51: HELP EVEN AFTER DEATH

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Rebel and I didn't stick around long after dropping Team Delta off. Rebel helped safely maneuver Outlaw into the house, we both avoided any interaction with Slick's ex, and then we were gone.

The new predetermined meeting place was one of guaranteed safety; a place that the Kinetic would not likely think to search . . . a place that had once seen a decent amount of traffic so far as LASAR agents went. We were meeting everyone in Howler's former safe house; a place that had been a crossroads for LASAR agents who did frequent fieldwork . . . a place that Rebel and I knew Aim and Gambler had never been to.

The safe house was actually an entire building. It was a little on the small side, and only two stories, but it existed all the same, and given Howler's frequent use of it over the years, there was no doubt it would be stocked with a myriad of supplies we might find useful. A portion of those supplies being weapons, of course.

Rebel and I ditched the car several blocks away from the safe house, and took an indirect route from there. By some streak of luck, we made it there without incident. Out of habit we both headed toward the back of the building, given we were accustomed to doing everything in our power to draw less attention.

"Key?" Rebel asked as I pressed nimble fingers into the wall, feeling carefully for the loose brick.

"Working on it," I said, giving him a pointed look before I felt one of the bricks wiggle. I tugged it out with little difficulty, tossing Rebel a 'see-I-know-what-I'm-doing' look in the process, before slipping the key into the lock.

"How many loose bricks did she set up, anyway?" Rebel asked, audibly fiddling with one of his knives.

"Don't remember," I admitted, tugging the door open and tossing him the key. "Under a dozen. She wasn't as paranoid . . ." I trailed off as we headed into the building, dark eyes glancing over everything. It was all eerily familiar; it looked almost exactly as it had the last time we'd been here between assignments. The only difference was that now it was dead silent. No Top 50 Hits playing, no thrumming of a washing machine, or the dishwasher . . .

Though when there was a too-audible "I think someone else came into the house," it felt safe to assume everyone else had arrived.

Especially given after Desmond's not-quite-a-whisper, I could hear Sergeant hiss, "You suck at being quiet, Freckles. Offense intended."

Before Rebel or I could even make it out of the kitchen, Catatonic appeared in the doorway, cheshire grin wide on his face. "'Sup, Alpha dogs?" And before either of us could answer-- "No worries, guys, Risk and Rebel are here!"

No sooner had he spoken our names than did a pixie-like girl with a mess of purple hair appear beside him, accompanied by a slight breeze. Standing at the same height as myself, but with tanner skin and freckles galore, Snag beamed with all the mischief of a gremlin. "Aw, look, it's my favorite dangerous duo!" 

"And our favorite speedster," I mused with a crooked smile.

"Who evidently has decided to go purple," Rebel noted, an amused smile curving his own lips.

"Hey," Snag grinned brightly, "I'm not a LASAR agent any more. What's it matter if anyone recognizes me?" She scoffed, an ever impish glimmer in her eyes. "After all, they certainly can't catch me."

"That's . . . fair," Cat pointed out, brows high on his forehead as he offered a shrug. He turned back to Rebel and I smoothly. "Everybody's up in the lounge," he offered, waving toward the hall with a flourish. 

"I'd ask who everybody is," I said, stepping past both Cat and Snag and heading up the stairs without a moment's hesitation, taking them two at a time; "But I really don't have the patience for a snarky rundown right now."

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