Part Twenty-Seven, 2 of 2: Action
Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. This part is especially for my readerwife, who informed me that my lack of posting punctuality resulted in her battling the plague. Poor darling! Have some story and a nice hot cup of tea.
Garrett got Therese to help him find the parts and pieces he needed to get the maximum effect out of his upcoming confrontation. Putting body armor on felt strange—Garrett hadn’t worn it since he’d worked a job in a war zone almost twenty years earlier, and before that he hadn’t touched the stuff since his teens. But Miles had insisted that his son get combat mods and learn how to use them right, and that had meant practicing with the unsympathetic marine drill instructor that his father ordered to teach him and surviving several months’ worth of daily private lessons. By the end of it Garrett was screwing his instructor after every class, which made learning much more fun, but he wasn’t sad to say goodbye once the class’ tenure was over.
Learning how to fight as a kid didn’t mean that Garrett had any chance of lasting very long against Robbie, but he didn’t really have to last; that was the beauty of the armor. He just had to be there and moving around long enough to get the other man to open up. If he could have fucked the sadness and guilt right out of him Garrett would have considered it, but both of them had other commitments now and he knew that Robbie would never be with anyone but Wyl as long as Wyl was his, whether he was in Regen or not. It was just the way the man was wired.
Therese passed the word that Robbie was back just as Garrett got the last piece of armor locked into place. He put his cheat code into the programming, felt the locks between the joints strengthen and then looked over at her. “Thanks. Don’t let him leave, okay?”
“He said he would be in for several hours,” Therese replied.
“Even better.” Garrett twisted from side to side, testing the fit and flexibility of the armor before heading out of his father’s home and into the rest of the compound, the military section. The place was crawling with marines, and he got more than a few confused or disdainful looks as he walked along, but Garrett calmly ignored them. Just outside of Robbie’s office he was stopped by two guards.
“Commander Sinclair isn’t seeing civilians right now, sir.”
“That’s nice, but I’m not a civilian,” Garrett explained with a languid smile. “I’m the new political liaison for the governor’s wife, and there have been a few concerns raised over the legality of some of the action that Commander Sinclair is taking in his laudable and never-ending quest for the truth. My questions won’t take more than a few minutes of his time.”
“Your name, sir?”
The second marine rolled his eyes. “It’s Governor Caractacus’ son.” Moron, he added unspoken, but Garrett could read it in his body language. “Sir, I’m sure he’d be happy to meet with you at any other time, but Commander Sinclair specifically ordered that he remain undisturbed right now.”
“I appreciate that, but this matter really can’t wait for your commander’s next free minute, which I have the feeling won’t be until sometime next week,” Garrett replied. “He won’t be mad at you for letting me in, Corporal. I guarantee your safety.”
“I don’t think you can do that, sir.”
“Try me,” Garrett suggested winsomely. “If I’m wrong I’ll owe you a bottle of whiskey. The real stuff.”
“Great,” the corporal deadpanned. “That would give me something to drink when I get stuck with KP duty.”
“It’ll certainly make the time go faster,” Garrett promised him. The marine sighed and cast his eyes towards the sky, but he went ahead and opened the door. His fellow guard looked shocked and anxious, but Garrett just ignored them both and strode inside of Robbie’s office.
Well, what was now his office. It used to be Jane’s, and Garrett could tell. The walls were fuschia and the ceiling was cornflower blue, and neither of them were the sort of personal touches that Robbie had ever felt compelled to put into his work or living spaces. It was a big office, with a circular table surrounded by chairs, a desk and a large operational command projection laid out on one of the walls. Robbie was behind the desk, and when he looked up from his files and saw Garrett, his neutral expression didn’t change at all.
Well, it didn’t change to someone who wasn’t a connoisseur of everything Robbie, but Garrett had spent years learning to read the man. That tightening of the mouth meant anger, the barely-discernable squinch of the eyebrows was guilt, and the sudden relaxation of his fingers signified happiness, which Garrett was gratified to see. It didn’t show up in Robbie’s voice, however.
“Shouldn’t you be with Claudia?”
“She can live without me for a little while,” Garrett replied, sitting down in the chair across from his ex. Fuck, but Robbie looked tired. He even looked a little grayer through the temples, and that wasn’t supposed to happen with Regen charging your battery. “I thought I’d come by and say hello to you instead, since you seem to be avoiding the world.”
“I have work to do, Gare.”
“I know. I’m sorry about Jane,” Garrett said sincerely. “She was a brilliant person.”
