niki_chidon: (cold and frost)
Niki ([personal profile] niki_chidon) wrote2012-02-21 09:11 pm

Fic: From the Cold and Frost 5/6 (National Treasure; Ian/Ben, Riley/OFC)

Title: From the Cold and Frost 5/6: Songs of Ancient Wit and Wisdom
Author: Niki
Fandom: National Treasure (movie)
Series: Follows A More Perfect Union and The Age of Fire and Gravel
Pairings: Ben/Ian, Riley/OFC (Mina)
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Disney owns most of them.
Summary: The *next* treasure, though to be fair, it's really a part of the previous one...
Notes: Book of Secrets didn't happen. Reading Fire and Gravel before this recommended.
Previous Chapters: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4
Thanks to Sila for yet more Dutchisms! Source reading at the end of the final chapter. Thanks to Mr Niki (he chose the name;) for random historical data. Oh, and to my mom for the suggestion for the location of the treasure.


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Part 5; Songs of Ancient Wit and Wisdom
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They left the logistics of the treasure extraction for their new Finnish allies. With the winter on its way, they might have to wait for the ocean to freeze over to be able to move the boxes. The Finnish government was more than happy to step in to guard the cave and take over the job. (Elina told them her relatives weren't well pleased with the army presence but very stoked about the presence of a treasure, even if they hadn't officially gone public with it yet.)

As much as Mina wanted to stay and study each piece that was revealed, she had her job - her treasure - to go back to. But before she could return to Atlantis, there was one thing she needed to do. She wanted to visit Anne, to share with her what they had found.

The Dutch woman had been a part of the discovery, it had been her grandfather moving those treasures. Mina felt it was only fair Anne would hear the end of the story from them, and not from a newspaper.

Riley didn't share her views but promised to come with her. The others decided to come to the Netherlands as well, not wanting to part ways yet. Elina and Heikki were looking after the extraction, after all, so they had no reason to linger in Finland either.

Still, Mina was alone when she drove to the hospital.

She got out of her rental car and looked at the gloomy building, and the even gloomier view of the railway tracks. They had put Anne here.

No, no, her own obsession did. Mina remembered the words she'd said to Riley when trying to explain why she needed to see Anne. "We have all been teetering on the line between obsession and insanity. She just crossed it most blatantly."

Besides, she had been a friend.

,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,

The room they met in reminded Mina of a prison. They were seated around a table and she almost expected Anne to arrive in prison overalls.

She didn't. But the woman in her loose clothing bore little resemblance to the cool academician she had known.

She looked... scared, almost, and her first question explained some of it.

“Are... is Dr Gates alright? And Ian? They survived the shooting?”

“Yes, they are both all right," Mina reassured her. "Like nothing ever happened. Didn’t anyone tell you?”

“They did... but I didn’t believe them. I was... quite out of it for a long time.”

They looked at each other over the table for a moment, Anne looking more comfortable, and Mina couldn't help but smile and share her news.

“Anne... we found the artefacts.”

“From Atlantis?” Her face showed inly interest and joy, so Mina explained much of their adventures in trying to locate the boxes.

“So there was something in the Lake Toplitz!” She laughed at that.

“Yes. And... I brought you something.”

Mina showed her one of the chesspiece like casts most likely used in making the Phaistos Disk, and Anne started to weep.

Mina hesitated for a second, then got up and walked around the table to hug her. Anne clung to her while trembling from the strength of her sobs.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry... I’m so glad none of you were killed. It feels so incredible now that I could have... that I did...”

“It’s okay,” Mina said, and it really was. This woman was unlike the obsessed professional they had met in Greece.

“Would you like to keep the mould?” she asked.

“No! It belongs in a museum!” Anne declared with her eyes wide.

“I thought so too, but I... I wanted you to have something of the find. After all, it did mean so much to you that...”

“...that I almost went crazy from it? Well, no ‘almost’ about it, actually.”

“You seem better, much better. Will you... when will you get out?”

“I don’t know. I mean, for now, I would choose to stay here. I’m constantly afraid that I might break down again. I was afraid seeing you would bring that irrational anger back, but my doctor said it should be okay, and it is, and I’m glad you came.”

