A Zero Dark Thirty fic.
Summary: "In another universe, we're getting married and pushing baby carriages, Maya," he tells her. Her spine prickles at his words. He gauges her reaction, calibrated eyes looking for her tell so he knows which card to play next. But she's the goddess carved out of stone, isn't she?
Maya finds shade, isolated, away from the boxes and the guards, away from death metal bleeding through concrete. She's sweaty and sticky under her suit jacket. Her clothes are all wrong for this place, she packed wrong. Her skin is wrong – she forgot to pack sunblock. She sucks down bottled water, choking on it, her throat tight. Strange fucked up place, how water is life and how water is a weapon here.
Seeing is different. Participating - something else. She didn't expect to have to participate, not like that, that's not her job. She didn't have to, she could've said no. "Grab that bucket." She did. "Put some water in it." She did it. Like she was his assistant or something. It didn't occur her to say no.
It's hard to get the cap back on the bottle because her hands are shaking. Because she can't see. Tears burn her eyes.
"You alright?" Dan asks, coming up behind her.
It wasn't hard to find her. That's what he does. He's aware of the way she turns her face away, not toward, the way she swipes at her eyes, the way she says "I'm fine" too quickly. That's what he does - notice things. He lights a cigarette. The wind whips the smoke away, whips loose strands of her hair like tassels. Not dyed, that color red, he can tell.
He's an edgy presence beside her. He clears his throat. "You know, it's okay—"
"Fucking sand in my eyes," she cuts him off, hard.
"The wind here, it doesn't stop this time of year. Gets the sand and grit in your hair, your ears, every fucking crevice. The Loo," he tells her.
"The name of the wind. Comes up the Indo-Gangetic Plain toward the Himalayas. The Loo."
Now she looks at him. "The Loo."
He laughs a little. "Yeah. The Loo." That gets a smile out of her, too. He looks different when he smiles, the crinkles softening his ice blue eyes.
They lapse into silence. "When you lie to me, I hurt you" – it echoes in her ears like it echoed in that room. Who is this man, wild-haired and inked-up, standing here being nice to her, pretending she's not crying?
He touches her shoulder, squeezes it. Brief. Her flinch doesn't escape him. "You'll get used to it," he says. She nods and gulps down water. "Alright?" She nods again. "Alright." He knows she won't last a month in this place.