Episode Twenty: The Interrupted Affair
Nikolai Kuryakin scowled at the snow falling through the night sky as he walked into the A.B.E.L. building. He slipped through the tailor shop front as he brushed snow off his suit jacket, reminding himself that he’d have to pull out his winter coat soon. He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands as he showed his ID to the secretary. He passed Mags on the way to his desk, and she grabbed onto his sleeve. “Hey, Kuryakin.” Her eyes widened as she caught a glimpse of his face. “What happened to your face?”
“Oh, I just got punched on the job,” Nikolai said. “The swelling has gone down a lot.”
“I didn’t think you and Grier were on the field recently,” Mags said, rising onto her tiptoes to admire Nikolai’s black eye. “Shit, that’s quite the shiner.”
Nikolai just shrugged, hoping to stop the line of questioning.
Mags said, “Working the night shift?”
“Aren’t you a bit early?” she asked, smirking at him.
Nikolai smiled in response, stooping to try to look Mags in the eye. He said, “I planned to go for a swim beforehand.”
“The pool’ll be dead at this time. We were going to break for a late dinner in a couple of hours. You in?”
“Who is we?” Nikolai asked.
“Grier and me,” Mags said. “Maybe Hoffman if he can take a break.”
“Not Westermark or Steele?”
“No, you’re safe,” Mags said.
“Are we going somewhere, or are we just eating in the cafeteria?”
“I booked us a room in the cafeteria,” Mags said. “I mean, even if it’s just Grier and me, it’s fine. I just thought if you’d like to come…”
Nikolai smiled at Mags’ delicate, scarred face. He stared into her green eyes and said, “I would love to come.”
He watched a bit of colour rise into Mags’ cheek. “Okay,” she said. “I’ll see you then, I guess.”
Nikolai winked and then walked to his desk. Steele stood outside of his office, his arms folded across his chest. He frowned at Nikolai, and Nikolai returned it. He wasn’t sure if it was personal or if the man was just in a mood, but either way he had no intention of humouring him. Jackie already sat at her desk, absently typing up a report.
“You’re early,” she said.
“I thought we could go for a swim before work,” Nikolai said.
“It’s six in the evening,” Grier said.
Nikolai smiled hopefully at Grier. He knew most people would be eating, so the pool would generally be free. She raised her eyes to look at him, and he leaned over his desk, trying to charm his way into a swim with a smile.
She tousled his hair. “Fine,” she said. “But you’re buying me dinner.”
“Have you ever paid for a dinner since we met?” Nikolai asked.
“No,” Grier said, “and I’m saving a fortune. I’m thinking about putting a pool in.”
“You live in an apartment.”
“That’s why it’ll be so expensive to put in,” Jackie replied, winking.
The pair grabbed their swimwear and went to the pool, feeling the chlorine fill the air as they neared it. They changed and found the pool empty when they entered the room. “Perfect,” Nikolai said, stretching.
Jackie followed suit, and her eyes quickly dropped to Nikolai’s bathing suit. “Jesus, can you find anything smaller?”
Nikolai frowned, self-consciously pulling down the edges of his baby blue swimsuit. “I wore a square-leg suit instead of swim briefs so you would not make fun of me again.”
Grier said, “Your boys are trying to escape out of there.”
“You always say the same thing,” Nikolai said. “They are quite contained, and I like to keep them together so I can swim faster.”
“I am going to buy you a pair of swim trunks,” Jackie said, pulling her hair back into a bun. “And you are going to wear them every time you swim with me.”
“Do my genitalia make you uncomfortable?” Nikolai asked.
“Niko, your genitalia in that swimsuit would make an elephant uncomfortable,” she said, laughing and hitting his back.
“I never comment on your swimsuit,” Nikolai replied, trying not to laugh in reply.
“That is because I’m wearing a modest maillo,” Jackie replied, using her hands highlighting her plain, black one-piece swimsuit like a model. “Also I don’t have any junk hanging about. It’s easier to hide the lady bits.”
“I could comment on your breasts.”
“Nikolai, you are the last person who would comment on my breasts. Westermark would comment on them before you do.”
“I appreciate breasts just fine,” Nikolai replied, putting on his goggles.
“Well,” Jackie said, “you better start appreciating my ass, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of it today.”
Nikolai opened his mouth to reply, but Jackie dove into the water. He quickly followed suit, and they wordlessly did laps, keeping track of each other’s score. Nikolai loathed how Jackie’s body just sliced through the water. She made him feel gangly and uncoordinated, but it had been a while since he had a decent challenge in the water.
The two swam until Jackie switched to floating on her back, and Nikolai did a few more laps to catch up. When he finished, he swam up to her and said, “You cheat.”
