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- Soulmarks -

At the age of sixteen, everyone received their soulmark- the name of their soulmate or soulmates etched in the person’s handwriting like ink somewhere on their skin. It was often treated as a special birthday, a coming of age met with excitement. Sixteenth birthdays were the biggest parties a kid could have and were supposed to be happy. Not everyone got to experience their marking as a happy moment, though. Gay kids were outed, polyamorous kids were marked as greedy, and aces questioned their identity when a name showed up.

Wrench had been dreading his sixteenth birthday since he had turned thirteen and realized he was gay. That wasn't something acceptable in his household. Fuck, most of who Wrench was wasn't acceptable in his household. His parents didn't understand his fascination with technology, his inventiveness. His father had tried to beat the 'oddness' out of Wrench for years, and when some guy's name showed up on his skin, he knew he was in for the worst beating of his lifetime.

Wrench had tried to commit suicide five months before his sixteenth birthday. All that got him was a week long stay in the hospital and a month long stint in an inpatient mental facility. He saw a therapist after that. And that is when he built ‘Wrench’, an outgoing, friendly person who was happy and healthy. The therapist never found out about the abuse at home, and he told his parents not to worry, that their son was going to be just fine.

Wrench had been right, in a way, about how his birthday would go.

The day of his sixteenth birthday, he woke, stripped down, and walked into his bathroom to look for the name on his skin. He hadn't needed to strip down at all. There it was, above his left eyebrow, the name Marcus . There was no hiding it. There was no escape from this coming confrontation with his father.

Wrench was fucked. He cried in the shower, scared to go downstairs and face his parents. 

When he did, his father was silent. He didn't need words to show his seething anger though, and silently, his father dragged him to the basement where he kept his tools. Wrench had never truly known pain until the moment his father took a blowtorch to his face and burned the name away from his skin.

That day, the screams drew enough attention that the cops were called. Wrench was taken to the hospital and then shuffled into The System. The only thing that saved him was the hacking community he found. They became his family, and eventually he found a life with DedSec, behind a mask and finally a person. Or at least a persona. More than he'd been under his father's boot, anyway.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Marcus had been excited for his sixteenth birthday. He’d been talking with his parents about it nervously for a few months, but they were just as happy about finding out as he was. His father especially reassured him about being bisexual, and it wouldn’t matter if a guy or girl’s name showed up on his skin. They would be happy so long as Marcus was happy.

They had prepared a birthday for him. His mother had accidentally spoiled the surprise when she’d left some invites out before rushing off to work one day, but the surprise didn’t matter. Marcus was excited all the same. 

He woke too early the morning of and scrambled to the bathroom to go look for the name on his skin. In a beautiful white ink, letters scrawling in a thin handwriting, was a man’s name along his left forearm. He’d never met a person with this name, and that was somehow even more exciting than if he’d known the person. When would they meet? What did the guy look like? His heart pattered loudly as he got dressed and went to find his parents.

They were in the kitchen, coffee going and his dad at the stove making breakfast. “Look! Look!” Marcus grinned, shoving his arm out to show his parents.

His mother came over and took his arm in her hands, beaming. “Oh, he has nice handwriting. So I guess he’s not gunna be a doctor, huh?”

“Mo-oom,” Marcus whined. “Stop it.”

His dad laughed and gave the pan of bacon a shake. “Get over here so I can see.”

Marcus went over, stretched out his arm and looked down at the script again. He memorized the curve of the letters, sounded the name out in his mouth, and wondered if he’d ever get tired of looking at the mark.

And then it happened.

Excruciating pain. Marcus had never felt pain like this before, and right before his eyes, the name started to burn away. He grabbed his arm, tears flowing down his face, as his forearm covered itself in a blistering burn. 

Marcus spent a week in the hospital, and a couple more weeks at home. He wasn’t ready to go back to school, and he didn’t let people come visit him. His parents tried to reassure him, but Marcus was convinced that one of two things happened. Either, his soulmate was in denial over his sexuality and burned the mark off, or his soulmate had died.

His parents sent him to a therapist who specialized in dealing with soulmark issues. It took years, but Marcus eventually accepted that he might not find his soulmate, and that was fine. Not everyone settled with their soulmate and were perfectly content in life. His therapist’s soulmate had died right after they’d met, and now he was married with kids to someone else. Life continued.

