Chapter 6: Double Agent
“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.”
~ The Joker
“Why are you guys behind on this project? You were supposed to be done weeks ago!” a pause. “Fine, if I don’t have an update by tomorrow, you’re all getting fired.” Trevor hung up the phone and slammed it on the table, He got a few looks from the other patrons in the coffee shop, but no one dared to look at him for too long. Even if they didn’t know who he was, they knew he looked like someone you did not mess with.
Trevor at least had that to his advantage.
“Trev, don’t you think that was a bit mean?”
He looked up at Ian, who sat across him with some fancy drink in his hand. It even had whipped cream. If you asked Trevor, black was the way to go. Nothing else there to ruin the coffee. No extraneous loose ends.
“Mean?” Trevor responded. “They need to learn their lesson. I can’t be their friend and their boss at the same time.”
Ian raised his eyebrows suggestively. “What about their boss and their boyfriend?”
He had Trevor stumped there.
“Look,” Ian took his hand. Trevor stiffened, still not used to this public display of affection in a public place. “You can try seeing things from their point of view. You only gave the labs a couple of months to do a job that usually takes years. You can afford to give them a break.”
Trevor sighed and rubbed his other hand through his hair. He knew deep down that it was impossible to believe that the labs could get the job done so soon, but he also knew that he needed the results yesterday.
Reverse engineering the inactive samples of PF-08-02 that his father had died for was a daunting task.
“But, this is important.”
Ian squeezed his hand. “I know, and it’ll get done. Trust me, you shouldn’t worry too much.”
“Worrying too much is kind of my thing,” Trevor responded, smiling at Ian.
Trevor was thankful to have Ian right then. He kept Trevor grounded in reality. When you had someone who cared for you deeply, someone you also cared for deeply, life had more meaning.
Trevor, to his surprise, looked up to see Xander Mendez. Xander looked just as surprised to see Trevor at the coffee shop. Trevor looked between Xander and the girl who stood next to him just as Xander looked between Trevor and Ian and their intertwined hands.
Trevor, having a moment of panic, let go of Ian’s hand and put his hands in his lap. He looked away from Ian to his old friend, but not before he saw the flash of hurt in his eyes. “Xander, fancy seeing you here.”
Xander seemed a bit fidgety. They hadn’t talked in months, of course things would be weird. “Yeah, I haven’t seen you in forever, dude.”
Trevor got up from his chair and gave Xander a hug. He felt him relax under him as he pulled away. “So, who is this lovely lady standing next to you?”
There was a deep shade of red that ran through Xander’s expression. “Um . . . Trevor, this is Mera Deauxma, my girlfriend.”
He brightened. “The very same Mera I used to hear on and on about?”
Xander looked positively terrified. Thankfully, his girlfriend, Mera, had a good attitude about it. “So Xander used to talk about me, hmm?” she teased, turning to Trevor. “I want to know all about it.”
Xander was caught off guard. He rubbed a hand behind his head, “Well, it wasn’t like I talked about you all of the time. . .”
Trevor laughed. “Yeah, that’s a good joke. I used to hear about how great of a person his crush was on end. You couldn’t get him to shut up about you.”
Mera laughed along. She gave her boyfriend raised eyebrows, “I want to hear all about this time of your life even more now.”
Xander looked like he couldn’t be more embarrassed even if he tried.
“Well,” he said, trying to change the subject to anything but him, “who is your guest, Trevor? I don’t believe that we’ve been introduced.”
Ian stood up from his seat, no longer and outsider. “My name is Ian Thompson,” he put out his hand for Xander to shake.
Ian and Mera seemed to look at each other for a moment, acknowledging something that neither Trevor nor Xander could see.
He took Ian’s hand and then looked between Trevor and Ian with a smile. “So, what are you guys to each other?”
Ian looked to Trevor. He wasn’t going to give out any information Trevor didn’t want people to know about.
“Ian is my . . . boyfriend.”
Xander grinned brightly. “Well, in that case, I’m glad someone finally decided to pity Trevor.”
They all laughed.
Trevor shook his head, “Thank you for that compliment, Xander.”
“Don’t mention it.”
For that moment, Trevor and Xander were back to how they used to be, friends. Xander forgot about how Trevor was technically out to kill him and Trevor forgot about how he was still after his father’s murderer.
“What have you been up to?” Trevor asked curiously.
Xander paled and rubbed the back of his head again. He certainly couldn’t tell Trevor the truth. “Um . . .”
“He’s been dragging me around to all of his favorite spots,” Mera saved him. “Having a girlfriend really takes away your time, doesn’t it?” she smiled. “What have you been up to lately, Trevor?”
Mera was of course in the loop about the fact that Trevor was heading a corporation that wasn’t exactly welcoming to her best friend, Ross Gustin. He also happened to be out to wrongly murder her boyfriend for something he didn’t do. She may have enjoyed prodding him a bit too much.
“Well,” Trevor let out a breath, trying to think of something acceptable to say.
“We’ve been trying to strike a deal with Carlton Laboratories,” Ian saved. “They keep trying to take over Rossi Corp, but Trevor and I aren’t going to let that happen so easily. I work as an advisor to Rossi Corp by the way.”
