Mark wouldn’t admit to it, but Buchanan was right. He was far from alright in the head and was acting out as a result of everything. In all truth, Mark needed to be seriously looked at by one of the neuroscientists who had turned him in the first place. But Mark just couldn’t get himself to ever go back there so he simply ignored it and tried to distract his overflowing mind.
Not long after making that internal decision, Mark was able to think of other subjects. One in particular.
Mark was still so hung up on Shawn that he didn’t think he would ever leave his mind. Even after all that he had to go through and where he was right then. Shawn still managed to enter Mark’s unhinged mind.
He missed everything about him. His accent and the way he said certain things a little differently. His small but sweet stature and how he fit so perfectly into Mark’s arms. The way he was so determined and always had a spark of flame in his never-ending brown eyes.
Whenever Shawn set his mind to something. He did everything he could and used all of his power to get it. A trait that Mark really admired about Shawn. He wasn’t afraid to really go after something that he really wanted. No matter what it was. Even if it was getting to join the CIA and to become an agent. Or if it were telling Mark how he truly felt about him. Shawn always took the plunge and would dive deep into whatever it was to get his point across or to let the world that he wasn’t insignificant.
There was a lot about Shawn and that was something Mark caught when he first met him. Sure he made mistakes but in time he learned to own up to them with Mark’s help. They pushed each other away at first but no matter what Shawn really listened to Mark and understood what he meant when he said it. Shawn was really the first person to make Mark feel human after all that had happened.
It hurt when he had to finally tell Shawn the truth. For starters he hated having to lie to Shawn like that, and also Shawn never deserved to get roped into any of that mess. It was another one of the reasons why Mark declined running off with Shawn that night. He was too scared to face the real world and he didn’t want Shawn to have to deal with the risk of Mark waking up again.
However, Mark still missed Shawn a lot and only hoped that he was alright and living his best life. A better life without him. Where he was safe and allowed to be happy and free. A life outside of the CIA and the insanity that comes with it.
The kind of life that Mark wished he could have. One alongside Shawn where he was happy and free. But as luck would have it, that life was pretty much untouchable right then. Mark’s tampered mind was slowly turning on him and he was doing things he’d never really think of doing before. Saying things he didn’t mean and acting out for the sake of it. Mark wasn’t himself or okay at all, but he still placed Shawn ahead of himself. Hoping and wishing that there was a smile on his face and things were finally looking up for him.
After all, Mark loved Shawn and would risk anything to make sure that he would be safe and would never have to return to this horrible secret agent life ever again.
Regardless, for Mark, that life was all that he knew. He didn’t remember who he was before he was turned into who he was now. To him, his life only dated back ten years ago when he woke up and had no idea who he was or what was going on around him. The only memories he had were of him after he had turned back to his normal state. Horrific images of him on his knees with bodies surrounding him. His hands battered up and covered in blood that he knew wasn’t his own. Bawling his eyes out in total fear and regret over what he did.
He never lived outside of the CIA and was too afraid to change that. He was built to turn into some creature of a person with only two true motives. To infiltrate the enemy and/or to kill. Spending all of his days answering to someone else without any question and doing all that he could to remain normal until “set off”.
As much as Mark hated that life, and he did /very/ much, he still couldn’t risk leaving it behind. He didn’t want to be surrounded by people he didn’t know. To be left in a crowded place and one moment lose it and attack innocent people. Despite how much he wanted to believe he had everything under control, he still a ticking time bomb ready to blow after just one simple slip up.
The flight felt longer than it should’ve been but soon enough Mark was able to land quickly. After shutting everything off he remained in the cockpit for while and try to wrap his head around everything. His mind was so scrambled and all over the place. Something so simple was seeming completely impossible right then. But he had to at least try.
He was at his home-base now and usually if Sleepers were getting a little too antsy in opposing locations they would head back to the home-base. However, in Mark’s case, he had been in New York for so many years that he couldn’t tell which was really called his “home”. Everyone at his home-base was told to fear Mark. To be cautious and steer clear whenever he was to make it back to home-base. That feeling of course made Mark absentmindedly favor New York because at least there he had somewhat of a chance to fit in.
That was until the horrible argument that erupted between him and Buchanan. Right before he had stormed out. Mark knew that it was mostly his fault, but also Clint said things that Mark took to heart. It made him really feel like he was some monster and that he really didn’t fit in anywhere because he wasn’t made to. The only thing that Mark was meant to do was those two main motives. They were implanted into his brain and he still managed to screw all of that up.
