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If The World Was Ending

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Russia - Townsend Agency’s Moscow outpost

Jane had always been known for being stubborn. Not in the way that Sabina was; she wouldn’t ignore all rules and do her own thing like her teammate did, but once she had her mind set on something there was no way of changing it.

It used to infuriate her mother. Growing up she had been used to the sighs of frustration directed her way as her mum clenched her fists, biting her lip to stop herself from losing her temper.

“Will you please just think about this, Jane?” Had been a regular sentence throughout her teenage years, and yet it only ever made her more determined to finish what she had started.

It was why she had competed in a triathlon event when she was sixteen, teaching herself how to swim only months beforehand. And why she had kept going to the shooting range with her brother even when it was obvious he was much more interested in the girl at the front desk. She didn’t want to just be ‘good’, she wanted to be the best.

“Don’t you fancy dancing instead, Jane?” Her grandmother had asked her when she was eight. “You’d be great at ballet with those long legs of yours. You don’t need to go to these fighting classes with your brother, that’s boy stuff.”

If there was one sure-fire way to ensure Jane would continue at something it was to tell her not to. She was convinced that her mum had worked that out long ago. Her colleagues at MI6 had taken a little longer to catch on. It was part of the reason she liked working at the Townsend Agency so much; not one person had ever told her she wasn’t capable of something, no matter how crazy the task.

Jane knew she was stubborn. And determined and level headed. She listened to the rules, most of the time, and only when things got really bad did the reckless side of her make an appearance. Like at the quarry, when her mind had clouded over with thoughts of stopping those responsible for killing Edgar Bosley and she had ran ahead without thinking. Leaving Sabina behind with Elena, expecting her to find her own way in despite Elena’s lack of training at the time.

Looking back, Jane realised that Sabina hadn’t been annoyed that she had disappeared and left her alone. A simple ‘You went rogue’ directed her way when Jane complained that she didn’t have her dots, before helping her throw the unconscious guard out the window. Even later, when she had been thrown into the stone crusher and pleaded with Elena for help, knowing that Jane should have been there to pull her free, she hadn’t lingered on the fact that Jane had taken far longer than she should have to get there.

“Better late than never.”

That was one thing she had learnt quickly about Sabina; she didn’t hold a grudge. Unless you ate the last doughnut she had her eye on.

When Sabina broke the rules it was because she thought there was a better way of doing something, and more often than not she was right. She would take the inevitable berating from Bosley when back at the outpost because every decision she made was done with the mission in mind, even if few people realised it. But when Jane went against protocol people were put in danger, her stubbornness overruling her usual level-headedness and convincing her that nothing else mattered. The tunnel vision setting in, the end goal her only focus. Not caring how she got there or who got hurt along the way.

Jane would be forever thankful that there was still some part of her that seemed to snap back into action before someone really got hurt, but it often worried her how long it could take before that happened. If she had ignored Elena’s shouts for help just a few seconds longer that day would she still have got to the crusher in time to pull Sabina free?

Sometimes she thought that it was in those situations that the real Jane rose to the surface. The person she would be if rules and regulations hadn’t been ingrained into her being. It was when she was most focused, a longing in her heart telling her that she had to finish the job, damn the consequences.

And yet it had taken Jane much longer than she would ever admit to before she realised what Sabina had meant by ‘the other one’. The hand on the back of her neck pushing her forwards and towards Osiris was enough to jolt her brain back into gear, the pieces clicking together at the same time her knees were knocked out from under her and her hands hit the floor.

Osiris laughed, kneeling down beside her and tilting his head, the tablet in his hands. The Russian Bosley was still stood behind him, a strange look in his eyes.

“Why are you letting this happen?” She asked although she didn’t expect a response. “You’re a Bosley. You’re meant to look after us, not just your Russian girls. Sending them away so they’re nowhere near danger but handing us over like we’re nothing. How are we any different? He’s still going to do the same to your Russian Angels if he’s given the chance.”

The Russian Bosley scowled again, hand twitching near his gun.

“You took the tracker from Elena that day and gave it to someone else, didn’t you? Then met us back at the outpost and pretended that you had no idea what was going on,” Jane continued, trying to avoid looking at Sabina who stood next to the Russian Bosley, her own gun still held in both hands. “We trusted you. And all this time, you’re the one that handed Sabina over. You’re the one who has been handing Osiris Angel after Angel, knowing what the consequences are.”

“Enough! I can see why you chose this one, Hathor,” Osiris’s voice travelled through the echoey outpost as he turned back to Sabina and smirked. “Where are her wings?”

“Left wrist,” Sabina instructed instantly and Osiris grabbed Jane’s arm before she had a chance to move.

“Fight back and I kill her now,” Osiris warned as Jane pulled her hand away from his grasp and she fell still, knowing he wasn’t bluffing. She couldn’t risk him hurting Sabina any further. Not when they was so close to getting her back.

“Thoth, connect her wings to our frequency. Let’s show her what it feels like to disobey a command now that she belongs to us,” Osiris smirked and Jane reluctantly stayed still as Thoth took her wrist and hovered a device over the top of the shimmering wings on her skin, nodding to Osiris within seconds as he let go.

“Connected.”

“Good,” Osiris nodded. “Once we get her to the new base we’ll make the connection permanent, but this will be perfect for tonight. Level one to begin with I think. I don’t want her passing out too quickly, we have much more to show everyone.”

