I've grown familiar with villains that live in my head
They beg me to write them so I'll never die when I'm dead
- Control by Halsey
From the moment that Calle steps into the Black Phoenix, it feels like he's home. Yes, he has a very expensive penthouse apartment that he lives in but here? Here is where he belongs. He's spent many a night here at the club surrounded by fellow mercenaries, swapping stories and occasionally finding a gorgeous man to take home.
He makes it a few steps inside the club when a figure blocks his path. His eyes finally adjust to the dim lighting in the club and a grin slowly spreads across his face when he sees who is in front of him. "Hey there, gorgeous," he says as he slips his fingers into Filip's belt loops and tugs him forward. "Staying out of trouble?"
"Absolutely not!" Filip purrs as he presses himself against Calle and circles his arms around Calle's waist. "Did you miss me?"
"Always," Calle replies. "My bed is always cold when you're not in it."
Filip rolls his eyes and brings a hand up where a small ball of fire is resting in his palm. The way the flames dance almost hypnotizes Calle. When the flame disappears, Calle blinks in surprise. Glancing down at Filip, he sees him smirking. "What can I say? I'm very hot."
"Indeed." Calle is about to lean forward when a voice speaks up from behind them.
"Come on, Fil. We have to go."
Calle glances over Filip's shoulder and sees Viktor, Filip's younger brother, glaring at the two of them. Calle brings his attention back to the man in front of him. "Big plans tonight?"
Filip grins wickedly before saying, "Actually, yes. Said plans involve you, me, a bed, and those handcuffs you stole from that cop a few weeks ago."
"Aww, you remembered!"
"How could I forget?" Filip steps closer and brings a hand down to cup Calle through his jeans. "We made very good use out of them afterward."
Calle grins at the memory. He's very tempted to drag Filip into one of the private rooms when Viktor impatiently clears his throat. Sighing, he leans forward and whispers in Filip's ear. "See you soon, lover."
Filip winks at Calle and turns, following Viktor out of the club. Chuckling under his breath, Calle heads towards the bar. Before he can flag the bartender down, a meaty hand clamps down on his shoulder.
"Boss needs to see you," a heavily accented voice says from behind him. Calle bites back a groan as he shrugs out of the Russian mobster's grip.
"Always a delight to see you, Malkin," Calle drawls, turning so he can give the man a sarcastic smile. "Finally succumbing to my charm?"
Malkin stares blankly at Calle for several seconds until Calle starts to fidget uncomfortably in his seat. Finally, Malkin repeats his previous statement. "Boss needs to see you."
Calle mutters a few choice words under his breath as he stands and follows Malkin to a door at the back of the club. "I think you should see a doctor about having that stick removed from your ass," he says, glaring at the back of Malkin's head.
"There is no stick up my ass," Malkin replies as he grabs Calle by the arm and shoves him through the door.
"And here I thought that there was. Oh, wait. Perhaps it's just Sidney's hand, treating you like the mindless puppet that you are."
Before Calle can blink, Malkin has a hand around his throat and pins him to the wall, his feet dangling a couple of inches off the ground. Calle claws at Malkin's hand, now cold metal instead of flesh, trying and failing to loosen the goon's hand. He really needed to develop a filter between his brain and his mouth.
"Geno. That's enough."
Both Calle and Malkin turn and see Sidney standing at the end of the hall, watching them with an amused smirk. For the first time in his life, Calle has never been more happy to see the mobster. Malkin reluctantly releases Calle who drops to the floor, wheezing as he tries to catch his breath.
"My office, now," Sidney says before he turns and disappears behind a door at the end of the hall. Rubbing his now sore throat, Calle shoots a venomous glare in Malkin's direction before he follows Sidney into the spacious office with the Russian close behind.
"Have a seat," Sidney says as he walks across the room and picks up a decanter of whiskey sitting on a sideboard and pours two glasses. Calle eyes him warily as he takes a seat in one of the leather chairs facing the enormous desk.
"Not that I don't love our little talks, but what is this about?" Calle asks when Sidney hands him one of the glasses. Sidney chuckles and perches on the edge of his desk.
"Tell me, what do you know about Roman Josi?"
Calle snorts. "What? The tech guru?" He takes a sip from his glass before shrugging. "Other than what I've read online, nothing. Why?"
Sidney's smile widens, reminding Calle of a documentary on sharks he saw a few weeks ago. He recognizes that smile and it means that whatever comes next out of Sidney's mouth, he is not going to like it.
"I need you to do a little...undercover mission."
"What?" Calle sits up straighter and stares at the man in front of him. "Why don't you ask the spies you keep on retainer? They're the undercover experts. I'm your information obtainer, end of story."
"First of all, I'm not asking them. I'm asking you," Sidney replies evenly. "Second of all, let's just say you're just better suited for this job."
Calle narrows his eyes. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Sidney just continues to smile at him. Realization hits him like a ton of bricks and he feels his chest growing tight.
"You want me to seduce him," he says as he sits back in his seat. His grip tightens around the glass in his hand at the thought of having to use his ability on someone. He should have known that was why Sidney needed to see him. His ability was what got him the membership to the club in the first place after all. Still, it didn't make Calle thrilled at having to do Crosby's bidding yet again. He much preferred the freelance jobs he picked up, mostly breaking and entering or using his ability to get into restricted areas.
Gritting his teeth, Calle sets his glass down on the floor and hisses, "Why?"
"Let's just say that Mr. Josi is working on something that I am very much interested in."
"What is it?"
Sidney is silent for several seconds before he replies, "That's not something you need to know at this point." Calle starts to open his mouth but Sidney cuts him off. "He's having a benefit ball tomorrow night. Get in, meet the man, and do what it is you do best."
Calle stews in silence as he watches Sidney pick something up from the desk. When he turns back around, he's holding an envelope with Calle's name on it.
"It's black tie so you'll want to go shopping," Sidney says, looking Calle up and down, his lip curled in disdain. "We wouldn't want you to fail before you even get started."
Calle snatches the invitation from Sidney before getting to his feet. "I never fail," he snarls. Sidney chuckles and lifts a hand, motioning at Malkin.
"We'll see about that."
Before Calle can respond, Malkin grabs him by the shoulder, practically dragging him, and shoves him out of the office. Calle makes a lewd gesture at the closed door before stalking away. He needed a drink and to come up with a plan. Something told him that this wasn't going to be easy.
Old memories resurface.
Pain. That's all he can feel. No matter how much he struggles, he can't escape from the agony coursing through his body. A faceless figure stands over him, holding a large syringe. As the needle pierces his flesh, he screams...
Calle sits up, drenched in sweat and panting. He brings shaking hands to his face and clutches his aching head, typical after one of his night terrors. Swallowing the bile rising up in his throat, Calle takes several deep breaths, trying to calm his racing heart.
A hand touches his arm causing him to yelp and nearly fall out of bed.
"Hey. You're okay, Cal. It's just me."
Calle slowly relaxes when he hears Filip's voice. He turns and sees Filip looking at him with concern. "Another night terror?"
When he nods, Filip holds out his arms and gently pulls Calle in for a hug. Calle closes his eyes, focusing solely on the hand rubbing small circles on his bare back. Once he feels calm enough to speak, he murmurs, "Sorry if I woke you."
"You don't have to apologize for that." Filip leans forward and presses a soft kiss onto the top of Calle's head. He's silent for several seconds before adding, "I have them too, you know."
"I know." Calle sighs. Reaching down and taking one of Filip's hands, he laughs drily. "Aren't we a pair."
Filip snorts softly as he maneuvers them back onto the bed so they're laying down. He brings a hand up and twirls a lock of Calle's hair around his finger. Calle smiles when he realizes it's the streak of hair that always seems to change color with different emotions. After his ordeal with the experiments done on him, the one lock of hair turned white standing out among his dark brown hair.
Filip cuts into his thoughts by murmuring, "We're poster children for insomniacs everywhere."
Calle snorts. "Lucky us."
They're quiet for a few moments before Filip rolls Calle onto his back and straddles his hips. "How about I take your mind off of that nightmare?"
"You read my mind," Calle says with a grin before pulling Filip down into a deep kiss.
Afterward, they're curled up together, limbs entwined. It's not long before Calle hears Filip's breathing grow even. Carefully sliding out of Filip's embrace, he climbs out of bed, pulling his boxers back on before padding into his living room. Flopping onto the suede sofa, he rests his head against the back and stares at the ceiling.
His thoughts drift towards the conversation he had with Sidney last night. He normally didn't have problems taking orders from the bastard. It was something every member of the club had to endure at one point or another. There was just something about the way he brought it up like he knew something that Calle didn't.
Granted, Sidney knew everything. He had eyes and ears everywhere in the city so if anything happened in the city, Sidney knew about it. And if it was something that he could use to his advantage? You'd better believe he would.
Sidney also used his extensive knowledge to dangle things over people's heads, especially the members of the club. It was his way of guaranteeing loyalty to him while reaping the benefits of having all of those people at his disposal.
Calle was not innocent by any means. He's had his share of sin and mishaps over the years. While his weren't as brutal or serious as some of the others, it was enough for Sidney to keep his claws in him. The information that Sidney had on him was something he didn't like thinking about, even after so many years. He didn't trust very many people so very few knew his backstory. Filip was the one of those few.
They had been friends for several years, only recently becoming intimate with one another as a way of letting off steam. When he eventually told Filip about his past, the pyromancer didn't judge or pity him. Instead, he swore to keep Calle's secret and to this day, he had.
He sighs and scrubs his face with his hands. Sleep was not going to be happening again anytime soon. He gets to his feet and heads to the kitchen to make coffee.
Freshly showered and nursing a cup of strong coffee, Calle sits on the sofa and scrolls through his phone contacts until he finds the one he's looking for. As he's sending the text, he hears footsteps behind him. Turning, he sees Filip, dressed and heading towards him.
"Leaving already?" he asks, giving Filip a charming smile.
"Unfortunately," Filip chuckles. He sets his jacket down on the back of the couch before kneeling in front of Calle. "You know, you never did tell me what Sidney wanted to talk to you about."
Calle stiffens at the mention of Sidney's name. He must have drunkenly told Filip about the short meeting he had with the mob boss the night before. Mentally kicking himself, he passes a fake smile onto his face and shakes his head.
"It's nothing important. Just some stupid assignment he wants me to do because God forbid he goes out and does something himself."
Filip laughs and gets to his feet. "That's because he's too busy fucking that goon of his." He picks his jacket back up and playfully ruffles Calle's hair. "Call me later, okay?"
Calle nods and watches Filip leave. Once the door shuts behind him, his smile fades. He sets his phone down and picks up his laptop. The smart thing to do would be to do some research on his ‘target' before tonight. He types in the name Sidney gave him and waits for the search results to load. Several articles are about Roman's many technological advancements and charity balls which Calle just skims through. While there are a few articles about Roman's personal life, Calle skips over them, not in the mood to read gossip and speculation about various girlfriends or scandals.
He shuts his laptop right as his phone dings. Picking it up, he sees that a new text has arrived. Unlocking the device, he reads the text from Craig, a fellow member of the club and a master assassin.
‘Meet me at Russos' in 30. I can get you set up with a tux- C'.'
Calle tosses his phone on the couch and gets up to go get ready. He can feel a headache forming and all he wants to do is go back to bed. Cursing Crosby for the fiftieth time, he quickly gets dressed and leaves his apartment.
Calle gains information as well as a tux and meets his target for the first time.
As soon as Calle steps inside the tailor's, Craig walks over and greets him with a hearty slap on the back.
"Good, you're here. Let's get started."
From there, Calle is pushed and pulled around as a young man moves him around like a doll as he takes his measurements. Off to his side, Craig flips through a book of fabric samples and babbles about his boyfriend and the trips they've taken. Calle tunes him out and stares at his reflection in the mirrors. Occasionally, he'll be asked something to which he just nods or tells Craig to choose for him. While he stood there, his mind raced. Something about this mission of his felt off and he couldn't figure out why and knowing made him even more anxious.
"Earth to Calle!"
He blinks and sees that the tailor has left and Craig is standing in front of him. "Are we done?"
Craig nods and nods toward the front of the shop. "You just have to pay and give them an address to deliver your tux to when it's done. Now hurry up. I need to meet Kevin at the club."
Calle sighs and follows Craig to the register where the tailor from before is waiting. He gives the man his credit card and fills out the form he's handed. Once he's done, Calle meets the tailor's eyes and begins to speak in a low voice, using his abilities to hypnotize him.
"Forget my face. I was never here."
"You were never here," the tailor repeats in a monotonous tone. Satisfied with his response, Calle adds.
"Go into the backroom, wait ten minutes and then come back. Now, go."
Without saying another word, Calle watches the tailor turn and disappear behind the curtain leading to the back of the shop. Beside him, Craig lets out a low whistle.
"Damn! That is very impressive. You sure you don't want to join Kevin and me on jobs? We could definitely use a guy like you."
Calle rubs his temples. Using his ability always gave him such a massive headache which was why he tried to use it as little as possible. Shaking his head, he leads the way out of the store.
"Still not interested," he replies as they step outside. "I'll leave that to the professionals."
Craig huffs. "You never did say what you needed the tux for. You taking Flamehead out for a night on the town?"
"His name is Filip and no," Calle replies as he lifts a hand to signal a taxi. "I have to go to some stupid benefit for some tech-head."
Craig jolts to a stop and stares at Calle with wide eyes. "Wait. Are you talking about Roman Josi? That tech-head?"
"What? You know him?"
"Are you kidding me?" When Calle just stares blankly at him, Craig continues, "Roman Josi is the greatest engineer and inventor this world has ever seen!"
A cab slows down and comes to a stop next to the curb. Calle opens the door and climbs in. Before he can shut the door, Craig gets in. Calle rolls his eyes and gives the driver the address to the Black Phoenix.
He settles back in his seat and waits. When Craig remains silent, he looks over at him with annoyance.
"What is it? You obviously want to say something so spit it out already!"
"I take it that since you don't know who Roman is, then you don't know who his business partner is."
"I'm sure it's someone just as boring as Josi is," Calle replies blandly.
"No, you fucking idiot! It's Shea fucking Weber!"
As soon as he hears that name, Calle stiffens. Every member of the Phoenix knew who Shea Weber was. A brilliant scientist and philanthropist, he was beloved the world over. What most people didn't know was that Shea had the ability to read minds and see into the future. It was for those reasons why every one of the assassins, spies, and mercenaries steered clear of the telepath.
Calle clears his throat and asks, "So, Shea and Roman are tight?"
"Extremely." Craig runs a hand through his hair and shakes his head. "Which begs the question: What the hell are you thinking in going to that benefit ball knowing that Weber will be there and sure to put an end to whatever it is that you have planned."
"I don't have much of a choice in the matter," Calle spits. A knowing expression comes across Craig's face.
"Who else?" Calle sighs. "I swear that bastard has it out for me."
Craig snorts. "He has it out for anyone that isn't Malkin."
The cab pulls up in front of the club and Craig pulls out a wad of cash, handing it to the driver before climbing out with Calle close behind. When the car drives off, Craig clasps Calle's shoulder and leads him inside. They head to a booth in the back where a man is already sitting, drinking a cup of coffee and staring at a folder. He looks up and grins when he sees them.
"There you are."
Craig beams and bends so he can kiss the man. "Hey, babe." He turns his head and smiles at Calle. "Cal? You remember Kevin, right?"
"Nice seeing you again," Calle replies without looking at him. His eyes roam around the half-empty room. It's still early in the day and most members are at home sleeping off hangovers or recovering from missions. Turning his head, he looks down at Kevin.
"Is Crosby here?"
Kevin tenses, his smile fading. Glancing at Craig, who shrugs, he clears his throat and looks back at Calle before saying, "I think so. Why?"
Without answering, Calle storms off. Wrenching the door to the back rooms open, he stalks down the hall and busts into Sidney's office without knocking. The mobster looks up and smirks when he sees Calle.
"Shouldn't you be at home learning some proper manners?"
"Cut the shit!" Calle growls as he crosses the room. Slamming his hands down on Sidney's desk, he bends until he's eye level with him. "What the hell are you thinking of sending me into a party that Shea Weber is going to be attending?
Sidney smiles serenely. "Did I forget to mention that? How incredibly impolite of me." When Calle doesn't respond, Sidney rolls his eyes. "You have one of two options: One, you steer clear of the man or two, you keep your thoughts to boring ones so he won't have reason to suspect you of anything."
Calle barks out a laugh. "Oh? It's that easy, is it?" He leans in even closer and says in a low voice, "What are you trying to pull here, Crosby?"
The smile disappears and he snaps his fingers. Calle's head whips to the side where he sees Malkin heading towards him. When he looks back at Sidney, the mobster is standing and pressing the barrel of a gun against his forehead.
"Question me again and I'll go after everyone you love dearly, starting with Mr. Forsberg," he says quietly, sending a frisson of fear up Calle's spine.
Swallowing hard, Calle nods. Satisfied, Sidney lowers the gun and sits back down. He stares at Calle silently for several beats before he unlocks one of his desk's drawers. "How about I sweeten the pot?" he says as he reaches inside and pulls out an envelope. "Do this little mission and I'll finally give you the information I promised you the day I recruited you."
Calle's eyes widen in shock. It had been years since he had last seen that envelope and now it was right in front of him. He opens and closes his mouth, staring intently at the envelope. He closes his eyes and inhales deeply before slowly exhaling. When he opens his eyes, he nods once.
"Excellent." Sidney motions at Malkin who brings a meaty hand down and squeezes Calle's shoulder hard enough to elicit a grunt of pain from him. "Now, get into that party and work your magic on Mr. Josi. Do not fail me or I'll make you regret it."
"Yes, sir," Calle replies hoarsely.
"Good. Now get out."
Malkin leads Calle to the door and pushes him out into the hallway. As soon as the door is closed, Calle's knees buckle and he has to lean against the wall to keep from falling to the floor. Closing his eyes, he takes several deep breaths. Once he's sure his legs are steady enough to hold him, he practically dashes out of the club, wanting to put as much distance between him and Sidney as possible.
When Calle gets back to his apartment that afternoon, Alex, the head security guard, waves him over. Calle smiles and walks over to the desk where Alex is sitting. "How's my favorite Russian doing?" Alex grins.
"Wife and I are having baby!" he declares. The man's Russian accent is less grating than Malkin's which Calle appreciates.
"Congrats, man." Calle leans forward, grinning conspiratorially, "Here's hoping the baby looks like your beautiful wife and not you." Alex lets out a booming laugh.
"You and me both," he agrees before reaching beneath the desk. "A couple of packages were delivered to you."
"So big plans tonight?" Alex asks as he hands Calle the boxes. At the reminder of his mission, Calle pastes a smile on his face.
"You could say that."
Alex laughs and reaches across the desk, clapping Calle on the shoulder hard. "Good man! Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"
Calle forces himself to laugh before quickly walking towards the elevator, hitting the up button harder than is needed. As he's waiting, his phone buzzes in his pocket. Tucking the boxes underneath his arm, he pulls his phone out and opens the new text message from Filip.
‘Good luck tonight. Call me if you need any help'
Smiling, Calle types out his response: ‘Thanks. Think you can come over later? I have a feeling I'm going to need to let off some steam'
As he's sending the text, the elevator doors open. He steps inside and pushes the button for his floor. Leaning against the back of the elevator, Calle closes his eyes and tries to imagine a life where he didn't have to deal with Sidney fucking Crosby. When the elevator comes to a stop, he opens his eyes and walks out, heading for his apartment.
He unlocks the door and steps inside. Setting the packages down on the couch, he heads for his bedroom, hoping to get a nap in before he had to get ready. His phone buzzes in his hand, indicating a new text from Filip.
‘Lucky for you, I'm in a giving mood tonight.'
Calle snorts. ‘Dick'
‘I love it when you talk dirty'
Rolling his eyes, Calle sets an alarm on his phone before laying it on the nightstand. He flops onto his bed and falls asleep within minutes.
After his nap, his head feels clearer and he's a bit more relaxed. Sighing, he rolls out of bed and pads into the living room. Picking up the box from the tailor, he sets it down on his dining room table and opens it. Inside is a black tux with a silk trimmed lapel and two silk buttons. The vest is a gorgeous shade of garnet and matches the tie which is black with stripes that are the same shade as the vest.
Opening the second package, he finds a pair of black patent leather shoes. Simple yet stylish. He's about to put the lid back on the box when he notices something tucked inside one of the shoes. Frowning, he pulls out a small velvet pouch. Pulling open the drawstrings, he reaches inside and finds a folded sheet of paper and what appears to be a hearing aid. Beyond confused he sets the devices down and opens the note.
