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There wasn’t one Brat in the medical room who challenged Lynn’s orders. Even the patients knew better than to act out at this point. Alex laid compliantly on her bed, allowing her mum to do what she needed to do but keeping her eyes on her brother. She knew he would be beating himself up over this and she was also dreading the lecture from their father!
Logan let his brother go but sat on a bed close to Lily, wishing there was more he could do. She would always have the right words but maybe words didn’t fix everything and he couldn’t go over and give her any physical comfort either! So instead he just watched Lisa and Martyn do what they could for Jesse.
Logan was also looking for his parents. He heard the shouting, he knew something had happened before he left but he was still no wiser as to what. The young teen was clearly struggling to deal with it all and much like Jack, he locked into himself silently, doing the only thing he could do: wait.
Carla of course thought she won the jackpot when Kira asked her to go look after Caiden. There was enough tension in the room as it was and she didn’t like the idea of Uncle Elliot losing his temper, so she gave one last glance to the others before heading next door. She was lucky she got away without too many injuries and being in that medical room was just taking up space.
[+red “I mean it this time everyone. No one leaves this medical room until further instruction. We’re all together now, so no excuse to go running away.”] Elliot addressed the family, glad he had the medics to authorise his wishes. At least the family listened to someone… with Lynn’s request for blood, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up but if he could operate on his son, he could donate a bit of blood. It wasn’t the first time he had done it and as much as this family had lost over the years, it still put a lump in his throat.
[+red “Of course. They were right about one thing, Baxter’s fate is in Logan’s hands. Beside’s, we’re not murderers. I’ll do what I can to help.”]
Baxter’s stats were dropping rapidly. As he was plugged into a monitor, his heart was barely registering on the screen. Though as he was prepared for theatre, the boys lifestyle was revealed. As much as he played the tough act, his torso was covered in scars from fights. He was a strong fighter, but the years of scrapping for whatever food he could get shown through his malnourished body, with each of his ribs showing. There was also a tattoo in his shoulder of a snake, which looked like it had been forced upon him in the Underground. His body was showing eight years of suffering which even Elliot couldn’t hide sympathy for. His own body had faced similar conditions of starvation on the streets, but the family could always provide. How long had Baxter really been surviving for and why did he do it under the city?
Elliot took a seat in the operating theatre, extending his arm out to prepare for the needle and was almost thankful when Tessa phoned! Maybe it was some news about Lily. Though as he picked up and heard the news, his skin turned a ghostly shade of pale.
[+red “Tess I… shit, I’ve barely got anyone strong enough to fight! Demetri is here, he’s fine but… what’s the hackers condition? They’re alive, right? How long can they go without medical attention?”] Elliot desperately asked, not even knowing where to start! They couldn’t evacuate, there were too many injured but then if they sat there, they were lambs for the slaughter!
[#204569 “Tess I’ll call some of the gangs we’ve been training. They can get here but I don’t know how quickly. I’ll get a position on the roof.”] Demetri jumped in, having intercepted the call on his own ear piece.
[+red “Nic! Nic! I know you’re injured too but we’re about to be under attack. Do you have any of your old gang connections? Any at all? We need backup. I need all the injured secured. Do anything to secure the medical bay and get anyone who is strong enough to surround the perimeter. Lynn, hurry up and take the blood you need now!”]
Tigan’s primary aim was to keep Jack as distracted as possible from Larry and to buy Tessa time. As soon as he had that extra backup he could knock some sense into his friend that didn’t rely on having to use his fists! He was used to these spars but there was a different look in Jack’s eye. He wasn’t seeing Tigan as a friend to burn out his anger, he was seeing Tigan as a target! Tigan was hoping to go for a more defensive style of fighting but there was a trigger point that snapped his composure.
Axel was his idol. If he could give up his own life to bring Axel back he would do it without a seconds hesitation. The night Axel was found hanging in his prison cell was the moment Tigan’s world turned upside down. He had been dealing with that grief for years, the torment often paving the way for his waves of guilt, anger, depression… so for Jack to take that sort of blow, it was more painful than any punch he could throw! Tigan’s own eyes filled with a rage. He knew Jack wasn’t in the right mind but Tigan wasn’t exactly known for his composure when he was hurt and his own hands were evidence of that!
[#0c92a6 “Don’t bring Axel into this! He was more than any of us ever could be!”] Tigan was ready for an all out fight! As Jack aimed with his false punch, Tigan snapped his arm up in preparation to deflect it, but instead suffered Jack’s secondary attack that had so much force it created a large gash over his cheek bone! So he was going to play dirty? Tigan was losing focus on his objective with each swing that Jack threw at him!
Catching Jack’s knee he pushed it back down, dodging two of the following punches but the third struck him on his nose. This time, Tigan managed to catch one of Jack’s punches and twisted his friends wrist while slamming his foot down on Jack’s ankle. With his free hand he aimed a few jabs back at him before attempting to push Jack back with his twisted arm!
[#0c92a6 “Back the fuck off Jack or I swear down I won’t hold back!”] Tigan hissed, spitting out blood that was dripping from his nose to his into is mouth.
Jack was a tank when he was drunk, so Tigan took the opportunity to sprint forward and crash his body weight into his friend, forcing them both to the ground. He was hoping the alcohol in would slow Jack’s reflexes down! As he did, they landed not too far from Larry, who had a dangerous amount of blood pooling around his skull. Even more terrifying and what snapped Tigan back to his mission was that Larry wasn’t moving at all! There was no movement in his chest, no sign of life. Tigan grabbed a fist full of Jack’s hair and forced him to look at his brother. It would be torture for Jack, it would add more guilt, but Tigan needed something to sober him up a little and to snap back into reality!
[#0c92a6 “Look Jack! That’s your brother! Do you really think he would have lied to you Jack? Do you think Larry would hide a secret from you without a reason! He’s going to die if you don’t snap out of it!”] Tigan yelled, desperate to get anything back.
Watching as three of the guards dropped, Tigan knew it was his one opportunity to try and give them their bridge to freedom. Whether Jack snapped out of it or not, if they didn’t start thinking of a way to get Larry and Caleb home safely, then it was all for nothing! Climbing from his friend, Tigan immediately sprinted to the next arm guard and in one swift motion, disarmed him before he could get a shot and snapped his arm! With as much force as he could muster he threw him into two other guards who were aiming weapons at him, knocking them all off of their feet.
[#0c92a6 “Tess! Can you get a shot on Eleanor!? Take the fucking bitch down!”]
Tigan would have gone after her himself but before he could make a move, one of the guards was grabbing him from behind his back and trying to slice a knife across is throat! Tigan was strong enough to throw the guard over his shoulders as he doubled over, catching his wrist and snapping it sideways but his eyes once again shot to Jack.
[#0c92a6 “It was a lie Jack! It was all one big lie! Eleanor was going to kill you, rip the family apart. I didn’t even know, it caught me by surprise too but Lily is here, she’s here and waiting for you and she’ll tell you the whole truth! Now look at your fucking brother, not out of guilt, but out of the need to fix this! We’ll explain, you’ll see the truth, but you have to help Jack before we are all killed!”]
Lily wasn’t too far away from the scene but being closer to Jack and Larry didn’t stop the broken look in her eyes. In some way she was hoping it would give her some comfort but instead all it did was install a fear that it was too late. Larry wasn’t moving, Tigan and Jack were against each other and her husband… she hadn’t seem him this lost for years. She wasn’t looking at Jack Sanders right now, as much as she knew he was still there. Hearing Tessa’s voice and seeing Caleb, Lily gently took over and started some basic medical.
[+orange “Caleb I’m really, really sorry, but I need to slow this blood flow now, ok?”] Pulling out a lighter, she was sure Caleb knew what was coming. She gingerly pulled back the bandages of his severed finger, flicking the flame and in one quick motion she cauterised the wound as quickly as she could. With the given situation it wasn’t something she would usually do with enemies close by, but Caleb’s silence was the one thing allowing her to risk it right now! As soon as she was done, she wrapped the bandages back around and gently placed her hand on his face to tell him it was over. It wasn’t going to save him but it would give him a bit more precious time.
[+orange “Tessa, be careful! I’ll stay here but Jack, he’s not going to snap out of it unless he has a purpose.”] Lily warned but the shooter was already off and just in time. Lily gripped the gun tightly, watching the fight, watching Tigan doing his best to try and get Jack to see sense. She knew Caleb needed immediate treatment and someone to defend him but what was the point if Jack wasn’t going to comply! Biting her lip, Lily put another gentle hand on Caleb’s shoulder and gave him the gun.
[+orange “I’ll be back Caleb, ok? You’ll be safe here.”]
She had to get to Jack! She needed him to hear the words from her own mouth. Sneaking out of cover, Lily made sure she was clear enough from Caleb not to give him away before sprinting down in the sight of Jack. She was putting herself directly in danger but with Eleanor making her escape and a fighter and a sharp shooter, she was happy to take her chances.
[+orange “Jack, look at me. I know what you heard, I know I said some horrid things and those voices in your head, the words you have heard in the past, I really need you to ignore them right now and listen to me. Look at me Jack.”] Lily dared to get closer, putting herself in even more danger with the guards that how now clocked her arrival and were trying to fight past Tigan and Tessa to get to her!
[+orange “Jack you have always been the father of this child. Always! Think about the timeline. I said it happened the night I went on a walk. I would be MUCH further along by now Jack if that was the case! I had to say it because she was going to kill you Jack and I’d do anything to be able to keep you alive, even if it means telling the worst lie I’ve ever told! I know you won’t believe me now but we can prove it to you. We can do a test, we can do anything but you are the dad Jack and I can explain more but you have to focus!”] Lily begged but she wouldn’t get a chance to say another word. One of the guards was quick enough to slip past Tigan and grabbed Lily by the neck, pulling her close to his body and putting the knife in his hand to her stomach!
[+grey “If you don’t all drop your weapons now, I’ll do it! I’ll kill the bitch!”]
Lisa gratefully took the bandages and helped Martyn to clean and wrap what they could. These wounds were bad enough to need stitching but the bandages would at least buy the timetoget back to the medics. Jesse's was badly broken again, the cast in mangled pieces around her wrist and her shoulder was swollen from the rough treatment mere days after being dislocated so violently. Jesse seemed to be in a state of shock. She wasn’t quite unconscious yet, but she looked as if she was numb to the world. She flinched every time one of their hands touched her back and Lisa knew it was because she had come so close to being violated the same way she and Lily had. Just how close a call it was,Lisa would have to find out fromLogan and Baxter, but for right now she focused on the physical wounds, leaving the emotional ones for when they had more time and privacy.
[b “She’s alive, Logan. We’ll get her back to your mom and the others; they’ll take care of her.”] Nic assured the boy, but not wanting to make promises he couldn’t keep. He wouldn’t tell the kids that Jesse was going to be ok, because honestly… he wasn’t sure. It took Maddison years to fully confront and deal with what she went through, and even now she still has the occasional nightmare about it. Kidnapping, torture, assult, death threats… these kids were far too young to have to deal with this kind of trauma.
As Starla finished wrapping his hands, he reached up with the freshly covered bandages and cupped his wife’s cheek, pulling her in for a quick kiss. Their own daughter was safety away from all of this turmoil, but it still wasn’t easy on either of them to see the other children in this state. And these poor kids would be moving from one hell to another once they were safe: Logan would be returning to find his parents had split, Jack was drinking again, and Lily had cheated on him. Rylan would be held responsible for this little failed rescue plan of his, and what were they supposed to do with Baxter? This kid had tried to kill them in the past and has wanted nothing to do with the Street Brats since. Clearly the kids had made some kind of a temporary pact with him - Rylan's invention strapped to his arm and Logan’s hands applying pressure to his stomach were pretty obvious signs - and he wasn’t much of a threat in this state, but what about once he recovered? Was it even safe to bring him to their safehouse?
As if reading his uncle’s mind, Rylan spoke up, bringing another wad of bandages over to Logan to help him staunch the blood flow.
[#880088 “Baxter led us to Jesse and helped us save her. We’re not leaving him to die. Besides, he’s Logan’s brother so if anyone should decide what happens to him, it should be Logan. If anyone else has a problem with that, they can take it up with me.”] Rylan stated in an inarguable tone. His voice carrying all the authority of a leader, prepared to defend his team no matter what. He’d face anyone in the family who dared to challenge him on this… although his composure may waiver a little when it came to his father. Along with a great respect for Elliot, came the intense fear of disappointing the man,and Rylan already knew he there was going to be hell to pay for this little stunt. As much as he longed to see his parents and sister safely out of that blazing building, he was afraid of what his father was going to say once he returned.
[+red “You’ve done enough damage to that leg, Alex. Do you want to end up like me? Having to wear an ankle brace for the rest of your life because you pushed yourself too much?”] Hayden countered sharply. Elliot had rebuilt her brace so many times since she was a child, that he’d perfected the design, making it hardly noticeable and more than strong enough to support the fighter, but it was still an annoying injury to cope with. She didn’t want her daughter’s leg caged in abrace for the rest of her days, even if it meant arguing back with her stubborn, willful little fighter.
[+red “Elliot!”] Hayden got Alex safely outside,but didn’t take a step more than she had to without turning back to wait for her husband. She was about to call for one of the others to help Alex so she could run back in and help Elliot, but her husband’s robotic strength pulled off another feat. The house was now crumbling in on itself,with no possible way for anyone still inside to have survived. Hayden hurried to bring Alex to the van, resting her down so she could get a better look at her leg. While she was nowhere near as talented as the medics, Hayden had suffered enough injuries in her many years that she at least knew the basics of what to do. She stabilized the leg as much as possible and elevated it to slow the bleeding.
Rylan rushed to his sister’s side, desperate to make sure she was ok, but his father’s voice stopped him in his tracks, immediately dropping his gaze to the ground. Rylan could hold his own against almost anyone else in the family, and had it been Nic or Tigan that had questioned him, Rylan would have been defending his decisions with every bit of self-confidence he could muster, but Elliot was a far different story. Rylan opened his mouth to explain himself, but someone else beat him to it. Rylan wouldn't have been surprised if it had been Alex, or even Carla,but it wasn’t… it was Logan! Logan Sanders actually stuck up for Rylan? The world must truly be coming to an end!
[b “Logan’s got a point, Ell. Baxter’s in rough shape, we need to get him to Lynn or he’s not gonna make it.”] Nic added, knowing that the matter wasn’t over for the Evenwoods. Rylan wasn’t going to get off that easy. Both Nic and Elliot had been leaders at one point or another and both knew the heavy burden that came with the title. As leader, you didn’t make choices for your own beefit, you had to put the team first, and Rylan’s actions had put each of the kids in danger. If Demetri and the other adults hadn’t shown up when they did, none of the kids would have made it out alive! Still, only Logan and Baxter knew how bad things were for Jesse by the time they arrived so Logan was this upset, maybe he had a good reason to be. If they had waited on the adults, they might not have reached Jesse and Martyn in time. But all of that would have to be sorted out after the injuries were taken care of. Nic helped as much as possible with his injured hands, making sure everyone was safely loaded in the van and safely unloaded once they arrived at the safe house. Lynn and Kira were both ready and waiting as soon as they arrived.
[#112299 “Looks like the bullet’s still inside, he’ll need surgery… take him to the first room on the left. Seth scrub up, I’ll need your help with this.”] Lynn ordered as Kira ran directly to Jesse.
[#992211 “What? Me?! Lynn, I don’t know anything about…”]
[#112299 “You're a thief with steady hands who works well under pressure, right now you’re the best I’ve got. Starla, can you grab some supplies and help the less serious injuries? Elliot, I know this is asking a lot, but I might need some of your blood for a transfusion. Baxter has lost too much and without Lily here the only direct family he has is Logan, and I can’t ask that of the boy. You’re Lily’scousin, your blood might be a match. It’s a long shot, but it’s the best we have.”] Lynn asked, already scrubbing up and preparing for surgery. Logan would be a match but the boy was already badly injured and besides that, how could Lynn ask him to donate blood to the little brother that tried to kill him years ago?
[+purple “Hayden, grab some ice packs for Alex’s leg and the yellow syringe from that table, it’s a pain killer. I’ll set the leg as soon as I’m done with Jesse. She’s going to need a blood transfusion as well. Maryn, you’ve already lost enough from your neck, I’m hesitant to take any more. But can you help set Lisa up with the needle? Carla, sweetheart,can you check on Caiden for me? He’s in his playpen in the next room.”] Kira instructed with the same directness as Lynn. Elliot and Nic may have been the leaders, but in situations like this, the medics hadan authority very few dared to challenge, especially since every one of them had been on the medic’s tables themselves at one time or another and knew that Kira and Lynn would both do everything they could to pull the family through.
[+purple “Lily’s not here, Elliot. She and Tigan got a lead on the hackers, the coordinates are written down over there!”] Kira replied,nodding to a piece of paper scrawled on the table. Without another thought she had Jesse resting on her side on one of the medical tables and she started cleaning and stitching the multiple deep gashes on her back.
[#ff00ff “You can try to change all you want, Larry, but it'll never work. You and Jack are monsters, just like mom, just like dad, and just like me! The longer you deny it, the more people you’re going to end up hurting when you finally snap. I’m just speeding up the process! And maybe I will kill myself when it’sall over ad done with, but not beforemy mission is complete. I’ll wipe the Sanders bloodline off this planet - every last one of us! Including your two half-brothers. Logan may have slipped through my fingers, but I’ll get him back. And Baxter? He’s a tough one to find, but I’ll track him down one of these days. It’s a good thing Jacky’s little whore slept with his friend. If that baby was Jack’s, I’d have to put an end to it too.”] Eleanor smirked. She didn’t want to give the lie away to Jack just yet, but Larry would understand the reality of that threat. He knew the story of Lily cheating wasn’t true, so he’d know it really was Jack’s baby, and that Eleanor wouldn’t hesitate to take out all three of Lily’s kids!
Eleanor needn’t have worried, however, as Jack wasn’t listening to her anymore. He was consumed by his rage and his liquor, seeing nothing but that wall of red in front of his eyes and hearing nothing but the twisted lies painted across his memory: [i [#776677 “You’re a failure, Jacky-boy, a waste of skin!”] [#005500 “You followed me like a lost little puppy who had never been loved!] [#664499 “Lied to you about what? What you couldn’t see?”] [+blue “Failure!”][+green “At least I wasn’t found in a ditch, or hurting mum, or failing the family, or messing up like YOU DO!”] [+red “Sometimes I think selling you off would make my life a lot easier and Lily’s…”] [#005500 “Sometimes I wish I died when that blade went into my chest but you wouldn’t care about that would you Jack?”]]. The voices swirled around Jack’s mind, blocking out everything else. He didn't see the blood on the concrete, he didn’t hear the crack of Larry’s skull, he didn’t even notice when Larry fell limp in his hands. Jack would have just kept going if not for the strong, forceful grip that tore him away from his brother. The punch was strong and with the liquor in his sistem Jack was already off balance, so the single strike was enough to send him crashing to the ground, spitting blood from his freshly split lip.
[#ff6622 “You. I told you I never wanted to see your backstabbing face again!] Jack growled, forcing his aggression to the surface to hide any pain that lay beneath. [i Useless piece of shit…] Tigan’s words echoed Rick’s, adding more fuel to the self-loathing fire and pushing him further into his rage.
[#ff6622 “I’m screwing everything up? You’re the one who [i screwed] your best friend’s wife, Tigan! And now you’re coming in all high and mighty? I guess this is how Axel felt when he found out you weren’t his kid, eh? Except Asha didn’t have much choice in the matter. Lily’s been after you since we were fucking teenagers!”] Jack bringing Tigan’s family into this was a low blow, but by now Jack was itching for a fight. He had too much pent up emotion: pain, anger, grief, hatred - he needed some way to let it all out and unfortunately, Tigan was a willing target!
Jack leaped to his feet and charged at Tigan.Now Tigan was stronger and far more skilled than Jack, but there was one thing Jack had to his advantage. He’d been fighting and sparring with Tigan since they were kids,always only at half-strength, never trying to really hurt each other. Over all those years, Jack had learned many of Tigan’s tricks, and while he still was no match for Tigan in their friendly sparring matches, there was nothing friendly about Jack’s attack right now. He wasn’t holding back and he wasn’t pulling punches. Jack was out of control, fully prepared to do real damage if Tigan didn’t put him down first.
Jack first faked a swing at Tigan’s face, switching at the last moment to a jab to the ribs, followed by a knee toTigans gut, before returning to Tigan’s face with a series of punches in hopes at least a few of them would land. If nothing else, he was going to show Tigan he wasn’t messing around.
[+blue “Lily!”] Tessa whispered, approaching the woman’s hiding spot with a very-injured Caleb hanging off her shoulder. Tessa had done her best to patch him up and Caleb was stable for now, but he'd definitely need medical attention once they got him out of here. It was probably safer to keep him resting,but Tessa had received Tigan’s troubling text and knew he needed backup.
[+blue “Caleb’s not doing so well. And is that… shit! Larry! Damnit, we need to get the hackers back home now! Here…”] Tessa reached for one of the hidden holsters strapped to her ankle , and handed it to Lily.
[+blue “I’m going to give Tigan some cover. If anyone takes a step too close to you or Caleb, shoot them. Trust me, from what I’ve seen, these bastards deserve it.”] Tessa instructed her little cousin. With a confident nod, Tessa snuck around for a better vantage point while the two men started fighting. As if it wasn’t bad enough that the hackers were in dire condition and Jack and Tigan were kicking the shit out of each other, it seemed things were about to go from bad to worse as one of Eleanor’s men approached with his phone in hand.
[#776677 “Ms. Carrow, we’ve got news from the other base. Pyke is dead and those Street Brats were able to free Martyn and the girl.”]
[#ff00ff “Seriously? I told Pyke and Dylan their ONE job was to kill those Silvertongues before they could escape!”]
[#776677 “What would you like us to do, Ms. Carrow?”]
[#ff00ff “Fix it! Call in your reinforcements, find their little safe house and kill them! No failures this time! And since those annoying Street Brats don’t know better than to stay out of our plans, make sure you slaughter each and every one of them! Adults [i and] children. I want them dead.”] Eleanor ordered. Tesse couldn’t get a shot on the messenger from where she was stationed, so she couldn’t stop him from calling in his reinforcements like Eleanor instructed, but the news was enough to wipe any hesitance from Tessa’s mind. No one threatened her family and lived to tell the tale.