He looked back at the tablet in his hand and tilted his head, tapping the screen before the sly grin was back on his lips.

Jane felt her fingers twitch before a pain started to radiant from her wrist, travelling up her arm to her elbow. Her blood felt like it was on fire, her bones in a vice like grip, ready to snap at any moment. She squeezed her eyes shut as she held her arm to her chest, trying to hide the pain and hating the groan that left her lips as her head started to throb, sure her shoulder blade was about to crack in two.

She blinked away the tears that were forming at the corners of her eyes and opened them to find a pair of brilliant green staring back at her, eyebrows furrowed as if pleading with Jane to make it stop.

“It’s ok,” Jane tried to smile, wanting to reach out to Sabina but knowing she would be unable to move her arm. “It’s ok. I love you.”

The whispered words hung heavy in the air despite their softness and Jane realised at the very same moment that never before had she spoke them to anyone else. And never had she thought she would say them with such sincerity.

There was a silence and Jane was sure that just for a second she could see Sabina’s lips twitch before her grip tightened on the gun.

“Oh, how cute,” Osiris scoffed, moving to stand behind Sabina again. “That won’t save you now, Angel. You’re only at the first setting, there’s so much more to come. Right, Sabina? You want to tell her what level six feels like?”

Jane couldn’t look away from Sabina who only stared back, her mouth opening slightly as if she wanted to say something before closing again. Jane was sure she could see her lip wobble as well as her knees, but still she kept the gun raised.

“Fine, I’ll show her instead,” Osiris shrugged, moving his finger across the tablet screen slightly and sending a bolt of electricity through Jane’s arm. “What about level two, Jane?”

Jane wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of an answer. She could hear Elena in the background, shouting her name and fighting against the strong hands that still held her back. She wanted to turn to her, to tell her that everything was going to be ok, but she couldn’t bring herself to lie to her like that. Not this time.

“Your accent has gone,” Jane stated instead, partly to distract herself but also to keep Osiris’s attention away from Sabina. “You’ve forgot you were supposed to be Russian.”

Osiris raised an eyebrow.

“You all know I’m American,” he shrugged. “Sabina made sure of that. But there’s certain things that are - easier - in Russia. If you know what I mean. It’s not only the police that can be bribed. Right, Horus?”

The Russian Bosley laughed and Jane felt her blood run cold, fighting against the fire in her arm.

“I know you don’t really care about how I sound,” Osiris sighed. “You’re stalling, but there’s no point. Level three feels a little worse, right?”

Jane was convinced that the bones in her arm were about to snap completely, her shoulder blade aching in a way she didn’t think possible. Her stomach churned, her vision beginning to blur as she bit away the agony that coursed through her veins, trying to block out Elena’s desperate cries that kept pushing their way through the whooshing in her ears.

“Come on Angel, where’s your limit? At what point will it become too much and the defences come down, because that’s the time we move on to the second stage. That’s where the fun really starts and I get in your head,” Osiris’s grin made Jane want to turn away but she couldn’t, not when he was stood so close to Sabina. “We can do so much once I have full control, just look at your little friend. Look how far she’s come, even if she is near the end of her useful life. She might be broken now but she’s served her purpose, and I can already tell you’re going to be strong. Do you want me to turn it up again?”

Osiris suddenly grabbed Jane by the chin and turned her head in his direction before stepping away and standing behind Sabina, lips close to her ear.

“Let’s show them what they’re really capable of with just a little encouragement,” he spoke and Jane was sure she could see Sabina wince slightly. “Once this one has passed out we can try the next one, all while Bosley watches. You want to give her any advice, Hathor? Before we turn the power up and let her friends see what happens next?”

“Just one thing,” Sabina smiled slightly, tilting her head and catching Elena’s eye from over Jane’s shoulder before looking back at the taller Angel. Jane was certain she saw her wink, her green eyes twinkling despite the darkness that surrounded them, before the wry smile grew on her lips. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

There was a pause as Osiris frowned in confusion but it was all Sabina needed to spin on the spot and put every ounce of strength she still possessed behind her punch, making contact with Osiris square in the face and feeling the bones of his nose shift and crack beneath her knuckles.

He fell to the ground with a heavy thud and Sabina instantly drove her heel into the tablet, the screen cracking with ease and the pain radiating from Jane’s wrist disappearing at the same time, leaving behind a dull ache.

“That’s my girl,” Bosley smiled proudly as Sabina turned and caught her eye, her chest pounding as she blinked slowly and tried to focus on her surroundings.

Jane was on her feet in seconds and as if choreographed both Jane and Elena seemed to act on instinct, Jane diving for the Russian Bosley at the same time Elena ducked free from the hooded figure holding her back and punched him in the jaw, knocking aside his hood.

Jane wasn’t sure at what point Bosley had managed to escape but soon found an Agency issued gun in her hand and it only took a few seconds before they were stood side by side, weapons raised as Osiris and his men lined up in front of them with their own guns drawn and Sabina stood in the middle, Osiris’s hand back on her shoulder.

Jane couldn’t help but smirk at the sight of Osiris’s face splattered in blood which trickled down from his nose, but the smirk on his lips left her feeling nauseous.

