Author: Syrai
Fandom: Original

Rating: T
Genre: Fantasy Sci-fi

Status: 1/3

Summary: Imagine a world where the only kind of magic is said to be dark and witches are trying to take over. Romy and Raven are living in that world. They are best friends, two ordinary human beings… almost ordinary anyway for they believe they're fighting for their right to exist. They're witch hunters who work for the organization called 'the Centre' whose purpose is to protect humans and exterminate all the witches around the world. When Romy finds out someone she cares about and who is thought to be dead is not only alive but is also a witch, how will Romy cope? Let the hunt begin.

Disclaimer: Let's see. I call this thing 'original fiction' and by the books of logic that makes it mine. All mine. I own the characters of my story here, I own the story itself. Of course, as any author I've been influenced by lots of tv-shows, movies and books and few of them might even be easily seen shining through my writings. Most of those little 'borrowings' have not been done intentionally (expect for Romy's alias Julia Parker which is a total the Pretender rip off because I happen to adore that show to bits) and therefore I should not be sued. If you however choose to sue me then be aware of the fact I'm poor student who owns nothing but lots of rat poop (I have fancy rats, that's all).

A/N: Well. The fic was written for Gumboot Mafia's fic competition and won in two categories. (Best Overall World & Best Ending) I'm so proud now, heh. F again was my muse so go thank or slap her, whatever floats your boat.

Shades of Truth

Part 1

The world has not always been this dark.

Few decades ago there was a revolution that shook the world from its knees and it has never been able to recover. Not many know of it though, we've done pretty good job trying to hide our existence and for that, normal people can go on with their lives like nothing ever happened. It's good thing when you think of it – if they knew, we'd be all living in the middle of fear and panic and to me, it doesn't sound that tempting. But nevertheless, nothing is the same anymore.

You ever seen the movie Men in Black and wondered from where these kind of movies get the basic idea? What kind of person has an imagination big enough to produce a story like that about aliens and secret agency dealing with them? I've never had to. Though I must say, the movies always overdo it.

I was born 21 years ago into a world where witches were said to be imaginary creatures invented by some silly writers. Just another way to scare badly behaving kids and keep them entertained, you know. But as surely as I breathe, there are witches and I know that now. It's funny how in movies and books, there are always two kind of witches; good witches and evil ones - dark witches. It's not really accurate, you know. I was taught there are only one kind of witches and they're the dark ones. Witches can't choose whether they're good or evil because the darkness is in their blood. It's always there in their hearts.

One day over two million people died all around the world. No warnings, no nothing. It wasn't a mass weapon that much we know for sure. Apparently they used their powers on certain humans and killed them. What was the motive? I have no idea. Of course, I wasn't there when it happened; I hadn't been born yet but I've been studying history a lot during my years here and I've found nothing that could've prepared us. We were clueless, completely. There have always been witches and there has always been groups fighting them. I mean in the Middle Age people did get burnt if they were thought to be witches and innocent people did die too, but that was years ago. After that our methods got better. No throwing in water and seeing if the person drowns and no random killing. According to what I know, we didn't capture them unless they committed a crime so we didn't harm them anyway. Again, where's the motive then?

Things are different now - we have gadgets, radars and lots of other machines with what to find and capture them all. It's practically a miracle how one little machine can absorb a witch's power for a moment and use it against the true owner. Praise the technology, indeed.

Few months after the attack we started to hunt them down – really to hunt them down, I mean. That's what father told me. Their nest was found underground and their leader said they didn't know anything. Yeah, that they didn't know how those people died. They tried to make us believe they weren't evil and that the only reason they lived underground was because they didn't want people to be afraid of them. Bunch of crap, says I. You don't live underground if you're not hiding from some one. Besides, how else could've they died, huh? Not single one of them died cause of heart attack, poison or some kind of disease. They just collapsed and died. Only witches can kill like that. The papers, documents told me we captured the leader, studied him and eventually… we burnt him. So yeah, I guess we're as bad as they are but hell, they started it! We wouldn't have gone after them unless the whole incident.

