They finally get to his intended destination and Sara learns a secret. A little of his dark past.
He'd been silent on the plane after the car was shipped out and the papers were sorted. He had pulled out a hand held games unit and played that before finally curling up and sleeping. Sara hadn't been able to sleep at all and every now and then was sure that they dipped quickly. She hadn't flown a long distance before and it was unnerving. In the end she had watched him sleeping and settled with her hand on the edge of his jacket content that she wasn't getting a lot more from him.
When they had got the car he'd given a yawn and settled into it driving off to the hotel. She thought it was funny that so many people watched them driving through because they were foreign and had a foreign car. He seemed relaxed but looked tired as they drove into the car park of the hotel. He had picked a fairly simple and Western style to keep them both in a fairly decent budget but he hadn't told her he planned to surprise her with the following weekend at the Hyatt.
"Come on then." He smiled as he lifted a case for her and one for himself. As this was done two assistants came and took the luggage. He thanked them both with a bow and they wandered in to register as guests.
One inside he flopped onto the large double bed and Sara looked a little confused. She hadn't really got the full gist of what he was after and she wasn't sure if the whole story about them needing to pretend they were together was some strange fantasy. She just sat on the edge of the bed and looked at him with a smile. Whatever his plan he still looked like he was going to be a dangerous man as he winked at her with bright green eyes.
"Oh." She gasped a little louder than she'd meant. "You're eyes, they are so pretty when you are relaxed like that. I'm sorry that sounded stupid didn't it? Only your eyes are usually more black I am sure."
"Hai." He grinned sitting up. "They sort of reflect my mood at times. If they are really green it means either I am feeling relaxed, happy or sometimes it means that I don't really understand what's going on; like an innocence thing if there could be such a thing for someone like me. If they go completely green, they've done it once, it means I'm ill. Some strange old gypsy in England once told me that it meant a mage had touched me."
"Touched you?" She grinned as he gave her a filthy look. "So what are the plans now that we are here? You suddenly seem a lot more relaxed. I like the holiday you."
Archard looked at her with a slight smile. He felt more at home out of Washington but he doubted he could explain it without him sounding like a hypocrite. He loved Tokyo and when he lived in Japan he was happy but his worst memories and the reason he hated his life all came from here too. It wasn't even the place that had done it, just a select few people and he knew they would want to start the war they finished.
He went quiet as he sat back up again. Here he had fought for something he believed in and he had lost. He had been outnumbered he knew but he was still a fighter at heart. Maybe he had returned hoping that in some strange way he could finally end his fight and put an end to the idea that he didn't know what he wanted from life at all.
Here he could feel like it would go away but he would step onto the streets of Tokyo and no matter where he walked he would be reminded that he was just one man. He was a tall man for the culture and he was not Japanese but he had a passion for so many things in their culture that he just felt at home with their ideals. Even after he had been flown home too ill to move he had wanted to stay there and carry on the fight. Now of course he wondered if coming back was a good idea. He realised that he had no choice in it. He had promised to get his friend out of the situation and he had made a vow to end the feelings of defeat once and for all.
"You've gone quiet Archard. Did I offend you at all?" She asked standing up wondering if he'd dismiss her.
"No." He sighed and closed his eyes. "I just think too much. Tomorrow I am taking you out sight seeing and then if we are up to it we are going to an old local karaoke. I have to try and find an old friend as I said."
Sara nodded. She was in a man's world to her knowledge and she wasn't about to get into the habit of arguing. She would just let him get on with what he needed for now. She hoped that whatever this was really about he'd tell her one day. She was after all the closest thing she'd seen him with to call a friend unless she counted his bird. She changed into a night-gown and slipped into the bed beside him. He hadn't got out of his shirt or trousers. Whilst he was asleep she kissed his cheek.
"Argue with that one Archie." She grinned and turned away.
The Hotel, Monday 9am, 10.20.03
The alarm was buzzing away and Sara heard it long before Archard did. He was fast asleep hanging precariously off the edge of the bed. He had wound himself into his shirt and looked ready to strangle himself. The tie looked like moving even a fraction of an inch would result in asphyxiation. She got gently up trying not to disturb him and loosened his tie.
