Chapter 14 - ĎPansy enough for you?í
After about five minutes of
driving at their reckless speed, Scott finally slowed the car down and looked to
see how Jason was for the first time. Jason was sitting rigidly in his seat, the
gun still clasped in his jittering hands. Scott took it from him gingerly.
"Whoa there sport, you don't want that thing going off again!" he returned it to the glove compartment and closed it. He looked at Jason who had taken on a greenish tinge. "Dude, you don't look so well..."
"Can you stop the car please?" Jason asked very softly, his voice trembling.
Scott slowed the car and pulled over to the side of the road. Jason flung his door open and sank to his hands and knees on the ground. Scott heard the distinctive sounds of dry heaving.
"Hey, are you alright?"
Jason sat up and turned to face him as he wiped his mouth. He wore a pained and confused expression. "I-I-I..." He stuttered. "I just killed a man!" He turned away quickly and wretched again.
Scott got out of the car and moved around to crouch by
Jason. "Look, if it helps at all, he was trying to kill you first!" Scott tried to reassure him. Jason turned back to him and glowered. Scott got the message and sighed, "No, I didn't think it would..." He reached out tentatively and rubbed Jason's shoulders and back.
Jason, for his part, began shuddering even more, trying not to react to Scott's touch. 'Damn it!' he cursed under his breath. 'Why do all of these straight guys keep touching me? It's driving me crazy.' He tilted his head back and looked up at the clouds drifting lazily overhead. 'All I wanted was Matt, and now it seems like every guy I meet wants me. I wonder if Scott even knows what he's doing?'
Jason stood, careful not to touch Scott as he did so. He looked about him and then caught the worried look on Scott's face. "I'll be fine. But we should get going again." He got back in the car and closed the door.
Scott stood for a moment outside. He tried to convince himself that his concern for Jason was simply because if he didn't deliver Jason in one piece to Sara, he wouldn't get paid. But was that really all it was? Sighing, he rubbed his eyes and banished all thoughts from his head before rejoining Jason in the car. He started the engine again and they took off down the road, a swirling dust devil and a cooling pool of Jason's vomit the only signs of their passing.
Jason did seem to be feeling better, as far as Scott could tell. He quickly lost his pallor and in face, after barely more than fifteen minutes Jasonís head had slumped to the side and his breathing became even.
Scott pushed his hair back from his eyes and studied Jason's sleeping face. He couldn't tell what, but he felt there was something special about Jason. "Something special indeed." He said very quietly and then returned his attention to the road.
* * *
Matt was jolted out of his trance by the sound of a gunshot by his head. He leapt to his feet and stared wildly. Ashley looked back at him from the chaise lounge. "Jason!" he cried.
Ashley leapt to her feet as Matt tried to run to the balcony. She stood in the marble archway, blocking his way.
"Please Ash, I have to find him. Something's happened, I can tell."
She shook her head, "Matt, you know you canít. Ophiel is, as always watching. If you go down to Jason he will see you and then Miriam will track you both down. If you ever want to be able to see Jason again, please don't go." She looked into his eyes and pleaded "Please, as much for him as for me. I don't want to loose you too."
Matt hung his head in resignation. "Of course, you're right. I'm just worried about Jason..."
She hugged him, her thin arms circling his chest. "I know, I know you are. I could open a window and see what's going on if you want..."
"But then Miriam will know. She'd come give you hell for it." Matt asked worriedly.
Ashley grinned, "Actually, I spoke with Tobias. He has authorized me as Jason's temporary watcher, with restrictions however. All I can do is watch. Do you want me to?"
Matt nodded silently and she took her seat again on the chaise. She spread her hands in the air in front of her and moved them apart. Matt moved around to stand beside her shoulder. Clouds obscured the view in the window, until suddenly the view shot down. The window seemed to fall through the air and Matt began to make out details. The picture rapidly zoomed in on a car traveling down a small road and then through the roof of the car.
Jason's face stared back up at them, peaceful in sleep. Matt sank to his knees and stared lovingly at his face. He reached out a hand to stroke Jason's cheek, but when his hand touched the window it dissolved in a fine mist.
They sat in silence for a moment, and then Ashley sighed. "Sometimes I think Tobias is the only one left who isn't afraid to openly defy Miriam. And he's so old now... They say he can still remember the Old Days, when Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and the others still held sway..." She looked up at him plaintively. "You don't think Miriam would ever...?"
