Characters: Tom Zarek, Jan Meier, OCs
Warnings: BDSM, anal sex, physical violence, blood, and lots of lying and manipulation!
Summary: Meier comes up with an elegant (and violent) solution to his problems.
Original Story: Shanked by hobbit_kate
Meier stepped unnoticed through the corridors of the Astral Queen, past the open cell doors, discarded red jumpers, and overturned beds. He inhaled deeply, tasting the changed air, inhaling a new freedom unexpectedly given by those who wished to enslave them all. For nine years he’d been in prison, moved from location to location as his machinations garnered him better and better living conditions. From the rat-infested municipal prison on Libran to the “resort-prison” on Scorpia, he’d learned to work the Colonial Corrections system as easily as he’d greased the underbelly of Inter-Fleet politics before prison.
Ahead of him, a crowd formed around Tom Zarek, the man in power. Not so long ago, Meier had been at his right hand, plotting and scheming to keep him strong. Meier’d screwed it up, though, with a scheme gone bad. What they’d had two years ago had been ended with a sudden transfer to another prison.
Meier smiled to himself now, giddy from the moment he’d learned Tom was on board the Astral Queen. Since then, he’d been collecting information to ingratiate himself to his former lover. It wouldn’t be long before he was back at his side…and in his bed.
Meier skimmed the edges, watching the postures of the men who watched and measured, mentally noting the risks. Meier was an expert at reading the simplest signs of resistance, of questioning and of alliance, obvious tells that others couldn’t see. For his whole life it served him well. Now, with another chance to get what he needed, he catalogued everything.
“The points system may or may not be honored,” Tom said to the crowd. He’d agreed to Lee Adama’s bargain, but he didn’t believe it for a second. “They want you to feel like you have power, like you’re in control of your fate. Don’t be fooled. They still control the food and the water, and thus our lives.” Tom’s voice carried, deep and resonating with men whose freedoms had long ago been lost.
Meier watched Tom’s face from between the shoulders of two others, the deep lines around his eyes, a sadness he hadn’t expected and didn’t yet understand. They were free.
As Tom’s eyes skimmed the crowd, Meier stepped forward into his gaze. Meier saw him pause, eyes widening as his voice remained steady. Meier’s skin pricked and his face grew hot, his awareness filled with Tom Zarek, the old connection thrumming through his veins. It scared him, what he felt. That deep unexplainable need, a desire for more than power, more than sex. A need for Tom to want him in return, need him, trust him. All of that and nothing less. He’d have to find a way.
Deep into the night, the Astral Queen finally fell silent, the hoots and hollers of a late-evening celebration drifting into the quiet sounds of a reluctant but necessary lights-out. Tom, he knew, had abandoned his cage and had moved into the former Commander’s quarters. Meier’s steps quickened as he took the stairs up two levels and down a narrow corridor.
Outside the hatch, one of Tom’s men, Kirke, stood watch.
“Tom in?” Meier asked.
“Who’s askin’?” Kirke was a wide man with pale ruddy skin and short fingers.
“Jan Meier. Tom’s expecting me.” It was a lie he knew was true.
“Gimme a minute,” the man said and disappeared into the room.
As he predicted, Kirke waved him in a moment later and Meier pushed the hatch door closed behind him.
Tom was at the far wall in jeans and a dark shirt, holding a decanter of clear liquid over two glasses. “You want some?” He asked without glancing his way.
“Yeah. Good stuff?” Meier took a quick breath, calming himself.
“Unfortunately, Warden Pneri had shit taste. But it’s been a while.” Tom finally turned and held out a glass of the clear liquid, his eyes meeting Meier’s.
Stepping closer, Meier took the glass, pleased at the steadiness of his hand. “To freedom,” Meier said and clinked his glass against Tom’s.
Tom snorted, but gave a faint smile and drank. Draining his glass, Tom dropped it back to the table surface and leaned back, appraising Meier.
“Saw your name on the prisoner manifest. Surprised you were up for parole.”
Meier shrugged and took a small sip of his drink. “You know how it goes. Somehow I manage a parole hearing every year and somehow they still keep me locked up.” Meier paused, glancing around the room. He’d never been called into the Warden’s quarters. “Or at least they did. I guess all that’s changed.” Meier focused on Tom’s face.
