Jenny hadn't been ready for the feelings that choked her as they'd entered the hospital. She'd sat silently by Shannon 's side as the nurse stitched both wounds, the whole time she wanted to run away. Everything assaulted her, the smells, the sounds, the echoes, the lights. She'd held it all together until in another room she heard the code red sound of a heart monitor flat lining. She'd run then, ran until hands grabbed her and she was pulled into safe warm arms.
They stood in the car park, unaware of anything but each other.
“It's okay.” Shannon soothed her.
“No it's not.” Jenny shuddered.
There was silence, until finally Jenny drew away, now composed. “I wasn't ready for that. Sorry.”
Shannon looked at her, worry on her face. “No need to be sorry.” Her worry increased as Jenny avoided her gaze. She knew Jenny wasn't going to talk about it now, if ever. She inhaled, wondering if Jenny was going to run away again. It had scared her half to death when Jenny had suddenly bolted from the cubicle. “Let's go to the house. Get this finished.”
Jenny nodded, already turning heading towards where they had parked the car.
Shannon sighed, following.
Bud sniffed at the bandage around his ribs, he nipped at it.
He cringed, sighing, going back to putting his chin on his paws, wiggling to try and get the bandage off.
Jenny rolled her eyes. “He's as bad as you.”
Shannon took her eyes off the road briefly. “What you mean?”
Jenny lowered her glasses, staring at Shannon 's hand.
Shannon looked down, she'd been rubbing the bandage on the wheel. She cleared her throat, eyes going back to the road. “Well it itches.”
Bud ‘arftttt' in agreement.
Jenny bit her lip, she really did love that pout. Her smile faltered. God, they'd have to talk about this soon.
Shannon drew the car into the side road, slowly as she made out the SWAT van and flashing blue lights. The press were already there, held back on the far side of the street. She chose to keep the van and patrol cars between them, giving Jenny as much protection as possible as she pulled the car to a stop.
Jenny undid her seatbelt, her eyes scanning the crowd of people; she could feel the fear, but also the excitement. She heard Shannon get out. She twisted to face the back. “You're staying here….” She wagged a finger. “….and leave the bandage alone or I'll get you one of those collars that make you look like a dork!”
“I mean it.”
He licked her finger, dark eyelashes fluttering innocently.
Shaking her head she stroked him. “I know you're cute, but I mean it.”
He sighed, lying back down.
She couldn't help but smile at him. She sat forward, closing her eyes, centering herself, when she felt the calm she opened the door and stepped out, ignoring the flashes of the News cameras.
Shannon had been waiting, the walking stick she'd been giving supporting her wounded leg. She waited until Jenny was level with her. “You ready?”
Jenny led the way with a curt nod.
Shannon followed, her badge now in her hand, which she showed to the patrol man guarding the line. They both ducked under the yellow tape, heading up the pathway to the house.
Jenny took a deep breath before she stepped across the threshold. The first thing to hit her was the scent of pine, cleaning pine fluid and bleach. The whole house reeked of the stuff. She wiped at her nose as if that would stop it.
“You shouldn't be in here?”
Shannon moved passed Jenny, cutting the Brad Pitt look alike off, she showed her badge. “Agent Thomas sent us.”
He looked at the badge, then at each of them. He nodded, stepping back. “I'm Special Agent Carter. I've been expecting you both.”
“I'm Rhimes, this is Jenny Newton. What have you found so far?”
He fell into step with them. “Well the second floor is completely clean, haven't found anything out of the ordinary. First floor the same. The good stuff is in the basement.” He showed them into the kitchen.
Jenny looked around, opening her sense a little, nothing was there, no emotions.
Agent Carter moved to the old wooden door. “It's down there. It's safe…. But I wouldn't advise touching any of the explosives.” He nodded down the steps. “He did all his work down there. There's no explosive residue anywhere else in the house. He changed his clothes, shoes, even showered before he came back up.” He waited, looking to each of them.
Shannon watched Jenny.
Jenny moved around the kitchen, taking in the pictures on the wall, all woodland, all void of people. She moved to the cupboard opening it. Everything was in rows, neat, tidy, obsessive. She closed the door, moving to the draw, opening, the cutlery was silver, well polished. She slid the drawer closed. Looking around everything there told her nothing at all. She met the questioning gaze of the Agent. “Are all the other rooms like this?”
“If you mean squeaky clean then yea. Forensic didn't even find anything on the carpets, floors, furniture, bed. They're almost like new.”
Jenny nodded, she'd figured as much. She knew going anywhere in the house would give her the same sense. Nothing. “How long is he supposed to have lived here?”
Jenny frowned. “He brought the house then?”
“No. He brought the house ten years ago, but he only came to live here after he left the marines.”
“Who lived here before?”
Carter pulled out his note book, flicking through the pages. “He leased it out. Two families stayed in the eight year period. I'm, well I haven't gotten the details of who yet.”
Her finger moved along a top shelf, she checked it, no dust. “Get it for me?”
He was unsure why she wanted it, but he nodded.
There was nothing here, she moved to the basement door. “Can we go down?”
“Sure. You need me?”
“No. That's okay.” Jenny started down the steps.
Carter turned. “I'll get onto the information needed. Forensic haven't finished down there yet, so I wouldn't move anything.”
Shannon nodded. She headed to the steps, shifting her weight onto her good leg as she made her way down. When she reached the bottom, her mouth fell open, shelves and shelves of explosive lined two of the walls. The far one was given over to the map showing all of his fires. What made her swallow hard was the left side wall, it was covered in weapons. Mk47's, Remington's. Uzi's. Hand grenades. Glocks. It was every survivalist and terrorists dream. “Jesus.” She stepped down the last step, steadying herself.
Jenny had had the same response.
“This looks more like a cell then someone working on their own.” Shannon moved to the map wall, searching over the map, for what she didn't know.
“No. He's on his own. I'm sure of it….But I'm still sure he's working for someone.” Jenny had opened her senses now…. Pain, it emanated in the whole room. This was the room where he let himself feel, outside this door, he closed it down. But here, here was the real him. He was angry so angry. She tried to narrow it down, following the thread, but all she felt was the anger, the Essence suddenly split, she frowned, moving slow steps towards the center of the room.
Shannon moved away from the wall, looking around. “Why didn't he booby trap this place?”
Jenny lifted a half eaten sandwich, dropping it in disgust, when she smelt it. The more she looked around the more she knew him. He'd lived here, right in this room, the upstairs meant nothing to him, a place to sleep. When he left this sanctuary he became nothing, nothing but his mission. But what was his mission? She became aware that Shannon was waiting for an answer to her question. “He didn't need too. For one he didn't expect to end up dead and this place found so quickly.”
“And because he didn't think we'd find out who he is?”
Jenny turned to face her. “No. He wanted this place found at some point. He's pretending to be Jonathan Barnes remember. It didn't matter if any of this was discovered.” Her hands motioned to the room. “…. The man that's dead didn't exist, he was simply going to disappear and go back to who he used to be.”
Shannon gritted her teeth, using the tip of the cane to lift a sheet of metal in the corner. “So who the hell is he?”
Jenny wasn't listening, her senses had peaked, the second split Essence again filtered into her sense. She moved to the far wall, the one with the maps. Stilling, her head tilted as she searched, her brow frowned, she pushed deeper till the point the world around slowed, stilled, all she could smell now was pine, acrid, sharp in her sense. She was aware of her breathing, deep and even, then suddenly she couldn't breathe, there was no air, she broke away, stepping back so quickly she nearly feel over her own feet. She gasped.
Shannon was by her side instantly. “Hey.”
Jenny stared at the wall. “We need forensic down here.”
Shannon followed Jenny's gaze. “Why? You find something?”
Jenny swallowed, turning her head slowly to meet questioning blue eyes. “I've found Jonathan Barnes.”
Shannon looked up as the two men carried the black body bag past the living room door. She looked across to Jenny who was sat by the window, scribbling something down in her notebook. Shannon had to smile when the psychic tucked an annoying hair back behind her ear, which then of course just fell back down.
Shannon turned to Agent Carter. “Is it Barnes?”
“They're not sure. They're waiting for D.N.A. match to come back from U ntied States military database. Agent Thomas notified me that the man at your house has been taken to the same lab, so hopefully we'll find out who both of them are. One of them must be Barnes. N.C.I.S are coming in on the case.”
“Yea I figured as much. How long has the body been there?”
He shifted. “They think at least a year. But they won't give a better timeline on it until he's back in the lab.”
Shannon looked over to Jenny, who was still scribbling in her notebook. But unlike anyone else she saw that the psychic was listening by the tightening of her hand on the pen.
“So…. What do you two want to do now?”
Shannon didn't answer his question, she waited.
Jenny closed her book. “The one in the wall is Barnes. He was killed down there. You'll find a blow to his skull and knife wound to his lower abdomen. But that's not what killed him. He was asphyxiated…. They knew each other. Barnes trusted him, it's how he got the drop on him. He cleaned up the blood and saturated the whole place in pine fluid….” She wiped the edge of her nose. “…. He still does.”
Agent Carter's eyes widened. “Um. How the hell you know that?”
Jenny ignored him, rising. “Don't bother looking for a connection in the military there isn't one. They met away from it. The man who attacked us wouldn't have been so stupid to leave a trail that way.”
The agent still stared wide eyed. Shannon actually felt sorry for him as Jenny continued.
“They looked alike, that's why the neighbors say they know him as Barnes. He made sure they saw him frequently to keep up the charade. They'll say he was nice, probably even helped them out now and then. It'll surprise all of them what he was really like and what you found here. He would have met Barnes in what looked like a chance meeting, they would have bonded, bonded enough for Barnes to have invited him into his home and trust him. They may have been seen together, it wouldn't have mattered.”
“Um.” Carter shut his mouth. “Okay…. Are you going to tell Thomas that? Or you want me too?” He paled.
Finally Jenny looked at him, her features softened. “I'll tell him.”
The relief showed instantly on his face, Shannon found it very hard not to laugh. She waited till he left before facing Jenny. “You know I think you really enjoy showing off and scaring the shit out of newbie's.”
Jenny looked down, guiltily.
Shannon laughed, then sighed, getting serious again. “You're making it seem like this guy has been planning this for two years.”
Jenny moved to the shelf of books. “I don't think he planned the fires two years ago. But he did kill Barnes to take over his life. As to why…….” She shrugged. “…. I don't know yet.” Her attention went back to the books; she slowly looked over each one. Something was there, she could feel it.
Shannon let her be, looking around the room herself. “What would make an ex marine like Barnes trust someone? Another marine? Or someone pretending to be a marine?” Shannon tapped her finger on the cane. Wondering what would make her trust a complete stranger and invite them into her home.
Jenny's eyes paused on one of the books, she pulled it free. It was a book on low and high tides of the Keys. It didn't seem to fit with the others; they were all fiction, crime stories. She opened it, stepping back when something fluttered free, she dipped, feeling the tingling start just before she lifted the photograph, she could smell the sea. “ Shannon .”
Shannon looked up from the drawer she'd opened. “Yea.”
Jenny turned the photograph to her. “Barnes owned a boat.”
Shannon limped over taking the picture. “There's nothing registered to him.”
“Well, then he used a boat. I'm sure that's how they met.”
Shannon looked at the picture, a man much like the one that had attacked them stood grinning on deck. She could see now how the dead man could get away with being Barnes. “A fellow sailor.”
Jenny nodded understanding what she meant. “Someone to trust.”
Shannon grinned, then ducked quickly kissing her on the cheek, before turning and hurrying as fast as her leg would let her out after Carter.
Jenny softly smiled.
They'd stayed at the house, going over every room, but as suspected Jenny felt nothing in any of the them, other than the basement. When they'd gone back down there, Jenny has shivered when she saw the broken brick wall where they'd removed the body. She'd had to close her sense down totally, the death had been brutal and long, she could still feel the ache in her lungs.
After more than two hours they'd finally given all the information to the returning Agent Thomas and were allowed to return home. Jenny for once hadn't been looking forward to it. She didn't know what to expect, she knew the body had been removed, but she knew the remaining Essence wouldn't be.
Shannon had studied her on the ferry across, wanting to go and just take her in her arms, but she could feel it, Jenny had distance herself to handle things. She wasn't sure what to do, except trust Jenny would come back.
The walk to the house had been in silence. Shannon had taken the steps to the door first, well aware that Jenny hung back. She turned. “We can stay in a hotel till the place is fixed?”
Bud sat at Jenny's feet, looking up.
Jenny let out a low breath. “No. this is my home.”
Jenny took the steps, opening the door. She looked around. The place had been tidied to a degree, but no amount of tidying would get rid of the bullet holes that riddled the wood work of the walls and floor. Her eyes shifted to where the body had been, now there was nothing, someone had even cleaned up the blood. Squaring her shoulders she opened her sense, her eyes closing, waiting. Her eyes blinked open, there was no assault on her sense, no replay, no feeling him die. It surprised her, she could still feel his Essence there but…. Then she felt it the warmth at her back, a hand came down on her shoulder. She turned her head, looking up. Shannon, Shannon was keeping it all out and she didn't have any idea she was doing it. It washed over the whole house, the warmth, the protection. Jenny smiled, seeing the worry. “It's okay.”
