Fandoms: Mutant X/Once a Thief
Brennan entered the farmhouse and was led to a study. As the door opened he saw the man who'd taken Jesse sitting behind a large desk. Jesse was sitting in a chair to one side of the room. There was a man holding a gun standing behind him, but he appeared to be unharmed.
"Jesse?" Brennan said after he was announced. Jesse looked up but didn't register any sign of recognition.
"You two know each other?" Rhodes asked. Brennan quickly caught himself and fell into character.
"Yeah," he said boldly. "We've had some business--haven't we, Jess?"
"If by 'business' you mean you stole something from me, yes," Jesse said crossly. Brennan shrugged.
"Hey, you have your way of doing business, I have mine."
"And just what is your business, Mr. Mulwray?"
"I trade in very valuable commodities, right Jesse?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Jesse replied.
"Why don't you explain yourself, Mr. Mulwray?" Rhodes suggested.
"I am in possession of a very valuable data disk from the Nexxogen Corporation."
"And what, precisely, is on this data disk in your possession?"
"Frankly, I have no idea," Brennan admitted. "I'm no scientist. I am, however, a shrewd businessman. Nexxogen wanted whatever's on the disk badly enough to pay me $50,000 up front to get it back. The GSA has been tracking our little friend here halfway across the continent in hopes of getting their hands on the disk. And unless I'm greatly mistaken, you're equally anxious to get your hands on it as well."
"And you are here to name your price," Rhodes said in a bored tone. "How much do you want for it?"
"Well, Jesse's dad was prepared to sell the disk to a buyer in Italy for $250,000," Brennan said cagily. Jesse looked up and glared at him. "I have to imagine that with competitive bidders the price should go up considerably. I'll part with the disk to whoever is willing to pay the most for it."
"And how do I know you actually have the disk?" Rhodes asked.
"Well, Jesse can confirm that, can't you, Jesse?" Brennan said. "But I'm willing to offer additional proof. You'll receive a message from my associate tomorrow with the location of the auction."
"I'm a very impatient man, Mr. Mulwray," Rhodes said, rising to his feet. "Why don't you just name a price now and I'll pay it."
"Now that's not very sporting, is it?" Brennan said as he began to pull on his gloves. "You'll have to excuse me; I have other arrangements to make for tomorrow."
Jesse watched Brennan leave and waited till the door was closed before he spoke.
"So now you know why I was being chased," he said. "And you also know that I've no longer got what you want. Let me go."
"Not so fast, Mr. Kilmartin. I still want to know what's on that disk."
"I don't know!" Jesse shouted in frustration. He rose from his seat as he spoke and Rhodes' minion pushed him back down. "Why don't you believe me?"
"How can I possibly believe you when you've just told me that you had the disk?"
"I have no idea what's on it," Jesse insisted. "My father stole the disk from Nexxogen. He asked me to hold it for him and I put it in a safe place. I never gave it another thought until he asked me to bring it to Canada."
"And he never gave you any indication of what might be on that disk?"
"No!" Jesse cried.
"How is he?" Shalimar asked as she and Mac waited in the bushes.
"It looks as though he's unharmed," Brennan reported as he sped away from the farmhouse on his motorcycle. "Rhodes is quite the smooth operator; he's got a car tailing me. I'll lose it and head back to the Helix. Don't do anything till I get there."
"Gotcha," Shalimar said. She turned to Mac, who was trying to find a more comfortable position to sit in. "Brennan wants us to stay put till he gets back to the Helix. How are you holding up?"
"I'm just peachy," Mac said, wincing in pain.
"Hang in there," she said, patting his knee.
"You can't keep me here," Jesse said.
"Oh, but I can, Mr. Kilmartin," Rhodes said with a smile. "That gun assures it."
"Oh really?" Jesse said rising slowly to his feet. He looked a challenge at the man holding the gun and then started to walk toward the door.
"He will shoot you," Rhodes warned. Jesse turned around and smiled before he simply phased and backed his way through the closed door. The last thing he saw before he turned and ran were the shocked expressions on the faces of Rhodes and his gunman. Outside the house, Shalimar suddenly leaped to her feet and began to run.
"What's happening?" Mac asked as he scrambled to his feet awkwardly.
"Jess has made his move. Where are you, Jess?" she called on the com link.
"I don't know and I'm not in the mood to stop and ask for directions," Jesse replied.
"There are three gorillas coming after me. I left through the rear of the house and entered a small wood."
"Great," Shalimar said as she took off at a run. "You're running away from the Helix. Any chance of circling back?"
"I'll let you know," Jesse replied.
"We're on our way," Shalimar said. She looked back at Mac, who was struggling to keep up. She felt for him but she was more concerned about Jesse's welfare at the moment, so she sprinted into the woods, leaving Mac to fend for himself.
