This came to me while I was cooking dinner earlier (Italian, to be precise), and the plot bunnies were demanding that I write it down. I have no idea where this came from; I haven't even watched the movie in ages. This is my first story in the REDverse, so be gentle with me. Warning: Present tense. Hopefully I got it right this time.

RED and all the characters are not mine. You'd know if they were.

As they order her to kill him, something within her hardens. No, she wants to tell them, but her refusal would signal her death. So instead she nods sharply, eyes and jaw steeled against their scrutiny.

This is the Cold War, they remind her, and the price for any weakness on their part means certain surrender. Not so bad, she thinks as they continue to give excuses for why she should kill him. It would mean an end to the covert fighting. And she nods again, driving their voices to the farthest part of her mind as she struggles to keep her face clear of emotion.

They send her out with a handgun several days later, with orders to hunt him down.

She finds him two weeks later, sitting in a cafe in Stuttgart, charming the waitress. She watches and waits, eyes hardening as the (younger, much younger) waitress laughs and pats him on the arm before walking away, a sway in her hips. He watches her go, and she is surprised to see a touch of sadness in his gaze.

Belatedly, she realises that the waitress looks something like her, in her younger years (when she had only been in the field a few years, young and vibrant enough to catch his attention and admiration).

She follows him back to his hotel, and slips into his room after he retires for the night.

He is surprised to see her; the last he had heard, she had been recalled to MI6 (for re-programming, she thinks with a bitter smile). He welcomes her into his arms, knowing from her face and touch that something has gone wrong.

He silently asks her about her troubles in tilt of his head and his dark eyes, which narrow in concern as they swept over her face, feather light touches in comparison to the blatant distrusting eyes she could still feel sweeping across her frame, accusing everything from her judgement to her gender.

He asks no more questions when she pulls him to her, desperation and frustration fuelling her desire.

And when they finish, when she has been left gasping and sprawled across the bed, he gathers her to him and wordlessly embraces her. She shivers as his fingers glide gently up her naked arm, then down again to draw the covers over them both (but knowing what she has yet to do has enclosed her in ice, and she feels she could never be warm again).

They do not speak for the rest of the night, and even after he has fallen asleep, she still can't close her eyes.

In the morning, dark eyes meet hers, and with a feeling of dread, she knows she has to do what she has to. She swallows her sorrow, her anger and her trepidation, and manages to smile at him, although it doesn't reach her eyes. He notices and frowns at her, dark eyes and fingers tracing their concern across her skin. She shivers and pulls away, pulling her pants towards her.

They dine together for breakfast, and she can't help but think that it will most likely be their last.

She insists on a walk; it's a beautiful day, and the sun is warm on their exposed skin. She teases him about his white skin, as white as hers, and he in turn tells her that she looks beautiful the way she is. His eyes linger on her, and she knows that he is a man in love. His expression is one she has seen often, staring back at her from the mirror. She loves this man, and her heart cries out at the injustice of the world.

They are both spies, and deep down, she knew that they could never stay together, however much they had hoped.

When she turns to walk down an alley, leading onto another street, he follows, and is not surprised when she pulls her handgun from her purse. He watches her, dark eyes unreadable as she points the pistol at him. He smiles sadly at her and offers no resistance.

At the sight, she trembles, and tears gather in her eyes.

He knew this was coming, he tells her, and doesn't move from his spot. She sobs out loud, once, twice. She tells him that she doesn't want to shoot him, doesn't want to kill the only man she had ever truly loved. A small spark of hope flickers in his eyes, and he gently makes her an offer that she's not sure that she can refuse.

He offers to take her with him, back to Russia, and she's not sure if she'll say no.

Tears fill her eyes as she finally shakes her head, still trembling as her fingers tighten around the butt of the gun. He watches her as she silently apologises, and wishes that he were not so loyal to his home country. She aims perfectly, and shoots him in the chest three times, all on the right. The silencer on the gun makes little noise as he slumps to the ground (not that it matters; all she can hear is white noise filling her ears as she runs).

She drops the gun three streets away down a drain pipe before calling the police.

She returns to MI6, and drops three shells onto her superior's desk. He stares at them for a moment before looking up at her hardened eyes, and baulks. Mission accomplished, she thinks, and she can't stop the tears that spill out.

It takes a career longer than most for her to finally forgive herself.

When she sees him there, so many years later, she is stunned speechless, but she fights her way up the snow drift towards him.

"Ivan," she whispers, and he smiles at her. She is exhilarated by the achingly familiar expression simmering across his face, and she is suddenly very glad that he survived. It is love, still strong from more than two decades before, and she feels her features subtly return his expression.

She feels like a young woman again, in that instant, but the gunfire sounds closer than before, and she hastens into the car with Frank and Marvin, hiding a vibrant smile that shaves ten years off her face. Finally, after all these years, she feels warm again. She imagines they have some catching up to do.

Again, I have no idea where this came from. Reviewers get vodka and homemade pasta with tomato-based sauce (which go surprisingly well together).

~le freak