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The Bourne Legacy Fic: Thirteen - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
The Bourne Legacy Fic: Thirteen
Title: Thirteen
Rating: PG
Category: Aaron Cross/Marta Shearing
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Author’s Note: My thanks to abvj for being a willing and fabulous beta!
Summary: "Do you know how many times we've met? Thirteen. Thirteen exams over the last four years, and that's what I get."



"Sorry to have kept you waiting," she says when she enters the room. And he hasn't been waiting, not more than two minutes, so the off-hand comment immediately makes him hyper-vigilant, expecting a test, even before he sees her face.

"You haven't," he explains, and scans the room again. "Not long anyway."

She acknowledges the comment with just a slight incline of her head as she flips a page on his chart, her movements calm and collected. He waits, tense. The dichotomy does not escape him.

Right-handed, unmarried, soft palms, analytical - he classifies and stores the information as she steps through the extra vitals and blood draws. He vaguely smells mint in her hair when she stands close in front of him - files that away, too.

"So doc, do I pass?" he asks as she makes a note, even though he knows the knowledge shouldn't matter to him anyway. He will be taken apart, built back up bigger, better, and different.

She looks at him then, stops and sees him. But the pause is brief and the drugs in the syringe she's apparently pushed at some point turn the room into muted colors that bleed away into the darkness building at the edge of his vision.

"You should lie down now," she says gently.

He's still working his way through how he didn't see this coming, but his last clear thought as the ceiling lights wink out and her touch leaves his neck is that he never even got her name.



"Hi doc," he says after she enters, and he's not entirely sure why he's surprised to see it's her again. He finds security in the familiarity of routine - advantage and control in his court thanks to bureaucratic predictability. Sometimes, and it's rare, but sometimes he really thinks the DOD should look into fixing that.

"Round two?" he asks.

She doesn't respond, and he guesses this is going to be standard protocol. He takes the probing and prodding in silence, his mind drifting although he stays alert to her movements, anticipating the injection this time. But she doesn't put him under - the work up efficient, quick even, and her occasional comment is clinical in both tone and meaning. This much, at least, he expects.

"You're all finished," she states, gathering up the vials of his blood she collected and moving for the door.

"See you on the other side," he says as she leaves.



"I hope I didn't keep you waiting," she apologizes, and just like that, he remembers her.

It's been a miserable few months, at least what he can recall of it anyway. The program doesn't seem fine-tuned enough for that specific level of detail yet - government small print, he's sure. He's healing finally, but it's still slow, and his memory is in scattered shards he's finally started piecing together.

Welcome to the program, he thinks.

So maybe it's her voice, or the sentence, or even the exam room - he really has no fucking clue why, but the details of her he'd collected from before the pills are suddenly slotting back into place, recovered and restored in his mind.

"Hey doc," he says, and he's sort of grateful for even this small something.

Of course, he misses the injection again and it's actually pissing him off that she doesn't at least give him warning. Then the drugs take full effect and he's once more watching the room lights blink into black.

He remembers suddenly, and before the world finishes fading away, turns his head to catch it on a vial. M.Shearing.



The changes happen in spurts and starts, but the heightened senses are the most noticeable. He spends almost a week in earplugs until he adjusts to that one, and even then sometimes the effects are still just temporary.

So he's not surprised when she's standing in front of him and he realizes it's specifically peppermint that he's smelled in her hair for the last year, also eucalyptus.

"Any nausea? Headaches?" she asks, checklists her way through the chart, then gets into the minute details on his sense changes. Frequency, intensity, duration - the questions alone are more than she's ever said on his last three visits combined, so he can tell her interest is piqued.

"I'm feeling good," he says honestly. "Real great."

Three months in and his stamina is still improving, passing a gamut of tests and continuing to find ways to excel. He'll be operational again in mere weeks, better than ever, primed for lethal action.

"Guess it's finally back to the field," he assumes, but as usual she has no response.



He's bruised and battered nearly past recognition and pulled from assignment too soon. Benched, he thinks, the word bitter. It's just days, and he already has cabin fever.

"We all have limits," she says to him, and he actually stares at her wondering what prompted her to say something that finally manages to just cross into the personal. He knows she probably doesn't mean it to sound callous, but he's irritable and there are lives on the line, national security at risk, and he's fine, so it'd be great if the chems' enhancement stability could be a little more fucking consistent.

"Just fix me up, doc." It comes out about as gruff as he intends.



"You didn't," he says as soon as she enters because she's nothing if not true to form and they've been doing this long enough.

She looks confused. "What?"

"You didn't keep me waiting," he explains.

He's amused to see the look of surprise on her face, the way she puts it together. It's so far removed from her usual clinical detachment that he finds it oddly attractive.

He's only a month back on assignment, but the difference is remarkable. Whatever tweaks they've made to the dosage or to the chem mix or whatever it is they're doing behind that door, it's working. For the first time, he's finally feeling like the improvements have stabilized.

He smiles. "It's been a good day, Dr. Shearing."



The entire exam takes less than 19 minutes - her hand as steady as always as she pulls his blood and runs the standard tests. He sticks with simple yes or no answers as she works around him, and he compartmentalizes his memories automatically like he's been conditioned.

Sin eaters, he reminds himself, the word a vivid red.



The deep gash across his palm is ugly and continues to bleed profusely although it doesn't hurt like a son of a bitch as he expects. He pokes at the flap of skin with a finger and she gives him a look of disapproval.

"Shouldn't I be in more pain?" he asks.

She nods absent-mindedly as her expression turns thoughtful. "Have you noticed an increase in pain suppression?"