She got up from the hug and looked at Mina’s stomach for the first time. For her the smallest bump seemed big enough clue. She smiled, and looked up to her face.

“You and Riley?”

“Yes,” Mina replied, smiling widely, “and a baby makes three.”

“And... Ian and Ben, they are still together?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t suppose Abigail has found anyone,” Anne said, dryly, and Mina fought the urge to laugh.

“No,” she said, grinning, and when Anne grinned back it felt like their old friendship again.

“Will you tell them all congratulations for finding yet another treasure from me? If you think they would care to hear it?”

“I’m sure they will. After all, they do know a bit about out-of-proportion obsessions themselves.”

.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.

“She seems fine,” Mina said to the doctor she had talked to before the visit.

“It is a good day, and she has made lot of progress,” the man explained as they were walking towards the parking lot.

“I have something for her... I wanted to ask your opinion of it. You are aware of the whole deal with Atlantis and the disc?”

“It has come up, yes,” the doctor said dryly.

Mina liked the humour in his eyes, and let her own smile show.

“I thought as much. Well... I have some photos and reproductions of the texts we have discovered on Atlantis, and... well.” The contents of the new find weren’t public yet so she hesitated over what to say. “And I wanted her to have them, so that she can try working on them as well. If you don’t think that will be too... dangerous, or something.”

“I think that might be a great thing for her, actually, to remind her that before it became an obsession it was a healthy interest. It might make her feel good about her studies again, doing something productive, and even help in learning to deal with the real world again.”

Mina leafed through the folder, and finally added a scan of her ‘Rosetta stone’. She wanted to be the first one to decipher the language. But she also wanted to be fair. She wanted to share the excitement. And if she was going to set up an Internet site for everyone to see, she could share it with the one woman for whom it would mean as much as for her – after all, Phaistos disc had been Anne’s obsession long before they found Atlantis.

She borrowed a pen from the doctor.

“Your obsession meets mine – race you to results! – Mina”

“I promised I would keep in touch. But I’ll be going back to Antarctica now. Here’s an address that will reach me eventually. If she ever wants to be in touch...”

“I will keep it for her.”

“And if she cracks the language, call!”

.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.

Another country, another hotel, another shared suite. Mina shared the details of her visit with the others over afternoon tea (and coffee).

“I’m glad she is doing well,” Ben said when she had finished.

“Me too, believe it or not,” Ian said, rubbing the scar in his arm through clothing instinctively.

They sat in silence for a while, no one seeming to know what to say.

“Well, another adventure over,” Abigail finally said.

“As much as I want to get back to my work... I will miss you all,” Mina admitted.

“Well, we’ll just have to get together for another adventure sooner or later,” Ben said, grinning. “After all, the Ahnenerbe documents we found did detail other expeditions of which nothing is known...”

"Is there something in Australia?" Riley asked. "It would be nice, for once, to go somewhere warm. Like, now."

"You're not coming back home with me?" Mina asked innocently.

"Home. Atlantis is 'home'. Yes, dammit, I'm coming home with you to catalogue that damn script. But we could have a vacation. And no, this doesn't count because there was snow. Nothing with snow counts."

"Well, there's the one in Brazil..." Ben suggested.

"Brilliant! Let's go!" Riley jumped up and pulled out his sunglasses.

He looked at Mina and his face was filled with love and excitement. They would be all right, despite everything. Riley would always be Riley, and she would always be herself, but as long as he looked at her like that, they would be all right.

"Or we could go meet my parents in Ethiopia," she suggested, grinning.

"We were thinking about an actual vacation without Nazi presence, actually," Ben said, and pulled Ian close.

"Yeah, a honeymoon," the older man clarified, and pulled him closer.

"It's customary to get married first," Abigail reminded them, smiling widely, and Mina noted how far she had come from the woman who couldn’t bear to hear about their relationship only a year ago.

"Yeah, it is," Ben replied pointedly, arms around Ian, eyes locked to his, both of them grinning happily.

"Oh my God, you're really..."

- - - - - End of part 5, to be concluded in Part 6 - - - - - -

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