Saboteur 4- Old Friends, New Enemies
Jules and Sean entered the bar. It was a friendly enough place. Well lit. The patrons seemed fairly calm. Several men and young women watched from and upper mezzanine as the two of them entered. The two stood out. The dark-haired Frenchman in the gray coat, and his brown-haired Irish friend, both of them stood over six feet tall, were broad-shouldered and carried themselves with workman-like confidence. They towered over most of the crowd, and easily spotted Vittore and Veronique, who had picked a quiet spot at the bar. Drinks were already laid out for their arrival, and as Sean picked his up, he examined the area behind the bar. It had been heavily decorated with racing trophies and memorabilia.
Jules hurried forward and greeted his sister with a kiss on both cheeks, leaving Sean to greet the old Italian himself.
"I'm glad you finally decided to join us." The man said, shaking Sean warmly by the hand.
"We took the scenic route." Jules japed, raising his glass in salute.
Vittore pulled Sean aside slightly, "You run into any trouble?"
"Just the usual groupies lookin' fer autographs."
To his dismay, Veronique heard his comment and raised her own mug in mock salute. Sean returned it with equal distaste.
Vittore nodded, satisfied. He walked back to the bar and picked up his own mug. "A toast," he declared, "to Team Morini, and our Lady Aurora!"
The four of them raised their glasses in unison.
"To Senor Morini," Sean continued, laying his hand respectfully on the older man's shoulder, "For taking a big chance on a dodgy bloke like me!"
Vittore gave him the nod of a true gentlemen. Sean walked up to the bar and shouted happily at the bartender, "Another round for my mates!"
"Easy, Sean." Vittore laid a cautioning hand on his shoulder, "You'll need a clear head tomorrow. Dierker flew in this morning from Berlin."
Sean felt a dark cloud overshadow his boisterous mood. Kurt Dieker was a former German wheelman with a reputation for brutal moves on the track. To Sean's knowledge, the kraut had never lost a race. He was a Nazi poster boy. Another shining example of the Aryan Ideal.
"Kurt Dierker?" Sean asked, his smile had long since faded, "I thought he was retired…"
"He-" Vittore began, a sudden silence dropped on the bar, making all four comrades look towards the door. As if pushing an invisible wall before him, A tall, blonde, blue-eyed man with a jutting chin and chiseled features walked slowly through the crowd. He should have been handsome. And he was, in theory. However his blue eyes bespoke something feral, and the chiseled features made him look less human. He had already dressed in his racing uniform: brown and gray with a yellow strip down one side of his chest. Upon his back was the symbol of Team Dopplesieg, also the trademarked symbol of the Dopplesieg motorworks factory, which lay in the forests just north of Saarbrucken. Sean had heard strange tales about the place. He wasn't sure how many of them were true. The symbol itself consisted of a 'V' made of two lightning bolts, with the Iron Cross in the middle. The entire thing was encircled by a shield.
The Kraut marched toward the bar, his hands behind his back in a sinister pose. He greeted the Italian first, ignoring the other three. Sean turned to the bar, appearing unconcerned, but listening closely. The German pit crew began to spread through the crowd, surrounding the small group, though two of the bastards stayed at Dierker's shoulders. Sean exchanged a worried look with Jules. He could tell his friend was preparing for a brawl.
"Guten Abend, Herr Morini," the Aryan wheelman greeted, leaning over Vittore. He was disappointed to find that the Italian was not in the least bit intimidated by the tactic. He relented, "It is always a pleasure to welcome one of our Italian friends to the Fatherland. I was sjut speaking of my admiration for General Mussolini." He signaled to the bartender, who hurried to provide him with a mug of his own. Once acquired, Dierker took a sip, "A kindred spirit to our own Fuhrer, perhaps? Your country is fortunate to have such a leader, ja?"
Vittore had elected to face away from the bar, so he didn't have to look at the Nazi posterchild. He responded in a bored voice, "Racing is my passion. I have little time for politics."
