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Head throbbing in time to the rapid beat of his heart, he stumbled up to the employee night entrance.  Only his good hand catching the door handle kept him from collapsing against the front of the vestibule.  Wiping at the blood that had continued to drip down his face the long mile from Lambeth to Vauxhall, he blinked thrice to clear his eyes enough to focus on the security access pad embedded in the brick surface of the Secret Intelligence Service Building. 

Still the keys swam before him.


What was his code?  He couldn’t remember.  

Scan his ID.

Keeping his injured arm pressed close to his chest, he again searched his pockets for his credentials, hoping he’d overlooked it in his trousers or the interior pockets of his tattered cardi.  He wore no shirt. His shoes were missing. His right big toe poked out from the torn seam of a TARDIS sock he didn’t remember buying. It was on backwards: the heel ruched up along the top of his foot.

Cold.  So cold.

He pressed his forehead to the pale stone.


Countless sequences passed through his mind’s eye.  None made sense. None were --

There.  That one.

He pulled back from the wall and bent over the pad -- practically nose to keys, his myopic eyes refusing to focus even at that short distance -- and entered the sequence.


The fuck?!  No.  

Please no!

It was the right code.  He was sure of it. It had to be the right code.  

Trembling fingers entered it again.


No. No. No. No!!

He entered it again.  And again.


A sudden wave of nausea brought him to his knees before the cold, silent edifice of the SIS.

He couldn’t …

He summoned the last of his energy and raised his head to look up into the CCTV camera above the vestibule door.  His appeal was one word long.