Niels refused to call what he was currently feeling fear.
He knew what fear felt like. The stomach-clenching, cold-sweat, trembling feeling was not at all what he was feeling now. The flutter of nervousness in his chest was nothing compared to the panic attacks he’d experienced before. At the same time, he couldn’t rightly say he felt at all comfortable in his current environment. How could he? The tiny closet of a room wasn’t meant to be comfortable, he was sure. He tried not to concentrate on the size of the room if he could help it. He’d spent a few minutes scanning the perimeter of it with a dark-eyed gaze, knowing he was being watched and refusing to move beyond that small movement of eyes. He wasn’t sure which was worse: estimating the cubic feet of the interview or knowing the camera in the corner and reflective glass in the door hid an unknown amount of people observing him. No matter how hard he stared and squinted he couldn’t making out even the profile of a person through that glass.
After awhile, the walls had seemed to start closing in on him. Shrinking and shrinking until he’d forced himself to look away. That was how he’d ended up in his current position: bent over the table with his head in his arms. Like this, he could almost sleep. The young sorcerer had slept in far more uncomfortable positions than a hard metal chair and a cold table for a pillow. If only it weren’t for the queasiness churning in his gut. And the excessive amount of caffeine he’d already consumed. It had been hours since his last cup of coffee and just the thought of the thick, Stygian liquid made him go weak. It didn’t even have to hot or freshly brewed but, as this was his fantasy, it most certainly was. With a plume of steam rising in a slow-writhing column from the inky surface. Oh yes, he could do with a coffee right about now. A cigarette, too, but he doubted he’d get either of these things. Given how they’d sat him down in here and then left him, he wasn’t even entirely sure they’d be back. They had to at some point, didn’t they?
The biggest question on his mind, however, was what he was doing here in the first place. He had a few guesses and not a one of them boded well for him. The churning in his stomach increased. When he’d gotten the initial phone call, he should have just followed instructions then. But, in his usual fashion, he’d been preoccupied with something else and had forgotten all about it until they’d shown up at the door of his apartment. This time, no longer asking. Questioning, they’d said. They hadn’t given him any details beyond that, sitting in the back seat of their government-issued car and letting him stew in silence. Niels supposed it was fortunate they hadn’t shown up at the museum while he’d been working. Or, worse yet, that Kaito hadn’t been home at the time. He hadn’t told his roommate the whole truth back when he’d been looking for a new place to live and the thought of it coming out like this made him want to throw up.
He’d been hesitant to admit it back then because he’d sworn to himself he was done. Whatever money he’d made manufacturing illegal pharmaceuticals wasn’t worth the danger. Admitting that’s what he’d been doing had seemed like a surefire way to not find a new place to live. So he’d kept it to himself. It appeared he wasn’t going to be able to do that much longer and Niels could only see losing the one friend he’d managed to make in likely ever to it. In frustration, he lifted his head only to pound it against his arm several times before releasing a heavy breath. There were so many questions left without answers but what he did know for sure was, whatever came from this ‘questioning,’ it likely meant trouble for him regardless.