He couldn’t say why he remained. Why was a loaded question. A peek down a barrel that needed cleaning, and he wasn’t yet ready to pull out the ashen resin to find what had jammed his bullets. Why was the problem he would rather bury in someone else’s backyard but there was no ground around him that wouldn’t rot for it.
Examining the potential why left him with reasons that weren’t his own and mirrors he didn’t dare face.
So he continue to observe. Sans rifle, his vigil had gone down on the felony ladder some, but to say it was out of necessity still stretched the definition to an uncomfortable ache. He also choked on any word resembling surveillance. It all reeked of the lies printed on the dossier, and the lies he kept telling himself.
Glacial eyes watched the folder with disgust. Their intell sang of a monster, a Mengele, all syringes and chemicals and freshly printed money. Surely, Alfred assured, there could be none more deserving of Thranduil’s personal touch.
But a murderer was not what he had found wearing that skin. The target was whole, alive, if not a touch jumpy for his troubles. No matter what Thranduil had unearthed about the man, it was never a match to the Master’s claims. This singular discrepancy, wrapped in the approaching deadline, gnawed behind his ribs like an ulcer. His mark was just a man, a man who lived for his children and now flinched at noonday shadows.
Questions ate at him until all he knew beyond doubt was that there was a reason.
But reason couldn’t be in his cross-hairs. Reason’t wasn’t his target.
Dr. Bowman was.
So why isn’t he dead?
He didn’t have an answer; for Feren, or his arched eyebrow. Nothing but the truth would suffice, and the only truth he knew now was that it was all a lie. He had to leave Feren alone in the dark to keep him from the encroaching decay. It was the only parting gift he could leave.
“Then what do you intend?” the other elf fished.
Thranduil’s eyes shifted over his fingers before he moved to shut the file and reached for his coffee. He could feel the answers lodge themselves in the back of his throat, and he wondered briefly if they would drown in the cream.
But when he swallowed he still felt them, the words with claws, perched just under his chin.
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