sf_isa2_icon.gif sf_shaw2_icon.gif sf_vor_icon.gif

Scene Title Invasion
Synopsis An assassin targets the Khans.
Date March 12, 2021

7:49 p.m.

Van Cortland Park, The Bronx, New York

It’s only a split second, but the terror of being ripped from one space to another makes it feel longer to Isabelle Khan. Immediately flung away by Vor in an effort to put space between the two of them, the detective is too disoriented from the jump to keep her balance, and falls to the ground, the blow softened at least by the wet damp grass of a … golf course?

When Isabelle looks around, she sees herself in the center of a golf course, but in the distance the dark shapes of trees and the water nearby give her some bearings. She knows this place — Van Cortland Park, New York City’s fourth largest park.

She’s in the fucking Bronx. And not just the Bronx. The far end of it. Practically in Yonkers.

As her gaze finds Vor again, the woman disappears out of view; then her voice comes from behind, several yards.

“Just a little safety measure. If you blow, I don’t want it to be somewhere like Midtown,” her lean, blond abductor says with a smirk tipping up the corner of her mouth. “Here’s a souvenir, then I’ve got to go deal with a certain pilot.”

Even in the dim light of the dark park, Isabelle sees the glimmer of something in the stranger’s hand before the blade comes flying toward her. She doesn’t have time to dodge out of its path. But she moves enough just in time that it lodges itself in that space just above the collarbone, sending a flare of pain through her entire arm down to her fingertips.

When she looks back, the stranger is gone.

8:37 p.m.

Le Rivage Apartments, Battery Park City, Manhattan

The apartment is dark by the time Shahid gets home from work. It’s quiet, or at least as quiet as an apartment in New York City ever gets. He can hear the rumble of the television next door and the thud of footfalls in the one above head. Outside, Friday night traffic is far enough below that it’s a distant, dull roar interrupted once in a while by a sharper honk of horns from impatient drivers. As he moves through the apartment, Shaw remembers that Isa is off getting a drink at the Pint with Abby, so he’s on his own, for at least another hour or so.

Or so he thinks.

Trust is a big deal within the Khan household. The extremely good fortune of still having an ability to keep a roof over their heads without blowing their deepest darkest secrets had been very hard kept. Is this what being in the CIA must be like? On his own, Shaw has had plenty of time to think on it. But presently, he's lost in similar thoughts as he stares distantly at the slowly but surely heating chicken curry coming to a simmer on the stove. The rice, on the other hand, is turning away inside the microwave with its mindnumbing hum.

It's all he can do to keep his mind from churning. But the bubbling curry is all too reminiscent of the sight of his helicopter sinking into the river, bubbles escaping from the cockpit as it disappeared beneath the waves.

Watching from the shadows, Vor has had an ample number of opportunities to surprise Shaw. He could have been dead a dozen times over by now. But she’s a bit like a cat playing with her prey, enjoying watching him in his oblivion as he does his domestic duties.

That, and she’s a little hungry, and the curry smells delish.

She might bide her time a little longer, but she knows that she does have a time table before Isa makes it out of the place she left her. The thought of Shaw’s wife coming through the door draws a smile to Vor’s face — dangerous and curved like a scythe.

Shaw doesn’t hear her; it’s the faintest displacement of air that makes the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, that sensation that someone is standing behind him.

The wooden spoon slows in stirring. Shaw lifts it from the curry, swiping a fingertip for a small tasting. Maybe a little more cardamom. The tingle of spices on his tongue don't match up with the stiff feel of someone behind him, though. For a brief flash, he's excited in a different way.

"Izzy? I didn't hear you come—"

Shaw's only turned half way around from the pot, ladle still held, when he startles at the sight of the very-not-his-wife woman standing in the kitchen with him. Surprise, but not fear. Not yet.

“Smells good. Did you make enough for three?” Vor asks, almost sweetly. But then, as quickly as he can register the movement of her arm, Shaw feels the cold-sharp slash of a knife across his belly — she doesn’t go for depth but speed and distance, the razor-sharp blade cutting nearly the width of him before she disappears.

