The Penultimate Battle

The Palace, Alexandria: 30 July 204 BC

Lestrade stared at the revived group. "And they're all alive. Huh."

Sherlock stared at him in shock. "Lestrade?"

He smiled at the man slightly, nodding.

The consulting detective sat up. "Real question, though. How did you get here?"

Faith lifted her eyes to the ceiling.

Thank you, Osiris.

She smiled at her friends, but it didn't reach her eyes. "Welcome back to the Land of the Living."

Lestrade helped Sherlock to his feet. "Fell through a hole in time, apparently. What strange new shit have you gotten mixed up in?"

John pulled the detective into a hug. "It's good to see you, Lestrade!"

Lestrade sputtered, returning the hug awkwardly. "Yes. Well."

Susie looked around at the scene. "Well. home sweet home I guess. But it looks like someone's been redecorating while we were out."

Faith reached out a hand to help Susie up. "It's good to see you again."

Susie pulled Faith into a tight hug. "Hey kiddo! When you didn't show up with us I was worried. Are you alright?"

Faith stiffened at the hug and made it short. "Fine. I..I'm fine."

The Red Cloud curled around her arm giggled.

Susie looked at Faith in concern. "What happened honey? Something really bad happened, didn't it? You never pulled away from me before."

At the sound of the giggle she turned to Faith's arm. "What was that?"

The cloud billowed about, excited. "Yes. Yes. This one! I want to play with her, Faith!"

Zephyrus appeared, eyes ablaze. "So. You're all alive? Guess I'll have to try again, won't I?"

Faith spun around, her hands clenching into fists, bracers glowing. She growled. "This again. Great."

Violet looked at Faith sympathetically, her eyes still damp with tears. "Su… I think she has been through a lot, probably more then us. She was more or less alone. we had each other, and well you had Lucian through some of it. . ."

Susie glared at her. "Hey! None of you noticed Toby was different either, so don't go blaming me for that!"

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "No offense, ladies, but could we perhaps focus on the fact that there's a rather evil man with superpowers trying to kill us?"

Susie looked at Zephyrus for a moment, then pointed over at the figure of Lucian. "Look who we found, brother mine. Got anything you wanna say to him?"

Lucian growled. "I have something to tell him." He rushed Zephyrus, throwing up his gauntleted arms.

Zephyrus deftly struck him aside. "But you were dead! You all were supposed to be dead!"

Susie smirked. "We got better… Ready to try again?" She stood tall and looked her brother directly in the eyes, her face filled with calm determination.

Sherlock grinned. "Sorry. Well, not really."

"Lucian!" cried Mira. "Are you alright?" She ran to her brother.

He hissed in pain. "I'm fine. I just. . . that bastard chose Tobias over me. And then still killed me when I was in his body." He smiled sardonically as disbelief spread over Zephyrus' face. "That's right. Set switched our bodies. And you still chose your pet over me. You are no brother of mine, Zephyrus."

Stepping towards Zephyrus, Romana tried to reason with him. "Zephyrus, the gods wanted us to stop you, that flail has taken control of you! We don't want to hurt you if we don't have to…"

Zephyrus chuckled. "You think you can stop me with toys? Don't make me laugh." He lifted his arms, and firebolts hurtled from the sky once more.

Sherlock smirked. "I could stop you without toys."

"Look out!" cried Lestrade in horror.

John screamed in pain as the flaming boulders slammed into him.

Lestrade sank to his knees. "Oh, God, no."

Sherlock sighed. "Oh, stop being so melodramatic, Lestrade. He's fine. It just smarts a bit."

"A bit?" cried John. "Have you ever been burned alive and crushed at the same time?" He walked towards them, completely unscathed.

Lestrade gasped. "What the. . ."

John brandished his rainbow shield. "Shield of Mut. Makes me somewhat immortal. Looks like it's going to come in handy. Maybe I should keep it for when Sherlock decides to cook again."

Susie used the confusion to move towards Zephyrus. She walked unhurriedly but with purpose, her eyes never leaving him. "Do you remember when we fist met, Zeph? Do you remember that? Cause you really need to remember what we said to each other that day."

Zephyrus stared at her. "I. . . but Susie. None of that matters any more. This is what destiny has brought us to."