“This is what I was talking about,” he sighed, glancing at Sabina before looking back at them all, Bosley and Saint standing either side. “This one is a little defective but she can still be useful. The prototypes always get disposed of once they’ve served their purpose. How many times do you think I can mess with her mind before it shuts down completely?”

Osiris pulled out a separate, small tablet from inside his pocket and held it up with a gloating smirk.

“Top tip, always have a backup plan. I knew there was a risk she wasn’t ready yet, but I was getting impatient. Horus had promised me three Angels to play with and apparently you two were much more malleable than this one. Guns on the floor, now.”

Jane and Bosley did as instructed and placed their weapons at their feet, raising their hands in confirmation. Jane looked at Sabina who blinked slowly, biting her lip, and Jane knew Sabina was preparing herself for what was coming next.

“I’m sorry,” she mouthed, eyes heavy and shoulders slumped, and Jane was sure she felt her heart break all over again.

“No-” Jane began as Osiris ran his finger across the screen of the tablet but the rest of her sentence was lost in the strangled scream that left Sabina’s lungs, her fingers gripping her hair and eyes squeezing shut as she fell to her knees, gasping for air.

“Stop!” Elena shouted, running towards Sabina and freezing as Seth pointed his gun in Sabina’s direction.

“Move any closer and she really does get a bullet in the head,” he warned and Elena’s lip quivered, the dilemma clear on her features. Wanting to move closer and knowing she couldn’t.

Osiris moved his finger back along the tablet and the tension left Sabina’s muscles as she slumped sideways, Seth stepping forwards so she slid to the side of his leg and not the floor.

“Stand, Sabina,” Osiris almost growled and Sabina shakily pushed herself up, struggling to keep her eyes open as Seth grabbed her arm to pull her fully to her feet and pushed a gun back into her hand.

“There’s no point trying to break this one too,” Osiris held up the tablet. “I might not have your wings securely connected to our system yet but Sabina’s are there. There’s no way of stopping this now, she’s mine.”

The Russian Bosley moved to walk behind them all, a sly smirk on his lips that seemed to mirror Osiris’s as he leant in close to Sabina again.

“You wanted Bosley to watch,” Osiris spoke into her ear. “So let’s start with the spare one. We don’t need a Saint. Kill him.”

Sabina instantly raised her gun and pointed it directly at Saint, eyes focused on his.

“Saint,” she spoke, almost monotone. “Always patching me up and lecturing me about being careful. Preventing me from reaching my true potential. Did you ever think I’d be the one to end your life? Would you have come to save me if you had known?”

“In a heartbeat,” Saint responded, eyes watering. “You’re my girl.”

Sabina raised an eyebrow, her focus not leaving Saint for a second despite the frown appearing on Osiris’s features.

“No matter what happens, I’ll be there to help. I can’t fix everything but I can try. Even now,” Saint spoke slowly, a sincerity in his voice that only he was capable of possessing.

“There’s been some scrapes over the years. Suppose I should have leant how to duck by now,” Sabina smiled and was relieved to see Saint smirk in return before he quickly crouched to the ground and Sabina pulled the trigger, the bullet landing directly between the eyes of the Russian Bosley who had been standing behind him. There was a thud as he hit the floor and Saint let out a breath he hadn’t realised he had been holding.

Jane might be known for her shooting skills but there was no denying Sabina could give her a run for her money if she ever needed.

There was a moment of silence before Sabina’s hand dropped to her side, the gun slipping from her grasp and clattering against the stone floor.

“Go,” she looked at Bosley, eyes heavy, and it was all Bosley needed to act.

Sabina felt the last of her energy leave her limbs as everyone moved at once, glancing around the room at the chaos that was beginning to unfold in the outpost. It was like a bad dream, nothing quite making sense, her mind hazy as she tried to focus on something. Anything.

Bosley had launched at Thoth, Jane was wrestling with Seth, Elena and Saint were dodging punches from Amon and Re. That was four. Plus the now dead Russian Bosley who was lying on the outpost floor, his blood staining the cold stone.

She had killed a Bosley.

Sabina didn’t like to use her gun, much preferring the hand to hand combat over ending someone’s life, but she had never liked him anyway. He was the reason she was in this situation to begin with. He was the one who had handed her over to Osiris and his men to play with. To torture. To control. Maybe Charlie would go easy on her, just this once. Even if Sabina doubted she would live long enough to find out.

Four of his men. One dead Russian Bosley. And Osiris himself.

Sabina hadn’t realised she’d sunk to her knees until there was a foot on her chest pushing her to the ground, Osiris standing above her as the pressure increased. Her head still pounded, a constant, agonising ache running from the back of her neck down her entire spine, but there was no way she was going to let Osiris know. And the blood that dripped from his chin was enough to keep the weak smile on her lips.

“Dude, you really gotta stop letting me speak to them,” Sabina laughed, eyes focused on Osiris. “They can understand my weird ramblings more than you ever will. I will never listen to you in my head, not if it means hurting them. There’s no way I’m going to help you control them.”

Osiris raised an eyebrow and increased the pressure on her chest, Sabina still refusing to flinch despite the tightness in her lungs.

“Then I suppose I have no need for you anymore. Do I?”

Osiris held up his tablet yet again but Bosley appeared before he had a chance to do anything further, knocking it from his hands and pushing Osiris against the wall.

“You don’t ever touch her again,” she growled, a knife to his throat that Sabina recognised as belonging to one of Osiris’s men.

