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    He had gotten them out of Glamis as soon as the sun had gone down enough not to scald his eyes as he drove. They had taken his bike but only for fifty miles that flew by. He had slid it into a dilapidated barn, finger over his lips warning Bo not to say anything as he led them on a three mile hike, their bags hoisted over his back, seeking a different barn hidden deep in a wood. He had waited a mile before breaking the silence to explain that while he trusted the Nation, he did not put it beyond them to bug and GPS his bike so they could find him at a moment's notice when in Scotland as it was rare that he was near Glamis.

     

    In the second old barn, he had slid the tarp off a vintage Jaguar roadster two seater, hand affectionately running over the fender before he took some time to fill the engine with oil and gas, quietly explaining he drained them when he left not knowing how long it would be before he returned. She had only hesitated a moment before firing right up, the grin boyish and finally losing the tension that had seemed to hang like a cloud since they had arrived in Scotland.

     

    The drive had wound through beautiful countryside that nature had reclaimed since the Resonance. The last turn had taken them onto a gravel road that eventually disappeared into grass until he no longer seemed capable of pushing the car through the overgrown mess. Just when it seemed they would need to abandon it, the gazebo structure came up on the left, the floor a thick gravel that he was able to park the car on, the wood roof offering the vintage ride protection from the elements. Bags over his shoulder once more it had been another mile before they walked into a clearing in the woods. The creek was crystalline waters and on its banks, a serene cottage that seemed more in keeping with Bo's preferences than the Spaniards. This was a side of himself that he hadn't really gotten to share with the younger man yet. The lights in the building were minimal, run by a single solar panel, the water ran chilled all the time except when heated on a large wood burning stove and added to the oversized tub on the lower deck outside. The place was rustic, carved wood furniture and old handmade quilts adorning its interior.

     

    They spent two days already in the blissful quiet of the cabin, sometimes in deep conversation, sometimes in the silence. The ring Maree had given him was given back to its owner, the larger fire opal once more Bo's as the smaller had been returned to his sister.

    Gabriele had not been able to sleep the entire day, remaining quietly lying on the large lincoln-log bed not daring to move as Bo lay half on his chest, rhythmic breathing betraying an absolute unconscious sleep. The younger man finally having succumb to exhaustion. But tonight, tonight was special. Bo didn’t know it yet, he knew it was coming but the Spaniard had wanted to surprise him.

     

    Before dusk he had finally extracted himself with the skill of a ghost, Bo never stirring under his absence. Smile lingered as he stood watching the younger man. Somehow, this way was right. Not back in LA or even NY…. Here was where they committed to forever.

     

    As soon as he could stand the dying rays of sun, he slid out of the cabin to begin preparing. It only took an hour for the ropes to be strung between an array of trees, lanterns hung over them, the candles inside glittering against the waters and damp grass as his bare feet barely made a sound on the moist blades. Two tree stumps would act as the arch as he set a pair of large iron candelabras on each.

     

    Bare toes curled in the grass as he looked over his handiwork. It wasn’t a Scottish cathedral, but somehow, it was better. Smile tickled his scruffy cheeks as he pulled the t-shirt over his head, tossing it on the rail of the lower deck before walking into the creek, the shiver ran straight up his spine, the waters near frigid as he dunked, jeans sagging on his hips as he came up, fingers running through the unruly curls before he started staring into the water, dark eyes watching the shadows as he sought to catch fresh fish for Bo. At least out here the younger man was forced to eat healthy, no supplies for sweets out here.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    It was moving too fast, yet it wasn’t.  An overwhelming amount of things were happening in such a short time frame.  Only days before they were running for their lives, he’d almost been killed if not for Gabe’s reflexes, he’d found- and spoken –to his sister. The world seemed to have settled completely.  In a sense.  What had he gotten himself into.  There was a great deal of suspicion surrounding the entire Nation, but for the time being he could deal with it.  The Czech could do unimaginable things to them if at any point they betrayed him, or Gabe.  He’d had his hands on things that would make the devil shudder, no question in his mind he would use them if necessary.

     

    Now though, the irritation had quelled up unexpectedly.  He didn’t ride backseat on a bike. He wasn’t a fucking chick, but he said nothing.  The conversation would have to happen sooner rather than later.  It was a bit of relief when they switched out to the roadster, and only then that the incredible fatigue started to pull his limbs to a complacent lull.  He should have been entirely amused at the Spaniard’s excitement for his adventure… he was sadly feeling the weight of something he couldn’t keep pushing off, and didn’t remember most of the drive after that.  Even though the cottage was something he truly appreciated, it was barely regarded as he found the bed and completely left consciousness to the reality of the world.

     

    No idea how long he’d been out, the dead sleep was anything but restful.  Dreams vivid, not remembered when he woke except for a mess of color and the stress of them being a spiteful betrayal of his need for sleep.  Bed was empty, the world very dark.  It was always dark, it had to be.  Fingers scrounged for a tee shirt that had been discarded over the side, pulling the rumpled thing on, he slid bare feet to the floor.  His body ached, pops and crackles more annoying than anything.  He needed to stretch, but first he needed to pee… working through the darkness to find something, and a hot shower.

     

    No hot shower.  No hot water.  Where the hell had he been taken?  He was also starving.

     

    Putting a bare foot onto the deck, the world was surveyed, panic streaking through his chest.  Gabe was taking what seemed to be a bath in the creek.  He would not set foot in the creek.  No hot water.  This was not good. Eyes narrowed at the rest.  Oh dear god.

     

    Shit.

     

    Hair was attempted to be smoothed , fingers reaching to confirm indeed he was not cleanshaven in the slightest.

     

    He had most certainly not dressed for the occasion.

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    Corner of his lips quirked up as he felt the warmth and presence of the younger man just as hands plunged into the waters and came up with a wriggling prize nearly a foot and a half long.

     

    But as he partially turned his breath caught. It was still there. That distance he had noticed since they had left Glamis. Chest tightened as he looked down at the fish he was pulling from the water to ensure any flicker of pain in his own expression was hidden from the younger man.

     

    Bo had changed his mind. Now removed from the heat and pressure of the moment, his desire to commit for life had slipped like sands in an hourglass. Tongue snaked over his lips as he pulled the wriggling fish up, back still to Bo. It was ok, he was bringing Maree here. Instead of "their" time, it could be time that belonged instead to Bo and Maree. It was not a wasted trip, he would give them his cabin. He could go back to Glamis for a week or something.

     

    It was ok.

     

    And if he kept repeating that to himself, perhaps he could betray himself into believing it. Chest refused to let go of the seize as he finally turned and offered a charming smile to the younger man, holding up his prize.

     

    [gabriele]Dinner![/gabriele]

     

    Jeans continued to sag dangerously on the cut hips as he slugged through the creek waters to come up the bank with the large salmon firmly in his grasp. Chin jutted towards the small blacktop stove with the giant pot warming over the fire.

     

    [gabriele]There is water in the tub behind you already to get washed up but its pretty cool at the moment, needs another pot or two of heated water still.[/gabriele]

     

    Head shook, sprays of diamond lit drops flying to tickle over Bo's cheeks as bare feet stepped up the wood steps to greet the man properly. Even if he no longer wanted to be tied forever to the Spaniard, it didn’t mean the Spaniard loved him any less.

     

    Head dipped to lean down and brush lips softly against the younger man's slowly moving to kiss along his cheek before the scruff of his 5'oclock shadow was pressed against the freckled skin of the ginger, a deep breath cleansing through the tight chest before he pulled away and kissed his forehead affectionately, turning to drop the salmon onto the wood counter next to the grill that was already lit and heating up a low fire.

     

    Powerful fingers took the knife on the counter and began to skin and scale the fish with an ease that betrayed he knew how to hunt for himself. Words were gentle as he made quick work of the cleaning.

