In the Company of Shadows

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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.


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Evenfall Chapter Twenty-Six

The downtime lasted until the end of March. When he finally received notice about a briefing, Sin was almost thankful. In the month-long lull he'd reread most of his books, some twice, and had succeeded in getting very little else done. He'd returned to his regular exercise regiment although it didn't seem wise to go to the gym after the Harry incident so for the most part he'd stayed confined to his apartment. Confinement had never bothered him considering the fact that he'd spent large periods of times in much smaller spaces, but this time the lack of cameras caused the isolation to be almost pleasant.

Even so, Sin couldn't deny that he had been becoming slightly stir crazy. As he wandered to the conference room with his hands in his pockets, he was pleased to note that most people no longer bothered to look at him or comment on anything other than the usual 'monster' or 'freak.' He hoped that Boyd had noticed a change as well.

Harry's death had finally been investigated by Connors. Carhart had posted several notices as a warning to anyone who chose to act in the same "disgraceful" manner as Harry and to any other guards who got any bright ideas about messing with the surveillance cameras around the compound. Sin noticed that many of the guards had been replaced or demoted and he didn't really care what had happened to the old ones. He'd have gladly disposed of them himself if given the opportunity.

When he entered the conference room he noticed that Carhart and Jeffrey looked incredibly pleased with themselves. Despite the usual cocky expression on his face, Jeffrey gave him a wary look when he entered.

Sin flashed a disarming smile and threw himself down into a chair unceremoniously. "Hello, cupcake."

Jeffrey rolled his eyes and didn't deign to comment.

Ryan looked at Sin and then at the door. "Where's Boyd?"

Sin's gaze flicked to Ryan in an almost disinterested manner. Despite the fact that Ryan obviously meant well, there was something about him that irritated Sin as of late. Perhaps it was the fact that he apparently was allowed to hang around Boyd's house while Sin had never been invited there. His irritation over that had grown considerably over the past couple of weeks although he'd never shown it the few times he'd seen Boyd. He'd decided instead to accept it as yet another oddity that came with this friendship thing.

"How should I know?"

Ryan blinked at him for a moment, nonplussed by Sin's tone. "I don't know?"

"Well I thought you were his new best pal. Perhaps I should be asking you about his whereabouts."

Ryan's face turned from confused to amused in an instant. He raised one dark eyebrow over his square rimmed glasses and gave Sin a small, knowing smile. "Ah, I see."

Sin narrowed his eyes. "What is it that you see?"

"Jealous, are we?" Ryan asked, voice light, teasing and a far cry from the awed tones he'd previously used when speaking to Sin.

Sin leaned forward and smirked lecherously. "Yes. Very. Didn't you know? I want you all for myself."

Ryan's smug expression vanished and he reddened, mouth dropping open silently as he stared at Sin in surprise. "W-What-"

Before he could continue, the door opened and Boyd appeared in the room. He nodded at everyone in silent greeting before taking his place beside Sin. Ryan stopped speaking, blushing furiously, and offered a weak hello to Boyd. Sin smirked at him and winked. Boyd gave Ryan a strange look and glanced curiously between the two of them.

"I hope you two had a good vacation," Carhart began as he typed commands into the laptop in front of him. "Because it's officially come to an end with a big assignment." It seemed that he was going to begin the briefing without Owen present, most likely because the man was still working on whatever large project he'd been assigned.

"It's still a vacation if you ask me," Jeffrey said rather snidely.

Sin raised an eyebrow at him but didn't comment. When Boyd didn't either, Carhart continued in the same self-satisfied tone. "After months of working diligently on the files that Thierry provided, Jeffrey finally decoded it in its entirety." He looked up from the computer as if waiting for the impact of his news to set in.

When he was only met with two blank stares, he made a face and brought up an image on the projector. The image appeared to be a colossal building in the middle of a metropolitan area. It was mammoth; the building itself and surrounding courtyard appeared to take up several city blocks.

"Do you recognize this building, Sin?" Carhart asked, his tone casual although his eyes appeared more intense.

Sin gazed at the image dully. "Should I?"

"I assume you've been to Monterrey considering it was where one of your father's residences was," the General continued in the same tone.

"I wasn't allowed to leave his home," Sin replied acidly and his green eyes narrowed at Carhart. He had no desire to speak of his father or anything relating to his father, but Carhart never seemed to remember that. "Does this have relevance?"

