So. The beginning of the sequel to "Secrets". It helps to read that one first, but you'll get the idea of the story one way or another. There is SWEARING. I am a sailor, and that's how we express ourselves. So if that offends you, either close your eyes, or skim it. Mentions of child abuse, and there will be whump and shameless Wes and Travis (see, I didn't forget him) whump and bromance later. Maybe a little BAMF Travis. We'll see how it goes. Bromance, not slash! Read and review, and let me know what you think! I feel like I set myself up for failure after Secrets…;-)
When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood's run stale
I want to hide the truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
There's nowhere we can hide
Demons - Imagine Dragons
Travis found himself in a bit of a conundrum. He hated prying. Honestly, he did. He liked being nosy, and he liked getting people to talk, but that was something totally different. If someone honest to God didn't want to talk to him, he'd be a little put out of a minute, and then forget it. He didn't want to be that jerk.
Wes, on the other hand, was the most tight-lipped person he'd ever met in his life. He never, ever spoke of anything outside of work, except in something they'd both done together. Like therapy, where they went for lunch, etc. Nothing involving Alex, where he went when they weren't working together, zip. Zilch. Nada.
But after Wes caught that nasty flu bug and wound up at Travis's apartment with a Dante's Inferno of a fever, hellish delusions included, Travis really, really wanted to get Wes to open up (thus the problem of not wanting to pry, but really needing to). He claimed he went to therapy when he was younger, and he sorted himself out and therefore no longer attended. The more Travis pushed, the more belligerent Wes became. And the last thing Travis wanted to do was set them back in their tentative new friendship.
But Travis still had nightmares about his partner screaming in terror from monsters in his head. And if Travis had nightmares about it, he could just imagine what it was like for Wes.
Things were changing though. Just in teeny, tiny baby steps. Stumbling ones.
For instance, Travis actually managed to convince Wes to go to a bar after work for a beer. Just a beer, because he knew Wes would never agree to getting wasted, and they actually managed to sit and enjoy part of the ball game. Who knew Wes followed baseball? Travis brought him to a family BBQ in the old neighborhood, where his foster mom, Maria Gonzales, berated him for letting his partner get so skinny. She fawned over a bewildered Wes for the rest of the night, randomly hugging him and making sure he was a part of every conversation, treating him as if he was part of the family for years, not minutes. At the end of the night, when she hugged them both goodnight, she whispered something in Wes's ear, and the man turned bright scarlet and quickly excused himself back to the car. When she hugged Travis, she said she was so sorry she couldn't have had Wes as one of her 'boys', and made sure he knew what love was, but he was on strict orders to bring him back at least once a month so she could fix that.
Neither Wes or Maria ever said what she'd whispered in his ear to make him react like that.
If Wes happened to say anything about his past, Travis would pause for a moment, make sure he made eye contact with Wes so he'd know he was listening (thank you, Dr. Ryan), and see if Wes would say anything else. Most of the time, he didn't say anything further.
Sometimes he did.
For instance, Travis now knew that his mother and father were Charles and Camille Mitchell, CEOs of some company that dominated Forbes magazine on a yearly basis. They hadn't spoken in years, and Wes hadn't completed that step of therapy where he was supposed to offer an olive branch. Travis was fine with that. He had no siblings, and he didn't even speak to his extended family members. He'd been hospitalized no less than nine times because of his parents. He was at permanent risk of his body breaking down because of repeated bouts of starvation when he was younger, and that was why he was so careful with it now.
It wasn't the stories that turned Travis's stomach. He was a foster child in LA, and he was a cop in the same neighborhoods. Bad things happened. But it was the way Wes said them. So blasé, as indifferent as if he was reciting his weight in grams again. It was just something that happened. Not good, not bad…just…there.
Maybe that was the therapy talking. Travis really hoped they didn't turn out like that once counseling was over…
Because of Wes's random tidbits of information, and his blow out in therapy now over two months ago, Travis had this idea of Wes's parents looking like comic book bad guys – tall, imposing figures who only came out at night and had fangs and masks.
So when Travis caught someone talking to Wes at his desk one day, he at first didn't think anything of it.
He was coming back from getting a case file back from the morgue when he saw them.
Wes was sitting down, back to Travis, hunched over his desk, a man in a suit that looked even more expensive than Wes's normal ones was standing behind him, leaning over his shoulder.
Travis slowed his pace, stopping and standing for a moment, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with the picture.
The two of them were talking, that much was obvious, but Travis couldn't hear them from where he was standing. The postures were wrong for a friendly conversation – the other man had his hand up on the back of Wes's neck, which meant familiarity, but from the way that Wes held his head it looked like he was trying to push back, without making it obvious, and that the grip hurt. When Travis craned his neck to see if he could catch Wes's eye, he saw that the man had his hand on Wes's – and not in a friendly manner. It looked like he was trying to force a pen in Wes's hand, and Wes was keeping his hand clenched in a fist.
Hell with it. He didn't care what the hell was going on, and if it turned out it was nothing, he'd laugh about it later.
He walked past the coffee stand and snagged a piping hot cup as he passed, almost spilling some on his hand as he grabbed it.
"Hey, Wes!" Travis said, overly cheerful, hopping up next to the other man. "Whatcha up to?"
The other man stood up, quickly, but not fast enough for anyone to jump to the conclusion he was doing something wrong instead of just caught off guard.
