So, I think the summary really said it all in regards to what this fic is about. It's really just a collection of moments to capture the evolution of a relationship, from haters to best friends, and to show some of the issues which such an unusual duo would face.
While all of them will be individual sections, they will all link in some way and they'll go in chronological order through the Jack West Jnr books and also the time between 7AW and 6SS.
Hopefully you enjoy.
Chapter 1: Ten things I hate about you
Zahir Al Anzar Al Abbas had made up his mind the moment that he had shown up on the door step. He hated him.
This was odd because Zahir had never really hated anyone in his life time. There were people that he disliked, people he didn't get along with and people which made him a little bit annoyed when he was near them. But there was no one that he could honestly say that he hated.
So when Benjamin "Archer" Cohen showed up on the door step of the farmhouse, this new emotion had somewhat confused the usually jolly Zahir.
If he was perfectly honest with himself he wasn't sure what it was about the Israeli which made him so profoundly dislikable. It could have been the overly smooth, calculated way he spoke, the near silent way he moved or the fact he seemed incapable of smiling. But whatever it was, there was little doubt in Zahir's mind that the two of them would not get along.
That was why when the two of them were scheduled for patrol together one night, it was probably one of the worst things which had happened to Zahir since he had arrived in Kenya seven years ago. Late night patrol was bad enough; standing out in the dark and the cold for hours, staring off into the distance was not something that any of the team really looked forward to. Having to undertake this activity with someone who you couldn't stand? Zahir wanted nothing more than to drive his head into a solid wall.
That night, Zahir settled himself down on his usual chair, gun resting over his lap, as he assumed his position looking out over the main road. The perimeter which was set up each night was only a few hundred meters from the house, with a clear view out over the bare plain. At random intervals one of the two people on patrol would do a slow walk around the perimeter, always making sure that there was no predictability to the routine. There was less chance of someone managing to sneak up on them that way.
As Zahir gazed off into the distance, watching nothing in particular, he suddenly became aware of a presence behind him. One hand tightening on the handle of his gun, he turned quickly, only to shake his head when he saw Archer standing a few feet away. The Israeli tilted his head slightly, an almost amused expression hinting on his face.
'You're jumpy tonight Arab,' he said softly.
Zahir said nothing in reply, he just turned back to face the road and the main gate. He was aware that Archer was moving behind him, and heard a very slight thud as he perched on the bonnet of the range rover.
Silence very quickly consumed the area, only broken by the occasional whistle of wind or the call of a nocturnal bird. It was almost suffocating, and very dull in Zahir's mind. Usually on these patrols the time would be passed talking or playing some kind of board or card game. Never anything that took up too much concentration, but something to make the hours pass a little faster.
After one or two slow trudges each around the perimeter, Zahir had just about had enough of the silence. It didn't seem to be bothering Archer at all, he appeared more than happy perched on the bonnet of the car, only moving when it was his turn to walk.
'Tell me, Israeli, when did you first learn to shoot?' Zahir asked quickly.
He was a little disappointed when Archer just looked over at him calmly, as if he wasn't surprised at all by Zahir's sudden outburst. He shrugged nonchalantly, 'a while ago.'
Zahir was quick to add Archer's ability to turn even the most open ended question into a closed one to his list of things which he disliked about the Israeli. But he wasn't deterred.
'So I'm assuming you learnt at a young age? When you were still a child?'
This time Archer actually looked over at him, 'that idea seems to confuse you. That I learnt how to handle one these,' he rested a hand on the long barrelled sniper rifle beside him, 'when I was still young.'
Zahir shrugged, 'I do not see why it is a skill which a child would need. I did not learn how to handle weapons of any kind until I was a man.'
Even through the darkness he could see one of Archer's eyebrows rise in a sceptical, almost annoyed manner, 'we don't all share your privileged upbringing Arab. Besides, it wasn't a skill that I needed to learn, it was a skill that I wanted to learn.'
'My upbringing was not as privileged as you may think,' Zahir felt the need to defend himself on that matter.
For the first time since he had arrived, Zahir heard Archer laugh. Almost instantly the cold, low, cynical sound was added to the list. There was no humour behind it, and it made the hairs on the back of Zahir's neck stand up from pure discomfort.
'What is so funny Israeli?'
'You were raised as the second son of the most powerful Sheikh in the United Arab Emirates. But you're still trying to claim that your upbringing was not that privileged. Are you self conscious of how you were raised Arab? You'll have to forgive me if I find that amusing.'
Zahir glared at the infuriating man seated only a few meters away from him, 'you find others discomfort amusing? Perhaps I have misjudged just how heartless you actually are.'
The expression on Archer's face did not change, save for the slight lift of one of the corners of his mouth into a snake like smile, 'I don't think you know enough about me to make judgements.'
'Yet you seem to know everything about us.'
'I work for Mossad. It's our job to know everything about everyone.'
The statement was so matter-of-fact that Zahir could really think of no argument for it. After all, it was true. And there was no real way to argue with the truth. Instead, Zahir picked up his gun and stood. He wished to take no further part in this conversation. In fact, he hoped that he would never have to engage in a one on one conversation with Archer again.
He would have to speak to Jack, he decided, to make sure that he would never be paired with the Israeli again for one of the night shifts. It probably wouldn't end well for either of them if they had to sit through another night like that, they just weren't going to get along. As he had said to Jack and the others many a time, while he had to accept that Archer would be staying with them now, it wasn't something that he had to like.
And Zahir didn't like him.
In fact, he totally and utterly hated him.