The whole interrogation idea had sounded like a terrific one only an hour ago. Agravaine was the kind of man who would commit treason and Lucas had seen him do it. As far as Ros Myers was concerned, they had their suspect.
Unfortunately that was where the whole thing got stuck. Arthur needed some kind of confession before he'd let them treat his uncle as a traitor and to get such a confession, they needed to interrogate him. And to interrogate him properly, they needed to know who they were dealing with so they could approach him in the right way. And that was the point where things got tricky, because there was very little information about the man. No one in Camelot bothered with making files on other people, so everything they had on him was hearsay. Arthur could tell him what he knew, but since the king was apparently led around by the nose by his uncle there was very little use in what he could tell them. Merlin provided them with some things he had seen and heard, but all of that was circumstantial evidence, if it could be called evidence at all. The warlock's intuition was probably spot on in this situation, but no court or king had ever passed judgement based on sodding intuition.
No, the most solid thing they had to go on was Lucas's information. He had seen Agravaine, had overheard the plans the dynamic duo had made, although Ros could barely suppress a shiver when she thought of how he must have learned this information. Not many people would have the sense of duty to pick up information when in situations like the one Lucas had been in at the time.
Still, this had not been enough to convince Arthur that this was not some kind of snake-induced hallucination Lucas had suffered from. Ros had been meaning to argue that point, especially when Lucas seemed to have frozen in place, but even she could not deny that it was a distinct possibility, much as she would love for it not to be. It was just that she knew that Lucas had been in his right mind, but that too, like Merlin's words, was intuition and the Service and King Arthur both did not make their decisions based on officers' intuition, no matter how reliable that intuition or the officer.
So, you better get a sodding grip on yourself, Myers. You're going soft. With that thought firmly cemented in her mind she returned her attention to the papers and parchments lying in front of her, desperately wishing for a cup of coffee to keep her going. The contents of the thing-that-should-pass-for-a-file were very little and almost entirely useless. Merlin had asked the librarian, someone called Geoffrey of Monmouth, to get them everything they had about Agravaine. Ros had been about to object, because she didn't want word of this to reach the lord in question, but Merlin had sworn to her that he was discreet. And there had not been a whole list of options, so in the end she had settled for a stern glare and the notion that if Agravaine was somehow tipped off about what they were planning, she would know where he got it from.
'All right there, boss?'
Ros looked up to see Lucas walking at her desk, perching on it without asking permission, like he used to do sometimes before this whole mess had started. 'You know that that sodding librarian does want that back, don't you?' she inquired sarcastically. 'I don't think he'd appreciate it very much if he were to learn someone had sat on it.' Something told her this was not the way one greeted a colleague who had very recently been tortured within an inch of his life, but the Section Chief had always failed spectacularly at any form of "talking about" things like that. And in her experience it did not do to dwell on the horrors of the past. Had she done so, she would have lost her sanity long ago. Wallowing in memories had never been known to do anyone any good. It was best to go on and change something about the things they could change.
Fortunately Lucas did not seem offended. The well-known lopsided grin was firmly back in place, even if his eyes were not joining in entirely yet. But Ros took it as a good sign. 'You didn't have any coffee today,' he observed, joking as if for all the world this was nothing more important than another day in the office with very little to do.
Ros scowled at him. 'If Harry can do without whisky for a few days, I'm sure we'll manage without caffeine.'
This time he laughed. 'Can Harry last several days without whisky?'
Cheeky bastard. But the banter affected her too and she cracked a smile. 'I'm sure Arthur wouldn't mind sharing some of his wine, mead, or whatever the hell it is that he is drinking when he wants something with alcohol.'
Lucas made himself comfortable on the desk. 'Well, we'll find out soon enough.' The smile still hadn't left his face and his eyes were twinkling as well. It took the Section Chief all she had not to sigh in relief. That annoyingly easy-going colleague was still in there and almost back to normal, it would seem. Harry had tried to send him back to bed, to no avail, something Ros could have told him in advance, despite the fact that she had known him for far less long than her boss. Lucas was like her in that respect; work always came first, everything else could wait.
