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Disclaimer: See the first chapter, nothing has changed since then.
Rating: PG-13 - There is some language in a few places and I've upped the heat, but I think this is still a fair rating.
Pairing: Bourne/Nicky

Off The Grid

by
Lattelady

Ch 2 - It's A Dangerous Game


And our senses proclaim,
It's a dangerous game
- Dangerous Game - from Jekyll & Hyde


....................................................................


Berlin - 2007

Pam Landy walked tiredly down the hall of the Berlin Westin. Lies and death had been the norm over the last few days and she was exhausted. The taped conversation between Ward Abbott and Jason Bourne was tucked safely in her pocket. She’d written and filed her preliminary report, but the final was a long way from being finished. All she wanted was to go to her room and crawl into bed, but she’d left one stone unturned in this mess. Until that was taken care of, she couldn’t recommend closing the file on Treadstone. Her hands were filled with two cups of strong coffee, her coat and handbag when she arrived at the room she was seeking. As she juggled the items so she could knock on Nicky Parsons’ door, her purse slammed against the knob.

“Who is it?” a sleepy voice called out. Someone was outside her room and their movements had woken her from a sound sleep. She grabbed her 9mm Glock Compact from under her pillow, locked the clip into place and rolled lightly to the floor on the far side of her bed.

“It’s Pam Landy, my hands are full. Can you let me in before I drop something?”

“Coming,” Parsons answered. She picked up her hairbrush and wrapped it quickly in a pillowcase before tossing it at the deadbolt lock. With her arms over her head, she hugged the floor, her gun clenched tightly in her fist. The large bed was her best cover, if the older woman had a hunting team in tow. When weapon’s fire didn’t fill the air, she felt safer, but was still careful as she walked quietly across the room to check through the peephole.

“What the hell was that all about?” Landy looked from the girl to the brush that had spilled out of the white casing, once she was allowed entrance to the room.

“I’m just being careful.” Parsons shrugged.

“Bourne really frightened you tonight, didn’t he?” She raised a brow at the Glock still securely in the other woman’s hand.

“I’ve been afraid for over two years, ever since Treadstone went up in smoke, tonight just upped the ante.” She dodged the question as she double checked the curtains to be sure they were tightly closed and then lit lamps on her desk and nightstand. She might only be a ‘handler’ with the CIA, but Jason had taught her a few tricks about staying alive. “Everyone involved with that operation seems to be dying.” She rubbed the back of her neck trying to get rid of the tingling she’d felt since her life had crashed down around her, in Paris, forever ago.

“Not quite everyone. Bourne was on a train that left here, for Moscow, three hours ago.”

“Oh…” Nicky was filled with relief, but she was afraid to move or speak for fear it would show.

“How about putting that thing down?” Landy pointed toward the Glock and held out a cup of coffee. “We need to talk.”

“Ah…sure…sorry…” But she hesitated; looking looked deep into Pam’s eyes trying to read her intent.

“Conklin trained you well.” Pamela offered a smile as she read the girl’s doubts.

Nicky shrugged, but didn’t respond. She realized Jason had been correct four years earlier. Without the element of surprise, she was no match for a woman who had spent years in the field. Tentatively, she took the coffee and placed her weapon on a table within easy reach as she sat and tried to appear nonchalant. If things turned ugly, she didn’t plan on going down without a fight.

“Now tell me, what happened at Alexanderplatz Station?”

With a sigh she began talking. She knew that Landy was only interested in the facts about Bourne and that was all she told her. What had come before, in Paris, wasn’t important. She drank her coffee and carefully told the older woman everything that had transpired, including her loss of control, but not the reason behind it. By the time she was finished, both woman had empty cups and the sun was coming up on a cold Berlin morning.

“I appreciate the information. It corroborates this.” Pam pulled a small tape recorder out of her pocket and placed it on the table between them. “Ward Abbott is dead, by the way.”

“Did Jason…” Nicky gasped as her eyes flicked between the recorder and Landy.

“No, Ward shot himself. Listen and you’ll understand why.” She pressed the small ‘play’ button on the recorder and the silence between them was filled with harsh male voices. First Abbott was demanding help from an unknown source, then he was taunting Bourne with Marie’s death and finally he dared the younger man to kill him.

“It’s what you are, Jason, a killer. You always will be. Go on, do it, do it!”

Nicky held her breath waiting for the sound of a gun blast that never come.

“She wouldn’t want me to, that’s the only reason you’re alive.” And then there was nothing on the recorder but silence.

“The girl, Marie, is it true?” She could hear Jason’s anguished words echoing in her ears and gripped her coffee cup to keep her fingers from trembling.

