Storm Surge

Chapter Nineteen

by KatLyn

Disclaimers: See Chapter One of Storm Surge for all the legal yada, yada.

Alex woke to a pale light coming through the windows. She looked at the glowing numbers on the clock and saw that it was five-thirty, dropping her head back onto the pillow. It had been almost four before she had drifted off to sleep, choosing instead to hold Conner and stay awake, in case the woman needed her during the night.

Alex turned and wrapped her long arms around Conner, holding her close, as her heart surged with the emotions running through her brain. On one hand, she felt secure in having Conner as her partner on this case...she was a good cop. on the other hand, she felt terror knowing that as she held her this morning, she was, without a doubt, falling hopelessly in love.

Alex drifted off to sleep, and awakened only when the alarm offered its loud shrill scream into the quiet room. She slapped the snooze button in frustration and reached toward Conner, only to find cool sheets. She blinked her eyes open and sat up to see Conner sitting in the window seat, staring out at the ocean beyond the dunes. Conner heard the rustle awake and turned to face her.

"Good Morning!"

"Morning. How long have you been up?" Alex rubbed her eyes and threw back the sheets to put on her robe. Walking the short distance to the window seat, she motioned with her hands for Conner to move forward, then squeezed in behind her. Alex leaned against the wall, pulling Conner back between her legs, until she was nestled against her chest.

"Not long...maybe, thirty minutes." There was sadness in Conner's voice, and Alex knew that she still hadn't come to terms with the circumstances of Kevin Johnson's murder.

They sat silently for a few moments, looking out at the incoming tide, before either spoke. It was now Thursday morning, and they both knew they were running out of time. The meeting between Hernandez, and Sarantos was scheduled for the next night and they had yet to come up with a decent plan.

Because Donald was still hospitalized, the group decided to meet in his room that morning to make some preliminary plans. Alex was not looking forward to seeing Donald so soon after their confrontation, but she knew nothing would be said between them since Conner, Jack, and Gonzolas would be there as well. Jack had overruled her reservations about Gonzolas' presence last night, expressing that by having him 'officially' on the case, they would be able to track his movements more easily. Still hesitant, Alex finally conceded to Jack's demands.

"Are you ready for a cup of coffee, sleepyhead?" Conner leaned her head back, turned and kissed Alex.

"Umm, yeah. I'm going to need a cup, or five, just to wake up. I'll go get it ready. Why don't you go ahead and jump in the shower?" Alex kissed Conner on top of the head. As Conner leaned to get up, Alex once again pulled her close, and leaned down to nip her neck. "No matter what happens today, I want to spend a long, quiet evening with you tonight, OK"

"Sounds nice, I've got a good book I wanted to start." Conner couldn't keep her lips from sliding up in a smile. She glanced back at Alex to see the result of her teasing comment.

"Well alright, if that's what you want to do. I was thinking more on the lines of candlelight, wine, bedroom, heavy breathing, you know...stuff like that," Alex stood and walked toward the bedroom door, tossing a sultry look over her shoulder at Conner. "However, if you'd rather read, I'm sure I could manage all by myself."

Conner stopped in her tracks. "Like hell you will," and took off running in Alex's direction. Catching up with her in the kitchen, they went sliding across the tile floor, as Conner's feet flew out from under her.

Alex fell conveniently across Conner's legs and she wasted no time in trapping the woman beneath her. "What do you mean, 'the hell I will'? if you aren't interested in playing..."

Conner cut her words off with a deep consuming kiss. She could feel Alex stirring beneath her as their tongues probed and fought for control of the kiss. Conner slipped a leg between Alex's and felt the other woman's hips thrust upward. Pulling away slightly, Conner bit Alex's neck, and reached down to slide her T-shirt up. "Oh, I want to play alright. In fact...," Conner's words were muffled as she leaned down and attacked. As she swirled her tongue around the hard nipple, she could feel Alex respond.

Conner's objective had been to give Alex a quick tease, but as her senses took in Alex's spicy scent and sweet taste, her body overruled her with other more primitive ideas. Conner pressed her body against Alex's in an urgent need to be touched. Alex didn't leave her wanting for long, as she reached down and pushed her hand under the silky layer of cloth covering the already hot, wet mound between Conner's legs.

Conner released a low growl as Alex searched and probed. She pulled her face away from Alex's nipple," She pulled Alex up to a standing position and then bent back down to reclaim the hard nipple, as she backed towards the chair, pulling Alex with her. She maneuvered the chair from under the table with her foot and sat down, pulling Alex forward to straddle her legs

Just as Alex was lowering herself onto Conner's lap, she felt the other woman plunge into her. "Ahhh, Conner," Alex closed her eyes, and sank down onto her lover's hand, pushing her deeper into the wetness. Alex took Conner's face in both her hands, and after placing a rough kiss on her lips, pulled her down to her breast. "Ohhh, Conner...god... you feel so good inside me." Alex was pulling at Conner's T-shirt to no avail, "I want to feel you. Take this damn thing off."

Conner concentration broke only long enough to say, "No baby. This one's all yours, " then dropped her head again to continue her gentle sucking.

Alex's toes were barley touching the floor. She could feel her legs shaking as she pushed herself up and down, feeling her lovers fingers slide in and out of her wetness. Conner had her free hand under Alex's hips, slow guiding her along. Alex's movements became harder and faster as she felt the core of energy inside her about to explode. She tore her hands through Conner's hair, grabbing a handful of the silky tresses, pulled back until, Conner's face was lifted to hers. Alex plunged her tongue into Conner's mouth and tasted the velvety textures of their tongues slide against each other.

