Shannon was in a foul mood, Jane didn't need to be a psychic to know it either. She'd picked Shannon up at her apartment not long after getting the call from Jenny telling her she'd found something. So here she was, side glancing at her partner trying to walk on egg shells. She wondered what it was this time.
Shannon gazed out of the window, watching as the ferry pulled away heading out to the island. She'd wanted to come here alone first thing, but Jane had showed up at her door with Jenny's summons. Now she found herself pissed off, she couldn't do the one thing she spent half the night talking herself into, going there and finally talking it out with the psychic. She'd also spent the rest of the night wondering if Mac could add another notch to her flying stick. She knew she should think better of Jenny, knowing among other things she wasn't just going to fall for Mac's southern belle charms. But still…. She grumbled at herself.
Jane looked up from the report she was reading. “You say something?”
Jane exhaled, it was going to be a long ferry ride.
Jenny stuck her head around the bedroom door when she heard Bud bark, expecting to see Jane and Shannon standing on the porch. She jolted. “Mac?”
“In the flesh.” Mac let her eyes have a good drink of Jenny's appearance as she stepped out of the bedroom doorway. “Speaking of flesh.” Mac leered.
Jenny pulled her bath robe tighter, doing up the belt with a double knot. “Oh god. It's too early for this.”
Mac smirked. “Never too early cher.”
Jenny chose to ignore her. “What are you doing here?” she paused, turning back not really believing what she thought she saw. She walked to the doorway, shielding her eyes to the harsh sun assault. “You parked your helicopter on my front yard.?!” She looked at Mac in total disbelief.
Mac however wasn't answering, she was caught in the most amazing eyes she'd ever seen in her entire life. “Holy mother woman. Why the hell you been hiding those eyes.”
Jenny blinked, taken aback, suddenly realizing how close they really were. She stepped back into the living room, her eyes sighing in relief. Willing herself to stay calm. Mac wasn't a threat. Not the kind that wanted to hurt her anyway. “What are you doing here?”
Mac mentally shook herself, she couldn't help it, she just stared. “Didn't you hear my approach? Kinda hard to miss.”
“I had the hair dryer on…. Stop changing the subject. What are you doing here?”
“Thought you might need some more aerial shots…. Thought I'd offer my services.”
Jenny didn't believe her.
Mac made to move into the house, only to find a growling mass of fur standing in her way. She quickly backed off, hands up. “Whoa there. Don't you remember me?” she went to pat his head, only to snap her hand back as teeth were shown. Nervous eyes flicked to Jenny. “He got rabies or something? He only saw me yesterday?”
Jenny silently thanked Bud, letting the time he gave her to compose herself. She hated being caught off guard with this woman. “He's doing what he's trained to do. I didn't say you could come in.”
Mac frowned. “okayyyyyyyyyyy.” She waited. “Do I have to say pretty please? Offer a bone?”
Bud waited, his hackles still up.
Jenny exhaled. “Bud let her in.”
He snorted, but backed down, not going far, he moved to his usual guard place, his eyes following the woman as she entered.
“Well that's more like it.” Mac gave the dog a smug look as she passed.
Bud's ear twitched. He wondered if southern woman tasted like fried chicken.
Mac looked around. “Got any coffee?”
Shaking her head, Jenny made her way back to the bedroom. “I need to get dressed. Help yourself.” Jenny's head snapped around. “And before you say it. I meant the coffee.”
Mac laughed. Ohhhhhhhhhhh this was fun .
Shannon slowed her step coming to a halt exactly the same time as Jane did. They both stood staring.
“Can you see a helicopter in Jenny's front yard?”
Then with a knowing look to each other they continued towards the psychic's house.
Bud heard them coming, but he wasn't about to leave the house right now. His eyes went to the reason why. This human was nosey. He watched her lift one of Jenny's book from the shelf. He waited till he heard the footfalls on the step then rose to greet them.
“Morning fur ball.” Jane dipped to greet him, coming up when she saw Mac grinning at her. “See a rat got in.”
Mac's grin grew. “Tsk.”
Shannon gave Bud a quick stroke, before drawing level with Mac. “You're here early?”
Mac didn't miss the unasked real question, she couldn't help herself. “Or I'm here late!” However what she wasn't ready for was the flash of pain in the blue eyes staring at her and Shannon moving away.
Jane gave Mac a disapproving look. “Where's Jenny?”
“Getting dressed.” Mac concerned attention was on Shannon . “I got here about ten minutes ago.” She felt the need to explain. She knew her game had gone too far. She was relieved to note that Shannon finally met her eyes. Mac smiled, relieved again when Shannon gave her a small one back. Her phone rang, reaching into her hip pocket she flipped it open. “Mac.”
Shannon took a seat, while Jane helped herself to coffee.
Mac closed the phone, slightly annoyed. “Well mon a me. I have to go.”
“You just got here.” Jane helped herself to a coffee.
“And I'm just leaving…. Another lady in distress.” Mac smiled, nodding to Shannon as she moved. “Sorry cher.”
Shannon wondered what the apology was for, but didn't say anything, she gave a nod.
“Tell Jenny I got called away and will catch up to her another time, you' all remember where I am if you need me.”
Jane added cream to her cup. “Ahuh. See ya.”
Mac turned, pausing at the doorway. “Gonna get noisy. Did a dead stick landing, kinda coasted.”
Shannon just shook her head, she was never entirely sure if Mac had a death wish.
Noisy wasn't a good explanation for what came next, within two minutes the whole house was shaking. Bud yelped running under the table.
Jenny came out, caught in putting her hair up. “What the hell is that?”
“God's gift to woman descending back into the heavens.” Shannon muttered as she rose slamming the front door to stop the sand from being blown in.
Jane snorted into her coffee.
Jenny got over her shock as the sound diminished. Suddenly realizing she had a house full again. Her eyes went to Bud, she really needed to have a word with him about warnings. Her eyes fell on Shannon , she looked like she hadn't slept.
Shannon met her gaze, she felt the slight jolt of warmth. Jenny felt it too, she so wanted to reach out to it and wrap it around her.
Jane's eyes watched each of them as she sipped. Sometimes she felt like third wheel.
Jenny broke the stare, knowing her face was flushed.
Shannon made herself turn away, knowing her heart was beating faster. “What did you find?”
Jenny welcomed the change of subject. “Come on…. I'll show you.”
Both Jane and Shannon followed her into the den. They both waited as Jenny went to her desk and starting working on the laptop. Finally after ten minutes she looked up at them. “First I have a question?”
“Go ahead.” Shannon folded her arms. She didn't like being back in this room on so many levels.
“What's happening about the FBI?” Jenny wasn't sure how she kept her voice from trembling.
Shannon understood the true meaning of the question. “They're staying away from you. Grieves told them were using you on the case. Agent Ryter is in charge. Grieves persuaded him to let you be. On the understand this time….” She paused. “…. This time Grieves and us give them full information. I agreed.”
Jane's eyebrow rose. “You did?”
Shannon looked to her, snapping. “The alternative was them taking Jenny into ‘protective custody' as they put it and….”
Jenny felt sick, she knew what Shannon was saying. “You'll be taken off the force for breaking protocols again.”
“Yea.” She met Jenny's sad gaze. “So, for now we still on our own, letting them know of course our every movement….” She twitched a smile.
“Of course.” Jane grinned.
Jenny exhaled her fear. This felt so wrong, she felt like she was screwing Shannon 's life up again. Her eyes slid closed as the worst image invaded. Lost in it, she didn't hear Shannon move, but she felt the warmth close.
Her eyes opened, meeting the concerned blue. This was the closest they'd been to each other and her body craved it, it ached, it took so much to keep Shannon 's thread dormant within her.”
Shannon wanted to touch her. “Jen?” she reached out.
Jenny made herself take a step back, ignoring the hurt look. She turned, lifting the file she was working on. “You were right. Calusa were a tribe that inhabited the Keys. But, it was roughly twelve thousand years ago they first set foot here.”
Shannon dropped her hand, turning away to compose herself.
Jenny focused on the writing, continuing. “They pretty much ruled the other tribes. Not a lot is really known about them. The museum you visited on Marco Island is one of the first dig sites that brought the tribe to light. Since then they've found only a few references' to them….” She turned lifting one of the printed sheets from her research. “…. The Spaniard Ponce de León was sent here to capture the gold and riches, he was beaten back by a strong force of over eighty Calusa warriors, they were fierce fighters and showed little mercy. They held against the attacks for over fifty years, until finally Spain tried a different tact, they sent missionaries, roughly around 1573. Slowly they built the mission into a large fortification. The Calusa accepted a peace, existing under Spanish rule. It didn't take long for the Calusa to circum too what happened to most of the Native American Indians, small pox and other diseases, their people died, they lost their hold over the other tribes they became little more than pirates, taking riches from Spanish wrecks. Each century that passed they grew smaller, the last record was less than 80 families…. By then stronger tribes from the main land were coming. The Creeks, Yeamon, even the Calusa eventually disappeared from history.” She looked up, not surprised to find question in the eyes watching her. “I know you want to know what the hell this has to do with anything?”
They waited. Already knowing Jenny's methods.
“I needed this background. I started with their history. Because of it I found this and I that I was wrong about the real reason he used the warehouses.” She pushed a piece of paper across on the desk.
They looked at it, recognizing it as a geographically land map of the Keys. They could already see the red marks of where the fires were. Jenny pushed over an almost identical picture this time the dots were in black.
“What are those?” Shannon lifted the picture with the black dots.
“Calusa burial mounds. He's placing the fires directly in the same position.”
Jane looked over Shannon 's shoulder. “Why?”
Jenny sighed. “I don't know. I thought maybe he was following Calusa ritual of some sort, but there is almost nothing known about them.” She shifted through some of the vast research she'd done. “Did you know that Mound Island was made by them…. They used seashells.”
Jane's eyes snapped up. “Seashells as in oyster?”
Jenny smiled. “Yes.”
Shannon looked to each of them. “What am I missing?”
Jane stared at Jenny in amazement. “He used oyster shells in his compound mix for the explosives. Jenny picked up on it yesterday.”
Shannon turned to Jenny. “So?”
Jenny wiped her bangs out of her eyes. “So…. It's another link to him and them. This history, this tribe.”
Shannon mused over it a moment before looking at the burial mound picture. “There are only five fires…. There were six symbols…” her eyes met Jenny's again. “…. what's with the symbols?”
“Those I'm having more problems with… They're not directly linked with the Calusa, their Mayan and believe me when I say getting into their heritage is going to take more than an all-night research trip. From what I did find out, each symbol has an individual meaning…… it's like they're right, but wrong. Anyway they each having a meaning.” she placed the picture of the jaguar down. “Jaguar….Strength. A big sign of power….. This the Calusa did worship, the carving you spoke of was of the jaguar.” She placed the bat. “ Zotz. The guardian of the underworld.” She continued in rapid success, placing each picture down to match her explanation.
“Eagle….wisdom. mental focus.”
“Earth…. Transition. A reminder there are larger forces at work.”
“Night…. A balance, putting things to right…. Making peace with oneself or greater things.”
“Sun…… Ascension, clarity and awareness. A talisman of great focus.”
Finishing she sat down. “I don't know why he assigned each one to each fire, whether it was random or preplanned.”
Jane pointed at the earth picture. “He hasn't used that one and according to you there isn't any burial mounds left.”
Jenny wiped her brow. “I know. I'm assuming this is some sort of message, so I worked up what they could mean. I've looked at the order he used them…. Fire one was the Eagle….Wisdom. He was looking for something, somehow he got his answer because he continued to fire two the Bat… guardian of the underworld. That one I have no clue as to what he got from it. The third fire was the Sun…. Ascension. I felt it, that day in the warehouse but I didn't understand it. He felt like he'd passed some sort of test. He got his focus because of it, because the next fire I found his emotions harder to read. Fire two… Night… he made peace with himself, felt balanced. The emotions from fire one to two changed so rapidly I first thought he had some form of second personality, but I realize now he was just following the meaning of the symbols. Fire five. The jaguar… power. That I don't think I need to explain, except he feels so in control right now and powerful, he's ready for the next one. What I do know…. What I feel is, this one is more important than all of the rest put together. It's transformation…. I think it's his. He's waiting for a sign some form of great force.”
Shannon didn't like that. “if he is following some sort of regime for the Calusa. Could there be more burial mounds we don't know about?”
Jenny shook her head. “Not according to the leading archeologist working the digs there isn't. Although Dr Shaw told me that most of all the ancient sites were destroyed in the sixty's by huge redevelopment and the government wasn't very concerned about heritage.”
“Maybe he knows more than we do?” Jane leant against the edge of the desk.
“Well if he does, he's ahead of us.” Jenny picked up the last of the sheets. “I did find something out you might want to tell the FBI. But I get a feeling they're already found the information.”
Shannon looked at her in surprise. “Why?”
Jenny passed over the list. “Each and every site were not only ancient burial sites, they were all at one time owned by the united states navy.”
Jane's eyes widened. “You're kidding me.”
“The government took over a lot of land during the Cuban missile crisis. Most of it has been sold off in the last ten years. Downsizing.”
Shannon exhaled. “Well that explains the terrorist alert. They think he's working up to a hit on the Navy air station or the Navel port in the Keys.” She paused, seeing the look on Jenny's face. “…. But you don't think it's any of those do you?”
“What do you think Jenny?” Jane really wanted to know.
“There's another interpretation for the burial mounds…. That they were pyres….Signals to the gods.”
Jane paled, realizing now that's what she'd said earlier. “Oh crap.”
Shannon felt the same but kept her eyes firmly on Jenny. “Go on?”
Jenny rose, pacing while she talked. “The Calusa themselves believed in three supernatural people, three souls, and that souls migrated to animals after death. The most powerful governed the physical world, the second most powerful ruled human governments, and the last helped in wars, choosing which side would win. They believed the souls were the pupil of a person's eye, his shadow, and his reflection. The soul in the eye stayed with the body after death, and the Calusa would consult with that soul at the graveside. The other two souls left the body after death and entered into an animal. If they killed such an animal, the soul would migrate to a lesser animal, and eventually be reduced to nothing. They believed no matter what they couldn't die, they would just live on in another form forever.” She stopped, looking to each of them. “Do you know why King Phillip of Spain really sent explorers out to conqueror the new world?”
Jane answered. “Gold. Wealth. Slaves. Turning savages to the faith. I've seen the movies.”
Jenny shook her head. “That was part of it. But a little known fact was Queen Isabella wanted the fountain of youth.”
Shannon blinked. “Excuse me. Are you saying the Calusa had it?”
Jenny felt the frustration. “Not in the sense you mean…. Their belief system meant they never died. Imagine Isabella hearing rumors brought back by her explorers of a tribe that didn't die!”
Jane scoffed. “Yea see how that worked out for them. They're extinct.”
Shannon stood up, waving her hand. “Wait. Wait. I'm not getting what this has to do with the arsonist? You're saying he's looking for the fountain of youth?” She had to try really hard not to scoff.
“No. what I'm saying is. There's too many variables right now. He could believe his signaling, he could believe he's calling the God's, or bringing the fountain of youth. He could be testing. The only thing that is certain is he likes fires and I'm telling you now, he likes playing games.”
Jane looked at the picture of the fires. “Testing?”
Jenny took a breath, glad someone was understanding. “Yes.”
Shannon looked over the printouts and pictures on the table, her eyes went to the pictures on the wall. “That's a hell of leap Jenny.”
Jenny stood tall. “No it isn't. Because that's what I felt…. What I didn't understand. The euphoria, I've seen it before, in other tribes, shamans going into trances summoning the spirit world. I've also seen it in terrorists, mercenaries.”
Shannon knew she couldn't argue with that, but there was no proof in front of them she could take back to the Captain or the FBI to prove it. As she looked to Jenny, she knew she knew it too. “Okay so we have no clue what he wants. How the hell do we catch him?”
Jenny let out a silent breath, she wasn't sure Shannon was going to just trust her gift anymore. “He only has one more fire. He'll follow the symbols for whatever reason.”
“I understand that, but you're not giving me anything to go and catch this son of bitch.” Shannon gritted her teeth in frustration.
