|Public Enemy Number One
Author: SatyrsUnite PM
When the British CHERUB team meets the USA's recruits, tensions collide and curses fly. The world only comes crumbling down when the campus is deemed unsafe: rats have invaded the nest. Rated T for violence. OC x CallumRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 15 - Words: 33,336 - Reviews: 40 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 06-19-12 - Published: 12-26-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7677855
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hey everyone! This is my first CHERUB fanfic that I have published, and I hope you all enjoy it! Let me know what you think: comments, critiques, ideas, anything! Thanks for reading! Takes place after Book III Maximum Security. Canon characters will appear in future chapters!
Drowning isn't as swift and merciful as it is portrayed in the movies. There's no symphony music to calm you as you float lower and lower, farther and farther away from the water's surface, farther and farther from life. When you're drowning, no one instantly gives up and loses consciousness before they start sucking in water and choking and, ultimately, dying. There's no hero that dives in after you and pulls you out of the water in the nick of time, only for you to live happily ever after with little to no repercussions.
To me, drowning was a complete disappointment. I didn't get any of that fancy rescue crap or the peaceful end to an adventurous life.
The water was roiling angrily above my head, the mind-numbing cold stabbing into my veins, shock spiking my heart as powerful as a lightning bolt. No matter how hard I struggled, no matter how much time I tried to give someone to notice I was gone and to come save me, it was useless. I was going to die here, alone, my body maybe found by a bear and eaten, or I would wash up on some foreign country's shore and scare the crap out of some poor kid.
It didn't matter anyways. I could already envision Death swimming its way over, ready to grab hold of me and never let go.
Panic attacked my brain with renewed vigor. Never back down, never surrender! Slowly I began to kick my feet and stroke with my arms. This wasn't so bad, I tried to think positively. Like swimming in a pool. Yeah, it's like swimming in a pool.
But pools didn't try to kill you.
Arif and I were running through the rain, our trainers sliding in the mud, our training clothes becoming splattered until they were hardly recognizable underneath the grime. Behind us, we could hear the distant yelling of our trainer, Smalls. Unlike his name, he was incredibly big. He was average height for a fully grown adult male, around six feet, and every inch of his body was covered in toned muscle. His head was covered by a shock of blonde hair, cut accordingly to military regulations, while his body was covered in the same regulatory fashion: in a white T-shirt complete with a crosshair with CHERUB stamped onto it, green military style trousers, and boots that somehow were kept pristine even in this muddy terrain. I—and the rest of my team—were dressed similarly, except with navy or black T shirts.
Arif and I sped up when we heard Smalls start screaming, most likely at Sam or Zeke as they stumbled on the obstacle course behind us. This was the tenth consecutive round of the course we had been ordered to perform; Arif and I were the only ones that had managed to escape Smalls' cunning wrath.
The two of us dove underneath a covering of barbed wire, army crawling underneath the fifty meters of spikes and barbs and popping up on the other side in anything but record time. Every bone in my body seemed to be filled with lead, and I wanted to collapse right then and there. The Indian boy next to me was faring even worse, having rolled an ankle on the sixth course and deciding to soldier through it.
We finished that lap and sprinted back to Smalls, who was still screaming at the others to "climb that wall and kick this course's arse!" Of course, Smalls' thick British accent disfigured his words so it only made the trainees even more terrified, exhausted, and confused.
"Smalls," I panted, "'Rif and I are done with lap ten."
The man nodded. "Take a load off. You're done for the day."
I nearly cried in happiness as the two of us plopped down and let the rain run down our faces, cooling our skin, chilling the air that we sucked into our burning lungs.
A million things ran through my head at that point. They completely ruined the moment of relaxation I was so gloriously facing, and made me begin to stress again:
Shoot I forgot to finish the French homework! Miss Vermilliea is going to kill me.
I really should stretch so I'm not sore tomorrow.
Man I forgot to get a present for Zeke's birthday! Well, I guess he's getting secondhand tube socks, again.
Aw, man, this was the last clean uniform I had… formerly clean, that is. I should really try and get a squick of laundry done...
I was jolted out of my thoughts as three more boys joined our group, jumping and diving onto me and Arif in one massive dog pile. "Guys!" I groaned, trying to shove them off. "God, get off!"
"Aw, this just showing you we love you," Zeke laughed, twisting his body so his face was directly above mine. He gave me a slobbery kiss on my forehead. "See? Love."