Matt shook his head, "She wouldn't dare. There would be hell to pay if anything ever happened to him. Besides, I think Tobias can still hold his own." Matt smiled weakly. "He rarely displays his powers anymore, but I remember the stories of The War." Matt's eyes shifted out of focus as he spoke. "The teacherís would tell us stories when we were young. They said he was beautiful and terrible in battle. He could have taken the fighting to the gates of Hell and beyond, but he recognized the necessity of balance." Matt came back to reality and shook his head. "No, Miriam wouldn't dare to face him."
* * *
The cougar woke from its sleep and stretched, preparing for its nocturnal activities. As he slipped form his den, a strange, new aroma teased at his nose. He sniffed, long and hard to find the direction of the odor and then bounded down, across the rocks. His cat eyes picked out the trials and tracks of other animals that had passed during the day, from the fading light of sunset. The odor grew stronger as he neared, and his hormones began to pulse. He panted as if in heat and tore through the undergrowth to find the source.
He neared a road and his ears flicked back so they lay flat across his head. He looked warily about and then dashed out from the undergrowth onto the road. The smell was all around him now, almost overpowering. His slit-like eyes scanned the ground searching for the source.
He padded softly across the tarmac road and crouched by a small pool of cooled vomit. He tested the spore of it curiously and his hormones peaked. He extended his tongue and lapped tentatively at the vomit.
His pupils dilated in a flash and he leapt back from the pool. He raised the hair on his hackles and hissed loudly. Then his muscles started to ripple under his fur as they grew and bulged. He growled and screeched in pain as his body developed and expanded until he was twice his original size. Screeching horribly, he raced off back into the undergrowth, his now massive paws tearing up the ground with every step.
Barely ten minutes later a man strode alone, up the road, heading in the same direction Scott and Jason had taken. He had short, jet-black hair and deep deep eyes, broad shoulders, narrow waist and chiseled features. He stopped by the pool of vomit and crouched. He dipped two fingers into the now congealing liquid and brought them to his nose. He sniffed them and then jerked his hand away from his face. He withdrew a sanitary hand cloth and cleaned his fingers before laying the cloth over the vomit. When he was finished, he stood and looked up the road the way Scott and Jason had fled.
"Well, well, well, Mr. Parker. You certainly are just full of surprises." He had a faintly British accent, reminiscent of old, Elizabethan England, but a strong and powerful voice. "Very soon Mr. Parker. Very soon, I shall be making your acquaintance."
* * *
Scott pulled into the compound a few hours after sunset. Sara was waiting for him. She spotted the scratches and dents from the bullets immediately.
"What took you so long, and what the hell happened to your car?" she asked anxiously.
"Shhh!" he quieted her. "Jason's sleeping." He explained in a whisper "We hand a bit of an encounter with Damien." He caught her alarmed look and continued quickly. "Jason's fine, just a bit shaken up is all. I'll explain everything in my report."
She nodded her acceptance, "I'll wake him then and take him up to his room." She moved to open Jason's door.
Scott didn't know why, but he suddenly felt as if he wanted to take Jason there himself. As if he needed to. He stepped forwards and opened the door himself, blocking her way to the car at the same time. "It's ok. No need to wake him, I'll carry him up." Before she could argue, he stooped and picked Jason up in his arms and carefully withdrew him from the car. "Bring his bag will you? It's in the back. Guest quarters right?" he asked over his shoulder and then strode off without waiting for her answer, Jason held tightly in his arms.
Sara stood staring after them for a few moments, half fuming at being degraded to 'bag carrier' and half in awe of the effect Jason seemed to have on men.
* * *
Jason awoke in an unfamiliar four-poster bed about midmorning, judging from the light streaming in through the window.
"Now why does this seem like such a familiar start to the day?" he jokingly asked the room. He sighed and realized he hadn't actually minded it when he knew he'd get to see Matt. Now though, he looked about the room with apprehension. The walls were made of massive cut stone blocks and were draped at intervals with tapestries. There were only two doors, and the one that was open, he could see through into a marble bathroom.
He looked surreptitiously under the sheets at his boxers. "Well, at least I'm not naked this time."
He swung his legs over the side of the bed and his feat met a warm, fur rug that covered the floor. Looking around the room, he saw his bag, sitting, emptied by an ornate wardrobe. He opened it and found his clothes neatly put away. He grabbed a clean outfit and tossed on the bed. The bathroom was likewise set up, with all his stuff placed neatly about.
"Gee," he said to himself as he climbed into the shower. "Sara really has become one of those obsessive compulsive types... She needs to get out more."
