Riley's eyes fluttered, her body stiff and cold. Her first conscious thought was that whatever incessant beeping she could hear at the edge of her mind was annoying and wouldn't stop. What the hell was that?
And then she remembered. The Bratva. Where was she? Was she still in danger? As the panic and fear began to seep through, whatever noise she could hear started beeping quicker. It hurt to breathe, which only made her panic further.
"Hey now, calm down there, Riley." A deep and reassuring male voice said, and Riley felt a hand gently squeeze her shoulder. "You're gonna be alright. Just relax, kiddo."
The voice didn't have a Russian accent, and now that she thought about it, her body wasn't in active pain anymore. Well, it ached and was sore, but a strange feeling of lightness coursed through her. As the realization that she was no longer in danger settled upon her, Riley took stuttering breaths to ease her racing heart. And she finally worked up the energy and course to open her eyes.
A hospital room. The person beside her was Ray, sitting in one of those cushioned chair for patient visitors. He gave her a small nod and smiled. "The doctors didn't think you'd be up and at 'em this soon. How're you feeling?"
Riley tried to swallow and speak, but her throat was dry and parched. Her eyes wandered around the room, until she spotted a tray of what had been a meal. A plastic cup of water half full sat there, and she stared at it longingly. Ray must have noticed, because he reached over and helped her drink.
"Easy there." He said when she tried gulping more of it down than she could manage, causing her to cough painfully. Face contorting in a grimace, she reached up and gripped Ray's hand tightly, willing away the sudden pain that erupted through her chest. It was so painful. He set the cup on the table with his other hand and let her grab onto him like a vise until the pain subsided somewhat.
"It 'urts." She managed to croak out, finally registering the small tube of air inserted in her nose. Her arm was hooked up with an IV, and a small finger monitor displayed her vitals on the machine beside the bed.
"I know, kiddo. It will for awhile. Those Bratva did a number on you." Ray admitted with a darkened expression. Riley watched him with tired eyes, before slowly releasing his hand and letting hers fall back to the bed.
"What…happened?" She asked thickly. Whatever pain killers they had her on were effective, because the remnant pain she remembered enduring form the Russian gang members was almost entirely gone. How long had she been in the hospital. "How long-" She tried to ask, unable to form the other words.
Thankfully, Ray knew what she was asking. "You've been resting for about four days now. Suffered quite a few injuries, don't know if you'd want to hear them…" But Riley nodded that she did, so he continued on. "Well, two ribs were bruised, another two cracked, and the doc thinks you broke your wrist. You've got a nasty fractured skull, and a few stitches back there too. That's not counting the bruising all over your body."
Her eyes skimmed the exposed skin she could see, spotting numerous yellow and purple bruises. Her left wrist was also wrapped in a hardened cast, and she couldn't move it around much. They all hurt just looking at, so she returned her gaze back to Ray.
"After Wrench killed all the Bratva to get to you, Josh made sure the ambulance found you." He said with a shrug. "You were barely holding on by the sound of it, but they were able to stabilize you yesterday. It was touch and go for a bit though. Gave us all a scare."
"Sorry…" She muttered, but Ray waved it away.
"What have you got to say sorry about? And don't worry about any Bratva fuckers coming around to finish the job, either. Josh has all known Bratva members flagged in the system, so if they try to check in as a visitor, the police will be called. Plus, you've got me here watching over you." He gestured to himself, smiling with pride.
Riley cracked a tiny twitch of her mouth, and blinked slowly. "How long…have…you been here?" It was getting easier to speak as time went by. That water really helped a lot.
"Since you were admitted." He sent a glance behind him, then leaned closer to her. "If anyone asks, I'm your father, alright? We didn't want to risk anyone knowing you were DedSec, but didn't want to leave you alone either. So, just go with it, alright?"
She nodded, but something didn't quite sound right with that. "My file would show…that my dad's deceased."
"Josh has it covered." Ray said. His eye crinkled when he smiled. "They set up a fake hospital record for you. Same information and everything, but you're currently Riley Kent, alright? And that Riley has both of her parents alive."
She didn't miss the nod to Superman with the choice of last name. A part of her wondered who had chosen the fake name for her. Maybe Wrench, teasing her own real last name with this fake one. The brunette nodded, satisfied that they'd thought of everything. She relaxed back into the bed.
Ray shifted in the seat to get comfier, but sighed hesitantly. "Riley, I know you probably don't wanna talk about it right now but…is there anything you can tell me about the attack? Anything that explains what they were after? It wasn't hard to figure out why the FBI took Wrench, but we couldn't-"
"FBI?" She asked in alarm, a new panic setting in. Ray rushed to clarify, spotting the newfound fear in her eyes.
