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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

A Promise To Protect - 26. Something's Not Right Here

"Tyler, you're up." A voice calls and Tyler finds himself entering a small room which contained nothing but a table. Upon the table was a gun, a knife, a vial of poison and a container of pills. He considers each one before stepping back and shaking his head. 

"All of these are too obvious." He states as he bites his lip and crosses his arms. "The gun and knife carry too much of a risk of being traced due to DNA, and regardless they are hard to explain if you're caught with them. And poisoning? He's an agent right? He'd be smart enough to see that coming, surely. He's not just going to be oblivious to the potential of us being out to kill him. If he's seriously as big a threat as you say, then he won't just let his guard down." He continues to justify his thought process.

"He's a teenager for god's sake, don't give him too much credit." The voice was distorted and came through a speaker in the corner of the room, but something about it made Tyler's skin crawl.

"So are we, and we're smart enough to know better. I'm not comfortable with poisoning him, and I'm certainly not comfortable inflicting traceable wounds. It's got to be something that makes sense. Like something really simple, overdose on regular medications and claim he did it to himself. It'd make sense because of his parents deaths. He dies and no one suspects anyone's involvement."  Tyler states confidently. There's a silence before he's asked to leave the room and join the line of other trainees that were waiting outside. Tyler couldn't see any of their faces, they weren't covered, they simply had no faces, except for one.

"Tyler, Wyatt. Congratulations, you've passed. You may proceed." The voice announces. Tyler glances down the line of disappointed trainees, at Wyatt. Wyatt flashes him a smile then walks over to the door at the side of the room, they both scan their hands and the doors open for them. The two enter, hearing the chaos unfolding behind them as the failed trainees are dragged off to have their memories wiped. Inside the room is a large screen that lights up the moment the doors behind them close. "This is your target." A photo comes up on the screen but the moment Tyler sees his face he stumbles backwards in shock.

"Wait, that's Zeke?" Tyler looks to Wyatt beside him, shaking his head as he tries to understand what is happening. "I'm not killing him." Tyler states, a buzz of anxiety rushing through him making him sweat. His heart was racing and he felt like his chest was being compressed.

"Well obviously not because you're falling in love with him aren't you?" Wyatt asks with a frown, walking towards Tyler and grabbing him by the shoulders. "You've had every chance, you could have finished this for us, but instead, you ran away. He always liked you more than me, you should have done your job." Wyatt yells at him, rage in his eyes.

"What? No. I'm just. He. This isn't real. This is you." Tyler's scrambled mind desperately tries to fish for logic in this confrontation. Tyler pushes Wyatt away aggressively then paces away from him, turning his back on Wyatt. "You are messing with my head! You don't know me Wyatt. And whatever this is, this is just a nightmare. It's not real. You think you know me because whatever they did, they messed with your head and you're not thinking clearly. You're having hallucinations and vivid..." 

"Dreams." Tyler looks back at Wyatt, confused that his voice had changed. Instead, he finds himself looking into a mirror. His reflection sentient, dressed in his old uniform, and covered in blood. Tyler looks down at himself finding that he's wearing all long sleeved black clothes, not what's being reflected back to him. "You need to remember. You need to wake up. Before it's too late." His reflection tells him and the shock that runs through him at the unease the whole scene is giving him, forces him awake. 

Tyler sits up, gasping for air so desperately it leads him into a coughing fit. Tyler grabs at his throat, feeling like he was both starved for air and choking on it all at once. He couldn't inhale or exhale normally, his airways feeling completely constricted. The empty bed beside him filling him with fear as his fleeting memory of the dream leaves just the lingering feeling that Zeke was in some form of danger. Thankfully only moments later, Zeke is back in the room with him, holding close a cup of coffee, he must have been sitting up in the other room.

"Are you ok?" He asks with a smile on his face at first, quickly changing as Tyler continued to struggle to breath between coughs. 

"Z." Tyler splutters, his voice raspy and airy. He reaches a hand out towards Zeke who rushes over with a frown on his face. Zeke takes Tyler's hand with one of his then feels his forehead. "Z. Z, something is happening. I don't know what's going on..." Tyler stammers out. 

"You've got a fever. My guess is you've caught a cold or something when you were stuck outside overnight the other day." Zeke answers, eyeing him and noticing how clammy and pale he was.

