To Catch a Spy
Summary: When a spy is suspected in the British Secret Service, a relative of Rebecca and Phileas is called in to uncover the traitor.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just enjoy getting inside their heads from time to time.
Author's Note: This was originally intended to be a series of 6 stories, started last year. I stopped after the 3rd when Brenna's future started to seem a little too much like our present. Now that enough time has passed for me to once again look at the story-arc subjectively, I am reposting the first 3 stories and will soon be starting on the remaining 3 (with a few adjustments to what I had originally planned in the interest of good taste and sensitivity). Please enjoy.
Feedback: Pretty please? Feed me, feed me!!!
Jules let himself into his garret without bothering to light a candle. After all, he knew his way around well enough and it was not as if there was much worth seeing anyway. Yawning, he started towards his bed, managing to avoid falling down the stairs as he might have done if he had had even one more drink before leaving the cafe.
"Can you see in the dark, too?" an unfamiliar female voice inquired smoothly as he began undressing.
"Who's there?" Jules demanded, reaching into his pocket. "I have a gun."
"Bollux," the woman retorted. "Does he carry a gun?"
"No." This muffled voice was familiar to Jules.
"Fogg?" he asked, frowning.
A candle was quickly lit, and Jules saw that it was indeed Phileas Fogg standing in his room. His face was set in a blank expression, but his eyes betrayed either anger or sadness, and more likely both. Jules took Fogg in for only an instant before searching the room with his eyes for the source of the other voice. He saw no one, which was hardly surprising given the dim candle-light which was barely enough to illuminate Phileas's face while he held the candle.
"Who's with you?" Jules asked.
"Don't answer that, Fogg," the woman's voice said firmly. "I don't want him knowing my name yet."
Phileas nodded slowly and placed the candle on Verne's writing desk. "Come here, Verne," he said in an oddly stifled voice.
Jules shook his head, trying to look more confident than he felt. "Not until you tell me what's going on."
"Force him down if you have to," the woman commanded Phileas.
"I'd rather it not come to that, thank you," Phileas replied coldly. "Come here, Verne."
"If you scream, I shall be forced to knock you out," the woman informed him grimly from behind.
Jules spun to face her and Phileas seized the opportunity, catching his arms and holding him. "Just stay calm, Verne," Phileas hissed in his ear. To the woman, he added, "Hurry, would you?"
She shrugged and approached Jules. In the dim candle-light, he could not see much more than her outline. She was tall, taller than Fogg and she wore a cloak, pulled closely about her so that her body and face were both well-concealed. Only her eyes were immediately apparent. They narrowed slightly as she watched Jules struggle.
"You said he would not kick up a fuss, Fogg," the woman hissed at Phileas.
"Hey!" Jules snapped. "Just what is going on here?"
"This is taking too long!" Fogg hissed. "You're scaring him..."
"You're BOTH scaring me!" Jules replied firmly. "I want an answer." He swung his head around, trying to look Phileas in the eyes. "What is going on?" he repeated urgently. For a brief moment, he thought he saw regret in Phileas's steely eyes, but that could as easily have been a trick of the light, for Phileas only tightened his grip on Jules.
"Just try to relax," he muttered into the young man's ear, and there was no mistaking the pity and the shame in his voice.
Jules closed his eyes and relaxed into Phileas's grip, for no other reason than because he had little other choice. Whatever was going on, it might be best, and least painful, to simply go with it. And he still trusted Phileas Fogg, in spite of everything. Fogg would not let him be hurt.
"Why is he doing that?" the woman muttered, frowning at Jules. "Is this normal for him?"
"I believe he plans to... take it like a man," Phileas muttered softly.
"Well, get him down there. By the desk. I'll need light."
Jules opened his eyes slightly as Phileas pulled him towards the desk. "Why are you doing this to me?" he whispered desperately to Phileas.
"I don't think you'd understand," Phileas replied gently.
"No, he wouldn't," the woman snapped. "And what did I tell you about talking to him more than necessary?"
"I'm just trying to keep him from panicking."
"Let him panic. That isn't our concern..." The woman walked up to Jules and took his face in her hands. They were surprisingly smooth and smelled faintly of some Eastern incense. "Open your eyes."
Jules slowly looked at her. She had thrown her hood back, perhaps trusting the darkness to keep her identity a secret. She held a candle in her left hand. "Rebecca?" he gasped.
She frowned faintly, and Jules saw that he had been mistaken. Indeed, he was not sure how he had made the mistake at all. Her hair and eyes were the right color, but her mouth and nose, the entire shape of her face indeed, were wrong. Besides which, she was at least ten years older than Rebecca Fogg, and easily a foot taller. "Hold still." She lifted the candle to eye-level. "Hold him still, Fogg..."
Jules felt Phileas's grip on his arms tighten as the woman moved the candle closer to his face. Unable to move his body, he leaned his head back until it was resting against Phileas's chest. "Please," he muttered, horrified. "Tell me what you want..."
"Is he a coward, too, then, Fogg?"
