Nicholas McGrade is a simple enough man. He is dishonest and cruel, manipulative and underhanded, violent and selfish. He danced in the ruins of London as bombs came crashing down around him. He loves Lizzie Carter like a rich man loves a prized possession. He lied and cheated and had even killed to get what he wanted.
But, in the end, he didn't get to keep her. Captain Sawyer's head split open on the hard cement foundation of a London street, Jack Rose's falsified death certificate, the engagement ring and the trans-Atlantic flight to the U.S. were all for naught.
The realization didn't come crashing down on him when he let the gun fall to floor, or when the cuffs clicked shut around his wrists. It didn't hit him as he watched Jack run to embrace a sobbing Lizzie, both distraught with horror and betrayal. It didn't even hit him when he was carted off to jail to await news of his fate.
No, the moment Nick McGrade realized he'd lost everything was when he was forced to strip, hosed down, and given prison coveralls. He'd escaped a German prison camp only to be humiliated and tossed into a jail in his own country. Anger boiled hot and painful in his chest. Nick screamed in rage and beat the other prisoner in the cell until he was unconscious. He had to be forcibly dragged away from the man and put in solitary confinement.
Corporal punishment was administered promptly enough. The former MI9 lieutenant was roped to a rectangular wooden frame and flogged with a cat-o'-nine-tails until his pants were soaked with blood and he couldn't help the strained sobs that clawed out of his raw throat.
He was returned to his cell in solitary. The blood on his back dried, caked on his skin. Any movement sent bolts of agony across the broken skin.
He didn't cry, though. Nick refused to show weakness. He waited for the trial.
He waited a week. He plead guilty, confessed to murdering Sawyer. Nick got off of a life sentence that way. He was sentenced to ten years in prison and dishonorably discharged from MI9 and the British Army.
After a week in solitary, Nick is put in his permanent cell with another man. He is younger than Nick - he has to be 25, at the oldest - and looks rather startlingly like Lizzie. The boy is pale, with wavy dirty blonde hair in an overgrown military cut, and sharp hazel eyes. His face is round and smooth, with high cheekbones and arched eyebrows, and his lean figure is elegantly muscled beneath the tattered coveralls he wears.
"What're you in for? Looks like murder," the boy's silky voice echoes in the dank room.
"Something like that," Nick replies, "Nick McGrade. 10 years. You?"
"Ah, Todd Warner. Murdered my family while on leave. Life." He smiles, baring his sharp white teeth.
"Right," Nick says, vaguely uncomfortable. He sits down on the unoccupied bed, gives the room a brief once-over. "Thought I'd have a nice American mansion with my girl. This isn't quite what I had in mind."
"Yeah, well, it's your home now. And for the next ten years. Good job getting caught, mate."
Nick sends Todd a sour glance.
"You're one to talk, Warner."
Jack Rose visits a few weeks later. They take Nick out of his cell and put him in a different room, where he's cuffed to the table. Jack walks in with the air of entitlement a free man has. He doesn't sit, looking down at Nick with barely restrained hatred.
"Come to gloat? Kick me while I'm down?" Nick sneers at the younger man. "You've got Lizzie. There's nothing more you can take from me."
"I wouldn't say that, McGrade. There's always something to be taken from a man." Jack gives Nick a level gaze.
"Then why are you here?" Nick queries.
"You hurt her, McGrade. You really did. You know what she told me? She told me, 'I don't know how much love I've got left in me.' You broke her heart. Twice."
Nick doesn't speak, clenches his jaw angrily. He's not sorry, he's just furious that he failed to keep Lizzie for himself.
"I won't let her see you. Ever. Not that she's tried, what with how much you've hurt her. If she ever has it in her to forgive you-- well, you don't deserve to know."
A growl forms in Nick's throat. He clenches his fists, digs his nails into his palms. He wants to hurt Jack Rose. He wants to tear his hands free from the cuffs around his wrists and crush Jack's throat.
"What, you're angry? You think she's some kind of possession?"
"She was to be my wife," he growls. "She was mine. Not yours."
Jack chuckles, but his eyes are flat, angry. "She's not yours anymore. She never was yours." He stands abruptly, goes to the door, signalling the end of their conversation. "Guard. I'm done here," he shouts tersely.
"I won't be here forever," Nick says, venomous. "Ten years is nothing. I'll find her, when I'm out. I'll get her back."
A guard opens the door, and Jack Rose walks out.
"I'll get her back, you'll see!" Nick shouts after him. "Might kill you, too, just for the hell of it!"
The guard slams Nick's head down onto the table. "Shut up, prisoner," he grunts, unlocking the cuffs only to twist his arms behind his back and restrain him once more. Nick groans as he's pulled roughly onto his feet, blood crawling slowly down his temple. He's lead back to his cell, uncuffed, and thrown onto his cot. The door slams solidly behind the guard.
"You're hurt," Todd's silky voice rings out, and Nick hears his approaching footsteps.
"It's just a scratch," Nick replies, voice clipped.
"Guard do it? There are some of them here who are worse than the inmates."
Nick nods his assent, looking up at Todd.
