Ch 15 - Brothers and Old Friends
I kept driving, not entirely sure of where I was going. I mean, I had my mission instructions and all, but I wasn’t quite sure about following them. I was having an internal battle, and I needed a way to deal with everything.
A way I probably would’ve found had I not left my fiancé behind.
Leaving Xander behind is probably one of the hardest things I can remember doing, but I can’t help it if staying behind puts him in danger. The agency I work for had very subtly told me that they were watching us at all times.
Which means our lives are in danger.
I needed to get away from him to ensure that he, and everyone else I love, is safe. However, knowing them, they’re probably coming after me, which means I have to work on throwing them off as well.
“Where the hell are you?” she asked as soon as she answered the phone.
“I can’t tell you, but I do need a favour from you,” I replied.
“I’m not going to throw them off on your behalf,” she responded.
Why does she know me so well?
“The agency is watching me Storm. They know my every move, which means they probably know about every plan we’ve managed to devise to fight them. Hell, they’re probably tapping into this phone call for all I know, even if Nick confirmed that they can’t. I couldn’t stay behind and put you all in danger,” I argued.
She sighed in frustration. “So you saw it fit to instead face the danger alone? Tell me in what world has that ever ended well?”
“I know it sounds really stupid right now, but I just really need you to trust me on this,” I told her.
“I’ll throw them off on one condition,” she bargained, and I already knew what she wanted.
“I’ll text you the address, even though it will look weird that I’m working with you,” I pointed out.
“We’ll figure it out later. Do you have to blow up a city?” she asked.
I frowned as I reached my destination. “What makes you think I have to blow up a city?”
“It’s the only thing they found on the drive in connection to the mission code you were given,” she explained.
And that’s when it made sense.
My mission was to attend a high profile ball and there seduce a man by the name of Lane Mason. He’s an inventor in the biochemical field. I’m supposed to retrieve a file from his laptop, and based on what Storm was telling me, the file must have something to do with a bomb that’s clearly dangerous enough to wipe out an entire city.
“Elle?” she called when I wasn’t saying anything.
“I’m here. Listen, I need you to see what information you can gather from there before you come to me. Find out as much as you can about what’s on the drive. While my mission isn’t to blow up a city, it could very well be leading down that path,” I replied.
“They’re all coming to find you. They’re all sure that you’re on your way to destroying some poor city out there,” she informed.
“Have they pinpointed the city?” I asked as I left the car.
“No. Everything has been guesswork, and I guess now that not even you know of the city, they won’t find out. I’ll gather as much as I can and then I’ll come join you. I’ll tell them that I’m going on a solo mission or something,” she responded.
“And where are you now?” I asked.
“I went out for some air. That Nadia girl is a pain in my ass and I know you’d like the honour of kicking her ass, so I had to leave before I did,” she said, making me laugh a little.
“You’re the world’s greatest best friend,” I teased.
She sighed. “Well I do try! Listen, let me get to it so that we can be reunited quicker.”
“What about Aziel?” I asked.
She was silent for a while. “What about him?”
“Don’t be like that,” I sighed.
“Don’t be like what Elle? He hasn’t even bothered saying anything to me since seeing me. It’s bad enough that Xander hates my very existence, and my brother still can’t look me in the eyes. If anything, coming to join you doesn’t sound bad at all. I’d rather be in danger than be surrounded by all of this animosity,” she replied.
I guess I couldn’t blame her then.
“Alright, I’ll let it go for now. Please let Carter and Winter in on things when you get back. There’s no way I’m doing this without them. It’s bad enough that I have to do this without Xander,” I told her.
“What about Malachi?” she asked.
“What about him?” I asked in confusion.
“He’s worried Elle. Like I get that Xander, Nick and Jayme are super worried, but like his worry is different. He really cares about you on a different level. I can’t explain it,” she responded.
“I’ll call him myself,” I said.
I need to understand why he’s so worried about me.