"Go...run," Mac panted. "Don't wait for me. I'll catch up, maybe...someday." He leaned against a tree and fought a wave of nausea. After a moment, he started to run again. But his burst of energy was short lived; he blacked out and fell to the ground.
Brennan was nearly at the entrance to the highway when he spotted a caravan of black cars coming his way. He knew they weren't after him, but his instincts told him that the cars meant trouble. He turned the bike around, no longer caring about the men who were following him.
"We've got company," he warned the others.
"GSA?" Shalimar asked.
"Not unless they suddenly acquired a fleet of vehicles and a dozen more men. I'm guessing they're Mac's people. I knew we couldn't trust him."
"Where's Mac?" Jesse asked breathlessly.
"I left him back at the house. He's in no condition to run anywhere," Shalimar replied. Jesse wanted to know more about Mac's condition, but one of Rhodes' men was closing in on him. It was time to turn and fight.
Brennan reached the farmhouse and jumped off the bike, peeling off his gloves and helmet as he ran into the house. Much to his surprise, he found Rhodes alone.
"You're coming with me," Brennan said. Rhodes reached into his drawer and pulled out a gun.
"I say differently," he said, but the smile that was forming on his lips faded when Brennan conjured up a Tesla coil and shot it from his hand.
"As I was saying..." He closed the distance and took Rhodes by the arm. Rhodes didn't put up a fight and Brennan took him out the back way and led him toward the Double Helix just as the Agency caravan pulled up in front of the house.
The Director emerged from the lead car and immediately started barking orders for her men to go in and get Rhodes. They surrounded the house and entered it while others fanned out and searched the immediate area. One of the men came back a few minutes later and reported that the house was empty.
"I am not pleased," the Director said as another agent called her. She turned around and glared at the sight of two men carrying Mac. "I am extremely displeased."
"Shal, I've got one man down here," Jesse said. "There are two others still out here."
"I've got them in my sights," Shalimar replied.
"I'm on my way back to you."
"No; you head for the Helix. We've got to get out of here."
"I've got Rhodes on the Helix," Brennan cut in. "Both of you get back here. The place is crawling with agents."
"As much as I'd like to stick around and kick a little ass, you're right," Shalimar admitted. "I'm heading back. We'll leave this pair for the Agency to find."
"Hold on," Brennan said. "On second thought, there's a clearing just up ahead of Jesse's position. Head over there and I'll pick you up without you having to evade the Agency's people."
"What about Mac?" Jesse asked as he stared at the spot where the cloaked Helix kicked up dust in the clearing.
"He's with his friends," Brennan said tersely.
"I know what you're thinking. He didn't call them in, Bren," Jesse said as he boarded the jet. "There was no way he could have."
"And yet they just happened to show up here," Brennan said sarcastically.
"He's right, Bren. Mac's been with at least one of us the whole time since leaving the hotel," Shalimar said in Mac's defense but Brennan refused to be swayed.
"We can't just leave him there," Jesse said as the Helix took off.
"Watch me," Brennan said.
"Brennan!" Jesse shouted as Shalimar took his arm.
"We can't go back, Jesse. Brennan's right. Look down there. The place is crawling with agents."
"He was shot," Jesse reasoned.
"It was a fairly minor wound. I treated it myself, but he'll be better off in a hospital for a couple of days. His people will see to it that he's taken care of."
"I hope so," Jesse sighed.
"He's a big boy, Jess," Brennan said.
"I didn't even have the chance to say good bye."
"I know," Shalimar said, "and for what it's worth, I'm sorry."
Mac awoke some time later in the Agency infirmary. He had no idea what time it was or how long he'd been unconscious. He carefully tried to sit up, wincing at the pain in his side.
"So nice of you to rejoin us, Mr. Ramsey," the Director said. Mac looked up and saw her standing in the doorway. "As usual, my timing is impeccable." Mac sighed and laid back as she strode into the room and stood over him.
"Where are Rhodes and Kilmartin?"
"I have no idea," he replied. The Director lifted her hand and for a moment he thought she was going to press it into his wound. But she merely folded her arms and regarded him suspiciously.
"I'm telling the truth. I passed out."
"Who shot you? And who bandaged your injury?"
"Jesse and I were taken by Rhodes and his men. I put up a fight and was shot. When I came to we were at that house. I was bandaged. As soon as we had a chance, we tried to escape. Jesse got away, but I didn't make it. Guess I'd lost too much blood."
"From a flesh wound?" the Director said doubtfully. "What became of the others?"
"I have no--." Mac sat up abruptly and nearly passed out from the wave of pain that overtook him. "Wait! Jesse gone?"
"We found neither hide nor hair of either man and believe me, we searched quite thoroughly."
