"I wish you would reconsider this." Phileas repeated gently as he handed Rebecca her hat.
"Phileas," Rebecca sighed and turned to face him. "I will be perfectly safe. I will have Blayne backing me up every step of the way. And..." She tapped her corset, producing a metallic sound. "See? I will be perfectly fine."
"You had better be," Phileas informed her gently. Impulsively, he grabbed her shoulders and kissed her on the forehead.
Rebecca stared at him for a moment, surprised. "Have a lovely day, Phileas."
Rebecca allowed him to help her into the waiting carriage, but spent the entire ride pondering that kiss. It had been such an uncharacteristic thing for Phileas to do. He must be more worried than he was letting on.
"Damnit, Chatsworth!" Blayne shouted at him in his office. Her voice was likely carrying to the surrounding halls and offices, but this only prompted her to raise her voice even more. "I have given you every chance to cooperate! If you and yours are not more forthcoming, I shall be forced to take extreme measures to find your Mole! And when I do, no one will be safe!"
"Kindly lower your voice!" Sir Jonathan hissed. "And recall who it is you are talking to!"
"I know exactly who I'm talking to! An arrogant, ignorant swine who protects his own interests even when it costs human lives for him to do so!"
"Get out!" Sir Jonathan bellowed, pointing towards the door. "Out!"
Blayne swept out of the room and nearly knocked Rebecca down in her haste to depart. "Agent Fogg."
"Agent Blayne," Rebecca replied. "We need to talk. In private."
"Why not here?" Blayne gestured to indicate the foyer in which they stood, which was becoming quite crowded.
"You do not want other people to hear what I have to say to you," Rebecca informed her flatly.
"Let's have it, Fogg!"
Rebecca drew herself up, scowling. "As you wish, then. Agent Blayne, I tire of this witch-hunt of yours. I don't think that this Mole of yours works for the British Secret Service at all. In fact, if he does exist, I would be willing to bet that he works for you!"
Blayne backhanded Rebecca, hard enough to draw blood. "How dare you!" she shouted. "You listen to me, Rebecca Fogg!" she snapped, not bothering to much lower her voice. "If I discover that you have in any way aided or concealed this traitor, or that you have lied to me or impeded my investigation in any way, you will find yourself out of a job and in a cell somewhere! Have I made myself clear?"
"Get out of this building!" Sir Jonathan shouted, entering the foyer. "How dare you threaten one of my Agents in this abominable manner!"
"I dare very easily!" Blayne replied. She pointed at Rebecca, then at Sir Jonathan, and finally back at Rebecca. "You'll pay for this!" she announced, then stalked off.
"Oh dear," Rebecca sighed, holding her hand over her bloody nose. "Have you a handkerchief, Sir Jonathan?"
"Of course. Here you are, dear." Sir Jonathan sighed and stared after Blayne. "Unbelievable..."
"I know." Rebecca looked up at him. "Sir Jonathan, I do believe that she has gone quite mad."
He nodded. "I was reaching the same conclusions, Rebecca."
"Honestly, sir, I'm not entirely sure I feel safe working with her any more. I'd like to request that you assign me to a different matter."
"Of course. I consider this matter closed anyway. There is a lead in Manchester that I need someone to follow up. Might be a bit of a rest for you..."
"Isn't that a two-man job, sir?" Rebecca inquired casually.
Sir Jonathan stared then nodded. "Indeed it is, my dear." He looked around the foyer. A number of Agents were milling about, eager to see what resolution there would be to Rebecca's scene with Blayne. "Do I have a volunteer?"
"Sir!" Agent Granger, a young man who had recently lost his partner to bad intelligence that could only be attributed to the Mole, stepped forward. "I'm eager to get back to work, sir. To take my mind off of things, you see..."
As Sir Jonathan agreed to this, Rebecca stared for a moment. Granger was a sweet young man, but certainly no Mole. It suddenly occurred to Rebecca that he had always had a bit of a crush on her, the probable reason for his quickness to volunteer. She followed them to his office, disappointed by the turn things had taken. Such a scene might have worked once, but would certainly not work twice. They would have to find a new way to uncover the traitor. After Manchester, as it turned out, since Sir Jonathan wanted them to leave immediately. She was so preoccupied on the train that she did not even notice the four people seated several rows back, Talking quietly among themselves. And even if she had noticed them, she would not have recognized them. Blayne had always had a way with disguises.