Sabina smirked; she might be a Bosley now but there was no denying that Rebekah had made a bloody good Angel during her time.

“You don’t get it,” Osiris grinned. “I don’t need to. I have control of your little Angel without having to lay a finger on her and there’s no way of stopping me. Not now.”

Osiris moved quickly, knocking the blade from Bosley’s hand and pushing her backwards where she stumbled to the floor. But she was back on her feet in seconds, scrambling with Osiris before he had a chance to return to the tablet, pulling him away from the knife that lay next to them.

“Kill her!” Osiris pointed at Sabina as he fought against Bosley, their arms tangled together as Bosley tried to restrain him as best she could. Sabina pushed herself back to a sitting position just as Thoth ran in her direction.

Sabina blinked, pushing her shoulders back. She was exhausted beyond comprehension and yet the memories of Thoth’s cruel smirk as he stood in the shadows and turned up the intensity of Osiris’s torture seemed to send an unexpected energy through her veins. Just enough to stay conscious. To stay alert. She’d make sure she fought a little longer if it meant her girls had more time to get away from Osiris.

The thud from across the room made her startle slightly until she realised that Amon was now lying across the floor, Elena standing above him breathing heavy.

Elena uncurled her aching fingers from the tight fists she had been tensing and felt her elbow throb having just made contact with the side of Amon’s head. Re had disappeared but she didn’t have time to think about where he had gone as she grabbed Saint by the arm and pulled him under a nearby table.

“We need weapons,” she breathed quickly, refusing to look out at the outpost. “We need to get to the closet and find a way of blocking their connection to Sabina’s wings before they-”

Elena swallowed, unable to finish her sentence.

“The hacking device from Vienna,” Saint frowned. “We were talking about it before but it could still work. If we could use it to get into their system-”

“Then we could break the connection! Not just block it,” Elena’s eyes widened again. “You said it was in the safe?”

Saint nodded.

“We just need to get there without them noticing.”

There was another crash as Seth landed on a table next to them and Jane stepped on top of him to grab the gun that Sabina had dropped, kicking Thoth’s from his hand before he had a chance to point it in Sabina’s direction.

“Go, I have you covered,” Jane looked over her shoulder and caught Elena’s eyes, nodding in the direction of the closet before focusing on Osiris’s men again. “I’ll try to keep them here but be careful.”

Elena nodded once and grabbed Saint’s hand, pulling him in the direction of the closet before anyone could get in the way.

~*~*~*~*~

Elena moved through the closet as if on autopilot, finding herself at the safe at the back of the armoury within seconds and trying to ignore the thuds and crashes from above her. She couldn’t let herself think about what was happening to Jane or Sabina, or even to Bosley. She had to believe that they would all be ok until she was back with them.

“Elena Houghlin,” she spoke quickly as she placed her thumb to the keypad and the safe clicked open. Their systems were linked to every outpost across the world and yet she had half expected it to remain locked given the involvement of the Russian Bosley, the relief seeping through her veins immeasurable.

Elena pulled back the heavy door and, just for a second, was convinced that the safe was empty. Before her eyes fell on the small package inside, the hacking device she had helped to develop safely within.

She breathed a sigh of relief and pushed the device into her pocket, turning towards the door as the sound of footsteps came from across the closet.

“It’s only me,” Saint whispered, appearing at her side with a collection of hand guns in his arms. “There’s no sign that anyone followed us.”

“Good,” Elena nodded. “This is going to work, right?”

“Yes,” Saint responded adamantly. “It has to. But we won’t be able to get a connection to Sabina’s wings from here, we need to be closer.”

Elena nodded again and Saint passed her a pair of glasses similar to the ones she had tried on before she had become an Angel, when Sabina had stood in front of her and wiggled her hands with a twitch of her eyebrow. Knowing that Elena would be able to see hints of her past displayed on the lenses; her arrest record right next to the threat level that flashed like a warning. She had let Elena see it all without protest or embarrassment, giving her a smile and a shrug with a simple ‘I’ve lived hard’ as a response.

That was also the day Elena had been given the bracelet to link her to Bosley and had the not-mints knocked from her hand by Saint. She liked to think she had come a long way since then, especially as Saint now handed her a gun as well as the glasses.

“Take both of these,” he stated. “I don’t know if the glasses will help us any, I think we all know what kind of men they are, but just in case.”

Elena smiled as she dropped the glasses into her pocket with the hacking device and gripped the gun tightly, taking another from Saint and tucking it into her back pocket. They couldn’t be too prepared when they both knew what was waiting for them.

“We need all the help we can get,” Elena took a breath and rolled out a knot in her neck. “Now come on, let’s go stop this before someone else gets hurt.”

Saint followed Elena out of the closet and were both suddenly aware of the noise they had left behind, Elena swallowing the fear that bubbled in her throat. They had only been in the closet for a few minutes but she still dreaded to think what could have happened in that time.

To her relief she could see that Amon was still out cold, the Russian Bosley lying in a pool of blood. Sabina was back on her feet, Thoth pushing her against the wall but still without his gun, and Jane and Re were tangled in a mass of limbs on the floor as they fought to keep the other away.

Bosley had just landed a kick on Osiris’s stomach when Elena noticed Seth move in their direction and quickly drew her gun, firing a warning shot in his direction in an attempt to distract him. The sound reverberated through the outpost but it was enough for Seth to turn around and fire his own gun in response.

