Pairing: Welsey/ Cross (Not Relatives)
Spoilers: For the movie
Warnings: AU, violence, language, h/c, m/m
Summary: For his entire life, Welsey has lived in a world of lies and half-truths. Now he must face the truth of it all.
Notes: I didn't really buy the whole 'Cross being Wesley's father' thing. They look nothing a like and it just seemed odd. Nice twist in the movie but I thought he wouldn't kill Welsey for different reasons, like he was a friend of Welsey's dad or something. So, that's what this fic is. Cross is not Welsey's dad, but a friend of his. Welsey's dad was killed by the Fraternity because he founded the other group that opposed them, including recruiting Cross. So, they framed Cross for the murder.
-I actually take some dialogue from the film and try to stay true to the tone of the scene when Pekwarsky confronts Wesley about his dad, so there is some angst and tears but he did cry in the movie.
Extra Extra Notes: You guys have been great. Thank you for the feedback.
Disclaimers: Not mine! I am also using some dialogue from the movie in the fic. Again, this is not mine, The characters and the movie belong to the studios and producers. Quote is by Bertrand Russell, not by me.
"In the part of this universe that we know is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which is more annoying."
As I stepped into the make-shift lunch room, Pekwarsky walked over to me. The old man moved surprisingly swiftly, his movements smooth and coordinated from his years of training as the perfect assassin. No one made it to old age in the Fraternity unless they were the best. Judging from the look on his face, he was not all too happy about the news he was about to give me.
"He is awake."
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I had left Wesley's side early this morning, hesitant to be there when he would awaken. I had gone for a run and sparred with Mage during the morning. I had just taken a shower and was on my way for something to eat. But the sudden thought of confronting Wesley made the idea of food unwelcome.
I could still remember the way he had struggled against me, frantic to escape. Those sense memories had kept me awake all night, my mind moving over and over again over what had happened. But I knew that I was the one responsible for him now. His father had entrusted me with Wesley's protection and I couldn't abandon him now.
"You should bring him food. The boy hasn't eaten for three days."
I nodded and grabbed two sandwiches and a small, plastic container of juice. I paused as he opened a packet of white powder and poured it into the drink. As I turned to go, he reached out and placed a hand on my shoulder. The touch was friendly and welcomed, a silent gesture of support.
"You should bring something for yourself to eat."
Not for the first time I wondered if the man had some psychic abilities. A vague shimmer of memory swam before my eyes of a conversation about this very topic with a beautiful dark-haired woman. I banished the images away, compartmentalizing it deep into my mind. I needed to focus on the task at hand.
"I'm not very hungry."
"You might be later."
His voice was full of a certain wisdom that only age would bring. Experiencing the world as it changes through the ages allowed people to learn enormous amounts of things, if they were willing to learn. I knew I should trust his advice, but I didn't follow it.
His hand tightened on my arm, not in agitation but in genuine concern. "You are very good at reading people, Cross. And you've known him for a long time. Trust that."
I hesitated, unwillingly to freely admit what has been bothering me since Fox had taken him away. "I am . . . different around him."
"And you don't know why you've changed after twenty years in the Fraternity." No answer was needed. He knew that he was right. "It is not a weakness to care about someone. Allan taught you that. He taught us all how to be human again."
I turned away and this time he let me leave. I knew that he was right but I was not ready to talk about this yet. So much needed to be said, but there never seemed to be a right time to do so. The world had always been a complicated place to live in. It was even worse for outcasts, people who struggled to know who they were and where they belonged. As gifted as the members of the Fraternity were, we were among the most isolated from every one else.
Perhaps that was what made it easier to take a life.
I stood outside his door and paused to sense what was going on in the room. I sighed heavily and placed the food onto the table that was just outside the room. It would be useless to risk spilling it. I pulled the key out of my pocket, the cheap bronze metal glinting in the sunlight from the window nearby. As I slipped the key into the lock, my body tensed, muscles tightening in anticipation and my heart speeding up. It wouldn't be a deadly fight but my instincts didn't know that.
As I opened the door, the expected arm swung out at me. I ducked easily and used the momentum to stop the other fist that flew at me. I caught the hand and twisted it around, forcing Wesley's arm behind his back. The movement caused him to slam up into me and I locked my left arm around his neck. Its a perfect mimicry from our first position on the train when I had attempted to speak with him. Before Fox had shot out from her car with deadly percission.
