The cars rolled to a stop. Karin with shaky hands stepped off of the car. It took her a moment to regain her footing, having ridden on the outside of the car at full speed. She leaned down to look into the car's side mirror and pursed her lips. It would take her forever to fix her hair. Karin began to push her bangs to the side and smooth her hair down, but someone was yelling and it was breaking her concentration.
She looked up and rolled her eyes. The guards were struggling to keep hold of the male prisoner. He kept breaking free of their grasps. Why he didn't run away was a mystery.
"Shoot me! Damn it! Shoot me!" the man yelled over and over.
He wanted to die? Karin found it odd, but it did explain why he wasn't running. He didn't want to get away. Too bad for him the Director had other plans for them. A guard raised his gun to fire, but Karin intervened.
"No. The Director wants them back alive," she advised, "Use the darts."
Finally a guard shot the man with a dart and after a while the shouts subsided. The young man's head slumped down and the guards dragged him to an armored vehicle in shackles. Karin made a tsk tsk sound and walked over to the body on the desert floor. There was a single gunshot wound in the young woman's stomach. The blood was dry.
"Lesson learned," Karin murmured as she nudged Ichigo's dead body with her boot.
Karin reached inside her pocket and found a cigarette. She pulled out a lighter and lit it. Breathing in the fumes she then let out a shaky breath. Smoking in Labyrinth was strictly forbidden, but Karin didn't see anything wrong with having a smoke right now. And if there was a problem, how would the Director know? She doubted the guards would tattle. They feared her and she knew and liked this. A smile tugged at her lips and she took another drag.
Karin always got what she wanted. She made sure of that, one way or another. Karin tapped her cigarette and let the ashes fall down upon Ichigo's body.
Lucien didn't wait for the car to come to a complete stop. He unbuckled and jumped out of the car. It didn't take him long to find Karin. He just had to follow the smoke. She was standing over a dead body. Lucien had an idea whose it was.
He walked slowly, passing an armored car. The sounds of yelling and someone throwing themselves against the metal walls could be heard from the vehicle's interior. It reminded him of a feral animal fighting a lost cause in hopes of returning to the wild. Lucien paid it no mind.
"What do you have there?" Lucien asked, knowing the answer of his question.
Karin didn't look up, but took another drag of her cigarette.
"Your girlfriend. Looks like someone put a bullet in her," Karin said, searching Lucien's face to see his reaction.
He kept a straight face, but Karin was not fooled. "You loved her, didn't you?"
"Túes mi bebe! Mi amor! I swear it," he tried.
Karin gave him a sneer and he placed his hand on her shoulder. She pushed him away and he didn't bother to try again. Sooner or later Karin would come around. She always did.
"I didn't love her," Lucien admitted.
He was actually speaking the truth for once. Ichigo was not the love of his life and never would have been. She was just a distraction, something to do. But Lucien would miss her. For a while that was, but it was only a matter of time for her to be just a memory to him.
Lucien looked down and stared at Ichigo's dead body. Already he felt nothing. She was dead and that was it.
"The Director wants to talk to us," Lucien said, breaking the silence that had befallen between the two of them.
"He won't be pleased. One's dead. Three have escaped," Karin muttered.
"At least we have Edmund. It's better than nothing," Lucien said.
"Tell that to the Director," Karin snapped and walked away from him and to the cars.
Lucien frowned and once again glanced down at Ichigo's dead body. She was beautiful, even in death. That was not something he would speak out loud, especially in front of Karin.
"Things didn't turn out so great for you in the end," Lucien said. "Lo siento mi amiga."
"Hurry up Lucien or we'll leave you behind!" Karin shouted from somewhere behind him.
"I'm coming!" he shouted and gave Ichigo one last look before leaving her behind.
Dr. Charles didn't object when he was put back into the cells. There wasn't really a point. He couldn't fight back, didn't have the strength or the means to. Besides doctors don't fight, well most don't anyways.
"Sorry about this doctor," a guard said after he locked the door to Dr. Charles' cell.
