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Title: Bleeding Out
Author: lost_spook
Story: Heroes of the Revolution (Divide & Rule)
Flavor(s): White Chocolate #10 (agony), Cookies & Cream #22 (lean), Sangria #18 (I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me)
Toppings/Extras: Gummy Bunnies (also for origfic_bingo square “reunion”).
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1478
Notes: 1961; Julia Graves, Diana Foyle.
Summary: Julia’s contact unexpectedly turns out to be someone familiar.

***

Julia stepped off the train at Birmingham New Street, standing on the soot-darkened platform for a moment with a small case in her hand. Everything she had dared take with her was in it, and there was a label tied to it that was intended to alert her contact to her identity. She shifted her hold on the case, making sure that the tag was visible when she was unexpectedly seized upon and enveloped in a hug.

“Julia, my dear!” said Diana Foyle, pulling back and taking the case from her, as she led her to the steps up and away from the long, gloomy platform. “I can’t tell you how relieved I am to see you.”

Julia had to blink back tears, undone by the unexpected friendly welcome. “I had no idea it was you I was meeting.”

“Well, that’s the problem with all this hole and corner business, isn’t it?” said Diana, taking Julia’s arm. “Come on – this way. You needn’t say anything until we’re home.”


Diana found a cab and ushered Julia into it, occasionally dropping in light snippets of society news, evidently as cover since Julia didn’t recognise many of the names. Julia stared out of the window at the unfamiliar streets disappearing past her in a blur, and saw her ghostly image reflected over them. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see. Easier just to look at the meaningless houses and concrete than to try and make sense of who she was becoming now in the wake of Edward’s death.

“You look done in,” said Diana. “Poor darling.”

Julia shook her head, not wanting kindness. She’d held herself together so far by not thinking too much about any of it and she might fall apart if Diana continued to be so sympathetic. Ever since she’d heard the news – since she’d seen for herself that it was true – she had concentrated on the next thing to be done, and then the next. She’d taken care of Emily and followed all of Mr Elliott’s instructions. It allowed her to push the rest of it to the back of her mind and function in a state of numbness where most things remained safely unreal.

“Well, we’re here,” said Diana, and gave Julia’s arm a quick squeeze before opening the door and paying the driver, while Julia shuffled across the seat to follow her.


The house was one of a long terrace, a line of solid Victorian three-storey with darkened bricks. Julia wondered if it was Diana’s own house or a safe house, but it didn’t matter, and it didn’t do to ask. She stood there in the shadowy, cold hallway feeling suddenly bereft. She would rather have kept moving, she realised.

“Diana,” she said, shaking herself out of her abstracted mood. “I have a message for you.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure,” said Diana. “Hand it over, and then go upstairs and simply rest. You really do look done in, my dear.”

“It’s very kind of you, but I have things to do.”

Diana drew back again, and hesitated on the point of saying something before she gave a shrug and then led Julia up the stairs. “I’m sure you do, but I expect most of them can wait a little while. And besides –” She bit back further words, and then, as she opened the nearest door to let Julia pass through, she said, “No, damn it. Julia, I don’t care. You’ll stay here until you’ve got some proper rest and then you can decide what you want to do for yourself. Edward can’t dictate to you from beyond the grave. It isn’t right!”

Julia caught her breath at the name. Everyone else had been so careful to avoid mentioning him if they could. She wasn’t sure how to respond, so she merely shook her head.

“He can’t,” said Diana.

Julia swallowed. “I was sent by my contact.”

“Yes, but it is up to you. I’m sure MI5 can cope without you. Nobody’s indispensable. Now, go in, settle yourself down. I’ll let you know when it’s time for dinner.”

Julia walked into the room as Diana followed, placing her case on the carpet. It was a small but light room, probably halved in size when someone had put in the bathroom next to it. “It’s very nice,” she said, but perfunctorily. “Thank you.”

Once Diana had left her, Julia busied herself with unpacking and making sure she still had the message straight, keeping her focus still on the next task in hand. It worked, and that was the important thing.


