Toby Jugg sat in his wheel chair, watching from the huge window. He could see the ambulance bearing its grisly burden, could see the police officers standing talking to Dr Helmuth, the head quack. He had seen the car come up the drive, but it had disappeared between the trees, so he couldn't tell whether it had arrived or not.
"Hello Juggler." The voice, cheerful and hearty, bringing with it memories of school holidays and the games they played. Slowly wheeling himself around, he saw, standing in the door way, a tall young man, eyes shining with the pleasure of seeing an old chum.
"Brian!" he said, trying to muster a smile. He was a handsome enough young man with brown hair that turned bronze in the sunlight. His face however was haggard, and was that of a man tormented by some demon that he could not exercise. He forced himself to move over to greet his guest.
"How long has it been?"
"Too long!" Brian said, grasping the hand with a firmness that shocked him. Gazing up at him, Tony was shocked at how despite the fact that he looked much older than his years, there was glow present that he only ever remembered noticing when Roger was around. Looking past his friend, he noticed for the first time, three children standing in the doorway.
"These would be my guests?"
Brian nodded. "Cat, James, Thomas, come in and say hello."
They stepped in to the room, with more than a small amount of hesitation, and stood in a row, watching him.
"Toby, May I present Katherine Elizabeth
"everyone just calls me Cat," Katherine said, dropping a small cutesy. Toby responded with a bow from the waist. She was about 14 or 15, with dark hair tied back from her face and green eyes that spoke wisdom beyond her years. The hands that gripped the well worn dress were extremely thin, as was the face in which the knowing eyes rested.
"James Buchan Barnes."
James saluted in the American Army's way. His brown hair was perhaps a little longer than regulations allowed, and the brown eyes within the thin face regarded the world with a defiance that Toby recognized from the mirror.
"And Thomas Raymond."
Thomas copied his companion's salute, but was easily the most nervous of the three, his Blue eyes never resting on Toby.
"Cat, Thomas, James, May I introduce you to Flight Lieutenant Albert Abel Jugg."
"That's a mouthful." Cat said, with Sympathy. Toby couldn't stifle a smile and decided that he like this strange Fairy child.
"Nearly everyone," he said, "call me Toby. You are
welcome to as well."
"Alright. Toby, then." She said it nervously, but with the determination of one attempting to adapt to an alien country.
Perhaps it was because of this that the short man standing in the doorway who said,
"Why don't we go and find where you're supposed to be sleeping? Let you guys catch up?"
Toby nodded, "they're upstairs."
He nodded and left, while Brian took a seat, watching Toby intently.
"They're younger than I expected." He said coolly. Brian shrugged.
"War makes us all grown up." He replied equally coolly.
"I don't suppose I can ask what's happened to
"You can ask, I can't answer." He shook his head. "It's a bloody mess."
Toby waited for his friend to say more, but Brian was silent gazing out of the window.
"Can I ask what's happened here?"
"I don't know can you?"
Both men laughed, at the old joke.
"Guy's name was Joshua Fellman. He hung himself."
Brian face winced, but his eyes held less emotion.
"Don't be. It happens. Around here," he wheeled himself over to the window, where he could see the garden and more precisely the group of ex-service personnel gathered around Dr. Helmuth. Undoubtedly rehashing the final days of Joshua life.
"More often than not."
Brian tensed at the sound of something, something different in Toby's voice. It was, he was sure, more than a reaction to the injury that had cost him the use of his legs.
"Toby." He said, placing himself between the window and his friend, forcing him to look at him. "What's the matter?"
There was a moment, just a moment, where the two men's
haunted eyes met and that Brian was convinced Toby would tell him.
Then the moment past and the expression on Toby's face of false
"Nothing you can do anything about." He said sadly. It took all of Brian's self control not to use the phrases he'd leant recently.
The attic rooms must have once served as maid's rooms, Cat thought as she looked around her.
Unpacking hadn't taken long. While they had (with some difficulty) managed to get her new clothes, they barely filled one draw of the chest of draws. A red dress, a gift from the Howling Commandos, hung in solitary splendor in the wardrobe.
Her personal processions took up even less space. There was her locket, which always hung about her neck; her knife, that was likewise always on her person; the gun with the bullets, what she hid among her underwear, in a house full of men, if nothing else it would a distraction; and the book. She ran her fingers along the cracked and broken green leather of the spine. She knew every poem in here, but it was still comforting to have it around. If merely to know she wasn't along.
"Better than the usual." Bucky's voice made her jump. She had been so caught up in her using that she hadn't heard or smelt him approached.
"But admittedly compared to diffusing bombs, most
"Don't bet on it." Cat replied, turning around. "Think we might be handling a big one here."
Bucky blinked. "Why?"
"Call it gut instinct." Cat replied, massaging the back of her neck with one hand, "but there's something bad here."
Bucky had worked with Cat long enough to know not to question her instincts.
"So," he said, forcing himself to smile. "We do
what we do best."
"Which is?" she smiled, stepping up so that they were almost touching.
Cat laughed. "Anyway," she said, putting the book down. "Logan says he's arranged some back up."
"That," Bucky replied, "makes me more nervous." He glanced around the room. "You done unpacking? Toby says if you are he'll take us downstairs and introduce us to everyone."
"I don't need to impress upon you that everything you see and hear down here is top secret." The Man, introduced only as Race sat opposite Foyle, regarding him closely.
"To be perfectly frank, I was against bringing in the
official police force, But Canada," he jerked his head at the short
man who leant against the filing cabinet's smoking a cigar, "says
you're a good man. From him I take that as high praise."
"Well, I'm very grateful for that, Mr Race, but you haven't really given me anything to go on."
Canada's cigar moved up and down as he lightly chuckled.
"They call themselves the Black Spiders. A Nazi support group. Their mission is to destroy morale in the armed forces. More than that..." Race held his hands up. "We don't know."
"We know they've got a base here in Hastings. That
Old place, Burn's Manor, out off the main track." The Canadian
Foyle nodded. "It's been requisitioned by the army as a convalescent's home hasn't it?"
Canada nodded. "That's what they're calling it. Place is a nuthouse."
"What we require from you, Mr. Foyle," Race
interrupted, shooting the man a furious look. "Is any information
you might have upon the house or its inhabitants. Any suicides,
mysterious events, even blackout regulations violations. Any and all
information could be used by our agents."
"Who you have inserted into the house."
"indeed." Race said, regarding Foyle even closer.
"Well, I'm sure we'll be able to
"Excellent." Race said, getting to his feet. "Our agents will be in contact."
He began to leave the office. Canada however stood for a moment regarding Foyle.
"Been a long time, Christopher." He said softly.
"And we're both a long way from Wipers."
Foyle nodded. "May I ask why you recommended me?" he said, regarding his former brother in arms with calm eyes.
"I want the kids to get out of there alive." He replied. "And somethin' tells me they'll need all the help they can get."