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Guardian: Chapter One

A board dedicated to fan written work about Pandect. Includes poetry, original song lyrics, and short and serial stories.

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Location: Belgium, Europe

Guardian: Chapter One

Post by Sihaya » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:45 pm

Chapter One: Enemy

"All right, who ordered what?" Rose yelled over the ruckus they were all making. Immediately everyone started to call back their orders and one by one they ended up with the correct meals and drinks.

“A bunch of rowdy children, that's what you all are,” Rose scolded. Her smile gave her away. Cleatus, her husband, pulled her into his lap and started to kiss her neck. She giggled and pulled away to eat.

“If we're children, that makes you our mum,” Rufus said.

“And Cleatus our daddy!” Noah added. Everyone roared with laughter – except for Cleatus.

“Some day someone – maybe even me – is going to cut out that tongue of yours,” he said. Rose nudged him with her elbow and rolled her eyes at Venus.

“So when are we expecting the funders of this expedition?” Delia asked. Rufus, Kouros and Mordechai immediately started snickering.

“Oh, hush,” Venus said. Delia threw some of her chips at the boys.

“You know Ameer, there's always something he still needed to do right before he has to leave to be on time – drives Titus and Rocko up the wall,” Noah said.

“Not to mention poor Valerie who has to make sure they don't leave their heads behind, the lot of them,” Venus added. Teddy grunted in agreement.

“I think I hear their car outside right now...” Edgar said.

“What I wouldn't give to have a car like that,” Noah said with a sigh.

“With what you earn, you could have had three of those cars already,” Edgar scoffed. “And a villa with a garage to put them in. I don't know how you manage to be mostly broke all the time. Besides, you'd wreck it in a week.”

“Not if you took a ride with me, Frog...” Noah replied, leaning in and waggling his eyebrows.

“You're impossible,” Edgar said indulgently.

“It's why you love me,” Noah said smartly.

“Keep telling yourself that,” Edgar sighed.

“I wonder what they'll have this time,” Cleatus said. “Maybe this'll be the one.”

They saw their employers come into the restaurant and hurriedly took another few bites or straightened themselves out a bit – they might be mercenaries but they were professionals all the same.

“Evening, ladies, gentlemen,” Titus said, and drew up a chair at the head of the table. Ameer and Rocko sat down on either side of him and Valerie stood behind them in her black three piece business suit, tapping away on her phone and somehow pencilling in notes in her organiser at the same time.

“Aww, have a seat and some dessert, Val!” Titus said. Valerie simply raised her eyebrow at him and continued tapping.

“Well, I’ll have some dessert, then,” he pouted.

“It will never cease to amaze me to see three multi-billionaires in a cheap restaurant,” Mordechai said.

“Who says I don’t value a good family restaurant?” Titus replied.

“We know you’re cheap,” Noah smirked, “it’s mostly the other two.”

“I only take people with table manners somewhere fancy,” Ameer deadpanned.

“I’m not cheap!” Titus huffed. “Says the exorbitant fee you charge.”

“And still no Jaguar,” Edgar muttered. Noah glared at him.

“So did you get another clue? Are we getting closer?” Venus asked. They all leaned in a little closer.

“We did,” Rocko said. “We got a real good one this time.”

Cleatus pulled Rose a little closer to him, Rufus and Kouros high-fived each other and Noah and Teddy were grinning like idiots.

“Do you honestly still believe that it exists? The Library? The repository of all knowledge past, present and future? And that the key to it is just lying around somewhere?” Mordechai scoffed.

Everyone turned to glare at him.

“It's not a fairy tale, Mooch,” Rufus pouted. “Why are you even here if you don't think we'll find it?”

“Because like the man said: they pay my rates,” Mordechai grinned. No one responded. Instead they all turned back to their employers.

“This might be the one,” Titus simply said.

Delia pressed both hands to her mouth and Venus worried her lower lip between her teeth, eyes wide.

“Where?” Edgar asked.

“The Black Forest, of all places,” Ameer said.

“Germany? You're shipping us all off to Germany? I've never been!” Rufus gushed.

“Nothing special about it,” Mordechai said. Teddy cuffed him over the head.

“Germany is lovely, Rufus,” Venus said, and glared at Mordechai.

“You’re a real spoilsport, Mooch,” Titus said, dangerously cheerful. Ameer and Rocko smirked. “Either play nice or go home. You may be great in a pinch but a thug like you is essentially quite replaceable.”

Mordechai crossed his arms and sat back in his chair, grumbling.

“Tell us more,” Cleatus said. “Why the Black Forest?”

“There have always been legends of strange happenings,” Delia reasoned. “More than in other areas with similar geography and demography. The key might have something to do with that.”

“That’s what our contact thought. He found clues that might indicate the key was there at one point, and that its Guardian died while hiding it. It might still be there,” Rocko explained.

Edgar clenched his fists under the table. Not its Guardian, he thought. The Guardian’s Protector. And it broke Ayubu’s heart.

“Talk about a needle in a haystack,” Noah muttered.

“It’s not like you haven’t found any corpses that were even more elusive,” Ameer said.