"No." Phileas shook his head. "He only likes to know what is happening to him."
The woman nodded and pulled Verne's head back towards the candle, staring intently at his eyes. "When did you defect to the League of Darkness?" she asked mildly.
"Oh, God." Jules shook his head frantically. "No! I would never-"
"You let me judge that, boy." she advised.
Jules sucked in a deep breath. "Fogg! Tell her it's not true!"
"I wish I knew that, Verne," Phileas said softly. His voice was almost sad as he spoke. "Someone has been selling our secrets to the League for some time now, Verne."
"What does that have to do with me?" Jules demanded frantically. "Fogg! I hate them as much as you do!"
"If he is truly capable of that degree of hate, Fogg, he is more dangerous than you know," the woman said mildly.
"Who are you?" Jules repeated firmly. "Answer me!"
"In time, in time." The woman leaned forward until her nose almost brushed Verne's. She reached out with one hand and cupped his chin. "If you are as you say, I will leave you with an apology," she whispered, "but if you prove to be a traitor, than the God you pray to at night will not be strong enough to shield you from me."
Jules let out a ragged gasp as she forced his head to the side and lifted the candle. It took him a moment to comprehend exactly what it was she was doing. She was checking his neck for something.
"Has he been tampered with, Blayne?" Phileas asked insistently.
"There is no evidence of a cortical-lobe stud," she muttered. "Stare at the flame, Jules Verne."
Jules sighed and looked at the flame of the candle, aware that tears were forming in his eyes. The woman held the candle several inches away and just stared. She pulled back his eyelids, then demanded that he open his mouth. She stared into that as well, before nodding to Phileas, who released Jules with a ragged sob.
"Sit on the bed," she ordered firmly. "It is almost over."
Jules hurried over to the bed, hazarding a quick glance at Fogg who, amazingly, had tears in his eyes. "Fogg!" he demanded. "What is going on? Who is this woman and what--"
"You are not to talk to him." The woman's voice, though mild, effectively stopped Jules in his tracks. "Only to me, Jules Verne."
Jules stared at her despite himself. "Who are you?"
"Me?" She looked almost surprised at the query. "I guess you could call me a kind of Inquisitor."
"Oh." Jules nodded bitterly. "And tell me, does the whole Auto-de-Fe mentality come easily, or do you have to work at it?"
Her face contorted into a scowl. "It comes quite easily, boy... Do not test the limits of my patience or you will find that I have none!"
"Verne," Phileas breathed warningly, and Jules recognized what he had failed to recognize before. Fear...
"Who are you?" Jules repeated more firmly. "What right do you have-"
"My right is the Divine Right!" she snapped, shoving him roughly onto his bed. "The power I serve is greater than any one man or woman yet alive!"
She grabbed his arm before he could pull away and held it into a vice-like grip. He felt a sharp pain at the crook of his elbow and cried out, more from surprise than anything.
"Blayne!" Phileas almost shouted. "Stop! You're hurting him!"
"No." She stood up and stared at Phileas. "He is not hurt at all, are you, Jules Verne?"
Jules stood up and shook his head, feeling oddly dreamy. "No, I'm fine..."
"Do you like the way you feel, Jules?" she asked softly, eyeing him expectantly.
"Good. Lie down."
Jules put his head on his pillow and stretched out, feeling amazingly light and euphoric.
He heard Phileas mutter, "What did you do to him?"
"A method we have developed for questioning possible spies. He will not be able to deceive us."
"But you said he was untampered with." Fogg protested.
"And he was. But lack of a cortical-lobe stud does not always imply innocence from the League..."
"Then question him quickly. I grow tired of this evil."
"It is all evil, Fogg, where the League is concerned. The innocent suffer and the guilty are raised to glory."
"Enough rhetoric, Agent Blayne!" Fogg snapped. "Hurry up!"
Blayne stared at him through narrow eyes. "What does it feel like to hate so strongly?"
Phileas shook his head. "Like I could kill you happily, Agent Blayne."
She smiled. "Ah, honesty!" She leaned over Jules. "How do you feel?"
"Nice," Jules muttered, smiling.
"Good, good. I've a few questions for you, and then you can sleep."
"Mmm," Jules muttered.
"How long have you been working for the League?"
"Don't work for them... Foggs... my friends... against them..."
Blayne nodded carefully. "How many times have you been face to face with Count Gregory?"
Blayne stared at Phileas, who nodded mutely.
"Are the Foggs your friends?"
"Would you die for them?"
"Would you betray them?"
"Would you join the League of Darkness?"
"Would you betray Rebecca Fogg?"
"Would you betray Phileas Fogg?"
"Do you have any enemies?"
Blayne nodded. "Are you dedicated to their eradication?"
"Just want to be... They won't let me... Alone... Just alone..."
Blayne nodded slowly and caressed the young man's face. "He's blameless, Fogg."
"But," Fogg shook his head. "They said..."
"Sleep, Jules Verne," she muttered without seeming to notice Phileas. She finally looked up at Phileas with a sigh. "They were obviously mistaken. Our Mole has covered his tracks so carefully that all evidence leads back to you, Rebecca, Chatsworth or Verne."
