Unlocked ~ 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 April 05, 2009 by Sonny

Timeline: August 2001

There were alarming beeps coming from Zach's computer and he had to physically stop himself from gnawing through his fingers as anxiety began to set in.

 "Is it dead?"

 Bree didn’t look up as she lounged in his office chair, booted legs thrown up on the side of the desk as she lazily typed commands into the computer and gazed at the monitor with her head tilted slightly to the side. She looked far too calm and relaxed to be taking this situation seriously.

 "If it's dead I'm fucked," Zach informed her emphatically, cerulean blue eyes widening slightly at the possibility. "Royally."

 "Uh huh." Bree blew a particularly large bubble with her bright green gum and nodded her head of white-blond hair. "Yup."

 Zach glared at her and pictured himself shooting her in the back of her head if she killed his computer. It would be totally within his right, he decided. Blood for blood and all that. Avenging a family member. The ancient Greeks would understand even if the Agency didn't.

 "Seriously, Bree. I just got back from a really important mission and my entire fucking mission report is on there, which I need to send in within the hour and if the files on there are lost I'm screwed because I don't have the originals anymore." Zach hadn't thought it was possible for him to sound shrill but he decided that this was an occasion where he likely sounded like a shrill panicking little girl.

 "Why didn't you just use one of the terminals in the Tower?" Bree asked drolly. After a moment she spun the chair and raised an eyebrow at him. "It would have been a lot more secure. That’s why you're supposed to use them, mister big shot level 10 who does whatever he wants now."

 Zach glared at her. "Because those terminals are slower than Christmas and I didn't feel like sitting there all day. So excuse the fuck out of me."

 "Oh relax. I'm just busting your balls, Zach-face." Bree rolled her eyes at him and turned back to the computer.

 He just shook his head and sat on the chair beside the desk. He didn't understand why everyone had to have some kind of ridiculous nickname for him. "What are you doing to it, anyway?"

"Seeing if I can recover anything since it's pretty much fried," she replied innocently.

 "What?" Zach practically shoved her out of the way and stared at his monitor in a panic. A surprisingly almost complete game of minesweeper stared back.

 "Bree, what the fuck?" Zach glared down at her. She was laughing so hard she was nearly in tears, spiky blonde hair sticking up everywhere as she pressed her cheek into the carpet as obnoxious guffaws floated up through the air. Her lime-green eyes were moist with tears but full of mirth.

 "Your face was so priceless!"

 Zach shook his head and opened his mouth to reply but his phone began ringing. "You're an asshole," he informed Bree as he flipped open the phone.


 "Why am I an asshole?" Emilio's voice asked on the other end. He didn't even sound insulted by the possible insult; just mildly intrigued.

 "Oh. Not you." Zach couldn't help but smile down at Bree, shaking his head in exasperation as her giggles only rose in pitch.

 "What the hell is all of that?" Emilio asked, sounding very interested. "You got a girl over there? Holding out on me, are you?"

 "It's just Bree," Zach replied, making a face. "And if it was a girl, do you really think I'd—"

 "Hey!" Bree stopped laughing and sat up, shooting him a glare. "Just because I'm a dyke doesn't mean I'm not a girl, dumb ass."

 "You know what I meant," Zach replied, stepping out of the way as Bree aimed a lazy kick at him.

 "You should take this opportunity to convert her," Emilio advised over the phone, his tone sage and all-knowing. "I have faith in your abilities, Zach. Make me proud."

 Zach sighed and walked away from Bree as she stood up and sat at his computer again. He plopped down on the couch and rubbed the back of his neck. "You're so obnoxious. It's really out of control. Is there a reason why you called?"

 "Why's she there, anyways?" Emilio went on, completely focused on Bree and apparently not giving up on the idea of conversion without a fight.

 "Because I'm an idiot and thought I fucked up my computer while I was writing the Liberia report and she's brilliant with technology." Zach grimaced slightly as his stomach suddenly growled loud enough to be suitably embarrassing. "So what'd you want?"

