Friends and Foes Ch. 09byingarlm©
For anyone who doesn't know by now, this story contains both m/m and m/f relationships and sex scenes.
Sometimes I swear these stories write themselves somehow and stuff comes to mind that even I wasn't expecting. Most of this chapter was like that! I've written the one after this too, and still haven't finished the story. To speed things up with the posting, I plan to submit chapter 10 tomorrow so as you are reading this it will be in the queue -- keep your eyes open in the next day or two. Hopefully I will finish chapter 11 to get it up as usual next weekend, and I also hope that will be the finale, but I guess I'll know that for sure really soon.
* * * * * *
Tilly's near scream into the heads of everyone around caused immediate action. They heard enough to know that Finn and Jake were in trouble and no-one stopped to think. They grabbed gear on the way out of the house, piling into two vehicles and speeding down the drive. Tilly was frantic, now unable to get anything from her brother or her friend and knowing that meant they had been drugged already. That meant they had been caught, and they had to hope the team got there before the van drove away, because once they were gone they would not be easy to find.
Everyone was tense, and it didn't help Tilly calm down at all. In this situation she couldn't even rely on Dill to calm her down because he was just as much on alert as everyone else. She tried desperately to go over what she had felt and seen, trying to get some idea of where they were.
"They were on the road towards the village, but they've been out for a while now so I don't know if they will still be there."
"We'll split up and head opposite ways."
"It was a dark van, box style, maybe 3.5 tonnes. It was hard to tell from what they managed to send me before the drugs took effect."
The teams all heard the conversation between Tilly and Sam, and were determined to find the men. The two cars split up at the end of the drive, and Sam took the route towards the village, hoping that the van in question would still be there. Tilly saw the place after only a few moments, only five minutes walk or so from the house, and her heart sank.
"It was about here. They've been driven away already."
"Then we carry on and find them," Sam replied, his jaw set firm and his fingers almost white as he gripped the steering wheel, determined that they would.
* * * * * *
No-one spoke for several minutes, all on alert and looking down each side road they passed, but everyone knew the longer they failed to find their friends the less likely it was that they would. Between the team there and the others sent out by Council, every centre they knew off had been put out of action, which meant they had no leads to follow. There was an undercurrent of fear that Tilly could feel, but all of the men were following their training and were outwardly calm.
A sudden call from Tom in the other car had them even more on alert, and ready for action.
"There's a van fitting the description heading your way. I'm following it so I suggest you cut it off front the front. About two minutes from your position, assuming it doesn't turn."
"Understood," Sam said, speeding up further.
All eyes were fixed on the road ahead, and it was less than a minute before they saw the van coming their way. Sam let it get almost to them before he swung his vehicle across the road, forcing the van to brake sharply and coming to a halt only about a metre away from hitting them. A squeal of tyres indicated that Tom had done much the same to the rear of the vehicle, and soon all the team were pouring out of the doors, heading for the vehicle while they still had the element of surprise and hopefully before any weapons could be drawn.
Tilly stood back slightly taking in the scene. The van fitted what she had seen sent to her by Finn or Jake, but there was something not quite right about it. For starters, it seemed too close to home, and in fact was almost heading back the way it should have come from. Also she could see there was only one man in the front of it, although he was rapidly removed from the drivers seat and pressed back against the side of the vehicle by some angry men. She felt his fear, and moved up to the other men to find out what was being said.
"Where are they?" Sam was growling at him, his arm pressed across the guy's chest holding him in place, but he wasn't fighting back.
"I.. I don't know what you mean," the man whimpered, clearly terrified, and to Tilly also clearly honest, although no-one else was able to tell.
"Get the back doors open," Tom ordered, and Alex and Cal ran around to bust them open, some of the others moving into position for backup in case there were armed guards in there.
There was a moment of silence, followed by creaking as the doors were opened, and Sam and Tom waited for information. It took another few moments before there was any word, although there had been no sounds of fighting and it was clear at least one of the team had entered the vehicle. Then Alex reported back.
