Team, 100

You Might Not Know You’re Looking for Someone, but That Won’t Always Stop You from Finding Them

This important chapter for Cal makes reference to some stuff that happened in his personal history, which is optional from the perspective of the overall plot of Team, but which does get referenced fairly heavily in this chapter, so it seems fair to link it just in case anyone feels like they’d like to fill in the missing context this chapter implies.

Ao3 Link

Helena’s agent in Narwhal Junction was a little boy named Nuka who talked really fast and was hard to understand partly because of that but mostly because his accent had turned out to be a lisp. That said, he’d been in way tougher spots with way worse guides, so Cal was managing.

“The inn you’re thtaying at is one that foreigners thtay at when they don’t want to th-seem like foreigners,” he was saying. “You should move to the Whale Hole on Rethlin’s Walk, it’s nicer and won’t make everyone who knowth anything roll their eyeth at you.”

“Okay,” Cal said. “And where are you taking us again?”

“To thomeone who knowth where the-the-the Map of Amker ith,” Nuka stuttered, walking fast. He’d been taking them steadily northwest since he’d shown up in their inn this morning.

Cal scowled. “If someone knows where the Map of Amker is, then why did I come all the way up here?”

Nuka shrugged. “Tourithm?”


“No,” Nuka said. “We don’t-don’t have the Map. But some dangerous people do.”

“The Clan of Kozna,” Cal said, thinking of Bjorn’s dead body. “I know.”

“Good, becauth I didn’t want to explain. We need to rescue someone they’ve kidnapped, a little boy. Lady Black promithed you’d help us help him before we’d help you get your Map.”

As if Cal would have gone for the Map when there was a little kid in danger. Luckily he didn’t have to choose. “The boy is the Map,” Cal told Nuka.

Nuka turned around, still walking. “What?” he asked. “No, the Map is a map.”

Cal shook his head. “No. It’s a person, or it will be when it exists. The Clan is trying to turn the little boy they’re torturing into the Map so they can summon their god and make the boy his vessel.”

“Oh.” Nuka blinked, looking at his feet as he walked backwards. “Okay well good thing you’re, you’re, you’re here th-since you know things we don’t. Come on.”

“How do you know any of this?” Cal asked, glancing over his shoulder. Nuka had said the people he was bringing Cal to wouldn’t want a ton of guests, so it was just the two of them for now.

“I know people who can thee the future,” Nuka explained, waving Cal down a side street. A sign in Nathnjek said that they were entering the Horn District, which was the werewolf ghetto in Narwhal Junction, according to everything Cal had heard. Nuka didn’t look like a werewolf to Cal, even if he’d given Wes the same hungry look Grey Rain always did.

Knowing people who could see the future was useful for a spy, Cal thought, looking around. People who definitely were werewolves were giving him tense looks. They already had been, but it was worse here. “You guys really aren’t into foreigners here, huh?”

“They think you’re an, an, an Imperial,” Nuka explained. “It’s been a rough few weeks. Don’t worry about it, you’re with me.”

Cal didn’t have much of a choice but to be with Nuka, and as they got deeper into the Horn District, more people were glaring at him. Cal had always assumed werewolves were cute and small, but many of these werewolves were very large and looked pretty angry and it was kind of hard not to think about how tonight was the full moon. “What did the Imperials do to you guys?”

Nuka just gave him a look. Right. Imperialism.

“Recently, I mean.”

“They arrested a member of the pack a while ago. There are hard feelingth. Over here.”

Cal took a breath. Nuka could stand to slow the fuck down and let someone get used to new things, but whatever.

Nuka ended up taking him to a normal-looking house with a green roof, and when they went inside without knocking, it was full of people. Several werewolves filled the house, and Cal’s experience with the boys from Port Noch had prepared him for the fact that some of them were having sex without preparing him for the fact that a few of them weren’t. There were also a few humans—some of whom were also having sex—including one Cal recognized.

“Hey, you,” Cal said to Bob, the boy from the orgy. He was trying not to be defensive, but this boy had claimed his family lived around Stag Keep, and now he’d managed to get to Narwhal Junction before Cal had.

Bob was sitting on some werewolf’s dick, but he hopped off when he saw Cal, eyes wide. He was at the door in a flash, hugging Cal. “Hi,” he said. “I’m glad to see you.”

“You too, but you must know what I’m going to say,” Cal told him. “Who are you really and why are you following me?”

“You guyth know each other?” Nuka asked.

“Bob’s a time travelling cocksucker!” A red-haired werewolf told him, hopping to his feet. “And he’s our friend and you’re not, so the real question is who are you, Mister?”

“I’m Cal,” Cal said absently, not sure what to do about the fact that Bob was still hugging him. He was a time traveller? There were stories that some wizards could time travel, but they’d never been proven.

But suddenly Cal was sure they were true. Just like suddenly, Cal was sure he knew Bob, and had before the orgy.

“Oh. Hi! I’m Maple Song.”

“Nice to meet you. Listen, Bob, I need you to tell me who you are.” There were a lot of things Cal needed, but he was starting to get weird flashes of memory that didn’t fit anything. They weren’t quite the same as his usual past life memories, though.