* * *
After showering, brushing his teeth and getting dressed, Jason opened the other door a crack and peeked outside. It opened into a long stone hallway, with one wall open to the air by stone arches and a low wall. He stepped to the edge and looked down into a courtyard. There seemed to be no one about. He looked to his sides and spotted what looked like a stairway leading down, over to his right. As he walked, he passed several closed doors, some with names on them. He recognized none and so kept walking. The stairs led down and had sconces along the wall for torches.
"I feel like I've been thrown back in time a couple hundred years. This is so weird."
Finally reaching the bottom of the stairs, he looked across the gardened courtyard to a large, metal enforced, wooden door. He made his way around to it, eased it open and slipped outside.
The ground was made of hard packed dirt, but at least the other buildings looked fairly modern. There was the noise of cheerful but boisterous eating coming from one of the large buildings. A sign above the double swinging doors proclaimed it to be the 'Mess'. He pushed his way through the doors and all sound seemed to cease.
He had entered a room full of perhaps three hundred people in army garb. He felt all six hundred eyes lock onto him and the tight black side zip sweater and jeans he was wearing. He slowly walked to the canteen, his footsteps echoing loudly in the silence. He looked at a few of the faces and tried not to show his surprise as the expressions of women and some of the men changed from glares to lust as he passed them by. He grabbed one of the trays, utensils and moved around the self-service canteen, taking things that looked edible.
He reached the end and picked up his tray, looking about for somewhere to sit. He was getting really uncomfortable with everyone staring at him. He felt like running out then and there, but with everyone already staring at him he didn't want to attract more attention. Someone whistled from the far end of the room. He turned to see Scott, gesturing him to sit with him and his companions. Jason made his way down to his table, trying not to let his ass swing too much as he walked. God, he'd never felt so self-conscious in his life! Scott made his companions make room for Jason next to him and Jason thanked them before taking his seat on the bench. A murmur of voices seemed to fill the air as he did so. Jason picked at his food nervously. He could still feel numerous eyes on him.
"Why is everyone staring at me?" Jason asked Scott out of the side of his mouth.
Scott grinned. "Beats me, but judging by some of the looks you're getting from the girls, I'd sat they think you're hot."
Jason felt himself going red in the face.
All talking ceased for the second time as heavy footsteps sounded across the hall and Jason looked up to see a burly guy bearing down on their table. He had brownish hair, a chest like a barrel, biceps to match and a face that reminded Jason strangely of a pug dog. He looked pretty young though, early twenties if Jason had to guess.
"Trouble?" Jason asked Scott.
Scott just looked grimly at the muscular man approaching them. The man reached the table and with one hand shoved the people seated near Jason and Scott off the table. They quickly picked themselves up backed away with many a dirty look at the man.
Scott stared hard at the man. "You don't want to do that Kevin," he warned.
"Oh, and why not?" Kevin sneered. "It's a Sunday; you can't pull rank on me. Only Sara can do that. Besides," he flexed his arms, showing them off, "that bitch probably couldn't handle me."
Scott put his hand on Jason's arm. "Don't do anything stupid."
"Don't worry, I won't." Jason replied and reached casually for the jug of water on the table. He began to fill his glass.
"Hey faggot!" Kevin said, addressing Scott. "Is this pansy ass piece of shit your boyfriend?" He sneered.
Jason paused in filling his glass. "Oh I wonít do anything stupid," he said and flung the pitcher of water at Kevin.
There was a collective gap from around the room. Kevin looked dumbstruck for a moment as water dripped down him. His features slowly reassembled themselves into a mask of rage.
"You little fuck!" Kevin threw a punch at Jason's head.
Scott jumped up, ready to punch Kevin back and defend Jason, but there was no need. Jason had Kevin's fist clenched with his own hand, inches from his head. Jason stood slowly, still holding Kevin's fist tightly. Kevin grunted and bunched his muscles. Jason seemed nonplused and was managing to hold the arm steady without seeming to exert any effort. He pushed his hand down slowly and Kevin began to sink so as to prevent his wrist from snapping. He grunted in pain and sank to his knees. Kevin hurled his free hand at Jason's midriff but soon found that hand also clenched in an iron grip.
"Pansy enough for you?" Jason snarled. He brought his foot up and kicked Kevin in the chest while simultaneously releasing his hands. Kevin sprawled backwards across the floor before colliding with the next table. Jason took his seat again and took a bite from his toast.
Kevin struggled to his feet and faced Jason, "I'll kill you for that you son of a bit--!"
Kevin fell silent as a small door behind Jason opened and Sara stepped trough. She looked at Kevin and then at Jason.
"What's going on here?" she asked sharply.
