Jane wasn't sure what had gone on below decks, but she'd watched both of them emerge looking like they'd been through hell and back. She kept her questions to herself.
They all departed the yacht via a launch, which came to pick them up just off the key's harbor. Neither of them spoke as they approached the landing area at the bottom of one of the better hotels. Shannon was on full alert, and so was Jane, they fell into step with Jenny as soon as she stepped from the boat. Both of them on either side like sentry guards. Just having them so near, wrapped Jenny in a safety blanket, which expelled the need to turn around and go back home.
Marcus glanced up, grinning. Folding the paper he was reading, throwing it in through the car window to the seat, he watched the three walk towards him up the track. ‘'Top of the morning to ya Jane. You're looking radiant as usual.'' He grinned, walking towards her.
She scowled, stopping in front of him, shifting the two duffel bags she had slug over her shoulder. ‘‘Keys.'' She held out her hand.
He laughed, digging into his jeans for them, depositing them over. ‘'Can I help you with those. Or you going to play butch girl today.''
His answer was duffel bag shoved into his chest, hard enough to make him step back with the force and expel air from his lungs with an ‘'Oof!'' Laughing he followed her to the trunk, depositing it into the back after she'd opened it, he only just managed in time to snap his arm back as it slammed shut. He grinned again, following her movements to the driver's seat. He turned. ‘‘Is she always such a happy bunny in the morning?''
Shannon smiled. ‘'She hasn't had her coffee. Hello Marcus….'' She held out her hand. ‘'…. Good to see you again.''
Marcus blinked looking down at her offered hand, looking up he caught Jenny's amused gaze looking at him over Shannon's shoulder. He took Shannon's hand. ‘'Glad to um…. See you too.''
Shannon shook his hand, then opened the back door, waiting for Jenny to get in. her attention now back on the area, scanning.
Jenny by passed her and pulled Marcus into a hug. ‘‘Hello you. I'm glad you're safe.''
He returned the hug. ‘‘How you doing?''
She drew her face back, seeing the worry in his eyes. ‘'I'm ok.''
He gave her a not so sure look.
She smiled. ‘‘Honestly. I am.''
He pulled her back into the hug. ‘‘Yea I think you are. It's good to see your eyes again…. I hate those damn glasses of yours.''
Shannon attention snapped over to them in surprise, she hadn't noticed Jenny wasn't wearing her glasses or occurred to her why she wasn't. She'd gotten so used to seeing her eyes in the beach house, it felt normal to see them outside. She chuckled, now knowing why Jane had stared so much on the launch back.
Marcus whispered into Jenny's ear. ‘' Tall dark and deadly is tapping her foot. Impatient little thing isn't she.''
Jenny snorted, pulling away, giving Shannon a smile before she got in the back, calling bud to her. He immediately left the tree and ran jumping at Marcus briefly for attention. At the second call from Jenny he jumped in car.
Shannon looked at Marcus. ‘‘Did you get what we needed?''
‘‘It's at my house.''
Shannon nodded, leaving the door open for him. She moved around to the passenger side, getting in.
Once again he found himself caught in surprise, this time at being allowed to sit next to Jenny. Shannon's voice made him jump.
‘‘Are you coming?''
He quickly got in the back with Jenny, slamming the door shut, turning to her to find an amused look. He looked to Shannon, then Jenny again. His voice low. ‘‘Is there something I should know?''
His eyebrow rose. ‘‘Oh goody. So she is a team player?''
She shot him a warning look.
Chuckling he settled back, ruffling bud's fur as he sprawled on his lap.
Shannon clicked her seatbelt into place, ignoring what she'd heard from behind. ‘‘Let's go.''
Jane started the car and headed for their next stop.
They were waiting now for Jane to return. They'd park two blocks from the precinct. Shannon glanced around, making sure no one was taking any notice of their park car, she knew she was being over cautious, no one knew where the hell they were, but still she had that feeling in her gut, she had to be on full alert. Besides, she hated being so exposed and in one place for this long.
Marcus fingers were drumming on his leg, he was beyond bored, turning his head he took a glance at Jenny. She was totally still, her eyes staring out into the street, but he got the feeling she was seeing nothing, he knew she was somewhere inside herself, trying to keep things together. He heard another grunt from Shannon, his amused eyes went to her, at the fact she looked like a caged animal. ‘'Well. I'm going to get some coffee and Danish. That alright with you?''
Shannon twisted in the seat. ‘'Don't be long.''
‘'No worries.'' With a squeeze to Jenny's leg, he opened the door, slamming it shut as he left.
Shannon twisted further around, undoing her seat belt so she could look around her seat to Jenny. ‘‘Hey.''
Jenny turned from the window. She gave a small smile. ‘‘Just sitting here is driving you nuts isn't it?''
Shannon gave a busted look. ‘‘Shows that much huh?''
‘‘You fidget worse than bud does.'' Jenny turned her attention to him, smoothing his ears down.
Shannon studied her. ‘‘How you doing?''
Jenny bit back the irritation she felt at hearing that for the hundredth time. ‘'Well I haven't gone running for the hills or started screaming yet. So I'd take that as a good thing.''
Shannon however heard the sarcasm. ‘'Getting tired of the question then?''
Jenny eyes jumped to her, her eyes narrowing. ‘'Are you reading me?''
Shannon face showed her shock. ‘'What?''
Jenny stilled. ‘'Sorry.''
‘‘You know I can't. Why say that?''
‘‘Because I'm going stir crazy in here. How much longer?'' She looked back into the street, fully aware what she very nearly done.
Seeing she wasn't going to get an answer, Shannon shifted back to face forward, annoyed at hell as what she'd just been accused of. ‘‘Another ten minutes at least.''
Nothing else was said for five minutes. Then both looked across as the back passenger door opened.
Marcus ducked to get in, pushing bud back, he offered over the tray of coffees for Jenny to take. She did. He got in, holding the anish box well away from bud. He sat, then stilled, feeling the change in atmosphere. He looked to Jenny in question. She took her coffee, shaking her head, her eyes warning him not to ask, she shoved the coffees back into his hand.
He frowned, looking to Shannon seeing the stiffness, wondering what could have happened in less than ten minutes between them this time. He sighed, pushing bud away from exploring the box of Danish. He knew if he asked her wouldn't get an answer from either of them. He offered Shannon her coffee. ‘'Here.''
Shannon reached back taking it, lifting Jane's free as well, placing hers on the cup holder by the wheel. ‘'Thanks.''
‘‘No thank you.''
His frown deepened. ‘‘Okay then, I'll save them for later. '' He slipped one to bud. Who immediately wolfed it done, licking his lips, waiting for another.
‘‘She's back.'' Shannon shifted forward, her eyes following Jane as she crossed the street, heading back towards them. She looked relaxed, which made Shannon take her hand away from her gun.
Jane opened the door, getting in. ‘'Jesus. It's a circus down there. This is the list, there's over four hundred names on it. The task force has over three thousand. That one is in or near the area you told him about.''
Shannon took it, opening it up to read, scanning the addresses.
Jane spotted the coffee. ‘‘Oh god. I need this.'' She took a sip, almost groaning. ‘'Thank you boss.''
Shannon didn't look up. ‘'Wasn't me.''
Jane turned her head to Marcus, smiling. ‘'Thanks.''
Marcus gave a nod. He was too worried about Jenny to tease Jane.
‘‘How was Grieves?'' Shannon folded the list, pushing it into her jacket inside pocket.
Jane's attention went back to her. ‘‘Harassed. The F.B.I. isn't happy. They went to the island an hour ago.''
Shannon looked up, cursing. ‘‘Damn. I thought we'd have more time. What did the captain tell them?''
Jane wasn't sure, but she could swear she felt ice inside the car. ‘‘That she's helping with the case and left the island with his authority. But, he has no idea where she is.''
Shannon grimaced. She looked at Jane sharply. ‘‘You weren't followed?''
Jane looked insulted. ‘‘You know better than that.''
Shannon gave an apologetic look.
‘'So where to now? Can we still go to Marcus's?''
‘‘Yes. They don't know of his involvement and the captain isn't going to give out the information.''
Jane drank the last of her coffee. Putting it back in the holder she started the car, checking, before pulling it out onto the road.
Marcus had sat quietly through the whole exchange, his attention was on Jenny, seeing the tightening and untightening of her hand on her leg, he reached across taking it. Ignoring the annoyed glance she gave.
Jenny exhaled, trying to push back the need to run. Something was wrong she could feel it around her. She'd stretched out her senses only to be hit full force by hurt, pain, blood and lots of it. With a small gasp at the assault she quickly retreated her senses.
Marcus felt it all through their touch, he looked at Jenny, following her gaze until he too looked at the source of it, Shannon.
Jenny shuddered, looking to Marcus with silent anguished eyes.
He understood, whatever was going to happen, was going to happen to Shannon and soon. He grabbed Jenny's hand tighter, shifting closer, giving her his best reassurance look. Her hand gripped his, till he winced.