I'm including a little something that might help with your Shea problem. They're designed to prevent anyone from seeing into your mind. Miikka owed us a favor. Good luck.
Making a note to thank Craig the next time he saw him, he carries the boxes into his bedroom and starts to get ready.
Once he's dressed, he pours himself a glass of whiskey and stares out of his living room windows. When he was first looking for a place to live, he knew he wanted somewhere with a good view of the river. Ever since he was a boy and he lived near a brook, the sight of moving water always seemed to calm him. The view from his apartment is perfect: It faces the river and at night, the lights of the city reflect off the water, dazzling him.
As he's finishing his drink, his phone chirps in his pocket. He takes it out of his pocket and goes cold when he sees it's a message from Sidney. Swallowing hard, he opens the text and reads,
A car is on its way to pick you up. I don't think I need to remind you not to screw this up. Do not disappoint me, Jarnkrok.
"Fucking prick," Calle mutters as he shoves his phone back into his pocket. He stalks back to the wet bar and pours himself another glass of whiskey, tossing it back in one gulp. The burn in his throat tamping down the anger threatening to rise up. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and sets the glass down.
He closes his eyes and takes several deep breaths. It's going to take a miracle to get through the night. He had done some more reading up on Roman on his way back home after leaving the club and made some mental notes on things to talk to the man about. The first rule about undercover missions is to know your target. In his research, he was pleased to find out that Roman was bisexual which made things much easier for Calle.
He opens his eyes when his phone buzzes again. He checks it and sees that it's the driver letting him know that he's waiting for him out front. Saying a silent prayer, Calle grabs the earpiece and heads downstairs.
As he's pulling up in front of the venue where the gala is taking place, Calle's stomach twists itself into knots. He hoped that this thing had an open bar because alcohol was going to be a necessity. As the door of the car is being opened, Calle slips the earpiece in, pressing the tiny button on it to turn it on, and climbs out. Looking around, he sees several well-dressed people milling about, chatting and laughing. Walking past all of them, he heads inside where he sees that the party is already in full swing. A small string quartet is playing on a stage while a large screen behind them shows a video about the foundation that this ball is honoring. Calle makes it a few steps inside when a man stops him.
Calle reaches into the inner pocket of his tux and pulls out the invite that Sidney had given him. The bouncer takes it, looking it over before waving Calle in. Walking down the short flight of stairs, a waiter walks by holding a tray of champagne flutes. Calle swipes one and takes a sip as his eyes take in the scene in front of him. Several couples are waltzing on the dance floor in front of the stage, their movements fluid and graceful.
Dragging his eyes away from them, he looks around the room, searching for the tech guru. After several minutes of fruitless searching, he locates the man standing off to the side, talking with a couple of people.
Calle polishes off the last of his drink and switches it out for a fresh one when another waiter walks by. Saying a silent prayer, he makes his way across the room. He's about halfway there when the music stops. Turning to face the stage, Calle's stomach drops when he sees Shea Weber standing in front of a microphone stand.
"I'd like to welcome you all here tonight," Shea says, smiling at the crowd. "Thanks to your very generous donations, we have raised over ten million dollars which will go towards providing several schools in the area with new computers and books."
Shea pauses as the crowd applauds. When the noise dies down, he continues, "It is my great pleasure to introduce to you the man responsible for tonight, the head of the Josi Foundation, Roman Josi."
The crowd bursts into applause once more as Roman heads towards the stage. He shakes Shea's hand before facing the crowd and grinning.
"I'd like to thank my partner in crime," he says, motioning at Shea. The two of them shake hands before Roman turns back to the microphone. "He's supported me since day one when I was just a newly graduated student who wanted to share my ideas to help change the world." He waits for the crowd's clapping and cheering to die down before continuing, "Technology was vital for me when I was in school as it helped make my studies easier and helped get me ready for my future. Now, thanks to your help, several schools in the city will have access to the same technology and help kids achieve their own goals."
Calle watches with rapt attention, unable to take his eyes off of the man onstage. He had to admit that Roman was much more gorgeous in person than he was in pictures and exuded charm and graciousness. A tiny voice in his head pointed out that this might make his mission easier since he wouldn't have to fake his interest.
Roman finished up his speech by making a toast and headed off the stage to thunderous applause. Calle straightened his tie, a plan already taking place, and quickly crossed the room. When he gets close enough, he pretends to trip and spills his champagne on Roman's tux.
"Oh God! I am so sorry!" he exclaimed. A waiter who had seen this rushed forward with a towel. Calle snatched it from him and began to dab at the front of Roman's tux. "I am such a klutz."
"Don't worry about it," Roman assures him with a smile. "At least it wasn't red wine."
Calle laughed and held out a hand. "Calle Jarnkrok."
"It's nice to meet you, Calle," Roman replies as he shakes Calle's hand. When their hands touch, a jolt runs through Calle. Swallowing hard, he releases Roman's hand and smiles.
"It's really generous of you to do all this for the schools. I definitely could have used it when I was in school."
Roman smiles. "I like to give back to the community. It's the least I could do."
Calle nods and takes a step closer to him. Dropping his voice, he says, "Why don't we get out of here and find a quiet place to talk."
Roman frowns and replies, "Talk about what?"
A lump forms in Calle's throat and his stomach turns. Why wasn't his ability working? Roman should have been under his thrall, not questioning him. Ignoring the slight ache in his head, he tries again.
"Do you live close by? Why don't we go back to your place?"
"I don't think so," Roman says with a shake of his head as he turns to walk away. "It was nice meeting you."
Calle's mouth opens and closes several times, his mind racing. This was not how tonight was supposed to go. Sidney was going to kill him. He reaches out and grabs Roman's wrist, keeping him from leaving. He opens his mouth to apologize but the ache in his head turns into a full blown migraine.
"I…" The word is barely out of Calle's mouth when his vision darkens and he collapses on the floor in front of Roman.
The aftermath of the benefit and the morning after
"Calle? Sweetheart? It's time to wake up." Calle stirs when he hears his mother's voice. Faintly, he can hear the sounds of a baby cooing. When he opens his eyes, he finds himself face to face with Doctor Kane.
"Good morning sunshine. Did you have a pleasant dream?"
Calle glares up at the scientist before spitting in his face. "Go to hell!" he snarls, pulling uselessly at the restraints around his wrists and ankles. Doctor Kane chuckles as he wipes the spit from his cheek. Before Calle can blink, the doctor slaps him so hard his teeth rattle.
"Now, where are your manners?" Doctor Kane tsks, smiling viciously at him. "Do you need to spend another day in the chair?"
At the mention of the torture device, Calle tenses. His head throbs painfully and his mouth goes dry. Slowly, he shakes his head. Doctor Kane cackles.
"I didn't think so." Doctor Kane straightens and nods at a nurse standing by. "Put the electrodes on him. I want to try the shock therapy again."
"No! Please! Not again!" When the nurse tries to attach the electrodes, Calle squirms and fights against his restraints but it's pointless. As soon as the electrodes have been placed on his head, Doctor Kane flips a switch and everything goes white.
Calle jolts awake, nearly falling off of the couch he had been laying on. Frantic, he looks around before he realizes he's back home in his apartment. His body sags with relief and he is about to lay back down when a voice comes from behind him.
"Oh! You're up."
Calle's head snaps to the side and he sees Filip coming into the room carrying two bottles of water. "What happened?" he rasps as he rubs the sleep from his eyes.
"You passed out at some benefit gala," Filip explains as he sits down next to Calle and hands him one of the bottles. "Someone called me, I guess because you have me in your phone as an emergency contact, so I told them to meet me here."
Calle nods and brings a hand up to massage his aching head. Filip gently taps his shoulder and holds out a couple of aspirin. He gives Filip a grateful smile before popping the pills in his mouth and washing it down with the water Filip had given him.
They sit in comfortable silence for a few moments before Filip speaks. "What happened tonight, Cal?"
"Fuck if I know." Calle groans as he flops back onto the couch. He stares at the ceiling and shakes his head. "What I do know is that I need to go and give Crosby a piece of my fucking mind."
Filip cocks an eyebrow. "Not that I'm saying the bastard doesn't deserve it, but what exactly did he do this time?"
Calle turns his head so he can meet Filip's gaze. "He had me go to that benefit ball to seduce that big shot techhead, Roman Josi."
"Are you fucking kidding?"
"I wish but no." Calle runs a hand through his hair and continues, "The best part is that it turns out that Josi is immune to any kind of mental manipulation."
Filip's eyes widen as he stares at Calle with a dumbstruck expression. "Jesus." He ponders this for a moment before he says, "Wait. If that was the case, why would Sidney send you on this mission if it wasn't even going to work?"
"Because he's the fucking devil?" Calle sighs and moves around so he can lay down on the couch with his head resting on Filip's lap. His eyes drift shut as Filip's fingers begin to comb through his hair. After a few seconds, he says softly, "If I don't pull off this mission, he's going to go after my sister, Fil. I just know it."
Filip inhales sharply, his fingers stilling in Calle's hair. "No. I won't let him do it."
Calle opens his eyes and turns his head so he can meet Filip's angry gaze. "He's also threatened to kill you and your brothers." Filip's eyes flash angrily, his normally brown eyes turning a deep red.
"That son of a bitch!" Calle has barely enough time to sit up before Filip's hands burst into flames. Swallowing hard, he stretches out a hand and places it on Filip's shoulder, ignoring the sweltering heat of his skin through the sweater he wears.
"Fil. It's okay. Please calm down," he says in a soft voice, trying to soothe his lover. Filip breathes heavily for several seconds before the flames extinguish and the room is filled with the acrid scent of smoke. Filip lets out a shaky breath and looks at Calle with an apologetic expression.
"I'm so sorry, Cal. Did I hurt you?"
Calle shakes his head and cups Filip's cheek. "I'm okay. I promise." He leans forward and softly kisses Filip before pulling away and asking, "Will you stay the night?"
"Would you like me to?" Filip murmurs, his voice hesitant. Calle gives Filip a reassuring smile and nods. "I always seem to sleep better when you're with me."
"Me too," Filip says in a soft voice, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. They both get to their feet and head towards Calle's bedroom. After stripping down to their boxers, they crawl into bed. Calle curls around Filip, laying his head on his lover's chest and listening to his heart steadily beating while Filip plays with his hair.
"What are you going to say to Sidney?" Filip asks. Calle sighs and gives a slight shake of his head.
"Haven't decided yet," he admits. "I would like to punch him in the face but Malkin would retaliate and I happen to like my face as it is."
"Don't blame you. You do have a very pretty face," Filip replies. They both laugh before settling back into comfortable silence. Filip kisses Calle's forehead once more and murmurs, "Get some sleep, pretty boy."
Calle sighs contentedly, enjoying the warmth emanating from his lover's body. His eyes grow heavy and he soon falls into a dreamless sleep.
The next morning, Calle wakes up with the beginnings of a headache. Grumbling unhappily, he stretches, wincing when his joints pop and rolls over. He reaches a hand out, searching for Filip but only finding sheets. His eyes open and his heart sinks when he sees that Filip is gone. He flops onto his back, intending to go back to sleep when he hears clattering from somewhere in his apartment.
He sits up, his senses on high alert. His mind immediately goes to his failed mission last night and he swallows past a lump in his throat when a thought occurs to him. Perhaps Sidney got wind of it and sent someone to ‘teach him a lesson'. It wouldn't be the first time he's pulled this shit. Not wanting to be caught unaware, he fully intends on making Sidney's goons regret it. Carefully climbing out of bed, he reaches into his nightstand and pulls out a gun. After he began to work for Sidney, he thought it would be a good idea to have a way to defend himself. Using his ability and fighting skills could only go so far in keeping him safe from Sidney's many thugs.
Silently, he slips out of his bedroom and makes his way to the main living area. He pauses at the end of the hall, listening to the noises still being made. Taking a deep breath, he steps out of his hiding space, his gun cocked and raised.
Filip looks up from where he's pouring coffee into mugs, his eyes wide and flashing a dark red. Tendrils of smoke begin to rise from Filip's shoulders and fingers. Cautiously, he lowers the coffee pot and holds his hands up. "It's okay, Cal. It's just me."
Calle lowers the gun, his heart racing. He rubs his temple, the throbbing pain turning into a full-blown migraine. He shoots a glare at Filip and snaps, "You scared the shit out of me!"
Slowly moving around the counter, hands still raised in a placating manner. "I'm sorry. I couldn't go back to sleep so I thought I'd let you sleep while I made us some breakfast. I didn't mean to scare you."
The adrenaline quickly wears off and Calle is left feeling exhausted. Filip comes to a stop in front of Calle and gently pries the gun from his lover's grip and tucks it into the waistband of his jeans. Sighing, Calle leans forward and tucks his head into the crook of Filip's neck, ignoring the heat emanating from him. Filip's arms come up and wrap around Calle.
"It's okay," he murmurs, his hands rubbing his back soothingly. They stay like that for a few moments before Filip pulls away and cups Calle's face. "Why are you so tense? You've never acted like this before."
"I don't know," Calle admits as he steps away from Filip and runs a hand through his hair. "I thought Sidney had sent someone to start shit."
Filip's eyebrows raise in surprise before his eyes narrow. "Has he done this before, Cal?" When Calle nods, Filip growls softly. "Why did you not tell me about this?"
Calle snorts and shoots Filip a look of amusement. "You know as well as I do that you wouldn't have been able to do anything about it." He shakes his head and motions towards the kitchen, quickly changing the subject. "Now, I do believe you mentioned something about breakfast."
Filip nods and the two of them head into the kitchen together. Calle helps Filip finish cooking, the two of them working together like a well-oiled machine.
As they're sitting down to eat, there's a loud knock on the front door. Calle's head whips towards the sound, his heart pounding against his ribcage. Filip places a hand onto Calle's arm, giving it a squeeze. "Do you want me to get that?"
Calle shakes his head and leaps to his feet. "I've got it," he says as he stalks towards the door. He yanks it open, fully intending on telling whoever is on the other side to fuck off when he comes face to face with Roman. Calle stares at the man standing in his doorway, his mouth agape. He quickly snaps out of his reverie and asks, "Can I help you?"
Roman runs a hand through his hair and gives Calle a small smile. "I wanted to come by and see if you were okay."
Frowning, Calle shakes his head. "How the hell did you find out where I live?"
"I told him."
Calle spins around and sees Filip standing behind him, arms folded across his chest. He eyes Roman distrustfully before glancing at Calle and explaining, "He was the one who dropped you off after you collapsed last night." When he notices Calle's look of annoyance at not being informed of this, he shrugs. "Must have slipped my mind and you never asked."
"I see." Calle turns back around and looks at Roman. "Well, as you can see I'm fine. Thanks for stopping by."
He starts to shut the door but Roman's hand shoots out and stops it from closing. "Actually, I was hoping we could talk."
Calle's blood turns to ice in his veins. Behind him, he can hear Filip inhaling sharply. Forcing himself to meet Roman's eyes, he replies in a bored tone, "I don't see what we could possibly have to talk about."
"It will just take five minutes, I promise," Roman says. Calle scowls, the temptation to slam the door in Roman's face growing stronger with each passing second. Rolling his eyes, he steps aside so Roman can come in. When Roman doesn't move, Calle snaps, "I'm not getting any younger here!"
Roman clears his throat and averts his eyes. "Do you think you could put some clothes on first?"
Calle smirks. "Of course, your majesty. We wouldn't want you to be offended by my ravishing body." A sense of satisfaction rises in his chest when he notices Roman's cheeks turning a bright shade of red. Chuckling to himself, he heads back to his bedroom. He faintly hears Filip tells Roman to come in and make himself comfortable before he shuts his bedroom door. As he's pulling on a pair of jeans, his bedroom door opens and Filip steps inside.
"Do you really think it's smart to have him here?" Filip asks as he leans against the closed door and watches Calle get dressed.
"This might be my last chance to get an in with him," Calle replies as he opens his closet door and reaches in to grab a shirt. "If I don't do this, then not only is Sidney is going to have my head but yours and your brothers as well."
"I don't trust him," Filip says, his brow furrowed. "I can't put my finger on it but something feels off like he's hiding something." Calle finishes buttoning his shirt and moves to stand in front of his lover.
"It'll be fine, Fil," he says, giving him a reassuring smile. "Besides, I have you here to act as my guard dog."
"Good point," Filip grins, his eyes turning the orangish red of fire. Calle playfully ruffles Filip's hair before gently moving him out of the way so he can open the door. He walks down the hall with Filip close behind him. As he comes around the corner, he nearly runs into Roman who is looking at a picture hanging on the wall.
"Jesus!" Calle yelps, jumping backward in surprise and stepping on Filip's foot in the process. Filip grunts in pain and shoves Calle forward so he can rub his sore foot.
"Sorry about that," Roman says with a sheepish smile. He reaches out a hand to steady Calle who slaps it away.
"Your five minutes start now," he snaps as he pushes past Roman and walks into the living room. He flops down onto the couch followed closely by Filip who warily watches Roman as he moves to sit in an armchair across from him. They sit in silence for several minutes before Roman speaks.
"I know what you were trying to do last night."
Calle stiffens and a hard knot forms in his stomach. Beside him, he can feel Filip's skin growing hotter as his temper rises. Keeping his expression neutral, Calle says, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't play dumb," Roman replies. When Calle doesn't respond, Roman explains, "You're a reporter who is trying to get dirt on me. You wouldn't be the first one to try to pick me up so you can snoop around my place."
Relief washes over Calle and his muscles relax. He settles back against the couch and smirks at Roman. "Yep. You caught me. I was just trying to get in your pants so I could write a tell-all article about you." Just as quickly, his smile disappears and he glares at Roman. "Obviously my charm was lost on you so my plan didn't work."
Roman studies Calle for several moments before he asks, "Who do you work for?" Calle remains silent, staring at Roman with annoyance. Roman sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. "Look, how about you come by my office tomorrow afternoon and I'll let you interview me."
Hope bubbles up in Calle's chest. Perhaps his mission wasn't completely ruined. This might be enough to keep Sidney off his back for another day or two. Giving Roman a charming smile, he replies, "How considerate of you."
Reaching into his pocket, Roman pulls out a business card and hands it to Calle before getting to his feet. "Call my office and set up an appointment with my secretary." Without waiting for a reply, Roman leaves.
"Well. That worked out nicely, didn't it?" Filip says as he stands and heads into the dining room. Calle stares at the card in his hand, his mind racing. Filip was right, that did work out well...perhaps a little too well. Tossing the card onto the coffee table, he pushes the worries from his mind and joins Filip at the table.
Calle's fake interview with Roman yields surprising information as well as an unexpected question.
The following afternoon, Calle confidently strolls into the high rise that houses Josi Technology. He gives his name to the receptionist and takes a seat in a plush armchair. Slipping his hand into his pocket, he fingers the sleek device he picked up from the Black Phoenix the day before.
"What exactly does this do?" Calle asks as he turns the flat disk over in his hand. He lifts his head and looks at the man sitting across from him. Miikka Salomaki, a talented hacker who also had the ability to manipulate any form of technology to his will. His abilities would have impressed Roman Josi if Miikka were to use his powers for good. As it was, however, Sidney paid him handsomely and offered him protection from authorities who would love to see the hacker rot behind bars.
"Think of it like a computer virus," Miikka replies with a grin. "Once you place it on the laptop, my code will be downloaded onto it, giving me access to everything on it."
"And no one will be able to tell where it came from, right?"
Miikka glares at Calle. "I'm going to pretend that I didn't hear that."
Calle rolls his eyes before reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out a thick envelope. "$10,000, as promised," he says as he drops it on the table. Miikka picks it up and opens it, checking the contents inside before nodding.
"Once you have the device in place, meet me back here."
"Got it," Calle replies as he gets to his feet. Now for the hard part…
Calle looks up and sees a pretty blonde standing in front of him. "That's me."
She smiles. "Mr. Josi is ready to see you now."
"Excellent." Calle stands and follows the blonde through a set of double doors and down a long hall. She eventually stops in front of an office with glass walls and knocks on the door. Her hand has barely left the surface when the doors slide open. She steps aside and motions for Calle to go in.
"Can I get you anything? Water? Coffee?"
"No, thank you," Calle replies, giving her a wink. She blushes and quickly walks away as the doors start to close. Sighing, he turns and comes face to face with Roman.
"Mr. Jarnkrok. How nice to see you again."