 "You didn't lose the report, did you? I don't feel like hearing shit if you did, Zachary."

 "Well maybe you should take your fucking turn writing them for a change and it won't be left up to me and my computer illiteracy," Zach growled back, irritation rising as it typically did when he spoke to his partner.

 Bree looked over as his voice rose, an intrigued look on her face.

 "I'm not good with that stuff. You know me," Emilio replied breezily. The sound of a lighter flicking could be heard in the background followed by what seemed to be a deep inhalation.

 Zach made a face and sighed. "So you wanted…"

 "I don’t really remember anymore," Emilio announced, and Zach could practically picture the amused smirk on his partner's face. "I'll call you back when I do."

 The line went dead before Zach could reply and he hung up, shaking his head in exasperation. "Wow."

 "What was that about?" Bree asked curiously, leaning back in the chair to watch him.

 "I have no clue, Bree. Sometimes I can't decide if Emilio is a complete nut job or some kind of evil genius sent down by a higher power to drive me completely insane." Zach stuffed the phone back into the pocket of his faded jeans and shook his head slowly.

 "But you get along, right?" Bree pressed, eyes narrowed slightly. "Everyone acts like you guys are joined at the hip or whatever. Best friends and all that. Like you're practically his shadow now."

 "Oh, well that's wonderful." Zach curled up on the sofa and wrapped his arms around his empty stomach, willing food to appear before him so that he wouldn't have to make an effort to get any himself.

 "Don't get insulted, dude. Most people are jealous. He's either the guy everyone loves to hate or the guy everyone wants to bone. One way or the other people are super curious about him and are super envious that you… I dunno… get him. Or whatever." Bree screwed up her impish face and tapped her lower lip with one blue colored fingernail. "You get what I'm saying, right?"

 "Not a damn bit," Zach sighed, closing his eyes. "What's so great about Emilio? I don't get it. I didn't even really pay attention to his existence until they partnered me with him."

 "I don't really get it either. He's cute I guess but not my type since he has a bad case of non-vagina."

 Zach opened his eyes and burst out laughing, entirely too amused by Bree and her charming way with words. After months of being isolated with his crazy partner, it was refreshing to be around someone who was laid back and not at all complex and disarming. She was one of the most chill people on the compound, one of those rare people who didn't take herself too seriously even though her job as an R&D analyst put her on incredibly hectic and stressful assignments.

 If Bree wasn't a lesbian, Zach was pretty sure he'd have a crush on her by now even if there was no way he would have ever acted on it. He could appreciate someone's personality, someone's features and body, but Zach had yet to meet a woman who could make him forget about his wife.

 "You're such a freak," he told her with a good-natured smile.

 "Yes," she agreed with a wink. "But I guess I'm a liar too. I'm one of those people who are all curious by the mysterious Emilio Vega. I bet that just makes you crazy, doesn't it?" Bree asked knowingly. "Like people just wanna talk to you to grill you about the rock star on campus and are just hanging with you due to your proximity to him."

 "Well, that hadn't crossed my mind before but thanks for dashing my illusions of anyone actually finding me interesting," Zach said dryly.

 "You're plenty interesting," Bree reassured with a grin. "But you're even more interesting 'cause you're cool enough for Emilio fuckin' Vega to be all bromancing with you."

"Bromancing..." Zach shook his head and sat up on the sofa, getting up to go look at his computer again. He saw that she was actually uploading his mission report to the Agency database as they spoke. Grinning at her in appreciation, Zach picked up his wallet from the desk and slid it into his back pocket.

"Yeah. It's when two dudes who are best friends are so close that it almost seems like they have some kind of hetero love affair going on or something." Bree smirked at him and crossed her arms over her faded grey t-shirt. Animated turtles decorated the front of it.

"Well that's a lovely pop culture term and all that," Zach replied, unimpressed with the analysis of his friendship with Emilio. "But if you didn't pick up on it from my brief conversation with him, I'm ready to strangle him half the time. He deliberately tries to get on my nerves."

