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A Promise To Protect - 19. Nothing To Lose

“Absolutely not.” Zeke scoffs at the idea, barely considering it a genuine offer. He couldn't see a reality where Tyler having a job in this agency would be of any benefit.

Why not? You don’t see potential in him.” G asks, not taking his eyes off Tyler, who was staring at him stunned into silence. He was trying to work out whether this was a joke, a test to see if he was gullible or something. Everyone waiting for him to reply so they can laugh at the fact he thought it was serious.

“I see the potential of him getting killed. He’s had no training. Zeke crosses his arms and glances beside himself at Tyler who looked somewhat hurt by what had just been said. The amused smile on Zeke's face fades instantly, realizing he was upsetting Tyler with his reaction to this.

No-one starts with training. He will receive the training he needs before he’s put out on any missions. Besides, didn’t you say yourself? You wouldn’t be here if not for his quick thinking in regards to the incident at your house.” G reminds Zeke calmly, the change of attention to Zeke throws him off as Tyler raises an eyebrow and looks at him too with a challenging expression. Tyler wanted to hear Zeke's opinion, he just wanted that opinion to be a positive one, to acknowledge Tyler's 'potential' like G had.

Yes, by running directly into danger." Zeke throws his arms up as though he couldn't believe he even had to point this out. "It is only coincidence that he wasn’t shot. Not smarts, not tactics. Coincidence! Luck even! But luck runs out and they are looking for him G, what the hell are you thinking? Practically, handing him over on a silver platter, to these guys?” Zeke wanted a full explanation from G, who was remaining very nonchalant towards him. Content and confident in his decision and clearly not interested in thinking about it any more or explaining his motives. It wasn't unusual for him to make such an unexpected decision, and usually Zeke trusted his bold moves but that was when it was his life being gambled with. He chose this life, he welcomed the danger. Tyler didn't choose this and didn't deserve to be thrown any further into it than he already was.

“I don’t think it’s luck. He has an Innocent demeanor and he saw a way to use that as his advantage. Honestly, Zeke, what are you afraid of? Think he’s gonna show you up?” G asks, making this about Zeke rather than Tyler. There was no way he was petty enough to hire someone just to make a point, surely. Zeke simply laughs at the preposterous suggestion. “What a patronizing response.” G comments, looking back down at his computer, once again appearing to not care about this conversation that was quickly fueling a lot of emotions between Zeke and Tyler.

“I want to help.” Tyler declares confidently, part of him was annoyed that Zeke thought this was so unreasonable. He may have been risking his life but he and Zeke could have died if not for him. He wasn't useless by any means and with training, like G said, he had potential. Besides he had a reason to never give up, he wanted justice for his parents, he wanted them to be avenged, at any cost. Add to that, Zeke's clear objection, and now Tyler wanted to prove Zeke wrong, just to rub it in his face that he wasn't a damsel in distress needing protection.

Excellent, well...” G starts speaking, but is quickly cut off by Zeke who’s once again sprouting his negative opinions, this time standing up and placing his hands on G's desk in an attempt to look threatening enough to be taken seriously.

This has gotta be a joke. What do you really want G? Zeke demands, he wasn't messing around anymore, not now that Tyler had suggested agreeing to this insanity.

Same thing you want and the same thing he wants. So why not work as a team? Stop acting like you own him. G states, making a point of turning his attention back to Tyler. “It’s not Zeke’s choice, you make a decision for yourself, not what he tells you to decide.” Tyler felt like he was being tested right now, that G wanted to see how well he could stand up for himself, but he was hesitant. Not because he was afraid of how Zeke would react, but because he never really understood Zeke's job and didn't want to be out there just bullshitting his way through life or death situations. He'd helped them escape Zeke's house but it was the most terrifying experience of his life. Not one he particularly wanted to continually subject himself to.

“I’m not acting like I own him. I’m trying to keep him safe.” Zeke says through gritted teeth as he slams his fists on the desk intimidatingly, though G, doesn’t even flinch. Casual as ever, he simply leans back in his chair and looks up at Zeke, crossing his arms to show he’s not going to cave on this.

Safe? Or trapped?” G asks. Tyler feels a rush of something as the words leave G’s lips. He’d felt trapped, that was exactly how it was. For G to be bringing it up to Zeke made him feel so valid and so understood. He'd told himself he was here to be kept safe but that's not what he cared about. Safety meant nothing to him if he had to live trapped away forever. He wanted to be free again, to be independent. He hated waiting around for Zeke and relying on the minimal information he was given. At least if he worked here he would know some of what was going on and he wouldn't be completely reliant on one person.

