The two of the most feared foundation agents arrived at Hotel Gresham, exhausted and covered in goo. Dr. Clef walked up to the receptionist with a ‘charming’ smile on his face, completely dismissing the disgusted expressions of civilians as he passed by. He came to a halt, and causally leaned over the desk.
"Good day, Miss...Chalton. Two single rooms, please?"
The woman, dazed and more than a little repulsed took a minute to reply that she must check first.
“What a delightful man he is!” She thought to herself.
Kondraki, who stood impatiently by the entrance, just eyed the lady warily.
"I'm awfully sorry, sir", announced the woman gingerly, cheeks flushed and eyes glancing about nervously;" We only have a couple room left. A tourist group arrived this morning and they’re currently occupying most of the rooms. Surely you and your...companion wouldn’t mind..."
Clef turned around to look at Kondraki, who was now leaning against the wall, and raised an eyebrow. Kondraki ran his fingers impatiently through his hair.
"Honestly don't care right now, man. I just want to get some sleep, even if I have to share a bed with you, you jerk."
Grinning, Clef pulled out his credit card. “This will be interesting,” he mused while half-heartedly flirting with Miss. Chalton.
As they strolled down the hallway, two small suitcases dragging behind them, Kondraki scoffed "You know, if you were willing to spend half as much effort on the god damn mission as you were with messin’ about with girls, then maybe we won't be covered in this gross shit. "
Clef just grinned, and swung his arm over Kondraki's shoulder.
"Come on Konny dear, that scip was gonna eat ya, I was tryna save your ass back there. Besides, you were the one who sliced it in half. "
Kondraki frowned, but resisted the urge to send Clef flying into the wall. He was too tired to deal with his bullshit right now.
Both of them ignored the terrified look a passerby gave them as they made their way to the couple room.
The ride up the elevator remained awkwardly silent as both agents plotted how best to kick the other off the one and only bed. When the door opened however, all thoughts of sleep disappeared as they fought violently for the first shower. It ended up with Clef draped across the bathtub supporting several bruises as well as a bloody nose, and Kondraki in the shower with an aching head that Clef made sure to exact upon him (after the you-know-which incident). Their wet clothes were scattered carelessly on the bathroom tiles: torn and shredded.
The pair paused to gaze at the ceiling, allowing tense muscles the time to loosen up after a day of intensive tracking.
Clef washed himself with haste and tugged on his pajamas before diving into the middle of the bed, sinking his face into the softness of the bedding. Kondraki, however, soon kicked him to one side forcefully.
"They only have one duvet." He declared, sitting himself on the other side of the bed while impatiently drying his hair with a towel. Clef reached up to him playfully, lacing his fingers through the Brunet’s dark, curly locks. Kondraki froze.
"Get your fucking hands off my head or I swear I will rip y..."
"Okay, okay! Dude, chill."
Neither was in the mood for arguing, so they soon settled under the covers after Kondraki threatened to smash Clef's brain into the wall if he was to harass him in his sleep. Clef just mumbled in reply, before dozing off completely. Rolling his eyes, Kondraki yawned loudly and flicked the lights off. However, they had both forgotten something.
It was mid-January.
They were in England.
They forgot to check the heating, which was broken in their room.
Clef found himself at the end of a corridor. He was shivering in the frozen air when he spotted a radiator at the other end. He moved blindly towards the only source of warmth, which proved to be difficult. It felt like walking through syrup with strings tangled to his limbs. He struggled, but eventually got closer to the warmth when he felt something wet and slimy brush against the back of his neck.
Clef turned to look, only to find an abyss of pure black behind him. And as he stared into the abyss, the abyss stared back. The abyss had no eyes, but it saw right into his soul.
" You are not a hero," the abyss whispered, and Clef paled. " You are not a murderer." Fear rose up his throat like a strangled scream.
"Its just a nightmare" he told himself. Indeed it was, but he couldn’t help but to remember the memories, which he longed to forget.
"You are just a lonely, empty shell of a human." He gasped and fell to his knees. "You are nothing without your lies. NOTHINGNOTHINGNOTHING..." the voice screeched with maniacal laughter. Clef trembled, feeling a hand clench around his heart as he gasped for air. He was reminded of the fear of loss, the fear of being forgotten, and the fear of being alone.
