Chapter 1 Edit
Matt sighed as he approached Felix's workshop. It was already hard enough having to turn in his H.A.R.P. badge and Sabine, but now he was being pushed into hanging out with Felix. No matter how he tried to think about it, it felt like Abi was pushing him into being Felix's rebound.
Knocking on the door, he waited a few minutes until the door opened and Felix poked his head out, "What can I do for you Agent Matt?" Clearly no time had been wasted in sending out a memo to all the personnel about the re-assignment.
"Can I come in?" Matt asked, still feeling a bit uneasy about this deal with Abi.
Felix shrugged and opened the door for him, "Sure, just don't a few things...." he pointed to a few artifacts and Matt took note. Once the list was over, Matt took a seat on a small stool while Felix went back to an artifact he was fiddling with, "So, what did you need?"
Taking a deep breath, Matt just said it, "I was wondering if you wanted to head out sometime." Before Felix could get the wrong idea, he quickly covered his tracks, "You know, just hang out."
Felix paused what he was doing and looked back at him, "For a second there, I thought you were going to ask me out on a date." There was a bit of tenseness to his voice, and Matt could understand why, "But...I guess it couldn't hurt to just hang out for a bit. So, what do you want to do?"
An awkward silence hung in the air. Clearly neither one was really for this situation. Eventually Felix broke the silence, "Movie night?"
Matt shrugged, "I guess I could put my film knowledge to use other than just bailing out Tyler when his pop-culture knowledge falls through. I have a collection of Tarantino films waiting for a marathon. Either that or we could do James Bond."
"Pick which ever you like." Felix shrugged, "Let's say five tonight then?"
"Sure." Matt stood up and started to head out, "See you then."
Sure enough, at five o'clock exactly Felix heard a knock at the door. He opened it to see Matt, looking slighlty uncomfortable and holding a bag of popcorn and a bottle of cola.
"I, uh, I wasn't sure if I should bring anything." He said, looking at the ground.
"It's fine, have a whole pantry of crap inside. I've got the Lord of the Rings series or Fast and Furious, it's your call."
"Uhm, the second one, if that's ok. I'm not really into that fantasy stuff."
Matt walked in and looked around Felix's little hidey hole. It looked like a typical bachelor's pad, a save for the fact it was smack dab in the middle of the Warehouse.
Taking a seat on the couch, he glanced at the feline agent, "So, how does one get themselves an apartment in the middle of endless wonder?"
Felix shrugged and put the DVD in the player. "I dunno why. I guess the B&B was full and, given what I was hired to do, it made more sense to live near the artifacts. I don't mind though. It's peaceful, no drama. Does get lonely though. Only Shodi really comes round often.
"Makes sense, I guess." Matt replied, still feeling rather uncomfortable. The movie started and the pair sat on Felix's small but incredibly comfortable couch and watched in silence.
Matt woke up with a start some time later. Glancing at his watch, he saw that it was about one in the morning. He groaned and got off the couch. Felix wasn't there, he must have gone to bed already. He grabbed a handful of cold popcorn and washed it down with some orange juice left on the small coffee table, then turned to leave.
"Jesus!" He yelled in surprise to see Felix behind him coming out of a small side-room wearing nothing but a towel. His hair was wet as if he'd just gotten out of the shower. He jumped at Matt's exclaimaton, causing his towel to dislodge and fall to the floor. He tried to grab t it without much success.
"Sorry, I didn't want to wake you and I spilled the OJ on myself and..." he didn't have time to finish his explaination as Matt bolted out of the room into the Warehouse. "And that went well." he said, his voice thick with sarcasm. He sighed and put the towel around his neck as his door automatically locked itself behine the the fleeing agent.
Matt caught his breath outside the workshop. Well...I was not expecting that...
The image was still fresh in his mind, and didn't intend to have any intention of leaving. He was about to head out but remembered that Nikki had instituted a midnight curfew for them. Normally he would've gone to the H.A.R.P. Office to crash, but having been re-assigned, he wasn't really allowed in there anymore. He could try to make his way back to the Main Office, but his eyes were sagging already.
Dammit...leaves me with no choice. Matt walked back up to the workshop door and knocked. There was a few minutes of silence until Felix, now clad in a pair of sweatpants, opened the door.
"Look, I'm sorry about-"
Matt held up his hand, "You can explain over breakfast...Nikki will have locked me out and I can't crash at my old office. Can I just catch some more sleep on your couch?"
The feline agent shrugged, "Well, I guess so." He opened the door and let him in again, "I'll keep some pants on this time, promise."
Matt wasn't really paying attention as he'd already found his way back to the couch and was collapsed on it, sleeping.
"So how'd it go?" Abi sat with Matt in the main office.
"Fucking awful, just like I knew it would. I fell asleep halfway through and woke up to Felix parading around naked."
