A/N: Well hello there. Welcome to INCREDIBLY OVERDUE update of this rather odd fanfiction. If you've stuck around long enough to read this... I love you so much. Sorry for the late update... inspiration has just been lacking lately.

Be prepared for a bit of OOC-ness, considering I haven't watched HoA in forever. D; Thanks to JessIstheBest

Nina's slender fingers fumbled along the fringe of his shirtsleeve, their tapered, graceful appearance rather deceptive.

"I can't do it!" she cried in exasperation.

Fabian chuckled- he couldn't help it. Her exasperation was adorable, and she was so close that he saw the faint blush under her skin, tinting her cheeks a rosy color.

"Relax," He attempted what he thought was a reassuring smile. For some reason, being around Nina made Fabian feel incredibly self-conscious, as if he were once again a hormone-riddled teenage boy in high school.

Nina sighed, her frame slumping slightly. "It's such a pity that they never taught us how to do this at the FBI Academy.""Here," Fabian smiled again. He took the wire and fastened it onto the inside of his sleeve. "Now I'm officially wired. Hopefully the Collector wasn't kidding when he said he'd spill some secrets, although knowing how psychopathic killers are, we're probably not going to learn much."

"But what we do know will be recorded by the wire," Nina stated, tapping the thin metal wire on the inside of his shirt. "I have to admire your genius, Fabian."

Suddenly, Fabian was overcome by the sudden, burning desire to kiss her, to let his lips crash onto hers. There was an awkward moment of uncertainty, where possibility hung heavily in the air. He leaned in slightly and caught a hint of peppermint from her skin, sweet and chilly.

And then, he jerked back.

The intoxicating scent of peppermint vanished almost entirely, although he could've sworn that a trace lingered in the air, but perhaps it was just his fevered brain.

No. Fabian told himself. You can't do this. You have to think professionally.

Nina's cheeks became an endearing shade of crimson, and she took a sudden, riveting interest in the floor. An awkward silence hung in the air, so heavy that it pressed on Fabian's ears.

"Are you ready?" Amber popped into the room. At the sight of Fabian and Nina together, her eyes widened.

"Oh my god!" the blonde shrieked. "Please tell me that I didn't just totally ruin a Fabina moment!"

"Amber!" Nina groaned, her cheeks flushing a pleasant shade of red.

With a huffy sigh, Agent Millington stepped back and tossed her blonde locks over her shoulder. "Well," she said, drawing out the word. "Are you ready, Fabes? The Collector's waiting."

"I'm as ready as I'll ever be." Fabian shook his head in a grim sort of fashion. He caught Nina's smile and looked away hurriedly. What's wrong with you? Get a grip, he snarled at himself.

Fabian stepped outside, and a cool night breeze tousled his hair. It was dark on the narrow street, save for a single flickering streetlamp that illuminated a patch of concrete in its gaudy orange light. Despite the ominous quality of the situation, it felt rather cliché, meeting a serial killer in an abandoned warehouse at the dead of night. Fabian stepped out into the street, and the loose asphalt cracked beneath his shoe.

Fabian glanced backwards, but Amber and Nina had already disappeared into the shadows. A dilapidated coupe with tinted windows was parked down the street, and Agent Mara and Agent Clarke were seated inside, supposedly monitoring Fabian's wire. However, Fabian wouldn't have been surprised if they ended up snogging the entire time.

The warehouse where he was supposed to meet the infamous Collector had fallen into disrepair long ago. Fabian pushed the door open, and it squealed in protest, flakes of reddish rush raining on the ground. Inside, he was greeted by darkness and a silence that crushed his eardrums.

A deep sense of foreboding rose in his chest, and his first instinct was to grab his gun. Dark shadows leered at him from every crevice, and a sinister tapping sound echoed faintly throughout the decrepit halls. High above, the corroded ceiling steel beams creaked, almost as if they were straining to be freed from the weight of carrying the warehouse.

Fabian's fingers brushed the smooth, metal surface of his standard-issue handgun, and as a second nature, he drew it out. He didn't like this- not at all. It was too shady, too sketchy. Besides, when did FBI agents trust serial killers? How about... never.

His heartbeat pounded in his ears, deafening in the silence. And then, his ears perk up again, and Fabian can hear the sound of footsteps. His muscles tense, and adrenaline courses through his veins, setting fire to his nerves.

"Who's there?" he demanded, an authoritative ring to his tone. Of course, he didn't expect an answer, but it was worth a try. "Come out with your hands up!"

To his everlasting surprise, someone does respond. A woman stepped out of the shadows, blond and in her mid-forties. However, the most prominent aspect about her is probably the fact that's she has a pistol leveled at Fabian's heart.

"You move, you die." she hissed. "Drop the weapon, Agent Rutter." She said his name with such a sneering loathing that Fabian can't help but inwardly flinch.

"Afraid I can't do that." Fabian said, voice surprisingly cool despite the situation.

