In the Company of Shadows

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!


Book One: Evenfall See Evenfall chapter list.

Book Two: Afterimage
See Afterimage chapter list.

Interludes list

Book Three: Fade
See Fade chapter list.


Our AFFN profile

Site hosted by 1&1

Evenfall Chapter Two

The general population within the Agency tended to expect Sin to act psychotic. That fact was evident enough by the looks he received when Officer Gerant came to escort him from the Fourth floor to the upper levels of the Tower.

Gerant unwisely chose to take the elevator. To say the Agency staff that had occupied it reacted strongly would have been an understatement. Some gawked at Sin, some fearfully avoided his steady green gaze and others looked on with outright hostility. He ignored them impassively, not reacting visibly to the stares. He felt nothing more than irritation about the spectacle that his appearance created everywhere he went.

Sin supposed that it was inevitable. With the vast majority of the Agency staff believing that he was a psychotic murderer, it wasn't particularly shocking that many of them were displeased with his reinstatement as a field agent.

The elevator emptied quickly but whether or not people were actually getting off at their designated floors or were simply trying to get away from him was unknown. He assumed the latter.

Within two stops the elevator was empty except Sin, Gerant and two men that Sin recognized as lower level field agents. He'd never spoken to them outright but long ago Sin had made it a point to memorize the names, ranks and addresses of as many Agency staff as he could. It was best to find out as much information as one could about potential enemies. And in the hostile climate of the compound, Sin considered everyone to be a potential threat.

Agents Angelo Morales and Adam Blake stood side by side, both dark-haired and wearing dark clothing; the unofficial uniform of new field agents who used to watch too much television. They seemed to think covert agents wore black suits and leather jackets. All that was missing were twin pairs of black sunglasses.

They stared at Sin and Sin stared back blankly, unimpressed by them. Although, he typically wasn't very impressed by much.

Adam looked at him with an intrigued expression on his pale face while Angelo glared with outright contempt.

"They should have kept you locked on the Fourth, you fucking freak," Angelo spat with disgust, casting a black glare at Gerant as though it was his fault specifically for Sin's presence.

Gerant just shrugged, looking awkward, Sin raised his eyebrows at Morales, saying flatly, "It was a pleasure to meet you as well, Agent Morales."

Angelo blanched at the usage of his name and took a step back, which wasn't much considering the elevator was only about two yards wide.

Sin's lips turned up at the side but the expression didn't make it to his coldly glittering, pale green eyes. "Tell me, how is it living in Residential Complex B? Unfortunately I've been locked in a box on the Fourth floor for the past six months so I've become quite unfamiliar with typical accommodations. Not that I've ever had any, mind you."

All remaining color drained from Angelo's face but Adam just shook his head, not appearing at all surprised.

"How did you know--"

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. Adam dragged his partner out of the elevator before he could complete the sentence and Sin leered at them as they retreated. The elevator once again lapsed into silence until their destination of the next floor.

Gerant waited for Sin to exit and followed closely behind as Sin walked past offices and hallways, ultimately arriving in the lobby area of General Carhart's space. Sin was vaguely aware of the small remote in Gerant's hand and he debated causing a scene just to test how quickly the collar could be activated before he broke the guard's hand and crushed the remote. The test on the Fourth floor weeks ago by Inspector Beaulieu would have given him a full minute to confiscate the remote but they'd altered the collar since then and likely made the voltage higher.

Sin reached up and idly ran his long, slim fingers along the collar. The metallic coldness resting against his skin felt unnatural but after two weeks he was nearly used to it. He was also becoming accustomed to the idea that the collar was a tracking device as well as a control mechanism.

The lobby wasn't deserted by any means. Two field agents, a Research and Development agent and Carhart's receptionist were in the immediate area. Once again, every one of them stopped what they were doing to stare at Sin.

This time he didn't bother to antagonize anybody and waited impatiently for Gerant to knock on the door and for the General to admit them access.