Shannon had seen the whole exchange reflected in the side window. She hadn't moved it to spy, she needed it to keep Jenny in her line of sight. Offering Marcus the seat next to her had been a gesture of trust. But it had one flaw, Jenny wasn't in her view. So she'd moved the side mirror while getting into the car. Gritting her teeth, she took a long gulp of coffee, watching Marcus stroke the back of Jenny's hand. She made herself look away, knowing what she was feeling was jealousy, and she didn't much like it.
Marcus opened his front door, throwing the keys onto the stand by the door. ‘‘Home sweet home.''
Shannon let Jenny enter first, noticing how pale she was, she followed her with her eyes as she headed towards the back the house. Glad when bud, quickly barked and chased after her.
Marcus watched, seeing the worry lines appear on Shannon's brow. ‘'The kitchens back there, one door leading to the back yard. She'll be safe.''
Shannon looked at him sharply, wondering if he read her. He didn't drop his stare, she gave a curt nod before turning to look in the doorway next to them, it looked like the living room.
Marcus smiled. ‘'Go do what you need to do. I'll be in the kitchen with Jenny. Will Jane come in?''
Shannon looked into the next room, seeing the computer in the corner. ‘'She'll be in after she's checked around outside.''
Marcus chuckled, getting an image of Jane checking out his trashcan. ‘‘Enjoy looking the place over.''
Shannon didn't reply, she was already working out exits and possible weak spots as she moved into the living room. Not a bad place, she thought, the main window was a weakness if someone wanted to take a pot shot at any of them, but it was also a way out if they were trapped. Her eyes took in the furniture, nether liking it or disliking it, it looked like a typical guy pad. She turned, stopping dead, the large canvas on the wall shocking her to stillness. She exhaled, taking in the form of the woman only slightly covered in a sheet, the pose was a relaxed one, the model's face was turned, looking over her exposed back to the artist. Shannon's teeth clenched so tightly her jaw muscle popped as she recognized the gleaming eyes, Jenny.
She found herself staring, taking in the expanse of flesh on offer, seeing the well-defined muscles of the back, just catching the curve of a breast. Shannon sucked in a breath, her eyes following the outline of a waist down to the lifted contour of a hip, where it met the black sheet, which was masking the lower tantalizing areas into shadow. Her head snapped back, realizing what she was doing. She cursed, moving out of the room. ‘‘Yea right, just a friend. Maybe she should let him know that.''
Jenny drank down the glass of water, holding the glass against her forehead, to take in the coolness.
She didn't turn, just filled the glass again.
‘'G.I Jane is checking the place over and her second in command is out searching my bushes.'' He pulled open the chiller, grabbing a soda.
Jenny nodded, looking out the window across the back yard. It hadn't changed much since she'd lived there. In fact very little of what she'd seen so far had. That brought a small frown, which was replaced as memories of her time there reawakened, she'd been happy, safe, the time with Marcus had been a freeing time, one which had found her a sense of balance between who she was and her gift. It felt strange being back. The last time, was to collect her things, her smile fell. She inhaled, feeling Marcus draw closer, she pushed away all those old feelings, she didn't need any more confusion right now.
She shook her thoughts clear. The past was the past. She turned her head, smiling to him. ‘‘No. Good ones.'' She emptied the water, washing the glass out, placing it on the side, before turning. ‘‘You haven't changed much here.''
His right hand pushed to his back pocket, shrugging as he sipped his soda, suddenly feeling nervous. ‘‘Didn't seem a reason too. I like it the way it is here. I did most of the remodeling at the apartment, now that you wouldn't recognize.''
Jenny studied him, shaking the feeling she was missing something, she smiled, motioning to the yard. ‘'The apple tree has gotten big.''
He silently exhaled. ‘‘Yea. Have a good crop now. Not that I do anything with them. I never could cook apple pie as well as you.''
She shifted her eyes to him briefly, looking back into the yard as he turned his face to her.
‘'The kids in the street get the most out of it.'' He watched her for a moment. ‘'You want to talk about what we felt in the car?''
She stiffened. ‘‘You wouldn't have felt it if you hadn't used your touch.''
‘‘Jen. Wasn't like I had time to block it. I didn't know you were going to open up right there and then.''
She moved away from him, choosing the stool to sit. ‘‘What's to talk about? You saw it and you know I can't change it.'' She swallowed hard.
He exhaled, slightly annoyed. ‘'So we ignore it then. Great, back to normal.''
Her eyes snapped to him. ‘'What's that supposed to mean?''
He shook his head. ‘'I don't want to have an argument with you.''
‘‘And this will be?''
‘‘Yes. Because we always argue about this.''
‘‘That I don't try and change what I see?'' her voice was sarcastic.
His eyes filled with sadness. ‘‘Yes.''
She scoffed. ‘‘Like I have a choice. I see, exactly what has happened, is happening and what is going to happen. Why haven't you ever understood I don't have a say in it. I see it! That's it!''
‘‘How do you know until you try?''
Jenny's face turned to ice, she rose slowly. ‘'I did try in D.C. and we know how that turned out don't we.''
His mouth fell open, realization dawning. ‘'Oh Christ. He never got to you. You went to stop him. You left the hotel that night… left the protection detail.''
She stood stock still, her eyes glass. ‘'Yes and it only full filled the damn vision.''
He swallowed the lump in his throat. ‘'You knew he'd get to you….''
‘'Yes. So you see I can't change anything, because no matter what I do it always leads to the same end scene!''
His eyes dropped. ‘'I'm sorry.''
Slowly she came back into herself. ‘'So am I. Can we drop this now?''
He nodded slowly, looking down to the bottle in his hand.
Shannon walked into the kitchen, feeling the ice in the air, she looked to Jenny in question, who simply turned away. Shannon 's eyes moved to Marcus seeing his gaze drop. Great, just great. Back to the secret seven club. Her irritation went up a notch. She turned moving back towards the hall. ‘'I'm setting up in the back room, Jane's taking the front den. Oh and Nice painting.'' Her voice didn't hide her annoyance well.
Marcus looked over to her confused, seeing the burning in her eyes, then he got what she was talking about. His widened eyes jumping to Jenny.
Jenny was caught by the panic in his eyes, she turned giving Shannon a questioning look.
Shannon shrugged. ‘'Ask Van gogh here.''
Jenny watched her stomp from the room, now perplexed, she looked to Marcus seeing his slightly embarrassed look. ‘'What she talking about? What pai….'' Her words stopped. She took in a deep breath. ‘'Please tell me it's not still hanging in there?''
‘'I like it.'' He wondered if that sounded as lame, as he thought.
Jenny closed her eyes, when they opened they shone her anger. ‘‘For fuck sake, you knew we were coming here you could have at least taken it down until we'd left.'' She pushed past him, going into the living room. Only to find Jane, looking at the picture and tilting her head.
Jenny briefly closed her eyes in embarrassment. ‘'I was dating him at the time, that's my only defense.''
Jane jumped, blushing. ‘‘He….'' She cleared her throat. ‘‘He painted this?''
Jenny stepped closer, finally looking at it and feeling her blush deepen. She laughed nervously at Jane's surprised look. ‘‘Yes. He did.''
Jane's eyes went back to it again. Now she'd gotten over the embarrassment of getting caught, she decided she liked it. It did however make her uneasy, as the subject was Jenny, especially with the amount of flesh on offer. But the more she looked at it she realized, it wasn't a horny boyfriends painted porn picture, it was different much different, it was art. He'd captured the psychic perfectly. The lush red painted background allowed Jenny's white skin and blonde hair to stand out even more from the canvas. Her eye's shifted to the Jenny standing next to her before they returned the painted image, she could see the difference in the picture to the woman standing beside her. None of what was on the canvas showed the trails of what Jenny had been through in the last two years. The image's lines were soft, free, unflawed. It suddenly made Jane sad, that the psychic wasn't like that anymore. But the one thing that hadn't changed, were the eyes, the green of them glowed. ‘‘It's beautiful…. He's very good.'' She shook her head slightly annoyed. ‘‘How can he paint something as beautiful as this and be such an asshole at the same time?''
Jenny looked to her quickly. ‘‘He isn't.''
Jane gave her a not so sure look. ‘‘Yea.'' She moved back to the doorway. ‘'Only an asshole would leave that thing up there, knowing the boss was gonna see it.''
Jenny inhaled sharply. ‘'He wouldn't do that.'' Would he?
Jane shook her head, very amused. ‘'You may be a voodoo woman, but you know jack shit about men. He's marking his territory.'' Laughing, she headed upstairs to find her boss.
Jenny stood shocked, then turning to the picture she exhaled. ‘'Damn it.''
‘'Do you want me to take it down.''
Jenny had to take a moment to calm her anger. ‘‘No. It's your house, and it wouldn't matter.'' She turned to him. ‘‘Please tell me you didn't leave it there deliberately for Shannon to see?''
He looked away, slightly confused. ‘'I don't think I did.'' He returned his gaze to her. ‘'I don't know.''