“Alright! I’ve just arrived back at the apartment and it sounds like they’re all deep in discussion. I’ll check in with you within the hour,” she said before hanging up.
I knew then that I couldn’t contact Malachi. I would have to wait for her to give me the heads up on what was going on that side. I texted her my location as I unlocked the door. I almost jumped out of my skin at the dagger that came flying at me.
“Sis?” Tyler asked, wide-eyed.
“What in the living hell is wrong with you?” I asked him.
He looked genuinely confused to see me. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to walk through the door. What are you doing here of all places?”
“I may have possibly gotten myself into trouble,” I told him.
“Well that’s nothing new. What is it this time?” Tyson asked as he walked into the room.
“Your faith in me is overwhelming,” I said sarcastically.
“That’s great and all, but you’re still not spilling anything,” he replied.
I rolled my eyes at him. “The agency knows that I’ve regained some of my memories, or at least that’s what I’m choosing to believe. Dray told me about how the formula is fighting against their memory tech, but I think they can still control me.”
“Dray? As in Drayfus? Where did you see him?” they asked.
It can be annoying when they do that.
“I left Xander and I’s apartment just yesterday. I drove through the night to get here,” I said before filling them in on everything.
“We’ve been trying to find you this entire time, and you’re telling us that the agency has sent you on a mission to kill the love of your life and they’re also targeting our family members?” Tyson asked.
I nodded. “When last did the two of you check in?”
“A year ago, but only because we’ve both been on our solo missions at the BNK. As you probably know, things on that end have become rather interesting,” Tyler replied.
“So I’ve heard. I hear mom’s been taken?” I said as I went to make myself a cup of coffee.
“We know that the two of you don’t have the best of relationships, but Ren, we don’t know who took her this time,” Tyler said, almost pleadingly.
“Calm down. She’s still my mother so I obviously want her found too. Have you checked all her enemies?” I asked.
“We have, but nothing’s come up. Dad is coming up short as well,” Tyson mentioned.
“I don’t remember him much from before this recent time I lived with him. The agency told me that our grandparents are my parents, and only through Xander did I learn that that’s not the case,” I informed them.
Tyler rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, you don’t have the best relationship with either of our parents.”
“So who doI have a good relationship with?” I asked curiously.
“Surprisingly, Nick’s parents. You instantly connected better with Gerhard than you ever did with dad, and the same goes for Viola. Nick is the same with mom and dad. He connects better with them than his own parents. That’s where your bond with him sort of grew,” Tyson informed.
I scowled. “Our bond grew because we swapped parents?”
“It sounds weird, but yes. It brought you guys closer. You have a better bond with him than you do with us, and we’re only ok with it because we’re twins, so we’ve always understood how easy it is for you to feel left out from our bond, which you then found in Nick,” Tyler explained.
“What about Ayah?” I asked.
“We lost Ayah for a couple of years after her parents were killed, but she was luckily rescued by Xander and Aziel before they were all found by Aunt Silver,” Tyler responded.
“I hear she’s running things at Cypher now that mom’s missing. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?” I asked before sipping my coffee.
Tyson sighed. “Why must you hate everyone?”
“I don’t hate anyone. I’m just not a fan of anyone who left me for death,” I said innocently.
“They didn’t know that you’d made it out alive Ren. You need to let it go,” Tyler said.
“Nah, I think I’ll hold onto it thanks. I don’t expect you to understand in any case. You’ve always been the golden boys,” I sassed before heading to the lounge.
Tyson sighed, sitting beside me while Tyler sat on the couch opposite. “I take it more of your memories are coming back?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe some things I’ll just never forget.”
“Ren, don’t give into it. You know that this is the agency’s way of ensuring that they tear our family apart,” Tyler pleaded.
