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Title: Nameless
Author: zubeneschamali
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Gen
Word count: 1065
Summary: He had a name, once upon a time. Before he decided to take up arms for his king against the heathen who had attacked the holy city. Now a mysterious wizard claims to know that name—and how much he needs to help by helping others. A medieval AU of Person of Interest.

A/N: This is totally morganoconner's fault, and I know she's not even sorry for it. :p At least it gets the "au: fantasy" square covered on my trope_bingo card even as it launches me into a new writing fandom!

He had a name, once upon a time.

Before he decided to take up arms for his king against the heathen who had attacked the holy city, leaving his lady with promises of love and duty. Before he rode off to war in the name of that king, shiny sword and shield at his side while sitting proudly on his horse.

Before he saw blood spurting from partially-severed limbs and heard the eerie wails of the battlefield. Before he put his sword through a heathen too young to be called a man, before he saw his fellow crusaders of the light forcing themselves on screaming women and some of those same young men.

Before his own captain sent him on a suicide mission when he dared complain about his fellow soldiers' behavior. It wasn't suicide—he was good enough with the sword by then that he escaped with his life—but it was the end of his career as a soldier.

He made the long, lonely journey back home. Piece by piece, he sold off his armor, his chain mail, even his sword, in exchange for food. He crossed the sea and returned to his native land, but there was nothing there for him anymore. His lady was gone, dead at another's hand while he was on his righteous crusade, and that was nearly the end of his own life as well.

By the time his hair and beard grew long and ragged, by the time he was set upon by brigands on the King's Road, he barely remembered his name even if he'd wanted to claim it.

So when the sheriff asked him what his name was, he had no answer. When he asked him how he'd managed to fight off three highwaymen using nothing but their own swords, he shrugged and turned away. At least his cell was warm and mostly dry, like the monk's cell that would have been his if he hadn't ridden off to war. He'd never even considered that option upon his return. No God would allow men to do to each other the things he had seen, much less in His name. Nor would any God forgive him for the things he had done.

When two men in dark cloaks came for him the next day, he didn't understand any more than the sheriff did why someone would post bail for a man without a name. But he went with them— if worse came to worse there were only two of them, after all.

They brought him to a tower on the edge of the King's forest, smooth-cut grey stone rising above the tops of the trees. They stood to the side as a man came out of the tower, dark robes swirling around him that were shot through with silver, spectacles perched on his nose, one leg dragging with a limp.

"John Reese," the man said, and John's head snapped back as if with a blow.

The man drew something from his pocket, a long and slender stick, and waved it in a complicated pattern. John felt the hair falling away from his face, watched in astonishment as his rags turned into a simple, clean woolen tunic and breeches. There was something heavy at his side, and he looked down to see a long, elegant sword hanging from his belt, next to a purse that held the weight of more gold coins than he had ever seen in one place.

John knew enough to dread what the price might be of such a purse. He straightened his shoulders, the motion unfamiliar after so many months as a beggar. "What do you want from me, wizard?"

The wizard's voice was thin and high, but there was iron at its core, iron wrapped around pain. "You have certain abilities that I would like to draw upon, Master Reese."

John tapped the sword at his side. "You can create anything you want out of thin air. Why would you need me?"

"Because you are more skilled with your hands than I am, and more skilled with people as well."

John huffed out a breath and turned away. "I have no skill with people."

"More than I," the wizard returned dryly. "And you have a need, too. A need to redeem yourself for the things you think you've done."

He glared at the wizard. "Who are you?"

There was the chirp of a bird from the trees. A flash of russet and blue flew by, black and white wings extended as it soared over their heads and beyond the tower. When it was gone, the wizard said, "Call me Finch," without changing his expression.

"Finch," John repeated. One hand clenched into a fist at his side. "What is it you think you know about me, Wizard Finch?"

"There are people who need your help, Master Reese. Our help. I see their names in my crystal ball, and I know that trouble is foretended, but I don't know how it will come. Or how to help them. That is why I need you. You can travel to where they are, you can figure out whether they are in trouble or about to visit trouble on someone else." The wizard came a step closer, blinking like an owl behind his glasses. "I can provide you with the tools you need, and the gold to ensure you can do what needs to be done."

"Why are you doing this?"

Finch blinked again. "You are not the only man who blames himself for being unable to save someone close to him, Master Reese. Nor are you the only man who wants to do whatever he can to try to make that right, even if deep down he feels it can never be enough."

John stared at the wizard for a long moment. He didn't trust him, not as far as he could throw him and his black-and-silver robes. As far as his offer went, John didn't believe in redemption, neither for what he had done nor for what he had failed to do.

But it was intriguing that Finch seemed to feel the same way, whatever his reasons might be. And yet he was going to try anyway.

John drew in a slow breath. "What is the name you saw in your crystal?"

Something like approval flashed in the wizard's eyes, and so it began.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 3rd, 2013 06:59 am (UTC)
You are a perfect human being. ♥

And nope, I feel zero remorse for being the cause of this. :DDD

Congrats on your first fic in a shiny new fandom, bb! This is all kinds of wonderful, and I LOOK FORWARD TO MANY MORE POI FICS FROM YOU.

*angelic smile*
Jul. 8th, 2013 01:12 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks, bb! We'll see how many more there are. *shifty eyes*
Jul. 3rd, 2013 11:46 am (UTC)
Wow -- welcome to Person of Interest fandom! What a great premise and interesting start. I hope to see lots more from you soon!

Did you just get into POI? I'd like to friend you and please feel free to friend me too. I've been writing POI since last summer. It's wonderful, isn't it?
Jul. 8th, 2013 01:13 pm (UTC)
Hi, and thanks! Don't know how much more fic there will be any time soon, but you're welcome to friend just in case. (I tend not to friend back until I know people a little better, so please don't mind me.)

I've been watching from the start, and it might well be my favorite show at the moment. Just started with the fic, though...we'll see how much more inspiration I have!
Jul. 4th, 2013 08:38 am (UTC)
This was really cool! It had all the right elements, and it felt right, besides. Well done!
Jul. 8th, 2013 01:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really appreciate the comments. :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )