Redemption Song



Disclaimers: Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA and Universal Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story contains fairly graphic violence. It also contains a consensual relationship between two women. If this is not legal where you are, or you are not of age, then read another story.

The characters contained in this story are mine, and mine alone. Do not copy or distribute this story without my consent. Characters within this story bearing resemblance to persons dead or alive are unintended.

Another disclaimer I liked: Although many of the locations mentioned in this story are real and many of the characters are based on amalgamations of people I have met, I have taken artist license in describing them.

Thank you to my beta author Buxxer.

Thanks also to my beta readers Mercury and Garnet.

All comments can be sent to

They slowly made their way toward Washington D.C. where the trial was slated to take place only seven days away. They stopped in out of the way motels after only a few hours of driving toward their destination. They spent their afternoons talking and their evenings making love. They knew that once they returned, Toni would be held in a local jail, in a cell designed for the purpose of restricting access to very few people. When the trial started, they would not be able to be together…alone… until after it was over.

Megan turned Toni ‘The Blade’ Ferenci over to Frank Tate at 3am on the morning of the 14th of January. She was placed in a maximum-security cell for the duration of the trial. Megan was only allowed to see her for a couple of hours the three days prior to her testimony. She had sent a letter, via Leon, to her parents. The band was playing in Ft. Lauderdale and she had given them the letter to mail for her. The letter explained everything that went on, concerning the news that she had been killed in Seattle, and asking her parents to meet her in Washington on the 15th.

Megan wasn’t really surprised to find her entire family in attendance. She had wanted to tell her parents about Toni and herself, but found it impossible, surrounded by nieces, nephews, and her brothers and sister. They were so overwhelmed at the fact that she was alive and well, that she found she was unable to talk to her parents alone. She wasn’t even sure how she was going to tell them, and the situation made it even worse. Even Sean made a grand show of being surprised. Greg was with him and it seemed that their family had been speculating for some time about his choice of lifestyle, and it came as no surprise to them.

They gathered together in her townhouse on the 16th of January and Megan gave out her late Christmas presents. She hadn’t even unpacked her bag nor had a chance to log onto her laptop. Most of her siblings and their spouses and children, flew back to Ft. Lauderdale that evening. Her parents, Sean and Greg, stayed behind. When she finally convinced them to go to their hotels, she went to see Toni.




"How did it go?" Toni asked excitedly, bouncing up off the cot, as the cell door slid open allowing Megan entry. The only other guard was a female Marshal, stationed down the corridor at a desk.

"Great. The kids loved their presents," Megan told her. It was nearly an hour later when she had finally answered, every one of Toni’s questions. Megan took her time describing each of her relative’s reactions to her amazing livelihood. She answered every question that Toni had for her. It seemed that her siblings got "the drift" of what Megan was saying when she mentioned Toni’s name.

"What about Tommy?" Toni asked.

"Oh boy, did he love that drum," she replied. Chris from the band Pili Pili had given her a well-worn bongo drum with their autographs on it, and she had given it to her older brother Patrick’s oldest boy. "Susan hated it on sight, which made it totally worthwhile," she said as they laughed together.

They sat down together on the uncomfortable little cot. "There’s something I’ve been needing to talk to you about," Megan told Toni seriously.

"What?" Toni asked stealing a tiny kiss from her lover. Megan reveled in the kiss, drawing strength from it in order to go on.

"After the trial, you will be placed in the Witness Security Program…"

"Yeah, so?" Toni answered lightly, trying to get another kiss from Megan and failing when Megan ducked her head.

"Toni, listen to me please," Megan told her, trying not to sound as cold as she was, by taking Toni’s hands into her own.

"Okay," Toni said, keeping her tone light and bringing Megan’s hands to her lips, kissing them gently. She wasn’t sure what Megan was trying to tell her, but Megan was acting so serious.

"I’ve been trying to find a way to tell you this for a while…and I hoped that it would work out, but Tate told me this morning, that after the trial he is reassigning me…"

"Meaning what exactly?" Toni asked, her heart pounding furiously in her chest as she tried to determine what Megan was being so serious about.

"The WitSec program will place you in one of several areas from which you will choose and set you up with a new identity."

"I know this Megan," Toni told her, suddenly becoming worried. "What is it that you are getting at?"

Megan looked at their clasped hands and began again. "Tate is reassigning me right after the trial…" she trailed off, not sure how to tell Toni what she needed to say and hoping that Toni would catch on. She felt guilty for not telling her sooner, but she didn’t want to add to the considerable burden that Toni carried around in her heart.

"What are you saying?" Toni asked agitated and unable to guess what Megan was getting at.

"I won’t be one of the Marshals taking you to your new home. For your protection, they will not tell me your new identity or where you are…"

"Why not?"

"Like I said, it’s for your protection…"

"Like hell! What if I want you to know?"

"Please…Toni…keep your voice down. The less people who know about this…the better."

"How long have YOU known about this?" Toni asked, her voice a low growl.

"It…it didn’t really occur to me that this might happen until we were in Key West," Megan replied quietly.

"And you were planning to tell me this WHEN?" Toni asked, her voice low but harsh.

"I…I tried to tell you…but I wasn’t sure if I would be allowed to handle your case until the end…and I didn’t want it to ruin the time we had together."

"You tried? When?" A sudden realization hit Toni with a force she had never felt before. "Was that the problem in Key West?" Toni asked, tears stinging her eyes. Megan nodded. "I asked you what was wrong. I thought you were having trouble because you were missing your family at the holidays…and you were worried about this?" When Megan nodded again, Toni dropped Megan’s hands, got up and paced to the back of the tiny cell. Megan followed and placed her hands on Toni’s arms. Toni shook off the gesture and stepped to the small sink, turning it on and splashing water on her face to wash away the tears. ‘She doesn’t trust me? Is that it?’ Toni wondered. ‘Did she think that I would stop loving her? Why didn’t she have enough faith in me to tell me this? To share this burden with me?

"Toni…I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you…and I didn’t want to worry you. I wasn’t sure if Tate would pull me before they moved you…and I didn’t want to spoil our time together…" Megan felt as though she wasn’t saying exactly what she was trying to say…or that it was coming out all wrong. She wanted to throw her arms around her lover and hold her until they worked this out, but she knew that Toni had a tendency to flee when they were having a misunderstanding.

God…I thought this was forever,’ Toni thought. ‘How could I have been so naïve?’ She realized that Megan was still chattering at her but her thoughts were racing around in her head and she wasn’t listening any longer. Her back still toward Megan, she steadied her voice. "Look…hey…you got me here, right? We had some adventures and fun along the way. You can go now Marshal O’Reilly."

With that statement, Toni dismissed her young lover.

"Toni…please…listen…" Megan pleaded, her voice cracking, and tears running down her face.

"Just…please leave me now." Toni’s voice was devoid of emotion.

"Toni…I love you…we’ll be together…"


"Toni, you can let me know where…"

"I SAID, LEAVE." Toni’s voice was barely above a whisper, but her meaning was unmistakable.

"Toni…damn your stubborn pride…if you don’t want to believe I love you…then damn it, you just go right ahead and have your little pity party. I won’t be able to find you…but if we stick together you WILL be able to find me. If your pride will let you," she added dejectedly. Quietly, the young Marshal left the cell, sliding the door shut behind her. Toni collapsed on the cot and putting the pillow over her face sobbed for hours until she finally fell into a restless sleep.





Toni had spent a sleepless night pondering the events of the last 24 hours. She had felt betrayed by Megan’s lack of faith in her. The fact that Megan felt she had to hide the burden she had been carrying hurt her deeply. But she realized that she loved Megan with all her heart and she knew to the depths of her very soul that Megan loved her too. She also knew that at some point during the previous evening, she had not heard a word that Megan had said to her and had dismissed her as crassly as she had anyone else who had tried to get close to her emotionally. She had purposely hurt the woman she loved more than life and she wanted so badly to hold her and comfort her, and most of all…to apologize. She vaguely remembered Megan saying something about them finding each other and she knew that if they had faith in each other, that they would be together. She needed to tell Megan that she loved her and that she was hurt, but understood why Megan kept this information from her.

They didn’t see each other again until nearly noon of the next day. Megan and several other Marshals were assigned to escort Antonia Ferenci into the courtroom, where she would begin her testimony against the Ribisi crime family. They traveled from the local jail in a heavily armored van, the silence thick in the air. So far, Toni had been unable to speak with Megan alone. Everyone one in the van, including Toni, was dressed in a flak jacket and a US Marshal jacket and cap. Toni was distressed that Megan would not even look at her but knew that it was probably because of her hurtful words the previous evening.

By the time they reached the courthouse, she knew that she had to tell Megan how she felt. She had to tell Megan that she wouldn’t give up on them. Megan was one of the first Marshals to climb out of the van. When Toni stepped out of the van to make her way up the courthouse stairs, Megan was waiting for her to emerge and was at her right elbow.

She leaned in toward Megan and whispered, "I love you. And I won’t give up, okay?" She was rewarded with a broad smile from her young lover.

"I’m glad to hear that because I love you too, with all my heart," Megan told her earnestly before all hell broke loose. She heard several shots go off. When they rang out, she couldn’t tell if she had been hit or not when Megan forced her to the ground. Megan had her own gun out and was shooting at someone as Toni struggled to see what was happening.

"Keep down! Keep down!" were the only words she heard, over and over. Radios were crackling with reports of having sighted the sniper. Toni turned and saw Megan down on one knee with her semi-automatic aimed high at the building across the street. Time slowed as if in a dream. She watched when Megan gently squeezed the trigger and was suddenly thrown back into her arms, blood covering Megan’s head and shoulders as a bullet found a home in her own shoulder. She put an arm around her small lover and turned, shielding her body with her own as she took the gun from Megan’s hand and fired carefully at the form that was still shooting at them. She continued to fire until the gun was empty and the only sound came from unwounded Marshals as they shouted at her to drop the weapon.

"Help her…please…help her!" Toni cried as the sound of sirens rang heavy in the still air.





"Why isn’t she dead?" Leo Ribisi said into the phone. It was several days before the January 17th trail date.

This conversation had taken place over the phone, as Leo Ribisi was tucked away in Switzerland, and away from the long arm of the law. But several members of his family, including two of his three sons, were currently being held pending indictment by a federal grand jury.

"I’ve been trying Don Leo…we were very close in Key West, but then the trail ran dry. I promise you…we will get her…"

"YOU will get her. YOU will find her and YOU will eliminate her yourself before she is able to testify! You seem to think that I don’t know who you are," Ribisi’s voice was calmer now.

"I…uh…of course you know me," the man finished lamely.

"Yes, I know who you are…and why you were the only one to get so close to her. You are also the reason this woman decided to turn on us. And, if I’m not mistaken…you are now the only one who can get close enough to take her out. If I don’t get a report soon that the heat is off, I will hold you personally responsible," he said. The threat was unmistakable. The assassin had used his contacts in the FBI to track the whereabouts of Toni Ferenci and had come close several times to eliminating her.

"But…I’ll…I’ll be caught…" he reasoned, trying hard not to whine but not succeeding.


"Well, if you get her…then we will be able to come back to the States and I will make sure that you have the best attorneys possible." With that, the call was unceremoniously terminated.

Bob Cancini considered his options. Telling other thugs where they could find Ferenci was one thing. Taking her out himself was another. But he knew if he didn’t kill her, that Leo Ribisi would find a very slow and creative way to end his life. He reached for his stash, cut several lines of the purest cocaine and snorted, immediately bolstering his confidence.

He was one of the few people who had actually met Toni Ferenci; after all, she was the one who was leaking information to him. He had been undercover inside the Ribisi family for nearly three years, when he finally realized the profit in joining them. Without blowing his cover, he started to report things to Leo Ribisi himself. He used his contacts to warn them of impending raids, for which Ribisi paid him handsomely, but the bitch Toni got away from him. He never figured that she would bolt and give herself up to bring down the entire organization. He had been playing both sides of the fence. He would use her information to bring down small time thugs and he protected the family from the big guns.

When Ferenci bolted, Leo Ribisi himself had asked for an audience. Leo seemed to know that he, Bob Cancini, knew her. This knowledge scared him enough to do what Leo asked. Leo told him to eliminate her before the trial. With less than a month to go, their trail had gone cold in Key West. He had sent two of his best guys down there; one was dead and the other in jail. The paper trail was cold. It was obvious that they were not using any of the credit cards issued to them by the Department of Justice. He knew his last chance would be outside the courtroom. He set himself up on the roof opposite, getting no resistance because of his credentials.

He took careful aim at Toni Ferenci’s head, and as he slowly pulled the trigger, she leaned down toward the small, blond-haired Marshal on her right. His shot missed her and hit the Marshal to her left. In a panic, he fired again, lower this time. By this point, everyone was falling to the ground. He had fired off more than a dozen shots before one hit him squarely between the eyes. His last thought was that he was sure he had hit his target.




"Where is she! What’s going on!" Toni was screaming at anyone who poked their head through the door. Finally an older, gray-haired man came in.

"Antonia…Toni…please…listen." It was Frank Tate.

With that, Toni calmed somewhat. "Please…Frank…is she okay…please…" she cried, tears rolling down her cheeks; her wrists bruised and battered, as they had her strapped to the bed because she refused to stay put. They had removed the bullet from her shoulder. And the pain medication was having no effect on her whatsoever, because it wasn’t her shoulder that ached…but her heart.

"Toni…Megan and four other Marshals were struck by the sniper’s bullets. They have all been brought here…and all five of them are in critical condition."

Toni finally stopped her struggling and collapsed on the bed. "It’s too early to speculate what their conditions are."

"I want to see her."

"Okay. Obviously, the trial has been postponed. We’ll take you to her room tonight, but you have to cooperate with the Deputies. Understood?"

"Yeah," Toni told him resignedly. "Tate…did they get the bastard?"

Tate hung his head for a moment before answering. "The only bullet that struck the sniper came from Megan’s gun…it appears that you got him," he told her before leaving her room.

Before they arranged to take Toni to Megan’s room, she asked Tate who the sniper was. He revealed to her that it was the FBI informant, Bob Cancini that had been working within the Ribisi family for nearly four years. It appeared that the agent had been working both sides of the fence for some time. It had been discovered that large sums of money had been placed in personal accounts abroad and that the agent had succumbed to a predilection for cocaine. His bloodstream had been tested and contained dangerously high amounts of that particular drug. It had finally made sense how someone had been able to get the information that had led the potential assassins toward them at every turn.





Tate and six other Marshals accompanied Toni Ferenci to the ICU unit. Her shoulder hurt a bit and they told her that the bullet they removed from her was the same one that had hit Megan. Megan O’Reilly was listed in stable, but critical condition. As they approached the room, they were faced with Sean, Pat and Margaret O’Reilly. As soon as they neared her room, Megan’s father Patrick, recognized the woman who had caused his family grief for several months, having familiarized himself with the case his ‘presumed late’ daughter had been working on.

"You! Get out! This is all your fault! How dare you bring her here!" he directed at Tate. "People are trying to kill her! Keep her away from my daughter before she becomes another one of her casualties!" Pat yelled, not heeding his wife who was tugging on his arm, trying to calm him down. Sean joined in trying to calm his father when he saw who it was that was trying to visit his sister. He shrugged to Toni in sympathy.

Frank Tate tried to reason with Pat O’Reilly after he had the other Marshals remove Toni from the area, but to no avail. They led Toni back to her room, under heavy guard. "I’ll let you know her condition," Tate assured Toni.





"I want to see her…it’s as simple as that," Toni stated emphatically two days later when she was back in the cell she had been previously occupying while waiting for the trial to start.

"No, Toni…it’s not. Her family doesn’t want you to see her, and we have to respect their wishes," Frank Tate told her. "I will be happy to keep you apprised of her situation, but other than that, our hands are tied."

"Fine, then so are mine," Toni told him, stone-faced.

"What does that mean?"

"It means, that I won’t testify," Toni responded simply.

Tate became angry at this statement from their key witness. "Look Ferenci, I don’t know what your deal is, and I don’t really care. Her family doesn’t want you near her, and I respect that. However, you will testify, as scheduled, or we will convict you on your own testimony. We gave you immunity based on the claim that you would testify for us."

Toni thought about that for a minute, knowing that Tate’s claim was shaky at best. "Okay,’’ Toni said.

"Good," Tate answered, "your testimony will begin tomorrow."

"I’m sorry…you seem to have misunderstood me," Toni said evenly.


"I said, I will testify, AFTER I’ve seen her."

"Then we will prosecute you," Tate said.

"Fine. I don’t get to see Megan and you get me. You find a way for me to see Megan, and you get most of the Ribisi family. It’s your choice Tate."






The next day, Toni was quietly escorted to the hospital room where Megan was. It was well after visiting hours and none of her family members were around. He told Toni that she would have to have a Marshal present. She insisted that it be Tate. She would get an hour each night, after normal visiting hours for the duration of Megan’s hospital stay or until the trial was over.

It was all Toni could do not to burst into tears. Megan lay in the bed; her head had been shaved on the right side, where the bullet had hit her. Her face was puffy and her right eye and cheek were black and blue. The wound looked horrible and swollen. Toni had been told that not only did Megan have those horrible looking staples in her head, but stitches below them as well. She had tubes in her arms that were feeding her, and tubes in her nose that were helping her breathe. She sat at Megan’s left, and gently took her hand. Megan was in a coma and had not awakened since she was shot three days previously.

"Hi, kiddo. You’re gonna get better, don’t you worry about that, okay?" she asked rhetorically. "They’re trying to keep you comfortable for now, but I know you’ll be up and running around in no time. I miss you, sweetie, you hear me? I know you do." She leaned in close, so that Tate could not hear her and whispered, "I love you, oh…Megan…I love you," in her ear. She lay her head on the pillow next to Megan’s and whispered softly to her lover until Tate informed her that her hour was up.

"I’ve got to go now and testify. I promised to, if they would let me see you." She whispered one last time in Megan’s ear, "I love you, with all my heart, you are my redemption," before leaving with Tate, Megan’s family none the wiser.



Toni…oh God, Toni! Where were you? I’ve been waiting for you. My head hurts and it’s dark.’ She could hear Toni talking to her and it gave her great comfort. After a while of listening to Toni’s soothing voice, she realized that she couldn’t open her eyes or speak to Toni. But it didn’t alarm her as much, now that she knew Toni was here. She let Toni’s words of comfort and love wash over her and it eased the pain that she was feeling. She didn’t care where she was…or why…just as long as Toni was there with her. She heard Toni ask her to squeeze her hand if she could hear her and she knew that Toni was holding her left hand. She wasn’t sure if she did or not until she heard Toni say, "I knew you could hear me…I love you."

I love you too. Don’t leave me okay?’ she asked, or tried, before falling into a deeper, more peaceful sleep.




The trial was in full swing a week after the shooting. Each evening, Toni was escorted to the hospital to visit Megan for about one hour each night. Tate hated the fact that he was going against Megan’s family’s wishes, but it was the only way he could convince his star witness to cooperate. All of Megan’s family, with the exception of her mother and father had returned home. Megan hadn’t awakened, but the doctors were hopeful. Her vital signs were stable and there had been no sign of infection.

Tate escorted Toni in and took up his usual position in the corner with a magazine. He wished that he could simply leave them alone, but procedure dictated that a Marshal be present and Ferenci had insisted that it be him. He was pleased that she trusted him, but uncomfortable that Ferenci quite obviously had very deep feelings for the young Deputy. He wondered if Megan felt the same way, and had to concede to himself that she probably did. She had been vehement in her reluctance to be taken off the case. In hindsight he reasoned that it was because she was equally as attached to the former mobster.

Oh Toni…you’re here. I miss you terribly when you aren’t. My head hurts, but it hurts a lot less when you’re here. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I can’t wait to see you…be with you. Where are you all day? I’m sure it’s all day because it seems like forever before you come to see me.

"Hey there. You look better today," Toni said, conversationally. She wished that Megan would tell her to stuff it or something…anything. "Did you miss me? I missed you." Toni hated the whispered conversations she had been having for the past week and had stopped trying to hide her comments or conversation from Frank Tate. At this point she didn’t care if he knew that Toni was head over heels for the young woman lying in the hospital bed. She was tired of speaking in hushed whispers and now just spoke plainly to the woman she loved. She didn’t care if he paid attention or not.

Several of the regular nurses knew of her obviously close relationship and kept her apprised of anything that went on concerning Megan. One of the nurses, Nancy came in just then.

"How’s our patient?" she asked cheerfully.

"I think she has more color today," Toni told her. The nurses had no idea who the tall, dark-haired woman was that was allowed to visit their patient after hours. They assumed that she was a Federal Marshal because of her dress. But they did recognize her devotion to the young woman and respected it even more. Nancy guessed that she was the patient’s partner.

"I need to give her a sponge bath. She missed her appointment earlier because of doctors visits," Nancy told the blue-eyed woman thinking that she would probably excuse herself.

"Can I help?" Toni asked, eager to do anything that would make Megan more comfortable.

"Sure you can," Nancy told her, delighted that the two were close enough friends for he to want to help with the task. "Actually your help would be wonderful. If we had been able to do this earlier, I would have had a couple of helpers. It’s a daunting task to do on your own, so yeah."

Toni was instructed on the fine art of sponge baths and the nurse was quite grateful for her help. They both smiled at their handiwork when they were finished.

Megan enjoyed her bath this time. She was pretty sure she knew when they were washing her, but this time it was special. She could feel Toni’s hands on her body; her longs fingers and strong hands tenderly washing her. She could feel the warmth from Toni’s hands and the occasional coolness from the ring she now wore on her pinky. She smiled.

"She’s smiling," Toni said. Nancy glanced at her patient’s face. If Nancy hadn’t worked with so many comatose patients, she would have believed the other woman’s observation. She knew that, although it was likely that the patient could ‘hear’ them, that any physical reaction was probably just that…a physical reaction to stimulus.

"Yes she is," Nancy agreed nonetheless.

"She’s beautiful when she smiles, isn’t she?" Toni asked rhetorically.

"Yes…she is a very beautiful young woman."

"She can hear us, can’t she?" Toni asked her.

"Yes, from most accounts, patients in a coma can hear the people who speak to them."

"Is she going to wake up soon?"

"That’s hard to say. From what the doctors say, the medication they are keeping her on is supposed to keep her in a comatose state right now. The swelling that is occurring within her head is much too severe to allow her to come out of it. So they are keeping her medicated to simulate a coma."

"What? You mean they’re keeping her in a coma on purpose?" Toni asked, alarmed.

"I’m sorry…I guess you two haven’t been around when the doctor has been explaining her condition, considering you can only get here after visiting hours. The doctors are afraid that the swelling will cause blood clots, which would result in a series of mini strokes. So they are giving her medication which keeps her in the coma until the swelling reduces. It’s very common and very safe, and is for the patient’s benefit."

"Oh," was all Toni could respond with. Frank Tate was by her side when he heard the strange diagnosis.

"I’m sure they’re doing what’s best for her," he said, laying his hand on Toni’s shoulder in an effort to comfort her.

"Yeah…what’s best for her…" Toni mimicked. She took up her place next to Megan and held her hand. "Hey sweetie," she started after Frank retreated to his corner. "They’re trying to keep you comfortable so you can heal. That’s why you can’t open your eyes, okay? So don’t be scared. I’m here with you every night and your parents are with you every day…so you’re not alone…for one minute. You hear me?" Toni felt a tiny squeeze on her hand. "You hear me don’t you?" Another tiny squeeze followed.

Toni decided to try experimenting. "If you hear me, squeeze my hand once for yes and twice for no, okay?" A tiny squeeze followed.

"I’m Toni, right?"

