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Away from the Past

Chapter Text

Kaz Brekker knew that he can't be shocked easily.

He also knew that Jan Van Eck isn't that kindest of all people, but Saints! This is just ridiculous!

"Let me repeat that", he said slowly, trying to make eye contact with the boy in front of him. "Jan Van Eck, your Father, kicked you out.....because you can't read?"

It sounded utterly ridiculous. Who in their right mind would abandon a child because it can't read?!

Finally Wylan looked him in the eyes, if only for a second, and nodded. "I just fought you should know. That I didn't run away I mean, and that if you would ever need me again you would know where you CAN'T find me."

"And if I need you again", started Kaz, raising a brow, "where am I supposed to find you THEN?"

Wylan looked at him again, this time without breaking eye contact.
"Somewhere on the streets, I guess...."

"Do you know anything, when it comes to living on the streets?"

Wylan shifted uncomfortable.
"Not exactly. I mean, I know the basics, I think?"

"You think?", now Kaz wasn't sure whether to laugh or not. Sure, this situation wasn't a laughing matter, but somehow he couldn't look at the boys face as he tried to tell him how he would survive without trying to hide a laugh.

"I-I mean it can't be as hard as you put it. Not-not that I don't believe you! I believe you when you say it's not easy! But....I think I can manage! And-and if you really need me I could just, I dunno, find a permanent place to stay? Like an alley or -"

"Wylan", Kaz cut in, and said boy promptly shut his mouth, "Don't take this too offensive, but you just aren't made for the streets."

"But -", Wylan tried to protest.

"At least. Not yet.", Kaz said with a serious expression.

Wylan straightened up in surprise.
"Wh-what do you mean?"

Kaz sighed.
"I mean", he said looking at Wylan as if he could see his very soul, "You'll stay here. With the Dregs."

Wylan's eyes widened and his lips parted, but not one sound made it past them.
He looked at Kaz as if expecting it to be some kind of joke.

Finally he said with a barley audible Crack in his voice: "Thank you, Kaz"

Chapter Text

It's been barely over a week since Wylan moved in.

First it was a little hard to adjust, everyone was always running in and out of the Barrel, when Kaz wasn't on a meeting or doing something in his Quarters he was mostly shouting Orders at the Dregs because of a mission, he, even though he asked, wasn't filled in on.

On his first day Kaz had showed him his new room. It was, obviously, smaller than his old one, but it looked quite comfortable. It had a desk with an arm chair, a bed, that was only slightly smaller than his old one, and a window with a pretty good view over Ketterdam's Eastside.

When he first entered the room he looked around before turning to Kaz, who had been standing in the door looking at him expectantly.

"You didn't have to this you know", Wylan had stated looking around his new domain again.

He had felt Kaz staying behind and was still wondering how he could move this quiet with his cane in his hand.

"I know. But this room was useless anyways and YOU don't have anywhere else to go",Kaz had glanced at Wylan before staring out at the window.
"I should probably let you settle in. I will see you tomorrow so you get to know your way around here."

That was the last thing he had said to Wylan for almost 24 hours. The next day he had seen him, but never had the chance to talk to him.

Every time Wylan saw Kaz he was either talking with one of the Dregs, going on a meeting or leaving for - whatever Dirtyhands does when he isn't in the Barrel.

But at night the Leader of Dregs had come to his room and showed him the rest of the Barrel and the Slat.

Kaz had told him everything about the Dregs and how they worked, showed him all the secret paths (even though he doubted that they were truly ALL) that led in and out of the Barrel and informed him of the names and of the Ranks of each Gang member they passed.

Close to Midnight Kaz had led Wylan back to his room and wished him a good night.

Wylan had smiled at the older male. "You too Kaz. See you tomorrow."

Wylan had immediately drifted into a deep sleep, curious, of what would happen on the next day.

The rest of the week Kaz introduced him to most of the Dregs.

And for the first few days Kaz always picked him up at night to tell him about the Dregs and Wylan had always returned to his room barely before mifnight.

Wylan had to confess, he liked the time he spent with Kaz each day. He still didn't know his way around the Barrel that well, so he always felt better when he heard the sound of a cane tapping on the floor near his door and when Kaz walked him around.

But Kaz didn't always have time for him. He was the Leader of the Dregs, so of course he had more important matters to attend to than entertaining some unwanted boy.

But he was still glad when this night the familiar sound of Kaz's cane tapping on the floor could be heard outside his room.

Wylan opened the door with a smile on his face.

"Hey Kaz! What are we gonna do today?"

Kaz looked at him for a moment before staring into the distance.

"We're going out."

Wylan just looked at him.
"What do you mean by that?"

"I am going to show you the Dregs territory."

"But I already know where all the territories of the Gangs are."

Kaz looked at him again. "Only through plans and maps. Or when you walk down the crowded streets of this damned city."

And so Wylan spent the night running through alleys climbing on walls and jumping over rooftops . He had almost slipped one time but Kaz had caught him just in time and said "Be careful", before running ahead again.

When Wylan came back Kaz led him to his room and clapped him on the back.
"I have to say I'm impressed, most of the newbies can't even climb a wall without weeks of training. Good job."

With that he left. Leaving Wylan with a strange feeling in his stomach. A feeling he hadn't felt in a long time.

Chapter Text

Kaz didn't know what he was doing.
He never spent so much time with any of the newbies.
And yet, he always tries to make time for Wylan every night.

'Maybe it's because he hasn't any experience in the streets?', he thought. 'Or maybe I pity him.'

Kaz grimaced at that. He pitied no one.

'Or maybe you care.', Kaz froze at that and looked around, than he let himself fall back into his bed.

Jordie's voice again.

He wished it would just go away! Or did he want it to stay?

Kaz sighed. This is going to be a long night.

He was sitting up again, staring at the wall on the opposite side of his room when he heard a knock.

"Yes?", he rasped.

The door opened as he limped to his desk and sat down in his chair.
Anika came in and nodded in greeting.

"The Team you sent a few hours ago is back. They said they bring news about Van Eck."

Kaz looked her up and down before giving an answer.

"Good", he mumbled leaning back.

Anika drew her eyebrows together.
"Won't you go to them?"

"I can do that tomorrow. I have other matters to attend to."

He was standing again limping to his bed and gripping his cane. His leg wasn't in the best condition for walking, but he had to get this over with.

Anika drew her brows together again.
"You're going to the boy again, right? Wylan?"

Kaz led her put of his room, closing the door and then going towards Wylan's room.

"Where I go and where I don't go is no matter of yours."

Anika's brows were still drawn together as she nodded and disappeared into one of the other rooms.

Kaz finally arrived at Wylan's and leaned heavily on his cane before knocking.

Instantly the door opened and Wylan was standing before him grinning.

"Hey Kaz! Wha-"

"Listen", Kaz interrupted, causing Wylan's grin to disappear slightly. "I told you everything a Dreg should know. You know your way around and I told you which Dregs you can trust and which are probably Dime Lions or spys." He spat out the last part.

Wylan's grin disappeared completely.
"So?"

Kaz sighed. 'This is harder than I thought it would be.'
"This means we are not going anywhere tonight. You'll go to sleep and I will do whatever I do. I can't spend every night with you when I have more important things to do."

Alright, that sounded harsher than he meant. But he still looked blankly at Wylan, whose face crumbled as a look of hurt spread across his face, but as fast as it came, it vanished and he was grinning again.

Kaz could tell by the way it wavered and the look in his eyes that he didn't mean it.

"That's okay. I know you can't spend your whole time with some kicked out. I will just see you tomorrow than. Goodnight Kaz."

And Wylan closed the door.

Kaz didn't go away, it felt wrong. But as he started to move he could hear a small sob and the barely audible words:" Of course he doesn't care...."

And with Jordie's words still echoing in his mind, he left the Slat and made his way to the Crow Club.

Chapter Text

Kaz Brekker was not amused.
He had sent a team of eight people, EIGHT PEOPLE, that had proven to be good spies and all that they could tell him was that Jan Van Heck was cheating on his wife!?

The first thing he did after hearing the "news", was hitting them with the head of his cane. Hard. Like deadly hard.

But no worries, they survived (much to Kaz's annoyance). One of the Dregs had called a Healer. Yey *eye roll*.

Later he met up with Inej (and Nina, but hat was only bc Inej dragged her with her)

They had been on a Girl's Trip for almost two weeks. Kaz was annoyed at first, but couldn't say no when Inej was giving him Puppy Dog eyes.

Now they were on a roof near East Stave (yes I had to look that up on the map in CK)

"So", Nina started with a smile, well, a Nina-ish (that's a word now, fight me) smile. "I heard you let Wylan stay at the Slat."

Kaz titeled his head. "Maybe. Why?"

Inej looked up at him. "I heard that too. I would like to know the reason behind that?"

Kaz sighed and looked at the clouded sky of Ketterdam. "He didn't run away."

"What do you mean?"

