While I go up the stairs to Tor’s quarters with the laptop under my arm, I am pulling my lip ring. He liked that, I am reminded. That alone is enough to give me the courage I need. I will die before I let anything happening to Nathan because of me.
“Tor,” I bang on the door.
I hear loud, cheerful laughter. Tor is rarely alone. After a few minutes, Tor appears at the door with the sheet wrapped sloppily around him.
“This better be good, bror,” he says with a raised brow and a wide smile.
“Call Thing,” I say seriously. “I will be waiting downstairs. Do it quick.”
Tor frowns. I do not give him time to ask for more. I will do this shit in front of all my brothers.
I go straight to our big meeting room and I take my place. My leg is twitching and I bite down my jaw. What is taking them so long? Every minute more, is a minute more Nat is under Takeshi’s will. I am coming, old man, I squeeze my eyes together.
I will see him again. And when I do, I will go down on my knees and beg him to take me back. To let me make it up to him. Nat, I am longing for his touch right now.
Tor is the first to walk in and he takes his place at the head of our table. Outside, I can hear Vince calling the brothers to Thing.
“Är allting okej, bror?” Tor asks.
“Nej,” I say shaking my head.
Nothing is fucking right. Nat could be suffering right now. My Nat, my old man, mine. And he is caught because of me, a fucking asshole he didn’t deserve.
My thoughts are interrupted as my brothers file in and take their place. They are not questioning the time. We have had gatherings in all odd hours. Vik and Runner are in since they were here with their Valkyries for light drinks.
“Rage, Wood and Bjorn are riding in,” Vince reports to Tor. “Ironhand is in his cabin with Chiara and his kid.”
“I’ll fill him in and let him know if we will need his help,” Tor says, his tone reminding nothing of the man that was just fucking with a girl. “As soon as I know what the fuck is going on.”
The thralls bring some alcohol and coffee, and we all sit in silence till we hear bikes roaring. Soon the rest of our brothers are in but not before I hear Wood talk with Lil’Ed and Jab to make rounds around their houses.
“Tell me there is a fucking good reason I left Tamie and Devon in the middle of the night,” Wood barks as he takes his place.
Rage says nothing but his look speaks volumes. He is already itching to go and the only thing keeping him in place is the chance that there will be a demand for his services. Bjorn says nothing just lights his cigarette and leans back.
“Stig?” Tor beckons at me.
I swallow hard. I get up as much as my trembling knees allow me to.
“OK. I actually do not know where to start. I guess from the beginning it’s a good place as any.”
My brothers say nothing. I never get the spotlight like that. I am usually behind the screen typing thing or smoking weed or whatever. I can see their surprise as they take me in. They know I am in trouble and they can’t believe it.
“Before I came here, I... kind of worked for the Yakuza.”
Tor is literally taken aback. He leans back in his tall chair and looks at me with a deep scowl. Pace yourself, min Kung, I shake my head and keep going.
“There, I was involved with someone. They used that connection to threaten me to do some shit for them. After I was done, I bailed.”
For the loud bunch that my brothers are, they are rendered speechless. And I haven’t even begun to unravel the shit I am in. The shit that is coming for us.
“These same people took Nathan.”
“Wait, the Yakuza got Nathan?” Tor leans in.
“Hm. I thought that would be more serious,” Tor smiles relieved. “They must have seen you working with him and thought that he was one of us. Tough luck. I like the guy but-”
I hit my hand on the table to shut him up. I know Tor is a cold motherfucker, I used to admire that on him. But hearing him talk about Nathan as if he is nothing? I am this close to jumping his ass and let everyone see if I am truly a nerd as everybody here believes.
“I am getting Nathan back with or without you!”
Tor shuts his mouth and pins me seriously.
“All of you shut the fuck up and listen to me. I helped each and every one of you in all kinds of shit. You, my brothers,” I point at the mated Riders, “I have helped each one of you to get your Valkyries one way or another.”
At the mention of Valkyries everyone frowns. I turn to Tor. He gets there faster than any of the Riders. His look goes from angry to perplexed to shocked in seconds. There goes nothing. For you, Nat! I take courage thinking of him.
“I am gay,” I say loud and clear. “I am gay and I am fucking in love with Nathan. And I am not letting him get hurt.”
I wait. I steel my face, straighten my body and I wait.
“So that someone you were involved with...” Vince dares.
“Takeshi,” I say.
“And that is a... man’s name?” Vince asks almost timidly.
The reaction is almost comical. He is half-hoping I tell him Takeshi is a girl’s name while he is negotiating if he would be OK if I was bi.
Again silence. Too heavy a silence. Fuck this shit! I am ready to pack up and ride to Takeshi’s location on my own. I can fabricate something till I get Nathan out safely and then I will offer myself-
“Wow, this is like watching the Sixth Sense,” Vik suddenly breaks the silence.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Tor growls.
