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The Blind Leading The Blind...

I don't know where the muses take me, I only know that I like it!


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Semper Fidelis, Part Five
colourful, hills
blind_author
Title: Semper Fidelis
Rating: Probably an R
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, and am making no profit from their use, more's the pity.
Warnings: Violence, sex
Summary: Written for a kinkmeme prompt: Moriarty frames John and "Anthea" of betrayals which cause both of the Holmes brothers to cut them off. Cue BAMF!John and BAMF!"Anthea" doing their best to clear their names. Both het and slash; Mycroft/Anthea and John/Sherlock.


(Title page by [info]mabivia)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

 

Part Five

 

Their dinner was indeed expensive and lavish, and Anthea couldn't deny she felt better after eating it. Her second indulgence of the evening was a long soak in the bath with deliciously-scented soaps before collapsing into bed.

 

John had insisted on her sleeping for longer this time around, and nothing she could say would dissuade him.

 

“Have you ever been to France?” Anthea asked in the morning as they cleared away the remnants of their breakfast.

 

John shook his head. “Went on a school trip to Germany once, but apart from that the only time I left England was when I was shipped out.”

 

It seemed strange to Anthea – her life necessitated global travel at least once a month (or at least, it had), and all at once she felt herself gripped with a strange sense of mischief. After all, they didn't have to stay in the hotel room the entire time she was running the search, did they?

 

“Why don't we go and explore?”

 

John glanced up from the plates he was stacking. “I beg your pardon?”

 

Anthea grinned, strangely elated at the idea of taking John on a tour around Paris. “What would you like to see? This search is going to take ages – no reason we can't have fun at the same time.”

 

“Are you suggesting that you and me – two wanted fugitives – go out and play tourist?” John asked, but Anthea wasn't fooled by his incredulous tone – a cheeky smile was spreading across his face.

 

“That's exactly what I'm suggesting...are you up for it?”

 

“Oh, god yes!” John enthused, and Anthea smiled at the way he practically ran into the other room to pick up his phrasebook and the map.

 

--

 

Hiding in disguise because you were being hunted by the police (and government operatives, in Anthea's case) didn't exactly seem conducive to having a good time, but John was happy to be proved wrong.

 

“No one's ever taken me on holiday before,” John commented as they stood in line for the lift that would take them to the top of the Eiffel tower.

 

If he was on his own, John would have been tempted to just walk up to the top, but he didn't think Anthea's injured shoulder would appreciate the jarring it was certainly going to get on the stairs. So they stood in line for the lift and, nearly an hour later, finally got to enjoy the view. John had an impulse to send Harry a postcard from the top of the Eiffel tower with the message 'have been declared a fugitive, will be holidaying in Paris until further notice' but resisted it.

 

Anthea navigated the city like a native, taking him to Les Invalides to see Napolean's tomb and then ferrying him to the Saxe-Breteuil market. It was market day, and for lunch John bought them both apples from one of the stalls.

 

He knew he'd stumbled dreadfully through the purchase (the vendor had been grinning tolerantly since the first syllable), but he'd refused to let Anthea buy for him. After all, John wasn't ever going to pick up French unless he made himself practice it, and it was kind of amusing to know he was probably butchering all attempts at communication in the meanwhile.

 

“At least you got the 'please' right,” Anthea commented, obviously noticing the way John was thumbing through his phrasebook one-handed.

 

I remembered that from school,” John explained. Well, that and 'merci'. I may be making a complete cock-up of this, but at least I'm polite about it.”

 

After lunch, Anthea insisted on taking him to Montmartre. Then, because it was getting late, they wandered around tacky souvenir stands and John bought himself a bag of candy floss.

 

“If this takes another day, I'll take you to the Louvre,” Anthea said, gesturing to her whirring Blackberry.

 

“Do I want to know how that thing maintained its internet connection while we were wandering all over Paris?” John wondered aloud.

 

“...you do know what WiFi does, don't you?”