"Woah, easy! We were wondering if you were aware of that…Anyway, just before you were taken, Wrench was…escorted away by the FBI. They didn't hurt him," he looked her way pointedly, and she didn't feel quite as afraid of the rest of the explanation, "just asked him a bunch of questions about DedSec. Wanted names and locations, things like that."
"Is he ok?" She asked, just to be sure.
"A little shaken up maybe but he was alright enough to go in guns blazing to rescue you, so I'd say he's fine. Boy was angry as hell, though." Ray shrugged. "But back to the matter at hand. Did they say or do anything that pointed towards a motive?"
Riley didn't have to think too hard about the answer, clearly remembering the entire thing. "They wanted information about my investigation." She stared up at Ray. "I don't know how they would have even known I was a journalist…I made sure to keep it off of my file, and I don't show my badge to anyone I don't trust."
"Hmm…strange indeed." He said, taking on a thoughtful expression. "We'll need to try getting into the Bratva's data and see what we can pull."
Riley remembered something else. "They took a phone call from someone—I don't know who, they didn't say—but one of the Bratva said something like…they were payed to do the job so they'll get it done. I think…I just remember him saying they were payed."
"That raises some red flags. Someone's out there utilizing the gangs for their own vendetta." Ray surmised, looking off to the side with worry. Riley nodded her agreement silently, wincing when the action caused her neck to strain uncomfortably.
Ray sat in silence, pondering his own thoughts, before remembering where he was. "Well, let us worry about that for the time being." He said confidently, reaching for the water cup and offering it to her again. She took it greedily.
"And, you'd better have this, too." He reached in his back pocket and produced a cell phone. Riley realized she had no idea where her's was. Probably long gone with no chance of finding it. Maybe destroyed or crushed. The Bratva had confiscated it before she woke from the chloroform.
"It's got all of our phone numbers in here in case you need to get ahold of us." He said, holding it out for her to take.
Riley took the phone and turned it on. The lock screen was a picture of the gang, all gathered around Sitara who was in the middle, flashing peace signs and smiling brightly. Sitara had her face smooshed up against Marcus', while Josh was a bit distant from them, smiling normally. Wrench stood in the middle right behind Sitara, his arms crossed and displaying his winking expression. Riley felt a surge of warmth for the DedSec team, both for saving her life, and for the support they continued to show now.
"Thanks." She said simply, looking back up to Ray. He nodded, finally standing from his chair.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, it's been several hours since I last ate. I think I'll grab something from the cafeteria. Think you'll be ok?"
Riley nodded, smile still in place. Thanks to Josh's hard work, she wasn't afraid of having to watch her back while in the hospital. Even without Ray keeping an eye on her, she felt safe.
He opened the door to her room and disappeared into the hall. It shut behind him, and she took some time to inspect her surroundings. There was a tv mounted on the wall directly across from her, but it was currently turned off. On the wall beside that was her medical board. Her name—fake name—was written in marker at the top, along with the attending physician and nurses on staff. They had written her treatment plan and what type of painkillers they had her on. Morphine, huh? The brunette raised a brow. No wonder she couldn't feel anything.
Sitting on the chair beside where Ray had been sitting was a bag. She didn't recognize it, but figured it was Ray's. There wasn't much else of interest. It was just a typical hospital room, after all. Getting bored, she turned the phone back on and stared at the lock screen. It was a four digit pin to unlock it, but she hadn't a clue what it was. More out of curiosity than anything, she entered her old phone's pin and chuckled to herself when it unlocked the screen. Of course, they were hackers after all. What more had she expected?
The home screen displayed the same picture as the lock screen, and she navigated to the list of contacts. It consisted only of DedSec members, and her boss' phone number. They must have figured she'd need that one too. They certainly thought of everything.
One look at the email confirmed that they'd linked it to her own personal address, so she could check it while in the hospital. There were several spam messages which she forwarded to junk, and two from ProviBlue. Closing her eyes with a sigh, Riley realized she'd missed her 'appointment' with the IT director to 'update her file.' She wondered what sort of repercussions would come about because of it.
Her question was answered by the second email, which detailed that she was to report immediately into work to discuss her continued employment there. Great. Just what she needed. Based on what Ray had said, she'd missed several days of work without calling in or explaining why she hadn't shown up. Plus, the suspicious timing of the file update was sure to make them wary. Just great.