When the door opened, Sin stepped inside gratefully, glad to be out of the watchful gaze of every single person he came across even if it meant dealing with Carhart.

"You can go, Officer Gerant," Carhart said to the guard although his cerulean blue eyes focused on Sin and didn't move. His handsome face was as youthful as ever, his form as impressive and fit as it'd been in the half year since Sin had seen him last.

It wasn't too surprising. In the thirteen years Sin had known the General, the man had aged very little physically.

"But, Sir--"

Carhart looked away finally and focused his eyes on the guard. "I said, you can go," he said flatly in a tone that allowed no argument.

Gerant nodded uncertainly and held out one hand, studiously avoiding Sin's gaze. "The remote, sir?"

Carhart's expression was quickly turning to one of impatience. "I don't need it. Take it and go."

Sin smirked at the General. "Pretty confident, aren't you?"

Carhart didn't respond, obviously not willing to rise to the bait. "Goodbye, Officer Gerant," he said pointedly.

The guard shot him another worried look, obviously concerned about leaving the third-in-command of the Agency alone with a psychopath, but obediently left the office and shut the door behind him.

Sin sat in the armchair opposite Carhart's desk and shifted, making himself comfortable on the soft plush cushion. He leaned his head back against the soft microfiber and let his eyes drift closed.

Carhart sat back in his own chair and shook his head, the corners of his mouth rising slightly as he watched Sin. "Have I bored you already?"

"Mm." Sin opened one green eye lazily, looking at the General with a cold smile. "No. But after sleeping on linoleum for the past six months, I may just doze off from the sheer opulence of your chair. Or maybe it's the fucking horse tranquilizers you pumped me full of for those six months that are still slowing me down?"

The amusement faded from Carhart's expression and he looked down at his computer, expression hardening. "Holding a grudge, Sin?"

"Fuck you," Sin said tonelessly, closing his eyes again. He heard a low sigh and the squeak of the General shifting in his chair.

"Are you hungry?"

"No. After six months on a liquid diet, I'm watching my figure."

This time the sigh was one of exasperation. "How many more 'after six months' retorts do you have left in you? You weren't nearly this witty after spending four years on the Fourth on your previous incarceration."

Sin considered the question and arched one black eyebrow. "Well that was before the box and before I was left in a stupor for the entire period," he replied flatly. "And speaking of the box, I still have to mention the abusive guards, my emaciated condition and this gorgeous piece of jewelery you gifted me with. I heard the medics talking. Apparently that little gem was all your idea."

"Because it was the only goddamn way I could convince Marshal Connors and the Inspector to let you out of that cell," Carhart snapped. "An opportunity arose, a way to get you off the Fourth but they didn't want to. They wanted to keep you in that box. The only way I could get around it was by suggesting a way to control you, for insurance."

"To control me," Sin repeated dully, opening both eyes to gaze across the desk at Carhart. "Interesting choice of words."

Carhart shook his head, frustration evident by the tension in his broad shoulders. "After what you pulled with your last four partners, what the hell do you expect? They paint you in the role of the murdering psychopath and you play the part while I try to be devil's fucking advocate every time you get into trouble."

"It's not my fault you designated complete morons for my babysitters," Sin replied, his eyes narrowing as he sat up in the chair and leaned forward. His black and red hair curtained his face, temporarily shading his eyes and shadowing his exotic features.

Carhart stared at him silently as a dangerous smile slid across Sin's full lips.

"Maybe you shouldn't have chosen 'partners,'" he said the word with obvious distaste, spitting it out as if it tasted terrible, "who thought the word partner meant handler and that I was their fucking pet."

"The choices made were unfortunate," Carhart agreed at length, blue eyes flicking away briefly from Sin's steady gaze. "After much debate, the Marshal and the Inspector both agreed on that note. They went over the files, the reports and debriefings and agreed that perhaps we hadn't made the most suitable choices..."

