“Did he see it?” Maya asked Leo. Leo felt numb as she stared at her phone. There was no read receipt. There was no response. There was nothing.
“I don’t think so.” Leo shook her head. “I showed him how to turn them off months ago, but there’s no way that he listened and would know how to do it himself.”
“He saw it, though.” Ray said. “Even throught the lock screen. He’d have seen the words ‘you were right, stay put’ and he will… what will he do.”
“Sam’s too much of a wild card.” Alex said, putting her coffee cup in the sink. “We can’t actually rely on him to make us a diversion. We need a contingency plan.”
“Which,” Maya said, pouring herself another cup of coffee. “You already have.”
“I would say that I have half a plan at best.”
“Better than no plan.” Leo began disconnecting her phone and laptop from the complicated array of wires.
“Is it though?” Ray said, pulling the power cord out of the belly of the plane.
“I honestly have no idea.” Maya was giggling, nervously.
Leo couldn’t join in. She didn’t feel like it. If Sam got her message, she’d get a response when they landed. But probably not before.
“You okay?” Alex asked. Leo hadn’t noticed that her friend had come and sat down next to her on the floor, in the mess of wires and tools and computers.
“No.” Leo said, tears streaming down her face unbidden.
“I know this is hard thing.” Alex’s arms were suddenly around her and holding her.
“You … huh… don’t have… huh… time… huh… to worry about… huh… me.” Damn. Hiccups. She hated crying, it was the worst.
“You’re problems are just as valid, don’t even try with that.” Alex hummed into her ear.
“You’re like dealing with memory loss and saving the world and all that shit.”
“Other than the memory loss, you’re dealing with the exact same thing. And now Sam is being a dick, so you have that added.”
“Justified to have something to cry about.” Alex pulled out of the hug. “You and Sam have a more than complicated relationship. He’s part of your business that is less than legal. It’s not like he has nudes of you to leak, he’s got your criminal record to leak. I don’t know everything that you’ve been through together, but I do know that you have been through enough to feel sad about even the possibility of a loss.”
“He’s a rat bastard.” Maya’s voice came from the couch. Her arms were crossed and she had that stormy look on her face.
“Woah,” Alex’s hand came up, “He’d just taken as much as he could. I doubt that he would throw us under the bus.”
“But it’s always a possibility.”
“If he goes in and reports you, he’s just as on the hook as you are. Maybe more because he’s ex-military.”
“But people are getting deals all the time.”
Alex had paused and Leo wiped her eyes to try and get more in tune with the conversation. Her stomach was boiling with anger and her hands we starting to shake.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Her voice was coming all husky for some reason, she almost felt like she was growling.
“He could get cut a deal for ratting us out.”
“For WHAT?” Leo said. “The world thinks we did the thing and we didn’t do the thing!”
“But he could give a false confession in exchange for immunity.”
Leo’s heart sank. She hadn’t thought about him betraying them. But it was crazy. Her heart was pounding and she was starting to feel sick.
“He wouldn’t do that. It’s easier for him to stay low on his own than it is with me. He’s safter without me.”
“So is that our contingency plan?” Maya’s face was turning red. “Splitting up forever and never seeing or speaking to each other again? I’m not leaving you on your own.”
“I think I can manage on my own. I think I’d be fine.”
“Doing what?” Maya laughed. “Are you gonna go dark web and start coding for those idiots with guns in France?”
“I don’t know.” Leo looked down at the mess on the floor and kept cleaning it up. “I’d think of something. But I think it’s too early to count him out completely. It’s been five hours and we land in four.”
“Yes.” Alex jumped in again. “I think we need to give Sam time and our plan will not hinge on his participation.
Leo’s heart was still hammering as she fumbled her way through putting away their mess. The pilot would be out at any minute and she didn’t want him to see what they’d done to the floor of this luxury jet.
“I’m sorry Leo.” Maya’s voice came small from the couch. Leo looked up to see her eyes brimming with tears. “I just… he hurt you… he hurt me…”
“Yeah.” Leo looked down. “It hurts me, too.”
“He won’t go far.” Maya wiped her eyes, “You should have seen him when Piwitti took you guys. He was sad and so worried and angry; he would have burned down heaven and earth to find you.”
“I know. He barely let go of me after you got us back.”
Sam plunked his duffel onto the ground of the tent and Leo limped into the tent behind him. The nice army boys had given them a divider for their section and Sam took no time in slinging the curtains shut and tying them.
He heard Leo sink onto the cot with a whimper, he spun to see the look of pain on her face. She was holding her neck and trying to massage the muscles.
“You got whiplash from that wreck?” Sam asked sitting down next to her and rubbing her neck with one hand. Her eyes were closed and she leant into it.
“Yeah.” Leo smiled as he tried to work on her neck a little. “Got some lovely soldiery feild mecine quick tricks?”
“What, like tampons in a bullet wound?” Sam smiled at her. It was so nice to have her back.
“Something like that, yeah.” Sam chuckled and stood up, going to dig in his pack.
“I might have something in here.” He dug around for a little bit and then threw a bottle of ibuprophen at her.
“Special soldiery feild remedy for whiplash: pain meds.”
Leo guffawed and took two with a gulp of water. Sam started folding up his cot, desperately trying to keep his fingers away from the hinges of death.
“Why did you ask for so many blankets?” Leo and got up, starting to help. “And the tarp?” He took the cot out of her hands gently and sat her down.
“You can just take it easy.” He said, not expecting it to work. “You’ve been through a whole thing today and you can just take it easy.”
“You came and got me.” Leo smiled ans stood up again. “That’s quite a bit of work, too. So, I can help with a little whiplash. But really, what’s with the tarp?”
“I am not snuggling you with the two bars of our cots next to us.”
“Is snuggling all you have in mind?”
“Well, no.” Sam felt a little blood rushing to his cheeks. Don’t blush, GOD that’s so cringey.
“Got you.” Leo said. “So we are just camping and the tarp is insulation?”
They worked quietly and warmly, setting up a nest of pillows, their bags gettting shoved up next to the door of the divider. But not unpacked, in case of emergency, boots right next to cases.
Sam watched with satisfaction as Leo flopped into the next they had made, pulling a microfleece blanket over herself. He slid into the nest after her, burrowing his way into a confortable snuggling position. She rested her head into his armpit, facing up and using him as a pillow.
He felt her take a deep breath in and then out and…
The stress that he was expecting to leave her body didn’t seem to want to go anywhere. She still felt tense.
“What’s on your mind?” He asked. It took a lot of effort, he would much rather kiss or fuck or literally anything else. But taling is what she had told him she needed in the past. Was this one of those times? How do you tell if this was one of those times? It was too late, he’d already asked it and Leo’s eyes had already snapped open.
“I don’t really know. A lot of things.” Oh now he was in the weeds.
“Like what?” Sam fought the urge to cringe.