If he were to be honest, he had been cocky. It had been a good couple of months since his last high-profile job, and his whole body was hitching for a challenge. In his line of work, it was one thing to stay in shape, yet another altogether to keep the edge, the thrill that made his muscles tense in predatory anticipation just the right way.
Had it been one of his regular handpicked jobs he would have been a little less forward and a little more guarded. Alas, after months tracking Intel down to one Luke Hobbs, agent of the Diplomatic Security Service who had been after his brother and failed twice, then tailed him over a dozen countries, before he finally got him, in the most unlikely ‘thrice is a charm’ way, he just could not pass the chance to come face-to-face with the man.
When he first heard the name mixed with Owen’s alleged fall, it had picked his interest. After confirming Owen had been up to some over the board plan that ultimately failed when the DSS had intervened, Deckard had taken some time linking the name to a face. Honestly, it was at that point he had seriously started wondering what had truly transpired.
There was not a chance this ‘Hulk’ of a man, by himself, had gotten his brother and a whole team of well-versed trade mercenaries. Owen had a penchant for sadism, but not so much inclined to overlook details. He was a mechanic at heart, engineer grade and all the jazz, every piece had a place and a job. A single man, muscle and law abiding, could not simply waltz in and well, do whatever he had done.
Owen was a kid no more, and life was more complicated than to be reduced to a simple ‘who’s got more muscles to win a backyard brawl’.
He knew it was perhaps a bit ridiculous, and their line of work required not to misread or worst, underestimate, any possible adversary but, whereas muscles could potentially unbalance Owen’s game board, he still had trouble gobbling the fact that mostly physical strength could have taken down whichever complicated stunt filled scheme Owen had pulled.
Now that he had finally been in close range with him, at the end of his rifle scope that is, he was not even convinced that ‘Wyatt Earp on steroids’ would fit in a precision car. Admittedly he would be impressed if he could. However, rumour had it the guy was not precisely a precision driver, from what he had gathered the DSS agent went by the book with a penchant for an ‘end justifies the means’ policy that quite appealed to his very own. Had dedication and perseverance finally paid off? Doubtful. There had to be more to it.
Deckard had the inconvenient of not being the puppeteer behind a broad network like Owen’s, so it took a little more time than he was content with to gather enough friendly contacts and get to the man.
All in all, it meant Hobbs and his ‘Captain America’ routine were not enough to convince one Deckard Shaw.
So here he was, after giving in his hitch, a small time frame had sufficed to enter the DSS office. Of course, he could have waited until even Hobbs went home. The guy had a knack for paperwork after successful missions but even he had to call it a day at some point, right? Alas, he had been at it for hours, until that petite Brazilian agent had made him stop.
He knew it was a close call, but it was enough to secure the information he needed. Slipping inside the building and the inner office had been easy enough, albeit he had to keep in mind this was a shadow intrusion, so there was no need to cause a ruckus up-front.
Once Hobbs had vacated his office, he had just taken over his computer. The files he had been looking for had popped up only after a short search, his fingers had twitched in offence once the reports and data sheets from the undisclosed team appeared before his eyes.
He had been right all along of course, but if one DSS agent made Owen’s fiasco look bad. That team of street racers just made it go from a whole unfortunate debacle into one huge freakish flop.
Affronted could barely cover what he was feeling as he dutifully copied all the data in the flash drive. Gears had already started turning in his head, he would go after them one by one. Starting with that one DSS agent who thought he could cover their asses and keep the Sun shining above their heads.
Speak of the devil and he is sure to appear.
He smirked inwardly quite content with himself, his first opponent was finally but feet apart.
Oh yes, Deckard had been cocky, but he knew how to pick his fights, and he sure as heck knew which points to pressure to ensure things would go his way. Smugness had been one, and it sure had the ball rolling under thirty seconds by the way Hobbs charged at him like a bull.
Needless to say, the famed DSS agent had delivered. What he lacked in agility and unpredictability, he secured off with sheer strength, Deckard flight right through the glass table had been everything but pleasant.
In the end Deckard had better call it a stalemate and left the premises with a blast, he had other fishes to skin after all.
And to unleash some hell in their lives, he also had better do it at the top of his game. Muscles sore and his whole body ruffled some, he walked away in the dead of the night, mind focused on the list on his pen drive.
His edge was palpable now, right under his skin, barely contained. It was high time to visit the only person he should have keep tabs on more closely to begin with. Owen.
Truth be told, Owen’s location would not have been that hard to figure out if he had been bothered by his silence much earlier. Half a year had gone by without a peep until he had been bothered by the prolonged silence, tested the waters and resurfaced in a most civil ordinary world.
Not too long afterward, he had finally scratched the surface and figured something terrible must have happened. Even if caught, Owen would have managed to contact him or better yet, make it out. Neither had occurred.
As he was but a few blocks away from the secured military medical complex, Deckard left some thoughts entertain his mind. Reminiscing was not a hobby he fancied, but this time he just could not have helped it.
A couple of years or so ago, Owen had been pissed off, well, he looked right about to commit bloody murder if Deckard recalled it right. One of his ‘associates’, and a huge chuck of his on-going drug / weapons / skin network, all the way back at the U.S. had been taken off the streets by the F.B.I.
The only reason Deckard vividly recalled the event itself was not because he cared about Shaw’s power games, or the strings he liked to pull, or even the generous amount of money he had not doubt came from a nice efficiently and well thought drug cartel.
No, he remembered it so well, because they managed to meet up not too long after the U.K. government thought it was high time to cut ties with Deckard, which coincidentally happened around the time both MI5 and MI6 figured Owen had some rather impressive off-the-radar business going on.
Obviously, Deckard managed a not so clean cut out the SAS. He had had to take down a twenty something cell of them before he could as much as breath without feeling sniper scopes on his neck.
Resourceful as he was, Deckard kept a low profile for some time and it would have seemed an unofficial agreement between him and the U.K. government came to be. Deckard would stay clear of their business as they would do his. After all they could not afford sending assassination squads on a weekly basis, or worst, risk some secrets spilled over.
He snorted at the thought, they could not keep up with him and he had one too many secrets on them. However, Deckard was no fool, one could not survive this world of shadows without something else and that’s where Owen came to be.