"Excuse me? That doesn't sound like him..."
"Ok, not exactly parading. I woke up as he was getting out of the shower and he had his towel on and I must have surprised him because he dropped it and I saw...things."
Abi contained a snicker. "Ok, so I can imagine that was a bit of a shock for both of you. Is that when you left?"
Matt shifted uncomfortably. "Not exactly. Nikki has a midnight curfew and I'm not allowed in the H.A.R.P. office anymore, so I ended up crashing on his sofa."
"Ok, and did you talk about it in the morning? Felix is probably feeling kind of guilty, too."
Matt shook his head. "Didn't give him a chance. I left before he woke up. Haven't seen him since."
Felix had just finished vacuuming the leftover popcorn and Doritos out of his carpet when his monitor buzzed. He flipped a switch to see Abi staring back at him. "Alex, I think you need to talk to Matt. He's feeling kind of bad, but I think he's afraid to see you again."
He narrowed his eyes. "And how exactly do you know about that?" Abi looked guilty for a second. "I knew it, you told Matt to come here last night, didn't you? Why else would he come all the way out here. He definitely wasn't having fun last night, I knew it wasn't his idea."
"Look, this is for his benefit more than yours. When was the last time you saw Matt socializing or enjoying himself at all? Since he came here he's been distancing himself. I asked around about what he was like before I showed up and no-one had noticed a change. He's just always been a loner. And after what happened with you getting abducted, and Garrett...I figured if anyone could use a friend right now it was you."
Felix sighed. "I guess you're not wrong. And if it helps him too then there's no harm in it, I suppose. Is he at Nikki's now?"
Abi nodded. "He said he was staying there 'forever'. Something about never seeing another person naked again."
"Alright,let Nikki know I'm coming over. I should apologize. Oh, and Abi?"
"Can you give me a lift? I have no idea where they live."
Abi's car pulled away from the small apartments in Univille. She had filled him in on the living arrangements of H.A.R.P. on their way over. When they had started, Tyler, Bri, and Matt shared an apartment with Nikki living next door. When Tyler and Bri started sleeping together, Matt decided it was probably best to move in with his now-coworker Nikki as a 'civil union' kind of deal. Blaine on the other hand pretty much had a whole apartment to himself on the same floor.
Knocking on the door of Nikki & Matt's apartment, Nikki opened the door, "Good, you're here. Abigail called and said you were coming." Inviting him in, Felix found himself in a cozy apartment that was decorated with things you'd find in a normal antique store.
"I kept some of the things from Mom's old store..." Nikki explained catching Felix staring, "But he's in the bathroom. If I didn't know better, I think he's trying drown himself in the shower." She went to knock, but Felix caught her hand.
"If you tell him I'm here, he's never going to come out. I'll be fine, but I think it'll be best if you went out for a bit."
Matt let the hot water cascade down his face, Okay...maybe seeing a naked body wasn't that bad, but it was Felix's! Closest I ever saw of it up until now was his ass in that damn cowboy outfit. Now though he probably thinks I'm some kind of perv or something. Maybe I'm just not cut out to work with the others...
Deciding to not make rent unpayable this month, he shut the water off and opened the curtain to dry off. He quickly ruffled it over his hair and wrapped it around his waist. He opened the door to he bathroom and walked over to a small pile of clean laundry that had yet to make it to the bedroom drawers. Grabbing a shirt and some underpants, he turned and shouted in shock at finding Felix standing by the door, his eyes very wide.
"WHAT THE HELL, FELIX!? How did you get in here?!"
"Nikki let me in. I just wanted to say sorry for not putting clothes on last night..." he said quickly, without breaking eye contact.
"OK, noted. Good. Now please leave. And tell Abi to stop trying to make plans for me." As he pointed to the door, he absentmindedly took his hand off his towel. It fell to the ground and Felix's eyes became even wider. He had a brief look of fascination and terror before turning to leave the room with record speed.
What the- he looked down -dammit.
He bolted after and managed to grab Felix's shoulder before he got the front door open, "Not so fast, I'm not that bad looking. Besides, this makes us even now."
Felix sighed, "You gotta point there...we've both seen each other's full monty now." He turned around, but quickly adverted his eyes, "But you could at least put something on now that we're even."
Snatching a blanket off the couch, Matt covered himself, "Fine, fine, but still, I want to make it up to you for last night. Tarantino marathon." As he headed back to his room to get dressed he looked over his shoulder, "Only reason I was bummed last night was because Abi was going to make me report back to her today. Other than that, I was having fun."
Felix smiled a little. "Sounds good. See you at five again?"
Nikki came back in a few hours later to find Matt happily cleaning up the place, much to her surprise, "What did Felix say that has you in a good mood all of a sudden."