It only occurred to her now that her colleague wasn't wearing his normal clothing. Instead he was dressed in the local fashion. 'Don't you look bloody dashing,' she commented, keeping up the banter for a little longer.
She was rewarded with a bark of laughter. 'Well, you know me, boss. I'd like to dress up.'
She remembered when they had discussed the whole dressing up nonsense, the first time they had run into Arthur and his sodding good-for-nothing knights. It seemed like another lifetime now.
'You know, Arthur did provide us with chairs,' she told him, giving a pointed look at the papers he was currently using for a cushion. 'Even if you might have to get one from a room nearby.'
The smile left his face. 'Ros, I am glad to sit at all.' A wry grin graced his features. 'Morgana's hospitality didn't include any chairs or desks, I'm afraid.' He tried to keep his tone of voice light and unconcerned, but the Section Chief was not fooled.
But it was her golden rule that she didn't do emotional and she wasn't going to be accommodating if he was about to dwell on what had happened there either. Neither of them would be helped with such an attitude and besides, she wasn't sure how comfortable she was with listening to his tales, taken into account that they could have prevented those things from taking place if they had only believed him before.
So she shrugged. 'Suit yourself.' She glanced at the parchment again.
'Anything of use in there?' Lucas asked, beckoning at the sheaf of paper.
Ros snorted. 'Apart from his ancestry, properties and sodding titles, you mean?' she inquired sarcastically. 'Not bloody likely.' She liked to work with facts, but where Agravaine de Bois was concerned, facts seemed to be in very short supply. She was reminded once again that this was not twenty-first century London, where she had access to things like internet, mobile phones and CCTV, in short, all the things Section D usually depended on to learn about their suspects. And an undercover job would not work in this case either. For all they knew Morgana had informed her ally about what and who the spooks were for real. The list of options was growing rather short as a result of that.
'And Merlin?' Lucas urged. 'Didn't he know anything useful? He suspected Agravaine for quite some time, he said.'
Ros shook her head. 'Nothing,' she reported. 'Nothing we can bloody well use. It's all circumstantial and intuitional. He said Agravaine knew about Emrys, even if he did not know that Merlin was him, he suspects him from placing some magical amulet on Arthur's father, causing his death… Need I go on?'
Lucas grimaced. That was quite basically nothing to go on at all and he knew it as well as Ros did. Agravaine could easily deflect the question, tell them it was mere guess work. It could all mean something else entirely, even if it didn't change Ros's belief that Agravaine's behaviour was even more fake than Laurie Werner's. They could be related for all the similarities in the way they behaved, not a notion either of them would like, she imagined. No, Agravaine was definitely hiding things and if Lucas said he was the one they were looking for, then she wasn't calling it into question.
It was just a shame that Arthur clearly was doing exactly that. He did not want to believe that his uncle could be the one who had betrayed him. It reminded Ros of why he would fail miserably at being a real spook. He let himself be led by his heart rather than his head. That was a dangerous quality for a king, never mind a spy. All things considered it was a miracle his head was still attached to his shoulders at all. They could thank Merlin for that probably.
'We'll need to trick him to get something out of him,' Lucas observed thoughtfully.
Ros looked at him mockingly. 'Bravo, Einstein,' she commented. 'Any idea how perhaps?'
To her surprise he nodded. 'Use his relationship with Morgana,' he advised. He seemed frustrated and this Ros could understand. Harry had allowed him to remain on the makeshift Grid, but he had not been given clearance to return to duty just yet.
Well, at least this piqued her interest. 'Relationship as in romantic relationship?'
He nodded. 'In a way.'
Ros prided herself in being able to control her reactions, but this one got away from her and she wrinkled in disgust. Agravaine was what? Twice Morgana's age? If she wasn't mistaken the two of them weren't actually related by blood, but it still was disgusting, wrong. The man could be Morgana's father. 'In what way exactly?' she demanded to distract herself.
'I think Agravaine's in love with her,' the Senior Case Officer replied thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. 'But she's none too fond of him.'
