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Teaberry #17; Blueberry Yoghurt #15

Author: Regret
Rating: 15
Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: Teaberry #17 - The Secret Wound Still Lives Within The Breast; Blueberry Yoghurt #15 - Just Out Of Reach
Word Count: 2,502
Summary: Milos thinks he's gotten away. There's always someone who's willing to prove him wrong, however.
Notes: Chapter 2 of NaNo. And the last one before I need to start serious rewriting... *sigh*


Milos drew his knees up to his chest and rested his chin on them, watching the rain fall in a semicircle around him. The tree’s canopy offered better protection than he’d expected as he fled here to escape the sudden downpour: only the occasional drop broke through to plip against his head and dampen a patch on the ridiculous woollen hat he’d bought in sheer desperation earlier that day. It might keep his ears warm, but it did a bloody terrible job of making him less conspicuous.

It wasn’t even helping. A couple walked past, huddled together beneath their umbrella and staring at him with every step they took. Either they’d never seen someone try to keep dry in a park, or they were just gawping. Either reason grated over his nerves and twisted his stomach; he raised his chin and stared at them until they had the grace to look away. It wouldn’t stop them in the future, he was sure of it, but they stopped staring at him and that was what mattered.

If only this goddamn rain would stop.

He wrapped his arms around his shins, nestling his face more closely into his legs and ignoring the way his kneecaps dug into his cheeks, and listened to the steady hiss and the rustle above him, the occasional sound of voices from the street drifting over in the breeze doing nothing to disturb the stillness of the park. The couple had gone, pointedly staring away from him the length of the path but talking in that kind of low, shielded voice that couldn’t scream louder if it tried that they were discussing the rude, arrogant man under the tree. Now there was just the sound of the drizzle and the wind in the shrubs to keep him and the thoughts he kept trying to ignore company.

The squeak of footsteps across the wet grass didn’t concern him until a pair of feet appeared at the edge of his vision, advancing until two expensive, only slightly muddy shoes were visible over the tops of his knees. He looked up, mouth open and ready to tell the owner to leave voluntarily before he insisted and it became less so, then froze, jaw agape.

“Found you.”

Milos scrambled to his feet and bolted.

The park seemed far smaller than it had when he’d first entered, the winding pathways revealing smart planning rather than a long walk; he fled blindly along it, almost colliding with some passers-by. If they stared he didn’t notice. After a good five minutes he skidded to a halt by the gate leading to the city parade, leaning one arm against the brickwork and twisting to look behind him, his heart thudding against his ribs.

No sign of him.

He let out a heaving sigh of relief, slumping against the wet pillar. If there was one thing he was sure of, that man did not run unless it was an emergency, and rarely even then; there was no way he’d even break into a trot after Milos. For now at least, he was safe—

“You’re a fucking idiot.”

His knees almost gave out. Only his sheer force of will and the heart-punch swift shifting of claws digging into brickwork supported him for the second it took to gather his wits, retract the blades and turn to run again.

Not that he’d reckoned on the sudden noose of his T-shirt around his neck. “You were this easy to catch before?” Before there would have been a note of amusement to the words. Now there was only a hardness that set his nerves on edge. “I’m surprised you didn’t get the shit kicked out of you more often.”

“Let me go,” he gasped, straining against the grip on his shirt, and wasn’t surprised to find it didn’t help in the slightest.

“Why would I do that?” Alex’s voice was calm.

He hadn’t thought that far ahead. He probably should have done: as pleas went, it was pretty unlikely to succeed. He opened his mouth then closed it again, as much to suck in air as to try to summon jumbled words as terror wrapped around his chest. “Because I— I can’t—”

The pressure released for half a second, just long enough for him to stumble a step forward, then it redoubled in intensity and before he knew what was happening he was falling backwards, flailing, trying to reach for anything, wondering fleetingly if Alex was still behind him—

He wasn’t. Milos’s back smacked into the concrete. The air he’d already struggled to inhale was a distant memory now. He lay, stunned, staring up at the black suit clad legs of his former partner, and tried not to think about how badly Alex would have taken his sudden escape.

Knees suddenly came much nearer his face; Alex’s furious expression swum in front of his face.

He was pretty sure the answer was “extremely”.