“We’ll see. We’re vulnerable, but it’s a start.” Tom’s voice was stilted, odd against Meier’s sharp memory of the Tom he knew two years ago.
“You’ll need some help,” Meier said, taking a step closer.
Tom’s gaze didn’t waver and Meier felt the first tick of insecurity.
“I’ve had my ear to the ground since we got the ship. You don’t have everyone’s support.” Meier appealed to his need for information.
“And…” Tom tightened his arms across his chest, challenging.
Meier cleared his throat. “Yin and Barlaac…keep your eyes on those two.”
“And what about you? I need to keep my eyes on you?”
“I’m on your side. You know that.” Meier shifted from foot to foot under the memory of a small betrayal that had dogged them a long time ago.
“Not always.” Tom shook his head and sighed, pouring more drink into his glass. “It’s a whole new world, Meier. This is humanity’s last chance and I need people around I can trust.”
Meier snorted. “In a prison? I’m your best ally and you know it.”
“Do I?” Tom said, his eyes growing distant for a long moment.
Meier took a step closer and laid a hand on Tom’s waist. “You need my help.”
“And in return…?” Tom clasped his hand around the back of Meier’s neck.
“The only thing I ever wanted,” Meier said, voice low and intimate.
“No commitment,” Tom said, fingers tightening and pulling Meier closer.
Tom kissed him, gently at first and then with increasing pressure, threading his fingers roughly into Meier’s hair as the kiss intensified.
Meier palmed Tom’s erection, feeling his desire under his hand. Tom wanted him. He didn’t trust him, but he wanted him and that was a start.
Their kiss deepened, Meier’s fingers tracing memories on Tom’s skin as he reached inside his jeans to touch silken flesh. His own erection strained against the red fabric of the jumpsuit he still wore. Tom nipped his lip with his teeth and groaned as Meier wrapped his hand around his dick.
A sharp knock interrupted them and Tom swore, pulling away and removing Meier’s hand from his pants. Tom’s face was a mix of regret and relief and something that Meier couldn’t place. Something had happened and he had no idea what.
Meier swallowed and smoothed his hair, watching Tom adjust himself and take a seat at the warden’s old desk.
Tom called to Kirke and he poked his half-bald head through the hatch, ignoring Meier. “Mason’s body’s ready.”
Meier watched Tom’s face twist in pain and then he knew. Knew exactly why Tom avoided the celebration, why there was a weight to his voice and his eyes. Mason had been more than a prisoner to Tom. Meier swore under his breath and chastised himself. He should have known.
“Yeah, okay. I’ll be there in a minute.” Tom dismissed Kirke and rapped the desk hard with his knuckles.
“Tom… I’m sorry about Mason. I didn’t know he meant something to you.” Meier spoke plainly.
“Bastards,” Tom said, avoiding Meier’s words. He stood and grabbed a dark colored leather jacket from a hook. “We’ll take this government down ship by ship, piece by piece until it’s dismantled.”
“Tom…” Meier’s tone was more plaintive than he wanted, his desire to comfort Tom clouding his voice.
Tom gave him a sharp look. “Go back to your cell, Meier. I’ve got to go.” He yanked open the hatch and disappeared.
The food was no better since the Astral Queen came under prisoner control, but at least Meier could eat when he wanted, avoiding the usual gauntlet of allies and enemies a prisoner had to walk to get to his daily meals. He stepped with more surety today, his eyes still scanning for danger, but emboldened by the fact that Tom still felt something. Enough he hoped.
Skirting around a group of men with metal trays and glowering expressions, Meier grabbed a cluster bar and dropped it into his pocket, lingering a moment hear the conversation.
“Way I see it, Zarek’ll get what he wants. Always does.” Malcolm, doing ten for armed robbery and assault, spoke without hesitation. His red jumpsuit was half-off, revealing a wide muscular back with five small tattoos forming a star on his left side.
Another voice with a thick Gemenese accent interrupted. “That’s what you think. Government hates him and it always has. You’ve been in the poke for too long. I heard that Adar offered him a full pardon and he spit at him. I’m not sure he’s going to get us anything but more time. The Fleet’s not going to want to give food and water to a bunch of criminals.” Meier glanced behind him to see Brenner, a small-shouldered man with a thin face and long nose, hunched over his coffee. He had a way of seeming small but Meier knew his real power; he was a supplier, could get the men what they needed. Tom would want him on his side.
