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[personal profile] magdalyna
Title: Cactus Where Your Heart Once Was
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] i_amthecosmos
Pairing: Panic gsf, Panic/Bob Bryar
Rating: R
Word Count: 1,547
Warnings/Disclaimer: I don't own these people. Back away if you got here by googling. Seriously. Also, this is an assasin AU. That means killing people and character death(if you wanna read it that way). I nearly teared up writing this, so beware.
Author's Note: So I had a really strange dream last night, about band boys being assasins. It wasn't a pleasent dream per se, but the idea stuck.



The night is cold, breezy. Cold sweat drips down his neck from exertion. Ryan is not afraid. This is precisely what they’ve been trained for.

He sees their target walk down the road and turn into the alley where Brent is perched, waiting. Ryan touches the bud in his ear. “Go,” he says into the wind, and he can see Brent taking aim.

Their target drops to the ground with a cracking sound.

*

Ryan doesn’t know his age, other than he can successfully infiltrate high schools and corporate offices alike, or where he came from. He doesn’t know his last name or what his life was like before The Center. These things are unimportant. What matters is completing their missions.

*

Spencer grips the gun calmly, safety glasses and acoustic earmuffs in place.

He fires at the paper targets in rapid succession, and Ryan watches Spencer’s muscles flex under his shirt. The sounds are muted under Ryan’s own headgear.

Brendon walks in similarly outfitted with Brent.

Ryan watches them get ready appreciatively and then takes aim again.

*

Bob clicks the remote, and the slide changes, detailing the route the target takes to work everyday.

Bob isn’t technically part of the team, but he does everything else. He takes care of their needs and makes sure they know their assignments in and out.

Ryan doesn’t know how long Bob has been with them, but that doesn’t matter. He’s always been there, a stoic, blonde scruffy rock for them.

He does know that there have been ten targets spread out over a year, since he remembers meeting Bob. But details like this don’t matter.

*

The Center is where all things begin and end.

Ryan remembers waking up in a stark white room, being kept there for days on end, surrounded by blinding oblivion. When his training finally began, he cried in relief.

You leave it to start your assignments. What happens after your assignments are completed is unknown.

*

Spencer’s touch is firm and enticing. Ryan gasps as Spencer rubs the head of his cock. He watches Brendon and Brent kissing on the bed next to Spencer. They fit together easily like this.

Later, he sinks deep into Brent and its hot and tight and perfect.

*

Spencer stabs the new target that Ryan cornered in a park with rain pouring down around them. The blood seeps and dilutes into the grass.

Assignment a success, Ryan and Spencer slink off into the night.

*

Training never stops, so they have to devote 30 hours a week to maintain their skills.

Brent and Ryan dance together, knives making swishing sounds in the air around them.

Brent’s been with him the longest besides Spencer. They surprise each other still.

*

They cut each other up badly during blade training and so Bob patches them up, his hands cool against their hot skin.

*

“You’re all going to sleep in the Red Room tonight,” Bob tells them during the morning meal.

They pause in their little patterns: the apple raised just before Brent’s mouth, the glass of tomato juice perched at the tip of Brendon’s mouth, Spencer frozen buttering his toast, Ryan shuffling eggs onto his fork. They look at him.

Bob calmly drinks his coffee.

*

It’s dark and raining. Ryan sees Bob standing out in the park and goes to join him.

Bob doesn’t acknowledge Ryan’s arrival at first, but he does step closer.

“I’m being reassigned. I leave tomorrow,” Bob says. Ryan feels something cold spiral deep in his stomach.

“We don’t want you to go,” Ryan says, and it’s a waste of words, oxygen. Those are Bob’s orders, and he has to follow them.

Bob cups Ryan’s cheek. “You should go inside now, to the Red Room,” Bob is calm, but Ryan knows it’s an order.

*

The Red Room is, as its moniker claims, a room done in all in shades of red.

Ryan can’t recall when he’s been there last, but his feet know the way. This is an unimportant detail.

The others are already in the room, and when he steps into the threshold, the door slides shut.

There’s an empty armchair beside Brent and Brendon and Ryan takes it. Gas fills the room.

*

They wake in a red four poster bed.

Brendon and Brent have Spencer between them and Ryan has his head laying on Brent’s shoulder.

There’s a guy with brown floppy hair and stubble watching them from one of the armchairs.

“I’m Jon,” he says, and his smile is warm, if a little sad looking.

*

Jon’s hands are warm on Ryan’s skin as he’s patching up the nicks on Ryan’s arms from when he and Brent were sparring with blades.

He doesn’t know why it feels wrong.

*

He remembers the white room was cold and silent, even if he clapped or stomped or moved around. He had a white robe on, and nothing on his feet.

Bread and water would come from a box in the wall, but he couldn’t figure out the timing. It switched up.