Archard didn't stir as she pulled the tie off and she began to panic. She moved a little closer and could hear his shallow breathing so she was able to relax a little. She had never thought he'd sleep that deeply but perhaps the flight had knocked him out. She was about to stand up again when she noticed a small purple slither on the top of his shirt that looked like something on his skin. She took a very deep breath and held it to keep her hand steady.
She moved the shirt a tiny bit and noticed that it was a scar. Pulling the top button undone she opened the shirt a little more. She looked at him sleeping with his hair half covering his face and brushed a lock of it off his eyes to see if he was sleeping. He was so she moved a little closer, he had a slight smell of stale after shave about him but it wasn't off putting and she moved his shirt to take a look at the scar. She corrected herself; it wasn't a scar it was the start of several. Feeling like a peeping tom she put the shirt back together and lay the tie to one side. She was just moving away when her mobile phone rang loudly.
She ran to her bag to get it out, forgetting that it switched on with the alarm and looked at who was calling. As she went to answer it Archard jumped awake and she let it ring off as he looked at her and then the tie before diving to the toilet. Sara looked confused but she answered the phone.
"Sara." She stated and listened to Jake on the phone to her. Jake was a trainee at the hospital and missed her when she was off even for a day. "A little boy? Benjamin..." She listened to the news that the little boy had been brought into the hospital unconscious after police were called to a domestic scene.
Sara was listening to the news and to the report of how he was so badly beaten that she barely realised Archard was in the toilet for some time. Eventually she put the phone down asking Jake to tell her if he was insured or not and to keep her updated. Benjamin had been a case she'd urged the social services to watch, as she was sure there was more to the bruises on his arms than was said. When she realised that the phone call had been ten minutes she noticed that Archard still wasn't out and hadn't taken anything to shower with. She knocked lightly on the door.
Archard had awoken and realised she'd touched his body. His involuntary reaction to anyone touching him was always a violent one. Running to the toilet he had barely managed to cover his mouth full with vomit and having expelled what little food he'd eaten he had broke out into a cold sweat. He hadn't thought past that moment and was on the cold tiles of the floor trying to think of how to get past her without the smell following. He didn't fancy a hundred questions; actually if he was honest he didn't even fancy one. He heard her knocking on the door and was brought round from his personal thoughts. He looked around and noticed the toilet room freshener. He sprayed a ton of it and opened the door before brushing past her and grabbing his wash case and a towel.
"Archard," Sara was going to ask something as he turned to her, "actually it doesn't matter. I will call for breakfast. You get cleaned up, peacock." She smiled warmly at him. It was clear he had no desire to discuss the matter with her.
"Arigato." He mumbled and put his things down near the shower. She hadn't pushed him again and he realised how relieved he was. Before he closed the door to clean up he muttered another thank you to her.
Sara smiled. She had made the right move and rang for room service before she got back on the bed and put on the television. She had to smile as she struggled at first to follow the language but she picked up most of it as she watched with a view to get some real idea of the country she was in. She was totally engrossed in the television but when he opened the door in the towel and fished out for a shirt she stole a glance. She noticed in the half-light of the side of the room that he was in that there was a large predominant scar on his back. He looked like he'd been involved in something serious. He couldn't explain it but he felt her looking at it and swiftly donned a shirt.
"Archard." Sara moved towards him and without pressing against his skin she gently did up the buttons. "I know that you may not want to discuss the matter with me but I noticed the large scar on your back. Would you perhaps explain it?"
"I don't know if I can." He told her. The slight green rim around his eyes suddenly seemed to fade away and melt into the black pools. "If I do I think you may hate me."
"I would rather make that decision for myself." She told him earnestly and got ready for his news. It was not likely to be pleasant.
"The boy that I spoke of rescuing was in this trouble before. The last time we were both involved and a man attacked me with a sword. I killed him shortly afterwards. I was put on trial here in Japan, made a lot of fuss of in the press and got away with it on a sympathy vote." He moved away from her.
She noticed that he was shaking and trying to hold himself together. She was still stood in the same place as he reached out and gathered up some tablets to down with water. She had never even thought that she'd know someone capable of those acts and here she was falling in love with him. She felt a strange lump forming at the back of her throat. She couldn't make out why he could be so cold about it. She moved to the bathroom and locked the door.