He had a distant look in his eyes and she assumed he was recalling exactly what had occurred in that cursed hovel. With his photographic memory that would not be any problem for him. Ros just much rather didn't want him to put himself back there, but she was professional enough to know that he had to. And sentimentality was an emotion that had absolutely no business here on the work floor. Her concern was catching that witch. That had to take precedence over any personal concerns she might privately entertain.
'He's swallowing everything she does,' Lucas continued, effectively snapping Ros out of her almost sentimental mood and musings. 'She insulted him, threw his advice to the wind and he still worshipped the very ground she stood on.'
'Sounds like a stalker to me,' Ros commented. And a creepy one at that. But it fit with the mental picture of Agravaine that she was slowly piecing together. And it was a good angle for interrogation. Finances, friends and family were the standard angles and they worked very well most of the time, but lovers were even better in Ros's opinion, especially when it was an unrequited love they were dealing with, as would seem to be the case here. This was something they could actually work with. It might be just what they needed to turn Agravaine.
Lucas nodded. 'He is, in a way. He craves her attention, needs it, but she keeps him at arm's length, rejects him. I don't think she likes him even. He is just a means to an end to her, another ally.' He thought about that for a moment longer. 'And she does not share any information with him,' he added. 'When Agravaine asked about my identity, she as good as told him it was none of his business.'
'And he swallowed that?' Good grief, Arthur's uncle must have it badly if that was the case. She'd almost feel sorry for the poor bastard, but right now he was the means to an end, their way of getting to Morgana and she was not about to take pity on a man who cheerfully supported and, if Lucas had read this situation right, worshipped the most dangerous witch in the history of mankind. She still had a personal vendetta with Morgana and she was in no danger of forgetting that. Good heavens, she even put up with living in this castle for some time.
One corner of Lucas's mouth curled up. 'Well, he wasn't exactly doing a happy dance around the room, but he backed down pretty quickly. He's going to be a tough nut to crack, Ros.'
So she figured. If Agravaine truly was as besotted with Morgana, then it would take a great deal of skill to break him and with Arthur's sodding softly-softly decree they were hardly going to get anywhere. Give her a standard interrogation room and permission to conduct this interview to her liking and she was sure she could get to his deepest secrets within the hour, but that wasn't really an option here. To Arthur the nobleman was innocent until proven guilty, a noble idea that nevertheless had absolutely no worth in Ros's line of work. If they operated according to that rule in Thames House a lot of terrorists would walk free and a lot more lives would be lost.
'I bloody well know that,' she growled, unable to keep the frustration at bay. 'Try telling that sodding king that.'
'He still insists on going easy on Agravaine?' Lucas questioned.
'Are you surprised?' the Section Chief countered. She knew she wasn't. That same bloody loyalty had caused Arthur's refusal to believe that Lucas was a traitor. Agravaine was no different in that respect. He too had Arthur's absolute faith until the king had left no other choice than to accept that his uncle wasn't worthy of that trust. As admirable and useful a quality as that had been where Lucas was concerned, it was an absolute bother now they needed Arthur to use his brain and realise that Agravaine was indeed the traitor they were looking for.
It was silent for a while. 'I need to be there.' Lucas looked both determined and frustrated. 'I know I can get him to talk, Ros.' The tone of voice was slightly cajoling now.
The Section Chief knew he was right. If anyone could break down Agravaine's armour of fake friendliness, then it would be the man who had seen for himself how Arthur's uncle interacted with Morgana. Lucas knew Agravaine's weak spots better than she did and she would be able to pull off such an interview much better with Lucas than she would be with either Jo or Merlin or, heaven forbid, both of them.
The difficulty was that Lucas was not yet back on duty officially. Harry had been heard muttering excuses involving words like exhausted, not fully recovered and resting. The paternal concern would have been touching in any other situation, but right now it was bloody annoying and nothing else.
'I know,' she replied, silently cursing her boss's decisions that were more based on his feelings than any spook should be allowed to do, never mind get away with. They did not have time for this kind of luxury. 'You're going in with me,' she told Lucas.
'And Harry…?' He looked slightly puzzled.
