Steve's first impressions of the Warehouse team, set at the end of The New Guy. I'm finally starting to catch up on Season 3 episodes so this is possibly a one-shot, possibly a multi-shot (although it shouldn't be considering the number of other unfinished stories that I have and the fact that real life is determined to do me in at the moment).


Steve let himself fall backwards on his bed and groaned, staring up at the ceiling. He didn't know what he was doing here. Sure, the whole killer folio thing had been kind of exciting, minus the part where it had almost killed him, anyway, but it was nothing like what he was trained for. From everything he'd seen, nothing here was like what he was trained for. And this manual that Artie had tossed in his general direction this morning mid Ovoid-Quarantine-overflow rant…well, he'd started on it over lunch, but the damn thing was like a billion pages long. Or at least it was topping a thousand, anyway, and he wasn't an idiot, but there was no way that he was going to remember more than a tenth of what he read. He'd been flipping through it more or less at random since they'd gotten back from the Warehouse this evening, trying to get an overall sense of things, but between inventory scanners and Dark Vaults and killer paintings and an entire chapter about something called the Neutralizer Processing Center complete with some very dire warnings about what would happen if it went offline….

There was a light knock at his door, interrupting his thoughts. "Steve? It's Leena. I'm about to put dinner on the table."

Right, dinner was served at six. She'd told him that yesterday evening when they'd gotten back from Denver and he'd finally had time to take a look around the place and start unpacking his things. And he'd managed to forget within a day, way to make a good impression. "Thanks," he called back. "I'll be down in just a minute."

Her footsteps moved on past his room, and he pushed himself back into a sitting position and set the manual on the table beside his bed. Yet another thing here that he wasn't quite sure how to deal with; a team that was accustomed to working as closely together as this group obviously was. Not that he couldn't work in a team environment, of course, teams were a given in law enforcement, but he'd always kept his work life work and his private life private. As far as he was concerned, grabbing a beer with the guys after a hard case was as much crossover as there ever needed to be. The idea of living with his coworkers…well, 'disconcerting' was a mild way of putting it.

Artie, properly Arthur Nielson, hadn't actually slept at the Bed and Breakfast last night so Steve assumed that he, at least, lived somewhere else, but since he did seem to show up for meals, that probably didn't make much of a difference. Artie's background was NSA from what little Steve had managed to get out of him, and he was kind of out there, especially for a supervising agent. But then again, he'd also apparently been dealing with—and surviving—things like killer folios for several decades. His temperament might take some getting used to, but if he was willing to share that experience, Steve was willing to listen.

He wasn't sure how far Artie's authority actually extended, though. Oh, Artie was definitely the field commander here, but from the way that that Fredric woman had spoken when she'd come to his apartment, she had to be somewhere above him. Steve's first inclination had been to think that she was ultimately in charge, but then Regents—definitely plural, definitely capital-R Regents—had been mentioned, and he had no idea who they even were never mind how they might fit into anything. When he'd asked, Artie had only shaken his head and muttered something incomprehensible before stomping off yelling about his glasses. Or possibly for his glasses. Or to his glasses. It was hard to say.

Pete—formally Peter Lattimer—he had been able to get a little more information out of, however. Well, not about Artie or Mrs. Fredric since for a guy who obviously liked to talk he'd been very good about respecting their privacy, but he had been willing to talk about himself a little. He'd been a Marine way back when, and then after some issues with alcohol with the Secret Service, and then he'd come to the Warehouse almost two years ago. Some of what he'd said had been a little strange to hear given that for a good part of the folio case he'd acted as much like an overgrown child as anything else, but then again, he'd also proven that he wasn't a bad guy to have on one's side in a fight. Not to mention that for someone who hadn't much wanted Steve around in the first place, he'd accepted him as part of the team pretty quickly. It was just that Steve was accustomed to…quieter…partners, and Pete's personality would probably take as much getting used to as Artie's.

And then there was Leena. Steve shook his head. He'd only met her in passing before being dragged off to Denver, and although they'd spoken a little more last night and this morning, she was even better than Artie at talking around questions. To the point where he wasn't even sure what her personality was. Or, for that matter, what her last name was. And while she obviously helped out in the Warehouse, her official job seemed to be running the B and B, and he had no idea whether she ever did any fieldwork or if she'd just been filling in while they were shorthanded.

Footsteps too light to be Pete's pounding past his room marked yet another mystery. Claudia Donovan, who couldn't possibly even be old enough to drink yet. That alone should make her ineligible for service here since as far as he knew all federal law enforcement agencies had a minimum age of 21 for everything except clerical positions, but he hadn't sensed any lie when she'd claimed to be an agent. And she'd definitely been involved in the whole Hendrix guitar mess. It was just barely possible that she'd come from the NSA like Artie, since he didn't think that they had a minimum age, but even then she'd have had to start college so ridiculously early that it didn't seem likely. He shook his head. Whatever the others seemed to think—and as far as he could tell they were all perfectly accustomed to her presence and input; she'd been the one to respond to Artie's yell about glasses—he just couldn't see himself working with a child.

In fact, the one person that Steve had met so far on this reassignment that he thought that he'd have the easiest time working with was the person who'd just come back this morning from some kind of…what? Leave of absence? Temporary retirement? Whatever it was being called, if he'd understood correctly she had to go through a trial period before being fully reinstated, but from what he'd seen in Denver Myka Bering was a consummate professional. Very intelligent, very good at her job, and not likely to be someone that these capital-R Regents would turn down. Of course, given how easily she had seemed to deal with the killer folio, he very much wondered why she'd left in the first place, but….

He shook his head again. Whatever this job was going throw at him, he was going to have to handle it, because when he'd contacted his old supervisor the man had been surprised to hear from him having taken the transfer as a given. And while he wasn't the worst superior that Steve had ever had, he was too by-the book to fight what had been presented to him as a legitimate reassignment from above. Well, not for Steve Jinks, anyway, and maybe that was a side effect of not having had more camaraderie with his old team than those occasional beers after work. But then again, he didn't really want to go back. He'd made contact more out of courtesy than anything else—disappearing off the face of the earth without a word wasn't a good thing for an ATF agent to do—but he hadn't been particularly close to anyone there.

"Jinksy, dinner!" Pete yelled from somewhere downstairs, and Steve pushed himself to his feet and headed out the door. No, for better or worse, and however much it felt like he'd been thrown in at the deep end at the moment, he was now a Warehouse agent.