The First of Many

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Chapter 65

Hannah felt the pain of hitting the ground before she felt the pain of the bullet hitting her thigh. She felt her elbow go numb from having just smashed into the ground, and she swore out loud in English. Her first instinct was to make some kind of pained sound, but her second instinct—her smarter instinct—was to shut the fuck up about it and stay calm. Showing Petrov that he'd successfully put her through pain wasn't something she wanted to do.

"Mirage." Petrov's voice was soft, caressing her gently with his words, but she stopped listening. Gritting her teeth, she swallowed down the urge to vomit, and forced herself to breathe. She'd been shot more times than she could count, and this was just like any other time; however, that didn't mean it hurt any less.

"You son of a bitch," she hissed between her teeth.

"Rosie?" Aedan's voice brought her back into herself, and despite her instincts telling her not to look at him, not to check in with him, she glanced over towards him.

"I'm fine," she said tersely to him. Her green eyes flicked back towards Petrov, and she knew she was wearing the face she put on whenever she was assigned a kill mission, and she was about to complete it. She knew she looked murderous because Petrov almost seemed to falter but just for a second.

“I know you don't believe me, but I don't want to do this,” Petrov said.

“So don’t,” she snapped back.

"No, I don't want to," Petrov said calmly. "I just have to. You know as well as I do that with Nine, there's no choice. We never have a choice."

"Yes, we do," she spat back at him. "We always have a choice. This whole shithole just trains us to think that we don't."

Petrov stared at her for a few extra beats, and then he turned his gun on Aedan. Hannah felt her throat tighten, and she physically had to force herself to stay quiet, to act like Aedan meant nothing.

"Is that what you Americans have been telling Mirage?" Petrov asked coolly. The barrel of the gun was pointed directly at Aedan's head, but Aedan acted as though it weren't there at all.

"We've only been telling her the truth," Aedan replied.

Petrov paused. “Interesting,” he mused. “Well. Let’s get to work.

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