Elena didn’t move quick enough, the sting of the bullet against her skin making her hiss in pain, blood instantly running down the length of her arm. Elena frowned as she looked down at the angry mark just below her shoulder and was surprised at the smile that found her lips.

The first bullet wound to actually draw blood and not just give her a nasty bruise. Sabina would want to celebrate. And she matched Jane now after her mission in Kyiv. Saint grabbed her by the wrist and quickly pulled her to the side, his eyes instantly finding the blood that coated her skin.

“Elena, what the hell are you doing?”

Elena opened her mouth to argue, to explain that she couldn’t let Seth get anywhere near Bosley with a gun in his hand, but knew that Saint would know all that already. Right now her job wasn’t to protect anyone, it was to use the hacking device to stop Osiris from getting near any other Angel. To stop his connection to Sabina. And she couldn’t do that if she had a bullet in her gut.

“I’ll give these out, you stay here and try to find their system,” Saint nodded to the guns and then to Elena’s pocket where the hacking device from Vienna sat within. “Stay out of the firing line and be careful.”

Elena nodded again as Saint turned back to the room and stepped over the unconscious body of Amon, trying not to look too closely at his features. It still amazed him, even now, that his Angels could bring down a fully grown man with nothing but a well placed elbow. They had been trained by the best, but even still he was impressed during every mission.

They all had their strengths and together they were a force to be reckoned with.

“Jane!” Saint slid a gun in Jane’s direction before she even had a chance to look up, knowing that only an Angel could fire the weapon, where it stopped just in front of her as she kicked out a foot and made contact with Re’s shoulder.

“Thanks!” She shouted back and Saint ran to Bosley, noticing both Seth and Osiris rounding on her.

Jane turned to check on Sabina just as Re moved again and she felt a blade cut through her trousers and catch her skin, a groan of pain leaving her lips. That was going to need stitches. And explained where the knife had gone that Bosley had previously had to Osiris’s throat.

She kicked out again, feeling her foot make contact with Re’s mouth this time, and rolled over until she had him in a tight choke hold, his hands flailing as he tried to escape and the knife discarded on the ground.

“Sabina?”

Sabina was pressed against the wall, Thoth’s hand around her throat tightening the more she fought back. She could feel her vision begin to blur, her hands pushing against his arms in an attempt to loosen his grip, but she didn’t have the strength to break free. She couldn’t talk, couldn’t move, but she could make out the silhouette of Jane through the fuzziness, her legs wrapped around Re’s neck, and felt a bubble of pride in her stomach at how in control she looked.

“Sabina!” Jane shouted, her voice enough to bring Sabina’s vision back into focus. “Catch!”

Jane threw the gun that Saint had just slid across the floor to Sabina who, miraculously, caught it in her numb fingers and instantly pressed it to the side of Thoth’s head, pulling the trigger before she could think about it. The gunshot made her ears ring as she fell to the ground with him, face covered in his blood splatter and the weakness still clawing at her entire body.

“Sabina!”

“I’m good,” Sabina lifted an arm above her head, gun still enclosed in her fingers, and couldn’t help the laugh that followed. “I’m good.”

But she wasn’t. None of them were.

It was then that Sabina seemed to realise what she was holding and threw the gun across the room as if it had scalded her skin, her hands clenching into fists as they began to shake, her eyes growing wide as she looked down at the body of Thoth lying in front of her. Blood pooling at her knees. On her skin. Clouding her vision.

That was two people she had shot in less than an hour, their blood now seeping through the outpost and turning the floor red. A river of blood, caused by her. And it terrified Sabina knowing that Osiris wasn’t in her head as she pulled the trigger. It hadn’t been his instructions. If she could kill so easily without him then what was she capable of if he still had control? How long could she keep protecting her girls before she slipped up and the bullet was fired in the wrong direction?

She had pushed a gun to Jane’s temple when Osiris told her to, and she wasn’t sure how much longer she could keep him out of her head. She had been so close to making the biggest mistake of her life. She was dangerous. She had to be stopped, before it was too late.

Jane was surprised to see Sabina push herself to her feet again, stepping away from Thoth and steadying herself against the wall.

“Sabina,” Jane pushed aside the now unconscious Re to stand in front of her and held out her hands, not caring that the desperation would be pained across her features.

“No!” Sabina held a hand out, stepping further back as her fingers shook. “Stay away. You have to stay there.”

Jane had learnt over the past year that Sabina was afraid of very little. Or at least, there were very few things that Sabina was willing to show she was afraid of. Jane had heard her panicked voice from inside the stone crusher at the quarry and had pushed it aside, her mind focused on Hodak and the briefcase in front of her. She should have known then just how scared she was, even without Elena’s desperate pleas for her to return.

Jane had been determined to stop Hodak for what he had done to Edgar and had blocked out everything else around her, her focus on getting the briefcase and nothing more. She had let herself believe that Sabina could handle everything in the quarry, despite knowing how many people were in there, and had ignored Elena’s shouts for help that should have been enough to confirm that there were more important things than revenge.

But Jane wasn’t going to let that happen again. She wanted nothing more than to be the one to put a bullet in Osiris and yet she knew that right now she was needed elsewhere. Because Sabina wasn’t just scared, she was terrified, and Jane felt her heart ache every time she looked in her direction.

