Nasir and Agron agreed on many, many things. Their views on life were similar, they were both hunters that ran on pure vengeance alone (even though they wouldn't admit it), and overall they got along very well practically since the moment they met. Which was, funny enough, one of those crazy, rom-com moments when the protagonist meets someone for the first time, their eyes connect across a crowded room and it's all rainbows and hearts from then on. Obviously it wasn't completely like that, and although their courting began in a bar in Pennsylvania, the moment they really fell for each other was later on that same night when they killed a vampire in the parking lot. But that was a different story for a different night.
One thing they seemed to rarely agree on was music. The rules were that Nasir was in charge of the CD player in the car (his car, after all, not Agron's. Agron owned an ugly Honda until Nasir insisted that he sell it and they ride around in his '62 Eldorado instead), but after a few years of being together (or more like after the first few months), Agron began playing some of his music during their cross-country voyages traveling to places where they would exorcise demons and purge restless spirits from houses and what not. Agron's taste was, well, probably what you would expect it to be. Motörhead , Metallica, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynrd, ACDC, etc. Nasir could care less, because that definitely wasn't his taste.
Punk. That was what Nasir liked. Punk in all forms. Misfits and Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Bouncing Souls, Descendents, and he could even get down to some Jack Off Jill. But god, he couldn't stand the shit that Agron listened to in the car. Blasting classic rock and metal and enjoying himself like it was the end of the world while Nasir tried not to pout. That's why Agron hardly ever drove. Sadly, Nasir was tired that night. Really, really tired, and his eyes were burning and he realized that it wasn't the smartest idea to keep driving, so they pulled over and switched places (because Agron had been napping the whole ride, and he was as crisp as a new shirt). Nasir covered himself with his leather jacket and curled up into himself, leaned against the door and tried to get some sleep.
The ride was going smoothly, and they didn't listen to any music for an hour or so, which was great, because Nasir was somewhere between sleep and consciousness, having half-lucid dreams about pizza pie and a jacuzzi, when Agron did the worst thing imaginable. He turned on the radio, tuning the stations while he drove, and instead of stopping on any of the bubblegum pop stations to choose from, he stopped on a station that was certainly being transmitted from Lucifer's bedroom. Then he started singing along .
“Please,” Nasir said groggily, peering at Agron through a half-opened eye. “Please, don't tell me you're singing along to The Cranberries.” Agron actually looked pretty offended at that statement, and he stuck his tongue out at him. Mature.
“The Cranberries are great, Nasir. Just because you can't appreciate them like I do, don't take it out on me. You listen to your angry punk music whenever you're driving, just give me this,” and before Nasir could get another word out, he turned the volume up and sang at the top of his lungs, which, okay, Agron was actually a pretty good singer, and there have been some occasions where he'd even sang Nasir to sleep (again, a totally different story for a totally different day), but at that moment it was the last thing he wanted to hear. Nasir contemplated if he would survive if he just opened the car door and jumped out of the passenger seat.
It's the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they're still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying...
Once Agron had finished his little symphony, he cleared his throat and shut off the radio, and Nasir had the slightest inkling that he did that entire act just to get under his skin. He turned to Agron with a small smirk on his lips, but Agron simply looked at the road ahead, his eyes slightly crinkled at the corners and his lips turned upwards as if he was trying not to laugh. Nasir watched him with tenderness and reached over, brushing his fingers against the back of Agron's neck and playing with the ends of his hair.
“You are aware of the fact that I have no problem withholding sex, right?” Nasir said, which was a total lie, but it got a reaction out of him. Agron jumped a little in his seat at the mere mention of something so torturous, but after the initial shock he simply chuckled and shook his head.
“You never say no to me, Nasir,” he said, with just the largest helping of cockiness. Nasir rolled his eyes and took his hand away, placing it in his lap instead.
“Okay, Agron, whatever you say.” That was when Agron finally turned to look at him, and oh no, not that look in his eyes again.
“I'm sorry, is that a...” he paused for a second, giving Nasir a smirk. He turned his attention back to the road, but it was relatively empty. “a bet I smell?” Agron finished, and Nasir laughed.
“Agron Herrmann,” Nasir said, adding extra emphasis on Agron's last name. “I really, really hope you're not trying to make a bet with me. Because you're going to lose,” he said definitively. Agron thought about it for a moment and realized that Nasir was ridiculously lucky when it came to bets or gambling of any kind. He hardly ever lost. But if he did, this would certainly be the time.
“Actually,” Agron caught himself just in time, right before he would end up saying Nasir's last name by accident, because if there was one thing he didn't seem to like, it was being reminded of his old life. Agron knew just enough about Nasir's past to know that he lived a pretty amazing life until an unfortunate run-in with a dangerous, powerful poltergeist that took the lives of his mother and father. Agron had his reasons for being a hunter, and this was Nasir's. “I am,” he said with a small smile. “I bet you can't not have sex with me, even if you tried. I'm too damn irresistible,” he finished. Nasir gave him one of his many looks , this one in particular meaning you don't know what you just got yourself into .
“Fine,” Nasir said with a scoff. “You're on. Just don't die from blue balls.”
It had been over six months since Nasir had last seen Naevia, and since he and Agron were going to Lawrence anyway to investigate a case that might be a poltergeist, they decided to stop by her place and say hello. Nasir had been friends with Naevia since he began hunting, and it was amazing the vast amounts of knowledge she had acquired in all of the years he knew her. She used to be knowledgeable on the more obvious aspects of supernatural hunting; things ranging from poltergeists to vampires, werewolves and witches, but throughout the years she had began learning more and more, so hungry for knowledge that she consumed entire volumes of century-old studies. Nasir knew a fair amount, but whenever he or Agron couldn't figure something out, they always went to Naevia.
She lived off a beaten road past a forest, and it would be easy to get lost if you didn't know exactly where you were headed. The road was dirt and rocks, and the journey wasn't necessarily smooth, but once the Eldorado entered the large opening in the forest, Nasir felt at home for an odd reason. There was a two-story home, slightly beaten up but definitely maintained, with maroon shutters and a porch with a swing on it. All the lights were off, but Nasir knew where she was.
It was called Ludus, but the name doesn't matter because what it really was was a pit-stop for hunters from all over the area, and even the entire country. It was less than a mile from the house, and it had started as just a guest house where her and Crixus would house injured hunters that got torn up by whatever creature they happened to be tracking at the moment. Although somewhere along the way they built a bar and stocked it with whiskey and rum and vodka, and started accepting hunters that weren't necessarily wounded, but just looking for a place to unwind. There was always a lot of beer and a television on one wall that was usually on tuned on to Spike or ESPN, along with a pool table and dart board, so it became a gathering place for the hunters that knew about it, which were quite a few.
