Just Another Normal Day (Normal Days I)

Chapter 42

Chapter 42

Arthur knew this was a bad idea. He knew that it would be no good for his peace of mind, but he couldn't not do it, for the same peace of mind. He needed to know, needed to see for himself. Guinevere had told him there was no need for it in her very own gentle way, Merlin had told him it was a stupid idea and Ros had pointed out that there was absolutely no bloody need for it, but Arthur was adamant. This was something he ought to do. If anything, he owed Agravaine for all the good things he had done as well. True, he had always been striving to help Morgana to win the throne and crown, but he had given Arthur good advice as well, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. The king owed him for that. After that he would wash his hands of his uncle, that he promised.

But now, standing at the entrance of the dungeons, plucking up the courage he felt he needed if he wanted to face his uncle, he could not even bring himself to hate the man who had betrayed him, and all that for the love of Morgana. It was bitter, extremely bitter to swallow, but still Arthur could not bring himself to truly hate Agravaine, or even feel too angry at him. He felt disappointment, yes, and a measure of resentment and regret as well, but anger, righteous anger, was not all that present and it frightened him, if only a little. At any rate he did not believe it was the natural reaction to have to this, but he couldn't help himself. It had been the same when he had found out about Morgana's betrayal. It wasn't any different now that it was his uncle, whom he had trusted almost unconditionally until a few hours ago.

That trust was destroyed now. There was no way it could have survived that blow of Agravaine's treason. Because that was something that could not be overlooked any longer. He had given it all away by jumping to his feet, claiming that Morgana would come in to rescue him. That had told Arthur everything he needed to know, not what he wanted to know. He'd have liked nothing better if Lucas had been mistaken, if his observation was just something that was the natural result of being nearly tortured to death. But the proof was there and Arthur had to go with that.

And he could not allow Agravaine to walk free. He would be putting the entire kingdom at risk by doing that. And there was the law to think about. As a king he didn't think he was above the law. He made them, yes, but once they were effective, he ought to live by them. The law stands or this kingdom falls, his father had once said and his son agreed. It was the only way a kingdom could be ruled and the law dictated that he sentence his uncle-gone-traitor to death.

He took another deep breath, told himself to get a grip – even when the mental voice saying that sounded remarkably like Ros Myers – and entered the dungeons properly. He was not a child that could run from the things that frightened him anymore. Arthur could not even say why he feared confronting Agravaine that much. The man was behind bars, could not possibly cause him any bodily harm and was there anything he could say that could make his nephew hurt more than he already did? Said nephew seriously doubted that.

The guards nodded at him and the king of Camelot managed a curt nod in return. It was the right thing to do. Even with his mind in turmoil, he still had to act as the king. In London he had been just another officer, but here he was the king and he had not realised what a burden that could be until it was placed on his shoulders anew. It made him almost wish he could have stayed in the twenty-first century a little longer.

Agravaine had been placed in a cell as far from the entrance as possible and Arthur caught himself deliberately walking as slow as he could in order to delay the eventual confrontation as long as he possibly could. Tomorrow Agravaine would be executed and that would be the end of it. Harry had stressed that it could be useful to get any more information out of him, but Arthur had overruled him – a strange notion in and out of itself, since he had gotten used to Harry calling the shots. He wanted Agravaine gone, not necessarily dead, but gone. He just never wanted to risk getting betrayed again. And in his opinion they had everything they had needed from him. In truth, he just didn't think he could handle knowing the full extent of his uncle's crimes. Of course this was a detail he had not shared with the spooks. He could already hear Ros's voice scolding him for being a sodding child.

'Agravaine,' he greeted curtly when he stood before the cell. Arthur would never be heard to call that man uncle ever again. He had lost the right to such a title the moment he had betrayed the son of his beloved sister to said son's mortal enemy. Such a man wasn't family.

The traitor had seated himself on the straw bed on the far end of the cell. He had not seen or heard Arthur approach – and if he did, then he did not show it – but he looked up when he heard his name. 'What do you want?' The friendly man had gone, leaving a cold and calculating man in his place. The hostility practically radiated off him. Had the kind uncle only ever been a mask, Arthur wondered. He found he wasn't particularly anxious to find out the answer to that question. Sometimes it was just better not to know.

