Who: Caleb West, Adrian Clarke, other Guardian agents. Later appearances by Josie Clarke. What: A mission goes bad When: Saturday, November 17th, evening Where: A suspected Hellfire HQ and then the GUARDIAN facility hospital Rating: Medium/High (violence, blood, and language)
Stunned was the word Caleb would use to describe his reaction when he and Adrian were called into work. Adrian and he had been on a leave of absence while they helped Josie out with that issue with some guy named Ward Parry. He didn't really know all the details, but he knew it had something to do with her kid Dale. His job had been to watch the house and pick the kid up from school. Caleb had a feeling that this Ward fellow was Dale's father, but he could have sworn that Josie said Dale's father was dead...that he died before she even knew Dale was on his way. But that didn't matter. He was shocked that Adrian would up and leave his wife unprotected for some mission. It seemed like any other until they got into the office and were briefed. They had found it...they were certain this time. Hellfire's main headquarters. The one where their leader Kevin and Damon were at. No wonder Adrian said they had to go. This was the biggest mission of their lives. Josie and the kids would be okay, she had family and friends, they'd be safe for a day. And if something did happen, Mrs. Clarke could probably handle herself, she was a hell of a lot stronger than she looked.
The teams were loading up bullet proof vests for those individuals who weren't bulletproof, like himself. He just make sure he had extra clips for his gun stuffed in the pockets of his jacket. Caleb glanced around the room and noticed four other teams were there. He wasn't surprised though. Hellfire's main headquarters wouldn't be an easy feat, they'd need their best people on the job. He couldn't wait to see the look on their face. He would finally get them, he would no longer feel hunted.
It wasn't long before the groups were creating a perimeter around the building. On Adrian's count they bust in through the door guns drawn and circled around...it was empty. It was a fucking empty building, but...how...they were sure. They had seen people enter how could it be...Then it hit Caleb...it was a set up. Hellfire wasn't stupid they planted that information...they had just walked into an ambush. He barely had a second to breath before Hellfire soldiers started to swarm in from above, right, left, all around. Hellfire did have the advantage of surprised but GUARDIAN recovered quickly and began to hold their own.
Caleb and the rest of the team took down soldier after soldier, trying to sedate them when they could. This was easy...too easy. These soldiers didn't have any truly threatening powers, why would Kevin and Damon not use their best to wipe out GUARDIAN's best. These soldiers were easy to subdue. He was still mulling that over when he was violently shoved to the ground by Adrian who's face he saw for a split second before his eyes went wide and he coughed up some blood. Caleb looked at him in horror as he looked down at what looked like a sharpened pipe sticking out of his stomach. Caleb's eyes went to the soldier holding the strange weapon looking disgusted with herself. She fell and Caleb saw one of the other agents lower her gun.
The battle was still raging on, soldiers just kept coming, but at that moment Caleb didn't care. His partner was laying there, dying and he had no idea what to do. He put his hands over the wound trying to at least slow the bleeding. He saw the dark blood seep between his fingers. Adrian couldn't die, he just couldn't. He was the one person outside of his family that he trusted. He had a wife and kids, he couldn't leave them. Red bubbled came from his mouth when he tried to speak.
"Don't talk," Caleb said and shouted for Trina, their teleporter. She didn't even ask and blinked them away to GUARDIAN headquarters before blinking back to the battle. She had to watch her partner's back. He didn't wait to call for help and agents and other personal rushed in. They quickly pushed aside for their medical staff. The placed a hand on Caleb's shoulder to move him but Adrian quickly shot out a hand and pink bubbles coming from the corner of his mouth he managed to get,
"Watch over Josie, the kids, promise me Caleb." Caleb shook his head,
"Don't talk that way, you're gonna be fine...you're gonna be fine." He wasn't sure who he was reassuring anymore. Adrian gripped his hand tighter and some dark blood escaped his lips,
"Promise me." Caleb nodded,
"I promise." Adrian gave him a strained smile and he released Caleb's hand and he was moved onto the stretcher. He watched them go as he was rooted to the spot. He looked down at his hand covered in Adrian's blood.