Dr. Charles only smiled and waved the man away. He didn't want pity, even though the guard was only being polite. Right now Dr. Charles just wanted to be alone, and he got what he wished for. Nomi was in the infirmary and Ingrid was God knows where. From what the guards told him Nomi would be alright, but there had been no news on the escapees. At least no one had told Dr. Charles anything. For all he knew they were all dead, but he had to be optimistic. He liked to believe that they had all made it out alive. It gave him hope that perhaps his fate wasn't to die here.
He had done the right thing, staying with Nomi. Besides if he had left with the others he would have only slowed them down. His place was here. Dr. Charles couldn't believe himself. Sure he had down the right thing, but hell he really wish he could be free. A sigh escaped his lips. It only made him realize how quiet the cells were.
What would happen to him now? Would the Director order his death like he had ordered the execution of Ingrid? Only time would tell, and it would seem that Dr. Charles had a lot of time on his hands now. A feeling of dread overcame him. His life was now in the hands of a man who felt as if Dr. Charles and Nomi's decision to keep Ingrid's identity secret was a betrayal of everything that the facility stood for. Dr. Charles' chances of getting out of here alive were slim.
The Director wouldn't sacrifice his career to keep Dr. Charles alive and why should he? Realistically speaking Dr. Charles would have done the same thing. Eliminate the evidence of treason and thus destroy any suspicion upon yourself. It only made sense. But now the Director had a new mess on his hands. There would be no hiding a prisoner escape. That is unless the prisoners didn't get away. Dr. Charles prayed they did.
There was a guilt that nagged at Dr. Charles day in and day out. If he could go back and deny that job offer he would have. If only he had known what taking this job really entitled. No one informed him that he would be experimenting on people to turn them into human weapons. He had been completely in the dark, but still Dr. Charles felt guilty. Guiltily for not protecting Ingrid, guiltily for Ichigo being sick, guiltily for witnessing and not doing a thing to prevent the atrocities that underwent underground.
"Oh Caroline. Forgive me," he whispered, but his daughter never answered. No one ever did.
"Sir? Are you listening?"
The Director looked up from his desk to see his secretary standing nervously before him. He could see the bad news in the young man's eyes already.
"Spit it out Mr. Robbs," he barked, not in the mood today for the young man's weak constitution.
"Three have escaped, sir."
"What?!" the Director shouted slamming his fist down on his desk. His cat, Athena, hissed and leapt from her perch on his desk and ran into the corner. "Damn it! I'm ruined." The Director sat fuming with this news, but then he realized his mistake. "Wait. You said only three escaped?"
"Yes sir," Mr. Robbs replied with a pale face.
"What about the other two?" he asked.
"I was going to tell you sir before you-" Mr. Robbs began, but thought better of pointing out the Director's mistake, "One was killed and the other is in custody."
The Director fell silent for a moment.
"Thank you, you may leave," the Director said and waved the young man away.
His secretary left the room leaving a heavy silence in his wake. The Director folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. Three gone, one dead, and one on the way back home. Not good, not good at all. The last time three prisoners escaped the Director during that time was fired. He couldn't be fired. Something would have to be done, but what? His bosses would hear about this soon and then he was as good as dead. What was he going to do?
A thought came to him so suddenly that he nearly gasped. It was risky, very risky. If it failed he was done for, but why not try? He would send every single agent out to look for the three. The Director would call back team Alpha from their current mission to aide the agents in their search. And finally he would initiate Project Red on the returning prisoner.
He was a mad man for even considering Project Red, but if he was going down he might as well go out in style.
"Project Red," he mused out loud.
The Director had some important phone calls to make.
Nomi could hardly move. He felt weighed down with lead and every part of his body ached with a sharp pain. His eyes flickered open only to close due to the harsh light. It took him a few more tries until his eyes finally adjusted to the light and he could look around. He was in the infirmary for agents, not the one for guards or prisoners. Agents had special treatment, because well they were agents. He was alone and he was glad for that.
Nomi had thought he was alone. He looked at the doorway and his stomach flipped. It was the Director.
"Yes sir," Nomi replied with hesitation.
He wasn't sure of the Director's intentions and it made him wary.
"No, no sirs. We're all gentlemen here, are we not?" But the Director didn't wait for an answer. He only carried on. "You took quite a beating didn't you?"
"I got shot," Nomi said with a shrug, but winced from the pain in his shoulder.
The Director chuckled.
"You make it sound so-so ordinary," the Director stated with a smile.
