It was early and the atmosphere was warm and comforting. It almost made Shawn not want to pull himself out of bed and start the day. Although, he knew that he had responsibilities and that was a term he already took lightly most of the time. Growing up, he hardly knew what the word meant. Over the years, however, Shawn really tried to apply himself and mature a bit. Learning how to take on the world by storm and make something of himself. Instead of just slacking off and getting into trouble for silly things. Shawn tried to believe that he wasn’t that person anymore and that he could accomplish whatever he put his mind to. And he really could, all he had to do was get up first.
Turning over to lay on his side, he closed his eyes for a moment and reached out his hand. Usually, he would feel his wife sleeping next to him, but this time his hand fell right through the air and smacked down on the bed. Forcing his eyes open again, Shawn lightly furrowed in confusion as he looked at the unoccupied space. It was rare for Layla to wake up early. Ever since she and Shawn got married, /he/ would always be the one to wake her.
Pushing himself to sit up Shawn shook his head to wake himself more and then he turned to face forward as he sat. Looking around the bedroom, there was still no sign of Layla anywhere. Becoming more confused, Shawn whipped the blankets off of himself and rolled out of the bed. Crossing over to the bathroom, he peeked in and saw that it too wasn’t occupied. Shaking his head again, Shawn reached for the handle and of the bedroom door and pulled it open. Heading outside into the rest of the townhouse, he couldn’t find any other signs of his wife anywhere.
Scanning the counters and tabletops, there weren’t any notes left behind signifying where she went. Standing still for a couple more seconds, Shawn bolted back into the bedroom and went for the closets. Opening the door to Layla’s closet, Shawn saw that it was completely cleaned out. Not a single dress or pearl necklace in sight. Scattering through the rest of the closet, Shawn tried to see if there again, was a note or something explaining what had happened, but like before, he was left empty-handed. Shaking his head he stepped back and looked at the empty closet wide-eyed. Realizing exactly what had happened.
She left him.
Shawn’s wife really left him and didn’t say a single word or had any warning. She simply waited until he was asleep to pack up all of her clothes and run out.
There were so many thoughts and emotions running through Shawn’s head all at once. He didn’t know why she left or what it meant. He thought they were happy and in love. He knew that /he/ was in love and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He knew that because he said it all the time. Shawn was incredibly devoted to his wife and did everything in his power to keep her happy. He was always there for her, he listened to her, respected her, and gave her everything she asked for. And he did it all because that was what he wanted to do. He wanted to give her everything and show her how much he loved her.
Layla meant everything to Shawn and now he was starting to question if it was all only one-sided. In retrospect, it felt like Shawn did so much and never received anything in return. He didn’t expect it, of course, but he also knew that a relationship had to go both ways. After all, there was such a thing as being too selfless.
Heaving out a long-winded sigh, Shawn shook his head and slowly closed the closet door. Heading over to the rotary phone in the kitchenette, Shawn picked up the receiver and dialed his work number. Calling off work for the day.
Looking into the now empty bedroom. Shawn heaved out a sigh and sniffled. Moving a hand to wipe the side of his face with his sleeve and dropped his head. Tightening his grip on the door handle Shawn pushed the door open further and slowly stepped into the room. Lifting his head back up he looked over at the make-shift double bed. Which was really just two singles that he and Mark pushed together after Shawn stole one of them from the storage closet. Mark thought it was a questionable idea, but he let Shawn do it anyway. A lot of things that Shawn would think up would often leave Mark suspicious and a little confused, but he let Shawn get away with it anyway. Because he knew that thrill made Shawn happy and put a smile on his face, and to Mark, Shawn’s happiness was far more important than getting scolded by Buchanan.
Shawn lightly smiled as he looked at the bed and reminisced that time. A slight sensation of tightness came about in Shawn’s chest the more he thought about Mark. He had no idea where he was or even if he were alive. The way he and Mark parted ways was one of the hardest things Shawn had to live through. He loved Mark and didn’t want to see him go. This wasn’t just some silly overdramatic fight like normal couples would go through. This was something very serious. Mark was heading over to the Headquarters of the CIA, to deal with the highest level of power after doing something terrible. Shawn still wasn’t even sure what exactly Mark did, but by the way, he was acting, he could tell it was something very grim.
