Author: MissBartram PM
This time around, Hazel will have to push herself to the limit when more danger comes her way. And that doesn't even include her ever confusing relationship with Mr Creed. Will she be able to cope with the dangers that come with being a teenage spy?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 17 - Words: 83,788 - Reviews: 63 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 02-09-13 - Published: 07-04-11 - id: 2929583
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I could've turned around right there and then and shown Mr Creed Tom's latest attack on my life, but I didn't. I couldn't let Lottie walk away from me with all those false assumptions whizzing around in her head. Although, most of them were probably true…and that hurt me even more. I'd have to lie about me lying and you shouldn't do that to your best friend. But I was going to none the less.
My footsteps echoed off the walls as I ran to catch up with Lottie. She was only just reaching the foyer when I got to her and grabbed her arm, forcing her to turn around and face me. But even then, she wouldn't look me in the eyes. We both just stood there for a moment, an awkward and slightly hostile atmosphere building around us. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and how I was going to attempt to diffuse this situation, but something told me that I shouldn't speak just yet. It was Lottie who should speak first, not me; otherwise things could just get worse.
"It's not right, you know?" Lottie said, looking at the ground, avoiding eye contact with me. "I know made lots of jokes about what it would be like to be with him, but that's just a silly school girl crush. Nothing was ever going to come of it. But I should've known that you – the one who didn't like him at first and kept denying how much of a nice guy he is, despite everyone else liking him – would be the one who went ahead and did it. It's such a cliché, Hazel…and it's disgusting." Finally, her head rose and she looked right at me. It hurt to hear her say all those things, but I didn't show it. The little voice in my head that had been telling me to just tell her everything shut up immediately after she finished talking. Telling her everything was a road that I was never going to go down anyway, but hearing Lottie say those things still felt like she was turning her back on me – like she thought I was disgusting.
"Lottie, listen to me," I said calmly. Lifting up the photos, I moved them forward to face, making her look at them. "Look at what I'm wearing in the picture. You picked that outfit out for me. That's what you got me to wear for the first round of the chemistry competition. That's when this was taken. That's why Mr Creed and I are together then. We were walking back to the car so he could drive us back here." The look on Lottie's face went from disgust to confusion before finally settling on acceptance. She looked back and forth between me and the photo, her mouth open as tried to think of what to say. "You know what? Don't worry about it. I'll see you later," I whispered dismissively before grabbing the picture and walking past her, heading towards HQ. Showing Mr Creed the pictures would've been a good thing to do right then, but I head a feeling that turning around and walking into his classroom would only make the situation more awkward. Plus, I had a feeling that someone would be waiting for me on the grounds at the front of school.
The light patter of rain was drowned out by my footsteps as I walked towards the front gates of Brooksworth Academy and sure enough, a familiar blonde haired man was standing to left, concealed under a black umbrella. Greg smiled at me as I approached him, the kind of smile you'd give to a friend you hadn't seen in a while but you kind of wished you could see them under better circumstances.
"I know I'm the last person you want to see right now, but this has to be done. I'm sorry," he said, rather cryptically, as I drew nearer.
"What has to be done?" I asked, gripping my own umbrella with both hands.
"The photos were just to draw you out. Tom knew that you'd assume I was here. How else would the photos have gotten to you dear friend Charlotte? But you must know, now, that you're not the main target anymore. This isn't about you. You're just collateral damage now. Tom wants the big guns."
"What are you talking about?"
"We know that you know we've got Harcard. But it seems that six have done a good job with him. He's not telling us anything…yet, anyway. He'll break. They always do. Then we'll have the codes and be able to bring the nation to its knees," he replied, smiling darkly. It seemed like some of Tom's insane-ness was rubbing off onto him.
"So, you're giving me a warning? What are you doing right now? I know I may be a spy and everything, but I haven't been at this for too long. You're going to have to give me more to work with here."
"No can do I'm afraid, but I'm sure you'll work it out. You're exceptionally talented, you know. I can understand where Kaitlin was coming from when wanting to recruit you. I'll be off now, Hazel," he said, taking a couple of steps back from the gate, giving me a small smile and a nod as he did so. "Oh, by the way, I'm sorry about Tristan…but we did warn you."
I watched Greg as he walked away from the school, down the road where a dark blue car had pulled up to the side of the road. The license plate saved itself to my mind, out of habit more than anything else. There was no way they'd even consider keeping that car after they knew that I'd seen it. Once the car pulled away and sped off down the country lanes, I really started to think about what Greg had said. So Tom wasn't after me anymore? The little note on the back of the photograph that was now tucked away in my coat pocket said otherwise. Was he now hiding things from his right hand man? If so, why?