Matt shrugged, "We're even now. Two dropped towels later, and I think we've managed get over the awkward part of this friendship."
Nikki blinked, "Do I even want to know?" Despite asking, she could take a good stab at what had happened. "So, you going to head out tonight?"
"Actually, Felix is coming over at five, Tarantino marathon." He rummaged through the shelves, "Are we out of popcorn?"
Shrugging Nikki headed into her room and pulled out her Farnsworth to call Abigail. The face of the B&B's owner came over the other end; seeing that it was Nikki, she asked, "So, did Felix and Matt manage to smooth things out?"
Nikki nodded, "Yeah, perhaps a bit too well...they're doing another movie marathon tonight here. I don't know what they said or did, but if Felix can somehow turn Matt from loner to a social person, I'm all game."
Abigail's face lightened up at the news, "That's great! All they need was a bit of a push. See you later Nikki." The Farnsworth clicked off as Abigail hung up.
Putting the device on the nightstand, she thought about how what she could do to help the guys. Sure, they were now getting to be friends, but little devilish thought crept at the back of her mind about what she could do to help them along...
"Felix, nice of you to finally show up!" Artie threw his arms up in mock welcome as the young agent stumbled into his office. Matt was sitting at the large table in the corner and Nikki was hovering near the stairs. Apart from them the office was conspicuously empty. "I have an assignment, and you two got the short straw."
"Alright, he's here now, Artie. Can you please tell me what unspeakable hell you've got in store for us?"
"What makes you think it's going to be that bad?" he replied.
Matt pointed to Nikki, "She hasn't stopped smiling since I got here.I heard her snickering." Nikki promptly ran up the stairs.
"Yes, well...it's not a conventional sort of snag today. Have either of you heard of the show "Buying Naked"?"
Felix and Matt both narrowed their eyes. Artie got a positive and negative from each agent. Artie and Felix turned to Matt, who shrugged. "Nikki likes reality crap." As he said this, he glared towards the steps where Nikki had been, "She knew, didn't she! Why isn't she on the ping?"
Artie gave him the stink-eye, "This is a Warehouse case, not H.A.R.P. and if I remember correctly, you are now a Warehouse Agent." Pulling out a manila folder, he handed it to Matt.
Felix looked at Matt, so what exactly is 'Buying Naked'?"
Matt sighed as he took the folder, "Basically, it's TLC's way of cashing on the 'nudist' trend started by 'Naked and Afraid'. Nudist couples basically go and shop for homes in clothing optional communities. Personally, I see the show too tedious since they have to constantly keep finding ways to creatively use the house to censor the people."
Raising an eyebrow, he looked to Artie, "How do we know it's this specific artifact? Not that I'm complaining, it saves us a bit of legwork."
Artie pointed to his screen , which showed the website of a rather professional looking real-estate company. "Tennant & Capaldi Real-Estate. In every single one of their open homes for the last few days, the would-be homeowners have had their clothes completely vanish. Never the agent. As you can imagine, this hasn't been good for business. On top of that, neighbors have reported seeing a person or people removing a sign from the front lawn just after the event. Nikki put two and two together. Unless you have any other ideas on what it could be."
Felix opened his mouth to answer, but Artie cut him off, "Rhetorical question. Like I said, you two got the short straw."
Waiting for him to finish, Felix asked, "Why not send Bri and Tyler? This seems perfectly up their alley."
"Tyler was going to go for it, but then said that he was a happily married man and that spending time around other naked women would be unfaithful to Bri." Artie replied, "I'm certain Bri was giving him a death glare behind my back."
Seeing that there was no way out, Matt sighed, trying to mentally prepare himself for the worst. Please, oh PLEASE don't let this thing affect us. Bad enough that last time it was just Felix, but a stranger? And in an unfamiliar place...
Taking the file to look at himself, he mused, "So, how are we going in? Shadowy government agency? Stake out?
"Couple interested in purchasing a home." Artie huffed, "Again, Nikki's idea, not mine. There are several open homes in the area, and one of them is bound to be the next target."
"I'm going to kill her when we get back." Matt grumbled to himself as the pair pulled up to the fairly nice looking house.
"Yeah, I know. You've said that once and hour since we left. Is it really so hard to pretend to be a couple? It's a good cover."
Matt glanced at Felix out of the corner of his eye. "It's not the cover, it's just...why you? Don't take it the wrong way, you're a nice guy and everything. But why not Claudia or Myka or Nikki?"
Felix chuckled. "Would you be able to look at them the same after what might happen? I know I couldn't. Besides,I'm guessing Nikki told Artie about the...errr...'incidents', so he figured it would be no big deal. Besides, there's a spare set of clothes in the boot."
Matt sighed in defeat. " I guess you're right. Better with you than someone who wouldn't let me live it down. Let's get this over with."
