Again, I am so sorry that it took forever to update! Life just gets in the way and sometimes inspiration just leaves... But I'm back with a new chapter and that's all that matters!
Thanks for reading and Reviewing! Also, thanks to those who checked out my band! It means a lot! The hard copies will be out within the next couple weeks and we've got a LOT of shows lined up for us in the next two months, so we're Super Stoked and Excited!
And once again, thanks to the Wonderful and Amazing Leanaplumz for helping me out when my mind was blank! I love you lots!
Alas... Here's the next chapter! Enjoy!
Akatuy Katorga Abandoned Prison
Derek hissed in pain as a bullet skimmed past his right leg, definitely taking some of his skin with it but he continued to run, following Casey and the man he still didn't know much about. He and Casey obviously had history and judging by his stepsister's reaction to the man saving her life, it hadn't ended well.
"There's a passage up ahead on the right; just keep your heads low and move quick!" Phil's voice hollered over the many shouts and gun shots coming from behind the trio.
"Are you sure you know where you're going?" Casey yelled at the man and Derek noticed she was grasping her injured shoulder as she ran to catch up. He could tell she was in agony even if she refused to admit it.
He still couldn't get over the fact that if they hadn't rounded that corner at just the right second, Kraemin would've beat the crap out of her with that metal bar and dragged her away to his boss. He was thankful that Phil knew exactly what to do when he grabbed the discarded gun at his feet and didn't even hesitate as he fired a shot into the wall and advanced on the man trying to hurt his Casey.
In that moment, when he saw that she was safe, all Derek wanted to do was grab his stepsister by the back of the neck and kiss her senseless, confessing his love for her and never letting her out of his sight again, but he knew he couldn't do that. He wasn't sure how she felt about him or how she would've reacted. It just wasn't the right time, so instead he tried to play it cool as he examined her wounds and asked her if she was okay. He wanted to kill the men who had hurt her and didn't feel one ounce of sympathy when Phil shot the ugly goon in the leg. In Derek's opinion, he deserved it.
Derek's attention snapped back to the present just as a bullet flew past his head, grazing his ear. Derek let out a hiss of pain causing him to falter in his steps and fall to the hard cement floor. He caught Casey's eye and inwardly sighed at the concern that shone in them.
"I'm ok! Keep going!"
"No!" Casey cried, ignoring his command and racing to his side.
He groaned as he tried to sit up, his ear was buzzing and his head felt disoriented.
"Derek, get up! We need to hurry!" Casey's voice shouted as he suddenly felt two arms wrap around his frame and try hoisting him up. "Come on!" She grunted from his weight.
"Casey..." Derek breathed out as he stood to his feet with her arm supporting him.
"Run, Derek! We need to move now; they're gaining on us!"
Derek's senses finally hit him as he shook his head and glanced over his shoulder as the hail of bullets flew around him.
"DER-EK!" Casey yelled over to him. "Keep your eyes ahead and run!"
Over Derek's shoulder, Casey spied the Russian guards rounding a corner and gaining on them. Casey reached behind her and grabbed Derek's arm. "We've got to move!" She pulled Derek behind her for a few steps before scanning the empty hallway before them.
He heard the goon barking orders in Russian to the guards as the firing suddenly ceased and he managed to pick up his pace with Casey at his side.
"Why'd they stop shooting us?" Derek questioned warily.
"Because Haldega wants me alive." Casey replied as they rounded a corner on the right. "Where's Phillip?" She cried with rage.
"I... I don't know... He was right in front of us..."
Casey let go of him and began seething, "He left us! That no good, dirty traitorous..." Casey suddenly let out a scream as she was yanked back into a secret passage in the wall.
Derek immediately lunged after her, not realising that the passage was shorter than him and smacked his head on the concrete wall above as he ducked inside. The wall closed behind him and they were engulfed in darkness.
"Casey?" He shouted, ignoring the throbbing in his head, ear, and leg. "Case?"
He heard some shuffling and a muffled cry from his left and quickly spun around to be blinded by a bright light.
"Would you keep it down, you idiot?" Phil's voice snapped. "They'll hear you and we'll all be screwed."
Once Derek's eyes adjusted to the light, which he realized was a small flashlight, he saw Phil standing with Casey in his arms and a hand over her mouth.