Safe.” Zeke insists. Tyler was fairly sure Zeke did actually intend on this being the feeling he provided Tyler, but it wasn't. Zeke made him feel a lot of things, but safe was rarely what stood out. It was like his life had been paused, as though it wasn't moving anymore and he just had to wait until Zeke fixed it and let him start actually living again. It wasn't safe, it was boring, it was monotonous and it was mind numbing.

If your priority was his safety, you would have brought him straight here. But you didn’t, you kept him hidden away at your house. Waiting for you. Waiting for you. Waiting for you. While you were out ignoring the danger you were putting everyone in, to satisfy your own selfish needs. So, in answer to your question, what do I want? I want somebody loyal and focused, that’s not going to be too busy fucking around with someone when they are meant to be working on the mission. Just because you’ve proven yourself unreliable, Zeke, doesn’t mean everybody else here is that self-important. With the right training, I believe Tyler could become one of our best assets. And I know I won’t have to question his determination. Since I’m sure that there’s nothing he’d rather do than see the people who murdered his parents finally, get brought to justice. G looks to Tyler again with a kind smile. Tyler had never been so empowered, G was saying all the right things to show he understood how Tyler felt, and making him question his own trust in Zeke.

“I want to help.” Tyler states again, more confidently this time.

“Tyler you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” Zeke dismisses him quickly, making Tyler feel like the easier option to have this argument with. He wasn't having any of that right now.

“Why is Zeke in here for this? If it’s my choice. I’ve made my choice so he can go.” Tyler surprises everyone in the room with his response.

“You heard him, out you go.” G states, pleased with the way Tyler was being firm about this.

“Tyler, come on. We need to talk.” Zeke had no intention of leaving Tyler alone with G.

“If you've got a problem, why don't you just write me a list and I'll respond to your concerns when I feel like it.” Tyler rolls his eyes, even without knowing what that snarky comment was about, G seemed impressed that someone was putting Zeke in his place. “You know what, G is right, I am done just sitting around in a room not getting anywhere with this. I want to be part of it. Not just trapped in a room waiting for you to maybe turn up but not tell me anything. I’m so over it. I can’t keep living like this and you can't stop me from living how I choose. Can I have my own room?” Tyler asks, his attention back on G, he could sense that Zeke was going to keep trying to reason him out of this and the last thing he wanted was to lose the excitement of autonomy he had pulsing through him as he is taking back control of his life.

“Corey, can you take Tyler, to room...” G looks down at his computer, typing and scrolling on the screen. “15 is free. Set up the facial recognition for the room and the thumb scan for the lifts. It’s time we gave him some independence. I can’t think of anything more depressing than being isolated with no of control.” G states, giving Tyler an approving nod.

“Yes, G.” Corey opens the door.

“Corey.” Zeke turns on him now, desperate to get someone on his side about this. “Would you say he’s mentally capable of handling this job?” Zeke asks angrily, looking past Tyler like he’s not even there.

“You’re overstepping, Zeke. Tyler will have to undergo all of the appropriate testing before he’s thrown into anything, have a little faith in him.” G rolls his eyes at Zeke’s frustration.

“Thank you so much for this G. I appreciate you taking a chance on me.” Tyler makes a show of stepping around Zeke to offer his hand to seal the deal with a handshake. G stands up and takes it with a firm grip.

“Welcome to the team.” He smiles as he shakes his hand. “I’ll be in contact soon.” He lets go of Tyler’s hand and gestures at him to leave the office. Zeke steps back, not following Tyler and Corey out.

"I'm trying to understand what your motive is here." Zeke states as he starts pacing in front of G's desk.

"Are you? Because it definitely seemed more like you were trying to argue with me and assert yourself over him." G sighs. "He’ll be fine Zeke. Trust me."

“What is he going to do? Really? His one qualification is that he is suicidal and erratic.” Zeke states, crossing his arms and glaring at G who just gives a shrug.

“Fearless and unpredictable." G states as if correcting Zeke, but Zeke knew he was right about this, G just had no idea how bad Tyler had been. The last thing he needed was freedom and a gun right now. "He’s got that fire in him. Recognize it?” G asks as he leans back in his seat, looking Zeke up and down. Zeke bites his lip and looks up at the ceiling, trying to contain his frustration at G's remark.

