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Caleb Holmes
Star Crossed
Tue May 17, 2005 02:42

It was the first time that John had smiled – truly smiled – in a long time.

“I miei genitori sono venuto in America quando ero giovane; tutta la nostra famiglia ha incluso. Spendere i vostri giorni nella cucina come un bambino e voi può imparare quasi qualche cosa.”* It wasn’t the best he had made, but it was edible, so that was a decent start.

And then there was silence. A lot of it. But it wasn’t that uncomfortable sort of silence that drove a person insane. Really, when two Italians sat down to eat, was there going to be a huge discussion? Hell no! It was about the food. He didn’t even feel comfortable making an off handed comment or three, mainly because Lucy seemed so intent to devour everything on her plate. Perhaps she was going to eat the china as well? By the time John decided to prop up on an elbow, with coffee in hand, and watch the girl eat like it was her last meal, the doorbell was ringing.

“Schiocco dell'OH. Rimanga là, io otterrà il portello. È Sean o Penny.” Sean? No no, couldn’t deal with that right now. John tried to snatch the plate out of Lucy’s hand as she passed by, because the damned woman shouldn’t be cleaning up after being cooked a meal! But there she went. Gah. That just wasn’t right! Oh well. Finishing up the rest of his meal, or trying to in the short amount of time that he heard voices nearing the kitchen, he felt like he was going to choke on the food.

“John.” Whine! Shifting on the stool was the least he could do beneath Sean’s intense gaze, but that was just about all he could do as well!

“Why don’t I go upstairs and get changed. John, would you be so kind as to keep an eye on my brother for me, so he can’t pull one of his vanishing acts?” Uhm… No! Stop, don’t leave! Shit.

“Mind if I filch a cup of that coffee?” Help yourself? Unsticking his tongue from the roof of his mouth with a drink himself, John managed to casually – at least he hoped it was – gesture toward the mug. It was Lucy’s anyhow!

“Gradite mangiare la prima colazione—” For the first time in the longest he could remember, John… blushed. “I’m sorry, would you like some breakfast?” It was that damned light-colored gaze that kept staring at him, really! Freaking unnerving. He could feel his stomach flip-flop as Sean considered before nodding. Yes! Now that he had something to do, he was more than happy to go about it. Food dished up and handed over, along with any salt or pepper that he could want, coffee refreshed, and Sean was good to go. He hoped, at least.

The leftovers were cut into slices and deposited in the appropriate container. But just as he was turning about face to put everything in the refrigerator, John found the path blocked by a fellow that wasn’t going to be moving anytime soon. Sean had been reaching for some spices beside the stove, allowing him to bump into the outstretched arm, and it sent shivers down his spine. Hazel eyes settled upon him, flecks of gold leaving the irises burnished in the early morning sunlight. The tableau remained frozen for long moments, until something happened. Something…

Unnatural, his mind whispered.

Sean’s face loomed before his visage, swaying to and fro as his gaze flickered down and up once more. What was he looking at? My lips… Oh God, this wasn’t happening, this couldn’t be happening! Not like this—No, never! Resisting the urge to squeak and run away, John bolstered himself for an act that was certain to flip his stomach. Nor did he have long to wait. Their lips brushed once, then twice, and he stomach really did flip. Butterflies raged in huge swarms through his midsection, a gasping breath taking before his mouth was claimed.

The man was insistent! Lower lip nipped at with a teasing touch, and John’s world began to fall apart, brick by brick. They weren’t at an even height either, his neck twisted down in an uncomfortable fashion, as if he were pursuing this! But the sensation of warmth coursing through his veins, and the tempting bolt of electricity tearing down his back, spreading through his pelvis, was amazing. A comforting feeling…

“Lucy! What smells so good—” Oh God! John tried in vain to unwrap his hands from Sean’s shirt – When did that happen? – and somewhat rectify the situation. But it was too late. The packages Caleb was holding dropped to the ground in his apparent astonishment, before the man himself turned heel and rushed from the kitchen.

