Leon had almost managed to untangle the laces on his boot when there was a knock at the door.
“No, thank you,” he said in a loud voice.
The last thing he needed after today’s scouting mission was to explain to another housekeeper why he was covered in gore.
He’d finally wrestled one boot off when the knock came again. Leon ignored it to focus on his other boot. The laces were so covered in grime and gore it was hard to figure out where one half began and the other ended.
A soft electronic beep of the door lock had him across the room, gun raised to whoev-
She shut the door quietly to lean against it.
“I need a favor.”
He scoffed and lowered Matilda, but didn’t holster it. They might have been on good terms the last time they’d met, but Ada always found a way to make things interesting.
“The last time you said that we both almost ended up in a body bag.”
Instead of taking the bait Ada lowered her gaze. Leon realized that her weight was shifted to one side and she gripped her right side. The way she was curled in on herself made him wonder what she was hiding.
He relaxed his arms, the gun loose in his hand.
“What do you need?”
“Let me stay here tonight.”
Her words brought back flashes of other nights spent together and his grip tightened.
“Please,” she pleaded.
“Forget to pay the bill?”
Leon shuffled over to the sofa and pulled his boot off with a grunt. A chunk of something dark brown came with it and he threw it towards the trash can. It landed a foot away from his target; if it had been a grenade it would have been spot on.
Ada still leaned on the door, waiting for his answer. She looked nothing like the infamous mercenary even Umbrella guarded against. This vulnerability scared him - he’d never seen her look anything but confident and self assured.
“What’s going on?”
“They’re looking for me,” she said in a low voice.
This ‘they’ could have been anyone considering Ada’s contacts.
“Should I ask who it is?”
She looked up and met his gaze. There was a nasty bruise along her jaw and dried blood beneath her nose. Dirt matted her hair.
“Does it matter?”
“It does if it means they’re going to come here. I won’t have any innocent -”
She shook her head. “They won’t come here. They won’t risk a war with the CIA.”
Leon sighed and leaned back against the couch as he thought it over. Ada Wong was still one of the world’s most wanted. She knew enough about the various scientists working on the T-Virus and it’s various mutations that could help take down the biggest threats, and assist any with more nefarious intents. No matter what the stakes, she’d never agree to let him take her into custody. Even if it meant saving her own life, and millions of others, it was nothing without her freedom.
None of that mattered to him now that she was standing before him asking for help.
He brushed a hand down his face and the grime of the day raked his skin. It wouldn’t be the first time they’d shared a bed. But it would be the first time either of them slept in a bed together. This was a more intimate request, to sleep next to someone, to be at her most vulnerable, was a level of intimacy he’d never expected from her.
He reached over to his bag and pulled out an extra shirt and a pair of shorts. With a wince of pain, Leon stood and walked towards Ada. He held out the clothes and nodded towards the door.
“You look like you need a minute.”
Ada nodded but said nothing as she made her way into the bathroom.
She woke in a panic, her skin on fire and her lungs unable to get enough air. Whatever nightmare her mind conjured quickly dissipated along with her exhaustion.
Ada was disoriented as the neon glow of a clock threw long shadows about the room. She’d been on top of the covers when she’d fallen asleep; now the sheets threatened to strangle her. The quiet of the place was broken only by the deep breaths of a warm body lying next to her.
Leon, she remembered. The only stable presence she’d let into her life. Or at least, the only person she’d trust enough to sleep next to. Sleep clawed its way back behind her eyes as her heartbeat slowed. It would be so easy to let herself enjoy this small comfort. Waking up like this was nice, she realized, even if it was the dead of night.
She closed her eyes and dozed, images of what it would be like to wake up like this every morning. To keep him this close for more than just a few hours. Perhaps, in some alternate universe, they’d wake up to each other every morning, no conflicting allegiances to pull them apart. Leon would surely still play the good guy, and she’d…
It was just a dream. She knew that. Hers was a job she could never leave, not without consequence. And it wouldn’t do to dream, to allow herself to fade into such childish hopes. That only lead to disappointment and pain. No matter tonight’s respite, Ada still had a job to do.
Her trailed down his arm like a whisper and her fingers sought his. She didn’t know what she’d do if he woke to find them like this or even how he’d respond to her touch. But he slept on.
They knew a lifetime’s worth about each other. And yet they were strangers. In a fight they knew each other’s weaknesses and strengths, and how to use both to an advantage. Ada knew he was competent with a majority of firearms and could hotwire any vehicle. But who he was - his life growing up, his hobbies, his desire for the future - that was an enigma.
And she liked it that way. Knowing personal details about someone else meant you were curious about them. And curiosity meant interest. And interest lead to wondering where he was, if he was safe.
If he was still alive.
No. That way only lead to heartache and pain in her line of business. None of that was for her. It couldn’t be.
With one last stolen moment, Ada slipped out of the bed and dressed. She folded the borrowed clothes and set them on the desk. Next to the phone lay a pen and a pad of paper. Ada glanced back to where Leon lay as still as the dead. A thousand words crowded her mind as she picked up the pen but she wrote only one.
She set the note on top of the clothing and faded back into the night.