Wickedly Ethereal (ashen_key) wrote in blackbiology,
Wickedly Ethereal

Sasha and Jack: Budapest, 1981

Sasha: Budapest, city of cathedrals, only Sasha wasn't in a cathedral. No, she was in a little old church on the Buda side of the city, sitting in one of the back pews and looking at the altar. Scarf covering her hair, a thin dark jacket, and instead of looking unremarkable, the attention was just drawn to her Tartar eyes.

And why this church?

Last time she saw, Jack was in Pest, and she wasn't entirely sure what to do with him.

Jack: A dark-clad man was kneeling in one of the pews closer to the front of the church, ostensibly praying.

He stood a few moments later and came to the back, padding quietly up the aisle with the appropriate reverence for such a place, and stopped beside her.

"Hello, Sasha."

Jack looked different with hair long enough to braid, instead of just messily flopping over his eyes, and dressed well. He sat beside her, a string of rosary beads tangled around the fingers of his left hand.

Sasha: A faint smile, and she glanced up at him.

"Jack. I thought I was hunting you, not the other way around."

Jack: "Who said anything about hunting?"

His eyes were on the altar, his voice quiet. Almost peaceful.

"You're looking well."

Sasha: She was peaceful, at least it seemed so. Without the hard edge of her normal sociopathic poise.

"You look tired."

Jack: A brief ghost of a smile crossed his face, and he carefully tucked the rosary beads into his jacket pocket.

"I am. It's been a long year."

Sasha: "Mm." Quiet, noncommittal. "Would you sit?"

Jack: He sat beside her, brushing back a stray lock of hair.

"How are you?"

Sasha: "In rather a lot of trouble, actually," is her somewhat serene comment.

Jack: "Anything I can help with?"

He sounded sincerely concerned.

Sasha: She wasn't looking at him, just gazing out in front of her.

"You could turn yourself in, I guess."

Jack: A soft, low laugh.

"I'm sorry, Sasha, I can't do that."

Sasha: This time, she slanted him a half-way amused glance.

"No, I didn't think so."

Jack: "My self-preservation does stretch that far."

Sasha: "Oh, you have self-preservation now."

Jack: He held up a finger, correcting her. "Some self-preservation. Not a great deal, it would seem."

Sasha: "I still don't believe you."

Jack: "That is your right," he said calmly, taking the rosary from his pocket again and absently smoothing his thumb over the cross.

Sasha: Her eyes fell to his hand, and her head tilted slightly.

"Catholic, Jack?"

Jack: "Surprised?"

Sasha: "I had you pegged as an embittered atheist myself."

Jack: He smiled, somehow secretively.

"Fully-fledged Catholic. I've had the Sacraments and everything."

Sasha: An almost startled smile, but she bowed her head as someone glanced at her.

"My, my, Jack. You are full of secrets."

Jack: Aren't we all?"

His eyes were still fixed on the altar, and he was carefully passing the beads through his fingers, lips moving slightly as he murmured the prayers.

Sasha: "I'm not so sure."

Jack: He slanted a glance at her, raising an eyebrow in silent invitation for her to continue.

Sasha: A slight, one-shouldered shrug.

"Or maybe with most people, I quite honestly don't care."

Jack: "But you do now."

It wasn't a question; he could feel it. Most of the time she was empty, frighteningly so, but sometimes he got flashes of something.

Sasha: Her lips pressed together.

"I would have thought that was obvious."

Jack: Gently: "You're very good at hiding these things, you know."

Sasha: Sasha looked at him again, not bothering to hide her head.

"I've had to be."

Jack: "All of those like us have had to be."

Sasha: "But you said it yourself. I'm supposed to be empty. I'm not supposed to feel anything."

Jack: Softly, "I never said supposed to be, Sasha, and I'm never going to tell you you're not supposed to feel anything. They didn't train it out of you entirely."

Sasha: She snorted softly, and looked away. There was a moment of silence, and then her mouth twisted.

Just a little.

"What am I going to do with you, Jack?"

Jack: "I suppose that depends on whether you're still planning on taking me back to the Echelon."

Sasha: Mildly, "I rather like being alive."

Jack: Flatly: "And I rather like not being tortured."

Sasha: A quick smile. "So, we are at an impasse, yes?"

Jack: "I suppose so."

He reached the end of the rosary and paused for a moment; sighed, kissed the cross and tucked it back into his pocket.

"What would you like from me, Sasha?"

Sasha: "I don't know."

Jack: He was quiet, for long minutes.

"Ever work it out, let me know, yeah?"

Sasha: "Where's the fun in that?"

Jack: He gave her a gentle smile, standing quietly and almost absently bending to kiss her hair.

"You ever work it out, let me know," he repeated, before turning to walk out.
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