A/N: I just recently saw "The Bourne Legacy" and was left wanting more story for Aaron Cross and Dr. Shearing. I'm planning on this being a multi-chapter fic rated M for later content. It will fill in some of the missing moments from the film as well as where the film ended and where my imagination picked up. Please read and review; this is a different fandom for me!
Autumn had always been her favorite time of year. Days that would sometimes be warm enough to leave a jacket behind but nights cool enough to sleep with the windows open tucked tight under a down comforter. But Marta's absolute favorite thing about the season was the beautiful colors associated with it. As much as the house was an albatross around her neck, it was the perfect place to watch the leaves change color. Or it had been the most perfect place. That was until she set it on fire an hour ago.
Now, she sat in a car speeding by the foliage. Marta stole a glance over to the driver. She didn't think he even noticed the scenery; his focus was entirely on the road in front of him. They hadn't spoken a word since she explained to him the science behind the chems he needed, the silence stretching between them. Silence was something she was used to though. Her lab was silent, the house had been silent. Marta could still hear the gunshots ring out in both the lab and her home though. She didn't think she could be any more frightened than she had been when she had been hiding in her bedroom. And then number Five came through the door. Marta realized something and was jolted out of her head for a moment.
"What is your name?" she asked curiously.
Grey eyes looked over at her. "Aaron. Aaron Cross."
"Aaron," she repeated. "I wasn't allowed to ask you your name. We had explicit instructions as to how we were to interact with all of the program participants."
Aaron glanced over at her. "How were you told to act?"
"We were supposed to be clinical, cold," she replied. "Under no circumstance were we to ask how you received your injuries or what it was you did when you were outside of the lab. No personal contact."
Aaron grunted. "Just in it for the science, right doc?"
Marta didn't respond. Instead she looked out the windshield and thought about her sister who was expecting her to arrive in Montreal this afternoon. How long would it take her to find out that she wasn't coming? Who would tell her that Marta had perished in the inferno that was her house? She could feel tears stream down her cheeks at the thought of her niece and nephew, ages five and seven respectively, who she would most likely never see again.
She turned her face away from Aaron, staring out her window and trying to quiet the questions racing through her mind. It had begun to rain outside and the sound of the windshield wipers and the lull of the car's movement was making her tired. Marta knew all about the body's response to shock and wasn't surprised as she felt herself slipping into sleep.
When several minutes had passed without a sound, Aaron looked over to see that Marta's eyes were shut, her breathing more rhythmic. He could make out the tracks the tears had made on her cheeks and he instantly felt guilty. He had been furious but he knew deep down that it wasn't the doctor's fault and she didn't deserve the angry words he had spat out at her. He sighed inwardly. It had been a gamble coming to get her. His original plan was to head straight to the lab but when he saw the news reports of the shooting he knew it wasn't an option. Any medication they had would've been destroyed. His only real shot at finding any chems lie with Dr. Shearing who had miraculously survived the massacre. Aaron knew that they would come for her again and had only reached her house thirty minutes before the agents did.
He was lying to himself, though. When Aaron had seen her picture in the newspaper, he had felt a surge of relief that she had survived, relief that had nothing to do with an opportunity to find medication. While he was up in Alaska, he had a lot of time for self-reflection. Truth be told, the pretty doctor was the reason why he had gone off the grid. He had always felt an attraction to her, even after the first of their meetings but it was the last one that had changed Aaron.
Eight Months Earlier:
Something was different about her but he wasn't sure what. She seemed somewhat flustered, almost distracted. It was behavior he wasn't used to seeing from Dr. Shearing. She was always professional, calm, and polite. As he watched her fill a syringe, her hands shook slightly. When she turned to face him, he could see shadows under her eyes as if she hadn't slept well in the past few days. Her hair, as always was pinned up and out of the way but there were lighter streaks running through her auburn locks almost like she had recently spent some time in the sun. It was early spring but the weather had been unseasonably warm the past few days in the D.C. area. When she looked up at him, he could make out some freckles on her nose but it was her eyes that caught his attention. There was sadness there.
