A/n: Wow...I don't really know why I'm posting this, seeing as how it's really quite pointless, but, this board needs more pieces. So, ta-da! A useless BG&E one-shot. Yeah...My sister has been playing my game lately, and I found this piece sitting in my laptop, half-written and lonely. Heh. So I finished it, and was like, 'What the hey, might as well post it'. Yep. So, please, let me know what you think...
Oh, yeah, there could be some Jade/Double H fluff, depending on how you view it. It could easily be friendship. So...you decide!
Disclaimer: Beyond Good and Evil is property of Ubisoft, and I do not own any part of it. If I did, you could rejoice, for there would definitely be a sequel!
Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End
"So, how'd we do?" Jade queried. She tossed an envelope on the desk that sat before Hahn and watched as he emptied it of it's contents. The young reporter smiled knowingly at her partner standing in the corner, already knowing that they had passed with flying colors.
"Very nice, Jade." Hahn studied the pictures that he had been handed. Each image contained pictures of piles of rubble, remains of smoking houses, and destroyed boats. One even held the image of a Teratosaurus Imperator, a large sea serpent and the culprit of the remains which were present in the pictures.
"Mei, what do you think?"
The feline-woman approached the desk that occupied the middle of the underground IRIS head quarters. "These are remarkable! Good work, you two." She took the pictures and moved over to her station. "I'll download these into the system, and then print them up for the next issue of the IRIS paper. I can't wait to see those Alpha Sections explain where they were when this was taking place."
Jade grabbed a wooden stool and plopped herself down on it. "I'm sure they'll come up with some excuse." Toying with her camera strap, she added, "The public will probably believe it, too. I know I would have a few weeks ago." And she would have. It was still hard to believe that the people who were supposed to be protecting them were actually working with the enemy.
"That is true. But thanks to your last report, some of the people of Hillys now know the truth: That the Alpha Sections are being controlled by the DomZ. This report will help prove that point. Because the Alpha Sections were to busy capturing innocent people and hiding them out at the factory, they missed the attack the Domz launched and let many more innocent people die. Not that they cared in the first place, but-"
"We get the idea, Hahn," Double H, Jade's partner in the underground network, spoke up. He stepped out of the shadows and pulled up a chair beside Jade. "But what do we do now? These pictures don't scream 'Blame the Alpha Section', they just barely mumble it."
"I've got to agree with Double H, Hahn," Jade supported, speaking to the head honcho at the IRIS base. "We need something that's really going to get the people of Hillys riled up. Since that issue about the Nutripils Factory was such a hit, we're going to need something big to follow in it's wake."
"I agree whole-heartily. Nino-" Hahn turned to face the young computer whiz- "tell Jade and Double H the information we have received about the Slaughter Houses."
The underground room in the Akuda Bar was silent as Nino began describing the the mission at hand. Jade and Double H sat in captivation, each absorbing what they must do to uncover the truth behind the Alpha Sections. Jade, however, found her thoughts wavering.
The Alpha Sections, the military-like force that was supposed to be protecting the people of Hillys, was in reality working with the things that caused the planets pain. The Alpha Sections were working with the Domz- the alien-like creatures destroying the peaceful planet of Hillys. They were helping the creatures, and in turn, the creatures were controlling them. And most every citizen on Hillys believed that the Alpha Sections were helping them.
That was where she came in.
Jade, action reporter. Ebony-haired, green-eyed, bombshell. She could sneak into the Alpha Section bases, snap some photos, and bam! Prove that the Domz and Alpha Sections were allies. Working with the underground resistance IRIS was no piece of cake, but it was well worth it. As long as she could expose the truth, then she would gladly risk it all to help her planet. The truth needed to be known, it-
"We have to infiltrate the base how!"
Her partner's outburst caught Jade's attention, and she immediately regretted the fact that she had allowed her thoughts to consume her. She had no idea what was going on.
"You must enter the races, and slip out of the running. We've spotted a hole in the wall on the third track that should lead to the slaughter houses."
Double H started at Hahn, shock evident in his mahogany eyes. "Inconspicuously, I presume?"
"How do you propose we do that? We will be racing."
Jade heaved a sigh of relief. That was all? She had been driving the hovercraft for years; racing was second nature. It would be difficult to slip away unnoticed, but it could be done. "Hub, calm down. It'll be easy."
