Everyone's heard of the straw that broke the camel's back, in Rose's case it was her last math exam.
Not that she failed, because most people don't consider an A minus a failure, in fact most people that have attended St Hopes' would know that receiving that on an exam was a feat in itself, if not something short of a miracle. However, as Rose walked into St Hopes that morning she couldn't help feel like a failure, but the overwhelming feeling she had- that was hatred. And that hatred was the reason why she was carrying an overly large bag filled with items. She refused to let anyone touch it, let alone see the contents of it.
... 5 days later...
Frank had never been happier than at the moment that Oscar walked through the gate, mentally noting that he really had to send Christine a box of chocolates in thanks for the fact that she forced Oscar to come to school half an hour early every morning. Because this morning he really needed backup.
'Oscar. Thank goodness your here. I have a short but deadly mission... and I need your help.' Whatever sleepiness Oscar had walking through the gate had disappeared with the utterance 'assigned' 'deadly' 'mission' and 'help.' A brain that was asleep seconds before was now in overdrive, analysing the threat rating from Frank's expression and ruling out criminals that couldn't achieve that concern. After a minute of thinking Oscar's list of potential evil master-minds consisted of none. That only mildly concerned him.
'Sure, I'm ready for it...But what about the others, they would hate to miss out on a mission as important as this.'
'Oscar, this may come as a surprise but I need back-up immediately. I wouldn't ask for your help if it wasn't really urgent, every moment that has passed has added to the threat. And with this threat it would be suicide if M.I. 9 were to find out about it. You have to promise me one thing however, no matter what happens, you won't act irrationally.' Oscar's concern was rapidly increasing; this was not Frank's normal response.
'It's okay Frank, I won't.' Frank seemed to already start doubting the logic he used that convinced him to ask Oscar for help. So, tilting his head slightly Oscar asked the important question. 'So what is the actual mission?'
'There has been a breach.' Oscar looked unfazed, and slightly confused. That had already occurred, so why this was instance so much more important than the last? Frank could see that Oscar didn't fully comprehend the seriousness of the case. 'At this school. An enemy agent has infiltrated the school and has been hacking files.' The enormity of the case finally dawned on Oscar; questions swamped his mind, but he reduced it to the two most important ones.
'Who are they and where are they now?'
'Their identity is unknown, but as for their location' Frank's face involuntarily twitched 'it's at HQ.' And that was when Oscar really started worrying.
'So you remember the plan?' Oscar looked at Frank incredulously; he started to doubt the sanity of his mentor. Oscar did not only know the plan; he thought it out, he filtered out any of the issues surrounding the plan and he made a backup plan in case that failed. Once he looked at Frank's face, however, the doubt slowly started to reside; the concern etched on his face was obvious-even to a random individual, and Oscar knew that the concern was not for himself; but rather the teen in front of him. His, that is, Oscar's role in the mission was far more riskier than Frank's- much to Frank's displeasure- but only Frank had the expertise to successfully accomplish the other half of the mission and even that wasn't a certainty. Oscar just nodded in response, and walked away to the entrance of the headquarters, the 'caretaker's closet' all the while knowing where Frank was heading. He was just hoping that he would be subtle enough to not be noticed, but quick enough to get there on time. He slid the light switch with great discretion and placed his finger on the scanner underneath it; thinking about his two colleagues who had done this numerous times in the past without a second thought, thinking about his two predecessors who had done this without ever doubting, or ever needed to doubt the security of their second home. He opened the door hoping that this wouldn't be the last time this would occur, he pulled the broom needing the comfort of his friends that he ironically didn't want to see with this predicament occurring. He was thankful for the speed and efficiency of the lift, taking him down in a few microseconds. He was also thankful for the fact that it was deathly silent- no intruder would see him coming until he was there, giving him and Frank the only thing that could possibly be considered an advantage.
It gave him the element of surprise.
The door opened, and by that time he had channelled the worry that he had and converted into anger. The realisation that if SKUL, or any person, were to break into HQ and find out their identities-his in particular- hit him hard; he would have to leave his colleagues, his friends, his other halves. No goodbyes, no forwarding addresses, he would effectually be a ghost in their past. But, he noted, they wouldn't be the one's haunted everyday with the loss, they would eventually move on with their lives and in M.I. units, he would have to start a new identity, a new life. And so, as the door opened Oscar made a personal commitment to himself that he was NOT going to let some low life, scum of the earth criminal strip him from the only piece of happiness in his life.
