Disclaimers: This is a sequel to The Nearest Distant Shore. While it is not necessary to read the original novel, this one may not make as much sense to you if you don’t. Either way, I promise you won’t be disappointed. The characters belong to the author and are copyrighted to the same. Please do not use these characters without the express written permission of the author.

This is an alternative fiction work and as such will portray a loving sexual relationship between two women. If this is illegal where you live or if you are under age please find something else to read and somewhere else to live. There is some violence and graphic crime scene details in this work as necessary to further the plot.

Thanks go to my beta readers:

My Warrior, you are hands down, without a doubt, the absolute best beta reader on the planet. Once again I am sorely testing your editing skills. Thanks for being patient and for giving me your love, understanding, and your hand in marriage. I love you.

Pati (2 cute 2 be ignored) St. Jean you have been my most staunch supporter and one of my very best friends, I can never live up to your standards, but it’s fun to try.

Cheri, thanks for your support and enthusiasm. Your comments, suggestions, and friendship are greatly appreciated.

Marsha, you’ve been with me almost since the beginning and I am grateful for your help and support.

Shai, thanks for your input and for caring so much about my characters. You have given me helpful feedback and a friendship that I treasure.

Rhain, you have also been with me since the beginning and your questions and comments helped make this a better story.

Dar, thanks for jumping in and beta reading in a pinch, your comments and questions were so helpful, even when you thought you were nit picking!

All of you have helped make this what it is today and you have my sincerest and most humble thanks.

If you like my story, please let me know. Comments are greatly appreciated and can be made to: mac10k@earthlink.net

Swimming for Shore

By: Little Mac

Prologue: The End was Just the Beginning

Tessa sat in the small room waiting for her attorney to arrive. The handcuffs attached to the table were cutting into her wrists but she wasn’t complaining. This was going to be a very short visit. The call she received this morning had given her hope and she tapped her foot impatiently against the stone floor as she waited. The sound echoed off the bleary walls and she paused in her attempt to tap out a song as she heard hurried footsteps approaching.

She glanced up as Ned Taylor entered the room; her court appointed attorney looked harried as usual. He set his bulging briefcase down on the table and poured himself a glass of water from the pitcher. Downing the liquid in one swallow he loosened his tie and opened his briefcase; laying the stack of papers on the table he finally trained his eyes on his client. He hated these kinds of meetings, and he detested having to stand up in court for a client he was certain had committed the very acts he was getting paid to defend. This woman’s case was one of the worst; he had been hoping an insanity plea would be sufficient enough and then he could wash his hands of it. He looked across the table at his charge. Her expression was smug and cold and he felt a chill run down his spine. Despite the fact that armed guards surrounded them, he was glad she was chained. He cleared his throat before addressing her.

"Here’s what we’ve got, Tessa. The prosecution has an almost airtight case against you. They have the wig from your house and a positive match from that wig at all the crime scenes. They’ve impounded your car and there are DNA blood matches from the trunk with at least three of your victims. They can prove motive, method, and opportunity in all the cases. What we need to work on now is your defense strategy. What’s your defense going to be?"

"Love." Tessa replied evenly, watching his face contort into something akin to disbelief.

Ned poured another glass of the water, wishing it were something much stronger. "That’s your defense? You did it for love? What jury in their right mind is going to let you go on bullshit reasoning like that?" For once, he thought, the insanity plea seemed to fit.

"I don’t care what anyone believes. I know why I did what I did and besides, I don’t want a jury trial." For a moment, she looked like a stubborn child, but there was a glint of something dark and sinister in her eyes and Ned found himself averting his gaze. He hated these interviews.

"Well you sure as hell don’t want to leave it up to Judge Robbins."

The judge was basically a fair man, but he had a reputation for zero tolerance when it came to crimes like this; he firmly believed in seeing to it that the punishment fit the crime. Ned knew there were more compassionate judges but Tessa had definitely hit a brick wall if she thought she could sway him into complacency.

Tessa narrowed her eyes but said nothing; she had seemingly made up her mind on the subject and the attorney tried to imagine the reaction of the judge when he presented such a bogus defense.

"I don’t think you know what’s at stake here, Tessa. If you plead guilty you go directly to jail, you don’t pass go, and you don’t collect two hundred dollars. Judge Robbins can decide to give you life without the possibility of parole. That’s as close as he can get to a death penalty in this state. You could try an insanity defense. We can get a panel of Psychiatrists to interview you and maybe we can get you off that way, but there’s no other way that I can see. If you go to jail it’s going to be for life." He leaned forward and sighed. "I don’t see any other way around it, but feel free to voice an opinion if you’ve got something better."

"I’m not going to trial and I’m not going to jail, because I have a plan."

Ned let silence fall between them for a few moments, he realized he had just asked the advice of a serial killer and he briefly wondered why he had been so excited to go to law school in the first place.

"So, what’s the plan?" Ned couldn’t wait to hear this.

"To start with, you’re fired. I have a new attorney taking over my case. I appreciate all your help, but prison just isn’t for me."

Ned straightened his tie; this had to be his lucky day. He looked at the housekeeper. "I really don’t have time for a trial like this anyway, but you need to start thinking realistically, Tessa. I wish you luck with your new counsel, you’re certainly going to need it."

"You’ll see." She winked seductively and a feeling of repulsion washed over him.

Ned returned the stack of papers to his briefcase, snapping it shut he hefted the case and briefly placed his hand on Tessa’s shoulder. "Take care, Tessa, I hope things go your way." He sighed and mentally chastised himself for saying things he didn’t really mean.

He shook his head as he walked to the door. He was glad she had hired an attorney on her own. He was swamped with other cases and when Judge Robbins ordered him to defend the murderous housekeeper he had tried every strategy in his arsenal to get out of it. Nothing worked and the Judge stood firm. Secretly he was happy to never see this woman again. Something about her gave him the chills; she had the coldest eyes he had ever seen, and never having to look in them again was perfectly fine with him.

Ned knocked on the door and was let out by a guard. He passed the man he assumed was taking the case from him and nodded absently at the tall blond gentleman.


Steven Johnson straightened the lapels on his black pin stripe suit and waited for the defendant to be brought into the courtroom. The galley was full of spectators as planned and the plea phase of Contessa Trumbull’s trial was about to begin. The side door opened and the women’s matron led a handcuffed Tessa to the chair beside her attorney. Steven had supplied her with a dress and she nodded at him and straightened the skirt demurely as they waited for the bailiff to announce the judge. The atmosphere in the room was tense, this was a high-profile case and already several television news magazines had made an attempt to contact her for the rights to her story. So far she had refused them, she wanted to call as little attention to herself as possible although the media had all but obliterated that possibility already. A cherry paneled door swung outward and a distinguished looking man in his late 50’s made his way in. The buzz in the room temporarily ceased.

"All rise, the honorable Judge William Robbins presiding."

The man sat in the comfortable leather chair, glancing up momentarily to take in the defendant; he looked over the restless crowd before addressing them directly.

"Be seated." Judge Robbins held out his hand for the case folder as the bailiff read the charges.

"This is case number 12898 on the docket Judge Robbins, the state of New York vs. Contessa Trumbull. The charges are six counts of murder in the first degree, kidnapping a federal officer and resisting arrest."

"The defendant will rise and face the bench." The judge had a confident, no-nonsense tone, perfected by years of experience and his face remained expressionless as he watched the scene before him.

Tessa and Steven rose as the spectators took their seats. A murmur filled the overcrowded room as whispers were exchanged and notes were taken.

Bones walked into the packed courtroom and slid into an empty seat in the last row. He strained to get a look at the defendant but the number of people packed into the small room made it impossible. There were dozens of reporters, curiosity-seekers and even some family members of the housekeeper’s victims. A story like this always attracted quite the crowd, and an overeager newswoman in the next seat jostled against him in an effort to see around the mass. Bones barely heard the judge.

"How do you plead?"

Tessa opened her mouth to speak but a sound from the back of the room caught everyone’s attention at once. Instantly the interest shifted to a single blond woman with a shrill voice who began to scream.

"BOMB. There’s a bomb under this bench!"

Pandemonium broke out and moments later the bomb exploded, sending bits of debris flying in every direction at once. A cloud of smoke permeated the room and mingled with the strangled cries of injured spectators. Those still on their feet kicked and pushed each other in the ensuing fight to get out and no one noticed the defendant as she fought her way through the mess. Spotting the side door, she made her way to it, barely visible through the smoke. Her motion was swift but borne out of desperation, the handcuffs making fluid movement more difficult. Reaching the door she threw her weight against it. An injured spectator, bleeding badly, reached a hand out to her and she shoved it out of the way as he fell backward, three more frenzied attempts and the heavy steel swung outward and she stumbled into the fresh air, eyes still stinging from the atmosphere inside.

A car was waiting, Tessa ran toward it and jumped into the backseat, smoke came pouring out the door she had come through and they were lost in the haze as they began to move away from the building.

As they passed the structure and turned up the street, Tessa looked back to see the crowd spilling from the courthouse. With a smile of satisfaction, she released a long breath, her attorney had gotten out too and she’d be meeting up with him later that evening to plan their next course of action.

Chapter 1: What Goes In Must Come Out


"I AM PUSHING DAMMIT!" The frustration was mounting for the blond and she took a deep breath, wishing this part of the process were already over.

"I know Little One, just a few more and you’re done." Morgan wiped the sweat from Kathryn’s brow and smoothed the drenched hair from her face. "A little more baby, just a little more." Morgan slid her arms beneath the heaving shoulders as another contraction contorted Kathryn’s face. The sheet that had once covered Kathryn’s torso was hanging from the side of Morgan’s bed and the slight movement of the agent sent it to the floor.

Megan’s voice cut into the pain. "Push! Come on Kate; give me a good one. I can see the head crowning."

"I can’t." Kathryn fell back into Morgan’s arms limply. "I can’t push anymore. I want drugs!" She looked pleadingly at the nurse.

"It’s too late for drugs Kate, you wanted to have this baby at home and you’re going to. Work with me here Kathryn, we’re almost there." Megan brushed her forearm across her forehead and wiped the sweat from her own brow. Kathryn had been in labor for well over eighteen hours now and everyone was tired, but Megan knew that it wouldn’t be long before they’d have a baby in their arms. She glanced up at her former companion from her position at the end of the bed.

"Help her Morgan, put your hands against her belly and push with the next contraction." Megan mimicked the desired motion with her hands as Morgan nodded in understanding.

Morgan moved behind Kathryn and placed her hands on the swollen stomach and with the next contraction she doubled Kathryn over and helped her push.

A scream tore from the smaller one’s throat as Megan manipulated the baby’s shoulders and they cleared the birth canal. The exhausted nurse smiled as she got her first look at the new life.

"That’s it, babe, one more and you’re there." Megan held the child in her outstretched arms as the final contraction sent the wriggling newborn into the outside world. Kathryn sobbed with relief as the baby’s cries filled the room.

Morgan couldn’t stop her own tears from falling as Megan lifted the child up for them to see. Kathryn squeezed both of Morgan’s hands in her own. "Oh…oh god, Morgan…" They both looked to Megan for the proclamation they knew was coming next.

"It’s a boy!"

The baby’s cries grew louder as Megan wiped the fluid from his face, wrapped him in a white blanket and placed him gently in his mother’s arms. Kathryn accepted the warm bundle and cradled him lovingly as Morgan reached over and caressed the side of the tiny face with her much larger hand. The baby fussed briefly before opening his mouth and sucking gently on the agent’s finger.

"He’s yours all right," Morgan remarked. "Only been in the world 30 seconds and already he wants to eat." She leaned forward and softly kissed the top of her lover’s head. "He’s beautiful, sweetheart."

Megan smiled as she watched the brief interaction. She had never seen Morgan like this and she marveled at the things that loving a woman like Kathryn had done for the normally stoic agent. Morgan was brushing her lips across the tiny forehead when Megan spoke again.

"What are you going to call him? I’ll put it on the birth certificate if you’ve got something picked out." She washed her hands and dried them on a clean towel before producing the official document and scanning it over as she waited for their decision.

Morgan looked to her lover and ran her fingers lightly through the golden locks. "I think that’s up to Kathryn," She said softly. "What about it babe? Have you thought of what you’d like to call him?"

The small blond smiled and reached up to caress the side of Morgan’s face. "Actually, I do. He’s our son, angel, and if it’s alright with you, I’d like to call him Matthew, after your brother." She looked expectantly into the blue eyes, which were filling with tears. "Matthew Sumners Peterson."

Morgan opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came forth. She quickly wiped the traces of the unexpected emotion from her cheeks and leaned forward until their foreheads were touching.

"Oh sweetheart," the agent began, before her voice broke. She nodded her assent before pulling the woman to her chest in a fierce embrace that she hoped would convey the thousand unspoken emotions she was unable to say aloud. She decided that there weren’t any adequate words for the moment anyway.

Megan grinned. "I think that’s a firm yes, Kathryn." The nurse wrote the name carefully on the paper before adding her signature to the document.

Kathryn gazed into the cerulean pools of her lovers’ eyes and saw the depths of Morgan’s love reflecting back to her. She had her son and the love of a lifetime and all was right with the world.


Bones sat stunned in the courtroom. He almost hadn’t attended the plea phase; after all it was just a formality. The setting of the trial date, nothing really to see, but he had wanted to hear Tessa plead guilty. Now things had taken a decidedly different turn. Once the melee had cleared she was nowhere to be found. The bomb had been small, only one stick of dynamite attached to a dime store clock, but it had done a considerable amount of damage. Twenty-five people were dead and the flying debris had injured countless others. In seconds, the room had been converted into a smoldering disaster area.

The bomb squad had been summoned and the specialists were gathered around what was left of the device, bagging pieces of the debris for evidence and trying to reconstruct what the original contraption had looked like. Smoke still hung in the air an hour later and groups of EMT’s were tending to the patients that were as of yet unable to be transported to the hospital. Bones interviewed a handful of shaken witnesses who had observed the detonation and tried to come up with any leads as to who planted the bomb and how they had gotten away with it. The courtrooms were in use almost constantly although a diverse group of individuals came and went all day long. It would have been easy to blend in, but actually planting and setting the device would have required a little more ingenuity.

A weary looking police officer approached the agent as he finished up with his last witness.

"I’m Officer Vitello. Thanks for all of your assistance here, Agent."

Bones shook the shorter man’s hand. "I’m glad I could help. My department has a vested interest in this case, as you know. We brought in the accused and I’m reasonably sure that she was involved in this disaster in some way. So far I haven’t talked to a single person that saw Ms. Trumbull leave the building, though."

Officer Vitello pulled out a notebook. "Here is a partial list of everyone that was in the courtroom when the bomb went off. If you want to copy down the information, you’re welcome to it. I have a videotape of the proceedings that’s on its way back to headquarters now. It doesn’t show the side of the room where the device was planted but it might offer you some clues."

Bones nodded. "I want to see that tape as soon as possible. It might help explain how the woman slipped away or which direction she took. Your captain told me that you had dispatched a unit to head out and start looking for her, although I would say the effort is somewhat futile at this point. We don’t have much to go on and there are no cameras on the outside of the building."

He looked around at the carnage and shook his head before releasing a slow breath.

"My God."

"That about sums it up," The officer agreed. His eyes came to rest on the huge hole in the floor that had at one time been several twenty-eight foot wooden benches on which numerous spectators had been sitting. Almost all of them had been killed instantly while several in the front and many others directly behind the benches had died from their wounds shortly after.

The coroner approached the two men, stripping off his gloves, he motioned to his assistants as they bagged the last fatality and carried the body from the room.

"I’m finished here, Officer." He nodded to Bones before continuing. "The medics have most of the wounded taken care of, and that young man over there-" He pointed to the back of the room where a tall, baby-faced doctor in a bloodstained shirt was organizing the remaining injured. "Has been trying to make sure that everything stays under control. He was passing by the courthouse on his way to the hospital and he was kind enough to stop and help." The coroner looked at Bones again.

"You might want to have a word with him; he’s talked to a lot of people today and he might be able to offer you…something. It’s worth a few moments of your time anyway."

Bones turned back to Officer Vitello. "Give me a few minutes with the good doc and I’ll meet you at the shop. I really want to look at that tape."

The officer nodded. "Sure thing."

With that he walked up the debris-strewn aisle and through the double doors at the back.

The young physician was just finishing stitching up a leg wound when Bones knelt down beside the doctor and introduced himself. The man nodded and turned to the agent, the effects of the last three hours showing clearly on his face and in the condition of his clothing.

"You’ve been a great help here," Bones said, admiring the neat, even rows of sutures on the old woman’s leg. He backed away as the paramedics moved her to a waiting gurney and wheeled her from the room.

"I’m an intern," Dr. Weaver answered. "I’m doing my residency in the ER but I never dreamed that I would be involved in something like this."

Bones nodded in understanding. "Some things are hard to get used to, no matter how many times you go through it. I’ve been told that you’ve been here three hours or more. I’m one of the agents responsible for bringing in the accused, so if there’s anything you can tell me that you think may help, I’d sure like to hear it."

Dr. Weaver pulled off the surgical gloves and took a clean towel from his bag to wipe some of the blood from his arms.

"Well, most of these people were pretty shaken up. The last woman that I treated had a large open gash on her left leg. The wound was obviously caused by the flying debris but she also had a broken wrist. She said that right after the bomb went off; a woman in a dress ran down the aisle and pushed her out of the way in her rush to get out. The old lady fell into a bench and the woman kept on going."

Bones looked around the room thoughtfully. "Where was the victim sitting?"

The doctor pointed. "Right over there, just in front of that side door."

"Anything else come to mind?"

"I can’t think of anything. If I do, I’ll let you know. I really have to get to work now unless you need something else."

"Nothing that I can think of right now, but I appreciate all your help. If you need someone to call your boss let officer Vitello know and he’ll be glad to make a call for you." Bones thanked the young intern again, handed him his business card, and walked out to his car. He was anxious to get to the police station. The unviewed tape undoubtedly contained something that could be used to make some sense of this. He couldn’t shake the feeling that Tessa had been involved; it was too much of a coincidence, although he had no idea how she had managed to pull it off.


Bones stared open-mouthed as he asked the officers to run the video for the seventh time. They had a head-on view of Tessa and her attorney as well as the prosecution and the first few rows of spectators. They had pulled several still images off the tapes and Bones had them run the images through the computer where they were enhanced and altered until he was sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. He slammed his fist down on the table.


The officers in the room looked over at him expectantly. "Something you want to share with us, Agent?"

Bones looked through the stack of papers in front of him. "What did you say her attorney’s name was again? Ned something?"

"The court appointed Ned Taylor but she chose her own council just before the hearing. His name was Steven Johnson."

"Steven Johnson…Steven Johnson... damn it! I thought he looked familiar!" Bones turned to the group who seemed to be holding a collective breath.

"Mr. Johnson, posing as her lawyer, is none other than our serial killer, Derek Stevens, who skipped the country right after his killing spree and who is oddly tied to the ensuing murders which Ms.Trumbull committed." He looked frustrated. "I’ve got both of them in the same room under police surveillance… an odd enough feat in itself…and they pull off another one right under our noses!" Bones slammed his fist down on the table again. He had heard things about hiding in plain sight but it had never quite hit home the way it had today. His level of frustration skyrocketed as he realized he would have to call Morgan and she wasn’t going to be pleased.


Pulling out his cell phone he dialed the familiar number. Poising himself for the expected reaction, he waited as the agent’s voice came over the wire.


"You ain’t gonna believe this shit."

"Hey Bones, I’m a daddy, no wait, I’m a mama, umm hell I don’t know what I am, but it’s a boy." Bones couldn’t help but smile at the excitement in the normally stoic agent’s voice. He hated to put a damper on a day like this but prolonging the news certainly wouldn’t delay the effects of it at all.

"Congratulations." He sighed, wishing that had been the extent of his call. There was no way to soften the blow. "I’m sorry about this, Morg, but…Tessa’s gone."

"Thanks, when are you coming to see the baby?" Morgan paused and stared at the receiver before yelling into it. " WHAT? How the fuck did that happen?" The agent ran her free hand through her hair in frustration. This was not part of her plan for the day, she wanted to lay in the bed with Kathryn and admire their new son.

"Bomb at the courthouse; however, that’s not the worst of it. Take a wild guess who her partner in crime is."

"I give."

"Steven Johnson."

"Who? You ain’t ringing no bells here Bones." Morgan had heard the name before, but her mind was elsewhere at the moment and she sighed in frustration at this latest intrusion into her happiness.

"Steven Johnson, perhaps you know him better as Derek. Getting any ding-dongs yet?"

"Yeah the fog is clearing. So how did it happen?" Morgan was back in full FBI persona now.

"He was posing as her attorney. Some bitch in the back screamed bomb, and when it went off they were both gone like scared rabbits. No one saw them actually leave the courthouse and there’s no trace of either one. When you see the photographs from the crime scene you’ll understand why."

"What are you doing about it besides talking to me on the phone?" Morgan took a beer from the refrigerator and paced back and forth in her kitchen, periodically gazing out over the brown sand of the beach and making mental calculations about Derek’s lousy timing. If there was one thing Kathryn didn’t need right now, this was it.

"Nothing much we can do. I put an APB out for all the good that will do. We’re gonna have to wait for them to surface and hope no one else dies in the meantime." Bones was pacing now.

"How many people were hurt at the courthouse?"

"Twenty-five dead and too many to count on the injured list."

"Fuck me running! Get the crew together and meet me in the lab. I don’t want anyone in the house; Kathryn doesn’t need to know about this right now. Pick up some flowers and a bottle of champagne for me too."

"Will do. See you soon."

Morgan ran her fingers through her hair, pressed the release button on her phone, and dialed Baxter.

"Bax, its Morgan. Have you heard the news?"

"Kathryn had the baby?" Baxter was sitting on his deck, enjoying a rare moment of solitude away from the normal stress of his job.

"Yeah, it’s a boy. He’s beautiful Bax; he’s got his mama’s eyes and jet-black hair. But the reason I’m calling is less pleasant, I’m afraid. Remember Tessa? She’s escaped, seemingly with a little help. Seems our boy Derek is back in the states and he’s hooked up with her. I need round the clock protection on Kathryn and the baby."

"What about you? It’s you she wants. She doesn’t give a shit about Kathryn." This case had taken a lot out of all of them, and re-opening the wound was the last thing he expected to be doing.

"No, but Derek does. Get me the protection for Kathryn and the baby; I can take care of myself. The team is on its way here. I’ll keep you informed."

"Thanks, and congratulations Morgan. I’m happy for you guys, in spite of this latest development. Give Kathryn a kiss for me and tell her Vivian and I will be over to see the baby soon."


Megan came down the stairs and found Morgan sitting at the island, rolling the empty bottle between her fingers, and staring absently out the patio door into the growing darkness. She closed the distance between them and put her hand on the agent’s shoulder.

"You okay, Tigger?" Megan expected to find the agent in a much less melancholy mood.

"Hell, no, Meg." Morgan ran her hands through her hair and looked up at her friend. "Tessa escaped."

"WHAT?" Megan stared open-mouthed. Morgan’s expression remained unchanged.

"Derek’s back in the states." She began to peel the label off the glass and tossed the pieces onto the counter.

"WHAT?" Megan paced back and forth.

"They’ve teamed up." Morgan sent the bottle spinning in front of her and watched as it wound down.

"WHAT?" Megan was gesturing wildly with her hands now.

"You really need to work on your vocabulary, babe."


"See what I mean?"

"I can’t believe this."

"Me neither. Shit, Megan, what the hell am I going to do? This is the last thing Kathryn needs to worry about right now. I’ve got a wedding to plan and a child upstairs that’s been in this world less than a day and suddenly I’m starting this whole nightmare over again." She felt Megan’s hands on her shoulders and she leaned wearily into the touch.

"How am I going to keep them safe? This is my family, damn it, and you don’t even want to know what I’m going to be like if anything happens to them."

"Does Kathryn know about this?"

"No. I hate to keep it from her, Meg, but she’s finally stopped waking up in the middle of the night screaming. She just went through eighteen hours of labor; I doubt she needs to hear anything that upsetting. Besides that, this is supposed to be the happiest day of her life and I’ll be damned if I’m going to ruin it for her." Morgan sighed. "This thing just keeps coming back to bite me in the ass. I want it to be over, Meg. I want to start my life."

"I know babe, and you will. You’ll catch them again and you’ll keep your family safe. Have a little faith in your talents Tigger, Kathryn does. I think it’s best if you keep this to yourself, but not for very long. She has a right to know, nightmares or not. Don’t sell her short, Kathryn is a strong woman and she knows you’ll do what’s best for her and your child." Megan leaned over and planted a kiss on top of Morgan’s bowed head. "Come on Tigger, pick your chin up and go see your new baby. This will keep a little longer."

Megan smiled at the goofy grin on Morgan’s face at the mention of her new son, but she was glad to see the agent take her advice and head upstairs.

Chapter 2: A Clean Getaway

Tessa took the handcuff keys from the driver and removed the silver bracelets from her wrists. She peered through the tinted windows of the Lexus as it pulled slowly away from the curb and merged into the heavy afternoon traffic. She waited until they reached the outskirts of town before leaning over the back of the front seat.

"We pulled it off!" She wrung her hands together in a mixture of nervousness and excitement and squeezed the young woman’s shoulder. The woman nodded but said nothing as she threaded her way through the throng of cars on the Long Island expressway. Tessa rolled down the back window just enough to hook her fingertips over the edge of the glass and press her face into the opening. She took a deep breath and let it out with a high-pitched cackle. "Can you believe it? I’m a free woman at last!" She thumped the driver on the back and leaned in closer to her face.

"What’s the matter with you?"

"I’m out after this right?" The figure in the front seat was obviously annoyed.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever you want." Tessa took in another deep, exaggerated breath, listening with detached interest.

"No Tessa, I mean it. I’m out. I’m not losing my career for you."

"Oh quit being such a martyr, Sis. One legitimate employment opportunity and suddenly you think everything that’s happened in the past just disappears. Trust me, it doesn’t work that way."

"It works that way for me. I like this job, Tessa, and I need it. I’m ready to make something of myself. I want Mom and Dad to be proud of me."

"I’d say it’s a little late for that now, wouldn’t you?" Tessa laughed.

"Meaning?" She gripped the wheel firmly, attempting to keep her rising anger under control.

"Meaning that Mom and Dad have had enough of both of our problems to last them a thousand lifetimes. I haven't been home in years, but I don’t see them burning up the phone lines to keep in touch with me either. You know they must’ve seen the news more than a few times since the murders. They could care less." Tessa pulled a pack of cigarettes from her sister’s purse and lit one, savoring the taste of it before settling back into the plush leather seat for the long ride ahead.

"There’s one thing I never understood through this whole thing Tessa, why? Why did you kill all those women?"

"You can be so dense sometimes. Haven’t you ever wanted something you couldn’t have?" Tessa blew a cloud of smoke up towards the ceiling, watching it curl lazily around and drift into the front seat.

"Sure I have, who hasn’t? But I didn’t kill six innocent women because they looked like the woman I wanted. You really went off the deep end Tessa. I know the difference between loving someone from a distance and stepping over the line into murder. Don’t you feel guilty for what you did? Remorse? Anything? Was it all just a game to see if the FBI’s shining star could find you? I mean, did you really love her or did you just want to test her skills?"

Tessa laughed. "I’m not sure that I can justify it as true, unrequited love. But I would’ve loved the feel of her skin against mine, the weight of her body on top of me. I guess you could say I did find her attractive, but in the end, it was really just a conquest." She looked out the window as the cars sped by on either side of them and the sun dropped lower in the sky. "Hey, don’t look so disgusted, Sis. Everyone needs to know they can do something. It was a great game don’t you think? The bureaus’ finest couldn’t find a murderer who was in her house twice a week. The best thing about it was that I almost got her to sleep with me. I even bullshitted my way into that." Tessa patted herself on the back in mock exaggeration and reached for another cigarette.

"You really are sick Tessa. I mean I thought you were tapped before, but now…" Shaking her head the driver pulled out a cigarette and lit it, exhaling smoke through the window into the early evening air.

"Oh come on now, Sis." Tessa leaned back against the door and stretched her legs out, reclining against the soft interior and letting her fingers trace idle patterns on the window above her head. "I’m not the only killer in our family tree. Surely you remember the time you char broiled our dear sweet grandparents, don’t you?" The inane cackling filled the space between them.

"I was a child Tessa! I paid for my crime and I live with my guilt everyday. What about you? How do you live with what you did? Do you really think Agent Sumners cares one way or another about you? Do you think she ever will?"

Tessa sat up and put her hand on her sister’s shoulder. "I really don’t care what Agent Sumners thinks of me. She was a grand conquest but she’s the least of my worries right now. Of course, I never got my one evening with tall dark and gorgeous and she does owe me for that." Tessa narrowed her eyes and stared out the window. "I don’t think I’m quite done playing with her just yet." Tessa knew that underneath all her bravado, she did truly want to be with someone like Morgan. She really didn’t know if it was love, but it was as close to love, as she would ever know. It was more than just sex; she wanted more than that from the statuesque agent, and had been formulating a plan while she wasted away in jail.

"If you play with fire Tessa…."

"Yeah, yeah, nobody knows more about that than you, I guess." She shot the younger woman a look. "You college educated types think you’ve got all the answers but you’ll see. The woman is in my debt for an evening of passion and she’ll pay up just before I skip town for good. It’ll be like the icing on the cake." Tessa climbed over the seat and settled herself in next to the driver. "Remember Sis, if you want me to keep my mouth shut, you’ll stay out of this. That’s the deal."

"I’m not going to say anything, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what’s going through that twisted little mind of yours. I want my back covered at all times. We have an agreement and you’d better keep your end of the bargain."

"Yeah, yeah, don’t worry about a thing. I couldn’t have gotten very far today without your help and don’t think I don’t appreciate it." Tessa looked behind them but there didn’t appear to be any obvious tails. "Just get me to the boat and I’ll lay low for a few days. My attorney is meeting us there after dark to, umm, finalize a few things."

"Finalize a few things? You want to fill me in?" Things had been tense between them and she didn’t need any additional surprises. There was too much at stake.

"Well, like I said, Ms. Sumners owes me a night of passion and I intend to cash in on it. Then there’s the little problem of money, which I’ll need to start a new life somewhere else. My attorney promised he’d take care of that pesky financial angle for me, as he’s not taking any of his fees in cash. There are other things he needs and we’re working out the details together." She smiled, momentarily making her companion uneasy. "Are we getting close? I haven’t eaten all day and it’s nearly dark."

"I have your groceries in the trunk. I didn’t know what you’d need but I assumed it would be everything. I hope you have some method of shopping worked out; I don’t intend to see you again after tonight. We’re about an hour outside the North Fork and probably another half-hour from the marina. Can you wait that long or do you want me to stop at the McDonalds in Mattituck?"

"You’d better stop. It’s been a long day and after my meeting with Mr. Johnson, I plan on getting some shut-eye." Tessa closed her eyes and leaned against the headrest as the sun sank below the horizon and dusk made her entrance. "Maybe I’ll take a little nap right now, if it’s all the same to you. That little dash from the courtroom took a lot out of me." With a self-satisfied smirk, the housekeeper reclined the seat and drifted off.

The driver sighed as the sounds of soft snoring reached her ears. How had she gotten into this mess in the first place? Was it really the fear of her past being exposed or some warped sense of duty to a sister that she didn’t even like? Not that it mattered anymore; she knew way too much to feign ignorance and she was determined to see it through so she could get on with the life that she had begun to make for herself these past few years. She felt like a mouse caught in the proverbial maze; there was only one way out but she didn’t think she’d feel any satisfaction once she got there.


They slowed down to make a left onto a winding road that followed the rocky shores of the coast and seemed to stretch for miles into a sandy oblivion. As they got closer to the ocean, Tessa could feel the spray on her face from the strong winds coming off the water. In a few moments the housekeeper could make out the silhouettes of several large watercraft anchored lazily in the bay and rocking back and forth with the breeze.

"Is this the place?" She was already halfway out of the car before it came to a stop at the marina and pulled into a parking space. The lot was full, it had been a beautiful day but the sun was sinking fast, and there were people milling about, working on their boats, swimming in the bay or just soaking up the last of the day.

"Hey!" the driver leaned over the seat and pulled Tessa roughly back into the car. "Aren’t you forgetting something?" She reached into a bag and pulled out a long, curly, red wig and threw it in her companion’s direction. Tessa snagged it out of the air and pulled it over her darker locks, adjusting it in the passenger mirror and taking a long look, she smiled.

"I never thought I’d look this good as a redhead." She reached for the door handle again. "Now can we get out of here? You don’t know how long I’ve waited for this day. Let’s go." She fidgeted impatiently.

The driver locked the doors, glancing back the way they had come, and, satisfied that they had not been followed, joined the housekeeper for the short walk down to the pier. She carried two sacks of groceries and Tessa handled the rest. They chatted casually with each other as they covered the distance to the last slip in the bay and boarded the Sea Warrior.

"Well, well, Agent Sumners does have a nice boat doesn’t she? Tessa ran her fingers admiringly along the polished wooden railings.

"Yeah it’s nice, but how long do you plan on staying here? Seems like you’re pushing your luck to me. Couldn’t you two have found someplace besides her boat to hide out?"

"What better place to hide than right under her nose?" Tessa laughed. "It’s not like I haven’t done that before."

"And if she decides to take her boat out?"

"Well, you know her schedule better than I do, do you think she’ll be sailing anytime soon?"

"Probably not, Kathryn will have the baby any time now so she’ll be tied up with her for awhile."

"I forgot about the baby, and how is dear little Kathryn?" Tessa smirked.

"She’s fine, like I said the baby is due any time now and they’re staying close to home until after the birth."

"Well now, that is interesting." Tessa said, and wondered if she could make it work for her. Even more interesting was the fact that she had not had time to mention that particular angle to her partner in crime and she knew he would work it to his advantage. She planned on being along for the ride, since it was bound to be a good one.

The duo made short work of putting away the groceries, and once the galley was stocked and fresh linens were on the bunks, the women sat silently in the lounge while Tessa sipped a Manhattan. They both started at the sound of heavy footsteps coming down the gangplank. Turning toward the door, Tessa rose and wrapped her arm around the blond man standing just inside the doorway.

"Steven Johnson, I’d like you to meet my sister, Virginia Joseph."

Chapter 3: Laying the Groundwork

Steven nodded briefly in acknowledgement of the introduction before crossing to the other side of the cabin and flopping down carelessly into an overstuffed chair. He pulled off the hairpiece and scratched briskly as the cool night air came in contact with his baldhead. Even in the soft light of the room, Gin could see that the man had no eyebrows and she froze momentarily as recognition washed over her like a sickness. She rose from her chair and made her way to the wet bar, where she pulled out a bottle of scotch and poured herself a drink. Things were bad enough when it was only her own flesh and blood that she was protecting, but this...Gin felt like throwing up as the magnitude of her involvement hit her like a freight train. She closed her eyes, wishing that somehow she could will all of this into oblivion and pretend she’d never had any siblings at all.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the voices coming from the other side of the room.

"You’ll get your money," Derek said. "Don’t worry about it. Kate’s old man is loaded and he’d pay any price to get his daughter back in one piece." He scanned the room thoughtfully as he spoke to the housekeeper, letting his gaze rest on Gin. She tried to look nonchalant as a cold chill ran up her spine. This man had done unspeakable things and here she was, standing only a few paces from him, making the conversation needed to fulfill her obligation to her sister and then save her own ass.

"You’re planning on kidnapping the girl?" Gin downed the alcohol in one swallow and looked over at the taller man. "You’ve got to be kidding. Morgan isn’t about to let Kathryn or the baby out of her sight."

Derek rose from his position as a slow, creepy smile began to spread across his features.

"Baby?" He turned towards the housekeeper. "You didn’t mention anything about a baby, Tessa."

"We haven’t had much of a chance to talk, Steven." Tessa said. "But yes, Kathryn is pregnant. I guess it’s only natural to assume that you’d be interested in your own handiwork." She watched him in delight as he digested this new information.

Derek threw back his head and let out a long laugh. " Well, well, well." He scratched his chin thoughtfully. "This changes things then. To my own personal benefit, of course."

Tessa walked over and placed a hand on his cheek and caressed it lightly. "Don’t forget about me, Stevie." She pressed her body into his and let out a grunt as he shoved her backwards.

"Don’t fucking touch me, bitch." He narrowed his eyes at her and straightened his suit. "You’ll get your share. Just play your part, keep your mouth shut, and remember that I call the shots here." Tessa’s bravado faded as she recovered from the blow and lowered herself into a nearby chair.

The chirping of Gin’s cell phone broke the tension in the room and she pulled the device from her pocket and motioned for silence as she spoke into the receiver.

"Joseph here." The agent listened for a few moments. "Yes…yes, I can be there shortly. What? Oh…well tell her congratulations, then. That’s great news, Bones. Alright." Gin flipped the unit closed and put it back in her pocket.

"I need to go. Duty calls." She reached for her jacket.

"What was that all about?" Tessa looked at her sister.

"It’s about my job, Tessa, the one I want to keep."

"Where will you be?" Derek watched the agent from his position near the window. Gin couldn’t believe how much he made her skin crawl. The man was unstable and he had a temper and for a moment she desperately wanted to get out of his sight. She needed time to sort through her thoughts and clear her head. Every instinct she had told her to run, but she calmly played her part in the charade.

"There is a meeting at Morgan’s house," Gin replied. "Kathryn had the baby this morning and Morgan wants to remain nearby." She wasn’t sure if she should share the news with her present company but she knew that they would find out eventually and she didn’t want to appear as though she was hiding anything from them. At the moment she just wanted to be as far from this place as possible. She turned to Derek and felt her stomach churn in self-disgust as she let the words spill forth.

"You have a son." With that the agent walked through the door and out into the night. A thousand different emotions accompanied her as she made her way to the Lexus and quickly changing the plates, she shut the door and pressed the automatic locks before driving off. She was in this thing up to her neck and there was no way to justify any of it in her mind. She had run through all of the plausible excuses. The only sensible thing to do was to betray any sense of duty she felt to the current arrangement with Tessa but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. If she were going to lose her job anyway, at least she would go down fighting. Perhaps Tessa would be satisfied simply to disappear with her freedom and she would be able to make everything work out for herself after all.


Morgan jogged quickly up the stairs but paused when she reached the end of the hallway and quietly pushed open the door to the bedroom. Kathryn was breast-feeding the baby and she slid in behind the blond, cradling them both in her arms until the baby finished eating. Kathryn leaned back and fell asleep against Morgan’s chest soon after he burped, snoring softly with the tiny bundle curled up on her shoulder. Morgan sighed, she knew her team was waiting for her in the lab but she allowed herself a few more moments of solitude with her family before acknowledging that she needed to get her thoughts together and address her team. Morgan gently slid from behind her lover and planted a kiss on each forehead before pulling the covers up around them both and heading outside.

The team was assembled around the conference table and all turned toward the statuesque agent as she walked into the building and took her place at the head of the table.

"Hi guys. I’m going to assume Bones has filled you in on the latest so I’m not going to cover it again. There is one thing that’s been bothering me since your call Bones, and that was why didn’t you didn’t arrest Derek in the courtroom?"

"I didn’t see him, the place was packed with people, the judge asked the defendant to rise for her plea, and that’s when the bomb went off. I didn’t recognize him until after it was over and the police showed me the videotape of his pre trial interview at the jail with Tessa. I also looked over the tape from the courtroom and had a few of the frames made into stills. I brought them along for everyone to see." Bones looked disgusted that he’d had a renowned serial killer sitting right in front of him and he had gotten away with such a blatant deception.

"Any indication on that tape about what they’re planning next?"

"No, the video doesn’t have sound. There’s some kind of law about violating the inmates civil rights by taping the sessions with their attorneys."

"Great. Okay people, if we can’t figure out what they’re up to then we need to figure out where they are. Does anyone have any ideas?"

"Where’s the most obvious place to look?" Gin asked.

"There is no obvious place. Derek doesn’t have a permanent address. We could look where he’s been but he won’t go there. If they’re travelling together, which I think they are, they’ll hole up some place neither of them are associated with."

"What about baiting them?"

"With what Walt? We need to know what they’re after before we can think about luring them out." Morgan shot an exasperated look at her team.

"Isn’t it obvious what they want?"

"Not to me Bones, what about you?"

"Well it seems pretty obvious to me that Tessa is still interested in you. We all know about her Morgan fixation. She wants to have you and seems to feel that nothing will stand in her way. Her time in the slammer probably only reinforced that. Derek will go after Kathryn. The question is, does he know about your baby?"

"I don’t know. I would say no. Kathryn just had the baby and no one knows about him except for Bax and us."

"So we use the baby to lure him out." Gin knew what Morgan’s reaction would be even before the words left her mouth but she had to offer some kind of a suggestion, it helped get her mind off the events of the last few hours. Morgan’s voice could be heard clearly throughout the room.

"No Gin, we don’t use the baby for anything. I’m not using my son as bait. Understood?" Morgan placed both hands on the table and held her co-worker’s gaze. The photographer looked down at her hands before answering.

"Sorry Sumners, just seems to me that a well placed announcement in the paper could bring him out of the woodwork."

"Do you really think he’s stupid enough to fall for that?" Morgan asked incredulously. "Haven’t you learned anything from me in the last few years?"

"We don’t know what he’d fall for Morgan, we’re just brainstorming here." Bones put his hand on her shoulder.

"I know Bones, but using my son as bait isn’t an option now or in the future. Keeping Kathryn and the baby safe are my first priority."

"Then you’d better start thinking of relocating them. If Derek does find out about his son then he’s going to come after Kathryn with a vengeance."

"MY son, he’s my son and Derek isn’t going to touch him."