"And I see you didn't feel it necessary to share this news flash with the staff." Not that it would have mattered, Sin answered his own comment silently. His reputation and existence on the compound had been tarnished and despised for years.

Carhart ignored the comment and asked again, "Would you like coffee? Something to eat?"

Sin made a face, annoyed by Carhart's incessant habit of trying to feed him whenever they came face to face. "Will you shut up with the eating?"

"You're skin and bones," Carhart said pointedly, indicating Sin's lanky body that looked lost in the loose threadbare clothing that he wore. "If you're going to be reinstated you have to get your weight up and start rebuilding muscle. We have a specific timetable that we're working with."

"Fine. Get me a chocolate milk and a donut."

Carhart stared at him.

Sin shrugged.

Shaking his head but not appearing overly surprised by the request, Carhart pressed the intercom on his desk. "Amy, can you bring in a coffee, some donuts and... a chocolate milk?"

There was a pause and a very uncertain sounding, "Right away, sir," in response.

Satisfied, Sin crossed his arms over his chest and threw his legs out in front of him.

The amusement appeared on Carhart's face once again and he shook his head. "You're going to need to develop better eating habits, Sin. You're about thirty to forty pounds underweight. That sweet tooth isn't going to help you in any way. I don't even know where you get that from. Certainly not your father."

Sin went very still in the chair and his eyes narrowed. "Don't."

Carhart frowned slightly. "I was just sayi--"

"Don't," Sin repeated in a warning tone. "Leave it, General."

The sudden tension in the room was palpable and only broken by the appearance of Amy with a tray full of donuts, a mug of coffee and a large Styrofoam cup presumably filled with chocolate milk. The receptionist seemed mildly alarmed by Sin's icy glare and Carhart's stiff posture but she didn't comment, instead offering Sin a flexy straw before she hurried away.

Sin looked down at the neon pink straw in bemusement and the moment was broken.

"So," Carhart said with obvious relief, grabbing his coffee from the tray. "The opportunity I spoke of. Any clue as to what it is?"

"Mm." Sin took a bite of half a chocolate donut and nearly closed his eyes at the delicious taste of sugary icing. "Either you're in desperate need of my wonderful assassination abilities or your super elite unit is still short a high-ranking fieldie due to your relative lack of high ranking fieldies?"

"Precisely. My options are limited to you and Senior Agent Trovosky."

"So go with Trovosky. I'm sure he'd come in his pants at the opportunity to be on your extra special team."

"Ha ha. Funny." The General looked at the donuts and selected a plain one without icing. "As I was saying, my options are limited to you and Trovosky since you're my only two level 10s and he's been sent away on an extended undercover op so my choices are down to, well, you."

"It's so nice to be needed." Sin's voice practically oozed with sarcasm.

"Janus activity has been rearing up again and they're getting stronger with each passing day," Carhart said seriously, once again trying to impress the importance of the unit to Sin.

It wasn't the first time he'd made the effort-- that had occurred six months ago when Connors had arranged the unit whose sole purpose existed to get information on and stop the ever-expanding rebel organization.

"We need to act now before they induct every single ragtag rebel group into their fold. They've swallowed insurgent groups here and overseas and their influence is spreading."

"Sounds dire," Sin replied blandly, grabbing a Bismarck donut that looked to be filled with some kind of custard.

Carhart glared at him. "Can you take this seriously?"


"This is your job, Sin. Your job--"

"Fuck my job." Sin smiled around a mouthful of custard, the sticky white filling smearing on his wide lips. "If you think I'm still here because of loyalty to the cause, you're more delusional than I thought. I'm here because it's too much trouble to bother trying to escape Connors' tentacles."

A long suffering sigh answered him. "In any case, the conditions of your release are to retrain, to become a full-fledged member of the Janus unit as well as taking on your previous duties. And once again we will be inducting a second field agent to the unit, a level 9 who will be--"

"Fuck that."

