“Don’t you dare!” Conner snapped. He flinched as a shot cracked over the com.
“Oops.” Ryan said, a smirk in his voice. “Itchy trigger finger.” Conner heard Ryan going through the clothing of the corpse. “I’ll have my doctor look at it.” Conner clenched his jaw. He never thought he’d miss Thomas’ ability to lie. Thomas would have figured out how to explain away his presence, or he would have simply knocked the guard out.
“Just switch the files.” Conner growled through gritted teeth. Conner had already hacked the electronic file, but the hard copy was still a problem. Conner hated that such a routine assignment now had a fatality. Ryan knew how strongly Conner disapproved. He didn’t care.
“Alright, you nag. The files have been switched.” Ryan said in a low voice.
“Grab the stones and plug in that flash drive I gave you.” Conner ordered flatly.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Ryan muttered dismissively. They couldn’t cover the entry so they were stealing diamonds as a cover, and now that there was a murder, Conner knew that he had to create a second diversion. Conner waited.
“The flash drive.” He reminded Ryan impatiently.
“How is a flash drive more important than diamonds?” Ryan demanded. Conner imagined he must be stuffing his pockets.
“They’re not going to believe that we went to all the trouble, killing a man, for a couple grand in stones.” Conner tried to control his tone. It came out tight and angry. “This way,” a window popped open on Conner’s computer as Ryan finally plugged in the flash drive. “They will think it is a mediocre hacker after insider information.” Conner began typing, it was so simple he could have done it half asleep.
“So a robbery, to cover up a hack, to cover up a file swap.” Ryan chuckled. “Nice, kid.”
“Don’t call me kid.” Conner muttered. It had been okay when Thomas called him kid, but Ryan was his own age, and not his friend. Conner corrected Ryan every time he said it.
Conner tried to resist the urge to look up the dead guard’s personnel file. There was nothing Conner could do for him. It was something that Thomas told him many times. Another alert beeped on Conner’s computer. Conner swore under his breath.
“Ryan, you idiot, get out of there!” Conner snapped.
“What’s wrong?” Ryan asked.
“I told you to stay away from the stones in settings!” Conner yelled! “You triggered an alarm!”
Ryan swore. “Alright. I’m heading out.”
“Not that way, you’re not.” Conner tracked Ryan’s position against the blueprints. “You’ve got security. Armed security.” He emphasized.
“So where am I supposed to go, smart one?” Ryan demanded as quietly as he could.
Conner smiled as he analyzed the possible escape routes. “Here is what you’re going to do.”
Fifteen minutes later, Ryan jumped in the van and slammed the door. Conner hit the gas and they peeled away. Ryan turned to glower at Conner.
“Really?” He asked sourly. “The garbage chute?” Conner just smirked.
Ryan was still grumbling when they got back to the hotel. “I bet you never put Thomas in the trash.” Ryan said Thomas’ name mockingly.
“No, I didn’t.” Conner stomped on the brakes abruptly so that Ryan slammed against his seat belt a little bit. Ryan glared at him.
“You know that I could kill you in five different ways right now.” He growled.
“Not while I’m driving.” Conner laughed humorlessly. Ryan didn’t want them to crash. Ryan slouched in the seat and crossed his arms. He sulked the rest of the way to the hotel. When they got there Ryan jumped on to his twin bed and snatched up the chips he’d been eating before they left. Before he took a bite he remembered something. He stood up and started emptying his pockets on to the bed.
“Check these out.” Ryan chuckled gleefully, his anger with Conner vanished as he scattered the diamonds on the bedspread. Conner grunted in disapproval. He was setting up his laptop on the desk and stress testing the security on their organization’s personnel files again. Ryan glanced at him. “Oh, come on. Our bosses don’t care about these. They’re ours.” He picked up the large set gem that had gotten him in so much trouble and dangled it by the chain in front of Conner. “You can’t say you’re not a bit excited.”
“Blood diamonds.” Conner shoved Ryan away. He wasn’t referring to the history of the gems, though that was probably accurate too. Ryan frowned at him.
“You can’t still be angry about that guard, can you?” He asked.
“Yes! I can!” Conner rounded on Ryan. “You can’t tell me murder was the only way to deal with him!” Ryan’s jaw set.
“It wasn’t the only way, but it was the best.” Ryan was stubborn.
“How can you say that?!” Conner demanded.
“Because it’s the surest way to say alive.” Ryan snapped. “And Cain always taught me that whatever keeps you alive, is the best way to do things.” Cain was Ryan’s old mentor. He talked about him almost as much as Conner talked about Thomas. Ryan turned and gathered the diamonds up from the bed. “If you don’t want these, that just means more for me.” Ryan said bitterly.