Jenny stiffened. “I know that! I don't have the information he does. He has to know of another burial mound and I've exhausted the research on it. There isn't one I can find. He leaves nothing at the sites, either evidence or in the essence. I'm sorry.”
Jane stood hearing the defeat in the psychic's voice. She thought Shannon was pushing too hard. “You've done great Jenny honestly. You think the FBI or even us would have come up with this stuff. Just tell us what you need?”
Jenny started tidying up the pictures and files on her desk. “I need more time with these, maybe I can find something I missed. I need you to try and find out any information on burial sites found during the sixties, I keep coming up against government red tape because most of it was on navy land. Follow the explosive angle, I'm no use to you on that. The FBI's profile on him is close enough and you're not going to find some zealot who's showed up in any records preaching how awful the destruction of the Calusa may be. What I would look at is someone with deep roots with this island. He may not have been born here but he certainly knows it inside and out…. I'll call you if I find anything.”
Shannon knew they were being dismissed. She moved to say something but Jane caught her arm, shaking her head. Exhaling Shannon nodded, joining Jane as she walked from the room. She hated walking away, she hated just leaving. They made it to the car and silently headed back towards the ferry.
He stared at the newspaper for the tenth time. He was oblivious to the world surrounding him, he just continued to stare at the photograph and small article.
A source within the police department gave information today that they'd nearly caught the arsonist, who is now responsible for six warehouse fires in the Keys area. The source said they'd been informed by a local resident Miss Jenny Newton that the arsonist was in the building close by. Miss Newton is also said to have informed the police department where to look for the two trapped detectives working the case. The two detectives were later rescued. However the police failed to capture the arsonist and he still is dangerous and at large.
Miss Jenny Newton is known as a physic and has been called in before by the Keys police department to aid them in cases. The most notable was the ‘tooth fairy case' from last year where……
He'd read enough, his eyes shifted to the black and white small photograph of the woman. His hands clenched so tightly on the newspaper the edges tore. This woman was the reason he was nearly caught, this woman was the reason he couldn't rejoice in the flames. His eyes darkened, a slow smile came to his face. With one swift action he tore the newspaper in half and rose throwing it down as he headed home.
Shannon placed the phone down, leaning back in her chair to ease the ache in her shoulder, her eyes going around the squad room. Every available officer and detective were involved in this case now. She'd filled the Captain in when they'd arrived back on Jenny's findings and wasn't really surprised when he'd stood there staring at her open mouthed. She didn't envy him the job of explaining it to the FBI. She listened as Jane finished the last of her conversation. She could tell she'd gotten nowhere either.
Jane replaced the handset. “Still no match on the fingerprint so this guy never legal worked with explosives. NCIS just got back to me and no service man or woman matches the print either, so he wasn't in any of the forces. So, where the hell did he learn?”
“Jack's still adamant this guy didn't teach himself?”
“Oh yes. Especially after fire number five. This guy learned his trade. Shannon were not going to find him this way.”
Shannon looked away. “I know.” She turned as Grieves came out of his office, she was surprised to see he was pale. “Captain?” her eyes dipped to the newspaper being offered out. She took it, her brow frowning as she read. Then her face filled with rage, she rose so fast it sent her chair spilling. “I'm going to fucking kill him!”
Grieves moved fast grabbing her. “Peter had nothing to do with this. It was one of the cops working the line, he told a friend who went to the papers with it. He's the one who brought me the paper. Shannon listen to me. He didn't do this. Not this time.”
The rage was still there, but she knew the Captain wouldn't lie to her.
Jane lifted the paper from the floor. “Oh no.”
Shannon turned on the Captain. “I promised her this wouldn't happen. I promised she'd be fucking safe. How the hell does this keep happening!?”
Grieves let her rant.
“God damn it Captain.” The anger eased, now she was more worried. “He'll see this… it won't take him long to know and find her.”
“I know.” Grieves nodded sadly, then his eyes steeled. “But he isn't going to get near her. I don't care what she wants on this she's getting 24/7 protection.”
Shannon stilled. “I…. I don't think I can do that this time.”
Grieves surprised, looked at her. “Okay.”
Jane rose. “I'll work the team. If need be I'll stay with Jenny, but I very much doubt she's going to allow it in the house this time.” Her eyes shifted to Shannon .
Shannon knew what she meant. Because it wasn't her.
“You two are official assigned to Newton . Go.”
Shannon gritted her teeth, she didn't need this now. God why didn't things just go right for once.
Grieves was already back in his office making calls, as they grabbed their guns and badges and headed out back to the island.
Jenny stared at the newspaper, swallowing. She knew what this meant. He knew. Her eyes slipped closed. The touch to her hand made them snap open, she'd forgotten Claire was there.
“So, go pack your things you're coming to stay with me.”
Jenny placed the newspaper down, wondering why her hands weren't shaking. “I'm not running away again.”
Claire exhaled smoke, stubbing out the cigarette on the makeshift saucer ashtray. “You're not running. You're going somewhere safe. How long do you think it's going to take for the arsonist to know where you live?”
Jenny shivered, hugging herself as she rose. “You're comforting talk really needs some work Claire. Jesus.”
“I'm not here to comfort you I'm here too……”
Jenny spun around. “Rescue me like Shannon did.”
Claire stilled. “That was uncalled for. I'm not in competition with her.”
Jenny gave a dry laugh. “Aren't you?”
Claire pulled out another cigarette, ignoring Jenny's disapproving look. She took a long drag as she lit it, then exhaled the smoke slowly, her eyes meeting Jenny's. “No. because I know I've already lost.”
Jenny's mouth fell open. She sighed. “I'm sorry.”
Claire shrugged. “Nothing to be sorry for you never promised me anything you told me from the start you needed a friend. It was my fault I expected us to go back to how we were. I made a mistake…..” she smoked again. “… The biggest I've ever made in my life. I walked away from you. You're right I never did understand you're…. you're gift.” She took another lungful. “More to the point I didn't even try and honestly Jenny.” She met the eyes watching her. “… I don't want to understand.” She shrugged again. “So, this is me here as a friend offering you a safe place again.”
Jenny swallowed hard. She felt all the emotions of the past rise up, the love, the intimacy and finally the all consuming hurt of rejection. But still she didn't like to see Claire hurting and no matter what it looked like on the outside she knew she was. “I can't leave.”
Claire looked away. “Because of this case or because of her?”
“Because if I run he wins and there's no guarantee he'll even bother with me. He's got an agenda and I'm not on it.” Even as she said it she knew Claire didn't believe her for one minute, she wasn't sure she believed herself.
Claire took the last inhale from the cigarette. “Well then I guess you've got a roommate for a while.”
Jenny tensed. “I don't think that such a good idea either.”
Claire slapped the table, making Jenny jump. “Damn it. Am I to be shut out completely now. Why won't you let me help you?”
Jenny's eyes flared. “Why does everyone assume I need help.”
“Because you're just too stubborn to see that you do.” Claire gave out an exasperated sigh. “Look, at least let me stay till the cops get here.”
Jenny turned away. “What makes you think she's coming?” She immediately realized her slip when Claire eyes snapped to her.
Claire laughed, lifting the newspaper. “Because she'll see this and won't be able to stay away.”
Jenny swallowed hard. She got the feeling time was repeating itself. “I won't let her.”
Claire wasn't sure what Jenny was really referring too. “You think you can stop her protecting you. You can't it's in her blood…. You're in her blood.”
Jenny looked over surprised. “I never told …..”
Claire just shook her head. “That somehow you two have a connection. Yea you did. I may not understand it. But I get that you've shut your side down somehow.” She rose. “You're a coward.”
Jenny blanched. “What?”
“Do you realize you're doing to her what I did to you, shutting you out…. Making it impossible for her to stay. I think you'd be happy if she told you to fuck off and leave her alone. That way you can be on your own…” her eyes went around the house. “….locked in your time capsule with the world the other side of those walls you put up and that door.”
Jenny's jaw tensed. “You don't know what the hell you're talking about.”
Claire moved closer, meeting the ice look she was getting. “You weren't responsible for getting her shot.”
Jenny flinched. “She wasn't just shot! She died… died get it I was there. I felt it.” She slammed her hand onto her chest. “….and I couldn't do anything about it.” She wiped at the tears, wanting them to stop, wanting to be angry.
Claire looked at her sadly. “Jenny. Shannon made her own choices, you gave her the warning she didn't listen. You can't keep punishing yourself over this….because you're punishing her too.”
Jenny pulled her arm away as Claire reached to pull her closer. “You don't know what you're talking about. If you're going to stay Claire you're going to have to drop it.”
“Why won't you admit your angry with her?” She knew she'd failed when Jenny turned to her. She saw it, Jenny had shut herself down.
Jenny turned away, moving towards the den. “I have work to do.”
Claire exhaled. Looking down she found deep brown eyes watching her. She didn't like dogs never did, but sometimes when she looked at this one, she felt she was looking at something more than just a dog. “She's mad at me.”
“She's mad at Shannon too.”
Bud gave a low woof.
“She's going to destroy herself.”
Claire laughed at herself, this was weird. “So what are we going to do about it?”
Bud suddenly stood, running to the door, looking back at Claire he barked. Claire walked over, following his gaze. She looked down at him surprised, recognizing the approaching figure. “Well well if it isn't the girls in blue….” She looked at the dog again. “Did you arrange this?” Then she barked a laugh, god she was going nuts. But she wasn't going to waste this opportunity. She grabbed her bag and marched from the house, down the steps and headed straight for the approaching figures.
Shannon almost stopped walking when she saw who was coming from Jenny's house.
Jane grimaced. “Oh lord, the ice queen.” She gave a not so sure look to Shannon .
Claire marched right up to Shannon completely ignoring Jane. “I need to talk to you.”
Shannon stepped around her, intent on keeping on walking. “I'm sure you d….”
Claire interrupted. “She's not going to let you help her.”
Shannon stopped walking. “I don't see how this….”
Claire interrupted again. “And what's more she's going to make you leave. You wanna know why?”
Shannon waited, just managing to control her temper.
“Because she's can't take the chance that she'll feel you die again because of something she's done.”
Shannon felt the anvil fall into her stomach.
Jane decided she'd really didn't want to hear this and head towards the house.
Shannon swallowed. “This is none of your business.”
“Yes it is… because I'm gonna take any crumbs I can get if you leave.”
Shannon breathing stuttered.
“Because I will get her if you walk away. She'll be so miserable and alone she'll fall into the first person who shows they care.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Oh don't worry I'm not getting all mushy. I'm telling you this, because it's getting in the way of both of you. Her need to think straight and your need to protect her…. I took her the newspaper I'm guessing that's why you're here?”
All Shannon could do was nod, her mind was reeling.
“Then do your job. Just like you did last time no matter what she says she wants. You're a cop act like it. From what I've seen you're acting like a love sick puppy who got dumped in the trash. That's going to get her killed.”
Shannon whole body tensed, she so wanted to strike out.
Claire eased back a bit. “ Shannon . I'll survive without her…. Will you?” Claire didn't wait for an answer she moved passed Shannon heading down the beach to the port. “Tell her to call me.” She turned away before Shannon could see the tears.
Shannon just stood stock still.
Jane knew as soon as reached the door Jenny been crying. “You know about the article.” She took a small step into the house.
Jenny nodded. “Claire brought it over.”
“Then you know why we're here.”
Jenny looked up from the table. “We?”
Jane motioned back up the beach. “ Shannon 's here.”
“You know we're going to give you protection right.” Jane slipped into the chair next to Jenny. “He isn't going to get anywhere near you.”
Jenny sighed. “And if I don't want protection.” She suddenly wondered where Claire had gone.
Before Jane could answer a deeper voice sounded from the doorway. “You're still going to get it whether you like it or not.”
Jane studied her friend, something had changed, she could see something, confidence, the presence that had been missing from before. Damn it she even looked taller. She wanted to jump up and down clapping, her boss was back.
Jenny met the gaze full on. “This is still my house.”
Shannon stepped fully into the room. “And I made a promise.”
Jane looked to each of them in turn.
“I don't want your help Shannon. In fact……” Jenny rose. “I don't want you anywhere near me. I thought I had made that as clear as I could over this year.”
Jane wanted to slug her, or shoot her either worked right now.
Shannon didn't show how much the words hurt. “Fine. Jane stays.”
Jenny looked at Jane. Who shrunk back a little under the glare. “I don't want her either.”
“Then pick someone else…. If not I will. How about five boys in blue sitting on the beach 24/7.”
Two sets of eyes locked in a battle of wills. Jane really wanted to be somewhere else right now. They both kept up the stare. Shannon stepped closer, her voice low. “I'm not going away.” She meant that on so many different levels.
Jenny felt her mouth go dry, her walls stuttered around her.
Jane nearly jumped out of her skin when a wet nose touched her hand, she looked down seeing Bud's worried stare.
“Jenny let me help.”
Jenny just stared, seeing how open the blue eyes were in front of her, she wasn't shut out anymore. It scared her to death, she was trying so hard to lock the walls, but already she was feeling the threads twist and turn within her.
Not being able to take anymore Jenny turned away. “Fine watch me, but not in my house.”
Jane and Bud let out a sigh of relief for small mercies.
Shannon didn't feel like she'd won anything as she watched Jenny set every wall in place again, she knew she gotten through, she'd felt the warmth, the quick silver in her veins, but now, now all she felt was ice water.
“I need to work. The sooner I catch this guy the sooner I get my life back.”
Jane looked sideways at Shannon . “Am I staying or you?”
“I am.” Shannon 's eyes never left Jenny's figure as she walked into the den.
“I'll set up the watch house. Usual surveillance team?”
“Yea.” She wondered if she was making a mistake.
Jane rose, giving Bud a quick pat before moving to stand in front of Shannon . “I don't know what Claire said to you. But whatever it was don't forget it boss.”
Shannon eyes dropped to meet Jane's. “How do I fight for her when she won't fight back?”
Jane quirked a smile. “I find making them mad works.”
Shannon wasn't so sure. “Get the team up and running. Bring over my gear later. Until then any problems I've got my cell.”
Jane nodded, heading to the door. She paused. “Could Marcus help in this?”
Surprised, Shannon turned. “You want to bring him in?”
“He could work his voodoo shit at the fire sites… maybe he can pick up something? Honestly I think we could use his help.”
Shannon thought for a moment. She knew Jenny was going to be pissed. “Ask him.”
Jane nodded. “Later boss.” She left.
“Later.” Shannon exhaled, wondering where or what she should be doing. She moved to the rocker, not really ready to go another round with Jenny right now. She smiled as Bud buried his head in her hands as she sat. “Am I doing the right thing here boy?”
He licked her palms. She rubbed around his ears. Her eyes going to the den closed door. “Sure hope you're right.”
“So explain to me why I'm here when you got Jenny on the case?” Marcus ducked under an ashen beam, his nose wrinkled at the smell around him.
Jane followed close behind. “Because she has issues.”
He glanced over his shoulder at her. “Ahuh. She doesn't know I'm here does she?”
Jane coughed as ash and dust fell from a warped beam. “Ah. That would be a no.”
He rolled his eyes. He caught himself as he half stumbled, jerking his hand back from the greasy substance it landed in. after sniffing it and coughing in disgust he wiped it on the charred wall.
“ Shannon is the biggest issue.” Jane pushed him forward.
His mouth made an ‘o' “They still haven't talked it out?”
Jane snorted. “I think killing each other they're more closer too.”
He grinned. “They'll be fine then.”
Jane shook her head. “I hope so. Cos this case is going nowhere till they sort it out.”
“Jenny will shut herself down Jane. It won't affect the case.”
“I wasn't talking about Jenny.”
He stilled, before continuing forward. “Jenny had to have her reasons for leaving and I got a pretty sure idea what they are. Shannon must have some idea.” His words tailed off, his attention going now to where he was standing, he felt something, a tingling.
Jane watched as always caught in fascination and skepticism.
He moved his hand above the floor, palm down, just letting it slowly circle around him. He crouched, lifting some of the earth rubbing it into his palm. His eyes slipped closed. He could feel the fire's heat on his skin, feel the presence of the arsonist. He stood walking across to the far wall, placing his hand upon it. “He sure loves his work.”
Jane nodded. “Kinda got that already.”
Marcus smiled. “Doesn't surprise me. So, Jenny feels he's in this for a larger cause?”