Just as Alex was winning the fight, Conner bent her fingers, contacting the sensitive spot she had come to know. Alex gasped and arched her back, as she felt the spasms begin deep in her body. Conner held her there, gently biting one of the hard nipples that had been thrust into her face, and smiled as the sudden contact with the sensitive orb sent Alex over the edge. Conner held on as Alex drove herself down on the waiting fingers time and time again, the orgasm consuming her body. Finally, Alex collapsed onto Conner's chest, her breaths deep and ragged, her body weak and satisfied. Conner wrapped the woman in her arms, and held her tenderly, until their breathing had once again steadied to a regular pace.

Alex lifted her head from the crook of Conner's neck, "God, you make me feel so good. Do you know that?"

Conner gave Alex a tender kiss, "Yeah, I got that impression."

Alex pulled Conner to her breast and held her there for a long moment, before pulling back and looking into Conner's half closed eyes, "I want to touch you."

"Hmm, and I want you to," Conner closed her eyes, slowly rocking her hips up, "but, we don't have time." She bent for one last taste of Alex's nipple; "I will take a rain-check for tonight though."

"You can count on it, love," Alex groaned as she pulled her body from across Conner's legs. She bent down and took Conner's lips in hers, "Just remember, every time you see me look at you today, I'll be thinking about what I'm going to do to you tonight," She winked at Conner and then made a show of turning her naked body around and walking out of the kitchen toward the bedroom.

Bending over and putting her face in her hands, Conner groaned at the sweet but painful site of her naked lover walking away, "Oh god, she's gonna kill me, if she keeps doing that." She sat there for a moment, until she had garnered enough strength to walk down the hall to the bedroom, and not completely ravish Alex again. She heard the shower running in the bathroom, and momentarily thought about joining her, but knew if she did, they might never get to work. Sighing heavily, she grabbed her clean clothes, walking across the hall to the guest bathroom where it was safer, or at least, less tempting.

Alex was in the kitchen when Conner strolled back in a few minutes later. "Here's a bagel, and I set a travel mug out for you if you want some coffee for the road."

The bagel was layered with Conner's favorite raspberry jam and the coffee was her favorite Starbuck's Breakfast Blend, doctored with a good dose of cinnamon, and topped off with real half-and–half creamer. Conner smiled, concluding that Alex must have paid attention to the little things when they had been at the condo the past weekend

Alex raised a brow, as she watched Conner inspect the bagel and coffee, "Anything wrong?"

"Umm, no. Just curious as to how you knew what my favorite jam and coffee combination happened to be?"

Alex strolled up to Conner and kissed her lightly on the lips, "I'm am a bona fide FBI agent. Little gets past me, especially when it's important and worth knowing."

Conner wrapped her arms around Alex. She knew they were running late, but couldn't resist one more hug, "You know, I could get used to you, very quickly."

There was a smile on Conner's face, but Alex could see the serious meaning behind the words. Returning the smile and hug, she gave Conner the most tender kiss she could offer her. "That's what I'm counting on." Swatting Conner on the ass, she released her with a glowing grin, "Now let's go to work before we both play hooky all day." ******************************************

Alex and Conner walked out of the house and got in their respective cars. Alex had decided to take her government issued Crown Victoria this morning. She hated driving the tank of a car, but had decided switching vehicles might throw off whoever was trailing her. The dark blue sedan wasn't as easy to spot as her Jeep, and it did have a much bigger engine in case she needed to lose the 'freak' in traffic.

They both arrived at the hospital at the same time and parked beside one another in the garage. They were the first to arrive at Donald's room and Alex was instantly glad she had not come ahead of Conner like she had intended.

"Good morning Donald. How are you feeling?" Alex's question was polite, but flat and did not convey any of the familiar banter they were accustomed to.

"I'm feeling better, Alex and yourself?" There was a cryptic question within the question. Donald was concerned about how Alex was handling the news about the tail he had put on her. "Well, so far I've had a great morning and I'm looking forward to an uneventful day. Hopefully, it will be better than others I've had lately," Alex stated matter-of-factly, telling Donald that she had not discarded, nor accepted, his reasoning for the tail.

Before he had a chance to say anything more, she turned to Conner, "Donald I'd like you to meet Conner Harris. She has been working this case for a few months now with the JPD and has made a lot of progress. I think you'll be pleased to hear what she's been able to come up with in the short time she's been on board."

Conner walked over to the bed and shook Donald's hand. He looked closely at her face, "Haven't we met, before?"

"Actually we have, about four months ago, after we raided Frankie Robert's hideout." The local Police Department, as well as the FBI, had been trying to pin something on Frankie for months, but to no avail. It had been a huge feather in Conner's cap to be the one to make the collar.

Donald looked at her with a newfound admiration. "Well, welcome aboard. Anyone who can take down Frankie Robert's is welcome on any case of mine."

Alex let Donald's comment pass uncontested. This was her case and everyone knew it, but she wasn't going to get into a power struggle with Donald this morning. She had better things to do with her time.

The room fell into an uncomfortable silence until Catherine came in. "Alex. Good morning dear, how are you?" Alex turned and walked into Catherine's warm embrace. Donald hasn't been an ass again to you this morning has he?"

Alex's eyes widened as she heard the woman speak. She knew Catherine to be a strong willed woman, but this was a side of her she had never seen. Trying to ease the tension that had suddenly filled the room, Alex smiled." Catherine, Donald is always on my ass about something. Why should this morning be any different?"

