Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Forty-Five: Everything

With Mel and Pierre

Before today, Melissa had only ever thought that she'd be flying in the air whenever her death occurred. She had never imagined that she'd ever get out of Haverly Hospital, much less that she'd end up in Canada on the Prime Minister's personal jet headed to end a dictatorship that had destroyed the lives of almost every American citizen.

It was devastating to her, not knowing what kind of situation she was flying into. Pierre had already warned her that it would most likely be an ugly sight. He hadn't been able to tell her whether or not Matt, Jimmy, and her brother were still alive - and that scared her more than a little. It was unnerving to her, knowing that she was flying to a place where she may be met by the corpses of everyone she had loved.

"I promise, Mel, that you'll be fine," he told her with a small smile. "We're not going to let you get hurt."

She returned his smile with a halfhearted one of her own, biting down on her bottom lip. She wasn't concerned with her own safety. Why should she be, if she had no guarantee that Jimmy was still alive? He was the only one she needed or wanted. A life without him would be nothing but torture.

"I don't care about that," she finally admitted to Pierre.

He arched his eyebrow but didn't say a word to her, knowing full well exactly what she meant. Right now, everyone was going to be walking on eggshells around her. Everyone on board the plane understood what Jimmy meant to her.

"Robert will be out here shortly, you know," Pierre murmured to her, changing the subject. "He's rather excited to finally be explaining what will be happening when we arrive in California."

Pierre's words caught her attention and she looked up at him, biting down on her bottom lip. That was something she'd been curious about ever since she'd arrived in Canada. What would happen when the flight landed? She knew that it could spell disaster. Most definitely, there would be death. A lot of people probably wouldn't be going home in anything more than a plastic body bag.

"Will he be making Jimmy's life a priority if he's still alive?" She whispered.

Pierre's eyes darkened for a moment before he nodded as he gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze, a small smile on his face before he wrapped his other arm around her in a friendly hug.

"Of course he will, Mel. He knows how important Jimmy and your brother are to you. After how much you've helped us with our cause, there's no way he's going to let any harm come to Jimmy if he can do anything to prevent it."

She smiled at him gratefully before she pushed her hair out of her eyes, looking out through the porthole. 30,000 feet didn't seem like so much up here in the clouds, she thought with a sad smile. She knew that down in the fields and broken cities below, no one in America had a clue what would be happening today. Would the Canadian government and INTERPOL be able to fix what Schlagger had destroyed?

Or would someone else step up and take his place, perhaps even fuck the whole system up even worse?

That wasn't something she could allow herself to dwell on, Melissa told herself sadly. She couldn't let herself think so negatively. Jimmy had always taught her that hope was what pulled people through - that it was what made good things happen. She had to have hope that he and her brother and all their friends were still alive. She had to have faith that nothing bad had happened to them...or at least, that no worse fate had met them when they'd been returned to Haverly Hospital.

The door opened at the back of the cabin and Mel looked up to see a portly man with a friendly face walking towards her. If she could compare him to anything, she would think he looked most like Colonel Sanders from the chicken restaurant that her parents used to take her and her brothers and Zina to when they'd been little.

"It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Melissa," the man spoke with a grin as he sat down across the way from her. "Pierre, I believe David is in the front of the plane. Why don't you go through the battle plan for when we land, hmm?"

Pierre nodded and immediately stood up, giving Mel a small smile before she looked over at Prime Minister McKenzie. He looked so unlike what she had been expecting. She closed her eyes as she leaned back, knowing that he would speak when he chose to.

"I admire you, you know," he murmured softly. "It took a great deal of courage for you to make the trip that you took on. It took even more courage to continue to persevere after losing Jimmy."

Mel swallowed hard and gave him a watery smile, biting down on her bottom lip to stop it from quivering. She couldn’t even hear Jimmy’s name without feeling like her world was lost to her. She loved him so much and to even think that he might be dead now – that he may have been dead for awhile now – was something that completely shattered her heart.

“Thank you,” she finally whispered. She was unsure of what else she could say in a situation like this. He was the one who had pulled her from hell, and now here she was, sitting across from him as his equal.

