2010-05-14: A Tempting Offer

Starring:

Porter_V5icon.pngVasha_V5icon.png

Date: May 14, 2010

Summary:

"It's about these people who are inextricably together for whatever reasons, and they happen to be in the spy world. It's about relationships, and the bottom line is, that's why you care." — Victor Garber


"A Tempting Offer"

Sol's Penthouse Apartment

Technically, an MH-6 Little Bird helicopter has an operational ceiling of around 19,000 feet. Today, Porter's pilot has pushed it well past 25,000.

The pilot flicks a switch on his control panel, checks a readout, and nods. "NavCom is locked. We're in position."

Porter's only reply is a nod. He pulls up the zipper on his black jumpsuit, flicks down the mirrored visor on his crash helmet, and leaps out the side of the rotorcraft. Immediately, he folds his body to make it as long and thin as possible, streamlining himself for the fall in an attempt to stay on target.

This isn't his first HALO jump. He lands neatly on the roof of an upscale residential skyrise. Before he's killed his momentum, he's already cut himself free of his chute and wadded it up along with his helmet. From there, it's the work of a moment to slip over the side of the building, cut a hole in one of the windows, and let himself in to the penthouse.

The occupant is showering, if the splashes and steam coming from the bathroom are any indication. Porter drifts around the apartment for a moment, inspecting the decor and occasionally giving a painting or particularly interesting sculpture a brief touch of his fingertips. When he's finished with his inspection, he takes a seat in an especially cozy-looking armchair, crosses his legs, and waits.

The shower continues for approximately twenty minutes after he first settles into his chair. The steam turns fragrant as the woman sponges different scents onto her body, expertly layering them as one would cold weather gear. Only when the final touch of lilac wafts through the air is when the water is finally turned off. The soft patter of her wet feet against the marble tile is heard before a long arm reaches out of the clouded door for one of the chocolate brown towels hanging nearby.

From the chair's angle to the full length mirror in the sitting area, it is likely that he can see the diamond shaped shower in the corner of the bathroom. The towel is whipped from its resting place and wound around her long form before she finally steps out and into view. She is looking down at her feet, she is comfortable and not expecting a visitor, especially after the row of the previous evening.

Vasha pulls a smaller towel and pats the moisture from her face before winding it through her hair to wring out the extra water. Folding it into a turban at the top of her head, she tucks the ends at the nape of her neck. It is only then that she steps into the sitting area. The plush carpet tickles at her feet as she turns to face the mirror. What she sees in the reflection causes her to freeze, her hazel eyes pinned on his mirrored ones.

While he was waiting, Porter availed himself of a few pleasures that he found lying around. A cigar. Some divine dark chocolate. And now a glass of port. He seems awfully at ease for a man seated in the heart of enemy territory without any obvious weapons or supplies.

Then again, there's no telling what mischief he's gotten into with twenty minutes to kill.

When Vasha steps into view, he holds his glass up and peers at her through the thick, dark wine. He's still enjoying the armchair, as well. "This is positively decadent," he purrs. "A little taste of home, yes?"

"Cape Ruby, I will be certain to tell Sol how much you enjoyed it," she answers quietly, a twitch of a smile making its home on the left corner of her lips. She's still looking at him through the mirror, viewing him through narrowed eyes and thick eyelashes. "To what do I owe this pleasure, Captain?"

Holding the towel up at her chest, she finally turns toward him and steps a little closer, only to pass him by on the way to the armoir. Upon opening the door, she ducks behind it to shield her from her knees to her shoulders. Then the towel drops to her feet in a pile, then the one from her hair joins it.

Porter raises one eyebrow and smiles lazily, but he's gentleman enough not to stare. Almost as an afterthought, he drains off the last of his port and sets the glass aside. "Ahhh," he rumbles happily. "Had a chopper in the area. You know how it is."

In an instant, his playful and flirtatious air evaporates. His smoky, brown-eyed gaze fixes on Vasha's face. "I'm here to talk you out of killing me. Again."