"Maybe it's because you're so cute when you're mad," Bree suggested with a wink.

"Yeah, no." Zach beckoned for her to join him by the door. "I'm going to go grab something to eat."

"Is that an invitation?" Bree stood and straightened her skintight skinny jeans before putting on her backpack. It looked bigger than she was, likely because there were two laptops and a number of files inside. "Or are you just kicking me out?"

"I don't know. It all depends on whether or not you're going to spend the whole time grilling me about Mister Vega."

Zach opened the door and Bree followed him into the hallway, winding a green scarf around her neck as the door automatically clicked and locked when it shut.

"Don't get me wrong Zach-face," she began, raising her eyebrows. "I love hanging out with you. You're one of the few field agents who doesn't have a case of elephantiasis of the ego. That and you're really cute and funny and endearingly sweet. In fact I can name a million girls on the compound who would probably pay you for sex. If I was straight I'd probably be swooning all over your apartment every time you looked at me with those baby blues."

Zach stared at her oddly as they got in the elevator. "So where am I getting you wrong?"

Bree rolled her eyes. "Don't interrupt and I'll get to that part."

"I didn't interrupt. There was a pause."

"Yeah a brief one. It was the kind of pause that drivers typically use at stop signs on deserted intersections; the kind that's so fucking brief the cops don't want to hear any of that 'but I stopped!' crap because it was so slight of a pause." Bree gave him an arch look as they got out of the elevator on the ground floor and started out of the building.

"You're ridiculous." Zach could only shake his head in amusement.

"Anyway, the point is, I like you. You're a great guy. And you buy me cookies a lot. But it's inevitable that one of these days I start grilling you on the infamous Mister Vega and since I've waited months and months to ask, I think it's due time that I get a chance. I mean, it's not like that was my intention when we first started talking so I think it should be obvious that I'm not in on this acquaintanceship purely for Mister Vega-ish reasons."

Zach sighed long and loud and looked up at the sky. "Acquaintanceship? Geez woman, don't mask your true feelings or anything."

Bree linked her arm through his as they began walking to the cafeteria. "We're very close to being friends, Zach but it's in my opinion that two people can't truly be friends until they've seen each other naked."

"So we have to sleep together to be friends?" Zach rolled his eyes. "Nice logic."

"I didn't say you had to fill my hole or anything, dude. I'm just saying when we've spent enough time in each other's presence to have either become comfortable enough to be nude in front of each other or for it to have accidentally occurred at one point, it will be evident that we are good friends." Bree grinned at him. "I bet you've seen Emilio naked."

"Oh boy." Zach looked down at her and couldn't help but notice how cute she looked when she was being mischievous and teasing. Her full pink lips were twisted slightly at the side and her lime green eyes were narrowed slightly although there was a definite twinkle in them.

It was really too bad that she was gay...

"Well, have you?"

"Of course I have," he replied, exasperated. "We've lived in a single room together on more than one occasion on assignments."

"Does he have a big cock?"

Zach nearly tripped over his own feet, giving her a startled look. "What kind of question is that?"

Bree shrugged, dimpling up at him. "I'm just curious."

"Are you sure you're a lesbian?" he asked doubtfully.

"I'm just curious about his anatomy for purely scientific reasons," she reassured him. "If I woke up one day and found myself hetero, you'd be the first penis holder to know."

"Oh really." Zach couldn't help the pleased warmth that spread through him at that although the nagging guilt that ebbed at the back of his mind whenever he looked at another woman was as evident as ever.

"Why's that?" He pressed on regardless.

"I already told you, dude. You've got that rare combo of good looks and niceness that is just ridiculous to pass up. I mean, your partner is hot and sexy and exotic--"

Zach rolled his eyes.

"But he's also really aware of that and is likely super cocky, so you win in the long run. And now that I've returned to the word 'cock,' how big is his?"

Zach groaned as they reached the cafe, going inside and grabbing a tray for himself and her as they got on the line. "I don't know, Bree. I don't look in that region."