'Leave Harry to me,' she said dismissively. Sod him and his sentimentality. This was still an operation and she had still a witch to catch. She'd be damned if she'd let her boss of all people stop her from doing that.
Lucas did not ask how Ros managed to change Harry's mind on the subject of him being allowed to go in with her to question Morgana's ally. He doubted he would get an answer anyway, so he'd better save his breath. For now it was just enough to know that apparently matters had been solved. There had been some shouting, mainly Harry's, earlier emerging from Harry's broom cupboard, correction, office, but in the end both boss and Section Chief had walked out, the former looking like he had recently consumed a very sour lemon, the latter appearing rather smug. Lucas had thought it wiser not to comment, instead accepting his immediate reinstatement with a curt but grateful nod of the head.
'Lucas, hurry up!' Ros was already halfway out of the room before he had even finished nodding. He knew that way of walking and it was a dead giveaway that Ros Myers was on the warpath, this time to get Agravaine to open his mouth and tell them everything there was to know about Morgana's schemes and plans.
'Yep.' It took him about three big steps to catch up with her. It took him every bit of self-restraint not to bounce up and down like an overenthusiastic school boy at realising he had been allowed back on duty. Some, Gaius being one of them, had all but told him he'd lost it, trying to get back to work so soon after his ordeal at Morgana's hands, but he needed it, needed to do something useful. And somewhere it got all mixed up with wanting Harry to realise that Lucas was fit to return to work.
And that did not make any sense, because rationally he knew he had nothing to prove to his boss, not anymore. It was more the other way around now. Things had become very tense. Harry seemed genuinely glad that Lucas had survived and was back on his feet, but they had no idea how to behave around one another right now. And as much as Lucas hated this, he didn't even know if he trusted Harry any longer. The head of Section D was difficult to read at the very best of times, but right now it was just impossible. Lucas knew Harry had not believed him while he was infiltrating Morgana's little group. He thought he did now, but this time it appeared to be a lack of faith in Lucas's abilities that had made him reluctant to allow the Senior Case Officer back in the field. In short, Lucas had no idea what to do with Harry, so maybe it would be best for now to stay away from him.
And this was not really the time to start wondering about Harry anyway. It was Agravaine they needed to worry about now, Agravaine and Morgana both. It had become rather obvious that Harry and Ros wanted nothing better than to get that witch and make her pay for what she had done. Well, they may want her, but Lucas needed to bring her down, if only to come to terms with what had happened to him there. Turning Kachimov had brought him some measure of relief after Russia, had given him the feeling that he could still handle what needed to be done, could get away from the nightmares, creating some distance. He needed that again, even if he would never be heard to tell that to anyone, not even Ros.
He came back to the here and now when Ros handed him an earpiece. He knew his colleagues were going to spy on the meeting magical style and that they could comment by using Malcolm's technologies should they hear something that could be of use to them. 'I thought those didn't work in here,' he remarked.
Ros snorted. 'Try telling Malcolm something is impossible,' she snorted. 'And catch up, will you?'
They were meeting Agravaine in the council chamber under the pretence of wanting to have his input on the case. Arthur's uncle was still under the impression that this was some kind of informal briefing. Away from Morgana he was surrounded by a cloud of fake friendliness hanging around him, making Lucas almost nauseous, because it was just so sickening. He did seem rather nervous around Lucas, even if he could not possibly know that he had been awake during that little encounter in Morgana's hovel. But he certainly remembered the spook and clearly that was enough to put him on edge. Well, that was good. They could work with that.
He was already there when Lucas and Ros entered, meeting them with the most fake smile Lucas had ever laid eyes on. It was a small miracle Arthur could not see through that. It was obvious to Lucas, but maybe that was only because he knew where Agravaine's loyalties lay. Because he was convinced that when he had been talking to Morgana, he had been absolutely genuine.
'Sir Lucas, Lady Rosalind,' he greeted. 'Please be seated.'
Lucas made a mental note not to underestimate this man. He was far more clever than he had given him credit for. Admittedly Agravaine had not demonstrated much intelligence while he was busy licking Morgana's heels, but they would all do well to remember that this man had come so far for a reason. There was a reason why the council was eating out of his hands. With one smart move he had already tried to take control of the situation. It was up to them whether or not they let him.