'Stay where you are and put your hands up. Don't try anything if you want a short sentence.' Oscar knew the risks involved with walking into an isolated building-filled with weapons-blind and defenceless, and they were not pretty. Nothing was certain in this mission; everything was based on assumptions and hope. He could only assume that authoritative voice he was using and the surprise of him arriving so early would be able to ruin any thought patterns of his adversary until Frank arrived. He could only hope that the prototypes that Frank had been working on in the back of HQ would work or they both would be in serious trouble. But when he saw who the 'intruder' was, he was only certain of one thing.
He definitely did not have the advantage of surprise.
'Rose? What on earth are you doing in HQ at this time? If Frank was correct, and he usually is, you've been here for at least three hours. Not only is that not natural for anyone, it abnormal. Even for you.' The last sentence was an afterthought; he added it to get a laugh, a scolding or any response from the black haired beauty in front of him. But she just turned around to face him and stared, no greeting, no smile, no sign she even recognised him. A thought flittered through his mid that she was a robot, similar to the one's created by Andrea Ivanovic a few months ago, but he quickly brushed that aside. He could easily tell the difference between the two; though the similarities were so unnerving he struggled to even touch the robot version because of his emotions. He knew that this was Rose, his Rose, but there was something wrong with her. With a few quick strides in her direction, he reached object of his affections and looked into her eyes. Her empty, vacant, emotionless, expressionless eyes. He lifted her chin up to look at her more closely; there was no resistance, just the single fluid-like movement of her body. The surrealism of the situation was affecting Oscar more heavily than the threat of someone breaking into HQ. 'Rose? Rose, speak to me. Please.' The pleading whisper from Oscar conveyed the pure desperation that he was going through, but whether Rose noticed it- or even cared - was something less obvious. He took another step closer, clearly invading her personal space, but she took no notice, she just continued to stare at him. When he put his hands on her shoulders, however, he could physically feel her tense up and he saw the flinch. And that's when he knew that it really was Rose, but something happened.
The discovery of that 'something' was interrupted by a pumped up Frank, running on pure adrenaline and fear, coming to zap Rose with a taser that would render her unconscious for at least a day. Oscar temporarily forgot Frank was coming, but once he saw movement coming from the tunnels he knew what was about to occur. So, with speed so fast it would put Carrie's position on the team in jeopardy, he pulled Rose into his chest and put his back towards Frank, so that if anyone would be stung it would be him. Frank, who saw this happen, altered the movement of his arm so that it missed Oscar by millimetres. He then just stood there confused; puzzled over the fact that Oscar was trying to protect the intruder. Oscar, on the other hand, was bracing himself for the body-numbing sting of the taser, all the while holding onto Rose as if his life depended on it. After a few seconds, when he realised that he wasn't hit with the taser, he relaxed himself and, much to his chagrin, let go of Rose to face Frank.
'Frank, meet our "intruder," Rose.' He took a step to the left so Frank would be able to see her in all her glory. Oscar was amused by the bewildered expression on Frank's face when he saw that it was indeed Rose and not some 6 foot, muscular-yet vile- criminal, as his imagination had led him to believe. Oscar then went to look at Rose who, just like when she saw Oscar, just stared blankly; this time however, it was directed toward Frank.
'Rose, what are you doing here? It's... not ... like ... what is that over there?' Frank had gotten distracted by an overly large bag near one of the pillars of HQ; a bag that he would have ignored had it not had numerous items of clothing pouring out of it. Girl's clothing.
And this is when Oscar saw the first emotion to flood Rose's face that day, though he wasn't relived, as he assumed he would be when he first noticed her expressionless. Because that emotion was anger; but not normal anger, it was as if the inner demon inside Rose had been released, the vicious animal behaviour in her made her pounce to the bag and protect it like a lioness to her cubs.
