So I should explain why this was delayed: Sunday night/Monday morning (after I posted Anchored chapter 14) I had to go into A+E at my local hospital in agony from abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting. Fast forward about 9 hours and I finally get told I have the beginnings of pancreatitis, cholecystitis and gallstones but they can't do anything for 4 weeks or so because it's only just beginning. So I go home and the painkillers and antibiotics they give me completely knock me out of all consciousness (seriously). It's now Thursday at 3.35pm and I haven't had a painkiller in nearly over 24 hours; I'm achy like someone's kicked my ribs in but I'm alright mostly and have kept my food down.
Apologies for the long long delay for this then. It should've been up days ago but I was otherwise indisposed.
This is the last chapter in the last of the trilogies of these fics. I'm not doing a sequel or an outtake, so if you want to review and help me heal quicker please do so. :) I know the last chapter got a few reviews but I hope this one satisfies everybody.
A good man goes to war and his life is left behind.
Aaron knows he can't trust Byer or anyone, save for Marta, with anything; let alone the precious cargo of his son. Aaron's not an idiot anymore. That lost little boy who wanted to be Superman became the evil he's meant to be fighting instead but he can do some good in the world before it all gets blown to smithereens. Getting into America had been too easy to do; fake passports were simple to make, money from pickpocketing and what was left of his stash made up for the rest. Aaron keeps his head down as the plane touches down in Virginia, his baseball cap trained on the ground for the most part. He's got a plan and he's going to stick to it. He smiles brightly at passport control, looking up into the camera behind the pretty blonde girl whose eyes remind him too much of Marta's. He'd had to leave Marta behind so she could be safe. The less Aaron knew about where she was or what she was doing, the better.
"You get up." She groaned next to him on the little bed of old couch cushions. "It's your turn."
"You're the one with the things he wants." Aaron had muttered, rubbing his sleep deprived eyes. "He'll just be disappointed if it's me."
Marta sat up from the sleeping bag and padded over to the crib covered with netting. "Daddy's an ass, Jackson." She had muttered, scooping the baby into her arms. He stopped crying almost instantly, "See? He agrees with me." She pulled up her vest top and started to feed the baby, sitting on a chair and rocking back and forth, "This is harder than getting away from Outcome, you know."
"Worth it." He grinned from his position on the floor, head resting on his hand, "The kid just knows what he wants and takes it."
"Like you, you mean?" The moonlight streamed through the window and illuminated her. He blinked and saw her beauty.
"I'm glad I stole you, Marta." He groaned and slid onto his back again, still looking at her. "It was easier than cutting off one of your fingers for scanners."
She laughed. "Like you'd ever do that."
Aaron closed his eyes, exhausted, "Remind me to tell you some stories one day…"
Aaron's got a stop to make first and there's only one way he's getting there now. Jump off the high dive. He looks into the camera again and twists around as sirens go off, men coming out of doorways. "Sorry about this." He twists the wrist of the pretty blonde, her ruby painted lips crying out in pain. Aaron grabs his fake passport before it hits the desk. He jumps over the desks, landing heavily on his feet and stays behind the shields.
"This is the FBI, stop and put your hands up." One of the men in black grabs Aaron's arm as he jumps back from behind the barriers but Aaron's too quick and flips the guy over, grabbing the handgun from his holster.
"Thanks bud. Needed this." He runs forward, jumping onto the rim of an escalator and bolting down, trying to keep his balance. Aaron fires back as they shoot at him, the sparks igniting amongst shouts of other passengers. He grunts as he jumps to the ground and takes off at a run, rounding a corner, the blood pumping in his ears like battery acid. The intense pain he feels as a bullet grazes his left hip makes his step falter but Aaron won't ever stop; he can't afford to stop. Aaron has a mission to complete as a good man goes to war. Aaron wades into a crowd and grabs another guy's hat with deft fingers, shrugging off the black leather jacket he's wearing and dumping it and the empty gun into a trash can. Aaron slows down his pace; the adrenaline surge wearing off, his hip starting to sting with controlled pain. He rolls down the sleeves of his shirt and clips a tie into his collar, having pulled it from his jeans pocket. He smirks as the officers dash around, apparently having lost Aaron somewhere in the crowd of hundreds milling with suitcases. Aaron looks around and takes a few deep breaths, slipping into the bathroom. Coldness floods over him.
