⚔︎Oh Mercy Me, Mercy My⚔︎
It grated at his nerves the way she talked about him and what her twisted plans were with the kid.
Damian gritted his teeth the more he thought about it. About how he had to keep it all from Conner. After just that day with the fledgling, he could tell that they both hit it off really well and became fast friends.
That made Damian glad, he always had trouble making and keeping friends growing up and in the CIA it had only gotten worse. He was still pretty new himself however he was glad to finally have someone he could trust and confide in. He knew Conner was a good guy with although some anger issues, someone with a good heart.
Which made what Christina was wanting to do to him feel even worse. It kept Damian up for most of that night, he wanted to tell him to get him out of there as soon as he could. Yet he was also afraid to be kicked out and left in the streets again. All of it was overwhelming and getting to him.
As for Conner things weren't much different in the sleep situation. Keeping him up were a couple of things. He missed his family for one, he had no idea what he was even doing there anymore and almost wished he said no. On top of that, the questions still ran through his mind.
'Why him? Why was he so special? /What/ was so special about him?' Along with many more. Whenever he brought up the subject, no one would tell him. Not even Damian, he would tense up and feel uncomfortable. He knew something Conner didn't. That he quickly figured out, regardless he still trusted the guy. There wasn't any reason to not trust him, but there was something he wasn't telling him.
They still had only just met so there wasn't so much of an obligation per se. In time he was sure Damian would explain himself. Or so he hoped. He didn't want to lose a friend there in the CIA. He needed someone to trust and Damian fit the bill. Not to mention he needed him, Damian was level headed and calm and that influence was something Conner knew he needed with his overly temperamental self.
They weren't kidding when they said to wake up before the sun. Conner's phone literally read 4:15 am when the alarm went off in the hallway.
Slowly he rose to sit up and outstretched his arms with a big yawn. Hearing a knock on his door he groggily rolled out of his bed and onto his feet. Going over to the door and opening it to find Damian who then allowed himself right in once the door was open.
Conner said followed by another yawn. Closing the door again and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Looking over to his new friend who was wearing a black sleeveless top with matching black shorts, and combat boots.
"Y'got something to wear for trainin' right?"
"I dunno, I didn't have time to unpack remember?"
"Right. Where are your clothes then?"
Damian crossed over to find the pack on the floor. Unzipping it he poured everything on top of the bed and started scattering through as Conner came over beside him. There he picked out his red boxing shorts and a black t-shirt.
"Looks like they'll do. Okay, then seeya out there."
Damian patted Conner's shoulder and then went back out of the room to head down to the training room. Leaving Conner to get dressed and more importantly try his best to wake up.
He got himself dressed and put the rest of his clothes away in his dresser drawers. After that, he scoped out his wristband sweat-bands and pulled them on, and grabbed a chain his brothers got him. He used to wear it in the ring all the time so to him it kinda made sense, also to have some familiarity. Grabbing a comb he did his best to tame the bundle of thick curls he called hair and then was out the door.
Turning over to the training room and pushing open the large doors. Looking all around he wasn't alone at all. There were agents all over the place, crowding every corner of the room. All of them looking like he could, in fact, kick Conner's ass. It instantly gave him that outsider feeling again with some slight intimidation. Quickly he spotted Damian with a couple of others and rushed right over to him.
Damian greeted him with a slight soft smile and the two of them exchanged some banter. Mostly about how tired and lost Conner looked, which was all totally true. He was the new kid after all so he was far from used to waking up before sunlight and going right into harsh training. Something he was not prepared for in the slightest.
After chatting and messing around for a little while. Damian leaned his forearm on Conner's shoulder, as the two waited until further instructions.
"So, how's this whole thing work exactly?"
Conner asked glancing over to Damian and crossing his arms casually.
"Simple, I say ironically. But, we just do what we're told pretty much. You'll learn the basics and then master them."
"Is there like... sparring?"
"Oh yeah. But trust me it ain't what you're used to at all. In fact, use that term very loosely."
Conner only nodded after that and breathed out a 'huh' and could've sworn he just gulped right then. Every second felt more intimidating. He wasn't really sure what to expect or what either of these agents would do to him. He certainly wanted to make it out alive, but that thought process was mostly just nerves anyway. There wasn't any way it would be /that/ serious in training.
