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27 August 2013 @ 10:35 pm
"A Voice in the Dark" (Lucas/OC; Thriller/Romance- PG13/R) Chapter XI  

TITLE: A Voice in the Dark

AUTHOR: Lexie aka lillianschild

FANDOM: Spooks/MI5

RATING: PG13/Mild R

PAIRING:Lucas/OC

SUMMARY: Section D has a traitor in its midst and a mysterious man arrives with what appears to be the key to rid MI5 of the mole. This fic is my own version of Series 7.

Disclaimer: all recognisable characters belong to BBC and Kudos Productions; I'm just playing with them for a little while without making a profit. No infringement's intended.

A/N: Sorry for the long delay in updating but I was bed-ridden for a fortnight and have very little energy left to do much of anything. I hope this chapter will live up to your expectations; it's Lucas-free but he's definitely not out of the picture. There are still four more chapters to the conclusion.

READ THE BEGINNING HERE
READ THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER HERE

CHAPTER XI

Annabelle slept through her first two days in hospital, only regaining consciousness when a nurse turned up to put some sedative in her IV.

"You're one lucky lady. Everything seems to be working just fine," her surgeon said as she wiggled her fingers. "You can start your rehab in a week's time and in a few months you can consult a plastic surgeon to take care of the scarring."

Fortune or divine intervention had wanted her to survive when all the odds were against her; there was no possible explanation for Edwards' missing the target, especially at so close a range. And, knowing what she knew now- that he'd been the one responsible for Adam's death and the others- she couldn't imagine him having second thoughts when it came to shooting her.

She knew that if she hadn't pulled that trigger she wouldn't have been the only one in a hospital bed or worse. Although she did what she had to do and didn't regret shooting him, the fact that he'd been the first death at her hands still rattled her. Even now her captor's words came back to haunt her. Go back to the life you knew before you were recruited. Someone as pure-hearted as you shouldn't be part of Sir Harry's world and mine.

Whereas she'd almost killed Tom, whom she had come to like, with a simple phone call, she'd had the man she knew she still loved sent to prison. Leaning back against the pillow in her hospital bed, she suddenly yearned for her old life where her most difficult everyday decisions were what to cook for dinner or whether to give a promising but lazy student a second chance.


Three weeks after the shooting she was back in her flat; her right arm in a harness, making the most menial of tasks burdensome. She couldn't wait for her rehab to be over so that she could cook her own meals, instead of living on takeaway food, and enjoy a bubble bath without fearing she would get stuck in the tub and turn into a prune.

She thanked Jo's solicitude and friendship, especially the first few days until she organised herself and felt stronger after having spent a fortnight in bed. Harry checked on her every other day with a phone call when things slowed down on The Grid and came over to visit her with Ruth one Saturday night.

Annabelle observed her mentor and Miss Evershed over dinner with a certain tinge of envy. She hated the feeling because, despite the fact that their acquaintance was very recent, she truly liked Ruth and considered her just the kind of person she'd wished Harry would have in his life. It was simply the pain of knowing she might have had the same if fate had dealt her different cards; if she and the man she lovedand lost weren't who they were.

She and Harry were sitting in the living-room while Ruth brewed some coffee in the kitchen and dished up the luscious chocolate cake they'd brought for dessert.

"I suppose we can't ignore the big elephant in the room any more," murmured Harry matter-of-factly.

Even though both were reluctant to rehash things which they wished they could forget, putting off this discussion wouldn't make her heartbreak disappear. Maybe she'd never be ready to hear the whole story, but she needed to listen to it just as she needed to have a dozen questions answered.

"Bateman came to MI5 highly recommended," Harry began. "Still, the usual protocol was followed to the letter and he was checked out. We left no stone unturned, or so we thought. It turns out Connie James had prepared all the fake paper trail necessary to make sure he came clean and was accepted by the service. She´d fabricated a completely new identity that erased his past as John Bateman, the bomber of the British Embassy in Dakar and the man whose new life and mission as a member of Tiresias would eventually be jeopardised by the return of a ghost from his past."

"The asset I debriefed at the castle that night?"

"It wasn't meant to end up the way it did. Arkady and I had a deal; it was supposed to be a clean exchange, but it appears Edwards... Bateman... was reporting to his FSB handler when he overheard my phone conversation with Kachimov in which the name of the asset was mentioned. Bateman recognised it immediately and tried to talk Arkady out of the exchange without success. There was too much at risk; the Russians needed the man we were willing to hand over. Unfortunately for our asset, under Edwards' instigation, Arkady sanctioned a last session of torture to try to discover the extent to which Tiresias had been compromised, including the names of the moles in MI5 whose covers might be at risk."