Nomi didn't say anything, but watched as the Director approached him and stopped before his gurney. The Director looked at Nomi's IV and the heart monitor that was hooked up to him.
"The doctors have you hooked up to all sorts of things, don't they?" the Director observed. Nomi nodded, not knowing an acceptable answer to that. "It's all for the better though. Don't want you dying on us."
Alarm bells sounded in Nomi's mind.
"No...No we don't," Nomi muttered, wary and unsure.
"I have a proposition for you agent," the Director said.
"And what would that be?" Nomi asked.
He wasn't sure he really wanted to know. Something told him it wouldn't be good.
"We have one prisoner returning; only one and this one is special. You will help him. Watch over him and make sure he doesn't make-," the Director said and stopped as if he was trying to think of the right word, "-a mess of things. Basically you will be his mentor, his overseer."
"But why?!" Nomi shouted, not understanding the proposal.
The Director gave Nomi a stare that said that now they were not just two gentlemen but rather a boss and an insubordinate. Nomi had to remember his place and not speak out of turn.
"In due time you will understand. For now listen up and listen good because I won't be repeating myself," the Director snapped, "You will take care of this young man and aide him in any way necessary. If you do what I ask with no mistakes and no mess ups than I will forget your betrayal of this facility. You will get away free, but if you fail than don't expect mercy. You won't get any."
Nomi couldn't believe his ears. What the Director was proposing was insane! Him assist a subject or be sentenced to death?
"Is that a threat?" Nomi hissed before he could catch himself.
The Director's expression turned dark. He clutched Nomi's chin in his hands and dug his nails into Nomi's skin. Nomi didn't dare look away. There was no way he would let the Director know that he unnerved him.
"Only if you make it one agent," the Director said in such a hush tone that it sent shivers up Nomi's spine.
The Director let Nomi's chin go and stood back. He folded his arms and stared at Nomi with an unreadable expression. "What are you going to do Nomi? Take my offer and you have a better chance of staying alive. Deny it and die a fool. Make a decision and quick. I don't have all day."
"I'll do it," Nomi answered with no hesitation.
He would sacrifice pride for life. It only made sense. He just hoped the subject he was working with wasn't that bitch, Ichigo or the kid he had mistakenly kidnapped. It was then that Nomi noticed that the Director was arching his brows.
"I'll do it, sir." Nomi said, sealing his fate.
Dr. Darin stood outside and marveled at the emptiness of the place. All the guards were either looking for the escaped subjects, in the infirmary, or dead. Meanwhile his fellow colleagues were gossiping about the escape while doing their jobs, except for Dr. Charles who was rotting away in his cell. That would have to do for now. The subjects were all confined to their cells. They wouldn't get to go to the cafeteria for lunch. It would be brought to them today and perhaps tomorrow too. There would be no training either or doctor visits. The subjects were prevented from speaking together so as to stop anyone else from considering an escape attempt. It was a lockdown.
While everyone else was working, Dr. Darin was alone. Truthfully, he shouldn't even be on the surface. For one it was a lockdown and no one was supposed to be on the surface unless they had a mighty good reason for it. That and he should be doing his job, but in the aftermath of the escape no one would notice his absence. Even if they did no one would care.
Dr. Darin smirked and took a sip of his coffee. He didn't really care about the escapees. His only concern was of Nomi and Dr. Charles. As long as they suffered he was content. That would teach them to mess with him. How could they have thought that they could have reported him to the Director and get away with it? Well they didn't and Dr. Darin would make sure that that remained true.
"What are you doing up here?"
Dr. Darin turned around and saw Dr. Louise. The man walked over and stopped next to Dr. Darin. He too cradled a cup of coffee.
"I'd ask you the same thing," Dr. Darin replied.
"Taking a break. These past events have stirred up some rather unpleasant memories," Dr. Louise answered.
Dr. Louise grimaced at the mention of his son's name.
"Yes. The poor boy," Dr. Louise muttered sadly. Dr. Darin didn't speak. He took another sip of coffee. "The wondering is the worse. I don't even know if he's dead."
"I'm sorry," Dr. Darin said.
Although he really wasn't, he just felt it necessary to say so. Dr. Louise was not a friend, but Dr. Darin didn't need to make him an enemy.