[+blue “Elliot, you there? I’m with Lily and Tigan, we’ve found Jack and the hackers but things aren’t looking good. You need to get ready. Eleanor just ordered his mercs to attack the safe house and kill everyone inside! Can you evacuate?”] Tessa warned her brother through her communicator even as she lined up for her first shot. She didn’t realize that half the family was injured or that with Baxter and Jesse’s conditions, they couldn’t be moved. And she couldn’t even head back to help, not until she could be sure that the Sanders brothers, Lily, Caleb, and Tigan were all safe! With the silencer on, no shot was heard, but three of the men standing guard dropped to the ground one right after the other with a growing red spot directly between their eyes. But Tessa and Tigan would have to work fast. As soon as the first three dropped, Eleanor realized Tigan had help and quickly moved to evacuate. She wasn’t done with her brother’s just yet, but she wasn’t going to risk getting shot before she had a chance to finish her mission.
Logan was keeping a deep and intense pressure on Baxter’s wounds. His t-shirt was soaked with Baxter’s blood from carrying him through the house, just showing how much his brother had lost from that single bullet. It was a dangerous game already but the only thing keeping Bax alive was the fact that the bullet hadn’t pierced all the way through! Instead it was acting like a plug and the moment it was pulled, if they thought he had lost a lot of blood already, it was nothing compared to what would happen. He needed expert medical hands but Logan had no idea if the older Brat’s would use their medical resources on someone who tried to kill them! He could already see the untrusting stares and even Logan was still unsure. Packing the wound with the remaining bandages, Logan pulled away just in time for Nic and Jesse to return.
[b “Is she… shit, is she alright? She’s going to make it, right?”] Logan asked desperately, wanting nothing more than to go to his friends side but he knew her parents would want to check on her first.
Starla was quickly with the Mason’s, grabbing a second oxygen mask and wrapping it around Jesse’s head. She wasn’t medically trained, so at this point it was just keeping them all stable enough until the Evenwood’s returned and then getting them back in time! She handed Martyn and Lisa the small amount of bandages she had to help slow down the blood flow from Jesse’s back.
Martyn couldn’t talk but he wasn’t just going to sit back. He was desperate for a distraction from his own pain but he was also more concerned about his daughter. Taking the bandages he did what he could to try and cover the deeper wounds but Dylan had caused so much damage it was impossible with the limited resources to protect her entire back! His eyes hardened a little at the damage. For years he had seen the damage done to Lisa’s back and saw in her eyes the flashbacks it brought, the ones she hid behind her mask and he could only read, when she would look in the mirror and see them again. Hi biggest regret for this mission was that Dylan got away. If they had caught the bastard, Martyn would have ripped his own vocal cords forcing the words out to crush that monster in a heartbeat.
Starla turned her attention to her husband and placed a gentle hand under his chin.
[#858929 “They’re not back yet, they will be Nic. You have to trust your brother. You can trust him to come out of that building more than we can trust you landing safely, clearly. Sit up, easy breaths, come here…”] Starla insisted, knowing he would only be panicking about Elliot and doing what she could to try and keep him calm . With the remaining bandages, she wrapped Nic’s hands and forced him to lean against the van wall to ease the pain on his ribs.
Carla was sat on the outside, having been lucky enough to come out the least injured. As she waited, she felt the reassuring hand of her father on her shoulder, who instantly pulled her in for a hug.
[#204569 “My little sharp shooter. You know what you did was sneaky, but er, I’ll cover your back with your mum. You did good kiddo.”]
[+purple “I’m *cough* trying!”] Alex snapped back at her mum, showing the pair had the same fiery spirit behind them when in the midst of a fight. As well as her broken leg, Alex had a busted nose, a split lip, and a deep gash on her cheekbone. It was nothing a skilled fighter couldn’t put up with but she was glad when her mum snatched her close and she could feel her dad’s arm pulling them up! She was surprised she had lasted as long as she did! It was only now she was resting in her mums arms that her body was reacting to how exhausted she was. She started to get tunnel vision and her ears were ringing like crazy.
[+purple “I can walk mum, I can…”]
[+red “I think you and your brother have been reckless enough for one day. Do as you’re told Alex!”] Elliot snapped, much like Hayden he was only getting cross at the situation as he snapped his metal wrist back into place.
The ceiling was giving way behind them and they really didn’t have minutes left, it was seconds! Elliot cut through fallen beams as the fire was now climbing the walls and ceiling around them! Grabbing his wife with his human hand, Elliot shoved her forward with his daughter and caught one of the walls that threatened to collapse with his metal hand, which was providing him with just enough strength to hold it up!
[+red “Go!”] Elliot hissed, feeling his chest and shoulder shake from the force. If he didn’t move right, the wall would just end up falling on top of him! His metal arm was so hot now, parts of the metal were turning red and he could feel the flesh of his shoulder were it was attached suffering severe burns! With a desperate look to the door which was only inches away, with his remaining strength Elliot shoved the wall up enough to give him a split second to dive forward!
He was lucky that as he landed and forward rolled , the hallway they were standing in completely collapsed behind him! Catching his breath, Elliot was forced to disconnect his metal arm to stop it from causing any further damage from the heat. He couldn’t remove his leg yet, as he needed to get to the van, but he limped towards his wife and put a strong hand on her back and headed to the rest of the Brat’s.
[+red “Starla, let’s go! Straight back to the safe house.”] Elliot ordered, climbing into the back of the van were he fell against the van wall next to his brother and pulled his metal leg off. His trouser was covering the burns on his stump, but his shoulder could be seen. Still, it could have been a lot worse, which the very thought led him to staring at his son.
[+red “You DO NOT under ANY circumstances in the future sneak off again! We could have dealt with that together Rylan! You are not just an inventor, you are a leader, and I have taught you better than to be so reckless! We made the same mistakes as you! We’re all out of practice but a true leader looks at the resources around them and relies on them, they do not just sneak off!”] Elliot snapped. He knew he probably should have waited for a more appropriate time but he was an Evenwood, and his own father wasn’t exactly patient with the brutal truth either.
[b “It was my fault, I wanted to find Jesse! If we didn’t go when we did then… whatever, you fucking just believe you’re right. I bet if we replayed the scenario under your watch, Martyn and Jesse would be in a worse…”] Logan surprisingly shouted up, defending Rylan.
[+purple “Alright we get it! Stop it! None of this is helping anyone. We’re all alive. Let’s just be grateful.”] Alex shouted over them all, rubbing her head from the headache she was getting.
[+red “Don’t think you’ve gotten away with it as well Alex. I taught you better too. Logan… is that your…”]
[b “Yes he’s my little brother and yes we can trust him because he’s almost dead.”] Logan again interrupted and to emphasise his point he looked at Jesse, showing the rest of the adults that she trusted him too.
Starla did’t miss a beat with her driving. She was careful enough not to make a bumpy ride for the injured but her smooth driving ad her speed got them back quickly! She pulled the rear of the van as close as she could to the main entrance, jumping out to help get the most severely injured into the medical unit.
Elliot had reattached his leg and arm at this point, ignoring the pain and jumping out to help carry Baxter in, whilst Martyn supported Lisa carrying Jesse as they were the two most injured.
[+red “Lynn, Kira, can you make a start on these two. Can Lily… wait, where the hell is Lily!?”]
[+brown “Dude, are you insane!? Brat’s have hurt each other for years out of emotions! It’s not right, but you’ve had a drink dude! When you aren’t overly emotional, when you aren’t hurt, when you haven’t poured the bottle down your throat, when do you ever hurt someone? Hm? Jack, use that thick skull of yours and string together what I’m trying to say! Snap out of it!”] Larry was desperate at this point. He didn’t care about the risk to himself, he just got his best friend killed! What he did care about however was keeping Jack alive but trying to get him to see through the fog of this lie. Unfortunately Larry was stuck in a position where if he said the blatant truth, the guards would just put a bullet in both of them! Like Jack, he put his hands in his hair and started to tug so tightly from the height of his own emotions! This bitch was ripping them apart and he was literally useless without a freaking computer!
[+brown “You’ve got nothing else to hold you back but this messed up family won’t stop unless you put an end to yourself Amanda! You are warped! So freakin’ warped! Can’t you see that this whole thing is pointless if you are out there just causing as much shit as dad? Your whole mission is pointless! You’re destroying the people who are actually trying to change. God freakin’, Jack, she’s been…”] Larry lost it at this point, and was just about to unveil the truth until he felt his back slam violently into the ground knocking the wind out of him.
In that moment, the bravery the hacker had built up from losing his best friend, crumbled when he felt Jack roughly grabbing his shift and seeing the rage in his eyes.
[+brown “Dude, come on now, listen to yourself! Just take a deep breath and think bro!”] Larry begged, scowling at the smell of alcohol and knowing that nothing he would say would break through to his older brother. He was too far gone! Trying again for a second time to tell the truth he was quickly silenced as he felt the back of his head slam against the concrete. As Jack pulled him up, there was already a red smear on the floor and Larry’s blonde hair was dripping red.
He tried again, only this time, his vision went blurred, and more blood literally popped out, spraying the concrete behind him.
He lifted his arms up, pushing his brothers face, and then, darkness. Larry fell like a rag doll in Jack’s arms and this time, as the back of his skull cracked against the concrete, there was bits of his skill left behind…
As the fourth strike went to crash against the ground, Larry’s body was simply fallen to gravity as Tigan grabbed Jack by his shoulders and ragged him off. Tigan didn’t hesitate to throw a strong strike at his friends face, standing protectively in front of Larry who in his eyes was already dead! He was just praying by some miracle that he was knocked unconscious but he didn’t have any time to check for signs of life. Before Tigan ran into the scene, he messaged Tessa about his arrival and what he could see. There was no way he could take that amount of guards on his own and he forced Lily to stay away until Tessa could arrive to take some of them out! Once some of the armed guards were away, Tigan could take out the others and allow Lily on the scene to reveal the truth and hopefully snap Jack out of this daze! For now he needed Eleanor distracted enough and the guards until Tessa and hopefully Caleb could come and help.
[#0c92a6 “You’ve always taken it out on me Jack, so why don’t you fight someone who can fight back, you useless piece of shit!”] Tigan hissed, resenting himself for having to play this part but he had to keep Eleanor fascinated that Tigan had really dared to come to try and finish Jack! Why else would he have left the medical room? If she really set Caleb up to have those cameras on the safe house, he really needed a decent reason to leave.
[#0c92a6 “You keep screwing everything up Jack, well I’m not having it anymore. So come on big shot, do what you wanted in the hospital!”] Tigan yelled, throwing another punch. He couldn’t expose Lily yet, it would just feed into Jack’s rage but if Tessa didn’t come out soon, he would be forced to severely injure Jack or, Jack would severely injure Tigan!
Jesse nodded to Logan, promising to follow as soon as he was clear. Her back was screaming out with every move and the thought of climbing out the window and down the fire ladder was agonizing, but Logan was needed to carry Baxter and Nic had his hands full with the guards, so Jesse would have to push past the pain for a little longer. She watched from the window, making sure Logan and Baxter were safely to the ground before she tried to follow. Painful tears were sliding from her eyes as she fought against the agony in her back to reach the window, but before she could there was a foreboding groaning noise above her and Jesse looked up just in time to see the ceiling give way!
[b “Jesse, move!”] Nic shouted, diving for the girl.There wasn’t time to be gentle or mindful of her wounds as Nic toreher away from the window, tight against his chest,and shielded her from the falling debris.Fortunately,neither suffered more than a few bruises and superficial burns,and the cave in effectively took down the rest of the guards that Nic was fighting. But it also left them completely trapped: the stairs were nothing but a burning inferno by now and the window was blocked by a mound of burning wood and metal!
[b “Elliot! The ceiling’s caving in! We’re trapped upstairs! I’ll… I’ll find a way out, just get everyone else out of the building! We’ve only got few minutes before this entire place comes down!”] Nic warned his brother through the comms. Jesse was coughing even worse by now, her eyes stung from the smoke, and her back pain was now crippling after suffering additional blows from the cave in. Even Nic was starting to suffer the effects of the smoke! In the back of his mind, he was glad that Tigan had stayed home since this would have been playing havoc with the younger man's fears!
[b “Ok, Jesse, I’mgonna need you to hold on tight, ok? We’re getting out of here, just don’t let go of me, ok?”] Nic ordered as he lifted the young girl onto his back and felt her weak arms wrap loosely around his neck. Her frail grip frightened him, but Nic just hoped she could hold on long enough to get out. He only had one option left, and he’d need both his hands if they were going to survive the drop!
Nic wound his backpack through the inferno, having to change course several times as bits of fiery eiling came crashing down in front of them. When he finally found a free window, Nic smashed the glass with the hilt of his knife and climbed out on the ledge. He made sure Jesse was secure before lowering himself down as much as possible.The broken glass on the window sill cut deeply into his hands but Nic just clenched his teeth to the pain. He lowered them down so he was hanging by just his fingertips, as close to the ground as he could possibly get and with a deep breath, he let go. Nic twisted in the air, pulling Jesse from his back to his front so he could shield her against his chest before they hit the ground. Even though he tried to roll , he wasn’t quite able to escape all the damage. Nic felt a couple of his ribs snap on impact, making him yell out in pain. Fortunately, Jesse wasn’t hurt but she was now barely conscious; her bood having soaked through Nic’s shirt from the way he held her.
Nic eased himself to his feel,mindful of his broken ribs, as he staggered back towards the van and rested Jesse down beside her mother and father.
[b “She got too much smoke and her back is shredded… looks like her arm’s re-broken too. But she’s alive.”] Nic said the Reader and Silvertongue before turning back towards the others.
[+green “Jesse!”] Lisa took her daughter, resting her on her side until the van was ready to leave. She tried to ease the pressure on her back, biting back the bile as she remembered how much such a beating would hurt. Lisa still bore the scars from her grandfather and hers hadn’t been nearly this deep! Lisa glanced up at Martyn conveying both her relief that their daughter wasback safely in their arms, but also her fear of what was to come. The scars on Jesse’s back wouldn't be the only permanent effect from her trauma and Lisa feared that the psychological scars would be far more damaging.
[b “Logan you did good, Kid. I wouldn’t have been able to get both Jesse and the other kid out without your help. Starla… any sign of Elliot? They’re not still in there, are they?”] Nic asked in a panic, turning his eyes back towards the flaming building. He wanted desperately to rush back in and help, but with his ribs,his cut up hands, and the amount of smoke already affecting hsi lungs, he’d only be a liability if he tried!
[+red “Focus on the fight, Alex!”] Hayden snapped. She didn't mean to be harsh when her daughter was just concerned for her family,but itscaredHaydent o see how badly her daughter was already hurt and if she didn't keep her head in the fight, it could get much worse! It only took one false move, one slip or missed step, and she’d never reach Alex in time!
Hayden was ruthless as she fought, taking out the guards as quickly as possible. She didn’t like killing if it could be avoided, but these bastards had kidnapped her niece and hurt her children so she wasn’t held back by too much remorse. As she reached her daughter and saw the lifeline of her husband's arm lowering down from ove, Hayden grabbed her daughter securely around her waist and grabbed her husband’s invention, feeling the instant pull as they rose to the main floor as well as the burn of the heated metallic against her hand. One of the guards dared to reach for Alex’s injured leg to pull her back down, but Hayden sent him flying back into the fiery pit with a sharp, well-aimed kick to the head.
[+red “I think that's everyone. We have to go!”] Hayden offered to carry her daughter, not wanting Elliot's metal limbs to burn Alex and also knowing the young girl would only do more damage to her knee if she tried to walk on her own. She let Elliot lead the way out so he could cut through any falling rubble that stood in their way.
[+blue [i “Already here… I followed Jack. They’ve been split up, I can’t watch all three at once. Get here fast!”]] Tessatested back as she watched the scene below with a new worry. When she first arrived and watched Jack get out of the car to meet Larry, she wondered if Caleb was being kept at a different sight. But if he was somewhere in that building, she needed to find him. It was a gamble -leaving the brothers unprotected while she searched for the hacker, but knowing Tigan was on his way, Tessa had to trust that Jack and Larry would be able to hold out until then.
Tesse took out a special attachment for her gun - one with a silencer and a scope that could detect heat signatures in a building. One of the best parts about having an inventor for a brother, was that she got the best birthday presents! She snuck around the house, using the scope to trackdown Caleb. He was in the backroom, sitting at a desk with two guards behind him. He’d already lost a lot of blood and his fingers were slipping against the keys. One of the guards was getting impatient, and stepped up behind the hacker, placing his gun against the back of Caleb's head!
Tessa reacted on instinct - she dove to the side, rolling as she hit the ground and coming up with her gun already raised in the perfect position to shoot through the open window. One shot with the silencer took out the guard before he could pull the trigger, but in her haste, Tessa had to sacrifice her position. After seeing his partner fall, the second guard raised his weapon and shot out the window , but the hacker wasn’t dead just yet. Caleb had reacted to the first guard’s death as well, leaping out of his chair and slamming his body into the second guard so his shot wouldn’t hit whoever had just saved his life!
The scuffle gave Tess enough time to slip through the open window and shoot down the second guard before he could get the upper hand against the exhausted, injured hacker. The moment of relief had drained all the adrenaline from Calab, and now that he had nothing to struggle against he was fading fast. The beating had broken ribs and possibly causes some internal damage, and his severed finger hadn’t stopped bleeding yet, draining Caleb of his life one thick, crimson drip at a time. Tessa wanted to go after Larry and Jack, but if she left Caleb like this, he wouldn’t make it. She eased the man into a position where he could lean against the wall and rest for a bit while she scrounge up some supplies to tend to his injuries, but before she could move, a three-fingered hand snapped out and captured her wrist. Caleb tried to use his specialized sign language to speak, but the horrid combination of his own exhaustion, blood-slick digits,and the fact that he had one less finger to work with now, made it almost impossible for Tessa to understand anything more than a couple odd words.
[+blue “Caleb, slow down! I can’t… Larry? He’s outside with Jack. Tigan’s on his way.”] Tessa whispered back, but instead of reassurance, Caleb’s eyes widened at the thought and he started signing faster.
[+blue “Hold on… broken? Broken Jack? Creature? No… monster? Kill… shit, ok, take it easy. I’ll warn Tigan.”] Tesse said, taking out her phone with one hand as she wrapped a torn piece of her sleeve around Caleb’s hand with the other.
[i [+blue “Careful Tigan, Jack’s not himself. That woman wants him broken and you and I both know the best way to do that is to make Jack do something unforgivable. Don’t let him hurt you!”]]
Jack grit his teeth as his brother stumbled over his words, yet didn’t deny they were true. So Caleb knew about the baby? He knew about the cheating? Why didn’t he say anything?! Was he trying to protect Jack’s feelings? Or to protect Lily’s secret? Maybe he just didn’t want to cause a rift among the Brats, afterall, they had become a family to Larry over the years just like Jack thought they had to him. He was probably trying to keep the peace among the Street Brats, and so what if it hurt his only blood-brother in the end? It wasn’t like Jack had ever done anything for Larry! He’d only ever got his little brother more hurt! The doubts and the alcohol worked together to poison the memories swimming in Jack’s mind.He couldn’t recall the times he genuinely tried to protect his baby brother, only the times where his failed attempts had resulted in Larry being hurt even worse!
The gun shot sparked an instint reaction from Larry, but it was followed by Jack’s own seconds later. Whether it was the knowledge that Caleb was dead or the sight of Larry struggling against the guards , Jack lunged forward to help his brother. He didn’t care about the guns trained on him or the men that ran in to intercept him from getting to Larry. If everything Eleanor said was true and even Jack’s little brother didn’t give a damn about him, then it didn’t matter if Jack was killed in the midst of all of this as long as he took some of these fuckers down with him!
Jack took several fierce punches before he was thrown back a couple steps, with Larry landing in the dirt at his feet. The guards repositioned themselves,now circling the brothers, but keeping most of their muscle in front of Eleanor to protect their boss.
[#ff6622 “Fuck off, Larry! I was tryin’ to protect you! I wouldn’t… I won't just...”]
[#ff00ff “Hurt him? Are you sure about that Jack? You’venever lashed out in anger and hurt the people you care about? Bull shit. I bet that blood on your knuckles isn’t even yours.Who else have you hurt, Jackie-boy? Go on, tell your baby brother how much of a monster you are. He already thinks you’ll beat him! Look at his eyes Jack!”] Eleanor shot back,revelling at the pain in Jack’s expression when she challenged him. He gaped at his own bloody hands and winced.
[#ff6622 “Nic… K-kira…”] Jack muttered, admitting that eleanor was right. Nic didn't deserve that hard hit, he’d only been trying to calmJack down! And he couldn’t even blame the alcohol for that one,since he’d been sober at the time! And Kira… she was defenceless. She only had one arm, her mind split between her concern for Jack and the sobbing baby in the back seat of her car. Jack had seen the red on her face before he ran, knowing she'd had a fierce bruise because of him. Jack wanted to insist that he’d never lay a violent hand on his little brother, but was that true? He didn’t think he’d hurt Kira or Nic either, but they’d both suffered at his hands. And Larry didn’t even look surprised; as if he knew exactly what Jack was capable of. He stared defiantly at Jack the sameway Jack used to stare down at his father. That thought struck Jack harder than anything… he was turning into his father!
[#ff00ff “That, baby brother, is the difference between you and me. You still hold onto this foolish belief that you’re innocent! That you’re better than mom and dad! That you deserve to be happy. But I embrace it! I know I’m just like them - a product of nature, nurture, and traumatic circumstance all rolled into one. Even before the brain damage, mom and dad had already beaten the apathy into me. I would have just gone back to sleep that night and let you cry your little eyes out until dad shut you up! I may have felt guilty about it, maybe even shed a few years, but I would have spared myself from a snapped neck! And now, that guilt is gone completely so I’ve got nothing else to hold me back. Nothing to stop me from ending the both of you!”] Eleanor retorted with a smirk. She was enjoying this! Jack was so close to snapping completely and Larry was pushed over the edge with the death of his best friend. Even if they somehow managed to survive this, they’d never recover! Not that Eleanor would give them the chance! She’d make one brother kill the other: either Jack would lash out and take Larry down in his own blind rage - tearing away that last shred of humanity from him. Or Larry would be forced to kill Jack in self-defense and consequently turn himself into a fratricidal monster!