Now wasn't the time to worry about that, though. She had to recover first, then she could worry about her work later. Before she did anything else, though, Riley opened up Wrench's contact and started a message.
I just heard what happened to you. The whole FBI thing…are you alright?
She sent the message through and closed her eyes in wait. Wrench was always prompt with his responses, a trait about him she appreciated greatly. She listened to the sounds of the annoying beeping from her monitoring machine for a time, before even that became mind numbing. The tv remote sat on the small side table installed into the bed, and she turned on the screen to see what was showing.
There were several news stations, countless soap opera channels that she gagged at, and a few showing documentaries. One was on ancient technology, which sounded mildly interesting, so she flipped to that and set the remote aside again.
The phone vibrated in her lap, and she reached down for it.
I'm fine. What about you?
Stiff and sore, and very bruised. But I'll live. :)
There were several minutes of uncharacteristic silence from Wrench. All of DedSec were obviously glued to their phones, never without them. Was he really alright? It took several minutes before he replied.
I'm sorry, I should have gotten there sooner. I should have stuck around a little longer to make sure you were ok. Fuck, I should have known you were in danger.
His words dripped with guilt, which Riley didn't understand the cause of. What did he have to be sorry for?
What are you apologizing for? I don't blame you for anything. Besides, you had your own problems to worry about at the time.
You got hurt, Riley.
As if that was supposed to make a difference. Riley shook her head. How could he put that blame on himself? It was the Bratva who'd beaten her, not him. In RIley's eyes, there wasn't anything he could have done differently to have prevented what happened. This was of no fault to him.
Wrench, you saved my life. I'm forever grateful for that. Please don't blame yourself.
She stared at the message window, but after ten minutes, Wrench still hadn't replied. Perhaps he didn't know what to say. Or maybe he didn't want to talk about it anymore. Riley couldn't tell. Still, she wouldn't give up that easily.
Visiting hours end at 8 today if you wanted to come by. It would be nice to see you. Plus, you can tell me how bad my face really is. I think everyone is just trying to be nice by saying it isn't that bad. They won't give me a mirror. :)
She thought that maybe humor would cheer him up a bit, or encourage him to respond in kind. She missed their friendly and slightly flirtatious banter. It was the highlight of most of her days, talking to him.
If they see my mask they'll connect you to DedSec eventually. It might cause another FBI incident if they know you're being treated there.
It made sense. This way, Riley was just another patient at the hospital. Granted, admitted under strange circumstances, but attacks like this weren't unheard of. Hell, this was San Francisco. Who knows what sort of messed up shit these doctors and nurses have seen before?
Still, the realization that she wouldn't be able to see Wrench until she was released hurt a little. Not counting her romantic feelings she harbored for him, he was still her best friend. Logically, she knew that his mask was important to him, that he would show her his face in his own time, at his own pace. Emotionally, though, Riley just wished he would come see her. Mask be damned.
But she'd never tell him that. Surely that would be overstepping the unspoken boundaries that existed between them.
Riley started and then erased several versions of what she wanted to say. How could she phrase it in a way that she understood but would appreciate if he came by? All while not sounding like a spoiled brat or entitled jerk?
In the end, after giving up on several different possible messages, Riley typed out her quick reply and looked up when there was a knock on her door. The doctor smiled and hesitated by the door.
"May I come in?" He asked, and she nodded, placing the phone on the side table. He approached her bedside, carrying a tablet. "You're quite a trooper, young lady. We didn't expect you to be awake for another day or two."
"Well," Riley said, watching as a nurse also entered with a fresh bag to attach to her IV, "I've always been impatient."
The doctor chuckled and nodded. "Well, let's take a few measurements and make sure you're feeling as you should be. Have you noticed any unusual pains or persistent aches that you wouldn't expect?"
The doctor went through a long list of questions and quick clinical tests to make sure Riley wasn't suffering from some unseen problem, before he gave her a mostly-clean bill of health, given the extent of her injuries. Riley began to notice that the pain was beginning to get worse, no doubt as the painkillers wore off.
The doctor seemed to notice her discomfort. "How about we put you on something that'll help you sleep a bit more?"
Riley nodded gratefully, and he returned a few minutes later with a clear liquid that they included on the IV stand. It was much smaller and dripped at a slower pace than the regular fluids. The nurse provided another blanket when she mentioned it was a bit cold, but after that they dimmed the lights and allowed her to have her rest.
Riley watched the documentary for a bit longer, slowly feeling her eyes droop until they shut entirely.