Sighing, I began to walk back to the main building. It was getting even colder and the rain was getting heavier. Inside was the best place to be right now. Even if I had no one else to hang around with apart from Lottie and I was definitely going to give her some time to cool off. For the second time that afternoon, I found myself really missing Tristan. My heart ached when I thought about how we'd usually just be winding up Lottie right now, or doing homework in the library together. It's always the little things that turn out to be the things you miss the most. Soon I started to feel guilty about how I hadn't even thought of Tristan since I left Mr Creed's classroom. Part of me hated the thought that I was getting used to him not being here, but the other part of me thought it was a good thing. I had to function without him somehow. It was the fact that I'm a spy that got him killed but ironically enough, that seemed to be the thing that was helping me heal. The adrenaline from training or getting a new piece of evidence helped me stop feeling the pain, if only for a minute or an hour.
Closing my umbrella, I walked into the foyer and looked around the barren halls. Everyone was in lesson right now apart from a handful of sixth formers who would probably be in the common room. I only had half an hour left until the bell for next lesson would go and then I'd walk down to Maths. Taking a deep breath, I began to walk up the stairs to the library where I would sit in the spot Tristan and I usually sat in. Maybe sticking to my old routine would be a nice compromise to me learning to live without Tristan and still missing him like crazy.
As I was walking up there, I saw Mr and Mrs Hawkins walk down another corridor, heading towards the administrative side of the school. I could only assume that they would go down the stairs around there and head to Mr Sheppard's office. Mr Hawkins saw me and smiled at me again, the sorrow and pain that I saw on his face earlier was still there, but somehow more intensified…if that were even possible. I smiled back and raised my hand in a half wave. He and his wife then carried on down the corridor as I carried on to the library. It was only when I passed the shelves dedicated to William Shakespeare did I realise that that would probably be the last time that I would see Mr and Mrs Hawkins. After all, I didn't really have any reason to call around their house anymore and they probably wouldn't want to see me after this. They'd associate me too much with Tristan and we had already said our goodbyes, anyway. I sat down in the chair that Tristan usually occupied and thought, If that is the case, I hope they're going to be ok. I hope they manage.
I revelled in the feel of adrenaline pumping through me as I blocked hit after hit that Nathaniel sent my way. Both of us had been going at this for almost two hours now. We had been training harder than ever, preparing ourselves for when Mr Sheppard would give the word for us to go and get Tom. Plus, training was a distraction from everything else that happened to be going on. So if it was also productive, then that was just an added bonus. Nathanial sent s kick to my side, which I unfortunately failed to avoid, sending me sharply to my left but I took the opportunity to land a blow on his stomach, doubling him over. It was then that Michael popped his head around the door frame, nodded and then returned to the main room of HQ. Since Mr Creed had left two nights ago, Mr Sheppard had put Michael in charge of keeping an eye on the training room while it was in use. I suspect it was mainly to make sure that Nathaniel and I were actually training and not just milling about in training room as we did so often these days.
"How about we take a break…or, you know, finish for the day? I'm absolutely knackered right now," Nathaniel suggested breathily, standing up straight again and gesturing to the mats over in the corner. The gesture was unnecessary though. I was quite used to this by now. It had become our little tradition to have a good conversation on the training mats once we had had enough.
"Good plan, Nat. We should probably never train for two hours straight ever again. I mean, like, ever. I just want to sleep right now," I replied, walking over to the mats and throwing myself onto them. I lay there for a couple of moments, with my eyes closed, breathing heavily. Hoping that maybe I could just sleep here.
"Hey, if I can't go to sleep now, you can't!" Nathaniel said, pushing me so that I rolled over and I had to get up. As I lethargically rose to a sitting position and leaned against the wall, he carried on talking. "Anyway I thought you'd like to hear my theories as to why six wanted Cedric and not Jasper." Looking at Nathaniel, sitting next to me and giving me a smouldering smile I could help but smirk at him.
"Nathaniel Ackerman, are you tempting me with spy gossip?" I asked accusingly, raising one of my eyebrows. That earned a laugh from him before he shrugged his shoulders.
"Maybe I am. Is it working?"
"…Yes, yes it is. Go ahead and tell me your theories. I never actually thought about why they sent Ced instead of Mr Sheppard, so this should be interesting," I replied, moving so that I was sitting with my legs crossed under me.