“Yes,” Pamela sighed as she turned off the small machine between them and returned it to her pocket. “Marie Kreutz died of a gun shot wound to the head six days ago. Her body was found in a river in Goa, India.”

“He meant it, you know. That’s what brought him back. He’d still be in hiding, off the grid…if…well…” Nicky’s voice broke. Jason had used that same expression with her when they’d hidden their affair from prying eyes. They’d both known that they hadn’t really been off the grid, just blocked for the moment, but it had been so sweet to pretend. “He loved her…Marie…or…as close to it as he was capable of feeling when he lived in a world he couldn’t remember and didn’t trust.” It hurt her more than she thought possible to say the words she knew to be true. But she’d heard the evidence and it was breaking her heart.

“You knew him the best of anyone who is left alive.” Landy gazed at Parsons and wondered what was going on in her head. The girl had responded strangely to the tape. “Do you think he’s through? Has he gotten his revenge?”

“I…ah…” She shook her head to clear it, but it was hard to stay in control. A small part of her wondered how many more times she’d let Jason Bourne hurt her, before she’d learned her lesson. “I…want to say yes, if for no other reason than…ah…well…there is no one left to kill.”

“Humph,” the sound came from deep in the section chief’s throat. Who indeed, she thought. One thing she’d learned over the years was that there was always another layer. The question in her mind was did Jason know that. “Thank you very much, Nicky, you’ve been a help.” She got up and headed toward the door, knowing she’d learned all she was going to from this source.

“Wait…” the tired girl called out. “One of the problems in dealing with Bourne is that we never learned what caused his amnesia.”

“What do you mean?” Pam focused on this new tidbit but was unsure of its relevance.

“There is usually a physical or psychological reason for amnesia. It’s obvious, from what we’ve learned in the last two years, that Jason Bourne was injured escaping from Wombosi’s yacht. But there is no way of telling if he received sufficient head trauma to erase his memory. It’s just as obvious, though I can’t prove it, that his training involved manipulation of his psyche. Mix those two together and it’s no wonder he broke.” Tears filled her eyes and she blinked quickly to keep them from falling. “I’m just saying, let him go. We’ve done enough damage to him already. I…I…should have seen it. It was my job, but I didn’t see any of it coming. Please, just let him go. I don’t think you’ll ever hear from him again.”

“I’d like nothing better than to close the book on Treadstone, but I don’t have the final say.” The senior agent’s words made Parsons’ neck begin to tingle, all over again.
……………………………
After Pam went to her room, Nicky sat staring into space. He had gotten away! Joy sliced through her and lightened the pain she’d been feeling, and couldn’t express, when she’d been being watched so carefully. But her happiness was fleeting as her old guilt returned to haunt her.

“Jason,” she whispered. “What happened to you? What started all of this and how did I miss it?” Unbidden her mind slipped back to that last morning in Paris, before he left for Marseille. The last time he saw her and remembered who she was.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Paris - 2005

When Jason slid out of bed, the loss of his body heat wakened her, but she didn’t want to let it show. If she kept her eyes closed for a few more minutes, maybe she could prevent morning from coming and they’d be hidden by the darkness, off the grid, for a little while longer. When she heard him moving around in the kitchen, she rolled onto her stomach and buried her face against his pillow. Her long blonde hair fell across her cheek and beyond.

Moments later she heard his quiet footsteps as he entered the bedroom. She knew if she looked up, she’d see him watching her. “Jason,” her voice was groggy as she reached across the space that separated them.

“Time to wake-up.” He rested one knee on the mattress and caressed her naked back.

“You have wonderful hands,” she sighed and arched into his touch.

“We have to talk.” He frowned, unsure of what he was feeling. He’d deliberately gotten up an hour earlier than usual. They’d talk and then if there was time…

“I know, I’m sorry…we agreed…” Nicky turned over and pulled the sheet to her chin as she interlocked his fingers with hers. This was always the hardest part. The affair they’d started casually eighteen months earlier had become much more for her. She’d fallen in love with him.

“As I told you last night, I’ll be gone for a while.” He pulled her into his arms and leaned against the headboard. Only the sheet which covered her and his pajama bottoms separated her silky pale skin from his warm hard body. “I can’t give you details, you already know too much.”

Eight weeks earlier he’d received an encrypted message directly from Conklin. It was odd, but not unheard of. Twice before, he’d received his orders from their boss instead of the Treadstone handler, but that had been before Nicky had the job. Since being assigned his latest mission he’d been in and out of Paris taking care of details. He didn’t doubt that she knew something big was going down, but she’d never said or done anything that might compromise either of them.

