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 Thirty-Two

Monterrey was slowly becoming less of a mystery to Boyd as he spent most of his days wandering the streets with the sketch pad, getting a feel for the public transportation to better understand what systems would make learning the city most efficient. He learned that the taxi cabs were by far the best way to tour the city, but there were certain areas that the bus-lines or train were better for. He also learned that it was incredibly easy to find every type of transportation available in many areas of the city but there were a few places where it was nearly impossible.

The availability of public transportation seemed to correlate to the wealthiness of the neighborhoods he found himself in. It helped him get an overview of Monterrey and which areas he should study the most as the months passed. More than once he found himself mentally marking a block or building to return to at a later date for further study as a possible future hiding place.

At one point in one of the trendier parts of the city, he thought he felt someone tailing him. He gave no visible indication of noticing but he could feel it in the way his senses were on alert. Rather than looking around obviously, he just meandered, casually checking reflections or stopping at shops and watching in his peripheral vision for anyone out of the ordinary.

If someone was truly watching him they were doing a very good job of staying hidden because Boyd never once saw anyone acting suspicious. And, unfortunately, Monterrey was such a diverse city that he couldn't even look for someone who seemed out of place.

After awhile he decided he had either been mistaken or the moment had passed so he gave up searching for the origin of the feeling and instead focused on his task. While he always made a point to act like Kadin, he was especially careful that day; every speech pattern, seemingly unconscious gesture, and expression was to the best of his ability a perfect mimicry of the man he was impersonating.

He hadn't returned to Julieta's; it seemed too early to him and the last thing he wanted to do was draw attention to himself. Instead, he excused his apparent interest in the city at large as a longer-ranged shopping trip. Even with the sturdier door, there were still some issues with the security of their studio. He didn't see the need to fortify the entrances any further but he did think the inside could use some help and it gave him a good cover for extensively traveling the city.

The main issue was Sin's weapons; they were really the only thing of import they had in the studio and they were not properly protected. He decided to go with a wardrobe with a fake back that would give them access without being an obvious hiding place.

Due to his varying schedule, Boyd didn't see Sin as often as he had before. With Sin working night shifts and Boyd traveling around primarily during the day, there were a few times when Sin returned home to find Boyd already asleep or just on his way. Most of the time, Boyd was still awake when Sin returned or Sin woke up early enough to see Boyd during the day; whether it was before he left or when he returned for breaks.

Now that their mutual attraction had finally been acted upon, it wasn't uncommon for them to touch each other. There hadn't been much progression sexually, but that didn't take away any of the heat from their fevered kisses or quick, frantic handjobs before one of the two left the studio to go about their day. Other than the introduction of mutual masturbation and oral sex, nothing else had changed about their relationship except for the fact that Sin had become far more stoic than he'd previously been.

He was far from cold and was as sarcastic as ever but now it seemed almost like he'd reverted to the attitude he'd had when they first became partners. It was a subtle difference that probably wouldn't even be recognized by anyone else but over the days Boyd had noticed that their conversations had focused on the assignment, work, or superficial banter that seemed almost forced or stilted. No personal information was exchanged, no questions were asked. In fact, Sin seemed to be refraining from even sharing his thoughts or opinions on trivial incidents at work. Instead, he'd taken to relating them in an almost impersonal way.

Despite the fact that Boyd was more than pleased by the fact that they had gotten closer sexually, he was disappointed by the distance between them. There was no doubt in Boyd's mind that it was directly related to his awkward reaction when Sin had asked about his tattoos.

Many of the hours Boyd spent walking around the city eventually became a time for him to think more clearly about recent revelations. He'd felt guilty for not answering Sin's questions that day when Sin had answered so many of his own. Yet talking about any of that was a difficult thing for Boyd to consider; he was an introvert by nature and that had only been emphasized as he grew, as events in his life had changed him irrevocably.

If it had just been a question of tattoos, he could have answered. But it wasn't. It was all tied together, the dark mass of emotions that loomed in his memory. For anyone else the very idea of even trying to talk about it would have been terrifying. But this was Sin.

It took him a day to determine that he couldn't avoid this, and another to convince himself that he had to get over his aversion to talking about this. Of all people, Sin deserved the full answer that Boyd had never been able to even think about for anyone else.

Still, even after he'd determined that, every time he tried to bring the subject up he somehow always changed his mind at the last second or just couldn't seem to get the words out correctly. It was starting to irritate him but that only added to his determination. He couldn't -- shouldn't -- let fear of the past determine the course of his future. It was a lesson he needed to learn in general but he would start by applying now.

By the time Sin returned from work, Boyd was standing in the kitchen reheating some food he'd bought a few hours earlier when returning from the city. It had worked out nicely; he'd needed to check out a few places after dark and at that point he decided he may as well eat late with Sin. He turned at the noise of the door opening and smiled slightly.

"Hey," he greeted. "Are you hungry?"

Sin locked the door and flipped the dead bolt before turning in Boyd's direction with a grunt that passed as an answer. He looked tired and a little annoyed although he didn't complain about either. He walked over to the kitchen. "What did you make now?" He stared down at the pot of reheating noodles.

"I didn't make it, but it's chicken alfredo."

"Oh." Sin grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and turned towards the main room to start stripping off his work clothes.

Boyd watched him sidelong before speaking again. "Were there any exciting brawls at work today?"

"I broke some college kid's nose," Sin said mildly. "Slow night. But somehow that annoying group of women who follow me has grown larger."

"Really." Boyd deemed that the chicken alfredo would be warm enough in a few minutes. He set a small hand-held timer he bought for the kitchen and turned around, leaning against the counter with his hands resting on the edge. "What's it up to now, twenty?"

Sin shrugged and pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it on the couch. "Seventeen. Johnny's suggestion was that I fuck one and be done with it."

"Hmm." Watching Sin's bare torso, Boyd shook his head slightly. "I don't think that would work. It would only make them want you more."

"I wasn't planning to try it, anyway," Sin replied with a shrug.

Boyd watched him, his gaze automatically moving across Sin's body. The old scars were a familiar pattern against Sin's skin; he'd certainly seen him without his shirt often enough to know where each of them was and what they looked like.