Not a moment later the doors opened back up and Baker stepped inside. He too had on all black athletic pants and a long-sleeve shirt. Still sporting the look as if he was pissed at the world, but Conner quickly learned that he always looked like that. He walked right up to the boys having a slight smirk to his face.
"Fledgling, you're still here. Good t'see ya."
"Lovely to see your bright and sunny face again there Baker."
Damian remarked out ironically.
"Hope your ready 'cuz lemme tell ya. It's soul crushin' the way I teach."
Damian moved his arms to drape it over both of Conner's shoulders now. Slightly pulling him closer as he pointed to Baker with his opposite hand.
"Bet your ass he's ready! He'll be wiping the floor in no time."
"He better. I cannot wait to see that little gift of yours Jones keeps gushin' about."
Baker looked over to Conner and winked with a click of his tongue against his teeth. Right before he turned back around and set down his clipboard and get everything ready for the training session. Conner furrowed his brows a bit.
"What's he talking about?"
Damian pulled his arm off of Conner and crossed his own arms. Glaring over to Baker and heaving out a sigh shaking his head.
"Hellooo? What was he talking about?"
Conner shook it off and no longer asked about it, knowing well by now no answer was going to come from anyone. So it was just best to drop it.
Once Baker came back the agents went right to work. At first things weren't seeming all that bad. The stretching portion of the training was easy to tolerate and it made Conner rethink how things were going to go.
Sadly that was short-lived.
The moment the stretching was over it was like a switch and things began getting intense rather quick. Baker was like a drill sergeant straight from hell. His voice was booming throughout the room in harsh tones. He only explained each move and demonstrated it once. Then Conner had to do it over, and over, and over again until he was out of breath.
He had to learn how to pin down an opponent, how to flip them over the shoulder, how to swing kick them if the agent was knocked down, how to bicycle kick, to kick in the air, many variations of punching he never even heard of. To attack an opponent from behind, forward, left, and right. And so many more tiring moves. All of which Conner didn't know how to do at all, that made Baker lose his already short patience.
Not to mention it knocked Conner down each time, and whomever he was up against, knocked the wind right out of him.
Again making Baker more annoyed, so much so he picked Conner up and took him to the side. Explaining that he had to go at it harder and there was no stopping in sight until he mastered it. He didn't care that the kid was tired and had no idea what he was doing. He still wanted him to do it and go at it all full force.
Heading back over to the mats after the little 'pep talk' Conner did his best to try at everything again. Doing each move and trying to give them all force. He tried to work at the flipping, but it soon bit him in the ass. As he tried grabbing onto his pretend opponent's arm, they elbowed him in the gut, hooked his arm and ended up flipping /him/ instead. Flinging Conner straight onto his back...again.
Baker placed his palm to his face and let it drag down it. Shaking his head with a sigh.
He called out and the agents dispersed all through the room. Conner still on the floor, Baker walked over to him and extended out his hand. Conner then grabbed it and he was pulled back up and onto his feet.
"Is it over yet?"
"Nope, breakfast, it's only 8 am."
Baker nodded and patted Conner's head before heading back over to his table. Grabbing his clipboard and heading out of the training room. Conner stood still in pain doing his best to still gain back his air. It didn't take long for him to realize this was way harder than he intended. Stretching was the only part he could handle, the rest felt like some sort of torture.
Gaining up as much energy as he could muster right then, Conner slowly lifted up his feet to walk over to the wall. Lean his back to it and slid right back down to the floor again. His limbs, head, and torso were aching he was in pain and was ready to stop and sleep for eighteen hours straight.
All of it was draining him and becoming exhausting. The worst part, it was only eight in the morning. There were so many hours in the day left and Conner didn't know when or if the training was to end. Of course right then and in that state of mind, there just was no ending in sight.
Moving to place his face and head in his hands. Conner wasn't alone for too long, as Damian came over and sat down next to him.
"Hey, you still alive?"
"I'll uh, go get ya something to eat."
