Cover by Jade8624
Mike has been the Jonases' caseworker for the better part of five years, which seems absurd in retrospect. But theirs was the first file Zed had shoved across his desk, saying, "Here's an easy one for you to start with. Nice family, just moved into town." Then he'd chuckled, and Mike had still been new enough to the Agency that he hadn't realized what the chuckle meant. The chuckle meant that he should have shoved his shiny, black, regulation shoe up Zed's ass.
He has other cases too, of course. There are only so many non-Agent personnel working for the MIB, and thousands of cases to handle. For the most part, Mike's cases are easy enough. They check in on time, they don't get into trouble. Efron occasionally has issues remembering to keep his skin pigmentation within normal human levels, but reminders at his monthly check-ins ("You're orange again, Zac." "Oh. I am?") keep problems to a minimum. But the Jonases. Oh, the Jonases.
Zed was right when he'd said they were a "nice family". They are a nice family. Incredibly nice and impeccably polite, and Denise makes him cookies every time he stops by to check on them. They're thankful to the MIB for granting them asylum, and they never so much as bend any of the rules the MIB had laid out for their lives on Earth. But there's only so much one human, MIB authorized caseworker or not, can take.
"Seriously, Kevin? Really?" Mike paces back and forth -- six steps each way from the wall with the tiny, high window to the wall with the door, seven going crosswise. This is ridiculous. "I halfway expected this from Joe," he says, "You were supposed to be the one who didn't get into trouble!"
Kevin, who has tucked himself into a corner and is trying to turn invisible (which is actually not possible for his species, but trying never hurt anyone), says, "I didn't mean to get kidnapped!"
Mike abruptly stops pacing and leans against the wall opposite Kevin, the beam of light from the (stupid fucking inaccessible) window bisecting the room between them. He runs a hand through his hair, still missing the six-plus inches of it that he'd had to cut off when he joined the Agency.
Kevin is right, of course. It isn't his fault. But still. "Three times," Mike insists. "Three. And there's still one of you left to go. Do you know how many kidnappings I've had to deal with for all of my other cases?"
Kevin shakes his head and looks nervous.
"None. Zero. Absolutely none of my other cases have been kidnapped. Ever."
Kevin looks at the door, then at the ceiling. "Um. But the one was just that crazy girl Nick met in Barstow! I mean, it wasn't because of... y'know." He gestures at himself with one hand, and Mike rolls his eyes. The alien thing, yes.
Mike had turned on his emergency tracking beacon when they'd been thrown in the room, but without knowing exactly why Kevin (and, by extension, Mike) has been kidnapped in the first place, or by whom, there's really no way to know when they'll be rescued. The MIB, despite their reputation in certain circles, prefer diplomacy over gunfights, and diplomacy usually takes significantly longer. Mike settles in to wait.
As it turns out, the Jonases are some kind of nobility on their home planet, the name of which Mike can't actually pronounce.
(He'd tried, at first, until Denise gently took him aside and informed him that his efforts were noted but he really didn't need to keep butchering their language. He calls the place Quazix, which everyone had agreed was good enough.)
Or rather, they had been nobility, under the rule of the Emperor, but when a small revolutionary movement became a large revolutionary movement and deposed the Emperor -- he was very, very deposed, Mike gathered -- the Jonases (which isn't their real name, but Mike can't pronounce that, either) and several of the other noble families had made a deal with the revolutionary government. They would leave the planet, permanently, and in return the revolutionaries wouldn't kill them.
The first kidnapped Jonas had been Frankie, and Mike hadn't been the one to get him back (that was Agent work), but he'd been the one to sit with the family at MIB headquarters and wait for news. He'd hated every second of it, and he'd really wished he was an Agent for a while there, so he could go out and blast the assholes who'd taken Frankie to hell and back. The kidnappers had been part of a royalist sect who were planning a revolution against the revolutionary government, and they had been planning to make Frankie the new Emperor or something. They'd been permanently banned from Earth space; Mike wished he had had the chance to rip their heads off with his bare hands.
The second kidnapped Jonas had been Nick, and the kidnapper was, in fact, a crazy girl from Barstow who was convinced that 1) they were in love, and 2) she was carrying Nick's baby. No one had quite been able to figure the second part out, but she had been quick enough to let Nick go when Agents G and W showed up at her front door and showed her Nick's picture, explaining that a dangerous fugitive -- wanted for multiple homicides -- was on the run and thought to be hiding out nearby. (Nick had not been amused; Joe thought it was hilarious and convinced G to give him the wanted poster so he could hang it in his bedroom.)
