“Larry Sizemore?” Sam snorted. “You have to work with that psychopath?”
Michael felt a fresh wave of anger bubble up inside him. He shot Sam a look like lightning. “Excuse me?”
“Oh, I see,” Sam said, derision lacing his tone. “Cut from the same cloth, huh? Well, nice knowing you, Michael.” He said his full name mockingly, the first time he’d used it during their entire mission. “Stick with Larry and you’re not going to be alive much longer.”
He smiled. Larry called it his ‘I’m thinking about how much I’ll enjoy watching you die’ smile. “I’ll take my chances.”
“They saw us, kid,” Larry said. “You know the danger, what could happen if they blab.”
Michael nodded, eyes narrowing as he considered it. “It’s an unacceptable risk.”
“Want me to handle it?”
“No,” he said. “I will. It’s my fuckup.”
“Hey, that’s on our intel, not you. There was no way you could’ve known,” Larry said, handing him the gun that, if traced, would lead directly to a well-known smuggler close by.
“Still, I should fix it.”
“And you will, but you think I’d let you flap in the wind over this?” Larry said. “We’re partners, kid.”
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 1994
“Our hands are tied,” Michael snarled, clenching his fists so tightly his nails dug into his palms, leaving little crescent-moon indents.
“That’s the job, kid,” Larry said. “We pick off the minor dictators, whatever, and make deals with the big ones.”
“I hate it, Larry.” He could feel the rage building and made no effort to stop it. “Who are they to say who and when? What gives them the right?”
“I’ve wondered the same thing, believe me.” He shook his head. “It’s the system.”
“Maybe we should change the system.”
Larry raised an eyebrow, smiling slowly. “Maybe we should.”
Saint Petersburg, 1995
“Just think about it,” Larry said. “We could start over, go wherever we want, do whatever we want, make as much money as we want, no short-sighted government to get in the way and tell us we’re wrong.”
Michael considered it—with their combined skills, the possibilities really were endless. They could do anything, and really, why shouldn’t they? Why should they play by corrupt rules when they knew better, could make their own instead?
“Anywhere we want?” Michael asked slowly, grin sliding onto his face like a serpent slithering through the grass.
Larry grinned back. “We’ll be invincible, kid.”
New York, 2007
“Larry Garber,” Larry said experimentally. “I like it. What do you think, kid?”
Michael glanced up from where he was deciding between two shirts. “It suits you,” he said, ghost of a smirk gracing his lips. “And the guy was nice enough to fall on that knife and give it to you.” Deciding on the silver-blue, he shrugged it on and buttoned it up, pulling his jacket on over it.
Larry grinned at that. “Very true.” He clapped him on the shoulder and straightened his collar. “You like yours?”
“Think I look like a Rollins?” he asked, turning toward the mirror.
Larry’s thumb dug deeper into Michael’s shoulder, pressing against a mark he’d left there. The sting sent a wave of warmth coursing through him. “You look like anyone you want to be, kid.”
Michael grinned at his reflection in the mirror, exactly as unsettlingly as Larry’s own grin. “Excellent.”