In the Company of Shadows

This site is..

Based on an original series 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!


Book One: Evenfall See Evenfall chapter list.

Book Two: Afterimage
See Afterimage chapter list.

Interludes list

Book Three: Fade
See Fade chapter list.


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Fade Epilogue

Uploaded on 3/2/2013

The breeze that blew in was warm and caused the smells of the favela to waft in, an unpleasant mix of sewage, rotten eggs and cooked food. He was used to it after a year of living in the shanty town, but when the wind gusted again, Sin opened his eyes. He was facing the balcony door of their studio which the wind had blown wide open during the night, but it only provided scant relief to the near-suffocating humidity of the studio. The space was small, barely five hundred square feet, with patchy sheetrock walls and a mish-mash of furniture that had been procured over time.

Sin propped himself up in the bed, bare skin sliding against Boyd's; sticky but never uncomfortable. They were tangled up in the sheets, both naked and still messy from the smear of lubricant, come, and sweat that accompanied the thorough fucking that always followed Sin's return to their tiny home after a night patrol.

Seeing Sin in his BOPE uniform seemed to have the same effect on Boyd as seeing Sin in his Agency gear had in the past. On those nights they seamlessly transitioned from a kiss hello to quick fingers unfastening his armor, as if Boyd was getting off on borrowed adrenaline and the smell of gunpowder and danger.

Glancing down at his lover, a small smile stole across Sin's face. Unruly blond hair sprawled across half of Boyd's face, hiding the scruff that covered his jaw and the lips that Sin knew were parted in sleep. Boyd was turned toward Sin, having previously been tucked under his chin, and paint-stained fingers were curled loosely.

Sin brushed a kiss against Boyd's forehead before untangling their limbs entirely. There was still over an hour before they planned to head to the outdoor market to set up Boyd's stall, but Sin couldn't sleep. His body wasn't conditioned for it, even after two years of being away from the routines that had dictated his life for so long.

He grabbed his briefs from the colorful linoleum floor, and pulled them on. The breeze gusted stronger, and Sin looked out the balcony door again. That kind of wind promised rain, which wouldn't be much of a surprise. In the middle of the summer in Rio, it always seemed to fucking rain.

Sin grabbed a crumpled box of cigarettes from the bedside table before going out to the balcony. A rickety wooden rail enclosed the space, and a slanted sheet of corrugated metal served as a roof. It provided shade as the sun began to rise over the beaches and hills of Rio de Janeiro, but he knew it would cause the balcony to swelter in another hour.

After flicking his lighter, Sin took a deep pull of his cigarette and leaned against the railing. His foot brushed against a bowl of water that was full of paint brushes, and he pushed it to the side with his toes before it knocked over to spill onto the filthy street below. Paintings sat gingerly on the balcony, leaning against the walls and drying in the open air. He examined each one with an exhale of bluish gray smoke.

Boyd's focus seemed to have been portraits for this month's market. Each painting told a story, and Sin had no doubts that Boyd had found real models for his art. Elderly people, withered and beaten from time and poverty, as well as clusters of children, one featuring a group of homeless kids that resided high up in the hills of Rocinha favela. The tiny faces looked familiar, but that was inevitable. Sin saw scores of children every day during his patrols with the Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais.

Turning away from the painting, Sin took another drag from his cigarette and looked out at the urban sprawl that surrounded their squat apartment building. The residents of Rocinha favela were waking up, and the cobbled streets were starting to fill with people heading down the hill. This close to the bottom, the population was a hodgepodge of bohemian implants from foreign countries, young professionals, and the working class who had lived in the hills for years. But even they were better off than the people who lived higher up in the mountains. The colorful buildings that were stacked on top of each other like children's blocks moved up further into the sky, but the vibrancy of the structures didn't take away the filth and corruption.

They had settled in Rio after a year of constant movement, choosing the city due to its increasing population and diversity. He'd been feeling restless and on edge after strings of odd jobs, and had found a position with the special forces police squad. Armor on his back and a gun in his hand had felt right. Natural.

