Actions

Work Header

Lost In The Moment

Work Text:

Michael and Gavin are curled together on their bed, just enjoying each others company. Gavin has his head burred in the back of Michael's neck, humming with contentment. It's early morning, around seven or so, and neither of them feels the slightest urge to get up and start the day, though they've been awake for almost an hour. Normally Michael would already be heading to work as would Gavin but today they're allowed to be lazy, they’re allowed to bask in each others presence.

Michael rolls over, murmuring “Happy anniversary, boi.” and kissing him.

Gavin hums happily and kisses back, “Up for round two?” He asks, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Michael laughs, “You know it.”

Their kisses get more fervent and Gavin rolls up to hover over Michael, pressing him down into the mattress. Things are just starting to get more heated when Gavin hears Vav's phone go off. He groans, breaking their kiss and resting his forehead against Micheal's for a moment before reaching for it. Shifting off Michael and back onto the bed beside him, he reads the alert that's come through.

“I’ve got to go, some idiot is tearing up main street and flinging bits of road into office buildings.”

Michael sighs, “Motherfuckers, why does it have to be today of all days?”

“I know right?” Gavin says, already half way though pulling on Vav's costume. He leans over to Michael, who's watching him from the bed, sitting up now and resting back against the headboard. “I’ll be back as soon as I take care of this, love you.”

“Love you too. Try not to take all day, I don't want another repeat of Lord Jack-Off or whatever the fuck his name was.”

Gavin winced. That particular fight had taken him way to long to finish up and as a result had made Michael wait for over on hour in the park they were meant to meet in. Apparently some annoying collage girls had trapped him in a conversation about cloths or something, not taking Micheal’s several hints to leave him the fuck alone until Gavin had finally shown up and saved him.

“I’ll be quick about it.” Gavin said, kissing Michael again and flying off their balcony.

Allowing his head to bounce back into the headboard and sighing, Michael lets his thoughts wander back to when he'd found out that his boyfriend Gavin Free and the superhero Vav were one in the same.

_~*~_

Vav had gotten back late, quietly flying into their bedroom and then making his way into their bathroom, rather woozy from blood loss. He'd turned and locked the door behind him, or so he'd thought, trying not to move too much as his back had a large slash across it running from his right shoulder blade down to almost the underside of his left ribcage. Thankfully it wasn't to deep of a cut. He'd be fine in twelve hours or so, thank god for accelerated healing, but right then every pulse of his heart made the edges of the wound throb.

He'd been half way through getting the supplies to clean and dress it when Michael had sleepily pushed open the bathroom door.

“Gavin, it's three fucking AM what are y-”

Michael had had about half a second to enjoy the utterly shocked deer-in-headlights expression on Gavin's, or rather Vav's, face before Gavin had panicked, slowed time in order to get out of the bathroom without Michael stopping him and escaped out the bedroom window, gauze in hand. Leaving Michael starring dazed at the space Gavin had been occupying only a few seconds before.

I'm dating a superhero, who'd a thunk it?

_~*~_

It had taken Michael a week to find him, the fact that he was pretty sure Gavin was avoiding him combined with the fact that he could fucking fly made it rather difficult to pin Gavin down in one spot. Finally he'd caught him at the tail end of interviewing with one of the officers on the scene of a bank heist he'd stopped. Michael had waited until he'd finished up with the cop and then latched onto his arm like a leach.

“We need to talk, and you need to stop running away from me.” Michael had hissed, trying to keep his voice low as there were still cops everywhere.

Vav had looked at him for a moment then at their surroundings, contemplating. Finally he'd let out a long sigh and picked Michael up around the waist, flying them to the top of the bank, which was about ten stories up, to give them some privacy. He'd set Michael down on the roof and then drifted in the air a few feet away before touching down himself.

“How -” Michael had had to stop and swallow to keep his voice even. “How could you not tell me? We've been together for almost a year and you never said anything. Not a single word, Gavin or Vav or whatever the hell your name actually is.”

“Gavin. And I couldn't tell you. If I had, you would have been in danger. More danger than you already are by being with me.” Gavin had said, trying to make Michael understand.

“Don't give me that bullshit line Gavin. What, are you afraid that some supervillain wannabe is going to kidnap me and use me to get to you? I can handle myself, Gavin! I've even beat you a couple times!”

“No, Michael, you haven't. I've let you win.” Gavin had said quietly. “You being taken and used for some villain's plot is a legitimate threat for me, Michael.” Gavin's voice had grown louder as he'd continued, “Do you think that this,” Gavin had gestured to his Vav costume, “Doesn't come with consequences? My life is dangerous and I should have never involved you in the first place, just like X-Ray told me not too.”
He'd crossed the distance between them in less than a second, demonstrating his point further, suddenly right in front of Michael, and taking his face in his hands. “But I love you. So I risked it, even though I really, really shouldn't have, and if something were to happen to you because of your involvement with me I don't think I'd be able to live with myself.”

Michael had sighed, taking Gavin's hands against his face and holding him there, grounding him. “Gavin, you are an idiot sometimes and if you thought that you would be able to hide this from me for forever then, I'm sorry to say, you're an even bigger idiot than I thought.” Michael had teased, “But I will admit that I may be in over my head if some dumbshit supervillain tries to take me. So, any ideas on how we can make sure I'm safe? Other than cutting me out of your life and distancing yourself from me because that is not happening, Dickie Bitch.”

Gavin had huffed, looking contemplative again. “There is one thing.” He'd said finally, though it was rather hesitant.

“Okay...” Michael had prompted when he didn't continue.

Gavin had sighed. “I could create a mental link with you. It's rather invasive, but it would work almost like a GPS, among other things. I'd be able to find you anywhere you were. But we wouldn't be able to hide anything from our past from each other anymore.”

Michael had made a face. “Nothing?”

Gavin had shaken his head. There were definitely things in his past that he didn't want Michael to know about him, but then again that’s true of anyone.

“Alright.” Michael had said after thinking it over. “How do we do it?”

“Are you sure?” Gavin had asked. “This isn't something I can undo.”

Michael had nodded. “If it's a choice between a mental link with you and not being with you anymore, I'll take the link any day. I love you; you're not getting rid of me that easily, Mr. Superhero.” Michael had said definitively, poking the Vav symbol on Gavin's chest.

Gavin had just laughed and kissed him.

_~*~_

Michael smiled, shaking the memories away. Following his link to Gavin, or rather Vav right now; it was just easier for him to think of them as two people, it helped prevent Michael from blurting out Gavin's identity when he was suited up; told him that Vav had made it downtown. He'd probably joined up with X-Ray on the way, those two rarely took on anything supervillain-wise separately. And considering that Ray had told them that he'd take care of anything that happened today so they could enjoy their two year anniversary together probably meant that whatever was happening downtown, X-Ray had needed Vav's help to deal with it.

Michael laid back down flat on the bed, it was still really fucking early and if he wasn't going to be getting it on with his boi then he may as well try to go back to bed. Gavin waking him up for an early morning romp had been much appreciated at the time but right now he just wanted more sleep. Gavin could kiss him awake when he got back from kicking the bad guy's ass.

_~*~_

Gavin didn't make it back to the apartment until almost noon, cheery sunlight filtering pleasantly into their bedroom when he touched down. The fight downtown had only taken about an hour, but then X-Ray had gotten a call about a burning building and Vav had said since he was already there he may as well help. Then it was just one thing after another before Vav had finally been able to pull away to get back to his boyfriend.
Flying into the bedroom Gavin looked around, noticing Michael was no longer in bed which probably meant that he'd finally gotten hungry enough to force himself out of bed and go make himself some food. Gavin wandered out in to the kitchen, completely missing the folded piece of white paper resting against Michael's white pillow.

“Michael?” Gavin called out when he failed to find him in the kitchen.

No response.

Gavin felt something like unease settle in his stomach. There was no reason for Michael to go anywhere today; they’d been planning to spend most of their anniversary in bed together and then maybe go to dinner or something later that night. Michael should still be here.

Okay. Don't freak out Gavin, he's fine. You would have felt something if he'd been in distress. Gavin told himself as he quickly searched the rest of the apartment. Finally coming to the conclusion that Michael definitely wasn’t here anymore, Gavin returned to the bedroom in search of his phone to call him. That's when he finally noticed the folded piece of paper resting against Micheal’s pillow. That did not bode well. Every movie cliché about breaking up with someone suddenly popping into Gavin's head as soon as he saw it.

No. No way Michael would leave me on our anniversary. Gavin told himself, trying to push down the dread in his throat. He picked up the note unfolding it and began to read. The dread was replaced with panic.

Oh god no.

Gavin rushed to pick up Vav's phone from where he'd set it on the bedside table. “X-Ray! We have a serious problem, I need you here ASAP!”

“What? What's happened?” X-Ray answered, picking up on the barely-controlled panic in Gavin's voice.

“Someone's taken Michael.”

_~*~_

Want him back?
Come and play.
The docks.
Warehouse 4.
Midnight.
See you then Vavvy.

It was signed with a small hand drawn image of a crown, blood running down from one of the points. Ray read over the note again, studying it, scanning for anything useful with his special vision. Absolutely nothing. The note was spotless, almost as if whoever wrote it knew how to remove anything that would be useful to him.

Gavin was curled into himself on his and Michael's bed, trying not to have an even bigger panic attack than he already was.

“The Mad King is back.” Gavin said hollowly. He was trying so hard to control his emotions, control his fear for Michael. The thought of that mad man with his hands on his boi...

Gavin shuddered.

They'd met the Mad King a few years back. At first he was just another run of the mill villain of the week, but then he'd developed a fixation on Vav and therefore, Gavin himself. He'd come close to uncovering who Gavin really was before they'd taken him out. The last he'd seen of the Mad King, or Ryan Haywood as they'd later discovered, he'd been on his way to super-max, never to be heard from again.

It seemed as if he'd not only escaped but had actually succeeded in figuring out what Vav's secret identity was. And he'd found Michael. All alone without Gavin there to protect him.

“Vav.”

Why hadn't he felt anything? Why hadn't Michael called out to him as he was being taken?
It's something he's trying not to think too hard about, because the answers he's coming up with are going to give him nightmares.

“Vav.”

This was all his fault. If only he'd come home sooner. If only he hadn't allowed himself to get caught up in call after call. If only he'd accepted Ray's offer to handle the rest, and allowed himself to come home. To protect his boi. God what if Haywood was hurting him? What if -

“Gavin!”

Gavin startled. “What?” he asked dazed.

