Disclaimer: I do not own Human Target and intend no copyright infringement.
The first thing Elaine realized when she woke up was that she wasn't in pain anymore. She wondered if she had died and gone to heaven. Then she opened her eyes and saw who was sitting in an armchair right next to her bedside. No, she definitely wasn't in heaven. Not if he was here.
At the sight of him, goose bumps started creeping all over her body. Her left and her right hemisphere seemed to be at loggerheads with each other: On the one hand she was feeling definitely better, on the other hand this was the man she had been mortally afraid of for a whole decade. What was this about? It maybe would've helped to put her at ease a little if he had smiled at her, but smiles, at least the non-eerie ones, weren't part of his repertoire.
"You'll be thirsty." Guerrero held a glass of water out to her. She stared at it as if she expected it to explode.
In a Herculean effort, Elaine managed to muster up the sorry remnants of the courage that was left in her after the last few hellish days. "Don't get me wrong… it's not just that you shot me, significantly slowed down my career and cost me countless nights of sleep…" She coughed. "I've attended autopsies of some of the people you poisoned." Her shaking hands didn't leave the blanket.
Guerrero took a sip from the water and held the glass out to her again.
Elaine seriously considered just letting it fall, but on the other hand she was indeed very thirsty. And since he hadn't killed her so far… Considering what she had learned about Guerrero from his files, he wouldn't have waited to see her die while being fully conscious. As far as she knew he had always struck fast, often before the victims even had a chance to understand what was going on. Slowly, very slowly, she took the glass and lifted it to her lips. The water tasted like it should. No ominous additives, just pure water. To her dry mouth and sore throat it tasted like the best champagne in the world.
"We managed to retrieve the bullet", someone said. Elaine cautiously turned her head. A blond muscular man with bright blue eyes was leaning against a wall at the far end of the room, a Rottweiler at his feet. She knew his face only too well. Oh boy, the man that Joubert's people referred to as "Junior". The day was really looking up. "The infection is already subsiding. Another day or two of rest and you'll be fine."
A second voice spoke up: "With the information from that memory stick of yours we think we'll be able to flush out the perpetrators." It belonged to a huge baldheaded Afro-American she had never seen before. "It'll be a bit tricky and it'll take some planning, but chances are next week this time you'll be lying on your own sofa again, with no need to worry about hidden bombs or sniper attacks."
Their guest stared into the distance for a long moment, then she locked eyes with Guerrero. He held her gaze. With utter surprise she realized that he had actually meant the words he had spoken to her back in the alley, right before shooting her "I'm going to make up for this". For the past ten years she had those words believed to be a crude taunt. "I didn't even ask for your help", she said.
"You should have", he replied. "Would have saved you some trouble."
Elaine sighed. This was crazy, trusting these people, but on the other hand it wasn't that she had that many other options left. "You know you're in really deep trouble when the only ones you can trust are assassins", she muttered drowsily, more to herself than to anyone else. Weighted down with weariness she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Chance and Winston moved towards the door. "I'll be needing an ID to get into that FBI unit", Chance told Guerrero before he and Carmine left the room.
"And some background information on the team members would be great, too", Winston added, then hesitated for a moment. With the slightest of touches, he patted the sitting man's shoulder. Once.
Left alone with sleeping Elaine, Chance's words in the car came back to Guerrero's mind: "Never let her out of your sight."
"I won't", Guerrero whispered. "I won't." Silent as a mouse he put his notebook down on the table next to Elaine's makeshift bed, lifted the computer's lid and began to work.
- the end -