Damian didn't want to touch Conner in fear of hurting him more so he just got back up and headed out the training room. Damian seemed just fine, then again he was used to it. Whenever Conner looked over to him, he saw Damian move so swiftly and take down his opponent with ease.
He appeared to be so skilled and knowing what he was doing so quickly. Meanwhile, Conner felt like it was his last day alive on Earth. Unable to even touch his opponent without getting winded and falling on his butt. The two really were opposites, Damian was a skilled fighter who could kick ass and take names. Conner just wanted to sleep. It was uncharacteristic for him, Conner used to never turn down a fight and usually was the one who ended up victorious, one way or another.
All with the help of growing up around fighting, and thanks to his awful and very short temper. Now, he couldn't see himself being that person anymore. Not right then, at least.
A few more moments past and Damian had come back and over to Conner. He handed Conner a water bottle, who took it and downed more than half of the thing in an instant.
"How ya holding up?"
"Am I gonna live?"
"I hope so, but uh there are some pancakes over at the table if you wanna eat. You need it."
Damian extended a hand and helped Conner up on his feet. Once on his feet again, the boy ran over to the table and went straight for the food. Damian chuckled and walked after him.
Breakfast came and went and disaster stroke again. Baker was back and training was to begin again. This time he paid close attention to Conner and his motions. Which weren't really changing, he was still caught in fumbles and landing on the floor all over again.
A little while went by as that happened a couple more times. No change was coming from Conner so Baker took him aside once again.
"Alright kid, enough's enough. You're gonna go against me."
Conner opened his mouth to respond but was stopped as Baker grabbed him and flipped him straight down.
"C'mon McAlister! What happened to that kid that attacked me durin' your recruiting? Where'd /he/ run off to?"
"I... I dunno.. I wasn't tired then... I was scared it was like... defense you attacked me."
"And I just did again, and where are ya now?"
Conner blinked and thought a second. Then he reached over and grabbed Baker's ankle, yanking it as hard as he could and pulling down. Hopping back up on his feet again.
"Uh yeah, exactly like that!"
Baker got back up again and showed him more moves and how to do them. After that, he went ahead like before and attacked Conner. Making the kid do all of those moves again and try to fight him off. He was still getting knocked down, but also managed to get Baker down as well. The two kept at it over and over until Conner was getting the hang of things.
Knocking Baker down more times and learning along the way.
Conner becoming a bit proud of himself for how well he seemed to be doing. He still hurt like complete hell but he managed to set that aside and continue in the training. He actually was able to knock his teacher down and more than once.
He was still a little wobbly and nowhere near as swift as either Baker or Damian but was closer than he was before.
Conner then grabbed hold of Baker again and pulled him over his shoulder and flipped him down onto the mat. Proud that he actually did that, it felt like it was all unreal or something but he was doing it and doing it pretty well.
The one on one training went on for a few more hours, and Conner's body was screaming at him to stop. But he kept at it until Baker said it was okay to stop. So until then, he fought on, flipping, kicking, punching, and everything else he was taught that day. More hours went by and more repetitive actions went on as Conner trained. He was ready to do another move when Baker had to stop as pocket beeped.
He told Conner to stand down as he went over to the corner of the room to pick up the phone. Conner went ahead over to one of the tables and sat on the edge of it. Grabbing another water bottle and downing some of the water as he recollected himself.
Looking over he caught Baker who seemed angry on the phone and was yelling. But, he couldn't collect what all Baker was saying over the phone or why he was so annoyed.
After only a couple more seconds Baker hung up and walked back over to the Conner. He cleared his throat and set his phone on the table. Then Conner watched as he walked over to Damian and pulled him aside to talk to him. They were on the other side of the room so Conner couldn't hear what they were saying, despite that he still watched them.
Both of them seemed annoyed over whatever it was they were discussing. Conner also noticed Damian look over to him every so often as the two spoke to each other. When he looked back to Baker he gained a harsh glare and gave the impression if being aggravated and tense. Whatever it was it was obviously not a good topic and both of them were angry over it.
Not minding if it were rude or not but Conner wanted to interfere. So he hopped off the table and went over to both of them. Going behind Damian's shoulder.
"What's goin' on?"
Conner asked in a simple manner as if it were nothing.
"Nothin' kid don't worry about it."