They got out of the car and made their way inside, where they were greeted by a very prim but slightly anxious looking estate agent. "Well, hi there. Are you two here for the open home?"
Matt and Felix both shook hands with her and agreed to a tour of the home. It seemed ordinary enough, even quite pleasant. They were just entering the master bedroom when Felix put an hand on Matt's shoulder. "Matt, my clothes feel kind of itchy."
Matt tugged at his collar. "Yeah, mine too. Think this is it?"
Meanwhile, the agents strained smile quickly slipped into an expression of horror. "Oh god, why does this keep happening?" she exclaimed, and she turned away as both Matt and Felix found their clothing dissolving around them.
"Shit," Matt exclaimed as he tried to shield his personals from view. Felix, on the other hand, sprung towards the door. Matt ran after him awkwardly and arrived in time to see his coworker tackle a man in a black hooded coat. A bright red sign lay on the ground next to him. "MATT! Need a hand here!" Felix called.
Matt sighed, something he realized he'd done a lot lately. "Screw it," he said to himself. He uncovered himself and ran at the struggling figures. Coming up to the man as he managed to pull himself from Felix's grasp, he knocked him out with a single punch to the jaw.
Back at the Warehouse, Matt and Felix followed Nikki down a row of stacks as she gave them a briefing. They had just shelved the "Buying Naked" sign among a group of other reality TV artifacts, somewhere far away from the Clothing Aisle. "So it turns out the guy was from a rival agency, trying to put their competition out of business. And you guys made the local news for busting the guy who had been using a special acid to dissolve clothing around the town. Look, someone took a picture!" They both looked in horror at the grainy newspaper clipping, showing Felix on the ground with the perp and Matt running at them. Fortunately it was too poor a quality to make out any details.
"I think I'll keep this." Nikki said as she sauntered off, leaving the two agents dumbstruck in her wake.
"Oh, god, how many people do you think saw us?" Matt said, a shell-shocked look on hi face.
"I think one is too many, but at least it's over now." Felix replied, his face much the same.
There was a brief moment of awkward silence before Felix spoke up. "So...I just wanted to say that I appreciate the help with that guy. I know you're not really an intimate type and it probably took a lot for you to, uh...uncover yourself like that. Just...thanks."
Matt blushed slightly. "Yeah, well...you needed the help, like you said. And I, uh, I couldn't just not do anything, so, err...no problem? I mean, you've seen it all before anyway, right?"
Felix smiled slightly. "Yeah. Never too many times though." And with that line he turned and walked in the opposite direction, toward his office. Matt's eyes grew wide again as his face became slightly redder.
Chapter 4 Edit
Matt groggily woke up and took in his surroundings. He was crashed on the couch in Felix's Warehouse apartment in just his boxers. Spying what he thought was his shirt, he tossed it on and headed to the kitchen for something to eat.
After a few steps, something didn't feel quite right. Taking a few more steps, Matt was certain there was something wrong. Pulling back the waistband he looked down and his eyes went wide.
"FELIX!" Instantly Matt regretted the choice to shout as his head quickly retaliated with a splitting headache, Hangover....damn, I haven't had this bad of one in ages.
The feline Agent poked his head out of his workshop, "What- oh, you're finally awake. What's wrong?"
Matt gestured for Felix to come closer. As he did, Matt dropped his shorts to show him the ring of metal hanging from his member, "How the hell did this happen?" Normally, Matt would have been apprehensive about showing Felix, but between their last ping and his pounding headache, he just wanted answers.
Felix blushed a little. "Errr, you don't remember last night, do you?"
Matt groaned and put is head in his hands. "Oh god, what happened? What did I do?"
Felix came into the room and sat at his computer. "Well, we don't have all the details exactly. Nikki says you went out to Univille on your own and you must have gotten pretty drunk out there. Once you came back to the Warehouse, you spent about five minutes playing with the eye scanner in the Umbilicus until it opened out of pity, and...actually, we have security footage of the rest. Umm, you may not like what you see."
Matt slowly shuffled over to Felix's monitor and watched him open the security feed. He saw a monochrome image of himself sway into Artie's Office and out the door into the shelves. He stumbled down a few aisles, stopping every now and then to look at a artifact. "Can we fast-forward this? I'd like to get to the point where I mutilate myself."
"Uh, sure." Felix tapped a button and the video raced onward until he paused it on Matt flirting with a mannequin that he recognized as Andy Warhol's. It kept turning its head away from him until he seemed to grow tired of trying and he moved on. Down another aisle, he stopped in front of a particular artifact. It looked like a row of small metal rings and rods on a velvet display rack. Matt touched it and grinned, then looked down his pants and laughed before moving on. Felix stopped the video there.
"What was that? Was that where I got this thing from?" said Matt, gesturing to his nethers.
