Had planned to have this done on the 21st, but whatever.
[Hello! I really liked writing this one and it was tons of fun, so I hope you enjoy it! <3 Love me some Gladnis!]
Gladio and Ignis were having fun in the training room, as they always did. It wasn’t exactly frivolous, but it was certainly playful, and Gladio delighted in the way Ignis used his daggers against his shield, as lithe and as graceful as a coeurl. Ignis was beautiful and fire, danger and sin, wrapped in a perfect body of sensuality and poise. Gladio knew that if he could fight Ignis and not be distracted by him, then he would be able to face anyone.
Right now, Gladio and Ignis were playing a game of cat and mouse. He couldn’t exactly tell which was the cat, which was the mouse, but he was enjoying it nonetheless. Everytime Ignis struck, Gladio would block, and every time Gladio went to make a hit, Ignis would dodge it easily. It was a game of seeing who could keep dodging until someone wore out and got tired. Or it was a matter of seeing exactly who wanted to be the victor more.
Gladio moved to strike, and Ignis jumped away, dodging his attack easily once more. “You play so hard to get,” Gladio said flirtatiously with a wink. “Will I ever catch you?”
In response, Ignis moved in quickly, his blades coming towards Gladio with a swiftness that rivaled the wild daemons in the night. He anticipated Ignis would go left, so he prepared his block thusly. Instead, Ignis feinted and took him by surprise, going right instead. It was too late for Gladio to block it. Ignis grabbed his wrist, twirled around him, and tripped his opponent. Gladio fell to the mat, flat on his back, and Ignis brought his dagger down to his throat. They were both panting and breathless as Ignis hovered over him. Ignis had one knee on the mat while his other foot was planted firmly on Gladio’s other side, half straddling him.
“I guess I caught you first,” Ignis said with a smile. Gladio’s shield fell off his arm and he reached his hands up, putting them both on Ignis’s waist. Ignis stared at him with wide eyes, his leg faltering, and he ended up straddling Gladio completely. Gladio hoped that he could feel him, feel his excitement, the same way he could feel Ignis’s.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Gladio grinned as he felt Ignis’s fire beneath his fingers. The dagger was still at his throat and Ignis was panting heavily, but Gladio couldn’t tell if that was from their match or from his surprise. He hoped it was desire. “I think I’ve caught you, and now I’ve got you where I want you.”
Ignis moved to get up, but Gladio was faster. He flipped them over, turning the tides to that Ignis was now lying on his back on the mat. Gladio was straddling him, and as Ignis reached up to fight him off, Gladio grabbed his wrists and pinned them to the mat above his head. Desire coursed through Gladio’s body as Ignis looked at him through his disheveled hair falling into his eyes. As much as he just wanted to kiss Ignis then and there, he couldn’t just take advantage of their flirtations.
He released his wrists, and Ignis stared at him for a moment before reaching up and putting his arms around Gladio’s shoulders, his hands twining together behind his neck. At first Gladio thought he was imagining it, but then Ignis applied pressure on the back of his neck, pulling his face down towards his lips. Gladio’s smile fell as his eyes danced with a different sort of desire, and he hesitated just over Ignis’s supple lips. Then, ever so gently as if to savor the moment, he pressed his lips against Ignis’s, allowing the electricity and passion to flow through them both where they connected.
Their sparring turned into something else entirely, and Gladio found himself getting lost in the taste of Ignis’s lips and tongue, unaware of the world around them. Ignis hungrily deepened the kiss, and Gladio knew that all those subtle glances and flirtations weren’t just his imagination. He kissed Ignis as long as he dared, until he heard the door to the gym bang close, signaling that they were no longer alone.
“So who wins that one?” Gladio asked as he pulled away and sat next to Ignis. Ignis sat up and looked at Gladio, his forearms resting on his knees.
“I think it’s a tie,” Ignis considered with a rueful smile. “Better luck next time.”
“Glad to know there will be a next time,” Gladio smiled. He hoped there were many, many more moments like these to come.
Warnings: Mentions of violence, crimes, physical fights
Word Count: 2,987
Author’s Note: This is the first story I’ve really worked on and it’s still not quite as smooth as I wanted it to be 😅 If you have any feedback or comments feel free to tell me :) I hope you enjoy reading~
Strategic Planning and Directed Espionage is a private organization that catches criminals too powerful to be caught by regular law enforcement. Their agents go undercover to gather sufficient evidence to lock up even those with the most expensive lawyers. Agent Rivers is currently their best field agent, and one particular crime syndicate is starting to figure that out. Lately their missions haven’t been running smoothly and it’s happened too often to simply be accidents. Someone is trying to eliminate S.P.A.D.E., starting with Agent Rivers.
