Shafts of sunlight played across the bed. Motes of dust hung in the air, suspended by unseen currents wafting across the room.
The distant sound of a guitar playing reached her ears. Grimacing, she rolled over and attempted to block out the light and noise – but to no avail.
With a frustrated sigh, she sat up in bed. Not quite eight o'clock, the morning was already annoying her.
Not that she was a morning person in general. After all, she had once put a throwing knife through an alarm clock for daring to wake her.
But this – this was supposed to be a weekend of relaxation. Labor Day weekend after Labor Day weekend had been spent in Cabo San Lucas with a man who she wasn't sure she'd ever truly known –
Was he a traitor? Was he a hero? Was he maybe even a little bit of both?
No matter what, though, she had come close to a breaking point, lashing out at the people she considered her friends, lashing out at her superiors – she was on the edge, said the occupational therapist, and she needed some time off.
And so it was that the Spy had been sent on a Company-mandated vacation – five days pretty much as far from Cabo San Lucas as she could get, five days soaking up the sunshine on the shores of the Mediterranean, five days in Patra, Greece.
The Company had chosen well. A hotel that was spitting distance from the Mediterranean Sea, her own suite, the beach out her back door – it was beautiful. But no matter – she couldn't stop thinking about the two of them.
Her asset, and her partner. The Genius and the Killer. Even for just five days, her life seemed strange without the two of them around. It seemed natural for the Killer to be by her side whenever she went anywhere, ready to defend them both at the drop of a hat. And without the Genius – she felt empty without him around.
The worst part was, she had only been here for sixteen hours.
The Genius was her source of greatest joy – and more often than not, her source of greatest frustration. The Spy loved him dearly, loved him like she had never loved a man before him – and yet, she couldn't show him, couldn't tell him, because the Company would rake her over the coals for her impropriety.
But worse yet was that the Genius was so bullheaded, so asinine, so STUPID sometimes. He wouldn't listen to reason, wouldn't follow instructions, would go rushing headlong into situations he knew damn well he couldn't handle.
And the situation was never the same twice. Once, she had been pinned down by gunfire, and he had come charging down the street in the Killer's truck. By luck or by design – she wasn't sure which – he had managed to flatten the Enemy – at the risk of his own life.
Another time, though, it hadn't been mortal danger. There had been no danger at all. They had simply been at the apartment of the Genius' sister, the Doctor, watching a movie with her and her fiancée, the Captain. It had been one of those cookie cutter romantic movies – the type designed to make women feel happy, with a strange degree of success.
Toward the end of the movie, the Genius had done something that the Spy still wasn't sure of his motivations for – whether he decided to be bold, whether he was trying to backstop their cover – she could find no rhyme or reason for it. For he, the Genius, he who hated public displays of affection with a certain alacrity, he had whispered her name –
– the Spy turned toward him, and before she even knew what had happened, she had felt the Genius' lips on her own. Her heart had frozen, her brain had screeched to a halt. Her instincts, every one of them trained and designed by the Company, had screamed, "NO, NO, NO! STOP NOW! ABANDON SHIP!"
And yet, her heart – long unnoticed, but still there, still guiding so many of her actions – quietly whispered, "Don't stop."
For reasons that the Spy yet did not understand, she had followed her heart. She had allowed the Genius to kiss her, and she had kissed him back. It didn't last long, it wasn't anything serious, it was just a sweet, loving kiss – the type that she hadn't experienced in so very, very long.
That was all that had happened. There was nothing further that night – he didn't try it again when she left for the evening, choosing instead to wrap her in his embrace, whispering in her ear again –
"I love you, Sarah –"
– and the Spy had spent the next two days wracked by a million emotions. She had no idea how to continue – nor could she speak with the Genius about what had occurred, because the Store had sent both him and the Killer out of town – a business trip, the Company later told her.
During the briefing, the Spy had grown angry that the Company had allowed the other two to be sent out of town without her being notified. When she snapped and railed at the Director, he very calmly listened, and then informed the Spy that she needed to take a vacation. He justified that the Genius would be perfectly safe in the Killer's company, and that it would look suspicious had the Spy gone along on the trip with them.
And so, it was determined that she would be sent away from the world of spies and killers for five days. The Genius and the Killer would be notified, so that they would not worry when they returned to the City of Angels and found that the Spy was missing.
So here she was, now, lying naked in a bed nearly seven thousand miles away from the Genius. She wondered how he had reacted when the Director had told him –
"You sent her out of town without even telling me?!"
– and knew that it probably hadn't gone over well with him. The Spy allowed the faintest hint of a smile to trace itself on her lips as she thought about how overly protective the Genius seemed to be sometimes –
"Did you ever consider that maybe we had plans for Labor Day Weekend?! Uh, I mean, for our cover, of course."
