We don’t even make it halfway. We are almost in between the two buildings when they are below us. My heart plummets. That adrenaline charged bravado tumbles to the ground as ungracefully as me. I almost follow it. Then there are gun shots, and I have to shoot upwards and then down, and then to the roof top, and me and Cas lie in a heap for a fraction of a heartbeat, before scrambling to our feet. We don’t stop. He doesn’t yell at me, not yet, but he is angry, angry and disappointed. That hurts, physically, but I shove it aside, it’s not the first time people have been disappointed in me. A feeble childlike voice comes from within me at that thought, a little mental moan of “they don’t understand”. I shove that aside too.
Me and Cas exchange brief glances, and I see from that look that he is going to murder me later, and right now, he is going to get us out of this. That makes me feel useless, I won’t lie. The gun shots are still going, ringing in my ears. They stop, and yelling and voices follow. How long will it take them to get up here? How long will it take Cas to work out a way out? I turn to look at him as he drops to the floor and shuts his eyes, looking for a way out, a way for us to survive. I sigh, and grab both our rucksacks and busy myself. We weren’t carrying much in the way of weapons, we both have guns, throwing knives, and a dagger the length of my forearm each. I also tug the fireproof blanket out of my rucksack, and strap it to the outside of Cas’. Just in case.
I sense Cas standing up behind me and I whirl around, his rucksack and his weapons belt in my hands. He take them from me, not meeting my eyes, and says,
“There’s a warehouse, a street that way. It’s our best bet.” My heart shudders for a moment, I expected us to find a way to escape, to do what we do best; run. I didn’t expect us to have to fight it out.
“Plan 13 yeah?” I say, keeping my voice steady, focusing on his brown hair that is stirring in the wind up here.
“Plan 13.” Cas affirms.
When we were younger, and training in Metropolis, we learnt endless action plans. Jay would drill them into us until we could say them backwards. When I made that particular observation, Jay made us learn them all backwards. Literally. We have over 25 altogether I think, but I tend to forget them, Sorry Jay. I remember Plan 13 though, because I have a big role to play. It is as follows:
Aim: Distraction until attack/escape.
Method: In case of attack: Tallie+1 agree on location (1). Tallie drops +1 in location (2). +1 follows alternate path to location (1). Tallie distracts and leads attackers to location (1), where +1 is waiting. Attack follows. Note- location (1) must be enclosed and safe from public view.
In case of escape: Tallie (+1) agree on location (1) and location (4). Tallie drops (+1) in location (2). +1 follows alternate path to location (3) where (+2 and +3) are waiting. Tallie distracts and leads attackers to location (1). Tallie flies to location (4), to lead attackers astray, then goes on foot to location (3). Note- Tallie must not be seen distracting attackers and must not get caught between location (4) and location (3).
They’re complicated right? Try learning like 26 of them together. Impossible. If you hadn’t already guessed, I failed, like, every test that Jay set us. I was not good at Strategy class.
Bringing myself back to the present, and away from the memory of Jay’s kind eyes, I focus back on Cas.
“’In case of attack’ I’m assuming, due to the fact you chose a warehouse.” I ask.
“Wow look at that! Tallie remembered something from Strategy class!” Cas exclaims as we hurry to the edge of the building.
“Oh shut up. You failed as many as I did!”
“Tallie dear, no one could ever fail as many of those tests as you did.” Cas quips back, moving to take out his gun and stand in front of me. I won’t be able to attack or defend us with my arms around Cas. Ignoring his last comment-I wrap my arms around him and close my eyes, bringing my lips to his ear.
“Cas, don’t shoot. Not if you can help it. Don’t ever shoot if you can’t help it. ” I murmur the words, my eyes clamped shut, blocking out the sleepless nights, the constant image of the four people I have killed crumpling in front of me.
“It’s not worth it Cas. It really isn’t.” I sigh, and then stretch my wings, square my shoulders. I don’t listen to Cas’ voice as he replies, I don’t want sympathy.
“Ready?” My voice is steady.
“Ready.” So is Cas’.
I wait only a tiny fraction of a heartbeat before launching myself into the air. I fly in high, dizzying circles, twisting this way and that. It takes a few seconds for the muffled gunshots to begin. I throw us down an alleyway, not stopping as I twist back up to above the buildings. I cling tightly to Cas as he fires a shot at the floor. The two TJP members evidently were unable to get onto the roof, they are now attempting to get us from the ground. The next time I plunge downwards, I let go of Cas, and he lands in a crouch. Before I can move he wraps his arms around me and holds me tightly, his ragged breathing stirring my hair.
“See you later alligator”. He says and kisses the top of my head. I hug him back and grin up at him.
“In a while crocodile.” It has been a long time since we have said that to each other.
I back away, spin on the ball of my foot, and leap back into the sky.
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