Carhart held his gaze for a moment before sighing in defeat and gesturing to the projector. "This is the Joel K. Solar Convention Center, located in the heart of Monterrey, Mexico," he explained and hit a few more commands on the computer, causing several other images to slide past the screen in slow succession.

"Before the third World War, Monterrey was an important industrial hub in Mexico and one of the leading centers of business in the country. It was one of the few cities in Mexico that sustained heavy damage during the war but within years of the destruction, there was a large scale restoration operation headed by former mayor Joel Solar. Because of that the city is now one of the few booming places of industry and commerce left on this side of the globe. Unfortunately the mayor died before the project's completion due to complications from radiation, but the convention center was named after him."

Carhart paused and looked at the two agents as if to make sure that they were paying attention before he continued. "As with most major cities in the post-war era, although Monterrey is in Mexico only 50% of its population is made up of Mexicans. The other half is a mix of nationalities from countries around the globe, mostly wealthy artists or businessmen who do not wish to linger in dead cities such as New York or London. Because of this it is not uncommon for large businesses to be run by or owned by people of foreign descent."

"And?" Sin asked impatiently, wanting to get to the point of this. "So there was a history lesson on the disc?" There was a reason why he'd never bothered showing up for briefings before.

Jeffrey glared at him. "Don't interrupt and he will get to the point."

Carhart continued before Sin had a chance to reply. "So it is unsurprising that at this time, the JKS is directed by a former American who has the privilege of being related to a core member of Janus."

"So. you want us to blow it up?"

Carhart glared at Sin. "No," he snapped and paused for a moment as if collecting his thoughts. "Anyway. The place sits on a lot that is 2 million square feet, rivaling New York City's once famous Jacob Javits Center. There are hundreds of exhibition rooms, conference halls and auditoriums. On November 11 of this year, eight months from now, there will be a large event at the JKS called the Global Arts Exposition, an exhibition of works by several famous artists who specialize in works visualizing freedom, hope and the new world. It will be so grand in scale that no other events will be held at the JKS that evening."

Carhart paused and folded his hands. "Or there shouldn't be, anyway. According to the data on the disc there will be a large conference on the night of the Expo held in a separate wing of the Convention Center. Representatives from all of Janus' cells will be there as well as its core members and leaders."

Carhart paused again and looked at Boyd and Sin, not speaking until he was satisfied with whatever expressions he saw. "This is a chance of a lifetime. Never have we had intel this good about something this confidential. We cannot locate a single member of Janus' core group usually; let alone the whereabouts of all of them at once." He shook his head and gave Boyd a mildly impressed look before glancing down at the information in front of him again. "I'm sure you both have figured out the purpose of this assignment."

"Wide scale assassinations?" Sin asked in a bored tone.

"Precisely," the General replied and slid a packet of information towards Boyd, who pulled it closer but did not look through it yet. "There you will find the names of everyone who is supposed to be in attendance. Our key targets are marked off at the top of the list. This is our chance to decimate this organization and we are taking every measure to ensure that it is handled delicately. The eight men at the top of that list need to be taken out and then that entire wing of the building is to be destroyed, hopefully taking care of the rest as well. So yes, Sin, you get to blow something up." Carhart smirked at him. "And you're going to love this part."

Sin raised an eyebrow dubiously. "Oh?"

"In order to effectively accomplish this mission, you will both go deep undercover in Monterrey," Jeffrey said smugly. "And we all know how you love undercover assignments, Sin."

Boyd blinked and looked mildly surprised by the proclamation. Sin, on the other hand, just stared at them blankly, the corners of his mouth turning down into a dark scowl.

"There will be tons of security around the time of the Expo, not only because of the Janus meeting but because the real event will attract the wealthy and the aristocracy from many nations. Three months prior to the event, as with all of the JKS' major events, they will begin hiring and specially training new security specifically for the Expo. Sin will be one of those new trainees." Carhart slid a folder across the table at Sin. "And that is your cover."

Sin opened the folder and stared at the picture in front of him. The guy was his height, complexion and had a similar build but that is where the similarities ended. He had brown eyes, choppy black hair that was streaked with white, as well as various tattoos and piercings. "No."