[#ff6622 “Stop it! I’m not like that bastard, I don’t… No! I’m not… Fuck! Just shut up, Larry! Shut the fuck up!”] Jack snapped, his mind not able to handle the accusations and challenges anymore. He shoved Larry violently to the ground, following his brother down and grabbing the collar of his little brother’s shirt with both his bloody fists.
[#ff6622 “You think I’m like him?! You think I’m a monster, like our asshole of a father?! That’s what Lily thought too, wasn’t it? That’s why she didn’t love me! That’s why she didn’t want me to be a father, she knew I would turn out just like that fucking bastard! All of you knew!”] Jack shouted inches from Larry’s face. The wall of red was bad, building in front of Jack’s unfocused eyes making it hard for him to realize what he was doing. He was losing control, not unlike what happened with Tigan back at the prison when he’d beaten Kira nearly to death!
[#ff6622 “I came here to protect you, you little shit! Like I’ve always tried to protect you! But that’s not good enough, is it? Everytime I try to help, I just fuck everything up even worse! Dad saw it and mom too! They told me you and Amanda would have been better off without me always screwing up, but I didn’t believe them! Not until I got both of you killed! And now I fucked up again, right? If I’d been here sooner, you could have traded me for your best friend! Then you’d have been a fucking hero, Larry! Put that bullet in my head instead of Caleb’s! Finally rid this fucking world Rick Junior! Is that what you want? Is that what you fucking want?!”] Jack didn’t realize he was doing it, but after every line, he’d raise Larry’s head off the ground a few inches before slamming him back down, accidentally hurting his brother and fulfilling the very act he was trying to deny! Eleanor laughed at the bitter irony of seeing the wasted fool beating his little brother even as he yelled at him to argue that he’d never be that cruel! Maybe now Larry would see - every world he’d said about Jack being better than Rick, about him not being the monster their father was, was about to be proven wrong.
Elliot sprinted towards the front door with Hayden, watching as his wife forced his son and Martyn out of the burning building and pulling them towards the van. He wanted to head straight in to be by her side but he knew his children, and the moment Carla came following behind whilst still trying to take as many shots as she could to help Hayden, he pushed her gun down and pointed towards the van.
[b “We’ll get Alex out. Both of you stay by the van and DO NOT MOVE.”] Elliot warned the two. For a Leader not many people were keen to follow his orders but there was a definite warning to the children that there would be further discussions after they had gotten out of this mess. He gave his son a final look, narrowing his eyes at just how much danger Rylan had gotten himself into in his condition, before rushing in after Hayden to go and support them.
[+pink “He’s just worried Ry, it’ll be ok! You did the right thing. You saved Martyn and if we didn’t do it, we would have been leaving one of our own. Come on, let’s get to the van.”] Carla had ran out of bullets and she knew her dad had the others covered. She put a gentle hand on Rylan’s back, easing him towards the van were Starla had a small amount of medical supplies and an oxygen tank to help the younger kids.
Martyn equally didn’t want to leave his daughter behind but he knew if he died in there from his own stubbornness, Jesse had already suffered so much he wasn’t sure she would recover! She had the best chance now with Elliot, Nic, Hayden, and Demetri. As he felt himself being supported in Lisa’s arms, he wanted nothing more than to give her the information she was desperate for but he was still choking from the smoke and his lungs were already stressed from the agony of the waterboarding and then the smoke inhalation. It was only once they were back at the van and he felt Lisa’s hand on his cheek that he was able to compose some of his breathing.
[+green “F-Fine…I-I’ll…be…”] Martyn started but the strain was too much, forcing him to mouth the words ‘ok’ at the end.
Looking up at the window where his daughter was and watching Nic rush to get them out, his eyes turned to Lisa to let her read everything he knew.
When he found Jesse she looked… different. Moments before they were tied he knew she had experienced some darkness which would change her forever. Dylan had tortured her but Martyn didn’t know how far he had gotten. She scarified herself to try and save him and the two had been separated since. He didn’t know anything else, only that their daughter wouldn’t be the same little girl they knew before all this chaos. Giving Lisa the time she needed to read everything he could give her, he watched as Logan started to climb down the ladder first, hoping Jesse would quickly follow behind!
[#204569 “I got you and Starla in my sights. No one is is gonna lay a hand on you or your wife Nic. Just don’t stay in there longer than you have to.”] Dem comm’d back, already taking shots at the remaining guards. There weren’t too many left but that was the least of their problems now. If they didn’t hurry up, they would all be buried alive!
Logan was buckling under the weight of his brother, the strain of his previous injuries, and the heat exhaustion from the building. Even if he took over from Jesse and tried to bust the window open, he wasn’t sure his hands would have the strength either! As Logan continued to back off, his foot slipped through a floorboard as it caved in under him but he was able to quickly regain his balance. If Nic didn’t come when he did, he was sure they weren’t going to make it out!
The young teen was almost ready to argue against Nic and demand that Jesse went first but he knew his best friend better. She wouldn’t move until she was certain that Baxter was going to be kept safe.
[b “You *cough* better follow… *cough* Jesse! *cough* I’m not leaving *cough* to the van until you do!”] Logan warned before reluctantly taking his place on the fire ladder.
Starla was waiting behind him, immediately taking Baxter from Logan’s shoulders to ease the weight. Baxter was completely unconscious and had suffered a severe amount of blood loss. To make his situation worse, the smoke had filled his lungs and he was barely taking a breath! Starla grabbed Logan by the scruff of his t-shirt, pulling him towards the van.
[b “No! I gotta *cough* wait for Jesse!”]
[#bbe40c “She’ll be fine but… this is your brother, right? He’s losing blood and he’s going to need you Logan. Nic will bring her back, I promise!”]
Alex had been holding her own but her strength was quickly draining out of her body. She was always taught to deal with her opponents as quickly as possible but she was fatigued, the adrenaline was running low, she was choking on a mixture of dust from the collapse and smoke from the fire and not to mention her knee was breaking further the more she put her weight on it! Her defences were slipping and she was starting to take more hits than she was giving out! Just as her mum arrived, Alex took another blow to the face, forcing her to stumble back and fall against the wall.
[+purple “Mum! Are the others out!? Are they…”] She quickly tried to ask but was already fighting off another guard who seemed determined to end the girl before the place burnt down!
Elliot was already on scene. He was at the top of large hole where Hayden had fallen down and he pulled out his glasses, pressing a button which allowed him to see through the smoke. His metal limbs were already scorching the flesh of his skin from the flames but he knew if he didn’t get his wife and daughter out soon, they would choke to death before this building fell down!
Twisting his metal wrist, the hand disconnected from the rest of his mechanical arm to reveal underneath it was attached to a long chain. The hand could usually be shot and attach itself to a solid object, creating a firm chain for someone to climb but with the building collapsing, Elliot couldn’t risk causing more damage to the structure. Instead he used his free hand to grab onto a nearby beam . Leaning his metal hand into the hole, he activated a switch which started to lower the chain and metal hand down into the centre of the pit.
[+red “Hayden, Alex, grab the hand! I’ve got it but hurry, this beam is collapsing!”] Elliot shouted, feeling the building start to shake. Once they grabbed onto the hand, the chain would automatically start retracting up at speed, pulling them to where Elliot was.
As his sister flicked his head, Larry kept his eyes down on the desk and chewed the inside of his cheek. He was never really one to stand up for himself, or have the courage to do so. He was pretty sure if he had a normal childhood he would have been the geek that would have been picked on at school. The quiet type to never fight back. Sure, he was lucky in one regard that he had access to a part of his intelligence most would dream of, but it didn’t give him the bravery that Jack had and one he almost envied. All Larry could do was sit back and listen and hope that his next move wasn’t lethal. Now he was wishing it was almost a playground at school, at least then it wasn’t life or death.
He had been hoping that somehow he could get through to his sister and get her to see that there was hope in the family. Listening to her paint a picture of just how much damage had been done to her empathy, he didn’t doubt for a second that if she got what she wanted, she wouldn’t even look back or think of the brothers again! What was he supposed to do? It was unlikely he was going to get out of this alive. Even if a rescue team did come, no doubt she would use the last of her resources to take out the Sanders while she had the chance.
The constant reminder of just how much Caleb had suffered already due to his actions, no, his family name, meant at this point he wasn’t planning on getting a rescue team here to save himself, it was to get Caleb out! He was always the better hacker but more importantly, Caleb never hurt a soul and didn’t deserve to suffer because he associated with a Sanders. So if Larry could just save him from anymore beatings, even if it meant putting him on a task, he’d do it. He already knew it would come with so many risks but it was better than Larry saying the wrong thing and getting his best friend killed! Feeling his head crack against the desk he could already feel a deep bruise spreading across his eye socket and cheek. It wasn’t anything compared to Caleb’s suffering but maybe this would give his friend the rest bite he needed and get him the rescue team to get him out of here!
Only now he was outside it wasn’t Caleb’s condition he just had to worry about, it was Jack’s. He never forgot that day. The day he watched his brother stumble backwards into that river and thinking he had lost him forever. Larry knew the lie would have had devastating effects and he was surprised they managed to find his brother in time before he did something drastic to himself! Knowing Eleanor, the moment she ran her hand through his hair, Larry lifted his hands up to try and stop his brother in his place
[+brown “Cool it man! Jack it’s cool, relax dude. Look, I’m hardly hurt, alright? Just, just take a breath.”] Larry called to him, not wanting Jack to have his brain blown out trying to protect him!
Larry should have known it was coming. That the lie would have been brought to the surface to pit the two brothers together. At this point, Larry was certain both of them were going to get killed no matter what and Eleanor was just keeping them alive as part of a final game but this wasn’t about just giving up. Larry didn’t have a partner, he didn’t have kids. He had his computer and sure people who cared about him but Jack was going to be a dad! It ripped Larry apart to see his brother like this again but if he told him the truth, Eleanor already made it pretty clear she would kill Jack sooner.
[+brown “Jack it’s… it’s more complicated than that… I… what? No they’re both, I’m not choosing between my best friend and my brother! What the fuck is…”]
The gunshot exploded a trigger from Larry that he never expected. He spun around on his feet, his eyes widening back at the house.
He just got his best friend killed.
[+brown “Caleb! You fuckers, let me… CALEB!”] The boy screamed, turning his back on Jack to go and sprint inside but two guards instantly grabbed his arms and held him back. His feet was dragging into the dirt, desperate to get inside to see what had happened but instead the guards simply slammed their fists into his gut, before throwing him with so much force he landed at Jack’s feet!
The young hacker trembled with the weight of the guilt of what he had done. He was meant to be buying Caleb some time from the beatings! He was meant to be allowing him to save himself! He couldn’t have made a mistake, he wouldn’t have been foolish enough to make it obvious to the other guards, he was quick at his skill. Why did they kill him!?
There was a fire in his eyes that only came to a Sanders with guilt. Larry hadn’t drank a drop of liquor but it wasn’t much different from Jack’s. Crawling up to his feet, he used the sleeve of his checked shirt to wipe away the tears from his eyes and looked at his brother.
[+brown “You make whatever decision you want Jack. You listen to this bitch, who just killed my best friend, who kidnapped your son, who made your life a living hell! Do it! Go on. Take it out on me! You know you can, you know you can just do what she wants!”] Larry shouted towards his brother, feeling an in-depth rage before turning to Eleanor.
[+brown “You say the Sanders blood-line is cursed? Well what about you, eh? You’re just like mum! Yeah, I might have not have been old enough but I heard the stories. She wasn’t any better, was she? Man, you’re just sitting back and letting us all suffer and joining in when its just as convenient for you. Why haven’t you taken yourself out yet, hm? If we’re all cursed, what makes you so much better? You think playing this fucking game is going to get you anything!? You want my brother to beat me to a fucking pulp? Is that what you want?”] Larry hissed, feeling more of the angry tears roll down his face.
[+brown “Go on then Jack! Prove it to her! Prove we’re both just messed up Sanders! Do it! You choose to believe her, then do it dude! Do it!”]
Tigan was carrying in some of the heavier machinery, helping the girls as much as he could. Lynn certainly wasn’t taking any chances, knowing the Brat’s weren’t going to be coming back with light injuries. He just put down one of the monitors when he turned to Kira, who had also caught Lily’s attention.
Following his instructions, Tigan stepped over to Caiden and made it look like he was picking up the boy for comfort, quickly catching a glimpse of the security camera. Kira was right! There was no one else other than Larry or Caleb who could do that! They were the only people who knew the security for this building!
Lily was also quick to grab one of the medical charts and turn so anything she was writing down was away from the cameras. It would look like she was taking down inventory, but instead she was quickly taking note of the coordinates she had also witnessed.
[#0c92a6 “Lily won’t be going on her own. I’ll go with her but if Larry and Caleb have been taken, this place isn’t safe anymore. They wouldn’t have been able to do that unless they were tasked to do something with this building… we’ve got Tessa out searching too, I can send her a message.”] Tigan was quick to think of a plan, knowing that if Larry or Caleb had sent that out as a distress signal, it wouldn’t be long until their captor found out what was going on.
[+orange “Kira, Lynn, are you sure?”]
[#0c92a6 “Lily, we get Larry back with Caleb that’s the strength Jack needs! We can drop this lie! We can get him back! You understand? Come on, let’s go!”] Tigan urged, gently placing Caiden down and ruffling his hair.
The two left, making sure to the cameras it looked like they were heading out to complete another task but as soon as they were out of the line of sight, both of them started to run out of the building. Finding Tessa’s number, Tigan sent her a text with the location and a simple message.
[#0c92a6 [i “We’ve found Larry and Caleb. On my way.”]]
[#aa0000 “He’s the reason I escaped from Eleanor after you threw me from that window and he’s the only reason you were able to find me in time, Logan! And I told [i you], Baxter, that I never leave my debts unpaid. But if you’re so determined to leave the weak to die, then why the hell did you come back for me?”] Jesse shot back at both the brothers. Despite their differences, both brothers played a crucial role in saving Jesse over the last several days and she wasn’t going to leave either one behind. Besides, if there was anything her time in the underground proved to Jesse, it was that Logan and Baxter were a lot more alike than they realized.
When Logan agreed to help and even went as far as to carry his younger brother one his shoulder, Jesse gave her best friend a look of understanding and genuine appreciation. She knew this wouldn’t be easy for him, but she couldn’t in good conscience, leave Baxter behind! Jesse acceptedLogan’ssupport to climb back to her feet, feeling her legs tremble a little as a fresh wave of pain from her back threatened to send her collapsing back to the floor. Jesse wasn’t sure she could push past the pain to walk, but the thought of putting Logan and Baxter in even more danger spurred her on. She took the cloth from Logan, biting back the bile as the very smell of Dylan's jacket nearly made her sick!
As directed, Jesse ran to the window to force it open, but withdrew her hands with a yelp as the heat from the window pain burned her skin. Jesse pulled her torn sleeves over her hands and tried to break the glass with her fists, but every strike pulled sharply on her shredded back making it impossible to hit with enough force. Not that she had much time. As she did her best to open their escape route, angry shouts and gunshots echoes from down the hall, and bullets dug into the walls after just barely missing the kids!
[#880088 [i “Hold on Logan! I’m on my way to… shit! Alex! ALEX! Logan, Alex is down and more guards are coming in! Shit, I’ll… I’ll figure something out, just find some cover! Buy yourselves some time!”]] Rylan’s voice called back through the comms proving how completely and utterly screwed they were!
Rylan had just shaken off his momentary disorientation from the explosion to see his sister trapped in the basement! As a leader, this was Rylan’s worst nightmare! Half his team was trapped and injured upstairs, while the other was fighting for their lives down here! Did he rush to Logan’s aid? Get Martyn out of the building? Keep fighting the guards in the house? Try to save his sister? There was too much to do and only one of Rylan - an injured one at that!
[#880088 “Alex, stay strong! Carla, can you clear us a path out of here?”] Rylan finally settled on a decision that he'd never forgive himself for. Right now, he and Martyn were a liability to anyone left in the house. He needed to help get his uncle out of here and pray that more help was in the way just as Dem had said. Alex could concentrate more on protecting herself if she wasn’t worried about her brother and Rylan had to trust that Logan could hold out until backup arrived. Besides, with Rylan’s weakened heart, all this smoke could send him into cardiac arrest if he inhaled too much and if he went down now he was no help to anyone!
Still, the decision was torture for the young teen and even as they neared the ddoor, Rylaan casta desperate look back towards teh basement steps, willing his sister to magically appear. That’s when Rylan felt a strong hand on his shoulder pulling him back and shoving him towards the door.
Hayden didn’t waste any time.As soon as she shoved her son and brother towards the exit, she ran into that firey mess to tackle any guards that tried to block their escape.
[b “Mom! Dad! Alex is *cough* trapped in the *cough* basement!”] Rylan told them, now at least reassured that his little sister wasn’t alone. He left Alex in his parent’s capable hands and helped Martyn out of the building, letting Calra take out any guards in their way. As soon as they breached the outside, Lisa was there And pulled Martyn’s arm over her shoulder to help pull him back towards the van where it was safer.
[+green “Martyn?”] Lisa asked, her eyes instantly slipping to the damage done to his neck. She knew it must be painful for him to speak, so instead, she placed a soothing hand on his cheek and locked eyes with her partner: sharing all her concern and relief that he was alive, as well as trying to read anything he needed to tell her. With her husband now safe, Lisa glanced towards the upstairs window where the other children were still trapped.
The familiar whoose of a blade slicing through the wind made Nic snap his hand out towards it. With practiced ease, he snatched the blade out of the air without slowing his stride at all. As if reading his brother's mind, Nic was already on his way towards the kids trapped on the top floor.
[b “Starla, I’ll need your help to get the kids out of there, stay close! Dem, don’t let any of these fuckers attack my wife!”] Nic called to his wife and his brother-in-law, having no doubts the shooter would be picking off any enemies that got too closetot eh family, all the while cutting through any attackers that were stupid enough to stand in his way. Nic was skilled with a blade as a teenager, but after decades of honing his abilities, his fighting style looked almost more like a dance than a battle, allowing Nic to gracefully twist around his opponents, fluidly moving from one attack to the next and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. As he got closer, he grabbed a throwing knife from his belt and whipped it at the window, shattering it instantly and allowing the kids to escape.
Upstairs, the flames kept spreading and now even the fabric from Dylan’s jacket wasn’t doing much against the smoke and Jesse was coughing and choking on the thick, black poison. Just as Jesse was beginning to fear they’d never escape, the glass of the window shattered. Jese wasted no time in tossing out the fire ladder, spotting the arrival of the adults as she did. Nic took a running start, leaping half-way up the ladder and pulling himself through the window to find Jesse, Logan, and to Nic’s utter shock - a kid that looked a lot like Baxter McCleeve!
[b “I’ll cover you. Logan, you go first. Get that kid down to Starla, then help Jesse! Go now!”] Nic ordered, hoping that for once in his life, a Sanders actually listened to him! Nic gripped Elliot’s specialized blade in one hand and his own unique black dagger in the other as he met the guards half-way down the corridor,preventing them from getting any closer to the kids. The building was quickly becoming unstable, not leaving them much more time to get out!
Hayden sprinted towards the thick smoke billowing from the basement steps. She leaped down the stairs, taking them three at a time as she tried to catch sight of her daughter. While Hayden certainly had the ability to fight with grace like Nic did with his knife, at this moment, the mother wasted no time with complex technique. She went for quick and dirty, taking her opponents down with one or two of her more devastating tactics before moving on to the next. These bastards were going to regret ever threatening the Evenwood kids!
[+red “Alex! Are you alright? Shit! Elliot! I found her, but she’s injured!”] Hayden called back up the stairs. She had paused for just a moment to check her daughter’s condition, but felt the sting of a bullet graze her shoulder. Hayden’s eyes flooded red and her fighter’s instincts kicked in. She would have to trust Elliot to find a way to get Alex out of here as she held off the guards. But it was a race against time. Every second that passed sent a shower of rubble falling from the ceiling above. The smoke grew thicker and thicker and Hayden felt her throat restricting as her lungs filled with the thick, black clouds. Hayden had never truly conquered her fear of suffocation, and the only thing that kept her panic at bay for the moment was prioritizing her family’s safety. But if they didn't get out of this building asap, they’d have a lot more to fear from the crumbling, burning building than they would fromanyone left inside of it!
[#ff00ff “Oh, would you stop your incessant whining! Honestly, you’re no better now than you were as a baby! Besides, you’re wasting your time trying to appeal to my morals, baby brother.”] Eleanor said, stepping towards Larry. She leaned against the computer desk with her arms crossed, glaring at Larry with a rather annoyed look.
[#ff00ff “You see, when you hit the wall and cracked your little skull, you actually came out better than before! You became a genius, Larry, able to use all those incredible parts of your brain that most people can’t even access.”] Eleanor explained, flicking her brother’s forehead in a twisted sisterly gesture that seemed horrifically misplaced for the scene they were in.
[#ff00ff “When dad bashed in Jackie-boy’s skull with that metal pipe, a tiny piece of metal broke off and got embedded in his brain,making him completely unable to feel physical pain. I, on the other hand, had the opposite. When Daddy-dearest shoved me down the stairs, cracking my skull and snapping my neck, it damaged the part of my brain responsible for empathy, emotion, and attachment. I don’t care about you, Larry. I don’t care about Jackie, either. In fact, there is nothing in this entire world that I give a shit about! I could kill both of my brothers, wipe out the last of the Sander’s bloodline and I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep over it. But there is one thing that pisses me off…”] Eleanor reached over her brother and pointed to one of the video feeds he had pulled up, directing his attention to the room with Kira, Tigan, and Lily.