Shannon wasn't so sure.
Jenny patted her hand, before moving fully into the living-room. “See.”
Bud taking his cue, shot into the house.
Shannon 's eyes flickered to the area of the body, knowing how hard it would be for Jenny to be around an area like that. She found her hand taken and she was gently pulled into the room.
Jenny squeezed the hand. “I can't feel him.”
Shannon reached up, needing to see Jenny's eyes. She pulled the sunglasses free. “Why?”
Jenny blinked at the light. “You.”
“I could explain it, but you won't believe me. So just take my word for it. I can't feel him.”
Shannon still wanted to know why, but knew somehow she wasn't going to like it. Instead she lowered her lips to Jenny's, smiling when she felt the psychic grab her shirt.
They both parted breathless.
Jenny moved away first, trying to compose herself, this was getting to become addictive. She could see the same in Shannon 's eyes and just the look made her insides tighten. “We…..” she pushed back her hair, laying her cool hand on a very hot neck. “….We have too….”
Shannon wished to god this was all over, staying away from Jenny just might kill her. “I know…. We've got things to do.”
Jenny nodded, still backing away. “I… have….to…” she pointed to the bathroom. “….Shower.”
Shannon followed her with her eyes, telling her legs to just stay still, they didn't listen as she made a step towards the psychic.
Jenny saw it, her eyes widening, feeling the flush of heat between them, she bolted, running into the bathroom, locking the door. She reached over, turning the shower to cold, wishing it had an ice cold setting. God.
By the time Jenny came out of the shower, her house was full again. Jane sat at the kitchen table…. Agent Thomas on the couch. Her eyes searched for Shannon …. She grinned when Shannon stepped out of the guestroom. “Hi.”
Shannon stopped dead, returning the grin, her eyes trailing over Jenny's. Boy, she looked good fresh from the shower. “Hi.”
Jane looked to each of them, she soooooooooooo wanted to whistle. She could see agent Thomas saw it too by the blush which covered his face before he found the report more interesting.
Thomas cleared his throat. “All the evidence you wanted is in the den. Rhimes set it up.”
“ Shannon .”
He looked over to her, nodding. “I'm Geoff....” His eyes went to Jenny as she took the seat opposite him. “We have the names of the people who rented the house. We're having them checked now.” He passed over the file.
Jenny took it, reading it through.
“Why did you want to know about them?” He wasn't sure he was going to answer him, then she looked right at him. He just controlled his urge to fidget.
“They would have had dealings with Barnes in person or through a renting agency. The man who attacked us might have looked around the house previous to setting up his meeting with Barnes. He'd have to find somehow or way to get to know Barnes.” She passed the report back. “I'd concentrate on the Spiller family. They lived in the house the year before Barnes left the marines and wanted to the house for himself.”
He nodded in agreement. One thing he didn't doubt about the woman in front of him was how smart she was. His doubts lay elsewhere. Even with that he still trusted her judgment. “I'll get it done. Is there anything else I can do?”
She inhaled sharply, her eyes going to Jane.
Jane frowned, she didn't like that look at all.
Jenny's eyes lowered. “I want to bring someone else in to help.”
Jane's jaw tensed, she sat forward. She didn't like where this was going at all.
Jenny saw it, but kept her attention on the Agent.
“Son of bitch.” Jane jumped up. “You've got to be kidding me. After what you've done to him.”
Shannon moved, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Jane!”
Jane shrugged it off. “Don't Jane me. She can't be seriously thinking he'd even come near her again…. Jesus Shannon she's ignored him for over a year. You remember that don't you…. Or has one fuck wiped your mind.” Jane's mouth froze, guilt flashed over her face, she took a step back.
Jenny flinched. So did Shannon .
Agent Thomas looked between each of them. Rising. “I don't think. I'll leave you t….” he shut up as blue eyes locked on him, he sat back down again.
Jane felt sorry as hell, it was written all over her face. “ Shannon …. I didn't mean.”
“Yea you did…. Doesn't matter. I need to go check out the safe house.” Before anyone could stop her, Shannon turned and went as fast as she could out the door.
Silence hung like an anvil. Agent Thomas wished FBI training covered this.
“She didn't deserve that. You're angry at me.” Jenny's voice was low.
Jane spun at her. “Don't you think I know that.” She kicked out at the table, shuddering the files on it. She seriously contemplated shooting something, instead she slumped in the chair. “Fuck.” She'd never forgive herself for this. What worried her more was would Shannon .
Jenny was just controlling her temper, but as much as she was mad as hell at Jane, as she looked across, she felt sorry for her. She pushed the anger away. “I need him Jane.”
Jane's eyes snapped up. “You need his talent.”
Jenny bit back her instant reply. “Yes. We need it. In that room are things that the arsonist touched.” She softened her tone. “I can't do what he can…. I know…. I know how badly I've treated him, all of you. I'll deal with it, deal with him.”
Jane scoffed. “What makes you think he'll come running?” Even as she said it she knew he would.
Jenny looked unsure. “I'm not.”
It surprised Jane that she knew Marcus better than Jenny did.
Agent Thomas cleared his throat. “This the same guy as before, the one that shot the Tooth Fairy?”
Jenny kept her eyes locked on Jane, but she nodded at the question. “He has the ability to touch things and see things.”
That made Thomas nervous. “Ah.”
Jenny finally broke her gaze on Jane, her eyes going to Thomas. “We need him. I don't know who this man is. I can't sense anything outside of the house. His essence is dead. You want the target found? I need Marcus to work the evidence.”
Thomas eyes shifted to Jane briefly. “And you think he'd help?”
Jenny shrugged. “We can ask?”
Jane snorted in disgust. “You should fucking ask him…. You at least owe him that much.”
Jenny knew she was right.
Agent Thomas waited.
Jenny rose. “I'll ask him.” She held out her hand. “I need your cell.”
Jane blinked. “He'll think it's me.” She reached to her jacket hanging on the chair, pulling free her cell, handing it over, she paused before letting go, meeting Jenny's eyes. “….but you knew that. That way he won't hang up on you.”
Jenny took the cell.
“Dial memory two, hash.”
As she hit the memory hash. Jenny wondered and not for the first time how well Jane knew Marcus now.
Jane rose, a look of disgust on her face. “I'm going to find Shannon .” She left.
Jenny steeled herself. “Hello Marcus.”
Marcus drew the phone away checking the name, moving it back. “Jenny????”
“I need your help.”
Jane was still swearing like a trooper, ten minutes down the beach her steps faltered as she caught sight of who was sitting on a dune staring out to sea. Shannon . She moved towards her, drawing up, not surprised when Shannon didn't show her any signs of hello. Jane sat, resting her arms on her drawn up knees, looking out to where Shannon was.
“You can shoot me. Wouldn't blame you.” That got her a turned head and a glare. Humor wasn't going to work. Jane exhaled, shifting back onto her elbows. “I'm a shit.”
Shannon picked at the bandage on her hand.
“I'm worse than a shit.”
Shannon turned her head slowly, meeting Jane's eyes. “Is that what they all think of me down at the station? Is that what you all really think of me? That I've forgotten everything just because I've slept with her.”
“No.” Jane's answer was an exhale. She could hear the hurt in her partner's voice.
Shannon looked back out to sea. “I haven't forgotten anything…. I've forgiven her because I understand why. It's not my problem that you still have you're issues. What I have with her is……” she shook her head. “I don't know what it is. But it feels so right Jane and it scares the shit out of me.”
“I know.” Jane sat straight. “I'm sorry. I really am. If I could take it back I would.” She meant it.
Shannon jaw worked, then she gave a curt nod. “Forget it.”
Jane sighed in relief, she knew it wasn't over with, but for now it was ok.
Shannon looked at her, Jane swallowed under the intense gaze, Shannon broke it, rising, putting her weight on her good leg. “I still might shoot you though.” Then she started back towards the house.
Jane grinned, more relieved than anything in the world, to lose Shannon 's friendship would have left her poorer in so many ways. She rose, quickly moving to catch Shannon up.
Jenny looked up from the file when she felt Shannon approach. She appeared in the doorway within seconds. She could tell by the lines on her face that Jane's words had hit hard. She wanted to go to her, but Jane appeared at Shannon 's shoulder.
“Is he coming?”
Jenny shifted her eyes from Shannon to Jane. “Yes. The FBI are flying him in.”
Jane face strained, she just turned away.
“Hey.” Jenny smiled.
Shannon finally met Jenny's eyes. “Hey.”
“You okay?” she searched the blue, but was disappointed to find nothing was there to give away Shannon 's feelings.
“I'm fine. Can we get started with this before Marcus gets here or do we have to wait?” Shannon moved further into the den, looking over the evidence and files, everything belonging to the arsonist was laid out.
Jenny didn't show the pain of being locked out. “We can start.” She focused on the things in front of her. “I'm going over the interviews with the neighbors. It was as I said. They liked him, he helped them out. In fact he had BBQ's every summer which most of them attended. He wasn't shy in his taking over Barnes life.” She looked at one of the names. “…. Mrs. Walters, she lives opposite, remembers another man who she thought was staying there about two years ago. I'm thinking she's the only one who actually remembers the real Jonathan Barnes.”
Shannon nodded. She lifted an evidence bag. “What's this?”
“He gave to charity, that's his tax receipts.”
Shannon snorted. “Jesus. He has some balls…. He took over everything didn't he? And no one noticed. He simply became Barnes.” She threw the bag down. “But why?”
“We'd better get to work.” Jenny lifted the next box of evidence.
Shannon pulled the chair over, sitting, opening the interview files.
Shannon stretched her back out, her eyes were stinging from reading reports and interviews, the FBI had been fast at gathering all resources. All four of them sat in the den; Thomas, Jane, Jenny, her. None of them were sure what they were supposed to be looking for, so far there was nothing, nothing except the fact the unknown man had completely taken over Jonathan Barnes life a year ago. It was worse than looking for a needle in a haystack, at least a needle could be found and still some things just didn't make sense.
She reached across snagging a sandwich, which Jane had made earlier, the coffee was long cold. Her eyes went across to Jenny, she looked so tired, but so did all of them, they all had the same feeling they were running out of time. Her eyes shifted, even Agent Thomas looked rumpled. Marcus had locked himself away in the guestroom, occasionally coming out for more evidence. He avoided any contact with Jenny, Shannon could see how much that hurt her, but she didn't really blame the guy and she knew Jenny thought that too.
Her eyes came back around, not surprised this time that Jenny was watching her, translucent eyes full of question and uncertainty. Jenny gave a small smile. Shannon looked down, pulling yet another file forward, right now she had to concentrate. The reason Jane's words had hit hard, was on some level she'd already been thinking the same thing, she hadn't been full focused on this case at all.
Jenny smiled stilted, she took a breath, knowing now she was being locked out on purpose.
“You know there's something that doesn't match up.”
All eyes turned to Jane.
She sat back from the computer screen. “His finances don't add up…. There's no way on Barnes pension he could afford all that hardware or explosives. Barnes had no other income, the house was brought using a twenty five grand deposit, which was left to Barnes by his grandmother. The rest was paid off when he let the house out over a eight year period. There is an outstanding mortgage of thirty thousand and payment was taken each month from his pension check which was paid into the account. That left him comfortable but no way could he have enough loose cash to buy luxury's, especially ones off the radar.” She looked at them in question. “So. Where he get the dough?”
Agent Thomas rose, going to the computer. “May I?”
He took her seat, his hands a blur over the keyboard.
Jane could see bank records appear and disappear, her eyebrows rose as she watched him bypass passwords. “Glad you're on our side.”
He smiled, but didn't break his attention from the screen, after another ten minutes he sat back. “She's right. There's no sign of any other income. Barnes outgoings went to bills, groceries, tax, everything came out of his main account.”
Jane looked at him, her face showing she'd just told him that.
He went back to the computer, inputting again.
Shannon remembered something, she rose, her hands sorting through the files.
“ Shannon ?” Jenny saw what she was doing.
“The marine discharge file where is it?” she moved one of the boxes.
Jenny saw it, she passed it over.
Shannon took it, flicking through. “Barnes was in a military hospital?”
“So?” Jane moved to her, looking over her shoulder. “We know he was wounded, back injury.”
Shannon found what she was looking for. “It wasn't just a back injury, the wound affected his whole left side, and he only had limited motor skills.”
Jenny wasn't sure what Shannon was getting at. “So?”
“So he wouldn't have been able to go sailing. In fact I'm betting for the first year he was house bound.”
Thomas went back to the computer, this time he called up Barnes medical files. “You're right. He had a nurse assigned to him for nine months, he went to psycho. An improvement was shown after the first year…. Most of his motor skills returned to normal. He was however left with a slight limp.” He looked at her. “It's all very informative but why is it relevant?”
“What date was his last medical appointment?”
Thomas looked at the screen. “February 9 th 2009.”
“Two weeks after that he's dead in a wall.” Shannon tapped her temple. “What if the arsonist did this before?”