(I arranged the moodboard but only the middle photo is mine. Credits to the original owners of the other photos.)
Lucas arrived an hour early at HQ; he wanted to get some work done before his training with Natasha. Some of the cases he’d been analyzing had been transferred to other agents because Miss Morgan wanted them to focus on the Tomas Fry case, and he would have enough time to practice a bit in the training room. He didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of Natasha again.
He was on his way to the training room when he passed near Natasha’s desk. He was surprised to see that she was already there; it looked like she fell asleep while working on some notes.
He thought for a moment, and picked up the empty water bottle and food containers on her desk. As he was putting them in the plastic bag he found, he noticed that Natasha was holding a half-eaten sandwich in her left hand.
He sighed; Natasha had always been like this. He remembered the time when she worked on a case for 14 hours straight without sleep or food. They closed the case shortly after, and Natasha caught a fever but still refused to go home until her shift was done.
He set down the plastic bag on the desk and slowly took the sandwich from her hand. It was near her face because she was also using her left arm as a pillow, so he took it carefully to not wake her up. She was still holding a pen in her right hand, he smiled when he saw the notes she had been writing.
He wrapped the sandwich again and neatly put it down on her desk. Her face looked so calm and he fought the urge to tuck her hair behind her ear. He picked up the plastic bag and he was walking to the trash bin along the hallway when he saw Nate.
“Hey, you’re here early,” Nate said, holding a paper bag from the coffee shop near their building.
“I just thought I’d get warmed up before training,” Lucas said, pointing to the direction of the training room.
Nate noticed the transparent plastic bag he was holding, “Was that Natasha’s dinner?” he pointed to the fast food logo just visible through the bag. “I went with Katie last night when she bought their food and I know that’s what Natasha ordered,” Nate continued when Lucas looked like he was going to deny it.
Lucas tried anyway, “I bought this for myself this morning, for breakfast.” He quickly threw the bag into the bin.
“That place doesn’t open until 10 am, but nice try anyway, Agent Knight,” Nate said mockingly.
Lucas felt his ears getting warm; he decided to retaliate, “Why are you here early? And where are you going? Your desk is in the other direction,” he pointed to the other side of the hallway.
Nate’s grin melted off.
“And you don’t even like coffee,” Lucas pointed to the paper bag Nate was holding. “But Katie does,” he copied Nate’s mocking tone.
Nate blushed, “Don’t you have some warming up to do?” He pushed past Lucas and put down the paper bag on Katie’s desk near Natasha’s, then hurriedly started walking away.
“Aren’t you gonna ask if I want coffee?” Lucas called after him.
“Shut up, Knight!” Nate shouted without looking back.
“Lucas?” a voice said behind him.
He turned around and saw Natasha standing there, her voice still sounded sleepy and her hair was a mess. Lucas thought she looked cuter now than she did earlier, but he didn’t want to get punched in the face so he didn’t say that.
“Hi,” he said instead.
Natasha looked at her watch. “You’re early,” she observed, brushing her fingers through her hair.
“Yeah I was just…” Lucas felt like he was caught off guard even though they were both just standing in the hallway. “I’m mostly done with my paperwork, and I thought I’d go to the training room to practice a bit.”
Natasha nodded, “Okay. What were you and Nate shouting about?” she asked curiously. Their joking around must’ve been what woke her up.
“Oh that—that was nothing,” he wasn’t about to tell her that he was getting back at Nate for always teasing him about her. “We were just messing around. So how’s the planning for the Tomas Fry case?” he changed the subject.
“We have to hold another team meeting to finalize things, but I already finished my notes,” Natasha said.
Lucas couldn’t help his smile.
Natasha noticed it, “Which makes you happy, apparently.”
“Uh yes, because…” Because you’re still using our code, he noticed it when he saw her notes earlier.
She always made her personal notes in code so no one else would understand them. Except for Lucas, because they created that code together back then.
“…because this is my first field assignment and I’m excited to go,” Lucas tried to sound convincing.
“That reminds me,” Natasha said, “You have to focus more on your training now, we all do. Aside from strategizing we have to be physically ready for the mission and whatever emergencies might happen.”
“Of course, I’ll start right now,” he smiled and jogged to the training room.
Lucas knew that he had to work on his stamina; he started to do some drills on the punching bag to practice his punches as well. He had hand wraps on but he could feel the strain on his wrists after about five minutes; he didn’t want to injure himself even before the mission so he stopped on the punching bag and ran laps around the room.
While running, his thoughts wandered again to Natasha’s notes; those few scribbles of sentences gave him more hope than he would’ve thought possible. The notes themselves were about their rendezvous points around the palace, but that wasn’t what caught his attention.
