Chapter 1: prologue
Graves 4 Echo’s first year in the facility has been a quiet and lonely one, with his own memories scattered and only the comfort of random images of a childhood that feel so very long ago. The chemicals have erased most of human life, and there is now only one uncontaminated place on earth that exists above ground anymore, the Island.
Everyone is always talking about it, and it’s all he has to think about, to look forward to, until the next year, his second, when he meets someone who he knows will be, and must have been important to him. They have the same first name, and only the numbers and designation as to where they’ve both been found that sets them apart.
Besides their appearances of course. All Graves could think is, now, at least, he isn’t alone anymore.
The younger man who holds his name is almost as tall as he is, but the similarities ended there, so how could they possibly have known each other before the Event? Graves 3 Delta has a very slim build even beneath the standard issued clothing and shoes, something that makes the older man think maybe he’d once been a dancer, before the Event.
With long dark hair that curls slightly around his ears and jaw line, which was so sharp it reminds him of the sculptures in museums, Echo thinks he’s a vision. In some ways, a lot of ways, Delta is what he could call pretty, far prettier than any young man has any right to be, especially if he is Echo’s long lost son. Who on earth is his mother?
That first morning for breakfast, he hangs back and watches as Delta goes through the food line, utterly confused at the small and slightly depressing portions of food he is given, so when it is Echo’s turn he sweet talks the lady in the hairnet for an extra piece of bacon. It always works, of course, and he smiles warmly at her before accepting his tray and going over to where Delta has chosen to sit, and indeed is still staring down at his tray with a less than pleased expression.
“Hello.” Delta looks up at him from beneath his long dark lashes, with wide brown eyes that seems oh so lost, before they focus on him.
“Hello.” His voice is soft, so delicate, cautious and he sounds unsure of the word itself.
“Would you mind if I joined you?” Delta looks around himself at the other tables full of chattering people and then back to Echo, before nodding, “Okay, sure.” His little shrug tells Echo he is wondering if maybe he’s mistaken about this.
“Here, they gave me too much of this. It looks like you could use some to... keep up your strength.”
Echo passes over a couple pieces of bacon. Delta smiles at him, just a bit, a tiny quirk of his plush lips and Echo instantly knows that they will be getting along perfectly. “Thank you. I’m not sure why I’m not allowed to get them myself.”
If you havent seen the movie and dont want spoilers i wouldnt recommend reading further. Just fyi.
Two years pass, and in that time, Echo and Delta have shared almost every meal together, even spending some time once a week in the smoothie bar if time allows for them to. It’s going on the time close to Delta’s arrival anniversary, the exact date he’d been rescued and appeared in the facility, and Echo finds himself wishing that he could get him something special to celebrate. In their time they’d been spending together, they still haven't yet figured out how they could have possibly been gifted with the same name, and Echo has not dared to bring up the question with his more and more frequent sessions with Doctor Grindelwald.
He’s been going to see the man because of strange dreams and nightmares almost, always the same sort of horrible drowning, a boating accident, and faceless creatures coming beneath the water to tear him to pieces. He hasn’t wanted to tell Delta about them, afraid they might unsettle the younger man, but he has to come up with some reason as to why he keeps being pulled out of work. The morning of Delta’s anniversary, Echo wakes up and has to physically rid himself of the slimy feeling from the strange people’s hands on him from the dream, and he steps directly into the shower, letting the hot water pound away the tension in his neck and shoulders.
He isn’t able to visit the spa and get a true massage, he hasn’t quite saved up enough credits to do so, but he hopes if he and Delta could get picked for the Island together, they could enjoy that paradise, free of charge.
All that it would take would be to win the lottery. In all his years there in the facility, he’s seen many friends come and go, and still, there is a painful gnawing feeling in his gut that Delta will get picked and he’ll be left behind, alone again.
He tries not to think about that for too long, and instead just pictures his young friends face. At breakfast, he always tries to get extra food for Delta, as it’s the time when the friendliest people were there behind the food counters.
Lunch and dinner are always a bit trickier.
As he towels off from his shower, Echo finds that he experiences a very peculiar sensation when he drags the fabric down to his middle, and only when he turns his thoughts to focus on the day, upcoming work and meetings with Doctor Grindelwald does the protrusion go away. Then he turns his attention to his drawers of clothing, and they open from barely a touch of his hand. There are dozens of rows of white jackets, shirts and pants awaiting him. “Creative.” He finds himself muttering sarcastically.
The shoes are not solid white, but only marked with a slight navy stripe on the side. Barely any difference.
White is always so hard to keep clean too, even when work isn’t messy. He all but skips over to Delta’s side when he spots him in the food line, and is promptly greeted with a warm smile. “Did you sleep well, Dad?”