“Dio Dell'OH!”** He had to get away, far from… “Movimento!” Why wouldn’t Sean move?! It was his turn to rush from the room, though. He couldn’t do this, not this! God help him, he had never chose to… to…

It felt like he was going to be sick; for all the wrong reasons.

“Jeez Rob, do you think you brought enough liquor?”

Caleb eyed the table that had drink offerings, everything from soda to hard liquor for mixed drinks. Insane fool! He would have never thought that his former boss was a man to actually enjoy a drink or three… dozen. The Hawaiian shirt though; come on! He could have at least found a shade that was a bit less… mortifyingly loud. It was stomach churning to look at! So what if it was a gag?

“Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime. Say the word and I will—” Sean was back in his face, while Hugh pointed and laughed at the wooing. Damn it!

“Do you want in my pants that badly, little man?!” Wow, must have struck a chord with the ex-agent, because now he was using the angry face. “Take a number, ‘cause I think Ben has dibs on me.” Well that ended the conversation the aforementioned man was having with John, quirking a brow at the use of his name.

“Only if I can get past Lucy first!” That brought about snickered retorts and the like, soon followed by guffawing laughter. “I fear her more than I fear the Green Giant over here.” John tried to look indignant about the comment, but it obviously wasn’t the first time he had heard it. Nor would it ever be the last. “Besides, he’s more my type.” He wasn’t hearing this!

But apparently some joker was setting off fireworks.

“Rob, that isn’t…” John began, before the sight of people dropping to the ground met their eyes.


Later on, Caleb wouldn’t remember who had shouted the word; just that it had been an extremely good idea at the time. The sound of constant rapports assailed the senses, both in hearing and sight. Screams came soon after, seeing multiple men with firearms out. Men he had known, been with in a part of a team. Now he was outside of that group, as unprotected as an infant torn from the womb.

“We got ‘em!” When had the shots ceased? His ears rang with how closely weapons had been fired. Warily rising to his feet, Caleb was shocked to his toes as the heckler from the closing night party pressed a firearm into his hand as the agents fanned out, securing the perimeter. Shouts of, “Clear!” were the only sounds, aside from the low moans of the injured, and the stillness of the dead. Never had he been involved in something so large… so immense. It churned his stomach in a most unfamiliar fashion, one which he was not at all fond of. Splitting away from John, who he could only given one last worried look to as the man held his arm in an odd position, he searched for her. Circling the area, his path led him to where he had last left Lucy, where she still was.

“God in Heaven…” Caleb gasped as his fiancée shouted Beth’s name, apparently trying to rouse her. Judging by the way she lay, it would never happen. Couldn’t happen; the woman was dead. Devon leaned against the leg of a table, unable to tear his eyes away from the tableau as Rob rushed up, frantically pawing at his wife’s shoulders. God, this was his fault. He should have known better! They had been swaddled in clothing, carefully set aside from the world at large, and every big bad man in it. He was supposed to protect these people, not get them killed!

“Lucy…” She was now his primary concern, and he was obviously checking her for injuries once he had scooped the woman up. There was blood, but apparently none of it was hers. Beth’s then? Or Devon, considering the way she spared him a final glance before burrowing her face in his own stained shirt.

“I’m so sorry.” This is all my fault.

The following hours were horrifying in the patient need to wait. He wanted to hear results now! Not later. John was in surgery; a bullet had torn through his shoulder at an inconvenient location, forcing the doctors to reattach muscle and tendon in a few locations. Devon had fared better in a sense. He hadn’t required surgery, aside from removing the bullets and stitching him up. Still, he was forced into using crutches for God knew how long. Several dead, too many injured, and for what? Who did this?

“Rob, you need to go home.” A gentle reminder of the man’s children needing their father. Had he even called them? The Agent had lost any remaining life he had had in those dark eyes, staring at nothing, except when a doctor arrived to give word on the latest patient coming out of surgery. It was as if he expected Beth to come alive, instead of lying on a cold slab in the morgue. “Rob. Go home.” His eyes entreated one of the agents present to accompany Fowler, in hopes that he would at least make it there, to be with his children.

