amy_rashelle: (Yours to Keep)
[personal profile] amy_rashelle
Ilena sat at her small kitchen table, watching the blond man pace in front of her. There was no confusion or anger or desperation in his expression. In fact, she was quite certain she’d never seen a man so cold or confident before in her life…well, almost. Edward Kingston came to mind.

In fact, this man looked very similar. His hair was cut short to his head in military style and his eyes held the same dark blue determination. Squared back shoulders, neatly fitted suit and a casual hold on his gun that told Ilena he knew how to use it very well.

She watched him as he stood across the room. “Who are you?”

“That’s not important right now.” He stared back. “Tell me where Greg is.”

“Aren’t you supposed to offer me a bribe?” she asked dryly. His Russian was perfect with just a hint of a Moscow accent, which told her that he had either excellent schooling or Russian-speaking family. She assumed both. “After all, if you’re here asking me then obviously you don’t know. And I am the only contact you felt secure in kidnapping.”

“Do not confuse this with desperation,” he shot back. “I’ll take anyone I must to get the answers I am looking for.”

“And you think I have them?” She raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t answer the questions of threatening men or strangers. Tell me who you are…and perhaps I’ll cooperate.”

He raised an eyebrow, but held the gun up just a little higher. “You’re very bad at being taken hostage. You know who Greg Harris is. You are sleeping with him. You also know that he is not Daniel Kingston, his alias.”

She raised an eyebrow. “And why would I know that?”

“Because I am Kingston,” he said simply.

Ilena smiled coldly. “I knew a man by that name once. Tell me, do all Kingstons come blonde, British and bearing guns?”

“I can’t speak for appearance or nationality, but I am always prepared.” He narrowed his eyes. “And so is Greg. The only way this happened is that you told them who he really is.”

“I told them nothing except what they wanted to hear,” she said calmly. “That he was Daniel Kingston, independent arms dealer specializing in surplus Red Army weapons.” She sighed. “It’s not my fault they didn’t believe me.” She looked down at her hands. They didn’t tremble, even at the threat of death. “When was he taken?”

“A week ago.” He lowered the gun, but his gaze never moved from her. It was obvious she wasn’t going to run and it didn’t really matter if she tried. “Where are they holding him?”

She chewed on her lip thoughtfully. “Krylov must have run a fingerprint scan,” she said softly. “He has a contact that runs it against every known police database. CIA, FBI, MI-6, FSB, even Interpol.” She glanced up at him. “So which organization does he work for? My bet would be MI-6.”

“You are wrong,” he said simply. “We don’t work for anyone.”

“Greg is too much of a patriot not to be official in some capacity,” she pointed out.

“Where are they holding him?” Daniel repeated, tightening his grip on the gun.

Ilena’s eyes darkened some. She was no fool to his plan. Once she spoke he’d fire. Death wasn’t something that scared her, but the thought of going to her grave with Greg’s death on her hands did. He was meant for so much more and she couldn’t let her foolishness or Krylov’s bloodlust kill him.

“Are you his friend?” she asked in a soft tone. “A good friend? One of the aces?”

That jolted him. She could see his whole body tense in sudden surprise and she knew she had guessed right. “Ah, so you are,” she said quietly. She began deducing aloud. “Not Hearts. He was killed by Diamonds, I believe. That must mean you are the Ace of Spades.” She raised an eyebrow. “May I see the tattoo?”

He stared stone cold with annoyance at being taken by surprise. Ilena stood up calmly, still facing him with a direct stare of her own. “I’ll tell you where I think he is, but you must do me a favor.”

“What favor?” he demanded.

“Get him out.” She came closer, her eyes never leaving his. “And promise that you will tell him it wasn’t me.”

Their eyes remained connected, unblinking for a long time. He was searching her, looking for some truth or lie that might justify what was inevitably the next part of his assignment. For a man that didn’t question or care, he appeared to be struggling with this one order. “Who are you?” he asked in a thick voice.

There was no real demand for information in the question, but she thought it a shame to die as an anonymous tip. Straightening up, she faced him with as calm an expression as she could manage. “My name is Ilena.” She brushed a hand through her hair as she began to speak.

“Krylov’s house would be the best place to look. He has a series of underground bunkers that were built during the Cold War. He converted them into makeshift prisons.”

He put his weapon down slowly. “Do you know how long he’s had Greg?”

“You haven’t heard from him in a week? Then I would guess he has been here for at least four days.” She looked down at her hands, her voice softening as she added, “He is a strong, stubborn man…but he will crack.”

“He has been trained not to disclose anything,” Kingston insisted. “If it comes down to it he will kill himself.”

“Are you willing to let that happen?” she demanded. “Or assume he’ll be given the chance?”

His eyes darkened at her. “No. I will go after him.” He pushed the hammer up on the gun and put it back into his shoulder holster. “You know the house? You know the layout?”

“Yes.” Ilena cocked her head to the side. “I might be able to get downstairs too.”

“I just need you to distract the men,” he said rudely. “I trust you have all necessary tools for that.”

“God saw fit to take everything from me but looks,” she said casually. “It’s how I’ve lived this long.”

“You do this and I won’t kill you when it is all over,” he promised.

Ilena smiled softly. He was a good liar.
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