Two Years Ago
‘Come on, Agent, aren’t you tired of this already?’
The agent just stared at her. ‘I didn’t say you could stop.’
She tied her hair back, again – for a goody-two-shoes agent of the system, he certainly had a thing for pulling her hair. It was annoying. He was annoying. The whole situation was annoying. ‘And I didn’t say,’ she snapped, ‘that you could recruit me. Two days I get, you can keep a game up, but it’s getting ridiculous now. Just show me your hand already, so we can-’
He slapped her across the face.
‘I know how the Agency works,’ she snapped, ‘and what you’re doing right now is so much against your duty I don’t know how you’re functioning.’
‘Get back to your training,’ he said as he wrapped strips of cloth around his hands.
‘Fuck. You.’
‘You know what your choices are.’
She took a few steps back from him. ‘And I practically grew up in a fucking Agency, I know my rights, and you can’t do this!’
‘Your rights are whatever I say they are.’
‘It doesn’t work like that, proxy!’
He twitched. ‘Get back to your training.’
‘I demand to see your boss.’
‘You don’t get to-’
‘Give it up, agent,’ she snapped, ‘just-’
He squeezed her head between his hands. ‘You said you wanted to be stronger.’
‘I’m. Not. A. Recruit.’
‘I say you are.’
‘You can’t change reality with words,’ she snapped.
‘You-’
She tilted her face forward and kissed him. His reaction was immediate – he went limp, into shock, his hands dropping away from her. She felt a smile curl onto her lips as she forced her tongue into his unmoving mouth, she had managed to surprise him – for the first time in a week, she had done something that he couldn’t react to.
He forced his mouth closed. She licked his closed lips, bit his chin, then let her hands slide down to his waist.
‘I’m not a recruit,’ she said, ‘you can’t expect me to be something I’m not.’ His belt loosened, she pulled at his pants. ‘You want me around, ok,’ she said as she went to her knees, his body still rigid and unresponsive. ‘I’ll take the room as payment, but I’m better at being a whore than I am-’
There was something missing.
She pulled his pants all the way down, just to make sure it wasn’t some sort of illusion.
‘What the fuck happened to your cock?’ she asked as she pressed a hand to the smooth path of skin between his legs. ‘What-’
He finally reacted.
He slammed her to the hard gym floor, his weight crushing her, both of his hands wrapped around her throat. ‘I want to be clear,’ he said through clenched teeth, ‘touch me like that again, and I will kill you.’
‘You’re going to kill me anyway!’ she said, pulling at the hands around her throat.
‘That isn’t how you free yourself from a choke hold,’ he snapped as he pushed himself to his feet, pulling her up at the same time. He grabbed the front of her shirt before she had a chance to get her footing, and threw her.
She hit the wall, and heard something snap. She slid to the ground, and watched him compose himself, pull up his pants, buckle his belt and take a deep breath.
She sat up against the wall, silently taking stock of her injuries. Cracked rib, definitely a cracked rib. ‘Fuck you, you freak,’ she spat. ‘If this isn’t some kind of sick sex game, then what do you want with me?’
‘I need a recruit. You’re expendable.’
She stood and glared at him. ‘Fuck you, you dickless wonder.’
He stomped forward, grabbed her by the shoulder and shifted them away.
‘Knocking would have been appreciated,’ she heard another agent say.
Taylor shoved her to the nearby couch, and she felt her cracked rib move.
‘Taylor, you need to explain what’s going on, right now.’
She looked past the mass of brainless muscle that constituted her captor at his boss. ‘Kidnapping, assault, dereliction of duty, misappropriation of Agency resources, misuse of an agent’s time, threats of bodily harm, threats of death, and seventy-five counts of being a massive dick!’
‘What,’ the agent demanded of Taylor, ‘is going on?’
Taylor jerked a thumb at her. ‘I informed you.’
‘You said you had a guest you were trialling for recruit suitability, not…whatever in seven hells this is, Taylor.’
‘Guest implies I had some choice in the matter!’ she snapped.
‘I think she’s suitable,’ Taylor said, ‘she…has other ideas.’
‘Get out of here,’ the agent said.
‘You-’
The agent rose up from behind his desk. ‘I said get out of here, Taylor, while I sort out your mess.’
She heard Taylor growl, but he spun on his heel, and walked out of the office, slamming the door behind him.
‘I think,’ the agent said, ‘our first stop needs to be the infirmary.’
‘Just require me some fucking painkillers,’ she said, ‘I want to be out of here as soon as possible.’
The agent leaned against his desk. ‘He didn’t tell me who you were, Miss Hammond, he didn’t tell me much of anything. I had-’
‘I’ll thank you not to call me that, agent.’
‘Do you still go by Maggie? Or are you too grown up for that?’
She stared at the agent. ‘Sorry, do I know you?’
He extended a hand. ‘Ryan, I met you once, when you were a lot younger.’
She ignored the hand and gave him a condescending smile. ‘Once? I met a lot of agents when I was a kid, you can’t expect me to remember them all. They’re all a blur of suits and ties, and you aren’t any different. I remember them talking about you, about how much of a dick you were, the hard on you had for getting paperwork in on time, but sorry to burst your bubble, I don’t remember you.’
He looked almost hurt, but regained his composure. ‘I should take that as a compliment, we’re meant to fade, to be anonymous. Obviously, I’m a little behind on this situation, if you’d care to explain it to me?’ He retreated behind his desk and a large file – she assumed hers – appeared before him.
‘He killed my friends, he kidnapped me, and he has no intentions of letting me go.’
‘And by “friends” you mean other…criminals?’
‘I’m not Agency, so I don’t have to respect Agency law.’
‘Your former affiliation with-’
‘That is completely irrelevant now. He can’t keep me here, I know he can’t, so let’s cut the bullshit. I’ll make it worthwhile, and you let me get the hell off that freak’s radar.’
‘You’ve got three choices,’ Ryan said as he laid out three forms on his desk.
She stood and stared at each in turn. ‘I don’t have time for this-’ she started.
‘With your track record, the circumstances that you were brought in under,’ he said as he tapped a report, ‘and your apparent lack of cooperation in the matter, we can’t just let you walk away. Option one, incarceration for a year. Option two, level three tracking for two years. Option three-’
‘Don’t even say it.’
‘Be his recruit.’
‘Can I give a giant fuck you to all of those options?’
‘You can do as you want, Miss Hammond.’
She stood, tore the pen from his hand and scratched her signature across the recruitment agreement. ‘This had better come with all of the benefits.’
He stared at her, and the world blurred, Taylor’s gym, and Taylor himself came into view.
‘Fine, I’m yours, agent. You said you could make me stronger, prove it!’
‘Then get back to your training!’
‘Yes sir,’ she said with a scowl and a one-fingered salute.