"Everything alright doc?" he asked trying to keep his voice light and casual.
Dr. Shearing looked up from the IV on his wrist and smiled although it didn't quite reach her eyes. "Just fine," she replied. "Why don't you lie back; I want to check the wound on your torso."
Aaron hesitated for a moment. "Are you sure? I'm a good listener," he said smiling.
Dr. Shearing arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow up at him. "You know we're on camera. It's funny how many times I have to remind you of that fact."
Aaron had held up his hands defensively. "Just asking, that's all," he replied as he reclined on the examination table.
She walked over to him and said, "Can you pull down the gown to your waist please. Here, let me help you."
As she bent closer to him, Aaron could smell her perfume. It was light and soft, very feminine. Her lab coat opened slightly to reveal a black dress. It was a little more sophisticated than what she usually wore but then he realized it was Saturday night.
"I hope I didn't pull you away from a good time Doc," he said, his voice slurring slightly as the sedative began to take hold. He was overdue for his check-in; he had been scheduled to come in a week earlier but a mission had prevented him from doing so. The powers that be must have called her away from her weekend plans to conduct his physical, he thought. It was cold in the examination room but her hands were warm on his chest as she pulled down the gown to his waist and Aaron gasped in surprise.
Dr. Shearing looked up, her brow furrowed in concern. "Cold hands? I'm sorry. Or does it hurt?" she asked as she looked down to a jagged scar under the left side of his ribcage. It was healing fine; more than fine—abnormally fast or at least abnormally fast for a human without any DNA alterations. She ran her finger along it and looked up at Aaron waiting for his reply.
He shook his head. "It doesn't hurt." He paused for a moment. "Your hands feel great, warm actually." Aaron smiled as he watched the faintest of color appeared on her cheeks.
"Hmm," was all she said as she straightened up. "That sedative should have taken hold already."
"Don't let me ruin your good time doc," Aaron slurred. "Looks like you had a hot date. Wouldn't want him to run out on you."
Although she said it softly, so softly that any other person wouldn't have heard, Aaron heard her murmur, "Too late for that."
It was enough for his mind to clear for a moment and for him to feel an emotion he was familiar with—anger. What man in his right mind would run out on this woman, he thought. He sat up and said, "Just tell me who doc, I'll take care of him for you."
Dr. Shearing turned from the counter with another syringe. "That's quite enough now," she said in her sternest voice. She took Aaron's wrist in her hand and injected the syringe but before she let it go she squeezed his hand causing him to look up at her.
"Thank you" she mouthed with a sad smile.
Her face was the last thing he saw before he passed out. When he woke, she was gone.
Shortly after that visit, he had gotten sick; the mystery virus. After he recovered, Aaron had been sent on a mission to Somalia. He thought about the doctor a lot while he was away. He was desperate to know more about her. Aaron had always enjoyed his check-ins with Dr. Shearing. He loved to get her flustered, which was rare but he always did get a rise out of her by not adhering to protocol.
After the last visit though, he started to question the program. It was made clear to him when he joined that there would be no room for a personal life. Even the simple-minded Kenneth had understood that. It wasn't a difficult decision for him to make though since he had no one. But now Aaron wondered what it would be like if he had someone in his life, someone like Dr. Shearing. He at least wanted to have the choice. That was why he had gone off the grid. He wanted to see if he could manage without his chems. If he was really serious about leaving Outcome he would need to see how he could do without the medication.
He had run out of blues after two days and by the end of the third day he began to feel cognitively degraded. He would become disoriented or suddenly forget what he was doing. He had no choice but to go back but he was angry about it, angry that he had agreed to such a program because now he knew the truth. He needed the program if he wanted to remain enhanced. He had hoped that maybe being on the chems for so long might have altered him. After that third day, though, it became clear that he would go back to what he was before he joined the program—mentally challenged and physically weak.
Aaron hit a bump in the road which effectively jolted him back to reality. He glanced over to see that Dr. Shearing had woken up as well. She sat up straighter in her seat and looked at the road ahead of them taking in the darkening sky.