“We're going to get Michael back, ok? We will. But I need Vav right now. I need his help if we're going to get your boi back. Can you do that?” Ray's voice was both gentle and all business. Gavin had no doubts that he'd already compartmentalized his own feelings about the situation away. Michael was his friend too after all.

Gavin swallowed, nodded and forced himself to do the same. They would get him back. Michael was his, and Gavin would not allow him to be taken away by some crazy with an obsession with Vav.

“Good.” X-Ray said shortly. “Now do you have any suggestions on how we go about this? What's your link to him telling you?”

Gavin swallowed again around a suddenly dry throat. “Not much. Only that he's somewhere east.” Gavin had been pulling on his link with Michael ever since he'd read the note. The only thing he was getting back was that Michael was somewhere east of here, maybe three miles away. Michael was probably unconscious; the link always got fuzzy when one of them was sleeping, but this was more than that. It felt almost as if Michael was blocking him.

X-Ray huffed. “Alright. Well that limits our options.”

“The meeting's obviously a trap.”

“No shit, Vav.”

“But it's probably the only way that we'll be able to find Michael, since my link isn't working properly. We'll just have to use the fact that we know its a trap to our advantage.”

X-Ray looked like he wanted to argue, but couldn't seem to think of anything better, so instead he said, “What do you have in mind?”

_~*~_

To be fair, their plan hadn't been the most bullet proof one they'd ever come up with. So it's not really all that much of a surprise when it goes to shit almost as soon as Vav steps through the door of the warehouse.

Now it should be said that Vav's powers do allow him to slow time. However this ability is not an unconscious one that runs in the background of his head at all times. He has to actively be concentrating to effect anything. So when the needle and drug are inserted into his neck, it happens much to fast for him to do anything about it. Whatever it was that they had injected him with worked fucking fast too. He'd only had just enough time to take out the goon who'd drugged him before he started feeling weird. By the time more baddies had shown up Vav was just trying to stay relatively steady on his feet. It wasn't much of a fight at that point, using his time manipulation powers left him woozy and he couldn't seem to get airborne at all. The last of his strength left him as he took out the first guard. He collapsed allowing the other two to pick him up and drag him farther into the warehouse. They stopped at about the half way point into the building, Vav still on his knees with a goon each holding one arm.

“Ah, nice of you to join us, Vavvy.” The Mad King said from the shadows, coming into view with Michael in tow. Michael was fighting tooth and nail to get Haywood to let go of his arm, screaming profanities at him the whole time, before he noticed Vav on the ground a few feet away.

“What the fuck did you do to him, you fuck?!” Michael yelled, his struggles to get away intensifying now that Vav was here.

“Oh, just a little something to keep him docile while we talk.” Suddenly there was a rather large thump a couple dozen feet away. “Oh is that the other one? Bring him here when you've dealt with him.” Haywood called out into the darkness. A minute or so later, two more goons came into view holding an unconscious X-Ray between them. They dropped him rather roughly on the ground to Vav's right. Haywood nodded. “Alright now that that's taken care of you and I can have a little chat.” He said looking down to where Vav was fighting to stay awake, not letting his eyes off Michael for a second.

The tension in their link finally eased. Normally when they were apart the link felt sort of like a stretched rubber band, it didn't hurt or anything, and it could adjust to a greater stretch over time. His link with Dan was proof of that. All afternoon, however, this stretch had felt different, like there was something sitting on the link between them, stretching it more than it should at the distance they’d been from each other.

With the stretch easing, Gavin again tried to reach out to Michael through it. And again he got about half way and then hit a metaphorical brick wall. They had done something to the link. They had to have done something to it because otherwise Gavin should be able to talk to Michael through it. But he was getting nothing. Even having Michael standing right in front of him he couldn't follow the link to his position, it was still just the vague pull it had been all afternoon. What was worse, however, was that even that seemed to be fading.

“Let him go Haywood, it's me you're after. Leave Michael out of this.” Vav demanded, giving up on the link for the moment and focusing on Haywood.

“Aw but Vav, he's so much more important to you than I am. We could have ruled the world together if you'd taken me up on my offer, but instead you decide to toss me in jail so you could play house with your little boy toy here.” Haywood seemed to have finally had enough of Michael's struggles as he said this and knocked him out flat with a crack of his pistol to the back of Michael's head. Michael collapsed with a small groan of pain, Haywood picking him up deftly as if Michael weighed absolutely nothing.

Gavin held back bile at the image of the Mad King touching anymore of his boi than he already was. Suddenly the roof was retracting and a helicopter was lowering into the warehouse, “Now you take a good long look Vavvy because the next time you see him you two won't be as... familiar anymore.” Haywood said over the noise of the rotors and climbed in. Gavin's head had been getting more and more foggy during their exchange and the last thing he saw before passing out competently was Haywood, still holding onto Michael's unconscious form, lifting off the ground and starting to fly away.

_~*~_

Michael is just simply gone.

There isn't a trace of him or the chopper that took him away from Gavin when they come around. Of course they look, of cause they follow every possible lead, but as time goes steadily marching on, no matter how much Gavin hates it, it's looking more and more like he will never see his boi again.

And it is all his fault.

Gavin had reported Michael missing when the forty-eight hour window was up, just to cover all his bases and get some extra pairs of eyes keeping a look out though Gavin didn't expect them to find anything. If Vav himself couldn't find Michael, how were a bunch of lowly uniforms going to do it?

They were three months in and still nothing.

Occasionally he would feel a flash of pain from Michael, but nothing else and the connection never lasted long enough for him to get a direction, let alone Michael's coordinates. Gavin had lost pretty much all hope at this point. Which was exactly what Haywood wanted. He let them connect for just long enough to illustrate that Michael was still alive somewhere before cutting them off from each other again. That in of itself was its own kind of torture. At this point it didn't even matter to him how Haywood found out about their link, or how to manipulate it. All Gavin wanted was Michael back, safe and sound.

_~*~_

They got a call about some crazy lunatic rampaging though downtown destroying pretty much everything he touched one day, about a week after Gavin's last flash of torture from Michael. X-Ray and Vav hurried to the scene, worried about civilians and the surrounding cityscape.

When they landed the guy had his back turned to them. He looked rather small to have done so much damage to the surrounding area. Cars were flipped upside down, some looking like they'd been tossed and then rolled a good few dozen times. Lampposts had been used as baseball bats to pummel the sides of a few buildings and there was a crater in the middle of the road. Perhaps where he had landed after a jump? Most of the buildings surrounding them had at least two or three chunks of road about about the size of a person lodged into them, several stories up like they'd been thrown there.

X-Ray let out a low whistle, “Wow, talk about misplaced anger.”

Vav nodded. It looked almost as if a giant, freakishly strong toddler had gone on a rampage, destroying everything he touched with no rhyme or reason.

Vav refocused on the man who still had his back turned to them. He was breathing hard and either hadn’t noticed them or didn't care they were there and not running and screaming like the rest of the populace.

“Hey!” Vav called out, trying to get the guys attention. “Why the temper t- ”

As he'd been speaking the guy had turned. And Gavin lost his voice.

It was Michael.

Michael was standing there, glowering at them, looking like he wanted nothing more than to beat them both within an inch of their lives, not a hint of recognition on his face.

“Michael?” Gavin managed, voice barely above a whisper, completely shocked.

There was no reaction from him other than a slight growl.

“Dude...” Ray said, taking a small step forward. That seemed to break the tension in the air as Michael yelled and charged them. Gavin was still frozen, watching horror-struck as the love of his life ran at him with the intent to kill.

“Vav!” X-Ray yelled at him, yanking him up into the air at the last second. X-Ray brought him level with his face. “Snap out of it! You can't shut down now! I need you if we're going to bring him in, you're probably the only person that can break through to him! Now get your head out of your ass and help me get him to his senses!”

Gavin shook himself, forcing himself to focus. Michael's body was here, they'd finally found him, but his mind was still buried under whatever the Mad King had done to him.

Vav nodded at his partner, “Alright, I'm good. Let's get my boi back.”

X-Ray grinned at him and dove back down to where Michael was angrily looking for something to throw at them as they were to high in the air to grab.

“Michael!” X-Ray called to him, getting his attention. It seemed as if he was more intent on Vav than X-Ray which Ray took as a good thing rather than being offended by it, seeing as right now Michael wanted to murder them.

“My name is Mogar, and I'm going to kill you!” Michael screamed at him, murderous fire dancing in his eyes.

X-Ray allowed him to get close enough to start sparing with him, keeping him busy while Vav got behind him.

Vav cleared his throat, touching down a few feet away from where X-Ray and Michael were fighting. “Michael.” Michael whirled on him, growling. “Michael it's me, it's Gavin. Please. I'm here now, no one's going to hurt you anymore, I promise.” Gavin tried, pleading. Reaching out to the link that felt the same as it had the whole time Michael had been gone while he spoke.

Michael narrowed his eyes, “I told you my name is Mogar, I don't know this Michael you keep talking too and I don't know any Gavin, now hold still while I separate your pretty head from your shoulders.” Michael lunged at him, Vav only narrowly escaping into the air. Michael screamed in frustration.

“Stop doing that!” He yelled. He turned and grabbed X-Ray, who had been trying to sneak up on him, by the collar and flung him down the street, screaming in rage.

The fight raged on. One of the only bright sides was that now Michael was focused on them rather than his surroundings, the buildings stopped taking a pounding, on the other hand that meant that all his energy was focused on trying to kill them.

Finally Michael got the upper hand, catching Vav around the waist and throwing him bodily into the brick side of the building they were fighting next to. Vav's head cracked back into the wall hard and he fell, unconscious, to the ground.

Michael rounded on X-Ray again, picking up a rather large piece of road and throwing it at him. X-Ray dodged, going back in close. They continued to do their dangerous version of sparing, X-Ray holding his own, only half his attention focused on not getting killed as the other half of his mind tried desperately to come up with a way to incapacitate Michael without hurting him too badly. They danced around each other for a few minutes more until X-Ray saw Vav stirring in the rubble of the bits of wall and street littering the ground. X-Ray lost is focus for just a second and Michael saw his chance, catching him around neck and picking him up off the ground about two seconds away from pile driving him into the street below.

There was a sudden and agonized scream from Vav and the next thing X-Ray knew, he was back on his feet on the ground, and Michael was unconscious in Vav's arms.

X-Ray took a second to try and understand what the hell had just happened. Finally he came to the conclusion that Vav must have stopped time altogether, and caused Michael to pass out, which took about thirty seconds of direct contact to someone's head to work. Ray knew of only one other time Vav had stopped time though. X-Ray had been about to be crushed to death by a seven ton bolder (long story) and then the next thing he knew, he was several feet away and Vav was panting beside him. He'd had to finish off the villain of the week pretty much by himself, but later Gavin had explained that he'd somehow been able to completely stop time unlike his usual slow down and pulled Ray out from under the bolder just in time to prevent him becoming a fleshy pancake on the ground. He'd also had no idea how he'd done it and had had no luck in repeating the ability.