“Yeah, enjoy it.” Conner scoffed, turning back to his screen.
“I will!” Ryan snapped a little too forcefully. He shoved the diamonds in his pocket and strode out of the room. Conner glanced as the door slammed then he went back to what he was doing.
When Conner was sure Ryan wasn’t coming back for a while, he opened a video chat. He knew it was secure. Not even the organization could trace it. Conner grinned as the call was accepted.
“Hey Conner,” The girl he and Thomas had saved during their last mission together smiled at him.
“Hi Gail.” Conner wasn’t sure why he felt like it was important to stay in touch with her. Maybe because he needed to believe that losing his partnership with Thomas to save her was worthwhile. Gail picked up a test tube and swirled it. She’d turned out to be a rather competent bio-engineer who started snooping on her bosses after getting suspicious. Which was why she’d been imprisoned along with him.
“Ryan driving you crazy again?” Gail asked. Conner’s smile slipped into a scowl.
“I don’t know what the organization was thinking putting us together.” Conner spat.
“Maybe they thought you’d be good for each other.” Gail suggested.
“Yeah, right.” Conner snorted.
“Um, yeah, how are your attempts to contact Thomas?” Gail actively tried to steer their conversation into a safer area.
“Not well.” Conner sighed. “I can’t even access his personnel file anymore, let alone hack in to determine his location or a way to contact him.” Conner pulled up the window where he was working and frowned at it. “I swear, it’s as if there is someone blocking my attempts.”
“But didn’t his sister invite you to Thanksgiving?” Gail asked. “You said he never misses it. You can talk to him then.”
“Yeah…” Conner frowned, unsatisfied. He started a program to worm its way into the files. “What about you?” Conner turned his attention on Gail. “How’s that latest experiment going?”
Gail sighed as she closed her computer. She really liked talking to Conner, but she felt caught in the middle. Gail pulled out her phone, hesitated, and then dialed number.
“Are you alright?” Thomas answered the phone after two rings. Very caught in the middle.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Gail quickly assured him. “Can you talk?” It was an important question. She didn’t want him to get killed if he were in the middle of some crazy mission.
“Yes.” Thomas said.
“What are you doing?” Gail asked, because just because Thomas thought it was okay to talk didn’t mean that she did. They once had an entire conversation while he was burglarizing the home of a mob boss. She didn’t know until after she heard the alarm go off.
“Relax, I’m just doing some surveillance.” Thomas assured her. “It’s one of the most boring parts of my job.”
“Okay.” Gail wasn’t completely convinced, but she could accept it. “I was just… I wanted…” Gail struggled with her words.
“You just talked to Conner.” Thomas sighed.
“I just don’t understand why you won’t get in touch with him.” Gail tried not to sound to upset. She probably wouldn’t have even been in contact with Thomas if he hadn’t called her to synthesize the antidote to a poison his new partner was injected with. After that he regularly texted her the number to his burner cells in case she ever needed his help. “Can’t I even tell him that you’re okay?”
“Gail,” Thomas said in a kind of tired resignation that indicated this was a long-standing discussion. “If you tell him you can call me, he will hack your life looking for my number, or harass you into calling me for him.”
“Would that be such a bad thing?” Gail asked desperately, even though she knew the answer.
“Conner needs to learn how to work with other partners.” Thomas said. “He can’t do that if he can’t move on. I made sure that he got someone who can take care of him.”
“Conner doesn’t like him.” Gail told him. “It might help if you told Conner that you requested Ryan be assigned as his partner.”
Thomas chuckled. “They’ll grow on each other.”
“If you say so.” Gail said doubtfully.
“I do.” Thomas said with certainty. “They’ll be good for each other. Conner needs to be exposed to the evil of what we do, and Ryan needs a good influence. Conner will calm him down.”
“Yeah,” Gail had heard it before, but every time Thomas said it, it made her feel a little better.
“Besides,” Thomas added. “If Conner got in touch with me he’d just try to badger me into taking him back.”
Gail laughed. “True.”
“I have to go.” Thomas said. “Stop worrying so much, Gail. Trust me. Ryan and Conner will work things out. Eventually.”
“Okay.” Gail smiled. “Stay safe.”
“Always.” Thomas hung up, and Gail put away her phone. She wondered if Conner and Thomas would ever find out that Thomas and Cain were one and the same.
So, what does everyone think of Ryan and Sabrina? I've come up with 3 or 4 more stories for this (if it's 4 more stories one would be pure fluff). I don't know how much people are enjoying it. It is more of a character study/bromance series than an actual story. But if people are enjoying it, I will continue writing it!
Feed back is welcome, and if you like this series vote for it in the Blog Stories poll under Pals/Partners!