“So you are doing this to teach me a lesson.” Zeke shakes his head, he couldn't believe Tyler was a prop in G's plan to pull him back into line.

“No. But if you get your focus and motivation back, that’s a bonus for me. For now, I need you to work alongside him and make sure he’s up to scratch. Give him a chance to prove himself.” G shrugs as though his intentions were truly that innocent, Zeke wasn't buying it but if he had the chance to see how Tyler was managing, at least he could do something before anyone got hurt.

“Fine. I’ll give him a chance, but if I say he’s not up to it, you’ll let him step down?” Zeke bargains, he wanted to ensure Tyler had an easy way out of this ridiculous job.

“And transfer to the safe house? Of course.”

“I want to assess this safe house myself too." Zeke adds.

“I have no problem with that.” G replies, pressing some buttons on the computer then turning around in his seat as the printer starts running. “Here’s the report, it’s been scoped out by three of our guys, we’ve currently got one person staying there to be sure there’s no missed activity that could be dangerous to Tyler. I am taking his safety seriously.” G passes the print out to Zeke who immediately starts reading through the report, he wanted to make sure it was thorough, that everything was checked and that there was nothing even remotely concerning noted. “You trust me, right?” G asks as he watches the intense way Zeke is reading.

“Well thanks to you Tyler doesn't trust me anymore.” Zeke mumbles distractedly.

“That's his first lesson isn't it? He shouldn't trust anyone.” G crosses his arms.

“I get your point but it has taken a long time to get Tyler to trust me, I can tell you for sure that he doesn't trust just anyone, so what was your real reason for ruining that for me?” Zeke asks with a tired sigh. It'd been a hell of a day already and all he'd wanted was to come home, shower and sleep but he doubted he'd get much sleep with Tyler in another room and the stress and confusion of this hanging over him. He'd be visiting Corey as soon as he gets back to his office for some sleeping pills.

“Well I also want to be sure that you're not just going to carry him through this. Putting a bit of space between the two of you could be a good thing, as it does seem like you guys are getting a bit too close. We can't afford to lose focus now Zeke. The fight is coming and I have to know that your bleeding heart's not going to ruin it for all of us. Now is not the time to be getting distracted.” G states very matter of fact as he goes back to looking through his computer.

“I'm not getting distracted.” Zeke rolls his eyes again, looking back at the paperwork in front of him.

“Zeke, I interrogate hostages you cannot lie to me." G laughs. "Look normally I wouldn't care, it's not my business. But, unfortunately for you, you do have a record of putting lives at risk because of who you choose to get involved with, which is why I called you out on it. How old is Tyler anyway?”

“You just hired him, and you don't even know that basic information." Zeke comments.

"Age isn't relevant to whether he'd be good at the job, you should know that better than anyone. You've out lived a bunch of agents older, higher trained and more qualified. I'm only asking his age because I'm concerned about you." G states, his tone had changed to reflect his statement, though G wasn't the only one that was good at reading other people and being able to tell when they were putting on an act.

"He's 19 and there's nothing to be concerned about because there is no relationship.” Zeke states. He was fairly sure Tyler moving to another room and taking a job to spite him was enough of a hint that the question would remain unanswered between them.

“Does he know that?” G asks. there's a hesitant silence in the moment that follows before G continues. “Anyway that's all for me you're free to go.” G waves him away, Zeke doesn't need to be told twice, as soon as he is dismissed he makes his way back down to what was now just his room. If he was honest with himself he did think that Tyler being in a different room would be beneficial for both of them, things have been getting a bit intense lately and it could be good to take a step back have some space to work themselves out on their own. What he was worried about was not being there to protect Tyler from the manipulative tactics that he knew G was capable of, exhibit A was that whole display, Tyler had been completely manipulated that whole conversation and seemed to leave with his head held high, thinking he'd made that decision all on his own. He made the decision he was led to, though Zeke had conflicted vibes from all of what G had said. Up until now it'd been completely about sending Tyler to a safe house, and if someone was staying there now to keep an eye on it then it certainly seemed that G would be more determined to get Tyler out of here, not have him locked in with a paycheck. G had never given Zeke a reason to doubt his motives before, but Zeke really didn't understand where this was coming from there was no way that Tyler would be of any use to anyone here and even with what G had said about him being 'fearless and unpredictable' as though that was a good thing, the only thing Zeke could think of was that Tyler was going to get himself killed and that deep down he is accepting that job as an excuse to not be technically taking his own life.