“Yes,” Grier said. “It is true, I freeze time.”
Nikolai shook his head. “You always jump into the water first and surprise me.”
“We’re spies. You should be used to surprises by now,” Grier said, grinning.
Nikolai frowned and folded his arms across his chest. He looked up as he heard the door to the pool close, and he saw Westermark walk in. Jackie stopped floating on her back to look. She muttered under her breath to Nikolai, “I take back everything I said about your swimsuit.”
Westermark stretched at the edge of the pool, pretending not to notice Jackie and Nikolai. He wore a white speedo with a green racing stripe on either side of it, and his generous ass stretched it tightly, allowing the front to reveal the distinct outline of his penis to Nikolai.
Nikolai tried to keep his mouth closed as Westermark turned around, bending over as he stretched. Nikolai’s minds shot to a fantasy where Westermark’s ass broke out of the swimsuit so he could grope it. His eyes crawled across Westermark’s muscular body, and the thick, blond hair curling across it.“Well, I’m going to go gouge out my eyes,” Grier said, patting Nikolai on the arm.
“Jackie,” Nikolai whispered. “I cannot leave the pool.”
Jackie raised a brow. “What? Why?”
Nikolai frowned, his cheeks burning. “Westermark’s swimsuit.”
Grier snorted with a smirk. “That ass is your problem, not mine. I’ll see you upstairs.”
Jackie climbed out of the pool, and Nikolai hissed, “Wait! We are supposed to be partners!”
Jackie leaned over the edge of the pool and cooed, “You wouldn’t want me to be your partner in this fantasy.”
Nikolai said, “You are buying your own dinner tonight.”
“We’ll see,” she said, waving as she left the pool.
So Nikolai stood in the pool, trying to think of anything that would make his erection disappear. But Westermark stretched again, his ass reaching out towards Nikolai. Nikolai thought of pulling it against his pelvis to grind up against it. He’d nibble into Georg’s shoulder and muss up his perfect hair. Turning away, Nikolai started into a breakstroke, hoping to keep his cock hidden from sight.
He heard Westermark wade into the water and say, “I notice you’re looking a little battered, Kuryakin.”
Nikolai didn’t respond. He simply continued swimming. Georg folded his arms across his chest, keeping his head above water.
Westermark said, “Do I see scratch marks on your back?”
Nikolai stopped swimming, feeling himself cool down. “Fuck off, Westermark.”
Georg Westermark grinned. “I can see bite marks on your shoulder. Who have you been fucking, Kuryakin?”
Nikolai rolled his eyes, and he turned his back to swim again.
“That’s quite the shiner,” Westermark said. “Are you into that?”
“Westermark, I am simply trying to swim. Please leave me alone.”
“I saw you and Grier doing laps. Were you racing?”
“Do you think you can beat me?”
“I know I can beat you, Westermark,” Nikolai said, “because you wouldn’t even put your hair under the water.”
Westermark raised his green eyes to his head, as if he could see his pristine golden blonde hair.
Nikolai winked and started doing laps again, and he found himself surprised when Westermark dove into the water to join him. Westermark shouted insults the sound of the water covered up. Nikolai counted himself as a few laps ahead, and when he somersaulted under water to turn around, he found his head hitting Georg’s stomach.
He emerged from the water, coughing, and Georg put a hand on Nikolai’s back. “Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to hit you.”
Nikolai glared at him, hoping his eyes would pierce through Georg’s stupid grin. Westermark absently tried to style his hair as he said to Nikolai, “I let you win, you know. You seem like you needed a win.”
“Because of all these bite marks,” Westermark said, grinning. “You must have been attacked by a wild animal.”
“Fuck you, Westermark.”
Nikolai swam towards the edge of the pool, but Westermark swam after him, grabbing Nikolai’s shoulder. “You don’t want to talk to me, Kuryakin?”
“You don’t want to tell me about the creature who gave you these scratches?” Westermark asked, running his fingers along Nikolai’s back. He pushed his lips against Nikolai’s ear as he said, “He must have been quite the beast.”
Nikolai felt a shiver run through him again. He turned around, letting his eyes drop to Westermark’s thick chest hair. “No,” he repeated.
Westermark’s eyes dropped to Nikolai’s bathing suit, and he raised his eyes quickly again to meet Nikolai’s. He tried to style his hair again and said, “You know, it hasn’t been easy for me to be gay in A.B.E.L.”
“I imagine a person of your personality would encounter difficulties regardless of sexuality,” Nikolai said, his eyes narrowing.