“Weird cos all I'm getting is he's doing this all for himself.” He rubbed his hands together to rid it of dirt.
“The whole shebang. He thinks whatever he is doing is going to get him what he wants.”
Jane frowned. “Which is what?”
Marcus shrugged. “That one I've got no clue….” He frowned again. “Thing is….. I don't think he has a clue either.”
Jane looked up from the piece of metal she was kicking with her foot. She walked towards him. “It would explain a lot. Why Jenny's mojo couldn't get a hold on what he was doing or where he's going?”
Marcus took Jane's hand, helping her over the debris. She was surprised as he was when they realized they'd both done it without thinking. They both released at the same time.
He shifted. “Um…. Well yes.”
“Are you getting anything off him, that might help find him?”
Marcus looked down hiding his smile. It actually meant a lot that Jane was willing to go on faith with him. He concentrated. “Construction. He's worked in it.”
Jane shook her head. “No way. We've been over every single firm, anyone who has worked with explosives would have shown up on the partial print.”
“I didn't say he worked with explosives. He's worked construction. It's why he knows so much about weakness's in building. Where I stopped by the wall.”
“He spent a long time sitting there. He has structural knowledge. Sorry that's all I know…..except for….”
Jane halted in her walk. “Except?”
“Just something I felt in the soil that didn't belong here, red clay…So where next.”
Jane smiled hearing in the distance what she'd been waiting for. “You said you wanted to see the sites like we did.” She motioned to the horizon.
Marcus turned, his eyes narrowing to see. They widened. “Did I mention I get air sick?”
Jane eyes snapped to him.
Mac's landing was perfect as always, she pushed open the doors, grinning as the two approached. “Anyone need a ride?”
Jane kept low until she was near the cabin, then jumped in. “Thanks for coming.”
Mac smiled, looking to the back as Marcus got in. “no problem. Hi I'm Mac. You must be the spooky guy?”
Marcus blinked for a moment, caught by the dazzling smile. “Hi… Nice to know you were told what was happening.” He gave Jane a glare who simply smiled.
“Okay buckle up. Where to first?”
Jane hurried to secure the belt. “Any of the remaining two. You're choice.”
Marcus looked around slightly worried when he couldn't locate the belt. Without turning around Mac spoke. “You're sitting on it spooky.”
Marcus shifted getting it, clipping it closed. “Stop calling me that hot shot.”
Jane bit her cheek.
Mac just gave a deep laugh. “Ohhhhhhhhhhh this is gonna be a fun day.” She increased power and drew the helicopter straight up.
Marcus turned green. Seeing it Jane spoke into the mic. “Mac…. Unless you want to get puked on I'd advise you to take it easy.” She motioned with her eyes to the back.
Mac looked over her shoulder, almost turning green herself at the color Marcus had turned. “Okay guess spooky needs some coddling.”
If Marcus hadn't felt so bad as the helicopter turned he would have come back with something, but right now he was just trying to make sure nothing else came back up.
Marcus knelt and did as he did before with the soil. His sense was a little off as he still felt the affect of flying, but he concentrated.
Mac leant closer to Jane, feeling the need to whisper. “So, you believe spooky over there?”
Jane bristled. “He has a name.”
Mac now looked at her, giving an inner smile. “Didn't answer my question. You believe this shit?”
Jane remained silent, watching Marcus at work. “Yes I believe this shit.” She pushed away from Mac, giving her a stern look. “I didn't. Then I saw both what they could do.”
Mac frowned. “Both.”
Jane could have kicked herself. “Jenny can do stuff.”
“Can she now.” She wondered if that explained the weird feeling she got every time she was around the blonde, she was about to ask ‘what stuff' When Marcus approached.
He wiped his hands on jeans. “Same thing as last time.”
Jane exhaled. “Nothing then.” She ran her hand back through her hair. “Next one?”
“The red clay is here again. Did any of forensic say the red clay was normal?”
“I don't think they thought of it as anything but residue of the earth around.”
Mac was confused, but she wasn't going to admit it. “So… you feel stuff.”
Marcus stared at her. “Yea.”
“So, you like spider man, he feels stuff?” Her eyes sparkled in mirth.
Marcus rolled his. “We haven't got time for this…. Can we go to the next one?” He addressed Jane.
Mac didn't take offence just shrugged turning and heading back to the helicopter, chuckling.
Mac and Jane fell into step.
Jane looked sideways at him. “She doesn't mean any harm.”
He sighed. “I know…. Guess I'm just sensitive about the teasing, it's been a while.”
Mac started up the chopper, throwing dirt and sand up, both of them got in as quickly as they could.
Marcus gritted his teeth as he heard what Mac was singing.
“Spiderman Spiderman does whatever a spider can. Spins a web any size, catches thieves just like flies, watch out here comes de spidermannnnnnnnnn”
Jane wanted to shoot her.
Jane bit into her hamburger, watching Marcus across from her devour his own quarter pounder. Glad to see his color was normal and that he wasn't so tense. She really could have shot Mac. She'd done nothing but tease him all day as they went over all five fire sites and not much had come out of it, except Marcus in a foul temper, which she didn't blame him. Now she understood more why Jenny and Marcus kept so isolated, Mac hadn't meant any harm but it still took its toll. Marcus had been silent most of the day and Jane decided she didn't like that much. Mac had dropped them back to their car and she'd called Shannon and updated her on the construction angle and the red clay and Marcus's sense idea. She was trying to get her head around the fact she'd told Mac she'd believed, she'd never really considered herself a believer in anything. She looked over to Marcus who was silently looking out of the window. She wished she could apologize, but she knew the apology wasn't hers to make. There was one thing she could do. She relaxed back. “I… um asked Jenny why she hadn't contacted you.”
He stopped chewing, his eyes came from the window around to her, sparking. “You shouldn't have done that.” He placed down the burger.
“I know. But I'm a take action kinda girl. I hate skirting around the edges and believe me I'm skirting enough already with the boss.” She exhaled lifting her soda and sucking on the straw nosily.
He couldn't help it he smiled, picking up his burger again, chewing. “So I'm guessing it wasn't good news.” He tried not to make it sound as desperate as he felt.
She'd missed the smile. “She doesn't know how too. Says it's been so long….”
He butted in. “Yea. I'm kinda at the same place with that.”
She gave him a weak smile. “Maybe I should just bang all your heads together.”
He laughed. “She'd see it coming. She's a psychic remember.”
Jane snorted into her drink. “You're too damn forgiving. You're not even mad at her.”
“Who says I'm not. But what's the point of being mad when I'm not near her. I'm saving it.” With a grin he tore into the burger.
Jane was about to answer when the phone rang. She pulled it from her pocket, flipping it open. “Yea.” Her eyes lit up. “Really? Okay I'm back in an hour unless you need me now?...... okay boss.” She clicked it closed.
“ Shannon ?”
“Yea. She's set up the surveillance, she's called the Captain and the FBI.” Her face creased on the word. “They're all now looking into the construction angle and red clay.”
His eyes danced. “I've got the FBI believing in my voodoo?”
Jane chuckled. “Ahuh.”
Sometimes he was such a kid. She smiled. A kid she was really starting to like. She sucked on her straw shyly watching him. She picked at the edge of the cup. “Why does he chose the mounds, if he hasn't a clue what he's doing?”
Marcus thought for a moment. “If I had to guess I'd say he heard of the history, visited the museum just like Shannon did except for him something clicked inside him. That is of course if he's a fruitloop.”
“The trigger.” She shivered, she hated fruitloops.
Marcus shook his head. “I doubt it. The trigger would have happened before he would have been looking for something.” He shrugged. “Something attracted him.”
“Probably the nice bright pictures.”
Jane placed down her drink. “If and I say if he thinks doing this is going to bring what he wants. What?”
“That's why outside my level of voodoo Jane. You need to talk to the Jenny she gets more into these nut jobs heads.”
“Yea well her head isn't exactly concentrating outside her own problems.”
Marcus leant forward. “They will sort it out. For one Shannon won't let her run again.”
“You sure of that. Sometimes I think Shannon has just given up.”
“From what I remember Shannon doesn't give up easily.”
They both smiled at that.
Jane looked down. “I'm sorry about Mackenzie, normally she isn't that much of an asshole.”
“She's scared of me.”
Jane head jerked up.
He shrugged. “She felt threatened, it's her way of dealing with it. Some do it with sarcasm, humor like her. Others….. Well others just don't take it so well.” He shook his head as if clearing a bad memory. “Anyway it wasn't your fault. I got what I needed from the sites. I just need to go home and think.”
She nodded. She had a rough idea how others would handle it. “Okay.”
Jenny threw down the pen in frustration. She'd been over the new emails and research sent to her and no-one working on any of the Calusa sites or histories knew of any other burial mounds. She'd gone over everything again and again looking for some small clue anything she could latch on too. She'd thought about going back to the fire sites and trying to go back in the essence to the time of the Calusa. She'd never tried going that far back before, she wasn't even sure she could.
“Damn it!” She pushed the papers off the desk onto the floor with a shove. Her head fell forward, her hands going into her hair. She exhaled slowly, she had to think, keep her mind working. Her eyes went to the window, it was dark now, she hadn't heard any sound from the house for hours, even Bud had fallen asleep in the corner. She remembered her words to Shannon , how harsh. But it had worked, Shannon had left. She'd gotten what she wanted, again.
She rose, the feeling of guilt now weighed on her more than ever, even more than it did a year ago when she'd walked away. She didn't bother turning on the lamps as she moved from the den to the living-room, she was getting used to being in the dark. Without thought or appetite she made herself a sandwich, biting into it as she poured herself a glass of milk. Her whole body froze as she was putting the carton back in the fridge. Her eyes went to the front door. Slowly she put the milk down, the sandwich now forgotten on the side, she moved to the door, placing her palm flat against the dark wood. Breath escaped as she opened it, peeking out through the gap, she inhaled sharply.
Shannon sat up from the bed roll she'd placed out on the porch.
Jenny didn't know whether to throw something at her or cry.
Shannon shifted. “You're up late.”
Angrily Jenny pulled the door open the rest of the way. “What are you doing here?”
Shannon just stared, for that brief moment when the door opened she could have sworn Jenny was pleased to see her. There was another thing, she'd felt the tingling on her skin, which could only have meant the reason being, Jenny has felt her. It gave her hope it wasn't too late to get through, to sort out this mess. “Guarding. I told you once I'd camp out if I had to protect you.”
Jenny wasn't sure what the hell to do. She stepped out onto the porch, surprised to find the air tonight was hot.
Shannon just watched her, a memory surfaced, god she was so beautiful.
Jenny kept her gaze on the sea, she could smell it now, a storm was coming, the sea was already starting to rise and fall higher, the swirls on the horizon reminded her of snakes. The dark clouds stood out against the night their bellies' full. In near distance she saw the flash of lighting. The whole thing was exactly how she felt inside, a building tempest.
The silence began to get to Shannon , she stood up. “Jenny?”
“Don't talk.” Jenny gritted her teeth. “Don't you ever do what you're told?”
“You're mad at me. I get that.” Shannon folded her arms. Exhaling, she knew this was the time. “Shouldn't I be the one who's mad at you?”
Jenny didn't say anything.
“Do I get my explanation?” Jenny finally turned her head to her, the pain she saw made her throat hurt. “Why did you leave?”
Jenny's eyes slipped closed.
Shannon unfolded her arms, moving a little closer, her voice no-longer hiding her emotions, it cracked. “Did I hurt you that much?”
“You should have listened to me.” Flash images exploded into Jenny's mind, ripping through the carefully erected walls. She jolted, just managing to shut them down. “It doesn't matter, even if you had it still would have happened….it always happens.” Her voice trembled.
“Maybe…. Because it did doesn't mean what happened was your fault.”
Jenny spun round. “You DIED!”
The sky rumpled thunder as if powered by her emotions.
“But I'm here. I came back.” Shannon felt the electricity on her skin and she knew it wasn't from the breaking storm.
Jenny willed the tears away but they didn't listen, they started the same time as the rain. She was trembling now under the assault of her senses, they weren't listening to her, they were searching, searching for the warmth. It was like she'd been starving herself and she knew in a way she had been. Her eyes slipped closed, spilling tears down her face, she gripped the railing of the porch till the wood creaked. She could feel her and oh god it felt so good.
Shannon looked down at her arms, seeing the hairs rise, feeling the light burning start on her skin, slowly she looked up, seeing how much Jenny was trembling. “I'm not going away.” Her words only seemed to make Jenny tremble more.
Like a vampire Jenny's senses fed on the essence, the pain, the warmth, the healing, the fire, the love. Her eyes snapped open, she gasped…. So much love, pure, all consuming.
Shannon felt it like a jolt to her core, she gasped, she couldn't stay away any longer, she crossed the porch in two strides, but she didn't touch, she didn't have to, she could feel Jenny all over her, inside her, around her, on her. She only managed to just catch the moan. Her heart threatened to burst out of chest, she felt the scar pulse. Her head spun, her breathing ragged. She so wanted to give over to this feeling, but she knew things needed finished first. “Jenny.”
Just her name made Jenny ache. She turned, unable now to ignore the call.
Shannon gasped, lightning reflected in Jenny's eyes, she was magical. She forced the words out. “Why did you shut me out? Why……” her eyes slipped closed as she felt warmth spread deep in her stomach. “God.” She'd never felt anything like this in her life. Jenny's eyes were fire in front of her.
Jenny breath stuttered, she stepped back, realizing what was happening. “Oh god.” She stepped back again, the movement taking her stumbling down the porch steps into the rain. “I…. I. ” she used everything she had, slamming walls as fast as she could, but each one shattered. What was this? A flash of lightning above made her jump. Her eyes found Shannon again, seeing the effect she was having.
Now that Jenny wasn't so close Shannon 's senses came back, her whole body still burned. She moved to go down the steps only to have Jenny step back, Shannon stopped. “Why did you leave me?”
The sob caught Jenny hard, she could feel it now, their link strong in her body, she felt Shannon 's pain of what she'd done, the desolation, the ache, then finally the nothing. “I'm so…….. Sorry.” She tried again to shut the walls, slowly they became to come up, she felt the change.
So did Shannon . “NO! NO!” she ran down the steps, this time she didn't stop, she grabbed Jenny.
Jenny senses screamed, so did she.
Shannon did the only thing she knew she had to do, she pulled the struggling psychic to her and kissed her.
Jenny struggled trying to get away from the feelings they were so intense, so raw, and oh god so beautiful. Shannon deepened the kiss, feeling the psychics hand go into her hair and pull her to her hard.
Their bodies met as thunder crashed and lightning flashed. Neither of them wanted to break away now, their mouths were locked, breathes became one, and inside, inside the warmth became a fire spreading, making both of them groan.
The heavens opened. They were oblivious to it all.
Jenny felt a small tendril of fear and remembrance try and battle free from its cage, only to be consumed by the growing pulse of passion, of need. God she wanted her, all of her. Her hands moved from the wet dark hair, grabbing at saturated cotton, twisting, kneading, ripping. She could feel Shannon 's touch to her face and she made herself open her eyes knowing what she was going to see, it still took the breath from her lungs, when she saw it, within the azure blue, dancing quicksilver. She let out a low moan as she felt the touch of it inside her, growing, twisting, touching, so deep, so deep she felt her core tighten. She didn't know what this was, all she knew was she needed more. She opened her mouth letting Shannon searching tongue enter, moaning at the touch. “I need you.” Was exhaled.
Those words added an ache so profound, Shannon almost cried, she moved her mouth trailing it down Jenny's neck. “Jenny.” Was all she could whisper.
Jenny arched back, knowing Shannon wouldn't let her fall, knowing she'd never let her fall. She could feel Shannon 's breath on her skin along with the rain, washing it all away, the memories, the memories of him. When teeth nipped at her neck she grabbed Shannon so hard she heard the rip of cloth. “I need you.” Was repeated.
Shannon growled and with one swift movement lifted the psychic, cradling her in her arms, turning entering the house, neither of them breaking from the kiss.
Bud watched them pass, he'd watched them outside, at first he'd been confused he'd sensed the fear of his mistress and even the fear from his friend. But now, his eyes watched as the bedroom door was kicked shut. Now all he sensed was love and passion. He sneezed avoiding his gaze, rising, moving to the front door, watching the storm, it made his fur ripple in the growing wind, he simply lay down in the threshold, his chin resting on his paws and began his guard, his ear occasional twitched as the sounds of love echoed into the storm.
