Episode Six: The Quick Detour Affair
Nikolai wiggled his toes as he read the spy novel he bought from the hotel lobby. He felt a contentment wash over him as he read on the bed. He rubbed his feet against each other, reading the purple prose sex scene between the lead and the femme fatale. He closed his eyes, inserting himself as the lead and Guy as the femme fatale.
Before he could reach the climax of the scene, the hotel phone began to ring, and he hesitated, watching it.
It rang again.
Nikolai couldn’t decide who would be calling, and he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to answer it. He gave the phone a cold stare.
What if it was one of Guy’s clients?
What if it was Cain?
The phone continued to ring.
Nikolai didn’t know if Guy would keep anyone else in his hotel room, though he thought perhaps he might be flattering himself with that thought.
And the phone stopped.
Nikolai exhaled and turned back to his novel.
And the phone started to ring again.
He ran a hand through his blonde hair in frustration. Who else would be calling the hotel room?
The phone rang.
“Hey sweet cheeks.” Guy’s voice sounded distant.
“Well your butt cheeks.”
Nikolai rubbed his temples. “Why are you calling me?”
“I’m, uh, a little tied up. Could you come rescue me?”
He exhaled, his mind whirling. What would happen if A.B.E.L. found out he helped Guy Solo? And he didn’t even know what this job was. But he couldn’t just leave Guy’s life in danger. “All right, give me the address.”
Guy spouted off the address, adding, “They have me in a basement cellar. I see a small window we could crawl out of if you bring some of my plastic explosives.”
“Oh, I have my own.”
“I know,” Nikolai replied. “Wait fifteen minutes and then try to make noise so I know where you are. Unless you are aware of what side of the building you are on?”
“Nope,” Guy replied.
“Never make things easy for me. Leaving now. Fifteen minutes.”
“Thank you, Mr. Wetsuit.”
“What happened to sweet cheeks?” Nikolai asked and then hung up.
Nikolai got his things together quickly. He debated between dressing like a tourist or all in black, but he decided that even though he may look suspicious, the black would assist him more in the long run. He dressed and put his gun in the back of his pants with his turtleneck untucked over it. He then headed out to the location on foot. The thick night air turned the corners of his lips into a smile. The buildings lessened as he got closer to the location and he found the trees thicken, giving him something new to fight through.
Nikolai stared up at the building cutting into the night sky. It looked like a small, old castle, and he felt a discomforting sense of familiarity as he stared at it. Nikolai watched for anyone patrolling the castle, but everyone seemed to be inside. He carefully walked around the edge of the building, watching for windows. He listened at some of them, waiting to hear Guy, but only silence hung in the air. He could only hear his boots crunching against the grass.
He snuck around the perimeter of the building, trying to peek into windows without being seen. As he neared one window, he heard stifled moaning. Nikolai held in a sigh as he carefully looked in. He watched Guy chained to the wall upside down with a guard pressed against him. He grit his teeth as Guy sucked off the guard, the guard biting down hoard on his bottom lip, gripping Guy’s leg to keep steady.
Nikolai suspected that Guy talked his way into this situation – the man’s release for his own. But that thought sent sparks of anger through his fingertips. He pulled out his Jericho and leaned close to the window. He looked at Guy’s closed eyes, but the guard let out a groan. He watched as the guard ran a hand along Guy’s chest. He raised his gun.
And with a small PHUT, the guard slumped over Guy and leaned against the wall.
Nikolai saw Guy’s brown eyes lock onto him in the shadows, and Nikolai let one side of his mouth raise into a smile. Guy wiggled his head away from his previous duties and mouthed, “Good job.”
Nikolai set two plastic explosives on the bars of the window, the explosives only making a small fizzling noise as the bars blew out before Nikolai could grab them. They clanged down against the ground. Nikolai froze, waiting to hear a swarm of guards coming to check on Guy, but the silence stayed.
He crawled down through the window and moved the guard onto the table. He searched the guard for keys, noticing a jar on lubricant on the table. Clearly, Guy promised the man could go as far as he wanted for his freedom.
