Aiden Parker and Flynn Archer
Early evening 26th January, Mystery Island
The bed was far too narrow for this to be perfectly comfortable, but Aiden didn’t let that disrupt the feelings of ease settling into his body. Outside the door Dante whined and scratched, but he’d locked him out. He hoped anyone else that came along would see the dog and take the hint. If not… he wasn’t sure why, but at the moment he couldn’t work up the energy to care.
Flynn was warm, safe, and right, and he was back. It was a relief knowing he was okay, and Aiden sighed softly, his breath puffing against the real shoulder under his cheek. He had questions he wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to ruin the moment to ask them. Yet there they were, swimming under the surface, ready to break through like a fish catching a fly on the water if the right opportunity presented itself.
“So, this is your place?” Flynn asked, getting his first good chance to look around. He ran a hand through Aiden’s sweaty hair, and wonder if he’d lost weight. He’d never been a chunky guy, but now he seemed even more slender. Maybe things had been as hard for him as they had for Flynn. “Did you lose a bet?”
“This is where we’re all staying. Not for long, I hope. That hut out there… I was hoping to fix it if this stay becomes… permanent. It has a bookcase in it. And I brought some of my books.”
Flynn looked at him askance. “You make it sound like you never had a choice.”
Aiden hesitated, then propped himself up on a shoulder and looked down at him. “I didn’t really. It was basically go or die. Or be left to fend off the wolves. They wanted to leave you behind but I didn’t- I wouldn’t let them.”
Flynn mulled that over, and couldn’t suppress the scoff. “Sorry, Red, they played you. They had plans for me. Leaving me behind was never part of the deal.”
“What? But they implied you were useless…”
“Yeah, they imply that a lot. But it must not be completely true, or …” Fuck. The test. He wasn’t supposed to tell anyone anything about it. He scratched his face as he scrambled to think of anything that would fill that void. “… they wouldn’t have kept me.” It would have to do.
“Or what?” Aiden frowned and shifted to sit on Flynn’s hips, leaning over him and staring into his eyes. He had paused and Aiden heard it. “I wouldn’t go unless they brought you, so that’s why they brought you, right? What do you mean by ‘they imply that a lot?’ Who have you talked to? Flynn, where were you before this?”
Crap. See, this is why he hated relationships. “I don’t know. I just woke up in a strange place, and they didn’t tell me shit, except that you were somewhere safe. What do you know about Eidolon?”
“I didn’t really pay attention when they told us… whatever it was they told us. Pierce. I know about her. And we’re here to keep us away from Vale’s people. That’s about it. What do you know?”
“Nothing. Except they’re fucking liars, I just can’t figure out what they’re lying about and why.” Aiden had said something interesting. “What do you know about Pierce?”
“I know she’s a bitch. And she didn’t seem to pay much attention to me when I asked her questions. Why do you figure they’re liars?”
“‘Cause it takes one to know one, Aid. Who gives you a free vacation to a tropical island, huh? They want something from us. I just can’t figure out what yet.” That was bothering him more than anything else. Flynn couldn’t figure out what could possibly be in it for them. He ran a hand through his own sweaty hair, and wondered what the hell he was missing.
Aid? The simple grin wouldn’t stay off his face at the sound of what seemed to be a nickname – other than Red – passing from Flynn’s lips, and he felt his cheeks flush. It seemed so long since he’d heard something like that. His fingers tugged lightly at Flynn’s longer locks. “What would they want from me? I’m a teacher.”
“You’re pretty, that’s what they want from you,” he teased, but sobered at his dark thoughts. “What do they want from me? I’m a terminal fuck up. I’m more useless than anyone. Unless Jude is here. Is Jude here?”
“Jude? I don’t know anyone named Jude,” Aiden said with a shake of his head. “And you’re not a terminal fuck up. You’re not useless.”
“Oh, what’s his face, Lyle Crumpet Pants. I call him Jude Law, or Jude The Obscure, depending on how pissy he’s being.” He decided to ignore Aiden’s statement about him. Aiden saw him through rose colored glasses – why else did he call him Red Riding Hood? He never seemed to realize he was with the Big Bad Wolf.
“Lyle is here, yes.” The avoidance of his words were not lost on him, but he decided to let it go for the moment.
“See, what is he good for? Unless they need a pinata.”
“I think he has some sort of connection to them. Again, I was… distracted… so I may have missed a few things.”
“What?” Flynn grasped Aiden’s hips and held him as he sat up, so he didn’t go falling to the floor. “He’s with Eidolon?”
Securing himself with his arms around Flynn’s shoulders he shrugged his own. “I don’t know. I think… maybe he knows some things that we don’t.”
Oh, goddamn it! Flynn knew he always hated the little fucker. Now maybe he had good reason to. “Where is he? Can you take me to him?”
Aiden shook his head. “I don’t know where he is. Where anyone is right now for that matter. I haven’t been the greatest company the last few days.”
“Oh, fuck them,” he said, then added, “Not literally. C’mon, let’s get dressed. I need to find Jude Pissy Pants. If he has answers, I want them.”
“I don’t want to get dressed though,” Aiden teased, trying to keep Flynn in the small bed. He settled into his spot on his legs, refusing to move. “Let’s just stay here, okay? For a little longer?” He still couldn’t quite believe he was back.
Usually Aiden was cute when he was stubborn, but right now wasn’t the time for it. “If he has answers, we need them, especially if we want to get out of here.”
“Is the offer still up for Canada?”