"Yes." Carhart dismissed Sin and continued. "Jason Alvarez was an American citizen who had family in Northern Mexico. He was back and forth between both countries quite frequently and had various jobs in the security field at major companies and two museums. I'm not precisely sure how he was able to obtain such prestigious positions considering his appearance and notorious bad attitude but he was a very hard worker and good at his job. However for reasons that are not relevant, he was arrested during a skirmish between our agents and rebel forces. After it was clear that he was not involved, he was offered a position here. He was on the compound for three months before dying during training. He had no friends since he was constantly on the move, and he no longer has any living relatives so it is not known that he is deceased. His background fits the qualifications for a position at the JKS completely."

"He looks like an idiot," Sin complained.

"That isn't the issue here," Carhart continued. "You will arrive in Monterrey in the first week of April. You will find an apartment and you will seek similar employment until the JKS sends out the notification for their hiring fair. That gives you six months to lay down roots and connections in Monterrey that will prevent you from looking conspicuous to anybody connected to Janus."

"And what the hell is he going to do during this time?" Sin asked as he glared over at Boyd, highly irritated by the description of his duties. He hated undercover missions, even short term ones, and now he was expected to work around civvies for months at a time and pretend to be a normal person. With stupid hair and body art. Wonderful.

"During this time Boyd will be learning the city. After the Expo, if everything goes successfully, it is likely that Monterrey will be in chaos. It is quite possible that you will be unable to leave the city and you should both be familiar enough with it by that time to find a place to lay low or find alternate routes out. It is also likely that you two will become separated after the mission's completion so he will also need to school you on the ins and outs of the city."

"Wow." Sin wasn't impressed with Boyd's role. Boyd, however, smirked.

"He will also have a cover," Carhart continued and slid another folder across the table at Boyd. "Kadin Reed, a member and the chosen representative of Sector 53, has agreed to let Boyd impersonate him at the Janus Conference. During this time he will be holed up and under heavy surveillance in Hawaii."

Looking down at the folder, Boyd quirked an eyebrow and sounded bemused as he asked, "Is his name truly Kadin?"

Carhart nodded. "Yes. After 53 was successfully recruited as a Janus cell, he was chosen as a representative for the conference. Once there you will be able to mingle at will and get to know the faces of your targets. However, you are not expected to arrive in the city until three days prior to the conference and it is highly unlikely that they will keep track of Reed or any other representative's movements, so until then your main concern is learning the city. For this operation to work we need someone who knows the JKS and someone who knows the city itself. Mr. Reed has always been an adventurous man who loves to travel and experience new things. It will not seem out of character that he is in the city early since he has been known to make sudden moves in the past."

"I can handle that." The hint of a smile played on the edges of Boyd's lips as he perused the information. Sitting next to Boyd, Sin saw some of the details as Boyd flipped through. "No tattoos," Boyd noted, seemingly mostly to himself. "Ah, but I'll be a redhead. Scandalous."

Looking back up at Carhart, Boyd frowned. "If Kadin was recruited, has anyone from Janus personally met him? I'll need to know his mannerisms if I'm expected to impersonate him."

"No, nobody has met him. This will be the first time that 53 and Janus has real contact with each other or will physically meet," Ryan piped up. "Since they've hooked up, they've mostly passed information back and forth usually regarding the events of Sector 89 and us. They've spoken to Andrews on the phone but that's it."

Ryan paused and peered over at the image of Kadin Reed. "You'll be scandalously cute as a redhead."

Sin made a face but said nothing.

Boyd just seemed amused. "I'm always cute," he informed Ryan.

Jeffrey rolled his eyes but said nothing.

Ryan glanced over to Sin, his eyes twinkling with mischief. "I think we can all agree with that."

Sin steadfastly studied Jason's picture, apparently ignoring Ryan.

Jeffrey, however, could not help releasing an annoyed breath. "When you're done flirting, can we move on?" he demanded impatiently with only one quick, furtive glance at Sin as if to make sure he would not freak out at him for somehow insulting Boyd.

"I did have a question, actually," Boyd said more seriously. "How am I to maintain contact with Sin? Will we be communicating through code as we pass in the street...?"

Carhart shook his head, seeming horrified at the idea. "Monterrey is a large city with a very big population. There is no reason for the two of you to remain that discreet and in fact it is expected that you two will have a residence together until just prior of the conference when Reed is to arrive at his hotel. However do not expect luxurious accommodations; signs of wealth draw attention to you and you are expected to live in the working class districts on a small budget."

Boyd stared at Carhart in surprise. "We're living together?" His expression was hard to read when he glanced at Sin and then almost immediately dragged his eyes away. "Where is the money for the rent coming from, Sin's job?"

