Thank you to AvalonJune and andipxndy (and the guest) for your reviews last chapter.
Disclaimer: None of these wonderful series are mine.
Chapter warning: Slight violence and language.
Hope you all enjoy! :)
Matthew turned to leave. Right as the door swung open to let him out, Alex jumped at him. He hit a pressure point on his neck and watched him drop. Alex smiled. Well, half-smiled at least.
"Let's go," Harry said, "We're out of here."
The three boys went out of the room and turned right, the opposite way that the guards had gone when they left, or so Alex said he had heard. Their escape was coming.
Alex thought they had to be getting close to the exit. They had been walking for nearly ten minutes, and they still hadn't come across an exit or any guards. Both thoughts unnerved Alex. The only reasons that Alex could think of for there being no guards was that either they were understaffed, (which was unlikely. Surely there were many people with issues against MI6, the Wizarding World, and the demigod world) or they thought it impossible for them to escape. This reason brought up several new possibilities, most of which didn't leave a pleasant taste in Alex's mouth.
The only situation in which this would've been a positive thing would be if they had managed to outsmart the system and were about to escape. Unfortunately, the other possibilities were far more likely. It was possible that there was no way out of the compound they were in but by a secret door that they would never find. Also probable was the possibility that they would have to go through the quarters where the guards lived to escape. But, most likely of all, was the possibility that they were being allowed to escape, and there were guards waiting to apprehend them once they reached a certain point in the maze of hallways they were traipsing through. He decided that it would probably be for the best if he didn't share his concerns with Harry and Percy, not knowing what kind of impact the pessimistic news would have on his fellow escapees.
Alex paused as they came to another fork in the path. Alex thought cynically, And here to the left we have a dimly lit hallway with pale grey walls and a tiled floor, and to the right… oh, look, another dimly lit hallway with pale grey walls and a tiled floor. Joy Alex peered at Harry and Percy in a silent askance of which direction they thought they should turn. Harry simply shrugged his shoulders, but Percy, perhaps noticing the dark, semi-hopeless, fully-pessimistic look Alex knew was present in his eyes, suggested that perhaps they would try to turn left. Not that there was anything so great about turning left Alex thought with a scowl.
As they turned, Percy grabbed Alex's wrist, and all three boys stopped, Harry looking at Percy in a confused fashion, and Percy staring at Alex in a way that told him that Percy had a suspicion as to where his thoughts had been going. Alex himself was just trying to avoid panicking. Certainly, he seemed to be getting flashbacks much more often recently. Perhaps he was still jumpy from the mention of Jim. Whatever it was, he definitely didn't like it.
"What is it? What's the matter?" Percy asked Alex, and Alex sighed. Evidently, he had forgotten that these two boys weren't like the civilian boys he had gone to Brooklands with. These two boys had obviously been through some serious crap themselves, and for Alex, who almost always worked alone, that was a hard fact to remember.
"It's too quiet," Alex said softly, "If this Natalie knows so much about us, then she would've had more guards. We haven't seen a single bloody soul since we knocked out that Matthew guy."
Harry looked around, only just noticing that fact. Sure, he'd considered that they were being extraordinarily lucky in not having encountered any guards, but he was just assuming they had chosen the correct paths and were managing to avoid them. Everything looked the same anyways. The idea that Alex had just suggested hadn't really lodged itself into his mind as a possibility.
He hoped Alex was wrong, but in the back corner of his mind, he knew the odds of him being right were far more likely. He just hoped that if they were caught, they didn't meet the man who Percy had said was a part of Natalie's group that liked to torture people. The idea in and of itself was bad enough - no one likes to meet a torturer - but what really got Harry was thinking about how pale Alex's face had been when Percy brought the man up. More than anything Harry was worried at the impact such a meeting would have on the younger boy. Harry got a very prominent feeling that, even though Alex had said he was over it, that was far from the truth. Anything that causes that much of a reaction couldn't be something that he had managed to work through.