Jane looked at her. “Huh?”
“What if the arsonist does this. Takes over people's lives then disappears?”
Thomas was losing his patience. “What the hell has Barnes health got to do with that?”
Jenny was thinking, her eyes snapped to Shannon . God she loved her brain. “Because up until February 9 th Barnes was untouchable. He had a nurse that would have known him, been house bound, had regular checkups at the military hospital.” Shannon grinned at her. “He had to wait until Barnes was mobile, self sufficient, alone.”
Shannon turned, looking Thomas right in the eyes. “He was watching Barnes before. He was already picked.”
Thomas nearly scoffed again until he saw the look in Shannon and Jenny's eyes. He chewed his inner cheek, thinking. “Okay so say that's true. Why Barnes? And what makes you think the arsonist has done this before?”
Jenny's mind was working overtime. “Barnes is the key. Something about him made all this work and time worthwhile. As for doing it before, it's too damn well organized.”
Every one turned to the doorway. Marcus walked in, throwing an evidence bag on the table. “This whole thing was planned from start to finish.” She looked at Shannon . “I hate to tell you this but this guy, was nothing but a tool.”
Shannon swore under her breath. “He wasn't working alone.”
“No what Jenny felt was right, he's working or someone else. It's all over the evidence.”
Jane went to him, hating the haggard look on his face. “You okay?” Her question was a whisper.
He smiled at her, touching the back of her hand for a moment. “I've been better.”
Jenny watched the exchange with a touch of jealousy, realizing she was being watched she turned her head, only to find Shannon studying her.
Agent Thomas rose. “Look. I've got nothing here that proves what you say. Nothing! I can't go back to the bureau with a ….. feeling for Christ sake. Show me evidence.”
Shannon broke her stare form Jenny. “It's all here Geoff. Look at it outside of an arsonist. Look at it like a hired assassin.”
His jaw worked. “A year…. You're saying this guy lay like a sleeper for whole damn year?”
“Yes. Until he was told to move…. You and I both know there are people out there like this.”
Thomas wiped his hand back through his hair, trying to make sense of it. He turned his attention to Marcus. “Why are you so damn sure?”
“His things…. The way he lived. He was playing a role and it was so ingrained in him that I felt nothing except Barnes. Except for one thing. He was always waiting, time after time, day after day, waiting. He felt nothing when he bombed or set fire to something. Oh sure he enjoyed his work, but there was nothing there except accomplishments.”
Thomas looked at him astonished. “That's it!?”
“He was a pawn agent Thomas. A pawn who did nothing for himself, a void. Someone so professional they ate, drank, slept in the role he was in. a pretender.”
“Say I believe that. What makes you think he's done it before?”
“Because he didn't blink when he tried to kill Shannon …. He didn't hesitate at blowing himself up and this house. Your guy has major training.”
Shannon shifted. “A mercenary?”
Marcus slowly nodded. “Yea.”
No one knew what to say.
Thomas was struggling with believing any of this. He knew Jenny and Marcus had talents but how the hell did he put that down on paper. “Okay say it's true, who hired him?” he looked around to each of them and he could tell none of them had a clue. “There are holes in everything you say you know?”
Shannon threw down the file she was holding. “There are holes because we can't explain it. I for one think we're never going to fully understand how he did it? But we can focus on finding out who he was working for? Why this was so important.”
Thomas shook his head. “What makes you think it's so damn important?”
Shannon stepped forward. “Because he broke his timetable to come here and try and find out what Jenny knew. He felt threatened or more to the point the person who hired him felt threatened.”
Thomas looked at Jenny. “What do you…….. feel?” He felt uncomfortable just asking the question.
“The whole time I was around him I got the sense of his mission was the most important thing. He didn't care one way or the other that he had to kill us, it wasn't personal. He was annoyed at having to come here but that was it. The same when I visited the fires. The symbols were a ruse, the burial mounds, all of it he set to throw anyone who was working on it, just in case no one believed the fires. If you're asking my opinion?”
“Barnes is the key. So are the fires, they were a diversion for a reason. Somewhere between those is the connection to his next target.”
The room fell silent, until Jane's voice broke it.
“Maybe it wasn't Barnes he wanted, maybe it was the house. It's not like he knew Barnes was going to get wounded in action and out of the marines. The house was up for lease, anyone could have rented it.” Jane moved one of the files around with her finger, suddenly she got the strangest feeling, when she looked up everyone was staring at her. “What?”
“Son of a bitch.” That hadn't crossed Shannon 's mind once.
Jenny's grin stretched. “oh Jane.”
Jane frowned. “Whattttttttt!?”
Marcus moved fast grabbing her into a hug. “You are a genius.”
The hug threw her, she found herself trying to remember what she'd said. Marcus finally put her down. “Um. Did I do it again?”
Marcus slapped her on the back. “Our super girl.”
Jane felt the blush.
Thomas was shaking his head. “Wait. We've already checked the house. There's nothing in it or around it. It can't be the house.”
Shannon moved to the corner pulling out one of the land maps. Rolling it out on the table, Jenny helped keep the edges down. “Maybe it's not the house, maybe it's the location.”
Thomas voice was curt. “Don't you think we thought of that. There's nothing in that area that is even mildly a threat. It's residential. The nearest commercial property is ten miles away. The naval base and air base are on the other side of the keys. There's no military around there.”
Shannon studied the map, finding the location of the house, she followed her eyes movement with a finger, tracing roads. “He isn't a terrorist remember.”
Jenny was searching too. “He was all American he'd never install himself in a cause that harmed any American G.I.”
Thomas growled. “Tell that to Barnes.”
Jenny eyes snapped to him. “Barnes was an obstacle. His target would be something………” her words tailed off as she felt Shannon tense. Her eyes went to her. “What?”
“The John Pennekemp state park. His house is right on its border. In fact his back yard used to be part of it before the area was sold off fifty years ago for residential construction.”
Thomas looked down. “So?”
“They've just built a multimillion dollar resort in the park land. It's taken them five years. They only just got planning permission for the main area. It began construction a year ago.”
Thomas brow frowned. “So what?”
“So you idiot there's been huge protests that the park should be left alone. There's even been talk that the government took a back payment to let the development go through, just like they did fifty years ago.” Shannon followed the edges of the boundaries in Barnes back yard.
Jenny's eyes sparked. “The burial mounds, the main ones were found when construction began. Archeologists believe most of the mounds and sites were destroyed during the big redevelopment of the sixties.”
Marcus pushed past them, going to the computer, quickly calling up Google, he inputted what he wanted.
Shannon went to him. “What you got?”
Marcus grinned, turning. “The indigenous soil of John Pennekemp park is, chalk, sand, andddddddddddddddd.” He turned to face them, his grin widening. “Red clay………”
Thomas swallowed. “The same red clay you….. You know.”
Marcus nodded. “Ahuh the same red clay I felt with my ‘spooky powers.”'
Jane snorted at his use of finger quotes.
They all now stared at Thomas.
He inhaled. “I'm not seeing you're point. So people are pissed that a bunch of trees got pulled down. So what if you sensed red clay, it would be in his back garden for Christ sake.”
Jenny wanted to slap him silly.
Bud who'd heard and seen the whole thing, thought biting him might work.
Jane swallowed, she saw the point. “It opens tomorrow there's gonna be about two thousand people there. That enough reason to be worried?”
Thomas's eyes nearly bulged out of his head. He didn't say another word, he darted from the den into the living room.
They could all hear him on the com link yelling what they'd found.
Jenny sat back, she felt so damn tired. “Do you really think this is it?”
Shannon lent against the table. “Would explain a lot. Why he needed the house, why Barnes died. Why he came here, he had to find out if we knew of his plan, if he'd been compromised.”
“Dumb fuck. If he hadn't come here we wouldn't have any idea what was going on. I need a coffee.”
Marcus rose. “So do I.” He followed Jane from the room.
Shannon realized this was the first time in hours she'd been alone with Jenny. “Do you think it's the target?”
Jenny had opened her sense to all of it. She exhaled tiredly. “Yes. You're right it fits with too much not to be.”
Shannon needed something to do, she began to roll the map back up.
Jenny watched her. Her question was tentive. “Are you mad at me for some reason?”
Shannon 's hand stilled on the map. “Why would you think that?”
Jenny rose, moving to lean against the wall, she needed distances right now. “Well for one you're answering everything with a question and for two you haven't looked at me all night.”
Shannon finished rolling the map. “If you haven't noticed I've been busy.”
Jenny tried not to let the flinch show at the tone used. “So? Are you?”
Shannon eyes darted to the door as Marcus passed. “This isn't the time to talk about this Jenny. We need to get this case over and……” her eyes came up to Jenny. “…. Finished.”
Jenny studied her. “What Jane said isn't true.” She could tell by Shannon face that she'd hit a nerve. “It isn't.”
“That's as maybe. But right…….”
Jenny felt it she'd lost her at least for the moment. She pushed away from the wall, she was only just holding on to the tears. “….now you need to concentrate on the case. Well when it's over let me know. I'd like to know what the fuck is going on.” She stormed from the room, nearly colliding with Thomas as he came in.
He looked to Shannon in question.
Shannon just shook her head. “What's happening?”
“They're sending agents there now, bomb squad is going to go over the whole area. The ceremony will be called off. I hope to god you lot are right, because my ass is on the line right about now.”
Shannon eyes were still on the empty doorway. “We're right.” Her eyes finally came to him. “This doesn't tell us who hired him?”
He sat, holding his head in his hands, rubbing his neck. “You still think this is something bigger than him?”
He looked at her then, really looked at her. he could see the exhaustion, he could even see little grimaces of pain flash over her face when she moved. The one thing he didn't see was that any part of her thought she was wrong. “We may never know who Shannon ? We'll follow the paper trail and eventually we'll find the money trail if we're lucky. But right now the most import thing is we stop his next bomb from going off.”
His answer was silence.
Jenny wiped at her face, she let the quiet and the silence from the beach help calm her. She tensed, looking over her shoulder, only to find Marcus watching her. She looked away. Great.
Marcus wanted to be anger, he'd actually worked up a great head of steam when he'd first flown out here, was already to tear into Jenny. But as soon as she'd seen her the anger had stuttered and faded. She'd looked awful, and it wasn't just her appearance, there was something so changed in her that he wasn't even sure he knew her anymore. Now, as he watched her alone and obviously crying, there wasn't any other emotion inside him except concern. He stuffed his hands into his jean pockets, stepping down off the porch, moving closer to her, his eyes out to sea. “So. How was Paris ?”
She cried more then.
“That bad huh? Well I would have warned you, Paris isn't for everyone.” He sneaked a look at her, seeing the misery on her face. He sighed, his eyes going to the stars. “I know you had your reason for vamoosing out of here and I'm pretty sure I know what all of them were. Can't say I blame you. I wanted to run away a few times myself. It's not every day I kill someone.”
Her eyes came slowly around, watching his profile, seeing him swallow.
“Oh I know you're going to say it was him or us. But, well….” He kicked at the sand. “So what I'm saying is I understand.”
“I hurt you.”
He looked down at his feet.
“Tell me I didn't?”
“What's the point you know me well enough to know you did.” His eyes came up to her. “You hurt me more by ignoring me when you got back. Paris I can understand.”
Jenny hugged herself, she was so tired of screwing things up, right now she was convinced something had screwed Shannon and her up. Was it her? She realized with a sense of guilt she still wasn't thinking of Marcus. “I'm sorry. I had everything planned you know. I was going to come back. Lay myself at Shannon 's feet and beg forgiveness….” Her eyes went to him. “Go to you explain everything…. It all went so to shit before I even blinked. I tried so hard to do this right…. I ended up still hurting you, Shannon. God…. When does it get any easier?”
He sighed. His jaw worked. “Did you screw Claire?”
The question made her step back, her face astonished. “What?”
He shrugged. “Simple enough question. You two were lovers, she dumped you, she saved you. Did you sleep with her?”
Her eyes steeled. “That's none of your fucking business Marcus. Jesus.”
The question had even surprised him. After all this time he was still jealous. He swore at himself. “You're right it isn't. But it's Shannon 's.”
Jenny thought about turning around and going right back in the house. “And it's between me and her. I know you're protecting her.”
He hissed. “Someone has too, you didn't see what was left after you left.”
She hugged herself. “I felt it.”
His eyes studied her. “From Paris ?” He wasn't sure he believed that one. He knew Jenny's gift was still growing, in fact he wasn't sure where her limits were going to end.
“Yes. It nearly drove me insane.” She looked at him. “But what happened with Claire, she was there as a friend. Shannon and I ……. Well…….. were working through stuff……” her voice trailed off.
“So you two are an item then?”
Jenny laughed, and it wasn't a nice one. “Look Marcus. I'm sorry I didn't contact you. I'm even sorrier for not doing it when I was back in the Keys, but if you think for one moment I'm going to just tell you everything you really are mistaken.” She took a long breath, seeing how much her words were hurting him. “Please just drop it. What's going on with Shannon and I is so complicated, even I don't know what's going on half the time. But please…. Please for your own sake stay out of it.”
