33: YOU WON'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M ANGRY

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Though I hadn't seen Gray after I climbed out of the van, the moment Rebel knocked out three men with the dismembered bumper, I heard him.

I couldn't quite make out what he was saying, but the tone he used made his meaning evident. I thought I heard something like "Everybody back off!" though I wasn't sure. All I knew was that the moment Gray had shouted, his mercenaries crept off the scene, drifting to the outskirts, where civilians were running rampant.

So far as I was concerned, all of that faded to the background.

For just a moment, I was taken back to the elaborate training room that once existed at LASAR headquarters; where it was just Rebel and I against the stimulation. It was easy enough for me to slip into that mindset, to tune out all else except my opponents and my partner.

Then a rocket exploded a few feet in front of me and everything went to hell.

Instinct kicked in just seconds before I felt the heat. A telekinetic barrier sprang up at the near exact second of impact, and in the same motion I'd latched onto Rebel's arm and yanked him toward me. Super strength may have been great in the means of stopping bullets, but so far, it hadn't done much to help him against burns.

The fire around us faded away fast enough, but in its place sprang up something far more dangerous -- rage.

Rebel and I both sprang into action at once. Neither of us bothered waiting for the fire to die -- after all, we'd both faced the heat before.

Rebel moved for the man with the rocket launcher without hesitation, and when a few other Kinetic goonies rushed him, I swept them away with a wave of my hand. I drew my gun with my other hand, this time aiming at the armed men trying to hide behind the vehicles.

If one head popped up, it went down . . . to never come back up again.

Rebel cold-cocked the man with the launcher before throwing the weapon over his shoulder and aiming at the SUV. We exchanged the briefest of glances (and the slyest of smirks) before he fired, and I raised a hand and completely over turned the sedan.

The combined sounds of both attacks were near defeaning. Yellow and orange flames licked at the frame that was once an SUV, while those who had been behind the sedan were now mostly running for their lives.

Except one.

And oh, he should've been the first to flee, but you know what they say about fools and learning.

He marched toward me with all of the determination of a bull, and with an equally displeasing look on his face. He carried a machine gun, yet before he could raise it, Rebel had him by the front of his shirt, dangling on his tiptoes.

I was smiling all too widely as I moved toward them. "Wow, some people really never learn, huh?" I asked with a sneer, the sound of my voice just enough to stop Rebel from doing anything fatal.

Just enough to let Rebel know to keep the poor moron dangling.

The male known as Walski glared at me viciously, his eyes fiery despite his compromising position.

Rebel looked over his shoulder at me with a mildly bored expression. "We know him?"

"'Fraid you don't, Reb," I said in a mock-cheerful tone, "but Walski and I, we are well acquainted. Aren't we?"

Walski looked as if he was going to answer, but then Rebel's grip shifted to something closer to his windpipe, and he seemed to decide against it.

My smile only widened. "Do me a favor and drop him, you'll understand soon," I said, standing just a step away from my partner.

By that point, all of the other Kinetic members were either down, or getting out of dodge as fast as their legs could carry them. I should've known Gray'd only keep his lackeys on the sidelines for so long . . . no sooner had Walski's feet touched the ground than did Gray, his mercs, and the other former agents of LASAR approach us.

Quite the sight we made on the street, I assure you.

"Who's this, a new friend?" Charlotte asked, the mere sound of her voice grating on my nerves.

I turned to her with the kind of threatening smile that I usually managed to keep under control, but before I could speak, Gunner did.

"What is this, a group interrogation?" he asked, standing over Desmond's shoulder and glaring down at Charlotte in return. "Gray," he began to say, "let Alpha do their thing . . ."

"I'm just curious as to who you've apprehended," Gray said, his words directed toward Rebel and I.

Rebel still had a firm hold on Walski's shoulder, but he was obviously unamused. His jaw was clenched, his eyes were hard, and I knew that if he had the chance, he'd go ahead and punch Gray in the jaw.

This wasn't the first time we had been in a situation like this. Gray seemed to have a habit of catching the two of us at terrible moments.

"He's one of the Kinetic," I answered simply, my own hands on my hips. "He was tracking us down in New York while I was out of stasis."

The implication of that statement was clear enough: Rebel didn't remember because Rebel didn't remember anything from that time span.

Gray nodded slowly, the rest of his mercs looking on in evident confusion. "All right," he said, before glancing around the street. "Your discussion cannot happen here."

"And where do you suggest we go?" Rebel asked through his teeth.

I touched the back of his arm, a small and brief gesture, yet he relaxed some all the same. "Where?" I pressed, my voice void of emotion.

It was Ilga who spoke up, surprising likely everyone. "I-- I have contact in Munich." She looked to Gray quickly, as though for approval, and I suppressed an eye roll. "Not far from here. I know back ways."

Gray nodded immediately. "We haven't got time to waste, so you can explain this contact as we go. Lead the way."

"We're walking?" Desmond asked quietly.

"Unless you've learned how to fly," Charlotte retorted, moving after Ilga the moment the Russian began to walk.

Legion and Sergeant both gave the redhead sympathetic pats as Gunner ushered him along. "Tough luck, Freckles," Sergeant said.

Rebel began to follow after Gunner with Walski in tow, and I was fast to follow. Gray was hot on our tail, with Rashid and Elliot behind him . . . Though I seriously wanted to speak up and communicate with Rebel, I kept my mouth shut.

Something felt very, very wrong.

I moved on the other side of Walski, in time with Rebel, and when Walski opened his mouth, it took me two seconds and one swift movement to have my priorly hidden knife pressed against his neck. "If you enjoy breathing, I suggest you keep all thoughts to yourself until we ask for them," I said coolly.

"I second that," Rebel muttered, squeezing Walski's arm that much tighter until the brute began to nod.

I sheathed my knife soon after, but my mind was another matter entirely. Team Charlie were never ahead of Rebel and I . . . never anticipated our moves. For them to know to send agents -- much less a kid who had priorly been in America -- to our exact location . . . something was wrong.

And I was determined to discover what.

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