They continued to walk, but before they traveled more than twenty feet in the direction Percy had chosen, they came to a door. The younger boys, who had been walking in front of Harry, paused, and the three boys shared meaningful looks. Well, mostly Percy and Alex; Harry just tried to convey to the other boys that he had no clue what it was they were trying to tell him, but the other two seemed to come to a conclusion. Perhaps they were more accustomed to these silent conversations. Alex shrugged at Percy after rolling his eyes at Harry. Ignoring whatever the shrug had meant, Harry figured that Alex, at least, had managed to gather what he had been trying to say.
Percy opened the door. Him and Alex both tensed and readied themselves for action. Harry considered preparing himself to fight as well, but then he remembered that he didn't have his wand with him, and his hand to hand fighting abilities were next to non-existent.
Harry's first thought was, Why is it so bloody dark in there?, but that thought was soon followed by, Yes! That must mean there aren't any guards.
The three boys entered the room slowly, almost hesitantly. They couldn't have been more than a few steps into the room when three sharp whistling noises shot through the air, followed by a stinging pain in his neck. Quick movements from Alex and Percy told him that they, also, had been hit by whatever had hit him.
Feeling sluggish, Harry reached up to grab whatever was in his neck. What he pulled out looked like a dart, not that he had much experience with them, but he thought he had heard once that muggles used them the way that Wizards used stupify. Considering he was still standing, he hoped they might not be as effective. Right as the thought crossed his mind, he stumbled, so much for that.
Suddenly the lights flashed on, making Harry grab his head in pain. When his eyes better adjusted to the light, though, they were starting to blur from the effects of the dart. He saw a blob that looked very much like Natalie and scowled.
"Oh, boys. And here I thought we were getting through to you. I'm afraid you've left me no choice but to resort to more persuasive ways of convincing you to join us," He heard the words as she said them, but the longer she spoke the harder and harder it was for him to process what was being said. Through his spotted vision Harry could make out the outline of Natalie walking towards Alex.
Harry started to fall to the ground. His last coherent thought before he blacked out was, I should've told my stupid brain to shut up. Clearly, it must have jinxed us.
Percy woke with a groan, blinking his eyes rapidly to drive out the headache building behind his eyes from the bright light of a cell that was definitely not the same one he'd been in prior to his escape attempt.
He slowly pulled himself into a sitting position, wincing as his vision started to swirl. Clearly, no one had thought to catch him as he fell from whatever they had shot him with. Not that he had expected it, but it still would've been nice. Percy looked around.
The cell he was in was smaller than the last. Only around six feet by six feet, but this cell was an actual cell. Bars and all. Percy wasn't sure, but he thought the previous cell they'd been in had more security than this one- or more accurately, these three.
Connected to his cell were two other cells both off one side of Percy's cell. Harry was in the cell immediately next to him, and on the other side of him was Alex. Both of the other boys were still very much knocked out. Harry was lying on his stomach, drooling slightly, whereas Alex was sat upright, leaning against the wall in the corner of his cell. Percy couldn't tell for sure, but he thought he saw the beginnings of a bruise along Alex's neck. He wondered momentarily when that could have occurred, but resolved to ask Alex when he awoke, if the younger boy even knew the answer.
Percy leaned back against the wall and sighed. He'd really been hoping that they'd get out. He missed Annabeth. It was much worse than the time he'd lost his memory and been sent to New Rome because this time he could remember more than just her name. Percy was pulled into reminiscent memories, remembering the first time they met, their quest, their first kiss-
Harry beginning to stir pulled Percy from his trance. Harry's hand grabbed the bar and he pulled himself into a sitting position with a groan.
Percy was about to say something when Harry grumbled, "Great a new cell."
"I know it's wonderful isn't it," Percy said and Harry jumped. Apparently, Harry had not noticed him.
"Merlin, Percy! You scared me half to death!" Harry cried.
Percy laughed at him, "It's not my fault you're so grumpy when you wake up," Harry glared at him, "Did you hit your head too?"
"What do you think?"
"Touche," then, remembering that their third cellmate was still knocked out he asked, "How's Alex? I can't see him well from here."
