The Past Never Dies Quietly By Didi

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters and don't know anyone that does. This is purely for entertainment purposes and sometimes not even that.

Summary: Friends coming to the rescue, aren't always necessarily helpful .

Note: This story is moving so slow, even I'm falling asleep here. So very sorry for the long delays between chapters. But the good news is this story is almost over. And with any luck, the light at the end of the tunnel will motivate me to write with greater speed.


Chapter Ten

"Are you all right?" she asked in a soft murmur, eyes still scanning the thinning streets as the day drew longer and the nippy winds of the Russian winter created frost on the windshields.

"I've had better days," he muttered back, taking in deep breaths to relieve the tension across his back. The ride from the church had been uneventful but filled with potholes that jarred every bone in his body and making him ache with pain. He only wanted to lay down somewhere warm and just sleep off the last week. Opening his eyes, he stared at the graying building with its crooked sign and half broken vacancy sign in English. It was too awful to look at. Sighing, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes once more. "You took a room here?"

"Can you name another not under the control of the underground?" she glanced at the front door, and the pair of darkly dressed men that were guarding it. "Anything unusual about that to you?" pointing to the human door ends.

The Owl made a considerable effort to open his eyes again and study the pair critically. He groaned at the sight of them and wished he had kept his eyes shut. He must have angered some ancient god above. "Nikolas Stoboisky's men. Saw them when I was checking Stoboisky's story out."

She turned to stare at him. "You don't trust anyone, do you?" she asked, hand slipping down to the ready gun by her side.

"I trust you," he replied, reaching under the passenger seat for the gun he kept there so as not to attract any unwanted attention. The last thing he needed now was for someone to announce his resurrection to Stoboisky before he's had sufficient chance to prepare for the coming onslaught.

"Do you?" she asked, glancing at her ex-husband with disbelief. One of the reasons Peter was such a good spy and mercenary was because he had made a life habit of never trusting anyone in his life. It kept him alive longer than any of the operatives that he had once been associated with.

The complete calmness in his tone as he replied, "Yes," was quite sobering to the always-cynical Tasha. The unwavering trust she saw there was unnerving. While she did understood that her relationship with Peter was an unique one, she always assumed that when push came to shove, Peter will always look toward his number one concern: himself. But there was something in the way he held her gaze, something that told her that if the choice were there, it'd be her life that he would look toward first.

Not wanting to dwell on those unsettling thoughts, she glanced at the new threat once more. "Any ideas how we're going to get pass those." just then, two more men moved out of the building and headed toward an unmarked black car. All four piled in and drove away without so much as glancing their way. "Well, that was easy."

"Too easy," Peter replied, his head turned just enough to watch the rapidly disappearing taillights. Facing his ex-wife once more, he shook his head knowingly. "Much too easy."

"And we don't have that kind of luck," she murmured with a sigh. "Well, since we can't stay here all day, let's get inside and figure out what the hell is going on."


Barely glancing at the note tacked to her door, Tasha yanked it off and handed it to the Owl without a word. She made a disgruntled sound in the back of her throat.

Peter frowned. "'Red Rover, Red Rover, bring the Big T over.' Do I dare ask what that means?" glancing sideways at Tasha.

"It means that Quick has been here," walking into the room with the same caution she'd take were she to rush into enemy territory. The room was empty, not a disturbance to be seen. "I won't be surprised if they're staying right in this hotel."

"Not very subtle, are they?" he asked with a grin before turning to shut the door. His body protested the irregular movement and he groaned as he grabbed the wall for support. His ribs felt like hell. Pressing a hand to his side, he made his way to the bed and tried to will the pain away.

The frown that creased her brows did not distract from any of her beauty as Tasha knelt in front of her favorite ex-husband and try to ease his jacket off. Until now, it had been a good addition for both warmth and to hide the ripped shirt where Father Jensen had to cut away to get to the wounds. Now, with his face twisted in pain, it was a hindrance. "Let me see," tugging gently at the hand that was probably doing more damage then good.

Taking a deep breath, he carefully released his hand from his side and clutched the edge of the bed, knuckles turning white in an effort not to double over again as Tasha probed gently.

Easing the jacket way, she could away see the fresh blood seeping through the white dressing. "It's open again," turning to her suitcase where her emergency supplies were. The wound was raw and ugly; the worse thing was it was bleeding. "We're going to sew it up if we want it to stay close long enough to get you out of Russia undetected."

He grunted and made no effort to stop her as she returned with her first aid kit that resembled more cosmetic kit than medical kit. "Must we do this? I don't even have a bottle of vodka to ease the pain."

"If I had some, I'd give it to you. It would probably chase any infection away as well." She pulled open the sawing kit and threaded the needle. Opening the top of a bottle of hairspray, "This is a topical anesthetic, should help some." The cold mist of medicine made him jerk in reaction. She opened her toothbrush kit and held the case to his mouth. "Bite."

Peter glanced at the plastic for a moment then accepted it into his mouth. He felt her warm lips against his cheek before the first sting of the needle hit him. Clamping down on the hard surface of the case, he half prayed for a miracle and half hoped that the plastic didn't cut him when he crushed it with his teeth.

Putting six neat even stitches into his skin, Tasha swallowed the sickening feeling at the bad of her throat and smiled up at him as she snipped the thread. "All done," and took the toothbrush case from his mouth.

