The heat is unbearable but the wait is even worse. The shirt Andrew had chosen to wear, clings uncomfortably to his body. Beads of sweat roll down his slightly tanned face and he already looks forward to a nice, cold shower as soon as he gets the job done.
His surroundings are quiet. The Brazilian rainforest around him swallows every sound and he is fairly certain that he will only have to spend a few more seconds in the small shed in the middle of nowhere. From the shed he is crouched in, no one will be able to sneak up on him, but he still has the feeling of being watched, compromised.
He hates it.
It might have been because Andrew didn't get much sleep these days; it might have been because Kevin had called twice already to assure him that the target will arrive soon. Which is unusual. And unusual in his line of work means deadly.
This is a bad sign.
Walking over to the glassless window, Andrew makes sure that the sniper rifle is pointed into the right direction. It's lined up with perfect precision. Andrew is good at his job and he takes pride in it. He is just about to step back and wait, when his target emerges from his compound.
He recognizes Doctor Proust immediately. A small, balding man with a crooked nose and a dirty lab coat that had seen better days. Proust is a man that abuses the power he has over people to do vile things and Andrew has to suppress a shiver at the memories that try to push to the forefront.
He doesn't have time to dwell on his sob story of a life.
This is nothing more than a paycheck.
And a nice way to rid the world of another monster.
IIt's almost time. Andrew fixes the aim of the sniper again, double checks that everything is in order and tenses his finger on the trigger. He is just about to open fire, when a young man in a faded t-shirt steps into his line of vision, he hesitates.
Sweat rolls down his face, he pushes a stray curl out of his eyes, squints one eye shut and then waits.
The report Kevin had put together doesn't say anything about townspeople being around the compound, but he is pretty sure that the bullet would hit its target anyway.
From the general appearance of the man, Andrew guesses that he must have worked on the fields and while Andrew knows that the man is inoccent, from the looks of it at the very least, he couldnt let Proust get away.
He squeezes the trigger, knows that both are as good as dead. Exhaling through his nose, he watches the crosshairs line up perfectly with the target. Andrew pulls the trigger, listens and watches dispassionlty as the bullet goes through him and hits Proust right into the head.
They fall with a dull thud.
Andrew feels nothing.
He drops out of sight, dismantles the sniper with practiced ease, his fingers running over the smooth surface of the black gun until he could put everything into a small matte black case with a knife carved into the handle and then he listens again.
Faint yelling is audbile, a car gets started. Someone says something about searching the area; he has to get away.
Quickly pulling a burner phone out of his pocket, he dials the number of his controller Kevin and waits for ten seconds before disconnecting the call. Another sixty seconds pass before he calls again. This time he stays on the phone for twenty seconds.
The men and guards around the compound grow louder. He can hear some fire into the trees without a clue where he is. He hops it would stay like that.
He inhales the stifling air of his surroundings, on the third exhale the phone bbuzzes in his hand.
He presses the accept button and listens.
"It sounds like a war zone on your end," Kevin says with his unmistakable disdain. "I'm picking up all kinds of radio chatter."
"Well, yeah, it got a little bit out of hand here."
"And I'm sure you mean killing a citizen by that," he accuses and Andrew instantly wants to end the call.
Instead of dojng exactly that, Andrew stays quiet.
"What, you thought we wouldn't find out?"
"It was a split second decision." It isn't an excuse because Andrew doesn't do regret or guilt, but he feels like he has to say something.
For a few tense moments Andrew listens to the guards continue their shooting. Then a sigh follows.
"The boss won't be too happy and you know it. Interpol is not impressed with what we have pulled off lately," he reasons and Andrew rolls his eyes at the tone of voice Kevin uses to reprimand him. He is not a child even though Kevin liked to pretend that he was.
"I'm sure Wymack will appreciate that I didn't blow the hit, unlike others." Andrew can almost picture the pained expression on Kevin's face for a second.
"It doesn't matter right now. We will talk at the base again," Andrew hears some kind of chatter on Kevin's end and the the other man says, "Your driver should pick you up in ten minutes. Don't alert the bodyguards of your presence until then."