Apparently, he caught the irony as well because he stopped fighting me. It was also futile for him to struggle; this hold was particular to keeping someone immobile without harming them. I didn't let him go, my cheek pressed against his. He was breathing hard, but not hyperventilating. It made me wonder whether he had truly wanted to escape. After all, there was nowhere for him to run to now.
"I'm not going to hurt you."
"I'm not going to hurt you."
You know, he kept saying that. And I was starting to believe him, something that freaked me out. I barely knew Cross and what little I did was shrouded in mystery. If I wanted to truly know who he was, I'd have to take it on faith - not something I've ever been big on.
But I couldn't move, this fucking frustrating twisted hold was like having iron bands trapping me. And my mind was still fuzzy from those goddamned drugs they pumped into me for who knows how long. Thankfully, they had left a pitcher of water in the room but that was gone now. There wasn't a hell of a lot to do but trust a man I didn't know.
I relaxed with a loud sigh, biting back my frustration. After a moment, he let me go, stepping away from me carefully. He walked to the threshold of the door and grabbed something that was behind it. He brought in a pair of sandwiches and a drink and it looked like some sort of lame magic trick. He closed the door slowly behind him, watching me with this strange look in his eyes.
The thought struck me as weird. Then I remembered; something that I had been mulling over for the past half an hour. Yeah, I should know what color his eyes were, considering how close we were last night. Was it last night? God, how long had I been here?
He handed me the food and I took it calmly. He started to move towards the bed and my heart started to pound again. And the really fucking confusing part was that it wasn't 100% fear. Yeah, I was definitely nervous but there was also something else there, something I wasn't quite sure what to make of yet. But he sat down in the chair next to the bed, his posture straight and stiff.
Well, there really wasn't anywhere else to sit and I was starting to get dizzy again, the sudden exhertion having taken a hell of a lot out of me. So I walked over to the bed and moved to sit down in the middle, resting my back against the backboard. Cross watched me the whole time, his calculating gaze taking in my every move. Did he still think I was gonna run, 'cause I felt like telling him I wasn't in any shape to go anywhere.
Again, he remained stoically silent. And I wished I could maintain such a blank expression, a calm exterior that revealed nothing of the thoughts or emotions inside. Apparently, everything I felt was right there on my face.
Suddenly uncomfortable, I drank down the orange juice and started in on my sandwich. Once I had taken the first bite, I paused. " Its ham cheese. How - how did you know I eat that?"
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I winced at how stupid they sounded. Ham and cheese wasn't exactly a specialty. But he didn't make fun of me, call me a moron for saying something so stupid. Instead, he frowned and looked slightly perplexed.
"Its your favorite sandwich. You eat it every Tuesday and Thursday night at the diner two blocks from your house."
He said it so matter-of-factly. Damn, I'd almost forgotten that he's apparently been watching me for a while now. The details of the conversation were kinda fuzzy but I remembered something to that effect. Again, my wonderfully expressive face showed my surprise and he shifted in his seat a little. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was either embarrassed or mentally calling himself a moron. Either way, it left an awkward silence in the room. And I hated silence. But, of course, I had no idea what to say to him, especially now.
Well, he helped with that, too.
He leaned forward in his seat slightly, catching my full attention by how serious he looked. "I . . . wanted to apologize for what happened last night. We have used that technique for years in the Fraternity. It is generally frowned upon to use drugs for anything, let alone to calm our nerves. It slows out reflexes and we have to be alert at all times. Our bodies are not supposed to get used to passivity. "
My mind flashed back to when Sloan had taken my bottle of pills away the first time I had met him.
"So, they developed a way to ease the tension. It is not the most creative method but it always works. But you were not aware of that, let alone agreeable to it. I should not have used that on you."
I flinched at the words, unable to not show my surprise. Gotta hand it to the guy. You never quite know what's gonna come outta his mouth. And he did look fucking upset about it. I understood where he was going with this. "What - no. No. I mean, I was out of it a little. But I wasn't that out of it. I mean - " I knew I was blushing, and god, this was an embarrassing conversation to have with a guy I didn't even know. " - it wasn't something I didn't want. And it did help. I just . . . freaked out a little. I don't normally have sex with a guy I just met. It was just sudden - not bad, just sudden."