"I still don't understand why those-those monsters kidnapped him," Dr. Louise said.
"Who knows? They are violent in nature. Wild beasts that we keep caged up. It was only a matter of time before someone got bit."
Dr. Darin suddenly remembered the riot. What dark days those were. He had no desire to dwell on them.
"But why my son?" Dr. Louise asked, but Dr. Darin didn't feel that the question was directed towards him. He shrugged anyways.
"Your son was-is a good boy. I imagine that he is still alive, somewhere," Dr. Darin assured Dr. Louise with a lie.
It was more realistic to believe that Kabel was dead. Why keep a hostage alive longer than necessary?
"Let's just hope that these subjects get captured. They don't need to be running around endangering the public," Dr. Louise muttered. Dr. Darin nodded. Yes these people were not meant to live among normal folk. They were weapons to be used at the discretion of the government, nothing more.
"It'll only be a matter of time. I'm sure," Dr. Darin said.
"We thought that last time and we still haven't found team Beta," Dr. Louise observed with furrowed brows.
The man had a point, but Dr. Darin didn't want to agree with Dr. Louise and carry on this conversation. He had come up here for some peace not to chat.
"I'm sorry but I have to go. I've been gone long enough," Dr. Darin said sternly to ensure that Dr. Louise realized this conversation was over.
"Right. Well I'm going to stay here for a bit. Don't think anyone will notice," Dr. Louise said with a chuckle.
Dr. Darin didn't bother with a goodbye. He turned on his heels and marched back to the underground. He had work to do after all.
He was cold, very cold. Edmund was lying on the floor of the armored car, his cheek on the metal. His hands were chained behind his back and his legs shackled together. Once the effects of the drug wore off he would easily be able to break free from his chains, but he knew there was no getting out of the car. Its walls were layered thick with the hardest metal. He could beat his way out of the car, but it would take forever and by then they would have arrived at Labyrinth.
Edmund was trapped. Beaten down by his grief and the drugs coursing through his veins. He had no will to fight anymore or to live for that matter. There was nothing left for Edmund. Nothing he could think of anyways. He was tired and considered falling asleep, to let himself be immersed by his dreams. But he feared that his dreams would be plagued by death as the real world was. Could he not escape his grief even in sleep? Was there nowhere to go? The future seemed dim, but that was an understatement. He could see no good coming his way.
His eyelids were heavy and he gave up trying to keep them open. Edmund's vision went black, darker than the interior of the car. His muscles relaxed and his breathing slowed. It was mostly silent except for the constant rhythm of the cars' engines and his breathing. Sleep beckoned him and he saw no point in resisting. He might as well surrender.
Matt woke up. He had no idea what time it was, but the growing light hinted at dawn. Despite the fact that he had slept for a long time and without waking in the middle of night, he still felt exhausted. It would take some time for his full strength to return, but Matt doubted that they would have much time to rest. The Director would send everyone he had after them. Guards, agents, and even other teams would be hot on their trail. They would always be on the run. There would be no settling down. Nowhere to hide, at least no where permant.
It was not the life he wanted, but it was the only one realistically possible. Although he would rather return home to his family, Matt knew better than to go down that route. If he went home, Matt would be an easier target than if he went anywhere else in the world. Going home was an obvious decision that the Director would anticipate. Their homes would be the first place anyone would look. He didn't dare endanger his family. Matt had no doubt that the Director would harm innocents to get what he wanted.
But where would they go? They could leave the country, but they didn't have any money or passports for that matter. No money, no license, and no proof that they existed in the real world. They were ghosts. How could they sustain themselves if they didn't have the means to? To get money they needed a job, but to get a job they needed to actually exist in the system. They could do under the table jobs and move on when the work dried up, but what type of lifestyle was that? Perhaps it was the only one possible for them, to become nomads. To live on the land, to exist in the underground, and to disappear when it became necessary.
Matt could make that sacrifice. He could live this difficult life if it meant not being capture and taken back to Labyrinth. Even Jade could do it. She had that type of restless spirit that could easily blend into a nomadic life, but what about Ingrid. Ingrid was young. She needed her family, not Matt and Jade to play parents. Could they take care of her? Could they pretend to be mom and dad? Matt scoffed at the thought. Jade a mother? Him a father? It was ridiculous, but necessary. Ingrid couldn't return home, so Matt and Jade would have to do their best to provide for her.
