"Said there's gonna be a revival, tonight... Oh, I wanna see a revival..."
The words cut him to his soul. He wasn't heartless; he wasn't soulless, but he could be cool, he could be efficient and to get there he had long ago learnt to put aside emotion in favour of the job. All he did, was because he'd believed in a better world, been led to believe in a better world, and that meant doing what he could to stop the enemy from destroying it.
He would never learn to like the killing, but he could find a satisfaction in it - that every target down was another man, another woman, another child kept safe.
And another of his men kept safe.
Or at least that had been what he'd thought, and as though he could stop the maudlin track of his thoughts with the slam of a heavy-bottomed glass on the bar top, MacTavish threw back the last of the pint in his glass and rose to leave.
It was the music, that was all, that damnable music getting into his head, twisting in his gut with the longing pain of the singer's croon, the lazy wanting swoop of the music. He wasn't a sentimental man but in the right frame of mind, not even the field leader of the 141 was immune to a good tune.
Even if that tune spoke of loss and longing for something now unreachable. And the phrases, the words that he didn't want to pay close attention to, driving too close to home. Blind eyes, dirty water, dirtied hands, a revival.
He left the smoke and grit of the bar, the dingy lights and shadow eyes of the whores, the men with sagging shoulders. Not a spark of brightness left, anywhere, in this part of town, but all to the better - he had nothing to match it with, wearing his failures like a mantle. Here he could move like a ghost and be unseen, for a while, until it was time to move again. Unshaven and without the mohawked hairstyle that was his, MacTavish passed for just another man on the road. Blue eyes down, pretty, shambling gait. Look like everyone else, don't give yourself away; blend in.
Sanderson had been fantastically good at blending in. Riley, less so. Pride was in his carriage, pride was in the slant of his eyes, the way he walked, the absolute sass of the man giving grief to HQ. He would always know Riley by the cat-like tread of the man's step, and something less defined - an electric current when he moved, a sense, a notion that a space created was filled. MacTavish was the one person their resident ghost could never sneak up on. He always just knew. And that sense, honed over time, would probably never stop reaching out, reminding him of what he was missing, the blank space at his flank once occupied by Riley.
Perhaps in time, that would dull, too. The aching loss. He still had the coordinates for the house in the Caucasus Mountains. For now, though, it was still far too hot. For now, he would stay low.
MacTavish walked on, shoulders sagging, gait shambling. He looked like any other man on the street, in the dim light. No one turned to see him; no one saw him vanish into the night, but the sense of something electric soon dissipated from the area, marking the passing of something out of the ordinary.