[#ff00ff “That girl and her little friends managed to convince Jackie-boy that he wasn’t a monster! They convinced him that he deserved to be happy! While I was in a fucking coma for 10 years, Jackie was running around with his new family as if that whole horrible night never even happened! And you were no better.”] Eleanor pushed off from the desk and instead stepped over towards Caleb. She grabbed a fist-full of the hacker’s hair and ripped his head back so Larry had a full view of his bloody face.
[#ff00ff “You’re mentor helped to hone your skills, gave you a home, a family, a purpose! Even before Caleb intervened, you found yourself living a happy life with those geeks at the junkyard, led by… what was his name? Mickey? You and Jack don’t deserve that kind of happiness, Larry, and your friends would have been better off if they’d never met you. So I’m going to show those idiotic Street Brats why they should have never welcomed you and Jack into their rediculous little family of misfits in the first place.”] Eleanor explained.
She released Caleb and wandered back towards her brother, watching as he accessed more of the security feeds. She was pleased at first, but when the one screen went dark,Eleanor’s hand snapped out, grabbing Larry by his hair and smashed his head into the desk.
[#ff00ff “Some computer expert you turned out to be. Though it makes me wonder… are you really as much of a failure as dad always knew you would be? Or are you stupid enough to try to trick me?”] Eleanor asked, her gaze growing sharp. She stared at her little brother for a long, intense moment trying to read any deception in his eyes. Had Eleanor been a readerlike Lisa, she would have picked up on Larry’s plan instantly,but for now, she was left with just a theory.
[#ff00ff “Alright, if you insist, baby brother. Guards!”] Eleanor called, prompting one of her men to grab Caleb by the throat and shove him across the room. Eleanor pulled her brother out of the chair so Caleb could sit and it took only seconds for Caleb’s keen eyes to find the slip in Larry’s coding and catch on to his plan. He turned to look at his partner, silently warning him of how dangerous this was. If they were caught, they’d both be killed and who knows what would happen to the rest of the family!
[#ff00ff “While Larry and I have a little chat with our brother, Caleb’s is going to fix that camera. If it’s not up and running properly in the next ten minutes, put a bullet in the back of Caleb’s skull.”] Eleanor ordered as she pulled Larry out of the room.
A black car pulled into the driveway just as Eleanor led Larry outside and the driver got out to open the door for an incredibly tipsy Jack Sanders. It certainly wouldn’t have been an encouraging sight for Larry, seeing his brother in this state once again. He hadn’t even been this bad safter Geoff died; so the last time Jack had been this waste would have been the day Larry witnessed him stumble off the bridge! Aside from the obvious signs of alcohol, Jack’s cheeks were wet with tears, his eyes were bloodshot, and his knuckles are bloody - likely from taking out his frustrations on some unfortunate brick wall after his accident with Kira. Eleanor wasn’t the least bit surprised to see her little brother in this state - he looked just like their father.
[#ff00ff “Welcome the family reunion, Jack.”] Eleanor started, but Jack was quick to cut her off. His words slightly slurred, but heavy with a deadly seerity that he almost never used, even on his enemies. Jack had always been a light humour among the family, and often took the opportunity to make jokes and sarcastic comments, even while fighting. There had only been a few occasions where the thief had been this devastatingly serious and none of them ended well for those who crossed him.
[#ff6622 “If you lay a hand on my little brother, I’ll fucking kill you.”] Jack growled,swaying slightly on his feet as he squared off against Eleanor.The woman didn’t seem frightened. She just smirked, taking every pleasure in his reaction as she mockingly raised her hand and carded it back through Larry’s hair. She leaned in close and whispered in Larry’s ear, never taking her eyes off Jack.
[#ff00ff “You see, Baby Brother? I told you he takes after our old man.”]
[#ff6622 “I warned you!”] Jack hollered, stepping forward menacingly as his fists raised ready for a fight. Several of Eleanor’s guards reacted to the threat by closing in and raising their weapons, clearly ready to protect their boss if necessary. Still, Eleanor didn’t seem fazed.
[#ff00ff “Go ahead Jack! You take one more step and they’ll shoot you dead. It’s suicide. Of course, you’d probably welcome that at this point, wouldn’t you? Now that you know how alone you are. Lily never loved you, your so-called best friend betrayed you, and your baby brother… he’s been lying to you, Jack. You know no one in that little family of yours can keep any secrets from the hackers. Do you really think Larry didn’t know about the cheating? About the baby?”] Eleanor baited him, revelling in the satisfaction of seeing Jack’s brow crease with doubt and uncertainty. His bloodshot eyes flickered towards his little brother, wondering if it could be true. Jack had always trustedLarry, ever since he’d reconnected with him in the hospital the day Lily was taken. The two brothers may have not shared much in common, but they trusted each other explicitly. Jack knew he could always count on Larry and had never before doubted it. But he’d thought the same about Tiganand Lily… if they were capable of lying to him for so many years, was his brother just the same?
[#ff00ff “You know the truth, Jack. Larry cares more about that mute freak of a mentor than he’s ever cared about you. We can prove it, right here and now, wouldn’t that be fun? Go ahead and choose, Larry...if you could only save one - Jack or Caleb - which one would you choose?”] Eleanor asked, nodding to her guards to raise their guns towards the thief. But it seemed that moment that Caleb’s ten minutes were up, and before Eleanor could go any further with her game, a loud gunshot sounded from inside.
[#ff00ff “Oops, I guess we’ll never know. Looks like you just got another person killed, Larry.”]
[+purple “Wait is that…? Tigan, come over here for a second, stand beside me. Just… hold Caiden for a minute. As you take him, glance at the camera, but be subtle… I think it’s Larry and Caleb.”] Kira whispered, trying her best to act natural in case that camera was still recording. The message was flashing every couple seconds, but it was clear the hackers were afraid of being caught. If they were still captured but had access to a computer, it was likely whoever had them would be watching closely for any signs of trickery. At least if Tigan held the toddler for a couple seconds it would be a believable excuse since Kira could then help Lily prepare supplies for the injured.
[+purple “It looks like coordinates… Lily and I will need to help Lynn with the injured once they’re back, but maybe you should check it out? Or maybe it’s safer to wait for some backup… we have no idea what kind of trouble the hackers are in.”] Kira pointed out her concern, just in time for the message to abruptly stop.
The entire room felt as cold as ice. Elliot knew the trauma Lisa was listening to, and Lily knew that Lisa had also been through the same nightmare as her, and that Jesse could be facing the same. What took everyone by surprise was watching Lisa’s mask break. No one had seen the reader openly crack. She would usually force herself out the room, take herself somewhere private, so to see her breaking so openly just showed how much Lisa had to lose.
Lily stepped forward, placing a hand on Lisa’s shoulder. The woman was broken herself but Lily was never the type to just stand back when a friend was in need. As much as she wanted to drown in her own sorrows, at least Jack was alive, and Logan wasn’t in immediate danger . She opened her mouth to give some encouragement, but as she did, Hayden and Nic had burst in with their own news.
[b “They’re… and wasn’t anyone watching… those kids I swear… alright, alright! Lisa, look, My phone is already picking up and Demetri’s distress signal is coming from that location. He’s there! Alright! Nic, tell Starla…”]
[#bbe40c “I already know Elliot. Change of plan. Van’s waiting.”] Starla followed behind the two, showing her keys before running to get the vehicle set up.
[b “Of course I put a tracker in the boys arm because I knew something like this would happen! Lisa, Nic, Hayden, you’re coming with me. Let’s go!”] Elliot barked but as he started to move he could see Lily following behind them.
[b “Not a chance Lily. You’re pregnant, and not in the best mindset. Jack doesn’t know it but you are his only hope of sanity once we find him too. Beside’s, you and Kira need to set up the medical room and prepare for a lot of injuries. Tigan is going to be alerted to stay on guard with you. Do not follow us Lily!”] Elliot ordered before nodding to Lisa to follow. There wasn’t a chance in hell he was telling her to stay behind!
In minutes they were all piled in the van and Starla roared the engine to life, pulling out with the speed you wouldn’t expect the vehicle to be able to achieve! She was breaking every limit there was, but at this point why did it matter? They were being hunted anyway.
For the rest of the Brat’s, the way Baxter was treating Jesse after the horrors she was exposed to probably would have been frowned upon. He could already sense Logan’s judgement for just forcing her up to her feet, not offering any words of compassion. What the Brat’s didn’t realise , that Baxter had been living in a completely different world for eight years! Most of the people he saved from his gang came from similar paths which he pulled them out from, and perhaps he was desensitised to it to some degree. That didn’t mean however that the short time he and Jesse spent together, that he was pushing aside the pain and the terror she was going through. Baxter just had a different way of dealing with it. Right now he was in his prime environment. It was about survival and there would be time to break and let it all out later. So he let Jesse struggle, not caring as she pulled the skin from his burnt hands or bruised his skin with how desperate she was. As he forced that blindfold away, he knew that would be enough.
Time however and that essence of survival was ripped from Baxter the moment that bullet buried in his gut. The blood was already seeping between his and Jesse’s fingers, and the severity of that one shot showed more as he tried to speak and the blood stained his teeth! As much as he tried to keep the strength to stay on his feet, his strength was zapping from him second-by-second!
[b “Jesse, breathe. I’m here and… Jesse he’s…”]
The enemy. He tried to kill us. He’s not family. That was going to be Logan’s initial reaction but he saw a different look in Jesse’s eye. Was she actually friends with him? Then again who was Logan to judge? He was once the bad guy in the family and if it wasn’t for Baxter, they would have been too late for Jesse!
[+blue “I told you in the Underground Jesse, you don’t stay behind for the weak! I did what I came to do I… you what? Byrn betrayed… ahaha, of course. She’s just following the lesson I taught her. Look after number one.”] Baxter was laughing but there was a hurt behind it. He knew he hurt Byrn but she was one of the only other people he placed his trust in. He should have stuck to his instinct and kept that trust away. With each word more blood passed from his mouth, now dripping from the floor. If they didn’t start getting him out now, he would die before they even got him medical treatment!
He was determined despite all of Logan’s attempts to grab him, to stay behind. He wasn’t a Brat, he didn’t want to be a Brat, and in his mind this was the fate he was always destined for! Baxter was never meant to die with anyone around him providing comfort in his last moments. So as Jesse argued her point, Baxter stared at her in confusion. She wasn’t just using him to get out the Underground? She was actually bothered if he died here? No. No she wasn’t. She was just keeping her sanity in check.
[blue “I can’t… say I did… my job… unless I…get you home… safe and sane…”]
By this point the younger Sanders was too weak. His body fell forward into Logan, who lifted him up over his shoulders into a fireman’s carry. It wasn’t doing well for Logan’s own injuries and his stitches were splitting, but he could last a lot longer. So long as someone could take over by the time they got out this building, otherwise there was no way he could get his brother and Jesse home!
[b “We’ll get out of this together. I promised you I wouldn’t leave you behind and if that means Baxter too, but I need you to be strong just a little bit longer. Just a little bit.”] Logan assured grabbing her arm as well but as he did the explosion erupted across the building! Fortunately for Logan , Baxter and Jesse, they were away from the centre of the explosion but outside that door the staircase was completely taken down! The flames from the explosion were climbing up the sides of the wall and the heating was rising rapidly! Grabbing Dylan’s jacket from the floor, he tucked it under his chin and with his one hand, ripped one of the sleeves and handed it to Jesse.
[b “Cover your mouth. Fuck, I don’t… Jesse go down that corridor!”] Logan ordered, seeing the remaining guards from upstairs approaching the room they were in. They knew it was a death trap, and they weren’t going out without killing these kids!
Logan had just enough time to rip the second sleeve and wrap it around Baxter’s nose and mouth before following Jesse by stepping backwards and firing one of his blades, taking out one of the guards. He had no bombs left, and only one blade and there was still three guards remaining! They were now battling a crumbling down building, fire, three attackers, all whilst trying to find an escape route!
[b “Jesse, the window, the fucking window! There was a fire ladder, is it still there? Can you open it? We’re almost out Jesse, they’ve got your dad!”] Logan shouted, having no choice to fire his second blade which in the chaos, missed its target!
[b “Rylan we’re trapped! Baxter’s bleeding out, Jesse’s injured and I can’t hold him much longer!”]
[#204569 “Surprised you would think anything less Rylan. Stay focused, I’ve got your back. The others will be on their way.”] Demetri alerted Rylan, letting him know that backup would be quickly approaching .
Demetri continued doing what he could, backing Rylan up with each shot and working in partnership with his daughter to take out the guards as she communicated what she could with her father. Just like Rylan, she knew as much as her dad was being friendly right now, she was going to get a lecture afterwards, especially when her mum found out!
Carla was managing to take some of the guards off Alex, but as the explosion took place, Carla was the only one who was able to dive out of the way! Alex was positioned directly in the centre, and took the brunt of it as the floor collapsed beneath her and the gang of guards she was fist fighting with! As she crashed to the ground her knee was the first to take the impact, shattering the moment it hit the concrete! She was lucky enough to be able to throw her arms over her head as the debris came down, but now she was stuck in a basement with her attackers also surviving! With her knee busted, she couldn’t afford to stay on the ground pinned, so despite the agonising manoeuvre she forced her weight on her leg as she pulled herself up, screaming as she did so but was already in a fighting stance!
[+purple “I’ll be fine! Get *cough* Martyn out!”] Alex called up, wishing she saved her adrenaline for now!
Carla rushed to the side, but with so much dust and with the fire quickly surrounding the pit, she couldn’t make a clear shot without being certain she would hit Alex!
[#f524ea “Dad, can you see her!? I can’t…”]
[#204569 “My sights can’t pick anything up, too much dust. Carla, sweetheart, get out with Martyn, the others will save Alex!”] Demetri called to his daughter, who was already backing up with Rylan and Martyn,
Martyn couldn’t speak but as Rylan threw him to the ground, the force against the floor was enough to fray the binds tying his hands back enough that he was able to pull and set them free. Ripping the blindfold off, he grabbed Rylan and pointed to the main door. As much as he didn’t want to leave his daughter, he knew she would be trapped upstairs and if they all waited inside the house, they would all end up dead! Beside’s, Martyn could hear the sound of screeching tyres that quickly indicated the Brat’s arrival! Lisa had to be there! He had to get to her to help Jesse!
Outside just as planned, Starla’s van arrived with Elliot, Lisa, Nic, and Hayden. Elliot rushed out, sprinting straight to the back of the van and grabbing his large kit bag, filled to the brim with inventions he had been constructing since he was a kid!
[b “Nic, blade!”] Elliot shouted, not even looking as he threw it towards his brother, his hand already reaching into the next one.
Of course it wasn’t just any blade. This blade had the power to cut through most materials, so if any of the kids were trapped under debris, he could cut them out! There was a small button with high intensity lasers that would outline the metal of the knife. There was also a secondary button that would shoot the knife out with a long wire, allowing a rope for anyone to climb up and down.
[b “Hayden, your gloves!”] Elliot shouted next, again throwing them without looking. The gloves had metal studs on the knuckles but also around the cuff of the wrist. Each knuckle, when pressed, would allow Hayden to give a different kind of punch. One would activate electricity, one would create so much heat it would burn the attacker, another would implant into the person she hit and poison them in seconds. That was just some of the options she had!
Finally, Elliot turned to Lisa and gave him his phone. It was already pulling mass amounts of data from the location of the van. It was showing its last known locations, where it had been, CCTV footage of it across the city etc. It was also pulling up data from nearby mobile devices and since Dylan carried quite a few, he was leaving a heavy footprint of his actions. It wasn’t useful for now but it was Elliot’s way of saying that once they got Jesse and Martyn, he would help her in anyway he could to get revenge and to end this once and for all. Beside’s if he was running towards the danger, he didn’t want to lose that phone if anything went wrong.
[b “Don’t come too close Lisa. You aren’t a fighter. Be here for when Jesse and Martyn get out. That building is falling apart. I know you’ll want to be close, but we don’t want an entire family name at risk.”] Elliot told her but at this point, it was more of a suggestion.
[b “Nic, I see Logan and Jesse on the top window! Hayden, help me cover downstairs!’]
[#204569 “About time you guys showed up! Jesse, Logan and some other kid are trapped upstairs. Carla and Rylan are with Martyn, Alex disappeared.”] Demetri quickly updated, switching his radio signals again to update his own generation of what was happening!
[+brown “Sis, look, you’ve really done enough! That’ll rip the Sanders apart, you don’t need to bring him here. He’s not violent! He’s broken and you’re doing what dad did! Man, can’t you see, you’re creating the monsters! We were all fine! You could have been fine too! Look I’m begging sis, there must be something! Wanna break Jack further, blow my brains out, take out the kid who screwed your lives up by crying, but stop torturing the people who have nothing to do with this! You’re just creating more Rick Sanders and you’re becoming like him you stupid…”] Larry bit his tongue instantly, already feeling the weight of his words crushing down on him. He didn’t want to lash out, he should have been keeping his composure but how could he just sit back and let her destroy all the good they had been building for years.
So as Larry was pushed against the computer screen, he let his shoulders sink and let out an exhausted sigh. That was at least until he realised what he was looking at. She was letting him use computers? He had to play it carefully but this could have been her first major slip up! He didn’t let his expression change. He looked defeated, tired, guilt ridden, but deep down he was hoping what he was about to do, would give Caleb a little hope as well.
To everyone in the room he was doing as he was told. Larry was hacking into each individual security network of the warehouse, revealing Lily, Kira, Caiden, and Tigan all in the medical bay setting up. What was also happening was Larry was typing in his and Caleb’s own complex code. Since they designed it, no one else in the room would be able to read, but it would make one of the cameras black out, making it appear like it had monetarily broken. To the people in the room however, the camera would turn into a screen which would allow Larry to type in a few key words. This was the dangerous part. He had to hope that not all of the people in the room would draw immediate attention to the camera, making it obvious he was relaying a message, but he also had to improvise fixing it before anyone got suspicious!
[+brown “I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it! It’s just… this ones always faulty alright. Um… maybe… shit er, I forgot the code dude. Caleb, he knows it! He worked on the security for this safe house! Look, Amanda, um…”] Larry closed his eyes for a brief moment, knowing the danger he was about to put himself into.
[+brown “Let Caleb work here. If he messes up, well, you wanted a family reunion, right? You want Jack crushed? Then let me meet him. If Caleb doesn’t finish the work, I’m sure if Jack is as angry as he says he is, he’ll beat me to death. That’s if he really is the monster you make out.”] Larry tested, hoping he could swap places with Caleb for two reasons…
Firstly, it would take Amanda out the room giving Caleb a bit more freedom to type a message and if Jack was really as messed up as she made out, then what could happen with the brothers reunion might just create enough theatre for the guards to turn away from the screens, even for a split second, to spectate the show.
Lisa knew her harsh approach was probably alarming to the other adults in the room, but she gave each of them-particularly Elliot - a grateful glance when they stayed silent and let her work. Another tear rolled down her cheek as Dylan rejected her offer to negotiate and continued to beat her daughter. The sound of leather against skin and the distinctive jingle of a metal buckle told Lisa he had lshing her with his belt and an involuntary shudder ran down her spine. Martyn and Elliot were the only Brats that had known her in her early childhood when she was still living with her grandfather and the Elites. They were the only two, to this day, that knew about how savagely her grandfather had beaten Lisa in the same way, creating permanent scars that twisted and marred the Reader’s back. Dylan was unknowingly forcing Lisa to relive more than one nightmare as he continued to strike Jesse into the ground.
[+green “Mr. Lynch, I thought you were smarter than that. Well, it’s pretty clear to me that you’re not the mastermind behind all of this. I’m guessing that would be Eleanor? Or should I say, Amanda Sanders?”] Lisa countered with some knowledge that even Jesse didn’t know just yet, hoping her insight might frighten Dylan enough to catch him off his game. At this point, Lisa was just desperately trying to buy some time for Elliot to locate her family and pray they were still alive to save by the time they got there!
[+green “You’re certainly not the first to threaten my family, Mr. Lynch, but you’ll notice that none of the others escaped with their lives. I have very powerful connection’s on my husband’s side of the family, so trust me when I say that the only chance you have at surviving this disappears as soon as you kill my husband and daughter, so be very careful how you proceed.”] Lisa stated as Jesse’s broken sobs echoed through the phone. A loud pop was heard, followed by broken glass and a sharp thud. There were sounds of a struggle, then Jesse’s terrified screams before the line very abruptly went dead. And with it, Lisa’s composure shattered.
[+green “Jesse? Jesse?!”] As long as she could hear her daughter, even if it was her pain-filled cries, she could be sure that Jesse was still alive and still able to be saved, but the silence brought forth all the mother’s untold fears and for the first time, Lisa’s perfectly forged mask broke in front of the family.
[+green “Oh god… there was no hesitance in his voice,no doubt,no uncertainty… he’s going to force her then kill her, just like he threatened! Martyn and Jesse are going to die! We have to find them! We have to find them NOW!”] Lisa practically begged, proving just how rattles the normally composed Reader was.
At that moment, the door swung open to reveal both Hayden and Nic. Hayden’s eyes were wide as they locked on to her husband’s.
[+red “They’re gone. Rylan, Alex, and Logan ran off! Alex’s fighting gloves and Rylan’s backpack are missing too. I think they went after Jesse!”]
[b “Ell, any chance you put a tracker in Rylan’s arm when you were rebuilding it?”]
[+green “Even if it’s close… we can cross reference it with Jesse’s clues! We don’t have much time!”]
Jesse felt her back split with every strike. Her delicate skin was shredded by the ferocity of each lash,tearing up the poor girl so badly that every backswing sent a spray of blood splattering across the walls and ceiling! Jesse couldn’t even shield her head with her arms tied behind her back,so one or two of the blows struck hard against her scalp, giving her red hair a more sickly tint. Her broken wrist - just starting to heal after her previous injuries - snapped once again under the shattering force of the belt and Jesse screamed in fear, worried that the beating would damage her spine and paralize her! She couldn’t even brace for each strike since she couldn’t see them coming! But as agonizing as the beating was, Jesse’s was terrified of what would happen once they stopped! Feeling Dylan’s footroll her into her back, Jesse’s fresh wounds grated roughly against the floor, allowing her blood to soak into the ground. She felt Dylan climb on top of her and this time Jesse’s sobbing wasn't an act.
