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


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Medley - Part II

Interlude 3.25

Uploaded on 03/17/2010

A row of glass doors gave access to Windrift International's corporate headquarters. Two sets of revolving doors were flanked by regular doors, with polished silver bar handles and silent hinges. Despite the number of entrances, no one could walk in without immediately being funneled into a security checkpoint, with detectors and security guards standing to the side scrutinizing every move.

The men and women who entered the establishment were well-dressed, with finely chosen articles of clothing that were tailor made. When Boyd had gone to the Civvie Squad to get a suit, Kana had almost tried to give him the suit he hadn't worn at a similarly high-end mission months ago with Emma when they'd infiltrated what amounted to a secret society of wealthy and influential individuals. Luckily, Cynthia had stopped her.

He'd ended up with an Italian three-piece suit, deep charcoal grey with pinstripes and a crisp white shirt beneath, his tie black and skinny. His hair was held back in a low ponytail, with the front pieces falling forward to frame his face. They used some sort of hair product that made his hair look perfectly done without losing the masculine touch. His black shoes shone as he walked confidently into the building, a briefcase at his side like many of the other men. The silver watch on his wrist was inordinately expensive as was his leather, brand-name briefcase.

He hadn't seen Jon since they parked, which was unsurprising. Jon and he were entering separately on purpose, to minimize the risk to the mission. Boyd had entered first, to stake out the building and ensure nothing was amiss, while Jon watched discreetly from afar. If Boyd didn't give a signal, Jon was to enter a few minutes behind him. That way, if Boyd ended up being caught he would simply serve as distraction for Jon, who was the one needed for extracting the heavily-encrypted files.

No one paid Boyd any attention as he entered the line to go through the security. Two women ahead of him chatted about what to do for an upcoming deadline and behind him a man was in an irritated conversation with someone on the phone. Boyd couldn't tell what it was about since the man's responses tended toward clipped, one word answers.

Boyd subtly flashed his expensive watch as he checked it. He looked around with a briskly impatient set to his features as the line slowly inched forward. In the process, he took a moment to look around for anything out of the ordinary.

Windrift International was one of those companies which made it impossible from the outside to say what exactly it did. Their PR touted phrases like 'global strategy' and 'operationalizing change' and the informational brochure Boyd had seen of the company was, despite key phrases and specific verbage, vague at best. He was accustomed to having some sort of background on a mission; to knowing what specifically they were doing and why, even if the reason they were given was likely to have some sort of propaganda instilled.

In this case, however, he had no idea. He and Jon had been called to the Marshal's office to be informed that they would go undercover into this building, find their way to John Karr's office, copy some heavily encrypted files off the harddrive without leaving a trace that they had done so, and leave with no one the wiser. There were to be no gun fights, no confrontation, no explosives. It was a quiet operation that was as confidential as any Level 10 mission, and they were under strict orders not to raise anyone's suspicions. She had explained that they were chosen because they were the best undercover operatives of their classification level.

The two women ahead of them cleared security and it was finally his turn. The security guard eyed him suspiciously but it was no more than he had done to everyone before him. It was interesting to Boyd that the security guards here actually seemed to be paying more attention than he'd seen in other buildings. Between that and this clandestine operation, it made him wonder what exactly Windrift International was hiding.

"Show me your ID," the guard said, holding his hand out. Boyd held out the fake identification card he'd received from the Agency. The guard's eyes narrowed as he looked along it, noting all the features that were meant to authenticate it, and then held it up to look between the picture and Boyd's bland face. The name on the card was Nathan Aaronson, and after a long moment the guard nodded and handed the ID back.

"Please proceed, Mr. Aaronson."

Boyd walked forward with the absent yet slightly impatient movements of someone going through a routine. He set his briefcase on the revolving belt and walked through the detector. It was specially designed to analyze the body through bioscanning technology as well as not react to the typical accessories like metal in a belt buckle or shoe sole. The detector, he suspected, would alert to more than simply metal; no doubt it would also detect explosives or other common weapons as well. He and Jon had been unable to bring any weapons, after all.

The detector stayed silent and the briefcase, filled only with fake papers, went through without trouble. By the time Boyd picked up the briefcase, the security guard had already turned his attention to the next person.