“Yeah, she was,” Robbie agreed. He let his shoulders sag for a moment, showcasing how tired he really was. Robbie never let his guard down with people he didn’t implicitly trust, but even then it was rare.
“When’s the last time you slept?”
“I catch cat-naps,” Robbie said with a shrug.
“You should catch a real rest, in your own bed.”
Robbie’s jaw clenched for a moment. “I’d rather not.”
Garrett could see why he wouldn’t want to play shack up in his own place if it meant being alone. It was the same reason Garrett was reluctant to go back to his own apartment on board the Neptune. “Maybe when Wyl is up and running again.”
“Whenever that is,” Robbie said tonelessly, as though he didn’t know down to the minute when Wyl was expected to wake up. Liar. “What do you want, Gare? Because you’re not doing as good a job of mothering me as Claudia would, so if that was the purpose of this visit then she would be here instead of you.”
“I can’t just want to see you?” Garrett protested.
“Not under the circumstances.”
There was no beating around the bush with Robbie. “I want to talk about Isidore Cain.”
It wasn’t at all surprising that Robbie immediately sat back and shut down, the friend evaporating in the face of the military persona. “There’s nothing to discuss. Mr. Cain is being held as a matter of national security.”
“He has proven links to a terrorist organization, Garrett.”
“So what? I have proven links to suicidal psychopaths too, but that doesn’t make me one of them.”
“We’re still actively investigating all leads concerning the series of attacks on our forces,” Robbie continued as though Garrett hadn’t said anything. “Mr. Cain might not be a terrorist, but his connection to them is undeniable. He could be in danger from those connections if we were to release him into the general populace, or even into the larger prison system.”
Garrett gritted his teeth. “I get the protective custody idea, but Isidore shouldn’t be in prison at all. You know he had nothing to do with what happened here, or you’d have drawn and quartered him by now. He at least should have access to legal counsel.”
“No.” Robbie’s voice was implacable. “He stays where he is.”
“You’re being a real dick about this.”
“You can go now,” Robbie said calmly. “Give Claudia my regards.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
“Yes, you are.”
“No I’m not.”
Robbie’s eyes narrowed. “Yes. You. Are.”
Garrett pretended to consider it. “Ah, no. I really don’t think I am.”
“This is why you wore the armor, isn’t it.”
“I had been hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” Garrett said honestly. “But I’m not going to just let it go, either.”
“You’re asking to get hurt.”
“Oh, please,” Garrett scoffed. “You won’t really hurt me.”
“I could put you in the brig instead.”
“Good! Then I could talk to Isidore.”
Robbie sighed audibly. “You’re being a child.”
“No, you.” The cheat code that Garrett had put into his armor had given it more-than-human strength and resilience, and when he kicked the edge of Robbie’s desk, it slid back two feet and pinned Robbie to the wall. Wow. Garrett wondered for a second whether he should have turned the power down some, but after a second he didn’t have any time to consider it because Robbie was shoving the desk away, and his neutral expression had become furious. He was on Garrett in a second, picked him up and slammed him against the circular table a few feet away. Garrett heard the joints around his chest plate whine a little at the force, but they held. Good.
Garrett grabbed a chair off the ground beside the table and smashed it into Robbie’s back. Robbie barely even shivered, but it was enough space for Garrett to wrangle a little more distance for himself and to get a knee up between them. He used it to shove Robbie back and sprung up to his feet, then directed a fast thrusting kick towards Robbie’s midsection.
Robbie caught the kick and used it to throw Garrett onto the ground again. His hands automatically moved to break the ankle, and Garrett was glad he hadn’t neglected to attach any of the pieces of armor when he heard the ankle joint fixture snap into its furthest allowable configuration. Garrett grabbed one of Robbie’s feet and yanked, pulling him down to the floor. He punched him in the stomach and kicked towards his face, and when Robbie dropped his leg Garrett rolled off his back and didn’t hesitate, he just piledrove Robbie back into the table. Robbie managed to reverse them mid-throw and this time when Garrett hit the table, it broke beneath the force of his impact.
They beat on each other hard—not with abandon, because neither of them really wanted the other person to get hurt, but with intent. The chairs surrounding the table were splintered after a couple of minutes, but even when the two of them hit the door the guards didn’t come in. Garrett really did owe the one a bottle of good whiskey for going along with this.