"Let her go." He demanded immediately with a scowl on his face as he took a menacing step forward.
"Only if she promises to behave." Phil sneered.
Derek could see Casey fuming as she struggled against the man's grip and knew that wouldn't be happening.
"Once she calms down and promises not to attack me or call me anymore names, then I will be pleased to let her go and lead you kids to your friends."
"Case..." Derek spoke hesitantly with raised hands as he made eye contact with her furious blue orbs. "I know you don't want to trust him, but right now, Phil is our only hope if we ever want to get out of here and rescue Ben and Karma, so please promise to be nice?"
Her eyes were glaring at him but she finally managed to nod her head in agreement.
"She said yes, now let her go." Derek growled.
"Alright." Phil said as he released the young agent and stepped back with his hands raised in surrender.
Casey snarled as she spun to face him, "How dare you!"
"Case, lower your voice." Derek cautioned as he moved towards her. She completely ignored him as she clenched her fists at her sides and scowled at Phil. Derek had never seen her so angry before, not even at him.
"How dare you think you can just waltz back into my life, threaten my family, make me steal and lie from my own agency, and then act like you're the hero here! As I seem to recall, you betrayed us! You turned your back on R.E.D. and on me. You're the enemy and I am not going anywhere with you!"
"Casey, I know you have been waiting for the chance to scream and yell about how much you hate my guts but right now is not the time, so shut your mouth before Haldega's men hear you." Phil whispered harshly as his grey eyes pierced into hers.
"Don't tell me what to do." Casey seethed through clenched teeth but had managed to lower her tone.
Derek watched as Phil sidestepped him and Casey and moved to the wall they'd entered through. He pressed his ear to the cement and told them to keep quiet with a finger to his lips.
A muffled voice suddenly began shouting in Russian and Derek frowned at the fact that he had no idea what the voice was saying. More voices were speaking and arguing.
"What are they saying?" Derek whispered to his stepsister who was listening intently to the conversation going on behind the wall.
"Sshh!" Phil hissed at him with urgent eyes.
Then he felt Casey's hand wrap around his arm as she pressed herself against his side and began speaking into his ear, sending an involuntary shiver to cascade down his spine.
"They're wondering how we just disappeared into thin air." His stepsister's soft, melodic voice spoke as her warm breath tickled his neck. "Some of the guards are claiming it to be the work of evil spirits that haunt the prison and Kraemin is calling them idiots."
"Sshh!" Phil glared at them but Casey only stuck up her chin and continued interpreting the Russian language being spoken to him.
"Now the ugly goon is barking orders at them to keep searching the halls and every room." She let out a small gasp as she listened to his next words.
"What is it?"
"He said that if they find us, to kill you two but to leave me alive."
"They're leaving," Phil spoke hastily as he moved away from the wall and started towards the dark tunnel ahead of them, "which means we need to start moving."
Casey scoffed as she let go of Derek's arm and faced the man, "Didn't I just tell you that I'm not going anywhere with you?"
Phil let out an irritated groan and turned to look at her, "Then how do you expect to find your friends? You don't even know your way around here."
"Well how the hell do you?" She snapped as she lunged towards him and Derek had to pull her back with a tight grip on her good arm in case she decided to attack him.
"He has a man on the inside." Derek answered for Phillip.
Casey gave him an incredulous look before focusing her gaze on Phil again, "Who?"
"It doesn't matter." Phil replied with a shrug.
"Then explain to me how your man seems to know the location of a secret passageway but the ugly goon and the guards didn't."
"He did his research. Now let's go."
Casey began to shake her head and Derek knew that it was time he intervened before they got themselves caught by standing around in the same place for too long. He still had Casey's arm in his grasp and gave it a light tug so that she turned her attention to him.
"Case, I know you don't trust this guy and I know you have good reasons not to, which you will be telling me all about later, especially the part about him threatening our family," Derek cut in with a scowl directed at Phil, "but you promised you would listen." He said, staring into her eyes amidst the light glow of the flashlight. "We need to get out of here and get to your friends before that Haldooga guy decides to get rid of them himself. After we rescue them, then you can beat the crap out of Phil if that's what you really want."
