There was no turning back. Not for Jason and not for Sabine.
They were standing on the crowded train terminal, Jason leaning against a sign that had a map of all of the possible train routes from Paris to London, where Sabine and Jason were looking to go. Sabine, however, was nowhere to be found. He had last seen her examining the graffiti on the inside of the station, following the bright and almost spastic designs down the wall.
Jason clenched his teeth. His mood had been worsening steadily since he had glanced at his watch and learned that it was approaching ten at night and their departure was still looming and not already gone. Instead, he focused on the milling crowd around him, which consisted of the sort of group that you could find in any well-known foreign city. Well dressed business people, groups of tourists all talking in different languages and sometimes following a tour guide like lost puppies and locals, sitting and smoking or reading and looking at the tourists with disdain and irritation at being interrupted to be asked a question that they probably didn't know the answer to.
But despite the enormous crowd, the train station, with security cameras positioned at every possible angle, probably wasn't the best of places for them to be at for an extended period of time. Police officers regularly walked up and down the terminals, weaving through the crowd and they were able to congregate at any spot at any time if they had any inkling that something was wrong. Jason would have liked to have arrived at the station with just enough time to make their train, as was the way an assassin was trained. But Sabine had assured him that if they tried to just make it, they would miss it marginally. So they had ended up leaving much earlier and arrived with about fifteen minutes before the train was to arrive. It was too much time. Too much could go wrong.
He thought back to Waterloo and blinked himself back to full awareness. He straightened away from the sign and took a couple of steps in the direction that he had last seen Sabine wandering off in. It wasn't hard to find her. She was standing just outside the small shop near the entrance to the station and was using a pen that, judging by the expression on the face of the employee who couldn't have been more than eighteen, she had asked to borrow and had yet to return to scribble something on her hand. Jason approached her and was able to see that she was drawing designs on her arms, spanning from the tips of her fingers to her elbow and he slid the pen from her hand while he tilted his head towards hers so he could be heard over the hustle and bustle of the station. He told her, "I'm going to go make a phone call. We leave in just a couple more minutes, so stay here and we'll meet up in a minute."
She had a slightly dazed look in her eyes but nodded and picked the pen back up just as the poor employee had been getting ready to try and discreetly slide it across the counter and slip it back into the cup and quickly went back to scribbling cryptic designs up her arm.
The phones were located down a side hallway, separated from the main terminal by a wall of thick stone to provide some sort of blockade towards the loud noises of the rest of the station. All five of the phones were open, but he took the one the furthest down and picked up the receiver as he punched in the number that he had used not too long ago to find out the final pieces of the puzzle that was his life – that is, his name and birthday, although the birthday had really just been a code.
It had been a smart move on Pamela's part.
There was the automated clicking of a transatlantic switchboard and then Pamela apparently accepted the charges. "Pamela Landy," she answered and Jason exhaled quietly.
"I'm surprised you haven't changed your number yet," Jason mused as his greeting.
"Bourne?" Jason could almost see the surprised look on the woman's face, the wide eyes and severely arched eyebrows raised.
"You have to be up to your neck in the press around this thing."
There was a pause and Jason glanced at watch as he listened to the sound of papers and a drawer slam. "Where are you?"
"I want to set up a meeting." Blunt, straight to the point, less of a request and more of an informative statement. It had always worked for Jason, especially when it came to Pam. "About my file." He added as an afterthought.
There was a pause and Jason glanced at watch as he listened to the sound of papers and a drawer slam. "We've had this discussion before, Bour-"
"It was circumstantial," Jason interrupted. "You still had your CIA agents looking for me and I didn't feel like making it just that much easier for them." He didn't have time for this, not now.
"What makes you think that this is the most 'circumstantial' time for me?" asked Pamela. "We are in the midst of some of the biggest trials that we've ever have to deal with and I'm not about to drop everything I have to do to get prepared to meet with supposedly-dead Jason Bourne."
"They trained me. It'll be no shock to them that I'm alive." He said, his voice drenched in sarcasm.
Another squeak and Jason could see her shifting around, agitated. "Your file is in government custody." She stopped talking, but Jason knew that she wasn't at all finished and stayed silent. "You were the best. If they need evidence against Hirsch and Vosen, they'll find it in you."
Jason didn't answer. He looked down at his watch and saw that they had been talking for three minutes and thirty two seconds, three minutes of which had been spent in silences. His tone was sharp when he said, "You'll find a way."
Pamela didn't miss a beat. "When?"
The intercom crackled to life and Jason hurried to speak before anything was said, less give Pamela and whoever she had working with or for her a clue to where he was.
"How long do you think it'll take me to get to New York?" He hung up and turned away from the phone.
Jason was surprised to see, when he turned around, Sabine standing a little ways up the wall. She was leaning casually against the wall and was turned away from the rows of phones, but it didn't change his slight confusion. When he set his hand on her shoulder she turned around, not shocked or surprised, just turned. "You moved," he commented as he continued to walk past her.
She didn't answer immediately, hoisting her bag, the tiny duffle that she had thrown together in a good two minutes at Jason's instruction, higher onto her shoulder and followed him quickly towards the idling Eurostar. Jason hadn't brought anything, deciding that the few things he had picked up since coming to Paris wasn't worth the risk of going back to his hotel. Sabine had to do a quick side step to avoid running into a frazzled looking tourist who was too engrossed in their map to watch where they were going and ended up stuck as another group of people passed in front of her, all heading for the same train they were looking to get onto.