Lucas chose to remain standing, leaning against one of the columns in the room, arms nonchalantly folded across his chest, giving every appearance of boredom. Ros did sit down, as was expected of a lady, and Agravaine seated himself opposite her, friendly smile still firmly in place.
'Arthur told me you wanted to hear what already has been done to capture the traitor,' the nobleman started as soon as the pleasantries were out of the way.
That was indeed the excuse they had used. Arthur had been loath to participate in it, but some well-chosen words from Harry had made him realise that it would help them establish whether or not Agravaine was innocent, which Lucas was sure he was not. He knew what he had seen and heard, but he understood Arthur's need to know for certain as well. Had he been in the king's place, he might have demanded solid proof as well. So he banished that nagging feeling of hurt at not being trusted to the back of his mind and focused on the matter at hand. He would need all his wits about him for that.
'Yeah, he told us you were the person we ought to talk to about such matters. Apparently you were the one in charge before we arrived.' Lucas flashed the traitor a smile. The game had begun and one of them would win before they left this room and the spy was determined for it to be him.
'Of course we'll need to see your documentation of the investigation in order to establish our own inquiry.' Ros picked up where Lucas left off. They had not really studied what they were going to say. They had questioned Samir the I-really-don't-know-anything-else-I-swear-terroris t, as they had privately dubbed him, as well and that had taught them both that they did indeed work well together. There wasn't a system, a method to this. It just worked.
And now they had the great pleasure of seeing Agravaine look slightly uncomfortable. 'Ah, that might be difficult, my lady,' he replied, smile still firmly in place, even when his eyes started to show signs of discomfort. 'I am not entirely sure how they do things where you are from, but here in Camelot we do things differently.'
How bloody convenient. Lucas would bet a year's salary that there was no documentation because there had not really been an investigation.
Fortunately Ros seemed to be of the same mind. 'Are you trying to tell me you do not have a single thing on paper, Lord Agravaine?' she demanded sharply. The respectful adding of his title came just a second too late. She shoved her chair back. 'Then I am afraid that you are wasting my time. Come on, Lucas, let's go.'
It took a lot to bite back the smirk that was threatening to show on Lucas's face, because he knew that now it was them who were controlling the situation. And it felt good to be back in control again. He hadn't been for far too long. But now he was and Agravaine clearly was not.
The lord had all but jumped up from his chair, all in a fluster. 'My lady, I assure you there is no need for this. Please, sit down.'
Ros ignored him, doing a few steps, until Lucas caught her arm and stopped her from going any further. 'Let's wait and hear what this nobleman has to say,' he proposed with a smile. Ros smirked with her head turned away from Agravaine, so only Lucas could see. 'Tell me, Lord Agravaine, what would you propose?' he asked, a pleasant smile on his face, the one Merlin tended to call creepy, but that was still perfectly polite.
That unnerved Arthur's uncle visibly. 'I would offer my assistance on this investigation. My nephew desires that you take charge, but I would like to offer my insights on this matter.'
It was all rather predictable. Agravaine would try to work his way in to manipulate the investigation from within, feeding Morgana information whilst trying to save his own worthless hide. And if there was one thing Lucas was determined for not to happen, then it was letting this man get away with treason. He had sworn to help Arthur, yet he had turned his back on him. And that was one thing Lucas would never be able to understand. He had remained loyal to his country under almost impossible circumstances for eight long years, while all it took for this pathetic man in front of him was Morgana batting her eyelashes and he followed her around like a love-struck puppy, eager to go and fetch at her command. He could only feel contempt for such a man.
Ros had turned around again. 'I do believe that meeting was intended for that purpose,' she reminded him. 'As you may understand, we would like to carry out our own investigation. Without outside influences,' she added in a sickeningly sweet tone of voice, the one that made most of her subordinates want to run for the hills without as much as a second thought. Unfortunately Agravaine did not know that.