Echo feels something like a jolt of electricity glide over his skin every time Delta uses that term for him.
It’s something they’ve gone round and round about, discussing and deciding on it since they were most likely just unable to retrieve the memories they share, and he still questions if it had been the right choice.
“As well as I could, my boy. I’ll be going to see the Doctor again today at lunch, so I won’t see you there.”
Delta’s face falls slightly and then he nods, “That’s okay. I’ll treasure every minute we have this morning.”
Another smile, and then he is stepping forward, collecting his tray of shabby looking food, perfectly healthy, Echo supposes, but highly unappetizing in his opinion.
When it’s his turn, he puts on his most dazzling smile, making the lady in the hairnet blush. “What can I get you honey?”
“Five pieces of bacon to start, please.” Delta shakes his head, but he’s smiling too now.
Delta sits across from Echo and watches the older man eat. He tries not to stare too long at the perfectly precise movements of his hands and then how each bit of food disappeared in between the hard lines of his mouth.
Echo catches him staring regardless and just grins, “What is it, son?”
Delta bites the inside of his cheek to keep away the shiver. The man calling him that feels so wrong and yet, there is no better explanation as to why it felt paradoxically just right too.
“I just wonder if we’ll ever be picked, you know, for the lottery? Have they ever picked more than one person at a time?” Something about Echo’s face changes, and he shakes his head sadly, “No, not in all my time here. Unfortunately.”
They went back to eating silently, and then breakfast is almost over, and it’s undeniably time for work, time to head their separate ways. “Have a good day Dad, and good luck with the Doctor.”
Echo smiles, and reached over to clap a hand on his shoulder, before seeming to think better of it, and then he’s pulling Delta in for a real hug. “Thank you, my boy. I’ll see you later, I promise.” Delta can see one of the peacekeepers eyeing them, but they don’t approach quite yet. Only once he’d seen a peacekeeper approach people, but it was because a man and woman had accidentally brushed hands when reaching for a tray at the same time. After that, they started to put men and women in separate lines for food. Delta can’t quite understand why.
His work consists of helping the reading classes, and that was originally how he had learned to read in the first few weeks since his rescue from outside, while assisting one of the facility’s teachers. It’s something he’s never quite had the strength to admit to Echo, to his ‘Dad,’ but only because he’s been afraid of what the man might say.
Growing up as he had, reading had been far down on the list of things to worry about accomplishing.
Delta learned to know what he needed to by repetition and memory. His foster mother had been very strict about that.
At times he found himself wondering where she was, and thought, secretly hoped , once in a while, deep down, that perhaps she’d succumbed to the Event, and would never be found.
When he leaves his workroom for lunch, instead of taking the usual route, he turns left, and nearly walks into a man with reddish wild hair, and oversized spectacles. It’s Newt! He is Delta’s only other real friend in the entire facility.
The best part about it is, Newt works at the facility, so he could always answer many, if not all, of Delta’s questions.
“Hi Newt. How are the creatures today?” The man ducks his head, and quickly takes Delta’s arm and begins walking with him, away from the rest of the crowds, “Now Delta, you know I can’t talk about that right now. But if you can come by my office after lunch, I’ve got something special to show you, hmm?” Delta nods eagerly, “Yes please.”
“Excellent. Now run along before you’re missed.” Who would miss him? Delta wonders.
Echo isn’t going to be at lunch after all, he’s in a meeting with the Doctor. When he turns back to ask Newt about why his Dad would need to see the Doctor so often, he finds that the man is already gone. He frowns. That’s strange.
Newt always putters off like this when Delta has an important question. He goes to lunch, and doesn’t enjoy his lone meal at all, sitting in the corner, trying not to look up for anything, until it’s finally time to turn in his tray and leave, and he makes a beeline for Newt’s office, which is really outside of the first sector. It’s tucked into a place where there are lots of signs with exclamation points and some with red or yellow warnings seemed most common.
Delta can’t really understand why, but he knows Newt has said it was perfectly safe, as long as he was with him.
Before he could go knock on Newt’s office door, he spots something. It’s moving in a jerky manner, and has no legs, but two large flaps of what looked like colorful paintings. It’s floating… no, flying. Like a bird.
Delta blinks, glancing away towards the door, and back to the flying thing. He just wants to follow it, and take a closer look when it lands, maybe catch it and bring it back to Newt.
He loves things like that. Delta turns back to the flying thing, and runs after it. It’s taking him along a corridor he doesn’t recognize, and before he knows it, it’s flying higher, along a ladder, as if heading towards the light Delta can vaguely see at the top. Leading him up with it.
“Oh boy.” He says, mostly to himself, before slowly climbing on the ladder, taking as many steps as fast as he could, lest the flying thing get away from him. Once he reaches the top, he realizes the light is coming through a grating, like a window but with metal slots. Delta pushes up with a hand instead of his first instinct, which is to use his head, and it gives easily, as the flying bug continues on, way past where he can see, down a stark white hallway.