Flynn grabbed his face and planted a kiss on Aiden’s forehead. “Fuck yeah. When we get to Vancouver, the TimBits are on me.”
Aiden loosened his grip on Flynn, but leaned forward, closing his eyes, and rested his forehead on Flynn’s, speaking softly. “Promise you’re not going to… disappear like that again. I….” He struggled to find the right way to phrase his words, but found his vocabulary lost. As seemed to be par for the course around Flynn most times. “Just promise.”
Flynn put his arms around him and held Aiden tightly. “I’m not, not if I have anything to say about it. Okay?” Poor kid. In moments like these, Flynn felt terrible for ever getting involved with him. His life was such a disaster area, and Aiden was so innocent. Well, as innocent as a sexy teacher could be.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Aiden nodded. “Okay. Lyle might be with Gideon. I think there was an office he was setting up in yesterday. Or maybe he was just inspecting it.”
“Who the fuck’s Gideon?”
Aiden had to think back. “The… pilot? Maybe?”
That made Flynn raise his eyebrows. “You don’t know?”
“I think I’ve mentioned that the last few days have been difficult? I’ve been in… a sort of… fog I guess.” He didn’t want to admit how he’d pretty much lost his mind from worrying about where Flynn was and the change in his life that everyone else seemed if not happy with, at least at ease about.
Flynn smoothed his hair out of his face, troubled by the pained look on Aiden’s face. “You don’t think Eidolon’s done something to you, do you?”
“No. I wouldn’t eat or drink anything they offered, so they couldn’t have.”
No wonder he looked so thin. “What? When was the last time you ate?”
Aiden shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, okay? I’m fine. Just… been a little stressed is all. I’ll be fine now.”
Flynn eyed him suspiciously. “Right. We’re gonna get you something to eat, and then we’re gonna hunt down Lyle’s pasty white ass and kick it until he spills his guts.”
“How do you know he has a pasty white ass, hmm?” Aiden teased, eyebrow quirking up in amusement to distract him from their other conversation.
“Oh, come on. Have you seen him? He makes Greg Allman look like George Hamilton.”
“I’ve seen him, but he’s quiet. Didn’t talk to me much, but then… I didn’t say much either.”
“There’s nothing to say to that asshole. He’s got a stick jammed so far up his ass he probably spits splinters.” Flynn got up off the tiny bed , and asked, “Does this lean-to have a kitchen?”
“Yeah, down the hall and around the corner. You’ll have to get dressed, first.” He laughed quietly into his hand at the comment about Lyle, but then felt bad about it and turned it into a small cough.
Flynn turned around, and did a small, modified butt dance. “What, I can back this up into your kitchen? Have you gotten snooty on me?”
“I just don’t want anyone else seeing your ass, that’s all.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth he bit his bottom lip and blushed. Again. Damn, all those reactions he’d had around Flynn before were coming back full force.
Ah, cute. He loved to make Aiden blush. Good thing it was so damn easy. “You said you got some of my clothes? Where are they?”
“In the bag under that bed,” he gestured. “The blue bag. Your book is on top.”
Flynn went to get it, looking over his shoulder at him. “Why are there more beds in here? Are you planning an orgy without me?”
Aiden managed to keep a straight face. “I thought you’d already planned it.”
“Oh no, you don’t plan an orgy. They’re no fun unless they’re spontaneous.” Flynn opened the bag, and dug out some novelty boxers with big lipstick prints on them. He stepped into them before pulling out a pair of cargo shorts and a tank top. “Hey, does the weather ever drop beneath a hundred here?”
“Not since I’ve been here,” Aiden said as he got off the bed, stretching. “We’re all staying in here until this place gets fixed up. Doesn’t leave much room for privacy, which is why I wanted to fix that other place.”
“Good idea. Stick with me, baby, and I’ll get us kicked out within an hour.” As Flynn pulled on his shorts, he realized that wasn’t even a joke. He got kicked out of all the nicest and all the worst places. People just didn’t have a sense of humor anymore.
“Believe me… I’m going to be sticking with you.”
Flynn smiled at him, feeling like a heel. Aiden probably should have stuck with someone better. He threw the tank top over his shoulder, not ready to put it on yet, and asked, “So what’s in the kitchen? Any food, or just an industrial gruel pot?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. I found scissors in there last time I checked it out.” Aiden pulled on some of his own clean clothes, thankfully he’d brought shorts. He tugged his sneakers on over bare feet and pulled his white t-shirt over head. “Hey, think they have that World’s Greatest Grandpa mug you were so keen on finding?”
Flynn held up a pair of crossed fingers. “We can only hope. And I hope you kept the scissors, ‘cause I’ve heard if you soak ‘em in drawn butter, they’re good eating.”
“Well, we’ll have to hope they have butter to soak them in then.”
“If necessary, I can hunt down and kill a butter bear. You’ve hooked up with a macho dude, Riding Hood. Lucky you.”
“My very own sexy wolf? Very lucky for me.” Aiden laughed softly. “I didn’t realize the butter bear was indigenous to this region…”
“Oh sure. They fly, you know. But they have a tendency to melt if they’re in the air too long, so you can find ‘em pretty much anywhere. They really love Denny’s.”
“That explains a lot,” Aiden mused as he opened the door and let Dante in. The dog instantly pounced on him and he pushed him off, patting his head.
Flynn watched Aiden with his dog and smiled, doing his best to pretend that he wasn’t worried at all. But he was. Something was going on, and he couldn’t grasp what. None of this made sense.
Which was why Lyle better have some answers. And he hoped he gave them up reluctantly, because he really felt like punching something.