A series of emotions flashed so quickly over his face that I couldn't figure out what they were at all. But then, he smiled at me and looked really relieved.
"Good. That's good."
And the awkwardness returned. But I decided to interrupt it this time.
"You, want the other sandwich?" I caught the hesitation in him. "I'm not really all that hungry right now and its weird to eat alone."
At that, he smiled again and took the other sandwich that I held out for him. I couldn't help the thought that he was just humoring me. His fingers brushed mine, and it did seem accidental, but it sent a pleasurable jolt through my arm. And he didn't seem to be affected, or else he was really good at hiding it, which was entirely possible.
We both started to eat and he spoke again. I get the feeling that he caught on to the fact that I didn't like silence and I wasn't quite sure I liked the fact that he knew me so well and could read me so easily.
"How are you feeling?"
At first, I was confused about which thing he was actually referring to. But he didn't have any hint of innuendo in his tone, just genuine concern. I paused while I chewed on the sandwich and thought.
"A lot better, actually. What the hell is in that drink? It just can't be orange juice. Vitamin C isn't that effective."
He laughed a little at that, and I gotta say, I liked that reaction. "Its a special combination of old world ingrediants that Pekwarsky found in the Amazon shortly after the people who left the Fraternity started dying from the toxin."
"You make it sound like a lot of people left. I've only heard about you."
"Not surprising. Sloan wouldn't have wanted you to think that more people had defected. It would serve to make you question the validity of the Fraternity's mission. No, people did leave. "
I took another drink of the orange juice, my curiosity spiked. No one, not Sloan or Fox, had ever explained to me anything about the Fraternity's past, or for that matter, present status. "How many?"
"More than you're think."
Great. His answer was just as cryptic as he was. Visible, but a mystery. "Why did they leave? I mean, what made them question the code?"
Cross had finished his sandwich and looked decidedly more comfortable than the ram-rod straight tension magnet he'd been when he'd walked in. Had he really been that worried about what had happened last night? Jesus, no one had been that concerned about me for years. "Your father. He was a great man, an enigmatic one. And a kind one; something, as I am sure you know, is rare in our circle."
The mention of my father made me look down at the bed, my thoughts a storm of questions that I was not so sure I wanted the answers to. Well, the light atmosphere was nice while it had lasted. The one positive thing right now was that I'd found someone who was actually easy for me to talk to. He hadn't judged me and had really listened to what I'd had to say without smashing me in the face for speaking.
And he sensed the change, too. I could hear it in his voice. "You should learn about your father. Are you ready to know the truth now?"
Sure, its gonna be like ripping off a band aide. I nodded, not trusting my voice. I didn't want to seem weak again, Cross had already seen enough of that. He stood up and motioned to the dresser. I got up, surprisingly steady this time, and walked over to the wooden dresser. Curious now, I opened it and found some clothes inside. Actual, walking- around clothes. And they'd been in my room the whole time. Yeah, I was definitley the man.
I was about to question Cross on it when I heard the door shut. For a split second I was worried that he had locked me in. The thought evaporated just as quickly. I had that strange feeling again: that I could trust him. You'd think after everything I'd been through that that would be a hard commodity for me to sell so easily. Guess not for everyone. But I was still wary of him, that nagging thought in the back of my mind. I had lousy taste in finding trustworthy people.
I put on a pair of jeans and changed into a dark blue t-shirt. Remembering the jacket that he had been wearing, I also grabbed a black hoodie. The clothes were a little big but not excessively so. I also put on the socks and the sneakers that I had been wearing on the train, which were dry. How long had I been out of it? Fully dressed and feeling more confident now that I had a few barriers between me and whatever waited outside, I walked out the door.
The short walk to Pekwarsky's office was fairly quiet. Wesley asked how long he'd been here and where we were. I answered the first honestly, and the second vaguely. I wasn't ready to fully reveal where we were, just in case he still decided to run. The more lost he felt here, the better chance that he wouldn't get very far. I fought the impulse with unexpected difficulty. Wesley had been lied to for a while now and it didn't help my credibility to keep him in the dark.