"Oh, you're such a liar!" Bree bellowed, brandishing her empty tray at him. "It's not gay or whatever if that's what you're thinking, Carhart. It's a natural male response to friendly competitiveness regarding cock size. It's like Agent Morales, that girl in Terrorism? I caught her staring at my rack one day and she's definitely straight. She was just checking out the female competition in breast size."

"Well, I don't know what to tell you," Zach replied dryly, putting an orange and a turkey sandwich on his tray. After a moment, he thought better of it and switched the whole wheat version to a larger hero style. "Because if I ever did glance, I don't remember."

He was lying, of course. Bree was pretty correct in her analysis of human nature but he didn't feel like telling her that Emilio was definitely well hung. Even if Zach hadn't glanced out of sheer curiosity, he would have found out that fact during he and Emilio's adventures with the twins.

A mental image of Emilio's dick sliding in and out of Lydia popped into Zach's mind and he grimaced, aggressively grabbing a bag of chips as he tried to banish the memory.

"Well..." She dropped a huge cheeseburger on her tray and swiped some fries as she passed them. "Does he act shy about nudity or is he all up in your face about it?"

"I don't think Emilio could ever be shy about anything," Zach replied as he paid for his food. He waited for her to do the same before they started to a table.

Bree didn't reply until they sat down. The cafeteria was oddly deserted but that suited Zach just fine.

"It's probably a good size then," she admitted with an almost disappointed sigh. "I didn't want it to be."

Zach just shook his head at her again and began squeezing mustard onto his sandwich. "You're so odd."

"Why? Because I'm curious about male anatomy in relation to overt displays of huge ego?"

"No. Well, yeah but also..." Zach trailed off with a shrug and chewed a mouthful of turkey and bread. "I just don't get why you're so interested. I know he's the rock star of the Agency or whatever the hell you said earlier but it's just odd for you. You never seem very impressed by anyone so it's weird to see you acting like a... groupie."

Bree looked offended by the description, started to reply, stopped, then frowned with an exaggerated roll of her eyes. "Alright, alright, there is a reason for this new found interest in his life but it wasn't my fault, it was kind of thrust upon me by the powers that be."

Zach frowned at her in confusion, wiping mustard from the side of his mouth absently. "What are you talking about now?"

Bree ducked her head slightly and winced. "Don't tell anyone or Emilio, but I'm on the team for a mission you guys will have coming up in the next month or so. A big undercover op, extended mission and so on. I'm putting together profiles for the two of you."

Zach leaned forward slightly, interested and intrigued. There was something about undercover operations that was exhilarating although he'd never been on a long term one before. "What's the mission?"

"I can't go into specifics yet but it's not going to be a breeze." Bree shrugged and took a bite of her hamburger. "I'm handling your cover stories and I had to go into Emilio's background. Well, I was given clearance to do so but I hadn't gotten around to it yet."

"I see..." Zach rubbed his chin, thinking about the assignment and what it could possibly be.

"Maybe I'll just look into it now," Bree suggested with a grin.

"What?" Zach focused on her again. "No."

But Bree was already removing her Agency laptop and plopping it down on the desk.

"I don't think that's a good idea," he insisted. Although the possibility of seeing his secretive partner's entire file was more than a little intriguing, it was also an incredible violation of privacy.

"Don't be such a goody-goody," she replied with a roll of her eyes, booting up the laptop. "I have to look at it anyway. You just happen to be here. It's not like I'm cracking into his file or something."

Bree paused for a moment and smirked. "Although I could if I wanted to. I've got into the database before I had clearance on other occasions."

"Why am I not surprised?" Zach asked as he chewed his sandwich slowly, eyeballing her laptop warily. "You were probably checking up on potential girlfriends."

"Duh." Bree accessed the Agency database, typing in her information swiftly before going through the various password protected gateways that eventually led to personnel records. "How else am I supposed to weed out the psychos? Contrary to popular belief, not all fieldies come from the military. That's just a front most people put on about their past. They recruit from all kinds of places as long as the people fit a certain profile."