Calle pastes a cordial smile on his face and shakes Roman's hand. When that same shock that he felt the last time they had touched hands hits him, he glances up at Roman's face. Going by the matching expression of surprise, he knows that Roman felt it too.
"Huh. That's interesting," Roman murmurs, a curious expression on his face.
Roman meets Calle's eyes and explains, "Your hair...a lock of it is gray."
Calle yanks his hand away and steps around Roman, pulling the attention away from him. "Thank you again for giving me a second chance. I really do appreciate it," he drawls.
Roman clears his throat and nods. "My pleasure." He heads towards his desk and sits down behind it, watching Calle sit down in the nearest chair. He clears his throat before asking, "So, how does your boyfriend feel about you trying to get me into bed?"
Calle blinks a couple of times, staring at Roman in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
Roman raises an eyebrow. "The man who was with you when I came by your apartment yesterday morning and the night I brought you home when you collapsed at the gala. Isn't he your boyfriend?"
Calle smirks, his eyes twinkling mischievously. "No. He's just a friend who I happen to fuck every now and again."
"Oh." Roman's cheeks redden slightly and he quickly looks away, pretending to search for something on his desk. Amused, Calle stands and makes his way to Roman's desk. Since he couldn't use his ability on the man, he had other ways to flirt. He perches himself on the edge and puts a hand down on the stack of papers Roman is shuffling through.
"Are you seriously trying to tell me that you have never had friends with benefits," he purrs. While Roman is avoiding his gaze, Calle's eyes stealthily skim the contents of the papers on the desk before his gaze lands on Roman's laptop monitor where he sees a file titled ‘Project Siren'. This name is also on a couple of papers on the desk so he makes a mental note of this as he continues to prod. "You're awfully shy for someone who's been reported as being a ‘ladies man'."
Roman huffs in annoyance and lifts his head to meet Calle's eyes. "Surely a reporter like you knows to not believe everything he reads!"
"Ooh! Looks like I've struck a nerve." Calle grins. He leans forward, keeping Roman's eyes on him while he covertly places the device Miikka gave him on the bottom of the laptop. "Who would have thought a pretty boy like you didn't have people lining up to be in your bed. Come on, tell me the truth. You have tons of people who keep your bed warm at night."
"That's enough!" Roman snaps, slamming his hands on the desk. Calle jolts in surprise at the outburst of emotion coming from his target. Now that was interesting. Who would have thought someone who appeared to be so calm would have a short fuse. Feigning guilt, Calle lifts his hands in surrender and slowly gets to his feet.
"I'm sorry," he says quietly before turning away. "I'll just...I'll just go." He moves slowly as he gathers his belongings. He's walking to the door, counting down in his head when he hears Roman sigh behind him.
Biting back a smirk, Calle turns and looks at Roman with a hopeful expression. "Yes?"
Roman stares at him for several moments before he motions at the chair Calle had vacated. Calle gives him a grateful smile as he takes his seat once more. Pulling out a recording device he swiped from Miikka yesterday, he turns it on and begins his fake interview. He only asks a couple of questions before checking his watch and pretending to be alarmed. "Shit! I have to go!"
"Is everything alright?" Roman asks as Calle is shoving his things back into his bag.
"Yeah. I just forgot I had a meeting with my boss," Calle lies. He quickly gets to his feet and heads for the door. He's halfway out of the office when Roman calls out
"Will you go to dinner with me?"
Calle freezes. Turning, he looks at Roman who is fidgeting nervously behind his desk. Now, that was interesting. Perhaps his charms weren't wasted after all.
"I'd love to," he replies, surprised at himself for not having to fake the smile that is on his face. Roman smiles.
"Great. I'll send a car to pick you up. Shall we say around eight o'clock?"
Calle nods and without saying another word, walks out of the office. As he's stepping out of the building, a figure steps in front of him, blocking his path. Calle looks up and his blood runs cold when he realizes Malkin is the person standing in front of him.
"Boss wants to see you," he says as he takes Calle by the arm and drags him to a limo idling next to the sidewalk. Malkin opens the door and shoves Calle in. He's about to swear at the Russian as he climbs into the car behind him when he turns his head and comes face to face with Sidney.
"Hello, Mr. Jarnkrok," Sidney purrs. He smiles toothily at Calle before banging on the roof of the car, signaling the driver to start driving.
Calle is about to reply when he notices the person sitting beside him. "What the hell are you doing here?" he growls at Miikka who is calmly tapping the screen of a tablet. Realization dawns and his hands ball into fists. "What part of ‘keep this between us' did you not understand?"
"I don't answer to you," Miikka replies with a shrug, not looking up from his tablet. Calle lifts a hand to punch the tech genius but is stopped when Malkin kicks him, hard. Tamping down the anger building in his chest, Calle glares at Miikka, rubbing his sore shin before asking icily,
"What is Project Siren?"
"To put in simple terms that you would understand, it's a program that is able to find mutants and people with abilities."
"Like Professor X in the comics?"
Sidney smirks, "You would be familiar with childish things." Calle starts to open his mouth but Sidney cuts him off and picks up where Miikka left off. "Unlike your comic books, Project Siren is able to determine what the abilities are and what the individual uses them for."
"You are familiar with the myth of sirens, yes? Well, the program can hone in on mutants and lure them to the location where the program is being run."
Calle's mouth goes dry. "And what do you plan on doing with it?"
"That's on a need to know basis."
"If what you're saying is true, then what do you need me for? Just use whatever you got off Josi's computer and steal the program."
Miikka explains, "The program we found on the laptop is incomplete. Besides, it's not run on a computer, it's a device. According to the plans, the device is located somewhere in Josi's apartment. Locked up in a safe if I had to guess."
"This is where you come in," Sidney chimes in, staring at Calle with contempt. "A little bird told me that Mr. Josi asked you out."
Stunned, Calle's body tenses. "How do you know that?"
"You should know by now that I have eyes and ears everywhere." Sidney's smile widens. "What's that old saying? ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer'."
Calle snorts, "You actually have friends?" No sooner than the words leave his mouth, Malkin reaches across the car and backhands him. Blood fills Calle's mouth and his jaw throbs with pain. Sidney clicks his tongue and shakes his head in feigned disappointment.
"Why must you be so difficult, Mr. Jarnkrok?" Sidney leans forward and grabs the front of Calle's shirt, pulling him close. "Here I am giving you the easiest job in the world and you repay me with insolence and attitude?" When Calle doesn't reply, Sidney smiles. "Finish the job or I burn the information on Doctor Kane and his lovely little establishment. Not to mention I'll send Geno to take care of your precious little sister as well as the JOFA brothers."
"Y-yes, sir," Calle mumbles. His stomach twists painfully and bile rises up in his throat when his suspicions are proven right. The need to successfully pull off this mission becoming more and more vital. He couldn't let anything happen to Ella or Filip and his brothers.
"Good boy." Sidney shoves Calle away as the car comes to a stop. Glancing out the window, Calle sees that they're parked in front of his apartment building. Slowly, he turns his head and sees Sidney grinning at him.
"Have a nice day, Mr. Jarnkrok."
Unable to take another second in the presence of Sidney, Calle practically leaps out of the car and walks quickly inside the building. Ignoring Alex sitting behind the front desk, Calle steps into a waiting elevator car and pushes the button to his floor.
"I am so fucking screwed," he thinks to himself as he leans against the back wall and closes his eyes. He cannot fail this assignment. Taking a deep breath, he opens his eyes and begins to plan his next move.
The following evening, Calle is in the process of getting ready for his date with Roman when there's a knock on his front door. He frowns and glances at his watch. It's too early for Roman's car to arrive. Curious, he hurries out of his room and pulls open the door.
Filip and his two brothers are standing outside. Filip gives Calle a sheepish smile. "We need your help."
Calle steps aside and motions for the three of them to come in. As he's closing the door behind them, he asks, "What's up?"
"Sidney is sending us to visit one of his clients who is behind on a loan payment. We were told to light a fire beneath him and get said payment," Ryan answers as he leans against the closed door with his arms folded across his chest.
Calle smirks. "Literally or figuratively?"
Filip laughs, his eyes shining mischievously. "Both."
"Alright. So what do you need me for?"
"We need your help getting inside the club to meet with said client," Ryan replies. "That, and we might need some extra muscle in case things get a little rough."
Calle sighs and runs a hand through his hair. "I already have plans," he says. Filip reaches out and takes Calle's hands in his.
"I'm sorry. I wouldn't have asked if it wasn't important."
The four of them stand in silence before Calle groans. "Fine. Let me let Roman know and then we can go."
Filip raises an eyebrow. "Roman? You have plans with the techhead?" Calle shrugs nonchalantly as he pulls his phone out of his pocket and begins typing out a text.
"He asked me out on a date yesterday during that fake interview."
"Did he now?" Calle looks up and sees an amused smirk on Filip's face. Beside him, Ryan and Viktor are eyeing him curiously. Rolling his eyes, Calle brings his attention back to his phone and turning around to hide his flushed cheeks.
"I didn't say anything!"
Calle sends the text and glares at Filip. "You didn't have to. Your face says it all, prick."
Filip laughs. "Am I that predictable?"
"To me? Yes." Calle slips his phone back into his pocket before heading back towards his bedroom. "Let me grab my stuff and we can go." As he's picking up his wallet, he has to swallow down a wave of disappointment at missing his date with Roman and confusion as to why he feels that way in the first place.
Shaking his head, Calle follows the brothers out of his apartment, pushing all thoughts of Roman out of his mind for the time being.
Calle finally has his first date with Roman.
A week goes by and Calle manages to forget about his missed date with Roman as well as Sidney's threats. Filip and his brothers recruited him for help on several more missions which helped to take his mind off of everything.
One afternoon, Calle is in a boxing gym downtown meeting with Filip and his brothers. As he's wrapping his hands, Ryan comes up and slaps him on the shoulder. "How's your boyfriend?" he asks, grinning impishly.
"He's not my boyfriend. Fuck off," Calle grunts without looking up. Beside him, Filip sighs before throwing a roll of tape at his brother. Ryan catches it and walks away laughing.
"Ignore him. He's just jealous because his girlfriend is withholding sex."
A smirk tugs at the corners of his lips as he turns his head and meets Filip's mischievous grin. "Is that so?"
"Yup. Apparently, she hasn't been getting enough attention so she's kicked him out of their apartment. He's been staying with Arvy for the past week."
Calle laughs. "Oh, I am so going to use that against him."
"Why do you think I told you?" Filip replies. He gets to his feet and nods towards one of the practice rings. "Shall we?"
The following day, Calle wakes up to a loud knock on his front door. He groans, his body still exhausted from the vigorous workout the day before. He rolls over in bed, hoping the person at the door will go away when there's another knock.
Cursing under his breath, Calle gets up and trudges to the door. He yanks it open, a nasty response on the tip of his tongue, and comes face to face with Roman.
Roman looks Calle up and down before frowning. "Is this going to be a thing?"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Calle snaps, his irritation at having been woken up simmering beneath the surface.
"You're not wearing any pants...again."
Calle sighs in annoyance. "Only when I've been rudely awoken."
Roman's frown deepens. "It's two in the afternoon."
"I had a long night," Calle retorts. He runs a hand over his face and sighs. "What are you doing here?"
To his credit, Roman looks down at the floor, shifting nervously from foot to foot. When he brings his head up to meet Calle's eyes, his cheeks are slightly pink.
"Um, you never called me back."
Calle's brow furrows in confusion, his mind still fuzzy with sleep. "Was I supposed to?"
A hurt expression comes across Roman's face. "We were supposed to have dinner last week which you canceled."
"Oh." Guilt coursed through Calle and he has to look away from Roman. "I had something come up and I guess I just lost track of time." Hesitantly, he glances at Roman from the corner of his eye and says, "I really am sorry."
Roman's expression softens as he smiles. "It's okay. I understand." They stare at one another for several seconds before Roman clears his throat and asks, "Do you have any plans today?" When Calle shakes his head, Roman's smile grows. "Would you like to have lunch with me?"
Calle can feel a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. Stepping aside, he opens the door wider so Roman can come in. "Give me ten minutes," he says before hurrying back to his room to get ready.
Twenty minutes later, the two of them are seated in a small cafe not far from Calle's apartment. Calle stares at Roman who is looking at a menu, trying to get a read off of the man. Normally, he could use his ability to find out what a person's motives are which comes in handy when he's dealing with strangers. The fact that Roman is immune to his powers is puzzling while at the same time it makes things a bit more interesting.
As if sensing Calle's eyes on him, Roman lifts his head. "What? Do I have something on my face?"
Calle shakes his head and rests his forearms on the table. "Why are you doing this?" he asks.
"Doing what?" Roman replies. Calle lifts a hand and motions at the two of them.
"This! You, here with me." Calle tilts his head and studies Roman. "After what happened at the benefit gala, any sane person would have just written me off as insane and forgot all about me. But you? You sought me out, not once, but twice."
Roman drops his gaze and fiddles with the corner of his napkin. "You're not a freak," he says quietly. "I guess I find you interesting."
Calle's eyebrows raise. "Interesting? Interesting how?"
Lifting his gaze, Roman nods. "When we first met, I felt...I don't know, drawn to you. Out of everyone at that benefit, you stood out from all of them.
"I remember noticing that a lock of your hair changed color from red to green. And then when you tried hitting on me, your eyes...changed."
Calle swallows hard, terror clawing at his throat. If Roman knows his secret, his whole mission is compromised and Sidney is going to flay him alive. Before he can come up with a lie, Roman continues,
"After you fainted and I took you home, I realized something."
Licking his suddenly dry lips, Calle asks hoarsely, "What?"
Roman stares at Calle and says, "I normally have really bad anxiety when it comes to interacting with new people. I always have. But when I was talking with you, it was like we've known each other for ages."
Calle is stunned. That was not what he was expecting at all. Before he can reply, the waitress comes up to their table to take their orders. Once she's gone, he cautiously asks, "And what does your friend Shea think?" If Shea put Roman up to this meeting, he's fucked.
Roman frowns. "Shea? Why are you bringing him up?"
"Isn't he your best friend?"
"Yes, but I fail to see what he has to do with you and me."
Calle drops his gaze and stares at his hands. "Sorry. I don't know why I asked that."
Roman reaches across the table and covers one of Calle's hands with his own. Slowly lifting his head, Calle sees Roman smiling gently at him. "I asked you out because I like you. I don't need Shea's permission when it comes to my love life."
Calle nods and finds himself smiling back at Roman. Pushing aside his fears and worries, he changes the subject. Throughout their meal, Calle can't remember ever feeling this relaxed with someone who wasn't Filip. Even when he was younger, he didn't have very many friends. After the experimentation he underwent, the number of friends dropped even lower. He was a loner until he met Filip several years later. With Roman, it's just like being with Filip which is slightly surprising to Calle.
As they're leaving the restaurant, Roman looks over at Calle with a shy smile. "Thank you for this."
"For what?" Calle asks, slightly confused.
"For coming out with me. I had fun today."
Calle smiles. "I did too." Roman grins. Coming to a stop in front of Calle's apartment building, he stands in front of Calle and reaches a hand out, gently touching Calle's hair.
"Huh. It's pink now," he murmurs as he twirls the lock of hair around his finger. At the light touch, Calle's eyes slowly close. He's always loved having his hair played with. It reminds him of when he was a child and his mother would caress his hair. After he got sick and his parents sent him off, he would find himself missing that touch when he was wracked with pain.
"Why does it do that?"
Calle's eyes fly open and he quickly comes back to his senses. "I don't know," he lies as he takes a step back. "I should probably go. Thanks for lunch." He starts to walk away when Roman's fingers wrap around his arm, gently pulling him back.
"What's wrong? Did I say something wrong?" he asks softly. Calle shakes his head, carefully avoiding Roman's eyes.
"No. Sorry. I just don't like talking about that with other people."
"Hey." Roman slips two fingers beneath Calle's chin and gently tilts his head back until their eyes meet. "It's okay. We all have our secrets."
"Oh yeah? And what's yours?" Calle finds himself asking. Roman chuckles.
"Maybe one day you'll find out," he murmurs, his eyes dropping to Calle's lips. Before he can talk himself out of it, Calle grabs the front of Roman's shirt and tugs him down into a kiss. Just like the first time their hands touched, a pleasant shock jolts through Calle, sending shivers down his spine.
Reluctantly, he pulls away and gives Roman a shy smile. "I'll see you around," he says before turning and disappearing into his apartment building. He mumbles a hello to Alex who waves at him from his desk and heads towards the elevator. When he hits the button for his floor, Calle brings a hand up to touch his lips, one thought running through his head.
"I am so fucked."
Date number 2 for Calle and Roman
As always, a very special thank you goes out to Jessica. You are my rock and my biggest fan and I can honestly say that this fic (and all my other ones) wouldn't have been written if it wasn't for your love and support.
Beta'd using basic Grammarly.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A few days later, Calle is sitting on his couch watching a hockey game when his phone rings. Muting the tv, he picks it up and answers, "Yeah?"
At the sound of Roman's voice, Calle jerks upright. Clearing his throat, he feigns boredom and says, "Yes? What can I do for you, Mr. Josi?"
Roman chuckles softly. "You can call me Roman. I think we're way beyond pleasantries."
A smile spreads across Calle's face, his cheeks flushing with heat as the memory of their kiss comes to the forefront of his mind. He laughs as he replies, "Okay then. What can I do for you, Roman?"
"That's better," Roman replies. "What are you doing right now?"
"Nothing at the moment. I'm actually pretty bored," Calle says before dropping his voice to a low purr, "Why? Are you wanting to entertain me?" He smirks when he hears Roman sputtering nervously, internally pleased with this reaction.
"Would you like to come over to my place tonight?" Roman asks. "For dinner, I mean?"
Calle is silent for a few moments, trying to draw out the tension just a bit before he answers, "I would love to."
"Great! I'll text you the address."
"Can't wait." Calle hangs up and quickly gets to his feet. He darts back to his bedroom to shower and get ready.
Thirty minutes later, Calle pulls up in front of an enormous building. After throwing a handful of bills at the driver, Calle climbs out of the car and walks up to the door. A doorman opens the door for him and motions for him to go to the desk set up in the lobby.
"Who are you here to see?" A burly man with red hair and piercing eyes asks, eyeing Calle curiously.
"Roman Josi," Calle responds as he fights to keep himself from fidgeting beneath the close scrutiny of the man behind the desk. The man frowns before picking up a phone and pressing a number on it. As he's waiting for an answer, he looks at Calle and asks,
"And you are?"
The man nods before speaking quietly to the person on the other end. When he hangs up, he points to the elevators around the corner. "Third floor."
Calle thanks the man and makes his way to the elevators. As he's waiting for it, his phone vibrates in his pocket. He pulls it out and tenses when he sees that it's a message from Sidney:
"Where are you with finding that device? I'm losing my patience, Mr. Jarnkrok."
The elevator doors open with a chime, causing Calle to jump in surprise. He quickly deletes the text and slides his phone back in his pocket before stepping inside the elevator and riding up to Roman's floor. He'll deal with Sidney later. Right now, he wanted to forget his problems and focus only on his date for the evening.
When the elevator doors open, Calle sees Roman standing in the foyer waiting for him. "Hi," he says, his eyes bright with joy. Chuckling, Calle walks up to Roman and pulls him down into a passionate kiss. When they pull apart for air, Calle grins cheekily.
"I've been wanting to do that for a while."
Roman bites his lip, trying not to smile. "Have you now?"
Calle's grin widens as he slides his hands up Roman's shirt and playing with the top button. "And there's a few other things I'd like to do as well. Shall I show you?" he asks as he pops the button free. As he's reaching for the next button, one of Roman's hands come up and covers Calle's.
"Why don't we have some dinner first?" Keeping his eyes on Calle's, Roman brings one of Calle's hands up to his lips and presses a kiss onto the back of it. "Besides, I don't put out on the first date."
"Technically this is our second date," Calle replies, his skin tingling where Roman's lips touched it. "And I definitely put out on the second date."
Roman laughs, shaking his head in amusement. "You're more trouble than you look," he says as he turns and leads Calle further into the apartment, their fingers laced together.
"What can I say? Trouble is my middle name."
"That doesn't surprise me one bit," Roman replies, glancing over his shoulder before coming to a stop. "It's pink again," he murmurs as he reaches up and runs his fingers through Calle's hair, focusing on the one lock.
Calle bites his lip and looks down at his feet, mumbling something. Roman frowns. "What was that?"