There were a dozen or so cars parked outside the bar (which, although it was only one story tall, seemed bigger and more imposing than Naevia and Crixus' house. Perhaps it was the knowledge that it was constantly filled with people that knew how to kill in a vast amount of ways). Agron got out of the car and pulled his pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, and while Nasir gave him a slightly miffed glance, he didn't say a thing as Agron lit one up. Nasir took a breath and leaned against the car, enjoying the cool afternoon air for a moment. The air smelled like pines and grass, and it brought him back to all those years ago when he met Naevia. He was all torn up and losing blood from his encounter with a particularly pissed faerie, and she gave him a place to stay and cleaned his wounds, paying glorious attention to him even though he was a stranger to her back then. He sometimes felt guilty for relying on her so often, but she assured him that it was alright, and that they were friends, and after Nasir killed Ashur she considered them to be on even ground. Nasir found himself walking towards the bar, his stride confident and maybe sort of impatient, and Agron's eyes followed him but he stayed outside, assuring himself that he feeling in the pit of his stomach was nothing. He watched Nasir walk in, and after he finished his cigarette he merely pulled another one out.
The Cure was playing through the speakers when he walked in, and when Nasir inhaled the scent of the bar; alcohol and pine sol and the various sweat and cologne of the hunters in there, his mood instantly lifted. There were almost twenty tables in the bar, and yeah, maybe it did get bigger and they added an extension, because now there were booths and the bar itself was longer, the bottles of alcohol stacked up behind the bar displayed proudly. No one really spared a glance when he walked in, hunters from all over the country lost in their own hushed conversations. Some people sat alone, staring into their glasses or maybe reveling in the memory of their latest kill, or even doing research. Others sat in groups and talked in hushed tones or joked around, a loud laugh here and there breaking through the constant low noise level. Nasir walked over to the bar, his leather boots barely making a sound against the shiny wooden floorboards, and he sat at a stool, his eyes settling on Naevia, who hadn't yet acknowledged his presence, as she crouched behind the bar and sorted her inventory.
He smirked and cleared his throat, and Naevia said a small “I'm coming, wait a sec,” but still didn't turn. He chuckled softly and glanced around at the other bar patrons. Men and women of various ages, but mostly young people in their 20s or 30s. He wasn't sure if it was because there simply weren't that many older hunters, or they retired early, or maybe they just... didn't make it past their twenties and thirties in this line of work. A woman wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans paired with cowboy boots caught his eye, and when they made eye contact he could have sworn he had seen her somewhere before, perhaps on a hunt. But just as soon as he caught a glimpse of her freckled face, high cheekbones, and red lips, she placed a bill on the counter and swung her messenger bag over her shoulder, walking out of the bar without another word.
“... Nasir?” He looked up, and there, Naevia had finally noticed him. She smiled at him and she smiled back, practically lighting up the whole place. She lifted the partition in the bar and walked over to Nasir, and he stood up and returned the hug she gave him with equal ferocity. “How's my little cub?” She asked, only half-joking. She pulled away and looked at him with sincerity, happiness on her features. He placed a hand on her arm and felt that same happiness grow inside of him.
“I'm good, my lioness , and you?” He used to not be able to call her that without bursting into a fit of laughter, but the more time that passed by, the more he realized that she was like a mother to him, and he loved her immensely for that. She called Crixus over from where he was playing pool with someone, and him and Nasir exchanged polite handshakes and small chit-chat before he walked away and resumed his game. Nasir didn't necessarily have a problem with Crixus, but Agron certainly did, and the feeling was returned tenfold. Those two had gotten into a handful of fights, resulting in more bruised egos than anything else, and although Nasir and Naevia had attempted to get them to be on more amicable terms with one another, they refused and soon settled into a comfortable relationship where Crixus never mentioned Agron or his mere existence, and Agron did the same. It had worked out great for the past year or so.
“What can I get you?” She asked. She looked great, her straight black hair was cut into so it ended at chin-level and she wore a white tank and jeans. Nasir glanced at the scar that ran across her cheek and saw that it was fading, slowly but surely.
“Rum and coke?” He asked, and she went off the prepare the drink, talking to him from across the bar about everything she's missed since the past six months (which wasn't that much, because he did call her often enough). In return, Nasir asked her about her life, which consisted of running the bar, helping Nasir kill creatures of all sorts, continuing her studies on the supernatural, and working to get her masters in Psychology. She got a beer for herself and leaned against the bar while they talked, and it felt great again, just like the old times when Nasir was barely old enough to drink and he was still green and inexperienced when it came to many things. Even back then, Naevia was smart and helpful and so damn independent, and they formed a fast, long-lasting friendship.
Agron walked into the bar and instantly spotted Nasir sitting on a bar stool and talking to Naevia, whose chin rested on her hand as she leaned over from the other side of the counter, a small smile on her lips. She said something that Agron couldn't make out, but he did hear Nasir's laugh, noticing the way his shoulders shook slightly with merriment. The next person he noticed was Crixus, and he tried to resist the intense urge to walk over there and punch him in the face. There was a damn good reason why Agron hated Crixus, and just because he was being civil to appease Nasir and Naevia didn't mean that he was friends with him, so he made a mental note to stay as far away from the neanderthal as possible, which shouldn't be too much of a problem.
He took a seat at one of the empty tables, crossing his arms in front of his chest and rolling his head, trying to get the kinks out of his neck. Agron sighed and rubbed his eyes, feeling exhaustion seep into his bones for some reason, and when he opened his eyes again he saw a shock of blonde hair sitting a few tables away from him. He stilled, unwilling to believe it at first, and held his breath without even meaning to. When the man looked up from the small, leather-bound book that he was reading, he instantly caught eyes with him, and the air in Agron's lungs left him in a rush. Agron raised a hand up and waved, his muscles constricting as if they didn't know how to work, and the man stood up, gathered his beer in one hand and the journal in another, and sat next to Agron.
“Hi,” the blond said with a small smile. Agron couldn't say much at first, still in shock from seeing him. He looked the same as he had what seemed like many years ago. Soft, light blond curls, big, blue eyes, and lips that seemed always on the verge of smiling. Agron swallowed and finally got his wits about him, so he reached over and clapped him on the shoulder.
“Hi, Varro.” Saying a name that he hadn't uttered in years certainly was odd. Varro grinned and took another sip of his beer, and Agron's eyes traveled to the slightly torn Metallica shirt he wore and the leather necklace around his neck on which a jade pendant hung.