"Most likely. That was Jim Ward's Piercing Samples. It automatically pierces whatever body part you're thinking of when you hold them. Don't worry, it's clean and apparently painless."
"So it's just an artifact? I can get rid of it?"
Felix looked uncomfortable for a second. "Eh, not exactly. It does actually pierce the skin and manifests a piercing to go with it. It's not an artifact-induced construct. I'm afraid that thing is real."
Matt placed a hand to his forehead and massaged his temple. "OK, so I got sausage-ringed. How did I end up here then?"
"I guess you walked? I woke up to you banging on my door. When I let you in, you dropped your pants, did a helicopter, then hugged me and told me I had a nice smile. Then you collapsed on the sofa. After that I went through the security footage to try and find out what you'd been doing. Called Nikki and she told me you'd gone out alone." He stopped talking and looked Matt in the eyes who quickly blushed and averted his. "What were you doing out there, anyway?"
Sitting on a stool in the kitchen, Matt was still getting used to the metal ring hitting his inner thigh, "I guess that I thought that it meant avoiding any more awkward nakedness, that could try to hit the bar. I guess between that and the sudden changes of me now being an actual agent finally got to me." Rubbing his temples he sighed, "Lot of good it did me. Maybe I should just stick to mixing the drinks instead of throwing them back."
Felix nodded and sat next to him, "Just take it one step at a time. For starters, I have to admit the 8 gauge on you looks pretty good." Again Matt blushed, but he didn't avoid eye contact this time.
"I guess I'll take that as my second opinion." He says, yawning a bit, "Just wish I could get rid of the hangover though. So have you eaten breakfast yet?" Matt looked around the room for his jeans, only to not see them. Looking down, he also realized he wasn't wearing his own shirt. "Felix...where are the rest of my clothes?"
Getting up to pour him a glass of Orange Juice, Felix shrugged, "During that part I fast forwarded through, you had maybe a bit too much fun with the Splatoon artifacts. Your shirt and pants were marked up with orange ink, so I tossed them in the wash. As for the shirt, I hope you don't mind. It's a little small on you, but I thought it'd be better than nothing," Handing him the drink he smiled again, "But if I had known you were just going to drop your boxers again I wouldn't have bothered."
Rolling his eyes as he took the drink and sipped, Matt considered what he and Felix had been through the last few days, "Screw it, I need to get used to this hunk of metal between my legs anyways. Might stay like this 'til hangover is gone. Going through the Warehouse drunk is one thing, but going through with a splitting headache? Not gonna happen."
Felix and Abi sat together in the office at the large wagon-wheel table. "So, I guess you two are getting to be a bit more comfortable together then?" Abi inquired.
"I guess so. I know I was a bit wary at the start, but Matt's a nice guy and I think it's been good for both of us to have someone to spend time with. It's really helped me move on from that incident with Garrett." He tugged at the bracelet on his wrist and had a brief flash of a young teen laughing at a movie."Speaking of incidents..."
Abi put up a hand and cut him off. "I wiped the recordings before anyone else could see them and deleted the artifact disturbance logs. The only ones who know about last night are you, me and Matt."
Felix smiled. "Thanks Abi. I appreciate it. 'Scuse me though. Matt still has a headache and asked me to get some painkillers for him."
Abi's eyebrows went up in surprise. "He's still in your office then?"
"Yeah, he hasn't left since he woke up. I think he's waiting to get his pants back."
Felix got up and left, leaving a wide-eyed Abigail to process what she'd just heard.
It had been several days since Matt had obtained his little... 'addition', and he had grown accustomed to the metal ring. Being new to piercings, he still didn't exactly know how it would work in the... "long run", but his trips to the restrooms didn't cause problems, so that was a start.
He had spoken to Abi, and told her that he believed that him and Felix were adjusting to each other rather well. Now that that was taken care of, he hoped he could get back to work. That is, until a certain woman walked in.
"Alright, Ms. Chatam, this is the main office." Artie was explaining to the new agent. Apparently, she represented the Element of Honesty, according to Aden. Matt didn't see how she could be an asset to the Warehouse if she could never lie about what they were doing.
Matt was reading the local news and drinking some coffee at the small table in the corner of Artie's office.
"You must understand that, as a Warehouse agent, you cannot, under any circumstances, reveal what we do here to anyone." Artie continued. The twenty-something blonde woman nodded her head in understanding. "However, we plan on having you be more of a domestic agent, staying here rather than going on missions."
Matt sighed silently to himself. 'That takes care of that.' he thought.
"You can start by doing inventory right in front of the staircase. This will help familiarize you with the basic organization of artifacts, and you'll also be close if anything should happen. Matt?" Artie asked, prompting him to turn around.