Right after Mark had already walked off and Kurt took Shawn back to the base. He started regretting everything. He shouldn’t have acted that way and should have been there for Mark. He needed love and support but instead, Shawn was acting selfish and protested against letting Mark go at it alone.
But he was worried, and Shawn knew he had every right to be worried for Mark. He also knew that Mark wasn’t “normal”, his mind had been tampered with and that it made him act out and do things he wouldn’t usually think of doing. In all honesty, the whole thing was still a lot for Shawn to get used to even after two years of knowing Mark.
Shawn had been in love before, but with Mark, it was a much more intense feeling. It came quickly and out of nowhere, but it was still real. The only major difference was, Mark wasn’t a “normal” human. He was a Sleeper Agent and that meant that Mark was /very/ unpredictable and nearly impossible to read. It was a challenge yet Shawn wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. He only hoped that Mark still felt the same way, and never stopped loving Shawn either.
Shaking his head a little, thinking about Mark made Shawn want to start crying again and he didn’t want that. So instead he recollected himself and turned back out of the bedroom. Slowly closing the door behind himself, Shawn decided to head over to the elevator and press for the top floor. Once the doors slid open, he stepped right in and tried his best not to let his mind wander even more.
Fiddling with his fingers before the doors reopened, Shawn stepped out of the elevator and headed down the hall. Making his way to the Director’s office, he walked up to the door and lightly knocked on it. Taking a step back as he heard footsteps approach the door and then dark umber brown eyes landed on Clint after he opened the door.
“Shawnie, everything okay?”
Clint spoke out in a soft tone. Light traces of concern echoed through his voice as he looked slightly down at the young ex-agent.
Shawn glanced down at his fingers before looking back up at Clint and huffing out a sigh. Clearing his throat a little he dropped his hands and gained the courage to speak steadily.
“You um... y’mentioned that ya could get into contact with him... c-can y’try again?”
Clint studied Shawn for a moment and looked the kid over. Softening up his features a little he heaved out a sigh and stepped back, opening the door a little more.
“Why don’t ya c’mon in?”
Shawn nodded in response and walked into the office. Looking all around, he lightly flinched as Clint closed the door behind him. Shaking that off, Shawn looked out the big glass windows that covered the entire wall behind the desk. Staring out into the free world for a few seconds before hearing Clint speak out again.
“So, why the sudden change of heart?”
Asking as he moved to stand shoulder-width apart and crossing his arms. Keeping his eyes on Shawn, he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
Shawn moved his eyes over to Clint and lightly shrugged. For some reason, he was finding it hard to explain himself. No one else actually knew that Shawn and Mark were together, let alone in love with each other, it was something they kept secret. They were afraid of getting in any trouble since it wasn’t really something agents did. However, with the way everything’s going, Shawn didn’t care about the rules anymore. Mark must’ve broken a dozen rules many times, and Shawn knew that he broke a few himself.
“Well, I guess I should start from the beginnin’, y’see...”
Shawn suddenly stopped as he kept his focus on Clint. Holding his gaze for a few more seconds he then blinked and huffed out a short sigh.
“You already know don’t ya?”
“Right... okay, well, I was upset an’ scared an’ confused. But now, /not/ seein’ him is just makin’ me more scared an’ confused. But y’said ya were gonna keep in touch with’m.”
Clint nodded as he looked at Shawn and dropped his arms. Placing his hands into his suit jacket pockets.
“I did say that... yeah and offered for you to talk to him. Don’t worry it still stands... I was just making sure you were alright. I can understand how scary this all may feel.”
“It ain’t no cakewalk, that’s for sure...”
“The thing is, I’ve been trying to get him. I had him for second but quickly lost him.”
Shawn's eyes grew wider as he listened to Clint. His heart suddenly began beating faster and heavier than before. This was exactly what he feared, he knew in the back of his mind that he was afraid they would lose Mark if he went out there alone. Shawn couldn’t even imagine what the HQ higher-ups would do to Mark if they got their hands on him.
He still didn’t know exactly what it was Mark did back at the Executives’ building. All he knew was that Mark said he did something terrible and that they were going to try to hunt Mark down. He also said that they /would/ kill Shawn just for being associated with him. Mark left the premises without permission, which meant that now he was a wanted man, /and/ labeled a rogue agent. Mark was a walking target with more than one major offense hanging over his head, and just thinking about that made Shawn a little nauseous and even more worried than before.