"I said, it means I like you," Calle replies, his cheeks turning as pink as the lock of hair Roman is playing with. "That part of my hair changes colors depending on my mood." Hesitantly, Calle lifts his head and sees Roman smiling at him.
"So, you like me, huh?"
The corners of Calle's lips twitch in the beginnings of a smile. "Was that not obvious?"
Roman's grin widens. "It was. I just wanted to hear you say it out loud." Calle laughs, a warm feeling in his chest growing. This surprises him. He's never felt like this with anyone, save Filip, least of all with a target. He forces himself to look away from Roman and pushes the feeling down. Deciding to put his mission first, he gives Roman a charming smile.
"How about a tour?"
Roman tilts his head slightly, his smile turning shy. "There's really not much to see."
Refusing to take no for an answer, Calle steps closer to Roman, pressing himself against the tech genius. "Come on. I want to see how the great Roman Josi lives." He sticks his bottom lip out in a pout and adds, "Please?"
Roman purses his lips, his brow furrowed in concentration before he sighs. "Alright. But you're not allowed to complain when you're bored." Calle puts a hand on his chest and gives Roman a mock serious expression.
Rolling his eyes, Roman chuckles before taking Calle's hand again and leading him further into the penthouse, showing him every room. Calle ‘oohs and aahs' where necessary, while mentally, he makes notes of where everything is. Roman is about to pass a closed door when Calle pulls his hand, stopping him from walking away.
"What's in here?"
Roman glances at the door and gives Calle a patient smile. "It's just my office. Trust me when I say there's definitely nothing interesting in there."
‘Bullseye' Calle thinks to himself. The device Sidney is looking for has to be in that room. When Roman turns to head back to the main living room, Calle glances at the keypad on the wall next to the door. ‘That's inconvenient...but should be a breeze to hack.'
Smiling to himself, Calle leaves the locked office behind and goes to look for Roman. He finds him in the kitchen spooning food onto plates. Glancing at the takeout boxes scattered on the counters, Calle chuckles, "What? No home cooked meal?"
Roman looks over his shoulder at Calle and grins sheepishly. "I can't cook to save my life. Plus, I'm hardly ever home so there's no need for me to."
"Where do you spend most of your time if not here?" Roman breaks eye contact and focuses on the plates in front of him.
"At the office."
The sad tone in Roman's voice, makes Calle's heart clench in sympathy. He's definitely familiar with that. Pasting a smile on his face, he steps up behind Roman and wraps his arms around his waist. "Well, I'm glad you took time out of your busy schedule to have dinner with me, even if it comes out of a box."
Roman laughs. "I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not," he says as he turns and gazes down at Calle. "I'm hoping you meant it."
Calle stands on his tiptoes and kisses the corner of Roman's mouth. "I did," he murmurs. Roman brings his hands up, cupping Calle's face before pulling him back in for another kiss. The kiss quickly grows more and more heated and Calle finds himself being pressed against the giant fridge in the kitchen while Roman trails kisses along his neck. A soft whimper slips from Calle's lips as he lets his head fall back against the appliance, giving Roman more access.
"Please," he pants, arousal coursing through his veins with each press of Roman's lips on his skin. His hands fist the front of Roman's shirt and gently pushes him back. Roman looks down at Calle, his eyes hooded and dark with desire. Calle licks his lips and tightens his grip on Roman's shirt. "I want you."
Roman hesitates, different emotions at war on his face. After a couple of seconds, he nods and takes Calle by the hand, tugging him towards the bedroom. No matter how much Calle told himself that this was just part of the mission, a small part of his mind whispered that this feeling he feels for Roman is real. You can't fake this kind of chemistry and he wanted to enjoy this feeling for as long as he could.
"So, how long has your hair been able to do that?"
Calle looks up from his plate and sees Roman smiling at him from across the table. After their little jaunt to the bedroom, they were freshly showered and eating their reheated dinner. Calle drops his gaze and pushes his food around with his fork. "Ever since I was a kid," he says. This makes Roman frown.
"Is everything okay? You look tense all of a sudden."
"I'm fine. Just tired. You wore me out," Calle lies.
"I wore you out?" Roman snorts in disbelief. "Are you sure it wasn't the other way around?"
Calle can't stop himself from smiling at this. "Let it be known that I never leave a lover unsatisfied," he says with a wink.
Roman chuckles, shaking his head in amusement. "You're not full of yourself at all, are you?"
"Definitely not." Not wanting to talk about himself anymore, Calle quickly changes the subject before Roman can question him again. Pasting a curious expression on his face, he asks
"So, how's work? Working on anything special?"
Roman stares at Calle with amusement. "I didn't realize you were a fan of my work," he teases. Calle smirks.
"Technology has always made me hot and bothered." Roman bursts out laughing. The sound is so contagious that Calle finds himself joining in.
"Surely you're working on something amazing," Calle grins when their laughter dies down. "Are you making robots who will take over the world and make us their slaves?"
Roman snorts at this. "As interesting as that may be, sadly there aren't any power hungry robots on my list of things to create."
Calle sighs in mock disappointment. "Way to break my heart here. I was looking forward to serving a robot warlord."
"Sorry to have been the cause of your disappointment," Roman replies as he picks his fork back up. "How can I ever make it up to you?"
"I'll have to get back with you on that." They finish eating in comfortable silence, occasionally exchanging shy smiles. As they're finishing up, Roman's phone chirps in his pocket. Calle looks over at him with an amused smile.
"Is that a better offer?"
"Nobody could be a better date," Roman replies. Calle's heart warms at this statement. Now, that's a new sensation. Clearing his throat, Calle gets to his feet and shoves his hands into his pockets.
"I should probably get going," he says. "I have an early morning."
Before Calle can take a step, Roman reaches out and stops him. "I've been meaning to ask, when is our interview going to be printed? You never did tell me who you worked for."
Calle mentally curses himself. How was he supposed to get himself out of this mess? His mind races before he finds himself blurting out the first thing that pops into his head, "I was fired!" Roman's eyes widen.
"Oh, God! I'm sorry." Calle finds himself being pulled into Roman's arms in a tight embrace. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"I, um, didn't think you wanted to hear about my failure in keeping a job." Roman pulls back and cups Calle's face in his hands.
"I don't think you're a failure," he says softly, his thumbs lightly caressing Calle's cheekbones. "And I want you to feel like you can talk to me about anything."
Tears prick at the backs of Calle's eyes and he has to quickly blink them away. What the hell is wrong with him? No one has made him cry in years. He carefully extracts himself from Roman's arms and says, "Thank you." Clearing his throat, he gives Roman a smile. "Call me later?"
Roman nods. "Of course." He leans forward and softly brushes his lips against Calle's cheek. Calle's eyes flutter closed, the light touch sending a shiver up his spine. When he opens his eyes, he finds Roman staring at him with a tender smile.
Calle mumbles a goodbye before hastily heading to the elevator. Once the doors slide closed, he lets his head thunk against the wall. "Shit," he whispers. This was turning out to be the hardest mission he's ever had to do and it's only a matter of time before it all blows up in his face.
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Calle and Roman grow closer.
For the next couple of weeks, Calle had taken to going over to Roman's house for dinner every other weekend. With each date, he found himself no longer faking his attraction to the tech genius, instead, his feelings were very real and very strong.
One night after dinner, they're sitting on the couch watching tv when Roman gently nudges Calle's leg with his foot. "Come on. Tell me about yourself."
Calle stiffens as the urge to flee intensifies. He's always hated talking about his past; just thinking about it is enough to make his heart race and his hands become damp with sweat. He forces himself to smile and say, "There's nothing to know."
"I'm sure that's not true," Roman replies as he begins playing with Calle's hair. When Calle remains silent, Roman grins. "Shall we play a game?"
Roman runs his fingers through Calle's hair the light touch sending sparks shooting up Calle's spine. He licks his lips and asks cautiously, "What kind of game?"
"I'll tell you something about me and you have to tell me something about you."
Everything inside of Calle is telling him to say no or to just leave. The words are on the tip of his tongue when he finds himself blurting, "Okay." He internally kicks himself. His mind races for something to tell Roman that won't give away his true intentions for why he's with him. Finally, he says, "I'm afraid of the dark."
Roman's eyes widen, his mouth forming a small ‘O' of surprise. The look is quickly replaced with a reassuring smile. "That's okay, I'm afraid of heights."
Calle snorts. "Don't you work on the top floor of your office headquarters?" Roman nods sheepishly.
"I do, which is why I spend most of my time in the windowless laboratories than my office."
The two of them stare at each other for a couple seconds before they start laughing. Roman squeezes Calle's hand and grins. "We make quite the pair, don't we?"
This makes Calle's heart sink. Why is it that just when he's forgotten why he's here with Roman in the first place, the man inadvertently reminds him of it. He stares unseeingly at the television for several seconds before he finds himself admitting, "I have a younger sister."
Silence fills the room, the only noise coming from the tv. Hesitantly, he glances out of the corner of his eye and sees Roman staring at him with a sad smile. "You do? What's her name? Does she live nearby?"
Calle shakes his head. "Her name is Ella." Saying her name aloud makes Calle's chest clench in pain. He licks his lips and continues, "She doesn't know about me."
Roman's brow furrows in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"I was sent away when she was just a baby," Calle replies, gently tugging his hand free of Roman's. "While I was gone, our parents died and she was sent off to live in an orphanage." He ducks his head so he can furtively wipe away the stray tears rolling down his cheeks. Sensing Roman's gaze, he says quietly,
"Don't look at me like that."
Calle lifts his head and meets Roman's eyes. "Like you feel sorry for me." Roman's gaze softens and he reaches over to take Calle's hand once more.
"I don't feel sorry for you, Calle," he says, running his eyes over Calle's face. "Seeing you in pain hurts me. I wish I could do something to alleviate that pain."
Calle stares at Roman for several seconds before he gets to his feet and tugs on Roman's hand. "I've got something you can do that will help."
Roman raises his eyebrows in curiosity. "Oh? And what would that something be?" he asks as he allows Calle to lead him out of the living room towards his bedroom.
Eleven years ago
Calle is shoved into a chair by two hulking men. He tries in vain to wriggle from their grasp but one punch is all it takes to stun him enough for the men to bind his arms and legs to the chair. Doctor Kane walks into the room, his eyes on a file in his hands.
"Why am I still here?" he pants as sweat dots his brow. "My cancer is gone. I want to go home!"
Doctor Kane looks up and sneers at Calle. "Oh, you sweet, naive little boy," he tsks.
"I'm sixteen, asshole! I'm not a fucking child!" Calle snarls, fighting even harder against his restraints. "Now, answer me! Why am I still here?"
The doctor sighs and steps further into the room. Bending down so he's at eye level with Calle, he says, "Yes, you're cancer free, but that's not why you're here. Well, not the only reason."
Calle's body goes numb. "What?"
"After you were diagnosed with cancer, your parents became convinced that you had developed an odd...ability, let's say."
"Wh-what?" Calle stares at Doctor Kane in horror. "No. I didn't get that until after I came here! You did that to me!"
A wide grin spreads across the doctor's face. "On the contrary, I believe you were born with that ability. It just hadn't manifested until that tumor appeared." Reaching out, he grips Calle's chin hard enough to bruise. "Your parents, bless their little hearts, they were so afraid of you that they didn't hesitate to sign the papers to leave you here with me."
"You're lying," Calle replies as doubt starts to cloud his mind.
Doctor Kane's smile widens as he adds, "All I've done is made it so the ability stays with you, long after we removed that pesky tumor. You should be thanking me."
"I'd rather die than thank you, you son of a bitch," Calle seethes. He's able to move his head to the side just enough that he's able to bite Doctor Kane's hand. He tastes sweat and blood on his tongue before the doctor yanks his hand away and motions to one of the men standing off to the side. As soon as he steps out of the shadows, Calle notices what's in his hands and he starts to tug against the cuffs around his wrists.
"No! Don't! Please!" he sobs, not wanting to be put under again. Each time he does, he wakes up in so much pain he can hardly move. Doctor Kane ignores his pleas as he picks up one of the syringes.
"Don't worry. This won't hurt...much." With an evil grin, Doctor Kane shoves the needle into Calle's neck.
"Calle? Wake up!"
Calle's eyes snap open, his throat hoarse. His body is coated in a thin sheen of sweat and his hands are sore from gripping the blankets tightly. Out of the corner of his eye he can see Roman watching him with concern. He takes a couple of deep breaths before whispering, "What happened?"
Roman reaches over and brushes a damp lock of hair from Calle's forehead. "You were having a nightmare," he says softly as he pulls Calle into his arms and presses a kiss onto the top of his head. "You were screaming and crying out." Calle shudders at the reminder of his nightmare, nausea making his stomach turn. He quickly swipes away the tears on his cheeks.
"Sorry for waking you up," he murmurs. He tries to move away but Roman tightens his embrace. Gently, he cups Calle's face and turns his head until their eyes meet.
"I don't care about that. I care about you," he says in a soft voice. His eyes drift over Calle's face, staring at him as if he can see inside Calle's soul. Calle swallows hard. He can't remember the last time someone looked at him like that and the feeling it brings is almost foreign to him.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Calle starts to shake his head but finds himself changing his mind. "I had cancer," he says, looking away from Roman and staring at his hands. "When I was ten, I kept having headaches and passing out. My parents took me to the doctor and they found a tumor." He takes a deep breath, gathering all his courage so he can say, "After they heard the diagnosis, my parents began to look for someone, anyone really, to help."
"And did they?"
Calle snorts. "I suppose you could say that." When he glances over at Roman, he sees him frowning. Running his hands through his hair, he continues, "The place they took me to...it wasn't exactly what my parents were told that it was."
Roman is silent for a few beats before asking, "What do you mean?" Calle bites his lip, wondering how much of his past he wants to reveal to Roman. If he mentions his ability, he loses his chance to steal the device and will have to face Sidney's wrath. He takes a deep breath and says,
"They tortured me. They claimed it was for research but I think they were just needing guinea pigs for their experiments." Shaking his head and laughing drily, "My cancer was gone but that didn't stop them from trying out different ‘tests' on me and several other patients.
"One day, one of the other patients, my roommate actually. His name was James. He came up to me and we devised a plan to escape. A week later, we managed to get out but as we were running away, I lost sight of James." Guilt rises up inside him at the memory. Swallowing hard, he adds, "I spent weeks looking for him but was never able to find him." He can feel Roman tensing beside him and sneaks a look at him. He's surprised to see a look of fury on his lover's face.
"Who was this doctor?" Roman asks, his voice low. Calle vehemently shakes his head.
"No. Don't," he says in a firm tone. Turning so he can look Roman in the eye, he adds, "It's not worth it." Tamping down his guilt at the lie he spews, "I've spent years looking and haven't found a trace."
Roman opens his mouth but Calle cuts him off. "I don't think I can sleep anymore. Maybe I should leave." He starts to move away but Roman stops him.
Calle shifts and sees Roman looking at him pleadingly. Reaching out, Roman combs his fingers through Calle's hair and murmurs, "You shouldn't be alone...and I don't want to be either."
Closing his eyes, Calle mentally wars with himself. If he was smart, he would make an excuse and leave. It's bad enough he's spent as much time here as he had. But...a small part of him, one that was growing larger with each passing day, wanted to stay and give his heart to Roman.
‘Fool. You already have,' a voice in his head hisses. Squeezing his eyes shut, he silences the voice. When he opens his eyes, he smiles sadly at Roman.
"Okay. I'll stay."
A look of relief comes across Roman's face. He kisses Calle softly before pulling away. Running his fingers through Calle's hair, he asks, "Did you want to try and go back to sleep?"
Calle hesitates briefly before he nods. "Worth a shot," he says, trying to fake enthusiasm. Roman chuckles and carefully maneuvers Calle back down onto the bed, pulling him closer. Calle closes his eyes and melts when he feels Roman's lips on his forehead. Before sleep claims him, he swears he hears Roman whisper, "I love you."
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The dream ends and reality comes crashing down on Calle.
The next morning, Roman walks Calle to the elevator. "Dinner tonight?"
Calle looks over at Roman with a smirk. "Aren't you sick of me yet?" Roman chuckles as he wraps his arms around Calle's waist, pulling him closer.
"I don't think it's possible for me to be sick of you," he says as he dips his head and captures Calle's lips. Calle sighs contentedly and slides his fingers through Roman's hair which is still damp from the shower they just took together. When they break apart, Roman reaches up and tugs on a lock of Calle's hair. From the corner of his eye, Calle notices that it's a vibrant shade of pink. He glances up and sees Roman staring at the lock of hair with a smile.
"Is this color just for me?" Roman asks as he brings his eyes back to meet Calle's. "Ever since that afternoon we had lunch together, this lock has always been pink."
Calle closes his eyes and leans into Roman's hand. Remembering what Roman had said the night before, he quietly says, "I think it's...it's because I love you." Reluctantly, he opens his eyes and sees Roman grinning at him.
"Say that again," he says as he cups Calle's face in his hands. Smiling, Calle repeats it,
"I love you."
"God, I love you too," Roman murmurs. They're about to kiss again when they hear the sound of the elevator chiming behind them. Calle turns and his blood runs cold when he sees Shea Weber stepping out into the foyer.
"Shea! What's going on?" Roman greets his friend with a grin as he releases Calle and walks over to him. Shea smiles and hugs Roman before his eyes land on Calle. A suspicious expression comes across his face as he stares at him.
"I'm sorry. I hope I'm not interrupting," he says slowly without taking his eyes off of Calle.
Forcing his mind to go blank and pasting a smile on his face, Calle replies, "Of course not. I was actually just leaving." As he's walking over to kiss Roman goodbye, he feels Shea's eyes boring holes into the back of his head.
"Are you okay? You got pale all of a sudden." Roman says, tilting his head and looking at Calle with concern.
"I'm fine. I promise." Calle softly kisses Roman's cheek and whispers. "I love you." Before Roman can reply, Calle quickly walks away and steps inside the elevator. When he gets to the lobby, he decides to walk home to clear his head. As soon as he steps inside his building, he sees Alex flagging him down.
"Calle! Wait! I have news."
Calle walks over and looks at Alex expectantly. "What is it?"
Alex glances around, checking to ensure they're alone before motioning Calle closer. "Two men came by looking for you."
Calle tenses, stomach twisting in fear. Swallowing hard, he asks in a low voice, "Do you know who they were? Are they Sidney's?" He's always known that Alex was on Sidney's payroll but over the years, Alex had kept a few secrets of his so he trusts him when he says,
"No, but they ask questions about you. I didn't tell them anything. Told them to go to hell. They leave but I have feeling in gut that they come back."
"What did they look like?"
"One was blond. Had two different colored eyes," Alex replies, scratching his beard as he thinks. "Older too. Other one had dark hair." He motions at his face and adds, "Had face like little boy."
Cursing under his breath, Calle steps away from the desk. "Thanks for letting me know," he mutters. He's about to walk away but he stops and tells Alex, "If they come back, call me."
Calle mumbles a thank you before turning back around and walking back outside. He takes a cab to Filip's apartment. If anyone could help him make sense of all this, it would be Fil.
As soon as the driver pulls up in front of the building, Calle mindlessly hands him money and leaps out of the car. He runs inside and climbs the two stories to get up to Filip's apartment. When he's in front of the door, he nervously glances behind him before pounding on the door until the door opens.
"What the hell, Cal?" Filip runs a hand through his already unruly hair, messing it up even more. "I don't think the neighbors on the top floor heard you knocking."
"I'm well and truly fucked," Calle replies as he pushes past Filip and storms inside, ignoring Filip's protests. He walks into the living room and pauses when he sees a half-dressed man sitting on the sofa with a throw pillow on his lap. "Hi," the man says, lifting a hand in a half-hearted greeting. A smirk tugs at the corners of Calle's lips.
"Well, looks like I'm not the only one who's fucked," he says, tilting his head to the side and eyeing the stranger with interest. "Who's your friend, Fil?"
Filip comes up beside Calle and sighs. "Cal, this is Pontus. Pontus, this is Calle."
Calle grins widely, his amusement growing when he sees the matching flushed cheeks on both men. "I see." He wraps an arm around Filip's shoulders and winks at Pontus "Well, I hope I didn't interrupt anything...fun."
Filip rolls his eyes and pushes Calle away. "Shut up," he says without any heat. He moves away from Calle and sits down beside Pontus on the couch. Calle chuckles as he moves to sit down in one of the armchairs set up in the room.
"So, how long have you two been seeing each other?"
