A/N – whoooooa over a hundred follows! Seems like yesterday that I was only just posting this fic, and we're not even halfway through yet! Thanks so much for the continuing support. The plot for this is a lot harder to work out than you'd think, so keep the reviews coming, I'd love to know your thoughts!
Sam0728: don't worry, Eden certainly has some tricks up her sleeve, we just have yet to find out what ;)
"Can you think of anything? Anything at all?"
Merritt was getting desperate. Eden was getting twitchy. "I'm trying, honestly," she said. And she was. She had scoured almost all her memories of her dad, yet she didn't see how any of it fit together to make 'clues'. All she wanted right now was to leave this panic room – which in itself was starting to make her panic – and put on some proper clothes.
Merritt took a deep breath. He was sitting on the sofa beside her. Daniel was hovering behind, his shadow falling over Eden. Henley and Jack were seated a few feet away, looking a little anxious as they watched on.
"Okay," Merritt said, "can you think of anything you both used to do together frequently? I don't know, go to the park, watch a particular film over and over again, whatever."
Eden opened her mouth to tell him that her father hadn't exactly been the most affectionate of dads, when something sprang to mind. "There might be one thing," she began.
Merritt's eyes lit up. "Let's hear it."
Eden licked her lips. They felt dry and sore from the recycled air. "He taught me a bit of piano. He always used to make me play the refrain from The Mission because it was one of his favourite film scores..." She trailed off and shrugged. "I don't know if that helps."
Merritt smiled. "It's a start. Mind if I take a look? I'll just ask you some questions like before."
Eden paused, not understanding what he meant, when it suddenly dawned on her. Hypnotism again. She sighed. Her eyes were beginning to feel heavy anyway. "Go for it."
The last thing she heard was, "Sleep."
Eden didn't startle awake this time. Instead she opened her eyes lazily, like when you suddenly find yourself conscious at 3:17am.
The first thing she saw was Merritt's grin. "Now that's more like it," he said.
"What did I say when I was under?" she asked, feeling suddenly anxious. There were lingering emotions of stress and happiness, a strange mixture, in her veins.
"The notes for that refrain, to put it simply, are GFDF," Daniel said. His posture was still tense, but now it looked less from impatience and more from enthusiasm. Maybe they were finally getting somewhere.
"From what I remember, yeah," Eden agreed.
Daniel continued, "Now the artefacts that your father stole are valuable, so valuable that you'd want to keep them in a safe place."
"And what's safer than a safe?" Henley chipped in. She was smiling now and the sight of it filled Eden with a little hope.
"It's just a hunch but-" Merritt shrugged, "-it's all we've got right now; better than nothing."
Their words clicked into place for Eden. "You think it's a safe combination?"
Daniel nodded. "G is the seventh letter in the alphabet, F is the sixth, D the fourth, and then G again. 7647. It could work."
Merritt leaned back with a sigh. "Now we just have to find a safe, if there even is one."
"Think of the positives, Merritt," Henley chided him.
"All we need next is a place name," Jack said.
"We can work out the basics. Location, possible safe combination, any security, all that kinda stuff," Henley added.
"I don't think it'll be that easy," Daniel began, but he backtracked when Henley glared at him, "but you're right, we're getting somewhere."
"What if it's not a safe combination though?" Eden asked. She had felt obliged to say so. Everything seemed too good to be true. Some aspects of her father were a mystery to her, yet she could still apply what she knew. Her dad had never been one to take the easy option. She guessed that was even more truthful when it came to this hidden side of him. "What if it's not a 'clue' at all? You could be reading too far into it. Or if it is something important, it might not be a safe combination. It could be a flat number, part of a postcode, part of a phone number. The possibilities are endless, really."
"She's right," Merritt announced. Eden liked having him on her side.
"So we try all the possibilities," Henley said, standing up. It was still odd seeing Henley in loose pyjamas instead of smart, tailored clothes and gloves. "Research that set of numbers, see what it throws up. Then maybe that might trigger something else in Eden's memory."