Catherine shot her husband a sidelong glare and put his coffee on the rollaway tray. She had confronted Donald after Alex had left the previous night. Even though he tried to avoid the conversation, saying it was Agency business, he lost and ended up confessing the entire story to Catherine. She had been furious with him for exposing Alex to the danger he had, when she had been in such a vulnerable state. For the first time in their twenty-year marriage, she had gone to bed and not kissed him goodnight. As she looked at him now, she figured that she may not kiss him tonight either, that is, if she could stand the pain of separation. He needed to be taught a lesson and she was just the woman to do it. Alex was like a daughter to them and she would be damned if Donald was going to put her through any more hell than she had already faced. Donald took in his wife's glare, but did not acknowledge it in front the Alex and Conner. He knew it would be a long time before he would be able to redeem himself to either of the women.

Alex introduced Conner to Catherine and they all sat and chatted until the others arrived. Catherine prided herself on being very perceptive and noticed the way the two women responded to one another. It wasn't anything one would normally notice in their conversation, but Catherine knew Alex better than most people. She watched the two interact, and observed the way Alex's eyes softened when she looked at Conner and the way the corner's of her mouth curled in the slightest smile when they spoke to one another. Catherine had loved Feryle, not only because she was Alex's partner, but also because she was a truly honest and loving woman herself. Catherine didn't believe Alex would ever become interested in another woman after Feryle, after all, how could you improve on the perfect relationship. However, as she watched these two women before her, she knew there was something happening between them. They may not know it yet, she thought as she smiled to herself, but they will. You can't hide that kind of hunger for very long.

There was a knock on the door and Catherine rose to let the other visitors in, "Alex, if he needs anything while I'm gone, just call my cell phone, alright?"

"Sure Catherine," Alex glanced over at Donald who was greeting Jack and José. Once everyone had settled in, Donald asked Alex to run the meeting. It was officially a FBI case and Donald did not intend to turn it over to the local PD. For the first half-hour, Alex summarized the details of the case compiled so far. She did, of course, leave out the small fact that she and Jack were covertly investigating two of the individuals in the room. As far as Alex was concerned the team consisted of Jack, Conner and herself, but she played along with the ruse that they were all one big happy team. When she was through, she opened the floor for suggestions and comments.

José had positioned himself in the corner of the room and sat there listening intently. He's more interested in gathering information than sharing, Alex thought. Well, I'll just put him on the spot, here in front of everyone.

"José, Donald tells me you were running undercover while I was out. What, if anything, did you come up with?"

No one missed the challenge in Alex's voice. José glared at her until he realized everyone was looking at him, waiting for his answer. "Actually, I wasn't as lucky as you were in getting inside the organization. You know that takes months of undercover work, and I didn't have that much time to invest in it." José noticed Jack raise an eyebrow at his comment. "I'm not saying it wasn't important. Just that I couldn't go completely under." José looked at Jack. "I did have a chat with your friend Frankie Roberts, up in Starke. He did tell me that Hernandez, and Sarantos, both had a contract out for you. You pissed them off good on that last case, setting them both up for a double sting. I guess the decided to team up, and work together after that." José looked at Donald. "I guess you know by now that we had a tail put on you after we found out that news, but so far we haven't been able to pick up anything on that end."

Alex glanced at Donald, then back at José, "Really José, well the story I heard was my own agency leaked my whereabouts to the Hernandez organization. So tell me José, which is the truth, was it Hernandez, or the FBI that put a contract out on me?"

Josés face paled as he watched Alex's eyes grow dark, and her voice go flat. He had seen 'The Shadow' enough times to know that he never wanted to be on the receiving end of her wrath. He looked at Donald, then back at Alex, and began stuttering, "I...I'm not sure what you mean, Alex."

Alex continued to lean against the desk and glare at José. The room was eerily quiet, as the two agents eyes remained locked. Alex finally broke the stare, turning to Donald, "I guess that's not the important issue at this point, is it? However, when this case is put to bed, I will find out and they will be dealt with accordingly."

Conner felt a chill settle in the air, and was glad she hadn't seen more of the darker side of Alex than she already had. Damn, I hope I never really piss her off, or there'll be hell to pay at home, she thought.

"OK, so the only information we have so far is what officer Harris has been able to come up with. Anyone have any thoughts on what Hernandez and Sarantos's plans might be for tomorrow night?"

The five bounced around several scenarios throughout the morning, all of them being knocked down for one reason or another. Everyone was frustrated by noon, and Alex suggested they break for lunch when saw Donald was getting tired. "OK, we'll meet back here at two-thirty, for round two. I want to get another look at the warehouse area, but I don't want to run the risk of another drive-by." Alex glanced at Conner. "You up for a helicopter ride during lunch?"

"Sure," Conner hated flying, but was not about to let everyone in the room know about it. God, I hope I don't make a fool of myself and throw up allover the helicopter in front of Alex, Conner thought, as she returned a confident smile to Alex.

"José why don't you go visit Frankie, one more time and see if he can give you any other information. Deal with him if you need to, I want Hernandez a lot worse than I want to keep that slime in the pen."

"Sure, but I'll need to go back to get my car. I went by the Precinct before coming here and I just rode with Jack. Probably can't make it back by two-thirty."

Alex reached in her pocket and pulled out her keys. "Here, I'm in a bureau car today, take it, and let's make it four-thirty, that should give you time to talk to Frankie, and get back here."

"Jack, you're going to work some more on the Bivins angle, right?" Alex didn't want it to appear that she was giving him orders, but wanted to make it clear that she wanted more information on Bivins and his role in Colorado Container Corporation.

"Yeah, I got it. I'm also working on some other things, and should have more information back on those this afternoon as well, " Jack said letting her know that he was also working on Donald's background check.

Alex looked toward Donald, "Anything else you want us to check out this afternoon?"

"No. I guess that about covers it. I just wish I could be out there with you."

