Unedited Draft: WARNING: Intended for Mature audience

| La Mano  Part 6 |

Arillion motioned for Elena to stay on one side of the cave opening while he scaled over the opening to the other side. The goal was to get in and out undetected but Arillion knew the odds of that were slim to none especially with his wild card.

Getting into position he looked over at Elena who had a determined set to her beautiful dark features. The sun was just starting to peak over the horizon the dark Mediterranean crashing below them. The opening was larger than Arillion would have liked and the guards had a meticulous change out routine that they didn't detour from. He knew a scuffle was inevitable. Unlike his fiendish companion, he was a lover not a fighter. The thought of conflict made Arillion’s palms sweat.

The important first step which he explained in great detail to Elena was disabling communications. He'd hoped it would be a tower outside the building, but Giovanni's smart ass put the main communications on the interior. They would have to get to the control room hopefully undetected and disable the long range communication. That would give them the few necessary minutes to then grab their prize and disappear. That was the plan anyway but there were quite a few elements that Arillion couldn't account for. He glanced at the biggest variable, his beautiful Elena. He'd never had to pull off a heist with a partner before. It was far less dangerous to go it on his own, but she was insistent for whatever reason. Could have been that she didn't trust him to deliver. A part of him, however, wanted to believe that she wanted to be near him.

Arillion shook his thoughts. He had to focus on the task at hand. Getting this damn Faust and getting the hell out of this God forsaken place.

Arillion secured his night vision goggles and peaked into the cave two guards, just like his intel provided, stood several feet inside the opening facing each other in profile to him. He retrieved the mini grappling hook from the pack around his body. Peaked into the cave again aiming at the camera that was facing him and shot. The guards reached for their walkies when the cameras crashed to the ground. Elena shot both of the men in the hand preventing them from calling for help. Arillion flung himself into the cave and snapped one of the guard's neck and dodged a fist from the second one who fell to his knees from a swift chop to his neck from Elena behind him.

Elena smirked at Arillion her beauty never dulled even in the dank, dark interior of the cave. Her long dark waves were contained back in a braided ponytail really accentuating her lovely features. Arillion shook his head. Focus got damn it. You’ll have her soon enough.

They snuck to the control room and disabled the communications as planned. Then crept down the hall to the secure chamber with no interference from anyone. "I get the lock you set the explosives." Elena nodded and went to work as instructed while Arillion retrieved the small computer in his pack and a few other gadgets that he hooked together and positioned on the vault door. He ran his program. It seemed a lot faster when he ran it in the hotel room, but Arillion knew it was just the high pressure situation. Working under pressure was something he was good at. He never, however, had someone else's life in his hands.

"We've got incoming how much longer?" Elena whispered across the room.

"About thirty more seconds for the programs to disable the lock. Run interference."

Elena nodded and slipped out to the door. Arillion's heart stopped a few times when he heard gunshots followed by a scuffle then silence. The vault door made a series of clicking noises before opening up. Arillion slipped inside and grabbed the little micro chip, tucked it securely in the water tight bag and put it in his pack then made his way out the vault. Elena was crouched near the door, walky talky in her hand. Cleaver he hadn't thought about getting one of those.

"They're sending back up."

"Let's go, I have it."

When they rounded the final corner to the cave opening where they came in gunshots started peppering the wall near them. They dove behind an old computer system. “Get out the detonator…” Arillion yelled above the fray.

An armed gunman appeared around the other side of the wall. Arillion took him out and Elena took out the one behind him. More were coming Arillion could hear the voices moving down the hall. Toward the opening. They fought a few more on there way to the entrance. "Hit the button." Arillion yelled to Elena.

"We're supposed to wait until we're out of the cave."

"There's too many of them..." They ducked as bullets started whizzing past them. "Damn it Elena do what I say and hit the got damn button."

Arillion dove on Elena the air thrown from her body as the huge explosion propelled their bodies from the edge of the cliff. Elena knew her mouth was open but she couldn't make a sound as they fell through the air. The remainder of the oxygen in her lungs left her body when she hit the dark water, the heavy liquid seemed to pull her down. Somewhere during the fall she lost Arillion. She tried to move her limbs but found they were immobile. She couldn't swim! Nothing! Elena started panicking as her lungs burned to keep the water out. In the darkness, Elena's mind conjured up a memory in her past where she froze.  Where her body betrayed her.

Anabella’s father approached Elena his tongue wetting his lips as he unbuckled his pants. A shot rang out making young Elena jump her heart pounding in her chest. Behind the smoking barrel of the gun, Anabella stood her hazel eyes wide. Her father fell to the ground grabbing his wounded side. His voice like sandpaper faded to a whisper as her writhed in agony. Elena stared at him for the first time in a long time contentment spread across her dirty face. Elena raised her eyes meeting holding those of the other girl. The two little girls held each other's eyes it seemed for an eternity.

Something grabbed Elena and pulled her up through the water. The warm current brushing against her skin as the memory faded to the dark depths below. She took a big breath of air when her head broke through the clear surface.

In the growing light of dawn Elena could make out Arillion's dark hair pasted to his head. He had her in one arm and was swimming toward their remaining air tank. The other was damaged by debris from the explosion.  Elena heard a plunk hit the water near her. Arillion growled. He swam them over to a rock jutting out from beneath the water’s surface. Arillion pulled out a gun from the water tight bag around his waist, added a longer piece on the end, ducked his head around the rock, aimed and fired. Elena heard a scream and a moment later a body hit the water.

"Can you swim?"

Elena was looking at Arillion and heard his words but her ears were ringing and all she could think about was how cold she was and how they almost died.

Arillion took her face in both of his hands. "Elena, baby, can you swim?"

Elena swallowed and blinked nodding her head. She thought she could swim anyway. There was only one way to find out. They made it to the one remaining scuba set up hidden between two rocks on a small pocket ledge near the base of the cliff.

"We'll share the air, okay?"

Elena nodded uncertain whether this was going to work. Drowning was a fear that she harbored deep inside. She was used to being in charge and water most definitely let humans know just how out of control they were.

"It's okay. I can hold my breath for a while we'll make it. Deep breath and dive. Kick your legs. I'll guide us."

Elena nodded waiting for Arillion's cue to take a breath. It was nice having someone that made decisions that had a plan and knew how to execute it with precision even when things didn't pan out the way he planned. Arillion seemed to be filled with plan B's and plan C's and sharing one scuba tank had to be  plan F. Elena scolded herself for acting like a child while he was planning this elaborate escapade. She didn't understand the kind of danger they were in the lengths that would be taken to keep Faust secure. Well not secure enough. Not from her handsome thief.
Continue to Part 7...