Chapter 9 : Jailbreak
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Author's Note Nearly a year. Guys, I am so, so sorry. The thing is, I took a hiatus/break/whatever you will from writing for ... really, I don't quite know. It wasn't worth stopping writing. But here is another chapter, so if you've stuck around and are reading this update, you cannot know how grateful I am to you. Thank you so much. I really, really hope you enjoy this chapter. Much love, Kalina.
Daniel Craig as Maxwell Blackthorn
Tricia Helfer as Delilah Fengate
Zachary Quinto as Marcus Flume
Freida Pinto as Jalminder Singh
Henry Cavill as INTWIPOL commander
As Grace and Black landed at the airport, the cool air of England misted their bodies and that of those around them. The sight of the green and foggy island was as foreign to them as anything, and Grace sighed as she hiked up the urn's bag over her shoulder. It felt odd - good, yet odd - to be in a place she might have someday called home. Black's hand on the small of her back, the two of them navigated through the crowds and towards security. A burly officer in the small glass cubicle stared down at them as they handed him their passports - forged and expensive, of course, but the Muggle would never be able to tell the difference - to him.
"Mr. Leiter?" the officer inquired.
"That would be me," Black responded calmly, staring the officer in the face. He and Grace had often traveled under the cloak of anonymity together, and were used to their pseudo-identities. As she and Black answered questions about their travels, Grace could not help but remark exactly how much of a liar she had grown into. Oh, of course she knew half of her lies were necessary, at least, but somehow, she didn't find all of them to have to be so ... fanciful. Black was spinning a spectacular story about their supposed honeymoon, so Grace gave the officer a demure smile and let her slim hand rest in Black's.
"Are you carrying any items you'd need to declare, sir?"
Within minutes they had passed the excruciating observation and were walking out of Heathrow airport with one suitcase each, and the urn itself. A myriad of people swarmed around them and Grace quickly scanned the crowd for any sign of danger but nevertheless, it took her many minutes to be able to calm down. She was in England, she reminded herself. Rasheed could not have possibly followed them so swiftly. Guilt flashed through her as she recalled having left Hugo in Egypt, but she had no time to distress herself. Black was hailing a taxi and with feline agility Grace slipped inside, the bag clutched to her chest. And soon, the two of them were off and away into London, with their troubles, they hoped, left far behind.
The hotel they ended up at was absolutely not impressive. Black nearly snorted as he unlocked the door to their room. Granted, there were all the standard appliances: television, running water, flushing toilet, etc, but it wasn’t the Mariott. Grace, however, didn’t seem to give much of a shit about the hotel room, so long as it had a bed and a television in front of which she could vegetate for at least several hours. Falling onto the bed, she ran a hand through her coarse, tousled hair and flipped through the channels. No, no, no, maybe, hey, Black would like that, no, and hell no. She settled on the maybe, a poorly plotted spy movie. She wanted to scoff. Plot devices she had seen millions of times in movies never did actually work in real life – at least not her own. She, for example, had never gotten the opportunity to try and “seduce the enemy”, and if she ever were in an enemy’s camp, she doubted she would make it out alive. For one, she knew Rasheed wasn’t the type to go soft just because he might be dealing with a lady. And for two, that tactic was just point-blank degrading.
Eyes riveted on the screen, hand plunged into a bag of cheese puffs, Grace (futilely) attempted to let herself relax, trying to ignore her almost uncontrollable reflex to jump out of the bed everytime there was an explosion on screen. Black, who had taken off his false mustache, lazed about in the armchair, reading a magazine previous hotel clients had left behind. At every twitch of Grace’s muscles, he looked up, alert and body tense, ready to flee. It was only until he realized that she reacted so strongly to the movie that he began to mock her. Each comment earned him a withering glare. So, of course, he continued.
On her fifth jerk, he sighed and stood up. Picking up the remote, he turned off the television set and faced her. Grace’s expression was set into a deep scowl, obviously not pleased with Black’s actions. But Black, as ever, was unconcerned.
“Watching that stuff’s not good for you,” he informed her matter-of-factly. “Find a chick movie, or some sappy romance.”
Grace’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “Go to hell. I’m not watching that shit.”
Black shrugged. “Suit yourself. You’re not watching Spy Revenge II, either.” Rolling his shoulders back, he straightened. “Think we should call Hugo?”
Grace scoffed. “You must be joking. With what money? Doesn’t it cost a few thousand pounds to --” She writhed, words cut off, her throat making a guttural choking noise. Black fell to her side, one hand running over her lacerated back.
“Lawless,” he muttered, after the convulsion had passed. She looked at him from under her dark bangs, chest heaving. “You all right?”
“Yes,” she told him, panting in the slightest. “I’m feeling so physically fit I might compete in next year’s Olympics.” Rolling her eyes, she struggled to sit up properly. “There’s still some of that shit in me, Blackthorn. I’m sure of it. Dunno what Rahima did, but it wasn’t enough.”
Black’s gaze darkened as he smoothed his palm over Grace’s trembling body. “All right, Grace,” he told her. “We’ll go north.”
Grace’s eyes widened and she looked at him in utter confusion. “North? What the hell for?”
A grim, wry smile etched itself onto Black’s face. “Because,” he started. “We’re going to go see my mother.”
The man's voice was low, his eyes fixed on the taxi pulling away from the curb. Marcus Flume was absolutely positive he had just seen Grace Lawless - infamous among the British Aurors and INTWIPOL - escape from under his very eyes. With her had been a tall blond man, currently unidentifiable. Flume snapped to attention as his head of squadron's cool voice came in through his cellular phone's small speaker.
