.
"That shit’s nasty."
The wolf *gruff*-ed at Pooch when the man didn’t immediately reach for the moon ball. The wolf whined and nudged the ball closer to Pooch’s hand with his nose.
"What? You want me to launch it?" asked Pooch, picking up the ball. The wolf *ruff*-ed and ducked his head down, tail swooshing side to side.
"Sorry, what was that?" The wolf bounced and *ruff*ed again, crouching low on its front paws, butt and tail high in the air, wagging more excitedly.
"I did add another bungee cord to the sling shot…." said Pooch, fainting deep thought as he tossed the ball back and forth between his hands. The wolf watched the ball’s every movement.
Pooch stopped the ball and looked at the wolf with a serious face.
"I’m gonna launch it." The wolf barked happily and danced back. Pooch reached over and grabbed a sling shot he had rigged up from the scrap metal and the van’s bungee cords. He braced it with his feet.
"Ready?" asked Pooch, glancing over at the wolf as it stood at his side, crouched, ready to run. Aisha could have sworn she saw it duck its head in a nod as it growled deep in its throat. Pooch loaded the ball in the middle of the sling and leaned back, aiming the sling shot at a high angle, stretching the cords back.
"Alright," groaned Pooch as he strained to pull all the cords back. "Go for it Jake."
The was a *THWUMP* as the sling shot was released. The ball went sailing high into the air and then disappeared from sight beyond a high pile of junk. The wolf barked loudly and raced off after it.
Aisha made it back to the safe house before either of the two men. As Pooch and Jensen entered the house they were both smiling and laughing. Clay nodded at Pooch as the man grumbled past, saying that he was going to need a shower, smiling even though he was complaining.
Cougar caught Jensen at the kitchen table and held him between his spread legs. Looking up at Jensen, as Jensen smiled happily down at the sniper, Cougar asked quietly,
"Have a good Walkie?"
Jensen’s smile widened as he nodded.
"Yeah Cougs. It was great."
Aisha saw one of Cougar’s rare genuine smiles. The sniper reached up and pulled Jensen down by the back of the neck for a quick kiss. In the process Jensen lost grip on the canvas bag that he had been holding loosely. As it hit the crappy kitchen floor tile, Aisha heard a faint *squeak*.