Sherlock scoffed. "Destiny's just a fancy word for being too lazy and stupid to change your ways. Grow up, will you? These people are your friends. For god's sake, you at least have friends!"

Susie kept walking til she was an arms length away from Zephyrus "Destiny my ass! Answer my question."

Zephyrus sighed. "We promised to always protect each other. No matter what. I know. I remember. But don't you understand? This world needs to burn. I have no choice."

Sherlock put his crown back on. "There is always a choice, Zephyrus. You can choose to surrender, to come back to the people who love you. Or you can choose to be a short-sighted idiot."

Faith growled softly. She was tired of all this already. "I. . . I can't. . ." She ran out of the room, Lestrade in her wake. The situation was a bit too much for him as well.

Susie sighed in frustration. "I knew you'd forgotten. You moron!" She leaned forward and slapped him, hard. "I said that I would do anything for you, and then you made me promise that if you ever became like him that you wanted me to end you…. Now do you remember?"

"I. . ." Zephyrus' eyes are pained, but soon turned furious. "I dare you to try, woman."

Violet glared at Zephyrus. "I am willing to help her, after what you did."

Mira grinned. "As am I. And I know you will love what I can do." She giggled, strapping on her girdle.

Zephyrus rolled his eyes. "Oh, like I'm afraid of a water sword, a book and a piece of negligee."

Susie's lips quirked into a cheeky smirk. She leaned forward and kissed Zeph on the lips before stepping back and smiling full out at him. "You know I never could refuse a challenge, brother mine!" She turned her back and walked away from him, her cheeky smile not reaching her sad eyes.

John moaned. "Oh, that doesn't sound good." He ran to Sherlock's side.

"Stay back, you moron!" bellowed Sherlock, pushing him behind him.

John returned the favor. "I'm immortal, you idiot! You stay back!"

Violet looked at John. "What do you expect to do? Kill him with your shield?"

John shook his head. "No. I expect to stop him from killing Sherlock with it."

He stood in front of Sherlock, his arms spread.

Violet gripped her sword tighter, nodding at him. "You are going to protect the one you love. If you can do that, I can protect the one I love."

Faith returned to the room. She was much more calm now. A light from Faith's bracers surrounded the team. "I can keep you all alive long enough, weapons or not."

John nodded. "Then we're all in this. Let's do it."

Zephyrus laughed. "You think your powers are a match for mine? Attack me and find out."

Mira smiled demurely at him, her eyes glowing. "Oh, come on, Zephy. I know you've always fancied me."

He smiled, eyes wide. Then he laughed. "Yeah. And that really isn't your color."

Violet gripped her sword and swung it downward trying to see if she could make a river of sorts.

Zephyrus smirked. "Well. The mouse does have some fight in her." He raised the flail and redirected the water at her, splashing her in the face with violent force. "Not enough, I'm afraid."

Violet wiped her face off with her already wet sleeve and glared even more. "I am not a mouse!" she bellowed. She whacked the ground twice as hard.

Zephyrus laughed as he redirected her blow again. "Anyone else got anything?"

Susie raised her arm in the air and waved it theatrically. "Ooh, me! pick me! oh please pick me!"

He turned to Susie. "What? With your book?"

"I do," hissed Tobias. He threw a spear at Zephyrus, piercing his shoulder. As Zephyrus howled in pain, he grinned at Susie. "I still got it? Yeah. I still got. . ."

He was cut off by the spear being returned, piercing him in the gut.

Zephyrus frowned. "I'm sorry, Tobias. I really am. But I can't let you stop me."

Faith did not speak as she prepared to attack, readying herself to silently draw his energy out of his body, attempt to weaken him. She turned her head slightly to Sherlock, hoping he knew that he may be the only one powerful enough to stop Zephyrus.

Susie just continued to grin at Zeph, ignoring the fact that Toby was on the floor in agony. "Don't need no book to help me stop you! Feeling a little strange brother mine? Can't believe you actually let me kiss you. what were you thinking?"

Romana smirked. "Zephyrus va Boeshane, you are damn lucky you didn't make me regenerate." She stomped her foot on the ground, stopping time. Looking around, she was glad to see her comrades were exempt from the stop.

"That is enough," said Sherlock.

He nodded at Faith.

