"Good night, Dr. Williams," Molly said, her hand on the door knob.
"Good morning, Miss Moore," Mutt replied, his eyes shining with that familiar spark she had come to know lately. His hands were punched in his pockets, and he seemed to be leaning back on his heels, completely relaxed.
Molly tried not to allow herself to smile. She was too tired and annoyed to be bothered letting her heart jump through hoops. She desperately wanted to show him how he had no effect on her. She opened the door and hastily ran behind it, hiding effectively. The room was dark, the blinds drawn, only a smidgen of light escaping through the cracks in the blinds and door.
Alone in the darkness she touched her lips, still feeling the tingling of his mouth upon hers. In spite of herself, she could feel her lips turn upwards.
"Stop it!" she reprimanded herself in a sharp whisper. "He only cares about himself," her conscious forced her to speak the words. She wanted to snatch them back, to make them not true.
Hearing a soft thud in the darkness, Molly immediately flattened herself against the door, holding her breath. Her hand was on the doorknob, preparing to turn it when someone pressed the cold barrel of a gun up to her temple.
"Hush," they said. "We only want you to answer a few questions."
Molly managed to nod her head. I guess I should have let him come in here after all, she thought, bemused. The man had his hand against her sternum, pressing her into the wood. She did not struggle against it, annoyed. All she wanted to do was go to sleep.
"Alright," she said, an irritated edge in her voice.
"Good," the man replied.
She was about to ask whether or not they could turn on the light at least when she heard a firm rap at the door. The two of them immediately tensed. Again there was knocking, more firmly this time. Then an unsure "Moll? It's me..." came from the other side. Molly rolled her eyes.
"Answer the door," the man commanded in a hushed whisper.
"I don't know if that's the best idea," she countered, whispering.
"Do it now," he said, and she could feel his hand move toward her throat. Taking a deep breath she ran a hand through her hair and turned the knob. Peeking her head out she saw Mutt standing there, looking mighty pleased with himself. The harsh light of the hall made her eyes narrow. "Henry?" she said, trying to sound surprised.
"Yeah, you forgot your glasses," he said, holding out his fist, her favourite pair clenched between his fingers.
"Oh, thanks," Molly said, taking them from him. She was ready to close the door when he asked, "Can I come in?"
Her heart skipped. He was propositioning her. Trying to make sense of what he had just said and the assassin behind her, hidden in the shadows with a gun pressed to her back made her want to scream in frustration. When she hesitated the gun pressed harder. "Um... I don't think that's a very good idea," she said.
He looked disappointed. "Okay."
She was really at a loss for words now. Looking down she wanted to say something like: we work together or I like you only as a friend, or even maybe next time. Instead she forced a smile.
"Is everything okay?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. He looked serious.
"Yeah!" she said, a little too enthusiastically. "Yeah, just hard trying to get to sleep, you know...with all the noise."
Mutt nodded his head, still suspicious, "Yeah I know what you mean."
"Alright! See you around dinnertime," she said, trying to end the conversation.
She nearly heard the door click into place when Mutt jammed the door open, crushing Molly against the wall. Molly heard someone mutter something about painting and brains. Still caught behind the door, she screamed. The loud crack of a gun went off and she heard a body hit the floor.
"Henry!" she yelled.
"Moll!" he yelled back.
"Vhat in God's name is going on?" a heavily accented voice said, more calmly than necessary.
Finally someone turned on the light. The room was in complete disarray. Mutt was lying on the ground, his belly flat to the floor and hands covering his head. Isay was holding a gun, his hair mussed from sleep, the too-small bathrobe he roped around his figure barely reached his knees.
The person everyone was focused on, however, lay in the corner of the room, draped in dark clothing. Isay's shot in the dark had miraculously hit the assassin in the shoulder. He held his wounded arm, blood dripping to the carpet. Molly found herself staring at the splash of blood that landed on the back wall of the hotel room. It looked suspiciously artistic.
Isay glanced over at Molly.
"Here," he grumbled, handing her a handkerchief from the pocket of his robe.
"I'm not crying," she said stupidly.
"For dis," he said, pointing at his nose.
She immediately touched her nose and saw that her finger was drenched in fresh red blood. "Oh," she said nonchalantly and pressed the fabric to her face.
"Did I do that?" Mutt asked, smiling sheepishly.
"You idiot," she muttered.
The loud breathing of the man Isay had just shot filled the room. Mutt, gathering himself up off the floor was the first to go and check the situation. The sound of voices in the stairwell made everyone freeze.
"Oh for heaven's sake!" Molly yelled, exasperated. She stepped onto the far bed and dismounted on the other side. The assassin looked up at her, his eyes glazed over. She bent, taking his good arm and trying to help him up.
Mutt was immediately at her side, supporting the man with his weight. "This guy threatened to paint the wall with my brains and now look what I'm doing," he whinged.
