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Based on an original series and alternate future by Sonny & Ais called In the Company of Shadows.

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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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Interlude 3.13

Uploaded on 8/1/2009

"I missed you."

Sin's gaze rose from the television and he looked over at Ivan.

His grey eyes were intense behind his wire framed glasses, expression serious as he studied Sin. Ivan shrugged slightly and unfolded his legs from beneath him, glancing back at the television where an old episode of the show Epicenter was playing quietly. It was a post-apocalyptic show that had stopped filming abruptly in 2007 when several of the main cast members were killed in the bombs that had gutted Los Angeles.

"Did you think I would die?" Sin asked, studying Ivan's face. They'd spent enough time together in the past two months for Sin to become accustomed to reading the other man's expressions and now there was something troubled about Ivan's eyes, about the way his thin lips pursed together tightly.

"No. I don't think the Agency would let you die until they decided that they're done with you," Ivan replied honestly as he adjusted the thin, slightly threadbare t-shirt that he wore. The bare remnants of an anarchy emblem were vaguely visible on it.

Sin smirked slightly and shook his head. "They can't exactly fight a bullet in my gut. An eighth of an inch more and I would have bled out or died of sepsis before even returning to the compound."

Ivan nodded in agreement. "But once I knew they had you here..."

He let the sentence trail off and Sin looked at him oddly. "What's really on your mind?"

"Well." Ivan looked at the television again, his eyes trained on the spunky female lead as she miraculously ran past a hail of bullets unscathed. "I'd heard they kept you in the lab building for a week before moving you to the main medical building."

Sin's eyebrows rose and he sat up slightly at this information. "I don't remember that. Who told you that?"

Ivan frowned and idly watched the events unfolding on the television. The female character had somehow managed to make a car explode with a single bullet from her 9mm. "I went to see how you were doing and I was told you'd been transferred. I thought to the recovery building but they said it wasn't so. I asked the nurses in the Tower and one of them mentioned that they hadn't been involved in the transfer, that guards retrieved you and she told me that one of them had mentioned the lab. This was in the first couple of days, though-- right after you became stable."

Sin rubbed his chin thoughtfully, taking in the information but not knowing what to make of it. He had virtually no memory of anything that had happened before he'd woken up in the medical building. He'd wondered if they'd kept him in an induced coma for some reason but no one had explained and unsurprisingly, he'd gotten no answers.

"Do you buy into all of those conspiracy theories about the lab?" Sin asked finally, shaking his head and deciding not to dwell on it.

Ivan smirked at him slightly. "Look who you're talking to. I'm King Conspiracy Theorist."

"Did you think they were going to terminate me and use my body for some kind of experimental research or something?" Sin inquired curiously, not appearing very disturbed by the idea.

"I don't know what I thought," Ivan replied with a slight air of indignation, as though he thought Sin were mocking his concerns. "But despite my belief that the Agency would keep you alive at all cost-- I started worrying about what the cost would be. And I started worrying about the why-- why do they keep reviving you, why do they keep going through so much trouble for you-- why don't they just terminate you or let you die since you have a tendency to be a liability?"

Sin made a face at that. "Thanks, Ivan."

The R&D agent smiled slightly. "You know that's how they think, Hsin. I just wonder if there's not something more going on sometimes. Between you and them. Some link that we don't know about..."

The question was a valid one but Sin had no idea what such a link could be other than the fact that he was a phenomenally good soldier. But even then, he had his flaws and he fucked up a lot on missions. Each question just led to more questions and Sin highly doubted they would ever figure out the Agency's motives.

"Anyway," Ivan went on when Sin didn't reply. "I got worried during that time. There was no word on you and no one knew anything, not even General Carhart. I'd wondered if you would disappear entirely or even for months like last spring and the possibility made me realize how much I would miss you."

Once again, Sin didn't reply. He didn't know what to say.

When it'd first become obvious that Ivan had feelings for him, it had been startling and confusing. But then that had lapsed into acceptance even if he'd never known whether he would ever be able to feel the same way.