"Nothing Sara, Kevin here was just leaving." Jason explained to her, glaring at Kevin.
Kevin shot daggers with his eyes at Jason before turning and stomping out of the double doors.
Sara stared at Jason. "You may be my brother Jason, but this is my domain. What happened?"
There was faint murmuring from the onlookers. Jason shrugged, "We had a disagreement. You would have done the same in this case." He gave her a meaningful look.
She got the message. "Oh, in that case," she turned to Scott, "remind me to put Kevin on double work shift tomorrow." She faced Jason again, "As for you, no more fighting."
He looked at the ground "Yes Sara."
"Good," she said and grabbed both Scott and Jason be the wrists. "Come on, we have important things to discuss." And so saying she dragged them back towards the door she had entered through.
As Jason was pulled through the door, the hall burst out in an uproar. Where before Jason had been looked upon with admiration and bravery for standing up to Kevin, he was now receiving stares of even greater admiration mixed with some fear. One of the last comments he heard before the door closed behind him was, "Brother? I didn't know she had a brother! I bet he's even better than she is-" and then the door closed, sealing out the packed hall.
She walked them along the corridor, and then up a flight of stone steps. She pushed them through a doorway and Jason found himself standing on a small balcony, overlooking a training ground of sorts. There was equipment, old and modern, placed strategically around the enclosed area. Sara looked at Scott and then at Jason. She pointed to the training grounds.
"Train him." She said and slipped back trough the door they had entered.
Scott looked after her baffled. "Wha-? I can't just-" He stammered.
Jason crossed his arms, "What? You don't think I can do it?"
Scott looked back at him in surprise. "After your little display back there? I don't doubt that you can do it. But no one trains in there till after their first year, and you're not even part of-" He caught himself and grinned sheepishly.
"Exactly what is this place?" Jason asked through narrowed eyes.
"Um, I'm not really at liberty to say... Lets just call it an... uh... 'Agency.'" His eyes darted around, as if searching for eavesdroppers. He clapped his hands, changing the subject. "Right then, lets go get started shall we?"
He led Jason back through the door and further down the hallway to a spiral flight of stairs leading to the ground. When the reached the bottom, Scott went trough doorway to one side labeled 'Men.' There was a corresponding arch on the other side of the stairway labeled 'Women'. Jason followed him into an expansive changing room with rows of lockers and benches. Scott opened up a cupboard filled with shelves of folded clothes. He looked Jason over.
"Hm... these things are usually custom fitted when you join. I'm not sure we have anything in your size right now."
"Doesn't matter, I'll just do it in my normal clothes," Jason shrugged.
"Fine, but you'll want to take off that sweater," Scott called over his shoulder as he walked down the rows to his locker and took out his gear. He set them down on the bench next to him and started to disrobe himself of his military garb.
"Are you crazy? It's mid-December!" Jason asked.
Scott raised an eyebrow. "Trust me, you'll be glad later."
Jason shifted uncomfortably and tried not to stare as Scott pulled off his shirt. 'Cut doesn't do him justice,' Jason thought. 'Chiseled is more like it!'
By the time Scott had changed into a pair of loose kaki slacks and a tank top, Jason had sprung major wood. He hoped Scott wouldn't notice the bulge in his pants. He stripped off his own sweater and Scott stashed it in his locker along with his clothes.
They emerged back onto the training grounds and Jason shivered in the chill air. "So what's the deal for the day?" he inquired. "Jogging? Weights?"
Scott laughed heartily, "For starters maybe!"
* * *
"I'm coming!" Fiona shouted as the doorbell rang for the third time. She lay down her book on the sofa where she had been reading when the doorbell had interrupted her. She rose and made her way to the front hall. She passed the kitchen door where Rosy was already preparing a Christmas feast. Fiona popped her head in quickly and wished she hadn't as music blared out of the kitchen. She took a quick glance around the kitchen and then hurriedly backed out, not wanting to be sucked into the disaster area.
She dashed down the hall to the front door and opened it halfway. She hadn't been expecting visitors; her parents weren't due to fly home till the next day. A youngish looking woman was standing on her doorstep smiling warmly. She was dressed like a businesswoman, with long black curls hanging around her shoulders.
"Hello, you must be Fiona." The woman said.
"Yes, can I help you?" Fiona asked, preparing to turn away yet another salesperson.
"I think so, yes. I'm Matthew's mother, Miriam." She said casually.
Fiona tried to slam the door, but Miriam already had her foot wedging it open. "That's not very nice. You aught to show more respect to your visitors," she said patronizingly as she forced her way past Fiona into the house.