He pulled the keys out of the guard’s inside jacket pocket and began unlocking Guy. Nikolai ignored the blood stains on Guy’s pants from his kill. Nikolai handed the keys to Guy and he hoisted himself up to undo the shackles on his legs. Guy muttered, “I started making noise, but this guard came over and told me to shut up. So I told him I could think of a way he could shut me up and I talked my way into it.”
“Please refrain from kissing me,” Nikolai replied.
“Serves you right for being late,” Guy said, manoeuvring himself back to his feet. “Jesus, you could have at least put the guy’s dick away.”
Nikolai raised a brow. “I have no intention of doing that.”
He watched as Guy gently tucked the man’s penis back into his pants before buckling up his belt and tucking in his shirt. Nikolai felt his shoulders soften. He ran his hands down Guy’s arms, caressing the raw area on his wrists. Guy grabbed the lubricant and slipped it into his jacket pocket. Nikolai pressed his lips against Guy’s ear and murmured, “I wish I put you here, but I suppose it would have been for a different reason.”
Guy’s voice cracked as he said, “We should go.”
Nikolai felt Guy press back against him as he released Guy. “Of course,” Nikolai murmured.
The pair walked to the small window. Nikolai helped prop Guy up so he could crawl out of it, and Guy helped pull Nikolai up through the window to follow suit. Nikolai wrapped his arm around Guy’s back to try to pull him away from the castle, his eyes darting around for any witnesses. He stared up at all the lighted windows, and it reminded him of a fairy tale his mother once read to him, where the prince fetched the damsel out of the dungeon while the evil queen threw a garish party above.
He listened to Guy’s heavy breath beside him, trying to push Nikolai’s arm off of him. Guy wasn’t much of a damsel. Nikolai pulled his arm off of Guy’s back once they reached the wood again. Guy grabbed the front of Nikolai’s shirt, saying, “Wait, wait. There’s something I have to do first.”
“I think it is important that we leave now,” Nikolai replied, surveying their surroundings. At least the brush helped to disguise their presence, but he did not know how long they could linger.
Guy fished a detonator out of his pocket. Nikolai rolled his eyes. Guy smiled and said, “If I don’t do my job, I don’t get paid. You understand that, right Mr. Wetsuit?”
Nikolai’s eyebrows knitted together into what he hoped appeared as a disapproving look. Guy went on the tips of his toes to nuzzle Nikolai in his attempt to pull a smile out of him. He pressed against Guy’s chest, trying to push him away. “I asked you to refrain from kissing me.”
Guy wrapped his arms around Nikolai. He could feel Guy’s detonator against his back as Guy tangled his fingers from one hand into his hair, forcing his head back as he kissed the exposed neck. He closed his eyes, focussing on the feeling of Guy’s body against his and of Guy’s moist lips crawling down his neck.
Nikolai heard the first explosion go off. Nikolai tried pulling away, but Guy’s hand kept Nikolai’s head firmly in place. Nikolai tried pushing Guy off of him again, and the pair separated. Nikolai folded his arms across his chest and began to walk away.
Guy hooked his fingers through Nikolai’s belt loops, trying to pull him back against him. Nikolai kept trying to walk, but Guy wrapped his arm around Nikolai’s waist. Nikolai slipped as Guy tried to press him against him. He squirmed as Guy bit his ear. “I want to screw you right here,” Guy murmured. “Consider it a thank you.”
“A nicer thank you would be back in the hotel room,” Nikolai replied, “away from this.”
He heard another explosion go off, a wave of heat washed over them. He tried to stay staring forward, and Guy grinded up against him. “But I want you now,” he said, running his hand down the inside of Nikolai’s thigh, “don’t you want me?”
“I do,” Nikolai sighed, pressing back against Guy as another explosion went off.
He could see the flames licking at the castle’s structure in his peripheral vision. He tried to focus on the feeling of Guy against him, not on the destruction. He closed his eyes tightly as Guy’s fingers pressed the detonator into his pants pocket. He felt Guy breathing against his neck, his hand worming down the front of his pants. “Then let me fuck you,” Guy murmured. “Let me fuck you while this place burns to the ground.”
“May I ask you something?”
Guy continued kissing his neck, and he felt Guy’s clammy hand wrap around his cock. Nikolai bit his bottom lip as Guy murmured, “Anything for you.”