"Bloody brilliant," a voice that most assuredly did not belong to Harry, said. Percy and Harry both jumped. Percy refocused on Alex, who still looked to be very much asleep, trying to decide how he had missed him waking up. Maybe he had been awake the entire time? Alex rolled his head towards Percy, opened his eyes, and added, "We just failed to escape, got knocked out by bloody tranquilizer darts, and got locked in an even smaller cell. So yeah, I'm doing just wonderfully."
Percy's eyes widened. He hadn't expected such a heated response from Alex, who was usually so deliberately calm. He was about to respond angrily that it hadn't been his idea when he noticed that Alex's breath was coming out faster than usual, almost as though he was on the verge of a panic attack of some sort.
"You good, Alex?" before adding as an afterthought, "and I'm not talking about everything going on right now."
Alex ran his hand through his hair and sighed. Was he okay? That was really a loaded question. He almost gave his standard answer of, "fine" but something stopped him. This wasn't Ben who worried endlessly about him. Or Tom who could never understand all of what being a spy entailed. Or even Jones, who didn't really give a damn about him passed that he was able to do his job. Not that he begrudged her. She was better than Blunt. He knew that Jones would've been eaten alive in MI6 if she didn't lose some of the emotions she held back when she was Deputy Head. But, these boys actually seemed to understand.
Sure, he didn't really know them all that well. He hadn't even talked much about their pasts, but one thing Alex prided himself on was his ability to read people, and from what he'd gathered of Harry and Percy, he figured they must have been through some difficult situations as well. Heck, the flashback Percy had their first day there proved that.
But, before Alex could decide how much he wanted to tell them, Harry asked, "What happened to your neck?"
Alex moved his hand to run across his jugular, where, no doubt, there was a painful looking bruise forming; he winced, thinking back to the encounter he had after Harry and Percy were knocked out:
"Hello, Mister Rider," said Natalie.
Alex glared, only just refraining from spitting at her.
"You see, Mister Rider, I was well aware that you would take longer for the drugs to take effect on you. I rather think you must be somewhat immune to them based on how often they've been used on you. That is why I asked my friend Jim to come here and, there really is no better way to put it, knock you out."
Jim stepped out from the shadows and Alex had to physically force his face clean of emotion. Alex hadn't seen Jim since the man had nearly killed him. Even with the effort Alex put into the task, he wasn't entirely sure that he had succeeded in keeping the fear and memories from his face at the sight of the man.
"Hello, Alex," Jim hissed, stalking towards Alex, "I wish we could talk, but I'm afraid it's time for you to sleep."
Jim jammed the side of his hand into Alex's neck. Alex flew back and hit his head against the wall. The blow made him dizzy. Without warning, he fell to his knees, and after that, nothing.
Alex wasn't sure his memory was entirely accurate. The Jim he had spoken to in that memory did not behave like the one he knew from his time with Three. His best guess: some of the drugs had settled into his system and corrupted his memory after he'd been knocked out. He shrugged in response to Harry's question, "The drugs don't have the same effect on me; I'm mostly immune, so they had to come up with an alternative method."
Alex had been determined to keep his voice nonchalant as he passed this news to his fellow prisoners, but he felt a shudder run down his spine causing his hands to twitch.
Harry's eyes trailed from Alex's face to his hands as he said softly, "It was Him wasn't it?"
Alex blew out the breath he was holding and looked Harry in the eyes. He hesitated for only a moment before nodding.
Percy scowled when he saw Alex's nod, and a low growl sounded in the back of his throat, "I'm gonna kill that bastard. I'm gonna kill him." Percy wasn't sure why he was feeling so protective over a boy he had met, however long ago they'd gotten there, but he thought it might have something to do with them being locked in a cell together. Then again, he had been protective of Annabeth and Grover pretty quickly at first too - the being locked in a cell had probably just accelerated his protectiveness over Alex and Harry - so maybe it was just a sign that they were starting to build a friendship. Whatever it was, Percy was more than angry with the jerk who had decided to lay his filthy hands on Alex.
Alex looked over at Percy and his face portrayed that he wanted to respond when a slow clapping sounded through the hallway outside their cells followed by the clacking of mocking footsteps. Suddenly, a young man came into view. He had black hair and narrow chocolate-colored brown eyes, but the most telling aspect of his person wasn't actually related to the man at all. It was the tension that had suddenly found its way into Alex's posture, which told Percy that this man was certainly the same man he had been wishing painful death to mere seconds ago. Percy felt a sudden, strong desire for the bars to disappear so that he could follow through with his mental threat.