After taking a few long deep breaths, and sitting alone with his thoughts, Mark decided to finally get out of the jet. As he stood up he checked his person and made sure he had what he needed before going over to the door and dropping the steps.
Lightly squinting as the sun suddenly hit, Mark walked down the steps onto the field and looked around. Then his eyes aimed straight ahead.
Right there before him stood the building where everything changed completely. It was where Mark supposedly entered as a normal kid, only to then walk out as some creature of a person. He didn’t remember the day, or what life was like before it all happened. Everything was just a black abyss until he woke up again and discovered that he was the only one left standing. Heaving deep heavy breathes with some of his clothing torn as if he were some nightmare monster. He faintly remembered catching a glimpse of his reflection that day and seeing a crazed look in his eye. As well as having to discover that the crazy person was none other than himself. Then finally, he broke down.
Closing his eyes Mark shook his head and snapped out of it. Reopening his eyes he huffed a breath and moved forward. Making his way over to the base and entering through the front doors.
Once inside he looked through the lobby. Oddly enough the place was completely empty. He wasn’t sure if that were intentional or if everyone booked it the moment they noticed that the “notorious” Agent Hanegan had just landed in the front field.
Mark stayed in the lobby for a few more minutes and took advantage of the time alone to look around. Checking the front desks and filing cabinets. He searched for his name and pulled out the drawer but found nothing. Then he went over to the opposite end of the lobby and checked the mail. Once again scoping out for his name and finding nothing. Every other agent had something except for Mark. A disheartening sight but something he had gotten used to. He simply shrugged to himself and closed the slot.
Catching a sight in his side vision, Mark looked out the back door and found the sight of Fabian.
Stopping in the midst of his movements. Mark just stared forward looking through the glass with an intense look in his eyes. All of a sudden it was as if something inside of him snapped. Mark was literally feeling himself become angry. There was a tightness in his chest and he furrowed in irritation.
Everything was fine and normal one moment and then switched the next.
As he stood there all of those racing thoughts suddenly stopped. Everything else he had been thinking about had slipped out of his mind all at once. Leaving him left with only one thought in particular.
It was a rare occasion but nothing impossible to happen to a Sleeper Agent. Their emotions could sometimes get mixed in with their anger leaving them to gain tunnel vision and go after the ones that caused them harm. That very event was happening to Mark right then. The more he stood there looking at one of the faces he saw that day after everything changed.
He had lost it.
Mark narrowed his eyes, clenched his jaw, gritted his teeth, and out he went.
Pushing through the back doors he ran straight over to where Fabian was and tackled him right into the ground. They rolled around for a few seconds before Fabian had shoved Mark off of him. Mark however was able to quickly pick himself up and skid into the dirt. Standing upright again the two faced each other and Mark held back for a few seconds.
“How did you break loose?!”
“I’m still asleep! This is all on purpose! I want rid of you once and for all!”
Mark yelled out before he ran over him again and before he tried to get away. Mark grasped onto his wrist and tugged him over to the side of the building and rammed him into the wall. Pressing his forearm onto Fabian’s neck to hold him in place.
While unnoticeable to himself, Mark had that same crazed look in his eye. Just like those years ago when it all happened for the first time. That creature was back. Only this time Mark was completely aware of everything happening around him and didn’t fade to black once.
“/You/ did this to me! You turned me into some kind of monster! You!”
Fabian kneed Mark in the torso and shoved him off. Then before Mark had the chance to get away this time, Fabian got in a couple of hits and knocked Mark down. Pinning him down into the dirt.
“I did what had to be done Hanegan! Be lucky /you/ were the first choice!”
Mark growled under Fabian and used all of his strength to knock Fabian off of himself. After shoving him into the wall again. The two went at it.
Although Fabian had the upper hand for a good while. Mark was able to pull through and soon he was the one throwing the most hits. That was until Mark made the mistake of looking away for a split second and getting pistol-whipped right in the back of his head.
That of course knocked him back down, thus granting Fabian the upper hand again. But Mark fought even on the ground, and then was able to pick himself up again. Although very dizzy at that point, and miraculously he didn’t pass out from the hit. He still fought back as hard as he could. Soon enough something had snapped in Mark again and he was growing tired of fighting without much damage.
Stepping back Mark hook-kicked Fabian to the ground and then he pinned the Director below himself and instantly he had his hands right around his throat.