Matt realized then, in the growing light of morning that all they had left in the world was each other. He felt the huge weight of responsibility of having to be there for Jade and Ingrid. There would be no failing and no working for oneself. The key to living was sticking together, to operate as one rather than three. It was crucial to maintain cooperation. Without it they risked making a mistake and being captured. It only took one to destroy everything and they had everything to loose.
It wouldn't be easy. Labyrinth had people working every where in the real world, in every career field imaginable. They were the police men, the government drones, and the smiling representatives on T.V. The next door neighbor, the grocery store clerk, or the fire fighter with the slick smile. Spies, all of them. Make a mistake, slip up and use their inhuman strength, and it took only one phone call to the police to draw unwanted attention. Being paranoid was essential. Doubt everything, trust no one. Get what they needed and get out fast. Do everything quickly, efficiently but thought out and cautiously. Pretend that they were deer disguised as wolves in a cage of famished predators. One slip up and they would get eaten.
This sudden revelation stirred up a speal of emotions in Matt. All of the sudden the future looked very dim.
Jade woke up to find Matt gone. There was a moment of panic in which she fretted over whether he was captured or worse had abandoned them. It was only when the fog of sleep had fully dissipated that Jade began thinking clearly. For all she knew Matt went outside to find water, food, or maybe nature had called. He wouldn't ditch them. That wasn't like Matt.
Jade glanced over and saw that Ingrid was still asleep. The girl was pale and sweating. Reaching over, she draped her hand across the girl's forehead and felt that she was feverish. They needed to get her medical attention and fast, but out in the desert options were scarce. Jade had no idea where they were in the world. She was never told by anyone, but she had an idea that Matt knew where they were. He had to seeing as he has been on the surface before. When he returned she would ask him. If he returned.
She mentally scolded herself for such thoughts. Of course he would come back! Jade had to trust him. Trust was more important now than it had ever been. Without it how could they get anywhere? She sighed, stood up and stretched her arms. Her joints popped releasing some tension. The sound of footsteps outside of the cave made her freeze. Jade crouched low to the ground. The guns were on the other side of the cave. Maybe she could reach them. She had to try.
Jade bolted. She heard the stranger yell out and she lunged for the guns. Her hand fell onto one and she whipped it around to face the offender.
Jade's finger rested on the trigger, but she didn't pull it. Matt stood before her with his eyes focused solely on the barrel of the gun. He held his hands up in defense.
"Hey, it's okay. It's just me Jade," Matt said, "Put down the gun."
She was shaking so badly that the gun bobbed along with her.
"I'm sorry. I-I thought you were-the guards!" Jade cried, not able to put the gun down as if there was still an immediate danger present.
"It's okay, just put down the gun okay?" Matt murmured taking a step towards her.
Jade couldn't move. Matt's hand reached out and gently push the gun away. It was then that the life came back into her arms. She dropped the gun as if it had bit her. A realization came to her. She could have shot Matt!
"Shit!" Jade cried, grabbing her hair in her fist.
This time it was Matt that wrapped his arms around her into a hug. She hugged him back tightly, as if to portray how sorry she was through touch instead of words. It was easier that way.
"Don't worry about it Jade. You didn't shoot me," he said.
At first she couldn't find her voice, so she just hugged him and didn't say a thing. But after a while the silence became pointless.
"But I almost did!" she yelled.
Matt pulled away, but held her arms still so that she was forced to face him.
"But you didn't and that's all that matters." Matt advised her, "You acted right Jade. If it had been a guard you would have killed him first before he got to you."
"Yeah but what if-"
Matt shook his head and she closed her mouth, too exhausted to fight.
"What are you guys yelling about?"
Matt and Jade stopped and glanced over to see Ingrid sitting up. She still looked groggy from sleep.
"Nothing," Matt said, looking at Jade instead of Ingrid.
Ingrid mumbled something about that being okay and laid back down to sleep. Jade sighed and turned back to Matt.
"When do we need to leave?" she asked in a whisper.
"Soon," was all he said in reply.
"Where will we go?" Jade asked.