"Are you well, Miss Fogg?" Granger inquired softly. "You seem..."
"I'm a bit distracted, I'm afraid. You see, I'd always considered Agent Blayne a close personal friend. I'm afraid that this morning's nastiness was a bit of a shock."
"I'd say that she's obviously quite mad. Can't imagine what the Americans were thinking to hire such a woman..." He shook his head. "Care for a game of cards?"
"Please." Rebecca nodded gratefully.
The two played until the train reached the station. Granger talked incessantly about his family, his home, his younger siblings, a woman he had once been engaged to, and what a lovely color the sky was. Rebecca found herself thoroughly bored and disgusted, but hid it well. Still, she could not help but heave a relieved sigh as the train pulled into the station.
"Our contact is in a warehouse about five minutes walk from here," Granger informed her as they disembarked. He quickly found a carriage and helped her in.
"Damn, I've lost them," Jules muttered in disgust, looking around the crowd.
"There!" Blayne pointed to the carriage as it rolled off. "Come on..."
"You sure this is the place?" Rebecca asked skeptically, eyeing the abandoned warehouse uncertainly.
"Well, it would hardly do to have up a large placard with 'secret meeting place' written across the front."
Rebecca shrugged and followed him inside. Her mind still on the failure of her plan, she hardly noticed where she was going as Granger led her through twisting corridors between piles of boxes.
She stopped suddenly. "This place seems awfully full for an abandoned warehouse, Granger."
"Perhaps that's because it's a trap, Rebecca." Granger said, smiling at her.
Rebecca shook her head. "Not even slightly amusing, Granger."
Granger pulled out his gun and casually shot her. "But still quite true."
Rebecca stared down at herself and was horrified to discover that he had shot high. She was bleeding from a wound just under her right shoulder-blade. She leaned against a nearby box and stared at him, shocked.
"It was you?" she gasped. As she licked her lips nervously, she tasted blood.
"So sorry, Rebecca, really." Granger approached as she slumped to the ground. "I wanted to spare you, you know, but you just got too close..." He shrugged. "What's a spy to do?"
"Traitor..." Rebecca spat, crawling away from him. She collapsed after only a few feet.
"Oh, you wound me to the quick, dear lady!" Granger laughed and bent over her, resting his gun against the back of her neck as she tried to pull herself up again. "I wonder if there's any way I can blame Agent Blayne for this?"
"It's doubtful," Phileas whispered in his ear.
Granger felt the barrel of a pistol against the back of his neck and dropped his own gun. "I'm not armed."
"Too bad," Phileas said, pulling the trigger. "Over here!" he shouted. "Hurry!"
Jules arrived first, followed closely by Blayne and Passepartout.
"Is he dead, Fogg?" Blayne asked, crouching next to Rebecca.
Phileas checked. "Yes."
"Good." Blayne rolled Rebecca over. "She's still alive. Help me, Jules. Jean! Go as quickly as you can and fetch a doctor." As he ran off, she shouted, "Or a vet if you can't find a proper surgeon!"
As Blayne and Jules worked to staunch the blood flow, Phileas slid to the ground, helpless to act. This was, undeniably, his own fault. Looking back, Granger had committed a hundred actions that could have been construed as sinister, but at the time had seemed innocent. He should have suspected him! And allowing Rebecca to use herself as bait was unthinkable! Why had he done it? Because she had soothed and comforted and promised that everything would be fine, and he had chosen to believe her. Knowing it was a lie, he had chosen to believe her...
He became suddenly aware of an odd weight in his hand. He stared down and was dully surprised to see that he was still holding his gun. He picked it up and examined it as though in a dream. It would be so easy, and he would never have to worry about losing anyone ever again. He stared thoughtfully down the barrel.
Phileas, Jules, Passepartout, and Blayne sat anxiously in Phileas's sitting-room, waiting. Phileas jumped a foot as the door opened. All looked up hopefully, but it was not the doctor. It was Agent Rizzo, his long hair still in two braids and a tie-dyed T-shirt on under his jacket.
"I'm sorry to interrupt..." he muttered, and it was the first time any of them had ever heard him sounding serious. "I heard..." He walked over to Phileas and extended his hand. "I'm sorry, man."