Zach's eyebrows rose. That was news to him although he wasn't terribly surprised to find that out. "Really."

"Yup." Bree got up and moved across the table, turning her laptop toward him slightly so he could see. "You'd be surprised to find out how many people were recruited out of prisons for crimes ranging from cyberterrorism to murder. Our friend Emilio was one of those people although he was too good a criminal to ever get arrested."

Zach didn't respond. He knew some things about Emilio's past already and he felt more comfortable having Bree find out for herself instead of him actually telling her. It actually irritated Zach that he found himself being so steadfastly loyal to Emilio's almost obsessive need for privacy considering the fact that Emilio had looked into Zach's history before they'd even officially met for their partnership.

 Emilio's file came up after a moment of Bree inputting various strings of password and code. There were multiple folders within the first folder and as Bree instantly moused over to the folder designated for Emilio's family history, something on the main profile page caught Zach's eye but it was gone too fast before he could properly figure out what it had been.

"Go back a sec?"

Bree waved him off as she clicked on the folder marked Yaritza Aguilera Ferreira Vega. "In a minute. I'm not actually going to go through it all now or anything, I'm just gonna skim really quick out of curiosity."

  Emilio's mother had been an unbelievably beautiful woman. The daughter of a rich entrepreneur from Brazil and a model from Ecuador, she had a striking set of features that had been undeniably inherited by Emilio. They shared the same stunning green eyes, high cheek bones, full lips and straight aristocratic nose; the only differences were that Emilio was olive skinned while Yatitza had fair skin and light brown hair.

"Wow," Zachary said, unable to look away from the image.

"Yeah," Bree agreed with a whistle, but her eyes dropped to the accompanying paragraphs and she finally clicked away from the screen. "Too bad she was a lunatic."

Zach leaned forward and skimmed Yaritza's history. She'd shown signs of bipolar since a very young age and had attempted suicide several times before running away with Christian Vega as a teenager. Her family had disowned her legally after that, completely disinheriting her from their fortune and although it is unclear whether or not Yaritza partook in Christian Vega's criminal activities, there were several indications that she at least committed violations of the law on her own.

"It says there is evidence that she murdered at least one woman in a jealous rage over her husband," Bree read the last part out loud. "Yikes."

"Damn," Zach agreed as Bree brought up an autopsy photo of the woman that had been murdered. Yaritza had completely mutilated the woman's face.

"Oh wait, apparently she was also the suspect in the murder and mutilation of Christian's childhood friend Sara Gomez. Beautiful. What a charming couple they made," Bree said wryly.

"Was this all before they had kids?" Zach asked, shaking his head and picturing a child version of Emilio around such things.

"Ummm... no. It wasn't. Well, she killed Sara shortly after they got married but she murdered the next one later on when they moved back to Mexico from California. It says it is unclear if Christian believed she murdered Sara. Apparently he didn't give a shit or whatever because they stayed together even after that."

"Nice." Zach shook his head and directed Bree to open a folder containing a number of news articles about the murder of Emilio's twin sisters. He'd told Zach about it briefly one day when they'd struck up a conversation about family but there had been very little details given.

"She stabbed Marissa twenty-eight times and Veronica forty-three," Bree read aloud, her petite face looking stunned. "I can't believe someone would do that to their own kids."

"She was crazy," Zach said unnecessarily, opting to not click on the autopsy photos of the girls. He instead switched folders and opened Christian Vega's. "Emilio told me about it briefly awhile back. He said his mother thought Christian favored he and his sisters over her, that she was paranoid and psychotic."

"At least she got what she deserved," Bree muttered, tone low and angry. She seemed to be taking the information hard and she looked away for a moment, obviously bothered by it.

It was similar to how Zach had felt when he'd first learned that his partner had witnessed his father blowing his mother's brains out after he'd just witnessed his mother butchering his sisters. The poor child hadn't even had time to deal with all of that before Christian had dropped him off on the doorsteps of Yaritza's parents without a backwards glance, not knowing or not caring that they refused to acknowledge Emilio as their relative before casting him out onto the streets of Brazil.