"You can’t keep them safe Morgan, if he wants her he’s going to go after her. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Derek in all these months, it’s that he can blend when he wants to and he gets his way. He got back in the country, didn’t he? If he wants her, deterring him isn’t going to be an easy task."

"I know Bones. I just don’t want to hear it. So what are my options? A safehouse? Witness protection program? What can I do to keep him away from them? There’s no way one human being can get away with whatever he wants all of the time. Everyone has a weak spot. We’re not giving up until we find his. If he so much as touches a hair on Kathryn or my son’s head I’m going after him with extreme prejudice."

"You know his psyche better than any of us Morg, you’re going to have to tell us how to catch him."

"If I knew how to catch him Bones, we wouldn’t be sitting around this table discussing it. I don’t know how to catch him; I don’t have the first clue. He changes like the frigging wind. He doesn’t do the same thing twice and he doesn’t go back to the same place twice. He’s like some kind of a god damned phantom. We know where he’s been, we’ve never known where he was going."

"So we wait?"

"So we wait."

Morgan pulled the chair out from the table and sat down, studying her team. "Okay guys, that covers Derek, but what about Tessa? What do we know about her?"

"Nothing really."

"Exactly Bones, we need to do a background check on her. Gin, I want you on this one, find out anything you can about her and do it quickly."

"I’d like to know about her previous employment history, any relationships she may have, prior convictions, and especially family ties. If she has any family nearby she may be hiding out there. We should have checked this psycho out a lot sooner. I’ll expect a detailed report ASAP Gin, so get on it immediately, sooner if you can." The intense blue eyes seemed to pin her in place.

Gin nodded her head and jotted down some notes on her tablet, there was no way she could meet Morgans’ eyes. Her heart was racing and she was certain that if she looked at her boss the inner turmoil she felt would be prominently displayed on her face. She knew that she had lucked out by pulling this assignment herself, if it had been anyone else she didn’t know what measures would have been necessary to keep her secret.

"Bones, I want you to go back to Houston and interview Derek’s parents and have a talk with Chief Ballard, he may know something about Derek’s habits that we can use."

"I’m on it."

"Walt, I want you and Douglas to run down the people on Bones’ list from the courthouse. See if anyone saw anything that will help us. Some of those people got out of there pretty quick, see if anyone was outside when Tessa came out." Gin shuffled nervously through the stack of papers in front of her; she had used her own vehicle to take Tessa to the boat, but she had switched the plates just in case anyone had the presence of mind to remember the number.

Walt and Douglas nodded their assent and Morgan moved down the list.

"John, I want you to track down Tessa’s first attorney and see if he knows anything. If he claims client lawyer privilege try to change his mind."

"One more thing." Morgan waited until the room was quiet before continuing.

"Kathryn doesn’t know anything about this latest development, and I intend to keep it that way for now. As far as she knows, Tessa’s locked up and Derek is out of the country. She needs to take it easy right now and I refuse to stress her out so soon after giving birth. When the time is right, I’ll talk to her about it but until I make that decision, that’s the way it stays." Morgan waited as all the heads in the room nodded their assent, and then took a long drink of her Dr. Pepper before continuing.

"I’m bringing in round the clock protection on Kathryn and the baby, but I want you all to be aware, when you can, of her situation. This nutcase left her for dead once, next time he might be a little more thorough. My family’s safety is my top priority right now."

Morgan’s words seemed to bore into her audience and Gin tried to keep the emotion off her face as she watched the tall agent’s eyes steel with determination at the mention of her family. Gin had been witness to a side of her boss lately that had eluded her before Kathryn came in and stole her heart. It was obvious that Morgan had the happiness she had sought for so long and she wasn’t about to let some psychotic killing machine come in and take it from her.

"I’ll expect a report from each of you in 72 hours. Call me on the cell when you’ve got something and we’ll take it from there."

Morgan waited for everyone to finish their drinks, gather their things, and congratulate her on the baby before locking the lab and going back to the house.

When she walked into her bedroom, the sight of Kathryn and Matthew sleeping soundly greeted her. She had known when she bought the bassinet that it wouldn’t be used and now she grinned at being right. Pulling off her clothes, she barely had the energy to take a quick shower as the full weight of her day settled around her shoulders. She hurried through drying off and fell limply into the bed. As she turned over to switch off the bedside light, she noticed the note written neatly in her lover’s handwriting. It said,


You are my light, my love, and my soul. With the arrival of our son we are both complete.

I love you,


Morgan could detect a faint but pleasant scent and she put the paper underneath her nose, smiling as she recognized the familiar aroma that was Kathryn’s perfume. Kathryn snuggled closer to the warm naked body next to her and buried her head in the agent’s shoulder. Morgan ran her fingers through the blond locks and planted a gentle kiss on first one soft forehead and then the other, before turning out the light. She wrapped an arm around the petite blond and their son before joining them in the land of dreams.

Chapter 4: A Little Down Time

Morgan sat beside Kathryn on the couch, nuzzling Matthew and watching as she flipped through the book on her lap for perhaps the tenth time that morning.

"I love this dress, angel." She set the magazine in Morgan’s lap and settled back against her chest. The agent kissed the top of her head and adjusted the smaller bundle occupying the majority of her left arm and shoulder. The baby flexed his fingers once or twice before deciding that his fist fit nicely over Morgan’s index finger and he sighed contentedly as he gripped it softly and buried his face against her cotton shirt.

"It’ll look beautiful on you, my love." Morgan smiled at the excitement in her partner’s voice. She knew that Kathryn wanted a proper wedding, or at least as close to one as possible. Mildred’s oldest son was an ordained minister, and when she’d mentioned the wedding to him, he’d offered to officiate. They had decided to hold it outdoors if the weather permitted. Mildred had jumped into the planning with both feet; she was almost as geared up for this event as the participants themselves and Morgan was grateful for the assistance. She wanted everything to be perfect for her lover’s sake, but if the truth were told, Morgan would have married her on the beach with the next sunrise. She was happier than she had ever been in her life and she looked from her son to her soon to be wife and wondered what she did to deserve all of this.

Kathryn jumped up as the doorbell sounded and Mildred’s voice came through the glass. She waved her inside and took one of the paper bags from the woman’s arms as she bustled over to the island and divested herself of her parcels.

"I brought a few things over for the baby," Mildred chirped. She emptied one of the sacks, pulling out three new blankets, a stuffed bear, five pacifiers in different colors, and the tiniest pair of swimming trunks Morgan had ever seen.

"I don’t think Matthew is ready for a surfboard yet Mildred," Morgan joked. She held the little shorts up and shook her head.

Kathryn squealed in delight. "Oh Mildred, thank you, they’re adorable! You really shouldn’t have, though, you’ve brought him so much already."

"Nonsense, dear. I’m having a wonderful time. Now let me look after Matthew while you two take the other bag and go for a walk on the beach or something." She handed the cloth sack to Kathryn, who peered at the goodies inside and grinned.

"I made you some lunch. There’s fried chicken, potato salad, and homemade chocolate cake. I tossed in two sparkling ciders and some of those little plastic champagne glasses just to make it a little bit special." She winked. "Now…off with you…I’ll keep an eye on the cherub for a couple of hours. I have a feeling you two could use a little time alone together."

Morgan looked at Kathryn for her reaction; she hadn’t left the baby’s side yet for any length of time and the agent wasn’t sure if she was ready to. Kathryn reached up and caressed the side of her lover’s face before turning to their neighbor.

"Thank you Mildred, we’d love to." She let her hand trail lazily down Morgan’s arm until it reached the long fingers and slipped between each of them. The agent squeezed back gently. It had been a while since they’d had any private time together; all of their waking hours had been spent tending to their son or planning out the wedding and the solitude that a few hours on the beach provided would do wonders for both of them.

"It’s settled then." Mildred reached out her arms and took the baby from Morgan.

"Come see your Auntie Mildred." The older woman smiled in delight and set about fussing over him immediately.

"He definitely has your eyes, dear," She said to Kathryn. "But this jet black hair, I can’t see where that came from at all."

Kathryn smiled. "His mama has hair like that."

Mildred looked up and studied the petite woman intently. "My goodness dear, you mean you’re not really a blond?"

"I was talking about Morgan."

"Oh," Mildred answered, turning her attention back to the child. "Yes, I guess he definitely-" She looked up as Kate began to giggle. "Oh for heaven’s sake, Kathryn!"

Kathryn winked at her lover. "Hey, they say love is the most powerful force on Earth. You just never know."

Morgan shook her head and gave Kathryn’s butt a friendly swat before heading for the back stairs.

"I’ll be right down, babe, I just need a quick change of clothes."

She smiled to herself as she ascended the stairs. She could still hear the lighthearted voice of her fiancée bantering with their neighbor and as she pulled a clean shirt from the closet, she remembered that there was one more thing she needed to bring along. She reached into the top drawer of her dresser and extracted a small parcel; tucking it neatly into her bra she made her way back downstairs. She cast a goofy glance in her lover’s direction.

"Why don’t you bring your guitar and play something for me?"

"Like what?"

"How about something mellow and romantic?" Mildred chuckled as Kathryn smiled sweetly at her lover and Morgan sighed.

"What am I gonna do with you, hmmm?" Morgan asked with a seductive smirk.

Kathryn gave the taller woman a mock backhand to the stomach as Morgan got her guitar from the closet and they went out into the fresh afternoon air. "I’d say pretty much anything you want to." She cocked an eyebrow in an attempt to imitate her taller companion but failed miserably.

"Hmm, that sounds like an offer I can’t refuse." She slid a long arm around the tiny waist as they made their way towards the gently lapping waves. Seagulls flew overhead and circled out over the water, periodically coming to rest on the sand before taking off again. The wind was blowing just enough to take the edge off the heat of the day, and Morgan took a deep cleansing breath as they neared the water and walked just out of reach of the surf. There was a large outcropping of rock about 50 yards down the beach that provided a small amount of shade and they made their way towards it. The formation looked as though it didn’t exactly belong among the long, blanket-like stretches of sand but rather like it had been belched up by the sea and had remained where it landed.

Morgan spread the blanket out so that they could benefit from its shade and still feel the soft warmth of the sun. A seagull landed briefly on the huge rock before soaring back into the scattered white clouds of an otherwise perfect sky. Kathryn ate three pieces of chicken and a large chunk of cake before asking Morgan if she was going to finish all of hers.

"Having a baby hasn’t altered your ravenous appetite, I see." Morgan flashed a brilliant smile at her partner.

"In fact I think it might have made me hungrier; my body must have gotten used to eating for two."

"I just think it was a convenient excuse." The agent leaned over and took a delicate bite of the chocolate cake in Kathryn’s hand, finishing it off and licking the woman’s fingers clean.

"Now you cut that out, you know I’m out of commission for at least 6 weeks and you know what that does to me." She blushed just then, effectively destroying the intended repercussions of her playful scolding. Morgan winked and leaned over, feeding the remaining piece to her lover and planted a soft kiss on the perfect lips.

"I love you." She gathered the smaller form into her arms and they lay back on the blanket together, gazing up into an endless sea of blue and white.

"The clouds look so lazy," Kathryn remarked, tracing idle patterns on Morgan’s forearm. "I think it must be something like therapy to lie here and look at them." She grinned. "Hey, that one reminds me of you, Agent Sumners."

Morgan looked up at the cloud in question. "Like me? How so?"

"Big and soft and mushy." The smaller woman giggled intensely as Morgan rolled over and pinned her to the blanket, arms hovering just above what she knew to be a very ticklish midriff.

"What was that again? Tall, dark and sexy?"

"I believe the words in question are soft and mushy, but for a kiss I’ll throw in dark and sexy." She smiled as the agent traced her fingertips lightly over her lover’s cheekbones before leaning down and capturing her lips. The kiss went on for several minutes, a slow exchange of tenderness.

Kathryn finally spoke. "It’s beautiful out here, my angel."

"And you are the most beautiful thing in my life." For the time being Morgan forgot about Derek, about Tessa, about the world around them that threatened to seep in and try to steal away her utopia. There was only Kathryn and the love that they shared and for Morgan, that would always be so much more than enough.

Morgan looked at Kathryn as she lay on the blanket gazing up at the clouds and knew the time was right. Reaching in her shirt, she withdrew the jeweler’s box. She took Kathryn’s hand in her own and looked into her eyes.

"There’s something I need to say. I believe that in everyone’s life one person comes along that makes him or her feel complete, the other half that makes him or her whole, and for me that person was you. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew that something was missing. Then you came along and my life went spinning out of control. From the start, you swept me away. You captured my imagination, then my heart, and finally my soul. In the space of a few weeks I knew without a doubt that you were the only one for me."

Tears came to Kathryn’s eyes, but she said nothing. She squeezed Morgan’s hand and tried to regain her composure as her lover continued.

"Everything that we’ve been through in these last few months has made us stronger and bound us together even more. I can’t imagine ever having more than I have now with you and with our son. I can’t imagine ever loving anyone else but you. I don’t think I deserve you and I never will, but I’m thankful for every day we’ve had together and for all those still to come. I want to spend the rest of my life looking into your eyes and holding you in my arms. I want to spend the rest of my life proving to you how much I love you."

"I could spend forever listing all the things I love about you, and still that wouldn’t be enough time to cover them all, but the most important thing to me is that you love me. You brought sunlight and joy into a life that never knew it needed those things. You reached into my heart and touched all the dead parts and brought them to life again."

"You accept me for all my faults, you accept the darker parts of my life, and you love me still. I may not always be the most expressive person, but I want you to know that you will always be the single most important thing in my life. I waited a little late to do this properly, and even though I already know the answer, I wanted to get it right. Expressing my feelings isn’t the easiest thing for me, but I need to learn so, Kathryn Dawn Peterson, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Morgan barely got out the last few words of her proposal before the blond jumped into her arms and buried her face in the agent’s shoulder. They held each other tight for a few moments longer before Kathryn drew back and cupped Morgan’s face in both her hands. Tears were flowing freely now but she managed to get a resounding "yes" from the trembling lips. Morgan reached her own hands up and wiped the tears from the soft cheeks with her thumbs. She leaned down and placed a soft kiss on Kathryn’s forehead before pulling the ring from the box and sliding it onto the slender finger.

"It’s beautiful, Angel." She leaned up and kissed her beloved on the soft lips and melted back into the strong arms. "I love you so much."

"And I love you," Morgan replied. They held each other tight, relishing the closeness and the gentle sound of the waves breaking on the shore.

As the sun sank lower and the soft hues of late afternoon were painted across the sky, Morgan settled back into Kathryn’s waiting arms. The small blond ran her fingers leisurely through the raven tresses as Morgan closed her eyes and smiled.

"Mmm, that feels good."

"I don’t care what anybody says," Kathryn continued to play with the dark hair, pausing occasionally to stroke her thumb across Morgan’s cheek. "You’ve got a romantic streak in you, Ms. Sumners."

Morgan opened her eyes and feigned shock. "Me? Never." She winked at her lover. "Don’t be starting any rumors, young lady."

The sound of a crying baby interrupted Kathryn’s reply as Mildred appeared on the patio of Morgan’s house, looking somewhat apologetic as she called to them.

"I hate to disturb you two, but I think I’ve got a very hungry young man here."

Morgan jumped up and extended a hand to her lover. "I think that’s our cue, babe."

Kathryn nodded, then waved to the older woman. "Be right there, Mildred."

They walked hand in hand back to the house, neither woman saying much but both enjoying the contentment of the much-needed afternoon. As they slid open the patio door, Kathryn accepted the wailing bundle from their neighbor’s arms, the noisy cries nearly drowning out the chirping of Morgan’s cell phone.

Chapter 5: There’s Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

Morgan kissed her son and lover then pulled the chirping cell phone from her belt and walked up the stairs to her office.


"Hey Morgan, mission accomplished. When and where do you want to meet?"

"How about tomorrow, Bones? My place, say about ten in the morning?" Morgan sat down in the oversized desk chair and stretched her long legs out in front of her.

"Sounds fine to me. Do you want to call the others or do you want me to do it?" Bones was sure he already knew what she’d say but he waited for the expected answer anyway, trying not to smile at the thought of the stoic agent on diaper detail.

"If you don’t mind doing it, I’d appreciate it."

"No problem. How are Kathryn and the baby doing?"

"Both are fine, Bones. Matthew is getting bigger everyday." Bones grinned at the change in Morgan’s tone at the mention of her new son.

"How are you doing? Getting any sleep?"

"Not much." Morgan laughed. "He gets a little loud when he’s hungry, not unlike his mama."

"Well, that won’t last much longer. When Lenny was a baby he fussed for the first few months but as soon as he was on the bottle the McCoy household slept again."

"We may have a long wait for that; Kathryn is intent on breast feeding for as long as possible."

"She should, it’s good for the baby." He paused, hating to change the subject but he had seen Kathryn the first time around with this and he was concerned about how she was taking the news.

"What did she say about Tessa and Derek?"

Morgan paused and ran her fingers through her hair, letting out a long breath.

"I haven’t told her yet."

"Why not?" Bones sounded genuinely surprised.

"It never seemed like the right time. I’ll tell her tonight. I just hate to make her unhappy. She’s not going to like this one bit."

That was an understatement and Morgan knew it. She hadn’t been deliberately putting it off, but her first priority was the welfare of her family and Kathryn had enough on her plate with a wedding to plan and their son to look after. The afternoon on the beach had been something they’d both needed and somehow Morgan didn’t think saying "Honey, will you marry me and by the way, your deranged psychopathic ex and my whacked out housekeeper are at large and in cahoots with each other," would go over very well.

Bones’ deep baritone cut into her musings.

"Nothing you can do about that now Morgan, just tell her."

"This isn’t the best day for that, but I guess I really don’t have a choice anymore." Morgan leaned back in her chair and propped her feet up on the mahogany desk. Pulling a pencil from the drawer she twirled it around in her hand as she thought about her day on the beach.

"What happened today?"

"I asked her to marry me." Morgan tapped the pencil eraser against her teeth and let her mind drift to the upcoming conversation. Kathryn was going to be pissed and she didn’t know how to break it to her gently.

"Thought you did that a long time ago. Haven’t you guys been planning your wedding for awhile now?"

"Well, I should say I never asked her properly before today." Morgan smiled as she remembered her lover’s reaction to the proposal.

"Good for you, just send me an invitation and we’ll be there."

Kathryn walked into the office and handed a now sleeping Matthew to Morgan and sat on the corner of the big desk.

"Will do Bones, I better run, Kathryn is here and we need to talk. I’ll see you guys tomorrow morning."

"Tell her hi for me. Talk to you later."

"Morgan flipped the cell phone closed and laid it on the desk. She motioned Kathryn toward her and the blond nestled into her favorite spot in the house, Morgan’s lap.

"Hey," Kathryn said, stroking Morgan’s cheek with her fingers. "Is everything alright?"

"Some things in our life are better than alright," Morgan said, nuzzling Matthew and giving the tiny fingers a squeeze. "Other things." She trailed off, wanting to get this over with and wanting it to go away.

Kathryn leaned in until their foreheads were touching. "Are we…I mean, you and I…?"

Morgan put her free arm around Kathryn’s shoulders and pulled her in for a hug. "Yes, baby, of course. We’re wonderful. It’s just that I’ve got bad news and I’m not sure quite how to tell you."


"Derek is back in the states and Tessa is no longer in jail. It appears as though they’ve teamed up but for what purpose, we don’t know yet." The words came out in a rush and Morgan braced herself for her lover’s reaction.

"WHAT?" The smaller woman pulled back from the embrace and stared at Morgan in disbelief.

"How the hell did that happen?"

"I wish I knew, how that bastard got back in the U.S. without being picked up is beyond me, but he’s a damned chameleon. I’m sure he heard about Tessa’s case on the news, it was all over the tube. Ironically enough, he posed as her lawyer and waltzed right into the jail to formulate some kind of a plan with her."

The cat was out of the proverbial bag now, and Morgan forged ahead with what she knew. "When Tessa went before the judge to enter a plea, a bomb went off in the courthouse and they both vanished. We’re pretty certain Derek planted the explosive but we don’t have anything concrete on that yet either."

"When did all this happen, Morgan?" Kathryn was standing now, leaning over the desk.

Morgan took a deep breath before answering. "Umm…about four days ago."

"Morgan!" Kathryn’s voice went up an octave. "Just when were you planning on telling me all of this?"

"I’m sorry, babe, I wasn’t trying to keep anything from you but this all came down the day Matthew was born and the last thing on my mind was stressing you out on the best day of your life." The bundle in her arms fussed for a moment, stretched his fingers out and promptly fell back to sleep.

"My God Morgan, this man left me for dead! I think I had a right to know all of this, don’t you?" She didn’t wait for an answer but began to pace back and forth in front of the desk.

"And Tessa! What the hell is she doing with Derek? This is not a good thing, Morgan! They could be anywhere! " She put her head in her hands before looking back into her lover’s eyes. A thousand emotions passed over Kathryn’s face but her anger began to dissipate in favor of genuine fear and Morgan got up from the chair and pulled the now sobbing young woman into her arms.

"Shh…it’s alright, babe, I’m not going to let him touch you or our son, I promise." Even as Morgan uttered the words she wondered how she was going to be able to keep that kind of a promise. She would put her life on the line trying, which was the only thing she knew for sure right now.

"I’ve got the team checking into every aspect of this case, but there’s a lot we just don’t know yet. Until we get a handle on this, I’ve got round the clock protection on you and Matthew and I don’t plan on leaving you alone. If that jerk or his bitchy little sidekick want to get anywhere near us, they’re going to have one hell of a fight."


Morgan reached over her head and shut the alarm off. Stretching out her long frame she rolled on her side and kissed her son’s head before capturing the soft lips of her lover.

"Good morning Little One."

"Mmm, good morning Angel." Kathryn mimicked Morgan’s earlier movements and rolled into the long arms held open for her. She wrapped her shorter frame comfortably around Morgan and laid her head on the broad shoulder.

Morgan nuzzled the platinum locks under her nose and placed a gentle kiss on Kathryn’s head. "Waking up next to you two is the best part of my day."

"Tell me again you’re not a romantic." Kathryn replied happily, letting her lips travel down the expanse of Morgan’s neck.

"It’s just you sweetheart, I’ve never been this way with anyone else." Morgan moaned in pleasure, but she knew she didn’t have time for a lazy exploration, the team would be there in an hour, and she was hungry. "Do you want some breakfast? Never mind, stupid question. Do you want it in bed or are you coming down?"

"Are you cooking?" Kathryn cocked her eyebrow and attempted a smirk.

"Yep, I thought I’d make my specialty, burnt toast and crispy eggs."

"I’ll come down and help you. Let me feed Matthew first, one of us should get a good breakfast anyway." This time Kathryn managed to pull off the smirk and Morgan tickled her playfully in the ribs.

"I’ll grab a quick shower and then we can cook together. I have a question for you baby, would you like to attend the meeting? We don’t really know that much about Derek and I don’t know what the guys found out, but any insights you give us can only help."

"If you want me there then I’ll be there, but, I have to tell you Angel, I don’t know what I can possibly help with. He wasn’t the same man I knew when he kidnapped me, and I don’t think I want to re-live that in front of Bones and the rest of them."

"You don’t have to give them any details, just tell us what you know about him, what you can remember. Nothing is insignificant when it comes to a case like this. You never know what might help."

"I’ll do my best, Angel."

"I appreciate it, but if it gets bad or you don’t want to talk about something, that’s okay. You can leave anytime you want to, Little One."

"It’s a deal, now get your shower and feed me."

Morgan stole one more lingering kiss before she slid out from under Kathryn and walked into the bathroom. Kathryn admired her lover’s lean nude body and sighed as she counted the days until they could make love to one another again.


Morgan took drink orders and settled her team in the lab before going to the house to get Kathryn. She put the sodas in a cooler as Kathryn wrapped Matthew in a blanket and they walked hand in hand to the lab. She could tell Kathryn was nervous but the little blond was doing her best to hide it. She leaned down and kissed her soundly before walking into the building.

Bones was the first to take Matthew from Kathryn’s arms and Morgan smiled as the baby made the rounds. Her team members fussed over the newborn and would have continued all day if she hadn’t gotten the meeting underway.

"Okay guys, I know he’s a handsome man and it’s hard to tear yourselves away from him, but give the baby back to his mama and let’s get started."

"Bones, what did you find?"

"I found Bubba to be quite an interesting character." Bones leaned back in his chair and let his mind drift to the first meeting with the crusty old chief of police.


He walked into Ballards’ office and shook hands with the man who introduced himself as Bubba and noticed the belt buckle Morgan had marveled over. The thing was huge and Bones winced as the chief took a seat behind the large desk. How the man sat comfortably with that thing was almost as big of a mystery as the current case.

Bubba leaned back in the squeaky old chair and propped his boots on the scarred desktop. Flicking the brim of the worn old cowboy hat up he took his pipe from his pocket and clenched the stem between his teeth while digging for a match. The pipe finally lit, he squinted at the medical examiner and spoke through the dusty haze of cherry vanilla smoke.

"I figured on seein Miz Sumners, why ain’t she here?"

"She’s a little tied up at home right now, but she sends her best."

"That’s real sweet of her, how’s her little filly doin?"


"Little Kathryn, I hear she’s bout ready to drop any day now."

"You know about the baby?" Bones tried hard to hide a smile; this man was definitely one of the more fascinating lawmen he had come in contact with; he was an interesting mixture of his own kind of professionalism and personality.

"Ayup, me and Morgan chat on the net ever now an again. She told me about her an the missus expecting. Reckon they’ll be a havin the weddin soon now."

"Kathryn is doing fine, and by the way, they had a boy. The wedding will be any time now, but I don’t know if they’ve set the date yet or not."

"I bet he’s a cute little feller too. Now what kin I do fer ya Bones?" The chief leaned back in the old wooden chair, which seemed to creak in protest every time he moved.

"Morgan sent me for more information on Steven Johnson. I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but he’s back in the country and he’s teamed up with another serial killer. We’ve got someone talking to his parents now, but Morgan thought you might remember something that could help us."

"Well now, I don’t know much about that feller, been quite awhile since I questioned him. I reckon my mind ain’t what it useta be after all this time. I’d be more’n happy ta help ya’ll any way I kin though." He scratched his chin thoughtfully and adjusted the mammoth belt buckle.

"You told Morgan that when the first girl was killed, Steven was away at college, but we can’t find any records of him attending any school past senior high. Do you recall what college he was going to?"

"Shore nuff, he was at the Stephen F. Austin State in Nacogdoches." Bubba smiled as fragments of the old case came back to him.

"Where’s that?"

"Round bout two hunnerd miles or so from here. Not a far piece but at tha time we never figured on someone drivin in and killing that girl. It’s perty near a straight shot down highway 59 to Nacogdoches from here. Less than that if’n you know the back roads. You kin make it from here to thar in bout an hour an a half if’n you drive like a cat runnin from a pit bull."

"What about hobbies and things like that? What was he interested in?"

"He wuz real big inta sports and thangs like that. He was a perty good student from what I kin recall, won all kinds of awards an stuff in school. He liked the water too, his friends said he wanted ta join up with tha Navy when he got out of college." Bubba stood and hitched up his pants as he walked to the filing cabinet and selected Steven’s file from the drawer of solved cases.

‘"Let’s see whut we got here." Bubba scanned the file and nodded a few times before closing the folder and sliding it across the desk towards Bones. Taking the document from the chief he leaned back in his chair and read over the contents. Chief Ballard may have talked like a lazy southern backwoods sheriff but the man was as sharp as a tack. The file had more information on Steven than the one compiled by the FBI. Bones asked for a copy and the chief summoned an officer.

"Anythin else I kin do fer ya Bones?"

Bones took the file from the young officer and slid it into his briefcase. "Not right now chief, but if Morgan thinks of anything else I’m sure she’ll let you know."

"I wuz thinkin Bones." Bubba said, rubbing his chin. "I got bout a month of vacation time commin and if Miz Sumners don’t mind I’d like to come on up north and help ya’ll out on this one." Bubba had been pleased to be of assistance and the thought that he might be able to help wrap this thing up after such a length of time was appealing to the man.

"I’ll ask her about it when I get back and have her give you a call." Bones picked his briefcase up from the floor and stood to shake the chief’s outstretched hand. "Thanks for all your help Bubba, we’ll be in touch."


Bones related the encounter to Morgan and passed her the folder.

"Get on the phone with him and invite him down. He can stay with us if he wants. We could use the extra help."

Gin fidgeted in her seat as Morgan went through the rest of the reports and finally trained her eyes on the nervous woman.

"What about you Gin? Find anything useful on our resident psycho?"

Gin slowly opened the file in front of her and read from it. "Her parents divorced when she was young and she had a juvenile record. The usual stuff, petty theft, shoplifting, fights in school. Your typical broken home behavior. She was into drinking and recreational drugs when she was a teenager. Her mother is an alcoholic and lives outside Chicago. She hasn’t heard from her daughter in years, and prefers to keep it that way. She caught Tessa sleeping with her boyfriend and kicked her out of the house when she was sixteen years old. There is one other daughter the mother doesn’t talk about. She has no other siblings but from what I gathered the sisters didn’t get along and there hasn’t been any contact between them since they were children. Tessa’s father died three years ago and his widow didn’t know he had any children so I’m assuming Tessa wasn’t in contact with him either. She didn’t have any friends in school and I couldn’t find anyone that knew her. A check with previous employers shows she was an exemplary worker but she kept to herself. She has worked predominantly as a maid and her references all check out, nothing but praise from the people whose houses she cleaned." Gin closed the file and passed it to Morgan.

She swallowed hard and tried not to make any unnecessary eye contact with her boss.

Morgan nodded at the group. "Good job folks, Kathryn what about you? Anything you can tell us about Derek?"

Kathryn handed the sleeping baby to Morgan and addressed the assembled agents.

"When I met him he had just finished his last round of chemotherapy. He has some form of cancer but he never told me what type. He had a major complex about losing his hair and he kept a collection of toupees. He was very fastidious about his clothes and his appearance. He wore designer clothes and drove a sports car. He didn’t have much money growing up and he was always trying to act like he was rich. He told me he was a pilot and he could go on for hours about planes and flying. He knew everything there was to know about flying what he called the big birds."

Kathryn paused for a moment and collected her thoughts. She knew more about him than she thought and the words just seemed to keep flowing. "He doesn’t like talkative women, or anyone who upstages him. He needs to be the center of attention and he’ll monopolize a conversation if he gets the chance. He doesn’t have any close friends that I am aware of, but he spent a lot of time with his family. He was very close to his mother and he tried to win his father’s approval. His dad was career military and retired a few years back as a full bird colonel. He wanted to join the service but the cancer ended that career before it began. He said he felt like a disappointment to his father because he couldn’t follow in his footsteps, so he flew commercial jets instead of fighter planes."

Reaching for a bottled water she took a drink and began to revisit the day he kidnapped her from the saltbox house now sitting empty next to Morgan’s. "When he showed up here at my house it was the last thing I expected. He seemed agitated but also elated, which was strange because he rarely smiled or showed any kind of emotion, he gloated mostly or acted cocky. When he took me to that house he told me what he had done to those people and what he was going to do to me.

She took a deep breath and took another drink from the bottle of water before continuing.

"He tortured most of those people for hours. He said he liked hearing them beg for their lives. He really got off on feeling superior. He said it made him feel like God, deciding when and how they would die. When he killed that boy at the beach he did it for the thrill of killing in public and getting away with it."

Kathryn was shaking as the memories flooded back, washing over her in a crimson tide of anger and frustration. Swallowing the rest of the water in one gulp she continued with the tale. She couldn’t meet Morgan’s eyes as she related the rest of what happened; instead she locked eyes with Bones and pretended they were the only ones in the room. "I goaded him, I wanted him to kill me. I didn’t want to suffer like the others and I wouldn’t beg him for my life. He said he was going to kill me and I knew he would. I just wanted it to be as quick and as painless as possible. The more he laughed at me the madder I became. I taunted him and belittled him, anything I could think of to make him hurry it up. He was so smug, sitting there on that couch and telling his story. He was so pleased with himself."

Morgan walked up behind Kathryn and wrapped her arms around the shaking blond and tried to lead her away from the group. "No, Morgan, I need to finish this." She squeezed the agent’s hand and looked sincerely up into the pools of concerned blue.

"Are you sure?"


Morgan walked back to her chair and resettled the sleeping baby against her shoulder as Kathryn resumed the sordid tale.

"In all the years we dated he never really pushed me to sleep with him. I thought it was because he loved me and respected the fact that I wanted to wait, but that wasn’t it. He needed the violence to get aroused and now that I think about it I’m sure he dated me for cover. It worked for him because I didn’t want a commitment from him and I was content to see him whenever, and he was fine with the arrangement until Morgan came along. She was a threat and he didn’t take kindly to threats. He thought if I could sleep with her, then I should sleep with him. When he told me to choose between them and I chose her, he threatened to tell my father because he knew my dad would disown me but still I chose her. He smacked me around, knocked out some of my teeth, and kicked me a few times. I don’t remember all of it but I know that while he was beating on me I kept telling him that I would never be with him, that it was Morgan I wanted. He had me pinned to the floor and was choking me, as I was losing consciousness I knew he was raping me."

Kathryn wiped the tears from her eyes and allowed Morgan to pull her into her arms. The lovers walked from the lab and into the house. After Morgan settled the new mother and baby into the bed and made sure they were both sleeping, she went back to the lab, handed out new assignments, and dismissed the group.

Chapter 6: Tying Up Loose Ends

Derek and Tessa stood on the observation deck of the New London ferry. The air was crisp, and a slight fog was lifting from the bay. They had arrived at the Cross Sound offices early to secure tickets for the hour and a half ride to New London Connecticut. Derek had spent a week surreptitiously checking the place out. If you walked on, they didn’t ask for anything more than your name, but if you wanted to bring a car you had to give name, phone and credit card number.

Bobbing up and down on her toes, Tessa was barely able to contain her excitement. Derek had finally consented to teach her what he knew about leaving clueless crime scenes. He had become restless from being cooped up on Morgan’s boat and felt the need to take another life eating away at him. Tessa sensed the change in him and after badgering him for a week he relented and decided to take her along on a hunt.

When the ferry docked they were among the first of the pedestrians to depart and he hailed a taxi at the ferry offices. Derek told the driver to take them to the Mystic Seaport, and as the taxi pulled out into traffic, Tessa relaxed in the back seat, chatting like a tourist as she’d been instructed during his weeklong training session. They would walk around the tourist attraction taking pictures and acting just like any other couple on vacation while they looked for a victim.

Derek cupped Tessa’s elbow and bent to whisper in her ear. "When you pick your prey look for someone that doesn’t seem to be with anyone, takes them a little longer to be found that way. Kill quick and then cover up."

He stood up again, pulled the camera from the carrying case, and snapped a few pictures of the Charles W. Morgan. Knowing how fixated Tessa was with Agent Sumners he thought the irony of leaving a victim in the bowels of the docked whaling ship was too good to pass up. Returning the camera to the case he pointed out the name of the boat to Tessa and watched bemused as a grin spread across her face. Again taking her elbow they walked the up the gangplank and took the unguided tour. They walked around the cramped boat for an hour looking for an inconspicuous place to put the corpse. The entire ship was open for visitors and there really wasn’t anywhere to put a body that wouldn’t be found by the next person to tour the double masted whaling ship. He finally decided that the cramped captains quarters seemed like the most logical place.


The woman stood against the railing of the historic ship. She remembered the last time she had stood in this spot. He was still alive then. They had been lovers then. They were happy then. Now he’s gone and no matter how I wrap my mind around it, it was my fault. She felt the spray from the salt water hit her face as the waves gently lapped against the side of the boat. Looking down she continued to let her mind drift to the memories of him. She’d been doing that a lot lately, thinking of him. Thinking of how his life was wasted, taken away in minutes by a total stranger.

Reaching into her purse she pulled out the photo of them standing on this boat. They were both smiling and tanned from the summer. They had been together for a few months at that point and decided to drive the half-hour from Rhode Island to the seaport to do the tourist thing. The whaling ship had captivated Jay; it’s masts reaching to the sky like fingers trying to grab the sun. He said the romance of sailing the open sea pulled at him. She had loved him then. Janelle had snapped the photo of them, capturing that moment in time forever.

She had stood at this spot that summer waiting for him to come back. She had always been claustrophobic so he had gone below with Janelle. They explored the cabins and storage areas like kids, running around in the belly of the massive whaler. When they surfaced again he was so excited and she had laughed at his youthful exuberance. They had both enjoyed the seaport immensely. Now she was here alone, and in a way she felt she was paying homage to his spirit and his love of life. It hadn’t been much longer before they decided to just be friends, but their relationship hadn’t changed very much. Jay would always be a part of her life, though now she visited his grave and places they had been together, instead of visiting him.

Wiping the tears and the salt spray from her face she glanced around her, embarrassed to be caught crying in public. Another couple stood down the railing from her, also staring into the water. They looked happy and carefree and she wondered if they were in the beginning stages of a relationship. As she watched, the man cupped the woman’s elbow and they casually strolled in her direction. They were a nice looking couple and she found herself admiring his muscular physique. Something wasn’t right about him, but she couldn’t put her finger on what that something was. He seemed familiar, and she studied his face trying to remember how she knew the handsome stranger. Stranger? He was the man; this was Jay’s killer! She felt rooted to the spot, and for several seconds she was frozen in time, suspended in disbelief. How could he be here, now, at this moment? It couldn’t be. It wasn’t… possible, she thought as she turned to run.


Recognition dawned on Derek as the woman turned from them. This was the woman from the clippings his mother sent him in Rio. This was the one living witness to his crime. The fates must be smiling down on him. He grabbed the fleeing woman by her hair, stopping her forward motion as she headed for the gangplank; he swung her around and shoved her down the stairs. No one was below decks right now and he walked slowly down after her, drawing it out, taking his time. He wanted her to feel the fear, to feel the hundreds of emotions that can race through a person’s mind in the space of seconds when they knew they were going to die soon.

Derek ducked as he went below decks, the sloping ceilings and cramped space making it difficult for him to stand up straight. Part of him hated that; he liked towering over his victims and didn’t feel as imposing when hunched over. It didn’t matter though; he could see in her eyes that he was having the intended effect.

Tessa followed the pair like a puppy, the excitement of the moment clearly visible in her features. She laughed gleefully as Derek pushed the struggling woman along, their progress impeded slightly by the narrowness of their surroundings. Pati stopped abruptly, hoping to distract her captor, but Derek shoved her a few steps forward before planting a solid kick to the small of her back as she stumbled and then fell. Tessa squealed in delight as Pati sprawled across the shiny oak flooring. Derek turned around suddenly and leveled a cold look at his partner.

"Shut the fuck up, bitch!" He grabbed her by the front of her shirt and leaned in until they were nose to nose. "I don’t want to hear another sound out of you. This ain’t no fucking spectator sport." He spat.

Tessa backed up a few steps. She knew better than to irritate him; he was obviously unstable in general, but the thrill of the chase had given a whole new dimension to his character and she felt herself being drawn to him in an almost sexual way. She nodded briefly and Derek turned his attention back to the woman on the floor. He reached down and yanked her to her feet, slapping her soundly across the face.

"Try anything like that again and you’re dead right now." The look of defiance in the woman’s face both angered and excited him. "Now keep moving." He pushed her forward again as she wiped the blood off her face with the back of her hand.


Pati tried to ignore the throbbing in her head as she moved forward through the narrow passageway. A thousand retorts had raced through her mind as he hit her, none of them ever reaching her lips. She was terrified, but she took a couple of deep breaths and tried to get her head together. She harbored no doubts that this man would kill her just like he had killed Jay, but she was determined to go down fighting and she made note of her surroundings as they made their way through the guts of the ship.

The feeling of claustrophobia was overwhelming. Pati felt her deep breaths becoming shallow as she tried to ignore the wave of dizziness that washed over her as they traveled deeper into the storage areas of the vessel. The passageway seemed to get smaller, the walls closing in on all sides as she brushed against them with every step. She wanted to scream, to get out of this place and into the fresh air. The air was heavy and stale, and as they rounded a corner and the light began to dissipate, she choked back the bile that was rising in her throat and willed herself to concentrate. She couldn’t afford to be hysterical now, but as the reality of her predicament surfaced, she felt a moment of panic as she realized that her life was about to end and there were a million things she still wanted to do.

Derek suddenly kicked open a door and threw the woman roughly into a small, windowless room. Pati sucked in a breath as she hit the far wall. They were obviously in the captain’s quarters, but the captain couldn’t have done much more down here than sleep. Derek had to duck to get in the door and he could barely stand upright. The room was little more than four feet deep and the far wall was actually the majority of the berth where the captain had slept. She hit her head on the wood with a resounding thump and looked up at her captor. He was standing above her with a self-satisfied smirk while Tessa watched from the doorway. She couldn’t have fit in the room if she tried, and besides, she had a front row seat to the show and she shot Pati a sarcastic glance as Derek spoke.

"Looks like this is my lucky day." He threw his head back and laughed. "I didn’t expect to find you here, Ms. St. Jean."

"How do you know my name?" Pati asked, determined to drag this out as long as possible. She knew they weren’t alone on the boat anymore; she could hear faint footsteps on the deck above and the sounds of muffled voices. Perhaps a group of tourists had come aboard. There was no way they could hear her, but if she could get out of here somehow…

Derek sneered. "I gathered a little information while I was abroad; I understand you were quite the celebrity." He took a step forward and looked in her eyes. "After all, you have the great distinction of being the only living eyewitness to my handiwork." He leaned back against the other wall and put his hands behind his head. "Living soon to be a relative term, however. I hate loose ends."

Tessa whined softly as Derek blocked her view with his tall frame. She didn’t dare say anything to him about it, but she had found an odd thrill in watching Pati’s expressions change from defiance to fear at the control that her partner exhibited at will.