"Van Eck kicked him out"

Nina was on her feet shouting. "What do you mean 'kicked him out'?! What-"

Inej clapped a hand over her mouth as Kaz glared at her.

Nina took a shakey breath before talking again. "Why would he kick Wylan out? He is perfect! So sweet and kind and would never have done anything wrong in his life if it wasn't for our Demjin over there!"

Kaz glared again, this time less intense. "It's really dumb. Jan didn't make it public, so I sent a few Dregs to bring me information."
He looked at the girls. "They failed miserabley."

Inej's face hardened and Nina's face was almost a tomato.
Then Inej spoke up again. "So what's going to happen to him?"

Kaz stood up and made his way down the roof. "He joined the Dregs. We'll have to wait for the rest."

Nina's face lost it's red color immediately. "Bu-But he doesn't know anything about the Barrel!"

Kaz stopped before the edge of the roof. "That's why I showed him."

Inej came to his side. "You trained him?"

Kaz shook his head. "No. I showed him the Barrel and the Dregs's territory and told him all about the Dregs that he needs to know."

Inej looked him in thoe eyes and searched his face as if looking for something.
Then she smirked. "You care."

Kaz's eyes widened and his face reddened a little as he started stuttering.

Nina was silently giggling behind them.
"Looks like the Demjin has a heart after all."

Chapter Text

Wylan was sitting on his bed, curled up, chin on his knees and eyes closed. He was not going to cry.

Kaz told him crying is a weakness that you need to control. So that's what he was gonna do.

He stood up. He walked out of Slat and onto the streets, they were crowded. They were like Kaz discribed- had described them to him every night.

Wylan backed up a bit, then he turned and walked into one of the alleys Kaz told him one of the "safest" around the Barrel. It hurt a little, knowing that someone you considered a friend, told you everything you need to know about something and then just left you in the dust.

Wylan felt tears welling in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. He walked down the alley keeping his head down, he turned a few few times, believing he heard something, but then just kept walking.

But then he heard it. A quiet Crack, almost inaudible, but he heard it nonetheless (thanks Kaz).

He turned again, looking everything up and down, waiting for something- anything to happen again. Nothing happened, but he didn't turn again.

Wylan knew someone was with him.

He took a step forward. "Show yourself, I know you're there!"

It took all of his courage not to run away. He stood there, in an alley, alone, chin held high. "I know how to fight! I'm one of the Dregs!"

His voice was rising with each word he spoke. And then he heard it again. A Crack. But this time it was right behind him.

He turned around slowly....

"Hey! Van Sunshine! What were you saying about the Dregs?", Jesper was grinning. He was so close Wylan stumbled backwards.

"I-I....hey Jesper! I didn't expect to see you here!"

Jesper rolled his eyes and grinned even wider. "I was just taking a walk, but then I smelled Cinnamon and immediately thought of you! What a coincidence, am I right?"

Wylan smiled at him and rolled his eyes. "Yeah coincidence."

Jesper went beside Wylan and put an arm around his shoulder. "Well I'm still glad to have met you here. But seriously, what were you saying about being part of the gang?"

Wylan looked at his feet as a blush made its way to his face. "Yeah, um...ah....I kinda-kinda joined the Dregs about a w-week ago?"

Jesper's grin disappeared slightly. "Why would you do that? You don't know anything about the Barrel!"

Wylan looked up and rolled his eyes again, this time annoyed. "Why does everyone need to point that out? And I DO know stuff about the Barrel! More than you think!"

Jesper looked at him doubtful. "Have you ever lived on the streets? I don't think so!"

Wylan stared him in the eyes. "I know. That's why Kaz taught me."

Jesper looked at him, this time with surprise. His arm left Wylan's shoulders.

"Kaz? Kaz Brekker?"

Wylan looked at the sky and groaned.
"Yes, Kaz Brekker. Is that so surprising?"

When Kaz showed him around and introduced him to the Dregs, they were staring at him in disbelief. As if they had never seen Kaz Dirtyhands Brekker being nice to someone before.

Jesper's surprised look didn't leave his features. "Well yes. Have you met Kaz?"

"I have."

Jesper rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean."

Wylan started walking again, Jesper close behind.

"Where are we going?"

"Back to the Slat."

"Why?"

Wylan looked at him. "Because no one knows I left and I don't want to get in trouble."

Jesper smirked. "Always a goody-two-shoes, aren't you?"

The rest of the walk Jesper kept asking questions about his week and Wylan answered as good as he could.

When they arrived at the Slat Jesper wanted to see his room and wouldn't stop pestering him until he agreed.

So they walked to his room, Jesper making jokes and Wylan constantly rolling his eyes with a smile.

When Jesper went into his room he froze. Wylan came in immediately and wanted to ask what happened, but got the answer immediately.

"Where the hell where you?!"

Chapter Text

Kaz had a grim expression on his face. He wanted dto take Wylan out again to night. Only to find his room empty, with not even a note to where he could be!

Now Wylan was standing in front of him. Well, he was standing slightly behind Jesper, but that's not the point! The point is that Wylan left the Slat! Without informing him!

No!
Without his permission!

He shouldn't have- alright! Stop! Since when did he care?!

Little Brother, you really should stop denying you have a heart, Jordie's voice laughed in his head.

Kaz ignored it. "Well?"

Wylan swallowed visibly. "I-I was just going fo-for a, a walk...."

Kaz raised a brow. "Oh? And it didn't accure to you that you should inform me of this?"

Jesper took a step forward. "Kaz-"

"Jesper", Kaz interrupted. "You are dismissed."

Jesper's eyes widened. "But, Kaz-"

"I said", Kaz gritted his teeth. "You are dismissed!"

Jesper looked at Wylan apologetic and then left.

Kaz took a step towards Wylan and the boy shrunk in on himself.

Kaz sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Look. I'm not mad."

Wylan looked at him.

"Alright, I am mad. But I won't let my anger out on you. I just want to talk."

Wylan stared him in the eyes.
"You always say that. And after you get your information you kill."

Kaz barely suppressed a flinch. That is what Wylan thought? He had reasons, alright. The damn people who he "interrogates" were just killed because they would warn their companies and then their boss!

"I only do that to traitors or people that could get dangerous."

"So you think I'm a traitor?"

"No, Wylan. I only want to know where you were and why you didn't inform me?"

Wylan looked away. "I just wanted to go for a walk. I didn't think it would matter if I told you..."

Kaz looked at his face. "That's a lie. And we both know it. So. Mind telling me the truth?"

Wylan's face got a little red as he looked at the floor.

"I-I...", the boy swallowed. "You said we wouldn't go out anymore. S-so I though tha-that I could go out myself?"

Kaz raised a brow. He felt a pang of guilt.
Look at him! You managed to hurt the kids feelings!, he heard Jordie say in a disappointed voice.

"I said I had important matters to attend to, not that I will stop spending time with you."

Wylan's eyes widened and even Kaz was shocked with himself. He meant that. He said it with such sincerity, a tone he only used with Inej.

And, oh boy! Wylan was crying! Why was he crying!?

Did he say something wrong?

Even though Kaz didn't show it, he was panicking. He doesn't know how to handle crying people!

Suddenly he felt arms around his torso and for a second Kaz's mind went blank. He was back with Jordie. Jordie's death body, other bodies, all of them were touching him. Cold dead hands everywhere.

But it lasted only for a second, as he heard Wylan sobbing into his shoulder and muttering softly.

Kaz could only guess what was mumble against his chest.

Chapter Text

Wylan felt....weird. Since the hug with Kaz, he started spending more time with him.

Like, not only at night. But when daylight's out! Well as much daylight as you can get in Ketterdam.
He didn't mind it. Not at all.

It's just, since the hug thing he felt this strange urge to make Kaz proud. The same urge he had with his Father when he was younger. The first thought that came to his mind when he realized that was just. Weird, a shudder had went down his spine, but he hadn't paid it any mind.

Now he was lying on his bed. Thinking. The only thing on his mind was, why he felt that way with Kaz.

His head was searching for explanations. He couldn't find any logical ones.
Until....

You look up to him, Wylan froze. What?!

Alright! Time out! That--that's just ridiculous!

Who in their right mind looks up to-

Wylan's face began to turn read as he turned around and buried his face into his pillow.

He looked up to Kaz fucking Brekker!

With that Realisation in his mind he fell asleep.

. Next Morning

Kaz called him to his room. He had started doing this after the hug thing.

Wylan would sit on one side of Kaz's desk and Kaz on the other side. And then they had some sort of breakfast?

Okay, it was more like a snack, but it meant the world to Wylan.

When he lived with his Father, Jan, he reminded himself, he would spent most of his meals alone. And if he overslept in the morning he wouldn't get anything at all.

He was eating quietly, trying to avoid looking at Kaz's face. Every time he glanced at Kaz he could feel the heat rising up in his face.

Suddenly he saw that Kaz stopped eating and dared looking at the older teens face, it was emotionless.

"Is-is something wrong?", Wylan asked hesitantly.

Kaz shook his head slightly. "Not with me."