His little brother never quite bothered clarify whether the SAS became uncomfortable with Deckard’s existence -to put it mildly- because of Owen’s actions, or if it had been the other way around.
Sure enough, Deckard had been pulling an ever darkening curriculum, over fifteen years in black ops did that to a man, but he had also wondered if that had actually motivated Owen enough to seek better horizons to fly to when all fell through for both of them.
Perhaps Owen had made them nervous, his charisma and well-mannered yet steely behaviour could only go so far within the confines of the army ranks. He had pulled some freakish stunts during his deployments after all, most of which had granted him some big attention form high-up in the army chain and beyond. The Queen’s Secret Service attention and a couple of other likewise agencies to be precise.
At some point, however, they had started to figure him out, his mind and his ambitions were too much to simply serve and benefit the SAS. And that was also about the time, Deckard retrieved some piece of information from his latest mark.
Clean kill, no sass, and it was just bloody hot in Bosra.
At the time, Owen had had a knack for reminding him over the unexpected phone call. It turned out there was a back ops squad hot on his heels, looking for none other than Deckard’s blood.
Long story short, they finally meet up some time afterwards, Owen had been dishonourably discharged from the SAS, not that it longer held any importance. He was at large on this new worldly playground and loved every inch of it.
At the time Deckard had also wondered if the SAS had just been too small a playground Owen’s had eventually outgrown of out of boredom, or if it had only been a stepping stone to a new more appealing one. Realistically, you could not just sprout an underground network from night to morning, and certainly not going by the book in the SAS. There had always been more than meet the eye in special ops and the SAS, but building something like Owen’s playground had had to take time and resources, and that thought formed a question.
The answer to that question had been answered in Owen’s typical fashion.
“You’re the one with the family-code, brother. You tell me if you’re in for the wordplay.”
Deckard was mostly –only- family driven. Owen knew it, he had always made it clear to him and the eldest of the two was the tiniest amused it had not been so to their former employers. Otherwise they would have exercised some control on either of the two to keep them on track.
Deckard was no fool himself, he knew that unlike their government Owen often used that fact in his favour. Heck, Deckard had indulged him since they were kids so there was no way his ever so witty brain would not summon it when convenient.
That alone had been reason enough not to pursue whichever game Owen had on. And he had firmly told him he was not interested.
There had been that indecipherable expression on his face for a second or two. He had said something in the lines of ‘indeed, two pieces on a board don’t always stand together’ or some riddle Deckard had not bothered taking into account at the time.
And he somehow came to regret not doing so.
Indeed, it was no wonder he remembered that last meeting, because after his break in character Owen had finally reined himself enough to have a decent dinner with his older brother. They had taken Owen’s Aston Martin DB9 because he had talked Deckard into getting his Maserati reinforced, on the basis that ‘you never know when it will come in handy’. Deckard was wise enough at the time to avoid doubting Owen’s foresight if nothing else.
Toward the end of their dinner, things had seemingly calmed enough, but Owen had kept looking at him in that insufferable way which annoyed Deckard to no end although he could not find it in him to make it stop.
Back in the days, a good old fashioned smack to the head would have sufficed to cut it off.
As adults he knew better, it was the look Owen had when he wanted something out of Deckard, which often ended in Deckard taking the blame for whichever mischief -to put it mildly again- he had caused.
But that familiar look also held something else. That something Deckard never quite put his finger on. Unnerved by it, Deckard had gone for glaring back.
“Spit it out, little brother.”
Just short of shrugging, Owen had smirked nonchalantly then.
“Never mind brother, the game is still on whenever you are ready for it.” And that was it, both partying ways not too long after. Until next time.
Except, as Deckard would later realize, next time was not meant to happen.
“They say if you want to glimpse the future, just look behind you. I used to think that was bollocks. Now I realize... you can't outrun the past. When we were kids, you'd start fights with the toughest bastards in the yard. But I was the one who had to step in and finish them. You'd steal from the corner shop, but it was me who'd brave the old man's belt. I'd hope you'd outgrown it, that playing the gangster made you harder, smarter, better. But deep down, I guess I always knew you'd end up like this, despite everything I did teach you. Still, you're my flesh and blood. So you remain my cross to bear. Rest now, little brother, while I settle you one last score.”
If Owen had not been in a fucking coma, he might have had Deckard tested.
The eldest of the Shaw brothers never talked that much, heck he never as much as talked about their shared past with complete strangers, even if said strangers were scared shitless of him to try and fully grasp what was meant for Owen’s ears in the first place.
To sum it up, Deckard Shaw was a forty-something extremely efficient gun for hire, had wrecked a hospital to shreds -except for Owen’s room-, killing over two dozens of well-armed public force men in the process. All that because you cannot just waltz in a Royal Defence Medical Centre in the heart of London, after breaking in a DSS office at the other side of the globe, to get classified information, without expecting some level of resistance upon your arrival.
In all honesty, he thought it would prove more difficult but Deckard had had the advantage of knowing the grounds, courtesy of his own days at the service of her Majesty’s Army, and it was by no means the most secluded secured facility around.
So he had made short work of it, and had been a bit pissed off to be honest. There was no way these guys were special ops or anything of the sort, just regular MP and SAS, and that was it.
Also, it was obvious the SAS had claimed Owen over after his fall in Spain, they had put some effort in tending to him and keeping his heart beating that much was obvious; but they were either dumb enough to think he would be ‘safe’ with such obvious half-hassled defence line, or they had become quite lax after both Shaw brothers had taken the shortcut exit out of their ranks.
That alone had played a part in his outright opened display of a one-man army prowess.
However, as he finally closed in Owen’s room, it became clear that it was one thing to know your kin was stuck into a bed, and another altogether actually seeing it in the flesh. All machines running, tubes connected and scaring tissue in view, and his little brother keeping quiet about the whole ordeal was enough to send him into a heartfelt monologue.
The silence was unnerving, after the wreckage caused by light and heavy guns, bones breaking and not a few grenades. The cowering medic staff whom tried so damn hard to blend in with the white wall would have been upsetting as well if he had cared enough to glance in their direction.