“I will do everything I can to ensure the safety of everyone you love, Miss Baker,” he smiled warmly at her as he reached for a bottle of water that he’d brought with him from the back of the plane.

She nodded, knowing that the man was telling the truth. Pierre trusted him with his life, and so she knew that she could as well. There was no way he would ever let any harm come to her. He had already done so much to prove that fact to her.

“What’s going to happen when the plane lands?” She murmured softly as she closed her eyes.

He seemed to be in thought for a few moments before he reached over, resting his hand on her knee before he spoke just as quietly as she had murmured.

“All you need to know is that you’ll be safe, Miss Baker,” he explained to her. “Pierre and David are leading the team of Black Ops that will be striking when we make our descent. They’ll exit the plane long before we land, and they’ll be at the head of the attack. INTERPOL has already sent in their own troops. They will be assisting the Canadian Government in the shutdown of Schlagger’s regime.”

“You haven’t answered my question,” she murmured. “What’s going to happen when we land?”

Her eyes were open now as she looked up at him and he frowned, clearly unprepared to fully answer her question. He wasn’t happy with how inquisitive she was being, and she could definitely see it written on his face.

“You and I will stay on this plane until Pierre, David, and the others have the area secured. A siege means nothing without a leader, and your word means nothing to the trial if you die before we can arrest him. Keeping you and I safe is the first priority on this mission, and is second only to the capture of Schlagger.”

“And Jimmy? My brother? Where do they land on your list of priorities?” Mel whispered, reaching up to brush the tears out of her eyes.

McKenzie sighed, leaning back in his seat before he took another drink of his water. A heavy silence set over the plane before he cleared his throat and spoke.

“Once we have secured Dr. Harding and Schlagger, we will take the necessary steps to retrieve them. I have word from INTERPOL that a hanging is scheduled for noon. We’ll be landing at about eleven fifteen, which gives us just enough time to hopefully rescue them.”

Melissa’s heart sunk to the pit of her stomach. Schlagger had just confirmed to her that Jimmy and the others were alive – but that didn’t make her feel any better. That hanging was meant for them, and if things didn’t work the way McKenzie thought they would, things could end extremely badly.

She nodded and then looked up as Pierre walked into the back into the area. He was dressed all in black now, with a pair of black aviation goggles on top of his head and a parachute attached to his back. David followed him, looking much the same in appearance. Both of them had weapons on their sides as well as knives holstered to their legs.

“Time to jump already?” McKenzie asked, standing up.

Pierre nodded shortly, letting his gaze linger on Mel for a few moments before he cleared his throat and spoke.

“Yes, Sir. The INTERPOL have already begun taking hold of the city. It won’t be long now before Schlagger realizes that something is going on. Word has reached us that we’ve taken Dr. Harding and that his head nurse has been disposed of.”

“Any innocent casualties yet?”

David was the next one to speak.

“No, Sir. No civilians have been injured, either.”

“Good,” McKenzie murmured, taking a sip of his water once more. “Let’s keep it to a minimum, boys. I don’t want anyone getting hurt who doesn’t deserve it. It defeats the purpose of this siege.”

Pierre nodded and then looked over at Mel, this time smiling as he approached her.

“I’ll personally see to it that they remain alive,” he promised her as he squeezed her hand. “I didn’t want to tell you earlier, Robert believed it may be detrimental to your health if you held false hope. But I assure you, Mel. I swear on my life. I’ll bring him back to you, and your brother too.”

“I believe you,” she whispered as she pushed her hair out of her eyes. “Thank you, Pierre.”

She wrapped her arms around him in a tight hug before she pulled back, closing her eyes. She was so nervous for what was about to finally take place.

Pierre gave Robert a final nod before Robert grabbed her arm, pulling her towards the back of the plane.

“They’ll be making their descent now and it won’t be long until we start landing as well. This is where you and I will stay until David or Pierre comes to us.”

Mel nodded and watched as he punched in a code on a punch pad next to the door. It slid open and she arched her eyebrow, realizing that it was reinforced steel. It had looked to be just wood from the other side.

“I want you to promise me something, Mel,” Robert told her once the door had shut behind them and he’d punched in the alarm code again, arming the door before he sat down on another plush chair. She took his offer to sit across from him again and then nodded.

