Hampstead Heath: Mid Morning
Sylvia stood on the dock, towel in hand, and stared down at the stagnant waters of the lake. The Heath was quiet and still, a tranquil place for residents to go and take in the fresh air.
"You were one of the agents whose cover was blown in Hungary after the incident last year, is that correct?" Oliver Lacon's voice echoed in her mind as she shed her jacket and camisole top to reveal her one piece Olympic bathing suit.
"Yes, we were expecting Prideaux to burry what he knew but I guess that was too much to hope for."
"And you kept silent during your captivity?"
"Yes," she replied, her voice a bit quieter as the memories of her time spent in Budapest began to resurface.
Even though it had been several weeks ago, their conversation was still fresh in her mind and for some reason she kept mulling over it. It was something Lacon said about Control but she couldn't quite put her finger on why it seemed off-putting to her. Still, it got her a place on this current investigation so she kept her suspicions at a minimum.
Sylvia then slipped her fingers into the waistband of her black sweat pants and pulled them down. The chilled January air made the skin on her bare thighs grow goose bumps. She knew the water was going to be far colder but she tried to push that thought out of her mind. Suddenly, she felt everything in her body slow down as she stared out at the uninviting water and she asked herself if she was really going to do this.
"I know your loyalty was to Control and the members of the old Circus even after they left. So let me ask you, how far are you willing to go to be in their world again?" He inquired, folding his hands atop his desk as he looked into her eyes.
She paused long while in serious consideration then answered, "A fair bit farther than you and Alleline were willing to go for me."
Slightly annoyed, Lacon pursed his lips before saying, "If we could have gotten you out of Hungary we would have."
"Control managed to do it," she replied. Lacon's face tensed at her response. He never liked dealing with agents from the Nursery, they were always mouthy and arrogant.
"Yes, and it was the only thing he did right during that whole mess," he told her sternly.
"He did what he did but he also saved my life, that's not something one forgets, sir."
She stepped towards the end of the dock until the balls of her feet were perched over the edge. Pushing her hair back from her face, Sylvia breathed deeply into her diaphragm. She knew nothing would fully prepare herself for this; she would just have to take the plunge. Raising her arms in above her head, she dove in on her exhale.
The second she was submerged in the water she felt like thousands of little needles were being pushed into her body at once. It was far colder than she had imagined and something about the freezing darkness closing in on her reminded her of that little room in Budapest. Before the memories could flood her mind she clawed her way up through the water. When Sylvia broke the surface she let out a surprised yelp. She was too cold to manage a real scream; it seemed as if her lungs had constricted themselves in her chest.
First she wrapped her arms around herself to retain any sort of body heat she had left then abandoned that idea almost immediately and scrambled over to the ladder on the dock. She couldn't bare the water one moment longer. There was no point in putting herself through this pain, she thought.
"Who else is on the team?" She asked, curious as to the size of this investigation.
One other man… "Isn't he busy working on the Tar incident?"
Lacon shrugged, "Smiley requested him."
Interesting choice, she thought, but less interesting than… "And me?"
"He needs another agent. You were my request," he replied. There was no hint of satisfaction in his voice and it made her wonder how she was even chosen at all.
"And you think he'll accept you making such a decision for him?" she asked.
"Miss Broom, I'm not picking you because I want you, I'm picking you because I know he will work with you." This explained things a bit more to her… Smiley gets an agent he would accept and Lacon gets to maintain his illusion of control over the investigation by assigning her to him. As ludicrous as this was, she wasn't going to argue with him by pointing that out.
Her limbs were stiffening by the second as she swam towards the dock and she became more and more convinced that this whole idea was a mistake with every passing moment. Grabbing onto the metal rails of the ladder, she hoisted herself up out of the water and sat in a ball on the dock's edge.
Sylvia was shivering like mad as she looked down at her blue/white toes, wondering how on Earth Smiley managed to swim in this lake every other day. She let out a shaky, miserable sigh and began wringing out her hair; anything to raise her body temperature.
Her heart was pounding anxiously in her chest from fear of almost reawakening her nightmares. For a moment there, she had come close to having an attack, but once she reached topside she was able to get a hold of her senses. She hadn't felt like that in over seven months and she wasn't going to let herself get that bad ever again.
She then heard the wood creak behind her and she whipped her head around quick enough to catch Smiley leaning over and draping her unfolded towel around her shoulders. She gripped the soft fabric close to her and waited quietly for him to say something. Her pulse was near racing now but for a different reason. Thankfully her face was too cold to redden in embarrassment.
"It's a bit of a shock the first time," he said after a while, taking his gaze off of her and looking out onto the water.
"Yes, it's not as easy as you make it look…" she said, trying find something halfway witty to say but coming up short. Smiley offered her a grin and nodded before letting go of the towel. Sylvia bit down on her lip and pushed herself onto her feet. "I think I'll leave the swimming to you from now on," she said, fishing for her pants and jacket.
Smiley opened his mouth to make a reply but then found himself holding back. He then waited patiently on the shore as she slipped her clothes back on. Smiley respectfully turned his back to her, pretending to watch the birds peck at the ground for seeds. Once she came up by his side, they walked down the path towards the car park.
AN: OMG So excited I found this Tinker Tailor section on ! BIG fan of the movie and I couldn't wait to write something about it but I thought maybe no one else was interested... hopefully not the case. Please Review :)