But it had not taken long for the crawl of dissatisfaction to spread once again. It was quelled by Boyd, always by Boyd, but returned as soon as Sin set out in the armored vehicle and drove by skinny, ragged children who stared defiantly at the men with their big guns. They reminded him of his father, and Sin wondered too frequently what tiny Emilio's life had been like in this monstrous collaboration of rich, poor, concrete, and jungle.

Sin heard the rustle of sheets not long before he felt Boyd approach. Even far from Lexington and the agent life, there were some things that hadn't faded. Boyd still automatically quieted his footsteps, even in their home.

He wrapped his arms around Sin from behind. With a kiss against Sin's shoulder, he turned his face and rubbed it sleepily against Sin's bare skin. "Come back to bed," he mumbled.

"We have to go soon," Sin said, twisting his arm back to cup Boyd's head.

"So?" Boyd turned his head to kiss Sin's wrist. "Still enough time to have a good start to the morning."

The words had an immediate effect on Sin's dick, and he flicked his cigarette away after stubbing it out on the railing. He turned around, his back to the street and hands sliding up Boyd's bare back. Sin's eyes roamed over Boyd, and he pressed the other man closer when his body reacted further to the sleep-tousled sexiness. The scars on the left side of Boyd's face and the damage to his eye didn't take away from his looks. To Sin, they never had.

He leaned in and brought their lips together. A brief kiss passed between them, damp and just a tease of tongue, before it deepend. He pushed away from the railing and backed them into the rooms beyond the rickety door.

Boyd's fingers dug into Sin's shoulders and he parted his lips, allowing Sin's tongue inside. The backs of his knees hit the edge of the bed and Sin pressed him back until they fell onto the mattress.

"Let's blow off the market and stay here," Sin said against Boyd's mouth.

A smile flashed across Boyd's face. He spoke between kisses. "Can't. Need to clear inventory."

"So do I." Sin smirked, and rolled his crotch against Boyd deliberately.

Boyd snorted and nipped at Sin's lips. "We only have time for something quick now; we'd have to wait to do it proper tonight." His thumb ran just beneath the waistband of Sin's briefs. "I want to swallow your inventory a whole different way then."

"You better." Sin rolled to the side. "Let's get going, then."

Boyd smacked Sin's ass. "Tease." He stood with a yawning stretch. "If we're not doing anything then I should have time to take a quick shower. I'm still dirty from last night."

"You like it dirty."

"You like it when I like it dirty," Boyd retorted lazily as his footsteps padded across the studio. He left the door halfway open before starting the shower. The faucets turned on with a loud whine and the pipes shuddered before the patter of water filtered out of the room.

Sin got up and began the task of collecting the paintings that Boyd planned to sell. By the time he had stowed them in canvas carrying cases, Boyd was done, and Sin was covered in a sheen of sweat. He took his turn in the shower and came out to see that Boyd was dressed, wearing his eyepatch, and had already called a cab to take them to the open air market. It was a luxury they didn't normally utilize, but they needed to travel further up into the mountainside with the paintings.

Before they left the studio, Sin tucked his service pistol in the small of his back. It had become habit to carry it even when off-duty. Spending his day off around hundreds of people wasn't something that Sin particularly enjoyed, but sending Boyd alone wasn't an option. Despite having adjusted to monocular vision, Boyd still had a blindside and rarely carried a weapon due to the increased police presence in the favela.

The paranoia hadn't deteriorated in either of them over time. Looking over his shoulder had become second nature, as had worrying about the hours that Boyd spent alone wandering favelas and sketching overpriced portraits for tourists on Ipanema Beach. He knew it was the same for Boyd, who often watched from the balcony for Sin's return from work and mourned that he could not be Sin's partner anymore.

The ride to the market was not long, but the place was already crowded when they arrived. They wove their way through the booths with hot meats and different wares until they reached the tented stands that were closer to the stage where bands would play later in the day. Fortunately, Boyd's booth was furthest from the rest.

The day moved sluggishly and was filled with haggling, the occasional drama of a pickpocket or fight, and the occasional civilian shying away from Sin when they got too close. The locals sometimes recognized him from his patrols in BOPE's black, armored vehicles with their skull emblems. The tourists just seemed to sense that there was something off about the intense, green-eyed man who stood ramrod straight next to the fair-haired, tanned artist with the eyepatch.

