Sideways ~ Emilio, Carhart]

This site is..

Based on an original story and alternate future by Sonny & Ais called In the Company of Shadows.

The story contains..

Slash (M/M), het (M/F) and graphic language, violence and sexual situations. Not intended for anyone under 18!

Side Stories

The Beginning ~ Emilio, Sin
Minuet ~ Chingón, Gioia
Rainbow ~ Ryan
A Morning in Cedar Hills ~ Kassian, Boyd
Preface: Book 2 ~ Sin
Vanilla ~ Emilio, Carhart
Sideways ~ Emilio, Carhart
Fool ~ Emilio, Carhart
The One Left Behind ~ Blair
-somnia ~ Owen
Scrollwork ~ Vivienne


Around the Compound Stories, a Series of Events:
Incident #1 ~ Rebecca, Sin


Our AFFN profile


Written on August 29, 2008 by Sonny

Timeline: April 2001

The park was a complete shell of what it had been before the war; it was stripped of all of the greenery and the ground was blasted a charcoal color from the bombs. The only thing that remained was an expanse of concrete, scorched earth, and the skating area. The half-pipe was burned black, as were the various rails and stairsets but they were about the only things left that was usable.

 In the months after the war, skater kids had declared the park their own little haven away from the rest of the world but that was quickly shattered by the gangs that moved in not too long after. The entire area quickly became their territory and it was largely known in the city that if you wanted to skate there, you had to be accepted and know the rules.

It was kind of a strange place to go searching for a target, but apparently even petty street gangs were getting in on the spy action. Or at least had enough connections down the line to be worth dragging in off the street for interrogation.

"I think he's the one in the black hat," Zach muttered, trying not to squint too obviously at the group of teenagers and twenty-somethings hanging around or skating in the half pipe. "Or maybe not. Damn it, none of them look like the picture the Captain gave me."

He leaned forward on the concrete wall that overlooked the skating zone, mouth drawing down in a scowl. "He probably should have mentioned that the damn kid looks like something out of a sci-fi movie these days. I don't think there's one person down there without a bunch of metal in their face."

After a moment, he looked down at his partner and his scowl deepened. "Are you even paying attention?"

"What?" Emilio looked at him distractedly, blinking obliviously. "Who?"

Zach made a face and followed the direction of where Emilio's gaze had been and rolled his eyes. No wonder-- half-naked teenage gang girls. "Can't you control yourself ever?"

"The fact that I'm still sitting here instead of fucking one of those bitches behind the bathroom should tell you that I do, right?" Emilio wiggled his eyebrows, mouth going up in a grin. "Right?"

"Wrong." Zach shook his head and went back to staring at the group. "I'm trying to figure out which of these idiots is Trevor Nowak."

"Ah." Emilio nodded and began fiddling idly with his faded jeans. After a moment of thoughtful silence, he looked up at Zach. "And what do we want with some dumb Polack teenager again?"

Zach looked down at him again, incredulously this time, hazel eyes narrowing slightly. "Didn't you pay attention to the Captain or at least read the damn outline?"

Emilio shrugged. "Nah. I was pretty hungover this morning."

After a brief pause, Zach shook his head. "Hopeless."

His partner shrugged again, looking pretty unconcerned with the description and swung his legs idly, boots clicking against the wall. "So why the fuck did the two of us have to come? You coulda done this shit all on your own and I could still be asleep."

"Because that dumb Polack teenager is affiliated with one of the top guys in an organization that is working with the Polish government to get information on the States."

"Yeah, and?" Emilio didn't look very impressed by this information.

"And," Zach said with a sigh, "he's down there with all of his friends who happen to make up one of the most violent gangs in the city. I know you're superman and all, but we mortals sometimes need backup when the odds are 10 to 1."

"Sucks to be you, pathetic human," Emilio muttered, eyes going back to the girls.

Annoyance rising steadily, Zach glared at his partner this time. "Why don't you pretend to give a shit about your job for a change, or is it uncool for the famous Emilio Vega to be responsible?"

"Nothing I do could ever be uncool," was the distracted reply.

"You couldn't even fucking dress like a normal human. Who the hell wears an ankle length leather jacket to a skate park? What do you think you're in The Matrix or something? Should I call you Neo?"

