Flip Side: Part II

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

The story contains..

Slash (M/M), het (M/F) and graphic language, violence and sexual situations. Not intended for anyone under 18!


Book One: Evenfall See Evenfall chapter list.

Book Two: Afterimage
See Afterimage chapter list.

Interludes list

Book Three: Fade
See Fade chapter list.


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Flip Side - Part II

Interlude 3.2

Uploaded on 5/23/2009

Kassian's boots crunched over the leaves and brush as he made the long trek back to the safe-house. In the otherwise silent wooded area, the sound seemed louder than it was. He found himself actually enjoying the walk and the crisp spring air that had topped out to low 40s; the only thing missing was a gorgeous sunrise but the sky still wasn't clear enough for that.

He coughed quietly, muffling the sound with his arm, and hoped he wasn't starting to get sick. The last thing he needed was to come down with a cold now that he was going to spend at least a couple more nights doing surveillance.

The factory was in a heavily wooded area fifteen miles from a main town but only five miles from a small work site that was allegedly being renovated for a cabin resort in the mountains. Work hadn't been done on the resort for years but the cabins were still livable and despite the fact that the actual resort wasn't finished, the owner rented them out for camping.

Because of the destitute area and the security around the factory, they'd decided to surveil it in alternating shifts-- one person actually on site as to be less noticeable and two people in the cabin keeping an eye on the live-feed satellite images that showed an aerial view of the location and the surrounding roads.

It was Kassian's first graveyard shift and other than extreme boredom, not much had gone down. Boyd had had the early morning shift, Sin the mid afternoon to night, and so far all they'd surmised was that most employees seemed to be gone for the day by at least eight in the evening although others stayed for overtime until about eleven at night. The three agents met up for a few moments between each shift to collaborate and plan before heading back out to the surveil spot.

Kassian climbed the hill that led to the property their cabin was on and switched on his comm unit to notify Boyd that he was on his way. It took another several moments to arrive but when Kassian was finally inside, the smell of brewing coffee consumed his senses.

The idea of sitting down for the first time all night and inhaling the entire pot of coffee was a welcoming one, although a nap did sound pretty good at the moment too. Normally Kassian would stay as alert as possible throughout an entire mission but since it wasn't exactly high-activity for the next few days, he didn't see the reason.

He'd already made the decision that since he wasn't doing more than participant-observation, he wouldn't be taking what seemed to be a relatively straight forward mission as serious as he normally would. Besides, Kassian told himself as he shrugged off his jacket and let his gaze fall on Boyd's location by the surveillance laptops, he wasn't the team leader anyway.

Kassian tossed the jacket on the table in the small kitchen area. The cabin was equipped with a kitchen with all amenities, a full living room and a small bedroom that they'd established as storage for weapons and gear instead of an actual sleeping area.

Kassian grabbed one of the chipped yellow mugs and poured himself a cup of coffee, drinking it black. His gaze swept the room and he saw Sin gearing up to take his turn at the early morning shift. He was adjusting a gun holster, his face turned towards the floor and hair curtaining most of his expression.

"Not much going on last night," Kassian said after swallowing the nearly scalding-hot coffee. "Weird amount of guard activity considering it's supposed to be deserted but that was expected."

Boyd nodded in acknowledgment although he didn't look away from the live feed; he was especially diligent watching the cameras during their shift changes when there wasn't someone at the surveillance point. "Nothing particularly unusual on the feed, either."

"Try to circle around to the eastern section," Kassian told Sin as he took another sip of coffee. "There seemed to be more guards in that region but it's difficult to get close because there's less coverage there."

Sin didn't respond and pulled on a black jacket, zipping it up.

Kassian shook his head, not terribly surprised by the non-response, and finished his coffee, standing to get another cup. "Your coffee-making skills are improving, Boyd," he commented idly. When they'd first started hanging out, Boyd had made horrible coffee, likely because he was a tea drinker.

"I'll take your word on it," Boyd said lightly, gaze still firmly on the screen. "It still tastes terrible to me but I got desperate for caffeine somewhere between 2 am and nothing happening, and I thought you may want some anyway."

Kassian took another gulp. He started to reply but before he could, Sin walked out of the cabin without comment. Kassian stared at the door for a moment before letting his gaze go back to Boyd. "Is he always like this on assignment?"

"Not really," Boyd said with a shrug. "He's just understandably unhappy to be in the same room with us."

Having nothing to respond to that with, Kassian finished his coffee before moving from the hard wood chair to the frayed couch that sat along the wall of the living room. He closed his eyes half-way, directing his gaze out the window as the day gradually got lighter as he idly kicked off his boots and stretched out.

It was kind of disappointing that the mission as a whole was relatively low activity and straight forward. Even when they infiltrated the lab, they didn't count on having a difficult time unless there were more hostiles than the worst-case scenario that they'd come prepared for but that possibility was unlikely. It would have been difficult for Joshi to keep his lab so discreet if he had that much manpower on site.

At the same time, Kassian was grateful for the opportunity to not be in charge and to not feel obligated to play a large role like he would have had to in a more complicated mission. Even though he was on an assignment, he wasn't being forced into Senior Agent Trovosky mode. That, he decided belatedly, would actually be one bonus of being in the unit and being paired with Boyd.

The thought made him relax slightly and Kassian allowed his eyes to drift closed completely. When he opened them again he realized that he'd dozed off and that it must have been at least thirty minutes because he heard Boyd talking to Sin on the comm.

