But this, this just made me happy to write.
Title: The World of Women
Fandom: The Bourne Trilogy, movieverse
Codes: Marie Kreutz, Jason Bourne/Marie Kreutz
Spoilers: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy
Summary: "You never watch the women."
Author Notes: This is set between The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy. I just really, really needed to write it. Could technically be considered in continuity with And That's For Remembrance if you are like me and have a weird sense of humor (see Landscape in SV for how many of my own fic I referenced in there), but no actual relation in text of any kind.
Warning: Spoilers for the beginning of The Bourne Supremacy in comments.
"You never watch the women."
She gets a flickering glance from the corner of his eye. "What?"
The crowd jostles too close; Marie feels him tense and leans her head against his shoulder, following his gaze to guess who he's tracking, work out what he sees that she can't. She's learned to pitch her voice for open rooms and close crowds, accent her native tongue to become an American tourist, a French resident, an Italian student as automatically as she breathes, blend with the world he builds for them. "You watch only the men. Not women."
She can feel him consider it, arm tightening around her shoulders. "You're right. I don't."
He likes the heavy bass of drums, playing it in the stereo with the speakers on the floor, the hard beat trembling beneath her bare feet and up the back of her calves; she thinks of clubs in Berlin, raves outside Hamburg with American students and smoking with French tourists. From outside, early evening sweeps a breeze from the kitchen to the living room, and she follows the smell of baking duck on silent feet as he taught her, shifting her weight from ball to heel, but he's already watching her by the time she gets to the doorway.
He's--cooking. She learned from her grandmother, taught in her earliest memories, and she's taught him as she was, hearing her grandmother in her voice when she instructs him. A part of her thinks it's his way of taking something that belongs only to him; something that wasn't inherited from the man he was before. Part of her thinks it's because it's her, and there's nothing about her he doesn't want to know.
It's both, and she gives him both; she'd give him anything he wanted. "It will burn," she says, glancing at the oven and the timer he didn't set. He's never used one.
Blue eyes regard her thoughtfully before they turn to the ceiling, and says in unaccented German, "Sear for five minutes on either side--no, wait, not like that, you must do it like this--and place in the oven. You have to--just let me do it--"
"I did not say--I did not say it like that."
His mouth twitches when he looks at her. "You really did. Now it's time to take it out."
She waits until he puts it on the counter, before he can start to study it, to match the first one she made for him. "Let it cool." She pulls him until he follows, until there's space all around him and she turns. "Dance with me."
It's something else he doesn't know; he knows the waltz and polka and a hundred others she has no name for, formal movements trained to reflex. This he doesn't, and gives himself up to her without hesitation as she places his hands on her hips, closing her eyes to match her body to the beat beneath her feet, reaching for him to close the space between them. He follows her slow sway, and she tells him when she was sixteen and clubbed with a fake id, she fell in love with a musician for two weeks and learned to play guitar.
"Guitar?" He looks down at her, fighting a smile.
"I wasn't very good." She feels his hands slide up her sides, thumbs brushing just beneath her breasts over thin cotton; catching her breath, she draws her nails down his back over his shirt, feeling him harden against her thigh. Thinking, always thinking, even here, even now, studying her to learn what she wants to teach.
All she wants is for him to feel. "Don't think," she whispers, cupping the back of his neck. She feels him unwind by slow degrees, touching her with less careful hands. He's never careless, never easy with her, never takes for granted the right she gives him freely.
"Marie," he breathes against her neck and she closes her eyes as he skims her sides, her back, sliding down to her ass, breath thick against her throat. Tilting her head back, she catches his lips in a kiss and then draws back, still feeling the warmth of his hands, marking the places he had touched, remembering them.
So much he does without thinking, instinct and training combined. He might not recognize how he touched her, remember the pattern of his hands on her skin, but she does and marks them in her mind, the places another Jason Bourne would search a woman for a weapon.
She grins at his surprise, reaching for his hands to pull him to the kitchen. "Hungry?"
It never stops surprising her, how easily she can make him laugh.
The first days are always the same when they arrive; Jason's habits are her own, as methodical as his mind. He sweeps the room while she talks in whatever language he wishes her to use, the light chatter of a wife, a tourist, a student, a mistress as she goes to every place he nods, putting their papers in a dozen places, some obvious, some not. She knows which go where, what can be found, what shouldn't be, what doesn't matter.