“What promise?”

He smiled at her, looking out through the window that was next to his chair. He studied the clouds for a few moments, looking as though he was lost in thought before he turned to face her once more, this time with a more peaceful look on his features.

“I want you to promise me that once all is said and done, and you have Jimmy back and your brother is with you once more…that you’ll live life unafraid. I want you to be unafraid, Melissa. You’ve gone through your entire life afraid of your own shadow, but Pierre tells me you’ve come quite far since he’s known you. He’s proud of you. I’m proud of you,” he smiled at her.

Melissa didn’t know what to say. Her own father hadn’t been a part of her life in so long that she’d forgotten what fatherly words sounded like. She liked to imagine that, were her father still around and alive, he’d say something similar to Robert McKenzie’s words.

“I’m not that little girl anymore, and it’s because of you and Pierre,” she whispered. “Thank y--”

“No,” Robert shook his head. “It’s not because of us, Melissa. The will to change was within you the entire time. It just took a severe set of circumstances to bring it to a head, that’s all. Words can’t explain how far you’ve come, how brave you are. How strong you are. You’ve done more in the past three months for a country you’ve been a victim to for your whole life than most people do in a lifetime.”

Before Melissa could say a word, the plane began descending and her breath hitched in her throat. This was it, she realized. This was the beginning of the end. Whether or not it would be a good end or a bad one remained to be seen. But after this, she knew life would never be the same for herself regardless of the outcome.

McKenzie looked concerned now as the plane began landing. By now, Melissa realized that Schlagger would realize what was happening. Would he have already had Jimmy and Zack killed? Or would he be rushing around, trying to figure a way out of the shitstorm that was headed his way?

When the plane’s wheels finally met ground, she felt completely terrified. It meant that soon, the fighting would start – if it hadn’t already. Robert had already told her that the stealth agents had started moving in and that INTERPOL had sent some of their people in as well.

The first gunshot sounded out through the air not long after the plane had landed, and within minutes Mel was hearing voices surrounding the plane. Her entire body became tense and she swallowed hard as Robert placed his hand on her knee reassuringly.

“You’ll be fine, Miss Baker. They won’t be able to get into this part of the plane, it’s locked with a security code that changes every ten minutes.”

She nodded, though she could barely breathe. She was completely terrified that she wasn’t going to live long enough to see Jimmy again. She knew that Zack would be okay – he had to be, he had to stay strong for her. God only knew what kind of horrors he’d seen in the last few weeks.

The gunshots became louder and screaming started getting closer as the fighting increased. Melissa felt herself becoming more and more anxious until finally, everything became silent. There were two short gunshots heard in the main cabin of the plane before Robert looked down at the pager in his hand.

“Pierre has just alerted me that Harding and Schlagger have been captured alive,” he smiled at her as he stood up. “He has someone with him that he thinks you’ll want to see.”

Melissa felt her breath hitch in her throat as she moved to her feet immediately. She watched as Robert punched the code into the box beside the door, watching as it opened. There were two dead bodies lying in the middle of the floor. Melissa recognized David as he stood above both bodies, a gun in hand and a stern look on his face.

“Pierre is assisting the others in securing Schlagger and Harding in one of the lower-level cells until we can get him more properly restrained,” David spoke to Robert before he looked over at Mel, his eyes softening. “Why don’t you stay here until he gets back? What happened out there is nothing you should see.”

“I haven’t seen anything that could possibly be worse. I need to see Jimmy,” Melissa whispered, her breath hitching in her throat. “A-And my brother.”

Robert cleared his throat, placing his hand on her shoulder the way she imagined a father might before he walked over to David, murmuring something into the boy’s ear quietly enough so that she wouldn’t hear him. A few moments later, he turned to face Melissa again, his eyes a little softer as well.

“Miss Baker,” he murmured. “I’d prefer it if you stayed on the plane until I bring Mr. Sullivan to you.”

“What?” Mel asked, her breath hitching in her throat. “What about Zack? Why won’t he…”

Their eyes looked down at the ground immediately when she said Zack’s name and all feeling in her body left as she began shaking. Everything felt numb as she shook her head, her eyes widening as her knees started giving out.