Wrench was stretched out on his bed, staring up at his phone screen. He'd been cooped up there for the past few days. He'd tried staying at the hackerspace after his conversation with the FBI, mingling with the other members, but they were all too concerned about focusing on the next video, and he couldn't stand it. Sitara had questioned him about his lack of motivation, but he'd just said he was shaken up by the kidnapping.
In reality, he felt overwhelmed by the guilt weighing on him and was too distracted. He'd allowed Riley to get hurt like that. He'd been right there when it had apparently happened. If he'd have known…
Unable to focus on whatever task he was trying to complete, Wrench had told Marcus he'd be home until he could get his head back on straight. Marcus had given him a knowing expression, but only nodded in understanding. It was uncanny how Marcus just seemed to know what Wrench was thinking. Especially when it came to Riley.
So here he was, being a lazy shit, and rereading a text message for the zillionth time.
Ok, I understand. Hopefully I'll get released soon then, so I can see you again.
He still couldn't wrap his head around it. Not what it said, but what it didn't say.
Not once. Not one single time had Riley asked him to take off his mask, he'd realized, during the entire time she'd been a part of DedSec. Why was that? Did she not care? That didn't seem like her. Since they met, he'd caught her glancing his way, eyes skirting over the mask with interest. There wasn't any way she wasn't at least curious.
Then what was it?
It hadn't even dawned on him until he'd been holding her broken and beaten body in his arms, and she looked up at him through half-shut eyes that he realized she'd never even mentioned him taking off his mask. Every other girl he'd met, through DedSec and outside of it, had always asked almost immediately. Or, if not, demanded at some point within a week that he do so for their own various reasons. It was half the reason his pursuits of a relationship failed, simply because he wouldn't take off the mask to those he didn't altogether know or trust. They just couldn't see that.
It wasn't a personal image thing, like some accused him of. The FBI agent had assumed he didn't like looking at himself in the mirror, and to an extent that was true. It reminded him of who he'd been, and who he was now. He was the same person with and without the mask, despite the difference in personality, but that always seemed to push people away.
He was Wrench regardless. It shouldn't matter what he looked like underneath all the spikes. How was that difficult to understand? But Riley seemed to be…different.
Riley had always treated him just like the others, perhaps spending more of her time with him than, say, Sitara, or Marcus. But did that mean anything? Was it out of opportunity, or choice? Wrench had to admit he was selfish when it came to Riley. He wanted to spend as much time with her as she'd allow him to, stealing her time away from the other members of DedSec.
Did that interested go deeper than the mask, or was he just a symbol for what she wanted in a friend or…more? Wrench sighed. He didn't know what to do. What to think. He wanted to see Riley, for sure. But without the mask…?
Marcus had returned it to him the day they'd found Riley. But he couldn't wear it to the hospital. It would alert the staff, and may bring the FBI right back into the mix. For now, they needed to keep Riley under a low profile. Even still…
He clenched his free hand and held it up to his head. He didn't know the right answer. He wanted to see Riley. He wanted to keep his face hidden. He supposed the only question left was which priority was of greater value to him.
Riley wasn't quite sure how long she'd been asleep. For all she could have known, a whole other day could have gone by and she would be none the wiser. She slowly stirred from sleep, shifting her head so it didn't lean so heavily onto the stitches at the back.
Hey eyes opened to see a figure sitting in the chair beside her bed. They were facing the tv on the wall. She trailed her gaze down his arms that were crossed over his chest comfortably, admiring the tattoos that she half expected were hand drawn on his skin. Or, at the very least, intentionally made to look that way. She'd always thought they were interesting, and wondered the meaning behind each one.
The black hood covering his head coupled with the angle he was facing prevented her from seeing him directly. All she knew was that his head was slightly upturned, no doubt watching whatever new documentary was now playing on the screen across from him.
"Hi." She said meekly, feeling parched again. She needed some more water.
Riley watched as Wrench tensed, then lowered his head. "Hey." He said, still facing forward.
"I wasn't expecting you to come. Otherwise I'd have tried waking up earlier." She said, smiling despite herself. He'd actually come to visit her.
"Don't worry about it." He said quietly, turning his face down some more. Some of RIley's happiness faded, and she examined him carefully. This was not at all the Wrench she was used to. Was he alright? Maybe he still blamed himself for her injuries, but she couldn't have blamed him even if she tried. There was nothing he could have done.
There was a long pause, before he asked, "How are you feeling?"
