Candles flickered in their wall sconces, casting shadows on the faces of their captors. Tied back to back with Sydney against a large metal stake Nigel shivered, despite the large fire.

"Lets just call it...a ritual disembowelling"

The words sounded chilling in the dark room, even though the speaker was almost comical in sight. Ridiculous though the situation was a lump of fear forced it's way into Sydney's throat, leaving her speechless. It was her lack of foresight that had brought them into this mess, and for once she had no idea how to undo it.

It had seemed so...exciting, perhaps, a hunt for treasure (again), preventing a so-called curse from fulfilling itself; she knew that's what it was. Just a self-fulfilling prophecy – she believed in no other. It was set to be just like old times, only on this occasion she found herself lead easily between locations and victims. Too easily. Far too easily. She should have known.

"I preferred 'sacrifice' actually" he hated how goofy his voice sounded at that moment. He was going to die, they didn't have the statue. They were going to die and he sounded so stupid, so pathetic.

"I'll find it" he almost believed her, almost. True she was always right, and she did always succeed, but what if this was one time too many? What if they had used up all their nine lives? Nigel forced his mind onto positive thinking: Sydney always got him out of trouble, saved him from danger. Why should this time be any different?

He remained quiet Sydney was released, weighing the odds of salvation against the guidelines set against her. She could leave now, his brain whispered, she doesn't need to come back. Why shouldn't she leave you here to be burnt alive, or cut open... It wouldn't happen. All the years together couldn't be for nothing, couldn't end like this. She shot him a fierce look of reassurance and... determination?... friendship?... goodbye? Nigel couldn't tell. Knowing that he would crumble if he tried to speak he merely gestured with his head. I know you have to go. Sydney's face is set in determination, purely for their captor's effect, but her eyes say something different. Forgive me for leaving you here, forgive me if I can't...

Yet even as his boss left he felt the sinking feeling of despair. That was what the difference was – Sydney had always been by his side to protect him. Every time he'd met with death they had faced it together. Now she was gone her absence removed from him all traces of reserve and control he still possessed. He was going to die, have all his organs removed – whilst still alive, his brain hastened to add. Charming. He would never read a book again, never goad Claudia again, never see Sydney again.

All else paled before that. "Let him go" she had said. Always in the midst of trouble had she tried to cover his back, not caring so much for her own safety. "Let him go" might have been interpreted as "keep me instead" he would miss her when he died, miss the way she talked, miss how he could never tell her the things he really wanted to tell her. He'd never even kissed her.

Nigel groaned and shut his eyes. What with Langenfeld being a general idiot, and the sense of foreboding hanging over him it was going to be a long night....

AN: This is an idea I've been toying with for a quite a few months now. It works in my head, and I've got a rough outline written up, so I basically need some confirmation to go on? As ever, reviews are always nice :)