“I mean, now that I know the ending, everything makes sense. How we never actually saw Stig take a girl in his room, that he mostly had blowjobs in the public with the girl under the table and him on his laptop. How he is all friendly with most of our girls and no one ever really cared.”
I chuckle. Leave it to Vik to make shit lighter.
“You are goddamn right,” Vince pitches in. “I mean I saw how you looked at me, man,” he winks, “but I am not swinging that way. Not that you are a bad-looking-”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” Tor gets up.
I lose the smile from my face. Tor places his hands on the table and bows his head down for a moment, breathing deeply. Then he looks up to me and he is fucking furious.
“Really, Stig? Are you for fucking real now?” He seethes. “You didn’t think to ever mention this to me, to your brothers? How can you betray our trust like that? I should have Rage flail you alive for this!”
I glance sideways to Rage. His face is an impassive mask which either means he is mentally choosing which knife would do the job or he is waiting to see how this plays out. I am hoping for the latter.
“You fucking asshole!” Tor continues. “I gave you the cut. Me! I vouched for you! And you keep something like this from me?”
My fear fades and I feel anger rise in me. Tor always saw me like a tool, a means to an end, his most effective weapon. And now his toy turns out to be gay and he loses his shit. Nathan was right. Nobody here knows who I am behind the laptop. I am labeled, filed and shelved as a nerd and tucked away till someone needs me. Fuck them!
“Fan ta dig!" I snap. “Fuck you, Tor! Fuck all of you! Yeah, I am gay and it’s none of your fucking business! You can call me a cocksucker, leave fucking dildos out of my room, make jokes on how I like to take it up the ass AFTER you help me get Nathan back or I swear to Tyr-”
“STIG!” Tor yells and I shut up. “What I meant was that when you first came here, you didn’t think to mention that you have been in some shit with the Yakuza? The fucking YAKUZA, Stig? Really, the Yakuza? And now you bring that fucking shit here?”
I throw my head back. Wait, I frown. Tor puffs his cheeks and sighs. He sits back down and shakes his head.
“Every fucking time,” he murmurs. “Every fucking time.”
He stares at the ceiling for a moment and then comes back to me. He is back to his cool, calculative self.
“OK, last time they caught you aching for dick, they asked some shit of you. Now, what do they want?”
Tor addressing the fact I am gay so lightly, exactly as he talked about the rest of our brothers that fell in love is the last thing I expected.
“Stig,” Tor demands. “What do they want?”
I swallow. I got more bad news to bring to them.
“What?” Everyone but Tor asks. “What the fuck do you mean?”
“They want every little thing on us,” I am still locked in a gaze with a very pissed off Tor.
“What I need now,” Tor replies to shut the brothers up, “is info. Who has your...” Tor hesitates. “Who has Nathan, where, how many and-”
“I got all of it, I point at my laptop.”
Tor gives me a slight smile.
“As for who has Nathan,” I prepare myself for the final blow. “It’s Takeshi.”
“OK, seriously, hahaha!” Vik gets up. “Nice prank. I fell for it. My advice? Don’t go that far next time. I mean OK, you are gay, probably true. Then the Yakuza got you. But your ex being Yakuza and coming after your... boyfriend. Nah! Now where is my camera so I can smile and wave and go back home with my princess.”
I do not move a muscle. Vik looks around and then at Tor that is still eyeing me like I am his worst enemy right now.
“Seriously? You... you fucked Yakuza?” Vik sits back down.
“Well, he hasn’t told us if he is top or bottom,” Vince interrupts, “So technically, we do not know if he fucked Yakuza or if he was fucked by Yakuza, right?” Vince asks me.
"And how do you know so much about top, bottom and that shit?"Runner pitches in. "I mean, we all here remember how you admired Wood's cock."
Wood says nothing, just gets up and goes for my laptop. He beckons at Rage and Bjorn to come as they study the info I got there.
“The rest of you shut up and concentrate. This is some serious shit. Why are they coming after us? Why now? Who the fcuk is actually after us?" Tor is lost in deep thought. "Wood?” Tor demands.
“Not half as hard as I was expecting,” Wood comments. “He is holed up in a mansion across the Bay. Three Yakuza with him and ten Koreans from what our boy here has gathered.”
“Hm,” Tor raises a brow.
“They were counting on one thing,” I tell my brothers.
“What is that?” Tor asks.
“That I would never tell you.”
Tor gets up and has a malignant smile on his face.
“Well, they made the wrong, fucking bet,” Tor says and he is scarier than even Rage right now. “Wood, make a plan. Make sure we get Takeshi alive. As of the rest, we need to hit them with everything we got. I am going to regret this but, Bjorn, call Ava.”
“Tor, I…” I do not know what to say.
“Help Wood, Stig. I am not done with you yet. We will talk after all this.”
“Uhm,” Vince intervenes. “We can’t call Nathan a Valkyrie, now, right? That would be weird. I mean…”
I smile. I am coming, old man!