Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: Teaberry #29 - Over The Carnage Rose Prophetic A Voice; Blue Raspberry #13 - Imposter
Word Count: 1,852
Summary: Alex has returned to HQ... only he seems to be in a worse mood than usual. Far worse.
Notes: My first chapter from NaNoWriMo (yep, writing it using prompts for chapter headings and inspiration...) and one of the ones needing least amount of editing because I was trying to write it properly - until I ended up way behind, anyway. :p This comes after an event I've yet to write... *sigh*
“You’re back already, Alex?” He raised his eyebrows at the man stalking down the narrow corridor, shoulders hunched over and face like thunder. “Alone?”
Alex paused mid stride, fixing him with a look even more foul than normal. “What?”
“You didn’t find him, then?” He persisted, frowning. “Weird. I thought you said he’d got no chance of hiding from you.”
Alex’s expression descended into a scowl. “What the hell are you talking about?”
He tried to keep his expression neutral, but from the fire that flared in the black eyes fixed on his face he realised he hadn’t been wholly successful. “Uh...” Something was wrong. Alex was a dick, sure, and had stormed off in a temper that made all his previous outbursts look like minor sulks, but that look—one that screamed impending doom—set warning bells clanging in his head. And judging from the straightening of his back, the stiffening of his posture, the other man could hear them too. “You know what, just ignore me. I forgot, that was—”
He let out a yelp as he crashed into the wall, a forearm pressed so hard against his throat sparks started popping at the edges of his vision. “Tell. Me. Everything.” His face was so close he could feel every breath on his skin. It didn’t make up for the lack of his own. “And tell. Me. Now.”
“You already know!” He managed to gasp, clawing at the arm. The pressure lessened slightly but he was under no illusions that he had caused it: Alex had allowed him to breathe enough to speak, that was all. “You went to fetch him—”
“Who,” Alex leaned in more closely, until they were nose to nose and he thought he might pass out from the renewed pressure, “is ‘he’?”
He shook his head, the sparks full blown fireworks now, exploding against encroaching darkness. It was pretty; it was almost November, after all. He was getting his fireworks early. There were worse things to see before you died.
The floor crashing into him didn’t factor into his little firework display. Neither did the air rushing into his lungs in hoarse gasps. The fingers that laced into his hair and dragged him upwards again provided more sparks, this time of pain and far less attractive. “Come with me.” Alex grated from somewhere above him. “We’ve got a lot to talk about.”
The cacophony of filing cabinets rattling open and then slamming shut again caught his attention, loud even halfway down the hall that separated their offices. It didn’t stop as he approached; odd. Perhaps Milos, with his usual lack of grace, was looking for something— He caught himself and shook his head. Impossible, unless Alex had succeeded, and it was very unlike him to not come to announce his victory with his usual lack of grace. And judging from the mood the man had set out in, Milos would be lucky if he could even move when he was brought back...
He poked his head around the open door to find the dark haired man wrenching open another drawer, muttering under his breath as he started to skim through the hanging folders, fingers skipping over the neatly-written tabs clipped to the tops, face even more sour than it had been for the few days he’d spent conducting searches before he’d left to retrieve his errant partner. “Alex, you’re back?”
“What does it look like?” He snarled without looking up.
He took a deep breath. Just because it wasn’t often that he was outright objectionable to his superior didn’t mean he didn’t have his moments, or that his behaviour wasn’t appalling to everyone else; he’d thought he had become used to it. Apparently not. “Did you find him?”
For the first time the man raised his gaze, and he took an involuntary step back. It was quite normal that the only expressions that could be read in Alex’s dark eyes were bad tempered, but the venom in the stare he levelled at him was breathtaking. “Not yet. I will. I need to take care of something first.” He looked back down, then ripped a brown card folder from one of the hanging containers, the flash of black writing on a white letter label just visible long enough for him to read “Milos London” on it.
Struggling to keep his voice mild while a sudden uncertainty began to claw at his gut, he tried again. “Is there anything you’d like to talk to me about?”
Alex’s head snapped up again, eyes narrowing and a wide grin spreading across his face. “Yes, now you mention it.”