"His father's a real winner as well," Bree said, her tone dark and unamused. "Long time drug and gun runner, a part of MS-13, has been linked to numerous murders and kidnappings and, oh look! Good old Christian Vega is doing time in San Quentin right now for a triple murder. I wonder if Emilio knows about that."

"It depends on how hard it is for him to get into his own file," Zach replied, studying the mugshot of Christian. He was a handsome man but didn't share many of Emilio's features except for his skin tone and the fact that Emilio had apparently inherited his father's icy glare.

"Well, what I'm viewing now is super protected. Unless he's a super hacker or has the codes, he wouldn't be able to get into these particular files. There's a more superficial version of his total file that anyone with clearance can view but different levels of access and clearance are available to every agent's folder. Total access is what the top dogs have-- It contains everything about everyone-- Emilio's totally open file has every dirty little secret about him, every weakness and nuance of his personality and how it can be exploited if need be," Bree said with a slight frown.

She looked at Zach after a moment and noted the distinctly uncomfortable expression on his face. "I don't have clearance for those levels or folders, though..."

"Maybe we should just stop looking at this," Zach said with a shake of his head. Even if he realistically knew that Bree wouldn't try to use any of this information against Emilio, it bothered Zach that they were sitting here skimming through his partner's traumatic history as if it was no big deal.

And this time Bree didn't disagree; she'd likely not expected Emilio's past to have been quite as horrible as it actually was. "I feel bad now. I'm sorry, Zach."

Zach just shook his head and watched as Bree began closing folders. "Wait."

Bree paused on the main profile page and Zach skimmed it briefly, trying to figure out what had caught his eye. There was a short paragraph on Emilio's own ties to MS-13 as well as many prominent international organizations and mafias in everywhere from northeastern United States to Europe and China but Zach knew all that so he didn't go to any of the accompanying links or folders.

"What?" Bree furrowed her brow at him.

"I don't know..."

Bree gave him an odd look before looking at the screen again. Her face lit up and she grinned at Zach mischievously. "Well look at that, he's an undesignated valentine op."

Zach's eyes flew over to the line and his brow furrowed. "What?"

"That means they can send him off to fuck a man or a woman," Bree informed him smugly.

"I know what it means," Zach snapped, uncomfortable with the way she was ogling him. "What's the big deal? Connors can order us to do whatever he wants, it doesn't mean anything."

Bree rolled her eyes. "Oh puh-leeze, Zach. You're so fucking naive. They would never send a heterosexual to bang a man or a homosexual to screw a woman. The performance wouldn't be authentic or believable and the target would know that and the mission would fail."

"I don't see your point," Zach replied stonily, going back to scanning the page as he tried to ignore Bree's cute little smirk, the way she was enjoying this information and whatever she was trying to imply about it.

"My point is, he's probably bi! I mean seriously dude, is it that surprising? I'd be more surprised if he wasn't."

Zach cast her a withering glare. "You just want everyone to be gay because you are."

"Fuck you, Carhart," Bree said good-naturedly, shoving a handful of chips in her mouth and crossing her legs in front of her as she beamed at him. "You're just in denial for whatever reason. I don't even see why you care..."

"Uh huh." Zach stubbornly refused to look her way again and indicated the screen. He'd finally found what had been so odd to him; the section that typically contained an overview of surviving immediate family had an icon of a padlock on it. "Why is this part of his profile locked? Can you open it?"

"Sure. The parts I can't open aren't even viewable to me at the moment. They're completely hidden files. They must have thought this was something I could possibly use when I create his mission profile," Bree explained as she once again typed in the ridiculously long password.

The section quickly expanded and Zach blinked at the screen in dismay. "He's married?"

"And he has a kid!"

Bree and Zach looked at each other incredulously.

Emilio's spouse was listed as a woman named 'Gemini Perry' who had apparently given birth to a little boy named Damien Vega, although his name had since been changed to Damien Perry. It didn't say where either of them lived, likely because that information wasn't disclosed to Bree, but it did state that Emilio was unaware of Damien's existence.


