“F. Barron.” A man in uniform calls out, beckoning you forward from your position in the rows of chairs. You scoot it back, your boots dragging across the floor as it makes the loudest screeching sound you’ve heard to date. You grimace, rolling your eyes as you stretch and stand up fully at attention.
“F. Barron, sir.” You say automatically as if you were made to be a robot for the FBI. The complete package. You keep your eyes forward, not tempting yourself to look around you at the others as they are going down the line to hand out your new belongings.
Moving further down the line yourself, you are handed crisp uniforms, your bedding, materials for your study, and even your firearms. The feeling in your stomach begins to turn into a fire of determination. You were made for this. Well, at least you think that you are.
Once everyone has been in the line, they take all of your fellow training team and sort you into dormitory-style rooms where you have been given five minutes to get your exercise uniform on to begin the first round of testing processes.
Jump right in, that’s the kind of style that you’ve been looking for now for several years. Somewhere that you can finally try and belong… somewhere to finally fit in.
Oddly enough, your roommate is one of your first and still best friends from elementary school. He had moved to Montana from California where you guys spent high school together when his parents were moved for their jobs in none other than the FBI. You can’t help but think that they maybe had some orchestrated part in this. The two of you have gotten to stick together after all of these years, but you couldn’t be more thankful to have a familiar face to help you along the way, especially friends who know each other so well.
“Come on man, let’s crush this shit.” Tucker pulls his shirt down over his head, throwing an arm over your shoulder like you guys were back on the field together in high school. He puts you in a headlock and ruffles your hair with his fist until you shove him off and try to flatten it back in its place. You both pull weighted vests on and strap your gun to your side, taking in a deep breath to steady yourself.
“The only thing that is crushing right now is the chest pain this place is giving me. Are you sure we signed up for the right career choice, Tuck? I mean, we sure as hell aren’t your parents.” You mutter to yourself, already sweating an ungodly amount for how early in the morning it is.
“I know, we’re way better.” He whispers back, laughing.
Sweat continues to flow in small beads down the side of your face as you drench yourself in more water, realizing the last portion of the testing is just the mile and a half run.
If you made it to this point, then you should be able to make it the rest of the way. Well, potentially. The gun fires and everyone begins the last stretch on the first day of training, no one leaving anyone else behind.
You feel yourself huff, trying to maintain a steady pace the further along the course you move. You find Tucker steps behind you and you throw an arm back towards him to fling him up against you, your ego falling flat against the floor the more worn out you become.
The sun is blocked by clouds. Small drops of rain begin to form from the sky hitting you in the face as you concentrate on the last stretch of the run, wiping the sweat from your sight as you continue on. You are thankful for the little bit of calmness that the rain brings you.
Though behind the dense clouds, the sun is still fierce with its unforgiving heat that parades down over the faces of all the runners. A whistle is blown as each runner crosses the line and your finishing times are marked by one of the trainers on the white paper attached to each runner, presenting the passing times of everyone thus far.
“That was fucking sick, man.” A pale and sweaty Tucker swats your back as he crosses the line after you, tossing water all over himself and clapping with pure enjoyment. He howls out in growing excitement.
“Nice form, Fletcher.” A deep voice, sweet like honey says, his breath hitting you on the forehead as you watch his toned arm write something against your chest. You finally allow yourself a second to steal a look at the familiar voice, realizing at once where you know it from as soon as your eyes clash upon meeting. A wicked grin spreads slowly across his face, carefully watching you. “Remember me?” He breathes out against your skin, sending a trail of shivers along every inch of your glistening body. Of course you remember him. Could you ever forget such a pretty face?
His smile shows perfect rows of pearly white teeth, his scent of faint gunpowder and driftwood. There’s something about him that you just can’t pin into place. But God, do you want to be able to.
You’re trying your best to be concealed, considering you start your special agent training tomorrow at five in the morning, and drinking in the bar the night before might not be the best place for anyone to find you – especially with such strict terms attached to everything. But you needed a break, just a brief moment to yourself with all of the chaos going on around you.
“So, what brings you to this area?” He asks, sloshing around the remainder of his drink in the glass, gently setting it on the bar top between the two of you. The remaining pieces of ice clink together and you watch it as it swirls with the alcohol.