Jane stepped forward, holding her hands out in front of her and trying not to focus on Sabina’s rapid breathing or the sound of Bosley struggling with Seth behind her. There was only one thing that she needed right now and that was for Sabina to feel safe.

“Sabina,” Jane spoke slowly, quietly, reaching up to cup Sabina’s cheeks in her hands so she could look her directly in the eyes. “Sabina, it’s me.”

“Jane?”

“Yeah,” Jane laughed slightly through the tears that now ran down her cheeks. “Hey. I’ve missed you.”

“Jane,” Sabina breathed, lifting a hand to run a finger under Jane’s chin.

Her smile was warm, the tiredness in her eyes evident in the way she suddenly seemed unsteady on her feet. Jane took her by the arms and returned the smile, her world slowly falling back into place and promising herself that she wasn’t ever going to let her go again.

“I thought I’d lost you,” Jane sniffed and could see the tears appearing in Sabina’s eyes too.

“Never,” Sabina answered before her eyes suddenly grew wide again. “Elena?”

“She’s safe,” Jane reassured her quickly. “But I need to help Bosley, ok? Just stay here and I’ll be right back.”

“Jane, I-”

Sabina’s eyes widened before squeezing closed again, her hands tensing into tight fists as her legs gave way completely and she slipped from Jane’s grasp, landing on her knees where she threw her arms over her head with a scream of pain, pulling herself in to a tight ball.

“Sabina!”

Osiris laughed and Jane felt every muscle in her body tense at the realisation that he still had control, dropping to the ground to hold Sabina’s shoulders and try to catch her attention. But there was no way to help her, not while Osiris still had his hand on the tablet.

“Stop!” Jane shouted as loud as she could manage, unable to see Elena and Saint but knowing that she had to give them more time to get into Osiris’s system. To stop what was happening in front of her.

He took his finger off the button and Sabina slumped to the floor, eyes closed and shaking as she tried to take a breath. There was an eerie silence throughout the outpost as Jane realised Bosley and Seth had both frozen, a gun pointing in each other’s direction.

Two of Osiris’s men were dead and two out cold. In any other situation Jane would have taken that as a sign that they had the upper hand, but not now. Not while Osiris grinned at them from across the outpost as he held up the tablet.

“The choice is yours,” Osiris frowned. “Give yourself up or I’ll turn up the power and you can watch what happens to an Angel when she’s exposed to everything I have to offer.”

“Ok, I’ll go with you. You can have me,” Jane almost pleaded as she placed a hand against Sabina’s shoulder. “Just leave her alone. Let her live and you can do what you want with me.”

“Jane-” Bosley warned but Jane didn’t look away from Osiris.

“You promise me that you’ll let her live and I’ll walk out of here with you right now,” Jane stated, a new determination in her eyes despite the fear that coursed through her veins every time she dared to look at Sabina.

Osiris smirked, glancing at Seth quickly before looking back at Jane.

“Fine, I won’t hurt her again,” he shrugged and just for a second Jane believed the sincerity in his words, before his smile widened and she could see Seth raise his gun instead. “That doesn’t mean that my men will do the same.”

Jane had spent many nights discussing different science projects with Elena while Sabina lay on her apartment floor flicking through an old magazine. They had talked about astrology and nano technology and even the possibility of time travel. Each and every conversation left Jane amazed at Elena’s breadth of knowledge and with a feeling that she had learnt something new, and yet she was sure that even Elena wouldn’t have been able to explain how the next ten seconds felt like they stretched out for an hour, everything happening in slow motion and before Jane had even had time to register.

Seth’s gun pointed at Sabina, his eyebrows furrowed and focused. Osiris’s deep laughter echoing round the outpost and Elena’s shout from behind her as she worked out what was happening far quicker than Jane. Saint holding Elena back, Jane frozen to the spot, wanting to throw herself over the top of Sabina to keep her safe and yet unable to move.

And Bosley. Bosley moving quicker than anyone else, lunging in Seth’s direction and pulling his arm away from Sabina as the gunshot ricocheted through the entire building. The noise itself seemed to throw Jane’s world back into motion. There was a collective intake of breath as everyone froze, before the gargled sound of blood through lungs made Jane’s heart skip a beat as she instantly looked to Bosley.

But Bosley appeared just as shocked as Jane felt, having pushed herself away from Seth again.

“Shit,” Seth dropped his gun and looked around the room as if expecting backup, but all of the other men were dead or incapacitated.

Apart from Osiris, who had his hand to his neck as thick, crimson blood began to seep through his fingers.

Jane would have laughed had the situation not been so awful, but the look in Osiris’s eyes was enough to satisfy the feeling in her chest. Bosley was safe, her own gun raised and pointed at Seth again, Osiris having fallen to his knees as he clutched his neck.

Jane glanced down at Sabina, her heart racing at the sight of her struggling to keep her eyes open despite whatever it was Osiris had given her to stay alert.

“Hey,” Jane smiled as Sabina blinked. She could feel how small Sabina seemed to be, the exhaustion on her features evidence of the past few weeks. Jane doubted Sabina had eaten more than a few mouthfuls of food over the past fortnight and slept even less, her swollen eye socket and bruised collarbone the only injuries she dared to focus on.

She opened her mouth but Jane shook her head and placed a finger to Sabina’s lips before replacing it with a gentle kiss.

“Just rest. This is nearly over.”