Wylan's brows furrowed. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Everything is fine with me. But you seem a bit...I don't know how to discribe it. Shy, maybe? Distant?"

Wylan blushed.

Kaz seemed to ignore it. "You mind telling me why that is?"

Wylan looked down at his feet. "It's nothing. I just- just had a rough night."

Kaz raised a brow. "Oh? And why is that?"

Wylan felt slight panic building up inside him, but tried not to show it. "I-it was just a nightmare. Nothing to worry about."

"Really? And what did you dream about?"

"Uh....", Wylan's brain screamed at him to say something, but nothing came to his mind.

Kaz cocked his head to one side. "Well?"

Inside, Wylan was panicking. What was he supposed to say?!

"It was my Father!", he blurted out without thinking.

"Really?"

"Ye-yeah! I was back at the-the mansion and...and Father did things that he- that he used to...uh...to do when I still lived with him...."

Kaz's face looked thoughtful - it looked kinda like his Scheming Face - and Wylan could swear there was a flicker of some emotion on his face, but it was gone when he saw it.

"What were those things?", Kaz finally asked.

Wylan felt himself freeze. Why had he said that?! He really, really, didn't want to tell Kaz about his Father's abuse.

He waved his question off. "It's not important. It's in the past."

Kaz looked thoughtful again before nodding slowly, as if not really believing him. A weird silence followed, then they both started eating again.

. Later

Wylan was out again. Walking through the different alleys of the Barrel. He looked at his watch, he promised Kaz he would be back in an hour.

He wasn't sure whether to be grateful or annoyed.
He told Kaz he was going out and Kaz gave him instructions on where he can and can not go and gave him tips to what to do if he ran into trouble.

Which was alright, he was grateful for that. No one had ever really done that for him. You look up to him, a voice in his head sang. And it was right.

The thing that annoyed him was that he got a watch. Okay, it wasn't the watch either, it was the reason why he got it in the first place.

He got a curfew.

Kaz gave him a curfew! He groaned thinking about it.

He has never had a curfew!
Alright that's because he wasn't aloud to go out but still! He finally got some freedom and now it was taken from him. Because he had a fricking curfew!

Wylan sighed and rolled his eyes. He was overreacting. But it was just so annoying!

He walked into another alley and at the end of it he was thinking about going back to the Slat, but then he heard it. It sounded like something was taken out of a bag.

Then everything went black.

Chapter Text

If Kaz said he was worried, it would have been the underestimation of the century.
He wasn't worried.

He was freaking out!

Wylan promised he would be back by now.
But he wasn't!

Kaz had sent out a few Dregs saying he had something to discuss with the boy.
All of them returned empty handed.

Now he was pacing in Wylan's room. He had called the rest of the Crows too.

They weren't really that freaked out. But they were still panicking.

Most of all Jesper. He and Kaz were shouting at each other, while Kaz quickened his pace with each passing minute.

"You shouldn't have let him go on his own!"

"He wanted some fresh air and I had a meeting! I though it's gonna be fine!"

"But it's not fine! You know he's not made for the streets! And yet you let him join the Dregs!"

"I know that!", Kaz stopped pacing. "That's why I showed him where and where not to go!"

Jesper was in Kaz's face in an instant. "That's not enough! What if he got hurt?! Or worse! He can't fight!"

Kaz pushed Jesper back. "He knows how to defend himself! It's not like I let him go unprepared!"

Seems like Nina had enough. She was walking up to them and dragged Jesper away from Kaz. "Stop it you morons! We need to find Wylan and you two shouting at each other won't help!", Nina snapped at them.

Matthias took a step forward. "Would someone be so kind and would fill me in to what in the name of Ghezen is going on?!"

Kaz was about to say something when Inej interrupted.
"To make it short: Van Eck kicked Wylan out and Kaz adopted him-"

"I did not-"

"-and now he doesn't show up for his curfew."

"It's not a curfew!"

Inej eyed him sceptical. "Really? As far as I know, you told him to be back at a certain time, to be at a certain place and if I remember correctly, and I do, you told him if he doesn't show up it will have consequences."

Nina looked at Kaz. "Sounds like a curfew to me."

Matthias was snickering behind her. "Sounds like someone's in Dad Mode."

Kaz's cheeks turned a little red. "It's not a curfew! And I'm not in "Dad Mode"!

Jesper rolled his eyes. "Sure. If that helps you sleep at night."

Kaz was about to say something when he heard a knock.

"What business?"

A dry voice answered. "We have knews about the Van Eck boy."

Kaz glanced at his friends, the were nodding. "What is it?"

The Dreg entered and was immediately greeted with curious glances.

"Van Eck - the old guy - got him."

Wylan's room was empty in an instant.

Chapter Text

When Wylan woke up he had a headache. He groaned and sat up. He looked at his surroundings, it looked familiar.

When his vision finally cleared he gasped. He was in his old room at the Van Eck Mansion.

He sprang to his feet and went for the door, but before he could get there he stumbled and fell to the floor.

He looked at his feet.

"What the Djel...", he muttered. There was a chain going from his - the - bed, to his right foot.

He sat up and made his way to the bed. He was about to close his eyes again when he heard his door open.

Heavy footsteps made their way to his bed. And suddenly he heard a familiar voice.

"I know you're awake."

Wylan froze. It was the voice of his Father.

No.

Of Jan Van Eck.

He opened his eyes and looked into Jan's frowning face.
Wylan looked the man up and down, not knowing what to do. After what seemed like an eternity he made eye contact with the man.

"What do you want?", he demanded.

Jan's frown disappeared slightly. "Me? I just wanted to see my son."

Wylan rolled his eyes.

"And I'm one of the Saints.", he but out bitterly.

Jan yanked the boy to his feet and grabbed him by his arm.

"I don't have time for this.", he growled. "We have matters to discuss!"

With that he unlocked Wylan's chains.

. Kaz

Kaz ran. His leg hurt and he didn't have his cane with him, but right now he didn't care.

The others were behind him. Running through Katterdam's streets, ignoring who they were running into and everyone's shouts of protest when they throwing something over.

They didn't care, couldn't care. Least of all Kaz.

When the throbbing pain in his leg got unbearable he stopped and went into the nearest alley. The others close behind with worried expression.

If they were for him or Wylan he didn't know.

Inej came up to him and put a hand on his shoulder. He twitched slightly but did not flinch.

"Are you okay?", Inej asked in a gentle voice.

Kaz limped to the nearest container and sat down there. The rest of the Crows did the same.

"I'm fine!", he snapped back, he felt guilty when he saw Inej's hurt expression.

He sighed. "It's just my leg. Nothing serious."

Nina gasped in realization. "You didn't take you cane!"

Kaz rolled his eyes.

"Thank you, Nina, I hadn't noticed.", he replied dryly.

Nina huffed and looked at her lap.

Jesper sighed and stood up. "I'll go get it."

Kaz's head snapped up. "What?"

"You heard me. You won't be able to make it to the Mansion without it. So I'll get it."

Kaz stated at him. "Jes-"

Jesper shook his had. "It's no problem, really. You guys just--just wait here, or whatever. I'll get the cane and come back as fast as I can."

Before Kaz, or anyone, could say anything Jesper was running out of the alley and towards the Barrel.

And so they waited.

Chapter Text

Jan led Wylan to one of his many labs. Which wasn't a problem.

When Wylan still lived at the Mansion he spent a lot of time in the labs.

That wasn't the thing that unnerved him. It was the fact that it was a new lab. With high security standards (or ya know, as high as the security can be in the GV).

The thing that bothered him the most were the Grisha standing in the door way. They were Heartrender.

How does he know that? Because his Fath - Jan insisted that they wore uniforms so he could tell which people were only slightly dangerous and which could kill him if he so much as breathed wrong.

Jan clapped Wylan on the back. "Here we are!"

Wylan looked around.

"What do you mean?"

Jan sneered at the boy. "Of course you don't understand, boy. But because I feel rather generous today, I shall tell you."

Wylan rolled his eyes at the man.

And instantly got smacked on the back of his head.

"Mind your manners, boy! I won't be as kind the next time we meet! Now, I sent a few of my Grisha to spy at you and your pathetic friends.

It was just a bit of fun, really, I didn't want any information, nor did I expect to get any. But guess how surprised I was, when one day one of these Grisha came up to me and told me that my son", Wylan cringed at the word.

"That my son makes some kind of bombs and other weapons for Brekker's little group! Weapons, that were so simple and still so complex! None of my Chemists could figure out what you did.

But I wanted, and still want, to know the secrets behind those weapons.
So I started thinking. If I can't make the bombs, I'll just get the one who can!"

Wylan stared at Jan. "You want me to build weapons for you." he stated.

Jann grinned at the boy wickedly.
"Indeed.", then his face turned into a scowl. "And don't even try to deceive me! Because if you do, my Heartrender will have a fun time with you."

With that he left, leaving Wylan with only one thought in his mind.

How the Djel do I always manage to get into such situations?!

