Danika Rey threw her book down angrily when she saw Jensen Walsh. 'Yo, Jensen,' she called, walking up to him. 'What was that about?'
Jensen looked bemused. 'What was what about?' he asked cluelessly. Danika gave an exasperated sigh. 'Don't play dumb, Walsh. You pulled back on purpose during the obstacle course. The only reason that you would do that is because--'
'Because what?' Jensen burst out hotly. 'Because the other teams bribed me to lose? Look, Danika, I don't want this to happen either, ok? I'm just as down as you are on this. Stop criticizing me, Boss. I can take care of my own.'
He turned to walk off, but he stopped short when someone blocked his way. 'Don't you dare, Jensen,' said a quiet voice.
Jensen looked into Taylor Ashford's ice blue eyes. They were calm and cold, without a hint of emotion in them. Her eyes were flashing a warning at him. 'Jensen...' she spoke quietly. Taylor always spoke quietly. She only ever raised her voice behind a closed door, and even then it was nothing beside Danika's.
'Get out of my way!' he snarled, pushing Taylor aside. Unexpectedly, she didn't fall to the ground like most people. She kept standing there, unperturbed by his words. Jensen was about to scream himself hoarse. 'Get out! GET OUT!'
'No,' Sam said, taking her spot beside Taylor and Danika. Tall, tanned and blonde, Sam was anything but a bimbo. Besides having a photographic memory, Samantha de Hercules Conqueta had the ability to pull apart and fix anything you want. Sam continued. 'I think you owe Taylor an apology.'
'Hey,' Daniel Rivers spotted the commotion. 'What's up?' As he neared, he saw Jensen grimacing. Daniel took one look and immediately back off.
'What's the matter?' Jensen taunted. 'Scared off three chicks, Daniel?'
Danika gritted her teeth. 'Shut up.'
Jensen grinned again; his bravado was coming back. 'Yeah. Shut up, shut up,' he said, adopting a high-pitched voice that sounded eeriely like a girl's. Sam blinked in surprise. Taylor was, as usual, emotionless. 'Don't cross the line, Jensen,' she warned again.
Then she struck.
Taylor's hands were a blur as she grabbed Jensen's wrists and kicked out his legs from under him at the same time, the move that would cause him to drop to the floor if she hadn't had his hands in her firm grip. 'I would apologize if I were you,' Taylor remarked, letting loose her grip on him. Jensen hit the floor like a sack of potatoes.
A very, very heavy sack of potatoes.
As Taylor looked down at Jensen, Sam noticed the silver ID bracelet on Taylor's left wrist. Not knowing before that Taylor was ambidextrous created an interest in Sam, but she felt herself drawn to the ID bracelet.
As she had said earlier, the bracelet was silver, but what intrigued Sam the most were the words written on it in plain, Italic scrip: Mutatis Mutandis. Frowning, Sam tried to figure it out. From what she could figure out, it meant, "With those things changed which needed to be changed."
Before she could say any more, Taylor had left the room, leaving behind a laughing Danika, a Jensen who was deeply in pain, and more questions than Sam could answer.
Later, Danika approached the rec room, where Sam, Daniel and Marcus Fitzpatrick were resting. Jensen and Taylor were nowhere to be seen. Daniel and Marc were watching a footbal match on the TV, but Sam was deep in thought. Danika saw the thinking lines appear on her friend's forehead and decided to cheer her up.
'There you go,' she said cheerily, pouring a cup of hot chocolate and giving it to Sam. 'Penny for your thoughts?'
Sam looked up. 'Did you notice that Taylor's ambidextrous?'
Danika started. 'Wait, seriously?' Sam nodded. Danika blinked. 'We-ll, considering how open Taylor is with her personal life...' she left the sentence hanging.
'Point taken.' Sam sat up straight as she faced Danika. 'Today, when she tackled Jensen, I noticed this ID bracelet on her left wrist. It had the words, "Mutatis Mutandis" on them, like some kind of motto or something. I caught sight of something else on the other side of the bracelet, and it's kinda like this.' Sam took out a pen and paper and wrote down the words, Casu Consulto. 'I have no idea what it means,' she confessed. 'I don't exactly have a major in Latin.'
Danika frowned. 'I might have an idea,' she said slowly. 'Let me get back to you.'
Taylor sat down opposite Chris Perry. Dressed in a blue turtleneck and black jacket, Chris was every bit the charming gentleman. After seating her, he had ordered steak au poivre for both of them.
'So,' Chris began as he sipped at his wine. 'How have you been?'
'Just fine,' Taylor commented, silently cursing the fact that she was underage and could not consume alcohol, unlike Russia, where was no minumum age limit for alcohol consumption. She sipped gloomily at her glass of water instead. 'Have you done it for me?'
'Of course,' Chris smiled, taking out a small velvet-lined box from his pocket. Giving it to Taylor, he watched her reaction as she removed the silver ring inside. '"Semper et aeternus,"' she read, looking at the inscription inside the ring. She looked at Chris, who gave a soft grin.
'Always and forever.'
Taylor appeared to be delighted with the ring. 'Thanks,' she said softly, as the waiter arrived with their steak au poivre. When he neared, she accidentally knocked her glass of water, causing it to drop. But before it touched the floor, Chris's hand appeared and caught the glass. He set it back on the table as the waiter served them their meal. Chris waited for the waiter to leave before looking sternly at Taylor. 'Was that done casu consulto?'
She looked back at him incredolously. 'Of course not. I would never do anything accidentally on purpose!'
'Really?' Chris raised his eyebrow as he picked up his knife. 'If that's the case, then why is it your motto?'
'What, like yours is so grand.' Taylor rolled her eyes. 'Inter Primos. Among the First.'
Chris grinned, cutting his steak. 'Actually Inter Primos is my family motto. My personal one is "Id quot circumiret, circumveniat."'
'Oh really?' Taylor took a bite. 'And what does that mean?'
'What goes around, comes around.'
'Hmm,' Taylor sniffed. 'Sounds a bit like rural gossip to me.'
P.S. This story is set before Nathan Kerensky, Brodie Sparks and Chris Perry entered Team Code X. Also set before the betrayal of Jensen Walsh and Marcus Fitzpatrick. Basically this is the time when the spies were a couple of years younger.
Note: This story, characters and contents [including the Latin phrases] are all copyright of organizedchaoz.blogspot.com and the owner, Taylor Ashford.