"Would you kindly accompany Ms. Chatam to the front shelves?" Artie asked. Liana turned around and put her hands behind her back and looked down. She seemed to be pretty nervous for some reason.
"Uh, sure, Artie. Just follow me." Matt put down the papers he was reading, left the table, and walked outside, leading Liana to the nearest shelves.
"Here we are." Matt said. "Take a look."
Liana's eyes widened. She observed several knick-knacks, such as rolls of ribbon, a few ceramic plates, and even an amethyst geode sample.
"This is so amazing." she said. She had a soft, cool voice, but it also contained a hint of authority. The perfect voice for an anchorwoman.
"This is what you guys collect?" She turned to Matt, but quickly looked down again.
"Yup." Matt said. Why was he being so laconic? Abi said he was anti-social, but he was moving past that. And what was that weird feeling in his stomach? The burning behind his face?
He looked closer at Liana, and saw her eyes. How hey were a mid-dark green color, and seemed to reflect her every surrounding. How had he not noticed those eyes?
"Um, if y-you don't mind me saying, Mr. Sordens-" Liana said, holding her elbows.
"Call me Matt." he replied. She nodded.
"You look -well, you aren't exactly, um-." Whatever Liana was about to say, she was cut off by his Farnsworth's obnoxious buzzing.
Matt opened it up and was greeted with Felix's face. "Dude, Matt, could you help?" Felix asked.
"What is it?" Matt asked.
Felix turned away for a moment before looking back. "I found a weird stone door near the Ancient Archves, it looks Roman in architecture. I don't know what is it, and I'm having trouble finding anything on it in the database."
"Sure, be there in a minute." Matt closed his Farnsworth and lookd up and Liana, who quickly turned her head away for some reason.
"I've gotta go help Felix. I'm sure you can take care of this yourself. Need any help, just yell and Artie or Claudia will hear you from the balcony." Matt nodded, and ran up the stairs to the zipline. He set the coordinates for the Ancient Archives, and was sent on his way.
Rolling as he hit the floor, Matt brushed off the dust and ran to Felix, "So, Roman door huh?"
The feline agent nodded as he looked it over again, "Yeah, I didn't want to risk anything, so I thought I'd get the guy who can read abilities before going in. What are you getting?"
Gazing at the door a bit longer, he was actually a bit surprised, "It's...a fully functional Roman bath. Spirits of the slaves who worked there included." He looked to Felix, "Dude...we have a fully functional spa at the Warehouse!"
"Really? This just keeps giving more reasons to never leave the Warehouse," Felix jokes as he opens the door and enters in.
As the agents walk in, they find themselves in an ancient roman building, pale blue spirits hovering around them. One of them came up to them and asked, "Do me placeo tuus vestimentis?"
Felix looked at the spirit confused then to Matt, "What he say?"
Matt shrugged, "He asked if he could take our clothes."
"You're kidding me."
Matt shook his head, "Latin, I am, er, was HARP's mythology and symbolism expert. I was a sophomore at Yale for it in the alt timeline. I think it's a capsarii, they were slaves who were in charge of collecting the patron's clothes." Matt was already pulling off his shirt and handing it to the spirit who was somehow holding it.
Felix nodded, not touching on his old position, "Okay...how much are we talking?" Felix also peeled off his shirt revealing his slender build.
"They didn't exactly have swim trunks in ancient Rome cat-boy," Matt smiled as he kicked off his jeans and boxers, leaving him in just his socks, "Everything comes off."
As they handed their clothes to the specter, it gestured to Matt's crotch. "Erit tua abstuleris annulo tuo?" it said.
Matt took a second to translate, then quickly responded. "Noli ita obsecro dimittit anulus Priapus super necnon amici mei armilla .... Arcus." The spirit nodded and left them in peace.
"What just happened?" Felix inquired. "I caught Priapus, I'm assuming it had something to do with...you know." he jerked his head towards the piercing.
"Yeah, I told him it was a symbol of Priapus, and your bracelet was a symbol of Iris. They wanted to take them."
"Oh, that could have been awkward." ~Not that it isn't a little already~ he added to himself, trying and failing to avoid starting at his coworker's impressive body. He hadn't taken much notice before, but it made sense for HARP's combat specialist to be well muscled. Certainly better defined then his own scrawny physique. If Matt had noticed him staring, he hadn't shown it.
Handing the rest of his clothes to the capsarri, Matt gestured towards the next room, "Come on, the warm baths, caldarium, should be this way. Same with the pool and sauna." As he turned away from Felix, he smirked. He knew that Felix had been staring, and honestly, he didn't mind. All Nikki saw those muscles for was chores.
Entering the caldarium, Matt headed for the water only to be stopped by a capsarii with a bottle in his hand.
"Ante vos introeas in caldarium, ego opus applicare olive oleum."
