PHOBOS: Part Four

It wasn't often that Jones had to go into the field anymore. With all the cases around the globe, they had to limit how many they could go on. They couldn't strain their powers and limits. As much as they wanted to help people, they couldn't do much if they broke down in the middle of a mission.

This one was a mission they couldn't ignore. The phobe in question was a young Emile Maringer, age 5. He was an aichmophobe- afraid of pins and needles- which gave him the power to inflict needle-like pain on others. A frightful ability, and one people would love to exploit.

Emile had gone missing from his Chicago home a year ago when his family was attacked and murdered, and a lead came up a month ago. Some people had spotted a child who looked exactly like Emile in the possession of a known and powerful drug lord's men in Los Angeles. There were also reports in the criminal underground about said drug lord being able to induce unimaginable pain on those who wrong him.

The child had to be taken out of their clutches immediately. And Jones didn't trust a team of nurses to get the job done right. They didn't understand the distrust and fear in these types of situations. Phobes that get involved with gangs are often convinced that other normal people will hate and hurt them. Oftentimes, only another phobe could get them out and to safety.

And so, as Jones went through armed men like a hot knife through butter, they hoped that Emile would be open to leaving with them. The situation was delicate to say the least. One wrong move could send everything crumbling down.

Julio Hernández de la Montoya growled as he listened in to one of his men's play-by-play of the phobe freak making their way through his facility. Had to be an IBCP goon. No neutral phobe was ever that powerful.

He watched the shadowy punk make their way towards the center of the facility. He had to admit, this guy was one tough customer, even when not using their powers. This agent meant business.

de la Montoya pulled out his phone and dialed up his guards on the asset. "Bring Ms. Maringer in. We've got a guest who needs taking care of."

Jones panted softly as they stopped to breathe in a side hall. de la Montoya's facility was an old hospital that hadn't been used since the 90s, so there was no telling what kind of danger lay around each hall. These rats managed a little renovating, so you could only go up to the next floor through the stairs before you had to go to the other flight to get to the next floor. It made for quite the run, since the other flight was on the other side of the hospital.

However, they were nearing the top floor. And on that floor was Emile.

Steeling themselves, they made a run for the stairs, while attempting to avoid as many of de la Montoya's men as possible. Jones was starting to run out of energy, and using their powers so quickly could be extremely dangerous to their health.

Soon, the door to the top floor was in sight. They pushed through with a mighty grunt, only to land in the middle of an ambush. Twenty men with guns cocked their weapons and aimed them at Jones. The agent knew that they were too tired to take them all out without getting shot or making a mistake.

A dark chuckle brought their attention to where the circle of men parted. There stood de la Montoya with a large hand on a child's curly-haired head. They wore a nice little dress, but the older phobe could see that the child did not like wearing it.

"So, I see you brought Emile right to me," Jones joked, their accent more pronounced due to exhaustion. "Real nice of you, bruv. Be a doll and hand him over, and we'll be on our merry way."

"I'm afraid that won't be happening. Ms. Maringer will be staying with us. In fact," he said with a grin, "she'll be seeing you out."

Jones looked down at Emile and thought fast. They had to get him away from de la Montoya, and fast.

"Ms. Maringer? Please show this low life out."

Emile nodded and began to raise his hand. Moving before anyone could stop them, Jones grabbed the child and pulled them close, erecting a barrier with the last of their resolve. They held the child close as their mask slipped away, stroking their hair with scarred fingers.

"It's okay, sweetheart…" Jones murmured to him. "I'm like you…"

"Are… are you a police officer…?" he asked softly, gently clutching Jones' jacket. "M-My mommy said that police officers help people…"

"They do, but I'm not a police officer. I'm here to take you somewhere safe. Where no one can hurt you or make you hurt others. Would you like that?"

"Do I gotta wear any more dresses? Mr. de la Montoya made me wear these…"

"Nope. Will that work for you?"

Emile hesitantly nodded, burying his face in the agent's neck as his nestled into their arms. This was all the invitation they needed to scoop the child up into their arms.

"Close your eyes for me, sweetheart," their murmured in his ear. "Don't look." When they got a muffled affirmation, the barrier shifted and separated, forming spikes that shot out at the men. Those that were hit weren't killed, but it wasn't pretty to look at it. The others ran, including de la Montoya. Jones didn't care. They were too tired, and the police had been contacted and had surrounded the old hospital by now. With a soft sigh, they made their way downstairs, taking their precious cargo with them back home.