Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I don't make any money off of them.
A/N: Thanks as always to ritt, the world's best beta and sounding board (and title giver)! This story is going slower than most so the updates will be slower. I normally try for one a day but this one will probably be more like one or two a week. I promise the rest of the chapters won't be this short.
It was a perfect night on the cozy CalSci campus – the starry sky was crystal clear and the temperature was warm and inviting. Most of the students had already left campus to get a jump on their weekend, leaving behind deserted walkways, benches and common areas. The majority of the school's buildings were dark, closed up until Monday morning, but one still emitted a warm, yellowish glow as two men inside an office consulted a series of blackboards. Another man stood in a cluster of trees a few hundred feet from the office window, closely watching the two occupants through his scope. He increased the magnification and leaned against one of the trees as he observed, quite comfortable to wait as long as it took for his target to come out in the open.
The target was the younger of the office occupants, a student by the name of Grayson Holloway. His lean frame sported a head full of blond curls and a pale, freckled complexion. He dressed casually in a pair of worn jeans and a gray windbreaker that hung open to reveal a black tee shirt from a heavy metal concert. To the casual observer he could be any young student from the suburbs trying to get an education at a prestigious school, but the man behind the scope knew differently. He knew about Holloway's background, could see it in the lines around the young man's eyes and mouth which spoke of a hard, stressful past – one that was about to catch up to him in a bad way.
The student's companion – a professor whose identity was well known to the observer – made one last notation on the chalkboard before stepping back and nodding. He clapped the blond on the shoulder and closed his laptop, seemingly ending the after-hours session. Holloway waved good night and exited the office, disappearing into the heart of the building.
Showtime, the man concealed in the trees thought as he pocketed his scope and moved closer to the building's main door, making sure to stay hidden in the shadows. Within minutes the lean student exited the building, trotting down the stairs and moving down the sidewalk at a brisk pace. His observer had no problem matching his stride while still remaining concealed in the darkness.
The target turned into a small alley and the man waited a moment to keep some distance between them before following Holloway's path. As he entered the alley, he was shocked to see that he had lost a visual on the blond. His senses went on high alert and he instinctually reached for the handgun he kept on his hip as he scanned the shadows of the deserted area in front of him. He was still pondering what could have happened when he heard a loud noise and felt a sharp pain burrow into the back of his shoulder.
Damn, he thought as he fell. How'd the kid get behind me? He weakly tried to roll over but something slammed into the side of his head, making stars dance in front of his eyes. Lights flooded the area around him as concerned neighbors checked out the source of the noise and he heard footsteps running away, fading into the distance.
He tried to push himself up off the pavement but his head swam and he crumpled back to the cool asphalt. A stranger's voice told him to hold on, that help was coming, but he was already starting to give in to the darkness creeping up on him.
Billy Cooper's last conscious thought was that he would have a lot of explaining to do when Don Eppes found out his old partner had been on the CalSci campus, spying on his brother's office and tracking a fugitive without even giving him a heads-up.