'You silly girl,' she scorned herself 'he's cold for one of two reasons, that's not the whole story and he's protecting himself or he actually enjoyed it. I hope the first is the one.' She mused that his job would be the easiest way of hiding his crimes but then again the FBI was so damned difficult to get a job like that in he'd never cover himself. She had to have faith in him and he had been honest and told her the truth. He had not hidden it when she asked but she still felt that there was a lot more to it than he said. Now she wasn't sure whether coming to Japan was such a good idea. After all if he was that deeply involved what would stop them from targeting him.
"Sara," Archard knocked lightly on the door, "do you need me to leave you alone?" He sounded a little less sure of himself and she wasn't sure what she should make of it. He wondered if she was trying to plan her way back to the states and clear her room to avoid him.
Well, he mused, why wouldn't she? If she'd even scratched the surface of what he considered a disgusting mess of a body she probably had every right too. He wouldn't stop her, as he'd understand it was just not something she should have to cope with. He had pretty much decided she hated him and that was unfair of him. He took a deep breath and stood back from the door. He was just no use with people anymore.
Sara could hear him outside and wondered why he hadn't just wandered in and taken advantage of the situation. He could have cornered her and taken her out by now. She shook her head, she was behaving like some paranoid teenager and he hadn't done anything whilst they were living in his apartment. She opened the door nervously and looked at him.
"Archard, I'm sorry." She said simply trying to put everything into perspective. "I am just being silly and well, I guess I realised that even though we live together I know nothing about you."
"Maybe that's best." He told her picking up his coat. "I didn't bring you here to hide in the bathroom even though I am sure it is a very nice one. Are you ready?" He asked her.
"Sure." She giggled and then looked at him. "I'm sorry I have to know."
"What?" He looked at her confused.
"Why is it that you have such a strange name and also, well, some of the stuff you say isn't very American. In fact it sounds kinda English." She wondered if he'd be offended by her sudden bravery but he laughed instead.
"My mom is English, her name is Lady Charlotte Vortigern. Vortigern is the name of some dead Welsh King I believe and she thought Archard was nice. My Dad kept her name cos she wanted the titles but he's a Virginia man." He kept the smile. "I had to take 'English' lessons when I was a boy with my sister Coreena. Mom said she wanted it so we just had to do it. No one argues with my mom even at five feet four."
They ended up heading out to visit the Imperial gardens and he took her through some local shops and places of interest. Tokyo was another world to her. The strange mix of old and new was intoxicating. Stepping round each corner she could be met by signs of the older faiths mixed along with the odd symbol of Western influence. There was so much to take in that when he suggested stopping for dinner she almost missed it. She found herself nodding and looking around as he headed them off to a snack bar.
By the end of the evening she didn't feel like going out. She wanted to rest her feet and soak in the bath. Archard however seemed to have other plans as he told her that they were headed into Shibuya to get themselves booked into a karaoke bar or somewhere that he could start his investigations.
"Archard." She stopped him in mid flight of talking. "Take a deep breath and slow down." She told him putting a finger to his lip. "We've been sight seeing all day and really I just need a break. It's great to see you so social but, well honey, it's tiring at the moment."
He looked at her and nodded. She didn't think he was convinced though when he turned away from her and looked about the room seeming lost. Archard just wanted to get out and get the clues to his friends' whereabouts. In the end he lay back on the bed and closed his eyes trying to relax. He had brought her here and he had asked her to come with him. He had in the most obvious way invited her into his affairs and yet he was telling her that he would keep her safe from it all but couldn't help but think that it would be impossible.
Sara fell asleep after a while and he listened to her breathing. She sounded peaceful and he envied that. He had drawn that serenity from her but he felt as though he was stealing something. He might well take it from her forever and that was another life he might ruin. He sighed and moving from the bed checked that he wasn't waking her up before grabbing his jacket and sneaking out.
Author's note - I don't know about you but the more I write the more I wonder why the hell Sara would stick around this ass hole ha ha! I hope that you are enjoying the story.