Guest 1&2: Thanks for finding my little story! Also, I'm updating right now!
Hello: D'aww I wouldn't call this "finely crafted" but thanks for the kind words!
laddie7: Yeah, I have this headcannon that Roth and Sully had this rivalry as treasure hunters that eventually simmered down to comraderie once they got older and made their fortunes :) In terms of the relationships, I'll direct you to the comments I made at the beginning of the last chapter. But yes, banter is fun and I'll try and fit all of that in! Not just yet though. For reasons.
"I don't like this." Reyes commented as she bit into her sandwich.
The group had eventually made it back to their flat after what had seemed like hours of sitting around the police station answering the same questions but to different officials, stating that they were merely "confirming facts". Lara did not need her Survivor to realize how much trash that comment had been.
"You sure you want to be talking about that right now, Reyes?" Jonah asked as he glanced at the man at the door.
Toru Nishimura was a man to behold. Decked out in a tailored white suit, slicked back hair, and aloof expression, Mr. Nishimura looked the part of power even without the aide of his bodybuilder physique. An up and coming media mogul, Jonah had every right to be wary of the man. The man in question crossed his arms across his broad chest,
"You should know by now, Maiava-kun, that my business thrives on information." His stoic face broke into an easy grin, "Any attempt to keep information from me will fail." His eyes twinkled merrily behind dark shades, "Continue on with your discussion, please."
The corner of Lara's mouth lifted ever so slightly and Sam stifled a giggle at Jonah's befuddled expression.
"As I was saying." Reyes continued without missing a beat, "There was definitely something wrong with those officers."
"They seemed fine to me." Sam quipped as she nursed a cold drink. The sun had set just minutes ago but Summers in Japan were humid and stifling at best.
"Maybe. But did they ask you about anyone in particular?" Reyes responded in kind.
"Well, yeah. A possible suspect. Shame too, he was cute." Sam sighed, oblivious to the irritated huff from her father. Lara's eyebrows shot up, slightly disturbed that her best friend would consider her much older Uncle "cute",
"Seriously Sam? Isn't he a little ripe for you?" Lara grimaced.
"Sam." Mr. Nishimura warned Sam, who in turn looked confused,
"He wasn't that old!" She defended herself, "Probably not much older than us. Who'd they ask YOU about Lara?"
"I got a picture of a young brotha." Jonah chimed in, "Pretty average lookin dude. Except for the eyes." He added as an afterthought.
"Got a thing for eyes now, Jonah?" Sam teased.
"Hey, not like that!" Jonah ran a hand over his mohawk in mock irritation, "Always puttin words into my mouth..."
"Is this going anywhere Jonah?" Lara questioned, irritated that she was cut off.
"Oh, yeah!" Jonah quickly composed himself, "His eyes looked normal and all. But there was somethin about them, you know? Like, familiar..."
"Probably because he looked like us." Reyes spoke up. At the blank expressions, she continued, "He looked a hell of a lot like how we looked the first day off Yamatai." Everyone except Nishimura flinched at the name but Reyes moved forward, "No doubt he's seen his share of hellholes."
"Was his name Drake?" Lara questioned dread forming at the pit of her stomach, "Nathan Drake?"
"Yeah!" Sam snapped her fingers in recognition.
"And no one thought that it was odd that they found a suspect so soon." Reyes questioned, getting to the heart of the matter,
"That station was packed, no matter the time of day it should have been difficult for security to find a clear shot of one person in the mass of thousands, let alone connect him to a bombing."
"Well you said so yourself, Reyes." Jonah argued, "Local authorities put up red flags on foreigners, and this dude didn't look Japanese."
"Oh, wait." Jonah murmured, "What's off was that-"
"They had his name." Sam realized, "He's probably not a native, which means they'd have to get records from foreign countries-"
"And if he's associated with Sully- don't give me that look Lara, I know Sully's involved." Reyes responded to Lara's look of surprise, "Then they should have nothing on him. No passport, no birth certificate, not even a damn bus pass."
"Wait...so how do the authorities know about him?" Sam mused out loud.
"I'd imagine someone gave the security his name before the incident." Nishimura's response visibly startled the group; they had forgotten that he was still there. "Or directly after the fact I suppose. That would explain both their response time as well as the accuracy of their information, correct?"
"My thoughts exactly." Reyes crumpled the sandwich wrapping in her hands, "So Nishimura," She addressed the older man,
"You just said your business thrives on information." The businessman beamed in response, "Who do you think would have access to this information?"
"Well," He tapped his chin thoughtfully, "it could very easily be an accomplice of his, someone who backed out at the last minute?"