Nikolai pulled Guy’s hand out of his pants and turned around to face Guy. He asked, “Why would you clean the guard up if you were just going to burn the place down?”
Guy shrugged. “No one wants to be caught with their pants down in a crisis.”
Nikolai’s eyes shifted upwards, looking at the castle burning behind Guy. He could see people running out of it, staring up to watch the flames lap out of the windows. “May we please just leave?” he asked.
He felt one of Guy’s hands crawl along his ass while the other pressed against his back. “Stay with me,” Guy said, staring hard into Nikolai’s eyes.
Nikolai felt the strength leaving his body as Guy’s eyes pulled him in. The flames behind him seemed to darken his eyes into pools of space. Guy leaned upwards to nuzzle him and whispered, “Stay with me,” again against Nikolai’s lips.
Guy kissed under Nikolai’s chin, and Nikolai sighed as he turned Guy around so he faced the destruction instead of him. He felt Guy press against him as he kissed Guy’s scratchy neck. Nikolai buckled under Guy, stretching out on the dewy grass. Guy hovered over Nikolai, pulling down his pants to reveal his boxer briefs.
Guy nuzzled Nikolai’s erection through the boxer briefs. Nikolai bucked playfully up against him, covering his eyes with his forearm to shield them from the sight of the blaze. He felt the warm air against his erection as Guy freed it, and then he felt Guy’s slick tongue tease the head of his erection. Nikolai curled his toes, licking his lips as Guy ran his tongue along the underside of his shaft.
Guy pressed a lubricated finger into Nikolai’s ass as he continued to suck. Nikolai grasped at Guy’s hair, squeezing his eyes shut as he imagined the people from the castle seeing his silhouette in the darkness. Guy’s finger pressed against him, and he murmured against Nikolai’s erection, “This isn’t going to work if you’re going to be tense.”
“Let me fuck you then,” Nikolai replied. “If memory serves me correctly, you’re always loose.”
Guy laughed, pulling a condom out of his pants pocket. Nikolai felt Guy slide on the condom and spread the lubricant along his erection, jerking him off gently. Guy pried open Nikolai’s hand to stuff the lubricant there and said, “Prep me, would you?”
Exhaling, Nikolai uncovered his eyes to dip a few of his fingers into lubricant before pressing one into Guy’s ass. He watched Guy stare at his own destruction, his eyes looking slightly sleepy as Nikolai slid another finger in.
Guy swatted Nikolai’s hand away and said, “That should be fine.”
Nikolai gently pressed into Guy, gripping his hips and nuzzling into his hair. He watched Guy grip into the grass, his mouth slightly agape as he stared at the castle burning. Nikolai tried to stare at Guy instead, pulling more of Guy onto his erection.
But he could see the flames in the peripheral vision. He could hear the shouts and screams from the people. He felt the heat wash over them.
The smile on Guy’s face sent a shiver through him.
“This isn’t going to work,” he murmured.
Guy bucked back onto him. Nikolai bit his bottom lip and pulled Guy on top of him as he stretched out on the grass. Nikolai felt the coarse hairs on Guy’s thighs as he started a pace against Nikolai. Nikolai bucked back weakly, staring up at the stars.
He groaned as Guy moved harder against him, feeling Guy tense around his cock as he pressed deeper inside of him. Smoke began to curl over the stars, and Nikolai closed his eyes. He tried to focus on the grunts coming from Guy and the smell of the grass. It smelt like a bonfire.
He groaned as Guy slammed down onto him, forcing all of him into Guy. Guy grabbed Nikolai’s hand and wrapped it around his erection. He ran his fingers lightly across Guy’s shaft, teasing him. He let his fingers drift across Guy as Guy roughly pressed back onto him. Nikolai opened his eyes as he heard Guy laughing. The light from the flames illuminated Guy’s profile. Sirens wailed in the distance. He could see the fire reflected in Guy’s brown eyes.
Guy quivered as he came with a groan. Nikolai stayed limp in the grass, his erection throbbing. Guy got off of him and turned around to face him. He kneeled in the grass, smiling. “Let me finish you off,” Guy purred, planting a firm grip on Nikolai’s erection.
