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25 June 2012 @ 11:58 am
"A Voice in the Dark" (Lucas/OC) Prologue & Chapter I  
TITLE: A Voice in the Dark

AUTHOR: Lexie aka lillianschild

FANDOM: Spooks/MI5

RATING: PG13/R (probably in later chapters)

PAIRING: Lucas/OC

SUMMARY: Section D have a traitor in their midst and a mysterious man arrives with what appears to be the key to rid MI5 of the mole.

A/N: this fic is my own version of Series 7. I will probably update it once a month, considering my busy work schedule, and try to pen a one-shot in between to continue my Guy & Marian Acrostic Series.





PROLOGUE

DECEMBER 2000

A thick blanket of snow covered the pavement under the headlights of the black AUDI; their glow the only sliver of light in the pitch-black suburban street.

The chauffeur pulled up next to an abandoned warehouse, put on his fur-lined leather gloves and stepped out into the harsh winter night, looking for some makeshift shelter to give the occupants of the car a few minutes of privacy.

No word had passed between the two men sitting in the back seat since leaving the underground garage of Thames House but now that silence had to be broken.

“I know this isn't the best time for you to be away from home. I can assign another officer. You needn't worry about an unfavourable report to blemish your impeccable record.”

“I don't want any preferential treatment. Someone has to do this and you know I'm the best equipped for this mission,” replied the younger man with a slow smile.

“You're aware that if you get caught...”

“You don't have to spell it out, Harry. I'm familiar with the phrase total deniability.”

“I wish there were some other way to find the mole in our ranks and the puppeteer in the shadows. I don't feel comfortable gambling with the life of one of my officers.”

“I knew the responsibilities I took upon myself when I entered the service.This is what we do every day. I'm glad the rest of Section D can't hear you or else they'd think you're going soft,” chuckled the lanky senior officer. “You don't need to worry about me, Harry. That's something a father might do, and I've already got one...”

“I'll see that he lacks nothing if this doesn't turn out the way we expect. I give you my word.”

“Thanks.There's one more thing...”

“Name it.”

“If I don't come back... or if... anything were to happen to me... don't tell my wife the truth about who I was. Tell her to go on with her life. She deserves to be happy and raise the family she's always wanted.”

“That family can be yours too. Just come back alive.”

“I've deluded myself thinking I could have what others do, a normal life separate from all the lies. But you know better than me there's rarely a happy ending for people like you and I.”

“That doesn't mean we'll ever outgrow the need of someone to care for us.”

A brief uncomfortable silence fell upon them.

“It's time, Harry. My plane leaves in less than two hours.”

“Yes, it's time,” the older man said finally, rolling down the window to summon the chauffeur and seal the fate of his most trusted officer.


CHAPTER I

NOVEMBER 2008

“Shut it down and bring your coat,” said Adam Carter's voice, breaking through Annabelle Reed's concentration on the dossier displayed on her screen. “Harry's asked for you. It appears your particular expertise is required.”

“Do you know what it is about?” she asked the chief of Section D as she closed the file and gathered her things.

“No, I only have orders for us to meet him at the helipad. I expect he'll brief us on the way.”

The ride to the rooftop was done in complete silence, but Annabelle couldn't dispel the feeling that Adam knew more than he'd told her or, at the very least, there was something which had put him on edge.

The moment she pushed the door open and they stepped out on the roof the icy wind took her breath away. Adam led the way and she followed him, burrowing into her coat, never looking up in order to protect herself from the biting cold.

The interior of the helicopter wasn't much warmer but, at least, it shielded them from the lashing wind. And the fact that Sir Harry Pearce was coming along for the ride comforted her somehow. The Head of Section D rarely worked as an in-field agent these days, so the chances of this mission ending up in a shooting or with one of them dead tonight were definitely slimmer. She loved her job but, at the end of the day, she appreciated being able to come back home, pour herself a frothy mug of cocoa and sit down with a good book.

Pearce shouted some instructions to the pilot which she didn't catch. However, one quick glance at Adam's profile told her whatever their superior's words had been, they'd taken the matinée-idol-looking agent by surprise.

They arrived at their destination less than half an hour later, landing on the back lawn of a secluded eighteenth-century Hall.

“That didn't take long,” she told Carter on crossing the lawn, a clear questioning tone in her voice. “We could have taken a pool car.”