Chapter Text

Kaz, Inej, Matthias and Nina were still sitting in the alley. Breathing heavily.

It's been almost 10 minutes and Jesper still hadn't returned with Kaz's cane.

Talking about Kaz, he was currently leaning his head against a wall behind him taking deep breathes and trying not to freak out.
Alright, he was freaking out, but he didn't show it.

His thoughts were killing him! Since Inej explained what happened to Matthias, he didn't know how to feel about Wylan.

He didn't deny that he cared for the boy any longer and Jordie's voice was always there reminding him of the words Inej had said to Matthias.

"She's right, you know? You kinda did take him in" Jordie's voice was mocking and annoyed Kaz to no end. "Oh! Don't be like that. You are just trying to deny the truth!"

"Shut up", Kaz murmured, his eyes closed.

"We didn't say anything!", Kaz's eyes shot open and he could see his three friends looking at him confused.

Kaz stared at them in mild surprise.
He shook his head.

"I didn't mean you. I thought I heard something."

That earned him three different looks.

Matthias looked skeptical.
Nina stared at him, as if to solve a question in a Crossword Puzzle.
And Inej.

His Wraith

Looked at him with concern. She looked like she wanted to come to him and ask what's really bothering him.

Kaz shook his head again and looked at the end of the alley. Suddenly there were footsteps and the Gang got up, preparing to defend themselves.

It was Jesper. He had Kaz's cane over his shoulder and raised an eyebrow at them.

"I'm not one of the Dime Lions if you thought that!"

Matthias just snorted. "As if. Other than you they know how to creep up on someone!"

Nina and Inej giggled a little, Jesper rolled his eyes and tossed the cane to Kaz.

Kat caught it with one hand and raised a brow at the Sharpshooter.
"Took you long enough."

Jesper's eyes widened and he clapped a hand against his forehead.
"Right! Some of the Dregs showed up. Said they wanted to talk to you, when I told them you are out they told me that Geels had ordered a meeting for tomorrow morning."

Kaz groaned. Great. Another problem to take care of. But Jordie interrupted his thoughts.

 

"Don't you dare think about something else now! Your job is it to find Wylan! You can think about your murder business later", Kaz gritted his teeth. He really didn't have time for that.

But Jordie was right. He needed to find Wylan.

And again, he didn't know what to think about the boy.
Jordie's and Inej's words haunted him. He didn't want to admit that he didn't mind taking the boy in.

Hell, he wouldn't mind taking him under his wing!

He loved seeing Wylan's eyes lighting up when he praised him and the excitement the boy got when had a new idea for the Dregs that Kaz approved.

He shook his head and looked at his friends, they were arguing about something.

Kaz rolled his eyes and tapped his cane on the ground loudly.

Immediately all eyes landed on him.

"We don't have time for this!", he snapped. "We need to get to Wylan, before Van Eck does something to him!"

And then he ran again. The others close behind, Inej still looked concerned and he really wanted to tell her what bothered him, but he couldn't. Not right now.

After Wylan was back in the Slat again, he would talk to her.

He was lost in thought again when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He flinched a little and turned around.

Nina raised a brow and Kaz noticed the others standing behind her.

They were looking at a big house.

But not any big house. At Van Eck's Mansion.

Kaz looked each of his friends in the eyes.

"So? How are we gonna do this?"

Chapter Text

Jan took him back to his old room after less than 20 minutes.

Apparently Wylan was just in the lab to get to know his way around so he won't ask his ex-Dad any questions.

Of course he didn't make himself familiar with the lab, why would he? He would be here for a day, at the most, and then Kaz would be here and take him back to the Slat.

Right?

Wylan scoffed. Of course Kaz would come for him! But there was still this tiny tingle of doubt inside him.

It's not because he didn't trust Kaz, it was because he did trust him. Alright that didn't make any sense at all....
The thing about Kaz and Trust is that it's dumb. Stupid. And something that shouldn't happen like ever!

Kaz didn't trust anyone, which isn't entirely true but it's not wrong either, which helped him through lots'n lots of situations. If you don't trust someone, the person can't disappoint you or hurt you (like mentally), at least, that's what Wylan thought was Kaz's reason.

And trusting Kaz was a bad idea in general. No explanation needed.

The Crows knew it's a bad idea, the Dregs knew it's a bad idea and Wylan was sure all of Ketterdam knew that trusting Dirtyhands won't end well.

So why in Ghezen's name did Wylan trust the deadliest boy in probably all of Kerch? And even thought he would save him?

I thought we cleared that up already. You look up to him!, ah yes, Wylan loved his thoughts too.

He sighed and buried his face in his pillow.
This was all so confusing.

He closed his eyes and was already thinking of falling asleep when he heard it.

A knock on his window.

The room was high above the ground, Jan knew Wylan would never consider jumping out of it and he doubted he would climb down the wall, but he still chained him to his bed. So he's not that stupid.

Wylan stood up and made his way to the window.

He opened it and looked down, he stumbled back in surprise.

A few inches under his window was Inej, hanging on his window shelf (that's what it's called, right?).

The Suli girl climbed into the room and closed the window.
Then she turned to Wylan and immediately hugged him.

"Thank the Saints you are alright!"

Wylan blushed and gently pushed Inej away. "Uh...yeah, um, how di-did you know I was here?"

Inej rolled her eyes, but she still had a relieved smile on her lips. "You know Kaz. He finds out everything eventually."

Wylan nodded slowly. "I figured. But I mean how you figured out which room I was in? The Mansion has almost 60!" Too much? Not for Jan Van Eck.

Inej's smile vanished and she cleared her throat awkwardly. "We uh....we didn't know, you see? We kinda had to - um look into all the rooms?"

Wylan stared at Inej and then burst out laughing. "You want to tell me, that five of the Dregs best people couldn't figure out were my old room is?"

Inej grimaced and rolled her eyes.

"Not exactly. We knew it was somewhere on the right side, on one of the last corridors."

"You still had to look in like, what? Thirteen other rooms?"

"Eleven. Then I found yours."

Inej pushed Wylan back onto his bed and began working on his chains.

"How did you figure out I was in trouble so fast, anyways?", Wylan questioned.

Inej answered without looking up. "We didn't figure it out. Kaz did. Well, and Jesper, but he mainly thought you were hurt or killed."

Wylan raised an eyebrow. "Did he? I told him lots of times that I can take care of myself!", he groaned.

"That's what Kaz told him. Jesper only yelled at him."

"Jesper yelled at Kaz?"

"Yup, he was really angry with Kaz that he let you go outside."

Wylan groaned again. "How was I supposed to know that my maniac of a Father wanted to kidnap me?"

Inej chuckled. "It's not your fault, merchling. He was just worried when you didn't show up for your curfew!"

She was teasing him and he knew it, he still couldn't surpress an eye roll.
"Kaz told you about that?"

"Well he didn't exactly say it like that. But the way he described it, it sounded like a curfew."

"It is a curfew."

"You were supposed to return an hour before dinner time, right?"

Wylan sighed. "Yes. He even gave me a watch, so I wouldn't be late."

Inej giggled. Suddenly she stood up with a serious expression on her face and looked Wylan in the eyes.

"I can't take the chains of."

Wylan's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

"I'm not Kaz. I can't pick every lock in the World. I'm sorry, Wylan, but this isn't a job for a spy."

"So I have to stay?"

"Not for long. You'll be out of here in the morning!"

Wylan looked down. "If you say so."

Inej nodded at him before going to the window again. Wylan stood up to give her one last hug, then she crawled down the wall again.

Wylan sighed and went back to bed. This time, he really did take a nap.

Chapter Text

The four Crows were waiting for Inej to return, and they were worried.

Especially Jesper and Kaz. Jesper was pacing back and forth and wouldn't stop mumbling.
Kaz looked rather calm actually, sitting on the ground leaning against a wall, on the outside.

Inside he was feeling like punching someone and then scream and then stab someone and then - Alright! You get it!

He was thinking. What was he gonna do when Inej came back with the boy?

Return him to the Slat, obviously, Jordie was especially annoying right now. And Kaz was not in the mood to argue with his brother's voice.

He just rolled his eyes. He k ew that Wylan would come back to the Slat too. He just felt like something else should be happening....
He was concerned. Kaz was never concerned about anyone.

Alright the boy has grown on him, that still doesn't explain Kaz's concern. At least not to Kaz himself.

Suddenly a thought came to his mind.
He won't be leaving the Slat for a week!, and even though Kaz surprised himself with the thought, he agreed.

Wylan wouldn't be leaving the Slat for a week after this. And if he did, he himself or one of the others will be with him. End of discussion.

It would be mostly him though. Wylan won't ever be on his own outside of the Barrel again and he will be making sure of this.

A voice broke Kaz out of his thoughts.

"Kruge for your thoughts?", Inej was in front of him. And by the looks on th other's faces, she had just come back.

His panic seemed gone.

Wylan was nowhere in sight.

Panic slightly back.

He stood up slowly, but before he could voice his thoughts, Jesper was blocking his vision.