“I’m just waitin’ to see. Glad to be outta that cell. That’s all I’m thinkin’.” The third man wavered, his voice akin to a shrug and Meier took a step back towards the hatch to leave, mentally filing what he’d learned.
“Meier!” A deep voice startled him and he swung around, body taut. He sensed the three men behind him turn to stare, all of them taking in the looming figure of Brin Hagal, his heavily tattooed arms showing where he’d ripped off the sleeves of his red jumpsuit. An ornate red, black and gold serpent wound its way around his left arm.
Meier felt his bowels loosen and he froze.
“Where the frak you come from?” Hagal took two steps forward and Meier’s mind spun, limbs refusing to take flight like he should. It was Tom’s expectations in his mind that kept him pinned to the spot. No second in command would run.
“Hagal. Long time, no see.” Meier mustered a smile and greeted him. He’d been in worse scrapes.
“Don’t give me that charm bullshit, Meier.” Hagal got close then, and Meier stepped back, his hips hitting the edge of a table. He tried to keep his body from bending backwards over it. “You owe me for a month in the dirt and I’m thinking one of those pretty blue eyes might do the trick.”
“Wasn’t me, Hagal. Weaver flipped on you. I’m not a godsdamned rat.” Meier felt pinned and desperate, his voice sharp and high as he tried to save his ass. Two years ago he’d pitted two guards against each other, using one of Hagal’s men as bait. It was Hagal who got hooked for it in the end and went to solitary for a month.
“Weaver heard the whole frakking thing. And you sure got your ass transferred fast. Even Zarek didn’t know what a slime you were.”
Swallowing hard, Meier slid his body to the side and away from the table’s edge. He straightened and shook himself, felt the eyes watching, weighing the situation. No one came to his aid.
“You’ve got your facts wrong. Weaver was shagging your best boy Quinn. He had a lot to lose if you found out his mouth ran.” Meier shoved his fingers through his hair and took a calming breath. A plan sparked in his mind.
With his life in his throat, Meier took a step towards the giant Hagal and spoke quietly. “You want in here…on this crew? Zarek’s crew?” Meier began his game, pulling Hagal close, offering power where he knew the man had none.
“Cozying up to Zarek again? Figures.” Hagal snorted. He didn’t play the prison sex game, relying on his brute strength to keep him free and clear. He never believed one man could love another. Meier used that to his advantage.
Meier lowered his voice more, mouth barely moving, and Hagal bent his head towards him to hear. “I know where he’s vulnerable, where and when you can get what you want. They took our guns, but not everything…” Meier raised a brow, intimated an opportunity to kill Tom. Anything to get him out of Hagal’s sights. “Give me until tomorrow. When the mining crew goes out. Oh nine hundred. Corridor seven-alpha.”
Hagal stared at him, tattoos on his neck stretching as he tilted his head to consider the offer. He nearly growled his response, “One chance. Either him or you. You choose.”
Then Hagal punched him hard in the gut and Meier doubled over, gasp-groaning as he clutched at the pain. He took long deep breaths while his mind raced to catch up to his plan. He needed to see Tom.
Meier waited in the dim light for Tom to return from his meeting. He’d slipped in an hour ago past a distracted Kirke to slide himself under the sheets to wait. It was a risk, he knew, but his choices were few. He needed to get Hagal out of the picture.
He was beginning to doze when he heard noise at the hatch and Tom’s low voice ending a conversation with someone unknown. Meier felt arousal pulling at his balls and he lowered the blanket low around his waist.
When the table lamp flicked on, Meier blinked. “Thought you’d be longer,” he said casually, watching Tom toss a wad of papers onto the desk.
“And I thought you’d knock.” Tom glanced at him, mouth tight.
“I missed you.” Meier moved into the weaker position automatically, giving Tom his due, the power he craved.
Tom’s lips pulled into a frown and he shook his head. “It’s not that easy, Meier.” He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it back on the hook where Meier had seen it the day before.
“Can be. I’m right here.” He sat up straighter in the bed, his skin softened gold in the light of the lamp.
“It’s been a long day.” Tom sat and began to loosen the ties on his boots, flicking the laces with a snap against the chair leg.
Almost without thought, Meier moved silently, casting off the sheet and stepping nude behind Tom. He squeezed his shoulders and felt him tense. But when he didn’t move away, Meier kneaded Tom’s tight muscles, working his thumbs along the edges of his shoulder blades. Tom sighed and Meier smiled behind him.