"Then I'm afraid I'll have to shoot you," the woman said.

"I wouldn't do that, if I were you. There's a sniper on the roof, ready to take you down." Fabian informed her. His hands were steady, and the point of his gun did not waver.

The woman paused for a moment, as if assessing this new development. "You're bluffing." she replied after a moment, although her voice held a note of uncertainty.

"No one likes to die," Fabian assured her. "And I can tell you right now that I am not bluffing, and if you try to shoot me, my agent, Agent Miller, will snipe you, and you'll be dead before you even know you've been shot." The woman pursed her lips, looking as if she had just bitten into a lemon. The gun in her hand wavered slightly.

"I'll take my chances," she hissed as she pulled the trigger.

Bang! The shot rang out, deafening in the once-dead silence. There was a dull pain in his abdomen, and then the shadows whisper in his ear.

Good-bye, Fabian, they whispered. Go to sleep.

He had no choice but to obey.

"So… do you want to go grab some tea?" Fabian asked. His co-leader's face broke into a grin.

"Only you would want to go get some tea, of all things." Joy laughed, rolling her eyes. "What's wrong with a nice, American cup of coffee?"

"Fine. Do you want to grab a cup of coffee?" he tried again.

"Sure, I'd love to," she said. "Let me just find a place to put this report…" They both scanned Joy's office for a clean surface to place the file in her hands, and they both failed. The room was littered with mountains of papers and files.

"Someone has a little bit of paperwork to complete..." Fabian teased. In reality, Joy was the more field-oriented agent, jumping for the chance to lead a riskier operation. However, she never wrote up reports and failed, with astonishing frequency, to turn in files. Unlike Joy, Fabian found nothing sinister in mounds of reports to be written. His office was, to coin the phrase, as clean as a whistle.

"Eh, whatever." Joy tossed the file on top of a stack of papers on the floor, effectively knocking them over. Fabian laughed.

"Seriously, one of these days we're going to take a day off and have the whole team rally in an effort to help you clean up your office," he said to her. Joy only laughed, the melodic sound echoing across the nearly empty FBI headquarter halls.

"I think we'd all drown in paper," she joked. Joy attempted to step out from behind her desk, but the mountains of paper constrained her movement, and she ended up tripping.

"Ow," was all she said as she clutched Fabian's arm to pull herself up. "That was mildly embarrassing."

"The great Agent Mercer with an impeccable case record, felled by a stack of paper. Interesting," he joked, helping her navigate through the rest of the papery labyrinth.

"Oh, shut up." She grinned at him good-naturedly, swatting him on the arm. "Do I need to remind you about who beat you at the firearms test last weekend?"

"I only missed the last head shot because the gun was jammed- I swear!" At Joy's disbelieving smile, all Fabian could do was sigh in mock-frustration. "You're never going to let me hear the end of that one, are you?"

"No, never," she says teasingly. For some odd reasons, he takes notice of the fact that she smells like springtime. It's stupid, but he notices it. And for a second, all Fabian could do was stand there like an utter idiot, trying to form comprehensive sentences.

"Fabes?" Her voice surfaces him back into the present. He blinked several times, trying to get his bearings.

"Huh?" he stuttered. "What?"

"Well…" Joy said. "You coming to get some coffee or not?"

"Yeah," he replied. "Coffee sounds great."

"Hey," a musical voice rang out, and darkness greeted his eyes. Fabian gave a noncommittal grunt. Whoever this person was, couldn't they let him sleep?

"Fabian?" The voice was quivering now, trembling like a leaf in the wind.

He managed to crack open an eyelid, but the brightness seared his eyes, so he closed them quickly. The sliver of light left a dancing white pattern imprinted on the inside of his eyelid. The sound of his heart pumping blood thudded in his ears like a timpani, increasing the severity of Fabian's headache.

"Is he awake?" It was Amber's voice, hushed with worry.

With great effort, Fabian opened his eyes. For a while, he was blinded by the whiteness. But when his vision finally cleared, Fabian saw several people standing above him, lines of worry etched on their features.

"Nina?" he managed to croak. The angelic face gave way to a smile, and some of the anxious lines on her face gave way to a look relief.

"Fabian! You're awake! Thank god!" Nina's arms engulfed him, crushing him in a hug surprisingly strong for one of her stature.

"What..." he asked, voice slurred with the presence of drugs. "What happened?" He can remember darkness, a sound, like a clap of thunder, ringing through his ears, and a dull, throbbing pain in his abdomen.

"Fabian!" Jerome and Mara crashed through the doorway. Mara's face was tinged a rosy shade of pink.

"We're all glad you're awake!" Jerome kept his arm slung around Mara's shoulders. "We've been waiting outside for at least eight hours. It's a good thing you were wearing your kevlar vest."

"I was... shot?" Fabian asked tentatively.

"In the stomach, mate." Jerome nodded in, what was for him, a solemn fashion. "The bullet didn't pierce your skin, thanks to that bulletproof vest of yours, but there's a nasty bruise there."