"Well, from what my contacts in six have told me, I know that the head of MI6 himself requested that Cedric be put on this mission. He told Jasper directly to put him on it. He didn't even think about asking Jasper to go with him. That's a pretty big deal, don't you think? I mean, the head of MI6 not entrusting this kind of mission to head of MI5? You could say it's because he needs the head of MI5 to be around, to keep an eye on things and he doesn't want Jasper getting hurt. That theory makes sense. But everyone knows that's not the case."
"Sometimes I think you gossip more than Charlotte does."
"Maybe so, but my gossip is a hell of a lot more interesting," Nathaniel said, smiling at me. Leaning forward so that his elbows rested on his thighs, he looked right at me – silently challenging me to declare my own theory on this whole thing.
"You're right, of course. The head of MI6 didn't send Ced in because he didn't want anything to happen to Mr Sheppard. Cedric's the best this country has got. Everyone knows that. It would have been stupid to send anyone else in but him," I stated, nodding slowly. But I couldn't stop the smirk that grew across my face as I spoke my next thought aloud. "That had to have bruised Mr Sheppard's ego, just a little."
Nathaniel laughed and nodded his head too. Don't get me wrong, we both like Mr Sheppard well enough, but it was always funny to see his inexplicably large ego take even the slightest of a bettering.
"You have to imagine Jasper's face when he found out. That had to have been priceless. I would pay good money for a video or even a photo of that moment," Nathaniel said, looking past me as if a photo or video were hanging in the air over my shoulder.
"I imagine a lot of people in MI5 would pay good money to see that. Ced would probably at the front of this imaginary queue."
"Yeah he would…what's with the animosity between those two anyway? I've known both of them for a while now, but I've never really gotten in tune with that little story," Nathaniel asked, returning his gaze to me.
"I have no idea. Ced never told me. He probably will eventually…hopefully. The whole thing with them two has bugged me for a while too. I mean, I have a theory but I don't really want to share it until it gets either confirmed or proven wrong, you know?"
"Fair enough. But as soon as you do know, inform me. I like to know as much as I can about the people I'm working with," he said, winking at me. I laughed at him shook my head. On the tip of my tongue was a comeback that was going to be full of my usual wit, but I was interrupted by Mr Sheppard poking his head around the training room door, looking right at Nathaniel and me.
His eyes were sombre and judging from the amount of stubble that was on his jaw he hadn't had a chance to properly relax since yesterday. Mr Creed may have been the one who was trusted enough to be selected to go out in the field, buy it seemed like Mr Sheppard was working just as hard back here to keep everything under control.
"Another agent has failed to check in. I'm going to need you two to come in here and help Michael search for any links. He's swamped as it is and I'm sure would appreciate the help," Mr Sheppard said, tiredness evident in his voice.
"Sure thing, sir," I replied, standing up and heading towards the door. Nathaniel's agreement to the task was merely a murmur but he quickly followed me through the door into the main room where Michael was pushing himself back and forth between computers on his chair. Walking up behind him, I placed my hands on his shoulders when he was at his usual computer and squeezed them reassuringly before moving towards the computer I usually used.
I don't know how long all three of us were sat behind those desks, analysing and reanalysing all of the information we had about this agent, looking for any links or anything that could possibly hint towards there being a link between them. It honestly felt like I knew her personally by the end of it. If anyone asked me anything about her, I would be able to give them an answer so quickly it would've seemed like I had known her all my life. Her name? Amanda Poppleton. Age? Thirty-two. Favourite Colour? Navy blue. Last time she was seen? Oxford Street, London. She appeared to be window shopping but I would be willing to bet good money that she was actually keeping an eye on the group of business walking along the other side of the street.
"This is getting us nowhere," Nathaniel said, sighing and resting his head on his keyboard, resulting in a stream of random letters appearing on the word document he had open. "All of this information and the only thing agent Poppleton and Harcard have in common is the fact that they both work for MI6. They weren't even stationed in the same unit at any point of their careers."
"This could be completely unrelated," Michael suggested while flicking through Amanda's personal history for the umpteenth time. "Agents go missing every now and then. This could just be one of them."
Sighing, I stared at the image of Amanda Poppleton that I had on my screen. Her green were looking back at me through the computer.
"This has to be connected," I said quietly. "There has to be a connection between them…but what?" Nathaniel sighed again before lifting his head from his keyboard and reviewing the information we had again. The sound of Michael typing away soon joined that of Nathaniel. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the picture of the woman on the screen. It was her passport photo that I was staring at, so her face was completely emotionless. There is definitely something here, I thought and I knew I was right. I just have to find out exactly what that something is.