Disclaimer: I don't own Human Target and intend no copyright infringement.
Chance was standing in the middle of the office's lobby, in a rare state of indecision. He just couldn't make his mind up what to do next, a very seldom occurrence. Usually he couldn't wait to get rolling, to do something… choosing a course of action came just as natural to him as breathing. Of course back when Ilsa had announced she'd go back to London after the ordeal with the CIA, he had been completely clueless at what to do, too, and it had taken some severe encouragement from Winston to finally move him in the right direction. This time around there was no Winston… he had to come up with a solution all by himself.
The thing was that Diane Evensong's state of health had taken a turn for the worse. She was in hospital now, attached to a respiration apparatus. There wasn't much time left. He wanted to be there when the team explained to her what they had found. Hell, he wanted to do the explanation himself! It was his company, for heaven's sake, Diane Evensong was first and foremost his client, he felt that it was his responsibility to be present, at his crew's side.
On the other hand, with all of them in hospital, who'd keep an eye on Ash? He was still holed up in his room, not a word from him, he hadn't even ventured down the kitchen searching for food. His door was firmly closed, but Chance nevertheless knew he was alive and not doing anything dangerous or stupid… he was using the thermographic camera Ilsa had bought from the Israelis along with the grenade launcher, to make sure his son was alright. The image was fuzzy, but Ash seemed to be spending most of his time frozen on the edge of the bed. Every now and then he curled up on the blanket. Maybe they should just ask the psychologist to come here, to the office… if the shrink entered the room without Ash expecting it… maybe the element of surprise would help opening him up at least a little.
Okay, granted, Chance was aware of the fact that if someone pulled such a stunt on him, he knew he'd do everything but open up… BUT this was his child up there, he needed to do something!
Chance's cell phone signaled, a message from Ilsa, they were at the hospital now. Should they wait for him or go ahead with talking to Diane. The doctors were not happy about their visit… but Diane insisted on seeing them, thinking they'd at least provide her with the knowledge that she'd been right all along. This was going to be painful, but lying was not an option. They'd have to tell her the truth… and they'd have to hurry up…
At this very moment the elevator dinged and announced a visitor. The security system had remained silent, so it had to be Guerrero, the only one the system never seemed to be able to detect, no matter how often Winston readjusted it. "Hey bro…", he greeted Chance.
Chance knew this was not the right moment to address the issue, time was pressing, he was needed at the hospital, but on the other hand… before Guerrero was gone again… "You've been busy?", he asked, making it sound as casually as possible.
"List making", Guerrero replied.
"You don't have to do that, you know?", Chance said cautiously, not looking at his friend.
"I know you'd never ask me to do it. But do you really want to let them get away?"
"The cops…" There was no real sense in even mentioning this option. Chance knew how Guerrero would react.
Predictably, he snorted in reply. "You don't want to take that risk, bro."
"With a little help from us the cops could arrest them, sent them to prison…"
"…where they'd still be alive and well. Do you really think Ash could live with that knowledge?" Guerrero was leaning against one of the wooden pillars of the lobby, he looked relaxed and calm, but what he was saying equaled up to priming a bomb.
"What are you implying? Spit it out already!"
"I am implying, dude, that Ash will go after his mother's murderers, imprisoned or not. He won't rest till he has hunted them all down and made them wish they'd never been born." Guerrero was still talking calmly, his leaning position with his back against the pillar hadn't changed. But his eyes were firmly trained on Chance.
"YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT MY FIFTEEN YEAR OLD SON!"
"Yes, indeed, I am talking about your son. Your son is angry right now, Chance. Very angry. And that anger has only just begun to flame up. I have seen you angry, Junior…"
Chance looked at Guerrero as if he had just received a resounding slap in the face… but he also knew, and that knowledge hurt more than any physical damage, that his friend was right. The cold fury in Ash's eyes as he had pounded the sandbag… He was still this side of the brink… but knowing that his mother's murderers were somewhere out there… it would be enough to lure him over the edge, definitely.
Slowly, very slowly Chance nodded. "Then I will…"
Guerrero shook his head. "No, bro. I will. But not tonight. Tonight I'll stay here and keep an eye on him so you can wrap up things with the client. They're already waiting for you."
… … …
Since Diane was wearing a breathing mask, there wasn't much she could say in reply when they told her that the file proved without a doubt that the study she had taken part in was not related whatsoever to the horrible illness that was slowly killing her now. They could see her eyes widen in deep despair, disappointment, sadness… so no closure for her…
"But it also proves that the liver problems that eighty percent of the other participants developed in the past two years was definitely caused by the pills you were given", Winston told her. "Very good news for them, since their health insurances collectively claimed the problems were caused by heavy drinking and refused to pay… now the company which conducted the study has to pay the costs for the treatment AND compensatory damages."
"You helped a lot of people", Ilsa said, taking Diane's hand and squeezing it.
Diane's eyes became huge. She started gasping, despite the mask. Her whole body began to shake. Running footsteps could be heard outside the door, but she was dead before the doctor entered the room.