Emilio scoffed and finally dragged his heavy lidded gaze away to focus on Zach once again. "At least I fit in with the wannabe cyberpunk losers down there. Besides, at least my jacket is awesome and I don't look like I'm about to go fuckin' start swinging a 9-iron. What time's the golf cart coming to pick you up, Mister Woods?"

Zach opened his mouth to reply, eyes narrowing further, and looked away in mass amounts of irritation. "Lots of people wear polo shirts," he snapped. "At least I generally blend. You look like a retard."

"Yeah, whatever. There's a fucking unicorn on your shirt so I win."

"It's a horse. I didn't know people played polo on unicorns, you dumb fuck."

"It's still a gay ass shirt," Emilio replied airily.

"I hate you."


Zach had never been aware of his apparently very short temper until he'd found himself in an extended partnership with Emilio. What had started out as a trial team during his level 9 training had turned into something more permanent once Connors decided they worked well together and Zach quickly advanced to level 10.

And they did work well together. Zach's tendency to stick more to discretion and following procedure balanced Emilio's more wild and outlandish ways, but the two of them combined were deadly enough to be unstoppable in most situations. During his level 10 training, Emilio had made it his business to work the hell out of Zach until he was almost as brilliant a fighter as he was. Almost.

But that didn't mean they got along. Their love-hate relationship constantly appeared to lean more towards hate and their bickering was quite infamous at the Agency. However, for all that they argued and for all that Emilio did his best to get under Zach's skin, he also tended to reluctantly make attempts to mend the dispute. Emilio loved pissing people off but Zach was one of the only people who he didn't want to stay mad.

As if on cue, Emilio sighed and pushed himself up with a stretch, shoving Zach's shoulder playfully in his usual 'aw come on, don't be so mad' way.   "Fine, let's get to it then. What's the plan?"

Zach continued to stare into space stonily before glancing at his partner and rolling his eyes. Sometimes he really wished he could stay mad but there was something about Emilio that made it impossible. "The Captain said to detain him and to use discretion. Archibald is all up his ass about some of our previous assignments that got noticed by the media and he wants everything done clean from now on."

Emilio made a face, climbing down off the wall. "Archibald is such a pain in the ass. He's fuckin' useless, bro. Nothing but some punk PR freak. And isn't he dying or something, anyway?"

"The doctors gave him about five years. He has the lung disease," Zach replied as he followed Emilio.

"The one Ryan's parents kicked it from?"

Zach raised an eyebrow. "And you think I know who Ryan is because..."

Emilio scoffed at him. "Pay attention, dickface. He's that kid Connors took in. Both of his olds died a couple of months ago from the lung disease. They were analysts or some shit. I only know because I see him at Connors' all the time now."

"Visiting your underage twin sex fiends?" Zach asked dryly.

"You're such a fuckin' paragon," his partner said amiably. "Must be nice to feel so good about yourself. Hope it makes up for the fact that your morality is the only thing makin' you feel good since you definitely ain't getting no pussy."

Zach took a slow, deep breath and kept his gaze focused on the half-pipe. "I know it's hard for you to understand that not everyone is obsessed with sex like you are--"

"Who's obsessed?" Emilio laughed. "I'm just saying it's a damn shame that you're fuckin' waiting on the next Mrs. Carhart to get laid again. For real, bro, you're barely twenty-four. You need to stop mourning and hook up. Ann thinks you're fine as fuck, so you should feel free to hit it."

"No thanks," Zach replied flatly. "If I hit anything it won't be something that makes me a statutory rapist."

"Blah blah, so boring. How do you live with yourself?" Emilio shook his head at Zach disapprovingly. "Besides, that eighteen to be legal shit is a myth in this state. Ain't you ever heard of the age of consent?"

"Would you shut the hell up already?" Zach snapped finally, tired of the never-ending debate over his sex life. "Where the fuck did they find you, anyway? Hypersexual Annoying Douche Bags R Us?"

Emilio laughed out loud at that, truly amused even if it was supposed to be an insult. "Arguing with you is the best part of assignments. Did you ever notice we don't argue as much when we're not working?"

"Maybe because it's easier to ignore how much of an idiot you are then," Zach grumbled. It was true though; whenever they hung around outside of work they got along just fine. He even looked forward to the rare occasions when he was invited over to Emilio's various homes. Most times they stayed at Zach's though; Emilio seemed to almost obsessively value his privacy and only sometimes did he let anyone come over.