"Who's Peter Boyd?" Aaron asked suddenly. He was hoping to catch her off guard with his question and by the look on her face, he had succeeded.
"What difference does it make?" she asked. "He knows nothing. I'm sure you heard me tell that to those agents at my house."
"Humor me," he replied. "I think you owe it to me."
Marta looked over at him and sighed. "He's my ex. Peter is also a scientist but not in the same field. He is a physicist. He works for another laboratory in D.C." She looked over at him, her tone angry. "I don't understand why you need to know about him."
Aaron shrugged slightly. "I just want to know if I have to worry about him tracking you down." That wasn't true of course; he was just curious.
Marta huffed. "Well, you won't have to worry about that. He's probably at his new perfect house with his new perfect bride decorating the nursery for the baby they're expecting in another month."
"Oh," was all Aaron could say.
"Oh," she repeated. "It doesn't matter now. It was eight months ago." She muttered some unintelligible. "Such an idiot."
"Excuse me?" he asked, a look of confusion on his face.
"Not you," she said dismissively. "Me. Peter is brilliant but he could never handle the fact that I was more successful professionally then he was. I'm an idiot, however, in my choice of men and in relationships in general. I convinced myself that we were 'fine' and allowed myself to be talked into buying that monstrosity of a house. I spent hours interviewing contractors and looking over paint samples and wood samples only to find out that he was going behind my back with a lab assistant." She sighed. "Everyone told me I was better off without him and I told myself it was better without him; I could concentrate on my work. Look where that line of thinking has landed me."
Aaron was trying to conceal his smile at her tirade but a disturbing thought ran through his head. "Are you still in love with him?"
Marta gave a harsh laugh. "No, I'm not. I'm actually not sure if I ever was or just liked the idea of him and having a house and a normal life." She paused. "Actually, I went to his wedding eight months ago, to show there were no hard feelings. It's funny; that was the last time I saw you. You were overdue for your check-in and they called me in to do your physical."
Aaron's eyebrows went up in surprise at how close their line of thinking was but he feigned ignorance. "Hmph," was all he said.
Marta sighed again and looked away from him. Truth be told, Five had been quite charming that time even if he had a massive amount of narcotics flowing through his blood. She shook her head slightly and then asked, "Where are we?"
"Wilmington," he replied. "Delaware."
"Why aren't we just going to D.C.?" she asked. "I thought we're flying to Manila."
"We are," he replied. "But we're going to leave from New York. There's more airports, more flights, more opportunities to blend in." Aaron pulled the car into a parking garage that was attached to a shopping center. "Do you always wear your hair up?"
"What?" Marta asked. "Why?"
"Because I need to know, that's why," Aaron replied. He pulled into a spot and turned off the car turning to her saying, "Listen doc, if we're going to get through this, you're going to have to trust me. Do you trust me?"
Marta looked into his eyes. She had known this man for four years but she had no idea who he was. She knew he was desperate for his chems and that was probably the only reason why he had saved her life. He needed her and she needed him, pure and simple. But as Marta took in his features, she realized she did trust him but only to an extent.
"I trust you," she replied. "I usually wear it down; it's only up for work or when I go for a run."
Aaron nodded, "What about glasses? Or do you wear contacts?"
"Glasses but only for reading," she said.
"Alright. We're going to switch cars here. On the second floor of the shopping center is a drugstore. I need you to go in there to have your passport picture taken with your glasses on and your hair down the way it is now, okay?"
Marta nodded. "I understand. You're not coming with me?" She tried but probably failed to hide the panic from her voice.
Aaron shook his head, "No. I'll be waiting in front of the northern exit for you in a silver Accord." He looked at his watch. "It shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes to do this. If it takes longer, I'll meet you in the parking lot of the fast food restaurant across the street. Understand?"
Marta took a shaky breath and replied, "Yes."
Aaron took notice of her suddenly pale face and covered her hand with his. "You'll be fine doc. It's only been a few hours since we left your house. The people who tried to kill you most likely don't know your dead yet. They're probably still sifting through the rubble and trying to figure out how to keep the locals out of the scene."