Unsurprisingly, no one tried to rob them.

Boyd left the tent around noon and returned with pasteis and drinks for them. They sat beside the paintings with the wind blowing hot air and the smell of the market into the tent. Activity had slowed down at the height of the day, and there were only a few people wandering the market. An old man was studying the landscape paintings a little ways off and a band had begun to set up on the stage.

The brief moment of privacy caused the tension and continuous sense of anxiety to ease out of Sin. They remained seated even after finishing their snack and he absently kneaded Boyd's shoulders. The scarred pads of his fingers slid partially beneath the sleeveless shirt that Boyd wore. Boyd let out a quiet groan and tilted his head to give Sin better access.

Just when Boyd gave Sin a heavy-lidded look of appreciation, a small group of kids came running into the area. They were breathless with laughter, flushed red from the scorch of the heat, and speaking Portuguese loudly. When one of them saw Boyd and Sin, he pointed and said something to the others. Five sets of eyes rounded on them, and the kid in front steeled himself before striding over. The other kids hovered behind him along the way.

"This should be good," Boyd said dryly.

The oldest child seemed to be about ten. He stared at Sin warily and stopped twice before a glance back at his friends seemed to propel him forward. He crossed his arms over his worn red shirt and jerked his chin up, turning his attention to Boyd.

"I've seen you before," he said in Portuguese. "You're that gringo that lives in our favela."

Boyd nodded and replied in the same language, "I draw people from there. Other places too." He pointed to the painting Sin had seen earlier of the kids from Rocinha. "You know any of those kids?"

"No," the kid said stoutly without bothering to look at it. "What's wrong with you?"

"What's wrong with me?" Boyd echoed mildly, a faint hint of amusement in his voice. "I'm a deviant. What's wrong with you?"

"No. Your face."

"My face?" Boyd tilted his head as if thinking, and then grinned. "It's devilishly handsome."

Sin rolled his eyes.

"No," the kid said sharply. Behind him one of the kids snickered nervously, causing the oldest to stride forward. He started to get right up in Boyd's face before he caught sight of Sin's expression. He balked, and took a step back. "Your eye! I heard you got fired from the factory because of it."

Boyd's expression didn't so much as flicker. "This one?" he asked, pointing to his good eye.

"No, your other eye," the kid snapped impatiently. "Stupid fucking gringo, what's wrong with your face?"

"Ohh, this one," Boyd said in understanding, tapping the eyepatch. "Why didn't you say so?"

"I did!"

Boyd kicked his feet out in front of him and linked his hands behind his head. "Jaguar got it," he said casually.

"That's stupid," the boy retorted snidely. "You're lying. A jaguar wouldn't just get your eye. What'd you do? Piss off the wrong person? Maybe that guy behind you did it. My friend lost his arm to BOPE--"

"Why don't you get the fuck out of here before I rip your arm off?" Sin rumbled from his sprawled position on the ground. He tilted his head back, damp hair falling out of his eyes as he sneered at the kids. "Now!"

The younger kids immediately scrambled out of the tent. The oldest child lingered just long enough to gesture at his crotch crudely before he turned and sprinted after the others. Boyd watched them go with a faint hardness to his features, and a subtle thinning of his lips.

Sin scoffed and looked up at Boyd. "I thought we talked about this whole conversing with other people thing. As in, don't do it when I'm around."

Boyd's lips lifted, and the hard lines loosened when he looked over. "I can't sell paintings if I tell everyone to fuck off."

"You thought those kids were going to buy paintings?" Sin made a face, and got to his feet. He surveyed the area, focusing on the band that was playing.

"Nah." Boyd followed Sin's gaze. "But they've been working up the balls to talk to me for a month now, always hovering in the background when I was in the favela. I figured I may as well get that out of the way." He paused, watching them run past another booth, and scoffed. "Good thing they don't know about the other times that's happened or they'd be impossible next time I see them."

When Sin didn't reply, Boyd looked at him fully. With a frown pulling at his lips, he stood and turned Sin to face him.

