The Seven Twenty Three From Quantico

Chapter 1

7.23

Bob Geldof wrote, "I'm on a train now, I'm moving through yellow fields of rape, there's so much beauty, I wish that I believed enough to pray. Wrap me in your arms and keep me warm tonight."

Spencer propped himself up on his elbow.

"Honestly, I don't mind if you change your mind!"

Aaron reflected his posture perfectly, his face level with Spencer's.

"Look, I said I would come. I might hate it, but how will I ever know if I don't try?" He kissed the end of Spencer's nose. "I might even love it."

Spencer smiled his broad happy toothy smile and collapsed onto his back.

"You'll meet all my strange friends!"

Aaron gave an exaggerated groan. "That's what I'm afraid of!"

Spencer giggled, and grabbed Aaron, pulling him close.

"Just for that I'm going to kiss you until you scream for mercy!"

Aaron yelped playfully. "Oh no! I can't stand it!" He lay on his back, arms out to his side. "Ok! I surrender!"

"Oh good, 'cos I'm really tired." Spencer fell back onto the bed in mock exhaustion. He sighed happily, and snuggled up close to Aaron, curling his body to fit the contours of Aaron's. He rested his head on Aaron's shoulder and closed his eyes. Aaron turned to face him, and wrapped both his arms around him and drew him close.

This was one of his favorite times, just before he went to sleep, feeling Spencer slowly relax and fall asleep on him. Holding him in his arms, he took the time to meditate on his relationship with Spence. Absently he stroked his hair and ran his fingers along his spine, counting the bumps, thinking of how lonely he would be without him.

He gained so much, took so much. Yet he felt he gave nothing back. he would give everything he had to Spencer. But Spence asked for nothing.

Aaron pressed his face into Spencer's hair.

He pulled the cover up over Spence, protectively embracing him, and gradually his meditations changed to dreams

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Spence woke up in the morning before Aaron, which was unusual. He wanted to jump out of bed, but instead, he slid out from under Aaron's arm without waking him. Aaron moaned softly and turned towards the space that Spencer left, but he didn't wake up. Spence crept out of the room and skipped downstairs to make coffee and toast. He smiled as he got the breakfast ready. Aaron never got breakfast in bed, because he always woke up first.

But not today. Spencer was too excited.

He had had several e-mails from friends he would see today. He had missed the last two Comic-Cons because he was in hospital. This one was going to be special though. Aaron was coming with him. He couldn't wait to show him off to his friends!

He suddenly realised he was singing as he bounced around the kitchen in his bare feet. He lowered his voice. He really didn't want Aaron to wake up before he got back upstairs.

He got the tray ready, and stood back to admire his work. There was something missing.

He unlocked the back door and picked a daisy off the terrace. He put it in a glass on the tray, and picked it up.

Aaron was stirring when he got back upstairs. He rubbed his eyes, and smiled.

"Ooo! Breakfast in bed – decadent!!"

"Everything's decadent with you, Babe!"

Spencer sat on the bed next to Aaron, and started to fidget.

"You excited or something?" grinned Aaron, sticking the daisy into Spencer's hair.

"We've got an hour 'til the train leaves." said Spence. "I'll go shower while you finish up here." He put his face close to Aaron's. "I love traveling by train! That in itself is a treat!"

Spencer skipped out of the bedroom, down the hall to the bathroom and switch on the shower and started to sing.

Pardon me bo-o-oy. Is that the Chattanooga ChooChoo……..

Aaron cringed and ate his toast.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dinner in the diner. Nothing could be finer……

A poke in the ribs from Aaron, and Spencer stopped singing. He looked at Aaron, his little face all hurt. Aaron cracked up, and kissed his nose.

"Ahh I do love you so very much, Spencey!"

"And here's the train!" Spencer grabbed his empty case on wheels, which he hoped to fill with comics before the weekend was out.

Aaron hadn't said anything about it.

He thought lots of things, but didn't actually say them.

This was Spencer's domain. He was an observer.

He smiled, helping Spence onto the train with his empty bag.

They found a seat with a table, and Aaron put the bags on the rack.

Aaron leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes. Spencer sat right on the edge of his seat and watched out of the window. Aaron sat forward again.

He wanted to share everything, even looking out of the window.

Spence brought out the child in him. A side of him he kept hidden from most people, even Haley.

Aaron leaned on him, brushing his face in Spence's hair. It looked auburn in the early morning sun, and Aaron felt a rush of energy as he wondered at how much he had been blessed.

"What are you watching, Spence?"

"Oh, I don't know really. I just like looking at the people." He paused, then pointed out a family in their garden. "Look at them, Aaron. Their house is tatty, and their car is a wreck, but see how happy they are."

Aaron watched the family playing until they were out of sight.

People watching. He often did it himself, profiling people he saw in bars and on the streets.

Aaron took some money out of his pocket.

"I'll go and get us some coffee."

"Ah great, Babe. I was just thinking that." Spencer tilted his head to the side

"Ok." Aaron bent down and kissed Spence. Spence put his arms on Aaron's shoulders and kissed him back.

"Don't be long, Babe." He touched the tip of his nose and watched him go through the door into the next carriage.

"Aaron! Get me a Danish if they've got any!"

Spencer called him, but he was already gone into the next carriage.

Spencer got up and followed him through the doors. Aaron was at the other end of the carriage.

"Aaron………."

Aaron turned at the sound of Spencer's voice. He smiled and………

It was at that moment that the woman in the middle of the carriage blew herself up.

Spencer watched as the bomb she carried tore her apart, and the air was filled with glass and twisted metal and pieces of the people who were sitting in the carriage.

and he felt his feet leave the floor and he was thrown back through the doors and he felt burning and shards of glass and metal embedded themselves in his face and chest

and blood ran down his legs and his hair was on fire

and what happened?

and where was Aaron?

and it hurt so much and Spencer hit the bulkhead and a piece of someone hit it too

and Spencer screamed and passed out.

and everything was silent...