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Story Data

Posted February 22, 2012

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Series: Knowledge is Not Their Problem

Title: St. Peter, Don't You Call Me

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG.

Summary: Lionel considers the bookends of his brief adventure as an upstanding citizen. 500 words.

Spoilers: Person of Interest 1.15 "Blue Code"

Notes: Title from the lyrics of "Sixteen Tons".

The crunch of the shovel as it cuts into the earth sounds different, in among the trees, than it had in the sandy soil of Oyster Bay. But the slide of the wooden shaft in his grip, and the jar of the blade as it strikes the ground, feels all too familiar. Appropriate bookends, Lionel figures, for his brief adventure as an upstanding citizen.

Both times, the men he's buried have been officers not much different from the cop Lionel had thought himself to be, before a crazy vigilante had decided to make a project out of him. And both times, their deaths have only tightened the leash on him, despite the fact that his hadn't been the hand wielding the weapon. There's a sick kind of irony there.

He'd been starting to enjoy the benefits of walking the straight and narrow. The faces of the people he's helped; a decent if sometimes annoyingly righteous partner; and the collars and the commendation, too. The Suit had given that to him, he and Finch. But what they have given, they're now taking away.

Why? Why make him straighten up in the first place, if they needed a voice inside HR? Why not just leave him there to start with? Why give him a taste of the good life, only to yank it away?

Lionel tosses the last shovelful of earth onto the improvised grave, then lets the blade bite into the ground again as he leans heavily against the handle. Stupid question. He knows why, he just doesn't like to think about what it says about his character. They've trained him, like a dog, to make him want to be better. And trusted that it'll hold even when he goes back under.

The worst part is that Lionel can't even hate them for stooping to such obvious indoctrination methods... because it would never have taken so well if there weren't a part of him that had already wanted out. The same part that's making him feel nauseous at the prospect of returning to the fold.

He'll do it, though. Of course he will. What the hell else is he going to do? He can't get out on his own, the only way forward is through, and at least this time there's a purpose to what he's doing. Something more than money or peer pressure.

You've done some nice work: that had been good to hear. Finally. But his hands are dirty, and always will be. And if those stains can be put to good use....

It occurs to him, not for the first time, that maybe John anticipates him so well because he's done his bit in the same shoes. But at least he's shooting straight about the whole thing; Lionel doesn't think he could take it if the man suddenly got all empathetic with him. He ain't no bleeding heart.

It's enough to know that if he's walking back into the dark, at least he's not doing it all alone.


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© 2012 Jedi Buttercup.