2010-06-28: No Rest For the Weary



Date: June 28, 2010


Long nights have suddenly become much shorter.

"No Rest For the Weary"

Somewhere in NYC

The morning sun casts a few brilliant rays through the window toward the breakfast table. Vasha sits, slowly sipping her morning coffee, reading the paper and sighing over the state of the country. Not her country, his country, the country she lives in. Looking across the rim over her cup, her hazel eyes focus on the clock, it's twelve minutes to seven. There's more than enough time to waste away the day doing nothing.

"And what are your plans today, Captain? Something exciting, as usual?" The brunette places her cup in its saucer with a barely audible clink before turning toward Jan with a smile, "And you father? Have you anything to keep you occupied?"

Thoroughly tousled and pajama-clad, Porter appears a bit the worse for wear after having woken up before the seven o' clock hour. Still, he smiles gamely as he picks up a table knife. "I have one or two ideas," he says.

Then, fast as a snake, he slashes the knife across both Jan's cheeks and the bridge of his nose with a single, fluid strike.

"Will you pass the sausages?" he asks, glancing blandly over at Vasha.

Stunned, Vasha glances first at her father who is busily trying to mash a napkin against his bloody and aged face. Turning to face him, she sets her jaw and quietly pushes the plate of sausages with one hand. They end right in front of Jan.

With one hand covering the cut with his napkin, Jan lifts the plate and quite literally throws it at Porter before grabbing his own knife. Then he dives across the table with a roar that would make a lion cower.

"Papa, stop! Captain! Apologize to my father this instant!"

Deflecting the plate leaves Porter open. Jan's blade slides into the gap between his collarbone and his neck, leaving a ghastly wound. The spy lets out a a roar of his own and swings his knife around again.

And again.

There's no guile to the attacks. No real skill. Just raw and bloody rage. Flecks of spittle fly from Porter's lips as he grapples with his nemesis. His eyes are wide and livid. Like a battling stag, he is injured but unwilling to yield.

The old man grins with satisfaction when his knife sinks into his opponent. For a moment, he is satiated but it lasts only until he spies Porter coming at him with full force. Once. Twice. Three times Jan is struck with the other man's blade. Over and over again he cries out in pain as only an old man can when faced with an attack of such magnitude.

Grabbing Porter by the scruff, he manages to eek out a last bit of strength and shoves his enemy away, toward the table. There he lies on the floor, wheezing, in a growing puddle of his own blood.

"Porter! Papa!" Vasha screams out, fear has her covering her face with both hands, unable to watch the horror happening right before her eyes. She called him by name, not rank.

Porter lands in a boneless heap. He groans briefly with his face against the floor, then the groan tapers off to a sad whistling noise.

He bleeds out in seconds.

Painfully still and clearly dead.

Then, moving in an abrupt, jerky fashion, he staggers to his feet and turns to face Vasha, revealing a throat torn from ear to hear when he was thrown away from Jan's blade. He grins a nasty, bloody grin. "What did you think was going to happen? That one day I'd tell you that I love you? Sweep you off your feet?"

He takes a shambling step closer with every question. With hard, steely fingers, he pries Vasha's hand away from her eyes. "Look at me. Look. At. Me. It was all an act. A delectable lie. I needed to get close to you so I could do this…"

The grin on his face grows wider. More perverse.

He raises his knife high into the air.

The shriek of terror lasts a full minute. Vasha's body is damp with perspiration and shivering from the cold. Wrestling with the sheet that covers, her she sits up straight and throws it off, ending its strangle hold around her neck.

Though they're officially still on the run, Porter brought Vasha to a posh hotel suite when he was unable to wake her. Then he found the most uncomfortable chair he could, propped it next to the bed, and waited until he fell asleep.

One thing he wasn't expecting was to be awakened by screaming. Still, he's next to Vasha in a half-second, one hand reaching out soothingly. "Shhh. Shhhhh. It's okay. It was a dream. Just a dream."