He stepped back again, wondering for the first time if keeping the door between them might have been a good idea. He’d only seen Alex smile like that a few times. The times they didn’t involve Milos getting hurt or embarrassed had not been times that reflected well on Alex Jaska’s character; the times they had were almost as bad. “Perhaps you’d like to schedule a meeting...” Was bolting for his office too indecorous? It was starting to look more and more like a great idea as Alex folded the card in half—sacrilege; he could still remember how loudly Alex had yelled at Milos when he’d done that, following it up with a slap around the back of the head that had the younger man yelping in pain—and began moving towards him, that unnerving grin still plastered across his face. “At some later time, of course, I’m sure you must be busy.” The words left his mouth in a tangled rush, almost falling over one another in their haste to halt his advance.
“Oh no, we can do it now.”
He took another two steps back, and another and another, each one matching the ones Alex was taking towards him, until the wall met his back. Groping one hand along the wall he realised he’d miscalculated: the door was further along, just grazing the tips of his fully outstretched fingers a full arm’s length away. And worse: in the time it had taken him to work this out, Alex was only a few strides in front of him and still moving. “Stop, now.”
“Why should I?” The first punch Alex flung went over his shoulder, crashing into the wall beside his head. “Why should I do anything you say?” The second went wide too, although by a smaller margin, as he ducked to the other side and almost straight into Alex’s waiting open palm.
“Because I told you to.” He grabbed for the outstretched wrist but it was yanked out of his reach before he could wrap his fingers around it. “I am your boss.”
“Fuck that,” came the casual response, and this time the fist buried itself in his stomach, winding him. “After everything?” The second swung for his head and again missed as he managed to jerk his head to one side. Wind whistled past his ear. “Everything you’ve done to me?”
Mouthing off was distracting him. He didn’t seem to notice the hands wrapping around the wrist still at stomach level until it was pulled to one side and around, twisting painfully in the wrong direction. “I trained with you, remember?” But it had been years ago and he’d been lax at keeping up with it; Mike had told him it would come back to bite him. And now he was proving the irritating old goat right.
Alex twisted free with only a little difficulty, a vivid red ring around the joint. “You really are stupider than I remembered.” The flat of one hand flashed out of nowhere and clipped him around the head, momentarily stunning him; the other, bunched into a fist, caught him square in the face.
He staggered sideways, blood pouring down his lip and over his chin. “Jesus Christ, Alex! Snap out of it!”
The other man flicked his hand, loosening the tension, then balled it up and again drove it into his face. He felt his nose crack and a fresh gout of blood run over his mouth. “You ruined my life, why should I listen to you?” Again. “You’ve ruined everyone’s lives here.” And again. “You should have killed us.”
He slid down the wall, the hallway spinning and distorting. Alex’s legs were little more than a blur, even when one flashed out and caught him across the side, knocking him sprawling to the tiles. He wanted to speak, ask what had brought this on. Words didn’t want to form. They weren’t even willing to turn up in his brain, like the repeated impacts had sent them scurrying and jumbled his thoughts into an incoherent scattering of letters.
“I’m sick of this. I’m sick of you all.” The foot hit him one more time then settled beside its partner just within his rapidly shrinking frame of vision. “You broke me and he caused it. And you’ll all fucking pay.” He crouched down, one arm resting across his knee, the hand dangling lazily. In the other was a flash of silver. “I’ll give you the mercy you never gave me.” The hand moved, too fast for him to track, and suddenly heat was spreading over his collar, down, dripping onto the floor like someone had left the tap on. Had someone left the tap on? He tried to ask but the words had turned into cotton wool and bounced and rolled away. “You should be glad.”
He could hear the footsteps heading down the hall, although by now the world had turned as black as the shoes causing them; as black as the eyes that had stared at him, full of fire and fury. He could hear whistling too, jaunty; off key. Why did it have to be off key, when it was the last thing he was going to hear?
A breath gurgled out of him. Alex could have just told him he wasn’t happy...
The dark haired man sat in the chair in the middle of the office, his feet resting easily on the desk, spinning the knife in his fingers. Really no one had stood a chance, and that was just how he liked it. They’d never suspected, greeting him with raised hands and wary smiles, not even when people started dropping around them, surrounded by his laughter.
Oh there’d be retribution. He was banking on it. He’d called it out as they’d fallen; he called it out now, addressing the security cameras he knew were pointing at him: “Send anyone. Send who you like. I will wipe you all out, one way or the other. You’ll suffer! He’ll suffer! I’ll make sure of it.”
The only answer was the soft sound of bloody, rattling breaths from someone who was determined enough to cling to life.
He let the smirk spread across his lips again, pausing with the rhythmic rotation of the blade long enough to finger the bloody edge. They’d come for him. They’d track him down, no matter where he went, and they’d think that knowledge would scare him.
In fact, he was looking forward to it.