Nikolai pushed Guy away. “I wish to leave,” he said, standing up.
Nikolai felt Guy’s eyes burrowing into him as he pulled up his pants, putting the condom into his pocket. Guy followed suit and said, “All right, sure.”
They walked cautiously through the forest, avoiding any searchlights or wandering civilians. Nikolai’s stomach turned and coiled, and whenever he turned his head to glance at Guy, Guy’s face seemed to glow as if the fire still illuminated it. Nikolai ran a hand through his blonde hair, staring straight ahead.
They exchanged no words as they entered the hotel and took the elevator together. Nikolai noticed Guy seemed to deflate the farther away from the scene they got. His shoulders slumped and his smile turned downwards. His strut turned to a regular pace and then to a saunter.
Guy struggled with the hotel key again, the card lock flashing red whenever Guy pulled the card out. He cursed and pushed Nikolai away when he tried to help. “I can do this,” Guy said.
He took a deep breath and waited for the red light to stop flashing. Then he put the card in and pulled it out at a regular, even pace. The light flashed green and Guy opened the door. He smiled at Nikolai, and he waved him in. As Guy shut the door behind him, Nikolai said, “I intend only to shower and leave. May I use your shower?”
Guy pushed Nikolai up against the wall. He said, “You don’t want to stay with me?”
Nikolai kept his arms at his side as he replied, “I have other plans.”
Guy looked at his watch. “It’s like four in the morning,” Guy said. “Where are you going to go?”
Nikolai felt Guy run his hands up his turtleneck, and he rolled his eyes back as Guy kissed his neck. Guy purred, “I really think you should consider staying.” Guy slid one of his hands down the back of Nikolai’s pants, the other hand crawled up his back, keeping Nikolai pressed close against him. Guy grinded up against Nikolai and bit his ear. “It would be worth your while.”
Nikolai shivered, and he nuzzled into Guy’s hair. He breathed in, but he only smelt the burnt ruins of the castle.
Guy firmly gripped Nikolai’s ass, digging his nails in. He said against Nikolai’s neck, “Why’re you so tense? Did you not enjoy watching me work?”
Nikolai swallowed. He pinpointed the source of his discomfort. He simply felt numb, even when Guy rode him, and just now he started to thaw. But they were alone now, and he felt Guy twined against him.
“A guy’s gotta eat, Mr. Wetsuit,” Guy said, releasing him. “You’re all fine with me killing sick fuck pedophiles, but when it comes to something bigger, you’re not okay with it.” He stared hard at Nikolai. “I’m not a good guy, Mr. Wetsuit.”
Nikolai returned Guy’s stare. His mind whirled as he tried to decide what it was about their exchange that set him off. When Nikolai pulled out the memory of the events that just passed, he felt like an observer, as if Guy used another body instead of his and he just watched as chaos raged around them.
“I don’t know you, Mr. Wetsuit,” Guy said, putting his hands in his pockets, “but, spy or not, I don’t think you’re a good guy either.”
Nikolai cupped Guy’s cheeks in his hand. He tilted Guy’s head upwards and stared into his eyes. “I am selfish,” Nikolai said.
Guy smirked as much as he could with his cheeks squished together by Nikolai. “Really? I couldn’t tell.”
“I do not find violence unsettling.”
Guy said, “Obviously. You didn’t think twice about killing that prisoner guard.”
Nikolai switched his grip to Guy’s neck. He kept his grip light and loose, but he felt Guy tensing against him. He almost smiled. “I find someone fucking me while staring at destruction unsettling. I am not aroused by seeing someone’s building burn down in the eyes of the person I am with, nor do I find myself aroused by someone else’s pain.”
“Says the man whose hand is around my throat.”
Nikolai released Guy and gave him a hard shove on the chest. “I appreciate you because I know you will be fine.”
Nikolai caught a flicker of rage on Guy’s face, but it faded. Guy grinned and said, “So I take it you only want to see your own reflection in my eyes.”
Nikolai exhaled. “Perhaps I would prefer just to see your eyes.”
Guy nodded and raised his brows. “My eyes…” He rubbed the scruff on his chin. “How about you just stare at the top of my head while I suck you off?”