     

    [gabriele]I have to go get a few things. Wanted to be sure you weren't going to complain I was starving you out here while I did.[/gabriele]

     

    Glancing over his shoulder at the younger man the grin was almost boyish before turning to his work.

     

    [gabriele]There is drinking water in the fridge, fish only needs about 15 minutes on the grill before its ready. I am only going to be gone about an hour. Need a few supplies that I left on a farm nearby so that we can stay up here a couple weeks if you want.[/gabriele]

     

    He was clearly leaving any decision on staying or going to Bo. He was not forcing anything. He never would, not with Bo. The beautifully fresh fillet of salmon was dropped onto the grill before he turned to nuzzle wet skin against Bo's cheek again, soft chuckle in his chest as he drew back and shook the peppered curls to spray the deck again with fresh creek water.

     

    [gabriele]….going to get changed.[/gabriele]

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    • 3 weeks later...

    "Dinner!"

    Lips pursed.  He’d gotten spoiled.  Sure, he was used to living off the land and being out on his own… but the things he made and took into LA in exchange for some kind of cash would buy the things he could ration until he “went into town” again.  He highly, highly doubted there was a jar of peanut butter in the pantry.  No caffeine, no sugar, not a peanut butter sandwich in sight.  The eyeroll was suppressed… the big brute was bothered about something.  He didn’t give the Czech enough credit, he wasn’t as inadept at social skills as he probably thought.  The ginger hadn’t made any attempt to hide the fact he was not pleased having to ride the bitch seat on a fucking bike.  Gabe was upset.

     

    Shit, he didn’t eat fish.  Loathed it actually, but the smile was genuine. 

     

    Anything related to water.  Anything.  Anything at all.  It wasn’t always that way, and he hoped he could find the old tolerance for it before Gabe really thought something was wrong.  Something WAS wrong, just not probably what was going through the man’s head.

    "There is water in the tub behind you already to get washed up but its pretty cool at the moment, needs another pot or two of heated water still."

    Eyes flicked toward it, breath a little too quick.  The sound of that damn creek was making him twitch.  He didn’t do cold. Or cool.  Ever.  Nod was quick, the hand that came up to shield his face from the cold droplets as unexpected as the gasp that sucked in.

     

    [bodhan]Not a fan of cold water…[/bodhan] he breathed as he tried to relax the rigid muscles that had snapped to attention under the Spaniard’s, they melted at the feel of scruff, quick eyes to the creek and back to him as the feigned smile followed the salmon dropping to the counter.

    "I have to go get a few things. Wanted to be sure you weren't going to complain I was starving you out here while I did."

    The laugh was genuine, hand rubbing across his stomach.  He definitely had trimmed up a bit within the last year.  Whether he forgot about junk food in lieu of finding general sustenance, or just normal food instead of processed crap that kept better up at his cabin, he didn’t know.  He was almost back down to service weight.  If he got taped today, his superiors would be pleased for once.

    "There is drinking water in the fridge, fish only needs about 15 minutes on the grill before its ready. I am only going to be gone about an hour. Need a few supplies that I left on a farm nearby so that we can stay up here a couple weeks if you want."

    He nodded.  Brows furled.  A couple weeks.  No junk food.  Good god he was going to die.  Pulling his tee shirt off, he used it as a potholder and dumped the heated water from the grill into the tub and returned, eyes on the creek.  Was he going to have to fill it from that?  Hoses.  Sinks.  Bodies of water… anything with loose running water.  Showers… he’d learned to live with.

     

    "….going to get changed."

     

    Again the pepper of cold water, and instinctually the snap was sharp, slap of hand on the man’s chest to push him back like trying to budge a freight train.  The look from green eyes, vicious… defensive, mixed with the expression of a dog that had been beaten and feared the hand that fed it, broken by the sudden sear of heat of that had finally bled through his tee shirt to his fingers.

     

    [bodhan]Mother fucker![/bodhan] he hissed, dropping the thing with a clang and shaking the offended hand.  [bodhan]I’m sorry… sorry![/bodhan]  Logic had taken over, dunking his hand into the warm water of the tub.  It burned.  It needed to be in cold.  Fuck that.  [bodhan]Don’t like cold water on my face,[/bodhan] he muttered.  [bodhan]Sorry.[/bodhan]

     

    The darkness gave way to grouchiness, lifting his hand to look at it.  No direct contact with the hot metal, but fingertips were red. Fuck.

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    He caught the gasp at the splatter of chilled creek water sent across the wood porch. Something almost….fearful… in the sound. Since when did being wet bother the Czech? They had had more than one lengthy romp in a steamy shower that lasted well into the night. He had never complained then.

     

    It was something else.

     

    Perhaps changing his mind was eating at him. If anything, the Spaniard didn’t want Bo to ever feel he needed to second guess what he felt. If he didn’t want the "ball and chain" that came with marriage, the Spaniard didn’t want the Czech to feel it was a "wrong" choice. Maybe it was the secrets that Bo still had not let the man speak about. He wanted to tell him all about the Sheut, about vampires, about the multi-nevus events. But Bo seemed to always find something to distract the conversation away from the topics.

     

    [bodhan]Not a fan of cold water….[/bodhan]

     

    The dark chocolate orbs flicked to the younger man, color vibrantly ambered by the warm flush that being out before dusk had burnt on his skin. So that was what it was. There was a insincerity in the younger man's smile as the salmon was carved for dinner. It put the Spaniard ill at ease until the laugh came at his joke about starvation. The sound alone relaxed the cords that had tightened through the back of the exposed shoulders.

     

    He didn’t miss the furled brow as he mentioned a couple weeks in the wilderness was possible. Words softened as he flicked the guts out and over the railing into the creek so others that liked that sort of thing could feast on the delicacy and leave nothing to waste.

     

    [gabriele]…we will only be here as long as you want to be here.[/gabriele]

     

    Smile was soft before the eyes fell back to the fish to finish what he was doing. Dropping the fish over the flames he glanced as the shirt became a potholder.

     

    [gabriele]….going to get changed.[/gabriele]

     

    It had not been on purpose. It was a habit he had developed as a child, shaking off like a dog sending flecks of water scattering about. The slap of the hand instantly stopped the movement as it gave him awareness.

     

    [gabriele]..Sor..[/gabriele][bodhan]Mother [/bodhan][gabriele]ry![/gabriele][bodhan]fucker![/bodhan]

     

    A second apology was swallowed as the hot pot hit the side of his bare foot drawing a sharp inhale from the Spaniard. For a shattered moment it was all chaos.

     

    [bodhan]I'm sorry…[/bodhan][gabriele]..no I am sorry[/gabriele][bodhan]…sorry![/bodhan]

     

    Breath heaved deep to calm his heart as he reached to look at the Czech's hand only to find the younger man already turning to plunge it in the lukewarm water of the tub. He didn’t hear the final apology, having already headed inside and grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. Half jogging back he pushed it into Bo's hand to hold against the burn.

     

    [gabriele]…I am the one to be sorry…. it is habit, done without thinking. I will be more careful. Sorry.[/gabriele]

     

    He knelt to pick up the pot, the handle was cooler, and his calloused fingers didn’t feel much anyway. Chin jutted towards the bottle in the Czech's hand.

     

    [gabriele]…keep it against them. Sorry I don’t have a burn kit here but I have some supplies at the farm and will get them here in a bit.[/gabriele]

     

    Pot in hand he trotted down to the creek, making sure to push the burned foot into the waters before the skin started to blister off. He didn’t want Bodhan to see it, he knew the younger man well enough to know he would feel guilty for something he shouldn’t. Would heal quick anyway.

     

    Pot full once more of crystal clear spring water he came back up to the porch and set it on the stove to heat up.

     

    Eyes fell down to the hand, wanting badly to take a look but a bit afraid that if he touched the Czech he might take flight like a startled deer. Something felt really off.

