I am so, so, so, sorry that this is taking for ever. Blame home improvement projects and destructive two year old brothers, I promise that I will be more timely with the next and last chapter.
Warren and Elaine sat side by side in the back seat and glared daggers at the F.H.P.A.P Agent seated across from them. Occasionally Warren would open his hand and let flames erupt from it and than close his fist there by extinguishing the fire. Most people would have the good sense to be at least slightly concerned by a teenage girl who knew at least eight different ways to kill a person with a spoon, and a boy who could burn him like a witch in Salem seated not two and a-half feet away from them. But Agent Mason seemed to have been born without the natural instinct of self-preservation.
"Or he knows some thing we don't know." Warren thought grimly.
Elaine was holding on to her calm collected act by threads, she wanted to beat Nate's location out of this guy, go get her brother and find some where safe to hide. She was thankful that Warren was with her, it was good to have some one you trust at your back.
The car drove back to Elaine's house and parked out front. Elaine was confused, weren't they taking them to Nate? She was about to demand answers when Agent Mason stepped out of the car and walked up to the porch. Warren and Elaine looked at each other then followed him.
"After you," the agent said pleasantly.
Elaine, still confused, opened the door. How far away was Nate that they had to stop at home? The panic that she had previously had under control hit full force. The door swung open and… there at the dinning room table sat Nate doodling on a note pad.
"Hey, you guys are back sooner than I thought you'd be. There were some suite people here to see you but I told them I wasn't allowed to open the door."
Elaine crossed the room and gathered Nate into her arms, and Warren slammed Mason into the wall.
"What the hell do you-"
"I said that Nate missed Elaine, I never said that he was anywhere but home." The agent interrupted.
"Get out!" Warren all but shouted the order. The F.H.P.A.P. Agents calmly exited the house.
Once they were gone he walked over to Elaine and Nate. Elaine was shaking all over and a few tears had escaped her. Warren wrapped his arms around the two of them and tried to regain control of his breathing. Of all the low…sneaky...evil! Dear heaven, he had damn near committed a triple homicide and they stood there smirking at him!
After a few minuets Elaine stopped shaking, and Nate decided it was safe to ask what had freaked two of his favorite people out so badly. And once the circumstances were explained to him…
"Those sneaky, manipulative,.. Bast.. Jack a… Warren! Cuss for me, I'm running out of words I can say!" The angry nine year old exclaimed.
"I would gladly do that for you bud, but words cannot describe the kind of slime those people are."
"Wanna bet?" Elaine asked, she then let out string of curses and swears that were so profane that it shocked Warren and almost made Nate faint.
"I've never heard you talk like that," Warren said, amazed.
"I didn't know people could talk like that," Nate seconded.
At that moment there was shuffling outside the front door. Warren wasted no time lighting up, anticipating a return visit from their dear friends. Instead they came face to face with Beth Peace and Uncle Bruce.
"Good heavens Warren, put those out," Beth said, indicating his two lit hands.
"Mom?" Warren said in shock. "Why are you here?"
"A couple gentlemen came to the house, flashed their badges and told me they were government," Beth answered. "Then they took me to a car where I found Bruce."
"The same thing pretty much happened to me," Bruce said. "What's going on?"
Before Elaine, Warren or even Nate could answer a short man in a dark suit walked up to the group.
"I believe I might shed more light on that subject than anyone else here," he said, in a quiet voice. "May I come in?"
Everyone exchanged glances, the looks on Warren and Elaine's face were both completely clear: Hell no. But Bruce decided to give the harmless looking man the benefit of the doubt and let him in.
Mr. Suit took a seat at the dinning room table and gestured for everyone to sit down.
"I think it's about time someone tells you what F. H. P. A. P. is really about," Mr. Suit said, getting right to the point (sorta).
"You think?" Warren said, his eyes were slits at this point.
Mr. Suit ignored Warren's blatant rudeness and continued to smile at them.
"We do more than just place heroes in cities with high crime rates, we place heroes in agencies all around the world."
"What?" Elaine didn't understand. "Of course you place them all around the world, there are heroes in Japan just like there are here. What's the big deal?"
"The big deal," he said, putting emphasis on Elaine's words. "Is the part about the agencies. Do you think that every person with powers runs around in spandex shouting out catch-phrases?"
Elaine had to admit, it sounded unlikely.
"Not every graduating hero is put in a cape, in fact, the best of the bunch are pulled right from your classes."
"You mean that all the heroes we see on the news are just…?"
"Those who didn't make the cut," Mr. Suit finished. "They're all fine and good in their…dramatic way, but they aren't cut out for the real hero work."
"The real work?" Warren repeated. "Because fighting giant robots isn't real work."
"I never said that they weren't helpful. They truly do a lot for the cities that they protect, but think about it. Do you really want the fate of the world, or international security, resting in the Commander's hands?"
Every one took a moment to consider that idea, and no they most certainly did not.