“I should leave.”
“Come on, it’ll just be a few minutes,” Guy said, gripping the front of Nikolai’s turtleneck. “You’ll love it.”
“Maybe I don’t want to stare at your bald spot.”
Guy tensed. “My hair is as thick as ever.”
Nikolai smiled. Guy chuckled and pulled down the collar of Nikolai’s sweater to kiss the skin it revealed. Nikolai nuzzled back into Guy’s hair, kissing more of the salt than the pepper. He tried to pull Guy’s belt out of its loops. Guy grinded up against Nikolai, he grasped Nikolai’s ass as he stretched the neck of Nikolai’s shirt to bite into Nikolai’s shoulder. Nikolai dug his nails into Guy’s head and felt his cheeks burn and his legs weaken.
Guy pulled away to take off Nikolai’s turtleneck. Nikolai unbuttoned Guy’s shirt and stared at his lips, but he knew where else those lips had been. Nikolai unbuttoned his own pants and walked out of them and his boxer briefs as he headed to the bathroom. Guy followed, stumbling out of his pants and asked, “Thinking about killing two birds with one stone?”
Nikolai simply smiled as he tried to gracefully step out of his socks. Guy gripped at Nikolai’s hips, pulling him in to kiss his neck. He traced his hands down the inside of Nikolai’s thighs. Nikolai relaxed in Guy’s arms. Guy wrapped his arm around Nikolai’s waist and pulled open the shower curtain. Nikolai pulled Guy against him to nuzzle him, finding himself straining to regain his breath.
Guy murmured, “You don’t want me to kiss you,” as he turned on the shower. Nikolai kissed Guy’s scruff as Guy gently pulled at Nikolai’s erection. Nikolai felt his legs tense and relax. Guy purred, “Get into the shower, Mr. Wetsuit.”
Nikolai obeyed. He felt the warm water run along his back as Guy stepped into the tub and pulled the shower curtain closed. Nikolai closed his eyes as Guy traced his lips along Nikolai’s pelvis. Nikolai shivered and set his hands on Guy’s shoulders, remembering the nights on the cruise when he could see himself in Guy’s dark eyes.
Guy moved to kissing the base of Nikolai’s erection, running his thumbnail under the foreskin. Nikolai shivered and dug his nails into Guy’s shoulders. Nikolai frowned as he saw Guy smiling up at him. His muscles tensed as Guy slowly began jerking him off, moving at a teasing pace. He ran his fingers through guy’s hair, murmuring, “I may be in a rush, Mr. Solo.”
Guy ran his tongue along the underside of Nikolai’s shaft, squeezing his testicles with his free hand. Nikolai felt his shoulders grow heavy and heat throb in his cheeks. He had no intention of groaning for Guy to go faster. He felt Guy’s hand grip his hip as he jerked him off faster. He closed his eyes and bit his bottom lip, feeling Guy’s lips brush against the head of his erection. The lips murmured against Nikolai, “Do you like to be teased Mr. Wetsuit?”
Nikolai only responded by gripping Guy’s shoulder firmly. Nikolai felt Guy’s chuckle as he took the head of Nikolai’s erection into his mouth. As Nikolai tried bucking forward, Guy dug his nails into Nikolai’s hip to keep him steady. He felt Guy jerk him off harder, and he struggled to keep himself from squirming. He felt the strength leaving his legs, and he used his grip on Guy’s shoulders to keep himself steady. Guy pulled Nikolai against him as he took more of his erection into his mouth, and Nikolai found Russian words spilling from his mouth and mix with the hiss of the shower.
He gasped between his words, feeling Guy purr and suck him harder. Nikolai’s toes curled, and he pulled Guy against him as he bucked into his mouth. He groaned as he came, and he heard Guy cough and slap his chest. Nikolai quickly pulled out of Guy’s mouth and rubbed his back. Nikolai felt his head throb and his cheeks burn. “Sorry,” Nikolai said, sheepishly.
Guy smirked as Nikolai and stood up. “It’s fine,” he said, trying to disguise a laugh as a cough. Nikolai frowned. Guy continued, “You didn’t give me much of a warning.”