She trembled beneath his grip, in too much pain to fight back and knowing she’d never be strong enough to escape Dylan even if she did. Hearing her attacker start to strip, Jesse let out one last fearful wail before she heard a sudden popping sound, followed by a shower of glass and the next moment the crushing weight on top of her was gone. The downside to Baxter’s rough treatment was that in her blinded state, Jesse just assumed he was Dylan! As she was yanked to her feet, Jesse screamed and struggled in Baxter’s grasp, not realizing she was hurting her own rescuer until she felt the binds and blindfold fall away. Even still, Jesse’s eyes were wide with panic and only when Baxter grabbed her face - his rough hands tracing the bruises fromDylan’s own violent grasp - was she forced to see who was holding her.
[#aa0000 “Baxter! L-Logan!”] Jesse whimpered, struggling to push down her fear-induced delirium and get a grip on their current situation. Justas she turned her wide eyes towards her best friend, Jesse saw Dylan’s head smash into Logans and his maliciousl eyes turned towards Baxter.
[#aa0000 “Move!”] She shrieked just a second too late. Baxter’s hand slid from her arm and Jesse fell with him, adding her own shaking hands on top of his to apply pressure to the wound. The young Silvertongue was having trouble keeping pace with the situation. Her mind muddled by trauma and fear, she was staring at her would-be murderers one minute, then feeling the heat of a small explosion the next. She wasn't sure when Logan had managed to cross the room and be at her side, nor where Dylan had disappeared to and Jesse realized with a cold dread that she was useless to her friends like this!
[#aa0000 “Logan, I thought… I thought you were going to be too late this time. I… we don’t have time for that now. We have to go before Dylan calls for backup! Baxter… we can’t leave him behind! Please Logan!”] Jesse begged. She didn’t know what the reunion between the brothers was like, only that they had somehow shoved aside their differences at least long enough to rescue her. But while Baxter refused all help and Logan wouldn’t trust his little brother, Jesse couldn’t just turn her back on the boy that had saved her life! The truth was,if Baxter hadn’t gone to find Logan against his own wishes, then Martyn would be dead by now and Jesse… Jesse would be wishing she were!
[#aa0000 “You’re losing too much blood and you can’t go back to the underground! Even if they could patch up a wound like this, it’s not safe! Bryn… she was the one who betrayed us. She told Dylan where to find us!”] Jesse admitted,looking between the two Sanders brothers in desperation. With no further options and no time to waste, Jesse forced as much of her emotions back behind her mask as she could , and turned a sharp tone towards the younger of the two.
[#aa0000 “All of them believe you’re nothing but a selfish coward. Don’t you dare prove them right! I’m barely holding onto my sanity here, Baxter, and you’d rather put blood on my hands and a death on my conscience than have the courage to face your family? You wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t have gotten shot if it wasn’t for me!Don’t you dare make me a murderer!”] Jesse demanded, turning her eyes to Logan for support. He wouldn’t leave his brother to die here, would he?
[#776677 “You think I’m playing, little girl? That half-robot freak should be dead already! I’m the one who arranged for my cousin to track him down and run him off the road! And trust me, I have no problem setting things right with a bullet through his skull! Put your weapons down NOW!”] Pyke demanded. He was officially out of patience for these defiant runts. They didn’t seem to be too keen on listening to his threat, but having them mourn the violent death of their brother and cousin would still give him the distraction he needed to escape. Pyke turned his eyes to Rylan and brushed his finger against the trigger, but the shot that sounded wasn’t from his own gun. It was from Demetri’s!
Pyke swore as the bullet struck his hand, forcing him to drop his own weapon and clutch his bloody limb to his chest, but the electrical bullet struck his upper shoulder, sending a fierce jolt that caused him to release Martyn as well. Rylan took the opportunity to roll out of Pyke’s line of sight so he couldn’t be used as leverage any longer.
[b “Impeccable timing, Uncle Dem!”] Rylan replied through the comms, both relieved and a little terrified that his uncle had caught them in the act. Ryknew his parents would be pissed at them for leaving, especially when half of them were injured.He’d hoped that saving Martyn and Jesse,and returning unharmed might have eased the situation a bit, but now Demetri caught them fully in over their heads! Rylan was going to be grounded until he turned 40!
[#776677 “That’s it! I’ve had it with you fucking Brats! If I’m not getting out of this alive, neither are any of you!”] Pyke raged, pulling a small device out of his pocket. Rylan recognized it instantly and his eye shot wide with fear!
[#880088 “Everyone take cover!”] The young leader shouted as his own instincts drove him forward. Being the closest to Pyke and Martyn,Rylan had no time to be cautious of his uncle’s injuries. He slammed into him, forcefully shoving Maryn and himself behind the doorway and staying low as Pyke hit the switch on the detonator in his hand. An explosion erupted from the basement, taking out the centre of the house! Wood and brick flew everywhere and flames burst from the detonation site, spearing rapidly through the house. Bits of rubble fell from the ceiling, threatening to collapse and bury anyone inside and making the upper floor treacherous for Jesse, Baxter, and Logan to navigate. Some of the guards ran for their lives, while others stayed to fight, hell bent on taking the kids down with them. To make matters worse, reinforcements were starting to arrive, ready to shoot down anyone who tried to escape!
[#880088 “Uncle Martyn, are you ok? Shit, we gotta get out of here! Alex, Carla, are you both alright? Can you clear us a path? Logan, Baxter, where are you guys? Did you find Jesse? We need to evacuate now!”] Rylan shouted through the comms.
[#ff00ff “Understood. Just make sure Martyn and Jesse don’t make it out alive. In fact, kill them all, including Jack’s little brat Logan.”] Eleanor said into the phone as one of her men called to update her. Since her call with Lily, she’d been keeping close tabs on the situation. It appeared that Lily played her part well - Jack had been seen wandering around drunk by the river. But her plans to rid the world of those pesky Silvertongues had hit a snag. It seemed that Logan and his friends had tried to rescue Jesse and Martyn. She hadn’t heard fromDylan yet, but one of Pyke’s men had just reported that her hired muscle had blown up the house in attempt to kill off any survivors. Dylan was like a cockroach, Eleanor had no doubts that he’d survive, but she had to make sure the Silvertongues weren’t so lucky. Martyn and Jessewere the only ones that could talk some sense into Jack once all this was over and Eleanor wasn’t about to risk that.
[#ff00ff “Well Larry, it looks like Caleb gets to live another day. Lily did as she was told and you played your part perfectly. In fact, I’ve just sent a couple of my men to pick up Jack as we speak. I’m sure he’ll be here shortly. You’ll see: he’s just like our father. Careless, violent, selfish… he needs to be put down. But we can’t have your little friends interfering. So I want you to hack into that safehouse they’re all staying at. I want eyes and ears on the inside and don’t even think about trying to send coded messages to your friends, baby brother. Caleb barely survived his last beating, he won’t survive the next.”] Eleanor ordered. She pushed her brother’s chair upto one of her computers and untied his hands. On the other side of the room, one of her guards hoisted Caleb up into a chair of his own and placed a gun to his temple. Caleb’s eyes were still hazy from his beating, and his body was covered in blood and bruises, but he managed to shoot Larry an apologetic look, feeling guilty for being used against his partner like this.
[+orange “No Kira, it’s nothing like that. Logan is recovering in the next room No one in the family has died… I…I had to tell him a lie. It’s a long story but… that lie I told him… Kira, there was a reason why but I had to tell him the baby wasn’t his and… tell him, that Tigan…”] Lily couldn’t finish her sentence. Just trying to get the words out brought out a sob each time, but she could already see the questioning in Elliot’s eyes as he entered the room.
[+orange “Bad people have been after us and they were going to kill him. It’s his sister! The CPS woman!”]
It was at this stage, that story had to be paused. Elliot didn’t narrow his eyes at Lisa, or look frustrated at her words. Instead he nodded in agreement, knowing better than to get in the way of some family matters. He and Nic had to learn that the hard way by surviving in a snake filled pit! He had the small amount of intelligence from Lily to have an idea as to why and what dangers lied ahead on that side, but nothing could prepare any of them for that call.
As Lisa did what she had to do, Elliot was also listening in to every detail. He might not have been as savvy as Larry and Caleb, but much like his son he did have a few tricks up his sleeve. Reaching to a small chip in a sim tray on his arm, he slipped it into his phone and looked at the piece of paper Lisa was writing on, typing in the details of Jesse’s instructions. After a couple of minutes, his phone opened a map and started to do an area search of the van. It wouldn’t find the precise location, but it would give them a rough estimate to start travelling with. He slid the phone over to Lisa. If they could get to the location, and if there was a vehicle there, it could locate all the places it had travelled to within the last 48 hours.
Maybe that van had also been to Larry and Caleb’s location. It was a long shot, but Elliot wouldn’t be making any decisions until Lisa was ready. The family was broken enough and he wasn’t about to lose their last remaining silver-tongue because he thought he knew best. Ultimately he was telling Lisa whatever resources she needed from the Brat’s, he was by her side to get her family back home safe.
Dylan was lusting over the power he had over the young girl. She wasn’t so defiant now. She was terrified, crying, practically begging him to stop! Little Jesse was weak and alone and didn’t have the strength in her to live up to her precious family name. Dylan lived off greed and when he couldn’t ascertain money, he would turn that greed into something else. Unfortunately for Jesse, it was making her final hours as miserable as possible. In his mind he had everything set up perfectly. He would destroy little Jesse, kill her father, crush her mother, get everything he wanted and then get the pay-cut he was owed from Eleanor for helping her with this little game. So as the phone rang through connecting to Lisa, his smirk only grew until…
[+grey “Oh Princess, you really should have kept that pretty little mouth of yours shut…only sound coming out of your mouth should be screams.”] Dylan hissed, striking her with the first lash of his belt but the little bitch just gave everything away!
[+grey “I was going to be nice Jesse, but you really just pissed me off!”] So this time he didn’t stop. Listening to Lisa, Dylan didn’t slow down with his beatings. It started with a couple of strong, heavily built up lashes, which would rip through her flesh just like the first. As Lisa continued, and he got more frustrated with the realisation of just how much Jesse had given away, those lashes became quicker, hitting her all over her body until he scrunched up the belt into a tight ball and threw it with as much force as he could at het tiny body. A drip of sweat fell from his nose at the torture he just imposed and when Lisa finished, he picked up the phone and placed it near Jesse’s body.
[+grey “I’m not trying to ransom Lisa. You had your opportunity to give me the money. Your husband had the opportunity. Now because he was too slow, he’s going to die, your daughter is going to suffer the same pathetic fate as you did only she won’t be coming out alive. Jesse got into this mess, but she won’t be getting out. You really should have taught your daughter the importance of keeping her mouth shut.”] Dylan’s voice was cold, as he tugged away his jacket from his body and looked down at the young girl. Pressing his foot down on the front of her shoulder to force her on her back, he climbed on top of her and grabbed her neck.
[+grey “Let’s see just how much we can make you scream.”]
There was a flash of light, burning Dylan’s eyes forcing him to release Jesse and throw his arms over his face.The glass mostly fell on top of him as he was now forcing Jesse down with his bodyweight. There was two screams outside the door and before Dylan was able to recognise what was going on, he felt the weight of something crash against him forcing him off from Jesse! The back of his head cracked against the wall, causing a thick pool of blood to start mixing in his black slick back hair, but suddenly he felt a sharp metal pressed against his neck!
On top of him was Logan. There was a ferocity in his eyes that matched Jack’s when he resorted to drinking! The boy was shaking violently with rage, and each breath of Logan’s could be heard like a wild animal! He was grunting through his teeth, his shoulders visibly lifting up and down as he tried to control his temper. He couldn’t even get the words out! The only thing that was stopping him from slitting the bastards throat was that Dylan had managed to catch his wrists and with his hands badly broken, he didn’t have his usual strength to wriggle his way out!
Baxter was quick on the scene, immediately rushing to Jesse. Unfortunately as he ran in he stepped on Dylan’s phone, smashing the screen and ending all communication with Lisa and the adults back at base. Whilst most Street Brat’s probably would have been cautious about Jesse’s condition and what she almost went through, Baxter didn’t see the time for it and forcibly yanked her to her feet. He needed her to get in focus, use that adrenaline of all her pain and fear to get her out! Using his own blade he cut the binds from her wrist, and snapped the cloth from her eyes with a sharp pull. He then grabbed her face with both hands, and forced her to look at him.
[+blue “I kept my end of the fucking deal! Look, he’s there! It’s Logan! I did it now don’t give up and find some strength to get out of here!”] Baxter told her, keeping a strong hand on her arm to hold her steady, however standing protectively in front of her as he could hear more guards coming their way!
[+grey “You should have let us kill you when you had the chance!”] Dylan yelled, throwing his head forward and slamming it into Logan’s, forcing the boy off. Pulling himself to his feet, he kicked Logan in the face before pulling out a gun he had in the back of his belt and without hesitation, shot two bullets straight at Baxter. Dylan wasn’t a trained shooter, so the first bullet missed its mark however the second hit Baxter straight in his stomach. The boy keeled over, losing his grip on Jesse and pressing his hands on his gut, which was already stained a deep crimson.
[+grey “Guards! Kill them! Kill the three of them!”] Dylan ordered, pushing past multiple guards that had already approached the door and rushing away!
Logan pulled himself to his feet, aiming his wrist guard at the attackers blocking door and firing one of the small metal bombs. The bang was enough to send a small amount of heat back at the kids, but it cleared their exit as the others were thrown off their feet! Pulling himself up, Logan rushed to Baxter and yanked his arm over his head but gave Jesse a reassuring look.
[b “I wasn’t going to leave you to that Jesse! I wasn’t going to let him fucking touch you like that!”]
This time there was genuine tears in his eyes. He was angry. Furious. He should have been there sooner but it was also from relief. He got to his best friend in time.
Baxter however, shoved Logan’s arm off, falling against the wall as the blood started to drip from the corner of his mouth.
[+blue “You two need to go. I did what I said I would. I’ll slow you down, I’m not going to the Brat’s. Go. Jesse. I mean it. Go.”]
In a chair downstairs was a completely different scene. Whilst Jesse’s room was filled with screams, Martyn’s was filled with a terrifying silence. That didn’t mean there was any less suffering going on. The scorching of the wound on his neck stopped the bleeding, but it didn’t stop the silent agonising cry. Martyn wasn’t permanently silenced like Caleb, but his neck had suffered some severe damage and it would take a long time to recover. The evidence of his pain was the broken nails on Martyn’s fingers from clawing the floor from behind his back, and the skin on his finger tips had been completely scraped off. His chest was heaving from each pain filled breath which was further torturing his throat!
Though the man wouldn’t get a rest from the pain, and never didn’t think he would. Jesse’s screams could be heard and as much as Martyn wanted to rip his vocal cords apart and call back, he had to play the part. Much like Lisa on the phone he knew any reaction would spark a more painful outcome for his daughter. He had to play like he still didn’t care. That his daughter had let him down and their connection was broken.
Even if he could cry out, he wouldn’t get his chance. When the cloth slapped against his face, he barely had a second before it sucked all the air gaps. The water slipped through the fibres, filling his nose, his mouth, and of course falling down the back of his throat. Every time he tried to cough or splutter, the cloth pulled in tighter, as if it was trying to physically crawl into his skin! The strain on his throat became worse and as Pyke pulled it away, that desperate breath was agony! There was no relief! Even breathing was suffering! Then it happened again, and again, and again until he was forced close to Pyke’s body. Martyn was shaken, almost broken, but much like Lisa he was quickly trying to do what he could tor read the situation. The kids were here. They wouldn’t be speaking alone if the adults had come, so they clearly created their own solo rescue mission. At this stage however, there was nothing Martyn could do to help. His ability was taken away from him, he was still blind, and he didn’t have the strength even when he was healthy fo fight back against Pyke! If he could give eye contact, he would be ordering Rylan to save his daughter and leave him behind!
[+purple “Rylan! Damn it, fight with your fists! Coward!”] Alex screamed as the bullet almost killed her brother. She had almost lost him once, but as the guards flooded the room all she could do was hold them back. Pressing the button to inject the adrenaline into her system, the girl was instantly a machine! At first the oncoming guards underestimated her, but with each punch and kick she was dealing a hell of amount of damage! Even with the wave coming towards the kids, it was going to take a lot more for them to even get close to Rylan and Carla!
Just as quick as Pyke was to have his gun aimed at Rylan, Carla was just as speedy to have hers aimed at Pyke. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to make a clear shot! She should have took the opportunity when he first pulled the trigger, which shifted Martyn just enough but her dad was right… she had been focusing so much on accuracy she lost speed!
[#f524ea “I’m not dropping my weapon until you drop yours!”] Carla stood strong but gave Rylan a worried look, showing she couldn’t make the shot!
She couldn’t, but there was someone else who could. Just as Carla made her threat, a bullet ripped through the building and headed straight for the hand Pyke was holding the gun in! At the same time, hoping it was enough to give her the shot she needed, Carla shot a secondary electric bullet to hopefully shock Pyke to the ground!
[#204569 “I knew you weren’t just going out for target practice. I’ve got you covered. I’ve got the sight Rylan made for me, I can make some shots.”] Demetri’s voice broke through their ear pieces, announcing his arrival on scene. He was on hill near the building, using a special sight that vibrated whenever he was aiming at a target, and announced through his ear piece what body part he was aiming at. At the same time he sent his distress message through his phone to the other Brat’s, alerting them of a definite location of the kids.
Alex however was quickly becoming overwhelmed. She had done a good enough job so far to keep the guards at bay but one of them was able to get a strong uppercut to the bottom of her chin and another to her temple. She was able to fight back but if they didn’t move soon, the remaining guards and Pyke could take them out!
[b “No, Tigan, I’m glad it was me. I may not be a fighter, but I can take a punch. Besides, this was just Jack letting out his frustrations. It could have been a hell of a lot worse for you seeing as how you’re the target of his anger right now. I know you can protect yourself, Kid, but Jack’s not in his right mind right now. We don’t know what he’s capable of.”] Nic assured the younger man. He wanted to believe Jack wasn’t so far gone that he’d viciously attack his best friend, but there had been a rage in the thief’s eyes that Nic hadn’t seen since the day Lily died in the hospital .
[b “Besides, as much as we want to protect each other from Jack, we also need to protect Jack from himself. If he lashes out at any of us and does any serious damage… he won’t forgive himself when this is all over. If we want any chance of bringing Jack back into the family, we need to make sure he doesn’t cross any lines he can’t recover from.”] Nic pointed out. Thankfully, Jack hadn’t been out of it enough to take a swing at Lily or Logan, but the older Sanders had been cursed with absorbing a ridiculous amount of guilt. If he did do something unforgivable, he might not survive his own self-loathing.
[b “Of course, Ell. I’ll let Starla know. And don’t worry about me. It’s been a while since I was at the wrong end of one of the Masons’ tongue lashings; Lisa just caught me a bit off guard. But I’ll keep an eye on her.”] Nic agreed. He clapped his hand on both Tigan’s and Elliot’s shoulders as a show of brotherly support before heading out to speak to his wife.
Lisa’s eyes narrowed in on the bruise on Kira’s cheek instantly, jumping to the same conclusion as Lily. Jack had been protective over Kira since she’d lost her arm, so to see that he had attacked her in his drunken rage was proof he was further gone than the reader feared.Kira looked confused by their scrutinous glances at first, but once it dawned on her that they were blaming Jack, she rushed to correct them.
[+purple “What? No! No, no, Caiden’s fine! And Jack, he… he didn’t mean to. I guess I was a little scared when he started yelling at me… I think Jack saw that fear and it… it hurt him. He drew back into himself, gripped his hair so hard he drew blood. He was crying. I haven’t seen him like that since…”] Kira trailed off, glancing at Lily. [i Since Lily died]. It was the reason Kira was so worried about her best friend. She didn’t know what could have possibly made Jack react this way unless Lily had been seriously hurt!
[+purple “I should have known better than to get too close to him when he was like that, but he just looked so lost. He whipped his hand out when I touched his shoulder and hit me by accident. But he didn’t mean to, Lily, honest! It doesn’t even hurt! But Jack… he looked horrified at what he’d done. He ran off before I could stop him. I know I shouldn’t have left him out there alone, but I had to bring Caiden here where it was safe. What happened to him? And you? Lily, I haven’t seen you look this broken since… oh my god... Is it Logan?”] Kira asked, now fearful that her nephew had been hurt or killed to make his parents react this way.
Before they could explain much more, the door opened again to reveal Elliot. Lisa shot a glare towards the leader, glad he at least recognized that he was pushing his luck. Elliot’s intervention hadn’t made the fight between Jack and Lily any easier, and Lisa knew that Elliot had pulled her brother-in-law aside for questioning as well. She had become quite protective over Tigan over the years and didn’t like the fact that the Leader was making accusations against him that he didn’t fully understand .
Lisa opened her mouth to give Elliot a piece of her mind , but before she could utter a single word, her own phone rang. Elliot’s advice echoed the same words she’d told Lilya mere hour before, but it didn’t help to ease the mother’s mind. Was this about Jesse? Martyn? Caleb? All three? If those bastards had touched a single hair on their heads, they were about to learn Readers weren’t as harmless as they appeared!
[+green “I’ll put it on speaker, but I want to be very clear Elliot: if this is about my family, then you let me handle it. NO ONE speaks except me, understood? I will not allow my family to suffer for the misguided good intentions of an Evenwood.”] Lisa snapped back sharply, clearly at the end of her patience. She held out the phone and put the call on speaker, letting a cold dread wash over her as she recognized the voice as the one who had tortured Logan on the phone with Lily and Jack.
Jesse’s heart was racing out of her control and she was fairly certain Dylan could feel it with his hand wrapped tightly around her jaw. Jesse would normally try her best to wrangle these emotions behind her mask, to appear stronger and less vulnerable than she was.Often it was that calm composure in the face of danger that unsettled her opponents, but this time was different. Not only did she doubt her capability of hiding her emotion at this point, but she wanted them to show through. She wanted to project an image of a weak,frightened, fragile little girl, because then Dylan would underestimate her. What he didn't realize was that she had been gathering information since they took her and as soon as Dylan took the bait and got Lisa on that phone, she could tell her mother everything! Of course,doing so would mean Jesse’s time was up.She would be severely punished, maybe even killed for a stunt like that!
