The ninja covered his face again, being able to stand up after being smashed against the ground. Kevin was still in shock, almost paralyzed, very close to were he had stood when that familiar face had looked at him with the eye that had gazed upon his so many times in the past. The ninja did not stay to chat; he was agile enough to open the wind and exit through there. How did he not fall to his death? Kevin had no idea. To be honest, he wasn’t even thinking of that.
That night, he wasn’t able to sleep. He decided to go to work early and check on the records again for the incident that had taken the life of his husband almost two years ago. As he drove to work in the middle of the night, he remembered that day clearly. They had been fighting a lot, the reason been that Paul wanted to have more missions on his own. He didn’t want to be paired up with his husband every single time. Kevin took this the wrong way.
For a week, the tension in their home had been very high. They would only spoke to each other if they had to, avoiding each other completely at work. However, they were assigned to the same mission once again and Paul wasn’t up to complaining about it with his superiors. He knew it wasn’t a good way to try to start his own thing as an agent so, in order to win everybody’s trust as a capable guy, he accepted the mission without asking any questions.
It was a very straightforward mission: they had to infiltrate a very secure compound where a very wealthy businessman kept his private documents. In them, he supposedly had proof of the existence of several chemical and biological weapons that had been sold illegally to countries that wouldn’t know how to manage any of that. Their mission was only to copy the documents and come out as soon as possible.
Entering the compound was very simple. The three agents they had sent were able to step in undetected, all very well trained in martial arts and everything needed in order not to make noise or activate any of the alarms of the place. They were able to reach the library, where the documents were being kept. It was Paul who took the pictures of what they needed and finished just when Kevin stepped in the wrong direction and activated an alarm.
They had to knockout several of the businessman’s thugs, which was easy at the beginning. But on their way out, one of them was able to take hold of Paul and Kevin was sure he had heard the snapping of his neck and his body falling to the ground. He was sure he had seen his body hit the ground just as his body went numb and the other agent had to help him run faster.
The information was lost that day. However, they were able to retrieve all of it months later, in a raid the special forces of the state had been authorized to do in the compound. Of course, they had no opposition of any kind. They didn’t find any bodies on the premises or recently dug areas. Even like that, it was very unlikely that Paul had survived that. The guy that grabbed him was taller and bigger in every sense, his hands being larger than Paul’s face. He had to be dead, that’s what Kevin had to convince himself to believe
There was a funeral for Paul and everyone in the agency attended. Kevin got to meet his parents, which he had never met before. He didn’t get close to share his grief, instead looking from afar and realizing that, despite having gotten married in secret, they still didn’t know a lo about each other. The fact that he had no idea what Paul’s mom looked like before the funeral made him feel awful.
And that was two years ago. As he drove into the office building, he realized he had no idea what route he had chose to get there. He had barely paid attention to the road and he felt bad for that for a second, before returning to those days once again, before Paul disappeared and they were happy, back when they had decided that they wanted to live together forever and ever.
It had been a very easy thing to decide. They had been dating for a little more than a year after the relationship had started in the strangest of ways: not four months before commencing their love story, Kevin had finished another one with a former girlfriend with which he had been engaged to be married. He decided to call off the wedding when he realized he couldn’t deny that he felt different inside and needed to process that. Beside, work had been hard, as usual.
Paul had been working with them for a while, not too long. He barely knew him well and the truth was they didn’t really like each other. Paul saw Kevin as the typical guy that thinks he’s better than everyone else at anything, form his physical appearance to anything he could do with his body and his mind. And Kevin thought Paul was a very smug guy, never really accepting his mistakes or accepting his obvious flaws.
It was on a mission that took several months to complete, where Paul had saved Kevin from a bomb, practically using himself as a shield in order to protect his partner. From then on, they gained a certain respect for each other that enabled them to form a relationship that grew to be a very stable friendship. But even then, they felt something was off with all of it.
At the same time, Kevin began his problems with his girlfriend. They got worse as the date of their wedding got near and, after another intense mission where he and Paul single handedly completed the task at hand; he realized she was not what he wanted from life. So he cancelled the engagement and tried to think about everything for a while. Just two weeks after that, he kissed Paul for the first time. And another two weeks after, they had sex. It was then when Kevin realized that he had been very close to making a very big mistake.
The guard at the office building recognized him and he was able to enter without any problem. Outside, the first glimmer of the new day could be seen very far into the horizon. As he sat in his office, he looked for the files of their last mission and checked every single paper the Special Forces had submitted about their mission there, when the whole place had been swept.
He couldn’t understand what was missing, what had happened. Paul was dead; he had heard his neck snap. He was sure of it. He had been convincing himself of that for years. But now he was alive. Even with that scar on his face and those wild eyes, it was still him beneath that ninja outfit. He looked in the computer again and discovered that a similar ninja vigilante had been reported before, in a couple of missions by the agency. It seemed he was very skilled and worked both against and with them.
It was difficult for Kevin not to think about the guy with whom he had slept so many times, kissed so often and felt so close during so many nights. During their life together, they had slept in the nude and Kevin had learned to love to wake up and feel Paul just by his side. He would often hug him tight and kissed him softly. It was difficult to understand why and how he loved him so much but he did. Maybe that’s why it was so hard to see him alive.
A stack of papers fell from a nearby table. Kevin woke up from his daydreaming and looked in all directions. The papers had been stable moments before and there was no window opened. He got near it in order to check out the exterior but they were too high above the ground. He knew it was stupid to be worried. He decided to grab something to drink from a machine, unaware that the picture he kept there of the two of them had been taken away.
In the rooftop, Paul removed the cover over his face, revealing his very pale skin and the scar across the side. He looked at the picture, without any particular expression. He seemed to be on the edge of tears for a moment but then he threw the picture from the rooftop and put on his face cover again. The shadow of a soul that had been visible for a moment, was not there anymore.