He got to his feet angrily as Melton mocked, "How touching. Really this scene is adorable," Percy noticed Alex and Harry climbing to their feet beside him. Melton turned his attention to Alex and continued, "Aren't you going to introduce me to your little friends, Alex?"
"He doesn't have to," Percy said firmly with a hurricane brewing in his eyes.
Melton chuckled to himself and said to Percy, "What's this? Defending a boy you know nothing about: a boy who keeps so many secrets that you can never know which ones are the truth? Why don't you tell us how your back is, Alex? I'm sure your little friend here would love to know."
When Melton directed the last sentence at Alex, Percy's eyes involuntarily flickered to the boy in curiosity. He didn't know what Melton was talking about, but whatever it was, it couldn't mean anything good for Alex. Instead of seeing the tense expression he expected to be present on Alex's face, he saw one of smug determination.
Alex's eyes were fixed firmly on Melton with a smirk playing on the corner of his lips, "I don't know, Jim. Why don't you tell us how your uncle is instead?"
Percy was feeling a bit out of place with this conversation. The reference to Melton's uncle had taken any semblance of understanding he had for what was going on and thrown it headfirst of a bridge into a raging river, but he got the distinct impression that whatever implications were hidden under Alex's taunt had to do with something that had happened a long time ago.
Percy jumped when Melton growled, not having expected to hear the feral sound that came from the man's lips. When he spoke again, gone was the playfully mocking tone he had spoken with before. In its place was a seething hiss, "You'll pay for that one you little brat."
Percy had thus far came to an understanding that this man was not someone he wanted to mess with, which explained his confusion when Alex-who had known Melton for much longer than Percy had-responded with another flippant response clearly meant to provoke the very same man who had just threatened him, "Really? The way you paid me back last time? I don't seem to recall that going so well for you last time." Alex was clearly either very brave, very stupid, or very possibly both.
Percy really wanted to tell Alex to stop antagonizing the clearly enraged psychopath, but Harry beat him to it, "Alex…" he said in a warning voice, and he might have been planning to say more, but Melton chose that moment to grab the bars of Alex's cell, and hiss, "You're dead, kid, but don't think I'm going to make it fast. Oh no. You're going to wish you were dead by the time I'm through with you. I'm going to-"
"Jim!" the sharp but somehow still gentle voice of Natalie cut through whatever threat he had been about to make, "You will get your time with them after I have said my piece. I told you that." She paused only long enough to allow Jim to scowl before directing her attention upon Percy, Harry, and Alex, "Now boys. I know I already expressed to you how disappointed I was that you have not come around to our perspective. However, clearly you have not, and I am going to leave it up to Jim to convert you. Just remember when the pain starts, that you brought this upon yourselves. And that is where the blame shall lie: with yourselves."
She pulled out a pair of keys as Percy exchanged a glance with Alex. Percy choked back a laugh as Alex arched his eyebrows as if to say, That's really the excuse she's going to go with. Blame the pain on ourselves. She's nuts.
Natalie turned to look at Percy suspiciously when he coughed to hide his laughter, but when she turned away towards Melton, he mouthed to Alex, I know right.
She held the keys in the air and Melton stepped towards her, "Do what you want with them, but remember that I need them alive."
Melton reached out to grab the keys, but she pulled them out of his reach and added, "Alive and responsive. A vegetative state does not count as alive. Use your best judgment if you have any left."
He glared at her, but nodded reluctantly, prompting her to hand him the keys.
Natalie had nearly left their sight when she said, without turning around, "Have fun, boys." Then, she was gone, leaving them with the slightly more psychotic psychopath, or at the very least, the more violent.
Melton looked at the three of them with a sick grin curling on his lips, and said, "Oh, we will."
Thanks for reading y'all. Sorry for the wait. I've had the first half written for over a month but I couldn't figure out how to finish it. Thanks for waiting around. Drop me a review if you're feeling it. :)