 

“Not really,” John admitted. And then, as Anthea seemed to be on the verge of bursting into laughter, “Hey, I'm a simple guy, all right? I was far too busy learning to kick arse and save people's lives.”

 

“That's a professional description, is it?” Anthea smirked.

 

“Absolutely.” John nodded solemnly. “That's what being an army doctor is all about; kicking arse and saving lives.”

 

“I'm sure,” Anthea drawled, and promptly attempted to steal some of John's candy floss.

 

But the army had left John with fantastic reflexes, and he managed to yank the bag out of reach before she could get to it.

 

Anthea pretended to scowl. “You bought me apples, now be a good army doctor and share your candy floss.”

 

But John was feeling playful. The last few days hadn't had many light-hearted moments, so he was taking them where he found them. And it was strangely thrilling to see Anthea – usually the picture of professionalism – being playful right along with him.

 

“A man's candy floss is sacred,” he declared loftily. “But you can have the yellow bit – I don't like that flavour.”

 

Anthea shot a dubious gaze at the three layers of candy floss – blue, yellow and pink, with John only halfway through the blue. “It's processed sugar, how can it have any flavour beyond 'nauseatingly sweet'?”

 

“Your education in the ways of the candy floss in sorely lacking,” John sighed, then offered her the bag. “Go on then – edify yourself!”

 

After sampling all of the 'flavours' on offer, Anthea was forced to admit that the blue was indeed subtly different from the pink, but said she still couldn't taste anything in the yellow beyond 'sugar'.

 

“Your tastes just aren't refined enough,” John huffed.

 

Anthea smiled as they turned down a new street, then abruptly looked disquieted.

 

“What's wrong?” John asked.

 

Anthea smiled again (though it looked forced) and leaned in. “I think we're being followed.”

 

John made sure his expression didn't give away his alarm, and instead laughed as though Anthea had just told him a joke.

 

They walked on, trying to look natural and unconcerned as Anthea went on in a low voice, “I noticed him at the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre but I didn't think anything of it then – they're popular with tourists, after all. But he followed us from the Arc and sat down to have coffee when you were buying candy floss. And he got up the second we started to move on.”

 

John didn't nod, but caught her gaze to ensure she knew he understood.

 

They made their way down the street, trying not to look like they were rushing. Occasionally, when they rounded corners or changed direction, John thought he caught a glimpse of the person Anthea was referring to – the man with the novelty shirt and camera in his hand.

 

He didn't look like a paid assassin, but John supposed that was the point.

 

John and Anthea tried to look as though they were still oblivious to their follower. They glanced in shop windows, chatted about nonsensical subjects that flew out of John's head as soon as they'd stopped talking, and in general made every effort to look like tourists having a good time.

 

In the end, it was Anthea who came up with the plan to turn the tables. They walked into a McDonalds and got themselves cheap ice cream – they needed the receipt for the code to the restroom. They ensured they looked subtly shifty as they approached the bathroom together, implying they might be aware of their tail and were intending to go out the window or some such to ensure the man followed them into the restroom instead of simply waiting for them to come out.

 

It was fortunate Anthea had been forced to keep her male disguise in place, and that John had brought the taser along.

 

Still, John couldn't help but wince when he had to subdue the innocent bystander who'd been in the process of washing his hands when they entered. It was the same hold he'd used to render the policeman unconscious back in England, and guilt writhed in his belly when he remembered the way that had turned out.

 

He tasered their stalker as soon as the man entered the restroom and put him in the hold before he'd recovered. The man passed out without ever managing to say a word or strike a blow, which either meant they'd been lucky, or their pursuer wasn't as competent as he could be.

 

Anthea searched him, tossing the contents of his coat onto the bathroom floor, and John winced when he spotted the handcuffs and the police ID.

 

“Tell me that isn't what I think it is.”

 

“It's not what you think it is,” Anthea parroted obediently as she rummaged through the man's wallet.

