Title: Say Live and Let Die
Summary: Agent Arthur Pendragon and his team of "knights" are the best the Agency has to offer. But their boss has started sending them on search and retrieve missions after odd things, like a broken sword. Then comes Chicago, and everything gets shot straight to hell.
AN: This goes with a request from shannon423, eilicec, volunteernerdfighter, and an anon over on tumblr, who all wanted modern day post-513 stuff for their prompts for my 300 Followers Fic Fest. Their specific prompts will be listed at the end of the last chapter, when it eventually comes.
Skyfall made me want to write Secret Agent AU. 5x13 made me want to fix everything. Then this happened. So. The bit at the beginning is definitely modeled after the Skyfall Manor. Um. Yeah.
It might be a while between updates, so please stick with me! I've it all outlined out, and like 2/3 of the way written, so there's that.
ON WITH THE FIC.
The night was quiet, and it was calm. It was remarkably clear, especially for this far north, and when Arthur looked up he could see nothing but stars scattered through the black, the moon a smiling and bright crescent. He was crouched behind one of the few shrubs that surrounded the manor, which stood lonely and tall next to the rippling loch. In the distance, the hills rolled away to the horizon.
All in all, it was very picturesque, in a deserted and barren sort of way. Arthur wished he could enjoy it. As it was, he had been roused at two in the morning and informed that he and his team were being sent to Scotland for an urgent mission that absolutely had to be completed tonight. If that hadn't been depressing enough, he then had the responsibility of rousing said team and dragging them to the airfield.
His team was less than gracious about it. Well, most of them had been okay, actually, now that Arthur was thinking about it. Some things just came with the job, though runs like this one were generally doled out to junior teams and agents. They knew that. Gwaine, however, had been a downright arse, even more so than usual, and that was truly saying something.
"You know what I need?" Arthur asked.
"What?" Elyan asked, crouched next to Arthur.
"An assistant," said Arthur. "Someone who could deal with Gwaine for me so I'd never have to again."
"Please," said Elyan, smiling. "If anyone ever let you have an assistant, you'd treat 'em like they were your servant."
"I see very little problem with that," said Arthur, giving a one shouldered shrug. Elyan laughed.
"Shall we begin?" Elyan asked. Arthur gave a short nod. Elyan tapped his ear, and said, "Clear at the front. Check in."
"All good here, as well," said Leon a moment later, his voice coming in clear as anything over the earpieces that both Elyan and Arthur had in. He and Lance were on the opposite side of the property. Leon continued, "There's a gamekeeper, but he's asleep in a smaller building near us."
"We're in the highlands in the middle of the night," Gwaine said a moment later. "The only life for miles is us and the million and a half sheep – "
"Percy, hit him," said Arthur.
There was a rustling, and then Gwaine squawking slightly in pain. The link was silent for a long moment until Gwaine, sullenly, said, "Clear here as well."
Arthur looked to Elyan, who nodded. Arthur stood, and said, "Gwaine, with Elyan and I. The rest of you stay put and keep an eye out."
Gwaine was already at the door when Elyan and Arthur came up, staying low. The lack of trees and cover put Arthur on edge, though what Gwaine had said rang true. There was no one around, save the gamekeeper, for as far as the eye could see. Gwaine was leaning against the wall, arms crossed, as Elyan and Arthur drew close.
"It's good you left the others to guard," Gwaine said, as Elyan knelt and picked the lock on the door. "You never know when the sheep may rise for their wooly revenge."
"None of us want to be here, Gwaine, so stop complaining," said Arthur.
"I was in the middle of something important," said Gwaine.
"What was her name?" Elyan asked. The door swung open.
"Elizabeth. Blonde," said Gwaine, wistfully. "Legs that went as far as the eye could see, and –"
"Settle down," said Arthur. "Let's just get what we need and get out."
"And Niniane really didn't tell you what it is we're after," said Elyan.
"No," said Arthur. Their boss never let any information slip, unless she absolutely had to. It was a trait that served her well, in their profession, but made Arthur's life much more difficult on several occasions, especially considering that he'd had full disclosure sort of relationship with her predecessor. Arthur, however, was not one to dwell on the past, and he looked to the mission at hand, and said, "It should be under a loose stone beneath a red chest, main bedroom, off along the right wall."