"There's two guys in here, but it's not them boss."
The faces of the team tightened again, sure that they had found their colleagues up until that moment. Sam also tightened his grip on the driver, and he let out a pained noise in response.
"Where are they? Don't make me ask you again, unless you want to get beaten first." Sam's voice was as close to a wolf-like snarl as he could get without changing form, but Tilly knew he wasn't going to get anywhere, and moved towards him.
"Stop it. He doesn't know. Let me talk to him."
Even Tilly flinched when she saw the look in her brother's eyes, but he did release his grip at least a little. The man didn't look all that relieved though, but it wasn't surprising under the circumstances. He was still surrounded by a lot of angry men, and he knew it. His eyes went to Tilly and she took in his appearance. He was probably only in his mid twenties, thin although clearly did some sort of working out, but not to the extent she would expect for one of the kidnappers. His brown eyes showed his fear, and he locked them on her as if she was the only one who could help him.
"What are you doing here? Who hired you?" she asked, trying to keep her voice calm and kind. He glanced back at the men and didn't answer her. "They won't hurt you, but we need to know."
He was clearly trying to overcome his fear to speak to her, but during the delay Sam growled quietly and it didn't help. Tilly pushed him away from the man, making sure he let go completely this time and putting her own body in between them. Sending a sharp instruction to Sam to keep his mouth shut, she asked again, and this time he pulled himself together enough to reply.
"I'm a student, just doing holiday work. I got this job through an agency, but I thought it was weird. I'm under instructions to drive around this neighbourhood and wait for a phonecall to tell me exactly where the drop off point is. I don't even know what I'm delivering. I was a bit worried it was drugs. Are you police?"
"Not exactly. And it isn't drugs. Plus, I doubt you are going to get that phonecall."
She turned back to Sam and Tom for confirmation, and they nodded that they were thinking the same.
"Diversion. Bastards knew we would be looking for them and sent us on a wild goose chase. Perhaps the men in the back were intended to go the same place if we didn't find them, but not essential if we did. They wanted some of us," Tom said.
"Which means they know who and what we are," Tilly supplied, and the two men looked grim.
Sam completed the plan of action. "We still have time, they can't have got much further. Tom and I will get back in the cars and look for the real van. Tilly, keep Peter and Michael with you, and get the two men back to the house. See what you can find out from him and then let him go if he really isn't involved."
The orders were given out and men moved back to the cars, leaving Tilly with the driver and the two trainees. She turned her attention back to the driver, who looked less afraid, but still not reassured, even as the cars drove away. Although Peter and Michael were young, probably a similar age to him, they were imposing physically due to the amount of training they did and looked just as much like bodyguards as any of the others would have.
"Is there someone you can call to come and get you? We'll be keeping the van."
"You can't. It's not mine."
She grabbed his arm, not hard, but he still flinched away from her. Gentle pressure soon had him following her though, and she tried hard not to scare him more than he already was. She led him around to the back of the van and let him see what was inside. Two young men were strapped onto hospital style trolleys, drips leading into their arms. She heard the man let out a gasp of shock and repeated her earlier words.
"Like I said, we'll be keeping the van. Unless you want to explain your role in a kidnapping. It might only be as unwitting driver but I don't think that anyone but me is going to believe you. Get them unhooked guys," she ordered the others while the man stood there, still in shock. She drew him back around the van to continue her conversation with him, and this time he didn't protest.
"Can you call someone to collect you?" she asked again.
He nodded dumbly and headed to the cab to pick up a mobile phone that was in a pocket on the door. She heard him make a call in hushed tones, but her hearing was good enough to pick up every word. He wasn't saying anything about what had gone on, but he was begging someone to come get him immediately, clearly shaken up. She checked on Peter and Michael, who by now had the men disconnected from the drips and out of their restraints, and ordered them back to the house. Each of them picked up one of the guys and headed off, not questioning her orders. It would only be about ten minutes across country back to the edge of the grounds, and there would be no problem for them carrying a man that far.