Pati had fallen on her purse when she hit the berth and it was still lodged beneath her. She remembered the tiny personal alarm that Jay had given her when she began working the late shift. He had been concerned for her safety and had spent the extra money on the device that emitted a deafening shriek when the pin in it was pulled out. Pati had always carried Mace, but Jay had insisted that it took too long to get the spray out and be able to use it. The alarm hung off your keychain and was ten times louder than a rape whistle. Pati had a brief moment of hope as she slowly shifted her weight and discreetly slid her hand inside the purse. As she did so, she tried to distract her tormentor with a question. He was cocky and she figured he wouldn’t mind claiming a few bragging rights.

"Why?" Pati locked on the killer’s gaze as she made the simple inquiry. "Why Jay?"

Derek leaned back and closed his eyes, a sickening smile crossing his face as he re-lived the moment in his mind. Pati felt nauseous as she watched him savor the brutal crime.

"It was convenient. He was the first one out of the bathroom." He opened his eyes. "Turns out it went a lot easier than I could have hoped for." He narrowed his gaze. "Such a nice young man, so willing and helpful." He laughed and Pati had to resist the urge to strangle him with her bare hands. She had taken the opportunity to pull the device from her purse when Derek was lost in his grisly remembrance and she gripped it tightly. She could still hear the noises from upstairs and it was apparent that Derek had heard them too. He suddenly looked up towards the ceiling in surprise and Pati knew it was now or never. She pulled the pin on the device and dove past Derek towards the door as he was momentarily startled by the noise filling the small space.

Pati moved like a woman fighting for her life as she reached the door and shoved Tessa to the ground, stepping on her chest while Derek tried in vain to grab her leg. Tessa groaned as Derek lost his balance and landed on her with his full weight, screaming in frustration at the figure fleeing around the corner.

Pati heard the commotion but refused to look back. She felt Derek’s fingers brush against her ankle as she tore through the door and barreled over Tessa. If she had been a few seconds slower, he would have succeeded in tripping her up. Freedom loomed ahead and she made it to the surface in record time, the alarm still emitting it’s howling wail through the bowels of the ship. She vaulted up the stairs and ran like a woman possessed, yelling for everyone to get off the boat. A group of schoolchildren were standing near the railing and Pati made a mental note to thank them later for all the commotion they had been making.

"Run!" She yelled as the teachers began moving the kids towards the gangplank. They had no idea what was going on, but they didn’t need to be told twice. Pati made it to the ramp first and ran halfway down it before jumping the remaining distance to the ground. She raced headlong toward the exit and past the two security guards, pointing back towards the boat. One of the guards called to her while the other one ran towards the group of upset children. Pati’s only thoughts now were getting as far away from her captor as possible and finding a phone so she could call Agent Sumners with this new information.

Below deck, Derek was pulling Tessa roughly to her feet and shoving her towards the stairs. His mind raced as he heard the commotion outside. He recognized Pati’s voice as she yelled to someone to get off the boat. The sound of children screaming reached his ears and he formulated a plan within seconds.

"Follow my lead, Tessa!" he yelled as they reached the surface and made their way towards the group. Tessa watched as Derek helped the teachers herd the second-graders to safety. The security guards raced past the children and Derek pointed to the stairs.

"Down there, hurry!" He shouted as he exited the vessel in the midst of the throng of crying and screaming children. One of the teachers called her thanks to him as she corralled them away from the boat. He waved and grabbed Tessa’s arm as they made their way to the exit and through the now unoccupied gate.

Derek pulled Tessa toward the wooded area outside the seaport and removed the blond toupee from his head. He hurriedly took the black wig from the camera bag along with the fake beard and moustache combo and slipped quickly into the new disguise. Handing Tessa the blond wig, he shoved the red one she’d been wearing into the case. He exchanged his shirt with the clean one he brought and had Tessa change her clothes as well. Satisfied with their appearance they casually strolled to the corner and walked the mile and a half to Mystic Village.

Derek held his temper as they walked; the important thing to remember was he could always find another victim. He had covered that with Tessa during her training and although he never had to do it before, he was prepared for any contingency. They entered the village and began the process of selecting another victim from the crowded area.

Chapter 7: Look What the Cat Dragged In

Kathryn sat in the tiny Islip terminal and waited for the 1057 from Texas to disembark. The call from Tracey last night had been unexpected but she was excited to see her best friend after almost a year apart. Tracey had a vacation coming and she had decided to spend it in New York with Kathryn. The only downside to it that she could see was that Tracey didn’t know about Morgan and Kathryn was unsure of how well her friend would take the news of her impending marriage.

Matthew fussed briefly and Kathryn was adjusting the harness to bring the baby closer to her chest when a pair of workboots came into her field of vision. She looked up to meet the smiling face of a very tanned Tracey.

Kathryn jumped to her feet and wrapped Tracey in her arms. "I have missed you so much!"

"I missed you too, Kate." Tracey spoke into Kathryn’s shoulder. "This must be Matthew."

Kathryn backed away from Tracey a step and held Matthew up for her inspection. "He’s a beauty isn’t he?"

"He’s got your eyes, but I don’t see a bit of Derek in him." Tracey reached over and ran her fingers gently over the baby’s cheek, and smiled when she felt a tiny fist take her thumb captive.

"I hope I never do. Come on, let’s get you back to the house, once you’re settled in we can catch up." Kathryn shifted the diaper bag on her shoulder as they walked down the concourse.

"Sounds good, but what I’d really like to do is walk around a little. That’s a long flight when you don’t have a layover." Tracey briefly stretched her shoulders back and stifled a yawn as she spoke.

"Feel up to a little shopping?" Kathryn asked over her shoulder as they walked to Morgan’s truck.

Tracey reached out a hand and stopped Kathryn in her tracks. "Describe ‘a little shopping’, are we talking your usual marathon or just a few hours?" The familiar grin appeared on Tracey’s face as she remembered her friend’s penchant for making shopping a contact sport.

Kathryn chuckled; it was good to have Tracey there. "I’m not up to my usual all day event. I’ll be doing good to make a few hours without falling asleep on my feet." Kathryn smiled. "These frequent feedings take a little getting used to, but I’m loving every minute of it so far."

"Then you’re on. If you start getting tired let me know and we can head for home." Tracey took the diaper bag from her friend as they walked through the terminal and into the parking lot. Kathryn did seem tired, but she looked happily exhausted, and Tracey decided that motherhood suited her pretty well.


Morgan hadn’t been to the bureau offices in over a year but her office looked the same as the last time she walked out of it. She tossed the windbreaker she had been wearing over the back of the leather chair sitting in front of her desk and walked over to look out the window. She was curious about the call she’d received yesterday from Pati St. Jean. The bakery chef from Rhode Island was very upset and babbling about Derek on the phone. Morgan had calmed her down and arranged for the woman to be taken into protective custody and brought to her today. Now, waiting for the assigned agents to bring the young woman to her she looked out over the city. The smog had settled around the middle of the giant skyscrapers and blocked the sun from penetrating Morgan’s office window. Turing from the dismal sight she sat behind the walnut desk and turned on the tiffany lamp, allowing the multicolored light to penetrate the gloomy room.

She loved this office and couldn’t remember why she’d stayed away from it for so long. She didn’t like to be cooped up but she had made this space her own. She had painted the portrait of her brother hanging along the wall in front of her; it was a peaceful painting compared to her others. In this one she’d captured her brother in the prime of his life, when he was happy and didn’t have a care in the world. It was taken from a picture of him their father had snapped as he walked along the beach. He had his hands in his pockets and the wind off the ocean was ruffling his dark hair. He was barefoot with the cuffs of his jeans rolled up, and his toes were kicking up the sand as he strode along the shoreline.

When she’d first joined the bureau the painting had kept her focused on her job, it kept her anger viable and close to the surface. Now looking at it, it made her sad. He would have been so happy for her and Kathryn, and she wished he were alive to share in her joy. She thought she should bring Kathryn here to see the painting, to see how much Matthew resembled her brother. A knock on her door broke her from her musings and she hollered for whomever it was to come in.


Kathryn parked the Land Cruiser in the IGA parking lot and the trio set off for the rows of quaint stores lining the waterfront. Several hours later Kathryn was visibly lagging and they decided to stop for lunch. Knowing that Tracey would love the nautical theme of the Rhumb Line, Kathryn pulled into the parking lot.

They ordered their meals, settled back in the leather booths, and looked across the bay. Tracey knew Kathryn was putting off going home and decided she’d put off broaching the subject long enough.

"You gonna tell me about it?"

"About what?" Kathryn tried to hide a smile but it wasn’t working out the way she had planned. She knew what Tracey was referring to, but she still hadn’t decided on her friend’s reaction or just how to bring it up. Tracey wouldn’t have a problem with it, but Kathryn didn’t know if she should fill her in now or simply make the introduction to Morgan later.

"Why you’re stretching out going home. You’ve been acting like you have the world’s biggest secret floating around in your brain all day. Spill it already."

"Do you think I look happy?" She asked and Tracey had to laugh at that one; Kathryn looked like a kid at Christmas and the question seemed absurdly rhetorical, considering the goofy grin on the smaller woman’s face as she asked it.

"I think you’re happier than I’ve ever seen you. Motherhood suits you." She looked over at the sleeping baby and smiled.

"I’m not talking about Matthew, I mean in general."

"You have a glow that can only be seen on someone in love. I wasn’t sure if it was the baby or not, but there’s more, isn’t there?"

"I’m most definitely in love." The grin got wider and Tracey tried to contemplate how that was even possible. She reached over the table and squeezed Kathryn’s hand.

"I take it it’s not Derek, right?" Tracey knew the question was ridiculous but she had been wondering about the outcome of that situation and she didn’t know if bringing it up out of the blue was such a good idea. Kathryn had been through enough with it already, and Tracey didn’t want to bring up an unpleasant memory. If Kathryn had wanted to re-live all the gory details, she would have broached the subject herself.

"For crying out loud!" Kathryn sputtered. "He tried to kill me!"

"What happened with all that anyway? The FBI questioned me for hours about him, I didn’t know much though." Tracey sighed, deciding to ask what had been on her mind anyway. If Kathryn didn’t want to answer she wouldn’t pursue it. She had never known much about the man, except that he never seemed right for her best friend.

"He kidnapped me from my house here, raped me and left me for dead. It was a long recovery but I have a good support system and I pulled through it." She was quiet for a moment and Tracey wondered if she had gone too far.

"Kate, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you." She was still holding the smaller hand and she gave it an affectionate squeeze. Kathryn smiled.

"It’s okay, really. I’m at the point where I can talk about it now, although I try to stay off the topic. The bad news is that he snuck back in the country last week and the FBI is hunting him down …again."

"Do you have protection? I mean, do they have someone watching out for you?"

"Night and day. Didn’t you notice those men following us around today?"


"Look over in the corner booth, see those two guys in the suits? They’re my protection." Tracey turned around discreetly to find two pairs of eyes studying her nonchalantly. The men looked as if they took their business quite seriously, but they certainly weren’t trying to cover up the fact that they were there.

"A little obvious aren’t they?"

"Perhaps, but in this case the FBI thought obvious was good. It’s a sign to Derek that they know he’s here and they’re watching out for me. I’m glad they’re visible, if they weren’t I would never leave the house." Kathryn was feeling better lately about doing just that; it was nice to be able to resume some sort of a normal life, although she knew that with Derek at large, she could never truly relax.

The food arrived and both the women dug in with gusto. After dessert and Matthew’s feeding they sat back with coffee and resumed the earlier conversation.

"What happened with you and Kellie, Trace? I thought you guys would be together forever." Kathryn shifted in her seat and leaned back against the soft leather backrest.

"There are times when twelve years can feel like that. It didn’t work out, nothing more than that. We grew apart over the years. She was busy with her life, I was always at the clinic, and it drove a wedge between us. It takes two people being with each other to make a relationship work. We were never home together and when we were, we were both too tired to do more than sleep." Tracey sighed.

"I’m always on call and she’s very into her career. The political arena is a very touchy place to be right now. We couldn’t go to any of her functions together in case someone put two and two together and figured out she was a lesbian. Even in a town the size of Houston it can be a very sticky issue. We may have gay and lesbian city council members and even some high ranking very visible gay leaders but when you’re new to the circle it can hurt you."

"We parted friends and it’s been over for a long time. She finally moved out about six months ago and I’ve started dating again, but it’s hard. All of our friends were shocked and then there’s the usual what do you do with a third wheel situation. I don’t need that right now, so I’ve been keeping to myself. I talk to a few of them every now and then but we’re not as close as we were. Kellie and I have dinner together once or twice a month. She’s seeing a man from her office right now. He’s gay and it makes good cover for both of them. If she’s seeing a woman she isn’t saying. It’s strange but we seem to be closer since we split up than we were for the last five years." Tracey drained the last of her coffee and signaled the waiter for a refill. "Enough about me, tell me about your new love, how serious is it?"

"Would you consider being my bridesmaid?" Kathryn had made up her mind that there was no time like the present.

"Wow! Congratulations, guess that answers my question. It sounds damn serious to me." She winked from across the table.

"It’s strange Trace, I’ve never loved anyone in my life like I love Morgan. I really never gave much thought to settling down and getting married, but Morgan just swept me off my feet and now I couldn’t imagine wanting anything more."

"How does Morgan feel about raising Derek’s son?"

"Neither of us think of him as Derek’s. He’s our son. He even looks a little like Morgan. They both have the same black hair, and at times he smiles and it’s just like looking at her." There, it was out in the open now and Kathryn just sat back and waited for her friend’s reaction.

"Her? Morgan is a woman?" Tracey looked momentarily astounded, but a slow smile crept across her features as Kathryn nodded in the affirmative.

"Yeah, Morgan is a woman."

"You better start from the beginning, Kate. You told me in college that you’d never go that way, so I’m beyond stunned." But if the look on your face is anything, Tracey thought, I’ve never seen you so sure of yourself.

"I was too at first. Wait until you meet her. No matter how I look at it, it’s just her. I meant it in school when I said I couldn’t ever be with a woman that way, but there was just something about this one that took my breath away and I haven’t been able to catch it yet. She is the most incredible woman I’ve ever known. I know I haven’t had many people in my life, but she loves me like no one ever has."

"My God Kathryn, when you fall in love you certainly do it right. What does Henry think about all of this? Has he disowned you?" Tracey was having a hard time imagining Kathryn’s straight-laced father accepting the fact that his only daughter was in love with another woman.

"When he first found out, I was in a coma, so he confronted Morgan and they exchanged a few words but believe it or not they’ve become very close. They’ve been talking to each other on the phone at least every few days for the last four months. He thinks of her as a daughter and he’s like the father she lost a long time ago." Kathryn had to smile; her two favorite people in the world adored each other.

"How’s he doing? I haven’t seen him in years."

"You’ll get to see him tomorrow, he’s flying in for the weekend. He hasn’t seen the baby yet and he’s been chomping at the bit to get here. He says it’s only for the weekend but you wait, we’ll have to drag him back to the airport."

"So let’s get home so I can meet your Morgan." Tracey started to get up from the table.

"She’s in the city right now; she hasn’t been to her office in awhile and needed to get some work done."

"What does she do?" Tracey left a generous tip on the table and picked up the check.

"She’s a profiler for the FBI. She has her own team and she does a lot of fieldwork, even though the profiling is supposed to be her primary job." Kathryn had to smile at that; Morgan’s primary job had shifted back and forth from work to her new family, and she didn’t seem to mind the change a bit.

"Is that how you met? When the whole Derek fiasco was going on?"

"Actually I met her before that. She barged into my house and trained a gun on me like a bad Xena, Warrior Agent, episode."

"No shit? What did she do that for?" Tracey looked astounded and amused all at the same time. She had caught a few episodes of the show Kathryn had allowed them to make using her Aunt’s journals and the scrolls Janice and Mel had found. It was campy and at times intensely funny.

"She thought I was a burglar. She was a friend of Aunt Janice’s and she didn’t know she’d passed away. When she saw me in the house she thought I was going to rob the place. It was scary for a minute, then Casey dumped her on her ass." Kathryn let out a hearty laugh at the memory.

"How does she handle what happened to you?"

"We don’t talk about Derek unless it’s necessary. She has a lot more anger towards him than I do, so sometimes it’s hard, but she’s there for me when I need to talk about it. She’s been a rock for me through the whole thing. She didn’t leave my bedside the entire time I was in the hospital and it’s hard for her to be away from me now, knowing he’s close again."

"I would imagine. Sounds like you’re in good hands, though." She glanced back at the two men, certain that Morgan had everything to do with the fact that they stuck to Kathryn like glue. She was intrigued, and eager to meet the woman that had captivated her old friend so thoroughly.

Tracey took the baby from Kathryn and strapped him in the car seat. Kathryn was exhausted now, and Tracey slid behind the wheel to drive the rest of the way back home.

"When did you get this monster?" Tracey remarked as they pulled out onto the road and the Toyota roared to life underneath her.

"It’s Morgan’s, neither of us feel comfortable transporting the baby around in my convertible. She’s going to take me car shopping soon." Kathryn managed a smile. " I don’t think she likes driving my little car."

"Why not? It’s a dream machine."

"She’s a little too tall for a sports car like that. She needs room to stretch her legs out." Kathryn let her thoughts wander to Morgan’s legs for a moment and a silly grin snuck up on her.

"What does she look like, by the way? You never said."

"A goddess."


"I was being serious. She’s six-foot tall, slender but muscular, like you, with long raven black hair and the most incredible blue eyes you’ll ever see." Actually, incredible didn’t seem to cut it but Kathryn couldn’t think of a more descriptive word. Morgan was captivating.

"Sounds like a goddess."

"She is, but she doesn’t think so. She’s one of those women you love to hate, drop dead gorgeous without even trying to be, but her most attractive feature is her heart. She is everything I need her to be when I need her to be it. She’s strong and gentle, loving and kind and she makes me feel more protected, safe and loved than anyone else ever has."

Tracey reached between the seats and took Kathryn’s smaller hand in hers, squeezing briefly before gripping the wheel again. "If I weren’t so happy for you, I’d be jealous. You have what everyone dreams of having but never thinks they will."

"I didn’t think I would either, I can’t wait for you to meet her."


Morgan stood and shook hands with Pati and gestured toward one of the chairs in front of her desk before settling her long frame once again into the soft leather chair.

"It’s good to see you again Pati."

"Likewise Agent Sumners."

"Call me Morgan. Now fill me in on what happened yesterday."

"Well, it’s like I said on the phone, I went to the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and while I was standing at the railing of the Charles W. Morgan I was attacked by the man who killed Jay."

"What’s a Charles W. Morgan?"

"It’s a whaling ship on exhibit there."

"Was he alone?"

"No, he had a woman with him. I don’t know who she was, but she was definitely a few cards shy of a deck."

"How so?"

"During the initial attack she was squealing like an excited kid, then Derek grabbed her and shouted something in her face and she shut up, but she had this look that was eerie. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like spectators at a sporting match, you know how they look when they think someone is hurt or going to be hurt? She kept wrapping her arms around herself kind of rocking back and forth."

Morgan picked up a pencil from the blotter in front of her and leaned back in her chair, propping her feet up on the desk, twirling the pencil in her fingers, she asked Pati to tell her the whole story start to finish.

When Pati wrapped up her tale, Morgan sent her back to the safehouse with the agents to pack up her things. She wanted Pati where she could keep an eye on her herself so she was taking the woman back to her house. Before she left to pick her up and head for home, she met with her team and had them out checking for evidence and eyewitnesses to Pati’s attack. She knew Derek was close but having him across the bay in Connecticut was too close.


Morgan parked the sports car in the garage and helped Pati bring her stuff into the house. Brushing up against the hood of the Land Cruiser she knew that Kathryn had been home for a while and she walked into the house to meet Kathryn’s best friend.

Tracey stood in the livingroom looking intently at Morgan’s painting. She didn’t hear the agent until Morgan whispered in her ear.

"You must be Tracey."

"And you must be the goddess, I mean you must be Morgan." Tracey stammered. Damn, she thought, Kathryn wasn’t kidding.

Morgan held out her hand to Tracey and the two women shook hands. "It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tracey, Kathryn has told me so much about you." She flashed the stunned woman a dazzling white smile and Tracey found herself oddly captivated by the tall, dark agent.

"Wish I could say the same, I mean about hearing a lot about you. Kathryn didn’t get around to mentioning you until today." Tracey paused. "Geez that didn’t sound very good, did it?" She laughed.

"She wasn’t sure how you would take it." Morgan smiled in understanding.

"She shouldn’t have worried."

"Probably not, but telling Kathryn not to worry is like telling Casey not to lick your face. They both hear you but neither of them listen."

"True." Gorgeous and easy to talk to, too. Kathryn, you did well.

"Where is Kathryn anyway?"

"We went shopping, so she’s taking a nap. She wasn’t expecting you home until later."

"I thought it was going to take me longer at the office. I’m going to go up for a bit." Morgan introduced Pati and patted Tracey on the shoulder after telling them to make themselves at home she went upstairs. Opening their bedroom door quietly she slid into the room and lay on the bed beside Kathryn. Matthew was awake and fussing a little, but he quieted as the agent pulled him against her shoulder and cooed softly in his ear.

"He has to be the luckiest little boy on the earth." It didn’t matter how quiet Morgan thought she was Kathryn knew without opening her eyes that she was there. The air seemed charged anytime Morgan was in the room with her. Even in her sleep she seemed to know Morgan’s location at all times.

"Hi Little One, yes I would say he is. With a mama like you he couldn’t want for anything more." She leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Kathryn’s cheek.

"With parents like both of us, Angel. You’re his mama too and he’s pretty lucky to have you."

"Of course, I am a goddess after all." The agent grinned.

"Met Tracey, huh?" Kathryn colored a little as Morgan tousled her hair.

"Yeah, she seems a little tongue tied around me, what did you tell her?" Morgan raised an eyebrow in her lover’s direction.

"Only the facts ma’am. If she’s tongue-tied then she must think you’re cute. Which by the way you are."

"Unh huh, if you say so." Morgan leaned over and silenced the next words with a kiss. "Have I told you today how very much I love you?"

"Many, many times but if you feel the need…"

"I love you Little One, with all of my heart and soul."

"I love you too my Angel, with all that I am."

"What do you say we get up and entertain our guests before they think we’re both rude."


"I brought Pati home with me, I hope you don’t mind, but I want to keep an eye on her."

"I don’t mind at all I’m looking forward to meeting her."

"Well then, get up already!"

"Kiss me one more time and then I’ll get up." Kathryn moved closer to Morgan and slipped her arms neatly around the perfect neck.

Morgan had no trouble meeting Kathryn’s request and thirty minutes later the family made it downstairs.

Chapter 8: Hail Hail the Gang’s All Here

Morgan spent the day shuttling back and forth to the airport and her living room looked like the baggage claim area. Bubba and Henry finally arrived and the boys set about getting to know each other. Morgan and Kathryn decided to put the men in Kathryn’s house, and Pati would share Morgan’s spare room with Tracey.

By the time everyone was settled in it was early afternoon. Bubba and Henry decided to have a good old Texas barbecue and went to town for the supplies. Mildred had been over earlier to help get Kathryn’s house ready for the men and left to her own devices had shanghaied Pati into helping her plan a baby/bridal shower for the girls. Morgan had filled her in on Pati’s story and she tried to make the young woman feel comfortable. It didn’t hurt that the girl was talkative and the gossip she was giving Mildred would sustain her through the spring. Sneaking out with Morgan’s address book the duo went to her house to make a few calls.

When the group assembled later in the evening the smell of cooking ribs and chicken filtered halfway across the island. Megan had come over earlier and had become inseparable from Tracey. The two walked down to the water with the dogs and stood looking across the bay as the pooches romped in the surf. Kathryn wrapped her arms around Morgan and watched the pair. "They make a cute couple don’t they?"

"J.D. and Casey? Yeah they’re a cute couple." Morgan pretended to look pensive as she studied the dogs.

"You know what I mean!" Kathryn swatted Morgan in the butt as the agent feigned a wounded expression. She smiled as the younger woman rolled her eyes at her lover and turned her attention back to the women on the beach. Megan was pointing to something across the bay and Tracey was laughing heartily.

"Isn’t it a little soon for Tracey? She hasn’t been alone for long." Morgan smiled at the rapport that the two seemed to have established in the short time they had been together.

"I think Tracey is well on her way to being over Kellie. By the time they split up there was nothing between them but friendship. I’ve never known her to just jump into a relationship."

"I don’t want to see Megan get hurt again. She needs someone to care about her. She needs someone to give her what I never could." Morgan uttered the last part of her statement with a tinge of regret evident in her voice and felt her partner squeeze her hand.

"I think they’ll be good for each other. They have a lot in common."

"Playing the matchmaker are you, Little One?" Morgan teased, cocking an eyebrow in Kathryn’s direction.

"Didn’t have to my Angel, they found each other on their own." Kathryn leaned up and placed a kiss on Morgan’s cheek before walking back in the house to answer the active doorbell. She showed Bax and Vivian to the deck, handed out drinks, and went to answer the door again. The impromptu occasion was growing by leaps and bounds as Morgan’s team filtered in. While piling gifts in the living room, Kathryn heard Matthew fussing. Taking her son from his other mother she took him into the bedroom to feed him. She was adjusting the baby and cooing softly to him when the bedroom door opened and Morgan settled her long frame behind her, cradling mother and son in her arms.

"I hate missing this, Little One. I’ll never have children of my own but this makes it seem like it sometimes."

"You have a son my love. Look at all this black hair, Derek didn’t have black hair, and no one in my family does either. I have to believe that God made him for us. He’s got my eyes and nose but he has your hair and your disposition."

"My disposition huh?"

"Yeah he gets fussy when he’s hungry or tired. I’d say that’s your disposition alright."

"I don’t get fussy when I’m hungry, that’s you, my hollow legged woman."

"Hollow legged? Moi?" Kathryn feigned indignance.

"Yes, you! I seem to recall a certain someone ordering three entrée’s and desert at a certain restaurant not too long ago."

"I was pregnant, that doesn’t count."

"No my little buffet binger, it was our first meeting and you ate until they closed the place down around us."

"Well, I hadn’t eaten all day, I was hungry."

"And the Chinese buffet?"

They both chuckled as they remembered the first time they had eaten at the House of Chen’s All You Can Eat Buffet. Mr. Chen had come to their table and looked directly at Kathryn before declaring, "You be here four hours you go now, we no can feed you anymore you got tapeworm." He placed the check on the table and stood with his arms crossed until Kathryn slid from the booth and then followed her to the register where he charged her for three dinners. They had laughed all the way home at his red face and hadn’t been welcomed back since.

"I have no excuse for that one. I just love Chinese food."

"Well I’m sure the booming economy has everything to do with your move to the island. I think you’ve made millionaires out of every grocer on the North Fork."

Kathryn chuckled, handed the baby to Morgan for burping, and buttoned her shirt. "Will you bring his bassinet out to the deck? I think he’ll sleep for awhile now."

Mildred was playing hostess and more of Morgan’s friends had arrived while the trio was in the bedroom. Billy was telling the story of Morgan and Kathryn’s meeting during the AIDS benefit to an enthralled group. Greg walked over to Morgan and wrapped her in his arms. He had been taking a new drug and was finally free of the wheelchair he’d been bound to for the last two years. He used a cane to help with stability but at least he was upwardly mobile again, as he liked to say.

"Hey beautiful, congratulations. On two counts I hear." He said as he looked at the baby in Kathryn’s arms. "You’ve got a gorgeous family Morg, I’m really happy for you."

Morgan kissed the stubbled cheek and linked arms with the lanky man walking over to the deck railing. "You’re looking better everyday Greg, I’m happy for you too. How are the new treatments going?"

"So far so good. The doctors think I’ll live to a ripe old age. Billy is still testing negative and we’re both really excited about that. I may get to go back to work in a few months if I keep progressing." Greg had been a criminal lawyer of note before being struck down with AIDS. He missed the courtroom action and Morgan was glad to hear he would be easing back into the career he loved.


Laughter rang out from the barbecue pit, where Bubba was telling Henry and Baxter a good old-fashioned tall tale as Mildred put her hand on Pati’s shoulder and shook her head in the direction of the men.

"Oh for heaven’s sake!" She scoffed good-naturedly. "Will you listen to those three?"

Pati smiled. "Boys will boys, I guess."

Mildred winked. "Even when they’re men, they’re boys." She squeezed Pati’s shoulder. "So do you have a young man waiting for you at home, dear?"

The younger woman sighed. "No, not really. There was someone, after Jay, that is." She faltered for a moment before continuing. "But it didn’t work out. I guess I just haven’t found the right person yet."

"Perhaps you should try again with Jay. Its never too late to rekindle a flame if you think the person is right for you." Mildred smiled at Pati with motherly concern.

"I wish I could, but…" Pati paused for a moment before continuing. "Jay died. That man Morgan is chasing…he’s the one that killed him."

Mildred’s eyes widened at this information and she took a sharp breath. "I am so sorry dear, I didn’t know. I should learn to watch my mouth."

"It’s not your fault Mildred, you didn’t know anything about it." Pati sighed. "Besides, I’m learning how to take one day at a time now."

Mildred nodded sympathetically as she remembered Morgan’s description of the young woman’s ordeal. "I would imagine that coming face to face with such a psychopath would be a hard thing to forget." Pati shuddered involuntarily as the memory of being trapped below decks drifted through her mind.

"Derek’s kind of tall, really creepy. I mean, he doesn’t have any eyebrows and he’s as bald as Mr. Clean, but he’s good looking." She sighed. "I don’t know what I expected a serial killer to look like, but I’m sure that’s not exactly it." She managed a smile.

Delores had been on her way over to the duo when she heard the tail end of the conversation. She put her hand on Pati’s shoulder excitedly.

"Did I just hear you say something about a bald man with no eyebrows?"

"Yeah, I was just telling Mildred here about my run-in with the serial killer that Morgan’s team is trying to track down. He disappeared right after that stunt at the Charles W. Morgan and no one has seen him since."

Delores began to wave her hands wildly. "I saw him! He’s living out at the bay! I ran into him, literally, on the beach one day. I thought it was strange the young fella shaved his eyebrows, so, of course, that sort of set him apart from every other good looking young man on the beach."

" We need to tell Morgan about this!" Mildred was excited now; the thought of another big news story was fodder enough but that they could be involved in finding a killer was almost too much for the woman.

Mildred looked around the crowded deck but didn’t immediately see the tall agent. Spotting Gin, she decided that was close enough. She waved her over and the two older women started talking at the same time as they both tried to be the first to relay the new information. Gin tried to remain expressionless as she took in the information and assured them she’d find Morgan. Thanking the ladies, she walked into the house to find a private place to contact her sister.

Gin walked quickly into the small bathroom off the kitchen and closed the door behind her. She leaned against the wall as she felt panic rising up in her throat and she had to will her body to stop shaking. Pulling the cell phone from the pocket of her jeans, she dialed her sister’s number.


"Tessa, you and Steven have to get off the boat now, you’re going to be surrounded by feds in a few minutes."

"You fucking bitch, you gave us up!" Tessa sounded indignant.

"No, Steven was spotted by a friend of Morgan’s and I have to tell her soon. You’ve probably got about half an hour to make that boat look like you were never there."

"I’ll tell Stevie."

She closed the cell and walked from the bathroom. Morgan was just coming downstairs and Gin began to relay the message, hoping that her emotions would not betray her. Morgan nodded, then asked Gin to help her round up the agents as quietly as possible and get them into the lab. Gin nodded and went out to the deck, glad to be away from her boss. She knew Morgan was bound to sense the change in her but she was thankful that the upcoming wedding and the birth of her child had taken much of the agent’s attention as of late.

Once the group had assembled, Morgan filled everyone in on what Delores saw at the beach.

"Does everyone have their weapons?"

Everyone nodded in the affirmative except Bubba. "I ain’t got my sidearm, wernt figurin on needin it."

Morgan unlocked a cabinet in the lab and handed the chief her extra 9 mil Glock and a spare clip.

"Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. "

Chapter 9: Hush Hush, Voices Carry

Morgan pulled the Land Cruiser to the shoulder outside the drive leading to the marina, and waited for the other two cars carrying her team to arrive. She got out and paced silently behind the truck; something wasn't right and she was having a hard time putting her finger on what that something was. When Bubba laid a hand on her shoulder it was all she could do to stop herself from drawing the pistol tucked against her side.

"Damn! Don't sneak up on me, Bubba."

"Weren't no sneakin' involved Morgan, you're jumpier than a cat trying to cover up shit on a marble floor. What's eatin at ya?" He leaned against the vehicle and studied the Agent thoughtfully.

"I don't know Bubba, something doesn't feel right." Morgan ran her fingers through her raven mane and looked at the Chief with a harried expression.

"I know whut ya mean."

"You feel it too?" Morgan stopped in mid-pace and put her hand on the older man's arm. She was more than frustrated with the way Derek seemed to be holding all the cards, and something had been nagging at her ever since their escape from the courthouse.

"Naw, just makin an observation."

"There's something going on," Morgan remarked. "Some things about this case are just a little too convenient and I have a feeling one of my agents is involved." She glanced out over the water, the gentle lapping of the waves against the sand providing a noticeable contrast to everything she was feeling at the moment, and she sighed.

"I'd hafta agree with ya on that one. But it ain't none of my concern and I don't wanna be messin in yer business."

"I'm asking, Bubba."

Morgan watched the Chief's eyes, as he appeared to be coming to a decision. At length he spoke.

"Well, I'm inclined ta believe that Gin girl's got herself a secret. She acts like she stepped in sumptin and she's afraid yer gonna smell it."

"Exactly!" Morgan squeezed his shoulder in agreement. "I just can't seem to get a handle on what her angle is, though, or why she would have one in the first place."

"She bears some watchin, I don't think she's a tellin all she knows about this. Did ya notice she don't meet yer eye when you talk to her? I smell sumptin fishy and it ain't comin from that marina over yonder."

Derek muttered several curses under his breath as the cell phone in his fanny pack rang. The chirping caught the attention of the woman he had been following down the secluded, heavily wooded jogging trail. He watched her pace increase as she turned to look at him over her shoulder, she'd never know just how close she came to dying. Sighing as his prey escaped, he pulled the offending piece of technology from its holder and flipped it open; there'd be another day and another victim.

"What?" He sounded more than a little annoyed as he spoke into the receiver.

"Stevie, you have to come back here, we've got trouble coming our way." Tessa sounded tense and she took an audible breath as she waited for his answer.

"What kind of trouble, Tessa?"

"Agent Sumners and her crew are on their way to the marina."

"Your sister squealed, I knew I should have killed her." Derek gripped the phone tightly between his fingers and his knuckles turned white as his anger mounted. He should have known better than to trust a federal agent.

"It wasn't Gin, one of Morgan's friends spotted you at the beach. We have to leave."

"How much time do we have?"

"Half an hour, give or take."

"You take care of the boat, I have an errand to run. Meet me by that stand of oaks outside the marina in an hour."

"Be careful, Stevie."

"Don't fucking call me Stevie, you bitch, it wouldn't bother me a bit to leave you there for Agent Sumners." Derek exploded.

"I'm sorry Steven. Please don't leave me." Tessa's voice was beginning to shake and she paced back and forth in the cabin, pausing occasionally to glance out one of the windows.

"That's better, now clean the boat. No trace, remember what I taught you." Tessa could only nod as she heard the click and the line went dead.

Derek slammed the cell phone shut and ran for the car. This was not part of the plan. He needed more time, but it was in short supply and he'd have to improvise. He was glad that the jogging trail was close to the Mattituck Wal-Mart as he raced through the aisles gathering the supplies he thought he'd need.

A new idea formulated in his mind as he waited at the checkout and a smile crept across his face, he loved nothing more than a plan coming together. Paying for the items he all but raced to his car and sped the twenty miles to Morgan's house.

Parking the car on the gravel shoulder across from the lab, he made his way through the woods and came up alongside the wraparound deck. The voices from the party carried to him in the growing dusk. Creeping into the woods beside the house he positioned himself where he could see all the participants. He looked around carefully but didn't see the two bodyguards that had been Kathryn's permanent shadows and he decided to walk the perimeter. They had to be somewhere. Taking a circuitous route around the property but not seeing them, he finally decided they must be either in the house or with Morgan. He slipped into the open window of the living room and quietly made a room-to-room search of the house but did not find the agents inside.

He slipped back out the window and into the woods. Three men were at the party, Henry and two faggoty looking men that he didn't know. Nothing to worry about there, he thought, and then he caught sight of Pati and had to suppress a wicked laugh. Even better! The third times a charm and her luck had just run out. Screwing the silencer into the barrel of the stolen .357 Magnum, Derek cocked the gun and vaulted the railing like a cat and snatched Matthew from the bassinet.

Swinging the gun in a wide circle he trained his eyes on Kathryn as she walked up the stairs from the beach, and watched with a self-satisfied smirk as a look of horror froze her features. The two men and the old ladies were down at the beach playing with the dogs and Derek couldn't believe his luck, four less witnesses and only three shots needed to take care of the rest of the people on the deck.

Morgan checked the clip on her gun one last time as the rest of her team spilled from their cars. When the last of the stragglers caught up to the group she began dividing the teams.

"Gin, I want you and John to check the restaurants along the marina. Split up and start from opposite ends, meet in the middle.

Walt, I want you and Bax at the public facilities, check all the restrooms, picnic areas and the parking lots.

Bones, I want you, Doug, and Kathryn's bodyguards to take the beach, split up and comb every inch of it, when the rest of you get finished, join them at the beach.

Bubba you're with me, we'll be searching the boats. If anyone finds anything or sees anything, use your walkie-talkies. We're losing daylight here and we need to be quick about this. Remember people, these are civilians, don't cause a panic. Keep your guns holstered unless absolutely necessary and try not to draw too much attention to yourselves. Now, move out."

Morgan and Bubba made their way down the pier, moving steadily through the growing darkness, their path illuminated at times by the light coming from an occasional boat or the half-moon above them. They had agreed to speak as little as possible, and to stay close enough together to be immediately available should anything happen. They moved from slip to slip, slowly covering the length of the pier, stopping only when it branched into two massive sections, one rolling another half mile to the left and a longer section that stretched out in front of them. Bubba looked questioningly at the Agent.

"Which way?" They had paused at the intersection but had moved off to the side and stood in the shadow of a 40 foot cabin cruiser.

"Normally I'd say we should split up," Morgan replied. "But considering the track record of our prey, I think we should stay together." She motioned to the end of the docks ahead.

"My boat is in the last slip. Let's start with her and make our way back to this fork. The other end of it stops at the waterfront restaurants; we can meet up with everyone else there."

Bubba nodded and they started down the massive structure until they came within sight of the Sea Warrior. Morgan suddenly stopped short and pulled Bubba toward her, concealing them both against the side of a neighboring craft. Motioning for silence, she beckoned him to follow her as she slipped soundlessly over the side and onto the deck of the smaller boat. Huddled safely against the lifeboat they listened as Gin's voice floated toward them.

"I'm telling you, Tessa, you've got to get out of here!" Morgan felt her stomach roll as her hand tightened instinctively on her weapon and Bubba placed a hand on her arm.

"Well butter my backside and call me a biscuitÖif it isn't yours truly." He looked to Morgan for her reaction but she put her fingers to her lips and without taking her hand off her gun, whispered to her friend.

"Fuck me running," Morgan said, her lips now in a thin, tight line. She swallowed hard to keep her emotions under control.

"Do we go?" Bubba had already drawn his sidearm.

"Not yet. It's obvious that Gin is involved, but I need more information. If Derek is on the boat, I may also need more backup." She reached for her cell phone and punched in a number.

"Yer team's on the walkie-talkies," Ballard reminded her, but the Agent allowed herself a smile.

"Yeah, they are, but so is Gin."

Bubba mirrored her smile as she spoke quietly into the receiver.

"Bones, where are you?"

"About a mile down the beach, Morgan. What's wrong? Why aren't you on the Talkie?"

"I don't have time to explain, just get down here to the pier and meet me at my boat as soon as you can, we're maintaining radio silence from now on." She practically spat into the receiver. "Round everyone else up on your cell, but forget about Gin. She's already here." Without further explanation, she put the phone back in her pocket. The scene on the boat had become volatile now, and Tessa was waving her hands in the air and shouting.

"And just HOW am I supposed to get off this damn floating deathtrap now, huh Sis? It's not like you came here alone!" Tessa's expression was as black as the water.

"Look, SIS," Gin said, anger contorting her features. "I called you well over an hour ago, and you're still here! Why the hell didn't you get off the fucking boat when I told you to?"

"Because Steven wanted me to meet him, but he never showed. So I came back here, thinking I might have misunderstood his directions. The son of a bitch abandoned me and you better not do the same or I'll spill my guts to every law enforcement agent with an ear and you can bend over and kiss your job goodbye!"

Gin drew her weapon, and let out an exasperated laugh. "I'm in a little too deep to save my ass now anyway, don't you think? I should just waste you right here and get it over with." She laughed again as her sister shrunk against the railing and put her hands up in a defensive gesture.

"Hey come on, don't you think that's a little drastic? We're family, remember?"

"Yeah, we're family, but that does NOT excuse you for everyone whose lives you've wasted or me for agreeing to help you in the first place. I must have been insane. My job is to bring people like you to justice and I looked the other way in the name of ëfamily?' No way, Sis, not anymore. This has to stop." She advanced on the smaller woman, waving the gun in her face.

"YouÖyou wouldn't actually kill me, would you? Stevie promised me money! Half of it is yours!"

"And if I kill you now, I take care of all my problems. All the money in the world won't buy back what I cost my teamÖor those families."

