During the hot and humid summer nights, Kate Black usually had trouble sleeping, and tonight was no exception. Her thin covers, sheets, pajamas, pillow and underwear have been tossed to the floor, leaving her bare body laying on a sweaty mattress. Her thick brown hair stuck to her face, neck, and back, making her feel suffocated, and unable to sleep. Kate sat in the darkness, considering chopping all of her wavy locks off with the dagger she kept under her bed, when her phone started blaring it's oh so annoying ringtone that meant her boss was calling her. It definitely wasn't unusual for her to receive new missions in the night, those missions that had to be dealt with during the dark hours were the most dangerous and required experienced spies, such as herself and her partner, Derek Flynn. Derek and Kate were both born into the spies, raised to be deceiving and witty, they did their training together, and became best friends. But one day, Derek walked Kate home from their training at the base, and found a lean man standing over her parents' dead bodies with a bloodied blade in his hand. Every instinct in Kate's body told her to attack, risk getting killed to avenge her parents' murders, but before the man even realized they were there, Derek lifted Kate and carried her far away from her house, he took her to the park. Kate was shaking with anger, and sobbing all at the same time, she had been orphaned. Later that evening, the overseer sent men who came to the park and took Kate to a place where she was only allowed to train, eat, and sleep, her only company was her trainers and her soon-to-be partner, since he too, had seen what had happened, and because they already knew each other well, Derek was chosen to be there for her, always. After her parents' deaths, she grew cold, merciless, and vowed to find the man who tainted her family name. And once she turned eighteen, she was given her own house to live in.
Kate crawled out of her bed and reached for her smartphone, "Hello?"
"Voice recognition: Kate Black, please enter your pass-code." She sighed and typed in the numbers, 746534, then came the altered voice of her boss, "Kate, I have an important job for you and your partner. This job will proceed tonight. Do you accept?"
"I accept." She replied automatically, she has never declined a mission.
The voice over the phone seemed to crack, "Excellent, meet at HQ with your partner for more details on your mission, a man wearing a black suit an tie will give you the information and weapons needed to succeed. And Kate, do not fail me this time." and the overseer hung up.
The last time Kate was sent on a midnight mission, she got the wrong information, which nearly cost a lost war. She and Derek both were only suspended for two months, because the agency couldn't afford to lose their two best spies, and they both just got done serving their time.
It took Kate only seconds to dress into skintight black jeans and a red V-neck shirt. She brushed the tangles out of her hair and strapped her heels on before she left to pick up Derek, who probably got the same call. She had always been the one who was ready first, even though she was a woman, it was easier for her to change clothes in the middle of the night, because she didn't have a younger brother to take care of like Derek did. Derek also had two older brothers, who already had wives and children on the way. Kate never knew why Derek didn't try to make much contact with his elder siblings often, it was like he hated them, which she could understand, it wasn't complicated, she hated lots of people too. But still, it was strange, Derek took excellent care of his little brother, who was just as smart and conniving as his eldest siblings were, maybe they wronged him somehow? Either way, it was hard for Derek to promise the kid that he'd be alright and return home safely, he knew Kate well enough to know that she would let him die if the odds weren't in her favor to save him. So nearly every midnight mission, Derek would have to sneak out of his house, wearing his favorite black T-shirt and boxers, and change into pants on the way to base.
When Kate got there, she wasn't surprised to see him dangling from a two story window, perhaps his brother was still awake down stairs, she almost didn't notice that the lights were on. Derek let himself fall and very catlike, landed on his feet.
"Hey, Kate." He greeted with a smirk, getting into her car.
Kate looked at him,and noted aloud, "You are fully dressed this time. . ." he was again wearing his dirty old black shirt and faded blue jeans, ". . .But your hair is still a mess."
Derek self consciously patted his black hair, although it didn't matter, "You look nice too."
They went to base in silence for the rest of the car ride, Derek was stealing glances at Kate, he hated awkward silence, and for him, if no one was talking, it was awkward. Kate had grown use to the silence in her house, she couldn't imagine have some snotty kid bothering her all the time, it would have been close to torture.