"--trained specifically to be your partner."

"No way in hell." Sin was already standing up, his back stiff with anger at the mere suggestion of going through that again. "I'd rather go back to the Fourth."

Carhart's patience seemed to have reached the end of its rope. "But you won't just go back to the fucking Fourth, Sin. You'll go back to the box and this time, you won't be getting out. They're not just using it as a temporary punishment anymore, Agent Vega. That's your fate if this doesn't work out. Now you tell me-- which do you want to choose?"

Sin grit his teeth and looked away, staring out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the city's broken skyline, at the destroyed suburbs that lay beyond the city limits. Evidence of the war. "I won't play somebody's power games. I won't let some idiotic thick-necked field agent treat me like an animal. I don't care what you do to me."

"And I'm telling you it won't be that way this time!" Carhart slammed his hands on the desk in frustration, causing coffee to slop out of the side of his mug and splash on the files that rested beside it. "We're going through a very extensive process to find a suitable match for you, Sin. Psych profiles, background, personality assessments-- and this time your input will be included. It won't be like it was before."

Sin frowned slightly and looked down at his cup of chocolate milk. He stared at it moodily, weighing the pros and cons. "Why bother?" he asked finally. He looked up at Carhart with a grim smile. "You know I'm damaged goods. You know what happens with me, what always happens with me. I'll always end up back up on the Fourth."

"Well I'm not prepared to give up on you just yet," Carhart snapped impatiently, wiping at his files in obvious aggravation. "You're the best we have and even if they hate you, everyone knows that. Now shut the hell up, drink your chocolate milk and stop being a pain in my ass, Sin. For God's sake."

Sin allowed his gaze to slide out the window once again, watching the smoke-colored clouds drift across the oppressively bleak sky. "I'll agree to it. For now."

Carhart opened his mouth to express his relief but the dark look Sin speared him with after a moment stopped him cold.

"But if you pick the wrong person," Sin said quietly. "It's his fucking funeral."

The General dropped his eyes and focused on his desk once again although his expression had stilled considerably. "Believe me, Sin. I know."

Sin's battered combat boots left dark smudges against the plain white wall of the small, darkened conference room but he didn't shift his position. He remained reclined in the black office chair with his feet propped against the drywall.

Strands of jet black hair fell across his forehead, mixing with the dyed red that was slowly growing out. His face was the picture of boredom, almond shaped green eyes half closed and long black lashes practically resting against his cheeks as he stared through the two way mirror blankly.

"This is boring," he drawled, looking over at Carhart with a frown. "Unless you're completely moronic, it should be clear that the last two candidates are a complete and utter disaster. Who exactly narrowed down your short list?"

Carhart sat on the edge of the table and touched the computer panel, bringing up a holographic image of the information. "Connors did," he replied gruffly. "He insisted on throwing in as many level 9 candidates as possible to save the time and money spent putting a lower level field op through the intensive level 9 training."

Sin smirked. "Since he likely doubts they'll last the initial trial missions, I can't say that I blame him."

Carhart typed something into the touch screen keyboard and Agents Eddy Baxter and Jenny White were marked as unacceptable. The former was a flame-haired level 9 agent from the Counter-Terrorism division who seemed to perpetuate the characteristics that had gotten Sin's previous partners killed. Agent White was a level 9 valentine operative in Intelligence who seemed to think she could use her feminine wiles to tame Sin.

"And Agent Alvarez backed out at the last minute," Carhart scoffed, not hiding the irritation in his face as he marked off Michael Alvarez's name. "General Stephen said he's too frightened of you to be a realistic choice."

Sin shrugged uncaringly although he felt that it would have been fun to torment the man for a few missions before it was deemed a failure.

"So we're left with two level 8 agents and a civilian prospect with no training whatsoever who would be starting off as a level 1 trainee." Carhart grimaced. "Connors won't be pleased."