After the revolution it's been battle between us and them, a race actually. They hunt us, we hunt them – they kill us, we kill them. No one ever wins the race for no one ever reaches the finish line. We still keep trying though for giving up is not an option. One day we'll get them all.

It's been researched how they came here but no one knows for sure. The only solid fact is that their blood type is unknown and that's how you know if one is a witch. But how did some of them get their super-human strength and speed? Are you born to be one or do you become one through mutation? They don't know. All the documents seem to be blurry when it comes to that. Some suggest they're aliens from some far away planet, some claim they're result of evolution and well, few have even said that there is no physical explanation for their existence… that they were born from pure magic. But the world of today's doesn't really want to believe in magic so most people trying to reveal the truth think there's a physical explanation for everything. I don't know what to believe for sure and I guess, in the end it doesn't matter. No matter how they came to this world, my job is still the same. Find them and demolish them. Capture if possible. Easy.

I didn't choose this life in the real sense of the word but I have nothing against it either. It's who I am. If you're one of us, you were born to do this and that's it. 'The Centre' is what we call it and if you know about it, it's because you work for them. If you don't work for them and you know… well, you're dead. The system is rather simple – they take you under their wings when you're 15 or then they don't. If they don't take you, they'll just make your parents send you in some kind of boarding school they have established to see if you know anything about your parents' true work and identity. If they take you in, you'll be told the truth the day you turn 15 and even though they give you two options, it's not really a choice. If they asked you whether you want to work for them and have as normal life as possible or live your life in some sort of mental institution of theirs, you know what you'd say. Yeah sure, I'll work for you. But since the pay is more than enough to keep me from starving to death and they do rent me a great apartment to start with, it doesn't seem like a job. It's more like a way of living, if you ask me.

Actually, my father is the reason I'm doing this – the reason I was born into this life. He was one of the top researches and field agents in the whole goddamn agency before he died few years ago. There is 'magic' in this world but yet you can't cure a disease such as cancer, can you? It's 2005 and they still haven't found a cure. So now I'll just continue his work and hope that someday we'll make a difference.

Raven always says we've made a difference already. I don't know bout that. He's my work partner and also my best friend. In some ways I guess I do believe him… Since he's few years older than me he's worked for the Centre longer. I suppose he should know better but sometimes it just feels like we're trying so hard but getting nowhere. We've apprehended over 580 witches during the time I've been here but it feels like they're everywhere, all the time. The question on my mind is when will we get them all? We capture one and 3 more appears into the sight.

"Romy, we're on." I'm startled by the sudden voice. Automatically I lift my chin to look at the figure standing next to my desk, leaning onto my most precious asset; my computer. "Hey watch it, get off", I tell him as I get on my feet quickly. Raven backs off smiling and throws his hands on the air, rendering. "Sure, just going for your attention there."

The first thing you notice about Raven, besides the sparkling blue eyes and bright smile, is his messy brown hair. It used to be shorter though, but then he broke up with his girlfriend who always cut it for him and here we are again. It's not long, but it's not short either. It's just messy. Under the brown jacket there is, as usual, white t-shirt. I'm beginning to wonder if the reason he ever changed his clothes was also the already-forgotten girlfriend.

"Hey come on, let's get going kiddo." He gestures towards the door on our left. One of these days, I'll smack him for calling me kiddo but for now, it's kinda fun. Besides, it gives me a reason to tease him for being oh so old.

"What's the job this time?" I inquire picking up my jacket from the back of my chair and pull it on. After I've taken my gun from the drawer and placed it into the holster on my side where it belongs, I follow his lead and walk out the door to the elevators. He presses the button first and then he finally answers. "IT has found a trace." Yeah, I kinda figured that much. They usually do, our own blood hounds always ready to strike. "Apparently our satellite found a surveillance camera and what do you know? The footage just happens to match with one of our fugitives.'"

Oh, we got a real fugitive into our net this time? Investigation Team, IT, knows everything there is to know about witches, our work and us. Every little secret we have, they know it. I mean, it is part of their job - they find the witches and we as field agents hunt them down. Currently we, Raven and I are one of the 5 pairs working for this particular division. You see, the Centre is a lot bigger than you'd first think. It's a world wide organization and therefore it has been divided into eighteen different divisions to make it look smaller so to speak. Two of them are actually right here in the USA, D5 and D7; I'm part of the 5th division like my father was.