"Alright," Boyd was saying, still leaning forward as he stared at the screen. "Nothing's changed on the aerial so just let us know as usual if anything happens."

Boyd was silent a second, probably listening to a response, then leaned back in the chair with a quiet sigh. He sat like that, watching the screen for a long time, until the majority of civilian workers had arrived at the factory and the normal sequence of events had begun. Even after one day of observation, they'd realized that the possibility of something important occurring during the first shift when the civilian population was present was extremely unlikely at best.

Almost an hour passed before Boyd rubbed his eyes with a grimace. "Jesus, my eyes hurt. I feel like I've been staring at that screen forever."

Kassian didn't move from his spot on the couch, trying to force himself to fall asleep but somehow unable to achieve it. "Did you get any rest last night?"

"A little." Boyd rested an arm over the back of the chair as he looked over at Kassian. "Not much. I was tired but couldn't sleep so I got up to watch the live feed."

"This mission is pretty boring," Kassian commented, rubbing his stomach slowly through the thin, long-sleeved shirt he wore. Hunger pains were beginning to make themselves obvious, which wasn't too surprising given the fact that all he'd eaten in the past day were a few protein bars.

Boyd nodded then pushed himself up and walked over to the couch. Kassian moved his feet so Boyd could sit before propping them up in his lap. Boyd closed his eyes and tilted his head back against the couch, absently dropping his hands onto Kassian's feet.

"It almost seems like overkill to have three of us," Boyd said belatedly.

"Well, technically I'm just supposed to be observing so it's not like I was necessary here or anything." Kassian arched his back off the couch in a stretch and looked over at Boyd. "How about a foot massage?"

"Hmm." Boyd raised his eyebrows slightly and gave Kassian a considering look. Boyd almost absently slid his hands along the length of one of Kassian's feet; his fingers were strong and traced the arch but he didn't take off the sock. "Do you want one?"

Kassian closed his eyes and let his head rest against the cushion, grinning slightly. "If you wouldn't mind, it'd be great."

Boyd made a soft sound in his throat and didn't immediately answer, but his fingers slid back up to Kassian's ankle and he pulled off the sock. With firm pressure, he kneaded the muscles in one foot.

"Mmmmm." Kassian opened his eyes and looked over at Boyd appreciatively. "You're a real sport."

Boyd smiled briefly as he continued to massage Kassian's foot; his thumbs pressed into Kassian's arch and his gaze flicked to where the laptops sat on the desk before returning to Kassian. "Is that enough pressure?"

"Uh huh." Kassian raised his eyebrows slightly. "You're pretty good at that, actually."

"'Actually,'" Boyd echoed Kassian's wording as he smirked in mild amusement. "I'm improving on my coffee and surprisingly decent at massages." His hands slipped away as he pulled the other sock off and started working on Kassian's other foot. "Is there anything you think I'm good at right away?"

Kassian's grin widened and his eyebrows raised higher. "You were pretty pro at sucking my cock."

Boyd grinned rather smugly, looking at Kassian sidelong with a slight quirk of an eyebrow. "You liked that, huh?"

Kassian nodded, grin turning wicked. "Even better at swallowing."

"Well, a guy has to have some natural talents," Boyd said with a smirk; he looked rather self-satisfied.

"I don't know, though. It's been awhile... you might be getting rusty." Kassian let his eyes flick over Boyd before focusing on his lips. "Maybe you should take this opportunity to get some practice in."

Boyd's gaze sparked with amusement as he watched Kassian's eyes. His smirk lingered, becoming a touch mischievous, and his hands absently continued to move along Kassian's foot. "I don't know; I don't think you could handle it. You get pretty overwhelmed."

Kassian's eyes narrowed slightly and he felt his stomach clench, his dick becoming partially erect as he thought about the last time they'd fooled around. It'd been almost a month since anything physical had occurred between them but he very vividly recalled the image of Boyd's lips wrapping around his cock.

Kassian sat up and leaned forward, grabbing Boyd's shirt and pulling him across the sofa.

"Wha--" Boyd started to say but Kassian pulled Boyd over to straddle Kassian's lap and cut off Boyd's word with a kiss. As their lips met, Kassian glanced over Boyd's shoulder at the screens, half-focused on the laptop.

Tension built in Boyd's back and he made a muffled noise, his body hovering partially off Kassian's legs. Kassian's tongue slid into Boyd's mouth and Boyd hesitated, starting to pull back but Kassian took the opportunity to deepen the kiss. There was a moment where the tension only seemed to increase in Boyd's shoulders but Kassian thoroughly explored Boyd's mouth, and Boyd seemed to relax despite himself, his eyes falling half shut.

As Kassian intensified the kiss, Boyd fingers spasmed on Kassian's shoulders, his breath quickening.

Kassian's hands moved from Boyd's waist to slide up beneath the back of his shirt, allowing Boyd's taste, his smell, and the feel of his body to completely overtake any other sensation. Kassian began rocking his hips up absently, grinding his denim-covered erection against Boyd's, a thrill going down his spine at the feel of Boyd's cock just as it always did.

He didn't know if he'd ever get used to the idea of being able to touch Boyd, of being able to kiss him and fuck him. Kassian had never been so close to someone physically and mentally without having some kind of romantic feelings between them; the fact that he and Boyd could have such amazing sex without the caveats was astounding to him. The people he usually fooled around with always had desires for something more permanent, more stable, and would eventually try to force a relationship on him.

