The very moment that word rang through the air. Everything stopped. The screaming, rage throwing of objects, and violent outbursts came to a halt in the blink of an eye. And the young agent that was causing such a horrific scene fell to the floor like a ton of bricks.
The two professors who were in the room with the young agent suddenly fell silent. One of them had been thrown to the floor, so after he made sure that the agent was completely unconscious he pulled himself back up to his feet. Brushing off his lab coat he walked over to his work partner. He looked at him and shook his head disapprovingly as he crossed his arms and looked back over to the young unconscious agent.
“This is insane! What the hell even was that?!”
“That, my friend, was the very first successful Sleeper Agent Project! After countless attempts and many failures. We finally got it!”
“I don’t know if I can approve of this, it’s too inhumane. I mean, I looked straight into that child’s eyes and saw nothing! It was like staring in the middle of a black hole!”
The other professor clamped his hands together as he continued to gaze down at his work. A corner of his mouth perking up in a half-smile as he lightly chuckled deviously to himself. Shaking his head fondly down at the young agent on the floor.
“Exactly. He’s a living breathing weapon now and /exactly/ what we’ve been needing. Welcome to your new world Project 0-7197.”
Heaving out rough and heavy breaths Mark clenched his fist tightly and tried pulling his arm down to break off the chain. Growling and huffing as he continued to pull down as hard as he could. Unable to take it anymore Mark took a deep breath and screamed out. Pulling his arm forward now, he kept his momentum forward and let out a deep shout until he heard the chainlink snap off of the base on the wall.
Now with one free hand, Mark shook off some of the slight stings and looked over to the table nearest to him. There he found the key to the other cuffs right there on the tabletop. Reaching out his free hand, Mark could just barely reach the key and grazed it with his fingertips. Causing the small instrument to move just that little bit further out of his reach. Narrowing his eyes Mark growled again and slightly moved the rest of his restricted body over. Reaching out to the table again Mark made another fist, slowly lifted it into the air before smashing it down onto the table. With all of his might, Mark was able to make the table flip over and that sent the key flying.
Using his heightened reflexes to his advantage Mark quickly snatched the key in midair. Reaching over to the other cuffs, Mark unlocked his opposite wrist, followed by bending down and unlocking his ankles.
He was free.
Stepping from the wall Mark looked around the familiar laboratory. The sight made his skin crawl and his nerves run far off of the edge. It was an ungodly sight that infuriated him. It was the very place where he had first woken up after everything that had happened. It was the place that made him the monster he was today and he hated it.
Heaving out another long rough sigh Mark moved his head to each side to crack his neck before heading to the doorway. Walking out of the main neurology lab Mark remembered just where to go as if it were second nature to him.
He would never refer to this forsaken place as “home” but it was a place he knew like the back of his hand. He also realized that he wasn’t alone in the building and figured out just where the others might be. Knowing very well that there was one face particular he wanted to see.
Walking with heavy footsteps Mark made it down the hall and over to one of the secondary labs. As he peeked through the glass doorway, he was able to find what, or rather /who/, he was looking for. Narrowing his dark lifeless eyes Mark slowly crept into the room without making a sound. Stealthily approaching the professor, Mark reached out a hand and grabbed the back of his lab coat. Roughly pulling him away from whatever he was doing and making the professor nearly fall back off of his feet.
After the professor was able to catch his balance again he looked at the agent with wide eyes. Completely stunned at the large-framed sight standing before him. Breathing heavily he almost didn’t have the right words but he managed to speak anyway.
“You!.... how did?....”
Letting out a groan the professor rolled his eyes and dropped his head. Smacking his palm to his forehead as he did so.
“Those idiots! I /knew/ giving them the file was a bad idea!”
Getting annoyed once again Mark reached out and covered the professor’s mouth to shut him up.
“Why am I here?”