 

“Anthea...” he warned.

 

“Given that the ID is in a different name to the one displayed on his driver's license, I highly doubt you've just taken down a member of Paris' finest,” she pointed out.

 

That sent a shiver of apprehension down John's spine. Paid assassins he could deal with, but paid assassins pretending to have police authority would make things much more difficult.

 

“Look at this!” Anthea exclaimed, producing a room key that looked suspiciously familiar.

 

Just to be sure, John pulled their own room key out to compare. Sure enough, they belonged to the same hotel, but while his and Anthea's was marked 301, the one they'd just appropriated read 303.

 

“He's got the room next to us,” Anthea muttered, tucking the key into the pocket of her jacket.

 

John knew it could just be lucky coincidence – that the room next to theirs had just happened to be vacant as well – and he was rather hoping it was. Because the idea that this man might have arranged for the room beside theirs to be unoccupied implied the kind of far-reaching network Moriarty specialised in.

 

Anthea was pulling apart the bag the man had been carrying (the kind tourists usually put their lunch, waterbottles and various maps in), unloading a second pair of handcuffs, a length of tightly coiled rope and a roll of duct tape.

 

John wondered if he was a callous bastard to be hoping one of Anthea's colleagues had commissioned the league of assassins, as opposed to Moriarty. Because the more they saw of his people, the more John thought Moriarty wanted them alive.

 

He had no idea why that would be, but he felt very strongly that it didn't bode well for them.

 

--

 

Anthea had been gratified to discover their stalker had a laptop in his room. More specifically, a laptop with emails still on it – she'd opened it up and checked, just to make sure it wasn't a dummy.

 

The emails were in code which, frankly, she didn't have time to break right now, but she was more interested in tracing the IP address. Unfortunately, there were so many layers of security trying to deter her it was going to take at least fifteen minutes.

 

“We should probably just take the laptop,” she admitted, unplugging it and tucking it under her arm. “He already knows we're onto him, so leaving it here isn't going to cover our tracks.”

 

John nodded, then suddenly froze, his head swinging towards the door like a fox alarmed by the howl of the hounds.

 

“Get down!” he yelled, shoving Anthea to the floor behind the coffee table and collapsing on top of her.

 

Just in time, too. Anthea barely had enough time to register John's weight on top of her before the door was kicked inwards and a man charged into the room armed with a pistol.

 

Still struggling to catch her breath, Anthea barely saw John move. He grabbed the leg of the coffee table and threw it towards their attacker at the same time that he launched himself from the floor. Bullets ripped through the air, but they mostly embedded themselves in the ceiling, the man having thrown his arms up automatically to protect himself from the table hurtling towards his face.

 

John followed, bursting into a motion that had to be seen to be believed. He launched himself from the floor, both feet impacting against the table and slamming it into the gunman's chest. The wood split in half with a piercing crack that had a strange crunching sound as a coda, and the man dropped like a corpse.

 

John fell to the floor his legs tucked underneath him, knees folding so that he landed neatly on his hands and the balls of his feet.

 

For a moment, Anthea was quite literally struck dumb.

 

Then the tableau was broken when John rocked onto his knees and rubbed at the backs of thighs, grimacing. “Christ, it's been a while since I've done that!”

 

“Are...are you all right?” Anthea asked, still feeling a bit stunned.

 

“I feel like I've just torn every single muscle along the back of my legs,” John groaned.

 

Now that the adrenaline was beginning to die, Anthea's arm was reminding her she'd had a knife in it recently and it didn't appreciate being shaken around. But she ignored that – their biggest problem was getting out of the hotel.

 

“Come on!” she urged, pulling John to his feet and trying not to feel guilty when he winced. “The shots should keep people in their rooms for another few minutes – while they're busy calling emergency services, we'll pick up our stuff and go out the fire exit.”

 

John nodded, and within thirty seconds they were hurrying down the stairs, intent on escaping the building before the police roped it off, the clandestine laptop secreted in Anthea's bag.