“Apart? We were never together Tyler. I know that the two of you would love to live in a world where we’re all one big happy family, but I refuse to delude myself into thinking that that’s ok. It isn’t. We are not one big happy family. The only people who have ever looked out for me are my siblings and cousins, and I owe you guys my life, but don’t ask me to trust or even be too excited about helping the adults of this messed up family in any way. They’ve done nothing but disappoint me my entire life,” I reminded them.
“You’re not forgiving anyone any time soon, are you?” Tyson asked knowingly.
“Forgiveness is earned,” was my response.
“Fair enough. You still haven’t really told us what you’re doing here,” Tyler pointed out.
“What are the two of youdoing here?” I asked them.
“We’re regrouping to try and find mom,” Tyson informed.
This house is in the middle of nowhere really, but that’s the point of it. Nick built the invisibility shield that’s around the yard that makes the entire house undetectable not only by sight, but by location as well as it sends out a signal that instantly disables any tracking devices within a ten mile radius. The twins and I always come here if things are getting too hard in our world.
It’s one of seven places like it around the world- a house for every continent.
The only people who know about it are Nick, the twins and Drayfus. I don’t know if Nick and Drayfus will figure out that this is where I’ve come, but granted that they’re under the impression that I’m on a mission to blow up some city, I’m hoping it slips their minds.
“I’m here because I’ve got a coded mission,” I told them.
“How was it delivered?” they asked.
“Hugo gave me a flash drive with Project Element related data on it, and Franco decrypted it, only for it to reveal my mission files before a still image appeared. Franco clicked on it and everyone in the room learnt that this isn’t the first mission that I’m being sent on to kill the love of my life. We were all still reeling from that when the video was interrupted and that’s when the mission was delivered to me,” I replied.
I was still trying to figure out everything that I’d learnt. I mean, the bits of memory that I do have, have nothing to do with my trying to kill Xander, except the evidence was there in the video. I’d tried to kill him more times than I’m willing to admit and it was killing me.
He’s the last person I’d ever want to hurt, let alone kill.
“Wait! You’ve been sent on more than one mission to kill Xander? When was this?” Tyler asked in shock.
“I have no clue. The video unfolds all the different times that I tried to kill him in detail, and there are even photos to prove that I was in fact following him everywhere. I don’t know what to make of anything really,” I replied.
“So they know about the explosions?” Tyson asked.
I nodded. “They know that I’m behind them, but the flash drive doesn’t contain the reasons why I had to blow up those places.”
“So they know nothing about Phoenix?” Tyler asked.
I shook my head. “I highly doubt they do. Storm only knows because she found out through other channels. I don’t know if Dray knows, but I know for sure that Nick won’t link those explosions back to Phoenix. I was too careful.”
“Storm? You’re in touch with Storm again?” they both asked in disbelief.
“Look, what happened in Cuba happened, and I’ve let it go. I don’t want to hold a grudge against my best friend,” I told them.
Tyler was wide-eyed. “She set you up, tricked the love of your life and almost killed him. How is it easier for you to forgive her over family?”
“This is different,” I dismissed. He looked like he wanted to argue but saw it fit not to as silence settled on the room.
Tyson looked concerned as he pierced the silence a while later. “Do you think Hugo set you up?”
“I don’t know honestly. A part of me thinks that maybe he did, or maybe this was his way of him telling me that I needed to get out of there before truly endangering everyone,” I revealed my theories.
“And who knows where you are?” Tyler asked.
“I’ve sent Storm my coordinates through a cryptic message. She’s coming here once she’s gathered some intel for me based on what else is on that flash drive. I asked her to tell Winter and Carter where I am, so the three of them will probably come here together. Storm figures I have to call Malachi since he’s apparently really worried about me,” I replied.
“Of course he’s worried about you. You’re his best friend,” Tyson pointed out.
“I know, but I still don’t understand the worry,” I argued.