The skin was a map of life and right now Jenny was painting a journey across divine plains, gullies and valleys. Her motion stilled as she heard the breathing change in her canvas. She waited, waited until the breathing returned to a deep one, before continuing her exploration. The skin was warm, hot in places, slick with sweat, she followed a droplet with her eyes as is fell into the soft V of hills topped with dark aroused peaks. She needed to touch them again, but knew if she did it would break this moment of this quiet discovery. She could feel the passion inside, content yet wanting more. Places of her ached, the ache of pleasure fulfilled, part throbbed, just the feeling of sheets against her made that throb deepen.
Shannon moved, Jenny held her breath as sculpted beauty rolled over on to her front. Jenny smiled, she couldn't help it as she ran finger tips gently down the now exposed spine, barely touching, yet the goose bumps rose, muscles shifted. She breathed in deeply, letting her normal senses take in the scent around her, spicy, sweet, Shannon, she could still taste her.
She blushed, it seemed a strange thing to do after what they shared last night, there wasn't one part of her now Shannon didn't know. The blush deepened, and there wasn't any part of Shannon she didn't know. Her mouth watered, the throb within deepened, her stomach tightened, she felt a bead of sweat fall down her own back, god, she wanted more. Yet, she didn't want to end this moment, where her lover lay spent, fulfilled, asleep, resting. She'd only gotten to see Shannon sleep once before, but not like this. Black hair lay fanned out, disheveled against a crumpled sheet and tanned skin. She stilled, not all the skin was tanned, on the left shoulder stood out the angry contrast of the white red scar. Her fingers hovered over it, shaking. When she'd first seen both scars, ‘entry and exit' Shannon had called them, she'd burst into tears, needing to kiss, touch, heal them, nothing she did made it disappear, even as Shannon took her, whispering words of want and love, the image of how Shannon had gotten those scars had stayed ripe in her mind, until finally the oblivion of stars had taken her somewhere she'd never been before.
And later when Shannon discovered her scars, she'd held her breath, only to feel her heart stutter when she looked up into blue eyes filled with tears, Shannon had kissed her, kissed her so fiercely she could still feel the bruise on her lips. She remembered the words spoken into her mouth. “No one will ever hurt you again.” And Jenny believed and later she yelled her belief as the world exploded into kaleidoscope of colors again.
Her eyes roamed again over Shannon, a thigh was drawn up, an arm cast loosely on a pillow and the steady rise and fall of breath told her Shannon was still deeply sleeping. She knew they had things to talk about, knew this was only the first step of many, knew they would have to talk about what had happened and what had passed between them, that power. She shivered as another rumble of thunder laced the air, as if sensing her distress.
Shannon rolled over, an arm engulfed her, and sleeping lips nuzzled her hair and neck. Jenny let her eyes slip closed, pulling Shannon's arm fully across her stomach, lacing fingers together, the embrace tightened, feeling Shannon move closer into her back, for once she finally felt safe, the rest could wait, for now.
Jane ducked back into the safe house, she'd just made a quick run over the island and now she was soaked to the skin. She pulled off the coat, shaking it, before hanging it up.
David looked up from the camera screen. “Did you see much? Cos all I'm getting off these damn monitors is rain.”
Flicking her arms to loosen some of the water she grabbed a towel from the closet, drying her hair as she moved to see. “Visibility is shit right now.” She glanced over each of the monitors. “About the same as those. What the weather report say? This doesn't feel like a normal storm.”
David turned the chair to her. “It isn't. They're putting out a cyclone warning.”
The towel stilled, Jane looked right at him. “You're kidding me.”
He shook his head. “They're expecting it to blow over by tomorrow night.”
Jane sat down with a slump. “Damn. How bad is it going to get?”
“Well they haven't issued any evacuation warnings to the island. Just advice boarding up and waiting it out. They don't think it's gonna get as bad as two thousand and five.”
Jane didn't like they were getting it at all. 05 had been bad, the worst yet for the Keys let alone the surrounding islands. A storm surge had hit the entire area and engulfed the islands and lower Keys in up to eight feet of water; they were only now just getting back to how it had been before. Jane sighed. “Well I suppose there's one good thing. The ferry can't run and no boats are going to go out in this.”
David reached over snagging a piece of paper off the pad, tearing it off. “A list of everyone who came ashore today, right up to the last mail drop off.”
Jane took it, annoyed that the paper immediately soaked up the water from her skin. “They check out?”
“Yep. No one's on this island we don't know about.”
Jane rubbed her hair again. “Sure hope the boss got inside? I don't think even Jenny would let her sleep out in this.”
David put the headphones back on, mumbling. “I wouldn't chuck her out, that's for damn sure.”
Jane just glared at him from under the towel.
Marcus sipped his scotch, leaning forward he lifted the book he'd been reading. ‘The history of Mayan culture.' It wasn't something he'd normally read, in fact he'd had to go out and buy the damn thing. Twenty nine ninety five, he still felt he'd been robbed. But something was niggling at him every since he'd heard about the whole case and visited the fire sites, and he was pretty sure it had something to do with this.
He sipped his scotch as he turned another page.
The storm was beautiful in its destruction, trees bent so far in the wind their centers cracked, palms flew in mad frenzy interlaced with debris. Rain fell in harsh sheets, pounding the pavements and building. Large puddles were already turning into fast small snaking streams, following any land line.
He loved the storm, he always had ever since he could remember. But this storm was different, this was the final part, the one he'd been waiting for. Now it was up to him to fulfill the rest. He pulled his water proofs tight, the hood leaving only his eyes shining out. Lifting the bag he headed down to the harbor.
The bang sent Shannon to her feet, or would have done if her lower limbs hadn't been entangled in sheets, instead she hit the floor with a bigger thud, loud enough to wake Jenny, who sat up in shock, eyes wide. She looked around, hearing another curse she looked over the far edge of the bed. She had to bite her lower lip hard not to laugh out loud at the sight of Shannon cursing butt naked with a gun in her hand fighting with sheets. The gun suddenly registered in Jenny's amused thoughts. “ Shannon ?” she looked around now in slight panic. “What's wrong?”
The bang came again this time making both of them jump. Finally Shannon untangled herself, rising with a stumble, moving quickly to the door. Even in her panicked state Jenny couldn't help admire the naked sight in front of her new lover.
“Stay here.” With that Shannon opened the door and was gone.
Jenny frowned. “Like hell I will.” She rose, lifting a robe from the chair and putting it on as she neared the door. She opened it slightly, looking out, looking down as she heard a small bark. “Bud?” she opened the door a little wider, surprised when Bud instead of coming in turned away. Jenny nearly jumped out of her skin as Shannon stepped in front of her. “Jesus. Don't do that?”
Shannon just looked Jenny up and down. She could feel the need to just pick her up and throw her back on the bed, but she wasn't sure if Jenny wanted that again. Last night had been wonderful, but impulsive, what if Jenny regretted it? And what the hell was it that she'd felt between them? She inhaled sharply as she felt it start again.
Jenny met the look, feeling herself warm inside, it would be so easy to give over to that need. She swallowed stepping back, opening the door fully. “What was it?”
“Huh?” Shannon blinked, breaking the moment.
“Oh. There's a hell of a storm out there. I closed the shutters and door.” She blushed remembering why exactly the door was wide open. Suddenly she felt very silly standing buck naked with a gun in her hand. She moved passed Jenny making sure she didn't look, even though her eyes were screaming for just one more peek.
Jenny gave a knowing smile, feeling the warmth herself. She watched as Shannon pulled on her shirt, placing her gun back in the holster and on the table by the bed. This was going to be one of those awkward moments Jenny could feel it, that she didn't want with Shannon . She walked across the room, stopping behind Shannon , knowing she could feel her there. When Shannon didn't turn, she used her fingertips on Shannon 's shoulder to slowly turn her. Seeing now the uncertainty in the gaze directed to her, what made her want to cry was the vulnerability she saw there too. She pushed on the wild hair that had fallen over Shannon's face, smiling, stretched on tip toe until she was at level, watching as Shannon swallowed hard. She smiled again, letting her hand cup Shannon 's face, feeling the movement of jaw muscle. “Kiss me.”
Shannon didn't wait to be asked twice, she gathered Jenny and kissed her soundly. After a long moment they broke the kiss, but not the embrace. They both smiled at the same time, just staring into each other's eyes. Jenny simple laid her head on Shannon 's chest, hearing the raging heartbeat begin to slow. Shannon 's hand moved in circles on her back. “I don't regret it.” The hand on her back stilled, she wondered if she was going to be thrown aside and accused of mind reading, she held her breath. Then the hand began its motion again. She breathed again. “Do you?” It was hard to ask.
There was no pause. “No.” although the answer was broken. Shannon pulled her harder against her, beyond relieved. “So….what now?”
Jenny bathed in the warmth, the scent, she wanted to just stay here, or go back to bed either worked. She felt a giggle of joy build. God, she felt like a love sick…….. Her thoughts stopped. Love? Was this what this was? Last night love was spoken, but was it in the heated moment. Was she in love? Did Shannon really love her? Even thinking it scared her. She tightened her embrace, rewarded with Shannon doing the same. Before she could go anywhere near this she knew they had to talk. She pulled a little away looking up, seeing now the guarded look. “Talk?”
Shannon nodded slowly. “I've got to check in with Jane first. This storm must be playing havoc with the surveillance. Then I'd like to talk.”
Jenny felt the butterflies in her stomach start. She pulled away, already feeling the loss. “I'll go shower and make breakfast okay?”
Shannon felt another déjà vu moment, was Jenny washing her away again?
Jenny frowned, feeling the change. “Hey.” She waited till the blue eyes met hers again. “What's wrong?”
Shannon forced a smile, shaking her head, caressing Jenny's face. “Nothing. Go shower.”
Jenny was having none of it. “Tell me?”
Shannon drew in a long breath. “I'm being dumb. Go on. It's okay.”
Jenny stared at her, seeing she wasn't going to find out. She took a guess. “Join me in the shower when you've finished.” Before she let Shannon answer she leant forward and gave the detective a kiss to remember. She was rewarded with blue eyes filling instantly with passion, enough to make her own arousal jump up two notches. She turned, slowly walking away, giving her hips a damn good wiggle as she walked, just before she entered the bathroom, she let the robe slip to the floor.
Shannon 's jaw hit the floor right about the same time. When the bathroom door closed it broke the haze, she turned at a run, grabbing her headset so fast off the table she dropped it, quickly she picked it up and called Jane on the mic. All the time her eyes were firmly fixed on the bathroom door and the now running sound of hot water. She managed to just listen to Jane as she explained that they were having problems with the cameras and the storm was stopping all boats from docking for at least the next 24 hrs. That did get her attention back, it meant they were almost blind and cut off. She told Jane to make sure the surveillance team were on full alert and to do hourly sweeps.
She walked to the bathroom door, tossing the headset to the couch, shrugging her shirt off as she opened it, breathless. Her eyes raked over the offer of wet flesh in front of her. When Jenny turned to her she could have just lost in then and there because of the look she saw, it trailed over her body till the point it felt like a burning brand and when a hand snaked out and drew her into the cubicle, into a deep kiss and hot wet bodies touched, she did.
Marcus yawned, he didn't have to look at the clock to know he'd been reading for over six hours and he still hadn't one clue what he was looking for, the book was nearly finished now, he was in the final years of the Mayan empire. He'd stopped briefly for food and a few hours sleep, but he'd woken with a foreboding feeling and it wasn't just the storm that was battering his house. Now he sat in his robe, laid out on the couch with the damn book open again. He rubbed his eyes, turning to the last chapter.
The water below was a tempest, if he'd been any other man he would have been scared, but he wasn't just any other man. He had to come this way, because he knew the roads would be a wash out, this way he could go unnoticed. Someone would always spot a person walking down a street or road in a storm, it would cause too many question. This way was safer. He walked down the gully, slipping in the assault of the water which was growing in strength, he checked his bearings then let his weight carry him down into the storm drain below. Landing, he stood waist deep, feeling the tug of the water, trying to unsteady him. He moved slowly now, fighting against the currant. When he reached the large circular grating he stopped, opening the bag on his hip, taking out the small charge. He placed it on the hinge point of the grating, steadying himself as a large wave pushed at his knees, he wiped his eyes clear. The charge now attached he backed up until he knew he'd be safe, he pressed the small remote. The small explosive was masked by the storm, the grate swung open. Replacing his bag, he moved with purpose, climbing up into the higher storm drain and continued on his way.
Shannon knew if she didn't stop grinning she was more than likely gonna be stuck with it for life, but she couldn't help it. What fueled the grin was the fact the petite blonde opposite her sitting cross legged on the other end of the couch in her shirt, was grinning just as much. She'd never really seen Jenny grin before, smile yes, but grin no. Shannon licked a drop of blackberry jam off her thumb, only to find it caught in her throat as translucent eyes locked onto her mouth. She felt arousal start again. They were never going to get any talking done like this. As much as she just wanted to give over to it again for the third time that morning, she knew that other things had to be sorted. She wanted to kick the hell out of that side of her brain for even bringing it up. As if sensing it, Jenny dropped her eyes, concentrating on drinking her tea. The break in gaze gave Shannon time to inhale again.
Jenny was having the same problems. This was so new to her, she'd never truly wanted someone so much it hurt. Sure she'd had sex but most of the time it was because she'd been picking up on other…… her brain froze. Was that what this was? Was she feeling what Shannon wanted so intense it was clouding her.
Shannon sipped her tea, sitting back against the couch, wondering what had just made Jenny lose her grin. “Jen?”
Jenny looked up quickly.
Jenny didn't know what to say, she was still trying to figure out if what she was feeling was her or not.
Shannon grew more concerned, she shifted forward, laying her fingertips on Jenny's knee, surprised when she felt it tense. “What's wrong?” Jenny stared at her, so intense it made her skin prickle. Now she was getting worried.
Jenny pushed harder, shutting out Shannon 's essence, closing everything around her down, she had to know. She knew Shannon could feel it, by the way she inhaled sharply. The walls closed, but it was still there inside her, her want, her need, her desire, her passion, the bubble of pure joy. It wasn't Shannon fueling her. She almost cried in relief, she opened the walls again. “No.” she grinned again. “No… There's nothing wrong, in fact everything is perfect.
Shannon just raised an eyebrow.
Jenny laughed, tracing the eyebrow with a finger. “That's adorable you know when you do that. Bud has the same expression.”
Confused, Shannon looked over to where Bud lay sleeping. “You're comparing me to your dog!”
“Only on this occasion.” To sooth the hurt feelings she leant across, not surprised when Shannon met her half way and they kissed. She tasted of blackberries.
Shannon pulled away first. “Jen… As much as I'd like to take you right here on the couch.” Her voice trembled.
Jenny grin widened.
Shannon chose to ignore it. “I'd…. like to talk.”
Jenny sighed, her ardor dampened by what she knew was to come, but she owed Shannon this much. “Okay.”
Shannon looked down at her hands. “I know you felt me die.”
Jenny flinched, she should have known Shannon wasn't going to pull her punches, but it still hit her hard.
“I know that's part if not all the reason why you left. I get that.” Shannon took a breath, her eyes came up. “Why did you come back?”
Jenny thought she was ready for that question, she was wrong. She had to bring one of her walls up as Shannon 's feelings seeped into her. She reached across needing to touch. She couldn't get enough of Shannon 's touch now, not just the sexual side. She'd been so long without this. She met Shannon 's gaze. “You're right I left because of what I felt…. I… I couldn't feel after….well…” she swallowed trying to arrange her thoughts. She tried again. “… After you died. I went somewhere so far inside I don't think I even existed. I couldn't watch…. Or feel that again.” She shifted forward, bringing her knees into contact with Shannon who was watching her intently. “…. I had no walls Shannon . I couldn't keep anything out. I think I went a little insane.” Her lips quirked a smile. “When I knew you were going to be okay, I had to leave. To get some sort of myself back.”
“Couldn't you have just…?” Shannon words tailed off.
