The alarm clicked over to seven am, softly playing classical music for a few seconds before Michael turned it off with a flick of his wrist. Naked, he padded across the hotel room to the en suite bathroom, pissed, showered, and brushed his teeth. For all of ten seconds he considered shaving, but then tossed that idea right out; he was on vacation, he was supposed to look like it, after all.
By the time he'd come out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his hips and a few stray droplets running down his neck, Michael could smell that his standing order of morning coffee had arrived. Brilliant. It wouldn't do to show up at breakfast looking like death warmed over. There were still enough bloody paps about that he had to keep his smile on, his game face up.
Especially considering as the election season was going to start in earnest next month, and if Michael didn't want to chuck the past five years of work and planning, then he couldn't let a bit of a sulk get in his way now.
He waited until he was halfway through his first cup and at least had his shorts and vest on before dragging his laptop over to the bed and pulling up the GPS program. He'd called it his insurance policy, but there were some days that Michael was halfway willing to admit that it was the only thing keeping him together over the past couple of weeks of otherwise radio silence.
"Sir? Mr. Fassbender?" The new guy, a wiry little bastard named Hoult on loan from MI-5, knocked tentatively. He was posing as Michael's assistant during this vacation, and doing such a remarkable job of actually being an assistant, Michael was tempted to offer him the job for real. "The rest of the group is waiting downstairs at breakfast. Forecast for the day is fair and warm; a good day for boating with your colleagues."
"Be just there," Michael called. He pressed his thumb over the biometrics scanner, and leaned in close to the webcam for the cornea reading. The system took a couple of seconds to parse his data and confirm his clearance, and then his screen filled with a topographical map of Norway, zooming in on the Lyngen Alps. And there, about twenty kilometers east of where it had read at this same time yesterday, was a tiny, blinking dot.
"Morning, James," Michael murmured. Feeling fanciful, he brushed his fingers over the pip. "Hurry up and kill that bastard. He keeps getting in the way of our conversations."
James woke to the faint beep of his GPS-enabled phone, letting him know his location had been pinged again, the same as it had every morning for the past two weeks. If Michael hadn't warned him about his insurance policy to begin with, James might have binned the device on the first day, but by now, he was actually beginning to look forward to it, odd as that sounded.
"Morning, Michael," he murmured, rolling out of the small cavern he'd dug in the snow the night before.
Just over the ridge, in the faint pre-dawn light, he could see the first lights coming on in the house. Staff, probably, warming up the rooms and starting breakfast, waking up the household. Too bad, really; it would be easiest to handle the whole affair with a remote device, but James had long since lost his stomach for excess losses. Unlike this bastard, who he'd been chasing across Europe for two weeks, ever since he'd blown Michael's hotel to the heavens, killing scores of people and missing Michael and James entirely -- they'd been out for a walk, supposedly to talk, but really too busy trying to crawl down each other's throats in deep, drugging kisses. Kisses that should, by all rights, melt the snow around him just from the memory.
In a way, it had settled things in James's mind, though. A reminder that he couldn't protect Michael enough if he was too busy thinking about fucking him. Not from men like this, who would slaughter a entire building full of innocents on the off chance he might get his way. Which meant that James was going to have to give something up, and soon.
But not before he settled this one last account.