"What does any of that have to do with us?" Warren asked.
"We're recruiting," Mr. Suit said with a smirk.
"You're what?" Beth said, feeling that now was a good time for parental concern.
"We feel that both Elaine and Warren would make wonderful operatives for our agency. They would be researching and investigating super threats. Nothing big at first of course, but with time they could be excellent field agents."
"I don't know…" Beth said.
"I have a lot of questions as well." Bruce added.
"So you harass us, semi-threaten us, and cause us no end of anxiety. And now you're giving us a job offer?" Elaine deadpanned. "It never occurred to you to just ask?"
"Due to the sensitive nature of our work, it is necessary to be extremely cautious. If our purpose had been leaked into your school there would have been a lot of memory erasing to do, which we try to avoid."
"All that aside you just caused us a lot of grief and now you want us to-" Warrens voice had been getting louder and louder as he spoke, he stopped when he felt his mother put a hand on his shoulder.
"Elaine you have to do this!" Nate exclaimed.
"And why do I have to?"
"Because you'll be a secret agent!" Nate almost shouted.
Suddenly the room was a long corridor and James Bond was sneaking down it as the mission impossible theme played. Mr. Suit looked at Nate with interest but held his tongue when he caught the double glare from his to potential employees.
"I think every one needs some time to think about this and a good nights sleep." Beth said,
motioning for the Agents to leave. After they had left and Warren and Beth had gone home, Bruce started some tea and Elaine said it was passed Nate's bed time.
"But I wanna-"
"Come on Nate," Elaine said, walking up the stairs.
"You really should take that guys offer," Nate said once he was in bed.
"Just because you want me to be a secret agent?"
"No, because I don't think you'd like running around in a cape."
This was true.
"I don't know Nate," Elaine said, shaking her head. "These people manipulate and pull strings and I don't know if I'd be able to do that with my life."
"Are you kidding? Chasing bad guys, keeping the world safe, and Warren to boot! You couldn't get a job better for you if you tried! I think the only down side would be all the paper work."
"All right its not the job so much as giving in to those… those…"
"I think we have had enough colorful language to night don't you?"
Elaine turned to look at her Uncle who had entered without her noticing, and nodded. They both kissed Nate good night and shut the door behind them. Once out in the hall Elaine tried to talk to her Uncle but he held up his hands to silence her.
"I pretty much know what your going to say, and to save time I'll just tell you what I'd tell you after the talk . Firstly, while the underhanded tactics F.H.P.A.P. used were extremely unpleasant, you should not let your hurt feelings influence your judgment. Secondly, whatever your decision I will support you. No one will make you do anything you don't want to do. Lastly, talk to Warren about his thoughts on this as well. Remember he is going to be effected by this too." With that Bruce kissed his niece and went off to bed.
Elaine sighed and trudged towards her room. Tomorrow was the due date of the dooms day project and, even though she needed it, she knew that sleep would not be forth coming tonight
~The next morning~
Warren lugged the box of supplies for the project towards his locker. He was tired and irritable due to lack sleep. Anyone who dared so much as look at him funny was in for an extremely unpleasant experience. He put the box down and waited. Like clock work Elaine turned the corner and started heading towards him, when she got there he got ready to talk but…
"Listen Warren," She began. "I don't want us to be talking about it at school. We really don't want it to get out. Also, and please keep in mind that I mean this in the most caring way possible, you look like hell warmed over. Did you sleep at all last night?"
"For a few hours." He grunted distractedly.
Elaine sighed and covertly took Warrens hand keeping it hidden between their box of project stuff and the locker. The sudden touch brought Warrens attention to her face.
"For the rest of the day we are not going to think or talk about it, today will be like any other day, we are going to get through this and every thing will be fine." Warren started to say something but she cut him off again. "I know we can't ignore it, we'll hang out tonight and figure it out."
Warren smiled, hugged her tightly and prepared to face a day that promised to be a nerve grinder. Thusly did the first trial approached. Over Elaine's left shoulder Warren caught a bouncing ball of greenness barreling towards them. It was too late to escape.
"Hey you guys! How are you? Anything new, maybe? Hum?" Layla said, wiggling her eyebrows.
The fact that they had been on their semi-official first date last night had completely gone out of both Elaine and Warrens minds, but with Layla standing before them with that smug all-knowing smile on her face it donned on both of them like a thunder clap.
"It was you!" Warren shouted.
"No silly," Herself responded. "It was Nate, he is sooo cute! I just helped a bit. So give me all the details. What did you talk about? Where did you go after dinner? Was there making out involved!"
"LAYLA!" Elaine shouted. All Warren could do at the moment was splutter and smoke. His face had turned an interesting shade of red…
"Well, you can tell me later, bye!" Layla said quickly. She could recognize some of
Warrens 'your pushing it' signs and he had three out of five going on right now.
"I wonder what ticked him off?" She thought as she hurried away.
Well that's it for to day please review. I'll send you a Christmas cookie!