“I almost thought you forgot about me, Agron,” he said. Agron laughed, albeit nervously, and his eyes glanced over at Nasir, who was still deep in conversation with Naevia, but Naevia's eyes caught of glimpse of Agron and she smiled at him, which he tried to return despite the tightness he felt in his face.
“You don't have to be so nervous,” Varro said, his eyes on a page of the book. He looked back up at Agron for a moment and then glanced back down, shaking his head slightly. Agron felt kind of ridiculous, but he still kept his hands in his lap and played with the frayed edges of his plaid shirt. “How have you been?” Varro asked, but before Agron could respond, a girl walked up to him and placed a beer in front of him.
“From Naevia,” she explained. She was pretty and young, with porcelain-like skin and dark hair. There was a blush upon her cheeks, and she smiled shyly when Agron thanked her. She walked away, heels clicking as she made her way back to the bar, apparently taking Naevia's place for the moment while she conversed with Nasir. Agron brought the beer up to his lips and took a long, satisfied sip, and when he put the bottle back down he saw Nasir looking at him, one eyebrow raised quizzically. Agron simply smiled back, assuring him silently. Everything was okay.
“I'm good...” Agron said, and Varro shut his book and placed it on the table, choosing to fumble with his beer instead, tracing a bead of condensation with his finger as it slid its way down the side of the glass. “Been traveling the country with Nasir,” he elaborated, and Varro's blue eyes slid up to his face again, showing interest. “We hunt things. Weres, vamps, ghosts, anything that we seem to bump into. Even took on a maenad this year.” He said with a slight chuckle.
Varro nodded. “That's great,” he said. A heavy, uncomfortable pause followed, and Agron shifted in his seat, watching the way Varro's jaw was set as he stared at his bottle again, unwilling to make eye contact.
“And you?” Agron felt obligated to ask. In fact, he didn't really enjoy talking to Varro. It brought back too many memories and made him feel weak. Stupid. All over again.
“On my own,” Varro said, leaning back in his seat a little. “I've been studying signs across the country, y'know, for increased activity, and I think I--” he stopped himself short, as if he suddenly realized that he didn't want to tell Agron whatever it was. Agron was interested now, though, so he tilted his head just a bit and looked at Varro expectantly until he spoke.
“There seems to be an increase in demon possessions,” Varro said. He looked down at his hands and then back up at Agron, blue eyes meeting green ones. “I don't know if it means anything or not, but it's gone up more than three times the normal amount in the past year or so. I think it might be a glitch, maybe my data is wrong.”
“Or,” Agron supplied, “maybe the portal to Hell has opened,” and Varro's eyes widened, staring at Agron in disbelief and slight suspicion, until Agron's lips curled upwards into a smile and he chuckled. “I'm just fucking with you,” Agron said, and Varro resisted the urge to roll his eyes, settling instead for pushing Agron playfully, and since his knee was the closest to him, Varro attempted to push that away. The only problem was that he lost his intention somewhere along the way, and instead his hand stopped, resting on on Agron's knee like a dead weight. Varro felt frozen as Agron's eyes bore into his.
“I'm sorry,” Varro said quickly, pulling his hand away. “I didn't mean to do that.”
“Naevia said we can sleep in the guest room tonight,” Nasir said as they walked out. A copy of the key to the house that Naevia gave him was in his hand, and he clutched it hard enough to leave indents in his palm. Nasir had offered to stay and help her clean up after they've closed, but she insisted that she and Crixus could handle it, and they had a new employee, Diona, anyway, and that Nasir should just go with Agron and get some sleep. They looked like they needed it, according to her.
Agron tried to catch up with Nasir's brisk strides, which should have been easy considering the fact that he was much taller and his legs were longer, but he was held back by an uneasy feeling, a very unpleasant flip-flop of his stomach that told him that something was wrong. He didn't even have to see the tightness in Nasir's features or the furrow of his eyebrows to know he was pissed.
“Nasir!” Agron called, but Nasir was already by the car and he slipped into the driver's seat without an answer, waiting for Agron to get in before he started the engine. “Nasir,” Agron repeated when he was sitting beside him, his voice slightly desperate. He took Nasir's colder hand in his and held it tight, willing him to look him in the eyes. Nasir's jaw was tense and he looked straight ahead, and Agron felt his heart shatter all over again, and no, not this again, please . “Baby,” Agron pleaded, reaching out for Nasir and cupping the side of his face, urging him to face him. When Nasir did look at him, his eyebrows were indeed furrowed just like Agron thought they would be, and Nasir was trying hard not to purse his lips the way he did when he was angry. Agron thought back to the last time this happened, three years ago. That was the first and last time Agron fucked up that way, and he couldn't handle Nasir looking at him like that again.
Agron wasn't perfect, and he loved Nasir with his entire being, but sometimes he would find himself spiraling downwards, thinking of his brother and his long-gone family, of the life he used to have and how, in one night, it was all taken away from him. He would be filled with grief and guilt, and that was when he shut even Nasir off. He would build up his defenses, drowning his pain with alcohol and never once looking Nasir in the eyes. It got particularly bad one night, two years into their relationship, when Agron was drinking in a dark, dingy bar in Oak Ridge, Tennessee while Nasir was doing research on the case they were on. Things had been cold between the two of them for the past few weeks at that time, so when a handsome man with a warm smile and a voice as smooth and melted butter sat down next to him, Agron found himself acting a way he never should have. The shock of seeing Varro again at Ludus tonight was a flashback and felt more like whiplash than anything else.
If Nasir was one thing, it was fiercely loyal. If he loved a person, he stood by them, defended them, and didn't give up on them, even if they didn't treat him in the best way possible. Agron wasn't fooled, though, he knew that Nasir was the type of person that could push his emotions away and remove a person from his life entirely if he honestly thought they were a hazard to his health or his life. Agron felt like a desperate man praying for salvation that night when he confessed to Nasir what he had done with the blond. His first reaction was more disbelief than anything, as Nasir tried to process what he was just told. His eyebrows were raised slightly and a corner of his lips twitched as if his face didn't know what emotion to convey. They didn't speak for a week after that, but eventually moved past the incident.
Every now and again, Agron would remember what happened, and would relive the moment when Nasir looked at him and uttered “ What ?”. In that one word, and that tone, Agron heard a million things. He felt a punch and he heard a shout where there was none. There was just Nasir, looking at him like he just did something shameful, and he did . It was just one thing on the list of many that Agron had gotten wrong in his life. He was only grateful that it didn't end with him losing Nasir as well, because that would have been a fate worse than any cold shoulder or disapproving gaze that Nasir could give him. Worse than the way he pulled away from Agron's touch, even when those tears had traced a path down Agron's cheeks, making the tall man look like a small child again, helpless and sorry, knowing he had done something wrong but not entirely sure about how he would go about fixing it.