But the cold tone reminded him of the resentment and disappointment he himself felt. The anger came into play as well now. 'I think that is a question I should be asking you,' he shot back. It frightened him a little to know that he sounded just as cold and unfeeling as the Section Chief now. 'Why did you do it, Agravaine?'

The shutters came down. 'I don't owe you an explanation.'

'Yes, you do,' Arthur argued. He didn't care if he sounded like a child. There was no one here to overhear them and if the guards accidentally heard something, they would know better than to spread the news. It was a part of their job to keep the king's secrets and they were good at it. 'I trusted you and you betrayed me to my worst enemy.' Because that was what Morgana had become. 'You owe it to me to at least tell me why you did that.'

That was after all the reason he had come down here in the first place. Arthur had no interest in what it was that Agravaine had done – he was positive that it would include a lot of things that he really did not want to know. He only wanted to know why his uncle had done all these things. He needed it, even when he could not quite determine why he needed it.

'Then why don't you ask your new friends, Arthur?' The tone of voice was cynical and bitter, but Arthur tasted defeat there as well. If Agravaine did believe that Morgana would come to free him, he did not show it. Agravaine sounded beaten, not as if he had any hope at all. It was as if he had resigned himself to his fate. But still he had no regrets, that much was obvious.

Arthur had to force himself not to start screaming or do something else equally stupid. 'So it is true?' he demanded, trying to keep his voice as calm as he had before now. 'You are in love with Morgana?' That was something he could hardly bring himself to accept. It didn't sound like something Agravaine would do. But then, how well had he known the man he had called his uncle? It became increasingly clear that he knew nothing at all. 'It is true that you're in love with her?'

Agravaine did not bother with an answer.

Arthur's hands clenched themselves into fists without the king giving them permission to do so. 'That cannot be all, can it?' He heard the desperation in his voice and sincerely hoped that Agravaine had not heard it. But he was desperate, hoping and praying for an explanation that would make more sense than this insane one. He had hardly believed it when Lucas had explained it and he was no more willing to accept it now that the nobleman had as good as confirmed it. There had to be something else, there just had to be.

Agravaine's head snapped up. 'Of course there is.' His normal calm composure lay in pieces and he practically barked his reply at his nephew and king. 'Did you honestly think that I could feel any affection for the child that killed my sister?'

That was it? That was the true reason his uncle had turned on him, had abandoned him in favour of his half-sister? Arthur could feel the bile rise in his throat and he was torn between spitting on the floor in anger or throwing up on it in disgust. 'I did not choose that.' He hated the fact that all of a sudden he did not seem capable of speaking any louder than a whisper.

'It doesn't change what happened to Ygraine.' The hate was unmistakable now, even as it was laced with sadness, for Ygraine's death, no doubt, not for its effect on her son.

'Do you blame me for being born?' How could he ever persuade this man that whatever happened then was not of his making? How could anyone blame a child for causing his mother to die? Arthur had longed to know his mother from the moment he had realised that he hadn't one and other children did. That was perhaps why Morgause had had such an easy job of luring him to her that first time; she had promised him to tell him about his mother. And now Arthur found himself wondering if there had not been some truth in the words she had spoken. Arthur had never believed his father to be a saint, and Arthur could imagine that in his darkest moments he would have turned to magic for help in conceiving an heir. Arthur himself had turned to magic when things looked darkest and all the other options had run out when his father lay dying. But the king of Camelot could not believe that his father had willingly and knowingly sent his wife to her death. No, that never.

Agravaine's eyes sparked with a hatred Arthur had never imagined he would see there. 'You should not have been born,' he said curtly. 'It wasn't natural. Uther ought to have known.'

This as good as confirmed what Arthur was beginning to suspect about the nature of his birth. It had not been natural, there had been magic involved. He could not say he was terribly surprised. It didn't change the fact that this was still horribly unfair and like a child he wanted to scream and throw a tantrum and yell that he could not possibly be blamed for this. 'You blame me for my father's sins?'

Agravaine would not be the first and Arthur feared he would not be the last either. Some people seemed to be unable to tell the difference between Uther and Arthur, between father and son. Even though Uther was gone, people still attacked Camelot because of the things Uther had done during his life, seemingly forgetting that Arthur had no part in these things. You're not as different from Uther as you'd like to think. Morgana's taunting voice echoed through his head.

