King Henry the Fifth, Plantagenet: now there was a man who understood America.
Kale penned the note to Will Travers thinking on what you could say to a young man who knew too much to lie to, had too little to lose to placate and to whom you were a little too attached to kill -- nevertheless, he had to do one of these three things, so for company while he wrote his letter sitting on the edge of his bed he had the bedside lamp, the dark of the bedroom, the silhouette of Walter’s drowsy back pretending to sleep two feet away from him, and the ethical advice of a red-headed prince who’d had a country and a war of his own to manage in a fictional Anglia a while ago. You could divide your options that way, or pretty much any moral conundrum, really: lie to him or placate him.
1. The truth is, Will, David was involved in -- Lie.
This made Will Travers Princess Katherine. Aside from that being sort of inherently funny, it had its appeal.
It wasn’t for recreation that Kale Ingram was familiar with the exploits of King Henry V. The kind of man that sat around reading Shakespeare for fun and the kind of man who went into special operations and the Central Intelligence Agency were not, generally, the same kind of man, no matter what Ian Fleming had to say about it -- Ian Fleming one of the few spy fiction authors qualified to speak on the matter, of course, but Ian Fleming also a washed-out MI6 drunk with little but boredom and shame and shamelessness enough to write a novel called Octopussy under his belt to his name. The fact was, there was a time before all of Kale’s hair was grey, there was a time when people were crueller to him than he was to them, and there was a time before he worked for API: that was a time when he was a spy and that was a time when he had a lot of time on his hands, enough time to read whatever was handy and sometimes that was Bill Shakespeare.
The fact was, if he could get Travers to go away he could get him to go away, even if it meant blackening David Hadas’s posthumous name; Travers worshipped Hadas, maybe, but he frankly worshipped him like a calf cast in bronze and that was falling away by the day now. He was in the business of inventing believable stories. Probably he could invent a believable story about what David had been involved him that had gotten him killed. Probably he could get Will Travers to believe it. Most people were fools to some degree. It was nothing personal, they just were; he’d killed plenty of people before and invented posthumous reasons for their demises to people who
2. No letter at all, and a mugging gone awry. The Harfleur option.
That... would be a waste.
He hadn’t had anyone killed since Walter and he were together. He wasn’t entirely sure why that mattered to him, but it did. Walter was just a boy in a long (though not quite as long as most men his age with his proclivities, most likely) line of boys, one he was unkind too more often than he was kind, and probably didn’t give a damn more often than he did give, but -- well -- he hadn’t killed anyone since he’d had Walter. No correlation, no causation, but some kind of note, anyway. It had come to mind for some reason. Anyway, it would be a waste because Will Travers was too much to waste on a bullet to the head or cyanide on a doorknob; aside from bullets being loud and cyanide being expensive, and Will being someone that, frankly, a lot of people would miss, he was bright and he was the first thing that had ignited even a glimmer of hope in Kale for policy analysis in quite some time. Which was why he was considering killing him in the first place, but, well, that led him back to point number two: it would be a waste. It was a pity how the people that were the most use to the world were usually the ones who presented themselves to the slaughter.
In truth the real Harfleur option here would be to warn him off -- threaten him, maybe -- though God only knew what could threaten Will Travers at this point. A man who wasn't frightened by what had happened to David Hadas; well, hell, what the hell was supposed to frighten him at this point? The currency of human cowardice was what the intelligence community traded on these days on the Dow; not being able to count on it with Travers put a sour taste in Kale's mouth. Katherine Rhumor should've done it too. A lot of things should've done it. It wasn't that Will was incredibly stubborn. Sure, he was intelligent enough, maybe a little fearless, but anyone could be stubborn if their family was fresh in their graves and they hadn't yet to learn that wives and children could be changed out for new wives and children. But Will, he'd had less than ten years to stop being so grim, so now it seemed noble not to fear anything, but give him time.
Okay, maybe he was a little more fucking stubborn than most people. Tenacious, anyway.
Warning him wasn't going to do anything: it was torch this particular castle or nothing.
Kale glanced over his shoulder at Walter again. The back wasn't Walter's best angle: it wasn't that it wasn't anyone's best angle, either, some unmemorable twinks were better that way, but something about the set of his shoulders was a little awkward this way. It made him look younger. Queers were supposed to appreciate when their lovers looked younger. Kale had gotten a little too old.
He reached out, ruffled a hand through his hair -- Walter pretended to be sleeping still, but that was how he was until you paid him attention, honestly -- sort of a brat sometimes. Like he'd thought. Wives and children, interchangeable. Walters also. He'd had them before, he'd have them again.
We need to talk.
Maybe there was something to be done about Will Travers. Maybe there wasn't. Walter's lease on an unbloodied relationship with him had another day, though; and that was the most you could ask out of him right now.