“Just…business, mostly, I guess.” You say, clearing your throat, but still unable to completely take your eyes off of the stranger, his glance held with the darkness of your eyes. He smiles warmly at you though, so enticing in his own natural way.
“You’re all business aren’t you, Fletcher.” He hums to himself, glancing between you and his glass. “Do you want to take a break, get away from all of that business? I bet it’s exhausting work that you do.” His head casually cocks to the side, pure curiosity enveloping his face in a careful smile. He knows that he has you already, he’s just pulling you in.
You nod your head slowly and with intentional thought, feeling yourself lean over the bar as the mysterious man does the same, pulling your chin into his hand. His lips meet yours and you feel yourself melt into him. He laughs into your mouth, tucking a strand of hair back into its place.
“Let me give you a break.” He moans hastily into your mouth and you feel short of breath. You taste him and you crave more, following his trailing hand from the crowd as you watch him take you behind him while he weaves in and out of people all around. And oh God, he’s all you can focus on.
“Miss me, Fletcher?” Maddox mumbles, intoxicating you with his extremely close proximity. Your breath catches in your throat and you feel his soft laugh vibrate around you. “You really are here on business, aren’t you?” He questions, threatening to take down every wall you’ve been able to put up.
“Yes sir.” You say, swallowing deeply to keep yourself from saying anything further, staying level-headed. You remember the feeling of his strong hand on your face and you keep your eyes held directly under his scrutiny. You remember how he felt under you, how he cried out your name.
He didn’t seem to be someone you could easily peg for working for the FBI, but then again anyone could probably say the same for you and here we are. His hold on you is strong, but you know that you’ve let that get you into a whole realm of trouble before.
“That’s good to hear because I missed you.” Maddox smirks, knowing he is toying with you. “Sir. I like that…coming from you. I wouldn’t have minded hearing that last night, too.” He growls softly under his breath, grabbing your arm on the way past you and giving it a squeeze before moving to the next runner to be labeled. You can feel every inch of your body shaking under his demands. Fuck, what you would do to be back in that dingy bar with him again, all of this back to where it started.
“What the fuck was that?!” Tucker says behind you, his laugh bounces off of the space around you. He looks off in the direction that Maddox went, sticking his hands up in the air to mimic the trainer off in the distance. He growls at you playfully, rolling his eyes as he mocks Maddox. “Do I even want to know how this happened?” He chuckles dryly, looking over at you. He doesn’t, but he’s still going to ask until you let him in on it.
“No, you don’t. I don’t even want to know what happened, but yet here I am.” You grumble, running a hand through your hair, sweat pressing along the back of your neck. Your heart racing in your chest makes you think this is more likely due to Maddox and his superiority over you and less from the run you just finished. “You wouldn’t believe me even if I tried.” You groan, tossing your face into your hands and taking in a sharp breath. “How am I always fucking things up?” You yelp out, exhausted as your body tries to push you to the max.
“Okay, try me then. I’m all ears baby.” Tucker plainly says, crossing his arms. He gives a disapproving look, waiting for you to come up with something. You sigh, trying to concentrate on anything other than him and giving in to what he wants in a story.
“Fine. Listen, because I’m only going over this nightmare once. I couldn’t sleep last night before we went out for breakfast after you called when your plane landed. Our Facetime with your parents about the training freaked me out. The way that they are talking about the prototypes and phasing those into the training, it’s fucked up dude. Could you imagine what that would be like, losing yourself and becoming something like that, something that isn’t really you anymore? A manufactured, man-made killer?” You shake your head of the thoughts, continuing. “So I went out, I just wanted to catch some air. I ended up at some bar on fifth street and there he was. Just sitting alone at the bar casually as if he had nothing to do and nowhere important to go. For instance, running a damn FBI training academy the next morning.” Your mind races with a million thoughts a minute about how to best approach the situation at this point.
“That’s it? Where’s the plot twist?” Tucker throws up his hands before his questioning glance tells you that you’re not getting off that easy.