Delta gulps, before climbing even further, and getting out completely, setting the grate back in place.
He steps gingerly onto the bright light whiteness of the floor, afraid to stain it with his shoes that have just walked up a dirty ladder, but no footprints are left behind, thankfully. No one seems to be around, but distantly, he can hear what sounds like someone crying. Delta walks carefully onwards, and finds a room with people in it, and on a table in the middle of the room is a lady dressed in light blue robes; the crying is coming from a baby being held in another person’s arms. Delta can hardly believe it. He didn’t know there were children being born from survivors!
That should be impossible. His eyes lock onto the little baby, and he takes in all of the beautiful details, from the tiny hands to the yawning mouth and the squinted eyes from crying. Delta can’t help smiling.
The last time he’d seen a child had to be over a decade back, when he’d been at home with his family, before the Event destroyed their lives. Modesty is probably long since dead. He blinks.
How could he have forgotten about his family? Delta looks away from the baby to see a person on each side of the lady, and there are so many strange machines beeping and screeching louder than the baby.
The people must have been doctors too, just like Doctor Grindelwald, but they don’t look happy, not at all.
When the beeping stops, the people move away, and take the baby with them, leaving the lady behind on the table, only covered in a white sheet. Delta is very confused. Shouldn’t the baby stay with its mother? He watches carefully for a few moments, but the doctors do not return. He tip toes down the hall towards the closest door he can see and then he opens it quietly as he can manage, going inside to find the lady on the table. “Hello?” There’s no response.
Perhaps she is sleeping, tired from the work that went into having the baby. Delta moves closer, tugging the sheet back from her face, only to find her eyes open, wide, staring at nothing. A shiver runs down his spine. He looks down, and can’t see her chest moving as she breathes. He gulps again. Stretching out a hand, he gently pokes at her cheek.
Nothing happens, but her skin feels horribly cold. “Hello?” He tries again, a soft whisper, but there is no reply.
It’s like waking up after the Event all over again. Dead bodies everywhere.
But the facility is supposed to help them! A bigger chill runs down his spine, and Delta lurches backwards in shock.
The lady has not always been like the dead body that she was. Have the doctors let her give birth… knowing that she was infected? Have they killed her? Delta shrinks further away, suddenly flooded with the knowledge that he doesn’t know where he is, and he most certainly should not have been there in the first place.
He runs for the grate, slipping along the way, heart pounding so loud he can’t think about anything but getting away.
and i spoketh and said, yay, im gonna give the gays everything they want
Echo leaves Doctor Grindelwald’s office feeling less than content; in fact, he almost wonders if the man has even been listening to a word he’s been saying. Concerned about the people, yes, sure he is. But more importantly, isn’t he supposed to be trying to help them? Echo has told him that he is growing so tired of just doing pointless things, waiting around to be picked for the Island, and how even if he is picked, he wouldn’t want to go without Delta.
That might have been a mistake to confess, probably, but he swore that it seems like the Doctor only had started listening at that point. It’s a hollow victory. Turning the corner to head to the dining hall for dinner, he nearly finds himself thrown backwards when he runs into someone. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you—Delta?” The young man looks panic stricken, and his eyes are wide even as he is trying to catch his breath. Echo pulls him in for another hug without a thought, and he can feel the boy’s slim body shaking. “What’s wrong?”
“There was, there was someone who had a baby, a real baby, and then they were dead, and the doctors stole the baby from her and never came back.” Echo shakes his head, conflicting messages shooting in and out of his brain and trying to escape his mouth, “Slow down Delta, what are you talking about?” The younger brunette appears distraught.
“Upstairs! I was upstairs and I saw it!” Echo smooths a hand over the back of Delta’s neck, his fingers gently carding through his long hair, caressing his nape, one finger at a time. “Why were you upstairs?”
“I went to see Newt. He said he had something cool to show me.” Echo frowns. Newt. He knows that name.
Doctor Grindelwald speaks of him occasionally, praising him as one of the brightest minds he’s rescued from the Event.
“I don’t know about him. He seems dangerous. You probably shouldn’t be going upstairs… I don’t want you getting into any trouble with the Doctor.” Echo brings his hand around from the back of Delta’s neck to cup his face, concernedly swiping a thumb over that pale cheek, marvelling at how silky soft his skin felt. Then he realizes he’s never been so close to the young man before, and as Delta nods, his cheek is nuzzling closer against his palm. Echo swallows thickly.