Dierker examined one of the larger trophies behind the bar, "Sometimes racing is politics."
"No. There is a difference." Vittore said. Immediately, the two pit crew members, whom Sean was trying not to think of as bodyguards, straightened up and crossed their arms, glaring at the old Italian.
Dierker shifted position so that he was standing directly in front of Vittore. He smiled at the thugs and turned back to meet the man's eye, "Forgive my ignorance, Herr Morini." He said in a tone of false respect which made Sean's blood boil, "We Germans are a simple people. Perhaps you would enlighten us further?"
Sean had had enough. Facing the bar, he said, "One is a hobby for rich assholes who can't get laid without a flashy car and a silly uniform…" he turned and glared at Dierker, "The other is racing."
Dierker suppressed a laugh. Once again he turned to the thugs behind him as if they were good friends. Neither of them had cracked a smile, but had both shifted their gazes to Sean.
"This must be that British mechanic who thinks he's a driver."
"I'm Fucking Irish!" Sean snarled, leaning in closer.
Veronique made the mistake of trying to intervene. Finally acting civilized towards him, she grabbed Sean's arm and pulled saying: "It's getting late. Why don't we call it a night?"
Dierker pulled her away, grabbing her wrist, "The night is young, Fraulein. Stay. Dine with me."
Veronique expanded like a balloon. Behind him, Sean heard Jules slam his mug down on the table. The girl shot Dierker a deadly stare, "I have no taste for German cuisine."
"Not yet, perhaps." Dierker smiled a chilling smile, "But soon the women of your country will learn to savor the taste of a purebred German Bratwurst."
Sean had watched as Jules marched around to Dierker's other side, his fists clenched. The moment Dierker had finished, Jules grabbed his shoulder and whipped him around, yelling "Bastard!" the Frenchman's punch sent Dierker sprawling over the bar. The thugs sprang into action, as did Sean. He kicked the nearest in the stomach as Vittore pulled Veronique to safety. Sean and Jules stood back to back as the pit crew surrounded them.
"Boss!" Jules called, "Get my crazy sister out of here before she gets herself killed!"
One of the thugs sprang at Sean, who grabbed the man's scruffy uniform and pounded his face in. Before he and Jules were buried in German brawlers, Sean heard Veronique shout "I'm not going anywhere!"
"Enough!" Vittore responded, "I'm taking her upstairs."
Sean grabbed the smallest of the Pit crew and lifted him, throwing him bodily at one of his teammates, knocking them both into a table, which collapsed. Jules picked up a chair and cracked it over another's back. The man collapsed and didn't get up. Another thug tried to punch Sean but the Irishman blocked the blow and responded with a few of his own. He battered the man backwards and ended him with a knee to the face, sending him backwards into the crowd. Getting high on the bloodlust, he smashed his forehead into another's nose, and threw his elbow backwards. It connected with someone's neck, producing satisfying gurgling noises. Two more of the thugs rushed Sean, grabbing him and pushing him over the bar. He landed flat on his stomach, his face an inch from Dierker's. The kraut bastard was hiding!
Sean reacted first and struck like a Cobra, smashing the German's already bruised nose. He got to his feet, picking up a bottle as he went. One of the Dopplesieg crew tried to keep him down, but the burly Irishman smashed the bottle over the man's head. He took the opportunity to plant his shoe in Dierker's face, knocking the German right out.
Jules in the meantime had been cornered by three of the bastards, who were laying a right beating on him. Bellowing an unintelligible curse word, Sean rushed at the clump and bowled them all into the wall. He stood up, kicking any man who tried to rise, crying "Stay the fuck down!"
Jules laughed and dusted himself off, bruises already forming on his face, "I don't think he can hear you." The Frenchman laughed.
They heard Vittore warning them from the upper level, "Sean! The barman is talking to the police! I'll take care of Veronique! You boys, get out of here!"