"It's not that."
He looks up from putting their clothes away; of the two of them, he's the more domestic by necessity and choice. Before him, she'd never known underwear could be so neatly folded. "So what is it?
Any other man would rush her thoughts; Jason waits while she thinks it through. She goes to the bed, glancing at him to see that it's been checked; at his nod, she sprawls on her stomach, arms folded beneath her chin. There's no easy way to ask him this.
"I want to learn how to use a gun." They have three; until now, she's simply watched when he cleans them, as regularly as clockwork, checking them for damage or needed repairs, watching him break them down and put them back together.
When he's away, she takes them out one by one, studying the unfamiliar metal, feeling the weight of them in her hands, remembering how he holds them like they're extensions of his body. She wipes them when she puts them back, but she's not as good as he is; from his lack of surprise, she thinks he might already know.
He doesn't stop, still putting away the brightly colored shirts she bought in Lisbon without a stutter, finishing before he turns around. She watches him suggest and reject a hundred possibilities in seconds, checking his objections against the sharp mind that sees the advantages even if the man hates them. He'd buy her safety with his life if he could; he can't.
She loves the man who shares her bed, but right now, she needs the man who can weigh probability, who can stop seeing her and start seeing what she represents: a liability that has to be translated to an asset.
"Have you ever used a gun?" he asks, leaning against the dresser, evaluating her as a man did in Zurich once upon a time, marking her strengths and weaknesses with unconscious ruthlessness; she thinks she may never know him as well as he knows her.
She shakes her head. "No."
The blue eyes go distant, skimming her again from head to foot. She stays still, aware of what he's doing, measuring her height and weight, remembering every time he's touched her, made love to her, and finding the solution.
"We can't start there," he says finally, which she'd expected. The problem isn't a gun at all and they both know it. Then, "Marie. You don't have to--"
She goes up on her knees, fighting a smile. "I want to."
He reaches for her, kissing her with startling intensity, then pulls back. "Look around the room," he says, stepping back, falling into pattern. "There are ten weapons in reach. I'm going to tell you what they are and how to use them. Then you're going to show me."
He's an amazing lover; she wonders, fingers wrapped around the headboard of their bed, panting into the ceiling before she stops being able to think at all, if they trained him in that, too.
"Faster," he says. She wipes the fingerprints from the dresser, running down the sides, her mind cataloguing everything she watched him touch. "Don't think about it. It should be instinct. You keep a running list in your head; if you can't, you have to do everything and that takes time you can't afford. What did I touch?"
"Dresser," she says, and not "obviously" because when he's like this, he's impervious to sarcasm and anger both. "Bed post. Desk. Chair." Did he? She runs through the list again, stopping herself before she can second guess. It doesn’t matter now; she has to do it anyway because she's not sure. "The glass on the desk. The inside of the drawer where you pulled it out. The--the--" her mind freezes; that's game over, that means everything, no, wait, wait, "the window, the windowpane, then you left." She follows it with a final swipe, turning around to see him leaning into the doorway, arms crossed. "Well?"
He raises an eyebrow. "When we leave, you can do the wipe down."
Jesus. He can do it in fifteen minutes flat. It'll take her the entire day. "That's a reward?"
He grins suddenly, as bright as the sun, taking her breath away. "You wanted to learn. Now get out so we can do it again. And this time, do it faster."
When she goes shopping, she carries cash in her pocket and in her bra below the curve of her breast as well as in her bag. A thief won't do a three point search. Not usually. But if he did.
"Carry this," Jason says, sliding something into the knot of black hair at the back of her head, a brightly painted wooden stick that matches her shirt and skirt, carved in intricate designs at the wider base. He stands her at the mirror, reaching for her hand until she can feel it as well. "Pull it out."
She does, looking at the sharpened tip and the flat edges. A quick pull, stab in the chest, the groin, in the neck (don't try that yet), walk away as quickly as possible. Cover her hair with a scarf and put on the skirt she carries if she can. Discard the bag and keep walking. Don't look back.
