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“Finally,” Megan practically screeched at them when they got back to the hotel.  “I was really starting to worry that you’d been…” She stopped talking when her eyes fell on the wound in Brian’s arm bleeding and Izzy’s leg bleeding.   “Oh…”

“We ran into Howie,” Brian grumbled as he grabbed and towel and sat down on the bed, wincing as the bed jostled his arm. 

Brian and Izzy watched as Megan paced around the room spewing off words under her breath. Neither one could make out what she was saying but she looked completely frazzled.  

“You are both hurt,” She finally stopped and faced them both.  Izzy was now sitting on the desk chair holding her leg out.  She was rubbing the thigh above the wound. 

“Mine looks worse than it is,” She tried to reassure her friend but she was freaking out.  She knew that her face had healed faster when she had been in the fight with Patricia but why would her leg wound already be healing.  The wound was already not as deep as it had been though it was still a burning pain. 

“What happened?” Megan demanded to know looking between Brian and Izzy wondering which would crack first and tell her. 

“Megan,” Izzy’s voice came out stronger than she thought it would after losing as much blood as she had.  “Right now we need supplies, we have to bind Brian’s wound, and my own,” She added the latter part as an afterthought. No need to freak out her friend by telling her that she was already healing.  “Then we have to figure out what we are going to do next,” her eyes caught Brian’s and they sat looking at each other for a few moments.  The door closing snapped them out of it. 

“How’s your arm?”

Brian shrugged.  “It has hurt so long I think I am becoming to become numb to the pain.” He let out an uneasy laugh as he wrapped a towel around the wound on his arm.   “How is your leg?”

Izzy looked at the large wound on her thigh and let out a small gasp.  It was still unsettling to watch her leg slowly mend without the aid of stitches or medicine of any kind.  “It’s healing,” She whispered.  “And it’s freaking me out.”

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” Brian smiled at her and she relaxed some.

“I’d feel better about it if I knew why I healed like that.  I am so unsure about my life and everything in it right now that having one more thing that doesn’t make sense is really freaking me out.”

“If that picture is real and we knew each other, if you heal, why don’t I?” Brian asked.  It was apparent that he was upset that she was finding all sorts of skills that were making her useful.  Sure he found he could defend himself but she was the fighter.  She picked a lock, she seemed calm going through another person’s stuff looking for information and she healed fast.  

“You are important,” Izzy moved to the bed and sat next to him.  “They wouldn’t have done everything to you if you weren’t important, right?” Why would they erase someone’s memories and given them new ones along with a new life if they weren’t important, if they didn’t hold some sort of key?

“Sure,” He replied.  He opened his mouth to say something else but was interrupted when the door opened quickly.  Megan rushed into the room letting the door slam.  She tossed a bag from the store on the bed next to Izzy and rushed towards the television.  Megan fiddled with the television as Izzy opened the bag and pulled out pain killers, alcohol, gauze bandages in bulk. 

Izzy took the bottle of alcohol and the bandages and prepared herself.  She opened the bottle, cursing as she tried to pull security seal off.   When she finally managed she noticed Megan had stopped surfing and had settled on a news station.  She didn’t have time to wonder what her friend was doing; she needed to take care of her wound and get Brian patched up. 

Moving back to the desk chair Izzy braced herself.  She counted to three in her head and poured the alcohol on her wound.  She held back her initial scream but when she poured it the second time the pain was overwhelmed her and she let out a guttural groan. 

Brian and Megan both turned their attention away from the television to look at Izzy.  She was on her feet already removing her pants; Brian blushed and turned his attention back to the television.  With Megan’s help she wrapped the bandage around her leg a few times. 

“Did you see the TV?” Megan asked as she helped her friend steady herself as she pulled her new pair of pants on. 

“I was a little busy,” Izzy shot out at her friend.  

“Sorry, I know, I just wasn’t sure if you heard any of it even.” 

Izzy moved towards the bed and tugged at Brian’s shirt.  “Do you have an extra?”

Brian shook his head, his eyes still on the TV.  “Howie’s dead.” He whispered and looked towards her, eyes wide.