"How unfortunate." Sin looked at the list finally and noticed Agent Adam Blake's name on it. He instantly recalled the incident in the elevator and wondered at the odd coincidence. "Have them do Blake next."

James Waldon, a well muscled and towering interviewer from Human Resources who looked more like an insurgent than a civilian staff member, disappeared from the small windowless room on the other side of the mirror and reappeared after a moment with Adam.

Now that Sin was looking at Adam's face directly, he realized that the man was actually attractive in an incredibly pale, vampiric kind of way. Adam's thick black hair hung down to the nape of his neck and contrasted starkly with his waxlike complexion. His dark, bottomless eyes did the same. There was a hooked scar on his right cheek that was likely the result of a mission and another scar that marred the otherwise flawless skin under his mouth.

He was a striking individual and Sin wasn't surprised to look at the file again and see that Adam was also marked as an undesignated valentine operative. The most attractive field agents usually were; seduction was one of the oldest and most lucrative ways of getting information and turning a suspect into an informant.

"He's arrogant," Sin observed idly, studying Adam's expressions and body language as James began the interview.

Carhart nodded his agreement but gave Sin a wry look. "Let me guess-- you're thinking how fun it would be to knock him down a peg or two?"

Sin looked at him from under his eyebrows. "I said no such thing."


Most of the interview process was boring since it was the same questions asked again for the third time in the past two hours. James explained the position, Tactician in an elite and very confidential unit in the Insurgency division, and then proceeded to grill the candidates on everything they knew about Sin and his past.

Sin examined Adam's eyes and analyzed every flicker of emotion, every nearly concealed flash of doubt. Yet in the end he couldn't find a reason to entirely loathe the man except for the fact that he was arrogant and predisposed to negativity regarding Sin just like everyone else on the compound. In Adam's case, he was especially likely to because of the company he kept, Morales being one of them.

However, when James began to talk about infamous city center massacre of 2012, Sin's opinion of Adam lifted a bit.

"After the incident with the scavengers and police," James began, blue eyes trained on Adam although his face was entirely expressionless, "news stories circulated about Agent Vega being behind many of the rapes and murders that had plagued the city during that time. The Agency stamped out the publicity effectively enough, as we know Inspector Beaulieu is quite efficient at quieting such things. However, the stories leaked anyway and people remember, specifically Agency staff."

James stopped speaking and stared at Adam with a small empty smile, not asking a question but clearly waiting for a reaction of some kind.

Adam's eyes flicked to the mirror, likely knowing he was being watched, and for a moment his eyes met with Sin's even though the lower ranked agent couldn't see him.

"Well," Adam began, his low voice thoughtful and considering. "As far as I remember, there were also reports during that time of widespread corruption in the police department as well as an embarrassing amount of ineptitude to solve certain crimes due to staff shortage after the economic collapse."

James raised a thick eyebrow and waited so Adam continued, folding his hands in front of him and looking more confident as he continued. "So despite the fact that the incident in the city center was unfortunate, I think it's more likely that the chief of police used Agent Vega as a scapegoat for every unsolved crime in his jurisdiction. Especially considering the shocking nature of the incident and the public's horror and desire to accept an answer as long as there was one."

Sin looked over at Carhart. "He's possible."

The General looked surprised. "I agree but I'm surprised to hear you say it."

Sin shrugged and sat up straight, scooting the chair forward and looking through the mirror seriously. "At least he's not a total fucking idiot."

The next interviewee wasn't as successful. Agent Allen Carson didn't appear overly hostile but he also was quite obviously feeding James rehearsed lines and trying to say what he thought the interviewer wanted to hear. It was obvious that he wanted the job likely for the accolades that came with it. Yet Sin could read naked fear in Allen's eyes when the subject of Sin's past crimes came up.

In the end, Carhart marked the man off the short list.