"We'll figure it out as we go," Matt replied with a fake smile. Jade didn't like that answer, but she knew there wouldn't be a definitive one anyways. "There might be a town nearby. We could go there."
"So near to Labyrinth? Won't it be swarming with guards?" Jade questioned.
"Probably, but we need to get supplies and Ingrid needs some sort of medical attention," Matt countered.
"True," Jade sighed.
Matt took a step towards her and touched her shoulder.
"We can do this. I know it may seem impossible but we've made it this far," Matt said.
"I want to believe you, but-I don't know," Jade muttered in frustration.
Matt smiled and for the second time that day hugged her. She didn't fight it.
"We'll make it," he declared with confidence she could almost believe.
"We have to," Jade murmured thinking of everything that was at stake. They had everything to lose. The fight wouldn't be easy, but she would fight to the end. Nothing could stop her.
Ms. Maloni stood by the kitchen sink staring out the window. It was another morning, another day without her child. Despite the fact that it was a lovely day she couldn't quite muster any feeling of happiness towards it. To her it might as well be raining.
She glanced down to see Bree tugging on Ms. Maloni's shirt. Bree had strawberry jam all over her mouth and chin from her breakfast of toast. With a faint smile, Ms. Maloni leaned down and swooped up Bree in her arms. With Ingrid gone, Bree had become her life. She had forgotten about her job, her friends, and her life ever since Ingrid...disappeared. Bree was all there was left in her world. Ms. Maloni couldn't even imagine loosing her too.
"Mommy," Bree said and then babbled something incoherent.
Ms. Maloni kissed her on her forehead and the little girl giggled profusely. Bree reached out with her sticky hands and began to play with Ms. Maloni's hair. Now she would have to have another shower, but she didn't care.
Suddenly the phone rang. Ms. Maloni balanced Bree on her hip and went over to pick up the phone.
It was the detective that had been assigned to Ingrid's, Harper's, and Luke's disappearance. She didn't dare get excited by his call. It could be nothing...but it could be something.
"Yes detective? I'm here," she said.
There was a deep sigh on the other line. Her face fell.
"I'm not sure how to put this lightly Ms. Maloni," he began, but stopped when Ms. Maloni broke into sobs. Her child was dead! Dead! "Ms. Maloni?"
She choked back her sobs long enough to speak.
"W-where did you find her...body?"
At the last word she began to cry again.
"M'am! We didn't find a body," the detective said.
There was a moment of silence.
"We didn't find a body. M'am I'm calling to tell you we have no more leads. We have come to a dead end."
Grief turned to rage.
"Are you telling me you've stopped looking for her?" she shouted into the phone, causing Bree to begin wailing.
"I'm sorry m'am. We'll keep her file open, but we doubt that she can be found."
His words were intended to be kind, but Ms. Maloni would have none of it.
"So you're giving up?! I'll never know where my daughter is?" she yelled.
"Ms. Maloni, we believe that Ingrid probably isn't still alive."
With that she hung up and in a fit of rage threw the phone across the kitchen. Bree continued to shriek and Ms. Maloni tried to soothe her only child, but couldn't stop her own crying. After a few kisses and hugs Bree's tears subsided to only soft whimpering. Ms. Maloni stared into Bree's face and could only see Ingrid. Her face crumbled and once more she began to sob.
"Mommy?" Bree squeaked.
Ms. Maloni couldn't answer her child, but could only hug her close as if to keep her from disappearing too.
Ingrid knew she needed to get up, but she was quite content to just sleep. Despite the fact that she was laying on the ground, she was far too tired to even care that she wasn't in a comfortable bed. She should be questioning why she was on the floor, but her mind was only focused on sleeping. But now that Ingrid was conscious she was more aware of the pain in her arm. It kept her from fully falling to sleep. The pain a dull throb, so intense that it took over her entire mind. It was time to get up.
Ingrid opened her eyes and found herself staring at a rocky ceiling. It was cold, dark, and dank. She was in a cave. It took all her energy just to sit up. Her head hurt with a headache causing colors to dance across her vision, and her mouth was dry and lips chapped. Overall she felt like crap.
"Finally you're awake!"
She glanced over and saw Jade walking towards her. Jade had dark circles under her eyes.