"Huh. Maybe." Unfazed as usual, Emilio stopped walking a few feet away from the edge of the half-pipe. Several of the gang members were already looking at them suspiciously but Emilio just grinned at them and waved.

"We probably should have come up with a plan before moseying on over here," Zach said, more to himself than Emilio. As usual he'd allowed his partner to distract him entirely. "We can find a way to get Nowak alone. He's a dope dealer so we could just ask one of them if they're selling maybe?"

Emilio nodded seriously. "Great idea."

With that, he strode casually over to the edge of the rink where several teens were sprawled with skateboards and practically shouted, "Hey, which one of you fuckers is Trevor Nowak?"

Zach smacked himself in the head, simultaneously unsurprised and annoyed.  

All of the kids came to an abrupt stop, several of them sliding down the half-pipe on their skateboards to stare up at the two of them suspiciously. After a moment, a tall guy with wild curly red hair swaggered towards Emilio with a hostile expression on his face. He had a red wool cap pulled over his forehead, three piercings in his bottom lip and tattoos covering every inch of skin on his arms.  

"Who the fuck are you?"

Emilio put his hands in his pockets, rocking on his heels as he studied the guy. "Those piercings look pretty stupid, bro. You should rethink that whole look you got going there."

Zach was seriously debating leaving Emilio to deal with this on his own while he thought up a real plan of action.

The guy stared at Emilio incredulously, anger slowly seeping into his expression, and a tattooed skater Barbie doll nearby let out a loud, throaty laugh. "I like him, Joey," she drawled, gazing at Emilio through heavily made up eyelids. "Can we keep him?"

Emilio's gaze quickly shifted to her and a smirk curled up on his full lips as he reached out and yanked her arm, pressing her against his side as he dropped a hand to squeeze her ass. "You can do whatever you want with me, sweetheart."

Zach looked at the blond girl in horror, pretty disturbed by the effect his partner had on women. On people in general. How could someone he found to be so obnoxious, charm people so effortlessly and by generally acting like an ass? It didn't make a damn bit of sense and it irritated him.

'Joey,' or red haired kid, looked ready to pop a vein as he glared at Emilio but Emilio was too busy looking ready to have his way with the blond right there in front of everyone. "You got about two seconds to explain what you're doing in our place before I fuck your world up."

Emilio ignored him, saying something only the blond could hear, his mouth pressed against her ear as he smirked wickedly.

"Oh for fuck's sake, Lola, get your ass over here," another guy snapped at her, this one older and a lot more dangerous looking as he stared at Emilio and Zach menacingly.

Lola rolled her eyes and didn't move, allowing Emilio to grope her. "Lighten up, Seth, they're not 5-0. Who gives a shit if they wanna talk to Trev, anyway?"

"I give a shit," Seth growled, eyes moving from Emilio to Zach quickly. He was obviously the one calling the shots here and everyone else, all of the younger kids especially, were looking at him for a cue to make a move.

Zach scanned the faces of the skaters, looking for any potential candidates for Trevor and ruling out all of the obvious ones that didn't fit his description at all. The uninvolved kids, likely people who had just been 'allowed' to skate there, had moved far away from the central group of five actual gang members.

Zach studied them all closely but be didn't speak because, really, he had no idea what to say at this point and wasn't good at making up stories on the spot. Emilio could handle this mess and if he couldn't, well...

Well then Zach would have his back anyway, as always.

"My name's Liu," Emilio lied easily, still not entirely paying attention. "And I'm here to defend my sister's honor after 'Trev' tried to fuck it all up. Trying to have your way with a thirteen year old isn't so awesome. At least wait two years, you know?"

Zach was almost positive that Emilio was on drugs at the moment. It was the only explanation.

"What!" A voice sputtered suddenly and Zach's eyes immediately zeroed in on a tall, hulking blond teenager with a variety of facial piercings and tattoos who seemed mighty indignant by Emilio's comment. "I did--"

"Shut the fuck up," Seth shouted before the kid, who was obviously Trevor, could out himself any further. He turned his stony glare back to Emilio. "You got a problem with Trevor-- you got a problem with me and you got a problem with me, and you're gonna have to take it up with all of us."