Fabian lifted up his shirt, which was rather difficult, granted that he had several IV drips attached to his arms. Underneath his shirt, on the skin of his abdomen, a greenish-purple bruise about the size of an orange was blossoming. He tried to sit up and groaned as a dull pain coursed through his body.

"How long am I going to be out of commission?" he groaned.

"Depends on how well you tolerate pain," Mara said softly. "If you really wanted to, you could be up and walking by this afternoon."

Fabian let out a sigh. "Did you guys get anything from last night's operation?"

"Well, we did find out who... shot you," Nina said, a pleased smile breaking onto her face. She pulled out a thick paper file from under her arm, and from the folder, she procured a picture of the blonde-haired woman who had shot Fabian. There were wrinkles on the woman's face, and her eyes glared stonily at Fabian from the photocopied image.

"That's Vera Deevenish!" Amber squealed. "I cross-referenced her picture with the international database and found her. Apparently, she was a totally evil criminal in Egypt. Seriously, she had a record sheet that was longer than my hair. She moved to the U. S. several months ago, but after that, it's like she's off the grid."

"So..." Fabian paused. "is she the Collector?"

"Um..." This was Mara. "I don't think so, Fabian. Vera shows cunning, certainly, but she's almost always following someone's orders. For example, in a Cairo bombing that occurred five years ago, Vera was caught by officials while attempting to plant a C-4 bomb that could've killed quite a lot of people. But in custody, she finally confessed that she'd been working for a man named 'Rilian.'"

"Then based on your calculations, Mara, Vera Deevenish is not our infamous Collector," Fabian clarified.

"No, I highly doubt it." Mara said. "Although I'm very willing to bet that she was working for him."

"I'll bet you for it," Jerome jabbed her lightly in the stomach, a devilish grin on his face.

"Jerome Clarke! Now is not the time!" Amber scowled. "We've got a serial killer to catch!"

"That's right," Fabian nodded his approval at the liaison. "Amber, can you get me everything, and I mean everything, that there is to know about Vera?"

Amber nodded enthusiastically. "If it exists, I can find it! ...Probably."

"Good," Fabian told her. "I want connections, family members, visas, bank accounts down to the last penny ..."

"You got it, Fabian!" Amber grinned.

"Wait!" Patricia suddenly burst into the room. "Turn on the telly!"

Nina grabbed the remote and switched on the television. On the screen was a pile of rubble. Small fires sprang up from the ruins of what Fabian guessed was once a restaurant, a franchise that was fairly rare on Capitol Hill. Firemen and police cruisers swarmed the site, and the sound of wailing ambulance sirens blared from the television.

"What?" Nina gasped. "What's going on?"

"We regret to report that there was a massive bombing at one of Washington's restaurant businesses. There is no word from Homeland Security on whether this is a potential terrorist attack. Police and Firefighters are swarming the scene, searching for a sign of life. The F.B.I. is not currently available for a statement."

The reporter's grave face disappeared as the cameraman zoomed in to focus on the charred rubble. The entire team let out a gasp.

"Is that...?" Jerome asked with a mixture of fear and awe.

"It is." Patricia said grimly.

They could all see it, plain as day. Painted on one of the crumbling, half-fallen walls of the bombed restaurant, was the blood-red symbol of the Eye of Horus.

"It's the Collector." a new voice called. The team shifted their gazes towards the doorway, and, with the exception of Nina, they gasped.

"Mick?" Fabian was sure that his eyes were as wide as tea saucers. "What are you doing here?"

"You guys need a bomb expert?" Mick laughed wryly. "You've got one. Every bomber has a signature, the Collector included. If he left any clues in this bombing of his, I'll find them." The blond haired boy nodded resolutely.

"Glad to have you back, mate!" Fabian grinned. Mick was like a brother to him, and he sure wouldn't mind having several extra hands on this case.

They all turned back to the television, where the news was still running. Phrases ran through Fabian's mind like water.

Bomb squad... terrorist attack... 37 estimated dead... several gravely injured... paramedics on the scene...And all the while, the bloody Eye of Horus stared back at Fabian.

I have your partner, I've killed so many people, I've almost killed you, the Collector's voice hissed tauntingly in his mind. You're losing the game, Fabian.

I will catch you, Fabian vowed. I will catch you.

The Eye of Horus seemed to wink.

Catch me if you dare, Agent Rutter. If you dare.

A/N: LOL GUYS SORRY FOR THE SHOT AND AWFUL CHAPTER. Sorry for my failed attempts at fluff... I'M SORRY FOR EVERYTHING. Bleh.

But yeah, the Collector just exploded a bunch of people and Vera's dead (You know you're happy). And yes, that was my failed attempt at Fabina fluff...

Technically 'Nina' is going to be gone next season and all... (not sure how to feel about these developments) but of course, she'll still be in the story.

Proxima Tempus