“You think I didn't see that, Agron?” His words brought Agron back to the present, stabbing him like a dagger. Agron's shoulders dropped, and he felt like he was being suffocated, unable to swallow the lump in his throat down. Nasir sighed softly, and Agron could see the conflict in him as he tried to calm himself down, to not be angry anymore, and Agron still held one of his hands in both of his, warming it, squeezing it gently. “Do you think--” Nasir gave Agron a look, but this one lacked the venom of the previous one, laced instead with something much more dangerous-- disappointment, “that I didn't know who that was?”
“I didn't do anything,” Agron reasoned, and he felt frantic, desperate, but Nasir was watching him, and his features seemed to soften with every passing moment. “We just spoke, and..” he stopped, bit his tongue.
“What?” Nasir asked softly. He covered Agron's hand with his own, and Agron felt the pressure on his chest ease up, if only a little.
“He just... touched my knee, that's all,” and he averted his eyes, stared down at their hands instead. Nasir leaned in and rested his forehead against his. They stayed like that for what seemed like a while, breaths mingling, but Agron didn't mind. The longer they did this, the more he knew that Nasir wasn't mad. Agron just wanted to take his face in his hands and kiss him, but he resisted the urge.
“That's fine,” Nasir said, and Agron sighed. “I'm sorry for getting angry,” he added. “I just... I can't look at him the same way after that. And, I guess I got jealous. You didn't do anything wrong.” At that moment, Agron thanked whatever powers above that the fights he had with Nasir never lasted too long. Never as long as that first one. He didn't think he could go a week without speaking to him like they had before.
“I'm still sorry,” Agron said, and he closed the gap between them, pressing his lips against Nasir's slightly chapped ones, wetting them and groaning softly when Nasir opened his mouth and he could slip his tongue inside, tasting the remnants of jack and coke and putting his mind at ease, at least for the moment.
The short ride to the house was spent mostly in silence, but it wasn't as torturous as Agron had expected it to be, and although the situation was still not out of either of their minds, they managed to push it away. Once they found their way to the guest room on the second floor of the house (it wasn't the first time they'd stayed there), Agron was too tired to take a shower so he got into bed and turned onto his side. The window was directly in his line of sight, so he stared at the dark, all-encompassing night at the crescent moon. When Nasir stepped out of the shower and toweled off, he changed into shorts and a shirt and got into bed right next to Agron. He fitted his back against Agron's broad chest, and Agron wrapped an arm around his waist and kissed his shoulder.
Nasir sighed softly, interlacing their fingers, their bodies doing a better job of warming each other up than the covers could. The conversation still replayed in Agron's mind, even when he tried squeezing his eyes shut and taking long, even breaths to push the fresh memory away. His fingers tensed involuntarily, and he felt a shiver run up his spine even though he wasn't cold. He pulled Nasir closer unconsciously, hoping that the physical closeness would eliminate the distance he felt emotionally.
Nasir was at the brink of sleep, but he felt Agron's strange, jerky movements, and he knew how he was feeling. “Hey,” Nasir said softly, his voice low and gruff because he was this close to falling asleep and was looking forward to a dreamless sleep. He sighed softly and turned around, facing Agron instead and placing a hand on his naked chest, immediately settling on the scar above his heart. Agron looked down at Nasir in the dark, able to make out the beautiful slopes and curves of his face, but not his expression. “Stop thinking about it,” Nasir said in that soft, sweet way he often said many things.
It was like their own language. When they were on a case, or surrounded by others, they were just Agron and Nasir, and Nasir made witty remarks and had that mischievous look in his eyes, and Agron's voice was low and booming, pairing equally with his stature. When they were alone, though, their voices softened, turned harsh words into soft ones, dripping from their tongues like melted ice cream, sweet and cooling whatever harsh burn they had just endured. When Nasir spoke to him in the dark, Agron knew that this was the side of Nasir especially for him. No one else got to see this side, got to sense the way his nimble fingers played over his skin or the soft touch of his lips. Somehow, it made Agron feel better. Reassured. Nasir still loved him.
“I can't,” Agron said earnestly and he wished that he didn't do this; didn't over-think as much as he was prone to. Hunting was simple, it was easy even when it was difficult. He could track something down, do some research, find out how to kill it, and get the job done, and he always got the job done. All he had to do was follow those steps; because even if it was a creature he'd never seen before, nothing was immortal. Emotions, though, those killed him a little. He was almost thirty and didn't posses the skills that Nasir had in that department, even thought Agron was older by four years . Nasir knew emotions; he knew his own heart and his own head, he knew what was appropriate and what wasn't, and Agron didn't. Agron more like fumbled, unsure, weary, in the dark depths of his own mind, trying to find what was the best way to react, and even then he got it wrong.
Nasir's hand moved up to Agron's face, pressing his index finger against Agron's bottom lip, tapping it lightly. Agron smiled at that and Nasir leaned in and kissed him slow and sweet and just the way he needed. Nasir spoke soft words against Agron's lips, warm breath brushing over his lips.
“I know you're over-thinking. Please don't. It happened, and we're fine, right? If it really bothers you, we can talk about it some other time. Tomorrow, even,” he paused, pressing his lips against Agron's again, and Agron kissed back, the touch spreading a wonderful warmth through him, like a blanket laid over his restless thoughts and easing them to sleep. “But for now,” Nasir continued, “let's just sleep.” Agron nodded once and Nasir settled back into his previous position, his back pressed against Agron's front and their skin touching comfortingly. Eventually, they both gave in to the night.
They already had a case lined up that needed investigating, so the next day they interviewed the victim's daughter. She was a twenty-three year old who explained to Agron and Nasir (who had their FBI IDs that day), that her father was found ripped to shreds in his bedroom five days ago, and her mother was nowhere to be found, and there was currently a missing persons report filed for her. For a while, it was starting to come off like it wasn't a supernatural occurrence, and instead could perhaps be a wife that brutally murdered her husband and then fled the state. It was all very plausible since Anna told them that her parents' marriage was somewhat on the rocks at the time before the death.
She showed them pictures of her parents that she had in a photo album, Andrew Hill being the victim, who at one point in his life was very fit with dark, deep-set eyes and a sharp jawline, and his wife Carolyn, who was small in stature and had blond hair cut shoulder length.