"Easy? Miss Jade, I-"
"Listen to the woman, Double H," Hahn interrupted. "She's very capable of anything we throw at her."
Hub turned his gaze to floor, grumbling under his breath. He knew that his partner was capable of the task. He had been working with her for many weeks, and in that time had discovered that she was a very efficient young woman. It wasn't that he didn't have faith in her, it was just that, well, this whole mission sounded very dangerous.
Jade glanced to her right, seeing a rather ruffled Double H. Nearly two months had passed since she had rescued him from the hands of the Alpha Sections, freeing him from his prison and returning him to the IRIS base. Since then, he had stuck to her like glue. They had immediately became partners in the the underground network -not to mention friends- and in that amount of time Jade had grown to know the man quite well. She could easily read his body language, and she could easily deduce the problem.
"Hahn, just how dangerous will this be?" she queried, hoping to relief her partner.
"Honestly? The place is crawling with Alphas. They're everywhere."
Double H groaned, and Jade sighed. Her attempt to ease Hub's mind had back fired. The room grew silent as Double H raised his head, meeting Jade's determined gaze. His was a look of incredulousness.
"Do you actually plan on infiltrating the Slaughter Houses?"
Hub threw his head back. "Did you not hear Hahn? Alpha Sections everywhere!"
Jade folded her arms stubbornly. "What do you expect me to do? Sit here and watch the Alphas and Domz take away more innocent people?"
"No, I expect you to sit here while I go into the Slaughter Houses. Alone."
She couldn't hide her disbelief. "What? No! No way! You can't go alone! It would be suicide!"
"And if we go together, it is a double suicide."
Jade wasn't sure if she should be angry at him for suggesting that she couldn't take care of herself, or flattered at his obvious desire for her safety.
"Hub, please, you can't go into that situation alone," Mei called from her seat at the computer. Clicking away at her keyboard, her gaze never strayed from the screen. "Jade is your partner, you're a team. Teams work as one."
"Thank you, Mei." Standing from her seat, Jade slipped her thumbs through her camera strap. "I believe Carlson and Peeters has something to say about partnership." She moved to stand in front of the man she had been working with for weeks, planting a hand firmly on her hip. "Do you know what that would that be?"
Turning his gaze away from the emerald-eyed woman before him, Hub muttered the abbreviation, "D.B.U.T.T."
"What was that?" Jade feigned a hearing loss, knowing that she had Double H where she wanted him. A by-the-book military man, he practically worshiped his manual.
"Don't break up the team, Miss Jade," Hub repeated, meeting Jade's determined gaze, his eye's mirroring the emotion. "If you insist on going into the Slaughter Houses, you should be prepared to eat those words. We don't break up the team."
Jade glanced around the headquarters, keenly aware that every pair of eyes inside the structure was on them. Hub seemed immune to the curious looks, he was focused on Jade. The action-reporter, however, fiddled with her camera strap nervously. She hated when people doted on her. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself.
"Jade?" Mei began, the small room seemingly filled to the brim with clashing emotions. The feline-woman detected concern, determination, pride, and a hint of anger in the underground HQ. "Are you all right?" she added, the silence becoming unbearable.
Turning to the blue-furred IRIS editor, Jade offered her a small smile. "Yeah, Mei, I'm fine." She no intentions on worrying her colleagues. Focusing her stern gaze on Double H once more, she said, "Come on, Hub. We have a mission to complete."
Giving the three people in the underground room a parting wave, Jade traipsed up the stairs and into the inn room built as a disguise to cover up the secret network. Hub stayed in the room a few moments longer, desiring a bit more information on the mission he was about to set out on.
"If you could," he began, "give me an estimate on just how much time will be positioned at this post, I would be grateful."
"It depends on how long it will take you to wrap up the report," Hahn replied, sitting on his desk. He ran a hand over his bald head in thought. "But given the size of the Slaughter Houses, I would say at least a week."
Nodding, Hub grabbed his old, worn, metal helmet off of the wooden chair he had been sitting on. He glanced around the familiar headquarters, offering the people in it a small smile. He had been working with them for many months. A soldier in the Hillian Army, he had been a close working force with the Alpha Sections. The day he had caught one of the guards with their helmet off, and had seen the discoloration of their skin, the glazed look in their eyes, and the visible veins all over their face, he had left the army and went directly to IRIS. He had been with them ever since.