"So where's the son of a bitch this time?"

"In Finland", Raven answers calmly. At the same time the elevator doors open and he steps in. I however am a little shocked by his words for I've never heard of such place and I just stare at him not moving. He solves the issue by grabbing my sleeve and pulls me in just before the doors close. "What, don't look so shocked", he says with amused tone and shakes his head slightly trying to hide the smile that just climbed up to meet his lips. "Finland?" I repeat his words frowning my forehead, but the word doesn't bring anything at all to my mind. Is it some sort of black spot in the middle of Mediterranean? I barely realise we're going up instead of down like normally.

"A country next to Sweden", he tries to explain but my frown only grows deeper. "Sweden?"

This time he sighs. "Oh good Lord Romy, have you not been at school like the rest of us? You do know where the Russia is, don't you?"

"Oh… Yeah I suppose so", I say though I'm not entirely sure… It's somewhere up north, isn't it? Well it has to be… otherwise I'd know where it is! At school, geography and I never matched so that's my excuse. Why should we learn the capitals of countries we've never heard of and probably never get to see them either? Waste of time, I say.

"Anyway, so that's where we're going. The helicopter is taking us into D15 and we'll continue our trip from there." I'm not sure why Raven's been briefed on the mission but I haven't. Usually we both know where we're going and why but this time it seems only one of us has been told. Maybe I forgot we had some sort of staff meeting in the morning or something… It doesn't bother me that much though; I don't like sitting in that small briefing room anyway, listening to our boss explaining the boring history of our target. Yeah great, I know the name of his mother's father's cousin's wife and knowing that helps me just how much? Nothing at all to be exact. All I need is a face, name and a location, that's it. And my gun, of course. Killing witches with your bare hands has never turned out ok.

"Okay… but why take us? I'm sure D2 has people that live… closer and would do the job equally well."

Raven gives a laugh with a tone that makes me feel like I'm a bad-behaving, nothing knowing child. The line of my mouth gets thinner and my eyes narrow. "It's not 'bout who is better, Romy and you know it", he says. I guess I do then. The doors open again in front of me and I see the roof… and the helicopter. Damn, I like helicopters I do, but I like our private plane much, much more. It's far bigger and comfortable, too.

"The fugitive ran away from our safekeeping and therefore it's our job to return her as quickly and quietly as possible", Raven finishes and after that, we stop talking and just run to the helicopter.

The director of D15 is a young-looking brown haired woman. I'd say, probably on her thirties. It surprised me at first since our director is an old, bald and round man who speaks with what seems like a fake British accent. Now this one is totally different. She does have funny accent too though, and I'm not sure whether she's from Finland or some other country but she has a weird name. And she does speak Finnish, too. I know that because every now and then she drops the English and speaks to her workers probably giving instructions on how to move forward. Every time that happens, I just try to imagine what she's saying but nothing really comes to my mind. She speaks too fast for me to even start guessing. I know 7 languages altogether, Finnish not being one of them.

My whole body shivers and I hardly listen to what she explains. We're walking side by side down the hallway of a base build underground. No high skyscrapers in Finland where to hide the whole agency you see. My shoulders tense as the cold eats its way to through my skin. Damn the cold… No one remembered to mention it's winter here and now I'm freezing cold wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and short leather jacket. Not the warmest combination there is, I can tell you that much. Thank God I have underwear, seriously. If we're forced to go hunting like this, I'll freeze to death within few meters. I wonder how I'll be able to breathe outside these walls…

"When's the briefing?" Raven asks startling me and automatically a smile twists my lips. He's always like that. You'd think as a young rather wealthy guy he'd be the first one to act boldly but no, not our Raven. If he has to choose, he always goes by the book which I suppose is why he is my partner. Following the rules that strictly has never been my top qualities but in a line of work like this, I guess you sometimes have to go with your instincts. Whereas geography and I never matched, I and Raven do. The Centre did make me answer a bunch of questions the day I arrived so it's not a total surprise we come along. I suppose it was some sort of applicability test to see with whom they'd better team me up and they ended up with Raven. I'm happy for that.