"Where is he? You said you would bring him with you! Couldn't you find him? You entered a room you must have found something!"

Inej looked annoyed and rolled her eyes, then she shoved Jesper away and looked Kaz in the eyes.

"He's chained to his bed. The lock was too tricky I couldn't unlock it."

Panic completely overtook his mind.

Not one straight thought came to his mind, he couldn't form words, he just stared at his Wraith.

It took a while for him to register that the others were looking at him.

He shook his head and glared at them.

"What?", he rasped.

Nina came to Inej's side. "What are we going to do now? We need to get Wylan out of there!"

Kaz growled. These people. Honestly! He loved them all anyways (not that they will ever find out).
"I know that! Just - just give me a few minutes. I almost have a plan.", complete utter lie. He had no idea what he was supposed to do.

Matthias stared at him in mock shock. "Dirtyhands doesn't have a full plan? I must be in a different universe!"

Kaz rolled his eyes.

Why was Helvar here again?

Well, I guess I can't kick him out now, wow, the only straight thought in his mind.

Nina's voice brought him back to reality again. She was talking to Inej.
"- talking about?"

Inej's lips turned into a thin line. After a while of looking back and forth between the Crows she finally giggled and fixed her eyes on Kaz.

"He was complaining about his curfew."

The Crows immediately broke into a huge fit of laughter.

Besides Kaz. His lips were a thin line. He tried to surpress a chuckle.

He really liked the kid.

Well, Jordie's voice, I hope you've got a plan soon. 'Cause you sure need to keep that kid!

Chapter Text

Wylan had been in 'his' lab when it happened.

He had been looking at the plans for bombs Jan wanted him to make. It was a sketch, but because his 'fatheg' couldn't stop tormenting him for one day, he had written a letter telling him what he was supposed to do.

Wylan had only rolled his eyes and started experimenting with everything around the lab, secretly planning on how he could escape.

Not that he doubted his friends. He just wanted to help them and himself by figuring something out.

But suddenly there was a loud Boom! followed by a lot of shouting and people running in different directions. Wylan had to confess that he had been confused at first, but then he heard guns shooting.

Not just any guns shooting.

Jesper's guns.

Hope had filled his chest as he stood in the lab. Two chemicals, ready to be mixed in his hands, where long forgotten, as he moved to the door and opened it slightly.

There had been chaos outside. Pure and utter chaos.

At one side of the corridor people had been running away screaming, blocking the guards that were trying to come through.

On the other side guards had been running towards him.

Behind Matthias and Nina. As soon as they had seen him Nina gave him a signal and Wylan immediately went back in the lab.

Maybe five minutes later the door had opened again, to Wylan's surprise Jesper had entered in a servants uniform.

Before Wylan had asked what was going on Jesper had taken something out of his pocket and grinned at him.

Wylan's eyes had widened in recognition.

It had been one of the bombs he had been working on.

They were super small, so they could be carried around, but could create a huge destruction when used.

Jesper had pushed Wylan behind him and thrown the bomb against a wall.
It destroyed half the lab. Oh, and the wall no longer existed!

Jesper had pushed him to the edge of the floor, when Wylan had stared down, only to see Inej hanging on the windoshelf below.

To make it short: she had climbed up to them, put a rope, that was around her waist, around their waists and started climbing back down. Jesper had followed her immediately, while Wylan hesitated before climbing.

On the ground Kaz had waited, near his feet lay two guards. Probably dead.

When Nina and Matthias had returned, they ran as fast as they could to the Barrel.

Where our story now continues normally!

They were all panting when they stood before the Slat.
Slowly the Crows evened their breath, they were tired, Wylan could tell.

It didn't take long for Nina and Mattias to take their leave. It was close to midnight after all. Inej bid her goodbyes to them as well and disappeared into the night.

Jesper wanted to stay, but Kaz just shook his head and sent him home.

"Jes, it's late and we had a long night. I can see that you are tired, Wylan is too. We will meet tomorrow, there you can fuss over your boyfriend all you want", cue, Wylan blushing. "Sounds like a plan? Yes? Good!"

Knowing better than to argue with Kaz, Jesper left, giving Wylan a look of sympathy.

The boy stared at him in confusion. He was back at the Slat and would be going to bed now. Why did Jesper look so concerned?

He turned to Kaz who had an emotionless expression on his face.

Uh oh, Wylan new that couldn't mean anything good.

Kaz led him back to his room, Wylan went to his bed and waited for Kaz to leave.
That didn't happen.

Instead Kaz closed the door. And immediately began pacing in front of Wylan.

"Do you have any idea what you put us through?! You just didn't come back! I let you go on your own because I was sure you would come back!"

Wylan furrowed his brow. "How is that my fault? I couldn't have known that my Father would kidnap me!"

"Exactly! But you were prepered! Didn't I show you how to defend yourself? Because I sure think I did!"

"They attacked me from behind!"

"I prepared you for that!"

"I am still in training! That's what you told me!"

"Still! Don't tell me all the nights I spent explaining and training you were for nothing! Do you want to tell me that, huh? Do you want to tell me that?!"

Kaz practically roared at him, Wylan shrank back in his bed in fear. He had seen Kaz being angry before, but it was never directed towards him.

Unknowingly to him it wasn't now either.
Kaz was just worried and didn't know how to express his feeling in other than anger.

Kaz had been sick with worry all day, but now that the boy was here again he couldn't help himself. He started ranting about safety and how Wylan could have been hurt or worse killed! Kaz told him about all the things that could have been different.

About the things that could have turned out for the better. But also how it could have turned out for the worse, if it had been Pekka Rollins or the stadwatch.

After ten minutes of ranting and pacing Kaz took a deep breath and moved to sit on the bed next to Wylan.

Wylan himself was afraid of what might happen to him.

He is going to kick me out! He knows how worthless I am! He won't need me anymore!

Wylan was panicking. His tried to think of any good outcomes, but all his thoughts were only about how he might lose another person he looked up to because of his stupidity.

He closed his eyes and braced himself.

He felt a gloved hand on his shoulder. Wylan opeded his blue eyes and stared into Kaz's dark ones.

Kaz sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

"You will stay at the Slat for a week."

Wylan reeled back in surprise. Uh, what?

"What?"

Kaz sighed again.
"I decided that you won't go out for a week. You will stay here and are only permitted to go to the Crows Club. After that, you won't leave the Barrel without me or at least one of the others until I say otherwise."

Wylan stared at him with wide eyes. He stared at him, waiting for him to tell him that it was some kind of joke.

Wait, he thought. This is Kaz Brekker we are talking about. He doesn't joke.

Kaz looked him up and down, waiting for his reaction.
Wylan opened his mouth and started protesting, but stopped himself when he felt the hand on his shoulder tighten.

"I know you don't agree with these terms, but as long as you are on my team and live in my part of the Slat, I make the rules. Understood?"

Wylan opened his mouth again, decided against speaking and just nodded.

Kaz did too. "Good. I will leave you alone now. You need your sleep, I am sure the others will want to talk to you tomorrow. Or rather fuss over you."

Wylan blushed at that.

"Really Wylan, they were just worried. They care for you."

Wylan's blush disappeared a little. He was more disappointed right now.

Kaz said the others were worried and cared. Did that mean he didn't?

Wylan shook his head.

Dumb question. Why would Kaz care for anyone?
Exept for Inej maybe.

Wylan looked up to see Kaz walking to the door.

"I will see you in the morning then."

Wylan opened his mouth to ask what he meant, but Kaz seemed to read his thoughts.

"What? We will have breakfast together, won't we?"

Wylan's eyes widened a little, he wanted to smack his head against a wall.
Their breakfast. Did he really expect that to change?

...apparently.

Quickly he nodded his head.

Kaz took one last glance at him, then closed the door.
Wylan laid down on his bed and closed his eyes.

Suddenly he heard the door open again.

Wylan sat up and looked to the door, only to see Kaz casually (or more like kazually....I'm horrible) leaning against the doorframe.

"You know Wylan..."

The boy leaned forward.

"I....I was worried too."

Chapter Text

I just wanted to say that you shouldn't be surprised when I update slower.

My mum and I are constantly discussing school, since we don't know if I will go or not and if I don't how I'm supposed to keep up with my work...

The thing is I got Rheumatism. And my mum isn't sure whether or not school is a good idea and since she won't stop pestering me with school work and how I'm supposed to do shit I decided to..uh..focus more on school.

I'll still update and the One Shots will probably be updated by Wednesday or Thursday!

This story will be updated again next weekend like always.

It's just for your information, don't want you worrying that I'll stop writing or something 😅

So...stay safe! <3

Chapter Text

It was a sight to behold, four of the most dangerous outcasts in Ketterdam, laughing and rolling on the floor.

After Wylan had finished his breakfast with Kaz, said Thief informed him that the others were waiting for him in one of the meeting rooms. Kaz had told him he would join him later, but he had to take care of Geels, who he apparently had a meeting with.

Once Wylan had entered the room, the others sprang to their feet and immediately started asking questions and fussed over him.