Until now.

Gavin wasn't even looking at him though, to preoccupied with staring down at the boy in his arms, “Oh, Micool, what did he do to you?”
It was almost whispered and X-Ray felt almost as if he was intruding.

“Go. Take him back to HQ and get him into a containment field. I'll deal with the police and then come join you.” X-Ray said commandingly, already seeing cops come out of the woodwork. Gavin nodded, lifting off heading in the direction of headquarters. Ray sighed and turned to deal with the incoming questions.

_~*~_

Gavin reluctantly put Michael down in the containment field, backing out and turning the thing on. God, letting go of him was hard. After three months of worry and pain letting Michael out of his grasp just felt wrong. But holding him close wasn't an option right now, not if he wanted to keep breathing after Michael woke up. Which reminded him, how was Michael able to do any of what he did downtown? He was just a normal human, he shouldn’t be able to rip streetlamps from the ground or throw hunks of asphalt into nearby buildings.

They would probably need to run his blood work, because Gavin doubted asking Michael himself would yield anything useful.

He knew he needed to get a move on if he was going to get a sample of Michael's blood before he woke up, go get supplies and such, but he just couldn’t bare to move. He couldn’t stomach the thought of leaving Michael's side. Even if he was still unconscious and when he woke up, would want Vav's blood for an entirely different reason, he still couldn’t move.

“Hey.”

Gavin jumped slightly, he hadn’t heard X-Ray come in, to preoccupied with his own thoughts and worries to keep aware of his surroundings. Turning, he watched Ray walk up. “He still out?”

Gavin nodded, turning back to Michael.

“Good. We need to run his blood work and I don't think that he's going to be down for- ”

X-Ray was cut off as Michael suddenly lurched up, crying out in what could have been fear. He was on his feet within seconds and quickly took stock of his surroundings. He growled when he noticed Gavin. Lurching forward again moving his hands as if he wanted nothing more than to strangle him, he hit the green of the force field that made up the front of his cell. Yelling in frustration Michael pounded on it uselessly, looking for a weak point.

“Well so much for the easy way.” X-Ray grumbled.

Gavin was watching Michael, heart heavy. His moments were almost zombie-like. The mindless aggression controlling every aspect of him, focused on capturing his prey and ripping it to shreds. His prey at the moment being none other than his boyfriend of two years.

X-Ray sighed. “Do you think you could hold him in one of your slo mo fields while I take his blood?” he asked warily. Vav could hold someone in their own pocket of slowed time, but with how strong Michael had become, he wasn't sure how long he would be able to hold him still enough for X-Ray to do his thing.

He swallowed, nodding. They had to try at least.

“Be quick about it.”

Ray nodded and ran off to get the supplies they would need. He was back quickly, “Alright, ready?” he asked, hand on the controls to lower the field.

Vav nodded again getting ready to hold Michael in as slow of a time he could.

“Go.” he said calmly, and the field lowered, Michael barely taking a step before Vav caught him. X-Ray moved with quick efficiency to one of Michael's raised arms and inserting the needle.

Vav grunted with the effort, Michael's resistance stronger than he'd anticipated.

“Almost done.” X-Ray said tightly.

Gavin panted, suddenly feeling a wetness running down his mouth. His nose was bleeding, Christ.

“Done!” Ray said sprinting back to the controls and getting the field back up.

Gavin promptly passed out.

_~*~_

Gavin groaned and rolled over. He slowly opened his eyes. His head was pounding and he felt like he'd gone ten rounds with a giant robot and lost.

“Oh, good your awake finally.” Ray said calmly to his right.

Gavin looked over and saw him at their computer, looking at some sciencey mumbo jumbo. It finally clicked where he was. He was in their little make-shift living room in HQ, on the couch. Their HQ wasn't very big, a supercomputer, the make-shift living room, an infirmary, a small training gym, and four containment fields for the rare time they had to take someone back here rather than let the police deal with them. That was pretty much it for X-Ray and Vav's secret lair. Mostly they just used it for a place to hang out and play video games when the city wasn't experiencing doomsday.

“Have you run his blood yet?” Gavin said, trying not to groan to loudly as he sat up, looking over to where Michael was angrily pacing in his field.

X-Ray sighed. “Yeah I have. God Gav, there are traces all kinds of shit in his system. Most of which I won't go into, for your sanity and mine. But I think I've figured out why he's so fucking aggressive. There's some kind of drug that's still pretty heavily present in his blood and near as I can tell, that’s whats making him so ready to bash our brains in.”

“So its not permanent?” Gavin asked hopefully tearing his eyes away from looking over at Michael and to Ray.

“I don't think so. With luck he'll be back to normal in ten hours or so as the drug cycles out of his system.”

“What about the fact that he apparently has no memory of you or me?”

“That I don't know about. I'm looking into ways to undo that too, it just looks like it's going to take a while.”

“Let me know what you find, okay?”

“Will do Vav. Why don’t you go home and get some rest, I can hold down the fort.”

Gavin shook his head, the last thing he wanted was to be father away from Michael. “I'm staying here.”

Ray sighed. “Fine, but you do need the sleep. Whatever you did to hold Michael still did a number on you. You need time to heal.”

Gavin nodded, agreeing. He still felt like a several trucks had hit him head on, he'd pushed himself past his limit with Michael. He'd underestimated how strong Michael was and he'd been actively resisting Vav with all his strength. Stopping time had been almost easy in comparison, because Michael hadn't been aware of what was happening. Vav had been able to approach and subdue him with ease because he hadn’t been actively trying to stop him. This time however he'd been fully aware of what was happening and that made containing him all the more difficult because it gave Michael a chance to fight back.

Gavin laid back down on the couch and allowed himself to be dragged back to sleep.

_~*~_

By the time Gavin woke up again, almost the entire ten hours have gone by. Ray informs him that Michael's been fairly quiet, only attacking the force field once and that had been several hours ago. His pacing had also slowed as the hours dragged on and by the time Gavin woke up, he was sitting calmly in the back of the containment field.

"You ready to have a civilized conversation and not try to rip my head off?" Gavin asked as he approached the field.

Michael looked up at him with an expression that was mostly tired and maybe a little resigned. "Sure knock yourself out." He said, very little bite left in his tone.

Gavin moved to sit across from him on his side of the force field. "Michael, do you know where you are?" He asked as evenly as possible. Michael had spent many a night here with himself and X-Ray, wasting the time away playing video games together. He should be able to recognize it instantly.

Michael glares at him. "How many times do I have to tell you people? My name is Mogar." It's said in the firm tone you would use when your absolutely sure about something. Like the sky is blue. Grass is green. Gravity pulls things down. Etc etera.

Gavin swallowed down a groan of frustration. "Fine. Mogar, do you know where you are?" He could deal with the name issue later.
Michael shook his head, "Never been here before. I assume it's your secret Batcave?"

Gavin is ready for this answer but it still hurts to hear. Haywood had certainly been thorough when he'd done whatever he'd done to Michael's head. He nods though, answering Michael's question. "You are correct. Do you know why I brought you here?"

"Because you're a kinky as fuck individual who gets off on leaving a guy in a box for an entire day? How the fuck should I know?"

Gavin chooses not to acknowledge that, and instead he asks another question, "What do you remember before you started tearing apart Main Street?" 

Michael opens his mouth to respond, but nothing comes out. He looks confused for the first time since Gavin got him back. Finally he says, "Nothing?" Sounding just the slightest bit afraid as he does so.

Gavin nods. He'd been expecting as much. With how extensive Michael's life intertwined with his own removing all memory of him from Michael's mind, which is what Gavin assumes Haywood tried to do, would be far less complex if he just wiped the entire slate clean. 

"Why can't I remember?" Michael asked, the fear becoming more plain in his voice. Gavin doesn't blame him. Now that Michael's mind had cleared enough to realize something was very, very wrong he had every right to freak out a little. Gavin knows he would too if their positions were reversed. 

"Honestly I don't know how this was done to you. I do however know who did it. He's the same man who took you from me in the first place. We know each other, Mogar. You and I are very close friends, it's the reason I keep calling you Michael. It's your real name. I suspect that when Haywood, or the Mad King as the rest of the world knows him, wiped your memories, he wiped all of them. Including your name."

Gavin is surprised when Michael lets him speak without interrupting to protest. He'd listened intently and looked as if he might actually believe that Gavin was telling him the truth. He wondered if that would still be the case if he'd told the whole truth, that he and Michael were a couple. That he'd been thinking about proposing. He'd gone with 'close friends' to avoid throwing too much at him at once. He didn't want Michael to shut down. Deny everything Gavin had told him and block him out. They'd had a pretty open discussion going and he didn't want to lose all the progress they were making because he accidentally threw to much at him at once.

"Ok. If what you just told me is true, how do we undo it?" 

Michael's trying to look guarded and act like he doesn't actually believe him but Gavin can see through him. He knows Michael well enough to read him like a book, even when he doesn't remember who he is. 

"Well X-Ray over there is looking into a few options but I have another idea."

Michael raises an eyebrow, "Yeah?"

"One of my abilities is to create mental links with people. I could connect with you and see if I'm able to shake anything lose."

Michael made a face, "I'm not really sure I want you rooting around in my head. No offense."

Gavin shook his head, growing used to the flare of pain in his chest whenever Michael demonstrated how much he mistrusted him. Michael may be giving him the benefit of the doubt but that didn't mean he'd be comfortable with Vav having an all access pass to his mind. Not that he didn't already have it but Michael didn't know that and it wasn't working properly at the moment anyway, no need to let Michael know that though.  "I'm only letting you know it's an option.  I don't make a habit of rummaging through people's heads without permission, it's rude." And also not at all how his power worked. 

"Ok." Michael fell silent. Then rather hesitantly he asked, "Are you going to kept me in here?"

Gavin nodded, "Yeah we have to. The drug that made you go all rage-y is still in your system and we don't know if it will have lasting effects yet. Believe me, I don't like seeing you in there any more than you like being in there."

Michael sighed. "Alright, I guess that makes sense." Though he didn't look to happy about it. 

"I'm gonna go check in with X-Ray, see how close we are to finding something to help you remember. Try to remember something in the mean time? Maybe meditation would help?"

Michael gave him a very skeptical look. 

"What? Couldn't hurt to try."

Michael just kept looking at him. 

"Suit yourself. My offer is still on the table by the way, just let me know."