Speaking out toneless rough voice. Mark removed his hand from the professor’s face. Looking at him with his dark lifeless eyes it was easy to tell that /Mark/ was gone and had been taken over by the one thing he tried to hide. Although both sides of Mark never knew of or remembered the other, they were still linked into one person and shared the same body. But it was as if there were two completely different minds possessing the body. One side was a real person with feelings and emotions, and the other, the one that was now awake, was nothing but an emotionless machine.
The professor looked at the agent and caught his breath again when Mark removed his hand. Huffing out a sigh before trying to explain what happened.
“You are unstable and brought yourself here. Then a moron activated you.”
“Where is he?”
Mark asked referring to the other professor that was in New York. /He/ was the actual mastermind behind the whole Sleeper Agent Project, while the other just did the work. While activated Mark was unaware of his actions asleep and didn’t remember that the other professor was in fact dead.
Right before the professor could even answer Mark, his eyes suddenly widened as he heard something from outside. A jet had just landed on the field and Mark’s heightened senses were telling him to take a look.
Ignoring the previous conversation Mark rushed over to the window and looked down. Narrowing his eyes yet again he leaned a little forward to the glass to get a better look. Eyes widening when the sight had come to view.
The sight of a target.
Buchanan, along with the others had landed in the field and stepped out of the jet. They were in plain view and Mark was able to spot the target he was programmed to take down right away. Gritting his teeth Mark heaved out a low growl and clenched his hands into fists as he watched Buchanan like a hawk. Watching him as he made his way across the field and toward the bottom half of the HQ.
Shifting his feet shoulder-width apart Mark kept his eyes on the target without blinking. Speaking through his teeth with gravel in his voice.
“You’re finally mine Director.”
“This is unbelievable! How could they do something like this?!”
Clint shouted as he paced back and forth in front of his desk in his office. Huffing out an annoyed sigh he dropped his head and grumbled to himself.
Standing on the other end of the office was Clint’s number one agent of the base, Christopher Mandel. Having his arms crossed his lightly furrowed as he watched his Director pace the floor and grumble inaudible sentences to himself. He was about to say something himself but stopped when Clint started up again.
“Y’know I dunno what’s worse. The fact that our /own/ neighboring base would try to send someone to kill me. Or the fact that they thought they were gonna get away with it!”
“And on top of that. What am I supposed to do with this kid?!”
Chris uncrossed his arms and moved away from the wall and crossed the office over to where Clint was. Aiming for the desk he grabbed the thick vanilla folder. Opening it up he looked through the file and skimmed it for a few seconds before speaking again.
“Well, according to this. When the Sleeper Agent gets caught, /you/ have to do the thing that /he/ was shouting when he was chasing you.”
Clint stopped moving. He stood still for a few seconds and blinked before turning to look over at Chris. His eyes were stern and a little hard. Heaving out a frustrated sigh he shook his head while regarding Chris.
“I’m not killing him.”
Chris looked up from the file to Clint and nodded. Slowly closing the vanilla folder and setting it back down.
“He’s just a kid. Hell, he’s the same age I was when I first got promoted. He’s scared, doesn’t know what he’s doing, and afraid he’s gonna fail. But on top of that, he doesn’t know who the hell he is! Sadowski said he was meant to be my agent, but Fabian stepped in and /had/ be condescending about my age. He’s always been jealous of me because he’s worked at it for years and I just ‘waltzed’ into it.”
Heaving out another frustrated sigh, Clint folded his arms around his torso and dropped his head again. Shaking is as he looked to the floor Clint tried to wrap his head around everything that was happening.
Clint was a young Director, /very/ young and barely knew what he was doing more than half of the time. It was a hard, scary, unforgiving job, and he hated to admit that the previous Director’s before him made it look easy. They were all much older than him and had a lot more experience than he did. They would often make fun of Clint, talk down to him, and make him feel like he couldn’t do the job. But he still tried his best. He got along with the other agents and really pushed them, and himself to be the best they could be. But it was difficult, draining, and most nights Clint couldn’t sleep because of the stress and strain that came with the title. Despite being such an admirable higher-up title. It was a tainted and highly unrewarding title. Something Clint would never wish upon his worst enemies.