“Yeah. Can we go outside for a minute? I promise I’ll explain.”

Cal nodded, and nobody objected to Bob taking him out through a back door. He didn’t put any clothes on, but he didn’t so much as shiver as they stepped out into the snow. “Are you human?” Cal asked him.

Bob nodded. “Head to knees. With some minor adjustments now and then.” He was facing away from Cal. “I’m sorry. I have no right to do this to you.”

“Do what?”

“Appear like this out of nowhere. You don’t know me, you don’t care about me, you’ve never met me.”

“But that’s not actually true, is it?” Cal asked, moving around him. Bob had his eyes shut.

He shook his head. “No, it’s not. I just…I know you have boyfriends and teammates and relationships and I don’t want to…ruin that.”

Cal frowned now. “How can you possibly ruin anything? Unless you’re going to tell me you’re my ex from the future.” And even if he was, it wasn’t like Cal had to break up with any of his current boyfriends.

Bob choked a laugh. “The past, actually.”

Cal watched him carefully. “I guess that’s why you’re making me remember things.”

Bob turned around, nodding. He reached up and touched Cal between the eyes, and the world started to twist. It span around really fast, just for a second but that second took decades, and when it started to slide back into place, Cal…


“Bob,” Cal said, wrapping his arms tight around Bob. Holy shit, Bob was here. “Holy fuck. I missed you.” He’d known Bob since he’d started relic hunting. He’d found the Involuted Clock. It had travelled him through time, to another world. The world Rawen had told him about, Cal realized, the other world that had humans on it, that had another Cal on it. He’d been there. He’d met himself. Bob had rescued him and brought him home. They’d spent a few weeks together. There had been other times, too. Visits, short ones. Always too short.

Bob had been forced to block his memories so that neither of them would get in trouble.

“I missed you too,” Bob whispered, hugging Cal again. Cal felt dizzy, all his blocked memories slotting into place at once. He was sure it would pass. It always did. He was sure he’d stop crying, too, even though he never had. “I missed you too, Cal. I always do. I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Cal told him, kissing his head. Crap, how long had it been since he’d seen Bob? A few years, he thought. He told himself not to feel guilty for forgetting him. That had been the whole point. “I understand, I get it. Why are you here? Why now?” Bob wasn’t supposed to interfere with normal time. He was only supposed to show up if he was horny or someone was breaking time travel law.

“Because the boy who’s about to become the Map of Amker is my grandfather,” Bob said, grip on Cal tightening. “And he’s going to die.”

“No, he isn’t,” Cal said. He let go of Bob, stood Bob in front of him. Bob wasn’t that much shorter than him, but he was light. “No, he is not, Bob. We’re going to save him. I’m going to save him.” And he didn’t care if every single temporal coherence officer in the universe tried to arrest him.

Bob was quivering, but his face broke into a smile. “I believe you,” he said, nodding. “I don’t… It’s hard to rely on other people. I’ve been trying so hard to believe Mads, but I believe you because it’s you saying it.”

Cal nodded. “Come on. I want to hang out with you but we should go inside and figure out how to rescue the boy. I mean, your grandfather. We can talk after.”

“Yeah. I’d…love to meet your team, if I can.”

“Of course you can,” Cal promised, arm around Bob. “I can’t wait to introduce you to them.” How he was going to explain Bob to them, Cal wasn’t sure, mostly because he wasn’t sure what he was allowed to say. But he’d figure something out. But that reminded him. “Do these guys inside know about you?”

“Sort of. They know I’m a time traveller, but I never explained the rest. It’s hard to wrap your head around. Remember how hard you found it? And you had actually travelled through time. Juniper’s here, though, if you remember him.”

“Okay,” Cal said. Cal had briefly met someone named Juniper on the other world, yes. It had all been very hard to wrap his head around, and was again because his memories hadn’t settled yet. He thought he might have drunk out of a privy. “Okay.” He went inside the house, looking around the room. There Juniper was, standing in the corner, looking like a normal Dolovin guy, a little skinny. “Hey,” he said, waving at him. Juniper waved back, looking worried, but Cal turned to the others, guiding Bob by the ass. “Nuka tells me you guys are looking for the Clan of Kozna.”

“Not looking,” said another guy, human, with red hair. He was the most clothed one in the room by virtue of his body paint and was sitting at the table, looking at some papers. “We know where they are.”

“Good. I’m going to help, but first we’re going to rescue the boy they’re holding.”

The man nodded. “Nuka tells me you say he’s the Map of Amker. Don’t suppose you know what the fuck that is and why everyone wants it?”

“I have a pretty good idea,” Cal said, taking a seat at the table, pulling Bob into his lap. “Let me see if I know how to explain this in Nathnjek.”

If these people were after the boy too, then Cal was going to help them. Not because he gave a damn about the Map of Amker, not anymore. But because he wasn’t going to let the person behind the Map die, and take Bob with him.

Cal hadn’t even realized he’d been missing a part of himself until just a few minutes ago. But he had that part back now, and it was not going anywhere.

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