"Agent Cross." Aaron stops dead as he hears the voice in front of him, the man waiting for him. It's a trap. "I think this game is over now, don't you?" Byer says calmly, hands in his pockets.
"How?" Aaron doesn't move, his jaw set in stone with anger.
"We trained you, remember?" The agents behind Byer immediately surround Aaron and cuff him. "Can't kid a kidder."
"Where is Marta Shearing?" Byer asks. It's all he asks, all he's asked for the last four hours but Aaron's a patient broken man. Good men go to war.
"Cocomo. She takes it fast. I take it slow." Aaron smirks, feet up on the metal table. The room's bright white and empty apart from the table and two chairs opposite each other. "Or Bermuda. Bahamas?"
Byer doesn't flinch. "Where is Marta Shearing?" he asks again, completely unrelenting and cold. Fuck Byer.
Aaron's nostrils flare a little, "So, you got a good babysitter in this place? Does the government fund your child snatching habits?"
"You'd be surprised." Byer reaches into his pockets and Aaron's on high alert.
"Nothing you people do surprises me. I've seen too much." Aaron watches as Byer pulls out photos of Jackson in a metal crib. "We are the sin eaters." Aaron sneers and repeats Byer's words back to him, bringing the black bile to the surface, stubbornly refusing to look at the photographs. "It was always bullshit. Why should I be surprised, though? It's all governments do. Kill the poor to feed the wealthy, right?"
"Your son is being looked after. We aren't monsters."
"Yes." Aaron slams his feet back to the ground. "You are monsters. You are the things people should fear, the things people shouldn't trust their country with."
"Where is Marta Shearing?"
Aaron shakes his head, getting too angry. "No idea. She left me for some swarthy guy called Mike or James or Tony or Luke or-"
"Do you know where Marta Shearing is?" The corner of Byer's lips quirk up. "Because we do."
Ice water cascades down Aaron's spine and he sits up straight. "Liar."
"We know where she is, Agent Cross." He motions to the camera and two men in black bring in a laptop. "Because she's here." Aaron doesn't say a word. They're lying. She's not that good. "She came in about an hour after you did, actually. Spouting the same bullshit you are. You people are all the same, Cross. You kill and we have to clean up the mess you leave behind."
"No." Aaron looks up at Byer as the men in black leave, Byer locking the door behind them. "No, you're the ones who leave a mess behind. You trained us to kill and that's what we become. We are killers, we are sin eaters, we are the moral scum on the top of hell's entry list but you know what, Byer? You're the one who built us."
Byer chuckles, "Nice speech." He hits a button the laptop and Aaron sees a colour video stream of Marta in a room identical to his. She looks small, tiny, and cold. There are cuts on her arms and her wrists are bound. They bound her wrists but took off Aaron's cuffs? "Want to listen in?" Byer smirks and taps another key on the laptop, sound coming on and filling the empty white space.
Marta's eyes dash around the room. She's shivering slightly and the agent in the room with her drapes a jacket around her arms. "Thank you." She rubs a few fingers under her eyes, the cuffs clinking.
"It's no problem Dr Shearing. We just want to help you." Vosen smiles sickeningly, "We're getting your boy back to you. Just tell us everything you know about Aaron Cross and we can help you."
She shakes her head, "Doesn't work like that."
"I think you'll find it does, Doctor." He puts a heavy gun on the table between them, his hand on top of it, "You have information you're not telling us. If you don't share it with us, we will kill you, we will kill your son and we will kill Agent Cross."
Her head snaps up, "You'll never be able to kill him. You people made me into Frankenstein; I'm not doing a damn thing you say." He's so proud of her. "If you kill our son, he's not going to stop until everything is burnt to the ground at your feet."
Vosen sighs, "Well, we could always test that theory. I could shoot you." He pulls the gun up and aims at Marta's head. Aaron panics. Why does she have to be here? She couldn't leave it alone. "You want to die?"
She shakes her head shivering, "Please, please, no, don't kill me. Please, I don't want to die!"