A hand reached down and ripped the hat from his head; an icy blast hit his ears. He bit his lip, flinching away. “You thought this would stop me finding you?” Alex’s voice dripped with derision. “You really are an idiot, aren't you?”

“No...”

He laced his fingers into the dokkalfa’s hair and gave it a sharp tug. “What was that?”

Milos took a deep breath. “No, I didn't think it would stop you finding me. My ears were cold! Why do you think even that revolves around you?”

Once upon a time he would have detected the hint of a smile in the human’s dark eyes. Now he couldn't see anything, and his new inability to read him was as terrifying as the fact he'd found him in the first place. “Get up.”

“What?”

“I said get up.” Alex gave his hair another harsh yank, then untangled his grip again, stepping back to allow Milos to stand. Just at the edge of his vision he could see a couple of long blond strands hanging from his fingers.

Milos knew he should comply. If there was one thing Alex hated, it was for his subordinate to disobey him. But what Alex wanted didn't matter anymore; he'd quit. He'd just not got around to telling Alex. Or anyone else, for that matter...

“Milos,” he said softly, “if you don't stand up now I will take great pleasure in beating the shit out of you. Do you understand me?”

The alfa tilted his head from one side to the other, feeling the concrete grind against the back of his skull, making a show of weighing up the decision. “Nah.”

Now that expression he could read. It might as well have been in large print. “Get up.”

“Nah,” he repeated, and wondered how long it would be before a fist came flying at his face.

The answer was approximately 0.5 seconds; he’d tried to count, but it was a little too quick. He rolled to one side, to Alex’s visible anger, and just missed it, and to his credit Alex didn’t let out a sound as his knuckles smashed into the ground. That honour went to the owner of footsteps that Milos hadn’t registered approaching until they came to a stop and a man with a heavy Scottish accent asked, “you alright, mate?”

“I’m fine,” Alex answered, pushing himself upright and out of the alfa’s field of vision.

“I meant him,” came the response as a hand reached out and down towards Milos, only to be grabbed and pulled away. “What the fuck d’you think you’re doing?” Milos turned his head to finally look at the mysterious interloper who’d placed himself between Alex and his prize. “D’you need me to call the cops?”

“Get out of my way before I kill you,” Alex snapped.

“What the fuck’s your problem, mate?” The man snarled back. “Just who the fuck do you—”

Alex ripped his ID from his pocket and almost hit the stranger in the face with it. “I’m with the government,” he said in clipped, icy tones. “Does that help?”

The man studied the plastic slowly, making a big show of his bravado despite the way his face paled beneath his tan. “You can’t talk to me like that—”

“You’ve got no idea what’s going on here,” Alex growled, “and you’ve got no idea who he is. So just fuck off before you get hurt, understand me?”

The man stared down at Milos, a new expression dawning on his face. One that Milos knew all too well: badly disguised fear. Something about his race and skin colour made it easy for people to think the worst of him, especially when backed up by a foul-tempered human with an official identification; it came as no surprise whatsoever that his attempted rescuer gave a nod to Alex and swiftly moved away with barely a backward glance, leaving the alfa to his fate.

Alex flexed his fingers, balled them into a fist again and turned a look down on Milos that he knew he’d regret sooner or later; probably sooner.

But only if he could catch him. Milos shoved himself upright, feet moving to run even before his legs were straight, and took off back down the path past his failed rescuer. The fingers he expected to feel closing on his collar didn’t materialise and, realising that, he pushed himself harder. Perhaps now they regretted training him to become stronger, faster—not that he’d exactly been slow to begin with—now he was using it to make a bid for freedom and escape from them, from the things he found to be terrified of, and from—

His legs went from under him and the concrete pathway rushed up to meet him for the second time. The gate, only a few feet away when his flight was so abruptly curtailed, now seemed to be receding. He realised, heart lurching, that it was because the metal railings were swinging closed. “You’re getting better,” Alex said, with the even neutrality he’d so quickly learned to be wary of, “but you know I’m still better than you.”

He tried to turn, to scramble back to the other exit along the now-deserted path. The well-shod foot that pressed down on his ankle, sending pain lancing the length of his leg, held him in place. He twisted round and stared up into Alex’s dark eyes, and couldn’t read a single emotion. “Let me go.”