Tom toed off the boots and leaned back in the metal chair, letting his head fall against Meier’s abdomen. Meier felt his dick move in response, imagining Tom turning, taking him into his mouth. He shivered and cleared his mind, focusing on Tom’s pleasure. His would come later.
Meier slowly slid his hands down Tom’s chest, tugging at the bottom of his shirt to pull it loose from his jeans. Tom said nothing, but Meier felt his breath quicken, the pounding of his heart as his hand lingered on his warm chest. He bit down an urge to speak. He needed to bide his time.
With an unexpected flick of movement, Tom opened his belt and whipped it out of its loops. He stood and spun, and cracked the belt against his leg. Meier acted fast, unbuttoning Tom’s jeans and pulling them open to force the zipper down. He moved to kneel, to suck him off, but Tom stopped him and grabbed his arms.
Tom wrapped the black leather belt around Meier’s wrists and slid the end through to cinch it. With his pants undone, Tom stood with the long end of the belt gripped in his hand like a leash. He yanked once, pulling Meier to test the bond. Meier’s dick was hard now and he saw Tom smirk.
Tom took up the belt again and led Meier to the bed. He pushed him down to sitting, then onto his back while Tom looped the belt around the bed post. He had yet to meet Meier’s eyes, give him his due, but he knew better than to complain, draw attention to himself. Tom would be his soon enough.
Tom stripped and knelt on the gray sheets. He nudged Meier’s knees apart and squeezed his balls, testing, hurting him like he used to. Tom released and gave a few quick strokes to Meier’s dick. A see what you can have gesture. Meier felt that deep longing uncoil inside him.
Tom stripped and settled between Meier’s legs, pushing his knees wider apart to reaveal his ass. Tom licked two fingers and probed his hole, letting one, then two slide inside. Meier gasped and pushed against the pressure, body begging for more. Tom fingerfrakked him with one hand and touched himself with the other. Meier watched his face, his dick, his body, looking for the telltale signs, his arousal overcoming his mind, his need for control faltering. He saw nothing but hardness.
In response, Meier began to struggle against the belt, wrenching his fingers to free himself. Tom’s eyes sprung to the belt and then to Meier’s eyes. Deep blue and hard. He’d done enough to make Tom angry and now knew exactly what to do. He twisted his entire body, shoving out Tom’s fingers and wrenching himself to sitting in one swift movement. It knocked Tom off balance, but he recovered fast and grabbed Meier’s shoulder, shoving him hard into the headboard.
“I didn’t tell you you could move.” Tom let loose some of his anger, fingers digging into his skin.
“Frak you. I didn’t come to get dicked around.” Meier feigned rebellion, seizing on a spark of annoyance and fanning it into a brighter flame.
“You’ll do just what I say. Like you always do. Lie down.” Tom released him and eased back, watching.
Meier glared and turned his head to the belt and began to pull at it with his teeth. The taste of leather and sweat filled his nose and the next second blood was in his mouth. Tom shoved his face hard against the metal headboard and his teeth tore a hole into his lip.
“Frakking hell!” He shouted. Tom’s fingers dug into the back of his neck, forcing his teeth deeper into his lip. Adrenaline jacked up his heart.
Tom yanked Meier’s face away and flipped him onto his stomach, stretching his arms awkwardly high, wrenching his shoulders. “There’s nothing here, Meier. Nothing. Never was.” Tom barked out the words and spread Meier’s ass apart. He felt his fingers plunge deep inside again, two then three then more and the sound of Tom spitting. Hot and wet, the fingers left and Tom sank his dick inside, deep. Meier groaned, pain and pleasure, the taste of blood on his tongue.
Tom punished him with his body, frakking him hard and fast, punching his sides, his back, careful to spare the kidneys, but he’d be bruised and sore for a week. Meier reveled in Tom’s anger, pushing him higher and higher until Tom’s fists stopped, and he simply frakked him.
Shouting a curse, Tom came into his ass, and hit him one last time before jerking away, his breath ragged. Meier’s body wavered between pain and the tingle of skin that had been brought alive. His own breath came fast, his hips moving against the sheets, seeking release.