“I understand,” she whispered, though she didn’t really. Always before she’d felt part of his missions, but this time it was different. This time it was something so secret, it had by-passed her. She assumed it came directly from Langley.

“I hope you don’t! The less you know, the safer you are,” his voice was rough with worry. He hated that she knew anything. It could mean her life if anyone found out she had any knowledge of his life, beyond what was necessary for her to do her job. It was one of the main reasons he’d insisted on keeping their affair a secret.

“I understand that we need to be separate for a while.” Her cheek rested on his chest and she listened to the steady rhythm of his heart under her ear. She concentrated on the soothing sound instead of the worry she’d been fighting ever since it became apparent she had been left out of the loop.

“You shouldn’t even know that much.” He was always like this before he went on a mission. She’d come to recognize it as one of his compulsions and knew it did him the most good if she listened and agreed. The tears would come later, when he was gone.

“Remember everything I’ve taught you.” He tilted her face upward and kissed her gently. “You’re almost as good at doctoring a cell phone as I am.” It was one of their first precautions. Whenever they were together, they left their cells at home. Each carried a prepaid phone that was free of the GPS identifiers that were present in theirs. He’d taught her to rewire the toss-away versions so they could receive their calls and it appeared as if they were using the ones provided by the CIA.

“What’s the first rule of staying off the grid?” he asked as he unconsciously raked his left hand down the length of her hair. The reparative movement calmed him as they talked.

“Your habits will get you killed. Never do anything that you would normally do in the life you lead now.” She raised her head and looked at him carefully. This was new. He usually recited the lists of safeguards he’d been preaching since that first day he’d given her weapon’s training. He’d never asked her to repeat back the carefully learned lessons before.

“What are the rules when using your weapon?”

“Always be careful.” She stroked his chest so she’d never forget the feel of his skin in the early morning. “When practicing, police my brass. If it’s the real thing, don’t think, just shoot and then wipe my prints and leave it behind because once it’s used, there will be a record of its existence.” The Glock was the only memento she had from him. There were no pictures, or ticket stubs, nothing to give testimony to them. Nicky knew leaving the 9mm Compact behind would be almost as hard as having to use it to take a life.

“You have your Swiss account memorized?” He grinned as he asked the question. He was talking to a woman whose memory was better than his. He’d always used the safeguard of a sub-dermal information capsule.

“I think I’ve got that one covered,” she laughed and poked him in the ribs.

“So ya wanna pick a fight, do ya?” He rolled her beneath him in one swift move. It made her realize how easily he could overpower her, but she knew to the depth of her being that he’d never hurt her.

“No, please don’t’ tickle me,” she shrieked as he ran his hands under the sheet and lightly along her sides.

“What will ya give me to make me stop?”

“A kiss,” she offered unable to take her eyes off his mouth. This was different too, this play on a morning before a mission. Usually he was serious and withdrawn, focused on what was to come.

“A kiss would do nicely, for starters,” Jason’s words poured over her like warm honey as their lips met and he gently nibbled. When Nicky tried to deepen the kiss he chuckled lightly, chiding, “You’re in such a rush.” He was rewarded by her quickened breath and dark eyes that dilated until they were almost black.

“I want you,” her words were husky and halting as she stretched to kiss his neck on the sensitive spot below his right ear. He’d started this and, mission or no mission, she hoped to God he planned on finishing it.

“I’m right here!” He wrapped one arm around her, pulling her closer, and cupped her head in his other hand, as his mouth took full possession of hers. A deep groan vibrated against her lips as their tongues met.

Her hands moved along the hard muscles of his back, memorizing the contour and shape of him as she had memorized his taste and smell. They’d learned to live in the moment and this one moment was all she might have left of him. She planned to take as much as he was willing to give.

Catching her by surprise, he growled fiercely and pulled the sheet out from between them. Her naked body pressed against his partially clad one. His hands and lips explored territory he knew well.

When she reached for his pajama bottoms he grasped her hands and pinned them to the bed. “Please,” she moaned. “Please, Jason, now,” her words were breathy and out of control.

“I want to watch you in the morning light,” he whispered as he threw his one leg over both of hers, locking them in place. His lips moved from one breasts to the other while his left hand kept her wrists on the mattress above her head and his right one moved longingly over her hip and between her thighs.

“Ohhh,” she gasped at his touch and arched against him. He was doing wild wonderful things to her body and she had to clench her teeth to keep from screaming out how much she loved him.

“Yes, that’s it, Babe, that’s it,” he encouraged as he nibbled and touched her. Intense longing throbbed in his blood, and made his eyes molten blue, but he had a greater need to watch as she unraveled for him. He smiled as perspiration dampened her chest and her half-closed eyes grew wild with desire and deep emotion.