“No,” she pleaded as she grabbed Robert’s shoulder just before she had a chance to collapse to the ground. He helped her sit in the chair she’d been sitting in no more than an hour ago.

“I’m sorry, Mel,” David whispered quietly. “We didn’t get here in time to stop them from starting. Matt and Jimmy are alive, but…Your brother…”

“No,” Mel whispered, her voice more stern this time as she looked up, her breath hitching in her throat again. “Zack isn’t dead. He can’t be dead.”

Robert opened his mouth to say something else to her, but before he could get a word out, the door to the plane opened again. David immediately had his gun raised before he lowered it as Pierre walked into the plane, his own face dirty and blood-stained. He walked with a limp, but a smile was present on his face when he saw Melissa.

“Someone’s waiting to see you outside,” he murmured to her softly as he reached for her hand. He already knew that she’d been told of her brother’s death – it was evident on the fallen look of her face. But seeing Jimmy would make everything worth it for her, and Pierre knew that.

She just smiled halfheartedly as he slowly led her from the plane, down the steps that had been haphazardly placed there. Mel couldn’t help but feel shocked when she saw how many people were running around, some of them screaming and others crying. She’d expected so much more death than this.

How could it have been so easy to take Schlagger out when he’d held such an iron-fisted reign over the United States for so long?

They walked down a dirt path that she recognized as having once been part of a garden in the back of her dormitory block. When they reached the courtyard, Pierre stood immediately to her right and placed his hands over her eyes.

“You don’t want to see—”

She pushed his hands away and looked up to see what he was trying to block. A small scream fell from her lips when her eyes came upon the hanging body of her brother. Zack’s pale flesh was ashen colored now, his messy hair hanging limp over his forehead. She couldn’t tell where the scrapes, cuts, and bruises began and where they ended as a slight breeze gently rocked his body back and forth on the thick rope that secured him to the hanging pole.

She couldn’t stop the tears as she ran towards him, breaking free from Pierre’s grip. She ran up the steps of the scaffold before she dropped to her knees next to her brother.

So many memories flashed through her mind as she looked up at him. She remembered all the days when he’d snuck her out of their parents’ house to go over to Jimmy’s house, where they’d all listen to the old Iron Maiden and Danny Elfman records that he’d hidden in the basement. She recalled how he used to let her wear his old t-shirts whenever they became to ragged for him, just because he knew how much she liked them.

She remembered how he’d tried protecting her when the regime had taken over, and she remembered how he’d stepped up and tried to parent her when their parents, Zina, and Matt had all been arrested.

She remembered leaving him the day she’d broken out of Haverly Hospital.

All of it seemed to have happened for no good reason now. Was this worth all that she’d lost? Melissa couldn’t help but wonder. She’d lost her entire family. Zina was gone now; her husband and children, too. Her parents had long since been killed, and she had no doubt that Matt was dead now, too. And Zack…Her favorite, the strongest. She’d never had any doubt that he’d pull through this alive.

But in the end, they’d gotten him, too. They’d taken everything from her. Everyone she loved was gone. No one was left, and she had no idea how she was supposed to cope with that.


She swallowed hard when she heard a voice coming from behind her. She knew that she should recognize the voice immediately, but her mind was so numb that it didn’t sink in until she turned around to come face to face with him that it truly sunk in.

She hadn’t lost everything, because everything she’d ever wanted was standing right there in front of her. He was wearing a tattered shirt, blood dripping from a cut on his arm and a few scrapes on his neck. His hair was chopped short now, and his glasses were missing from his face, but she knew those warm blue eyes anywhere.

Jimmy. He’d made it.

A small sob fell from Melissa’s lips as she scrambled to her feet, running to him and letting his shaky arms wrap around her. Suddenly, things felt a little more right. She knew that nothing would ever be completely right again. There would be much more pain to come before the healing could fully take place, and she understood that.

No one could lose their entire family without there being damage.

But she could pull through it, and she knew that because of the fact that Jimmy had lived. He had persevered through all the hell he’d been put through for her. He’d lived for her and she knew that as hard as it was, she could do the same thing for him, too.