Two days after the cast had been taken off his ankle they contacted him. With a lack of any major or obvious disasters going on he had no idea where he was going until they put him on the plane to Taiwan. He'd been placed as an English diplomat's son on holidays from boarding school in England. He was keeping his eyes and ears open during the talks between Taiwan and China that were held in Taipai the most densely populated city Alex had ever been in.
Two days in, still severely jet lagged Alex found himself standing at a window at midnight looking out over the city. It was the best place to do it from; the hundred and first floor of what previously had been the tallest inhabited building in the world before Shanghai went one step further. The chinese and the Taiwanese had been feuding in any way possible ever since the island separated from communism.
Since the diplomats had turned in for the night Alex was the only one still awake on these few floors but for security, but down in the city just a few streets away he could see a mass of lights and moving people.
It was a guard doing his round.
"Jet lag, what's going on down there?"
The guard came over and looked down.
"A night market, very many people. You go?"
Alex shrugged. "I don't know, it's midnight isn't is dangerous to walk around at night?"
"Not here, Taiwan lowest crime in world."
"Really?" Now that was surprising, he'd always heard Sweden or Canada had the lowest crime rate.
"No one says because no one believe us to be a country."
"Well, I'll go down and take a look."
"Remember you take your pass, should be nice down there it just rain."
Alex nodded fishing his ID badge out of his pocket. "Thanks."
He smiled as he got into the lift pressing the button and laughing as the lift shot down, the building had the fastest lifts in the world as well. They went up at around sixty miles an hour and down a little bit faster.
He headed out the main exit hands in his pockets and breathed the first normal air since he'd entered the huge building days before. It smelt of rain, cooking food, exhaust fumes with the slight whiff of open drains. There was something very freeing about the mixture, real and un-artificial. He set off in the direction of the market following the crowds of people and letting himself be pulled along through the narrow streets. It was like a living, breathing animal this crowd. It surged, retracted and paused before surging again, people waiting for each other, looking at each other and every word they said was in tonal sounds unintelligible to him but for Shei shei. Thank you.
Hand in his pockets, free, he simply walked where the crowds took him till they thinned and he walked on through dark deserted streets. Alone. He emerged on a main road and walked along it seeing a hedge on his left opening into a square then he stopped breath taken away.
The square was more of a huge rectangle going back from the road towards a building in the distance, halfway between however were five joined arches with typical Chinese looking roofs. The middle was the largest the rest going down in size either side and they were lit by spot lights from the base of the pillars that held up the arches. With the wet tiled ground reflecting the orange light-polluted sky the monument looked as if it rose from the middle of a sunset.
Alex walked to the middle with the road at his back so he was straight on and smiled, it was massive the distance between him and the arches. Deceptive. The length of a football pitch perhaps and beyond that another leading to the even bigger building behind. And currently, so recently after the rain, he was the only one in it.
He got the strange urge to not go back to the 101 building, he had the beautiful impossibility lodged in his head that he could disappear into one of these narrow alleyways; disappear into the huge population and live anonymously, out of danger. It was a soothing calming fantasy that he lived out in that square, happy, safe, free. Till a woman rode her bike across the square her dark hair flying behind her and he smiled again shaking his head, it was here he would come if he ever needed to get out. If he ever needed to disappear. For now he needed to get back.
He turned back towards the way he'd come and blinked as he saw another man ten metres away looking at the arch also. He was fair haired and tall, fingers hooked into the belt loops of his jeans and when he turned to him the only thing he could say was.
"I heard that you are too." He turned fully but didn't come any closer.
"Not quite. They shot me."
He had to be a ghost conjured by the empty square, he couldn't really be there. "I watched you die." Alex closed the distance between them till it was only a metre looking up at his face and at the rest of him. "Yassen."
"I thought myself dead, but I'm not."
"I went to Scorpia."
"What did you find?"
"They killed my parents."
He blinked. "Who?"
"Scorpia, Julia Rothman she ordered my father dead and used his best friend to get it done."
"John died on a bridge, MI6 shot him."
"It was staged, he came back to England."
Yassen swallowed visibly struggling with something in his head.
"Then Julia found out and killed him?"
"She was in love with him."
"We knew that from the start, who did it?"
"Ash, he was a double agent he's the one who planted the bomb on my parents plane. You stabbed him in Malta."
"I didn't stab him enough it seems." Yassen buried his hands in his pockets shoulders hunched, it seemed strange to see him like this, usually he was the one in control of the information. "This Ash, where can I find him?"
"That just leaves Julia."
"Which rock have you been under?"
"One of my own making."
"What will you do?"
"I haven't made a plan yet, Libya probably."
"Gadafi's regime is a good place to hide, in so much fear one man can disappear easily."
Alex nodded. "So what are we now? Allies? Enemies?"
"The world is not so black and white, I will probably end up working for Scorpia once again."
"Even though they killed my father?"
"You said… you said you loved him."
"In what way?"
Yassen just smiled stepping towards him. "In the only way." He ran his fingers through his hair and curled his fingers around his neck, thumb resting against his ear lobe and then traced his jaw bone to his chin. Alex couldn't breathe as he slowly lifted it and rested it against his lips.
He stood frozen as Yassen dropped his hand and walked past him out of sight. Then, desperate to get away he broke into a run and didn't stop till he reached the crowds again. He looked behind him as he entered the street and gulped before loosing himself in the people and making his way back to the101 building.