"Then he is innocent?" Phileas sighed in relief and collapsed into a chair.
She nodded. "You must love the boy very much, Fogg."
"You would not understand." He shook his head.
"You may return to your air-ship."
"I will stay with him until he wakes."
Phileas shook his head firmly. "You go back to the Aurora. Tell Rebecca and Passepartout the good news. I shall stay with Verne. He should not awaken to a strange face."
Blayne rose slowly and walked over to Phileas. "Now that you have seen the tactics we employ, I suppose you despise me?"
He took her hand and shook his head slowly. "I have seen the tactics that the League employs, and I despise them for it. Your tactics are... necessary."
"Necessary?" She smiled sadly at him. "A necessary evil, perhaps?"
"Evil, perhaps, but necessary still, Blayne."
"Bless you, Fogg." She bent over and kissed his forehead before taking her leave of the garret.
Phileas sighed and pulled his chair next to Verne's bed. He would have much to account for come morning, but in the meantime, all he could do was sit by the young man and give him what comfort he could that way. Not that this was much. The young man would no doubt hate him when he remembered what he had done. And if Verne did not hate him, might he not hate himself that much more?
Jules awoke with a start. He started again as Phileas reached out to still him. "Fogg?" He closed his eyes as memories of the previous evening came flooding back.
Phileas sighed and tried to look at Jules, but found that he could not. His eyes were just too much for Phileas. Not that they were accusing, because they were not. They were confused, perhaps, but not accusing, and this was more than Phileas felt reasonably able to bear. He rose swiftly and threw the window open, leaning out and gulping in great breaths of air.
"Fogg?" Jules rose as quickly as he could, which was not quickly at all, and walked over to his friend. "What happened, Fogg?" He gently touched the older man's shoulder.
Phileas shook his head, refusing to look at Jules. "I am so sorry, Verne..."
Jules stared at Phileas uncertainly. "What did I do to make you suspect me, Fogg?"
Phileas shook his head. "It wasn't anything you did, Verne..." He bowed his head. "I'm sorry. It was me..."
"You? I don't understand." Jules frowned. "You would never..."
"No," Phileas shook his head. "I wasn't the spy, Verne. That's not what I meant. I... I..." He trailed off, unable to continue.
"I doubted you because I'm me." Phileas turned and stared at Jules, putting one hand gently on Verne's cheek in a gesture that, for a British gentleman, was unspeakably familiar. "You were the last man I would have believed it of, Verne, but everything seemed to point to you." Phileas closed his eyes so he would not have to look at Jules. "I believed you to be a spy because it is in my nature to push away those I care for the most..."
"Fogg, who was that woman?"
"Blayne? She's a Yankee spy." Phileas sighed. "She deals exclusively with the League of Darkness."
Jules nodded. "This was her idea?"
Phileas nodded. "I should never have consented. I'm sorry, Verne."
Jules gave a little shake of the head. "It's okay, Fogg. Tell me what's happened?" He walked over to his writing desk and produced a bottle of scotch. He filled a water-glass almost to the brim and handed it to Phileas.
"Well, we've been having a terrible problem with bad intelligence and leaks for almost a year now." Phileas sighed, contemplating the glass in his hand.
"Which is just about how long I've been in your company?" Jules nodded his understanding.
"Well, of course, none of us wanted to believe it, but once Blayne had interrogated myself and Passepartout and Rebecca and even Sir Jonathan..." Phileas took a long swallow of the scotch.
"She interrogated Sir Jonathan?" Jules stared. "How bad is this problem?"
"People are dying, Verne." Phileas sighed. "Lots of people. It's only a matter of time before people start noticing... Needless to say, Sir Jonathan does not want that on his record."
"But allowing himself to be interrogated?"
"My understanding is that he did not have much of a choice at all." Phileas closed his eyes. "If that's true, it means the order came from higher up, possibly from the Queen herself."
"Wow..." Jules stared at Phileas, suitably impressed by the enormity of the situation.
"Of course, Blayne would willingly sacrifice what's left of the British intelligence community to strike a telling blow against the League of Darkness. Hell, I do believe that she would sacrifice the American intelligence community for such a chance..."
"She's that obsessed?"
"Obsession does not begin to describe it, Verne." He sighed and stared at his pocket-watch. "Will you join us for breakfast on the Aurora?"
"Will she be there?"
Phileas nodded. "I shouldn't be surprised if she were..." His voice and face were once more impassive. "Will you?"
Jules sighed and shrugged. "What writer have you ever known to refuse a free meal, Fogg?"
Phileas smiled that bitterly sarcastic grin of his. "I'm sure Brenna will be quite pleased to see you again."
"Brenna?" Jules repeated. It was a pretty name, and oddly fitting, for the woman who had broken into his garret and interrogated him using threats and drugs. He was not entirely surprised to find that he held no real grudge against her for what she had done. After all, how much less pleasant had his first encounter with Phileas Fogg been?