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*Insert Angst Here*
Hating the Land
Thu Mar 3, 2005 15:22

He really hated the west coast.

Caleb had soon come to the conclusion that he hated Rob with a vengeance. Instead of being stuck behind a desk, he was thrown into a small studio apartment that was worse than some of the places he had hidden out through his career. Hating the turn in his career, hating the apartment, hating his superiors, and hating his life, Caleb wasn’t much fun the first two weeks.

Frankly, he was down right pissy.

It all began when they were going through the ‘transformation process’, as Rob so quaintly put it. If you’re going to have a new life, you need a new look! What a bastard. Luciana had been done over remarkably well, though there had been a few difficulties with Caleb. First of all, he refused to tan. That shit caused cancer, thank you very much! Secondly, no matter how many times they tried bleaching his hair, the color just would not come out. No amount of new dyes or shampoo worked, bringing about one conclusion; he was stuck.

So he had become a slightly scruffy vagabond with dark green eyes, carting around a redhead to some safe-deposit box that Bernardo had left behind. Hints and secrets galore, concerning the Families of New York and New Jersey, even a few more. The CIA had been infinitely pleased with those developments. But then they had received their names, new identities, and all was well, right?


Caleb didn’t have much difficulty with it, considering he had vanished from the public eye a decade ago. One week he was Jason, another Gino, and now… Nick. Whatever, a name was just a name, and it didn’t really concern him. What did bother him was the sadistic fascination in which Rob took to crafting their ‘new life together’. A married couple, a fukking married couple! And not only that, but apparently he was to blame, considering he was Nick now. He swore the next time he saw Rob he was going to severely maim the man for fukking with his life so fantastically.

“Nora, sweetheart. You promised to head downtown with me to scout out the local theatres…” Caleb grimaced after saying the statement, knowing it was thin walls to bear that brought about the façade in their ‘sanctum’. He knew Luciana – he could think of the girl as nothing but – was not thrilled with it either. Didn’t need the glares and the sneers to tell him that much, thank you.

“Of course, Nick dear. Let me jump into something more comfortable.” She was just as miserable as he was. But to leave the west coast would be withdrawing from the protection that the government had offered. They’d be out in the open, with no where to hide. Just the thought made his back crawl in discomfort. Sighing, Caleb rubbed his temples as Lucy got into something ‘more comfortable’, whatever that meant. Things were going to have to change, and soon, otherwise he’d go mad.

Once Lucy was ready to go, he didn’t bother to hide the lofted brow at the shirt she wore, declaring: I survived the Phantom of the Opera and all I got was this lousy tee shirt! That could have been taken so many ways, and in Caleb’s current state of mind, he was thinking of the particularly nasty and cruel ones directed at him. On their way, after a brief greeting to some neighbors and down to the bottom floor. Even in a potentially public place they didn’t pretend to like one another.

In fact, Caleb was pretty damned sure Lucy downright hated him.

This time it was some theater house that boasted a number of productions through the year. No off season for their regular actors and hardly any for the stars of the show themselves. Hell, Phantom was supposed to be a one time thing, not a life-long career now that he had been ousted from the agency! That still made him fume. Strolling across the stage, he feigned interest while listening with half an ear. Right up until he was pinched!

“Oh, Nick can't keep himself away from the acting bit,” what a fukking… Gah! “It’s what he lives for.” Oh, I know what I live for! A dead man’s promise and a sadist’s delight! Caleb couldn’t stop the screaming in his head, and it fell to a muted buzz just beyond the range of his hearing, so they could finish this quickly enough. But apparently that was not to be.

“I take it you’re both ‘Phans’?” The ‘ph’ was painfully obvious in the way the manager put it that he was speaking of Phantom. Not to mention the way he eyed Lucy’s shirt; or maybe he was ogling her chest. Following ‘Nora’s’ enthusiastic nod, the man clapped his hands. “Fantastic! That is our next production.” Oh no. No no no! He couldn’t fukking go through all that again! It would be like meeting her all over, in a sense of de ja vue. “So, what parts did you two play? Chorus members, dancers?” Apparently the man didn’t have very high expectations either.

