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Tango

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Jan. 6th, 2006 | 10:24 pm
posted by: violaswamp in spy_santa

Title: Tango
Author: Viola
Rating: PG
Recipient: iseult_variante
Spoilers: everything
Summary: The twisted friendship of Rachel and Peyton.
Request: Rachel, Peyton, Shed backstory or Post-Shed pay-back or slash



Tango

The room was crowded, stuffed to the walls with sweaty exuberant college freshmen. Peyton’s nose wrinkled in distaste. The place brought back bad memories. After a few years of drinking real liquor and having real sex, she’d almost forgotten how sucky college parties could be.

Yeah, well. She’d have to ignore her overwhelming desire to leave, at least until she’d made contact with her mark. Peyton turned a squint-eyed stare around the room, searching, searching…There. Long blonde hair, slouching posture…yeah, that was the girl.

Peyton sauntered over, making it look slow and casual. “Hey.”

Rachel Gibson whipped around, lightning-fast, and fixed Peyton with a doe-eyed stare. Then she smiled, warmly, gratefully. “H-hey,” she said. Aww, thought Peyton. She looks like a fucking koala bear, except blonde. But really, Rachel should be grateful. Without Peyton she’d still be standing here all alone by the punch and the appetizers, looking lame and awkward and out of place.

Without Peyton, she’d probably still be headed for a long and peaceful life. But she wasn’t anymore. In Peyton’s opinion, that was another reason for gratitude.

Welcome to the wild side, honey, she’d thought, and smiled.

* * *

Peyton herself was a college freshman when Gordon Dean asked her to “serve her country,” as he put it. Funny thing, really—she must have originally looked to Dean as Rachel looked to Peyton herself. She knew how she looked: soft-haired, soft-eyed, twiggy. Not scary at all. That fact used to piss her off, back in the day. She worked on intimidating looks in front of the mirror. Those were the days when she’d first started thinking of herself as “Peyton,” in the manner of Bond. “Kelly” was an okay name, but not spectacular. “Peyton,” though, was nice and androgynous and had a twist to it.

(Later, much later, she’d learned that not looking scary could actually be a major asset).

Dean met her at a campus lecture by a former CIA operative who’d written a book. Peyton, intrigued by the flyer she’d seen, showed up early and lingered around the watery punch and sugary cookies. Dean found her there, and from then on it was basically the usual story: girl meets older man, girl talks game theory with older man, older man asks girl to become a CIA agent. Tale as old as time, really.

She wasn’t Rachel Gibson, though. She figured out who she was working for, all on her own. She didn’t need to be told. It was after she had just been briefed by a senior official named Anderson, and they were talking about the recent much-sensationalized murder of a couple of legitimate CIA operatives, and Peyton could see that the official didn’t care. He pretended to, but Peyton could tell it was an act. Which meant he didn’t have loyalty to the agency, which meant…

She told Dean straight out that she knew, and that she didn’t care. “On reflection,” said Dean, “your indifference isn’t really a surprise.” She’d been curious, and he’d elaborated: “Your psych profile shows a love of danger, which is what draws you to this business, but your patriotism has always been rather weak. One of your more appealing qualities, really. What tipped you off? The amount of civilian casualties we inflict?”

Peyton snorted. “Like the CIA doesn’t inflict civilian casualties,” she said. “Hardly. It was Anderson.”

In the space of half an hour, Anderson was eliminated and Peyton installed in his place in Dean’s inner circle.

It was good to be Peyton.

* * *

“Welcome to the wild side, honey.” Peyton had said that, as she pulled Rachel into a club for the very first time, after she’d started working for the Shed. She’d said it laughingly. Affectionately.

Just goes to show you, thought Rachel. What was there to say to someone who’d screwed you like that? Nothing. That is, nothing that didn’t sound sappy, stupid, weak.

Like, how could you be so cold? Or worse, I thought we were friends.

Rachel was sick of being weak.

* * *

“I thought we were friends,” said Rachel, aiming her gun squarely at Peyton’s heart.

“We were,” Peyton said, and was that sincerity in her voice or just desperation? “We still could be.”

And Rachel, still weak, faltered just long enough for Peyton to kick the gun out of her hand.

Peyton grabbed the gun and pointed—and then turned and fled. So Rachel had time to wonder if someday one of them would really kill the other, or if— and randomly, a picture of Sloane and Bristow flashed into her mind— this would go on forever.

-fin-

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Comments {12}

Dances With Vampires

(no subject)

from: yahtzee63
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
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I love it -- particularly the suggestion of Jack and Sloane, the hint that every great enmity may begin as friendship.

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(no subject)

from: violaswamp
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
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Thanks muchly! I can sort of see an older version of those two, circling round each other à la Jack and Sloane.

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(Deleted comment)

(no subject)

from: violaswamp
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
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Thanks a lot. Peyton strikes me as someone who never really had all that many illusions.

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Selena

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from: selenak
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
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Great take on Peyton, and like Y., I liked the Jack and Sloane comparison.

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(no subject)

from: violaswamp
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

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The most unique of all snowflakes

(no subject)

from: nolivingman
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
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Oh I like this, and truly the Arvin/Jack connection was brilliant.

Love Dean eliminating Anderson based on him giving the game away to Peyton. Very nice touch.

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(no subject)

from: violaswamp
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. That just seemed to me like something Dean would do.

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Iseult

(no subject)

from: iseult_variante
date: Jan. 7th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
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OMG, YAY! Thank you. :)

Peyton is so interesting - she's like a scaaary Mirror!Universe Syd (or Rachel). I also enjoyed the humour in this, particularly:

...girl meets older man, girl talks game theory with older man, older man asks girl to become a CIA agent. Tale as old as time, really.

HEE. :) Clearly I need a Peyton icon.

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(no subject)

from: violaswamp
date: Jan. 9th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
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So glad you liked! Thank you!

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alittlebriton

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from: alittlebriton
date: Jan. 8th, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)
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Lovely characterisation of Peyton. And I love the hint of the deep cut her betrayal has given Rachel.

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(no subject)

from: violaswamp
date: Jan. 9th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
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Thanks--and yeah, Rachel's going to be living with that for a while.

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