Jenny anticipated what she meant. “No, I couldn't just go away and come back. I had to get so far away from you I couldn't feel you anymore. I went as far as I could.” She hated saying it as she watched Shannon 's open gaze shutter shut. “I'm sorry.”
Shannon had to know one thing. “Claire?”
It wasn't what she expected, but Jenny was just glad Shannon didn't remove her hands or move away. “She found me in Paris . I don't know why I picked there, to be honest I think it was the first plane out when I arrived at the airport. She saw what state I was in and took me in. I was with her the whole time.” She felt Shannon 's hands move. “We weren't lovers.” She held the hands tighter.
Shannon took in everything that was being said, she didn't like it but part of her was pulling away, even though she'd asked to know. “You were though.” Again she found herself jealous because of one of Jenny's ex lovers.
“She was the one you told me about?”
“Yes.” She wanted Shannon to look at her again, her heart was starting to hurt. “ Shannon . We weren't lovers in Paris I swear it. She was nothing but a friend.” It was suddenly very important for Shannon to believe her.
Shannon didn't really know what to believe right now, she knew Claire still wanted Jenny. She exhaled, knowing the truth. “I believe you.”
Jenny exhaled in relief, but still Shannon wouldn't look at her. “I know I was wrong in how I handled everything, leaving, coming back, being around you. I wanted to come and find you and explain, but….”
Irony is thy name. “I turned up on a case first.”
Shannon did look up this time and the expression in her eyes nearly made Jenny run for the hills, there was intense anger.
“You shut down that side of you that feels me. You didn't even know I was in the house. Why do that if you were coming to find me?”
Jenny swallowed. “Because I had too.”
Shannon pulled her hands away. “Why?”
Jenny wanted to cry this was going so wrong. “I told you.”
Shannon stood up. “Are you saying you could feel me in Paris ?” She snorted.
Jenny voice was a whisper. “Yes.”
Shannon stilled. “What?”
“Yes. It nearly drove me insane. I've never felt someone that far away before.” She looked up. “I still felt you.”
Shannon 's anger stuttered, it couldn't compete with the open gaze directed at her. She knew she believed totally in what Jenny could do, but not once did she think Jenny could feel her that far away, it shot to hell her theory that Jenny was just trying to keep her away by shutting her out, not because she had to, too survive. She had to sit down, so she did.
Jenny took a chance reaching across taking Shannon 's hand again, relieved that it wasn't shrugged off. “I can't explain the full why of how I felt you but I did. Shannon I couldn't handle it, I was a mess, I felt guilty for what happened, guilty for leaving, guilty for just about every damn thing. And into it came you, every day every night. I tried to stay away, believe me I did. I didn't want to come back and start this all over again. You deserved better than me.” She swallowed hard. “But I couldn't, as I got stronger, when I could handle everything I knew I had to come back, if only to explain to you. I owed you that much. I didn't expect things to feel like this.” Jenny waited, feeling on the edge of tears the whole time.
Shannon 's voice was small. “Which is how?”
Jenny shifted forward, pulling both Shannon 's hands to her. “That I want you even though it scares me half to death!”
Shannon looked at her, seeing it was true, feeling it was true. But it still hurt to know she was left, pushed out, kept out. And what about next time she was hurt, or worse that Jenny sensed it about to happen?
“I'm sorry.” Jenny tried to read the blue eyes in front of her. “I'm sorry.” She repeated it more intensely.
Shannon knew this was the moment she'd doubted herself over, could she forgive. Could she set herself up again to be hurt? She could feel Jenny's trembling, could feel the hollowness in her chest at the thought of losing her again. “Jen promise me you won't just run away again.” She knew she was begging, she didn't care.
Jenny cried. “I won't… I promise. Not after this. I couldn't.” She wanted to ask the same promise of Shannon , but she didn't feel she had the right too after what she'd done, she would take what was offered.
Shannon moved so quickly Jenny didn't have time to react, lips burned her mouth and she was pushed back into the couch, all thoughts were lost as her shirt was ripped open and forgiveness was seared across her skin.
Jane squinted at the monitor again, it was no use they were virtually blind now on surveillance cam. It was going to be down to the two guards walking perimeter, a job she didn't envy right about now, she was going to have to call them back pretty soon. Harry had already been hit with flying debris, it was just getting too dangerous out there. She sat back, chewing her gum, remembering the talk with Shannon earlier…. Something seemed different, if she didn't know better she could have sworn Jenny and Shannon had finally gotten it together. That actually worried her, it meant Shannon 's mind wasn't going to be totally on the situation. It wasn't that she didn't trust her bosses' judgment, but after everything they'd been through she didn't begrudge Shannon and Jenny a little quiet time. What worried her was the fact it was in the middle of a damn cyclone where an arsonist was on the loose and knew Jenny was on the case and it didn't help that every damn camera was a wash out.
She rose moving to refill her coffee cup, glancing at David who was asleep in the chair, his watch didn't start for another two hours, then maybe she'd get some sleep. As she filled the cup, she very much doubted she was going to sleep until the storm had passed, whichever one it was.
He slipped silently off the edge of the storm tunnel down into the deeper water, letting his body descend until he felt his boots hit bottom. He crouched now, his eyes looking around. He pulled out the binoculars, focusing on what he needed below. When he was sure it was clear he put them away and followed the course of the water down to the bay.
Marcus jolted awake, disorientated until he realized he'd fallen asleep on the couch. He reached, searching for the light switch, clicking it on, his eyes protested, he sat up, rubbing at his face. Seeing the book at his feet he kicked it. Well he'd read it and he still didn't know what had made him buy the damn thing. He could however answer questions now on double jeopardy as to why the Mayan's were such a great tribe. Shaking his head he rose, heading to the bathroom, once he'd finished the call of nature he washed his hands and face and started down the stairs. He nearly tripped down the last few as the power went out. “Well great.” He felt his way to the utility cupboard under the stairs, searching until he felt the torch, lifting it he clicked it on. He grabbed the candles and made his way back into the living room, setting them up around the room, lightning each. He was hungry, he bent to pick up the book and stilled…. The symbol now on the back of the book was upside down, he quickly picked it up, focusing on it. That was it that what had been wrong at all the sites, the fire images had been wrong, facing the wrong way. They should all have faced the rising sun. He threw the book down, immediately going to the phone, cursing when he heard the automated voice telling him that lines were down. He raced into the kitchen, using the torch light to search the surfaces for his cell…. Finding it he immediately dialed Jane's number.
Jane lent across lifting her cell, seeing Marcus's name come up. “Marcus.” The static on the line made her wince.
“Jane. Listen to me. The sy…mbols are wro…ng. ………….be.c..d…..c…kk.”
“What? Say that again you're breaking up?”
“The symb…ols they're wr…ong……th.. sun…..”
Jane twisted around trying to get a better signal. “Marcus I get it the symbols are wrong.”
Marcus let out a sigh of relief. “You've got to tell Jen …y.”
“Okay I get it but why?”
A burst of static made Jane pull the cell away from her ear for a moment. “Marcus?”
Marcus now wasn't sure Jane could hear him at all. “Tell Jenny.” The line went dead. He quickly tried to dial again, this time no service came up on his screen. Damn it.
Jane tried the same thing, and got the same result. Not wasting any more time she quickly went to the surveillances mic and called Shannon .
Shannon sipped her coffee, she was sitting now alone in the living room, wrapped in a robe that barely covered her legs, she chuckled as she extended an arm and the sleeve came only half way up it. She could smell Jenny's scent on it and it started that pleasant warmth deep in her belly. She sipped her coffee, looking to the bedroom where Jenny was asleep, she didn't want to wake her again, they were both pretty much exhausted, that brought a sexy smile to her lips. But right now her body craved food and coffee. She reached across pulling the headset off the couch when she heard the beep, easily slipping it over her head. “Everything okay Jane?”
“I don't think so boss.”
Shannon stiffened, putting the coffee down. “What's up?”
“I got a garbled message from Marcus. He said to tell Jenny the symbols are wrong, something about the sun. Then I lost contact. The phones are now down and the cell is acting up, I'm guessing atmospherics.”
Shannon stood, heading into the den, sorting through the images. “Did he say what was wrong?” she found each of them and laid them out.
“No …. He sounded pretty upset.”
Shannon nearly dropped the pictures as interference screamed in her ear. She turned the volume down. “This storm is making everything act up.”
“Yea here too. Shannon I'm going to have to pull the surveillance teams. It's getting to risking out there.” She waited.
Shannon didn't like that at all. “Keep all channels open, get them back out there as soon as you can. I don't want to be deaf as well as blind.” Her eyes went over the symbols. “Keep trying to get in contact with Marcus.”
“I am…. Do you want me over there?”
Shannon felt the prickling on her skin, she glanced up to find Jenny leaning against the doorframe, wrapped in a sheet, question in her eyes.
“No. I need you there you're the only one I trust to watch my back.”
Jane so didn't like that, but she understood it. “Okay. I'll call in an hour unless something comes up.”
“Out.” Shannon pulled the headset off, her eyes still fixed on Jenny.
Jenny smiled uncertainly as she pushed off of the door frame, moving closer. “What's wrong?”
“Marcus called Jane. He says the symbols at the fire were wrong, something about the sun?”
Jenny's eyes dipped to the laid out pictures. “Anything else?”
Shannon shook her head, moving back to let Jenny sit in the chair. “No. she lost contact. The storm is playing havoc with everything.”
Jenny was already pushing the pictures around comparing them to the fire sites. “I can't see how they're wrong. I mean he hasn't got a perfect replica but its close enough. I don't see how the sun is involved, three of them were at night.”
Shannon looked over Jenny's shoulder down to the pictures. “Maybe we missed something?”
Jenny put on her glasses, tucking the sheet tightly around her, now concentrating on each one. “It must have been something Marcus saw yesterday when he went out to the fires.”
Shannon eyes shifted to Jenny in surprise. “I didn't…”
Jenny turned her head, bringing her lips nearly into contact with Shannon 's ear. “I'm psychic.”
Jenny laughed. “Okay. Okay. I overheard you talking earlier to Jane about it.”
Shannon eyed her not so sure. “You're not pissed at me?”
“I was…. Then you distracted me and I got over it.”
Shannon grinned. Note to self when pissing off the psychic remember to distract often.
Jenny laid a quick kiss on Shannon 's cheek. “Don't expect it to work every time.”
Shannon 's smile froze on her lips, she chuckled. “You sure you can't read minds?”
Jenny answered the chuckled. “Only when you're having very dirty thoughts…. Those I can read like a book.” She grinned as she was rewarded with a deep red blush from her lover. She liked the sound of that, lover.
Shannon straightened, clearing her throat. “Jenny.” It was a warning.
Jenny's smile faltered. “I know. We have to catch this guy. So, let's try and find out what Marcus meant.”
Shannon stood, not sure what she should do. “Coffee?”
Shannon turned and headed out into the kitchen. Only then did Jenny manage to fully concentrate on the pictures. She knew she had to get a handle on controlling herself around Shannon . She hated to do it, but she slowly erected a wall. Her eyes went to the pictures, she pulled over a pad, writing down exactly what symbol was in each.
When Shannon brought the coffee in, she wasn't surprised when Jenny didn't acknowledge her, she knew how engrossed the psychic got. She stood and watched her for while, unable to help the smile on her face, she felt at peace inside, warm, something she'd never felt before was there under the surface of unanswered questions, her smile slipped. Finally she knew she had to get herself together, she took the time to go and get dressed, being in just a shirt was only going to lead to trouble at some point. Doing up her Levi's, she grinned, she could get used to this feeling. Securing the last button she slipped her feet into her trainers, running her fingers through her hair as she moved back into the living room, giving Bud a quick ruffle of fur, before placing kibble in his bowl. Now, she looked around, what was she supposed to be doing while Jenny was working? She walked to the shuttered windows, peeking out through one of the knot holes, wincing as she watched part of the fencing fly past. The wind was loud now, taking on the sound of wolves. The joists of the house groaned and shifted but they held. Pulling her cell free she flipped it open, only to find ‘no signal' across the screen. She jolted as something slammed into the roof, for a moment she stood there expecting it to be ripped off. It was turning into one hell of a storm.
She moved swiftly lifting the headset, inserting it into her ear. “Jane? Come in?”
There was silence for a minute. Until Jane's voice echoed in the ear piece. “You okay?”
“So far yes. Jenny doesn't seem worried, said this house was built to last. Any luck getting hold of Marcus? I've still got no signal.”
“Same here. Mainline phones are defiantly down. We're going to be restricted to shortwave.”
Shannon sighed, running her hand back through her hair, pacing. “I don't like that much.”
“Me either. I've had to pull the perimeter walks. It's just getting to hairy out there.”
“Look try and get at least an hourly look around.” Shannon checked the front door was locked.
“Boss? You expecting someone to come to the island in this?”
Shannon snapped. “They could be on the damn island already.”
“No way. There isn't anyone on here that I don't know about.”
Shannon calmed, changing the subject. “How bad are the cameras?”
Jane exhaled. “Almost useless. I've already lost camera two.”
Shannon 's eyes went to the back of the house. “I'll take a look and see if I can get it up linked again.”
“Ain't I always?”
“Okay I'll check back in an hour.” Shannon was already pulling on her raincoat as she walked towards the back of the house, unlocking the door with one hand as she balanced the coat.
“Okay. I'll keep trying Marcus. Later boss…. Jane out.”
The ear piece went silent with a click.
Shannon pulled it clear, throwing it onto the bed as she zipped the water proof tight. She pulled open the door only to find it nearly wrenched out of her hand by the wind. Swearing she grabbed it back, slipping through before using her shoulder to shut it tight. She was soaked in seconds, visibility was almost nothing. She looked around, trying to see through the sheets of rain, it stung her face. Stumbling she made her way to where she knew camera two was hanging. One gust of wind nearly threw her left, she just managed to keep her feet, grabbing on to the telephone pole where the camera hung. Looking up she blinked trying to clear her eyes of sand, sea and rain. The camera was gone. Shifting around to the back, she could see the cable hanging, torn by the storm. She gripped the pole as another gust caught her, she pushed herself off, heading back to the house. She squinted into the storm, then her eyes widened, throwing herself flat as a broken half of a palm tree sailed just over her head. Exhaling she rose, going to check around the side of the house to check how high the sea was, relieved to find the sand banks were handling the extra level, only a small amount was getting through to the front yard. She knew the house had at least six foot clearance before it flooded, the sand that had built up overtime under it would simple wash away exposing the firm foundations and beams, for now the house was in no danger. She moved towards the door, her body at an angle as she kept her balance fighting against the wind, she grabbed the handle, shoving it open and getting inside fast and slamming it shut, she leant against it catching her breath.
Bud looked her up and down. “Arrfff.” Sometimes he thought humans were the stupidest things on the planet.
Shannon lowered her hood, shaking out her hair, unzipping the coat, she took it off hanging it on the door hook, not surprised when the floor under it immediately began to pool.
“Well. Guess you don't need to go out?”
Bud just gave her The look and headed back into the living room.
He was knelt now watching the harbor. The boats docked bobbed madly in the tempest. His eyes went to the pier end seeing the guard, watching until he was sure he knew the timeline of the guards patrol. When the guard disappeared back into the guardhouse, he rose, keeping low, moving as fast as he could in the storm. Within ten minutes he was level with the lower boards which ran to the boats. He didn't need to be silent the wind was masking any sounds, he climbed up the anchor line of the one he wanted, laying flat on deck until he was sure all was clear. He rose fast, running to the wheel house, knowing already where the key was kept. He waited, thunder rippled across the sky, he counted, then as the thunder repeated he turned the key starting the engine. He left the wheel, running to quickly throw off the tether ropes, moving back to the wheel. He navigated the speed boat free of the dock, looking back over his shoulder to the guard house, he grinned, they hadn't even noticed. He increased the power, satisfied when the front of the boat lifted up above the waves on the increase of speed, cutting through them as if they weren't there.
Jenny stilled, drawing her glasses off slowly, sitting back. How had she missed it? Annoyed with herself she rose quickly grabbing the pictures in a rush into the living room.
Shannon looked up from the island map she'd been studying, sitting straight.
“Marcus was right. They are wrong. I didn't know what he meant until I went back through the Mayan history. The Calusa symbols were all based on them. Only one was used by the Calusa. The others, there's no mistake are Mayan.”