Much longer than Jade.
He knew what dangers their business held, knew how quickly a situation could turn brutal. Everything they did was life threatening. One tiny noise, one slip up, and the Alpha's would be on them before they could bat an eyelash. They had to use stealth, and if they were caught they had to use force. It was dangerous.
That was the reason he had tried to get her to back down. But she had refused. She was probably the most stubborn woman he had ever encountered. But he was her partner, and it was his job to protect her. Though it would be like pulling teeth, he would protect her.
"I suppose I should be going." Walking up the stairs, he called over his shoulder, "We'll keep you updated, my friends."
"We'll be waiting!" Hahn called after him. When the room housed only Nino, Mei, and himself, the leader exhaled a heavy breath. "Those two are something."
"I don't think I've ever seen two more stubborn individuals," Nino added.
Still clicking away at her computer, Mei chirped, "That may be so, but I have a feeling those two will end this war. Once and for all."
The Slaughter House proved to be a difficult area indeed. Entering the buildings hadn't been too troubling, they had simply entered the races after it had started, jumped over the lasers, and voila- they were in. Stuck in. They couldn't get out. They were locked in, and the only way out was through a code only the Alphas and the Governor knew. The latter would only assist them if they published their report, which was two-thirds complete. The third picture was yet to be found.
Jade momentarily wished she had allowed Hub to come here alone.
Only momentarily, because she knew he would never exit with his life. The place was crawling with Alpha Sections. They were coming out of the woodwork. He would either perish or become a slave to the DomZ- a fate worse than death.
Her uncle was currently separated from her because of her inability to protect him, and she vowed she would never lose another partner to the DomZ. It was her fault that Pey'j was gone. If only she hadn't left him alone! If she had stayed with him, guarded him, then he would be here with her right now.
"Miss Jade, you must sleep. This is the only opportunity we've had in days."
Pulled away from her thoughts by the deep voice, she squinted through the darkness, trying to locate her partner who blended in so well with the shadows. Oddly enough, Central Hall offered no Alpha Sections, and no security cameras; an ideal place to rest, regroup, and discuss strategy.
"I'll be standing guard, you'll be fine. No harm will befall us."
"I know." Stretching out on the cold, hard, concrete floor, she muffled a yawn. "But you've gone just as long without sleep. How about coming over here a sharing a Starkos? It's been hours since we've had any food."
Debating her offer, Hub remained silent for a moment. His manual would suggest that he continue to stay at his post, that he not let his guard down. His stomach, however, told him that the pie-shaped bread was the way to go. Silently walking over to his partner, he lowered himself down onto the thread bare blanket Jade packed around in her carrying case.
"Good choice." Jade smiled up at him, digging in her pouch and producing a Starkos. "I'm not really sleepy, anyway." Splitting the bread in half, she handed him a piece.
"Liar," he replied, tearing off a tiny piece of the dough and placing it in his mouth. "You can barely hold your head up."
Reclining against a low-rising walkway, Jade nibbled on her Starkos. "We've been here for nearly two weeks. We've been shot at, screamed at, and chased countless times."
"And we've only had a total of four opportunities to sleep."
"Exactly. Anyone would be worn-out."
Resisting the urge to devour the small morsel of food- their supply was running low- Hub forced himself to consume to bread slowly. "We only have one more picture to take, and I belief it to be in the West Wing. We can move out tomorrow before dawn, and be out of here before sunset."
Ignoring her Starkos, Jade fought to keep her eyes open. They had had little time to discuss their mission, and now was not the time to nod off. "If we don't run into any trouble. If we have to split up one more time, I'm going to scream."
With a small chuckle, Double H replied, " 'Don't break up the team' is becoming a hard rule to follow."
"Yes, it is," Jade agreed with a light laugh of her own, once again suppressing a yawn.
Downing the last of meal, Double H got to his feet. "Enough talk, you should sleep. With any luck, we'll be out of this place by tomorrow evening."
"Oh, Hub, I don't need to sleep. We should go get that picture now."
"Really! The longer we sit around, the more innocent people are suffering."
"Double H," silencing him with a look of resolve, Jade continued, "the longer I sit here,
the more danger Pey'j is in."