One squeeze. Megan wondered what kind of silly game Toni was playing with her, but she loved that Toni explained why she couldn’t open her eyes. They just had her so doped up and she kept trying to open her eyes but she always felt so tired. She waited for Toni’s next silly question all her nerves were squarely centered in her left hand at present.

"You’re really cute when you’re asleep, you know," Toni mused. She felt two small squeezes.

"Oh yes you are, don’t you dare debate me on this one, okay?" One squeeze and a smile was her answer.

For some reason Toni couldn’t think of an easy ‘no’ question. All she could think to ask was, "You’re an only child, right?"

Two squeezes. They were light, but real. She tried again. "Your favorite reggae band is…Bob Marley and the Wailers?"

Two squeezes. Toni chuckled to herself. "Your favorite reggae band is Pili Pili?"

One squeeze. She became excited. "Frank! Hey Frank! Come over here!" Frank Tate, who had been trying to extricate himself from the room without physically doing so, realized that he was very interested in whatever it was that Toni was doing with his favorite Deputy. He crossed the room in a couple of steps and stood by her bedside. "Here," Toni told him, placing his hand in Megan’s.

"Megan, answer my questions with one squeeze for yes and two for no, okay?"

Frank felt a small squeeze on his hand and nearly jumped across the room. Toni smirked at him. He looked at Toni questioningly. "C’mon, don’t be afraid."

He nodded his acquiescence. "Megan…Frank Tate is your boss, right?" He felt a slight squeeze and quirked an eyebrow, skeptically.

For her own part, Megan was giggling quite uncontrollably. She wondered why they couldn’t see that. ‘Oh yeah, they’re keeping me asleep on purpose…that’s what Toni said.’ She liked the attention she was receiving from her lover and her boss, so she tried her best to play their game. She waited for their next question.

"Megan, it is the year 2005 and robots obey our every command," Toni said.

"Wow," was Frank’s response when he felt two, slight squeezes on his hand. "She really can hear us, can’t she?"

"Yeah…I think so," Toni told him, smiling. Frank shook his head and placed Megan’s hand back into Toni’s and then took his seat back in the corner.

"You two visit, we’ve only got about 15 minutes left."

"Hey gorgeous, we’ve only got a few more minutes. I would be here every hour, but I’ve got to testify at the trial…you remember that…right?" She felt a slight squeeze. "Yeah…well…it’s going okay, but it seems like it’s going to drag for a while. But I expect you to be fully recovered by then…do you hear me?" She felt another bit of pressure on her hand and hoped that the last hour they had spent together, with Megan responding to her hadn’t been a product of her imagination. She supposed that that was why she had asked Frank to participate…that and she was excited that Megan seemed to be doing well, despite her current ‘condition’.



"Hey…do you remember walking down to Mallory Square to catch the sunset?" Toni’s question was met with a gentle squeeze to her hand and what she was sure was a brilliant smile. "The colors were magnificent, weren’t they?" Squeeze. The shooting had happened over two weeks ago. The trial was going strong and they estimated it would last as long as seven to nine weeks. Toni wasn’t sure that she had that much to say, but the prosecutors did.

She had been with Megan each night of those two weeks, and as far as she knew, her parents had no clue. She talked incessantly to Megan of their ‘adventures’ together and was constantly encouraged by Megan’s smiles and hand squeezes.

"Hey, do you remember the day we saw that nurse shark?"

God Toni, how could I forget?’ Megan laughed gently at that memory. ‘It took Bill, Jack and I three days to get you to go back in the water. I wonder what people would think of you if they knew what a big chicken you can be about some things? Hey…how is Jack anyway?

"Guess what Frank told me today? Jack is at home and recovering nicely," she told Megan as if she had read her mind.

She had come to know two of Megan’s nurses, Nancy and Cindy. They were both very encouraging and both very friendly. She knew that neither of them would say anything that they didn’t believe was possible. After the first week, with the doctors and visiting hours, Megan’s sponge bath had become a regular routine when Toni visited. She loved to help out, because she was convinced that Megan knew it was her that was there.

Part 16

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