"Mmm, I thought we had this conversation once before. It is my father you should be making the bargain with, not I." Her voice borders on musical in the way she speaks to him, almost sounding amused. Reaching into the armoir, she pulls out men's button down shirt that is several sizes too large for her.

As she laces it over her arms, she never takes her eyes off of Porter. Perhaps that is why she chose the button down variety rather than something to pull over her head. Simplicity. She steps out from behind the door, still buttoning the front of the shirt up to a few buttons below the neck. Then she moves over to the sitting area and folds herself comfortably into another arm chair across from him. Her legs are crossed, allowing for nothing to show aside from what she wishes. "Now then, will you be a darling and pour me a glass?"

As asked, Porter pours with all the grace of a Buddhist monk or an English nanny serving tea. The glass offered to Vasha with a flourish. Professional though he is, he's not entirely able to keep his eyes away from the expanse of tanned leg that's being presented.

"Ahem. About your father. Why do you stay in this situation? Because if it's a matter of safety, I can protect you." His eyes slide back up to meet hers and his hand lingers on the glass long enough to make contact with her fingers. "Even from him."

Her fingers skim along his as she takes the globe of ruby liquid. "And what would I do, Captain? I am accustomed to living my life in a certain manner. While I would not find it difficult to adapt, I do not believe I would enjoy making — what you call smoothies." Her eyes never leave his, even as he stares at her legs. In fact, she stretches the crossed one out and points her toe just to watch his reaction.

She lifts the glass to him, in a small toast and her lips twitch into that same small smile that she gave him when he first greeted her. "After all, there are not many positions available to a woman with my … skills."

Porter smiles when he's caught staring, not the least bit embarrassed. He leans back in his own chair and crosses his arms over his chest. It's one of his few tells. This is his 'deep thought/negotiation' stance.

"I think you'd be surprised," he says after a few moments of pondering. "Agencies all over the world are in search of freelance operatives. Less paperwork with outside hires." His smile takes on a self-deprecating quirk. "The CIA, for example, pays freelancers particularly well."

"And should I assume that you will be providing me with a letter of recommendation? I am fairly certain that my father would not, though I have been told he offers a severance package that is quite extensive." It is common knowledge in her part of the world that the last severance package received by one of Jan's soldiers was the man's own severed limb as a parting gift.

While still holding the goblet of port, she uses her other hand to roll up her long sleeve to the elbow. It is at this time that she actually takes her eyes off of him, once again, she's becoming comfortable in her position. He's offered no unwelcome surprises thus far. "On yet another note, Captain, freelance generally comes with no job security. Tell me, what is your government salary?"

"I would," Porter replies distractedly as he fishes a small notepad and the stub of a pencil from one of the many pockets on his jumpsuit. He looks up and meets Vasha's eyes squarely. There's no guile in his gaze or deception in his tone when he continues. "Provide you a recommendation, that is. I've seen what you can do. As for salary…"

He scribbles a number down on the notepad, rips off the top sheet, and hands it to Vasha. "Something in that neighborhood, I think. The Agency takes care of its people. And it's not just the money. You get a chance to start over. No more demons snapping at your heels."

Taking the paper, Vasha gives it a quick glance but is unable to hide the quirk of interest in her eyebrows. Looking up at him again she folds the paper in half and tucks it between her thigh and the seat cushion. "Perhaps I will consider it," she says as she rotates her ankle lazily.

After another sip of port, she reaches across to the lit cigar and plucks it up, seemingly uncaring whether or not he was finished with it. It was hers first, after all. Taking a few puffs, she slowly blows the smoke out in a series of rings before blowing a straight line of smoke through them all, dispersing them. Her eyes lock on him once again and they narrow slightly, it's one of her tells. When she is deep in thought.

Porter came here to elicit interest, and in that he has succeeded. Magnanimous in his victory, he leans back in his chair, closes his eyes, and lets out a quiet, satisfied sigh. His close-clipped hair rustles against the armchair as he lolls his neck loosely in an attempt to relax sore and overworked muscles.

"Tell me something, Vasha. Do you like to gamble?" His eyes still closed, he reaches up and kneads the muscles just above his shoulder blade.