Carhart frowned as Carson disappeared from the room and Carhart ran a hand through his short blond hair, grimacing at the only remaining name on the list.

Boyd Beaulieu.

"I suppose you're going to have no choice but to do the trial with Blake," Carhart said as he flicked through Boyd's file on the touch screen. His mouth turned down into a scowl.

"No faith in the Inspector's opinion?" Sin asked with an arched brow. "Shocking. I'm sure she'd be quite unhappy to hear how scathing you are about her candidate."

"Well I'm not in the business of wasting time vetting civilians with nothing in their backgrounds but a few college credits in psychology," Carhart replied acidly. "And he's just a kid, at that."

"I was fourteen when I was inducted as an agent," Sin replied, flashing his teeth in something more frightening than a smile as his green eyes bore into Carhart. "He's four years older."

Carhart's eyes focused on the mirror as James brought Boyd into the interview room. "You were fourteen going on thirty-seven and trained by one of the best assassins the Agency ever had. It's hardly comparable."

Sin jerked his gaze away from the General, unwilling to get on the topic of his father. Sin could tolerate Carhart for the most part as long as the subject was left alone.

He looked through the mirror again and for a moment he stared blankly at the individual on the other side of the glass. His eyes traced the features, moving over the black clothing, before once again going back to the face as Sin took in the boy who represented androgyny in every possible way.

He was average height and thin, although unlike Sin the slender build didn't appear to be deceptive. He sat straight in the chair, hands folded in front of him loosely as fine golden blond hair fell past his shoulders and around the lines of his face, half shielding it from view. But Sin supposed, as he eyed the boy, that was probably the point.

Boyd's face lacked the masculine angles so typically found in a man and his features were softer but not overly feminine. He was expressionless, his full lips naturally down-turned in what could almost be described as an unintentional pout.

When his uninterested gaze briefly slid around the room, glancing past the two way mirror, Sin was able to see him more fully. His heavy-lidded eyes were a startling golden brown that momentarily captured Sin's attention to the point that he missed the first few exchanges between the two individuals on the other side of the mirror.

Interesting and not at all like the typical field agents who littered the compound.

Sin's lips pursed and he turned the name over in his head. Boyd Beaulieu. He could see the resemblance in the boy's features if not in his personality-- because as the interview wore on, it became abundantly clear that he didn't actually have a personality.

Boyd's expression remained blank throughout the interview, his eyes empty, his mouth moving only long enough to give answers in a toneless voice.

At a point it became irritating and Sin began to wonder if this was an act. An attempt like so many young people who liked the idea of personifying the bleakness that had encompassed the world after the war. But when the murders were mentioned, Boyd's lack of reaction persisted.

Irritation turned into intrigue as Sin abandoned his previous running commentary with the other candidates and focused entirely on the boy.

There was no fear in Boyd's eyes when James began to show images, no flash of disgust or horror when James whipped out stills from the autopsies. And most interesting of all, Boyd seemed to be completely unaware of the incident in the city center. He had no recollection of a suspected serial killer being mentioned on the news, however brief that time may have been. It hadn't been long before the images of an olive-complected teenager with pale green eyes were confiscated by Agency staff as Boyd's mother had demanded a retraction from every form of media who had covered the story.

None of it seemed to mean anything to Boyd. Sin's face, his name, his crimes-- none of it sparked recollection, fear, or even interest. The boy just didn't seem to care.

Sin looked up at Carhart, his expression completely serious for the first time in the past few hours. "Him."

Carhart's blond eyebrows rose as he studied Boyd through the mirror. "I had a feeling that would be your opinion. It seems Vivienne had a point after all."

Sin looked at Boyd again and willed the boy to react to James' words but there was nothing there. Interest blossomed in Sin as he sat back in the chair. "Getting him to break will be fun, at least."

The General looked at Sin in consideration before he turned off the computer and the hologram disappeared from view. "We'll see."

Continue to Chapter 3