At that moment, the rest of the world faded away around him and all Mark wanted was to end it once and for all. He didn’t care anymore, he no longer had any remorse. He just wanted it over with. Mark was lost in a trance of rage so far deep that there was seemingly nothing stopping him. That was until he heard the clank of a gun’s safety being knocked off.
All of a sudden Mark’s hands were off of Fabian, who was still alive, and then he froze completely.
Feeling himself getting shoved off of Fabian and onto the ground. Mark shook his head and snapped out of it. Thinking that he only imagined the sound of the gun and hoping it was just his own mind messing with him again. Brushing himself off he slowly rose back onto his feet and turned around.
Right as he did so he looked forward. Flinching and gasping quickly his heart completely sank. That sound /wasn’t/ something he had imagined and he was met by a barrel pointed right in his face. All of it was real and literally happening right before his own eyes.
Once again Mark froze completely and slightly looked up to see that Chief Executive McClain was holding the gun and aiming it to Mark’s head.
All of a sudden that near-blinding rage drained out of his system. No longer did Mark feel powerful and unstoppable. As if he was going to end up on top and destroy what destroyed him. Now he was feeling uneasy and wanted to cower away all in order to save his own life.
Terror had taken over Mark as he looked at the Executive in front of him, shaking his head slightly and not daring to make any more sudden movements. Shuddering in total fear with his breathing was short and quick. His eyes were darting all over the place and he tried to gather thoughts and words but was failing miserably. But soon enough he spat something out, stuttering the entire time and not speaking in complete sentences.
“W-w...wait... wait... what... what... w-what are you... gah!”
Mark flinched and slightly cowered as he heard the gun gets cocked then watched McClain’s finger resting on the trigger.
“It’s just precautionary Hanegan. When a Sleeper stirs outta control and goes after his home-base. We gotta shoot him down.”
At that moment, Mark realized that McClain was right. He attacked his own Director and in fact wanted to eliminate him and almost did... /asleep/.
Of course, he didn’t want things to end that way. Staring at the barrel pointed at his face, but Mark was left with no choice. Heaving out a sigh he did all that he could to prepare himself for his fate. Closing his eyes just to get the fateful deed over with once and for all.
With his eyes still shut he flinched harshly when he heard a gunshot go off. Squeezing his eyes shut he cowered back a little and took a deep breath.
He was still alive?
Slowly opening one eye he looked forward, then he opened both eyes wide and gasped seeing McClain on the ground instead. Taking a couple of steps back Mark furrowed in confusion and shook his head as he looked down at the scene. Only for a few more seconds, Mark was left in that confused state before he started to feel the wind pick up around him.
Through the gusting winds, Mark turned his head over to the direction of the gusts and squinted a little. Using a hand to shield his face his eyes slightly widened again as he looked forward at the sight. Watching as one of the New York base helicopters had touched down on the front field by the Virginia base.
As the propellers slowed to a stop, Buchanan hopped out of the helicopter and slipped the shotgun back into its holder. Turning around he then started to approach the scene of the crime and calling out the others to head out of the helicopter and help clean up and take care of everything on the premises.
Mark remained still as he watched Buchanan walk over and then approach him. Slightly shaking his head and dropping his hand he looked right at Clint.
Clint reached behind Mark and pulled out a small mechanical “bug” device. Holding it up to show Mark.
“Tracked and heard everything. Even when you throw a fit it’s up to me to babysit ya.”
Mark just blinked and looked at Buchanan. Lightly sniffling he shook his head and couldn’t hold back anymore. Scrunching his face a little he hiccuped and planted his face onto Clint’s shoulder.
He let out as he tried to keep together but ended up failing. First, it started in small weeps but soon enough Mark just started crying.
Just like the many times before. It was always a lot to take in all at once, and it was scary. Only this time, Mark had witnessed himself become that creature at first hand. He didn’t black out like usual and was aware of everything. Not only that but he undermined Clint and refused to listen to him when he said that he needed help. Instead, Mark went behind his back and ran off only to get even more beaten than he already was.
He was so full of sorrow and regret that he just couldn’t keep it all together anymore. So the second Clint saved Mark’s life just then, he couldn’t help but let himself breakdown.
Even though Mark didn’t believe it, that moment was where he was the most human.
Clint wrapped his arms around Mark and had let him fall for a few moments, but he also had to get on with things. He needed to get Mark out of there and back the New York where he was safe and could rest properly. He gave Mark one last gentle squeeze before taking Mark’s arms and pulling him away.
