End Game

Jun. 15th, 2011 09:20 pm
amy_rashelle: (Krylov Mansion)
[personal profile] amy_rashelle
He could hear muffled gunfire in the background. Shouts and angry Russian batted back and forth overhead. Greg didn't focus on any of it. The exhaustion that had overwhelmed him was so complete that he was fairly certain no one would ever be able to wake him from it. He'd stopped moving his hands, weighed down by the chains and lack of blood circulation. He couldn't feel where his skin met with the ground anymore. The cold had numbed him to any sensations.

Someone was moving him gently. He didn't bother helping or fighting. This was it. It was about bloody time. He'd been waiting a week to die. What had taken them so long? As long as they made it bloody fast, he'd be all right. None of this Russian tongue cutting out business. One bullet to the temple. Clean, quick. The death any man in the service hoped for.

The weights on his hands and legs were suddenly removed. This was curious enough for him to fight the exhaustion and his eyelids. Gazing up, he could see the outline of a man. Knife in hand. Bugger, they’d cut him up instead. He’d really rather hoped for a gun. Russians could be so messy with their knives. He tried to mumble the one request for mercy, but his tongue was swollen from the beating.

“What? Greg?”

He licked his lips and tried again. “Use…gun,” he begged.

The man swore hard. “Don’t tempt me.” Suddenly he was pressed into something soft and warm. Were they going to smother him now? Truly, these Russians were twisted individuals. Really, what was wrong with a gun? Bullets were cheap. He’d be pleased when he was gone from this world for good. Maybe later God would grant him enough mercy to come back and torment his murderers with images of that American show, My Little Ponies. That would teach them to take their dear sweet time with killing people.

A hand brushed his face and all at once another image filled his mind. Ilena. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled to her memory. He’d be dead soon. He needed to get this out, even if only a memory was listening.

“Greg?”

The name sounded so distant, but he knew the voice that had spoken it. “I love you,” he mumbled.

There was an audible sigh, followed by that enchanting voice again. “You really are bad for business,” she said quietly.

The fog was growing thicker. Were they suffocating him? He didn’t feel in pain. If this was suffocation then perhaps they’d picked well. After all, who didn’t like to die with the sound of a beautiful woman in their head?

His peace was suddenly interrupted by the loud bawling of an elephant demanding attention.

“Fuck you, Boris,” he mumbled. “She’s mine.”

“What on earth is he talking about?” a new voice asked irritably. “Who is Boris?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
When Greg opened his eyes again he was in a white room with the soft beep of medical machines surrounding him. He squinted his eyes, the white overwhelming his dulled senses at first. The scents of earth and blood and cement were gone. The heavy weight of chains was gone. He could feel his skin against the soft bedding. Turning his eyes down, he saw the grey gown they’d put him in and blue blankets that covered him from the waist down. Several IVs connected to his arm. Heart and lung monitors were on his chest.

Shit. He was alive.

Carefully, he experimented by licking his lips. Yes, his tongue was still there. His lips were still cracked, but wetting them helped. He tried to lift his arms, but it proved too much just yet. He wiggled his hips just slightly. A catheter.

He hated catheters.

“Mr. Harris?”

Greg snapped his head up quickly, surprised by the interruption of his personal inventory. The man was a doctor, clearly labeled by the long lab coat he wore and that damnable close cut beard all doctors seemed to maintain. He was also British.

He smiled at Greg as he approached the bed carefully. “How are you feeling?” he asked, gently reaching down to attend to some bandages that Greg just now noticed. Two fingers were in splints and there were bandages around both wrists. He could feel similar treatment on his ankles.

“Where am I?” Greg asked hoarsely, cleared his throat and asked the same question again.

“Headquarters,” he said casually. “Mr. Kingston brought you in yesterday evening. You’ve been unconscious until now.” He began a quick assessment of Greg’s vitals. “How do you feel, sir?”

Daniel had brought him home? “Where is Ilena?” he asked.

The doctor frowned. “Who, sir?”

“The woman, the Russian woman.”

The doctor just looked back blankly. “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t have any information. Mr. Kingston is the one who brought you to me.”

Greg closed his eyes for a moment. He was still exhausted, but there was strength in his voice. “Get me Kingston.”

“Mr. Harris, you really ought to rest - “

“Am I dying?” he snapped.

The doctor pursed his lips at the interruption. “No.”

“Then get me Kingston now.”

The doctor opted not to argue and left the room. Greg took the opportunity to close his eyes. In the quiet darkness of his mind he tried to recall what had happened. Ilena’s voice, he remembered that. Someone who sounded like Daniel, which made sense. And an elephant. He frowned some. What was a bloody elephant doing in his recollections? Sighing, he rubbed his face with his left hand, scratching a tickle under his nose.

