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Warning and Disclaimer in Part 1

CHAPTER 18

        Darien jogged up the stairs of Claire's house, trying to figure out what he'd say. He knocked on the door, waiting patiently for a response.

        The door opened and whatever speech he may have had prepared flew right out the window. Claire was standing in the doorway, her hair mussed and covering half of her face, and wearing an old t-shirt that had several holes in... unfortunate places.

        Her face softened when she saw him. "Darien? What's wrong?"

        "Claire, I need something... and I don't know how to ask for it..."

        Claire stepped back, crossing her arms across her chest. She was suddenly self-conscious about how much she was... or rather, wasn't... wearing. "What?"

        "The quicksilver files. It's a matter of life or death, Claire. Please."

        Rubyn approached. "He's telling the truth. Bobby's life is in danger."

        Claire sighed. "The files are at the Agency. Give me a minute to get ready." She turned and jogged up the stairs.

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        Bobby looked at the ceiling as the gas began to pour in again. He lay himself on the floor and closed his eyes to a slit.

        The door opened and the guard entered, kneeling to pick up the empty food tray. Once the guard took his eyes off of Hobbes, the agent pounced.

        He slammed into the younger man, knocking him off of his feet. As they rolled, Hobbes grabbed the tray and brought it down across the guard's face. He turned, heading for the door.

        The second guard entered and Hobbes flung the tray like a Frisbee, hitting the man across the forehead.

        Stepping into the now-empty hallway, he removed the wadded napkin from his nostrils and breathed deeply. Dropping the gas-blocking cloth, he knelt and grabbed the guard's gun.

        He was loose... and the bastard Stark was gonna pay.

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