"That sounds fair." Reyes nodded, "But before we jump to any conclusions-"
"The yakuza." Lara interrupted, finally voicing her fears out loud, "Sully mentioned something about Drake getting into trouble with the Yamaguchi-gumi. Could they have done something?"
"I believe this is considered jumping to conclusions but yes, I suppose they could." Nishimura responded after a moment, "I would not be surprised if they had connections within law enforcement."
"I'm sorry Lara, but what?" Sam recovered from shock, "The YAMAGUCHI-GUMI? They have influence sure, but the last known gang activity from any of the main branches was decades ago. They all do public works now."
"Well that's what they have on record anyways." Lara added, "But from what Uncle Vic's told me, they still have deep ties within the global black market."
"Sully's not expecting you to help this man, is he?" Reyes glared at the Brit.
"He's family." Lara defended, "He could be asking me to steal the bloody Mona Lisa and I'd say yes." At their apprehensive stares, Lara sighed,
"I know this is crazy, I do. But I won't just leave him to handle this on his own. Not after he's asked me to help him."
"Alright, I'm game." Sam responded immediately, "I can use Dad's contacts to help us out, maybe sort through all the intel you need."
"Wait," Lara started, panic rising in her chest, "Uncle Vic asked me to do this. None of you-"
"The hell we don't." Reyes snorted, "I was one plane ride away from never seeing my Alisha again. As much as I hate to admit it," Reyes looked sheepish as she looked away from Lara's bewildered stare, "you have some ridiculous luck when it comes to staying alive."
Lara was not sure if that was an apology for what she said on Yamatai or it was just her way of saying she would stick around, but the admission brought a small, grateful smile to her lips.
"You can't expect us not to help, Little Bird." Jonah smiled, "Now what can we do?"
"No." Mr. Nishimura demanded before Lara could say a word, "I allowed my daughter to participate on your last excursion because it was meant to be simple archeological dig and that was clearly not the case. And now you expect me to-"
"So, I'm assuming that this is a bad time then?"
The newest addition to the conversation was quickly introduced to the hardwood floor.
"Try not to stain it." Mr. Nishimura said off hand, his tirade temporarily halted due to the newest development.
"Sully." Reyes moved her knee from the man's lower back, but kept her hand pressed against his skull so that he was still pressed to the ground, "Under most situations, that Batman shit would be tolerable at best. But as you can see," Reyes heard the clatter of a knife in Jonah's general direction and noticed Lara standing in front of Sam protectively from the corner of her eye, "this ain't the best group of people to surprise right now."
"Hehe... so much for the -ah- dramatics." Sully grimaced underneath Reyes firm hand, "Now, could you get off me? Before I bust a spleen or whatever shit old people suffer from."
"It was supposed to be an easy job. Well, relatively easy."
Sully adjusted himself on the floor so that his back rested against the wall, directly under the windowsill facing the street. Lara and Reyes were laying on couches in front of the TV, with Lara seemingly on her phone while Reyes blindly flipped through random channels.
"What did you have to smuggle?" Lara asked as she played Zombieville. It was amusing, to say the least; pretending that a wanted man was not in their living room and acting as if it was a normal night. Hopefully if anyone was watching they would not see anything too suspicious. And if they were exceptionally lucky tonight then no one noticed the ruckus caused by Sully's abrupt appearance.
"It was more like we had to steal back something."
"Steal from the Yakuza?" Sam commented from the kitchen counter, knife in hand as she chopped up some vegetables for Jonah, who had situated himself in front of the stove.
"That was the job, yeah." Sully responded as easily as if she had commented on the weather.
"Who scares you badly enough to do something stupid like that?"
"Always know just what to say, don't you, Reyes?" Sully shot back, "And it wasn't outta fear. It was a test."
"Who the hell makes stealing back a random artifact a test?"
"Please stop with the goddamn questions! I'm getting to it." Sully complained, "Nate was contacted by- well I guess you could call them an organization."
"And this organization's name is?"
"It's a need-to-know kind of deal." Sully growled at Reyes, who merely shrugged as she continued to stare at the TV set, "As I was saying, Nate was approached by a member of this organization. They're practically a myth to guys like me, and I hunt after anything with a fairytale and a map attached to it.
"It takes a lot of recognition to gain their attention, sure, but just getting invited isn't enough. See, they ask you to accomplish a task; make sure that you're up to snuff with what they do. And let's just say that they handle the 'order' between mythology and reality. Some paranormal shit."
Jonah snorted as he stirred the broth, "I think we have an idea."
"Well, regardless of what you've seen, that's the short of it." Sully shrugged, "Nate was going through his initiation and he's maintained radio silence for a week now."
