Chapter Two

Kyle didn't think about the strange woman, Emilia, for two days. He was busy looking for Peter, but the kid was nowhere to be found. He wasn't in any of his safe houses, and the landlords couldn't tell him anything. It was as though the boy had just disappeared, and he cursed at the thought of the Agency getting their hands on him. Especially Dr George Rhode, Peter's father.

When he saw agents following him late in the evening, three days after landing in Brisbane, he swore and took off. They were close behind for the majority of the evening, even after he had taken to the rooftops and started running. There weren't many buildings that were close enough for the purpose of jumping or climbing, but he made do.

He chanced a glance at his watch. It was close to midnight, and they were still on his tail, having followed him for almost three hours now. Luckily they hadn't shot at him yet, but that may have had something to do with the fact that they were only carrying pistols - he was too far in front for them to have a chance to hit without using up all of their rounds.

He looked up ahead, and almost swore. The building he was currently on was too far from the others to jump safely to, and the agents were catching up. He continued forward anyway, speeding up in an attempt to give himself more height in his jump.

He pushed off, and he knew that there was no way he would reach the roof of the other building. But he hoped he could grab one of the window ledges.

He fell for a bit before managing to grab one on the fifth floor, almost dislocating his shoulder. Behind him, the men shouted curses at him and backtracked, hoping to catch him inside the building.

"Ow, crap." He said. The window above him opened, and a very familiar mop of black hair poked out.

"Now you're stalking me? Scary, Kyle." The woman, Emilia, said. He could hear the amusement in her voice and looked up at her, grinning.

"Hey Emilia. Little help please?" He asked her. She sighed as though she was hard pressed, but grinned anyway.

"Sure." She grabbed the back of his shirt and hooked a hand under his shoulder, helping to pull him up as he used the wall and ledge to roll into her lounge room. She looked down at him in amusement as he lay on the floor, rolling his shoulders. "It hasn't even been a week, and I'm already helping you out of trouble."

He grinned at her as he rolled his shoulders back into place and stood up. "What can I say? Trouble loves me."

"Obviously. And now look at you. You've already gotten further on the third meeting than most guys I've dated for three months."

"What, you're living room?" He looked around at the mismatched furniture, and she smiled sardonically.

"I usually don't let people in my apartment."

"Okay. Well, anyway, thanks Emilia. I would have-" He started, but she cut him off.


"Uh...Emilia. That's what you said your name was. Emilia Rhode." He said nervously and she snorted.

"Please. I only gave you that name because I knew you would bug me if I didn't tell you a name." She said. "Coffee?"

"Uh-what? I mean, yes please." He was confused at the abrupt change of topic, but easily followed her into a small, grey-brown kitchen. "So what is your name then, not-Emilia."

"Alison." She stated as she put a battered kettle on her equally battered stove top to boil. "Alison Hamilton."

"Nice to meet you Alison. And thanks. I would have probably died if you hadn't helped. And I probably shouldn't stick around here, as those men will be here soon, and I've got something very important to find. So...thanks." He started for the front door, but she grabbed the back of his shirt, effectively stopping him.

"Listen, Kyle." She said, and he waited for her to continue. When she didn't he leant closer.

"Listen...what?" She rolled her eyes.

"Can't you hear? They're already at the apartment below us." He listened to his surroundings that time, and clearly heard the sounds of heavy boots, shouted orders and cocked guns.


"Uhuh. Come on." She grabbed his hand and dragged him back into the lounge room. She led him to a door to her left and unlocked it before dragging him through, and relocking it behind her. It led into another room, this one empty. It was presumably a studio apartment, being as it had a small kitchenette in one corner, and another door across from them, which was open and led to a bathroom.

"Uh...didn't you leave coffee on the stove?" He asked her.

"Yep." She strode into the bathroom and yanked open the window.

"Why? Won't it explode?" He asked, and she turned back to him.

"That's the point. They enter my house, go past the stove because the front door is in the kitchen, and get possibly third degree burns from an exploding kettle full of boiling water. Now come on." She sat on the windowsill and reached over to her left, pulling herself over to something.
He lent out after her, and saw a fire escape. She was climbing over the railing, and glanced back at him. "Are you coming?"

"Yeah, I'm coming." He followed her, and she led him up the stairs and onto the rooftops.

"Okay, this is getting strange." He said, and she turned to look at him.

"How so?" She seemed oblivious to the fact that she was in a pair of loose flannel pants and a singlet decorated with pandas as she lent against the balustrade.

"Well, I was trained for this. I mean, super spy, hello? But you - you're a civilian. How the hell are you so good at disguises and escapes?" He demanded, and she laughed, throwing her head back. Below, people on the street looked up at the building and shivered.