“Just making sure we weren't being followed.”

“I assumed that much. What is this place? I've never seen an MI5 safe house that looked anything like this.”

“Borrowed for the occasion. An old friend of Harry's on holiday in Barbados.”

The house was eerily quiet as they followed Harry into a spacious room which turned out to be a library lined from floor to ceiling with books. There was not a window in sight. Clearly, the head of MI5's Counter-terrorism Department wanted to make sure their presence was kept a secret.

“Please, take a seat,” Sir Harry invited them, walking to the bar and removing the stopper from a decanter of Scotch. “Shall I pour you a tumbler?”

“Two fingers,” said Adam.

“Not for me, Harry. Thanks,” added Annabelle, taking off her coat and stuffing her gloves in a pocket.

“Good. I need you clear-headed for the difficult task ahead. I'm afraid you won't be going home tonight.”

“That's OK. There's no pet waiting for my return,” she smiled wryly.

Harry allowed himself a pause to study the beautiful woman before him. Whereas Ros Myers had been all sharp angles, dry humour and icy façade, Annabelle was delicate features, diplomacy and warmth; an amazing mix rare in a first-rate officer serving in an organization populated by cold-blooded bastards such as him.

“A little over seven years ago we identified and eradicated a mole within MI5. This was before your time, of course, but you must have heard about it. Well, it appears we messed up and someone's paid a high price for our mistake. That mole was just the tip of the iceberg. There was a sleeper in our ranks and he or she seems to have been activated.”

“Are there any leads?” interrupted Adam, setting down the half-empty tumbler on a side table.

“No. That's the reason you're here tonight. Last Friday I was contacted by the new FSB head of operations in London. He offered to hand us over an asset in exchange for a Russian spy we had in our cells.The trade was sanctioned by the Home Secretary as a sign of good will on the part of our government. Unfortunately, the meeting didn't go as planned. “

It was evident Sir Harry hated being fallible. The grim expression on his face which accompanied the clenched fists he plunged into the pockets of his overcoat spoke of how hard it was for him to acknowledge such a fact.

“The FSB men arrived at the rendezvous point earlier. They ambushed us, killed my chauffeur, sent a senior officer to hospital, put a bullet in my right arm and drove away with our former prisoner.”

“And what about our asset? Did they hand him over?”

“Oh, yes,” he replied tightly, swallowing down the rest of his drink in one big gulp. “They turned him over after torturing him and beating him within an inch of his life. There's no doubt they left him for dead at the pick-up point. That's when I knew the operation we thought to have dismantled was still very much alive. Whatever information our asset has they clearly didn't want us to find out.”

“But why didn't they put a bullet in his head then? Why run the risk of us getting him alive?”

“They needed him for the exchange. They knew he was a big card to play to ensure the trade. They didn't count on him surviving this long. We haven't got much time left... He's going to die, but he seems to be determined to make his death worthwhile and that's why you're here Annabelle.”

“I don't understand.”

“You're here to debrief him.”

“What?” she gasped. “You mean he's here? Shouldn't he be getting medical attention?”

“There's a doctor seeing to him right now, trying to make him as comfortable as possible and ensuring he hangs on until you can take it all down. It's what he wants, and I'll give it to him.”

“But why me?” she asked incredulously.

“You're the only Section D member who's fluent in Russian.”

“Russian?”

“Yes. He can't speak English. Or, at least, he can't seem to remember what it sounds like in his mouth. We need that information, Annabelle, and it's locked in his mind. He's got photographic memory, the most outstanding I've ever seen in my life. He memorised the information in Russian so it must be easier for him to deliver it in the same language. You're the best we have and I trust you, and there aren't a lot of people in the Section I trust 100% right now.”

The double doors to the library opened after a cursory knock and a sober-looking man with a stethoscope in his left hand walked in.

“Is he ready?” asked Pearce meeting the grey-haired man's eyes.

“As ready as he'll ever be. No amount of local anaesthetics is going to make any real difference considering the circumstances. I'm not at all comfortable with this. I hope his agony's worth it, Sir Harry.”

“Thank you, doctor. Please, stand by. Annabelle...”

“Where is he?” she asked the medicine man as she stood up on slightly wobbly legs.