"Jules, time to get scarce!" Sean shouted, heading for the door with the Frenchman at his heels.
The moment they exited the bar, Sean heard German orders being shouted through a megaphone. "Halt! Kommen Sie!"
Black Gestapo cars had blocked off the major lanes of traffic. Grim men in black suits with large guns were standing behind them, daring the two fugitives to make a move.
"Bollocks!" Sean muttered, hearing whistles going off. He heard the squeal of tires and turned to see the front end of a sports car slam to a halt less than a foot away. He sprang back reflexively, swearing at the driver, until he saw her face. "Watch it ya bloody-" he stared at the long flowing blonde hair, the piercing blue eyes, and the full, pouting lips. The woman shot him a smile which made his heart ache and his pants tight. He knew that smile. That face… A flurry of happy, blissful memories flowed through his mind.
"Fuck me…" he exclaimed, suddenly ignoring the surrounding Gestapo, "Skylar?"
Skylar Sinclair revved her engine and the smiled turned to a sultry, steamy look, "Mmmm," she moaned slightly, and spoke in a cold British drawl which only made things worse, "Are you chatting me up?"
Feeling shocked, he stumbled over to her door. She raised a slender, alabaster hand, "Hallo Sean. Hi Jules."
"Merde!" the Frenchman muttered, scanning the Gestapo gunman.
The Frenchman's comment brought Sean back. He slid into the driver's seat, pushing her to the side. She didn't seem to mind the contact at all.
"We'll catch up later." The Irishman said, "right now, we need to borrow yer car."
Jules slid in the other side, leaving the sultry blonde sandwiched in the middle. She turned to Sean and leaned in. He felt himself sinking back into the memories as her scent rolled over him.
"Well," she said quietly, "so much for awkward small talk…"
"Drive the fucking car!" Jules ordered hysterically.
"Hold onto yer arses!" Sean shouted. The British woman's valentine red car leapt forward, towards the Gestapo blockade. Judging by the way the men leapt to safety instead of shooting, it was obviously the last move they expected. Sean felt the two passengers tense up as the grill of Skylar's sports car rammed through the crack between two cars, pushing them to the sides and knocking off both the side mirrors. Deep scratches carved their way across the doors of the car.
"Just like old times, eh Skylar?" Sean asked as the red vehicle broke through the blockade and zoomed down the open street at high speed.
"Never a dull moment!" she replied, gripping her seat tightly, "How long have you been in town?"
As they crossed under a stone archway, Sean heard the sounds of engines behind him; the Gestapo were in pursuit. The Irishman instinctively headed towards the largest section of open road he could see: the racetrack. Bullets whined overhead, making all three of them duck, "Just got in, actually." Sean grunted, spinning the wheel, forcing the car into a tight turn around some concrete barriers and onto the racetrack. He heard a crash as one of the Gestapo cars failed to make the turn. The others were forced to slow and drive around it.
"Well…" Skylar took a deep breath, "I see you've wasted no time in running afoul of the local police."
"What?" Sean grinned, his eyes following the track. To either side, the red and white boundary lines whipped by at blinding speed. "Those fellas behind us? They're just having a laugh."
"Is this desperado routine meant to be a turn-on?" she asked as the vehicle was jostled by a pursuing black Gestapo car which had somehow managed to keep pace with them. Sean hit the brakes and pulled over slightly, allowing the black car to pass. He sped up and rammed them, knocking off the back bumper.
"I dunno." he replied, as her tires sent the piece of metal bouncing down the road at high speed, "Is it working?"
"Will you watch the fucking road, please?" Jules demanded. The poor Frenchman was white-faced, gripping his seat in terror, and Sean suddenly remembered why his friend had never wanted to be a driver.
"They'll radio ahead to set up roadblocks." Skylar told him, "Double back and you should be able to slip through the net!"
"They teach you that in your posh English school?" the Irishman asked.
"Benefits of a higher education." She replied, dodging the question airily.