They told stories, some of which he hadn't heard, and several of which he wanted to know. The one that looked as though it had been most painful, and certainly most life-threatening, was a thick scar that angled partially across his throat before it jerked down toward his collarbone.

Before Monterrey, the collar had always been there, partially obscuring the scar. Seeing it out in the open made him think about how things had changed in Monterrey; how Sin had seemed, for awhile, to be opening up even more. It made him think about how much he'd liked learning more about Sin and how annoying it would have been if every time Boyd had asked anything personal, Sin would have just avoided the question entirely or not fully answered.

This was the best chance he would have to get to know Sin more and, honestly, it worked vice versa.

The buzzer went off behind Boyd and he turned toward it automatically to shut it off. He filled a plate for him and Sin each and then moved over to the couch, pushing one of the plates in front of his partner. They were quiet for a bit but it wasn't particularly uncomfortable.

Boyd stared at his food thoughtfully as he ate, realizing that at that point he could just fall silent. He could take the easy way out. He could feel like at least he accomplished some small part of his goal and be done with it until another time. But that would be stupid; he hadn't really said anything important yet and Sin still deserved to know at least an equal amount about Boyd that Boyd now knew about Sin.

He looked over at Sin, studying him. "I'm not very good at this," he said honestly. After the few moments of silence, the words seemed a little abrupt. "I don't know what to say to you. Even so... I want to tell you whatever you want to know about."

Sin studied his food intently as he twirled his fork around, expression not giving anything away. "What makes you think I want to know anything?"

"I think it's impossible to spend this much time in someone's presence and not be curious. And you wouldn't have asked me any questions earlier if you hadn't wondered." Boyd paused, considering him; this would probably make him sound like a stalker but at the moment he didn't care about protecting his own feelings. "But it's the same for me; I was curious about you long before I felt I could actually ask you questions. So... I did some research on you. I saw some videos and, for awhile, I watched you."

Sin stopped chewing and stared at Boyd for a long, tense moment. His face was completely still and guarded, body stiffening as his eyes narrowed. "Watched me," he repeated in a flat voice.

"Yes. Those cameras in your apartment had a live feed that I was able to connect to." He hesitated, hoping this wasn't going to ruin whatever amount of trust he'd been able to build with Sin. "I felt bad watching you without your knowledge but I couldn't help it. Still, the fact that you had no privacy bothered me. It's why I destroyed them."

Sin slowly began chewing again and swallowed his food, dropping his gaze to his plate thoughtfully. "Why did you watch?" he asked finally. There were no traces of resentment or anger in his voice. If anything, he seemed mildly surprised and curious.

Boyd looked down at the alfredo, his eyebrows drawing together as he remembered that time. "I was captivated by you." He idly pushed some noodles along the edge of the plate with his fork and then looked up to meet Sin's eyes. "I ran across it by accident. But I saw a side of you I didn't see elsewhere at first, and all these questions grew in my mind. After awhile, I began to feel," he paused as his eyebrows lowered further in thought. "Connected. I think I saw a bit of myself in you but more than anything, it just... made me feel like I wasn't alone."

There was along moment of silence as Sin watched him. After a stretch he pushed his empty plate aside. "You saw some of yourself in me?" he asked somewhat skeptically, eyebrows drawing together. "How?"

Boyd let out a low breath. "I don't know, exactly. Just..." He gestured vaguely, his eyebrows drawing down. "You were so alone. No one knew you or even cared to try. Sometimes you stayed still for hours, not really doing anything, and I couldn't tell if you were thinking deeply or if you'd simply stopped caring to move. And what I saw when we were together wasn't always what I saw on the feed. It made me start to think about what was a mask you put on to keep others from hurting you and what was indicative of who you are."

Sin frowned slightly, making a contemplative sound as he studied his partner. He seemed to take this all in before asking, "What other videos did you see?"

"Mostly the ones related to your incarceration," Boyd said with a shrug. "There was a surveillance video of the reason you were arrested, when you protected that girl. And of your interrogation by the two detectives. I also saw the session with Lydia Connors."

Sin had just started to reach for his water when he froze. He didn't look away from Boyd and for an instant his eyes narrowed, brows drawing down as his mouth tightened in a thin line. A muscle in his jaw ticked and he stared at him for a long moment before he finally grabbed his bottle. "You saw that." It was more of a statement of fact than a question.


"And you still..." Sin shook his head, trailing off as he drank a long gulp of water. "Nevermind."

"What?" Boyd asked, watching him closely.

Sin shrugged and sat back, crossing his arms over his chest. "Those two incidents are what led to mostly everyone believing that I am a psychopathic murderer. And you've seen them and yet--" He stopped again. "When did you see them?"

Boyd thought about that aloud. "It was after the mission when I was captured... So that must have been around October?"

Sin stared at him incredulously and shook his head. "You saw them that early on and you still treated me like... how you treated me. You still believed that everyone else's opinion of me was wrong." He was silent for another moment before finally clearing his throat and raising an inquisitive eyebrow. "And what did you think, then?"

"I was mostly watching them trying to ascertain what made you have an episode," Boyd replied with a faint contemplative frown as he thought back. "As far as I could tell, you reacted to threat levels. I couldn't entirely decide what to make of it all except that you seemed to have had a reason for your reactions each time, even if I didn't know exactly what that reason always was. One thing that was clear to me was that you're consistently mistreated at the Agency."

There was a shrug at that and Sin seemed to brush it off like he usually did. "They'd have probably terminated me years ago if they had a proper replacement. Kassian isn't as good as me at what we do."

Boyd thought about that as he pulled his plate closer to finish his food. His gaze flicked over to Sin curiously. "You've mentioned him before but I don't know much about him. Why is he such a poor replacement? Isn't he also rank 10?"

Sin shrugged. "I'm basically one of a kind. I can be ruthless, I can complete difficult assignments alone that other men need an entire team to finish and most importantly, I don't question the politics of the Agency, or at least I don't as far as they know. Kassian is a good agent but nowhere near on par with me considering I've been trained to do this since I was a child, which I think really eats at him. He also resents me because of my spot in the unit. And because they use me as a model during rank 10 training. Anyway, I suppose he was adequate for a time, but Connors doesn't trust him to do high clearance assassinations."