Besides Matthias, he just looked him up and down, asked if he was okay and once he was sure Wylan was telling the truth, let him be interrogateed by the girls and Jesper.

When everyone had calmed down Jesper started asking about last night.
"So? How bad was it? I'm guessing no payment for you for the rest of your life!"

Nina had looked up. "You guys are getting payed?"

Matthias had rolled her eyes and Inej whispered something into her ear, to which the Heartrender just nodded, her eyes wide.
"Oh. Uh - sure."

Wylan had looked back at his boyfriend and shook his head.

"I got yelled at. For over ten minutes, I think it was more of a scolding actually."

Cue the others snickering and Matthias and Inej exchanging glances.

Wylan hadn't noticed and just stared at the ceiling, cheeks red.

"He also won't let me leave the Salt for a week and after that, you guys will have to accompany me wherever I go. I swear, this is grounding."

That's when the others had started laughing so hard, Jesper and Nina fell out of their chairs.

Even Matthias couldn't keep his laughter at bay and slammed his fist on the table.

Inej tried to contain her laughter, but failed miserably.

At this moment Kaz opened the door and limped to a chair. Coincidentally (or, not so coincidentally) the only free seat was next to Wylan.

He looked around and his blank mask let out a flicker of confusion.

"What's going on with you?"

Nina hauled herself to her feet and waited a few seconds to let her laughter die down enough to speak.

"You grounded him? Seriously?"

She looked stern for a few moments before doubling over and laughing on the floor with Jesper again.

Kaz's mask slipped away completely, confusion showing on his face.
"What?"

Inej looked at him.

"Jesper wanted to know what happend yesterday. We were all pretty sure you were going to do something, like, never paying him again or making his", she giggled. "curfew an hour earlier or something. We didn't expect you to go all Dad on him and scold and ground him."

Wylan's already red cheeks reddende even further. When he looked at Kaz he could see a slight tint of red on his face as well.

"I did not - well I, we, talked and yes he is staying at the Slat for a while, but I-"

Kaz trailed of, the words dying in his throat. The laughter had long died down and the Crows were watching him, while exchanging glances.

Jesper snorted.

"For someone who is called one of the smartest guys in Kerch, you sure act dumb sometimes.", he deadpanned.

Kaz's blush disappeared as he glared at Jesper in an (failed) attempt to silence him.
He raised a brow.

"You wanna go on with your accusations?"

"As a matter of fact: yes, I do."

Kaz leaned back in his chair, surprise present on his features.

Jesper rolled his eyes.
"Someone had to say it. Out of all of us, you were the most worried. And I am his boyfriend, for Ghezen's sake!"

Wylan's head snapped into Kaz's direction again, the older was avoiding eye contact.

Matthias grinned at them both.

"Yeah, Demjin. Fahey has a point, you were in Dad Mode all the - oh stop glaring! - all the time! And even though you may deny it for the rest of your life, you care for Wylan."

Kaz's face was completely red by now, but he still wouldn't look at Wylan, who was an equal shed of red.

Nina, who was seated in her chair again, smiled as well.
"And Wylan! First complaining about his curfew - that you gave him, plus a watch - and then about his grounding!"

And back to the floor with her.

The four Crows were laughing at the blushing duo and teasing them for the next five minutes.

Kaz and Wylan weren't making eye contact at all through the conversations.

Well, Wylan once or twice (or all the time) tried catching his eye, but the elder just pretended he wasn't there. It hurt a little, but only for a second, knowing how Kaz, presumably, 'really' felt made him feel better.

Suddenly Jesper sprang to his feet, went to Wylan and hauled him to his feet as well.

All eyes were immediately on them.
Kaz's especially, he was watching them, more Jesper than Wylan really, like hawk.

Jesper put a hand on Wylan's shoulder, to which his Grey eyes were greeted with his boyfriend's blue ones.

"Well, we'll be on our way then."

Kaz looked him up and down, but didn't say anything, instead, Wylan shrugged the hand on his shoulder of.
"Wh-what do you mean?"

Jesper rolled his eyes playfully.
"I thought we could go for a walk around the Slat and maybe to the Crow Club afterwards? I have some...favors...to ah.."

He trailed of, looking at the door.

"I think we will just go. See you guys later!"

He grabbed Wylan's arm before the boy could protest.

But before they could reach the door, Kaz was in front of them, his cane over his shoulder and a fierce glare set on the sharpshooter.

"Now, wait a moment! I thought Wylan told you about our - er - terms?"

"He/I did!", Wylan and Inej stated at the same time.

Kaz nodded and looked at Jesper again.

"Then why are you taking him out?"

Jesper smiled sheepishly.

"Uh, I'm with him? I thought as long as one of us is babysitting-", "Hey!", - him he can go out. "

Kaz shook his head, still glaring.

"That's when his grounding is over!"

Jesper blinked and laughed again, along with the others.
"Ha! It's a grounding! You admitted it!"

Kaz looked taken a back for a moment.

Then he sighed, closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Alright. Go to the Crow Club. But no wandering around the Barrel! Am I clear?"

Jesper nodded with a sly smile on his face.
Wylan just looked at the floor and waited for them to leave, when they did, Kaz called after them once more.

"And Wylan?", he turned. "Your", Kaz swallowed. "Curfew still stands."

With a smile, Wylan and Jesper made their way out of the Slat.

Chapter Text

It was night. A peaceful night. (dumb introduction Ik)

Wylan was lying in his bed and thought about his friends, his friends that were like family to him.
More specifically, he thought about the morning, when the others were teasing him and Kaz for being...close?

Wylan shook his head. They were only teasing, he knew they were teasing. So why does he feel so...weird?

Wylan sighed and turned on his side, he looked into the now dark room that Kaz gave him. On his nightstand was the watch he got and in one of his shelfs lay a calender where his curfew for the next month was written down by every day. (Man, Kaz can be so overprotective)

The redhead closed his eyes and drifted into sleep.

The last thing on his mind was how he wished that someone had cared before.

.

Kaz didn't sleep. Again.
He has never needed much sleep before and it might be that, say, the Black Tips start to think that they could take their part of the East Stave or something.

He would have to be awake for that. So why sleep?

Kaz took a deep breath. Supid.
As if anyone would try something in the middle of the night.

Maybe it really would be better if went to bed, he hasn't slept for more than three hours for the last nights anyhow.

He glanced at the clock on the wall. Half past midnight. He stood up and made his way over to the bed.

Now he just-

*knock*

.

He felt so stupid.

Tears were running down Wylan's cheeks, his breath came in in short gasps and he was sweating.

He had a nightmare. Jan tried to take him away. No one was fighting against it. And when he was in his old home some Grisha started experimenting on him, everyone laughed when he started crying and Jan beat him with a belt afterwards.

When Wylan woke up, he didn't want to be alone, didn't want to believe that he could be separated from his 'family'.

So he walked down the corridors of the Slat and moved instinctively to Kaz's room. He was about to knock when he realized how pathetic he must look.

Standing in front of his door, crying over a nightmare.

But if Wylan was being honest, he didn't care. He could handle it if Kaz yelled at him.

He just didn't want to be alone.

He took a deep breath. "Here goes nothing", he whispered.

And he knocked.

.

Kaz looked at the door in confusion for a second, before pulling up his blank mask and opening it.

He looked at Wylan in shock. Of all people living in the Slat, he would never have thought that hi-Wylan would come to him past midnight.

One look at the boy let some of his confusion disappeare. Wylan looked so scared, his blue eyes were puffy and red and he seemed to not be breathing right.

Kaz allowed himself to frown a little and pulled the boy in his room.

Wylan wiped his eyes and stared at the floor.

Kaz put a - hopefully - comforting gloved hand on his shoulder.
"Wylan. What are you doing here? Did something happen? Why are you...crying?"

The boy looked at him helplessly and started glancing around the room.

"I - I just - he, an-and you..you-", he took a few deep breaths and seemed to calm down a little. Which calmed Kaz down to.

Wylan's eyes were searching his face, that displayed only a small frown and maybe a little concern in his eyes.

One second later Kaz's mind was blank. Wylan had taken a step towards him and flung his arms around him and stared crying onto his shoulder.

Kaz quickly pushed the memories away and waited until the boy had calmed down. He felt the wetness of Wylan's tears against his shoulder and started rubbing his back a little.

.

His tears stopped when he felt Kaz - Dirtyhands, the Bastard of the Barrel - rubbing his back in an attempt to sooth him.

It took a few minutes, but eventually, Wylan stopped crying entirely and put his head on D - Kaz's shoulder.
Said teen was still rubbing his back with his gloved hands, when he stopped, Wylan was scared again.

But Kaz only looked him in the eyes and led him over to his bed, where he motioned for Wylan to sit beside him.

"You want to tell me what got you all riled up now?", his usually raspy voice was now low and comforting and Wylan started relaxing a little.

Daaaa(What?) - Kaz pulled him closer to his side put a hand on his shoulder again.

