Chapter 31

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of Kudos and BBC. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.

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It was close to ten thirty that morning when Ros finally returned to the Grid.  Harry was seated behind his desk, his brow furrowed with worry as he waited for word about Alexa.  Ever since he’d found out that Nadia had been the woman Lucas and Jo retrieved a few blocks from Victoria Station instead of his god daughter, Harry had forced himself to control his temper, retreating into his office until Malcolm could find Alexa again.

Harry forced himself to remember the events of the night he’d brought Alexa back to the Grid after the four-hour flight from Moscow.  For now, as news of her disappearance from the Underground station began to sink in, Harry could not help but force himself to remember that night. 

Something had happened that night, Harry thought, even though he’d refused to admit it then.  But with today’s events, Harry knew that he had to start believing the possibility that there was more to Alexa than just the innocent god daughter he had always seen her to be.

Harry still remembered Alexa’s broken arm and how the flight attendants had fashioned a sling for her.  He recalled how emaciated she looked, her cheekbones dominating her pale face and the missing teeth.  

After Lucas had reported that he’d found Alexa a few days earlier in some third-rate club, and that the man responsible for her abduction and imprisonment seemed to have some sort of protection from FSB, Harry had tried his best to pull as many powerful strings as he could to punish the man.  He remembered how he hated Mikhael Lubienko then, and how he wished the man dead.

Whether he was effective or not with his influence on any contacts he had at that time, Harry would not know then, although years later, he’d find out that Mikhael was sent to prison after all, where he would end up maimed by fellow prisoners, his face scarred forever.  

As he sat behind his desk, Harry forced himself to focus on that night and only Alexa alone.  What had she done the moment she stepped foot inside Section D, he asked himself.  Had he let her out of his sight at all?

“Uncle Harry, can I get on the internet?”

“Hmm?” Harry had been lost in his own thoughts as one of the junior operatives handed Alexa a cup of tea.  They were sitting inside his office, him behind his desk and Alexa right in front of him, still holding a Russian nesting doll and book in her arms which she had refused to let go of the entire time.  Harry tried to remember the book’s title but couldn’t.  

“It’s been six months since I’ve been online,” Alexa said softly, lowering her head as if embarrassed.  She was sitting in front of his desk, her thin form covered by Harry’s own coat while he waited for Zoe, one of his operatives, to get her a change of clothes.  

Harry smiled as he typed his own password to unlock his computer.  He clicked on the icon for the internet browser.  “Now I don’t want any ‘Living the Vida Loca’ on my computer when I get back,” he said teasingly as he got up and pulled his own chair back so Alexa could sit down.  

She was still a teen-ager, he thought.  The internet was a Pandora’s box of surprises, and he couldn’t blame her for wanting to check out what was going on with the world.  Besides, Harry had just spotted Jools Siviter from the corner of his eye entering the Grid, standing inside the pod as the computers analyzed to see if the man had anything on him had anything that warranted review.  

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