[[Yes, this story stars an OC I'm too attached to, but my excuse is that it adds to some minor character tags.
Spoilers: For Azran Legacy, and the last chapters of my main fic, Bonds Left Unbroken. Only gives a hint for BLU's Epilogue, however. I promise that's on its way.
Set: When Desmond and Hershel leave the Nest.
Disclaimer: Don't own PL. Also don't own the wonderful Mint Royce. (Forgive me, Eevee.)]]
Making Ends Meet
Don't get yourself killed, Fruitcake. Jun watched as Desmond and Professor Layton hurried to the Bostonius. The brothers were going after Targent's leader to rescue their young friends, Luke and Aurora. It turned out their other so-called companion, Emmy, was a Targent mole and she'd aided in the kidnapping.
How could someone threaten children like that? Then again, it wasn't a surprise, coming from Targent. This was the agency that trained cadets like dogs, beat the weak within inches of their lives... and killed a six year old girl, just for being the offspring of a Targent traitor.
Jun was twenty one, a few years out of the boarding school Desmond sent him to, when he heard the news. On the outskirts of London, a farmhouse was discovered burned to the ground. The family that lived there, the Sycamores, were thought to have perished in a 'tragic accident'. Jun didn't buy Targent's lies before and he didn't buy them then. The man who helped him escape from Targent, the mentor who was more like older sister to him, and her child who was meant to have a bright future... They had been murdered.
Later, Jun learned Desmond had actually survived, but he'd become a (hypocritical) villain in the process of foiling Targent. This was his reaction to Mira and her daughters' deaths. Jun's first reaction was to run. Surely, his name was next on Targent's hit list. Desmond had wanted him to get away, hadn't he?
While fleeing from place to place, he encountered people facing similar predicaments to him. Targent victims, rebels, deserters... Enter Mint Royce. She could spill all of Targent's secrets at the press of a button, yet doing so would put her sister in jeopardy. Like Miss Sharpace, she reminded Jun they must never stop fighting. Together they made a pact: to take down Targent and to save those wronged by the agency.
Mint prompted him now, "Are you going to stop daydreaming, or should I deal with these casualties myself?"
Jun shook his head and fetched the First Aid Kit. "As long as it doesn't involve needles, I can handle it."
He could see the comeback forming in her mind now— "You do realise your weapon of choice is a very sharp sword, right?"— though she didn't say it aloud.
He set to work patching up Mr Layton, who had taken a nasty blow to the head, and brought Mrs Layton a glass of water. Really, it was his fault they'd been captured on their way home from their party. He was such an idiot. His warning didn't even reach Desmond...
However, when he apologised to the old couple, Mrs Layton assured him, "I'm sure you did everything you could. The only ones to blame are those criminals."
"Even then," Mr Layton added, "A lot of them just have their heads in the wrong place. I'd dare say I joined some of them on an expedition years ago."
Yes, many researchers had been duped by Targent. Very few who resisted managed to break free. (Mr Mackintosh had been a lucky exception.) During one horrifying incident, Targent had used a grenade in a last ditch attempt to prevent a group of archaeologists from escaping. Honey, another one of Jun's teammates, had been the only survivor. She and Almundo were currently manning the Infinite Vault of Akbadain.
Mackintosh rubbed his bandaged arm and sighed, "Bronev promised we could study the Azran... at the cost of our freedom. Targent wasn't perfect by any means before he came along, but I heard things were better. They certainly didn't have the military at their disposal."
Nope, they just had founders like Commander Falcon.
Jun considered this his cue to leave, especially when Mackintosh and Mr Layton started discussing archaeology. (Poor Mrs Layton...)
At the helm, Mint informed him they hadn't had any trouble the Nest's airspace.
"Great," Jun said, stretching. "I've had enough excitement for one day... When this is all over, we should really take a vacation." How much vacation time did intelligence agents receive, anyway?
"I'd like that." For once, Mint agreed with him. She used one hand to bring up a calendar on her tablet. "Three weeks ought to do it. I'll let the others know..."
"Do you have to? Fine, tell Honey. But not Al. Al will have us doing paperwork the whole time."
"You're such a slacker, Jun."
They reached London without incident and saw the Laytons were checked in to Milworth Hospital. Jun raided a vending machine and sat with Mint and Mackintosh in the waiting room. A hush fell over the place when there was a breaking news report on the room's T.V.:
"...The esteemed Professor Layton and his assistants are thought to have prevented this calamity. The professor refused to comment; however, we did receive a report from Scotland Yard's very own Inspector Clamp Grosky. He claimed to have arrested the man responsible for causing all of this devastation. Leon Bronev, the leader of the enigmatic criminal organisation, Targent..."
"Finally," Mint murmured, sans sarcasm. They'd done it.
Jun couldn't share her relief. He stared at the screen showing the remains of the 'floating ruin'(?) at Froenborg. The news cameras had caught Professor Layton and Luke trying to leave. The fact that Emmy was with them wasn't what fazed him.
There was no sign of Aurora, or Desmond.
Jun leapt to his feet, pulling Mint with him. "We need to get to Froenborg, right now."
"What about that vacation you were planning?"
"It'll have to wait."
"If it's no trouble, may I accompany you?" Mackintosh asked. "I'd like to liaise with Professor Layton and investigate what's left of those Azran ruins."
Jun flashed him a grin. "Welcome to the team, Big Mac!"
"That's a terrible pun and an even worse name," Mint groaned.
"We'll work on it."
[[We could see another little side-story about the Monte d'Or gang... but first, I have an epilogue to write.]]