A young blonde-haired, slim-bodied boy lay on his stomach in a narrow air shaft, carefully navigating his way, slowly opening the vent that was now in front of him. He slid down the wall like liquid steel, moving the way that he'd been properly taught.
With dexterous and sure fingers he pulled out a small canister and sprayed the floor in front of him.
Ha, the security was laughable. Only a floor laser grid presented itself. Complex, but easy to avoid. In the way that he had been trained, he artfully stepped, side-stepped, and danced across the floor, avoiding all of them.
It took him next to no time to grab the object in question and then he started to make his way out of the building.
He moved just as effortlessly as before and he smiled as he carefully and adeptly exited the building without detection, a smirk crossing his lips at his success, his brown eyes bright.
Pressing his finger to his ear, he said,
"Katie, are you out?"
Suddenly, a young brunette with mischievous blue eyes dropped down in front of him, harness strapped to her body, and he watched as she flipped a small lever and the rope that she'd been attached to fell to the ground in a pool at their feet and then zipped into a small compartment.
He tried not to act surprised, but his heart was going a mile a minute…and from the way his sister was grinning, she knew it as well.
"Of course I'm out, Thomas. I'm always out before you."
She said this last part with a smug smile on her face that he recognized as one that his mom gave his dad, and Thomas simply shook his head.
"Okay, fine. I just want to get back home before Uncle Nate and Aunt Sophie arrive, alright?"
Katie nodded and then followed behind him, keeping her eyes peeled for any more guards that might have appeared out of nowhere. You could never be too careful about these sorts of things; the two of them knew that lesson well.
Within minutes they were back at the van that had been carefully hidden three blocks away, and they drove home.
They parked the car in the garage, and Thomas tossed the keys to his sister, grabbing the bags from the back and following her up the stairs.
Katie turned to him just before they opened the door to the first floor and gave him a manic grin. Oh no.
"You know, we could just go in through the air-vents. I know Mom would approve, and it would be great to mess with Uncle Alec, again." She continued to grin, and he found it infectious, unable to wipe the smile from his face.
Katie gave him a look. "Is that a yes?"
"Yeah, that's a yes."
In full agreement, they walked back down the stairs and effortlessly hoisted themselves into the industrial-sized air-vents that their' parents had installed for the house, Thomas grabbing the bag and pulling it behind them.
They had spent their entire lives learning them; it had been all a part of their very own personalized playground.
Luckily, because the rest of the family was coming, the laser trip-wires were off, so they could move without setting off any alarms, and make their way to the living room undetected…at least, by their Uncle Alec.
They were never able to surprise mom and dad, however; it was almost as though they had eyes and ears everywhere.
Soon enough they were over the living room, and the two of them shared a look as they got into position.
On a silent count of three, they dropped down simultaneously on either side of their Uncle Alec, who had been on the couch playing a video game, but was now on the floor.
"Son of a-! Don't do that! You know that I hate it when you do that!" He then looked at the television screen and groaned, while Katie and Thomas shared a look of triumph at scaring their uncle once more.
"Dammit! You two-!" he said, standing and pointing a finger at the both of them and then back at the television. "I was winning the hardest Boss Fight ever created in the history of gaming! Win-ing!", he said emphasizing the two syllables. "And now…!"
He turned back to the screen, looking as though he could almost cry.
"Now I…I…I have to start over. Start over…!"
Katie and Thomas slid off the couch, both of them standing, Thomas feeling only a little guilty.
"Uh…sorry Uncle Alec. But you know, it's just a game-"
His uncle cut him off.
"Just a game? Just a game? Do you have any idea how much…? No, you wouldn't, would you. You were raised by wolves, of course, how could I forget?"
At hearing this, the two of them shared grins once more, both of them incredibly amused by the reaction that they were able to cause. However, their amusement was broken by the sudden entrance of their parents walking into the room.
"Hey, you two…how'd it go?" asked their mom, and Thomas grinned.
"It went perfect. We didn't trip anything, their security was a joke, and-"
Katie cut him off. "And we got it."
She motioned to her brother, and he remembered that he'd left the bag in the vent, so he quickly jumped onto the edge of the couch and hung from the vent in the ceiling with one hand while he used the other hand to grab the strap of the bag and pull it out.
He handed it down to his sister and then dropped back to the floor and watched as she handed it to their dad.
Their dad never spoke much, but when he did, they had learned to pay close attention to whatever he said, as it was always important.
He let out a small grunt.
"Good job." He tossed the bag to Thomas. "In two days, I want you two to put it back."
At this, both Thomas and Katie looked at each other and then at their mom, who simply smiled at them.
"You heard your dad…"
Leaning over and giving her husband a kiss on the cheek, she walked over the couch and sat down, lifting the remote and flipping through channels.