“Greg?”

Greg opened his eyes and watched Daniel walk into the room and approach his bed. “I had a bad dream,” he stated.

Daniel’s eyebrow shot up curiously. “Really? Tell me about it.”

“I was kidnapped by Russians, chained and beaten and then later they tried to smother me with a pillow. All the while, you were talking about not shooting me.”

Daniel smiled briefly, but it was gone a moment later. He’d never been one to smile much. “Close. You asked me to shoot you. I declined, much as I may have wanted to.”

Greg couldn’t help smiling a little. “I’d really rather have preferred to be shot.”

“Yes, you mentioned that several times on the flight back.” He pulled a chair close. “How are you feeling now?”

“Bloody horribly.” He touched his head again. “What happened?”

“Seems they didn’t buy your cover story,” he explained. “But it doesn’t matter now. You’re alive.”

“How did you find me?”

“Your prostitute.”

Ice soared down Greg’s back at the mention of Ilena. He looked up at Daniel carefully. “You met her?”

He nodded. “Yes. She helped me get you out.”

“Where is she now?” he asked all too quickly.

Daniel held the answer back for a moment, considering his friend before him, knowing what the woman meant to him. “Dead. Old Man’s orders.”

Greg stared calmly, but he could feel the blood draining from his head.  “You did it,” he accused, though his tone held no anger in it.

Daniel didn't apologize.  “She was a danger. We no longer needed that liability. Your cover was blown and she knew it.”

His hand tightened on the blanket, but he gave no other indication of mourning. “Of course.” He looked away, trying to focus on something, anything else but the pain of loss. “You’re looking better," he tried.

Daniel smiled some.  “Pneumonia’s all cleared up.”

“Good.”

Daniel smiled again, a little bit more. “Your father’s been asking for you. I told him you’d come down with some terrible flu and were busy wretching your head off in the loo. He wants you to call him as soon as you’re feeling well enough.”

Greg sighed. “He always has such splendid timing. I’ll call him when I get home. Who’s been watering my plants?”

He frowned.  “You don’t have any plants, mate.”

“Yes I do, I have a fern in my bedroom.”

Daniel chuckled.  “Well I don’t go near that part of your house, so you just have to hope it clung to life.”

“You’re a rotten friend,” he said, smiling.

“And you are a manwhore."  He got to his feet.  "Get some rest. You’re going to need it. The Old Man’s going to want a talk.”

That sobered down the moment. Greg nodded a little. “Thank you, Daniel.”
 
His friend pulled a cigarette out in response and pushed it between Greg’s lips, lighting it. Greg took a much needed lungful of smoke in and released it with slow relief. Rules be damned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
4 Weeks Later…

The Old Man looked Harris over carefully. “Are you sure?” he demanded. “I don’t want you going out into the field and fainting on me from low blood sugar or lack of intercourse.”

“I already took care of both,” Harris assured him. “I can handle it.”

“Every time I send you to Russia something happens,” he accused. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“Sir, it will only be for one week. I have some unfinished business to take care of.”

“You’re off the Krylov case,” he argued. “What business?”

“Personal kind, sir.”

The Old Man rested against his chair, watching his man suspiciously. There was only one reason he could possibly want to set foot on Russian soil again. “The woman is dead. You won’t find her body.”

The reaction from Harris was swift. His eyes blazed furiously at him, but he kept his anger in check. Instead, he responded coldly with, “I’m sure Daniel did a clean job. I don’t doubt his skills. It does make me wonder, though, what he will do if he ever finds out that you ordered him to kill his sister.”

The reaction from the Old Man was anti-climactic at best, though his eyes did narrow at the accusation. How the fucking hell had Harris figured it out? “Kingston does what he is told. That’s more than I can say for you.”

He choose not to address that. “I’ll be back in one week,” he said again.

The Old Man tossed his pen on the desktop. “Three days.”

Harris pursed his lips in distaste, but he gave a short nod of agreement. “Three days.” He walked out and shut the door a little loudly behind him. The Old Man remained seated, staring at the door. It was very possible he had lost the trust of one of his best agents, but he knew Greg Harris well. The man was angry and hurt and mourning the loss, but soon he would find another attractive plaything. Then another after that. And another. If Greg Harris was good at nothing else, he certainly knew how find appropriate distractions from the pain the world caused him.

Very soon, everything would be as it used to be. Spades and Clubs ready for another round of Cloak and Dagger.
 
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