Sighing, he had almost forgotten that the Greeks applied olive oil to their skin since soap was a luxury. Putting his arms out, he nodded to the spirit.
As Felix walked in behind him, he was caught a bit off guard by Matt getting coated in a shiny liquid by the spirit. He was about to step around when a spirit stepped in his path, "Ante vos introeas in caldarium, ego opus applicare olive oleum." Felix looked to Matt for the translation.
"Olive oil." Matt explained as the spirit applied the oil to his back, "Greeks used it to prevent sport injuries, muscle fatigue, basically it was the Greek's snake oil."
Shrugging, Felix followed suit as the casparii began to apply the oil. Again, he glanced to the side as the torchlight flickered off Matt's defined body and again Matt noticed him looking and chose not to comment. Once sufficiently oiled, the pair eased into the heated pool and relaxed. Eventually Matt spoke up. "You're allowed to stare, it's fine."
Felix whipped his head back ito a forward facing position and blushed profusely. "What do you mean. I wasn't doing anything." he said hurriedly.
"Yeah, don't think I didn't catch you looking. I don't mind. I've kind of gotten used to being naked in the last few weeks. Besides, I have nothing to be ashamed of. And I know you like it." he said, a hint of teasing punctuating the last sentance. Felix turned his head and looked at the older agent, his face still red and his eyes averted.
"Yeah, I guess you're not wrong. I just haven't really had this kind of...'intimacy' with anyone in a long while. I know I kind of have this slutty reputation thanks to the whole Tyler outfit fiasco, but the truth is I'm not really that confident."
Matt raised his eyebrows. "Could have fooled me. You've been nothing but a cocky little cat ever since we got that artifact together."
Felix grinned slightly and shrugged. "Yeah, well that was a heat of the moment kind of thing, and since then there's been some casualness, but it's never been, like, the focus of the moment. It was just kind of "I can't be bothered with pants". This is just sort of different. It's just...sort of weird. But in a good way." he looked at Matt, who had an odd look on his face. "I'm sorry, I'm not making a lot of sense right now, am I?"
Felix was expecting Matt to get out of the pool and leave or tell him to back off a bit. Instead the ex-HARP just laughed.
"I believe the proper word is, bromance...or exhibitionism, or something." Matt said, leaning back in the water, "As for that whole costume thing, I got a crack out of it. Better Tyler than me." He trails off and smirks, "What kind of outfit would you have sent me?"
Felix chuckled, "At this point? I wouldn't even have bothered with a costume. I would have just stolen all your clothes. Wonder how Ariana, or what's-her-name, would like that?"
Sitting up in the water, Matt raised an eyebrow, "What about her? In fact, why are even taking notice of her? As an Element of Honesty, she really can't lie...I would think as a thief that'd get under your skin."
At this point, another casparii arrived with towels, "Tempestiuum est pro trucido viri."
Looking at the spirit, Matt quickly translated, "Massage time."
Stepping out of the bath, the Warehouse agents took the towels and dried off. While Felix wrapped the towel around his waist, Matt slung his over his shoulder, "Come on Felix. It's just the two of us here. We can tell the others after we get a well-earned spa day." Reluctantly, the feline agent removed his towel and joined the trek to the tables bare as the day he was born.
"Ok, something is clearly bothering you, Drakey." Claudia swiveled around in her chair to face her partner in technological crime. The duo were in his office, her drawing up a series of blueprints for their next big experiment and him delicately moving beakers of bright fulids from on shelf to a next. "You've barely talked today, and I still haven't seen that pointy-toothed smile of yours. I thought you were really up for this one. Explosions and fireworks and stuff, didn't you say?"
Felix sighed and placed the beakers down before slumping into another chair. "Ok, you've got to promise not to tell anyone, especially Pete."
Claudia looked serious for a moment. "Yeah, of course. What's up?" Felix had down moments every now and then, but this was more whistful than the outright depression she'd grown used to.
"Me and Matt found this spa in the Warehouse, all Roman and stuff. Had a bunch of ghosts as servants."
"Oh, I tried going in there once, but they wouldn't let me. Artie told me not to bother, apparently they steal"
Flix nodded."Yeah, I left without my shirt. I can't get back in to find it. But the point is, me and Matt were there together. You know...not with clothing."
Claude's eyes widend. "OH...ohhhh...did you two...?"
"No. I don't think either of us planned it to, but at one point I kind of felt like something was going to. So I decided to sort of take a risk and make a sort of hint. I don't think he got it, and then he used that word..."
Claudia put a hand on his shoulder. "Damn, that sucks. I get why you're kind of bummed today. You're really crushing on him, aren't you?"