Nikolai wrapped his arms loosely around Guy’s waist. He felt a desire to squeeze him tightly to his chest. A big, tired part of him wanted to succumb and curl up in Guy’s hotel bed. But as Guy wormed out of Nikolai’s arms, Nikolai thought of Guy sliding away from him at night.
“It’s okay,” Guy said. “It happens to the best of us. I’ll just take it as a compliment.”
Nikolai watched as Guy slipped out of the shower. He gripped the ledge of the soap as he caught his breath. He thought about Guy sucking off the prison guard and frowned. His head still throbbed. Once he heard the water running as Guy brushed his teeth, Nikolai started to lather up and wash his hair. He tried to push Guy from his thoughts and remember the flight schedule. But whenever he closed his eyes, he’d see the flames in Guy’s eyes.
He stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He noticed his briefcase open on the bed through the door. “Did you find anything interesting?” Nikolai asked.
Guy smirked and said, “No. I’m just grabbing some clothes for you. I figured it would look suspicious for you to go out all dressed in black with a stretched turtleneck.” He tossed Nikolai a pair of his boxer briefs.
Nikolai caught his underwear with a raised brow. He dried off and stepped into them, feeling the coarse hotel carpet on his feet as he stepped off the tile. Guy pulled Nikolai close to him and kissed his nipple. “Now what are you going to wear, Mr. Wetsuit?” Guy said, fingering the shirts in Nikolai’s briefcase.
“I do not appreciate you going through my belongings.”
“You went through mine.”
Nikolai simply offered a cold stare, and Guy returned it with a smile. Nikolai grabbed his clothes off the floor, feeling Guy’s eyes crawl along his form. When Nikolai turned around, he found Guy laid out a polo shirt and khaki pants for Nikolai. Guy stretched out beside them. Nikolai folded the clothes in his arms into the briefcase and then looked down at Guy.
Guy said, “Now you can decide what you would prefer on your body.” He rubbed his chest.
Nikolai rolled his eyes and slipped on his khaki pants. “I do not have your stamina, Mr. Solo.”
“Then when are we meeting next?”
Nikolai tossed on his polo shirt over his head, and then he sat down on the bed beside Guy to put on his socks. Guy said, “We are meeting next, right?”
“Will I be a mere detour on one of your jobs?”
“My entire life is a job,” Guy said. “I don’t take vacations, Mr. Wetsuit.”
Nikolai relaxed back on the bed with Guy, turning his head to stare at him. Guy wormed closer to Nikolai. Nikolai leaned closer to kiss Guy, but Guy pulled away, smirking. Nikolai grabbed the back of Guy’s head, pulling him in for a kiss. He felt Guy nuzzle him and rub up against him. Nikolai opened his eyes slightly to stare at Guy through his eyelashes. He looked at his laugh lines and unmanaged eyebrows.
Guy pulled away first, outlining Nikolai’s jaw with a finger. Nikolai said, “Tell me when and where. If I can be there, I will be there.”
They discussed when next to meet while lying on the bed together. Nikolai noticed Guy shrunk away from him as they made the plans. They started with their noses touching and their lips almost colliding, but when they finished, Guy sat up a safe distance away from Nikolai. Nikolai frowned and sat up as well.
He stood up to close his briefcase and then moved to stand in front of Guy. He tilted Guy’s chin upwards with his hand and leaned down to gently kiss his lips. Guy shoved Nikolai off of him, smirking. “Get out of here,” Guy said. “I’ll see you soon, then you can give me a real kiss.”
Nikolai left the hotel room, his head filling with white noise as he moved. He took a cab to the airport, and he booked the first morning flight back home. He went back to reading his spy novel while he waiting for his flight, feeling some tension drift out of his body. He slept briefly on the plane, and a stewardess woke up him when the flight ended. “Sorry,” Nikolai said, wiping the drool off the corner of his mouth in what he hoped was the classiest way possible.
The stewardess smiled. “Did you know you talk in your sleep?”
“What?” Nikolai asked, trying to force any other accent out of his mouth. “Did it bother any of the other passengers?”