     

    [gabriele]…you ok?[/gabriele]

     

    Hands didn’t know what to do since the brain kept telling them not to grab so instead they stuffed into sopping wet pockets, something charmingly boyish in the uncertainty as the lower lip rolled a bit between his teeth.

     

    [gabriele]…I don’t want to go if you need.. you know….anything.[/gabriele]

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    The Czech was so frustrated.  Gabe was trying so hard, and something was bothering him… the ginger wasn’t doing much to help the situation.  It was at this point he usually disappeared into the world of his papers and pencils to let it blow over.  He’d made a promise, so he would have to hit this head on and figure out how to communicate.  Being alone for years wasn’t helping, neither was the fact that his only other companion didn’t need to communicate verbally with him. They just knew what each other was thinking.

     

    His explanation sucked.  This wasn’t the time to go over this.  Maybe it was. Fingers scratched the back of the badly needed haircut with a clear uneasiness.  To hash it out, was to relive.  But, he couldn’t be here and have to schlep cold water from the stream to survive.  He’d taken care of that pretty quickly at his own cabin.

    "…we will only be here as long as you want to be here."

    [bodhan]No, that’s not it…[/bodhan] it was under his breath, the thought that finished.

    "….going to get changed."

    Then all hell broke loose.  The snarl of tension only turning into more of a complete clusterfuck, holding into the bottle of water with a soured scowl. 

    "…I am the one to be sorry…. it is habit, done without thinking. I will be more careful. Sorry."

    Sigh was annoyed.  [bodhan]No… I…[/bodhan]

     

    He stopped himself, sitting on a chair to nurse the stinging skin.

    "…keep it against them. Sorry I don’t have a burn kit here but I have some supplies at the farm and will get them here in a bit."

    Nod was quick, watching the man go take care of his own foot, lost in thought.

    "…you ok?"

    Eyes flicked upward at him.

     

    [bodhan]I don’t like cold water,[/bodhan] he repeated.  [bodhan]My cabin has hot water… as you so graciously borrowed when you crashed it.[/bodhan] smirk was surly before it fell back to neutral and he surveyed his hand.  Gabe was uncomfortable because the Czech had made him uncomfortable.  Did he just blurt it out??

     

    "…I don’t want to go if you need.. you know….anything."

     

    [bodhan]I need my own bike… if we’re to come back out here.[/bodhan]  So much for tact.  [bodhan]Not exactly the bitch seat type.[/bodhan]

     

    Okay, so he was a bit bitter at that.  Fingers came up to rub his nose, whisking the droplets off his face that still lingered there.  What if he told him and found out that the person pouring the water was Gabe?  He knew enough to know the man’s past was particularly sordid… He cracked the water open, moving to drink some to perhaps get his voice moving.

     

    [bodhan]I’m not second guessing things, if that’s what you’re thinking.  It’s just…  there was a reason I was on my own.  You know that.  Before the Nevus, the people guaranteeing our safety weren’t always good at their jobs.  I’ve looked down the barrel of a gun and had a knife to my gut more times than I can count.  I don’t build guns, but they didn’t know that sometimes so they used more effective methods to make sure I wasn’t lying.[/bodhan]  He took a deep breath and finally stood.  [bodhan]So the answer is no, I’m not okay.  I don’t like cold water. I don’t swim.  I can’t have it on me, or my face.[/bodhan]

     

    Nod was slight.

     

    [bodhan]I don’t need anything… except… maybe some peanut butter?[/bodhan] eyebrow cocked slightly.  [bodhan]Something tells me there aren’t any junk food stores anywhere near here…[/bodhan]

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    Clusterfuck.

     

    The quiet, beautiful night he had thought they would have had turned into an absolute clusterfuck of falling iron pots, hot water and rapid fire apologies all around.

     

    Flick of ambered brown was timid as he glanced at the Czech in his chair when he returned with the water in the pot, setting it carefully onto the hot stove as the younger man broke the awkward silence.

     

    [bodhan] I don’t like cold water, my cabin has hot water… as you so graciously borrowed when you crashed it.[/bodhan]

     

    Lips pursed as the eyes averted sheepishly. Their "how did you meet?" story was not exactly a good one for the tea and crumpets crowd. He went somewhere else instead… noting he wouldn’t leave if the younger man needed anything.

     

    [bodhan] I need my own bike… if we’re to come back out here. Not exactly the bitch seat type.[/bodhan]

     

    Blink was a bit confused at the hint of hostility in the statement, head tilting slightly as he moved across from the Czech, back of wet jeans pressing to the counter where the fish had been gutted, thumb absently stroking up the bloody knife still lying there.

     

    [gabriele]…..I didn’t have another bike. Next time…. you can drive…[/gabriele]

     

    Words were quiet. Did that make it better? Worse? He wasn’t really sure he understood the issue but there had been no conscious thought about it other than it was only the Spaniard that had known where they were going.

     

    [bodhan]I’m not second guessing things, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s just… there was a reason I was on my own. You know that. Before the Nevus, the people guaranteeing our safety weren’t always good at their jobs. I’ve looked down the barrel of a gun and had a knife to my gut more times than I can count. I don’t build guns, but they didn’t know that sometimes so they used more effective methods to make sure I wasn’t lying. So the answer is no, I’m not okay. I don’t like cold water. I don’t swim. I can’t have it on me, or my face.[/bodhan]

     

    A flash ominously darkened the Spanish eyes that found a spot on the floor very interesting. Protective heat blistered into his cheeks as he breathed very slow. It might have occurred forever ago, it didn’t matter, he ever found them, they would wish they hadn't survived the Nevus.

     

    Peanut butter. The statement barely sunk in as he kept staring at the floor, the heat disapating into a soft smolder as the frown of concern returned. He now knew where that fear came from.

     

    Problem was…. Gabriele could instill that fear when the occasion called for it. Not a secret, yet not spoken aloud before either.

     

    He was quiet a while, wet hips resting against the stone cutting counter as fingers turned the knife over on the surface, end over end, a frightening awareness of its movement without ever looking at it. There was a stuttered hesitation in the breath he pulled, but not in the steady soft voice.

     

    [gabriele]….I have tortured people.[/gabriele]

     

    This was not a conversation he ever would have dreamed of them having now. But if they were committing, it was all in, warts and all.

     

    [gabriele]…..I can do things with a knife that……..[/gabriele]

     

    Soft voice trailed off, dark eyes glancing over his shoulder at the creek, faint furl on his brow as the lashes half closed as though the rising moon was too bright. Lips pursed before the chin dipped, staring down at his bare feet, the angry red welt bubbled on the side of his left one yet seemed to have stopped just short of blistering.

     

    [gabriele]…I would say it was always justified….defensible … but…[/gabriele]

     

    Knife paused as breath expanded the still damp chest, hooded gaze flicking to the Czech.

     

    [gabriele]…but is it ever really?....[/gabriele]

     

    Hand rubbed the back of his neck, tossing the knife onto the counter as though even holding it was something wicked.

     

    [gabriele]…I would tell you they were all murderers and drug dealers… but not really sure that makes a difference either.[/gabriele]

     

    Hands folded in front of him, fingertips picking at a callous, the brow furled under.

     

    [gabriele]There are people that would slaughter the Sheut… seen some go so far as to kill the kids of nation members. [/gabriele]

     

    Head shook as the breath again forced the chest to expand.

     

    [gabriele]….I couldn’t promise you that I…I wouldn’t do it again.[/gabriele]

     

    Bare toe pushed at a splintered piece of wood on the porch floor as lip pulled through his teeth, silent a bit before the brow pushed upward as if a comment finally sunk in.

     

    [gabriele]…actually think I might be able to get peanut butter.[/gabriele]

     

    Sheepish gaze looked up through the lashes at the Czech.