 

As soon as they were free and clear, Anthea couldn't help asking John, “Are you sure you're not ex-SAS?”

 

John looked embarrassed. “Well...”

 

Anthea could feel her eyes widening, but then he grinned and chuckled. “Got you, Rosy.”

 

“Very funny,” she muttered. “Now this may seem like an overreaction, but I suggest we get out of here and go to Germany for a while.”

 

“A country where I actually have a chance at understanding what people are saying? I'm all for it – let's go.”

 

They were on the train within the hour – if there was one thing Anthea liked about Europe, it was that the countries were all in such easy distance of each other.

 

She glanced over at John, and felt her lips flatten. He was massaging his thighs again, something he'd been doing ever since they'd left the hotel whenever he thought she wasn't looking. Anthea had the feeling he was trying not to worry her, which was somehow both frustrating and strangely endearing.

 

“Are you all right?” she asked, glancing pointedly at John's legs.

 

Caught, John froze, then grinned ruefully. “I'm just not as flexible as I used to be. And right now my muscles are reminding me I tried to make them assume a position they haven't touched in over five years.”

 

“That was pretty amazing, though,” Anthea commented. “Do you think you killed him?”

 

“It's likely,” John admitted. “I broke his sternum – that often stops your heart.”

 

“It was a different man to the one following us,” Anthea mused. “Probably a contact – if a call isn't made at a specific time or some such, he assumes the worst and comes in guns blazing.”

 

John made a noise of assent and nodded towards the laptop open on Anthea's knees. “How are you going with that?”

 

“Not good,” Anthea admitted. “It's like the email came from a computer that's only sporadically connected to a network, which means I either have to catch it when it is online or physically hack it.”

 

“'Physically' meaning...?”

 

“Meaning sitting down at the actual computer rather than just tracing it and trying to hack it remotely.”

 

John nodded absently, and leaned back in his seat, resuming the massage of the muscles in his thighs.

 

--

 

Sebastian had expected Jim to be displeased that the latest attempt to acquire John Watson had failed, but instead he seemed almost nonchalant about the outcome.

 

“And now they're heading to Germany,” Jim sighed. “You just can't get good help these days.”

 

Sebastian didn't comment, waiting for whatever order Jim decided to give.

 

“Of course, I should have realised Johnny would be a slippery customer,” he went on, chuckling to himself. “You saw him when we were getting that bomb on him; a stoic soldier to the end.”

 

Jim smirked, his eyes glittering with anticipated pleasure. “I'll enjoy breaking him.”

 

He was silent for a few moments. And then, with a broad smile, “Seb? Be a dear and fetch the good doctor for me?”

 

“How do you want him?” Sebastian asked.

 

“As unspoiled as possible, but I'll understand if there's some packaging problems.”

 

--

 

John knew the high kick was a bad idea the very instant after he'd done it. But he hadn't been able to stop himself – he'd seen an avenue of attack, and he'd just reacted.

 

His right leg was the worst of the two. While his left leg certainly hurt whenever he tried to extend it, his right leg barely supported his weight. John wasn't entirely sure if it was because he'd extended it further than his left or if it was the psychosomatic limp making a reappearance.

 

At least now they were in Berlin. And in a nice hotel.

 

“Well, I'm going to have a nice, hot soak, then maybe dinner, and then I'm going to bed,” John groaned.

 

“I hope you feel better,” Anthea said, frowning as John winced all across the room.

 

“I'll be right,” John assured her. “As long as I don't try to jump-kick anyone else.”

 

He ran a warm bath and spent perhaps longer than was strictly necessary in it. He only emerged when Anthea called out that she was ordering dinner from room service and what did he want?

 

The only highlight of the evening was just before John went to bed, when Anthea's constantly-running search turned up a match – Thomas Abbot's fingerprints matched those from a body that had been discovered a day ago, almost right on the border between Germany and Switzerland.