With that he turned and headed back to Ray. 

"Anything?" Gavin asked as he approached.

Ray shook his head. "I've been at this since you fell asleep and I haven't really found anything useful. I think our best bet is to try your link with him."

"I offered but he wasn't too game. He does believe me about the memory wiping and us knowing him bits, though."

"Well that's something at least. Though he may not have many other options than to let you try and reestablish your link with him. The best I'm getting here is meditation and hypnosis."

Gavin made a face. "Well I told him to try meditation as I left, he also wasn't overly enthusiastic about that idea either, but I think he might try it if we leave him alone long enough for him to get bored," Gavin glanced over his shoulder in Michael's direction. "Apparently we won't have to wait very long." 

Michael was standing up in front of the force field gesturing for him to come back over impatiently. Gavin looked back at Ray, indicating that he was going to see what Michael wanted. Ray nodded at him and turned back to the computer. 

"Well? What'd he find?" Michael demands as soon as Gavin is back in hearing range. 

"Not much, your other two options so far are hypnosis and meditation."

Michael groaned. "Seriously? That's all he's come up with in the last eleven hours?"

Gavin shrugged, helpless. He understood Michael's frustration, he wanted his boi back, not this fragment that looks and sounds and moves the same as his Michael but isn't. But he couldn't make a solution appear out of thin air. That knowledge had been made abundantly clear over the last three torturous months, because wishing for something didn't make it happen, no matter how much you wanted it to.  

"Are you sure you don't want me to try?" He asked evenly, "You don't have many other options here, Michael.”

Michael twitched at the name but didn't protest this time. Gavin smiled to himself, Progress.

Michael looked torn, but finally he sighed and said, “Look, I really don't want to give you an all access pass into my head but seeing as I don't really have another viable option I guess, yeah, you can try your mind meld thingy on me.”

Gavin resisted the urge to do a victory punch to the air, and instead he focus on the tattered remains of his link with Michael. “Ok, well then this may sound weird but I'll need your help in order to connect with you. Can you imagine your mind reaching out to mine? There should be a sort of... pull in your head towards me. Follow that.”

Again Michael looked skeptical but he closed his eyes and seemed to be trying at least. His eyebrows furrowed together. “I do actually feel that weird pull thing and, now that I think about it, it's been there in the background since I saw you on Main Street.” Michael said distractedly, like he wasn't really aware that he was talking out loud, still following that pull in his head.

He suddenly let out an annoyed noise, “There's some kind of block in the way.”

Gavin nodded even though Michael still had his eyes closed. “Yeah, I feel that on my end too. Can you try pushing on it? I'll do the same. Maybe we can break through it if both of us work on it from both sides.”

Gavin didn't notice his own eyes slipping closed as he started to yet again push on that mental wall. This time however, something was different. Instead of feeling like an impenetrable brick wall, the block felt almost... rubbery. It had give where he pushed on it. And it bulged out in places, probably from where Michael was pushing on his end. Suddenly one of the areas Gavin poked at gave way, creating almost a sort of... tear in the wall, and with a rush he could feel Michael again. Could feel where he was, just the hint of his emotions, everything that their link used to do was back. Not as strong as it should be but still it was there.

Whatever Haywood had done to his boi wasn't permanent.

They could fix it.

Gavin almost let out a sob of mixed joy and relief.

He faintly heard Michael gasp, and when Gavin opened his eyes to meet Michael's they had tears in them.

“Gavin.” The way Michael said his name, shaky and tearful, the way that he said it almost like he couldn't actually believe that Gavin was real, Gavin knew that his Michael was back. Perhaps not completely cured of his amnesia, but enough to know who Gavin is to him.

“Michael. Finally.” Gavin moved to shut down the force field separating them, so they could have a proper reunion, but Michael stopped him.

“That... That asshole did something to me. Before, downtown? The reason I was so focused on you, he's done something to my head. Other than the memory wipe. I'm... I got more aggressive when you touched me. Like some instinct was telling me to hurt you. If you turn off the field... I'm scared of what I may do to you.”

Gavin considered that.

Fuck it.

“Micool, you've been gone for three months, and I have superpowers. You may be strong as nobs now, which by the way when did that happen, but I can still hold you off for a sort time. I'll be fine. I just want to hold my boi again, as girly as that sounds. I've missed you.”

He turned off the power and the field disintegrated before them. Moving forward Gavin caught Michael as he tried to back away, and captured his lips in a long overdue kiss. Michael was stiff for a moment, still fearing what his body might do if he let his guard down, but after a few seconds of contact with nothing happening, he allowed himself to melt into the contact.

“God, I missed you.” Michael mumbles in between kisses, taking hold of Gavin's face to angle him more to his liking. Gavin hums in agreement, adjusting his hold on Michael to pull him closer.

“I love you.” Gavin murmurs into the nonexistent space between them.

“Love you to, boi.” Michael said through their link and Gavin actually starts tearing up at how good it feels to have Michael back in his head.
“I really don't want to ruin your moment, but could you by chance tell us where the asshole is that took you? I'd like to put him through a few walls.” X-Ray says from behind them.

_~*~_

“What do you mean, you don't know where he is?” Ray almost whines.

Michael rubbed at the back of his neck. “I, uh, wasn't exactly set free and I kinda broke his place when I escaped. I don't really remember most of it, I was kinda lost in a sort of... red-tinged rage I guess is the best way I can describe it, and I think I may have put him through a concrete wall of some kind. I definitely remember throwing him into something, at least.”

Ray snorted at that. “Well at the very least hopefully he'll have a nasty bruise on his head. But personally I'm hoping you cracked his skull in. That fucker took you and from what Gav tells me, tortured you for three months straight. If you haven't already, I'm going to bash his brains in.”
Michael turns sharply to Gavin. “You could feel that?” He asks, horror in his voice.

“Only for brief periods of time. He'd let me connect to you for just long enough to let me know that he still had you and could do anything he wanted to too you and I was powerless to stop him. He was torturing us both.” Gavin said, taking hold of Michael's hand between them. Michael shudders and squeezes back. Gavin winced, “Bloody hell, seriously, when did you get so strong?” he said as he shook out his hand, trying to get some feeling back into his fingers.

“Um, somewhere around week six?” Michael said, trying to sound nonchalant. He doesn't succeed very well if the expressions he's getting are anything to go by. Well may as well go for broke, they'll need to hear all this eventually anyway, may as well get it over with. “King Douche apparently decided he wanted a weapon rather than a hostage, I guess, because after about... a week? He started...” Michael swallows as the memories start to come back full force. God whatever that green stuff had been had fucking hurt. Didn't do much to him though if King Douche could be trusted. Change had started with the orange shit. Then came yellow, pink, and finally, red.

Red had been the worst.

It had started with a feeling like ice being injected straight into his blood and then rapidly turning to white-hot magma which had traveled into his muscles and then finally making its way into his brain, consuming him. He'd blacked out after that, thank god, but when he'd woken up King Douche had been practically singing with happiness about some shit. Which had later turned out to be that Michael had not only gained inhuman strength but his mind was going into crisis mode, and was slowly turning itself off. Locking away his memories. Haywood had helped the process along, Michael could only assume; given him something to make the memory loss more permanent.

“Michael?”

Michael suddenly became aware of Gavin standing directly in front of him, his expression full of concern. “Are you alright? You stopped talking and you've been lost in your head for a while now.”

“Y-Yeah. I'm fine. Just... I agree with Ray. King Douche needs his fucking head bashed in. And thanks to him I can do that myself now.” The grin that forms on Michael's face is just a step short of absolutely menacing.

_~*~_

Thankfully there was no murder that night. After a few more hours of going through what Michael remembered about his escape to help try and pick out any clues as to where this base of Haywood's was, with no luck unfortunately, Gavin took Michael home. It was surreal, being able to hold Michael in his arms as he flew them to their balcony as he'd done hundreds of times before. Gavin almost thought that he'd never get the chance again but here his is now, touching down outside their apartment with Michael wiggling to get his feet back on the ground.
Gavin had to smile at that. No matter how many times they'd done this, flying had always unsettled Michael on some level. He much preferred the ground to being a hundred feet in the air with only Gavin between him and a fall to his death. Of course he trusted that Gavin would never let that happen but sometimes you just can't fight your instincts. Michael's brain told him that he was supposed to have both feet firmly planted on the ground at all times. Even plane flights made him uneasy. It was good to see that even with all that had changed, Michael was still Michael.

“Oh my god Gavin, have you cleaned at all since I’ve been gone? Holy hell what is this growing in here?!”

Ah.

Yeah.

The apartment was a complete wreck. Yes. Gavin had completely forgotten that. Fuck.

Michael had apparently found his way into the fridge, probably in search of something to eat. Destroying Main Street had taken it out of him and Ray had only given him a small snack that could not in any way be qualified as lunch. Though now that he thought about it, Michael was lucky to have gotten any food. Ray went rather zombie-like when in research mode.

Gavin sighed and went to face Michael in the kitchen.

When he rounded the wall from their bedroom into the kitchen Michael was holding a Tupperware container that had something... brown in it.

Gavin had absolutely no idea what that used to be.

“Um. I haven't uh, really been eating here since you've been gone.” He said rather sheepishly. Truth be told he hadn't really been eating since Michael had been gone. Sure he'd eat the occasional meal, he wasn't starving himself, but he hadn't had anywhere near his normal eat-enough-for-three-people level of food intake. Superhero-ing required a fairly fast metabolism. At least for Vav it did. Which was ironic considering his power set.

Michael narrowed his eyes at him. “What does that mean, Gavin?”

“Um.”

“Have you been eating at all?”

“Yes!” It comes out as a whine. “I eat. Jeez Michael, what are you, my mother?”

Micheal's eyes haven't let up. “Really? You've been eating the proper amount of food for you since I've been away? Why don't I believe you?” he asked, shaking the container in his hand for emphases.

Gavin sighed. “Alright fine. You caught me, Congratulations.” He said with absolutely no inflection whatsoever.

Michael looks at him for a moment while Gavin looks down at the floor, avoiding Michael's gaze. Hm. He should probably mop soon. The tile is getting nasty. Then Michael quietly sets down the container and walks over to Gavin, pulling him into a hug and saying nothing, just holding him there. Slowly Gavin brings his arms up around Michael and gradually his grip gets tighter and tighter until, finally, he just lets go and allows himself to feel that looming wall of emotion that he's been desperately trying to keep at bay. It crashes over him and the next thing he knows, he and Michael are sitting together on the dirty kitchen tile and Gavin is sobbing into Michael's shoulder.