"It was a reckless decision."

"Kachimov used to be a master of his art... He knew how far to go and when to stop. He made sure our asset was still breathing in time for the exchange. Arkady had no way out, he had to cover his tracks. Edw... Bateman... had him where he wanted him. You see, Kachimov hadn't informed the Kremlin he'd made a deal with us... Although the truth is Arkady hdd been working for us too since the Cold War... He was part of our own Tiresias, Sugarhorse."

Sugarhorse. Annabelle remembered the code name which had been part of her own interrogation not so long ago. She should say something... It'd seemed very important to him at the time and yet... telling Harry would feel like a betrayal of sorts. What did that make her? Maybe her beautiful scarred love was right; she hadn't been born for lies and treachery.

"Was the asset MI5? Was he one of us, Harry?"

Annabelle knew Harry well enough to read embarrassment and regret in the silence that ensued.

"I sat in that room and listened to him die a slow and painful death," she said softly. "My old self tells me I should regret taking a life, and I'm scared because I can't find it in me to regret ever pulling that trigger and ending Bateman's life, not after that November night in the castle... I've never compromised us, Harry."

"I know, Annabelle. I've never doubted you."

She wondered if his confidence in her would be so forthcoming were he to know she'd slept with the enemy.

"Did Adam give Bateman my name?" Considering what Carter had been subjected to, she wouldn't have blamed him if he had. It'd explain how her kidnapping had come about.

"I don't think so. I believe Adam protected you till the very end by not revealing either that you had been with him at the castle or, most importantly, that it was you who had debriefed our asset."

As grateful as she was to Adam, she couldn't help but feel the anguish of guilt over the death of a man who'd died protecting her, leaving his only son an orphan.

"Annabelle..."

"What is it?"

"You know there may be others like Bateman interested in finding the man who managed to single-handedly bring down a network of spies that took decades to set in place, a man who might have stored a lot more than a Cold War file in his mind thanks to his prodigious memory."

"But our asset is dead."

"That is something they don't know."

What was Harry trying to do? Was his intention to shelter her? Or did he believe it was time for her to go back to her old life?

"Was the asset the agent you'd sent to infiltrate the Russian secret service?"

"Is that what your captor told you?"

"Stop answering a question with another question, Harry. He was telling the truth, wasn't he? Eight years, Harry. Is that how the service treats its people? We abandoned him. He was one of us and … we..."

"Why don't you say it, Annabelle? You're a linguist. Let's use pronouns appropriately, shall we? It was I who sent him to his death; and it wasn't the service but I who forsook him. Isn't that what you mean?"

"Harry..."

"No.I know very well how I failed him, and he paid dearly for that; we both did. He was the closest thing to a son I've ever had. I moved heaven and earth to bring him back, even when Whitehall ordered me to stop. I never lost hope... I regret so much I couldn't get to him in time... What they did to him... When you disappeared, Annabelle... it felt as if history were repeating itself. This job had already cost me three children- two of them my own flesh and blood. I wasn't ready to lose a fourth."

"And yet I was a suspect..."

"I wouldn't have been doing my job if I'd let my personal feelings rule my decisions. All the members of the team were considered suspects. I'd given Malcolm orders to monitor everyone's computers and intercept all calls in and out of The Grid. I was at home when you contacted Bateman and Malcolm alerted me."

"I could have sworn they knew you were coming."

"No, it was Bateman they were expecting. Your call simply put him there ahead of schedule."

"The voice on the phone that night... it was Bateman. That's what I heard; Bateman giving them your name."

"The call that made you think I was involved with your kidnappers?"

"There's still something I don't understand. If my captors were FSB and Vaughn... Bateman... was working for the Russians, weren't they all on the same side?"

"We've just discovered Bateman was a triple agent, working not only for us and Mother Russia but for the Chinese."

"Does that mean he had gone rogue and that my captors were there to do damage control?"

"It was damage control of some sort, yes."

There was only one question left to ask.

"What will happen to him now?"

No names were made; there was no doubt who she was referring to, and a sixth sense told her Harry knew she hadn't shared with him everything that had transpired during the time she was missing.