Izzy nodded.  “We knew that,” her eyes glanced at the television where they were reporting the news of a neighbor calling the police when they heard what sounded like a fight at the condo next door.   They arrived to find the Backstreet Boy face down in a pool of his own blood.   They released that he’d been stabbed in the back. 

“Last time I thought he was dead he showed up again and injected me,” Brian’s voice continued to be barely above a whisper. 

“Wanted for questioning is fellow band mate Brian Littrell and a female traveling with him who were seen entering the premises but have not been seen since,” The reporter on the news spoke. Both Izzy and Brian looked towards the television as they showed an image of the two of them entering the complex.  Izzy had managed to get them out avoiding people and cameras, which had been difficult given their condition. 

Izzy shook her head and took hold of the bottle of alcohol again.  She removed the towel wrapped around Brian’s arm and held on above the wound.  She gritted her teeth as she poured the liquid into his wound.

“FUCK!” he screeched as the liquid poured into the wound. 

Megan stared at the man sitting on the bed.  “You said…” She started but stopped when he glared at her.   He had always made it a point never to use swear words if he could help it but he it was a reaction, he couldn’t control the word that escaped his lips.  He instantly felt bad for saying it but he didn’t need someone else pointing it out to him.

“That hurts worse than when Howie stabbed me.”  Brian growled as he tried to hold back the pain. 

“Breathe,” Izzy demanded.  “You are not going to make it hurt less by holding your breath.”   She stopped her ministrations as she waited for Brian to start breathing again.  He let out the breath he’d been holding in and she waited a bit longer for him to relax.

“Now, breath deep and evenly.” She smiled at him as she continued to clean the wound.  Even through Brian’s face turned red from pain, he did what she asked and continued to breathe.  Keeping his eyes averted from what was actually going on seemed to help.  Izzy managed to get his arm wrapped up.  She tied the bandage and patted his shoulder lightly when they were done.    

“Is that it?”

“Without sutures it will be all I can do at the moment.” Izzy cleaned up the bloody gauze and the towel and tossed them in the trash with her torn pants. 

“Don’t tell me, you just realized one of your many talents is to stitch up wounds too,” Brian half laughed at his comment.

Izzy paused and thought about it.  She didn’t know why but she was pretty sure she would be able to stitch up his arm and her leg if need be.  She shrugged and turned back to the others.  She was about to talk about what they should do next now that they would have more than just the nine, thanks to Howie’s death, looking for them when her phone started to ring.  She glanced at the screen and hit the hang up button.

She looked up to see Brian and Megan’s curious stares.  “I didn’t know the number.” She shrugged and tossed her phone done throwing stuff back into her bag.  The phone started to ring again and she picked it up ready to give the person on the other end a piece of her mind, only her phone wasn’t ringing when she grabbed it.  She looked at the other two and Brian gasped.

“That’s mine,” he grabbed his phone and flipped it open.  “Hello?”

“Brian where are you? Have you heard about Howie and what they are saying about you?” Kevin’s voice came immediately over the phone.  He was speaking loud enough that Izzy had no issues hearing what the other man was saying. 

“I didn’t do it,” Brian fought back.  It was true, Izzy had been the one to stab Howie, but he was there he hadn’t stopped it.   If Izzy hadn’t, Brian would likely be dead or brainwashed again. 

“I know you didn’t but you need to come in, we need to figure this out.” 

“Why so you can finish what Howie started?” Brian snapped.

“What are you talking about?  I wouldn’t hurt you; I’m your cousin…”

“Is that the role you were given to play,” Brian quickly hung up the phone and running into the bathroom he threw the phone into the toilet and flushed.   He came back out to the open mouthed, wide eyed stares of the girls he was with.  “What?” He asked nonchalantly.

“You… flushed…your phone?” Megan asked.

Brian nodded.  “I panicked, but it is one way to keep people from getting a hold of me.” He smiled.

“But, “ Megan started but Izzy shook her head at her friend.    No one really said anything more as they watched Brian move around the room looking like he had purpose.  He had a few items that he threw into a bag, they would need to get him a new shirt before they went anywhere. 