Eyes still wide with terror, Vasha fixes Porter with an expression of pure horror before scrambling away from him across the bed. "You lied to me! You wanted to get close to me! A lie!! You used me to…"

Her ragged breathing slows only a little as she eyes her surroundings, still keeping her arms outstretched in order to stave his advance. "This is… this is not where we were. Where is my father? What did you do with his body? Where am I?"

Spies try to stay cool and collected, but sooner or later you get spooked. You become dangerous. Your training turns to a double-edged sword. If you had a table knife in your hand, you might kill someone.

Porter's eyes are wide and concerned. "Try to relax," he urges her gently. "We're at the Waldorf. I brought you here after you fell asleep in the restaurant."

Rather than press to be closer to her, he slides off the bed and walks over to the bedroom sideboard. A moment later, he returns with two glasses of brandy. Both are set down on the bedside table. It's a subtle invitation.

Pick one. It's okay if you don't trust me.

"No, no that is impossible. I do not— " The South African woman cuts herself off there, eying the spy carefully. Looking around again, she slowly settles her breathing and furrows her eyebrows worriedly. "Por-ter.." she says slowly, sounding his name out for the first time since her illness. Her face has the soft sheen of perspiration to it, her eyes still flitting around the room wildly. It is clear that she's more frightened and confused than she's ever been in her life.

Jerking her head toward the two glasses, she reaches mechanically to one of them and brings it to her lips before lowering it and then stretching it out to him.

The glass is accepted without hesitation. Porter drinks from it deeply and then sets it aside. It's clear from the way his face reddens that he's not accustomed to gulping spirits. When he speaks, his voice is hoarse. "Don't worry," he says quietly. "You're safe here. I promise."

Somewhere between the beginning and the present, much of the playful flirtation has evaporated from their relationship. Never has that been more evident than it is at this moment. Porter meets Vasha's eyes squarely and stretches out his hand, laying it palm-up on the covers. Close enough to be another invitation, but far enough away that she'll have to reach for it.

The other glass of brandy is ignored.

Averting her eyes from the captain's, she favors a long stare at the hand on the covers before looking up at him again. Vasha is frightened. Uncertain of what has just passed, what is happening now.

Ignoring the hand, she raises herself to her knees and slides across the bed until she is able to cling to him. The tall woman lets loose a shaking breath as she grips him just a little tighter in a bid for comfort. "I do not dream, Captain. I do not sleep."

Porter's training deserts him for the first time in recent memory. He has no witty, carefully prepared words. Somewhat awkwardly, he settles his arms around her lithe form. After only an instant, he pulls her tightly against his chest. "I know," he says. "I've noticed. I was worried when you fell asleep and I couldn't wake you."

"You were so horrible, so cruel. You killed my father, you were going to kill me…" Vasha's shaking voice only comes out as a hoarse whisper. Nestling her cheek against the spy's shoulder, she rests there for a long while, until her breath and body both stop shaking. Then she closes her eyes again and takes a long breath inward.

"You smell like you slept in your clothing, Por-ter." She says quietly, her small smile can be felt against his shoulder. She doesn't let go, not yet. "Thank you for taking care of me in my state, for not leaving me in that place."

"Don't mention it," Porter replies. He nuzzles his chin against the top of her head. Out of sight, his smile mirrors hers.

A stray, sleep-tousled strand of her hair is tucked behind her ear with deft fingers. Porter's hand lingers briefly against her cheek and again at her shoulder. "You know, we're pretty good at keeping each other alive," he says.

"It is a never ending struggle," Vasha agrees slowly. Her light brown eyes stare into his dark brown ones and for a moment the small smile renews itself by way of a passing twitch of the corner of her lips. In languid form, her hand slides from around his neck, coming to rest on the top of his shoulder, mimicking his own. "Especially when you frighten me as you do. Twice in one week, how is it that you are certain my heart can withstand the strain?"

"I have faith in you," Porter replies, closing his eyes and leaning his head back against the rumpled pillows. The small smile continues to stick to his lips. "I always have."

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