After kissing Harry and Ruth farewell and locking everything up, she prepared herself for bed. She turned the lights off, except the lamp on her night table; a futile effort to stop him from invading her dreams, almost as useless as pushing herself to the limit during physical therapy. God only knew how long it'd take her to stop dreaming about him; if that day ever arrived.

Despite her troubled sleep, her shoulder kept improving at a gradual and steady pace. It wouldn't be long before she was fit for active service again, a fact which added an extra worry to keep her awake at night. Every day that went by she was less and less sure she wanted to keep doing what she used to before the whole affair with Tiresias.


DECEMBER 2009

It was freezing cold and raining heavily when Annabelle walked out of the lift at Thames House after finishing with all the paperwork for Human Resources. Getting a taxi in such dreadful weather would be a labour of patience.

"I heard you´re coming back to work. How's your arm?"

"Ros!" she exclaimed, taken by surprise. "As good as new. Thanks. I've just been with the lads at HR. I'm seriously considering going back to my old tenure at university."

"You're a fine officer. Have you thought it through? That bastard deserved everything he had coming and there's nothing you should blame yourself for. You did what was expected of you. Nothing more, nothing less."

"Harry asked me the same question. It isn't a rushed decision, and what happened with Bateman's not the main reason behind it. It's a resolution that's been brewing for quite some time."

Ros studied her with her usual poker face and then nodded her understanding.

"Let me give you a lift home. You'll grow old waiting for a taxi in this bloody rain."

During the ride they talked about Russia and discovered they liked similar authors and composers.

Annabelle wondered if her confessing to Ros she was going to give up the service had somehow altered the dynamics of their relationship. She'd always looked up to the older woman and had a good work relationship with her, but tonight's conversation had been the longest and most relaxed they'd ever had. Perhaps she could pluck up the courage to ask the blonde the question that had been on her mind since they got in the car without fearing one of Myers' typically acerbic answers.

"So here we are," said Ros, parking her car in front of the Georgian building.

"Thanks for the lift. I was virtually resigned to spending the night on The Grid."

"Take care, Annabelle," she replied, brushing off the thanks as if she were suddenly uncomfortable with her chivalrous lapse, a slip that revealed she was human underneath her tough exterior.

"What happened with the man you and CO19 took away that morning?" blurted out the younger woman, removing her hand from the door handle.

The windscreen wipers moved from one side to the other in an almost hypnotic rhythm punctuating the pregnant silence inside the car.

As the seconds passed by and no reply came, Annabelle thought she'd probably regret having asked.

"What the hell," said Ros softly. "I'm not Sir Harry Pearce. I don't owe anyone anything in this. Look, we didn't arrest anybody that day. Bateman was taken to the coroner's. Tom was rushed to the hospital for surgery. But there were no arrests."

"I don't understand. There were three men in that room when I was shot. Are you trying to say the third one escaped? How could he with CO19 surrounding the place?"

"I'm not saying anything other than we didn't make any arrests," Ros repeated as if she were speaking to a child.

"Harry told me he was in custody. That they were going to deport him to Russia. Was that a lie?"

"Talk to Harry." The blond agent looked out the misty windshield into the cold night and the torrential rain. "I didn't even visit you in the hospital because, after playing hooky with Harry to rescue you, the MI5 shrink insisted I needed therapy to deal with my issues around my forced holidays in Russia. I have my own our boss it's time he let go of his. Maybe he'll listen to you."

GO TO CHAPTER 12

 
 
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rjforap: RArjforap on August 28th, 2013 03:19 am (UTC)
Wow! Just when I thought there couldn't be more to this story. Can not wait to read more! Are you sure there are only four more chapters? :)

Edited at 2013-08-28 03:20 am (UTC)
lillianschildlillianschild on August 28th, 2013 05:00 am (UTC)
Yes, four more. Unless the last chapter ends up being too long and I decide to split it up into a final chapter and an epilogue.
scoraig on August 28th, 2013 06:32 am (UTC)
So hooked on this story!
I'm very relieved to hear Lucas is not out of the picture. That would have been too hard to handle. It is always a treat when I see a message from you in my in-box to tell me there is another chapter! I do hope you get your strength back more and more each day.
melusine6619 on September 7th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC)
Well, that leaves as many questions as answers! I'm glad Lucas isn't in prison, and I'll keep hoping he and Annabelle have a chance. Looking forward to more!