She was sitting on the windowsill, waiting for one of them to enter, her hands held up in the air in a show of surrender.
Aaron Cross turned inside the doorway, his gun drawn. The sight of the woman raising the white flag immediately confused him. Still, he kept his gun trained on her.
"You an op?" He asked, voice tight as he observed her rugged appearance. "Put your hands against the windowsill," he ordered. She obeyed without issue, slowly pressing her palms to either side of the plaster wall.
She certainly wasn't a tourist, Aaron thought. Everything about her (clothing, hair) fit into their surrounds a bit too well to be normal. Not to mention her stony demeanor screamed Blackbriar operative. She had the same darkness in her eyes that he had. It was almost a relief to see that it wasn't just him.
"You survived the liquidation?" He asked, stepping into the room. His back was still close to the wall.
The woman nodded, knowing not to chance any sudden movements. The man was still highly on edge. "The last member of the test group, besides you… I need you to viral me out."
Nothing like cutting to the chase, he thought. It was a valid request if she actually did come from his test group but she could have come from anywhere. Langley had dozens of still active programs and she could have been sent to Bangkok to kill him and Marta.
She wearily tipped her head slightly, her hair falling to the side revealing something that immediately caught Aaron's eye.
"Move your hair to the side," he told her.
The woman scooped up a handful of her locks and brushed them back over her head. Underneath the layers was an angry scar that cut across her forehead.
"Remember me now?" She asked with a wry smirk.
Her hair was different back then, pulled up in a smooth ponytail, showing her scar like a badge of honor. Now she hid it, an obvious sign that she needed to conceal it from whoever might be trying to identify her.
"Yes, I remember you from the lab," he said, putting his gun away. He still kept his distance though. "What's you name?"
"Sorry, that's my business," she told him, lowering her hands into her lap. "Call me Three."
"Is that your patient number?" He asked, slowly rubbing his hands together in front of him. Three was just a bit too impersonal for him… too clinical. He had had enough of clinics for a lifetime.
"Yeah, " she nodded, brushing back her hair once more, to relieve her self of the sweltering heat, "and you're Five, I believe."
"Don't call me that," he muttered, taking a seat on the small cot pushed against the wall. "My name's Aaron Cross."
"Well, Aaron Cross, I'm still not telling you my name," she told him, her tone suddenly becoming snarky. "This isn't an AA meeting."
"That's fine," he replied with a shrug. "I'm only asking that you use mine."
Three snorted, as she looked around the happily decorated room. It was clear, other than having a woman living in the house, he had a place he now called home.
"Freedom's sure had a different effect on you than it has me," she murmured, slightly jealous of how he had adjusted so well to civilian life.
"You don't like it?" He asked. He wasn't surprised, just curious as to her perspective on things.
"I'm not exactly fond of looking over my shoulder every five seconds. In our line of work you can either be free or you can be safe, you can't be both. Now that the program's been wiped clean off the map what choice do any of us have but to run?"
"So you liked being an operative?" He questioned, leaning forwards to look at her athletic frame rigidly perched in the window box.
This interview was quickly becoming annoying to her. "I never said that I liked it. I said it was safer to be one," she nearly snapped, as if the distinction was obvious.
"So you need viraled off your chems?" He asked after a moment of silent reflection.
Three nodded, "Yeah, off of blues. Same as you."
"Were you like me when they picked you out for the program?" He asked, handing her a water bottle from under his cot.
"No," she laughed in spite of the seriousness of their conversation. "There aren't many sexy cotton-tops running around in the army… but still plenty of regular idiots, like me." With that said, she roughly twisted the cap off of the bottle and took a generous drink.
Aaron wasn't sure if he should be angry about the cotton-top comment, but he let it slide regardless. There was no point in getting angry at her, not when she was giving him some answers.
"You see, Operation Outcome wasn't the only test group- obviously you've heard of Jason Bourne and Blackbriar. These programs, they took people like you and I, people who would be loyal to them… people who would do what they were told, who had no other options available and they made them into monsters."
"Is that what you think of yourself?" He asked, disturbed by the thinly veiled notes of loathing in her voice.
"It's what I am, Cross. You know it is," she said, pinching the bridge of her nose as another one of her headaches began cutting its way to the back of her head. "You and I are the same." Her voice was rough and filled with conviction.
Aaron watched her from his spot on the bed. He knew of the headaches, he got them too, even when he viraled off of his chems. He wasn't sure if they were an effect of their training, the pills, or their guilt manifesting in the only way it new how- regardless of what it was, they all seemed to share this one trait.
This woman, Three, clearly understood what Outcome had done to them. She was just as angry as he was when the revelation dawned on him. Their sacrifice was too much and she she felt it when they sicked the dogs on her.
"Now that you're out, do you think you can change?" He asked, his strangely endearing face having a sobering effect on her.
Aaron caught it then, a genuine grin turning up at the corners of her small mouth. "I'm trying."
He didn't know whether or not she would have stayed with the program had it not been liquidated, but he did know that she needed his help. When Marta returned, they would set to work on injecting her with the virus. At least she would have a fighting chance at a somewhat normal life.
AN: PLEASE REVIEW! Hope you enjoyed the one-shot :)