The strange curling of warmth begins again in Echo’s stomach, and he starts to pull away, but Delta leans in, crowding against him until he’s pressing his face into the crook of his neck and shoulder and Echo is helpless to resist, bringing his other arm up to hold the younger man tightly.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I don’t want you to worry. I was just chasing after a flying thing. It looked so pretty. I wanted to show it to Newt, and you too.” He frowns a little again. “What do you mean?”
Echo pulls back to look at Delta properly, and his entire face seems to light up as he explains.
“It was flying along the hallway, and looked so pretty.”
Echo blinks, confused, “But nothing could have survived the Event, not a living bug or animal. We barely made it.”
Delta looks a bit sad, as if he thinks Echo doesn’t believe him, “I know what I saw. I just wish I could have caught it.”
“All right. Well, let’s go, we don’t want to miss dinner.” As it turns out, Echo should have done exactly that, should have taken Delta and run away, to the upstairs or somewhere, because after dinner that night, they went to the smoothie bar.
After they’ve ordered their usual, and just before they’ve gotten a chance to sat down, the lottery jingle sounds, and it’s time to watch another lucky person get the chance to leave. Echo has barely taken a sip of his drink when he recognizes the picture and name being displayed on the screen as belonging to Delta, who jumps onto his feet. He’s beaming and being congratulated by all the other people in the bar, while Echo feels if the floor has fallen out from underneath him.
“Can you believe it? I never thought this day would come…” Delta’s face falls as he looks at Echo, and he tries to manage a smile, trying to be happy for him, but it all feels so fake, hollow. “Congratulations, my boy. I know it’ll be great.”
Delta pulls him in for a tight sudden hug, and Echo swears he can feel the younger man’s lips pressing right at his ear,
“I wish you could come with me.”
The words haunt Echo throughout the night, as he walks back to his room, every step a reminder he’s destined to be alone.
First thing the next morning Echo awakens and is full on shivering, covered in a cold sweat, and he realizes the night before isn’t just another dream, another nightmare, Delta has been chosen, and he is really leaving that day.
Instead of walking to the breakfast line, Echo finds himself diverting and going towards the hall that he knows belonged to Delta’s room. Before he could even hazard a guess as to which room is the younger man’s, he is there in front of Echo, stepping outside with a little bag clutched in his hand, and he spots him.
“Hey ‘Dad.’ You came to say goodbye to me? You’re too kind.” To Echo’s mild horror and shock, the younger man’s eyes began to blink rapidly, and though he was still smiling, he’s clearly been crying all night, now starting to all over again.
“Hey, hey, no, don’t cry, please. I wanted to tell you I’m sorry for last night. Sorry for yesterday, I should have believed you. I shouldn’t have made you feel like I didn’t.” Delta shrugs and then gives him a watery laugh,
“It’s okay, we can’t always know the right way to react to new things.” Echo nods, not quite sure what he means, but he does know one thing, he isn’t really ready to say goodbye. “Can I walk you down?”
Delta nods and then stares at the arm Echo offers for a long moment, before taking it gingerly.
“What do you suppose it’s like?” Echo glances over at him suddenly and frowns slightly, “What?”
“The Island of course.” Echo blinks. “Oh. I dunno. Never gave it much thought after I met you, I guess.”
“You just wanted to go there, as long as you’ve been here, right?” Delta asks, pressing on again.
Echo nods. Delta smiles again, but this time it doesn’t look nearly as genuine. “Me too. I kind of don’t understand it.”
“Excuse me. We need to take you to processing. Thank you Graves 3 Echo, we’ve got it from here.”
Two peacekeepers seem to come almost out of nowhere and are tugging Delta out of Echo’s grasp, and the younger man just stammers out his apologies, but Echo doesn’t. He’s not sorry. He just stares as long as he can, memorizing every angle and plane of the younger man’s face, not sure when or if he will ever see him again. “Goodbye.”
“I’ll see you soon, I know it in my heart.” Delta is saying, before the doors of the elevator swallow him up, and leave Echo with what feels like a heavy pit of dread in his stomach. His worst fears have been realized.
Delta isn’t sure what on earth is going on, where exactly are these men taking him?
The hallways he recognizes from his accidental trip up the ladder, but he doesn’t see any of the mean looking doctors, and he has just being told to wait, to sit here, and hold your bag, we’ll come get you in a minute. Running might have been a bad idea, and he wonders if he’ll get in so much trouble that they might take away his chance to go to the Island, but he is utterly sick of waiting. He’s been sitting for what feels like an hour, and he just can’t do it any longer.
Delta glances around, and sees only a woman behind a glass wall, not seemingly paying any attention to him, so he leaves his bag, only holding a change of clothes and shoes, which he decides that really, he can totally live without.
Delta gets up to his feet, only hesitating a moment, before pelting down the hallway to the door he can see.
No one stops him, not until he’s already reaching the end of the hall, and is preparing to open the door.
