Forty-Seven - Linkin

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The plane was tense. I knew I would eventually need to smooth things over with Stuart, I just didn't know how. Every time I caught him staring at me, he looked so worried, almost scared. Was he scared of me?

"Hey Linkin, gimme a hand?" Thierry asked as he pulled a laptop, just after Ira finished telling him about her family. It was something even I didn't know.

I pushed up from my seat and strolled over. "Yeah?" I breathed as I leaned over his shoulder and spoke right into the room.

Staring at the computer screen, I frowned as I watched him struggling like I had never seen before. He eventually sighed and pulled his hands back. "How's your Russian?"

"Much better than yours," I stated simply. He didn't move, just allowed me to nearly hit him in the face as I leaned over and started to type. "I know you could run this script in your sleep if you could have read that. Why not just get Ira to translate?" I asked him as I worked.

His beard scratched against my arm before he placed a quick peck there. "You know I only like having you this close to me." He grinned proudly when I shot him a cold glare.

"Do you two need a room?" Ira asked, seeming uncomfortable.

It only took me another thirty seconds before I stood up straight. "No, he can do it now. I translated it all so he can work."

Ira seemed skeptic, but nodded. "You read-" she started but decided against it and shook her head. "Thank you."

So maybe Ira wasn't completely terrible. I hesitated until Thierry reached up and took my hand. There was that brief second where I could feel and he wasn't in pain. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, just absorbing in this rare opportunity. "Go on, go sit back down. I'm good now." His voice was gentle as he spoke, evidently, the man who had very strong feelings towards Stuart even wanted me to go fix it. "Safehouses are a lot worse with awkwardness."

Moment ruined. Thierry pulled away the second he started to feel my paralytic touch and I sighed as I once again went numb. "Yeah," I sighed as I went back down to sit in my seat. I never should have chosen to sit across from Stuart. I should have let him come to me when he was ready.

"So, Thierry?" It seemed like Stuart was more ready than I thought.

My cheeks turned slightly red at the question as I nodded, glancing to the mountain of the man as he huddled over the laptop and worked furiously trying to get the information for Ira as he asked her different questions. "It isn't anything, it's just..." I trailed off, unsure how to explain our relationship. It was illegal, it was strange, purely survival, and I cared deeply for him. I just didn't know if the last part was because with him, I could feel for a moment and he didn't cringe in pain.

"You like him?" I glanced to Thierry once again, smiling and I eventually nodded. "How long have you known him for?"

That was a harder question. "Eight months, maybe a bit longer. I met him when I went to open our bank account after stealing money from a couple different people. One found me and Thierry put a bullet into them." Stuart tensed and looked both shocked and horrified. "No more lies, no more secrets. Ask me whatever you want to know."

I think that was our problem, Stuart felt betrayed and abandoned, I wanted him to know that those feelings weren't true. Sure, I lied, but not to hurt him. "You haven't... you haven't killed anyone, have you?"

Smiling, I relaxed at his first question and shook my head, "No, I haven't." I could watch some tension ease out of his shoulders. "But I was shown how to use a gun in case you or I ever needed protection."

"He isn't getting you into trouble, is he?"

"No, I think I do that myself." Stuart smiled with me, things almost seemed normal if it wasn't for the fact we were talking about the life I never wanted him to know. "About four months ago Desmond caught up with me in Greenland." Stuart's mouth opened, his brow furrowing in concern so I quickly added in, "Nothing happened, I got out of there safely."

Drumming his fingers on the table, he hesitantly asked, "Why were you even in Greenland?"

That was I was a bit more unsure if I should answer. "I take different jobs, illegal ones. I act as an interrogator for hire. It's good money and I made us good friends as long as you ignore the fact all of them are wanted by at least two organizations for a list of charges longer than my arm. We have protection. With them, they'll come looking for me if I disappear. They'll go to war for me if I simply ask... And I'll demand them to if something ever happened to you."

"Happened to-" He sighed and shook his head. "Did you do all of this, put yourself at risk because of me?"

I shook my head, that was something I could honestly say no to. "I did it because I care, Stuart. I wanted to know that we'd be safe, that you'd never have to go back to that island, that you would never have to fear or want anything else in your life. I wanted the same for myself. I did it because I wanted you to have Philly." 

Stuart seemed skeptical, but smiled appreciatively nonetheless just as the captain came on the PA and told us we would be landing in twenty minutes. 

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