Tessa pulled her hand from behind her back and drew the pistol she'd been hiding in her waistband. "Looks like a stalemate Sis, who do you think is going to get the first shot off?"

Morgan peered over the lifeboat, squinting in the darkness. She could barely make out the two figures standing against the railing but the light glinting off the barrels of the two pistols was unmistakable. Ducking back down, she waited to see what would happen next.

"At this point I don't care if you shoot me Tessa, I can't do this anymore. You may be able to sleep at night and you may be able to live with what you've done, but I can't."

Morgan had heard enough and she and Bubba crawled quickly along the smooth deck floor and jumped back onto the pier, drawing their weapons they made their way to the next slip and quietly boarded the Sea Warrior. A flight of wooden stairs led to the top deck and Morgan tiptoed up them, reaching the top she motioned for Bubba to take up a position behind Tessa as she slipped into the darkness directly behind the traitor and stood waiting.

Bubba had drawn his gun but the safety was still engaged, and he cursed himself as he let it out as noiselessly as possible. Tessa had backed up against the railing and beginning to believe her sister's murderous intentions, let out a scream and whirled around, intending to run for her life.

Bubba stepped out of the shadows and blocked the fleeing woman's path, and in a matter of five seconds, several shots rang out in the darkness and then there was silence.

Bubba ran to the side of the cabin and felt around frantically for a light switch, finding one he flipped it on and the entire deck was flooded in a brilliant light. He gasped as he saw three bodies lying on hardwood, and he made his way over to Morgan as the shouts of Bones and his crew could be heard below.

"Agent down!" Bubba yelled over the side as they started to come up. Bones got on the emergency frequency and called for help as Bubba knelt down by Morgan's side.

"Miz Sumners!" He smiled in relief as she stirred and tried to turn her head towards him. Blood was flowing from a small gash alongside her scalp and from someplace else, although Bubba wasn't sure where.

"IÖ" Morgan tried to sit up, but Bubba gently blocked her way. "Shhh... I think you better lie still. You've been shot."

"I've been shot," Morgan echoed, then added in a stronger voice, "Fuck! I can't believeÖohhh..." She closed her eyes as a wave of dizziness and nausea hit her. "That wasn't such a brilliant idea."

Bubba chuckled. "Good to see gittin filled with buckshot ain't hurt yer attitude any."

She managed a weak smile as Bones ran over and dropped down beside her.

"MorganÖmy God, what happened here? And where is that damn ambulance!" Bubba moved away as Bones began to examine her. He was concerned about the gash in her scalp but the amount of blood on the deck told him there was more.

"Where, Morg?" He said, unwilling to move her until he had more information. "Where were you hit?"

Morgan opened her mouth to speak, but it seemed too dry. She tried to say something but it didn't sound like her voice when it came out, and she cursed herself mentally for allowing this to happen. Finally she managed to say "Chest" and she felt Bones rolling her onto her back before spots danced in front of her eyes and she passed out again. When she came to, she was lying on a gurney and two EMT's were hoisting her into an ambulance. Bones stood nearby.


"Morgan, you're going to be alright. The bullet passed just under your collarbone but didn't hit anything major. It's an in and out, but it's gonna hurt like a bitch for awhile though." He smiled. "You must have hit your head when you fell, and frankly I'm more worried about a concussion. One of the bullets grazed the side of your skull, there's no penetration but you'll have a permanent part in your hair. I'll get everyone's statements, then finish cleaning up here and meet you at the hospital."

Morgan tried to say something else, but the medical technician put a hand on her arm to quiet her. "Hey!" Morgan growled at the young man and managed to raise her upper body slightly off the gurney. "BonesÖ"

Bones rushed over and shot the EMT's an apologetic look. "She's stubborn that way," He said with a wink as Morgan grumbled.

"Bones, what about Gin and Tessa? Don't let Gin-" Bones cut her off. "Shhh, calm down Morg, Bubba filled us in. Gin's got a bullet in her arm and she's riding to the ER in handcuffs. Tessa is dead."

Morgan nodded and lay back down, sheer weariness overcoming all of her senses at the moment. She knew her team would notify Kathryn but she had a million questions in her head including Derek's whereabouts and her mind refused to give her a break from the non-stop flood of possibilities.

Bubba finished giving his statement to the team and offered to drive back to the beach house and give Kathryn an update.

"Thanks Bubba." Bones said and after bagging the Chief's gun for evidence, he shook his hand heartily. "I appreciate everything you've done here. Tell Kathryn not to worry, but you should probably bring her to the hospital. She'll want to see Morgan right away and Morgan will be a pain in the ass until she gets there." He managed a laugh as he handed the keys to Morgan's truck to the chief and watched the older man walk away shaking his head.

Kathryn froze, the scream that was formulating in her mind never making it to her throat. Derek was casually swinging the gun, and an evil cackle began to fill the space between them.

"Well, well, wellÖso this is little Steven Jr."

"DerekÖ" Henry began to move toward the baby but Derek gave him a cold stare and waved the gun in his direction.

"I wouldn't if I were you, old man."

Henry nodded and casually lowered himself back into a deck chair, trying to assume a non-threatening position in the hope of placating the unstable young man.

"Derek, calm down. Let's talk about this. There's no need for violence."

"If you want to get things done these days, violence is the only way to go." He kicked the bassinet off the deck and gripped his son tighter. Kathryn had to hold onto the railing in order to keep herself from running up to him and ripping her son from his grasp.

"Violence never solved anything Derek. Why don't you put the baby and the gun down and tell us what you want?" Henry tried not to look at his daughter, he needed to try and get this situation under control before things got out of hand.

"I have exactly what I want." He turned to Kathryn with a stare that caused her to shudder involuntarily. "Everything I need is within my grasp." Kathryn felt the bile rise in her throat as he bent over to kiss his son on the head.

"If seeing your son is the goal Derek, I'm sure Kathryn would work out a visitation schedule for you."

"Who needs a visitation schedule? I don't intend to see my son; I intend to leave here with my son. Visitation for your daughter, however, is out of the question."

Pati saw her opportunity to slip around the side of the house while Derek was turned toward Henry and silently began making her way from the scene. She thought she'd made a clean getaway when Derek's words froze her in mid step.

"Going somewhere Ms. St. Jean? Don't leave the party too soon, you and I have some unfinished business." Visions of her ordeal on the Charles W. Morgan began to play in her head like an all too familiar tune.

Before her head could stop her feet, she turned and bolted. She never felt the shot that shattered the vertebra in her spine, she was only conscious of the deck rising up to meet her and the unwillingness of her legs to cooperate.

Kathryn let out a gasp and instinctively moved toward the fallen woman, but Derek stepped between them and shook his head mockingly.

"Just like you to rush to the aide of the fallen. Have a seat Kathryn, it's going to be a long night."

Kathryn felt the tears well up in her eyes but she took a deep breath and determined that she would not do anything to upset him with the lives of her son and her father hanging in the balance.

Henry rose to his feet and once again tried approaching Derek. "Don't shoot anyone else Derek, we can work this out."

"No we can't work this out Henry. Do you have any idea of what your precious daughter has been doing? What she's been subjecting my son to? I will not have my boy raised by a bunch of fucking dykes; he needs a man in his life. He needs his father."

"I know about Kathryn and Morgan, and believe me, your son will have male role models. This isn't the way to get what you want, Derek."

"It's worked well for me in the past old man, and I don't see anyone here that can stop me. If you want to be a hero, try it."

Henry knew that he wasn't going to reach the man, if Derek wanted him to be a hero, so be it. Trying to distract the gunman, he looked around Derek as if someone was standing there; the moment Derek turned, Henry rushed him. The silencer of the gun jammed against his ribs as they fell toward the deck and he knew without hearing that he'd been shot.

Derek pushed Henry's unconscious form from his body and rose from the deck, cradling his son against his chest. "What about you Katie, do you want to be the hero now?"

With a force that surprised even herself, Kathryn rose to her feet, letting out an angry yell and picked up the deck chair she had been sitting in. Derek's eyes widened but his momentary surprise turned quickly to amusement as he leaned casually against the house and smiled, fueling Kathryn's anger and causing her to smash the piece of furniture against the railing. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" She advanced on him, toting a piece of the splintered furniture and hitting it against every obstacle between her and the man who still held her son. "Who the hell do you think you are?" She clenched her fists and looked from her father's fallen form to Pati, the woman was still down but she was trying to crawl away from the scene. Kathryn had a hunch she was trying to go for help and she would do all she could to distract Derek and let Pati slip away unnoticed.

Derek grinned at her as she advanced on his position, and then aimed the gun at her forehead. "I think, no, I know I'm the man that holds all the cards." He said as he fired the gun. He didn't wait to see her crumple to the deck alongside her father as he leapt the railing and ran for his car. The commotion she had caused surely drew the attention of the crowd on the beach and he didn't intend to stick around for the show.

Pati saw Kathryn fall on top of her father's body as she pulled herself in through the kitchen door. She needed to get to the phone and she needed to call 911. There were no other thoughts in her mind as she grasped the cord and pulled the phone off the bar onto the floor beside her. She managed to dial the number before the swirling fog overtook her mind and she slipped into the waiting arms of unconsciousness.

Chapter 10: When it Rains it Pours

Billy laughed as Greg deliberately thrust the tip of his cane up out of the surf, splashing water on his partner and getting himself soaked in the process. He was trying to decide how much trouble he would be in for instigating a good old-fashioned dunking when the sound of splintering wood reached his ears and he heard Kathryn's angry tone echoing in their direction.

"Did you hear that?" Billy looked questioningly at Greg, who was already starting down the beach at the fastest pace he could manage.

"Go, Billy," Greg instructed, pointing towards the house. "I'm not sure what's going on, but I didn't like the sound of that." His voice took on a sense of urgency as Billy started running up the beach. "Hurry." Greg turned to look behind him, but didn't see any sign of Megan and Tracey. They had all started out together, but the girls had wandered up the beach for a little privacy and he had no idea where they were now.

By this time Billy had come up to the side of the house and he sprinted around the back and let out a scream as he saw the deck littered with blood and bodies. "Oh my God!"

Greg increased his pace, frustrated that he wasn't able to move any faster and he turned and yelled Tracey's name into the wind before going on again.

Billy vaulted up onto the deck and knelt down beside Kathryn's still form. He felt his face go ashen when he saw the blood seeping from her head and with shaking hands; he tore off his tank top and pressed it against the wound.

"Greg!" He yelled. "Oh God, Greg, where are you? I need some help up here!"

"I'm almost there, Billy, just hang on." Greg dropped his cane and willed himself to go faster as he came around the side of the house and saw the carnage for himself. Sucking in a steadying breath, he hurried to Billy's side.

"My God, what happened here?" Tears welled up in his eyes but he fought them back, he knew he had to keep his emotions under control if he was to be of any real help to Kathryn and her father.

"Call 911." Billy pointed toward the open kitchen door. "Morgan's got a phone in there."

Tracey let her hand brush softly against Megan's as they walked, pleased that the touch had caused her companion to reach out and lock their fingers together. Hand in hand they continued up the beach, pausing here and there to throw a stick for the dogs as they romped and played in the water.

The sound of Greg's urgent cry caused the two women to stop walking. Their hands unlinked as they turned toward the beach house. A silent look passed between them and they broke into a run, neither knowing what awaited them but both fearing the worst.

The dogs raced by them headlong and came close to dumping Megan on her ass in their haste to reach the house. When Tracey and Megan arrived at the deck, J.D. and Casey were pacing in a tight circle around Henry and Kathryn, keening loudly. Tracey shooed the pups away from the duo as Megan sent Billy for her medical bag.

Tracey leaned over Kathryn's body and removed Billy's tank top, looking for the source of blood seeping into the deck. She gently probed Kathryn's scalp until she found the entry wound.

"Give me a gauze pad." She said as Megan opened the bag and laid the gauze into her outstretched palm.

"Can you see anything?" Megan was shaking but she tried to focus on the task at hand and ignore the feeling of bile rising in her throat.

"Not yet, hand me the sterilized water and let me clean some of this blood away before it dries."

Megan watched almost breathlessly as Tracey worked. She was amazed that Tracey could remain so detached as she cradled the head of her best friend. Megan had worked with some excellent doctors but none of them had ever worked this fast and yet remained as gentle as the one in front of her.

"Entry wound above the left ear, no exit. Get some sterile gauze and hold it against the wound, try to staunch the bleeding. We need to move her so I can check Henry. Billy, call the paramedics, tell them we have multiple gunshot victims, let them know there's a doctor and a nurse on the scene and that the hospital should have an operating room ready as soon as the ambulance arrives."

Billy scrambled through the open patio door into the kitchen to tell Greg what Tracey said and stopped in his tracks at the sight of Pati's unconscious form propped against the cabinet. Blood was pooling around her legs and she was an unnatural shade of white.

"I need help here Billy, I can't find the wound to stop the bleeding." Greg said, his face almost as white as the unconscious woman lying at his feet.

"Don't move her, I'll get Tracey." He relayed the rest of Tracey's message for the ambulance and waited until Greg picked up the phone before going back outside to tell the women what he'd found inside the house.

The ambulance carrying Morgan was speeding towards the hospital, sirens blaring, when the radio crackled into life and the dispatcher's anxious voice captured Morgan's attention.

"Mattituck general to 1077, we have multiple gunshot victims, possible fatalities at 15 Ocean Shore Drive, be advised there is a doctor and a nurse on the scene. I repeat, multiple gunshot victims with possible fatalities at 15 Ocean Shore Drive."

"1077 to Mattituck general, we copy, multiple gunshot victims and possible fatalities at 15 Ocean Shore Drive. We are in route to the hospital now with a gunshot victim from the Marina, ETA ten minutes, be advised we will deliver our passenger and be on our way to the scene."

"Copy 1077, Mattituck general out."

The radio went silent as Morgan lunged against the straps restraining her. The paramedic attempted to calm her as she struggled to release the buckle around her chest.

"You will not drop me off at the hospital first, turn this goddamned ambulance around right now and head for the other crime scene."

"You've got to be kidding!"

Morgan released the restraint and jumped to her feet, yanking the I.V. from her arm before slamming the paramedic against the wall of the ambulance.

"Do I look like I'm fucking kidding? Turn this vehicle around right now or I'll do it myself." Her gaze was unwavering.

The paramedic gasped for breath and nodded. Morgan released her hold slightly and he called to the driver to turn around and head for 15 Ocean Shore Drive.

Satisfied they would do as she demanded, Morgan sat on the gurney and rested her head between her legs. She was feeling dizzy and slightly faint from the acrobatic leap at the paramedic and her mind was racing as she tried not to fear the worst. All she could think about was Kathryn, as the sense of dread she'd been feeling all evening washed over her like a tidal wave.

"Why are you so concerned about going to that scene?" The paramedic gasped while rubbing his throat.

"It's my house." Morgan nearly choked the words out as if trying not to say them would make the whole nightmare disappear.

Bubba pulled Morgan's Land Cruiser into the garage and took a moment to rehearse what he would say to Kathryn about the fiasco at the marina. He was expecting her to be upset and hysterical women had never been his long suit. Steeling himself for the outburst, he walked into the kitchen.

The coppery scent of blood reached him before he saw the crumpled form lying on the floor and he instinctively reached for his gun, realizing with some chagrin that he had left it at the Marina with Bones. Before he could form another thought, Tracey burst through the open patio door and knelt down on the hardwood floor beside Pati's still form.

"Whut in tarnation happn'd here?" He moved around the table to join the doctor as she gently rolled Pati onto her side and probed for a bullet wound.

"We're not sure exactly what went down," Tracey said, grabbing a kitchen towel off the cabinet and pressing it against the hole in Pati's spine. "Most of us were down at the beach and Greg and Billy heard some sort of commotion at the house. When we got here, we found Kathryn and Henry on the deck and Pati in here. They've all been shot." She pressed two fingers against Pati's neck and felt a faint but steady pulse.

"Did anyone see who did this?"

"Not that I know of. We didn't even hear the gunshots." She said hastily as she unbuttoned Pati's jeans and loosened her shirt, giving herself a clearer view of the wound and the surrounding tissue. "Billy was the first one to get back to the house, he may have seen something."

"Is thar anythin I kin do ta help?"

"The ambulance is on the way, and Billy and Megan are attending to Kathryn and Henry, but I'd appreciate it if you could try to calm Mildred and Dolores down. They got here ten minutes ago and have been hysterical ever since."

Bubba nodded and started for the door, a thought occurred to him and he turned to look at Tracey.

"Who's watching the baby?"

Tracey looked up, stunned. "My God. The baby. I haven't seen him anywhere!"

"Reckon I best go look fer tha little tyke, then. He might be a nappin or sumpthin." Bubba turned and headed for the stairs instead.

The ambulance and police cruiser arrived at the same time and before the wheels had stopped turning, Morgan burst from the back, running for the door. She didn't bother fumbling for her keys, choosing instead to kick the front door open with all the strength she had left. She stumbled into the living room, ignoring the gnawing pain in her chest and the lightheaded feeling that was washing over her again.

"Kathryn!" Morgan yelled into the empty room, nearly colliding with Bubba who had just finished his methodical search of the house and come up empty handed.

"Miz Sumners what the sam hill are ya doin here, ain't you supposed ta be at tha hospital?" Bubba stared at the agent in astonishment. "You look like sumpthin the cat drug in that tha dawg wouldn't bury."

"Kathryn," Morgan managed to get out. "Where is Kathryn?"

"Now Miz Sumners, mebbe you ought to jist sit down fer a spellÖ" If Bubba thought telling Kathryn that Morgan had been shot was going to be tough, telling Morgan what happened here was going to be near impossible. Morgan had already made it to the kitchen and she stood swaying at the bar as her eyes focused on Pati and Tracey.

"Tracey." Morgan was beginning to feel sick and Kathryn's absence so far had only added to her frustration. "Where is Kathryn?"

Tracey looked up from her patient and was shocked at the amount of blood soaking through Morgan's shirt. Standing up, she put her hand on the agent's uninjured shoulder and tried to steer her towards a chair. "My God, Morgan, you're bleeding. Let me take a look at that."

Morgan's frustration level had reached its peak and she stepped back and shoved Tracey's hand away.

"Would you people just stop fucking worrying about me and tell me where the hell Kathryn is!"

"She's out on the deck Morgan, but I think you should know she's..."

Morgan turned on her heel and stalked outside without waiting to hear what Tracey had to say.

Megan was speaking to the paramedics as they loaded Kathryn onto the gurney and prepared to move her into the waiting ambulance. She looked up as she caught sight of someone staggering toward them and gasped as she realized who it was.

"Tigger! My God, what in the world happened to you?"

Morgan reached the ambulance with single-minded determination, ignoring her friend's question as she pushed one of the EMT's out of the way and leaned over to look at Kathryn.

The tight rein she'd been holding over her emotions began to slip and she was powerless to stop the tears that began to run down her face. Kathryn's pale color and the gauze wrapped around her head confirmed Morgan's fears and she dropped her head down on the stretcher, trying to regain some semblance of control. The dizziness returned, and she let out an involuntary moan as her legs began to give way and she felt Megan's arm wrap around her for support.

"Come on babe, you need to take care of that shoulder."

Morgan reluctantly released her death grip on the gurney and allowed herself to be helped into the ambulance with Kathryn. A second unit had arrived and had already loaded Henry, in a few minutes they had Pati ready for transport and the vehicles raced out of the driveway, sirens blaring.

Bubba pulled the Land Cruiser from the garage and drove back to the marina; he needed backup at the house and had a feeling Morgan wouldn't appreciate the local police traipsing around her property.

He saw Bones removing a stray bullet from the cabin of the yacht as he walked up the gangplank. He seemed to be the bearer of all the bad news lately. Bones looked up from his work and nodded in the chief's direction, wondering briefly what brought the man back this way.

"Hey Bubba, is everything alright?" The Chief looked more than a little weary, but he wasn't one to mince words.

"I need your help at Morgan's, Bones, there's been a shooting and the baby is missing."

Bones ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. This case just kept getting more complicated.

"Does Morgan know about this?"

"Yep, in fact, the last I saw she was getting in the ambulance with Kathryn." Bones nodded and then looked at Bubba incredulously.

"She was doing what? She was supposed to be at the hospital." Bones shook his head as he imagined the nurses' feeble attempts to keep the stubborn agent in the ER a second longer than she needed to be.

"I don't think she made it to the hospital," Bubba answered. "She looked pretty bad when she got to the house and she was still bleedin all over tha place."

"What in the world?" Bones began, and then a thought crossed his mind.

"Is Kathryn okay?" The chief paused and he knew the answer before Bubba spoke.

"I don't think so Bones, she was shot in the head, it doesn't look good."

"Damn." Bones closed his eyes momentarily and steeled himself against the anger rising in his chest. " Where the hell is our man Derek?"

"Derek?" Bubba looked puzzled.

"He had to be the one to do the shooting, I can't think of anyone else who would go to such lengths to get the baby." Bones slammed his fist against the side of the cabin in frustration. "The bastard."

"If'n it wuz him, no one saw him. Weren't no witnesses to tha crime. Henry, Kathryn and Pati were all shot."

"My God." Bones pulled the bullet from the wood and placed it into an evidence bag, silently closing the crime scene kit he followed Bubba back to Morgan's truck.

"I'll follow you back. I need to contact the rest of the team and have them split between the two crime scenes. Where are Tracey and Megan?"

"On their way to the hospital, and the boys are with them. Mildred and Delores went back to Mildred's house, they're both pretty shaken up." He had attempted to comfort the women, but they were completely hysterical and he had suggested that they go back to Mildred's house until the agents returned and could get a statement from them.

Bones nodded and pulled his cell phone from a pocket. He made a few calls and rounded up the team. Leaving three agents at the marina, he dispatched John and Doug to Morgan's.

"I'm going to the hospital to see what I can find out. Would you mind helping the guys at Morgan's?" Bones knew he could count on the man and he was glad Bubba had gotten involved.

"Ayup, give Morgan my best, tell her my prayers are with Kathryn and her friends."

"Will do, and thanks Bubba, I appreciate all your help." He headed for his car; not relishing the scene that he knew awaited him.

Bubba gave a nonchalant wave at the agent and joined the two men waiting for him in Morgan's truck.

Bones walked through the doors of the ER and inquired at the desk, flashing his badge he asked for a status report but waved the nurse off before she could answer. Megan was coming down the hallway towards him and he made his way over to her through the commotion.

"Morgan's in there," She supplied in answer to his unspoken question and he thanked her before going into the small room through a partially open door. A resident had just finished cleaning up her wound and was trying to talk her into a sedative but her protests could be clearly heard above any recommendations he was attempting to make. Bones chuckled despite himself as he made eye contact with his longtime partner and friend.

"How are you doing, Morg?" Bones moved around to the side of the bed to get a closer look at her injuries.

"I'd be doing a hell of a lot better if they would just let me get up," She grumbled, swatting away the doctor's hand. "I need to be with Kathryn." Despite her frustration, her voice cracked at the mention of her lover's name and she took a deep, steadying breath.

"Your friend is in surgery, Agent Summers," The resident reminded her. "There's nothing you can do for her right now so I would suggest Ö"

Morgan shot him a look that told him exactly what she thought of any suggestions he may have had. "That's SumNERS," she said coldly. "And she's not my friend, she's my fiancÈ and I suggest that you allow me to see her the minute she's out of the O.R." She leveled her gaze at him and he stared at her in astonishment.

"Y-yes Ma'am," He replied, and stood there for a few seconds before hurrying from the room.

"You just have to go and intimidate them, don't you?" Bones teased.

"He had it coming," Morgan grumbled. She slowly let her head drop into her hands. "God Bones, I'm so worried about her. If anything happens to herÖ" She trailed off, unwilling to finish the thought.

Bones tried to change the subject.

"Where are Henry and Pati?" he inquired. "Bubba said they had also been shot."

Morgan nodded wearily. "We all started out here, but the hospital isn't equipped to handle three major surgeries so they were airlifted to a larger facility. That's all I know." She leaned back against the pillow. "They told me that Tracey's performing the surgery on Kathryn. It would have taken too long for them to get their own neurologist in here so she jumped at the chance. Two of their doctors are assisting."

The resident returned with Megan at his side and she picked up Morgan's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"You really need to get some rest, Tigger, you've lost a lot of blood and it's been one hell of a day." Megan traced the outline of Morgan's hand with an index finger and felt her own hand being gripped tightly as she looked down into Morgan's face.

"She's in good hands, babe, try not to worry about it. I'll make sure you get to see her when she comes out of surgery, I promise." Megan's words were sincere and Morgan nodded her assent.

"Alright, I'll ease up, Meg but I don't want a sedative. I want to be there when she wakes up."

Megan spoke to the doctor and he nodded, scribbled something on her chart and left the room. Morgan settled back against the pillows and closed her eyes, the sheer weariness of her emotions taking a heavy toll. Megan checked her I.V., glanced at the readings on the various machines and by the time she was finished, the agent was asleep. Megan covered her with a blanket and placing a soft kiss on her forehead, left the room with Bones.

Bones turned to the nurse once they were outside.

"I need to get back to the scene," He explained. "We've got a grand total of six gunshot victims, one fatality, a missing baby and a serial killer at large. I'd say it can't possibly get any worse but I don't want to jinx anything." He sighed. "I'll need a statement from you and Tracey too but we can wait on that until things settle down a bit. If you think of anything that might help us though, don't hesitate to call me."

"Will do, Bones," Megan answered.

"Morgan doesn't know about Matthew, does she?"

"I don't think so," Megan replied. "Right now she's got so much to deal with I just didn't know how to bring it up." She walked outside with the agent. "When she gets herself together, she'll ask. I'm going to have to tell her the truth."

Bones nodded. "If anyone needs me, I'll be at Morgan's house gathering evidence and getting statements from everyone. If anything changes, let me know." Megan watched as he walked to his vehicle, got in, and sped out of the parking lot.

Chapter 11: All Things Become New Again

Tracey emerged from the operating room, pulling off her surgical gloves she let out a weary sigh and smiled as Megan handed her a cup of coffee. The nurse had a thousand questions running through her mind but she knew Morgan should be the first one to hear the news and she exchanged a knowing look with the surgeon as they made their way to the Agent's room.

Megan pushed the door open quietly, expecting to find her friend sound asleep but not surprised in the least when she found her pacing the room like a caged animal.

Megan grinned. "At least you stayed in the room," She winked.

Morgan rolled her eyes. "I didn't have much of a choice." She turned to Tracey, her expression effectively communicating all of the things she felt but had no words for. "KathrynÖ"

Tracey put her hands on Morgan's shoulders and steered her toward the bed.

"Sit down for a second, Morgan, please." Tracey lowered herself to the bed beside the agent.

When Bubba arrived at the house, Mildred and Delores were huddled in a corner of the deck watching Bones gather tissue samples from the bloodstained porch. He had finished with the trace evidence and began measuring the scene when Bubba approached.

"Anythin I kin do ta hep?"

"Could you get a statement from the ladies while I finish up here?"

"Shore nuff," Bubba said, taking the notebook and pen from Bones. He beckoned to the two women and smiled.

"Ladies, ya'll wanna follow me to tha livin room?"

Bubba led the women around the house and in through the front door. The crime scene was already a mess but there wasn't any sense in making it worse. As it was, the evidence Bones was collecting now wouldn't stand up to intense scrutiny should this case ever see the light of a courtroom. Bubba waited until the ladies were seated until taking a chair himself.

Now Miz Mildred, whar wuz ya when all tha shootin started?"

Mildred was making a grand effort to calm herself as she tried to remember the events of the day. She tried to focus on the chief instead of the surrounding mess and the agents coming in and out of the house with flashlights and evidence bags.

"Well, Delores and I went to my house to make some potato salad for the party." Delores was sitting close to her friend, leaning on her for support, and she nodded in agreement.

"Did ya hear anythin?"

"No sir, we heard that nice young man Greg calling for Tracey and he sounded very upset. Megan and Tracey ran by a few seconds later and we came over as soon as we could, by the time we got here they were bandaging everyone up and then you and Morgan arrived." Mildred closed her eyes for a moment, trying to shake the sickening feeling that followed as she remembered the details.

Bubba nodded, made some notes on his pad and asked the ladies to go to the police station the next day to give formal statements to the officers. He walked the women home and then joined Bones on the deck.

Derek raced the stolen car down the Long Island Expressway. He figured he had an hour's lead on Agent Sumners and according to the local radio station Tessa was dead. Things couldn't be turning out any better, if only the baby would stop crying.

Matthew had been fussing almost since he'd been pulled from the bassinet. Derek poured him a bottle of the formula he'd picked up from Wal-Mart but that wasn't what the baby wanted. He continued to scream as the car raced along and Derek pulled a stuffed animal from the diaper bag and placed it in front of the baby. Matthew's scream turned into an erratic whimper as he reached out for the toy, and Derek breathed a sigh of relief. When Matthew dropped it onto the floor and let out a wail, Derek pulled off the road and into a grocery store parking lot. This was going to be harder than he thought. He'd almost reached the state line before having to stop, though he'd hoped to be well away from New York before having to change vehicles.

As he tried to quiet the baby, he took in his surroundings and noticed a woman with an infant in a stroller unlocking a mini-van a few cars away. He quickly took Matthew out of his car seat and with his son still fussing, shouldered the diaper bag as he casually made his way in her direction. He had taken the time to don a fake hairpiece and mustache and he approached the neighboring car as if to put his key in the lock. The woman turned toward him as Matthew let out a frustrated scream. He looked at her with an apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry," He said. "I'm not very good at the parenting thing, I recently lost my wife and I don't know what to do when he gets fussy like this." He laughed as she smiled.

"Maybe I can help, " She said. She was in her mid twenties, petite, and blond with an engaging smile. She placed her own child into his car seat and reached out for Matthew. "May I?"

"I would appreciate it," Derek said engagingly. "He's been crying since I left home."

As the woman cradled Matthew, Derek noticed that she had a full cart of groceries and offered to load them into the back of her van. She accepted gratefully.

"I'm sorry to hear about your wife, I'm a single parent too." She smiled as Matthew stared at her with his incredible blue eyes. "It's not easy, but you'll get the hang of if soon."

"Divorced?" Derek asked solicitously, packing another bag into the vehicle.

"I wish, but nothing so simple I'm afraid. My boyfriend left as soon as he found out I was pregnant."

"I'm sorry to hear that, you have a beautiful baby. He doesn't know what he's missing. I wouldn't give up my son for anything in the world." He put the last bag in the van and closed the cargo door.

"You got off easy this time," She said, still holding Matthew in her arms. "His diaper is soaked. I've got plenty of extras if you'd like me to change him."

Derek grinned. "You don't know how much this means to me," He said as he followed her back to the side door of her open van. The woman quickly cleaned up the baby and he cooed contentedly as she fastened the last strap on the dry garment. As she rummaged around in the back seat, Derek pushed her the rest of the way in and slammed the sliding door shut. Her scream died in her throat as he knocked her unconscious; racing back to the stolen car he retrieved the car seat. He slid it into the passenger seat of the van and strapped Matthew in before jumping into the driver's seat and speeding out of the parking lot.

Morgan crossed her arms over her chest and waited for Tracey to get to the point as she explained Kathryn's injuries.

"The bullet entered the brain above the left ear and traveled laterally through the frontal, parietal and occipital lobes. She's in a coma now but she should be coming out of it soon."

"The last time she was in a coma it lasted for months, how do you know she'll come out of this one so soon?" Morgan was determined not to let her emotions show, she needed to be strong and this case was far from over. She tried to ignore the gnawing feeling in her gut as she heard the news.

"You're right Morgan, but the difference between the two head injuries is in the trauma. During the last coma, Kathryn had a massive swelling of the brain caused by repeated blows to the head and length of time until she had medical treatment. This time the swelling is much less and she had medical care almost immediately. The gunshot actually was better than the shaking trauma she had before, simply because the fluid building up had a place to drain. She doesn't have the fluid building up inside her head and pressing on the brain this time." Tracey remained professional as well, but they both knew it wouldn't take much to break down the walls they had so carefully built in the name of necessity.

"So, what does this mean?"

Morgan had seen plenty of head traumas before, and gunshot wounds were common in her profession. As Tracey continued with her explanation, Morgan nodded but hoped that somehow, in this case, she would hear something a little more encouraging.

"It's going to be a long recovery process for her and until she regains consciousness there is no way to judge with absolute certainty the extent of brain damage."

"What are the chances and what type of brain damage are we talking about?"

"I can't really tell Morgan, until she wakes up we're just stumbling in the dark. She could have no damage whatsoever, up to a persistent vegetative state."

"You mean she could be a vegetable?" Morgan felt herself get louder almost as if in protest, and she cleared her throat and steeled herself for the answer.

"We don't call it that anymore, but essentially, yes. I'm not thinking along those lines Morgan and you shouldn't either. She's young and she's strong and she has a good chance of coming out of this with very little damage. If she'd been shot right in the middle of her forehead she'd be dead right now."

"If she's going o be a vegetable, that might have been better for her." Morgan spoke her fear aloud.

"Perhaps, but as her doctor and more importantly as her friend, I know she's going to pull through this."

"But you don't know for sure." Morgan slowly paced the room as the full impact of the situation hit her, but she stayed focused.

"No one does but God." Tracey sighed. "I did some basic neurological tests on her after surgery and her nerves are responding normally, that's a good sign Morgan, hold on for her. She's going to need all of us to help her."

For a moment they looked at each other as Kathryn's lover and Kathryn's friend, the Agent and the Doctor temporarily forgotten and just as quickly regained.

"Can I see her?"

"She's in recovery right now and she'll be there for another hour at least. Has your doctor released you?"

"He wants me to stay overnight for observation." Morgan grumbled but she wanted to be near Kathryn anyway, so she had accepted his decision with a little more grace this time.

"Let me see about having you and Kathryn put in the same room. I'll let you know something as soon as I can."

Morgan brightened at this prospect and she smiled at the neurologist.

"Thanks, Tracey. I know you did all you could for her. I really appreciate it. What about breast feeding, she needs to feed Matthew."

Tracey put her hand on the door and looked in the nurse's direction.

"Megan, I'll let you cover that, I need to get back to my patient. Morgan, it's after 4 in the morning, you need to try and get some rest." She held up her hand in front of the Agent, "Before you protest, I know it's going to be hard, but Kathryn is going to need you at your best when she wakes up."

Derek popped two of the speed pills and swallowed them dry. The road had become blurry and he couldn't afford to stop for more than gas. He had picked up the pills from a junkie in New York City knowing he had 30 hours of straight driving ahead of him.

He'd stopped once to secure leg and hand restraints to the woman he'd picked up in the shopping center parking lot. So far she hadn't said a word to him since regaining consciousness. She attended to the children when they cried, but other than that she'd been the model prisoner. He admired that in her, and was pleased with his choice. It was going to be a shame to kill her and her baby but he didn't need the extra baggage, once she outlived her usefulness she was history.

Within half an hour he felt the speed take effect and the miles flew by. He stopped to fuel up and grabbed some sodas and snacks at the all night convenience store, before heading out once again. Setting the cruise control on the van, he flipped through the stations on the radio until he found a heavy metal channel, and then settled back in his seat as the miles flew past his window. He was not conscious of the time passing until the sun peaked in his rear view mirror.

Megan sat down on the bed next to Morgan, it seemed as though having a major crisis in her life was becoming something routine for the agent lately and she put her hand gently over Morgan's.

She was trying to decide the best way to bring up the subject of her son and had just come to the conclusion that there was no painless method when Morgan broached it herself.

"I'm worried about Matthew, Meg." She looked up into her friend's weary face. "He's accustomed to being breast-fed, and God knows I'm not going to be of any help there."

"I don't know how to tell you this, Morg, so I'm just going to come right out with it." Megan took a deep breath before delivering the news she knew would break the agent's heart.

"Matthew's been kidnapped."

"What?" Morgan sat up so quickly that she felt dizzy and she grabbed Megan's shoulders for support as much as out of her immediate shock.

"Bones is convinced that Derek's shooting spree ended in the abduction of his son." She put her hands on both sides of Morgan's face and quickly added, "Your son."

Morgan squeezed Megan's wrists in frustration, quickly let go, and practically slammed her own head into her hands.

"My God, Meg, what the hell is next?" Morgan shouted, then with visible effort she regained control of her emotions. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and attempted to stand, finding her balance she made her way over to the closet door.

"Morgan, what do you think you're doing?" Answering her own question, she intercepted the exhausted agent before she could reach for any of the clothes Mildred had brought for her.

"Morgan, you haven't had any sleep in 24 hours, you're recovering from a gunshot wound and your fiancÈe' is lying in recovery and she's going to need you when she wakes up. I don't know where you think you're going, babe, but if I have my way it's right back in this bed." Megan tried to imitate the look she knew so well but she failed miserably when she saw the look of intense pain cross her friend's face.

Morgan wanted to scream, her anger at this news warring over her own physical and emotional exhaustion. She closed the closet door and leaned her head against it, a thousand conflicting feelings racing through her mind at once and for the first time in her life she felt like she didn't know what to do next. She wanted to throw on some clothes, grab her weapon and start the manhunt that had become increasingly more personal as the stakes escalated with every move Derek made, but logic told her she was no good to anyone in this condition. If Kathryn woke up, she would ask for her son and Morgan couldn't bear the thought of going to her empty-handed.

"When," Morgan silently chastised herself. "Not "if." When did you become so pessimistic?" she thought as she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on the closet door.

Suddenly overwhelmed by frustration, she picked up the small plastic tray sitting on a nearby table and threw it against the nearest wall, sending a water pitcher and a stack of plastic cups flying.

"I'm sorry," she said to Megan without turning around.

Feeling the nurse's gentle hands on her shoulders, she turned into the waiting embrace and let the tears come.

Megan's shift was over at 5, but she stayed with Morgan until well after sunrise, holding her until she finally fell asleep. She glanced up, startled, as a soft knock on the door announced the arrival of Bones and Bubba and she quickly looked at her watch. It was almost noon.

"Hey guys, come on in." Morgan was beginning to stir and Megan extracted herself from the agent's embrace as the two men pulled up chairs next to Morgan's bed. Morgan blinked once and focusing on her visitors, sat up and now fully alert, asked for a report.

"I don't know how you do that," Bones said with a chuckle.

"Do what?" Morgan was already out of bed and into the bathroom, leaving the door open a crack so she could still hear them, she hastily got dressed.

"Dead to the world to full speed ahead in the time it takes you to open your eyes."

"I have many skills," Morgan said. "Now get to the point. What's going on with Derek?"

"A bald white male answering his description purchased a large amount of baby items at the Mattituck Wal-Mart about 45 minutes before the shootings at your place. The clerk there remembered him because he had no eyebrows and he seemed to be in an excessive hurry." Bones pulled out a small notepad and flipped through it. "That proves he had every intention of going to the beach house and taking his son."

"His picture and a list of alias's went out on the wire this morning and every state trooper from here to California has been briefed."

Bubba cleared his throat before adding his own report. "I took tha liberty of callin my office. We're pullin his parents in fer questionin and my boys ain't gonna let'em go ëtil they cough up sumpthin we kin use." He stared down at his boots, trying to gather his thoughts before meeting Morgan's eyes once again. "I'm real sorry bout yer boy Miz Morgan, we'll do everthin we kin to help ya git'em back."

"Thanks Bubba, I appreciate everything you've done." Morgan accepted the hug from the crusty old Chief as she gathered her own thoughts.

"Bones get on the horn with Baxter and have him put Bubba on the team officially. If we have to cross any state lines I want him to have full jurisdiction. Bubba, you're now officially an F.B.I agent and you'll need to have your position back home covered until this is over. Bones, have Walt put Derek's picture up on our website as a ten most wanted, find out if it would be a conflict of interest for me to offer a reward. State troopers are good, but I want every police, sheriff's department, and constable to have his picture, in and out of disguise, within an hour. Set up news conferences with all the major networks, I want his face in every home in the country. Name him the Cross Country Killer and every sensation seeker will come for an interview."

Morgan sat back down on the bed to draw a breath, she was more exhausted than she thought and the exertion from pacing and barking out her orders made her feel like she'd just run the Boston Marathon.

"All right boys," Megan said, "Let's let Morgan rest a little longer."

"I second that." Tracey added as she walked into the room. "She'll be out of here later today or tomorrow and you can bombard her then. Right now, she needs to rest."

She crossed her arms over her chest and with a look that brooked no argument, waited until the men left before turning to Morgan and Megan.

"Kathryn's starting to come around, let's get you a wheelchair and we'll get you up to see her."

"I can walk."

"Yeah you can, and you do a good job of it most of the time, however, here I make the orders and you follow them. Now put your ass in this wheelchair or you don't see your fiancÈe."

Morgan nodded her assent and lowered her lanky frame into the chair and waited for the intern to roll her out of the room.

Morgan didn't notice the vast array of machines surrounding the tiny figure lying in the bed; all she noticed was the stark white bandage wrapping Kathryn's head. She looked so fragile lying there and Morgan felt the tears slide from her eyes. She'd been here before and everything had turned out okay, she was now hanging onto that thought for dear life. Losing Kathryn was not something she would consider.

Tracey moved to the other side of the bed and checked the I.V. line running into Kathryn's arm. "She should be coming to any minute now."

The next few minutes passed slowly for Morgan and when Kathryn's eyelids began to flutter she let out the breath she had been holding. Slowly the emerald green eyes opened and looked around.

"Water." Kathryn croaked, and Morgan smiled with relief.

Tracey held the straw to Kathryn's lips and allowed small sips. "Kathryn, how are you feeling?"

"My head hurts." Kathryn reached out and touched the bandage, her brows furrowing as if trying to remember how it got there.

"Do you know where you are?"

"It looks like I'm in the hospital." She looked around but made no attempt to sit up. "God my head hurts."