“I’m getting to it. We talked for a while, we hung out and had a few drinks, and it was weird at first. But then I realized my initial thoughts about him weren’t factual. He’s so much warmer than I expected from someone who was going to be my fucking instructor for the most important part of my career to date.” You shrug inwardly, defeated by the situation and you hear Tucker trying to hold together a snort of laughter next to you, clearly enjoying this more than you are.
“It’s worse if the sex was good, you know?” He raises an eyebrow at you and you shove him further away, your face burning red. “When you won’t be able to deny him, always watching you sweat, waiting for a mistake so he can have his authority over you.” He whispers in your ear, trailing off with a laugh. “Oh Fletcher, my humble hero.” He bats his eyes at you and your eyes turn into slits as your glare deepens at him.
“Shut up. I don’t need your bullshit right now, T, not on top of everything else. I’m totally cornered, I’m screwed.” You scoff, wiping sweat from your brow as you take another drink of the water you’ve been assaulting in your fist for the majority of the conversation. “This can’t be happening, not to me. Anything else but relationship issues crossing the line with my career.” You groan, tossing your head in your hands. You squeeze your eyes shut tightly, hoping the situation will just magically right itself in front of you.
“Oh, but it is my friend. You’re right, you’re totally cornered. And screwed, come to think of it.” Tucker kicks at the dirt on the ground around you as you squint against the sun in your face, more clouds move in before the storm that is rolling in hits.
“Screwed in the wrong way, yeah, but nothing above that. Thanks for pointing it out, like the good friend that you are. I’ll be back, I think I have to throw up.” You grumble feverishly before taking off prior to him saying anything else to poke fun at you. You’ve always been overrun by your emotions, always.
You make your way to the first building you come upon and swiftly navigate the halls as you search for a bathroom, your stomach churning. You can feel the rising threat of nausea as you hold your hand against your mouth. Jumping up the stairs two at a time, you make your way to the top and take a hard left, coming chest first into someone else. An arm straightens out in front of you, blocking you from moving as you back up a couple of inches to look up, your hands falling to your sides.
“I’m so sorry.” You mutter out, trying to breathe through your nose as you grab for the nearby trashcan and begin to vomit into it. You heave, bracing your arms on the sides of it as you lean over. You feel a hand softly against the small of your neck, your skin becoming covered in sticky sweat and goosebumps. You groan, wiping against your mouth with the back of your hand.
“Fletcher, are you okay?” He questions, watching you with hesitation and concern plastered on his face.
“Maddox.” You breathe out, watching him steady you against the wall. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know...I didn’t know about any of this or I wouldn’t have tried to pursue anything, I swear.” You stutter, clearing your throat as he gives you a once-over. You don’t want it to be made to seem like you are trying to get to the top by sleeping with him.
“What? Whoa, slow down Fletch. I’m not sorry, not in the slightest. You’re sorry?” He says critically, glancing down the hall in search of occupants. You shake your head biting down hard against your lip as you feel him staring at you. His smile widens the longer he watches you.
“No, I’m not. I’m not sorry, not at all. I just…I thought that you were or that I was making the situation worse or something. I don’t know…” You breathe him in, willing yourself to pause and slow down. You have a longing to be back in bed with him, wrapped up together.
Before he was your boss things felt so much simpler. His familiarity was safe, but somehow something else lingered there too, a little bit of fear, you think. Maybe something about ruining the only job you’ve ever been interested in because of some new guy. Just some guy. That’s all that this is, right?
Not, “the guy”, you know. When someone says, oh that’s the one for me! The one that you met without knowing your lines would cross in more than one way, that you felt something for immediately and now you’re stuck trying to figure out how to piece this part of your life together. Yeah, no. Definitely not that guy. Not the one you could be falling for.
He must feel something you feel and he pulls you aside into an office that he quickly locks behind both of you. He leans against a large mahogany desk, scattered with ordered piles of paper, photos, and various other objects.
Oh, now you’re in for it. This is the part where you come to his office and he uses his authority over you to take your job and your livelihood away, everything that you ever worked hard for. But he also doesn’t seem like that kind of person, not at all. He’s already proven that to you more than once in the short time that you’ve known him.
“I should go, really.” You mutter out, defeated by your own consuming thoughts.