"Why not?" Boyd asked curiously.

"He has a moral code," was the bland explanation. "And they let him get away with not doing more unsavory missions because he is an excellent agent in every other capacity. But that's the deciding factor between he and I. There have been times when I had missions I didn't agree with, but I still do them."

Boyd watched him, thinking about that. "Have you ever wanted to question your assignments? Just tell them no?"

Sin didn't answer for a moment and continued to eat his second plate of food quietly. "Yes. Twice. The last time was on my most recent solo assignment. It was one of the reasons why I was so angry when we saw each other again."

Boyd set his empty plate aside and leaned back on the couch. "Really," he said, eyebrows drawing down as he rested one arm across the back of the couch. "Why, what happened?"

Sin didn't answer for a moment but he turned his face slightly, a flash of displeasure briefly visible. "Have you ever heard of Anderson McCall?"

Looking at Sin sharply, Boyd just stared for a moment. "Yes," he said slowly. "Probably the best philanthropist of our time. Whose scandal just before suicide seemed a little strange to me." Boyd didn't want this to be leading in the direction it pretty much had to be.

"The scandal was manufactured by the Agency; the line of shady businessmen that McCall supposedly had murdered were killed by me and his suicide was not a suicide at all. I poisoned him." Sin's flat, voice made Boyd look at him closer, searching his expression. When their eyes met, he could see that Sin was still angry over whatever the assignment had entailed.

Even Boyd, who hadn't paid much attention to the world around him for years, had still known about Anderson McCall. He was one of the few decent people left after the wars, devoting his time to the poor. The sort of person who, in only slightly changed circumstances, could have been there to help Lou or even Boyd in the aftermath of the war.

Although he couldn't deny that he was disgusted with the fact that McCall's legacy had been so thoroughly decimated by the Agency, he couldn't be surprised. The Agency was ruthless when it came to dealing with threats, and if McCall gave money to Janus that made him one in their eyes regardless of what he was doing with his time. It angered him but there was nothing that could be done about it. The only thing that made it worse was knowing that Sin had to be the one to follow through such orders.

Boyd shook his head. "I wish I could be surprised by that but..." His eyebrows lowered, hooding his gaze. He looked over at Sin and his lips turned down. "I'm sorry it happened at all, but especially that you had to be the one to do it."

"It's done. No use crying over it now, especially not when I'm the one who essentially pulled the trigger." Sin shook his head and rolled his shoulders as if working out the stress that had come with the topic. "But that's the defining reason why I have a higher clearance than him in some ways. I didn't want the assignment, but they knew I would do it. That's why Connors wants to model agents after me, and that's why Carhart wanted me in his unit. He knew he could depend on me not to question orders."

"You know," Boyd began, remembering the way Carhart had always been about Sin, even back to when he first met the general. "I'm sure he has you in the unit because you're a uniquely skilled agent. But I wonder if that's the only reason."

Sin made a sour face. "What's that mean?"

Boyd sat back on the couch, placing one hand over the back so he could angle himself to see Sin better. "I noticed ever since I first joined the Agency that he always seemed to act a little different when it came to you." He paused, studying Sin. "I think he honestly cares about you."

"Oh please."

Boyd eyed him. "I've been meaning to ask about that... You do realize he's your greatest proponent? He seems determined to give you every chance he can and often waits until the last second to give any sort of punishment. I honestly think it's because he's hoping someone will give him a reason not to. Yet you never seem very pleased with him..."

"Because I'm not," Sin replied flatly and took another drag.

"Why not?" Boyd asked, mildly perplexed. "I would have thought you would welcome someone in some form of power on your side since no one else seems to be except Ryan."

Sin didn't answer for a moment and he took another long drag, watching Boyd through the smoke that drifted in the air between them. "He's obsessed with my father. He constantly tries to get me to talk about him, to figure out what happened before he died, and he took it upon himself to try to be my parental figure when I came to the Agency. I did not and do not need him to play that role for me. I do not need him interrogating me about my father or his death. I just don't... want to deal with him. He aggravates me."

"Ah." Boyd watched him and shook his head. "I think he just misses Emilio; it sounds as though they were good friends. Wouldn't you be curious and sad if someone you cared about for years suddenly disappeared? Or want to protect the single person alive in any way connected to him?"

"I'm aware of the extent of their friendship." Sin made a face. "But that in no way involves me. Ever since I showed up at the Agency he's hounded me for information about my father and no matter how badly I react to his questions and implications, he doesn't stop."

Boyd could see how that would be frustrating. He inclined his head as a silent acknowledgment of the fact, but Sin's comments about Emilio and Connors jarred his memory that he'd always been meaning to ask about. He paused and tilted his head, studying Sin. "It seems as though Emilio had quite the effect on many people."

The comment earned him a low scoff. "That was an understatement. I disappointed scores when I came back instead of him."

"Why did you even come in for that summons when you were fourteen?" Boyd asked, shaking his head. "Do you ever wonder... If you'd just stayed away you wouldn't have had to deal with any of the things you've had to at the Agency."

There was a beat of silence and Sin's expression briefly changed. There was a flash of something dark in his expression, and he stared into space for a moment before shaking his head. "It would have been worse for me if I was left alone," he finally replied.

Boyd paused for a moment, watching his partner carefully. He could almost see Sin's pulse beating wildly in his neck and when he caught a glimpse of Sin's eyes, there was chaos within that he could tell Sin was struggling to contain.

Despite what Boyd had intended, he was once again grilling Sin for more information about himself without giving anything back. To make it worse, he found himself asking about very personal matters, or bringing up topics that must be difficult or painful for Sin to discuss. Here he was, pushing his own points to Sin without considering his feelings. If Sin was so frustrated with Carhart for constantly bringing up things he didn't want to talk about, wouldn't he feel the same way with Boyd doing the same?

"Hey," Boyd said softly. He leaned forward and hesitantly placed a hand on Sin's thigh. "I'm sorry. I get so indignant on your behalf that sometimes I don't think about what I'm saying."