'Don't say a thing. Just go up the elevator and pretend this never occurred.' Rose pointed towards the lift. 'Walk. No questions. Now.' Oscar anxiousness had been growing ever since he saw Frank that morning, and it had now reached its climax. He had never seen Rose like this in their entire friendship, and he knew that the 'something' would not just be big- it would be off the chart if it was able to cause Rose to act in such an erratic and strange way. Oscar wanted to walk towards her, to ask her what was causing this reaction, he wanted to hug her and calm her down until she was normal. He wanted to do all that but he was unable to get his body to anything, it seemed the connection between his brain and his muscles was severed with the change in her attitude. He was transfixed in that spot, staring at Rose, and he continued to do so until Frank decided to do something. And that something included interrogating the girl until she cracked.
'Rose, what on earth is wrong with you. We are not going to let you do anything without our knowledge or consent. We are a team. And teamwork does not include and individual secretly hacking into the M.I.9 mainframe for classified information. We can't let you get away with anything- so if you plan on walking out of HQ a free girl you are going to explain to us what you were doing on the M.I.9 and why there is a bag containing enough of your clothing to last a week.' Oscar was curiously wondering why Frank had constantly said "we" because he knew that if Rose had asked him to leave kindly, he probably would have done so – until he understood the reasoning of her. Then he would have questioned her logic.
Rose stood there defiantly, refusing to let Frank receive and answer or go anywhere near the bag that she possessively took care of. Oscar realised that this might take a while sat on the table in HQ, he put his hands on the table as well-with the intention of leaning on them- but when his fingers brushed against a piece of paper, his spy curiosity piqued and he picked it up and read it. And that's when more pieces of the puzzle fell. And that's when he got a vague idea of what Rose was doing in HQ with the mysterious bag.
But this idea- it just confused him even more.
And so, with a flood of confidence suddenly, he decided to read the letter out loud '...blah, blah, blah. Okay "...this camp, lasting for three days, is a compulsory school requirement, meant to build social and humanitarian skills. It is designed to show the children how people in less fortunate countries live as well as building long lasting friendships between the pupils of St Hopes. When this camp has ended- they will be required to write an essay on the experience as well as start a project to help the people who constantly have to live in the conditions that the children had to endure for the three days... "more rubbish "...Kenneth Flatley." And there is his signature.' Both Frank and Oscar gave a pointed look at Rose, who had found a sudden interest with the intricate design of the floor. This gave Oscar the confidence that he needed to walk up to Rose; she was no longer and angry vixen, but was more like the Rose he knew. He stood next to her and when she looked up at him all he could see is guilt, fear and desperation. 'Rose,' he started, both forgetting about Frank for the moment 'why the elaborate lies, why have you been hiding in HQ for three days? You can tell me, can't you? ' Rose nodded defeated and looked up at him.
'Oscar, I need to move in with you.' This took the blonde haired boy by surprise.
'What, but I live in a-' he was going to say M.I. unit orphanage but Rose cut him off.
'Why.' While that word may be simple he knew that the answer would not be. Because if something was to drive Rose to the brink of insanity, it was not going to be a straightforward answer. Hurt flashed through Rose's eyes before she spoke, her voice betraying her the emotions she was trying to hide.
'Idecidedtorunawayfromhome.' Rose mumbled really fast, hoping he would leave it at that and understand what she had just said. But as fate would have it, the only one who understood what she said was Frank.
'You what? Rose you cannot just do that, even if you are an M.I.9 agent. In fact, that is even worse, it is risky to have an agent you is that capricious, or emotionally unstable.' Frank took a deep breath, calmed his voice down and in an anxious tone he added 'Rose, this type of spontaneous behaviour is grounds for dismissal.' Oscar, who didn't catch what Rose had said before, was confused and worried... predominately worried though.
'Wait, can someone explain to me what Rose did that was so serious.'
Rose looked him in the eye and said very decidedly 'I. Decided. To. Run - '
'She ran away and I assume with the bags that she had been living here for the past three days. For completely no reason too. Not only that, she had been hacking the M.I.9 mainframe for...' Frank drifted off into silence for a while before looking to Rose and asking her the question that had suddenly hit him. 'Rose, what exactly were you doing on the M.I.9 mainframe?'
'I was...using it for information.' Finished Rose smiling, realising that she didn't lie- she just was being vague; refusing to give any specific information unless asked for it. Unfortunately, she was talking to Frank- a master technician known by all M.I. units- and so, with that response, he just walked to the computer and pulled up the files.