"In few hours or so", the director, Sanna Lehto answers and Raven nods looking all pensive. She smiles but Raven is too deep in his thoughts to return the polite gesture. "I'll show you where you can rest before the briefing. After that you're free to go do your job anyway you feel suitable."

"You're giving us free hands?" I question suddenly raising an eyebrow. Even our boss never gives us free hands to do whatever we like and this woman doesn't even know us. My train of thought stops there for a moment… Or maybe that's why the boss never gives us free hands, huh?

"Well yes, this is your assignment after all. We'll provide you with at least one of our men and we'll help anyway we can."

I can't believe my ears. I was somewhat sure we'd get strict orders to follow as we're now in their territory and I was ok with that thought… but now instead, it looks like we're going to do it our way. With Raven there, 'our way' will be pretty much 'their way' anyway but it's like we've always dealt with our missions. I know what happens if I get too far from the basic rules, everyone knows. You live longer when you don't improvise that much and it works with me, too.

Raven glances at me quickly, I can feel it. "I'm afraid we didn't really pay attention to the possible weather when we arrived and therefore we don't have anything warm to put on... You think-"

"Yes, yes of course", Miss Lehto cuts in before Raven even finishes his sentence. "There should be spare clothes in the closets in your room. They might be a bit big for you Miss Hensley but I hope they fit."

Miss Hensley. I don't think I'll ever get used to hearing that even though it's my own name. It just feels so distant these days… Miss Hensley, Agent Hensley, it's the one and same. Raven always calls me Romy and I don't see any reasons why he shouldn't. He's the only one who actually calls me by my real name anymore now that dad isn't here. The Centre doesn't allow me to have any kind of social life so the little I have, I have under false identity. Hey Julia, hey Miss Parker, how you doing today? But it's not who I am, I wasn't born as Julia Parker and I will never be her. To outsiders Romy Hensley died officially in a car accident in the year 2000 but her body was never found. They assumed river had taken it with it… not quite so. Here I am; me and my body all in one piece; alive. Yet, the daughter of Will Hensley died a long time ago, stayed that way and will stay. Then who I am?

Just Romy, I suppose.

Though it makes me wonder. Since my identity had to be changed after I took the job… If dad's identity was made up one too, then Will Hensley never existed. Is Will Hensley just a made up name on paper? I've thought about looking into it but I don't know if I really want to know the truth. Because if Will Hensley doesn't exist… well, where do I fit if that's the case? Then every identity they give me is the right one since I don't really have my own. They made my dad up, they made me up. It's complicated and usually just thinking of it gives me a headache.

"I'm sure I'll manage", I answer giving her a polite smile after I get a grip. I let Raven do the whole talking while we walk towards our quarters for I'm not in the mood – it's too freezing to even think and small talk ain't my favourite things to do. Miss Lehto already told us we'd be forced to share a room for some reason I didn't caught but it's nothing new. We've worked as a pair for 5 years now so I can handle sharing a room with the guy rather easily. Apart from the fact he snores that is but then again, he often complains how I talk in my sleep so we call it even then.

"Here it is", Miss Lehto says and stops in front of a metal door. She pulls it open and reveals the rather small room with two beds and a nightstand in between them. Wow, this is another thing I didn't expect. At our base we always have to squeeze ourselves into these unbelievable small bunk beds where even breathing seems impossible. On the left wall there is another door which expectedly leads into a small bathroom and on the opposite wall there is a simple-looking wardrobe. Raven turns to face the director while I keep observing the room. "Thank you, we'll see in you in couple of hours."

The minute the door closes behind us I yawn stretching my arms. "You could've said something. That was kinda rude, Romy."

"Man I'm tired", I breathe out ignoring his words and let my body fall onto the other bed. Being polite is not my thing, at least not when I'm tired. "Know what you mean", he replies removing the gun and the actual holster from his side. As usual, he throws them both onto the nightstand on my right – he never sleeps without them around. I follow his lead and throw my own next to his.

