Chapter One: Team One's New Language
Author note: spoilers for 04x15: Blue on Blue. Pretty much the entire episode. And I am using dialogue from the episode. This story is the fifty-seventh in the Magical Flashpoint series. It follows "Bang Bang You're Dead".
Although all original characters belong to me, I do not own Flashpoint, Harry Potter, Narnia, or Merlin.
Two black trucks raced down the road, sirens wailing as they slid into one final turn to arrive at their destination. Five men and one woman scrambled out of the trucks, collecting their gear before running inside the imposing white two story building. The stone wall in front of the entrance declared their location to be the Metro Evidence Depot, one of the most secure locations in the whole of Toronto.
Inside, the facility's white-haired commander led the officers into the surveillance room. The surveillance camera feeds, usually crisp and easy to see, were now blurred and useless. Static flicked through the images and even the cameras' locations was nearly impossible to determine, never mind what they were capturing.
"What are we looking at here?" Constable Ed Lane demanded.
Behind him, Jules observed, "System's gone haywire."
"It's been hacked," the commander announced grimly. "Alarm's on a perpetual loop. You don't even know what it's flagging."
Sergeant Parker turned from his evaluation of the facility's map, keyed to the alarms, but now just as useless as the surveillance. "Most secure building in the city, Eddie, and someone just cracked it open like a science project."
Kilometers away, a raven-haired man typed away at the computer in front of him, ignoring the sting of pain from his lower lip and mouth. Red traced an angled line on his mouth, evidence of where he'd been struck by the brunet looming over his shoulder and watching the computer monitor.
"This had better work," the brunet growled.
Determination filled dark eyes as Constable Michelangelo 'Spike' Scarlatti lifted his head. "You do what I tell you. They won't even know what hit them." Then he returned his attention to the computer, fingers flying as he typed in his next command.
7 hours earlier
Greg Parker slunk into the SRU locker room, head down and shame burning hot within him. How could he have done that? Why had he done that? No one was inside the room, a fact he gave thanks for. Time enough to regain his composure and stitch his mask back together. Time enough to bury the shame for what he'd done to his team.
Another part of him protested. It had just been one magical order – and besides, all it had done was give his team a good night's sleep. It wasn't that bad, was it?
Parker snarled at that corner of his mind. Wasn't that bad? Any use of his ability to override his team's free will was a step too far. It was wrong, it violated his team's right to choose, smacking of the gryphon's attitude towards his friends. He'd sworn he would never use that ability, never overrule his teammates ever again – getting rid of that taint had been an extraordinary circumstance, demanding his intervention, and he still hated himself for doing it.
Only to find the magical orders slipping free, eyes blazing with power as he commanded them, forcing them not only head for bed early, but keeping them asleep until dawn – or until their alarms went off. He'd scrambled to countermand the orders as soon as he finished, but something had wrapped around him – not a word of the intended counter orders had been spoken. He just…couldn't. No matter how much he hated himself, no matter how loudly he screamed at himself to just do it. Let them go, let them choose. He couldn't.
Greg rested his forehead against the cool metal of his locker door, savage hatred bubbling. What he'd done, what he was doing, it couldn't be undone. Couldn't be taken back. Nor could he confess what he'd done – they'd fallen asleep too quickly, none of them even remembered his orders. No, he just had to live with the shame and the guilt. Even as he swore once again he would never abuse them again. Firmly, he reached inwards, forcing the 'team sense' off.
The links were permanent, they would last the rest of his life. But that didn't mean he had to use them. Abuse them. Before, he hadn't had a choice, not if he wanted to control his own senses. Now he did – and now, he needed to stop. He needed to stop and he needed to let his people go; enough was enough.
Deep within, the part of himself that would always be a young, friendless child whimpered, longing for the reassurance and comfort that had been part and parcel of his 'team sense'. He ignored the jab of loneliness; that was the least of what he deserved.
Parker kept his head down as the locker room door swung open, admitting his team leader. Shame burbled, slinking through his chest and oozing around his heart. His usual morning greeting rose, only to be stifled by that shame. Instead, the Sergeant focused on changing into his uniform, pretending preoccupation as he double-checked his boots.
"Something wrong, Gregórius?"
Greg froze, feeling his jaw fall open as his head came up and stunned hazel stared back at him from the tiny mirror in his locker. Had he…really heard that?
"Gregórius? You okay?"
He snapped around, teeth clicking as he forced his lower jaw back in place, but nothing could hide the shock. His team leader stared back, bemused by his expression.
The lie came easier than he'd expected as his mind ground into overdrive. "I'm fine, Ed. You?"
Ed shrugged. "Can't complain. Slept like a log last night; that was nice."
Inwardly, Greg cringed.
" 'Course then Sophie wakes me up this morning, telling me I have to change Izzy since I got to sleep right through her screaming."
Greg cringed again, but Ed didn't notice as he turned to his own locker, pulling out his uniform to begin changing. "I thought it was getting better between you two, Eddie." Somehow his tone stayed calm. Nonchalant.
"It is, Þegen," Ed replied. "I mean, there's still a few rough patches, but nothing like before."
"That's good to hear." Interesting, Greg mused, letting his mind sort through the clues as he put his civilian clothing in his locker. Spike had called him 'Þegen', but not 'Gregórius'. Had Eddie come up with that all on his own? "Sophie mention anything else this morning?"