“Jason,” his name was a high-pitched whisper that caught in her throat when his tongue slid down her abdomen and circled in her navel, as his nimble fingers moved between her thighs.

“Let go, Nicolette, I’ve got you. Let go!” His eyes bore into hers demanding that she obey. Then he quickly took her right nipple in his teeth and gently nipped her.

He watched as her body bowed and her mouth fell open in a silent scream. He felt the intensity of her explosion as she jerked beneath him. Without moving away from her, he quickly rid himself of his pajama bottom and wrapped his arms around her trembling body.

“Oh, God!” she cried as she held on tightly to him. Her world and her senses were spinning and her mind was shouting, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you….’ Only the fact that she had her mouth pressed tightly against his neck kept her from giving voice to her deepest feelings.

“You’re so beautiful,” he murmured then thrust into her as she wrapped her legs around his waist and followed him on another wild journey.

Jason Bourne the observant man had seen everything as Nicky fell apart beneath his skillful hands and mouth. He’d seen it once again when they’d shattered and slowly reformed in each other’s arms. The words might never be spoken between them, but he knew them as surely as if they had both shouted them from the rooftops. He would take them with him wherever he went, because the memory of them and this woman would keep him sane through all of his dark deeds.
……………………..
A few minutes later she walked into the kitchen dressed in her running clothes, but there would be no work-out that morning, it was getting late and she’d be lucky to make it to the Safe House on time.

“Do you want coffee before you go?” He looked up from his breakfast. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes still glowed from making love. He put his elbows on either side of his plate, clasped his hands and rested his chin on his fists. He watched her move hesitantly across his kitchen and remembered the fire that had leapt between them less than ten minutes earlier. He was a man who never did anything by chance. He’d planned the extra time this morning and had gained more from it than he’d ever imagined.

“I don’t have the time.” Nicky looked around his fabulous kitchen. Unlike most of the rest of his apartment, this one room wasn’t spartan and bare. They’d spent countless hours together preparing meals, eating, and even making love here. It was a room where they could just be them. They were free to laugh and live as two normal people. On one memorable evening they’d even danced on the wide expanse of floor. This room held all their secrets.

“Remember all I’ve taught you.” He was solemn and quiet and it made her feel better. This was the usual Jason Bourne just before a mission.

“I will.” She stood on her toes and kissed him as she always did when they parted in private. Her greatest fear was that someday he wouldn’t come home and she wouldn’t have kissed him good-bye before he left. “Jason—“

“I can’t tell you anything!” he snapped.

“I know, I’m not asking, I never would.” She looked at the hard cold man he’d become in a matter of seconds. “But…I mean if you ever have to…to…go away.” Suddenly she knew that was how it was going to be someday. He would get transferred and just disappear from her life. “I’m not asking that you…well…compromise anything, just please don’t let me think you’re de…” She couldn’t say the word, not when he was going on a mission and could very well die. Her lips trembled and her eyes filled with tears. She turned quickly, and would have run from the room if he hadn’t thrown his arms around her and pulled her close.

“Hush, Nicolette, I’ve got you,” he whispered as he stroked her hair and face. They couldn’t go on leading this double life. It was tearing her apart and he wasn’t fairing much better. He was beginning to want things a man in his line of work could never have. It was causing doubts and making him soft. He was even questioning his training. Always before he was glad he couldn’t remember who he was before Treadstone. That changed when he realized he’d come to love Nicky Parsons and, against all odds, she loved him in return. He couldn’t afford thoughts like that just before a mission, so again the words remained unspoken between them.

An hour later he locked his apartment door and headed out of Paris. He was on his way to deal death one last time. Once Wombosi was a distant memory, his life was going to change. He and Nicky were going to have to do some careful planning. The next time they went off the grid, it was going to be for real and forever. She’d become too important to him to leave to chance or behind.
…………………………..
Seven days later, he was officially missing. Three weeks later, she saw him again, but thousands of lost memories and the gun he held pointed in her direction separated them. He looked at her with wild eyes, which lacked recognition. His memory was gone and so was he. Then she didn’t see him again for two years.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Berlin - 2007

The phone ringing beside her bed pulled her back from the past. She had to stop remembering. Each time it brought tears to her eyes and made her helpless. With quick steps she grabbed the phone and took the call from the concierge who was confirming her flight to Amsterdam.

She was tired and hungry and more confused than she’d been in her entire life. Everything had changed in those few short minutes locked in a storage closet under Alexanderplatz Station with Jason Bourne. He had gotten on with his life. She needed to do so as well.