"No, not entirely. A reasonable amount of money will be deposited into a dummy account in Jason Alvarez's name. It should take care of all necessary expenses but do not assume that this is an extended holiday and spend extravagantly. When the funds run out, there will not be more. In fact, there will be limited contact between the Agency and the two of you during your stay in Monterrey. We have already rented a place for the two of you under Jason's name under the guise that he will soon be moving to Monterrey with his roommate. You will both receive phones under your assumed names but we will not contact you unless it appears that there is a problem."

Sin tried not to let the surprise he felt show on his face. He'd be living in the same apartment as Boyd for eight months. The idea both startled and appealed to him. "What about my collar? Are you planning to remove it?"

Connors stared at him for a moment before shrugging. "Yes and no. Although you will no longer have a collar, your GPS will be implanted more discreetly. It will still provide the same functions. Boyd will also receive a new tracker."

Sin rolled his eyes. "Wonderful."

"A new tracker?" Boyd asked, blinking.

"An anklet," Carhart replied. "It will be more discreet."

Boyd stared at him. "More discreet? On a man?"

"Are you planning to wear a dress and high heels?" Carhart replied with an arched eyebrow.

Jeffrey suddenly laughed, leaning back in his chair.

Boyd's eyebrows shifted up and he looked at Carhart somewhat oddly. In the end he simply shook his head. "I suppose it works."

"Both of you will need to see Cynthia," Carhart said.

Sin grimaced at the idea, having barely paid attention to any of the conversation. "You do not seriously plan to deface me with these tattoos, do you?"

"Your beautiful skin that you have nurtured so lovingly for a lifetime will be ruined forever," Boyd commented idly at Sin's side. "Such woe has befallen your existence."

Sin sent him a dark glare. "It has."

"You are also a smoker," Carhart added with a smirk. "Jason was a notorious chainsmoker."

Sin's glare darkened and his mouth pressed into a thin line.

"I am aware that you are not used to these kinds of missions but I highly suggest you do not play your usual games. Now if there are no further questions, I suggest the two of you go over your information and head to Cynthia."

Flipping through the papers in his folder, Boyd looked over at Carhart. "Are there any similar surprises I should know about for Reed? What will Sin and I have for reference regarding how to act like them?"

"Other than the fact that he's an artist, no. Sin will have access to Jason's entrance interview. For you, we could possibly arrange a meeting with Reed."

Dropping his gaze to the picture, Boyd nodded a little absently. "A meeting would be very helpful." He flicked his eyes back up to Carhart. "When do we leave?"

"Next week," Carhart replied. "So you both need to get ready quickly," He said with a pointed look at Sin.

Sin snapped his folder closed and stood up. "Fine." It came out more sullen than he had wanted but at the moment he didn't care. He glanced over his shoulder at Boyd as he headed towards the door. "Are you coming?"

Boyd gave him a somewhat startled look but then nodded. He threw the intel into his bag and followed behind Sin with only one quick parting glance toward Ryan.

"This is bullshit," Sin snapped automatically when they were out the door. "I hate this assignment."

"We haven't even started it yet," Boyd said with a shrug.

"It's not going to work anyway," Sin said. "They're stupid for thinking I will be able to get along with civvies."

"You'll be fine," Boyd assured him, and he really did seem to believe it. He watched him as they walked, a small smirk playing at his lips. "It will be good, actually. You'll have the chance to test your skills at blending in while I'm there to give you advice. Unless it's so terrible to have to spend most of a year in Mexico with me?" He asked the question with an eyebrow raised.

Sin glanced at him. "It's the most terrible idea I've ever heard of."

"Well then, we'll have to find you a replacement." Boyd looked around as they walked, as if searching for one. "Ah, what about him?"

He pointed to a man at the base of a set of stairs they were passing. The man stumbled as he tried to jump down too many steps at once; he caught himself just before he ran into a set of patrolling guards. "He seems charming." Boyd managed to keep most of the amusement from his tone when the guards gave the man such a scathing look that his embarrassed tension could be felt even from that distance.

"He doesn't have your dashing good looks or dexterity," Sin replied dryly. "And I don't think he'd make a very good redhead." He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked petulant. "I'm going to look like a fool." It seemed a strange thing to say considering the fact that Sin had never cared about his appearance before but he wasn't particularly looking forward to completely mutilating his skin with ink and holes.

Boyd looked over with interest. "What sort of tattoos does he have? Did I see something about piercings?"