Filip exchanges a brief glance with Pontus before replying, "A couple of weeks."
Calle eyes Pontus closely, studying him. "What's his ability?" Pontus' eyes widen and his entire body tenses. Noticing this, Filip takes Pontus' hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.
"It's okay. You can trust Calle. He knows when to keep his mouth shut." Calle sticks his tongue out at Filip before focusing on Pontus once more. Swallowing hard, Pontus closes his eyes. Before Calle can blink, Pontus is gone. A few seconds later, he feels a finger tapping him on the shoulder. When he turns around, there's no one there. Turning back around, Pontus appears a few feet away. "I can make myself invisible," he explains when he sees the stunned look on Calle's face. "I can also teleport."
"Holy shit!" Calle looks over at Filip with dread. "Does Sidney know about him?"
Filip's eyes darken. "No, and I plan on keeping it that way," he says in a low voice. Pontus comes and sits back down next to Filip, picking up where he left off.
"As far as Sidney knows, I'm just a freelance bounty hunter." Calle nods and settles back in his seat, taking this all in. After a few moments, Filip says,
"Not that I'm complaining but what the hell are you doing here?"
"I think Shea is on to me," Calle says, his voice slightly strained. "I ran into him at Roman's apartment and when I got back to my apartment building, Alex informed me that there a couple of men sniffing around asking about me. As far as he knew, they weren't any of Sidney's men."
"Jesus Christ!" Filip scrubs his face with his hands and shakes his head. "What do you think he knows? Would Roman have told him anything?"
Calle shakes his head. "I doubt it. I haven't really told Roman everything," he admits. Filip raises his eyebrows.
"So, what have you told him?"
"Everything except my ability."
Pontus' eyes widened in curiosity. "You have an ability too? What is it?"
"He's able to compel people to do his bidding," Filip replies without taking his eyes off of Calle. "So, what are you going to do?"
"I don't know." Calle shakes his head and looks at Filip with resignation. "I...I love him, Fil."
Filip's mouth drops open. He sits back against the couch and stares at Calle in bewilderment. "Are you serious?" When Calle nods, Filip sighs. "The way I see it, you have one of two options: You tell Roman the truth and risk a broken heart or you break things off with him and do what Sidney's ordered you to do. Either way, it's not gonna be pleasant."
"Gee, thanks Fil," Calle grumbles. "I feel so much better now." Filip shrugs before slipping his arm around Pontus' shoulders.
"The truth hurts, Cal. And you and I are both painfully aware that life is not fair."
‘That's putting it mildly,' Calle thinks to himself as he gets to his feet. "I'll let you two get back to whatever it is you were doing," he says. Glancing at Filip, he adds, "Keep your eyes open. If Shea does have men following me, they might come looking for you or your brothers."
Filip nods and gets up from the couch. He pulls Calle into a tight embrace and murmurs, "Call me if you need me, okay?" Calle presses a light kiss onto Filip's forehead and smiles.
As he's walking out of the apartment building, the hairs on the back of Calle's neck stand up. Sensing someone's eyes on him, he glances around and seeing nothing out of the ordinary. He flags a cab down and climbs inside. As the car is pulling away from the curb, the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Turning his head, he looks out the window. When he sees a young man with dark hair, eyes faintly glowing, standing in the shadows, his blood turns to ice in his veins.
Tearing his gaze away, Calle presses the heels of his hands against his eyes and tries to convince himself that none of this was happening. Perhaps his paranoia was getting the better of him or maybe he's just tired and is imagining things. By the time the cab pulls up to the front of his apartment building, he almost believes the lies.
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Painful memories resurface but Calle doesn't have to go through it alone thanks to a little help from his friends.
As always, a very big thank you goes to my best friend and soulmate, Jess. Thanks for helping me brainstorm and for cheering me on while I wrote this. Love ya, babe! XOXO
Beta'd using basic Grammarly
Author's Note: Trigger warning for very brief drug use.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When he arrives back at his apartment building, he makes a beeline towards the front desk where Alex is sitting and playing a game on his phone. He looks up and frowns when he sees how flustered Calle is.
"You okay? You look like crazy man."
"Never mind that," Calle says. He glances over his shoulder before looking back at Alex. "Has anyone else come by here? Someone who doesn't belong?"
Alex sits back in his seat and ponders this for a moment before nodding. "Yes! Two men come in. Say they were there to check smoke alarms."
Calle narrows his eyes and says through clenched teeth, "And you just let them in?"
Shrugging, Alex replied, "They have paperwork."
Growling in frustration, Calle storms off and heads up to his apartment. As soon as he's inside, he quickly goes through every room, searching for any bugs that may have been planted by his unexpected visitors. He finds one in both the living room and his bedroom, smashing them with his boot. He sweeps up the pieces and carries them into the bathroom, flushing them down the toilet.
He leans against the wall and slowly slides down to the floor. His mind replays his last conversation with Sidney and nausea churns in his gut. Just the thought of his sister or Filip and his brothers getting hurt because of him brings to the forefront of his mind a memory that he spent years trying to forget. Tears form in his eyes as the image of his old roommate back at the Kane institute, the last person who was hurt because of him and his cowardice.
Ten years ago
Calle is tired and sore thanks to the rigorous training he had to endure that day. In between bouts of torture, the heads of the institute put the many ‘patients' through self-defense courses as well as classes on how to break into places and things. "For research purposes" they claimed. Calle knew better though. These sadists were basically molding them to be mindless assassins or spies, trained to be sold to the highest bidders which consisted of assholes with deep pockets who wanted someone to keep their secrets secret and men of power who wanted people with abilities to act as their guard dogs.
As much as he hated being here, he grudgingly had to admit that he enjoyed all of the lessons. Along with being one of the top fighters, he also became quite the expert in picking locks and safecracking, both of which lead to fewer torture sessions as a way of rewarding good behavior.
That morning after getting his ass kicked by a new kid with metal bones who wasn't wearing a collar tamping down his abilities to challenge him but did nothing except leaving him bruised and bloody. After being given something for the pain and getting bandaged up, he was sent back to his cell. He laid on his cot, trying to ignore the throbbing pain radiating throughout his entire body. Everything from the ends of his hair to the tips of his toes was crying out in agony. What he wouldn't give for an ice bath and some of the heavy duty meds that they used whenever they needed to knock him out for exams.
"I finally figured it out."
Tearing his eyes away from watching a spider weaving a web in the corner of the room, Calle carefully turns his head, wincing at the pain that radiates just from that small movement, and looks at his roommate. "Figured what out?"
James grins widely. "How to get out of this hellhole!"
He frowns and eyes James with disbelief. "Bullshit."
"No! I'm serious!" James crosses the room and sits down next to Calle. "I've spent the last couple of days snooping around and found a weak spot in Kane's little security system.
Calle snorts. "No thanks. I don't have a death wish."
"If you stay here any longer you do." He stares at James in silence for several seconds before sighing. Carefully sitting up, he runs a hand through his hair and says,
"Alright. Let's hear it."
A week later, they finalize their plan and begin to put it into motion. Calle creates a diversion by starting a fight in the mess hall. While everyone is brawling, he sneaks out and makes his way to the nurse's station where a new nurse is sitting. He flirts shamelessly with her keeping her distracted so he can grab the ring of keys that will unlock the collar from around his neck as well as open any door in the building. After he gets it, he meets James in front of the massive doors leading into the supply closet.
They take turns getting the collars off and change into a couple of guard's uniforms before heading to the gates leading out of the building. When they run into the guards on duty, Calle compels them to stun themselves with their own tasers. As soon as the guards hit the floor, James cackles.
"Oh man. That makes up for all the beatings those bastards gave me."
"Shut up and unlock the gates, brainiac," Calle hisses as he peeks out of the doorway to ensure the halls are still empty. James huffs and mumbles something under his breath before stepping up to the massive console. Using his enhanced strength, he rips out the bottom of the console and begins to search through the wires.
Calle bounces on the balls of his feet, keeping his eyes trained on the security camera footage playing on several screens in the room. Right as James cuts a wire, the alarm system for the institute begins to blare. "Way to go, jackass!" Calle shouts, trying to be heard over the sirens.
"Shut up! I've almost got it!" James continues picking through the wires before finding the one he had been after. He quickly cuts it and the gates open. Calle grabs James by the collar of his borrowed guard uniform and pulls him out of the building. They take off running, heading straight for the woods that surround the institute, keeping it hidden from any prying eyes.
"We should split up," James huffs as they break through the trees. "I managed to find a map and saw that there's giant lake past this forest. Meet me there, okay?"
"Are you sure?" Calle asks, wincing when he hears loud barking coming behind them. Great, they were bringing the hounds out. He knew their escape had been too easy.
"I'm positive." James skids to a stop and grabs Calle's shoulder. "If I'm not there by sundown, go on without me." Calle starts to shake his head but James tightens his grip on him. "I mean it, Cal. One of us needs to get out of here and bring these bastards down."
Without waiting for a response, James releases Calle and takes off running in the opposite direction. Hesitating for just a few seconds, Calle groans in displeasure before turning and taking off deeper into the woods.
After what feels like hours, the sounds of soldiers shouting and dogs barking grows faint and Calle finds himself coming to the edge of the forest. Through the trees, he catches a glimpse of sunlight hitting the water of a large lake. He stumbles towards it and collapses on the bank. After taking several gulps of water, he looks around to see if James made it out. When he sees that he's alone, he sits down and waits.
Hours pass and the sun begins to sink with still no sign of James. Calle's heart clenches in worry and fear. If anyone should have made it out, it should have been James. He stays in the same spot on the bank of the lake until the sky grows dark and stars begin to appear. Fighting back tears for the loss of his friend, Calle gets up on shaky legs and walks until he makes it to an empty highway.
The memories fade. Calle is curled into a ball on the bathroom floor, sobbing. His head throbs painfully, signaling the beginning of a vicious migraine. After several years of looking, he was never able to find out if James was alive or dead. He never forgave himself for giving up the search for his best friend, the one who made each day in that fucking hellhole bearable. The day he decided to give up his search was so painful that he spent that entire day drinking until he blacked out. Filip found him the next morning passed out in the bathtub, empty bottles of whiskey and vodka scattered all over the floor.
Wiping away the remaining tears, Calle stands and on shaky legs, makes his way to the sink. He yanks open the door of the medicine cabinet, grabbing a bottle of Xanax and shaking a couple of pills out, swallowing them and drinking straight from the faucet. Rubbing his aching temples, he trudges into his bedroom. Not bothering to take off his shoes or clothes, he flops down onto his bed and pulls the covers over him. Eventually, he falls into a dreamless sleep.
When he wakes up, the sun has set and his room is shrouded in shadows. He grunts softly and rolls onto his back, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and cursing himself for sleeping so long. As he's contemplating getting up, his phone starts to ring. He pulls it out of his pocket and mumbles a greeting.
"Calle?" At the sound of Roman's voice, Calle shoots up, all traces of sleep gone.
"Roman? Sorry. I just woke up." The other line is silent for several beats before Roman replies,
"Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. Just had a migraine is all."
"You seem to have a lot of those," Roman says, worry clear in his voice. "Maybe you should see someone about it."
Not wanting to explain the real reason behind his headaches, Calle waves away Roman's concern. "I'll be fine, I promise." He chews on his bottom lip before adding, "Is there a reason why you're calling me?"
"I'm outside your apartment."
Calle curses quietly and darts out of his room. He yanks the front door open and sees Roman grinning at him on the other side.
"Surprise," he says as he hangs up his phone. When he lifts the bag he's carrying, Calle's mouth waters at the scent of Chinese food coming from it. "I brought dinner."
"Well, since you brought food, I suppose I could let you in," Calle teases as he steps aside. Roman chuckles. He kisses Calle's cheek on his way by and heads to the kitchen.
"I hope you're hungry. I wasn't sure what you liked so I got a lot of different things." Calle snorts in amusement as he watches Roman pull box after box out of the bag.
"Did you leave any food for anyone else?"
"Of course I did!" Roman huffs, feigning outrage. "I'm not an animal."
A smirk spreads across Calle's face. He steps closer and reaches down, cupping Roman's ass. "That's not true. You're an animal in bed."
"Are you sure you're not thinking of yourself?" Roman teases as he faces Calle and pulls him into his arms. Calle laughs as he tugs Roman down into a kiss. He can feel Roman smiling against his lips and can't help but do the same.
As the kiss is becoming increasingly more heated, there's another knock on his front door. Calle groans against Roman's lips. "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Roman pulls away and glances at the door before looking down at Calle. "Are you expecting someone?"
Calle shakes his head before giving Roman a coquettish grin. "Let me get rid of them and we can pick up where we left off."
Roman chuckles and kisses the top of Calle's head. "Take your time."
"And leave you here alone with all of this food? Not a chance." Calle playfully smacks Roman's ass before stalking towards the front door. He pulls the door open and curses.
"If this is you coming to ask me for help let me just stop you right there and kindly tell you to fuck off."
Ryan snorts and holds up a case of beer. "Relax princess. We come in peace and bearing gifts."
Calle glares at him. "How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me that?"
"When it stops being funny we will," Viktor replies, shooting Calle a mocking smile. Filip rolls his eyes and smacks Viktor upside the head.
"Leave the princess alone. You know how sensitive he is," he says. All three of them burst out laughing while Pontus, standing quietly off to the side, watches this unfold with a small smile.
When the laughter dies down, Calle starts pushing them back into the hall. "I appreciate the sentiment but I'm kind of busy right now so…" He freezes when Roman comes up behind him. All four men stare at him with varying expressions of surprise and curiosity. They all stand in awkward silence for several beats before Roman clears his throat and lifts a hand in greeting. "I'm Roman."
Pontus is the first to break out of his stupor and replies, "I'm Pontus," he says with a smile before pointing to the three brothers. "This is my boyfriend, Filip, and his two brothers, Viktor and Ryan."
Roman nods and glances between them and Calle. "We were just about to have dinner. Would you guys like to join us?"
"Oh, we don't want to intrude," Pontus starts to protest but Roman waves this away and opens the door wider.
"Nonsense. We'd love it if you stayed. I bought more than enough food to feed all of us so it's really no problem."
The four of them exchange a look before shrugging. "If you're sure," Viktor says.
"Of course! The more the merrier."
As they're filing inside, Filip grabs Calle by the arm and tugs him off to the side. "Have you talked to him yet?" he asks in a low voice. Calle glances over his shoulder at Roman who is chatting with the others.
"Not yet," he admits, turning to meet Filip's annoyed gaze.
"The longer you put this off, the worse it's going to get," he hisses.
"You think I don't know that already?" Calle sighs and runs a hand through his hair. "I'll tell him soon, Fil. I promise." Filip stares Calle down for several beats before shaking his head.
"Don't say I didn't warn you," he replies. He gives Calle a smile before joining the others in the kitchen. Calle follows close behind and pauses in the doorway, watching Filip murmur something to Viktor and Ryan. The two of them glance at Calle briefly before looking back at Filip and nodding.
He's about to go over to find out what Filip told them when Roman comes up and wraps an arm around his waist. "Come get some food before your friends get it all." At this, Ryan looks over at them and grins wickedly.
"Yeah, you better hurry. Your boyfriend got all of our favorites."
"Keep your hands off of the Lo Mein!" Calle snaps, his eyes shooting daggers at him. Ryan smirks as he reaches for the container in question. When Calle starts to growl, Ryan and Viktor burst out laughing.
"You heard the princess, don't touch his precious Lo Mein," Viktor crows which makes them laugh even harder. Calle stalks over and snatches the container out of Ryan's hand before flipping him off.
Ryan and Viktor high five and walk out of the room. Roman comes up beside Calle and gives him an amused smile. "Princess?"
"It's a stupid nickname that those jackasses started calling me. We were at a costume party and some drunk girl jammed her tiara on my head and declared that I was now the princess of some make believe country before throwing up on my shoes. Unfortunately, those idiots just happened to be standing nearby and saw the whole thing go down." Calle explains with a scowl. "To my great annoyance, it stuck."
"Well, I think it's adorable," Roman grins. Calle glares at his lover and hisses,
"Don't even think about it."
Roman holds up his hands in mock surrender. "Yes, dear." Calle sticks his tongue out at him before joining the rest of the guys in the dining room.
To Calle's surprise, dinner is a success. Roman gets along with Fil and his brothers and Pontus and vice versa. As the meal is dwindling down, Ryan and Roman get into a playful debate about sports teams while Viktor and Pontus talk quietly to themselves in Swedish.
Calle feels an elbow in his side and turns to see Filip studying him closely. "Are you alright, Cal? You look tired." Concern crosses his features and he lowers his voice when he asks, "Are the migraines getting worse?" When Calle nods, Filip's eyes soften and he places a hand on top of Calle's. "I know someone who might be able to help with that. He helped Pontus with the dizziness he got whenever he teleported."
Calle shakes his head. "I'll be fine. It's probably just stress." Filip doesn't look convinced but he nods and drops the subject.
Later after everyone has left, Roman wraps his arms around Calle's waist and smiles at him. "Tonight was fun. It was nice getting to meet your friends."
"Remember you said that after you know them for a few months, you'll be changing your tune," Calle smirks. Roman laughs and kisses his forehead. Calle bites his lip and meets Roman's eyes. "Will you stay tonight?"
"Like you have to ask." Roman cups Calle's cheek and kisses him softly. Calle melts at the touch and presses himself closer to his lover. His mind drifts back to what Filip said and guilt bubbles up. He breaks the kiss and takes Roman's hand, tugging him towards the bedroom. He needs to get his mind off of his woes, even if it's just for the night.
All hell breaks loose and Calle is forced to make some hard choices.
Beta'd using basic Grammarly
Calle hums to himself as he digs around in his closet looking for his favorite sweater. Last week, Roman had surprised him with tickets to a concert for his favorite band which had been sold out for months. When Roman showed him the tickets, he proceeded to drag Roman back to his bedroom and show his appreciation for the gesture.
He had just pulled the sweater over his head when there was a frantic knock on his door. He glances at the clock on his bedside table and frowns. Roman wasn't due to pick him up for another hour and he sure as hell wasn't expecting anyone.
Calle stiffens, alarm bells going off in his head. Sidney has been known to send his lackeys out to intimidate his employees as a way of showing his displeasure to anyone who pissed him off. Considering that Calle was such a person, he'd had the honor of getting the shit beat out of him by brainless muscleheads who lived for violence.
Adrenaline courses through his veins as he grabs his gun from the drawer of his bedside table and stalks out of the room. He's halfway to the door when it flies open and Filip bursts into his apartment, eyes wild. Calle sets the gun down on the nearest surface and rushes over. "Fil? What's wrong?"
"We need your help, Cal."
"We?" He's cut off when Viktor and Joey come dashing into the apartment, slamming the door closed and locking it. "What the hell?"
"Cal, please. It's about Sidney." Calle freezes, fear gripping his chest with an iron fist while alarm bells go off in his head. Never in all the years that he's known the brothers has he ever seen them look this terrified.
"What's going on?"
"Sidney is wanting us to infiltrate one of the Shea Weber's buildings to steal some files. Normally that wouldn't be an issue but this time we have a very big problem."
Joey jumps into the conversation. "We did some reconnaissance to get an idea of what we would be dealing with and discovered that the men Shea has for security have the ability to take control of your body." His voice trembled slightly when he adds, "They can literally stop your heart or suffocate you with only a flick of a hand. If they figure out that we're there to break in, they have orders to take us out with any means necessary."
Calle's eyes widen. "Are you fucking kidding me?"
"Yeah, we had the same reaction when we found out," Viktor says as he paces around the room. "That bastard is basically sending us off to our deaths and he's doing it with a fucking smile on his face."
Anger bubbles up in Calle's chest. Sidney was doing this to send a message to him: "Finish the mission or you'll regret it." What he wouldn't give to go down to the Black Phoenix and put a bullet between Sidney's eyes. Unfortunately, he knew that even if he killed Sidney someone else would just take his place and he would be joining the bastard in hell soon after.
Filip puts his hands on Calle's shoulders, heat already emanating from them. "We have to get into that hideout, Cal but we can't do it without you. We need you to use your ability to help us get past security in order for us to meet up with Sidney's inside man and get the files he's wanting."
Calle glances at his watch and bites back a sigh. He had been looking forward to this concert for weeks and the thought of missing it was more disappointing than he would have thought possible.
He swings his gaze back to his friends. The three brothers were practically his family. The only one he had left really. They had been there for him when he had no one else and were always there to lend a helping hand whenever he got into a scrape.