"Where are we?" Ingrid asked, rubbing her sore arm.
"In a cave," Jade replied simply.
"I guessed that," Ingrid mumbled.
Jade smiled and sat next to Ingrid. The young woman grabbed Ingrid's wounded arm and inspected it.
"Does it hurt?" she asked.
Ingrid nodded and saw Jade's face grow grave. She became worried. As much as Ingrid's arm hurt she didn't think she was in much danger, but the look on Jade's face said otherwise.
"Am I in trouble?" Ingrid asked quietly, not sure she wanted to know the answer.
Jade didn't answer at first, but then she jumped to her feet.
"No more than the rest of us. C'mon Matt is waiting for us outside," Jade said with enthusiasm that didn't quite reach her eyes.
Jade held out her hand and Ingrid took it and got to her feet. Her whole body ached and she couldn't imagine running for another day. Even though Ingrid didn't actually do the running she still felt the toll of hours of racing across the desert.
"Where are we going?" Ingrid asked, glancing around the cave and then thought to ask, "Where are we?"
"I don't know...and I don't know," Jade replied, "Ask Matt."
Ingrid rubbed her arm and followed Jade out of the cave. The sudden bright light made her eyes sting and water, but after a second she adjusted. Matt was standing not too far from the cave's entrance a solemn look on his face. When they approached he turned and Ingrid could see the bags under his eyes too. He smiled but it was a weak smile.
"Are we ready?" Matt asked.
"As ready as I'll ever be," Jade answered.
Ingrid didn't answer, but stopped and looked up at the sky. It was a fantastic color of blue with grand clouds dotting its horizon. Her eyes were fixed upon its beauty and she couldn't look away as if in a trance. She was aware that Matt and Jade were watching her, but she felt no embarrassment. It had been a while since she had seen the sky.
"It's not fair," Ingrid muttered sadly, "We are free, but yet we're not." No one spoke, so Ingrid continued. "They'll keep chasing us, won't they? To the ends of the Earth and we won't ever get a chance to just enjoy the scenery. Even outside of Labyrinth they control us."
"We will get away, someday," Matt said.
Ingrid remembered the Onos, of how she promised that she would find a way to kill them. She should tell Matt and Jade about what she promised, but Ingrid couldn't right now. The timing just wasn't right.
"They can't chase us forever," Jade said with a smirk.
Ingrid shook her head.
"What about our families? Our friends? Will we ever see them again?" Ingrid asked, "Will I ever see my sister again?"
Ingrid was home sick and she could feel it in her heart. The longing to return home was far more painful than her wounded arm. It was a pain she couldn't imagine would ever go away unless she returned home, but the looks of Jade and Matt's face gave her the hard truth. Going home would be incredibly difficult and highly unlikely.
"One day," Matt replied.
Ingrid wanted to believe him, but couldn't quite lie to her self.
"And besides we're all family here," Jade said looking to Matt and then to Ingrid.
A smile crept across Ingrid's face. She couldn't help but feel happy at Jade's words. They did in fact have each other, and forgetting that could be their demise.
Ingrid felt the warmth of the sun on her skin and relished in it. As gloomy as their future seemed, the sun's warmth had a strange ability to banish the darkness from her thoughts. Perhaps not everything would turn out bad. Maybe they had a chance, a chance to truly be free from the harsh hold of Labyrinth.
She turned back and looked to her friends. Their smiles seemed genuine and it was then Ingrid realized that they would fight with her to the end. Jade with her fiery, stubborn attitude and Matt's trustworthy nature would prove a more powerful weapon against Labyrinth. There was a future waiting for them in which Labyrinth would have no control over them. They would return home one day. Matt hadn't lied when he said that. Ingrid would see Bree again. It was a slim chance, but a chance. They just had to fight for it.
(A/N): Well I finally finished it. I'll definitely have to do some revising, but I'm very proud of this story. This is not the end. I'll be working on a prequel that will give some insight to Icarus Project. For instance, I will explain why Jade and Ichigo hate each other, why Dr. Darin has a vendetta against Dr. Charles and Nomi, more detail on the riot, and many more things. After the prequel I'll write the sequel. I hope you enjoyed Icarus Project! Thank you for everyone who reviewed, favored, and alerted this story!