Michael is rubbing soothing circles into his back and just holding him. Gavin feels a vague sense of guilt for falling apart like this when it was Michael who was taken and tortured but he has a feeling that Michael's meltdown will be later. After they've taken care of the Mad King.
Eventually he pulls it together enough to get them off the floor and order takeout. They don't talk about it after Gavin calms down, since there really isn't all that much to say. Sometimes you just needed to let go for a while and do a bit of an emotional reset when things get to be too much.

Gavin had learned that the hard way about Michael soon after Michael had found out about Gavin being Vav. There had been a pretty brutal fight; the villain of the week much tougher than either Vav or X-Ray had expected and Michael thought for sure that Gavin was going to die. Even after Gavin had pulled through and healed Michael had had a breakdown over something stupid, he couldn't remember now what, because he was just so emotionally strung out. Gavin had correctly assumed that while Michael didn't want to talk about it, he did just want Gavin close to reassure himself that Gav was alive and well. So they’d cuddled together on the couch and had a mini movie marathon. Afterwords Michael had still needed a little space to finish calming down.

So Michael gives Gavin that space now, silently going through and cleaning out the rest of the fridge as they waited for their food to arrive. Gavin wandered around the rest of the apartment, cleaning as he went. After their food arrives they sit together on the couch and watch an old rerun of Always Sunny, Michael practically in Gavin's lap, they were so close together. They head to bed after they finish eating, both too tired to do anything else after the day they've had.

Curled together on their bed for the first time in three months, Michael tucked under Gavin's chin, Michael lets out a quite “I love you.” right before he drifts off, not hearing Gavin's repetition of the sentiment. Gavin sifts himself just the slightest bit closer and listens to Michael's soft breathing, allowing that to lull him to sleep as well.

_~*~_

The first thing Gavin was aware of as he jerked awake were the hands around his throat. It's still dark out, maybe four or five in the morning, so it's too dark to see who it is on top of him trying to squeeze the life out of him but Gavin doesn’t really have time to consider who it might be that's snuck into their bedroom to off him. Right that second his main priority was getting the asshole off of him.

Reaching up to physically pry the guys hands off proves to be easier said than done. Even with the fact that he's stronger than your average human, Gavin by no means has super-strength. So when his hands do little to ease the pressure on his throat, he pushes past the panic trying to overtake his rational thinking and reaches up higher to the man's face and head. Laying his fingers flat on the guy's forehead, he pushes with all his power to knock this fucker out. There are a few horrible seconds where Gavin has to keep pushing, this ability had never been the most reliable and could sometimes take upwards of thirty seconds to actually do anything. Thankfully this time it works relatively quickly and the guy slumps over onto Michael's side of the bed.

It's only as the guy lands with a soft bounce that Gavin realizes that Michael is no longer tucked in next to him.

Frantically he searches along his newly restored link with his boi, only to find that it leads to right next to him. Gavin reaches over to switch on their bedside lamp and sure enough there Michael is, unconscious next to him in the same spot that his assailant landed.

Good God it had been Michael with his hands around Gavin's neck.

Well that explains why I couldn't pull him off. Gavin thinks dimly as he stares at Michael, shell-shocked. Michael's enhanced strength would be more than a match for Gavin's.

But, why?

Michael had been acting completely normal since he'd regained access to his memories. He hadn't so much as hinted that he wanted to do Gavin any harm, quiet the opposite in fact. So why now, when they were in bed together?

Before Gavin could puzzle over it for too long, Michael was groaning and rolling over.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” He said sounding sleepy and mildly annoyed, as he noticed Gavin starring at him.

“I – You – How - ?” Gavin had no idea how to articulate what had just happened.

Michael raised an eyebrow, “You okay, boi?”

“No.” Gavin said sounding distressed and just the slightest bit scared, even to his own ears.

Michael is sitting up on his knees now, looking down at Gavin with concern. “What? What happened?” He's agitated now, picking up on the fact that Gavin is thoroughly freaking the fuck out.

“Y-You just tried to strangle me. In your sleep, I think.” Gavin finally forces out.

“What?!” Michael yelps, yanking his hand back from where it had been resting on Gavin's hip. “I – I tried to what?”

Gavin shakes his head, he doesn't want to say it again. Once had been hard enough.

“Oh my god, Gav. I – I'm so sorry. I – Are you ok?”

Seeing how freaked out Michael is about this, is having the strange effect of both working Gavin up more and also calming him down, because at least Michael didn't consciously want him dead. It had to be a side effect of whatever Haywood had done to his head. Michael had said that he'd felt an instinctive pull to hurt Vav and he'd been worried that he wouldn't be able to resist that pull. It seemed that while he could handle himself when he was awake, as soon as he let his guard down while he was asleep that instinct took over. No matter how much Michael didn't want it to.

Gavin swallowed, wincing at the pain that flares up in his throat when he does so and nods at Michael. “I think so. I knocked you out before you could really hurt me.” He'd probably have two hand-shaped bruises on his neck for a few hours but other than that he'd be fine.

Michael still looked worried though, and moves closer to Gavin to inspect the damage himself. He made a pained noise in the back of his throat when he saw the deep purple marks already forming on Gavin's neck. He reached out and lightly ran his fingers over the imprints, guilt starting to swamp him. Gavin reached up and caught his hand, “Hey, look at me.” he said quietly, finally sitting all the way up from where he'd been propping himself up with an elbow. “This isn't your fault, okay?”

“Yes. It is.” Michael said, his eyes still locked on the marks, sounding even more wracked with guilt than he looked.

“Michael. This wasn't you. Did you ever do anything like this to me before Haywood took you?”

“...No.”

“And did you want to do this to me now?” Gavin continues, gesturing to his neck.

“...No.” Michael said again.

“Then this isn't your fault. It's Haywood's for doing whatever he did to your head, ok?”

Michael looks reluctant to accept that but eventually he sighed, “Okay. I still feel awful though. I could have killed you!”

“But you didn't. You didn't even seriously hurt me.” Freaked him out a bit, yeah. But that was to be expected.

Gavin moves so that he's leaning against the headboard. “Come here, boi.”

Slowly Michael moves to lean against his chest, letting Gavin wrap his arms around him.

“You sure your alright?” Michael asks some time later.

“Yes, I'm totally fine. I almost can't feel the pain anymore.” Swallowing still hurt as did talking, but the constant dull ache had almost completely faded.

Micheal nods against his chest. “That's good.” there's a pause and then, “Take me back to the containment field in HQ.”

Gavin jolts up, dislodging Michael, to stare at him, “Why?”

“Because you're not safe with me here.” Michael said matter-of-factly.

“Of course I am, Michael! I'm fine! I stopped you before you did anything catastrophic!”

“This time!” Michael shouts. “This time you stopped me. But what about next time? What if I knock you out and then try something while you can't defend yourself? What if I just simply lose control completely again and you can't stop me? I'm stronger than you now, Gavin! I could hold you down and kill you no problem!”

“Micheal - ”

“No, Gavin. I'm not going to be responsible for hurting you when I can't control this fucking instinct that the Douche King put in my head! I love you too much to have something like that on my conscience. Take me back or I'll call Ray and have him do it.”

Gavin made a pained noise, pleading with Michael with his eyes. When that didn't work, Michael only glaring at him with strong resolve, he reluctantly got up and started putting on clothes. It was still dark enough outside that he could dress in street clothes and not worry about someone seeing him without Vav's costume. Michael silently followed suit, pulling on the jeans that he'd discarded on floor when they'd gone to bed and gabbing one of his shirts out of the closet.

By the time he'd finished pulling that over his head Gavin was waiting for him by the balcony.

_~*~_

The flight was quiet. Neither of them really knew what to say to make this situation any less shitty. Honestly, there really wasn't anything they could say. Michael wanted to wring Haywood's neck for doing this to them. First taking him away and torturing them both for three months; then after they'd finally reunited, they couldn't even spend one night together for fear of Micheal accidentally killing Gav in his sleep because of some stupid impulse planted there by the Mad King.

Dating a superhero really sucked sometimes.

Gavin landed softly in the middle of HQ, setting Michael back on his feet. Without saying anything he turned and walked to the small linen closet that contained a few pillows and sheets for when one of them had to crash here, which usually happened after their gaming nights. He pulled out two pillows and blankets, walking back over to Michael after shutting the closet. “Here.” Gavin said quietly, handing him a pillow and a blanket.

“What are those for?” Michael asked gesturing to the set of linens still in Gavin's hands.

“These are for me. If you think I'm going back to the apartment and let you out of my sight again, you are sorely mistaken. I would never be able to sleep if I left you here alone.”

Michael make a face, “I'm not made of glass you know, I can take care of myself. More so now even, what with the super-strength and all.”

“I know. This is for my own piece of mind, Michael.” Gavin leaned in to kiss him and then took Michael's hand and lead the way to the containment fields.

Once there Michael dropped his pillow and blanket on the small cot and then turned around to face Gavin again. He leaned forward and took Gavin's face in both his hands and kissed him deeply, letting his fingers tangle in the short hair at the nape of Gavin's neck. “Love you.” He murmured once they've settled and are resting their foreheads together.

“Love you too, boi. Though I wish you didn't have to spend the night in this cell.” Gavin said, rubbing his thumbs against Michael's lower back.

“And I don't want to wake up tomorrow with your blood on my hands.”

Gavin sighs. “Yeah I know, you're right, we have to do this, I just wish we didn't.”

“I know, Gav. Me too.” Michael stole one last kiss before untangling himself from Gavin and backing up into the field.

Gavin sighed again and turned on the field. Michael waved, “Goodnight.”

“Night.” Gavin said back. Then he turned and went to settle into the same couch he'd napped on earlier in the day while waiting for Michael to settle his rage enough to hold a proper conversation.

It's still just as uncomfortable.

_~*~_

Ray woke him up a few hours later. 

“Hey.” He said cautiously. “Is there a particular reason that you're here on our couch and Michael's back in lock up?” He cast a quick glance over in Michael's direction, worry evident on his face. 

Gavin sighed and sat up slowly, still mostly asleep. “You could say that.”

Ray rose a questioning eyebrow at him. 

“He... He tried to strangle me in my sleep last night.” God just saying that sounded so wrong. Michael, despite the fact that he's known to have a temper, isn't a violent person. Especially not towards Gavin. Excluding the occasional roughhousing and wrestling, of course.

Ray's eyes go wide.

“Not his choice!” Gavin is quick to add.

“What happened, then?” 