Alex saw the sincerity in his eyes, and felt a momentary surge of guilt, knowing she was investigating he boss. Stop it. That's how you get killed in this business. Trust no one, and always suspect everyone. She told herself.

"OK, gang let's go."

Conner and Alex walked out ahead of the others and were at the elevator when José walked up beside them. He looked at Conner, obviously uncomfortable with her presence, but decided what he needed to say was more important. "Alex, look, I just want you to know I wasn't aware of the leak. If I had been, I would have come to you and told you about it." He gave Alex an uncomfortable look then continued, "As much as we disagree, about almost everything. The one thing I won't stand for is putting an agents life on the line, unnecessarily, in order to catch a perp. I just want you to know that."

Alex stood and listened as José spoke. She didn't know how to respond. They had shared many things over the years, but honesty and concern for one another was foreign terrain for both agents. "Umm, thanks José." Before she could say anything further, the elevator opened. They filed in with the other passengers and waited quietly until they reached the garage level.

They walked out into the garage where Alex pointed out her car to José, just as his cell phone rang and he leaned against the bureau car to answer. Alex dropped into the Jag with Conner and they pulled out of the parking space to head for the airport. About to drive off, they spotted Jack coming out of the stairwell and stopped at the end of the row. He leaned down towards Conner's window and was about to speak when a blast tore thru the garage.

"Fuck!" Jack yelled as he fell to the concrete floor, covering his head. Debris flew through the air as the intense hear could be felt from fifty feet away. Jack jumped up and told Conner to drive her car further down the lane and block incoming traffic. He reached in his jacket and pulled out his cell phone to first call 911, then the precinct. Conner stopped her car sideways across the incoming lane before she and Alex ran back to where Jack was standing, stopping short as they saw the blaze before them. All three were stunned speechless as they realized that the burning inferno was actually Alex's bureau car.

"Oh my God Alex." Conner turned to face the silent woman beside her, "That was meant for you."

Alex didn't say a word, but Jack and Conner could tell what she was thinking. Her eyes had turned a deep blue, almost black and her fists were clinched beside her hips. Her jaws flexed, as she clinched her teeth and the heat inside her soul rose to match the heat coming off the flames. They both knew Alex had just allowed 'The Shadow' to come back full force. What scared them both the most was the look of pure hate in her eyes as she watched the car burn.

At Conner's touch, Alex came out of her trance. She closed her eyes for a moment to recompose herself and then slowly turned her head to face the only two people she could trust. "I want this entire garage cordoned off. Get the explosives experts over here, I want to know what it was, and where they put it," Alex continued to bark orders as Jack and Conner reached for their cell phones. She reached for her own cell phone and walked a discreet distance away and pushed in the number to Donald's room.

"Hello," Donald's voice told Alex he had already fallen asleep.

"Donald, this is Alex. I don't have time to explain everything; I just need you to get this done. My car was just blown up in the garage. José was leaning against it when we drove off, so I can only assume he's dead."

"Whoa, Alex, slow down." Donald was fully awake, and Catherine had come to stand beside the bed after seeing his face pale.

"I don't have time to slow down damn it. That bomb was intended for me. First, and foremost, I need you to have Karen moved from wherever you have her, and put somewhere safe. Have her moved to the basement," Alex took a ragged breath, "Then I want you to call Ben Owens at Quantico, and tell him I need 20 of the best Special Ops men he has and I need them now. I want them here tonight."

"OK Alex, take a breath. I'll make sure Karen is safe and I'll get you the men you need, whatever it takes, but you need to level out." Donald was motioning to Catherine to get the nurse, "I'm getting out of here Alex, I'll call you as soon as I have all the arrangements made."

Alex flipped the cell phone shut and turned back to Jack and Conner. She heard the sirens echoing off the walls of the garage and saw Conner head towards the car to move it out of the way. "No, don't get in there," Alex yelled, as Conner was about to drop into the car, "I don't want to take any chances. There may be a time-delayed mechanism on the car. Leave it and let the bomb squad take care of it.

Conner's face turned ashen and Alex could see the shock in the other woman's face. Conner walked slowly back toward Jack and Alex as she let out a haggard breath, "Damn, I hadn't even though of that."

"Well, we can't be too careful. They must know we're getting close, or they wouldn't be trying this hard to stop us." Alex looked over at Jack, "OK, as much as I would like to stay here and help, I think we need to stay focused. This little stunt was meant to stop me, but it failed. Come on Conner, we have a helicopter ride to take."

Alex phoned for a taxi, as she and Conner headed for the stairwell. Conner walked over to a nearby bench and sat down when they were outside in the fresh air. Alex followed and sat down beside the shaken woman as they waited. She could Conner shaking as she sat with her face in her hands. "Hey, Conner, it's OK. We're both fine." Alex placed a warm hand on Conner's shoulder and gently kneaded the tense muscles.

"God, Alex, that was meant for you. If José hadn't- -" Conner's voice faded as she contemplated what could have happened.

"Unfortunately for José, fate once again saved me." Alex sat back and thought about the situation, "One thing's for sure. If José had infiltrated the organization, he wasn't aware of they had planted a bomb in my car. "

"Maybe after we do the fly-by, we should go to Josés house and take a look around. If he was involved, he wouldn't have kept any files at your office," Conner ran one hand through her hair. "Did he ever bring his files to you?"

Alex smirked, "Yeah, he brought me a tall stack of nothing. Everything that was in his files was things I knew a long time ago." Alex cocked her head to the side, and pursed her lips, "You're right. After the fly-by, we'll go to Josés and see what's there."

