The tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed man walked purposefully through the airport as he navigated his way to the terminal. Trailing behind, but holding his hand was a young girl and a little to his left and behind him was a professional and tough looking woman who never let him out of her sight.
Jason and Sandra had left the Neo York Zero Zone and picked up his adopted daughter from the safe house Hobbs had found for the girl to stay until it was time to leave for Hong Kong. Moira had been bitter and upset about being left alone in a strange place filled with strange people and in her own way she was punishing her adoptive father for it now, giving him the silent treatment. Jason knew she wouldn't like that, but he just couldn't bring her back into the Zero Zone. That was no place for a child of his adopted or not, no matter how tough or strong she might be. Besides, he knew his enemies were tracking him primarily, and being absent meant it was that much safer for Moira.
The flight to Hong Kong was tense and uncharacteristically quiet. All three of them knew what they had come there to do, and that it would set forth a chain of events from which there could be no turning back.
As the plane they boarded took off and shoved itself into the sky, Jason thought about Sandra, how she had let him stay with her in the Zone, and how their relationship had cooled after that. They were so different, he knew. Their worlds were polar opposites, and it even felt like his continuing clashes with the brown band gang—whoever they were—personified what happened when his world and hers collided.
Jason was worried. What if Marta refused the deal? What would he do then? Going in by himself was likely to end the same way as the last couple times, or quite probably worse. And there was Moira to think about. Her life was in danger right now just because of his name.
Jason gnawed at his lip and stared out the plane's window at passing clouds, hands unconsciously clutching the armrests hard. Seated next to him, Sandra could sense his tension. There was a subtle war going on in Jason's head, emotions that Sandra knew he hadn't let himself deal with to any degree for months. She knew Jason well enough now to know the man was wracked by old guilt that had not been expressed in a healthy way for a long time.
Not to mention what had happened to Helen. Evidence of murder everywhere, and no leads or body. It's enough to drive anyone to rage or tears. She had been there the night he found out, of course. He had spoken to her about it all night. But it had been weeks now since that happened, and the chance of them finding Helen alive would be about as close to zero as one could get. How did he feel about that? Would he tell her honestly what it was doing to him? What else was going on in that head of his?
Sandra put her hand on his, trying to get him to calm down before he popped like an over-inflated basketball.
"Hey. Relax, Drake." She still called him that when she really wanted to get his attention. "We're not gonna crash." She smiled at him.
Jason looked back at her with eyes that seemed to be staring back at her from the moon instead of the next seat. But the moment passed and he blinked. A smile flickered for a moment.
"Yeah. We're going to make it, aren't we?"
Sandra looked away, unsure what he was talking about, but afraid that she knew exactly what he meant. "Yeah. We'll make it." Tool.
After they landed in Hong Kong, they wasted no time setting out for the apartment meant to give to Sandra. It was seated near the top of a high rise apartment complex, providing a marvelous view and already furnished with some of the most comfortable furniture Sandra had ever set her eyes upon. The first thing Moira did was to run and jump upon the plush couch. Moira's glum mood seemed to evaporate in the plush folds of the cushy couch. She took off running to explore the wonder of the rest of the place while the two adults more slowly made their way in to the place.
Sandra opened the door to her condo with the key that Drake had given her. She let the door swing open before stepping in. "Well, here we... are," she began and trailed off as she looked around the room.
It was big. Well, that was an overstatement. It was, however, bigger than the rathole that she lived in back in the Zero zone. Heck, it was about the size of the place that she'd grown up in with her parents and sister, but much more nicely appointed.
"What do you think?" Drake asked as he entered the apartment with Moira. Sandra was gaping around the place, as was Moira.
"It's nice," Sandra finally managed to sputter out.
"Is this your house?" Moira asked, innocently.
"Um, yes" Sandra answered, somewhat disoriented. "I just don't come here often. Well, at all."
"Oh," Moira replied, and then went into one of her characteristic silences.
"Do you want to head in, or are we going to stand in the doorway all day?" Drake asked, gently trying to push past the two of them. "It's just that my bags are getting rather heavy."
"Sorry" Sandra remarked as she picked up her case. "I'll just be putting my stuff away." She walked off to the bedroom, hauling her case, trying to adjust to her surroundings. Arriving in the bedroom killed that idea dead. A huge double bed dominated the room. One of the objects of her greatest desire was right there in front of her and it was hers. It didn't get any better than this. She was busy trying to suppress the urge to jump up and down on the bed.
Sandra opened up her case and began unpacking her stuff. The real world got her attention as she pulled her combat suit out of the case, and put it in the large cupboard. Another case stayed shut firmly. Sandra hoped that she wouldn't need what she had in there. Unfortunately, with her luck, she probably would.
Something in the room got her attention. There was another door leading out of the room. Curious, Sandra opened the door, looking inside.
"Oh Drake" She sweetly asked as she left the room, entering Moira's room where he was helping her unpack.
"You like the place?" Drake asked, looking up.
She suddenly grabbed Drake and hugged him close. "There's a hot tub" she commented. "You thought of everything."
Drake paused for a second, then figured out what she was saying. "Later."
"Awww." Sandra replied, coyly.
"We've got to unpack first."
"Oh," she replied, suddenly booted back to reality, sulking off to continue with her unpacking.
"What were you talking about?" Moira asked, curiously.
"Nothing," Jason replied as he helped her put her clothes away. "Sandra was just telling me how much she likes her new house." He stood up and closed the wardrobe for her. "So what do you say we get some dinner?"
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