They left Anna's house and found her parents' house, only a few blocks away, the porch and front door sealed off with police tape. It wasn't that hard to get in, opening a window in the side of the house and quickly getting inside without attracting attention. Agron used the EMF while Nasir looked for any possible signs of sulfur, which would mean a demonic possession. It was also likely that the wife was possessed by a demon and made to kill her own husband, but for what reason? The evidence in the house didn't display any sign of demonic possession, and Nasir was feeling unsettled.
“I found something,” Agron called from the other room, and Nasir stepped out from the bedroom he was in (the one in which the body was found, blood still stained the walls and the carpet) and walked down the hallway, his black shoes striding against the cream-colored carpet until he had found the origin of Agron's voice.
“What is it?” Nasir asked, taking a step onto the tile of the small bathroom. Agron looked up at him and then back into the tub, his nose crinkling in a show of distaste. When Nasir was close enough to peer into the tub, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration (as well as a bit of confusion) and he knelt down beside the tub, touching the substance experimentally. The giant mass in the tub was gelatinous and pretty sticky, leaving a tingling feeling on Nasir's fingertip when he touched it. It was mostly red, with patches of black and brown, and there was an odd smell emitted by the substance; something like rotten meat. Nasir stood up and looked at Agron, who returned his gaze with equal uncertainty.
“Ectoplasm?” Agron suggested, but Nasir shook his head.
“Can't be. I've never seen ectoplasm like that. Especially so much of it.” The substance covered the entire base of the bathtub, and was about an inch or two thick. Nasir thought back to what it could be, working his bottom lip between his teeth, but he couldn't remember seeing anything like it. Perhaps it was ectoplasm, or a demon manifestation, or just a really bad case of a clogged pipe (god knows they've seen it all).
“I'm going to go to the library,” Agron said, drawing the smaller man's attention to him once more. “Look up the history of this house, murders that would lead to restless spirits, maybe some soft of witchcraft or hoodoo is working its magic here.”
After dropping Agron off at the nearest library, Nasir went back to the house because he felt that he must have missed something. If the murder took place there, there had to be some sort of evidence that he had missed the first time around. During the short drive he found his mind wandering to other topics; what Agron had done last night, and how even though they seemed to make up, he couldn't shake the feeling that there was some sort of space between them. Nasir was forgiving, more than he should be sometimes, but Agron definitely deserved it. He wasn't perfect, and what happened just solidified that fact. He wondered if they should take some time off after this hunt, maybe rent a cabin somewhere and just relax for a month or so and not have to worry about all the things that go bump in the night. Maybe it would do them some good.
He stepped out of his car and looked up at the house, a quaint one-story with blue shutters. He almost chuckled; it was funny how the things that look the nicest from the outside can contain the worst secrets. With a glance around the area, he began walking towards the back door, planning on picking the lock instead. He was crouching by the keyhole and trying to unlock it when he heard a rustling from the bushes behind the house. Nasir stood up, his posture straightening, and faced the direction of the noise, the image in front of him bringing forth confusion.
“Mrs. Hill?” He said, voice laced with uncertainly.
Agron started getting worried when he called Nasir three times and he still wasn't picking up. His research at the library had been futile, since there was not one report of a murder or suicide that took place on the property. Clean as a whistle. After about half an hour Agron made up his mind to walk back to the Hill's house instead, worry sitting heavy in his stomach.
When he walked up to the house and caught a glimpse of Nasir's car parked under a tree, he huffed a sigh. Was Nasir so caught up in his investigation that he didn't check his phone? It was usually Agron who forgot his phone in places, but it was still likely that Nasir had just left it in the Eldorado. Agron felt uncomfortable in his suit, the sun shining down and causing a bead of sweat to trickle down the side of his face. It should have been easy to simply walk into the house again, confront Nasir, and get back to Naevia's house so they could discuss what in the hell it was that killed that man and possibly kidnapped his wife.
It was as if his feet were stuck to the ground, and it took more will power than he thought to simply begin the walk. His fingers twitched and he reassuringly pat the gun in the holster on his hip. If anything were to happen, he was ready. Just as he managed to walk to the back door of the house and noticed that it was slightly ajar, he heard a noise behind him. Instinctively, his gun was pointed out in front of him as soon as he turned to the source of the sound. It was just Nasir.
“What were you doing there?” Agron asked. He took a deep breath to calm his heart rate down and placed his gun back in his holster before walking over to him. Nasir seemed to have an amused look on his face, and Agron resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
“You seem trigger happy,” Nasir commented. Agron scoffed and followed him as he walked back to the car. When they got in and Nasir started the engine, Agron looked at him expectantly.
“So,” he tried again, “what were you doing in the woods behind the house?”
Nasir shrugged at that, not meeting Agron's eyes, loosening his tie instead. “I thought I saw something,” he said. “But it was nothing.”
Agron turned his gaze to the window, watching the small houses and stores pass by. “I didn't find anything in the library,” he said. “No deaths or suicides. Nothing that would mean a haunting.”
“Maybe we were wrong,” Nasir said, sounding almost relieved. “Maybe the bitch just killed her husband and fled.”
Agron couldn't hide the shock on his face. “Nasir, since when do you say shit like that?” Nasir was one of the kindest people Agron had ever known, and it was so extremely rare that he had a bad word about someone, let alone someone who he didn't even know. “Are you feeling alright?”
“Yeah,” Nasir said with a chuckle. “I'm fine. Especially since we come here for a case, and you try cheating on me again. You expect me to just take it,” he glanced at Agron, but there was a hatred in his eyes that Agron had never seen, even in their worst fights. “I'm so sick of your bullshit, Agron,” he said.
“I--” but Agron couldn't continue, simply didn't know what to say to that. When had this happened? He thought that his apology last night was enough. Any way, he didn't do anything. He would never actively try to hurt Nasir. That was the last thing in the world that he would want to do. “I love you,” he tried, clenching his fists so they wouldn't shake. He was so angry at himself. Obviously he was the one that fucked up. “I love you so much, you know I wouldn't try to do something like that. I thought we were over that.”
This time Nasir laughed, shoulders shaking. He sighed and shook his head, glancing at Agron again, this time with a pitiful look in his eyes. The gesture itself was a loud you're pathetic that thrashed around in Agron's skull until a headache bloomed, uncomfortable and pounding, making him regret so much more than just last night.
