Part four and the epilogue of Poison. Sorry about the end in advance, but the arc will continue into my last story in the Safehouse arc. Thanks for following this story to the end and I hope you enjoy my last installation, Façade. ~ SamayouTamashi
Ben was scouring the halls of the MI6 headquarters in London, searching for coffee. Bruise-like bags were under his eyes, marking the hours he had been up working on his paperwork, the worst part of being a spy. Where had that damned coffee machine been moved to?
From the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of black and turned to get a better look.
Alex had completely abandoned him on the paperwork, and he hadn't seen him since getting back. However, he doubted it was the massive paper stacks in their offices that had driven him off. He'd been twitchy the entire flight back.
Now he could see his partner standing in Blunt's office, nervously moving from side to side and constantly fiddling with his shirt. Ben scooted further back to see Blunt, who seemed to be just as tense. His face was completely calm, but his fingers were flicking a thin pen between them over and over. What were they talking about? Neither of these people would be nervous in front of a shooting squad.
Moving towards the head's office, a stack of papers in one hand as if he had a legitimate purpose for being over here, he could hear some sound filtering through the slightly open door.
"It couldn't…suspicious…wouldn't work…" From Alex's words, it sounded like a mission that he was unsure about taking.
"I…can't…need to…not long…" But what was Blunt talking about? It sounded more personal than just another mission.
He sidled closer to the door, getting only somewhat better sound, but with still no idea about what the conversation was about. Alex seemed to be reluctant, but somewhat willing nonetheless.
"I could see if…better cover…couldn't be…"
"Could get…maybe if…might be difficult…"
Blunt's receptionist had a curious look on her face at his sneaking around, but shrugged as he put a finger over his mouth. He pressed his ear to the door.
"Maybe if Smithers could fix something up it would work. There're too many people who know me," Alex was saying. But wait, hadn't the point of messing with his DNA been to change his identity? How many people could really know him now?
"We can't do more than we already have," Blunt was stressing. "It would have to be done delicately and differently, and no one would ever see you."
"There would be questions. Lots of them."
"I understand, and Smithers is working on something new for you to test out."
Ben leaned back, intending to continue searching for caffeine, when the next words caught his ear.
"I'd have to die. Completely and truly this time."
The spy leaned back in. What was he talking about? Did he mean that he had to die for real or as an act again? Either way it sounded unbelievable. What was this mission they were talking about?
"I can arrange it. It would be simple and fast, I swear."
"I… understand, I think. I just really didn't want to have to do this so early. I knew it would happen, but I didn't think I'd be so young."
"You knew it would happen eventually, though."
"True." He sighed, the sigh of defeat and acceptance. Ben couldn't see in, but Alex sounded so young all of a sudden. "How will we manage this with only the two of us managing it?"
"Smithers is doing most of the work, and he's had the strategy laid out for some time now, should you ever need to go about things in this way."
"Even Smithers? I really couldn't have turned this down, could I?"
"You could have, but eventually we would have managed to work it out, even without you knowing."
Ben backed away as the conversation seemed to be winding down to a close, ruffling the papers to make it look like he was busy and calming his expression as if he hadn't just had the fright of his life. Alex left the office, not even noticing Ben, as he walked back to his own room.
Blunt noticed him waiting and waved him in. "I presume this is about the mission papers?"
"Yeah, there were some of these costs that weren't right. The flight from Delhi to Bangkok has three too many zeroes, and there's a similar problem with the food costs in Zurich."
"It can be easily fixed. Over in finance, Lucas can help alter the records. He's just down the hall and fourth on the left." A wave of the hand dismissed him.
Ben nodded and strode back out of the room, closing the door as he left and letting out a quiet sigh of relief. There were a few issues with the numbers, but not as bad as he had made it seem. To keep up appearances, he dropped the faulty papers down at Lucas's desk and proceeded to look for the coffee machine with thoughts running rampant through his head. He noticed his partner searching for something in his desk, and something dull and silver appeared from a locked drawer. Before he could look closer, the brief flash was gone.
Alex appeared again, looking unusually ruffled, but this time he managed to look up. "Oh, Ben. I haven't seen you in awhile. Where are you going?"
"Coffee machine. Someone relocated it while we were gone, and I've been searching for it ever since."
"I think I passed it at some point. I can show you."
They were quiet as Alex opened the elevator and both of them stepped in. "First floor?" Ben asked as he pressed the lowest button.
"Yeah, I've got some errands to run for Blunt while the day is still young and I think the coffee machine might be next to the receptionist's desk down there."
The quiet ding of the elevator told them the doors were opening, and they walked into the lobby. "Ben?"
"Hmm?" He started the coffee machine was a flick of his finger, putting his cup under the filter, and looked up as Alex looked away.
"I…Don't let them call me princess." He spun on his heel and headed for the door.
Ben was trying to register his words as he followed after him, wanting to see where Blunt was sending him off to. He ran when he saw a beam of light glance off steel from a window across the street. Everything was clicking together. Alex's mood, the meeting with Blunt, the strange request, even his behavior at his 'funeral' when he'd stared strangely at the casket was all fitting together. Whatever this was, it had been planned with his knowledge and assistance for some reason, and he was fully intending to walk out there and get himself killed.
Alex pulled open the door and turned at the curb, hearing his name called. Probably Ben. He always was too smart for his own good. Without looking around, he could already sense the sniper lining up the shot.
From his pocket he pulled out two sets of dog tags, flipping them upside down to read the names. Would his father and uncle have been proud of him for following in their footsteps, or disappointed that he hadn't been able to escape their similar fates?
Fingering the thin metal, he walked two feet and hesitated at the side of a burgundy car, hearing his partner shout his name again. Over this way, fewer people would be in the way and less likely to become victims as well. When he turned his head to look over at Ben, he unconsciously flinched his glance away from the sniper's window. He met Ben's eyes as he felt something slam into his shoulder.
Ben met Alex's eyes just as the sniper took his shot. The eyes he met were alien on the teenager, warm and welcoming unlike the façade he had always put up. Only in the end had he been able to take off his mask. When the bullet hit his shoulder, he stumbled back a step, trying to catch his breath. The second one hit only seconds after the first. Alex pressed his fingers lightly against his chest over the mortal wound before finally falling back against the sidewalk, blankly watching the ever-present clouds above him.
Despite having the moments of forewarning, Ben still felt the dagger hit his heart just as hard while he watched his seemingly-undefeatable partner fall. It was only after Alex coughed that he ran to kneel beside him. The sniper had screwed a silencer on to the end, so as not to concern nearby pedestrians. "Don't tell me this was another part of your plans, Alex," he said angrily, tears springing from his eyes. "This was just another assassination attempt, right?"
The teenager smiled up at his partner, a rare happy one and not the cynical one tainted by two years of thankless, dangerous and dirty work. "I did what needed to be done."
"What have you done? Why? How could—?"
Alex put a quivering hand over Ben's lips. "Things aren't what they seem, Ben," he whispered. "I'll see you again." With a weak sigh, his hand fell to the pavement. His amber eyes stared into the distance, the cloudy haze of death beginning to cover them.
Ben cried silently as he closed the unseeing eyes.
A/N: Please don't kill me! Despite how bad it seems, there is another story coming called Façade. Many questions are left unanswered in this really, really, really short ending to Poison that I left unanswered for good reasons. I know it looks like I ended it in a short blunt way, but it's more complex than you think. Originally, I was going to start my next story with this as the prologue, but it felt more proper to put it here.
Once again…please don't run after me with those pitchforks!
~~ Review, but please don't flame. If I want to roast marshmallows, I have a bonfire pit for that. ~~