Marta looked down to where his hand was covering hers and nodded. "Alright."
He gave her hand a pat and said, "You should probably buy anything you need for an extended trip. Use cash, no credit cards, okay?"
With one more nod to him, Marta got out of the car. Aaron watched as she exited the garage and entered the shopping center. When he was sure she hadn't been followed, he got out of the car and walked up two flights of stairs to find the silver Accord in the spot he had left in two years ago. Wilmington was the perfect place to stash a car. It wasn't a very large city but it was close to Baltimore, D.C. and New York so it was a good place to make a getaway from.
Inside the shopping center, Marta entered the drugstore and, to her great relief, found it almost empty. There was one clerk stocking shelves, one pharmacist in the back, and what looked like a very disinterested teenager manning the register. She picked up a basket and found her way to the aisle with travel size products. She felt like she was walking in a dream as she picked up items she thought she would need: shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, some feminine products. Marta had a feeling Aaron wouldn't have any of those in the black bag she had seen on the back seat of the car.
She made her way to the front of the store and put the basket on the counter. The teenager looked up from a magazine. "I'm going to need a passport picture taken too," she said.
The teenager sighed. "Alright. Step over to the photo counter and stand with your toes on the blue line."
Marta did as instructed and watched as a white screen descended from the ceiling. The teenager was fussing with the camera and it gave her an opportunity to put on her glasses. Within minutes, she was leaving the store with her purchases and new photo. It took her five minutes, however, to find the correct exit. When she got outside and saw the car she almost cried out in relief. She didn't think she would have been able to handle meeting Aaron at a different spot. She walked quickly to the car and got into the passenger side.
Aaron looked at Marta. She was out of breath and sweaty. "Are you alright?"
"Yes," she gasped as she fastened her seatbelt. "I just got nervous; I wasn't sure of the correct exit and I was worried about meeting you at the restaurant."
Aaron looked in his rearview mirror and pulled away from the curb. He squeezed her shoulder saying, "You did great doc. No one followed you in and I'm pretty sure no one followed you out. Just relax now. We'll be in New York in a few more hours."
Marta nodded and took a deep breath to calm herself. She leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes but her heart was still racing. "I'm sorry," she said. "I'm not used to feeling like this."
"Feeling like what?" Aaron asked.
Marta opened her eyes and looked over at him. "Scared."
"You don't have to apologize for that," he replied. "You wouldn't be human if you weren't scared. You've been through a lot the past 48 hours. I wish I could say it's going to get easier but it's not." He withdrew his hand from her shoulder and moved it to her hand. "Just know that I'm going to do everything to get us through this, alright?"
His grey eyes were boring through her as if he was willing her to believe it. "Alright," she replied.
Aaron nodded to her and withdrew his hand. Marta gave him a weak smile and settled more comfortably into her seat. After a few moments had passed, she snuck a sidelong glance to him. How long would he stick with her, she thought. Was he going to abandon her as soon as he got what he needed? She could still feel the warmth from his hand where it had covered her own. He certainly was a puzzle, Marta thought, unlike any of the other participants that she had seen in the lab.
He felt her stare and willed himself not to turn and look at her. Aaron knew she was still not sure if she could trust him and he admired her for it. It wouldn't be wise to be too accepting but at the same time he was disappointed. Even the small physical contact they had was enough to confirm to Aaron something that he had known for a while—he was attracted to the doctor. It was a complication that he wasn't sure how to deal with. It certainly added a different element to the mission ahead of them. In past assignments it didn't matter if he escaped alive, as long as his goal had been met. But he wasn't alone anymore.
When he felt her gaze move way, Aaron looked at her. Her eyes were closed again and he was sure she was feeling the magnitude of the job ahead of them. His fingers itched to grab her hand once more but he fought the urge. He couldn't get emotionally involved, there was too much at stake. But as Aaron looked at her profile and the way her hair fell over her shoulder, he knew it was too late for such thoughts. And it only made his resolve that much harder.