The call ends and Andrew crushs the burner phone beneath his heel. His eyes flicker towards the case with his sniper and he takes a deep breath after leaning back against the wall.
He hops Boyd won't make him wait too long.
Andrew still remembers the day Wymack had given him the case with the sniper.
"That was some impressive work," he had said and gifted Andrew one of his rare shoulder pats. Andrew had just returned from a mission that could have cost him his life more than once and was more than happy to be back.
In the end his quick thinking and affinity to kill with knives had saved his skin and gotten the work done.
He had come out of that experience with more bruises on his body than clear skin and a few new scars to his already big collection, but he had made it.
"The people are right to call you Cerberus, Andrew," and while it might have been insulting or even despicable to be compared to a dog, Andrew thought that it fit, revealed in it even.
Cerberus, the hell dog.
Even though he wasnt religious, Andrew could appreciate the word play because he did make his targets experience hell before he put a bullet through their skull and watched blood drip out of it.
He had forged himself into a weapon, had rid himself of all softness and feeling and became what the people had always wanted him to be.
The sounds of a vehicle outside draw Andrew out of his memories and back into the present. For a few moments he listens for the guards and finds only faint sounds reaching his ears, so he wraps a sweaty hand around the handle of his case, pulls a pistol out of the holster strapped to his thigh and pushes the door open.
He immediately spies Boyd in a nondescript Jeep, shades sit atop his nose and his hair is defying physics with its styling.
Scanning the forest for any guards or guns pointing into his direction, Andrew makes a fast break for the Jeep.
Taking hold of the roll cage, Andrew doesn't even bother opening the door before vaulting right into his seat. Boyd has a wide smile on his lips, nods in greeting and then says, "Good to see you in one piece, Minyard."
Andrew doesn't answer, which to be fair, isn't unusual.
He stashs the case underneath his seat and then leans back.
Boyd starts the Jeep and soon they leave the small shed behind.
Boyd is a good driver. The best even, if you want to be somewhere fast and safely, which admittedly was a rare occurrence for the hitman, but pleasant nonetheless.
Andrew trys to enjoy the quiet of the forest, the rumble of the Jeep and the sun on his face, but he can't shake this feeling of being watched.
He is fairly sure that Proust's men are still busy with their fruitless search for him at the compound, but it never hurt to be too careful.
They pass a few cars on their way that were going into the direction they had come from and Andrew pulls some spare shades over his eyes in response and leans further back in his seat.
Not a single person looks into his direction but his relief is only short-lived when he spots the roadblock up ahead.
Two Jeeps and a van form a barricade. Some sort of private security stands next to the cars with guns in their hands that can make a lot of damage. Andrew would know, after having used them countless of times before.
"Fuck, this isn't good," Boyd says from next to him, but Andrew pays him no mind.
The men cock their guns and yell something neither of the man can understand over the sounds of the Jeep, but Andrew knows it can't be good.
He looks around the Jeep, looks for any sort of weapon that might help and finds a semi-automatic rifle in the backseat.
His eyes meet Matt's briefly and the other man might have picked up on his confusion, because he simply waves him off. "Take it!"
"Step on the brakes," he demands. Matt obeys and makes room for Andrew to stand up and use the roll cage of the Jeep for stability. He presss the trigger and watched the men drop one by one before they can even aim his way.
He is lucky to have caught them off-guard, because by the time they return fire, he has already killed half a dozen.
A few bullets clipp the Jeep and he hears Matt scream beside him, but continues to focus on taking them out. A stray bullet hits him in the arm, but aside from hissing through clenched teeth he doesn't acknolowge the wound that begins to bleed soon after.
Ceasing his aimless firing, he pulls the trigger in quick succession while moving onto the next target until they all fall to the ground and paint the dirt a deep red.
He throws the rifle into the back of the Jeep again, drops down in his seat and holds on while Matt starts the Jeep and drives straight through the roadblock without another sound.
Andrew experimently presses a finger against the wound in his left arm, finds out that the bullet only grazed him and tears a piece of his shirt off to bind around the wound and stop the bleeding.
There have to still cover miles upon miles until he reaches the airport and he doesn't want to arouse too much suspicion with a bullet wound on full display.
