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Ash took a few gulping breaths of the cold air, but it just turned hot inside his chest. There was a reason he got into this in the first place. A reason he'd fallen for Audrey and her words, for this cause.
He pulled the plastic wrapping off the sandwich and tore it in half with his fingers, offering one half to Aryl without really looking at him. "Let's go blow some stuff up." he said darkly, and started off down the street.
The sandwich had even less taste in his mouth than he'd expected it to. He couldn't even remember what kind it was. But he found he couldn't remember where he was going either, didn't even know which direction he was heading in. He blinked harder, trying to focus his eyes on the street ahead of him. He didn't know if this was better or worse than the panic, and he couldn't quite tell if it was even something different at all.
Aryl took the half of sandwhich without comment and followed Ash's example wolfing it down. It made his stomach hurt less and somewhat even out the knots. He fell into step beside Ash, giving him space and respectfully not looking at his face. I feel as if I'm actually seeing suddenly. All these people, they all have a story that has nothing to do with us. That man, how could he judge so easily?
They trudged on in silence, the wind picked up slightly. Aryl looked up at the sky not in a fearful way but rather an intrigued way, remembering last night, his mouth twitched a bit almost into a smile.
How's this for reckless and voicing my mind Damasque? He let out a short, soft, breathy laugh at himself, feeling invigorated and empowered.
Even though Ash was hardly aware of anything ahead of him, they somehow made it to headquarters without even taking a wrong turn. Despite the fog in his head, Ash could feel warmth drumming in his heart. Even with the pinpricks of panic trying to force their way back in, he felt a renewed confidence in his plan. But was he really confident, or did he just have more of a reason to want it to succeed now?
Pausing before the door, he turned to Aryl and with a deep breath said, "This is your last chance to back out. You sure you wanna go along?"
Aryl stopped walking as abruptly as Ash and at the boy's question flicked his bangs out of his eyes and speaking with more confidence than he was sure he felt replied, "I have to."
"Don't we all." He was looking at Aryl as he spoke, but his eyes seemed elsewhere, looking into a time far away from this one. Abruptly he turned and walked through the door, leaving Aryl to follow behind.
As they entered, the headquarters was a flurry of activity. People Aryl had never seen before were rushing about - some sat at tables typing into beat-up laptops or mumbling hurriedly into cellphones. Ash instantly felt a thousand times less confident than he had outside. He swallowed the anxiety down in a big gulp.
From the back, Allyn came rushing forward, sweeping an array of paper scraps into the worn canvas bag at her side. When she reached them, she looked almost as anxious as Ash felt. "Why can't anything work out like it's supposed to?" she questioned the two of them. "Ever since..." she broke off unexpectedly and looked away for a moment, "Anyway, we've got to get moving. The news just came in this morning and we were supposed to be leaving much earlier than this tomorrow..." she stopped to gulp in air.
Aryl's head turned about trying to take in all the activity, see all the people. He smiled awkwardly at Allyn when she rushed over and tried to brace himself for the coming onslaught of emotions that would take place in such a short amount of time. His curiousity peaked at Allyn's hanging sentance, but he let it slide making peace with the fact he would probably never know. He let out a breath slowly trying to convince himself he was ready for this. His hands shook slightly and his stomach turned into knots as his new-found confidence wavered and ebbed. His head started a dull ache from lack of sleep and his eyes felt hot but he dismissed such things in order to focus on what was happening.

Just a breath at a time, one minute after another. One task then another. One life had and lost. One regained, with the possibility to be lost. Great start to a day...not.
"Yeah, I know we were supposed to start earlier," Ash said as he held up his hands to calm her down, "But everything's ready, right? Even though it's early?"
"I'm pretty sure Carob's had everything ready since the day he was born..." Allyn answered him, looking to the side. "We can manage things, just... I was expecting a little more time."
"We all were. But now's the only chance we're going to get." Taking charge was strange to him. He didn't know how it was possible to feel one way, and express the exact opposite emotion. But it didn't matter if it made sense, as long as it was working.
Aryl moved slightly closer to the two of them wanting things to move along.
Perhaps if I just rush into it I won't have time to think about the past. Maybe I can escape from this once and for all. Maybe uncovering the truth isn't so impossible after all.
His eyes stayed steady on Ash's face as he spoke, but he couldn't keep his subconscious from conjuring Damasque's face as well in his mind's eye.
His mouth turned down a bit and he tilted his head, his bangs sliding over one eye. A ghost for a guardian angel, how reckless.
"I'm going to go grab the hardware from Carob, you two can wait here." Ash said before hurrying off down the hallway in the back. He was just doing what came to him without even thinking about it first - maybe he could ride out this recklessness until the operation was over.

Allyn watched Ash go, then turned back to Aryl. "We'll have a bit of time in the van to talk things over, but I've got everything we need in here" she said, patting the paint-stained bag hanging at her side. "I packed a few things for you too, just basic stuff but... well you know, any bit of preparation is good." She held up a small knapsack for him with a smile.
Aryl's eye trailed after Ash as he left, waiding through the mass of people until they were drawn back to Allyn as she spoke. He gave her a small smile whispering, "Thanks." After a moments pause he added, "I wouldn't have known what to bring or where to get it. Thanks alot." Another pause, shorter than before. "So you think things will go alright?"
Allyn gave a quick glance over her shoulder, but of course Ash was gone. "You know, I've been a little worried about him since Audrey died but... it looks like he's holding together. I think we'll do fine under his command..." her smile faded slowly as she realized what she had said, "Oh! You don't know about Audrey do you..." she raised her hands quickly to cover her mouth.
Aryl stared at her unsure for a moment, glancing up the hall also, be fore answering, "No I don't know anything about Audrey except that she and Ash lived together and she was the leader of this place."

Am I going to find out more now? Is this alright, should she be the one to tell me or should it be Ash?

His mind drifted back to this morning's incident in the convenience store but he shook it off and brought himself back to the present.

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