Having heard the story about how the pig-man had raised her, he knew of the close bond Jade shared with the person she called Uncle Pey'j. Double H also knew that the pig had been captured by the Alpha Sections and shipped here to the Slaughter Houses. By now, Pey'j was probably well on his way to the Moon- the final resting place for the DomZ victims. While he was sure that the pig was alive, he knew that if his partner ventured out in her current state she wouldn't be for long.
"Jade," he spoke softly, "your uncle is alive. They are very good at keeping them that way. If you were to find him right now, do you think you could rescue him?"
"You could help me..." she muttered in response, her determination and resolve slipping. As much as she desired to find her uncle, she knew that she was simply to weak- her mind to clouded with the need of sleep- to do any damage to anything dangerous.
"Neither one of us are at are best, Jade. But tomorrow, after a small rest, you will be. We'll find him, Miss Jade. If not tomorrow, then the next day."
Slipping down onto her blanket, the ebony-haired reporter muttered a soft, "I have to find him. If I don't..." As her sentence trailed off, Hub walked towards her. He had never seen his partner venerable before, it was a feeling he wasn't sure she had even possessed up until this moment. It appeared to be a emotion she strived to rid herself of.
"We will, Jade." Kneeling beside her, he gave her slim shoulder an awkward pat. Consoling, or any other emotion near that, had never been his strong point. "I...I promise you that."
Offering the large, dark-haired man before her a grateful nod and pushing her weakness aside, Jade forced herself to put on a grin. Trying to ignore the pain in her heart, she assured, "Of course we will. We are us, after all."
With a small smile, Double H righted himself once more. "Indeed we are." The maladroit, yet tender moment passed, he turned, prepared to go to his corner and stand guard. Yet a hand on his armored side halted his trek.
"Here." Offering him her uneaten Starkos, Jade placed the bread in his large hand. "Take it."
"Miss Jade, I can't. That's your half-"
"Please. You're staying up so I can sleep, and you're just as exhausted as I am."
Silencing his protest with a raised hand, she arched her dark brows. "I know you are, so there's no use in denying it. And I know your hungry, so take it."
Turning his back to her, he muttered a soft, "Thank you," and quietly marched to his post, plopping down on an old, rusty bucket he had found in the room. Tonight was going to be another long night.
Jade turned to her side, feeling sleep swiftly creep up on her. She fought it for a moment, wondering what had gotten into her. She was not a woman to pout, or to feel sorry for herself. Though she had had Pey'j all of her life, she had always taken care off herself. She was efficient on her own, and needed no one to make her feel good about herself. She prided herself on being a strong, capable woman.
But those few scant moments ago, she had wanted a little- only a tiny bit- of reassurance. Reassurance that she would find her uncle, and that this blasted war would end. That the people of Hillys would be safe from harm, and everyone could live in peace. Reassurance that she and Hub would leave this horrible place alive.
She never needed that- never wanted it- until those few seconds ago.
Turning to her stomach, she sighed into her old, nearly useless blanket. She must be sleepier than she thought.
"Grand! This is grand! That last issue of IRIS really lit a fire under the people of Hillys!" We have over half- half- of the population on our side!"
As Hahn congratulated his team of reporters, sweeping across the room and moving his arms about in excitement, Jade flashed a weary smile to the man standing at her side. Though there for awhile she hadn't thought it possible, she and Double H had finished their report, her electronic pouch allowing her to send it to IRIS Headquarters immediately. Though they had just arrived, their report had been on the shelves for over a day.
"You two have done a fine job! A fine job indeed! Those pictures-"
"They were exquisite!" Mei interjected, walking towards the duo with natural lithe. "The shipping of the citizens in those metal faults, and the transportation into the hover cars! And, oh, those sarcophagi! Jade, Hub, you two did a commendable job!"
"Outstanding!" Nino added, swiping his raven-hair back and offering the pair a bright smile. "We couldn't function without you guys."
"Ah, guys..." Jade waved them off, a delighted glint in her emerald eyes. She lived for reporting, and the fact that her stories now changed lives- saved them- simply added fuel to her drive. "Stop.."
"We're only doing our civic duty."
"Double H, this goes beyond civic duty!" Hahn argued, placing a hand on each of the reporters shoulders. "What you two are doing is priceless. You're saving lives. You're rescuing our city. With your help, we are forcing the Alpha Sections out."