 

Of course, that raised the question of why he'd been killed.

 

“It just seems unnecessary,” Anthea muttered, tapping at her Blackberry. “If he'd been framed, surely he'd be left alive to suffer for at least a little while?”

 

“I don't think Moriarty tolerates failure,” John commented, settling himself on the bed. “And leaving your DNA and weapon of choice at the crime scene is probably a pretty big failure in his book.”

 

“Well, if it's failure, that puts a whole different spin on things. That means Moriarty didn't want us to know about his connection to Abbot, which instantly makes it much more profitable to look into Abbot's life.” She grimaced. “I mean, assuming Moriarty hasn't already erased any evidence of his contact with the man.”

 

John made an agreeable murmur.

 

“I'll look into what the police have found on him so far, and then-”

 

“Sleep first,” John said. “Outwit evil mastermind later.”

 

Right. Yes. I'll be quiet now.”

 

John had a nonsensical dream about going shopping but being unable to buy the right things because the containers were all switched around and the labels were just gibberish. Anthea woke him to take his turn 'on watch' at about two in the morning, and John amused himself for a little while by playing solitaire on the stolen laptop. But at four-thirty he found himself yawning and rubbing at his eyes, so he went into the bathroom to splash some water on his face.

 

John stared at his silhouette in the mirror, appreciating the fact that it was his own face looking back to him – with all the disguises Anthea had them wearing, it was becoming rather unsettling to glance into a reflective surface.

 

He could see the reflection of the bedroom, streetlights glimmering through the open window and illuminating the huddle of blankets rising and falling almost imperceptibly as Anthea breathed.

 

A shadow flickered across that square of light.

 

Someone was climbing through the window.

 

John automatically dropped to a crouch, putting himself out of their direct line of sight. The bathroom was darker than the bedroom – he hadn't turned on the light for fear of waking Anthea – so it was possible he hadn't been noticed yet. He'd left a gun on top of the bedside table closest to the bathroom; if he could just get to it...

 

The intruder slid silently to the floor, their head turning to glance at the occupant of the bed. John slowly slid around the bathroom door, his heart throbbing painfully against his ribs – Anthea was in a very vulnerable position. John couldn't shout to her; she'd need time to wake up fully, and it just might alarm their enemy into killing her.

 

John hadn't missed the gleam of a knife tucked unobtrusively into a palm.

 

The intruder moved closer, as though he was trying to get a glimpse of Anthea's face, and John knew he had to move. They were getting too close to her – in a moment he wouldn't be able to stop them if they tried to stab her, so there was nothing to do but charge in and hope for the best.

 

With a bellow designed to both wake Anthea and surprise the intruder, John lunged across the room, making a grab for the right arm – the one that held the knife.

 

But the intruder moved swiftly, and they were clearly well-trained. A fist drove unerringly towards John's sternum, and the doctor was forced to block it with one arm and twist to the side, losing precious momentum. He managed to seize the right wrist, but now didn't have enough force to twist the blade free with one hand; the most he could do was shove it downwards, keeping it away from his chest and abdomen.

 

A fist swung towards his face and John's arm rose to block it, smashing into his attacker's elbow. But they simply folded around the blow, seizing hold of John's shoulder and pushing him down even as John felt a heel hooking around his leg to trip him.

 

John felt himself start to go down and his free hand wrapped around the intruder's neck, determined to bring them to the ground with him.

 

His hissed the air out of his lungs as he went down, minimising the chances of being winded by the impact. Pain flared along his back as he hit the floor, but John was more concerned about the sudden burn that had sliced along his left thigh, just above his knee.

 

That his legs were in pain was nothing new – they'd been complaining ever since he'd foolishly kicked that man in the chest – but this was different. This wasn't the dull burn of abused muscles, this was weeping sting of opened flesh.

 

The knife must have caught him.

 

With a sense of desperation, John's hand left his attacker's neck and seized their hair, dragging them to the side with all the strength he could muster – he couldn't allow them to remain on top of him. Not with him already injured.