The disgust of his own pathetic, mournful self had pushed him to build up a cocoon to cover himself with. A cocoon woven with lies, decorated with masked smiles and hardened with blood over his long career. A cocoon of fear, for he had been so scared to admit to the coward he really was. He hid himself under the armor, pretended invincible, when Andrews saw right through him. He had drilled a hole through the shell and reminded Clef who he really was. And Lord did that hurt. The feeling of being utterly vulnerable and exposed tore at him like a snail being ripped out of its shell, weak and unprepared. Pain shot through his head and Clef screamed. He felt cold. He felt lonely. He felt empty. He reached for the warmth but he couldn't move anymore, stranded in the abyss of his unbidden fear. Strings dragged him back from the heat, and a pair of clammy hands closed slowly around his neck...
Clef gasped and glanced around to find himself in the hotel bed, his sweat soaked t-shirt clinging to his back, cold sweat soaking through his dressing gown. The room was ice cold. He blinked blearily and felt the cold air of the room creep at his back, but he felt strangely warm.
Had he been wrapped up in blankets? He hesitantly raised his hand only to feel it collide with something firm but soft… It was Kondraki, who mumbled incoherently at the touch, but continued to sleep. Clef smiled bitterly. He didn’t want to face Kondraki's fury next morning. He checked his watch; the green light glowed in the darkness reading 01:14am. Clef sighed quietly, and began to carefully shuffle to his side of the bed.
To his surprise, Kondraki turned over, draping his arm and shoulder on top of Clef. He tried to pull away when he realized but found that he couldn’t when Kondraki frowned with distaste and simply pulled him closer. In the end Clef gave up struggling. It didn’t feel bad and the room was so cold. The sensation of skin against skin felt ambiguous, but it was somehow comforting. It had been a long time since Clef felt this way, protected and ...safe. Like he didn’t have anything to worry about because this gigantic, strong and lunatic man is here with him. People around him die, but Clef knew Kondraki wouldn't, not in a long time.
"Konny." Clef whispered, and pressed closer threading their fingers together gently before drifting into a dreamless sleep. He smiled. A true, heart-felt smile.
It was 06:54am when Kondraki woke up. Now, he is as confused as a man could possibly be. Blinking down he found himself curled around a sleeping Clef. A slight movement of legs confirmed that they were completely tangled together, legs intertwined. The smaller man was tucked into his arms and snored softly against Kondraki’s chest with a faint smile on his cheek. His nose nudged gently against the other’s collarbone and Kondraki could feel warm breath fanning against his own skin. Clef’s soft, black hair tickled at his neck; Kondraki was suddenly struck by how much he was reminded of a sleeping cat. He blearily brushed some of Clef’s hair away and found himself drawn to the sharp angle of Clef’s jaw and the slope of his neck, fingers lingering where his mind chided him for looking . Dancing at the cusps of sleep, Kondraki’s fingers trailed further down to brush against the sleeping man’s lips and his eyes to glance at the lashes.
After catching himself staring at Clef for an indecent amount of time, Kondraki first thought was: " Well, the bastard looks quite cute when he sleeps," before hugging him even closer, because it really was quite cold (and Cleft was certainly more appealing when unconscious). The second was: " I'm going to smash his head in when he wakes up," which would have been followed by: "…but I'll let him sleep for now," if the door hadn't burst open with a forceful kick.
"Jeez, it's freezing here." Dr. Jack Bright, aka SCP-963, aka the guy who does VERY DANGEROUS things and died multiple times, rubbed his arms as he stepped into the room.
"Wake up you sleepy heads! Your car is waiting downstairs, ready to bring y'all back to the Foundation! Wait, what the... HOLY SHI-"
A clean shot blew his head off, spraying blood across the white walls, sending panicked guests running in chaos down the stairs. Sitting up in bed, Clef yawned quietly, dropping his shotgun onto the bedside table. He was planning on going back to sleep when he was smashed into the wall, pinned down by the neck, chocking.
"Dr. Alto Clef, did I not warn you before we went to bed, that I would paint the fucking walls with yer brain if you didn’t keep your hands off me?" Kondraki's face turned bright red with rage, and maybe a little bit of embarrassment of almost getting caught snuggling up with Clef, being all tender and nice with him.
" You...can't blame me, Konny" Clef coughed, "…was too cold."
"Shut yer ugly trap" Kondraki shouted, grabbing Clef's collar. Clef closed his eyes, bracing for the impact, but this time his head was not slammed nine times into the corner of a table. Instead he felt soft lips press against his. Clef’s eyes fluttered open with surprise.
Kondraki was kissing him.