“Jane,” her name was almost a whisper from Sabina’s lips and yet Jane didn’t notice. To her it was the best sound in the world.

“Yeah?”

“I love you too.”

Jane laughed without meaning to, the sound foreign in the surroundings and suddenly Elena was at her side again, her own hands shaking.

“Sabina-” she ran a hand through her hair and a thumb across her cheek, leaning in close. “I’ve got this, ok? We’re going to stop this. I promise.”

Elena swallowed hard and looked over her shoulder at Bosley who was stood above Osiris, her gun still pointed at Seth as the blood seeped from his neck.

“You, over there,” Bosley nodded for Seth to move and he did so, Saint waiting to secure his hands behind his back and to one of the spindles on the stairs. She didn’t want to think about dealing with him now, not when he was the last one standing.

Osiris laughed, the gargled sound sticking in his throat.

“You think you’ve won? You think this dies with me?” he asked and Bosley felt her chest tighten. “You have no idea. No idea at all.”

Bosley was sure that on any other day she would have noticed him move a fraction of a second before she did, but she was exhausted. Both physically and mentally. And the fraction of a second was all he needed to swipe his hand across the tablet, his laugh escaping at the same time as Sabina’s scream.

“All the way to ten,” he grinned, his teeth coated with blood as it dripped from his chin. “And there’s no way you can stop it.”

Bosley had been with the Agency for longer than she cared to remember. She had seen and heard many things in that time, memories of which kept her awake at night and crept up on her when she was least expecting it. But the sound of Sabina’s screams, the pleading, desperate shouts from Jane and Elena, she knew without a shadow of a doubt they would stay with her forever.

For just a second Bosley’s finger hovered over the trigger as she moved her gun in Osiris’s direction, every nerve in her body telling her to shoot him between the eyes. But Osiris didn’t deserve an easy death. The blood that seeped from his neck was still pooling by his shoulder, taking the colour from his skin as it did so. He’d bleed out if she left him, and there was no one left to come to his rescue.

Bosley grabbed the tablet from his hand and turned on her heels, making her way across the room in an instant to fall beside Saint as Jane gripped Sabina’s hand tight, her eyes wide as she looked to Elena for help.

“Elena we need to switch this off before it’s too late!” Jane pleaded.

“I’m tying, I promise!”

There were those promises again, Bosley thought. Thrown around like they were easy. Like they couldn’t destroy someone’s life in an instant if broken.

“Here, does this help?” Bosley handed over Osiris’s tablet and Elena frantically tapped the screen, her lip wobbling slightly.

“It’s completely shut down,” Elena stuttered. “I don’t know what he’s done to this but it’s useless now.”

“Keep calm and try to focus. You can use the hacking device to override the lockdown,” Saint spoke slowly as Elena’s hands shook and Bosley was eternally grateful that he was there to keep Elena focused, because she knew it was near impossible for her to open her mouth without her heart spilling out.

Sabina’s muscles were tensed, her mouth opening to take a breath but her lungs unable to find the air. She had squeezed her eyes closed and Bosley could see her knuckles turn white as she gripped Jane’s hand, her back arching from the floor.

“Elena!”

Elena tried to block out the sound of her name and focus on the device in front of her, the screen flashing just as it had done when she was in Vienna. When they had tested the device over and over again to make sure it could hack into even the most secure of systems.

But that had taken time. The device was designed to get them the best possible results, but that didn’t mean it was quick. And time really wasn’t on their side.

Sabina’s head jerked to the side as she gasped for air and Elena couldn’t help but look up, her own breath catching in her throat and sending a numbness through her body.

The wings on the back of her neck had turned black. Dying. Just like Sabina was.

Elena had to keep going before it was too late, had to block out everything else that was going on and focus on the facts in front of her. The science. The technology.

The screen flashed again and suddenly a series of numbers appeared at speed, slowly forming an unfamiliar pattern in front of her.

“I’ve got it!” Elena couldn’t hide the excitement or relief from her voice as she quickly moved her fingers, Saint’s hand on her shoulder.

“Then turn this off, quickly!” Jane’s voice wobbled slightly but Elena had frozen, looking up to catch Jane’s eyes. She had a hand on Sabina’s forehead, trying to will the air into her lungs as her tense body fought against the pain that was coursing through her veins.

“Elena?” The desperation in Jane’s voice wasn’t lost.

“I- I can’t-” Elena stuttered, holding the device out in front of her as if someone else would be able to understand the date on the screen without her having to explain.

The weak whimper that sounded from Sabina’s lips was even worse than the scream, and all four of them seemed to stop as Sabina’s head rolled to the side again.

“Elena,” Saint spoke quietly, his hand back on her arm.

“It’s programmed for one thing only, there’s no way of changing or blocking it. The only way I can shut it down is by turning the system off completely.”

“Then do that!” Jane shouted, her eyes wide, but Bosley had turned to look at her properly.

“What does that mean?” Bosley asked and Elena could tell by the wobble of her lip that she knew already.

“It’ll kill her,” Elena muttered quietly. “It’s linked to Sabina so if I shut it down-”

“She’s dying anyway!” Jane cried, wiping Sabina’s blood stained hair from her clammy forehead. “What else can we do?”

How strange it felt, Elena thought, having the life of your best friend in your hands. Literally. If she didn’t shut the system down then Sabina was most certainly going to die. And if she did?