– not that she needed the protection, of course – put her in a room with a dozen armed men, and five minutes later, she'd be the only one still standing – but it had been so long since she had had a relationship of any sort with a man who knew of her training, and yet was still willing to "be the man" in the relationship –
"Director, did it ever occur to you that the best way to get cooperation from the Intersect is to NOT piss me off?!"
– it was actually refreshing for her. The Spy felt safe when she was around the Genius, even though that if it came down to it, she would be the one keeping him safe.
She sighed and reluctantly swung her body into a sitting position, her feet coming down to land on the floor. A run – a shower – breakfast – coffee, mmm – those would maybe brighten her mood a little.
The Spy drew looks – mostly lascivious ones – as she jogged through the streets of Patra. The form-fitting green t-shirt from the Store and the short jogging shorts didn't help the situation, but having been assigned to Greece for a brief while years before, she had long since learned to blow off the wolf whistles and offers of carnal relations that followed behind her like an invisible tail.
When she returned to the hotel, she entered her hotel room, fully intending to strip down and take a shower, but –
She looked out the back door, and there it was, the Mediterranean Sea, sparkling blue, looking oh so inviting –
And before she knew it, she had stripped down to her sports bra and panties, and was running across the beach, into the surf. The water of the Med was warm, so much warmer than the Pacific ever was – warm, comfortable.
She swam – swam out, till she turned around and realized that she was nearly a quarter mile out. The hotel was distant, far away – and the tide was out. Swimming back in was going to be a workout.
By the time she reached the sand once again, she was exhausted – but exhausted in a good kind of way, in the way where you KNOW you've done good for your body, where every muscle aches but it feels so, so good.
Brushing the wet hair out of her face, she trudged across the beach and back into her hotel room. Without stopping, she closed the door, stripped off her underwear, and locked herself in the bathroom, turning the water as hot as it would go.
Fifteen minutes later, she reluctantly turned the water off. Steam filled the bathroom, creating a hazy mist as she stepped out. She toweled off, and then wrapped another towel around herself.
She stood in the cloud of steam for a few moments, allowing the warm, moist air to soothe her aching muscles, to try to clear her head. Feeling more relaxed than she had in weeks, she opened the door and stepped out –
The Spy was not alone. She couldn't see whoever was in the room with her, but she could feel it. Years of training, sharpening her skills, had led her to be able to tell when there was an intruder.
Making as little noise as possible, she crept, catlike, to where her purse hung by the door. Her backup gun was in the purse, loaded, as always. She reached in, pulled out the snub-nosed .38 revolver –
Slowly pulled the hammer back –
Leveled the gun, pointed straight outwards –
Tiptoed, back to the wall, into the main part of the room, swung around into the kitchen –
"DON'T MOVE!" she shouted, the gun pointed at the intruder –
And the intruder, shocked, whirled around, to look at her –
The Spy's jaw dropped. "What the hell are YOU doing here?" she asked, shocked.
A rueful smile crossed the Genius' face. "I yelled at the Director for sending you away without telling me, and he told me, and I quote, that if it was such a goddamn problem, he'd send me out here too."
Despite the fact that this vacation was supposed to be the Spy's time to be away from the Genius for a little while and to try to work her emotions out, she couldn't help but be happy to see him. A smile crept across her face. "Well, I can't say that I mind that much," she replied.
But then, then all those emotions, the ones that she never got to process, because the Store sent the Genius away, came rushing to the surface. The very reason she was sent away – to process – had been negated by his presence.
The Spy had to know something, though. "Monday night," she said quietly. "You said something… and I have to know if you meant it, or if it was just one of those 'in the moment' sort of things."
The Genius smiled. "You mean, the part where I said, 'I love you, Sarah'?"
The Spy nodded. "That's the one."
His smile got even bigger. "Of course I meant it. I meant it with every fiber of my being."
She looked down at the floor and smiled shyly. It wasn't right. Men weren't supposed to love her. Men who fell for her were supposed to fall for her because she was doing her job, not because she had fallen for them, too."
The Spy looked back up at the Genius. He had an expectant look on his face, a twinkle in his eyes, and the smile that she always loved to see. As she thought about what to say, she could feel her heart pounding at what felt like double-time, the sound of blood rushing in her head –
She crossed the kitchen to him –
Without saying anything, she wrapped her arms around his back, and rested her head against his chest. She smiled and closed her eyes. He held her for a moment, and then –
"You know, you're getting my shirt awfully wet there."
The Spy laughed. "I'm sure you'll live."
The Genius gently pushed her away from him, and looked her in the eyes, a mock-serious look on his face. "I don't know… I like this shirt a whole lot, and there's a big wet spot on it – it might be the end of me."
Sarah Walker rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Chuck Bartowski, you will be absolutely fine, if only because…"
She took a breath, and smiled. "If only because I love you, too."