Tilly checked the back of the van, but there was nothing in there other than the trolleys and drips. A quick search of the cab didn't yield anything either, it was fairly new and had been recently cleaned. The satnav was about the only thing that might be of use so she disconnected it to take with her, returning to the man. He was watching the men disappearing into the woods at the side of the road, and from his emotions his fear was giving way to curiosity.
"Where are they taking them?"
"How do I know you aren't kidnapping them now?"
Tilly shrugged. "You don't. But we have released them, which suggests not."
"What was in those drips?"
"Sedatives to keep them unconscious."
"Who are they, and what the hell were they doing in the back of a van?"
"I don't know who they are, and I can't tell you why they were in there."
"If you told me, you'd have to kill me?"
Tilly actually laughed at his question, as he was joking but not sure quite how much. He'd certainly relaxed around her now that all the men were out of the way.
"Let's just leave it at I can't tell you. What are you studying?" she asked, changing the subject.
"Accountancy and business. I've got one year left and then need to find someone to hire me."
"Are you any good? That usually helps."
He looked at her, mock affronted. "I'm almost top of my class."
"So why are you driving a truck in the holidays rather than doing a vac scheme? It would be far more useful to you getting some practical experience."
He was about to answer her when a car pulled up behind the van, slamming its brakes on and the driver jumping out of it the split second it stopped. It was a day for meeting young, fit men, Tilly thought to herself with amusement. Aside from the two unconscious ones, these two were nice eye candy. Dill wouldn't have appreciated her thoughts, but he was preoccupied right then. The guy who came towards them was blond haired and blue eyed, unlike the guy she had been talking to who had dark hair and eyes.
They were a nice compliment to each other, and even as she thought that she started to feel the emotions flashing between the two of them. The new arrival was clearly concerned, but what she could feel overriding all of that, from both of them, was unrequited lust. After her time with Dill, and Sam and Tom, and even Finn and Sky, she knew all too well what that felt like. She almost felt the electricity herself as the blond man touched the other's arm, and to her keen senses the dilating pupils and change in breathing were dead giveaways. These boys had the hots for each other, but they didn't know they stood a chance. She was just wondering whether to say something when the blond man got his first words out.
"What the hell happened Jon? You sounded freaked on the phone. Have you been robbed?" he asked, looking at the busted doors on the van.
"I'm fine Ross, and no, I wasn't robbed. I just need a lift home. Can I go?" he asked, turning to Tilly.
She nodded. "Two things first though," she said, digging in her pocket and finding a pen and paper. "This is the number for a man called Matt at Arcan Construction. You've heard of them?" He nodded this time, clearly unsure what she was doing. "Call him tomorrow. You must have about six weeks of the holiday left, and he'll give you a job for the rest of it if you want."
He looked at her, slightly suspicious, but a lot less than the blond man clearly was.
"How can you be sure of that?"
"I'll tell him to. Say you were out driving the other day and you were given his number."
"It's really that simple? Forgive me being a little wary, but since when do huge companies like that hire some random person from the side of the road. If you're serious that would be a great opportunity, but how do I know you're not a nut?"
Tilly smiled again. "You don't, right now, but if you call him you'll find out. It'll be a lot better and much more useful than driving a van randomly round an area."
"Okay. And the second thing?"
Tilly looked between the two men again, sure that she wanted to do it. She instinctively liked the young man and felt bad for them all having scared him when he was caught up in something totally unaware. The blond guy, Ross, was still looking very suspicious of her, and this wasn't going to help, but when he looked at Jon she knew she was right, although she had to go carefully.
"The second thing..." she tailed off, unsure quite how to broach this. She noted the contact they still had, and that Ross was slowly moving his hand on Jon's arm, even if he was unaware of it.