Vosen smirks and puts the gun back into his holster. "I didn't think so, Doctor." He reaches out and grabs her around the throat hard, twisting her jaw and head back. Aaron's used that hold before. "There's other ways we can get you to talk. You're more useful alive than dead. Well… half alive, anyway." He grabs a knife and stabs it into her shoulder, twisting it as she screams out. Aaron grips his fist under the table. "Now, Dr Shearing, tell us about Aaron Cross."
Aaron stands up, baring his fists, "You leave her the fuck alone. You know I'll tell you everything when Marta and Jackson are safe: not a second before."
"I suggest you sit down, Agent." Byer says calmly, "You know the U.S Government's policy is not to negotiate with terrorists and you're a terrorist so we're not negotiating."
On the laptop, Marta whimpers as the blade is pulled out. "Fine. I'll tell you. Just promise me my son will be safe."
Vosen sits on the table in front of her. "We promise, Doctor. We aren't monsters."
She holds a hand to her bloodied shoulder, beckoning Vosen to come closer. No. Aaron can't believe it. No, Marta. Don't tell them. They're liars, all of them.
She breathes heavily. "Aaron Cross is Keyser Soze." She looks up at Vosen and laughs as he puts a gun to her head. "Did I have you going?" she keeps laughing, "Oh please don't kill me, Mr Agent man; I'll be such a good little informant." Marta presses her forehead into the gun, her eyes hardened and cold. "I am not your flying monkey anymore." She looks into the camera, "Neither of us is."
Byer growls and stands up, walking over to Aaron, his fist bared. Aaron tries not to sigh in relief and starts laughing instead. "You can't break us, Byer."
"Like hell I can't, I control the whole damn thing. I can kill her! She'll be cursing the day she met you."
Aaron looks to the laptop where Marta is still laughing and Vosen looks confused. "Doesn't look like it to me. Does it to you?" Aaron swings out and punches Byer as Marta kicks the table from under Vosen, his gun firing in the room.
Aaron unclips Byer's belt and whips it off, wrapping it around the man's throat, one knee on his back. "Tell me where my son is." Aaron pulls tighter as Byer struggles. They can see Marta on the laptop, fighting Vosen with all she's got, trying to wrestle the gun out from him.
"No." Byer chokes out. Aaron knees him harder, slamming his head against the metal table with a sickening crack.
"Tell me where my son-"
Two gunshots go off on the laptop screen and Aaron sees Marta clutching her thigh, blood spurting all down her leg as she slumps to the floor, lifeless. Vosen is dead on the ground. "I think, Agent Cross." Byer spits out, "That's game over, don't you? We both know that's a kill shot." Byer swipes the laptop off the table, sending it crashing to the ground like his skull had on the table and Aaron's world is devastated. Byer's got the upper hand now.
"Can't bullshit a bullshitter, Eric." Aaron grunts and grabs a shattered edge of the broken laptop in his hand. "We've survived worse than you."
"Not forever." Byer punches Aaron and pulls a switchblade from his pocket, baring it as a weapon as agents try to break in through the door. "There's no white picket fence, Cross! You can't keep the people you love safe from the world. You knew that from the second you begged us to stay here." Byer lunges for Aaron's arm; he dodges but the knife scrapes along his flesh, pouring like a waterfall down his arm. Aaron punches Byer's face black and blue, stabbing the man in the thigh with the makeshift weapon forged from his own destruction. Aaron's got nothing left to lose. The world is angry and red, tinged with the failed promises to Marta and his son. Aaron's got Byer on the floor and punches him mercilessly, kicking the man in the ribs over and over again, sticking his fingers in Byer's wound and poking the nerve, relishing every crack and cry of pain from Byer's broken and bleeding lips. It's recompense for all the hurt Aaron's brought to poor Marta and the other people he's killed. Byer grunts and groans, managing to thrust his switchblade up into Aaron's arm, severing something.
Aaron cries out in pain and stumbles back onto the white wall, the blood on his bruised hand making a handprint smeared across the stark white. Byer's stabbed him too deep. Aaron's going to bleed out in three minutes. Marta's dead. He saw her die. He saw her leg ripped open by a bullet. He saw her eyes dull and her body slump to the floor. He remembers too much blood.