"Do you know who I am?" Tracey asked softly. She had been watching her friend take in her surroundings and was slightly alarmed by the lack ofÖsomething. She knew Kathryn would be sore and tired, but there was something else, too. Even Tracey was not completely prepared for the answer she suspected was coming.


"I'm your doctor. My name is Tracey McKenzie. Most of my patients call me Dr. Mac." She smiled.

Morgan watched the interaction, stunned. How was it possible that Kathryn didn't know her best friend?

"Do you remember what happened to you?" Tracey sat in the chair closest to the bed, attempting to put the young woman at ease.


"Can you tell me what year it is?"

Kathryn looked away, focusing on the far wall as she struggled to remember the last thing she was doing. Fragments of memories came back to her, and, finally deciding that she had it, she turned back to the doctor.


Morgan had been prepared for a multitude of things, but this was not one of them. If Kathryn really thought it was 1988 then- Morgan shut her eyes against the unthinkable.

"How old are you?"

"17?" Kathryn seemed uncertain, but she remembered something about a high-school graduation party that seemed slightly familiar.

"And your name?"


"Yes, your name is Kathryn Dawn Peterson." Tracey grinned, "It is a pretty name."

Kathryn glanced at the women standing around her bed, the lady in the wheelchair was crying and she wondered what had happened to her. She had a bandage too, but it was wrapped around part of her chest. Had there been an accident?

Kathryn reached out her hand to Morgan and found her own clasped tightly in the larger one. She didn't know if she felt a kinship to her because they were in a similar predicament, but she managed a smile as she looked into blue eyes that seemed to go on forever.

"Were we in an accident? Did I hurt you?" Images of a graduation party came back to her again, and she wondered if she had been driving someplace.

"No Little One, I'm your friend. My name is Morgan." Pointing behind her, Morgan introduced Megan. "This is your friend Megan and she's also a nurse, she'll be helping take care of you until you go home."

Morgan's heart broke a little more every second. What had she done to deserve this? The woman she loved more than life itself didn't even know who she was. Tracey motioned them from the room and Morgan patted Kathryn's shoulder and promised to visit her again soon.

The three women traveled in silence back to Morgan's room and she imagined it was how death row inmates felt on the walk to the gas chamber. It was the end of her life and the end of all her happiness.

Chapter 12: The Long Road to Recovery

Morgan collapsed on her hospital bed and curled into a ball, she let the tears come until she was shaking uncontrollably. Megan wrapped her arms around the huddled form and rocked her gently, not needing nor wanting to stop the crying. She knew Morgan needed to let her emotions have their way.

Tracey sat patiently in the chair and scribbled notes in Kathryn's chart, she would need to run exhaustive tests to determine the full extent of Kathryn's amnesia and she needed to stop her breasts from producing anymore milk for Matthew, Kathryn had lost a good portion of her life and that included her son, Tracey thought it best not to traumatize her by having the nurses pump her breasts as they had been doing. It appeared that she had lost all short-term memory and the long-term memories were iffy at best. She was aware of her surroundings and capable of retaining new memories as she made them, but the regression had Tracey worried.

When Morgan's tears subsided, Megan handed her a Kleenex and stretched out alongside the Agent, pulling Morgan into her embrace.

"What now Meg?"

"I don't know, Tigger. What do you think, Dr. Mac?"

"This is a hard one, Morgan. Its obvious Kathryn has amnesia, but until I run tests there's no way to know for certain if it's permanent or temporary. Best-case scenario is that's it's temporary and the memories will come back to her gradually. Worst case is the memories are gone forever. Time is the factor here. In the best case we're looking at anywhere from a few months to a year. Worst case we're looking at never."

Morgan put her head in her hands and tried not to dwell on things she had no control over.

"What do we do in either case? Do we tell her about her life, do we try to make her remember?"

"No, that's not a good idea. It's better to let her remember on her own. If we try to force her to remember we may inadvertently give her false memories she will feel obligated to live up to. When it comes to amnesia, it's a touchy process. We could sit her down and all of us can spell out how her life has been up to this point, we can tell her what she's done, all her accomplishments and her heart break and none of it will be familiar to her. She will feel like she should know this and then frustration sets in and depression, from there the damage could be massive. If she never regains her memory we don't want her to feel like she has to be an architect or a mother to her son, or even a lesbian. This is all going to take time. I wish I could say we had a magic cure for her ailment, but we don't. It's like with any major injury, time is the only thing that can heal it."

"You mean she may never remember what we have, or that she has a son?" Morgan spoke the words aloud, but they seemed almost surreal. If they had to start over, would Kathryn make the same choices? Morgan sighed. She was in unfamiliar territory with this one.

"Possibly. On the other hand, remember that this could all be trauma related and not from the gunshot, she could be suppressing all this because of her son being kidnapped, and her father and friend being shot. If that's the case then the recovery will be quicker. I won't know more until I run tests. I don't mean to be brutal with you Morgan, but I don't believe in giving false hope either. You're a doctor; you know the possible repercussions as well as I do. We all love Kathryn and we all want the best for her, but right now, I don't think telling her about her life is a good idea."

"I agree with you Tracey, I just needed to know what to expect. I'll be there for her whether she remembers me and what we have or not. I have to believe that what we share can't be wiped away so easily."

"I have nothing else to offer you but time. I wish I did."

"Thanks, Tracey, we know you'll do your best for her. Morgan and I will do anything we can to help as well." Megan smiled at the doctor, her gaze lingering a little longer than necessary and blushed when Morgan winked at the subtle exchange.

The door to Morgan's room opened and her doctor walked in.

"Good Morning Agent Sumners, how are you feeling?" The doctor looked a little less harried and he seemed pleased with Morgan's recovery.

"Fine Doc."

"Are you ready to go home?"

"More than ready."

He peeled back the bandage from her shoulder and checked the sutures. "Looks good, change the bandage twice a day and don't lift anything with this arm. Keep it in a sling for a week then come back to see me. We'll take the stitches out then and if you're ready, put you in physical therapy. I'll sign you out and you should be ready to go in an hour. Do you have someone to drive you?"

Morgan looked at Megan questioningly. "Yes Doctor, I'll drive her home."

"Very good. Agent, take care of yourself and I'll see you in a week. If you notice excessive drainage from the wound or if the area becomes inflamed, come back to the hospital immediately. I'm going to prescribe an antibiotic and a painkiller for you. Take the antibiotics three times a day until they're gone and the painkillers every six hours if needed."

The doctor patted her good shoulder and walked to the nurses' station to update her chart with the discharge order.

After the door closed, Morgan looked at Megan. "Where are Henry and Pati?"

"We don't have the facilities to handle multiple emergencies, they were life-flighted to Bay Shore."

"Let's go see them."

Megan looked at Tracey.

"Is she up to traveling that far, Dr. Mac?"

"As long as she isn't the one driving. Recline your seat Morgan, and try to rest on the way."

Morgan picked up the note tablet and pen from the nightstand and handed it to Megan.

"Write down my cell phone number and Bones's too. If there is any change in Kathryn's condition Dr. Mac, please let me know. If you can't reach me, call Bones, he'll find me."

Tracey nodded and tucked the paper into her lab coat.

"I'm going to get the testing started and then I'm going to get some sleep. Can I hitch a ride back home with you?"

"Yeah, you didn't need to ask. I'll give you a key to my house and the keys to Kathryn's car so you can get back and forth. If you need anything else let me know."

"Do you mind having a house guest for awhile? I don't really want to leave Kathryn."

"You can stay for as long as you like."

"I need to fly back to Houston and get my partner to take over my patients until I return, shouldn't take more than a day or two."

"Who will look after Kathryn while you're gone?"

"The neurologist on staff can take care of her over the weekend, I won't leave until then. The next five days will be important and I'll be here for those."

Morgan breathed a sigh of relief. She had met the staff neurologist when Kathryn had been hospitalized before and while she was sure the man was competent she liked Tracey better and she felt Tracey would give better care to the woman she loved.

Megan helped Morgan into the house and went to the bathroom to run the agent a tub of water. Morgan had complained on the way home about wanting a shower, but she couldn't get water in the wound, so she was going to have to settle for a bath.

With the wound in her left shoulder Morgan was almost helpless, the Agent was left handed and with that arm incapacitated she would need help doing the most mundane tasks. She grumbled at the thought of feeling helpless but allowed Megan to assist her tonight.

Megan helped her undress and supported her as she sank into the steamy water. Taking the rag and the bottle of sandalwood and vanilla soap, she lathered the agent and then rinsed her off. Washing the flowing mass of raven hair was the most difficult part. She finally had Morgan turn around in the tub and supported her neck as she washed and rinsed her hair under the faucet. No doubt about it, Megan thought, they were going to have to find a better way to do this!

Tracey cooked breakfast as Megan helped Morgan bathe; when the duo came downstairs they sat in the living room and ate in silence. No one made mention of the mess still on the kitchen cabinets or the bloodstains on the deck. Tracey would clean it up later, after she had some sleep and after Morgan was gone.

Morgan fiddled with the dials on Megan's radio until she found a station she liked and then reclined the seat until it was in a comfortable position. Within minutes she allowed her body to relax enough to fall asleep. The trip passed quietly as Megan let her ex-lover sleep and worried about what they would find at the hospital.

Megan parked the car in the front lot at the Southside Hospital, it had been awhile since she'd been to Bay Shore and it had probably taken her longer than usual to find the hospital, but she was glad for the added drive time as Morgan continued to doze in the passenger seat.

Megan released Morgan's seatbelt as quietly as possible and gently laid her hand on the Agent's shoulder. "Wake up Tigger, we're here."

Morgan yawned and stretched as much as possible in the cramped car, before following Megan into the hospital. They inquired about Henry and Pati and were directed to the Intensive Care Unit. Morgan had to use her credentials to see Pati, the duty nurse didn't want to budge on the visitation but Morgan's will won out over hospital regulations.

Morgan walked up to the side of Pati's bed and took the woman's hand. She had her eyes closed but opened them immediately when the Agent caressed the back of her hand.

"Agent Sumners, I am so sorry about Kathryn and the baby." Morgan smiled at the young woman, she was always thinking about everyone else.

"Thank you Pati, how are you doing?"

"I'm tired and sore and I'm having trouble moving my legs. The doctor said the bullet shattered a vertebra in my spine and that's why I don't have any feeling down there. He doesn't think it's permanent, and they're going to put a rod in my back and a plate to hold my spine. He wants to wait until some of the swelling goes down. He thinks the prognosis is good for a full recovery." She seemed optimistic and Morgan knew her attitude would go a long way toward facilitating her recovery in the end.

"I'm sorry about all this Pati and I'll pay for any medical treatment you need. If I hadn't brought you to my house this wouldn't have happened. I shouldn't have taken Kathryn's body guards, I thought she'd be protected with all those people around her."

Morgan tried not to sound too frustrated, but she had replayed the scenario in her head a thousand times and she couldn't help but wonder how it would have played out if they had been around.

"You can't blame yourself Agent Sumners, none of us expected him to be there."

"I should have."

Megan put her hand on Morgan's shoulder. "Don't beat yourself up Tigger, Pati is right. None of us expected this and if you had left the bodyguards there, they'd be dead and he would still have your son."

Morgan nodded, but inside she couldn't help but feel it would have turned out differently if only she had left the men there. She decided she'd have that talk with herself later, she needed to finish up with Pati, the woman looked like she was ready to fall asleep any second and Morgan didn't want to keep her from resting.

"Pati, do you remember what happened?"

"I remember being on the deck and then all of a sudden Derek was there. He jumped over the railing and grabbed Matthew out of the bassinet and he was waving his gun at all of us. He taunted Kathryn and Henry and I thought I could get away without being noticed but he either heard me or saw me. He said something about the third time being a charm and then he shot me. I didn't hear the gun go off. I'm not sure what happened after that but when I woke up I saw that Kathryn and Henry were hurt and I tried to get to a phone to get help. That's all I remember."

She leaned back against her pillows, somewhat exhausted from the recall effort.

"You said he was waving his gun around, what did it look like? Did it have a silencer on it?"

"It all happened so fast and I was scared, I don't remember a lot about the gun, except the way the sun bounced off of it. The barrel looked longer than normal and it was fatter on the end. I don't know if that was a silencer, though. I'm sorry I'm not more helpful, I just don't know."

"You're doing just fine Pati. Now you said he was taunting Kathryn and Henry, what was that about?" Morgan tried to stay professional and detached as her emotions flooded to the surface at the thought of what her lover had gone through.

"It was like he wanted to play with them before he shot them. It was almost like he enjoyed watching them squirm and he wasn't in any hurry to kill them, though that's exactly what he intended to do. He wanted them to know he won. When he was so distracted with Henry and Kathryn, that's when I thought I could get away."

"Thank you Pati, and if there's anything you need, please call me."

Morgan released the woman's hand and waited as she fell back asleep before walking into the room next door to see Henry.

Henry was watching the baseball game when Morgan entered his room. He had been waiting for the Agent and was trying patiently to pass the time until she arrived.

"How's Kathryn, where's the baby? No one will give me any information, all I've heard is from the news." Henry was as spunky as his daughter was, and he didn't seem to appreciate the interruption to his life either.

"Kathryn is doing okay, Henry." Morgan's voice was quiet and she smiled at the man. "Tracey operated on her and removed the bullet. She was awake when I saw her this morning."

"What aren't you telling me?"

Morgan sighed and leaned back in the chair. "She has amnesia, Henry. She knows who she is, but right now she thinks she's 17 again. She doesn't remember our life together or me at all. She doesn't know about Matthew."

Henry furrowed his brow as he took in all the new information.

"Have you found Derek yet?"

"No. We've put an APB out on him and we've alerted every branch of law enforcement in the country to be on the lookoutÖ He has Matthew."

"When can I see Kathryn?"

"I don't know Henry. She's at the hospital in Mattituck, but I'm going to ask Tracey about moving her here. This hospital has a highly respected Regional Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation, and they provide comprehensive care for persons with brain injuries. I think Kathryn would do better here than in Mattituck."

"I'd have to agree with you on that."

"Henry, do you remember what happened?"

"Derek jumped over the railing and grabbed my grandson, he was waiving his gun around and pointing it at everyone. He was trying to tell me that Kathryn was a deviant and that she was involved with you, as if that was his ace in the hole. When I told him I knew and didn't object he went into a rage. Pati tried to sneak away but he shot her in the back. I tried to subdue him and he gut shot me. I didn't know what happened to Kathryn or the baby."

Morgan related what she knew from her talks with Bones and Pati. She really didn't have much to go on yet. "That's all I know. How are you doing?"

"I'm fine. I don't know why they insist on keeping me in I.C.U. I'd be just fine in a private room without all these people fussing over me every minute."

Morgan smiled; he was so much like his daughter. "I'm sure they'll move you as soon as they think it's safe."

"Won't be soon enough for me!"

Morgan kissed him on the top of his head and squeezed his hand. "Take care of yourself Henry, I'll be back to see you as soon as I can."



"I saw that newscast Bones did. I'd like to offer a reward for his capture."

"I'm trying to do that myself, tell you what, why don't we combine the money and you can put up the reward, that way there won't be a conflict of interest."

"One million?"

"Works for me. I'll have the money transferred into your account and Bones will put the word out."

"Thanks Morgan. I hope Kathryn gets her memory back. Of all the people who have been in and out of her life I want you to know that I approve of you the most."

Morgan wiped the tears from her eyes before they fell and hugged Henry as best she could. "I love her Henry, more than life itself. I'll get her back."

"Don't give up, it may take awhile, but what you two share is more special than anything I've ever seen. I know you put on a gruff exterior for everyone, just like me, but we're both softies on the inside and we both love that little girl with everything we have. She'll come back to you in time."

"Thank you Henry, and I love you too. See you soon."

Morgan walked out of the hospital and for once didn't care if anyone saw the tears streaming down her face. The words Henry whispered in her ear meant more to her than she could ever say. She leaned into Megan when the woman enfolded her in her arms.

"You okay Tigger?"

"I'm getting there Meg, I'm getting there."

"He really does love you, you know?"

"I love him too."

"You'll get through this and he's right, Kathryn will come back to you. You two are a once in a lifetime romance. She'll remember eventually."

"I hope you're right, because there could never be anyone else for me. She holds my heart in the palm of her hand, she has from the first moment I saw her."

"I know. It's evident in everything she does. She lives and breathes just for you and Matthew."

"I have to find him."

"You will, and when you do you'll bring your son back and your family will be complete again." Megan hugged her tighter for a moment then let her go to unlock the car and begin the drive back to Orient.

Derek pulled the van into the garage and closed the big double doors behind it. He was exhausted from the driving but glad to finally be at the cabin. His parents had inherited the place from his grandfather but neither of them came up here. It was the perfect spot for him to hide out. He had brought his first victims here and it would be fun to reminisce about the good old days.

He'd killed that first girl too quick; there wasn't any fun in it. The others he'd held prisoner right here in this cabin. He'd done some remodeling in the first few days he'd stayed here. There was a large ringbolt in the floor and he used it to attach the fifty-foot heavy-duty chain he leashed his captives with. They had access to almost every part of the cabin but couldn't go outside. The cabin sat on an isolated part of Lake Conroe, just outside of Houston and it didn't matter how loudly they yelled, no one was around to hear them. He had spent many weekends torturing his victims to death and now he had come full circle.

Pulling the chain from the hidden shelf in the garage he opened the sliding door of the van and attached it to the woman's leg restraints. She's have limited walking ability but she'd be able to take care of the children for him. He walked her to the house and attached the other end of the chain to the bolt, cranked the generator and then brought the children inside.

He finished unloading the groceries from the van and put them away before settling into his favorite chair to watch his newest captive adjust to her surroundings. Before long he tired of watching her pace back and forth and turned on the old black and white television his grandparents had left in the cabin. He wasn't surprised to see his face in the corner of the screen as the perfectly coiffed newscaster tried to act appalled at what he was reading.

"God dammit." Derek exclaimed as the woman described the horrifying events that happened at Agent Sumners house. Three people shot, all survived. That St. Jean woman had more lives than a frigging cat! He had hoped that Kathryn was dead, she should have been, he shot her at almost point blank range, though she had ducked at the last minute. "I hope she's a God damned vegetable for the rest of her fucking life." Derek muttered at the T.V.

Across the room, the blond woman took in everything the newscaster said and began word association games with herself so she could remember the Agent's name. If she ever got away from here she would be the first person she called. Let him think she was meek and mild mannered, what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him, and what he didn't know was whom he'd kidnapped.

Chapter 13: Revelations

Morgan paced in her New York Bureau office. The painting on the wall was not soothing to her today. She faced a monumental loss and nothing was consoling her. Waiting for Bones to arrive she let her mind drift over the events of the last two weeks.

Kathryn had been moved to the same hospital as her father and Pati, and Tracey had worked with her everyday to help recover what memories she could. Kathryn had remembered more than before but was at the 21 year old stage now. She remembered most events in her life up to that point but nothing concerning Morgan. In the first days following the injury Morgan had been a daily visitor but Kathryn didn't seem especially close to her. They talked about things Kathryn had seen on T.V. but nothing of any importance. Kathryn seemed to accept her as a passing acquaintance and it broke Morgan's heart a little more every time she saw her.

She remembered Tracey from school and her own college days. Morgan had a hard time seeing Kathryn and Tracey laughing and having fun as they relived their college days. Tears had become her old friend of late and she felt as though she had cried a river during the last two weeks.

Bones knocked on the door and entered Morgan's office. He sat in the overstuffed maroon leather chair and propped his feet up on the low table in front of her desk.

"How you doing Morg?"

"I'm hanging in there Bones. Nothing else I can do."

"How's Kathryn?"

"She's getting more of her memory back, but Dr. Mac thinks it will be quite awhile before she remembers everything, if at all."

Bones was quiet for a moment. In all the years he had known Morgan, her life with Kathryn had been the most noticeable change in the Agent and he felt for her as he saw the pain cross her face.

"When is she going to let her go home?"

"Pretty soon. They're releasing Henry next week and they may let her go at the same time. Pati will be in the hospital for a few months. Her surgery went well, but she still doesn't have any feeling in her legs and until she does they can't do much more than passive exercise. The longer she goes without feeling the more they lean toward permanent paralysis. She's keeping her spirits up but this has to be devastating for her. I couldn't imagine being a paraplegic for life."

"What about your arm?"

"I'm fine, I'm doing the physical therapy every day and I can do pretty much anything. It still hurts a little when I shoot my gun but the Doc thinks that will go away pretty quick. What have you got?"

Opening the folder he carried, he gave her the update on the evidence collected at the house and on Morgan's yacht.

"Ballistics came back on the bullets from the boat. Bubba shot Tessa, Tessa shot the side of the cabin, Gin shot you and you shot Gin. Are you going to go see her?"



"I don't know. I guess eventually I'll have to."

"She asks about you."

"Whatever." Morgan had enough on her mind at the moment and the last thing she felt like doing was dealing with a wayward ex-team member.

"Okay", Bones continued, "At the house, we found three shells. The rifling marks on the bullets recovered match previous cases in several states. Derek was the lead suspect in all the cases, so the bullets link him to this one as well as the eyewitness accounts."

Bones pulled a small leather book from the folder and handed it to Morgan.

"I thought you might want to read this, it's Tessa's journal. She clears up a lot of things in there, especially about how Derek got back in the country, how they hooked up and she finally tells us what those initials she carved into her victims stood for."

Morgan took the journal and thumbed through it briefly. "Tell me you're saving the best for last."

"Don't I always? Okay, we may have caught a break. Remember we found Derek's stolen car in that grocery store parking lot?"


"Well, turns out the surveillance camera in the parking lot ATM caught Derek on tape." Bones waved the tape in front of Morgan. "I want you to see this before I tell you what's on it."

Bones turned on the T.V. and VCR in Morgan's office and waited as she closed the blinds and turned off the lights. When the room was mostly dark he pressed the remote control.

Morgan watched as Derek interacted with the woman. Her heart jumped when she saw Matthew and she was close to tears again as Derek handed the baby to the unknown woman. He pushed the woman into the van and then ran back to the stolen car for the baby seat. The tape ended with Derek driving off in the van.

"Do we know who that woman is?"

"The lab cleaned up the tape enough to make out the license plate. She's one of us."

"He has someone else in the F.B.I. helping him?"

"She isn't helping him, he kidnapped her."

"The media can't get their hands on this information. If she's still alive she's our only hope of finding him."

"I know, I did the plate search myself and I have the only copy of the tape. Doug did the cleanup of the video so all the information we have is contained within the team."

"Good. Has her van turned up anywhere?"

"Not that we've heard. We don't want to put it on the wire just in case someone puts two and two together. We flagged it in the NCIC; if it turns up we'll know about it. We have had some hits on the pic's and news briefs. We tracked him back to Texas but we lost the trail there. He paid for gas in cash along the way and didn't stop at any motels that we know of." Bones closed the folder and leaned back in the chair. Morgan had paused the video at the point where Derek handed her baby to the woman.

"Who is she?"

"Name is Alex Parker. She works out of the Central Office as a special liaison to Customs. She's one of their finest operatives. She has commendations out the ass and she knows how to handle herself."

"What was she doing in the parking lot?"

"It was her day off and she had taken her son shopping, she lived a few blocks from the store."

"Bad timing on her part, good timing on ours. What about her Chief? Isn't he missing her by now?"

"I gave him a call, told him we'd pulled her for a special assignment. He bitched about it but Bax calmed him down. He'd listed her as terminated for job abandonment. Bax smoothed the situation and had her reinstated. If she ever calls in it will probably be to her division and we don't want there to be any problems with that."

Alex watched Derek pace; she hadn't said more than three sentences to him in the time she'd been there. He had brought a woman home the night before and she watched as he'd tortured her to death. He carried the bloody and torn body from the cabin, three hours later he came back covered in dirt and had raped her in front of the couch. She endured the rape and had held him when it was over. So far he hadn't done more than slap her around trying to get her to talk to him. She knew her time was running out and had decided she'd play his game with him.

He turned and pinned her in place with a glare. "What's your name?"


"Where's your family?"

"In Stillwater, Minnesota."

"What were you doing in New York?"

"I moved there a few years ago. I wanted to be an actress." Alex thought she could have been an actress with the show she was putting on for him. She wasn't about to tell him where her parents were. They didn't have much contact over the last few years but she didn't want him to go after them either. She regretted the wall that had come up between them since she joined the Bureau. They hadn't met their grandson and she hoped they would get that opportunity in the future.

"Bet your folks loved that."

"Not really, but they're adjusting."

"You don't like me much do you?"

"You disgust me."

Derek laughed. The woman had spunk and he liked that. "You don't have to like me, you just have to do what I say, unless you don't like living that is."

Matthew began fussing and Alex walked over and picked him up, cradling him against her breast she cooed quietly to him until he fell asleep. He was a beautiful child, but she couldn't see any resemblance to Derek and wondered why he'd kidnapped the child.

"You said his mother died, what happened to her?"

"She was supposed to be dead, the bitch won't die. I beat her to death the first time and they brought her back, then I shot her when I took little Steven, she sure looked dead, but according to the news she's still breathing."

Alex put Matthew back in the crib and sat on the couch. Derek had stopped pacing and had begun drinking again. She hoped he would get drunk, usually when he drank he passed out. Tonight was different though, he started taking off his clothes and without him asking she knew what he wanted. Silently she complied, taking off her own clothes she lay back on the couch and closed her eyes, hoping he would finish soon.

Morgan closed the door behind Tracey and Megan as they left on their date. She was happy that Megan was in love and she couldn't think of anyone she would have been as happy with. She no longer felt the regret she used to when she saw Megan. Things had changed so quickly once Tracey appeared. She saw a radiance in Megan she'd never seen before, she had certainly never looked that way when they were together. Through it all she was glad that the friendship they had forged in the last year remained a constant. She leaned on Megan more in the last few weeks than she ever had when they were together and it was nice to have a rock to rest on when the storms beat her down.

The phone rang and she was surprised to hear Kathryn on the other end.

"Hi there," She said and for a moment Morgan's breath caught in her throat as she swallowed the emotion she felt at the sound of her lover's voice.

"Want to watch a movie or something? I'm kind of lonely with Tracey gone."

"Sure", Morgan said, keeping her voice level. "You want to come over here or do you want me to come to your house?"

"I'll come over and bring the popcorn, you pick the movie."

Morgan grinned. Kathryn was beginning to sound more and more like her old self.

"Sure, see you soon."

Morgan replaced the receiver and ran upstairs to change clothes. Kathryn had come home a few days ago and they'd struck up a friendship of sorts. Kathryn still didn't remember her and Morgan hoped that if Kathryn spent more time in the house they'd shared she'd remember something of their life together.

She put on the black form fitting jeans and purple tank top that Kathryn had loved so much and ran her fingers through her hair to straighten it, she'd just finished dressing when she heard the knock on the sliding door of the patio.

Morgan smiled as she opened the door. Casey ran between her legs and jumped up on Kathryn. Laughing she leaned down and patted the cocker spaniel's head, never realizing it was her own dog she was playing with. "She's so friendly."

"She loves you." Morgan said, thinking she did as well but Kathryn probably wouldn't appreciate it if she jumped on her and licked her face.

"Hey, do you want to play a game instead of watching a movie?"

"Sounds good, I just didn't want to be alone in that big house by myself." She giggled as Casey targeted her ear for another tongue- lashing.

"What games do you like?" Morgan said, watching the interaction between the two.

"Oh, it really doesn't matter. What do you have?" She fought off the over-exuberant pup and got to her feet.

"The usual, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit."

"Let's play Trivial Pursuit." Kathryn had to smile. "I get triple bonus points for any questions I remember after 1988." Morgan looked up to find the impish look she had always loved so much and she grinned and shook her head as she went to find the game.

Morgan got the game from the hall closet and set it up on the coffee table. She turned the stereo on and selected an easy listening station that played music from the early 90's. Kathryn didn't know the new songs and Morgan found that the station soothed her when she could sing along.

Kathryn watched Morgan set up the game pieces and admired the muscles rippling beneath the bronze arms. She knew Morgan was a lesbian and for a while thought Tracey was staying with Morgan because they were lovers. She'd been shocked to learn that Tracey was in love with Morgan's ex, though she'd gotten to know Megan and really liked the woman.

"How did you know you were gay?" Kathryn asked.

Morgan was stunned for a minute before she regained her composure. She didn't expect to have this conversation. Tracey told her she'd told Kathryn about her and Megan but she didn't think Kathryn would question her. They'd never had this conversation before the shooting.

"Ummm, I guess I've always known. I don't ever remember being attracted to men. I always seemed to get crushes on my female friends when I was younger."

"Did it bother you?"

"I guess it was a little disconcerting at first but I just accepted it. I grew up in San Francisco and it was okay to be gay there. If I'd grown up somewhere else I might have had a problem with it. My parents were pretty supportive too."

"That's awesome. My dad would freak if I told him something like that."

"You never know, he might be okay with it."

"No way. He has pretty strong opinions about a lot of things and that's one of them. Guess he's lucky I didn't turn out to be gay."

"Was there a time when you thought you were?"

"Tracey had a crush on me once but I didn't return her feelings. I guess if I would have ever been gay it would have been with her."

The game was forgotten as they sat back on the couch and talked. The popcorn bowl passed between them until it was gone. Morgan recognized the look on Kathryn's face as she contemplated the empty bowl.

"Want something to eat, Little One?" The nickname slipped out before Morgan thought about it and she held her breath as Kathryn cocked her head.

"Why do you call me that?"

"Because you're so little compared to me. I've always called you that."

She was rewarded by a big smile from Kathryn.

"Cool. It reminds me of my Dad."

Morgan continued into the kitchen and prepared a couple of steaks for the grill. Kathryn came up behind her and made the salad. For a minute Morgan let herself believe that nothing had changed between them and that this was just an ordinary evening at home. The illusion shattered when Kathryn asked her where the bathroom was. Pointing to the little room off the kitchen she turned her back to the petite blond and tears came unbidden to her eyes.

Morgan regained her composure when she heard the water running in the bathroom and Kathryn emerged a few moments later. She walked over to the sliding glass door and gazed out at the long expanse of beach and the waves gently lapping the shore.

"It's so beautiful out here, Morgan," She said as she accepted the glass of wine from her companion, who had walked over to stand beside her. "I can see why you love it so much."

"It's a great place to come back to at the end of the day," Morgan agreed. "I love going into the city, but I don't think I'd enjoy it as much if I had to live there." She slid open the glass door and stepped out onto the deck to deposit the steaks on the grill, grateful that Tracey had done such a wonderful job cleaning up the evidence of the shootings that had happened there. Kathryn followed her outside.

"You want to eat out here?" Morgan inquired, motioning to a small table nestled between two comfortable looking deck chairs.

"That would be great," Kathryn smiled. "I'll start bringing everything out." She disappeared into the kitchen and Morgan heard several cupboard doors open and close as Kathryn located the dishes and silverware. She tended to the steaks and tried to appear nonchalant as she watched the love of her life make the necessary trips from the kitchen to the deck until everything was ready. JD had come inside and collided with Kathryn as she was bringing out the last tray and although she had managed to stay on her feet, most of the salad dressing had ended up on her shirt.

JD looked somewhat apologetic as Morgan shooed her off the deck and took the tray from Kathryn's hands. Kathryn had laughed and insisted that she was fine, but she accepted Morgan's offer of a clean shirt and Morgan directed her to the bedroom closet, telling her to pick out whatever suited her. She flipped the steaks and waited, sucking in a breath as the smaller woman came down the stairs in one of the Agent's much larger denim shirts. Morgan tried not to think of the irony when she realized that it had always been one of Kathryn's favorites, one that she often wore around the house with nothing else on but her underwear.

"It's a little big on me," Kathryn explained, not fully understanding the look on Morgan's face. "But I really like it, I hope you don't mind." She smiled.

"Not at all," Morgan answered, returning the smile. "It looks good on you."

Kathryn giggled. "You have the art of diplomacy down pat, Agent Sumners."

Morgan brought the steaks to the table as Kathryn disappeared into the house for the bottle of wine and they settled into the chairs and looked out over the ocean as they enjoyed the meal and each other's company. They were still sitting there, laughing and talking as the sun made a graceful exit and the full moon took her place in the sky. They had just finished the bottle of wine when they decided to take the dogs for a moonlit walk on the beach.

As the pups romped around their legs, they made their way down the beach, pausing to pick up sticks and toss them out into the quiet water for the dogs to fetch. Kathryn laughed as she threw a stick for JD, but before the larger animal could reach it, Casey was swimming next to her, biting on her ears and trying to block her progress. Morgan was enjoying the evening immensely, at times forgetting that the woman next to her didn't remember doing this a thousand times before. It made Morgan's heart soar and break all at the same time.

JD returned with the stick and dropped it at Kathryn's feet and as she picked it up she heard a familiar voice in the distance. She and Morgan turned at the same time as Tracey and Megan, holding hands, made their way down the beach towards them.

"Hi!" Kathryn said, the wine and the enjoyment of the evening causing her to say it just a little louder than she intended. Tracey laughed as they came up alongside the pair.

"Well, now, I leave you alone for an evening, and look at the good time you're having." She winked and Kathryn beamed.

"Hey, I had to do something, and it didn't seem fair to file a motion for abandonment to someone who saved my life." This brought a collective laugh from the group.

They all sat on the beach and talked for a few moments, when Tracey suddenly jumped up.

"Hey you guys, I've got a great ideaÖwhy don't we get some of that wood together and make a bonfire? I'll run back to the house for some snacks and another bottle of wine."

"Great!" Megan echoed. "I'll get a blanket and Morgan's guitar," She was halfway up the beach before the Agent could protest and Tracey caught up to her, grabbing her hand they ran the rest of the way together, laughing like a couple of teenagers.

"You play the guitar?" Kathryn asked, throwing another stick for an excited JD, who took off from the shore at lightning speed, splashing Kathryn in the process. She laughed. "A bonfire will be great. I'm getting soaked." JD seemed to reaffirm this as she dropped the newly retrieved stick at Kathryn's feet before shaking all the water off her fur and onto Kathryn's shirt.

Morgan grinned. "Let's see if we can find enough wood before Tweedledee and Tweedledum get back."

They scoured the beach, moving up towards the wooded area behind Morgan's house and gathered a healthy supply, lugging it back to the designated spot, Morgan arranged it and stood up, brushing sand off of her jeans, she turned to her companion.

"That should do it. I hope they remember the matches."

Tracey and Megan returned a few minutes later, arms laden with what Morgan remarked looked like enough rations for a week. Looking at Kathryn, she deadpanned, "Then againÖ"

Kathryn shot the agent a look that carried more mischief than Morgan was sure she wanted to reckon with, but she winked at the smaller woman before accepting the matches from Megan and had a healthy blaze going in a matter of minutes.

Tracey opened up the picnic basket and produced a bottle of wine and four glasses, she handed one to each of the women and filled them as Kathryn rummaged around in the basket for the snacks. They sat around the fire, talking and laughing as evening turned into night and the full moon shone brilliantly above them. Tracey was sitting cross-legged on the sand, and Megan had her head in her lap as her companion ran her fingers gently through Megan's hair. This evening was exactly what Morgan needed, and she felt relaxed for the first time in weeks. She couldn't be happier for Megan and Tracey although watching the affection between them reminded her how far away the woman sitting next to her really was. Morgan swallowed the last of her wine, watched as Megan reached up and caressed the side of Tracey's face and she wondered if she and Kathryn would ever be like that again.

Kathryn was sitting close to Morgan and right now was telling Megan a funny story about Tracey from their college days and her animated gestures caused her to brush against Morgan's leg with some regularity. Morgan found the touch comforting but bittersweet; she had been letting Kathryn dictate her own personal space and any physical contact between them, it was breaking her heart but she was determined to let the young woman make up her own mind.

Megan had brought a football along and from her position in Tracey's lap, had been gently tossing it back and forth to Morgan. One pitch from the nurse was a little off target and went sailing over Morgan's head. The agent jumped up to get it, only to find Kathryn racing her down the beach and she increased her stride and dove on the ball at the last second, her much longer frame providing the needed advantage. Kathryn landed next to her, spraying sand in every direction, and lay there giggling as Morgan looked up triumphantly.

"A day late and several inches short, Little One," She said as Kathryn jumped to her feet, offering the Agent a hand up. They walked back to the fire. Tracey and Megan had gotten up and Morgan tossed the ball in their direction as the four of them met up.

"How about a game?" Megan winked at Morgan. "I'll be the quarterback, you three can go out for the long ball. First person to catch five passes wins."

Before they could answer, Megan stepped back and hurled the ball down the beach. Tracey sprinted out in the lead, followed closely by Morgan and Kathryn. The ball veered off toward the ocean and they made a collective diving catch, landing in the water with a thunderous splash. The ball slipped out of Tracey's fingers and Kathryn pounced on it.

"Oh no, you don't," Morgan grinned and grabbed Kathryn's shirttail as she tried, laughing, to get out of the water. She reached over the smaller woman's head and attempted to grab the ball but Kathryn turned unexpectedly into her and dove underwater between her legs, coming up on the other side laughing hysterically at the look of surprise on Morgan's face.

Morgan waded out further as Kathryn kept backing up, and the agent made a clean dive under the water as the smaller woman stood in the chest-deep surf as she looked around, trying to figure out where Morgan had gone. About a minute passed and when the agent did not surface, Kathryn became alarmed. She looked around frantically, and was about to call out to her friends on the beach when Morgan surfaced directly in front of her, rising up out of the water like a Goddess, and stood there, smirking.

Kathryn was about to scold her when she found her words seem to catch in her throat. She stood there for a moment, transfixed by the sight. Morgan had risen up to her full six feet and the water dripped off her raven tresses, her shirt clinging to her body and her blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight and Kathryn found herself thinking that this was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. Her heart skipped a beat and they stared at each other for a full thirty seconds before a shout from the shore broke the spell.

Tracey and Megan had abandoned the football game in favor of a swim and had stripped off their clothes, leaving them on the shore they swam out to the pair.

Megan laughed. "This looked a lot more refreshing than a shirt full of sand," she said as she joined them.

Morgan agreed, and she ran up on the beach to discard her wet clothes, grabbing the football out of Kathryn's hands along the way.

Kathryn let out a yelp and ran after Morgan, when she hit the beach, the agent had already accomplished her task, and Kathryn forced herself not to stare at the perfectly sculpted muscles and the legs that seemed to go on forever. She took a breath to steady herself as she wondered if it was the wine.

If so, I need another glass, she thought and then chuckled at her thoughts. Stripping off her own clothes, she joined the others in the water. They swam around for awhile, enjoying the coolness of the water and the dazzling brilliance of the moonlight as it sprayed across the surface. A water fight broke out, and Morgan quickly gained the advantage, dunking her companions in succession and as she leaned down to douse Tracey again, Kathryn launched herself towards the agent's back, catching her off balance, they fell into the ocean on top of each other, and Kathryn sucked in a lungful of water, instantly discovering how difficult it was to laugh and breathe underwater at the same time. She came up sputtering in Morgan's arms.

"You okay?" Morgan brushed the golden locks off her lover's face and Kathryn nodded.

"Yep. But I don't recommend laughing underwater. It sort of spoils that breathing thing."

Tracey grinned. It was nice to see her best friend acting more like the woman she remembered her to be, and she was pleased that she had seemed to forge some kind of a bond with Morgan. As she watched them banter back and forth, she hoped with all her heart that things would work out between them. It would break Morgan's heart to have to live with only Kathryn's friendship when they had had so much more. Megan came up behind her and slipped her arms around Tracey's waist.

"They seem to be having a great time." She smiled.

"Yeah they do. I'm really glad. God, I hope this works out for the best, Meg."

"It will. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. They fell in love with each other once, no reason it can't happen again. Besides," She grinned. "Kathryn hasn't been able to keep her eyes off her all night."

"You noticed that too, huh?"

"Yup. There are certainly no guarantees, but they're off to a pretty good start."

Midnight had turned into three a.m. and the foursome lay on the beach, the dying embers of the fire glowing softly as they looked up into the dark sky. Megan lay in Tracey's arms, her back tucked up against the doctor's stomach, and she looked through the fire at her friend. Morgan and Kathryn were both lying on their stomachs next to each other, heads propped up in their hands, talking quietly.

"Hey, Tigger, how about playing something for us?" Megan motioned towards Morgan's guitar.

Tracey nodded her agreement and Kathryn smiled. "That would be great, Morgan, how about it?"

Morgan knew she couldn't resist a request from Kathryn and the green eyes sparkled as she waited for an answer. It took all Morgan's strength not to kiss her as she pulled her long frame up and reached for her guitar.

Chapter 14: Do You Remember When?