He tensed. “You threatening me Jen?”
“No…. I'm asking as a friend.”
His mouth twitched. He exhaled. “You've changed.”
“So I've been told. Is that good or bad?”
His face turned to her, this time his old smile was back. “Good. You've grown balls just like her.”
Jenny snorted. “I can't assure you she hasn't got any.” She flushed red.
He laughed deeply, turning quickly before she could say anything, and was pulled into his arms.
“I've missed you so much. Don't go doing that again, okay?” His voice was hoarse.
She returned the hug. “I won't. I am sorry.”
He squeezed, then he felt her tense, seeing she was looking over his shoulder, he looked.
Jane stood frozen at the door, the look in her eyes was enough to turn Jenny to stone.
Jenny gently pulled away, watching as the door was slammed shut. She looked at Marcus. “You know she's falling in love with you.”
He exhaled noisily. “What do I know.”
She smiled, stroking his cheek. “Think you'd better do something about it before she finds out what an idiot you really are.”
He caught her hand, kissing the palm…. Then he laid a gentle kiss to her lips. “Welcome home.” He turned heading back into the house.
Jenny's head turned sharply, she relaxed when she recognized the warmth. “How long have you been there?”
Shannon stepped out of the shadows. “Long enough to see Sir Galahad kiss you. Should I be worried?”
Jenny could tell she was half serious. She hated the fact Shannon was feeling this insecure. “No.”
“So you guys patch it up?”
“Yes I think so.” She hoped so.
Shannon found herself staring, she quickly looked away. Knowing she wasn't going to like this one bit. “Thomas is going to fly out to the park. I'm going with him.”
Jenny eyes slipped closed. “Why? They can handle looking for the bomb? There's no reason for you to go.”
“I want to see this finished.”
Jenny wanted to argue she really did, but she knew it would be a waste of breath, this was what Shannon did, she was going to have to get used to it and accept it if they had any future. Future? Did they? “I'll come with you.”
Jenny eyes flared. “So, it's okay for you to walk into danger, but I'm to sit here and just wait?”
“You're not going.” Shannon didn't bother to wait for an answer, she just turned and headed back into the house.
“Of all the pig headed, stubborn….Right! I'll show you stubborn.” Her jaw set, she moved back into the house aiming straight for Thomas.
Jenny crossed her arms, staring right at agent Thomas, till the point she saw him squirm. “Why not? I can help. I might be able to tell where he went? What he did?”
“No.” Thomas shoved the files into his briefcase. “She told me you'd come and try this. And the answer is no.”
Jenny cursed Shannon under her breath. “Listen to me I can help!”
“I'm not taking the risk of putting a civilian on site. I have bomb crews, hell even the damn army and navy are helping sweep the place. I don't need you're…… you're whatever it is. She told me you can't sense by touch.”
Jenny glared. “I can help. I don't need to touch. I can fucking sense where he's been.”
Thomas finally turned. “Look. I know you want to help and I can't thank you enough for the help you've given. I know we'd never have worked this out.” He pushed his face forward into hers. “….. but you are not going!” He turned back, snapping his briefcase shut, his eyes going to the door as he heard the helicopter approach. “Now if you excuse me I have work to do.” He paused looking back. “……And if you come anywhere near the park. I'll have you arrested for your own good.”
Jenny really wanted to grab him and shake some sense into him. Instead she turned, slamming her hand into the sink. Her eyes shifted, finding Shannon watching her, she could see the sadness in her eyes, could feel the sorry. Shannon moved as if to talk to her, but instead she simple lifted her bag, turning to follow Thomas from the house.
Jane had seen the whole thing. “Jenny about what I said…. I honestly didn't mean it. But you've got to understand she's protecting you here. This isn't about being stubborn and she isn't going to just let you walk into danger if she can help it.”
Jenny wasn't really listening.
Jane sighed. “Marcus is just as pissed as you are. He's not allowed either and he's not exactly happy I'm going.” She could still hear the argument in her head.
Jenny looked at her then. “Jane. What you saw….”
Jane held her hand up. “He explained it and well….” Her eyes went back to the guestroom where Marcus was. “…. We're sorting things.” She gave Jenny a shy smile.
Jenny eyes shifted to the door, she heard the helicopter close now, she ran out.
Jane shook her head, following, knowing Jenny was wasting her time.
Jenny caught up to Shannon , grabbing her arm, turning her. “Promise me you'll be careful.” The helicopter blades were close enough now to cast up sand and wind, throwing her hair in her face. “Promise me Shannon . No heroics. We've got things to sort out.”
Shannon pushed her hair out of her eyes, shielding them as the helicopter began to land, she could hardly hear Jenny.
Jenny grabbed her harder, shaking her. “PROMISE ME.”
Jenny pulled her closer, standing on tip toes, kissing her with all she had. Suddenly she jerked, her vision filled, her heart pounded.
Shannon moved away, her eyes going to Thomas who was waiting. Seeing Jane pause, before she stepped into the helicopter. “I've got to go.”
Jenny didn't hear her, her senses were on overload, her blood was molten lava.
Shannon suddenly knew something was wrong. “Jen!”
Jenny jerked again, finally she let go of Shannon 's shirt, her sense returning, she backed away, her hand going to her mouth. “No. oh no.”
Shannon could see it in her eyes, just like she'd seen it before. She swallowed hard. She grabbed Jenny back to her, cursing the fact they could hardly hear each other. “Listen to me. That means nothing. You understand me. NOTHING!”
Shannon turned to the yell, then back to Jenny. “I have to go….. Jenny it means nothing. I'm coming back.”
Jenny was still too stunned, frozen. Before she knew it Shannon had kissed her and was gone. When enough of herself came back it was too late, the helicopter was airborne.
“ Shannon !”
She ran trying to catch up to it, her brain ignoring the absurdity of it. She only stopped as she realized she was knee deep in the sea, finding it hard to keep her feet as the waves battered her, she watched until the lights of the helicopter became nothing more then moving dots. She turned and ran back to the house, knowing she was crying. “MARCUSSSSSSSSSS.”
Shannon had watched Jenny until she couldn't see her anymore. She'd felt her anguish. She swallowed hard, finally turning away from the window. She didn't want to think about what Jenny saw, but she felt the lead weight in her stomach at what it meant. Her eyes slipped closed, her head going back to rest on the seat. She couldn't deal with this, knowing, knowing that Jenny had seen her hurt or worse again. Would it always be like this if they stayed together? That every day she went out on a case there was going to be a chance she'd get hurt? But that hadn't changed, that was a day to day possibility. The difference was, could she take Jenny pre-knowing about it, or more to the point could Jenny? How long before it destroyed them.
Jane sat watching, wondering how someone like Shannon didn't just break under the pressure. She knew she couldn't take it.
Shannon felt the helicopter bank, her eyes went back out the window. The park below was illuminated with flood lights and moving smaller ones. It looked like a Christmas tree. Even in the distance of the trees, smaller torches swept, just like fireflies. She exhaled heavily twice, squaring her shoulders, pushing her hair up into a tight ponytail, pulling on the FBI jacket Thomas had given her, clipping her detective badge in plain view, the last was checking her gun. She sat forward, waiting, when the helicopter finally landed; she was out of the helicopter before Thomas.
Marcus wasn't sure what the hell had happened, he'd run out when he'd heard his named screamed, only to have Jenny barrel into him crying and talking so fast he couldn't make out one damn word. He'd grabbed her then, forcibly pulling her to house and the couch, making her sit; he went and grabbed a brandy, making her drink it.
He now sat next to her, rubbing her hands, wondering how the hell they could be so cold in this heat. “Jen?”
Jenny stuttered a breath, closing her eyes as the image of destruction washed over her, she brought the glass to her lips, well aware it was shaking, she cupped her other hand around it, so she could drink.
Marcus shifted closer, noticing that Bud had joined him in trying to get some heat into her. “Jen? What's going on?”
Jenny breathed out the brandy, feeling the burn in her mouth, taking her breath away for a moment. She composed herself enough to control her vision.
Marcus wasn't ready for the look in her eyes when they came around to him. “Christ. What's wrong?”
In answer Jenny reached across taking his hand, concentrating.
He frowned, then he realized what she was doing, his eyes widened, he jerked as her vision transferred to him. He tore his hand away stumbling up. He was trembling now. “Oh god. Not again.”
Jenny slowly nodded, just keeping control of her tears.
Marcus grabbed the glass out of her hands, downing what was left of the brandy, spluttering as it hit his throat, feeling dizzy for a moment he sat. “Jesus.”
“We've got to do something Marcus?”
“Yea?” he was still shocked by what he saw, it looked like the world was on fire. “Is Shannon in that?”
Jenny shook her head. “I sense her close to it, but…...” her brow furrowed. “I…. Oh god Marcus I don't know.”
He hugged her as she leant into him. “What about Jane?”
Her eyes came up to him, she saw it then, he was falling in love with her too. “You saw what I saw.”
Marcus exhaled. “We've got to do something.” He looked down sharply. “And don't give me that bullshit that we can't do anything because it's now written in the destiny of the essence.”
“I wasn't wrong before.” Her voice was small.
He pulled her away from him. “Jenny. We can't just sit here and do nothing?”
She shoved his hands away. “What do you expect me to do? We'll never get there in time.”
Marcus rose. “Oh yes we will.” He pulled a card out of his back pocket, already flipping open his cell. He dialed. “Yea hi….. Mac its Marcus…” He flushed. “…… yea spider man……. You busy? We need a ride.”
Suddenly Jenny felt a spark of hope.
Shannon and Jane stood waiting. Thomas had disappeared over twenty minutes ago, telling them to wait. But Shannon was getting tired of waiting. Her eyes took in the scene around; generators had been set up to power the huge floodlights which lined the area around the main complex. The whole place was a hive of movement; she recognized army uniforms and navy mixing into FBI illuminated jackets.
Jane shifted uneasily. “What exactly are we waiting here for?”
Shannon shifted her gaze to the large van, knowing it was the control centre. “They're wondering what to do with us?” She watched a remote bomb disposal robot heading into the main building.
Jane was watching too. “They haven't got a single clue where to start have they?”
Shannon didn't answer, her mind was going over everything, ever clue, every scrap of paper they'd been over.
Jane's twisted around when she heard another FBI surveillance team van turn up. The doors opened and at least thirty agents hurried out. “Well they aren't short of man power, must be over three hundred going over this place. They all look like headless chickens.”
“Yea. Come on.”
Jane started. “Huh?”
Shannon grabbed the edge of Jane's jacket, pulling. “Come on. He wasn't stupid. He'd have known if he was discovered they'd go over this place with a fine tooth comb.”
Jane shrugged her arm free, but she followed. “And where exactly are we going?” she looked around nervously. Thankful that everyone was much too busy to notice them duck under the cordon tape and head away from the main building towards the smaller buildings.
Shannon wasn't sure where she was going, she was running on instinct, trusting those feelings that had never let her down before.
Jane's eyes widened as Shannon grabbed a torch from an open FBI trunk. “Ah hell.” She grabbed one for herself and followed.
“So let me get this straight? A mad man who took over someone's life, has planted a bomb somewhere in the park and the FBI and every law enforcement in the county, not forgetting the army and navy are now going over the place and you want me….” Mac pointed to herself. “….. To fly in now restricted air space and land you're asses down there?” Mac looked to the two passengers sitting in the back, both of them nodded. She stared at them, her face broke into a grin. “Alrighty then. Just making sure.” She turned back. “I must admit being around you guys makes my life so boring….” She checked her heading, banking the helicopter to the east.
Marcus snorted. “You have no idea.”
Jenny wasn't listening she was stroking Bud, trying her hardest to not start crying again. She couldn't get rid of the images flashing. She switched her mind to the case. Trying to figure out anything that could help…. Barnes…. The house… Her head snapped up. “The house.”
Marcus looked at her. “The house?”
Jenny lent forward taping Mac on the shoulder. “We need to go to his house, the land behind it, its part of the park.” Jenny grabbed the clipboard in between the pilot seat, she quickly wrote down the map reference. “Here.”
Mac looked down at the piece of paper, nodding. “Is it clear enough at the back for me to land?”
“I think so.” She was going from memory.
Mac readjusted her heading.
Jenny sat back, grabbing Bud to her, needing his strength, his warmth. She felt Marcus take her hand, she squeezed it.
“We'll be in time Jen.”
Jenny hoped to god they were.
Shannon shone the torch in the building, she ducked sweeping the flash light underneath. She could see Jane doing the same. She straightened swearing, knocking the light against her leg, grimacing when it hit the bandage. “This isn't going to work. The damn thing could be staring us in the face and we wouldn't know.”
Jane wiped her hand clean. “We need the sniffer dogs down here, only way.”
“Yea.” Shannon 's eyes were staring at the woods. “Tell me Jane why is the house so important?”
Jane shrugged. “Close proximity. He probably could just walk out his back door straight into the park. No guards. Although it's not as if the whole place is policed anyway.”
“And no one would take any notice of someone just walking around.”
“Nope it's open park land.”