A split second later she stands in the doorway to his side, caught in his periphery. He can already feel his body mending itself, the pain fading until only the ghostly memories of those agonized nerve endings remain.

“Actually, maybe we don’t need enough for three,” the teleporter murmurs. Her words are punctuated by the plop-plop-plpp of blood — Shaw’s blood — on the clean tile floor, as it drips from her blade.

His perturbed stare continues at her seemingly innocent question. Then, before he could even think to answer, Shaw hiss-gasps in pain followed by the dull clatter of the ladle he had in his hand dropped to the floor. His body flinches back but has nowhere to go except against the hot gas flames of the still simmering pot of curry on the stove. His assailant's gone in the space between blinks. He stumbles away from the stove, away from the doorway of the kitchen and Vor's presence, hand clasped against his slashed waistline where he can feel the drip of warm blood against his forearm.

When the initial shock of pain begins to already fade, Shaw dares to cast his gaze away from the assassin to any other utensils within reach. "Fuck off!" he shouts at her before the bowl he was going to serve the curry in gets hurled in Vor's direction. Then he lunges for the knife block to find another blade and arm himself.

Vor laughs, a low and throaty thing, and disappears again just as the bowl hits the doorframe, shattering into a hundred pieces. “Gotta be faster than that, sweetheart,” she says from a safe distance across the room. “It’s nice to have someone to play with that doesn’t just curl up and die immediately.”

With his back to her at the knife block, she pulls another blade from her boot, hurling it in his direction — he can hear the whirr of it as it turns in the air right before it strikes him between the shoulder blades.

“Oops,” Vor murmurs, mock humility coloring the words, as she watches him with half-lidded eyes, something feline in her gaze and posture. “I missed again.”

No witty retort, no verbal parry accompanies Shaw's desparate dive. Right as he grabs the ergonomic handle of a chef's knife, the searing stab of another metal sinks in and he staggers against the counter. He whirls back around again, face paled with fear, but filling with a stubborn teeth-gritting grimace. No longer is he frozen with surprise once he's brandished a bladed weapon back at her.

"Who are you?! Who sent you?" he demands, each word pained between pants. Adrenaline has his blood pumping hard and he can hardly feel the scrape of the metal in him. With his free hand, he reaches behind him, fingers groping for purchase on the dagger in his back.

Vor glances at a piece of art on the wall near where she stands, and, tucking her hand into her sleeve, uses her cuff to shine the glass. Flipping her long blond hair over her shoulder, she laughs like Shaw has just told a joke.

“Oh, I’m not here to send a message, hon. We’ll leave that to the John Logans of the world. I’m just here to get rid of your noncompliant self,” she says.

And then she’s right behind him, her hand on his wrist so he can’t pull the knife out — the pressure there pushes it deeper into his back. An inch to the left and it would be in his spinal column; as it is, he can feel pins and needles radiating down his arm, all the way into the tips of his fingers.

“It’s been fun chatting, but you’re wife’ll be here soon and I need to be ready,” she whispers in his ear. Shaw can hear the sound of the metal as a blade slides out from another sheathe before he feels it penetrating the base of his neck — and then there’s darkness.

Shaw's questioning 'what?' catches in his throat at the same time his heart drops at the mention of Isabelle. An icy sting of fear and anger intermixes with the pain shooting through him. If not John Logan, then—

He doesn't finish the thought.

9:27 p.m.

By the time Isa gets home, Shaw's body cold, pale, growing stiff. The blood around him is dark and tacky, cool where it seeps into the knees of her pants when she kneels beside him. Not long ago, this would have been a time to mourn — but as Isa’s bloodstained fingers pull the blade from where Vor left it wedged in her husband's skull, the cells in Shahid’s body awaken.

His mouth parts opens first, with a gasp of remembered pain and outrage, and then his eyes.

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