“I doubt anyone else heard it,” she said, leaning on a chair from her position in the aisle. Her eyes watched the last few passengers make their way off the plane under the eye of another stewardess. “I just noticed because I thought you asked me something when I walked by. So I leaned in and realized you were just mumbling in another language.”
“Oh,” Nikolai said, standing up. “I wasn’t aware I spoke in my sleep.”
He felt chilled as he pulled down his luggage. Did Guy always listen to his sleep-speak? The stewardess raised her thin eyebrows. “At least you know now to be careful what you dream about, right?” she joked, grinning.
Nikolai smiled back and slid past her to get off the plane. He felt his head throb and spin. He always dreamt about the same thing. Every time his head hit the pillow, the past crept back into his thoughts. Every night he’d relieve his actions. And every night he found himself making the same choices.
He turned on his phone as he walked out of the airport, and it immediately started to ring. “Kuryakin here,” Nikolai answered as he glanced at his watch.
Grier’s voice said, “Do you turn off your cell phone at night?”
“Sometimes,” Nikolai replied.
“Well get into the office ASAP. Something just happened. It might actually force Cox to put us on the field.”
“I will be there shortly,” Nikolai replied.
He stepped back into the airport and pulled a suit out of his briefcase. He quickly changed and placed his old clothes and his fanny pack back inside of the briefcase. He called a cab to rush to work, and he felt the weight of the briefcase weighing him down as he walked into the office. He knew he wouldn’t have time to stop to see Mags immediately, which meant he’d be carrying around his luggage until Cox gave them a break.
And from the way the staff rushed around the office, he wasn’t certain he’d get a break anytime soon. A hand on his shoulder tensed, but as he smelled the fruity hairspray, he relaxed. “Grier,” he said. “What is the emergency?”
“Let’s go to the conference room,” Grier said. “We haven’t heard much, but when Cox is going to tell us, he’ll tell us there.”
“Will you give me a moment?” Nikolai asked. “I forgot my shoulder holster at home.”
Grier nodded and watched as Nikolai pulled a spare shoulder holster out of one of his desk drawers. He opened his briefcase a hair to touch his gun inside his fanny pack. His heart sank into his stomach as he realized he carried the gun that killed the man from Guy’s mission. Nikolai closed his briefcase and said sheepishly, “I failed to remember my gun as well.”
Grier clicked his tongue against her teeth and narrowed her eyes. “It’s not like you to be sloppy.”
“I have a spare in my desk.”
Nikolai unlocked a drawer to pull out another gun and firmly secured it in his shoulder holster. He then moved his briefcase into the drawer and locked it. He stood up to put his suit jacket back on and as her brown eyes burrowed into him, he decided against telling Grier that he also forgot his identification. He wouldn’t need it anyway.
They walked into the conference room together and took two seats at the table. Nikolai draped his arm across the back of Grier’s chair as he glanced around the room. He recognized the faces (though none of the names) of the recruits from the office. He watched them tense under his cold stare, and Jackie squeezed his knee once she spotted his intimidation efforts.
“You’re older, more experienced, and smarter than the lot of them,” Grier said under her breath.
“Then why do we have the same job?” Nikolai asked bitterly.
“Because you fucked up once,” Grier said, “like I did. Remember, we’re in this together.”
Nikolai exhaled, but softened his face for Jackie. She smiled triumphantly, filing her nails under the table so no one else would notice. Nikolai took the spare moment to fantasize about Guy under the table, kissing his pelvis and promising sensual delights in vulgar language.
Nikolai shivered as he felt long fingers tousle his hair. “What are you so smiley about, Kuryakin?” Westermark asked, taking a seat beside Nikolai and moving his chair closer.
Nikolai felt his face harden instantly, and as Jackie smoothed Nikolai’s hair back out with her long nails. Steele remarked, “He’s probably just happy that Cox’ll probably put them back on the field. These new agents are too incompetent and wet behind the ears to handle it.”
As the other agents glowered at Steele, Nikolai felt contentment wash over him again. Until Steele said, “Now get away from Kuryakin, you big faggot,” to Westermark.
Nikolai almost stood up to threaten Steele, but Grier’s strong grip kept him in his chair. He tried to at least give Steele a death stare, but he caught Westermark waving his thick blonde brows at him and decided to just stare straight ahead.