Nicky fought the inner voice that told her to run as fast and far as she could. It wasn’t the smart thing to do. She needed information. When the time was right she’d know it and then she’d drop off the grid forever. She’d had an excellent teacher that no one knew about. She snorted bitterly at the irony that even he had forgotten.
……………………………………
While Parsons and Landy had been talking, Noah Vosen sat in his office in New York City at the CIA’s Deep Cover Anti-Terrorism Bureau and read the reports that had been coming in from Berlin over the last few hours. He got up and locked his door and then opened his safe. After taking some time to study all the files he had on Treadstone, he dialed a secure line to Langley, Virginia.

“Kramer, here,” CIA Director Ezra Kramer murmured into the phone.

“Ezra, it’s Noah.” Vosen sketched out the details of what was known to have happened in Berlin and the rumors that were coming out of Moscow.

“What are our liabilities?” the Director asked and wished for the millionth time he hadn’t given up smoking.

“I’ve just checked, and with the one exception, all the Treadstone assets are dead. Manheim who was stationed in Hamburg died in an auto accident on his way home from his last mission, in Paris, two years ago.” Noah’s research led to the conclusion that Ward Abbott had the man terminated. He’d dug a bit deeper and discovered that it was because Abbott had used him to assassinate Alexander Conklin. There was a brief footnote on the file that indicated Manheim was the first kill credited to Blackbrier. “Bourne took out Günter in Munich yesterday.”

“It seems he hadn’t lost any of his skills.” It was unexpected. Someone who had been in hiding for over two years shouldn’t have had the ability to take-out an active contract agent who had equal and current training.

“Ezra, I don’t doubt for a minute the man is dangerous, but I’m not sure how much of a liability he to us. It’s clear from the transcript of Abbott’s tape that Bourne still has amnesia. Even if his memory returned, he’s been unstable for too long to have any credibility.” In New York the deputy director looked out at the night sky. He’d been manipulating his boss for years and knew exactly when to come on strong and when to pull back in order to get the response he wanted.

“I want him dead.” Kramer didn’t like loose ends. Credible or not, the man could come back to haunt them.

“I agree. It would be our wisest course of action.” He smiled at his reflection in his window high above the city. This was getting too easy. Lately Ezra Kramer was taking all the challenge out of the power game.

“Who else is there?” Things were getting too complicated. Ezra had always believed that the only way to keep a secret was to tell no one. Before this was finished he planned on being the only person alive who knew anything of substance about Treadstone.

“Dr. Albert Hirsch is here in New York and Neal Daniels in Spain. Hirsch has as much to lose as we do if this comes to light.” Vosen dug through his files to verify information before he went on.

“What about the girl, the handler?” the Director questioned. “What’s her story?”

“Nicolette Parsons,” Noah provided her name. “She’s 28 and has been with us for five years. Conklin recruited her when she graduated from Columbia with a master’s degree in forensics psychology.”

“Kinda young for that, wasn’t she?” He quickly did the math and it didn’t add up.

“According to her file she has an eidetic memory and a facility for languages. There’s a notation here that she skipped some grades, along the way, but it doesn’t say which ones.” Vosen paged though her file trying to find out exactly why she’d been chosen when older more experienced personnel were available. “Ahhh…here it is,” he muttered. “Her thesis was titled ‘The Killer Among Us – The Normal Life Of A Professional Assassin’.”

“It sounds like she would have been exactly what Alex was lookin’ for, bright, no prior loyalties and a background in psychology. That paper of hers would have been the hook that made him bite, but the age thing still bothers me.” Kramer knew that something didn’t feel right, and he couldn’t put his finger on it.

“Conklin used that to his advantage. Her cover was an American student in Paris. Her first three years were spent there with Treadstone. She was Bourne’s contact and monitored all the men’s mental health.” Noah leaned back in his chair and quickly read over the details of those final days in Paris, two years ago. “Shit,” he muttered.

“Don’t tell me she was the same one who was at the Safe House that last night?” The Director ground his teeth. It was a useless question. No one else could have been there and it would have been her job to help dismantle the place. The knowledge didn’t help to silence the warning bell that was going off in his head.

“She was,” Vosen whispered and waited for the inevitable explosion on the other end of the line.

“God damnit, how the hell was that missed?” the Director’s voice was filled with quiet anger.

“I’m not sure how much Abbott knew. Conklin played it close to the vest. Both men wanted it that way. We’re just putting together all the facts after two years. At the time, Ward was busy directing clean-up in Paris from Washington, while dealing with the Senate Budget Committee…” his voice trailed off as he went over Landy’s preliminary report a second time.

“There’s more, what aren’t you telling me?”