Alas, nothing equalled as more vivid and harsh reality, as a silent half burnt to a crisp little brother.
It had all came tumbling out of his lips then. Owen and his policies be damned, Deckard was confident he could and would take head on whoever thought flesh and blood bounds were a thing to trifle with. Nothing else had ever caused a string of attachment in his life, likewise he doubted anything else would ever do so, but Owen, he was that string, the one and only.
As he parted from Owen’s side, Deckard restrained from physical contact, instinct had been strong but his mind had reprimanded him. It just did not seem fair that he would engage in the slightest casual touch when his brother could not even register it. If he did, Owen would hold it against him for sure.
Hit list in mind, he would settle that score and he would do so by all means available.
Owen was the one with the multiple-layered intricate plans that left loads of people wondering what the heck had happened to them. It did not help one bit that each backup plan meant heavier damage on the other party.
The little sadist enjoyed the challenge just as much, if not more, than the prize; furthermore he enjoyed screwing people over in the process. That was Owen in a nutshell, for the most part.
As for Deckard, well, he thrived for results. He knew his business by heart, he could be sneaky and bid his time all the same if need be, but he would go straight for the throat using flashy moves or shadow-like ones alike. Dirty was moot point in either case, as long as it got the job done, so be it.
As he stepped out of the room and made his way off the hospital, he knew his message would get the proper attention.
Owen had been secured. His freedom would have to wait.
“Roadrunners hunting season’s on.”
Admittedly, Deckard knew tracking down Han Seoul-Oh was just the overture of his revenge opus. From the detailed sealed reports taken from Hobbs’ computer he got to know his preys on a very personal level. He made a mental note to pass him his thanks at some point, the guy knew his job.
Yes, he had a penchant for sarcasm, it ran in the family after all.
Apparently, Han’s lover had died in the same freakish bomb-of-a-plane that had landed, quite literally, Owen in coma. The fact alone brought a new perspective to Deckard’s train of thought.
It might as well have been Owen laying there six-feet under. It had been too close a call, but there was still a chance of a comeback, right? They had a game running, whichever it was.
From what his shadowing had given him on the man’s routine and associates in Tokyo, Deckard concluded the passing of his partner had broken Han’s will. He did not need much to confirm it, after all, he had seen that kind of dead bored eyes on one too many occasions, and had even been the one to cause them over the years.
So it brought the question as to why he was alone in Tokyo, with a dead-wish carved on his forehead that nobody quite seemed to pick upon. Given that the family concept seemed to keep the team of street racers together, Deckard had pondered whether they had caught wind of his assault on Hobbs and would pop up on his radar or not. But as he made his way through familiar Japanese roads it quickly became obvious that Han had not wished to partake on their lives for now, perhaps never again even.
Easy as pie.
Had he been another man and had Han’s name not been on his personal kill list, he might even have considered a simpler, quieter end to his life. Alas, Owen was stuck in that bed back in London, under her Majesty’s Service custody, thanks to the likes of Han Seoul-Oh and the rest of Dominic Toretto’s family.
By Deckard’s books it meant he had taken his choice when crossing path with his little brother and followed through to its final consequences.
Thus for, it really came as no surprise that he needed almost not lift a finger before the right opportunity presented itself. Street racers had a knack for, well, street racing or drifting as it happened to be the case in Tokyo, and, Deckard only had to bid his time.
Not a week later the chase was on.
Han had had little chance of knowing what hit him and his car. His death had not been a smooth painless one, nevertheless Deckard had made sure he died in his terms, sort of.
Owen would have approved the sarcasm no doubt. The phone call came next.
“Dominic Toretto, you don't know me. But you're about to.”
Since his self-imposed task had been completed in Tokyo, Deckard took the next flight to the U.S., even if the DSS had been slow on catching up only after the fact, he knew it would not be long before someone passed the information accordingly.
Furthermore considering the ‘package’ he had taken the time to have delivered right at the Toretto’s home, to better express his intentions. If it did not blast one or two of them, it would no doubt push things into motion.
As he accommodated in his first class seat, flight straight to Los Angeles, he caught himself once again thinking on what Owen would do. Well, he was one for the flashy as of late, but even Deckard would had a hard time knocking on their doors with a tank. These were not so as easy to come up with, but he conceded that Owen could not possibly pass the chance for a ride in one. SAS had been fun and the toys he managed to get his hands on, well who could blame him?
Nevertheless, ten hours of flight were a great opportunity to think things coolly.
Upon landing in Los Angeles, Deckard knew just the right thing to do. And it just came in handy that, back in the days, Owen had talked him into handing his own Maserati Ghibli over for a little tweaking.
He had layered how to bait Toretto, and knew the need for a reinforced chassis was on.
If not for the situation they were currently in, and Owen’s unresponsiveness, as Deckard stood before his black Maserati he would have picked his phone right then to tell him, ‘Aren’t you a smart little shit. Hates it when you’re right and handy like that.’
The irony of it was not lost on him, Toretto would go down, and he would do so hard and fast by Deckard’s hand.
The time it took the DSS to have the information relied, contact Dominic and him making an all-round flight to get the ashes were all it took Deckard to follow each and every single one of them as they gathered back in Los Angeles.
Now, onto taking the head off, then getting to them one by one, starting with the ex-FBI agent.
Easy as pie, part two.
Except, Deckard had not quite taken into account the bloody CIA party pooper involvement. Apparently, it had been too long of a shot thinking MI6 would not grab the phone and tip off the Americans.
A sore neck and a ruined Maserati were all that was left as he made his swift escape when the black ops jumped on them.
What a joke of a cliff-hanger, he snorted in obvious contempt. He had had Toretto at gunpoint, short of seconds away from putting a bullet in both his chest and head. Boiling in rage he went under, plotting his next move, still thinking about Owen.
The game was still on, but Owen was not there to partake in it.
What a bloody joke.
Admittedly, it had not been Deckard’s plan to get caught.
If only his ‘friends’ had some brains and went by a fucking code, he would not have been stuck under half a concrete floor by now. And, he would have had his revenge.
Alas, it would seem Dominic Toretto shared, just as much as Luke Hobbs, the lady luck's favour. Pretty much as with Owen, they had come across each other and the thrice is a charm parabolic farsightedness had played in their favour.