"Your body's incredible," Kassian muttered against Boyd's mouth, his breath coming faster as his hands wandered. Boyd didn't answer, his breath catching and forehead dropping forward as Kassian ground up against him.

It was the first time they'd done anything since Boyd had started his strict work-out regime and the results were already showing.

Boyd had always been slightly toned but now his body was sleekly muscled, his stomach subtly defined instead of just flat, his shoulders stronger, his arms harder. All of it combined with his smooth hairless skin, the paleness of it, the fall of long blond hair... it made Kassian incredibly hot for him.

The kiss intensified, their tongues clashing, and Kassian shifted again, lifting Boyd up and turning so that Boyd was sprawled on his back on the couch as Kassian immediately pressed against him. Boyd's moan was caught between them as his hips suddenly snapped up and he started grinding up against Kassian.

They were both panting against each other's mouth and after several moments of breathless kissing, Kassian ripped his mouth away to slide it down Boyd's neck, sucking lightly and enjoying the way Boyd groaned and arched up, the way his fingers dug into Kassian's hair.

Kassian could feel his dick getting harder, almost painfully so in the tight confines of his jeans, and he kissed back up before mumbling in Boyd's ear, "I want to fuck your tight ass."

"Fuck," Boyd hissed, panting heavily. His eyes were half closed and dilated with lust as they focused intently on Kassian, his mouth open and cheeks slightly flushed. His eyebrows drew down a little even as the comment served to make him grind against Kassian more vigorously.

"I don't--" Boyd started to speak but seemed to lose his train of thought as Kassian snapped his hips against him especially hard; Boyd's words trailed off into a moan.

"I know you want it," Kassian growled, rocking his hips faster, gaze enraptured by Boyd's expression, by the look of unbridled pleasure on his face. "I'll make you fucking scream."

"Ahh," Boyd groaned again and squeezed his eyes shut, mouth opening wider as he breathed heavily, body still pounding up against Kassian of its own accord. But his fingers tightened on Kassian's shoulders and he started shaking his head back and forth. "Shit... Shit, wait..."

"Just real quick," Kassian said breathlessly, already yanking impatiently at Boyd's pants, hurriedly undoing the belt, his lips parted and eyes darkened with lust.

"Fuck-- Wait," Boyd said more urgently, grabbing Kassian's hands before he could finish.

Boyd dropped back against the couch, fingers trembling lightly on Kassian's wrists, gaze intense with desire as he stared up at Kassian, lips slightly swollen and parted. He looked as though he wanted nothing more than to be fucked long and hard, but he didn't let go of Kassian's hands. He shook his head once more and his tone was firmer when he spoke again despite the fact that it was still slightly husky.

"Kassian, we can't. It wouldn't be right, we shouldn't even be doing this. Sin..." He trailed off but the heaviness in his tone and the troubled expression on his face made it quite clear to Kassian that Boyd was worried about Sin seeing them together. It was unlikely due to the distance of the surveillance location but even so, Kassian knew Boyd was right.

Kassian groaned and collapsed on top of Boyd, closing his eyes briefly. As frustrated as he felt sexually, he knew Boyd was right. Wrong place, wrong time, just... wrong. "You owe me later," he said finally when his heartbeat had slowed.

Boyd nodded and dropped his head back, relaxing once it became obvious that Kassian wasn't going to argue the point. "I'll do whatever you want next time," he said lightly, eyes half open and focused on Kassian. "How's that sound?"

Kassian grinned and turned his head to look at Boyd. "That actually makes it worth it."

"Good." Boyd closed his eyes and a faint smirk curved his lips. "Start planning now so it's interesting for me, too."

"I won't let you down," Kassian reassured. He let out another long groan, this one more theatrical than anything else, and sat up again. His body was still thrumming with unreleased pleasure and all signs of tiredness had all but faded. "I'm gonna wash up and run to town for supplies. Unless you want to-- you've been cooped up here for hours."

Boyd shook his head but didn't move from his position. "It's alright. That screen's already burned into my retinas; I may as well watch a little longer."

Kassian shook his head and ruffled Boyd's hair playfully before standing up and heading to the small cramped bathroom. He stripped off his clothes entirely and turned on the lukewarm water before stepping into the shower.

He closed his eyes and leaned against the wall, letting the water pour over him, over his face and hair, as the tension slowly released from his body and the unrelenting need for an orgasm drained away. It was only then that he allowed himself to think back on the last few moments.

If anyone at the Agency could have seen him writhing on top of Boyd, practically pleading for sex, they likely would have died of shock. It wasn't the sex part-- Kassian had had dalliances with other agents and civilian staff in the past-- so much as the fact that he was on a mission.

True, it was a pretty low key mission with a lot of downtime, but it was a mission nonetheless. It was very odd and Kassian was the first to admit that fact to himself; it wasn't even like he and Boyd had sex very frequently. The majority of the time they hung out it was just that-- hanging out, watching movies or eating, taking long rides on his motorcycle or playing video games. Hell-- they'd even started reading the same books and comparing opinions and commentary later.

Sex only happened occasionally and Kassian wondered why now of all times the desire to put his hands on Boyd had started burning so hot.