"Because, Kyle, I was a thief. Only the second best, but the guy who was better than me had been doing it for longer. Eventually, I decided I didn't want to be a thief anymore, but the boss wasn't too happy. He sent people after me, and I ran. He then declared me 'rogue', and I disappeared. I changed my name and spent three years wondering around until I came here. That was six years ago. My parents aren't too happy with me, so I try to avoid them at all costs. They're always trying to change me into their perfect little daughter." She explained.

He nodded in acceptance. "What was your name before then?"

"Alison Rhode. I kept my first because it's so common but took my mums maiden name. I always liked it better than my dads anyway." She gestured to the rooftops around them. "Where to now, Kyle?"

He looked around and admitted to himself he had no idea where they were. He knew where he had been, which was across the street and roundabouts, but he hadn't been to this side of the town rooftops. "I have no idea. Somewhere I can stay for the night safely, and a good meal would be brilliant. Then it's back to work tomorrow. I still have to find someone."

She nodded and turned left, beckoning him to follow. "I know the perfect place. And who knows, tomorrow I might even help you find this person. God knows it's going to be a hell of a lot more fun hanging with you than it is sticking around here being one of them."

She gestured at the ground even as she jumped to another roof, her bare feet making no noise on the tiled roof. He jumped after her, and a tile came loose, clattering loudly to the alley below. A head wrapped in a black ski mask poked out a window below and looked up. He shouted, "Quick, he's on the roof!"

"Damn it." He muttered, and she giggled.

"Guess you're more of a fighter than a sneaker, huh? That's cool. I can lose them for us. Just don't fall behind." She took off running and he followed, eyeing the way she ran on the balls of her feet rather than the flat footed way he was running.

He glanced down at his boots and shook his head. There was no way he could do that himself unless he was barefooted as well, and they were running across flat ground. Roof running was fine - it was just the silence that got him.

Alison led the agents on a merry chase around town, losing them and Kyle multiple times before reappearing from a different direction. Each time she would cock a smile at him and tilt her head, laughter dancing in her body language even as she made no sound.

Eventually he managed to keep up with her and lose the agents, and she straightened out, leading him northwest. There were less people on the streets below now, and he glanced at him watch. Three in the morning. He had been running for almost six hours, and he could feel it.

He stumbled slightly, almost tipping over and off the roof, but Alison appeared next to him. She grabbed his arm and held him steady, worry in her eyes.

"Come on, Kyle. It's not far now. We're about fifteen kilometres from my apartment, and only a couple of hundred metres from the safe house." She whispered to him, and he shot her a smile.

"I'm fine." He straightened and took off after her, making sure he was more careful with his footing now.

True to her words, it wasn't long before she led him down another fire escape and swung herself into a dark apartment. He swung in after her and stood in the dimly lit lounge room as she turned on a light.

"W-Who's there?" A young voice called out, and Kyle started.

"Peter?" He asked, stunned, and the kid he had been looking for in the past three days shuffled into the room. Alison looked at him in amusement from her positon beside Peter.

"Kyle?" Peter looked up at him through his round glasses, and smiled widely. "You're here! Alison said you'd be here. She always knows best, you know?"

Kyle stared at the teen in front of him before turning incredulously to Alison. "You stole him?"

She smiled at him in bemusement. "I am a thief. Besides, he's safer here than he was in your safe houses. After all, according the Agency, this building doesn't even exist. He would have eventually been found in your safe houses."

"How can you be so sure?" He demanded. She levelled a stare at him.

"Did you know that every single one of your safe houses is bugged? It appears the landlords are on the Agency's side." She explained. He felt like someone had just punched him in the stomach. "Listen, Kyle. You've done well so far. Go into the bedroom and get some sleep. I'll wake you up in five hours. How's that sound?"

He sighed and nodded wearily, the night's excitement catching up with him, and Alison motioned to the door Peter had appeared through. He entered and took off his boots before collapsing on one of the beds inside, his breathing evening out quickly.

Alison waited until she heard his steady breathing indicating a deep sleep before turning back to Peter. He looked at her, then in the direction of the bedroom, and made a guess.

"He doesn't know?" He asked, and she pursed her lips, shaking her head.

"And he won't if I can help it." She stated. "Come on Pete, it's three in the morning. You need sleep, and so do I."

She steered Peter into the room again and lightly pushed him in the direction of the other bed. He stumbled forward and sat on the edge of the bed before looking back at her. "Where will you sleep?"

"On the couch. Where else?"

She flicked the lounge room light off, plunging the apartment back into darkness, and Peter lay back down on the bed, quickly falling asleep again. Alison stood in the doorway, watching the dark lumps that were Peter and Kyle before turning on her heel and padding to the lounge. She lay down and forced herself into a light sleep, ready to jump into action at the slightest sound.

In the bedroom, Kyle opened an eye for a moment before shifting and falling into a proper sleep. He would find out what she was hiding later.