"Hey," he said quietly, his voice pitched low enough that only Sin would hear. "We should talk later. I know you aren't happy here anymore."

"It doesn't matter. It will be the same wherever we go." Sin slid his hand in the pocket of his shorts, fingers curling around his cigarettes. "Civilians have an uncanny ability for sensing freaks."

Boyd's fingers tightened on Sin. "Don't--"

Before he could finish, Sin's gaze snapped over Boyd's shoulder and Boyd automatically fell silent. An elderly white man had wandered over to the booth. Right afterward, a young woman in a flowing skirt approached to study a painting. Boyd scowled, his fingers squeezing Sin's arm, but he fixed his expression into polite inquiry as he turned to face the customers.

"Can I help you with anything?" Boyd asked the woman in Portuguese.

She shook her head. "Just looking." She carefully picked up the painting and turned it at different angles for the light to hit.

"You painted all these?" the man asked, flipping through the canvases.

Boyd nodded. "Are you looking for anything in particular?"

"Maybe," the man said. He pulled out one of the smaller pieces and squinted at the lower right corner. "What does this say?"

"That's my signature." When the man looked at him questioningly, Boyd added, "Isaac Winters."

"Ohh, yes, yes..." The man slipped the canvas back into place. He peered around, lingering slightly on the young woman as she approached Boyd with the painting. The old man watched the transaction briefly before turning his milky-blue eyes over to Sin. "And you're one of those BOPE people. I've seen you about. Francisco Perreira, right?"

"Funny, I haven't seen you on any of my patrols," Sin replied. There was something off about the old man, and he couldn't identify what it was. The lack of fear, the boldness, the name dropping-- it was enough to put him on edge completely. "Who are you, and how did you come to know my name, old man?"

"Oh, you know, I hear things."

The woman left the booth with her painting, and Boyd approached the man.

"I heard you telling those children about your eye. Such a shame for a young man, such a shame. Makes it hard to find work, doesn't it? Especially being a foreigner." The man switched to English and spoke with an American accent. "But you know, Boyd, I hear it happened a different way entirely."

Boyd recoiled, his breath rushing out as Sin snapped his fingers around the grip of his pistol. The old man put his hands up, but there was no fear in his expression.

"Not so hasty, Agent Vega. I am here to talk, not to fight."

"Talk fast or die."

A small smile curved the old man's mouth. "I see the rumors of your charm weren't exaggerated. You don't blend well, Agent. Several of your colleagues have had similar problems. I don't know why any of you bothered to try."

"What are you talking about?" Boyd demanded. "You're watching them? Did you hurt any of them?"

The smile turned sarcastic, and the old man slid his hands into the pockets of his khaki shorts. "Oh, yes. I terminated Kassian and the rest all by myself."

Sin tensed at the mention of Kassian. He hadn't thought about the man in months. He hadn't thought about any of them in months. Except...

"Who are you?" he asked roughly, cutting off the line of thought.

"You can call me Matthew. You haven't heard of me. Not even your mother--" Matthew looked at Boyd. "--has heard of me. Which is why she could not betray me."

Boyd's features darkened. "Tell us who you are and what you want, now, before we have to assume you're stalling us for backup."

"I told you, I want to talk. Everything has changed thanks to you two and your fellow conspirators. Both divisions of the Agency are finished. Liquidated. By me."

Sin looked at Boyd quickly, his eyebrows drawing together. "What do you mean?"

"You exposed the Agency's Directors, but me and another colleague were the ones who founded the organization that created you both. We were the Chairmen of the Board."


The word came out harsh and quiet from Boyd. He shifted his weight away from Matthew further, his body tensing as if he wanted to strike. His hand automatically snapped toward his hip, and balled into a fist when it met emptiness.

"Careful now," Matthew cautioned. "Shooting an elderly American man in the midst of an impoverished area may draw attention that you don't want."

Sin looked around, his teeth gritting as he realized that it was true. But even as frustration shot through him, knowing he couldn't end this now and make a clean break from Brazil before anyone else could track them down, he realized that there was no one else around. Nobody but locals, young hippies, and people diligently selling their wares.

This man was alone.