Chris looked over to Clint and then reached out a hand to gently patted at his shoulder. Speaking out on a soft, yet confident tone.
“You’ll figure it out... /We/ will figure it out. I know we can, somehow.”
Clint didn’t look up but nodded to indicate that he was listening to Chris and considering his words.
“I’m not giving up on him. I don’t care if I’m the one he’s programmed to kill or whatever. I can’t give up on that kid.”
“I know that too...”
With that, Chris stepped back and decided to leave Clint alone for a while. Knowing that he was under a lot of pressure and probably didn’t want to feel crowded. So he crossed over to the door of the office that was left cracked open and stepped out. As he turned his head to look forward he lightly flinched and the agent who had been standing outside of the office flinched as well.
It was Mark.
Chris studied the young agent for a couple of seconds before he slightly tilted his head to the side. Regarding him, with soft eyes, he lightly perked up a corner of his lips before speaking to him.
“Y’know you could get in a lot of trouble eavesdropping on the Director like that.”
Mark’s eyes grew a little wider as he looked at the number one agent. Shaking his head a little he blinked rapidly and tried to think of some sort of explanation but kept failing. Instead, all he did was stutter nervously.
“I... I... I didn’t... I mean... I’m sorry... I shouldn’t...”
“Hey, take it easy. I’m gonna tattle on ya. I’m not an ass-kissing little agent. C’mon, lemme take you back into training, okay?”
Mark nodded and then the two of them walked over to the elevator, then down the training hall and into the training room where Chris worked with Mark one on one to help him catch up with the rest of the agents.
After the jet had landed Shawn, Clint, and the others stepped out onto the field. Right away Shawn’s eyes looked up at the very large and extra intimidating Headquarters building. Shawn had never even been to the state of Maine, let alone anywhere near the HQ of the American CIA. Suddenly those seconds thoughts were starting to creep through Shawn’s mind and the urge to run was coming at him full force. But before he could even think about that, he felt Clint grab his arm to lightly tug him back to reality.
“We’re gonna have to enter through the back of the building and do everything we can to go unseen. They know we’re associated with Mark and if they took /him/ down, they could easily get us. Shawnie, how ya holding up?”
“Only mildly nauseous.”
“Good. Alright, let’s go.”
Clint let go of Shawn’s arm and began leading the others over to the back entrance of the building.
Each of them walked close behind Buchanan, all except for a certain someone that Shawn caught staring up at the building. Lightly furrowing in confusion, Shawn walked over to Jack and tried to look up at what exactly it was he was staring at. Unable to catch the sight, he looked back over to Jack and tilted his head to the side slightly.
“Hello... Jack? We’re kinda on the move now... what is it?”
Jack kept his gaze on the building. Narrowing his eyes at the windows a bit as he tried to figure out was bugging him.
“Something’s just not sitting well with me...”
Dropping his head finally he looked over to Shawn and lightly shrugged.
“But it could be nothing. C’mon, let’s catch up.”
Jack said strangely calm as he grabbed Shawn’s sleeve and began to pull him along with him away from the sight. Although now all of a sudden Shawn was starting to get apprehensive again.
“But-but-but... now I’m starin’ t’get all worried!”
After making it into the building, Shawn only began to get that much more worried. The inside of the basement was dark and very eerie. The floors, walls, and ceiling were concrete, there weren’t any windows or doorways in sight. Minus the one that the group had just entered from. The only sources of light came from single lightbulb fixtures that were spaced apart every ten feet or so. Making the rest of the seemingly never-ending hallway cast a large oblong shadow every few feet.
Shawn tried his best to remain very close to the group. But then had to step back when Clint remarked that he was standing so close he was nearly on top of him. After that remark, Shawn moved back a little and stayed close to Jack and Kurt instead. Kurt allowed Shawn to grip onto his sleeve as they walked so that he wouldn’t lose them and that was exactly what he did.
Keeping a tight grip on Kurt’s sleeve, Shawn looked around as they moved further into the unsettling basement.