He could sense the inner turmoil she was facing in her head as she stared at the ground and bit her lip. Casey was stubborn but when it came to family and friends, she'd do almost anything to keep them safe, which was why in that moment she let out a huff of air as she returned his gaze and nodded her head.
"You promise?" She asked with a small twitch of the lips before pulling away from his hold and following after Phil who had already begun moving, obviously knowing what her decision would be as well.
Derek stood there for a moment in silence as the darkness surrounded him once again. He was still struggling with the fact that this was real, that it was happening right now at this very moment. He could sense the prickles of pain from where he'd been grazed by the bullets but right now all he could think about was getting Casey out of there alive. He didn't care if she was the more advanced one in fighting techniques; he could tell that she was not physically ready for any fighting that was bound to take place in the next couple of hours, so in that moment he vowed to himself and to the woman he loved, that he'd protect her no matter what and that he was going to get her out of this place whether he was by her side or not.
"Derek? You coming?" Casey's voice called from up ahead.
"I love you, Casey." He whispered under his breath before stepping forward into the shadows.
"What is taking so damn long? Your man should have been back with Casey by now!" Benjamin growled at Haldega as he pressed the tip of the knife against Nicolas Walls' throat to emphasize his growing frustration.
"I don't know!" Haldega snapped back with irritation. "Something has obviously gone wrong."
"If anything has happened to Casey, then your puzzle piece is dead." Ben threatened menacingly, however, on the inside he was falling apart with worry for his partner/close friend.
"Don't be hasty, Agent Blake, I'm sure your partner is fine."
"Then where is she?"
"You tell me! How do I know that this isn't just another part of your scheme that you've concocted?"
"Because I'm not playing anymore!" Ben suddenly shouted and Nicolas let out a gasp as the blade cut into his skin, causing more blood to dribble out.
"Ben, calm down." Karma whispered as she placed her hand on his arm, pulling the knife further from the German scientist's neck with wide eyes.
Walls began saying something in German but Ben tuned it out as he glared fiercely at the evil man before them. All he wanted was Casey and if he had to drill the point into Haldega's head with more force, then so be it.
"Hilson!" Haldega called out while holding Ben's fiery gaze with one of his own.
The head Russian guard from earlier entered the room and approached his employer with a dip of his head, "Da?" He spoke in his language.
"Find out what happened to Kraemin and report back to me immediately!" Haldega snarled.
The man saluted and hurried back out the door with a grim expression.
"Satisfied, Agent Blake?" Haldega sneered with his hands behind his back.
"Not nearly as much as I will be when this is all over."
Casey rubbed at her weary eyes and let out a slight yawn as she continued to follow Derek and one of her worst enemies through the dark tunnels of the Russian prison. Her whole body felt like it was on fire with pain. All she wanted to do was lie down in a soft bed and sleep for a month, but she knew that was impossible, so she tried her best to ignore the stabbing that ensued with every step she took.
She stared up ahead at the shadow of light displaying their path and the silhouette of her step brother, whom she still couldn't believe had come all the way here to save her. The thought sent a shiver down her spine and butterflies to flutter in her stomach.
Does Derek really care that much for me?
Was it possible that Derek's feelings for her went beyond just brotherly? Her mind drifted back to the amazing kiss they'd shared back in Germany and she shook her head with a frown. It was definitely more than "brotherly" because he seemed to have no problem with the fact that he'd been kissing his own stepsister, but just how much more was it? And the real question was: how exactly did she feel about it? She couldn't deny enjoying the feel of his lips against hers or the way his touch ignited a fire inside of her like no other guy has ever done... But it was still wrong... Wasn't it?
"Hey, Case?" Derek's voice broke though her thoughts, causing a slight blush to tinge her cheeks even though he couldn't see it in the dark.
"Hmm?" She looked up at him as he took a step towards her.
"You alright? You're falling behind."
"I..." She glanced past him and noticed Phil and his flashlight were becoming a distant shadow, leaving the two of them almost completely encased in black.
"It's your shoulder, isn't it." Derek stated more than asked.
Casey realized that she'd been cradling her injured arm and quickly pulled her hand away from it with a slight wince.
"I'm fine, Derek." She lied.
"No you're not. If we're attacked, how are you supposed to fight? You have no strength left in you."