Westermark smirked. “You’re just jealous because I’m comfortable being who I want to be.” He softened, and rubbed his arms before adding, “It’s been rough, and I know people don’t like me – especially people like Steele – but I’m good at my job, Kuryakin. And people respect that because we put our jobs first here.”
Nikolai simply said, “I am comfortable with who I am.”
“Sure,” Georg said. “But I don’t have to sneak off to have a screw – I could fuck someone in my office if I wanted to – and I don’t have to come into work early to swim off erections.”
Nikolai frowned, and his cheeks burned. “Fuck you,” he repeated. “Perhaps I do not feel the need to define myself by my sexuality and the notches in my headboard.”
Georg snorted. “It’s not like you’re defining yourself with anything else, aside from a short temper and a series of fuck-ups.”
Nikolai swung at Westermark, but the water slowed him down. Westermark blocked the hit and tried to put Nikolai in a headlock. Nikolai clawed at Westermark’s back as his feet slipped against the bottom of the pool. Westermark said, “I’m just saying I’m happy I can be in a relationship.” He tightened his grip around Nikolai, seemingly ignoring Nikolai’s nails digging into his skin. “I mean, I want to find someone to spend my life with, and when I find that person I won’t have to hide him from anyone.”
Westermark loosened his grip, and Nikolai pushed Georg off of him. He simply glared at Georg. His cheeks felt as if they were being burned off from beneath the skin. Westermark smiled and winked, and Nikolai climbed out of the pool. He snatched up his towel and wrapped it around his waist. Westermark shouted, “There’s more to life than this job, Kuryakin!”
Nikolai stomped out of the room, and he skipped the showers, fearing that Georg would find him there. He changed, thinking about Westermark’s hairy arms coiling around him. He felt a jealousy mixing with his sexual frustration. He wanted Georg’s confidence, sure, but he also wanted someone who wanted a partner. Maybe he stayed with Guy simply because he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about being gay in A.B.E.L. in the long-term.
He moved into the bathroom and slid into a stall. He wanted Guy, he couldn’t deny that, but he also wanted someone to spend his forever with – however short that would be. He thought perhaps Guy was bending his way, but he could not be certain. And even if Guy wanted him, he feared that Guy would leave him anyway out of stubbornness. An image of Westermark’s ass pressing against that swimsuit came to him again. The shiver ran through him as he thought of Georg’s fingers on his back, his breath against his ear.
If only Westermark didn’t talk.
He locked the stall door, deciding to handle the situation before it arose again. He thought of running his eyes along Westermark’s muscular back before letting them land on Georg’s ass again. He pulled down his pants and sat on the toilet as he thought of snapping Westermark’s tight swimsuit.
Nikolai took a deep breath and ran his fingers along his erection, relaxing against the toilet tank. He closed his eyes and traced the head of his cock with his fingers, thinking about it teasing the edges of Westermark’s ass. He slowly began to jerk himself off, imagining the feeling of his cock pressing against Georg’s ass. He bit his bottom lip, thinking about Georg groan as he bucked back onto his cock. As he focussed on the fantasy, he moved his hand quicker.
He’d slap Westermark’s ass before gripping his hips to fuck him harder. Nikolai bucked into his hand as he thought of Georg’s ass bucking back onto him. He let a breath escape his lips as he tightened his grip, jerking himself off harder. Georg would groan as he’d feel his pelvis grinding up against Georg’s ass. He curled his toes, feeling his body arch. He gritted his teeth to keep from groaning as he felt himself spilling on his fingers. He grabbed toilet paper to keep himself contained while he finished up. He thought of Georg begging him to slam harder into his ass. He bit his bottom lip, tasting his tinny blood as he came.
Nikolai cleaned up quickly, and when he stepped out of the stall he threw water on his face. He felt slightly numb. It had been a while since someone other than Guy was the subject of his fantasies. He hated Westermark for making him doubt his relationship with Guy. He sighed as he stared at his hard face in the mirror. Who was he kidding? He barely had a relationship with Guy. Guy constantly gave him signals that he wanted more out of the relationship, but Guy’s stubbornness constantly pushed him away.
His thoughts began to knit together as he walked back up to his desk. He barely noticed Jackie twine her arm with his. “Where’ve you been?” she asked. “We were just about to grab dinner.”
Nikolai rubbed his face. “Right, I forgot. Just let me drop off my things.”
Grier and Nikolai walked back to their desks, and Nikolai set his duffle bag underneath his desk, checking his pants’ pocket for his wallet. Mags started walking up to them, offering a wave. Nikolai turned his head and noticed Georg working in his office. Westermark’s green eyes rose to look at Nikolai, and Nikolai turned away.
Jackie said, “You reek of chlorine. Did you shower?”