He digs a nail into his hand to mark the meals, but loses count.

And then the music came, haunting and swift and miserable and chaotic all at once. Tears ran down his face.

*

Ryan watches as Brendon slits the target’s throat with practiced ease. The body drops and they leave, like ghosts dissolving in the sunlight. He wants to kiss away the manic smile slipping over Brendon’s face.

*

Spencer goes to kiss Jon but he jerks away in surprise.

Ryan’s in a confused pile of mouths and hands and heat with Brendon and Brent, but he watches them. He thinks Spencer should have what he’s feeling. It’s rude of Jon to leave Spencer hanging like that.

This would have never happened back when … Ryan loses the thought and then Brent does something particularly impressive with his tongue.

Jon leaves the room and Spencer grimaces in frustration. Brendon beckons him to the bed. Spencer settles into them, warm and comfortable.

*

Ryan drinks his coffee as Jon hands out the dossiers. “This is to be Ryan’s assignment but you’re all to be familiar with it,” Jon tells them. Ryan starts with surprise and they look at him curiously.

“This name matters,” Jon says after they’ve had a look at the papers.

Robert Cory Bryar. 26 years old. Business man, traveled frequently. Based in Chicago.

They look at him in astonishment. They never know the target’s name or exact age.

“Why does this name matter?” Spencer asks, perceptively as always.

Jon shakes his head. “That’s not for any of you to know, just that it does,” he says.

*

The wind is sharp through his thin jacket.

Bryar is walking in the park, a few yards in front of him. Bryar’s bundled up tight, bits of blonde hair escaping from his beanie. He doesn’t look like a typical business man.

This assignment pings wrong for him suddenly. Bryar turns around then.

“I know why you’re here, kid,” he calls out, voice strong.

Ryan widens his eyes. He’d been planning for surprise, the gun tucked into the back of his jeans a sure shot. There’s a knot a trees ahead, and if Bryar had gone further, this would be over by now.

“You’ve been sent to kill me,” Bryar has blue, careful eyes. He walks closer.

Ryan takes a deep breath.

Ryan can’t move but now Bryar’s right in front of him. Bryar has blonde scruff, looks warm and solid.

“You’re going to kill me anyway, Ryan. But I don’t blame you,” Bryar is calm, has a soft voice.

Ryan stares. “How do you know my name?” he manages.

Bryar gives a small broken off smile. “Jon wasn’t your first handler,” he says enigmatically. The wind ruffles his hair.

“Do, do you know who we are?” Ryan asks, licks his lips nervously.

Bryar shakes his head in quick movements.

“Everyone wakes up to the White Room, Ryan. Even handlers,” Bryar says. He sounds sorry about it.

Ryan shudders, remembering. The music is in his nightmares, still.

Bryar cups his cheek gently; like he’s afraid Ryan will break into thousands of pieces and presses a dry kiss to his forehead.

“Do you know why, why us?” Ryan needs to know.

Bryar leans to kiss him and it’s soft and cold and sweet.

Ryan melts into it just as Bryar pulls back.

“No, I don’t know. We only get the assignments to hand out,” Bryar – Bob says.

Ryan steps back, and there’s a shift in Bob’s careful eyes, like he can see it coming.

Bob’s eyes are blue blue blue flecked with red as Ryan hurries away. He can’t make himself look at the body, hear Bob gasping.

*

Ryan takes a long, hot shower, trying to get the chill out. He dresses in a worn in sweatpants and an old, baggy shirt.

He thinks about his team, how vital they are to him. He thinks about Jon and Jon’s reticence. He thinks about his orders. He thinks about Bob’s calm, soft voice, telling him he knew he’d be killed. He thinks about the cold sweetness of the kiss, the blue and red and blonde colors that made Bob up.

He makes his way to the Red Room and steps inside.

Date: 2008-09-29 09:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] i-amthecosmos.livejournal.com
*sniffles*

BOB!

Beautifully done. Great work in such a spare style.

And there will be no sleep in Amanda-ville tonight.

Date: 2008-09-29 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magdalyna.livejournal.com
*hands tissues*

Thanks. *pets*

Date: 2008-09-29 11:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] achika-chan.livejournal.com
Holy shit. BOB. RYAN. EVERYONE.

This is amazing.

Date: 2008-09-29 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magdalyna.livejournal.com
Thanks for reading!

Date: 2008-09-30 04:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hikarinotabi.livejournal.com
Wow. I really like the sparse, choppy style. It's kind of disorienting.

Date: 2008-09-30 05:38 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-01 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ahestele.livejournal.com
That was brief and chilling and gripping and perfect. And also sad. Like echoes in water, the feelings reverberate after the last word.

Thank you so much for sharing this.

Date: 2008-10-01 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magdalyna.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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And that has made all the difference.

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