When we walked into the room, Wesley paused to take it in, more out of curiosity than the observant training the Fraternity had tried to beat into him. His face was open and perplexed, making him look like the youth he really was. It was nice to know that they hadn't taken that from him, a part of his soul salvaged from the wreck. The room was sparse but meticulously decorated for design and efficiency. Books lined the back wall, dusty volumes of unknown wealth and incalculable value. A mahogany table was in the center, the place that I had been sitting at last night now filled with books and various sheets of paper. The windows to the right side of the room were open, letting in the warm sunshine and the crisp mountain air. It smelled of Fall and the coming Winter.
Wesley walked over to the fireplace that was lit up on the left side of the room. The sudden chill must feel especially uncomfortable given how ill he still felt. The medicine was very effective but not an instant cure. He must still be experiencing the effects but not willing to show it, most likely seeing that as a weakness. I suppressed the unreasonable anger that the thought brought. I couldn't change the past, so why dwell on it.
Pekwarsky turned slightly from where he was standing by the window, the light reflecting off his face making it seem lighter of the burdens I knew he bore. "How are you feeling, Wesley?"
The boy shifted and looked over at me, as though he thought it was a trick question with some deeper meaning. I offered him a small smile, not able to show any true confidence in this. I knew that Wesley needed to know the truth but my stomach churned at the idea.
I wasn't sure if he was ready for this.
Pekwarsky finally turned away from the window and the peace it offered and placed his full attention on Wesley. He took a few steps closer to the boy and gestured at a pile of framed photographs on the table. I saw Wesley walk towards it and watched as he picked them up, examining them, finally seeing into the reality that he could never escape from.
"I promised your father that I would show you these, when it was time. He said it was the only way that you would believe. Your father was never more than a camera click away. "
I barely heard Pekwarsky's voice as I looked from one photo to the next. My throat tightened and it was hard to catch my breath. It wasn't another panic attack, it felt like something much worse. A darkness that was seeping inside me. "Its me. You really knew my father. And they killed him." A sudden horrible thought hit me like a sledgehammer. I looked over at Cross. "I could have killed you, killed everything he worked for. Everything he died for."
Cross's face was a blank stoic mask, offering nothing and showing even less. He'd had that same look in the supermarket.
Pekwarsky continued. "To your father, protecting you was worth more than his own life. He chose to run, to leave you and draw them away. He entrusted Cross as your guardian because he is the best, after your father. And his most trusted student. As soon as he became too large of a threat, Sloan preyed on that weakness and manipulated you into trying to kill him."
I stared at Cross, my horror worsening with every word the old man spoke. Cross looked down at the floor, but his face remained completely devoid of anything, inhuman. Why didn't he say something? Anything?Yell at me. Call me an idiot, a weak-minded moron. Anything. But he didn't. He didn't do anything.
"I thought you were trying to fucking kill me!" My words were full of an anger that I didn't know I had, the darkness consuming me with its vile, impotent anger and all-comsuming pain.
But it was Pekwarsky who answered, even though I was staring at the man I had wanted to kill just three days before. "No. He was trying to rescue you."
The images, my memories, came rushing back to me with the strength of hurricane winds. The supermarket, the chase, the alley, the train. Even the room. In the raging waters of my mind, I could still hear Pekwarsky's voice as he persisted with his tale.
"When Cross killed Mr. X, it was the final straw for Sloan. He hunted you down. Ever since Fox got her teeth into you, he's been trying to separate you from them." There was a pause, like the old man was tiring of the story he was forced to tell. "Your father never wanted you in the Fraternity, Wesley. He wanted . . . a different path for you."
Another memory sped before my eyes in a macabre show of regret. The Exterminator. He had been following me that night, leading Cross to me. He had been one of them, one of Cross's people. Trying to save me. It all made sense now; why he was so kind to me. He hadn't been taught that compassion from the Fraternity. He'd learned that from my father, from Pekwarsly, and from Cross.
And I'd killed him.
I turned away from them, unable to stop my tears and yet not willing to show them either. I leaned my arms up against the top of the fireplace, my forehead slamming into the hard surface. All this time. All this time I had been trying to kill the only people in the world that gave a damn about me. The only ones who hadn't used me as a pawn. And by my own hand a good man had died trying to protect me. And many more would have followed.