He thinks back and can pinpoint exacts, sees a fairly definitive pattern in overall endurance and recoup time. "Yeah, guess so. The chems?"

It's an obvious answer, and she doesn't respond anyway. At least she looks genuinely curious and interested as she examines his hand. She's growing out her hair, he notes idly.

"How long this time?" He knows he's off active duty, at least very temporarily, but the knowledge doesn't sit well with him. He is mid-op and his target is only accessible in short windows that really irk him with their rarity.

"We'll be done here soon," she says, and he looks down to see the syringe as it pulls out of the IV line. Well, shit.

"You know," he tells her as he succumbs to the drugs, "one day you and I are going to have a conversation about this."



He's alert for it from the beginning, catches her preparing the injection. "You trying to put me down, doc?"

"Well, I'm afraid there's been a few gaps in your sample delivery, so." It's possible she doesn't even get his reference, or chooses to ignore it, but there is no apology in her tone. Somehow, she manages to be both maddening and fascinating at turns.

The diversion is short lived, however, as annoyance begins creeping in at her continued detachment. He wonders what she knows, how easy the decision to stone cold stop him even for a couple of days for tests and bloodwork. He's been stable for a year, takes his chems consistently, and one missed blood drop trumps an assassination of national importance?

"What do you think we do out there?" he asks. But even before she answers he already knows he shouldn't ask questions, he's just never figured out how to turn that part off.

"Ah, well." He doesn't bother trying to explain. Right hand and left hand controlled by the brain controlled by God - at least it was a saying something like that. "You're just a doctor."

She glances up at the camera. "You know we're on camera."

His irreverent remark in return very briefly earns him a smile surprisingly enough.

"Okay," she says then, moving right along. "Why don't you count back from a hundred, please?"

He chooses Russian just to be difficult.



It's nearly 72 hours of something akin to dying before he's finally taken off site and wheeled in to the exam room. The time of day is mostly meaningless to him at this point, but she comes bursting through the door while pulling on her lab coat, her face paling when she sees him - his symptoms painting what he imagines is quite a clear picture.

"Jesus Christ," she says, and he's thankful for the anger in her tone because he's only been trying to say the exact same something to these assholes for the last day.

He knows his fever is off the chart, and he can't stop the shakes or the delirium that wreck him in waves, but he manages to pull himself together to give her a slight smile. "Kept me waiting, doc."

This time he passes out, and he's pretty sure she didn't even get a chance to push the injection.



"A flu?" he asks because that's the explanation he's been given. She has no answer for him, of course, so he continues in the silence. "Some flu."

He knows he was bad off, and from the way her face is drawn slightly tighter, eyes tense around the edges, he's also pretty damn sure he was right up to death's door. The knowledge doesn't faze him, although it seems a bit ironic to be laid out by the flu when he's been living for years on chemical enhancements that really should make him impervious to something like this.

"You'll be back out there soon enough," she says simply, like it'll just be another day at the office.



It's a boringly standard exam, and his mind calculates the costs and hours associated with flying him here three times a year for what, on occasion, is nothing more than a 30 minute visit.

He doesn't recognize what's bothering him until she's leaning over to inject the drug. He'd seen the needle in advance again this time, and not that he had any choice, but she'd at least given him the opportunity to know what was coming. He'd even voluntarily lain down.

It's the smell of her hair, he realizes suddenly; it's different - floral, feminine. The sedative in his system engages then, and it's such a random observation that he doesn't get to think it through. Not a shampoo a guy would use, he notes, but his mind flies loose and the thoughts disperse.

"Working," he says in a mumble, and he doesn't even know what he means by it anyway.



If she knows he deviated, she doesn't let on. It's only four days, but he imagines there's a full work up waiting for him even though his blood drops are all in order. He's not sure he cares.

"Plans for the weekend, doc?" he asks, and continues because he knows he won't get an answer. "I'm thinking a burger. Something on the barbecue before they ship me out to serve my time."

"Okay," she says. "That's all you should say."

"Of course, I don't have a grill anymore." He shrugs. "Not really the stay at home type, you know."

Drugs flood the line, take him over, and he almost smiles.



The room is sterile, fluorescent, metallic - everything similar enough although they're halfway around the world and this is a one chance hit or miss for both their sakes.

She pauses though, before the needle goes in, as though she remembers these moments - as if she's finally stopped running long enough to let the weight of everything hit her full force. And it's not just the current situation, but all the times before, the severity and complexity of her work, of what they both represent.

He's gotten there before she has, already analyzed and categorized it all before they even stepped foot on the plane, but it doesn't take her long - in seconds her grip on his hand is strong and sure.

Just one more syringe.


Tags: ,

5 whispers :: tell me a secret
(Deleted comment)
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: September 29th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eee! Thanks so much. That moment in the film caught my attention immediately - how he knew so precisely the number of visits he'd had with her over the course of four years, and the impact it had on him that, despite those times, she didn't even know his name. LOL. I knew I wanted to see those 13 visits. :D

Appreciate the comments and glad you liked!
anr From: anr Date: September 28th, 2012 10:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Very nice, bb. I enjoyed this immensely! :)
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: September 29th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, thank you!! <3
abvj From: abvj Date: October 3rd, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just re-read this and I still love it just as much as the first time. You have such a way with words, and I admire your ability to capture these characters so well!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 4th, 2012 06:04 am (UTC) (Link)
*hearts* Thank you, hon. That's very sweet. I'm very happy the film lived up to the promo that got me shipping them originally so fic ideas brewed. ;)
5 whispers :: tell me a secret