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    "…..I didn’t have another bike. Next time…. you can drive…"

    [bodhan]Nope.  My own.  Not a bitch seater.[/bodhan]  he was putting his foot down.  He didn’t share a bike. Unless there was a busty brunette on the back of his, which there had been on some occasions, it would never happen.  He wasn’t sure what that made him.  Sexist?  Not really sure.  He wasn’t like Gabe, not completely anyway.  It was wearing on him a bit as of late.  Gabe well, liked just men.  The Czech wandered back and forth.  He didn’t see or prefer a difference.  But, he most definitely wasn’t the type to sit in the backseat on a bike.  Maybe it was a control issue and not a preference one.  Not really sure at the moment.

     

    Sigh was tight, recognizing the protective anger that flickered through the big brute.  He shouldn’t have told him, always ready to add a dash of humor to get the freight train moving in the other direction- success with the mention of peanut butter and lost…  damn it.

    "….I have tortured people."

    The furled look that snapped to the Czech’s features found himself wadding up a towel to throw at the man.  Why did he tell him this stuff??

    "…..I can do things with a knife that…….."

    Sigh outward through his nose was long.  He suspected.  For all he knew it was him that did it.  Like he’d hashed over before, meeting the man wasn’t the first time he’d had a knife to his gut, or his throat for that matter.

    "…I would say it was always justified….defensible … but… …but is it ever really?...."

    Towel finally was tightly balled and boffed in the man’s direction, hitting his mark in the center of the still wet chest.

     

    [bodhan]It is when you tell them to go fuck themselves and blow up their ammo bunker.[/bodhan]  it wasn’t really certain if he was joking or not, the annoyed expression successfully hiding the complete fear that it HAD been the Spaniard.  He kept listening.  The world wasn’t any better than it had been before.  He wasn’t sure it would ever be.

    "There are people that would slaughter the Sheut… seen some go so far as to kill the kids of nation members. "

    He nodded at that one.

     

    "….I couldn’t promise you that I…I wouldn’t do it again."

    [bodhan]It will never happen to me again.  Or you.  Bets are off.  I can do things worse than they could ever imagine, and I will not hesitate if it warrants it.  You hurt my family, I'll melt your skin off before you spit your guts out.  Before, I… just tried to survive.  Now?  Survival is making sure it doesn’t happen again... not using my "powers" for good anymore.[/bodhan]  Fingers were studied.  It would be all right, eyes scanning the dark on the horizon.  He was trying so hard not to look up.  He could sneak a peek during the early morning, maybe.[bodhan]Doesn’t change kneejerk reactions though.  Just a human after all.[/bodhan]

    "…actually think I might be able to get peanut butter."

    That brought a smile, then dimmed slightly as he looked at the creek.  Was a great time to face a fear, with someone he trusted.  Maybe not at this very second, but sometime in the near future.  First though, he needed a bath, and he needed food.  Food was on the way…  bath, a little further off.

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    [bodhan]Nope. My own. Not a bitch seater.[/bodhan]

     

    The sharp refusal was striking. Didn’t want to sit behind the Spaniard…. nor the Spaniard behind him. Didn’t want to be seen as "together"?

     

    Just another layer of weight that sat on the older man's chest. He had spent his entire life hiding what he was. Why now did the idea of going back to hiding it seize his chest. But instead of showing the inner defeat, he smiled and nodded.

     

    [gabriele]…your own vehicle… got it.[/gabriele]

     

    But humor had to take a "backseat" to the truth. He needed to be sure there were no secrets.

     

    "Oof" was soft as the wadded towel whacked him in the center of the chest, hand lifting to catch it before it slid from damp muscles to the floor. Blink was quizzical.

     

    [bodhan]It is when you tell them to go fuck themselves and blow up their ammo bunker .[/bodhan]

     

    He was confused, unsure if the Czech was joking or not. Did he understand? He never would have done it to a scientist just to get information out of him…. he never would have done it to someone like Bodhan. Did he understand that? Gun runners, drug dealers, vampire defectors trying to build Z-viral armies…. that was one thing. Some innocent brainiac just to get his secrets? Never. There was a really sharp line there that the Nation… no…. that Ausar damn well knew not to even try to make the Spaniard cross. He would turn on them. As he had warned with his pledge. He was theirs, till the day they betrayed who he was.

     

    The faint nod when he mentioned killing children was telling. Bodhan knew the sort of people that could do that. Again, it was a line beyond which the Spaniard would never cross.

     

    [bodhan]….. Survival is making sure it doesn’t happen again... Doesn’t change kneejerk reactions though. Just a human after all.[/bodhan]

     

    [gabriele]…kneejerk reactions are not reserved for "just humans".[/gabriele]

     

    Soft words came with a smile. He himself was known to have a few of those as well…some he hoped the Czech never got to experience.

     

    But first thing was first. He was now late to meet Eris. If he wasn’t careful she would dump the Czech look-a-like without so much as another word in the middle of the field, just to spite him. Though truthfully…. she was too professional for that. She would wait, but he would pay later, of that he was certain.

     

    Shifting away from the counter he used the towel to pick up the sides of the boiling pot to pour into the bath, a faint steam finally beginning to flutter off the waters in the old wooden tub. One more pot and it would be downright hot.

     

    [gabriele]…I'll get the last one for you.[/gabriele]

     

    Trotting down the steps he made the creek in just ten long strides. Water steaming with a sizzle as it met the hot pot. Careful to not spill it as he came back, the pot was set once more on the hot stove, damp towel draped on the side of the tub.

     

    [gabriele]…got some actual pot holders inside will get those for you too.[/gabriele]

     

    Smile was genuine before damp feet padded into the cabin, taking a detour through the bedroom to strip out of his wet jeans and pull on some dry slacks and a t-shirt over his wet curls, keys slid into his pocket before moving to the kitchen and opening several drawers to find them. He never used them but they had been in the cabin after the Nevus when he took it over… odd ones that looked like fish eating the plate when you opened the thumb.

     

    There!

     

    Coming out he scrunched his nose setting them next to the stove.

     

    [gabriele]… no criticizing my design taste.. they were here when I got here.[/gabriele]

     

    Breath was deep, swelling the chest broad before exhaling gently through his nostrils looking down into the Czech's features. Gruff jawline rubbed against the freckled cheek, lips kissing the earlobe on the side softly, words gentle.

     

    [gabriele]…love you you know…..[/gabriele]

     

    He didn’t say it enough… neither did the Czech. Maybe that’s why he now was feeling on such unsteady ground.

     

    [gabriele]…going to see about that peanut butter.[/gabriele]

     

    Wink teased gently before he trotted down the steps.

     

    [gabriele].. not more than an hour. Farm isn't that far away.[/gabriele]

     

    Gravel pricked at his feet. He had forgotten shoes. Damn Bodhan had totally messed with his head. He didn’t have a clue what was going on with the man. He didn’t want to go back so instead made a beeline for the car sitting under its gazebo cover. Maree wouldn’t care… Eris might have a comment… Miss Perfect Designer Sense.

     

    Sigh was in his chest as he made the 20 min drive to the coordinates he had given Eris. Should have been a 40 min drive but he pushed the engine hard. He didn’t want Bodhan alone long.

     

    He hadn't told Eris why he wanted Maree here. He wasn't ready to let the world in on his secret escape nor any intimate commitment he and the Czech might or might not make in the coming days. The purr of the engine came to a halt as he parked it into the field as far as he dared go without getting stuck, stepping out and squinting a bit at the plane.

     

    Well….at least she hadnt abandoned the Czech yet.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    No lights, nowhere.  An empty fucking field. She could land in the dark, she'd done it before- she just preferred not to.  It was dangerous, and it put her plane at risk.  The last thing she needed was to clip a wing and be stuck on this stupid island with the Nation.  She hated it to begin with, listening to decrepit jokes while she searched for parts and people to fix her plane would drive her mad.  But, here she was... because the big moose had batted his eyelashes and asked her to fly a rather cute redhead to the middle of nowhere.  She had her suspicions on who she was.  The speech pattern, the turned up nose, the characteristic freckles. The vampire didn't have to ask who she was.  What she did have to ask was what the weird mojo was oozing from the girl.  She had no powers to begin with to figure that shit out, but there was something about her that made the tiny vampire feel like she was being stared at by someone that could eat her.