After the second kidnapping, Mike had gone to Zed and suggested that the Jonas family be transferred to someone who was actually trained and experienced in high-risk cases. What he got for his trouble was a pep talk about his rapport with the family (which was accidental; they had invited three-quarters of the MIB to their summer barbecue, it wasn't Mike's fault that he was the only one who'd actually gone to it and suffered through fourteen courses of imported Quazix delicacies before begging off to go walk the dog he didn't actually have). Then Zed had patted him on the back and said, "Keep up the good work, junior," as Mike scowled his way out of the office, only realizing when he was halfway down the hall that Zed had slipped the Efron casefile into his arms. Son of a bitch.
For the first hour or so of their imprisonment, Kevin had tried to fill the awkward silence with updates for Mike about everything that had been going on with his family, from the previous night's dinner to Frankie's spelling tests. Mike actually was listening -- he's still their caseworker, and some of Kevin's babble might be important later; it's always hard to tell -- but after that first hour or so, Kevin had fallen silent.
Another hour or so passes quietly before Mike notices that Kevin is shivering. No, he's shaking and a bit pale, fuck. Fuck, fuck, motherfucker.
"When did you eat?" Mike's across the room and checking Kevin's pulse in the space between one shiver and the next. Kevin looks worse up close, and fuck, Mike's the worst caseworker in the world; he should've remembered, or thought to ask, at least.
"Last night?" Kevin ventures, shaky-voiced and embarrassed, and Mike only barely resists the urge to smack him.
The kidnappings are far from the only crisis he's had to deal with since the Jonases were assigned to him. Long before the first kidnapping, they had discovered that the Quazix digestive system and metabolism handled Earth food in strange ways. It was the worst for Nick, who already had an enzyme deficiency that kept everyone on their toes (metaphorically speaking) about his diet on his home planet. He'd very nearly died before MIB scientists had come up with a careful schedule of required foods and supplements that would keep him alive and healthy. The whole family had been put on a strict regimen, and if Kevin had only eaten "last night", he was well and truly off it.
Mike gets to his feet and starts pounding on the door with his fists. There has to be a guard out there somewhere; if their kidnappers were so stupid as to leave them unguarded, they would have already been rescued.
"Hey!" He yells at the plate of steel in front of his face, "I know you're out there!" He pounds on the door a few more times for emphasis. "We need food, assholes!"
A slit in the door, level with Mike's chest but only about an inch high, opens up. The voice that comes through is male, with an American accent, something Midwestern. "You'll get food when we decide you get food," the voice says; trying to sound tough, Mike recognizes. These are obviously not hardened criminals he's dealing with. He glances over at Kevin, who has tucked himself into his corner tightly, still shivering.
"Fuck you, man!" Mike yells, then, thinking fast, "He's diabetic! So get some fucking food in here or you're gonna have a dead hostage, you get me?" Okay, so it's actually the cover they had thought up for Nick -- the rest of the family didn't even need a cover for their diet -- but if their illustrious kidnappers wanted them dead, they would have done it already. Mike's gambling a little, but he feels like it's a safe bet.
He's rewarded not too many minutes later, when the voice comes back and says, "If you try anything, you're dead. Got it?"
Mike's tempted -- really, sorely tempted -- but he forces himself to say, "Yeah, I got it," and to stay still as the door opens a crack, just enough for a brown paper bag, the kind Mike packed his school lunches in when he was a kid, to be pushed through. Then the door slams shut again, and Mike can hear bolts sliding into place. The slit in the middle of the door slides shut as well, and it's only then that Mike moves forward and picks up the bag.
Inside are... apples. Three of them, big and red and shiny. They look delicious. Mike kind of wants to hurl them across the room and start screaming.
The MIB hadn't ever had much contact with Quazix until the Jonases had arrived, seeking political asylum. They'd had some; enough that it wasn't considered a First Contact situation (and thus, they were passed down to a lowly caseworker instead of to a pair of Agents), and enough to know a little bit about their biology. Not enough to have predicted their long-term food issues and so on, but a little bit.
The file from their first contact with Quazix was one of those files. The carefully-worded ones everyone snickers over when they come in for processing. The ones that get sent around on the employee sub-space email system endlessly. The ones that cause the reporting Agents to refuse to look anyone in the eye and then find very important field cases to work on, so they don't have to come in to headquarters for several days at a time.
Of course, the kidnappers hadn't read that file; it was marked MIB Highly Confidential, which meant that everyone from Zed down to the Worm boys had read it, but there was no way it could ever be transferred off an MIB server. No way that non-MIB personnel would know anything about Quazix, or about certain highly-specific physiological reactions.
Apples. Of course it was fucking apples.
"Kevin," Mike says to get his attention, then holds up one of the apples. Kevin stares at it like Mike is holding a rattlesnake, not a harmless piece of fruit. Because it's not just a piece of fruit, and whether it could be considered "harmless" or not depends largely on how you define "harm".
"I can't eat that," Kevin says, shaking his head. Mike squats down next to him and curls his fingers around Kevin's knee -- which isn't actually a knee and which feels, beneath the visual illusion of denim, warm and a bit rubbery, like touching a dolphin or one of the orcas at Sea World.