“I gotta check on everything okay? Take some time and a load off then we’ll fly back home, how’s that?”
When Clint spoke to Mark his tone was gentle and soft. He watched as Mark sniffled and nodded. Then he wiped off his face a little and helped him over to the front of the helicopter and made sure he was sitting down.
After making sure Mark was alright, Clint went back over to the scene. Looking around checking things over, he made sure that the others were cleaning up and making sure things were good before they could head back to New York. Each of them going over to Clint and updating him on everything. Clint would then nod once and tell them to head back over to the helicopter.
Brushing off his hands, Clint took one last look around the area before stopping. Narrowing his eyes he unbuttoned his jacket and walked over to where Fabian was, still on the ground. Kneeling down to his level his tone changed completely and he was now speaking in a deep assertive tone.
“If you had any sense of intelligence you wouldn’t dare try to get up. Listen, Fabian, I don’t give rat’s ass what you want to believe. He may have been registered as yours, but New York’s in that boy’s blood. And unlike you and your sick sad excuse of a base, I actually care about him.”
His wording was sharp and clear as day. Clint rose back up to his feet before giving out his final words on the matter.
“Stay the hell away from him and my base and maybe I’ll let you live.”
Shaking his head Clint stepped back a little and just at that moment he was approached with one of his own.
“Director, Hanegan’s down.”
Clint looked at the agent and then over in the direction of the helicopter and saw that Mark had passed out. Shaking his head again he huffed out a sigh and looked over to the agent.
“Alright, get him onto the landed helicopter immediately and then call out for another one to bring you and the rest back to the base.”
Clint watched as the agent nodded and then darted off. Then he called out to say that he was going with Mark to keep an eye on him. After hearing another OK, Clint rushed over to the helicopter and made it just in time. He stayed back as they placed Mark on one of the gurneys and got boarded on the helicopter. Once Clint made sure that they had Mark in there and was secure, he climbed onto the helicopter himself.
Making sure that he had his radio communicator on. He spoke out to the leftover agents and told them that the second helicopter was on its way. After that, he set down the communicator and rode in silence the whole way back to New York. Remaining by Mark’s side and checking on him every now and again to make sure that he hadn’t woken up.
In more ways than just the one.
The couple of hours flew right by and by then the second helicopter and come and picked up the remaining agents in Virginia. That made Buchanan breathe a little easier, but not by much. He was still worried about making sure that Mark was going to be alright, as well as the agents as they made their way back without a Director by their side.
Once the helicopter landed and Mark was rolled out. Clint still remained by his side and told the others that they were entering from the back of the base. There they were able to take the freight elevator because it had a bigger capacity and it was easier to fit Mark in.
While the others brought Mark in from the back, Clint made sure that they got on the lift alright before turning and going over to the lobby. There he was going to keep track of the second helicopter and make sure that the other agents got back alright.
Just as he was looking down at the locator device in hand and wandering about. Clint moved to the front of the lobby and stopped in front of one of the front desks. Not really paying much attention to where he was going or really even bothering to look up. He all of a sudden felt a presence nearby. However, at first, he figured it was one of the associates so he shrugged it off.
It wasn’t until he heard his name being called out in a loud tone and a slight familiar accented voice.
Quickly glancing up from the device, Clint did a double-take and finally looked up. His overall expression instantly lightened and softened up as he looked over to the unexpected visitor.
Setting down the device he lightly gave a half-smile as he approached the all too familiar young ex-agent.
“Well, look who’s back after running out on me. Thanks for the notice ahead of time by the way.”
Shawn lightly bit at his bottom lip and dropped his head. Taking a hand he lightly rubbed at the back of his neck before slowly lifting his head back up.
“Yeah, I’m real sorry ‘bout that. But hey if it helps... I wasn’t really yours.”
Clint playfully scoffed and crossed his arms as he looked to the boy.
“You know once you’re with me, you’re stuck no matter what.”
Shawn chuckled and shook his head fondly, moving his hands behind his back and linking his fingers. Having a light smile come about on his face.
“Y’got me there...An’ I gotta say, I sure like ya a helluva lot better. How y’doin’ Director Buchanan?”
Clint quietly heaved out a long sigh and dropped his arms. Moving his hands into his trouser pockets now and tilting his head to the side.
“I know you very well as an honest, overly blatant little pain in the ass. So why not cut the formalities, I’m not mad at you.”