At HQ, a dark skinned man in a black suit and tie greeted them, just like the overseer said, and handed Derek yellow envelopes full of information with a flashlight. The man pulled the much smaller Derek closer to him and whispered something deadly in his ear, judging by the look on his face. When the man was done talking, he released Derek, and Kate could see where the bruises were starting to form.
The man was looking at him like he was pray, Derek squirmed under his gaze and said, "I understand, sir." Whatever that man said to Derek wasn't pleasant, and Kate wasn't sure if she wanted to know what kind of threat he made against her partner.
Once the man disappeared into the elevator near by, Derek shoved the flashlight in his pocket and looked to Kate, "I don't think this is an ordinary mission."
"Why do you think that?" Kate grabbed the envelopes and started walking to a secure room, on the opposite side of the room, across from the elevators.
Because," Derek looked around cautiously, making sure nobody was listening, even though no one else was on that floor, " That guy told me to keep you under control, you are supposed to concentrate on the mission, and only the mission. He said that I have to keep you focused."
She opened the door and waited for him to go inside. Derek sat at the end of a small round table, in a large cushioned chair. Kate sat at the opposite end, not paying any attention to the recently installed fireplace, "You are always told to keep me focused, ever since my parents were killed. . ."
"I know." He answered, "So what kind of mission is this?"
Kate pulled out some of the files, "Looks like we're spying on a kidnapping meeting."
"Oh." He reached for some other papers, "Yeah, we need to know who they plan on kidnapping, the victim is suspected to be one of ours."
Kate continued reading the files, "Great, we have to go to an abandoned building near the park. . . So much for wearing high heels."
Derek peeked at her, "I like it when you wear heels."
"I'm sure you do." Kate replied, "Oh, and the foreman for this operation is extremely dangerous, so keep your eyes peeled."
Derek slipped the papers back into the envelopes, "Got it. I have all the information I need, you?"
She nodded, "Yeah, let's go." He lit a fire in the fireplace and burned the envelopes along with all the information inside.
They decided to walk to the park, to avoid the foreman or any of his goons seeing Kate's car. Derek liked it, but Kate was miserable and sweaty, "It's so hot." she groaned.
"Shh, there's the building." Derek said, creeping along in the shadows.
They slowly made their way to the abandoned building, and got inside swiftly and quietly through one of the broken windows on the main floor. Derek took off his shirt and laid it over the shards of glass at the bottom of the window to protect Kate and himself from the sharp edges. Kate didn't bother crawling through the window, she jumped in and waited impatiently for Derek to lift himself through it, "You just love making me look amature, don't you?" he whispered, putting his shirt back on.
She shushed him and started walking down the hallway, it only took Derek a moment to pull out his flashlight to light the way. They wandered around the building, until they found a flight of stairs that went down to the basement, warily, the two of them traveled downward.
"The files said that the meeting would be held in the basement, the last door." Kate informed, taking off her shoes to avoid loud noises.
Moments later, they heard a door open and a deep voice complain with a harsh cough, "This building is falling apart! Hugh, turn on the blasted lights!"
"Shoot." Derek growled, and to Kate's surprise, his voice echoed through the stairwell, alerting the deep-voiced man, Hugh, and another man.
The lights flickered on, which shouldn't have happened, the building was suppose to be abandoned, right? But they did, revealing three angry men glaring down at them.
"Run!" Derek yelled at her. Kate did as she was told, she dropped the shoes and started stumbling down the stairs as fast as she could with Derek at her heels.
The deep-voiced man commanded his henchmen to capture them, and the two men started racing after the spies. Panicking, Kate opened the next door available and ran into the hallways, dragging Derek with her, "We gotta find a way outta here." she whispered.
Derek pushed her into a closet, "Shh." he said, closing the door behind him.
"What are you doing?" Kate demanded in a hushed voice.
He held a finger to her lips and nodded, reassuring her. They could hear the two goons stomping down the hallways, one of them said, "They couldn't have given us the slip."
"Hey, over there." the other guy whispered, "I bet they're in that closet."