     

    As the jet powered down, she hit the button to shade all the windows.  She wasn't going to sit in total darkness, she also wasn't going to sit with lights on like a moron either.  Headset off, she opened the doors and flipped down the stairs.  Soft glow emanated from the stairs.  It was a gentle light to herald their location to any that knew what they were looking for.

     

    Now was time to wait for the big brute to pick up his package, and she could hop over to Glamis, fuel the beast and get the hell out of dodge.

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    The ground had cooled already, feet acutely aware that they were naked as he walked in the tall grass. The closer he got to her glossy plane, the more he wished he had gone back for shoes. Eris was likely to have a comment or two about the "vagabond" coming on her luxury liner. Grin was sheepish as he ran a hand through his still wet locks, he was not exactly dressed proper for meeting up with Bodhan's sister either.

     

    Odd that he was suddenly self conscious. He only had met with Maree twice, both brief, both laden with promises he would make it better for the twins. He kept his promises. But the self conscious had nothing to do with not knowing her well, and everything to do with wanting her to "like" him….. no…. to "approve" of him for her brother.

     

    What if she didn’t?

     

    Foot halted as it was moving to take the first step up the plane.

     

    …..what if she DIDN’T?

     

    Heart thundered in the broad chest as the brows puckered downward. She was everything to Bodhan, his entire family. It was something the Spaniard could not compete with. If she said no to Bodhan….. he wouldn’t chose the Spaniard over his twin, of that he was certain. He would never ask him to either.

     

    Fingers slipped through the damp curls, "combing" them back before unbuttoning the top of his slacks and tucking the t-shirt in neatly before buttoning them again. Breath swelled the chest broadly before he mustered his commitment once more, foot taking the first step and then pressing upward into the plane.

     

    Head peeked inside towards the cockpit wondering if the new Viceroy was pissed at him, after all she had just been out here no more than a couple weeks ago and for a bombshell that he could have warned her about but was not authorized to do so. Technically it had not been his fault that he kept mum on the Viceroy position…. somehow that was little comfort. She would get back at him eventually.

     

    [gabriele]..hey Eris. Sorry about the short notice.[/gabriele]

     

    ….again. Though he left the last part unsaid, offering instead a boyish grin and faint shrug that admitted he couldn’t help it. Bare feet stepped up into the cabin so he could push into the belly a bit further for his real target. Hands slid into the front pockets of his slacks, dark eyes swimming a moment in how much she resembled Bodhan. The last time they had met he had given her back the small fire opal that the Czech had given him and she had given him the larger mate that belonged to her brother. Smile was soft hoping she wasn’t ticked off since even Eris didn’t know why he had fetched the woman which meant the girl was still very much in the proverbial dark.

     

    [gabriele]Hello again Maree.[/gabriele]

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    Ears had picked up the sound of a vehicle, ballet slippered foot swinging quietly as she waited on the steps of her plane.  She knew damn well who her cargo was.  She was only supposed to ferry the little gem, but she knew if something happened to her the big brute would have her ass.  She was a spitfire and formidable force in her own right, but Gabe was the executioner for a reason.  She wouldn't last long if she allowed something to happen to her.  So here she sat, swatting the occasional mosquito... yes, for some fucking reason they loved her, and waiting for him to appear and take the package.

     

    [eris]You look like Tarzan,[/eris]  the fashionista mused as he approached through the jungle of a field that she had to land in.

     

    "..hey Eris. Sorry about the short notice."

     

    She pffft'd at him and walked up the stairs.  [eris]New job is peachy thanks for asking.[/eris]

     

    The soft bump on his arm was the closest she got to affection as she retook her space in the cockpit to start the checklist to head to Glamis and fuel.  They would be off in a few moments, and she would be out of this damned place.

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    It had taken some coaxing, the newly skeptical mage unwilling to trust more than she was given.  Get on a plane at the request of Gabe.  The pilot had been all business.  What was it for?  Her brother?  Had something happened to her brother?  Was she in danger?  She knew better, and went with her.  It had been ages since she'd been on a plane.  At one time it seemed they lived on them.  She'd followed Bo wherever in the world he wanted to go, she was a free spirit and up for whatever adventure the world could throw at her. Now, she was a bit of a homebody, and Gretchen had given her hell for wanting to take time off.  But, relented.  She couldn't be chained to the hospital all the time.

     

    There was nothing she could see out the windows except for the brilliant stars and crack in the sky.  No runway of any kind.  Maybe this was a mistake.  Why in the world would the trip had been so long unless... no, it took longer to get from New York to Italy.  She knew that from before the Nevus.  They had gone north.  Where the hell were they?

     

    Hands were anything but innocent, glittering with a pent up ability and ready to sling shit at any moment.  It wasn't that she didn't trust the woman, but... she didn't trust anyone.  Not anymore.

     

    Voices, and a familiar face.  Pale eyes blinked at the lack of shoes.

     

    gallery_1151_21_69349_zps7958e6fc.png "Hello again Maree."

     

    Expression quirked slightly, the purse akin to her brother's when he stared into the sky.

     

    [maree]Where are your shoes?[/maree]  the longer she thought about it, the more it lingered that her brother often went without shoes, especially in the grass.  Apparently they'd rubbed off on each other.  What did that mean?!  A muscle in her neck ticked gently, the thumbing of her ring on her finger a nervous habit.  [maree]Did something happen?  Am I being followed again?[/maree]  voice was quiet, almost as if something was listening to the both of them.  Hell, who knew?

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    [eris]You look like Tarzan..[/eris]

     

    Lopsided grin was boyishly charming as a shoulder shrugged.

     

    [gabriele]…ya well.. didn’t want to be late for you.[/gabriele]

     

    Wink betrayed a strange intimacy between the two as he followed up into the cylinder death trap. He would need to call her again when they were ready to go back…. he dreaded it.

     

    [eris]New job is peachy thanks for asking.[/eris][gabriele] Welcome to the club, we have matching t-shirts.[/gabriele]

     

    He grinned a bit at the bump on his arm. As acting Viceroy of the west he was all too familiar with her new job, difference was, it probably suited her while he loathed the "temporary" title he was wearing.

     

    As Eris moved to get the plane ready to get out of Dodge, he turned his attention to the female doppelganger of his lover.

     

    [maree]Where are your shoes?[/maree]

     

    He blinked at her, what was this? Gang up on the Spaniard night? Dark eyes glanced over his shoulder towards Eris almost sure he heard her chuckle, faint frown on his brow before he looked back at Maree and parted lips to say something only to clamp them shut as she pushed instead.

     

    [maree]Did something happen? Am I being followed again?[/maree]

     

    Blink was soft before the lips gently lifted, eyes watching her finger the ring that once adorned his own pinky. Oddly enough his hand had felt empty without it. Head tipped towards the exit of the plane, his own voice soft.

     

    [gabriele]…if you are, Eris is really slipping. No. I have a promise I had to keep.[/gabriele]

     

    Smile broadened a bit before turning to lead the way out of the plane, tossing into the cockpit a quick.

     

    [gabriele]…thanks Eris.[/gabriele]

     

    Before bare feet trotted down the steps into the field, pausing several yards from the plane waiting on the peach-curled Czech.

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    She listened to the banter quietly, in reality.... she'd had a helluva long time to think about why she was being brought here.  Now, no lights, no runway, no nothing and a barefoot man she'd only met twice that had brought a gift of truce from her brother.  She'd heard his voice, knew he was alive... but what if this was a ruse?  It was not the first time she'd been lured to a point only to have found her brother in a rather precarious position.  She had nothing to go on other than being summoned to a plane.