Shannon stayed quiet, waiting.
Jenny was still mad at herself. “I can't believe I missed this… “
Shannon had a pretty good idea why she did and she could tell from the look directed at her so did Jenny. Neither one of them had been thinking straight for weeks. Shannon smiled. “It doesn't matter you've caught it now. What is it by the way?”
“Mayan's believed that the rising sun was the rebirth of the world. Everything they did was based on that belief, sacrifices, weddings, war. The centre points of the symbols always faced the rising sun.” she held the pictures out. Shannon took them. “His don't, in fact his is total random in direction. I've also seen minor mistakes as if he's doing it from memory rather than from a picture or sketch. If he was some kind of Calusa follower or believer, he wouldn't have made any mistakes.”
Shannon still didn't see anything, but she believed Jenny. “So?”
Jenny sighed. “He put the symbols there because he wanted too. But……”
“….I think he's trying to mislead anyone who was studying the fires, to link them to some sort of weirdo arsonist.”
Shannon started to get that warning feeling. “Why?”
Jenny's eyes came up slowly. “Because he's misdirecting his targets to warehouses and burial sites, either link would have worked for him…. I told you at first he was testing emergency services responses. He is…. He needed to know.” She slapped her hand down. “Damn it I should have gone with my instincts.” She looked Shannon right in the eyes. “I think he's got a bigger target elsewhere.”
Shannon rose, her insides twisting. “Terrorist?”
“It could be. Shannon it could be anything.”
Shannon paced. “I can't get in touch with the Captain or the FBI. Were down to shortwave and even that's getting dodgy.” To make sure she lifted the cell, growling when ‘no signal' still appeared. She thought for a long moment aware Jenny was watching her. “This doesn't make sense. I don't understand why use the symbols at all?”
“Maybe because he likes them or that their part of the Key's history. Shannon that isn't the important thing here.”
“Then it doesn't make sense Jenny surely you can see that. He spent time, a long time doing those symbols and now you're telling me they are just misdirection. If we hadn't seen them they would mean nothing.” Shannon was frustrated, she wanted to trust Jenny's instincts.
Jenny knew how she felt. “What if he did the symbols to test something else? That he had a timeline to stick too.”
Shannon snorted. “You're saying he got bored?”
Jenny nodded. “It would make sense. How long do you think it would have taken him?”
Shannon scoffed. “Jenny come on.”
“No. I'm serious. How long do you think he spent on there?”
Shannon exhaled. “We know how long. All the key locks have a time code, the last time code recorded before he blew it told us he was there for about an hour.”
Jenny pushed. “How long to set the explosive, just the explosive?”
“He would have prepared the canister elsewhere, it would just be a matter of laying it and setting it up. I can't see that taking more than ten minutes, fifteen with the breaking in.”
Jenny looked right at her. “So that leaves him forty five minutes.”
“To draw pictures.” Shannon shook her head.
Jenny stopped pacing. “What do you do when you're bored?”
Shannon mouth opened then shut. Her thoughts now shifted, going over everything they knew. “So you're saying he had to be there for an hour to test a theory on time and the emergency services? And because he was there for an hour he decided to just add the symbols and if someone found them all the better for masking his real cause?”
Jenny breathed in relief, when Shannon put it all together like that it didn't sound as crazy as it did in her head. “Yes. And not forgetting the fact most of the Keys PD and FBI are now concerning their main task force on warehouses, burial sites and old navel sits. Shannon his misdirection has got every looking in the wrong place.”
“But why the Calusa? Why those?”
Jenny shrugged. “Like I said he liked them and for one I bet it amuses the shit out of him that he's got the FBI, police, us trying to figure them out.”
Shannon just stared, she knew it didn't make complete sense, but right now it was better then what they'd had before. “He chose the burial sites for the same reason?”
“Yes. Because he knew we'd be looking for another one.”
“But there isn't one.”
Jenny gently shook her head. “It doesn't matter. He'll use his next fire just to keep whatever this is going. I'm sure of it.” Jenny studied her, seeing Shannon 's mind at work, seeing the caution, but also seeing the belief.
Shannon went back to the pictures. “There's nothing in these is there to show us where he's going next?”
Jenny took them throwing them to the table. “No. he's playing with everyone.”
“And the message to the TV station?”
Shannon exhaled hard. She'd been played and she knew the reason why. She hadn't had her mind on her job. Her eyes steeled. “Jesus.” She replaced the surveillance headset. “Jane! Jane!”
Jane's voice came over, breaking up in static. “What's up?”
Shannon began to relay the new information. Jenny turned taking the space to go and get dressed quickly.
Jane's voice was stressed with the new information. “So what the hell can we do? I still can't get through on the landline? Does Jenny think his target is soon?”
Shannon looked across as Jenny came back into the room, tucking her shirt in. “Do you think his next target is soon?”
Jenny went on instinct. “Yes he is already escalating on the last two fires in timelines.”
Shannon had been thinking the same thing. “That's a yes Jane.”
“Shit. Shall I try and get a boat to the mainland?”
“No. You're not going to get anyone to take you out in this anyway. But you might be able to use one of the radios on board to get through to search and rescue and maybe relay a message.”
Jane was already up. “Will do. I'll go down there now.”
“Be careful. This storm is at peak. I don't want to come and save your ass.”
Jane grinned. “I'll call back when I've found out. Jane out.”
Shannon slipped the headset free. “If you had to guess where could he hit?”
Jenny was already making coffee, giving her hands something to do. “If it's terrorism. There are the submarine pens, and the navel port.”
Shannon swallowed hard. “And if it's not?”
“Could be robbery, we have galleries? Banks? Emergency services are going to be hard pressed to answer an alarm going off. Hell half the Keys has alarms going off already because of the storm.”
Shannon sat with a slump, her eyes going to the boarded windows hearing the storm rage. “Didn't you feel anything that could help?”
Jenny spun. “If I did I would have told you. I could feel was his euphoria.”
Shannon lowered her eyes. “The euphoria of a zealot?”
Jenny wiped her face. “It could be that yes. Or the euphoria of knowing he was cleverer then any of us.” She slammed the mug down.
Shannon rose going to her. “Hey. I missed it too. It didn't occur to me he was using any of this as a false trail. We could be wrong. He could just be another nutcase with a cause.”
Jenny smiled as a hand caressed her arm, she covered it with her own, welcoming the instant spark of warmth. “I don't think he is….” Her eyes met Shannon 's. They were so open to her now, it made her feel very unworthy after what she'd done. She dropped her hand, going back to preparing the coffee. “And neither do you now.”
Shannon looked out as something once again smashed into the wooden walls. No she didn't believe it for a minute.
The storm was at peak now, its anger a rage of tempest, natures child having a tantrum at the world, throwing everything in its path, the tantrum was complete when rumbling stomps of thunder announced it wasn't finished.
He could barely see where he was, he was going by digital compass and GPS alone, trusting in technology. The speedboat gave a sound a kin to a moan as the bow was caught under a torrent of sea, disappearing beneath the dark surge, another followed smashing down hard, forcing the boat to tip forward under the assault. He struggled regaining his balance gunning the engine, putting more power into the twin propellers, and slowly the bow came up, groaning under the strain. The GPS beeped in his hand, he turned the wheel hard to port, searching through the downpour for where he knew the beach should be, he didn't see it until the front impacted and he was thrown into the wheel, felt the breath leave his lungs as he was thrown into darkness.
Shannon paced. Jenny just sat in the rocking chair watching her, her head along with Bud's moving left to right as they followed her movements. Bud snuggled closer to Jenny, he wasn't sure what was going on but he knew he didn't like it. Jenny smiled down at him briefly before her eyes when back to Shannon . She was reminded of a caged tiger. She wasn't sure what to say or do to calm the detective, she knew she was frustrated, angry at being played, angry mostly at the storm for keeping her caged. Jenny felt a slight shiver, she could feel Shannon shutting her out, but she wasn't surprised, she'd closed a wall as well. They both needed to think, they'd spent too much time already missing things. She knew Shannon enough to know she was blaming herself right about now, she knew it because she felt the same.
Shannon clicked the surveillance ear piece to on as it beeped. “Go ahead.”
Jane's voice was breathless. “I got down to the port, Jesus you wouldn't believe the mess.”
“Did you get a message out?”
“Yea. Managed after I dealt with some asshole telling me emergency frequencies were for emergency's only and not a message taker.” She exhaled in annoyance. “Anyway I got him in the end to relay the message to the Captain.”
Shannon exhaled in relief. “Good at least they've got a heads up. Whatever good it will do.”
“What you want me to do now?”
Shannon could make out the sound of the storm down the line. “You still at the port?”
“Yea. I'm heading back now unless you want me to wait around to see if the Captain gets back to us?”
“No it's too dangerous down there. Get your ass back to the safe house. Were all gonna have to just wait this out.”
“Okay I'll check in when I'm back.”
Shannon clicked off the mike. Seeing Jenny's questioning gaze. “Jane managed to get a message to Grieves.”
Relief showed on Jenny's face.
“So now we just wait.” Shannon ran a trembling hand through her hair. Jenny rose, coming slowly towards her, she could see the psychic was unsure of the welcome. Shannon gave a small smile as Jenny stopped directly in front of her.
Jenny returned the smile, reaching up just brushing her finger tips across Shannon 's brow. “It wasn't your fault.”
Shannon stepped back slightly, aware of the hurt look. “Jenny…. I can' t think with you around right now.”
Jenny dropped her hand. “I know.”
“This is so intense.” The words came out without permission. Shannon felt torn inside, wanting it, yet she was starting to find it too distracting and right now she needed to concentrate.
“Is that a bad thing?” Jenny felt her stomach drop.
“No…not bad.” Shannon moved away, needing the distance. She looked back. “What is this?” she motioned between them. “Am I …. Am I feeding off you like last time?”
Jenny psychical stepped back, she felt like she'd been slapped. “What!?”
Shannon courage wavered. “Is this real? Is this me?”
Jenny took a long breath, mainly to calm her heart rate. How could she blame Shannon for asking, she'd done the same. She made herself step closer. “It's you. It's me.”
“And the rest…. That…. That feeling?”
Jenny stared into Shannon 's eyes, seeing the blue was as much as a tempest as the outside storm. She took a chance, laying her hand on Shannon 's chest. “It's us.”
Shannon swallowed. “Have you had this happen before?”
Jenny shook her head. “Never…. Scary as hell isn't it.”
Shannon barked a laugh of pure nervousness. “God yea.”
“Enough for you to want to stop it?” when Shannon didn't answer straight away, Jenny felt something curl up and hide inside. But it stopped when a warm hand covered hers. She could see the storm was still there in the eyes drawing closer to her. It was still there when a kiss stole her breath.
“No. it just scares me how much I want you.” Shannon 's voice dropped to a whisper. “But I don't want it to stop.”
Jenny could have cried at the emotion she felt jolt. “Me too.” Shannon gave one of those lazy smiles that Jenny was beginning to love seeing. “I ….” For some reason she couldn't say it.
Buds bark made both of them jump. Shannon broke her gaze from Jenny's looking to Bud who was stood at the door barking. Jenny took the moment to compose herself, going to him. “You can't seriously want to go out in that?” she laughed, only to find her laugh caught when she saw the look on Shannon 's face. “What's wrong?”
Shannon stiffened again, her eyes dropping to Bud as he barked again. Slowly her eyes came up. “There's someone out there?”
Jenny face fell, her eyes darting to the door, she moved to it, placing her palm on the wood, opening her closed sense, searching. She could feel the rage of the storm, feel how alive it was. She pushed past it, concentrating on something, anything that wasn't part of it. She ignored Bud's barking, ignored the fact Shannon now stood next to her with her gun drawn and ready. Still she searched, there. Her eyes sprung open she stepped back. “He's here.” Frightened eyes went to Shannon 's.
Shannon grabbed her arm, pulling her away from the door, moving both of them further into the living room. “Bud back.”
He looked over his shoulder, then obeyed coming to stand next to them, his hackles still up.
Shannon pressed the surveillance mike on, almost yelling in pain as feedback filled her hearing. She tore it away. “Shit.”
Jenny looked at her sharply. “What?”
“He's jamming.” She threw the earpiece, knowing it was useless, her eyes darting around looking for somewhere safe. Knowing he could be outside planting a bomb right now. Her jaw worked.
Jenny gasped, she could feel him so clearly now. “ Shannon . He's round the back.”
Shannon 's eyes shot to the guestroom. She moved fast, pushing Jenny towards her bedroom. “Go in there.”
Jenny caught her arm. “What are you doing?”
“Listen to me. Just go in your room with Bud close the door, don't open it until you hear me.”
Jenny wrestled, pulling at Shannon again, almost desperate. “No….No not again.”
Shannon froze, hearing the terror, wondering if Jenny had seen her death again. “Jen…. I'm not going to do anything stupid. I just want to look around. I can't do that if I'm worrying about you out there in this storm. I promise I'll be right back. Just please go in your room with Bud.”
Jenny shook her head fervently. “I'm not leaving you.”
Shannon temper snapped, she grabbed Jenny moving her towards the bedroom, Jenny fought but was no match for Shannon 's height or strength. Shannon stopped both of them at the door. “Listen to me. I've got to go look. He could be planting a bomb Jenny. We wouldn't stand a chance I need to go look.”
The words filtered into Jenny's panicked brain. “ Shannon .” Her voice was a desperate plea.
“I know. I'm just going to check.” She ran to the kitchen, pulling open the cupboard where she'd stashed her back up gun, coming back with it she push it into Jenny's hand. “Anyone else comes near you shoot.”
Jenny could do nothing but nod. Shannon bent quickly laying a burning kiss on her lips, she grabbed at her frantically. “Be careful.” She deliberately opened her full sense to Shannon . She could feel the fear, but not for herself for her. She searched, searched for anything that could show her what would happen to Shannon once she went out the door. But like always she couldn't force her gift.
Shannon tore her lips away, untangling Jenny's hands from her shirt. “I'll be back.”
Jenny stepped further into her bedroom, moving the door to close. “Promise.”
“Promise.” Shannon smiled, waiting, seeing Jenny was still battling with closing the door.
“Jen. Please. This is hard enough. Work with me here.” Shannon 's voice broke.
Jenny let out the sob, waiting till Bud moved past her into the bedroom.
Shannon looked down at him. “Guard. Don't come out!”
He knew that tone, that command, he growled.
Shannon saw he understood. She looked at Jenny, seeing the tears, she pushed aside the ache it caused. “Jen close the door.”
Jenny's body obeyed the command. Their eyes never broke contact until the door clicked shut.
Shannon felt her body tremble, taking a large breath she calmed her thoughts, turning quickly she ran to the back door. Pulling on the raincoat as quickly as she could, she checked her gun, then with a grunt and a last deep breath, she pulled open the door and stepped into the storm.
If Shannon thought the storm was bad before she was wrong, now she felt the wind pull at her till the point every muscle ached and breathing seemed an impossibility through the mixture of rain and sand. Just keeping on her feet was taking its toll on her energy. She coughed, almost choking on the mixture of rain, sand and sea. She could barely see two foot in front of her. The gun felt good in her hands, but she wasn't entirely sure she wasn't going to lose it, she'd already stumbled twice and lost her grip, against better judgment she tucked it back inside her coat. She kept the side of the house in her vision as she crouched walking as fast as she could, now she was level with the house, she ducked lower, looking under the house itself, searching for anything that looked like a bomb.
She saw that the sea was higher now, breaking over the surrounding guarding dunes, enough that sand had been washed away from under the house, leaving foundation and struts visible. The front yard was a mass of bubbling foam and debris. There was enough clearance now to move under the floor. A gust caught her unawares pummeling her into the wall, she almost yelled out as her shoulder came into contact, she struggled pushing away until she got her feet back under her. She knew she couldn't see anything from here so she dropped to her knees, holding onto the wall as she ducked lower onto all fours crawling under, her eyes watering now from the sand being thrown up. She searched each and every showing strut. She could see the different light telling her she was nearly to the opposite side. She froze. There attached to the back strut half hidden by sand was a blinking red light. She shuffled closer until she was level, swallowing hard, knowing what it was.