Felix shrugged. "I guess. But he seems more interested in that new girl, the reporter. It wouldn't bother me so much but with all of the nakedness lately," Claudia's eyebrows shot up but Felix put up an hand to stop her before she said anything. "Nothing like that. He seems to think I'm some kind of exhibition buddy. It just feels like I'm getting mixed messages. Like somethimes he's flirting and sometimes he's not even interested."
Claude put an arm around his shoulder and pulled him into a hug. "You know what you need? Ice-cream and dounuts. Let's go, Kitty."
Matt was hanging up his coat in the B&B. He'd just gotten off the afternoon shift at the bar that Warehouse staff frequented. Flipping Jerry 'The Professor' Thomas's Towel over his shoulder, he smiled. Ever since he and Bri had collected the artifact, Matt had picked up an interest in mixology. This lead him to leave the job at the hardware store and move to the bar. He was making more money and having a blast.
Going into the Sitting Room, he flopped into an armchair. Thinking back to the Roman Bath they had found, he chuckled about how the casparii had stolen his pants, forcing him to flee to Felix's apartment hoping to avoid any of the other agents.
Haven't heard from Felix in a few days, he noticed, When we got the massages, he seemed a bit off...almost as if he was upset with something I said. Matt smiled when he caught Felix staring at him, he liked showing off his body and Felix's gaze was fun. Maybe I should try to go a bit further with him...advance beyond bromance or whatever we have is. The reason he hadn't tried to push the envelope was because he knew about Garrett's feelings for Felix. He didn't want to push the guy if he was still grieving.
"What are you doing here Matt?"
Turning, the ex-H.A.R.P. agent saw Liana standing in the doorway
"Liana!" Matt said, a mix of surprise and joy in his voice. "What are you doing here?"
Liana chuckled. "I asked first, silly." she said, moving to take a seat. "I thought you had a job."
"Yeah, at a local bar. Just got off my shift." Matt said, gesturing to the towel over his shoulder. "Jerry Thomas' Towel. I quit my job at the hardware store after we collected it. I started liking mixing drinks for people."
Liana's brow furrowed. "Does that mean it affected you? Shouldn't we neutralize it?"
"No, no, its good." Matt said. Now that he thought about it, ever since he got that bartender job, he seemed just a little bit more open whenever he came home. 'Guess it relaxes me,' he thought. "Besides, its nice to make other people happy with a good cocktail."
Liana relaxed a bit. "This whole job has me on edge. I feel like everything could be magical, and every new thing could be a result of it. It was a lot easier to sleep without all this new information." she sighed. "I guess that's just how things have to be now."
Matt stared at Liana for a few moment, considering his next course of action, when he felt a little tingle in his shoulder. The shoulder with the towel. "Hey, I can make you a drink, if that'll help ease you."
"Well, I don't usually drink... okay. Just to relax." Liana smiled and the two made their way to the kitchen. Grabbing the needed materials and ingredients from the refrigerator and pantry, Matt was soon making an amazing cocktail before Liana's eyes.
"I never understood how bartenders make a show out of just mixing liquids together in a glorified thermos." Liana said, her eyes locked on the shaker that Matt was flipping into the air, swinging behind his back and catching it with his other hand.
"Its all about the razzle-dazzle. Mostly I just flip this thing around in the air a few times, maybe open it up and let the drink fly through the air once or twice." Matt spoke, performing the acts as he did so.
Soon enough, Matt had poured two small glasses of strawberry gin smash.
"How did you know?" Liana said, taking a good sip of her drink. "I love strawberry! Does that towel let you know what drink is perfect for the person?"
"Maybe. I'm not sure. You just seem like a strawberry person." Matt took a sip himself and averted his eyes. He was extremely lucky he chose strawberry instead of apple.
"So, about you." Liana set her glass down. "I hear you were demoted? What happened?"
"Oh, that." Matt was still just the least amount of uncomfortable with his status change. "I wasn't demoted. I used to be part of a special group that had powers relating to artifacts. I can negate an artifact's negative effects, and diagnose what the effects are."
"But now that you're an agent, does that mean you don't get to do special stuff?" Liana seemed genuinely concerned with Matt and his position. "How are you taking this?"
"I'm fine. Being an agent means I have to socialize more with others. Apparently I had become a bit of a recluse. I'm getting over it though. Recent developments have increased by ego and attitude, actually." Matt spared a quick glance downward, remembering his newest modification. Liana didn't notice.
"If you say so..." Liana drank the rest of her cocktail before Matt. Her shoulders seemed to lower and her face seemed to redden just the lightest tint. "Anything else I should know about you? Hobbies? Your family?"
The two agents continued to speak as the sunk sank down as they got to know one another better. While he did so, a small part of Matt felt a smidge guilty for flirting with Liana instead of hanging out with Felix...
Chapter 7 Edit
Matt knocked on the door to Felix's room and waited a few minutes before using his key. I really hope I'm not hurting his feelings by getting close to Liana...