Yes, I am. Arthur squashed it. It was wrong. He was his own person, and he would prove it. It was only a shame he could not have proved it to his uncle before he fell for Morgana's lies.

'You still keep punishing the people with magic for your mother's death.' Agravaine's tone of voice was downright venomous. 'But the true culprit still runs free.' He snorted. 'You're such a hypocrite, Arthur. Do you really think that this was what Ygraine would have wanted?'

Arthur ignored the stab of pain he felt. 'I only outlaw magic because it has been used time and again to attack the people of this land,' he replied. 'I have never once executed innocents. Please tell me, Agravaine, how many people died when Morgana unleashed the Dorocha?'

He failed to mention Merlin on purpose. His servant had made him see that perhaps not all sorcerers were bad, but his mind was not yet made up on the subject. He had seen so many horrors committed by people with magic. Morgana was a prime example of that. She alone had done so much, used her gifts for all the wrong reasons and for all the wrong ends. Arthur had seen what it had done to Lucas, how the spook had suffered because of magic. The Dorocha were just another example. Arthur sometimes still had nightmares about it. It wasn't the kind of thing one could forget in a hurry.

'It was necessary.' There was no doubt that Agravaine fully believed his own words.

And it made his nephew sad. It made him angry and frustrated beyond measure. He had told Merlin that he had lost both his parents to magic, but it would seem that he had lost his uncle to it as well. He would not go as far as to say that it had corrupted Agravaine, because it would seem that Morgana had taken care of that already.

'I do not even know who you are,' he whispered, shocked to find that this was the truth. 'Do you not at all understand me?'

Agravaine's ice-cold stare was all the answer he needed. No, Agravaine did not understand him, had never done so and nor would he ever in the future. Agravaine was lost to him, Arthur understood, and coming down here had not solved a single thing. If anything, it had strengthened his resolve that he was doing the right thing in sentencing this traitor to die.

'I do not want to do this,' he said. And he didn't. Agravaine was the last living family he had. There was no one else left. Killing Agravaine would leave him all on his own and the thought frightened him, more than he was ready to admit, even to himself. 'But your actions leave me no choice. By the laws of Camelot I have to sentence you to die.'

Agravaine took the news well, but Arthur knew he had expected it. His uncle was no fool. He would have realised what his fate would be the moment he had been found out. He met Arthur's eyes defiantly, but he kept his silence. And maybe there was nothing to say for him. He may have sunk low, very low, but he was and remained a nobleman. He would not shout insult at Arthur, nor would he beg for his life. It wasn't the kind of person that he was.

Arthur knew he ought to go, get away before he said or did something he would surely regret later. But he couldn't bite back the words that escaped his lips before he could act on his decision to walk away and don't look back. 'You may have done it for all the wrong reasons, Agravaine, but you were there for me in a very difficult time and I relied on your advice and experience more than you know. You did help me to become a better leader than I would have been otherwise and for that I thank you.'

His little speech was met by the most indifferent stare the prisoner could muster. 'Your thanks mean nothing to me.'

Arthur nodded. 'I know,' he heard himself say. 'But you needed to hear them all the same.'

Before Agravaine could even formulate an answer, the king of Camelot all but fled the dungeons.

The atmosphere on the makeshift Grid was one of nervous anticipation. That was one thing that had not changed in the years he had spent in a Russian prison, Lucas observed as he took a chair at the table that was situated in the centre of the temporary headquarters of MI-5 in Camelot. He hardly recognised any faces from then – Harry and Malcolm were the only ones from the old times who were still there – but the excited atmosphere after a major breakthrough in an operation was unchanged. They were closer to catching Morgana than they had been since the barn disaster, as the Senior Case Officer had privately dubbed that botched up operation, and the team was anxious for action, more than ready to put an end to Morgana and her killing impulses.

Lucas glanced around the table, taking in the sight of his colleagues. The team was slightly larger than usual since Arthur had brought in the most trusted members of his council to assist in the matter. The spook recognised Gaius, the physician who had treated him, Gwaine, the knight who seemed to take life in general as a big joke – why Arthur had brought him in heaven only knew – and someone called sir Leon, who had been in charge of arresting Agravaine after the nobleman had finally made a mistake. Arthur and Merlin themselves were present too, the former rather subdued and unusually quiet after he had gone to meet with his uncle one last time.