Boyd strode across the nearly echoing chamber that served as the foyer. It was wide open, with a ceiling that had to be at least thirty feet high due to several stories of what amounted to balconies looking below. In the center of that vast open space was some sort of glass art fixture suspended from the ceiling. When Boyd looked up at it as he passed underneath, it looked like it could have been blown glass but it was hard to tell, as the intricate installment hung a good fifteen feet off the ground floor.

There was a main desk that he walked by without a second glance. He didn't know the specific layout of the building but he wasn't about to belie that fact. When he passed the directory he gave it only a cursory glance. Although he didn't notice Karr's name listed in the brief view, he saw the consultation services department where he allegedly worked.

From there, it was a simple matter of waiting with the crowd at the elevators and getting off at the tenth floor. He didn't know which direction to go once he got off the elevator but he strode right as if he did. The information they'd received from the informant stated that John Karr was typically out of his office at this time of day on an extended lunch break. However, they weren't positive that would be the case.

In addition, he knew that Karr had a receptionist who worked in the main room, with Karr's office around a disconnected wall behind her desk. He was aware that she was overly conscientious and had worked with Karr for five years, which would make it more difficult for Jon to pass by undetected.

As a result, Boyd was to serve as a distraction.

He paused long enough to pull a folder out of his briefcase before striding confidently down the hallway. He made it appear as though his attention was solely on the papers but as he approached the the main part of Karr's office he checked in his peripheral vision to ensure no one else was in there. The only person who he could see inside was the receptionist.

He strode into the main room without looking up.

There was the sound of a chair rolling across the floor and a woman's sharp, "Stop right there."

He ignored her, pretending he hadn't heard her. The way she responded would tell him how much effort he had to put into this.

More than he'd initially thought, it seemed.

With a grip he wouldn't have expected from a woman her size, she jerked him to a stop. "No one is allowed back there without an appointment," she said coolly, and he finally looked over at her.

It was difficult to guess her true age at a glance. If he had to guess, he would say forties to possibly early fifties, trying to come off as thirties.

Her eyes were lost between hazel and brown and her hair was long, wavy, and a deep brown with auburn highlights. Her dark grey skirt suit fit her well, revealing glimpses of a curvy, large-busted woman with shapely legs. The three-quarter-length jacket showcased the silky white blouse with a colorful design beneath that showed off a hint of cleavage. Her high heels were a lacquered burgundy color with a peep toe.

Her full lips were currently tightened and her eyes narrowed. He didn't see even a single wrinkle on her face. Her makeup was tasteful but a little on the thick side, especially accentuating her eyes.

He had to wonder how much of her appearance and body was due to cosmetic surgery.

Knowing that he was going to have to talk to her for awhile in order to distract her, he made sure to put in a slight pause when he first looked at her. A quick, appreciative once-over of her that he made seem like second nature; like he just couldn't help taking in how attractive she was. It was there and gone within the space of seconds and although she didn't react to it, he knew she would have noticed.

"I just need to see John," he said, smoothly slipping the folder and envelope under his free arm without dropping his briefcase.

"Your name?" she stated, unmoved by his excuse.

"Nathan Aaronson," he replied, watching her evenly. He held up his ID where she could look down and scrutinize it with narrowed eyes. "PR."

There was a long moment in which he wondered whether she saw something the Agency had done wrong when replicating the ID style; she was scrutinizing it more than even the guard downstairs. But then she met his eyes again and he knew she thought it was legit.

"What reason does PR have to be in Consultation Services?" Her hand remained on his arm.

He raised an eyebrow, giving her a look as if he were reassessing her intelligence. "You can't be serious? You must know in our line of work that sometimes certain clients have," he paused, "red flags. It's in all our best interest to mitigate any issues before it becomes a nightmare for my office and an embarrassment for yours."

Her eyes narrowed further until she flicked her gaze toward the entrance on the side of the room, where Karr's office was hidden by the disconnected wall. She seemed to be debating something until she nodded curtly and tugged him in the direction of the desk. She didn't hold his arm the entire way and although her eyes weren't on him, he knew she was watching him like a hawk in her peripheral vision.

He glanced at his watch with a displeased frown and set his briefcase and paperwork on the desk a little harsher than he needed to. She rolled her chair back in front of the desk and sat down, expression all business and curtness as she turned her attention to the computer screen. From his angle, he couldn't see what was on it.

"Do you have your calendar available?" she asked tersely. "I can schedule an appointment for you."

