-Two Months Later-
Birkhoff froze. She was coming right for him, talking animatedly with another recruit…a male recruit. A wide smile lit up her face, her black hair pulled back into a high ponytail.
Biting his lip, he ducted into the men's room. He leaned against the wall, listening for them to pass. Her voice faded down the hall and with a sigh he opened the door. Poking his head out, he caught a flash of her pale legs before she rounded a corner.
"I don't get why you're so intent on talking to him, anyway. I mean, you guys knew each other like, three weeks." The Cleaner frowned. "You've known me two months and you haven't even made a pass at me." He smirked at down her, "And given your track record, that's a little insulting."
Her blue eyes rolled skyward as she chuckled, "I just want to make amends before I go out on my first mission."
"Ah." He nodded, "Nerves. You'll be fine. Just don't get shot at... or shot. That would suck."
"No problem. Want some advice?"
"Duh." Winifred glanced up at the considerably taller man. "What should I do about him?"
"I meant about the mission."
"Oh," She shrugged, "Then no. So what should I do about B?"
"Catch him off guard." Owen smirked, "And be naked. He'll pay more attention to you if you're naked."
"Thanks, that's…that's really helpful." She snickered, pushing her bangs out of her eyes. "Did you come up with that all by yourself, or has Playboy deluded you in to thinking that kind of thing really happens?"
"Can it be both?" He elbowed her lightly in the side, "But seriously, Birkhoff? Couldn't you pick some with, I don't know, a personality?"
"He has a personality!" The woman snapped, "It goes quite well with his god complex! Besides," Her lips twisted into a smirk, "When you're as gorgeous as he is, you don't need a personality."
Owen stared at her. "Birkhoff?" He blinked, repeating, "You think Birkhoff is gorgeous?"
She smiled at him, nodding. "Uh-huh."
The Cleaner pursed his lips, but the corners of them twitched upwards in amusement. "Really?"
"Yes!" She stuck her tongue out in good humor and shoved him playfully, "Why is that so hard to believe?"
"You like him. Like, really like-like him?"
"Well," He wrapped his arms around Fred's shoulders, "We'll just have to find more…covert ways to deal with him." A fine brow rose at him as Owen smirked at her, "I know where his hiding place is."
She wasn't naked. She refused to be naked. No matter how much Owen whined. Instead, she sat on a couch in a private back room of Division, in her workout wear. Was it her fault that the yoga pants clung a little tighter than necessary? Of course not. And could she help it if her tank top left little to the imagination? Damn right she couldn't. Her head lifted as the man in the doorway froze. Birkhoff's mouth fell open at the sight of her, and he almost fled. But his feet stayed rooted to the spot when she beamed at him.
"What are you doing here?" He shut the door quickly, hoping no one had seen her yet. This would be easier if they were alone.
Winifred smirked at him, leaning back into the couch. "What can I say? I wanted to Sey-Mour of Birkhoff."
"You can't be here," Birkhoff stormed over to her and took a firm hold of her arm. Pulling her up, he ordered, "Come on."
"You've been avoiding me for the past two months, B." She wretched her arm from his grasp and frowned at him. "You can talk to me for two minutes."
"Why should I?"
Winifred's brows wrinkled as she met his cold stare. "What?"
"I said, why should I?" His dark eyes sharpened behind his glasses, "What's the point?"
"Uh, we're friends?" She pointed out, "At least we were, before you started blowing me off."
Birkhoff scoffed at her, "You really can't take a hint can you?"
"Apparently not." Crossing her arms, she told him, "Why don't you spell it out for me?"
"I'm not fuckin' interested, okay?"
Heat flooded her cheeks as her blue eyes widened, "What?"
"I'm not interest in you." He leaned over her, disgust evident on his features, "I don't want you. Get out."
"Fuck you," She glared up at him. "No wonder everyone warned me about you."
"Yeah, I'm such an asshole for not wanting to fuck the local tramp," Birkhoff felt a pang of shame as he watched her turn away from him. But he held her forearm tight. She had to get it through her head. They couldn't be together. They couldn't even be friends. It was too risky. He caught her arm as she moved pass by him, "Is it true you were picked up for…what was it?"
"Let me go." Winifred murmured, "You've made your point, just. Just let me go."
He ignored her, demanding in a low voice, "What was it?"
"You know. Don't make me say it." Her lip quivered as she began trying to force his hand off her.
Frowning, he let her go. "Get out."
Not needing to be told a third time, she skirted around him and darted out of the room. The man flinched when the door slammed closed. Falling back onto the couch, he groaned. He cursed everyone he could think of. Percy for moving her. Amanda for telling him to shoot her little 'infatuation' in the head before it flourished. Mostly himself for not having enough spine to tell them both to go to hell when he had the chance. His guilt was only magnified when he noticed the lone cupcake on his table; a single, unlit candle poking out of it, and a bright blue envelope next to it.
Scowling, he gave the coffee table a rough kick, knocking them both across the room.
-The Next Day-
The recruits stood in a line up, listening closely as Percy directed his orders. Eyes forward, backs straight, none of them looked the least bit intimidated by their upcoming missions. Birkhoff frowned at the sight of them. He didn't know she had a mission that day. He eyed his screen. Her picture was zoomed in on, enlarged compared to the others. She didn't look scared. Not even a little. Seymour envied her. He watched as Percy dismissed the rookies. The first thing Winifred did was turn and smile to the woman on her left. He knew her. Nikita. They were seen together often enough. Frowning, he clicked off the camera.