As the CIA crew came into view, and managed to get him off the damn concrete floor, he wondered if there had been a lapse of judgment on his part. Perhaps killing those off one by one from the scope of his sniper rifles would have done the trick just fine.
But that was not the way a revenge should be carried through, the man had his pride and he would not hide his involvement in the death of others. This had not been a black ops assignment, but a self-imposed quest to settle a score on his brother’s behalf.
It had hurt badly, in a way it had not for a very long time. Deckard had been to war, had had his share of bombing and destruction, albeit he had mostly been on the side causing it. That did not mean it had never happened, war was a two parties occurrence after all but stuck that way was probably a novelty he was not keen to repeat anytime soon.
Owen would surely have a field day with it if he caught wind what had transpired.
In the end, his revenge had been stopped short because of the untimely deep end CIA crew involvement, and a little hacker girl who just had to invent the God’s Eye.
Owen. Back in London, Deckard’s stunt had undoubtedly secured his fate. Whilst he ran wild, his little brother would be seen as a potential asset. The leash from which to pull if Deckard attempted coming back at them.
As he sat on the concrete bench of his bare new quarters, all chained up and dressed in the brightest orange available to date; he wondered if it had been the right move to do.
Deckard was a veteran, but Owen was the one enjoying that sort of power-plays. The eldest just hoped, they would keep doubling efforts into keeping him alive, and that would be enough to bring him back to the living.
He could endure this end-hole of a prison, have his freedom striped of him, caged like an animal. He would do it gladly, become the piece Owen needed on his chessboard to hold up his ultimate demise.
As it turned out, Deckard’s assault to Owen’s hospital had sent the right message to the SAS, and the whole of her Majesty’s forces, foreign secret service included.
The comatose Shaw had been moved to a more secure facility, which also came with the added high-end medical attention even the Queen would be jealous of. The heads up did not fool themselves, they had figured after that stunt that Deckard had been serious but he was still a one-man army.
Just as they had reached an unspoken agreement with their best assassin gone rogue, all these years ago. A new one had been put in place at present time, they would ensure the youngest Shaw’s probabilities of survival be the best anyone could offer, and Deckard would stay put all the way back in the U.S. under the CIA custody.
But most of all, he would stay quiet. Deckard had willingly given them his pressure point. As long as they kept his heart beating, Deckard Shaw would not risk anything else happening, much less a slip of his tongue at the hands of the CIA.
That was just about the conclusions the U.K. government had reached on the Shaw brothers ordeal.
However, as weeks passed, then months, an on-going investigation party came across what suddenly looked like the tip of yet another iceberg, with the potential to turn their world upside down.
And that was about it.
The intelligence gathered pointed in the directions of Mose Jakande and Owen Shaw’s latest jobs which had been all but connected at the time.
Given that Jakande got blown up along with his helicopter in L.A., anything left once more traced back to the Shaw brothers. Owen in particular.
Time was the essence of many things in life. To governments it meant intelligence deprecated and became useless, which in turn made them vulnerable to previously unseen or underestimated menaces.
However, after a little over a year, Owen Shaw began to show signs of coma recovery. Not too long after, he eventually came out of it.
Logically, it was not as if he could stand up to attention, much less spill out the beans at the snap of their fingers. So, it all became an exercise of patience and dedication on both sides, to get their unofficial asset back in shape.
As for Owen, albeit the awakening phase was just as fuzzy as miraculous, he quickly regained his wit. The coma had done a number to his mental processing, but years calculating his moves, plotting, playing at large had given him an ability that could be honed back to its best performance with patience and will alone.
And, it took them a while, but they managed to get Owen on his feet. By then, the youngest Shaw had figured out he was considered as much an asset to them as their trump card in a game they had yet to invite him to.
“Did you seriously think I would willingly become a loyal little soldier, just like that?” had been his reply to the MI5 representative who came to visit his cell one day. Without any real way out in sight it might have been foolish on his part, he realized. But, he had to push them into showing their cards if he was to correctly assess his situation and what it entailed.
But, there also was the matter of his activities prior to his fallout in Spain. The official statement, delivered to him through legal paperwork and all, said he was to be trialled through martial court.
The point had been clear enough, treason, anarchy and terrorism were felonies that ended in death-sentences.
A question with a simple answer had arisen in his mind. Deckard.
What had happened to him, and where was he? Sometime prior, during his convalescence he had managed to catch some information on a situation at the Royal Defence Medical Centre in Birmingham. Staff said the venue had been closed for some time, drastic damage sustained during a heavy trigger-happy assault. They had looked in his direction and Owen put two and two together.
That pretty much explained the uncomfortable stares, and the heavy armed shadows that followed his every moves from the very start of his awakening, plus the top-notch medical care. Like they would rather get a bullet through his skull but they expected Deckard would show up from nowhere, blow up yet another facility and take him out of there before that happened.
Actually, Owen had been expecting that much. Deckard was perhaps considered unpredictable to all, but with Owen it was a simple matter of big brother-little brother dynamics, and Deckard never failed to meet the challenge.
Following that train of thought, Owen was convinced something definitely had happened in the lapse of Deckard’s concerned visit and present time. Albeit it was unlikely Deckard was dead, it was a possibility he would rather not entertain either. So he decided it meant his brother was held up somewhere, and it was not within U.K. reach at the moment.
He had also figured out, they had some use for him. The web started to take shape, as the strings it connected.
It meant the trial was a desperate move to have him cooperate, which in turn meant death-sentence could be avoided, for some time at least. He need only build some leverage to secure himself a better position in the game.
His hand had suddenly improved, just like he liked it. Not that his signature smirk had lost its magic, but he sure as hell enjoyed how it seemed to infuriate his retainers. If the smirk was not a tell-tale enough, he knew his half-hassled attempt of breaking out the confines of the facility had been sufficient to bring some light on the matter. They knew he knew.
‘Bollocks, it takes too little incentive to bring out that shitty sadistic streak of yours little brother.’ Deckard would say that. Actually, yes, he had told him that much a couple of times before. The one in Bosra had been especially significant to him.