The silence that stretched was so long that at first it didn't seem like Sin would answer. He stared down at the glowing cherry of his cigarette where it burned on the floor and he absently stamped it out with his foot.

After several long moments of silence, he turned to Boyd and without warning, dragged him across the sofa and against him. Boyd ended up straddling Sin, his knees bent and hands automatically pressing against the back of the couch on either side of Sin's shoulders. It was so sudden that for a moment Boyd's eyebrows shifted upward questioningly.

Sin reached up, his hand moving to the back of Boyd's neck and tangling in the ends of his hair before he pulled him down into an urgent kiss. Boyd's lips parted automatically and soon their tongues were clashing. The taste of Sin and the feel of his hard body against Boyd's was like a drug he couldn't resist. Boyd let out a low sound deep in the back of his throat as Sin's fingers dug into his neck and pulled him closer. Their hips pressed against each other and Boyd could already feel Sin's cock, half hard and grinding up against him. It made him groan and start rolling his hips down against Sin's.

They stayed that way for a bit, grinding and moaning and kissing increasingly passionately. Their mouths worked against each other and Boyd was becoming overrun by the feel and taste of Sin. He could feel himself growing harder, their movements faster and less controlled. They were getting lost in the feel of the moment-- everything zeroing in on their hardening erections and the heat and taste of their mouths joining. Their hands dragged all over each other, pushing up into hair or running down a back; gripping a shoulder or pulling them closer from the back of a neck.

The little bit of clothing between them soon became too much. Boyd could barely take his hands off Sin long enough to reach down and fumblingly start to unbutton Sin's pants. Their lips didn't part even then, their jaws working and moans muffled between them as they couldn't stop kissing each other hungrily. Sin's fingers curled against Boyd's neck while his other hand clutched and dragged along his back, bunching up the material of his shirt until Sin's hand dipped down beneath his pants and underwear and gripped one bare ass cheek.

Boyd's erection throbbed and he couldn't get Sin's pants and underwear off fast enough. He shoved them down, pausing only to brace one hand against the back of the couch when Sin lifted his hips, letting Boyd shove the clothing down his thighs and out of their way. Sin's fingers dug into his ass, his thumb shifting and moving between the crack, and Boyd groaned so desperately that he could barely breathe. His heart was pounding and there didn't seem to be enough air in the room; what little he had was shared between he and Sin as they continued to devour each other's mouth.

With Sin's hard cock freed, Boyd's fingers gave an experimental tug. Sin pulled away from the kiss to throw his head back with a resounding groan that rumbled both their chests. Boyd panted heavily, his hands falling away so he could tear his pants open as fast as he possibly could. Sin was pushing Boyd's underwear down almost immediately, his hands greedily running over every bit of bare skin that started to show beneath Boyd's shirt.

Boyd's cock was almost achingly hard, so much so that even the open air felt torturous. He rolled his hips forward, nearly growling when their bare cocks pressed against each other, and without permission from his mind his hips automatically started slamming down against Sin's in a desperate rut. Sin's hands dug into the bare globes of Boyd's ass and their mouths met each other again in a passionate dance of tongue and lips and halting, groaning breath.

But the position wasn't comfortable and with his pants and underwear still around his upper thighs, Boyd couldn't spread his legs wide enough. His back had to be twisted at an odd angle for them to grind. Boyd tore his mouth away, one hand digging into the couch behind Sin. His head dropped down and Sin took the opportunity to sloppily kiss along his cheek; his jaw; the very edge of his mouth and start heading down his throat.

Boyd moaned, incredibly turned on by those full lips against his hot skin and that lip ring a cool line breaking up the heat. He could feel his cock straining between his legs and he pulled back suddenly, standing up so he could look down at Sin as he struggled to kick his pants and underwear off. Sin's gaze was hungry, running along Boyd's body almost possessively and centering on his arousal, where the faint sheen of pre-come wet the tip. While Boyd kicked off his underwear and pants as fast as he could, Sin did the same on the couch. Boyd couldn't tear his eyes away from Sin; those red, bruised lips and flushed skin; the way his eyes burned as they dragged along Boyd's body; that impressive cock hard and yearning between his legs-- straining for Boyd to take care of it--

Groaning animalistically, Boyd dropped to his knees between Sin's spread legs. He relaxed his jaw and swallowed Sin's cock to the base, causing Sin to jerk and arch, his groan wrenching out from the depths of him while Boyd felt overwhelmed with need. Feeling Sin's hot cock pulsing between his lips, a heavy weight against his tongue, pressing against the back of this throat and Sin's thighs flexing and jerking beneath him-- It was intoxicating, arousing, and only served to make Boyd grow harder.

He started sliding his mouth up and down, making it a wet blow job with his saliva gathering and starting to run down the sides of Sin's cock. Sin was swearing, nearly shouting in pleasure, his fingers digging into the back of Boyd's head and holding him as his hips started bucking up frantically. Sin was moving quickly, his cock hard and hot in Boyd's mouth and filling him with the taste of Sin-- Boyd was groaning, twisting his head and running his mouth up and down that length and pressing his tongue against him-- And for all that it was making Boyd want to come right there suddenly it wasn't enough. He had to feel Sin. He needed more of him.

Boyd tore his mouth away, panting heavily with his lips shining wetly and eyes burning hotly when they turned up to meet Sin's eyes. Sin was looking down at him, mouth open and eyebrows drawn together; a painfully aroused expression that only seemed heightened by the sudden air against his wet cock.

"Oh Jesus," Boyd moaned, crawling up onto the couch and straddling Sin once more. "I need you-- I need you so bad--"

He scrabbled for his bag and pulled out the bottle of lube, quickly coating Sin's erection. He braced one hand on the couch behind Sin and reached down with his other, holding Sin's erection up as he started to lower himself. Sin's eyes met his and all Boyd saw was urgency and a need that he didn't even fully know how to fulfill.