“I couldn’t,” Nikolai said. “Westermark was there.”
“Hey!” Mags said. “Are you ready for dinner?”
Steele stepped out of his office, and Nikolai heard Westermark start to move away from his desk. Steele shouted, “I’m taking a break, Westermark. You have to stay on duty.”
Georg stepped out of his office and scoffed. He shouted back, “What are you talking about? I have to eat too, you know.”
“You just started your shift,” Steele said. “I need my break now.”
“Oh god,” Grier said, “They’re trying to have dinner with us.”
“Let’s go now,” Mags said, tugging Nikolai’s hand.
Nikolai draped his arm across Mags’ shoulder as they walked out of the office. Grier began to press the elevator button, and Mags said to Nikolai, “You smell of chlorine. I guess you managed to go swimming?”
Nikolai said, “Yes, I still haven’t clocked in though. I guess I will after dinner.”
When the elevator door opened, the trio piled in. Grier began pressing the door closed button as she saw Steele charge towards them. Steele slipped into the elevator before the door closed. “Where are we going for lunch?” Steele asked.
“Grier, Kuryakin, and I are eating in a private room in the cafeteria,” Mags said, upturning her nose. “We have things to talk about.”
Steele peeled Nikolai’s arm off of Mags and stood between them. “What would you have to talk about that is so private?” Steele asked, raising a brow as he glanced at Nikolai.
“Girl talk,” Mags said.
“Kuryakin is not a girl,” Steele said.
Jackie snorted, and Nikolai shot her a deadly look.
“Well, he makes me feel comfortable,” Mags said.
“I don’t understand why the three of us never hang out anymore,” Steele said, his shoulders sagging. “I get tired of constantly having to watch over the newbies while I eat my dinner.”
Nikolai felt a pang of sympathy for Steele. He liked Steele once, but he knew it was Mags’ call on whether or not Steele would be invited. Grier glanced at Nikolai, and he shot her another look. He did not like being called a girl.
Mags sighed. “Fine,” she said. “But I am going to talk about all my lady habits.”
Steele snorted. “We’ve been stuck in a van together for a week while you were menstruating. I know all of your lady habits. I even left the van once to get you more feminine hygiene products, do you remember?”
Mags huffed. Silence hung in the elevator while it crawled down to the cafeteria floor. Nikolai feared it would be a long lunch, and he had no desire to be alone with his thoughts. Steele broke the silence to say, “Nice shiner, Kuryakin.”
Nikolai chose not to respond. When the elevator door opened, Steele grabbed the sleeve of his shirt, holding him a step back from Grier and Mags.
As they stepped off the elevator, Steele said, “Why don’t you two grab the room, and Kuryakin and I will get the food. We’ll do all the serving.”
Grier winked at Nikolai. Nikolai stiffened. It looked like he would be buying dinner after all. “Fine,” Mags said. “Take your time.”
Nikolai saw the line-up and sighed. Steele said, “Kuryakin, we need to talk.”
“Since when do we talk?”
“I want to talk to you about Mags.”
Nikolai frowned as he walked through the cafeteria line. He grabbed two plates, and he debated what he should bring to Grier for dinner. She wasn’t picky, so he couldn’t insult her by bringing a specific dish.
“I think she avoids me,” Steele said.
Nikolai snorted. He reached to scoop some olives onto his plate while he replied, “Why do you think she does that?” Nikolai asked.
“I think she blames me for what happened to her.”
“You told her not to go into the building,” Nikolai said. “You told her it was all clear. Are you getting her dinner or am I?”
“I’ll get hers, you get Grier’s,” Steele said.
“Mags does not like olives.”
“Thank you,” Steele said. “It was still my fault. She thought there were people left in the building, and there were. I should have went in instead of her.”
“Why?” Nikolai asked. “Because she is a helpless female?”
Steele scoffed. “Partly,” he said, “but partly because she couldn’t lug any bodies out of that building if she found someone.”
“I think that is why Mags avoids you,” Nikolai said.
“Because my strength intimidates her?”
Nikolai almost laughed. “Because you treat her like she is useless,” Nikolai responded. “I let Mags do everything she wants to do, because I know she can do it.”
“Jesus Christ, Kuryakin. The girl has one arm.”
Nikolai sighed as he just began piling on everything he passed to his and Jackie’s plates. He said, “But she handles herself just fine. She is not on the field anymore, and she hardly needs protection from everyday things at the office.”
Nikolai raised his eyes to look at Steele. Steele stared at the salad, tongs in hand, his eyes glazing over. Nikolai said, “So you like Mags?”