Baker replied not even regarding Conner.
"Okay, I'm gettin' real sick of that answer! It ain't even an answer, hate to interrupt but maybe I could help? Is it.. about me?"
Damian inhaled to want to say something but Baker interrupted that and just said that it wasn't to worry. After that, he explained he had to go to the Director's office so training was done for the day until further notice. He then walked out of the room to head up to the top floor.
Conner moved to face Damian and looked over to him. As he did so Damian placed his brown eyes onto Conner's hazel and breathed out a sigh while trilling his lips. Shrugging once he then moved over and headed out the training room and over to the gym. But of course, Conner followed right after.
There was something going on and by the way, Damian kept looking back at him, he knew he was the subject of the matter. According to their body language, whatever it was, wasn't a good thing so it made sense that Conner just needed to know. So he followed Damian out of the training room and into the gym. Then back out of the gym and over to the locker room area where the two of them first met the previous day.
He had no idea where Damian was really going, but he followed him regardless and would stop him if he were to go too far.
Damian went over and slid shut the door to the locker room, right before walking back over to Conner.
"This is the only room where she can't see or hear us."
Conner asked while going right back to totally confused about whatever was happening around him.
"Christina. There is something I'm not telling you but.. fuck it and fuck her I'm telling you anyway. You need to know this."
"That 'special' bullshit ya keep hearing about?"
"Finally! I'm gettin' an answer! I am gettin' it aren't I?"
"Yeah, but it ain't a good thing... at all."
Conner stood upright and went more serious and stern. Nodding.
"I can take it, just tell me, please. I need to know, you said so yourself."
Damian slowly nodded and exhaled a long breath.
"The reason Christina picked you specifically is because of your temper. You know it makes you kinda crazy for it's bad and she pretty much fell in love with that idea. She wants to 'harvest' it and turn you into..."
Conner furrowed his brows and went even more stern as he listened to his friend. He was right when he said he knew he could trust him. Right there was him proving it. Jones was to be very secretive and would probably find a way to make
Damian's life hell if he told Conner.
Yet, Damian was a friend and told Conner anyway, and he was glad to have a true friend like that.
His eyes appearing darker as he tilted his head slightly to the side.
"Into what? Tell me."
"Into some killing machine."
Conner simply blinked and let that sink in. Letting it all sink in. The truth was now finally out. That was why he was picked, why he was 'needed', why he was so 'special'. All of it tied down to his temper and anger issues. Something Conner wasn't proud of nor happy about, was something praised by the CIA.
Sure every New York man was to have a temper as they say, but Conner's was something different. It led him into fights he never wanted to be in, words yelled out that he never meant, feelings got hurt thanks to him. Nevertheless there it all was and everything began to become more clear.
Jones didn't see Conner as Conner, she saw his temper and what all he could do when angered enough. It made him feel used and worthless, he wasn't needed, he wasn't even wanted. His temper was.
"C'mon, I'll help ya get outta here."
Damian softly said as he finally spoke back up again after that silence that spoke volumes from Conner. Conner though only looked to Damian and shook his head.
"What? No, what'll she do to you?"
"Probably kick me out too and I'll be back on the streets.."
"No! There is no way in hell I'm leaving you here. Look, they don't know, they don't gotta."
"I don't care, I can't let her do that to you. I feel like shit trust me but I would beat myself if I knew you were thrown on the streets and I couldn't help prevent that."
"You'd really stay here and have her treat ya like that just to keep me off the streets?"
"To keep ya safe, hell yeah I would. News flash there Adler, that's what friends do."
"... Psh! I knew that."
Conner shook his head fondly and went back out of the room with Damian. The truth was a lot and weighing him down, but Conner knew he had to stay for his friend. Maybe he would figure something out, try to prove that there was a lot more to him than his anger.
Whether or not Jones was going to wave Conner around like some fancy new toy all the neighborhood kids wanted. He was to stay in the agency and learn more about becoming a good agent and do his best to help. More importantly, he wanted to keep Damian safe and sheltered, and if that meant staying there despite everything. Then he would in a heartbeat. Whatever dirty trick Christina had up her sleeve, Conner was ready to take it head-on.