“I can’t.”

“You can’t, or you won’t?” He tried to tug his leg free.

Alex pressed harder, even after Milos stopped moving again. “You’re a valuable investment. I was sent to retrieve you.”

His chest hurt. But that was just down to hitting the ground, nothing else, of course. Naturally there’d be no other reason. “Right...”

Naturally. “If you don’t come back with me willingly, I’ll have to restrain you.”

Milos swallowed and gave his foot another tug; it made no difference. He knew, the bastard, how Milos felt about that threat. He knew and he was using it against him. “I can’t get up if you don’t move.”

Almost grudgingly, the pressure let up. The pain didn’t. He pushed himself slowly to his feet, trying to ignore the fact he was dripping gently and his top and jeans were now almost completely saturated. From the corner of his eye he could see Alex tense and ready, just in case Milos should try to make another dash for the exit. No chance, not now, he was too wet and achy and all he wanted was a shower.

“My car’s just out there. If we leave now—”

“No.”

Alex raised an eyebrow, his face otherwise perfectly composed. “No? Did you actually listen to a word I just said?”

“No.” Milos folded his arms, trying to keep his weight off his sore foot. “I want to fetch my stuff and—”

“You can buy new things,” Alex interrupted, reaching forward to grab one of Milos’s wrists.

The alfa jerked it out of his reach, hurriedly stepping back and wincing. “I don’t want to buy new stuff. This is new stuff and I want to fetch it, and—” He broke off as Alex successfully wrapped his fingers around Milos’s arm, struggling to yank it from his grip. “Fuck— Don’t—” He swiped at Alex’s head, open palmed; that hand was easily grabbed too and suddenly the stone gatepost was against his back and Alex was right in front of him, close, too close, and it didn’t matter what he’d said in the past, all bets were off now. He could smell him; his heart hammered against his ribs; too close, too many memories, too much fear—

“Are you going to do what I ask?” Alex murmured.

“I’m going to drip in your fucking car and make your seats smell like wet alfa.” Milos growled through his constricted throat. “Unless you let me shower and get my stuff first.”

An expression of disgust made its way across his face. “Fine.” And with the word he released his grip, allowing Milos’s hands to fall to his sides. “But if you try to run away again I will break your legs. Do you understand me?”

He nodded miserably.

“Then,” Alex took a step back and Milos found he could breathe again, “lead the way.”

* * *


He came out the shower, towel wrapped around his waist, to find Alex had already pulled his clothes from the drawers and was folding them on the quilt. He looked up as Milos padded across the carpet and said sourly, “if you’ve gone back to your old business, tell me now and I’ll stop touching the bed.”

He grit his teeth and let the insult slide. There were better ways of getting revenge anyway, like snagging the T-shirt out from the bottom of the folded stack, tipping the other items across the sheets.

Without a word, Alex resumed folding, but Milos could feel him watching from the corner of his eye as he got dressed. “Don’t flatter yourself.”

He paused, jeans halfway up his legs. “Huh?”

“I’m making sure you don’t leave. No other reason.” He was looking directly at him now, folding the remaining items without paying any attention to them.

Considering his own unsuccessful attempts while devoting all of his attention to the task, Milos was reluctantly impressed. “I didn’t think it was anything else.”

Alex grunted and finished the last item and packed them neatly into Milos’s backpack. “You’ve made us late. If it takes too long we’re stopping over. I‘m not planning on exhausting myself over you.”

“Works for me.” He snatched his bag from Alex’s hands and slung it over his shoulder. “Quicker we get there, quicker I...” He trailed off, suddenly unable to meet his eyes.

“Quicker I’m rid of you,” Alex completed for him, turning away. “Get a move on.”

Milos followed him down the stairs and reminded himself that his stomach was twisting into knots because it was time to face the music.

And in this case, it was likely to be a funeral march.

Comments

roisin_farrell
Dec. 11th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
Oh Milos. What have you gotten yourself into now?

And I love how he uses "I'll stink up your car" on Alex in order to get a shower.
nothingtoregret
Dec. 16th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
Trouble... but unfortunately all of his own making. For now, anyway.

*lol* No matter what happened between them, Alex has never quite gotten past his racist dislike of elves in general.

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