“You feeling like Chinese?” Snow is sprawled out sitting on the floor with his back to the bathtub and his shoes are catching on the ridges in the tile. When they were overseas said, ‘never take your boots off during an op,’ under a grass thatched roof, and took his own advice seriously. His sleeves are wet and rolled up, and John doesn’t look at him.
“I’m feeling like Chinese,” Snow repeats.
The man in the tub twitches a little in his peripheral vision. There’s an inch of water still in the bottom, pink with blood, but Snow long set aside the car battery and the jumper cables. He still twitches every time Snow speaks, though. Snow enjoys it.
John pretends the feeling in the pit of his stomach is hunger, not sickness, and pushes the front window drape aside, but the street is clear.
“What, not feeling talkative, John?”
He grunts. The window looks out over a dirty sidewalk with gum stains and broken beer bottles. “Chinese is fine.” There’s no one in sight and no reason to think they’re in any danger of being blown, but he keeps looking.
“There’s this place not far from here. They make great fried dumplings,” Snow says. The guy in the tub spasms at the word ‘fried’ and cracks his head against the tile wall. There’s blood seeping through the bag over his head. “They practically sizzle. Make Kara order some, will you?”
“Make me?” Kara opens the front door, and Reese has his weapon trained on her until she closes it and flicks the deadbolt behind her. Only when she winks does he drop his shoulder and thumb the safety back on the gun. “Mark, go take a walk.”
“A walk. Take one.”
“I’m your handler, Kara, your senior agent.”
“Senior agents have feet, Mark.”
He pats the man in the tub on the shoulder. “I’ll be back,” he whispers to him before using the him as leverage to stand upright. “If you order food and you don’t save any for me, I’ll shoot you,” he says to Kara. He wants to. John can see it in the way his feet hesitate at the door, automatically shifting to brace should he turn and fire at them. He wants them both dead, but Kara more. The door shuts firmly behind him.
“Now John,” Kara says, and she strokes his arm in soft, curving motions by the window, “How hungry are you?”
Mark is halfway down the block now, arguing with a bum on the curb. He isn’t turning back. “I could eat.”
“Good.” she has her hands inside his jacket now, running over the thin material of his shirt. She’s warm. The man in the tub moans. “I prefer quiet, though.”
Reese watches the street as she walks to the bathroom and crack’s the man’s head against the bathtub twice and he falls silent and still.
“You ever fucked a corpse, John?”
“He’s not dead.”
“He might as well be. He’s going in a hole somewhere, a deep, deep hole where no one will ever see him again. So don’t get all noble on me, boy scout.” Her tongue darts out and catches his earlobe. “He won’t mind.”
The man in the tub is still, one arm dangled over the edge like spaghetti out of a bowl. He’s breathing, so shallowly it’s almost possible to think he is a corpse.
Kara is pulling the clothing off the man, one article at a time. She starts with the socks. The toes are blue and black from kicking at the wall, but oddly delicate. She isn’t delicate though, and she unfolds a knife to take care of the rest, not bothering with buttons or zippers. The clothing falls off and slaps, wet, onto the tile floor in neat, cut up pieces.
“Suck on his fingers.”
“His fingers. Suck on them.” She left the hood on, but the man’s body is naked and twisted and still. Kara reaches in and pulls his shoulder up, pulls his hand into her own mouth to demonstrate. When she sucks his fingers turn bright purple and stay that way. “Suck,” she commands, and he drops to his knees and lets her put the man’s fingers in his mouth. They taste like her, like her mouth when she kisses him, and she pushes the hand deep into his throat.
“Good,” she says, and draws it in and out of him, slowly, methodically, and he doesn’t take his eyes off her. “Good.” She pulls the hand out and lets the arm flop down against the tub. It bounces and lands, palm up on the floor. His own saliva pools under it. “Now kiss him.” Her voice is deep and heady.
