The woman in black crumpled against the side of the hallway. "Don't say that." She had a thick Slavic accent that seemed peculiarly suited to despair. "You know why I did this."
"Yes, I know." The man standing in front of the closed door removed his coat and threw it over his arm, glancing behind once or twice. "I know, but that doesn't mean I forgive."
"How can you know why and not forgive?" She was pleading now, digging her fingernails into the tender flesh inside her elbow. "I did it all for you."
"No you didn't, you selfish ***. You're out for Number One. Always have been. And now it's time to pay the fiddler."
The sound of clanging metal came from a hundred feet away, the left end of the hall, around a corner. The woman's eyes went wide. "They're coming, James! Jacques, whatever your name is. Please have mercy and let me go."
"You don't think you deserve this, eh? Don't think you have to pay the price for all the hell you've put us through. Well I've got a little surprise for you--they're coming by Jove, and I'm not going to stop them."
Steps came closer, echoing on the metal floor. The woman shivered, then stood upright and close to James, tipping up her face to the flickering florescent light. "One day I will be alone, without friends or family. I will be old and wrinkled, and have nothing to show for my life. Is that not punishment enough?"
He pushed her away and waited for a sound. Nothing.
He heard it, the ratcheting slide of a semi-automatic pistol. He turned back to the woman and seemed to note her panicked eyes and the sheen of sweat on her forehead. She let out a moan, and the man threw his coat to her.
"There, take it."
"Ilina's passport. You don't deserve it."
A shout came from the end of the hallway and they saw three guns and the camouflaged men behind them. James stepped aside from the door and the woman scrabbled for the knob, flinging open the door and tripping up twelve steps toward the light.
In the movies she would have looked back, would have seen James's face just before the door slammed behind her.
But she did not.