"N-no. That's not what I mean." Tyler starts another coughing fit, Zeke sits down behind him on the bed for a moment, rubbing his back to try and soothe the cough. After it fails to bring any relief, Zeke disappears back towards the kitchen and returns with a glass of water, placing it on the bedside table then starts searching through Tyler's wardrobe to find him some clothes to wear. "Z. Wyatt. Yesterday..." Tyler chokes out the words desperately trying to warn him but losing the context of what he was trying to say, not able to put together what he had dreamt. The harder he tried to remember, the more it slipped away.

"Don't talk, you're struggling to breath enough as it is." Zeke orders as he saunters back over so calm and casual. He had no idea of the fear Tyler felt.

"No but. I had this dream." Tyler shakes his head as he tries desperately to remember what he'd dreamt. It was him, it was Wyatt, something was wrong and it involved Zeke but the rest had faded away in his brain but the feeling it had caused within him remained. He was tense and confused and absolutely petrified.

"Shh, relax. You can tell me later. Right now we need to get you to Corey." Zeke tells him as he tries to help Tyler get dressed. Tyler gets oddly shy about Zeke seeing him naked and sends him away, insisting he can dress himself. Zeke rolls his eyes at the idea of Tyler wanting privacy now, but turns his back all the same. Just because Tyler had comfortably let him take things that extra step last night, didn't mean Tyler was ok with him seeing anything now. It's a struggle to get dressed, while what felt like coughing up his lungs, and Zeke offers a few times to help, only to get a grumpy 'no' in response each time. Once Tyler is dressed though, he finds himself exhausted and needing to lie down again, flopping onto the bed and having another coughing fit, more aggressive than the last. Zeke walks over and brushes Tyler's hair from his forehead. "You're really burning up, I might just call him here." Zeke sighs, hating the stress and suffering on Tyler's face.

"No. I'm fine." Tyler tries to refuse, simply because his brain was too scrambled to comprehend anything at this point.

"On second thought it's probably best to get you there where he's got everything he needs. I'm really concerned about your breathing." Zeke suggests and it feels like a blur between that and suddenly being in the lift. Tyler's head was throbbing, he was breaking out in a sweat that was causing him to shiver and he had still not been able to draw in a full breath. He feels so pathetic and weak, leaning against Zeke for support. He'd completely forgotten now, what had caused him to wake up so distressed, because his lungs felt as though they were collapsing and exploding all at once. Zeke's rubbing Tyler's back once again in a pointless effort to soothe him while Tyler is trying his hardest to not cough, already his throat was aching. Tyler's not sure how he's even staying upright, let alone walking once they leave the lift, he's fairly sure Zeke's doing all of the work to keep him that way as they make their way to Corey's office. Zeke knocks, waits only a moment then impatiently knocks again. 

"What's going on?" G's voice comes from behind them. 

"Piss off." Tyler mutters and starts coughing hard again right as Corey opens the door, stepping back quickly to not be coughed on. 

"Tyler is sick, I thought it might just be a bad cold from the other night, but you can see skin being sucked in between his ribs. He's really struggling to breathe and he has a fever." Zeke quickly explains. 

"Zeke, can I have a word?" G orders more than asks. Zeke and G get caught up in a brief argument that Tyler has no interest in as he's being led by Corey to the bed in his office. Corey pops a stethoscope in his ears and presses it to Tyler's back, listening carefully to his breathing. He moves across to the other side of his back then listens from the front. 

"Where's Z?" Tyler asks, glancing over to the door. 

"G needed to talk to him, I'm sure he'll be back soon. In the mean time, I need you to relax. I'm going to put a nebulizer on your face to help you breathe. Now Tyler do you have any allergies to anything?" Corey asks quickly as he goes to his desk and looks for Tyler's medical chart. 

"N-no." Tyler replies. 

"Perfect." Corey walks back over, perusing his chart. "Ok. The mask just goes over your face and you breathe normally. This will help to open up your airways." Corey puts the chart down and starts organizing the nebulizer, he places the mask over Tyler's face and there's almost instant relief. "Deep breathes." Corey goes about checking all his other vital signs, his blood pressure was normal though his pulse was quite rapid. As expected the oxygen in his blood was below a safe level and his temperature was through the roof. After only a few moments, Tyler felt like he was wasting Corey's time because he felt completely fine again. "Keep the mask on." Corey orders as Tyler tries to take it off. 

