Welcome home, Dr. Watson

The Road

The usual English route between Heathrow International Airport and Dr. Sean Watson's flat in Islington.


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Alexandra Sean

9:13pm. Just outside London.

Friday night and overcast. At least it's not raining. That's a switch. It's even fairly temperate — for this early in February.

Alex maneuvers the Prius out onto the roadway, leaving the airport behind. Baggage is stowed in the boot, and her passenger is safely strapped in to the left-side seat. She signals her intention to merge and applies the pedals expertly.

"So," she smiles, glancing over to the gent beside her. "How was Cairo?"

~

Sean settles in the seat, pulling the safety belt and latching it. His tones hold a great deal of wry humour, a lopsided smile given in offrance as he regards the driver, "Flight was great, thanks. No turbulence.. or at least nothing that'd cause my head to hit the ceiling of the cabin."

Still, fair enough question, and he exhales and rolls his head back on the rest. "I wasn't chased by extras out of The Mummy, if that's what you're asking. But, old colonial ties are still strong, and there's a chance we might get some help." He raises a hand in gesture to qualify the statement soon after, however, "Might."

~

"Might's better than not," Alex concedes. She settles into a comfortable cruising speed, now, as they pass through Houndslow. Still, she chuckles at the reference to The Mummy. "Charlie'll be disappointed, though," she notes, dry humour in her own tone, a sparkle in her blue eyes. "You know how he loves that sort of thing."

'Sean of the Dead' comes to mind, though she doesn't say it. It was required watching, one late night on the houseboat. It's amazing the crap she's sat through because of that man — The Simpsons, countless stupid movies… The list is very nearly endless.

"Are things as restless over there as they are here?"

~

Oh, Sean is pretty sure that Charlie has no shame and would put her up to asking, however obliquely, about mummies and Egyptian zombies. As a result, it is easiest getting all that out of the way at the beginning. Now, with Alex, he knows that it's now over and done with. Charlie, on the other hand, will beat it to death only to make comments about Sean being able to animate it so he can continue to beat it to death…

Oh, he knows how it goes.

"Ooooh, I know.." The first utterance is long and drawn out.. and the rest is taken in with something of a put-upon sigh.

Still…

"Yeah. Things are.. funny, and not funny, ha-ha. That's how I was able to secure something of a half-hearted, 'maybe we'll help if we think we might be able to and if it won't kill us' sort of way." Sean shakes his head and scowls, blue eyes facing front. He pulls a breath and exhales in a short huff, "I have to get the okay in order to promise a couple of the demands in return for more concrete answers and a more favourable outcome for us."

~

Alex cants her head slightly, glancing swiftly to Sean before returning her eyes to the dark road. Headlamps glitter, the warm temps having not quite eradicated all the snow that was dumped on them over Christmas and early January. "What sort of things are they looking for?"

She changes lanes again, heading for a turn-off to an alternate route.

"Oh. Charlie and I had an interesting encounter the other night. The Director put on a little shindig. His Dark Lordship was there — though he left behind the so-called 'chit' Costello said he saw. All very cordial… and entirely uninformative."

That's the problem with Vampires. They're not quite 'human' enough to be able to read. They do the whole expressionless-corpse thing just a little too well.

~

"Ah.. the usual things," Sean pulls another audible breath between closed jaws, and considers, his tones remaining conversational. "Reciprocity, mostly. Any chance to shift the balance to their favour. Vampires are being seen as being in a weak position, so everyone else is closing in to fill what they see is a void. I started writing it up," he gestures towards the back of the car, "but I didn't even begin to get to all the players. Hell, even the dead want a piece of the action." And he doesn't mean vampires.

His head cants quizzically, brows rising in askance as Alex begins her unofficial report/casual conversation topic. "Okay.. vampires were present, but he's leaving someone in reserve? Someone to fill a void?" As much as Sean doesn't like him, it's easier to accept the monster he knows to the ones he doesn't. "Ye-ah.. that's the problem with them. No real mind to read.. kinda. Though, as much as I'd like to say they're heading into my realm, I can't touch them either. What I wouldn't give to be able to make Erik slap himself.. just once."