Morgan pulled the Ovation from its case and ran through a few chords to make sure it was still in tune. She could only think of one song off the top of her head, the tune that had been playing constantly since the accident that had robbed Kathryn of her memory. She hoped it wouldn’t bring Kathryn and the others down too much but she wanted to put music to the melody in hopes that if she gave voice to the words they would stop haunting her.Her long fingers found the chords and she let her voice carry through the night and across the stretch of sand.The last strains of ‘Nobody Dies from a Broken Heart’ faded away and Morgan opened her eyes. Kathryn was crying softly and Megan was wrapped in Tracey’s arms. The look that passed between the two spoke volumes about what Morgan was going through.Megan captured Morgan’s eyes with her own. "That was beautiful Tigger, did you write that?""No, it’s a Reba song from one of her earlier albums. I just couldn’t get it out of my head."Tracey noticed Kathryn’s state and tried to turn the evening back to the fun they’d been having earlier. "How about playing something a little more upbeat?""Not a problem. Any requests?""Well we’re on the beach, how about some Beach Boys tunes?"Morgan and Kathryn groaned at the same time. "I hate the Beach Boys." Kathryn nodded her head in agreement. "Anything but that.""What would you like to hear Little One?" Morgan asked, glad that Kathryn had stopped crying and seemed in better spirits."How about a duet?""You’re going to sing with me?""Sure, I may not remember much, but I do remember how to carry a tune.""Okay, pick the song and we’ll sing it.""How about We Can Work it Out by the Beatles?""Okay." Morgan picked up the tune and started the song.Morgan wrapped up the last note and the duo received a round of applause from their audience."You should sing professionally Morgan." Kathryn said. "You certainly have the talent for it.""I enjoy my job too much. I sing at benefits and when I feel moved, otherwise it’s just a hobby.""Speaking of benefits, are you going to sing at the A.I.D.S. benefit this year?" Megan asked."Probably, Billy hasn’t called but knowing him he’ll wait until the last minute as usual. You planning to have me sing for you again this year, Meg?"Megan laughed a little self- consciously, "Maybe, you never know.""What’s an A.I.D.S. benefit?" Kathryn asked, confused."There’s a bar called The Swamp and every year my friend Billy hosts an A.I.D.S. benefit to raise money to find a cure. We usually have an auction and people bid money to have the singer sing to them. Highest bidder gets to have the song of their choice performed at their table. Last year they raised more money than any in the history of the benefit.""Thanks to you, Kathryn." The words were out of Megan’s mouth before she realized what she was saying."Thanks to me?" The blond looked stunned and saddened as she tried to remember the event and couldn’t.Morgan looked at Tracey. "Should we fill her in or let her remember it on her own?""Fill me in dammit, I hate it when you three do that!" Kathryn snapped. Lately the three of them had let things slip or said something that she should have remembered then caught themselves and clamed up when questioned. It was a little funny in the beginning but now it just annoyed her when they didn’t share the memory with her.Tracey nodded. "Go ahead and tell her, she’ll pester you for the rest of the night if you don’t."Morgan looked at Kathryn and grinned at the expectant look on the blond’s face. "You bid twenty five thousands dollars for me and then you sang instead.""What did I sing?""The song was Possession.""I don’t remember it."Morgan played the melody on her guitar and Kathryn shook her head. It doesn’t sound familiar, sing it to me."Morgan looked down at her feet and tried to get her emotions under control. When Kathryn had sang the song to her she was just coming to grips with what she felt for Morgan, singing it now would be taking something away from that memory. She couldn’t think of a decent excuse to get out of it and began strumming the chords. "What a beautiful song!" Kathryn said when it was over as she hugged Morgan. "I wish I knew the words to it, we could have done another duet."Morgan ruffled Kathryn’s hair and eased out of the embrace. She would have given anything to remain in the young woman’s arms, but she knew if that happened, she wouldn’t be able to keep her emotions under any semblance of control. "Maybe some other time Little One. How about we move this party inside before Mildred calls the police on us?"Everyone nodded and Morgan packed her guitar away as Megan and Tracey kicked sand on the dying fire. The four made their way to the house and opened another bottle of wine from Morgan’s stock before going into the living room to continue the fun. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Morgan tuned the stereo to a disco station and pulled the Twister game from the hall closet. Taking a glass of wine from Megan she danced into the living room and held the game out."Is everyone drunk enough to play this?"Hoots and hollers met her question as the girls took off their shoes and prepared to play. The wine flowed freely and Morgan made a mental note to persuade Megan to spend the night though it didn’t look like it would take much convincing.

Tracey flicked the spinner and put her foot on one of the huge green dots. Kathryn and Megan got red and yellow respectively, and Morgan ended up with green as well, choosing the corner dot so she’d be able to dominate the board with her lanky frame. She laughed as Tracey spun a red on her next turn, and was forced to crawl under Megan to reach her place on the board. They took turns until everyone was balanced precariously in various positions, Kathryn the first to succumb, more from her continuing laughter than lack of balance. She plopped on the couch and watched the rest of the game, yelling encouragement. Morgan appeared to have the advantage, as her long body was able to spread out without much difficulty. She had her legs on one part of the board, however, and her arms on the other, and Kathryn crawled onto the floor near her head and delivered a running commentary until the agent collapsed in a fit of laughter, pulling Megan down with her. Tracey jumped up triumphantly and danced around the room, waving the plastic around like a cape.

"I think that was a conspiracy, Little One," Morgan said with a wink.

"Now, Agent Sumners," Kathryn said, pouring her another glass of wine and smiling demurely, "Everything is not a conspiracy. The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

Morgan threw one of the couch pillows at her and Kathryn grinned. Tracey and Megan had stretched out on Morgan’s other couch and had turned on the big screen TV. It was almost dawn, but none of the girls wanted the evening to end. This had been something they all needed after the events of the past few weeks and they were enjoying it immensely.

"Is anyone hungry?" Morgan asked. "Besides Kathryn, I mean." The couch pillow sailed back in her direction and Morgan dodged it neatly. Tracey and Megan declined; Kathryn was already in the kitchen putting together a turkey and cheese sandwich. Morgan smiled as she returned to the living room and joined the agent on the remaining couch. They talked quietly for a few minutes, then joined Megan and Tracey in watching "Beaches." Despite the wonderful evening, they were all showing signs of slowing down and Megan relaxed happily in Tracey’s embrace. Morgan watched them for a while, her happiness for Megan for the moment making her forget that she wished she could hold Kathryn like that again. It would be hard to see her go back to her house and she wasn’t looking forward to crawling into her own bed alone. Whenever she and Kathryn had been able to get away for an evening, snuggling up to her as they fell asleep had always been like the icing on the cake.

She put those thoughts out of her mind as she concentrated on the movie. Kathryn had finished her snack and leaned back against the couch pillows and Morgan had to lock her fingers behind her head to keep herself from pulling Kathryn back against her body.

Morgan awoke to the sound of the ringing phone, she had obviously fallen asleep and to her surprise, Kathryn was wrapped around her, snoring softly against her chest. She reached over the sleeping woman and snagged the phone off the coffee table.


"Mornin Miz Sumners, didn’t wake ya now did I?"

"Morning Bubba. What time is it?"

"Round bout six."

"Damn, I didn’t think anyone but God was awake at that time."

"I’m sorry to interrupt yer sleepin but I reckon I might be a needin yer help."

Morgan put Bubba on hold and she slid out from under Kathryn. Jogging upstairs she picked up the office extension.

"What’s up?" She asked, fully awake now.

"We got ourselves a situation down here. I’m a thinking yer man Derek is involved."

"What’s the situation?" Bubba had Morgan’s full attention, but at times trying to get him to the point was like pulling teeth.

"We got four women missin and no sign of’em. They all disappeared while joggin in tha woods. They was all from a town up north, right outside Houston and none of them were the type to jus run off without notice.

"How many men do you need?"

"I reckon as many as ya kin spare. Will you be a comin too?"

"You bet your ass. I’ll be there as soon as I can get a flight."

"I figured you’d say that. I booked ya a flight for nine so you’ll be here by three."

"Thanks Bubba, how many seats did you get?"

"Six, wuz that enuff or do ya need more? I need to call the airlines back an give them the names and how many reservations."

"That’s good, I’ll bring Bones, Walt, John, Doug, myself and Kathryn if she wants to go back home for a visit."

"Alright then, I reckon I’ll let ya go and git yer flight information squared away."

"See you soon Bubba. When you get the information on the flight just fax it to me, you have my fax number right?"

"Ayup, got it right here."

"Thanks Bubba."

Morgan replaced the receiver, called the rest of her team together, and had them prepare for the flight to Houston. Bubba’s fax came in as she hung up with Bones. She quickly packed her bag and then walked back downstairs to wake Kathryn.

Morgan leaned down beside the couch and watched Kathryn sleep. She missed doing this in the mornings; sighing, she caressed Kathryn’s cheek and waited for the emerald eyes to focus on her.

"Good morning Little One." She whispered.

"Morning Angel."

Morgan leaned back on her heels and stared at Kathryn. Did she remember?


"I’m sorry, I don’t know where that came from." Kathryn sat up quickly, embarrassed at the term. She didn’t know why she said it, it just came out and now she could see by the look on Morgan’s face that she’d done something wrong. "I’m really sorry Morgan, I didn’t mean to say that."

Morgan smiled at her and shook her head. "It’s okay Little One. Just something I haven’t been called in a while. I kind of miss it."

Kathryn breathed a sigh of relief. Morgan didn’t seem to be angry, just surprised, and a small part of Kathryn like being able to surprise the Agent. She had a feeling that nothing much surprised the woman.

"I have to catch a flight to Houston and I thought you might like to come along and see your dad, you want to go?"

Kathryn grinned. She couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go back home, and for a reason she couldn’t explain, the thought of spending more time with Morgan made her answer an instant yes.

"That would be great, Morgan. I can show you around my hometown. I wonder if it’s different than I remember it." Then she winked and added, "If I don’t remember it at all, you’ll have to show me around."

Morgan laughed and shook her head.

"I have some work to do downtown and I’m not sure how available I’ll be, but when I have time we’ll take in the sights. I’d like that." Morgan ruffled Kathryn’s sleep tousled hair and stood up. "We have to hurry, our plane leaves at nine and it’s an hour to the airport. Go ahead and pack a bag and I’ll pick you up at your place in an hour."

Morgan grinned as Kathryn bounced off the couch and ran out the door, it seemed like everything she did these days endeared her to Morgan even more.

Morgan buckled her seatbelt and helped Kathryn with hers. They had just made the plane due to Kathryn’s inability to decide what she wanted to carry with her. If Morgan hadn’t taken over the packing they would have brought the entire contents of Kathryn’s house. Sighing, the Agent leaned back in her seat and promptly fell asleep. She didn’t awaken until the flight attendant shook her and requested she fasten her seatbelt for landing. Yawning, she stretched and buckled up.

Bubba and Henry met the group at the airport. Henry took Kathryn with him and the rest of the group piled into the van with the chief. He updated the Agents on the way to the station and listened quietly as they decided what their next course of action would be.

Chapter 15: Tempting Fate

Alex watched as Derek drained the last of the Jack Daniels in the bottle. For 6 weeks now she’d put up with him raping her and beating her. Images of the four women he’d captured brought to the cabin and tortured to death in front of her came unbidden to her in wakefulness and in the nightmares that had consumed her in the dark. She couldn’t escape from here and she couldn’t escape her thoughts, one or the other held her captive every second that she lived.

Most of the women had been like her, young and full of vigor and spunk, characteristics that were slowly drained out of them as they fell victim to their captor’s sickening game. She heard their screams, looked into their pleading faces yet could do nothing to help. Derek seemed to enjoy an audience, like a twisted ringmaster in a murderous freak show. She wondered when it would be her turn. Thankfully, the infants slept through most of his antics, but occasionally one of them would cry, seemingly fueling his rage.

She had made every effort to succumb to Derek’s will, her behavior undoubtedly earning her a less painful existence, but as the days passed, so did her hope of being found, and she tried desperately to stay focused. She had been using Derek’s time away from the cabin to clear her head and think, but had come up with nothing. Even the news program, although occasionally mentioning the case, said nothing about a missing FBI agent. She began to believe that she would never be rescued and she knew that when Derek tired of her, he would kill her as he had all of the others.

Finishing the liquor and tossing the bottle onto the floor, he staggered toward her and she backed away. Slowly he removed his shirt and she stared at his pale white hairless chest, feeling the revulsion rise up in her. She had hoped that the alcohol might offer her a reprieve from the norm, but she knew what he wanted. He bent over to untie his hiking boots and she glanced at the fifty feet of chain that bound her to this existence. She had nothing to lose. Silently she gathered the chain in her hands. When she had about five feet of it doubled up she waited for him to stand.

He pulled off his boots, socks, and began to rise, before she could change her mind she swung the chain in a circle above her head and felt the bone-crushing blow as it connected with his skull. Already off balance, he staggered backward, holding his head. Blood tricked down the left side of his face and he stared at her, rage contorting his features as he screamed and came at her.

"You fucking bitch!"

"Come on, you bastard, come to momma!" Alex felt a surge of strength as she felt her own anger build. She swung the heavy chain again as he reached her, connecting with his bare chest. It wasn’t enough to knock him down but she didn’t wait for him to react, she shortened up the chain and hit him square in the face as he lunged forward. She felt the blood splatter, saw both his hands come up to cover his face and she hit him again. He fell to his knees and she hit him in the back, the metal links opening up a sizable wound between his shoulder blades. He screamed in pain and uttered a lengthy stream of profanities.


Morgan sat at the police station and reviewed the files from the four cases they had so far. The rest of her team was questioning the families of the victims and looking for any witnesses. She hated cases like these. She knew in her gut that Derek was behind them, if only because there was no evidence to go on.

Four women taken in the early evening, all athletic, all under 30, and all slender blondes, that was the part that didn’t fit for Morgan. Derek had never been selective in his hunt before. He’d always struck when the opportunity presented itself. It would be a hell of a coincidence to have four women, all blond, all joggers, and all around the same age for him to kill. She knew it was Derek though, and she trusted her gut instincts. She would have to change his status from a mass murderer to a serial killer. The difference being that he was selecting a certain type now instead of killing by opportunity as he’d done in the past.

Giving up for the day, she decided to go back to Henry’s and see if Kathryn wanted to catch a movie or something. He had insisted she stay with them and she readily agreed. Henry tried his best to put the two women together and when Kathryn turned in for the night he sat up talking with Morgan until the wee hours of the morning.

They’d conspired to build a house together and he’d completed the job last week. Morgan didn’t know if she’d ever be able to take Kathryn to their home but she hoped she would. Morgan had drawn up the plans with Henry during Kathryn’s first hospital stay and they’d conversed almost daily on the phone while it was being built. It was to be Morgan and Henry’s wedding present to Kathryn. Morgan had been to the house the day before and as she walked through the rooms and touched the furniture she’d once again cried over all she lost. The nursery was the hardest on her. Henry had filled it with toys and Morgan sat in the huge rocking chair holding a stuffed bear and crying until she had nothing left inside.

She’d gone to the house to finish the painting she’d started of Kathryn, she wanted to hang it over the fireplace of their new home. She’d taken the picture a few days after Matthew’s birth, when everything between the two was still idyllic and untouched by Derek’s madness. Kathryn was sitting on a driftwood log and the sun was sinking slowly into the horizon. She had a pensive expression on her face and the wind was gently blowing her hair as she looked down at her newborn son. Morgan loved that picture, and decided from the moment she saw it developed she wanted to capture it on canvas. She’d finished the painting in record time and was satisfied with her work. She had the frame picked out and was waiting for it to dry, and then she’d hang it over the mantle. She hoped eventually she’d be able to take Kathryn to their new home, though if she never regained her memories the house would remain vacant. Morgan would never live there without Kathryn.


Alex knew he wasn’t stupid, if she let up on him at all it would be over for her in seconds. The expanse of chain gave her access to the entire length of the cabin, but she saw him back away, hands still covering his face, blood seeping out through his clenched fingers. He tried to make his way over to his discarded jeans, and she knew the gun was beneath them. She lunged forward, jumping on his back before he could get very far and he let out a gasp as they both hit the floor. Her years of martial arts training seemed to take over and she landed several effective blows with her bare hands as he continued to curse.

As she lunged for the gun, Derek managed to grab her ankle and pull her feet out from under her and she hit the hard floor with an audible thud. Desperation and rage took up where her anger had left off, and with strength she didn’t know she had, she jerked her foot free and kicked him in the face.

"Fuck you!" She yelled, loud enough to make her throat feel dry. "Fuck you and fuck this god dammed cabin!" She rose to her feet, stepped hard between his bleeding shoulder blades and kicked him in the head again as she retrieved his gun from beneath his jeans and checked to be sure it was loaded. She spotted the extra clip and tucked it into her own pants before she turned around. Derek had managed to stagger to his feet, and with a bellow and another stream of curses, came at her again.

"Oh no you don’t, you son of a bitch." She leveled the gun at him, fired a round into his leg, shattering his kneecap and laughed as he screamed in agony.

"Awww, did that hurt?" She said, not making any attempt to hide her blatant sarcasm. "You’re really gonna hate this, then." She pulled the trigger once more, taking out the other knee. Derek fell to the floor, his screams echoing in the tiny cabin. With renewed vigor, Alex took total control of the situation. She walked over to the writhing figure, bent down, and with the butt of the pistol, knocked him unconscious. Satisfied that he was no longer an immediate threat, she stepped over his prone form and picked up his jeans from the floor. Rummaging around in his pockets, she smiled as her fingers wrapped around the set of keys she knew belonged to the shackles she had been imprisoned in for so long. In moments, she was free from her bonds and she removed the entire length of chain from the cabin, depositing it neatly on the porch outside.

She rubbed her wrists where the handcuffs had been, and wasting no more time, dragged Derek’s bleeding body over to the ringbolt in the floor. She bent down and locking one end of the cuffs onto the bolt, snapped the other into place around his ankle. Any movement on his part would constitute instantaneous pain in his injured legs and she doubted he would be in any condition to protest when he awoke. Alex smiled, she had been cursing the setup in the cabin for the past six weeks, but Derek had definitely sealed his own fate with his own careful planning. She checked his bonds once more before exiting the cabin and stepping out into the fresh air. The van was nearby and she unlocked it, it was in disarray but her cell phone was still plugged into the cigarette lighter in the back seat and she flipped it open, thanked whatever God hadn’t been listening to her for the last six weeks for small miracles, and spoke into the receiver.

"Hello, this is Agent Alex Parker," she said, her voice gaining strength with every second of her freedom. "I need to speak to Agent Sumners, and yes, this is an emergency." She waited on the line, and realized that her hands were shaking. Her encounter with Derek had taken its toll and she realized she had been running on pure adrenalin for most of it. She made up her mind that she would deal with her emotions at a later time, right now she needed to talk to Agent Sumners and she smiled in relief as she heard a voice on the other end of the line.


Morgan pulled the chirping cell phone from her pocket and leaned back in the uncomfortable desk chair. Her team was meeting with the police officers handling the cases and they were trying to come up with something, anything, to tie these missing women to Derek.


"This is the division chief from the Manhattan Bureau, I have an Agent Parker on the horn and she says she needs to speak to you and it’s an emergency. Please hold for the transfer."

Morgan placed her hand over the receiver and motioned for Bones to start tracing the call. He leapt to his feet and picked up the desk phone, his fingers flying over the buttons as he called in for a trace.

Morgan heard the transfer connect and removed her hand from the receiver.

"Sumners here."

"Agent Sumners, this is Agent Alex Parker. I have your fugitive, but I have no idea where I am."

Morgan didn’t know if this woman was who she claimed to be and she was taking no chances. It could be a member of the press playing her for information on a case that was rapidly losing media attention.

"Forgive me for being skeptical Agent Parker, but how do I know you are who you profess to be?"

"Ask me something no one would know but me." Alex said matter of factly.

"My son has a birthmark, where is it and what does it look like?"

"It’s on his right hip and it looks like a half moon. It’s light brown and has a darker brown freckle in the middle of it."

Morgan almost wept with relief at the information, but the part of her that was pure Agent stepped in and took control of the situation.

"Where’s Derek?"

"He’s chained to the floor in this cabin."

"Are you wounded?"

"Nothing I won’t recover from."

"What about him?"

"He needs medical attention, he’s bleeding pretty badly."

"I’ll cry about it later, let him bleed."

"I had every intention of doing just that."

"Where’s my son?"

"He’s sleeping soundly. He’s fine Agent Sumners, I’ve taken good care of him."

"I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that Agent. How’s your son doing?"

"They’re both fine. He didn’t hurt them."

"Hold on a little longer for me, we’re tracking your call by satellite. We’ll have your position soon."

Morgan looked quizzically at Bones. "Almost got her," he whispered. "Just a minute more."

"Are you sure you’ve got him under control?"

"Oh he isn’t going anywhere, not by foot anyway. If he suddenly sprouts wings out of his ass and tries to fly away I’ll be sure and ground him again."

Morgan laughed at the Agent. She was sure the woman had been through hell in the last six weeks but she hadn’t lost her sense of humor.

"I’ve got her Morgan." He said as he gave latitude and longitude directions to Doug. Morgan waited patiently for Doug to triangulate the position and smiled as he said she was at Lake Conroe.

"We have your position Agent Parker, you’re at Lake Conroe, and we’ll be there soon."

"Thanks, I’ll be right here watching our friend."

Morgan snapped the cell phone closed and raced out to Bubba’s Crown Victoria. She had a map of the Lake and she knew right where the bastard was. She planned to get there before anyone else to spend a little quality time with Derek before the entire Houston Police Department arrived.

Morgan sped down Interstate 45, heedless of the posted speed. She had a mission and nothing was going to stand in her way. She reached the outskirts of Houston in record time thanks to the blaring siren on the cruiser. She had one thought and that was to kill the man who had tried to steal everything important in her life. She didn’t care about the law and she didn’t care if she wound up in jail, she wanted him dead and that was all that mattered right now.


Kathryn sat in the living room waiting for Morgan. She tapped her foot impatiently, the Agent had called to invite her to dinner and a movie but she was late. Kathryn hated waiting and briefly wondered if she’d always been like that. It was good to be home and she was enjoying the time she spent with her father and her old friends but she looked forward to Morgan’s arrival with more anticipation than she thought she should.

Kathryn looked at her watch; Morgan was almost an hour late now. Kathryn rummaged around in her purse and pulling out her cell phone and a scrap of paper with a number on it, put in a call to the Agent.

Morgan was still en route to the scene but the sheer volume of traffic cut down on her speed and she waited impatiently as cars crawled to the shoulder to let the police cruiser pass. She almost didn’t hear the phone over the siren.


"Morgan?" Kathryn’s voice came over the wire, Morgan had forgotten to call her and she silently cursed herself as she spoke into the receiver.

"Hi Little One, I’m so sorry. I’m headed towards Conroe right now, we’ve got our serial killer holed up in a cabin up on the lake and I need to get up there and take him into custody. I meant to call you, but sometimes things in this line of work are a little unpredictable. I’ll make it up to you, I promise."

"Your serial killer?" Kathryn paused; she had seen bits and pieces about Morgan’s case on the news and Tracey had mentioned that Morgan’s infant son had been kidnapped in the process. "Is this the man who kidnapped your son?"

Our son, Morgan said silently, then added aloud, "That would be the one." She pulled around a tractor-trailer and increased her speed. "I’ve got an agent holding him but I need to get my team up there to wrap things up."

"I understand," Kathryn said sincerely, unable to keep the disappointment out of her voice.

"If all goes well, we should be back in a few hours," Morgan said as she spotted the exit she needed to take. "I’ll keep you posted, and Kathryn?"


Morgan wanted to tell her she loved her but she knew how absurd that would sound to the young woman.

"I’m really sorry about this. I’ll be there as soon as I can, okay?"

"No problem, Morgan, really. I understand." She smiled. "We can grab a bite to eat when you get back."

"I’m looking forward to it."



"Be careful, don’t do anything stupid."

"I never do Little One. But I’ll be careful. See you soon." Morgan said goodbye and let the cell drop onto the front seat, she was within a mile of her destination and her adrenalin was pumping as she thought about coming face to face with the man who had eluded her for so long. What Kathryn said suddenly hit home to her and she wondered what she was doing. Did she really intend to kill Derek? She shook her head in disgust; she would not fall to his level. She would apprehend him and take him to jail personally, but she would not kill him. She would not jeopardize everything in her life for him again.


Derek woke up with a groan, as his surroundings came back into focus he noticed that he was lying in a pool of his own blood and he was shackled to the ringbolt in the floor. Agent Parker was sitting nonchalantly on the couch, when she saw him try to sit up she flashed him her best smile.

"Nice to have you back, you worthless son of a bitch."

Derek struggled against his bonds, realizing in the next instant that any movement on his part caused excruciating pain in his leg. He looked down at his injuries, and glared at the woman who had dared to put him in such a predicament. His hatred for her grew with every second that passed and he was sorry he hadn’t killed the bitch in the beginning. His mind worked furiously; there had to be a way out of this, he would never allow a woman to have the upper hand. He had gotten out of tight spots before, but as he scanned the room he realized that she had taken every precaution and she had his pistol tucked into the waistband of her jeans.

He seemed to be searching for something and Alex studied his face carefully as he looked around the room. "Looking for this?" she said sweetly, sarcasm dripping from every word.

Derek watched as she pulled his knife from behind her back. He looked away; he didn’t have to answer to anyone.

"Cat got your tongue, you sick bastard?"

"Who the fuck are you, bitch?"

"Did I forget to introduce myself? Where are my manners? My name is Parker, Agent Alexandria Parker. As in the F.B.I."

"Just my luck."

"No my friend, your luck has run out. Agent Sumners is on her way. I believe she wants her son back."

"He’s not her son, that fucking dyke better not lay a hand on my boy." Derek jerked against the cuff holding his leg. The pain that shot through his body went unnoticed as he stepped up his efforts to free himself from the restraint.

"Going somewhere?"

Derek bit back his response and fell back on the floor. His head hit the base of the fireplace and he glanced over his shoulder. She’d forgotten to remove the fireplace implements and he snatched the poker from the rack. She had her head turned, apparently listening to a noise outside, and she was close enough that he could hit her in the head with it. He knew he’d only have one chance to take her out and he drew back with all his strength to strike the blow as the door to the cabin burst open.

Morgan stepped into the room with her gun drawn. She didn’t see the Agent sitting on the couch but she took in Derek and the poker and in the few seconds it took her to aim her gun, Alex caught his movement out of the corner of her eye and she turned and blew the back of his head off. The poker he’d been swinging glanced off her shoulder and she dropped her gun on the couch. It was finally over.


Kathryn slid the cell phone back into her purse. She thought about taking a short nap so she’d be refreshed when she met up with Morgan later for dinner. She had only slept about an hour and a half the night before, but she couldn’t stop herself from thinking about waking up in the agent’s arms this morning. It seemed familiar and somehow comforting. The more she tried to steer her thoughts away from the statuesque Agent the less she was able to accomplish that goal. Deciding she should just let her thoughts flow where they wanted hoping that perhaps thinking her way through them would give them order and they would begin to make more sense to her.

She’d awoken in Morgan’s arms that morning and instead of moving away from the welcoming embrace, she’d snuggled deeper into it. Morgan had kissed the top of her head in her sleep and Kathryn thought she’d heard the Agent mumble that she loved her. She had decided it was wishful thinking on her part, but that part of her wished it were true. She didn’t know what to do with the feelings that were surfacing but she knew without a doubt that she was falling for Morgan and she was falling hard. A part of her knew she should distance herself but a bigger part of her told her to stay because the landing just might be worth the fall.


Morgan shouldered her weapon, glad that she didn’t have to shoot him. She’d warred with herself on the way to the cabin after talking with Kathryn and decided that while revenge might be sweet and she wanted him dead more than anything she had ever wanted in her life, she didn’t want to be the one to pull the trigger.

Alex stood up and turned toward Morgan.

"Agent Sumners, I presume."

"Nice to meet you Alex. I wish it had been under better circumstances."

"Can’t say I don’t agree with you there. Your son is in the bedroom, first door on the left."

"Thanks." Morgan said and almost raced from the room. She walked into the bedroom and picked her sleeping son up, cradling him in her arms she kissed the top of his head and once again felt the tears fall. She couldn’t get enough of the way he smelled, she’d remembered the smell and had often woken from a dream about him with the scent still lingering in her subconscious.

He snuggled into her neck the way he’d done since birth and she sat on the bed holding him as he slept. Bones found her in the same position twenty minutes later as he arrived on the scene.

"Hey Morg." He whispered as he sat beside her and stroked Matthew’s little hand.

"Hey Bones."

"How’s our boy?"

"Perfect. He’s absolutely perfect."

"I’m happy for you."

"Thanks. How’s Alex doing?"

"She’s holding up. She’s giving her statement to Walt. Did you know he raped her?"

"No. But I figured as much. She sounded very angry when she called."

"From what I heard it was pretty much an every night occurrence. She’s going to need some intense therapy when she gets home and everything catches up to her."

"Make arrangements with her Bureau chief."

"Done, you don’t have to stay, we can take it from here."

"I need to give a statement, I saw the shooting."


"Without a doubt."


"Yeah, he was going to kill her with the fireplace poker. I walked in right before he hit her, she shot him before I could, but it was definitely justified. In more ways than one if you ask me."

"Go home to Kathryn, we’ll take it from here. You can write up your own statement and send it to Baxter."

Morgan nodded and walked from the room. Alex was sitting on the couch when she walked into the living room and she stood as Morgan walked up to her.

"Can I…?" She asked holding out her arms to Matthew.

Morgan handed him to the woman who had been his surrogate mother for the last almost seven weeks and waited as Alex said her good-byes. When she handed the baby back to Morgan she had tears in her eyes.

"I’ll miss him. He’s a sweet baby. He was a perfect angel through all of this."

Morgan wrapped her arms around the Agent and hugged her tightly. "I can’t thank you enough for keeping him safe. If you ever need anything, please ask."

"What’s his name?"


"Derek called him little Steven. I had a feeling that wasn’t his name and I never called him that myself."

"Matthew, his name is Matthew."

Alex kissed Matthew on the top of his head and stroked his cheek as he slept peacefully in his mother’s arms. "Matthew." She said. "It fits. Take good care of him Morgan, he’s a special little boy."

"I will." Morgan walked away as John handed Alex her own son and escorted the woman from the house. Morgan watched the Agent as she glanced back at the cabin and shook her head. It had been a long and harrowing ordeal and for Alex’s sake, Morgan was glad it was over.

Chapter 16: Now That I Found You

Alex brought over the car seat from her van and helped Morgan strap it in the cruiser. She’d gathered all Matthew’s supplies and handed them to the Agent as well. She placed one last kiss on Matthew’s head and watched Morgan drive away.

As Morgan drove back to Henry’s she caught herself glancing in the rearview mirror several times just looking at her son. She couldn’t believe it was finally over and she had him back. He’d grown so much since she’d last seen him and she marveled at the changes. She could see more of Kathryn in his face now and was relieved as well that he had no resemblance to Derek.

She pulled the Crown Vic into Henry’s driveway and carefully released Matthew from the car seat. Shouldering his diaper bag she carried her son into the house. Kathryn met her at the door and took the bag from her.

"What a beautiful baby Morgan." She whispered as she got a look at her son.

"Thanks Kathryn. Would you like to hold him?"

Kathryn set the bag down on the couch and gently took the sleeping infant from Morgan’s arms. He fussed briefly until she cradled him against her neck. He grabbed a fistful of her hair and sighed contentedly.

"I think he likes me."

He loves you, you’re his mother. Morgan thought but just nodded her head. "I’m going to see what he needs, do you mind looking after him for a few minutes?"

"Not at all, take your time."

Kathryn walked to the couch and sat down; leaning back against the cushions she cuddled Matthew against her chest and grinned as he snuggled into her.

Morgan watched for a minute and returned Kathryn’s smile before taking his things upstairs to the bedroom she shared with other woman.

Henry had turned Kathryn’s old bedroom into an office after she had moved out, so he hastily fixed up the guest room for them when Kathryn had phoned. The room contained a king-sized bed, a dresser, and a roll top desk and Morgan deposited the baby’s things into three empty drawers before heading back downstairs. Kathryn was reclining on the couch with the sleeping infant in her arms, stroking the top of his tiny head affectionately. She looked up at Morgan and smiled.

"He’s perfect."

Morgan smiled. "I think so too, but then again I suppose I’m a little biased."

"He’s got your hair and smile, that’s for sure."

Morgan laughed. "Well, that part must have been heaven sent." She leaned down a placed a soft kiss on his forehead, her action causing her long tresses to caress the side of Kathryn’s face and the smaller woman found herself taking in the agent’s unique scent, a perfect mixture of sandalwood and vanilla. Her heart seemed to skip a few beats ahead as Morgan drew back and the striking blue orbs were level with her own. Morgan winked. "He’s my adopted son."

Kathryn grinned almost in relief. It had occurred to her quite recently while she was acknowledging her own feelings for the agent that she didn’t know if there was anyone special in Morgan’s life. She hadn’t mentioned anyone else in reference to the baby, but Tracey had said only that Matthew wasn’t her biological child.

Get yourself together, Kathryn, She chastised herself silently. Just because she’s not seeing anyone at the moment doesn’t mean she’s attracted to you, either.

Morgan’s voice brought her out of her musings and they decided to head downtown for a long-awaited dinner.

"Anyplace special you’d like to go?"

"I think the Olive Garden is open late," Kathryn said thoughtfully. "Do you like Italian?"

"You bet," Morgan replied. "I hear they have the never-ending pasta bowl, but I bet they’ll make an exception in your case," She teased.

Kathryn swatted the agent’s butt as she closed the door behind them, chuckling, Morgan strapped the baby in his car seat and they headed for the restaurant.

Matthew was hungry by the time dinner arrived, and they took turns feeding him. He took the bottle well, but Morgan noted that he seemed to sense something familiar when he was in his mother’s arms and Kathryn laughed.

"Well, this is a switch. He’s the first man that’s shown this much interest in my chest."

Morgan grinned, and biting back a comment of her own, accepted the baby for burping. Satisfied, he settled back into the carrier they had picked up on the way over and dozed off again.

"I’d like to make a little bit of a major shopping trip tomorrow, if you don’t mind, Little One," Morgan said. "I don’t have any of Matthew’s things with me except a few necessities that Agent Parker gave me when I left the cabin."

"No problem," Kathryn beamed. Her eyes lit up at the prospect of one of her favorite activities. "I know just the place to go, depending on what you need, of course."

Morgan finished off the last of the breadsticks and settled back in the comfortable booth, sipping her Dr. Pepper.

"Actually, he doesn’t have much of anything. I have 2 drawers full of diapers, 3 days worth of Onesies and a few pair of socks."

"Great," Kathryn said. "We’ll hit Babies R Us then. I think our boy needs a few outfits if he’s going to tour the town with us." She smiled. Morgan grinned at the endearment, wishing she could tell Kathryn just how on target she was with that comment.

"Sounds good to me."

Morgan was beginning to feel tired, she was still running on the hour and a half of last evening’s sleep and it had been a stressful day. They finished up their drinks and drove the 30 miles back to Henry’s in relative silence.

Henry had retired for the night several hours ago and they tried to stay quiet as they climbed the stairs to the guest room and closed the door gently behind them. It suddenly occurred to Morgan that they would be sharing the bed, with Matthew in between them, just like they had always done. She remembered waking up with Kathryn in her arms the morning before and wondered if Kathryn remembered any of that. Matthew woke up and fussed, and the younger woman instinctively reached for him at the same time that Morgan did.

Their eyes locked for a second and Kathryn stepped back.

"Morgan, I’m sorry," she said. "He was fussing, and I just reached for him, I didn’t mean-" Kathryn was embarrassed and she looked away.

"Shhhh." Morgan placed two slender fingers on the young woman’s soft lips. "It’s alright, Little One, I don’t mind at all and he really likes you. Please feel free, okay?"

Kathryn smiled shyly. "Well, okay, if you say so. I just didn’t want to intrude. It’s been a long time since you’ve been able to spend any time with him."

"We have the rest of our lives," Morgan replied, hoping that her statement would mean everything it used to.


Morgan rolled fitfully in her sleep, she raced around the cabin trying to outwit Derek at every move and each time she thought she had him, he ran from her with Matthew in his arms. Over and over she chased him, through the tiny cabin and through the woods, around the lake and back again. She couldn’t wake up from the dream and with every step she took, she heard the crunching sound of her feet on the skeletons littering the path she trod.

Kathryn gathered Morgan in her arms and stroked the wet hair plastered to the Agents face as she tried in vain to wake her from the nightmare. Finally a scream shattered the dream and Morgan bolted from Kathryn’s embrace and out of the bed.

Shivering she stood at the window and Kathryn could see her hugging herself as the moonlight bathed her sweat soaked body.

"Are you okay Morgan?"

"I’m fine Little One, go back to sleep. I’m sorry I woke you."

Kathryn blocked Matthew with a pillow to keep him from rolling out of the bed and walked over to Morgan. Silently she stood behind her and wrapped her arms around Morgan’s waist. She pulled the Agent tightly against her chest and laid her head on Morgan shoulder.

"Want to tell me about it?"

"Nothing to tell." Morgan said cradling Kathryn’s arms in her own. "It was a nightmare, nothing I haven’t had before."

"Are they always this bad?"

"Sometimes, though I have to admit it’s been a long time since I had one." Since Tessa to be exact. She wondered briefly if the dream meant anything. She’d have to go back to the cabin and look around in the morning just to be sure. Agent Parker mentioned the women Derek had brought there and they knew now that the four missing women had been murdered. The bodies were found by Bubba’s team and had been carried to the morgue to await a proper burial.

"Why don’t you come back to bed and see if you can sleep again."

"I don’t want to keep you awake."

"How about if I hold you this time and see if that helps? It always helped me when Daddy held me after a nightmare."

Morgan ran every objection through her mind and just as easily dismissed them. Nodding she joined Kathryn in the bed and rested her head on the shoulder that was offered. The faint scent of Kathryn’s cologne drifted towards her and she fell asleep with a contented smile on her face. The dream didn’t return that night.


The morning sun drifted lazily in through the upstairs window, painting a soft light across the bed and Kathryn opened one eye and then the other as she slowly awakened. Morgan was in the same position she fell asleep in, nestled comfortably on her companion’s shoulder with a long arm wrapped lazily around Matthew and across Kathryn’s waist. Kathryn made no effort to move, she felt comfortable and safe and she wondered how it could feel so familiar. The sweet scent of baby assaulted her nostrils, she smiled as she took it in and leaned down to kiss Matthew on the cheek. Morgan stirred and stretched, adjusting her long frame she pulled Kathryn into her arms and nestling the baby between them, let out a contended, sleep filled sigh.

Kathryn allowed herself to enjoy the moment, and snuggling deeper into Morgan’s embrace, she closed her eyes and drifted off. She didn’t remember falling back to sleep, but the chirping of Morgan’s cell phone woke everyone at once.

Morgan sat up and leaned over Kathryn, snapping up the phone she flipped it open and lay back against the pillow.


Matthew let out a sleepy wail and Kathryn quickly picked him up, giving Morgan a knowing look the agent smiled and nodded and Kathryn slid out of bed, pulling a clean diaper from the dresser she began to change him.

"Hey Morg, it’s Bones. I hope I didn’t wake you, but I wanted to follow up with you."

"No problem Bones, I figured as much. I was thinking of running out to the cabin this morning, someone ought to take a look around. Maybe we can wrap up some of the missing persons cases in the area, give some families some closure. They may have recovered only four bodies but he had that place set up long before he took Agent Parker there and I’d like to see if there’s anything else."

"Good idea. Do you want me to send one of the guys up to meet you there?"

"Actually, Bones, I was about to ask Kathryn if she’d like to go along, maybe have a picnic at the lake. If you’d like to join us you’re more than welcome but I don’t want everyone traipsing around up there."

"Something you’re not telling me?"

"I had a dream last night, it sounds silly I know but my gut tells me he’s had this place set up for years." Morgan slid the covers off her legs and walked across the room. "I think we’re going to find bodies everywhere, if that dream was any indication."

"Like it was with Tessa huh?"

"Pretty much."

"I’ll meet you up there, say noon?"

"Sounds good, bring some shovels and pick axes."

"Anything else?"

"Your crime scene kit and plenty of evidence bags. We’ll probably need a lot of film too."

"Sure thing. See you then."

Morgan closed the phone and turned back to Kathryn. She was finishing up with Matthews diaper and Morgan smiled at the familiar scene.

"Want to go on a picnic with me?"

"From the sound of your conversation, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be much of a picnic. I don’t know if I can handle seeing dead people." Kathryn looked skeptically at her companion, trying to weigh the option of an afternoon spent in her company against the prospect of Morgan’s unpleasant task.

"I thought you and I could have the picnic before Bones got there and then if you wanted to leave you could. I can hitch a ride back with him."

"Sounds good. But please don’t dig anyone up while I’m there." Kathryn shivered noticeably.

Morgan grinned. "Don’t worry, Little One."


Henry greeted them cheerfully as they joined him for breakfast, the housekeeper had prepared a steaming stack of blueberry pancakes and Kathryn snatched one off his plate as she kissed him good morning, winking at Morgan as she popped it into her mouth.

Henry shook his head. "You haven’t changed a bit." He smiled at Morgan. "She used to do that when she was a little girl, never thought I was looking."

Kathryn giggled. "He’d spend a full five minutes checking for his missing pancake under all the plates on the table, while I sat there and laughed until my stomach hurt and the tears came." She hugged her father. "You always made everything fun, daddy."

Morgan smiled at the exchange and set Matthew’s carrier on the high-backed chair between them. The housekeeper bustled in and tousled Kathryn’s hair before asking for her breakfast order. She had taken care of the cooking and the cleaning since Kathryn was little and she was like family to the Peterson’s. She had ventured out early this morning and picked up some formula for Matthew and she set his breakfast on the table in front of the agent, delighted when she received a wide smile from him in return.

"He is precious," She said, touching her index finger to his nose. She noted with some surprise that the child looked nothing like Derek and had the added distinction of Morgan’s striking raven hair. The fates had been kind to him.

"I’ll have some of those pancakes, Greta," Kathryn said, "Toast, juice and black coffee." The housekeeper nodded, but stood steadfast near the young woman’s chair.

"Are you sure that’s it?" She winked at Morgan and the agent laughed.

Kathryn smiled. "Yeah, for now. But I wouldn’t put anything up until we’ve left the house and are about six miles out of town."

The housekeeper smiled and turned to Morgan. "Assuming there is anything left in the kitchen after she’s eaten, what would you like, my dear?"

"Scrambled eggs and toast sounds wonderful," Morgan replied. "And I’ll have some of that coffee if you’ve got it."