 

But the man (the impact had at least told him that the intruder was male) didn't move, somehow withstanding the brutal yanking on his scalp in favour of leaning down and wrapping a large hand around John's neck.

 

The sudden, crushing pressure on his windpipe was stunning. But John didn't allow himself to panic – all he needed to do was jab his fingers into the tender spot on the man's neck just above where the clavicles joined...

 

But he never got a chance to. There was movement behind John's attacker, a muted crack of metal on flesh, and the man collapsed on top of him.

 

Anthea stood over them, the gun from the bedside table clutched in her hands.

 

--

 

Anthea had jerked awake at the sound of someone yelling. For a moment, she was disoriented, not entirely sure where she was or what was going on, but then her eyes focused in the darkness – John was struggling with someone.

 

She scrambled out of the bed, glancing wildly around for a weapon. John's pistol was resting on the bedside table, and she snatched it up. But she didn't dare shoot it – she didn't trust her aim enough to not hit John. So she reversed her grip on the gun, holding it by the barrel and preparing to use the heavy grip like a club.

 

John and the other man went down on the floor, the intruder uppermost, and Anthea took her chance. Wrapping both her hands around the pistol she swung it like a golf club, bringing it down on the man's head.

 

She caught him in the temple, and his skull seemed to fold around the corner of the grip. The impact made a wet, cracking sound, and Anthea felt a moment of resistance followed by a sickening kind of softness, as though she'd cracked open an egg.

 

His whole body seemed to crumple in on itself and he slumped on top of John. His complete, unnatural stillness coupled with the nauseating dip in the side of his head told Anthea he was dead.

 

For a moment, she was too stunned to move. Then she bent to haul the body off John.

 

Her arm throbbed painfully, and Anthea glanced down at it automatically. It was hard to tell in the darkness, but she didn't think she'd popped any stitches.

 

She turned to ask John, and suddenly realised John hadn't picked himself up off the floor. In fact, he was partially curled up, as though in pain, and both of his hands were clamped around his left leg.

 

Between his fingers, dark liquid glistened in the dim light.

 

“John?” Anthea whispered urgently, dropping to her knees beside him. “What's wrong – what happened?”

 

“He had a knife,” John panted, nodding towards a dull gleam of metal on the floor. “Got me in the leg when we went down.”

 

A frission of fear shivered through Anthea's chest. She wasn't exactly a doctor, but that looked like quite a lot of blood on John's leg. She rose, thinking that she should at least turn on the light so they could get an accurate idea of the damage, but John's hand seized onto her wrist and held her in place.

 

Anthea tried not to think about how slick John's palm was.

 

“Don't turn on the light,” John hissed. “We don't know if he came alone.”

 

“Well we need a good look at your leg,” Anthea said firmly. “Come on – put your arm over my shoulder, I'll try to get you out into the hallway.”

 

She spared a moment to hope there were no staff or visitors wandering the hall at this hour, then bent down and tried to heave John to his feet.

 

It didn't work. John's right leg shook incessantly whenever he tried to put weight on it, and his bleeding left leg just folded beneath him like wet paper. And any attempt to let Anthea support his weight was a disaster – her injured arm meant she couldn't hold him as firmly as he needed to be, and she ended up dragging him out of the room and into the fire exit down the hall.

 

“This is embarrassing,” she heard John mutter as he clamped his balled-up shirt against his leg in an effort not to leave a blood trail.

 

“Is it bad?” were the first words out of Anthea's mouth when she set John against the wall in the deserted stairway.

 

“I'm not in danger of bleeding to death,” John said. He sounded calm, but the corners of his eyes were tight with pain. “It didn't get the artery and I think the major veins are unscathed. But it can't take my weight, which means the muscle's probably buggered.”

 

A clatter echoed up the stairwell, and Anthea glanced over the railing, hoping whoever it was wasn't going to come to their level.

 

She jerked her head back just as quickly.

