nothingtoregret: (Milos)
[personal profile] nothingtoregret
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,246
Summary: Milos receives some bad news, but also receives a reprieve from an unexpected source.


There was always an eerie feeling about the office when Alex was out of it. Like something was missing.

That something, Milos thought with a faint smile as he busied himself with the folders in front of him, was noise. Alex had been in a foul mood all week, resulting in slammed doors, banged desks and his chair crashing into the wall more than once. Even the mesh waste bin had taken a kicking yesterday; it no longer sat quite flat on the carpet, mostly due to the hefty dent in one side.

The odd thing was that his foul mood dissipated like steam the minute they left the building and he was back to being the same Alex Milos knew so well: arrogant, self-assured and with a shit sense of humour, but not kicking the crap out of anything that got within arm’s reach.

He’d puzzled over it for the first couple of days. Right up until he saw the hatred in Alex’s eyes when he stared at Marrok. Then it all made sense, in a weird, uncomfortable kind of way.

Milos didn’t even see the problem. Well, no, obviously he did, but not what Alex’s problem was; he’d already explained he was used to it. It was no big deal to anyone but Alex and that one tiny part of himself that twisted in revulsion every time—far too often—he recalled Marrok’s words, and he’d had enough practice at squashing that part over the years.

Alex was obviously harbouring a bigger grudge than could be cured just by inflicting Milos’s singing on a crowded hall and, worse, if his unexplained absences were anything to go by, he was planning on doing something about it.

Flipping the red folder closed again and pulling a new one over, he frowned down at the text without really seeing it. If Alex was going to do anything, it was bound to be fucking stupid—

The door thumped against the wall, rattling the clock against the wall and almost making him jump from his skin. Here came another one of the foul moods... He scooped the folders together and moved to push himself up.

Only to freeze as he realised the figure in the doorway, glaring at the desk he usually sat at, wasn’t Alex at all. “Where the hell is that waste-of-space experi—”

“Can I help, sir?” His voice didn’t shake at all; he was impressed. “Alex isn’t here right now.”

“I can see that,” Marrok snapped, fixing Milos with a piercing stare until the alfa found himself fidgeting in Alex’s seat. “Where is Jaska and why are you sitting at his desk?”

He could at least make an effort to keep the hatred concealed. Milos played with the corner of a folder until he realised what he was doing—and what Alex would do to him when he saw the crease—and splayed his fingers over the cover instead. “I’m compiling a report—”

“Who said you could be trusted to do something like that?”

“—as a test for Alex,” Milos carried on like Marrok hadn’t spoken despite the pounding of his heart, “and he told me to sit here. I’ve got no idea where he went, sir.”

The absolute contempt in the man’s eyes was breathtaking. “There’s no reason he’d tell you anyway, I suppose. Still, it’s probably for the best.” A smirk twisted his lips. “I’d come to tell you both that I was planning on processing your paperwork for assignment to Research today, so don’t get too comfortable at that desk.”

Milos stared up at him in horror, dry mouth and constricted throat conspiring to strangle his words. It was all he could do not to shift his hands there and then. “But Alex said—”

“I don’t give a damn what Alex said. The other night confirmed that you’re just a distraction that’s putting him off his work. The sooner an experiment like you is back under Research’s control the better.”

Robin had drilled it into him with feet and fists that authority must be respected no matter who it was; Alex had only solidified it. Four years ago he’d be up and threatening this man, and would probably have found himself in Research much sooner. Now he just wanted to sink under the desk with his hands over his ears. Since neither was actually an option he stared instead and wondered what he’d done to make Marrok loathe him so.

From the clouding of the other man’s expression, silence wasn’t an option either. “Nothing to say?” He stepped forward, blocking out the light from the lone bulb in the windowless room. A chill fell over Milos that had nothing to do with heat. “If I’d been your superior from the start I’d never have allowed something like you to get so cosy here—”

“It’s a good thing you weren’t then, isn’t it Richard?”

“You shouldn’t be here.” Marrok’s expression shut down, becoming a neutral mask with terrifying speed, and both hands balled into fists. Milos didn’t dare try to look around him to find out why the voice sounded both familiar and not.

“I think I’ve taken a long enough holiday, don’t you?” The voice was deep and cheerful; Milos knew he should recognise it but his thoughts had scattered. “If you take one more step towards him I’ll be forced to report you to the intra-departmental head for harassment, and that’s not what I wanted my first job to be.”

Milos saw a flicker of hatred in Marrok’s blue eyes before he turned with a smile. “I’m glad you’re back. The handover will be on your desk within the hour. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting reading.”

“I’m sure I will,” the genial voice agreed. “Now can you please leave? I’d like a word with Milos.”

Marrok left without another word and, with the view clear, Milos felt his jaw drop.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Nazarian smiled.

“I didn’t think you’d come back, sir.”

“It was almost tempting, but I didn’t think leaving Alex to anyone else full-time was quite fair.” Nazarian gave him a rueful smile and passed one large hand over the barely-there scar on his neck. “When I heard Richard was interim head, I made up my mind. There’ve been rumours, but... Nothing that could ever be proven conclusively.”

Milos nodded. “It’s good to have you back, sir,” he said with feeling.

“I’d say it’s good to be back,” Nazarian laughed and gave the dented bin a pointed look. “But we’ll see how I feel in a few hours. Now I suppose I should go and deal with the paperwork the two of you have no doubt caused.” Giving the alfa a wink he turned away, only to add from the doorway, “tell Alex that he’s expressly forbidden from sitting with his feet up while you do all the packing.”

“Packing?” Milos was lost already.

“Of course. You can’t stay here, you’re in completely the wrong part of the building. I expect to see you both in your old office starting tomorrow.”

“Oh, yes sir.” He couldn’t suppress his grin as he busied himself with stacking the folders again. Even if he looked weird grinning at nothing on his own it didn’t matter.

They were returning to their old office again. No more loose clock or pathetic pot-plant. That should be enough to put a smile back on even Alex’s face.

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nothingtoregret: Spiky-haired AI woman with a painted face. (Default)
Something witty that way went.

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Totally non-professional webauthor, writer of original fiction, gamer and professional spam-swatter.

Has a head filled with elves, bad-tempered government agents and motorbikes.

Possesses a ridiculous love of flat-pack furniture.

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