They walked toward Unit 16, affectionately known as the Civvie Squad, which was headed by Cynthia Watts.

"Stupid shit," he said dully. "Some idiotic religious symbol on his hip and the typical barbed wire nonsense wrapped several times around the upper arm." Sin had surprised himself years ago by getting the Paradise Lost tattoo while on assignment but it had held a specific meaning to him; he wasn't fond of the idea of looking like some punk kid who just wanted to follow the trends and get 'inked.'

"He has a lip ring and several earrings. It's ridiculous. Cynthia will enjoy doing it, though."

He glanced at Boyd and wondered what his partner would look like with red hair. He couldn't picture Boyd not being blond. For some reason the thought reminded him that he would be spending nearly a year living with Boyd and that was enough to make the rest of his irritation bleed away. He noticed that Boyd was watching him with a thoughtful air, his gaze dropping to Sin's lips. There was something intent in his honey brown eyes-- something that Sin almost thought seemed interested.

"I don't know," Boyd said absently, hardly seeming to realize he was speaking aloud. "I don't think it will be so bad..."

They arrived at Unit 16 before Sin could respond. The door led into a large reception area and several closed offices. There were already a couple agents lingering inside but Sin ignored them and slapped the paper with Jason's stats down onto the desk. The secretary looked at him from under long eyelashes and then took the form. A smile quirked on her lips but she quickly covered it. "This will take some time."

"No shit." Sin glared at her evilly. "You can remove them afterward, yes?"

"Yes, of course." The woman looked at her computer and typed some things into it before beckoning to Boyd.

"Mine will be much easier," Boyd assured her.

She smiled at Boyd openly and glanced over his form, nodding to herself before going back to the computer. "You can go to Area C, Agent Beaulieu. Michelle Phillips will be helping you at this time. There are smocks in the room. Put one on and she'll be with you in a moment."

The woman looked at Sin again. "Cynthia isn't with anyone right now. You know where to go," she said with a deeply amused tone. "Bring the form. She will need it for reference. It will be a few hours."

Sin didn't appreciate the amusement everyone seemed to be showing on his behalf so he grabbed the form and glanced at Boyd. "Have fun," he said flatly.

"I'll be in a smock," Boyd said with one eyebrow raised. "How could I not?"

Sin shook his head and turned around, heading in the direction of Cynthia's office. Despite his irritation and everything he couldn't help noticing the fact that Boyd appeared to be in much higher spirits than usual. The fact that he wasn't the only one with a change in behavior following the Harry incident eased Sin's discomfort for some reason.

When he got to Cynthia's office she did her usual teasing spiel and gushed over the changes that had to be made. Sin ignored her and went over Jason's file as she began trying to match eye and hair color from Jason's photograph to tones she had on a large chart. As usual she would be in charge of those changes but she told him that one of their tattoo artists would be performing the others to him. As annoyed as he was by the tattoos, he knew it was necessary.

While Boyd wouldn't need to expose his body during the assignment, Sin would undergo training for three months and would inevitably have to either remove his shirt or wear something that might expose his skin around people. He'd been concerned that they would take measures to remove his current tattoo or cover his variety of scars, but he supposed that someone like Jason would be expected to have scarring and it would not be surprising for him to have new tattoos.

As he read more about Jason Alvarez, he realized that the man had endured several difficulties in his life. Most of his family had died during the war and his remaining relatives in Mexico had all been elderly and had not survived very long after being exposed to radiation. He'd been in street gangs as a teenager and had been in and out of juvenile hall before finally being sent to boot camp. His experience in boot camp had apparently piqued his interest in physical jobs so he enrolled in a short program for security guards. Despite his unprofessional and rebellious image, he'd proven to be quite formidable at his job. He had gone from working in office buildings to being hired at large government compounds and had even moonlighted as a bodyguard on more than one occasion. He had a reputation for being a smart ass with a bad attitude but people hired him nonetheless.

At some point four years ago Jason had abruptly dropped off the radar after the Agency had raided a compound he worked at. It had turned out that his employers were involved with rebel activities and he was picked up in the confusion. Since his last employer had been arrested by agents and at the time he'd had no living family or real friends, his disappearance had not been noted by most. To anyone who remembered the bodyguard with the bad attitude, it was as if nothing had happened. He'd been hired by the Agency to become a Level 3 guard but had soon after begun training for the position as a field agent. During the intense training he'd been killed accidentally but that was one of the risks trainees always took.