“I was afraid of that,” Noah cleared his throat and read a bit further. “It’s the same girl. Abbott had them take Parsons with them to help with the hunt. According to Pamela Landy’s prelim, Bourne grabbed Nicky in Berlin. There is a transcript of the partial conversation between them, before her wire went dead. The gist of it is that he threatened her at gun point…while denying the hit six days earlier.”

“Hmmm interesting…” Ezra Kramer’s mind began running own a new path. “They were stationed together in Paris for three years?”

“They were there at the same time, but not…together.” Vosen looked quickly through files he’d taken from Conklin’s safe, but couldn’t find a shred of incriminating evidence. He was left staring at a photo of Nicky Parsons. “Besides have you seen this girl? She looks like somebody’s sister.”

“I know,” Ezra’s voice rumbled over the line. He had pulled up her information on his computer and was examining the same photo Vosen was. “She sure isn’t the fuck-me type these guys were supposedly programmed to use to take care of their…needs,” he grunted at the euphemism. God, how he hated woman’s lib, and the necessity to pretty-up his language to be politically correct.

“Well according to Bourne’s psych profile his…needs…were being taken care of on a regular basis.” Noah Vosen knew that an agent’s sex life was an indicator of his mental health, but he was a tidy man who found it offensive to think that somewhere, in some file, there was a check box next to his name that kept a monthly tab on the propriety of his copulations.

“Jesus, I’d have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Ms Prim and Proper had to ask those questions.” He grinned wickedly. If a woman wanted to do a man’s job then she had to ask a man’s questions. “Any juicy details?”

“Ah…no, Sir.”

“I’ve gotta ask myself why he let her live. Jason Bourne is a trained killer and had her at gun point twice. If he wasn’t fucking her what the hell happened!” In Ezra Kramer’s mind it still didn’t answer the question, but he could remember hot sweaty adrenaline driven sex. It had always had a slight taste of danger which made it almost addictive. Though he’d bet that Noah Vosen with his picky attitude had never indulged it any of the seamier pleasures that one could take so easily when in the field.

“She’s not the only person Bourne left alive who he would have been wiser to kill.” The Deputy in New York City was damned if he’d admit to knowing who really terminated Conklin, even if the line was secure. “Maybe he didn’t view her as a threat,” he offered. His boss was thinking old school and there was no use arguing the matter. Female personnel weren’t put in place to simply satisfy the prurient needs of the field agents anymore. They had real jobs with real meaning.

“Bullshit! The woman has an eidetic memory and ran his life for almost three years. She was plenty dangerous to him. Nicky Parsons should be dead!” He didn’t care if they’d been screwing or not. There was something about her that attracted Bourne and that was all that was important. “Where’s she stationed now?”

“She’s been in Amsterdam for two years. What do you have in mind?”

“Reassign her. Have her sent to Neal Daniels in Madrid.” The more he thought about it the better he liked the idea. Daniels was their only other weak spot, keeping them together made things easier all the way around. “One way or another we use her as bait. If he comes after her hunting, that’s one less problem for us. And we’ll get Jason Bourne. If he comes after her for other reasons, well, we’ll get them both, anyway.”

“What about Pamela Landy?” Vosen had never liked the woman and he wasn’t sure how much she really knew.

“Keep her on the periphery we’ll be able to use her if this goes sideways.”
…………………………………….
Bourne shivered in the dark as he hid in a shed behind a factory in Moscow. He hurt all over and there was a deep throbbing in his side where he’d sutured his injury. He was running a fever and the aspirins he’d taken earlier weren’t doing much to keep it under control. He curled into a tight ball and closed his eyes. Sleep was what he needed. Tomorrow he’d find some food and a change of clothes before he caught a train heading east.

His only thought was that he had to keep going. He focused on Paris and Marie’s brother Martin who lived there. He owed the younger man the truth about what had happened to his sister. Now that he had an objective, a mission, he closed his eyes and fell asleep. Hours later the dream hit him. It was warm and familiar and something to hold onto as he fought the fever.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
It wasn’t quite dawn, but the deep black of night had changed to dark gray on the other side of the curtains drawn tight across his bedroom window. Far below, Paris was about to wake-up. He’d gotten up earlier than usual and went to make coffee. He walked quietly back into the bedroom. Smiling gently, he gazed at the woman sprawled across his bed on her stomach, pretending to sleep. Long, thick golden hair was strewn across her face and his pillow. Her creamy unblemished shoulders and back sloped down to meet the sheet at her slim waist. One fine-boned hand was flung out across the bed.

He ran his palm over his breastbone remembering the soft weight of her fingers curled against his chest on waking. As much as he wanted to slide out of the pajama bottoms that hung low on his hips and crawl back into bed, his training told him no. There was something he needed to do first, but he couldn’t remember what it was.