~

Alex laughs outright at that. "Oh, hell. If you could, you could make a killing with it. Charlie'd give up his retirement savings to get it on tape so he could put a laughtrack under it and replay it whenever he wanted." It takes a few moments before the amusement that image gives truly fades.

In the meantime… "We've got nothing on whoever this girl is. Or what she is to Erik. Only that she's new in town — but who knows how new, or what that actually means."

She'd shrug, but she's driving and her careful hand positions on the wheel aren't conducive to it. "I've no doubt we'll find out eventually."

Probably the hard way.

~

Alex's laughter does a great deal to ease any tensions that may have arisen simply due to the nature of their conversation, and the air is cleansed, if only for the moment. Sean glances towards his chauffeur for the evening, a smile ghosting upon his lips. "I can hear part of it now," and he makes the attempt at an imitation of the Three Stooges, "'Oh, a wise guy, huh?'", and fails miserably.

Clearing his throat gives him that change of gears as they come back to something closer to the heart of the matter. "No word from Frank as to what else he sees?" The word is gently stressed. "Or didn't he attend?" Knowing the Director, he'd like to have the seer as far away from things that are actually 'serious' as possible. "Yeah.. 'new' with them means in the last couple hundred years. Could be she's been here, but just didn't have much of a purpose before now. Which could mean he's actively on the move. As to what direction…" Sean is able to shrug, even if Alex can't, and does so.

"My guess is you're right. But I'll join in the chorus of 'I hate surprises'."

~

It's such a common refrain — I hate surprises. They've all muttered it, and cursed it, countless times. "Frank couldn't crack a thing," Alex says, not quite grimly… though that's merely the result of lingering amusement at the idea of the Master of the City behaving like one of the Stooges. "And, let's face it: 'New' may have nothing to do with her age. It may mean nothing more than she's fresh in on the red-eye channel crossing from the continent."

Indeed… what are the chances of Erik von Richter entrusting any of his truly important enterprises to a 'child'. "If she's caught Frank's eye, then the one thing we can be sure of is that she's a player of some significance."

She gives a wry smile. "I sent him to sit down with Donato, yesterday afternoon. See if we can get sketch. Have some idea of what she looks like before she pops out of the shadows at us like a bloody bat-in-the-box."

~

Now there's a picture.. a box gaily decorated in primary colours with a crank on the side, and as it's rotated 'round and 'round, the tinny sound of 'Pop goes the weasel' plays in fits and starts.. all heralding the appearance of the toy inside.

A bat.

It's Sean's turn to chuckle, and he nods, "Rather not have something like that going 'Pop' in the night."

Looking out the window, they're getting closer to his flat; the streets are turning residential, and the traffic is thinning.

"You guys catch up with Donovan, or are you waiting for me to get back so he doesn't ask me about what Charlie owes him?" He knows about the steak, too. "Because I won't.. he's got to pay up."

~

"Oh, you know Charlie," Alex says dryly. "Never wants cough it up, unless he has to." Take out Chinese does not beat take-out fish and chips. Even with the curry. "He suggested I try to get 'Van to look at a leaky faucet, instead of asking him, himself." She snirks a little at that. "Anyway, I spoke to him. He's… intrigued. At least, as intrigued as he ever gets." As she maneuvers into a parking space outside the flat, she gives a baleful look and an arch of her brow that's a fair imitation of Donovan Tate's general reaction to Charlie's efforts to squirm out of his agreements.

She smiles now. "He told me he'd keep his ear to the ground… And to tell Charlie he now owes him two steaks." The smile turns into a smirk. "And that there'll be interest to pay if he doesn't get at least one of them soon."

Looking out the window, she gives a brief nod. "Well, here you go, Sean, mate. Home sweet home. 'Bout as far from the Cairo desert as we can get you. Let me give you a hand with your bags…"

And so goes the rest of the night. Bags stowed, hugs given, conversation wrapped quickly enough so the traveller can crash'n'snore. A final jaunty wave, followed with a light, "See you on Monday," and she's off to the houseboat to let Charlie know that Cairo's just as much on tenterhooks as anyone else… and maybe a bit of a lie in come morning.

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