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“Once they go for the safe, Klaus will create the diversion, and Ben will come out from behind the false wall in the safe room and take care of the last ones. Everyone understand?” Luther asked the other four sixteen year olds gathered around him during his ‘debriefing’ of the current mission. Diego rolled his eyes in contempt, Allison gave him a glittering and encouraging smile of confidence, Klaus looked bored and zoned out staring at Diego, and Ben had a numb frown that never seemed to leave him these days. 

 

“And why can’t we just hit them hard and fast from the start?” Diego challenged for the third time since Luther had come up with the plan. Ben could predict where this was headed, and rather than sit through the inevitable argument, moved into the house to comply wordlessly. Said conflict ensued with Diego adding, “they’re a new group for hire who have no idea what they’re doing, they’ll crumble.” 

 

“Because-” Luther paused to close his eyes and take a much needed breath. He internally prayed to whatever greater power (or possibly the universe itself) might be out there that he maintained his composure while he repeated himself once (thrice) more, “-we are outnumbered three-to-one. We have to be strategic. We take out the group of look-outs quietly. We take out most of the muscle and pretend to be killed by the last ones while Allison rumors them to believe it, and then Klaus and Ben close the deal with the safe breakers upstairs. What is so hard about this?” 

 

Apparently, everything. 

 

Diego cut down the first man guarding the front door effortlessly, then went conspicuously rogue on the other four just inside the foyer of the capacious, lavish mansion of the wealthy man whom had asked Reginald for help after he received a tip-off concerning the planned hit. The resulting gunfire overwhelmed the ornery knife-wielder. Diego took refuge behind one of the white, faux-Grecian pillars with a gunshot wound in his thigh, forcing a livid Luther and an alarmed Allison to come out of cover to intervene. They managed to pull Diego, protesting and all, to safety. In the same moment, the shots alerted ‘the muscle’ from the second floor to the commotion.

 

It was here when Number Four added his colorful commentary about how they were “all incredibly fucked, Guys. Like, lube-less, sand-paper-condom fucked.” 

 

While Klaus tied off a make-shift suture over Diego’s bleeding leg wound with a piece of his own torn off shirt, a pale-faced Number Two kept lobing knives at each of the men while Number One and Number Three took the offense. Waiting until one of Diego’s knives would momentarily gore and immobilize each man, Luther would move in to bash them with his fists and inhuman strength. Allison would take advantage of the lulls of quiet between bullet fire to manipulate her way through the different men. Before Luther could even take down two, Allison had already gotten four by making them believe their own men were the intruders instead. Had Luther the time to really process it, he’d have been ever impressed and enamored as he always was with the clever, badass woman. In this quick moment, all he had time to feel was a flash of aching awe through his chest and down into the floor mirrored in his eyes before he was lunged at again. 

 

Following the sound of sickening, snapping bones, Luther sought out where everyone was in the chaos. Ben was nowhere to be found, hopefully still upstairs in hiding. Klaus was trying to restrain a limping, faint Diego away from the fight. In the struggle, Klaus was forced to get creative by snatching a priceless, Monet-like vase and hurling it into the profile of the skull of the guy who was poised to start shooting at the aforementioned stubborn, dumbass again. In the momentary diversion, Allison was rumoring the rest of the men to toss away their guns completely, and transitioned to hand-to-hand. Luther raced over to fight at her side. They shared a split second synced smile-smirk, seizing a body and sending it crashing into another simultaneously. 

 

Down to just four extra men, Luther regained his sense of confidence and faith in their abilities as a team. Allison allowed one man to overpower her as he sent her back into the banister at the foot of the stairs, sliding down to the floor dramatically on queue. Luther, already fighting off two men in melee, yelled to get the third man's attention. 

 

All three converged onto him at the same time. 

 

Klaus hopped onto the back of the last one, choking him out and crashing into one of the columns.

 

Diego flung his last knife into the air in desperation before collapsing.

 

Allison spelled out “I heard a rumor-”

 

The knife tore through wire and chord holding the twinkling, crystal-tiered chandelier hanging above them in place, comically sending it into a reversed pear-shaped free-fall above Luther and the three men. 

 

Klaus’ warning shout gave Luther just enough time to scramble partly out of the way before hot, cutting glass cascaded and crashed down onto his head and shoulders. The athletic teen’s awareness faded in and out from black to crashing glimpses of overly-expensive paintings, tall white pillars, and obscene tentacles grabbing and dragging a screaming man from the far end of the upper floor back into the room he tried to escape from. The last thing he felt was the smaller, softer frame his bulky body lands halfway on behind him before all goes dark.

 

Careful, petite hands touched at his face so gentle that the only indication he wasn’t dreaming was the stinging pain that shot into Luther’s awareness as Allison tried to rouse him and play medic with the small shards in his skin. Eliciting a deep groan of pain, Luther scrunched his blue eyes before blinking them open and wide. Allison’s long-familiar face and dark eyes came into focus, upside down, above him. The stupid smile on his face relaxed her worried expression into a soft laugh of relief.

 

“You fainted…straight into my arms,” Allison whispered in disbelief and mirth just to him, the back of her fingers stroking his cheek before she added, teasing, “you know, if you wanted my attention, you didn’t have to go to such extremes.” 

 

“I-....I didn’t-” Allison held a finger to his mouth to quiet him when he attempted to explain. Luther was disoriented to how much time had passed and if she believed he had actually fainted. Instead, she leant down to easily encompass his space and kissed him soft, warm, grateful. Luther hesitated and blinked for a moment in disbelief, something he couldn’t help every time Allison initiated even after the past few years of blossoming, reciprocated puppy love. Her care pulled him under the current of self-consciousness, and he relaxed, kissing her back with his own relief finally spilling in. 

 

They had survived the odds, despite the evens.

 

“Hey guys...” Allison broke their kiss at the sound of Ben’s small voice. He was standing, covered in blood, in the middle of the open foyer littered with bodies, broken glass, and the recovering, maimed figures of their family. “...really, can we go home now?”