“Leave the rest of it,” she hissed, turning to her men. “We leave now!”
Eden’s heart began to pound more fiercely than he had thought possible. As Micah slipped a hand in his, they darted out through the back doors of the warehouse. The pounding of boots on pavement swarmed around them from all sides. Like an agile cat, Booker darted past them into the darkness, retrieving a gun from his hip holster. Disappearing from their sight, Booker shot into the distance. The sound reverberated through the underground, procuring gasps and drawing EP footsteps. Booker was leading them away. Delta darted in the other direction, her cloaked form lithe and small, a phantom in the dim light.
A tug on his hand led Eden further into the underground. Micah knew these streets like a map ingrained into his brain. They ducked behind one crumbling building and then another, each move poised and calculated, as if Micah had already planned and anticipated this path.
They rounded another corner and came face to face with a stunned EP. Wide eyes assessed them behind his helmet. He hesitated a moment before raising his rifle. Just a moment too long. Micah’s first thrust forward, connecting with the soldier’s helmet and blowing it off his face. As the EP stumbled back, an elbow to his nose had him staggering into unconsciousness. He landed in a heap by their feet.
The knife in Micah’s hand was poised to strike the killing blow, but Eden reached out to steady him. “We don’t need to kill him. He’s out.”
“He saw us,” Micah hissed in response.
“He’s a pawn,” Eden said softly, his fingers twining with Micah’s, urging him onward. “Like I was. He hesitated. You saw him. Just leave him. Come on.”
Micah allowed Eden to pull him away, though his shoulders were set with tension. Eden knew he didn’t like leaving any loose ends, but he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t kill a man who had hesitated, acting only on orders. Just because a man was an EP, didn’t mean he deserved death, did it? He hoped not. For what would that mean for him, and all the horrors of his own past?
Micah led them back to the hideout, stoic and silent. Eden’s mind roved, wondering what he was thinking about, where his head was at. Did he ever wonder about Eden’s past? Who Eden had been before they met? He hoped not. He feared that darkness, those misdeeds might tear a rift between them. For as close as they had become, there was still so much they didn’t know about each other. Perhaps it was better not to know. Delving too deep could hurt them both.
The exterior of the hideout was nondescript and dark, devoid of all signs of life. But Eden knew that within, Harker and Iris stood waiting for them, frozen to the spot, bodies rigidly stiff. As they approached, Harker peered out the opened door, ushering them inside with an impatient hand.
“Where’s Booker? And Delta?” he asked, once they’d crossed the threshold into the warehouse. Bside his father, Blaise watched Eden, glancing down at his fingers conjoined with Micah’s.
“Met with some trouble,” Micah said.
“Trouble?” Harker asked.
“EPs,” Eden nodded.
A moment of heavy silence blanketed them. Eden swore he could hear his own heart pounding against his ribs. His hands shook at his sides. Nothing seemed real. Anything could happen out there, in the streets of Tartarus.
“They’ll be fine,” Micah said, as if reading Eden’s thoughts. Their eyes met for a brief moment and a feeling of quiet calm washed over Eden. Micah was so easily able to do that to me – ground him, center him, bring him back.
“Worried about me?” Booker stood in the doorway, smirking like a bandit fresh off a profitable job. Delta stood at his side, arms crossed, but smiling nonetheless. As a wave of relief crashed over them, Dr. Harker looked around the room, elation coloring his cheeks a happy shade of pink. “It’s begun, then,” he whispered. “We’ve taken our first solid move against Tovar since the beginning of this movement. And it’s thanks to all of you that we’ve been able to do it. I’m very thankful. To all of you.”
“So…now what?” Micah finally asked.
“Now, time for a celebratory drink,” Booker cajoled. He reached inside the breast pocket of his worn leather jacket and pulled out a thin silver flask. Screwing off the cap, he pressed it to his lips and guzzled down the strong-smelling liquid. After swallowing down several mouthfuls, his mouth curled into a coy grin. He offered the flask to Eden.
Eden took it, tentatively at first. Booker smirked as Eden pressed the flask to his lips, inhaling the sharp scent. When finally he worked up the courage to drink, the taste that washed over this tongue was nearly enough to choke him. He sputtered, eyes watering, as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“And now, we wait,” Harker said as Iris came to stand beside him, placing a gentle hand in his.
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