Ros was visibly annoyed with the presence of so many people who were not part of the team, if the venomous stares she favoured Gwaine with were any indication at all. Lucas found that he could not be surprised. If even half the stories he had heard about that knight were true, then he relentlessly pursued every good-looking female and Ros Myers was not exactly ugly. Ten to one that he had already tried something. That would explain the glares.

Harry would have taken his usual place at the head of the table, were it not so that there was no head of the table to be found. For one reason or another Arthur had thought it to be a good idea to have a round table brought to their headquarters and the irony of this had not escaped any of the spooks' notion, Lucas was sure. Now the king of Camelot only needed to place one in his council chamber and they would have a reason to justify the legend as it was known in the twenty-first century.

Ros seemed to have read his mind. 'He should have placed that bloody table somewhere else,' she hissed at him while Harry was wrapping up his discussion with Malcolm about some technological matter.

He grinned back at her, secretly grateful for the chance to joke around a little. They needed it with everything else that was going on at the moment. 'Ah, come on, boss, don't you believe in equality?'

The Section Chief reacted with a very unladylike snort. 'The day I start believing in the tooth fairy and coincidence.'

'Figures,' he chuckled. Ros was used to being the one in charge. Listening and doing as she was told were not her greatest qualities, but she was a good boss, so Lucas wasn't about to complain. And she was a colleague and they were okay, even if they clearly did not believe in everything the French Revolution stood for.

Harry interrupted their bantering. 'Right, people.' He may not be at the head of the table, but with everyone else sitting down it was enough for him to just stand up to get everyone's attention and convey the message that he was the one in charge here. Unconsciously he had slipped into army commander mode, staring down at them as if they were a bunch of exceptional stupid soldiers, although Lucas found it hard to argue with that as he watched Gwaine lounging in his chair. 'Lucas, you said you know where Morgana had gone off to?'

He knew it would come to that eventually and he knew it meant that he had, once again, place himself back there in order to remember what had been said and done in that hovel. It almost made him shudder, but he suppressed it. He would not give Harry a reason to pull him off the case like he had done before.

He hid behind the mask of the calm and relaxed spook, willing himself to remain calm as he answered. 'The Isle of the Blessed,' he said. 'It was only mentioned briefly, but she said she would go there, because she believed that not even Emrys would dare attack her there.' He was glad that it had only been mentioned so briefly, so that he could pull himself away from the memory before it triggered a full-blown flashback. That would not be the best way to convince Harry that he was still capable of doing his job. He needed to stay on top of this.

'No offence, but who is this Emrys fellow?' Gwaine was still lounging and now Ros's eyes settled on him with an expression that betrayed that she would like nothing better than to grab him by the back of his cloak to straighten him up. To be honest, it surprised Lucas that she had not done so already.

'Some bloody old sorcerer with a ridiculous long beard and appalling manners,' Ros said dismissively. 'You know him as Dragoon the Great.' Lucas was surprised that she actually kept Merlin's secret. Normally she would have discarded such a sentimental idea in favour of choosing the most effective way to do the job.

'You met him?' Gwaine sounded incredulous. 'And he didn't use you as a glorified footstool?'

'Can't bloody well blame him for using that sodding excuse for a knight as one,' Ros muttered, but fortunately for everyone Arthur's comment drowned out the sound and only Lucas heard. He tried and failed not to smirk. He may not be very fond of Merlin, but the warlock did have a nice sense of humour.

'He's on our side, Gwaine. He saved us from Morgana when we went in to rescue Lucas.' The king of Camelot managed to conjure up a dismissive tone, effectively preventing Gwaine from talking again, which was probably best for Ros's nerves. 'I know we had our… differences in the past, but he does mean the best for Camelot.' He only just avoided sending a pointed look in Merlin's direction.

Gwaine shrugged, simply accepting the situation. Maybe that was one of the advantages of this knight. He wasn't one for making trouble. The only one who did not seem pleased with this turn of events was Leon. 'Sire…'

'This is non-negotiable, Leon,' Arthur told him sternly. Someone really ought to tell him that copying Harry's lines was not always the best way to deal with things. It was far too obvious who he stole them from in the first place. 'There may have been some problems, but they are solved.'

Leon was apparently content with that. It reminded Lucas that life in this day and age was vastly different. No one in Britain would have taken someone's word for such an important thing like that. Leon just followed his king without questioning it. Well, he had, but he had backed down pretty quickly.