"Why do you want to speak to the people who helped to destroy your organization?"

The smile grew wider, but there was an edge to it that had not been there before. "I once heard a quote. Quite beautiful, quite applicable to this situation."

Two couples meandered into the booth, pausing to look at Boyd's paintings. At first they seemed oblivious to the three men standing off to the side, but when one of the women looked at them, she nudged the others and they walked away.

"Get to the point, old man," Sin growled.

"'Change is the signal for rebirth.' I thought it was apt."

Boyd crossed his arms. "You're recreating the Agency?"

"You could say that." Matthew stepped past them both, and stood at the very edge of the tent. He looked out into the market, and cupped his hands behind his back. "I'm an old man. My colleague is an old man. When the Agency was founded, there was a certain vision. We wanted to protect the country, and we were willing to do whatever it took to do so. If we had to dirty our hands to ensure that our great nation continued to thrive, well, so be it. That vision has never changed, however, the manner in which our work was carried out by the Marshals became counterproductive."

The group of local children ran by the tent once again, their laughter consumed by the Samba band that was playing.

"My soldiers were designed to be strong, but years of hard use made them angry. Vengeful. We were hands off with the HR aspect after decades of standing over the Board and micromanaging their decisions. Frankly, we were uninterested in how the two divisions were managed as long as missions were accomplished successfully. However, we now see where things went... awry."

"It cultivated a culture of sociopaths." Boyd looked over Matthew's shoulder at a potential customer who slowed at the opening of the tent but, after a lingering stare at one of the paintings, continued walking. "Good job figuring that one out. Why are you telling us any of this?"

A low sound escaped Matthew's mouth. It sounded almost mirthful. "I was hoping that you would connect the dots a lot faster than that, Boyd. But to be blunt, in a sense, I admire you both. Not just you, but the others as well. Carrying out such a daring plan requires ingenuity. My new vision would benefit from people like that."

Sin stared at Matthew, disbelief momentarily striking him silent. It was only when the old man nodded encouragingly that he found his voice.

"You want us to work for you."

"You can't be serious." Incredulity stained Boyd's features and voice. "Why the hell would we ever willingly put ourselves under your control again? I have zero trust in you people. You talk a good game here but we'd just find ourselves stuck under another Seong again. If not now, then a year from now. There's no way in hell I'm putting myself in that position ever again."

"An expected response." Matthew turned to them again, his hands still clasped behind him. "But perhaps you should put your emotions aside and think clearly. The people who wronged you are dead. You were not on my radar until the end, and I have nothing to do with your vendetta. My goal is the same: to keep the nation safe from those who wish to take us back to the dark days of the World Wars."

The man's eyes moved over Boyd before turning to Sin. "Can you deny, Hsin, that those are the goals of the Agency? That many of your missions revolved around the defeat of terrorists and insurgents who put our people, our government, and our nation at risk?"

Sin's lips pressed together, and he cut his gaze away from the old man.

"Can you?" Matthew asked, his voice sharper. "Or has your hatred of the Marshals blinded you completely?"

"No," Sin snapped. "I never said that."

"Is that not why you chose to work for BOPE?"

"Don't pretend you know me, old man."

Matthew shrugged, a movement so subtle that his thin, button-down shirt barely moved. "Deny it if you want, but it's plain for anyone to see. You fought to escape the Agency just to find yourself in a similar role, but now, in a Brazilian ghetto. How utterly absurd."

He turned to Boyd. "And you. You're nothing as you are. A one-eyed foreigner peddling your silly pictures. The two of you helped to take down the most dangerous rebel group in the world. It's quite pathetic how meaningless your lives have turned out to be. It must be distressing to realize, after all of that time, that the normal life you craved isn't exactly what you thought it would be."

A muscle in Boyd's jaw twitched. He looked away stonily.

"Your friends are the same. Foolish children who thought the grass would be greener and found nothing but corruption, or worse, mediocrity." Beams of sunlight streamed into the tent, casting a golden glow on the ground around them. Matthew turned his face upward to the sky.

"You know where the others are." Sin wasn't surprised. At this point, he couldn't be. If the Agency had found the two of them, as careful as they'd been, there was no telling who else had been rounded up.

