A huge thank you to all of you lovely reviewers! (I can always count on you, DarkFay! And yay! New fan, Moonraven81!) Also, to all of you who followed and favorited.
Apologies for taking so long with this update, but you know... Life can be a bee. :P
Anywho, I'm really liking where this story will be heading, and hopefully you all will too. Its going to be very different from all the usual Bourne storylines, so hang on to your butts!
-Hawkward Russian Out
"For god's sake, Cross, stop pacing," Jason groaned from the corner.
Running a hand through my hair I stopped in the middle of my progress across the length of the scuffed cement floor, a trip I had made at least forty times within the past hour, and turned to glance at Jason.
"It won't make her wake up any faster," he said as if by way of explanation, his own person cool and collected in a wooden chair far too small for him, drawn up in the corner.
In answer I gave a halfhearted nod, and turned to once more check that the bonds on our prisoner were securely tied, pausing for a moment to look up into her face.
My old partner. My old friend. The woman who I had thought died years ago, now attempting to murder me in my sleep.
"Its not safe for her to be here, you know." Jason murmured from the corner, his voice echoing strangely in the dank, old public restroom we were in.
"I know," I said, standing up from my crouch beside Monroe, who was still unconscious, sagging on the floor, handcuffed by both wrists in between two urinals. "Which is why we're in the restroom of an old burned out Elementary school, instead of back at the house."
"Aaron, the woman tried to kill you. Whatever allegiance the two of you used to owe each other, I think you can safely assume no longer applies."
"That's just it, Jason," I replied in a low murmur, still staring at the face of the woman before me. "She tried to kill me. The old June I used to know would never do such a thing. I need to know why."
Jason was quiet for a bit, his eyes watching me, before asking quietly "tell me about her?"
Digging up old memories was all I had been doing since Marta first switched on the kitchen lights.
"I first met her in boot camp, back before Outcome," I began. "Even before we were officially introduced, she stuck out. She was hot, the top of her class, feisty….all the guys loved her. But she was more than just a pretty face. She was kind. Caring. Strong. She took me in, in a way. Befriended me, watched my back, helped me through training…"
I sighed, shaking my head. "Honestly, she's the only reason I scraped through boot camp. She never judged me, you know? She took the time to get to know me beyond my deficiencies, and as a guy who can barely remember his own name, I worshipped her. She was my friend. My only friend."
Jason nodded, his face soft. He was beginning to understand, and this time, when he looked at Monroe's unconscious form, I saw more curiosity in his eyes, than wariness.
"So what happened?" he asked.
Pacing over to the opposite wall, I sighed again and leaned against it, eyes staring at nothing as I relived the past.
"What happened is that we both graduated from boot camp, and were stationed at the same base in an active combat zone in Iraq—and even though we had two very different roles, we still looked out for each other. Until one morning her team rolled out, and never came back. The next day, news was around the base that she was KIA, her team victims of a surprise attack by insurgents."
I paused in my narrative, thinking back to that day. "It was like I lost the only form of family I ever had." Snapping out of my small trance, I glanced up at Jason. "That's why I don't understand, Bourne. There was no fight. There was no dramatic break in our friendship. We were as close from the time we met, all the way up until she died—or at least, I thought she did. I can't find any reason why she would want to murder me in my sleep!"
"And it's not just that," I continued. "It's how she tried to kill me. There was something off about it. She was faster. Stronger. Smarter. Silent, and extremely effective. June has always been good, Jason, but tonight, she wasn't just good—she was trained. She was better than me, Bourne. Better than Outcome. And I need to find out how."
Turning, I looked at Monroe. She looked different than I remembered her. Slightly older, yes, as must I, but it was more than that. Her face was hard and troubled, even in sleep, as if she had seen things most can't imagine. As if she had done them.
"I need to find out why," I repeated.
Jason nodded again. "Okay. When she wakes, we'll question her. We'll get your answers. And then… It's your call."
I nodded. I knew what he meant.
It's your call.
My call whether June Monroe, whoever she may be now, should be allowed to live, or be labeled too much of a threat to keep alive.
"She's waking up," Bourne suddenly said in a low tone, rising from his chair.
Spinning around, I watched as, true to his word, our prisoner began to regain consciousness.
With a groan, she shifted in her position on the floor against the wall, her head lulling to the left and then slowly raising. Suddenly, her entire form went rigid, the handcuffs rasping against the piping of the urinals as she must have come to and realized were she was and her situation. With a jerk of the head, bright brown eyes glared coldly at both Jason and I.
If looks could kill…
"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty," Jason commented dryly by my side, folding his arms.
I kept silent, my face a careful mask, watching her closely.
I'm not sure what reaction I was expecting, but the one I got didn't make the list.
Throwing her head back, the woman before us laughed—not the bright, contagious sound I remembered, but a harsh, scornful laugh, as if we were the brunt of some awful joke.
"Jason Bourne," she cooed, turning to look at him, a cold smirk still on her lips, her voice perfect and clear. "I wasn't expecting to see you here."
Beside me, Jason frowned. "I don't know you."