"Speaking of which, what's our next mission?" Jade queried, leaning over the digitalized map projected over the table in the middle of the room. The map showed all of Hillys, every nook and cranny.
"Well, our next major mission will be to infiltrate their base on the Moon. It's the last major base to explore. It will be our most important paper- it will seal the deal. If we can broadcast the report live, then all of Hillys will be on our side."
"However, we still have a couple of bugs to work out." Nino pointed to the map, indicating the area. "Seeing as how it's in space..."
"Transportation is an issue..." Hahn admitted sadly.
Double H was about to suggest they 'borrow' an Alpha Section vehicle when the radio in the far section of the room came to life.
"...Boar t-" Static reigned for a moment, then; "IRIS! Wild Boar...to... IRIS!"
"It's the Chief!" Nino cried, rushing over to the device! "He's alive!"
"Chief?" Jade arched a dark brow. "Wait..." The voice filled the room again. "That's Pey'j!" Sprinting over to the device, her heart bursting and her voice brimming with relief, she cried, "Pey'j! Uncle Pey'j, can you hear me!"
"It's a one-way radio, Jade," Hahn informed, calmly walking over to the radio. "Hold on, he'll come back."
Indeed, Pey'j voice once again filled the room, instructing that IRIS contact their new reporter, Jade, and make sure she that she read the disk he left her. The small compact disc held the key to their problems. Before he could divulge more information, the sound of approaching foot steps echoed through the radio, and the pig declared that the 'Alphas were coming!' and disconnected.
"Pey'j's alive! And he's the Chief...Of IRIS! How could that old ham keep that from me! He acted as though it was simply awful that I wanted to join you all..." Musing aloud, the reported couldn't keep the joy from her voice. Her uncle was alive!
"I told you he was alive, Miss Jade."
Though he hated the thought of dampening the happy mood, Hahn couldn't resist alerting Jade of the disc Pey'j had mentioned. "Jade, the disc..."
"My Mdisk!" Jade cried, suddenly energized, as though her trip to the Slaughter Houses never took place. Fishing through her pack, she slapped the disk on the table. "I already know what it says," she added, having watched in dozens of times. "It says something about a Beluga, some sort of ship he and my dad built."
"The Beluga!" Mei exclaimed. "Chief spoke of it often, saying that it could fly!"
"But where would he hide something like that?" Nino wondered aloud.
"Surely somewhere close to his home. Perhaps even in it."
"Hub, I believe I would have seen it if it was in the Lighthouse- Hold on!" tapping her chin in thought, Jade pursed her lips. "There were some familiar images at the end of the Mdisk...And his shoes...The images were posters hung up at the Lighthouse..."
"Perhaps the key is behind the posters?" Double H offered.
"He never let me get close to his shoes..."
"Do you have them with you, Jade?"
"Yeah, Hahn, hang on." Digging in her pouch, she produced the items. "They're just normal old shoes. Normal, worn, smelly shoes."
"Turn them over."
Doing as Hahn instructed, Jade gasped as she saw the writing on the bottom. "No wonder he wouldn't let me see them! The have codes on the bottom! Codes to the posters!" she added, realization dawning.
"You have to get to the Lighthouse, Jade. That's the key to the Beluga, which is the key to the moon," Mei declared, sitting in front of her computer, preparing to upload a broadcast for the upcoming report.
"Oh, we're so close! This is great!" With a second wind she didn't know she possessed, Jade grabbed Hub by the arm and began dragging him up the stairs. "Let get going, Double H! We're going to end this war!"
Stopping at the sound of his weary voice, Jade turned to meet her partner's exhausted gaze. "Yeah, Hub?"
"Do you...Do you think it might be possible for a very quick rest?" He asked softly, feeling like a huge hindrance to the cause. If only he had taken a quick nap in the Hovercraft as they traveled to the Headquarters, then he wouldn't feel quite as drained as he did at the moment.
Staring into the fatigued face of her partner, Jade immediately felt guilt creep into her stomach. She should have known he was exhausted! Of the few times they had had the chance to sleep at the Slaughter Houses, Hub had only taken one. He had insisted she rest because she was the one taking the pictures. Though her half of the journey had been difficult, she knew his had been just as arduous- sometimes more so. Where she could hide and remain unseen, he couldn't because of his large, wide, simply masculine build.
"I'm sorry, Hub. Of course we can." Turning to her HQ companions, she queried, "Can we take room three?"