When the head of Sin's cock pressed against Boyd's entrance, it hurt. It wasn't a surprise, given how infrequently he'd had sex the past few years. He grit his teeth against the pressure-pain. He guided Sin's cock through the tight ring of his muscles and soon they were both groaning loudly when Sin was fully seated inside him.

Boyd's fingers dug painfully into Sin's shoulders and he leaned forward, pressing his forehead against Sin's shoulder. His mouth was wide open as he panted and tried to force his body to relax. It hurt but at the same time he knew it was going to feel good very soon. Sin's hands gripped Boyd's sides like vices and even though the two of them didn't speak, it was as if Sin knew Boyd needed just a moment to adjust.

Soon, the pressure was more bearable and desire laced with impatience overtook Boyd. Sin had him stretched wide and it was nearly enough to make him come from the pressure alone of him inside, hot and ready and filling him up. Boyd's thighs clenched as he pulled himself up and then dropped back down. Sin's voice was hoarse with intensity and need as he started swearing in Mandarin.

Between one moment and the next, their tableau went from slow and stilled to impassioned and fervent again. Boyd started riding Sin, his body rising and falling hard and fast as he alternated between bracing his hands against the couch and digging into Sin's shoulders, scrabbling along that skin and wanting nothing more than for Sin to fill him harder, faster, deeper. He threw his head back, his neck stretching wide and mouth unable to close from gulping in desperate, panting air and releasing husky moans.

They were groaning and swearing and soon Sin's hands gripped Boyd harder. His hips were rising to meet Boyd's-- a frantic give and take with the slapping of skin and the hot Monterrey air only aiding to the burning of desire within their bodies.

Boyd didn't think it could get any better but then suddenly Sin was surging up, supporting Boyd easily and flipping them sideways onto the couch while he was still inside. Boyd's back arched, his head digging into the cushions of the couch and his hands scrabbling for a place to hold. One of Sin's feet braced against the floor and his other leg knelt on the couch. He grabbed Boyd's hips and plowed into him with abandon. Boyd couldn't hold in his impassioned screams.

Sin's hips moved so hard and fast that all Boyd could feel was the vibration and pressure of Sin's cock, like a jackhammer drilling into him and stretching him so wide he would never feel full again unless Sin was in him just like this-- their sweaty bodies moving against each other and hips rolling ardently. Boyd was sliding across the couch until he could get his hand above his head, braced against the arm of the couch while his entire body rolled and stretched and twisted with the movement of Sin driving into him.

Boyd couldn't seem to find purchase for his feet and then Sin reached down, gripping his thighs and yanking them open and up further-- finding a better angle to slam into him. Boyd's eyes were wide and his entire body shook with need and the heat. The rise of the orgasm curled in his stomach and spread like wildfire through his veins.

"Oh-- Ohh-- Oh Jesus-- Ohhh fuck--" Boyd was groaning, a supplication that rose in pitch until it was half gasping breaths and half pleading need.

He was teetering on the very precipice of control when Sin shifted his grip and speared into Boyd at a different angle. White hot pleasure scoured through Boyd ruthlessly, digging deep into his bones and streaming through his blood. His eyes widened, his bruised lips parting in a throaty, lasting scream-- and suddenly he was riding an orgasm that was so intense that he couldn't even see anything, could barely even breathe around the powerful waves wracking his body.

He lost himself for a moment, the world buzzing around him in white noise that made him never want to leave. When his surroundings came crashing back he distantly heard Sin making urgent sounds as his cock pounded into Boyd in fast-forward staccato. Boyd looked down his body and saw those vivid green eyes burning into him, ravenous and devouring every shift of emotion and every broken-voiced scream. Sin's lips were parted when Boyd came to enough to roll his hips up against Sin and squeeze his inner muscles tightly around Sin's cock. Sin's entire body jerked and caught.

Sin's hands convulsed on Boyd desperately. His eyes rolled back in his head and he shouted urgently as his hips jerked frantically against Boyd's. He came explosively, poised in the moment of ecstasy, his expression open and incredible as his orgasm moved through him. He still rocked his hips against Boyd, his cock staying hard as he came in rolling waves. The moment seemed to stretch as Boyd felt his own pleasure still moving through him in shock waves.

They were caught together in passion until the room snapped back into place around Boyd. The distant whirring of the air conditioner and the heat of their sweat-slicked skin. The press of Sin's body within and on top of him. The sweaty press of the couch against his back.

They collapsed against each other, quaking muscles no longer willing to hold them apart. Boyd dropped his head back, panting for breath as Sin crushed him against the couch.

Sin's head was tilted down over Boyd's shoulder, his breath harsh and muffled against Boyd's ear and stirring strands of red hair. Boyd's hands rose to rest against Sin's back as their pounding heartbeats mingled. Their legs tangled together and the rise and fall of their breath was felt in the way their chests shifted against each other.

It felt so good that Boyd didn't want to move and he didn't want Sin to either. He didn't want Sin to take away the intoxicating feel of his body heat trapping the smell of sex between them, and the warmth of their bodies pressed against each other.

"God," he let out in a heady moan. "That was incredible."

Sin leaned back slightly to look at Boyd, his full mouth lifted slightly as he raised his eyebrows. "I'm glad you are impressed."

Boyd grinned up at Sin, unable to stop himself from reaching up to push some bleached white hair off Sin's sweaty forehead. "I am." He paused and raised his eyebrows wryly. "But you're going to give me a complex soon. Do you have to be perfect at everything your first try?"

"Well, technically I did attempt this with you before and it was a disaster," Sin replied, lips turning up into a full smirk.

Boyd chuckled low in his throat and dropped his head back against the couch. "That's true..."

His hand remained almost subconsciously touching Sin's skin. His fingers shifted to slide down the side of Sin's face, his thumb brushing one of Sin's high cheekbones. He was struck by how incredible Sin looked; flushed from sex, with those bedroom eyes and his full lips pulled to the sides. For a moment, he couldn't believe how lucky he was to be able to touch Sin like this. How lucky he was to be able to be intimate with him.

Still, Sin's comment reminded Boyd of what he'd wanted to bring up in the first place, before all the distractions had happened. His smile turned a bit more somber and he moved his hand around to the back of Sin's neck, pulling him down even as he leaned up to kiss him.