Their dad gave them both a small smile. "You guys did good, really. Now," he said, pushing them both in the directions of their rooms, "Go get changed. Your aunt and uncle are going to be here soon, and they don't need to know what you've been doing."
At this, the two of them shared identical grins and walked down the hallways to their rooms to change.
In a few minutes they came back out, both of their all black outfits completely shed.
Katie, in place of her previous clothes, wore dark purple leggings and large gray top with accents of gold. Thomas rolled his eyes at her outfit. It was obvious that she was trying to impress Aunt Sophie with her taste.
He, however, had simple pulled on an old pair of worn-out jeans and a blue Henley.
He walked into the kitchen, hoping to grab a snack, and then was startled as he saw that his Aunt and Uncle were sitting at the table.
At this, the older man stood and held out his arms, giving his favorite (and only) nephew a huge hug.
"You just keep on growing, kid. What do you eat for breakfast?"
Thomas rolled his eyes slightly and didn't see the amused look that passed between his aunt and his uncle. "Uncle Nate, I'm fifteen…not exactly a 'kid' any more," he said as he walked over to the fridge and grabbed a carton of milk, drinking from it.
Katie walked in at that point.
"Ew, Thomas…jeez, other people drink milk, too, you know!"
She then registered who was in the room and Thomas, as well as the other two, winced at the decibels reached by her squeal of joy.
"You're here, you're here, you're here, you're here!" she screamed as she ran over to her aunt and they shared a huge hug. Thomas rolled his eyes again, still not understanding the reason for his sister's incredibly hyper and upbeat attitude. He didn't know where she'd gotten it from.
According to his dad, Katie had inherited it from their mom, but he just didn't see it.
Yeah, their mom could be peppy…but more in a morbid, scary kind of way. It didn't bother him at all, that was simply how she was…but upbeat? No.
"Hey, Eliot…what's wrong with your stupid server that you can't even connect to our personal grid back at Leverage, HQ?" yelled Uncle Alec from the other room.
Thomas watched in amusement as his dad growled and stormed off into the other room, yelling back at him.
"Dammit, Hardison…! If you touch or mess with my television, I am beating you to death with your own dismembered limbs, do you hear me?" Their dad continued on like this for a while, and he and his sister, as well as their aunt and uncle, all shared a knowing look.
Yep. That was dad for you.
Within ten minutes, they were all seated at the table and were eating dinner. They all met together as a family at least once a week for dinner, and this time it was their turn to host.
Everyone always looked forward to when mom and dad hosted, simply because dad was an amazing cook. Professional quality. All too quickly dinner was over, and they were ushered out of the kitchen and into the living room.
Aunt Sophie started to talk with Katie as their dad put in the movie into the dvd player.
"So, Katie…do anything new or exciting recently?"
Thomas looked at his brown-haired sister and saw her practically itching with excitement to tell her favorite (and only) aunt about what the two of them had done that evening, but one glare from their dad kept her tongue in check.
"No, nothing really," she said, casually tossing her hair over her shoulder. "Just home school and stuff."
Aunt Sophie gave her niece a calculating look, and then turned to Thomas.
"What about you, Thomas? Dating anyone? Going to any wild parties that we should know about?"
He simply shrugged, glancing warily at his dad, and then picked at the material on the arm of the chair that he was sitting in, not quite meeting his aunt's eye. "No, nothing really," he said, echoing his sister's words. "You know, just school work, chores…other boring things."
This time, however, Aunt Sophie seemed to catch the look that passed between him and his father and she gasped.
"Eliot, you didn't! You told me that you would wait until they were ready!"
At that, his father bristled, and he straightened in his chair, looking his aunt in the eye.
"They are ready, Sophie! They did it today and they pulled it off perfectly." He gave both of them an approving smile, and the two of them basked in the compliment, knowing how rare it was to get one from their stoic father.
He then looked Uncle Nate in the eye, and Uncle Nate simply nodded.
"I trust your judgment, Eliot." At that, their mom sat up from where she sat at her husband's feet. "Hey!" Their uncle nodded in their mom's direction as well. "And your judgment as well, Parker."
And with that it was settled.
Thomas watched as Uncle Alec grinned at him.
"You did your first job, huh? Who took care of security?"
Katie grinned. "I did."
He gave her a high five, Uncle Alec style, and the mood in the room quickly settled. Thomas leaned back in his chair and grabbed the root beer that he'd brought from the kitchen and took a deep drink from it.
He then looked around at the rest of the family, his eyes lastly landing on his parents…and he smiled.
They were looking at the tv, watching the movie, but his dad's hand slid through his mom's hair, and she leaned back against his leg, her left arm around his lower leg.
He then looked at his sister who sat on the floor in front of him, joking around with Uncle Alec, and he smiled again.
You couldn't ask for a better family.