Mac just stared into space for several minutes. In his heart he knew that Jesse had to be safe. Shalimar and Brennan must have been successful in getting both him and Rhodes out of Canada. But he couldn't be sure, not without some kind of proof.
"How long have I been unconscious?"
"About two hours; they insisted on letting you rest. Something about delayed shock. I was all for reviving you immediately." The Director walked to the door and turned around. "Get well soon, Mac. I have another assignment for you."
"Another solo assignment?"
"Oh, yes. There's no reason why Liann or Vic should be punished, is there? Neither of them has failed miserably." With that she walked out, leaving Mac to his troubled thoughts.
Vic Mansfield stepped off the elevator and strode over to Mac's door. He'd been away for two weeks, first at an international conference of security agencies and then on an assignment in Banff. On his first day back at work, he'd missed seeing Mac by just a few minutes and decided on impulse to stop by his place and drag him out for a beer. He knocked on Mac's door and received no answer. He knocked a second time when he heard movement inside the apartment, but again he got no response. Frowning, Vic put his ear to the door for a second and reached for his gun. He stepped to the side of the door and knocked again.
"Come on Mac, I know you're in there."
The door opened and Vic rested the muzzle of his revolver at the throat of the stranger who opened the door. He wore an unbuttoned shirt and jeans and gave every appearance of having made himself comfortable in Mac's home.
"Strange way to greet your friend, isn't it?" Jesse said with more composure than Vic would have expected.
"You're no friend of mine, pal," he said tersely as he pushed Jesse inside the apartment. "Who are you and why are you in Mac's apartment?"
"I'm a friend of Mac's and I'm visiting him," Jesse said as he sat down, apparently oblivious to the gun Vic still pointed at him.
"I haven't the faintest idea," Jesse said.
"Look," Vic said angrily as he grabbed Jesse by his shirt.
Mac held up the bag containing takeout and inhaled deeply before he stepped off the elevator. He looked up when he heard the sound of Vic's voice coming from inside his apartment. He ran to the door, which was wide open, and took in the scene before him.
"Vic, what the hell are you doing?"
"You know this guy?" Vic said tersely.
"If I say yes will you let him go and put the big gun away?" Mac said warily. He gazed at Jesse, who shrugged. Vic withdrew the gun and let Jesse go. Jesse calmly sat back in the chair as Vic re-holstered his gun.
"What are you doing here?" Mac asked, his eyes glued to Jesse's bare feet.
"He asked you a question," Vic said threateningly. Mac looked up.
"I was talking to you, Vic," he said as if coming out of a fog.
"I just got back into town and thought I'd drop by and get caught up on what's been happening these last two weeks. You know, maybe have a beer."
"I've got company."
"I can see that," Vic said. He cleared his throat awkwardly. "Another time, maybe."
"Yeah," Mac replied. "Give me a call."
Vic nodded and backed away as Mac returned his gaze to Jesse. Vic noted that Jesse's eyes had never left Mac. Vic wondered what there was between the two of them and decided that he didn't want to know.
"Bye," he said sheepishly. He closed the door and stood there for a moment. He shook his head and went back to the elevator.
Jesse rose to his feet as soon as the door closed. Mac dropped the bag and they closed the distance between each other. They stood inches apart, close enough to hear each other breathing. Mac reached up and caressed Jesse's cheek as he brought their mouths together. Jesse pulled off Mac's jacket as their tongues met and tangled. He ran his hands up and down the sides of Mac's torso. Mac held Jesse's face till he needed more and pulled Jesse to him, pressing their bodies together.
"When did you get here?" Mac asked as he trailed kisses along Jesse's throat. His hands began to peel off Jesse's shirt as he spoke. He gave a brief thought to the cameras and other listening devices in the place. He assumed that Jesse had dealt with them and if he hadn't Mac was really beyond caring at the moment.
"About two hours ago. I've been bored out of my skull," Jesse replied between kisses.
Mac stripped off Jesse's shirt to get at bare skin. Jesse's hands were equally busy, tearing at Mac's shirt and pants and insistently tugging him toward the bedroom. He pushed Mac down on the bed so he could finish undressing him and then stripped off his own pants. Mac grabbed Jesse and rolled him over onto his back.
It was Mac's dream come true. He'd dreamt of making love to Jesse since the night they met. Circumstances had prevented it earlier and Mac had been haunted the past ten days by vivid memories of all too brief kisses and whispered words. Now Jesse was here like some wet dream come to life, warm and yielding, writhing and moaning as Mac explored his body. He kissed every inch of Jesse's face before reclaiming his mouth while his hands roved over his torso. Mac reluctantly withdrew from his lips to kiss Jesse's throat, shoulders and chest. He kissed, licked, and nipped his way down Jesse's pecs.
"How long can you stay?" he managed to ask despite his sudden fascination with the undulation of Jesse's abdomen.