Jenny sighed. ‘'Marcus.'' She suddenly felt very drained. ‘'I don't need this right now.''
‘'I know. I'm sorry.''
And he was she could hear it. ‘'Can I have a hug?''
He didn't wait, he moved quickly taking her in his arms. ‘'Jane doesn't like me very much right now does she?''
‘'She thinks you're an asshole.''
Jenny drew away. ‘'Take it down please.''
He nodded, watching her move towards the door. ‘'I'll apologize to Shannon .''
Jenny half smiled. ‘'For what? Seeing me naked, sleeping with me or doing a painting that proves that you did?''
He dropped his gaze. He felt suddenly like a shit. ‘‘If I'd known you two were….''
She had to bite back her instant snap. ‘‘We're not and will you stop assuming we are. It's getting annoying as hell.''
He shook his head. ‘‘You may not have done anything yet.'' His eyes came up, serious now. ‘‘But you two have something and if I'd known, I would have taken it down.''
She studied him, suddenly seeing the sadness, understanding now why he hadn't changed anything in the house, why he'd left the painting up. Oh Marcus you haven't let me go. She took a long breath, her voice gentle.
‘'I know you would have and for your information, I don't know what we have and I suspect neither does Shannon . So please, don't tease her or mention anything, I have a hard enough time with her now running away from me.''
His eyes jumped. ‘'She runs?''
Jenny rolled her eyes. ‘‘Yes, surprisingly enough, I'm not doing the running. Now will you leave it. Please. ''
He grinned. ‘‘Yes.''
‘'Thank you.'' She turned leaving.
‘‘For now.'' He smirked.
She shook her head, ignoring him, heading upstairs to mend whatever damage had been done this time with Shannon . All she knew was as she climbed the stairs, she would have hated to walk into one of Shannon 's ex's house and found a picture of her like that. Reaching the landing she made her way to the large bedroom at the back, pausing at the door for a moment, taking a breath before she entered, her eyes taking in the room, shock registered as her eyes fell to the bed and the array of weapons.
Jane looked up from the gun she was cleaning, smiling. ‘‘Hi.''
Shannon didn't turn around, she concentrated on the body mike she was working on.
Jenny's eyes shifted to Shannon's back seeing the tension, she turned her attention to Jane. ‘‘Hi. Did I miss a meeting?'' her eyes fell to the bed, slightly worried at the amount of firepower she saw there.
Jane saw it. ‘'Don't worry about those. It's standard surveillance stuff, with a tactical S.W.A.T pack thrown in. We're on our own remember, we just need to know we're covered, if we can't get help in time.'' She slide the magazine into her gun, sliding a bullet into the Chamber, putting it back into her the holster under her arm as she rose. ‘'I'm going to take along look around the area. Boss?''
Shannon nodded, still not turning. ‘‘Be back in an hour, I want to go over this list with all of us.''
‘‘No worries.'' Jane smiled as she approached Jenny. ‘‘Mind if I take the fur ball with me. Makes better cover if it looks like I'm walking a dog.''
Her eyes now were settled on Shannon. ‘'Sure go ahead. He'd love it. He's been cooped up all day.''
‘'Great. See you both later.'' She placed her hand on Jenny's arm, unaware of the flinch. Waiting until Jenny's eyes met hers. Smiling, Jane motioned to Shannon with her eyes, then gave Jenny's arm a brief squeeze for support.
Jenny nodded, answering the smile.
Jane grinned and left.
Jenny leant against the doorframe, slightly opening her senses, she felt the jealousy, then realizing what she was doing, she slammed the wall back into the place.
Shannon looked down feeling the hairs on her arms begin to rise, then it vanished. She twisted her head until she was looking over her shoulder to Jenny knowing what had just happened. Meeting the guilty gaze.
Jenny looked down. ‘‘Sorry.''
‘‘You could have just asked.'' Shannon rose, throwing the mike down onto the bed.
‘'I didn't know I'd done it till I had. I stopped. I'm sorry.'' She tried hard to figure out why the hell she'd just done that, broken one of her own rules.
Shannon jaw muscle pulsed. Then she sighed. ‘‘The painting pissed me off.''
Jenny looked up surprised Shannon was talking about it.
‘‘It was like he was rubbing it in my face, the fact he'd…. ‘' Her words tapered off, thinking how stupid it sounded out loud. ‘‘He could have taken it down, he knew we were coming here.''
‘'He's doing it now.'' Jenny didn't know what to say. Should she apologize for sleeping with Marcus? That was absurd it was the past. There was no reason to feel guilty about it, but for moment she actually did. She stayed silent, shifting uncomfortably.
Shannon sat down on the edge of the bed, shaking her head. ‘'I don't know what the hell is going on with me anymore.''
Something in the voice made Jenny want to hold her. Instead she settled for being near her, she moved, taking the space next to Shannon on the bed's edge. ‘'Should I apologize?''
Shannon looked sideways at her. ‘'For what?''
Jenny laughed, nervously. ‘'I'm not really sure. Sleeping with him? Sitting for the painting? Not checking it wasn't still hanging there?''
Shannon looked at her hands. ‘'No….'' she sighed heavily. Her thoughts were spoken before she could stop them. ‘'Why did you sit for it?''
Jenny shrugged. ‘‘He asked. He's an artist. To be asked to sit for him was such an honor for me. I love his work. He rarely paints.''
Shannon simply nodded, for some reason it still bothered her, what she couldn't work out was why exactly. Because of the level of trust it would take in their relationship? Because she'd slept with him? Or just because it felt like he was rubbing her nose in it? Maybe it was because she thought she was getting to know this woman, thought she'd never expose herself to something like that? If that was true, she didn't know Jenny at all. That thought unsettled her more. How could she know her? She'd known her less than two weeks.
‘'What are you thinking?''
Shannon half laughed. ‘‘Damn if I know.''
Jenny smiled. ‘‘It's getting complicated isn't it?''
Shannon slowly looked over, meeting her eyes, seeing the fear there and something else, the seriousness. ‘'Yea.''
Feeling the intenseness of their gaze, Jenny broke it lying back onto the bed, resting on her elbows. ‘'I'm not sorry I did the sitting Shannon. I was with him and I wouldn't change that for the world. You know my reasons, and the reasons for leaving him. Those haven't changed.'' She met Shannon's eyes again. ‘‘But I'm sorry you had to find out about it and see it like that. If I'm honest I'd totally forgotten he hung it there.''
Shannon swallowed, needing to know something. ‘‘Why didn't he take it down?''
Jenny's eyes fell briefly, before meeting Shannon's again. ‘'Because he's still in love with me.'' Jenny saw Shannon's eyes spark, realizing she'd already figured it out. Jenny let out a long sigh, feeling like an idiot, that she hadn't seen it before now. ‘'I didn't know until I came here. As Jane said, I may be a voodoo women, but I know jack shit about men.''
That made Shannon smile. ‘‘She said that?''
‘‘Yep.'' Jenny's smile dropped. ‘'Seems she was right.'' She exhaled, flopping full back onto the mattress, then winced. ‘'Shit. What the hell am I lying on?''
Shannon reached under her pulling out the armor vest. ‘‘Protection.''
Jenny shifted onto her side, allowing Shannon to pull it free. ‘'For?''
Jenny eyed it in surprise. ‘‘Is someone going to be shooting at me?''
Shannon tossed it over onto the chair in the corner. ‘'I hope not. But you're wearing it just in case.'' Shannon stilled as she felt the hand on her arm.
‘'Are we okay?''
Shannon nodded, unable to meet the eyes she knew were looking at her.
He voice was tentative and unsure. Finally Shannon had to look, and was instantly caught. ‘' Yea we're okay. But, I can't keep doing this.'' She watched the open gaze close and the hand start to retreat she caught it. ‘'no I don't mean it like that. Please understand I have to focus right now, and everything about you throws me for six. I don't know what is going on half the time. I can't be like that. Not now, not around this killer. I need to be focused to protect you, to get him.''
‘'I do understand. It's not just you Shannon. I'm either scared half to death around you or trying not to get on the damn boat home and lock my doors to keep you away.''
Shannon swallowed hard, that hurt.
‘'…. And the other time I'm wondering what it would be like to kiss you.''
Shannon's eyes snapped up.
Jenny gave a crooked grin, hiding the fact her insides were going nuts admitting it. ‘‘Surprised the hell out of me too. Believe me.''
Shannon told herself to remember how to breathe and again to remember the speech she'd just made. Nothing seemed to listen as her own thoughts locked on to the kissing. Her eyes dropped to Jenny's lips.
Jenny watched Shannon's eyes darken, it made her whole skin buzz. Christ!
She cleared her throat well aware of the warmth spreading, she rose, breaking contact. ‘'….You're right. We just need to focus.'' She made damn sure not to look at Shannon right now.
Shannon blinked, clearing her own throat. ‘'Right.''
Jenny finally turned, smiling at the look directed at her. ‘'Right''
Shannon's lips twitched as she saw Jenny's eyes drop to her lips. ‘'Stop it.''
Translucent eyes jumped up. ‘'I'm….''