     

    She’d rather at the moment face Gertrude’s wrath again for taking a week off at the ER than step out into the darkness.

     

    [maree]Why am I here?[/maree]

     

    She had paused on the stairs of the plane before hopping off with her bag into the grass to follow him.

     

    [maree]Because, to be honest this is a bit suspicious.  I’ve been summoned before, and it usually wasn’t a good outcome.  Just wanted to warn you I’ll singe your ass if you try and pull something.[/Maree]

     

    She was tromping through the grass, grouching like her brother about cold water, but making her thoughts known that she wasn’t going to be led like a lamb to the slaughter.  She stopped in the darkness.

     

    [maree]So what gives.[/maree]

     

    It was instinctual, the shimmer in front of her warning that she was absolutely capable of defending herself even against him.

     

    [maree]Why am I here?  Am I in trouble?  Do I have to look out for someone?  I’m not moving another foot until I know where I’m going…[/maree]  furl of brows was familiar, fingers reaching with a huff to push the curls from her eyes.

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    [maree]Why am I here?[/maree]

     

    He paused and glanced over his shoulder at her, moonlight catching a bead of moisture still on his curls, hand pushing them back off his forehead as the smile slid over his lips softly.

     

    [gabriele]…told you. Keeping promise.[/gabriele]

     

    Turning he headed for the car, bare feet squishing in the moist grass as the tirade came.

     

    [maree] Because, to be honest this is a bit suspicious. I’ve been summoned before, and it usually wasn’t a good outcome. Just wanted to warn you I’ll singe your ass if you try and pull something.[/maree]

     

    The soft chuckle rumbled in his chest. They were so alike. But while Maree spouted her grouchy demeanor, Bodhan kept his in…. too quiet. Leading always to misunderstandings. ..and the Spaniard was just as guilty. Hair on the back of his damp neck bristled, causing feet to pause.

     

    [maree]So what gives.[/maree]

     

    She wasn’t kidding. He could feel something ominous. He knew she was altered, but he didn’t know just how.

     

    [maree] Why am I here? Am I in trouble? Do I have to look out for someone? I’m not moving another foot until I know where I’m going...[/maree]

     

    Smile came easy, turning in the moonlight only to hitch his breath softly. The stubborn expression, the furl of her brow, everything about her aura causing a ghosting that literally seized his chest.

     

    Family.

     

    If all fell apart between them. It would never matter. Bodhan would always have his protection and now, he could feel the shiver through every fiber as sheer instincts told him, so would she. No matter what happened now between the Czech and himself. The twins would always be held more important than himself….always.

     

    Words were soft, smile returning with a warmth few got to see from the Spaniard.

     

    [gabriele]Bodhan is here. Stealing you both out of North America was the only way I could ensure neither of you were followed and that you would finally get a proper reunion.[/gabriele]

     

    He pulled the car door open for her, standing there waiting. Dark eyes gentle.

     

    [gabriele]…. you coming? Or am I calling Eris to come take you home again?[/gabriele]

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    "…told you. Keeping promise."

    Face scowled, the same vague excuse that was itching at her resolve.  It was reasons like the one he was giving her that found her halfway across the world being tortured.  Now she was halfway across the world, with the same excuses… like hell she would find herself in the same situation.  Expression remain furled, eyes squinting to examine what she thought was a car in the darkness he was heading toward.  Of course it would be some kind of transportation, but to where?

     

    She was not playing around, and he could tell… feet pausing.  Wary eyes watched him hew over something, unaware who she was really talking to.  She didn’t know him from Adam, only thathe came bearing the only thing that could ever have made her trust him, and even that was a very thin trust.

    "Bodhan is here. Stealing you both out of North America was the only way I could ensure neither of you were followed and that you would finally get a proper reunion."

    She didn’t move, feeling like she wanted to jump out of her skin.  This couldn’t be true, it wasnever true.  Not even in New York when she heard his voice for the first time… She had pause, serious pause, and distrust.  It was all too familiar, but different.  Hand shimmered a moment as he pulled the door open for her, then faded.  The mage had the tools now to defend herself to the death if necessary.  There was nothing to lose anymore.

     

    "…. you coming? Or am I calling Eris to come take you home again?"

     

    Lip was being gnawed on, but she stepped forward in the dark and sat, clutching her bag tightly to her chest and waiting for the shoe to drop.  She didn't know what to say, was there anything to say?  She was pretty sure it was all a big lie, and the nice car was going to send her careening to her death.  But... what if it wasn't?  What would she do then?  In the years they were apart, she never thought what she would do when they saw each other again- so it was best to stay on the defense and not get her hopes up.

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    She held back.

     

    It was understandable. The twins had been through their share of malicious aftermath since the Nevus; a fact that always brought a violent protectiveness to the Spaniard's chest. When he asked if she was coming or if he was calling Eris back, she still didn’t move.

     

    Dark eyes watched her gnaw on her lip; mannerisms that ghosted her brother and tugged on the brute's heartstrings. He stepped away from the door when she finally approached, giving her space so as not to stress her further by hovering too close. Door was gently closed before bare feet trotted back around to the driver's side, sliding into the low rider with surprising ease considering his height.

     

    Engine roared to life, stick sliding into reverse as he glanced back and pulled out of the field, lights never touched as he shifted smoothly into drive and set them launching down the country road in the dark. He trusted Eris, to a point, and the Nation not at all so he was not going to light up the night with a trail to the siblings. Besides, it wasn’t common, but they were near dragonian territory, he didn’t want to be mistaken for a midnight snack.

     

    He didn’t want to have the pedal on the floor and scare her half to death so it would take thirty minutes to get back. Silence was… heavy… between them.

     

    Ten minutes took forever to pass before he finally cleared his throat, glancing her way as she clutched her back as though her entire world were in it. Words were soft.

     

    [gabriele]… it’s the truth Maree. Bodhan is already at the cabin.[/gabriele]

     

    Foot hit the break a bit hard as a deer sprinted across the road, hand reflexively going out in front of her to prevent her from falling forward hard, pressing against her only a moment before pulling back into his own space and murmuring a "Sorry". The silence came again….ten more minutes.

     

    [gabriele]… he doesn’t know you are coming. I kind of kept it a surprise. [/gabriele]

     

    Dark eyes glanced sideways at her profile in the dim hue of dashboard light.

     

    [gabriele]I know you have no reason to trust me yet, but I will never lie to you Maree.[/gabriele]

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    Listening to the reasons made her silently bristle even more, hugging at her bag in the darkness.  She wasn't sure how the more powerful she became, the more worried she was she'd be found out.  It was a terrible, vicious cycle.  Control, for risk of exposure.  He was saying all the right things, pulling at her heartstrings, getting her hopes up.  If she hadn't heard her brother's voice sometime before, she would never have believed any of it.  The Czech would have fried him where he stood.  Now, here she was... on a plane on his word, sluicing through the darkness toward a promise she had no idea whether he could keep.

     

    [maree]I looked for him you know... in those first few days, only to wake up from a concussion and it be only a dream.  The people I trusted, didn't help me when I fell.  He had to have walked right by me numerous times.  Frantic. Not knowing I was right there in the elevator.[/maree]

     

    Words were quiet.

     

    [maree]People promised they would take me to him.  They got me on a plane, they took me across the ocean.  They tortured me, with the promise that if I did what they wanted they would reunite me with my brother.[/maree]

     

    She was quiet for a long time.

     

    [maree]Everything you say, I've heard before.  The only question I have is why? Why you?  Everyone else has chased me across the world for something I don't understand. You?  You just want to help me.  Nobody helps anyone anymore unless they get something in return.  What in the world could you be getting in return?[/maree]

     

    Grip relaxed on the bag and it slowly slid to her lap, hands reaching up to braid the curls that were flipping in the open air.

