Agent Duncan springs to her feet and pulls her gun. The barrel is pointed at my temple.
I slowly raise my hands.
"Are you joking?" she says. "Fucking amnesia?!"
"Agent Duncan, I'm--"
"Shut up!" The rage flashes through her eyes again. And something else. Something else I should have recognized. Something that's been nagging at the back of my brain this whole while, but only comes screaming to the front when I piss her off enough to pull iron on me.
Why did she pick that particular assassination file to show me?
"Look at the file," she says, and she motions the gun down to the folder. I follow the barrel with my eyes, back to the image of the woman on the floor. "You don't remember that? Is that the shit you're trying to sell me?"
I should have seen it before. It wasn't mentioned in any of the files I snatched on her, but that's probably because she took pains to hide it. Her anger when we first met--the obsessiveness with which she's been stalking me. Why didn't I figure it out?
"You knew her."
"And you killed her."
"And then you somehow got the Agency to grant you immunity."
"And now," she adds, the gun trembling in her hands, "when I've finally got you, when I've finally managed to corner the son of a bitch who killed my sister, you pull out this Jason Bourne shit."
"You don't get to be sorry."
The advantage of having a tactically oriented mind is knowing precisely what line you need to walk to get what you want. The disadvantage is that the line often runs straight through the hearts and minds of those around you.
"Fine, then. Shoot me. Or throw me to the Agency. But just remember that if you do, Jessica Wheatley dies."
"The girl I'm trying to save."
"And what about after this? There's always more people to save. Will you take another job? If I try to turn you in then, will you feed me this same horseshit?"
"Yes. I won't stop doing this. I won't stop scheming to save more lives. And eventually, you might get tired of watching me play the good samaritan. Whatever. I don't care. Either stop me or get out of my way."
For a long time, we just stare at each other. The gun doesn't go away.
"This is going to be your last case," she says.
"I'm not going to stop."
"I know. But in 48 hours, I'm turning over everything I've discovered to the Agency. That means you've got two days to save this girl's life. Then you're done."
She puts the gun away. I feel my hands clutching at the chair--my fingertips are digging into the wood. As she walks away, she stops to throw me a parting glance.
"You know," she says, "you could just kill me."
"I don't do that anymore."
"You're tempted, though, aren't you? It'd make things so much easier." Most of it is just her trying to get a rise out of me, but I pick something else there, too. Something pained. As if she's almost hoping I'll take her up on the offer.
I can relate.
"No. You're a good person, Agent Duncan."
"But you aren't. Even if all this nonsense is true, there's got to be some part of you that remembers. Some part of you that's still a killer. People don't change, Jack."
She leaves. My hands are trembling.