future media darling (sobota) wrote,
future media darling
sobota

Diplomacy or Intersubjectivity

Daniel is always the only person in the room who could pronounce his name correctly at all times.

Daniel wears a heavy, unfashionable gold watch and strange patterns just as well as he wears a thin gold watch and his favourite Dunhill suits.

Daniel jokes through his dying, jokes throughout the battle, even jokes as they stand, after, in queue at the International Arrivals of LAX. His mouth issues forth funny little quips but his eyes are narrowed, sweeping the room.

So when Yoshida calls him six months after the war, it is no surprise when the first words out of Daniel's mouth are, "Yoshida-san, you must be as bored as I am."

"Not bored as such," Yoshida says. "How did you know it was me?"

"Zero-seven-five followed by seven digits is a Kyoto prefecture number. I don't generally have many friends in Kyoto." Daniel says easily. "To what do I owe this very distinct pleasure? Am I to be a soldier for you again?"

"Mister Hardy, really. I could just want the pleasure of your company."

Yoshida hears and feels Daniel's deep chuckle. "The pleasure of my company," Daniel repeats. "Am I coming to Japan then?"

"I will send a plane for you."

And that is exactly what Yoshida does.

//

Yoshida watches as Daniel handles each increasingly complicated entrée with all the finesse of a fine gourmand. Daniel wears his suit well, and his cufflinks are expensive. He still wears that silly heavy gold watch. He drinks his saké carefully, and answers all the silly parlour game questions with aplomb, his English accent never marring his Japanese. Daniel, Yoshida decides, would look good here.

Yoshida touches his elbow, and Daniel's eyes alight on Yoshida's face. "All this for the pleasure of my company?" Daniel demurs, taking another sip of his saké and contemplating his next entrée. "Or are you fattening me up to serve for breakfast tomorrow?"

"It would take too long to cook you," Yoshida replies, sliding his fingers up Daniel's arm and squeezing his expansive shoulder. Daniel shifts his arm, and Yoshida can feel the muscle tense and relax. "It would be...satisfying, however."

Daniel narrows his eyes and reaches out to pick up one of his bowls. The way Daniel handles his chopsticks was almost delicate, careful, and Yoshida watches Daniel's mouth.

//

"I have not been entirely truthful with you," Yoshida says as they sit in Daniel's room, legs akimbo as they play a very fraught game of backgammon. Those who do not think backgammon could be fraught have never watched two hard-wired competitors play.

Daniel contemplates the board. "Mmm?" he says softly before moving his piece. "So there is a reason I'm here as your kept man, then?"

Yoshida sits in still repose at Daniel's words. He can feel Daniel's eyes watching his face, but then he watches Yoshida's fingers on the board.

"I need you to kill someone," comes Yoshida's response, as if from very far away.

Daniel excuses himself, and walks out of Yoshida's flat. Yoshida sits in silence, looking at the board.

Daniel was winning.

//



"It's been a very long time since I've killed a man. Longer still that I've killed a man at somebody's bidding," Daniel says later, as they sit smoking cigars at the CASK cigar bar. Yoshida is pleased to see Daniel in another expensive suit, a very staid grey wool, obviously bespoke.

"I would like to know the name of your tailor," Yoshida says instead.

"Can't have him," Daniel replies, shifting against the expensive leather of the sofa. "I keep him chained in my basement. Besides, if I ever let him go I'll have a hell of time trying to find someone that can fit my beast of a neck."

Yoshida reaches out, lets his fingers trail over Daniel's collar. "Would you actually kill for me?"

Daniel smiles around his cigar. "Yoshida, I would have your children, damn the biology, if the price were right."

//

Yoshida gives Daniel the information he needs. Daniel does not take notes, just nods occasionally as Yoshida details the man's comings and goings, and ideas as to when would be the best time to strike.

"Why have you not asked why I want him dead?"

"It's not important, is it?" Daniel says, looking critically at his nails. He looks up at Yoshida. "You obviously want him dead. I'm not having a moral crisis about it, if that's what you're worried about."

"What happened to you?"

Daniel's brow furrows. "'Fraid I don't understand the question, Yoshida-san."

"I mean..." Yoshida fiddles with his cufflinks, and Daniel watches his fingers. Yoshida didn't quite know what he meant, anyway. "Something has changed."

"Ah, yes..." Daniel sighs. "Many things have changed, Yoshida-san. I'm sorry if I am no longer the man you remember."