He let out an exasperated puff of breath and leaned against the side of the desk. "Is this really necessary?" he asked pointedly. "It'll take five minutes. I just need to see the man--"

"You will see nothing but the back of that door if you don't follow the rules in this office," she said shortly, turning hard eyes up to meet his.

He could see the strength and stubbornness in her gaze and he reflected that she probably would have made a good agent. He wondered whether she knew exactly what it was that Karr was into that had gotten the Agency's attention, or whether she was simply that loyal and discreet of an employee.

He raised his eyebrows and leaned back a little, an unspoken agreement to back off. "Alright," he relented, glancing quickly at the little name plate on the side of the desk, "Eva. I apologize if I came off as too forthright. Deadlines, you know."

Eva stared at him closely for a long moment, studying him as if looking for anything to imply he was simply placating her. When she didn't find it, she nodded and there was a subtle relaxation of her shoulders. She turned her attention to the computer screen again. "Understandable but it isn't Mr. Karr's problem if you didn't have the foresight to schedule this ahead of time."

"I wish it were that easy," he grumbled and leaned one arm against the desk. "It's not even my problem. Abbey dumped this on me just this week."

She didn't rise to the bait. "I can get you in at 3:15 next Tuesday."

He grimaced and ran a hand through his hair. Her eyes flicked up to him almost of their own accord, and it was the first time he was able to see through her tough exterior that she did think he was attractive. Her gaze focused on the breadth of his shoulders beneath the tailored jacket before flicking down briefly to take in the rest of his build. Her eyebrow rose minutely but her face gave away nothing more.

She looked at the computer again and seemed ready to ignore or deny her brief lapse but he latched onto it, wanting to find a way to wheedle away at her attention.

"Eva," he said more quietly, putting a subtle sense of entreaty into his tone.

She seemed the type that would like someone who had some spirit but who also would let her be the boss. He was hoping that tone would get her attention and he was rewarded with her hazel-brown eyes turning up to meet his.

"I hate to ask this," he said, his eyes narrowing as a pained expression crossed his face. "But I really don't have a choice. You heard of the layoffs in PR?"

She didn't look away, her lips pursing slightly. "No."

A slight, wan smile crossed his face and she very briefly flicked her gaze to his lips before she seemed to catch herself and returned to his eyes with a subtly hardened expression.

"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised," he mused. "PR at its finest. Not even letting the rumors make it to the rest of the building..."

"What rumors?" she asked, seemingly despite herself. For a moment she looked slightly annoyed, her eyes narrowing faintly and mouth tightening. He didn't let her get too far along the thought that he suspected she was having: that she should just tell him to shut up and go away.

"We had a scandal a few weeks back," he explained in a neutral tone, glancing around discreetly as if to make sure no one was within hearing distance. It was unnecessary since they were alone in the office and the open door to the hallway was too far away for even normal speaking voices to carry.

"You won't get anyone to say it since it was a pretty big deal and Janice isn't in the habit of admitting defeat." He casually named the head of Public Relations that he'd seen listed downstairs.

Eva quirked an unimpressed eyebrow. "Then why are you telling me?"

"Because it's pertinent," he said grudgingly.

He rested one arm on the desk and leaned closer until their faces were only a couple of inches apart. Pursing his lips slightly, he raised an eyebrow and began speaking quietly enough to give reason for the sudden proximity. "It was a simple mistake that compounded."

Judging by the way her eyes magnetized to his face despite her best efforts to find something to do on the desk to take them away, it didn't seem as though she would have minded if he had continued speaking at normal speaking level. Regardless, he didn't want to make himself entirely obvious just yet in case the level of her attraction wasn't strong enough to go beyond simply admiring the view of the young attractive man who was currently focused entirely on her.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the slightest hint of movement as Jon went by. Boyd had arranged himself at the desk so Eva was more angled away from the door, her head tilted so that she shouldn't have been capable of seeing the movement even in her peripheral vision.

Her body didn't so much as twitch when Jon passed across the room and he knew she was too engrossed in him to have noticed anything else. He felt a brief sense of relief but knew it wasn't over yet. Now he had to keep stalling her until Jon was done.