Timing had been complicated then, he seriously needed to shrug off some annoying SAS off his trail before they sniffed too close to comfort within his business boundaries. Deckard had not been pleased by the call either, but he had come on top all the same.
He entertained the thought of Deckard finally giving in. Owen had been separated from him for long enough, he needed to know if Deckard would finally cut off the pretences and indulge into serious wordplay.
Another issue became clear before his eyes, it formed itself briefly before an annoyed Owen pushed it back as perfect nonsense. Deckard had proved once again that he valued his family code above anything else. Would that include having a broken and mutilated man back at his side? Owen knew better than to entertain vanity, but he recognized an asset when he saw it. Now, however, half his body had been marked by the flames and the hard-cold asphalt at flying off speed. On top of the obvious state of his body, he had been owned by a nobody-team because he somewhat underestimated them, he had blatantly underestimated the family-code, scorned it even.
“You are loyal to a fault, your code is about family that’s great in the holidays, but it makes you predictable. In our line of work, predictable makes you vulnerable.”
He had enjoyed throwing that in Toretto’s face that night. But it held another meaning, one that made him take on that Nightshade device job in the first place.
Upon looking back at this actions, he realized he might never be close enough to break Deckard’s own code.
However, to do be certain of it, Owen needed to shrug off yet another obstacle, his closing in death-sentence.
In the end, the trial did happen.
Owen at his sharpest was in his league. He reckoned the shock of the higher-ups when he just let the trial unfold, never trying to negate the proofs, the reconstruction of his crimes, in short he let it be as a defeated man would.
However, on the last day before the sentence was to be presented, MI6 made itself known. Owen mask came undone. It was negotiation time and his hand looked nice enough for an -almost- fair play.
As a result, he got a trip to his new residence, an off-the-records maximum security prison. The price he paid was meagre, at least in Owen’s opinion.
In return for his information on the Nightshade device and how it connected to another job entrusted to one Mose Jakande, he realized it had his former employer signature. Cipher.
If he were to be honest with them, he was pretty baffled they had yet to properly name the puppeteer. What had been second-guess at best, became a certainty within MI6 ranks, someone was up to something big, and Owen had given confirmation.
So they struck another deal with him, and the youngest Shaw knew he had played it right.
That day, the U.K. government had secured back an asset that had been in the wild long enough. Owen would serve back in their midst, albeit unofficially and under the SAS in close cooperation with MI5 and MI6 whenever the need came to be.
He would play his part as an asset instead of a liability, serve the country from his secure location, build strategies and plans like he used to, and he would do so for as long as they would guarantee no further action taken regarding Deckard’s status.
Ultimately, Owen had caught wind of what had transpired in Tokyo, the Caucasus Mountains, Abu Dhabi, and all the way up to Los Angeles and the piece of concrete that almost killed his brother.
However, against Deckard’s best forecast, Owen did not have a field day. He did laugh, a rare and unique one, filled with sarcasm at the irony of it all, but also filled with joy. Deckard was alright, if not ruffled off but that alone would pass.
There was an opportunity still. And he would get his answer then, no matter the outcome.
In the U.S., at his undisclosed location, Deckard had made his peace. Some time had passed by, and there was no sign from the American government to hand him over the Brits, so that the U.K. could finally take him down. The opportunity seemed too great to pass, however his assessment of the Yanks seemed to hold up, they knew he held some value to the U.K., one they could use if need be.
Then one day, he got a visit. As Mr. Nobody appeared within the threshold of his cell, Deckard could only raise an eyebrow in inquiry.
He had half-expected an MI6 suit to follow up, but no one but the eccentric rodeo-man behind the scenes was there.
“I get you’re disappointed I didn’t bring you something from the isles but you’ve had me seriously thinking you would break from here like months ago.” He made that infuriating walk around his cell as if Deckard posed no real threat to him, still he remained quiet. It was his choice.
“Anyway, I know you Brits think we’re the wild ones and stuff, but I’ve finally understood something about you.” As he said that he stopped right in front of Deckard’s sitting form. “It’s interesting y’know, family.” And a screen appeared before his eyes.
In Deckard’s head, the ‘I’m cutting you some slack now, be back in a bit’ barely registered as Mr. Nobody exited the premises. He might have been alone in his god-forsaken cell, but he no longer felt in a cage, be it outward or inward, by the physical means of concrete and steel, or his own control. A deep breathe escaped his lips then, one he had not registered he held.
“Looks like prison stays are a family thing now.” The words spoken so freely, the wit and biting sarcasm in them, and the half-apology of a smirk.
“Cat caught your tongue, uh?” He was still a smartass as well. That taunting got Deckard react. He always had a taciturn side that Owen had fun exploiting.
“Well, little brother you sure made an impression there.” He had not meant anything by it, if not getting back to a semblance of normality. But the smirk on the other side of the screen fell the slightest before it was back.
Deckard noted that had been weird, Owen was not one to falter, much less being self-conscious. There was the possibility he did not know Deckard already knew, and had seen, the extension of his injuries but he had healed quite alright since then. Again, it could be because the video feed was sure to be monitored, but he knew Owen had taken into account he risks.
“Right. Well, I thought it would give enough incentive to your role as the big brother. Figured I was wrong.” Heck, did that sound bitter. The tone was teasing of course, but Deckard was not related to Owen by chance. Suddenly the conversation had taken the wrong turn, his little brother had often been upset by Deckard’s code, until the day he adopted his own.
Truth be told, the eldest of the two had the impression this whole precision code was a spite to his own. It had gotten them into petty arguments as well, mostly when Deckard pulled the brothers card upfront. Owen’s face would take on that sadist smile, as if the joke was on him.
“Little brother, you do realize it is because of our blood. I am not going to throw it off now. Not you, not ever.” If Owen wanted to play some sick guilt-trip on him Deckard would get his point crossed.
The seriousness of Deckard’s words held a stronger impact this time. Owen had not seen him, much less heard his brother way too long. He knew he was better at reigning his emotions, but the mention of their never-changing blood relation just made him boil over.
“And you know that is my exact complain. Remember our last dinner?” He spat his comeback, with a stinging bite that Deckard picked up without a fail. The big brother and little brother routine was back on. He sighed, just short of lifting his palm to his face, what on earth was happening to them?