Trembling hands came up, gently wiping sand from the front, she'd seen it before a canister like this just before the warehouse went up. Shit. She knew she couldn't defuse it, for one she had no tools for two she wouldn't have a clue how too. Thinking fast she shuffled around to the other side of the strut, seeing the twin straps holding it in place. Her hands went to her coat, searching until she felt the lump of the penknife, pulling it free and opening it. Her hand paused, the blade only an inch from the straps. What if he booby trapped it? She'd have to take that chance. She was surprised to find her lips were dry, licking them she tasted salt. Gently she began to cut away at the webbing, her other hand laying on the bomb. It seemed like an eternity until she'd cut through one of the straps, the bomb shifted and she nearly dropped the knife as she felt the weight of it fall into her right hand. She took another breath, cutting away at the second strap, when it pinged free, she found herself with a handful of bomb.
Gently as if carrying a baby she shuffled backwards, not sure where she was going only knowing it was away from here. When she broke free from under the house the wind hit her hard, she found herself cradling the bomb to her chest to keep hold of it. She rose, looking around for what she didn't know. Making her mind up aware that the bomber could still be close and just about to detonate she moved as fast as she could away from the house, disappearing into the storm.
Jenny hated hiding, and right about now she hated Shannon a little too. She paced the bedroom, going to the shuttered windows at intervals to check outside, which of course was useless. She couldn't sense the man either, but she still had a sense of Shannon . She paced again, suddenly aware that Bud was at her heels pacing right along with her. She sighed, moving to the edge of the bed, sitting, her eyes locked on the door. She should go out there, be where Shannon was, not locked up in a house that probably could blow up.
She looked down at Bud. “Bet that didn't cross her mind now did it.”
Bud rested his chin on her knee, looking up with questioning eyes.
“I shouldn't just be sitting here. Who does she think she is ordering me around?”
He licked his chops.
“I'm not a coward. I could help her look. She's blind out there, I don't need eyes to see.” She hmpffft. “I can take care of myself.”
Jenny lay back, suddenly she remembered what was in her left hand she sat straight. The gun was small, but she knew it still could do enough damage to someone if aimed right. It occurred to her that Shannon hadn't even asked. “Serve her right if I shot myself in the foot.” The tremor in her voice gave away this was all bravado.
Bud looked to the gun, then back up to Jenny, his gaze now worried.
She stroked his head. “Don't worry I'll make sure I aim away from you.”
“Arrfff.” His head turned sharply, with one movement he was by the door sniffing under it.
Jenny rose just as fast, stopping by him, listening. She heard Bud's beginning growl, a hand silenced him. He waited, looking up at her, his ears twitching. Jenny opened her sense, what she felt made her step away from the door. He was in the house. She grabbed Bud's collar pulling him away from it, she raised the gun. She suddenly realized her safe place was now nothing more than a trap. God where was Shannon ?
Shannon stumbled, losing her bearings, she scrambled up the sand dune, hoping height would give her at least a look at something she knew. Another gust sent her to her knees, but she would have fallen anyway, her guts suddenly tightened and a wave of fear hit her like a brick. Her head snapped up. “Jenny.”
Jenny became aware the hand holding the gun was shaking, she brought it up, wrapping her other hand around it aiming it at the door. Bud's growl was low. Jenny swallowed, she knew as well as her dog did, he was right outside the door.
Shannon wished she had a damn guide line, right now she was pretty sure she was at the third large dune from the house but she couldn't be sure. Gritting her teeth she rose, her breathing labored, the fear inside her was growing and she knew it wasn't just her own.
Jenny was concentrating so hard, she feel Bud's apprehension.
“I could just burn you out.”
The voice made her jump to the point she nearly lost her grip on the gun, Bud's rush to the door and manic barking nearly made her lose her breakfast.
The voice came again. “It is Miss Newton isn't it? I'd hate to have the wrong house.”
She looked around as if suddenly an escape hatch would appear. Bud now was clawing at the door.
“I understand this must be slightly upsetting to you. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that you could feel what I was doing. You put quite a jinx in my plan you know. I really haven't got time to be here.”
Jenny grabbed Bud, commanding him to be quiet, moving back to the other side of the bed, kneeling behind it. Her hands resting on it, the gun steady. “Then leave.”
A chuckle sounded. “I've read a lot about you lately. I'm afraid I had to take care of this first. But I must admit I'm intrigued by what you can do. If you can do it of course? I just couldn't take any chances, things are too important.”
“You'll get over it.” She closed her eyes, praying for Shannon to stay away now, knowing what would happen if she returned, knowing it was the beginning of her worst nightmare again.
He laughed. “I'm sorry I don't have more time. I need to know what you know? Could you come out please and I'd advise leaving the dog.”
Jenny went over her options which to be truthful were few. Her options sudden narrowed when she heard the cocking of a large machine gun.
“I'm a little pressed for time. If I kick the door in I'm afraid the dog is going to die.”
Jenny looked down at the trusting gaze, swallowing. Her eyes steeled. “If you kick the door in, I'll blow your fucking head off!” She leveled the gun.
His grin froze, then it widened. “I love a chick who can kick ass.” He stepped back ready to kick the door in, when a deep growling voice sounded from behind right in his ear.
“Then you're gonna love me.”
He started, turning to the voice but too late, a fist connected with his face spinning him. The woman was on him again, a boot catching him in the kidney, he twisted, rolling on the floor, bringing the gun up, only to have it kicked out of his grasp. He blocked the next kick to his face, punching out, satisfied when he heard a grunt, he jumped to his feet, throwing two punches, one was blocked but the other got through.
Shannon spun away from the third, cross armed she blocked a high kick to her face, catching the foot and using his own momentum against him to spin him away. She kicked out at the coffee table as she saw him reach for the machine gun, the coffee table caught him low in the shin, he yelped jumping clear over it, his face now full of rage.
She steeled ready for his barreling attack, she slapped away a punch, grunting as a blow caught her high in the ribs, she brought an elbow down into his shoulder. He grabbed her, twisting both of them down into a roll. Blow after blow was given and taken, blocked and delivered.
Shannon felt a hit to her shoulder the pain making her cry out with a yell, her arm went numb. He didn't know what he'd done but he took the advantage, untangling himself from her, rising, kicking out twice into her stomach.
Shannon pushed back throwing herself into a handstand, landing on her feet, she could see the surprise on his face just as her kick connected.
He stayed kneeling, spiting blood. “You bitch.”
She raised an eyebrow.
His hand went to his back. She saw the glint of the knife as it came into view.
Jenny could hear the fight, could actually feel the pain that laced through Shannon , she held onto Bud's collar, trying to stop him from trying to rip through the door. She'd had enough, she ran to the door, unlocking it.
Shannon eyes snapped to the door. “NO! STAY IN THERE!”
Jenny's hand stilled.
He took the advantage, slicing outward.
She jumped back as the blade whooshed past her midriff. She caught the wrist twisting only to have a fist smack into her temple enough to stun her. She winced as she felt the deep slice to her inner thigh, it gave out, her body dropped, a knee smashed into her chin, she saw stars, then her hair was pulled back and she felt the blade to her throat and found herself looking up into steel blue eyes and a grin stained with blood.
“You shouldn't have dropped you're guard. You had me.” His eyes shifted to the bedroom door then back. “She's a distraction that's gonna get you killed.” His head tilted in question as he studied her. “Didn't I try to blow you up?”
Shannon winced as her hair was pulled tighter. She tried to keep the fear down, knowing Jenny would feel it now. “Yea.”
“How many lives you got left?”
She swallowed. “Enough.”
He grinned. He moved to her back, pushing his knee into her spine, making her arch backwards, the knife firmly at her throat, his eyes now were on the door. “Miss Newton. Could you come out here for a minute. I seem to have someone to show you.”
Jenny's heart froze.
“Jenny don't….” Shannon 's voice was cut off by a slap.
Jenny's eyes slipped closed. She rose like a zombie, only to find Bud standing in front of her stopping her movements. “Bud?”
He shifted on his feet, unsure, yet sure. The one thing he knew was Jenny couldn't go through the door.
Jenny moved to go around him only to have him shift. “Bud! Stay.”
He whimpered at the tone, but sidestepped again as Jenny moved to go around again.
To her surprise he jumped up, pushing her backwards to the point she ended up sitting on the bed.
Her temper rose. “Damn it. Get out of my way.”
Bud whimpered but held firm.
Then Jenny knew, knew as she rose what he was doing, he was doing once again what Shannon had asked, protecting her and he wasn't going to let her through that door. She made a grab for him but he twisted out of the way, barring the door again.
The man was growing inpatient. “I'm not going to ask again. Get the fuck out here?” he leveled the gun at the door, the knife still at Shannon's throat this time digging in enough to make her stop swallowing as she felt a thin trickle of blood flow down her throat.
Jenny could hardly see now, tears made her vision completely blurred. “Bud please…. Please let me through.”
Bud licked his lips, his eyes blurred, once again he stopped Jenny moving to the door, this time he growled. His heart hurt.
“MISS Newton LAST WARNING.”
Jenny let out a sob as she brought the gun up. “Bud please baby move. He'll hurt her.”
Bud shuffled on his feet unsure, his eyes locked on Jenny's, but still he wouldn't let her through.
“Please.” She stepped closer, she cocked the gun.
Shannon couldn't move, every time she tried the knee in her spine sent waves of pain throughout.
The shot and yelp from the bedroom nearly made him drop the gun.
Shannon 's eyes shot up.
He wasn't sure what was going on. He looked down at Shannon , then back to the door when he heard it open. The blonde woman came out, the gun in her hand hanging by her side. He swallowed, he didn't think he'd ever seen that much pain in some ones face before.
Jenny looked right at him, throwing the gun to the floor at his feet.
“Jenny.” Shannon 's voice was a whisper. She tried to strain to see around Jenny into the room. She swallowed hard, she could see Bud's body. Her eyes shot to Jenny.
He realized Newton was just staring at him, waiting. He looked behind her, a thought occurring to him, his eyebrow rising as he figured something out. “You shot your own dog? Why?”
Jenny's eyes went briefly to Shannon . “He wouldn't let me through and you would have hurt her.”
Shannon wanted to cry, but right now she had to figure a way out of this.
He gave a curt laugh. “Damn you're a bitch.”
She didn't answer him, just kept her eyes low. “What do you want?”
“I need to know what you've figured out?” it unsettled him when she looked up, her eyes seemed to look right through him.
“Nothing. We fell for your game…. The symbols, the sites all of it. We only figured out tonight it was all a trap to follow. Because of the storm we couldn't tell anyone.” Her voice was as dead as her gaze.
“Tell them what?”
“That you have another target. One we have no clue about.”
His eyes narrowed. “I'm impressed you figured that much out. I thought the symbols and burial sites were enough to call me a nutter arsonist.” He pointed the gun at Shannon 's head. “The truth Miss Newton. Who knows?”
She met his eyes. “No one but us.”
He studied her. She was telling the truth, there was no lie in her face, in fact there was nothing there now, it unsettled him even more. “You must have known coming out of that door was going to get you killed, along with her.” he pressed his knee deep into Shannon 's back, only halting when he heard her groan.
Jenny moved slowly to the couch, keeping her eyes on Shannon . “I know.” She sat, aware the gun was pointed right at her now.
“So why do it?”
Jenny crossed her legs, folding her hands in her lap to stop them shaking. “Because I couldn't just let you kill her without doing something. I did that once before.” Her eyes came up, meeting Shannon 's anguished gaze. “….never again.” Her eyes went to him. “….And maybe I thought we could do something to stop you.”
A cruel smile crept up his face. “Like what? Use your special powers?”
Jenny's voice hardened. “I wish I did have that sort of power, because right now I'd be frying your brain until it came out your nose.”
His smile stuttered, he believed that one. “So the real question is who first?”
Shannon felt the knife dig in more.
Jenny saw it but kept her expression closed. “I have a question?”
“Of course you do…. anything to waste time.”
“Where is the real target?”
For a moment he didn't move then he threw back his head, laughing. “Jesus. Do you think this is some sort of movie where the bad guy spills his guts?”
Jenny shrugged. “We're dead anyway aren't we. What would it matter?”
Shannon let her shoulder relax, the movement was enough to drop her hand to just above the gun.
He shook his head. “Sorry. I'm not one to kiss and tell.”
“Are you a terrorist?”
His eyes snapped up. “I'm not fucking Al - Qaeda . I'm American.”
“That's reassuring.” Shannon flinched as the blade dug in.
His face came close to her. “Don't push me.”
Jenny could see they were running out of time. “Okay then this isn't political. Why?”
“Do I have to have a reason? Maybe I just like blowing things up?” He was becoming agitated.
Jenny shook her head. “No. I don't believe that. You wouldn't go to all this trouble unless your real target meant something to you.”
He remained silent, but she could sense it she'd hit a nerve.
“I'll agree with you. You like fires.” She could see Shannon trying to reach the pistol, it was a hairs breath away from her fingertips. She just had to keep his attention. “You like showing off your…… talent.”
His smile twitched.
“In fact you like controlling don't you?”
His head slowly nodded. “Oh yes. Have you ever really watched a fire? It's like the hand of god.”
Shannon shifted uncomfortably; she was hoping this one wasn't insane.
“But that wasn't the real reason was it. You were testing?”
He just smiled.
“Why the oyster shell? Just something to keep the Calusa trail going?”
His eyes sparked surprise. “My my, you are good aren't you. It kept the forensic guys guessing.”
“It must be very important to you…. Your real target?”
His smile froze. “Enough.”
Jenny saw his hand moving with the knife, she rose. “Wait.'
He looked up at her sharply.
“Then tell me why?”
“So I know why you're really killing us so I can haunt you.”
He grinned again. “Haunt away.”
She knew then he didn't know… There was someone else pulling his strings. She walked slowly to the kitchen.
She ignored him, pouring herself a glass of water, aware the whole time her insides were shaking to bits.
“You've got some balls lady. I said sit down.”
As she turned she let the glass slip from her hands smashing at her feet. She saw it then the gap she wanted, his attention was on her, fully on her, his back to the bedroom. She looked right at Shannon conveying with her eyes what she hoped she'd understand. Then she put everything she had into the yell. “BUD!”
He didn't have time to even turn before he felt the weight on his back and teeth at his throat. He focused on his left hand drawing the knife across.
Shannon brought her hand up fast as she felt the pressure go from her spine, trapping her hand between the knife and her neck, yelling as the knife cut deep into her flesh.
Bud hung on for dear life.
Jenny threw herself across the floor covering her head, as the machine gun reined bullets, spraying broken wood, plaster, glass into a shower around her.
Shannon twisted, bringing her hand up and out, drawing the knife away from her throat, her other hand searching till she felt the edge of the gun, bringing it up, but before she could fire, the machine gun butt came down onto her forearm, she had no choice but to drop it and roll away. Kicking out at the knife as she rolled, relieved when it tumbled away under the couch. She kept rolling as she felt splinters of wood cast up as bullets impacted…. She found herself caught and recognized immediately who it was when she felt herself pulled to safety behind the couch.
Bud yelped as something smashed into his ribs, he whined as another hit, he could feel his grip on the neck loosening, with on last deep bite, he shoved himself away, tearing flesh, growling as he landed.
The man yelled, swore, his hand going to his neck coming away covered in blood, finding the dog he leveled the machine gun at the cause.
Both Jenny and Shannon saw it, both rose yelling.
Bud's body shifted low, growling.
The front door suddenly burst open, exposing rain and storm into the room and a figure silhouetted as lightning flashed across the sky.
He glanced over his shoulder surprised, he was still surprised when the first bullet impacted his back, twisting him into a spin, he blinked rain as the second shot caught him in the chest and propelled him to the floor with a heavy thud.
Jane ran in, kicking the fallen gun away, her gun leveled at the man who was now still on the floor. She looked around, searching, until she located all three. She grinned in relief. “Hi.”
Bud licked at his leg, tasting blood, he still didn't like it. He limped over to Shannon and Jenny, rubbing himself along them.
Shannon felt herself helped up, then drawn into the biggest hug ever, she smiled over at Jane. “Hellava an entrance, there Sundance.”
Jane grinned, the relief plain on her face, she'd thought she'd been to late when she'd heard the gunfire. “Glad…..”