"I've got a few days," Jesse replied. "We've decided to establish a safe house up here. After our run-in with your boss we decided that we need one for those mutants who've decided to settle in your neck of the woods."
"Cool," Mac said, making a mental note to ask questions later. At the moment he had another agenda. He lowered his head to dance his tongue over Jesse's erection. Jesse's groan in response was all the invitation Mac required. He took it into his mouth savored the sensation and the taste of his lover. Jesse groaned and squirmed as Mac worked his magic. When he could no longer stand it, Jesse pushed Mac off and rolled over onto his stomach.
"Make love to me, Mac," he panted.
Mac shifted his position and began to kiss Jesse's back as he reached toward the nightstand. Blindly opening the drawer, he felt around for a moment for lube. Not finding it, he frowned and turned to look in the drawer.
"I didn't think you'd mind if I took a few liberties," Jesse said, rolling over to look up at Mac. Mac frowned again as Jesse reached into the drawer for a condom and began to unwrap it. "You see, I had two hours to kill..."
Mac swallowed hard as Jesse rolled the condom onto him. When he was done, he reached for the lube, which was under the pillow. As he lubricated the condom, he continued to explain.
"As I said earlier, I was bored and I figured that when you finally got home I might be more than ready to jump your bones. So I thought I should be prepared." He smiled lewdly and Mac swallowed again. "Of course, your friend showed up and I had to get dressed again, which completely ruined my plan to greet you in..."
Jesse never completed the sentence. Having agreed that being ready for Mac was an excellent idea, he wasted no time in taking advantage of Jesse's thoughtful gesture.
At some point during their energetic lovemaking, Jesse had become entangled in the sheets. He laughed about it as they recovered from their exertions.
"I knew that you were a kinky bastard, Mac," Jesse said, "but I never suspected you were into bondage." Mac sat up and extricated his legs.
"I just wanted to make sure you'd be sticking around for a while," he said as he laid back again and pulled Jesse into his arms.
"Why would I want to be anywhere else?" Jesse replied with a kiss to Mac's chest. They were silent for a few minutes and Jesse had nearly fallen asleep when Mac spoke again.
"You just disappeared," he said softly. He lightly stroked Jesse's back. "I had no way of knowing whether you were alive or dead."
"I know, Mac, but it was out of my hands. Believe me; I wouldn't have left you like that. The last time I saw you, you'd just been shot. Shal and Bren assured me that you were okay but I've been worried sick." Jesse's hand slid down Mac's side and lightly ghosted over the still-healing wound.
"I'm sure Brennan couldn't wait to get you out of Canada," Mac replied with a kiss to Jesse's hair. "So what's this about a safe house?"
"We like to have a few places where new mutants can hide when the heat's on. I'm up here to scout for a site in the area."
"Need any help?"
"I'd love some," Jesse said before nibbling on Mac's lips. "Have you got some free time?"
"For you? All weekend," Mac said, returning the kiss with interest. "Unless the she-devil comes calling to find out why her spyware is on the fritz."
"She won't," Jesse said. "As far as she's concerned, your place is empty. She's looking at virtual--." Mac kissed Jesse into silence.
"Spare me the technical details. So, you'll find a safe house and set it up. Then what?"
"Then I go home."
"I hate this plan," Mac frowned. Jesse smiled and kissed away his pout.
"Of course, every safe house has to be maintained."
"Well, all the safe houses back in the States are checked over and restocked at least once a month. And it would be especially important to make sure that all the security and monitoring systems are in working order."
"Sounds time-consuming," Mac said between kisses.
"Nah; it can be done in a weekend--with plenty of time left over for other things."
"I like doing 'other things' on weekends," Mac said archly.
"I was hoping you might." Jesse sat up and gazed at Mac. "Look--I'm not asking for any sort of commitment or anything, but I would like to think--I hope--." Mac pulled Jesse back into his arms.
"You come; I'll be waiting here with open arms," he said. "Of course, if the dragon lady has me off working somewhere--."
"I can give you a means of contacting me," Jesse said. "And I can try to time my visits to when you're free."
"And what if I was to wander across the border every now and again?"
"Even Mutant X gets the occasional vacation," Jesse smiled. "I can take some time off."
"I actually met a member of Mutant X on vacation, remember?"
"Oh yeah," Jesse said as he rolled over so that he was lying on top of Mac. "This doesn't hurt, does it?"
"Other than the fact that you're lying there doing nothing productive, no."
"I'd better do something, then," Jesse said. He lifted Mac's face and kissed him as Mac ran his hands over Jesse's back.
"I have a few ideas," Mac said when he was free to speak again. He whispered something in Jesse's ear just as Brennan activated the com link.
"Jess? Got your ears on?" Brennan asked. Jesse pulled away from Mac and removed his ring. He placed it on the nightstand and settled into Mac's arms once more.