“Follow me. He's in a room at the end of the corridor on the first floor,” replied the doctor, opening the door for her to walk out of the library.

Annabelle grabbed the laptop she'd brought along and made her way to the grand staircase already dreading the delicate task she'd been assigned.

“His throat has sustained some trauma so don't expect him to use more than a whisper to communicate. He's also asked to keep the lights off. I hope you won't mind, but he insisted when he found out he was going to be debriefed by a woman.”

“It's all right,” she replied quietly. “I can manage with the light from the screen. Will you stay in the room?”

“Apparently, I haven't got enough clearance to witness the interview. I'll be outside if you need me,” he told Annabelle, squeezing her arm gently as a gesture of understanding.

It was nice to feel she wasn't actually alone to cope with the distress she was experiencing now that she was a step away from doing what she would do, what she knew had to be done to protect the lives and the integrity of the service; help to sacrifice a life to save hundreds. To ease her conscience somehow, she prayed the end really justified the means on this particular occasion.

She turned the knob of the bedroom door and, taking a deep breath to muster the necessary courage, walked in. It took her eyes a few seconds to adjust and be able to see the exquisite roll-top desk near the bed, whose occupant she barely made out as a mound in the dark since the dimmed light from the corridor only illuminated enough for her not to bump into any furniture.

Approaching the desk she set down her laptop and got everything ready for the debriefing, trying to lock away any qualms she might have in one of the dozen compartments which had helped her keep sane in a crazy world such as hers.

“I'm ready when you are,” she said softly in Russian to the voice in the dark, for that was what he should be to her, just a voice.

The voice that answered was low and raspy as if it'd grown hoarse from screaming and, although it wasn't louder than a whisper, it stirred her in a mysterious way, one which went beyond sympathy and that made her loathe herself. This was a dying man who had gone through unknown horrors and was going through hell even now, hanging onto life out of sheer determination to give them the intelligence they wanted. She was a professional and he deserved better from her.

Keeping up with the flow of information was a real struggle. It amazed her how much he'd been able to memorise and how detailed his account was. No wonder the Russians wanted him dead.

“I'm sorry,” she apologised softly, not knowing if she was referring to the sudden numbness that had seized her fast-typing fingers or to the images her mind's eye had conjured up, knowing how given to electric shock and water-boarding the Russians were to have prisoners break. “I'm sorry,” she repeated louder after clearing her throat, “I've lagged behind. Would you mind if I went over the last thing I registered?”

“Of course not... Got carried away. I'll slow down... My mouth's parched... anyway... May I have … a glass of... water, please?” he replied, making use of impeccable manners.

Annabelle couldn't help but admire the man for his ability to behave in a gentlemanly and civilised way in such unfair and cruel circumstances.

“It was thoughtless of me not to have brought a jug when I came in. I'll ask the doctor if you can have some now...” she told him, getting up from the chair and walking to the door.

“Let him drink as much as he wants and call me if there's anything else I might do,” the doctor instructed her once he'd seen to his patient's needs.

No sooner had the door clicked shut than the debriefing began again. Only this time she could feel him watching her as she transcribed his words, a different nuance attached to his voice.

The urge to unglue her eyes from the screen and catch a glimpse of the man wrapped in shadows and lying prone on the bed was turning hard to resist. She accepted the futility of pretending he could be just a disembodied voice in the dark to her; he was already too real.

“I need... a moment,” he gasped, clearly fighting against pain.

“Do you want me to...?”

“No, it's OK. Just... give me a moment... and we'll resume.”

Annabelle tried to uncoil her tensed muscles surreptitiously but nothing seemed to escape his notice.

“Why don't you... take a short break too? You could use it,” he added hoarsely.

Hearing the concern for her in his voice only succeeded at making the lump in her throat bigger and the burning in her eyes more pronounced. She could feel the tears start to well up in her eyes. She had to pull a Rosalind Myers out of the bag or disgrace the spy race by showing she was just human. She was expected to behave in a professional and detached way, to be a cold-blooded automaton in a masculine world.

Something told her the man in the shadows would understand, that he would experience what she was if their roles were to be reversed. And yet, it wouldn't do to let him see her so rattled or read on her face how much it pained her to witness his agony; it took a lot of courage to survive what he had without breaking and to be here tonight in this room. She owed it to him to face the end... his end... with integrity.