Wylan stopped breathing. He looked at the hand, but saw no glove. He immediately relaxed into the touch and allowed himself to feel safe.

He breathed in and swallowed hard.

"I - I had a nightmare...", he whispered to his dad.

Chapter Text

Kaz listened to Wylan as he cried his heart out to him at night. Listened to his fears.

Even though he isn't the best when it comes to comforting, he somehow still managed to calm the boy down. Wylan came to him after midnight...he went to bed two and a half hours later.

When Wylan was calm enough, he went back to his room after giving Kaz a quick hug and a quiet 'thanks'. Amazingly , Kaz was pretty okay with the hug thing. He hadn't expected the contact, but he hadn't frozen and even kept the memories of Reaper's Barge at bay.

Now, at breakfast with the boy, he couldn't help but notice the fond smile and the red on his- the boy's cheeks.
He swallowed his food and put his fork down to get the boy's attention.

When the blue eyes greeted him, he smirked slightly. There was something in there. Love.

"Well, Wylan?", he asked kazually(I'm annoying Ik). "Did something interesting happen on your way down here?"

Wylan's cheeks reddened a little.
"We-well I met Jesper when I-I came and he asked me if - if I wanted to go on a date tonight."
He ducked his head and grinned at his plate sheepishly.

Kaz smirked at the kid's embarrassment. He had to admit, the others were right, it was funny to tease him.
Suddenly his smirk wavered, there was something else on his mind.
Jepser asked Wylan out. For tonight. Why did that bother him so much? Jesper and Wylan had been dating for a while now....or going out. It was not quite dating, even though both boys wanted to be together, no one seemed to make the move.

But something obout this...date made Kaz nervous. He couldn't discribe it, but somehow he felt the need to talk to the Sharpshooter. And that is before this date!

When he focused on Wylan again, the boy looked at him with red cheeks and a puzzled expression.
"Is everything okay? You kinda drifted off."

Kaz nodded his head. "I'm fine. I was just...surprised."

He looked around, after a while his eyes rested on Wylan's plate. Bacon and eggs. That was their original breakfast.

While Kaz himself only had half a Bacon left, Wylan still had an egg and a Bacon stripe to go.
His eyes went up to meet the boy's.

"Finish your meal, before it gets cold. And don't tell me you aren't hungry, you hardly ate anything. Far to distracted with you boyfriend!"

Wylan blushed a deep shade of red.

"Da-KaaaAAz!", Wylan whined, hoping the older hadn't noticed the slip up. His mind didn't work right at the moment.

Unfortunately for Wylan (but lucky for us...or for me) Kaz had noticed. At least he thought that he noticed, he might have imagined it, but he was so sure the boy wanted to call him something else. He had a small blush on his cheeks now as well.

They finished their breakfast in silence. Wylan went to look for the girls, who insisted on spending some - as they put it - bonding time, with their youngest member.

When asked what Kaz would do, he claimed to have a meeting....but not with whom.

Kaz made his way down the corridor and out of the Slat. He glanced upward.
Jesper should be at the Crow Club, gambling and, presumably, losing.

Reaching said Club he found Jesper at the bar, sipping a drink and laughing about something one of the Dregs besides him said.

When Kaz was close enough, he cleared his throat and the talking around him stopped almost immediately, every eye was on him.

Jesper grinned at him. "Kaz! How are ya', man? I haven't seen you since yesterday morning!"

Kaz rolled his eyes. "I'm doing just fine, Jes. And since you seem to have missed me oh so much, I'm sure you will be delighted to hear that I need to have a word with you."
He flashed him a dark smile.

Jesper's grin disappeared and he gulped audibly. Kaz turned to leave, with Jesper trotting after him. Sympathetic glances were shot in the Sharpshooter's direction.

Kaz led the Zemeni boy into an alley and put Jesper between himself and a wall.

Jesper glanced at Kaz nervously. "K-kaz? Did I do something wrong? I swear whatever the others told you, it wasn't me!", he looked at the ground. "Alright, I might've told Anika that I had a bet with more than--"

"Jes!"

The Sharpshooter looked up at his boss's emotionless face.
"Yeah?"

Kaz took a deep breath. "Wylan told me you asked him out."

Jesper furrowed his brow. "And? I have asked him out lots of times!"
Kaz glared at him.

"I am quite aware of that. But have you ever asked him on a real date?"

"No. But I have wanted to for quite some time now! And today, I finally did it!", he grinned. "Wait, how do you know about that? Were you spying on us? Was Inej spying on us?!"

...Kaz smacked him upside down the head.
"Would you shut up for a moment!?", he snapped and pinched the bridge of his nose. "No, Inej and I weren't spying on you! Wylan told me at breakfast, alright?"

Jesper blushed and looked at the ground.
"Oh. Ah, whoops?"

Kaz shook his head with a sigh. "No matter. I wanted to talk to you about Wylan and this...date."

Jesper's head shot up. He stared at his friend, looking his face up and down, searching his eyes.
Then he burst out laughing. "Don-don't tell me you're getting all Dad again and have a stern talk with me on how to handle your son!"

Kaz gritted his teeth and glared at the other boy. "Something like that, actually. I am not behaving like an overprotective father, as you put it, I am just making sure that if you two come together, it won't affect the team!"

Jesper, still chuckling, raised a brow. "And what of it?"

"I don't want you to go out with him and let him wait, when he so obviously loves you and wants more than just some mere dates. He - could be distracted at work. Both of you will probably be more distracted on missions as well, but we can come up with something, I'm sure."

Kaz looked at the clouded sky.

"And for the love of Ghezen! Please try not to break his heart! I need him on the team. All five of you."
He stared Jesper in the eyes.
"Don't mess this up. He's the best Chemist in Ketterdam and you are probably the best sharpshooter in all of Kerch. One slip up and the Crows are lost, you got that?"

Jesper's face turned serious and gave a curt nod.

"I love Wylan. I would not ask him out if I didn't take this seriously. And I don't want to endanger the Crows, you guys are my family. I don't know what I would do without you."

Kaz stared at him, then nodded. "You go back to the Crows Club. I think we are done here."

Jesper made his way out of the alley and silently snickered to himself. What would the others be saying if he told them about this?

"And Jesper? If one word of this comes to this so called 'family', you will have to ask Wylan out with letters. Written with your feet."

With that, the Zemeni took of running.

Kaz ran a gloved hand through his hair. That guy better takes good care of my kid.

And now shocked about his own thoughts, he began patrolling around the Bartel.

Chapter Text

He set in the corner and sobbed. In the corner of an ally, a boy is crying into his knees and the passing people outside won't stop to take a look.

The world can be so cruel.

How could this happen? How could I let my guard down so easily?

~I am taking you back in time to luuUuUUnch!!!~

Ah, good old lunch with the Crows! And Wylan was in a pretty good mood!

The date with Jesper the other day was amazing. When they came back to the Slat, the Zemeni even kissed him! Wylan couldn't wait until the next time.

He was trying not to grin all the way through lunch, but failed from time to time. No one said anything at first (for which he was grateful), but he could practically feel their smug expressions when he tried to hide his smiling face.

When they finished eating, Jesper came up to Wylan and asked if he wanted to go on a walk with him. Wylan happily agreed and stood up to leave.

That's when it happened.

Kaz just had to tease him at this moment. The moment, where his mind was to clouded too process what he was saying.

"Another dare with your boyfriend, eh, kid?"
(gosh this is OOC)

Wylan went bright red and glanced at the laughing Crows before blurting: "Dad!"

That's when the laughing died down. Wylan only looked at the shocked faces of four Crows only for a second, he didn't dare to look at Kaz, then he took of running.

Away from the Slat. Away from the rejection, the disgust that must have been on Kaz's face.

How wrong he was.

.Kaz

He couldn't react in time. The boy ran away before he could say anything.

His face was red and his mouth hang open. Kaz knew of course that the kid seemed to look up to him. But he never intended to talk about it with Wylan, if he wanted to admire Kaz, than alright. No one's gonna stop him.

Kaz was also aware that Wylan had almost called him that only yesterday.

But still.

He didn't think...

He looked at his friends and saw them staring at him with wide eyes. Nina even started sputtering.

After what seemed to be an eternity, Matthias cleared his throat.

"I suppose we - uh - should go looking for him.", the former Drükselle sent a pointed look in Kaz's direction, to which Dirtyhands started moving towards the door.

"Er - yes, of course, of course.", he rubbed the back of his neck. "Nina, Inej, take the side to the East Stave. Matthias, I want you and Jesper to look at the more southern side of the Barrel, even the White Rose if you have to. Try to split up sometimes."

Inej frowned. "And you?"

Kaz looked right through her.
("Scheming Face.", muttered Jesper.
"Definitely.", murmured Nina.)
He looked at the door.
"I'll take the West Stave. I doubt he would go anywhere near the northern territory, I told him that the Black Tips started patrolling there a while ago. I think Geels let go of 5th Harbor in favor for 3rd."