Zach could barely contain a low chortle at the sheer corniness at the wannabe bad boy. If only he knew who he was talking to...

Emilio raised an eyebrow, gave Lola's ass one last squeeze, and in a movement too fast for anyone to really catch, yanked a S&W Taurus 500 out from under his jacket and pointed the 10 inch barrel straight at Seth's head. The gigantic silver gun gleamed in the sunlight and the entire park seemed to go extremely silent and still all of a sudden.

Zach made a face at the back of Emilio's head and slid to the side casually. His own firearm was in a far more discreet place but he didn't necessarily count on a gun for protection anyway. He was torn between trying to think of a peaceful end to this situation and letting Emilio handle it in his usual ass backwards way.

"Now which one of you fucks is Trevor before I lose my patience?" Emilio said amiably, mouth going up into a wider grin as Lola skittered away from him. He winked at her and mouthed, 'We'll talk later.'

"Hey, take it easy man," Joey said uneasily. He was staring at the gun in a mixture of fear and absolute confusion, as if he wasn't entirely sure how the situation had risen to such a level.
But Seth didn't look alarmed at all. In fact he'd barely batted an eyelash when Emilio aimed the gun at him. It was entirely possible that he was accustomed to firearms and Zach was almost positive, solely going on the fact that the guy didn't even look intimidated, that he was armed as well.

"You can't shoot all of us," Seth said calmly.

Emilio's eyebrows rose. "Wanna bet?"

The park exploded in a whir of activity.

Lola dove at Emilio, attempting to tackle him and take the gun, but Emilio dodged easily. He side-stepped and she went tumbling over the side of the ramp, skidding down with an alarmed shout.

Joey and Seth moved at the same time but this time it was Zach who sprung into action, grabbing Joey's left arm and yanking it behind his back with the precise amount of strength to break it. Joey went down with an angry and pained yell but before he could get in the way further, Zach slammed a fist into his face and the kid flew backwards onto the floor and stayed there.

Seth and Emilio were still standing off and instead of just shooting the guy, Emilio seemed to be playing with him. He dodged attacks, not using his weapon at all, while bantering back and forth with threats and challenges. Seth seemed to grow more frustrated by this, which just amused Emilio further.

Zach made a face at his partner before moving his gaze to the kids who were mobilizing in the half-pipe. Two had guns, one had a knife and Zach noticed that Trevor Nowak was frantically trying to escape but was having trouble pushing through the kids who were uninvolved and stampeding through the exit of the pipe.

Zach was vaguely aware of a loud smack, then a dull thud as Emilio finally knocked Seth out with the butt of his gun but he didn't wait for his partner to move. These kids had guns and Trevor was getting away.

So he could do a couple of things-- jump down off the half-pipe and possibly sprain an ankle or something else because of the distance and the slope or waste time running down to get in through the entryway. Neither scenario seemed plausible and it was more likely that someone would get shot and Nowak would get away in the confusion. He needed to get down there fast.

So in a move that was more Emilio's style than his own, Zach jumped on Joey's skateboard and took off, flying down the half-pipe as he rode the wall, yanking his gun from his ankle holster as he did so. He skated through the small group of gang members easily, ducking out of the way of their attacks as he headed straight for Trevor but Trevor was aware of his plan.

The blond man ducked around him quickly, moving entirely too fast for someone of his considerable height and weight, and pushed back through the kids that couldn't seem to decide whether or not they wanted to go after Zach or Emilio.

Zach rode up to the top of the half-pipe and spun around, gripping one side of the board as he soared through the air. The adrenaline was amazing and he remembered briefly why he'd liked to skateboard as a kid.

Still in mid-air, Zach aimed his gun and fired at one of the armed gang members, hitting the guy's arm and preventing him from holding the weapon. When the skateboard thumped against the half-pipe again, Zach skated across and quickly gained on Trevor, jumping off with a flying leap as he tackled their target to the ground.

"Shit man, I didn't do anything!" Trevor cried plaintively.

There was a loud shriek behind them and Zach looked over his shoulder, eyes narrowing slightly as he saw that Emilio had followed in his lead and was skateboarding around the half-pipe. He moved fluidly and effortlessly, zig-zagging between their aggressors and confusing them easily as he disarmed and disabled the group without once getting off the board.

