I just want to say that I do NOT at all approve of terrorism in any shape, form, or fashion. Yes, I made the terrorists in this story sympathetic characters. Doesn't mean I approve of their actions or would do the same. =)
Just in case you don't know-
Balinor- John Morgan (in this story)
Hunith- Caroline Morgan (in this story)
Bradley glanced around his apartment, a lump in his throat. I'm never coming back here.
Shoving the thought from his mind, he hurried to his bedroom. He had little time before the exchange, and there was something he wanted from his home. Dashing over to his bed, he seized the picture placed on the nightstand beside it and glanced at it.
It was a photo of the Morgan family, taken fifteen years ago against a snowy backdrop at Walmart. John and Caroline Morgan stood on either side of an eleven-year-old Bradley, who had a tiny Colin seated on his lap. The little boy was grinning that broad, ridiculous smile of his, and the terrorist's chest ached at the sight. He hadn't seen that expression on his brother's face in years. He himself was barely smiling at all in the picture- he had thought himself too cool at the time. Doing a quick calculation, he realized that the photo had been taken only a few months before Tom Ellis had torn their lives apart.
Fifteen years. Fifteen years they had been living in fear.
Today, Bradley was going to end that for Colin.
Shaking himself out of his reverie, the terrorist flipped the picture over and quickly removed it from the frame. After setting down the frame, he took his wallet from his pocket and slid the photo inside, next to the picture of him and his brother grinning maniacally outside the University of Chicago, taken just after Colin had been accepted.
Heaving a deep sigh, he turned and walked out of his apartment for the last time.
Bradley gazed back at Georgia King's concerned brown eyes."Yeah," he muttered. "Let's go. We need to get set up in time for the exchange."
The young woman nodded and switched the car into drive.
The phone call came about five minutes later.
Bradley glanced down at his phone. Unknown number. Hoping it wasn't Hurt calling because he had changed his mind about something, he pressed "answer."
"Bradley James?" The voice was rough, somewhat slurred voice, as if the speaker had rocks in their mouth- obviously disguised.
"Yes. Who is this?"
"I am one of Hurt's agents in the government. You don't need to know my name. All you need to know is that Ellis has arrived and is planning to double cross you in the exchange. He wants to keep your brother."
Bradley felt a cold stab of fear. He should have seen this coming, he thought, internally cursing himself.
Out loud, he inquired, his voice hoarse, "What should I do?"
"Let me finish," interrupted the agent. "How far are you from the FBI headquarters?"
Covering the phone with his hand, the terrorist repeated the question to King.
The young woman shrugged. "Thirty minutes if traffic's good?"
"About half an hour."
"I need you here now; we don't have much time. Ellis has arranged a private meeting with Morgan and I wasn't able to stop it."
"What?!" cried Bradley. "Is he… are they…"
"Shut up, Pendragon, and let me finish!" the agent snapped. "Listen to me. Park a few block away from the building. I'll have another of Hurt's agents loop the cameras. There's a small maintenance door at the back of the building; I'll let you in from there. I would release him myself, but I can't without blowing my cover. Now get over here; Ellis has your brother alone, and we both know what will happen if we don't hurry."
"Go to the FBI headquarters," Bradley instructed Georgia quietly, and the blonde nodded minutely. Then, to the agent, he demanded, "How will I know you?"
"How will I know it's you and not someone working for Ellis?"
A longsuffering sigh, followed by a, "I'll know the code, Pendragon. I work for Hurt, too. Now stop chatting and get over here."
And, with a click, the line went dead.
Colin gazed down at his fingers, interlocked and resting on the table, trying to distract himself with something, anything, but to no avail. His shoulders and back were stiff with tension as he waited for Attorney General Ellis, the man who had destroyed his life, to walk through the door.
This was it, he realized somewhat numbly. The day he had been dreading for so long had finally come, and there was nothing he could do to save himself. His life was, for all intents and purposes, over.
Because Ellis always won.
The door opened, and soft footsteps sounded behind him. He didn't move, unwilling to deign to look at Tom Ellis.
Someone sat down across the table from him, and the boy had to clench his hands to keep them from trembling.
"Colin," said a soft voice, and his head snapped up in surprise. That voice was most assuredly not Ellis's.