 

“About five people are climbing the stairs, wearing balaclavas,” she reported.

 

“I guess he wasn't alone then,” John muttered. He then proved his army roots by swearing vociferously.

 

“I'll have to get you back into the room,” she said, grabbing hold of John's shoulders and dragging him back into the hallway.

 

She just hoped no one had followed the first man into the hotel room. But the reinforcements hadn't been hurrying, so Anthea was hoping they were just a clean-up crew and didn't know she'd killed the man who'd broken into their room.

 

She practically dropped John against the wall and fumbled with the keys. Piercing pain shot through her injured arm whenever she moved it, but she ignored that in favour of shoving the door open.

 

After a quick glance into the room – it appeared the dead body was still the only occupant – Anthea grabbed onto John's shoulders once more, intending to pull him into the room, but was stopped by one red-tinted hand over her own.

 

“Let's be realistic,” John said softly. “There's no way you can get me out before they come up here.”

 

“There's the lift!” Anthea snapped, irritated at John for wasting time with needless pessimism.

 

“Even if you manage to get me to the lobby, what then? It's not like we have a car.”

 

“I'll think of something!”

 

“You know what you need to do.” John's voice was eerily calm. “You need to get whatever you need from the room, and then you need to run. And you need to leave me here.”

 

No!” Anthea snarled. “Absolutely not!”

 

“You have to,” John said, his expression set and his voice still so serene it was horrifying. “And it's unlikely they'll kill me, anyway. Judging by our skirmishes thus far, they're under orders to bring us in alive.”

 

Anthea wanted to scream at him. But the look in John's eyes told her arguing with him would do no good – John was one of the most affable people she'd ever met, but when he was determined, truly determined, on a course of action, nothing could be done to prevent or dissuade him.

 

And though it made Anthea's throat and eyes burn to think of it, he was right – she couldn't get him out of this hotel. Not injured the way he was.

 

She couldn't get John out. But she could ensure she would find him again.

 

Determined not to waste any time, Anthea darted into the room and grabbed up her bag, taking along John's guns and the laptop, and trying to ignore the constriction in her chest.

 

When she came out, John was still leaning against the wall, staring at the door to the fire exit with an appalling blankness on his face, a kind of grim acceptance.

 

She shoved the small bundle of plastic and wiring at him. “Swallow this!”

 

John blinked, staring down at the small cylindrical object on her palm. It was much larger than the average pill, but Anthea supposed there was nothing she could do about that now – besides, the throat was more flexible than many people thought it was.

 

“It's the GPS I was working on,” she explained hastily. “The one I showed you, remember?”

 

“The one that was designed to be implanted under the skin,” John said, realisation lighting his face. “And you were trying to make it undetectable.”

 

“That aspect hasn't been tested yet, and I don't know if it can stand up to the acid in your stomach, but...” Anthea swallowed hard, and told herself the pressure in her sinuses was just her imagination. “But I'll find you John, I promise.”

 

John's smile was heartbreaking. “Look on the bright side – at least I'll be able to find out whether it really was Moriarty who landed us in this mess.”

 

Anthea didn't trust herself to reply to that.

 

John threw the capsule back and swallowed with difficulty, then looked up at her. “Go on, run for it.”

 

And still she hesitated, some part of her unable to condone just leaving John to the enemy.

 

“Go on,” John urged. “It'll be all right...Rosy.”

 

With a weak giggle that turned into a sob, Anthea made herself turn away. She told herself her blurry vision was just her eyes struggling to adjust to the light, and that the moisture on her cheeks was sweat, certainly not tears.

 

She heard the distinctive sound of the metal fire door opening just as she reached the carpeted stairs, and put on a burst of speed to take herself around the corner and out of their line of sight.

 

She ran, and she didn't let herself look back.

 

--

 

AN: Thanks to my marvellous beta, ginbitch!



Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight



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Thanks! And Mummy is certainly going to make an appearance...

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