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Braedon Chandler remembered the days when he would charge headlong into any and every fight in his general vicinity, but those days were long past. He hadn’t grown cowardly or weak as he aged. The truth both simpler and infinitely more complex: Braedon Chandler was too important.
It stung. Not just because he craved the fight but because in the time it took his men to clear out the Prometheus facility, three were injured. One was killed. Braedon had waited in the van. He had to. His men needed direction, or organizations like Prometheus would flourish.
So he had waited in the van, parked down the road from the house where Prometheus had set up shop. He had waited and listened over the radio as his men crept into the house and found their way into the bunker beneath it--listened to the roar of gunfire, to Andrew yelling that all the doors had opened at once and the creatures Prometheus created had been set loose among his Hunters. The innocent had been freed, too, and set loose among the monsters. He listened to the terrified screams of children and felt his blood run first hot with anger and then cold with the need to kill.
He had comforted himself with the knowledge that Lilah, for all that she was young, was a Hunter. She was strong and she was clairvoyant. She would know what needed to be done. She would hold out until his men arrived to save her.
But would all the other children survive? All the other innocents?
Braedon wanted nothing more than rip every guard and so-called scientist in the facility to shreds. He wanted to feel their bones crunch in his hands, their flesh tear and their blood spill over his fingers.
And then, though she couldn’t possibly have known what only listening had done to him, Caroline had cut the feed to his earpiece. Then he had heard her voice, cool and quiet and efficient as ever. “DeWitt will meet you and lead you in, sir.”
Braedon had leapt for the chance. His guard, a young man in his early twenties, had followed him into that horrible dark.
He had seen the gun even as Michael saw it, but too late. Suddenly that young guard was a solid brick wall of Hunter, slamming Braedon out of the way and into the wall beside the door. He felt it shudder under the force of them. He caught Michael as he stumbled, and the boy’s blood soaked into his expensive grey Italian suit. It added to Cole’s blood, coloring the material black.
Braedon lowered Michael carefully to the ground. “DeWitt!” he snapped, and Joel was there, putting pressure on the wound.
Something skittered in the vents above them, hard to hear over the sound of Andrew’s gun and the answering roar of a revolver. Michael’s eyes fluttered and he lifted his gun but Braedon pushed his hand down with a firm, “Hold.”
One of Andrew’s team darted past the doorway to stand by them, aiming his gun up at the vents and Braedon left them to it. He found his gun again and moved back to the doorway.
It was lit as bright as day inside the control room. He couldn’t slip in unnoticed. Someone in there knew what he could do.
If he could kill Gabriel Seymour, Prometheus would wither away and die. He felt the thrill of success two decades in the making, now within reach.
He glanced at Michael, bleeding on the hard metal floor, and let anger color his anticipation. Let his blood run hot again.
Andrew said, “He’s reloading,” and his Enforcer took a chance. It could have been a fatal chance and Andrew clearly knew it, but Braedon could see the anticipation on his face, too. He didn’t have time ask Andrew what he would do if Seymour had a second gun. Andrew rushed into the room.
Braedon followed, against his own better judgement, expecting another shot but instead he heard the metallic clatter of something being thrown. And then - there it is - a pop of gunfire from the side that went wild and hit the ceiling somewhere behind him. He didn’t think. He had spent enough time in the dark to let his ears see as much as his eyes ever did. He turned smoothly, raised his pistol, and shot the gunman before he truly saw him.
No, saw her. A woman lay twitching on the ground, a neat hole in her forehead. He heard a cry behind him and looked to see Andrew lifting the small, pale man - not Seymour - who’d shot Michael and slamming him against a row of monitors.
“Don’t kill him,” Braedon ordered.
“Didn’t plan to. Just wanted to hurt him a little.” Andrew glared at the man, one hand fisted in his captive’s shirt.
Braedon left him to it and knelt beside the woman as the two Hunters not busy with Michael moved into the room behind them to clear it. He looked for identification on the woman but couldn’t find any. She was in her early thirties at most, with strawberry blond hair and grey eyes.
“You killed her!” Andrew’s prisoner struggled impotently, trying to break the Hunter’s grip. “You killed her!”
Braedon straightened, abandoning the corpse. “Where is Gabriel Seymour?”
“He’s going to kill you,” the pale, thin man said. “He’ll kill you for this. You killed her!”
Andrew raised a brow in question. “Want me to knock him out, General?”
“Who was she to Seymour?” Braedon asked, watching the man’s face.
“His niece.” The man tried to rush at Braedon again but Andrew shoved him face first against a wall and he was silent.
“Take him,” Braedon said. “We’ll have Rand question him.”
Andrew looked sour but obliged.
“What about the woman?” one of his men asked.
Braedon turned on his heel and followed Andrew out. “Leave her. Seymour is doing business in my territory again. He needs to be reminded of the consequences.”