A fiery head bumped Zeke's away, leaning over to give a toothy grin and a peck on the cheek. "Yeah, love," the smile said.
"Techno, I swear, if you don't get off I will kill you next time we spar."
Everyone scrambled off me then. Smalls marched over and inspected us with his hard eyes. "Nice work ladies," he smirked, "and Lacey." I twitched my lip in a weird smile. Smalls continued to look at us five: Arif, Techno, me, Zeke, and Sam. His five Americans, his five agents. "You all would make Henderson himself proud," he said. "Go inside, chill in the game room or whatever it is you Americans like to do. We'll train lightly tomorrow, and I have arranged for your classes to be pushed until tomorrow. I know I worked all of you; this exercise was tough, but cherubs are tougher, yeah?"
All of us yipped in glee, but as we staggered upright, Smalls put a hand on my shoulder. I turned, and noticed he had stopped Zeke as well. We both looked at each, at Smalls, then back at each other, instantly slamming our hands together in a high-five.
"No way," Zeke cheered. "Another mission?"
Smalls nodded. "Lancaster wants to see you in his office pronto. Here." Smalls dug out a pair of keys with one massive hand and tossed them into the air. My hand was a pale blur as it snatched it from the air. "Take my ride. It's not my problem if you get caught, alright?"
I bolted for Smalls' golf cart, which was parked conveniently at the edge of the training field, only a few hundred meters away. Zeke ran after me, cursing, trying to call driver's seat, trying to slam me from behind the wheel. "You get shotgun!" I laughed. "Losers weepers!"
"I swear to God next time I get beat by a girl I'll—"
"Do nothing," I smirked, and slammed on the gas pedal.
One of the most important rules of the CHERUB organization is to keep your mission briefings to yourselves. Of course, Zeke and I were itching to flaunt to the other boys, so after Lancaster—our mission controller—said we could go and pack up, we ran off with one of the briefings, radio tag and all.
Now, I did kind of feel bad for stealing it. Lancaster was a nice guy. He was in his early fifties, already had grey hair, and spoke so softly everyone had to strain to hear him. To be honest, he reminded me of the long lost grandfather that I had never had, so of course Zeke had to take my hand and stop me from going back and returning it.
The minute we stepped into the game room, with all the boys goofing around, I was happy we kept the briefing. Everyone's eyes lit up greedily, all whooping and reaching for the folder. Zeke tore it away and held it high. Being the oldest of us at seventeen years of age, he towered well above all our heads.
"You guys," he smiled, "are so bummed you didn't get this one."
"Dude, what do you have to do?" Techno asked, looking up from his laptop with what looked suspiciously like blueprints on its screen.
"How long are you guys going to be gone?" shouted Arif.
"Guys, guys," cajoled Zeke. "We can't say anything about this super important mission that we were hand picked for."
Sam looked up from a flat screen television that had been mounted on the wall. Currently, he was watching an episode of Dora the Explorer, and from his expression he was hating every second of it. "Shut up! Senorita Gonzalez is killing me. Says a two year old could learn the language faster than me. This is my last resort! So everyone needs to shut up so I can learn!" The small boy, fists clenched in frustration, then turned his attention back onto the children's program. "Why are you asking me where to go Dora? You have the freaking map!"
I rolled my eyes and plopped down on a bean bag, peeking at Techno's little project he was working on. Honestly, the entire mission shouldn't be too difficult. It was all recon, we'd be gone for a few days, be back with plenty of information. I'll admit, it would be nice to get out of this campus for a while. The entire place was small, with only five qualified agents to actually go on missions while a bunch of little kids—red shirts, as they were categorized—learned and trained until they were of age to complete missions. Sam was our latest addition, having come two years ago, which made him approximately twelve years old. Apparently the recruiters had seen something in him, but that something had not yet shown through.
That night, as I packed up the few kind of clean uniforms that I had, ready to be transported to my mission location at 0400, I should have taken the time to say goodnight to everyone. I should have taken the time to tell Techno that his blueprints of the campus kitchen weren't updated, and that if he tried to get a midnight snack using his planned route, he would get caught by the cameras the moment he walked in. I should have told Arif that he smelled and needed a shower. I should have told Sam to go to Senorita Gonzales herself and ask for extra help. But I didn't, and when I fell asleep, I should have at least packed an extra sweater, or maybe a waterproof cell phone with all my numbers in as contacts.
But I didn't. Tomorrow, I would drown with all these regrets crowding up my head.
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