“I'm not entirely sure, but I think that whatever drug Haywood gave him did something more significant to him than we thought. I'm almost positive that Michael was asleep when he tried to attack me and after he woke up from it he didn't remember a thing. He... He did worn me that he'd felt a kind of... pull to target me rather than you when we found him, though. He was worried about his ability to resist it, but he seemed to be able to control it just fine so I didn't think to mention it.”

Ray smacked the back of Gavin's head. “Gavin! Really? That's something that should be shared with the class, dude! I agree he seemed fine but look what happened! He could have seriously hurt you!”

“But he didn't and I'm fine and he was the one that insisted I bring him back here after I told him what happened.” Gavin protested. “I... I just want my boi back, Ray. I finally have him and I can't even spend one night with him because of what Haywood did.”

Ray sighed and clapped Gavin on the shoulder. “We'll figure this out, Gav. He's my friend too remember. We're going to undo whatever that asshole did and everything is going to be fine, I promise you that. Nobody messes with my partner and his boyfriend and gets away with it.” Ray squeezed his shoulder again. “Let me take another look at him, see if I missed anything. I'll rerun his blood work too. Maybe you could try and see if you guys can find anything using that link of yours?”

Gavin made a face. “It doesn't really work like that. It's mainly just a way for us to share information. Like location. We can kind of... project emotions and thoughts at one another but it doesn't really allow me to just go rooting thought his subconscious. We can try though?” He phrased it like a question because he'd honesty never tried anything like that with any of his links. 

The one he shared with Dan was mainly just so that Gavin knew that he was safe. They checked in with one another maybe once a week. Being one of the only other people to know about Gavin's powers made him vulnerable, and he'd been the first person that Gavin had ever linked with. They'd known each other since they were kids and Gavin's powers had manifested with puberty, like many other things, and he'd accidentally linked with Dan while practicing his powers on him. They'd both kinda freaked when they finally figured out what had happened, but eventually it had become the norm; just like the fact that Gavin would occasionally float down the stairs rather than walk down them. 

When Vav and X-Ray had teamed up and become partners, he'd offered to link with Ray, though he'd politely declined. Gavin hadn't made too big of a fuss over it. It was always the other party's decision to link with him or not because, as far as he knew, it wasn't something that he could undo. And while the links didn't give him unlimited access to the other person's mind, it could still be a major invasion of privacy at times.

Still, it couldn't hurt to at least try. 

While Ray went to go get the supplies needed to take more blood, Gavin went to the force field controls to let Michael out. At the last second he decided to wake Michael up from outside the field rather than in it like he'd been planning to. Just to be safe. He didn't want to startle him and have Michael attack him while still mostly asleep. 

"Michael." He called through the field, singsonging the word just a bit.  Michael snuffled in his sleep and rolled over. "Michael, come on time to wake up boi." Gavin said again. 

"Go away." Michael grumped, digging his head into the pillow. 

"Come on, Michael. We need to rerun your blood work and we can't do that if you're asleep." 

Finally Michael huffed and rolled to face him. "Nice way to entice me awake. Promise needles in my arm." 

"Well I started with the nice approach. Didn't seem to stir you much."

"Morning Sleeping Beauty. Can we come in?" Ray said, walking up behind Gavin, needle in hand. 

Michael made a 'Yeah, whatever' motion and Gavin dropped the force field. 

"I assume Gav doesn't need to hold you still this time?" 

Michael shook his head and silently held out his arm for Ray. 

Ray was just as quick and efficient as he was the first time. Less than a minute later Michael was wincing and rubbing his arm, standing up and walking over to Gavin. 

"Well that's taken care of. Anything else we can do while we wait for that to process?" Watching as Ray went into the infirmary to start processing the new blood sample.

"Ray wants to take another look at you and he also suggested we try finding out what Haywood did to you with our link."

"I thought that it didn't work like that? That you could only see and feel what I wanted you too?"

Gavin nodded, "You're right, I don't think that it'll work but, if it does, it's worth a shot right?"

Michael thought about that, then shrugged, conceding the point.  

By that time, Ray had returned. "Alright. Gav can you move so I can get a clear line of sight?" Gavin nodded and moved to stand next to him, allowing Ray to start scanning Michael. 

X-Ray, as his name implies, had X-Ray vision as you would expect; but he also had layers to his capability. He could see you down almost to the cellular level, his vision working almost as a microscope at times; though that level of sight took quite a bit of concentration. 

When they'd come across Michael on Main Street, Ray almost hadn't recognized him because he'd been glowing a vibrant red at the time. Or at least it had seemed so to Ray. Whenever they come across a new villain, X-Ray always made a point to scan them for any signs of weaknesses not so obvious to the naked eye. He'd avoided using his power at all during the entire time they'd spared because of how intense that red had been. Now, as Ray scanned him first with his base X-Ray vision and then with his deeper ones, he noted that the glow had faded significantly, almost completely dissipating into nothingness. Ray had assumed that the glow had come from the drug that he'd found in Michael's blood, a theory that was supported by the fact that the glow was almost gone now that his body had metabolized it. However the glow that was still present was mostly concentrated in Michael's head. Which didn't bode well. Ray wasn't sure what exactly that meant but it couldn't mean anything good.  Other than that glow though, he couldn't see anything abnormal. 

"Well?" Michael prompted when Ray blinked and rubbed his eyes with a hand. 

"I don't see much more than I did when I initially scanned you. There is a... Glow is the best way I can describe it, that used to be in your entire system but it seems to have disappeared from your extremities. Now it's mainly concentrated in your brain."

"What the fuck does that mean?" Michael asked. The idea that he was glowing in any capacity was not a welcome one. 

"I don't know. But it can't be good, when you showed up you were glowing red so bright I that couldn't really see you through it. Took me a second to recognize you."

"Wait. Did you say that I'm glowing red?"

"Yes? Does that mean something to you?"

"Motherfucker. Yes it means something to me. King Douche was injecting me with all kinds of different shit while he had me. All of it was different colors and the last one he gave me was a cherry red. After that I escaped. I assumed it was that injection that gave me the freaky super-strength."

Gavin and Ray nodded. "That would make the most sense, but maybe it did more than just give you the strength." Gavin said.

"It's a possibility." Ray agreed.

“Do you think that this red glow or whatever could be why he has this instinct to kill me? Could it be residual from the rage-drug that was in his system?” Gavin asked, turning to Ray.

Ray nodded, “I'd put money on it. The glow was almost blinding at first probably because he'd just been dosed, but as it cycled out of his system so did the intensity of the light.”

“So how does that help us?” Michael asked.

“It doesn't, really. But at least now we have a probable source for where that pull to kill Gav is coming from. The fact that you're still feeling it's effects after your body has completely metabolized the drug worries me though. It could mean that the effects are permanent.”

“So basically I'm brainwashed to try and kill my boyfriend whenever I fall asleep. Fan-fucking-tastic.” Michael groaned.

“I'd bet that Haywood would know how to undo this.” Ray said.

“Good luck getting him to tell us.” Gavin said bitterly. This is not how he wanted this conversation to go. He'd expected as much but that didn't mean he had to like it.

“He might tell you Gav.” Ray said, suddenly sounding thoughtful.

“Why the hell would he tell me? I'm the whole reason he did this to Michael in the first place, he's not trying to fuck with you, Ray, just me. His creepy obsession with me is no more fun this time around than it was the first.”

“No but maybe we could use that to our advantage.”

“How?”

“I don't know. Leverage it somehow. Get him gloating maybe? That asshole sure likes to hear himself talk.” Ray shrugged, “It's an idea.”

“Yeah, a bad one.” Michael said.

“Well, it's the only one we have right now!” Ray defended, “Look why don't you two go try and see if you can get anything out of that link of yours? I'm gonna go check Michael's blood work, see if it's done.”

Michael sighed and gestured to the couch as Ray walked away, “May as well be comfortable while we're wasting our time trying something that won't work, right?”

“We don't know that it won't.” Gavin said, though he wasn't optimistic.

Michael shrugged and walked over to the couch, Gavin following him. He plopped down onto it next to Michael.

“So how do you want to do this?” Michael asked.

“I don't know.” Gavin paused thinking. “...How about we start by going through your memories; look for holes. Maybe there's a significance to what's still missing?” Gavin didn't really know what he was doing, this was a complete shot in the dark. They had to start somewhere though.

_~*~_

After a few hours, they'd come up with nothing. They'd been through Michael's memories with little to show for it other than Gavin wanting to kill Haywood even more than he already did. They'd tried some other things, like a few stress tests on the link itself, still coming up with nada. Finally Gavin suggested that Michael let his guard down and give into the pull while Gavin was still sharing his thoughts to see if that'd yield any results.

One bloody nose later, he conceded that that had been a bad idea. Though Michael's mind had felt different for a brief second before he'd shoved Gavin out.

Turns out running Michael's blood work again had been pointless too, there was no trace of the rage-drug in his system anymore, a fact that worried Ray more than he let on. Especially since Michael still had the super-strength that it had given him.

What if the side effects were permanent too?

Ray decided to keep that particular thought to himself though; the last thing they needed right now was negativity.

They couldn't do much more at that point, other than continue looking for the Mad King's base. Capturing Haywood and getting him to talk was pretty much the last option they had. As they were going over what little Michael remembered of his escape yet again, trying to discern any new details about the place, X-Ray got a call about a bank robbery downtown.

“I'll go take care of this, you two keep at it.” Ray said, standing up. He'd been in his suit when he'd arrived that morning and hadn't bothered changing.

“No I'll come with you. It's go faster with me there to help.” Gavin said, “You okay to stay here, boi?”

Michael nodded. For the first time there was a possibility that he could actually join them on a call, but untested and untrained in controlling his new powers he'd be more of a liability than an asset. Perhaps he could try practicing in the small gym in the back while they were gone?

Gavin lent down to kiss him before hurrying to go change into his suit as well. They left soon after, and Michael was left starring at the pictures of the various landscapes around the outskirts of town they'd been using to try and jog his memory.

Shaking his head, he got up and wondered into the gym.

The gym itself wasn't too impressive, a few weights, dummies to practice sparing moves on, along with some other basic gym equipment pretty much made up the entirety of it. It did have a nice large mat area and a rather high ceiling though.

Picking up the small hand weights felt like picking up nothing heavier than a paper ball. The weights meant for the bench press were a bit more his speed, if awkward to hold onto. Michael had never had any sort of training before so he just played it by ear. His main goal in this was to find his limits with this new power and to see how well exactly he could control it. By the time Vav and X-Ray had returned, which was only about a half hour later, he'd learned that controlling his new strength was pretty much second nature to him. Which was good, because he'd been touching everything feather-light to avoid crushing anything. He hadn't made much progress in finding his limit strength-wise, but considering the fact that he'd been tossing full-sized cars around like they were toys, it was probably safe to assume that he could now bench press upwards of two thousand pounds. Needless to say, X-Ray and Vav's gym did not have that kind of weight on hand.