"I'm alright though." Tyler argues, taking it off regardless. 

"You will be feeling better because of the oxygen therapy, you need to let it do it's job or it'll only be temporary relief. Have you had any other symptoms?" Corey asks as he pulls up a chair beside Tyler's bed and sits down, clicking his pen and waiting for an answer from Tyler. 

"No." Tyler answers then closes his eyes. 

"When did the symptoms start?" 

"When I woke up." Tyler sighs then opens his eyes and sits up quickly. "I had a weird dream. I had to tell Zeke something." Tyler looks towards the door. 

"Just relax for me Tyler..." 

"Corey, how can you tell if someone is being 'mind controlled'?" Tyler asks, Corey who clicks his pen and puts it down, looking up at Tyler. 

"I heard you guys were sent to check on Wyatt last night. When someone is being mind controlled, basically the only sign we've been able to identify is a lack of emotion in the eyes. Generally people emote a lot more through their eyes than they think. There's an absence in their eyes when they are following a behaviour that has been impressed upon them rather than that comes naturally, so even though they may appear to be completely aware of how they are acting, the absence of emotion in their eyes gives away that they are actually under the influence of something that is causing them to think, feel and act a certain way." Corey replies with a sigh. 

"Do they know?" Tyler asks. 

"It seems to be a very clever acting substance, that renders itself untraceable. The person who was under its influence has a form of amnesia once it wears off, they don't completely remember but that's not to say they don't have thoughts or display behaviours that don't match who they know themselves to be. In a particularly cruel twist, there seems to be a trend of finding people who have experienced some form of trauma, that can account for the actions and feelings that are actually symptoms of withdrawal, so it cancels out the chances that a person would be able to recognize their symptoms as unusual. It's a disgusting trick to play on someone, because it generally ends in the person who is not in control of themselves, being killed for actions they cannot help and being remembered as a villain, rather than recognized as the victim that they are." Corey shakes his head, reading through Tyler's chart again. 

"Do you think it's possible for someone to remember completely?" 

"Memory is a thing that has been studied a million times and will be studied a million more, no one will ever have a full understanding of how memories work, but, I believe anything has the potential of being remembered under specific circumstances. Every memory has a memory trigger, it could be a smell, a song, a place, a phrase or a face. Things can be dormant in your mind forever and then the right trigger wakes it up again. That's why when we 'wipe' people's memories, we continue to monitor them and ensure their environment we transfer them into, leaves little chance that they can see a face or be in a scenario that can unlock memories of what they have experienced." Corey closes Tyler's chart and looks back up at him.

"So you don't really wipe memories then?" Tyler asks.

"In the same way as drugs we refer to as a 'pain killer' doesn't actually 'kill' the pain, it just stops the receptors in our brain from signalling pain. We use a drug that interferes with the ability to recall a certain period of time. The memories aren't wiped, they are still there, but the person cannot recall them." Corey explains as he watches Tyler with intrigue. "How are you feeling?" 

"I feel fine. Can I go? I don't really want to be here longer than I need to be." Tyler shrugs. 

"Ok, I'm going to do another set of obs and get you started on antibiotics, if you respond well over the next hour then you can go, does that sound alright?" Corey suggests, getting up and starting his assessment again. Tyler nods, now that he'd had a chance to breathe, he was worried about being vulnerable to G so he wanted to get back to the safety of his room. 

 

"How are you going?" Zeke asks as Tyler greets him at the door of his room, looking much better already, compared to when Zeke had seen him last. 

"Should I bother asking where you have been?" Tyler steps out of the doorway and lets Zeke in. 

“Sorry, G needed to talk to me about my next job then I decided to make you some food because I figured you probably won’t feel like cooking.” Zeke smiles as he holds up the bag he was carrying and in incredible smell wafts out.  

“You cooked for me?” Tyler frowns, completely thrown by the wholesome gesture. "You know, you're acting dangerously like you care about me." Tyler states with a cheeky smile as he looks into Zeke's eyes. 

"I don't know what you're talking about." Zeke says sarcastically, stepping in to kiss Tyler, to his disappointment, Tyler pulls away before their lips touch.  

"Apparently I have pneumonia, so it's probably best you don't kiss me." Tyler follows as Zeke heads into his kitchen. 