Their lips met much more languidly this time, moving against each other and soon parting as they tasted each other's mouths. Boyd's hand tightened against the back of Sin's neck and for a moment he thought about letting the topic slide. Sin may not even remember anymore what he'd asked before. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe it wasn't necessary to bring any of it up.

But in the end, he couldn't do that. Sin deserved an answer and, if he were honest with himself, after days of building himself up to it he wouldn't feel right if he didn't say anything.

So he shifted his hand down to Sin's shoulder, his fingers resting against those hard muscles he could feel shifting. Not long after initiating the kiss, Boyd pulled away and rested his forehead against Sin's. Their panting breath intermingled and this time when Boyd's hand tightened against Sin, it was with resolve. He pulled back so he could see Sin's green eyes. His own brown eyes turned more distracted but serious and his eyebrows drew together, although his thumb rubbed absently along the skin near Sin's collarbone.

"Sin, can we talk?"

Green eyes narrowed slightly and Sin backed off slightly. "About?" he asked, his tone suspicious.

Boyd studied Sin and then sighed, his hand shifting until he could gently but firmly push against Sin's shoulder. Sin let him and soon they were both able to sit up. Boyd swung his legs over the side of the couch. He sat there a moment, wishing he could have let himself languish in post-coital relaxation. It would have been nice to rest there awhile longer with Sin. Even with the heat, he enjoyed Sin's presence so much that he would have liked to lie there with him for hours-- just running his hands along that body and maybe even having sex again. But he'd made his decision and he was going to follow through. He looked for where he'd thrown his pants and underwear, not wanting to have this sort of conversation half naked.

"Something you asked me about the other day." He saw his clothes nearby and leaned forward, dragging them over. He glanced almost cautiously at Sin, checking his expression to test the waters on this topic and whether Sin didn't want to know more after all. "My tattoos."

"Ah." There was a beat of silence as Sin studied him thoughtfully. "Decided to share, did you?"

"I did." Boyd paused as he pulled on his underwear and pants. "I decided a few days ago, actually, but have had difficulty finding a way to bring it up somehow."

"I see," Sin said at length, still appearing somewhat wary.

Boyd sat there a moment and then stood, turning away from Sin and walking into the kitchen. He opened the fridge, glass jars making clinking noises as they swayed in the shelves, and pulled out two bottles of water. He held one up and looked over at Sin, who had pulled on a pair of black briefs. "Water?"

"Stop stalling, Boyd."

Boyd sighed and pushed the door shut. He walked back into the living room, setting one of the water bottles on the coffee table near Sin and sitting down next to him. He twisted the cap off his own water bottle. "I'm sorry. I'm just not very good at this. I've never told anyone any of this before. Honestly, I never planned to." He looked over at Sin. "So, it's a little-- odd."

"How so?" Sin asked, one dark brow still slightly raised.

"Because it's about Lou," he said soberly. He paused to take a drink of water, the liquid cooling his throat, and then looked over at Sin. "I assume there must be something in my file and that's how you knew about..." He trailed off and waved a hand, as if it could encompass the necklace, Lou's murder, and everything else.

He saw Sin nodding.

Boyd's expression tightened briefly, his eyebrows dragging down as he looked away. The plastic of the water bottle crinkled as he gripped it. He looked down, watching the water swell up and approach the open top as his fingers pushed in the sides. He released his grip.

"The thing is, Lou was everything to me. He'd been with me my whole life. He was the only one who always stuck up for me, the only one who remained by my side through everything... The only one who noticed when I was gone and the only one who cared if I was unhappy. He was--"

He stopped, finding it difficult to think about Lou without feeling an echo of the weight of his loss. It wasn't nearly as bad as it had been those few years ago but it was still there; that sadness, regret, and anger at the abrupt end of it all. He gestured again and then dropped his hand onto his thigh. "He was everything," he said again.

Sin had begun absently rubbing his chin as he observed Boyd. "Judging from his file, he seemed like a troublemaker."

"He was a bit," Boyd admitted. "His parents gave him a lot of freedom. I used to love going over there; it was so comfortable and welcoming. But because they were like that, he took advantage of it sometimes. He got in trouble for little things now and then." He looked over and met Sin's eyes. "He always stood up for me, though. No matter what. That's how we met-- some kids in school were bothering me and he came out of nowhere and made them back off."

"I was actually referring to the stealing, and other illegal activities he dabbled in after his parents died," Sin replied with a shrug. "Is that what got him into contact with Jared in the first place?"

Boyd's eyebrow canted up and for a moment he fought down a wave of wariness. Exactly how much information did the Agency have on his life anyway? He knew they would have it on him, and he shouldn't be surprised by the extent they looked into others in his life.

Yet at the same time, he felt protective of Lou. He didn't want anyone digging up any dirt on him; he wanted Lou to rest in peace and be remembered fondly. And the offhanded way Sin referred to Lou's parents' death-- as if he'd known them or Lou or how devastating that had been for both of them. Lou had been orphaned and Boyd may as well have been, with his father killed and his mother practically abandoning him. Calling Lou a troublemaker for trying to find solace, even if in the wrong choices, made Boyd automatically want to defend his old friend.

He didn't like not knowing exactly how much Sin knew. It was a disturbing feeling for such a private person as himself. At the same time, he had to acknowledge that he had violated Sin's privacy plenty of times. Hadn't he been the one watching Sin on the hidden cameras in his apartment? Hadn't he seen videos of Sin's past that he may not have wanted him to see, like that session with Lydia?

He grimaced and sat back on the couch, his fingers flexing on the water bottle. "I don't know."

He hesitated, for a moment wanting to just end this conversation and walk away. Being reminded of how much Sin seemed to know without his permission only made him feel less inclined to continue. And the casual way Sin threw out facts from Lou's past made him not want to share anything, as if Sin would casually mention elsewhere anything that Boyd told him here.

But he didn't think Sin would do that. And he knew walking away wouldn't solve anything. It would probably only make it worse between them for no reason other than his own territorial sense of privacy. He knew, in reality, he was just being over-protective of Lou's memory.