Luckily Cox stormed in to give Nikolai something to look at. His boss looked pensive and slammed a thick folder down on the desk. Silence immediately followed as Cox’s small eyes ran along his agents’ firm faces. He stared, “The head branch of our parent company has been burned to the ground.”
More silence burned in the room. The silence continued until Westermark let out a sharp chortle. Nikolai spotted Steele’s long face turn to glare at Westermark before saying, “And what does E.V.E. want with us? I thought they disowned us.”
Cox rolled his eyes. “They did. We fear that whoever burned down E.V.E.’s establishment is picking off all of the agencies, which puts our main branch in danger.”
Nikolai felt his stomach turn, and he shifted his eyes to Jackie to see if she noted his discomfort. She didn’t. One of the other agents asked, “Any clues on who did it?”
“We’re not even sure who sent the men out to burn the place down,” Cox said.
“If a place is burned down, it sounds like Solo,” another agent noted.
“Some of E.V.E.’s agents report two men,” Cox said.
“Solo works alone,” Steele said, thoughtfully rubbing his chin.
“We’re going to send some of our own agents to the scene to make sure E.V.E. doesn’t let their incompetent agents cover the crime scene with flower petals.” Cox looked to Steele when he said, “I’m sending Kuryakin and Grier to investigate. They have more experience than the other agents, and I need you and Westermark here in case our own agencies start getting attacked.”
Nikolai felt himself sit stiffer in his chair, a smile lurking in the corner of his lips. Steele said, “With all due respect, sir, isn’t this assignment too important for those fuck-ups?”
Nikolai’s knuckles turned white against the chair’s armrest.
Cox’s eyes darted between Nikolai and Jackie as he remarked, “I think they both know what’s riding on this assignment. Everyone else can go about their business.”
The conference room began to thin out, and Nikolai heard Westermark remark to Steele with a chuckle, “Well at least we know what the fuss was about. It’s not everyday someone attacks the hippie strain of international espionage.”
Nikolai and Jackie stood as Cox approached them. He stuffed the file in Grier’s hands as he said, “Remember what I said. If you two fuck this up, that’s it, our relationship is over,” he stared hard at both of them before smiling through his beard. He continued, “But I believe both of you are more interested in shutting Agent Steele up.”
Grier smirked. Nikolai simply nodded.
“Everything’s in the file,” Cox replied, “including plane tickets to go over and investigate the scene. Get all the information you can directly into my hands, don’t let E.V.E. play their cards close to their chest. You don’t need to find out who’s behind it, just make sure E.V.E. doesn’t know either.”
“Yes sir,” Grier and Nikolai replied in near-unison.
Cox nodded once before leaving.
Grier exhaled and looked at the folder in her hand. “Shall we catch our flight?”
Nikolai replied, “Can we stop at my place for a moment? I left my identification at home.”
“You’re not going to fuck this up for me, are you?”
“That is why I wish to grab my identification.”
Grier smirked and shook her head as she walked out of the room with Nikolai. “Any reason why you’re forgetting everything today?”
“I slept too late,” Nikolai replied, “and left in a rush. I do not like to be rushed.” He added quickly to prevent more questions, “Is E.V.E. still the same since I left?”
“Depends, what were they like when you left?” Grier asked.
Nikolai shrugged. “Cox once told me to catch the ‘bad guys’ before E.V.E. did because the criminals rarely faced adequate consequences.”
“They’re worse then,” Grier replied. “Their policies seem more like a revolving door now. They hardly ever deal with crime unless it’s directly on their doorstep. I’ve gotta tell ya Kuryakin, it’s the oddest thing. What kind of espionage company lets the bad guys get away?”
“One that is rubbish?”
“Or one that’s seeing a kickback,” Grier replied.
“Do you suggest we do a bit of extra work while we are on the scene?” Nikolai asked, feeling the corners of his lips turning to a smile.
“That’s exactly what I suggest Kuryakin,” Grier replied.
As they walked out of their building, Nikolai wondered about his bullet waiting in the corpse for him. And he wondered if he could make the bullet disappear from the scene before Grier’s sharp eyes picked it up.