Seeing the matching expressions of pure desperation on their faces, he knew what he had to do. Given the choice between seeing his favorite band live or helping Fil and his brothers, he would choose them every time.
"Okay. I'll do it. Just...give me a minute. I have something to take care of first."
All three men visibly sag in relief. Filip nods and gives Calle a grateful smile. "Thank you," he says quietly.
"No need to thank me. You would have done the same for me." Calle leans forward and presses a soft kiss onto Filip's forehead before murmuring, "I'll be right back."
He steps out onto his balcony and pulls his phone out of his pocket. With slightly shaking hands, he calls Roman. It rings twice before Roman picks up.
"Hey, babe. I just left the office. I'm going to run by my place to get ready and then I'll be…"
"Um, about that…" Calle swallows hard and forces himself to say, "I won't be able to go out tonight."
"What's wrong?" Roman's voice is filled with concern. "Are you okay? Is it another migraine?"
"No, I'm fine. I just…" His mind races as he tries to think up a good excuse. He decides to stick as close to the truth without giving too many details. "Filip and his brothers are needing help with a project and I'm the only one able to do it."
Roman is silent for a few beats. The entire time, Calle's heart is pounding hard. Finally, Roman says,
"You take care of what you need to do. If you want to come by when you're done, just let me know."
Calle closes his eyes, pushing down waves of disappointment. "I love you," he murmurs.
"I love you too."
Calle hangs up and with a heavy heart, steps back into the apartment. Filip comes up to him and pulls him into a tight hug.
"I'm sorry you had to cancel your date because of us."
"Don't be," Calle replies. "Nothing is more important to me than you guys." He releases Filip and grabs the jacket hanging off the back of the couch. He pulls it on and picks up the gun he had set down. As he's slipping it into an inside pocket of his jacket, he notices Joey and Viktor staring at him with a mix of surprise and worry.
"It's a backup plan in case something goes wrong. I don't have any abilities that will help me in a fight like you three do."
Filip sighs. "Let's just get this over with."
Without another word, the four of them head out the door.
One Week Later
Calle is sprawled on his couch with an ice pack on his head to try and alleviate the pain in his head while he waits for the painkiller he just took to kick in. He'd had to use his ability on several people the night before when he and the JoFA brothers were assigned yet another infiltration mission into one of the many properties belonging to Shea Weber.
They had planned everything out to a T just as they have done so many times before, but this time it was different. There was a celebration being held on that very night they were supposed to sneak in and so they had to backtrack and regroup. Calle could still feel the blood that leaked from his nose due to the overuse of his powers. The JOFA brothers were just as exhausted as he was since they had to drain all of their abilities in order to complete Sidney's ridiculous mission. They succeeded but at the cost of more missions added onto the brothers which had them all worried for their safety.
To say it was awful was a massive understatement.
Not just theirs but their loved ones as well. Pontus and Roman could be in the line of fire if they didn't succeed at the missions given to the brothers. There was no way Calle could say no to helping them.
The thought of Roman causes his heart to clench painfully with guilt. Since he had been helping the JOFA brothers so much, the resulting migraines came more frequently and more excruciating that he couldn't think of anything else. Thanks to said migraines, he'd had to cancel several more dates with Roman. Hearing the disappointment in Roman's voice each time was like a punch in the gut.
If that wasn't bad enough, Sidney had been hounding him for his progress of the mission. After the twentieth threatening text, Calle began to ignore every phone call or text. He also began to avoid going to The Black Phoenix and anyone who was a member. Whenever Sidney sent someone after him, he managed to slip away from every bounty hunter sent after him thanks to Alex who was more than happy to help just to piss Sidney off.
"It's fun ruining his plans. Very entertaining."
"Aren't you worried he'll come after you next?"
"Pah. I'm very sneaky. Like James Bond."
For what feels like the billionth time, Calle wished that things were different, that his life had taken a different path. Sadly, those were wishes that would never come true and he came to the bleak realization that Sidney had his claws sunk into Calle and there was no escaping him. He was trapped with no chance of escape.
Closing his eyes, Calle remembers his first meeting with Sidney, the moment his future changed for the worst.
Five years ago
Calle sits at a booth in a twenty-four-hour diner, nursing a cup of coffee and waiting for the pain meds kicked in and getting rid of the migraine that made it hard to focus on anything else. He had just left a bank where he coerced a teller to ‘withdraw some money' from an imaginary account. His job as a security guard at an upscale hotel paid him a decent wage and he was able to coerce the manager into giving him a room to stay in rent free along with the job but he used most of his paycheck to put into an account in his little sister's name for her to have once she turned 18.
Thinking of his family brought a sour taste in Calle's mouth. After he had managed to escape from the research facility, he discovered that the company had faked his death. The news was too much for his mother to handle and she died of a broken heart. Not long after his mother
died, his father took to drinking and gambling his money away. It wasn't long before he pissed off the wrong people and wound up dead in a dirty alleyway. And his poor sister... she was sent to live in an orphanage before she was eventually adopted by a nice couple. Guilt rose up within him at the thought of his sister but is quickly replaced with anger at the memory of his parents sending him off to the men who had tortured him day in and day out when he was a kid and leaving his baby sister to fend for herself after they died.
Calle is about to signal the waitress for another cup of coffee when a well-dressed man slides into the seat across from him. The man smiles placing a tablet onto the table before he holds out a hand, "Mr. Jarnkrok. It's a pleasure to meet you at last. I've heard some wonderful things about you."
Calle stares at the man for a few seconds before hesitantly shaking his hand. "Sorry, do I know you?"
The man's smile grows wider. Releasing Calle's hand, he slides the tablet over to Calle and sits back in his seat. Frowning, Calle unlocks the tablet and inhales sharply when he sees his face staring back at him. With shaking fingers, he scrolls down and reads what looks to be a file on him. His eyes widen when he sees it's the file from the people who were in charge of the experiments that were run on him.
"Where did you get this?" he asks as he lifts his eyes to look at the stranger.
"I have my ways," the man replies. "I'd like to offer you a job."
Calle frowns. "I already have a job, thanks."
The man laughs derisively. "A hotel security guard? You have that wonderful talent and you use it to get yourself a position as a security guard?"
Calle's blood runs cold. "What? How-?"
"Once again, I have my ways." The man leans forward and places his forearms on the table. "The job I'm offering comes with...perks."
"What kind of perks?" Calle asks.
"Well, for starters, that account you have set up in your sister's name will have a very pretty chunk of change added to it." When Calle's eyes widen in shock, the man continues, "How's playing dead faring? Still feeling guilty for leaving her alone to fend for herself because mommy couldn't handle your absence and daddy preferred booze and gambling over being a father?"
Calle's hands ball into fists and he spits hatefully, "Go to hell! You don't know a goddamn thing about me!" The last word is barely out of his mouth when he hears the sound of a safety being clicked off. As quick as a whip, Calle's training kicks in and he spins around, grabbing the gun currently being aimed at his head, turning it around and pressing the barrel against the man's forehead.
The lone waitress screams and runs into the kitchen. The man glares at him, murder clear in his eyes. He starts to reach for a knife in the inner pocket of his coat when the man sitting at the table chimes in.
"Relax, Geno. Mr. Jarnkrok is harmless," the man says, nodding curtly at the man. Lowering the gun, Calle faces the man once more, anger and fear warring inside him.
"What do you want from me?"
"I could use a man with your talents to help in my line of work," the man replies. He reaches inside his jacket and pulls out an envelope. "And in return, along with a paid for penthouse apartment and bank accounts for you and your sister with more money than you've ever dreamed, I will give you the location of the laboratory where you received your ability."
At the mention of that cursed laboratory, Calle's head throbs painfully. He had spent years trying to gain information about that place and the people who ran it but kept hitting dead ends. Now, after all this time wasted, this man is offering him what he has been searching for on a silver platter. The offer sounds almost too good to be true and a small part of his brain is painfully aware that if he accepts this job he's basically selling his soul to the devil.
Deciding the benefits outweigh the risks, Calle nods. "I accept," he says quietly. He reaches out to take the envelope but the man snatches it away.
"Not so fast, Mr. Jarnkrok," he says with an icy smile. "You have to earn this."
Calle's lips draw into a tight line and his eyes narrow. "And how exactly am I supposed to do that?"
The man slips the envelope back into his jacket pocket and pulls out a small card. He sets it on the table before sliding out of the booth. "Come to this address tomorrow night, ten o'clock sharp. We'll discuss this further." Plucking the tablet off the table, he strolls out of the diner with his henchman close behind.
Calle watches them go before picking the card up and reading the small print on the thick paper.
The Black Phoenix
350 West Plaza
Something inside him twists nervously. If he were smart, he'd throw this card out and get the hell out of the city, forgetting this meeting ever took place. As much as he wants this, a bigger part of him wants that information so he can get revenge over the bastards that spent most of his young adult life torturing him and turning him into a freak. Tossing a handful of bills onto the table, he grabs his messenger bag filled with his stolen money and quickly leaves the diner to head home before the cops that the waitress was sure to have called arrived.
A knock on his front door pulls Calle out of his memories. He blinks a few times as he comes back to himself before getting to his feet. When he pulls the door open, he sees Craig standing on the other side.
"Crosby needs to see you," he says by way of greeting. Calle narrows his eyes and glares at Craig.
"Since when are you that bastard's messenger?"
Craig sighs before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small device. He hits a button on the side and a burst of electricity appears. Shooting Calle an apologetic look, he says, "Look, either you come willingly or I've been told to use this. Trust me when I say that it doesn't tickle."
Calle swallows hard before holding his hands up in surrender. "Alright. Alright. No need for all that." He grabs his wallet and coat and follows Craig to the elevator, his stomach twisting painfully as he tries to prepare himself for what's to come.
After a tense car ride, Calle and Craig arrive at the club. Ignoring Craig completely, Calle storms inside and heads straight for Sidney's office. Before he reaches the door leading to the private rooms, someone grabs his arm. Calle spins around and comes face to face with Filip.
"Where are you off to in such a hurry?" Filip asks, an unreadable expression on his face.
"I've been summoned by his majesty," Calle replies as he gently pulls free from Filip's grip. He manages to take a single step before Filip stops him again.
"Cal. I know why he called you in here and you're not going to like it."
Calle stiffens and slowly turns back around. "What are you talking about, Fil?"
Filip glances around the club before taking Calle's hand and dragging him into a booth in the back. Once they're out of earshot of the other club members, he says in a low voice, "Sidney is wanting you to break into Roman's place tonight and get that device."
"Of course he does," Calle grumbles.
"He's getting impatient, Cal," Filip says quietly. Calle looks up at Filip, studying him closely. When he notices the distressed expression on his face, his heart drops to his stomach.
"What aren't you telling me, Fil?"
Filip is silent for several moments before turning his head and exposing his neck. Embedded into the skin is a small chip which flashes red. "What the hell is that?" Calle whispers. He starts to reach out to touch it but Filip quickly moves away. Before he can explain, someone walks up to their table.
"Boss is waiting for you," Malkin says, glaring down at Calle. His gaze lands on Filip and the corners of his lips curl into a smirk. "You too, fireling." Calle opens his mouth to reply but Filip shoots him a warning look. Sighing, Calle stands and the two of them follow Malkin back to Sidney's office.
As soon as Calle steps inside, he notices Filip's brothers are seated in front of Sidney's desk, both of them with similar devices embedded in their necks. Calle's stomach turns as dread slowly rises inside him.
Sidney gives Calle a wide grin. "Mr. Jarnkrok. I'm so happy you could finally join us."
"What the hell is going on, Crosby? Why are they here?"
"So glad you asked," Sidney replies. He nods at Malkin who steps outside the office and leads Miikka inside. Once Miikka is standing behind the desk, Sidney gives Calle a sickening smile.
"Mr. Salomaki. If you would be so kind as to show Mr. Jarnkrok your latest invention." Miikka nods and pulls a small remote control out of his pocket and presses a button. As soon as he does, Filip and his brothers scream and bring their hands up to their heads, faces twisted with agony.
"Stop it!" Calle shouts. Filip sways on his feet and is about to fall when Calle wraps his arms around his waist, keeping him upright. "Turn it off!"
Miikka glances at Sidney who nods. He presses the button once more and all three brothers sag with relief. Calle keeps his arms around Filip's trembling frame, trying to keep his expression neutral.
"Consider it motivation to do as you're told for once," Sidney replies, his smile replaced with a menacing glower. "Either you get the device from Mr. Josi or the JOFA brothers will suffer the consequences."
Calle growls and releases Filip. "Leave them out of this," he snarls as he stomps towards Sidney's desk. "Your problem is with me, not them!"
"True, but you're testing my patience and this seems to be the only way of getting through that thick skull of yours." Sidney opens a folder on his desk and pulls out a sheet of paper, holding it up for Calle to see. Calle glances at it and his body goes cold when he sees that it's a picture of him and Roman standing on the terrace of Roman's penthouse, kissing passionately. Slowly, he lifts his gaze and meets Sidney's icy stare.
"You practically have him wrapped around your finger yet you still haven't brought me the device that I've been asking so nicely for." Sidney slowly gets to his feet and holds his hand out to Miikka who silently hands him the remote. Before Calle can blink, Sidney presses the button and the room is filled with cries of pain once more. Tears form in Calle's eyes and bile rises in this throat. Noticing this, Sidney hits the button and the screams stop.
Leaning forward, he gets in Calle's face and snarls, "Bring me the device by tomorrow night or I put the JoFA brothers down like the pathetic mutts that they are."
"Yes, sir," Calle whispers, shoving his hands in his pockets to hide the fact that they're trembling.
Sidney grins and pats Calle's cheek. "Excellent. Now, get out of my sight and do your goddamn job!"
Nodding once, Calle turns and slowly walks away. He pauses in front of Filip who is kneeling on the floor, breathing heavily. Crouching down in front of him, he murmurs so only Filip can hear, "I'll fix this, Fil. I swear to you, I will."
"I know." Filip gives Calle a pained smile. "We'll be fine. Just go."
Swallowing hard, Calle kisses Filip's forehead and walks out of the office without looking back. He exits the club and pulls his phone out of his pocket. With shaking fingers, he finds Roman's number in his contact list and calls him. The line rings twice before Roman answers,
"Hey, Roman. It's Calle."
"And here I was thinking you were avoiding me. I'm surprised you even have time to call me since you've been so busy and all," Roman replies, his tone icy.
"I know. I'm sorry." Calle takes a deep breath, trying to keep from bursting into tears. "I just...can I see you? Please? I promise I'll explain why I haven't called."
The line is silent for several moments before Roman sighs. "Alright. I'll have the doorman let you in."
Calle lets out a breath he didn't realize he was holding, relief flooding him. "Thank you, Roman. I'll see you soon." When he hangs up, he heads towards the main roads to hail a cab, trying to gather his thoughts and come up with a plan. He pushes down the guilt he feels at the thought of betraying Roman so he can get that damn program. He silently vows to himself that when this is all over, he would kill Sidney, consequences be damned.
Calle's night goes from bad to worse.
Roman is waiting for him in the foyer when the elevator doors open. Going by the icy expression on his face, Calle knows he's well and truly fucked and not in the way he likes.
“Long time, no see?” he tries to joke but it’s quite clear that Roman isn’t in a joking mood.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just call security on you,” Roman says brusquely, his eyes burning with anger. Shame rises up inside of Calle as his stomach twists itself into knots.
“I, um, I know you must be furious with me and you have every right to throw me out.” Calle can feel tears start to prick the backs of his eyelids. He quickly blinks them away, his voice wavering when he admits, “I was scared, okay?”
The room is silent for several beats. With each passing second, Calle’s heart pounds a violent beat against his ribs. If he fails here, he’ll fail Filip and his brothers. When Roman doesn't respond, he fights back the tears threatening to fall and whispers, “I'll just...I'll see myself out.”
He’s about to turn away when Roman reaches out a hand and stops him. Calle opens his eyes and sees Roman staring at him, his eyes soft instead of angry.
“Scared of what?”
The lump in Calle’s throat dissolves as relief floods his senses. “Of...this,” Calle replies, motioning between the two of them. When he notices Roman’s confused expression, he quickly explains, “I’ve never been in a relationship that didn’t last more than a couple of weeks. Honestly, I never really wanted one.
But then...then I met you and everything changed.” Calle bites his bottom lip and looks down at the floor, nervously wringing his hands. “I fell in love for the first time and it scared me. So, I did what I always do when I’m scared and push people away.” He slowly lifts his head and meets Roman’s eyes. “I’m so sorry. If you want me to go, I will. I just...I just thought I should tell you the truth.”
Roman stares at Calle for several moments before he wraps his arms around Calle’s waist and pulls him in. Bringing a hand up to cup Calle’s cheek, he says softly, “I’m glad you came back.” Calle leans into Roman’s touch and smiles shyly.
“I’ve missed you.” The corners of Roman’s lips curl up in the beginnings of a smile.
“Then how about I take you back to my room and show you just how much I missed you?”
Calle grins and leaps into Roman’s arms, kissing him the entire way back to Roman’s bedroom.
As they’re basking in the afterglow, limbs entwined Roman’s phone rings. Roman untangles himself and reaches over to pick it up but hesitates, glancing over his shoulder at Calle.
“Go ahead,” Calle says, waving a hand at Roman as he snuggles deeper beneath the covers.
“This won’t take long, I promise.” Roman shoots Calle an apologetic smile and kisses his forehead before standing and walking out of the room to take the call.
Calle waits a couple of seconds before he slowly carefully climbs out of bed and pads silently towards the open bedroom door. After checking to see that the hallway is clear, he slinks down it before coming to a stop at the end. Pressing his back against the wall, he listens to Roman’s side of the conversation.
“It’s done? Excellent! We should have a practice run first. We don’t want Siren going the way of Beacon.”
At the mention of Project Siren, Calle’s heart starts to race. What were the odds that the device would be finished when Calle was with its creator? Biting his lip, he strains his ears to hear the rest of the conversation.
“Have Pekka meet us at headquarters. He should be able to help us run diagnostics during this first go. If this trial run works, we should be good to move on to the next part of the plan. Great. See you in thirty.”
Sensing the conversation is ending, Calle darts back to the bedroom. He has just gotten back into bed when Roman enters the room. Calle gives him an innocent smile. “Is everything alright?”
Roman nods. “It is but...unfortunately, I’m needed back at the office.”
“You weren’t kidding when you said you spent all of your time there,” Calle replies, giving Roman a playful smile which makes Roman chuckle. He takes Calle’s hand, pressing a soft kiss onto the back of it before he asks, “Will you stay the night?”
Calle finds himself smiling and actually meaning it when he says, “Nothing would make me happier.” Roman beams and ducks down to kiss him softly. When he pulls away, he reaches up and playfully tugs the pink lock of hair.
“I’ll be back soon,” he says before stepping back. Calle waves goodbye and as soon as Roman is gone, his smile fades. This is his chance. He knows what he needs to do even though it will destroy him and every shred of happiness he has ever felt. His eyes fill with tears but he quickly swipes them away and yanks his clothes back on.
Once he’s sure that he’s alone in the apartment, Calle makes his way towards Roman’s locked office door. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulls out his safe-cracking tools and gets to work.
When the lights on the keypad turn green, the lock disengages, and Calle opens the door. Stepping inside the office, his eyes widen at all the different unfinished devices and prototypes scattered around the massive room. He glances at one on his left and frowns.
Where have I seen this before?
He gingerly picks up the device, turning it this way and that while his mind tries to figure out why this looks so familiar. After several seconds, he shakes his head. Whatever it was, it must not be that important if he can’t remember what it is. Setting it back in its original place he turns away to continue his search.
It’s only a couple of minutes later when he comes across an empty pedestal that has the label ‘Siren’ on it. A long line of curses erupt from his mouth and he has to fight to keep himself from destroying everything in the room. He had foolishly hoped that there would be at least an unfinished prototype lying around but apparently, he wasn’t that lucky.
Pushing down the anxiety of what he’s about to do, Calle makes his way out of the office and heads to the lobby. He has a doorman to enthrall for information and a lover to spy on.
Twenty minutes later
Calle shifts uncomfortably in his hiding place behind a piece of equipment, wondering for the thousandth time why he’s here. He knows a big part of it is because Sidney’s numerous threats are hanging over his head and that this reconnaissance mission is vital to finding the device he’s been ordered to get. But there’s a small part, one that keeps growing bigger with each interaction he has with Roman, that wishes things were different. More than anything, Calle wants a normal life, one that doesn’t involve lying and cheating to give an evil man even more power.