 

- DedSec -

When Retr0 hacked into Blume's system and the name Marcus appeared on screen, Wrench's world spun. Was this him? Was this the guy whose name had been burned from Wrench's face? He tried for the first couple of weeks to see a soulmark, but Marcus wore long pants and long sleeved shirts a lot of the time. It wasn’t on his face like Wrench’s had been.

Aside from the curiosity, there was something about Marcus that drew Wrench in. Sure, Wrench got along with just about everyone he met, but this thing that grew between himself and Marcus was different. They connected fast, and shared interests, nerdiness, complete geek breakdowns, and ridiculous conversation built between them. Then the flirting started. 

Wrench couldn’t exactly say when the playful banter had become real flirting to him. The change had been a subtle thing that seeped into his feelings for Marcus. Of course, he had no way of knowing if Marcus was now really flirting or if Wrench was alone in this change. Well, that wasn’t true. He could always ask him.

Instead, he sat back and kept to playful flirting. And he watched. He watched Marcus to see who the man showed interest in. At first, Wrench wondered if he would go for Sitara, but that never happened. In fact, Marcus never really showed a sexual or romantic interest in anyone. 

One night, drunk and hanging in the garage together, Wrench blurted a question. "You waiting to find your soulmate, Marcus?" He flashed question marks on his mask.

"Huh?" Marcus swiveled drunkenly and grinned. "I don't know, man. I guess so. Not really lookin' cuz we've got so much shit goin on here." He shrugged, took another drink from a beer and slouched against a table. There was something in his tone that felt dishonest. "What about you?"

Wrench shrugged back and lied. "Nah. DedSec takes up so much time. I mean, the waitress is nice but she doesn't have my name on her. I saw it, on her wrist. Said 'John' and that ain't me, man." Plus, he wasn’t interested in women. She was a cover that Wrench would admit to in times of drunkenness, and only ever to himself. He needed his persona to be everything he wasn’t, and that meant straight.

Marcus made a sad face and Wrench flashed him exclamation marks. 

"It's fine," he said. “It wasn’t anything serious, anyway. Like you said, DedSec is keeping us busy. Like stealing the Cyberdriver car! Man that was sick!” And they devolved into drunken retellings of their hacking exploits.

The next morning, Wrench woke up to arms wrapped around him and an erection lodged against the small of his back. He stopped breathing. He was sure his mask was emitting flashing exclamation marks. Taking in what he could see, Wrench realized he was smushed on the couch with Marcus. The two must have drunkenly fallen asleep there together, and now Wrench needed to expertly disengage without making things awkward for either of them.

So, he did the first thing that came to mind.

Wrench flailed his arms and legs, rolled off the couch, and landed on the ground with a thump and a yelp. He surprised Marcus awake and neither of them needed to deal with waking up in each other’s arms. 

Marcus sat up on the couch and gently kicked out a foot at Wrench. “Mornin’ to you, too. You always wake up so violently?”

Turning and flashing heart signs, Wrench chuckled. “Only after nights full of fun.” Then he flashed question marks. “You even remember most of last night?”

“No,” Marcus groaned. “And I don’t want to remember this morning either. I’m going to have a killer headache.”

Wrench jumped to his feet and rubbed his hands together. In a sing-song voice he said, “Let’s get you some hangover fooooood.”

The way Marcus gripped at his head made Wrench think he was going to turn him down. But then Marcus nodded and climbed to his feet. “Can we bring it back here? I ain’t ready to deal with the world right now.”

“Absolutely. And watch von Devon movies?!” Wrench put carets up on his mask and when Marcus agreed, he turned them to hearts before defaulting to the Xs.

Wrench took Marcus to his favorite diner and the two ordered large, greasy breakfast meals which they took back to the garage. Sometime into their second movie, Wrench felt the urge to ask another stupid question and his mouth made the decision for him.

“Where is your soulmark?”

Marcus looked over with scrunched eyebrows. “What? Why?” 

There was a defensiveness there that made Wrench immediately regret asking. But he’d done it, and now he had to keep going. “Just curious. I know where Sitara’s, Horatio’s, and Josh’s are.”

Marcus still had an eyebrow raised. “Right.” He looked down at his arms and tugged at his sleeves. “Mine was...ruined.”

Wrench’s heart stopped.