Shannon smirked, rising an eyebrow. ‘'Right.''
Jenny bit her lip, feeling the small bubble of glee break forth from the darkness. It felt good to want again, to crave some ones touch and as much as it scared her to death, she still wanted it. She raised an eyebrow of her own. ‘'I didn't start it.''
Shannon snorted, enjoying the feeling too. ‘'Oh yes you did.''
Now knowing Jenny wanted to kiss her was sending her hidden desires into a tailspin. She shook her head. ‘'and you called me the bad girl.''
Their eyes locked, sharing the amusement, enjoying the feeling of attraction. Shannon grinned as she watched Jenny blush.
They both jumped, turning their heads as Marcus entered.
He looked at both of them wondering why they had silly grins on their face.
‘‘Um…. Lunch is ready.'' His eyebrows rose as both of them burst into laughter. ‘'Something funny?''
Jenny shook her head, calming her laughter, knowing how nuts they must both look right now. ‘‘Just life Marcus.''
He frowned. ‘'Ah!''
Shannon rose, moving towards him.
‘'Thanks for getting the stuff we needed from Grieves. It helped a lot.''
‘‘Wasn't hard, kinda like the undercover stuff. Shannon about the....''
She raised a hand. ‘'Don't worry about it.'' She looked back at Jenny giving her a smile, before looking at Marcus again. ‘‘You're an amazing artist.'' She gave him a genuine smile, before moving past him to the hall.
He scratched the back of his head, watching her go down the stairs. ‘'She confuses the hell out of me.''
He felt Jenny take him in a hug, surprised to feel her trembling. He looked down at her, seeing the small smile on her face, as her eyes followed Shannon down the stairs. It hurt, because he knew that look, but a part of him was glad for his friend, that finally someone had come along to help her out of her self-imposed exile. He wrapped his arms around her, tighter.
‘'It's love isn't it?'' his voice was low, he was having a hard time, hiding his emotions.
Jenny's eyes closed, still hearing the hurt. She gave him a squeeze. ‘'I don't know…. ‘' She looked up to his face. ‘'…. I'm sorry.''
He sighed. ‘'Nothing to be sorry about.'' He brushed her fringe back from her eyes, allowing his fingers to trace over her face briefly before dropping his hand. ‘‘If you'd met her when we were together I wouldn't have stood a chance.''
Jenny drew back with a gasp, almost hearing her own words repeated, her eyes filled with pain. ‘'Oh Marcus.''
He smiled to take the edge off his words. ‘‘You really think I didn't know Jen? Come on give me some credit. I knew why you were with me and it was enough okay. I also knew one day it wouldn't be enough for you. I just kidded myself.''
Her eyes filled with regret. ‘'I'm so sorry.''
He shhhed her pulling her back into a hug. ‘'I mean it don't be. I just held onto a hope that wasn't real. My problem not yours. Besides I love being your friend and having you in my life. I have missed you.''
She squeezed him harder.
He chuckled. ‘'Tall dark and deadly is a good choice. She's never gonna let anything happen to you.'' He pushed gently away from him, needing to see her eyes. He smiled sadly, wiping the tears off her cheek with his thumb. ‘'Jen…. I'm always gonna love you, I can't help it. But I understand the difference.'' He bent his head placing a brief kiss on her lips, well aware this was going to be the last time he could ever be like this with her. ‘'We'll survive jen.''
She inhaled sharply, feeling the lips touch but just as briefly they were gone, she blinked at him, not sure how she felt he'd done that. Then she saw in his eyes, it was a kiss of goodbye, not of their friendship, but a goodbye on his past with her, he was letting go of his hope of ever getting her back.
She smiled, stroking his face. ‘'I never would have survived without you. I can't lose you from my life again. I'm so sorry I pushed you away and hid. I love you.''
His grin stretched, understanding the difference in the words. ‘'I love you too and I'm not going anywhere shortcake.''
She grabbed him furiously, laughing at the use of her long forgotten nickname from him. ‘'You tell her that and I'll set Bud on you.''
He laughed, returning the hug. ‘‘You know if she came back right now, she'd shoot me. I don't think she gonna be the sharing type.''
Jenny shook her head, laughing. Already reaching the same conclusion, and that was fine with her, she didn't either. She hugged him closer, knowing this was his defense, knowing he was making her laugh to distance himself. Using his humor to protect himself. ‘‘She wouldn't shoot you.''
He drew back, looking down at her. ‘‘No?''
Jenny wiped at her eyes. ‘‘No. She'd wait till you were somewhere secluded. She's a cop Marcus she'd know where to dump the bodies so they wouldn't be missed.''
He laughed a full belly laugh pulling her to him again. ‘‘Ahhhh shit.''
Jenny held onto him, knowing one part of her past was now closed. Her eyes went to the empty stairwell, knowing her future lay tied to the woman who knew where to dump the bodies. She was terrified of the feeling reawakening inside her. Knowing she couldn't stop it if she tried, realizing a growing part of her didn't want it to. She chuckled, god this was so insane. She felt the shiver go through her, remembering what she'd seen in the vision. Her hug tightened around Marcus.
He felt it, answering her need for comfort. Knowing where her thoughts had turned. ‘'We'll take care of her Jen. I promise.''
All five now sat in the living room, relaxed after lunch. But there was seriousness in the room, all of them now well aware of what was going to happen. Even the fifth one knew, as he lay, chin on his paws, his eyes going to each of them in random turn.
Shannon rose first, her eyes briefly going to the now ominous large space on the wall, for a moment she wondered where he had put the painting. Her thoughts were stilled as she felt Jenny watching her curiously. She focused her thoughts. ‘'We have four hundred addresses. Jane and I went through them and compared each to just Jenny's profile. We're leaving out the F.B.Is profiles for now. We ruled out anyone below a senior level in medicine, we both agree that our guy isn't going to be just a nurse or orderly….'' She looked to Jenny, who nodded in agreement. ‘' Now the list is down to two hundred and fifty. Which gives us a starting point.''
Jenny shifted forward. ‘'Why rule out the F.B.I? They have good profilers.''
‘'They do. But they don't know him. They're going on standard psychopath behavior and as we all know now, he isn't a standard psychopath. We trust your new profile. If we're wrong we don't lose anything, the F.B.I. will be checking out the others anyway. They have the man power, we don't….''
Jenny understood, even though she felt the new added pressure.
Shannon continued. ‘‘…. So, I want to start with the fifty nearest the ecliptic. It's the most prominent positions. ‘' She opened the large street map out Jane had gotten for her, laying it across the coffee table.
All their attention went to it, seeing the large red circle Shannon had drawn.
Jane moved her fingers over the circle. ‘‘It gives us an eighty mile radius.''
Marcus whistled. ‘'That's a lot of streets to cover.''
Shannon nodded. ‘‘Some of the addresses aren't home residence. At least Twenty per cent of them are work places. I want to start with the houses first.''
Marcus frowned. ‘‘Why?''
Shannon rubbed her neck. ‘‘Because at home he is going to be more relaxed, not so much on guard, it's his place, he's going to feel safe. At work he is going to be the doctor or whatever the hell he is. Jenny's profile states he is will be mild mannered blend in. he isn't going to be himself. I think home is the best place for you or Jenny to pick up on him.''
Marcus eyebrows hiked at the fact he was now being included in Shannon's belief of gifts.
Jenny looked at the map again. ‘'She's right. We would get a bigger chance of sensing him in a place his mind isn't otherwise occupied.'' She looked to Marcus, waiting, giving him a smile at his amazement.
‘‘Yea. We would. Probably why I got a sense of him at the bars around the library. He was concentrating on what he was doing, but relaxed about it.''
He looked up to Shannon. ‘‘Yea?''
‘'I need to know exactly about the poppies?''
He frowned. ‘‘Like?''
‘‘Like, are they real? Are they a picture? Is it his past? Anything Marcus. Jane and I need to know what to look for?''
He sighed, sitting back. ‘‘It's not that easy.''
‘‘Try.'' She crossed her arms, waiting.
His eyes snapped to her. ‘‘It's a feeling I get .'' He hit his chest with his finger. ‘‘How the hell am I supposed to explain a feeling.''
Jane crossed her legs, smoothing off a bit of dog hair. ‘‘You're an artist.''
His eyes moved to her. ‘'So?''
‘‘Don't you paint your feelings?'' Her eyes briefly shifted to the large empty space on the wall, before meeting his again.
His jaw twitched his skin coloring.
Jenny understood what Jane was trying to say. ‘‘She's right. If you were painting it, how would you?''
Marcus exhaled, trying to think. ‘‘It isn't a picture. It's a feeling, a sense around him.''
Shannon butted in. ‘‘Like he's with it every day?''
‘‘Yea. But it's not….'' His face screwed up in frustration. ‘'…. It's with him okay that's all I can get from it. It's not like it's a tattoo. I doubt either you or Jane are ever going to see it…. If I were painting it, I'd paint blue.''
Jane looked surprised. ‘‘Poppies are red?''