'Enough of that,' Harry said impatiently. 'Where is that sodding Isle?'

'A few days' ride from Camelot,' Arthur reported. 'And it will be very difficult to get there, impossible to get there without being seen. There's only one small boat and some ferryman. Morgana will be able to see us coming from miles away.'

'If she doesn't spy on us magically first,' Ros chimed in, giving the probably very accurate impression of someone who was ready to kick something, or someone. 'Charming.'

'And there are wyverns too,' Arthur added. 'Last we were there they tried to attack us.'

'Isn't that just bloody brilliant?' Ros commented.

Lucas had to agree. It sounded more impossible by the minute. And he reckoned the chances of getting a helicopter to bring them to the place slim to none. Whatever they did, Morgana would know they were coming long before they could get to her and then she would inevitably do a runner again. And if that happened, they had no way of knowing where she fled to this time. The best thing would be to get Morgana while they had the chance. Chances just so happened to be in short supply.

'My lords, I need to warn you,' Gaius spoke up. 'The Isle of the Blessed was the very heart of the Old Religion before the Great Purge. Magic is very strong there and I fear Morgana will find ways to use the power already there to her advantage.' The old man may be a worryguts if Lucas had ever seen one, but this was indeed bad news.

'Everything that can go wrong…' he mumbled.

'… Certainly bloody well will go wrong,' Ros finished a little louder, before she rounded on the old physician. 'Anything else we should be aware of?'

Gaius seemed positively shocked at that kind of language used at him, but he was probably too polite to correct someone he believed to be a lady. Or maybe he had learned already that talking to Ros in such a mood was as good as a death wish. 'Nothing else, my lady,' he replied.

'We'll need cunning if we want to get to Morgana,' Lucas heard himself observing. The smallest hint of a plan was slowly coming together in his mind, but even before it was fully formed he knew already that Harry would never authorise it. It was too dangerous and it was all too obvious that he was in no way convinced that Lucas was ready to resume his normal duties.

'I can go.' Merlin of course volunteered immediately. Lucas did not doubt the warlock's willingness to run in and put an end to the witch, especially since he considered her a danger to Arthur. But if the barn disaster had taught them anything, then it was that no matter how willing Merlin was, when it came down to it, he could not bring himself to truly take someone's life, especially when he knew that person and still had some lingering affection for her. Arthur was much the same, even if Lucas did believe him to be tougher. He had ordered Agravaine's execution for the next morning and while he looked absolutely devastated by the need for it, he had not hesitated.

Ros had apparently been thinking along the same lines. 'No bloody way,' she said immediately.

Merlin sensed what she was trying to say. 'I won't fail.' He looked daggers at the Section Chief.

Said Section Chief was singularly unimpressed. 'Morgana will do a runner as soon as she recognises you.' Too late she realised that Gwaine and Leon were not aware of why Morgana would flee when confronted with Merlin.

'Classified,' Arthur said quickly. The king must have been thinking the same thing. He had definitely spent too much time on the Grid. One week with them and he was already using spooks jargon. The Pendragon only realised that he had been talking gibberish as far as his men were concerned when he caught sight of their confused glances. 'Secret,' he translated.

Leon shrugged, but Gwaine sent an inquisitive look in Merlin's direction that the warlock pretended not to see. 'If we are to draw her out, we must give her something to come to.' Merlin seemed to have given it a fair bit of thought. 'A bait Morgana cannot refuse.' For some reason he looked pointedly at his king. 'You all know she wants me and she wants me badly.'

'But she'll expect you,' Lucas pointed out. His plan was taking shape. Now he only needed Harry to agree. 'And we need to throw her off balance.'

Judging by the look on Harry's face he knew where this was heading. The head of Section D was starting to resemble a tomato more and more each second. 'No.' It was his non-negotiable voice. 'I am not sending you back in there, Lucas.'

I am sending myself. 'I can do this.' If there had been sand, he'd dug his heels in it. 'Harry, she'll be curious. She won't understand why I'm there. She might even believe she succeeded in turning me.' And she would not be the first to make that mistake. It had been known to be the end of Arkady Kachimov.

'Lucas, I am not letting you go to that bloody witch to offer yourself up on the sodding silver platter!' Harry's voice steadily rose to a roar. 'Do you even know what it is you are proposing?' There was paternal concern in his voice.