"Of course not," she answered smartly. "But I know all about you. The rogue operative who singlehandedly caused the death of over a score of government agents, just so that he could solve his little adolescent identity crisis. Really Bourne, I thought you reached puberty thirty years ago."
Bourne opened his mouth to reply, but the woman before us was already moving on, this time, turning her head to look at me.
"And Kenny…" she exhaled smoothly, almost in a patronizing sigh. "The stupid little army brat who didn't know which way to point a muzzle. Not so stupid now, are we, Cross? Look at you, all stone, muscle, and little blue pills." She smirked, dropping her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "Do you need some of those pills to get it up for your precious Doctor?"
It hurt, I confess, to see what I had considered to be one of my closest friends look me in the eye with scorn, but no matter what I was feeling, I didn't let an ounce of it reach my face.
I'd be damned if the man before her wasn't the hardened assassin I was trained to be.
"What happened to you, Monroe?" I asked, my voice hard, and tone more of a command than a question.
"What happened is you screwed up!" she shot back, tossing her head defiantly to get the hair out of her face. "You screwed up bad. What did you think, Kitsom? Huh? You think you could stick your bloodstained hands where they shouldn't be? Wash them off, and walk away, calling yourself innocent? Oh, but of course, cause you're poor stupid little Kenneth Kitsom, always the victim. Well you're wrong. You're dead wrong. And now you started something no one ever was meant to do. That no one ever survives."
She chuckled, a bright, melodious sound, that somehow sounded infinitely ominous. "You pissed him off. You really pissed him off. And now… we're coming for you."
"Who's him? Who's we?" I demanded, with narrowed eyes.
"You know what I think?" she began again, completely ignoring my question, her voice light and cheery. "I think I'll start with your little boy. I haven't skinned anyone alive in a while, and it might be fun with a kid. The screaming is always the best part."
A few feet away, my hands began shaking, my breath inhaling through my nose sharply.
My mask was slipping.
Monroe saw it, and smiled.
"As for your wife… She's what? A few months pregnant? How about an impromptu C-section, so we can see if it's a boy or girl. Would you like that? A few seconds to see what might have been, before they both die?"
With a guttural cry of rage, I lunged at her.
It was a mistake. I knew it would be the moment my brain sent signals to my body to move, but I couldn't help it in the moment.
As for Monroe, it was the action she was waiting for. The instant I made a move for her, using the urinals as leverage, she locked her arms and hoisted herself up, her legs shooting out to wrap around my neck at the exact same moment I reached her. With a twist, we both went down together, while in the chaos of bodies, breath, and clanging of chains against porcelain, I heard the distinct snap of a bone.
It was an old trick. Really the only way to get out of handcuffs without a key, though painful as it required you to break your thumbs.
Monroe had baited me into giving her the leverage needed to complete the action, and cause enough havoc to distract both Jason and I enough for her to move into the offensive.
Her legs still wrapped about my neck on top of me in a déjà vu moment, my elbow snapped up to strike her across the face, but she blocked the blow with her forearm, so with a change of tactic, I gripped that arm like a vice, twisting it painfully away from her, while my other hand snapped up to tangle in her hair at the nape of her neck, yanking her head back.
She gave a small grunt of pain, before her knee snapped up by my face to connect with my jaw, my grip instinctually loosening and allowing her to roll away.
With me down, and June free a few feet away, Bourne drew his weapon and raised it to aim at Monroe; though before he could pull the trigger, her foot snapped up to kick the weapon out of his hands. A quick follow through with her other foot, and Bourne fell heavily on his side, his feet taken out from under him.
I watched June's eyes follow hungrily the progress of the gun as it skittered across the floor, her legs bunching up underneath her as she got her balance and sprang for it.
But I was faster.
Grabbing her shirt, I yanked her back again, causing her to stumble enough for me to slide in behind her and wrap an arm about her neck in a tight chokehold—and though she fought and thrashed, I maintained my grip.
Throwing her weight back, she tried to make my grip loosen by slamming my back against the floor, but I wouldn't let go, even as she clawed bloody nail marks into my arms and tried to reach my face - writhing and arching her back.
For a solid minute she fought for freedom and air, each attempt getting slowly more and more pitiful, until at long last she went limp.
"Jason, get the chains!" I cried, withdrawing my arm the moment she slipped into a coma. I didn't want to kill her.
While I scrambled out from underneath June and caught the gun Jason tossed to me, turning to train it on her from a safe distance, Jason ran out of the room to where we both knew there were a pile of chains in the back of the pickup outside. In a few moments, he returned with the five gallon bucket filled with them, and both of us taking an arm, we dragged Monroe back over the urinals and chained her in place - taking no shortcuts this time.
She wasn't about to get out twice.
"You got a crazy taste in girlfriends, Cross," Jason breathed out with an incredulous laugh. "That bitch is insane!"
"I think I know why…." I responded, busy studying something that had come off in my hands in the struggle.
With a curious tilt of the head, Jason came over to look.
In my hand was a beat up metal dog tag - almost an exact replica of the one I wore in Outcome. Except, this time, instead of the familiar program name inscribed on the back, there was something else entirely.
Elysium - 03
"She's one of us, Bourne…. She's a program participant."
Inside, there were three neat little rows of blood red pills.
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