All two of them snapped their gaze as the man laughed, each seeing what he found so amusing in his hands.
“Game over ladies.” He pressed the small button on the black box.
Jane yelled diving for it, snatching it from his hands, but not before it let out a low beep.
He blinked, then he heard it, far in the distance above the noise of the storm, the explosion. His eyes shifted to Shannon . “You…. You moved it.”
Shannon put her arm over Jenny's shoulder, relieved to take the weight off her leg. “Yep.”
His face fell. “Who are you people?” His eyes slipped closed.
This time Jane made sure, she checked his neck pulse. “He's dead.”
It was only then Jenny let it all out, she pulled Shannon to her, burying her face in her neck and let the sobs come. Shannon didn't know what else to do except hold her just as tightly. Fully aware her own eyes were leaking tears as she glanced over to Jane. “How did you know?”
Jane wiped the rain from her face, she was only now just getting over the flat out run she'd made along the beach. Did she really jump a tree? “I…a…. I found the speedboat when I was heading back to the safe house…. I tried to get through and heard that it was jammed, so I got here as fast as I could.”
Shannon just nodded, this time she buried her face in Jenny's hair, feeling how much they both were trembling.
Jane let them be. She moved to the body, going over everything, she found a wallet. Quickly opening it, she flicked through all the cards until she got to an ID. “Boss I'm going to head back to the harbor get onto the FBI with this name. Maybe they can get lucky. You….” Her eyes shifted to the body. “You gonna be okay?”
Shannon nodded. “Yea go. Tell them he wasn't working on his own.”
“How the hell you know that?”
Shannon 's eyes shifted to Jenny. “Because she's smart.”
Jane wasn't sure what the hell that meant, but she'd go with it. With one last look to them, she turned heading back into the storm.
They just stood locked together, until finally Shannon had to sit down. “Jen?” She eased away, hating the fact she saw that haunted look again. “Hey.” She lifted Jenny's chin with a finger, brushing her thumb across the tears.
Lost eyes suddenly seemed to focus. “Yea.” Jenny's voice was hoarse.
“Can you help me to the couch, before I fall down.” She twitched a smile.
Jenny remembered Shannon 's wounds. “Oh god. I'm sorry.” She quickly shifted her weight to carry Shannon 's, helping her hobble to the couch.
Bud decided he really needed a lay down, he flopped at their feet. His eyes locked on the man, he growled.
Jenny reached down, smoothing his fur. “You did so well boy.”
His eyes came up to her, he licked her hand.
Shannon let her head rest back, her whole body ached now. She watched as Jenny inspected her wounded, saw her wince, then rise, then come back with a towel and water, kneeling on the floor between her legs, pressing it onto her leg, another she wrapped around her hand. Then and only then did Jenny look up at her. Both of them felt the jolt to their core.
Jenny eased herself down, laying her cheek on Shannon 's undamaged thigh. Breathing, she was breathing, they were still breathing. She closed her eyes thanking whatever god was listening. She tightened her hug around Shannon 's leg. “God….”
It felt the most natural thing to do, Shannon lifted her good hand and began running her fingers through Jenny's hair. “That was a clever thing you did with Bud.” She swallowed hard, she hated to admit it but for one moment, she'd actually believed it. “…. What gave you the idea?”
“You.” Jenny's eyes slipped closed as she felt her body relax under the soothing movements in her hair. “I remembered how you said he was a clever dog. I trusted him to understand.” Her eyes opened going to Bud who was licking his paws. “I think he knew even before I did…. Did you really think I'd shoot him?” her voice was uncertain.
“I don't know…. I guess.” She inhaled, when she felt Jenny tense. “I saw him lying there and everything is just so crazy…. If I'd been given more time….” She stroked down Jenny's neck, feeling her relax again. “No…. I wouldn't have. But that wasn't the point…. You needed him too.” Her eyes shifted to the dead body.
“Yes.” Her eyes fell to Bud who was looking up at her.
“How you get him to yelp?”
Jenny winched. “I stomped on his foot.” She motioned to him. “The one he's licking.”
He looked up, his gaze already forgiving.
Shannon gave a tired laugh. “Maybe we should start training him to yelp on request.”
Jenny lifted her head, eyes staring up. “Are you saying madmen with guns and bombs coming into our home is going to be a regular occurrence?”
Shannon grin widened. “Our home?”
Jenny blushed, returning her cheek to Shannon 's thigh. “I'm so tired.” She exhaled the word with a long sigh.
Shannon felt it too. “Yea.”
“Thank you for keeping your promises?”
Shannon looked down, knowing she didn't need to ask which ones. She sighed. She ached, she hurt, her shoulder throbbed, her leg throbbed, yet at this moment she'd never felt more at home.
As if both drawn they each looked to each other. Shannon smiled first, which was met by Jenny's. They moved at the same time to meet each other half way. The kiss was one of promise, of answers, of questions, of need, of want, of healing, of peace.
Bud yawned, rolling his eyes at them, rising, going to the man, he sniffed, then sneezed and headed over to his bed. It had been a very long day.
It was if the cyclone was connected to the tempest that had raged inside Jenny's home…. The wind began to die down, the sea to calm, thunder now was distant as dark clouds gave way to dawns blue skies, the sun peeked through as if uncertain it was safe to reappear. Now was the time of desolation and repair. The beach held the fallen victims, trees, wood, dead fish and birds of the tantruming child. But the sea although unforgiving in many things will always take care of its own; now lapping waves washed over the destruction with a calm flow, carrying back on white raised peaks its cherished treasures to disappear, leaving the sands clear and untouched.
Shannon limped to the door, her leg now was bandaged, as was her hand, it had been three hours since the shit hit the fan, now as the storm had passed she knew she'd have to leave. Jane had contacted her, letting her know she'd gotten through to the Captain and FBI and all of them were going to descend on the island soon. She shuffled, keeping her weight off her leg, it was going to need stitches, she could already feel the wetness spreading under the bandage and it was throbbing like a son of a bitch.
Her eyes shifted back to the blanketed body, it had been close, too close. Why was she always making mistakes when it came to madmen? She shook her thoughts clear, her eyes going back outside, letting what she saw calm her. There was always something about the air after a storm, it was fresher, cleaner. She smiled as she felt Jenny approach, smiling more as arms encircled her waist and felt a cheek pressed into her back. She covered the hands with her own. She didn't want to leave, but she knew she had too. There were still many unanswered questions, he still could have a target out there. Let alone the things that were going on between the two of them.
“I know you have to go…..”
Shannon smiled. She was getting used to the fact Jenny always seemed to know what she was thinking.
“….promise me you'll go to the hospital and get yourself taken care of first.”
Shannon turned in the embrace. “I will.”
Jenny just starred up, amazed now that the blue eyes were just as calm as the sea. “I…. I…. could come with you?”
Shannon knew that offer cost Jenny a lot. “I'd like that, but someone's got to stay here and explain what happened and leaving a crime scene isn't….” She suddenly felt Jenny stiffen, she looked over her shoulder back up the beach. Her face grew hard. “FEDS.”
Jenny drew gently away. “I don't care. I want this finished with.” Her eyes went to Shannon . “But you need to get that leg and hand seen too.”
Shannon limped out onto the porch aware Jenny held back. Shannon watched as they grew closer, she cursed under her breath when she saw which agents they were; Ryter and Thomas.
They drew closer, neither of them smiled, they didn't wait for an invitation as they came into the yard and started up the steps. Agent Thomas just managed a smile. “Detective.” He paused on the first step aware she wasn't going to move.
“Agent.” Shannon 's narrowed gaze was on Ryter, who was giving her his best, drop dead look.
Thomas's eyes went to the doorway, seeing the psychic in shadow. He bowed his head in acknowledgement, not surprised at all when none was returned. His gaze came back to Shannon . “Forensic are on their way. You're partner filled us in on what happened.” He's eyes dipped to her leg and hand. “You need medical assistance?”
Her voice was curt. “I'll get it later.”
Thomas exhaled. “Look. I don't want to be back here anymore then you two don't want me here. But right now….” His eyes went to Jenny. “…. We need your help.”
Jenny took a small step forward. “You've found out there's another target?”
His jaw twitched. “Yes. Can we come in?”
Shannon looked over to Jenny.
Jenny turned. “Let them in. I want this over with.”
Shannon stepped back, not bothering to wait, she followed Jenny inside. This wasn't exactly regulation crime scene procedure, they were all stomping over evidence, but lately nothing had been regulation. She watched as Jenny shut herself down, sitting once again with Bud on guard by her side. Shannon took the rocking chair, needing to rest her leg, she watched them enter, smirking when Ryter jumped, as Bud let out a low growl as he passed.
Thomas saw the covered body, he moved too it, lifting the blanket, he knelt, snapping on latex gloves, he started a thorough search, he didn't really expect to find anything but he had to be sure. He replaced the blanket, removing his gloves. “Emerson said she took him down?”
“Shot him twice. It was clean.” Shannon made sure they understood.
“She beat the crap out of him too?” He smirked already knowing the answer.
Shannon just glared.
“We're wasting time.” Ryter sat forward. “He's your arsonist alright. We raided his house as soon as we got the information from your detective. Son of a bitch had enough C4 to blow up a small town. Had his fires all spread out nicely for us on a wall map. But there's nothing there to tell us where he's next one is.”
“What makes you think there is one?” Shannon eased her leg straight.
“We've traced the canisters he used. He brought eight of them in October of last year, he didn't cover his tracks. I don't think he ever considered being caught. He used his credit card; we traced it to a store in Yarmouth . The canister he used is usually sold as a time capsule. Anyway, Five are accounted for, the fires, forensic matched them.” His eyes locked on Shannon . “Two are missing.”
She flexed her hand. “I can account for one. He tried to blow up this house. I found it and dumped it in the sand dunes.”
Both agents eyebrows rose. Ryter spoke. “That still leaves one.”
Jenny lowered her eyes. “There is another one.”
Eye's snapped to her.
She looked up. “He said as much. But, he didn't say where.”
Thomas rubbed his temple, smoothing back his dark hair. “There's nothing at his home. We're trying to figure out if he had a second place but so far all searches have come up nil.”
Shannon was impressed; the feds had only been given the name two hours ago. Her eyes went to the body. “Who was he?”
Thomas turned to her surprised. He pulled out his notebook. “Jonathan Barnes. Keys resistance since 1993. He was born in new York lived there till he was 23 then …” his voice tapered off. “….joined the marines.”
Shannon frowned. “Wait a minute. He's ex marine and we didn't catch that from the print?”
Thomas shifted nervously. His head down. “Wasn't his print.”
Shannon lent forward. “What? I didn't catch that?”
Thomas exhaled, lifting his head. “It wasn't his damn print. It belonged to the shop assistant that sold him the canister. I don't think Barnes even knew the print was there. It was inside.”
Shannon gave a dry laugh. “Great. We were chasing more fucking shadows. Anything else you guys screwed up? We were going on your information as I remember.”
Both agents flushed red.
“ Shannon .” Jenny's voice was soft.
Shannon met her gaze, taking a deep breath she sat back. “Go on what else have you got on him?”
Thomas checked his notes. He didn't blame Shannon for her reaction, everyone of them felt the same when they'd found the match. “He was discharged from the marines five years ago.”
“Why wasn't he recalled for Iraq ?”
“He was wounded in action in Gaza , back injury, they offered him a desk job but he refused. He's been drawing a pension, so we have no work record on him at all.”
Shannon had a bad feeling. “What was he in the marines?” he saw the brief look exchanged between the detectives.
Ryter answered. “Bomb disposal.”
Shannon 's face flushed. “And is there a reason he's name didn't show up on the list of ex service men living in the area? Especially ones with explosive knowledge?”
Ryter looked at Thomas again. Thomas answered. “We missed it.”
Shannon 's snorted. “No shit.”
Ryter glared at her. “Do you know how many names we've had to check on that list? Over two thousand. We were getting to him.”
“This doesn't make sense.”
Everyone turned to Jenny as she spoke.
She looked up at them. “He isn't that stupid. You said it yourself he didn't expect to be caught. He would have known his name was going to come up sooner or later, that you would have questioned him. With his expertise you would have done more than trust his word. You would have found the credit card, then the canister.”
Shannon nodded. “She's right.”
Ryter shrugged. “So?”
Jenny's eyes fell to the body. “He isn't Jonathan Barnes. It's another one of his false leads.”
Ryter snorted. “Yea well he didn't expect to end up dead now did he. So he makes mistakes.”
Shannon watched Thomas, seeing he was thinking. “Did you run D.N.A?”
Thomas eyes slowly came up. “Not yet….” He's mouth twitched. “….You have the body.”
Shannon opened her mouth, but thought better of it, it snapped shut.
Jenny hid her smile.
Ryter threw his arms up. “Oh come on. We have identification on him, his house records, neighbors knew him.”
Thomas straightened. “Ryter, go back to the port and wait for my team.”
Ryter flushed, but rose, giving Jenny and Shannon a dirty look before leaving.
Thomas looked at Shannon . “He isn't as much of an ass as you think.”
“I'll take your word on that.”
Jenny stroked Bud's head, she'd stayed mostly silent, just listening and trying to figure things out. She hated this, hated that there was a dead man on the floor, what surprised her was the fact she wasn't freaked out about it, or that they were just sitting around talking over the body as if it wasn't there. Life sometimes was the strangest thing.
Thomas moved a little closer to Jenny, well aware Bud was watching him. “Miss Newton we do need your help on this. I can't take the chance that his next target is just sitting there waiting to explode.”
“He liked doing it himself, to watch.”
Thomas nodded in agreement back to Shannon . “I know and I'm hoping he's placed the damn thing and it's just sitting there waiting for him. But, that still leaves a big risk. We need to find it.” He looked back at Jenny. “I know it's alot to ask after everything that's happened.” Her eyes locked with him, he swallowed. “Will you help?”
Jenny looked passed him to Shannon, who was just waiting. “We'll help.” Shannon smiled and nodded in agreement.
Jenny rose. “I need to go to his house. It'll take too long to bring his things here and I don't…..” her voice faltered, eyes falling to the body. “I want him out of my house…. I want it so there's nothing of him here. Can you arrange that?”
Thomas smiled. “I'll take care of it. When do you want to leave?”
Jenny was already heading to her bedroom. “Now.”
His eyes followed her, until he turned, looking to Shannon . “She's changed.”
Shannon rose, hopping slightly to regain her balance. “Yes. We both have.”
He wanted to ask what that meant, but knew he wouldn't have gotten an answer anyway. “You need that seen too.” He nodded to her leg, the bandage now was stained with blood.
“I'll get it done on the way…..” she paused. “Unless I'm not allowed on this?”
“I'd be an idiot to keep you out of it. Go down to the port, my launch is there, take it. Agent Day is waiting, he has the address. If Ryter gives you any hassle send him back to me. I'll wait till my team gets here then I'll meet you at the house.”
She hobbled passed him, lifting her gun. “I'm leaving a crime scene.”
He smiled. “Never bothered you before.”
“Yea well last time it nearly cost me my life and my job. I'm tending to be a little more careful these days.” Her voice was bitter.
Jenny stilled at the door.
Thomas saw her but said nothing. He gave his attention back to Shannon . “You're covered. We'll get both your statements later. Emerson pretty much filled us in on what she knew happened. There won't be a problem.” As an afterthought he asked. “What happened to the bomb?”
“He blew it up. Surprised Jane didn't tell you.”
Thomas found himself flat footed again. Detective Rhimes never ceased to amaze him. “We had limited time. Where's the area?”
Shannon nodded to the right of the house. “About 100 feet that way.”
“I'll get it checked.”
Jenny took the time to get her feelings under control by the time Shannon turned to her there was no sign of how much her words had impacted. “We ready?”
Shannon holstered her gun, slipping her arm over Jenny's shoulder. “Ready.”
Jenny squeezed the hand. “We're going to the hospital first.” She dared both Shannon and Agent Thomas to argue with her. Neither of them spoke. “Good. Bud…. We're getting you checked out too.” She put on her sunglasses.
He woofed, his side really did hurt. He gave Agent Thomas a not so sure look as he followed his mistress and friend through the door.
When they were gone, Thomas put back on new latex gloves, snapping them into place as he wondered where he should start first.
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