Agron wasn't as close to Naevia as Nasir was, but while Nasir was upstairs doing something on their laptop, Agron quietly went downstairs in hopes of finding Naevia. It was still only mid-afternoon, so she wouldn't be opening Ludus for a few more hours. She was sitting at the kitchen table, wearing shorts and an ACDC shirt, drinking a steaming liquid from a mug while she stared at her phone's screen. Agron had managed to change out of his stifling suit and into jeans and a shirt, so even though he felt uncomfortable at the moment, at least it wasn't because of a cheap suit.
“Come in, Agron,” she said, her eyes meeting his. He smiled weakly, stepping away from the doorway and into the kitchen. He pulled a chair out and sat across the table from her, hands out in front of him as he twiddled his thumbs, which was something he never made a habit of. She put her phone down and looked at him, an eyebrow raised curiously.
“What's up with you?” She asked. Agron chewed on his bottom lip and thought of the best way to say it. 'Nasir's being a giant fucking bag of dicks' didn't seem appropriate.
“Nasir's been acting... strange ever since he came back from the house we were checking out,” he said, voice unsure. Was Nasir really acting odd or did Agron deserve it? He shook his head slightly. Nasir was never the type to say something like that, so he wondered what triggered it. What had he found in the woods?
“Acting strange, how?” Naevia asked, and Agron was halfway through explaining it to her when they were cut off by the sound of someone standing in the doorway of the kitchen.
“Talking shit about me, I see,” Nasir said, voice tinged with smugness, and Naevia couldn't hide the shock on her face. She stood up and pushed the chair out of the way, walking backwards towards the counter where she kept her gun.
“Naevia?” Agron asked uncertainly. He stood up and watched her motions and the look on her face, but didn't bother looking back at Nasir.
“That's not Nasir!” She yelled, and in a split second she had the gun in her hand and Agron was ducking out of the way as she shot at it. The first bullet only grazed it but the second hit it in the shoulder. It stumbled for a second, but caught its footing and then looked at Naevia and then at Agron, and that's when Agron realized that whatever it was had a gun in its hand, and it was pointed straight at him. Agron looked up at it, unable to grasp the situation until Crixus appeared out of fucking nowhere and shot the thing in the back. It turned and glared at Crixus before barreling into him and sending him crashing against the wall, then ran with almost animal-like speed out the front door.
When Agron finally spoke, he could only say four words.
“The fuck was that?”
Crixus walked over to Naevia and embraced her, but she only seemed a bit taken aback.
“How could you not tell?” Crixus yelled at him. Agron sighed and rubbed his hands over his face, and only then he realized all the signs that he had missed.
“That was a skin-walker, wasn't it?” He asked.
“Yes,” Naevia said, “and if it has Nasir's form, that means--”
“Where do you think he is?” Agron asked.
“More importantly, how come it didn't die when I shot it?” Crixus asked. He looked more pissed than anything, giving Agron one of those glowering looks, as if Agron personally invited a skin-walker into his house. Well, he did. But it's not his fault.
“Silver bullets,” Naevia explained. “That's the only thing that can kill a skin-walker. Anything else won't really have that much of an effect.”
Agron's mind was still reeling. What was wrong with him? Was he seriously so out of it that he couldn't tell his boyfriend of five years apart from a fucking monster pretending to be him? Naevia could tell with a single glance, and yet Agron had seen him, ridden in a car with him, all without suspecting that it wasn't him at all. At that moment, he just wanted to find Nasir and make sure he was alright, and put a fucking bullet in the thing that pretended to be him. There was also a hint of relief, because if that was a skin-walker then that meant what Nasir said in the car wasn't him at all.
“Well, we need to find him soon,” Agron said, not allowing the agitation he felt at himself and the situation to show.
“Okay,” Naevia's no-nonsense face was on and she walked back to the table, ignoring the splatters of skin-walker blood on the white tiles of the floor. “If you first saw that thing coming out of the woods, then that's the first place to look.”
Nasir's first thought when he woke up was that his arms were tied behind his back and it was quite uncomfortable, but not the worst pain he'd ever felt. His second thought was that he was naked except for his underwear, and yeah, it was pretty chilly wherever he was. He opened his eyes and looked around, but it was way too dark to see much of anything.
He figured he was somewhere underground, because that's where skin-walkers kept their victims. Nasir had known it was a skin-walker when he got close enough to what he thought was Mrs. Hill and immediately noticed a gold glint in her eyes. It was one of those moments when his attention to detail came in too little, too late, because next thing he knew he was dead to the world and was now in some sort of skin-walker storage facility.
He pulled and pulled, but realized that the bonds around his wrists were too tight to break. At least he was sitting down, but even that was of little comfort considering the cold, slightly-damp nature of the floor. He tried concentrating into the darkness, hoping that he could maybe find his knife laying around somewhere. That's when he heard a small whimper from somewhere nearby, and his mind rushed to the only possible person that could be there with him.
“Carolyn?” Nasir asked, and he heard another whimper, this time accompanied but a small, obviously female voice saying yes. He was relieved to hear it. Partly because he was with a woman thought to be missing, and he would make sure she got back to her daughter, and partly because he realized he wasn't alone, which was reassuring. “My name is Nasir,” he said, not using an alias. “Keep strong, I'm gonna get you out of here.” He hoped she didn't mind the complete irony of the statement considering Nasir was just as trapped as she was.
He only stopped struggling when he heard a noise coming from nearby, the sound of heavy footsteps heading his way. His eyes had begun to adjust to the darkness, and he could see the outline of the person as it walking towards them. It was the skin-walker, and something about seeing something that had taken Nasir's own form freaked him out immeasurably.
The thing stopped and crouched down by Nasir's side, and the man was confronted with a not-quite-right image of himself. The skin-walker tilted its head slightly, regarding Nasir with mild interest, and then reached out and cupped his chin roughly. Nasir pulled his face away, refusing to look the thing in the eyes, and that was when he saw a small glimmer about five feet away. His knife was laying on the cold ground, practically shouting for Nasir to pick it up and use it to kill the fucking monster. But he couldn't reach that far at the moment, and he especially didn't want the thing to know that Nasir spotted his own weapon.
“I tried killing your boyfriend,” the skin-walker said. Nasir felt his stomach do an uneasy flip, and he locked eyes with it.
“You better not have fucking hurt him, you piece of shit,” Nasir's jaw was tense and he wished he could just rip his restraints off and go for the motherfucker's neck, but he could barely feel his hands anymore.
“Oh, stop being so mellow-dramatic, princess,” it said. It stood up and backed away from Nasir, not breaking eye contact. “I want to show you a cool trick, though. Maybe you'll find it entertaining.”