“I remember my little brother enjoying his toys but not thinking it was enough. Do you miss them, now? Was it worth some stupid 40million shit in the first place?” Deckard could not help it, Owen just had to point out his failure, once again imply his code was no better.
Deckard snapped then, Owen was none the wiser in this, it was him that started all this. Running around breaking havoc as he damn pleased, all his precision-code was shit when regardless of it, and all his bullet-proof plans, and his brains he loved to brag about, what for? It still got them both in that mess, thank you very much. And Deckard Shaw would have kept on and on, uncharacteristically so, if not by Owen equally uncharacteristically distraught face.
“Deck. Just. Stop.” His tone had been firm, but his eyes gave out another tell altogether. Deckard fixated his gaze on the screen as silence stretched between them. He knew not when that no-name guy would come back, but he figured it would not be long.
Owen seemed to reign his feelings, face short of the one Deckard had seen back at the hospital, expect this time his eyes were open, and he breathed on his own.
“I…Listen, you are right. I just thought this once I would finish my own battle. Tough luck I guess.” It was a minute change, but Deckard had caught the way his throat had closed just the right amount to change his voice pattern. The shrug, that was new, it looked finite.
Something had made Owen close off on him, his one and only brother. Deckard would never know of course, but Owen had reached the conclusion that his brother would only ever see him as the spoiled brat he had to help finish his fights for. Convinced as he was, it now made little difference now that Cipher had figured him out as she had claimed to, threatened him with.
Coincidentally that was about the time in their live feed conversation that Deckard decided to bring the issue up. Aptly implying the whole mess was not just about the Nightshade Device, he would have continued of course, but Owen just shut out his feed without notice.
“Owen? Owen, you little shit!” Deckard Shaw was pissed.
“Yeesh! You guys are something else, no wonder no one figured you out earlier.” Talk about the Devil and he would barge in. If only glares could kill, this man would just have proved bullet-proof.
“Well, my job here’s done, be well Mr. Shaw I’m sure we will benefit of your talents some time or another.”
As the door closed, Deckard reflected upon the failure of a conversation it had been. Or, perhaps not quite so.
Owen was still his brother, will always be, no matter Owen’s own shitty arguments on the matter. All thing considered, it meant Deckard had been right about the whole EMP device, he had known for some time now because Owen had not been secretive about the extent of his resources and his renowned grip on his underground network; so the question had come quite naturally.
Why foolishly risk it over a 40 million chip and all the other required components just to satisfy the ego of a crazy bitch hacker with a goddess complex?
He had been a sentence short of blowing it on their surveyed video feed, but mostly likely sensing what was to come Owen had opted out before Deckard would do so.
The reaction had been one you could expect from a spoiled brat, and to the agencies involved it might have meant that much. But to Deckard it translated into two possible things, none of which he was actually comfortable with.
Owen had felt cornered. It would not have been the first time, but he would never cower from Deckard much less run from him.
Worst was, however, that he had been afraid Cipher’s name would come out. At one point, it all came down to Cipher, he just had to figure out why.
As it turned out, Deckard had not to wait too long before life gave him the opportunity to get all the answers.
When he got moved to another prison and Luke Hobbs showed up in matching orange not too long after, he knew something big was up.
Be it by Owen’s design or just lady luck gracing him, it turned out Cipher finally decided to take things into her own hands. The EMP device once again became one of the pieces in the puzzle Deckard had been trying to complete.
Irony had it that the new instrument she picked up to accomplish her deals, was none other than Dominic Toretto.
Seriously when Mr. Nobody broke the news, after their unconventional prison break, he probably scared the shit out of everyone. He had laughed so hard it got scary. Oh yes, the joke had not gone to waste, the same guy he could have shot down if the black ops squad had not interrupted them, that very same guy was now running wild wreaking havoc at Cipher’s command.
It also turned out, Deckard was their best option to track them both down. By the gist of it, he figured Owen had played his part in giving them most of the data he had on her. In turn, that had thrown more light on the past events and his fallout, but it had also given a chance for Deckard to bargain their way out.
His little brother knew him too well, even if they had an unfinished argument still ongoing.
So, in the end Deckard also played his part. There were some faces he could never expect to share anything with within the Toretto family, but the former DSS agent, Luke Hobbs, he turned out to be something else.
Life was weird like that he guessed.
Point was, the whole thing had gotten both Shaw brothers out of prison and off the hook. The deal was to save Toretto’s baby. And Deckard would make do with the only person he trusted.
Yes, easy as pie was back.
As he made his way to the rendezvous point, Deckard thoughts drifted between Owen and ensuring the baby was as comfortable as it gets to avoid any kind of incident like puke and poop ruining his car.
He considered himself a patient man, but there was a line that should not be crossed regarding his ride and the smells that he was comfortable with. As for Owen, well his thoughts just kept taunting him onto performing a perfect a U-turn and head back to check on his scoundrel of a brother.
He knew he had made the right choice by leaving him with their mother. Magdalene Shaw had aged, but she could still control her up to no good offspring when required to. Needless to say, Owen had not been pleased and had made it known, quite flippantly.
There was also the issue that kept nagging the back of his mind. And it was Owen related, obviously, because when the fuck not?
At some point between the landing and Deckard driving to the Toretto’s, Owen had suggested they kept the baby and resume the payback routine. He had probably meant it as a joke, but Deckard would not put it pass Owen to use such underhand ways. Pissed as he got the eldest had simply winged it off with a punch straight to his brother’s shin, saying they would get their shit together after he delivered the baby. It was high time they did if Owen kept on being a brat, after they had just gotten off the hook.
A few hours later and baby out of the way, they were finally at it.
Deckard had picked up his brooding brother, after which they headed to one of Owen’s safe houses. Said ‘safe house’ turned to be an ostentatious flat in the heart of the big apple. Give it to Owen to hide in plain sight for years, the feds would cry tears of blood if they caught wind of it.
Not two steps into the flat, and of course Owen was already on the defensive. They had been at it for a little while now and the whole argument was going more and more astray.