It also made him that much more eager to get a hold of Mark. Glancing over to Clint a second Shawn sprung over to the desk and grabbed the radio communication device and handed it over to Clint.
“We gotta try it again. Maybe he’ll answer if he hears m’voice.”
Clint quirked a brow at Shawn before simply shrugging. Taking his hands out of his pockets, he took the device in hand and switched it on. Swiveling the small dial to the correct radio channel and handing the device over to Shawn. Which then quickly grasped it and held it up to his face.
“Hello? Marky? Y’out there? It’s me Shawnie... please answer I’m worried about ya. Ya promised t’keep in touch an’ keep us posted... I don’t want you hurt...”
Shawn waited in silence for a few seconds before he tried speaking into the device again. This time he spoke slower and in a clearer tone. Hoping that Mark would be able to quickly recognize the sound of Shawn’s voice and pick up. But after a few more moments of silence from the other line, the signal went dead.
As soon as Shawn couldn’t hear a signal, his heart sank and his whole body felt oddly heavy. Slowly lowering the device from his face, he heaved out a long sigh and shook his head. Right before looking over to Clint again.
“Now what do we do?”
Clint carefully took the device out of Shawn’s hand and studied it for a little bit. Tinkering the with dials and buttons, he smacked the bottom of the device on his open palm and glanced over to Shawn again.
“Lemme take a better look at this and then I’ll get back to you alright? Why don’t ya go and take things easy for a bit.”
Shawn kept his gaze on Clint when he spoke and then simply nodded in response. More than likely Shawn would find a way to protest Clint’s wishes, but in all honesty, he was too tired to do that now. So instead he considered Clint’s words and just like that, he did what he was told.
Huffing out a short sigh Shawn crossed over to the door of the office and left Clint to work on the device. Hoping that he would be able to find an answer and get the thing to working again.
He, on the other hand, headed back over to the elevator and rode it all the way down to the training hall. There he went over to his and Mark’s room and picked out some articles of clothing. Right before heading back out of the bedroom and across the hall to the showers. Shawn technically didn’t /have/ to shower, but after such a long and draining day, it was exactly what he needed.
Hanging his clothes up on the door, Shawn reached over and turned on the water. Letting the water warm-up for a couple of minutes before pulling off his clothes and hopping in.
Standing still in the middle of the shower, Shawn just let the hot water run down himself and let the steam open everything up. The feeling was honestly invigorating and comforting. It made him forget everything for a few seconds. But of course, those few seconds were very short-lived and his mind started to race again. Cupping his hands, Shawn collected some water and splashed it on his face. Shaking off the excess, he heaved out a long sigh as he let his mind continue to race. After what had happened, and on top of it, he couldn’t get a hold of Mark.
He had hoped that Clint would be able to get the communicator working again so that he could hear Mark’s voice. Despite everything that he had just gone through with him, the only thing Shawn wanted right then, was to hear Mark again. He didn’t care about what went on between them before, he didn’t care that they fought, that he pushed him away and made him leave. All of that suddenly didn’t matter anymore. The only thing that really mattered was Mark’s safety, and Shawn wanted to hear Mark’s voice and make sure that he was alright.
After about twenty minutes, Shawn finally shut off the water and stuck his hand out to grab a towel. Patting his face dry, as well as the rest of his body, he opened the glass door and stepped out. Quickly grabbing a clean towel he scrunched it through his hair and went over to the door. Dropping the towels he then reached for his clean clothes. Slipping on his trousers and buttoning up his collared shirt, leaving it untucked, he then reached for the handled and stepped out of the bathroom. Crossing over to his bedroom to grab a pair of shoes. Sitting on the edge of the bed Shawn laced up his Oxford shoes and tucked in his shirt before heading back out of his room.
Walking back up the training hall, Shawn went over to the training room and pushed open the double-doors. Slipping his hands into his pockets as he entered further in the room, Shawn approached Kurt, Jimmy, and Jack, who were all in the room as well. There wasn’t any training for that day because Clint was preoccupied with the whole Mark situation. So the boys took it upon themselves to hang out and take advantage of the open space.
As Shawn walked up to his friends he took his hands back out of his pockets and casually crossed his arms. Speaking with his friends, they, of course, asked how he was, and then the conversation grew from there. It felt nice for Shawn to let some of his troubles out and get to talk with his friends. It was a good way to feel somewhat more invigorated and not be so hung up on worrying about Mark. Of course, Mark was still going through Shawn’s mind, and it didn’t stop for a second. But for the time being Shawn wanted to place his focus elsewhere and only hope for the best.