It was Katie McGrath, head of the Chicago branch of the FBI. He eyed her suspiciously, certain Ellis had requested to talk to him alone?
"I'm sorry, Colin," she murmured. "I'm so sorry."
Taken aback, he stammered, "What…"
"I know," she breathed. "About Ellis. And… and what he does to people like you. And I realize, now, why your brother hates us so much, and… I understand. And I'm sorry for kidnapping you and bringing you into this mess." To the student's shock, he saw tears in her eyes.
"I... why are you telling me this?" He was making a valiant effort to be furious with her for giving him over to Ellis, but he understood her actions. In fact, he probably would have done the same in her situation.
"Because…" her voice trailed off. Then, taking a deep breath, she replied firmly, "Because I'm like you, Colin."
"Like me?" he choked out in surprise. "But you… you're in the government! Working for the people that…"
"Colin, we don't have time for this. Ellis is coming for you in a few minutes, and he's going to try to get you to sign the papers. He's going to be convincing, but don't give in."
The boy shook his head despairingly. "He always wins, always gets what he wants. You know that."
"No, Colin," she murmured, steel in her voice. "Not this time. You see, I've committed treason for you. I've told your brother everything, and together, we're going to rescue you."
This time, when someone entered into the room, Colin glanced up to meet the eyes of the attorney general.
"Hello, Colin," said the man kindly, seating himself across from the boy and setting a black briefcase on the table. "It's been awhile since we last met. You were quite young, in fact; do you remember me?"
"I'm afraid so," replied the young man dryly. "It's a bit difficult to forget."
"I might say the same thing," replied the general with a smile. "You were quite talented, as I recall."
In his lap, the boy's hands clenched into fists. "That's one way to put it."
Ellis gave a brief nod. "Now, Colin, I think we both know why I'm here." Opening the briefcase, he removed a few sheets of paper and a pen, setting them in front of Colin. "It would be in the best interests of everyone if you sign these."
"It won't be in my best interests."
"No, perhaps not," conceded Ellis. "But it would be in the best interests of your brother and Katie McGrath."
That caught Colin's attention. "W-what….who?" he stammered.
The general smiled tightly. "Don't play dumb with me. You know exactly who I mean. She wasn't as clever as she thought- she turned off the cameras and microphones for this room before she came in to speak to you. A private conversation with you right before we were going to talk? It seemed suspicious, so I turned the cameras and microphones back on. Even as we speak, Agents Head and Macken are arresting her for conspiring against her country. Soon your brother will appear to rescue you, expecting help from inside, and we will be waiting for him. He will be arrested and executed for terrorism."
"You don't know that," snapped Colin, his voice trembling.
"You forget my influence in the government," replied Ellis. "I can and will ensure his execution. McGrath, I am afraid, will also be executed for treason. Or perhaps I can convince certain people to allow me to… make use of her skills elsewhere."
Colin was shaking, fighting back tears. Katie had risked her life to help him, and his brother had spent so much time helping him, trying to piece him back together after the horror of all those years, yet all their efforts would be for nothing, undone in a few short minutes.
"I think that I have made their fates should you not sign the paper quite clear," continued Ellis, a hint of a smile playing about his lips as he watched Colin. "Now, if you do sign it, if you allow us to… learn from your talents, both Katie and your brother will lead as happy lives as possible. James will come to rescue you, yes, and an attempt will be made to capture him, but it will fail. A few weeks afterward, a man named James Morgan will start life again in the country of his choosing, while the press is told that Pendragon died in the rescue attempt. No one will be informed of Katie's actions against her country. All she will have to do is sign a paper promising me full access to her skills should she behave in such a way again. She will keep her job, her boyfriend, her home, and perhaps even be promoted. I will never bother her about her talents again- you are, after all, much more valuable to me than she is."
The general pushed the paper in front of the boy. "Now, Colin, you have a choice…. their happiness…. or yours?"
A/N: *cackles evilly* Yes, I did just end there.
Do people want Colin to sign the papers and see what happens, or would they prefer if something happened to prevent him from doing so?
Please review, even though next to nothing happened in this chapter =) I'd really like to bring this story up to 100 reviews xD