When her head touches the pillow — her pillow, big and hard, comfortable, Lorraine allows herself to breathe... and to relax, fully, for the first time since Britain. Since Berlin.
She is home.
The sky outside her bedroom window is dark from the upcoming storm, and Lorraine regards it from her bed, tired and thoughtful. Then she reaches for a cigarette, and the orange flash of light reminds her of the past. James, smiling, leaning closer to whisper something into her ear, making a photo of them with his new camera. A flash of light — and the image of them created, a moment of their time forever depicted on a cheap piece of matte paper.
We know who Satchel is. You need to run.
James. Loyal till the end. Foolish.
Lorraine inhales the smoke deeply, summoning the memories of them together and then deliberately dissolving them.
James could have become a weakness. He managed to come too close to her, to threaten the defensive systems she has been building around herself for years. Luckily, she recognized the danger in time and throttled it. Giving information about James' whereabouts to Bremovych was surprisingly easy.
Living with it? Not so much. Not after seeing his body, after being visited by his shadowed, betrayed face in her dreams.
Lorraine smokes, and thinks.
The List has come from nowhere. It was like a gift from the fucking hell, terrifying all agents, terrifying her, too, because if the truth about her was written somewhere, then everything she has worked for was in danger. And she couldn't have it.
When you tell the truth, you look different.
Sweet, naive Delphine. Too idealistic to be an agent, too green to recognize the real enemy, even in her bed. They could have had a future — maybe. If they had more time, if the lies and the differences between them didn't separate them, Lorraine could maybe love her eventually. Instead, the warm, glowing, a little indulgent affection she felt for Delphine was cut short, harshly interrupted by the reality that has always managed to find her, sooner or later.
The bitterest thing, the thing that still makes her throat tighten with some unfamiliar emotion, is the realization that she can't even blame Percival for killing her. Percival was loyal to MI6, and he remained loyal until his very death. Delphine chose to trust the wrong person, labeled the wrong person as traitor, and unknowingly, armed Lorraine with the evidence she needed. Percival realized it, realized how close to being destroyed he was, and like a drowning rat, he turned wild from fear, lashing out desperately, trying to salvage the situation that was beyond salvaging at that point.
His admiring, breathless confession, "Oh my God, I think I fucking love you." It was then when Lorraine realized that James hadn't shared the truth with Percival despite their friendship, hadn't told him who Satchel was. Her reply to him was surprisingly genuine, "That's too bad."
It was too bad. For Percival. Lorraine doesn't feel particularly regretful for putting a bullet into his skull — justified or not, he killed Delphine, and he was a perfect scapegoat she needed, but still... Still.
Have you noticed how everyone you get close to ends up fucking dead?
Yes, she has. She has noticed it, uncomfortably and painfully clear. James. Delphine. The lovers who came before, and who will probably come later. Even Bremovych, who didn't deserve an ounce of sympathy but who emanated a strange kind of power that unwillingly attracted her. They shared few interactions, yet Lorraine remembered each one. She didn't understand the desire that made her lean over and accept his offer of lighting her cigarette in cafe Central, or that pang of regret at the hotel in Paris, when Bremovych's men filled the room and she realized that the murder wasn't going to be preceded by something more pleasant. Bremovych was abhorrent, but the attraction was still there, even when Lorraine pulled the trigger. Especially then.
The smell of gunpowder, of blood, the screams of shock and pain. It excites her. It makes her feel alive, and Lorraine has long since stopped fighting it.
The cigarette loses its flavor. Lorraine dumps it in the ashtray and stretches her limbs, feels the dull ache in each one.
The bruises will heal. The scars will fade. The bitterness will stay for longer, until it, too, is swallowed by the inevitable move of time.
Tightening the soft waistband on her blue dressing gown, Lorraine moves to the window, staring at the view that she loves, truly loves, with all her heart.
No one knows about this house. Neither allies nor enemies. Her carefully chosen home is the only place where she can feel safe, regroup after another exhausting job. Count the ghosts and say good-bye to them.
Maybe someday, years from now, she will meet a person. A man or a woman. Loyal and caring as James, or cold and fierce as Bremovych. Maybe sweet, loving, and protective as Delphine.
Maybe she will feel the addictive attraction, the pull toward strength and power, or maybe it will be the helpless, overwhelming attachment she felt for James and Delphine.
They will go to the small, cozy cafes in Europe and in the States, spending nights exploring the mysteries of the cities, fucking and making love. Lorraine will speak her language, with no ridiculous, artificial accents, and she and her partner will laugh and talk and kiss.
Maybe they will go to Lorraine's summer house near the ocean, with no neighbors around for miles. They will sit on the beach, sipping icy drinks, listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves, and just... living.
Lorraine sighs, thinks about taking another cigarette, then changes her mind. The first defeaning roar of the thunder splits the sky, and she waits for the heavy raindrops to fall.
Not now. Now, she still enjoys this kind of life, the adrenaline that burns through her veins, the intoxicating sense of danger that makes her pupils dilate as she jumps, twists, and pulls the trigger, as her bullets hit the target while the bullets of everyone else miss her. Her instincts are powerful, she knows just when to duck, where to move, what to do.
Lorraine loves it, and now without the List hanging over her head, she is free to continue loving it.
But someday... who knows. That one person might come. She feels it, sometimes — the loneliness. The longing to share a part of herself with someone else. Lorraine anticipates it, waits for it, looks forward to it.
For now, she pours herself a glass of Stoli with ice and watches the rain.
She loves her life. But someday... maybe?.. she will love it even more.
And she will have someone to love it with.