Large crowds on a Eurostar were a mixed blessing. Eurostars in general, were mixed blessings. They didn't have the privacy of a regular train because they didn't have any sort of cabins. Crowds would be both good and bad, the noise Jason assumed a crowd would make would drown out any whispered conversation he and Sabine might have. But if it didn't and one of them said the wrong thing that was overheard by the wrong person, it could turn into a very bad situation in a very short amount of time. But they were the fastest way out of Paris. More a means to an end than anything else, and the two and half hour trip would be worth it if it left Jason enough time to get a plane ticket for a fairly early flight the next day and, further still, giving him enough time to think beyond going to New York.
Honestly, he didn't know if Pamela could get his file back from whoever was looking through it to clues about what Treadstone and Blackbriar were. What they still are and what they could become if they didn't take those in charge – Kramer and Vosen and Hirsch – and get rid of the source right then and there all together. He didn't know what would happen if his reappearance was publicized or if he'd be forced to speak to someone about what had gone on in the Operations.
The silence between them on the train was heavy and awkward. Sabine had her forehead resting against the window, one hand propping her chin up as she watched the French scenery flash by. Jason shifted uncomfortably and tried to read, for the umpteenth time, all of the papers that he had saved up, collected and written on since Marie had suggested it. It was pointless. He knew every word of every line, could recite the articles in his sleep and rewrite the pages upon pages of his dreams and flashes of memories at the first mention of them.
Jason stared at the pages without reading them, mind moving faster than the train. He gripped the closet thing he had to a past, the closest thing he had to a life. And being able to hold something that should mean so much to its owner scared him. It made him feel open and vulnerable. Remembering wasn't the same thing as knowing, as having lived an experience or having known a person. It scared him now, used to anger him, and he had no doubt that in the future it would lead to a sense of numbness.
The feeling of someone being close to him, too close to him, startled Jason and he jerked awake. He sat up fast enough to almost hit his head on Sabine's, but she rolled back on her knees and blinked at him with her dark black eyes. She had moved from sitting across from him to the seat beside him and was peering at him with confused interest. "Didn't I ask you not to let me fall asleep?"
"You were only half asleep," she assured him in her soothing tone. "And whatever you have to stay awake for, you'll be able to do a lot better well rested." He noticed that she was holding the papers he'd previously been looking at cautiously, holding them only with her thumb and forefinger and Jason reached to take them from her.
"I've gotten more sleep in the last couple days then in the last couple of months." He began rearranging the papers for no reason other than he had Sabine's full attention and wasn't sure what to do with it.
"I saw my father accept a payoff when I was eight," She told him after five minutes of silence with no prompting for any sort of conversation from his side. Jason didn't respond. "He threatened to kill me if I told anyone." She finished another three minutes or so later
Jason blinked in surprise at her and, before he could stop himself, asked, "What for?"
She answered automatically, the fastest reply he had gotten from her since they had met, "You have your off limits topics and I have mine."
"Then why are you telling me?" He retorted automatically. Jason regretted the words as soon as he said them. Though Sabine was sitting on her knees and turned in the seat so she was fully turned towards him in what could be interpreted as an open stance, Jason noted the defiant tip of her chin and the sure gaze with which she met his. It wasn't how he expected an almost-victim to look; it certainly wasn't how any of the victims he could remember had ever looked at him.
"I wasn't lying about having some questions for you," She reminded him, voice low and whispery, like she was scared of waking someone. "And if I remember correctly, you 'have little reason to share'," She paraphrased. "And now you do." And now he did.
No he didn't. And so he stayed silent, estimating the time average time that it took Sabine to respond to him. Waiting long enough for Sabine to seem to deflate slightly, shift her weight awkwardly and the tip of her chin fell. Then he told her, not because she was looking at him in that hopeful, 'don't-let-me-be-wrong' way, or because she was right, because she wasn't, or because she was one of the only ones who had ever asked.
He told her because he was interested to see what her reaction would be. Not so much what she'd do, because he had a pretty good idea that she'd simply stare over her shoulder and maybe her eyes would lose focus. Then she'd say something horribly ambiguous that would still calm him down because it was Sabine and she had shown herself to be built on misunderstanding.
He told her his story that amounted to something like a paragraph in a book of tragedies. He didn't offer any back-story, anything deeper than surface level. It was all without explanation, just simple facts that framed his being.
Sabine didn't say anything, just sat and stared over Jason's shoulder and out the window thoughtfully, biting on her thumbnail without looking like she knew she was doing it. Jason eventually turned back towards the window and looked out it long enough to think that Sabine had fallen asleep. "I'll call you David, if you want," She offered awkwardly.
Jason turned and surveyed her. Most of the patrons around them were sleeping and her pupils were blown in the dim light. "I'm not David Webb," He replied simply. It wasn't self-pitying, nor bitter, but instead as if it were as obvious as the Earth revolves around the sun and there were twenty-four hours in a day and that was that. And for him, it was.
Sabine tilted her head slowly, eyes unfocused. "I don't know about that –" Jason opened his mouth to cut her off but she continued smoothly, "- I think you are. I think you're him more than you know. More than anything in the world." Her eyes snapped back to him, suddenly and startlingly focused. It was a little overwhelming for Jason, all of a sudden, having Sabine's entire attention. She looked at him like he held the answers to a life that she'd been living for hundreds of years and still hadn't gotten it right yet. "You're just taking your time figuring it all out."
It was the last thing either of them said for a long time.
a/n: Sorry, sorry, sorry for the long wait! I know, I said that last time blahblahblah, but I was having some mental blocks about this chapter. But I actually ended up really liking how it turned out, so I think it was worth it. Thanks so much for reading, seriously!