"Certainly. It is your usual room," Hahn replied. "It would probably be wise to rest up. It is dark outside, anyway. Poor visibility to be traveling the waters."
"Yeah. If you need us...just knock," she said lightly, a smile on her lips. "We'll be outta there first thing tomorrow morning. We'll contact you when we reach the Lighthouse."
"Okay. Sleep well."
"Oh, ho, not a problem," Hub muttered, slipping past Jade, through the false closet and into room three.
Jade lagged behind a moment, leaning against the railing lining the stairs. "Do you truly think this report will seal the deal?" At the nod of all three heads, she smiled broadly. "So do I. Thanks for all your help guys. We couldn't have gotten this far without you."
Turning on her heel, she made her way towards the exit. "We'll talk tomorrow," she called, and with that said, she disappeared.
Once more left alone, Hahn went to his desk, sighing as he sat on it's edge. "We're so close. I can taste it."
"Yeah. Just one more mission."
Clicking away at her station, Mei smiled at the two men in the room. "I told you Hub and Jade would be the ones to end this war," she said with a satisfied smirk. "Never doubt a woman."
When Jade reached the area above the underground HQ, she noted that Double H was already sitting in the old, wooden chair in the corner of the room, arms folded across his broad chest and head lolled back. His armor lay discarded beside him, leaving him clad only in his white undershirt and rather dirty pants.Shaking her head lightly, she made a mental note to wash them once they reached the Lighthouse.
Slipping out of her own unneeded clothing, she tossed her jacket and boots next to Hub's, gently laying her electronic pouch and camera on top of them. Removing her green headband, she added it to the pile, quickly running a hand through her, short, stylish, raven hair. Treading lightly across the hardwood floor, she headed for the full size bed in the middle of the small room.
The bed took up most of the space available in the room, really, leaving only enough room for a small bureau along the opposite wall. A frayed, light-yellow colored rug was laid out underneath of the bed, and the only window had matching moth eaten curtains. Though it looked dank in hopes of persuading people to stay in a different room, Jade thought that it had a homey vibe. Perhaps that was because it had been her home for about two months.
Upon reaching her bed, she paused, glancing at her partner. She always asked him to sleep in the bed with her, or at least allow her to take the chair every now and then, but he always refused. Always the gentlemen. It wasn't as though anyone would know of their sharing the same bed, except perhaps Hahn, Nino, or Mei, but they would understand. While you could become accustomed to sleeping on cold floors, hard rocks, or simply the dirt ground, you never felt fully rested. Nothing like sleeping in a bed with a soft mattress, a warm blanket, and a feathery pillow. Her partners wouldn't look down on them for it, but he always rejected the offer.
Knowing this, she didn't even bother waking him to ask. She merely walked back over to her pouch, removed her old, raggedy blanket, and draped it across his sleeping form. Though it wasn't much, at least it was something.
Crawling into her own bed, she let out a quiet sigh. Burying into one of the pillows- since it was intended for two, it had two pillows- she closed her eyes. Yet even though she was tired, sleep wouldn't come. Not that she cared. Her mind was whirling with the past few hours' discoveries.
Her uncle was alive. There was still hope that she could get to him in time and rescue him, as well as the other captured Hillyans, from the DomZ creatures. The simple fact that Pey'j was alive filled her heart with more joy than she ever imagined possible. While she prided herself on being a strong, independent woman, she loved the pig-man dearly and hated any thought of him not being with her. He was more than like an uncle to her; he was like a father. Having hardly any recollection of her parents, she had simply placed Pey'j in the place of father. Though she loved her parents, it just wasn't the same as having someone with you all of your life. Pey'j was her father, mother, and uncle- and genetics had nothing to do with it. Blood meant nothing, really.
Which brought her to her next train of thought: The Lighthouse. Tomorrow, she would go back home and see the kids, people she had come to hold dear to her heart. The DomZ had left the children parent less, and she and Pey'j had taken them in as a result. Though they housed human and animal-human breeds alike, Jade loved them all. In a way, they were all her children.
The Lighthouse also reminded her of the mission at hand: Travel to the Moon. She was to fly up in a ship that was hidden in her home that she didn't even know about. Get up there, take out some Alpha Sections, snap some photos, broadcast a live report, and who knew what else. That would cause quite an uproar both on Hillys and the Moon. It would be the most dangerous mission to date.