Pulling her cell phone out of her pocket, she called Jack, who was still up in the garage. Conner thought about their next steps as she listened to Alex's end of the conversation. "Hey, Jack? I need someone to go over to Josés and keep the place locked up until I get there. No one goes in, understood...Yeah, I understand that...If anyone gives you problems, tell them to call me...yeah, I will...OK, bye." Alex flipped the phone shut and stood as she saw the taxi pull to the curb.

As they walked to the taxi, Alex filled Conner in on the conversation. "Jack's already getting some heat from my office. Seems there's already a turf war in progress for the bombing." The two women slid into the back seat of the taxi, and Alex gave the driver instructions to take them to the charter office at the airport.

"Jack's in a tough spot, but I think he can handle it. Until Donald is released, I'm in charge of the office and I say no one goes inside Josés until I get there." Alex looked out the window, and noticed the clouds were getting thicker, and darker. Great, just what we need, a storm to make things worse, she thought. The two women rode in silence as the taxi made its way to the airport. Conner's stomach was churning from the morning's events, and she wasn't looking forward to the flight, knowing it could only make her gut churn worse. Alex, on the other hand, was reflecting back on a day, almost a year ago, when very similar storm clouds fell over the city, just before the raid that almost got her killed.

The taxi came to a stop just outside the charter office, and the two women got out of the car and walked inside. Alex pulled out her identification, and asked to see the manager. A few minutes later a tall, dark woman in navy blue coveralls, strolled over to them.

"Good afternoon, I'm Olivia Morgan, the manager. What can I do for you?" She stood there with her hands in the pockets of the coveralls, not showing any signs of being uncomfortable with the unexpected visit from the FBI.

"We would like to speak with you privately for a moment, if that's possible Ms. Morgan?" Alex looked around the outer office and noticed that they had attracted several onlookers.

"Sure, no problem, follow me." The dark woman turned and started walking towards an inner office. She unlocked the door and pushed it open extending her arm for Alex and Conner to go ahead. She turned before she closed the door and told her assistant not to disturb them, and then walked to sit behind her desk.

"Well, Agent Montgomery, how can I be of service?" The woman gave Alex a small smile, then turned and looked at Conner. "Oh, where are my manners?" Olivia said as she stood and walked towards a credenza on the far wall. "What would you like? Coffee, Tea, or me perhaps?"

Alex had to bite her bottom lip to keep from laughing at Conner's shocked face. Olivia Morgan, on the other hand, threw her head back and whooped out a loud laugh, before remembering the interested parties outside the door. After pouring three cups of coffee, she came to the desk, and sat down.

"So, how ya been Monty?" Olivia Morgan sat with her hands behind her head, and rocked back in her chair as she observed her old friend. "It's been like for-fucking-ever since I've seen you around."

Conner still sat with a combined look of shock and confusion on her face. Alex chuckled, and decided to take a moment to get Conner back on track. "Hold up a second Morgan, I think my partner here is going into shock."

Turning to Conner, Alex snorted, "Sorry, but I didn't want to mention Morgan around the other's or in the taxi."

Conner swiveled her head and looked at each of the women, still not understanding, "Umm, I take it you two know each other?"

Alex looked at Olivia Morgan, a sad smile crossing her face as she did. "Yeah, Morgan used to be one of us, an FBI agent that is, when we were in Chicago." A look of understanding finally crossed Conner's face.

"Oh, OK." Conner gave Alex a sidelong smirk, letting her know she hadn't heard the last about the subject.

Olivia settled back in her chair, "So what brings you out to visit Alex? Looks like something official to me." Olivia gave Alex a suspicious look, curious about the visit.

"Actually Morgan, I need a favor." Alex could see the look of trepidation on the other woman's face and held up her hand to stop the refusal she saw coming, "I just need to borrow your chopper for a couple of hours, that's all."

"That's all, huh?" Olivia dropped her chin in her hand and watched Alex closely, "May I ask why, you need my brand new chopper and is it likely to get any stray bullet holes in it during the trip?"

Alex looked at Conner and saw a single brow rise in deference to Alex's judgment. Although Olivia had been officially out of the FBI for several years, she had been retained on several occasions for Special Ops jobs when her expertise was needed. She was not only an expert pilot of planes, but helicopter's as well. Her specialty in the agency had been in communications, and surveillance. There were very few things Olivia couldn't bug or video, and she had proven herself many times to be an expert in her field. To Alex, Olivia could be trusted, and so, taking a deep breath, she began to tell her of their new case.

Olivia listened intently as Alex recapped the case that had consumed and practically destroyed her life over the last year. She ached when Alex told of Feryle's death and could see the tears form in her friend's eyes. She also saw the wrenching pain in the woman that sat beside Alex, as she listened to the story. Olivia, hands steepled in front of her face, watched Alex and Conner closely, knowing there was more that a professional relationship between the two women.

When Alex finished, she sat back in her chair emotionally drained. Conner was also silent as she absorbed the entire story. Alex had told her a lot of what happened the night at the warehouse, but had never gone into detail when she spoke of the moments just before the blast, and ensuing gunfire. Conner now understood the danger before them and was a little overwhelmed by the task the faced.

Olivia took Alex's coffee mug, walked over to get a refill, and took a moment to take in the information presented to her. She reminded herself that she was no longer a part of that world and had to remain removed. Sure, you love Alex, but this isn't about Alex. It's a case, only a case, she told herself over, and over again, as she stirred the coffee. Placing the steaming mug in front of Alex, Olivia sat down and glared at her old friend. "Damn you, Monty," She pulled her hands through her hair, "How many people do we have on this thing? Do we have a tap on their phones? If they are on the rooftop, have you shot in any darts yet?"