“Hey, wait, what are you doing? Stop right there!” Delta can see two angry looking peacekeepers advancing towards him, and he feels a spear of fright drag down his spine, so he hurries out through the door and finds himself facing another room, one with a more muted color scheme, where a man in a leather jacket and jeans is sitting across from him, as well as a woman sitting in the corner, reading a magazine. He gulps, and steps forward cautiously, eyeing the next door in front of him, and starts to walk towards it, before a voice stops him. It’s not a peacekeeper. It’s the man.
“Credence? Is that you? They finished the operation already?” His hand freezes on the door, and he can feel something like recognition tickling his mind, as Delta turns to see the man walking closer, getting a proper look at him.
Blinking, he swallows thickly. It’s Echo, but it can’t be. This man has dark hair and eyes, with a bit of silver at his temples, whereas Echo had completely dark hair, just like his own, and he’s dressed so strangely, yet so alike? “Echo?”
The man reaches his side, and pulls him in for a tight… familiar sort of affectionate hug, and Delta feels his breath being almost squeezed from his lungs. “I’m so glad you’re okay. I haven’t slept in days, I was worried sick. I thought I was going to lose you forever.” The man with Echo’s face pulls away, and smiles at him with such warmth and fondness in his eyes it makes Delta shiver. He notices how the voice is a bit different, with a strange lilt to it that he can’t quite explain. “What’s going on?” The man smiles, and leans slowly in close to press a quick kiss to his forehead, and Delta can swear he feels a burn where the man’s lips touch his skin.
“You’re probably just disoriented from the anesthesia, come on, I’ve got a car waiting.”
“Oh-okay.” No one tries to stop them leaving now, and the car ride isn’t very long at all. It feels like riding on air.
Delta is so incredibly lost and confused. The outside of the facility looks very clinical, and bare, like the rooms he teaches inside of, and he can’t quite understand. What about The Event? The heat flares? The plague?
The destruction of all life on earth.
Had it never happened? Had it been so long ago, not really three years? He stares up at the setting sun and blinks, until Echo’s twin is tugging his hand, helping him out of the car, and the sunshine feels kind, warm and gentle on his skin.
He touches his own face, and marvels at how clean the air tastes as he breathes it in. Not at all like they had said.
The building he follows the man inside of is bewitchingly designed, curves of metal and panes of glass framing the inside of a house that looks very expensive. “I’m sure you must be thirsty, let me get us something to drink. You go sit down, you’re probably exhausted.” Delta nods silently, and follows the pointed arm and finger to the directed space with chairs and a table scattered with more magazines like the one that the lady inside of the office was reading.
He stops short when he sees himself on the glossy covers. But of course, it can’t be him…
The room suddenly seems to be closing in on him, and before he can fall, he hastens to sit down on one of the couches and collapses over it. What is going on? Bold print on one of the covers reads, ‘Style Insider: Interview with America’s new sweetheart, Credence Graves, model, philanthropist, and future movie star?’
The man with Echo’s face returns far too quickly, and hands over a glass of water for him, but his eyes are still locked on the other magazines, and he barely notices he’s completely dropped the glass until he hears the crash. “Oh no. I’m sorry.”
“Psh, it’s all right. I should have set it down. You’re probably still a bit woozy from the drugs.” The next thing Delta knows, the man is gently nudging him to move over on the couch, and carefully cleaning up the spilled water and broken glass. “You’re Graves?” They both are. Graves 3 Echo and Graves 4 Delta.
Delta is trying to come to grips with the fact that clearly, the man either has an identical twin he has never known about, or something else entirely has happened, and he’s gone a little bit insane.
“Yes darling. I’m a Graves, and so are you, for the last three years at least.” The man takes his hand in his own very gently, clearly inspecting for any cuts from the glass, before bringing it to his mouth, and kissing delicately over the back of his knuckles, his eyes falling closed, as he begins humming slightly. Delta is finding it rapidly difficult to breathe.
He now notices the silver ring that the man wears on his left hand. “We’re not related?”
The man, Graves also, it seems, chuckles, “Well, by marriage, yes, we are. Man, that shit really did a number on you, didn’t it? I guess though, a medical coma is probably the safest thing they could have done while they healed you and replaced things you needed.” Marriage? Delta blinks, first over towards the magazine covers, then back to the man in front of him. They are married? Him and Echo? “What is it?” Graves is asking him. Delta inhales slowly before responding. “I’m sorry, I think I’m just tired, I need to rest.”
“Of course baby. I’m sorry, I’m just so glad to have you back, I completely disregarded all of Grindelwald’s suggestions for recuperating. God, I’m so stupid.” The name strikes a chord with Delta, and he barely nods in understanding before the man is kindly helping him to his feet, with a strong arm braced around his waist, guiding him to walk beside him to the stairs, and continues to help Delta all the way up them.