Elena was just giving her a quicker death.

Osiris’s weakened laugh sounded out across the outpost and Bosley couldn’t help but look over.

“I told you there’s no way you can stop it,” he smirked. “It was built into the system. If ever I turned the intensity all the way to ten then it was programmed to lock at that setting. A fail safe, so to speak. Only to be used when there was a risk that the mission could be compromised. You should understand that.”

Bosley felt her hands tremble and balled them into fists, beginning to wish that she had pulled the trigger after all.

“Sabina’s wings are completely integrated with our system and I’ve been in her head for weeks,” Osiris continued. “It’s as if she’s part of the system now. I had Thoth write it that way for when we get all of your Angels. Once they’re of no use to us we can turn up the intensity and watch them suffer one last time. Let them know who they belong to before they die. So you see, there’s no way of saving her. Either this kills her or you do.”

He laughed again, the blood gurgling in his throat, and Elena heard Bosley swallow a sob she knew was on the edge of spilling out.

“Elena!” Jane’s panicked voice snapped her back to the situation in front of her and she was met by Jane’s wide, terrified eyes as she gripped Sabina’s shoulders in an attempt at keeping her still, her tears running down her cheeks.

Sabina’s rigid muscles and shaking body terrified Elena as she watched her body scream for air, her tired lungs unable to find any no matter how desperately she tried.

Bosley took Elena’s hand and nodded slowly, swallowing a lump in her throat so as not to make it any harder for her to handle.

“Shut it down,” Bosley’s voice was steady despite the look in her eyes, her tone the same as it would be during any other mission. A direct order not to be argued with.

Elena took a breath to steady her shaking hands and typed the necessary details into the hacking device, overriding every warning that popped up on the screen. She looked up at Sabina, her vision blurring through her tears and with one final swipe of the screen she shut down Osiris’s system completely, the screen turning black as she did so.

And at the very same time Sabina fell still.

Completely. And utterly. Still.

Which was a million times worse than the screams had ever been.

“Elena?!”

But Elena was only focused on Sabina’s unmoving chest. Her breathing had stopped and with it her whole world.

Jane lifted Sabina’s head from the ground and onto her knee, wiping the tears from her cheeks with the back of her thumb, but it was Saint that spoke her name. She could tell from the reassuring tone despite the fact that what she had just done could never be forgiven.

“Elena,” he took her hand and removed the hacking device, placing it on the ground in front of her. “Listen to me, we only have a few minutes to save her.”

Save her? What was Saint talking about, they’d already tried that. She had just killed Sabina in front of their eyes and now he was talking about saving her. When she was already gone.

Elena looked up slowly and Saint squeezed her hands.

“You connected to their system, right?” He asked and Elena nodded numbly. “And you’ve shut it down. So what happens if you try to fire it up again?”

“It’ll likely reboot. Wipe the data and start from scratch,” Elena answered, frowning slightly.

“Exactly,” Saint nodded, moving to take a hold of Sabina’s wrist as Bosley looked on and Jane continued to stroke her hair.

“Put the glasses on, what do you see?” He asked and Elena quickly grabbed the glasses from her pocket that Saint had handed her in the closet.

“She’s not breathing,” Elena stuttered, trying to avoid the look from Jane. “But she still has a weak pulse. Her heart is still beating.”

Still valiantly holding on as Elena watched the rhythm slowing down through the lenses of her glasses. As if pleading with her to help. My heart is yours. Please save it.

“So, a reboot of the system-” Saint pressed.

“Will cut all links with Sabina’s wings and send a shock through the system,” Elena continued, looking up at Saint. “You think this will work?”

“I have no idea, but it’s worth a try.”

Elena nodded and looked to Bosley for reassurance but she had moved away slightly, her hands clenched together as she watched Saint and Elena restart the hacking device, the screen displaying a series of numbers she didn’t understand. Elena could see Sabina’s heartbeat growing slower by the second and tried to ignore the very real possibility that this wasn’t going to work.

It only took a few seconds to get back into the now compromised system, Elena’s hand hovering over the screen. She didn’t have time to explain to Jane and Bosley but hoped that they too would forgive her for what was going to happen.

“Jane, you need to let go,” Elena instructed almost apologetically, and Jane’s lip wobbled again as she leant over and placed a kiss on Sabina’s forehead, lying her back down and moving away.

“I’m so, so sorry Sabina,” Elena cried as she clicked the final few buttons on the screen of the device, knowing the pain she was about to inflict after everything else she had just endured, and watched as the screen flashed.

There was a few seconds of silence that seemed to drag into eternity before Sabina’s body tensed again, her head tilting backwards and hitting the hard floor, followed by a sharp intake of breath as she fell still once more. The ragged, unsteady rise and fall of Sabina’s chest that followed was enough for the spluttered sound of relief to leave Elena’s lungs and within seconds Jane was back at Sabina’s side, cradling her under her chin, her eyes locked with Elena’s and the words ‘thank you’ swimming between them on repeat.

The sob that Bosley had been holding back escaped with a noise somewhere between a laugh and a cry as she moved to throw her arms around Saint. Elena closed the gap between her and Jane, allowing herself to sink into Jane’s embrace and wrap herself around the now unconscious blonde in her arms.

And slowly, huddled together so close that from the outside no one would be able to tell where one began and the other ended, the world started spinning again.