“Well, you are one to talk. I guess you got yourself a whole new family now.” He had expected that one to be thrown out, just not so soon. Owen seriously had an issue with the whole concept of family and Deckard had had the ever growing sensation it was the heart of all the crap that had been drifting them apart since that fateful dinner.
“Don’t start on the little scallywag routine, you can do better for sure.” He was by no means having it, Owen’s attitude usually brought out his best and worst alike. He would have to deal with the worst for now.
“At least I’m being honest.” Was the biting reply, long gone was the smirk. Owen was grim now, and seriously ruffled by the look of it.
“What does that supposed to mean little brother?” Had he attempted to think of another comeback, it would not have made a difference. Deckard was tired of getting nowhere, so it took little effort to zero himself on Owen.
The huge ostentatious flat suddenly became much alike the prison cell they had dealt with for a while, albeit on two sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
“Ugh, cut it off already, you miss the good side. I can see it in your eyes, y’know?” Owen had been trying to play it smart once again, the American accent had been added just to ensure maximum emphasis on Deckard’s and Hobbs’s blossoming team work.
But Deckard knew better, Owen was stung because his vengeful brother had suddenly gotten into friendly-terms with those who had landed him in a hospital bed and everything else in between.
They had discussed it before, but then Owen had asked if he regretted crossing the line and going rogue.
He argued Deckard missed being on the “good side”. The eldest had argued back, calling for ridiculous in outrage, saying it had little to do with anything at hand, without taking into account that he could not just tell him that when Owen had done likewise when he decided to play big boss in the underground.
And there was no need to refute the fact because big brothers had a flair for knowing stuff like that. Also, it was not like Owen made any effort to hide or minimize the facts.
Back in the day, the SAS had gone after Deckard roughly at the same time as Owen was discharged, presumably because neither of the two felt challenged anymore, and with the addition of knowing one too many secrets. Or so Owen had claimed.
Anyway, it quickly become a moot point and Deckard was getting tired of Owen throwing him off each time they got serious.
“Owen, don’t try to play it as if I was the one who miscalculated and worked for that Cipher psycho bitch just to get your ass owned by a bunch of street racers no less. I’m not stupid, and I know you know it. There had to be something else, so cut the crap and spit it out. Now.” The part where he had gotten his ass owned by a group of street racers outlaw wannabes, he felt bad for bringing it up, but it was the only edge Deckard had on him and they both knew it.
At that point of the discussion, Owen had opted for shrugging off the argument, and he did so literally, his face turning away from his brother.
Any other day, Deckard would have gone ballistic if he had not come to associate that gesture with baffling capitulation.
He knew Owen used his precision-code to amuse himself and actively avoided any kind of attachment. The youngest Shaw had honed that ability not only because he was so damn smug and prideful about everything he accomplished, or his wayward penchant for sadism. No, after consideration bestowed upon him through the endless alone-time in prison, Deckard knew it was partly because he had indulged Owen when they were kids, and it had not gotten any better after he enlisted.
So now, Deckard was at a crossroad because it never quite made sense that Owen would enlist as well. The Royal Army, be it the SAS or SBS, had been the reason both brothers had been taken apart in the first place. For a while at least.
He had called Owen on it, but the youngest had gone for sarcasm instead, hinting between indistinct roundabouts that Deckard had become versed in chess play. Such insolence would have earned him another swing to the shin, but today was different, Deckard had to unveil whatever that was that Owen kept from him.
And it was now the turn of the eldest to realize there had been a reason behind Owen’s foolishly stubborn actions when confronted to the Toretto crew. Once the thread had been caught it was easy enough to trace it back all the way to how he had abhorred Dominic ways, taunting him because of his so clamed unbreakable family-code.
Owen clearly thought it was a weakness, but Deckard went by the same code and was not weak, albeit he had shown some level of predictability. Did Owen truly thought he had become a liability?
But that could not be the end of it, at some point Cipher had crossed paths with Owen, and it raised the question of whether she had something on him after all. In their crooked lives, leverage was worth more than riches.
Deckard knew there was a piece he was still missing. Owen’s renewed efforts to divert from the topic only served as confirmation it had to do with him.
Cipher had known messing with Owen would bring Deckard on board against her. Owen had known his brother success into getting her out the picture would get them a clean slate. Everything converged back to Owen and Deckard.
That was about the time Deckard rewinded back to their joint rescue mission, boarding Cipher’s airplane like ninja-air-pirates would.
There had been a short time-frame after Cipher parachuted herself out of the plane and the actual landing after they had secured it -and the baby-, when Owen had been on his own.
With the psycho lady out of the picture, they had secured the pilots and Owen had finally set the autopilot until they got closer to their landing lane. Whilst Deckard kept himself busy with Toretto’s toddler, Owen being the more tech-savvy of the two had gone and checked whatever data could be retrieved on the hacker.
Owen knew what to look for, he might not be a Cipher-level hacker, but he knew his way around tech. What if he had actually gone to retrieve whichever she had been using to ensure his commitment to her plots?
“Well, looks like you figured it all out. I got cocky and lost, that’s me right? Owen, big bad Deckard Shaw’s little brother. I just wanted to see you playing my game, you were my backup plan, Deckard. Nothing else. But even there I misplaced my trust.”
That much for not swinging his fist thought Deckard, the statement confirmed what he had already known. Owen had indeed used him as yet another of his backup plans and gotten him back in the streets. Alas, it was one thing figuring it out, and another altogether hearing it from Owen’s lips.
As the youngest recoiled spatting the blood coming from his busted lip, Deckard boiled over. He could deal with Cipher and her crazy ways, he could deal with having a target on his back for as long as she was at large, and he could deal with having to work with the DSS, the likes of Mr. Nobody and whoever else was required to bring her down.
But Deckard could not for the life of him believe that he was just another piece on Owen’s chess board. One his brother was not above cutting lose.
“You little shit. That’s it that was the last score I settled for you.” He had said it out loud before it even registered in his raging mind. He was done being the nice big brother.
He had settled scores for him countless of times, he had even resorted to killing when beating up and crippling stopped being enough to ensure Owen’s safety. It was the last time he cleaned his mess.
