“I’m not sure this was our brightest idea, ever,” Mikaela said, marching in a line with her hands zip-tied behind her back.
“Hey, you said you wanted to get arrested,” Drake said, and shrugged. “You didn’t specify how.”
“I hadn’t anticipated the frog-march,” Demi said, “or I would have stretched after the ride down.”
“And I would have worn more comfortable shoes,” Tucker said. “Crap. We’re here.” They were being led to the parking structure connected to the police station.
“Should I be wetting myself that they’re taking us to a parking garage?” Iago asked.
“It’s not a great sign,” Tucker said, “but so far no one’s planning on shooting us. So that’s a plus.”
“Any of them fantasizing about it?” Mikaela asked.
“Was hoping you wouldn’t ask that. Yeah. Though you’d probably never feel safe again if you knew how often cops do.”
“We should space out,” Mikaela said. “We don’t want them knowing we’re together any more than they have to, or they might be more inclined to separate us.”
Police vehicles were positioned in a rough circle, to create a pen. Iago and Drake were sent to the left, Mikaela and Demi were sent to the right. The female officer doing the sorting paused with Tucker. “If it’s a gender thing,” Tucker said, “I belong with the men.”
“It’s a frisking thing,” she said. “You want a man to do it, go left. There’s a woman on the right. Your call.”
Tucker followed his brother and Drake. “Trouble?” Iago asked.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” Tucker said, but there was something in his voice.
“It’s okay, you know that?” Iago asked, squeezing his brother’s shoulder. “To be freaked, to be hurt. I heard what you said, earlier, and you need to know it, too. It’s okay to be you. Even if sometimes who you are is vulnerable, and wounded.”
Tucker wrapped his arms around his brother,” You are such a jackass,” he sniffed.
“Hey, we all have our strengths. And you know if anyone looks at you sideways, I’ll crush them with a giant ice dick.”
“I thought you were tired of us bringing that up.”
“He’s decided to own it in a misguided attempt to take back his power,” Drake said.
“Cut the chatter,” an officer barked as Drake stopped in front of him. ”Phones, keys in the bucket, then put your hands against the car, legs shoulder-width apart.” Drake complied, was patted down, then Iago.
Both Tucker and the officer paused for a long moment, and stared at each other, before the officer had Tucker put his hands on the squad car. Tucker flinched as the officer’s hand touched his back, waiting for the threat, or for the hand to slide where it shouldn’t be. He forced himself to breath, to maintain the veneer of calm when he felt anything but, because he could hear enough of the officer’s thoughts without trying to know that the worst thing he could do was react to any of it. The officer quickly finished patting Tucker’s legs, and instructed him to follow Iago and Drake.