Sean floored the gas pedal, until both cars were side by side. He spun the wheel left, forcing the car off the road. It slid uncontrollably down a steep slope, across a thick grassy field, through a fence, and into the side of a farmhouse. Sean hit the brakes, pulled off the road, and hid the car in a copse of trees, waiting for the other black cars to pass.
"Are all English girls as crazy as you are?" Jules demanded angrily.
"Give us some privacy, would you, Jules?" Sean replied.
"Oh, I'd love to, just as soon as you shake these fucking Krauts."
"Wait for it." Sean replied coolly.
They heard the noise as the black cars whipped past. Sean quietly pulled the car out and headed back the way they had come. He used the backroads and some cross-country driving to make his way back to the hotel, eventually parking the car behind it.
He allowed himself a relieved breath, "Well… that was fun. Anyone fancy a nightcap?"
"Brilliant!" Skylar let out a breath of her own. Sean's eyes travelled down her neck and rest on the low cut of her shirt, "I'm parched."
Jules made a tired noise and opened his door, "Fuck this. I'm not going to be the Third Wheel. Keep the noise down, eh? I need some fucking rest." He slammed it behind him and walked around the side of the building. Neither of the other two paid him any attention, being entirely focused on each other.
"C'mon up." Sean offered, "I'll sneak you in the back door."
She smiled, "Wouldn't have it any other way."
Sean stared at the woman's perfect figure silhouetted in the window. She sighed, staring out across the now quiet town of Saarbrucken. "Nothing like a brisk evening drive to quicken the blood." She turned, her long fingers wrapped around a small mickey, "Except, perhaps, a single malt MacErin aged thirty years?"
Sean watched her carefully from his seat on the bed, imagining what else she was more than welcome to wrap her hands around. She moved forward slowly, one foot in front of the other, showing off the curve of her hips. She reached him, using her own thigh to part his legs. She handed him the small bottle.
"Must be Christmas." Sean grinned, "Lucky fer Jules and me you came sliding down the chimney when you did."
"Christmas is it?" She asked, settling on his knee. She pouted, "I'm afraid I've been a bad girl…" She leaned back and settled comfortably on the bed, her mile-long legs across Sean's knees. He reached down and began to run his hands up and down them, admiring them. She truly possessed the figure of a goddess. "Aye," he said, "I'm certain of it."
"Whatever happened after that weekend in Monaco?" she asked, unzipping her jacket and allowing her ample chest some room to breathe. It made Sean's breath catch in his throat, "You never rang me up…"
"You never gave me your number." He replied.
She clicked her tongue in disapproval, "That's hardly an excuse." She sat up, wrapping her arm around his neck and leaning in for a kiss, "You're not still pining for Jules' little sister, are you? She's a bit of a bore, don't you think?"
"I don't think I'm her type." Sean told her, "So… are you in town for the race?"
"What can I say?" she asked, gently removing his flat cap, "I have a weakness for men in fast cars. I've been all over Europe, following the circuit. Mum and dad are mortified, of course." She leaned back, once again settling on the pillow. Sean resumed his examination of her legs.
"Beats working for a living." The Irishman japed, gently removing her long boots. A worrying item dropped into his lap.
"I wouldn't know…" she said.
Sean lifted up the switchblade and flicked it open, watching her carefully. That was a new addition. "What's this for? Shaving your legs?"
She smiled, gently pulling the knife from his hands, "A girl should always carry protection."
Her other arm travelled up to his shoulder and she pulled him in, kissing him with warm, soft, full lips. As a last act, she threw the knife away and it embedded itself in the middle of a Saarbrucken Grand Prix poster.
She gently broke the kiss to lift his shirt off, her fingers exploring his muscled chest, and the myriad of scars which criss-crossed it. "Someday," she said, rolling them over so that she was on top, "You'll have to tell me how you came by these scars."
Sean pulled her down for another kiss, feeling her hands fiddling with his belt buckle. He said, "We've done enough talking for one night…"