“What the fuck is going on?” Doctor Grindelwald is asking, almost yelling into the phone, and Newt on the other end is stammering out excuses and apologies. “I’m not sure sir, but two of the actives have gone missing. One of them was supposed to report to the ‘island, ’ as we still have a Credence Graves waiting for his operation to proceed, he’s already been in a medical coma for over twenty-four hours. And the other one actually belongs to his spouse, and went missing shortly after the first one. I can’t find anything on security, and I don’t know what happened, but the tracking is showing one of them is in Nevada already and the other is traveling that way.” Grindelwald snarls before he can stop himself. “Goddamnit. Get Goldstein on the phone. I need a retrieval team in route. We need this contained . Call up the customer, tell him to keep a lookout for anything strange. Do not tell him anything about the actives.”
Newt stammers out a “Yes sir.” Grindelwald practically slams the phone down and leans back in his chair, hand to his temples, unable to believe what a shitty day it’s turning into. The next thing he knows, Goldstein is calling him and asking why she’s being sent on a wild goose chase, don’t the agnates barely function?
“They’re alive Goldstein. This is top secret shit, like I’ll have you killed if you tell anyone, but they aren’t just sacks of flesh and organs.”
“What the fuck.”
Grindelwald sighs again, “Do you think I like having to tell you this? No. The process needed to sustain proper blood flow and oxygen to each necessary part wouldn’t work without consciousness, so the doctors had to find a way to do just that, and ensure control. So they’re kept in this perpetual childlike state, and they’ve got just enough brain power to function.”
Goldstein sighs loudly in return. “Is that right? Care to tell me how two of these children managed to escape your highly sophisticated facility? Unnoticed for at least thirty six hours?”
Grindelwald feels his jaw tightening. “I don’t know. One of them got free of custody on the way to an operation, and the other got out shortly after. Just do your job, and get them back to me, undamaged. That’s ten million dollars worth of product I’m leaving in your hands. Don’t disappoint me.”
“Understood, doctor. ” Hanging up after that, Grindelwald decides he doesn’t like her tone. She is mocking him.
Echo finally arrives at the address he had managed to wring out of Newt before getting the hell out of the facility, and he’s barely taken a second to appreciate the not so destroyed earth, and the fact he’s been lied to for his entire life it seems.
His entire four years of life. His mind is still spinning from what Newt had told him, reluctantly, and he knows that though Delta, or Credence, as his real name is, has been, no, is, may not be in any true danger, but he sure as hell doesn’t trust someone who’d gladly commissioned two people to exist merely for the sake of having access to spare parts.
The house that the Graves’s own and live in most of the year is objectively gorgeous, Echo can admit that much, but he can also still feel his heart pounding out of his chest as he approaches the front door.
There’s a small black box that he can see instead of a handle, and he stares at it for a long moment, wondering what exactly to do, before there’s a loud beep, and an automated voice speaks to him, “Welcome home Percival Graves.”
The door swings inward, and Echo steps forward, uncertainly. The inside of the house is well lit by natural and artificial light, and he can see elegant lines of furniture, along with a roaring fireplace that burns blue a few feet away.
He frowns, and then feels rather than hears someone sneaking up behind him.
“Turn around, slowly, and put your hands where I can see them.” It’s Delta’s voice. Echo lifts his hands and does as he is told, turning to find Delta standing and clutching a metal object in his grip which is shaped oddly.
Like a peacekeepers baton, but curved a bit like an ‘L.’ “Is it you?” He murmurs, eyes widening, and Echo nods.
“It’s me.” The metal clatters to the ground and Delta leaps into his arms. Echo holds him tight against his chest, until the shock of seeing him wears off. He can feel as Delta’s slender body still trembles.
“What’s happened? Where have you been?” Delta shakes his head.
“I don’t know. I mean, I was there, I tried to get away, because I was afraid to go to the Island without you, and I ran into you in a waiting room. But it wasn’t you. It’s a man who looks just like you. He says we’re married, he thinks I’m someone else. He’s at work right now, but I don’t know when he’ll be back.”
Echo pulls away to look at Delta, or the copy of Credence Graves, as Newt’s file calls him, framing his face with two hands. He is dressed so nicely, far nicer than Echo has ever seen anyone attired... well, outside the normal uniform.
Or the sorts of things Doctor Grindelwald wears.
Delta is in soft looking black pants, and a sage green silk shirt, draping over his broad shoulders, and his hair looks almost like liquid onyx. “He hasn’t hurt you… has he? I’ll kill him.” Echo doesn’t really mean to say it like that, so aggressive and violently, but the second the words have left his mouth, he knows he meant them.
