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all I wanted was something beautiful

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The man who's name is not yet Lucas Hood shakes his hands out – rolls his wrists, cracks his knuckles. His side arm is a heavy weight against his hip as he watches the hacker – Job – set up shop in his little hideaway. He thinks about the way the other man clutched at the box-cutter and how he just couldn't pull the trigger when they were locked up in their little standoff.

It wasn't just Job's desperate rambling to save his own life that caused his would-be assassin to hesitate. It was stupid and a rookie mistake to listen, yeah, but he just – couldn't. Over the sound of Job's babbling, the dark ink of his soul-mark burned against the skin of his wrist and the assassin had stilled, his heart thumping. No.

Meeting his soul mate (jesusno ) had to take a back seat to survival, though, with Dalton's ( that fucking bastard) men right outside in the hallways.

But.

“What's your name?” the future Lucas Hood asked.

“Job,” the other told him. 

Job . He didn't feel disappointment, he told himself, because while it's not the name on his wrist, it wasn't like he was going by his own name. 

Now, he shakes his head slightly and clumsily drops onto one of Job's ugly chairs. Even though he'll live, bullet wounds fucking hurt and just when he thinks his life couldn't get more complicated, Dalton sends him to his soul mate and his death. 

The assassin makes due with the first aid kit Job provides him, the other man's eyes a breath between wary and concerned. He'd never quite thought he'd ever find his mythical One, his soul mate, the conceptual embodiment of true love that so many trashy romance novels and soap operas are built on. It's so fucking stupid and he wishes he never got out of bed that morning. 

(A nasty thought of, if it wasn't me, it'd be someone else and you'd have never met him, creeps into his mind. The assassin does not shudder.) 

With a pad of antiseptic against his side, he watches Job's fingers flit across the keyboard, the hacker's attention back to erasing their identities. Carefully, subtly, he moves towards the desk during their conversation about Dalton and how they were escaping from his long arm. The urge to confirm what he already in his bones knows is strong, but. 

“By the time I'm done doing my thing,” Job says, pointing a finger briefly at him, “you are going to be a fucking ghost.” 

Job's hands still against the board, hovering over the keys as he turns his head towards the assassin. “Now,” he begins, “let's start with your name.” 

Of course , thinks the assassin, he'd be the first to ask . Job seemed like the kind of man who wasn't used to things going sideways. He , however, only seemed to operate under those conditions. That was why Dalton liked( liked) him. 

The assassin tells him and it's probably the first time he's spoken his own name aloud in... so long. He's not that man anymore, probably hasn't been since Dalton first plucked him from rock bottom. Still... 

Job's mouth twitches like he's hearing the best joke in the world and only he knows the punchline. He reaches out and, before the assassin could react, grabs the man's wrist, pushing his sleeve up while the other man stomps on the urge to punch him, to cover up the most private part of himself. He resists, but only barely, and the stark black lines of not-ink look back up at the two of them. 

“I fucking thought so,” Job says, a note of aha! in his tone. “My heart's been going a mile a minute and it's not just 'cause your ass made us run three miles.” With no shame, Job pushes the bracelets on his right wrist half-way up his forearm, baring the assassin's own name to the world. 

“This doesn't change anything,” the other says, roughly pulling his arm back. He uses his hip to roll the sleeve back down, the other hand still against his bloody side. 

Job scoffs, turning back to the computer. “Now that's some bullshit if I've ever heard it. By the way, contrary to my appearance, I don't do the sex thing, so if you're having any thoughts like that, you can take 'em and keep 'em the fuck away from me.” 

“I'm not,” the assassin mutters, turning away. 

“Well, good. I make a motherfuckin' awesome friend, though, so you keep that in mind, baby.” 

Somehow, he doesn't doubt it. He may no longer exist by the time Job is through with him, but it wasn't like he existed before then. There's a difference between surviving, which he excels at, and living, which he hasn't done since before his brief stint in the army. This time, he has the feeling he won't be just holding on any longer, with that light at the end of his tunnel. 

“Yeah?” He turns. “I could use one of those.” 

Later, Ana will run her fingers across Job's name and the man who is still not Lucas Hood will twist his arm gently away from her. She will pout and teasingly ask if he's met his soul mate yet, her own mark the dark silver of the dead. She doesn't feel cheated, because she has him and he loves her. The thief will press a smile against the side of her neck. 

Yeah,” he will say. “He's my best friend.”