Swallowing the large lump in her throat, she focused on the transcript, feeling his eyes trained on her face once again.

“I'm ready when you are,” she said in a voice which sounded shaky to her own ears.

“Will you tell me your name?” he asked her softly after a brief pause.

Revealing her real identity to anyone outside The Grid went against everything she'd been taught during training. Her name was the only thing which was hers, the one thing that showed she existed outside the walls of Thames House, the one part of hers which felt real.

What difference would it make now to hold onto the rules? Anonymity might be an armour, but this man had bared himself to her, a complete stranger, in ways which went beyond sharing a name. It felt only natural to do this little something for him.

“Annabelle.”

“Annabelle. Gracious beauty. It was many... and many a year ago... In a kingdom by the sea... That a maiden there lived... whom you may know... By the name of Annabel Lee … “

“And this maiden she lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by me,” she finished in her mind.

“I'm ready now. We're almost... done.”

Annabelle didn't know how long it went on but, amidst broken inhalations and even a fainting spell which required the doctor's intervention, they managed to wrap things up.

“Thank you... Annabelle,” he said in the end, his voice barely audible.

What was one supposed to say now? Were there any words that could provide real comfort to someone who knew would in all probability be dead before the night was through? Somehow she knew nothing she might say would be appropriate.

She started to pack up her equipment and thanked the blessed darkness that enveloped them now that the laptop had been put away because she could pretend she was no longer at a disadvantage.

He could slip into the final release now, one that she found herself hoping it'd arrive soon to deliver him.

Using the thread of light which filtered under the door she found her way to the exit only to stop with her hand on the knob. Setting her things down, she retraced her steps to where the man she felt joined to by some invisible force was lying.

Her fingers shook as she stretched her arms and unclasped the golden chain with the crucifix that she wore round her neck. And then, with extreme care as if the slightest noise could shatter the comforting silence, she left it on the night table and walked away.

Sir Harry Pearce and Adam Carter were still in the library when she got to the ground floor.

“Did you get it all? Is it as valuable as we thought?” were Harry's first questions as he handed her a tumbler of Scotch.

God! She'd never thought she'd ever hate her boss and mentor the way she did now

“I know how difficult it must have been,” he added to fill in the pregnant silence.

“Do you?” she glared at the Head of Section D. “You'll find everything you need in this pendrive,” she told Adam, handing him the memory stick.

“Take tomorrow off, Annabelle. Adam, would you mind seeing her home?”

“Of course not, Harry. Shall we?”

“I'm sorry, Annabelle,” said Harry as both senior officers reached the French windows opening onto the grounds.

“It's not me you should apologise to.”

Once the helicopter had taken off and she cast one last glance at the Hall, she felt the tears fall unchecked down her cheeks. A brave man would die tonight and he deserved to be grieved. There would be time to wear her mask of control again, for now she would allow herself to be human again.

A/N 2: The excerpt of poetry quoted by Lucas belongs to Edgar Allan Poe's “Annabel Lee” .



CHAPTER II

 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
 
rjforap: RArjforap on June 26th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
This new series is intriguing me. With a span of eight years, makes me wonder what's been going on with Lucas all that time. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to read more. :)
lillianschild: phonelillianschild on July 3rd, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
Glad you're curious to find out more. I'm already working on Chapter 2.
CorporateBabe: harrycorporatebabe on June 27th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
OMG LOVED THIS SO MUCH! Please keep going :)
lillianschild: smiling lucaslillianschild on July 3rd, 2012 04:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading and reviewing. There'll be more soon.
purple_moon123: new obsessionpurple_moon123 on July 10th, 2012 08:24 am (UTC)
So I'm hooked line and sinker!! Not only do you have me reading a story out of SV but a story for a show I barely know about!!!
*off to read ch 2*
lillianschild: phonelillianschild on July 10th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, the persuasive powers of writing!

Glad you find it interesting enough to keep reading. :)
melusine6619 on April 24th, 2013 05:12 am (UTC)
Hi! Found this through your update on Armitage Daily. What a tense chapter! I can't imagine trying to take down what you believe to be a dying man's last pieces of intel, but you wrote it so well that I got lost in it. I'll be catching up on this as I can and awaiting a new chapter too!