Boyd started spinning his tale and speaking lowly. He leaned closer as his gaze captured hers. "It shouldn't have happened. We lost two of our best people and one of our worst to the aftermath and everyone else has had to take up the slack. I'm one step away from a promotion but I got saddled with the majority of their projects."

Boyd gave her a significant look, not missing the opportunity to once again allow his eyes to move about her face in a manner that wasn't entirely necessary but implied interest in what he saw. "One of them was something our worst employee should have taken care of long ago and is now about to erupt in a second scandal. If I don't take care of it this week, ideally by tomorrow afternoon, I can kiss my career goodbye."

Boyd composed his features to look as though he were waiting for condemnation about the state of his career in the face of a woman who obviously had her own together.

Eva finally tore her gaze away from him and shifted in her chair. She raised one manicured hand and brushed hair away from her face, simultaneously adjusting the collar of her blouse with her other hand. Only after she had seemingly composed herself, she looked at him again.

"Even so, that doesn't affect Mr. Karr's schedule." Her voice wasn't quite as firm as it had been before but she still didn't seem convinced.

"Come on, Eva," he said in a cajoling way, leaning closer. When she didn't immediately reply, he raised his eyebrows and extended a finger, touching it beneath her chin.

Eva's eyes narrowed and for a moment Boyd wondered if he'd moved to physical contact too soon. It was a risky move and one that would likely get him kicked out of the office if she considered it condescending. But when she merely quirked a challenging eyebrow without moving away from his touch, he allowed his mouth to twist up into a smile.

"I could always repay you for your kindness. Although I suppose my idea of repayment would suit my interests as well."

There was a long pause and this time Eva's eyes took him in more obviously. She didn't try to hide the examination of his physical features and she did it in a way that was nearly businesslike. He wondered if she were weighing the pros and cons of the situation; an opportunity to pursue an attractive man over two decades her junior or missing the chance of that over a favor that likely wouldn't cost her much in the long run.

"What did you have in mind?" she asked finally, focusing fully on his eyes once again.

He smiled and this time he allowed it to become overtly flirtatious. "Dinner, if you're interested. L'Atelier Rouge. Friday night at seven."

He watched her consider that. The way he'd rattled off the name of one of the most expensive restaurants in the city without hesitation should show her how serious he was. And how much money he had. If she was the type that liked to have a little money with her fun, he wanted to make sure he was offering it to her as extra incentive.

"And if I'm not?" she murmured, watching him with a different sort of scrutiny. Now it was more like a hunter honing in on her prey.

"We could always skip dinner," he said smoothly, letting his eyes speak volumes.

She smiled finally, and it was a sharp, predatory look. She casually slid her hand forward, her fingernails dragging lightly across the back of his fingers. He dropped his gaze to watch and then looked up, making sure to take in her cleavage before meeting her eyes again.

"And how do I know I can trust you?" It was a challenge and an invitation all at once.

He put all his seductive charm into the expression that crossed his face. "What would you like me to do to prove it?" He felt rather pleased with himself when her fingers twitched against his skin, her breath quickening subtly.

There was a brief moment where he wondered if his question had been poorly worded. How could he really prove it, anyway? But then she seemed to shake herself and shifted in the chair once again.

"Where can I reach you?" she asked finally.

Boyd leaned forward without hesitation, reaching for a pen and pad of paper that was near her keyboard. He let his fingers trail across her hand as he reached out and she shifted so the back of his hand brushed the side of her breast as he pulled the paper and pen nearer to him.

His gaze lingered on her before it dropped to the paper in front of him. He wrote a phone number the Agency provided for covers. He rarely used those sort of options but it was a precaution on any undercover mission involving a cover story and it would help cement his identity if she called and got the voice mail proclaiming him to be Nathan Aaronson. Eventually, in a few weeks or months, the number would come up as disconnected or would switch to a different name in a different voice, making it seem like the phone number had switched to a new person entirely.

He took his time writing the phone number and his name, trying to draw this out as long as possible, although he didn't make it obvious he was stalling. When he was finished he looked up and saw that her attention had zeroed in on him completely. It was possible it was due to her attraction to him but it was also likely that she was watching him for signs of deception.

He grinned at her slightly, one that he knew would look just a bit arrogant but mostly confident. It was a smile that reeled people in if done the right way. A smile that contained unspoken promises without appearing overly aggressive. It was the kind of smile Emilio used on women all the time and Boyd hoped he was mirroring it properly.