“Yea.” She turned to look right at Jane. “So why the hell did he need the house? He could have just driven up here day after day…. He's a chameleon it wouldn't have taken much too just integrate into the building work.”
Jane could see where Shannon was going. “The answers near the house?”
“Let's find out.” She looked around taking her bearings. “This way.”
Jane had no clue how Shannon knew which way to go, all she saw was trees and darkness, but she followed.
Mac eased back on the stick, her head turned, looking out her window and back, checking the distance from the trees to her rear rotor, she increased power slightly as a gust of wind blew her a little too close. She held her breath as she eased her baby down. They landed with thud. She exhaled, already powering down. “Sorry about that. Little tight there.”
Jenny didn't hear she'd already opened the door and let Bud out and was quickly following.
Marcus squeezed Mac's shoulder. “Thank you.”
Mac pulled off her headphones. “Hell! I ain't leaving.”
He shook his head, stepping down from the helicopter.
Jenny looked around, they were above the house and too the back, she was impressed by Mac's flying, the trees on either side made it look like nothing could have gotten through. She called Bud back, clipping his lead on, she didn't need him running off right now.
Marcus stepped up next to her, looking around. “Where do we start?”
Jenny pointed back down the hill. “That's his house the one near the street light.”
Marcus nodded, he turned completely around looking at the full area. “Jen. I hate to tell you this, there's nothing here.”
“Yes there is.”
“Why do you believe that so much?”
She looked right at him. “Because he killed to live here.”
Mac came up, clicking on the torch. She nodded up the hill. “That must be the complex.”
They both followed her gaze, seeing the hue of lights dome on the tree line.
“How far do you think it is?” Jenny looked back at the house.
Mac judged the distance. “I'd say about a mile, not much more.” When she turned back Jenny was heading down the hill with Marcus following she scrambled to catch up.
Jenny stopped at the bottom, she could make out in the darkness the fence boundary of Barnes property. Marcus moved passed her, she grabbed his arm. “No not that way. He wasn't stupid enough for it to be near the house.” She looked back up the gully in the other direction. Her eyes screamed as torch light hit her. She brought her hand up. “Shit. Get that out of my face.”
Mac slipped down the last of the incline, quickly pointing the light away. “Sorry. I'll go first, so we can see.”
Jenny pushed her gently back. “I don't need light to see.”
Mac eyebrows rose, looking to Marcus who was smirking. “More spooky spider man shit.”
Marcus passed her. “Nope. Her eyes see better in the dark.”
“Ah cat woman shit.” Marcus shook her head following, using to torch to make sure she didn't fall on her ass. “We're turning into the freaking X Men.”
Shannon slipped down the embankment, catching a branch to slow her slide. She grimaced as pain laced up her leg. She saw Jane having the same problem descending. The cyclone had turned the normally dry earth into a sodden wet slippery slope, it was hard work going over the area. Her leg hurt like a son of bitch, she was trying to keep most of the weight off it, she cursed herself for being too stubborn to bring the cane. She took a breather waiting for Jane to catch up, when she did they both stood drawing in air.
Jane straightened, trying to ease the ache in her muscles from hanging on for dear life so many times she couldn't remember. “I hate to say this boss but this is a waste of time.”
Shannon wiped the sweat from her forehead, eyes already searching, her head tilted. “You hear that?”
Jane searched around, straining her hearing. “Crickets?”
“No. Water.” Shannon pulled herself up by a branch and started down the rest of the drop, already running to keep from losing her footing.
Jenny stilled. The other two behind stopped. Bud looked up at her waiting, licking his lips.
Marcus suddenly shivered, he looked around trying to figure out what had spooked him, his eyes finally came down to his feet, he crouched, running his fingers over the soil. “Jenny.”
Jenny looked back at him. He held up his hand. Mac shone her torch on it, it was red.
“Red clay.” Jenny opened her sense, breathing in the air around, searching, there, right there, her eyes opened. “This way.”
Shannon just managed to stop herself going over the edge of the bank as it suddenly fell away, she grabbed Jane as she tumbled passed, pulling her straight.
Jane swallowed, looking down into the dark abyss. “Christ. Thanks. What the hell is that?”
Shannon was already on the move again going around the edge, trying to find a way down, she shone her torch, the water was a tempest, carrying away all the rain floodwater from the hills and park. She looked up. “Storm drain.”
Jenny stopped, hearing Mac and Marcus trying to catch up. She lifted her head, following the bank above, there was no way to climb it. She walked slower, she reached up, pulling at the hanging foliage, pulling until it tore away from the clay soil.
Marcus broke free of the trees, stopping, following Jenny's gaze. A four foot grating stood in front of her, it looked like it had been carved out of the embankments solid stone. He moved to it, moving his hand over the bars. He swallowed. “Jen.”
Mac arrived, looking to each of them. “Know what?”
“He came this way and he went in there.”
Mac shivered, suddenly wondering why she felt cold when the heat tonight was already soaking her shirt. “This guy is dead right? He isn't going to jump us when we go in there?”
Jenny moved to the grate, surprised when Bud pulled her back. She handed the lead to Marcus, ignoring his warnings. She moved closer to the grating. Looking it over, she felt along the edges, suddenly her hand felt something that didn't belong, on closer inspection it was a deadbolt and it was shiny new. She looked over her shoulder. Without answering any of the questions she saw in their eyes, she turned back and pulled the bolt back.
She jumped, looking back at Marcus, the bolt already pulled back. “What? Jesus.”
“He could have booby trapped it. Jen we should be calling someone.”
“Then go call.” She gritted her teeth as she yanked on the grating, it moved with more ease then she thought, but the creak it made still made her wince as it echoed around them.
Mac shifted. “Look you guys if there is a bomb in there I for one have no clue what the fuck to do. Spiderman is right, we need the FEDS.”
Jenny took Bud's lead back. “Then go tell them. Barnes's house is that way.” She turned quickly, heading into the drain tunnel.
Marcus grabbed Mac's jacket. “Go back get them here now!” He pulled the torch from her hand and headed into the tunnel after Jenny.
“Well shit. How am I supposed to see? I ain't cat woman.” With a grumble Mac made her way back the way they'd just came.
Shannon 's hand felt like it was on fire, no matter how she tried, she had to use it to help climb down the walls of the storm drain. She grabbed a root, wincing as it dug in, using it like a vine. She could hear Jane's cursing above her, she couldn't see now the torch was firmly in her back pocket. She could just see the water below, no more than a couple feet, she had to stop as her wounded leg started to cramp.
“You okay?” Jane haltered her process.
“I can't see a way down from here.” Shannon boot slipped, she just managed to regain her footing, she dug her toes in to the small crack she'd found, her arms felt like dead weights. “Jane.”
“Go back. See if you can find another way around.”
“Me? What about you? What the hell you gonna do?” Jane tried to see through the darkness but could only make out the outline of Shannon .
“I'm gonna see where this goes.” Shannon took a deep breath, loosening the root from around her hand.
“How the fu……….” Jane words stuttered to a halt as she suddenly saw the outline push away from the wall and head straight down. “ Shannon !”
Shannon hoped to god the water was as deep as she thought, she twisted aiming her back, closing her eyes. The impact was intense, expelling the air from her lungs, the water cold as she went under. Just as her lungs were about to give up and inhale, she felt dirt, she quickly kicked down, feeling the contact and felt herself aiming back upwards again.
“ Shannon ! God damn it if you're dead again I'm going to kill you.” Jane twisted, trying to see, suddenly a torch light hit her right in the eyes, she brought her hand up. “ Shannon ?”
“Yea.” Shannon coughed up more water, she was holding on to the side of the storm drain, her feet safely on an overhang.
“Fuck. That was the stupidest thing you've ever done. Hold on I'm coming down.”
“NO! I need you to go back around.”
Jane muttered under her breath, trying to find an easier way down other than a leap of faith.
“I mean it Jane. I need you to head downstream, I'm going up. We can cover both ends.”
Gritting her teeth, not liking it at all Jane began to pull herself up, she scrambled over the top, turning to look down. “If I don't find anything within half an hour. I'm coming to find you.”
Shannon yelled up. “Deal!” she aimed the torch light ahead of her, trying to keep to the edge as much as possible as she moved against the flow of water.
Jane watched the movement of the light for a moment, then cursing again, she headed the opposite way.
Jenny jumped as Bud let out a bark, it echoed off the walls to the point even he cringed. Marcus shone the light in the direction Bud was looking. They all three shivered as a rat ran for cover.
“Jen. Do you think this is such a good idea?” He ducked as the ceiling of the tunnel dipped.
“Yes.” She took the torch from him, shining it down a smaller tunnel to the east, sweeping the light around, to another tunnel which headed straight ahead, she could make out something just out of view. She pulled on Bud's lead, heading to it. As the light became clearer she could see what it was now, a large secure covering, with a wheel on top of it, she could hear the water running below.
Marcus stopped next to her. “That must be the main storm drain down there. You know it probably leads right up to the damn complex.”
Jenny opened her senses, she placed her hand on Marcus's arm as he was about to turn the wheel to open the cover. “No. he wouldn't have made it that easy. The feds are going to be all over places like this…..” She shone the torch back up the tunnel to the smaller entrance that led east.
Shannon coughed up dirty water, spitting whatever the hell it was that had just found its way into her mouth, she really didn't want to think about what is was for too long. She slipped again but this time her foot found a level bottom, now wading in the middle of the drain, the currant was strong but manageable. She pushed the hair off her face, narrowing her eyes at something the light picked up, a higher storm drain was about two foot above her. Pushing off she headed for it, grabbing the edges she pulled herself up, glad to be out of the water, shining the torch up the tunnel she followed where ever it might lead.
Marcus looked at the walls as they walked further down the smaller tunnel. “Jen this place isn't a storm tunnel.”
Jenny kept walking, shining the light around as they descended; they'd been following it now for over ten minutes. “No. I think it's an old work tunnel. I've heard of them being used, they run an identical tunnel along the one there working, that way if there' s any flooding or cave ins, they have a back up.” She suddenly stopped, she felt the whisper down her spine.
Marcus just managed to stop in time. “What?”
“He's been here.”
Marcus closed his eyes, placing his hand on the walls. He felt it too. “Yea.”
Bud sniffed, he didn't like what he smelt, but there was something familiar about it, he sniffed again, moving forward, tugging on his lead.
Marcus saw it. “Jen let him go.”
Jenny stooped unclicking the lead, but before she could do anything Bud took off down the tunnel. Jenny immediately took off after him, Marcus followed her. They moved as quickly as they could, Jenny kept losing sight of Bud as he turned corners, they reached a fork in the tunnel, but Bud was already out of sight down the left one. They had no option but to follow. Another branch came. Jenny had no idea how deep they were going and she'd lost all sense of direction. She caught movement, seeing it was Bud. “Bud. Wait!”
He ignored her following the smell. Finally the tunnel opened out. This time when Jenny skidded to a halt, Marcus didn't have time to stop, he barreled into her back, falling to his knees in a pile. Jenny just managed to keep her footing.
Marcus swore. “What the hell.” He stopped, seeing the look on Jenny's face made him look up and passed her. His mouth fell open too. “Mother of God.” He got the sudden urge to cross himself.
Jenny eyes went to every wall, every wall that had C4 attached to it, it looked like an elaborate spider web, a web which had a least a twenty flashing red lighted flies. Her eyes found Bud, she quickly went to him, pulling him away from the wall, going back to where Marcus still knelt stunned. She clipped Bud's lead back on. “He went right too it….”
Marcus finally pulled his eyes away from the nightmare. “He's trained too Jen. Part of his training was explosives.”
Which made both of them jump.
Marcus slowly tore his eyes away, looking at Jenny. “What the fuck do we do?”
Jenny swallowed, she didn't have any idea at all.
Shannon now was stooped as she made her way along the tunnel, cursing as occasionally something snagged her hair. Finally after what seemed like an eternity the tunnel widened, she could hear water again, this time it sounded like Niagara Falls . She reached the end, exhaling as she found herself right on the edge looking down into another tempest. This time there were metal ruts leading down, putting the torch in her teeth she turned and slowly made her way down. She almost yelped when freezing cold water covered her to the waist as she stepped off the last rut. Shining the torch left then right, she decided to follow the way against the currant. She began wading.
After another ten minutes she had to stop, dead-end. She twisted, sweeping the light back the way she came. She hadn't seen any other way, but the water had to be coming from somewhere. Slowly she shone the torch down the wall, under the water, she could just make out a darker piece of the wall, dipping she felt along it. There was an outlet there with a closed sluice, but it was much too small for her to go through without opening it. She shone the light back down and around, she moved back a little, she was trying to make out what the hell that was on the far walls. As she neared she could see, two large steel doors lined the sides of the tunnel, she could make out the mechanism on each side holding them open. Her eyes caught something above, shining the torch up, a hatch. Quickly she scanned the wall, finding the iron ruts that led up to it. She swam to them and started up.
Jenny was biting her lower lip, still staring at the nightmare in front of them. “How long do you think we've been walking?”