With a shrug, Marcus rolled his sleeve up and showed Wrench the scarred up path of his forearm. A name couldn’t be made out in that mess, and it looked like it had hurt. Wrench knew it had hurt because he felt a flicker of the pain in remembering his own experience.

“Shit, sorry man. I didn’t-”

“It’s fine. I went to a therapist. Apparently shit like this happens all the time. A guy has a soulmark on his leg, leg gets lost in an accident, goodbye soulmark on both soulmates.” Marcus shrugged. “I guess something happened to my soulmate’s mark, so now I got this.”

Wrench wanted to ask so badly. Everything lined up, the burn mark, the name. But how could Marcus be okay with being soulmarked to Wrench? The disaster human who didn’t even have the fucking self-esteem to show his own fucking face? Nah, Marcus deserved better, so he didn’t ask. 

“Still, that sucks.”

“What about you?” Marcus shot back.

“Under the mask,” Wrench answered too quickly.

Marcus shot him a look, then smiled and shook his head. “Of course. That why you wear that thing? Other than it being cool, I mean.”

Wrench shrugged. “Yes and no. More of the second thing you said.” He flashed a few things across his eye screens. “I mean seriously, look at this beautiful work! My face is awesome.”

Marcus laughed with him. “Yeah, it is, bro.”

 

- Faceless -

Wrench had been taken. Marcus knew before it was confirmed because Wrench always answered him over coms. There was always banter, and questions, and underlying sexual tension that drove Marcus fucking crazy. But now there was silence, and Marcus just knew.

The fire that ran through Marcus’s blood as he watched the screen in the FBI interrogation was the most hate and anger Marcus had ever felt before. It was an all consuming rage that made his vision burn red. 

That fucking look on Wrench’s face. Fuck, Wrench’s actual face on the screen! And there it was- a ragged, red burn across the left side of his face. Marcus stared at it and wondered. He’d said his soulmark was on his face, but that burn was the only mark Marcus saw.

Then Dusan entered the room and Marcus wanted to murder the man. When Dusan grabbed the mask, pulled it away from Wrench and sent him on his way, Marcus knew what he was going to do.

“I’m getting that mask back, man.”

And Wrench’s voice was so broken without the modulator. A clear tenor, but soft. It was nothing like the flamboyant outgoing man that ran around DedSec. It ripped Marcus’s soul to shreds.

Marcus pushed his motorcycle to dangerous speeds, ignoring the protests from the team over his coms. Fuck every last one of these corrupt fucking FBI and police; they were going to burn for taking Wrench’s face.

Blacking out their system was easy. Marcus slipped through the fence, took out their power, and systematically took down each and every agent in the building. And it wasn’t his stun gun that he was using tonight.

Wrench’s face was sitting on a desk, just out in the open like Douche-san knew he would come after it. Another taunt. And Marcus damned well took it personally. After hacking the system files, Marcus took a little extra time to work out some residual anger. He physically smashed a bunch of their tech. It was petty and mostly fruitless, but it felt good.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

When Wrench was nabbed, he was prepared for a lot of shit. Whatever they were going to do to him, he'd already endure at the hands of his father.

Except they did exactly what his father had done.

Dusan took his fucking face. It was the same defeat all over again, except this time his soulmate was watching the whole thing. He knew Marcus was the one, though he hadn’t admitted it outloud. And now he was exposed and vulnerable while Marcus watched, without it being Wrench’s choice.

Sitting in the park waiting for Marcus to hand over the mask again, Wrench knew it was time. This was his lowest point and whatever response Marcus would have to finding out Wrench, a waste of a soulmate, was Marcus's couldn't possibly lower him any further. Rejection is what he expected. Not everyone paired with their soulmate after all.

Wringing his hands, Wrench's heart nearly stopped when Marcus finally walked over and sat next to him. Wrench kept staring at the ground.

"We need to talk," Wrench murmured. His voice sounded soft and weird without the modulation. 

"Here, I'm sure you want this back first." Marcus handed the mask over.

Holding it between his hands, staring down at it, Wrench didn't put it on yet. "Thanks, M. But I need to do this without the mask."

Marcus shifted and put a hand on Wrench's knee. "You okay, Wrench? What's goin’ on?"

He took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and then looked over at Marcus. He watched as Marcus looked over his face, eyes lingering on the burn mark a moment. Lifting his hand to his burn mark, Wrench traced a finger over it. “For one whole hour, the name Marcus was etched here.”

