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Lost and Found

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They can never go back to the British Museum.

It starts pretty innocently enough. Nile’s never been to London so they’re showing her the sights as they wend their way through Europe on the best and craziest sort of gap year Nile never got to have, both the general tourist stuff and the patchwork of buildings from their own lives that have survived. So when they end up on the doorstep of the British Museum, Nile’s a little surprised. But it turns out that it’s an old game of theirs which Nile christens “Historical Inaccuracies”, where they wander through museums halls of collections and count how many things the little white introductory placards beside the antiquities get wrong.  

They’re in the Ancient Greece hall, when it all goes, ever so slightly, to shit.

Nicky’s reminiscing about sitting for Michelangelo, “He was very hands-on” Nicky tells a rapt Nile only for Joe to grumble “A little too hands-on, I ended up breaking the little fucker’s nose”. Nicky only laughs softly and presses a kiss to the back of Joe’s hand where they’re entwined, and well, the only thing Nile knows is that she fucking blinks and suddenly Andy’s arm isn’t linked through hers anymore and when she turns round to look, Andy is bodily pressed to one of the display cases of ornate weaponry, staring intently at something. Except rather than wry, humorous derision, she looks like a kid in a candy store.

“Boss?” Joe asks from where the other three have stopped, watching her. Nile turns to the other two questioningly but they just shrug, as perplexed as she is.

“This is mine!” Andy turns and she’s grinning at them, beautiful face fucking aglow, finger jabbing the glass over where a double headed axe, a labrys, Nile remembers Andy telling her, rests in the case.

They crowd round her to look. Its in good condition, metal clean and shining, the wooden handle lovingly inlaid with diamond cut marquetry. Andy presses her palm flat to the glass, just looking. “I thought I lost this in Thebes” she murmurs, eyes faraway.

Nile still boggles at the the way Andy casually references being older than the founding of modern civilization like its nothing. She still doesn’t know how old Andy actually is, and sure her mom had always told her it was rude to ask a lady her age but:

a) Andy is not a lady and she means that in the best way possible

b) She really, really wants to know and it’s the only thing no-one will tell her and they’ve made a game out of making her guess, because her family are all secretly assholes

“Right, then.” Andy slides gracefully in front of the lock and slips a hairpin from her head. Nile didn’t even know Andy had hairpins. Nile jumps, hand immediately clamping down on Andy’s wrist. “You’re not serious” and yes, Andy is big and scary and soft and kind all at once but she’s also mortal now and they are not fighting their way out of the British fucking Museum when Nile still hasn’t seen Hampton Court or the Tower or ridden the London Eye yet.

“Look, under cultural nationalism, ethnic groups are entitled to the repatriation of their historic artifacts so I am repatriating this. Plus, I know exactly who it belongs to considering it’s fucking mine and I am simply reclaiming lost property some greedy fucking pig farmer had the gall to pick up after I saved his ass” Andy rattles off, not unkindly.

Nile just stares, slightly stalled by the bout of legal jargon.

 “Andy studied international law,” Nicky tells her helpfully from where he’s standing between them his broad back shielding them from view, struggling to curb his smile “It helps with our humanitarian aid jobs”.

Nile nods, remembering Copley’s board, the pictures of them working with various relief missions throughout time. Nicky had purloined some of the pictures and she knew for a fact he had one of Joe holding hands with some kids from WWII in his wallet.

“Yes, but even if you get it out without setting alarms off, it is broad daylight, Andy” Nile reminds her, not letting go of Andy’s wrist. “We cannot walk around central London with that unsheathed and I doubt the museum shop will give you a gift bag”

And with that, Nile starts off back the way they’d come, one arm around Andy’s waist because she’s not above physically dragging Andy out of here when she’s got that look in her eye, she’s really not.

“But it’s mine” Andy protests, digging her heels in. Nicky, because her brothers are adorable and loving but are also secretly little shits when it suits them, just smiles softly at the difference in Nile and Andy's distress. “I’ve been looking for that for 500 years!” Andy glances at Nicky appealingly.

Blissfully, because Nicky is also too nice, really, puts an arm around Andy’s waist on top of Nile’s own and together the two of them steer Andy away.

“Don’t worry Boss,” he croons, “We can come back for it later. We’ll plan the whole thing. You’ll have it back, this time tomorrow” he promises, as they wade through the Great Court, down the stairs until they’re out in the open air. Andy seems a tad mollified by Nicky’s sweet reassurances, so that’s something at least. But still.  Depends on the century, my foot.

“Wait a minute,” Nile mutters once they’re outside, stopping in her tracks as she realises they’re a cohort missing, “Where’s-“

“AAAAAAAARGH” Joe comes charging out the revolving door, his baseball cap flying off his curls and left abandoned on the ground as he sprints across the courtyard, about six security guards hot on his heels “I got it! Andy, I got it! Everybody run” he bellows over the alarm bells screaming out. He’s wielding the labrys, held aloft, handsome face triumphant and suddenly Nile feels like she’d been in Ancient Greece after all.

“Oh, Jesus fuck” Nile curses, mostly because Booker isn’t here to do it.

Joe races up, grabs hold of Nicky -whose watching him with an expression on his face that can only be described as sheer adoration - on the way past, who already has hold of Andy who in turn then twists Nile’s hand to lace their fingers together, so they’re all interlinked. 

“Safety chain!” Andy crows, gleeful and beautiful and impossibly young, eyes shining in the mid-afternoon sun as they take off through the gates, across the busy road – narrowly avoiding hitting a black cab, past a gift shop and racing along a tree lined avenue. They twist and turn down so many side-streets Nile feels dizzy and is completely lost and loving every minute of it.

She still makes Joe call Copley to scrub the footage though.