So far his valentine assignments had dealt with men. The only flirting with women he'd ever had to deal with had been side conversations on normal missions. This was his first time having to specifically focus on a woman as his assignment. Seducing a man was a lot more straightforward than a woman and stealing a few moves from Emilio's repertoire seemed like a good idea.

Judging by the fire in her eyes, it had worked.

He folded the paper into a small square without looking down and moved to the side of the desk. He didn't break eye contact with her the whole while, wanting her to continue to forget the rest of the world around them.

Boyd leaned forward and, still watching her eyes, slid his hand along the edge of her ribs and down. It was a touch that he hoped would leave a tingling wake along her skin despite the fact there was clothing between his hand and her body. At least, that was how he imagined he would feel if Sin touched him like that.

He moved his hand down until he could slip the paper into the pocket in her jacket.

Eva's legs seemed to unconsciously shift apart further than they were. Her skirt was tight across her thighs and ended at her knees. At a different angle, he would have easily been able to see what underwear she was wearing today. Somehow, he imagined something black and lacy.

He let his hand linger for a moment before he pulled away, but not without running his fingers against her ribs again, followed by casually brushing his fingertips along her thigh on his way to bracing his hand on the edge of the desk. Her lips parted briefly, eyes narrowing on him. For a moment, he thought she was going to yank him down into a heated kiss.

But then the moment passed and he leaned away briefly. When he spoke, it was low and husky. "Is there anything else I can do for you, Eva?"

He was was greatly relieved to see Jon slipping out again from the corner of his eye. The man's hacking abilities were brilliant and at the moment, Boyd was more than a little thankful for how fast he worked. Boyd had no real idea what else he could do for the woman out in the open.

The relief faded quickly as Eva seemed to sense something. Her eyebrows furrowed and she started to turn her head in the direction of the door. Jon wasn't quite out of the room yet and the whole mission would be ruined if she saw him.

Boyd reached out without thinking, running his hand down the side of her face and effectively stealing all her attention again. Her eyes snapped to him and she leaned against the touch as he slid his fingers into her hair, his palm warm against her cheek.

All recollection of whatever she had sensed seemed to vanish and this time Eva reached up and slid her hand slowly down the length of his hand. She wrapped her fingers around his wrist and guided it away from her face but there was no denying the steadily building desire in her expression. She wanted him, all right. But it would happen on her terms.

He brought his hand up to his hair and ran his fingers through it, making the motion look slightly nervous and abashed. He ensured that his body language was apologetic, making it seem as though he'd simply gotten caught in the moment.

She didn't speak at first and looked back at her computer. The realization of where they were seemed to have resonated through her mind because she glanced around briefly as if ensuring that they were still alone.

When she didn't see anyone, she returned her attention to Boyd as he walked to the other side of the desk, stealing glances at her as he started to open his briefcase. Meanwhile, she was busying herself with straightening her jacket and smoothing her hands over her skirt.

He felt bad for a moment, imagining her waiting for him at L'Atelier Rouge and getting stood up, or calling his phone number repeatedly, wondering why he wouldn't pick up or return her messages. He didn't like the idea of leading someone on, yet it had been necessary for the job.

She was an attractive enough woman that if he hadn't been gay, he may have been intrigued by her. But as it was, there was no chance. Then again, he suspected she didn't have trouble finding dates when she wanted them. For all that it would probably irritate or upset her when she never saw him again, he doubted she would let it bother her for long. She seemed too tough to get hung up on a guy she knew for ten minutes.

He didn't let any of that make its way to his expression, being sure to keep up appearances as he left out the manila envelope but slid the folder into his briefcase and clicked the locks shut. She couldn't seem to stop watching him despite the few times he saw her try to drag her gaze away to focus on the computer screen.

At length, she cleared her throat and said more professionally, "He has no time for an earlier appointment. But if you leave the information with me I'll see to it that he receives it."

He gave her a full smile, with a mixture of relief and gratefulness. "That would be wonderful, Eva. Thank you."

He picked up the sealed manila envelope, with a sticker on the lip marking it as confidential. Inside was forged information about a fake company the Agency had recently had contact Windrift International as a possible client. The information warned against accepting the company's contract, based on evidence that was all fabricated. It would appear legit and since there was little doubt John Karr would deny the client's request, the Agency's involvement in any of this would never be discovered.