Jesse’s miracle came in the form of that knock on the door. Dylan didn’t seem bothered by it, but the interruption was music to her ears! The guards were worried. Worried enough to interrupt Dylan’s ‘fun’, which meant the situation was important and time sensitive. The subtle noise, once muffled by the door, had been available to Jesse for those few blissful seconds of the door being open: a muffled groan, the sound of something heavy hitting the floor, the very soft, distinctive click of a trigger… help had arrived! It was everything Jesse needed to give her strength! If her friends were here, they could save her! But if it was just the kids, they would definitely need back up. Getting the message to her mother was still crucial, but at least now she had a chance of the others intervening before Dylan took it too far! So as Jesse heard the call connect to her mother she took a deep breath and finally let the act drop.
[#aa0000 “His name is Dylan Lynch, his partner is Pyke Garlet, and they're working with Eleanor Carrow from CPS! Motivated my money, power, and personal vendetta against the Sanders family respectively. We traveled...uh!”] Jesse hit the ground hard, unable to catch herself with her hands bound behind her back. She had to get as much information to her mother as possible before Dylan could shut her up! With the sound of the belt jingling behind her, Jesse's words spilled out in a panic.
[#aa0000 “Travelled for 17 minutes by van since we were tane: 3 by gravel road, then highway for 8, and dirt road for 6. Two-story house, 20 plus guards, and a… ah!”] The first strike tore through the fabric of her shirt and the delicate flesh on Jesse’s back as if it was paper! Hot, red blood leaked from the fresh wound as the impact sent a web of pain branching out across Jesse’s whole back. The teen was small for her age, frail enough that one strike nearly crippled her and Jesse knew this was only the start!
[+green “That’s enough! I won’t be threatened like this, Mr. Lynch. This isn’t the first time you've tried a ransom call with me, so you should know by now that I don’t threaten easy, and I certainly don’t intend to waste my valuable time if you only called to make me listen to the exaggerated cries of that attention-seeking little girl. If you want to set aside the petty threats and talk business, then perhaps we can make a deal. After all, you still haven’t seen a cent of that ransom money Jack Sanders stole for you from all the other Street Brats. If you want the money, then let’s make a deal. Otherwise… Jesse got herself into this mess. She can get herself out.”] Lisa’s voice was cold, hard, and completely emotionless over the phone. She almost sounded annoyed that Dylan had bothered to call! She made no reference to the information Jesse gave ner,nor did she seem even slightly bothered by the threats of what Dylan was about to do to her daughter. To Dylan and Jesse, it must have sounded like Lisa didn’t give a shit what happened to her little girl.
But on the Street Brat side of the conversation, it was an entirely different story. While her voice was calm and steady, Lisa's mask was broken. There were tears rolling down the mother’s cheeks as she scrambled to get a piece of paper and write down every detail - not just what Jesse said, but also everything else she could hear on the phone - and on the bottom of the page, she scribbled out a line and underlined it pointedly for the benefit of everyone else in the room:
[i Stay silent! Reacting will only make him hurt her more!]
It may have seemed cruel, but the Masons had always had their own unique approach to protecting their family. Just like Maryn’s act of shoving Jesse away in the van, Lisa was distancing herself from Jesse, knowing that Dylan would thrive off of causing pain to the witnesses, just like he had with Lily and Jack when Logan was being tortured. Jesse would be hurt no matter what, but if Dylan didn’t have an audience, maybe it would be quite as bad. Her words also held secret messages for her daughter: “Mr. Lynch.” [i I got the information.] “Exaggerated cries of an attention seeking…” [i Keep playing your part.] All the other Street Brats” [The family is coming for you.] “She can get herself out.”[Stay strong, you’ll make it through this!]
But as reassuring as it was to know her message was received and her mother was coming for her. Jesse didn’t know how long she could hold out! With the blindfold over her eyes, she couldn’t see a thing, but she could tell by the hair on the back of her neck that Dylan’s form was looming over her. Blood dripped down the side of her neck from his bites and her breath hitched as she felt a new tension in the air. Jesse’s time was up. They were going to be too late!
[#aa0000 “No, don’t touch me! DON’T TOUCH ME!”]
[#776677 “See Martyn? I told you cauterizing the wound would sting a little.”] Pyke laughed, pulling the glowing red blade away from Martyn’s neck to see the angry burn beneath. With his victim blindfolded, he had no idea what Pyke was up to and the man took full advantage of that.
[#776677 “Here, let me cool that off for ya.”] He taunted, slapping a cloth over Martyn’s mouth and nose and proceeding to pour a large bucket of icy water directly over the Silvertongue's face, wanting Martyn to choke and sputter, to feel like he was drowning. Pyke took great pleasure in dragging it out,causing as much pain and panic as he could before finally removing the cloth and letting Maryn gasp in a couple breaths. That was about the time Dylan had struck Jesse with the belt upstairs, and Pyke smirked at the sound of the scream that followed.
[#776677 “Sounds like little Jesse’s being well looked after. Wow, her screams really carry through these thin floors, don’t they Martyn? I bet we’ll be able to hear every sound once they get started! Good lookin’ girl you got there, Martyn. Who knows, maybe I’ll even have a go at her myself once Dylan’s had his fill. But for now, I’ll just have to entertain myself with you.”] Pyke sneered, replacing the cloth and giving another round of waterboarding.
He kept up the pace, barely giving Martyn a chance for a single gulp of air before he started up again.
[#776677 “You know, they say drowning is one of the most painful ways to die. The pressure in your chest, the ache in your throat, your head starts pounding, and your lungs burn like fire! Can you feel it Martyn? We’re just getting started!”]
As the teams moved in, Rylan stayed close by his sister’s side. Their group was supposed to head directly towards the downstairs room where the second prisoner was being held, but they had barely made it through the first door when a scream rangout through the halls. Rylan didn’t waste any time. He sprinted towards the back room where he saw only one heat signature. With the guard distracted by the scream,Ry was able to run in and slam his metal hand against the man’s chest. A sharp tug of a wire sent a massive jolt of electricity coursing through the arm and directly into the guard’s body, effectively knocking him unconscious. Rylan then turned his attention to the electrical panel on the wall and got to work.
[#880088 “It’s fine Alex. If working with Logan has taught me anything over the years, it's that the only things I can count on is him NOT following my orders. This time, I had a contingency in place! Ok, everyone shield your eyes in 3… 2… 1… NOW!”] Rylan shouted through the coms. At his prompt, he through the electrical panel into a surge, causing every light in the building to first glow 10 times as bright before the bulbs shattered, sending shards of glass pouring over the unsuspecting guards and casting the entire building in darkness.It wasn't drastic enough to affect the kids, but the guards, Pyke, and Dylan would be struggling to adapt to the sudden drastic change from blinding light to total darkness. Unfortunately, moments before the lights went out, Jesse’s terrified screams echoed from the upstairs rooms warning everyone her time was up!
[#880088 “Logan, Baxter, get Jesse out of there! Carla, clear us a path! Alex, with me! We gotta reach the… Shit!”] Rylan skidded to a halt as a bullet struck the wall right next to his head. He peered up to see a furious Pyke standing in the doorway. Pyke grabbed Martyn with an arm around the Silvertongue’s throat and used him like a human shield as he moved from the room. His gun was still aimed at Rylan’s head with a deadly intent in his eyes.
[#776677 “Tell your little friends to surrender, or the next one takes out your other eye, kid.”]
[#880088 “Alex, Carla… take the son of a bitch down!”] Rylan hissed defiantly. Ry could thank his mother’s side of the family for his great reflexes. Just as Pyke pulled the trigger, Rylan raised his metal arm in front of his face to block the bullet.The good news: Rylan wasn’t injured. The bad news: the bullet took out his holographic blueprint,leaving him completely ignorant to how many guards were still left standing or how many more might come as reinforcements!
[#776677 “I see the kid’s just as bold and stupid as your daughter, martyn. How about you take a turn, eh? If you want your nephew to live,get your niece and her little cousin to lay down their weapons and get on their knees!”]
[#0c92a6 “Yeah, they’re taken, they’re hurt really bad and I know it’s crazy but I was hoping it would give Jack something to focus on. If anyone could save those two, as impulsive as he is but…. Lily couldn’t have picked worse timing for this. Nic, you should have just let him at me. I’m used to it!”] Tigan anxiously rambled on, clearly trying to make sense of everything that had happened in the short space of time as the two leaders! He felt awful that Nic took a blow instead of him. He was still sporting a healing black eye from his and Jack’s latest blow out so he could have handled a broken nose! Now he was guilty he got angry at his best friend, wished he had a chance to explain, and wondered what would drive Lily to come up with such a ridiculous lie that could rip Jack apart!
[+red “Both Lily and Lisa have some explaining to do. Lily gets emotional and I need Lisa to start opening up to me as well. Martyn and Jesse are missing as well, so she won’t cooperate until we start getting a plan together for them. I’ll speak to Lily, but she’s just as bad as Jack. We’ve lost Jack, for now, Tig. I need you to keep an eye on Lily once I’ve spoken to her. She’s pregnant, I can’t have her risking herself. You know what she resorted to with Logan.”] Elliot pointed out, not having to remind then how she herself snuck into Lynn’s medical box and tried to inject herself to numb the pain.
[+red “I need to go speak with Lily. Tigan, stay here, compose yourself, then come and stand on guard and comfort her. Let her know you aren’t mad and you just didn’t understand. We need her strong for when Jack is back. Nic, message Tessa. I hate to ask but can you have Starla on standby as well to pick up Tessa incase anyone takes the opportunity to kidnap Jack. We’re not having someone else go off our radar. Listen will probably rush off soon to if she doesn’t hear anything. Nic, I heard you and her before… I know she won’t want you to but be prepared to have someone scope her out as well.”] Elliot instructed, running his metallic hand through his hair and giving Nic a look to say that things were about to ramp up heavily. They hadn’t been in a situation like this in a long time and if they kept making the wrong moves, he wasn’t sure they’d be able to pull the miracles of the olden days.
In the other room Lily didn’t seem to be snapping out of it. She could hear Lisa’s words and she knew her friend was trying to pull her from under the surface of her anxiety but what hope was there? The difference was Jack still loved her, and she still loved him. He had something to fight for because he believed that somehow their relationship would work. He believed that maybe just one day Lily would take his hand and run. He had that belief to carry him through! Why fight when all of that was gone? Jack was a survivor so long as he had a reason to survive. Now he didn’t. Would he even fear losing Lily now? If a gun was at her head and he was stood in the distance, would he even coming running?
Even the knock on the door didn’t seem to pull Lily’s attention, however the voice did. Looking up, her eyes widened. She knew what Kira was going to say before she said it. There was only one reason she would say Jack’s name and have that bruise on his face. He had been gone less than an hour and he had already found a bottle. The tears rimmed Lily’s eyes and she stood up, covering her mouth to stop the scream of anger and pain she wanted to let out.
[+orange ‘Kira I’m so sorry I… I had to tell him… No, no he didn’t hurt me he… I hurt him and… are you ok? Caiden he didn’t…”] Lily had to ask, despite seeing no obvious signs she couldn’t bare to think she drove Jack that crazy he would hit a child! Before they could continue, there was a knock on the door and Elliot poked his head around.
[+red “It’s alright, I’m not here to cause trouble. I just want to talk.”] While his words were for everyone, he looked at Lisa most pointedly, knowing she would probably call him out for not giving them space.
Only as Elliot stepped in, Lisa’s phone started to ring with an unknown number.
[+red “Lisa, we can’t trust anyone at the moment. Please, just so we know what’s going on, put it on loud speaker. I think there has been enough secrets for one day.”]
While Rylan rambled away, there was a variation of looks being cast at him. Logan cast a glance as he would with every ‘geek’ in school, rolling his eyes having to bite his lip to stop himself from cutting the inventor down. Baxter didn’t even give the leader his attention. He wasn’t impressed and he wanted to get this over and done with so he could disappear again. Carla was impressed as always, with a brightening smile despite the dark situation in front of them, glad that the family hadn’t really changed and Alex just looked complexed!
[+purple “Yeah, again, really swell! Great! As much as I love your ramblings that usually keep me up till 4 in the morning despite how much you think you are being REALLY quiet, we really have a mission here.”] She emphasised, giving a very subtle nod to Logan who looked ready to lose his fists beating the leader if they didn’t start moving.
Everyone however completely joined in unison when the hologram appeared on Rylan’s arm. Even Baxter who was completely ignorant was impressed! How old was this kid? Logan’s age? This was the kind of stuff they could only imagine in the Underground!
Logan was straight by Rylan’s side, looking at the image and the dots. Why didn’t they tell him which one was Jesse! As each ear piece was handed out and their own positions were revealed, Logan scowled. Of course Rylan would want to know their every move and be in as much control as possible.
[b “If I don’t find her first, you better tell me Jesse’s location. I don’t care how many guards you are fight off, you tell me.”]
[+blue “Yeah well, let’s see if we actually make it past the first set of guards. They were pretty ruthless taking your friend and she didn’t put up a fight.”]
As each of the weapons were handed out, the seriousness of the situation dawned on them all. Luckily they had Rylan to give them an advantage, and each was grateful, but the dangers of what they were approaching could mean this little group of kids might not be seen again. If their presumptions were right and this was a direct attack on the Sanders family name, then each of them were better off dead. Even Logan was pretty sure they would rather kill him by this point, despite carrying the family name.
Baxter reached out for his brace and gave an equally intense look to Rylan. He knew he wasn’t trusted and he certainly knew he didn’t belong with this group. He had his own concerns and they wouldn’t just turn around and try and take him out during this fight! So as Rylan silently told him not to try anything, Baxter was equally giving the same message. He was here to protect Jesse, but he wouldn’t die in the hands of a Street Brat.
Carla was already setting up in position, following Elliot’s order and attaching the silencer to her rifle. She had loaded her weapon with tranquillisers, not wanting to take a life unless she had to. Beside’s if this guard was foolish enough to stand by a window, maybe he would pick a different career with the carnage he would wake up to. She knew her skill had the gang’s motto meant that at times, when the moment was needed, she would spill blood, yet she would only do it when necessary.
[#f524ea “Alright Ry, my sights are locked. Logan, start sneaking down. By the time you are at the door, he’ll be asleep. I’ll be right behind you. Ry, there is only two heat signatures on that other door right? That should lead you to the other side of the house. Once me and Logan are in, you’ll see those two heat signatures gone and that is your alert to enter. Logan, you can pick the lock by then, right?”]
With everything set in motion, Logan started to head towards the house. As promised, Carla executed a perfect shot into the guards neck. It must have been a strong tranquilliser because before his hand could even get up to the pain, he collapsed to the floor! Throwing her rifle over his shoulder and putting a silencer on her pistol, she gave Rylan and the others a confident nod before sprinting down to catch up with Logan who, despite having broken hands, had already picked the lock of the door without a problem!
Signalling their direction of travel, Carla and Logan headed to the next two guards. Again, not as bad… one of them was sat on a chair with a gun in his lap, watching the TV in the corner, whilst the other was staring out the window. For highly paid guards, they really didn’t seem disciplined.
[#f524ea “I’ll take the one with the…”]
[b “Yeah I know. I’ll get the unarmed guy.”] Logan cut in, sneaking in the shadows already to making his way to the guard staring out the window.
[i “This is bullshit man. We’re literally waitin’ for him to screw the girl, kill her, and then kill her fuckin’ dad. Should just get it over with. He’s not even going to share the little bitch.”] The guard by the window moaned, drumming his fingers on the wall.
[i “Yeah well, the longer he takes the more we get paid. Now will you shut up I’m trying to watch the game here!”] The second guard moaned, turning the volume up which only worked in Carla’s favour!
The first guard however had the misfortune of revealing information that meant that unlike Carla, Logan wasn’t to be as merciful. As the two worked in unison, Carla shot her tranquilliser whilst Logan, slammed his knife into the second guards back causing him to scream out in pain.
[b “Where’s Jesse!?”] Logan shouted, twisting the blade causing the guard to screech out more.
[b “I said… WHERE IS SHE?”]
[i “Upstairs! ARGH! Don’t kill me! Don’t…”] In one swift motion, Logan ragged the blade out and shoved the guards head against the wall to knock him out clean cold.
[#f524ea “Logan you’ve just… unlock the door! Rylan! Hurry!”] Carla quickly ordered down the radio to their leader, hearing the sounds of more guards being attracted the area. Rylan would be able to see on his map some more heat signatures quickly travelling in Carla and Logan’s direction!
Within minutes Baxter and Alex had already sprinted towards the door. As the first two guards came down, Alex stood in Carla’s way allowing her to reload to more lethal bullets and worked with Baxter to defend the other two!
[+purple “My brother said stay quiet!”]
[b “She’s upstairs! She’s about to… Baxter she’s fucking upstairs!”] Logan shouted across the room and as Alex was fighting the two guards, the two brothers looked at each other and in a silent agreement, sprinted towards the stairs, already defying Rylan’s orders.
[+purple “Damn it! What about the other? Are they still showing downstairs!?”] Alex shouted in the midst of her fist fight, watching as another guard was already sprinting into the room only this time armed with a gun! Alex grabbed the man she was fighting with, using him as a human shield just in time for the guard to pull the trigger at her, only instead hitting the man she held in front! The second shot however came from Carla, taking the armed guard down instantly.
[#f524ea “We need to make a decision quick, otherwise we’re sitting ducks here!”]
[+grey “Too little too late. I’m sure your dad has a ton of wealth, but I’m also certain I can get all that hard earned cash when he’s dead. I’m also sure Pyke can visit some of those clients and if not, well, we’ve got your mum to cover the payment you failed to give me from the start.”] Dylan mused, seeming to only get more of a kick out of her crying and helplessness. He could feel her tears slipping through the blindfold and onto his hand. This girl was so different when they first kidnapped her!
[+grey “Is this really what taking your little friend away from you does? Did you want him to watch last time? I heard Logan has a history of watching people and having people in his life go through the same thing you are about to. No, no… this is just me and you Jesse.”]
Dylan wanted to get her back for everything. For the first escape. For the defiance. For losing him money. For having a smart-mouthed family. He would humiliate her, scare her, and make sure that if she did somehow survive this that she would never be able to live a peaceful life ever again. He wanted every sleeping moment to be filled with nightmares and for every waking moment to be filled with dread. He might as well have a little bit of fun doing it.
Holding her against the wall, he pressed himself up as close as he could, invading every inch of her space and resting his cheek against hers so his lips were pressed against her ear! This time her tears were falling on his face and this time as she spoke, Dylan grazed his teeth against her ear and down her cheek bone.
[+grey “Mummy’s scared of being helpless like her little Princess? Wait did you just… what a genius idea Jesse Mason. You WANT your mum to listen? That’s what you said! You want her to listen! You… wow, you really are a cruel little bitch. You know your daddy can hear too? Well, we couldn’t get Logan but this is the next best thing.”] Dylan laughed, pulling out one of his many phones and started to search for Lisa’s number. As he did, the door burst open with one of the guards.
[i “Sir! We’ve got a…”]
[+grey “Close the door! Speak to Pyke. Close the fucking door! I’m trying to have a bit of fun here!”] Dylan ordered, clearly too obsessed with his goal to even think about the possibility of why a guard would be rushing in.
[+grey “Oh and er, Jesse, whatever little friend you met in the Underground, you have them to thank for this little one-on-one. They told me were you where.”] He revealed before dialling Lisa’s number, tossing the phone to the side and putting it on loud speaker.
[+grey “Lisa! Hello! Gotta make this quite quick because I have your little Princess with me and daddy’s listening to… we’re going to have some fun, show her some of the er, well, the things you use to get up to. She asked for this! She wanted me to call you! So you just sit back and listen whilst me and your daughter have the fun she asked for.”] Dylan laughed before forcing his lips onto Jesse’s. His hand wrapped tighter around her jaw as he did, pressing more of his weight against his body and grabbing her so tight it would leave bruises. He moved his kiss down her jaw line, stopping at her ear and biting so hard he drew blood!
[+grey “Come on Jesse, make a little scream for your mum!”] Pulling away, Dylan threw Jesse to the ground with as much force as he could before reaching for his belt and starting to unbuckle it, making sure Jesse could hear the sound of the metal unclamping as she couldn’t see.
[+grey “This is where we got up to last time wasn’t it? Eh? Then your little prick of a friend got in the way! You can thank Logan for this.”] Folding the belt in two, Dylan snapped it out so the leather ‘clapped’ an echo around the room. Gripping it tightly, he raised it above his head before slamming it down against her body. He’d have his fun, but he’d make the little bitch suffer.
<<Just posting bit-by-bit. I'll have the rest up shortly.>>
It hadn’t taken long for Jack to find a bottle. It was a good one, too: a Macallan 15 year oak scotch that he and Lily had been given for their 5th Anniversary by Jack’s former boss at the liquor store. They hadn’t had the heart to throw it out, since it celebrated such a milestone in their marriage, but Lily had hid the bottle well… not well enough, mind you. Not that it mattered anymore. Why keep a reminder of a happy marriage that never really existed? Why not wallow in the irony of downing that anniversary bottle on the day of his (unofficial) divorce?
Jack popped the cork and took a deep swing, but held the golden liquid in his mouth, savouring the taste. It was smooth and sweet, with a hint of maple, but distorted with the overwhelming taste of shame. The self loathing turned the scotch to acid in his mouth and soon Jack was coughing, choking on the poison and spitting it out on the ground as tears fell freely down his cheeks. He had fought so hard to stay sober… all the counselling, the coping techniques, the late night fist fights with Tigan to blow off steam, the hours spent with his trembling hand in Lily’s just to get him through the cravings and all of it was for nothing!
Lily really did take after her mother, though even by Nola’sstandards this con was impressive. Lily had been playing this role for the past 8 years! All those sweet smiles, that charming laugh, the way the corner of her mouth twists into a smirk when she was feeling playful or the nervous nibbling on her lip when she was anxious… was any of it real? And what was the point? She said she was never free of him following her around like a lost puppy, so why did she stay? Why did she still marry him? Why did she pretend to love him for all these years? Was she just being polite? Not wanting to hurt him? Well… she certainly didn’t care about that now.