The four conversed amongst themselves for a little while and Shawn started to feel better. That was until he heard someone approach the double-doors. Each of them looked over at the doorway simultaneously and watched as Clint entered the training room. The look on his face was enough to tell Shawn and the others that something was wrong. Instantly Shawn’s heartbeat picked up again and that apprehension came back tenfold.
Clint walked up to the boys with his eyes looking down at the radio communicator device. After fiddling it for a few more seconds he finally looked up.
“Bad news... turns out there’s nothing wrong with /my/ radio communicator. It’s Mark’s...”
Shawn sprung up a little as he stood. Once again his brown eyes went wide and he started becoming antsy.
“What?! What’d’ ya that mean it’s Mark’s?!”
He asked Clint frantically. Trying his best to remain somewhat calm but immediately failed.
“It usually means that the device has either been shut off or destroyed. However, if it were shut off, the signal wouldn’t be dead.”
“He’s in trouble!”
“I hate to say it but... he just might be. No wasting any more time and screw what he wanted. Get yourselves prepped and meet me at the jet.”
After Clint had instructed on what to do, he quickly exited the training room. Leaving the others to scatter around and gather everything that they may need. It wasn’t technically a mission but they still had to prepare as if it was. Meaning they were to place on their bullet-proof vests, stalk up their utility belts, and fill in the gun holsters.
Kurt, Jack, and Jimmy were all rushing around the training room and gathering everything that they would need before heading onto the jet. Shawn, on the other hand, was standing completely still. Frozen in sudden apprehension and unable to think of what actions to do next. He unexpectedly had gotten so stricken about everything that was going on around him, that he couldn’t move.
Everything was going through his head all at once. Thinking about Mark and if he was okay, about the Headquarters and the fact that Shawn had never been there before. He worried about if they would somehow recognize him and kill him on the spot. He wasn’t at all sure what he was getting himself into and he was afraid that he wasn’t going to make it out alive. But luckily, soon enough Shawn heard a familiar voice ring out and he snapped back out of it. Shaking his head a little he looked over to Kurt.
“I just asked what you were thinking about.”
“I was thinkin’ about how I sorta miss sittin’ in a closet for eight hours doin’ nothin’.”
Kurt lightly chuckled and shook his head fondly. Then he lightly patted Shawn’s shoulder.
“We grew up a lot since then.”
Shawn nodded and then Kurt handed him all of the equipment that he needed. Then once everyone was all set, the four of them headed out of the training room and down to the lobby. Making their way through the back door and out into the field. There they caught up with Clint and they each boarded the jet one by one.
As soon as the doors were shut, Shawn went over to a seat and strapped himself in. Heaving out a long-winded sigh he shook his head and looked down at his hands.
“Please, please, be okay... please, please, /please/...”
Whispering to himself, Shawn breathed out again, this time with a trill of his lips, and moved his head up to look out the window as the jet lifted off.
Meanwhile, in Maine. Mark had just gotten off of his train and finally had made it to Portland.
Hopping off the platform, Mark made his way through the station and soon into the city. Not stopping for anything because he knew he doesn’t have time, nor was it even safe for him to stop. Mark figured that the moment he left the Executives’ building the CIA had marked him as a rogue agent and were looking for him. Not only that but he also just killed one of the professors who turned Mark into a Sleeper Agent. So now he was labeled a rogue agent and was also marked as an unstable project. Mark was a wanted man with many major offenses hanging over his head.
Heaving out a sigh, he shook his head as he walked through the city and did his best to remain unseen. He didn’t necessarily have an initial plan once he got to the HQ. All he knew was that he couldn’t stay in New York and if he wanted to make it out of the CIA alive, he had to take them down before they could take down him. However, the self-inflicted mission was seeming more difficult the more Mark stopped and realized that he had no idea what he was doing. All of a sudden Mark was noticing how stupid and reckless this whole thing was.
Abruptly he stopped in the midst of his tracks. Pushing out a rough and annoyed groan he shook his head.
“What the hell am I even doing?!”