"For Mr. Karr's eyes only," he murmured, leaning forward as he slid the manila envelope over to her. Her lips twitched as she accepted the package.

"Of course," she replied smoothly.

He ran his gaze along her face and dipped briefly down to her chest again before he dragged his eyes away as if it took effort. He stood up straight and cleared his throat quietly. She had turned to the computer screen but there was a knowing look on her face and something smug in the lifting of the edges of her lips. She subtly shifted so her cleavage was more visible to him.

He straightened his suit coat and took a moment to compose himself, running a hand absently through his hair again. He could feel her watching him from the corner of her eye so he made sure he lingered his gaze on her as if he wanted to take her in while she wasn't looking. Her smile increased in satisfaction just a hint.

"I have to get back," he said by way of apology and she nodded, then paused to glance around the room once more before meeting his eyes.

"If you're playing me, I'll track you down and make you regret it," she warned. He could see in her narrowed eyes that she was serious. She probably figured she'd find him within the company; it would make her job much more difficult to find him elsewhere.

After a point, he doubted she would bother to look for him at all; especially after she found the fake termination file Jon was supposed to be setting for him. It was a precaution; the Marshal didn't want anyone realizing later that someone who hadn't existed had been here. A fake notation of him being fired would help explain his absence.

And if she went to the Public Relations department asking about him, the size of the company would work in his favor since it was highly unlikely everyone was memorable within the system. Even if she recounted his tale to Janice, if Janice denied it then it would reinforce his comment that as the head of PR she didn't want any embarrassing information to be revealed. It was a neat little package of lies that he was fairly pleased with, considering he'd improvised part of it.

"I would expect nothing less from you," he said smoothly with a smile. She watched him but didn't reply and after a moment he left before either of them had to say anything else.

He walked calmly through the building, navigating his way easily down to the main entrance. No one looked at him twice along the way and he left Windrift International without incident. It didn't take him long to arrive at the meeting place around the corner two blocks away.

A sleek black car was waiting for him, with Jon already situated in the driver's seat.

"How did it go?" Boyd asked Jon as he got in.

"Very tricky," Jon said mildly, guiding the vehicle into traffic. He drove with one hand and idly tugged at the tie he was wearing. "They had more booby traps set up than I think is decent."

Boyd was tempted to ask how much constituted 'decent' but decided against it. "I suppose that falls in line with the little bit of information we received on this," he said instead, putting the briefcase on the floor. He belatedly put on his seat belt. "Did you see what the file contained?"

"No. I was told not to even open it."

Boyd nodded, unsurprised. "I'm still curious what the mission was about but we'll likely never know. I didn't see anything around Eva's desk that gave any clues."

Jon gave him a sideways look. "What were you saying to her, anyway? She looked quite flustered."

A ghost of a smile passed Boyd's lips. "Let's just say she wouldn't suspect I'm gay."

A low chuckle escaped Jon's mouth and he guided the car through the traffic, weaving between lanes without using his blinker and likely irritating the other drivers on the road. Despite that, he wasn't driving particularly fast. It seemed that he simply didn't want obstacles in his way.

"Well, you did a good job of it. I thought she was all hard as nails and what not. Turns out she was just a regular old cougar."

"Sometimes looking young is more convenient than other times." Boyd leaned back in the seat and idly looked out the window. "She probably won't be happy when I don't show up at dinner like I said I would."

Jon cut off a nearby motorist and glided towards their exit. "At least she has fantasy material when wanking from now on, though. She had a regular GQ model type hanging on her for a good ten minutes."

Lips quirking up on the edges, Boyd glanced over. "When you put it that way I just made that woman's week."

The other man gave a discreet smirk and nodded. "That was likely the most interesting bit in the whole mission. Goddamn waste of my time, honestly. As clever as it all was, I was hoping it'd have been a bit trickier to make it worth the trip. Any level 10 hacker worth their salt could have handled that but I suppose I'm the only one they've got."

"I know what you mean," Boyd agreed, shifting in his seat and trying to stretch one leg out. His foot was caught beneath the briefcase, though, and he didn't bother to move it. "Despite the fact that we were thrown into it with little information, that may have been the shortest, smoothest, and least interesting mission I've been on yet. Walking out of there, I half expected something to suddenly go awry simply to fall in line with my luck."