Maybe, Kassian pondered as he picked up the bar of hard soap and rubbed it across his chest-- Maybe it was because deep down he knew it was something he wasn't supposed to do. He wasn't supposed to fuck his would-be partner, especially on an active mission. It was a breach of protocol, an error in judgment and probably something Sin would do.

It was probably something Sin and Boyd had done in the past.

The idea of Sin and Boyd together, of them having frenzied, violent sex after a gun fight or a chase-- Kassian didn't deny that it turned him on. It was strange but not unfamiliar-- the thought had crossed his mind ever since Boyd had mentioned their sex life. Although Boyd was typically very careful to never give Kassian much information about his sexual relationship with Sin, the occasional detail that had slipped out or Kassian had inferred had been intriguing.

Ever since then Kassian would idly find his mind wandering off in that direction, trying to figure out what Sin's expression would look like as he pounded into Boyd or even the reverse-- what he would look like if he actually let Boyd fuck him.

Kassian shook his head, a self-deprecating smile on his face, and banished the thoughts. He spent way too much time thinking about getting laid-- it was on the pathetic side of hilarious.

He quickly finished his shower and dressed, leaving the cabin to take the truck the ten miles into town. The road he used was well-traveled so he didn't stick out very much as the dark grey vehicle bounced on the uneven road.

All the commerce was located on one street in the small town and Kassian got all the supplies he needed from the general store. He got plenty of water, several packs of protein bars, some aspirin, a few cans of coffee and some basic canned food. Kassian started to go to the check-out but he remembered Boyd asking him to buy some junk food for Sin.

Apparently sweets were the only thing Sin really liked to eat, a fact that was incredibly surprising to Kassian considering how thin the other senior agent was. Kassian worked out several times a week to burn off the amount of alcohol he consumed-- he could only imagine how his metabolism would react to an excess of sugar and beer.

It took longer than expected to figure out what Sin would even want. It annoyed Kassian that he was going out of his way for someone who wouldn't even deign to speak to him but he tried to push it aside and grabbed a large package of chocolate chip cookies before going to pay.

"You're a new face," the older lady at the check-out said with a smile when he put everything on the counter.

Kassian smiled and kept his gaze firmly fixed on the cashier, ignoring the tempting bottles of vodka that lined the wall to the right. It was difficult and three times he'd had to stop himself from adding one to his basket.

"Yes--" He looked at her name tag. "Yes, Belle, I am. Me and my brother are looking to move out here."

"Oh really?" Belle nodded as she rang up his items. "That ain't too surprising, actually. The plant's got more openings than we've got residents. A lot of folks from the surrounding towns've been pouring in, trying to get a job."

Kassian nodded, still smiling at her warmly. "Well, times sure are hard, Belle. I got laid off months ago, my brother's never even been able to find a steady job but he's just a kid."

Belle nodded sympathetically. "I been hoping the economy will get turned around some day but I doubt it'd be in my lifetime. Hopefully someday I'll be able to look down from heaven and see that my kids is prosperin'. That's all I can hope for."

"That's all anyone can," Kassian agreed, and he meant it. He knew he'd never find peace in his own life, he knew it was unlikely that he'd survive past forty in the Agency or that he'd come back alive from his next stint in Russia-- all he could hope was that his little sisters would grow up safer and happier in their lives.

"That'll be fifty-four dollars, sir," Belle said after she'd bagged all his items.

Kassian whistled, eyebrows raising. She was using an old fashioned register-- one that she manually input prices into. He wondered idly if she was ripping him off but couldn't really blame her if she was; that's just how things were. "Pretty steep for some canned soup, ravioli, cookies and water," he noted, tugging his wallet out.

"Like you said, sir. Times sure are hard." Belle accepted the assortment of mixed bills and smiled at him a little guiltily before quickly throwing in a mini bottle of Jack Daniels, looking around to make sure no one saw.

Kassian just chuckled and picked up his bags, unable to get over the irony of her overcharging him and then supporting his alcoholism out of guilt. "Take care, Belle."

The drive back was uneventful but as he drove through the winding roads that led to the cabin, Kassian found himself fingering the slim bottle of whiskey longingly, unable to deny to himself that the idea of drinking it was incredibly tempting. It had always been hard to ignore his thirst for alcohol but after two years of drinking and doing drugs in Russia, his alcoholism had reached an all time high.

Kassian ached for a drink, he ached to gulp down the small bottle, and he found himself idly justifying his desire by saying that it was a low-key mission, he was nothing more than a tag-a-long anyway, why should he try to be the professional and responsible agent when he was taking the place of someone who made no effort to hide the fact that he didn't give a shit.

But in the end Kassian just put the whiskey into his inner jacket pocket without drinking although the bottle's weight against his chest made it nearly impossible to ignore.

When he finally returned to the cabin, he switched places with Boyd at the computer. The hours passed slowly and Kassian was beginning to grow impatient with the mission. So far nothing of note had occurred, not even anything minor, and he was seriously beginning to think they were going to have to break in and do recon on the inside.

He mentioned it to Boyd, who agreed, and they spent a couple hours going over blueprints of the plant. Sin returned from his shift and when they informed him of their mutual decision to go in if nothing happening during the next couple days, it was greeted with stony silence and this time he didn't even look at either of them.

Boyd left for his shift and Kassian realized belatedly that somehow he'd gotten the overnight watch again. It didn't really bother him, though-- he actually preferred the night. He wasn't as confident in his stealth as he'd been prior to the Russia mission and the night gave him better cover.