Marcus looked over, he'd been trying to see if there was any main control, so far he'd found nothing, they all seemed to be individually set up. “About thirty minutes. Why?”
Jenny looked back up the tunnel behind them. “And we've kept pretty much due east?”
He frowned. “Yea.”
Jenny's head slowly tilted back, till the point she was staring at the domed earth roof. “I think we're right underneath the whole complex.”
Marcus's eyes shot wide, then up.
Jenny suddenly froze, she stepped forward, her senses searching. She could feel it, feel her. Her head shot around, staring back up the way they'd just come. “ Shannon .” Her voice was a whisper.
Bud's ears perked.
Marcus however was trying not to run screaming. “Jen.” When he got no answer, he repeated but this time he let the terror show in his voice. “Jenny!”
The yell broke her concentration. “What!?”
Marcus stepped back, pointing.
Jenny could feel his terror now, she moved to him quickly, her gaze following his finger. A display, with numbers, 51:24 and changing every second to a lower number, a countdown, sat nestled in a corner. They looked at each other, both seeing the fear in each other's eyes. Both thinking the same thing, they turned and ran.
With a grunt Shannon pushed up on the hatch with all her strength, finally it gave and with a last heave she sent it open, the clang of it making her ears ring. She threw the torch through first, then levered herself up enough to get a hand hold and haul her ass the rest of the way. She just lay on the dirt, gulping breaths. She suddenly sat up, her whole body on alert, reaching for her gun, moving onto her knees, she waited.
Jenny took the last bend, trusting Bud judgment to get them out of there, she rounded a corner, suddenly her senses peaked. She increased her speed.
Shannon leveled the gun, she felt the hairs go up on her arm. She could hear running feet now. She rose, keeping the gun out, not trusting what she was feeling, because it couldn't be possible.
Jenny cleared the tunnel, only to find herself with a face full of gun. She skidded to a halt.
Shannon immediately pulled the gun away. Staring open mouthed, her brain trying to register that it was Jenny. The anger kicked in. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Jenny just breathed, trying to catch her breath. She was torn between wanting to hug her and slap her silly for sticking a gun in her face. “We….. found …… it.”
Shannon arm came up again as she heard another approach. Jenny gently put her hand on it, pushing it down. “It's Marcus.”
Shannon threw her arms to the heavens. “Of course it is. Why wouldn't it be…. You're supposed to be on the island? How the hell you get here?”
Jenny took a long breath. “We haven't got time for this. It's there Shannon .”
Marcus bent over catching her breath. “There's enough C4 down there to blow a damn town up, it's everywhere.”
Shannon made to move down the tunnel, only to have both Marcus and Jenny grab her.
“You can't do anything. We have to get them evacuated Shannon . There's a timer and it's at…..” Marcus looked at his watch, he'd set his stop watch. “We've got less than forty minutes.”
Shannon looked to each of them, seeing they were telling the truth, she knew she couldn't defuse C4. “There's not enough time to warn them.” she holstered her gun, thinking.
Jenny caught her arm again pulling. “WE have to leave.”
Shannon pulled away. “We can't just let it explode.”
Marcus this time grabbed her. “We can't do anything.” He shoved her towards the exit tunnel. “Now stop being a fucking hero and let's get out of here.”
Shannon regained her balance, when he made to grab at her again she slapped his hands away.
Jenny had had enough. “Stop it!” she turned to Shannon . “He's not lying.”
Shannon jaw worked, her eyes going down the east tunnel.
Jenny grabbed her hand. “ Shannon you can't stop it. We have to try and warn them…….. please………please.”
Shannon gave a curt nod, she hated running away, but she wasn't going to risk Jenny's life. She turning, running, pulling on Jenny's hand to follow.
Now all four took off in a run, for their lives.
Shannon slowed, her head turning to look back. Suddenly she thought of something. “You two keep going.” She changed direction, letting go of Jenny's hand.
Jenny skidded to a halt. “What?”
Marcus grabbed Jenny. “Come on.”
Jenny pulled away. “I'm not leaving her. Not again.” She twisted out of his hands, turning and with Bud headed right back after Shannon .
Marcus looked back up the tunnel to the exit, then back to where the other two had gone. “God damn it!” he followed.
Shannon ran flat out, ducking under the roots that hung down, only stopping when she reached the hatch. She started to climb down into it, a pair of hands suddenly pulled her back up. She came face to face with a very angry Jenny.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jenny wouldn't let go.
Shannon had no choice but to move back up. “Listen to me. There are flood doors down there, they must be from when they built the main tunnels to hold back the water, so they could build the lower ones.”
Jenny peaked over the edge. “So?”
“There's also a sluice gate, it's holding back most of the storm water. If I shut the doors and open the sluice….”
Jenny's eyes sparked. “You want to flood the tunnels!?”
“Yes. The water will automatically go down the tunnel with the explosives, it runs downwards. Once the water floods in there maybe, just maybe it will contain the explosion enough to not destroy the whole complex.” Shannon searched Jenny's eyes, seeing she was thinking it through, but she wasn't yet convinced. “Jenny. We have to try something.”
Marcus drew up to them, taking deep breaths. He'd heard some of it. “C4 isn't affected by water.”
Shannon shot him a look. “I know that, but water is denser, it's going to have some effect.” She looked at her watch. “We're running out of time.” She grabbed Jenny's hand squeezing it. “I have to try something….” She searched her eyes for understanding.
Jenny inhaled. “Okay. But I'm helping. I'll get the sluice, you get the doors.”
Shannon would have preferred Jenny running in the opposite direction, but she'd take a small mercy. “Done.”
They both grinned.
Marcus rolled his eyes. “Sometimes I wonder which of you two is the insane one.”
Shannon stretched up, quickly kissing Jenny on the lips, before she started down the iron ruts.
Jenny's fingertips went to her lips, by the way Marcus was smirking at her, she knew she had a dopey look on her face. She stuck her tongue at him. “Just wait till I find you and Jane kissing.” She handed Bud's lead to him. Then lifted a leg and shuffled down onto the first rut.
Jenny inhaled so sharply she thought her lungs were going to cease up, the water was freezing. “How in the hell ca…can it be this cold?”
Shannon swam to the first door, pulling herself up onto the ledge. “It's mostly underground water….There.” she pointed. “The sluice is off to the side, the handle is just next to it.”
Jenny used the torch to find it. “Got it.” Gritting her teeth she swam to it, finding a foothold.
“Wait. Don't open it till I've got these doors closed.”
Jenny shone her light across to aid Shannon , watching as she jumped across the gap and hung onto the door itself.
Shannon eased herself along till she could reach the first mechanism, she stretched across grabbing it, pulling. It groaned but didn't Budge, she hoped to god it wasn't rusted shut, she shuffled a little closer, trying not to lose her balance, holding on with her left hand, she tried again with her right, gritting her teeth, her arm muscles bulged, then with a groan and creak the handle slowly moved towards her, she felt the door shift, she pumped it back and forwards, working the mechanism, finally the first door began to inch closed.
With a clank the door locked into place. Shannon relaxed her forehead against the steel, trying to ease the ache in every muscle.
“ Shannon ?” Jenny's voice was filled with concern.
“I'm okay…. Now number two.” She shuffled along the first door, using one of the struts as a ledge, when she reached the edge, she stretched her arm across, fingers just touching the second door, finally she got a hold, and made the leap across, grabbing on to anything, she slipped, biting her lip as she jarred her leg hard against the steel, feeling something dig deep, pain screamed at her.
Jenny moved forward.
“No! I'm okay.” Fighting the dizziness, she gulped air, feeling cold sweat start on her neck. She felt something warm on her leg and wasn't surprised when she looked down to discover dark blood leaking down, dripping off her boot, she cursed. She didn't have time for this.
Jenny watched every movement with her heart in her mouth, she could feel Shannon 's pain now, but she didn't want to shut it out, she needed that connection, a connection that told her she was still alive.
Shannon felt ready, she repeat the process of reaching the handle, this time getting a better grip, she started working it, this one wasn't as stubborn, the second door slowly began to close on the currant. With a deep groan of steel under stress, it slammed shut.
Shannon looked at the water level, even with just the outlet open, the cavern was filling up fast. She started back along the door, towards the iron ruts. “Jenny now!”
Jenny gritted her teeth, putting her whole weight behind her, she pulled on the lever, it groaned and hissed and slowly started to open the larger sluice.
Shannon made it to the ruts, her hand out. “Come on.”
Jenny didn't listen she wanted the sluice fully open, finally she knew she'd done it when a rush of water nearly took her off her feet, she let go, turning to head towards Shannon. A gush of water suddenly pulled her under, her knee slammed into the floor, something smashed into her shoulder, she screamed, immediately water entered her mouth and lungs.
Shannon yelled, holding on to the iron rut with her good hand, she reached out, snagging Jenny's belt as she started to surge passed, she pulled, feeling her shoulders pop at the extra weight, she pulled harder. “Jenny!”
Jenny could feel it inside her now, fear, deep tendrils of fear, but as blackness came to take her, she realized it wasn't hers, Shannon was scared. From somewhere she found life, fighting against the darkness she pushed upward, grabbing onto the arm.
Shannon nearly let go in fright. Then she pulled, pulled till she yelled in pain, suddenly Jenny was in her arms. She felt arms go around her neck, in a vice.
Jenny coughed, ridding her lungs of water. She blinked and found herself staring at the most beautiful blue eyes. “Hi.” She coughed again.
Shannon answer was to wrap her free arm around the blonde tighter and bury her face in her neck. Shannon pulled away, looking down the water was already up to their waists. She pushed at Jenny. “Up. Up!”
Jenny found herself pushed upwards by a foot, if she'd had more time she would have been in awe at Shannon's strength, but right now she had to concentrate on holding onto the ruts and climbing as fast as she could, feeling Shannon hot on her tail.
Marcus reached down, grabbing Jenny's hand as it came into reach, hauling her free from the hatchway. Immediately Jenny fell to her knees gulping air.
Shannon came next, the water already just below the hatch, she took Marcus's hand using it to help her through the last foot.
They didn't have time to exchange pleasantries as water began to churn and bubble its way over the lip of the hatch.
Marcus bent, grabbing Jenny around the waist pulling her up. “Now can we run?”
Shannon answered for her, grabbing Jenny's hand and starting down the exit tunnel as fast as she could.
Marcus bent undoing Bud. “Go.”
Bud woofed and took off after his friends.
Marcus looked at his feet the water was already at the ankle, with nothing else to do, he started down the exit tunnel.
They ran, ran for everything they were worth, not caring about the roots that scratched their faces, ran until they didn't think they could run anymore, but they did.
The water followed the tunnel way, the law of gravity making it take the descending side tunnel, it whirled and rushed following it like a twisting hissing snake. Reaching the dead end with the explosives the water level began to rise, fast.
Jenny stumbled only to find herself hauled to her feet again before she could hit the ground. She managed to give Shannon a grin before they were off running again.
Shannon was finding it harder and harder to keep up the pace, her left leg now was losing its strength, her jeans were soaked with blood, she started to limp badly. She finally had to stop.
Jenny noticed, slowing her pace, going back beside Shannon , putting her arm around her waist, helping her. Seeing the blood stained leg she tore a huge piece of her shirt, bending to wrap it tight. Her eyes widened as she now made out how badly Shannon 's leg was bleeding. She pulled off her belt, quickly putting around the top of Shannon's thigh, securing it as tight as she could, wincing when she felt Shannon flinch.
Marcus stopped to help. Shannon shook her head at him. “No. Keep going.” The blood loss was starting to make her woozy.
He was uncertain.
Jenny grabbed his hand. “Marcus you need to warn them. We'll be right behind you. Okay?”
He looked at Shannon , then nodded, taking off down the tunnel.
Jenny shifted closer to Shannon helping her walk.
“You should go too?”
Jenny's answer was to just glare.
Shannon swallowed, this was hard, too hard, she wanted Jenny near, but she really didn't want her here when the whole place exploded, she had a rough idea of what would happen to the water backed up. “Jen. Please.”
“Do you really think I'm going to leave you? Do you? Are you that stupid?” Translucent eyes shone out in the darkness.
Shannon couldn't help it she smiled. Jenny was so sexy wet and angry, she decided to file that away for later use. If there was a later, she wondered if this was what Jenny had seen. She swallowed, forcing her smile back, seeing the concern and fear and feeling it coming off the psychic. “No. I'm not that stupid.” Her thumb brushed across Jenny's cheek.
Jenny eye's fluttered, she leant into touch, before pulling away. “Good. Now shut up and walk.”
Shannon let her help, trying as best as she could, at best she managed an inadequate hobble.
The timer was underwater, the red display distorted by the liquid. 09:02 shone out. The water now had covered all of the explosives, but still there lights shone bright.
Marcus broke free of the tunnel so fast he skidded and found himself face down in the dirt, he didn't slow, he rose, looking back before heading down to Barnes house.
Shannon stumbled again, Jenny was the only thing keeping her up. “Jen.”
“Shut up. Just keep going.”
Finally Jen looked up, the blue eyes were open again to her, she could see into her soul, and god it was beautiful. Jenny felt the tears start. Her voice croaked. “I said shut up.”