He reached for her just as she was about to pull away, crushing his mouth against hers. For a moment, the pain eased, giving away to something beautifully sweet and wonderful. When he came up for air again, "I needed something for the pain."

She stared at him for a full minute before leaning forward and dropping a kiss on each corner of his mouth. "Next time, ask." Then pulled away. Walking to the closet, she pulled out a neatly pressed white silk blouse. Without a thought to the hundred dollars she paid for the garment, she rendered it into neat thin stripes for bandages. "This should do nicely."

"I'll buy you another first chance I get," he replied with a smile as she wrapped the silk around him. "You smell wonderful, even covered in my blood."

Tasha could feel herself weakening toward him. The damn bastard hasn't lost any of his charms even as weak as he was right now. "You need to rest, rebuild some of that strength of yours. We may need a to make a quick run for it."

"I shall be fine," he murmured, as she tied off the bandage. "Tasha."

"I need to go find the others," she said, getting up slowly.

"Wait," pulling her toward him again, wondering if he had enough strength to finish all this. Drawing her to the seat next to his, "I wanted to thank you."

"Don't," she stopped him cold with a shake of her head. "I'm just doing what I need to."

"But you didn't have to and."

"Sure I did," she replied, pushing him gently on the shoulders. "Get in bed."

Peter couldn't help the look of amusement that crossed his face.

"No, I'm getting in with you," she admonished with a frown. "Will you for just a few moments be serious here?" Tucking him in, "I need to go talk to Nikki and find out how much Stoboisky's people know and how they got here in the first place. If the others have a quick and easy way out, we may find this a whole lot easier than expected. But if they don't."

Peter sighed. A part of him wanted to go with her, if simply to watch her back. But his head felt three times heavier than it had only three minutes ago. His body was beginning to protest that treatment its been getting lately. It was wiser to stay and regain some strength. "Ask Nikki to leave some of Moscow in tact."

She almost grinned. "I'll do my best."


"But what did they say?" Tasha asked again, running a quick hand through her hair, a nervous gesture that she had thought was long gone. It would take Peter to bring back a little thing like that.

"That this Nikolas guy wants to have dinner with me," Nikki explained once more, not sure she liked the way Tasha was freaking out over a little nothing. "What's the big deal?"

"Normally it wouldn't be so bad," Tasha admitted with a sigh, silently thanking Quick as her friend handed her a glass of water. But this is Stoboisky we're talking about. He makes Hitler look like Little Miss Muffet. No way in hell he take no for an answer."

"So what's he going to do about it?" Johnny asked in that calm quiet voice of his, doing wonders for Tasha's frazzled nerves.

"My guess, he'll dig deeper. And sooner or later, he's going to find out that you and I work together and that I was once married to a certain someone."

Quick nodded his head slowly, watching Tasha with his cool detective eyes. He hadn't been the least bit surprised at her sudden appearance ten minutes ago. First thing she did was knock him upside the head for leaving the note. Second thing was to hug him tight and grudgingly thank them for coming after her. Then promptly lost her temper when she found out what had happened. "Okay, this is your game Tasha. What do you want us to do?"

Standing at the window, just beyond the light, she watched near empty streets below. "There's a plane waiting just outside the city?"

"Fully loaded, fueled and ready to take off at my mark," Nikki announced, glancing at Johnny who merely shook his head to her silent answer. None of them had any idea as to what was going on. So far, Tasha had failed to disclose anything. "Just give the word, Sister; we're at your disposal."

"Not that simple," she muttered, eyes narrowing as she watched two shadows move in the alley across the street. Someone was watching the hotel and making no secret of it. Peter was right, Nikki wouldn't know the word subtle if it came up and bit her in the ass. "Too many eyes now."

"So let's throw them something else to watch," Johnny suggested, coming up slowly behind her. "They don't know about you being here, do they?"

"Doubtful," she answered, searching the streets once more. Where there are one pair, another would be around to. there they are. Sitting in a car, fifty feet from the hotel entrance was an unmarked black sedan with another pair of shadows just hanging about. "I'd be dodging bullets by now if that were the case."

"And your ex?" he asked, not one to beat around the bush. His sole objective was to get Tasha out of Russia and into the relative safety of US territories. "I assume since you're back here and looking for a way out, he's somewhere safe?" his eyes watched her unmoving face. "Your room?"

Nikki gave a soft chuckle of amusement. "I would hope Tasha isn't so careless as to hide someone in plain sight."

"Why not?" Johnny asked, his eyes swinging to the Italian beauty. "What better place than in plain sight, especially for a man of a thousand faces?"

The edge of Tasha's lips curled up. "I'm glad you and I were never on different sides of a war." She patted him gently on the arm. "I've got to get him out without anyone being the wiser."

There was a heavy silence as they contemplated their options. For a moment, no one said a word.

Quick groaned when he realized what Johnny had meant before when he said that they needed something else for them to watch. "No, no, no. It's too dangerous."

"Can you think of a better solution?" Johnny asked, his eyes already searching Nikki's for her opinion to the matter. After all, it was up to her to decide, he certainly didn't like it any better than Quick but he's got a more decisively confidence in Nikki's ability to dish out pain when necessary.

"What?" Nikki's dark eyes widen as everyone else looked at her.

Tasha sighed. As much as she hated the idea, it was the best one they've got. "How do you feel about having dinner with the Russian mob?"