"I got some food," Kassian told Sin after Boyd was in his position in the wooded area around the plant. "Just some shit out of a can."

Sin didn't respond and kept his gaze on the monitors as he sat ramrod straight at the small desk in the living room.

Kassian stared at him for a long moment before raising an eyebrow. "This is pretty ridiculous, Vega."

When Sin still didn't respond, Kassian frowned and walked over to the desk. "I know I'm not your favorite person but do we really have to bring this with us on a mission?"

Sin's gaze finally rose from the laptop and the expression on his face actually surprised Kassian. Where he'd previously been blank-faced and emotionless, Sin now glared, his narrowed eyes shooting hateful sparks and his lips turned down into a dark frown as his jaw clenched.

"Unless you have something to say about the mission, shut the fuck up," Sin said coldly and looked at the screen again.

Kassian crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at Sin. "We need to talk about this, man."

"The only thing you need to do," Sin said slowly, looking at Kassian again but this time he controlled his expression more despite the fact that his tone remained the same. "Is shut. The fuck. Up."

"You need to grow the fuck up," Kassian retorted, turning away from Sin finally, although he didn't walk away. He was angry and frustrated because he couldn't really do anything about it.

"And you need to just get the fuck over the fact that I hate you and stop trying to make nice so you still come out looking like the good guy."

Kassian whirled around incredulously. "Are you kidding me? You think that's why I'm talking to you?"

Sin didn't look up from the screen as he replied tonelessly, "Yes."

Kassian stared at Sin with narrowed eyes, crossing his arms over his chest and he couldn't help the indignation he felt at Sin's insinuation.

Was that really what Sin thought of him? That all he really wanted at the Agency, why he was so by-the-book, why he tried to be professional, was because he wanted people to perceive him a certain way? Because he wanted to impress the people on the compound-- he wanted to look like the hero and the good guy?

It was insulting and so incredibly incorrect that Kassian couldn't even reply. He was by the book because he didn't know any other way to be-- he was professional because he didn't like to disappoint people who looked to him for leadership, because he wanted the respect of his commanding officers-- If he thought of the Agency as nothing more than a popularity contest, Kassian would have made more of an effort in the past ten years to immerse himself with the other agents instead of living off compound and isolating himself unless he had to be on compound for a mission.

"You're wrong," he said finally, eyebrows drawing together.

"Then why are you standing here going out of your way to make small talk?" Sin asked, sitting back in the chair and raising his gaze to Kassian. His full lips were drooping in a scowl and he raised one dark eyebrow at Kassian, not doing anything to hide his obvious disdain. "You don't like me. You know I can't stand you. Why bother? Why waste energy trying to coerce me into conversation unless you have some kind of motive?"

"Because--" Kassian broke off with a scowl, staring down at Sin in frustration. Once again, it was a question that he couldn't answer because there was no logic behind it.

Sin was right; they never got along and probably never would. What was the point of trying to change the situation? Kassian didn't even know why he would want to; nothing had changed, he still didn't like Sin's personality. The only thing they had in common was Boyd and even Boyd wasn't going out of his way to get them to be friends.

It was strange and Kassian just shook his head, coming to the conclusion that a lot of things were strange now that he'd gotten himself mixed up in the drama of Sin and Boyd's lives.

"Just forget it, man," Kassian said finally. "You can think what you want but you don't know me. You don't know anything about my life except the shit you assume because you dislike me."

Sin gave him a mockingly sympathetic expression, frowning as though he were in deep thought, raising his eyebrows high. "How sad for you. It must be hard being so... misunderstood."

Kassian grit his teeth in annoyance, shaking his head again. "I'm not trying to make this a competition about who is more misunderstood or whose life sucks more, Vega. I know your life sucks but I'm just saying you don't know shit about mine."

"Ah." Sin nodded, looking at the screen again although his eyes narrowed slightly, a flicker of something that Kassian couldn't readily define making its way briefly across them as Sin bit out, "Maybe I'll get Boyd to fill me in on it."

An exhalation of exasperation escaped Kassian and he wished that he could just make himself walk away and let it be. He wished he could just not give a shit that Sin had some skewed notion of what exactly was going on with Kassian and Boyd. He wished he wasn't so ridiculously stubborn when it came to attempting to make things right, especially when the situation had never been right from the beginning.

But he couldn't-- Kassian couldn't let it go, not when he was only on this ridiculous mission and in this awkward situation because of his own guilt regarding Sin's apparent and obstinate need to misunderstand everything entirely.

"I think you have the wrong idea about me and Boyd," Kassian said finally, trying to lose the edge in his tone even though it was impossible for him not to feel aggravated by the entire discussion.

"Yes, I'm obviously very mistaken," Sin replied drolly, his expression not changing as he stared at nothing in particular.

Kassian scowled; Sin had the most frustrating ability to make him feel completely moronic and inconsequential with very few words. "I think you think he isn't back with you because of me."

One of Sin's broad shoulders rose casually although his posture was a lot stiffer than it had been before the topic turned to Boyd; the tension in his frame was obvious. "What does he need me for now?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Sin looked up at Kassian again and this time his expression was darker; his eyes were narrowed, his mouth set in a tight, angry line. His long fingers were clenched around the edge of the desk and he practically radiated anger; his glare intense. "It means," he said in a black, hateful tone, standing up and facing Kassian entirely.

