Disclaimer: I own nothing and seek no profit from this story.
Notes: The man in this story can be as nameless and faceless as he is written - it's up to you. However, in my mind, he's always been The Operative.
Thanks so much to Shannon and Danielle for the beta!
Her name was River once.
She had been young with beautiful innocence and full of light. She had been bubbling, giggling, a promise for the future. She saw fairies in the sky at night, and tried to wish on every star in the sky. She danced her way through people's thoughts, like the belle of the ball her mother once thought she'd grow up to be. Forbidden things, secrets; nothing was off limits when she wanted to know. She pushed and probed and learned and felt and it was all just a part of who she was. She could stop then, before she became her
, this person she was now. Before she was reborn into this life, filled with nothing but cold and steel and blood. She did not have
to read minds when her innocence was intact. She did not have to read the thoughts of the people around her. She did not have to feel
Now, it's all she does.
She does not open her eyes when he enters the room. She doesn't have to. She knows what he wants, what she wants, what they both need. She can taste the blood on his skin, and wonders if he can taste the same on hers. Soap and blood, clean and dirty; truth never washes away. Neither one of them speaks. He can will his mind to be silent, can will himself not to disturb her with his own thoughts when she needs him to do it. He is black and white. There is no gray in his mind.
His hands slide up her bare legs as he slips into the bed. Her hands reach out as he settles himself above her, sighing in contentment as his hands begin to roam freely over her. She knows his skin like her own; hills and valleys of taste and touch; they have each other and no one else. Lips and skin moving together, this
allows them to feel something other than cold for a while. Black. White. No gray. One way or another. There is no middle ground aside from the time they spend alone together. That is the only time they can allow themselves to be anything more than a killer.
This is her life now. This is how she dances. The flash of steel, the swing of heavy combat boots connecting to chests, to heads, and she feels numb when their pain flashes through her mind as they die. Numb, but not sorry. Not anymore. She doesn't ask why they have to die. She simply knows they do.
She does not have a name any longer, and neither does he. They are nameless, faceless, shadows. They are the ones sent to get the job done, no matter what that job happens to be. But, her name was River once.