Phileas shook his hand and nodded. "We're waiting for the surgeon to finish up with her now. You're welcomed to join us."
"Thanks, man," Rizzo said softly. He walked over to Blayne and sat down on the floor next to her chair. He squeezed one of her hands.
"How was Woodstock?" she murmured sadly.
"Wild. You'd have had fun..." Rizzo sighed, not really wanting to speak.
She sighed and stared down at her lap. "I can't believe this, Riz..."
"Neither can I. I'm so sorry, hon..."
Jules jumped up out of his chair. "Why is everyone acting so depressed?" he demanded. "This is Rebecca! She's strong. She's going to be okay..."
"Sure she is, Jules." Blayne agreed with a sigh. "She was strong enough to move back to London, she must be strong enough to recover, right?"
"Right," the surgeon concurred, entering the sitting-room. "She has lost a lot of blood, but given time she will make a full recovery. Which of you did the stitches?"
Blayne looked up. "I did."
He looked surprised. "You did a fine job, ma'am."
Phileas rose slowly. "But she is going to..."
"She will be just fine, sir," the surgeon assured him gently. "Although she should avoid strenuous activity for several months."
"She'll go mad!" Phileas protested.
"You'll need to keep a firm hand of her, then." The surgeon turned to leave.
Phileas snorted, but quickly recovered. "Can I go up and see her?"
"Well, she should rest, but as long as you don't stay long. The rest of you will have to wait until tomorrow."
"No problem," Blayne assured him as he left.
Jules rose as Phileas left and poured two drinks. He handed one to Passepartout. "Do either of you want one?"
"No." Blayne rose. "We should really be going now..."
The two left. Once they were on the street, Rizzo said, "Oh! Hey! I almost forgot once I heard the news..."
"What is it, Riz?" Blayne asked.
"I got you something on my vacation." He reached into an inner pocket and handed her an envelope.
"If it's a gift certificate, Riz..." she began.
He laughed. "Open it. You'll love it, I promise."
She tore open the envelope and examined the slip of paper within. Two short messages were scrawled in two different hands. "Have fun saving the world" the first one read. The second said "Keep fighting the good fight". She frowned in confusion until she stared down at the signatures underneath the notes. "Paul Simon" and "Art Garfunkel".
"Oh my gods, Riz!" She stopped and turned to face him. "But... how? They weren't even at Woodstock, and the dates..."
"Well, I had three weeks, right? Turns out Woodstock was only a couple of days, so I took a detour in the seventies before I came back. They said they were sorry you missed the concert..."
Blayne laughed and hugged him. Ignoring rude stares from passers-by who obviously found this behavior, and Rizzo's appearance, shocking, they skipped down the street loudly singing 'Cecilia'.
Phileas tapped lightly on Rebecca's door before letting himself in. "How are you feeling?"
"Glad you arrived when you did." Rebecca smiled at him and extended her hand. "How are you?"
He squeezed her hand gently. "I am not the one who was shot, Rebecca..."
She smiled. "I know I'm not supposed to have visitors for long, but would you mind sitting with me for a while?"
"Of course." He pulled a chair next to her bed and took her hand in his.
She sighed softly. "I'm afraid I've absolutely nothing to talk about..."
"That's okay. It's okay," he murmured, running his fingers over hers. "I'm just happy to be able to sit here in uncomfortable silence with you..."
Rebecca laughed, which triggered a coughing spasm. "Oh, dear," she reached for her glass of water.
Phileas picked it up and gently held it for her, holding her up enough to take a drink. "Enough?" he asked.
"Yes." She nodded. "Thank you."
"No more laughing, Rebecca," Phileas suggested softly. "At least not today."
She put on a demure face. "I'll be good."
"I seriously doubt it, Rebecca, but you should try."
She smiled and nodded. "Promise."
"There's a good girl."
Phileas settled himself in the chair again and the two sat in comfortable silence for several minutes, hand entwined. There was hardly any real need to speak, a fact for which Phileas was grateful. Finally, after what could have been minutes or hours sleep came to Rebecca. Phileas rose and kissed her gently as she slept. He turned to leave, but realized that he was not ready to face the others yet. He buried his head in his hands and silently wept.