Mark bellowed out to himself in a frustrated tone. Irritated with himself that he managed to make it all the way from Manhattan to Portland without an actual plan on what to do once he gout of New York. Replaying the words that Clint always used to tell him. He would always say that an agent shouldn’t run out into a mission without at least some sort of a plan. Mark knew that, and yet there he was, in the middle of the street with nothing.
As he stood there, Mark had no idea that he wasn’t necessarily alone. But as soon as he heard movement and turned around it was already too late and a tranquilizer had pierced him in the side of his neck and knocked him to the ground. Right as he hit the ground Mark’s body landed on his radio communicator, breaking it instantly.
Then once they knew that Mark was down, the two HQ staff members came out of hiding and rushed over to the agent. One of them grabbed the top half, and the other took the bottom half. Together they hoisted Mark’s unconscious body up and started carrying him back to the Headquarters.
“Holy shit! Big guy’s heavy!”
One of them remarked as they carried Mark through the wooded area and over to the front field of the HQ.
As soon as they made it to the field, they were met with a few other staff members, as well as a gurney. The two staff members that were holding Mark moved him onto the gurney and strapped him in. Then all of the staff members walked together back into the Headquarters as Mark was rolled inside of the freight elevator. Riding all the way up to the top portion of the building, the staff members each walked out of the elevator and headed over to the main Neurology Laboratory. Rolling Mark into the large open spaced room, they stopped him right in front of a man dressed in a nice designer suit and perfect white lab coat. With crossed arms, he stood in the middle of the floor and looked down at Mark’s unconscious body, then smiled.
“Ah, there you are. Project 0-7197.”
Uncrossing his arms the professor looked up from Mark and over to the staff members. He told the rest of the group to head back over to the secondary labs to get everything set up for the upcoming projects. Then he told the two that gathered Mark to stay behind.
“You two. Take him and chain him up onto the wall. We don’t want him to get away again.”
After instructing the two staff members, the professor then grabbed a thick vanilla folder from one of the desks behind where he was standing. Holding it up in the air a moment he spoke to the two again.
“Here, this is the project’s complete file. It tells you everything you need to know in case we wakes up activated. Keep ahold of it and don’t you dare lose it! Got it?”
The two said simultaneously. After that, the professor nodded once and then left the lab. Leaving the two alone to take care of Mark.
The two staff members went right to work and unstrapped Mark from the gurney. Then one of them went over to the wall and unlocked the chained wrist cuffs, as well as the ankle cuffs. The other staff member grabbed ahold of Mark’s body and tried to lift him on his own but was quickly failing.
“Gah! Dude help! I told ya big guy’s really heavy!”
The other jogged over from the other side of the room and helped out. The two of them together now lifted Mark’s body and walked him over to the end of the room where the chained wall was.
One propped Mark’s body up, as the other took each of his arms and locked Mark’s wrists into the cuffs. After that, he took each one of Mark’s ankles and did the same. As soon as they made sure Mark was chained to the wall they both stepped back. One of them grabbed the vanilla folder and opened it. Flipping through the pages of the file and skimming through some of the details.
“No way! Look at this, I found the activation term. How crazy is that, just one word and snap.”
He said snapped his fingers in the air as he kept skimming through the folder. The other nodded and then grabbed his coworker’s sleeve and lightly tugged at it.
“Yeah... cool... come on let’s get out of here, being alone with that thing’s starting to freak me out.”
“Nah, he isn’t gonna wake up. Not unless something loud crashes or someone belts out the activation term like the professor said.”
The two staff members headed over to the other side of the lab and over to the door. One of them walked out already, but the one looking through the vanilla folder was still at the doorway. Lightly furrowing in confusion as he looked closely at the file in his hands. Moving the file up closer to his face to read the words better.
“Hey, I think the word’s in a different language!... How do you say that? Ac... act...um... hmm.”
“Dude come on!”
The other yelled called out from down the hall. He looked up out the door, then nodded as he continued looking at the file in his hands. Slowly walking out of the lab finally and into the hallway. Still trying to figure out how to pronounce the term on the paper.
“Oh! Actum est!”
The staff member belted out as he walked down the hallway. The term echoed throughout the top of the building and into the main laboratory where Mark was.
All of a sudden Mark’s body twitched. Lifeless hands flexed into fists and his once limp torso straightened up and he stretched his arms across to the wall and opened up his chest. Heaving out a long rough sigh, he slowly raised his head and his eyes snapped open.