Tom lay silently next to him, letting him rut in the bed until Meier groaned, his own release coming hot and wet against his stomach. He nearly cried for the relief of it, the pleasure spreading a warm blanket over the stinging, throbbing welts on his back and ribs.
For long minutes, they lay breathing, Meier’s consciousness half-gone, dipping onto the pool of sleep that called to him. In his mind, he saw the Tom of old, less angry, more calculating, using precision and cunning to keep Meier in line. Now, he felt broken, untethered in a way Meier understood. Tom’s last chance at real change was beyond the hatch, beyond this ship, in the seat of power of a broken and ragged Fleet. Tom needed Meier more than ever.
And like always, soon after their violence, Tom began to rub Meier’s flesh lightly, circling over the reddened skin, soothing what he had wrought. Meier felt the light touch of Tom’s mouth on his shoulder, the nudge for him to turn. Meier complied, his mind sharp and ready. The hardest part was yet to come.
In the shadows, Meier met Tom’s eyes, saw the sadness, the regret that came after. In this he held his power. Tom was not a man easily angered, citing a loss of control as an animal thing. And their game, as he liked to call it, gave him exactly that.
Meier pulled gently at the belt and Tom sat up to release it. He rubbed at Meier’s wrists, drawing his arms down gently, pausing when Meier winced. When Meier laid back, Tom covered them with the blanket and turned off the lamp. He settled in next to him, skin to skin, but at a distance. This old relationship was new and trust was being built again.
“I heard some things today. I think you should know.” Meier kept his voice quiet.
“Hmm?” Tom used his thumb to stroke along the skin of Meier’s wrist.
“Hagal. You know him?”
“No. Recognize the name. He’s the one with the snake tattoo?”
“What about him?” Tom drew his fingers up along the inside of Meier’s arm.
“Heard he’d like your position. I knew him, you know, back in Hephaestus.” The prison where he and Tom had been lovers. Meier’d been on Hagal’s crew in the work detail when he’d transferred into to Tom’s cell. Tom had no occasion to meet him. “Ran a whole crew there and thinks he can do it better than anyone.”
“Yeah, I remember. When I saw his name on the manifest, I was surprised he was up for parole. Killed a guard, didn’t he?”
“But no one ever proved it.” In truth, it had been the outcome of Meier’s double-cross. Hagal’d gone to the dirt for a month because they suspected but couldn’t prove he’d been involved.
Meier shivered as Tom’s palm slid down his chest and over his thighs. Time to set things up before they were frakking again. “Hagal’s plotting something, Tom. I know it. He and that Gemenese, Brenner, they’ve got access to weapons, I heard.” Meier touched Tom’s shoulder and leaned back to find his face with his eyes. Drive the point home. “I don’t want anything to happen to you. Not now, now that I found you again.” Meier held his breath, worried he’d gone too far when Tom’s hand paused over his skin.
“What do you have in mind?” Tom slid his body against Meier, pressing his half-hard erection into his hip. Meier smiled in the darkness and began to weave a lie, giving details to Hagal’s “threat” and ensuring that Hagal wouldn’t survive.
With timing in mind, Meier managed to stall Tom for half an hour by seducing him into a quick frak in the shower. Tom had been rough in the taking, shoving him against the cold tiles. After, though, he’d washed him down, taking care of the bruises from the night before. Tom was starting to trust him again and saving him from Hagal’s shank would ensure it.
Meier followed silently behind Tom as they walked through the dank and dark corridors of the Astral Queen, approaching seven-alpha and the spot where he expected Hagal to attack. He clenched his fists, readying himself for action, swallowing down an unexpected fear. It was only in this moment, with his breath held in his throat that he understood the risk, saw a flash of Hagal’s size and menace, the real chance that Tom might be hurt.
Meier squared his shoulders and shook his head. The plan was good. Hagal wasn’t expecting Meier to fight back and it would be two against one. It would work.
Right on cue, they turned the corner and the looming shape of Hagal appeared, his tattooed neck strained with sudden effort as he lunged towards Tom. Meier saw the glint of the knife and shoved Tom aside, arching his body hard to the side and reaching up towards the knife to grab it.
Tom shouted and lunged at Hagal, too, swiping his arm up hard, trying to dislodge the knife coming at them. Meier gasped as the blade sank into his upper arm. Tom’s blow made it worse, hitting at the wrong angle and driving the knife up through the underside of Meier’s bicep. Meier stumbled back and the blade slid back out, slicing down his arm as Hagal held on tight to the weapon. Meier slumped against the wall, shock and blood pouring off him. The wound was on fire and he clutched it to his chest, pressing to stop the gush of blood.