He laughed. ‘'I know that. But the sense I get is blue, not blue poppies, just blue, cold, clinical, no warmth. So if I painted it you'd have a canvas full of nothing, space and blue.'' He shrugged. He looked at all of them, seeing their confusion. ‘'You asked.''
Shannon withheld her disappointment. ‘'Thanks anyway.''
Jenny gave her not so pleased look. ‘'That doesn't help. What's next?''
Shannon sat back down, concentrating on the map, she ran a finger over the area she wanted to go to first. ‘‘We'll go here.'' Her finger stopped on the map. ‘' There are twenty residential addresses and four medical clinics. Jane and Marcus will be together. Jenny you're with me.''
Marcus grinned giving Jane a wink. She rolled her eyes.
Shannon ignored them, looking to Jenny. ‘‘How close do you need to get to sense anything?''
Jenny took a short breath, trying to calm the tempest in her stomach. ‘‘It depends, I won't know till I'm there. But I'm pretty sure once I am I can rule out a place fairly quickly…. What are we going to do just walk into these places and?''
Shannon gave a confident smile. ‘‘The residential ones are simple.'' She tossed over two ID badges, one to Jenny and one to Marcus. ‘‘We're all doing a survey for local council improvements. The survey has already been going for two weeks. Every household has been advised it's in their area. Perfect to blend in, no one will question it and most of all no one is going to get suspicious.''
‘'You arranged this in a day?'' Marcus voiced showed his awe.
‘'I'm a cop Marcus. When I need to get things done, I do it.''
He looked down at the ID. ‘‘No shit. So, what about the medical clinics, I can't see this working.'' He tapped the ID.
‘‘No. For those, we are applying to join the clinic. We're new to the area and need to register with an M.D.''
Jenny frowned. ‘'Are all these clinics medical practices?''
Shannon smiled liking the fact Jenny thought on her feet. ‘‘No. Not all. Those we just bluff.''
Both Marcus's and Jenny's eyebrows hiked, speaking at the same time. ‘'Bluff!''
Jane chuckled. ‘‘Don't worry. The boss is the best bluffer I've worked with. Never play cards with her.''
Shannon snorted, then her face sobered. ‘‘Look, we don't have to be in any of these places long? Right?''
Both Marcus and Jenny nodded.
‘‘As long as we get our foot near the door, we can work with this. Trust me.''
Marcus grinned, clipping the ID to his shirt. ‘'Well, it isn't going to be boring that's for sure.''
Jenny managed a weak smile, looking down at the ID, right now her Nikes were telling her to run for the hills and don't look back, she took in low breathe.
Jenny smiled, Shannon's voice was like a blanket of warmth around her. ‘'I'm okay.''
Her resolve steeled, they needed her and Shannon needed her. Her eyes came up showing more conviction then she felt. ‘‘Yes.''
Shannon gave a quick smile. ‘‘Good.'' She rose again. ‘‘We leave in half an hour. Jane is going to get you set.''
Jenny's eyes shot to Jane. ‘'Set?''
Jane rose, grinning. ‘‘Won't hurt a bit.''
Jenny stood, giving Shannon a not so sure look as she followed Jane upstairs.
Marcus met Shannon's eyes. ‘'I…. Um need to tell you something.''
Shannon nodded, feeling uneasy, hoping this wasn't going to be an ex lover telling the new whatever his feelings.
She blinked, seeing he was serious. She almost laughed out loud, thinking this was a warning about Jenny. ‘‘What?''
He rose. ‘‘Just be extra careful. Listen to you're....''' he paused trying to find a word Shannon would understand and not get mad at. ‘'…. Listen to your instinct…. Don't push them away. No matter what they tell you, even if it doesn't make any sense, no matter if they feel stupid… just trust in them.''
Before Shannon could figure out what the hell he was telling her, he turned and headed upstairs.
‘'Well…. What the hell?''
Shannon looked up, hiding the smile as Jenny came in looking now slightly more bulkier then usual and very uncomfortable, she could see her shifting and scratching at the armor vest under her shirt.
‘'I'm going to sweat like a pig in this thing and I look like the blimp balloon.''
Shannon rolled the map up. ‘‘No you won't and you don't look like any sort of balloon.''
Jenny scowled at her. ‘'You're just saying that so I'll wear this.''
Shannon's grinned. ‘'No.''
Jenny itched at it again. ‘'How on earth can you wear this all day?''
Jenny stilled, distracted from her itching. ‘'But I thought….''
Shannon packed the map into the bag. ‘'No. When you're a patrol cop its mandatory, it isn't when you're in homicide. I only use them when we are going in for arrests.''
‘'Are you wearing one today?'' Suddenly Jenny felt sick, her vision suddenly raw in her mind.
Shannon zipped the bag closed, turning. ‘‘We only have one.''
Jenny started undoing her buttons.
Shannon looked around to see if she had forgotten anything, turning, her eyes bulged. She ran over. ‘‘Hey what are you doing?''
Jenny slapped her hands away. ‘‘You're wearing this.''
‘‘The hell I am.'' Without thinking she grabbed both of Jenny's hands at the wrists.
Jenny let out a gasp, feeling the jolt of the full visions, trying to break the hold. ‘‘No. nooooo.''
Shannon saw it, she didn't know how, but she saw it. Blood, lots of it. Jenny screaming, a bolt of pain, large spreading cold, ice cold. Wrists were torn from her grip, shattering the image. Shannon grunted stepping back, looking down at her hands, feeling like they'd just been submerged in ice water. Her voice was unsteady. ‘'What…. Was that!?''
Jenny tried to ease the vertigo, pulling herself back to center. ‘'You.'' Confused eyes looked at her. ‘‘That's what I see…. You!'' Angrily she pulled the vest over her head. ‘'So you're wearing this damn thing.'' She threw it at her, well aware she was shaking.
Shannon just managed to catch it, her own body screaming protest at what she'd just seen and felt. She looked down at the vest, then over to Jenny, seeing the anguish there. ‘'You see me getting hurt?''
Jenny bit her lip, trying hard not to give into the sudden need to cry, and yell and run. ‘‘Yes.''
Shannon swallowed. ‘'How?''
Jenny hugged herself. ‘'I don't know. You saw what I see.''
Shannon shifted so she could sit on the arm of the leather chair. She didn't know how she felt. Should she be scared? She glanced over to Jenny seeing that she was. Her eyes fell to the vest. Was she wearing this in the vision? Her brow crunched, trying to think. Something suddenly did made sense. ‘'Marcus knows doesn't he?''
Jenny startled eyes came up.
Shannon managed a weak smile. ‘'I think he tried to warn me.''
‘‘He only saw it because he was holding my hand at the time. I didn't tell him.''
Now another thing made sense to Shannon. ‘‘In the car today, that's the first time you saw?''
Jenny was getting over the shock of Shannon knowing so much, what worried her more was the fact the detective was so calm, distant. ‘‘Yes.''
Shannon nodded, looking down at the vest, as her finger's absentmindedly picked at the Velcro tab. So this was what mortality felt like, to be seen in a vision by an oracle. She wondered if this was how the ancient Spartans felt. Knowing they were going into battle to die. Would she be carried home on a shield, in honor? Or would another lunatic catch her unawares? ‘'Do I die?''
Jenny had to clamp down on her sob. She looked away, closing her eyes. ‘'I don't know.''
Shannon simply nodded.
Jenny couldn't take it anymore, she opened her eyes, looking to the bowed headed figure. ‘'Shannon.''
‘‘Please wear the vest.''
The desperation in the voice pulled at something deep inside Shannon, she took in a long ragged breath. This wasn't about her, this wasn't why she was here. Jenny was. She pulled the Velcro tabs free rising, walking towards her. ‘'No.'' she placed it over the shocked psychic's head, using the stunned silence to attach the vest back into place, making sure it was secure, she began doing the buttons back up, amazed her hands weren't shaking.
‘'I make my own destiny and right now that destiny is to protect you. We have to catch him. We can do that. That's all that's going to happen….'' She resisted the urge to cup the psychic's cheek, knowing how rattled she was. Instead she let her eyes show how much it meant. ‘' Thanks for the warning.''
Jenny stuttered a breath, this time she couldn't stop the tears. ‘‘Please.''
Shannon shook her head, her guts twisting at the anguish she heard. ‘‘Sorry. Besides I really hate those things, make me itch like crazy.''
Jenny was caught between a laugh and a sob. But she knew what she wanted to do and this time she didn't fight it. She threw herself into Shannon's startled arms, which quickly folded around her. ‘‘You're so stubborn.''
‘'That's what my mom says too.'' Shannon gave over to the feeling, knowing what would come, almost sighing as she felt the warm spread between them. She still didn't know what that was, but she was learning to become addicted to it.
Marcus turned the corner, suddenly caught in what he was seeing, not at all sure how he felt. He stopped, hearing Jane curse as she walked into him.
Jane slapped him. ‘‘Hey idiot.''
He turned his head to her, shrugging. ‘'Sorry.''