And Marcus’s face shifted, falling as he worried his bottom lip between his teeth. "What? You're for real?"

Wrench could only nod.

"Holy shit, Wrench. That's, I mean, we're soulmates?" Marcus grinned now and his hand went from Wrench's knee to his shoulder. “Wait, so your birth name…”

Swallowing thickly, Wrench whispered it to Marcus. It wasn’t his name any more, it wasn’t him, and it was hard to say out loud.

Marcus nodded and didn’t repeat it. Instead, he scooted closer so that their legs were touching. “What happened to your soulmark?” 

His hand was still on Wrench’s shoulder and it felt like an anchor to the world around them. It kept Wrench from sliding in an all-consuming way back to the memories of that day. He hadn’t spoken about these things with anyone before. 

"My father was an asshole. He didn't like that I was gay, and he burned away the evidence that his son had a man as a soulmate." And there it was, finally spoken aloud. Wrench didn't shatter into a million pieces for admitting it. The world didn't stop and burn down. Everything was exactly the same as before he'd said the words.

Except it wasn't, was it? As he clung to his mask, Marcus wrapped his arms around Wrench and hugged him. There was someone there, holding him, and that was new. That was different. Fuck everything, it was good

Public space forgotten, Wrench dropped the mask in his lap and leaned into the hug. Tears stained his face as he lost control of himself and cried in Marcus's arms. When he’d gotten himself back under control, Marcus held out his arm with his long sleeves for Wrench to wipe his face on.

“Probably don’t want a wet face before you put that back on,” he said nodding toward Wrench’s mask.

Wrench nodded, took a deep breath, and used the proffered sleeve. Then he put the mask back in place, pulled his hood up, and turned the electronics on. The smell was wrong and his face started to itch right away; fuck his allergies and fuck the FBI. Clearing his throat, he found his voice once more. 

“We should get food for everyone and head back to HQ.” It was better, his voice, but not as upbeat as usual. Still, the modulation made him feel more like himself if not happy yet.

Marcus nodded. “And we need to talk. This was a good start, but uh, we need to talk.”

Wrench was almost afraid of what that meant. Maybe Marcus had just been comforting him in a down time and whatever connection he thought they’d just shared didn’t mean jackshit. Marcus was a nice guy, so this could have just been him being nice. “Yeah, absolutely bro.” He smacked Marcus’s shoulder and jumped up to his feet, bouncing on his toes and letting the Wrench persona seep back into his being. 

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Marcus had come to terms with the idea that he would not meet his soulmate. It was something his therapist had emphasized because it was better to prepare for that reality and not be crushed by a hope that wouldn’t be filled than to cling to impossible hope. So when all the pieces fell together in that garden, Wrench crying in his arms, Marcus’s reality flipped upside down. 

With the mask back on, Wrench came back to himself as they went for food. They called up the others and told them to meet at HQ for food and celebrations, and Marcus was happy about it. He was happy that Wrench was okay and the team had pulled off a win against Dusan. But he really wanted to have a deeper conversation with Wrench. There was a lot there still left to say.

Sure, they were soulmates. That was was now clear, but where did that leave them socially? Were they going to start dating? Marcus had too many unanswered questions, and he tried to stay calm while they celebrated. Still, when the group finally split up to get some rest, Marcus hung back watching Wrench hopefully.

Wrench circled over to him, hands on his hips and legs spread. His mask had carets on them now. “Sooo,” they flashed question marks before cycling back to Xs. “Talk now?”

Marcus nodded. “The garage?”

Wrench’s smile under the mask was clear even without the heart emojis that popped up. “Perfect.” He clasped his hands in front of himself, twirled his legs and looked like he was trying some flirty-schoolgirl pose. “Do I get to ride bitch on the back of your motorcycle, stud?”

“Shut up,” Marcus chuckled and knocked a soft fist against his shoulder. “And yeah, I’m definitely driving. Come on.”

The ride back to Wrench’s garage was nice. The man’s long, slender legs pressed along the sides of Marcus’s, his wiry arms wrapped loosely around his waist, it all felt good. Pulling up to the garage, Wrench opened the door so Marcus could drive right inside. Once the door was shut behind them, they both climbed off and hesitated in front of each other.

Marcus couldn’t tell what Wrench was thinking as his mask just had the standard Xs and he was just standing there.