"You don't want to fight us, Zephyrus. Look around. Who are we? Really look. Because I don't see enemies here. There is the girl you love. Your best friend and his sister. Your almost-sister, and her fiance, your servant. A girl who is stronger than you will ever know. A woman who has fought to protect you. A doctor. And. . ." He smiled slightly. "And your great grandfather. By at least a few hundred generations. But hey. Who's counting?"

John stared. "You're his what now? Since when? I mean. . . oh." His eyes grew sad. It was obvious that, in the end, Sherlock would never belong to him.

Sherlock's eyes widened, as if he wanted to tell John the truth about his nightmares, what they meant. But he couldn't. He couldn't tell John what he knew would happen. So he sighed.

Even though his body was frozen, the color drained from Zephyrus' face as Susie's poison took effect.

Violet looked at him in concern. "He doesn't look too good. Su what did you do to him?"

Susie looked sadly at Sherlock. "Neurotoxin. You'd better hurry." She turned without further words and made her way to Toby, seeing what help she could give him.

Sherlock's eyes glowed as the crown took hold. "You are Zephyrus Ambrose. You are a good, young Time Cadet. You love your friends. And none of this ever happened. Now go to sleep."

Zephyrus' body slumped over. He was out cold.

John stared. "Is he alright?" He felt for a pulse. "He's alive, but his pulse is weak. We need to get him to a hospital. Immediately."

Susie was checking Toby's stomach wound. It was deep, but managed to miss anything vital. "He's not the only one, Tobias, you need treatment too. I don't think John can stitch you up here.

Faith sighed, "I'm not sure if 200 BC medicine will help them very much." She thought for a long moment. "And I think the Gods will want us to return their gifts to them."

Sherlock sighed. "I suppose we should get you back where you came from. Then you can send John and Lestrade and I home." He turned to Faith. "You know how, right?"

Faith smiled. "If you mean by a huge hole in time, then yes. We'll have to go to the Giza Necropolis."

Mira held up her wrist. "Or, you know, we could do this. Might be a touch easier." She waved her Vortex Manipulator.

Faith frowned. "Can that take all of us at once?"

"Sure can. After all, we used one of these to get here, remember? We just all need to hold hands." She smiled sadly. "You can let me atone for my sins, can't you, Susie?"

Susie shrugged, still not looking at her. "Let's see what happens, yeah? Fool me once and all that crap." She took hold of John, keeping her other arm on Tobias.

Mira's statement sent a chill though Faith. She knew she had yet to atone for her sins.

As everyone linked hands, Sherlock found himself next to John. He gulped awkwardly and pulled Faith between them. Faith looked startled for a moment, but looked up at Sherlock. She understood. She squeezed his hand slightly.

As they began to vanish, Lestrade ran into the room, grabbing ahold of Zephyrus' limp arm as it trailed from Lucian's. "Don't you dare strand me."

221B Baker Street, London: October 1, 5090

As they materialized back in Baker Street, Mira collapsed from the strain of dragging so many people through time.

Faith rushed to the girl's side and checked her pulse. "If we keep this up, all of us will be in the hospital."

"Mira!" cried Romana. She knelt down next to the young woman, looking at Faith closely. "She'll be fine, I'm more worried about you, Faith."

Faith tilted her head quizically at Romana. "Me? Don't worry about me. I'm fine."

Sherlock sighed. "Home again, home again. Well, your version, anyway. Looks pretty messy. Kids."

He ignored John's 'like you're any better' glare and frowned thoughtfully. "Susan. Please help get the injured to the hospital. John, look after Mira."

Susie raised her hand to her forehead in a mock salute before dragging Toby to his feet. "Sure, oh inglorious leader!" She draped Toby's arm over her shoulders and led him to where Zephyrus was out on the floor

John stared at his flatmate. "And where are you going?"

"I need to talk to someone." He dashed out the door.

Romana sighed. "Ok, then, John, would you mind helping? Or, do you want to go after him?" Nodding in the direction Sherlock had gone, she smiled at the doctor.

John sighed as well. "If he wanted me with him, he wouldn't have told me to stay here." His eyes were downcast. It was clear he felt something had come between them.