"Okay, let's just stop looking at this now," Zach said abruptly and leaned forward to exit the program before Bree could disagree or agree. He was so surprised that he couldn't make heads or tails of anything he'd found out.

As Bree shut down her laptop, Zach stared at his food silently, automatically wondering if he should tell Emilio about Damien, whether or not Emilio would even care, why Emilio had ever gotten married, why he'd never told Zach about it after all of his talk about what a waste of time marriage was...

"You cannot tell him," Bree said suddenly, as if reading his thoughts. "I'd be in deep shit."

"I know." Zach sighed and pushed his tray away from him, no longer hungry. "This is so odd, Bree."

"Mmm." Bree tucked her laptop away and dug into her food although she seemed preoccupied with the things she'd learned. "Yeah. I can't believe he has a kid."

"I can't believe he never told me," Zach said bitterly, glaring at his sandwich.

Bree arched an eyebrow at Zach. "Excuse me?"

"He goes on and on about how I'm such an idiot for believing in monogamy and marriage and it turns out at some point he must have believed in it to some extant." Zach shook his head, scowling, sky blue eyes focused on his uneaten food. "I don't see why he never brought it up, that's all. It's not like he can't trust me."

"Uh huh..." Bree chewed on a handful of fries, watching him.

"I just think it's bullshit, that's all. He knows everything about me, he talks all about my life and my past and he doesn't tell me anything." Zach scowled and picked up his sandwich although he didn't bite into it.

"Didn't you say he told you all about his sisters and mother?" Bree asked skeptically.

"Well, yeah but..." Zach trailed off and his scowl deepened when he realized that he didn't really have anything to explain himself. Emilio had told him about all of the really horrible things in his life, about his siblings and parents and life on the street; Zach couldn't explain why these two bits of information, bits that were likely insignificant to Emilio, bothered him so much.

"I don't know," he said finally. "Forget it."

There was a brief silence between them and after awhile Bree wiped her face with a napkin and sighed. "I wish I'd have never showed you any of it. You're in a bad mood now."

Zach shrugged, still feeling unsettled and now annoyed by that fact. "Sorry. I can't really explain why I'm so annoyed now."

"Why don't you try?" She rested her cheek on one hand and looked at him without any traces of humor in her face.

He sighed and combed a hand through his blond hair, trying to find the words to explain. "I don't know, Bree. It's just hard being partners with him, being friends with him. Every time I think I have him figured out something happens to completely undermine everything I thought I knew and it frustrates me. He can read me like an open book and he's a complete mystery. I have no idea what he's thinking half the time and he's so fucking secretive-- even when I think he's confiding in me, I can tell there's a bunch of other shit he's holding back and this is just evidence of that."

"Okay." Bree nodded in understanding. "I get that. But I don't get why you care, why it bothers you so much."

"What?" Zach turned his frown on her. "What does that mean?"

"It means, why don't you take it in stride? Why don't you just brush it off and let it roll off your back? Why are you sitting here in such a funk because of it?" Bree shrugged her slender shoulders and let her gaze drift away from his intense stare.

"Because he's-- because he's my partner and he says I'm his best friend and it's just--" Zach broke off, irritated by his awkward stumbling explanation. "When two people go out and depend on only each other and can die at any minute, you have to completely trust that person and I just want to be able to know that I can know what to expect from him, okay?"

It was such a rambling explanation that it wouldn't have been very surprising if Bree had questioned him more but instead she just gave him a small smile, nodded her sympathy and completely changed the subject.

As Bree let her gaze wander about the room instead of focusing it squarely on his face, Zach got the strong impression that she was trying to give him a break, that she sensed his discomfort and didn't want to press him further for an answer he obviously didn't have.

Zach should have felt relieved by that fact but instead he just felt as unsettled as ever and his cell phone began to vibrate in his pocket, Zach felt a strong sense of irritation overcome him.

He wished belatedly that they'd never unlocked Emilio's stupid file.