Another Time Leaving

She wakes up first.

It's not often she shares a bed with him; rarer still that she lets herself fall asleep. She's always gone long before he wakes up. This particular night finds them in a hotel in Berlin. He had a job, she followed, they saved each other's lives. A normal day in the life. It's always hotels, she thinks absently. She's never been to his apartment, and doesn't know where hers is. That's a line she doesn't want to cross, a level of intimacy she can't bring to this relationship.

She knows she should be leaving. It's already three a.m., and Leon usually wakes up around five. But she can't bring herself to move. Normally, they sleep on opposite sides of the bed—or rather, he sleeps, she pretends to do so until it's time to leave. But tonight, for some reason, they're tangled together in the middle of the bed. He's got one leg thrown over hers, and his arm curled around her back. Her head is tucked against his chest, and she's draped one arm across his waist. She tells herself she's not moving because she doesn't want to wake him, but that's not really true.

She wants to feel human for a little while longer. Her job requires that she deny herself of anything she might want… emotions, human contact—if it's not part of the mission, it's not necessary. These liaisons, these nights spent with him, are a rare chance to be a woman, not a weapon. She can't ever let herself feel safe, or wanted, or protected. But now, as she listens to Leon's heartbeat, she feels all of that. And it's so hard to let go.

He's the same way, she knows. Giving up your sense of self for the betterment of the cause, stealing brief moments for yourself—its part of their life. They chose it, and now they have to live with it. She suspects that Leon's kept more of an identity than she has. He knows his purpose, his past, his name.

Once, he asked what her real name was. She gave him a cryptic reply about names being whatever you answer to, in order to cover up the fact that she didn't know. She's had many names, but she knows none of them are her "real" name. Ada Wong might as well be; it's what he calls her, and he makes her feel real.

Reluctantly, she begins to disentangle herself from him. As she slides out of bed and gets dressed, she can sense her emotions fading. They don't disappear; she's not a complete automaton, despite what some in the organization say about her. She's simply in control. But she doesn't feel safe anymore, and there's an empty place inside where that feeling should go.

She pauses at the window and looks back at Leon. He's still asleep, the streetlight outside highlighting his face. She turns away. There are so many reasons this is wrong. They're playing for rival sides, they can't ever be anything close to normal, they way he makes her feel is addictive and weakening. But she doesn't care. They can have the rest of her—her past, her present, her future, her name—but she's keeping Leon. He's the only thing that counts.