Romana smiled. "Perhaps he wants to protect you, instead of seeing you get hurt, for whatever reason." Standing, she moved over and looked John in the eye. "I think he feels the same way about you, John, but it seems he has some… demons . . . he needs to deal with first."

Susie moaned. "Come on John, gimme me a hand with these guys, then we'll chase up your trained idiot and shake him up a little hey?"

Violet headed to help Susie with Tobias and Zeph, pointedly ignoring Lucian.

John nodded, and they headed off to the hospital.

"Faith?" called Jack Harness. He walked out of the kitchen, face ashen. "Faith? You're back!" His eyes lit up and he pulled her into a tight embrace.

Faith tensed. She knew she shouldn't. That this was her Father. That's she was safe…. But she just. . .

Jack whispered into her hair. "It's ok, sweetheart. I know. I know what happened. It's alright. Everything's fine."

Faith shook her head hard against Jack's chest, trying to get away. The feeling of being trapped was driving her slowly crazy. " . . .Please, Dad…let me go…"

Jack frowned, releasing her. "I understand. But if you need to talk, I'm here."

Sherlock suddenly burst back in, his eyes dark and broody. "Where's John?"

Lestrade frowned up at him. "He left with Susie, Violet, and the ? What's wrong?"

Sherlock's eyes went wide. "What? No, no. I told him to stay here! He can't. . . he might. . ." He ran off to find John.

Sherlock's entrance was enough to shatter Faith's remaining walls and she suddenly crashed into Jack, gripping him tightly in fear.

"Mi dispiace! Mi dispiace! Mi dispiace!"

Jack pulled her close, shushing her gently.

"I…I did as i was told! I did what I had too! I'm sorry! I'm so so very sorry!" Faith was visibly shaking now.

Just then, older Susan and Hart entered the room.

"Well, isn't this a lovely little reunion?" muttered Hart. "Too bad there's trouble in paradise, eh duckies?"

Older Susie took in the group with an expressionless face. "Well would you look at this huh? We leave you alone for a few minutes, and you manage to get yourselves nearly dead. Can't take you lot anywhere can we?"

Turning to Faith and Jack, Romana shook her head sadly. "Faith… I knew something wasn't right… Jack, she's suffered a great deal. But she won't talk about it. I could have read her mind, but that's rather invasive, especially without permission. . ." She looked to the door, nearly rolling her eyes. "John Hart, you have no idea…"

Sherlock returned, a very surprised John in tow. "No. You have no idea. Can't any of you see what's going on here? None of you?"

Susan just snorted in amusement at Sherlock's entrance. "Seriously, You should be used to the stupidity by now idiot, you've put up with it for this long! Please, explain it to us…blind us with your deductive abilities!"

Sherlock sighed. "Oh, to have the luxury of stupidity! Come on! It's looking you square in the face! What happened to the artifacts? Where the devil is the Doctor? Can't you see something has gone terribly wrong?"

Faith suddenly stiffened at Sherlock's comment, and, as if someone flipped a switch, was instantly in control. She pulled out of Jack's arms. "Always has been, Holmes."

Jack frowned. "You're right. There were three of him here. Now none. So where did he go?"

Romana stiffened. "The…the Doctor… Oh, no." She concentrated, trying to reach him mentally. Nothing. Not even a whisper. "What on Earth…"

John looked about, confused. "Doctor? Doctor who?"

Lestrade groaned. "The Doctor is involved in all this? Should have known. Come on, you lot. I need you back under the sink."

John sighed. "Am I the only one confused? Doctor who?"

Susan frowned. "No. That is rather the point. And you got the name of the Doctor down pat my dear Watson!"

Sherlock turned to John. "The Doctor. He's the one I went to find, to give him a piece of my mind. He's important, and he's missing."

Lestrade looked at him, perplexed. "Important? Are we talking about the same Doctor?"

Jack stared at the DI. "Why? What do you know of him?"

"Only that he's the reason I went looking for Sherlock and Dr. Watson in the first place. You don't know?"

They stared at him blankly.

Lestrade sighed. "The Doctor, and his companions the Sword and the Paragon. . . blood running down the streets. . . they may be the worst terrorists London has ever seen."

And that concludes the Time Agency Arc! Starting soon, we will begin the last arc, known as the Baker Street Arc. Stay tuned!