Shawn tried to get his mind off of his uncertainty about everything that was going on, but now that was next to impossible. The closer they were getting to wherever it was they were going. The more Shawn’s mind raced.
Mark never left Shawn’s mind for a second, and he was so worried about where he was and whether or not he was safe. He hoped and begged that Mark was okay and that they weren’t trying any new crazy experiments on him. Shawn knew that the CIA and especially the HQ didn’t see Mark as a human. But of course, Shawn still did, Mark was everything to him and it would shatter Shawn completely if they harmed Mark or take away his memory.../again/.
They didn’t see Mark as anything but a project. Not realizing how intelligent, skilled, and all-around wonderful Mark really was as a person. Mark had a heart, emotions, and feelings, and they tried to take all of that away from him. Leaving him to be some sort of soulless monster.
Shaking his head Shawn tried not to think about that anymore, or even of Mark right then. Not because he didn’t want to think about him, it just hurt to do so. However, as Shawn glanced down the hall a second, he stopped and did a double-take. Letting go of Kurt’s sleeve he let them continue to walk forward as he stood still, staring down the hallway.
Heaving out a breath, Shawn slowly moved down the hall to try and get a better look. The closer he got he realized that he was right. The big tall silhouette that appeared at the end of the hallway was, in fact, Mark.
Shawn said quietly to himself as he perked up a little bit. Moving a little bit closer, all of sudden Shawn’s heart dropped. Brown eyes grew wider and Shawn was feeling his body move backward and /away/ from Mark as he looked into the love of his life’s eyes. That /wasn’t/ his Mark.
Nearly jumping out of his skin as Mark started stepping toward where Shawn was standing. He was completely terrified, terrified of Mark, and having to fight off a Sleeper Agent, for the second time. But only this time it wasn’t any random Sleeper Agent, it was /Mark/ and Shawn didn’t want to fight him. Despite Mark not knowing who Shawn was right then, Shawn couldn’t bring himself to fight him off.
Pushing all of that aside, Shawn moved over to the wall and simply braced himself for Mark to charge at him. Closing his eyes a moment he quickly opened again and noticed that Mark walked right past him. Shawn was left bewildered at that, he wondered if Mark even saw him right then. Lightly furrowing in confusion he tried to gather what was happening until it unexpectedly clicked. Everything suddenly made sense now.
Jack charged at Shawn because he was programmed to. However, by the looks of it, Mark had no idea who Shawn was right then. So he ignored him. At that time in Virginia. Shawn was Jack’s target and that’s why he charged at him. But this time Mark ignored Shawn because he wasn’t Mark’s target. That only left the question of:
Who was Mark’s target?
Shawn shouted before he pushed himself off of the wall and ran down the opposite direction that Mark was headed.
Turning the corner, Mark walked over to one of the weapons walls and grabbed a gun and bullets. Opening up the revolver he slipped in the bullets and flicked it shut. Taking a silencer he placed it on the end of the barrel before he knocked off the safety and cocked the gun. After everything was all set, Mark started down the hallway again.
Making his way over to his target, he stopped a few feet away out of sight, narrowing his eyes he watched closely as Buchanan told the others to come back together. Knowing that he had to work fast, Mark swiftly moved over into the perfect position without making a single noise. Raising his hand, Mark placed his finger on the trigger and aimed the gun right at Clint’s back. Then with one quick pull of the trigger, Mark shot the target right in the back. Hearing him yelp and go down, Mark slowly dropped the gun and was about to check if the deed was done. But before he could he got tackled down to the floor.
Rolling around on the floor, Mark growled in annoyance and shoved the tackler off of himself. Shaking his head Mark lifted it and just as he did so his eyes met with the one who tried to take him down. Right as he did so, Mark’s already dark eyes grew stone cold. Snarling he growled loudly out of sheer annoyance. Quickly recognizing the attacker as the New York Sleeper Agent Project 0-8798. The opposing Project to Mark, the other target.