Giving him an annoyed look as she moved past him, only to stop dead at the two hugging. ‘‘Oh…. Um'' She cleared her throat, loudly.
Shannon looked over to them, waiting for Jenny to break the hug, because right now she couldn't. She met Marcus's eyes, seeing the spark of jealous, then the change to understanding, he met her eyes, sadness now. Shannon just nodded his unanswered question. His eyes fell.
Jane watched the exchange. ‘'Are we…. Um ready to go?''
Jenny finally pulled away, giving a last squeeze, looking up to the gaze that was now on her again. She gave a weak smile. ‘‘Be careful. Please.'' She knew it meant nothing, she knew her vision was always right, nothing would change it. But Shannon was right, they had to catch him.
Jenny pulled what little of herself was left together, locking out the emotions, locking it all out. She straightened, turning to Jane. ‘‘Yes. We're ready to go.''
Marcus saw the change in her, it made his spine tingle.
Shannon saw and felt it and it made her sad to know this was the only way Jenny could deal with this.
Jane saw it, not knowing what was going on but for once getting the feeling they might just catch this basterd. She nodded to Jenny, moving towards the front door, the hold all she packed early in her hand.
Bud didn't like it. He felt the cold emanating from his mistress, he went to her, whimpering. She smiled down at him, kneeling to hug him.
Shannon hated what she had to say next. ‘‘He can't come.''
Jenny stiffened, but didn't turn, she'd already thought as much. She hugged him harder.
Shannon lifted her rucksack. Standing beside the kneeled figure. ‘'Our cover isn't going to hold with a dog with us. Even in the car, someone could notice. I'm sorry.''
Jenny stroked across bud's head, letting him lick her hand. ‘‘You've got to stay here boy.''
He tilted his head.
‘'I know you want to come, but we need you guard the house.''
He looked around, then looked at her unconvinced the house needed guarding.
She smiled again. ‘'I know. But you have too.''
He snuggled closer to her. ‘'Argoof.''
‘She hugged him harder, rising, walking to the door. He moved to follow. ‘'Stay. Guard.'' Her voice was stern.
He stopped, unsure, he took a step closer to her, head down, tail nervously wagging.
He flinched, looking to Shannon. Then back to his mistress, something was wrong with her, it radiated now in black waves. He'd never disobeyed before, but he didn't want to stay. He made to make another step.
‘'DAMN IT STAY!''
Even Shannon flinched this time, her eyes going to Jenny. Her voice ice, her eyes ice. Shannon swallowed. ‘'Jen?''
Angry eyes came to her. ‘'You said he couldn't come. So stay out of it.''
Marcus shifted. ‘'I'll be in the car.'' He turned leaving. He didn't want to see this.
Jenny's eyes fixed on her dog. ‘'STAY!'' she turned, and headed from the room. Slamming the front door as she left the house.
Bud looked at Shannon again. Whimpering. Finally he lay down, whining as he did.
Shannon caught the ripple across his muscles, she let out a breath. Resisting the urge to stroke him as she walked past, well aware his sad eyes were following. She turned back to him at the doorway. ‘'She isn't mad at you.''
He licked his chops.
Shannon gave him a weak smile, moving to the door, suddenly she stopped, it felt wrong, her jaw twitched, shaking her head she opened the front door, but the more she moved from the house the more wrong it felt. Her eyes went to the Suv, seeing the three waiting for her. That felt wrong too, incomplete. She frowned, what the hell was wrong with her now? She eyes went to the window, seeing bud standing up, his front paws scratching franticly at the pane, his eyes locked on the Suv, starting to bark. Shannon's eyes went to the car again, seeing Jenny looking deliberately away from him. Suddenly Marcus words came back to her. ‘'No matter how stupid…. Trust in them.''
Her eyes went to the dog, seeing his growing panic. That was what was wrong. ‘'Damn it.''
She opened the front door, calling bud to her. He rounded the corner in a skid, his claws skimming across the tiles. She grabbed at him, avoiding the licks. Pushing him to sit. Meeting his eyes. ‘'Listen to me.''
‘'You stay with her. Get me?''
‘‘No. No messing around, no matter what happens, no matter who is hurt or who else needs your protection you … You protect her. Even if she doesn't want it. Even if she orders you to do something else. You ignore her. You protect Jenny only.''
His eyes seem to narrow.
‘‘I need you to do this…. No one else. Not Marcus, Not Jane, Not even me.''
A paw came up, pawing at her hand. She took it, smiling. ‘‘Yea I know me too. But you protect her boy, because this man is gonna try and hurt her.''
‘'I feel it in my gut.''
She didn't for one minute think how absurd this was, all she knew was he had to come with them ‘'We got a deal?''
His paw came up again. She grinned taking it, shaking. ‘‘Okay, let's get ya to your momma.''
He started dancing, wagging his tail to the point it whipped her legs. She laughed reaching across for the lead, clipping it on him.
Marcus turned hearing the door shut, his eyes widened seeing bud approach.
‘‘What the hell, thought he wasn't coming?''
Jenny eyes left the window, turning, she felt the surprise and the anger.
Shannon opened the back passenger door. ‘‘In you go.'' Closing it once he was in, moving down the side of the car towards the drivers seat, she was well aware of the angry translucent gaze that followed her.
Bud jumped in, licking at anyone close, which this time was Jane. ‘‘Well. Ewwww.''
As Shannon got in, she felt the fire of emerald eyes again.
‘'Why? Why make me do that to him then change your mind?''
Shannon turned to the pissed off voice. ‘'Because he needs to come. Without him it doesn't feel right.''
Marcus eyes shot from bud to the driver's mirror, seeing Shannon's eyes briefly look to him in it. He grinned.
‘'So now you're the psychic.'' Jenny snort held no humor. She pulled her sunglasses from her pocket, slipping them on, resisting the urge to itch the area where the armor rubbed.
Shannon inhaled, calming herself. ‘‘Jenny. Don't make catching him turn you into what you were. You don't need too, you're not alone this time.''
Jenny jerked, feeling the shard of ice inside her fracture.
Shannon waited, hoping she would say something, she shook her head disappointed as Jenny simply looked back out of the passenger window.
‘'Jane what's the first address.''
The car had been mainly silent, except for Marcus and Jane making idle conversation, the nearer they got to the first address the quieter it had become, if was if all humor or normality didn't have a place anymore.
Shannon had driven around the first street twice, checking the area, waiting for either Marcus or Jenny to show any signs of seeing or feeling anything. Finally on the third pass she slowed the car four houses down from the first address, she turned the engine off. ‘'Jane?''
Jane flicked open the first file on her lap. ‘‘Okay. Name is Norman Roberts age 42. Is a surgeon at St Jude's hospital? House number 235.''
All eyes went up the street to the normal looking suburb house.
‘'He's divorced, lives alone.''
Marcus coughed. ‘‘Um…. I have a question.'' He felt like he should be raising his hand.
Jane sighed. ‘'What?''
‘'It's 3 30 in the afternoon, wouldn't he be at work?''
Shannon mouth twitched.
Jane looked at him. ‘'Do you think we are complete idiots, he's off shift. He doesn't go back till Friday.''
‘‘Ah. Just checking.''
‘‘Anyway…. He drives a dark blue Saab.''
‘‘There's a car on the drive.'' Shannon hand tightened on the wheel, she chanced a glance to Jenny, wishing she could see her eyes.
Jane looked past Shannon's shoulder. She double-checked the DLV sheet. ‘'Yea that's his.''
Everyone looked at Jenny in anticipation. She felt it, her senses were stretched out trying to find any thread. Shaking her head she pulled them back. ‘'Nothing from here.''
Shannon hid her curse. ‘'Right.'' Her voice now held the tone of the homicide detective she was. ‘'Jane…. Marcus…. I want you directly opposite us, keep us in line of sight, you see anything Jane you mike me. Understood?''
Jane placed the receiver plug into her ear. ‘'Gotta ya boss.'' She passed the survey clipboard to Marcus.
‘‘If Jenny needs Marcus to come over, you'll hear it. Make an excuse too. We have open com so keep the garbage down.'' She glared at Marcus, hearing him hum the battle hymn of the Republic, in her earpiece.
He grinned sheepishly. ‘‘Sorry. Couldn't help it.''
Shannon was about to snap at him when she felt Jenny looking at her. She turned her head, surprised to see a small smile. She looked back at Marcus, realizing why he was being an ass. Her eyes went back to Jenny, adding a small smile of her own.
Jenny took a long deep breath, more to steel herself then the need for oxygen. ‘'Can we go and do this?''
Shannon gave a curt nod, seeing the strain on Jenny's face was making her own anxiety going up. ‘‘Okay, let's go.'' She undid her seatbelt, reaching behind to her belt, adjusting her gun. Seeing Jane do the same with her under arm one? ‘'I'll get out first. Jenny you next. Jane and Marcus right after.''
Shannon moved very swiftly, moving from the car, the clipboard in her hand, putting her sunglasses on to help shade the high sun. A quick check around her she moved as Jenny's door opened to go next to her.