Shannon smiled, feeling the exchange of warmth between them, she tightened her arm around Jenny's shoulder gritting her teeth as they both increased their pace.
Marcus ignored Mac as he stormed into the house, grabbing the nearest FBI Agent so quickly he didn't have time to react. “There's a bomb under the complex….” She grabbed the agent by the shirt pulling him forward into his face. “GET THEM OUT NOW!”
Bud kept stopping, looking back, he knew his friend was hurt, but he wished they would move faster. He ran back, pawing at them.
“I know…. I know. Go Bud!” Jenny pushed him away.
He didn't, he stayed right by them, keeping pace with them as they now did more than stumble.
Shannon looked down at her watch, they weren't going to make it, she increased her grip around Jenny. As if sensing it Jenny did the same.
Marcus tore out of the house, running for all he was worth back up towards the grating.
Agent Thomas had sent the alert out, all personally were now moving as fast as they could away from the buildings. But he knew they didn't have enough time.
Shannon squinted unsure. “Jen is that light?”
Jenny looked up, her face full of sweat. “Yes.”
They increased their speed, using whatever was left of their reserves.
Marcus slipped and skidded up the embankment, his head clearing the top of it, he saw the grate.
Shannon now was running on instinct she could barely see, she could feel the numbness spreading, she felt Jenny's fingers dig into her. She knew she was in trouble, the blood loss was getting too much, her heart bounded, her skin felt clammy, she fought a wave of blackness.
Jenny was terrified, she could feel the coldness coming from Shannon . “Don't you fucking dare do this to me again.” She shook her.
Shannon filled her lungs with air, willing them to keep working, she stumbled, but Jenny pulled her straight again.
Jenny was panicked now. “Please…. Please keep going. We're nearly there.” She moved Shannon 's head so she could see the light from the exit. “Please.”
Shannon pulled herself straight, throwing her arm around Jenny's shoulders, she kept her leg off the floor, feeling her boot fill with blood. This was bad….
Jenny struggled, her lungs screamed for more air. They stumbled and it took everything she had to pull them both right again. Her back ached, the shoulder she'd hit was screaming pain at every moment jarring movement, but still she didn't let go.
This time when Shannon stumbled, her weight pulled both of them to the ground. Her eye's fluttered shut.
Bud yelped, running back, nipping at Shannon 's shirt, grabbing it and pulling.
Jenny was crying now, trying to lift Shannon up. “GOD DAMN YOU. YOU PROMISED.” Déjà vu hit her so hard she gasped.
Marcus reached the grate, making out the pair of them, he headed in.
Agent Thomas looked down at his feet, he could have sworn they were vibrating, he stepped back as he felt the earth bulge, a rumbling began so intense and deep he nearly put his hands over his ears. Then he knew what it was, he turned running for his life as the world around him exploded upward in water and molten earth.
Jenny eyes widened, staring back up the tunnel, the whole place shook, parts fell from the ceiling, showering them, but what made her terrified was the wall of water she could see making straight for them, she did the only thing she wanted to do, she grabbed onto Shannon 's still body with all she had and held on.
Marcus yelled as torrents of water covered Jenny and Shannon engulfing them, just before the force reached him and threw him off his feet.
Bud paddled, trying to get back to his friends, he was pushed under, twisting and fighting in the current, he tried to make for the surface but something snagged him, pulling him deeper into the rage.
The grating exploded outward, the waters force so great it took down the first line of trees, it's roar sounding like a mountain lion on attack. Then as suddenly as it appeared the lion was tamed and there lying like fish thrown from a net, the bodies of Jenny and Shannon wrapped so tightly together, it was difficult to make out where one began and the other ended. A last flash of water erupted from the tunnel, as if the earth was spewing out its contents, like Jonah from the whale, expelling Marcus with Bud tight in his arms.
The earth sighed, the park creatures returned to their calls and running water was heard, nothing moved.
Jane thought the world had ended…. She'd been half way up the embankment when it rose up like the hand of god, throwing her ten foot into the air and flat on her back till the point she saw stars, planets, and solar systems. She lay there wondering whether her lungs were every going to let her inhale again. Finally the rumbling and movement around subsided, and her lungs inhaled the much needed air, she just lay there, dazed. She sat up with a grimace, rising, coughing to get more air into her lungs, hunched over until she was sure she wasn't going to throw up her internal organs and headed back up the rise, which looked now like it had been sculptured with ripples. She reached the top and stopped dead, her face paling at what she saw below.
She ran down the embankment as fast as her legs would carry, down into the devastation.
Antiseptic was the first thing to filter into her senses, it made her nose itch. The second thing was the dryness of her lips and throat. Eyes blinked open, wincing as florescent light made her pupils turn to pinpricks and ice picks in her head. She tried to raise her hand, but as soon as she did she felt the tug of a drip feed line. She slowly turned her head, now she knew where she was, hospital.
Her brain tried to make sense of it all, she remembered running, water and she was sure there was a whale. She frowned, no she'd been in a whale. She mentally shook her head, wishing she could drink something. Her eyes opened again, this time gently, until they were accustomed to the light, she looked around, it was much like any other hospital private room.
She frowned again, shifting slightly to try and push herself up, the pain laced through her so quickly her breath caught, the monitor beside her beeped then went back to its normal rhythm. The more she breathed the more her head began to clear. Suddenly everything came back like a landslide of memories, she actually jolted. She sat up, ignoring the pain that laced her arm as she pulled on the I.V. She remembered now, the bomb, the water, the feel of water in her lungs, then air. Remembered the paramedics wrapping her in blankets, remembered being lifted. She swallowed hard, she remembered Jenny, the look on her face, the terror.
She looked around again, searching, there was not one sign that anyone had been there….. No sign of Jenny. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed, panic seeping into her, the feeling of dread seeping into her soul, ignoring the dizziness as it swept over her like a wave.
“No. not again.” Her voice was hoarse because of not drinking, hoarse because of the emotion. She had to find her, she couldn't let her run again. She turned her head as the door opened, her heart stuttered, the monitor actually beeped that it sensed it.
Jenny frowned. “What the hell are you doing out of bed?” she shifted the large package in her arms.
Shannon just stared, swallowing her emotions.
Jenny's step slowed, she could see and sense something was wrong. “ Shannon ? Hey you need a nurse?” She placed the package on the chair going to her, surprised when Shannon 's hand latched onto her in a vice.
“You didn't leave?” Tears sparkled in blue eyes.
Jenny felt like she'd been punched, realization flooding over her, she pulled Shannon into a hug, feeling the trembling. “Oh god…. No baby. I just went and got you some clothes.” She pulled away searching her eyes. “Don't you remember me telling you?” she brushed Shannon 's hair back.
Shannon held on to her, she felt like she was on a ledge about to fall. “No….” She had no memory of waking.
Jenny wanted to take back the year, go back to when she'd made her mistake, she moved back a little, meeting Shannon 's eyes, cupping her cheek. “I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere. I swear.”
Shannon couldn't hold it then, she grabbed Jenny harder to her and finally let go of the hurt. Jenny found herself crying as well. They clung to each other just like they'd done in the tunnel, each of them each other's lifeline.
Jenny had to draw away, she hadn't heard what was said. She wiped her eyes. “What?”
Shannon held up her hand, extending her little finger. “Pinkie swear that you won't leave again.”
Jenny found herself in the odd position of laughing and crying at the same time, but she extended her little finger and wrapped it tightly around Shannon 's meeting her eyes. “I pinkie swear.”
Before Shannon could reply Jenny moved forward covering her mouth and gave her a kiss which curled her toes. The heart monitor went up fifteen beats.
Shannon pulled away blinking, then slowly a grin spread across her whole face, which faltered, she shifted forward, her voice urgent. “Jane? Marcus? Bud? The complex? The men?”
Jenny hushed her, moving her back. “Easy…. They're fine. Marcus has a busted arm and Bud's broken a rib…. The complex is safe, no one was killed. Shhhhhhhhhhh.” She guided Shannon too lie down. “You have to keep still. You lost so much blood.” She swallowed, pushing the image away. “….you tore you're artery in your leg. They had to do a graphed from your arm….So you godda be careful for a while.”
Well that explained why her arm hurt. Shannon felt her heart rate go down. “You're okay…. Promise?” Her eyes searched over Jenny's body, seeing the bruising around her left eye.
Jenny smiled. “Yes. I'm okay, just battered and bruised. Now go back to sleep.” She pulled the sheeting over Shannon , stopping when a hand grabbed hers. She could see it again, the fear in Shannon 's eyes. “I pinkie swore remember. I'm going to go sort out your clothes, go tell your mother you're awake, then come right back here and sit in that chair.” She didn't break eye contact.
Shannon wanted to believe, but she just didn't want to fall asleep and take the risk. But her body had other ideas, she could feel the heaviness in her eyelids as they closed. “I…. love….you…. Stay.” Then sleep took her.
Jenny chin creased, her eyes filled, she leant over, laying her lips against Shannon 's ear. “I love you too. I'm not going anywhere this time.”
Shannon smiled in her sleep.
Two Weeks Later….
Agent Thomas climbed the stairs, pausing on the porch, the door in front of him was open, but he knew better then to just step through. He waited. He didn't have to wait long before Bud appeared, eyeing him suspiciously.
“Are they in?” it didn't bother him he was talking to a dog. This dog he found wasn't like most others, then again neither was the unlikely band of people in the house.
Bud gave a bark.
Jenny approached the door, wiping her hand on a tea towel. Her face showed her surprise. “Agent Thomas?”
He smiled, he glanced at Newton , she was looking very well. “Miss Newton. I've found out some information that I think you all would like to hear.” He heard the creak of the wheel chair, smiling again when Detective Rhimes came into view. “You're looking better Detective.” He didn't mention the fact the last time he saw her she had the coloring of a corpse.
Shannon eased the wheel chair to a stop next to Jenny. “I feel better….” She smiled up at Jenny, as Jenny placed her hand on her shoulder. “So, what brings you here?” Her attention went back to Thomas.
He eyed the door, then shifted his gaze to Bud, waiting.
Jenny slapped her thigh, turning, calling Bud to here. He sneezed, following, making sure he kept the man in his sights as he lay down by the table.
Shannon wheeled the chair backwards, letting Thomas pass.
“Can I get you a lemonade? I was just making some.” Jenny didn't like the fact he was here. But as FBI agents went, he was one of the good guys. She could see Shannon was suspicious as well.
Thomas waved his hand. “No thanks. Well….” He looked to each of them. “I did try your apartment first detective….But….” He shifted his eyes to Jenny. “I see you're well taken care of.”
Shannon didn't like what he was implying. “Yes. I'm staying here until I can get out of this damn thing. Why don't you get to the point.”
“I've been official sent here to thank you both and to let you know that you detective are being given a recommendation to be reinstated as detective 3 rd class. As for you Miss Newton, you're record with us is cleared and hopefully in the future we can ask for your help again, when……. Well, when we're in deep shit.”
Shannon looked across to Jenny, who was already looking at her in question. They looked at Thomas.
He smiled, sitting. “That's the official part out the way.”
Jenny eyed him up and down, expecting there to be a catch. “So you're saying Shannon has got her old position back? Just like that!”
He rubbed his temple. “Well, it wasn't actually as easy as it sounds, there were internal affairs to convince. But my director did it. I think the words he used were. “If you don't do it…. I'll bloody well make her one of my agents.”
Shannon 's eyes widened, she scoffed. “Like I'd do that…. Jesus you guys are nothing but stuffed shirts.” She coughed, realizing she'd spoke those thoughts out loud. “No offence.”
He grinned. “Oh lots taken…. But I think he already knew you'd say no. It just gave internal affairs a little incentive to reinstate you fully.”
Jenny pulled out the chair, sitting, she grinned at Shannon , knowing this would mean a lot to her. It meant a lot to her too. One of her major regrets was Shannon 's punishment because of protecting her. “I'm glad.” She smiled more as Shannon met her eyes.
Thomas shifted. “That isn't all I came for.” He waited till he had their attention back. “The next thing I'm going to tell is off the record and very unofficial. But I thought the pair of you should know everything we've found out about the man that came after you and what was really going on.”
“You found out who he was?” Jenny felt the need to be closer to Shannon, so she shifted the chair until she could rest her hand on Shannon 's leg.
“Yes. You were right you know. He was a hired gun, his name was Terry Foster. Born in England , trained with the S.A.S was kicked out in early nineties, he went freelance. We eventually tracked him down via MI6…. They have a very long file on him. He's worked from Africa to Eastern Europe …. They last heard of him in Turkey , running guns, they lost track of him in 99. They thought he was killed in an air raid.”
“What the hell was he doing here?” Shannon covered Jenny's hand, feeling the returning squeeze.
Thomas smiled. “This is where we fall under the…… if you tell anyone we'll…”
Shannon butted in. “kill us?”
Thomas eyebrow rose. “Deny it!”
After exchanging a look, Shannon and Jenny nodded to him, they agreed.