Izzy stopped staring and started to get her things together and think of what they were going to do next.  Traveling was going to become more difficult now that they had been identified as persons of interest in the murder of a famous figure. 

“Megan I think you need to go back home, this is becoming more dangerous and I don’t want you to get hurt because of this. “ 

“No,” Megan protested.  “I won’t leave you, you both need someone with you to help.  Who will be the one to run to the store for food or for medical supplies.  You can hide out while I do those things.”  She argued and Izzy noticed Brian agreeing with her out of the corner of her eye. 

“I see your point, but I can’t risk you getting hurt or worse.”

Megan shook her head.  “I am not leaving you and that is it.” She sat down next to Brian and crossed her arms watching her friend stand there struck dumb by her friend’s insistence that she stay.

“Fine, you can stay.”

Megan smiled at winning the argument but frowned when she heard a phone ringing.   “If that is your phone,” she turned to Brian, “then I want to know who made it.” 

“It’s mine,” Izzy muttered and pulled her phone back out of her bag. She noticed that the number was still an unknown number to her.  She wondered who could be calling her.  She knew she wouldn’t know unless she answered the phone so she quickly answered and greeted the person on the other end.

“Izzy, it’s great to hear your voice.” A male voice on the other line replied.

“I’m sorry, who is this.” Izzy was feeling a bit nervous that an unknown male was calling her.

“It’s Greg, I got your number from Patricia, and I hope you don’t mind that I am calling you.  I really enjoyed our date the other night and would love to get together with you again.

She could feel heat start to rise in her cheeks as she blushed.  She hadn’t been expecting a call from Greg but he was calling, she had a hard time not feeling flattered.  “It’s nice to hear from you but I am so busy right now with work that I don’t have any time to get together.  Can I give you a call when this is over?”  He agreed and they got off the phone with each other, she saved the number on her phone under his name.  She couldn’t keep the grin off her face, Greg was the one good thing that had happened in the last few days. 

“Who was that?” Brian asked as soon as she hung up.

“A guy I went out with once, he was calling for a second date.” Izzy could feel her grin broaden on her face.   

Brian shook his head stood.  “Do you have the stuff from Howie’s?”   He asked her holding his hand out.

She moved to her bag and put her phone away and grabbed the papers they found in Howie’s vault including the picture of Brian and Izzy leaning in close to each other.  It looked like they were holding the camera and taking the picture.   She glanced at the picture and quickly shoved it back in the bag, it wasn’t necessary to have out in order to figure out their next move.

Megan was back to watching the television, flipping channels to Izzy’s annoyance.  She sat on the edge of the bed next to Brian and moved to grab some of the papers.  “It says here that the main building is located in California.  I bet we would get answers there and since Florida police are on look out for us I think it would be better to head out there.”

“I agree but how are we going to get there. Flying won’t happen now, you can bet airports will be on the lookout for us.”

“Lemme borrow your phone.” Brian held out his hand waiting for her to give him her phone.  He briefly debated deleting the number of the guy but since he didn’t know the guys name and he didn’t want Izzy to get mad at him, he let it be.   

“Who are you calling?” Megan asked.

“Pastor Mike.”

“What can he do?”  Izzy scoffed at Brian’s big idea.

“You would be surprised how many people he’s helped.  He got us new identifications already right?”  He ignored Izzy’s reply back to him and moved across the room to talk to the Pastor.  

“Thank you,” he told the Pastor after he told him their problem.  “I appreciate everything you have done for us and I will make it up to you when this is all straightened out.”    Brian hung up the phone and handed it back to Izzy.   “He has booked us tickets on Amtrak leaving in an hour to California.”

“Great,” Izzy forced a smile on her face. 

Brian beamed.  He’d finally been able to do something before Izzy could pull another hidden talent out of nowhere and fly them all to California with the wings she stored under her shirt.  He chuckled at the idea but stopped when Izzy looked at him confused.   They all grabbed their stuff and headed to their rental car to head to the train station.