"Probably. He didn't include me on any of that. Sometimes he just came home with money and if I asked where it came from..." Boyd gestured vaguely and then dropped his hand, shaking his head to himself. He paused and then looked over at Sin. "I'd never met Jared and didn't really know about him but I knew some things. Places Lou wouldn't let me go and people he told me to avoid if they came near or called. He was very protective of me. He said it was because I was going someplace in life and he didn't want me distracted. I don't think he ever wanted me pulled into any of that but Jared--"

Boyd cut himself off, looking toward the balcony with hooded eyes and shrugging stiffly. "Jared was a sociopath who killed Lou for winning in a fistfight. Can you believe that?" Boyd demanded. "A fucking fistfight. Lou punched him and-- and in return, a few days later Jared--" Boyd cut himself off again, this time with a sharp gesture and a glare at the sliding glass doors.

"And he was going to kill you because you just happened to be there, I assume." Sin seemed to consider this all before he crossed his arms over his chest, sitting back. "What does this have to do with your tattoo?"

Boyd was silent, thinking about that as he took a drink of water, his expression pensive. After a moment he sighed and shifted against the couch, looking over at Sin. "I know I said it before, but Lou meant everything to me. We grew up together, lost our parents together-- he was my first friend and first lover. I didn't know how to live without him. Losing him..."

His eyes narrowed and he couldn't help tensing as he remembered back to that time. As it all seemed too fresh; too recent. He let out a short, sharp breath, unable to entirely stop the tension in his shoulders. He leaned forward and set the water bottle on the coffee table and stood up. He turned as if he was going to walk to the kitchen but then stopped himself; made himself turn around and face Sin again.

"Lou kept saying he wanted to live together. He'd been telling me that for years-- if he could just save up enough money, maybe then I'd want to leave my home. Maybe then we could get our own place. But I was just so--" Boyd stopped, his eyebrows lowering before he shook his head. "I don't know. The point is, the war hit practically when I was born. We grew up in the aftermath. We saw a lot of people die and for awhile we didn't know how long we would make it either. Lou used to joke that if he made it to sixteen, he'd live forever. So... I don't even remember how it came up but we got this stupid idea to get tattoos-- like putting something permanent on us would ensure we could never forget or leave the other and we'd both be okay."

He fell silent a moment, his expression setting before he turned away and did walk to the kitchen this time, although all he ended up doing was turning and leaning against the counter. "We ended up looking up some Latin phrases and decided to both get tattoos. He got Luctor et Emergo-- I struggle but I'll survive. And I," he touched his lower left stomach near his hip, "got Ad Vitam Paramus-- We are preparing for life." His lips twisted bitterly. "I'd started to believe him, you know? That everything would be okay. That we could grow old together, that he could make it out of anything and that he'd always come back for me. He'd always be there for me. I really believed we'd make it."

"So, why was this a big secret?" Sin asked, eyebrows drawing together slightly. "Just because it's about him?"

"Partially," Boyd said, and then sighed. He walked back over to the couch and sat down. "But partially because of what else happened. Seeing Lou killed right in front of me-- having to see it and hear it and feel it--" He grimaced and looked away, running a hand back through his hair and trying to ignore the memory of how that had been. "I couldn't sleep or eat or-- I was devastated. I didn't want to live without him. And I blamed myself for not stopping it or saving him after all the times he'd saved me. For not being strong enough..."

He trailed off briefly. "At first I thought I deserved to remember that forever, just like--" He stopped himself from saying, just like Jared said. He shook his head. "I went back to that tattoo parlor and got the ones on my back. But when I was there, all I could think about was Lou and I knew it wasn't enough. It never would be. It only made everything worse." He shook his head. "I got so angry and depressed. When I got home, I don't even remember how it happened but I saw that damn tattoo on my hip and it reminded me of everything I'd lost. I wanted it gone. So I grabbed a kitchen knife and just-- started stabbing."

Sin's eyes narrowed slightly and he nodded, standing up and grabbing his own pants. He was silent for a brief time before saying at length, "I'd read about two suicide attempts in your file, although your mother attempted to lie about the first one so it was unclear."

Boyd shook his head, not even able to be surprised that such information was in his file, aside from the fact that his mother had allowed it. "She thought I was being dramatic and that I'd get over it. And I don't think she wanted it on official record that her son was suicidal. But when she brought me home I was still so depressed that all I wanted was to die. So I went to the bathroom and slit my wrists. I wasn't thinking-- it didn't even occur to me that I should wait until she was gone. It was stupid, really. She found me and brought me to a different hospital. They wanted to keep me in the psych ward but she wouldn't allow it."

"I'm surprised they let her remove you."

"She probably used her connections."

Boyd paused and then shook his head. He was growing tired of rehashing all of this. Having to lay bare the story of the worst time of his life was painful and somewhat disturbing because it made him feel vulnerable-- and yet at the same time he felt compelled to finish. Not only because now that he'd started he just wanted to unload the totality of that chapter of his life, but also because part of him wanted Sin to know. Part of him wanted Sin to understand why some things had happened between them the way it had.

He looked away and ran a hand back through his hair, the movement a little stiff. "Anyway, I think she wanted to ensure I couldn't try to kill myself again but she couldn't be around constantly to watch me. The next thing I knew, I woke up tied to the bed. I think she drugged me so I wouldn't resist and then left me."

At that, Sin stopped with his arm half-extended to grab his shirt from the floor and looked at Boyd with surprise. "What do you mean she left you? For how long?"

"I don't know," Boyd admitted uncomfortably, not looking Sin straight in the face. "I was really--" He cut himself off, staring out the window with narrowed eyes for a moment before shifting his gaze back to Sin. "I was so messed up. I don't have clear memories of that time-- a lot of confusion and terror and screaming and things that may not even have been real. I didn't know what I wanted more; for someone to let me go or for someone to kill me."

Sin finished the motion and grabbed his shirt although he didn't put it on. "How long have you had merinthophobia?"