The following days were hardly any easier.

People shuffled in and out of the house, some more than others, visiting and helping when they could. Somehow, though Caleb really wasn’t certain how, Devon was shoved into one of the guestrooms while injured. Jane said it was for the best, because he likely wouldn’t have been able to get around on his own well enough. Funerals were attended, under heavy guard in some cases, though the worst had been Beth’s. Rob… it was like he wasn’t even alive anymore. Uncomprehending of anything that took place around him, an automaton instead of a man, guided by careful touches from his children. It was like they had expected this day, yet for their father, not their mother. He couldn’t blame them, only himself.

John hadn’t felt quite right in attending Elizabeth Fowler’s funeral. He hadn’t known the woman, only her husband through his profession, and felt it was improper to go. The medicine that he had been prescribed was something he was hardly used to, the days drifting by in an unnoticed haze. Those little white tablets were evil things, that he was certain of!

“Devon, I’m heading downstairs. Do you need anything?” Poked his head into the guestroom, eyeing the police officer with his leg propped up, looking highly disgruntled. Apparently he hated being immobile.

“You’re just as screwed up as I am! What could you possibly get me?” Quirking a brow, John glanced down to his shoulder. Bicep and forearm strapped to his chest in one of those horribly uncomfortable slings, he gave a half-shrug, because that was all he could do. “No… thank you. I’m fine.” Grumpy asshole! Only partially understandable at this point, he felt a good smack was in order.

Carefully taking the stairs one at a time, with a hand on the banister, he was happy to navigate into the living room, popping in a movie. Something silly about an udon hut, and the best noodles in the land, or whatever it was. Didn’t make much sense, especially when they went into the following scenes. Eyeing the entire movie in bewilderment, it took him a mere ten minutes before switching discs, settling upon a war movie. Safe enough, right?

Half-way through the flick, the doorbell rang.

“Damn it!” Whine! He didn’t want to get up. Grumbling, he struggled to his feet, stumbling a bit before regaining his footing. To the door!

But who the hell was calling at this hour? It had better be good!

* My parents came to America when I was young; all of our family included. Spending your days in the kitchen as a child, and you can learn almost anything.

** Oh God!

  • Hot Cross BunsLuciana Avellino, Mon May 16 15:10
    He stepped mechanically through the motions, body and mind doing their best to synchronize at the behest of the katas. Muscles once driven to the edge of tension slowly began to loosen up as Sean... more
    • Star Crossed — Caleb Holmes, Tue May 17 02:42
      • Tears of a ClownLucy Avellino, Wed May 18 15:31
        Lucy stood at the top of the steps, toweling her hair dry, and watched Sean stalk out of the kitchen into the foyer. He glanced up, sharing a frustrated glance with his sister before exiting the... more
        • Of Nightmares and DreamsA Company of Miscreants, Wed May 18 19:14
          He had ran. John couldn’t help it. With Sean’s body pressed so tightly against his, he couldn’t bloody think properly! It was an intoxicating experience, the faerie tale sensation broken by the rude... more
          • Codes and RiddlesCaleb Holmes, Wed May 18 23:51
            His chest felt heavy. Beyond that, laden with the weight of the casket. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt as if it were his fault for Beth’s death. If he had never retired, taken Lucy... more
            • Dastardly DeedsLots of Characters, Thu May 19 16:29
              Oh Jesus. The last thing Sean expected was this . . . a large hand settling against his jaw so timidly that the underlying fear just about broke his heart. Any thoughts of gallantly backing out of... more
              • Invention of the A-BombCaleb Holmes, Fri May 20 01:07
                Why could things never be easy? Frowning, John watched Caleb retreat up the stairs, obviously intent on getting at least a modicum of sleep. Why the idiot actually assented to taking over Agent... more
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