“Jason,” her voice was filled with sleep as she felt the empty space beside her.

“Time to wake-up.” He put one knee on the mattress and caressed the sleek skin between her shoulder blades. It was almost dawn. Soon they would no longer be off the grid. There would be no hiding in the light. He had to remember what he needed to do that was so important!

“You have wonderful hands,” she sighed and arched into his touch.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A car backfired and Bourne was instantly awake. He reached for his weapon and crept to the nearest exit before he realized that he was safe. He hadn’t been discovered, it had only been noise from the street.

Hours later as he waited for a train, he realized that he’d had the dream again, or maybe he’d dreamt that he’d had a reoccurring dream. He was never sure which it was. Was the woman in his bed in Paris something that he dreamt over and over again or was she a figment of his imagination that was caught in another of those endless loops that all led back to his Treadstone training? Most frustrating of all, was the fact that no matter which it was, he was never able to remember anything about her except her hair.

Everything in him wanted to believe it was Marie in that bed; to believe that sometime between that day he and Marie had spent almost an hour in his Paris apartment and eight months later when he’d found her again, his mind had invented that moment.

He changed trains three times to be sure he wasn’t being followed and avoided the high-speed rail service all of Europe was known for, in favor of local commuter trains. His destination was Minsk, Belarus and then on across Poland to Germany and finally France. He had no way of knowing which countries, if any, were looking for him. Boarder crossings were when his identification would come under the closest scrutiny. He’d mapped out a long circuitous route that would take him through small towns and if he stayed on schedule, he would cross the boarders at night when officials were tired and less observant.

His train finally crossed into Poland and he relaxed enough to be able to sleep for longer than a few minutes at a time. It had been six days since that night in the shed in Moscow and twice that since India, when he’d gotten his last full night of rest. He was moving on autopilot in basic survival mode when he closed his eyes and gave in to his body.

Hours later he moved through the dream, which had been haunting him recently. The bump and grind of the small train coming into the station woke him. Unlike previous times, he knew what he’d dreamt but with each passing second, it faded, until there was almost nothing left but the feel of a woman’s warm body and long blonde hair.

He dug through the small pack he carried with him and made a quick note on the paper his dinner sandwich had come wrapped in. His hand froze as he gripped his pencil. He could hear Marie’s voice as if she were sitting beside him.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Goa, India – 2006

“Wake-up, Jason,” Marie spoke calmly as she gently ran her hand over his shoulder. She’d learned quickly that the easier he woke-up, the quicker he realized where he was. “You’re dreaming, wake-up.”

“Ahhh!” he gasped as he levered quickly off the bed, his body turning as he reached under his pillow for the weapon. The first thing he noticed was bright morning light that filtered in around the curtains. Then he heard the sound of the ocean in the distance. “India, we’re in India.”

“Yes, we are and we’re safe, Jason, safe.” She sat beside him on the bed and pulled his head down to her shoulder. “How bad was it this time?”

“No, no, I…wasn’t dreaming.” He was confused, his mind was a blank, but there was something just beyond his reach. The harder he tried to recall it, the more frustrated he became. “I was just sleeping.”

Marie didn’t argue with him, though she knew the signs of a nightmare. She also knew that he wouldn’t lie to her deliberately, not about this. She was well aware that he kept things from her, and she hated that it was part of his personality, but she had to accept it or leave him. Whatever had been going on in his sleeping mind was lost for the time being. With luck it would come back. There were times when she pushed him to remember, but this wasn’t one of them. His distress was too close to the surface.

Jason spent the day cleaning, first his weapons and then the house, which had just been cleaned the day before. Everything had to be in order, nothing out of place. He checked and rechecked the windows and doors, always looking for faces that shouldn’t be there. Finally, before he drove them to a screaming match, he changed his clothes and went for a long run on the beach.

They’d eaten dinner and were enjoying a spicy cup of chai when a light flashed behind his eyelids. It flashed again and he saw the blonde woman sleeping on her stomach in his bed in Paris. Then it was gone, but he finally knew what had caused Marie to waken him that morning. He got up and pulled out the notebook where he’d been writing the snatches of memories and dreams that haunted him.

“What, what is it?” Marie looked concerned. “You remembered something?”

“Not really.” He shook his head. “But you were right this morning, I had been dreaming. It was about Paris.”

“Something new?” she couldn’t keep the excitement out of her voice. His life there fascinated her. It shouldn’t have but it did. She knew he had done terrible things when living there. He’d been a trained killer. She’d seen the proof and lived with the results everyday. Maybe that was what interested her about his past. It was what drove her to help him remember. Here with her, he was stripped clean of all but the most basic elements of civilized man. He would sleep, eat, and work-out. They had long nights of intense sex, but they couldn’t grow, until he did more than just exist. Occasionally the other Jason Bourne would peek out, the one who had lived in the huge apartment, the one who had a life beyond hiding and fear. She needed that man to return, before they could have a future together.