Xander nodded. That made sense. Trevor wouldn’t have had time to meet anyone outside of work based on how much he worked his ass off.
“Carlton Laboratories still aren’t leaving you guys alone?” Xander asked.
Trevor nodded. “Lacey Carlton is still out for my father’s legacy. But, you know me, I won’t let her get what isn’t hers to own. Rossi Corp is nothing if not resilient.”
Xander suddenly became curious. Lacey Carlton, someone with many superhero connections, was still trying to get ahold of Rossi Corp. Maybe she was trying to stop them from doing something that would hurt supers. It would make sense. Maybe the conspiracy around Paul Rossi’s death was bigger than he knew.
“Well, I hope you stay on top,” Xander wished to his friend, inching towards the door, “Mera and I have got to get to school.”
“Yeah,” Trevor responded. He had momentarily forgotten that one of his only friends was still in high school, weird. “I guess I’ll see you around.”
Xander and Mera left out the door and walked down the street, towards Oakland High. As soon as the coffee shop was out of sight, Mera stopped Xander and pulled him into an alley. She looked around nervously before facing a very confused Xander.
“Why are we in an alley?”
Mera crossed her arms, “I don’t want anyone to hear us.”
Xander furrowed his eyebrows. “Um, why?”
A sigh, “Look, I know Ian.”
“Why didn’t you two say anything?” Xander asked. “Did he not remember you?”
Mera shook her head. “No, I think he remembered me. The point is where I saw him. Ian is a MASKED agent.”
MASKED was something Xander had only recently been briefed on. A huge government organization that was mainly hidden to the public and monitored all supers in most countries. They occasionally stopped by the Wild Fire headquarters to brief him on some villain or another, but mostly they stay away from day to day superhero activity. They really only get involved with really big events, like The Revealing in Empire City and a time Mera kept hinting about that could’ve been a possible alien invasion, but she wouldn’t tell him anything else she knew.
“Ian? Trevor’s boyfriend is an agent for a superhero loving organization?”
Mera nodded. “Yeah, Ian came over and briefed us once on this guy who had some weird morphing power. The point is, he’s practically on our side. We both know Trevor isn’t. Trevor wants you dead, and Ian Thompson the MASKED agent wouldn’t want an innocent superhero dead. So, what they hell are they doing together?”
She was right. If Ian was from MASKED, there was no way he and Trevor would ever get along.
“Maybe true love does conquer all.”
Mera gave him a look that could kill.
“It was worth a shot.”
“It only makes sense if one of them is lying to the other,” Mera pondered. “Either Ian is undercover to spy on Rossi Corp, or Trevor is trying to get information about MASKED through Ian.”
Xander whistled. “So, one of them is making the other one fall for them just to get information? That’s really cold.”
“Or maybe it was never a part of the plan for them to fall for each other,” Mera offered.
“What do we do?” Xander questioned. “It’s not like we want to go back in there and spill Ian’s secret. And it isn’t like this helps us in convincing Trevor I’m not the one who killed his father.”
“I guess we can’t do anything about it. I just hope for Ian’s sake that he knows what he’s doing. We both know how dangerous it is to be an enemy of Trevor Rossi.”
Back in the coffee shop, Ian knew this. He sipped more of his coffee as Trevor talked.
“. . . and if we can just get the investors to-”
“How long have you and Xander known each other?” Ian interrupted.
Trevor paused, looking confused. “Well, his mom used to be the maid for our building and she would drop him off so we could play together. We’ve really known each other for the longest time.”
Ian rubbed his chin. “When did you guys stop hanging out?”
Trevor had to think for a moment. “Maybe a couple of months ago? I don’t know. I guess we kind of just grew apart.”
That couldn’t have been coincidental. That was why Argent had been refusing to brief him on who Momentum was, because she knew he was Trevor’s old friend. And she knew how much more it would make Ian freak out.
Ian’s mission was to observe passively and stall any projects that would be detrimental to supers. He wasn’t supposed to tell Trevor about the fact that his father was most likely killed by a minion of X. He wasn’t supposed to spill that the PF-08-02 his father had bought was just to figure out what X was up to. He wasn’t supposed to let Trevor know what Paul Rossi was doing involving X.
Paul got a little too close to what X was planning, and he got removed because of it. If Trevor knew that, he’d find out a bit too much about X. MAKSED couldn’t have the world knowing just how much power X was holding even from prison.
And it started by keeping up the ruse that Momentum may have murdered his father. Ian knew he could no longer do that in good conscious if he knew Momentum was someone Trevor had a history with.
This was exactly why he should’ve stayed in DC. At least White Lightening and his antics weren’t as complicated as this. Ian would rather be trying to talk sense into his crazed sister than try and keep this from Trevor any longer. He was in too deep. He shouldn’t feel so conflicted. If only he’d tried harder not to fall for Trevor.
“Well, he seems like a cool guy.” Ian responded, hiding what he was thinking.
Trevor smirked. “I think I know an even cooler guy right here. Now, can we get back to the business talk?”
Ian nodded and Trevor went on.
But Ian knew deep down his heart was ripping in two.