It was hard, though. Robbie didn’t have on any armor but that just made him tougher to fight, because Garrett had to be careful while still not letting Robbie beat the ever-living fuck out of him. He had to push him just hard enough to start to break, but not to break entirely. He couldn’t let Robbie just work him over, though; if he did Garrett would just get thrown out and he’d be further than ever from reaching Robbie or talking to Isidore.
It was a fine line to walk, and Garrett was struggling to maintain it as the pair of them proceeded to trash Robbie’s office. The only thing they managed to stay away from was the tactical projection, and by the time Robbie was breathing hard Garrett was almost willing to take that out too, if it meant he’d survive another couple of seconds.
But then as fast as it had started, it stopped. One second Robbie’s hand was poised above Garrett’s face, ready to provide him with another black eye to match the one Garrett had already collected. The next second he was kind of collapsing, trying to fall in on himself and not being allowed to. Garrett fell down with him and a few seconds later they settled against the wall, Robbie with his eyes shut and Garrett sitting next to him, holding Robbie’s head against his chest. Robbie wasn’t the type of man who even knew how to cry, but Garrett could feel the tension releasing jerkily inside of him, resulting in sudden twitches and hitched breath.
“I only saw him once before he went under,” Robbie said after a moment. “I found Wyl in the motorcade and he was bleeding, there was blood everywhere and I had already seen what had happened to Jane. I went crazy looking for Wyl. I ignored people that I should have helped trying to find him and when I did, he wasn’t awake. And I had work to do, your father had been attacked and there were civilian casualties piling up out in the city… By the time I got back Wyl was in Regen. He didn’t wait for me.”
“It must have been really bad,” Garrett murmured, stroking back Robbie’s short hair.
“Bad enough. And I know Wyl didn’t mean it personally, I know that he can’t handle that kind of sensory stimulation without freaking out, but…well. You know.” Garrett just nodded, still stroking. “No Jane, no Miles, no Wyl. No one.”
“I’m here,” Garrett told him.
“For now,” Robbie sighed. “And it helps. Thanks, Gare. I think I needed this.”
“I’d say so,” Garrett agreed wryly, but he didn’t stop petting Robbie until Robbie finally pulled away, leaning his head back against the wall.
“I wasn’t joking about the protective custody thing,” Robbie said after a second. “People know who Isidore is and what his connections are. He’s gotten threats from both sides, Garrett. I’ve got a lot of marines here who are feeling vengeful, and none of his family members will come forward and claim him because they’re afraid of being targeted in the city, either by their neighbors or by the terrorists themselves. If I let him go he’ll end up dead, and if I let him into the legal system the first thing they’re going to do is get his status changed and have him transferred. I have a lot of things to deal with right now, but I’m not going to send this kid to his grave just because I don’t have time to work out a solution.”
“Then give him to me,” Garrett suggested. “Let me have him, as a pet project. I’ll get him taken care of and you won’t have to worry.”
“I always worry when you’re involved, Gare.”
“Well, you shouldn’t,” he retorted, “because I’m always perfect.”
“Liar. Why haven’t you talked to Jonah and Cody yet?”
Garrett scowled at the pointed non-sequiter. “Have you been gossiping with my stepmother?”
Robbie chuckled. “I know it’s hard to remember when she’s changing diapers, but Therese is still a marine, which means she debriefs me on what’s happening.” He turned calm if tired eyes on Garrett. “So what’s going on?”
“I just can’t talk to them right now,” Garrett said.
“That’s a dick move, Gare.”
“I’m not doing it to hurt them,” he insisted. “I’m doing it to keep myself from hurting, Robbie, which is exactly what will happen to me if I talk to Jonah and Cody right now. I need to be here, not there.”
It wasn’t the total truth, and the way Robbie was looking at him right now, Garrett knew that he knew that. Stupid ex-lovers and their stupid ability to read his stupid thoughts. But Robbie didn’t call him on it; he just shrugged after a second. “I’ll get you keyed in to see Isidore.”
“Thank you,” Garrett said earnestly. He kissed Robbie’s forehead, eliciting a smile from his friend.
“Whatever. Get out of here, Gare, and tell my marines they’re going to be on KP duty for the next week because of this.”
“Don’t be so mean,” Garrett scolded him. He groaned as he got to his feet, then reached down and helped Robbie up. “Go get some sleep, then come have dinner with us. Claudia is worried about you.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“be careful, don’t strain yourself with that.”
A final smack on the shoulder propelled Garrett towards the door with a smile on his face, even though it stung.