Mark shouted out in a dark vile tone. Right before pulling himself up onto his feet and grabbing the other project with only one hand and slamming him onto the wall. Using his forearm to pin him to the wall by the neck. He caught Kershaw’s eyes and noticed that he was still asleep. Which to Mark made this fight that much easier.
However, Jack wasn’t giving up just yet. He squirmed a little bit before he quickly raised a knee and hit Mark in the stomach, then he used his other free leg to kick him off. Moving as fast as he could, he grabbed ahold of Mark’s arm and twisted it behind his back. Which was near impossible because of his intense heightened strength. Nonetheless, much to Jack’s dismay, it failed and Mark easily broke out of Jack’s grip. Then he grabbed Jack again and threw him onto the floor with ease. Once he as down Mark placed his booted foot onto the side of Jack’s side.
“Time’s up halfwit!”
Mark said again in that dark demented tone. Right when he was about to stomp onto Jack’s skull and snap his neck, once again Mark had been attacked. This time feeling someone pounce onto his back. Nearly falling backward by the sudden impact, Mark moved his foot off of Jack’s head and tried to grab the new attacker. Feeling them almost slip off of him and scratch at his shoulders. Mark moved backward and slammed his back to the wall in an attempt to get the attacker off of him. But they weren’t budging. Mark growled and did it a couple more times until he felt a needle pierce through the side of his neck and feeling an unknown substance run through his system.
The injection caused Mark to slow down drastically and in an instant, he lost all control of his body and balance. Just like that Mark fell like a ton of bricks and landed on the floor below him, causing the attacker, who happened to be Shawn, to finally fall off his back.
Shawn just barely landed on his feet as he slipped off of Mark’s back. Dropping the syringe he breathed heavily as tears streamed down his face. He was shaking like a leaf but he tried his best to shake that off and go over to check on Jack. Kneeling down he helped pull Jack off of the floor and make sure that he wasn’t too badly hurt. But Jack just shook that off saying that it wasn’t that important. Before Shawn could say anything else he and Jack looked over and surprisingly saw Clint stand back up.
Brushing himself off Clint pressed a palm on the side of the wall to hold himself up. Shaking his head he looked over at the very shocked looking boys. Pushing out of a huff and tried to reassure the boys that everything was fine.
“One thing they never remember to program. A Director’s suit is always bulletproof.”
Shawn lightly smiled before he made sure Jack was alright again. But he got up and said that he was going to go find Kurt and Jimmy.
Shawn then looked over to Mark’s body and crawled over to him. Gently grabbing him by his upper body, Shawn propped his head onto his lap and wrapped his arms around his shoulders. Moving down he held onto Mark and heaved out a long-winded sigh. Closing his eyes Shawn just held onto his love and wished that this was all just a terrible nightmare. That none of what just happened, happened and that Mark wasn’t some monster. Instead, he wanted to be in bed asleep and only imagining all of this.
But he knew that wasn’t the reality.
Tightening his grip on Mark, Shawn buried his face into the crook of Mark’s neck and felt himself continue to cry.
Clint, on the other hand, pulled off his suit jacket and let it drop to the floor. Pushing up his sleeves, he heaved out a sigh as he watched Shawn so hurt and broken. He knew he was scared and that he hated what he just had to do. In his heart, Clint wanted to let Shawn just cry it out in order to feel at least somewhat better, but there was no time. There was still a chance that Mark would wake up at any given moment and possibly harm Shawn just out of anger. Of course, Clint didn’t want that so he had to step in so that they could get things done and over with.
Dropping his head a moment, Clint huffed out another sigh and went over to where Shawn was. Kneeling down in front of him, he tried again. Speaking in a softer tone. Reaching over he took the side of Shawn’s face and gently lifted it so that he could look at the kid in the eye. It was heartbreaking to see his brown eyes flooded with tears, but he had to keep going.
“Shawnie, you gotta let go. I know it’s scary, but we have to take him up to the labs, we have no other choice.”
“No! I can’t... I can’t see him like this again.”
