A/N: FFN is acting insane and hasn't let me update for days, but my friend found a way around it. So even though I wanted to put this up this morning, it'll have to do now.
Disclaimer: I do not own lfn
Friday, the Thirteenth
"Be careful, Adam," Elena says, picking up the small boy after he tumbles over his own feet. "Do you know what day it is today?"
He bites his lip through a smile and shakes his head.
"It's Friday, the thirteenth. It' s a day full of bad luck," she replies with a laugh, picking him up and putting him on her hip. "But I'll protect you, my love." Adding a kiss to his chubby cheek, she puts him down to go play with his toys.
You walk in the room after listening to the exchange. Coming up behind you, her arms wrap around your waist, her next kiss goes to the back of your neck. "Are you scared, Michael?" she teases, cuddling closer.
Her embrace is warm and you allow yourself to enjoy it. But you nearly jump out of your skin when you spot Nikita, leaning against the doorway. Her eyes are on you, her fake smile not yet in place.
"I don't believe in superstitions," you say as you step out of the fold of your wife's arms.
But she's now on another subject. "Oh good Nikita - you're awake," Elena exclaims, her mouth by your ear. She must be the balls of her feet to be so high.
There it is, Nikita's smile goes up naturally in greeting. It still shocks you how Elena can buy the facade. But everyone does. No one can see through it. No one can see her heart crumbling behind it. No one can see her great pain. No one, except you.
You walk over, grabbing a mug from the cabinet. You don't want to look at her again, but you know you must. It would look suspicious not to. "Coffee, Nikita?"
She nods. "Yes, thank you." Her voice is scratchy and low. You take in her appearance. Her skin is still moist from when she splashed water on it today. Why did she do that? To wake herself up, or to conceal more of her true self? Had she washed away the tell tale stains of tears? Her eyes were red, but dark circles surrounded them. Another sleepless night?
"So...you don't believe in superstition. You don't believe in intuition. And your beliefs in God have long ran it's course. What do you believe in, Michael?" she has to ask. Her voice is light, as if it's a casual question. But you know better. It was a direct hit.
Elena's looking over in confusion and curiosity. "You sure do remember a lot of those conversations we had during those boring family reunions, don't you?" you say with a laugh. Of course you cover for her. Effortless lying has become an art form for you. A second nature.
You try to think that perhaps it's just the suspected sleeplessness that's the cause of the slip up. But you'd rather not waste your precious time trying to pretend your lies. You have enough people believing them for you.
"Do you believe in superstitions, Nikita?" Elena is on to her next question.
Nikita leans her back against the counter as you take another mug out and pour some of the dark liquid from the pot in to it. "When I was on the...when I was first moved out of my parents' house, I lived in a bad part of town. It was full of black cats roaming around freely. I thought that I'd be cursed every day I woke in that town if I believed in superstitions." She stopped suddenly. You know why. Because she never really did stop believing. Why should she? Living on the streets, she did wake up feeling cursed each and every day. "I tend to believe in living by morals. Honesty. Trust. I think those are the most important things to guide your life by, not artificial frills."
Ouch. Another one, shot directly at your heart.
She always kept up a smile. Never talked about your betrayal. Even sympathizes with you in these hard days. But that didn't mean she wasn't hurting badly. That didn't mean she was all about forgiveness just yet.
You hand her a mug. While you do, your fingers caress hers accidently. She jerks away so forcefully that some coffee spills out of the side, landing on the floor.
You grab a rag and bend to mop it up. Elena's still watching intently. It's time for another cover up. Nikita seems to have this one. She puts a hand on her forehead, a sad smile gracing her lips.
"I'm so sorry. A new town, new bed...I haven't been sleeping very well lately."
You look up at her from your crouched position on the floor. She just confirmed your suspicions. So she wasn't sleeping. Well, neither were you. How would in look when the two recruits who were currently living together had dark circles under their eyes and suffering from insomnia walked in to Section? They're supposed to be playing it like the situation wasn't affecting them in the slightest. But they were betraying themselves without hope of redemption until this whole thing was over.
The day crawls by with agonizing slowness. Nikita and Elena stay cooped in the kitchen, occupying themselves by your wife teaching your former material how to cook. During training, teaching her cooking was the least of your concerns. But now she only knew how to make simple dishes. Anything from a can or box would do for her meals at home.
Meanwhile, you sit on the sofa and watch your son play in blissful ignorance. You even play a few video games, then listen to Adam run around and brag about how he could beat his big, strong daddy. You love his childly innocence. Your thoughts start to drift on how it will effect his innocence when you leave. When you die to him. But you reel the thoughts back. There's plenty of time to focus on your doomed fate when Adam is gone. When you abandon him.
You try to occupy your mind with it that innocence. Let it fill you.
But it can't. Because even though you all keep busy, there's still one very heavy thing on each of your minds.
You're supposed to be getting a phone call today. From Elena's father. And that call with determine whether or not you'll stay living here. Here, with your wife and innocent child.
You're all gathered around, all close by. Silently giving each other support. You all are scared. But only half of you know why you really should be so worried. Only half of you know the real plan. What will happen. How this one, short call will effect your life. Elena's life. Adam's life.
A noise breaks through the silence. It makes you jump, the second time you're caught off guard today. It's the shrill sound of the phone ringing. You hurry to get it - you want to be the one to know your fate first. You can't wait to find out when your misery will start.
And, even now, you can feel the hell of hope rising in your chest. You greet the caller without a single shake of your voice. You owe it to Elena to be strong at such a big moment in her life. You owe her so much.
Now that you know it's her father, you hand the phone to your wife. You don't believe in God. Or fate. But you start praying anyway, even if you're not sure who to.
As Elena told you this morning, it's Friday the thirteenth. The day of bad luck. It's a good thing you don't believe in superstition.