There's so much blood. Blood everywhere. He's drowning in blood.
Byer gets up from the floor, the pocketknife loose in his shaking palm, his thigh ripped open by Aaron's hand. He smirks.
As Aaron slumps against a cold, cool white wall, he looks back over the last year of his life and wonders where it all went wrong. He's dead. How could something as innocent as a sweet, tender kiss have led him to this path strewn with bodies? He'd called her a warrior so many times, he thought of her as unbreakable but now… Nearly a year since that positive test had passed and Aaron's sure it'd been a ticking time bomb in disguise, sent to set them for a showdown they weren't ever ready for. He fought so hard to keep it all from falling apart, losing so much along the way and now it was over. It felt over. He isn't sure how much longer he's got left, after all. Who's counting? Marta told him once that the brain goes into hypersensitivity when you die. He smells iron and sees bright white and dashed red in handprints along the wall in front. He hears screams and cries. He tastes metal and gunpowder. He's looking at death again.
Aaron blinks. He remembers his son's cries Jackson and they wrench his heart into torn shards for all the memories. All Aaron and his baby boy needed was her and now… now there's no way back along that dead path, the roses wilting as he walks it. He fought for so long and so hard, it'd be easy to close his eyes and let the pain stop. He wants to let the pain stop and rest. Aaron's always been a dreamer.
Byer stands in front of him. Smirking. He's wounded deeply in the thigh and Aaron hopes the man dies and burns in hell for his sins and for Aaron's sins too. It's all come down to him and his arrogance, his cruelty and unrelenting torture. Fuck Byer.
"I hope you realise, Agent Cross." Byer says shakily, spitting the words with all the fury he has. "You're the reason she's dead. You're the reason this happened. You set it in motion."
He knows. Aaron musters what strength he's got left and stands on his heavy clunking feet, clenching a fist around his last weapon. "If there's one thing I believed in, even just…" he grunts, "Just one thing. I believed in her."
Aaron feels his strength wane as he twists the shard of glass into Byer's thigh unrelenting. He looks up and sees her. His angel of death sent to sing him down to hell where he belongs. His clock's done ticking. Going out with a cliché.
Yeah. When he looks back on it, he knows. Former Agent Aaron Cross had known all along. It's all been doomed to failure and they paid the high price.
"Aaron." A voice, soft and lyrical, calls to him. His eyes are closed. There should be more pain. "Aaron Cross, I need you to wake up." He knows that voice.
"Marta?" he mutters. His back is cold; he's on something steely. "I'm dead."
"You were for two minutes." He opens his eyes and looks around.
There's dead bodies everywhere. Men with bullets holes, slashed throats, some with injuries he couldn't see. "What happened?" he groans and looks to the stab wound on his arm, now wrapped tightly with a tourniquet made from his own shirt. "Ow."
"Don't poke it." He tries to concentrate on her face. "It'll last until we get out of here. There's not much time."
"You did it, didn't you?" his eyes focus. "You killed all these…"
"Yes." She nods, tilting her head, "I'm a mother. Nothing's going to stop me from getting my son back." Marta looks down to her thigh, patched up like his.
"But I saw you die." He groans and gets up, the overwhelming relief that she's alive hitting him like a freight train, "I watched you die."
"I was shot. You think that's going to keep me from getting back to you?" she chuckles and heaves him up, "Women lift busses off their kids to keep them safe. I…" she kisses his cheek, "…can cheat death."
Marta grunts as she looks at her thigh. Femoral artery nicked; approximately ten minutes with flow rate. She pulls the tie from Vosen's dead body and wraps it around her bleeding thigh, gritting her teeth as the pain nearly makes her pass out. Nothing's going to stop her from Aaron and Jackson; no bullet or bomb or blast is going to make her think of her own health. She grunts in pain as she stockpiles all of Vosen's weapons into her pockets. She'd heard Aaron next door and needs to get to him quickly. Five agents outside his door, banging to try and get inside. She uses the wall to lift herself up and shoots two in the back of the head dead, immediately taking cover behind the metal door, having shot through the glass.