When Micheal heard them return he went back into the main room to greet them. “Hey, how'd it go?”

X-Ray snorted, “It took Gav and I all of five minutes to get the situation under control. They practically asked us to take them in after Vav took out their leader. The flight there and back was the longest part.”

Vav nodded, “You ready to get back at it, boi?”

“Actually I was hoping we could take a break? We aren't making much progress and all this memory shit is giving me a headache.” Michael said. “Yeah, sure. We can play a few rounds of Mario Kart or something. Hey, you never know, maybe not thinking about it will bring something we can use to the surface.” X-Ray said, heading over to their gaming TV and turning it on.

_~*~_

They spent the rest of the day playing games; flipping between various Xbox, PlayStation and Wii titles. It felt good to just relax and kick each others virtual asses after all the stress the past two days had put them through. Eventually though they were all yawning and ready for bed. After wrapping up their last game of Halo, Michael quietly got to his feet and kissed Gavin goodnight before heading back to his cell. Gavin or Ray would have to come and actually close it, so Michael just went straight in and got himself comfortable on the small cot.

It was a few minutes later that Gavin came in and sat down next to Michael on the cot, “Ray's gone home. Said he'd give us some privacy, though I don't know what for. I doubt you'd agree to do anything like that with me while you aren't completely in control.” Gavin said quietly, stroking Michael's hair while he talked.

Michael nodded under Gavin's hand, “You'd be correct. Not that I don't want to, but I don't want to hurt you more than I already have. And I don't trust myself not to.”

“I figured as much.” Gavin said. He leaned down to kiss Michael's temple and then stood up. He walked to the controls for the force field and turned it on. “Goodnight boi. Love you.”

“Love you to, Gav.” Michael said, snuggling farther into his pillow.

Gavin sighed and went to get himself situated on the couch again. Hopefully they'd find a solution to this sooner rather than later. Or maybe the Mad King would show himself. Either way Gavin hoped this didn't go on for to much longer, he wanted to be able to spend the night in the same bed as Michael again because this sleeping-on-the-couch-while-Michael-was-a-hundred-feet-away-in-a-containment-cell thing just wasn't cutting it for him.

_~*~_

The shrill beeping of his phone woke Gavin. He just couldn't get a decent nights sleep anymore, could he? Groaning he rolled over carefully to avoid rolling off the couch and grabbed for his phone where he'd left it on the floor the night before.

"What the bloody hell do you want this early in the morning, Ray?" He asked, not bothering to look at the caller ID. Ray was the only one with the number to this phone. Other than the mayor and the police chief, but they never actually called him, only sent alerts to the phone when they needed help. It was a deal that he and X-Ray had worked out with them when they'd first come to the city. They'd only help when they were wanted or needed and in exchange there would be no witch hunts for them. It had worked out pretty well for both parties so far and the citizens loved them, Vav and X-Ray were often stopped on patrol by people who thanked them and said they felt safer knowing that they had two resident superheroes watching over the city.

"Aw Vavvy, that's not very nice. And here I was calling to see how you liked having your boy toy back and to ask how he was doing with his new superpowers."

Gavin is suddenly wide wake and sitting bolt upright on the couch.

"How did you get this number?" Gavin asked, checking to make sure that it wasn't actually Ray's phone that had called him and that the Mad King hadn't gotten to him too.

"Aw Vav now that would be telling and you know that I don't do that."

"Alright. So you have my number. What is it that you want, Haywood?" He asked, trying to keep his voice even.

"Exactly what I said. I wanted to see how our dear Michael is doing. No more homicidal outbursts I hope? It would be a shame if he tried to hurt you, Vavvy, wouldn't it? I'd have to take care of him if he tried anything like that."

"He's been just fine." Gavin lies between gritted teeth.

"Really now. That is surprising. Considering he escaped before I could finish with him; that aggression he harbors for you is truly something, isn't it? I would have thought that with the abilities that I've given him he would be doing everything within his power to kill you." Ryan said, sounding almost smug and like he didn't believe a word that had come out of Gavin's mouth.

"Gav?" 

Gavin closed his eyes. Fuck. 

"Gav, who are you talking to?"

Slowly Gavin turned to look over at Michael. He's standing up, as close to the barrier of the containment field as he could be without actually touching it. The expression on his face was one of worry and confusion. 

"Nobody, Micool." Gavin said, silently praying that Michael would shrug it off and go back to sleep; it was still bloody early in the morning. 
"Oh did we wake Sleeping Beauty? I would so love to talk with and check up on him. Just to make sure that there are no side effects with the serum I gave him, like you said." Haywood croons in his ear, but Gavin's not really listening. He's watching Michael, who is suddenly clutching his head and groaning in pain. "Gavin seriously, who are you talking too? Ah something's - something's happening to my head." Michael's on his knees by this point clutching his head in both his hands, his voice laced with pain. 

"Do you think we could do that? Later today maybe?" Haywood was still talking in his ear, calm as could be while something he's doing had Michael on the ground writhing in pain. 

"What the fuck are you doing to him?!" Gavin yelled into the phone, practically vaulting up off the couch and then to the controls for the force field, turning it off quickly and hovering just above Michaels' writhing form, worried that his touch might do more harm than good right that second. 

"Hmm? Oh nothing. Just demonstrating that there is something seriously wrong with your poor boy toy's head.” There was a pause and then Haywood said in a rather upset tone, “You really shouldn't curse Vavvy, it's unbecoming of you.” The frown he was making was audible. “At any rate I must be going. I'll see you later downtown for Michael's check-up, yes? See if we can't get that nasty aggression under control.  Until then Vavvy." Haywood said, still as clam and sweet as can be, and then hung up the phone. 

As soon as the line went dead in Gavin's ear, Michael went limp with relief. 

He lay there panting for a few moments then, "What... the fuck... was that?"

"Haywood." Gavin said grimly.

"No... No shit Gavin." Michael huffed out. "God whatever... whatever the fuck he did I... I'm glad I was able to shield you. I... I think he was aiming at you, through me. At... At least that's what it felt like." 

Gavin chose to ignore that; arguing about protecting one another at the expense of themselves was a fight that neither of them would win. And truthfully, they didn't have time for it.

"He said that he'd 'see us later downtown.' We need to figure out where exactly downtown he's going to show up so that we're ready to capture him. And so that he doesn't take you again for that 'check-up' he was prattling on about."

Michael nodded, "Agreed."

_~*~_

After reassuring himself that Michael and their link were indeed fine and that Haywood hadn't damaged it again, Gavin called Ray. 
Ray was not very please when he learned that not only had Haywood somehow gotten a hold of Gavin's - Vav's - number but that he could also remotely torture Michael at anytime he wanted. 

"I seriously need to get my hands around this bastard's neck. What the fuck is this guys' problem with you two?" Ray fumed.
 
"He's insane and decided that my loved ones would make good chew toys?" Gavin said ruefully. "As much as I hate to admit it, I'm glad that the only one he's managed to find is Michael. If he somehow got a hold of Dan... Or my parents..." Gavin shuddered at the thought; having Michael tortured right in front of him had been horrible enough. He didn't know if he would be able to retain his sanity if more than one of his links were suffering because of him. 

"We'll get him, Gav. Trust me when I say that this asshole is not going to get away with kidnapping, experimenting on and torturing two of my best friends. We will get this son of a bitch." Ray said with finality, squeezing Gavin's shoulder. 

Michael, having returned from the infirmary to get something for his still-aching head, picked up on the atmosphere in the room almost immediately and went to Gavin's side, hugging him tightly. "I'm not going anywhere, boi. Promise. King Douche won't get to me again and even if he does, I can kick his ass now. So if he thinks that he's going to be able to take me right out from under your impressive nose again, he's got another thing coming." Michael said quietly from where he'd buried his face into Gavin's neck.

Gavin hugged back, "Thank you, boi. It does make me feel better knowing that in a way Haywood has kinda screwed himself, giving us a heads up that he's coming today and that he's given you a way to defend yourself even if I can't get to you in time."

"Alright. All lovey dovey stuff aside, when did he say he was going to come?" Ray asked. 

"He didn't, really. Just that - "

Gavin was cut off by both their phones going off multiple times. 

Ray pulled out X-Ray's phone, which is still chirping, telling him that he has a new alert. "Mad King spotted on 6th Street. Assistance Requested." He read aloud.  "Well I guess that answers that question."

Gavin nodded, untangling himself from Michael and moving quickly to go change. 

Michael turned to Ray, "I'm coming with you right?" 

Ray looked up from responding to the mayor, telling her that they were on their way. "What? Are you nuts? No. You're the one that he's after, why the hell would we take you right into the line of fire?"

"Because I'm asking you too? This asshole tortured me for three months, fucked with my head so badly that I can't even share the same room as my boyfriend at night without being up in lock up because I might try to kill him in my sleep and you're telling me that I can't come and help capture him? Fuck you, Ray I'm coming." Michael said in a rush, his voice shaking just the slightest bit. 

"No, Michael, you're not." Vav said firmly as he walked up in all his costumed glory. 

"But -" 

"No. If you came I wouldn't be able to focus, which would be dangerous for everyone. I'd be constantly worrying about you, and yes I did just say that you could hold your own against him. But that doesn't mean that I want to test that. I just got you back boi, no way I'm going to risk losing you twice to this psychopath."

"That's bullshit and you know it, Gavin!" Michael practically shouted. 

"That may be so but you are still staying here, where I know you'll be safe." Vav said and with that he and X-Ray were flying off. 
Michael stood there, fuming, for a few seconds, pushing all his frustration and anger through their link and into Gavin's head; letting Gavin know just how pissed he was. 

After about thirty seconds or so Michael felt Gavin block him out which just made him all the more pissed. 

But then something occurred to him. 

Gavin was actively blocking their connection now, which meant that he could no longer tell where Michael was. He could no longer tell if Michael stayed at HQ or not. 

_~*~_

Vav sighed as they approached downtown. "Michael is so mad at me right now." He said into the air, as he finished putting up the block.  "Let him be pissed, we have more important things to focus on." X-Ray said shorty. "For what it's worth, though, I agree with your decision. If he was trained and we knew that he could handle himself, then I'd be calling you overprotective but this time, it was the right call." He continued as they landed on one of the tall office buildings overlooking 6th Street.

Vav just nodded vaguely in X-Ray's direction, effectively dropping the subject and allowing him to do his initial scan of the area. Vav leaned over the side of the building and did the same with his own non-powered sight.