Guns - they're pretty much all we have against the witches when the fight comes. There are no such things as spells, no such things as curses and potions with what to kill them. We can't fight like they can and usually hand-to-hand combat situations are very unlikely. Witches don't exactly like to be slapped across the face and if possible, they flee. So, we have to rely on our guns and hope we're quick and smart enough to beat the bastards. Most of the time we are… at least we haven't gotten killed yet and that counts, doesn't it? Luckily, the element of surprise is our advantage… and our craft-absorbing machines but in order for them to work, you actually have to touch the witch with it. And well, getting that close can be behind hard work, blood, sweat and tears. And bruises, definitely bruises.

"You should try and sleep, kiddo."

"What about you?" I shoot back. I sit up to take off the jacket but as soon as I'm done, my body slams against the bed again. Of course I could sleep while him pacing around the room trying to figure out our next move but somehow it doesn't feel really tempting. Besides, he needs to rest too because I don't intend to screw the mission up just because he's tired. Though I admit, Raven has never ever screwed up a mission before but being so good every time has to take its toll; you can't always be the best. It's not like I'd doubt him or anything, I just think he needs to relax a bit and let it go with the flow. We'll get the witch sooner or later and that's final.

"I'll check the clothes."

Saw it coming, I did. I tilt my head to one side with a questioning look in my eyes but he doesn't seem to notice it. "You should try and sleep, too you know. You're not a superhuman."

"I'm fine." There's a small smile in the corner of his mouth but it fades away quickly. He's getting way too serious and I have no idea why. It's rather worrying actually for he's never that serious even if he was on a mission. Maybe he's just getting his concentration together, preparing himself to face the new challenge. Raven walks to the closet and opens it screening through the shelves using only one hand.

"Oh how bout me then?" I snap and he glances over his shoulder. "You think I can close my eyes if you run around the room with nothing smart to do?"

"Just sleep, ok? I'll take a shower."

There's no point in fighting back. When Raven decides something there's no way you can turn his head. It's like trying to walk on water or through stone walls which we all know to be rather impossible. So, I just shrug sighing, try to pull the blanket underneath me to warm me and close my eyes.

My dreams are usually the same which means they're about my mother. She died when I was not more than 8 years old but I still keep seeing dreams of her almost every night. We're always doing regular stuff, making dinner, watching TV, doing laundry or something like that. I remember exactly how she looked and how she smiled - even how she smelled. She was an innocent killed by a witch while she was shopping. I was right there with her when it happened. She collapsed on the floor and the next moment they had already taken her away. I never saw her again after that, not even her body. It should make me revengeful I suppose, but it really doesn't. I've killed a witch after witch but I haven't gotten her back and I never thought I would. But I'll be damn if I let another witch kill someone's mother, it's just not right.


It's Raven's voice that wakes me up few hours later. "What?" I mumble rubbing my eyes. Did he say something? Damn I was tired, I think I fell asleep the minute I closed my eyes… "The briefing, remember? Change your clothes, I'll wait outside." Before I can even see or think clearly, he's already out of the door and I'm all alone.


I get up stretching my stiff arms trying to get some relief into aching muscles. How long did I sleep in that same position anyway? Well, I can't answer that since I have no idea what the time is but if the briefing's supposed to be in a minute, I guess it's around the afternoon. Quick glance towards the other bed and I already know that against the given advice, Raven didn't sleep at all. The bed looks exactly the same as it did earlier, only this time there are some clothes on it. Since I assume they're for me, I reach out my hand to bring them closer. They look to be right about my size so I quickly pull the grey ugly-looking sweater on and grab my jacket and gun on my way to the bathroom. What, people have their needs.

"Had a nice nap?" Raven smiles as I close the door behind me stepping into the hallway. I don't know, did I? "Maybe."