“Are we dating?” Marcus asked.

Wrench’s mask went blank, like it had shut down. “Do you...want to?”

“Yes.” Marcus answered quickly. He had liked Wrench since meeting him, had enjoyed the flirting they’d built up. It was time to finally admit to his feelings. “We’ve been at this banter with underlying sexual tension for a while now.”

“Underlying? I’d moved on to overt sexual tension weeks ago, M. Catch up,” Wrench laughed.

Marcus grinned and shook his head. He stepped up closer to Wrench and the man didn’t retreat. He wrapped an arm around Wrench’s back and put tentative fingers at the bottom of his mask. “Can I kiss you?”

 

- First Time -

Wrench felt like his whole body was short circuiting. Marcus liked him. Marcus wanted to date him. Marcus was standing with his arm wrapped around him, fingers playing at the edge of Wrench’s mask asking to kiss him.

“Yeah,” Wrench said and closed his eyes. 

He felt Marcus put both of his hands at the mask, one hand along the jawline of it while the other sneaked around his hoodie to the clasp at the back. As he unhooked it, he also kept it in place. The electronics turned off, but Marcus didn’t remove it. Squeezing his eyes tighter, Wrench felt the mask lift enough to uncover his mouth and then something warm and soft pressed to his lips. 

Marcus was kissing him, mask only half off, and Wrench tossed his arms around Marcus’s neck. He tilted his head into the kiss and felt Marcus laugh into it, trying to hold onto the mask. 

But then Wrench was climbing the man and Marcus had to use his arms to hold Wrench up. The mask slipped off and clattered to the ground. Marcus carried Wrench to the couch and they sprawled on it as they made out. It was nice, but something hungrier started to build between them. 

“Hey, Marcus?” Wrench breathed out.

“Mm?” Marcus pulled his mouth off of Wrench’s neck to look down at him. 

Wrench smiled shyly. “This is, um, great and all but if we keep this up I’m uh, well I kind of want more.” Without his mask, he felt so vulnerable and it was hard to just say things. “If you want that, too, I mean. No like pushing or anything man, just you know, it’s on the table or whatever.”

Marcus grinned. “I can’t believe how shy you are without that mask. It’s kind of adorable.”

Wrench felt his flush and he smacked Marcus’s arm. “Shut up.”

“But yeah, I’m good with sex if you are.”

And he blushed harder. Marcus was clearly just fine being as open as he usually was. “I think I have lube and condoms in one of the drawers.”

“Wow, dirty,” Marcus teased but got up to go look. 

Wrench snorted and helped look. Without the immediate heat of their bodies pressed together, Wrench was starting to feel more and more exposed. He scooped the mask up off the floor and stared at it in his hands.

“Want it back on?” Marcus asked, condom and lube in his hands.

Wrench shrugged. He did, but he didn’t want to hide from Marcus either.

“Go for it, man. It’s part of you and that’s cool. No pressure to ever have it off. Right?” Marcus came back over and placed a kiss on Wrench’s cheek. “Besides, fucking you in just that mask would be kinda hot.”

“Fuck, Marcus! You’re going to kill me.” Wrench shoved the mask back on his face and felt a little better. There was still a voice in the back of his mind that said Marcus didn’t really like him, that this sort of thing was wrong, but it was drowned out by the grin that Marcus had after saying that. 

Mask secure once more, Wrench took a deep breath and felt right.

“That okay, though?” Marcus asked. “If I fuck you, I mean.”

Wrench was sure his mask was cycling through emojis as it tried to keep up with his expressions, but he nodded. “Yeah, that’s okay.” He looked around. The couch was too small. It was fine to makeout on but the space wasn’t enough for much else. He eyed a low workbench and jabbed a thumb at it.

Marcus nodded and before he really knew what was happening, Marcus had lifted Wrench up and laid him out on the thing. Some tools scattered to the ground, but he was paying more attention to the hands on his jacket, his sweatshirt being peeled up over his head. Marcus was careful not to dislodge the mask though.

Wrench had worn much less to Swelter Skelter, but he hadn’t felt this exposed before. Marcus was smiling down at him and then pulling the shirt from over his own head. Marcus was muscled; the man had a fucking six-pack like some magazine model or something. Wrench’s mask flashed exclamation points then hearts.

“Damn,” he hummed and Marcus chuckled. 

“Yeah?”