Jenny gave her a grateful smile as she felt her presence, extending her mind's eye, her eyes closed, she turned her head as she saw a child playing, the vision changed zooming in to a dog running and playing through the sprinklers. She prodded deeper, looking searching. Her eyes opened. ‘'Nothing…. There's nothing I can sense here, everything is normal.''
Shannon nodded, seeing Marcus still by the other side of the car, seeing him move to the curbside to touch.
He rose. ‘'Nothing.''
Jane was watching them with a mix of curiosity and doubt. ‘'Right. We'll head to 228.'' She motioned to Marcus to lead the way.
Shannon watched them until they started up the driveway to 228, then her attention went back to Jenny, waiting for her to clip the lead onto bud and let him drop from the car, next to her side.
Jenny patted him, giving Shannon a look. ‘'How are you going to explain him?''
Shannon pulled the pen free from the top of the clipboard. ‘‘He…. Um is your seeing dog. Local council uses the equal disability program.''
Jenny laughed, wondering if Shannon knew just how close she was to the truth. Right now with the sun at its highest, her vision was limit to a ten feet in front of her, the rest as usual was a blur, even with the contacts and sunglasses on it didn't help.
Shannon gave a guilty smile. ‘'Ready?''
‘'No. But let's go anyway.''
This time Shannon grinned. It amazed her the amount of courage this small blonde had. ‘‘Let me lead, you just work your voodoo.''
Jenny nodded, falling into step with Shannon. Trying to settle her insides, slightly opening her senses. The first thing she felt was bud, his warmth, and his protection. It was strange and it almost made her giggle, because the next thing she sensed was Shannon, emanating the same warmth and protection. It just struck her as funny, Shannon's reaction at being told she felt like her dog. Jenny bypassed those threads of feeling, going deeper, hitting an aura of pure strength. It almost made her gasp, her eyes shifted to Shannon. It had surprised her, but it shouldn't have, even the way Shannon moved showed her strength and grace. She looked away, directing her senses towards the house they were approaching. She couldn't sense any danger, or any flashes of killer or pain.
Shannon slowed as she felt Jenny stop, she waited, seeing the film of perspiration on the psychic's skin. ‘'Jen?''
Jenny blinked, not realizing she'd stopped. ‘'Sorry.'' She started again.
‘‘Did you feel something?''
Shannon briefly touched her hand. ‘'Don't be.''
They both stopped at the front door, Shannon reached across pressing the bell, seeing Jenny stiffen in the corner of her vision.
The door opened, bringing Norman Richmond into view, he smiled, looking to them in question.
Shannon smiled her best smile. ‘'Hi. Dr Roberts were form the local council, we sent a letter a few weeks ago letting you know we were doing a survey in the area. Can you spare a moment of your time?''
His friendly eyes became wary. ‘'Survey for what? I don't remember getting a letter.''
Shannon pulled out a copy of the letter from the clipboard, handing over her ID at the same time, well aware of how silent Jenny was. Hoping she was doing her thing, rather than freezing up with fear.
Dr Roberts took the letter and ID, glancing over each. ‘'Yea I remember this now. Sorry I'm on call today I don't have time for this, send me out a postal one and I'll fill it in and send it back. ‘' He passed the letter and ID back.
Shannon kept her smile there, placing her sunglasses on her head to make eye contact with him ‘'You sure? We can get it done in less than ten minutes.''
Seeing her eyes made his smile return. ‘'I'd really like to but….''
Shannon felt Jenny's hand touch hers, then bypass to the clipboard, pulling free the postal questionnaire, she stepped forward, giving a smile to the man.
‘'We understand Sir. Thank you for doing this, the survey is important, we do like to know what the residence in the area think of the new plans.''
He smiled at her taking the survey. ‘'No problem. Thanks.'' He gave them each a smile before turning and closing the door.
Shannon found herself standing alone as Jenny turned and moved back towards the car, seeing Jane watching them from across the road. She beckoned her over while quickly catching up to Jenny. Pulling her sunglasses down with a slight curse as she got hit by the glare off one of the windscreens. ‘'Jen?''
Jenny stopped, closing down the walls, she cleared her mind turning. ‘'It isn't him.''
‘‘Yes.'' A smile creased, as she looked down. ‘'…. And the reason he didn't want to do the survey is his boyfriend is waiting upstairs.''
Shannon's eyebrows rose, as she glanced back at the house, then she chuckled. ‘'Wow. Guess we know why the marriage didn't work.''
Jenny smile vanished. ‘'Don't make fun of something you don't know. I broke into his privacy, his thoughts, his life. He's an eminent surgeon, you really think the fact he's gay is going to help his career. You of all people should know the impact of something like this getting out.''
Shannon looked down. ‘‘No one is going to know about any of this Jen. But, you're right, I shouldn't have made fun of something you have to do. I can't imagine how hard it is for you.''
Jenny accepted the apology, bending to scratch bud's head.
Marcus and Jane stopped next to them, they didn't need to ask, they'd heard on the open coms.
Shannon inhaled. ‘'Let's go.''
All four moved back to the car. As Shannon was about to get in, she looked up to the sun, this was going too slowly and she knew it.
Marcus sighed heavily, drinking back his third bottle of water, it was a hot day. They'd been to four other houses all with the same result, nothing. He wiped his forearm across his head, glancing across to Jenny and Shannon who were walking back from number five.
Shannon shook her head, reaching in through the window to take two bottles of water from her rucksack, passing one to Jenny. ‘'No. You're not sensing anything either?''
Jenny opened the bottle quenching her thirst, she poured some into her palm, quickly rubbing it in to the back of her neck, looking to Marcus for his answer too.
‘‘No nothing. Not even a trace of poppies.''
Shannon lent her hip against the car wing, glancing over to where Jane was letting bud out. ‘'I wish there was a quicker way to do this.'' She looked over to the horizon, remembering they only could do the survey calls up to seven o'clock. They were only an hour away from that.
‘'Tell me again why we didn't leave this to the task force or the F.B.I.?''
She glanced at him. ‘'Because we're running out of time. The F.B.I. can pull together more men sure, but this guy is smart, he sees unknown people canvassing his area in heavy numbers he's going to run. They'll do exactly what we are doing, four men squads per street. Except they won't know what to look for, they'll go in and hope he panics. With you two we have the best shot at him. Unless you think differently?''
He exhaled, shaking his head. ‘‘Nah. You're right.'' He smiled at Jenny. ‘'How you holding up?''
She drank the last of the water, re-screwing the top, pausing only a second to check exactly how she was doing, it surprised her to find the answer. ‘'I'm okay, tired, hot, frustrated, like the rest of us.''
Jane came ambling over, her eyes going around her as she approached. ‘'Boss, we only got an hour left.''
Jenny took the half bottle of water from Marcus's hand, ignoring his outrage, bending she poured it into her palm. Letting bud drink from it. ‘'Remind me to bring a bowl tomorrow.''
Jane took the distraction to motion to Shannon to follow. Shannon pushed away from the car. ‘‘Be right back you two. Stay by the car.''
Jane stopped when she knew they were far enough out of earshot. ‘‘Boss? This is taking too long. Five houses in one afternoon, we have over two hundred to visit and that's just in this area. The travel time in-between is slowing us down.''
Shannon didn't need to work out the maths. ‘'I know. What else can we do?''
Jane glanced over to Marcus and Jenny who were talking. Then her eyes fixed on Shannon. ‘‘We need to split up, into two teams.''
Shannon shoved her hair back out of her face. ‘‘No.''
Jane kept her gaze locked. ‘‘Boss? Think about it. I take Marcus you take Jenny…. We'll cover double the area and more houses.''
‘'I said no. We keep as a team. We need the back up.''
‘‘From who the killer? Come on, you know as well as I do if either Marcus or Jenny spot him, we back off and call in the Calvary he isn't going to know we've got the drop on him.''
Shannon met her eyes. ‘'They don't spot him Jane, they sense him.''
Jane shifted uncomfortably.
Shannon saw it, she felt an uneasy feeling, wondering exactly how Jane felt about this. ‘‘If they can sense him, then maybe he can sense them. Then where is the surprise with only two of us on him? At least with four I got a damn chance of getting her away to safety and catching him.''
Jane looked down, exhaling in frustration. ‘‘How can you believe this spooky shit?''
Shannon lips thinned. ‘‘If you don't believe it why the hell are you here?''
Jane's eyes snapped up. ‘‘Because I trust you.''
‘‘Well, trust me enough to know those two feel things, I don't know how or why or how the hell they do. But they do. If you don't think you can help on this case, go back to Grieves….'' She turned heading back to the car, rattled that Jane didn't believe one thing that was going on around her.
‘'Fuck.'' Jane kicked out at a loose stone on the tarmac, watching it skitter off into a storm drain.
Jenny had seen the argument from the corner of her vision as she talked to Marcus; she also felt the burst of anger that quickly followed Shannon walking back towards them.
