Friday, 31 May 2013

MI Fanfiction: The Minister - Epilogue


Jim felt as if he had slept for most of the car journey, only drifting in and out at checkpoints and the occasional coffee break. He had to suspect that Cinnamon had slipped something into his drink on the first of these breaks, because he hadn’t been sleepy until after that first black coffee. But he didn’t mind. With the heady mix of painkillers and sleeping tablets in his system it was enough to know that they were safe, all of them. They had left Barnstadt behind and the mission had been a success. When Barney had tuned the radio in to one of the local stations the first story had been the shocking exposé of Georg Bauer, and the second the incredible anonymous donation of money that had been made to the opposition parties in Barnstadt. No mention had been made of the theft in Bauer’s club, but that didn’t surprise Jim at all. Bauer wouldn’t be likely to publicise the theft of money raised from alcohol, gambling, and women.

‘The first thing you’re doing in the West is seeing a doctor,’ Cinnamon told him firmly in one of his waking moments, and he agreed meekly but distractedly, watching the countryside moving past the windows outside the car. Apart from the permanent, half-numbed pain in his ribs nothing seemed very real at all. Somehow they had emerged from another mission safe and alive and successful, and that feeling of success was all that he needed to keep him going.

He slipped into sleep again, and when he woke he found himself tucked firmly into a bed in a high-ceilinged room, with the constriction of bandages about his chest and some kind of dressing on his cut face. He looked around cautiously, praying this was not some German hospital – but it seemed to be a hotel room rather than a health institution. As he turned his head to the left he looked into Rollin’s smiling face.

‘Nice to have you back with us,’ Rollin told him from his seat by the bed. There was a copy of the Berlin Daily folded on the side table, but the picture on the front told Jim it must be a newer copy than the one that held the exposé of Georg Bauer.

‘Have I been asleep for – ’ Jim began.

‘Only for a day and a night,’ Rollin told him. ‘Long enough for a doctor to see to those ribs. Two of them are cracked, by the way, and he doesn’t advise you move around too much for now.’

‘Cinnamon – ’

‘Drugged you to the eyeballs,’ Rollin nodded cheerfully. ‘We all know it’s the only way of keeping you still in bed.’

Jim smiled gingerly. His cheek was stiff and his nose still felt swollen and aching. Most of his body ached in some way – but it was the feeling of wounds that were healing, not fresh.

‘I don’t intend to go anywhere for now,’ he promised.

‘Good,’ Rollin nodded. ‘Because you don’t need to go anywhere. I phoned in to the Secretary. He’s very pleased with the outcome of the mission and quite happy to pay for a few days luxury in the best Berlin hotel. We can fly out as soon as they’ve confirmed you’re not in danger of puncturing a lung with those ribs.’

Jim rearranged his position slightly, drawing in breath at the sudden pain in his chest that the movement occasioned.

‘What about Liesl?’ he asked in a quieter voice, fixing his eyes on Rollin’s.

Rollin smiled again. ‘She’s just the other side of that door,’ he told Jim, nodding across the room. ‘She’s been waiting to see you.’

Jim looked across to the door, running his tongue over his dry lips. There was no way that this was going to be easy. It never was.

‘Will you tell her to come in?’ he asked Rollin quietly.

Rollin nodded, picking up his paper from the table and striding over to the door. A moment after he had left, Liesl entered, her face drawn with worry.

‘Otto, you are all right,’ she said, the concern suddenly ameliorated with a smile.

‘It’s Jim,’ he reminded her. ‘Jim Phelps. And I’m fine. Just some broken ribs. I’ve had worse.’

‘The others told me,’ she nodded, taking the seat that Rollin had been using and pulling it a little closer to his bed. ‘So, you will be going home soon,’ she said in a rather quieter voice. ‘Home to America.’

Jim gave her a half-smile. ‘I have to,’ he nodded.

‘I know,’ she said. Her lips looked a little tight, but to Jim’s relief she wasn’t crying. ‘I’ve talked a lot with your friend, Mr Hand, these two nights. I know you have to go back – what is it – being an agent? A super-spy?’

Jim smiled. ‘Something like that,’ he nodded. He had never had a precise job definition. ‘And you?’ he asked softly, feeling a spiking of regret in his chest. ‘You will stay here, in Berlin?’

‘Yes. I will be all right,’ she promised him. ‘Rollin sorted out everything – the asylum claim, the right to work, to live. It will all be fine. I’m looking for an apartment, and – well, they’re taking on typists in the newspaper offices where Rollin took his story,’ she added with a smile. ‘I think I will get a job there. They were very pleased with me when I spoke to them.’

‘That’s just fine,’ Jim said warmly, reaching out painfully to take her hand. ‘That’s fine, Liesl.’

He sat looking at her, at her long dark hair and dark eyes, at the kindness and experience in her face and the soft contours of her body. It would be so nice to just stay here for a while, to live without danger in a foreign city and spend a few long weeks with a girl like this. But that wasn’t his life, and he knew it. After a week he would be itching for the adrenaline rush again. His mind would be craving problems to solve and new places to see. It would never be fair on a girl to give her false hopes of a life that he just couldn’t settle into.

Liesl looked down at her watch and gave an apologetic smile.

‘I must go,’ she said. ‘I have an appointment with the hiring secretary at the paper to see if I got the job. I mustn’t be late for that.’

‘Too right you mustn’t,’ he said bracingly, squeezing her small hand with his large one, and then letting go. ‘Goodbye, Liesl, and good luck.’

She stood, and then bent down and gently kissed his bruised lips.

‘Goodbye, Jim Phelps,’ she said with a lingering look. ‘And I will always remember you.’

He watched her go as she walked out of the room, feeling the cloying artificial sleep of sedatives pulling at him again. He rested his head back into the pillow, accepting that he was bed-bound for the next couple of days and there was nothing he could do about it. It was a small price to pay for everything that had happened over the last few weeks, one that he would pay again in an instant. He drifted back to sleep with dreams of snow heaped up on the streets of New York, of sailing a boat on the East River with a dark-haired girl beside him, and of finding another of those so-enticing tape machines in a tackle box, with another impossible mission to complete.


  1. Is "The Minister" an actual episode? I love the story!

    1. Thank you! No, it's not an actual episode. I just tried to write it in the same spirit. I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)