"Coming right up, ladies." Greta went back into the kitchen and Henry pushed his plate away and lit his pipe.

"Are you girls planning on staying for awhile?" He asked, hoping they wouldn’t leave too soon. He had been enjoying their company and it was nice to have someone around the house again.

Morgan thanked Greta as she set a steaming cup of black coffee in front of her. "I have a little follow up to do at the crime scene, but the case is close to being wrapped up and I’ve got some serious time off coming." She smiled at Kathryn. "I was hoping we could stay in Houston for a couple of weeks, it won’t take more than two or three days to finish up at the cabin and file all of my reports. I’d like to drive over and check in with Bubba before the week is over, too, but I thought Kathryn might like to show me around town next week and we could head for home after that."

Kathryn was beaming. She had been enjoying her time at home in the familiar surroundings, and the thought of spending some time with her father and having Morgan here with her for a couple of weeks was enticing indeed. She nodded eagerly. "That sounds great, Morgan. You alright with that, Daddy?"

Henry smiled broadly, and Morgan noticed the resemblance again between father and daughter. She had his smile and his all around good nature. "Nothing would make me happier," He said, and then added, "You might want to consider making a road trip home. Kathryn’s car is still here, and there were a few things she wanted to bring back."

"Sounds like a plan, then." Morgan wiped Matthew’s mouth.

Greta returned with several hot plates of food and Kathryn polished off the entire stack of pancakes. She looked casually over at Morgan’s plate, the scrambled eggs looked especially good but Greta had added a steaming cinnamon roll with extra icing to the agent’s order and she was considering another trip to the kitchen when Morgan raised her eyebrow and looked over at her little eating machine.

She picked up the roll, pulled it into two smaller pieces and leaned across the table.

"You want a bite, Little One?"

Kathryn opened her mouth to accept the offering and gently wrapped her fingers around Morgan’s wrist, Morgan felt the young woman’s tongue around the treat and she sucked Morgan’s fingers into her mouth with the pastry.

Kathryn looked into the blue eyes, she hadn’t been prepared for the feeling of Morgan’s fingers in her mouth and it seemed to be having a similar affect on the Agent. Kathryn blushed, slowly sucked the icing off Morgan’s fingers as they emerged from her mouth, resisting a sudden urge to lick between each one of them. Kathryn’s fingers were still wrapped loosely around the agent’s wrist, as Morgan moved her hand back to her side of the table, she let her own fingers slide between Kathryn’s for a moment, the feather light touch sending sparks through both of them.

Greta watched the exchange from the kitchen, smiling as she put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. She had only met Morgan once before, but she liked the statuesque agent immediately and she had never seen Kathryn so happy with anyone. She and Henry had talked about Kathryn’s amnesia and the heartbreak for Morgan that followed, and she was holding onto the hope that the young woman would give her heart to the agent a second time.

Kathryn felt a little self-conscious at her somewhat sensual action, it hadn’t started out that way but she went with what she felt at the moment, her anxiety relieved somewhat when she saw that Morgan’s reaction was far from negative. Matthew took any remaining pressure off the moment by spitting up some of his formula and Morgan lifted him from the carrier.

"I think some young man needs a little cleaning up," She said as she rose from the table. "I’ll be right back."

Henry smiled and taking a long puff from his pipe, got up and beckoned to his daughter.

"Kathryn, come to my study, I want to talk to you." Henry said as he walked away from the table.

Kathryn bit her lip. "Uh oh, this doesn't sound good."

She followed her father down the hall and into the wood paneled study. Taking a seat in front of his massive desk, she felt like a child again. Usually when she'd done something wrong it meant a trip to the study to 'talk' about it. Her father folded his hands in front of him and looked her square in the eye.

"Kathryn, what were you doing at the table?"

"What do you mean?" Kathryn wasn’t exactly sure what he was referring to, but she had an idea and she steeled herself for the lecture she figured was coming.

"That little display with Morgan."

"I…." Kathryn began, nervously. "uh… I'm sorry, Daddy, I didn't mean anything by it." Well, nothing you would actually approve of, She thought ruefully, wondering how she was going to find an explanation to satisfy him. What am I supposed to say, "By the way, Daddy, I can’t seem to get my mind off a certain drop-dead gorgeous FBI Agent and oh yeah, she’s a woman." I just don’t think that one’s going to fly, Kathryn sighed.

"Over the years I've made my feelings very clear about homosexuality and you know where I stand on the subject. During the last year I've come to change my viewpoints somewhat and I don't want to ever see you toying with Morgan like that. She cares about you a great deal and whether you remember that or not she does."

Kathryn sat in stunned silence. Was he father actually telling her it was okay to pursue the lanky agent sitting in her kitchen?

"I wasn't toying with her, Daddy." Kathryn had a hard time meeting her father’s eyes, partially because of her own shock at her straight-laced parent’s seeming approval of what had always been a very clear cut issue to him and partly because she couldn’t keep the delight off her face at the implications of said approval.

"You were flirting young lady. I know flirting when I see it. Make damn sure you know what you want before you hurt her. She's a special woman, Kathryn, and I think very highly of her. If you decide you want to pursue a relationship, you have my blessing but if you don't then don't play with her heart, it isn't fair."

Kathryn nodded her head; she was too shocked to speak. Inside she smiled and felt like jumping over his desk and into his arms. Her father approved of Morgan! Wait, did he say she cared about me? Kathryn tilted her head and tried to remember just what he'd said. She remembers even if I don't. Was there something between them? Had they been lovers? Is that why Morgan stayed so close to her? She continued to sit in the chair thinking, long after her father left the study. She'd have to find some way to work this new information into a conversation with Morgan, without embarrassing herself in the process.

She practically danced out of the study and met Morgan in the kitchen.

"Hi," Kathryn said, matching the agent’s beaming smile with one of her own. "How’s handsome doing?" She grinned as Morgan placed the baby into her arms.

"Much better," Morgan said. "I packed a diaper bag and he’s ready to roll. We should probably get started so we have a little time to relax before duty calls. Greta insisted on putting lunch together so if you want to grab your swimsuit and a change of clothes, we can hit the road."

Kathryn kissed Matthew and handed him back to the agent. "Sounds great, I’ll be right back then." She bounded up the stairs two at a time and threw a towel, her swimsuit, and a change of clothes into a bag. She ran a brush through her cropped locks, and, finally satisfied with the result, joined Morgan on the porch. "I’m ready."

"Alright, let’s head out then." She waved to Henry. "See you later, Henry."

"Have a good time girls." He smiled and waved as they drove off.


Morgan drove to the lake, enjoying the day with her family. Matthew slept peacefully in his car seat, lulled by the steady drone of the vehicle as the miles flew past. Kathryn kept up a steady stream of chatter, and Morgan found herself tuning in and out as her mind wandered to the events of the morning although she loved the sound of the smaller woman’s voice, finding it comforting.

She tried to concentrate on what Kathryn was saying but found herself replaying breakfast over and over in her mind. She couldn’t decide if Kathryn had been teasing her; they had an excellent rapport with one another and it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary. Yet she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more involved. Kathryn had a mischievous glint in her eye when Morgan first put the pastry into her mouth, but her expression had clearly changed in the seconds that followed and Morgan thought that perhaps she saw desire reflected in the beautiful green orbs. She knew she had it written all over her own face, but she quickly put the mask back up and thanked her lucky stars that Matthew had chosen that particular moment to reject his breakfast.

Chapter 17: Digging Up Bones

Lake Conroe came into sight and Morgan guided the car down the now well-worn path to the cabin. It had been sectioned off with yellow crime scene tape and she drove past the structure and parked as close as she could get to the water. From this vantage point, the cabin could not be seen but they had a magnificent view of the shoreline and the surrounding woods.

Kathryn jumped out as soon as the car stopped moving, looking in every direction at once.

"God, Morgan, this is just gorgeous. I’m so glad you asked me to come along." She grinned.

Morgan smiled. "I thought you might like it." She unbuckled the baby from the car seat and shouldered the diaper bag. Kathryn grabbed the picnic basket and a blanket from the back seat and spread it on the ground near the water. Matthew stirred and stretched but went back to sleep, contentment written all over the tiny features. Morgan laid him gently on the blanket next to Kathryn and set the basket between them.

"So what’s for lunch?" Kathryn asked with an impish grin.

"It’s anybody’s guess," Morgan replied. "Greta insisted on doing everything herself but she assured me we wouldn’t go hungry." The agent began to unpack the basket, grinning as she extracted some homemade fried chicken, country gravy, and a loaf of cornbread that was still warm. At the bottom of the basket there were paper plates, plastic forks, a chocolate cake and a bottle of wine with 2 long-stemmed glasses. She laughed as she removed the remaining item.

Kathryn looked at her quizzically and she pulled out a small glass vase, fastened upright to the side of the woven basket and containing two red roses and a couple of pink carnations.

Kathryn grinned. "That woman thinks of everything." She leaned over to smell the fragrant bouquet. "Mmmm, that’s nice."

They spent the next two hours lying on the blanket, fussing over Matthew and getting to know each other again. Conversation came easily to both of them, and Morgan marveled at how everything just seemed to fall into place naturally. Well, she thought, Maybe not everything but… She was determined to let the chips fall where they would and she wasn’t about to jeopardize what they had spent the last several weeks building. She still didn’t know if Kathryn’s feelings went beyond friendship.

Kathryn lay back on the blanket and closed her eyes, the day was turning out quite well, even though she still wasn’t entirely sure what Morgan thought about her actions at breakfast. They talked about a multitude of subjects over lunch but Kathryn could not think of a single way to broach the subject that was uppermost in her mind, and she decided not to risk ruining what they now had by bringing up something she could be completely wrong about. She could not forget the momentary look on the agent’s face at the breakfast table, but it wasn’t enough to instill that much bravery in her. She decided to take it one day at a time and see what opportunities might present themselves.

"Ready for dessert yet?" Morgan asked, cutting off two generous portions of the chocolate cake and passing one to Kathryn.

"You bet. This smells wonderful."

"It looks homemade." Morgan remarked, dipping her finger in the frosting and licking it clean.

"Undoubtedly," Kathryn said, "Greta has always made just about every meal from scratch. I grew up rather spoiled if you ask me."

"You’ve got frosting on your shirt."

"What?" As Kathryn looked down, Morgan reached over and put a large glob of the chocolate topping on the smaller woman’s nose.

‘I’m sorry, my mistake." Morgan said teasingly. "It’s actually on your nose."

Kathryn grinned and wiped off the creamy substance with her fingers, slowly crawling across the blanket until she reached the taller woman. "I think your perception has been greatly altered, Agent Sumners," she said, her voice dropping an octave and sending a familiar shiver through Morgan.

"I believe it’s actually on your nose."

Kathryn pounced, but it was a mismatch from the beginning. Morgan easily fended off the smaller woman’s attempts and held her arm at its full length. Kathryn put all her weight into it but to no avail. The fact that she was now laughing hysterically didn’t help her either. Morgan grinned and appeared to look nonchalant, rolling her eyes and pretending to file her nails as Kathryn continued her futile assault.

"Say "Uncle"." Morgan tried to stare her down.

"No way."

"I have ways of making you talk." Morgan gave her best mock stern look.

"I’ll bet you do," Kathryn said aloud, blushing the instant it left her mouth.

Morgan raised her eyebrows and bit back her response. The frosting still clung to Kathryn’s fingers and Morgan leaned over and captured the smaller hand, bringing her wrist to her mouth and proceeding to lick the stunned woman’s fingers clean. She watched Kathryn’s face carefully but the young woman was busy trying to keep her pounding heart under control. Having Morgan’s fingers in her own mouth was one thing, but this action by the agent put Kathryn on sensory overload and she felt it from the tips of her fingers to her toes.

Finishing with a triumphant smile, Morgan winked and added, "Apparently I also have ways of rendering you speechless." She tousled the short hair affectionately, unable to maintain eye contact. She knew if she held her gaze any longer she would have lowered her to the blanket and kissed her senseless.

A shout from Bones gave them both a needed reprieve.

"Hey Morg, Hi Kathryn." He made his way toward them down the gentle incline.

"Hey Bones. Is it noon already?"

"Actually its after 1, I got a late start. Sorry about that."

"Not a problem. We were just enjoying the nice day."

Bones had knelt down on the blanket and he ran his large hand gently across the top of Matthew’s head. The baby was awake now and he focused his huge green eyes on the newcomer. "May I?"

"Of course," Morgan answered as the older man picked him up and cradled him in his arms.

"Hey Buddy," Bones cooed softly.

Morgan smiled. Her entire team had a soft spot for her son, but she knew Bones was especially attached to him and she enjoyed watching them together.

Bones smiled at Kathryn. "How are you doing?"

"Really well, Bones, thanks," Kathryn answered. "I’m missing about ten years of my life and that’s taken some getting used to, but some things have been coming back to me slowly, others I don’t know if I’ll ever remember." She sighed. "I’m taking one day at a time but so far I’ve had some really good days." She smiled at Morgan and the agent winked, it was times like these that Morgan wanted to pull her into her arms and never let go.

Bones put Matthew back on the blanket.

"I’ll be up at the cabin when you’re ready, Morg. I brought a little help with me, figured we could use one extra pair of hands." He grinned as Morgan watched Bubba’s Crown Victoria pull into the drive. "Kathryn, take care." He walked back to the crime scene to meet up with the chief.

"Do you mind taking the baby back with you, Little One? I’m not sure how long this is going to take."

"I’d love to take him back, Morgan. No problem at all. He’s got a few years yet before he can handle a shovel anyway." She grinned.


"You want Greta to save you some dinner?"

Morgan shook her head. "Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. Hopefully I’ll be back early and maybe I can talk a certain blond into taking me out somewhere for dessert."

Kathryn laughed. "Any certain blond, or do you have a preference?"

"Why, do you know anyone who’d be interested in being my escort?"

"I think I could probably talk about half of Houston into it."

"You could talk about half of Houston into anything," Morgan said with a playful smirk.

"Hey!" Kathryn swatted her on the arm.

Morgan chuckled. "If I want to get back then I guess I’d better get started."

They loaded everything in the car and when Matthew was safely strapped in his car seat, Morgan tossed the keys to her companion. "I’ll see you soon, okay?"

"Okay." Kathryn felt strangely empty as she watched Morgan walk away. She missed her already and she hadn’t even made it back to the cabin. Morgan sensed her watching and stopped, turning around she raised an eyebrow.

"You okay Little One?"

"Right as rain," Kathryn waved. "Go on, now, I’d like to see you sometime before midnight." She grinned.


It would have been so easy to tell her I love her, Morgan thought, as she turned and walked toward the cabin. And it took all my strength not to hug her goodbye. She sighed and joined the guys in the yard.

Kathryn drove the car down the rutted drive, waving goodbye to Morgan and the boys as she went past. Morgan watched her until the Mercedes was out of sight. Bones put his hand on her shoulder.

"How’s everything going, Morg? Are you doing alright?"

"Hanging in there, Bones."

Kathryn drove back to the house, her thoughts racing faster than the afternoon traffic. She was already thinking about her evening with Morgan and she was only five minutes out of Conroe.

Get hold of yourself, Kathryn, She chided as she drove. She flipped on the radio, hoping some music would take her mind off the situation but she found her thoughts drifting back to the spectacular woman at the cabin. They had become close in a relatively short amount of time, but there was such a familiarity between them that Kathryn couldn’t help but wonder what their relationship had been like before the accident. She still didn’t feel confident enough to bring it up in conversation, but there was no mistaking the fact that there was, at least, an attraction between them. For Kathryn, the "attraction" had turned into so much more, she knew she was falling in love and trying to deny it would be like trying to win a shouting contest with a whisper.

She remembered her father’s words from earlier that day and wondered what it was that had caused him to change his opinion on homosexuality. Henry had always been a fair man, willing to listen to reason, but his feelings on that particular subject had all but been set in stone for as long as she could recall. He obviously knew that Morgan was a lesbian, had he changed his mind because of her? Kathryn couldn’t reconcile it in her own mind. After all, Henry loved Tracey like a daughter and he had always known about her sexual preference. That hadn’t changed his opinion any. She knew that her father thought a lot of the agent; perhaps they had had a conversation about her personal life. But why would they? And how did he know her so well? Had she been one of Kathryn’s close friends? She had never seen her father take to someone like that, well, other than Tracey of course. She laughed to herself. Besides Kathryn, her father’s two favorite people in the world were gay.

Kathryn pulled into the drive, smiling as her father waved to her from the porch. He looked content and she was glad to see that he had recovered so well from his injuries. She didn’t know what she would have done if she had lost him.

Unbuckling Matthew, she cradled him in her arms and stepped onto the porch, leaning over she kissed Henry on the cheek and deposited the baby into his outstretched arms.

"How’s my boy today?" He pulled his grandson against his chest and smiled up at his daughter.

"And how about my girl?" He winked. "Did you have a nice time at the lake?"

Kathryn grinned. "It was beautiful." She smiled as Greta emerged from the house and she hugged the housekeeper. "The food was wonderful, Greta, thank you. The flowers were a nice touch."

Greta laughed. "I figured that might be a nice surprise," She said, hugging Kathryn back fiercely. "It’s so nice to have you home, dear. I was a little worried about you for awhile, but you were in good hands with Tracey and Morgan."

At the mention of the agent’s name, Kathryn’s eyes lit up. "I owe them both a lot. Tracey saved my life, and Morgan…" She tried to think of a word that would sum the agent up.

"Morgan is your life," Henry said to himself. "Morgan, and Matthew."

The baby woke up and fussed, Kathryn reached over, picked him off his grandfather’s lap, and grinned. "I think someone needs a diaper change."

"Don’t look at me," Henry laughed. "I’ve been dry all day."

"Daddy!" Kathryn giggled as she took her son in the house.


Morgan turned from the men and scanned the woods around the cabin. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for and hoped she could get a feel for where to start. Picking up the metal detector she forged ahead with Bones and Bubba following behind.

"Alex said Derek was gone three hours when he buried those girls. We found them about half a mile from the cabin; they were all buried close together. It stands to reason that he’s done this before and either the people were never reported missing or their files were closed due to lack of evidence."

Morgan explained to Bubba. The chief hadn’t been on the scene when Alex was recovered or when the bodies were found. The F.B.I. had taken over the case and closed the scene from all but Bureau personnel.

"I reckon we got us quite a few open cases for missin persons. I’d hafta look back through all tha files but I know there’s probably fifty or more."

Morgan stopped as the metal detector beeped. Slowly she ran the device over the ground until she pinpointed the exact spot. The ground was hard from the recent drought and she took the pickaxe from Bones. She dug for half an hour before she found the metal picked up by the detecting device.

A gold watch still attached to a wrist emerged from the hard packed dirt. Carefully the trio dug the rest of the bones from the ground, photographed and placed them in an evidence bag. Bones couldn’t tell the sex from the bones without further examination, but decided to wait until he had the evidence in the F.B.I. lab.

Morgan wiped her sweat soaked brow and leaned against the shovel handle. "I think he buried them in groups. The ones we’ll find here were his first kills. Without knowing how many we’re looking for we could be here for days digging up these woods. I think we should recruit more of Bubba’s team out here with metal detectors and have them search; we can mark any possible hits with flags for digging. We can get a second team to do the digging. The three of us will photograph, tag and bag any evidence we find."

"I’ll git my boys on down here. Anythin else we might be a needin?"

"We need a sifting box for teeth and anything else too small to notice in the dirt."

"Ayup. I’ll git right on it."

Morgan and Bones continued finding and marking sites until Bubba returned. An hour later his men joined the search, by seven they had found over two hundred possible sites. The men digging had yet to find a decoy spot, all the dig sites so far had turned up human remains. Morgan knew they were going to need several more teams to dig up the surrounding areas.

By eight o’clock she’d decided to call it a night. They’d uncovered and bagged twenty skeletal remains and the men were exhausted. The Texas heat was unbearable and no one had prepared adequately for the task at hand. Morgan told the men to pack it in and take the next day off to regroup and decide on the best course of action. They would meet back at the cabin at sunrise the day after tomorrow to begin again.

She wanted Bones to take a closer look at the bones to make sure they weren’t digging up an abandoned cemetery, but she was fairly confident they weren’t. The jewelry and the lack of coffins made her suspect it was indeed Derek’s playground. Some of the fatal injuries were readily apparent, others more obscure, but nothing would hide from the forensic pathologist once Bones had the remains in his lab.


It was after 9 when Bones pulled his truck into the Peterson’s driveway; he waited until Morgan unloaded her stuff and watched until she was safely inside the house before driving back to the hotel for a long soak in the Jacuzzi.

Kathryn was sitting in a large oak rocking chair in the living room, cradling a sleeping Matthew in her arms and rocking him slowly back and forth, humming a song that Morgan seemed to remember from her own childhood. She walked noiselessly into the room and leaned over the smaller woman’s shoulder, placing a kiss first on Matthew’s head and then, without thinking, on Kathryn’s.

Morgan froze. Damn, I didn’t mean to do that.

Kathryn looked up and smiled. "Hiya."

"Hey," Morgan said, unsure of what to do. The blond hadn’t said anything about the kiss, accepting it, perhaps, as natural affection stemming from their friendship. Morgan picked Matthew up and hugged him to her chest. She wanted to take them both into her arms, and she inadvertently let out a frustrated sigh.

"You okay, Angel?"

That’s the second time I’ve done that, Kathryn thought, not sure if she wanted to meet the agent’s eyes. Morgan had been receptive to it the first time, she had even said that she missed hearing it, but she hadn’t said anything else, and for all Kathryn knew, it could have been a nickname from someone Morgan had once been close to.

"Yeah, I'm just tired." She adjusted the sleeping baby in her arms. "Do you mind if we stay in tonight? I’m beat."

Kathryn smiled. "Not at all. Why don’t you let me run you a hot bath?"

"I’d like that," Morgan replied. "Every muscle between my neck and my toes are on strike."

She followed the blond up the stairs.

"Looks like you could use a good massage too then," Kathryn said thoughtfully.

"Probably," Morgan answered. "You volunteering?"

"You bet."

"Well you got yourself a deal, Little One, although I don’t know how much of a deal it is for you. You’re the one doing all the work."

"Yeah but we’re going shopping tomorrow and you get to make it up to me." Kathryn winked.

Morgan groaned. "I should have known."

Besides, Kathryn thought, this is going to take all the self-discipline I can muster. The tall agent was already stripping off her clothes and Kathryn tried not to stare at the perfectly sculpted body before her. Morgan was lanky but muscular, obviously physically strong but in the softest way imaginable. Kathryn filled the tub with warm water, and added a few of the bath oil beads Morgan had brought with her, certain that she might need to come back later and run an ice cold one for herself.

Morgan lounged in the tub, enjoying the heat circulating around her tired muscles. The huge bathroom opened up into the sleeping area, and Kathryn and Matthew lounged on the bed as the two women conversed back and forth. Morgan finished bathing and arched her back, leaning back to wet her hair for washing and causing her nipples to harden in the cooler air. Kathryn swallowed audibly. This was going to be harder than she thought.

She closed her eyes and put her head down on the end of the bed, trying to unwind from the day and to get her hammering heart under control. She thought briefly about sleeping on the couch, but she couldn’t think of a good excuse for it and she didn’t want to send Morgan any type of message that may have indicated that she wasn’t interested. Not to mention the fact that the couch was the last place she wanted to be. Morgan put a hand gently on her shoulder, and Kathryn sat up with a start.

"Sorry, Little One, I didn’t mean to startle you." She smiled. "I think you drifted off."

Kathryn started to answer, but her response died in her throat as she noticed that the agent had deposited her naked form on the bed next to her and was lying on her stomach, stretched out the length of the bed.

My God, Kathryn thought, she is so beautiful.

Morgan was asleep by the time Kathryn’s skilled fingers had finished working out all the knots in the agent’s shoulders and back, and Kathryn smiled as she heard the soft snores drifting up from Morgan’s pillow. She had been focused on her task, but allowed herself a few moments of contemplating how it would feel to caress the soft skin beneath her in a less platonic way.

Kathryn, you really have to get hold of yourself, She sighed. She lay down next to the agent, securing Matthew safely between them and turned out the light. Gently, she reached over and ran her fingers through Morgan’s hair, marveling that the raven mane was as soft as the rest of her body. The taller woman shifted in her sleep, and Kathryn drew back, hoping the touch hadn’t awakened the exhausted agent. Morgan rolled onto her side and pulled Kathryn and Matthew into her body, releasing a contented sigh she was quiet once again. Kathryn grinned, she loved the feeling of being in Morgan’s arms and the agent did this almost every night. Kathryn snuggled in, laying her head on Morgan’s shoulder and stroking the top of her son’s head as he grabbed a fistful of her nightshirt. Morgan threw a long leg over Kathryn’s shorter ones and Kathryn sighed at the delightful feeling. She felt safe and protected and…. loved. Loved, that’s it; Kathryn thought as she pushed Morgan’s bangs off her forehead and gently played with the shining strands. I always feel that way around her. It’s almost as if…this is where I belong, and I know it, I just can’t explain it. Sleeping next to her like this feels as natural as breathing.

With a thousand unspoken questions running through her mind, the blond drifted off to sleep.

Morgan awoke first as she felt the baby was stirring and she opened her eyes to find his little fists wrapped in her long hair. Kathryn had her arm around them both, and they were a jumble of legs and arms and blankets, while half of the pillows had found their way to the floor sometime during the night.

Something a little familiar about this scene, Morgan thought to herself as she slid out from the pile. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Kathryn grumbled at the loss of her partner and Morgan leaned down and kissed the top of her head affectionately, pulling the rest of the covers off her body.

"Come on sleepyhead, surely you aren’t going to waste precious shopping time lounging in the sack. I hear Foley’s is having a sale."

"Sale?" Kathryn mumbled into the mattress.

Morgan laughed out loud. "Gotcha." She threw a pillow at the blond. "Come on babe, we’ve got a full day ahead of us." Morgan scooped up the baby and pulled off his diaper, Kathryn dragged herself out of the bed and into the bathroom, emerging ten minutes later wide awake and ready to go. Morgan had Matthew dressed in the tiniest pair of jeans and work boots Kathryn had ever seen, complete with a matching shirt and socks.

"Morgan, he is so adorable," She exclaimed, "Where in the world did you find an outfit like that?"

"Mildred gave it to us when you were…" Morgan stopped. "When you were…in the hospital. She bought him a bunch of things, wanted to do something nice." It sounded lame, but Morgan didn’t think Kathryn was ready to hear about her own baby shower just yet. She held her breath for the usual inquisitive answer and was relieved when the blond just smiled.

"That was sweet of her, I know you were going through a rough time."

Morgan nodded and changed the subject to breakfast and they made their way downstairs.

That was a little too close for comfort, Sumners, She scolded herself. Geez, you gotta learn to watch your mouth.

Kathryn’s mind was racing, had Morgan said "Mildred gave it to us?" Us as in you and me? Us as in, there is a you and me? Okay Kathryn, that’s gotta be just wishful thinking on your part, if she was the least bit interested in you, you’d know it by now…. right? Still, I was sure that’s what she said….

They quickly finished breakfast and made their way to the Galleria, and it was late afternoon before Kathryn declared the shopping trip a success. They had eaten lunch at a small outdoor café and spent some leisurely time walking around downtown Houston, taking in the interesting architecture of the buildings and watching the tourists. Morgan was pleased with the easygoing pace of the day and they took their time driving home, enjoying the gorgeous sunset as they drove along the back roads.

Greta greeted them at the door, and helped carry the packages upstairs as Henry took his grandson from Morgan.

"Do you mind?" He said with a grin. "Haven’t seen the little guy all day." Henry winked. "It’s that male bonding thing."

Morgan laughed. "Feel free, Henry. " She took the older man aside. "In fact, I was going to ask you to do me a huge favor, if you don’t mind, that is."

"Anything Morgan, you know that. What can I do for you?"

"Well," Morgan said, smiling as she watched Kathryn and Greta holding up all the new baby clothes and making a fuss, "Tomorrow I have to go back up to the cabin. We’re not quite finished up there so I don’t want to make any other plans for the day. The following day I don’t have anything scheduled and there’s someplace I’d like to take Kathryn. I was wondering if you’d mind looking after Matthew."

Henry put his hand on the agent’s shoulder. "I’d love to spend the day with my grandson," Henry said enthusiastically. "And I think it would do you girls a world of good to spend a little time alone together."

"Thanks Henry, I appreciate it."


Bones arrived just as the family was sitting down to supper. Greta fixed him a plate and he joined the group at the table. Once the meal was polished off and the table cleared he joined Morgan in Henry’s study to go over what he’d found in the remains.

"It’s not an abandoned cemetery and it’s not an Indian burial ground. The remains are definitely human and they aren’t that old. I’d say within the last ten years. All the victims were murdered though not all the same way. I think we need to tear that cabin apart and see if Derek left anything of these victims like he did in the trunk at his parents house."

"There were things in that trunk that didn’t match any of the victims we’ve found so far, perhaps it came from these."

"Maybe, but there wasn’t enough stuff in there to account for all the bodies we’ve dug up so far and we both know there’s more out there. We may never find all of them."

"Bubba is going over all the missing persons cases for the area and he’s asking for all the cases from neighboring precincts too. Let’s try to identify as many victims as we can and we’ll turn the rest over to him."

"Sounds like a plan, I’m going to head back to the hotel, I’ll see you first thing in the morning."

Morgan waited as Bones played with Matthew and then showed him out. She wearily climbed the stairs and quickly showered before joining Kathryn in the bed. She was asleep before her head hit the pillows; thankfully it was a deep and dreamless sleep.

Chapter 18: Writings on the Wall

Morgan woke with a heavy weight on her chest, as she shifted the weight moved with her. Reaching up in the dark she felt the small body on top of her and smiled. Kathryn had shifted position until she was using Morgan as a pillow. Morgan leaned down and found the soft lips with her own. Allowing only a brief contact she kissed the woman who held her heart.

Kathryn shifted slightly and pressed into Morgan, returning the kiss in her sleep. She sighed as she laid her head on Morgan’s shoulder and snuggled closer.

"I love you my Angel."

"I love you too Little One. Come back to me."

"I never left you."

"We need you Kathryn, my heart needs you."

"I’m right here."

"All the way Kathryn, come back to us all the way. I need you and your son needs you. We need you to remember us, remember our life."

"I didn’t forget. I’m not ready yet. I’m still scared."

"He’s dead Kathryn, he’ll never hurt you again."

"Give me time, I’ll be back."

"Take all the time you need, I’ll be here waiting."

"Kiss me again."

Morgan complied with the sleepy request and kissed Kathryn with all the love she held inside. She knew the conversation wouldn’t be remembered in the light of day but she held fast to the promise Kathryn made. Knowing the subconscious never slept and didn’t lie she knew Kathryn would be coming back to her and the ray of hope offered in the dead of night shone like a beacon into her heart.


Kathryn caressed the flesh beneath her hands, running up the sides of the tanned skin beneath her fingers she tangled her fingers in Morgan’s hair as the Agent kissed her way across the blond’s stomach. Hands cupped the firm breasts and she sighed as a warm mouth enclosed a taunt nipple sucking gently as Morgan’s tongue ran circles around the hardened bud. Wrapping her legs around Morgan’s waist she surged toward the body above her trying to press herself closer to the object of her desire.

Morgan kissed her way to the other waiting breast and encircled it with her mouth as the nipple rose in expectation. She lavished it with her tongue and lips before kissing her way down the soft flesh until she reached the juncture of Kathryn’s thighs. Gently pushing the legs away from her waist she continued her journey as Kathryn’s moans of encouragement spurred her on. She had no intentions of stopping until Kathryn weakly pushed her away and held out her arms.

Sliding into the waiting arms Morgan kissed Kathryn again and lay back against the cool sheets. She loved this part the best, both of them sated and wrapped in each other’s arms. The sigh of contentment that escaped her lips brought her to consciousness and she awoke with Kathryn in her arms, just a dream. She thought, but what a nice dream it was. Gently she extracted herself from the sleeping form and went to shower.


Morgan arrived at the cabin half an hour before sunrise. She expected Bones but she was surprised to see Bubba standing on the porch having coffee with her forensic pathologist. She walked to the porch and took the steaming cup from Bones’s hand, inhaling the scent of the freshly brewed coffee before taking a sip.

"Now I feel human. Morning Bubba, I didn’t expect to see you until later."

"I reckon I kin handle a shovel as well as anybody and I might as well help out."

"Thanks. Do you have the keys to the cabin?"

"Ayup." Bubba pulled the ring from his pocket and handed them to Morgan.

"Has anyone else noticed that this place looks a lot smaller on the inside than it does from the outside?"

Bubba and Bones shook their heads but walked off the porch to have a look themselves. They both saw it at the same time and looked at each other in astonishment. "How the hell did we miss that?" Bones asked.

"I dunno, but it’s there alright."

The men joined Morgan in the house and stood looking at the back wall of the hall. "Found it huh boys?"

"How did you see it?"

"When we were digging, I saw the windows but didn’t remember any of the windows in the house facing this way, when I tried to look through them they were blacked out." Morgan began running her hands along the wall and the men soon joined her. "I figure there’s a door here somewhere, we just have to figure out how to open it."

Morgan found the almost invisible seam in the wall and pushed against it. The spring-loaded door opened inward and the group shown their flashlights into the murky darkness. Morgan found the light switch first and flipped it. The room was flooded with light from the rows of overhead fluorescent lighting.

The trio turned in stunned silence and took in the contents of the large room.


Kathryn turned over in her sleep seeking the warmth she knew should be there, not finding it she sat up and looked around. Matthew was sleeping peacefully beside her, but Morgan was gone. Yawning and stretching she padded into the bathroom. The note was tucked into a corner of the mirror and she inhaled the scent of Morgan’s perfume hanging in the air before plucking the cream colored paper from the mirror.

Good morning Little One,

I hope you slept well. I’ll be at the crime scene for most of the day. If you need me call my cell phone. I’ll try to be home in time for dinner but if not save me some food.



Kathryn folded the note and laid it on the counter. Another boring day by herself, she missed the Agent already and had hoped they’d have more time to spend together. Oh well, she thought, I guess I’ll just have to amuse myself.

Showered and dressed she took Matthew downstairs and greeted her father as Greta placed a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast in front of her. The housekeeper took the baby from her and held him as he drank his formula.

"He’s almost out of milk Kathryn. Do you want me to pick some up for him or do you want to do it?"

Kathryn jumped at the chance to have something to do for the day. "I’ll pick it up for him. I think I’ll take him shopping. I don’t know how long we’ll be here but he needs some new clothes and a stroller." Kathryn looked at her father as he smiled at the baby. "Do you want to go with me Daddy?"

"I’d love to Little One."

"Great, we’ll make a day of it."

Henry and Greta groaned at the same time and he laughed at the sympathetic look the housekeeper gave him.

"I don’t figure you’ll be home for lunch, but I’ll have dinner on the table at seven. If you can’t get her to stop before then call and let me know."

Henry groaned again and dropped his head in his hands. "What have I gotten myself into?"

Kathryn punched him in the shoulder good-naturedly and laughed with them.

"You’ll have fun."

"I’m sure I will Little One, I’ve missed having you around for the last year."

Kathryn kissed his head. "I’m sure I’ve missed you too Daddy."

Kathryn made short work of the Babies ‘R Us store and Henry had to remind her many times that Matthew would outgrow most of the clothes before he ever got a chance to wear them and she should buy larger sizes for the future.

She couldn’t believe how much fun she was having shopping for someone else’s baby. She had a shopping cart loaded with clothes and toys within the first hour of shopping.


Morgan walked to the far wall and stared at the names carefully written in black magic marker. She recognized one of the names as the woman Bubba said was his girlfriend. He’d kept a tally of people he’d killed on the wall. She began counting the names and quit when she reached a hundred. He had carefully listed the names, dates and locations he’d taken them from. They’d thought his girlfriend was the first but there were nine names before hers on the wall. Doing the math in her head she found he’d killed his first victim when he was fifteen. She stopped the men before they touched anything and asked Bones to get the CSI kit from the car.

Bones returned with the kit and passed out gloves to everyone. Taking the camera from the case he checked the film and handed it to Morgan. She started snapping pictures as the men laid rulers beside the evidence for her.

It took her two hours just to photograph the room, after she finished they began sifting through the storage bins he had on one wall. All the drawers were labeled with a victim’s name and each contained one item they assumed came from the person.

The pictures were the hardest part for Morgan, especially when she found one of Kathryn. She had erased the memory of how Kathryn looked when he beat her; now holding the picture in her hands it came flooding back. Holding her limp and beaten body in her arms, feeling her take her last breath. All the pain she went through as Kathryn lay in the hospital and no one could assure her that she would ever come out of the coma.

Morgan placed the picture back in the drawer with Kathryn’s name on it and walked from the room. Pulling her cell phone from her pants she dialed the familiar number.


"Whatcha doing Little One?"

"Daddy and I are shopping."

"Poor Henry. Are you at least letting him rest between stores?"

"Only when he whines."

"How’s Matthew?"

"He's sleeping right now. I bought him a stroller so we didn’t have to carry him all day."

"We should have thought of that yesterday, I didn’t realize how heavy he would be after shopping with you all day."

"Haha, you should go into comedy, you’d be rich. How are things where you are?"

"I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it does. I don’t want to keep you, just wanted to check in."

"You’re not keeping me Angel. What’s wrong?"

Morgan sighed. How do I tell you that I just wanted to hear your voice, that you ground me when I feel out of sorts? That just talking to you puts things back in perspective because you are the one constant in my life?

"Nothing, I’m okay, just a little shaken by what I’ve seen. I really thought I’d seen it all, but this just keeps getting worse by the minute."

"Why don’t you go home?"

"I can’t, this is my case and I have to see it through."

"Do you want me to come out there?"

"As much as I’d love to see you, I don’t want you to see this. I better get back inside, I’ll see you at home tonight"

"If you need me, just call. I’ll be here okay?"

"Okay Little One. I… "


I love you, Morgan thought to herself. Aloud she said, "I appreciate that."

"You’re welcome."

Morgan closed the phone and pulled her gloves back on. She squared her shoulders and walked back into the room.

Bubba and Bones were cataloging the evidence and placing it in evidence bags. Eventually the items would be returned to the families of the victims and Morgan picked up the necklace from the drawer with Kathryn’s name on it. She’d given Kathryn the necklace for Christmas and didn’t notice it was missing. Derek must have taken it from her when he’d shot her at the house. Kathryn wouldn’t remember it and she didn’t want her to have it until Kathryn regained her memories. Opening the locket she passed a gloved finger over the pictures inside. Kathryn looked so happy holding Matthew and the picture of Morgan, though never her favorite had been the one Kathryn picked.

Snapping the locket shut she placed it in the bag and handed it to Bones.

"You doing okay Morg?"

"He has her name on that wall twice. He almost took her from me Bones."

"But he didn’t."

"He was so close."

"Close doesn’t count."

"I hate ya interrup ya’ll but maybe ya’ll oughta take a look see at this." He pointed at what appeared to be a blueprint. Morgan took the rolled paper from Bubba and spread it on the floor. The men took a side and held the edges down to keep the paper from rolling up again. Craning their necks they studied it with Morgan.

"Sonofabitch!" Morgan exclaimed. "He drew us a friggin map!"

"Looks like it. Do these X’s mean what I think they do?" Bones asked as he leaned over the map of the woods and cabin. Derek had placed X’s all over the surrounding area.

Morgan placed her finger on one of the X’s. "This is the first one we uncovered. She tapped each X that they’d found a body. "I’d say it’s a map of burial locations."

"Sick bastard."

"Yeah he was, but this will make it easier for us to find everyone. It’s up to date too. Look here." Morgan pointed. "These are the newest victims."

Morgan photographed the map then taking some pushpins from a drawer in Derek’s desk she took the map outside and tacked it to the back wall of the cabin. Calling one of the deputies over she explained the map and told him to have his men concentrate their search in those areas.

When Morgan left the cabin it was almost midnight. The Deputies had set up klieg lights and continued to dig in shifts. They had uncovered almost all the burial sites outlined on the map and Bones would stay on for a few more weeks to help with the preliminary findings. He would have to send the skulls to a forensic odontologist for positive identification on the teeth, but for the most part their job was done here.

Wearily she climbed the stairs to the room she was sharing with Kathryn. It had been a long three weeks and she was glad it was drawing to a close.

Morgan quietly pushed open the door. Kathryn was asleep, but she had left the bathroom light on for her companion and the agent quickly showered and put on a clean t-shirt before crawling into the bed. Kathryn stirred and Morgan slid carefully in behind her, wrapping her arms around the smaller woman and the baby, she leaned over and kissed them both before joining them in their dreams.

Morgan was up first, and was brushing her teeth by the time the younger woman stumbled into the bathroom, rubbing her eyes and yawning.


"Good morning Angel," Kathryn said, instantly awake. "Did you just get in?"

"Nope, I got back around 1, but you two were sleeping like the dead." She tousled the short blond hair. "You’re in luck, too, we’re about finished at the lake so I’m all yours. I figured we could head for home tomorrow morning. Bones is going to stay down here for the next few weeks and sort things out with Bubba and his team, they’ll be in touch by phone but I’ve done all I can."

Kathryn grinned. "How about we start with breakfast and go from there?"

"You got it." They finished dressing and joined Henry and Greta at the table. The four talked leisurely over bacon and eggs, Matthew making the usual rounds and ending up in Henry’s lap.

"What’s on the agenda for the day, girls?"

"I thought we might drive down to Kemah," Morgan said. "It’s right on the waterfront and one of the guys on Bubba’s team told me they have a couple of incredible seafood restaurants. Have you ever been there, Henry?"

"Only once, back when Kathryn’s mother was still alive. It’s a quaint little town, I think you’ll enjoy it." He shifted the baby in his arms. "And if you twist my arm a little, I might be coerced into spending the day with my little buddy here."