Nasir watched, eyes wide and mouth dry, as he made out the shape of the skin-walker shedding all of its clothes – Nasir's clothes, and then, in one grotesque motion, digging its nails into the skin of its abdomen and tearing off a large portion, the flesh falling to the floor with a sickening wet sound. Nasir was grimacing, but he simply couldn't look away as he saw the skin-walker go under his transformation.
It looked painful, from the way the creature clawed at itself and let out those heinous screams, and piece by piece, it ripped its own skin off. It doubled over, and that's when Nasir noticed that its bones were actually moving underneath its skin, shifting and expanding and causing the creature to yell out again, clawing at its face in a gruesome display. Nasir turned away from the sight, pressing his mouth against his own shoulder to stop to bile from rising to his throat, trying to block out as much of the scene as possible.
Eventually, the screaming stopped and Nasir figured that the thing was done changing, but he still didn't open his eyes. He didn't want to see any of it, even when he heard the thing walk over to him a few minutes later, felt it crouch down next to him and felt its breath on his face, he didn't open his eyes. That's when it reached out and gently caressed Nasir's face, a gesture that Nasir wanted to kill it for.
“Open your eyes, baby,” it said. Nasir's heart almost stopped when he realized who he sounded like. He did open his eyes, albeit reluctantly, and saw Agron's face staring back at him. Nasir's eyes were wide as he realized how deceptively accurate the skin-walker looked. The thing must have used some sort of mojo to conjure up clothing, because suddenly he was wearing exactly what Agron was probably sporting at that moment, jeans and a Metallica t-shirt. It even had an exact replica of the leather necklace that Agron owned. It made Nasir's chest ache just as much as it made anger flare up inside him. The thing looked at Nasir, cocking its head slightly to the side. “Guess what I'm going to do?” It said in Agron's voice. Nasir glared.
“You're going to die,” Nasir spat out through gritted teeth. He felt it with ever fiber of his being. Even if it wasn't him that killed the skin-walker, someone else would surely put it down. It laughed.
“Alright, baby,” it said, condescendingly sweet. “But only after I kill everyone you love.”
“So that's it?” Nasir asked, anger rising within him. “That's your M.O.? You take on someone's appearance just to kill the people they love the most?”
It looked at Nasir, unadulterated pleasure in its face. Its lips quivered, halfway between a smile and a laugh.
“Wow,” it said, pausing for a moment to lean in close and ghost its lips against the side of Nasir's face. “I knew there was a reason I liked you. You're so fucking smart. You and your queer hunter boyfriend.”
Nasir turned his face away, hating the way the skin-walker's breath was hot on his face. He knew that once a skin-walker took on someone's form, it also managed to take on their memories and knowledge, and the longer it stayed in that particular “skin”, the more it began to know. He dreaded knowing the extent of the creature's knowledge after being Nasir for a while and then becoming Agron as well.
“I do,” it whispered, hot and heavy in Nasir's ear. “I know everything.” With that, it stood up, and after shooting a pitying glance at him, walked off, its footsteps echoing in the darkness.
Naevia had told Agron that skin-walkers enjoy dwelling in dark, damp places, and that was where they kept their victims. He left with Crixus (which, okay, he wasn't best friends with the man, but when in came to Nasir, he could put up with anyone if it meant a better chance of finding him), and they drove out to the victim's house. Because if Agron had seen the skin-walker come out from the forest, that must mean that's where it kept its victims.
They drove out to the place, Naevia staying at home just in case Nasir came back. Agron got out of the car and walked towards the forest, the gun in his holster loaded with silver bullets. Crixus walked a bit slower, taking more time to look down at the earth for any door that would lead to an underground tunnel, cellar or room. It was only a few minutes into their trek that Crixus called out for Agron.
There was a hatch in the ground, like the kind that would lead towards a basement except there was no house around. Agron looked at him and then tried opening the doors, but they were padlocked. Agron and Crixus shared a small, private smile, and without words, Crixus took his gun out and fired two shots at the lock. It opened easily enough after that. They walked down the set of stairs and ended up in an almost pitch-black tunnel. Agron took his flashlight out and shown it into the darkness, following the long path that would hopefully lead him to Nasir.
After a few minutes of walking, they reached an opening, and the first thing Agron saw was Mrs. Hill, tied up to a steel column. She was covered in dirt and her head was lowered, but he recognized her from the picture. Agron walked over and took out his pocket knife, cutting the rope that held her hands behind her. She lifted her head weakly and looked at him with a mixture of uncertainty and relief.
“Hey, Mrs. Hill,” he said softly. “I'm going to get you out of here, okay?” He turned and looked at Crixus, and that's when he heard Nasir's voice call his name out. Crixus, without prompting, walked over and picked the woman up, her small body going limp in his arms. He gave Agron one more look before walking away with her. When Crixus was out of sight, Agron called out for Nasir, and found him sitting about twenty feet away, tied up in the same fashion that Mrs. Hill was.
“Nasir,” Agron said, and he was surprised to see Nasir eye him with uncertainty. “Nasir,” Agron repeated. “It's me,” and he used his knife to cut the rope. Nasir brought his hands into his lap, hissing at the soreness he felt in his shoulders from attempting to pull from his restraints ever since the creature had left.
“How do I know its you?” Nasir asked. The hurt in Agron's eyes was practically palpable. As an answer, he leaned in and kissed Nasir, feeling the man relax under his touch. Nasir was kissing him back, and in that moment, he knew.
“C'mon,” Agron helped him up and found Nasir's pants in a corner of the room, watching him slip them on and zip them up before taking his sweater and handing it to Nasir. Nasir's legs were pins and needles, the muscles in his shoulders burned, and his wrists were probably bruised, but he felt great as they walked down the dark passageway, Agron's flashlight illuminating their path.
Naevia had tried calling Agron's cell phone multiple times, but he still wasn't picking up. She began to worry, and wondered if they had found Nasir. This wasn't the first time she'd dealt with a skin-walker, but it was definitely the first time that it had taken someone she considered very close. Her handgun was nestled comfortably in the space between her jeans and the skin of her lower back as she stared down at her phone. She wasn't going to wait any longer. They shouldn't have gone without her, anyway. Her gun was filled with silver bullets, so she made the decision to head out by herself and find them, just to make sure they were okay.
She was halfway across the living room when she saw Agron walk in. He had a smile on his face even though there was a streak of dirt across his cheek.
“We found him,” he said, sounding ecstatic and relieved. Naevia stopped in her tracks and paused for a moment, she looked at Agron's face with a reserved expression.
“That's great, where is he?”