"Damn waste of time," Jon murmured again. "I had plans with my lady this afternoon and everything."

"What were you planning?" Boyd asked curiously.

"I'd wanted to get laid, quite honestly," Jon said in a completely unapologetic tone. "But after having to ditch her to go check on the Beaulieu homestead and not having even been able to contact her regarding that assignment, well..."

"It's still fairly early in the day," Boyd said easily. "There's probably still time."

"She likes afternoon sex," Jon said solemnly. "After her daily workout. She's most vigorous then."

"Ah," Boyd said knowingly. He could sympathize with that since he tended to get most invigorated after working out or missions as well. "Maybe you'll have better luck tomorrow."

Jon opened his mouth to comment, ignoring yet another driver who was honking and flipping him off, when his cell phone rang. The other man grimaced and used one hand to pat his pockets. He extracted a phone that was small and silver, different from the one he'd used earlier when Vivienne had called. Unsurprisingly he had one for his own personal use; most agents did.

He glanced at the screen and his expression went from its typical calm to downright cheery. "Hello, vision of loveliness," he said into the phone, winking at Boyd.

A faint smirk crossed Boyd's lips and he idly looked out the window at the passing traffic. He didn't have to ask who was on the other line.

"Of course, you're right. I am the most thoughtless git in the history of all things unholy and terrible. But I do in fact have a defense and a piece of evidence sitting to my right who can vouch for my innocence in the matter," Jon replied to whatever accusation Harriet was likely making. He seemed a lot more talkative ever since the two of them had become involved.

Boyd couldn't even hear a murmur of Harriet's low pitched voice on the other end but whatever she said caused Jon to tsk.

"Doubting me, are you? Well I'll have you know that Boyd and I were sent on a very daring pilfer mission that required me to slither into a den of evil quite unseen while he, the nasty bastard that he is, practically humped some old broad out in the open. Quite sick he is, but we likely would have died if he hadn't."

Boyd couldn't help an amused grin at the exaggeration. He returned his attention to Jon, wondering if the story was going to end there or if Jon was going to add more. Maybe he'd get in them rappelling down the side of a building, too.

There was silence for a moment before, out of nowhere, Jon did an abrupt U-turn in the middle of the street. He swerved around the traffic without blinking.

"See you soon," Jon said into the phone and hung up. He cast another look at Boyd. "Her car is dead and she's been waiting on me to pick her up."

Boyd nodded in understanding and bent one knee as the briefcase started to feel uncomfortable against his foot. "Does she know what's wrong with it?"

"Nah. I told her I'd have a look tonight." Jon paused as if a thought occurred to him. "You don't mind me picking her up now, do you? If so I can drop you first."

"I'm in no hurry," Boyd replied idly. "I don't have any plans after turning in a report."

The other agent nodded and turned down a side street off the main road. He appeared to be heading into the Industrial District. The scenery of the reconstructed downtown area quickly morphed into hulls of old factories and plants. They passed the waterfront and the ship graveyard that loomed there.

After the initial conversation, Jon seemed to have lapsed back into his customary silence. Despite that his expression was not stoic; he just appeared calm. He was definitely a man who could appreciate comfortable silences. It seemed that he saved most of his chit-chat for Harriet unless he actually had something specific he wanted to discuss with anyone else.

They drove for another few moments before Jon pulled around to a nondescript building that was huddled between two mammoth-sized factories that appeared to have been deserted for a long time.

Harriet was standing by the curb, appearing unconcerned about the sketchy neighborhood she was in. She was zipping up a fitted army green jacket as they pulled up, not even looking at them directly from under the brim of her matching cap.

"Sorry," Jon said as she climbed into the back seat.

Harriet scoffed at him and nodded a greeting at Boyd.

"Hi Harriet," Boyd greeted, looking over his shoulder at her. "Were you waiting long?"

She shrugged. "Yes, but it doesn't matter if you were on assignment."

Boyd nodded and turned back toward the front of the car to avoid getting a crick from craning his neck. "In Jon's defense, Kassian and I accidentally triggered the alarm on my new security system so Jon was called out to check on me. While there, we suddenly got word that we had a mission."

"So, you still spend time together," she observed.

"Yes," Boyd said, glancing in the rear view mirror at her. "Although we hadn't seen each other in awhile."