“I played the role of the Phantom, and Nora portrayed Christine Daae.” It was the first time Caleb had spoken, and apparently the deep baritone surprised the fellow. Not to mention what roles they played; even off Broadway in NYC was a big deal, and to have them in the lead roles? Ah, there went the manager’s jaw, dropped right to the dusty stage floor. “It was a handful of years ago, though.” Ah, there was the stick.

“Well, I’d be thrilled to have you both at least audition for the parts. We’ll work something out.” But the manager’s eyes told otherwise; it was like he had already made his decision.


After leaving the theater, Caleb stopped at a small grocery mart with the offhanded comment that he would be right back. Kissy-kissy face. Twitch! It was fifteen minutes later that the man returned, waving a picnic basket by its handle as he strolled back to the car. Didn’t even say a damned thing, just hopped behind the driver’s seat and took off again, like this was all planned. Maybe it was.

And since it took twenty-five minutes to get anywhere in California, the drive was a bit lengthy, though eventually they pulled into a parking space before a place that declared itself a ‘public park’. Ah, so that was his brilliant plan; take the girl out for a nice picnic and enjoy the day! Well, that couldn’t have been all too bad, really. But, on an ominous note, there were precious few people about. Not making any mention of it, Caleb retrieved the picnic basket and opened Lucy’s door for her, before they walked arm-in-arm through the park.

The scenery was beautiful, and the scents amazing, but he saw little of it unfortunately. Instead, Caleb steered the couple towards the back of the park, where lush lawns and picnic tables were set out. Bypassing those, he went even further, until they reached the point that they hadn’t seen a single soul in at least five minutes. Then he decided that this was good enough. Right on the grass, he pulled out a fleece blanket from the basket and laid it out, motioning for Lucy to sit beside him. Opposite corners of the blanket, watching one another like wary dogs. Typical marriage, right?

“I won’t pretend to like this situation,” he finally began, delving into the basket to procure fruit drinks. “And I know you hate it as well. But I can’t live like this anymore.” There, he had said it! But Lucy was eyeing him as if to say: What the hell do you want me to do about it, buddy? Fabulous. “I’ll be damned if you’re going to hate me for doing my job, so I want to explain some things to you.” Oh, this couldn’t mean anything good.

“I’ve been doing this… Well, I did that for just about ten years. My grandfather, Sherlock, was a detective in England. When he retired, my grandparents came state side, to Washington, with my father.” Pausing, Caleb quickly thought it through, and how he was going to say it. “I won’t bore you with silly details. My father was a military career man, and I attended military schools throughout my young adult life, until I went to West Point.” Rob hadn’t said a damned thing about sharing their histories and exchanging stories, so Caleb used it as blanket protection for himself.

“Afterwards, I was in the military for a number of years, doing the dirty things that conspiracists whisper about in dark corners.” Caleb snorted a laugh, though it had no humor in it. He was tired of it all. “From there, the CIA recruited me, and I’ve been doing these… those jobs ever since.” Now it got nasty. From here, Caleb conveyed the Bond debacle, from beginning to end, only giving the highlights. He was willing to give more information when prompted though. But one thing he did go into detail about was how he had been played a puppet by both countries, and how he had eventually been saddled with Cooper in the end.

“I’ve done high profile and down in the dirt assignments, along with everything in between. But this was the first time that I had ever been instructed to appear in public multiple times, and play the charade through.” By this time Caleb had gotten more comfortable, lying on his back with knees bent, watching Lucy as he spoke. “But when I promised Bernardo that I would protect you,” and God knows why the fool did it, “I couldn’t back out from that; I wouldn’t back out. Rob played me again, right into retirement.”

Now there was the defeated man we all knew and loved! Such a shame that he seemed so furious with the world over it. But what more could he do? Put an ad in the local yellow pages? Assassin for hire! Will work cheap! Of course, that would fix it all!

“I’ve read what the agency has on you, hon. And frankly, it’s a load of shit. I want to hear it from you, not read it off a piece of paper.” Hefting himself up on crooked elbows, Caleb quirked a brow.

“C’mon, tell me your story.”

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