"Well. Not your lips at least." Zeke replies, casting a wink over his shoulder. Tyler steps back and just gawks at the comment. Shockingly he'd completely forgotten until now, about last night. He lets himself get momentarily busy replaying the memory of having his fingers gripping Zeke's hair for dear life as he’d felt like his soul was leaving his body. He’d been so caught up in this morning’s fever dream, that he’d completely thrown that memory aside. "Don't get shy on me, where'd all that confidence go?" Zeke asks with a smirk, noticing Tyler’s silence. 

"Down the back of your throat, I think." Tyler replies under his breath, stunning Zeke into momentary silence himself. 

"Well judging by that response, it sounds like I missed a bit." Zeke laughs as he places the bag down on the bench and unpacks the containers of soup.  

"So, what have you for made me?" Tyler walks over to the bench, drawn in by the delicious smell. 

"Chicken soup. It's my mum's old recipe for curing all ailments. I'm not sure it actually works, but it did always make me feel better when I was sick. Could just be mind over matter, but I figured it’s worth the try.” Zeke states sweetly then notices the pack of antibiotics on the bench. He picks up the container to read the label. "How long does the good old doctor think it'll take for you to be better?" He asks. 

"A few days." Tyler shrugs. "Though I'm sure with the curative powers of your mum's chicken soup I'll be fine by tomorrow." Tyler states, getting himself a spoon and popping open a container and starting to indulge himself. It tasted as good as it smelt, maybe even better. 

“Not bad, right?” Zeke asks with a hopeful smile. 

“Mm, made with love?” Tyler taunts. 

“Well, I can’t share the secret recipe, but I always thought that was the ingredient that did the curing.” Zeke answers wisely non-committal, though it was more than Tyler expected from his comment, he’d just wanted to make Zeke squirm a little. It’s a short lived comfort though, as Zeke confesses his reason for cooking so many serves for him. "I hope it helps. I'm being sent out for a mission soon, so I made enough to keep you going until I get back and can look after you properly." Zeke tells him, feeling terrible that he had to leave soon, especially when he sees the disappointment in Tyler's eyes. 

"Back to me waiting for you then?" Tyler asks with a sigh as he puts the lid back on the container, losing his appetite for the moment. 

"Except this time, you know when I come back, I'm coming back for you." Zeke was hoping that was comforting in some way, but Tyler still seemed sad, prematurely lonely at the thought of being left behind again, missing the excitement and the action on the field, wondering again if Zeke would be safe and how long it'd be before he would come back. 

"What's G sending you to do this time?" Tyler crosses his arms and leans against the bench. 

"It's a solo mission this time. I can't tell you more than that at this stage." Zeke tells him with an apologetic expression. 

"Wow, I really have been demoted back to unwanted guest in the agency." Tyler rolls his eyes. 

"I can’t tell you anything because I don’t know anything, yet. It’s not being kept from you for any other reason." Zeke assures him but Tyler isn’t convinced. “I’ll tell you about it when I get back, I promise.” Zeke offers as he moves around to wrap his arms around Tyler. 

"Whenever that might be." Tyler scoffs, though he’s not too stubborn to let Zeke hold him he really wanted nothing more than to not let Zeke leave, now that they had finally started something together. He didn’t want to lose what he’d only just gotten, and though Zeke had always come home, there was a risk every single time he left, that he wouldn’t return. 

"If it helps, I don’t want to go.” Zeke sighs. 

“What do you want? If you didn’t have to run off on some wild goose chase to appease G, what would you want?” Tyler asks. 

“Tonight? I would want to take care of you, make sure you’re ok and comfortable and keep you company. Tomorrow, I’d hope you were feeling better so we could just relax together and enjoy ourselves. And I’d be hoping that in a few days, you’d not be all sickly because I cannot stop thinking about how much I want to kiss you, it’s seriously distracting.” Zeke succeeds in cheering Tyler up, even though he knew he’d still be having to say goodbye soon. 

“Just, don’t leave then.” Tyler suggests. 

“I really wish I didn’t have to.” 

Sure I can’t bribe you to stay? Just because I can’t kiss you, doesn’t mean I can’t please you, I owe you now so...” 

“I tell you the thought of kissing you has been distracting me, and you go making offers like that?” Zeke laughs it off. 

“When do you have to go?” Tyler asks, hating that he was feeling so clingy, but something just didn’t feel right about letting Zeke leave and Tyler couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was that had him feeling so unsettled about it. Everything, it was everything. Every single part of this was putting him on edge and he didn’t know whether it was just in his head, but Zeke seemed to be anxious about leaving too.

