Title: Second Chances

Author: Estella Greenleaf

Rating: M (R/NC-17)

Pairing: Stelios /Astinos ; Leonidas / Dilios (Implied)

Disclaimer: Not mine! No profit made, etc…

Author's note: I am really sorry that the first thing I wrote in years is not a new chapter of my LOTR stories. I really do want to finish them, but this plot bunny just won't leave me alone. So here I am, posting a 300 reincarnation AU story that will probably entertain no one except myself. But I really hope you will give this latest strange brainchild of mine a chance. And please, any feedback on the characterization will be greatly appreciated. I really want to keep the boys in character, since it's a reincarnation story. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 1:

People used to think meteor showers were beautiful, romantic even. But that was before the Leonid meteor shower brought an un-welcomed visitor. The meteorite was not big by any standards. Its impact on mankind, however, was an entirely different story. For within its rocky core, lurked the beginnings of an alien life-form, a parasite targeting individuals with a particular genetic makeup to turn into grotesque pawns in a quest to establish its species on Earth.

At first, all those infected were turned into mindless drones, with only the need to feed the budding parasites within. "Bulbs", these creatures were later called, after the bulbous alien fungus that would explode from its hosts' flesh if allowed to fully mature. Though Bulbs would attack and bite anyone within reach, they were only a small threat with their slow lumbering movements. Even an average person could outrun them.

It wasn't hard to contain the first outbreak. Once the medical experts determined that the parasite infections were irreversible, the military's Rapid Response Tactical Squad (RRTS) was called in and the infected were "neutralized" with minimal civilian casualties. But one could never truly contain a microscopic threat capable of taking to the air and scattering with the winds. Three weeks later, miles away from the site of the original outbreak, the city of New Laconia became the incursion point of another alien infestation.

With this second incident came a nasty surprise: the aliens' invasion strategy had evolved. No longer did all parasites usurped control of their hosts for growth, some fused their genetic material with their victims', creating mutations that altered physical structure and amplified aggression. The result was a legion of beasts with an insatiable appetite for human flesh, vanguards for the slow-moving Bulbs. Berserkers and Imps, these monsters were later named, one with preternatural strength and the other with preternatural agility.

A lot of people died in New Laconia during that second outbreak. The RRTS was not prepared to fight the aliens' new puppets. In the end, an air strike was called in and the entire city was destroyed to prevent the alien infestation from expanding. The survivors were quarantined; despite the total lack of outwards symptoms, all were subjected to extensive testing for parasite infection.

Lo and behold, five of the survivors tested positive for alien DNA – the commander and two members of the RRTS unit sent to suppress the outbreak, a linguistics professor at the local college and an eight-year old boy, who had witnessed his father's horrific death under the claws and fangs of a monster that had once been his mother.

The initial plan was to terminate these "Carriers" of the alien parasite; but the higher-ups soon found a better use for them. The idea was to "fight fire with fire", to pit Carriers against the other monstrosities the aliens created. So it was that the Alien Control Division (ACD) of the RRTS was formed. The five survivors, the boy included, were sent to endure the toughest special combat training program ever devised. Following the arduous year-long "boot camp", the infected RRTS unit commander, Leonidas, was officially assigned as the Boss of the ACD, while the other four Carriers became the unit's first agents. While the two ex-RRTS members received masculine call signs like "Duke" and "Hawk", the civilians got stuck with the nicknames "Daisy" and "Sunshine".

Though he would never admit it, he rather liked the name "Sunshine", Stelios reflected as he glanced at his watch again for the sixth time in ten minutes. There's a certain smart-ass ring to it that he thought fitted him well. It was a good thing he got his code name then; if they had to come up with a call sign now, they'd probably call him Psycho or Maniac for seeming disregard for self-preservation and his propensity for mayhem.

It was this later tendency that landed Stelios in his present predicament. It wasn't his fault really; he certainly didn't ask the aliens to make a nest in an advanced weapons research lab. He already refrained from using his guns out of consideration for lab's delicate equipments; but one couldn't possibly expect him to go hand-to-hand with a group of Imps without getting thrown around a little and doing some throwing of his own. Unfortunately, his superiors didn't see it that way. While the Boss was against any serious disciplinary action, he thought it time for Stelios to learn a lesson in manners. The young agent was barred from the field until he completed the RRTS's social ethnics class. It was ironic, really, learning ethnics from people who routinely sent him out to die with no second thought, but he didn't want to make trouble with the Boss.

Stelios tried to entertain himself with imagining various combat scenarios as his instructor droned on about the importance of respecting private property. Seriously, as if any normal person would care about property destruction when a six-foot monster was after them… As he bit his lip to keep himself from voicing that exact thought, his keen ears picked up the sounds of footsteps marching towards the classroom door. When the door opened to reveal his best friend and fellow agent Dillios aka "Daisy", Stelios knew his prayers had been answered.

After handing a folder to the RRTS ethnics instructor, the blond agent turned to Stelios and grinned, "The Boss wants to see you."

As grateful as he was to be out of the boring lecture, Daisy's Cheshire cat grin set off every warning bell in Stelios' system. He had a feeling he wasn't going to like whatever the Boss had planned.

Heat… callused hands roamed muscled planes, setting afire to already overwrought senses. Touches stolen under the cover of darkness, urgent, desperate, forbidden pleasures never to be mentioned in the light of day… Pain… branding him, searing his insides as it melted away into ecstasy. Deft fingers stroked him, each caress pushing him closer towards passion's peak. These sensations, this intimacy… it's too much, yet not enough… never enough… Spent, encircled in strong arms as whiskered lips covered his... his wildest dream realized...

A husky whisper, "No regrets?"

A smile, "Not anymore." No matter what the day brings, this moment would be his for all times.

Astinos groaned at the dampness against his belly as the fog of sleep lifted. Cracking open an eye, he surveyed the damage he'd done to his sheets and sighed. He would have to take them to the laundromat again today. As much as he enjoyed his dream lover's visits, having to deal with the aftermath every morning was getting a bit tedious.

He supposed it was a good thing the dreams didn't start until a month ago, after his graduation from the military academy. Gasping out a man's name in the middle of the night wouldn't be a good way to make friends at the RRTS training facility. Then again, it wasn't as if he had friends to lose anyway. He was three years younger than all the other recruits; and though he was tall and muscular for a boy his age, he had his mother's eyes and mouth, which gave him an androgynous sort of "prettiness" that he couldn't seem to outgrow.

Astinos imagined things would have been quite bad for him at the academy if his father hadn't been training him in the arts of combat since he was six. But as it were, he could easily take out a group of boys twice his size. No one ever dared try to pick on him. His fellow trainees weren't even brave enough to call him "pansy" and "mommy's boy" in his face, though he heard the names whispered often enough in the locker rooms.

The youth ran a hand through his unkempt sable hair to clear his dark thoughts. Today was a new start for him, his first day as an agent of the Alien Control Division; he couldn't afford to let his past weigh him down. While most would not envy his assignment, given the high casualty rates and "suspect" company at the ACD, Astinos was ecstatic. All his life, he had wanted his father's approval. To receive the man's recommendation for a position among the world's elite soldiers was a vote of confidence he hadn't even dared hope for. He wouldn't let his father down. Sure it would be difficult for a human like him to keep up with genetically enhanced Carriers with years of combat experience, but he'd find a way. Whatever it takes, he would prove himself worthy of being the great General Artemis' son.