Olivia was spouting off question after question and only stopped when Alex threw up her hand. "Olivia. I was serious. All I need is a chopper ride. I'm not asking you to get involved with this."

Olivia rolled her eyes and shook her head, "If you think for a minute I'm going to let you walk into this alone, you're out of your mind. The keystone cops, and agents we have in this town- -" She stopped and looked at Conner, "Obviously you're not included in that category, or you wouldn't be sitting her with 'The Shadow' heard any of those stories yet?" Rolling her eyes, she then turned back to Alex, "--are a joke. You need me on this and I'm in whether you like it or not." Olivia pushed herself out of the chair and headed for the door. "Let's go take that chopper ride now."

Alex glanced at Conner, who was still sitting there trying to absorb the whole conversation. They rose and turned towards the door. Just before Olivia swung it open, she turned back to Alex, their noses almost touching, "If I so much as break a nail on this job Monty, I'm gonna kick your ass," she then turned and walked out the door.

Alex smirked, and under her breath mumbled, "Yeah, right, like you could."

"I heard that," Olivia never missed a beat as she let Alex know she had been busted. She stopped by the front desk, and told her assistant that she was taking the agents sightseeing, and then walked out into the overcast day.

Conner snorted at Olivia's remark. The woman was obviously not intimidated by Alex's reputation as being the dark and dangerous 'Shadow'. This woman, Olivia Morgan, could obviously hold her own with the best and Conner suddenly felt some relief wash over her when she thought of their new teammate.

Alex bit her bottom lip, smiled and shrugged her shoulder's at Conner, as they made their way through the office. She had never even thought of asking Olivia to come in on the case. She had always respected the other woman's decision to leave the agency, but right now, Alex was glad she had the woman on the team, although, in Olivia's usual headstrong manner, she hadn't given either woman much of a choice in the matter.

Olivia stopped beside a small Bell 206B helicopter. She walked slowly around the machine and completed her pre-flight check, then opened the side door to allow the women inside.

Alex climbed onboard then turned back to Olivia, "What, we're not taking the new bird?" Alex teased.

"Hell no, we're not taking the new bird," That's a two million dollar helicopter and she doesn't have a scratch on her." Olivia growled, then swung her lanky form up into the cockpit. "I left the side door open so you could get a better view from back there. Hope you're not scared of heights, Harris." Olivia had seen the surprised look on Conner's face when she threw the lock, securing the sliding door in the open position. Conner had been unfortunate enough to climb in last, which meant she was closet to the door. Olivia started to suggest she and Alex trade places, but didn't want to embarrass the woman. Damn, I just hope she doesn't throw up in my bird.

Alex glanced at Conner and noticed her left hand was gripping the edge of the seat closest the door so hard, that her knuckles were white. She handed Conner a headset and put one on herself. Alex flipped a switch on the control panel activating the cockpit intercom. "OK, Olivia, it's been a while since I've been in one of these birds, so no fancy stuff today."

Olivia smiled to herself, and rolled her eyes, "You're no fun anymore Monty." Shaking her head, Olivia powered up the chopper, Hmm, Monty must be sweet on her partner, she's always loved the tricks and stunts.

"Here we go kids, hang on."

As the chopper lifted higher and higher, Conner's knuckles got whiter and whiter. Alex smiled to herself. Hmm, I'll have to remember that tough girl here is afraid of flying.

Conner was looking straight ahead at the panel separating the pilot seat from the back passenger area. She let out a yelp as the chopper banked sharp to the left, and she unconsciously grabbed Alex's thigh In a vice grip hold.

Alex reached out and pried Conner's hand from her thigh, lifting it to her lips. She took one of Conner's fingers into her mouth and gently ran her tongue over the tip. The distraction worked wonders for Conner's anxiety level. Alex continued to hold Conner's hand as they flew over the northern section of Duval County.

In the cockpit, Olivia looked in the overhead mirror that gave her an unobstructed view of the passenger area and when her eyes locked with Alex's, she gave her friend a thumb's up sign, and a wink. Ha, I knew it. Oh well, I lost my chance a long time ago. Sometimes you're one stupid woman Morgan, smiling to herself, she turned her attention back to her flying.

Alex bit her bottom lip to keep from grinning. Never could hide anything from you, even after all this time, Alex sighed and leaned over to look out the chopper door as Olivia's voice came over the intercom tell them they had arrived at their destination.

"We're only going to get one shot at this. I'm going to set her down and make it look like I'm checking out the rotors. There's a clear landing spot on each side. Which one do you want me to take?"

Alex looked down on the landscape, "Take the west side, near the river. We haven't been able to get a look at that side from the roads."

"Roger. OK, guys, nothings wrong here, I'm just trying to make us look realistic to the eyes below." Olivia smiled to herself, here's another chance Monty, make it count.

Conner looked at Alex as Olivia spoke. Just as she was about to ask what Olivia meant the chopper started to shutter, and the back end began to swing to the left, then right. "Fuck, What the hell is going on?" Had it not been for the fact that Conner was strapped into her seat she would have jumped in Alex's lap.

"It's OK Conner. That's just Olivia giving us a good reason to land. Nothings wrong. We're fine."

Conner swallowed hard and looked at Alex, trying to read her face. She wasn't even breathing hard and was showing no signs of discomfort. Conner forced herself to relax as Olivia lowered the chopper to the ground. It was only when she landed with barley a bump, that she released Alex's hand.

Conner unbuckled her seatbelt and climbed out of the chopper. Alex followed close behind and they both walked a short distance away from the craft. To anyone looking on, it would appear they were having mechanical difficulties, as Olivia climbed on top of the chopper and pretended to check the rotor.