"And if you're working under Uncle Vic's shift, that's four days too long." Lara chimed in.
"Right. The kid's a pain in my ass but he's never once missed a check in for as long as I've trained him." Lara could make out the distress in her Uncle's voice for just a moment before he continued with his explanation,
"Now for the most part, we aren't allowed any help." Lara locked eyes with her Uncle as he continued, "If you screw up, you're pretty much FUBAR and they want nothing to do with your incompetence. But, I squeezed out an exception.
"We can recruit the help of other potential initiates."
There was a moment of silence as Sully waited for the group to digest the news.
"You find the remains of a civilization that's been untouchable for centuries, and you honestly thought that you didn't get their attention?"
"Then why the secrecy?" Reyes questioned, "If they're planning on inviting us into this cult, or whatever, why not give us some more information on them?"
"Because you haven't been invited yet." Sully answered, "Only members of the organization can bring in new initiates. I just asked for the next four on the list."
"OK." Lara answered, "So what's the plan?"
"Are we not going to talk about this?" Sam argued from the kitchen, "We're just going to head into this?"
"YOU don't have to do anything." Lara shrugged, "My decision's been made. I'm helping him."
"Great!" Sully clapped in finality, "Guess it's settled!"
"The hell it's settled!" Sam shot back, slamming the blade down in frustration, "Lara, honey." She addressed the woman still nonchalantly playing with her phone, "Think this through. You just made it out of one hell-hole, do you really want to jump into another one?"
Lara had the decency to look sheepish, "Like I said, he's family."
"Family you haven't seen or heard from in a decade." Reyes reminded her, sparing a glare at the otherwise unfazed older man.
"It's..." Lara struggled to find the words. How could she explain? How could she admit the words that had been lingering in the back of her head for months now.
Run. Run away from it all. Lose yourself in the unknown. Find adventure.
It was unhealthy, not to mention irresponsible. She knew that, goddamit. But she had an opportunity to let go, to lose herself in the chase for just a little bit longer.
"It's something I need to do." Lara finally said, hoping to put as much false reassurance as she could into a simple statement.
She could feel Reyes' hard stare from the corner of her mind and she could already tell that the older woman had seen through her facade.
"Then I'm staying with you, Lara." Reyes finally said, "They were planning on recruiting us as is, might as well see what the big deal is about." Lara's shoulders sagged in relief. It felt more like Reyes wanted to babysit than sate her curiosity, but support was support.
"Jonah?" Reyes turned to the Samoan,
"Like I can be anywhere else." Jonah shrugged with an easy smile.
"Well then, I suppose we are done here." Nishimura spoke up before Sam could have any say in the matter. Lara had again forgotten that the imposing man was still in the room,
'Must be a reporter thing.' Lara reasoned to herself.
"Lara." He bowed deeply and dragged a protesting Sam out the door.
Sully looked to Lara who seemed indifferent at the Nishimura's sudden departure.
"As much as I don't want her in danger," Lara sighed, "something tells me that she'll find a way around Mr. Nishimura." Lara pushed aside the guilt of placing her best friend in danger once again. 'But I'd rather have her nearby than out of sight.' Her conviction only strengthened at the memory of the burning plane falling from the sky.
'This time, no one is going to die on my watch.'
"Well now that that's settled, I think." Sully interrupted her thoughts, "Let's get down to the brass tacks."
He gestured at Jonah to shut off the windows and close the blinds; Sully's not-so-dynamic entrance had been enough of a distraction that Lara failed to notice the late hour and the once humid air had begun to chill.
As Jonah joined Lara and Reyes on the couches, Sully moved to the front of the room. He leveled a hard stare at each person, quietly demanding their undivided attention. Even Reyes sat up marginally straighter,
"None of what I am about to say leaves this room. And only tell your friend if she chooses to come back. You are all officially a part of the initiation. By agreeing to partake in the initiation, you have taken an oath of secrecy. Any attempts to remove yourself from initiation before your proctor- you will meet him later- allows it or to inform any of the higher authorities of your initiation will be dealt with using lethal force." The was a gravity to his voice that left no room for skepticism. Upon noticing that everyone had agreed to those terms of secrecy, Sully continued,
"Before I get to any of the details, what do the three of you know about the Fountain of Life?"
A/N: And done! Jesus you have no idea how hard it was to finish this chapter. First, life happened. Then when life got sorted Skyrim happened (just...don't) THEN my laptop crashed (fun fact, rewrote this entire chapter on my phone) But, to anyone who thought that this fic was dead fear not! I do not plan on giving this story up anytime soon. Please keep patiently waiting and I promise I'll try and get the next chapter finished ASAP
Also, I still badly need a beta x.x
Until next time!