"You have to," Mike tells him, and knows that Kevin knows it's true. He needs to eat, and soon. Without a constant supply of energy -- the right kind of energy, which the apple has; fiber and sugars -- to maintain its cellular defenses, Kevin's body will slowly succumb to the corrosive nitrogen in the air, and no matter what the consequences, Mike refuses to sit in this stupid room and watch that happen.
"You know what it'll do!" Kevin says desperately, wide-eyed and scared.
"Yeah, I know." Mike confirms, twisting the stem of the apple around and around until it breaks off at the base.
Kevin's still shaking, still pale, and getting worse by the minute, but he stares at Mike like he's suddenly grown a second head. "But... You don't even like me!"
He sounds like he's a few seconds away from crying, and that's when Mike realizes that he's been a dick.
Their food is weird and mostly gross, and they're the most troublesome case Mike has on his roster, but the Jonases are nice. And Mike hasn't had much call to interact with Kevin, exactly, since it's always his brothers getting themselves into trouble, but...
Every time he had come over to check up on them, Kevin had greeted him with a big smile, and spent hours telling Mike about whatever it was he had been doing that week or month: joined the baseball team at the MIB-run academy for resident aliens that he had attended with his brothers, learned that Guitar Hero was easier than guitar when you didn't exactly have hands, decided to take college classes online so he could stay at home with his family instead of heading to the MIB's higher education program at UC Berkeley with most of his classmates... And he had always asked Mike about his work and his life (which is basically his work) and his fictitious dog.
Mike's usual response to these queries had been short sentences, or monosyllables if he could get away with it. In fact, he had spent most of his visits mentally cursing Zed for sticking him with the case, and for making him spend an afternoon every month, and sometimes more often, with these people whose planet he couldn't pronounce, let alone their names.
Mike hates feeling stupid, but he hates feeling like a dick even more.
He squeezes Kevin's not-knee and shakes it a little.
"I do like you," he says, and Kevin's face reads only disbelief. "I do," Mike insists, "And I'm not gonna sit here and let you die, okay?"
Kevin sits silently for a long minute, staring alternately at the ground and at the apple. And then, very slowly, he lifts an arm and rests his hand atop the one Mike has on his not-knee. Beneath the illusion, a warm tentacle wraps hesitantly around Mike's wrist.
"Okay," Kevin says quietly, and takes the apple from Mike's other hand. The crunch of his first bite echoes off the walls.
Mike sits next to Kevin and watches him finish off the apple, core and all. The effects aren't immediate, but they're fast.
Kevin's tentacle is still wrapped around Mike's wrist, and within a few minutes he's gripping Mike more tightly. The ends of his tentacles have patches of pebble-textured skin, made up of thousands of tiny suction cups that glide smoothly over a surface in one instant, then cling to it the next. They're clinging to Mike's skin, just a bit. Just enough. It feels like a softer version of pins-and-needles, mildly electric. Mike grips back as Kevin's breathing gets choppy and his eyes glaze over, and another tentacle snakes around his ankle. Kevin's got six; that's two accounted for.
Mike thinks that this would be so much easier if he could see, but he doesn't know what their kidnappers want or if they even know about Kevin's otherworldly origins, so it's safer (though it certainly looks stranger) to leave Kevin's image transducer on. Mike has to work based on touch and his memory of the basic Quazix biology he studied four years ago -- at the very least he recalls that Kevin is not equipped with any razor edges, poisonous barbs, or slime production glands, so that's something.
Another tentacle glides across Mike's chest, the image of Kevin's arm hiding it from view, and that's three. Kevin is making sad, scared little noises, looking at Mike with unfocused eyes and pressing up against him, trembling all the while. The fourth tentacle slips across Mike's thighs, and Kevin is -- virtually and physically -- almost on top of him, deceptively light.
"Shh," Mike lifts a hand to the side of Kevin's face, stroking over his cheekbone. He doesn't really have a cheekbone, per se, but he does have a face. The image transducer actually does a good job of transcribing it to human-normal; eliminating a couple of small gill slits (an evolutionary holdover anyway -- Kevin's people hadn't been ocean-dwellers in thousands of years), adding eyelids and eyebrows where there were none. The shape of it is there, and the emotions.
"You're okay," Mike says, and traces his free hand down the lines of Kevin's body; long, thin torso only vaguely humanoid, rubber-skin all over. Kevin whines, and there are five and six, and Kevin is rearranging all the pieces of himself to fit against Mike, wrapping his long, prehensile appendages around every free part of Mike he can reach. There is still one tentacle around Mike's wrist, crossing his palm, and he curls his hand around it.