Delta is already shaking his head, and his cheeks are turning a reddish pink, “Not really no. I mean, he says that while I’m still recovering that I’m not up for the usual bouts of ‘ lovemaking, ’ so he’s only kissed me, and he doesn’t touch me when I sleep at night in his bed.” Echo can feel the strange hot thing inside of his stomach expanding, threatening to make him burst into flames, and he fights to breathe. “What is that?”
Delta blinks silently over at him, face still trapped in between his hands, “What’s what? A kiss? Or the other?”
Echo drops his arms and turns away, “I don’t know. Both, or either. How can you be married to him, but… you’re not him. You are your own person.” Delta follows him across the room, over to where he’s gotten stuck staring at something inside of a glass case, a model of a boat. “I don’t know. I don’t love him, not that I can tell. I love…” He trails off as he notices Echo isn’t listening. He’s staring at the model of the same boat that he’s been seeing inside of his dreams, the boat he’s fallen off of, drowned and woken back up from every time. “I know this boat… it’s…”
“His. I bought it for him as one of our wedding gifts.” Echo looks over at Delta, who is cautiously stepping closer.
“I bought us too. Apparently.” Echo nods. “I know. I saw the files.” Delta’s bottom lip quivers
“What’s going to happen to us when he figures out I’m not the real Credence?”
Echo swallows thickly, and moves closer to take Delta’s face in his palms again. “You are real. I won’t let him hurt you. He never has to find out. Not now, not ever.” Delta is looking at him with something he’s never seen before in those dark depths, a sort of desperate hope. “You’re going to save me? Take me away from here?” Echo nods. “We can take his boat. Go anywhere. Be free. They’ll never catch us.” Delta frowns suddenly. “Wait, but what about the others? We can’t just leave them behind to die like I would have. Or that lady did.” He shudders, and Echo leans in to press his forehead against the younger man’s. “Okay. We’ll go back and bust open the whole place, then we’ll run away.”
“Okay.” Echo starts to walk away, and Delta snags one of his hands. “Wait. Don’t you want to know what a kiss is?”
Echo feels his heartbeat in his throat once again, “Do you really think we have time?”
Delta glances out to the sunset, and smiles. “He won’t be back until after it’s been dark for a few hours. It’ll be easier to travel at night anyway. They can’t search as easily.” Echo bites his lip, thinking. Of course Delta is right. “Oh.”
Delta tugs harder on his hand, in the opposite direction, towards the stairs, and Echo is helpless but to follow him.
The room, their room, he supposes technically, is stunning. Spacious and colored with gold and blue, and the bed in the center of the room is huge, big enough for maybe three or four people to fit across comfortably.
There’s a twisting feeling in Echo’s gut and he can’t quite place it. He doesn’t understand why he feels a magnetic pull to Delta and he wants to do something wild, like throw him down onto the bed. But why?
Delta has only been living as Credence for a day and a half, but although he’s dreaded every second he has needed to lie to the kind man called Graves, he also hates how uncomfortable the man makes him feel. Like he’s being dishonest to both Echo and Graves at the same time. How wrong it is to pretend things between them are the same as they are with Echo.
He knows it’s all because of who the man thinks he was, but it’s impossible to deny him something without raising his suspicions, except for the worst thing of all. Well, perhaps not the worst. But he has no idea of what he might have to do.
Delta has been lucky to avoid it, for he couldn’t even imagine what it entails. The man just seems so happy to be with him as much as he can be, but Delta guesses from the momentary glimpses of what have to be memories from the original Credence that he knows don’t belong to him, they used to do that sort of thing very…often.
In those flashes, his other self looks so very happy, and seemingly enjoys the man’s company, because of what they are to each other. Love. Marriage. They go hand in hand. Credence and Graves were so in love it hurts to think about.
Delta had been walking around the house that morning and looking carefully at all of the photographs containing the two of them, and deduces that yes, if not for the car accident his originally self had supposedly been in, his other self, nothing would have prevented them from a long and happy life together. But unfortunately, it has. So the giant mix up ensues.
He supposes he will end up breaking the real Graves’ heart when he leaves with Echo. Unless… they could somehow convince the man to join them? He would make a much better ally than an enemy, of course.
Delta was going through the man’s closet when he comes across a black case containing something that looks dangerous, like Echo has called Newt, though the man is truthfully harmless. So he picks it up, relishing the feel of cold metal in his hand, and the weight of it, though completely different, somehow reminding him of the trays of food.
It only makes him miss Echo more. When the front door opens to allow someone inside of the house, far too early to be Graves like normal, Delta hurries to take the weapon downstairs, and confronts the intruder.
