Timelined the morning after Home Sweet Hell
<David> The last thing David had expected was a text from Hope that they were leaving at dawn. He hadn't had time to fully put everything together, which he had told her. He was assured that they weren't making contact. They were just collecting intel. He relented, against his better judgment, and made the final arrangements for the trip.
<Hope> Hope had taken her bag back to her 'old room' to repack in the hour just before dawn. Now everything was in order. Everything was prepared... except her. She slowly zipped up the bag and second guessed her decision. Sebastian didn't even care. Why should she?
<Shinobi> With Hope upstairs packing silently, Shinobi was at loose ends. He checked his own bag, again, but what was there really to pack? They were going to Japan on some half-cocked mission. And for what? Blowing out a breath, he sat on the edge of his bed and fell over backwards to stare at the ceiling.
<Hope> She glanced over at a picture frame of the three of them in Alaska in front of the orphanage. That's why. She picked up the picture, touching it gently. That's why they were going. Because even if he was a stubborn child sometimes, he was family. Family protected itself. They weren't engaging the enemy. They were just looking. Just looking.
<Hope> Hope set the picture down and picked up her bag. It was time. They needed to leave before Sebastian or Jess either one woke up. Jess would know. Jess would sense something was wrong. Hope tiptoed down the stairs, pausing at their floor.
<Hope> She looked over, staring at the nursery door. Miriam. Another reason for them to go through with this. Hope knew what it was like to grow up without your dad. She had to protect Miriam from the same horrible fate she had suffered.
<Hope> With a glance to the stairs, Hope knew she was still alone. David and Shinobi both would be downstairs. She had time. Bag placed on the floor silently, Hope tiptoed to the nursery door, pushing it open slowly.
<Shinobi> After a short while, he sat up, rubbing his face and reaching for the bag. If she was going, he was going. He did want to learn the truth about his mother, but there were other ways to investigate that without risking his life to spy on the enemy. If she was going, he was going. It came down to just that.
<Shinobi> Shouldering the bag as he got up, he turned out the lights after a last look around his room and started up the stairs to meet David in the foyer. The man was there, looking antsy. "This is stupid," he whispered. "You know that, right?"
<David> David gave Shinobi a look. "I was hoping you'd have talked her out of this," he admitted softly.
<Hope> Miriam was awake, but just lying quietly in her crib. She looked so peaceful... Hope hated to disturb her. She had to say goodbye though. Brilliantly, she checked the baby monitor to be sure it was off before she scooped up Miriam, sitting down in the rocking chair with her.
<Shinobi> "She didn't even want me to go." He frowned, glancing toward the stairs. "I knew I couldn't talk her out of it..."
<David> He sighed, rubbing his forehead. "Maybe we can try again. Bribe her. Take one for the team, man."
<Hope> Hope rocked with Miriam, barely keeping her emotions in check. She smiled at her and swallowed before she spoke. "Don't you worry, Miriam. You'll be safe and loved here at home."
<Shinobi> Shinobi frowned, looking up as if he could see through the floor. Are you okay?
<Hope> I'll be fine, she sent him. "I'll be fine," she echoed for the baby. "I'll... I'll be with him. Like I should be... Me and Obi together. So you have to stay here. And you have to look after him... and... and be a good girl." She held the baby tightly against her, but gently. "Be a good girl. And be extraordinary."
<Shinobi> He didn't believe that for a second, not with what he felt through their link. "Yeah, I think we need to try again..."
<Hope> Hope kissed the baby a couple of times, reluctantly putting the infant back into her bed. She smirked, realizing the baby was asleep. She had just bought them more time. She had to make her escape, but the Shaws closed door stopped her. She pressed her hand on it, lingering. She had so much to tell him, but he knew.
<Hope> She consoled herself with that thought before dropping her hand. She picked up her bag and forced herself down the stairs.
<Shinobi> "I think she's coming," he said, moving closer to David.
<David> He nodded, standing up straighter. "Try. One more time."
<Hope> Hope made her way on down the stairs, pausing briefly when she saw them before continuing.
<Shinobi> He nodded once, and waited for her to join them. "Hope... maybe we need to think about this more."
<Hope> She nodded, taking his hands into hers. "We're doing the right thing... right?"
<Shinobi> "We're sneaking out, to leave the country." He smiled a little, trying to catch her eyes. "In my experience, that's never a good thing."
<Hope> "Well, what do you suggest?" she asked in a soft voice, looking up at him.
<Shinobi> "We should wait. Talk about it more, you and me. And maybe tomorrow my father will be more likely to listen. Things got out of hand last night, and I made it worse."
<Hope> "He's not going to listen. I challenged him and I openly doubted his abilities," she pointed out. She brushed his hair back from his face, her own expressions soft. "You can stay, Obi. You don't have to do this. You can try to talk to him again."
<David> "You know, the best way to keep him here is for you to stay behind," David pointed out.
<Shinobi> "If you're going, I'm going. It's too dangerous." he glanced back at David. "Sometimes he surprises us, you know? If we think of a better way to approach him?"
<David> "Do you even have a plan?"
<Hope> Hope looked between them. They were so in this together. "I just need to get within a couple of miles of the Tokyo club. Just... get me in range. I'll learn more in one day than his resources could."
<David> "Then you have one day."
<Shinobi> "Learn more about what?" He hadn't even heard this part of the nebulous research plan.
<Hope> "About who is doing it? Although.... although... maybe Tokyo is a red herring." Her brain was working in full gear now, thinking.
<Shinobi> "And what if they have a telepath there? You're just learning to control your new powers." He glanced at David, hoping too late the man knew about those. Shit.
<Hope> "Yeah...." She licked her lips, squeezing his hands. "Maybe.... maybe we should get get out of here for a few days. Just... give us time to think. But I don't want to stay here."
<Shinobi> "Okay, sure." He tried not to grin too broadly, but his excitement was hard to hide, especially in their link. But, it was working. "Where? Where do you want to go?"
<Hope> "I don't know..." She slid her arms around him, trying to think. Someplace safe. Someplace that felt like home. "New York."
<Shinobi> "New York," he repeated. "Sure. Sounds good. Maybe we can get that same room?" Giving her a squeeze, he glanced up a the mirror and caught David watching them in the reflection.
<David> David just smirked. Taking one for the team! "I'm on it." He left them to step outside and make the arrangements.
<Hope> Hope smiled and closed her eyes, taking a moment. "Okay... and then... then maybe he'll have a plan."
<Shinobi> "Probably. He's sneaky." He closed his eyes as well, for an entirely different reason, and let out a relieved sigh.
<Hope> "What would I do without you?" she mumbled against him.
<Shinobi> He laughed a little. "Go to Japan?"
<Hope> "Probably," she laughed, nuzzling his cheek.
<Shinobi> "Someday. But not today." He moved just a bit, brushing his nose against hers. "Okay, so, New York?"
<Hope> "New York," she confirmed, taking his arm.
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