Colin supported Andy as they made their way as quickly as possible down the long hallway. They were being as quiet and careful as humanly possible while the girls on the other levels causing all kinds of hell. Colin had a feeling all three girls were having a bit more fun then was strictly necessary, all enjoying giving these people their just deserts for daring to take one of their own.
Mara especially. She tended to get a bit touchy when people started to mess with her brother.
They had to stop once to allow Andy to be sick against a wall. Colin didn’t like the idea of leaving an obvious mark of where they had been, but he liked the idea of Andy being sick on him even less.
After that, he led Andy to the small room that Ava herself had warded. No one except their teammates would find Colin and Andy through any means short of burning the place down around them, and Colin was really hoping that it wouldn’t come to that. Although, he supposed that meant they would all die together. He’d certainly dream up worse fates for them all over the years.
He got Andy sitting comfortably, and then finally took a moment to take a deep breath. Andy was safe in his custody. They weren’t out of the woods yet, but this was worlds better than he could have predicted, and he almost wanted to laugh for the joy of it.
“Hey, Col?” Andy asked from where he was sitting against the wall.
“Yeah. Andy, what do you need? Are you still doing okay?” Colin was suddenly hit with a wave of panic. Had he missed one of Andy’s injuries? Where they in hotter water than he thought?
“Col, am I having fever dreams, or was that Mara helping you pull me out of that chair?”
Colin gave a little laugh at that. “No fever dreams. Mara signed back up, at least for this mission. You know how she gets when someone messes with her brother. I think she needed a way to channel that rage. Busting you out was a good redirect of her energy.”
“So–that means that Diane and Mara are both here? Working together?” Andy asked, a nervous edge to his voice.
Colin rolled his eyes. Andy had been beaten to a pulp, half-starved and tortured over the last two days. And his concern, his main concern, was for the social drama amongst the team. “Yes, Diane and Mara are both here. And somewhat begrudgingly, they are working together.”
“Do they know? About each other–I mean?” Andy asked, wincing and grabbing lightly at his side. A thought hit Colin suddenly. This wasn’t about the social drama amongst the team. This was a coping mechanism to help him deal with the beating, half-starved, and torture. Andy wanted to pretend everything was normal.
“Well, I’ve always been completely honest with Diane about my feelings for Mara.” Colin said simply, “She knows where I am coming from in all of that.”
“And Mara? Does she know you’re sleeping with Diane?” Andy pressed.
“When would there have been an appropriate time to tell her that, huh?” Colin could feel himself getting angry, but Andy wanted normal, so he rolled with it. “Should I have dropped in after not talking to her for about a year to say– ‘hi, excuse me, I’ve started sleeping with your replacement in a desperate and unhealthy attempt to mask the heartache from knowing I couldn’t have you?’ Or maybe after she burst into HQ after learning that her twin brother had been kidnapped and was being tortured. Maybe that was when I should have said, ‘I know this is time sensitive, but maybe we should discuss my sex life since we broke up. Just so you know–‘”
“You know–” Andy had the edge of a laugh on his voice, which gave Colin a second to realize he was yelling, “A simple ‘No, Mara doesn’t know’ would have done the trick.”
“Right.” Colin sat down next to Andy, vaguely wondering when he’d be able to stand back up. “Right, sorry man. I’m just–” Colin cut out, not one hundred percent sure how to reply. He was what? Mad that Andy had ended up in this situation at all? Frustrated that Mara had been shoved in his face again after all this time? Annoyed that he’d had to settle for Diane as a second best? Guilty that he even thought of Diane as that at all? Heartbroken that as soon as Andy was safe and sound again, Mara would disappear once more, fading away and pretending that she didn’t even know he existed? Was he just tired? Or maybe some combination of all of the above…
Andy reached out and hit Colin weakly on the thigh. “I know man, I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get your ire up.” Colin didn’t respond because he didn’t trust his temper to be under control just yet, not with his adrenaline still pumping the way it was. “So–tell me–what’s the rest of this plan to get me out of here not dead like?”
“Oh–who said anything about you not being dead? We just wanted to make sure you wouldn’t talk. You can do that just as well alive or dead?”
“Oh–ha-ha–glad to see you’ve got your humor back.” Andy gave Colin’s thigh a little pinch because it was really all he could manage to inflict on the guy in his current situation.
Just then, the door swung open and Ava was there. Her eyes swept over them and her face broke out into a smile. “Good to see you’re still kickin’, Andy.”
Andy grinned at Colin. “See–someone still wants me alive.” He gave Colin another pinch.
“Yeah, yeah,” Colin muttered, slipping an arm around Andy’s back and helping him to his feet. “Let’s get out of here before we’re all dead.”