“You’re hot,” Wrench said and flashed a wink.

“So are you,” Marcus said reaching over for Wrench’s belt and unhooking it. He hesitated until Wrench nodded, then pulled the tight jeans and boxers down his legs. Wrench kicked off his shoes so Marcus could pull the pants all the way off. “Oh yeah. I was right. Just the mask is really fucking hot.”

Wrench focused on the mask, the familiar feeling of it, of his confidence, and pushed away the insecurities. “You still got too many clothes on for this,” he teased back, displacing the attention.

“Right,” Marcus said and then shucked his own pants and briefs. 

Wrench dragged his eyes up and down Marcus’s naked form and a little nervousness came back to him. “Uh, so this is my first time.”

“For real?” Marcus asked with a raised eyebrow.

“With a guy, yeah.”

Nodding, Marcus stepped closer and leaned down to put his lips on Wrench’s neck. “We’ll take it slow.”

“Or not,” Wrench insisted. “Just letting you know, that’s all.”

Marcus laughed and sucked at Wrench’s collarbone. “Alright, but tell me if anything’s too much.”

“Deal.”

Wrench didn’t have to stop anything. Marcus was careful with him, until Wrench insisted he be a little rougher. Marcus fucked him over the workbench until they were both trembling with an orgasm. They somehow ended up back on the couch, half-dressed and cuddled together. 

Careful not to let the mask hurt Marcus, Wrench let himself drape over the man as they caught their breath together on the couch. 

“For the first time, that was pretty good,” he offered.

“Yeah,” Marcus answered. “This could be the start to having fun in some interesting places, though. I mean, if a workbench is the first place we have sex, we gotta step it up from there, right?”

“Shit, M. You have the best ideas.”

They laughed and Wrench finally felt like things were okay. No, better than. Things were good. He would still have a lot to work through, but Marcus was a good person to work through those things with.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Marcus felt like the luckiest guy in the world. Not many people who lost their marks got to find their soulmates, but he’d done it. He’d found Wrench and they’d bonded quickly. Perhaps it had been a bad idea to suggest that they step up the sex game and find fun places to fuck because he was sure that they’d scarred Josh for life when the guy had walked in on them in HQ.  Wrench had agreed on the HQ sex ban, though.

The only real problem they faced was that Wrench was a bit fussier over the jobs that Marcus went out on. It felt good that someone worried so much about him, and honestly, Marcus would feel the same way. Did feel the same way whenever Wrench went out on a job.

Their solution was just to work together more. A lot of what Wrench did could be done alongside Marcus, or close by at least. He could play getaway driver, hacking assistant in the lot next to the property that Marcus infiltrated. And much to Marcus’s worry, Wrench also insisted on being his partner, gun in hand, when he went after the gangs. 

Horatio’s death only drew them closer together, and they found that they worked just as well together in the field as they did in private. It was good to have someone at his back, actually.

The fun times were great, too. Marcus insisted that Wrench move in with him, and they spent a lot of time together in the apartment. And in bed. It was during one particularly fun night that Wrench suggested they get tattoos together, their names with some matching nerdy design to go with it.

Wrench held Marcus’s hand the whole time, and that was appreciated. Wrench had a problem deciding where to put his. He was so covered in tattoos already that finding a good spot was tricky. Eventually, he found a space in the midst of all the tattoos on his arms because he wanted to be able to see it and show it off. Anywhere else would be covered by clothes, he argued.

 

- Contentment -

Slowly, Wrench became more comfortable with taking his mask off when he was at the apartment with Marcus. The way the man looked at him like he was something special helped. Marcus never cringed when looking at his face, never emphasized the scarring, and never pushed.

How Wrench had gotten so lucky in a partner, he didn’t know, but he was going to cherish this for as long as he could. He wasn’t stupid; they were in a dangerous line of business. Horatio’s loss proved that more than anything. But together they were better. 

He’d only had to argue a few times with Marcus before they became a team in the field. Now any time Wrench tagged along, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. And Wrench finally got to play with the guns and toys alongside Marcus.

The persona of Wrench became less and less a faked idea and more of the truth for Wrench. It wasn’t something to hide behind anymore, but something to embrace and explore with Marcus. It was what Wrench had always been, just beaten down and hidden by his father. He wasn’t sure he’d ever give up the mask completely, and that was just fine.

Besides, Marcus thought the mask was hot.