Near him, Hagal lunged again at Tom, but Tom deflected the blow, hitting Hagal hard under the chin and snapping his head back. Hagal’s hand went slack and the knife skittered across the metal decking. Tom dove down to grab it and Hagal landed hard on top of him. Meier saw the flash of the blade striking Tom and then two rolled away, their bodies obscured behind a bulkhead.
Gripping the bleeding hole in his arm, Meier tried to shout to Tom. He gasped air instead, his mind spinning. His fingers were hot and sticky. Too much blood for an arm wound. Maybe it went too deep. He could see part of their struggle, their legs kicking and intertwined, heard their grunts and curses. They were fighting to the death, but Hagal was too strong. He knew Tom, knew what he couldn’t do. Then he heard a sharp scream and then another. The sound of a blade slicing through flesh over and over again. Meier vomited, spilling bitter bile and bits of toast down his chin. Everything was going wrong. It wasn’t supposed to go this way.
His mind couldn’t follow the sounds of the blade, five, six, maybe seven times. He tried not to imagine Tom’s blood on the deck, how it was all his fault. He gagged again, awareness fading into a dream, a dark spinning room, floating free, and then nothing.
Awareness returned like a sharp stick in the eye, bright white lights stabbing into the hazy recesses of his mind. He groaned and covered his eyes.
“Where am I?” As he asked the question, the images came spinning back, blood and screams. His arm throbbed, confirming his memory. He didn’t want to wake up.
“Infirmary. For doing something stupid.” The voice didn’t make sense.
“Tom?” Meier blinked and tried to focus. Tom’s face framed against a white wall. Where was he?
“Yeah, I’m here.” He felt a strong hand squeeze his fingers.
Meier’s mouth felt sticky. “You…stabbed,” he couldn’t think and everything started to go white again.
“Meier. Jan.” Someone was nudging his shoulder. “Wake up. We’ve got work to do.” That was definitely Tom’s voice.
He blinked his eyes open, the stabbing pain in his head hurt less and his eyes were able to focus on the very real face of Tom Zarek.
“I thought you got stabbed,” Meier said, voice croaking.
“Yup.” Tom held up his hand, wrapped with white gauze. “Just a bit. Won’t take long to heal.”
“Hagal?” Meier stared at Tom’s face, not quite believing.
“Dead. Bastard came at us and you jumped in front of me. Why would you do that?” Tom’s brow wrinkled, anger sparking in his expression.
“I saw the blade.” Even in the fog, Meier knew how to tell the partial truth.
“You’re an idiot.” Tom’s voice held a teasing note.
“But you’re okay.” Meier finally let out a breath. He was okay.
“Yeah.” Tom leaned down and kissed Meier full on the lips. “Takes more than a bit of scrap metal to do me in.”
Meier groaned and pulled Tom roughly towards him with his good arm.
Tom resisted, pushing back and gesturing to his bandaged arm.
“I’m fine. Please.” He needed to feel Tom against him, make sure it was real. That he hadn’t frakked it all up.
Tom stepped around to the other side of the bed and climbed in next to him. He kissed him slowly and slid his hospital gown away to grip his dick and stroke.
“You saved my life,” Tom said. This was how Tom showed his feelings, always with sex, with his mouth or hands, but never the words Meier wanted to hear. A politician who always kept his cards covered.
Meier greedily accepted what he offered and kissed him deeply, overwhelmed by what he felt. How much he needed Tom in return. He fumbled for Tom’s zipper, and with help, slid his hand inside his pants, finding his dick. Meier showed him, too, with a firm grip and eyes that didn’t leave Tom’s.
They touched each other gently, fingers easy and light until the urgency took them. Meier moved his hips into Tom’s hand, straining for more, wanting him inside him, but settling for this quiet moment instead. He finally came, bittersweet and rough, with his mouth pressed against Tom’s shoulder, teeth notching his skin. A moment later, Tom groaned against Meier’s hair, whispering something unintelligible.
Meier heard what he wanted and sighed with satisfaction. He relaxed into the pillows, head against Tom’s shoulder.
Everything had gone just according to plan.