She takes out more and more, her only thought of redemption for lost lives settles on her getting Jackson safe. Aaron trained her to be a killing machine. Time to use it. She jumps out and fires into the neck of another agent, ducking as the final two try to shoot her dead. The knife in her hand, Vosen's knife, slashes across the throat of another, ripping it open. She fires into the head of another agent and slams into the locked door.
It won't budge.
She can see Byer standing over Aaron. Aaron's eyes were waning but she tries with all her strength to get him to see her standing there as he slams something sharp and shiny into Byer's thigh. Byer goes down like a tonne of bricks. Aaron's eyes lock with his and she pleads to the heavens as he slumps down to the ground, ignoring her own pain and feeling his instead. Marta runs back inside her holding cell and gets the metal chair, slamming it into the control panel on the wall next to the door. Come on. Spark the override. Come on!
"You killed five agents?" Aaron mutters in disbelief, "You broke the security panels, which can't be done, and you saved both our lives with strips of cloth?"
She nods, quickening her pace to a run as more agents come up behind them, "Yup."
"I trained you to be better than me." Aaron smirks as they run into the bowels of the organisation. He looks at her and clutches her hand to his. "Family reunion?"
"ETA 5 minutes. We need to get to the roof. I called in a favour for you." She sounds more like Aaron than Aaron does.
"Captain Jameson." She grunts and helps him kick open a door to the roof, pulling him up, "He still owed you one after I kind of… hit him over the head and ran off with the fake passport and money you gave him." She has the decency to look bad about it.
They keep running up the stairs, "Marta, I called him to make sure you were safe while I got Jackson, you nearly blew the whole thing!"
"Oh I did not. I saved your life, Cross. Don't you forget it." She laughs softly and turns, shooting a few of the agents who were too close.
"Marry me, Marta Shearing." he grins and kisses her. He didn't have to wait for an answer. "How did Jameson get Jackson?" Aaron shouts over he whirr of the helicopter's blades slicing through the air.
Marta presses a soft kiss to his colder lips, muttering "Only you would tell me to marry you when we're trying to outrun a fucking government organisation." She helps Aaron across to the aircraft. "Outcome has a daycare programme; they hid him in plain sight. I gave Jameson some info and well... I could have told you that from the magpie bunker if you hadn't been idiotic and drugged me so I couldn't!"
He holds her arms in his hands. "Marta." The baby carrier safely strapped to the seat inside the copter. "We're always going to be outrunning them…" he sighs softly. "I know it's not a life but…"
She cuts him off with a soft kiss as they jump up into the helicopter with matching groans of pain, Jameson in the pilot seat. "I never needed a stable life, Cross. I need you; running or standing still."
She leans into his lips but gets cut off by a sharp cry from Jackson in his baby car seat. "I think he's hand enough excitement for one day, don't you?" Aaron slams the helicopter door shut as they start to take off.
Marta leans back against the seat, rocking the car seat a little; "Poor thing misses his bunny." She sighs, "I bet bad Daddy left it back at his super-secret bunker, didn't he?" she coos down to the baby. "Yes he did; bad Daddy."
Aaron looks over at Jackson, now four months old and looking more and more like her. Aaron sighs softly but happily. "So, how was your vacation, little man? Did they give you yummy milk? Was your crib too cold?" Jackson gurgles and smiles up at Aaron as he strokes the dark hair on his head. "Ahh, it's okay. We'll write a review on Trip Advisor. I'm sure they won't be bothering anyone else again." He smirks, pulling the hard drive from the laptop from his pocket. "I don't think they'll be doing anything again for a very long time."
A good man goes to war and is rescued by his wife.
A/N: Yes I borrowed from Doctor Who. Don't sue me. :) whether Marta, Aaron and Jackson really get away is up to you. I hope most people imagine them to be happy on their little island and that the hard drive is enough...
A/N2: Marta's changed a lot from where Aaron first met her, yes, but motherhood changes a person too. Combine the two together and you have a ruthless machine who's probably more deadly than Aaron (really, don't piss a mother off. It's the last breath you'll ever take)
A/N3: Dedicated to everyone who's enjoyed the ride. Please leave me a little review :) love to you all