Boyd had been one of the rare ones to come out relatively unscathed; there was a 25% chance of dying during the Agency's vigorous training and a 50% chance of getting seriously injured during the course of it. Boyd's resilience had proven that he was more than a little talented and a fast learner. It was one of the reasons why Sin grew so irritated when Boyd said he only got the position because of his mother.

Sin stopped reading briefly as Cynthia began working on his hair. The process only took a little over two hours and the end result was hair that was shorter and somewhat choppier than usual with several random streaks of bleached white through the jet black. He thought it looked ridiculous and he sneered at Cynthia's insistence that he looked 'cool.' The light brown contacts were the easiest part of the ordeal once he managed to put them in without taking an eye out. When she was finally finished with everything he was not very impressed and let her know that in scathing tones. She ignored him and praised her own work before sending in Manny, the body artist.

Seven ear holes were put in his ears along with small, silver hoops which were scattered randomly in both ears, at the top and bottom. Manny warned him that the lip ring might "hurt a little" but Sin didn't even blink as the procedure was performed. Manny seemed impressed by his fortitude and was chattering idly as he ordered Sin's shirt off so that he could begin with the tattoos.

"You look familiar," Manny said after awhile. He was working on the embarrassing rings of barbed wire which would loop around Sin's bicep three times.

Sin grunted, not bothering to respond.

"Yeah, you know who you look like-- that crazy guy who works here. The--" Manny broke off abruptly and froze in place for a moment.

Sin looked down at him coolly, one eyebrow raised. "The what?" There was a distinct challenge in his tone but despite that he was anything but offended; when it came to things like this he was always darkly amused. He found people's fear of him to be hilarious, especially because he never did anything particularly fear inspiring until they messed with him in some way.

"Nothing," Manny said in a slightly strangled tone. He concentrated on his work intently, his chatter ending abruptly.

"There's nothing to be afraid of," Cynthia informed Manny from the other side of the room. "He's harmless." She smiled at Sin and winked.

"Uh huh." Manny looked at Sin doubtfully.

"He's a cuddly little bunny," Cynthia continued despite the look on his face. "Or at least he is with his cute little partner."

Manny shot her an obvious 'are you crazy?' look and cleared his throat nervously.

Sin made a face but declined to comment, opting to look over his file instead. By the time all of his tattoos were done several hours had passed and for once he'd read the entire mission outline from start to finish. They put bandages on both tattoos and ordered him to put ointment on it for a couple of days, saying they should be healed within the week. Manny still looked alarmed but Cynthia waved enthusiastically and bid him a warm farewell as he left the unit.

Boyd was gone by the time Sin was finished and he didn't see his partner at all during the next several days. While Boyd was apparently in Hawaii meeting with Reed, Sin was watching the videos of Jason Alvarez and trying to figure out how he could possibly impersonate the guy.

While he and Jason shared the same sarcasm and black humor, Jason had a mouth like a drunken sailor, a limited vocabulary, and slouched. It seemed that although Jason sometimes dressed oddly in dramatic clothing with chains and straps everywhere, his typical street clothing consisted of little more than ragged jeans, tennis shoes and t-shirts; something that Sin could handle easily. The appropriate clothing was purchased for him by another one of Cynthia's team and dropped off at his apartment the day before he was to leave.

As he sat around his apartment that night, he found that he was unable to sleep at all. Sin lay on the floor under the large window in the living room and idly smoked a cigarette. He'd never smoked before in his life but over the past week he'd realized that it wasn't entirely unpleasant. Despite the fact that he'd hated the taste at first, chain-smoking had come easily to him; perhaps because his father had always smoked around him.

As he lay there comparing the taste of menthol to mild, he tried to figure out why he was so anxious about the coming assignment. As much as he hated to admit it, he realized that he was nervous. He was typically very confident before missions but undercover work was out of his realm. He was unable to fit in with local people and didn't think he'd be able to pull it off.

Despite that, it wasn't performance anxiety that he suffered from-- it was Boyd anxiety. The next evening he'd be sharing an apartment with his partner and the idea startled him. He had difficulty enough keeping his behavior in check the few times Boyd came to his apartment and that would be even more difficult when they were in such close quarters.

Neither of them had commented on the strange flirtation that sometimes seemed to occur between them and he had no intentions of doing so on their assignment. It would only complicate an already convoluted situation, and that wasn't something that needed to happen when they would be stuck living together for nearly a year.

Continue to Chapter 27