Tyler didn't have much to collect from Zeke's room so it was no surprise that by the time he had gotten down there he was already gone at least Zeke knew where to find him but he also strongly suspected that Tyler wouldn't open the door for him right now so instead he goes to find, and rant at, Corey.

 

“Thanks for letting that all unfold and saying nothing.” Zeke comments as he lets himself into Corey’s office, slumping down in the chair at Corey’s desk. Corey looks up at him with an apologetic smile.

“Hey, I'm not the one that offered him the job.” Corey replies, putting aside his paperwork to give Zeke his full attention. Zeke always got the feeling that Corey wasn't actually as spineless as he acted, like some day G was going to ask him to do something and he wouldn't just go along with it like a well behaved, medically trained servant. Corey had no reason to be so loyal to anyone, because unlike Zeke he was exceptional at doing his job and not getting caught up with emotional attachments. Despite the fact Zeke could always turn to Corey for anything, he knew it was nothing but a professional relationship from Corey's end. He would counsel him and put him back together after an injury but Corey managed to care an awful lot about people when he was required to, but to otherwise switch off entirely.

“Well, you also didn't exactly give a reason why he shouldn't be hired. Come on, you can't seriously think this is a good idea." Zeke complains.

“Why don't you think it's a good idea? Is it just because he's suicidal, under-trained and a bit naive. Or is it something more?” Corey asks with a knowing smile on his face. Zeke hangs his head back and groans as he looks up at the ceiling, running his fingers through his hair, he came here to vent, not for a counselling session.

“Not you too.” Zeke's hands come around to the front of his face and he runs them down, looking back at Corey. “There is nothing. Going on. Between me. And Tyler.” He stresses.

“Oh, I know that. I'm just thinking that maybe it is the 'nothing', that is the cause of this problem. I mean, from what I've observed of Tyler, he's clearly very reactionary. That's the driving force behind him accepting this job right? He has something to prove, and is impulsive enough to throw caution to the wind for the sake of getting your attention. It's the part you didn't mention to G about him running head first into danger, he did that because you upset him. I figure this isn't any different, you've pissed him off somehow haven't you?” Corey asks, though it sounded like he had a hidden camera in their room and had seen this building up over the last few days. Either that or Tyler said something.

“Not intentionally, I have been very busy lately. He's interested in me.” Zeke sighs like it's not that important.

“A fact which is news to absolutely nobody.” Corey comments with an amused smile.

“I'm not interested.” Zeke shrugs. "Anyway I just came here for some sleeping pills, not a counselling session."

“You know that I know you're lying." This was the problem with working with people trained to pick up on things, they weren't as easy to pretend in front of, than Tyler was. "The difference is, you understand the risks involved and he doesn't. He wants your attention, and he'll throw himself in danger to get it because it's the one way he knows you cannot ignore him." Corey states with a shrug as he pops a few pills into a medication cup and returns to the desk, passing them to Zeke then finding his file on the computer to note down what he'd been given.

"What, you think I should just start a relationship with him to keep him from doing something stupid?" Zeke frowns, he'd had relationships that meant nothing to him and were just tactful, but he didn't feel right about making Tyler another one of those.

"To be 1000% clear with you Zeke, I do not think you should be getting involved with Tyler for any reason at all. I just know that your good intentions get skewed and I can see that happening with him already. You want to do the right thing by him and keep him safe, so he's putting himself in a situation where he's hoping you will intervene, to back you into a corner. My concern is that you won't be able to call his bluff on it because you know he's not going to back down, and your conscious won't allow you to let him die for your attention. To his credit, he might not make a very stable agent, but he's very strong minded when it comes to what he wants. His mental health assessment isn't going to deter G, it's only going to prove that Tyler's got nothing to lose, making him the perfect choice for high risk missions. If I were you, I'd be very careful how you play this with him, because I've got no doubt he'd be willing to die to prove himself to you."

Copyright © 2020 Littlelovestories; All Rights Reserved.
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Wow a rather enlightening and emotional chapter, Tyler has now got something to prove let's hope he doesn't get  injured more by doing it

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I can't help feeling Tyler's gonna be hurt even worse no matter what happens. I'm hoping I'm wrong. 

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I think G wants Tyler to fail at the training so he ends up in the safe house but what if it doesn't work out that way?If Tyler somehow ends up in the field it would only be with Zeke that makes one think of all the possibilities

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