Agron stared at her for a moment, smile unwavering but eyes narrowing. In a swift moment, he had a gun on her, but he still didn't best Naevia. She was a quick draw, and all those afternoons spent shooting cans in the backyard with Crixus didn't go to waste. It was one shot before the skin-walker was on the ground, still in Agron's shape.
At that moment, Crixus walked in, followed by Agron and Nasir. Agron stopped for a moment, seeing a copy of himself dead on the living room floor, blood leaking out from the gunshot wound in its head. He smiled wryly, then looked up at Naevia.
“I guess I'll be burying it in the backyard, then?” He said. Naevia gave him an unamused look.
“And help me clean the blood off the carpet,” she added. Crixus looked to be angrier than any of them and kicked the body's foot, reminiscent of a petulant child kicking a toy.
“We just installed this carpet, too,” he mumbled.
Nasir and Agron sat in a corner of the bar that night, because Ludus was always open for business, no matter what. Skin-walkers are just another part of life, right?
They had taken Mrs. Hill to the hospital, and the doctor was pretty sure that she would make it since she suffered only from dehydration and malnourishment, and nothing too grave. At least she would be reunited with her daughter, and there wasn't a skin-walker around to wreak havoc on the town.
Their table was away from everyone else, and there weren't that many hunters in that night anyway. Just a handful were playing pool, and a couple were drinking at the bar. Naevia and Crixus were talking to one another across the bar, and he leaned in and pressed a kiss to her lips which she returned happily. At the other end of the bar, Diona was speaking with a blonde hunter whose motorcycle helmet rested on the seat next to her.
That's why Agron and Nasir allowed themselves to have a moment. And if anyone had any argument, Agron had his Smith & Wesson .22 LR caliber revolver in his holster. They sat close to one another, backs to the rest of the bar. They were each on their second beer and Agron was looking at Nasir in that ridiculously dreamy way that made the smaller man laugh. Nasir placed his hand on the side of Agron's neck and drew him in, pressing a slow, soft kiss to his lips. Under the table, Agron's hand shifted higher up on Nasir's leg. Nasir smiled and chuckled softly, pressing his face against Agron's neck, kissing the warm skin there. Agron sighed and let his eyes slip shut, until the feeling became too much and he pulled away.
“That tickled, ” Agron said, as if he was relying some matter of grave importance. The look on Nasir's face was clearly oh, get over it , because he simply pulled Agron in again (to which he didn't resist in the slightest) and pressed a kiss to his jaw. Agron wondered how in a single day, they had gone from being slightly cold to one another to acting like love-struck teenagers in a bar full of hunters. Not that he minded, though. It was quite enjoyable. Even when Nasir kissed him on the lips and bit his bottom lip a little too hard, just teasingly, Agron wouldn't wish it any other way. Agron pressed a kiss to the corner of Nasir's smirking lips and leaned in to whisper something in his ear.
“Really?” Nasir asked, slightly bemused. Agron tried his best puppy dog eyes at him. He didn't think his request was too out-of-line. Nasir smiled and shook his head.
They pulled away and continued to sit shoulder to shoulder, and when Nasir took another sip of his half-finished beer he realized that Cold War Kids was playing through the speakers. It was rare that Naevia allowed something so soft to play, but Nasir didn't really mind that much. The volume was pretty low to begin with, and the beat made him nod his head almost imperceptibly. Beside him, Agron sang softly under his breath, glancing at Nasir and smiling when he realized he could hear him.
After that, they left the bar pretty quickly and headed back to the house. They were only going to stay another day or two, so they could relax and maybe go shopping for some new clothes, and then it would be time to pick up another scent and head on their way.
In the hallway close to the guest bedroom, Agron pushed Nasir up against the wall and helped him take his shirt off, closely following with the removal of his own. Their kisses were wet and open-mouthed, tasting the faint hint of beer in each others' mouths, hips working against one another eagerly.
“What ever happened to that bet of ours?” Nasir asked. Agron pulled away, eyebrows raised almost comically high as he looked at him with disbelief. The 'You're kidding, right?' was audible from just his expression. “Joking,” Nasir said with a teasing smile, and he pulled Agron down to meet his lips again.
They laid in bed together, barely staying awake as their sated bodies began to drift off into unconsciousness. Nasir couldn't push a certain thought away, although his mind told him that it was a ridiculous thing to fret over, he found himself tossing and turning in bed. He huffed and rolled onto his stomach instead, sliding his arms under the pillow and closing his eyes. He felt Agron shift next to him, and then there was a large, warm hand resting on Nasir's lower back.
“You can't sleep,” Agron noted. Nasir shook his head. He looked at Agron in the darkness. His hand moved up and down his back, and Nasir felt his muscles relax under the touch.
“Why is it that you always come to my rescue?” Nasir whispered.
Even in the dark, Nasir knew the look Agron was giving him. Agron exhaled and leaned close, pressing a soft kiss to Nasir's temple.
“You're stupid,” he stated simply. “Go to sleep.”
Nasir didn't protest, but he thought back on the last couple of missions. He had been able to handle himself quiet well before, so he didn't understand why he was now constantly the one in trouble and Agron was running to his aid. He helped Agron out when he was in trouble, too, of course, but he felt as if he didn't do nearly enough as Agron did for him. He tried to push those thoughts to the back of his mind, because this was no time for feelings of inadequacy. He was just happy to have Agron in his life, and that was that.
“Hey,” Agron whispered into the silence. He pressed his nose against Nasir's cheek and pressed a kiss to his lips. “You've saved me so many times,” he said. Nasir sighed. “Seriously,” Agron continued, “remember the night we met? You saved me then. You saved me that time we faced that demon in West Virginia and you stopped that Werewolf in Seattle from turning me into her own person chew toy. You saved me more times than I can count.” In more ways than I can count, he thought. “Maybe we can just agree that we help one another an equal amount, okay? Now get some sleep.”
Agron's hand remained on Nasir's back as they both drifted off to sleep, finding comfort after a long day.
A couple of days later, they were on the road again, heading somewhere east. Agron was wearing a new green beanie he bought and he looked way too comfortable in a hoodie and jeans. Nasir would've liked to pull over and nestle himself next to him, bury his face in the crook of Agron's neck and just stay like that for a while, but that could wait for another time. They were on the highway, and Nasir turned the radio on, tuning the different stations instead of just popping in a CD like he would normally do.
“Hey!” Nasir exclaimed, actually sounding happy at the familiar music that drifted through the speakers. Agron's smile was wide and bright and he regarded Nasir with pure amusement.
“Are you kidding me?” Agron asked. Nasir shot him an innocent look and turned the volume up.
“I have no idea what you're talking about,” he said as The Cranberries played through the speakers.