Lxii. mistaken identities

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Skye and Ace look between each other. Banana Bread tightens his hands around the trigger, but slowly drops his gun and raises his hands in defeat. The move elicits a satisfactory grin from Katrina. When Skye refuses to do the same, Katrina cocks the assault rifle.

Skye's gaze narrows, but she eventually concedes. She sets down her pistol on the floor. Ace and I knew exactly what was about to happen. Within a millisecond, Skye takes the dagger out of her boot while she's leaning down and throws it at Katrina.

"I'll take care of her," Skye spits, unleashing another dagger. "Run while you guys still can. And be careful, there are police everywhere in the building looking for Ace."

Immediately, Ace grabs Emma and me and run. If anyone could hold Katrina back, it'd be Skye.

"How do we get out?" I state. "Thirteen is probably doing a sweep right now."

"The stairwell. We just need to get in view of the police in the open. As for the CIA, it's hard to tell who's who right now," he grits.

"But then you'll be—" I bite my tongue.

Ace's golden gaze flickers away from mine. We both know what he implied: he'd take the fall and be arrested if it meant we were safe. Ace, now accused of leading these attacks, would be put on trial.

He scopes out one of the stairwells on the West side of the hallway. I'm gripping Emma's hand, and my fingers are undoubtedly shaking in her palms. Ace holds out a gun as we precariously step down each flight.

He suddenly freezes. Ace grabs Emma, who is between us, and yanks us in front of him. Four assailants kick open the door in the floor above us. In the dusty and cramped stairwell, I take Emma and run, while Ace runs up to meet the fight with a determined look in his golden eyes.

"Run, Octavia," he shouts.

A masked person meets us at the bottom of the stairwell. The man slams me against the wall, and I elbow the aggressor in the stomach. Lights instantly blur my vision. The metallic tang of blood enters my lips, and the ringing from the explosion comes back to fill my ears.

My knees buckle as I stand. I grab the aggressor, and knee him in the groin. My land latches on to something metallic--a gun. I point the barrel at the moving target in front of me and shoot. The gunfire echoes in the enclosed hallway. Despite the suppressor being on, my hands reverberated along with the gunfire, everything shaking and rotating.

A scream pierces the air: the man I thought I was fighting wasn't a man, it was Katrina. She found us. And I shot her in the leg.

"What did you do to Skye?" I spit between heaving breaths.

Katrina is on the floor, bleeding out. "I did what had to be done."

My finger tensed up. "What. Did. You. Do?"

I want to shoot her again in the head. But a second's hesitance, and all of a sudden, Katrina kicks my feet out from under me. A group of people enter the stairwell and grab Emma.

Cold concrete runs through my palms. I push myself up, driven by the anger and vengeance in my veins. The corridor is still shaking as my vision struggles to clear, but I can make out the faint outline of Emma, Katrina, and dark blobs of other people.

The sound of at least six guns locked on me. Tired, pained air draws from every step in my feet. I raise my hands in defeat; I needed to keep my head clear; I needed to help Emma. In a primitive way, she was all that I have left. She was my singular motivation that all our sacrifice hadn't yet been destroyed.

"Don't shoot. I'll be useful to you... I can code."

Katrina's voice scoffs. "You must be kidding me. You'd be a liability and a mole for the CIA."

"Don't hurt her," I hear Emma cry.

"No—" a voice interrupts. "—We're taking her. She'll be a prisoner of war." The voice belongs to Thirteen. As my vision comes back, his green eyes come into my view. The forest. The wilderness and the unknown.

He gently tilts my face up to see a maniacal smile. "She's our only contingency sending Ace Blackwell a message to not attack."

Handcuffs immediately shackle my wrists. Thirteen grips my bicep and pushes me forward while the whirling of a helicopter comes closer to the falling building. We move from the back East side while a helicopter follows us on the other side of the glass panes. The building is set to collapse at any moment.

Thirteen pins me down and injects me with a clear liquid. Blurs of light in and out now control my peripherals, and the images directly in front of me are fuzzy. Someone carries me to the helicopter. Down below, a figure that looks like Ace raises his hands in surrender as flashes of red and blue police cars surround him.

I'm strapped into the seat of the helicopter with numbness entering my limbs, making them immobile. Emma too sits down beside me.

"Ian please don't..." I whisper. "Ace is your brother. No one could be more important than him... not even Emma."

Thirteen walks towards me with his eyes indiscernible. "You're right."

"It's over," Emma states.

"What do you mean I'm right?" I spit.

Emma then stands up, joining Thirteen, and hands uncuffed. The fearful demeanor on her blue eyes just moments before has now been replaced with something distinctively cold, tactful, like a predator. My hands shake, and my vision sedates. An anchoring feeling came in my stomach.

"She's not very fast, is she?" Emma states in a silky voice.

"You've been working with him this entire goddamn time?" I spit. "Betraying—"

"—It was never personal," she interrupts. She squats down to meet me at eye level. "You're just the only one with access to certain information."

A small smile tugs on Thirteen's face. "You have no idea how happy I was when I found out," he whispers. "It has always been you."

He kisses my forehead.

The last thing I see behind Thirteen's infatuated green eyes before comforting darkness was the agency—falling, collapsing, blazing.

It has always been you. 

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