The papers Wilds had forged were perfect. Andrew is at ease as he hands them over to the security man, now no longer only dressed in a torn shirt and tacky shorts, but a well fitted suit that hides his wound and dark sunglasses that obscured a good portion of his face.
The man glances at his passport picture, asks for his name and after finding nothing missing, waves him through.
Wilds had decided to make him into a doctor for this short trip. He's supposed to hold a presentation at some sort of medical centre on a two days trip and is now happy to continue his trip in Mexico before returning to his homeland France under the name of Doctor Claude Bisset.
Matt is meant to board another plane that headed straight for the United States, while Andrew had a stop in Mexico to keep up appearances and board a train that will take him to Los Angeles under a different alias that lives in LA.
Andrew barely left the horrible flying tin can after he lands in Mexico, when another one of his burner phones buzzes.
He waits a few moments before calling back.
"Hey," he says and tries for a casual tone to mask his irritation, "What's up?"
"You don't sound very happy to hear from me," Kevin replies with mock sadness.
"When you call, it usually means I either have to stay for another hour while people shoot at me, or the security has a lockdown and I can't leave the country," Andrew responses as he watches the people around him move towards their terminal.
He has to take a cab to the train station, but he really didn't want to step out into the heat again, so he stays in and waits for Kevin to say something.
"Fair enough, but since you've left Brazil already, this shouldn't make matters harder for you."
Andrew leans against a wall and checks his arm to see if it had bled through the fabric already. It hasn't.
"The man that hired us wasn't too impressed with your little kill of a civilian," he begins, "but he paid in advance, so your payment will be there within the day."
"What's the problem then?"
"Turns out that Proust got money from the townspeople for healing them or some shit. The man that hired us wanted to profit off of that and take Proust's place, but he can't do that if you kill random people he wants to make the money off," he continues and for once Andrew wishes he hadn't accepted the call in the first place.
"That wasn't in the report."
"I know. the Intel was bad and he hadn't told us. I just wanted to give you a heads-up in case anything happened."
The call ends then and Andrew destroys that burner phone too.
Luckily, he doesn't encounter any trouble with the train ride and aside from an uncomfortable seat and having to change into something casual and airy in the toilet, he relaxed.
The train ride has left Andrew in a sour mood and as soon as he arrives at the station, he buys a doughnut and a coffee to go.
Outside of the train station, he is greeted by none other than Renee Walker, freshly died rainbow hair glinting in the sun and could feel a pleased feeling rush through his body, before it disappeared again.
Thinking back on all the missions they completed back to back, all the fights they had won together, he can admit, if only to himself, that he's relived that she returned from her own mission in Moscow in one piece.
They greet each other with a nod in Andrew's case and a soft smile in Renee's. She throws the keys to his Maserati into his hands and then takes the passenger seat without another word.
Sinking into the familiar cushion of the drivers seat, he closes his eyes for a moment and simply breathes.
"I thought about wearing a suit and those ridiculous white gloves for a second, but I thought you'd turn around and board the next train," she says, breaking him out of his moment of peace. A hand covers her mouth as she begins to laugh.
"You know me too well," he replies with an eye roll, turns the key and listens to the sounds of his sleek car. He had missed this.
"I'm glad that everything went smoothly," she adds then with genuine relief. Andrew still rememberes a time where he would have scoffed at her soft tone, but he has long since accepted that Renee really did care bout his wellbeing and leaves it at that.
A few days have passed since then, and Andrew feels boredom creeping in again. As much as he liked to laze around all day, his apartment was too big and empty and no matter how many men he invites over and throws out right after he is done with them, he can't fill that emptiness.
So, the moment Wymack sends him a text to meet at HQ Andrew disappears in his walk-in closet and gets dressed.
The Foxhole Tower, as they've begun to call their headquarters soon after Wymack proclaimed a fox to be their symbol to identify them by in the crime infested underbelly of the city, is an impressive building made out of glass you can't see through.
To the rest of the world the tower is a simple office building and Andrew Minyard a lowly accountant, but as soon as you enter the second floor, you get the impression that the building is meant for something else.