"I can fight." She ground out through clenched teeth.
"You'll only injure yourself more."
"You're not a doctor, Derek. I can handle myself just fine." She snapped and began shoving her way past him.
"Casey," Derek stopped her by grabbing her good arm and turning her around to face him.
"What?" Casey groaned with irritation, ignoring the tingles shooting up her arm from his touch.
"I won't stand by and watch you get killed by those maniacs; I can't."
Casey's breath caught in her throat at the raw emotion in Derek's tone as he spoke those words. His hand slid down to grip hers and his thumb began caressing the outside of her palm tenderly.
"Derek..." She tried to speak but he cut her off.
"I almost had you." He spoke softly. "I was so close... But then you were..." She heard him bite back a choke in the darkness, "gone..."
Casey was trying to process his words but she had no idea what he was talking about, so he continued to speak and his next words caused a shiver to run down her spine and her heart to beat rapidly inside her chest.
"I can't lose you again, Casey, and I know this is a horrible time to tell you this... But I lo..."
"Casey, Derek!" Phil's voice suddenly echoed throughout the tunnel causing Derek to curse under his breath as they both turned towards the sound. His hand was still in hers as they began sprinting but that didn't seem to faze either stepsibling as they neared where Phillip was standing with his light at what appeared to be the end of the tunnel.
"What the hell was keeping you two?" Phil growled at them.
"Nothing." Casey snapped back, returning to the secret agent she was trained to be and pushing all thoughts of what Derek was about to confess into the back of her mind. "Does this lead to Haldega?" She asked as she pulled her hand from her stepbrother's and stepped forward to examine the wall in front of them.
"His office is down the hall from here." Phil replied as he handed her his flashlight and gave the wall a hard shove.
"Derek, help me out with this one. It hasn't been used in quite some time." Phil ordered and Derek immediately stepped up to assist the man in shoving the passageway open a crack.
He was about to peek his head out the door to make sure the coast was clear but Casey beat him to it. She saw an empty hall before them and motioned for them to keep pushing.
Derek and Phil both grunted as the cement finally gave away and it swung open easily, spilling the trio out into the prison halls once again.
"Your friends should be right through the next door." Phil said and began to lead the way.
"Not so fast, Greenwood!" Casey snapped and before Phil realized what was happening, Casey had gripped his arm, spun him around and retrieved the gun from his hand.
"Whoa!" Derek exclaimed in awe.
Phil stared at his former trainee in shock as she pointed the gun at him, her blue eyes piercing into his soul.
"Casey, what are you doing?" Phil asked with his hands raised in front of him in surrender.
"I don't like guns."
"Then why are you aiming one at me?"
"Because I still don't trust you."
"Case..." Derek tried to say but was drowned out by her next words directed at Phil.
"There is no way in hell that I'm letting you hold a weapon."
"Then how do you expect to fight against Haldega and his men? In case you haven't noticed, you don't have any tranq guns either."
"I don't care. R.E.D. is not about killing the bad guys, it's about taking them down alive and locking them up for good." She said and then proceeded to take the gun apart and remove the bullets from inside.
"Casey, maybe we should keep the gun loaded just in case..." Derek spoke warily.
"No. I'd be going against everything I've been trained in. I'm not about to turn my back on the Agency." She said as she glared at Phil accusingly.
"Well this just made my job much easier. Thanks, girly." Kraemin's voice suddenly spoke from behind them and Casey spun to see the ugly goon and six Russian guards all aiming their rifles at them.
She scowled and was about to launch into an attack when Kraemin unexpectedly grabbed Derek by the arm and pulled him in front of his body with a rifle trained at his head.
"I wouldn't do that if you want your little boyfriend to be alive in the next few minutes."
"Don't listen to him, Casey! Run!" Derek shouted with a red face.
Casey halted in her movements as she tried to take in the situation, searching for some way out of this but all she could think of was Derek's safety, it was all that mattered to her. She couldn't let him be killed; she wouldn't. In that moment, Casey realized that life without Derek wasn't possible and as she stared at her stepbrother who was pleading with her to leave him behind, three words came crashing down on her reality.
I love him.
Finally Casey realizes her feelings! Took her long enough, right? Haha!
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Until next time... which hopefully won't be too long away... You Guys Rock!