He’s entirely stunned to find Echo himself. It has to be him. He’s wearing the same uniform and has a slight bit of confusion and concern. No accent. The real Graves has a lilt to his voice, and he told Delta that ‘ you could take the boy out of the Irish land, but you can’t take the Irish land out of the boy.’ He guesses that’s just the man’s way of explaining the difference. Bringing Echo upstairs to see where he’s been spending most of the last day and a half resting and being beside the man’s twin in his bed is probably a bad idea, but he can’t help it.
Delta really wants to know what it would be like to kiss Echo, wrong as it might be. But is it really?
They have the same last name, not because of family, but because of love. Their love. “It’s beautiful here.”
Echo is staring out the window, hypnotized by the sunset, Delta guesses, so he walks over to him, and stands right behind him, wrapping his arms around the front of his chest, pressing his cheek to the spot between the man’s shoulder blades.
“It’s okay. Not the same without you.” Echo turns in his grasp, then holds his face in his warm steady hands oh so gently.
“But I’m here now.” Delta can hardly do more than nod, scarcely able to draw a deep breath and then sigh out a “Yes.”
“Tell me what to do.” Echo whispers, and Delta licks his lips, nudging forward, just enough so his mouth brushes against Echo’s. “Like this.” He lets his eyes fall closed, and he can feel Echo’s fingers shifting against his jawline, cradling him closer, the only sounds in the room the crackling of the second fireplace and the slip and slide of their mouths against each other. Sparks are dancing along his skin, and he knows Echo can feel how his heartbeat speeds up beneath his hands.
He breaks away after a moment, and finds Echo looking at him with his eyes wide and dark, his lips more than a bit pink.
“Wow. That’s really something.” Delta nods. “Right? Why haven’t we ever done this before?”
Echo shakes his head, “I don’t know. I wanted to though, the day you were leaving. I wanted to but I didn’t know how.”
Delta smiles, a gentle quirk of his lips, “I’m here now. What do you want to do?”
Echo’s hands graze down his body, moving away from his face to his neck and his shoulders until they slide down over his arms and the silky fabric of his shirt, the whole way his touch burns against Delta’s skin. “Whatever you want.”
“Okay.” Delta takes one of Echo’s hands in his again, and walks backwards until he can feel the softness of the mattress bumping against the back of his knees, and he sits down, pulling the man along with him, so that they’re both sitting side by side, their knees touching. “Take this stuff off.” He puts a hand to Echo’s uniform fastenings, the edges of his jacket and the waistband of his pants. Undoing his own shirt buttons, Delta watches as more and more of the man’s skin is revealed to him. It isn't exactly the same as the real Graves’ body, who he’s seen while he slept beside last night, who wears a total of nothing to bed, shocking Delta in the process with his utter boldness.
Echo has no scars on his chest, and barely had any dark hair on his body below his chin, except by his navel, there’s a small trail of hair leading between his legs, to what Delta can’t quite manage to look away from.
“Oh. That. It’s only happened to me a couple times. I don’t know why.”
Delta leans in to press a hand against his chest, urging Echo to lay backwards, and as he does, he kisses him again, before whispering, “It’s a good thing. It means you like me.” Echo’s eyes widen.
“Well, of course I like you. You’re my only friend. Also, apparently I married you too.”
“Yes of course.” Delta smiles, reaching a hand between their bodies to brush his fingers against the hardness that belongs to Echo, and he watches delightedly as the man’s eyes begin to flutter closed, and his mouth parts automatically.
“How does it feel?” Echo looks as if he is struggling to find the correct words, and when he returns the gesture, wrapping a clumsy hand over Delta’s hardness that aches like nothing else, he shifts down into it, craving more, relishing the feel of all the new sensations rushing through him. “It’s far more wonderful than anything I’ve ever known before.”
Delta hums in agreement, and leans in to kiss him again, this time, letting his tongue press against the seam of Echo’s lips, begging him to part them to allow the kiss to deepen, and he complies easily, as if he’s heard Delta speaking hius request aloud. Only a few moments pass before Echo is gasping underneath him, the overwhelming new feelings pulling him towards the end of it, and Delta can feel how slippery his hardness starts to feel in his hand.
“Delta… the Island. That unspeakable paradise. It’s not a place. It’s us.” He smiles, and nods. “I think you’re right.”
Echo’s arms wrap tightly around him, and he shifts their bodies so that he can take a turn being on top, grinding his hips down against Delta’s, and he finds that he doesn’t mind when it’s him doing that, in fact, he rather likes it a lot.
“I think, I don’t know, something’s happening…” Delta nods frantically and leans up to kiss the side of Echo’s neck, just below his ear. “It’s good. Just relax.” Echo shudders above him, and there’s further warmth, slick wetness that emerges from the press of their eager bodies, spilling onto his skin and when the man collapses beside him, panting for breath, Delta swears he’s never felt happier than in that moment. Nothing else in the world but them matters right now.