Shaking the thoughts from his head, Calle surreptitiously glances around the machine he’s crouched behind and watches Roman conversing with Shea and a man who must be the ‘Pekka’ he mentioned in his phone call. The three of them stand around what looks to be an elaborate computer. When he hears Shea speaking, Calle moves back into his hiding spot and listens intently.
“What do you think, Peks?”
“I’ve run several different tests and everything seems to be in working order.”
“Alright. Let’s turn it on.”
Taking a deep breath, Calle sneaks a peek and watches as the man referred to as Pekka flips a switch and a loud hum fills the warehouse they’re in. Calle bites back a gasp as a sharp pain splits his skull in two followed by a strange feeling, almost a deep longing to come out of his hiding spot and go towards the noise. Clenching his teeth and balling his hands into fists, his nails biting into his palms, Calle fights the urge to move. Another wave of pain washes over him and a rivulet of blood drips from his nose.
A few moments later, the front door of the warehouse opens. Forcing himself to stay in hiding, Calle wipes the blood from his nose with a shaking hand and peeks around the piece of machinery he’s hiding behind. Two people, a man and a woman, walk straight for the device. Their eyes are glazed and their movements are slow and composed. When they’re right in front of it, Pekka turns it off, cutting off the humming. Calle releases a breath and slowly relaxes, keeping his ears strained to hear the conversation happening behind him.
“Hello. What are your names?” Roman asks in a kind voice.
“Elena and Elijah,” the woman replies, her voice sounding slightly far away as if she’s sleepwalking.
This time it’s Shea speaking. “And what are your abilities?”
“My twin sister and I are able to manipulate time and change outcomes to our benefit,” the man answers.
Calle’s eyes widen in horror. Sidney would kill to have someone with those abilities working for him. That must be why he wants this device: to have even more lackeys to expand his empire. Calle kicks himself for not realizing this sooner. Right then and there he makes a decision: he cannot let this device fall into Sidney’s hands. It was time to tell Roman everything.
Unable to watch anymore, Calle gets to his feet and silently exits the warehouse, his mind a jumble of emotions. He knows with absolute certainty that he cannot give Sidney that device. That much is clear. But, on the other hand, if he doesn’t, the mob boss would destroy his life, hurting everyone that Calle loves and do it with a smile on his face. He starts to lift a hand to call a cab to head back to Roman’s apartment when a needle sinks into the back of his neck. Cursing, he tries to swing an arm to hit his attacker but a firm hand wraps around his wrist painfully.
“Relax, Mr. Jarnkrok. We have a few questions for you,” a familiar voice says. Glancing behind him, he sees Pekka, the third man from the warehouse. Blinking past the haze suddenly appearing in his vision, Calle turns his head and his stomach drops when he sees Shea and Roman standing in front of him. He opens his mouth to explain but nothing comes out. The last thing he sees is the hurt expression on Roman’s face before everything goes dark.
"Who the hell are you?" he asks, his voice surprisingly steady considering how terrified he is.
"We were wondering the same thing about you," Pekka replies as he studies Calle intently. "Who are you working for?"
Calle's blood turns to ice as panic builds in his chest. Swallowing hard he says, "I don't know what you're talking about."
The younger man standing beside Pekka steps forward. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way," he says as his eyes begin to glow a bright blue. Calle licks his lips and shakes his head, pasting a charming smile onto his face.
"How about neither?" He drops his voice, calling up his ability, and adds, "Now, be a dear and undo these cuffs."
The man smirks. "That won't work on me but you get an A for trying."
As always, a thousand hugs and kisses go to my soulmate, Jess for cheering me on and being the best muse a girl could have. Love ya, babe!
Author's note: There is a brief, nongraphic mention of torture in the beginning. If this is something that triggers or upsets you, skip the paragraph that starts with Calle jerking awake.
Beta'd using basic Grammarly
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
For what I've done
I start again
And whatever pain may come
Today this ends
I'm forgiving what I've done
-What I’ve Done by Linkin Park
Fifteen years ago
Calle is pulled from sleep by loud arguing drifting in through his open bedroom door. Sitting up and rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he climbs out of bed and silently pads to the door.
"How are we going to afford all of this? The tests they ran on him cost more than our mortgage!"
"I'll get a second job," his mother says in a tremulous voice.
His father scoffs. "That won't be enough and you know it." Tense silence fills the air for several minutes before he says, "We'd be better off just forgoing the treatment."
A loud slap follows this statement. "You heartless bastard! This is our son you're talking about!" A sob escapes his mother's mouth before she continues, "You would rather him to die than get him the help he needs?"
"Unless you have $10,000 squirreled away somewhere I don't see how you expect to pay those massive hospital bills. We're broke enough as it is."
Tears slide down Calle's cheeks and he slides to the floor. Guilt rises up inside him before it's quickly replaced with anger. It wasn't like he got sick on purpose. It wasn't even as if he could have prevented it. As he's wiping away the tears, he hears his father say,
"It's not enough that he has cancer. The fact that he's one of those freaks is just the tip of the iceberg!"
"Our son is not a freak!" his mother shouts before lowering her voice. "I don't think he realized what he was doing."
"That may be but it doesn't change the fact that he was able to make the doctor leave the room just by telling him to ‘go away'. You saw how his eyes changed. What's to stop him from using that freakish ability on us? Or even worse, on Ella?"
"He would never!"
"And how the hell would you know?"
Unable to listen to anymore, Calle closes the door and walks over to where his sister is sleeping peacefully in her crib. He quietly pulls the rocking chair beside it and sits down. "You're lucky," he whispers as he watches over his sister. "Mom and Dad don't hate you."
Choking back a sob, he pulls his knees up to his chest and adds, "Maybe everyone would be better off without me." Unable to stop the tears from falling, he hides his face and cries.
Calle jerks awake and looks around the room in confusion. "What the hell?" he mumbles, wincing at the light shining directly into his eyes. Shifting, he realizes his arms and legs are bound to the bed he's laying in. Panic swells inside him as memories from his time at the Kane Institute flood his memories: being strapped down as faceless doctors and nurses stick him with endless needles or slapping electrodes to his head and body and shocking him over and over until his voice is hoarse from screaming.
He shoves the memories away and forces himself to take deep breaths while thinking of more pleasant memories when the door to the room opens and closes.
"Hello, Mr. Jarnkrok." Calle turns his head and sees the man from the warehouse, Pekka if he remembered correctly, and the man who had been spying on him when he left Filip's apartment that one afternoon.
"Who the hell are you?" he asks, his voice surprisingly steady considering how terrified he is.
"We were wondering the same thing about you," Pekka replies as he studies Calle intently. "Who are you working for?"
Calle's blood turns to ice as panic builds in his chest. Swallowing hard he says, "I don't know what you're talking about."
The younger man standing beside Pekka steps forward. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way," he says as his eyes begin to glow a bright blue. Calle licks his lips and shakes his head, pasting a charming smile onto his face.
"How about neither?" He drops his voice, calling up his ability, and adds, "Now, be a dear and undo these cuffs."
The man smirks. "That won't work on me but you get an A for trying."
"Juuse, stop messing around," Pekka mutters from where he's leaning against the wall. Juuse rolls his eyes before lifting his hands which are now glowing the same shade of blue as his eyes. Shooting a grin at Calle, he says,
"This won't hurt...much." Before Calle can respond, Juuse brings his hands down. As soon as his fingers touch Calle's head, he feels a sensation like a thousand spiders crawling around inside his skull. Gritting his teeth, he glares up at Juuse.
"Let me go," he grunts, his breaths coming out in pained gasps. Juuse frowns, his brow furrowed in confusion. He narrows his eyes and presses his fingers into Calle's head harder. "Shut up," he snaps as he tries to gain access into Calle's mind. Minutes go by and Juuse's patience starts to wear thin.
He mutters a string of curses in a language that Calle doesn't recognize and lifts his hands. "What is wrong with you?" he growls as his eyes and hands glow even brighter. "Why can't I see anything?"
"Performance issues aren't that uncommon," Calle wheezes, looking up at Juuse with a sneer. Juuse's nostrils flare as he brings his hands back up, tendrils of blue twisting and turning around his fingers. Before he can do anything, however, Pekka steps up and yanks Juuse away.
"That's enough," he says in a low voice. Juuse starts to argue but whatever words he had been about to say die when he sees the angry look in Pekka's eyes. He slowly lowers his hands and turns to look back at Calle hatefully as Pekka practically drags him out of the room.
"Nice meeting you!" Calle calls out before laughing hysterically, his body still in fight or flight. Juuse shoots a glare at him over his shoulder before bringing his attention back to Pekka. The two of them argue loudly until the door closes behind them cutting them off and leaving Calle in silence.
He's alone for only a minute before the door opens again. Calle's stomach turns when he sees Shea and Roman walking towards him. He tries to catch Roman's eyes but Roman refuses to look at him.
"So, Mr. Jarnkrok. We have a bit of a problem here," Shea says, his tone cold and clinical. He leans forward until he's practically nose to nose with Calle. "And that problem is you."
Calle clears his throat, trying to keep his voice from trembling as he says, "Oh? Well, I can solve that for you right now. Let me go and I'll be out of your hair. Simple as that." Shea laughs humorlessly and shakes his head.
"You see, I would but you know too much. We have footage of you breaking into Roman's home office and then we find you skulking around the warehouse we own." His smile falls away and a scowl quickly takes its place. "Now, tell me who you're working for and we can figure out our next step."
"What? Big bad Shea Weber can't see inside my head?" Calle cackles hysterically. "That is just priceless!"
Shea scowls, a look of irritation flaring in his eyes. "Believe me, Mr. Jarnkrok. I've tried and yet I can't seem to see a damn thing in your head." This makes Calle laugh even harder.
With a sigh, Shea turns his head and looks at Roman. "Maybe you can get something out of him."
Calle's laughter quickly dies down. Glancing around Shea, Calle looks over at Roman and pleads, "Roman, please. Let me go."
Roman's hands ball into fists at his sides as he continues to stare at the floor. Tears form in Calle's eyes and he quickly blinks them away. "Please, Roman." His voice cracks as he sobs, "I...I love you."
Roman scoffs. Lifting his head, he glares at Calle. "You've been lying to me since day one and you expect me to fall for that?" He shakes his head before turning and picking up a syringe off of a tray next to the hospital bed. Handing it to Shea, he says, "Try this on him. It should loosen his tongue." He then walks out of the room without looking back. As soon as Roman is gone, the tears Calle had been holding back fall. Shea administers the contents of the syringe into Calle's neck and holds Calle's chin in his fingers.
"Who...Do...You...Work...For?" He asks, his voice deep and grating. Calle can feel the truth bubbling up inside him. He clenches his teeth and keeps his mouth closed as if he can hold the truth inside. Shea frowns. He shoots a glance at the two way mirror on the other side of the room before bringing his attention back to Calle. "Who sent you to gain Roman's trust?" When Calle doesn't answer, Shea tightens his grip on Calle's chin. "Answer me!"
Ignoring Shea, Calle wrenches out of Shea's grip and turns his head, staring at the mirror. "I know you can hear me in there," he says loudly. "I never lied to you about my feelings for you, Roman.
"Remember that first night I had dinner with you? You asked me about my hair." Calle sniffles, taking several deep breaths before continuing, "I meant what I said then. It means I love you. My hair has never turned that color for anyone but you!"
The room is silent for several beats before Calle closes his eyes in defeat and whispers, "Fine. I'll tell you what you want to know but I'm going to need something in return."
Shea snorts. "You really think you have the right to negotiate here?" Calle opens his eyes and stares defiantly at him.
"That depends. How badly are you wanting me to tell you what you want to know?"
Shea glares at Calle for several seconds before reluctantly grumbling, "Fine. What are your terms?"
"I want protection for several people," Calle responds as a fresh wave of tears forms in his eyes. "My friend and his brothers are being held hostage until I bring my boss what he wants. I want them to be taken away where that monster can't hurt them. I also want someone to find my sister and make sure she's safe."
Shea ponders this before nodding. "Alright. I accept your terms. Now, who sent you?"
Calle's vision grows fuzzy from the exertion he used to keep his mind empty from Shea as well as fighting the effects of the truth serum. Unable to hold back the words, he says, "I was sent to seduce and enthrall Roman during the benefit ball several months ago. When I tried to use my ability on him, it didn't work." His eyes grow heavier but he forces himself to continue,
"Yes, I had planned on stealing the device but...but I couldn't after I-," A sob escapes and a single tear rolls down Calle's cheek. "I couldn't because I fell in love with Roman." Turning his head, he stares at his reflection in the two-way mirror and says, "I never lied about my feelings for you, Roman. You have to know that."
Shea sighs and brings Calle's focus back to him. "Who sent you?"
Keeping his eyes on the mirror, Calle swallows past the hard lump in his throat and whispers, "Sidney Crosby," before he passes out.
Roman stares at Calle's unmoving form as Shea waves their physician on call, Yannick, in. While Yannick and a nurse check Calle over, Shea steps into the observation room and stands next to him.
"Do you believe him?" Roman asks quietly, unable to look away as Yannick prepares to roll Calle out of the room. Shea runs a hand through his hair and nods.
"After he passed out, I was finally able to see inside his mind. Everything he said was the truth." Shaking his head, he adds, "It is curious how he was able to block me and Juuse out as well as fight the effects of the truth serum for so long. I think we should keep him here and run some tests on him."
"No." Shea turns and looks at Roman with surprise. Avoiding his friend's gaze, Roman heads for the door. "I'm taking him back to my apartment."
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Shea asks. He moves and blocks the door. "This man works for that power hungry bastard, Crosby, and had every intention of betraying you yet you're wanting to bring him home with you?"
Roman gives Shea a fixed stare and firmly replies, "I trust him." Before Shea can protest, he pushes him out of the way and walks out of the observation room.
Calle has a heart to heart with Roman and discovers something new about himself.
As always, a ton of kisses go out to my love and soulmate, Jess. Thanks for being my cheerleader during the writing of this fic. I couldn't have done it without you!
Beta'd using basic Grammarly.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Calle’s eyes flutter open but they quickly shut again when he looks up into a bright light shining overhead. Grumbling to himself, he rolls over to try and go back to sleep and ends up tumbling onto the floor. He groans in pain and frowns when he realizes he had fallen off a couch.
“Shit! Are you alright?” Calle looks up and sees Roman rushing towards him. He quickly sits up and stares at Roman with eyes wide with fear.
“What happened?” he asks, his throat hoarse as if he had been screaming. Maybe he had. He usually did wake up screaming so it wouldn’t be completely surprising. Roman kneels in front of him and runs a hand through Calle’s hair.
“I brought you back to my apartment,” he explains, his eyes tracing Calle’s features. Calle swallows hard, remembering the interrogation he’d had to endure.
“Why am I here and not locked up somewhere?”
Roman sighs and drops his hand. “Come on, let’s get you up off the floor.” He reaches out to help him up but Calle moves out of reach. Ignoring the hurt expression on Roman’s face, Calle snaps tiredly,
“Considering the last time I saw you I was forced to answer questions, I think I deserve some answers now.” The two of them stare at one another in silence before Roman shakes his head and sits down on the floor next to Calle.
“I understand now why you did what you did. I probably would have done the same if it meant protecting the people that I loved,” he says, dropping his gaze to his hands. “After you admitted your original intentions, I started to think about how you acted at the beginning and how much you changed while we saw each other and I realized you were telling the truth.”
Calle stares at the side of Roman’s face, studying him closely. Hesitantly, he reaches over and rests a hand on top of Roman’s. “I really am sorry,” he whispers as tears sting his eyes. “You have no idea how much I hated lying to you. There were so many times I wanted to tell you everything but...but I was afraid. But you have to know that I never lied to you about my feelings for you.”
“I know.” Roman turns his head and meets Calle’s gaze. He smiles sadly at him and reaches up to cup Calle’s face. “I’m sorry about Shea. He’s a bit overprotective when it comes to me.”
“I’ve noticed.” Calle brings a hand up to rub at the phantom pain in his chin from where Shea had grabbed him. “What is he, a jealous ex-boyfriend?” He says this as a joke but when he notices the pained wince on Roman’s face, his jaw drops.
“No way! You and him? Really?”
“It was a long time ago,” Roman replies with a shake of his head. “Back when we were in college. It was a mutual break up and we’ve remained close friends since then.”
Calle nods once before laying his head down on Roman’s shoulder. They sit quietly for a while until Calle feels his eyes growing heavy once more. Before he can talk himself out of it, he asks, “Will you ever forgive me one day?” He closes his eyes and shivers when a soft kiss is dropped on the top of his head.
“I already did.” Calle smiles and opens his mouth to say something else but a yawn keeps him from doing so. Roman chuckles before scooting away. “Come on. Let’s get you into bed.” He stands and scoops Calle into his arms.
“I can walk you know,” Calle jokes as he’s carried out of the room. Roman glances at him and grins.
“Maybe I just wanted to have you in my arms as much as possible.” Calle can’t hold back his smile at this.
“You won't hear any argument from me.”
They’re almost to the bedroom when the chime of the elevator arriving in the foyer echoes throughout the silent apartment. Roman tightens his hold on Calle before calling out,
At the sound of Filip’s voice, Calle wriggles out of Roman’s arms and takes off running. He stumbles into the foyer and into Filip’s outstretched arms. “You’re okay,” he murmurs, trying to hold back tears as he looks Filip over, checking him for any cuts or bruises. He runs his fingers over Filip’s neck and lets out a soft sigh of relief when he touches only skin.
“Looking for this?”
Calle looks up and sees Pekka and Juuse standing behind them. Pekka holds up the chip that had been embedded in Filip’s neck. “It wasn’t easy but I was able to disable all three of the chips. I would like to hold on to it and run some tests. The amount of detail put into it is fascinating.”
“Only you would find a stupid computer chip fascinating,” Juuse says drily, the corners of his lips curled up in a smirk.
Calle tunes out the bickering between Pekka and Juuse, his attention focused solely on the item in Pekka’s hand. Just the sight of the chip and the memory of seeing Filip and his brothers crying out in pain causes anger to burn brightly inside of Calle. His skin grows hotter and hotter as his fury grows and his head throbs painfully in time with his elevated pulse. He clutches his head and screams before his entire body is engulfed in flames.
“What the fuck?” Pekka shouts, his eyes wide with shock. Juuse curses in a foreign tongue and pushes Pekka behind him as he brings his glowing hands up, ready to take Calle down. Faintly, Calle can hear Roman speaking but his attention is drawn to Filip’s hands cupping his face.
“Look at me, Cal,” Filip murmurs, speaking in Swedish. Calle forces his eyes to open and meets Filip’s concerned gaze. “You need to calm down. Okay? Just breathe.” Calle whimpers and nods, taking deep breaths. The pain in his head begins to lessen and it’s not long before the flames flicker and die out. Tears slide down Calle’s cheeks, the moisture hissing when it comes in contact with his heated skin.
“Calle?” He slowly turns his head and sees Roman slowly coming closer.
“Roman. I-,” Calle’s voice breaks. He lets out a pained sob and sinks to his knees, covering his face with his hands. “I don’t know what h-happened. I’m so sorry.” Roman hushes him and pulls Calle into his arms.
“I know,” he murmurs as he rubs Calle’s back soothingly. “It’s going to be okay, I promise.” Calle lifts his head to give Roman a confused look but finds himself facing Juuse.
“Relax,” Juuse says in a low, dreamlike voice as he brings a hand up in front of Calle’s eyes, his fingers fluttering slightly. Tendrils of blue light swim in his vision and he hears Juuse’s voice in his head, “Sleep now.” His eyes flutter closed and the darkness pulls him under.
“Calle? Can you hear me?”
Calle forces himself to open his eyes wincing at the light coming from the lamp on the bedside table. He groans softly and brings a hand up to rub his temples. Glancing out of the corner of his eyes, he sees Filip sitting next to him.
“What happened?” he asks as he rolls over onto his side and lays his head on Filip’s lap.
“We’re not sure,” Filip answers. His fingers softly comb through Calle’s hair, the sensation chasing away the last of his headache. “Roman and Pekka are on the phone with Shea right now trying to figure out you managed to gain my ability.”
“Fuck.” Calle groans and covers his face with his hands. “When did I turn into such a freak?” He yelps in pain when Filip yanks a handful of his hair. Tilting his head back, he looks up to see Filip glaring down at him.
