Slums of Buenos Aires

Based on S5 E16. Had this in my documents folder for a while. Polished it up a bit this morning. Meant to just be this one shot. I don't own these characters. Just enjoy the inspiration that comes from them. CA Writers deserve all the props. Thanks for reading and reviewing. Enjoy!

Although his limbs failed him at times, his mind was as sharp as ever and he ran the scenarios in his head as he listened to Annie Walker and Ryan McQuaid discuss what to do next. He determined it was safer to stay with the ones who wanted him alive for intel than the ones who wanted him dead because of his intel. Sticking with the Americans was his best move even if he felt they were outnumbered and outgunned by the enemy. He was a fighter and he'd use resources he had left to fight. As skilled as he knew Annie and Ryan to be, the men from the Vega force were well equipped and he needed Annie and Ryan if he were to get out of the slums alive so he could retrieve his money and go into hiding.

Suddenly the Vega Force was upon the threesome and chaos ensued. The two Americans separated with Ryan on the rooftop and Annie on the ground with him. Unexpectedly two men came upon him and Annie. Bullets were flying from all directions, so he took the opportunity while Ryan and Annie were busy containing the situation and ran to dodge the bullets meant for him. Tides had suddenly turned with the Russians and he was now without the upper hand and without a weapon. It was not something he had expected or planned. He always had contingencies, but thought he was safe in Argentina.

Belenko was so close to finishing what he started plotting all those years ago. He was willing to exploit, kill and even die for vengeance, but when push came to shove, he wasn't quite ready to die as he had convinced himself. If he were truly ready to die, he'd let himself be shot by the Vega Force. He'd let himself die sooner than nature would. He'd prefer death over being a prisoner at some black site run by the CIA. Instead, panic over his life ending, being forgotten and without a meaningful legacy gripped him. That fear told him to run. Fear of death, fear of meeting the fate that awaited him for his dark and hate filled heart.

When he turned back at the sound of her voice calling to him, genuine relief washed over him.

"There you are," he said. She was out of breath and he watched her slowly slump to her knees clutching her left arm. She lost consciousness soon after while attempting to get into her purse. He had read about her condition in the FSB files he had access to. It was evident that her heart wasn't able to keep up with the pace of running from the Vega Force. She would be of no help to him unconscious. He was good at calculating pros and cons on the fly.

Belenko thought about grabbing her gun and hiding. He could wait it out. He just needed a way to get to his money and then the money would do the talking. Instead he found himself carrying her over his shoulder. At times he lost control of his hands due to his condition, but something altogether different came over him, it felt out of body. He wasn't as strong as he had been in his healthier days, but he was able to carry her limp body towards a shanty where a little girl was playing.

He said, "Please help my wife," in his broken Spanish. He wasn't quite sure why he referred to her as his wife. It was smart though he told himself. A man who cared for his wife was a man to be trusted.

"She is sick," he continued. The little girl called her mama who came out and invited him in when she saw Annie's condition. He followed her to a spot where he could lay her down. The condition of the abode was deplorable. Yet the girl smiled and the mother showed compassion and immediately offered him what little they had and started to ask questions about what his wife needed.

"Agua, por favor," he said to the woman.

With the woman out of sight fetching water, he sat down and looked through Annie's bag. He took her pesos, the gun she had and found her medication. He administered it, but she remained unconscious. He figured it may take time. As he stood over her, his hand began shaking, it must be the stress he thought to himself. He recalled a feeling. So long had he been single minded in his quest for revenge, there were no other feelings beyond hatred and anger. He remembered his wife, so young and pretty. Like her she was feisty.

As he sat, observed and accepted the hospitality of the impoverished family, he wondered if he could be happy living in similar slums if he had family, loved ones. He saved her again. The first time wasn't really saving her, it was saving himself, a last effort to hide what he and Caitlyn had done. He hadn't let himself have a genuine emotion since forever ago, but he leapt towards her. Everything he did was carefully calculated. Good deeds and this woman. She seemed to make him want to avoid who he had become, a coldhearted manipulator and revenge seeking plotter.

Belenko's rational self said he saved her because she could save him. She could save him from the Russians. They had a mutual enemy. That's what he told himself. It wasn't because she was teaching him to care about those he was hurting. It wasn't because she reminded him of his wife. When he observed her with McQuaid, he could feel their mutual respect and love. Something he once had. Something he was envious of and there was little he envied. He had everything and was about to get his revenge until just hours before.

As he sat there in the humble surroundings, he admitted he didn't get any satisfaction from the deaths of Charlie, then Mueller, and Tony. He pursued Auggie thinking if he killed him and Decker, he would finally feel free. Was all this worth it? All these years plotting? Could he have had a different life?

Annie stirred on the sofa, confused at first. She wondered where she was as her vision returned to her. Then she remembered what happened when she saw Belenko. Still unsteady she stood up and asked, "Why did you save me?"

It was the same question he had been pondering while she was unconscious.