"Tomorrow morning." He says with a shrug and a fake smile. "He wanted me to go tonight but, I didn't want to go while you were sick. At least by tomorrow night you should be really feeling better, I won't feel so bad about not being here to look after you then." He states as he turns his head to the side and kisses Tyler's neck, sending a shiver up his spine.

"Wait, you told G that?" Tyler asks nervously, grabbing Zeke's forearms and leaning away from him.

"Well, not so directly." Zeke answers.

"Did he say anything about me telling him to piss off this morning?" Tyler smirks to himself. He didn't particularly feel bad about it, he just knew he wasn't exactly in the spot to be stirring up G. He knew he was living on borrowed time here, and that G owed him nothing. The moment G was done with him, he'd be thrown out of this place, with his memory of Zeke forcibly set dormant in his mind, probably forever. Somehow it seemed worse to him, that he wouldn't actually forget, he'd just never be able to access the memories. He'd been thinking about it a lot since speaking with Corey and he just couldn't get the idea of looking Zeke in the eye and not being able to recognize him because of some blocked pathway in his mind. All the feelings, all the potential, everything they could have had, trapped in a mental Pandora's box.

"He's been pretty fired up about other things, don't worry." Zeke bites his lip, looking at Tyler with a curious hesitation.

"You seem, pensive. Is something wrong?" Tyler wished he could read his thoughts, basically all of the time but tonight there was an unwelcome feeling of danger lingering in both their minds and Tyler felt like he was suffocating for the second time today.

"This is the last mission I'm doing for G." Zeke admits and Tyler could not be more surprised to be getting an honest answer without any bullshit, how far they had come. "You've pointed it out a few times now, and I can't keep turning a blind eye to it. We're getting nowhere, we're just wasting time and lives. There hasn't been any signs of this guy hurting anyone and I don't want to give up looking..." He trails off, clearly torn on how to feel about the fact he had failed to bring this killer down. "The last people killed, were your parents. And there's been nothing since. I mean the attack on the house, but that was Wyatt's doing. There have been no actual attempts of anything and this is a thing he does, he goes quiet and nothing happens and we all give up. But at some point. I have got to have a life? I've been stuck in this shit since I was 9 and I've had absolutely no actual life outside of this. I'm tired. I'm really, so fucking tired of all of it." Zeke sighs, leaning his forehead against Tyler's as if needing comfort from him now.

"Since you were 9? You have not been an agent since you were 9." Tyler scoffs, completely confused by the statement. Zeke looks into his eyes and nods.

"It's been the longest 15 years. I'm so sorry, I couldn't work things out and save your parents. I'm so sorry. The last thing I ever wanted anyone else to go through, was what I went through." He confesses and Tyler steps back, completely overwhelmed at the realization of who Zeke was, why he was in this thankless, draining and depressing job.

"Your parents?" Tyler asks, his hands covering his mouth.

"The first victims."

"So, this is your company. That's why you want to run it." He's just stating the facts as the lightbulbs light up in his mind. "So wait, who's G?" Tyler asks.

"He was the adult that I entrusted my inheritance to, to set up all of this in order to help my track down and get revenge on my parents killer. Because as a kid, you don't care about actual qualifications and abilities, you see an adult and just think they can do anything. Mr G, was my home-schooling teacher." Zeke answers, crossing his arms and shaking his head. "I should never have put him in charge. Things have gone too far, he's messed it all up, the way he treated you, the way he's treated Wyatt. The other guys here that have been put through his shit for years. It's like you said no one deserves this. It's time to end it all, so I either go out on this mission and find the killer once and for all, or I'm going to shut the agency down, and get back to living my life. Out in the real world, where the killer can come to me." Zeke looks over at Tyler who was completely horrified into silence by every single thing he had just heard and in the pause with Zeke's eyes on him, all that he can manage to say in response is,

"What the fuck."

Copyright © 2020 Littlelovestories; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Oh hell I did not see that on any level, so we are in for one hell of a ride. Way more questions than answers

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I guessed this a while ago in my own head.... i just never verbalized it till now.... zeke is gonna make heads roll one way or another...

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Wow very good I doubt any readers here saw that coming.I can't make a good case for this but I have a nagging feeling G is the killer.

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