Ever since he got back, he had been afraid that he would never be able to fix things with Natasha. She had acted cold and dismissive. She never spoke to him unless it was about work, and her answers were always clipped and guarded. That’s why he was having a hard time bringing up the conversation that he really wanted to have.
He’d been telling himself that the mission should be their first priority, their main focus. He would just wait for the right time. But really, he was afraid of how Natasha would react. What if she tells him that it’s too late? What if she doesn’t care about him anymore?
Lucas broke into a sprint to shake off his negative thoughts. He reminded himself that if Natasha was still using the code they created together, then maybe she still wanted him to be a part of her life. It wasn’t much to hold on to, but it was all he had.
He still remembered how they came up with that code. Natasha just arrived from a mission with an encrypted notebook she retrieved from a drug dealer; it contained locations of drop zones and names of suppliers.
She dropped the notebook on his desk, “There you go, fresh from the sweaty hands of a high-class drug dealer.” She smiled her half smile that she always does after a mission well done, with that proud and playful glint in her eye.
“You’ve been holding that sweaty notebook this entire time?” Lucas looked at her and pretended to be disgusted.
“That’s right,” she nodded and wiped her hands on the folder on his desk.
“Stop that!” Lucas yanked the folder away. Of course there wasn’t really any sweat, they just liked to mess with each other like that.
Natasha laughed and crossed her arms, “I thought you like to digitize files as soon as you receive them?”
“This one is a bit more difficult than others so I’ve been procrastinating it,” Lucas set down the folder again and opened it.
“Hieroglyphs?” Natasha said in surprise, “Where did that come from?”
“Agent Myles’ team got this from that art curator who was selling stolen paintings,” Lucas answered.
Natasha took a chair from a vacant desk and sat down beside him, “What do they say?” She was looking at the symbols.
“It’s a list of countries where she has contacts who steal paintings for her, but she only has the codenames of her contacts. Not that easy to spell names today using this system, if she even knows their real names,” Lucas said.
“I wish I had a code,” Natasha said thoughtfully, “Even if I leave notes for classified cases on my desk no one would understand them.”
“Why don’t you make one?” Lucas suggested.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have your talents,” Natasha looked at him pointedly, “And I don’t think I have the time to try and create a code from scratch.”
Lucas thought for a moment, “I’ll help you.”
Natasha looked at him, “Really?”
“Yeah, it’s almost the weekend anyway and most of our cases are closed,” Lucas said, “We can go to Café Zen tomorrow after work and—” he stopped himself as he realized what he was saying. They’ve never spent any time together outside work and he wasn’t sure what Natasha would think of him suddenly asking out of nowhere. “I mean,” he felt his ears getting warm, “I-if you want to, if you don’t have plans or anything,” he was usually comfortable around Natasha but for some reason he felt a little nervous.
Natasha was looking at him with an amused expression, “Okay,” she said lightly.
He released a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. “Great,” he sounded too enthusiastic to his own ears.
“I have to get back to my desk,” Natasha stood up to leave. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she smiled at him.
“Yeah,” Lucas smiled back.
He was still seeing Natasha’s smile in his mind and he didn’t notice that he almost ran into her; fortunately, her reflexes were quick and she moved to the side before they collided.
“Sorry,” Lucas panted, leaning against the wall to stop himself and catch his breath.
Natasha was already in her training clothes, a black fitted shirt and pants, and her hair was in a ponytail. “You can take a 5-minute break before we start,” she said after looking at her watch.
Lucas nodded and took a swig from his water tumbler.
“Slow down,” Natasha said without looking at him, “Water might get in your lungs if you drink a lot immediately after a workout.”
Lucas stopped drinking and set his tumbler down on the bench. “Do you think there’s a high chance of combat happening in our mission at Anglona?”
Natasha turned to look at him, “Are you worried?” she asked as she started putting on her hand wraps.
Yes, he was. As far as he knew it would be the first time they would get involved in an inter-country affair, and with royal families no less. If something goes wrong, international governments might want to meddle and they would all be caught in a tangled mess. And with Natasha at the very front of the mission, he was worried about what could happen to her.
“It’s your first field assignment, that’s normal,” Natasha said when he didn’t answer. “Everyone on the team is doing their part to prepare for the mission, we won’t be going in blindly. And to answer your question, I’m not sure,” she paused. “But I think it’s best to be prepared for anything,” she tightened the last straps of her hand wraps, “Ready?”
Lucas didn’t embarrass himself as much, partly because he wasn’t panicked like last time and he had an idea of what to expect. They trained for half an hour and mostly focused on his footwork; Natasha said it was important to learn how to move quickly without tripping on himself.
The other agents arrived soon after, and Natasha left Rob and Nate in charge of training, saying she needed to attend to more urgent matters.
“When do we get assigned on the field?” Jake asked after Natasha left.