The next four hours were some of the longest of his life. Every so often his eyes would flicker to the elevators, expecting the brunette to exit them, smiling and laughing along with Nikita. But she didn't. He wasn't on security detail this week, it wasn't his shift. Cracking his knuckles, he sighed and spun in his chair. God how long could it take to take out one tiny little mob boss?
The thought had barely passed through his mind before he saw Michael jog by. Birkhoff sat up straighter as the man ducted into the elevator, phone tight to his ear as he, Seymour assumed, bellowed out orders to someone.
"Just a little complication." Percy told him from behind. Birkhoff hadn't even heard him come in. He adjusted his tie with a sniff, "It'll be fine."
But it wasn't. Over the course of forty five painstaking minutes Seymour stood in the doorway of the computer room, watching the elevator doors attentively. One by one the recruits filed back in. Birkhoff met Nikita's eyes as she came in alone. She dropped his stare almost immediately, but not before he caught the flash of grief that hazed over at the sight of him.
Without second thought, he rushed down to the medical bay. It was unusually busy. More recruits had been injured than he expected. Faltering a moment, he moved out of the way of a nurse. "Sorry."
A hand fell on his shoulder, and he spun around to face Amanda. "Come with me." She told him sternly.
He frowned, but followed as she led him into a backside room. It didn't take him long to figure out he had been ushered into the morgue. His eyes landed on a slight body laid out on a table, covered by a thin white sheet. His stomach turned and he took a step back as he noticed the blood staining it. "I don't-"
She ignored him, pushing him closer to the body. "You have to say goodbye. It helps the grieving process."
"I don't want to." He muttered, wincing and looking away as Amanda pulled the sheet back. He closed his eyes, but not before catching the sight of her placid, pallor features.
Birkhoff cringed as Amanda leaned over his shoulder. "It's better this way. That she go before you get too attached. Birkhoff, what you fail to realize that this is, in many ways, a lesson. You just don't see it right now."
"Oh, yeah?" He spat, choking back a sob as he opened his eyes. They landed on Fred's face, completely devoid of any make up. She looked so different without her normal red lipstick. He raised a hand to brush her black hair off her shoulder, but couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't want to touch her. It seemed too…personal. After what he had said… "What could I possibly learn from this?"
"People are expendable, Birkhoff," Amanda told him. "The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be." She gave his shoulder a pat in an aloof manner before stepping away, "I'll give you a moment."
He sighed as the woman left, and the weight of the situation hit him. He'd called her a tramp. It had been the last thing he ever said to her, and why? Because she brought him a fucking birthday card. Yeah. He could see why people warned her about him.
A few tears slipped down his face as his eyes landed on her abdomen. The white sheet had been soaked through with blood.
He really was an asshole.
-Twenty Minutes Prior-
"And …what is it exactly?"
Amanda smiled reassuringly at her. "It's a type of poison."
Winifred smirked, "What kind of poison?" She spun the little canister over in her fingers. "Like, a deadly poison?"
"Potentially. Should you agree to take this mission, we would use it to…" The redhead pursed her lips a moment, "assure that your former life was over."
"You want to fake my death." She speculated, "Why?"
Amanda cleared her throat delicately, "We need to assure that no one here look for you."
"You mean Seymour." Winifred said, completely sure.
"Anyone you come in contact with. This is a very delicate task. Long term surveillance can be...tricky, if people start poking around in your business."
"If I accept this mission, I'd never be able to come back." Her blue eyes lifted to Amanda's, "Would I?"
"Eventually you would."
"What if I didn't want to?" Winifred dropped the woman's stare in favor of eying the small bottle of poison. "What if I wanted to stay in New Zealand, do recon there? Could that be arranged?"
"We can iron out the details when your mission is over; assuming you agree to take it, of course." Amanda tilted her head, "You would shadow another agent for a month, then you would be tested. Assuming you pass the test," She smiled coldly at her, "You would take on a new life. It could be a chance for you to start over in a place where know one knows you. Knows your past."
Fred flushed as she thought of Birkhoff. Clearing her throat, she nodded. "Okay."
"Okay?" Amanda repeated, a pleased smirk on her lips, "You agree?"
"Sure, when do I leave?"
"Right now." Amanda took the canister from her and stuck a needle in the top of it. "We'll transport you in a cargo plane. This should knock you out for about six hours. Should you wake up before you land try not to panic." She moved the young woman's dark hair back from her neck. "Any questions?"
Winifred frowned and shook her head.
Without a second thought, Amanda pushed the needle into the young woman's neck. The poison was fast acting, and soon enough, Winifred lay prone, skin paling by the second. The psychologist striped her, laid her out on the gurney, and wiped her make up off.
Nikita and Birkhoff would be down soon to check on her. To say goodbye.
A/N: First off…I love my Sey-Mour joke. I just…I just do. Second, I can totally see Amanda doing something like this, so I put it in. Originally, I was going to kill her but I got kind of attached, besides, I might make a series about her return(yes, no?) but I'm going to wait until I'm through with my ASC series first. Third; Was it okay Owen was there? I couldn't think of anyone who would jam with Winifred but him. WE ALL WANT TO SEY-MOUR OF BIRKHOFF.