“Provided it’s preserved at all… At the most we might find a few scraps of clothing or a few artefacts,” Rose mused.

“Which is why we have the team we have,” Titus smiled. “Archaeologists, a historian specializing in mythology and urban legends, a universal translator, a mechanic, a couple of thieves, a few enforcers and a confidence man!”

“Complete overkill,” Cleatus deadpanned.

“If we can’t find it, no one can,” Kouros said.

“That’s the idea,” Rocko said. “Though you’d better find it.”

Edgar smiled confidently, though not for the reason anyone thought. They’d never find it. Though he was pretty impressed that they had made it this far.

“Delia, Venus and Mordechai will come with us to Germany today,” Ameer said. “Rufus, Kouros and Teddy, Cleatus and Rose, and Noah and Edgar will follow separately once we confirm that there's actually something worth pursuing.. Get your own lodgings, as usual. “

“Keep the receipt this time, Noah,” Valerie interjected. He pouted in reply.

“You mean I'm babysitting?” Mordechai said.

“Stop whining,” Edgar sighed.

“We'll be taking care of a lot of business in Germany, Mooch,” Titus said in that same cheerful tone, “so I'm holding you personally accountable for the girls' safety. If so much as one hair on their heads is hurt... There's a reason why they call me The Shark.”

Mordechai stared.

“The correct answer is 'yes, sir',” Ameer said.

“Whatever,” Mordechai grumbled, and looked away.

“As long as we're clear,” Titus said lightly.

“Can't we have Teddy?” Delia asked.

Ameer chuckled. “We need him with the Twins. You know how they get.”

Teddy grunted in approval.

“I know,” Delia smiled. “We'll make do.”

“How do we get?..” Rufus asked. Kouros was looking at Teddy with a questioning pout on his face. The enforcer grinned back and shook his head.

“Let's go to Germany anyway,” Cleatus suggested.

“It has been a while since we went somewhere...” Rose pondered.

“Just be available when we need you,” Rocko said. Cleatus looked like he was about to give a dirty reply and Rose covered his mouth.

“Time to go,” Valerie said, still tapping.

“But I haven't even had dessert yet!” Titus pouted.

Valerie sighed deeply. “We can stop for ice cream along the way,” she said.

“I guess that will have to do!” Titus said, standing. “Ladies, if you would like a ride anywhere?..”

Delia and Venus got up as well.
“Wonderful,” Venus smiled. “To the airport, actually, if that's where you're going.”

“We brought our luggage along,” Delia supplied.

“What about me?” Mooch yelled.

“No more room,” Titus smirked.

Everyone waved and called goodbyes as the group made their way out. Mordechai cursed a blue streak, gathered his stuff and stormed out.

“Why do they keep hiring him?” Rose sighed.

“Because he's good,” Edgar replied.

“Teddy's better,” Kouros muttered. Everyone smiled.

“What about us, Frog?” Noah said. “Fancy getting up there early?”

“Some of us actually work,” Edgar sighed. “I'm not traipsing up to Germany with you.”

“You want to just get up with me?” Noah leered.

Everyone groaned. Edgar just sighed and got up. “Bye, Noah. Bye, guys, see in Germany if it comes to that.”

“You know he'd take you seriously if you'd start taking it seriously,” Rose said when he'd left.

“I've never been more serious about anything in my life,” Noah groaned. “I just can't seem to shut myself up around him.”

Rose pursed her lips. “You want to let him leave all annoyed at you – again?”

Noah stared at her for a few seconds and then stood abruptly.

“See you guys in Germany!” he yelled, and hurried outside.

“Utterly hopeless,” Rose sighed with a fond smile.

“Don’t encourage him,” Cleatus said. “It’s too much fun to see him make a fool of himself.”
She elbowed him and went back to her cup of Earl Grey.

“Edgar!” Noah shouted, trying to spot him outside the restaurant. He was still trying to hail a cab. Noah jogged up to him.

“Are you mad at me, Frog?” he pleaded.

Edgar smiled at him. “How long have we known each other?” he said. “Of course I’m not mad. I really do have another job to finish, though. But I’ll call you as soon as it’s done.”

Noah grinned like a kid with a bag of candy and Edgar chuckled.

"Is it a mechanic job?" Noah said, suddenly serious. Edgar glanced at him and hesitated.

"No, I'm not sending anyone to their makers this time. It's just a transport."

"Be careful anyway."

A cab pulled up and they put Edgar’s luggage in the trunk.

“I’ll be seeing you,” Edgar said, and made to climb in.

“Wait!” Noah said, grabbed him by his arm and reeled him in for a kiss.

Edgar wrapped one arm around Noah’s neck and kissed him back, let Noah rake his fingers through his hair, delve into his mouth. They broke apart reluctantly.

“For luck,” Noah said, like he always did. Edgar smiled crookedly and climbed into the cab. Noah shut his door and took off with a wave and a last look over his shoulder.

“Airport,” Edgar said, leaning back in his seat.

“I don’t want a fuckin’ fa…” the driver started to sputter.