“Being out on the field is a serious and risky job,” Nate replied, “You’ll get field assignments if you pass the field exam.”
“And all of you still need to undergo training for another month at least before you can take the exam,” Rob added, referring to the new agents. “A lot of other skills are required to be in the field, not just fighting abilities. Today we would focus first on going through an obstacle course.”
Nate approached Lucas as they were all helping set up the course, “How about you, Lucas? Ready to go back to Anglona?”
“I didn’t expect to be going back so soon,” Lucas replied, “And I’m still bad at combat.” He was starting to wonder if he would be ready in time.
“The mission’s still weeks away,” Nate said, “You have plenty of time to train. And besides, we’re teamed up as Runners, I’ll be watching your back.”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” said Lucas.
“Hey!” Nate complained.
Rob called their attention and told them all to line up at the start of the obstacle course. They had to go through monkey bars, balance beams, climb up a 10-foot wall and rappel on the other side. Afterwards they were timed on how quickly they could take down and put away all the equipment.
“I can’t wait ‘til we do this course again while Rob shoots us with paintballs,” Nate told Lucas as they were carrying a balance beam to the side of the room.
“You’re kidding, right?” Lucas said. He fell off the balance beam once and barely made it to the top of the wall.
“Haha, no,” Nate replied, “It’s more fun that way. And this is just the beginner’s obstacle course.”
Lucas wasn’t sure if Nate was joking, but he knew that Nate had been a field agent for almost as long as Natasha, and he wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with more difficult ways to train agents.
As the last part of their training for the day, they were going to practice sparring again. Natasha came back just as Nate was explaining the rules, “Each round would last for three minutes this time, and I’m reminding you that while the purpose of sparring is for you to learn how to fight actual enemies, you are all still beginners. Some might not yet be as good as the others. Remember that no good will come of you purposely trying to injure your fellow agents,” he emphasized.
Erica was the only one showing skills of Prediction, but from time to time she seemed to be second-guessing herself and she would get hit or thrown off-balance.
“Agent Thompson,” Natasha said when Erica’s round was done, “Are you ignoring your Predictions?”
Erica hesitated before answering, “I thought I could think of better attacks to do because I had an idea of what was about to happen.”
Natasha lightly shook her head, “Never ignore your Predictions, they are the result of your mind processing data fast enough to show you the most accurate outcome possible. In combat you have to be quick, and having second thoughts about your Prediction could cost your life,” she told all of them firmly.
They proceeded with sparring and eventually it was Lucas’ turn; he was partnered up with Jake again. After about a minute Jake hit him hard in the stomach and he doubled over, Jake took that opportunity and landed a second punch to his face. He fell to the floor and saw the blood dripping from his broken lip.
“Agent Walters, that’s enough,” he heard Nate’s voice say.
Jake didn’t seem to hear anything and picked up Lucas by his shirt, and with his other fist seemed to be aiming another punch. Lucas felt lightheaded and couldn’t think of what to do.
“Agent Walters,” Natasha didn’t shout, but her voice was heard clearly by all of them. Jake’s fist stopped and he let go of Lucas. He looked over Jake’s shoulder and saw that Natasha had walked over to them without either of them noticing.
Natasha’s face remained impassive but there was a frightening air about her, like how the atmosphere feels right before a thunderstorm. “Were you not listening when Agent Dalton was explaining earlier?” she spoke quietly but the room was so quiet that her voice could be heard across the room.
“If you didn’t want me to hurt other agents you should have paired me with someone who can actually fight,” Jake replied brashly, “I’m ready for the field and I shouldn’t be wasting my skills on weaklings like him!” he jerked his head toward Lucas.
The other agents looked at each other nervously; Rob and Nate exchanged glances. Katie was standing beside them and looking at Natasha.
Lucas’ lip was still bleeding, but seeing Natasha now, he felt terrified for Jake.
“Agent Knight, join the other agents,” Natasha told him. He promptly walked over to where Nate and the others were standing.
“You think you’re skilled enough for the field,” Natasha said to Jake. She raised her fists, “Let’s see it, then.”
Jake hesitated a moment but scowled and assumed his fighting stance. He immediately attempted a punch at Natasha’s face, she sidestepped easily and jabbed him in the ribs.
The entire room seemed to be holding its breath.
Jake quickly recovered and lunged at Natasha, she jumped to the side and kicked him in the stomach. She punched him in the jaw while he was gasping for breath and he fell to the floor with a loud thud. He stopped moving.
Natasha looked around at the other agents, “Anybody else feel confident that they’re ready for the field?”
Some agents instinctively took a step back, some were looking at the floor, others were staring wide-eyed at Jake’s unmoving body.
“Somebody bring Agent Walters to the infirmary,” Natasha said, “That concludes our training for today. Dismissed.”