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Prologue.

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'What?'

'Nothing.' There's a pause and she comes close to ripping his insufferable face off of its insufferable neck. 'I'm just watching, darling.'

'You're smirking.'

'This? This is not a smirk.'

'Don't expect me to ask, then, because you know I-'

'Worry not. I'm well aware you're far too grand for all the rest of us. It's simply that things could be easier if you went... under. You know, it could take a little less time, get us out of here before they come back to slit our throats and scalp us.' He's smiling. She can tell without turning and looking. 'Merely a suggestion.'

'How would I be able to go under,' she hisses pointedly, 'if their security system will go off the moment I do. Unless- and stop me if I'm way off- you know the code.'

Allison steps aside and Simirick smoothly slides into her place, smirking as he flips the cover back over the box she had been in the middle of deconstructing, its wires and her fingers fighting to make the first cut. She watches as he cups his hand around the numbers, shielding them from her, and she smiles right back at him as he types in the code she could kill him for getting. And it's not even as if there's any point to his hiding it from her. They both know she gets it, watching each shift of his hand.

He bows and with his neck so perfectly exposed she has to restrain herself from going at it with a machete. Nothing is hard for her- nothing but having to work with him.

In 0.3 seconds the door had opened under her ministrations and in another 0.8 she's in and has scooped up a black box the size of her palm, innocuous and obvious both. In its place she deposits a small box of chocolates, their wrappers sliver and golden and copper and glinting enough to blind someone.

'Why do they deserve chocolates?' Simirick exclaims, eyes wide as he pounces on them. He exclaims again, under his breath, when she hits him.

'Because I think she might get a little upset to find it gone, and...' She watches as he picks up a piece, waiting until it's almost at his lips before finishing. 'They're laced. The squad'll be on this haven in less than an hour.'

Allison fiddles with the black box for a few moments before slipping it into her jacket, turning towards the door they've left ajar and freezing. The two stand rigid, listening intently to the sound of boots crunching over dead undergrowth fifty feet below. It proves a point too late.

Allison was right. They should've come with backup, even if neither of them would ever have accepted it.

'That's our call to get out of here,' she murmurs, reaching forward and lightly snapping the door closed, locking them both inside the small confines of the not so safe safe-house, built up high amidst the thick trees that seem to cover the private island from one side to another, dripping and sticky and quite nice for climbing, all in all.

'I'll lead the way,' Simirick says gallantly, and they leap from the window.

By the time the woman realises that her carcinogenic trip box of death has been replaced by a box of laced chocolates? The agents have already passed the PPA, one group on their way out and the other on their way in, said box safely in tow. Relationship not so much.


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