"God, you look like her," he rasps lowly.
"Ah, wondered when you'd say it. Which lover of yours do I resemble, hmm?" Todd smirks, lowers his eyelids.
Nick's brows furrow, taken aback. "I didn't mean to s-"
"Shhh," Todd is suddenly coy, seductive. He bends down and presses a finger against Nick's lips in order to silence him. The younger man's coveralls are unbuttoned at the collar, and it slips forward, revealing the pale column of his neck, the sharp contours of his collarbone. Nick swallows audibly, now completely aware of Todd's intention.
"My fiance, Lizzie," Nick answers softly. "You look like her."
"Are you here because of her?"
"Yes," he confesses. "I killed another officer in my department, who'd discovered that I faked the death of Lizzie's previous lover, Jack, who was in a POW camp."
"Clever," Todd compliments. "And how were you caught?"
"Jack made it back. The officer's body was found, they traced it back to me. I pulled a gun on Jack, but Lizzie was there. Then the police came." Nick scowls. "If I'd been faster, Lizzie and I would be in America now."
"She was yours," Todd observes. "You owned her."
Nick shakes his head in denial, but offers no words. He knows, deep down inside of him, that Todd is right. He knows, as brown eyes trace his body, that Todd knows that he knows this, that he can read it in Nick's eyes. A shiver runs down his spine, heat pooling in his groin. He stands, corners Todd before the wall. Todd smirks, licks his lips, flashes his teeth.
"I'll tell you a secret, Nick," he rasps. His small hands skirt up Nick's legs, run over his clothed thighs. His fingers curl over the elder's hips, resting there. He leans in, his lips a twitch away from touching the shell of Nick's ear. "You can own me, too, Nick," he whispers. "If you'd like, I can even pretend to be Lizzie."
Nick's hands find Todd's chest, pushing him away in disgust. "You'll never be Lizzie," he sneers.
Todd smirks, unbuttons the top of his jumpsuit, letting it fall around his hips and revealing his smooth, milky skin. Nick shifts awkwardly, his eyes running over the bared body before him. If there were small, perky breasts there , Nick realizes, he'd look just like Lizzie.
Nick grabs Todd by the hair, pulling him closer by the handful of dirty blond locks. Their noses brush, hot breath exchanged in the space between their faces. Nick tilts his head to the right, eyes searching Todd's.
"So fuck me," Todd growls. "I know you want to. Fuck me, Nick."
It's all the encouragement he needs. The redhead lunges forward, sealing their lips together in a bruising kiss and pushing Todd against the wall, hard. Todd opens his mouth and Nick dives in hungrily, snaking his tongue in. His hands grab the boy's arse, kneading the soft flesh through his clothes.
Nick breaks the kiss to breathe, hands working at the remaining buttons of Todd's jumpsuit. He's quick to shed the boy's coverings and quicker still to rip off his own. He doesn't look too closely at Todd's physique - he imagines Lizzie's body as he runs his calloused hands over warm, sturdy flesh, turns Todd to face the wall, sucks two fingers into his mouth and lathers them with his saliva.
It's Lizzie he imagines whimpering beneath him as he pushes his fingers into Todd's tight warmth. It's Lizzie's tender breasts he cups in his hand rather than Todd's erect manhood. It's the soft flesh of Lizzie's neck he sinks his teeth into, not Todd's.
Nick pushes in another two fingers, finally eliciting a strained noise of pleasure from Todd. He's jammed in to the knuckles, twisting and turning his fingers around to stretch Todd's walls. His lips capture Todd's in a dominating kiss as he fondles the blond's heavy balls in one hand and slides the fingers of his other out of the boy's arse. He lines himself up with Todd's stretched entrance and pushes in raw, rabid with the need to fuck this boy.
"Oh, god yes," Todd moans, pushing himself back against Nick and humming in pleasure, impaling himself. Nick arches his back into his thrusts, fucking the boy hard and fast. He moves his free hand to a position against the wall for leverage as his other milks Todd's cock; sliding his foreskin over his length and pulling it back roughly, teasing his swollen head, urging precum from his tip. He rests his chin on Todd's shoulder, leaning in for a kiss. Todd's swollen lips capture his again, and Nick buries himself in the hot, wet cavern of the boy's mouth, their tongues twisting and dancing against each other.
Todd comes first, shouting Nick's name as his seed rushes out in spurts, dripping down the wall and over Nick's fingers as he pumps the last of it out. Nick raises his fingers to his lips and licks Todd's cum off, tasting the bitter, salty taste of his cellmate.
Todd is panting beneath him, exhausted, but still using his muscles to pull Nick in, to milk his hard cock eagerly. Nick feels the heat pooling in his stomach and sucks Todd's lips against his own, muffling his cries as he comes inside of Todd, filling him with his seed, shouting Lizzie's name.
They both slump against the wall, panting, still connected, until Nick pulls out and helps Todd over to his cot. Nick manages to squeeze in beside him, curls an arm over Todd's waist, captures his lips in a slow kiss.
"I'm yours, Nick," Todd says breathily between kisses.
"I know," Nick growls. "You're mine."