"I hope so", he says and starts walking. Damn him and his long legs. I try to keep up with him but it seems I'm few steps behind him no matter how fast I try to walk. "If we wanna do this right, we won't have much time to sleep tonight." Well, when do we? Seriously, after I started doing field operations I really have been lacking in that department. The witches do not ask if you've had a decent sleep before they attack someone and therefore I've been forced to stay up for days. You get used to it after few months but it does have its effects. Sometimes you're so tired that you sleepwalk through the day and forget everything you've done before the next morning. It passes though, they have drugs to help you get over it. No, it's not like we'd be junkies or anything like that but the fact is that if we need a little help, we'll get it. You try tracking a witch 7 days straight when it only sleeps few hours a night. Apparently, they don't need as much as sleep as humans do which is unfair if you ask me. I don't need the pills that often anymore but I'm starting to believe Raven is on them 24/7. Honestly, the guy's a machine.

"You're thinking this is a take-away gig huh?" I give a small sarcastic laugh. How typical of him, really. Yeah I'm sure we'll capture the fugitive but only Raven would think we'll get it done during one night. We're good, but not that good.

"Well I rather not stay and chat with the witch, you know." His tone is indifferent somehow, like he'd have bigger things on his mind than the current mission. One stolen glance and I can tell my guess is not far from the truth. He's letting his gaze wander around us and now I'm convinced he looks more serious than usually, almost worried. What's up with the guy today?

"Figured", I sigh trying to sound normal but I can't prevent the wondering frown. Raven keeps quickening his pace and I do the same. I guess he has taken a tour around the place since he seems to know where we are going. Suddenly, he takes a leap to his left completely surprising me, grabs my sleeve and opens a closed door pushing me into the room. The door gets slammed shut after him. Thank God there is no one in the office he pushed me into because trying to explain our sudden burst in could be... interesting.

"Is something wrong?" I question worriedly after he let's go. Man he has a tight grip – bet there's gonna be yet another bruise in there now, as if I didn't have them enough already. I massage the spot trying to ease the pain.


And he actually thinks I'm stupid enough to believe that one? "Oh, so you're throwing me around just for fun then? Geez Raven, I thought you were a gentleman and didn't like that kind of stuff." Excuse-me the sarcastic tone of voice, will you, but I'm just really not knowing what to think here at the moment.

"Romy", warning tone cuts me silent before I say anything else. I can just feel it, something's not right. What the hell happened while I slept? That's it. I'll never sleep again during a mission. I'll rather eat the damn pills then let Raven out of my sight ever again.

"There's one thing… Well… I just heard something half an hour ago."

Okay, that's a start… I think. "Yeah? So?" Suggestive tone doesn't seem to work for all I get is a sigh and rejecting reply. "You may not like it."

"And…?" I fold my arms and lean back examining his face. He scratches the side of his nose rather nervously, after which his fingers move up to rake through the messy hair. If that's not a sign of nervous male, I don't know what is. "Just promise me one thing", he says suddenly with completely different tone, "Whatever you'll find out during the next hour…" A pause… Christ, am I gonna have to beat it out of him? Yes?

"Just don't do anything stupid."

"You're officially freaking me out", I let out taking a small step back. Now, I don't freak out easily but when something like this happens, it makes you wonder. Some people are easy to read - one look into their eyes and you know just exactly what they're about to do and say. Raven is not one of them. I've known him since the day the Centre took me in but he still has this shield which I've never been able to pass. I haven't figured out if it's because of what he does for living or if it's just a part of his personality. He's the closest thing I have to a friend and I consider him as my best friend too, but when I think of it, I don't know that much of him. And doesn't they say humans are afraid of what they don't know? So, it's very logical for me to freak out. I'm being logical and knowing that calms me down a bit.

"Promise me." Voice pleading, he stares at me. His eyes look almost desperate and all I can feel is confusion. How the hell am I supposed to react? Isn't there some kind of code saying what you're supposed to do when your partner goes all weird on you? I bet Raven would know that on but I let it go instead of asking.

Wait. Why does he immediately assume I'd do something stupid? Should I be insulted? "I never do anything stupid", I comment almost angrily. Seeing him smile again makes the situation suddenly seem a little less confusing. I let my guard fall down simply because I don't think he's a threat. He feels to be as confused as I am and he at least knows what's going on.