Jesper's eyes darkened. "Really? Shouldn't he be happy with 6th? That one is big enough. If he wants anything so bad, just make a deal about Reaper's Barge for all I care!"

Kaz glared at him. "You may not care about that place, but I have some...resources there. And besides, the Dime Lions already tried to-"

"That's enough!", Nina snapped. "Could you talk about your fucking unimportant territory problem later! Right now, we have a kid to find!"

She took a step forward and glared at Kaz so fiercely, he was afraid that, if she still had her Heartrender powers, she would make his heart stop beating.

"The merchling, for a reason only Inej's Saints must know (cue, offended noise from the Wraith), he sees you as a father figure (Kaz winced a little). And now he is out there, probably thinking that you want to get rid of him! So you and Jesper better shut your motherfucking mouths AND GET GOING!!!"

.Wylan

He leaned his head against the wall. Where should he go now?

He can't go back to the Slat and certainly not to Van Eck Mansion. Maybe he could leave Ketterdam?
Or Kerch in general?

He could speak Fjerdan, besides, Matthias said that Fjerda was very tolerant when it comes to refugees. So it would be an option.

The Shu-Han and Ravka wouldn't do him any good. Only hearing about those places made him feel uncomfortable.

Novij Zem? He could start a farm there. He had always wondered what it would be like anyways. Making your own money through hard work and not because someone-

"Last alley on this side. So you better be here, Wy! My leg won't be able to keep this up much longer...", a raspy voice joked slightly.
Kaz.

Oh no.

.Kaz

The alley were getting smaller and smaller. And even though Wylan wasn't the biggest, even he would not fit between the spaces of the containers in most alleys.

When he reached the last alley of the more inner side of the Barrel, his leg started throbbing. He looked up.

The already clouded sky, seemed to darken even more with the upcoming storm clouds.

He sighed.
"This will be getting much harder if he isn't near here somewhere.", he mumbled to himself.

He entered the alley and looked around. Many containers, more than in most other places, with many corners. A good hiding place.

Let's just hope he's still as obvious as two weeks ago...

He moved further forward. Slowly he started calling out to the boy.

"Last alley on this side. So you better be here, Wy! My leg won't be able to keep this up much longer...", his voice kept getting raspier to the end, as the pain in his leg increased.

Still, he kept walking.

Chapter Text

Wylan pressed himself against the wall. Hoping that Kaz wouldn't see him and just turn around.

The tapping of the cane got louder and louder, which made Wylan's anxiety grow. When the tapping seemed to be just inches away, he closed his eyes and turned his face away.

Waiting, with panic rising in his chest.

The tapping stopped.

"I knew it!", Kaz's voice declared proudly. "Still as obvious as always, aren't you?"

Wylan didn't answer. He opened his eyes, turned his face to the ground and didn't answer the older teen.

"We are pretty far away from the Slat. I didn't know you could run this fast! I always knew it was a good idea to put you on the Dregs."

Wylan still wouldn't say anything. He registered what Kaz said and his heart swelled with pride, because the person he looked up to praised him.

That still didn't stop the tears gathering in his eyes. He felt a hand on his shoulder. A bare one.

"Let's go back to the Slat."

Wylan's eyes shot open and in an instant, he was on his feet. "No!"

The Barrel Boss raised an eyebrow. "Ah, so you can still talk."

Wylan felt his cheeks growing hot, he looked at the ground again.
"I don't want to go back.", he mumbled under his breath.
"And why, in Ghezen's name, is that?"

Suddenly there were tears gathering in the blue eyes and before he knew dit, he was sobbing. Sobbing and full on crying.

Great. So first you have to embarrass yourself in front of the whole team and now you're crying like a little kid!

It had happened before, but it was still unexpected when Kaz pulled him closer and gave him a hug.
Startled, Wylan stopped crying for a moment, he could feel one of Kaz's hands running through his hair.

"It's alright. Calm down and then we will talk. We have time.", soothed the raspy voice.

And for the next minutes, Wylan Van Eck was crying his eyes out on Kaz Brekker's shoulder.
After the crying stopped, Wylan lay his head onto the shoulder, Kaz gently running circles on his back.

"So, can you talk?", was the gentle question.
Wylan nodded. "Y-yeah."

"Good", Kaz replied. "Now, why don't you want to come to the Slat?"

The younger teen blushed. "I - I thought you g - guys would no - not like me a-a-anymore..."

Wylan could feel Kaz tense up.
"That's stupid. Why would we stop liking you?"

"Because I called you...", he trailed of.

Kaz cleared his throat.
"Right, I wanted to talk to you about that."

Wylan made a little noise in the back of his throat.
Suddenly Kaz's voice sounded stern. But not the stern he used when he ordered the Dregs around, it was...gentler. By no means did sound like he would give you a cookie later on, but he didn't sound like he was going to push his cane through your skull.
(he would do that, let's face it)

"Don't you start protesting! This conversation is long overdue as it is and we're having it, whether you like it or not."

Wylan's brow furrowed.
" 'Long overdue' ", he whispered.

Kaz had the faintest smirk on his lips. "Don't tell me you thought you could lie to me? Besides, you are like an open book. It wasn't hard to figure out that you seemed to have taken me as a...role model."

Wylan blushed and buried his face in the elder's shoulder.

"Yes, yes. You're embarrassed. Moving on!", Kaz sighed. "Why - of all people in the world - did you choose me as your role model?"

"Um...", Wylan turned his head. "I guess that - I mean because...I think-"

"Easy. We have time, gather your thoughts, than speak.", the raspy voice soothed.

The redhead took a deep breath and thought. Why do I look up to Kaz?
He repeated the question in his mind until he had a satisfying answer.

"It's because...no matter how much of a screw up I am, you never give up on me. You comfort me when I feel bad, you try to keep me out of harm's way as good as possible for a Dreg...you - you act like my father did when I was little...how he acted like before...", he trailed of.
"But even though - even though you knew...you know...you still protect me an-and take care of me. You just do everything a parent would do for their normal child.", he stared at the floor. The only sounds in the alley, were his labored breathing and Kaz's sigh.

Wylan felt like he knew what was about to happen. Like this had been the last straw for Kaz to turn his back on him and leave. Disgusted.

Instead, he felt two fingers under his chin, lifting it so his blue eyes met coffee brown one's. Wylan stared into them, looking for a sign of disgust. Hardness. The typical blanknes.

But all he saw was...guilt. And...dare he say pity?

Kaz's voice was quiet, but it still echoed loudly through the empty alley.
"You are normal, do you hear me? Not being able to do something doesn't make you any less important than any other human on earth. Jan Van Eck was an idiot for kicking you out. And an even bigger one for trying to get you back."

Dirtyhands sighed. "I have to confess, I was shocked when you called me 'Dad' ", Wylan blushed furiously and tried to look away, but Kaz wouldn't let him. "But I was more saddened by the fact, that instead of you coming to me and telling me about how you feel. I know I don't seem like the type of person who would try to help with all this emotional stuff, and I really m not, but we have talked about sentimal topics more than once so you should have known how I would have taken it."

The look in the dark eyes hardened, just a little.

"You and I both know that I am nog even three years older than you, but you still think me responsible enough to be role model?"

Wylan stared at him. "You can keep a whole gang in check, are not in jail even though everyone knows your face and you're the most feared person in Kerch, you make more money than you loose with our missions that could put us in Hellgate and", he grinned a little. "You manage to put up with us five dumbasses even when we don't listen to you and keep giving you a headache."

Kaz blinked. "That is...rather impressive.", he shook his head. "I knew that."

Wylan shrugged. "You are impressive! You do so many things and live when others would die and get away with it! And then you're able to handle this gang and the Crows who bug you to no end and you still keep calm! And you do so many things for me even though I'm just some kicked out, screw-"
Kaz tapped his cane on the floor, making Wylan stop talking. "If I were you, I wouldn't finish that sentence."
Kaz turned Wylan a little and through an arm around the boy's shoulders.

"Van Eck might have made you belive those things, but they aren't true! And you will not believe them any longer.", he made it sound like an order. Which it probably was. "You are perfect the way you are. So what? You can't read or write, where's the problem? You can do other things! For example, you are an amazing chemist and can build almost anything with the few things you have-"

"Yeah, but that's it. I'm a chemist, there are lots of those, but I can't do anything else.", Wylan muttered.

Kaz glared at the sky, silently praying that Jan got hit with a frying pan, then he rolled his eyes.

"That's not true either. I know something only you achieved so far."

Wide blue eyes stared at him in confusion.

And Kaz let a smile slip. A real smile.

"You managed to get into the hearts of five of the most dangerous criminals. You got one to be your boyfriend-", cue, blushing. "-and another as a...father figure."

And Wylan grinned, the blush growing stronger.
So he's not mad.

"Do you want to go back to the Slat now, son?", was the casual question.

With tears of joy in his eyes, Wylan dragged Kaz forward.
"Yeah, let's go...Dad."

With waves of relief crashing over him, Wylan realized that he had final done. Finally, he seemed to have gotten away from the past.