For a moment, as Zach stood up straight with one foot planted firmly on Trevor's back, he found himself caught by the exhilarated expression on Emilio's face. How was it possible that he could be having so much fun?

"Ow, dude that really hu--"

"Shut up," Zach snapped, digging his foot in harder, still considering his partner absently.

He and Emilio had become close enough for him to have shared some secrets and Zach knew the kind of hell Emilio had gone through in his young life. He'd seen his siblings and mother killed, was abandoned on the streets of one of the most dangerous cities in the world for homeless children and had survived on instincts and violence alone.

Sure, losing his wife and child had been the most painful thing in the world for Zach; he'd felt like his heart had been ripped out. But even that was dwarfed by the flood of tragedy that had swept across the country in those first, and hopefully only, attacks.

He'd been forced to get over it, to move on, to put himself together and deal with what was going on around him; honestly, it hadn't been too hard since there was so many other things to think about, to focus on. Sometimes it was easy to forget. But Emilio's life had been completely encompassed by pain and loss and here he was, carefree, happy, ceaselessly amused while Zach felt like he grew more cynical every day.

Emilio skidded to a stop just beside Zach, a big grin on his handsome face. "How bad ass was that?"

Zach scoffed, hauling Trevor up and dragging him along as he started towards the opening that led out of the half-pipe. "You're such a copy-cat," he complained, stepping around the unconscious and injured gang members. For all of the talk that they were the "most dangerous gang" in the city, they'd gone down pathetically quickly.

"Ha! That move was friggin' awesome, bro! How could I not copy? I didn't know you were a skater," Emilio replied, picking up his coat which had been discarded during the fight. He brushed off some scuff marks with a frown.

"When I was younger," Zach replied. "But--"

"Hey, who the hell are you guys?" Trevor cried, eyes round with fear. "If you're cops, I swear I'll fuckin' sue!"

"But that was awhile ago. I'm surprised I still remember that shit. But you seemed to be doing better than me anyway, so I guess I should be complimenting your skills," Zach continued, ignoring their captive as he was dragged unceremoniously behind them.

"Nah, I just watched you and copied. Never been on a skateboard before today. I think I like it though. Might take it up and what not," Emilio replied, shrugging into the coat again. "Man, those guys were suckers."

"Screw you," Trevor snapped defensively. "Most of them were just kids. Newbies. They better not be dead or hurt or I swear you guys are gonna get owned. You have no idea who you're fucking with, dawg. And it's not just about the Knights," he continued aggressively, referring to the skater gang, the Riverside Knights.

"See, it's that kinda talk that got you in all this hot water in the first place," Emilio said with a disapproving frown in the kid's direction. "You should learn to zip the lip every once in awhile, chico."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Trevor demanded, looking increasingly alarmed as they approached the nondescript black van that they'd borrowed from the Agency. It had completely illegal black tinted windows but if any city cop thought to stop them, a simple run on the license number would list the vehicle to one of the government agencies that cops knew better than to mess with. It didn't list the real Agency, the existence of it was hidden from everyone except the people in it and the top officials in the government, but it used a dummy name that still denoted that they were to be untouched.

"Your uncle, Einstein," Zach said as he slapped a pair of plastic flexi-cuffs on the kid's wrists and tossed him in the back of the van.

He climbed in the driver's seat and Emilio got in the back with Trevor, hooking him up to the long bar along side the van's side. "You threw his name around enough for the right people to get interested. Name dropping isn't such a good idea when the name happens to belong to an enemy of the State."

"Fuckin' pigs! This is bu--"

Trevor's words were abruptly cut off as Emilio shot him in the neck with a mini-tranq gun. "What an idiot. Does he really think we're cops?"

Zach gunned the engine as Emilio climbed into the front easily, leaving Trevor unconscious and dangling from the side of the van. "Who knows," Zach muttered in response, driving casually out of the park and out onto the road. "But we're going to be in a world of trouble with Archibald."

"Archibald can suck my left testicle," Emilio replied airily. "We got the job done. That's all that matters. For real."

"For real," Zach mimicked, making a face. "Did you forget the part where it was supposed to be discreet? Where there would be no media involvement, no attention called to the incident?"

Emilio sighed and stuck a cigarette between his lips, examining a scratch on his hand as he did so. The kid with the knife didn't have one clue on how to handle it; he could have sliced off a finger and had only rubbed the edge against Emilio's palm. "Well, some shit is just inevitable."