Sliding it back in, she studies herself in the mirror; an American tourist in a foreign country. "How do I sound?" she says carefully, listening to the rhythm of her voice. She listened to him talk for hours, reading from a book she bought at port when they arrived, concentrating on the way he shaped each word, the slang he stopped to explain for context, reading the same passage after to match tone and inflection. She watched *him*, how he moved and talked, taking on the assurance of an American national in a foreign land on vacation.
"Perfect," he says. "One more thing."
She sees him go to the dresser then come back, picking up her left hand. She wonders when he had bought a ring, watching him slide on the plain gold band, taking a little breath she hopes he doesn't hear.
She gets fruit that she doesn't recognize, pretends she doesn't understand anything but English when asking for bread, and stares at chicken with no clear idea of what she's doing, feeling the warm metal weight on her hand. She goes back to the comfortable house by the ocean, practicing walking only where she won't leave footprints.
"What did you get?" he says as she puts the bags on the counter and stares at the ocean out the window. She turns around, opening her mouth to say something to cover for her distraction, and instead watches dumbly as he picks up the fruit, at the gold band glittering on one finger.
Pushing the bags aside, she takes the fruit, tossing it over his shoulder and pulls him to her, spreading her legs and hooking them around his hips, drawing him down into a kiss, licking into his mouth and tasting coffee, both hands working open the button of his pants, linen sliding sensuously between her fingers. Shoving them down, she pulls her skirt up, and works her panties far enough down she can get one leg out, "Jason--" she says, too surprised by the sudden rush of heat to care how she sounds.
His fingers tighten in her hair, pulling her head back sharply, mouth hot against her neck, his other hand pushing up her shirt and cupping her breast, thumbing the hard nipple until she wants to scream.
He whispers in French against her skin, too quickly to hear, sucking bruises into her throat, pushing her skirt higher on her hips and sliding a hand between her legs. Something hits the floor that might be a chicken, and some part of her mind marks that she'll need to wipe fingerprints from the tops of the cabinets now, and she doesn't care, tightening her legs and pulling him in, reaching to guide his cock inside her before she starts to beg, but it's too late for that now, she's already--
"Please, Jason, *please*," into warm skin that tastes of salt; he's been running on the beach, waiting for her to come home, wearing a ring that matches her own, and God, she'd never thought of marriage before him but she'd promise, she already has, she does every day, every time she looks at him.
She wants to tell him, this is what I've been waiting for, you, I've given up nothing I couldn't live without--you're worth it, and I'd do it all again, and again, and again, if this is what I get to have.
He braces their joined hands on the cabinet behind her, kissing her again before he pulls back, looking into her eyes while he moves inside her, while she whimpers out the slices of pleasure rippling through her body, the build that flashes bright behind her eyes like summer lightning, tightening around him until she comes hard enough to feel it in her feet. She's still shaking when he comes seconds later, fingers laced through hers, feeling him shudder, groans buried in her shoulder, aware that his thumb is running over the ring on her finger in time with his breath on her neck.
After a few minutes, he pulls back enough to breathe, still nestled safely inside her, flushed and sweating, hair clinging to his forehead and his ears, looking at her in vague surprise. Then he glances down, and she sees her chicken on the floor.
"Take out," she says, looping her arms around his shoulders, tightening around him until she feels him getting hard again. Locking her ankles around his waist, she shifts until he's taking her weight, hands sliding beneath her and rubbing her clit against the warm, hairy skin at the base of his cock, sending off sparks. "Bed."
Later (too late for takeout, after all) he slices fruit while she watches and decorates her body with it, feeding it to her from between his teeth. She'll wear the mark of his fingers and mouth for days when she walks in town, aching and wanting nothing more than to go home (Jason), feeling giddy and silly and smiling at everyone she sees.
"Honeymoon?" a sympathetic salesclerk asks her in careful English as she rings up her purchases.
Marie hands her the money with a laugh. "Yes, it is."
One change of clothes, rolled and packed into a small bag hardly larger than her purse. Light clothes that don't wrinkle easily, no, sandals first, then shirt, then pants, underwear she can live without (at least Jason thinks so; she's suspicious), her passport in her pocket with cash, more in her bag, and more in her shoe behind the heel just in case. She stops, thinking, then grabs a map to put on top, a traveler that lost her luggage, lipstick in the pocket, prepaid cellphone shoved into the outer pocket.