Her and Derek tried to move away from the door, pressing their bodies even closer together. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room for either of them to avoid getting it by it when the goons kicked the door down. The wind was knocked out of them, and before either of them could react, one of the men had already gathered Kate. She kicked and squirmed in the man's hold, but her attempts were futile, he was too strong, and the more she struggled, the tighter his grip on her would become. Eventually, she stopped resisting completely, because she couldn't breathe anymore. Derek on the other hand, put up more of a fight, the man couldn't get a grip on him, and when Derek finally slowed down for half-a-second, his pursuer had enough time to grab him by the shirt and slam his head against the wall, knocking him out cold
"Derek!" Kate breathed.
The man picked up Derek's limp form and swung him over his shoulder, "Let's see what the boss want's us to do with 'em."
Kate's captor swung her over his shoulder too, she wasn't much of a threat when she was breathless, and being bent over his shoulder didn't help her problem either. She tried to struggle, but the man carrying her made breathing nearly impossible, how could she escape?
They were taken down to the basement, the place Kate and Derek were heading anyway, but instead of going to the last door in the long hallway, the first room was where they were put. The henchman holding Derek dropped his body on the cement ground, earning a small moan of pain from Kate's partner, and retrieved lengths of rope from a green bag that was thrown into a corner.
The guy holding Kate flopped her on the cold ground, her back facing up, and pinned her hands behind her back. He took some rope that was handed to him and wrapped it around her wrists in a figure eight pattern and knotted it so tight that she lost blood flow to her hands. Kate still couldn't breathe, but she watched as the other man tied Derek up while her captor was busy securing her ankles together.
Once the goon tieing Derek was finished, the other told him, "Go ask the boss what he wants us to do with theses spies." The goon did as he was told and left the room to find their boss. The man let Kate on her knees, where she regained her breath.
"My, aren't you a pretty thing. . ." the man commented, holding her chin so she couldn't back away, "Frisky too, I like that in a woman." his breath smelled rotten, like spoiled milk.
Kate hissed at him, "You underestimate me."
He smiled, a twisted grin that showed yellow teeth, "I'm not so sure about that, sweet heart, I think I got you all figured out."
Before anything else happened, his boss stepped into the room, he wore a blue suit and black tie, his curly hair falling into his face, "Hugh! Leave our lovely guest alone. I believe your attention is not wanted."
Hugh released his meaty hand from her chin and stood, "Spies, sir."
"Yes, yes, I know. Now leave us be, I wish to speak with this young lady alone." He answered, and Hugh left the room without a word.
After he was gone, the boss knelt down and leaned toward Kate, "I am terribly sorry, Miss Black, for my assistant's behavior."
"How do you know who I am?" Kate questioned.
Derek started to stir, but wasn't fully conscious yet. The man seemed to take note of it, "My name is Vince Smyth, your parents, Kate Black, used to work for me."
Kate's eyes narrowed, "You lie."
Vince grinned, "No, I do not lie to my employees."
"I don't work for you." Kate told him, her voice icy cold.
His smile only grew in amusement, "Ah, but you could." Vince made a friendly gesture with his hand, "I would like to offer you the same job your father had. He would go to that sad agency that you are currently loyal to, and get information from them, and bring all the information to me."
Kate scoffed, "I'm not a double-agent. And neither were my parents. I'm loyal, and so were they."
"Those people you offer your services to, Kate, are using you. They have fed you lies all your life! Why do you think your parents were killed in the first place, hmm?" Asked Vince.
Her eyes were filled with pain from the past, old pain that time couldn't heal, "No! No, I will not work for a no good liar like you!"
"I am not your enemy, Kate, they are." He tried to explain.
Kate screamed at him, "I SAID NO!"
Derek was now awake, and groaning, "W-What happened?"
Vince finally backed down, "Very well."
He called for his henchmen as he stood, "Hugh, Adam!"
The two goons must have been waiting just outside, because they were in the doorway immediately. Vince ordered them, "Take this young man, Mister Flynn, I believe, into another room. Miss Black shouldn't have any distractions while she thinks over my offer again."