It was difficult for Sin to understand his feelings or what they meant or what they wanted him to do but he'd eventually pushed along and stopped thinking so hard about it all. He'd actually started enjoying spending time with Ivan and looking forward to their outings. Sin didn't know if that would have eventually led to him wanting an actual relationship with Ivan but he'd figured it was possible at some point in the future.

Now that possibility was gone.

In the past few weeks he'd realized that there would always be only one person he wanted to be with in that way. One person he would ever have those kinds of intense feelings for.

Unaware of his thoughts, Ivan stared into Sin's pale green eyes and gave him a quiet smile before leaning forward to press their lips together.

Ivan's lips were cool, soft, and when he slid his tongue into Sin's mouth, Sin could taste the artificially sweet pomegranate juice that they'd drank a while ago.

A low exhale escaped Ivan's mouth when Sin's tongue languidly returned the wet caress. Ivan pulled himself up slightly, shifting to gingerly straddle Sin's lap, ever mindful of the still-sensitive wounds even if Sin had all but forgotten that they existed until he saw the fresh scars.

The kiss was like a slow fire that gradually built up until the sensation caused Sin's entire body to start burning. The heat spread through him and centered between his muscular thighs, arousal making itself known by the sudden tightness of his cargo pants. One of his hands unconsciously slid up the back of Ivan's over-sized t-shirt as the other one dipped down into the loose waistband of Ivan's faded jeans, finding that the other man wore no underwear.

Sin's fingers extended and then squeezed Ivan's tight ass, feeling his dick pulse in response to the feel of it.

In some ways Ivan's body was so much like Boyd's. It wasn't as sleekly muscled but they were both so smooth, like the cool surface of a porcelain statue but still so undeniably masculine despite having limbs that were long and slender and graceful.

Sin lost himself in the sensation of slow wet kisses, cool skin and the fall of silky blond hair. He let himself fall backwards slightly on the sofa as his cargo pants were deftly undone, lifting his hips so that they could be slid down and groaning when the feel of material against material was replaced with flesh to burning, aroused flesh.

His mind went blank, vision darkening as the feel of swollen lips returned and as his cock was simultaneously pressed against another cock, as long slim fingers encircled both erect lengths and jerked them off together.

Sin was only aware of mindlessly thrusting up into the cavern of a firm grip, of his body tensing up as his cock was jerked faster, of that deliciously skilled hand milking his dick in a near massage.

Sin's head fell backwards against the back of the sofa as his lips parted, a jumble of sounds and words escaping as he was touched in a way he hadn't been touched in over a month.

And just as he was feeling himself reach the brink of an orgasm, the hand abruptly stilled and pulled away entirely.

Confused and disoriented, Sin opened his eyes and looked up nearly blindly at first, still half lost in his own chaotic world of pleasure.

Ivan stared at him silently, his face drawn and eyes narrowed before the R&D agent shifted entirely and got off Sin's lap.

"What?" Sin asked, baffled, ignoring the desire to get himself off as his hard dick strained between his legs painfully. "What the hell?"

"You were thinking about Boyd," Ivan said evenly, pulling up his jeans.

"I--" Sin's erection immediately began to die and he automatically lifted his hips to yank up his own pants. "No I wasn't."

Ivan's neutral expression didn't change although he did raise an eyebrow. "Then why did you say his name?"

Sin stood up and turned away slightly, his back stiff as he zipped his cargo pants and fixed the button. Discomfort made him defensive even as he racked his brain for the events from the last several moments. He didn't entirely remember everything that he'd said but he couldn't deny that it was possible.

"I don't remember saying his name," Sin said roughly, his fingers moving stiffly as he fixed his clothes. "I'm sorry if I did."

Ivan didn't respond for a long moment and he simply stared at Sin's back with a blank expression although his jaw was tense. He turned away and walked to the kitchen area where he leaned against the counter and stared at an empty jug of juice.

"You lied to me, Hsin."

Sin turned around and shook his head, black hair falling into his eyes as he scowled. "I didn't."

"Yes you did," Ivan replied with an edge to his tone, guarded expression giving way to disappointment. "You told me you wouldn't use me as your Boyd substitute and that if that's what it turned into, you would tell me that it's not me you want."

Sin looked away as his eyebrows drew together. Guilt ebbed away at his defensiveness. "I'm not... trying to hurt you."