He shook his head. “No Ren, you don’t understand. Malachi has known you for eight years now. He had a solo mission at the BNK and you were visiting Dray at the time. The two of you hit it off and you’ve been best friends since. I’m guessing that memories of that time just haven’t come back to you yet, and it also means that he never told anyone there about your friendship.”
I frowned and tried to remember. The twins said nothing and for the longest time, nothing happened. I was coming up blank, so I tried to think of all the times I’ve heard the name Elliephant. I could only see memories of my high school days, but nothing before that.
Until finally, it happened.
“You are going to die. You know that much right?” he asked.
“Come on Alac. When have you ever been a pussy?” I teased.
“I dare you to call me a pussy one more time and see how long you get to live after that,” he threatened.
“There he is! Now, are doing this or what?” I asked.
“She asks casually like we’re not diving off of one of the tallest buildings in the world, to steal one of the most valuable art pieces of all time because I’m too spineless to say no to her,” he grumbled, making me laugh.
“You’re such a goodie two shoes,” I commented as we put on the harnesses.
“And you are much better than this. I don’t know why you’re so against joining Cypher. Your brothers are already a part of it, so they can vouch for us,” he argued.
I sighed. “You know why I don’t want to join Cypher.”
“You’re like an elephant and Cypher is a mouse,” he said, shaking his head.
I giggled. “What?”
“You heard me. You’re scared of joining Cypher for whatever reason, much like an elephant is scared of a mouse. I actually think it’s fitting that I now call you Elliephant from this point onwards,” he said thoughtfully.
“That is a terrible name,” I pointed out.
He shrugged and smirked. “It’ll stick.”
Malachi has always loved danger and the more memories I had of us, the more I realized that I exploited that side of him. He’s tried to get me to do good in the past, but my hatred for my family has had me stuck in doing the opposite.
Now I’m just floating.
“He knew, but he didn’t say anything,” I said lowly.
“When we last saw him at Cypher HQ, he told us that he wouldn’t say anything, but that this time we have to fight to get you out of the agency. He’s probably trying to do the same where he is, which is why he’s so worried. Much like us, he knows that if the agency gets you this time, it’s over,” Tyler said.
I looked at them, tears in my eyes as I whispered. “What are you saying?”
“This is it Ren. This is the fight of your life, and only you can win it. If they get a hold of you once more, that’s it. You’ll never be free from their clutches. Only you can fight your way out of this, and you’re the most badass person we know, so you can do it. You just need to believe it,” Tyson explained.
“How do I fight, if my fighting goes against everything my friends and fiancé stand for?” I questioned.
“You have no choice but to be their enemy and their friend. You have to play both sides and they have to both believe that you’re on their sides. If the Cypher side even knows about your plan, they’ll relax and think of you as a non-threat, which will raise flags at the agency,” Tyler elaborated.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” I refused.
“You have to Ren, and deep down you know it. You don’t have to kill anyone, but you definitely do have to inflict some damage. It has to be real, and you need to trust in their skills too. They’re agents, and therefore they know what the job entails. You need to remember that as well,” Tyson added.
“I will kill them. You guys don’t understand the side effects of this serum,” I argued.
They both laughed. “We have the serum in us too sis. We understand better than anyone.”
Ok, I guess they do.
Which gave me an idea.
“That means you’re the two people most likely to be able to train me and help me to get it under control,” I pointed out.
Tyler looked thoughtful. “We didn’t think of that.”
“Let’s set up the training room and start now before Storm, Carter and Winter get here,” Tyson suggested.
“Ok, you guys go and set up. I just want to call Malachi,” I told them.
“Be quick, and this time we mean be quick,” Tyler said. From the way he said it, I could only guess that there’s a story behind that.
They left to set up while I took my phone out. I entered the encryption code to unlock the ghost part of my phone, before dialling his number. I let it ring once before hanging up. I called again and repeated the process. The third time, I let it ring before he picked up.
It’s our coded way of calling each other and alerting each other that we need to find a place to speak privately.
“Are you safe?” is the first thing he asked.