Riley shrugged, watching the back of his head curiously. "I've been better, but at least I can't feel a whole lot of it. They've pumped me so full of painkillers, I feel kind of loopy to be honest." And it was true. That light-headedness hadn't gone away. Her whole body felt light as a feather.
Wrench let out a single, amused huff. Maybe it was all he could manage. She assumed just sitting there with her while his mask wasn't on was causing him anxiety. The brunette didn't know how to make it easier on him, so she reached over and gently touched the elbow positioned closest to her.
"Thanks for saving me back there. I know I said it before but, I didn't feel like a text message was appropriate enough." She shrugged, glad he hadn't tensed when she touched him. In fact, he moved one hand to cover hers, keeping it there.
To her disappointment, he slowly shook his head. "I should have known they-"
"Please stop." She asked, squeezing his arm insistently. He turned his head ever so slightly in her direction, enough to show the tip of his nose through the hood and nothing more. "I don't blame you for any of this happening. So you shouldn't either. It kills me that you are beating yourself up over this."
"…" He grew silent, but didn't move to make her release his arm. Perhaps unconsciously, his thumb slowly drew circles into the back of her hand. It felt nice, and she hoped he'd keep doing it.
"Wrench." She said softly, smiling sadly. He didn't turn to look at her, but she could still tell her was listening. "What are you so afraid of?" She asked after some time, finally putting it there in the open. It wasn't exactly asking him about the mask directly, but she hoped her intent was still clear.
He sighed, and remained silent for a long time. Riley almost thought he wasn't going to answer, but he finally squeezed her hand with his and held it tightly. "That you'll see me as someone else without the mask. That…you'll pity me or something. Or treat me any different than you already do."
"What makes you think I would?" She asked, concerned that she gave off a judgmental or flappable impression.
Wrench shrugged. "It's happened before."
Riley frowned, discouraged. "Have the others seen you without it on?"
"Yeah." He admitted. Of course, there had come scenarios where he was forced to remove it around them. Not to mention, he'd been following DedSec for a long time now, and he trusted the people he worked with. He'd had a much longer time to get to know them and let them get to know him. Whereas with Riley, they'd barely met each other a month ago.
Was it too soon? He asked himself, knowing he already had an answer that he was afraid to act upon.
Riley cast her gaze downwards, hoping her next question wouldn't turn out to be a mistake. "Am I any different than the others?
There. It was out there now. Riley hoped he wouldn't just walk out and leave. He had every right to, and she wouldn't think ill of him for it. Wrench's face was his own privacy and she could respect that. But she so hoped he'd grown to trust her enough to see him for…him.
"No." He eventually said, and she perked up. The hacker straightened in the chair and seemed to steel himself. Riley watched in fascination as he turned towards her. She took in the large nose that had definitely been broken at least once before, those steely blue-gray eyes that dropped from her own gaze when she looked at him, and the red, blotched birthmark right next to his right eye.
Riley didn't find it offensive, or detracting from his natural charm. And if he was afraid she'd pity him for a mark he couldn't have prevented or changed, well, he severely underestimated her. She'd always found pity to be unwanted, and so tried her best to avoid feeling that way. His eyes were still downcast, and Riley reached over and gently traced the mark with her thumb. Wrench's lips tightened, but otherwise allowed her to look as she wished.
For someone so humorous and lighthearted all the time, he sure looked downtrodden. Was it all because of the FBI thing? Or was something else on his mind? Maybe the maskless Wrench just had a whole lot more to hide than the masked one. Strange how those things worked.
"You know what I see?" Riley smiled a little wider, lifting his chin up with one finger. He finally dragged his gaze up into her own eyes, and she nearly melted at the sight of those piercing blue-grays. They really were beautiful. Much more so, in her opinion, than her average hazel ones.
Silently, he shook his head. No, he didn't know what she saw, and he was terrified it was everything she didn't want to see.
"You're one crazy guy for doing half the things you do. I don't know how you've survived as long as you have, honestly. And don't think I couldn't tell who picked my last name for my hospital identity." She gave him a knowing look.
Riley was awarded with a tiny twitch of his mouth, and he shrugged a little. He was glad she'd noticed and appreciated that fine touch. He'd felt rather creative and clever for having come up with it.
Her smile was disarming. "But I also see the man who has done so much for me without asking anything in return, who took me to a junkyard to smash random shit to pieces until I felt better, who took me on that insanely crazy but awesome mission. And," Riley let her finger trail along his jawline, trying to soothe him, "the one who risked his own life to save mine."