"I know you're not," Ivan replied evenly although he averted his steel-colored eyes and focused on the jug once again. "But we've only had sex twice, we've fooled around a handful of times. Not much has happened between us physically and if you were thinking about him the first time and thinking about him now, there isn't much left in between for you to have been focused only on me. And that pisses me off. I'm not your fucking Boyd blow up doll, Hsin."

Sin winced and he sat back down on the sagging worn sofa, his shoulders sinking as he leaned forward to put his head in his hands. He dug his fingers in his hair and gripped the strands in frustration as he closed his eyes. "I'm not doing this intentionally, Ivan. I just don't know what the fuck to do. I don't know how to move on and I don't know if I even want to."

This time there was no pause and Ivan demanded in a skeptical tone, "Why?"

Sin shrugged woodenly. "Why not?"

"Because he's immature and selfish," Ivan replied bluntly, his thin lips turning down into an annoyed frown. "I know you had your fair share of mistakes but from what I've heard of your relationship, as little as you've told me, it seems to me that he expected things from you, dumped you when he didn't get them, then started screwing someone else and rubbed it in your face despite the fact that he knew you still wanted to be with him. I can't even begin to comprehend what you find desirable about him."

Sin looked up at Ivan and frowned. "You're just saying that because you're angry. You don't know him well enough to make that claim."

Ivan scoffed and took off his glasses, rubbing his eyes with a low groan. "Maybe I'm oversimplifying things but I'm saying it because I'm your friend, just like I'm sure his friends said you were a jackass for sleeping with Annabelle Connors. But because that had just happened, he should have known how it would make you feel to throw his new sex life into your face. All the technicalities, all the, 'well we were broken up at the time,' mean shit. He knew it would hurt you and if he didn't, then he's an idiot."

Sin stood up and walked closer to Ivan, drawing his dark eyebrows low over his vivid green eyes. He took in Ivan's slight frown, the tense way he was holding himself and the overly aggressive way he was cleaning his glasses with the hem of his t-shirt. Sin had no doubts that Ivan was resentful and he had every right to be but even then, Ivan's intense gaze didn't appear spiteful. His words were sharp but his voice was genuine-- he really seemed to believe what he was saying and Sin couldn't necessarily say all of it was untrue.

"I'm very well aware of what happened between me and Boyd, I don't need you to reiterate it. And that situation doesn't define him entirely. If it wasn't for Boyd, I wouldn't have ever come to the point where I'd be sitting here with you at all. He was the first person to ever make an attempt to get to know me and the first person to make me feel like I could really be a normal human and not a freak or a monster. All the shit that happened after that doesn't change that."

Ivan didn't argue the point and Sin continued. "It doesn't change that I still want him, I still want to be with him, I still feel like the fucking air has been sucked out of the room when he walks in and I still think about him all the time." Sin broke off before he could finish the train of thought. All their arguing, all the hurt feelings and bitterness, none of it changed that he still wished that things could be the way they'd been in Monterrey.

He wished he could wake up in the early morning hours and see the beginnings of sunlight streaming through the window and shining on Boyd's smooth skin, on his golden hair. Sin still wished he could see Boyd's sleepy smile when his eyes finally opened and he wished Boyd would look at him that way again.

Sin pushed the thoughts aside. "I can't explain it and I'm sorry if I'm being cruel by saying this to you but you wanted me to be honest." He stopped talking and balled his hands into fists as aggravation built inside him. "I'm sorry for being this way but there's something between me and Boyd that I can't ignore and I can't deny that I still want to be with him."

Ivan didn't break eye contact this time and he didn't try to shield his expression from Sin. He just tilted his head to the side, ash blond hair tumbling across his forehead, and stared into Sin's eyes as if he was searching his soul for answers or perhaps for untruths.

The moment stretched for a long time and finally Ivan just shook his head with a low sigh. "I can't even be angry with you. I saw this all coming. I'd have been an idiot not to. I just wished it wouldn't have."

Ivan turned to one of his cabinets, pulling it open and looking inside. His face was hidden from view and when he spoke again, his tone was mild and not accusatory. "I just don't see why you bothered starting anything romantic with me. I'm fine being friends with you even if I want more. I told you that from the start."

