Porter wakes the former prisoner Shaw up to an unfamiliar new reality: freedom. Somewhat.

Far outside of Zabrze, Poland

1900 hours

"You aren't dead, so it's time to wake up."

Porter lets out a puff of air and wipes his forehead with the back of a heavy mitten. It's still cold in this part of Poland, but it's warmed up enough that he's shed some of his heavy gear and stuffed it into his pack. The mittens are the last to go, leaving him in a close-fitting wool sweater, cargo pants, battered boots, and a shoulder holster.

He wasn't happy about leaving the package alone, unconscious or otherwise, but with Raptor's pilot attending to the chopper, Ania scouting the area, and bare cupboards in the safehouse, he was left with little choice. All of them need to eat.

He's been gone for a few hours, but not fruitlessly. He has a wild boar slung across his back, which he lowers to the floor as soon as he steps inside the simple farmhouse where he, Ania, the pilot, and the rescued prisoner have all taken up residence. The house only has two rooms and a loft; a communal area, a bathroom, and racks of bunks upstairs.

The battered, dirty prisoner is in the same place he was dropped when they all arrived. The couch. After checking to make sure he's still out, Porter dresses the boar, skewers it on a steel spike, and sets it to roast over the fireplace. Once he's got dinner cooking and he's cleaned himself up, it's time to turn his attention to the other man in the room.

Porter can't help but grimace as he approaches. "Boy, they did a number on you," he mutters under his breath. He's got a damp cloth in his hand, which he uses to carefully wipe away grime from the various burns, bruises, and abrasions on the man's face. He's grabbed a couple bottles of water and what medical supplies he was able to scavenge from the safehouse and from Raptor, but it's not much. "C'mon, guy," he says, speaking a little louder. "You aren't dead, so it's time to wake up."

It's the sleep of the dead. The sleep of a man who hasn't had a restful second for more than half a decade. Shaw also wakes like that man. Blood-shot eyes flash open, more attuned to even minuscule touches than a loud voice. Familiar with both, just not the gentleness of one.

Snorting awake, he rights with the pure adrenaline of realizing he can. Instincts tell him to survey his surroundings, but the scent of roast and relative homeliness of the residence are so bizarre as to seem to offend him. Judging from a patch visible just below the fall of the jokey Russian t-shirt's left sleeve, the last thing he smelled burning was himself. Hands grope for the couch, one clutching the side of the pillow he's sitting on, the other the back of the seat as he pulled up. Even though they're stiff, he kneads his fingers into the fabric. Where two fingernails of his right hand have been torn away and left to grow back with improper nutrition, it must hurt, but he does it anyway.

At least he didn't leave blood on the couch, even though what's on his back's only hours old.

"Easy, trooper. Easy." Porter has handled wounded agents and soldiers before, both on and off the battlefield. For him, this is a relatively posh setting despite the somewhat limited supplies. He immediately backs up to give the man some space and displays both his hands to show he isn't holding any weapons. "My name is Porter. My partner and I extracted you from a holding facility. I'm here to help you."

Short. Direct. To the point. His tone is calm, but firm. He uncaps one of the water bottles, makes a show of taking the first drink, and offers it up. "Have a drink, then we'll get you cleaned up and fed. You look like shit."

Shaw studies Porter, extensively, from out of red rims. The years have not stripped him of an intense glare. After a long, calculated, minute, he snatches the water bottle— not a purposefully aggressive action; in weakness, he lacks grace. "Porter." Repeated, measured. "Agent Porter, the patriot." Remembered. There's almost a humor to it: dry and British as it is.

A pause. "I feel like it." He drinks, taking it back at first cautiously then, as the liquid hits his deprived lips, like a shot. Water disappears. He stops before he chokes, letting the plastic hit against his leg as his hand drops to a knee, poking out of the worn-out holes of his pants with more bruising. A second time, he scans the room, breathing shallowly. "They'd run these… situations. 'Rescues'. They even had the gear, would knock each other out. Let me get within arms' reach of daylight— before pulling me back in." Spoken coolly, not with the stagger of traumatization. Past pure fact, it's a version of an apology for his behavior in the trenches. "No one's coming for you." Murmured, low, eyes fallen to the floor, in perfect Russian.

"I understand your hesitation," Porter replies. His Russian is equally flawless. He tilts his head to the side, considering his counterpart, studying him carefully. "Who are you, that Hollingberry would call me off the books to pull you out of… what the hell was that, a dairy farm? Ania and I weren't the only ones who showed up, either. Another team came in and salted the earth. No dairy farm. No bad guys. Just a crater."

Coldness saps out his eyes as his chin jerks up to hear the Ukrainian name. Shaw's hand drags backwards, gripping the thick of his upper thigh. Different, overwhelming, more than recognition; more than the nothing he showed for the mention of the fellow Brit's name. "You Americans know how to make a man feel popular. As for the rest, you'll have to tell me. I've been out of the loop for a few years."

Porter opens the other water bottle, takes a drink, then uses it to wet a fresh washcloth. Now that his new friend is awake, he tosses the cloth over rather than resume his sponge bathing. "Yeah, I could tell you weren't too fond of her," he observes. "Well, get over it. Until I get some answers, we're staying right here in this dump like a happy little family. I'd rather get along with you than be at odds, but right now I can make you do what I want if I have to. Instead of that, why don't you clean yourself off and tell me your name?"

Shaw catches, tightly swallowing around the not unfamiliar concept of being made to do. He's gone stony, unreadable, in the eyes, kept at bay by the brisk coolness of his tone, not openly disagreeable. "Shaw," he drawls, hands sliding on his legs en route to finding a brace to soon stand with. "I'd like to visit this place's version of a bathroom, then."

"Go ahead." Porter waves him through the only door on the ground floor. His next words are a warning, but a mild one. "Once I'm convinced you're okay, I won't watch you so closely. For now, as long as you play nice and don't do anything silly, you're free to move about as you wish. I'm not holding you hostage. I just want to debrief you and get a better idea of what the hell sort of mess I ended up in."

Rising, Shaw responds, moving towards the door. "I am somewhat used to being watched."

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