Unlinking his fingers, Shawn moved his arms forward and then crossed them. Looking over to Buchanan he tried to gather the correct words without going too far into things, but then he figured that it was obvious. It wasn’t like he was the most arcane person. He was very open, honest, and never really was afraid to show off his true emotions. Despite everyone else around him being so secretive, to themselves and mysterious. None of that was ever really Shawn and quite frankly, he didn’t want to be that kind of person anyway.
“It’s just that... it became too much an’ I thought I coulda handled it but I wrong... I panicked.
“Alright, glad to see you’re being yourself again. Wanna let me know the real reason you’re here?”
“...I wanted to see him.”
“Good grief. Well, I can’t put this delicately... He’s in bad shape right now.”
Closing his eyes, Shawn lowered his head and heaved out a long-winded sigh.
It was just as he feared. He knew that leaving Mark behind was a huge risk. He knew that there was trouble going on around him. He /knew/ that if he left things were just going to go from bad to worse.
But he left anyway.
It was because of those reasons, along with figuring out who Mark /really/ was, that spooked him in the first place. Things became too scary and too much for Shawn to take on. But instead of trying to face those events head-on, he took the coward’s way out and ran.
Nevertheless, he was back and wanted to try to make things right again. Despite being totally apprehensive to see Mark right then and the possible condition that he was in. The way Buchanan briefly described it made it sound like it was serious and really bad. Bearing that in mind he lifted his head back up and looked over to Buchanan again.
“I still wanna see him.”
“You know where the infirmary is.”
With that, Shawn nodded and headed over to the steps. But before climbing them he looked over his shoulder to Buchanan one last time.
“Thanks for not bein’ mad at me.”
Buchanan lightly shrugged as he looked over to Shawn. Taking a couple of steps back to the front door as he noticed that the second helicopter had touched down.
“Ah, takes a lot to make me mad.”
Shawn lightly snickered before turning around and heading up the steps.
As he made it to the second floor his nerves began to bother him even more. His heart was beginning to race and his breathing picked up a little.
Stopping in the middle of the hall, Shawn stood still and took a few long deep breaths. He knew what he was in for, but at the same time was still in for a shock at the same
time. He knew it was bad, but he didn’t exactly know /how/ bad. He was sure that Mark was probably asleep, or at least that’s what he hoped, and wasn’t going to be able to speak. But that was fine, all Shawn wanted to do right then was to see Mark.
Shawn had missed Mark terribly and as much as he tried to not think about him and try to get over him. He couldn’t. Mark simply meant everything to Shawn and was the one who stole his heart. He couldn’t get over him, not after how things ended between them. Confessing and then running away before the other could answer was a bad move on Shawn’s part. And he knew that. He owed it to Mark to talk to him about what happened and why Shawn did what he did.
However, those plans were now left on hold as Mark was in bad shape. All Shawn wants right now is for Mark to rest and heal, /then/ once he is able to, they can talk. But until then, Shawn just wanted to /see/ Mark again. See his face, get lost in those perfect chartreuse eyes, and hear the sound of his voice.
Shawn’s nerves eased up a bit and he felt able to continue down the hall. So that was what he did. Slowly and steadily he approached the infirmary and placed a hand on the edge of the doorway. Cautiously he pulled himself forward and peeked into the doorway. Right away he caught sight of Mark and silently gasped to himself.
His heart sank as he saw Mark laying there. He looked so small and helpless and seemed like he was in a lot of pain. Completely opposite to the way Shawn usually viewed Mark. He was so used to seeing him look big and strong and able to take on whatever the world threw at him. It was heart-wrenching but Shawn remained stoic as he kept his eyes on his love.
Shawn heaved a sigh and let go of the door-hinge. Using that same hand to grab onto his opposite arm and lightly squeezing it. Biting at his bottom lip a bit, Shawn contemplated stepping into the room or not. Squeezing his arm with his opposite hand again and chewing on his bottom lip. Finally, Shawn breathed deeply and decided to take the plunge.
He wasn’t going to run away this time.
With cautious and silent movements, Shawn stepped forward and moved fully into the infirmary. One foot, followed by the other. Taking only a couple of steps before stopping abruptly as he heard movement from the bed.
Lightly flinching and gasping, Shawn took a single step back and looked over to Mark as he saw him slowly lift his head up and look over to Shawn. Hearing him speak out in a rough and brittle tone of voice.