Ha! Suspicious, questioning look pointed at his direction only makes his weak smile grow. "What?"

"Nothing. Let's go then." He shrugs it off and gestures towards the door but I don't move. The smile that I saw on his lips a second ago is already gone which worries me. "So you're not even gonna tell me what this is all about?"

He strokes his chin and fakes a pensive look before blurting the word out. "No."

"Great." I sigh as my shoulders collapse causing my arms fall down to my sides. Just great.

Is there anything I hate more than briefing's? No. It's good to have all the facts before you make your move but there's a limit which I don't like to cross. When you know the colour of the target's underwear I'm thinking the line's been crossed. It's good to know what you're up against as said, but I do not wish to know everything there is to know when it doesn't really help you. Knowing all that stuff; knowing their favourite food makes they seem more human somehow. And I don't hunt humans.

I blindly stare at the computer screen in front me but every now and then my eyes roam around. It's hard to focus when you don't really know what's going on. Raven's little burst keeps coming back to me and it takes all my will power not to stare at him. So instead, I gaze around the room even though it doesn't really interest me. I've seen them before - the room doesn't look that different from our briefing room; one big table, 4 chairs on both sides and flat computer screens in front of every seat. Raven's talking with the director about something, I don't really pay attention. The last time I forced myself to actually listen what they're saying I noticed they were talking about guns they'll borrow us. If I were any smarter I'd listen but I've noticed that it's not really needed for me to do so. Eventually, Raven will at some point of our mission repeat every said word to me. Usually when I do something what he calls 'childish', 'impulsive' or 'plain stupid.'

I glance at the clock on the wall. There is something I did notice though,; we've been here for 15 minutes and I still haven't heard the name of our target which is weird.

"Excuse-me for interrupting", I cut into the conversation apologizing and place my elbows on the table. I'm finished with letting them do all the talking and just waiting for them to tell me something I actually need to know. Screw my cocky attitude, I want some answers here. "I'm just wondering if this target of ours has a name, too. I thought we were supposed to be briefed on our mission but all I've heard so far is irrelevant. We can't go hunting if we don't know the name and place from where to start and I'd appreciate if the info was shared with me, too. With all respect, Raven's not the only member of this partnership." There's not even a hint of respect in my voice, not even the slightest shade and we all know it. Truthfully it's almost scaring how the director seems to ignore that fact and only nods.

"Yes, you're right", she says. Oh, I am? Hmm… I didn't expect to hear that one. "The reason why you haven't been briefed yet is that we're still trying to decide whether you should actually go on the field or not."

"What am I doing here then?" I snap rather angrily. Am I just wasting my time or what? "You gonna make me sit indoors while Raven goes out to have fun?" No, no, no, no!

"Romy", there's something warning in his voice and something highly commanding, too. I withdraw my spicy remark and swallow it down. "You're a valuable asset to this mission Miss Hensley and if it is decided that you are not allowed to go hunting, you'll stay and navigate it from here. And that is why you need to know all the facts…"

Yeah, only that they're not telling me those facts.

"An hour ago we found out that…" The rest of the sentence fades into the thin air and she exchanges a glance with my partner.

"That?" I help her but get nothing but silence. Oh the Raven-effect all over again. I'd rather not jump on the table and kick her in the head before she actually agrees to tell me what I want to know. I'm starting to get more than annoyed. For all I know, there is no reason good enough for them to disqualify me like this. I've done nothing wrong 'cause if I had, I would've been told that ages ago. I haven't caused any trouble so her words make no sense and I've never, ever been adverse factor when it comes to a mission. I've always done my job as well as possible. Why the hell is it not decided whether I'm going out or not, huh?

"Well", she starts finally after a brief moment of glaring. Unlike Raven, she doesn't sound nervous or worried and I'm not sure whether that should alarm me or not. "Someone you know is involved." The words are said matter-of-factly and the look on her face falls into the same category.

I inhale sharply, confused. Someone I know? What the hell? "And that'd be?"

"Your mother."

Continued in Part 2...