"It's the warehouse directly ahead of you. The container building is just to the right of the warehouse." Alex was pointing out the building to Olivia, while the woman sat on top of the chopper. Her head was bent down, but her eyes were taking in the structures in front of her. She noticed a small dock that stretched out about ten yards into the river. A fence ran alongside it, out into the water.

"Well, what can you see from up there?" Alex yelled from the ground.

"Come on up and look for yourself. Just make it look like you're helping me with the rotor." Olivia remembered the camera in the chopper, "Conner, go back in the chopper, there's a camera in the storage hatch behind where you were sitting. Put the telephoto lens on it and get us some pictures of the building from the rifle hole in the other side."

Alex climbed on top of the chopper. Keeping her head down, she saw the dock Olivia was talking about, and agreed that it was the only shortcoming in their security. They didn't see any signs of life from either of the buildings, but that didn't mean no one was watching. The snipers that had been on the roof of the container building the day before were also absent. Alex wondered to herself why. Well, they probably think that I'm dead, and they have nothing else to worry about. They only stayed on the chopper for a few minutes, then jumped back to the ground, climbing back in.

Olivia climbed in the back area and sat in the jump seat. Taking the camera from Conner she rewound the roll of film and inserted a new one, then handed the camera to Alex, who was now to her amusement sitting by the door. "When we lift off, I'm going to make a wide sweep of the area. I want you to get some photos of the dock area, as well as the rooftops of both buildings. Take the entire roll and get as much as you can. It's set on automatic, so just point it and shoot, but don't be too obvious about it."

Olivia moved to the cockpit and readied the chopper. Conner held the camera while Alex crawled to the floor and lay on her stomach, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Take the seatbelt and loop it through my belt. I'll be less likely to be spotted here on the floor," Alex looked back at Conner and saw the apprehension in her eyes. "It's OK, Come on, we're about to lift off."

Conner did what Alex asked, but loosened her own seatbelt so she could hold onto the waistband of her slacks, "I have an idea about the river, make sure you get some good shots from that angle."

"What's your idea?"

"I'll tell you about it when we get back, just pay attention to what you're doing."

The chopper jerked as it rose slowly into the cloudy sky. Olivia continued to make the chopper behave oddly so anyone watching would think they were having some minor rotor problems. It also gave her an excuse to fly at a low altitude, thus allowing Alex the chance to get better photographs. Alex shot frame after frame, trying to get good overall coverage of both buildings. She asked Olivia to follow the river back to the Atlantic Ocean.

Conner had become so interested in the river and her new idea she was leaning over to look out of the open door. To Conner's embarrassment, Alex looked up and gave her a wink, and to Alex's shock, Conner reached down and pinched her butt, then lightly stroked the V between Alex's legs, sending shock waves through the other woman's body. Unbeknownst to the two women, Olivia had a good view of the exchange, and decided to rag her old friend.

"OK, you guys, you're having a little too much fun back there. No fair."

Conner's face turned dark red when she realized they had been seen. She could see Alex's body shake as she dropped her face onto her arms and laughed at Olivia's remark.

"Never could get away with anything from you, could I Morgan?"

Olivia smiled to herself when she saw the reaction from her two passengers, "Nope, so don't make a mistake and think I'm getting soft in my retirement." "You soft, Monty? Not a chance," Alex reached up with her free hand and took Conner's, squeezing it firmly, letting her know that everything was OK.

The rest of the trip back to the charter office was uneventful. Olivia set the chopper down, and the three women went back into Olivia's office. "OK, looks like we have a lot of work to do here. I need to get this film developed before we do anything. Let's meet later this afternoon, where would be a good place for you two?"

"We have to go to Josés now. How long that will take depends on what we find. Let me give you directions to my house. We can meet there, let's say around seven, and I'll throw something together for dinner." Alex drew out a rough sketch to her house, and handed it to Olivia, "One more thing. Could you bring your sweeper? Maybe I'm getting paranoid, but I want to make sure the house is clean."

"No problem. See you about seven."

Alex asked Olivia to call them a taxi as they walked to the door. "Heads up!" Olivia yelled, and Alex turned to see a ring of keys flying towards her face. Before she could react the keys were plucked out of the air by Conner.

Olivia watched the quick reflexes of the smaller woman, and lifted her brows, "Nice hands," Olivia couldn't resist one more rib, "but we've already established that fact now, haven't we?" She winked at Alex as she watched a red wave washed up Conner's face. "Take my car, I'll get it from you later."

Conner regrouped and tugged on Alex's sleeve, "Come on, let's get out of here before your friend here makes me die of embarrassment."

The three women laughed as they walked out into the parking lot, "Really Morgan, I'm not sure it's a good idea fro us to take you car. Remember, mine was blown up earlier in the day." Alex's comment brought them back to the seriousness of the situation they currently faced.

"Let'm blow it up, I want a new one anyway." She gave Alex a hard look, "just make damn sure neither of you are in it."

Alex smiled and shook her head, "You're crazy, you know that don't you?"

"Of course. That's what made me the best." Olivia scowled, and poked Alex in the shoulder.

"Second best, and don't forget it," Alex shot back with a grin. The bantering went on for a few more minutes until Alex's face took on a more serious expression as she looked at her friend. "You do know what you're getting yourself into here, don't you?

"Yep. Just one more picnic, where I get to ride in and save your ass." Olivia winked at Conner.

"God, you're insufferable." Alex shook her head and climbed into Olivia's Explorer, "Come on Conner, let's get out of here before I get nauseous."

Olivia waited until they were out of sight, then turned and walked back into her office. Closing and locking the door behind her, she walked over the credenza, lifted the bottom edge of the front panel until it was level with the top and slid it into the recessed slot. She knelt down and began spinning the combination lock entering the number she had burned into memory long ago. After turning the lever and hearing the familiar click, she opened the locker.