"Sometimes people just need a little push to realise what is right in front of them. All those glances; those innocent little touches that send tingles through your body; when you get a moment to drink in the sight of the one you desire; all the times you want to say something and decide it isn't the right time, or you'll be laughed at and lose a friend; all the times you go to bed alone and dream of a warm body next to yours -- all of that is happening to him too."
She watched as Ross drew his hand away sharply, the two of them not daring to look at each other as they stared at her in shock. They both knew what she was talking about but neither was brave enough to say anything.
"There's no reason to be scared any more," she continued. "you can have what you want, you just need to start talking and take it from there."
Jon gave a quick sidelong glance at the other man, but he was still focussed on her, probably trying to digest what she was saying. He managed to stammer out a question.
"What are you on about? Who?"
She looked between the two of them, wondering how obvious she had to make this. Apparently very obvious if they were actually going to break down their walls and talk to each other. She rolled her eyes as if they were stupid.
"I'm talking to you about him, and him about you. Forget all this unrequited shit, it's not worth it, trust me. Requited is much more fun!"
For the first time, Ross spoke to her directly. "How? What made you say that stuff?"
She shrugged again. "I'm psychic. Like I said, sometimes people need a little push to see what's in front of them. You two are perfect for each other, trust me."
She saw nervous little glances then, but they did make eye contact, if only briefly. Embarrassed eye contact at that, but it was a start. Jon still challenged her though.
"You're not psychic. How do you know anything about us?"
She grinned. "If I told you, I'd have to kill you!"
She left Jon laughing, sure that at least she had tried her best to find him a job and a lover, and headed off into the woods herself. She heard the sound of the car as it pulled off, and hoped that they would listen to her. Mind you, she thought amused, she was just a nut they'd met at the side of the road. She'd have to call Matt and let him know about the job offer, and she'd find out later if any of it had worked.
* * * * * *
Peter and Michael travelled quickly through the woodland, keen to get back to the mansion. It was only mid-morning but it had already felt like it had been a long and difficult day, and it wasn't likely to get any better until the missing men were found. It was the first time that either of them had been involved in something so desperate and important, aside from as observers, but they were already back to that role, first opportunity the Alphas had to dump the trainees they had.
Peter had felt irritated by it when the order was given, but he wasn't going to disobey, he was too well trained. Now though, walking through the woods with the unconscious man in his arms he was glad. He wanted to help, and what could they do that was more important than saving more captives? A man's life was in his hands and he needed to do everything he could for him. He looked at the guy he was carrying with interest, wanting to know how he had ended up captured and where he had come from.
The body was totally limp, well sedated and it would probably take some hours to wear off if they had been on drips for a while. Still, it was fit and lean. Not like his with his muscles, but then he doubted the man did much training other than running. That was probably it, he felt toned but he was still slim. All he was wearing was a pair of loose trousers, but Peter suspected he would have toned legs as well as the chest he could already see. There was very little hair on it, except for a thin line down his stomach that Peter's eyes followed, looking at where it disappeared into the trousers and wondering what it lead to and what it would feel like if he followed it with his tongue.
He snapped back to reality with a start. Where the hell had that thought come from? He looked across at Michael, the man who had been his lover for months and he had been caressing and sucking off this morning when the distressed cry came from Tilly, startling them out of anything more. They had made love just last night, so how could he possibly be thinking of doing anything with the man in his arms? Michael was a little ahead of him, but also focussed on the man he held and making sure he kept his footing through the uneven ground of the woods.
Peter's attention was drawn back down then, taking in the soft masculine features that somehow drew him in. The man had short hair by comparison to him, but it flopped over his face as he moved. It was a mid-brown that was highlighted in the sunlight when they moved through the patches of light dappled in the woods. He wondered what his eyes would look like because they were securely shut, but he wanted to see them. The guy was almost certainly wolf, while the other was definitely lion, the curly blond hair giving him away. From the second he and Michael had got in the van they had seemed to know which man to look after.