The intensity of Sin's stare and fury made Kassian want to take an automatic step back but he didn't. He'd determined long ago that he would never back down from Sin.

"It means what the hell does he need me for when he's got you to fuck his tight ass and make him fucking scream," Sin said coldly, jaw clenching and nostrils flaring slightly as he tried to control his rage. Now that the words had left his mouth he was practically shaking with anger, his hands clenching into fists and eyebrows drawn down low over his eyes.

"You--" Kassian stopped, staring at Sin blankly, unable to even properly respond or comprehend what Sin was saying.

"Next time turn off your fucking comm unit."

The reality of the situation hit Kassian and he realized with something very close to horror and humiliation that Sin had heard every single thing that had happened between them on the previous shift. He'd likely heard every gasp, every shift of clothing, every moan...

And Kassian realized quite embarrassingly that when he'd growled lustily to Boyd about what he'd wanted to do his voice had probably been like surround sound in Sin's ear.

The guilt of the situation wasn't surprising-- Kassian was feeling a lot of that lately and had been ever since finding out how heartbroken Sin had been after Boyd confessed that he and Kassian had slept together. He didn't want to feel remorse, Kassian didn't really feel like he was doing anything wrong, but even so it was there nonetheless.

"That was unintentional," Kassian said stiffly, mortified by the situation. "I'm sorry."

"I don't need your fucking apology," Sin growled, taking a step forward as he glared at Kassian. "I don't need your fucking pity."

"It's not pity," Kassian retorted, not backing away, not breaking Sin's stare. "I'm just saying that I'm sorry."

"And I'm just saying that I don't need you to fucking feel sorry for me," Sin spat, taking another step forward, dark hair falling into his eyes. "We'll see what happens on the storm, Trovosky. When you have to rely on me to watch your back. We'll see how sorry you feel for everything then. Maybe it will give you a reason to give up your pathetic attempt to make amends."

Anger flooded Kassian and he was floored by the amount of contempt that Sin truly had for him. At that moment Kassian had no doubts that Sin would let him die on the mission-- his hatred was truly that strong. Kassian didn't know if Sin always felt that way or if he was speaking and behaving out of irrational fury but regardless, Kassian couldn't deny that it made him just as furious in return.

"I'm not trying to make amends for everything, Vega," he snapped. "I'm sorry you had to hear it, not sorry that I want to fuck Boyd."

The fist that slammed into Kassian's face didn't come as a surprise so when his head snapped to the side, Kassian did nothing for a tense moment but stare blindly at the wall as his jaw throbbed violently. He could feel anger building up inside him, spreading and almost entirely consuming him until every thought that crossed Kassian's mind was colored with red-hot fury and indignation. But then he took a deep breath and looked at Sin again.

Sin's expression was one of pure menace; his face was tilted down slightly, curtained by his silky black hair as the look in his pale green eyes promised violence.

"Don't be more of a fucking idiot than you already are, Vega," Kassian said as a low warning, his eyes narrowed as his breath came faster, feeling his body tense and shift almost of its own accord into a defensive posture.

This time when Sin swung at him, Kassian was prepared for it. He jerked backwards out of the way of Sin's iron-like knuckles and felt a whoosh of air across his face as he avoided the punch by mere centimeters.

Kassian responded with a right hook and a nearly simultaneous jab of his left fist, both of which Sin blocked automatically. Kassian raised one knee and slammed it into Sin's solar plexus, the only attack that Sin failed to dodge because of the speed with which Kassian performed it.

The only sign that Sin had even been affected by the blow was a low release of air as he hunched forward slightly but even having the wind knocked out of Sin didn't slow him down. He lunged at Kassian from his newly stooped position and they went flying backwards. Kassian grunted in surprise as his back crashed against the low coffee table which collapsed under his and Sin's combined weight.

Sin reared his fist back and slammed it into Kassian's face, pounding mercilessly against Kassian's cheekbone. He pulled his arm back to punch again but Kassian abruptly surged forward and headbutted Sin, his forehead slamming into the bridge of Sin's nose.

Momentarily stunned, Sin faltered and Kassian rolled backwards, flipping to a low crouch and staring at Sin as his breath came heavy and fast. Kassian's entire face throbbed with pain and he could feel it already beginning to swell up.

"Back off, Vega," he panted harshly.

Instead of replying verbally, Sin lunged forward again, his eyes narrowed dangerously and teeth grit as he swung unrelenting strikes at Kassian with the speed of a cobra. Kassian twisted out of the way, nearly tripping over the broken wood of the coffee table, and choked abruptly as Sin jabbed his throat without remorse.

Kassian stumbled backwards and Sin immediately assaulted him again, wrapping his disturbingly strong fingers around Kassian's chin and jaw before lifting him off the floor and instantly throwing him back down.

Kassian's head slammed against the floor and he gasped slightly, seeing stars but still managing to raise one long leg and slam his booted foot viciously into Sin's stomach just as Sin had begun to advance on him again.

Sin's eyebrows drew down in annoyance, the only visible indication that he'd felt pain, and he moved to grab Kassian again but Kassian stumbled to his feet and took a step backward, once again dropping into a defensive stance as he faced off with Sin.

"You're being a fucking moron," Kassian shouted in aggravation.

"I thought I was a fucking idiot," Sin growled back, circling Kassian like a hawk waiting for the kill.