“Hey, wait.” He says softly as he leans into you, running a hand against your sweat-soaked chest. “Are you sure you’re okay?” He questions, his lips pressing gently against yours as he comes back ever so slightly to watch you, his eyes gentle. The same warmth you saw when you first met, it’s still there, but it’s stronger somehow.
“I just…I just don’t want to get reprimanded, I can’t lose this. I’ve worked so hard for my entire life to get here and I don’t want it to seem like I’m just tossing it to the side. I need this, I need it for me. But at the same time, I don’t want it to seem like I’m also just tossing you to the side, Maddox.” You quickly spill your thoughts out, searching his eyes for something, for anything. He smiles, kissing you softly against the neck again while humming eloquently. He breathes you in, tracing the side of your jaw with his tongue. A low groan escapes the walls of his throat. Oh, God.
“I promise you that is not how I see any of this. I won’t let anything happen, I would never let something like that happen. I can’t lose you, Fletcher. You aren’t some game, some toy that can just be won and paraded around. Don’t you see that?” He pleads with you, his facial features softening, which forces you to soften up as well. You let down a wall, knowing this is safer than you initially assumed. Maybe he is different. An exception to the rest.
“Wait, you really mean that?” You laugh dryly, a little bit of surprise playing at your features.
“Of course I really mean it. You’re special, Fletcher. That’s why you’re here, you know that?” He says to you, kissing against your neck and you finally relax turning to face him as he backs you up against the wall. You feel your breath catch in your chest and you watch him as he looks down at you. A coy smile plays threateningly at his lips, his pearly white teeth barely showing behind it. You kiss him back, his hands searching all of your body as he explores every inch of you that he can take in.
He catches you off guard though when he swiftly pins you against the wall, his leg between yours as it pulsates a high intensity of need and want. He puts you flushed up against the paint that you are forced to breathe in, a gasp escaping your throat.
“Fuck.” You spit out, your respirations increasing the longer his hold is on you there. You try to focus on breathing through your nose. You can feel him as he holds you there, but not at all against your will. You could easily go if you wanted to, but you don’t.
“Fuck is right, Fletcher. Welcome to training, Agent.” He grabs your wrist in his hands, laughing against the back of your neck as he gives you one last kiss behind the crease of your ear before heading out the door of his office – leaving you dizzy and trying to catch your breath. You straighten your shirt and walk down the hall opposite of where Maddox was headed. You’re totally already all in, and that scares the shit out of you.
You finally hunt down the door to your dorm again and find a napping Tucker tangled in the sheets of his bunk. You quietly shut the door behind you and grab your things to shower. Your body loses its tenseness the longer you stand under the hot water, your mind easily replays images of Maddox and you try to shake the thoughts off like the shampoo going down the drain. You have got to take control of this situation or you’ll never be on top.
The next morning the sun is safely tucked away behind layers of storm clouds that are passing by, but thankfully it’s a classroom day anyway. You spend many hours looking at different types of evidence photos and crime scene investigation reports. You work on putting your own reports and evidence into the format as they have shown you to do. Together as a team, you get a good chunk of training pushed out of the way. It feels good to finally work on something in this light instead of just being pushed to physically train or work with guns and takedowns.
One of the students, Maria, breaks down as she recalls the murder of her brother thirteen years ago that stemmed her drive to join something that could make her feel like she was working as her brother’s voice. Another unsolved case that she became determined to finally put to rest for her family.
The group finds comfort in one another as they all give themselves a way to do a briefing with their newfound friend. The class is something exceptional that offers a perspective you didn’t really think of until now. That and a whole lot of support that everyone could definitely benefit from.
After a lunch entirely worth skipping, you make your way out under the threatening incoming storm to the range for the second half of the day to begin some more firearm training. More than half of the class has yet to have to fire or learn how to properly handle a gun prior to joining the FBI.
Though after a short period that feels more like an eternity passing, everyone is hitting right on target as you begin your training. It feels undeniably great and it is just the beginning. This was once only something you could try and dream of and now you are making it a reality. There was a time that you thought this would never happen and somehow it’s now entirely consumed every aspect of your life and that’s just how you like it.