And they would be setting out on it tomorrow and here she was staying up all night musing. Yet try as she might, she just couldn't sleep.
"Miss Jade, you must get some rest."
She nearly jumped out of bed as the sleepy, yet deep, voice filled the silent room. "Heavens, Hub!" she whispered harshly, placing a hand over the heart that was threatening to thump out of her chest. "I thought you were asleep!"
"I was. But I could sense someone else in the room. Someone awake."
Rolling to her side, she propped herself up with her elbow. "Do you ever relax?" she asked lightly.
"Military training stays with you," he replied, his voice husky with sleep.
"Well, go back to sleep, I'm fine."
"Negative, Miss Jade. Not until you rest. We have a big day ahead of us."
"Which is exactly why I can't sleep." Pulling her thick cover up to her slim shoulder, she tried to ward of the cold slipping into the room. Ocean nights were always rather chilly. Changing the subject, she asked, "You comfortable?" even though she was already miming his answer.
With the moonlight the curtains allowed to stream in, she could see him sitting in the corner, her blanket now wrapped tightly about his shoulders. She knew he was cold- she was, and she had a much thicker blanket than he- and she knew he was uncomfortable. How could sleeping in a hard-backed, rickety old chair be comfortable?
"Look, I'll make you deal."
Yawing softly, Hub glanced in her direction. Laying under a blanket, ebony hair disheveled from the pillow, and emerald eyes flashing with challenge, Jade looked every bit the minx her knew her to be. Her proud demeanor and confidence was back, replacing the exposed girl that had been present at the Slaughter Houses those few days earlier. He was pleased to see her back to her usual self, but he had a feeling he wasn't going to like this 'deal'.
"I'll go to sleep, but only if you come over here and lay down."
Squelching his protests with a raised hand and a look of resolve, she continued, "I know you're not comfortable over there, and I know your cold. Like you said, we have a big day before us, and we have to be rested up for it. Both of us."
Debating on her offer, Double H knew she would forcefully keep herself awake if he didn't do what she said- she was that stubborn. And if that was the case, he wouldn't get any sleep either, and he was beyond exhausted. So, without saying a word, he got up, trudged over to the other side of the bed, and crawled in.
Besides, he'd simply wait until she fell asleep and then go back to his chair. She would never be the wiser. He always awoke before Jade did.
With a satisfied smirk, Jade made room for her partner. "I knew you'd see it my way."
"I was forced," he mumbled, relishing the feel of the soft, giving mattress beneath him.
He could have easily fallen asleep immediately, but Jade continued speaking.
"We both deserve a good night's rest, Hub. Tomorrow is a big day. Besides," she scooted a fraction of an inch closer to him, "I only had to ask you once. That's not forcing."
Turning onto his back and folding one arm beneath his head, he sighed. "I have a confession to make."
"That chair is a horrible excuse for a bed."
With a light laugh, Jade turned onto her side, allowing herself a better view of the man beside her. "I knew it was."
"Yes, well, I suppose we should sleep now."
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
As his teammate closed her eyes, Double H fought the very thing he had suggested they do. While he longed to close to eyes to the world and drift off to sleep, he knew that he couldn't. If the community was to somehow catch wind of their sleeping arrangements, their reputations would go down the drain. While he was never a highlight in their small town, Jade had always had the status of an upstanding citizen, and he didn't want to tarnish her name.
He just hoped she fell asleep quickly.
Peeking out behind a half-opened eye lid, Jade could easily see that her partner was still awake. Though she already had a pretty good idea to as why, she wanted to confirm the thought. "Hub, I thought you were exhausted."
At her peppy voice- without a trace of sleepiness in it- Hub felt like groaning. "Very much so, Miss Jade."
"Sooo," she began, dragging out the word, "you're still awake because...?"
"Because I'm waiting for you to fall asleep." It wasn't exactly a lie, just not the entire truth.
"So you can go back to your chair?"
Momentarily shocked into silence, Double H said nothing. He was positive that, as long as he lived, he would never figure out quite how his partner read him so well.
"Please," she said in disbelief. "You're not going back to that rickety thing."