Lucas didn't really doubt that his boss meant well, that he was genuinely concerned for Lucas's wellbeing, but being treated like this would not get them any nearer to Morgana. Ros would say that he let his feelings cloud his judgement and that was the worst crime anyone in their profession could possibly commit. The Senior Case Officer weighed the chances of saying that and getting away with it, but he decided against it. Ros could do such things, but she was closer to Harry than he was at the moment, closer than Lucas might ever be again.

Eventually he settled for a hard and sarcastic 'No idea.'

Harry chose to ignore the sarcasm. 'You are proposing to go to a woman who repeatedly tortured you within an inch of your life on your own, without any back-up?' He was shocked, Lucas could tell.

And when phrased like that, it did seem reckless. 'Yes,' he said, mentally bracing himself for the worst. 'I can bring her in, Harry, I know I can.' It might sound presumptuous, but he didn't doubt his abilities in this case. He had gotten to understand Morgana rather well during the time he had spent – both willingly and unwillingly – in her company. He knew that if he played this right, he could bring her in. And he may be going in alone, but he would not be unarmed. Guns may not be a very effective weapon, but the spook was willing to take his chances. If only Harry would give him that chance.

And he did not seem so inclined. 'What do you think a psychologist would say about that?' Harry demanded.

Of course it would come down to that. 'No idea,' Lucas snapped, folding his arms over his chest. 'But I have a feeling it might be in Latin.'

Harry ignored that. 'They would say you were suffering from a variation of Stockholm Syndrome. You're somehow still in love with your captor, even though no longer captive.' The last word was accompanied by a fist on the table.

Lucas was aware that the knights and Gaius were following this with increasing confusion. Stockholm Syndrome was an unknown thing in this day and age – lucky bastards that they were – and Lucas could not for the life of him see Arthur fussing about the mental health of his knights. He found he envied them.

He snorted. 'And here I was thinking Morgana would make for such an excellent partner,' he retorted. 'And they'd be wrong anyway.' And the only way he could prove his words was if Harry stopped his bloody worrying and let him do what he was paid to do. 'You want Morgana,' he stated. There was no denying that fact. 'Well, I want her too.' Just not in the way Harry believed. 'She will not come out for anyone else.' He took it as a good sign that Harry had not yet interrupted him, so he went on. 'She feels she needs to get the throne of Camelot and she really needs to kill Arthur. A lot of her hope rested on the operation we've ruined. She's without a plan, without allies, so she needs me. That's her greatest vulnerability. If I can make her believe that she has turned me…' He saw his boss wince at the notion, but he ignored it. 'If I can make her believe that she has turned me, she will follow me out and we can trap her.'

Ros was nodding in agreement, which was a relief. He knew the Section Chief would always let the job come first and right now it had to be their priority to get that witch before she could wreak any more havoc than she had already done.

Unfortunately Harry was not convinced. 'What makes you so certain she will believe you?' he questioned sharply.

Lucas didn't hesitate before answering. 'Because she needs me. She's alone and she needs help. She's not in a position to refuse help when it's offered to her.' Morgana may treat allies as pay-as-you-go-phones, but right now she had none and she could not afford to be choosy. She would take what Lucas offered, of that he had no doubt.

There was a short silence. Then: 'You're not going in alone.'

It was a victory, if only half a one and that was not yet good enough. 'I can have back-up nearby.' That was a compromise, not one he was happy with, but Harry needed it. 'Harry, I need to get her out and on her own if I'm going to turn her. She won't take the bait if she knows there are others out there.'

'He's right,' Ros spoke up. To be honest, it surprised Lucas she had kept quiet for so long. 'She'll run if we send anyone else in.'

Lucas was grateful for her interference for once. As much as he would love to do this on his own merits, Ros's opinion carried more weight with Harry. If anyone could convince him to do this, it would be her.

'Not you as well, Rosalind?' Harry complained, slamming his fist on the table again. But he was close to giving in. Lucas had known his boss for years and this was one of those tell-tale signs.

So he applied some extra pressure. 'We have one chance, Harry,' he said. 'Only the one. We can either take it now or let her go.' It was hardly fair to put it like that – even if it was indeed the truth – because there was one thing Harry Pearce could never do. And when he looked at his boss's face, he already knew what the answer would be.

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