“Don’t you ever say that again, Cal,” Filip growls, his eyes glowing the color of fire. “You are not a freak and anyone who thinks that is a fucking idiot!” Calle wants to argue but keeps his comments to himself. He nods once and lays his head back down.
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs.
“It’s okay, Cal. You know I love you, right?” Calle nods and reaches for one of Filip’s hands. He gives it a firm squeeze and looks up at his friend with an apologetic smile. Filip sighs and begins to stroke Calle’s hair once more. They settle into a comfortable silence and Calle finds himself drifting off once more.
After what feels like a couple of minutes, he jerks awake when he hears a door open and close. Filip is fast asleep next to him, curled up in a ball facing in the opposite direction. Calle sits up and smiles when he sees Roman.
“Oh good, you’re awake.” Roman walks over to the bed and bends down to softly kiss Calle’s forehead. “How are you feeling?” Calle shakes his head and wraps his arms around Roman’s waist so he can press his face into Roman’s stomach.
“What is wrong with me?” he asks quietly. Tilting his head back slightly, he looks up at Roman miserably. Roman reaches down and cups Calle’s face in his hands.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, Calle. You’re the same person you’ve always been.”
Calle shakes his head and moves away from Roman. “No, I’m not! You saw what happened! I somehow gained Fil’s ability and burst into flames and during the interrogation, I was able to keep Juuse and Shea out of my head.” He meets Roman’s gaze again and says, “I’m not the same, Roman. Far from it, actually.”
Roman sighs. Sitting down beside Calle, he wraps an arm around his shoulders and pulls him close. “We don’t know what caused you to do those things,” he reluctantly admits. “Pekka and Shea both want me to bring you in and run some tests but I told them that this is something you needed to agree to.”
Calle chews on his bottom lip, contemplating. He makes up his mind and turns to look at Roman. “Do it.”
Roman’s eyebrows lift. “Are you sure?” Calle nods.
“I want to know what’s wrong with me. No, I need to know.” Roman studies Calle for a few beats before nodding.
“Alright. I’ll go call for a car.” He presses a kiss onto Calle’s forehead and stands. “Does your friend want to come along or does he want to go to the safe house where his brothers are staying?”
“I’ll ask him,” Calle answers. Roman smiles and kisses Calle once more before walking out of the room, closing the door behind him. Calle sighs and flops back down onto the bed. Beside him, Filip huffs softly and rolls over, tucking himself into Calle’s side.
“What’s going on?” he mumbles into Calle’s chest.
“I’m having Roman take me in to run some tests,” Calle answers. “Did you want to come with or go stay with your brothers? I’m sure they’re worried about you.”
Filip sighs before he sits up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “I’ll stay with you.”
“Are you sure?” Calle reaches over and takes Filip’s hand. “You know you don’t have to, Fil.”
“I know I don’t have to, princess,” Filip says, mimicking Calle. He playfully elbows him and gives him a teasing grin. “Besides, someone has to keep you company and hold your hand when you cry from being poked and prodded.”
Calle rolls his eyes. “You are such a prick.”
“And yet you still love me.”
“Not at the moment I don’t.”
“Liar.” They stare at one another before bursting out laughing. As their giggles are dying down, the door opens and Roman peeks his head in.
“The car’s here. Are you guys ready?”
Calle slowly gets to his feet and walks to the door. “Ready as I’ll ever be, I guess.” With Filip close behind him, he takes Roman’s hand and they head for the elevator.
Calle receives some startling news about his abilities.
As always, a thousand hugs and kisses go to Jess for helping me work through the kinks in this chapter and cheering me on the entire time.
Beta'd using basic Grammarly
As soon as they walk into Roman’s laboratory, Calle is taken back to a large room filled with different pieces of equipment. As he’s poked, prodded, stuck with countless needles, run through several machines memories of his time at the Kane institute flood his mind and he panics.
“Stop! Let me go!” He shouts. He begins ripping the IVs out of his arms and pulling off the numerous electrodes attached to his head. Before anyone can stop him, he shoves the nurse standing over him causing her to crash into another nurse, and darts out of the room. His vision swims and nausea churns in his gut but he pushes all of that aside and stumbles down the long hallway.
He makes it to the elevator and repeatedly jabs the button. “Come on. Come on!” he whimpers. Just as the elevator doors slide open, an orderly tackles him. He struggles but the man’s grip is too tight. Calle looks up as a shadow falls over them. A nurse is standing over them holding a syringe.
“No! Please don’t!” He sobs but his pleas go unanswered. The nurse kneels down and sticks the needle into his neck. His eyes quickly grow heavy and he succumbs to the darkness.
When Calle comes to, he looks around with a start. Gone is the sterile room with several pieces of equipment and numerous doctors and nurses. Now he’s just in a basic hospital room where the only machine is the heart monitor beeping steadily beside him.
He can hear low voices coming from the other side of the room. Gingerly, Calle lifts his head and sees Filip and Roman talking quietly off to the side.
“I hope you two are arranging a foursome between us and Pontus. Orgasms are nature’s pain relievers you know.”
Filip and Roman’s heads swivel in Calle’s direction. When they see Calle awake, their bodies sag with relief and the two of them quickly cross the room. Filip bends down and carefully hugs Calle. When he straightens, he shakes his head in amusement.
“It figures that you would immediately think about sex after being unconscious for three hours.”
“I can’t help it that you both have starring roles in my dreams,” Calle says with a teasing smirk. Filip rolls his eyes before looking at Roman.
“I don’t know how you put up with him.”
Roman chuckles. “It’s a gift.”
There’s a knock on the door before it swings open and a woman walks inside. “Mr. Jarnkrok. How are you feeling?” she asks with a kind smile.
“I’d be happier if I could go home,” Calle snaps. Filip smacks the back of his head before hissing,
“It’s alright. I’ve been told things that were much nastier than that,” the doctor replies with a soft laugh. She flips open the chart in her hands and reads through the contents. “It appears that all we’re waiting on is for the results of the CAT scan which should be done in the next couple of hours…”
Calle can feel panic starting to rise up once more. After being treated like a lab rat for so long, all he wants is to go home. “I can’t stay here any longer. Can I just go home and you call me with the results?”
The doctor looks up from the folder and says, “That’s not really protocol,” she starts when Roman speaks up.
“I don’t live far from here. I can take him home and bring him back in the morning.”
Pursing her lips, the doctor considers this before sighing. “Alright. I’ll go start the paperwork.” She turns her attention to Roman and says, “I expect Mr. Jarnkrok back here first thing in the morning. Don’t make me regret this.”
“He’ll be here. You have my word.”
It’s well after two in the morning when Roman brings Calle back to his apartment. Still slightly drugged and exhausted from the events of the evening, Calle stumbles off of the elevator and nearly falls on his face when Roman wraps an arm around his waist.
“Easy there,” he murmurs before scooping Calle into his arms and carries him back to the bedroom. After helping him undress and climb into bed, Roman presses a kiss onto Calle’s forehead and makes to stand when Calle reaches out and grabs Roman’s hand.
“Please don’t leave,” he slurs while fighting to keep his eyes open. Roman smiles and gently squeezes Calle’s hand.
“I’m just going to set the alarms. I’ll be back before you know it.” He squeezes Calle’s hand before climbing off of the bed and disappearing into the hallway. Calle tries to stay awake but his eyes grow heavier and heavier with each passing second. No matter how hard he fights, he drifts off into a dreamless slumber.
Calle sleeps until late afternoon. When he wakes up, he climbs out of bed and goes in search of Roman. He finds him sitting on the couch with a laptop, his fingers moving quickly over the keys. He looks up and smiles.
“Hey. How are you feeling?” he asks as he sets his laptop down on the couch next to him and gets up. Calle steps into Roman’s outstretched arms and tucks his face into the crook of his neck.
“Sore and starving, in that order.” Roman chuckles and kisses Calle’s temple.
“Well, we can’t have that. Let’s go get you taken care of.”
After devouring almost an entire pizza and half an order of chicken wings, Calle sits back in his seat, eyes closed as he rubs his full stomach. He hears Roman laugh and opens one eye to look at him. “What’s so funny?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone as scrawny as you eat that much and still look the way you do.” Calle smirks.
“I’m just full of surprises.” He sits up straight and adds, “Besides, I’m a growing boy.” Roman snorts and reaches across the table to take Calle’s hand. He lifts it to his lips and presses a kiss onto the back of it.
“Indeed.” They smile at one another before Calle turns serious.
“Have you heard back from Shea yet?”
Roman shakes his head. “Not yet. I don’t expect to hear anything until tomorrow at the earliest.” Calle sighs and scrubs his face with his hands. He can feel the slightest twinge of a headache but he ignores it, focusing instead on Roman.
“What am I supposed to do now?” he asks softly. “If I don’t bring Crosby ‘Project Siren’ he’s going to retaliate against me.” Roman nods and leans forward so he can take Calle’s hands.
“We’ll figure it out, I promise.” Keeping his eyes on Calle, he continues, “Shea and I have been meeting with some of the people who are in our employment who might be able to come up with a decoy device that you can give to Sidney. If all works out according to plan, you give him the fake while we hide the real device.”
“Yeah? And what happens when he realizes I screwed him over by giving him a fake?” Calle asks, his eyes flashing with hurt and anger. “He’ll hurt the people I love and then he’ll kill me and he’ll do it with a goddamn smile on his face!”
The fight goes out of Calle and is quickly replaced by exhaustion. “I need to go lay down,” he mumbles. He slips his hands free from Roman’s grip and shakily gets to his feet. He takes a step forward and a wave of dizziness goes over him causing him to stumble. Roman gets up and places a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine," Calle mumbles. He only makes it a few steps when a powerful migraine hits him. Tears run down his face as he clutches his head, choking back sobs. A wave of nausea rises up and he retches, emptying the contents of his stomach onto the marble floor. The room tilts around him and he starts to sway. He would have fallen and hit his head on the hard floor were it not for a pair of strong arms wrapping around his waist and keeping him upright.
“Shh, I’ve got you,” Roman murmurs into Calle’s ear, pulling him close. He slips an arm behind Calle’s knees and lifts him up, carrying him to the bedroom.
“It hurts,” Calle whimpers, his vision growing fuzzy from the pain. He’s in so much agony that he doesn’t even notice when he’s gently lowered down onto Roman’s bed. A cool hand presses against his forehead and when he briefly opens his eyes, he sees Roman frantically dialing a number on his phone before everything goes dark.
When he comes to, he sees that he’s once again in a hospital bed connected to several machines. He panics and goes to rip the IVs out of his arm when a hand reaches out to stop him.
“It’s okay, Cal. You need to leave those in.” Calle’s eyes dart to his left where he sees Roman and an unfamiliar man in a lab coat standing next to his bed. Calle swallows hard, trying to slow his racing heart as he rasps,
“What happened? Where am I?”
“I brought you back here to headquarters,” Roman explains before motioning at the man standing next to him. “Yannick is a good friend and one of the best doctors in the country. He’s been trying to figure out what’s causing your headaches as well as your new ability.”
Yannick steps forward and gives Calle a reassuring smile. “I believe we finally know what is happening,” he explains. “I read your medical file. You were diagnosed as having a brain tumor when you were a child, yes?”
Calle nods, his brow furrowed in confusion. “Yeah. What about it?”
Yannick looks down at the folder in his hands and continues, “And then you underwent several experiments that somehow made the tumor disappear. It also gave you the ability to enthrall anyone.” When Calle nods once more, Yannick looks up and meets Calle’s curious gaze. “After reviewing the many scans and tests we’ve run, I found something interesting. After experiencing the high stress that came from your interrogation, that stress unearthed an ability that had been benign until then.”
Calle blinks several times, his eyes wide. “And the migraines?”
“Those were from the latent ability which causes you to ‘borrow’ another’s ability, such as your friend’s pyrokinesis ability, either from touch or being in close proximity to someone.”
Stunned, Calle lays back and stares at the ceiling, trying to take all of this new information in. He’s silent for several beats before quietly asking, “Is this new ability permanent?”
Yannick nods. “I believe it is, yes. But we have ways of training you to control both abilities as well as honing them.” He then turns and looks at Roman. “I’ll get a nurse to get him ready so you can take him home.” With one last smile at Calle, Yannick walks out of the room leaving Roman and Calle alone.
Roman pulls a chair closer to the bed and sits down. He takes Calle’s hand and gives it a firm squeeze. “If you keep this up, I’m going to go prematurely grey and get wrinkles before I’m thirty,” he teases.
Calle smiles apologetically at Roman. “Trust me, I don’t like this any more than you do.” He sighs and stares up at the ceiling. “I just wish I knew what the hell is wrong with me.”
“I know,” Roman replies. His thumb lightly traces small circles on the back of Calle’s hand. “And we’ll figure this out, sweetheart, together.”
Calle meets Roman’s eyes and smiles tiredly at him. “Promise?” Roman leans forward and presses a soft kiss onto Calle’s forehead.
“I swear it.”
Misunderstandings and Confrontations
This chapter is a short one because I wanted to save all of the big scenes into their own chapters. Consider it a sneak peek of what's to come.
Beta'd using basic Grammarly
During the drive back to Roman’s penthouse, Calle calls Filip, filling him in on everything.
“Do you think you’ve had this ability all this time?” Filip asks once Calle finishes speaking. “I mean, how did those scientists at the Kane Institute not see this?”
Calle rubs his temple and sighs, “I don’t know, Fil. Maybe Kane and his idiot scientists just missed it in between their torture sessions.” Filip is quiet for a few moments.
“Do you want me to come over?”
“No, it’s alright. The doctor gave me a painkiller so all I want right now is to sleep,’ Calle replies tiredly. “How about tomorrow?”
“Sounds like a plan. Get some rest, Cal.”
When Calle hangs up and hands Roman his phone, he asks, “Are you going to tell Shea what we found out?”
Roman meets Calle’s eyes. “That’s up to you,” he answers. Reaching over and lacing his fingers with Calle’s he adds, “Personally, I think you should, especially since we could use someone with your abilities.”
Calle’s eyes widen in surprise. “You...you want me to come work for you?” He shakes his head in confusion and asks, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? I doubt Shea is going to let me waltz in there and start training with you guys. Plus no one would want to trust me considering who I’m working for right now.”
“Shea will come around,” Roman replies. “As for everyone else, once they see what you can do they’ll come around.”
Roman squeezes Calle’s hand and opens his mouth to respond when Calle yawns, blinking sleepily. He smiles sadly as the car comes to a stop in front of his building.
“We’ll talk more after you get some rest. It’s been a long day.” Calle wants to argue but another yawn keeps him from saying anything more. Nodding, he allows Roman to help him out of the car and the two of them make their way up to Roman’s penthouse. The entire ride up the elevator, Calle rests his head on Roman’s shoulder. The faint scent of Roman’s cologne relaxes him, making him feel safe.
“Thank you,” he murmurs when the elevator comes to a stop on Roman’s floor.
Calle lifts his head and gives Roman a tired smile. “For everything.” Roman stares at Calle for a couple of seconds before nodding.
“You’re welcome,” He replies before leading Calle to the bedroom. After helping Calle undress and into bed, he kneels so he’s at eye level. “I’m going to go make a couple of phone calls. Yell if you need me, okay?”
Calle nods and leans forward, pressing a kiss on Roman’s cheek. “I love you,” he whispers before laying his head back down on the pillow.
The following morning, Calle wakes up feeling refreshed for the first time in years. Sighing contentedly, he stretches and rolls onto his side where he comes face to face with a sleeping Roman. The sight of his lover is enough to make his heart skip a beat and a smile to creep onto his face. Slowly, he reaches over and gently runs his fingertips along Roman’s cheekbone. At the light touch, Roman’s eyes flutter open and meet Calle’s gaze.
“Hey,” he murmurs.
“Hey yourself.” Leaning in, Calle brushes his lips against Roman’s. The kiss starts chaste but soon heats up. Tongues brush and hands roam as moans of pleasure fill the air. Calle rolls them over and straddles Roman’s hips, grinning down at him.
“I take it you’re feeling better,” Roman says as he brings his hands up to rest on Calle’s waist. Smirking, Calle slowly rolls his hips enjoying the groan it elicits from Roman.
“I feel great,” he replies as he bends down and nibbles along Roman’s jaw. “Now, shut up and kiss me.” Chuckling, Roman tugs Calle forward and gives him what he asked for.
Later that morning after their lovemaking and a shower, they sit at the dining room table eating breakfast while Roman scrolls through his tablet, checking his messages.
“Have you heard back from Shea?” Calle asks, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible as he stirs some sugar into his coffee. When Roman nods, he continues, “Is he throwing a tantrum about having me working with you?”
Roman lifts his head and gives Calle a look of exasperation. “He’s perfectly fine with it.” Calle cocks an eyebrow and stares at him until he sighs and looks back down at his tablet. “Okay, maybe he threw a tiny tantrum.”
“Remind me to never play poker with you,” Calle says as he takes a sip of coffee. “You cannot lie to save your life.”
“Yes, well, you are the expert at it,” Roman counters. As soon as the words leave his mouth, his eyes snap up and he sees Calle looking at him with hurt in his eyes. He reaches across the table and takes Calle’s hand. “I’m so sorry, Cal. I don’t know why I said that.”
Calle yanks his hand away and gets to his feet. “Why are you sorry? It’s the truth.” He turns on his heel and storms out of the room. He doesn’t make it far before Roman grabs his hand, keeping him from taking another step.
“Look at me, sweetheart. Please?”
He hesitates but slowly lifts his head and meets Roman’s eyes. His heart skips a beat when he sees the look of pure adoration there. Never in his life had someone looked at him like that and seeing it now on Roman’s face is enough to bring tears to his eyes. Roman brings his hands up and cups Calle’s face.
“That may have been you before but it’s not you now. I know you wouldn’t lie to me now just as I won’t lie to you.”
A single tear slips down Calle’s cheek and is immediately wiped away by Roman’s thumb. He lifts his hands and covers Roman’s with his own. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Roman murmurs. They are leaning into each other when they hear the chime of the elevator arriving in the foyer. They exchange a glance when Shea shouts,
“Roman! What the hell were you thinking?”
Calle groans as he steps out of Roman’s embrace. “Not only is he a dick but he’s also a major cockblock.” Roman bites back a laugh and shakes his head. He gently tugs on the pink streak in Calle’s hair and tells him,
“Behave and let me do the talking. We don’t want to piss him off even more.”
“You never let me have any fun.” Calle sticks his bottom lip out in a pout which makes Roman chuckle. Their smiles quickly fade when Shea storms into the room, his eyes blazing with anger. He jerks to a halt when he notices Calle. The two glower at one another the tension growing thick with each passing second.
Roman clears his throat, getting their attention before speaking, “So...I take it that you talked to Yannick.”
Shea shoots one last glare at Calle before turning his attention to Roman, folding his arms across his chest. “I did. So imagine my surprise when he tells me that you want to bring this traitor in on our plans. Are you out of your fucking mind?”
Calle’s hands curl into fists at his side, anger bubbling to the surface. He starts to take a step forward but is stopped by Roman putting a firm hand on his shoulder. He shoots Calle a warning look before meeting Shea’s gaze.
“Enough, Shea. Calle will be beneficial to us as he has an in with Crosby.” When Shea’s frown deepens, Roman keeps going. “Calle can keep us informed on Crosby’s plans putting us one step ahead of the bastard.”
Shea still doesn’t look convinced. “How do we know that he’s not going to go behind our backs and run to Crosby to tell him our plans?”
“Because I hate that man just as much as you do,” Calle growls. He shrugs Roman’s hand off and stomps forward, getting into Shea’s face. “Trust me when I say that I want that man to burn for all that he’s done to me and my friends.”
“It’s a good idea,” Roman says as he joins them and puts a hand on Shea’s shoulder. “You don’t have to trust Calle right now but you can trust me or at least you used to.”
Shea scowls and shrugs Roman’s hand off. “Fine. But if he sells us out, this is all on you.” He shoots one last glare at Calle before turning and storming out of the room. Once he’s out of earshot, Calle looks at Roman and says cheerfully,
“I think he’s starting to warm up to me.” Roman chuckles and wraps his arms around Calle’s waist, pulling him closer.
“Don’t worry. He’ll come around. We just have to give him time,” he says as he presses a kiss on the top of Calle’s hair.
“If you say so,” Calle replies, a doubtful expression tugging the corners of his lips down. Shaking his head, he wraps his arms around Roman’s neck and purrs, Now, where were we?”
“I believe we were right about here.” Roman grins before pulling Calle in for a deep kiss.