Steele scoffed. “Of course I like Mags,” he said. “But she won’t give me the time of day. I thought she blamed me for what happened – God knows I blamed myself enough – but if it’s something more personal than that,” Steele’s voice trailed off.
“Just stop treating her the way you do,” Nikolai said.
“But it’s gentlemanly,” Steele said.
“But it makes her feel useless,” Nikolai replied. “And Mags likes feeling useful.”
“I would make it so she doesn’t have to do anything,” Steele said.
“Then maybe you are not for her, Steele,” Nikolai said.
Steele set down his tray. “But I want her.”
Nikolai glanced at Steele. He wondered if this was how Guy saw him. “Well, you will not get her by behaving like this,” Nikolai said.
“I can’t see why she’d like you and Hoffman. I mean, Hoffman’s fat and lazy and you’re a complete jerk. And she likes both of you just fine.”
“But I am not a jerk to her. I listen to her, and I let her do the things she likes to do,” Nikolai said, “and Hoffman lets her do everything on her own.”
“But I want her to be safe,” Steele said.
“She is safe,” Nikolai said. “Why are you asking me if I am not going to tell you what you want to hear?”
Steele looked at Nikolai. “Are you going to make me say it?”
“I do not understand,” Nikolai said.
Steele waited while a few agents passed them, clearly disgruntled by the bottleneck the two created. Steele’s eyes narrowed at Nikolai as he said, “I don’t have anyone else to talk to.”
“Right,” Nikolai said. “Sorry.”
“I even talked to Cox so I would be paired with Mags instead of Hoffman,” Steele said. “I told some lie about how I feared you would simply try to get into Mags’ pants.”
Nikolai chuckled. “And Cox bought it?”
“Well, I ended up with her, didn’t I?” Steele asked, flashing a grin. He wrapped an arm around Nikolai’s shoulders and said, “Come on, let’s treat our ladies to a meal.”
Nikolai rolled his eyes, and he wondered what Mags thought of Steele. He recalled Steele ruffling her feathers when they worked together, but she hardly broached the subject now. As Steele and Nikolai finally sat down with Grier and Mags, Hoffman rushed into the room. He grasped his chest, catching his breath.
“Kuryakin,” Hoffman said. “Kuryakin, someone’s in your house.”
Nikolai sat up, “What?”
“Your alarm went off,” Hoffman said.
“Some kids probably just broke in,” Nikolai said, standing up. “Make sure Cox knows I came here, I have not clocked in yet, and when I come back I will be late.”
“Sure,” Hoffman said. “I’ll let him know.”
“How are you getting there?” Jackie asked, a baby carrot breaking between her teeth. “I can give you a lift.”
“I will walk,” Nikolai asked, watching as Hoffman quickly left the room. He stood at the doorway and added, “I have long legs.”
“All right,” Jackie said.
Mags said, “Let us know how it goes.”
“Of course,” Nikolai replied, offering a half smile.
Nikolai left A.B.E.L. headquarters and briskly walked home, ignoring the snow starting to loiter on his jacket. His house had been broken into several times before, simply by hoodlums in the neighbourhood, but he worried this time Guy broke in, either for a booty call or something else. Knowing that Hoffman likely listened to any activity on Nikolai’s house, Nikolai would keep Guy quiet and lead him someone else to talk.
He took a deep breath before opening the door to his house. Guy stood in the living room, and he turned around when Nikolai entered. “Nikolai! Thank God,” Guy said. He stepped closer, grabbing the front of Nikolai’s suit jacket.
Nikolai pressed a finger to his lips and shook his head. Guy knitted his brows. “No,” Guy said. “No, you don’t understand. Cain’s trying to kill you. He’s hired me to do it.”
Nikolai’s eyes widened, and he placed a hand on Guy’s back. He opened his mouth to reply, but his front door burst open again, this time with A.B.E.L. agents piling through the door. He recognized some of the new recruits as they pulled Guy away from him. Anger rushed through him just like the agents rushed through his home. The agents swarmed them, prying them apart. Nikolai clenched his teeth, rage bubbling behind his eyes. He felt himself struggling against arms pulling at him. How dare they invade his privacy like this?
Nikolai reached out to grab Guy, and Guy tried to push some of them away. “Nikolai!” he shouted. “Nikolai, stay inside A.B.E.L! Don’t leave!”
Nikolai shoved the agents grasping him away. “Don’t hurt him!” Nikolai shouted.
Guy reached out towards Nikolai, and Nikolai reached out in response. He felt the tips of their fingers brush against each other. “Don’t hurt him!” Nikolai repeated. Then he felt Steele’s fist against his face. Twice.
After he fell to the ground, Nikolai Kuryakin felt nothing at all.