"Were you ever the man I remember?"

Daniel smiles.

//

He kills the man. And the men who were with him. He thanks Yoshida, and is off on the next plane ride home. Yoshida does not accompany him to the airport to bid him farewell.

He calls a friend of a friend, to ask about Daniel. "What do you know about Daniel Hardy?"

"What about him? He was Connor's contact, not mine."

"Yes, but we all became close."

The other man snorts. "You can't get close to a man like Daniel. He is what he is. He's a thief, a forger, and most of all, a diplomat."

"What do you mean by that?" Yoshida has a feeling he knows, but this man's theories are good for contemplation. He had a lot of time to think of everything, what with being in retirement and all.

"He becomes what you need him to be, without you even knowing you need it. He's the king of compromise. He was the one that solved our...hmm...problem. He was there to smooth over Connor and my fight. He was there to teach us about the dirtier parts of war and he brought us everything we needed. All things for all people. That is a successful diplomat."

"So less James Bond and more..."

"He is what James Bond should be," Cobb says. "Are you looking for him?"

"I found him once. I feel..." Yoshida had never had trouble articulating before, but Daniel was a problem. "I feel that I have lost him."

The other man makes a noise low in his throat. "Maybe you never had him at all."

//

Daniel has made it difficult to find him. Yoshida has to dig deep until he finds him in Germany. It's December by the time he finds Daniel at the Nürnberg Christmas Market, the biggest one in Germany. He's sitting in a tent, bright red gloves wrapped around a steaming mug of mulled wine.

"Daniel," Yoshida says, and Daniel starts, looking up at him, smirking.

"Yoshida-san," Daniel says, bowing his head. "Have another job for me?"

"Not at all," Yoshida replies, going to buy his own mug and sitting with Daniel. "Buying Christmas gifts?"

Daniel nods. "Seems so." He looks at Yoshida. "And you?"

"I seem to have made a mistake in my recent past."

"Is that so?" Daniel takes a sip of his wine. "Has that ever happened before?"

"If it has, you will never hear me admit it."

Daniel smiles, showing a line of crooked teeth. Yoshida had never seen him smile with his teeth before. It was charming, another little flaw that strengthened Daniel's armour, adding a little more to the picture Yoshida had of Daniel in his head. (But maybe, he thinks later, on the flight back to Japan, Daniel was baring his teeth like a cornered animal, a warning flash before an attack.)

"So," Daniel says, almost sighing. "You need help finding an apology?"

"I'm not sure if an apology will work in this instance," Yoshida muses.

"You'll never know until you try." Daniel is looking at Yoshida, appraising his face. His winter coat is thick and black, and the scarf is plain and grey. The red gloves seem a little startling, but definitely more in keeping with Daniel's usual sartorial choices.

Yoshida sips at his wine.

They sit together, quiet. Daniel smiles into his mug.

"When you've figured it out, come and find me." Daniel finishes his wine, and before Yoshida can say another word, Daniel has vanished into the crowd.

//

It's summer again by the time Yoshida finds Daniel again, this time in Monaco. Daniel is at a high roller poker table, and introduces himself as Michel Friot. His accent is Belgian, and he speaks French with the dealer, making a very off-colour joke about armadillos.

Yoshida watches Daniel as they play, and Daniel is watching everyone except him. Yoshida assumes--probably correctly--that Daniel knows all of his tells. Daniel, as far as Yoshida can make out, has no tells.

"Friot is one of my favourite identities," Daniel says later, as they enjoy cocktails out on the veranda. "He's a good fit, charming and just a little bent. Makes it easier to flirt my way to a high roller table." Daniel rarely talks about his identities. Yoshida feels that this exchange is important, but he can't fathom how.

The air is balmy, but moving, and Daniel is once again in a bespoke suit. And still wearing that unfashionably heavy gold watch.

"That watch..."

"My grandfather's, God rest him," Daniel replies. "Sentimental, and more than a little bit of a tell."

"Do you ever take it off?"

"To shower, and when it's necessary." Daniel looks at Yoshida, taking a sip of his jack-and-coke.

Yoshida sighs. "Apologies are difficult."

"I forgave you a long time ago."

Yoshida looks out at the glittering night. He takes a sip of his martini.

Something loosens in his stomach, and his shoulders relax.

It's an obvious tell.
Tags: lj idol
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