"Miss Jade," he began in hopes that she would see his logic, "you don't understand-"
"I do understand. I understand that there is no way that you are sleeping in that thing. It's impossible to get any rest in it." Watching as he opened his mouth to protest, she silenced him by continuing, "If you think I'm concerned about our reputations, then you don't know me very well."
He remained quite for a moment; then, "I was never thinking about mine..."
"Ah, Hub..." Propping herself up onto her elbow, Jade replied gently, "I don't care about that. Our reputations are already either in the gutter because we're traitors working for IRIS, or hero's because we are in the underground. That doesn't matter to me. What does matter to me is that you get a good night's sleep, okay?"
Meeting her green-eyed gaze, he offered her a slow smile. "If you insist, Miss Jade..."
With a soft laugh, Jade returned her head to the pillow. "Besides, you're like a human heater. You're not going anywhere."
Joining her in her laughter, Double H closed his eyes. If Jade was comfortable with the situation, then there was no way he was going back to that chair. "Good night, Miss Jade."
Within minutes, the sound of his steady breathing filled the room and Jade smiled to herself. She had no idea when that last time he had slept in a bed was, but she did know that too much time had elapsed. While she was pleased that he had fallen asleep so quickly, Jade knew that the same could not be said for herself. Though she was tired, sleep simply eluded her.
As the chill in the small area grew, she pulled the cover closer to her, and inched a bit closer to her partner. She stopped before actually touching him, but had to force herself to do so; he truly was like a human heater, and warmth seemed to radiate from his body. Closing her eyes, she tried once more to sleep, but it was useless. Her mind was once again focused on the final mission.
The Moon. Fly to the moon. It sounded surreal. It would be her last mission, and those last three words caused both peace and fear to creep into her stomach. Peace because the war that engulfed her planet would finally end, and fear because what awaited her on the Moon was a complete mystery. Yet one thing was for sure: Much more than Alpha Sections were stationed up there.
But she was convinced that she could put a stop to this dreadful war. She knew she could end it. She could- no, she would- rescue the Hillyans, destroy the Alphas and the DomZ, and finally bring peace to Hillys. Of course, she wouldn't be doing it alone. If it wasn't for her friends at IRIS, she would still be sitting at the Lighthouse convinced that the Alpha Sections were helping Hillys. She knew her fellow members would help her. And, of course, she'd have Double H.
Turning onto her side, she studied her partner's sleeping form. He had been with her through many dangerous situations, yet he had always stood by her side. They had shared countless days and nights together, and he had quickly grew to be more than just a partner- he was one of her closest friends. She knew that as long as he stood by her side, that she could defeat the DomZ, and push out the Alphas. They could do it- together.
"Jade, go to sleep."
For the second time that night, Jade jumped as the sleep-drenched voice of her partner filled the room. But instead of ignoring the words as she did earlier, she heeded them, and closed the small gap that separated her from Double H, pressing herself gently into his side. She knew she surprised him, he briefly tensed his muscles. But he quickly relaxed, and in turn surprised her by hesitantly scooting closer.
"Good night, Jade."
"G'night, Hub," she replied, closing her eyes and expelling a soft, content sigh. She couldn't resist adding, however," Now I know what Double H stands for."
"And that would be?"
" 'Human Heater'."
He gave a light chuckle, yet she could tell that he was already near sleep once more. Which, oddly enough, she found wasn't that hard to obtain with Hub at her side. Yet before she completely drifted into dream land, she couldn't help but think with a smile that tomorrow was the beginning of the end.
The beginning of a new world, and the end of the war.
--Edit 4/5/06 -- Fixed a couple of typos and oddly spaced paragraphs. And Pey'j IRIS signature. Big thanks to Dawnspirit for telling me just what it was! And for being my only reviewer, even though I've had seventeen hits. Shame on you people who read but don't review! Shame! Ha, I'm joking. Thanks for at least taking the time to click on it...Still, Dawnspirit, MAJOR thanks!
A/n: Haha! Major Ham! I'm sorry, but I couldn't remember what Pey'j's IRIS name was! I was going to call him Smoked Bacon..Seriously, I was. Hehe. See what I mean about the Jade/Double H thing? It could be viewed as friendship, or underlying emotions. Yeah... Well, that's it...Whatcha think? Was it even worth a post? Heh. Well, I had fun writing it. But, reviews would be nice...
Ha! Yeah, well, thanks for reading, and I hope you at least partially liked this rather pointless piece!