It was... strangely quiet. There weren't people running screaming in the streets like there often was when they got a call about something going down in the vicinity of the general public. However while there wasn't a mob of terrified civilians there also weren't a lot of civies just wandering around. It was practically a ghost town down there. Save one person just standing in the road looking up at them.

“I think that he's spotted us.” Vav said as the figure continued to stand stock still and stare up at them.

“You would be right. He's not really doing much, though.” X-Ray said from where he was crouched down on the roof, “I can't see if he's got any concealed weapons from this far away.” He said after a moment, sounding frustrated. He turned to look up at Vav. “You ready for this?”

Vav nodded grimly, “Come on, let's go get this nob.”

With that he stepped off the roof and allowed himself to float down the length of the building, the Mad King watching him the whole way down “Hello, Vavvy. It's so nice to see you again after so long, last time we were both so preoccupied that we didn't really get a chance to catch up. I've missed you.” Haywood said.

Vav was trying not to just hall off and punch him in the face. Three months of torture, three more days of frustration and worry and now this asshole greats him like some long lost friend. As he was restraining himself he heard X-Ray land behind him and Haywood's eyes slid to him for just a few seconds.

“X-Ray.” There was no emotion behind the word, just a mere acknowledgment of existence. “Well!” He said, his eyes back on Vav, “Where's dear Michael? He's the whole reason that we're meeting here today.”

“He won't be joining us. We've merely come to get you to tell us how to undo whatever the hell it is that you've done to him.” Vav said coldly.

“Oh, Vavvy doesn't your boy toy like his new powers? They're unique to him after all.” Haywood said, the cheer in his voice starting to slip.

“What do you mean?” Vav manages to grit out from between his teeth.

“The serum I gave dear Michael unlocks the unique ability that lays dormant in most humans. Everything that he's developed is his alone. When I gave it to him I obviously underestimated what ability he would gain. He overpowered me and managed to leave before I could help him get his new abilities under control.”

“Why – Why would you give him something like that?” X-Ray asked, sounding confused.

“To make him worthy of Vavvy.” Haywood answered simply.

What?” Vav asked, aghast.

Haywood's eyes turn back to him, now colder than Vav had ever seen them. “He didn't deserve you. If you insisted on being with someone as lowly as a mere human with nothing special about them, I was going to make them - him - worthy of even being in your presence, let alone be with you.” He hissed.

“But he's special to me. He always has been, Michael didn't need powers for him to be worthy of me!” Vav argued, aware that this would probably get them nowhere.

Haywood shrugged. “If it makes you feel better, my initial plan was to simply kill him and take you for myself.” He said, in the same way you would talk about something innocuous, like the weather.

“You – You were going too - ” All the breath has rushed out of Vav's lungs. That had always been a possibility at the back of his mind but to hear it said allowed, as casual as anything, was just too much. Those small flashes from Michael had kept him going, kept him from losing all hope of ever seeing his boi again. If those had stopped suddenly... He didn't want to think about it.

“Yes. But he was so much fun to play with, so strong in his resolve to get back to you, I changed my plans.” Haywood continued when Vav didn't. “I'd used the serum on a few others before, so I figured I could allow... this... if I made dear Michael just a bit more worthy of you.”

“Alright,” X-Ray said, stepping forward, “I've heard enough of your reasoning. How do we undo it?” The last part was practically growled, X-Ray had his teeth grit so hard.

“Who said it could be undone, X-Ray?” Haywood said smugly, looking at him with those cold eyes.

“I did.” X-Ray said lunging at him. “If you won't tell us willingly, we'll just beat the answer out of you!”

Vav stared at X-Ray, a bit shocked. He'd never been this aggressive before. It seemed that he'd just simply had quite enough of the Mad King's bullshit and had finally snapped. After a few stunned seconds though, he shook himself and jumped into the fray.

They were holding their own for quite a while, tag teaming Haywood between them to keep him busy while also attempting to knock him out at the same time. Everything was going fine until a particularly vicious roundhouse kick to the head knocked X-Ray out flat on his back.

“X-Ray!” Vav called out pointlessly, there was no way that Ray was getting up again anytime soon after a hit like that.

With X-Ray, the better of them at hand-to-hand by far, out of commission Vav was quickly losing ground. And suddenly his back was to a literal brick wall and he had nowhere to go.

“Honestly, Vav, I don't understand why you feel you need to fight me. I was only trying to make you see reason. Even with the serum, your boy toy just isn't special enough for you.” Haywood said casually, only sightly out of breath from the fight. Vav however was panting and his hands were shaking ever so slightly. He was on the verge of over extending himself and his powers.

“I really think that you'd agree with me if you'd stop being so stubborn and just think about it. I - ”

“Hey! Asshole! Stop harassing my boyfriend!”

Haywood whipped around to face the voice just in time too catch a concrete slab bench to the face. He let out a surprised grunt of pain as the momentum from the hit propelled him backward and into the very wall he had Vav backed up against.

He hit with a resounding thud and then collapsed to the ground.

“And for the record, I'm plenty special fuck-you-very-much.” Michael said as he walked up to the two of them, looking down at Haywood.
All the Mad King did was groan in pain and then finally, pass out.

“Michael – What – How - ”

“Nice to see you to, boi. How was the fight? I miss anything?” He glanced around, “Ray got knocked out again, huh?”

“You – How did you get here?”

“Took a cab. The driver wasn't very happy about heading right into a superhero fight but I made it worth his while.” Michael shrugged. “Your welcome for saving your ass by the way. You get anything out of him?”

Vav shook his head slowly, trying to refocus. When his eyes finally trailed down to Haywood, an idea came to mind.

When he knocked people out with his power, he had to kind of... look for the off switch in someone's head. That was why it took so long sometimes, the switch was in a different place for everyone. But perhaps he could use that ability to look for something else in a mind. Moving forward slowly, he crawled over to Haywood's unconscious body and took his head in his hands.

“Uh, Gav?”

Vav hushed him, eyes closed and searching through Haywood's mind. To his surprise it was working, though the information that he was getting was fuzzy, he was getting it. He tried to avoid finding anything about himself in here, there were somethings that he really didn't want to know about Haywood. All of the sudden, there it was, everything that they wanted. Haywood's plan unfolded before him and Gavin felt bile rise in his throat.

After he'd gotten everything he needed he let go of Haywood as if he’d been burned.

“Well?” Michael asked eagerly, apparently guessing what Vav had been doing.

“Yellow.” Gavin said slowly, almost to himself as he tried to sort through all of the information he'd just gleaned from Haywood, then he wiped around to face Michael, “Did he inject you with something yellow?” He asked in a rush.

“...Yes?” Michael answered confused.

“That's what made you susceptible to him. It was that, not the rage, but that.”

“Gavin slow down, you aren't making sense.” Michael said sounding concerned.

“It's not an instinct! It's a serum that he's been using to get into your head and control you. He's been trying to get me to accidentally hurt you while I was defending myself. That way I'd blame myself into leaving you and then he could step in.”

“But that's crazy.”

“Yes, but he's not in his right mind. He's brilliant, he came up with the serums on his own, but he drove himself insane by experimenting on himself with them. The red one that gave you your strength, he tried the prototype on himself and while it did unlock a weak ability to control someone it also drove him mad. He developed the yellow one to help him with his mental ability. The reason Ray said you were glowing red rather than yellow is that they work in tandem with each other, yellow is the component and red is the activating agent. There's an antidote back at his lair. It will make him unable to get into your head anymore. We'd finally be free of him, Micool.”

“Did you find the location in his head?” Michael asked eager to get this done with and finally put this whole ordeal behind them.
Gavin nodded happily. “Come on, let's get Haywood back to his cell in super-max and get Ray patched up. Then we'll go and get that antidote.”

_~*~_

Later, much later, Gavin and Michael are back in their apartment lying in bed together enjoying the relief of everything finally settled. Haywood was back in his cell, with explicit instructions to keep him there this time. Ray was at his own apartment, nursing a pretty impressive bruise on his head. He'd been fine in a day or so. And Michael was finally back to normal.

After they'd taken care of both Ray and Haywood Gavin had taken him to Haywood's lair. The little vials of serum and antidote all perfectly organized on there own shelf in what looked to be Haywood's office. Gavin quickly moved to it, picking up the deep purple one and handing it to Michael. “Here you go, bottoms up.”

Michael had eagerly downed the whole thing, smiling giddily afterward. “Finally that's over. We can relax again.” He said as he turned to leave, waving at Gavin to follow him, “Come on, boi. We have some catching up to do with the sheets.”

When he noticed that Gavin hadn't followed him out though, he turned back into the room. “Gav?”

Gavin was staring at a lime green vile in his hand. Slowly he looked up at Michael. “...This will take away the super strength and anything else that that red stuff unlocked in you.” He said quietly.

Michael looked from Gavin's face to the vile and back. “Do... Do you want me to take it?”

Gavin shook his head. “Michael that is something for you to decide. I'll love you no matter what you choose. But you were given these powers without your consent and if you wanted to go back to being truly normal, then I'm presenting you with the option.”

Michael looked again from Gavin's face to the bottle in his hand. Cautiously he walked up to Gavin and took it from him. He quietly considered the small glass container laying in his palm. Then he curled his fist around it and threw it against the wall. “Nope, your stuck with me this way. I like the idea of being able to manhandle you around. Makes for some interesting ideas we could try out.”

“You didn't have to be so violent about it.” Gavin said, chuckling quietly.

Michael shrugged. “It was a statement. This is the new normal for me. I could even start helping you guys out on calls now. I've already got a code name in mind and everything.”

“Oh, and what would that be?” Gavin had teased as they finally began making their way out of the lair and back home.

“Mogar.”

Gavin had laughed. “You have a sick sense of humor.”

“What? I'm serious! It's a good code name.”

“Sure, boi. Whatever you want.” Gavin had said, amusement still evident in his voice.

Shaking his head at the memory, Gavin snuggled farther into Michael's chest. “Love you, boi.”

“Love you too, boi.” Micheal said quietly back, still just the slightest bit out of breath. When they'd returned to the apartment, Michael had practically dragged Gavin to the bed to have his way with him.

Three months was a long time to go without fucking your partner.

Of course what with the torture and memory loss, it hadn't been very high on his list of priorities at the time. When Gavin had helped Michael regain his memories, he'd been afraid to allow himself to touch or kiss Gavin, let alone anything intimate for fear of what he might do if his concentration slipped. But now he was back in control, Haywood was gone, and he could be sure that he wouldn't hurt his boi if he got lost in the moment.

And boy did they get lost.

God, it was good to have things back to normal.