She nodded, not appearing particularly surprised by the information but her expression didn't give away what she was thinking or why she'd commented on it. "How was the mission, without Logan's theatrics?"

"It was fine," Boyd replied with a shrug. "We had to get unknown information for unknown reasons for the Marshal. Jon took care of downloading the encrypted files and I distracted the receptionist."

Harriet looked out the window, not appearing very surprised that Jon had fabricated his version of events. Jon just smirked in the driver's seat.

"Do you want me to drop you off home?" he inquired. "Boyd and I have got to do our reporting to the Marshal."

"Might as well, since I missed my training session with Lorna." Harriet hesitated briefly before raising her eyebrows at Jon. "Are you coming over after? I hope you're not planning to leave me alone with everyone after you partially encouraged this affair."

"I wouldn't dream of it," Jon replied although he didn't appear too enthused about whatever she was talking about.

Boyd quirked an eyebrow, intrigued by their reactions. "What horror do you have planned tonight?"

"I saw Emma recently and she encouraged me to have a dinner party type affair," Harriet said darkly, her eyebrows drawing down at the notion. "For some reason I agreed. She, Pat and Blair will be there."

"I'm impressed that she managed to talk you into that." Boyd looked over his shoulder at Harriet. "She even got you to do it at your place?"

"Unfortunately." She looked at him. "You're welcome to come if you like. Agent Vega too."

"Hmm." Boyd considered that; initially he'd planned to spend the day with Kassian but after everything that had happened, he didn't anticipate them getting together again. "What time?"

"You could show up around eight or nine," Harriet replied. Surprisingly, she actually appeared pleased that he'd agreed to it. "Do you think Sin will come?"

"I don't know," Boyd said honestly. What a change that she seemed pleased at the prospect; when they'd first met, she'd all but hated him. "I'll ask."

"Well, let me know."

Boyd nodded assent and they fell back into silence. The Agency soon loomed before them and it wasn't long before they parted at the car, Harriet heading in one direction while Boyd and Jon went to write their reports and turn in the information. Given the short mission, it was no wonder that it didn't take too long before he was finished with everything. He checked his watch and saw that it was just past 2 pm.

As he walked down the main stairs of the Tower, he called Sin.


"What are you doing tonight?" Boyd asked without preamble. He almost plugged his other ear to tune out the chatter of the crowd moving around him in the main foyer of the Tower.

"Nothing to write home about. If I had a home, that is."

Boyd smiled to himself mostly about the reminder of 'home' and in turn thinking of them getting a place together sometime in the future. He evaded two guards who were moving quickly in the other direction. They looked intent but since there were other guards standing around in the area and there didn't seem to be any sort of crisis occurring, he ultimately ignored them.

"Harriet invited us to a dinner party at her place tonight. I'm thinking of going."


"And I'm wondering if you want to come with me," Boyd said patiently, although there was faint amusement in his tone. "I got the impression that Harriet would like it if you came."

Silence. Then a doubtful, "And who else is going to be attending this dinner party?"

"Jon, Patrick, Emma and Blair," Boyd listed as he walked through the double front doors of the Tower and headed into the courtyard.

"That sounds terrible."


"Because I don't particularly like Patrick, Emma or Blair."

"I don't think it'll be that bad," Boyd said reasonably. "Patrick's quiet, Blair can be too, and Emma's usually good about reading a situation and knowing when to lay off a subject. If you don't mind Harriet or Jon, you may enjoy it. You could always leave early if you didn't."

"I already said I didn't like them," Sin replied blandly. "But if you want me to go, I will."

Boyd took a moment to seriously consider his answer.

He could easily go on his own and it wouldn't matter that much. At the same time, since he and Sin were a couple now this sort of thing was bound to happen once in awhile. He liked the idea of avoiding polarized social circles, with he and Sin almost alone in one, and the majority of the other people Boyd knew in another. Still, he knew how little Sin liked these sorts of functions or dealing with other people, especially when it wasn't necessary.

"I'd like it if you did," Boyd said honestly. "But if you think you'll be miserable during it then I can go alone."

"If I get too annoyed, I'll just leave."

A brief, pleased smile crossed Boyd's face and he slowed as he approached his car in the parking lot. "Okay. She said we can come by around eight or nine. I can stop by later if you want."

"That's fine. See you then."

Continue to the next interlude: 3.25, Medley Part III