The Vietnam air was warm and breezy as Bourne strode along a rutted back alley. In his hands he held a crumpled newspaper.
A short flight of stairs led into the back part of a stone building. Two more flights of stairs brought him to private apartment nestled on the roof of the multi-story building. The rooms were small, but brightly decorated.
After leaving the Chinese hospital in search of one that could offer more advanced care, they'd spent the last several weeks in different hospitals up and down the Vietnam coast.
His footsteps on the tile floor made one of the two figures on the small deck turn slightly. Dominic raised a finger to his lips and motioned to the figure in the deck chair beside him.
Bourne squinted in the bright sun. "He's gonna roast if you let him sleep in the sun too much, Dom."
Dominic looked down at his own gaunt and pale chest and shrugged.
Bourne handed him the paper. "…From several weeks ago; I couldn't translate the whole thing − you know better."
Dom took the proffered paper and slowly read the headline out loud. "Group of Americans expelled from country after suspicious death of activist and another man."
Dom tugged at his small earring and smiled. He got up off the small deck chair and limped inside. Bourne took the chair and looked over at Paz, only to find him watching him.
Bourne took one of Paz's legs and massaged it for a minute.
"Do they still tingle?" he asked. Paz nodded, but looked discouraged.
Bourne frowned and moved over to the railing. The streets were quiet, and Bourne felt a restlessness come over him. He was tired of the inactive lifestyle he'd been living for the past several months with these two disabled people, especially as it was looking as if Paz might never walk again.
Immediately, he felt bad for thinking that way. Paz had almost died saving his life, and now he was bored with caring for him.
He walked back into the cool indoors where Dom was patiently dismantling a pomegranate. He pulled up a chair across from him. "Dom, what would you say if I returned to Europe?"
Dominic considered the question as he dug out a few more seeds. He finally put down the pomegranate and looked Bourne in the eye.
"Bourne, I owe you my life… and…and I'll always be totally indebted to you." He looked down for a moment. "If you want to leave, go ahead. I will stay and care for Paz for as long as it is necessary. You have my word."
Two years later ~ Southeast Asia
The sun glinted off the sparkling water as a fast boat moved along the verdant coast of a large island. Row upon row of fruit trees and fields dotted the gently rolling landscape.
The boat pulled up to a wharf in a natural harbor surrounded by warehouses and other buildings of varying shapes and sizes.
A grizzled man stepped out of the boat, hoisted a battered rucksack on his shoulders and walked up the boardwalk. The path split, one going down to the busy fields and orchards, and another up to several houses set on the side of the hill.
He turned slowly to take in the spectacular scenery and the people working, and then took the path down to the fields. Setting the rucksack down under the shade of a coconut tree, he sat down to watch the activity.
His attention was drawn to a familiar blond figure on horseback making his way towards him.
Dominic stopped in front of him and swung off his horse.
"I'm glad you found a tree, it's too hot to be out in the open this time of day."
Bourne appraised him briefly, taking in the muscular and tanned figure.
"You look better than the last time I saw you, Dom."
"And you look worse," Dom quipped before sobering. "I'm sorry about the death of your friend, I heard about it on the news."
Bourne looked down for a moment and it was all quiet save for the sound of the birds chirping. Finally, he looked up at the houses questioningly.
"Yes, Sebastian's up there; probably having a siesta."
"He goes by his real name now," Dominic explained.
Bourne started for the house.
"Don't underestimate him," came from behind him. He turned and smiled at Dom before continuing on his way.
Bourne slid aside the curtains covering the back doorway and stepped into the house. The interior was dark and cool. Red tile covered the floor and the wood furniture was simple but elegant.
He padded up behind a man sitting on a wheeled chair facing a row of windows. His head was down and he appeared to be sleeping. Remembering Dom's words, Bourne softened his footsteps until he was standing directly behind him. He grabbed the chair and spun it around towards him, only to have a startlingly strong hand grip his own and twist it, bringing him crashing down to his knees and eye level with a sleek gun held steady in the other person's hand.
Paz stared in surprise at him for a breath before snorting in amusement and releasing him.
"Gosh, have you never heard of knocking?"
"The reception's usually better if I come unannounced," Bourne retorted, getting stiffly to his feet. He walked a full circle around Sebastian, a smile playing on his lips.
Sebastian watched him. "I haven't seen you in years…I… heard about Nicky; I'm sorry. I know you cared deeply for her."
Bourne ran his hand through his graying hair. "I know − I'm sorry too."
He picked up a stout cane that was leaning against the wall and handed it to Sebastian, who accepted it and got up.
Bourne walked beside him as he limped heavily over to the windows, which turned out to be full-length doors leading out to a slim balcony.
Leaning against the railing, they surveyed the scenery together in companionable silence.
"Dominic lives over there?" he motioned to a similar sized house a distance away.
"Mmm-hmm…he and his wife and baby," Sebastian said, ruffling his thick black hair.
Bourne nodded in approval.
"What about that house?" Bourne gestured to a third house.
"A widow and her son, she was, ah…used to be at least, the wife of a friend of mine, Henri…you wouldn't know him." Sebastian finished quietly.
Bourne sensed regret in his voice and didn't press the matter.
"You're welcome to stay here as long as you want. My home is your home; whenever you need it," Sebastian said, changing the subject.
His legs were shaking now and they walked back inside and took seats in the kitchen area. Sebastian brought out drinks and toasted Jason's 'return in one piece and not in a coffin'.
"Pa-Sebastian," Bourne corrected himself, "I still have one more place I need to go."
"Russia?" Sebastian guessed.
Bourne nodded, "Are you interested in a trip?"
He watched a spark of adventure light in Sebastian's eyes for a beat, than disappearing.
He shook his head. "I'd just slow you down, and besides, I have lots to do here."
Bourne nodded in acquiescence, "Dominic had told me he'd found a little dilapidated spot." He looked down to the neat row of warehouses. "You two must have put in a lot of work."
Sebastian shrugged, "He did the physical labor, and I did the mental; it helped get my mind off my…injuries."
Bourne realized he was staring at the assortment of scars on Paz's forearm and turned away
"Are you going back to India too?"
Bourne shook his head. "No, I'll stick around here for a while, I'm tired."
Later that evening, as Bourne sat at the long table in Dominic's house, holding Dom's little baby, being served by his lovely wife, he caught Dominic's eye and smiled.
When Sebastian excused himself and disappeared to the bathroom, Bourne turned to Dominic.
"I didn't know your wife was brought to you." Bourne grinned.
Dominic returned the smile. "Sebastian has a hobby of finding people who are in a need of a …safer...place to stay."
Bourne nodded as he watched the dark-haired widow and her little son sitting on the opposite side of the table. "Has he found one for himself too?" Bourne winked.
Dominic laughed out loud, but didn't answer.
"Sebastian tells me you are going to Russia; I thought you were staying here." Dominic expression turned to worry.
"I don't think it will be a long trip," came from behind Bourne. He looked behind him at Sebastian standing in the darkened doorway.
"And as I already told him", Sebastian smiled, "there's always room for one more."
Thanks so much for reading my little story. It is much appreciated :)
Special thanks to angel85qcca, Moon lantern, and enfield4forever; without them this story would not have been possible :D