"It must be that trip to the Vatican," Molly said peevishly.
The shouts were becoming louder. "Hurry," Molly said, "we have to get him out of here."
Isay pushed her out of the way and with a guttural grunt hoisted the man up on his shoulders. Both Mutt and Molly were slightly taken aback. Isay looked over at them. "Go distract!" he ordered.
Molly spun around on her heel and was out the door of the hotel room just as a manager came rushing toward her.
"Signorina! Scuzi, Signorina!" he shouted in a thick Italian accent.
Molly rushed toward him. She was determined to meet him further down the hallway so he wouldn't see the scene. "Signorina," he began as he neared her and before she had time to think, Molly hooked her fingers into his shirt collar and pulled him toward her. She covered his mouth fully with her own. Molly squeezed her eyes as tight as possible and moved her lips against his.
When he tried to pull away she pressed herself up against him harder. The door opened at the end of the hallway and she moaned loudly to drown out the sound. When she felt it safe she unlatched her lips from his, turned on her heel once more and headed toward the door at the end of the hall, the one marked with an exit.
Pushing it open, the door slammed against the jam. Adrenaline pumping through her ears, Molly ran down the stairwell until she saw the hem of Mutt's jacket.
"Hey!" she yelled.
Mutt spun around just in time to catch her as Molly tripped over a stair and fell into his arms.
"I don't have time for you!" he reprimanded, hauling her down the stairs. They could hear someone open a door above them.
"Keep going!" Molly yelped.
Isay was still carrying the man over his shoulder and managed to leap through an open door and into an alleyway. Mutt and Molly followed him. The piercing light of the morning made Molly's eyes burn and water. As they adjusted she could see the two men standing over the would-be assassin, who's breathing could be heard clearly from where she was standing.
"Who are you?" Mutt asked, kneeling so he was at eye-level with the man.
"The protector of all thing Holy, as proclaimed in his name," the assassin asked.
Molly stepped closer, leering slightly over Mutt's hunched frame. "Why are you trying to hurt us?" she found herself asking. Mutt craned his neck around to glare at her.
"I'm asking the questions," he said.
"I am bound by my faith not to kill, Signorina. I would not have killed you," he answered, his big, dark eyes staring up at her. She felt a little taken aback by his gaze, his chest was heaving up and down.
"Then what's that for?" Mutt questioned, pointing to the gun in the man's belt.
"I was instructed to collect answers," he said.
"Who do you work for?"
"I am only tied to He Who is Most Holy-"
"I know that pal, I'm just wondering about your earthly messenger. The one who you report to," Mutt said with a growing exasperation.
"The order I serve strives to protect the Holy Relics."
Molly, who was trying to piece his words together, suddenly remembered something she read in the book Dr. Jones lent her. "Mutt, undo his shirt," she demanded lightly.
"Just trust me," she said.
Having Isay restrain his good arm, Mutt unbuttoned the man's shirt and pushed aside his suit jacket.
"He might have a tattoo over his heart."
Mutt undid a few more buttons before revealing the bare skin of his breast. Molly helped him push aside the shirt until a small, faded tattoo was presented before the two of them.
"Oh my God," Mutt whispered, his mouth going dry.
"Is this not the same symbol Dr. Pratt uncovered in Tibet?" Molly asked, her voice low and excited.
Mutt and Molly always became quiet when they happened upon a discovery. The two stared in disbelief at the small symbol. Molly clutched onto his shoulders and leaned in closer.
"You're an alchemist," she said. "You're a Christian Alchemist."
The man did not answer.
"We are looking for the Bishop's Spear." Molly knew Mutt would want to murder her for this, but she found that sometimes honesty was the best way to go about things. "We mean to do nothing less with it than protect it. People close to us are in trouble and finding the spear is the only thing that can help them now."
The man looked down and then back up at Molly. "I am a brother who was charged with protecting the Spear. There are hundreds of us over the globe. The Spear shall not be harmed."
Molly smiled. "Then you underestimate your own enemies."
"Indeed, Signorina. Have you not done the same?"
"Tell us where it is," Mutt said.
The man glanced back to Mutt and smirked. Mutt, growing ever more frustrated, grabbed him by the collar and pushed him up against the brick wall. "Tell me where it is!"
"I cannot, Signore. No brother knows where the spear is hidden. The only information we receive is from our superiors."
"Henry," Molly said softly, placing her hand on his shoulder.
Slowly Mutt lowered him to the ground once more. "We have all the information we need Henry, let's just go," she said, tugging lightly on his shirt. Releasing his hands from the man's clothing, Mutt stood up, straightened his shirt and ran a hand through his hair.
Standing up he lead the three out of the alleyway and into the daylight.
"So then, where are we going to next?" he said, looking expectantly at Molly.
"After everything he just gave away? I'm surprised you even have to ask."