Fifteen minutes later Caleb had moved to sit in some chairs they had to wait to hear about Adrian's condition. He heard the double door slam open and a very frazzled looking Josie Clarke came in. She was wearing the raincoat she always wore, but it looked different today. He paled as he realized she must have grabbed Adrian's by mistake. It was much too big for her and covered half of her hands. He caught her eyes and her's widened at his appearance,
"Adrian, where's..." she trailed off as he noticed her eyes had focused on the drying blood still coating his hands. She brought a hand up to her lips as she shook her head. She buried her face in her hands and collapsed to her knees. Caleb wanted to go to her, give her a hug and tell her everything was okay, that Adrian would be fine. But he couldn't move, he could barely breath in that moment. Another officer helped her to a seat and her tears eventually quelled and she seemed to notice that se was wearing the wrong jacket. She reached in the pocket and pulled out his wallet and the picture holder unfolded down. Josie brought a hand to her mouth as she touched the photos.
Caleb had a flashback of when he first saw that. It was the first time he met Adrian...his partner. He remembered ho negative he had been about the whole thing...while he was happy to be out he was going to be stuck with some fuddy duddy norm. He was going to be a fucking pet to this stupid norm. He had sat their with his arms crossed as Adrian breezed in with an air of ease. He talked a bit then pulled out his wallet allowing the pictures to fold out. He pointed to a bunch. He pointed out his wife who Caleb already knew and their kids. They all looked so happy. It made him ache for his brother and sister. He had spoken then and motioned to the bottom two photos. One was of a couple and the bottom was of three blonde children.
"That's my brother and his wife and those three are their kids," Adrian paused as his jovial expression faded, "We don't speak."
"Why?" Caleb was notoriously curious."
"They're anti-mutant protesters, when they found out I was marrying Josie and that she had a mutant son they said I had to make a choice, them or Josie..."
"And you picked Josie." Adrian shook his head,
"No, Josie and her son Dale were my family and I wouldn't abandon my family. My brother then disowned me, Josie, her son...and they don't acknowledge the twins either. I'm okay with it though...family doesn't present you with ultimatums."
Caleb always remembered that moment. Adrian turned his back on his own family for Josie and for her son...a child who wasn't even his. Two mutants and he gave up everything. That is when he finally saw first hand that there were some good norms out there.
After what seemed like days a doctor came out and both Caleb and Josie shot up. He was alive...thank God...wait...for the moment. What did he mean for the moment? Wasn't he hooked up to regeneration blood and have a healer working on him...what the hell. His heart dropped when the doctor explained what had happened...that weapon...the foot soldiers...it all made sense. Negator blood...the weapon had been coated in negator blood and as it pierced his skin it also had a small amount pumped straight into his system. So Adrian was practically a negator at that moment. A negator who didn't know how to pull back his powers to allow a healer or regeration blood to help him. The attack wasn't just against GUARDIAN agents...it was against him. That was their big plan that they had been devising...how to kill him. And Adrian...
Fuck. He turned and ran his hands through his hair, streaking it with blood. He covered his nose and mouth which ended up being a bad move as he was assaulted with the metallic smell of Adrian's blood. Caleb wanted to throw up. Josie was crying again as the doctor tried to comfort her and that she could go see him but he had some more surgeries to go. She glanced back at Caleb and he couldn't take that hopeless look in her eyes. It was his fault...it was his fucking fault. Adrian was his partner, he was supposed to watch his back. That was supposed to be him in there. Adrian was a hero...he jumped into action...not thinking about what could happen to him. He was a norm he had no powers, he had no right risking his life like that. But that was Adrian...the hero. He wasn't like Caleb...indestructible...a coward. He was the type who wouldn't get hurt...but he just stands there...he stands there and watches people die. Adrian had done his job and saved his life but now he was dying and they didn't know if he would make it. The doctor motioned for him to follow him to see Adrian. He froze when he saw all the tubes and machines hooked up to him. Josie was holding his hand and pressed a kiss to his forehead. She glanced back tears spilling silently down her cheeks as she said his name. He froze and he could feel that if Adrian died she'd soon figure out what happened and she'd blame him...hate him...and he couldn't bear that. He turned and ran...ran as fast and as far away from that hospital room as he could. He didn't know where he was or where he was going but he just had to leave. He couldn't understand why a hero was dying while a coward like him was being allowed to continue to live.