Sin's lips were drawn back over his teeth and his eyes were narrowed dangerously but Kassian didn't seriously think Sin wanted to kill him so much as beat the shit out of him. If Sin wanted him dead, he would have killed him by now, although it was good to see that Sin only seemed completely superhuman in the midst of a psychotic, adrenaline-crazed episode.

Despite the fact that he was in pain, bloody and swollen, Kassian couldn't help feeling a little proud that he was holding his own.

Sin slid to the side so quickly that Kassian barely even realized that the other man had moved and just as he turned his head to track Sin, a fist slammed into Kassian's kidney.

Kassian shouted in pain, his eyes widening as he crumbled forward and hit the floor. He curled up as his eyes teared, pain radiating through his entire body as he clenched his teeth together. Spots of color danced before his eyes as he panted harshly and tried to scramble to his feet.

Sin stood over him, eyes narrowed slightly, but he didn't move to attack again. He just stared down at Kassian as though he were scrutinizing a bug under a microscope, trying to decide if he wanted to torture it more or just kill it right away, and some of Kassian's assurance that Sin wasn't planning to actually finish him off slipped away.

Kassian reached up and pressed his palm against the wall, pulling himself up as he turned and faced Sin again. "You want to kill me, Vega?" he hissed, his voice hoarse with pain, his lips parted as bursts of air continued to escape as he struggled to recover from the brutal blow.

"Yes," Sin replied without hesitation. His hand shifted slightly and Kassian had his gun whipped out before he could even properly translate Sin's motion. He didn't know whether or not Sin was actually drawing his weapon but upon seeing Kassian's, Sin jerked his gun out as well.

Kassian realized belatedly that it had been stupid to elevate the fight to the next level but the pain emanating from his lower back made his thought process not as sharp or logical as it could have been.

"You're going to shoot me, Trovosky?" Sin asked in that same low tone, his voice thick with loathing and quiet fury. "Go ahead and do it, then. I could fucking care less."

Frustration seeped through Kassian, overshadowing the anger, and he stood up straighter although he was still leaning against the wall and he didn't lower his gun. "I don't want to shoot you, idiot," he yelled angrily. "I don't want to fucking fight with you at all! You're so fucking worked up and angry about something that doesn't even matter. Boyd isn't choosing me over you-- I'm not some fucking replacement."

"Yeah." Sin smirked humorlessly, the expression disturbing and almost frightening as his eyes glinted. "I'm sure."

"I'm not!" Kassian glared at Sin, shaking his head as he narrowed his eyes at the younger man. "Boyd fucking me--"

"Shut your fucking mouth about Boyd!" Sin shouted so loudly and abruptly that Kassian stopped short, watching Sin silently for a moment.

Some of the tough guy facade, the sarcastic act, had cracked and Kassian could see real pain in Sin's eyes. Sin was shaking with anger, his fingers white-knuckled as they gripped the gun that was pointed at Kassian's head, but Sin's mouth had trembled slightly even though he tried to hide it and he shook his head stiffly as he tried to cover his expression.

He looked a cross between homicidal and brokenhearted.

"Sin, just listen to me," Kassian went on stubbornly, finally catching his breath despite the fact that his body still ached with intense pain. "Boyd fucking me--" He threw his gun on the floor at Sin's feet. "Is just as inconsequential to him as fucking Ann probably was to you. I'm just a distraction, man."

Sin's lips pressed together in a tight line but there was a flicker of uncertainty in his eyes that was apparent enough for Kassian to see immediately.

"Don't fucking judge him for shit you did yourself. Maybe if you got your act together and stopped being such an angry little bitch all the time--"

Sin's eyes narrowed.

"--and figured out the real problems you two have, he'd consider getting back with you. Until you make an actual fucking effort instead of all of this silent treatment sadface crap, don't complain that he's fucking someone else."

Kassian stared at Sin challengingly, unafraid and unremorseful for his harsh words. There was no point sugarcoating it. Being upfront was the only option with someone like Sin.

"And if you still want to shoot me, go ahead and do it."

Sin stared at him evenly, some of the outright hate disappearing even as he said, "Go fuck yourself, Trovosky."

Kassian didn't even see the gun coming before the butt of it slammed into his face. He barely remembered hitting the floor before everything went black.

He didn't know how many hours had passed since their fight but it seemed like a lifetime later that freezing cold water splashed against his face.

Kassian jerked up with a gasp, eyes opening wide as he looked around the darkened cabin before he squinted up to see Sin standing over him with an empty glass in one hand. "Wha--"

"Naptime's over, sweetheart," Sin drawled blandly. He stared down at Kassian evenly for a moment before turning away and walking back to the desk with the laptops. He sat down in the hard-wood chair and looked at the screen blankly.

"You're such a jackass," Kassian muttered, looking at his watch blearily and noting that it was well past ten thirty at night. He'd apparently been unconscious for nearly five hours, although he wasn't entirely sure if he'd actually been legitimately knocked out the whole time or if his body had just finally forced him to fall into a deep sleep after the initial bout of unconsciousness.

"So I've been told," Sin replied with disinterest, his voice flat and empty, none of his previous anger making its way into his tone.

Kassian stared at Sin for a moment, ignoring the aching of his body as he pulled himself up from where he'd been sprawled on the rug. Sin was so calm and collected that if it weren't for the bruise on his face, Kassian would have thought that the entire fight had been a dream and the pain he was feeling had actually resulted from something else entirely.