"Marcus. News, I presume?"
"Of course there's bloody news. Do I ever call you to talk about your mother's bleeding gardenias?" he snapped. Flume could already picture Delilah Fengate rolling her eyes exasperatedly at him, one hand rubbing her forehead.
"Would you," she started, "be so kind as to share it?"
There was a pause.
Flume was not oblivious to the power which Grace Lawless's name held. A family the INTWIPOL agents had been after for years, Delilah would be more than excited at finding out that the elusive, mysterious daughter of Thomas Lawless had finally set foot on her native soil. The hitch in Delilah's voice had alerted Flume to her desire to catch her. If she did as such, it would propel her career far beyond her wildest dreams.
“Companions?” she ventured, controlled yet hesitant.
“Unidentified male, blond, I’d guess around late thirties, early forties.”
Bingo. Delilah felt numb with excitement. "You're Tracking her?" she asked eagerly.
Flume nodded before realizing they were speaking via phone. Delilah's presence was such that Flume was standing to attention, even though she was not there to see it. "Obviously," he drawled. "Am I so incompetent you think I wouldn't have spelled them?"
He could nearly see Delilah's disgusted frown on the other end of the line as she spoke.
"Monitor her coordinates," she decreed, an edge on her exasperated voice, "and let me know when she moves."
"What am I, a goatherd?" Flume complained, but Delilah had disconnected. Back in her office in INTWIPOL's sprawling underground expanse, she put one delicate hand on her waist, the other one quickly scrolling down the screen on her computer. The news which Flume had provided her with excited her beyond all words, and she quickly brushed away all thoughts of containing Saffron Linnow. Lawless had quickly become her priority. With efficient speed Delilah verbally dispatched two of her best men - Walkins and Herferth - towards the airport, in order for Flume to have backup, should he take after Grace herself. It would have been much more of a victory, of course, Delilah mused, had she known who accompanied her and whether or not he carried a criminal record, but by Merlin, Lawless alone would do. The commander would be pleased, Delilah noted, and swiftly, picking up the file she had just printed from her desk, whisked away to greet him with the information.
His personal assistant, Jalminder Singh, greeted her before the commander’s office.
“Good morning, Delilah,” she greeted her. Delilah did like Jal, well and truly (in fact, she couldn’t think of anyone who didn’t like Jal), but at the moment, she had no time for Jal’s well-meaning conversation. But the younger woman’s sweet expression yet compelled her, once again, to answer.
“Good morning, Jal,” Delilah answered, and gave her a tight smile. “How are you today?”
Shit. She should not have done that – asking Jal any questions practically certified a long-winded answer and a reciprocated question on top of it. Delilah quickly amended her previous feelings towards the woman: she liked Jal, but only when Jal was focused on her work.
“Oh, you know.” Jal shrugged, but no, Delilah did not know. “I’ve been filing papers for the last four hours – I wish he’d realize I can do a whole lot more than just that. I didn’t become an INTWIPOL agent just to do paperwork, you know! Seven years of training and all I have to show for it are amazing typography skills. Ugh. And then there’s the issue with the boyfriend – Nikhil, you know him, I think – who’s always away but tells me it’s for work. How can I know it’s for work? It’s like he’s always lying to me, you know? And I’m just sitting there every night wondering: is he cheating on me? Am I not good enough for him? You know, Delilah, maybe I should just become a lesbian.” Jal smiled brightly, despite the vitriol her tirade exhibited. “And you? How are you, my dear? How’s the Linnow case?”
“The Linnow case is fine,” Delilah responded tightly. “She’s not cooperating, but what can be expected, right? All we need to do now is find her son and we’ll have her in a bind. Saffron’ll do anything for Scott, you know. And once we have him, we can use her knowledge of the Underground, catch even more of the outlaws. But,” she added, leaning down to whisper conspiratorially in Jal’s ear, “I’ll tell you something new. Top-secret, but I can’t keep it to myself.” She grinned self-consciously and plowed on. “We’ve just found a Lawless.”
Jal’s expression betrayed her wonder and jealousy. “Really? Merlin, after all this time, too. You must be so happy.”
“I am.” Delilah straightened and ran a hand through her glossy blond hair. “Is he in?”
Jal nodded. “Yes. But I think he’s taking a phone call; let me buzz him.” She pressed the buzzer on her desk and seated herself in the swiveling chair.
“Yes?” The commander’s sarcastic, exasperated voice crackled through the audio port.
“Morning, sir!” Jal greeted him cheerfully. “Delilah Fengate to see you. Shall I send her in?”
“Sure, sure.” A loud beeping sound resounded; the connection died. Jal beamed at Delilah, reaching across her desk to turn the knob of the door.
“See you later, Delilah. Want to do lunch?”
Delilah grimaced, halfway through the door already. “I’m sorry, Jal, I’ve already got plans.” She paused. “I’m sorry about your boyfriend, by the way.”
Jal shrugged, and swung the door behind her. Heaving a sigh, Delilah steadied her shoulders and lifted her chin, stalking across the grandiose office to the commander’s desk. With a loud bang, she dropped the files on his desk, and watched with growing pride and apprehension as he turned around to face her.
“Well?” he asked, expectant.
“This is it,” she told him. Delilah bit her lip, trying to control the urge to scream with excitement. “We’ve got her, Albus. We’ve got Grace Lawless.”