Olivia sat for a moment looking at the contents. This was a part of her life she had hoped never to revisit, but had always kept the equipment in prime condition, just in case something happened to make her go back. She let out a ragged breath, removed the Sig Sauer from the holster, and let her fingertips run over the smooth dark surface of the weapon.

There were times she had missed the dark, dangerous and exciting life as an FBI agent. She had decided to leave after having an experience very similar to the one Alex was in the midst of. She moved to her desk, laid the Sig on the desk pad in front of her and sat back in the chair remembering the case.

Jennifer had been her life, a part of her very soul. They had been together for three wonderful years, and had settled down to a life of happy contentment, after pledging their life and love to one another forever. Before meeting Jennifer, Olivia had always lived from day to day, knowing that each morning she walked out the door may be her last. She hadn't been overly concerned with the possibility since she had no family to speak of. Her parents had been killed in a car accident when she was twenty-three, and as an only child, she had no siblings to be concerned about.

Her solitary life had made her a perfect candidate for the Special Operations team, and she soon proved to her fellow agents that she was more than capable of handling herself in the field. After a few years, her reputation grew and she found her talents, in communications and surveillance, being requested by field offices all across the country. She had gone willingly and eagerly, working non-stop on case after case, until one night when she and Alex had met for drinks after an unusually long case.

Olivia had just arrived back in Chicago and met Alex at the 'Watering Hole', a hangout near the University. They had been talking over their latest cases when Olivia felt a presence behind her. She smelled the woman's spicy perfume, then turned and looked into the greenest eyes she had ever seen. She was struck speechless, as Alex introduced her to Jennifer. Alex had invited Jennifer to join them for a drink, and Olivia found herself feeling totally ridiculous as she attempted to make casual conversation. She smiled to herself as she remembered the amused looks Alex had given her throughout the evening. Alex had seen the attraction between the two women and felt the heat emanating off them as she sat between the two. After a couple of hours, Alex had excused herself, and left the two women to explore their mutual interest in one another

Alex and Jennifer had met a year before while Alex was working on a case of computer hacking in the English department at the University of Chicago. Someone had been hacking into the mainframe, changing grades and generally causing havoc within the department. Alex hadn't become involved until the hackers had begun breaking into the computers of Colleges, and Universities around the country, creating the same havoc. Crossing State boundaries with their activities had elevated the case to a federal crime and to the FBI. Jennifer had been her contact at the University. After the case was over and the small group of computer 'chip-heads' apprehended, Jennifer had invited Alex to dinner to celebrate. They had become fast friends, and met regularly for dinner, or a movie.

Alex had been thrilled when Olivia and Jennifer hit it off so well. Olivia remembered the pride in Alex's eyes as she stood beside them the day of their union ceremony and placed the small gold ring into her hand. Jennifer had brought a sense of stability to Olivia's life. Stability, which Alex approved of wholeheartedly.

Olivia's eyes filled with tears as she remembered the day Jennifer had died. The case had been unusually long, taking Olivia away from home for weeks at a time, involving the Castillio family of organized crime in New York. The case had stalled, and Olivia had gotten lucky, able to fly home to Jennifer, for the weekend. They had spent two wonderful days taking long walks, making love and enjoying their time together.

Olivia wiped a tear from her eyes as she relived that fateful evening. They had decided to go out to dinner before Olivia's flight back to New York. As they were walking towards the restaurant, a car sped down the street beside them. Olivia was turning her head to see what the commotion was about when she heard the shots and saw the blood spread over Jennifer's chest, as her lover fell back into her arms. Jennifer had died instantly from the shot to her heart. After leaving the hospital, she had driven around town, not wanting to go back home. After hours of aimless driving, she found herself outside of Alex's apartment. Alex had opened the door to see the blank, lifeless face of her friend and had known something terrible had happened. She took Olivia by the arm, pulling her into the living room and poured the woman a drink before asking her what had happened.

They had sat for hours crying, holding one another throughout their pain. Alex had been there for her and had even requested to be assigned to the case once she knew Olivia had recovered enough to be left alone. With Alex's help, they had solved the New York case and Jennifer's murderer was now on death row, for the murder of Jennifer, and the attempted murder of the FBI agent.

Olivia picked up the gun again and ran her fingers along the surface. She sighed heavily as she thought about the only choice she had in this situation, and placed the gun back down on her desk, as she picked up the phone. After punching in the numbers, she waited for the call to be answered on the other end.

"Is he in?"

"Yeah, it's me. I got some information you might be interested in."

"Well, I think you'll be interested in this. Yeah, meet me at the dock, 1 AM," Olivia growled into the phone, leaving no room for debate, "Oh, and Malcolm, come alone. I don't like your cronies."

She slammed down the phone, and sat for a long moment, before standing and walking back to the locker. She strapped the Sig on her shoulder, removed an attaché, relocked the locker, pulled down the false front panel and walked out the door to her other car.

Sliding behind the wheel, she placed the attaché case beside her on the seat and opened it. She flipped on the power switch, and adjusted the knobs until a satellite map of Jacksonville appeared on the screen. She punched a code into the keyboard, which caused a small dot to blink on the screen. Olivia followed the dot as it slowly moved across the screen, until she ascertained the direction the Explorer was moving in. She started the engine of her black spyder and pulled out of the parking lot. She smiled sadly a few minutes later as she sped down the road, 'The Black Widow' in her black spyder, in pursuit of 'The Shadow,' she thought to herself sardonically, as she glanced again at the flashing dot on the screen.

Continue to Part Twenty of Storm Surge

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