"It's worth a shot. It'd probably be easier if we had Dylan though," Jack said, rubbing at his eyes.
Eden didn't like the way the others exchanged glances, as though they were hiding the extent of their worries from her. She still couldn't quite get her head round how an FBI agent could keep his secret double-life as some kind of a magician a secret.
"Was he actually arrested?" she asked them.
"Best case scenario," Daniel answered, "he's simply been dropped from our case, so it'll be a little harder to stay ahead of the FBI. Worst case scenario, they've discovered his link to us. Maybe Bradley finally told them something worth believing."
"Bradley?" This was the point in time where Eden wished she could have discussed this whole thing with the four of them over coffee beforehand with thirty days notice.
"Thaddeus Bradley," Merritt said. "World renowned magician buster currently in custody for stealing thousands of dollars."
"Did he? Steal the money, I mean," Eden asked.
Merritt gave a sly smile. "I'm afraid that's for us to know and for you to find out."
Jack threw himself about on the sofa, getting into a comfier position. "Hey, maybe Bradley could help us. He's probably heard of Eden's dad, he might know something about him that we don't. Like how his illusions and tricks work."
"You're full of good ideas today, kid," Merritt said, grinning at Jack, who only scowled in return.
"That would involve visiting him in prison, and seeing as we're on the 'most wanted' list that's maybe not a good idea after all," Daniel objected.
Jack's face fell almost imperceptibly as Daniel knocked his idea aside. Eden frowned, feeling empathy drop like a stone into her stomach. "Maybe I could talk to him," she said. "The police or whatever might not have gathered enough information on me, I might be able to get in without too much trouble. Get me a new fake ID and it could work."
"They're both on a roll now," Merritt exclaimed. He threw an encouraging smile Eden's way. "It could work," he added, looking to Daniel.
Daniel himself only continued to frown. There were dark circles under his eyes. Finally, he said, "I'll think about it."
The FBI and police finally left at around mid-morning. Eden had tried to get some sleep like the others but had found she was too awake. Instead, she had watched the agents stalking about their apartment as the sun rose. Only one now remained, a simple guard at the front door. The door itself had been fixed, yet it hung rather loosely on its battered hinges. How they had completely managed to tear it free was anyone's guess.
The five of them had left the panic room, moving as quietly as they could. They went to pack their things and found there were only a few items left behind. Random toiletries, a t-shirt, a belt. The FBI had taken most of their possessions with them. Eden didn't see how any of it was evidence, but who was she to question the police?
None of it mattered that much to Eden, however. She'd turned up in New York with nothing but the clothes on her back. It wasn't like she could wear them again anyway now that they were probably searching for a girl in that outfit. It felt odd having nothing to care about or remember. But it was also freeing.
She wandered into Jack's room, glad to be out of those short pyjamas and in the clothes Henley had lent her on the plane. Thank God they hadn't been taken.
She found Jack with his head wedged under the bed. Eden couldn't help but snigger. He yanked his head free at the sound, looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights, before his face relaxed into an easy smile.
"Shit, you scared me," he said.
Eden smiled. "What are you looking for?"
"My clothes," he answered, peering under the bed again. His voice was muffled next time he spoke. "I kicked my jacket under here earlier and it's right in the corner... aha!"
His head reappeared, along with his hand triumphantly clutching his leather jacket. "I have this at least. They took everything else."
"I don't really get why."
Jack shrugged, getting to his feet. "I don't either. The FBI work in mysterious ways."
"A bit like you then."
He smirked at that. "I guess, but I'm better."
Eden raised an eyebrow. "Prove it. Get us past that guard at the front door."
Jack pulled on his jacket, looking a little comical against his trackies. "At least make it a bit harder for me."
Eden grinned and jerked her head towards the stairs. "Go on then, hop to it."