"I do. It was idiotic to think you could hide. I admit, it took longer than expected due to Breanne Calahan's innovation, but there were ways. I have yet to proposition your loved ones, but the time will come."

"You want the others to join, too?" Sin demanded incredulously, taking a step closer to Matthew. "Do you expect us to believe this? That you tracked us all down to extend an invitation?"

"I have tracked most of you down." A hint of displeasure made its way into Matthew's voice. He turned to Sin again, and raised his shaggy, white eyebrows. "Your fathers are still unaccounted for."

"My fathers--"

"The General and the criminal, yes."

Sin replayed the words in his mind, and searched the pale eyes for a sign of deceit, but he could detect nothing.

"What-- Where are they? Is Carhart alive?"

Matthew's eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled coldly, an expression that was sharp and unpleasant. "Agree to hear my offer, and I will tell you what I know."

Sin didn't even hesitate. "Fine, offer whatever the fuck you want, just tell me."

"Predictable." Matthew chuckled quietly until it tapered off into a sigh. "They fled the compound with a guard. We traced them to a location in the Industrial district of Lexington. Judging from later investigations, it was an underground medical center that was run by his other bastard son. The compound was in such shambles that no one made an executive decision about whom to locate and follow until it was too late. By then, they had gone dark, and have remained that way since. It is not too surprising. Your father had escaped us once before."

For a moment, Sin couldn't speak. For two years they had looked for signs of his father and Carhart, and for two years there had been complete radio silence. He'd convinced himself that they were long dead, executed on the compound during the revolt, but now...

Blinking, Sin shook the thoughts off and tried to collect himself. The man was still talking, but he'd heard none of it.

"--paired up or went off on their own. Kassian Trovosky and Ryan Freedman are in Mexico City. You might find it interesting to know that they have both undertaken illegal activities to get by. Harriet Stevens, Douglas Ferguson and Casey Archer, on the other hand, are working with a private military organization in the Middle East. Owen O'Connell is in Ireland with the Journalist Guild, no surprise there either, I suppose. Your mother and Breanne Calahan are more difficult to find, which is likely why Vivienne stayed with her."

Boyd sat on the edge of one of the tables. His arms were crossed, and his fingers tapped against his bare skin. He regarded Matthew with a frown. "You approached us first? Why?"

"Our original plan was to obtain the fathers first. Get them to agree after making the offer. Without them, the offer passes to you."

Sin frowned. "What are you saying?"

Matthew held his gaze and the shark-like smile appeared. "I'm saying that you and Boyd would be the Marshals. It would be a new era for the Agency, and you could be the ones overseeing it. Leave this pitiful shithole of a city and return to what you have been trained to do. Make a difference in the world once again. Matter once again. And gain the ability to protect or even fight side-by-side with your friends."

When he received no immediate response aside from stunned expressions and widened eyes, Matthew inclined his head. "I will find you again."

Boyd opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Matthew cut him off sharply.

"Keep in mind, I am offering you the chance to manage one of the most powerful organizations on the planet. Whatever you think you have to say or ask right now, don't be rash. Once you give me an answer, it will be final, so consider carefully."

Matthew stepped outside of the tent, and turned to face them. "Think about my offer. Next time we meet, I'll expect an answer."

The Chairman of the Agency walked away, leaving them to stare at his back in amazement. He disappeared into the cluster of people as innocuously as he had appeared.

Once Sin lost sight of him, the day seemed surreal. The conversation, the information that they'd gained, and the possibilities. In the stunned silence of the tent, Sin met Boyd's gaze. He saw the same disbelief on Boyd's face that had consumed him with the Chairman's first utterance of 'the Agency.'

The Agency.

The hush that had fallen between them was disrupted only when Boyd turned to his paintings. He stared at them for a long moment, the portraits cast half in shadow, before slowly beginning the process of packing them away in the canvas bags.

"Are we ready to go?" Sin asked, his voice nearly lost in the beat of the music.

Boyd looked up again, and time seemed to still as they stared at each other. He inclined his head and quietly said, "Yes."

-The End of In the Company of Shadows-