     

    [maree]Nobody helps each other anymore,[/maree] she repeated quietly, finally allowing herself to accept the inevitable.  [maree]This is a ruse isn't it?  I can promise you, if this is a ruse and you've hurt him, there is nothing that will stop me.[/maree]

     

    From what, she didn't elaborate, the light eyes snapping to him with the defiance of when her brother was dangling from the vampire's hand in front of a secluded cabin with a knife in his gut.  Same checkmate.  Same temper. 

     

    Same promise.

     

    Eyes flipped up then toward the sky, wondering what in the world was going through her brother's head if it indeed was.  The distrust was making her stomach her, temples tight.  There were people that could imitate his voice now, couldn't they? More mages, more powers.  She would find out soon enough.

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    [maree] I looked for him you know... in those first few days, only to wake up from a concussion and it be only a dream. The people I trusted, didn't help me when I fell. He had to have walked right by me numerous times. Frantic. Not knowing I was right there in the elevator. [/maree]

     

    [gabriele]….he looked for you as well. When I met him, he was still looking for you. Travelled alone across the damn country when I got a lead you were in New York, even though I asked him to wait until we confirmed it.[/gabriele]

     

    Smile was soft in the moonlight as he shook his head gently.

     

    [maree] People promised they would take me to him. They got me on a plane, they took me across the ocean. They tortured me, with the promise that if I did what they wanted they would reunite me with my brother. [/maree]

     

    Dark eyes slid to the Czech, faint frown on his brow as he looked back to the dark road. Even apart, the twins story was similar.

     

    [maree] Everything you say, I've heard before. The only question I have is why? Why you? Everyone else has chased me across the world for something I don't understand. You? You just want to help me. Nobody helps anyone anymore unless they get something in return. What in the world could you be getting in return? [/maree]

     

    In the silence that lingered the Spaniard slid his lower lip through his teeth, frown still ghosting on his brow. He wasn’t sure it was his place to betray the relationship he had with Bodhan. Yet at some point, he wanted her blessing as well.

     

    He watched her finally relax, braiding the hair that flickered with a mind of their own.

     

    [maree] Nobody helps each other anymore. This is a ruse isn't it? I can promise you, if this is a ruse and you've hurt him, there is nothing that will stop me [/maree]

     

    Moonlight caught the light eyes that snapped at him with a defiance that drew a gentle smile to the weathered Spaniard's expression. Words were soft…wistful.

     

    [gabriele]… you are so like him.[/gabriele]

     

    The smile lingered falling quiet for a moment. Chest swelled with a breath that paused in his lungs before slowly exhaling.

     

    [gabriele]Why… you ask?..... [/gabriele]

     

    Head shook gently, shy eyes flicking to the side at her before hiding again on the dark road.

     

    [gabriele]…for him.[/gabriele]

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    gallery_1151_21_69349_zps7958e6fc.png "….he looked for you as well. When I met him, he was still looking for you. Travelled alone across the damn country when I got a lead you were in New York, even though I asked him to wait until we confirmed it."

     

    That was so like, and unlike him at the same time.  There were times he would disappear for days on a trip of whatever had struck his fancy with that brain of his.  But to take off across the country?  Meant he'd never given up hope.  He was a homebody despite his work.  Traveled a lot, but settled wherever he went.  As she spoke, he seemed so quiet.  Had she hit the nail on the head?  Fingers tightened on her bag again, thumbing the ring on her finger.  Hell hath no fury....

     

    gallery_1151_21_69349_zps7958e6fc.png "… you are so like him."

     

    ...then he answered her question, long before he actually did.  She blinked at him, the tone of his voice and the air which he spoke of her brother.

     

    [maree]Twins.... but I think you already know that.[/maree]

     

    Her head cocked slightly at him, loosening her grip on the bag, a cat going in for a canary kill.

     

    gallery_1151_21_69349_zps7958e6fc.png "Why… you ask?..... "

     

    Lips pursed the way Bodhan's did when he was staring at something and ready to bilge a tirade of information nobody would understand.

     

    gallery_1151_21_69349_zps7958e6fc.png "…for him."

     

    The squeal pierced the quiet demeanor.

     

    [maree]SHUT UP![/maree]  she grinned wickedly, the adage like a teenager finding out the greatest lick of gossip that ever existed.  [maree]I knew he liked the exotic ones, but damn....[/maree]

     

    Bag plopped on the floor on top of her feet as she turned her utmost attention to him in the darkness.  The world of suspicion and anger, gone.  She utterly and totally believed him, doubt melting as she stared at him with a new appreciation.

     

    [maree]So, tell me everything... where did you meet???  Was he an asshole?  He's always a jerk when he meets people he likes.  Plays hard to get.  He can be a bit... distant, especially when he gets on a roll of something, eats too much junk food.  Someone has to make him a sandwhich and stick it in his mouth or he doesn't eat....[/maree]

     

    The sniffle was suddenly real, disbelieving that the car in the darkness was actually taking her to reunite with someone she desperately wanted to see, and touch.  Instead, there was Gabriel, the glom onto his shoulder like a cat wanting to be pet.  He was the missing link between them, and she suddenly felt like she could feel him through the big brute that had been so cryptic.  Cheek on his arm, she fell silent, sneaking a sniff to even see if she could smell him.

     

    [maree]We went around the world together.  I indulged my art, he indulged his brain... I made sure he ate, he saved lives.[/maree] 

     

    Sigh was long, then quiet... another snuck sniff as she settled closer to him as he drove, not nearly fast enough.

     

    [maree]Not many of him left,[/maree]  the one phrase acknowledged the lengths they would still have to go through to stay safe.

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    [maree]Twins… but I think you already know that.[/maree]

     

    The sound was dark and warm in his chest, a soft chuckle at the words as he nodded. It was fairly obvious, at least it was to the Spaniard. The two were ghosts of eachother, completely the same opposites. And the Spaniard would protect them both….

     

    ….for him.

     

    Squeal pierced sensitive ears, car swerving on the road before over correcting as [maree]SHUT UP![/maree] was yelled at him. Head snapped to her and back to the road several times as he tried to figure out what the hell had just happened and if he was about to be shot or worse. But incredulously wide eyes kept looking into wickedly grinning light orbs.

     

    [maree] I knew he liked the exotic ones, but damn.... [/maree]

     

    Blink of dark orbs was still dumbfounded at her, flicking down as the bag flopped on the floor more relaxed while he finally straightened the car on the pitch black road.

     

    [maree] So, tell me everything... where did you meet??? Was he an asshole? He's always a jerk when he meets people he likes. Plays hard to get. He can be a bit... distant, especially when he gets on a roll of something, eats too much junk food. Someone has to make him a sandwich and stick it in his mouth or he doesn't eat.... [/maree]

     

    What the hell?!? He felt very old, and she felt like a tween that just found out their favorite band was coming to town. The spewed questions and information taking a moment to actually register for the Spaniard.

     

    [gabriele]…um…[/gabriele]

     

    He wasn’t often inarticulate but the interrogational disgorge was just so surprising considering how wary and quiet she had been moments before. Throat cleared as head shook slightly as if clearing it of cobwebs before the soft chuckle came deep in his chest.

     

    [gabriele]…well… we met in the woods. He has a cabin out there. He was an ass but um… I did sort of threaten to kill him so I guess we were even.[/gabriele]

     

    Soft murmured chuckle came again as the smile softened further. The quieter his words the thicker the accent lingered on his tongue.

     

    [gabriele]…also… I drank his vodka, so I guess I deserved the attempt on my life.[/gabriele]

     

    Smirk came with a shake of his head.

