Since I am a poor chickadee with no wealth to speak of, I think it's safe to say that neither BtVS nor Burn Notice are mine. ^^;Summary: In the life of a spy, there are some things one can’t unlearn; Michael Weston is about to encounter one such thing.Author's notes:
Comics? What comics? >.> This is set post season 7 for Buffy, and near the beginning of Burn Notice. Sequel to ‘Shirt of a Different Color
In the life of a spy, knowing when to keep your mouth shut is one of the most important tools in your arsenal; you’ll hear a lot of things during a job that a lot of people would kill to keep quiet. A good deal of the time, what you hear has nothing to do with the job, so you have to learn to categorize and prioritize. What’s important in general, what’s not important- what’s important to the job, what’s important, but unrelated- what’s important to know, but should never be mentioned again if you want to continue living- that sort of thing. Pretty much any information that’s important, whether it’s related to the job or not, is dangerous, especially in a spy’s line of work. Some of the most dangerous information, though, are the things that no sane person would ever believe, even if you told them.
“That’d be her- and ho boy
was she a live one! She and her little friend Xander Harris- who had great
taste in clothing, if I might add- tracked me back from that fiesta stand I like so much, they thought I’d gotten into their hotel. Didn’t do a helluva good job of the tracking, but the staging wasn’t bad when they thought they’d cornered me.” Sam grinned at the statement, popping the cap off a fresh beer bottle and taking a swig from it. Michael, for his part, frowned as he listened.
“And did you?” he asked, watching his friend as he searched through his memory. The name was ringing a bell, and he was having a hard time figuring out why- where had he heard it before?
“Nope. Turns out they just recognized my shirt- a souvenir I picked up a couple’a years ago in California. Kid had one just like it, brought it to town with ‘em. Saw me wearin’ mine, jumped to conclusions, and bam, you’ve got this wicked little blonde facing me down in an alley, with only her impeccably dressed friend for backup.” Ahh, that explained the otherwise random references to clothing- that was normally Fiona’s type of thing, but if this guy had been wearing the same shirt as Sam… Michael rolled his eyes a little and took a small bite of his yogurt as the former SEAL laughed and swigged at his bottle again. “Lemme tell ya, Mikey, she was really somethin’, they both were. Fresh faced kids, like I said, no good at the stealth bit, but the way they moved.” Sam paused, and it was only through their long years of friendship that he could see the darker look behind the laughter the older man used as his shield. “He was right at home with that gun of his, moved like I’ve seen some old war vets with a helluva lot more experience move. And Buffy? It was unreal, almost like she was some kinda predator- if you ignored the valley girl accent.”
“Are you sure
they were who they said they were?” If there was a bit of caution to the question, he knew Sam wouldn’t take offense- they were, after all, embroiled in some very deep things at the moment, and Sam knew it. What was bugging him more than possibly annoying his friend was the fact that there was something just on the very edge of his awareness, something that was sitting up and paying attention to Sam’s description of what had happened.
“Damn sure they weren’t, but I don’t think they have anything to do with your burn notice, if that’s what you’re worried about.” And then, the cheer was gone, the bottle set on the counter as Sam leaned backwards up against it. “They’re hidin’ something, no doubt about it- I mean, they came after me with a gun because they thought I’d broke into their hotel, obviously they’re protecting something. But I also remember that little town they’re from.” A shudder ran through Sam, and Michael’s eyes narrowed a little. “Creepy little place, with more graveyards and churches than Miami’s got mojitos. It was some kind of perfect Pleasantville during the day, but I tell ya, that town gave me the heebie-jeebies when it got dark. Kinda glad it’s not around anymore.”Another important thing to know is that once you’ve learned information during a job, no matter how unbelievable or dangerous, you can’t
unlearn it; once it’s in your head, it’s not going anywhere. There are a lot of techniques to suppress information and memories, of course, and while these techniques can be important tools in of themselves, none of them are foolproof, and some of them are just downright risky. You can’t just
erase something from your mind. It’s always going to be there, lurking, beneath the surface, and any kind of provocation or reminder can bring it back to the forefront of your mind. And sometimes, when that happens, that information just might save your life, making it very handy to know how to recall it if need be.
“Where did you say they were from again?” There was something niggling at his thoughts, recognition of some sort. Something important.
“Oh, just some ‘quaint’ little town north of LA, Sunny-something. It’s that one that got swallowed up in that earthquake a couple’a years ago.”There is an art to having a moment of total recall without
appearing to have a moment of total recall; it takes practice and training. You have to control your expression, your body language, your thoughts- you should hope you’re not mid-sentence when it happens- and even then, if the person you’re with knows you, it may not be enough.
“It’s nothing, Sam.” Sunnydale, California. Secret government pictures and videos of things that couldn’t possibly exist. Files scoured with more heavy black marker than anything else he’d ever seen, and a military project gone sour. The image of a blonde college freshman smiling up at him from a manila folder.
“That’s more than nothin’, and you know it. C’mon, Mike, spill the beans. There’s somethin’ you know about this girl and her friend, isn’t there?”
“It’s not important, just trust me on this. You don’t
want to know.” And that was all he was going to say on the matter, his expression tight lipped enough that Sam arched an eyebrow, but raised both hands in defeat.
“Alright, if you say so.” He gave Michael a searching look, but grabbed up his beer to take another drink, letting it go for now at least. Only when his friend’s eyes flickered away did Michael let himself relax a bit, although he was acutely aware that Sam was still paying very close attention.
Buffy Summers was in Miami- the Slayer
was in Miami, and Michael knew full well the kind of things she dealt with; one corrupt agent and an unsanctioned, rejected kill order had seen to that. He was going to have to keep a very careful eye on Sam’s new friends, and on the nightlife in town, for as long as they were around.