“I am, but why didn’t you say anything?” I asked him.
“I wanted you to remember on your own. Plus, we haven’t exactly had time to talk alone since everyone’s always around,” he pointed out.
“Where are you guys?” I asked.
“Right now we’re at a gas station. We’re headed to the airport. We’re heading to HQ to try and use the tech there to find you,” he replied.
“You won’t, and is Franco really supposed to be with you for that?” I questioned. Last I checked, Franco was now an enemy of Cypher.
“We now have an understanding of sorts with him, but enough about that. Tell me you’re not going to blow up a city Elliephant. There’s no coming back from that and you know it,” he pointed out.
“I know. We’ll talk again soon, but I need to do what needs to be done. I just need you to trust me and stop worrying so much. You’re going to raise flags with Xander, if he hasn’t already noticed that is,” I told him.
“He hasn’t, but I get what you’re saying. Just promise me that you’ll at least be careful,” he said.
“I promise and I’m sorry for anything that’s about to happen,” I replied before hanging up the phone.
I didn’t want to drag the phone call and end up saying anything I shouldn’t.
I was already feeling a little emotional as I joined my little brothers in the training room. They’d really set everything out and I could tell that I was about to be in a lot of pain, but this would also be my biggest test to see if I could fight the serum.
If I can manage to not kill my brothers, then there might be hope after all.
We trained for hours, and they knew all my moves. They were taunting me, and I wasn’t sure why until I found myself reaching what they referred to as the ultimate rage. I wanted to truly kill them, but they easily deflected everything I threw at them and even managed to talk me out of the rage.
“The closer the person is to you, the easier it is to be talked out of the rage,” Tyson explained as I lay on the floor, panting.
“So I can actually be talked out of not killing anyone?” I asked, breathless.
They nodded. “It’s all about the persuasion from the opposition.”
I took a long and nice shower, tempted to call Xander. I missed him terribly, but like the twins said, I needed to focus. I texted Winter details about the mission before I went to bed. I woke up the following day to voices coming from the lounge.
“You have a secret house that you never told us about? Do you know how long it took us to find this place?” Carter asked.
“You didn’t find it. We fetched you,” Tyson pointed out.
“That’s not the point here,” Winter commented.
“You guys know the lives my siblings and I live. We’re not like you guys, so we knew we’d need a place to hide out if things got overwhelming,” I explained.
“Like now?” Storm asked, to which I nodded.
The ball was happening that night and it was a two hour drive from where we were. I sat them down and explained everything to them relating to the mission since the four of us were going together. The twins were staying behind and they set us up with the necessary gear and weaponry.
We got ready to leave closer to the time, dressed to kill and looking sexy as hell, before heading out in Carter’s car. The twins had arranged for our mission cars ahead, which we would have to pick up before heading to the hotel where the ball was being held.
Everything went according to plan, and we found ourselves at the hotel. We managed to dodge the red carpet since it would be highly stupid of us to be caught on it. By the time we were inside, we’d already scoped the area for any threats.
“I’ve spotted BNK, secret service, FBI and some people who I can only assume are from the new agency,” Carter said into the comms as we all sat at the bar.
“I’ve spotted Lane across the room,” Storm commented.
“Alright! We all know our roles here, so let’s get to it,” I said. The three of them gave slight nods before dispersing, leaving me at the bar.
I turned to the bartender and shot him a sultry smile. “I’ll have a gin and tonic.”
“That’s a mighty strong drink for someone so small,” a voice said behind me.
I turned slowly. “Well, I guess I- Silo?”
“Elle? What are you doing here?” he asked.
“What are youdoing here?” I countered.
“You can’t be here Elle. You need to leave right now,” he said, panicked.
“What? Why?” I asked as he grabbed my hand.
“Because he’s here,” he said as he dragged me towards the hotel kitchen.
“What?”I whispered, stopping in my tracks.
“Blayze is here.”