"Is there a sane person on this Earth that does not like to gamble?" She replies as he finishes the Cape Ruby in her glass and places it down on the small table between them. After taking another puff from the cigar, she lays it to rest in the ashtray and stands.

She breezes past him again, this time headed back to the bathroom where she stands in front of the mirror and lifts her hair up into a pile at her crown. Keeping a hold of it with one hand, she begins pulling hairpins from a small dish and places them in odd spots within the pile. She looks at him through the mirror and raises her eyebrows a little expectantly then her lips turn up to a small smile. "Are you planning a gamble?"

When he's left alone, Porter leans forward to pick up the smoldering cigar. He takes a long puff, savors the smoke, and exhales as he replaces it in the ash tray. Then he stands and ghosts out of the mirror's view.

When he reappears, it's just behind Vasha. Gently, he piles her hair up in his own hand, picks up a hairpin, and goes to work with nimble fingers and no small amount of flair.

"In a manner of speaking," he admits as he twists a lock of hair into place and secures it with a pin. "There's this charity thing coming up. I'd like it if you joined me."

She turns her head slightly, looking at him over her shoulder through narrowed eyed. "I have not heard of this charity 'thing'." With his hands in her hair, she feels no need to keep hers there and lets them dangle loose at her sides. Her fingers wiggle on her left hand, just slightly, as though she's trying to decide whether or not to allow him to continue.

In the end, she does.

As she turns her head toward the mirror again, she studies him closely, her serious features telltale of the war going on in her mind. "Why is it that you are asking me to this… 'thing'?"

"Because it'll be fun," Porter replies. He adds another pin, and another. His fingers drift down to twine a few smaller locks into curls around Vasha's ears and at the nape of her neck. "And it's for a good cause. I figure if we can make it through one party without getting at each other's throats, then we'll have made progress."

When he's satisfied with the curls, Porter gives each a gentle tug to put a bit of bounce in it. The style he's given Vasha is as suitable for a dinner date as it is for a glass of wine in her apartment. "Mm," he murmurs. "That'll do."

When he's finished playing with her hair, Vasha turns and reclines against the counter to stare across at him. They're still standing fairly close to each other, enough that she has to lean back a bit to put a comfortable distance between them. "I did not know that you were a hair dresser as well as an assassin, how exciting."

Giving him an amused smile, she remains where she is, completely secure. She glances across toward the door at the end of the room and lowers her voice a little. "Are you not concerned that Sol will decide to wander from his wing and bother me?"

"Not particularly," Porter replies, his brown eyes twinkling merrily. Where another man might be out of his element, he is comfortable and confident. Though he's dressed in fatigues, he carries himself like a man wearing a dinner jacket at the finest of parties. He leans forward, closing the distance between them as fast as Vasha can extend it. "I doubt I'm his type. Are you not concerned that he will decided to come bother you?" The riposte playfully mimes her formal inflection, but his features remain neutral and still. Except, of course, for that merry twinkle.

"Of course I am concerned, this is not the position I wish to be caught in," she murmurs softly. She holds her position by placing her palms behind her and supporting herself on her arms. Vasha slides up the few inches to sit on the counter, not breaking eye contact with him, like it's a game or a contest.

She hums softly as she props herself on one arm only to bring the other one up to slide along the seam of one of his breast pockets of his vest. "And you really should not pass judgment on Sol so quickly. How do you know that you are not his type?"

"I just have this feeling," Porter says, his voice dropping to a low, throaty rumble. If this is a game of chicken, he seems unwilling to swerve. He places his hands on the counter just to either side of Vasha's hips and presses closer. With his face only inches from hers, he cocks his head a touch to the side.

"And you, my dear?" he asks playfully. "Whose type are you?"

Tilting her head in the opposite direction, Vasha gives off a small growl and narrows her eyes just a little. "The one I am seeking must have a few qualities that I find most important in a man." She lowers her hand and places her palm flat on the counter behind her again.

"He must know how to dance, make my world explode, and have a way with my auto…"

Porter arches an elegant eyebrow and leans up to whisper in Vasha's ear. "You're in luck," he purrs. "Explosions are my specialty."

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