“And, look how well that went.” Give it to Owen to add salt to injury. The bastard knew which button to press, and Deckard, well, he was not having it anymore.
They had parted ways that day. Owen nursing his split lip, not bothering to prove Deckard wrong as the eldest exited the premises.
As for Deckard, well, he kept pondering on whatever had gone amiss but raged too much about it to care. For a cold-blooded killer with an unyielding code he just got one too many thoughts about beating some sense into his little fucker of a brother.
By the time things had come back to some sense of normalcy, which did no longer involve plotting his brother’s demise, Deckard had gotten a visit from their mother.
Magdalene Shaw was a fierce one when she wanted and, she made sure to bluntly reacquaint Deckard with that side of her.
But that was not the strangest part of her impromptu stopover. The part he talked about Owen was. Of course, when was it not about her youngest?
Even so, Deckard could not have anticipated what she was suddenly babbling about. Against his worst expectations, Owen had seemingly had a change of heart, returned to being a good little soldier –at least off the records-. And that would have been just fine if she had not failed to pick up on the fact it was a bloody performance. It was their youth all over again she claimed, except worst.
Owen carried some sort of vacant presence now, his mind and his multiple abilities were as good as ever, but Magdalene would not wield. She knew something had gone seriously wrong between them, and it affected Owen deeply.
Deckard had called bullocks, it was better to think Owen was playing yet another game he was no longer part of. But she would have none of it. The actual bomb came next.
“Will you ever get it in that thick head of yours? Owen had only wanted to keep tabs on you. Back when you enlisted and left him behind.” At his unchanging expression, she huffed. It was perhaps against her best judgement but she too was tired of seeing her offspring going at it for years. Owen had the mind of a genius but he could be as stubborn as the next mule, it infuriated her.
“Listen my boy, and listen well. If you have not realized it yet, there is more going on between you two than any other mother would be comfortable admitting to. Owen can be so full of bull, he’s my son, I know it, but I will certainly not hold it against you.” She breathed then, deep, before she lost her wits.
And her voice had sounded so definite, it left him with no room for questioning. It did not mean she would not do it instead.
It had taken short work for her to get his mind into motion. Asking whether he knew what he wanted, if he realized Owen had wanted all along. His flashy mind games and ploys, thriving for precision and trying his hardest to cut all family-links. But he had not been able to cut Deckard lose until he had made him do it on his own volition. Or so, Deckard had thought.
Finally, it came down to Owen pulling up some a-hole government clearance to avoid contact even from his own mother.
“Just go get him. Now, before it’s too late.” She did not have the level of resources to track Owen down when he got that serious about cutting himself off. It had left her without any other option to have Deckard intervene and pull some strings of his own.
Just like that, all the missing pieces came to be and fell into place. Owen basking in his precision-code, Owen trying his hardest to prove Dominic’s family-code was a shame, Owen playing with words, playing with people’s lives and feelings. Owen being Owen for the sake of it, just ultimately worse for wear.
Left to ponder this development, he lost no time into getting in touch with Hobbs. From how it went, he figured Magdalene had been right, Owen had picked up a hit on his head, probably from Cipher. The agencies were working together to foil it, but it became tricky once Owen decided to get off their radar. Deckard seriously wondered if he had a death-wish. That bitch was crazy but she had also proved not to be trifled with.
As it turned out, his best bet was a one way flight to London. Owen had made sure his last known location required a United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) level clearance but that did not mean Deckard would be stopped by their bullshit.
Deckard would be lying if he said it did not feel good to be back home. New York had been pleasant, but their true home was still the U.K., that single truth had manifested when it took him but under 48 hours to track down Owen.
Admittedly, he reverted back to raging and calling his little brother names when Owen stood there quite pleased with himself, glorious smirk and all. ‘Predictable’ had been his single word assessment at Deckard showing up.
“So it was just a sick game of yours.” The venue’s temperature had dropped then, and his voice held no warmth as he started right back at his little brother.
Silence stretched before Owen shrugged the way it now infuriated Deckard. But that was before he glanced back in all seriousness and spilled the beans.
The hit had been real.
Cipher had placed a juicy bid on the black market after Owen got back to the U.K. and helped damage her network pretty bad, but the truth was it had also included Deckard’s. Unsurprisingly.
“So yes, it was a game, brother. But one I made sure to win.” It went unsaid that Deckard had played a part, albeit unwillingly so.
Owen had known his stepping off the lights would bring in Deckard. His unknown whereabouts would mean Deckard was safe for as long he could figure out where Owen hide, which in turn meant their hit man would take upon following Deckard, and so on. It was all about precision really, pieces not meant to match but working together nevertheless. By the time Deckard figured where to look for, Owen had taken care of their hit.
It did not mean they had Cipher off their backs permanently, but it got them a nice enough respite until she was taken off the game board for good.
“You little shit really have a knack for fucking people over.”
“I know.” Was the simple reply, after which they fell right back into a semblance of their past relationship.
And it would have been fine for Owen, but Deckard now knew enough, if not more than he was supposed to.
So he passed a smart ass comment about Owen being all for family now, and asked how all the parts would work from now on, if they could not be discarded or changed following Owen’s convenience.
Owen had asked then if their mother visited, taking Deckard’s simple nod as confirmation, he finally dropped his back in the chair. Said he was ready to tell him what Cipher got on him, which ultimately led him in this whole mess in the first place. And Deckard had just encouraged him, saying it was funny because he finally understood what his wordplay routine really was.
“No more games Owen.”
What ensued was most likely the longest and most detailed confession Owen had ever let pass his lips. There were no longer proof out in the open, he had made sure of that. But Cipher was most likely the one person beside their mother that knew.
“It means she could reach out and break us any time she wanted.” As the words left his lips, his hand unconsciously traced the side of his face, over the scared tissue that still remained.
It all clicks then for Deckard.
“Stupid older brother.” There was no way she could break them, not anymore if he fixed it and make it better beforehand.
Saying Owen was surprised would be the understatement of their lives. Deckard’s hand was overlapping the one on his face before he could register when he had closed the distance between them.
The kiss. Yes, the kiss had been sweet and hot, just like he had fantasised for years.
And it was the first in a series of firsts Owen was never to forget.