Greg resisted the urge to bang his head on his locker. How was Eddie not hearing himself? How was he not realizing he wasn't speaking English? Clearly, he still understood English…
"Gregórius? Something wrong with you? You're acting kinda odd."
Hazel bulged. He was acting odd? Okay, enough was enough. "Eddie?"
"Could you stop calling me Gregórius?" Annoyance flashed as the Sergeant turned to meet his team leader's gaze. "It's Greg." Or Gregory, but definitely not Gregórius.
Ed stared at him a moment and Greg saw the instant it clicked. Saw the instant Ed realized he was speaking in a totally different language. Then panic set in. "What the heck? Why didn't Sophie say something? Þegen, I'm telling you, this just happened and…" Blue eyes widened and Greg caught the telltale signs of his friend's sniper training kicking in to control his breathing. "Gregórius, what do I do? I can't even talk to anyone like this."
Greg gestured for quiet and the other's jaw snapped shut. "Ed, you can still understand English," he pointed out. "I haven't switched to Narnian at all since you walked in." Rubbing his chin, Parker added, "And I bet you were speaking English just fine with Sophie. Otherwise, she'd've taken your head off." Or mine. "So just switch back."
"Just like that? It's that easy, Greg?" Sarcasm rang.
"Yeah, Eddie, it really is." The Sergeant didn't bother to hide his smirk as Ed registered he'd swapped languages without missing a beat.
Ed leaned back against the row of lockers, breathing hard. "Greg, that was…that was…"
A bitter bark. "Yeah. That."
It wasn't just Ed, either. Greg quietly parked himself in the locker room as his teammates flowed in, all of them chattering in Narnian without even noticing. How? Wordy and Spike – they were understandable. They at least had been affected by that serial killer's Old Religion spell. The rest of his team had not, so how was it that they were all speaking Narnian as if they'd grown up knowing it?
"Morning, guys." Turning his head, Greg cast Ed a significant glance; the team leader nodded and vanished to deal with Jules.
The constables returned his greeting, though Spike frowned, tilting his head to the side.
"We've got that escort today, right, Þegen?" Sam asked, craning his neck around from his spot.
"That's right, Sam," Greg agreed easily, keeping his peripheral attention on Spike, even as he met Sam's gaze.
Spike's eyes widened in alarm. "Boss?" he demanded, then slumped in open relief.
"Scéaþ?" Lou questioned, confusion ringing. "What's wrong?"
Spike opened his mouth, but Wordy beat him to it. "Guys, Englisc. You're speaking Narnian."
"So were you, Wordy," Greg pointed out as realization swept his other constables.
"And me," Spike admitted softly.
"Spike." When the bomb tech glanced up, Greg informed him, "You caught on quicker than Ed did. Must be all that practice you've had."
As Spike beamed at the praise, Greg turned to the rest of his team. "All right, if all of you know Narnian, I'm betting Jules does, too." He considered, then shrugged. "Hands up if you want this to stay in team only."
He really wasn't surprised when every hand went up. "Okay. I can do that."
By the time Greg reached the briefing room, Ed had already broken Jules out of the Narnian and back into English. Greg inclined his head to both in approval, ignoring the slight chagrin on Jules' face. It was hardly Jules' fault that she – and every other member of his team – had woken up knowing a completely new language. Curious, though, how'd they'd all fallen into using it so naturally, switching back to English without any of the stumbles Spike had gone through. And even Spike appeared more comfortable with Narnian in the wake of…whatever this was – though Greg had already decided to keep his eyes open for any slips.
With the immediate trouble dealt with, Greg turned his attention to their main task for the shift – the Karl Morse escort job. The Sergeant sorted through the paperwork, absently waving Ed over to point a few final details out. As the two men finalized their plans, Greg's keen sense of hearing caught the fringes of the nearby discussion, the team effortlessly swapping between English and Narnian without so much as a pause.
A sense of pride thrummed at their easy acceptance of their newest talent. Then shame bubbled up as he registered the other topic of discussion. The night before – the early night before. Greg locked the shame away, refusing to let it show as he glanced up at Ed's comment.
"What was that, Ed?"
"You wanna do the final brief, Boss, or should I?"
A briefing. Orders to be handed out. He couldn't do it – couldn't trust himself to do it. "I'll handle the background if you lay out the plan."
"Sure thing, Boss."
Boss. He was really starting to hate that word – and the trust it implied. Trust he no longer deserved. Still, he smiled. "Okay, Eddie. Let's keep the peace."
Author note: I have had a sharp reminder this weekend that in the midst of all my complaining about my job, I've forgotten how much I have to be thankful for and how much the Lord has given me.
So here is a small list of things I am thankful for:
1. My job - yes, I've been whining and complaining about it, but I am grateful that I do have a job, no matter how much it might grate at times. I am also grateful for the experience I am gaining, even if I do not understand why I am in a job that isn't software development.
2. My apartment - Thank you, Lord, for the roof over my head and all the things that come along with having a safe, dependable place to live.
3. My car - my beautiful, reliable 2014 Dodge Journey that God gave to me after my 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan was killed by a tree branch (parked, I wasn't in it).
4. My family - my parents who raised me as best they could and still support me to this day as I make my way through life.
5. The Home Run Inn pepperoni pizza I found so unexpectedly at my local grocery store - Had to pry the pepperonis off (I'm a cheese girl) and then I foolishly over-cooked it in the oven, but dang if that isn't some of the best pizza I've had in months. First time I've found any Home Run Inn pizza for sale since I moved to Texas.