     

    [gabriele]…ya… I force feed him a lot.[/gabriele]

     

    He paused as the sniffle caught his attention, spine stiffening a bit when she reached out and touched him. The cheek on the cool skin of his arm brought the gentle smile back. She was warm, like Bo, though the lingering scent on her skin was very different, and yet even there, he noted something similar.

     

    [maree] We went around the world together. I indulged my art, he indulged his brain... I made sure he ate, [/maree]…chuckle warmed the car once more…[maree]…he saved lives. [/maree]

     

    The silence was comfortable, like when he and Bo were home both working on different things but still in eachother's presence.

     

    [maree]Not many of him left…[/maree]

     

    Right hand released the steering wheel unconsciously, thumb laying on the back of her hand and lightly rubbing over it as if to assure he knew and would keep them both safe.

     

    [gabriele]..I know.[/gabriele]

     

    The familiar curve of the road drew his foot up off the gas, turning onto the gravel road that led down to the portico for the car. His heart was thundering as they made their way closer to the cabin. He wanted very badly for this to go well for the twins.

     

    Small car was slid into the covered porch and the engine permitted to die. Breath filled the barrel chest before smiling and looking at her, head jutting to the left towards the twinkling lights that hung between the trees a fifty yards away, highlighting the cabin on the creek. Accent was thick but the words were soft.

     

    [gabriele]… if he is where I left him, he will be in the tub on the back porch.[/gabriele]

     

    He didn’t intend to go with her. He wanted them to have their time together.

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    Teeth snapped shut as the car bobbled on the road.  Apparently he was easy to startle.

    "…um…"

    [maree]Sorry… sorry…[/maree]  apology was quick before she went into her deluge of questions.

    "…well… we met in the woods. He has a cabin out there. He was an ass but um… I did sort of threaten to kill him so I guess we were even."

    Brow rose slightly.  A cabin in the woods.  Surprised but not.  He was probably working, had made a lab.  Or maybe he was just hiding out.  She was forgetting how many years it had been since seeing the man she knew so well.  He could be a very different individual.  The thought terrified her.

    "…also… I drank his vodka, so I guess I deserved the attempt on my life."

    …maybe not.  Though he didn’t hold it well, he did always covet a good vodka.  She was never allowed to take it either.

    "…ya… I force feed him a lot."

    He stiffened when she touched him, the simple thing speaking volumes.  It set a little seed of concern into her brain.  Did he not like women?  Was he not sure of his relationship or where he stood?  Bo had a habit of picking either women that were rough and hot, or men that were hot tempered and rough.  Usually with an incredible distrust for their own identities.  On  more than one occasion she’d had to step into a fight to calm it down when the boyfriend proceeded to try and beat the crap out of her brother.  If that was what this was, she wasn’t sure yet.  There were obvious markers.  The man spoke of Bo like he was the world, and seemed apprehensive to talk about it.  Time would tell.  She would not see him hurt again, and now she had the power to stop it in its tracks instead of just get into the way.

     

    She let it rest, soft lips pressing dimples as he touched her hand.  Curious.  His answer to her comment about her brother being unique was also curious.  Was this man a scientist himself?

     

    She was silent for the rest of the ride, the twinkle of light into view bringing her stomach and what little contents were in it to flip flops.  When the engine died, the silence was so heavy she couldn’t move.  If she did, would everything just disappear as she woke up at home?

    "… if he is where I left him, he will be in the tub on the back porch."

    She still didn’t move. 

     

    [maree]He has been hurt a lot by people he loved.  I really hope you’re not one of those,[/maree]  it was the last thing she said as she sat there for a long time.  Nervous.  This was not like any movie she had ever watched where people ran toward each other flailing in slow motion.  It was real, and she didn’t want to go alone.  Door was pushed open delicately, feeling if he heard he would bolt like a gazelle.  Neck craned, unable to see anything.  Leaving her bag in the car, feet were quiet, almost sneaking as she made her way to the back. 

     

    Concerned green eyes cast back to the man that hadn’t followed her, they were confused.  He wasn’t there.  Head shook, unsure what to do.  She needed him to go with her, someone to catch her if she went inside and he wasn’t there either.  She just couldn’t… she couldn’t do this alone.  Quick footsteps brought her back to the car, losing her nerve… pacing a moment with fresh tears bubbling from her lashes.  Back of her hands wiped her eyes.

     

    [maree]Come with me.[/maree]

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    • 2 weeks later...

    As the car rumbled softly then died, she didn’t move to get out.

     

    [maree] He has been hurt a lot by people he loved. I really hope you’re not one of those. [/maree]

     

    Head shook a bit, the dark pools looking at the keys in his hand as the lips pursed gently before finally speaking.

     

    [gabriele]…my life is his. [/gabriele]

     

    Breath was deep as he shyly glanced to the side at her, in the dark, the outline of her face was unmistakably the sister of his Bo.

     

    [gabriele]…. whether he wants it or not.[/gabriele]

     

    The add was soft as he pushed his door open, long limbs unfolding out with the predatory grace of a feline. Door pushed shut as he waited for her to finally join him in the cool night air. Hands folded on top of the roof a moment as the brow furled gently in thought. Could he swear he would never hurt Bo? No. He really couldn’t promise her that, but what he could promise her…..

     

    [gabriele]…I will never knowingly hurt him.[/gabriele]

     

    There were things he did that seemed to rub the Czech the wrong way. Even the promised union seemed now not to be what Bo wanted. But the Spaniard would never knowingly and purposefully harm the man. He simply couldn’t.

     

    Dark eyes watched her hesitate and creep toward the porch, expression puzzling downward when she came much quicker back to the car. They were so close after so long, what was she waiting for. Salt burned faintly in his nostrils, the moonlight catching a pearl she missed with the back of her hand as it slid over her cheek.

     

    She was overwhelmed. Smile slid with a soft affection over his lips as she paced. Patience was not always his virtue but for the moment he let her take her time. Nostrils flared seeking Bodhan, the younger man was no longer on the porch, inside now. Likely trying to raid a fairly empty fridge and hide that he hadn't eaten the fish.

     

    [maree]Come with me.[/maree]

     

    The smile remained gentle as he unconsciously lifted powerful fingers and pulled a stray peach curl from in front of her face and laid it back over her head.

     

    [gabriele]….come on… I can hear him inside.[/gabriele]

     

    Hand pushed lightly on her lower back to get her unstuck from her rooted position before quickly falling back into his own space, hands clasping behind his back as bare feet picked over the gravel towards the porch.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    It was so damn quiet, the base of his skull thunking gently against the back of the outdoor tub.  A migraine was lingering on the horizon of his consciousness.  Lack of sleep, stress, the trigger could have been anything at this point… maybe even lack of sugar and caffeine.  Probably the caffeine part.  It had been a long week and a half.  Sunburned.  Hard ride.  Good grief, he didn’t realize how hard he’d hit his limits.  Now, there was nothing to do.  No sounds but the nature around, and no fear.

     

    Light eyes watched the sky, the terribly beautiful rip across the darkness that he thought he’d figured out.  It was terrifying if anything what he suspected.  Had it happened before recorded history?  Could it happen again?  Anything was possible.  He’d promised Gabe there would be no papers and pencils on this trip, but the view was so different here.  It made his brain tick and set things into motion that he was going to have a hard time not writing down.  There were so many things he remembered that weren’t written down for the sake of his own safety.  If anyone ever found and decoded them, it would put his lack of safe harbor to a new level.  This was one of those things.

     

    Water cooled too quickly, snatching a towel and pushing himself from the bath before he really wanted to get out.  Living in LA for so long, he chilled quickly.  Anything below eighty degrees felt cool.  When the sun went down, it was downright cold.  Padding straight to the bedroom, he scrounged through his clothes, intent on his next scrounge through the food to see what was there.  He didn’t want to hurt Gabe’s feelings… but he wasn’t a fan of seafood.  Heresy for someone living in LA, finding himself going through the stash of food. 

     

    He was starving.

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