Mislov had operations all over the world, in Russia, Europe, Africa. He manufactured and dealt conventional arms and had branched out in recent years to bioweapons systems. The plant in Syanogorsk hid an underground vault of labs where his pet scientists worked on new biowarfare delivery devices, including a grenade designed to spray aerosol agents into crowds. He was in the market for a payload agent to set him apart from his competitors, and thought that Jack had a formula he could use.
From what Vaughn had heard, Army Military Intelligence was behind the effort to cut short Mislov's manufacturing operations and had grudgingly petitioned the agency to make it so. They considered it a top priority. Devlin had cynically suggested during a briefing that they just wanted the weapon design for themselves, but that wasn't for the agency to worry about.
If Mislov had been just your average dealer, it would have been a walk in the park, but he was more twisted than that. His secondary line of work was human cargo and the range of his perverse interests was notorious. He bought and sold illegal aliens across national borders to be exploited in sweatshops, ran a lucrative slave trade in Asia and South America, and owned brothels and clubs in fourteen countries. Jack's job had been to strike up an acquaintance based on shared hobbies.
"Why couldn't he be a stamp collector?" Sydney had wondered in disgust when they learned of his proclivities.
Analysis and Profiling had come up with a cover they thought would go over well with Mislov. Vaughn didn't care to delve into the details of why a family with overtones of incestuous dysfunction would appeal, but A&P hadn't been wrong. The "Boros clan" with Jack as the depraved pater familias had charmed the creep in record time.
Jack had paved the way for an arms deal by expressing an interest in expanding his business holdings in the sex industry. The arms deal was still under negotiation, but the sexual tour of Europe's red-light districts was going swimmingly.
"How long have you had the place?" Jack asked as they took seats at another table in another club. This was the third night running, the third club--Mislov liked to make his rounds and would have made them anyway, he'd told Jack. Why not come along? He spent a little time each evening checking spreadsheets and dealing with employee problems, and the rest of the time playing the genial host.
"A year--I bought it off a fellow who went to chase the dream of retirement on the beaches of Rio. Me, I will never retire."
Vaughn tuned out the small talk, trying to find a comfortable kneeling position on the floor by Jack's chair. This was ridiculous. He resentfully shifted, but every movement put pressure someplace awkward--knees, shins, ankles. After a minute, Jack's hand circled his neck, drawing him close and restraining him in admonition. His hand was strangely gentle though, and some trick of chance or memory made the gesture feel fatherly to Vaughn, which was disturbing on a whole new level. He wanted to unbow his head, pull away, but he let Jack manipulate him--up to the point where he found his cheek brushing the other man's trouser-clad thigh, and then he balked, jerking away more by instinct than decision.
In a heartbeat he was on his back on the carpet, arched painfully over his cuffed wrists, Jack's foot on his neck.
"I thought we discussed this," Jack said, gazing down at him from what appeared, from this perspective, a great height.
"You son of a bitch--"
Jack's foot pushed harder against his throat, choking off his voice. After about ten seconds--a hell of a long time when you're choking--he eased the pressure. "Please don't make me punish you any further in public. It inconveniences me." A pleasant smile. "I haven't brought my tools, for one thing."
The waiter appeared at the table, looming over Vaughn's sprawled form, his shiny shoes just inches away. He didn't even look down.
"Would you like to see the wine list, sir?" He held the leather book out to Jack.
"In a minute."
Bowing, the waiter backed away discreetly.
"Daddy--" Sydney's honeyed voice reached Vaughn's ears from a distant place. "I'm bored. You promised there'd be dancers."
"Celia, Daddy's busy."
He heard Weiss clear his throat. "Hey, dad, you know, I could take him away and punish him for you for a while." From the sound of it, he was obviously trying for a leer, but in his laid-back familiar voice it just sounded bizarre. Fortunately it wasn't likely to ring off-key to Mislov.
"Thank you, Peter, but I'm afraid the terms of the bet prevent that. You'll have to wait for your fun."
Jack finally removed his foot and pulled Vaughn upright, one hand clamped around his chin. He leaned in, face to face, way inside Vaughn's comfort zone. "Think of how many body parts you could lose before you die, *Adam*."
Vaughn swallowed but held Jack's gaze. He didn't even have to be in character for this kind of bullshit. "I think you like my body parts. Intact."
Twisting off a small smile of concession, Jack loosened his grip, then seized Vaughn's mouth in a kiss. He had a half-second to see it coming, but it still paralyzed him with disbelief. There was tongue. Oh, hell fucking no. That was so wrong it defied gravity and everything holy. Plus it was like being kissed by a piledriver--which, Vaughn told himself, was in no way hot, but he was so keyed up and stunned that he arched into it and kissed back before higher brain functions could kick in.
It might have only been his imagination that Jack was equally startled, but when he pulled away he looked as composed as always. "There. Was it so hard to be nice?"
He set Vaughn back into place at his side like a man heeling a dog. Across the table, Sydney and Weiss sat with open mouths--small gapes, but literal ones. Weiss's eyes looked like cracked saucers.
Oh yeah. Weiss was never going to stop giving him shit about this one.