Julia woke in the night, jolted out of a sad dream, and finding tears still running down her face. She pushed herself up – and saw someone standing by the doorway in the gloom. She bit back a sharp cry, terrified, and unsure if it was only another dream or not.

“It’s only me,” said Diana, hastily moving forward. “I’m sorry. I was crossing the landing and I thought I heard you call out to me. I suppose you must have been dreaming.”

Julia sank back into the pillows in relief, but she could feel the edges of the nightmare still, and then, as she reminded herself that it had only been a dream, what was real returned to hurt all over again. “Yes, only a dream – sorry.”

“Nothing to apologise for,” said Diana, but she didn’t go; she sat on the end of the bed. “Would it help if I stayed with you for a bit?”

Julia closed her eyes, wanting to cry again suddenly, and nodded. She had never cared much for being alone and her world was suddenly empty again of the people she loved the most – Edward, Emily, the Longs, even Mrs Crosbie. It was too much to take in, too much to think about, which was why she didn’t. Edward’s death alone was too much. She swallowed. “If you honestly don’t mind.”

“I wouldn’t have offered if I did,” said Diana, and climbed into the bed next to her. “Well, as long as you don’t snore too loudly. Then again, I doubt it – I don’t suppose Edward would have remained so besotted if you had!” She turned her head. “Oh, dear. I should watch my tongue, shouldn’t I? I am sorry about everything, you know, but what good does saying that do?”

Julia gave a slight laugh. It did hurt, but it also felt better to think of Edward in some capacity other than Mr Elliott’s talk of Mr Iveson’s instructions, or of how he’d looked that morning when they’d found him.

“Julia,” said Diana. “You can go to Emily and be safe – keep her safe. She’ll need you more than any of these others. That’s the important thing. I don’t really care whatever Edward said or thought – I doubt he was entirely himself by that point anyway.”

Julia felt her chest tighten, because she wanted to go back to Emily so much it was a physical pain, but everything was more complicated than that. “I don’t see that you can talk. He was the one who asked you to come here, wasn’t he?”

“And I chose to do it,” said Diana. “It was a fair deal, I think, all considered. It’s you I’m worried about.”

Julia turned towards her. “Yes, but only part of this is what Edward asked. Once it’s done, I could join Emily – except I don’t believe I can. We’d be easier to find together than apart and now I’ve got back in touch with United Europe, they might be after me, too. And I’m the one who did this, you know. I’m the one who’s actually the traitor.” If she hadn’t suggested that they use the organisation, if she hadn’t taken the document, if she’d let him resign. She felt the panic begin again, and shifted herself so that she could breathe. If she had only let him resign…

“And so,” she said, “I’m not going to Emily after this is done. I can’t go back and deal with all of this – I simply can’t. What I’ve decided I can do, however, is make Hallam pay.”

Diana gave a soft sound that might have been a small, wry laugh. “I suppose I can get behind that.”

“I can’t go home anyway,” said Julia. “And that’s my plan, not his.” Only Edward would think she could go home and be with Emily, when she was to blame for so much of it and now she had to live with his death as one of the consequences of that act. Just thinking of it made her feel cold and sick, as much as it ever had.

“Well, then,” Diana said slowly. “I’m sorry. I think I understand, and I’m sorry.”

Julia nodded. “Yes,” she said. “It is a shame. My plans are usually the very worst, you know.”

***

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
winebabe
Apr. 7th, 2017 02:12 am (UTC)
Oh, no, poor Julia. :( A very well-done piece though!
lost_spook
Apr. 7th, 2017 04:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (And, yeah, this is why I keep AU-ing everything!)
winebabe
Apr. 7th, 2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, I completely understand that haha. Thank God for AUs!
roisin_farrell
Apr. 14th, 2017 10:53 pm (UTC)
Diana is as awesome as ever but ugh, my heart.
lost_spook
Apr. 15th, 2017 12:14 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you. I do like Diana, so I'm glad you think so. :-)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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