"Because..." Sin toyed with the hem of his long sleeved t-shirt, running his thumb along the fraying thread. "Because I get along so well with you. I have more in common with you. And I think you understand me better than Boyd does sometimes."

Ivan removed a box of something and set it on the counter. It was a microwavable meal of some kind. He stared at it and didn't move to do anything else. "Why do you say that?"

"Because he's changed since we first met. When everything went bad between us, some things he said and did made it seem like he didn't understand me at all." Sin frowned as he tried to pinpoint the moment where things had started to change.

"It seemed like at the point where he became more sure of himself and less dependent on our relationship, he began to care only about himself and what he wanted. But regardless of that, I began to accept our new situation and after coming to terms with my own ridiculous dependency, I thought that I'd get over it all. So when I met you and we became friends, I was happy. I enjoy spending time with you. In some ways it's easier to be around you because you're so upfront about things and I always know where you stand. There's no drama even now, when with anyone else there likely would be."

Ivan smirked at that and Sin just shrugged in response.

"But then he risked his life to save me and any notion of moving on disappeared. It was such a stupid thing for him to do but just the fact that he did it... I don't know. I can't explain it. I don't know how," Sin said roughly, his lips curling down as he tried to find the words.

Ivan began opening the box with an unimpressed arch of his eyebrows. "He's your partner. Why is it so impressive that he saved you?"

Ivan took the meal out of the box; it looked like some kind of dried noodles and sauce. He added water and shoved it in the microwave, hitting a button as he looked at Sin expectantly. The hum of the microwave dominated the room as Sin struggled to figure out a response.

"Because for awhile I doubted whether or not I was more important to him than his goals. I'm uncomfortable with his desire to move ahead in the Agency and during his training it seemed to me that those things were more important than me. I began to wonder if his entire personality was changing. He seemed very self-involved and I felt like I didn't know him anymore."

Ivan nodded slightly as the microwave beeped loudly. He opened the door and looked at the steaming bowl of noodles. "And then he botched the mission to save you and changed all of that. Now you know it's the same old Boyd and selfish Boyd was just a kiddy phase as he came out of his shell. Kind of like when a teenager suddenly becomes a cool kid and forgets all of his old friends for awhile."

Sin raised his shoulders in another shrug, ignored the sarcasm and pulled a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his back pocket. He set it on the counter and pulled one out, caressing the white surface of the cigarette with his index finger as he fixed Ivan with an unflinching but questioning stare. "Do you hate me now?"

Ivan looked at the cigarettes and said instead, "I thought you were quitting?" When Sin just shrugged again, Ivan gave him a half-smile. "You should learn to give up things that are bad for you."

Sin extracted a pack of matches from his pocket and struck one, the flame flaring up as he brought it to the tip of his cigarette. The cherry glowed brightly as Sin inhaled deeply, eyes drifting close for a moment before he exhaled and the smoke drifted out of his mouth, moving between he and Ivan.

"We're both fucked up in our own way. It's not like it's just him. His little buddies likely believe I'm bad for him too but it doesn't matter. Even if I decide to tell him anything, I don't think he plans on getting back together with me. I just don't think you and I should sleep together while I'm preoccupied with somebody else. I'm not one for casual sex anyway and I don't think you are either."

Ivan didn't say anything in response but he did look at Sin again and resumed his searching analysis of Sin's face and expression.

"I understand if you don't want to see me anymore," Sin said finally, pushing away from the counter.


Sin paused and looked at Ivan again.

"We can still be friends." Ivan focused on his microwave meal as he tilted his head slightly and narrowed his eyes as a thoughtful expression crossed his thin face. "But I want to be alone for now."

Sin exhaled another slow explosion of smoke and nodded slightly, meeting Ivan's eyes once more before turning away. As he walked out of the loft, Sin couldn't help feeling a dull sense of self-loathing that he'd yet again severed a connection, and this time with someone who had done nothing wrong at all.

He wanted to turn back and apologize again and again but he didn't. He didn't say anything else and the door shut firmly behind him.

Continue to the next interlude: 3.14, Honey Trap