Mike isn't overly excited to go exploring, here. He's never been one of the ones who fantasize about this sort of thing; not even the vague daydreams of extremely hot alien princesses like on Star Trek. If there's one thing he's learned since discovering there's more to the universe than he'd ever thought possible, though, it's very simple, and it's this:
Almost everything has a dick.
Okay, so there's some wiggle room as far as precise definitions go, but basically that statement has held up, again and again. Mike is pretty gratified to find that it's true here, as well. His hand finds a place where Kevin's flesh is fever-hot, swollen and fluttering; at the first touch of his fingertips, Kevin makes a noise that no human ever could, and the tentacles he's looped around Mike's body tighten alarmingly. There are some extra parts to work with, but there's something vaguely cock-shaped and Mike knows what to do with that. Shudders ripple down the lengths of Kevin's tentacles as Mike wraps his hand around it and strokes, not too hard at first, then with more surety as Kevin makes these hitching moans that are (oh shit) actually turning Mike on.
He's getting a hard-on from jerking off an alien, and that's ... well, he works at the MIB, so it's not actually the weirdest thing that's ever happened to him, but it's definitely the most overstimulating. That'll be his defense, anyway, for how he doesn't notice the tentacle that sneaks its way past his waistband to curl around him, those tiny, tiny suction cups gripping and releasing in undulating waves, and fuck, it's already the best handjob he's ever had and there's not even a hand involved.
"Fuck," he breathes, and Kevin is a pushy little thing when he's drugged to the (literal) gills, because another one of those damned tentacles is coiling around Mike's wrist and arm and drawing his hand down, away from the cock-shaped thing he knew what he was doing with. He doesn't know what the fuck he's supposed to do now, but Kevin guides his hand back and up and oh. Mike's not even sure he could describe what he's feeling; it's nothing like anything a human boy would have, or a human girl, but it's hot and wet and soft and when Mike rubs his fingers around and then inside, Kevin makes this happy trilling noise and just about collapses.
He explores a little, then a lot, his fingers mapping out the sensitive places as Kevin's happy noises get longer and louder. Eventually they aren't noises anymore, and Mike realizes Kevin is saying please please please over and over, English and his native tongue and German, what the fuck. Kevin's too far gone to explain what he means, what he needs, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know. The tentacles that had wrapped around Mike's body are loosening, moving, stripping his pants down over his ass and thighs; Mike doesn't even have to move, he's just lifted, which is actually pretty cool. So cool that it takes a second for him to get with the program, to realize that Kevin wants... Fuck, they both want it. It takes some shifting to get things lined up, to find a way for this to work, but then it does and shitfuckohgod he's sliding in. Kevin's staring at him, still all glassy-eyed, and Mike doesn't think kissing is going to be possible here, but he presses their foreheads together as he thrusts his hips upwards, hoping that it's enough.
Kevin is still hazy and cuddly when the door opens and Agent W steps inside, his eyebrows shooting up behind his Ray-Bans. Mike had managed to get his pants back on in the intervening time, but it's still pretty much exactly what it looks like. He gathers Kevin close and shoots a glare at W, who holds his hands up in pre-emptive surrender.
"His family's waiting at Headquarters," W says. "G's getting the car."
Mike gets to his feet, bringing Kevin along with him through sheer force of will and the fact that Kevin's real body weighs about half as much as his projected human body appears to. Kevin hugs Mike's waist with three tentacles and buries his head in Mike's shoulder, mumbling softly.
W considers them for a moment. "We'll take the long way back," he decides.
Mike fills out one of those reports, but he looks everyone in the eyes and comes in to work every day and does his job ("Zac, we've talked about this." "It's a spray-on tan!"). Then, on the days he doesn't have to work late, he drives out to New Jersey and has dinner with the Jonases, where no one ever eats anything even vaguely resembling an apple.
Three months exactly from the day of the kidnapping, Kevin comes in to Headquarters with his mother for the last of his MIB-required "post incident" checkups. Mike's not really keeping tabs, but he knows when Kevin's appointment is (since, as his caseworker, Mike scheduled it) and how long it usually takes. Thus he's not too surprised when, in the middle of the afternoon, Kevin makes his way over to his desk and says, "Um."
Mike looks up, and Kevin is shifting his weight from side to side, holding an official folder from the MIB medical division. He looks directly at Mike's shoulder as he places the folder delicately on top of Mike's keyboard. It starts sliding down and Mike catches it instinctively, flipping it open while Kevin shuffles awkwardly. Inside are three pages of copies of various test results, and a printout of a surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly, considering the technology at the MIB's disposal) clear still-shot from an ultrasound.
"It's a girl?" Kevin offers, shy but happy, and Mike realizes he's smiling.
The look on Zed's face when Mike presents him with the ultrasound photo and says cheerfully, "I hope you're looking forward to being a godfather!" only compounds his happiness. Victory is sweet.
Art by Allyndra