The words seemed to unsettle him more than the tone. 'My lady, I assure you…'
'Your assurances do not mean very much to us,' Ros told him bluntly, sounding a lot like herself and not the slightly more subdued version she had apparently kept up in public, the few times she had appeared in public that was. 'We do not know you and we do not know if you can be trusted at all.'
The lord did seem both offended and a little panicked. He was visibly asking himself what they knew, how much they knew, how much of a danger they were to his position. They had not said anything too explicit yet and that was a good thing. Unnerved and uncertain was how MI-5 liked its suspects best. It would mean they talked more and spent far less time pondering what they would say than they would in different circumstances. And the more thoughtless they were with their words, the sooner they would say something that landed them in trouble. And that was what they were waiting for here. Taken into account Lord Agravaine's current state of mind, this might happen quicker than they had originally anticipated.
'Is there something you are implying, my lady?' Agravaine did his best to keep up his charade of the offended and wronged noble.
'Should we?' Lucas countered innocently.
'Of course not.' The reply was too quick. 'Please, let us sit down and put this unfortunate misunderstanding behind us.'
Ros did indeed sit, but Lucas once again remained standing. He was not about to hand Agravaine the control over this conversation back on a sodding silver platter, not when he had only just gained it.
It was a subtlety that did not escape the traitor's notice. He eyed Lucas nervously. 'Would you not sit down, sir Lucas?'
Lucas flashed a smile again. 'Oh, I've been sitting far too much this morning,' he replied. 'Surely this does not bother you?'
Agravaine was too polite to tell him that it indeed did bother him, very much so. He wasn't stupid. He knew how this game was played and therefore he must know that he for once was not entirely on top of the situation. But he inclined his head and let the matter rest. 'As you wish. Now please, how may I assist you?'
Lucas folded his arms across his chest again. 'Well, you can always start by telling us what you have already found out. That would be most helpful to us.'
'Of course.' The traitor was still not at ease – the way he kept fidgeting in his chair was a dead giveaway, as were his quick glances at the door, as if he was searching for an escape – but he smiled too. 'There is not very much we have learned so far, I regret to report. The man or woman that we are dealing with is very smart, but we suspect that whoever it is, is someone of the king's close confidantes. This person must have had access to very sensitive information.'
Ros leaned back into her chair. 'Do tell us something we did not already know, will you?' The boredom was impossible to miss.
And Agravaine could not help but react to it. 'My lady, you must understand that it is a very delicate matter. We'll have to be careful if we want to bring this to a good end.'
The use of the plural had not slipped Lucas's notice. That man was still trying to wriggle his way back into the investigation. 'What I think is that you should stop lying to us, Lord Agravaine.' He was throwing Arthur's warnings right out of the window now. Softly-softly be damned. They were not going to receive any answers like this. It was time to turn the screws on this nobleman-gone-traitor.
'Lucas, careful,' Harry's voice warned him in his right ear.
Lucas pretended he did not hear that, keeping his gaze fixed on the now very indignant acting man on the other side of the table. Agravaine was clearly torn between anger and something that might soon turn into fear.
'I do not know what you are talking about, sir Lucas,' he began. 'I am sure there is some kind of misunderstanding here…'
Lucas did not give him the chance to finish. Harry was sputtering protests into his ear, but it was easy, almost too easy, to ignore. He knew he was not supposed to be doing this, but at the moment he found he could not care less. It was a gamble he took, but one that was almost certain to pay off if he played this right. He only hoped the others could convince Arthur to stay where he was and not to come barging in because of Lucas's verbal attack at his beloved uncle.
'There is no misunderstanding,' he could hear himself say. 'And I think it's time you started telling us the truth.' His eyes never left the nobleman's. It had the desired effect. Agravaine was as ill at ease as Lucas wanted him to be. It made him feel triumphant. He was once again doing what he did best.
'Sir Lucas, I do not have any idea what it is that you are talking about,' Agravaine was trying to glare at him, failing miserably. 'What truth would you have from me?'
Lucas leaned back against the column, unable to stop the smirk from showing this time. 'Why don't we start with the truth of you falling in love with the king's half-sister?' he suggested.