"Tom," Monroe says in that soft, calm cadence he has come to use with familiarly. "When you are done with Strauss, tell him I wish to have a private word with him."

Tom inclines his head, neck stiff and lips pressed into a thin, unreadable line. "Of course," he replies, words rolling off his tongue in a deep rumble as he turns to go. His weighty footsteps sound loudly against the wood flooring as he exits, the heavy wooden door closing with a loud bang behind him.

Monroe relaxes his shoulders slightly now that he is alone. His lips twist into a soft scowl, eyebrows knitting together as his brilliant blue eyes slide to the right, settling on Lieutenant Neville's crumpled and smeared report. It lies there on his desk innocently and he knows what it says. He knows what the report contains. Monroe closes his eyes, light sigh slipping past his lips. A familiar feeling creeps over him; it starts in the pit of his stomach and grows with strength, ripping apart his insides before, ultimately, blanketing his heart with a cold, indifferent embrace. He recognizes it for it is; the clawing loneliness of Miles' distance; his absence.

The violent urge to throw things about the room, to cry, to scream in rage threatens to overtake him. Instead, Monroe sinks leisurely into his chair, hand shaking as he reaches for the loose pages of the report he wants to read again and again and again. He wants to breathe the words in, let his soul soak them up, this small measure of Miles. Of the man he … well. Monroe tips his head back, brief, broken laugh ripping from his throat like some last half-strangled gasp for sanity. The man he loves, dreams of, obsesses over; the other broken and damaged part of his heart, of his soul.

Quite a pair they had made; all glory and power and filthy sex.

A derisive, self-depreciating smirk dances upon his lips; quite the pair Miles and Nora made. He should be above such petty jealousy, but the thought of some woman sliding her hands up and down Miles' body, like she owned it, like she knew him, makes him murderous. Monroe sighs again, angry breath shaky. No, that was rather enough of that. His eyes once again trail to the report and he pulls it closer, drinking the words up hungrily.

That is when Strauss walks in, disgustingly happy sadistic grin in place. He stops a yard away from the front of Monroe's desk, back straight and eyes positively gleeful. "You wished to speak with me?"

Monroe sets the report down gingerly and flicks his eyes upwards, capturing Strauss in a dark, meaningful gaze. "Yes," he says simply. He stands then, walking around the desk to come to stand at Strauss' right. "Major Neville passed along your orders, I assume?"

Strauss' grin borderlines on barbaric. "He did."

"Mm," Monroe murmurs, "good." He moves closer to Strauss, sliding his hand up the other man's back until it comes to rest on his left shoulder. He leans in close, his lips near Strauss' ear. "If you hurt a hair on Miles' head," he speaks lowly, tone dark and unforgiving but calm, so frighteningly calm. "I will take your favorite knife and drag it across every inch of your body, slowly, until you draw your last breath and hell drags your soul below."

Strauss smirks. "I thought you didn't believe in God, sir."

Monroe leans in closer, ignoring Strauss' remark. "Have I made myself clear?"

"Oooh, you've made yourself clear," he says. "But the girl?"

Blackness washes over Monroe as he takes a step back, floorboards creaking under his weight. "Do with her as you will. I really don't care."


Strauss turns to leave, but Monroe's voice stops him. "Failure is not an option," the President of the Monroe republic says.

Strauss chuckles darkly to himself and doesn't utter another word before his departure.

Monroe watches him go. He will have Miles back.

He has waited long enough.

Patience is a virtue, they say.

Monroe picks up an abandoned glass of whiskey that had sits atop his desk. He brings it to his lips, the addicting taste of his poison of choice coating his tongue sweetly.

He shall see about that.