• Mark •

My patrol was as ecstatic as I expected them to be when I told them the news, even if slightly anxious that Felix stood with his arms crossed behind me. It's okay, I smiled for him. He's not always quite so aggressive, but he was asserting himself. It was an act he had explained to me once when Ian had asked him to speak to me about my attitude towards my patrol. I accepted that he frowned upon my teaching methods – he felt and still feels that I need to be a little more forceful, to ensure they knew they couldn't get away with anything, but it isn't necessary.

I think Felix is always anxious. He's practically in charge of this huge organization, and he's just one man. He's not bossy, he never has been, but he feels he has to be. What I've realized, that I'm sure he hasn't, is that people are in awe of him, and they trust his judgment far more than their own, and that's enough to make them listen. That is what I rely on, and I had told him that. He didn't quite approve, he never pretended he did, but he let me do things my way after that.

"So, for the next week Felix will be teaching you in your one-on-one lessons and your class, as he has so kindly volunteered. I do of course expect you on your best behavior during this time." The pointed look was directed at Daniel. If he noticed, he didn't acknowledge it – I wasn't honestly worried, after all. Felix is not somebody you want to get on the bad side of. "If any of you for any reason object to this, you can speak to me once everybody has left. Rest assured Felix will not take offence and we will attempt to find you another teacher for the next week."

I then looked to Felix, a silent question of whether I had covered everything, whether or not he wished to say something, and the man only smiled, allowing his cool façade to slip. He knows well where the boundary between respect and fear is, and he doesn't cross it. For that, I am glad. It's what makes him so enjoyable to be around. "I'm looking forward to working with you all. I've heard great things."

With that, I left him to it. He continued on with what he had in store for the next week, and as he did so I slipped out of the room, grabbing the sleeve of Jack's hoodie as I passed him. He stumbled slightly but managed not to fall, and then followed me into the corridor. "We should get going. You packed this morning, right? We need to stop off at Ian's office to tell him where we're going, and then we can leave."

Jack nodded, no sound leaving his lips, so I just took it as nerves. He was doing his best to hide it, but it was glaringly obvious to me. As admirable as it was that he wasn't seeking comfort, I wanted to provide it. Felix's request from ages ago was still prodding at the back of my mind. His sweeping statements, inferences that Jack needed protecting, were still there too. Honestly, that was my way of justifying it. There was a desperate need to protect him that had been there since I'd first fought him, brought on by how sick that entire scenario had made me feel, and I had been reluctantly nursing it ever since. "Don't worry so much, Jack. If the need is there, I can handle this situation. In the end, you needn't do anything at all."

Jack bit his lip, refusing to look at me. If anything, he turned further away. The blush, however, was not disguisable. It was out in the open for all to see, covering his cheeks, and it was all I could do to resist temptations to chuckle at it. "I wouldn't say I'm worried about completing the mission. No, I'm sure I can do that. I'm more worried about that boy. How long has he been up there, refusing to move now? Two days, did you say? Trapped in there with whoever that is, that monster. There are so many things that don't make sense, don't you think?"

Of course Jack would be worrying about the boy. Even though, after two days, it was obvious he wasn't going to be attacked, and he was perfectly safe, Jack would still care more for him. Perhaps I was the one being unreasonable. But I think my protective instincts were the ones to kick in. "I'm not entirely sure what you mean, Jack. There's always weird things' going on. That's why they call us in, and not just the police forces."

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