While Andrew himself doesn't spend a lot of time on the second or third floor, since those were used to invent new weapons, test them, work on all sorts of poisons Reynolds loves to use and are the usual places his twin can be found at, he has to admit that the sleekness and high-tech equipment they had is impressive.
For once, he thankfully doesn't have to get his weapons fixed and so skips over the second and third floor and avoids an awkward conversation with the man he shared his DNA with. Instead he presses the button to the penthouse office and straightens his black arm bands.
Wymack is an imposing, older man with a horrible sense of fashion courtesy to his horrible wifebeater and green pants.
But he is also the only man Andrew knows that had decided to give people that have been wronged too many times in their lives a chance to get revenge and make a living out of ridding the world of horrible people, so Andrew overlooks the fact that the man couldn't dress for shit.
The entire crew is already seated around a sleek black table and at Andrew's entrance, they all turn towards him.
Wymack has a frown on his face that only ddeepens before he says, "Nice of you to join us."
Kevin follows his remark with, "What took so long?"
This time, Andrew doesn't hide his eye roll and takes a seat next to Renee.
"I had things to do," Andrew dismisses Kevin's piercing stare and then focusses on Wymack.
"Now that Andrew has decided to grace us with his presence we can begin." Wymack grabs a tablet and taps away at the screen for a few seconds, before pulling up old reports Andrew could still remember in perfect detail.
Slightly confused, he leans forwards in his seat.
"Before we can talk about the thing I've called you all here for, I wanted to talk to Andrew about the Tokyo job from a few months ago." He pulls up a few pictures of the skyscraper Andrew's target had been in and then takes a seat behind his desk. "I know you might be still processing the Brazil job, but this is important."
Never one to waste words, Andrew motions for Wymack to keep talking.
"I think we all know that this was one of the most difficult missions we have had so far, so I have to ask; did anything happen that shouldn't have while you were in Japan?"
Andrew lets the question sink in. He doesn't know what Wymack tries to achieve, but nevertheless, he begins to go over the mission in his head and quickly remembers that feeling of being watched.
It was never too bad to be paranoid in his line of work, but Andrew remembers how unsettled he was for days after.
"I felt like I was being followed the entire time," he replies truthfully and Wymack nods as if Andrew has confirmed something.
"I figured," he runs a hand through his greying hair and then sighs in that exasperated way of his, "Renee was the first to point it out," she nods grimly, "On her mission in Moscow she spotted a tail. He was a slim man, that fit into his environment very effortlessly until a man had grabbed his arm and he seemed to double over in pain. Renee tried to talk to him, but when she stepped closer he bolted."
He remains quiet for a few seconds to let the crew mull that over.
"Allison also said that something was off when she visited some old friends in London. There was a simple black car parked in front of their building. Nothing out of the ordinary per se, but Allison says that the car had dark tinted windows and hadn't left the entire time she was there," Andrew's eyes flicker over to the blonde and he isn't very surprised to see a sneer on her lips, "When she went over and knocked on the glass, the car took off."
"Now, I have to pay a security firm to stand guard at their house," Allison mutters under her breath and he doesn't miss the way Renee squeezes her hand to calm her. Interesting, he thinks.
"I've also noticed some people lurking around where they shouldn't," Wymack says, "and now that you mention that you've had that feeling in Tokyo already, I thought it couldn't be a coincidence."
"There was a car tailing us on the way here," Dan throws in, "Matt was able to get them off our tail, but it took some time."
"These people mean business," Matt confirms.
"I don't think that whoever is spying on us will find anything, but you all have to be careful and report any suspicions you have as soon as possible." The crew nods in union and then he dismisses them.
"Andrew," he calls after the blond. The others file out of the room and as soon as they leave Andrew closes the door behind them.
"I have a new mission for you," he says, which honestly surprises Andrew. He has only finished a high-profile mission two days ago and it is rare for Wymack to send them out so soon.
"Paris. Four days long. The target is the son of a politician. You get to pick one of the crew that will accompany you and help you plan." He pushes a folder across the table. Andrew grabs it, opens the first page and stares right into the face of a man with chillingly grey eyes and a three tattooed across his cheekbone.
Andrew had only seen such a tattoo once before and he doesn't like what that implies.