"You know, what if you'd killed me?" Kassian asked after a moment, walking to the corner of the room to flick on a lamp. His body ached with every movement but Kassian ignored it, feeling slightly grateful that at least the pain from his kidney wasn't as devastating as it'd been before. If Sin had hit him as hard as Kassian knew Sin was capable of, the organ would have ruptured and Kassian had no doubts that he would have died.

"Then you'd be dead." Sin crossed his arms over his chest and sat back in the chair, eyes flicking between monitors as the light illuminated the angry bruise that spilled from the bridge of his nose to his left eye. "And I'd have to listen to Boyd's bitching about how I ruined his little mission."

As absurd as it was considering the fight they'd just had, Kassian couldn't help a startled laugh at the comment. Sin glanced up at him briefly before returning his gaze to the live feed.

Kassian turned away and made his way to the kitchen area, pressing a hand against his side although he didn't wince or show any other visible sign of pain. He caught sight of his reflection in one of the windows and made a face at the angry black coloration on his forehead, the purple bruises that stained half his features.

He shook his head and grabbed the bottle of aspirin he'd purchased earlier and swallowed a few of them dry. His head was throbbing and Kassian cursed himself silently as he poured himself a cup of coffee, realizing that his shift started in under an hour. Starting a fight with Sin had been one of the stupidest ideas he'd had in a long time.

Kassian leaned against the counter and nursed the cup of coffee, closing his eyes and trying to get himself together. Despite the fact that he was sore, he actually felt better rested. He no longer felt the near-delirium that came with sleep deprivation, when everything seemed to be moving a little faster than he was, when his eyes couldn't quite focus and his hands seemed to tremble of their own accord.

He didn't know how Sin did it, how he could go so long without food or sleep and still look so composed, so unaffected. It was a testament to how well-trained Sin actually was and Kassian couldn't deny that he felt envy regarding that fact. He couldn't deny that a part of him was jealous of Sin's power and speed, his resilience and strength of mind. Despite the fact that Sin had an extraordinary amount of mental problems and a phenomenally bad temper, his only vice seemed to be cigarettes while Kassian did his best to drown his minimal sorrows in alcohol every chance he got.

Kassian glanced over at Sin again, watching him idly as he finished the coffee and poured another cup.

It was ridiculous that he was mentally complimenting Sin after they'd just kicked the shit out of each other but Kassian found that he couldn't really be angry with Sin about it. If he were Sin, he probably would have reacted the same way. Having the love of his life's new sex life thrown in his face couldn't be easy.

"ETA five," Boyd's voice said in Kassian's ear abruptly.

Kassian grimaced as the sound made his head throb violently and he couldn't help wishing that the mission would end quickly so that he could go home and down a few drinks until the pain had dulled.

The door opened a few minutes later and Boyd stepped in, already unzipping his heavy jacket as his breath puffed out in a cloud. His pale skin was flushed with the cool temperature and his golden blond hair was mostly pulled back in a ponytail, although some of it fell forward to partially shade his face.

He shut the door behind him and stopped short once he saw the broken coffee table.

His gaze moved evenly between Kassian and Sin, taking in the bruises and somewhat ginger way Kassian was still holding himself, and although Boyd's eyes narrowed slightly, he didn't immediately comment. Instead, he pulled off his coat and tossed it on a chair before heading to the kitchen. His gaze did flicker briefly, questioningly, toward Kassian as he passed him, but Boyd didn't address the topic.

"Nothing unusual again," Boyd said calmly, as if he hadn't walked into the obvious aftereffects of a fight. He reached for a glass in the cupboard and poured himself some water before turning around so he could see the other two. "If the next shift yields the same, two of us should go inside tomorrow night. The quietest time so far seems to be around ten to eleven, which should give us plenty of time to explore. I didn't see anyone stay for overtime today."

Kassian nodded, grateful that Boyd hadn't started questioning them. The last thing he felt like dealing with was having to explain why exactly the fight had even started. He couldn't even decide when would be a good time to tell Boyd that Sin had overheard their brief tryst.

"Did the guards in the eastern wing strengthen when the last of the civilians departed?" Kassian asked, leaning against the counter. "That seemed to be what occurred last night."

"Yes, so it seems like a good candidate for further investigation." Boyd leaned against the island separating the kitchen from the main room, his eyes narrowed slightly in thought. "The only thing of note was an older black Volvo came by just after nine with four people inside but when it left there were only three. I didn't get a good look at them since the car went out of my sight but the passenger could have gone into the far entrance of the eastern wing."

Kassian rubbed the side of his head, forcing himself to ignore the throbbing pain as he tried to concentrate. "I'll keep an eye out for the visitor so I'll lurk in the east again. Just in case, I suggest both of you monitor the feed and focus on other locations. There's no point putting all of our eggs in one basket just yet."

He pushed himself away from the counter and set the coffee cup down, grabbing a few protein bars as he got ready to head out.

Boyd nodded in agreement. "Especially since the activity in the eastern wing could be a fluke or a decoy. I'm interested in the complete lack of activity in the south; I'm going to monitor that tonight as well."

"Good idea."

Kassian grabbed his jacket and a bottle of water and headed for the door. He glanced at Sin briefly and was unsurprised to see that Sin gave the appearance of not paying attention to the conversation at all.

"I'll check in soon," Kassian told no one in particular and left the cabin.

Continue to Flip Side: Part III