“Three days after the complex was bombed, we found something exceedingly strange in the stock market. Do you know who the main financer was for the Park complex?”
Jenny shook her head.
Shannon shrugged. “The government has a hell of piece of it.”
“The US government owns roughly about 42 percent. But 45 percent is owned by Elecus investments. The rest is public shares.”
“So Elecus have the controlling share?”
He nodded to Shannon .
Jenny shifted a little forward. “So what happened on the stock market?”
“The shares plummeted.”
Both Shannon and Jenny frowned.
Thomas continued. “But the interesting thing is Elecus investment sold their entire stock portfolio a week before the bombing.”
Jenny looked right at him, guessing what he was getting at. “You think someone at Elecus hired Foster…. They knew it was going to happen and they dumped the shares?”
He didn't show his surprise at how quick Jenny picked up on it. “Yes.”
Shannon frowned. “But isn't that pretty stupid? Anyone would have caught the fact a whole company sold out just before a bomb went off?”
Thomas nodded. “It would have been yes. But remember Foster wasn't supposed to end up dead and the link to Elecus wouldn't have been there. It would have been just rumors…. We never would have had any evidence to hold up in court… You two gave us the evidence to go after them.”
Shannon ground her teeth. “Please tell me you caught the sneaky son of bitch.”
Thomas smile vanished. “No. and I'm afraid we're not going too.” He raised his hand to cut their questions off. “We followed the money trail Foster left and it led us straight to seventeen banks where the funds were transferred, then we lost them. The two major company directors were fired this week and had very little to do with the main shares. The owner of Elecus had disappeared…. We found him in the Bahamas , where I'm afraid we have no jurisdiction.”
“Son of fucking bitch…. What's his name?” It was taking everything for Shannon not to jump out of the wheel chair and pace.
Thomas swallowed at the tone. “Francis Alexandra Enversio.”
Jenny exhaled. “And you can tie him to Foster?”
Thomas relaxed a little. “We can trace it enough through the money line to know Foster was being paid by an offshore bank which Elecus used. Can we trace him to Enversio?…” he shook his head. “No.”
“But the complex didn't blow up. What we did stopped it.” She nodded to Shannon .
“It was still enough damage to postpone the opening by another month. Structural engineers are still conducting tests to make sure the foundations haven't been damaged by the blast…. The amount of water in the sub foundation is going to take them weeks to pump out… And that costs money. If Elecus were still controlling the shares they would have lost roughly 100 million in the last two days. Instead they made that much selling early. The new owners of the shares took the hit.”
Shannon was staring at her hands. “All this was done for money?”
Jenny looked quickly to her.
Even Thomas was intrigued by the tone. “Yes.”
Shannon didn't say anymore, she simple, nodded.
Thomas threw a questioning look to Jenny.
She ignored it. “So that's it? Case closed?”
“And what are you telling the press, as this is all hush hush?”
He gotten to know Jenny enough to know she was getting pissed off. “We don't like it known that people get away from us…. I'm telling you this as a courtesy…. The official explanation is that Foster was an arsonist who picked on the park development because of his attachment to the Calusa burial grounds and that on this occasion the FBI prevented an enormous loss of life and he was killed while we were trying to apprehend him.”
Jenny snorted. “Jesus. You're using everything he did.”
“It isn't exactly lying. We're just using what we need.”
“It's not telling the fucking truth either.” Shannon snapped.
Thomas sighed. “Look. We are monitoring Enversio and if he ever sets foot on American soil again we'll have him on some charge or other.”
Shannon shook her head in disbelief. “More than likely tax evasion. Isn't that usual how you catch people you can't touch?”
Thomas exhaled. “This also helps both of you. Neither one of you are being mentioned to the press. No one is going to know about your involvement, especially you Miss Newton. We thought it was the least we could do was keep you safe.”
Shannon just looked away, she felt like she was being paid off.
Jenny looked confused. “Are you saying that this Enversio could want some sort of revenge?”
“I'm saying…. That both of you are protected. Rhimes gets her job back…. Both of you get a clean slate and the press aren't going to be banging down your door or camping outside your house for weeks on end.”
Shannon didn't hide her sarcasm. “Thank you so much.”
He stiffened. “I didn't have to come here and tell you this.”
Jenny rose. “No you're right you didn't and I for one do thank you for it.” She offered her hand.
Thomas rose, taking it, surprised when the grip turned to a vice.
Jenny pulled him forward, her eyes sparking. “If any of you try and destroy her again for doing her job. I'll make sure every news team in the world gets the true story about this….. And believe me they'll believe I felt it, saw it, and tasted it through my gift. I'll make the lot of you look like Keystone cops.”
Shannon jerked in surprise. “Jenny? It's okay.” She reached across, fingertips touching Jenny's arm. “Hey.”
Jenny looked at her, then back to Thomas. “Do you believe me agent Thomas?”
Thomas pulled his hand free, resisting the urge to rub it. “I believe you.”
Jenny gave a curt nod. “Now would you like some lemonade?”
Thomas sat, nodding.
Shannon 's eyes followed her, she couldn't help the spreading grin.
Close your eyes
let me touch you now
let me give you something
that is real
close the door
leave your fears behind
let me give you
what you're giving me
you are the only thing
that makes me want to live at all
when I am with you
there's no reason to pretend that
when I am with you
I feel flames again
just put me inside you
I would never ever leave
just put me inside you
I would never ever leave you.
Shannon wasn't sure how she felt after Thomas had left. When Marcus and Jane arrived for dinner, the thoughts were put aside. But later, as she'd sat there listening to them talk and laugh, and seeing how close they'd had grown together, she suddenly felt alone. She'd excused herself, knowing Jenny was watching her as she exited the house. She rolled the chair to the end of the porch and there she sat, just looking at the sea and the sky, thinking.
All of this was done for money, fires, loss of life, near misses. Last time it had been the whim of a mad man, this time it was at the whim of a rich man wanting more. She knew how it worked, Enversio was protected as long as he stayed away and paid the right people off. They never were going to be able to touch him. She tilted her head back, looking at the stars, so much had happened around her. She looked back over her shoulder to the house, hearing the laughter of Marcus and Jane.
She shivered, she remembered now more of what happened…. It had come back to her not long after leaving the hospital, she'd been lucky again. What was it Foster had said…… “How many lives have you got left?” She exhaled, the answer was very plain, not many. She smiled as she heard Marcus bark a laugh, this time she could make out Jenny's laughter too. She wasn't the only one who had been lucky, every single one of them had gotten away lightly. She could have lost Jenny…. That thought put so much coldness inside her she actually started to tremble.
She wished she knew where this thing was Jenny was going to lead…. They hadn't talked, the last three weeks had been about healing, not talking. It felt so right being here with her, but Jenny had only asked her to come back until her leg had healed. Another thing that hadn't been talked about was she staying or going?
As if in answer she felt the tingling of her skin, smiling, as she turned her head, knowing she was going to find Jenny watching her. She wasn't disappointed.
Jenny smiled, moving forward, holding out a soda.
Shannon took it. “Can't I have a beer?”
Jenny leant against the porch beam. “Not while you're on pain meds, you're off them in a week.”
Shannon smile fell. She took a drink of soda. “Yea. Another week.” Yea another week and do I stay or am I going?
Jenny studied her, she could see something was wrong and she had a pretty good idea of what it was. But she was scared to broach it, just in case she was wrong and she'd be opening herself up to a world of hurt. She turned to face the sea. “Marcus and Jane seem to be getting along better.”
Shannon looked at Jenny's profile, wondering if she was going to see jealousy there again. “Good for them.”
Jenny shifted to look at her, grinning. “It is, isn't it.”
Part of Shannon sighed in relief, there wasn't jealousy now. “Jane told me when he kissed her the first time, she swallowed her gum.”
Jenny snorted beer down her nose.
Jenny wiped her chin, glaring.
Shannon held up her hands. “Hey it's not my fault you can't handle your liquor.”
Jenny couldn't help it, she just had too; she leant across and kissed Shannon deeply.
Shannon just blinked and went with the flow.
Jenny drew back. “I love your laugh.”
Shannon cupped Jenny's face. “I love you.” Her heart thumped in her chest. She knew she'd said it in the hospital, but it had never been mentioned since by either of them. She tried to read Jenny's eyes, wondering if she'd just made a mistake.
Jenny smile changed into a fully fledged shit eating grin. “I love you too. I didn't think you remembered?”
Shannon frowned. “That I love you?”
Jenny laughed. “No…. That you'd said it.”
Shannon pulled Jenny suddenly onto her lap, Jenny tried to jump up. “ Shannon your leg!” Shannon just pulled her back down, wrapping her arms around so she couldn't get up. “My leg is fine…. And if it starts hurting I'll dump you out.”
Jenny gave a not so sure look, up until the point her lips were covered in another kiss. She broke it first, cuddling in. “So mind telling me why you're out here on your own?”
“Us.” Shannon tried to see Jenny's eyes, but she'd turned to look at the sea. She felt the lazy stroking on her arm from Jenny's fingers.
“ Shannon ….” Jenny swallowed hard, turning back. Finding that open gaze again, it immediately made what she was going to say a lot easier than she thought. “I'd like you to stay here, with me. I mean….move in…. I'd really like to try this with us. It feels so scary sometimes, but it's more scary thinking I might have lost it, or could lose you again….. I know it's going to be hard sometimes and god I'm really struggling with the fact you leave to go into danger every day…. But…. I want you to stay.”
Shannon didn't want to cry, but her eyes didn't listen. She brought Jenny's hand to her lips, kissing. “I've been going nuts thinking I'd have to leave. Trying to figure away to just tell you I wanted to stay….”
“Why didn't you.” Jenny relished the feeling of lips on her skin.
“One I'm a coward. Two I didn't want to push you…. In case……”
Shannon looked down. “Yea.”
Jenny tilted Shannon 's head back up, until their eyes met again. “I won't run.”
Shannon believed her. She pulled Jenny tightly against her. “My brother's wedding is the end of this month. Wanna come?”
Jenny stiffened. “You sure your mother would want me there?”
“My mother was the one to ask. Besides that she does nothing but go about you. So, yea she's gonna be just fine with it. She already thinks of you as a part of the family. So watch out she is gonna nag you….. Oh and she wants you to find her watch, said if we're gonna have a psychic in the family might as well use her.”
Jenny barked a laugh… Feeling the warmth spread, but this time it wasn't just Shannon 's. She was becoming part of a family. She'd never had one before that just accepted her. The feelings touched somewhere so deep inside her, she tightened the embrace. “I'd love to go.” Her voice was hoarse.
Both of them moved forward into the kiss, one that sealed their words and their hearts in a binding bond, one which was already flowing through their veins.
Marcus stepped out on the porch, he stopped dead. He blinked, he didn't feel jealous in fact he felt a little embarrassed, the kiss was getting heated. He turned, walking back into the house.
Jane looked over the door of the chiller. “Well. Where are they?”
He scratched his neck. “They…. Well they're….”
Jane straightened. “Are what? They're okay right?”
“Oh they're more than okay.”
Jane frowned. “So?”
His answer was to walk across the living room right to Jane and take her into his good arm and kiss her.
Jane blinked, finding her balance when Marcus let go. “Um?”
“That's what they're doing!” Sometimes it was the easiest way to get her to shut up. Not that he was complaining.
Jane grabbed his shirt pulling him forward. “Well okay then.” Then she kissed him to the point, he swallowed her gum!
Bud looked at the sky, it seemed very strange to him this kissing thing…. He knew that's what it was called because Shannon always demanded a morning one. He couldn't really see himself kissing another lady dog…. For one, teeth would get in the way, and for two he'd probably get his tongue bitten off. Although come to think of it, he was pretty sure he'd seen Jenny's tongue disappear in between teeth a few times.
He sniffed around a bit, finding an interesting scent, one he hadn't smelt before. He was bored; Jenny and Shannon were having a bed day…. Another bed day…. He always got told off for staying that long in his bed…. Never seemed fair, one rule for them and another for him. And it wasn't as if Shannon was sleeping, not with all those noises Jenny made in there…. He got told off for that too, when he howled.
He shook his head, his attention going back to the scent, he decided to follow with his tail wagging.
He stopped dead as he rounded the dune. His tail gave a very slow wag, he wasn't sure who this new dog was, he hadn't smelt her before, but oh boy she had the biggest wag in her tail he'd seen in a long time.
Both nervous and on alert, they circled each other, heads low, sniffing. Then when scents were exchanged the Alsatian took off, only to stop a few feet away and look back over her shoulder.
Bud's ears perked. Oh bow wow….
The Alsatian took off.
Bud immediately was in hot pursuit. Maybe I'll try that kissing thing.
There you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this journey. I can't thank you all enough for feedback, especially the response I had for Essence. I hope this sequel does it justice.
As always let me know what you think? Ladyhawke124@hotmail.com
I've enjoyed writing about Jenny, Shannon, Marcus, Jane and of course the wonderful Bud. Somehow I don't think this is the end for them. But I can't promise when the next will be, I have a few others in the pipeline.
Thank you all again.
Copyright…….K Savage 2010 March.
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