Wrench let his head turn to the side, unable to meet her gaze while she listed off those things. No one had described him in that sort of way before. It was always either how much shit he could get done or how much of a freak he was. Riley's take was…new. And refreshing. And…just what he needed to hear, when he really thought about it.
Wrench glanced up at her, and found his eyes unable to look away from her lips. They were chapped and one side was still healing from a split, but even so, he wondered what it would feel like to just…Hell, he shouldn't be thinking about this. It physically hurt somewhere in his chest to resist leaning forward and kissing them, and he narrowed his eyes in an attempt to stop himself from actually following through. He felt like now wasn't the time or place. She was still recovering from her torture, and here he was, some asshole thinking about stuff like that. But…fuck, this wasn't easy.
Riley was struggling with her own internal thoughts. She'd said all these nice things about Wrench that she had been feeling for awhile, and all she wanted to do was confess what she felt to him. Maybe the moment was just romantic enough to warrant that? No, no…this was a big step for Wrench, she couldn't ruin it or overshadow its meaning. She wanted things to go at his pace, to let them go with what he wanted. She wasn't even sure he reciprocated her feelings.
But damn was it difficult not to give into her desire to kiss him finally. They weren't too far apart, the space between the bed and his chair. She'd been thinking about it for a long time. He seemed distracted by something, eyes not as sad as they had been before, which was a good sign. Building up her courage, Riley swallowed thickly.
They both said at the same time, and stopped to let the other talk. Instead, they both stared at each other, waiting for the other to start first. And as a result, nobody took the initiative. But both Riley and Wrench couldn't seem to look away from each other.
She was cut off by a knock on the door to her room. Both hackers were startled by the intrusion, seeing a nurse pop her head in curiously. "Everything alright? Just wanted to check in on you, make sure everything was fine."
The nurse nodded over to the monitoring machine, which neither of them had noticed had started beeping faster as her heart sped up. Trying to hide the blush, Riley nodded quickly, and Wrench turned his face away so the nurse couldn't see him.
"Uh, yeah. I'm fine. Thanks, though." Riley stuttered out, attempting to straighten out the blanket even though it wasn't messed up. Wrench stood up hastily from his chair as the nurse entered and came closer to the bed.
"I should…uh, go." He said awkwardly, clearing his throat. "Just text me if you want to talk, ok?"
Despite his desire to leave so suddenly, Riley was more distracted by her own thoughts to give it much attention. "Oh, sure. I'll see you later?" The brunette asked uncertainly, but she smiled in relief when he nodded a confirmation.
"Alright…see ya." And with that, he'd reached the door and closed on his way out. The nurse chuckled to herself, before gathering up the empty tray of food that Ray must have left behind. "Your boyfriend is a bit shy, isn't he?"
If her cheeks hadn't been red before, they definitely were now. He's…he's not…my boyfriend." Was her unconvincing answer.
"Mhmm." She raised a dubious brow heading off towards the door with the tray in hand. The nurse flashed her a motherly and understanding grin. "Well, if that wasn't romantic tension I walked in on earlier then I don't know what is. I saw the way you were looking at him. If he's not your boyfriend yet, what are you waiting for, sweetie?"
Riley didn't even get a chance to explain herself before she was left alone in her room once more. She fell back against the bed and huffed out as deep a sigh as she could manage. A smile she couldn't get rid of grew wide on her lips.
Wrench tried keeping his head low as he exited the hospital, hands stuffed securely in his pockets. He'd shown up and sent Ray off to take care of some stuff, giving him some alone time with Riley, but now that he was leaving, he wanted to be sure she was still watched over. He shot a quick text to Ray, explaining that he was leaving and someone else should replace him to watch her.
He bumped shoulders with someone as he traversed the sidewalk, eyes on the screen of his phone. "Sorry, man." He said automatically, barely giving a glance to the person he'd run into. Typing the last few words, Wrench sent the message and disappeared down an alley, where he'd parked his bike.
The stranger stared after the man he'd run into, stunned by disbelief. It had been years, but…that birthmark was unmistakable, and he looked to be about the appropriate age, too. Too late, he tried following after the man he swore he recognized, brushing past other people on the sidewalk, but there was no sign of where the hooded man had gone.
The sound of a bike starting up caught his attention, and the man in question, now with an LED mask covering his face and a spiked vest over his hoodie, turned down the road and revved the engine, shooting away before he could get a clear look at him.
It was only a split second of seeing the birthmark, but he was sure. There was no question. They'd finally found him.ns 18.104.22.168da2