"Inevitable!" Zach repeated incredulously, eyes leaving the road to focus on his partner. "You're fucking out of your mind! Why did you just march up to them like that? My plan would have been fine but you have to be a damn show off all of the time. What the hell is it with you and this constant need for attention?"

Emilio shrugged uncaringly. "I wasn't breastfed as a child."

"Moron," Zach muttered, shaking his head. His previous musings about his partner had all but flown out of his mind in the wake of the inevitable reaming they were about to get. Ever since they'd partnered up, Zach had learned how Emilio got the "in" in infamous attached to his reputation.

He was an amazing fighter, an amazing agent, charming and outgoing, but he sucked at keeping a low profile and it kept him in hot water constantly.

Agents were generally very deft at reading between the lines of the media's skewed stories and it was always obvious when one of their own had a hand in something on the news. Civilians didn't have a clue but there were those out there who paid closer attention and that was the reason why Archibald's position even existed. To make sure that the Agency stayed way beyond the veil and did their dealings deep in the shadows.

So when a guy like Emilio came in and made it his business to get noticed by just about everyone, well, then there was a problem.

"Don't you worry that they'll get rid of you?" Zach asked finally, eyebrows drawn together.

"I wonder about it but I dunno about worry. Worry implies I give a fuck." Emilio inhaled deeply, blowing the smoke out after a moment as he rolled down the window for Zach's benefit. "I don't give a shit about the Agency."

"That's not true," Zach protested uncertainly. "You seem to really believe in what we're doing sometimes. I mean... out of the two of us I'm the more cynical one about our work."

Emilio was quiet for a moment and he stared out the window, green eyes thoughtful as he toyed with his cigarette. It was one of those rare moments where Zach got to see a real expression on the other man's face, not just a mask or persona. "I like the idea of protecting the country from terrorists and enemy territories," Emilio said after awhile. "Of kicking the ass of motherfuckers stupid enough to mess with us and all of that heroic stuff. I dunno why. I don't care about being seen as the good guy or the hero or whatever. I just feel like doing something that seems good every once in a blue, right?"

"Huh." Zach thought about that for a moment and glanced at his partner, noting the more guarded expression, as if Emilio was now thinking about something he wasn't about to share with Zach. "So then why do you do your best to piss everyone off?"

"'Cause I like what we do, not who we do it for. Connors is a douche bag, Marshal Warner before him was a douche bag, everyone in charge of this bitch has been a douche bag and even if I get the feeling like we're doing something good, I'm always pretty confident that there's some underhanded BS reason behind it all." Emilio frowned slightly, looking annoyed. "So fuck 'em. I don't respect 'em, and I don't care if they decide they don't need me no more. I'll do shit the way I want."

"But Emilio," Zach started, taking a turn and going into the Bedford area. "Man, you were here six years before I came along. You know what they do when someone screws up so bad they get fired. Whenever anyone leaves on 'bad terms.' When they decide the person could be a threat, a potential hostile on the loose with a bunch of information for our enemies."

There was another silence and for a moment Zach thought Emilio was going to say something real but instead he pasted on one of his most charming smiles. "Aw Zachary, you're worried about me. You're such a sweetheart. A real ace."

Zach sighed heavily, knowing the moment of serious conversation was gone. "Yeah, whatever. I guess."

"Pfft, you don't guess. You know you love me," Emilio insisted, still grinning, the expression lighting up his whole face and making him look boyish and charming. "I'm the best partner you'll ever have."


"You'll miss me when I'm gone."

Zach paused and looked at Emilio sharply. "When?"

An innocent shrug and another smile. "Just admit it."

Zach dragged his eyes away from Emilio and forced himself to focus on the road. There was something off about Emilio's expression just then; something in his eyes... As if Emilio wanted to tell him something, wanted him to understand something, something he wasn't going to say out loud.

But Zach didn't understand. He didn't get it. So instead he shook his head with a low sigh. He would never understand his partner and all of his secrets, his mysteries.

"Fine, I admit it. Even if you always do things so goddamn sideways."

Emilio just gave a one shouldered shrug and a smug smirk but once again, there was something off about the look in his eyes. It almost looked like disappointment.