"I don't know," Boyd said again with a sigh. He moved the water bottle between his hands absently. "I don't recall ever loving being restrained but I don't remember having a huge issue with it either. I think it mostly stemmed from being forced down and held there while Jared--" His jaw twitched and he looked down at the bottle. "While they killed Lou in front of me. I've always needed some amount of control over my environment and they took that from me at the same time that they took away my life as I knew it. Everything afterward just made it worse."

Sin sat down beside him and there was silence for a moment. He looked over at Boyd, eyes flicking over him and resting briefly on his shirt before rising to his face again.

"I don't see why you didn't just tell me this earlier. It would have made things easier. You know things about my past."

Boyd was silent a moment and then sighed, sliding the water bottle onto the table and looking over at Sin. "It's difficult enough to talk about even now when we're on good terms. That whole experience nearly killed me and it took me years to become functional again. I spent a lot of time trying to pretend it never happened. I did want to talk to you after my birthday and after everything in France, but..."

He shook his head. "Seeing that necklace out of nowhere hit me really hard. I needed time to think at first and then everything went to hell and the chance was gone. But it was important to me that you know so that's why I wanted to tell you now, before I could lose the opportunity again."

It seemed for a moment that Sin would say something else on the topic, but he just shook his head and ran a hand through his dyed spiky hair. "What does your mother say about it? What was her take on the entire situation?"

"She thinks it's a disgrace to my father's name and refers to it as my 'little drama,'" Boyd said, unable to keep the slight bitterness from his tone. He'd never felt alright with her belittling Lou's murder. "I think that was her main motivation behind taking me out of the hospital. She probably didn't want the stigma of having an officially suicidal son. People would talk."

"I'd love to say I'm surprised but I'm not." There was another silence where it seemed to Boyd that Sin was picking his words carefully. It was one of the things about him that had changed over time following the Harry incident.

"But not everyone thinks like her. I can't help thinking you thought I would judge you."

The comment made Boyd look up at Sin, studying him more seriously. Sin's full lips were turned down in a frown and that made Boyd wonder if Sin didn't like the idea. He reached over, resting his hand on Sin's thigh briefly. "It wasn't really that. At first I was just too afraid to open myself up to anyone at all. There were too many painful memories and I would have run the risk of the reaction being anything like my mother's. But by the time I did plan to tell you, none of that mattered anymore. I just wanted you to know and didn't even consider how you would react."

Sin raised an eyebrow at that. "Why? Because I was getting tired of your evasive bullshit?"

"Well, I suppose that was part of it-- I didn't want to lose your friendship over my inability to share anything of import with you." Boyd slid his hand away from Sin's thigh, watching his partner with an open expression. "But more than anything, it's because I trust you. You've told me about yourself and I wanted to do the same with you. I wanted to stop feeling like I had to hide anything around you."

Sin raised an eyebrow and studied Boyd for a long moment as if he were trying to gauge the sincerity of his words. After awhile he let his eyes drop and reached out again, running his hand lightly over the front of Boyd's shirt. "Do you trust me enough to let me see under your shirt?"

Boyd couldn't help tensing slightly at the question, at the idea of showing anyone, but he knew it was time to stop fearing something that he couldn't deny anymore had happened. In truth, he wanted to show Sin. He wanted to be liberated of even one of the pathological fears that he had gained those years ago. He wanted to be able to let go.


He kept Sin's gaze for a long moment and then reached down to grip the hem of his shirt. It felt strange to even consider doing this after years of avoiding even looking at himself. But that didn't stop him from scrunching the fabric in his fingers and, not giving himself a chance to think about it, pulling the shirt off over his head.

His stomach automatically tightened when fresh air hit his skin in the open for the first time in years. He wanted to look away but he also wanted to watch Sin, so his gaze kept catching and straying as he leaned back on his hands, his fingers pressing into the cushion.

Sin studied them calmly, his expression unreadable even as he traced the scars lightly with his hand. Beneath the web of scars, Boyd's skin was pale while his chest and stomach were as well toned as the rest of his body.

It should have terrified him to be so open. For years, the scars had become the physical representation to himself of everything terrible that had happened that day on Dauphin Street. The pain and terror of that attack; the horrible certainty that his life was about to change and the impotence in being unable to stop it. Those horrific moments always caught in time; burned into his mind of Lou's eyes widening and the blood spraying and people holding him down and laughing. The depression that had led to trying to end his own life. And the terror afterward, of straining against the ties holding him down; screaming and crying and begging for a release that wouldn't make him feel like he was slowly going insane.

He should have felt all that but with Sin there, looking down with nonjudgmental eyes and a gentle slide of sure fingers along trembling skin, somehow... Somehow it was okay. Somehow, he could put aside the fear and uncertainty, at least for now. At least with Sin. Because no matter what else had ever happened between them, this moment with Sin being privy to the most buried part of Boyd's life and Sin not reacting negatively-- this moment proved he'd been right to trust him.

Sin's eyes rose and he raised an eyebrow at Boyd as a half smirk found its way onto his face. "Does that mean we can take a shower together some time? Without wounds being involved."

The question caught Boyd off guard. He stared at Sin but then couldn't help breaking out into a smile-- a relieved and startled reaction; almost heady from the release of the tension that had been building in him unknowingly. He felt an inexplicable wash of affection for his partner.

"Maybe," he said lightly, the smile still playing on his lips. "If you ask nicely."

Sin leaned forward again, but this time he closed his hand around Boyd's arms and pulled him close. His lips twisted slightly to the side and his dark eyebrows rose. "This is me asking nicely."

Boyd felt his heartbeat increase and his gaze automatically dropped down to the glint off Sin's lip ring. His skin tingled where Sin touched him on his bare arms. "Is that so?" he asked a little softer. "Then I suppose this is me accepting."


When Sin's lips met his, it was with the same fiery intensity that had been there earlier. When his tongue slid into Boyd's mouth, his hands strayed down Boyd's chest. Calloused fingers ran along bare skin that hadn't been touched in years, and left a slide of electricity in their wake. It was a little scary and a little exciting, but the surety of those hands and the familiar feel of that tongue tangling with his relaxed him even further.

As Sin began to explore Boyd's body more thoroughly, Boyd welcomed his touch.

Continue to Chapter 33