The sobs hurt, constricting my chest, made it even harder to breathe. My anger had turned viciously into a whirlpool of pain that threatened to drag me down into the darkness. I could feel the grief strangling me from the inside, unable to find an outlet in its massive force. I slammed my forehead against the marble again, seeking some sort of distraction. God, anything. It hadn't even hurt this bad as I had watched my mother, the only person I had thought had ever loved me, die of early-onset Alzheimer's. Nothing even came close to this.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, warmth seeping through my clothing to chase the chill away. I knew who it was. And instead of helping, god, it just made it worse. His hand tightened on my shoulder, tugging at me gently. No. I pulled away. No. Damnit, just leave me be to have this alone, let me just . . . fall. It would have ended up at that platform, on the train. Their biggest threat could have just be allowed to fall.
But he didn't let me. Just like on the train, he didn't let me go.
I didn't struggle the second time he pulled at my arm. I didn't have the strength or the will to fight him. When would this just fucking end? I had hated my life before, but I had understood what my existence had been. I didn't even know who the fuck I was anymore. Was I a savior? A vigilante? A murderer?
I buried my head in Cross's shoulder, trying to hide from the world and my thoughts. And I knew I couldn't do either. I couldn't stop the violent sobs that shook my body but at least it was quiet; small sounds and harsh breathing which were mostly muffled. He held me tightly, giving me a strength that I desperately needed but just couldn't reach. I could feel his cheek pressed against the side of my head, a subtle gesture of closeness. He didn't say anything and I was grateful for that. I didn't want hollow platitudes.
"He wanted a better life for you. With things that he could never have; a home, peace." Pekwarsky's disembodied voice sounded different now; sad, from his memories or for myself, I didn't know.
My hands tightened on Cross's shirt, the pain swelling to even higher levels of grief that I didn't know existed. All this time. All this time my father had loved me, been with me. He hadn't abandoned me, left because he couldn't stand the thought of being my father. Lies. Then the half-truths: my father was an assassin that had not thought enough of me to follow in his footsteps and he hadn't thought that I was good enough to join the Fraternity.
I had never understood the saying ' drowning on dry land.' But, damnit, I was slipping below the surface with alarming ease. I felt Cross's arms tighten around me, one hand rubbing my back and the other weaving fingers into my hair to hold my head closer to his shoulder. It hurt, but it helped, too. It was forgiveness and acceptance.
"He hoped that you would find your own way."
And that was it. It was over. No more words, no more pain that had flowed from them. It was one hell of a fucking band aide to rip off and the pain had been agonizing, but it was done. Now I was left to bear the agony and, somehow, move past it. Mom had taught me that, when she had still been able to remember who I was.
There was no more sound in the room, except for the snap and crackle of the fire that was nearby but did nothing to warm me. The only thing that had chased away the cold was the warmth I could feel seeping from him into me. It was a long time before I could calm myself down, to step back from the precipice that he was holding me back from. I still clung to him, desperate for the connection. And he didn't let me go; one hand keeping me close, the other trying to soothe the tremors that continued to wrack my body long after the tears had stopped.
I turned my head and looked over at the window, catching a glance at Pekwarsky. I'd forgotten he was still in the room. The old man was staring into the fire, his face a guise of weariness and sadness. I realized that it wasn't just me that had lost my father. He must have meant everything to them. He had given them the strength and sanctuary to seek their own freedom. And he was gone, leaving them - us - to continue the fight. To end it.
I took a deep breath, hesitant to leave this safety but needing to get out of here. I pulled back a little, not able to look Cross in the eye. "I need some air."
I could feel his stare, but I couldn't look up. I hoped that he wouldn't ask, wouldn't push; that he would just follow me.
And he did.
He nodded and walked closely behind me as we went to stand on the balcony in my room. I hadn't even known that it was there until he pulled the thick curtains back. It was small, but large enough for a few people to comfortably lean against the ivory railings. The fresh air hit my face, the coolness sweeping over my cheeks and soothing the redness that was there. I leaned heavily on the railing, not really caring whether or not it was secure. I doubt they would have left me in here if it wasn't.
He moved to lean next to me on the railing, looking out over the beautiful mountains that seemed to surround us for miles. There were no cities or villages, just land. It felt peaceful. But I tilted in towards him, needing that link again. He moved his arm around me to rest his hand on the other side of the railing. He was pressed against my right side, but not overwhelmingly so. His head was slightly behind mine as we both continued to look out over the vast stretches of land. I cleared my throat, finding it sore when I spoke.
"So, how do we kill them? All of them."