Edgar leaned forward again in a flash, let the red of his eyes bleed through the fake blue, let his fangs show just a little.

“Do I pay you for a running commentary?” he growled.

The driver recoiled, terror coming off of him in waves. “Y… You pay me to drive,” he squeaked.

“Then drive,” Edgar growled, and leaned back again.

As they made their way through the busy city streets Edgar let his mind wander back to Noah, and their kiss, and the first time Noah had kissed him ‘for luck’.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this. Why couldn’t you have taken Rose?”

“Wrong skillset.”

“Cleatus then? At least he knows how to look comfortable in a tux! I’ll blow your cover in no time.”

“I have every faith in you,” Noah assured him.

“I take such comfort in that knowledge,” Edgar deadpanned.

Noah walked up to him to fix his bow tie and smiled. “You’ll be fine. All you have to do is stand next to me, smile at the ladies, be taciturn, and keep your eyes open. We’ve been over it, you know exactly what to look out for and what to do. Nothing is going to go wrong.”

“I still think…”

“Edgar…” Noah breathed, and Edgar looked up from his hands on his tie to his vibrant blue eyes. “You’re safe with me.”

They’d never been this close. They’d flirted and squabbled from day one but they’d never been this close, had never touched.

Noah wrapped his long fingers around the back of Edgar’s head and pulled him into his chest, kissed him softly on his lips. Edgar was too shocked to kiss him back before it was over.

“Why did you do that?” he breathed, wide-eyed.

“For luck,” Noah smiled.

Edgar had lost count of the number of ‘good luck’ kisses they’d exchanged over the years, and they’d gotten more passionate every time. He was starting to wonder how many more he could take before he did something incredibly stupid, like fall in love with someone who would grow old and die in no time, or sleep with the enemy, whichever. Though he might have already gone and done that first one. Noah was just so… everything. Edgar sighed and tried to remember if Ayubu or Abel had ever told him what to do in a situation like this.

He slammed the door on the cab a little too hard and glared at the driver for good measure when he handed him his payment. The man took off well above the speed limit.

Humans,” Edgar muttered with loathing, and went to catch his flight.

Noah’s kisses always haunted him for days, but somehow they really worked.

“You just got me out of another tight squeeze,” Edgar said over the phone.

“Hi, Frog! Another successful adventure?”

“Yep,” Edgar replied. One less Nelson looking for my key. “I’ll bring you a souvenir.”

“So… Germany?” Noah said.

“Did Ameer contact you?”

“Not yet. I thought we could just go…”

“I don’t know…”

“Don’t make me beg, Edgar,” Noah said softly. It made Edgar’s stomach flutter with butterflies.

Edgar. Edgar squeezed his eyes shut and tried very hard to remember that all of them were the enemy, that they all wanted his key, and his Library, and his life. And then he remembered how Noah had looked over his shoulder and smiled at him brilliantly, and so happily, and how badly he had wanted to smile back and mean it.

“Fine. But I get to pick the hotel.”

“Whatever you want, sweets!” Noah cheered. “Yes, yes, yes!”

“You’re such a loon,” Edgar said fondly.

“It’s why you love me,” Noah teased. Edgar bit his lip and was glad Noah couldn’t see him blush as red as his eyes over the phone.

“I’ll mail you the info and ticket,” he said. “Bye,” and hung up abruptly.

Now he’ll definitely never catch on, genius, he chastised himself.

The hotel he wanted only had a suite left. Knowing them, Rose and Cleatus had booked on of the other suites. Great. Not conspicuous at all. At least Ameer and Titus would have wanted something fancier.

“A suite it is… But I’m locking my door,” he muttered, and made the necessary reservations. I am in so much trouble…

He mailed Noah the codes to his plane ticket and other information and called Venus in the meantime.

“Hi, Edgar!”

“Hi, love, any news?”

“Titus can’t even ask where the bathroom is in German, but other than that we’re great. Delia’s been working the lead and has probably visited every library in Baden-Württemberg. We’ve found plenty but nothing definitive. Cleatus and Rose have been scouting the terrain to match it with the tales Delia finds, but no grand successes yet.”

“Noah and I are on our way as well. Are you all staying in Freudenstadt?”

“We are. When can we expect you? And could you alert Teddy and the Twins to make preparations, as well?”

“We’ll be there the day after tomorrow. I’ll tell them.”

“Great. We’ll go for Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte when you get here!”

“Cheers. Say hi to the others for me.”

“Will do. Bye!”

Edgar hung up and stared at the reply Noah had sent him.

A suite? If I didn’t know you any better I’d say you were up to something. Remember the last time we were in a suite, sweets? – oh, that was sort of a pun! I’ll see you at the airport, Frog. Sweet dreams!

He groaned. Yes, he remembered the last time they were in a suite together. It’d been the first time he’d had Noah’s tongue in his mouth, and it had lasted for over five glorious minutes until a knock on their door had interrupted them – and Mother knows where that kiss would have led if it hadn’t been for that.

"The things I do for that bloody key, Ayubu," he muttered, shut his computer down and went to bed.

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