Marcus turned his head, following Jenny's gaze, seeing the redness of anger on Shannon's face. ‘‘Oh shit. Trouble.''
Shannon didn't bother stopping, she pulled open the driver's door, getting in. ‘‘Let's get to the next one, we're running out of time.''
Marcus shrugged his shoulders to Jenny, getting into the back seat, leaving the door open for Jane, as he slid across to the other side. He grinned at bud as he jumped in.
Shannon tapped the steering wheel, watching Jane approach, in the side mirror.
Jenny pushed her hair back off her face, seeing the same strain of anger on Jane's face as she approached; she took a step up to her, halting her in her tracks. Jenny smiled. ‘'You don't believe in what I do, do you?''
Jane bit back an angry retort, she was mad at Shannon not this woman. ‘'No.''
‘‘And you trust in her. Right?''
Jane exhaled. ‘‘Yes.''
Jenny gave an understanding nod. ‘'Don't let her push you into choosing Jane. She doesn't mean too.''
Jane blinked. ‘'She…. Didn't.''
Jenny raised an eyebrow. ‘‘It isn't my way or the high way. I honestly don't care what you believe. All I ask of you is to trust me enough to know what I do is going to get the job done. Does it really matter how I do it? ‘'
Jane frowned. ‘'I suppose not.''
‘‘You know I get results?''
Jane couldn't deny that, she'd read the case files after she'd been assigned to the case. ‘‘Yea.''
‘'Then don't drive yourself nuts trying to work out how I do. It's unconventional, it doesn't make sense. There isn't going to be a logical explanation.''
‘'I don't like things that don't fit or make sense.''
‘'I know. Its part of the reason I came to you so much about the clues. I wanted a fresh clean mind, one who didn't second guess what they saw. You look for a simple answer and the simple answer is usual the right one.'' Jenny gave a soft smile.
Jane snorted, trying to hide the fact this whole conversation was making her nervous. ‘‘Believe me my mind ain't clean.''
Jenny's smile broadened. ‘‘But you don't second-guess what you see. Not unless you can't understand it. So you look for another way round it, you find a plausible answer.''
Jane looked up. ‘‘Yes.''
Jenny sighed. ‘'I'm afraid there isn't a plausible answer for what Marcus and I can do Jane. There is never going to be one. I don't even know why I can see these things and most of the world can't. What I feel and what I do, I just do. Sometimes I wish I didn't, it's screwed up my life in so many ways.'' Her eyes drifted to the trees. ‘'I don't like seeing things, I hate having no control over them, but most of all I hate seeing people and knowing what they're feeling.'' Her eyes came back to Jane. ‘'…. Because I don't get the chance to just discover what a person's like. I think that's the real gift in life. I feel like such a cheat and miss out on so much. It's made me overly cautious to the point I'd stopped looking for the good in people.''
Jane shifted nervously, even though she didn't believe she found herself asking the question. ‘‘You…. You do that to me…. Read me?''
Jenny gave a patient smile. ‘‘No. I've learned how to stop that part. I put myself behind a wall, one I can't see through, can't feel through, and can't touch through.''
Jane tilted her head. ‘'That's kinda sad.''
Jenny's started in surprise, she'd never looked at it that way before. ‘‘Yes. I suppose it is….'' She took a step closer to her. ‘'Shannon believes because she can't do otherwise, she trusts in people, she believes in people. She can't help herself.''
Jane's eyes went past Jenny's to the car, seeing her boss staring out into nothing, recognizing the agitation. Jenny's words pulled her attention back.
‘‘That's why she gets hurt.''
Jane nodded. ‘‘Yea. She tries to fix even the ones that are beyond fixing.''
Jenny gave a shy smile. ‘'I'm glad she does that, because otherwise I'd be still hiding on the island Jane, shutting myself up in house of dust, lost.''
Jane eyes jumped to her, seeing the truth.
‘'Shannon has a special gift beyond anything mine can do. She still believes in the goodness of the world and she needs people like you to protect her from it.''
Jane blushed. ‘'I don't do that.''
Jenny surprised herself by reaching out and laying her hand on Jane's arm.
‘‘Yes you do. She needs you now more than ever Jane. Don't let your disbelief in Marcus and me, make you leave her.''
Jane looked down at the hand, wondering why her skin suddenly felt warm where it touched. ‘'I wasn't going to leave. She just pissed me off a little. But she does that most times anyway. No biggy.''
Jenny laughed stepping back, removing her hand. ‘‘Oh. I'm with you there, half the time I want to strangle her.''
Jane relaxed. ‘‘And the other half?''
Jenny's laugh, turned into a cough, she blushed. ‘‘Um.''
Jane smirked. ‘'Thought as much.''
Jenny's blushed deepened, making Jane chuckle.
Shannon's annoyed yell broke into the silence. ‘'Are you two going to chit chat all day or can we go to the next address.''
Jenny gave Jane one last look before returning to the car. Jane stood for a moment, looking around, straightening out her thoughts. Shaking her head she headed back towards the car. Realizing it didn't matter how they did it, just that they did it and caught this sod of a bitch.
House number six had been as much as a disappointment as the others. They couldn't take the risk of using the cover of the survey after seven o'clock, so had all decided to return to Marcus's house. When they had gotten back, very little was said. Everyone seemed to be caught in their own thoughts. Shannon needed something to be done and knowing she needed more update information, she'd decided to send Jane back to the precinct to talk to Grieves. Marcus had agreed to go with her.
Now Shannon was annoyed as she paced up and down the living room she'd let them go at all. If they were held, she wouldn't know what the hell was going on. She stopped pacing, striding to the window, pushing the blind slate down to peer out into the night, checking the road. They'd been gone too long.
‘'You know you're driving me crazy.''
Shannon snapped the blind back into place as she jerked around to the voice, relaxing as she saw Jenny stood in the doorway, wondering again how the hell the psychic could sneak up on her so much. ‘‘Why?''
Jenny sighed, rubbing at her eyes, she was tired, dead tired. ‘'Well for one your pacing sounds like a heard of elephants on a wooden floor.''
Shannon looked down at the exposed floorboards. ‘‘Sorry…. And two?''
‘‘You're giving me stomach ache.'' Jenny slipped into the big leather chair, pulling her legs up under her dressing gown.
Jenny was caught in mid yawn, she looked guiltily across. ‘'I felt your anxiety, and before you get mad at me, I was asleep so my walls weren't up and you're throwing out enough vibes to get through anyway.''
Shannon chewed the inside of her mouth. ‘'Sorry I woke you. Go back up, I won't pace.'' She moved to the window, slipping the slant down again to stare outside.
Jenny shook her head, leaning it back against the leather. Even in the dimmed light she could see how exhausted Shannon looked and how tense. ‘'Are they that late?''
Shannon caught the note of worry. ‘‘Well they're taken longer than they should be…. I expected them an hour ago.''
Jenny chewed an edge of a nail that had been catching in the cotton of her robe. ‘‘And because you don't know why, it's making you nervous.''
Shannon dropped her head slightly, smiling at how Jenny was getting to know her so well. ‘‘Yea.''
‘‘Maybe they stopped for pizza.'' Jenny had to bite her lip to stop from laughing at the stony unamused blue gaze suddenly leveled on her.
‘'If they have, I'm going to shoot Marcus.''
Jenny smiled. ‘‘Just Marcus?''
‘‘Yes. Because Jane knows better, and it would be his sweet talking that got them to go for pizza.''
Jenny laughed. ‘‘He'll like that you called it sweet-talking. Most call it whining.''
Shannon smiled, enjoying the relaxed look on Jenny's face, knowing today had taken a lot out of her. ‘'You should go back to bed.'' Her eyes went back to the street.
Jenny sighed, rising. ‘‘And do what? You expect me to sleep with you so tense and now knowing they‘re late?'' she drew level with Shannon looking out into the street. ‘'Why would they be?''
‘'F.B.I…. Grieves could have been told to hold Jane…. Jane might think she's being followed and is trying to lose the tail. She won't come back here if she thinks she's followed. There wouldn't be any other reason. Nothing would have happened to them.''
Jenny turned, folding her arms, leaning back against the still. ‘'…and how long would they hold her?''
Shannon sighed. ‘'As long as they like, if they think she's withholding information. I told Marcus to stay in the car when Jane went in. I'd hope he'd come back and tell us if she was.''
‘‘He would. But he'd make sure first.''
Shannon looked across at her. ‘‘Has he always been so gallant?''
Jenny smiled remembering a fond memory. ‘‘Yes…. It's his nature.'' She met Shannon's eyes. ‘'Very much like yours.''
Shannon looked away knowing she was blushing. ‘‘Some would disagree.''
Jenny shrugged. ‘‘As I said they're idiots.''
Shannon body tensed. ‘'Car.''
Jenny turned, looking out, recognizing the SUVs. ‘'See, nothing to worry about.''
‘'I see one pizza box, I'm shooting Sir Galahad.'' She moved from the window, heading right for the front door.
Jenny just grinned, deciding now they were safe, she really needed to get some sleep.
Return to the Academy