She does his next, faster this time, letting rote be her guide, adding a gun wrapped in a pair of rolled socks that still allow access to the trigger. She pulls up her hair as she walks to the dresser, braiding it before twisting it up, sliding the wooden stiletto into her hair to hold it in place before she takes everything to the kitchen and comes back, staring at the room.
"I say trash it," she says, looking at the surfaces still cluttered with temporary things that they'll leave when they go. She looks up at him. "Really."
"It just occurred to me why you moved so much," he answers as she spreads a sheet on the floor, piling up what they won't take and still needs to be disposed of. "You left the dishes for weeks, didn't you?"
"What makes you think I owned dishes?"
"Why don't you watch for women?" she asks when they get back. She knows he's been considering what she said, turning it in his mind.
"I can overpower a woman." Yes, he's been thinking about it.
"That wouldn't matter with a long range weapon."
"Probability. You don't send someone with only one skill; they'll send someone that can fight me as well as shoot me." He opens a cabinet, and she watches his shirt ride up, the knife hilt visible against his back.
"But if you aren't watching--"
"Because they won't think of that." He turns around, leaning back against the counter. "Not many women go into this kind of work."
Not many men do either. "But--"
"And if they did, they'd do it in very specific ways."
"Seduce you," she says knowingly. His mouth twitches as she crosses the room, swinging her hips a little.
"Like I said. Very specific." His eyes are fixed on her hips. "And they'd have to depend on me being stupid, which again comes back to strength if they're working that close. Or speed," he says, reaching for her when she comes in range. Hands on her waist, he holds her still, something flickering on behind his eyes. His hands drop away. "Go down on your knees."
She raises an eyebrow.
Biting her lip against a smile, she obeys, watching him as he studies her again.
"Kneel up." She does. "What's the advantage?"
"Besides my teeth?" she answers sweetly. She touches her hair. "Stiletto. In the--"
"No. You're in that position and attacking, the first place he'll protect is his groin. Thigh, here," he traces along his thigh, gesturing for her hand, placing it on the warm cotton. She almost thinks she can feel his pulse. "Femoral artery. He'll bleed out if he doesn't get help, but he might chance it and come after you."
"Foot," she says instantly, "Then thigh, then move before he kicks me."
So he's been thinking about this for a while; she knows the signs. She can't overpower an adversary and physically she'll never be a match for the men who might hunt them. She knows how to run; God, does she, in more scenarios than she can count. Where to hide. How to hide. How to hide in plain sight a few feet away. How to vanish into a crowd, a room, behind a single person.
"Stand up," he says suddenly. Startled, she gets to her feet. "Show me what you'd do."
She frowns. "I don't--"
"You're in a crowd, some guy grabs you." He suits actions to words, moving so quickly she's immobile before she realizes what he's doing. "He tells you if you scream, he'll shoot you. Imagine the gun; what do you do?"
She imagines it--a crowd, pulled from Jason's side so he'll stand still for a bullet to the head. The flare of panic is so strong that she almost struggles; a mistake. Think, she tells her head. This isn't real, but it will be one day.
His lips press against her ear. " What do you do?"
She licks her lips, seeing Jason feet away, a bullet about to slice through his head and end both their lives in the blink of an eye.
She goes limp, throwing him off balance, breaking his grip. He has her before she can do anything else, catching her as she starts to get away, pinning her to the floor beneath his weight.
But she broke it, surprised him, and if she could surprise him, she could surprise anyone at all.
He flicks her ear. "You were just shot. But you had one second to change that. I'm going to show you what to do with it. Let them see you're afraid. But don't let them see you know how to use it."
He sits beside her as she pushes herself up, elbows pressed to the floor, body aching, feeling bruised and afraid and pleased all at once.
They don't watch women.
"Tomorrow," he says as she straddles him, looking into dancing eyes as his hands cup her hips, thumbs rubbing circles into her skin, "we'll practice driving."
But maybe they should.
Reminder: The elections for the lj advisor position are running this week and it's important that lj users vote for a candidate to represent us. For more information, read here bethbethbeth's summary of the election, the candidates, and the importance of fans participating. And don't forget to VOTE.