"Young man," the man said, straightening his suit jacket. "Don't you have any manners?"
"I could ask you the same thing, Mister…?" Travis said, holding his hand out.
The man eyed his hand suspiciously, before extending his own. "Mitchell. Charles Mitchell."
Travis pulled his hand back before he made contact with the man's hand fighting the urge to punch the guy in the face. So this was Wes's dad. He was a lot bigger than he thought anyone Wes shared genetics with could be. The man had to be six-foot five or taller, broad shoulder and all angles. Pale, like no Californian would ever be, and hollowed cheeks. Steel gray eyes, just turning silver dark hair. Had it not been for his shark like eyes, the man might have looked handsome. Instead, Travis had the distinct feeling like he might have just jumped into recently chummed waters.
Charles frowned, looking a mixture between puzzled and insulted.
"So," Travis said, looking down at Wes, who remained seated in his chair, and looking for all the world like he wanted to disappear. He refused to look up at Travis, and his partner could see him clenching his jaw hard enough he had to be hurting his teeth. "You're Wes's dad?"
"Wesley's father, yes. Have we met?" Charles said, his eyes narrowing, before his upper lip pulled into a sneer. "No, I don't imagine we have. I can't imagine ever shaking hands with a…man…such as yourself."
Travis smiled brilliantly. "Nor I you. Whatcha doing here? Come to say hello to your son?" He cautiously put a hand on Wes's arm, and to anyone else, it would look like he was razzing Wes about something new, but he could feel Wes flinch at the contact, and he felt rage bubbling up.
"That's between my son and I, and I don't believe we've been properly introduced," Charles said. His voice was low, deep baritone and slightly roughed, like gravel.
"We haven't?" Travis said, playing irritating to a 't'. "My mistake. I'm Travis Marks, Wes's partner. He's told me all about you." He paused for a moment, waiting to see how the man interpreted it, and he saw the black eyes narrow.
"He has, has he?" Charles asked mildly.
"Travis, don't…" Wes said quietly, risking a look up at his partner.
"Yeah, he has. And look, Mister. I don't really give a flying fuck all why you're here, or why you're talking to my friend. But you are in violation of a restraining order against an officer of the law, in a room filled with cops. No amount of lawyering is going to get you off the hook if we decide to press charges. And you know how things go with cops, right?" Travis smiled, keeping his tone light through his entire monologue. "We're like family, with kinda itchy trigger fingers and a bad habit of crossing the line. Not that you'd know what that means, but I'm sure a dictionary could help you out. Leave. Now. And I won't say shit. And don't you ever come back, understand me?" Travis stepped closer to Charles, ignoring the difference in their heights and meeting his predatory gaze unflinchingly.
"Listen here, you filthy little –" Charles began, raising his hand to Travis. Travis had no intention of finding out if he was about to get jabbed, slapped or punched, and suddenly feinted forwards, the scalding hot cup of coffee hitting Charles square in the chest, making the larger man jump back with a surprised yelp.
"Oh, I'm sorry, did I burn you? Let me help you out with that," Travis said, and grabbed Charles upper arm, intent on leading him out, but Charles wrenched his arm out of Travis's grasp.
"Don't touch me," the man growled, advancing towards Travis, who refused to back down. Instead, he carefully maneuvered so he was directly behind Wes, blocking his partner from his father. "I came to talk to my son, and I will, one way or another."
Travis rolled his eyes. "The talking you were doing is actually called assault. And the sentence for assaulting an officer is five to seven, no chance of parole. California state law. I wonder who they're gonna side with? An asshole, or the two most decorated detectives on the LAPD? I wouldn't take those odds if I were you, man. Just walk away."
Charles's eyes flashed angrily, and Travis almost stepped back at the rage he could feel just rolling off the man. But this was Wes they were talking about.
"Wesley," Charles said, not taking his eyes off of Travis. "We'll finish our conversation later. And you will sign. One way, or another. And Wesley knows I've never gone back on my word…"
"Stop with the melodramatic villain monologuing. Go away. Far away. Whatever hole you crawled out of, go back to. Or I will raise holy hell to get your ass thrown in jail. Understand me?" Travis answered.
With one final sneer, and Travis was honestly surprised the man didn't growl at him, Charles straightened his jacket, and left the squad room.
No one paused, or seemed to notice the proverbial OK Corral gunfight go down, and Travis smiled to himself.
"Hey, Wes, did you see that? Not one thrown punch, no one noticed, and Wes, what's wrong?" Travis said, suddenly frowning when he saw Wes hunched over on himself, breathing rapidly through his nose, like he was trying to calm himself down. "Wes, man, take it easy! He's gone! You don't have to worry!" Travis tried to reassure him, kneeling down in front of the blonde.
Wes shook his head, his eyes squeezed shut, subtly rocking back and forth.
"No?" Travis said, completely lost. "Wes, did he do something? I'll kill him…"
Wes kept shaking his head. "You didn't fix anything, Travis…" he opened his eyes, and Travis could see the panic welling up. "You made it so much worse."
So. First chapter. CookiesN'Cream124 gets credit for naming Wes's father. Yes, his mother will be showing up. No, nothing good will come of it. Thoughts on what you think it was that they wanted Wes to sign? Or why Charles was visiting Wes? Read and review, as always! They make me write faster (Especially the long ones. Love the long ones).