“Look, I get it. I love him too, in a different way but still. He’s still activated, he could wake up and break your neck and I don’t want that alright?”
Shawn just regarded Clint for a couple of moments before finally loosening his grip around Mark’s shoulders. Then Clint helped him hoist Mark up and they took him over to the back elevator.
Riding all the way up to the top portion of the building. They picked Mark back up and walked him over to one of the labs that Clint was talking about. Shawn had been unaware of the time of day that he was a little surprised to see that it was now nighttime. Which made everything around him feel even more unsettling. But he didn’t pay attention to any of that for long and just focused on getting Mark over to the lab so that he could lay down. And that was exactly what they did.
Shawn and Clint took Mark into the lab and got him down on one of the examination tables, but they didn’t strap him up or anything like that. Leaving him to lay free, Shawn just looked down at Mark while Clint called Jack on the radio communicator and told him to meet them in the lab after he found Kurt and Jimmy.
It completely broke Shawn’s heart to see Mark like this. He finally witnessed the one thing he never wanted to see. Mark was terrifying as a Sleeper Agent. He didn’t recognize Shawn or any of his friends at all, he actually /shot/ Clint and tried to snap Jack’s neck. His eyes weren’t the bright and beautiful glowing chartreuse they usually were. Instead, they were cold, dark, and lifeless and Shawn hated seeing that. It was as if Mark was possessed by some monster, and the more Shawn thought about it.
But Shawn didn’t want to believe that. He didn’t want to think that the love of his life was a monster because he really wasn’t. Sure, there was that side of him that was, but Mark was far more than that. He was the best person that Shawn had ever met. Right from the beginning, Mark helped out Shawn, even when Shawn tried to push him away. Mark never once gave up on Shawn and was always there for him. He taught him about life in the CIA and what it meant to be a strong agent and person. If it wasn’t Shawn, Mark was helping out everyone else in his life. Remained best friends with Clint and was even there for Kurt and Jimmy after Shawn had run off. Mark was incredibly selfless and caring. He always jumped in and helped out anyone who needed it. He was also very intelligent and had so much personality. All of those wonderful things overruled the whole Sleeper Agent thing and Shawn only wished that Mark knew that.
Mark hid himself when he didn’t have to and hated being the “monster” that he was. But that wasn’t Mark at all. He was far from any monster. Instead, he was just a good man and Shawn was lucky to have known such an amazing person.
Looking down at Mark, Shawn lightly ran his fingers through Mark’s hair and gently wiped his face with the pad of his thumb. Noticing that he had some scrapes down the side of it. Heaving a silent sigh, he stepped back and went over to where Clint was. Saying that he would try to find something to clean up Mark’s face. Clint nodded and let him go after he saw that Jack was coming back with Kurt and Jimmy. Shawn regarded his friends for a second before going over to one of the storage rooms in the back of the lab.
Clint regarded the others before approaching Jack and trying to think of their next plan and what to do with Mark.
“We’re going to have to be careful and keep a close eye on him. He might still be activated and could wake up at any moment.”
“What happens then?”
“If that happens, we would have to yell out the deactivation term to get him to... be /him/ again.”
“What’s the term?”
“I’m not sure, they never told me on purpose. It’s some crazy Latin term.”
“/Latin/?! You can’t be serious!”
“Clearly they don’t want it to be something anyone could easily guess. But it’ll be alright.”
Clint looked over to Mark’s unconscious body for a couple of moments. Remembering all of the times he had seen this happen to Mark and how he hated it every time. The poor kid had been through so much and it wasn’t something that would ever go away. It was a dark twisted loop that he was stuck in forever. None of that was right, nor fair. Mark was so young when it happened and he still had so much to live for, but sadly he won’t ever get to know who he really was, and that was heartbreaking.
Shaking his head Clint heaved out a sigh as he looked over to Jack again. Knowing that he too was living through the same never-ending nightmare. A young kid not knowing who he was and having to turn into some kind of killing monster. His heart went out to Jack just like it did for Mark.