"No, please don't take him away!" Begged Kate, who knew what they would do to him.
Derek struggled as he was dragged out of the room, "Kate!"
She heard him calling her name, and his voice fading, "Derek! Please!"
After the door was shut, she still yelled for him, "Derek!" She refused to shut up.
After about the ninth time she called Derek's name, the henchman, Adam, she thought, put a sock in her mouth, then duct taped it shut. Great. Now what?
Kate was forced to wait in silence for nearly three hours. What was happening? Surely a meeting about a kidnapping wouldn't take this long. She ventured into the darkest corners in her imagination, wondering what they might be doing to Derek. poisoning him? Beating him? Threatening him? Killing him? Brainwashing him even? Was that possible now? Yes, three hours is long enough to convince a person of an obvious lie.
After about four hours have passed, Derek was brought back into the room by the two henchmen. His favorite shirt was missing, showing black and blue bruises all over his torso, and his pupils were dilated to where his eyes were nothing but black circles.
Vince was watching Kate intensely, to see her reaction, but to his dismay, she didn't even flinch at the sight, and instead of staring at her beaten and drugged partner, her eyes were burning hatred into the man's soul.
"Remove her gag." Vice ordered. They did.
Vince kicked Derek's stomach, only hard enough to make him puke everywhere. He didn't even have enough energy to get out of the vile mess, "Have you re-thought your answer, Miss Black?"
She nodded, "I have."
"And?" Vince wanted her answer
"I won't work for you." She replied.
Rage boiled behind his cool expression, "Maybe your partner can change your mind. Hugh, fetch Miss Black a bucket of water and a clean wash rag." Hugh left to retrieve the items, "And Adam, Untie Mister Flynn while I untie Miss Black."
"Yeah, boss." Adam began untying Derek.
Kate didn't have much of a plan to escape, she couldn't save herself, or Derek from this one, and surely Vince Smyth knew she wouldn't run, but still, he whispered in her ear, us"Don't run. I have guards posted at every exit." Something in her mind told Kate that he was bluffing. But he untied her hands and feet, giving her some more freedom, but before she could react to anything else, a bucket full of soapy water and a rag was set in front of her.
"I'll allow Derek to explain any details you may have missed to you, Miss Black. I'll also let you clean him up. After all, such a loyal friend deserves to be at least half decent looking." Vince told her.
Just before he shut the door, Kate said, "If you want him to be decent, he needs his shirt."
"Yes, of course. I will bring it to you when you are finished." Vince informed, then they locked the door.
Kate gently rolled Derek out of the vomit, and slowly wiped the rag wet across his face. Apparently he passed out after he lost the contents in his stomach, because his eyes fluttered open, "Kate?"
"Yeah it's me."
Tears mixed with the soapy water, "They threatened to kill my brother."
Kate froze, "Why would they do that? He wants me."
"No, Kate, he wants us. . . I'm switching. You should do the same."
She dipped the rag in the bucket and twisted it to get the extra water out, "Even after he's beaten and drugged you? No."
Derek grabbed her wrist, "Kate, t-the man who killed your parents. . ."
"What about him?"
Derek growled, "The overseer, our boss sent him. When he found out your parents were double agents, he sent that man to dispose of them."
Kate finally lost her cool and knocked over the bucket, spilling water everywhere, "Why does it even matter, Derek?!" she cried, "This-This man hurt you! And he's threatened to kill your younger brother! What kind of monster is he? I refuse to work with him!"
Derek shook his head, "The man who killed your parents, is the man who is supposed to be kidnapped. Kate, he is one of ours. And it's on his record. He killed your family. Switch sides, Kate, and I promise you will get your revenge on him. I promise, Kate."
"F-Fine. I'll do it."
The door opened wide, "Well done, Mister Derek Flynn!" Vince cheered, he handed Derek his shirt, who had Kate help him put it back on.
"What is this about?" Demanded Kate, "Is what Derek said true? Is the man who killed my parents the victim?"
Vince handed her a picture of a pale, skinny man, "You tell me."
Kate studied the man's face, and remembered it, "It's him."