'How long have you had this idea of running away?' questioned Frank, when the files popped up. With that, Oscar went to the computers to see what Frank had discovered. And what they saw was 5 hours' worth of hacked files on every single M.I.9 owned/ funded shelter home, orphanage, "youth" hostel. Every building that was known by all MI Units was up there. Had it not been Rose who had done all this, Oscar and Frank would be petrified about the safety of all the individuals in there- but it was Rose and so all they were was confused.
'And that's why I need to move in with you. Out of every M.I. owned building, yours is the perfect location. It is not so far away from the school that I have to travel hours to arrive here yet it's not so close that my neighbours will recognise me and start asking questions.' Oscar looked at Rose bewildered, while she was looking into the distance, as if she was answering a math equation of the top of her head-and not talking about something that could affect her entire future with the organisation.
'You aren't going anywhere until you give me a legitimate reason to let you stay with me...at the orphanage.' Rose's face darkened.
'I'm having family problems.'
'What's wrong with the family?' He knew once the words left his mouth it was the wrong question to ask. He had family problems and he hated it when people would inquire about it. Rose was the only one that ever got information about his family- and it wasn't necessarily with his support. But he could tell that the wounds were still new, in his experience it took him an entire year to even accept that his mother was a traitor, another two to verbally say the fact. Her face reiterated the truth to his assumptions- he clearly wasn't going to get any information on that. 'Fine. Fine, don't answer that. '
'I wasn't planning to.'
'Fine, but you could always tell one of your friends about what was going on.'
'Yeah right. Do you mean Avril- the girl who tortures me every day for actually trying in school, because every essay I hand in destroys the rainforests, raises the carbon levels and brings us one step closer to the ruination of the world. That girl holds me solely responsible for destruction of the Greenwood forest even though I have no control over what paper my mother buys my family. Or are we talking about Scoop Doggy – the guy who will insult me behind my back and then claim that I will be ' so easy to get' because no normal guy would ever be interested in me because I am a geek, so I would be happy with any attention that I get. Or Davina – the fashionista who's first thought when seeing me is what's wrong with my outfit – even though it is school policy to wear the uniform. Or Donovan who –
'Okay, okay I get the picture.' Oscar sighed, slightly frustrated at the way things were turning out, but more so towards the people at the school. The judgemental superficial people who claimed to be their friends. He walked to Rose and held the side of her arms lightly, noting she wasn't as tense as before. His voice dropped, both in tone and volume, and he sounded slightly hurt when he continued 'Well, what about Carrie or Frank you could always turn them. Or, hey, you know I was always an option too- it's not like I'd do anything to you with the information. Unlike the others' his voice was filled with disgust as he said that word 'I actually care about you.' Rose flushed a little before answering.
'I know... I meant to say...what I mean is... ' Rose was now flushed and tongue tied. Oscar was going to press her for answers but a soft bell stopped him.
The phrase 'saved by the bell' had never rung more true for Rose than at that moment. Pun intended.
'Oh' smiled Rose 'I'm never late for class, so I need to go now.' She rushed to the elevator and before it closed she shouted a compromise 'I'll go with you home today, and if your caretaker allows me to stay the night I'll answer every question you have.'
'Promise?' questioned Oscar and he got a muffled 'promise' in response. He directed a forced smile towards Frank before he walked to the elevator himself. As he got on, as he faced Frank and the M.I. High HQ, as he saw the elevator doors close he could think of one thing.
Tonight was going to be interesting.
Hello y'all. I was kinda, sorta working on this instead of my other fic. Not mentioning any names *cough- MIHTD-cough* It's so funny because this was supposed to be a one shot, but I don't think you'd read a one shot with 11 250 words (I would-and have- but I'm special :)so yeah…that didn't happen, instead it is a three-shot YAY! So anyways, the entire story is finished as I thought it was gonna be a one shot.
*insert smiley face* thank you to all those who reviews MIHTD by the way; the 20 reviews brought a smile to my face. PS some confidential information, the next chapter is definitely finished, the chapter after that is either almost complete or I have 2 half chapters (I want to split that into 2 but we'll see) so expect an update within the next year or so.
I don't think I need to say it, so I will: REVIEW!