Jack took another swing and this time he swallowed, letting that golden liquid burn his throat on the way down.
Tigan’s betrayal hurt just as badly. Tigan was his best friend… his brother! They had been through so much together: from the time they were four years old and the gangs invaded the Stings, to the time Jack pulled Tigan from that crematorium, or trading fists in the underground and Tigan digging Jack out of that cave in.Tigan was the first one there when Jack was bleeding out from the multiple stab wounds his own father pierced through his chest, and one of the only people that never truly gave up on him during his drunken years following Lily’s death. Sure, there had been fights between them but at his core, Jack always believed Tigan had his back. But Tigan knew how important Lily was to Jack. Tigan knew how desperately Jack wanted to be a real father. If he truly cared about Jack, he never would have betrayed him like this.
He took another sip of the scotch, finding it went down smoother this time.
If Jack’s own wife and best friend could lie so easily, Jack began to doubt the others as well. Logan had never been shy about telling Jack how much he screwed up his life. Maybe their recent reunion wasn’t the loving father-son bonding that Jack had craved, but instead just a simple need for comfort after Logan’s terrifying experience? Did he really love Jack like a father or did he just need someone to stand in at that moment to make him feel safe? If so, Tigan would be a better fit for Logan too. Tigan would protect him better than Jack ever could and maybe Logan would finally be free of the curse that haunted their bloodline.
Another swig from the bottle…
Elliot, Nic, Hayden, and all the other Street Brats cared so strongly about their family values, and why they may be sympathetic to Jack after Lily and Tigan’s betrayal, there was one key factor that Jack couldn’t ignore: Lily and Tigan were family, Jack was not. He was never really a Street Brat. He didn’t come from a long line of heroes like the others. He was raised by the Stings until even they cast him out. His only ties to the family were his marriage to Lily and his friendship with Tigan and now both of those bonds had been severed. Punching Nic on his way out certainly didn’t help matters. Maybe if Cole was still with the family, but Jack hadn’t heard from him in years - not since Geoff’s funeral.
Two deep gulps this time…
Larry was the only one Jack had left, but as Jack looked down at his phone, pressing redial for the 10th time in a row, he was disappointed to see yet another dodged call from his brother. Larry always had his phone on him. He always picked up. In his normal frame of mind, Jack may have recognized the odd silence from his brother to mean that Larry was in trouble, but right now with all of his family bonds lying in splinters around him, he just assumed Larry had followed suit. Maybe he knew about the baby this whole time and was grateful that Tigan was the father? After all, Larry knew better than anyone what kind of parental instincts ran in their bloodline.
Another drink. Jack hardly noticed the burn anymore...
All these years Jack had fought against his lineage every step of the way. He got himself sober, he kept himself in line, he strengthened his ties to his family, he learned how to protect the ones he loved, and swore never to hurt the people he cared about. But despite all of it, he was still alone. He was still in unrelenting emotional pain. It wasn’t the first time that Jack had wished he’d died in his childhood, but those dark thoughts had always been combated by the blessings he’d had in his life: if he died, he wouldn’t have had a chance to be with Lily, to be a mentor for Logan, to be there for Tigan, be a grounding factor for Cole, or be a brother to Larry. But as he stands here now at the end of it all, he realized he didn’t have any of those bonds anyway. Jack couldn’t honestly say that anyone was better off with him in their lives, and even the few that would insist otherwise were probably lying. After all, if Lily could pretend to love him for this many years, who’s to say that the others weren’t just pretending as well?
Jack lifted the bottle to his lips once again. It felt significantly lighter and he realized he'd already down almost half of it. So where was that pleasant numbing feeling? Where was the escape from the pain? Jack certainly felt the effects of the scotch: his head was spinning, his vision slightly unfocused, and his thoughts starting to circle back around, not quite as clear cut as usual. But the pain in his chest was still just as strong. The tears still fell just as freely.
Jack hadn’t expected that voice. He though Kira would have taken her husband and toddler and fled the city at the first sign of trouble, but instead raised his bloodshot eyes to see her calling to him out the window of her car. Confirming that it was him and that he was, in fact, drinking. Kira pulled over in front of Jack and Lily’s house to see what happened.
[#ff6622 “Get the fuck away from me, Kira! You probably knew this whole time, you fucking bitch!”] Jack growled, climbing to his feet with his bottle hanging loosely in his trembling hand.
[+purple “Knew what? What’s going on? Why are you drinking? Jack, please just…”]
[#ff6622 “I said LEAVE. ME. ALONE!”]
Lisa had dealt with Lily enough over the years to know that sometimes she needed a gentle approach, while others required tough love. Unfortunately,it wasn’t always easy to tell which method would work the best, but one thing was clear: no words would have any effect on the young woman until she snapped out of this self-loathing cycle.
[+green “And if he does break? If he falls into another depression and drowns himself in liquor? If he pushes everyone away and suffers on his own the way he did when you died? Is he still worth saving? Because I can tell you right now, with absolute certainty, that if you give up on Jack now he’ll be better off dead.”] Lisa told her truthfully.
[+green “When Rick took you that day from the hospital and left Jack to die, he almost gave up. Tigan told me that Jack almost welcomed death because it was better than living in a world where he failed you. But Jack survived! With 21 stabs to the chest, he survived on the sole thought of finding you and bringing you home. You need to find that same strength Lily. You need to push past all the regrets and the fears of losing him now and focus on bringing him home in the future. I know Jack’s chances are slim, but there won’t be any hope at all if you lose faith in him.”] Lisa insisted. As Lily gave Lisa her blessing to go find her family, Lisa felt torn. She was desperate to find Martyn and Jesse,but she had no idea where to even start looking! And now with Elliot’s anger hanging over her head, she doubted the rest of the family would offer much support. She was also afraid of leaving Lily alone in this state. Maybe she should call someone? Kira perhaps?
As if beckoned by the mere thought, there was a soft knock on the door before it opened to reveal the young, one-armed woman with a babbling toddler on her hip. The relief Lisa felt at the woman's arrival was somewhat diminished by the start of a dark bruise shadowing the one side of her face. Thankfully, little Caiden didn’t appear to be harmed.
[+purple “Lily? Thank goodness you’re ok! When I found Jack in that state I thought… but you’re not hurt, are you? Jack was… he was drinking again. He was so angry…”]
Sporting fresh stitches and a bandage across the bridge of his nose,Nic followed Elliot into the meeting room to find Tigan pacing. Nic was glad Elliot was wise enough to send Hayden to check on the kids. The fighter wasn't exactly known for thinking rationally times like this, especially with her little brother was in the middle of it all. But as much as Hayden wanted answers herself, she knew she would struggle to keep her temper in check, so she trusted her husband and brother-in-law to get to the bottom of it.
[b “So Larry and Caleb were taken? I was afraid of that when we lost contact with them. Which means Jack’s more isolated than we thought - he just burned his ties with Lily and Tigan, and he can't go running to his little brother…”] Nic didn;t like where this was going. They had all been witnesses to Jack’s depression after Lily died and yet no one could pull him back from the edge back then. It was almost worse now,becauseLily may still be alive but now Jack was convinced she hated him!
[b “We need to know why Lily lied. This isn’t like her. Lily’s put her foot in her mouth in the past and said some things without thinking them through, but this… she knew exactly what she was doing and every word was meant to hurt Jack. And to bring Tigan into it? To ruin his bond with Jak and risk his reputation in the family? It sounds like something Lisa or Martyn might try to pull, but not Lily. Someone’s got to get the truth out of her. Elliot? She’s your cousin, maybe you’ll have the best luck?”] Nic suggested, knowing they’d all be stumbling around blind until they knew the reasoning behind Lily’s lies. But until the truth came out, they still had the problem of two missing hackers, two missing Silvertongues, and one drunken thief on a downward spiral.
[b “If Tessa doesn't find anything on the hackers, maybe we should send her to follow Jack? It can’t be a coincidence that Logan was taken and now Larry, at the same time as this fight broke out between Lily and Jack. It feels personal… like someone’ss targeting their family. And if that’s true,maybe whoever took Larry and Caleb will take the opportunity to grab Jack to, especially while he’s vulnerable.”]
[#880088 “It’s a work in progress… Ideally, with a bit more work, I can fit all the components into the spherical structure of a false eye that can be integrated with a base that would essentially replace the scar tissue over the eyes socket, connecting directly into the brain and…”] Rylan caught himself rambling,shaking his head to spare his sister the technical details. One he had time to perfect the eye to fit his own injuries, the contraption would make him look like he was part cyborg! But Ry had a feeling that he and his father would appreciate the tech a lot more than his mother and sister. Fornow, he was glad the patch was still in its early stages and merely covered his gruesome injury for his sister’s benefit.
[#880088 “Haha, well,you just wait, Sis. By the time this is over, even you are going to be impressed by my terrifying genius!”]
As they arrived at the base and started discussing their options, Rylan was already digging through his bag for his tools. He took out an electrical probe and started tinkering with his arm. Cursing under his breath as the occasional spark flared up from the metal that was grafted to his flesh.
[#880088 “Dad’s a genius when it comes to tech, but his wiring’s a bit dated. I had the connection before the crash, I just need to… there!”] Rylan muttered before hitting a wire that caused a holographic screen to flicker into view above his arm. The info from his eyes transmitted to the screen, showing a blueprint of the building they were about to enter with red dots representing the heat signatures he mentioned.
[#880088 “Looks like all the entrances are blocked. But this one here… the side entrance, only has one guard and he’s stupidly standing in full view of the window. Carla, do you think you can make the shot with a silencer? Once the guard is down, Logan can pick the lock and sneak inside.”] Rylan planned as soon as his cousin announced her arrival. According to the image, it looked like the two prisoners were being held in different locations. One, in a windowless room upstairs and the other almost directly below in what looked to be a storage room. The placement couldn’t be a coincidence. Clearly these bastards wanted the two prisoners seperate enough they couldn’t comfort each other, but close enough to hear what was happening to the other.
Rylan almost took offense to his sister’s question, as if he would be so ill prepared as to forget the earpieces! He took a small box out of his bag and openedit, revealing several small, transparent earpieces that held both a mic, speaker, and gps inside. As he activated them and handed them out, five coloured dots appeared on his screen, representing each member of their little team.
[#880088 “Ok, timing is important. We have to remain unseen for as long as possible. Knock the guards out along the way if you can,so long as you’re quiet about it. And DO NOT rush in!”] Rylan instructed, looking pointedly at the two brothers when he spoke. He knew how impulsive Logan was and could only assume it was a family trait.
[#880088 “If you have to blow your cover, alert the other team so they can prepare. Once we’re all in position, we should move to rescue the hostages at the same time.”] Rylan instructed, bringing out a few final items from his bag: For Carla a silencer and several of his father’s specialized bullets . For Alex a set of spikes knuckle dusters that slid over her fighting gloves and wrapped around her wrists with a tiny needle for a jolt of adrenaline if needed. For Logan, two wrist bracers with embedded double blades that could be used to stab at close range or shot as projectiles for a distanced attack, and several tiny metal balls (explosives) that could be planted if they needed a distraction. And after a moment of hesitation, Rylan brought one one more arm guard - a metal brace that held a retractable blade. Unlike Logan’s it couldn’t be shot at anyone,so it limited the risk of being turned against the family, but Rylan didn’t like the idea of sending Baxter in unarmed with hands as badly burned as his. He handed the brace to the untrusted member of their team with a silent warning not to make Rylan regret the gift.
[#880088 “Alright, let’s move in. Good luck everyone; stay safe.”]
It was a good thing Jesse was trying to act as a poor, frightened, helpless victim,because it was nearly impossible for the young girl to hide her fear. Without her sight, she couldn’t read the intent in her captor’s eyes or find any trace of hesitance or weakness. It had been hours since she’d seen her father But the noises from downstairs weren’t reassuring. At least while she was alone she felt a little safer, but that reassurance was dashed the second she heard someone open the door.
[#aa0000 “No, no!”] Jesse cried out as she felt the hand in her hair positioning her on the man’s lap. [i Dylan.] She could tell by the venomous voice and the thick stench of smoke. Her nails dug deep into her palms, creating little bloody crescent shapes in her pale skin. Jesse couldn’t hide the shudder that coursed through her at the mockingly gentle touch of Dylan’s hand brushing her hair.
[#aa0000 “No please! We’re not… My dad, he can get you money! He’s got personal accounts! And… and he’s got rich clients too! He can con them, trick them into sending him more money! Just don’t hurt him, please!”] Jesse pleaded, tryingto comeup with some way to make them less disposable. The game had changed since she was locked in the cellar with Logan. Now there was no hesitance to kill them. Jesse had to figure out a way to make them valuable again or both she and her father would be killed! Unfortunately, aside from a few vague promises for ransom money, the other other thing she knew Dylan was really after… Jesse was terrified to give him! She remembered when she was just a little girl and her mother had been taken by Gordon. For months, Lisa had played her part flawlessly, convincing the disgusting man that she had actually fallen for him. Her act kept her alive until the family could reach her, even managed to lead her to rescuing Lilyas well! It was clear that Dylan was interested in something similar, but… Jesse wasn’t strong enough for that. She couldn’t… especially not willingly!
Jesse let out a shriek of pain and surprise as she was suddenly slammed against the wall. She felt the hair on her neck stand on end as her personal space was invaded by the man she despised so much. She felt like she couldn’t breath! And that hand on her jaw was aching against the old injury Logan had caused before. A new fear sparked in Jesse’s mind at the thought of losing her ability to speak as well as her sight!
[#aa0000 “M-my mom… no! No please, leave her alone! No! Don’t hurt my dad! I… I... “] Jesse sobbed, feeling that this was becoming less and less of an act and more of her own true emotions slipping through. Her father was trusting her to be strong, but she couldn’t! She felt his body against hers, those hands on her jaw, the thick smell of smoke filling the air making her gag, and new tears soaked into the fabric of the blindfold. But Dylan’s words did give her an idea. He wouldn’t let her speak to her mother, but Lisa didn’t need words to read a situation, and Dylan had far too much fun on the last ransom call so she knew he’d easily get carried away. Of course, that would mean offering herself up as bait and the thought nearly made Jesse sick. But if it bought her and Martyn more time, if it got important information to her mother, if it kept them both alive until help arrived, wasn’t it worth it? Jesse let a very real sob escape her list as the gravity of what she was about to do sank in. She wasn't sure she was strong enough, but she had to try. All of the Street Brats through the ages had been willing to suffer their own personal demons in order to protect their families and now it was Jesse’s turn.
[#aa0000 “Mom, she… she’s terrified of being helpless! Her skill… it only works when she’s with Dad. Alone she’s… she’s stuck on the sidelines, not able to help and it… it paralyzes her! If she… if she heard… if you made her listen while you… while you did [i that]... No! No, no, no, please don’t! Please don’t do it! Don’t make her listen! Don’t… don’t touch me, please!”] Jesse begged.
[#0c92a6 “Jack, what the hell!? Come on then! Try it!”] Tigan challenged back, his prosthetic hands in the air, preparing for the fight! Tigan was never good with dealing with his own pressure limits, which was a reflection of the plastic now replacing his hands! Fortunately his sister was his first line of defence but he could see that questioning look from her own eyes. She couldn’t believe he did it, surely!? Why would Jack think he could do this as well? Jack was supposed to be his best friend, so why would Tigan suddenly stab him in the back like this!
Lily remained silent throughout the whole fight, letting Jack have his final say. McCleeve. It was a name she once wore with pride, but when she finally became a Sanders, she wasn’t resenting of the name because of her past with Rick. No. The love, the care, the hope for the future… that’s what she got from that name. So as Jack cast her aside, throwing the ring on the floor, the crack in that piece of metal also shattered Lily’s heart. The only movement Lily made before she went into her panic was picking that ring up, and squeezing it tightly in her hand.
[+red “Well it’s no longer between those three Lisa. You have some explaining to do. Don’t think you can avoid it!”] Elliot called after her, watching as she took Lily away with a scornful look. Helping his brother to his feet, Elliot backed away a little the moment he sae the amount of blood.
[+red “Go get yourself patched up. We can’t go after him, but if he’s drinking you know he only becomes more dangerous.”]
That was exactly what Lily was worried about. She had lit the fuse which was the countdown for Jack Sanders. This wasn’t a matter of hoping he would love her again. It was all about making sure they kept him alive long enough to have the ability to even fix things, and to make sure he didn’t do something he would regret! Lily was stuck, feeling trapped. Lisa’s voice was a distant wave. At least until Lisa said the first thing that Lily didn’t believe…
[+orange “You can’t say we’re going to fix this Lisa. You can’t say that! I know he loves me and that is going to make this worse. That’s going to make him drink more. That’s going to make him do the things he is going to regret. Eleanor doesn’t have a reason to hurt him because she knows he is going to crush himself.”] Lily pointed out, just showing how much hope had gone.
[+orange “I… I can’t stay here while the family are judging me Lisa. You need to find Jesse and Martyn just… just go… you’ve done what you could.”]
In the other room, Elliot had waited a few moments for Nic to get as patched up as he could before he headed to his office to see Tigan pacing up and down with his hands resting on top of his head.
[b “Is it true?’]
[#0c92a6 “What do you think? You… you actually think it might… Jesus, no! No! I haven’t touched her! Have you seen those two together, they’re perfect! Why would I ruin that?”] Tigan argued back, shaking from the adrenaline of the fight and the fact a Street Brat leader would even accuse him of such a thing.
[b “I’m just trying to figure out what has happened Tigan! This is about family loyalty!”]
[#0c92a6 “No! There is a bigger picture here Elliot! I just came back from meeting your sister at Larry and Caleb’s hideout. There was a lot of blood, a lot of broken machines and they are missing! I came to try and break the news to Jack but instead I come back to Lily spitting out some weird lie, to almost having my face smashed in, and watching my best friend go out to drink himself to death more than likely! I was helping the family so don’t talk to me about loyalty!”]
There was a thin silence that cut through the air sharper than any blade. It was the moment Elliot was starting to believe Tigan but he didn’t understand any reason why Lily would do what she did.
[b “Alright… sit down Tig, calm down.”] Elliot instructed, watching the younger man take his place whilst still shaking with anger and confusion from head-to-toe.
[b “Then it looks like we can’t just sit here hiding anymore. Nic, what do you think? We’ve got to rescue Larry and Caleb. Larry is the key to maybe giving Jack some sanity.”]
[#0c92a6 “That’s the problem, we don’t know where Larry and Caleb are. We just know they’ve been hurt, badly. That alone would have sent Jack on a rampage. Your sister is trying Elliot but we’re running blind here.”]
Alex was fiery when it came to protecting her family and as much as the others were willing to give Baxter a chance on this, she was still siding with caution. It wasn’t because she didn’t trust the decision of her brother, it was more that the Brat’s had got their lives on track and she was hoping that somehow this was just one major blip in the road and now a series of unfortunate events that would follow. She wasn’t going to let a person who tried to kill them years ago be the cause of that chain reaction.
One thing she should have been prepared for was that she wasn’t just grabbing Rylan’s bag for the sake of it. Of course he had been tinkering away during the last coming months but she couldn’t help but stare as her brother replaced the bandages with the new eyepatch. Just like his father, Rylan’s intelligence was something that always had her in awe, and there wasn’t a time when she wasn’t shook by their next build! As Rylan set the thing in place and looked at her, she replied the delight on her face with a playful awkward smile and gave him a thumbs up.
[+purple “Yeah…looks…stylish… really, um… brings out the er, um… yeah, looks good!”] She mocked, obviously having no idea what it was for, but she was pretty sure it was something that was going to make this entire mission a hell of a lot easier!
[+purple “I’ll always say it Rylan, you and dad are geniuses, but terrifying.”]
On their journey Logan was keeping a brave face and pushing past the pain. He may have not lost limbs like Rylan but he was exhausted. He hardly had time to rest, he had been part of weeks of trauma built up by Eleanor, a severe kidnapping, the fear for his friend, the uncertainty of what happened to his mum and dad back at the base, and of course his own injuries weighing him down. To look at the young teenager, you would think he had hit his later years with how stressed he looked! That didn’t stop him, and it certainly didn’t burn out the determination behind his eyes. He stayed close to Baxter. As much as he hated his younger brother and had no intention of classing him as family, he was also on guard too and wasn’t going to let the bastard hurt the Evenwood’s. Logan had already caused that family enough damage, he wasn’t about to let another decision of his cause more pain. He could see Alex keeping her eye on him too, but as Nova ran up to Logan, he couldn’t help but shakily run his hand through the dogs fur for comfort as they got closer to the scene Jesse was last… they weren’t merciful this time. It was almost like they were disposable!
[b “Last time they wanted to sell Jesse. Dylan is a greedy bastard but…”]
[+blue “He won’t have anything to sell Jesse too. The Underground had a chain link of kids but Jesse dealt with that. Until the mess in the Underground is dealt with and the toxic river is contained, he won’t have anyone to sell her to.”] Baxter jumped in, revealing just how much Jesse’s life wasn’t worth anything anymore. He didn’t expect the others to understand what the Underground was as they lived a life of privilege the last eight years, but he did need them to know that time was running against them.
Approaching the base, Logan and Baxter seemed to tense up as the same time, both equally ready to run in. At least until Rylan showed them what his invention was used for, putting them still in their tracks. Hayden couldn’t take out all those guards on her own, Logan could fight but his hands weren’t strong enough now, Baxter could just about hold his own and Rylan was a sitting duck!
[b “I can sneak up, pick a lock… Rylan, can you see an entrance where there isn’t a guard immediately by it? It can be a door, anything!”]
[#f524ea “Hey! Super sorry, my dad was on guard! I think I got away with it. What’s happening? Is Jesse in there?”] Carla asked as she cycled up to the ground, practically throwing her bike on the ground and sprinting towards them until she saw Baxter. Just like her instincts taught her, her hand tickled the handle of her gun in its holster, keeping a little bit of distance.
[+purple “It’s alright Carla. I’ve got my eye on him. We’ll explain later. Look, I think we need to split up. As you said Rylan, if we save one, we’re probably risking the other. Carla is good at sneaking around, so how about you go with Logan. I’ll go with Baxter and Ry. You have ear pieces in that bag of yours boy genius?”] Hayden asked her brother, watching as Carla pulled her secondary weapon, a rifle, from a long bag she was carrying with her and looking down the scope to see inside the building.