“No, the same old one,” he murmured and tried to focus on what he’d seen moments ago.

“Oh,” she fought to keep the disappointment out of her voice. She had her own theory about this particular dream, but had yet to convince him of it. Marie attempted one more time as she moved the book aside on the desk and slide her arms around him from the back, letting her long blonde hair fall over his shoulder. “Ya know, Jason, Freud said ‘sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.’ Maybe the same is true about dreams?”

“What, that they’re a cigar?” He gave her a lop-sided grin, his black mood from earlier broken. He knew where she was going with this and hoped she was correct.

“No silly.” She tried to look indignant, but was too happy that he was smiling again. “I know we weren’t in your apartment for very long, but we were there together. If we hadn’t been interrupted…” She caught her breath when she thought about the man with the gun and the fear he’d caused. She refused to recognize how much like Jason he had been.

“Marie,” he whispered and pulled her around until she was sitting on his lap. His finger traced down the intricate curves of the tattoo she had on her shoulder.

“No, let me finish….You know as well as I do, that we probably would have ended up in your bed. Besides I like the idea that you dream about me, even if you can’t remember it.” Something in her needed to believe she was the faceless woman in his dream.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A local commuter train in Poland – 2007

The pencil snapped in Jason’s fingers. He shivered when he thought about his apartment in Paris. It had been strange and barren. Nothing about it had made him feel comfortable except…the kitchen? He almost laughed out loud when he remembered slowly walking through that room, touching pans and surfaces as if they were a key to who he was.

He pictured Marie in his arms in bed. They’d had sex in too many bedrooms to count, in their time together. He could see her in each and every one of them, but each time he forced his mind to place her in his bed in Paris, his stomach clenched. He shook himself and closed his eyes as a wave of nausea swept over him. He was blinded by a flash of white light that filled his vision. As it cleared he saw long blonde hair strewn across his pillow and his hand moving over a creamy white shoulder and arm.

“Oh, God,” he gasped, as he was filled with certainty. The woman in his dream lacked Marie’s distinctive tattoos. He knew in that moment that if he’d discovered that piece of information when she was still alive, he’d never have told her about it. It made her too happy to think that he dreamt about her. There had been a lot he hadn’t been able to give her, but that would have been within his power.

Jason changed trains again and ate a breakfast he hardly tasted. He couldn’t pull his mind away from what he’d just learned. The woman was a key to who he really was and he believed if he found her, he could find the man beneath the killer, but first he had a job to do. He was going hunting!


To Ch 3 - Counting The Cost

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
annabella
Oct. 4th, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC)
I like it so far! Keep up the good work.

I'm a little squicky about the Jason/Nicky relationship but so far you've presented it in a way that I can totally grasp and it doesn't infringe on the Jason/Marie relationship. I appreciate that. :)
lattelady6
Oct. 4th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
I'm glad the story is working for you. Just so you know, the ending will be Jason/Nicky, though there will be more about Marie. She was an important part of his life for almost two years. I would never treat what happened between them lightly.

Phyllis
the Lattelady
annabella
Oct. 5th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
Oh, I figured that's where it was headed. I'm just very glad that you're showing the respect to the Jason/Marie relationship that it deserves. From the first movie I knew that Jason/Nicky had something going on (or were going to have something going on); but I so loved the Jason/Marie relationship that Jason/Nicky wasn't something I really contemplated.

The first time I saw the newest movie (Ultimatum) I was REALLY pissed because of the way they filmed it - parallelling Jason/Nicky with Jason/Marie but.... not. It was yucky, I didn't like it. Subsequent watchings have improved it somewhat. :)
lattelady6
Oct. 5th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
Interesting that you picked up on the possibility of Jason/Nicky as far back as the first movie. I remember walking out of that one a bit peeved. I've been a huge Julia Stiles fan ever since 'Ten Things I Hate About You', and was unhappy about the her small role in 'Idenity'. Though I didn't have a clue they would go on with the Bourne movies.

I agree with the parallelling of J/N and J/M in 'Ultimatum'. It seemed lazy and Patronizing on the writer's part. (did they really think we wouldn't see how similiar they were?) They should have come up with something new and cut a few minutes out of the chase scenes.

Though I must admit as a fanficiton writer, it gives my Jason something to be distracted by as he and Nicky are traveling (memories of Marie), instead of picking up on the hints she's dropping....ahhh the ideas they just keep on coming.

Latte
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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