"Nice and specific," said Elyan. He crept forward, Arthur and Gwaine just behind him. They moved through the old manor, up some stairs, and to an open door, their footsteps uncomfortably loud and echoing in the still quiet of the empty manor. Arthur gestured for Elyan to wait at the door, and he and Gwaine walked in. All of the furniture, as in the rest of the house, was covered in white sheets to keep the dust off.
The red chest, however, was clear, save for the thick layer of dust that covered it.
"I hate castles," muttered Gwaine. "I don't know how anyone ever managed to live in them."
"I don't know," said Arthur. He shoved the chest out of the way and pulled up the loose flagstone. "I can see the appeal. Get a fire going, servants to do your every bidding…it wouldn't be all bad."
"You would say that," said Gwaine.
"Besides," Arthur added. "This is hardly a castle."
"It's big and made of stone," said Gwaine. "Close enough."
Arthur reached down, but the hole went further than he'd realized. He had to lean so his entire arm up to his shoulder was in the hole before he was able to touch bottom. His hand landed on something long and smooth, and when he pulled it out, he could only look down and feel confused. He had expected a flash drive, or a laptop, or some sort of information exchange. He hadn't expected this. Then again, he'd had no reason to think his boss would send him and his team in the middle of the night, on such short notice, for something as odd and seemingly trivial as this.
"Well, what is it?" Gwaine asked. "What was so important?"
"It's a sword," Arthur said. He frowned.
"Are you joking?" Gwaine asked, and when Arthur held it up for him to see, he shook his head. "You're not joking. All the way to Scotland at arse o'clock in the night, and for what? A sword. Lovely. What has this organization come to, I ask you –"
Gwaine continued, but his voice drifted and distorted as Arthur gazed down at the weapon in his hands. He pulled it from it the sheath, the metal ringing out against the leather. It sent a cold shiver down Arthur's spine, the sound of it, the hair on the back of his neck standing straight. The blade was old, and worn, and scratched. There was a chunk of it on one side that was missing entirely. Yet, when Arthur pressed his thumb to the edge, it was still sharp enough to break the skin and make Arthur bleed. He hissed, and wiped the blood onto his trousers.
But as he gazed at it, he couldn't shake the feeling of utter wrongness. Something about this sword, the way the light glinted from it, the bite of the metal against his skin, the missing piece – he couldn't say how, but he had seen this weapon before. He didn't think he had held it, but it seemed familiar in a way, and there was an odd, phantom ache on his stomach, lower down. He pressed his hand against the spot, and –
"Stay with me."
Arthur jerked, the words settling in his brain. Gwaine was still prattling on, and Arthur focused back on him just in time to hear him say, "And I – you're not even listening to me, are you?"
"No," Arthur said. He sheathed the blade, and ignored the way his hands trembled ever so slightly.
"What is wrong with you?" Gwaine said.
"Nothing," Arthur said, patting his side. "Just déjà vu."
"Over a sword?"
"Like I said, it's nothing," Arthur answered, and handed the thing to Gwaine as he moved back towards the door. "Let's head out. The others are waiting."
Gwaine, still grumbling, fell into step behind him. "Stupidest mission ever," he said. "Why did all of us even have to come? Bloody useless."
Miles away in a shabby house in Wales, a man sat straight up in his bed. He was covered in a cold sweat and gasping for air.
He sprang from his bed, and pulled on boots and a lumpy wool jacket, and ran out of a door. Had he glanced in a mirror, he may have noticed that the long white hair, the thousands of wrinkles, and the shaggy beard that he had gone to sleep with had all vanished. As it was, so intent was he on getting to his destination he didn't even notice that the aching stiffness of his ancient bones had all but vanished as he jogged through the night.
The water was still and the moon was high when he got to the lake. His breath came out in misted clouds, and his steps were sure on the path though he could scarcely see more than a foot beyond his nose in the darkness. It was hardly the first time he had come this way, after all. No, he knew this path more than he knew his own mind. Especially these days.
She was waiting for him, standing on the shore. Her hair was long and dark, her skin glowing and pale in the darkness. The dress he had given her when they were both young was red as the day it was made, still tattered and torn in some places. In her hands, she held a sword he had not laid eyes on in nearly fifteen hundred years.
He stopped just at the water's edge, and stared at her, his breath coming in sharp gasps. He needed to ask her, but he wasn't sure how to begin. It had been such a long time. Too long a time. It hurt to even hope, these days.
"Your wait is over. He isn't here," she said, and held out the sword for him to take. "Albion is in need. The time has come for the Once and Future King to return to the land."
He fell to his knees on the rocky shore, and he wept.