[b “Can we hurry up?”] Logan asked impatiently, worried for his friend, as he should have been. Inside that building, things were quickly working against them…
Dylan had left Jesse for a number of hours isolated in a room alone, blindfold still on and her hands still bonded behind her back. He had been trying to figure out a way to make a profit from the little bitch, but now it seemed those plans were foiled. With Eleanor’s orders that the Mason’s weren’t valuable, he might as well finish what he wanted before her little boyfriend got involved. She wasn’t worth anything else to anyone… of course, he was going to also see just how much he could break her.
Stepping in the room, Dylan picked Jesse up by her hair and forced her onto her feet, before taking a seat and sitting her down on his lap. He nodded to his guards to stand outside the door. There was no windows in the room, and both guards were armed.
[+grey “So you have had some time to think. Guess you and daddy weren’t getting on so well. Now… I’ve had my order that you and your dear daddy aren’t worth the oxygen on this planet anymore. We can kill you. I could have Pyke finish your dad off and have you listen to his screams. Would you like that Jesse? Hm? Even better yet, I could record it, show your mum your execution. Kill you both. You have no worth to me anymore… well, there is a few things you could still offer me.”] Dylan cooed in her ear, allowing the heat of his cigarette scented breath to travel down her cheek as he brushed a strand of her hair back.
[+grey “You know what is going to happen Princess. You know we’re going to finish what we started. Your boyfriend Logan can live the same life as his dear daddy! Watching the person he cares about most lose her innocence so young, and never be the same again. However, I’m not a monster, but I wonder how much you’ll do what you have to do to save your daddy. As I said, we can kill him. He doesn’t love you anyway! So, before we get to the fun, I need you to work with me.”] This time he grabbed her face, lifting her up by her jaw so his rings were pressing into her skin as he slammed her against the wall and pressed his whole body against hers.
[+grey “If you want daddy to live a little longer, you’re also going to tell me how to break mummy. Oh, don’t think I’m stupid. I’m not going to let you speak to her. You are going to tell me the single thing that will crush your mum in a heartbeat, or I’m going to make her watch your dad die. You understand? Then our little bit of fun won’t be so fun for you if you piss me off. You’ve already lost me a lot of money! If you let me sell you in the first place, we wouldn’t be here Jesse!”] This time Dylan was shouting, his voice shaking the walls before he ended it with a sinister laugh. He knew how much that blindfold would be sending her into a sensory overload, and how much the Mason’s resented being touched.
[+grey “No one is coming to save you Jesse. So you tell me what I need to know, or you can deal with the consequences.”]
After all the trouble his secrets got them into as kids, Jack had promised Lily years ago that he wouldn’t hide anything from her. That openness came as a blessing and a curse most days, but right now it was definitely more of the latter. Lily knew Jack’s every fear and weakness and it seemed he was determined to attack them all. First, it was his insecurity about being with her and his inferiority next to Tigan, and now it was his doubts about being a good father. So soon after his reunion with Logan had finally started to heal that paternal side to Jack, Lily’s accusations cut him back down, sharper than any blade.
Jack was never afraid to banter back, especially when he felt unfairly judged, so the family expected him to snap back in his own defense. Lisa felt a bit in her stomach when she heard nothing but silence from her best friend’s husband. Jack wasn't arguing the point out him being a good father, because deep down he believed Lily was right. He knew he had failed her multiple times, just as he had failed Logan. How could he expect this child to be any different?
What finally did spark some argument in Jack was when Tigan boldly accused him of drinking. Jack’s eyes flashed red and for a brief moment, the pain faded and all that was left in his expression was a cold, menacing venom.
[#ff6622 “I’m dry as a fucking bone, Tigan, and I still couldn’t see what you and Lily were doing behind my back! And now you’re laughing? You’re fucking laughing?!”] Jack clenched his fists and lunged towards Tigan, only to have Hayden forcefully shove him back and stand beside Elliot between the two. She didn’t want to believe her little brother capable of this, but Lily seemed pretty damn certain. Still, if Tigan had cheated with Lily, he may have deserved a harsh verbal lashing, but Hayden wasn’t going to let any fists fly between the boys. Neither would forgive themselves if they actually hurt the other and Tigan's hands were evidence of just what that kind of guilt could do!
Despite Hayden’s intervention, Jack looked about ready to murder Tigan! He stepped in for another shot but Lily’s words froze himin place. The hurt returned and Jack’s face cracked like a shattered mirror, revealing the tortured soul beneath the rage.
[#ff6622 “Well you finally got what you wanted then Lily. You’re finally free of the worthless, pathetic, waste of fucking skin that followed you around all these years!”] Jack hissed back, now using the familiar insults his father used to throw at him. All these years of Tigan and Lily raising him up, and convincing him that his father was wrong about him; it was all for nothing.
[#ff6622 “You’ll finally have your perfect little family, Lily McCleeve.”] Jack spat out her last name as if it was a curse. He tore the wedding ring off his finger - Simon’s ring, that Nola had given Jack along with her own to bless their proposal that day during the prison break - and whipped it against the floor so hard it cracked.
After the satisfying crunch of Nic’s nose against his fist, Jack turned and bolted out of the safe house before anyone else could stop him.
[b “I’m fine Ell, I… fuck! That kid has a strong right hook!”] Nic excused, trying to make the hit seem like it wasn’t a big deal. He didn’t want Jack in any more trouble than he already was, but frankly Nic was just glad it had been him to take the punch and not one of the others! The force was enough to break his nose and split his cheek, definitely needing stitches. Jack hadn’t pulled his punch at all, which meant he wouldn’t hold back if one of the others got involved.
[B “I want to come with you, Ell, when you talk to Tigan. I want to know what the hell just happened back there. None of this is making sense, and Jack… I don’t think it’s wise to send anyone after him like this, but with Jack, Lily,and Tigan fighting,and Larry missing...Jack has no one left to tie him here.”]
[+green “It was none of your business, Elliot. This was between Lily, Jack, and Tigan.”] Lisa retorted sharply, knowing this was going to escalate fast with the family getting involved.
[+green “Lily, lets go to the back room to talk. Tigan… Think about what you know is true and why someone might tell you otherwise.”] Lisa warned her brother-in-law cryptically. She knew the younger man had a bad habit of thinking with his fists, but he still had the same intuition as his older brother. He would know that what Lily was saying was a complete lie, that he’d never slept with her and therefore the baby couldn’t possibly be his! He also knew that Lily loved Jack as much as he loved her, so if she was willing to lie to hurt him, there must be a reason. Lisa just hoped he could see it. Lily was going to be in enough pain after Jack’s reaction and the family’s blame, she didn’t need Tigan’s hatred towards her as well.
[+green “Lily, take a deep breath for me. You're having another panic attack, Lily, I need you to focus on slowing your breathing and listening to my voice, ok? This stress isn’t good for the baby. You need to try to calm down. You did it, Lily, you just saved Jack’s life. Eleanor has no reason to hurt him now. And we're going to fix this, Lily. Once Eleanor is no longer a threat, we’ll fix this. Jack still loves you. I saw it in his eyes. He still loves you and one day he’ll understand that you did all of this to protect him.”] Lisa whispered softly as she tried to coax Lily through her attack, but even Lisa was afraid of what just happened. And truth be told, there wasn't any chance of fixing this at all without Martyn and Jess.So until those two were home safe, Jack's fate was still uncertain.
Rylan gave his sister a grateful smile when she agreed to help. She may be stubborn and have a short temper where Logan and his brother were concerned, but he knew he could always count on her to have his back. Alex had the family family values as he did, instilled from generations of strong Street Brats and he had no doubt that Alex would face whatever challenges were ahead of them with her head held high.
[#880088 “Yeah, I already had some tricks built into my old wrist guard, but it looks like dad incorporated most of them and some of his own into my new arm. But as for my eye… I’ll be honest, I was working on this as a present for Dad’s birthday, but I don’t think he’ll mind if I take it for a test drive.”] Rylan said, gratefully taking his bag from his sister and routing around until he found his newest invention. It looked like an eye patch with a computer chip and camera built in. Small wires connected to nodes that the wearer would fix to his temple, sending signals directly to his brain. The camera could scan their surroundings and connect to local surveillance, gps, and satellite imagery, allowing Rylan to scan, gather, and analyze almost any information they need with a simple thought! Ryan tore the bandages off his face and slipped the eye patch over the gruesome scar tissue, fixing the wires in place and turning to his sister with a satisfied look.
With the impending threat of their mother catching them in the act, Rylan bit back the pain in his chest and climbed out the window with the dog leaping out behind him. Nova went instantly to Logan’s side and nudged the young teen, sensing his fears about Jack. As they neared the scene, Nova's attention was quickly drawn to the blood. She growled at the evidence of struggle, showing that Jesse and Martyn had tried to fight back. Her perceptive nose then moving to the scuffled footprints and tire tracks still visible in the mud. The tracks would fade once they hit the main road, but the smell of Martyn's blood would be easy for the dog to track.
It would be a long walk for the teens, especially with Logan and Rylan injured, but eventually, Nova’s constant sniffing would come to an abrupt halt and a fierce snarl would slip past her teeth. They had found themselves outside of Pyke’s base where the van was clearly parked in the back. There were guards stationed outside as well as several visible through the windows.Clearly, Pyke and Dylan had learned not to underestimate the brats There was way more security now than there was before.
[#880088 “I see 24 heat signatures in the building. My heartrate scanners are showing… 2 with elevated pulses. I’m guessing one is Jesse. Do you think Martyn’s here with her? Or maybe one of the hackers? I overheard mom say that Martyn, Larry, and Caleb were all still missing.”] Rylan reported.
[#880088 “Either way, the two prisoners are being kept in separate rooms.If we break in to save one, the other could be hurt. Carla should be here soon. We should wait until she arrives before we try anything. We’ll need the back up.”] Rylan directed.So far it seemed quiet so he hoped Jesse was still ok. But how long would that last? Especially if Logan’s fears about Dylan were true?
If there was something Lisa was remarkable at, it was helping Lily find the strength to follow through with the toughest decisions. Through all of this chaos Lily had been wishing her mother and father were by her side. At least when they were alive, if Lily wasn’t strong enough, her parents were there to pick up the pieces. Only Lisa reminded her that even though Nola and Simon weren’t physically by her side, she carried their talents. Her father was meticulous with the details, persistent, and would carry through any of his actions if he believed the outcome was worth it. Then there was her mother. Nola was the best con-artist there was. The silver-tongues and readers might be able to sway people, but Nola had a skill of embodying everything that character needed to even make her own family turn against her! All of Nola’s actions were only there to protect the family and in the end, she was loved, she was cared for and to this day she was missed. If her mum could gather the strength to trick her family in times of trouble, then Lily could too. It would hurt. It would be crippling. She just had to believe that somehow there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Starting her act, she used everything she could when it got too hard. When Jack was almost knocked from his feet from the news, she moved her gaze from his eyes down to her stomach, keeping a conscious effort not to nervously bite her lip or let her anxiety play. She needed Jack to believe she was cold enough to have kept this a secret from him because she didn’t ever want him to be the father of her child. She had to make her that there wasn’t a single twitch of her body to reach out to him, to confess it all, to pull him close and kiss him hard, and risk it all. Was this how her mum felt? Was this how Lisa felt when she had to use her words? Was it really this much of a battle of emotion?
[+orange “Did you need me or did you need the bottle Jack? That was always the debate! You always needed me to keep you sober, but what about just being there? If you couldn’t be present without needing me, how could I expect you to be anything more to a child.”] Lily shot back, knowing if she stayed silent for too long that he wouldn’t believe the story. It was cold, cut-throat, and from a place Lily resented. She was clawing at the darkest voices in her head. The thoughts from her deepest darkest depression and anxiety that wanted to crush her down day-by-day. Of course she never communicated those thoughts, so to the untrained ear , those words would have came from a real place of resentment towards Jack.
She wanted to argue back. To tell him that all those years where she said she wasn’t ready wasn’t because of him. He was perfect. He was loyal, protective, caring, more than she could ever ask and wish for. The problem was, she wasn’t ready within herself. She had so much self-loathing that she was scared of ruining another life! Never could she imagine the life she would ruin would be her husbands. It was almost the breaking point in her act and as much as it was fortunate that Tigan came in when he did to stop her cracking, it couldn’t have been a worse time.
[#0c92a6 “What the… calm-the-fuck-down! I’ve just…. Where the hell is this coming from? Lied to you about what? What you couldn’t see? Jesus Christ Jack, have you been drinking!?”] Tigan shot back in sheer confusion. When he was talking about what he couldn’t see, he was referring to Larry and Caleb, but to Jack it would just sound like that Tigan had been teasing him the whole time and keeping the secret right under his nose!
[+orange “It doesn’t matter Tigan, he knows. There’s no point in keeping it a secret anymore.”]
[#0c92a6 “Lily I wasn’t planning to I was just coming back to tell him… ahaha, what? Slept with Lily? Ahahaha, damn, Jack are you warped?”]
There was only so much Elliot could stand back. He knew if Tigan stayed where he was, he was facing the wrath of Jack at this point and he had the audacity to laugh! Stepping forward, Elliot pushed Tigan back with his metal hand and gave the Brat a disapproving glare. The Evenwood’s had the strongest sense of family, and there was a part of Elliot that lost his ability to remain balanced within the family in that moment. There was actual disgust on his face!
[+red “How about you stop making the situation worse Tigan. You have done enough.”]
During all of this Lily kept her eyes on Jack, watching as the anger built. For once she wasn’t scared of what would happen next. She deserved all the anger threw at her. She knew Jack better but she almost wished he would hit her! At least then it would give an excuse for her to let go of all the emotion that was building inside. What she didn’t expect was the words that came from Jack’s mouth. There was one skill Lily hadn’t carried over from her mum, and it was the ability to ignore the hurtful words during an act. Deep down Lily was almost hoping that somehow Jack would have some doubt, that he wouldn’t believe she was capable of it. Instead he saw it as a sick game she was playing. That she was almost enjoying watching him suffer. Lily thought her anxiety had suffocated her before but this time she knew the true meaning. It started in her stomach, and clawed its way through her chest, restricting it, wrapping itself around until her heart was beating faster than she could count. Her head felt like it was filled with… everything. She couldn’t focus, the world was fading in and out. Clenching her fists, Lily gritted her teeth and let a few hurtful tears fall down her face. She needed to push him away. She needed him out to make the pain stop!
[+orange “I never had the chance to be alone Jack because you followed me like a lost little puppy who had never been loved! Sleeping with Tigan was the most free I fucking felt!”]
With that she knew there was no turning back. She looked to see the instant betrayal on Tigan’s face, who was so shook he fell silent. She crushed her relationship with her husband, with Tigan, and she could see all the disapproving looks from the rest of the family. It was Jack’s final sentence that ripped her apart. He was going to drink. She wanted to stop him, but she couldn’t. Instead she remained frozen in the corridor, her eyes now staring at… nothing. It was like she wasn’t even in the world. It was the same look after she was pulled out of the van with Rick. This wasn’t fixable.
[#0c92a6 “Lily what the fuck!?”]
[+red “Not the time Tigan! I… Nic!”] Elliot called, watching his brother fall to the floor. Elliot was straight to his side, kneeling by his brother and lifting him up to a sitting position.
[+red “Loyalty is the main thing in the Street Brat’s! We are a FAMILY! Lisa how long did you know? Nic spoke to you and you didn’t tell him!? Get Lily out, now! Tigan, the meeting room. Wait for me there. Hayden, go check on the kids. I’ll be with you once I’ve helped Nic. MOVE!”] Elliot ordered with a voice that scarily sounded like Carlos’!
[#0c92a6 “You’re a sick bitch Lily Sanders. Don’t EVER come running to me again.”] Tigan shouted as he stormed away from the scene. Lily still didn’t move… she couldn’t hear, it was all white noise.
Alex cracked her knuckles when her brother challenges her about needing support in a fight. Of course she didn’t, she could hold her own. She was trained by the best fighters there was! Her point was they could all end up casualties and add more strain onto the family. She knew she was barely the strategist, but she wondered what went through her brothers thick skull at times.
[+purple “And what the hell is Baxter good at apart from attempted murder? Even that was attempted and he didn’t succeed.”] Alex said smugly, crossing her arms around her chest and giving Baxter a look for him to step up and prove himself.
[+blue “I’ve survived eight years in the Underground. I was the Leader of a gang. I kept Jesse alive. Want to know what my real strength is though? Unlike you losers, I’m not afraid of dying. I have nothing to lose. So you can sure as hell count on me risking everything. Can you say the same?”] Baxter asked, watching as Alex tensed with a smug grin. She wanted to bite back, say she would, but it was the Street Brat’s biggest weakness. Each of them had someone or something they cared about.
[+purple “Shut it Rylan. You have that annoying look in your eye like dad does, the one that made up your mind half a conversation ago to do whatever it takes, even if you have just had a heart transplant, a robotic arm, and an eye removed. That means just like mum I have to roll my eyes and promise to protect you sorry-ass no matter what. However, if this becomes too dangerous, I’m dragging you all with my bare hands. Families family… bonds not blood… we do what we have to, to protect family. I haven’t forgotten that Rylan. I know we’ve got to save Jesse. I just hope you are ready for mum and dad’s wrath when we’re back.”] Alex pointed out, already prepping herself as she grabbed her fighting gloves from her own bag and started to slip them on. Luckily that was all she needed, but of course her brother needed more.
[+purple “I’ll carry your bag. Wait, didn’t dad say he built some secrets within your robo-arm as well? You should figure those out, might come in helpful.”] Alex pointed out to her brother as she grabbed her bag.
Baxter was glad the dog was coming with them. He knew Jesse’s last location but he had no idea how he was going to trace her from there!
[+blue “I mean it though, I’m only helping if I don’t have to come back with you once we’ve found her.”]
[b “Trust me, we don’t want you to. My family has had enough trouble.”] Logan pointed out and as if by perfect timing, Jack’s voice echoed through the corridors. Logan had only heard that voice the times Jack was broken and he knew exactly what that voice led to. Jack was going to drink. It was the same voice that Rick carried before he lost his temper. Logan froze in the centre of the room, staring at the door that would take him out to see what was going on. What could have happened to make Jack snap so quickly!? They were bonding again!
[+blue “Happy families I see..”]
[b “I swear I’ll break your jaw Baxter if you don’t…”]
[+purple “Shut it! Listen… shit, mums on her way! Go!”] Alex insisted, opening the windows and setting up a chair next to each one so they could climb out easily with their injuries. Baxter took the lead, throwing his hood back over his face incase any of the other Brat’s appeared and started to lead them all back towards the sight where Jesse and Martyn where taken. The rain had started to clear, but the evidence of Martyn’s beating hadn’t been washed away. They would arrive to see the blood from his throat in a puddle on the floor, as well as the tire marks from the van driving away in the wet mud.
Carla was sat in her room, finalising putting her gun together after cleaning it from shooting practise. Just like her mum and dad, her passion for shooting didn’t slow down and she spent every waking moment she could on the range! Of course as a kid in a ‘normal’ life, it was a little restricted. Whilst her parents didn’t follow the conventions, Demetri was still determined she got an education and made sure she studied from home. Often it led to Carla rushing through it so she could either get on the range or go out and meet the gangs with either her mum or her dad. However when her mum darted out and demanded she stayed at home, you would think being left with a blind dad would make it easier for her to do what she wanted… unfortunately she was being monitored by a man who had harnessed all his other senses!
Seeing Rylan’s number on her phone, she let a relieved smile grow on her face. Her parents didn’t shield her from what was going on, so seeing his name and hearing he was alive was the news she was desperate to hear!
[#f524ea “Ry! Hey! You’re ok! Yeah, yeah, sure…once everything is safe I’ll definitely come over and see you guys! You know how it is, I’m just waiting to find out more…”] It was an odd response, but as she spoke she put her phone on loud speaker and quickly started to type a text.
[#f524ea [i “Dad’s on guard duty. Gonna try and sneak out. Text me location and I’ll be there.”]] She sent it and put the phone to her ear again.
[#f524ea “I’m just really glad you guys are ok. I’m going out to practice on the range again but keep me updated! Mum’s out scoping out some areas so if I find out anything, I’ll let you know.”] She hung up, hoping she had done enough to keep her dad from grilling her. Only as she rushed down the stairs, there was a loud bang, and a rope wrapped around her feet almost tripping her to the floor!
[#204569 “Where do you think you are going?”] Demetri asked from his chair, blowing the smoke from the pistol which he fired the unique bullet from.
[#f524ea “Dad you’re so annoying! We talked about using the rope bullets to stop me!”]
[#204569 “And we talked about you sneaking around! You get me in enough trouble with your mum. Remember when you were little and you stole my gun from the cabinet? You’re sneaky when you want to be!”] Demetri laughed, showing her had no hard feelings as he stood up and headed towards his daughter, ruffling her hair as she was untying the final bits of rope.
[#f524ea “Yeah well, last thing you’ll never see. Anyway, I was just going to practise.”] Alex excused herself, shrugging her dad off to make her escape only to feel his hand clamp on her shoulder.
[#204569 “You only just practised Alex… bit eager? How about I come and…”]
[#f524ea “Dad please! I know crazy things happened and I know we had a rough life and things are going crazy again, but please… “] Alex begged, hoping she hadn’t already blown it. Demetri stayed silent for a few moments, building up the tension, before playfully punching his daughters arm.
[#204569 “Alright kiddo, go on. I expect you to be picking up that speed though! Don’t be sacrificing that for accuracy. You were a bit slow last time.”] Demetri excused, listening to his daughters footsteps leave the back of the house and the moment he heard the door locked, he slung his own gun over his shoulder and grabbed his guide stick. Caleb and Larry had coded it with GPS navigation, so he could easily navigate the world through the vibrations the stick sent through his hand. His senses may have been perfect, but it still took him time to navigate. Pulling out his own phone, he used voice dictation to send his wife a message.
[#204569 “The kids are up to something. I’m going to scope it out.”]
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