He swallows, hard. “The hood--”
He wants to feel his pulse thundering, but his body is steady, trained and unflinching. “Why are you doing this?”
“Are you questioning orders? You know better than that, John. Get in and kiss him.”
He has to crawl in to get at a good angle, has to kneel with his knees in an inch of water, soaking his pants, has to brace his forearms on the edge of the tub and lean in. He can smell him. The sweat and torture, the blood, but also the man. He’d been wearing aftershave. John doesn’t recognise the scent.
“Kiss him, John.”
He leans in. He misses the first time, has to let his face run over the black, featureless cloth until he finds a soft spot, a soft parting that can only be a slack mouth. He works his own lips against it until he feels it open, until he can feel the soft wet of a tongue through the sack. He’s never kissed anyone like this before, never kissed anyone who can’t feel it. He kisses harder, until he’s sure he’s leaving bruises. Maybe if he kisses hard enough, long enough, he’ll suffocate him and put them both out of their misery.
He kisses until he’s moving against the body, until they’re both pressed into the tub, hard. Kara reaches a hand into his pants, and he twitches at her touch.
“Good, John,” she says, and rocks forward.
“Please, let me--” He aches to touch himself, to touch her, to run out the door and into a bus.
“No, no. Not yet. Tell me how it feels.”
His hands are on the man’s shoulders, pushing him down against the back wall of the tub as if he were conscious and able to escape. “Warm.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to kill him?” Kara’s voice is sweet, and he feels himself hardening against his will. “Don’t stop this time,” and her other hand is at the back of his neck, pushing him back down until he’s pressed against the black sack and inhaling stale hot breath and the smell of blood and aftershave.
“You’re one sick fuck, you know that, John? Can you imagine what it would be like? To fuck a real dead man? All cold and stiff?” His lips are raw from the rough burlap and Kara’s hand is still tight at the nape of his neck. He could break the hold. He knows a dozen ways without even pushing himself. He feels Kara’s hand slip deeper past the elastic of his underwear, and she slides her left hand against his ear, pausing only for a second before continuing on and squeezing shut his nose, tight and suffocating.
“Don’t stop,” she says right against his neck, and he doesn’t, even when he sees spots and his knees start to shake against the bottom of the tub. He can’t breathe. The tub is drained but he’s drowning against the man, and he keeps kissing until Kara strokes him, hard, and he jerks and blacks out.
He wakes up when she turns the shower on. His nose is bloody; he must have hit the side of the tub.
“Clean up. Snow will be back in a minute, and I’d hate for you to have to explain this to him.” She doesn’t spare him an extra glance as she walks to the living room.
The thunder of the water is comforting, and he lets it soak the back of his shirt as he lays curled around their prisoner. He feels the man under him breathing, heavy and awake, and moves him, as gently as he can, so his head isn’t under the spray of water. After John stands mechanically, strips, and washes the blood off himself under the hot water, he peels back the prisoner’s black hood and finds blue eyes staring up at him. A strong jaw, bloodied and swollen lips and an expensive haircut.
The man spits on him, one more bloody streak pooling at John’s feet.
Nathan Ingram’s obituary stares at him on his phone, hooded blue eyes hauntingly familiar.
“Are you listening, Mr. Reese?”
He taps his earpiece. “Anthony Meyers,” he parrots back.
Finch grunts into his ear. “I’m afraid this number might be difficult--”
“I’m sorry.” His voice sounds the same as it always does to his own ears. There’s no waver, nothing so betraying. He leaves the obituary on his phone, the coward’s path. Finch will know it’s there.
Finch is silent for a long moment, a quiet buzz of static on the other where his voice should be. “When we first met, I told you that I know exactly everything about you, Mr. Reese.”
“Then you should know--”
“Please, Mr. Reese. Anthony Meyers.”
John closes his eyes, sees a pair of blue ones, smells the cologne and the blood and Kara. “Anthony Meyers,” he says, and closes the obituary.