Morgan laughed. "I think you’d both enjoy it." She knew Henry loved having his family around him again, and he had gotten especially attached to his grandson in the last three weeks. It would be hard on all of them when they left in the morning.

It was almost 11 when Morgan pulled the Mercedes into a parking spot near the waterfront. Boats drifted lazily in the bay, a small but busy marina was teeming with activity and they watched as a ferryboat made it’s way along. They spent the afternoon walking along the shoreline, enjoying the day and wandering through the various nautical shops.

"You hungry yet, Little One?" Morgan looked at her watch, it was after 6 already.

"Getting there," Kathryn said, grinning. "I’ve been having so much fun I almost forgot about dinner."

Morgan took a step back. "Who are you, and what have you done with my Kathryn?"

The blond laughed. "It’s me, Angel. I’ve just had a really great day with you today."

"I’m glad," Morgan answered. "Me too." She took Kathryn’s hand. "Come on, I’ve got reservations at The Aquarium at 6:30. One of Bubba’s deputies recommended it to me. He said they have excellent food and the whole place is an actual functioning aquarium."

"That sounds great," Kathryn agreed as they walked along. She squeezed the taller woman’s hand.

They spent the next two hours in the restaurant, fascinated by the sea life around them and both declaring that the meal was one of the best they had ever eaten. They walked back to the car, Morgan resisting the urge to sweep the younger woman up in her arms and carry her the rest of the way.

"Race ya," Kathryn said, taking off down the sidewalk. Morgan reached her in seconds, her longer legs giving her a distinct advantage and she reached the car just ahead of the giggling blond.

"Gotcha," Morgan laughed. The agent looked into the younger woman’s eyes, Kathryn looked exceptionally beautiful tonight and it was all she could do not to act on her emotions. It would be just too easy to kiss her, Morgan thought, and then chastised herself. No way, Sumners, you can’t go there, but God, do I ever want to.

Morgan opened her mouth to say something to the blond when she felt something soft hit her in the shin. A second later a child came racing around the corner, and Morgan looked down to find a Golden Retriever puppy cowering behind her knees. The child ran up to her.

"I’m sorry lady," he apologized. "The cage door was left open and all the pups went in different directions."

Morgan smiled. Kathryn had already picked the dog up and was cradling it in her arms.

"What are you doing down here with a cage full of puppies?" the agent asked as another boy and a man made their way towards the trio.

"We’re trying to sell them," He explained. "Our dog had 12 pups and we can’t keep them all. They’re already almost 3 months old." He sighed. "You wouldn’t be in the market for a dog, would you?"

The other boy and the man came up just then and introduced themselves as the boy’s father and younger brother. They had rounded up all the pups by this time and were attempting to get them all back into the truck.

"I hope Maurice didn’t give you any trouble, ma’am," The man said apologetically.

"Not at all," Morgan answered. "I understand you’re selling these pups."

"Trying to," The man smiled. "Unfortunately they seem to be a little older than most folks are expecting. I’ve only sold one all week."

Morgan looked at Kathryn, she already seemed to be attached to the bundle of fur in her arms and after reasoning that Matthew needed someone to grow up with, they drove out of Kemah with a furry passenger snuggled into the blond’s warm lap.

"You’re just a big softie, Agent Sumners," Kathryn said, grinning.

"Don’t let that get out," Morgan teased. "I’ve got a reputation to protect, you know."

Kathryn leaned over and placed a quick kiss on the agent’s cheek.

"What did I do to deserve that?" Morgan smiled.

"Nothing really, I just felt like it." The blond blushed. "I hope you don’t mind, I just really appreciate you bringing me down here today. I can’t remember when I’ve had such a great time." Well, Kathryn thought, except the last time I was with you, and the time before that…. God Kathryn you really have it bad, don’t you?

"Well, you’re certainly welcome, Little One, but no need to thank me for anything. I love going places with you."


"Yeah," Morgan answered, turning off the highway.

"Have we-" Kathryn paused, unsure of how to ask the question. "Have we been lots of places together?"

Morgan nodded. "I guess you could say that we’ve spent a lot of time together, yeah." She smiled.

"Have I changed any since-I mean, am I the same person you used to know?"

"You really haven’t changed at all, Little One," Morgan answered. "You were a lot quieter than usual right after the accident, but I’d say you’re pretty much back to your old self."

Kathryn wanted desperately to ask the agent if they had been lovers, or what kind of a relationship that they had before the accident, but she wasn’t sure she would be ready for Morgan’s answer. If they had been together and Morgan told her this information, the agent might think Kathryn was trying to conjure up feelings she didn’t really have, and that was the last thing Kathryn wanted. On the other hand, she couldn’t exactly come out and tell her she was falling in love either, if Morgan didn’t feel the same way, it would be a helluva long ride back to Orient. Kathryn decided that she would bring it up again once they were home, she knew that she couldn’t hold her feelings in forever, she had to know what was going through the agent’s mind and more importantly, what was in her heart.


"Oh my goodness! Greta watched as the pup scampered through her legs and slid on the hardwood floor. She scooped the animal up in her arms and laughed when the pooch licked her face.

"Well I certainly didn’t expect this!" She smiled. "You two are really going to have your hands full on the way home."

Morgan nodded. "We didn’t expect it either, it just sort of happened." She smiled. "We figured that Matthew needed someone to grow up with and JD and Casey will be delighted to have a partner in crime." She ruffled the pup’s fur. "She can sleep in the kitchen tonight, we’ll stop on the way out of town tomorrow and pick up whatever we need."

Henry shook his head. "Well, I’m afraid Matthew will have to wait until morning to see his new friend, I just put him down for the night." He put his arm around his daughter. "You look like you had a nice evening, Little One."

"We had a great time, Daddy," Kathryn beamed. " How was Matthew?"

"Perfect, as always," Henry smiled. "He ate, slept, ate, slept some more, told me a few jokes and took the car for a spin. Nothing unusual."

"Daddy!" Kathryn rolled her eyes.

Henry smiled. "I wasn’t sure when you’d be back, so I put him down in my bed. He’s welcome to stay, we took a nap together earlier and he was good as gold. But if you want to take him up, I’ll go fetch him for you."

"If you’d like to keep him for the night, Henry, you’re certainly welcome to." Morgan had a feeling Henry was feeling a little empty at their impending departure. She and Kathryn went in and kissed their son goodnight before retiring to their room.

As Morgan adjusted the covers, she turned to her companion.

"It’s seems a little strange without him up here, doesn’t it?"

"It really does," Kathryn agreed. "I was just going to check his diaper and he’s not even here."

"I think your father is enjoying being a grandpa," Morgan smiled.

"He loves him, Angel, and it makes me feel good to see them together. He always wanted a grandson, I guess in a way, he got his wish."

"That he did, Little One." Morgan opened her arms to the blond and before she realized what she was doing, Kathryn had settled in and laid her head on Morgan’s shoulder.

"Goodnight Angel."

"Goodnight Little One, sleep well."

"You too. Sweet dreams."

Chapter 19: Somewhere Between Here and There

The Peterson household was brimming with activity long before sunrise. Greta insisted on packing the girls a cooler full of food and drinks and helping load up the car, but she had her hands full just keeping the puppy out from underfoot. The Mercedes was loaded down by the time breakfast was on the stove, and the group relaxed around the table just the same way they had done every morning since their arrival. Morgan smiled, she had enjoyed the closeness she had felt over the past three and a half weeks; it had been a long time since she had felt any connection to her own family. When it was time to go, Kathryn exchanged a tearful goodbye with Greta and then turned and hugged her father tightly.

"I love you Daddy."

"I love you too, Little One. Take care of yourself. I’ll come visit you in a month or so, my grandson will probably be married by then, he’s such a handsome little guy." Henry kissed the baby and put him back in Kathryn’s arms.

"Morgan." Henry hugged the tall agent and she bent down as he whispered in her ear. "Hang in there for her Morgan, I think she’s on her way back. Believe in what you have together, I do."

"Thank you Henry, you’ll never know how much that means to me."

They strapped Matthew in, put the pup in the blond’s lap and headed down the driveway, waving until they were out of sight.

"Homeward bound," Morgan said as they turned onto the interstate.

"How long do you think it will take?" Kathryn shifted the sleeping pup on her lap and stroked the furry head.

"Probably about 4 days, with a baby and a pup we’ll need to stop pretty often." She grinned. "And then there is the little matter of your appetite, damn, I forgot to figure that in the drive time. Hey look, isn’t that a Dolly Madison truck? I wonder if we can just do a mid-interstate refuel."

"Oh very funny," Kathryn said, trying not to laugh but failing miserably. She glanced into the backseat; the steady hum of the motor had already lulled the baby to sleep.


"Yes!" Kathryn grinned as she saw the sign for Orient. 48 miles, and we’re home free." She laughed. "Thank God, I think my butt fell asleep about three states ago." She shifted in her seat.

"You and me both, Little One," Morgan yawned from the passenger seat. "It’s almost noon, if you can hold out until we get home I’ll throw together some sandwiches and we can stretch out on the deck. What do you say?"

"Sounds wonderful," Kathryn agreed. They found oldies station and sang with the radio until they hit the turnoff for the beach house. Kathryn pulled the Mercedes into Morgan’s driveway. Mildred and Delores had been walking on the beach with JD and Casey and they waved as the women alighted. The pup tumbled out of the front seat and the dogs paced around each other, noses working overtime. Deciding that the newcomer was okay, the older dogs began to play with the pup and the three of them wrestled around on the lawn while Mildred and Delores helped the girls unpack the overloaded car.

Mildred laughed. "Adorable," She said, pointing to the pup. "Does she have a name?"

"Lexi," Morgan answered. "We named her on the way back. Figured it was time we called her something other than "pup", and besides, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall was getting old."

Kathryn giggled. "I think that’s everything," She said, closing the trunk. "Now I believe you said something about lunch, Agent Sumners."

"That I did," Morgan answered. "You ladies care to join us?"

"We’d love to," Mildred said. "Why don’t you girls take a breather and we’ll whip something up for you. The dogs are more than occupied and Matthew can help his Aunt Mildred in the kitchen." She scooped the child up in her arms and went into the house.

Morgan slid her long frame into a deck lounger; stretching lazily she smiled at her companion.

"How are you doing, Little One?"

"I feel pretty good, Angel, although with Tracey gone I’m really not looking forward to going home to an empty house."

"Rumor has it a certain Dr Mac is wrapping things up at home so she can move out here on a more permanent basis," Morgan said, eyes twinkling.

"Yeah, that’s what I heard too," Kathryn smiled. "Honestly Morgan, I don’t know when I’ve ever seen her so happy. I’m so glad she and Megan found each other."

"Me too. Megan deserves everything I could never give her. Tracey is one of a kind."

So are you, Kathryn thought. You make me feel things I never thought possible. I wish I had the courage to tell you, but I couldn’t stand it if I lost your friendship because of something you might not be able to return.

Delores returned with a heaping plate of sandwiches, potato salad, pickles, and a homemade cheesecake she had made that morning.

"Dig in, girls, I made plenty." The woman set the tray on the table and listened as Morgan updated them on the events of the last 4 weeks.

When the dishes had been cleared, Delores and Mildred waved goodbye and headed down the beach. Matthew was asleep in Kathryn’s lap and the dogs were stretched out like throw rugs in various locations on the deck.

"You’re welcome to stay with me, you know," Morgan said, looking over at her love. "I’ve got plenty of room and it wouldn’t take much to restock the fridge." She grinned.

Kathryn laughed. "Brave enough to take me grocery shopping, are you?"

"I could be talked into it."

"You sure you don’t mind?" Kathryn didn’t want to be an imposition, but she didn’t relish the thought of going home alone either, and truth be told, she just didn’t want to be away from the woman who had stolen her heart.

"The shopping or having you stay with me?" Morgan winked.


The agent laughed. "I’d love to have you here with me, Little One. I’d be on your doorstep every morning anyway, so it just saves me a walk."

Kathryn smiled in delight. "Kind of gotten used to me, huh?"

"You bet." Morgan looked at her watch. "If we get going now, we should be able to make it to the store before they close." She grabbed the phone off the table. "I’ll call Mildred, she if she would mind watching Matthew for a little while. The dogs will be fine out here together."


Morgan pulled her truck up to the side door; they had filled the entire back seat and the cargo hold with groceries and managed to get through the checkout before closing time. Morgan put everything away while Kathryn went to retrieve Matthew, as the blond returned, the agent held out two bowls, piled high with ice cream and whipped topping.

"Thought you might like a little snack before bed," she grinned as Kathryn’s eyes lit up in anticipation of the tasty treat.

"You really do spoil me," She said, plopping down on the couch.

"Just wait, I’ll think of some way for you to make it up to me."

"Uh-huh." Kathryn set the baby on a blanket at her feet. Morgan had polished off half of her dessert when the phone rang.

"Be right back, babe."

Bones was calling with an update, and the agent listened intently as he filled her in on the investigation. Bubba had brought Derek’s parents in for questioning, apparently they knew a lot more than they had been telling. He promised to call back the next day and Morgan replaced the receiver in the cradle and walked back into the den. Kathryn was holding Matthew in her lap, and he was smiling and cooing as she sang to him.

"The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things. Their tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made out of springs," She sang, and Morgan grinned wildly as she watched them together.

"Their bouncy pouncy trouncy flouncy fun fun fun fun fun!" Matthew’s smile only got wider as his mother’s animated gestures accompanied the words.

Morgan came up behind the small blond and leaned over her shoulder as she took a breath to continue. The agent’s voice filled the room, "But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is I’m the only one!" The little boy chortled as Morgan leaned over and kissed him, and Kathryn giggled. The taller woman tickled her in the ribs as she vaulted over the back of the couch and settled in next to them.

"I love your voice," Kathryn said.

"Do you now?"


"Well you can carry a tune pretty well yourself, Little One."

Morgan yawned. "This Tigger is about ready to hit the sack." She jumped up, offering Kathryn a hand. "How about you?"

"More than ready," Kathryn agreed. They walked up the stairs. "So where’s the guest room?"

"Right across from my bedroom," Morgan answered. She flipped on the light. "Whoops, I forgot to put the clean sheets back on the bed. Hell, I think I left them in the dryer a month ago." She turned to the blond.

"You can sleep with me if you’d like, I’m already used to losing all the covers halfway through the night." She ducked into the master bedroom as a pillow came sailing towards her head.

"Hey!" Morgan laughed. "Careful now, don’t forget the baby." She held him up for Kathryn to see, grinning mischievously.

Kathryn walked over and smiling sweetly, took Matthew from Morgan’s arms and set him in the bassinet. Then she launched herself at the agent, sending them both sprawling onto the bed. Morgan tried to flip the younger woman over, but she collapsed in a fit of giggles instead.

"You realize that now I’m going to have to remake this bed, too," Morgan said as they wrestled around on the mattress, the agent easily having the advantage but caught off guard several times because she had a hard time concentrating on keeping herself from kissing the blond senseless.

Kathryn laughed, out of breath she collapsed on the comforter, arms folded across the agent’s stomach, she looked into the tall woman’s eyes.

"I think I’ve about had enough for one day anyway," She said.

Morgan leaned against the headboard and let her arm drape lazily across Kathryn’s back.

"Me too, Little One. I’m about ready to hit the sack." She yawned.

"I’m pretty sure everything in my suitcase needs washing," Kathryn commented, eyeing up the agent’s dresser drawers. "Do you mind if I borrow one of your shirts?"

"Take whatever you like," Morgan answered, as the blond rolled off the bed and began rummaging through the bureau. She produced a large gray T-shirt with the FBI logo blazoned across the center of it, and shedding her clothes, she pulled it over her head.

Morgan tried not to watch as the young woman undressed, but Kathryn was beautiful and she marveled at the perfectly toned body she knew so well. Morgan swallowed hard, it had been hard enough to accept the fact that Kathryn may never have felt anything for her again, but as their relationship progressed and some of the feelings seemed to return, Morgan found herself trying to keep her desire in check at times like this. It had been a long time since they had made love, and the agent found herself sorely missing the connection. She sighed as she tossed her own clothes into the laundry basket, standing naked in the closet she sifted through a shelf of clean shorts looking for a pair of sweats. She was brought out of her musings by the blond’s voice directly behind her.

"Hey Angel, I can’t find my…" Kathryn swallowed hard as Morgan turned around, "….Toothbrush," Kathryn finished, hoping the agent hadn’t seen the flush that had crept up her cheeks.

"I’ve got an extra one in the bathroom," Morgan answered. Kathryn had regained her composure but her expression had not gone unnoticed by the taller woman.

Maybe I’m just wishing you would look at me like that, Morgan thought as the blond disappeared into the other room. Still, I could have sworn I saw….something else there.

Morgan threw on a pair of sweats and a T-shirt and put Matthew down for the night before joining the blond in the bed. Kathryn had flipped on the TV and Morgan slid in behind her, draping an arm across the tiny waist.

"Hi," Kathryn said, settling deeper against Morgan’s outstretched body.

"You do realize that you’re a pillow hog, too, right?" Morgan looked over at the majority of the bed pillows propped up under Kathryn’s reclining form.

"Yeah but this way you sleep close to me," Kathryn joked, her face coloring as she realized what she had said.

Morgan was temporarily speechless as Kathryn continued. "See, that way when all the blankets end up on the floor, I still stay warm all night."

Nice save Kathryn, the blond chided herself, geez where did that come from?

Morgan smirked. "First you steal all my covers, then you push them off the bed when you get hot," She said, reaching out to tickle the woman in the ribs. "I can’t win either way."

Except when I get to sleep curled around you, the hell with the covers, they can stay on the floor. The agent thought.

Kathryn reached back to stop the teasing fingers in her midsection. "Hey!" She giggled, jumping up she flipped over and landed on top of the agent in one fluid motion. "Now listen here, Sumners…"

"Yes?" Morgan fixed a look on the blond that made Kathryn forget what she was going to say.

"I..." Kathryn began, and then she blushed. "You cut that out."

"But you look so cute when you’re blushing."

"I do not blush."

"Oh yes you do, in fact, right now your cheeks are a lovely shade of red. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that color before." She touched Kathryn on the nose with a gentleness that betrayed her emotions, and then traced the outline of her cheek with the long fingers. Kathryn closed her eyes and leaned into the touch, opening them again she found herself drowning in perfect pools of crystal blue. Morgan swallowed hard and took her hand away, but Kathryn captured her fingers in her own and held fast.

"That was nice," The younger woman said quietly. Her heart was pounding with uncertainty. They had an ease between them that she knew would be compromised if she had mistaken what she had seen in Morgan’s eyes.

The agent felt vulnerable, but there was no place to run. She fell in love with this woman every time she looked in the beautiful green eyes. Kathryn’s gaze pinned her in place and they spent a long moment just staring at each other, wanting the same thing but both unwilling to make the first move.

Morgan mustered up all the willpower she could and brushing her fingers once more across the perfect cheek and up into the short locks, she briefly allowed her thumb to caress the side of her companion’s face before pulling away completely. She slowly adjusted her angle, never taking her eyes off Kathryn’s she raised them both to a sitting position, the blond facing her and sitting comfortably in her lap. There was no mistaking what she saw, she had seen it in the young woman’s eyes many times before and she knew it was mirrored in her own gaze. Kathryn reached up slowly, and cupping the agent’s face in both her hands she leaned in until their foreheads were touching.

How did this happen? Morgan asked herself, certain that her heart was going to pound right out of her chest. Not that I’m complaining, mind you…She took a breath. God, I want to kiss you so much…

Morgan reached up with her own hands and placed them on the delicate face, leaning over she brushed the woman’s lips with her own, releasing an audible breath as she felt Kathryn respond immediately to the touch. The kiss was feather light, the air around them charged with the emotions they had both kept close to their hearts for so long. Morgan took her hands away and placed them on the small waist, sliding them slowly up the blond’s sides she reached out to pull her closer and the kiss deepened, slow and sweet. Kathryn had her fingers tangled in the raven locks and she let out a breath of her own, a mixture of passion and contentment when Morgan’s cell phone chirped rudely from the nightstand. She had been reserving her cell specifically for this case and she knew without looking at the number that it was Bones. There must have been a recent development; she had spoken to him less than three hours ago. Sighing, she placed a quick peck on Kathryn’s forehead and grabbed the phone.

"I’m sorry Little One."

She flipped open the unit.

"Sumners, and this better be good."

"I’m sorry Morg, I hope I didn’t wake you."

"It’s alright Bones, what’s up?"

"Derek’s parents have been in custody since noon. They were rather tight-lipped until we got a search warrant for their house, and we found plenty of evidence that proves they had not only prior knowledge of their son’s activities, but they were, in fact, covering up for the bastard."

"Jesus," Morgan said.

"Several murders happened between the time we first interviewed them and now, I don’t know if we can pin an accessory charge on them, but you can damn well bet they’re going to pay dearly for the murders they could have prevented if they’d given up the son of a bitch." Bones shook his head. "Unbelievable."

"This is beginning to sound like a warped made for TV movie," Morgan said as she climbed back into bed with Kathryn. The blond snuggled into the pillows and grabbed the remote, muting the sound on the TV so the agent could hear better. She draped one leg over Morgan’s thigh and flipped through the channels.

"When Bubba was down there he left us the file on Derek’s parents," Bones continued. "Do you still have it or is it over at headquarters?"

"I think I’ve got it in my office here, Bones," Morgan answered. "Something you need?"

"Yeah, just thinking I’d like to look it over again now that we know they were involved. We might see something in there that we missed the first time around. Can you fax it to me?"

"Sure thing," Morgan answered. "I’ll do that right now, call if you need anything else."

"Will do, thanks Morg, and sorry about the intrusion. You’re supposed to be on vacation."

"Don’t worry about it, Bones. I’ll talk to you soon."

Morgan flipped the cell closed and turned to her partner. Kathryn smiled. "Everything okay, Angel?"

"Just some new developments in my case, Little One. I’m going to run downstairs and fax something to Bones but I’ll be right back, okay?"

"I’ll be right here," Kathryn said as Morgan went into the hall. "Hey Morgan?"


"Is there any of that cheesecake left?"

Morgan’s deep laughter drifted up to Kathryn from the bottom of the stairs. "I think so, my little bottomless pit. I’ll bring some back up with me." She shook her head as she retrieved the necessary file and turned on the fax. Morgan grumbled as she got an error message halfway through and had to send most of the file again. 20 minutes later she headed back upstairs, cheesecake in hand.

"Alright Little One, I…" Morgan pushed the door open. Kathryn was wrapped around Morgan’s pillow, snoring softly, the remote still in her hand. The agent set the plate on the nightstand and taking the remote from her lover’s hand, silenced the TV. Turning off the light, Morgan crawled into bed and immediately felt the smaller woman snuggle up to her. She pulled Kathryn into her arms, kissed her gently and closed her eyes, sheer weariness overruling any thoughts she may have been trying to formulate. In moments, she was asleep.

The ringing of the phone brought Morgan fully awake. She opened one eye and found the sun already up. Sighing she picked up the receiver.


"We got them Morgan!"

"Bones, it’s too friggin early to play guessing games."

"It’s ten o’ clock!"

"Whatever. Got who on what?"

"Derek’s parents. They caved about four this morning."

"They’ve known since the first murder when he was fifteen. His father helped him bury the body."

"You’re shitting me."

"Nope, he was institutionalized when he was sixteen but it didn’t help."

"The D.A’s going to prosecute?"


"Good, they deserve a nice long jail term."

"He’s going for the death penalty for both of them. He’s going to try them separately."


"He figures the jury will be sympathetic with his mother and he doesn’t want to risk an acquittal for both of them."

"Good thinking."

"You’ll have to come back here for the trial. The D.A. said we’d have to testify."

"Not a problem."

"I’ll let you go, I just wanted to share the good news with you."

"Thanks Bones. I’ll see you when you get back."

Morgan replaced the receiver in the cradle and walked over to the sliding glass doors. She could see the roofline of the house she had built for Kathryn and hoped she’d be carrying her over the threshold soon.

"Good morning Angel," Kathryn said as she slid her arms around Morgan’s waist. "Whatcha doin’?"

"Good morning sleepyhead." The agent replied; she pulled her back against her chest and they looked out over the water together. "Nothing much, just enjoying the view."

"It is beautiful, isn’t it?"

"Yes, it is, and, yes, you are."

Kathryn blushed. "I think you might be biased, Agent Sumners."

"Maybe so," Morgan said, placing a kiss on the top of the tousled blond locks. "But it doesn’t make it any less true."

"You’re up early."

"Bones called with an update on my case." She turned to the blond. "I’m going to have to run over to my office for a little while, do you mind hanging out with Matthew for a couple of hours?"

"Not at all, I’d love to. You want us to meet you someplace for lunch?"

Morgan smiled. "I’d like nothing better, love, but I think I’ll be hard at it until afternoon. Bet you could talk me into dinner though."

"It’s a date," Kathryn answered.

Morgan reluctantly slid out of the embrace. "I better get going if I want to be back in time for that date," She said. She grabbed her pager and the cell phone off the nightstand. "I’ll try to make it snappy, but these things don’t always go the way I planned." They walked down the stairs together. "You know how to reach me if you need anything."

Kathryn nodded. Morgan walked out to the truck and opened the door. Why don’t you just kiss her goodbye, Sumners, have you forgotten about last night already? They hadn’t talked about what happened although words didn’t seem necessary; it was obvious to her how Kathryn felt now. So why do I feel like I’m falling in love with her again for the first time? Geez, even my hands are sweating.

Morgan turned around; Kathryn was still standing on the deck, watching her. Morgan couldn’t help the catch in her throat; God she loved that woman. How did I get this lucky? Morgan thought, and dropping her keys on the seat, she walked back over to the blond.

"Forget something Angel?"

"Yeah, " Morgan answered, sliding her arms around her she leaned down and captured the soft lips with her own. Kathryn wasted no time in reciprocating, and a full minute passed before they broke apart.

"See you later," The agent said, practically skipping back to the truck.

Kathryn waved and watched until Morgan’s truck was out of sight, turning to go back in the house she noticed a vehicle coming back down the road.

Chapter 20: Jail Cell Blues

Morgan tossed her keys on her desk and turned the tiffany lamp on. She pulled the thick journal from the evidence bag and propped her feet up, it was going to be a long read.

From the first page she was both captivated and sickened by the words before her. The flowery handwriting was bold and covered every page of the book from margin to margin. She hadn’t realized the woman she had known for years could be capable of the brutality outlined before her. The initials Tessa carved into the abdomens of her victims, L.U.S., stood for Love U Sumners.

She had killed all those women because they had spurned her advances. She wrote of how she’d selected them because of their resemblance to the Agent and she’d approached them all seeking what she couldn’t have with the woman whose house she cleaned twice a week.

Morgan reread the passage concerning the woman Kathryn discovered in her lab.

I’m done with the chores and I sit at her desk, staring at the picture of her with that woman. They have their arms wrapped around each other and they’re smiling, unaware of the photographer. I wish it were me she was holding like that, me she was smiling down on, me she looked like she wanted to kiss. For three years I’ve cleaned this house, for three years I’ve longed to be the one to share her bed.

The woman in the picture is gone now; I don’t know why she keeps it here. She should throw the picture away and notice me. I don’t know what else I can do to get her attention. I’ve left flowers for her; I’ve bought her new towels, made homemade bread for her. Bought her expensive bottles of wine. I’ve always made sure her clothes were pressed, even though she never asked me to. She never notices all the little things I do for her that lovers do.

Tonight I sat at The Swamp; Morgan came here a lot when the woman left her. I followed her here on several occasions but she never noticed me. She sat at the bar with that gay friend of her, the one that hosts the benefits every year. They would talk and drink beer and then she would go home alone. If only she would have asked me to go with her. Never, she never asked. Tonight I sit here alone again. She has someone else now, a little blond thing. I saw her having dinner with Morgan last night. I followed them through the grocery store later, then back to Morgan’s. I saw her park the truck in the garage and then I went home alone.

A woman walked into the bar and from a distance she could be Morgan! My heart soared as I saw her take a seat at the bar. I watched for an hour as she drank a few beers and looked around. She was alone, like me. I walked over and asked if I could buy her a drink. She nodded and I took the empty stool beside her. She shook my hand and introduced herself as Meredith Stanley. I thought to myself that it was perfect. She had the same initials as Morgan and the fates must be smiling down on me. We talked for a while and watched the football game on the television behind the bar. I could tell she was ready to leave and I walked outside with her.

When we got to my car I asked her if she wanted to go back to my place and have a few more drinks. She looked disgusted with me. She said she thought I was straight and that she wasn’t interested in queers. I asked her what she was dong in a gay bar and she said she hadn’t realized it was until she was inside. She was new to the island, only there for a summer job and had wanted a beer, nothing more. She turned and walked away from me and it was like something inside me snapped. I was so full of rage and hurt. How dare she dismiss me like that. How dare she look so much like my Morgan and walk away from me. I had to have her!

I followed her from the bar, staying a fair distance behind her. She parked at the Bayside Motel and I waited until she was almost to the door before getting out of my car. I had a plan! Morgan hadn’t answered the notes I’d left for her, she’d been too wrapped up in the case she was working on, too busy tracking a serial killer to worry about answering me. Well, I’d show her, I’d give her something to work on a little closer to home. I pulled the blond wig out of the glove compartment, I didn’t remember why I bought it, but I was glad now to have it there. I hefted a rock from the flowerbeds beside the drive of the motel and as Meredith slid her key into the knob I struck her with all the rage I had inside me.

She slumped to the ground and I drug her back behind the bushes lining the front and side of the shabby motel. I hurried through the darkness to my car and pulled up alongside her body. She was much bigger than I thought and it took me a few minutes longer than I planned to get her into the trunk. Finally she was settled against the spare tire and I slammed the lid and drove away.

I could hear her back there as I drove to Morgan’s house. Hear her pitiful pleas for help. Hear her begging for her life. She knew. She knew I was going to kill her. I drove the car past Morgan’s and doubled back on foot. The house was dark and silent. I keyed in the number for the alarm and used my key to open the patio door. Quietly I opened the door to the garage. I spotted the roll of plastic Morgan kept for painting and carried it into the house. I left as quietly as I came and I knew Morgan hadn’t awakened.

I walked back through the woods to the car. Meredith was still pleading for her life and I knew I was going to have to subdue her again. I’d kept the rock from the motel and had it in my hand as I opened the trunk. She lunged for me, but I was quicker. I slammed the trunk down on her head and she fell forward onto the ground. Quickly I smashed the rock down on her again and again until she was limp. I unrolled the plastic and laid her on top of it. It was a long walk back to the lab and dragging the dead weight behind me made the journey seem longer.

I used the jack handle from my car to pry open the door to the lab after I cut the wires for the alarm. Morgan hadn’t given me the code, saying the lab wasn’t part of my job and she didn’t want me in there. Well tonight the lab was going to be open to me!


Kathryn waited on the porch until the Teal F150 came to a stop in the driveway. Grinning as she recognized Tracey’s new truck, she vaulted off the deck and into her best friend’s waiting arms.

"I’m so glad to see you," Kathryn beamed, hugging the doctor a second time. "I’m hearing all these rumors."

Tracey laughed. "Do I want to know?"

"Well," Kathryn remarked, "You said you were going home to turn things over to your partners so you could spend a little more time out here with me, but I hear that it’s more of a permanent arrangement now." She grinned.

Tracey put her arm around her friend and they walked up the stairs and into Morgan’s kitchen.

"Tell you what, for something cold to drink I might be enticed to spill the beans."

Kathryn pulled open the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of spring water. Tracey accepted it gratefully and climbed up on one of the barstools.

"Thanks babe." She squeezed Kathryn’s hand. "First things first, I haven’t seen you in a month and I want to know how you’re doing."

I’m doing great," Kathryn answered. "I’ll fill you in, I promise, but we had a deal." She motioned towards the bottle of water and Tracey laughed.

"Okay, okay, I give." She took a long drink before continuing. "Well, as you know, I came out here to visit you on my vacation but my time was just about up when you ended up in the hospital and I figured that if I flew home and got someone to cover for me, I could stay for another couple of weeks, keep an eye on your recovery." Tracey finished her drink and toyed absently with the plastic cap.

"I certainly didn’t expect to be performing brain surgery on my best friend and falling in love was not even on my list of possibilities, but…" She smiled. "I’ve spent a lot of my life planning for the future, I’ve never been much of a spontaneous person, but these last few weeks here made me re-evaluate my priorities somewhat." Tracey looked over at her best friend. "I almost lost you, and I don’t know what I would have done if that bullet had been even a few centimeters closer..." She trailed off, and Kathryn put her hand on the doctor’s shoulder. Tracey took a deep breath.

"I realized that life is short and that sometimes, there are things you know are right, things you might not have planned, but they come into your life and you know that you might be missing something wonderful if you don’t give fate a chance."

Kathryn smiled. "Megan."

"Yeah, Megan." Tracey blushed. "I can’t believe she stole my heart in such a short time, but this just feels right, Kate, and I don’t want to mess it up. Megan and I had a long talk before I went back, and we both agreed that it would be a mistake not to give our relationship a chance, and a long-distance love affair just wasn’t going to cut it." She twirled the plastic bottle between her fingers.

"So I’m moving out here. The hospital in Mattituck offered me a position right after your surgery, they need an in-house neurologist and my workload would be comparable. I can think of nothing better than being able to continue my practice and have both you and Megan in my life everyday."

Kathryn hugged her again. "I’m so happy for you, Tracey, and it’s going to be great having you around."

"I know I said this already, but, nothing has ever felt so right."

Kathryn looked at her friend, she had been dying to talk to her about her own feelings for Morgan and this seemed like the ideal time.

"I know exactly what you mean."

Tracey met Kathryn’s gaze, the young woman was positively beaming.

"Something you want to tell me?"


I pulled her into the chair and propped her there. She slumped forward and refused to sit upright, I was going to have to tie her to the chair if I were going to set the stage the way I wanted. I looked around the lab but there wasn’t anything there that I could tie her with. Then the idea the gut her came to me. I raced back to Morgan’s house and let my self in once again. I pulled the sharpest knife from the block on the counter and slipped into the garage again. I knew I’d seen some rope in there and I grabbed it from the hook on the wall. I ran back to the lab and tied Meredith to the chair. She started coming around again as I was tying her to the chair.

I finished with the last knot and stood facing her. The fear was evident in her eyes and she saw the knife in my hand. She opened her mouth to scream and I covered it with my hand. I stared her in the eyes as I shoved the knife into her chest. I sliced her open as cleanly as a chicken. I expected her to die right away but she didn’t. I couldn’t stand to watch her suffering and yet I didn’t want to keep hacking away on her with the knife. I removed my hand from her mouth and began strangling her. It took so much longer for her to die than it did in the movies. When I let her go, her tongue was protruding from her mouth and her eyes were bulging in their sockets.

I untied the rope and cut away her shirt. I wanted to leave some kind of symbol for Morgan to let her know I’d done this because I loved her. I carved L.U.S. in her abdomen, but then thought if Morgan saw that and figured out what it meant she would think me juvenile for using a U instead of a Y. I slashed away at the initials in anger at myself.

The sun was coming up and I knew Morgan would be getting up for her morning run. I didn’t have time to rearrange the scene the way I wanted. I hurriedly cleaned up after myself and folded the knife and rope up in the plastic. I fled to my car and waited until I saw Morgan running down the beach. She was so beautiful with the wind blowing her hair. The sun glinted off the sweat on her shoulders and I longed for her as a lover.

The passage ended and Morgan slid a piece of paper between the pages to mark where she left off and then closed the book. Leaning back in her chair she stared out the window behind her desk and watched the traffic below her. Her mind turned over the words she had read and she could not reconcile the woman she knew with the woman who had written that passage.

Sighing she opened the book and read the rest of the pages. She was glad to see it in print that Gin hadn’t wanted to help Tessa. She couldn’t excuse the Agent’s behavior because she was being blackmailed but she did feel a little sympathy towards her.

Tessa had not had an easy time of it with Derek either and Morgan allowed herself a small smile of satisfaction to know that she’d suffered a little at the hands of the man she’d thought of as her savior.

Morgan slid the journal back into the evidence bag and took it to the desk clerk to be filed away again. She signed the book back into evidence and then walked down the long hallway to the holding cells. She’d put off talking to Gin for as long as she could; it was time to get her side of things for the record.


Kathryn took a breath of her own; she wasn’t exactly sure how to begin. She knew that Tracey would be there for her, she had always been, but she found herself feeling somewhat apprehensive as she thought back to the time in college when Tracey had a crush on her and she had not returned her feelings. What would Tracey think if Kathryn told her she had been wrong in her assessment that she could never fall in love with someone of the same sex? Hoping the other woman would understand, Kathryn looked up.

"I don’t know how to say this, Trace, except that I understand exactly what you meant when you said that sometimes you just know things are right. I always thought that I would meet Mr. Right, settle down, have a yard full of kids and be on the PTA or something." She looked at her hands.

"I was so frustrated when I came back from the hospital, it’s a strange feeling to wake up one day and realize that you don’t know what the hell you’ve been doing for the last ten years. Bits and pieces of things have come back to me, but for the most part I’ve accepted that this is where I’m probably going to be for the rest of my life, missing a chunk. I don’t want to dwell on it, though, I only know what I feel now and I can’t ignore those feelings any longer."

Tracey looked at Kathryn, she wasn’t exactly sure where the young woman was going but she listened intently as the blond continued.

"I’ve been spending a lot of time with Morgan," She went on. "I feel like I’ve known her my entire life, yet I know that I haven’t. We laugh, and we talk, and we seem to have this ease with one another that makes me feel safe and comfortable and a thousand other things I don’t have words for."

Tracey smiled, now they were getting somewhere.

Kathryn looked her friend in the eye. "I think about her all the time, when she’s near me she fills all of my senses. I remember what she smells like and how she laughs, and I think about these things even when she’s not in the same room. When I’m in her arms I don’t want to be anyplace else, I feel safe and loved and like I’m…." She paused, searching for the right word, "Home."

"Did I mention that she’s stunningly beautiful and that I could happily drown in those baby blues?" Kathryn sighed. "God, Trace, I am so in love with this woman."

Tracey laughed; reaching over she swept the young woman into her arms. "Now it’s my turn to be happy for you. Morgan is a wonderful person, babe, you hit the jackpot there." She raised her eyebrow. "Wait a minute, did you say something about being in her arms?"

Kathryn blushed. "Well, yeah, when we stayed at Daddy’s we had to share a bed and somehow we just sort of ended up wrapped around each other by the time morning rolled around. The last few days before we came back, we seemed to just end up there before we even fell asleep. It feels as natural to me as breathing, that’s the only way I can explain it." She got up, opened the fridge and popped the top on a root beer. "It wasn’t until yesterday that she kissed me though, and I’ve been feeling like a teenager ever since."

"Oh you got it bad, Kathryn Peterson," Tracey was delighted. "Megan’s coming over later, perhaps we can double date." She winked. "Where is tall dark and gorgeous, anyway?"

"She had to run in to the office, but she should be back in time for dinner."


Morgan stopped outside Gin’s cell and stared at the woman lying on the cot. She had lost some weight during her incarceration. Morgan waited as the guard opened the door and then walked inside the tiny room, she sat at the small table and folded her hands in front of her. Gin swung her feet off the bed and stood up, Morgan held up her hand and motioned for her to remain on the bed. She didn’t want to share table space with the woman who was partly responsible for the events that had occurred in the last few months.

"Hello, Morgan."


"They told me I had a visitor, although I imagine this isn't a social call."

"No. I came to get your official statement."

"Alright." Gin fidgeted nervously.

Morgan turned on the tape recorder and listened as Gin gave her side of the story. When she finished Morgan turned the tape off and leaned back in the chair. "Now I want to know what you didn't put on the tape. Off the record, I want to know why you didn't tell me when we had our first meeting after Tessa escaped. You could have phoned in anonymously, you could have typed a letter. There are a million ways you could have told me what was happening. You didn't do anything. You let my son get kidnapped, you let Kathryn get shot and almost killed and you allowed Derek to keep killing. I want to know why."

Gin looked down at her hands. She had thought about this moment for a long time, now that it was here she found that she was no closer to an explanation than she had been before. "I didn't know Derek was involved until later, by then I was in way over my head and I didn't know what to do."

"That's a bullshit answer Gin and you know it. Did you know about the bomb at the courthouse?"

"No. I knew Tessa was going before the judge, but the bomb was a surprise, even to me."

"So why did you change the license plates on your car?"

"I told Tessa that I would help her get away from the courthouse, but that was supposed to be the end of my involvement. I know you aren't going to believe me, Sumners, but my job meant everything to me...I didn't plan for things to turn out the way they did."

"If you loved your job so damn much, then you should have done your job. I don't buy your flimsy excuses and your sob story doesn't tug on my heartstrings. You almost cost me everything I care about in life, and you want to sit there and tell me it was all because you loved your job?"

"I had a shitty childhood, I know that sounds like I'm trying to lay blame but it's true. Working my way up into this job was like a dream come true; I could leave everything behind and start over. I don't know where things got complicated, or why I thought owed my sister anything, but before I realized what was happening, Tessa was involved with Derek and I couldn't see a way out of it without losing everything I had worked so hard for."

"Everybody had a shitty childhood. Not everybody is an accessory to murder. You can't sit there and tell me that your job meant more to you than stopping a killer from walking the streets."

"You're right, I can't say with any measure of honesty that keeping my job balances the scales. I guess I was hoping that we could wrap Derek up like a Christmas present and I could just forget the whole thing with Tessa even occurred."

"Your sister murdered a lot of innocent women because they looked like me, you think I'd just forget that and let her get away? You think she wouldn’t have given you up in a second once she was caught?"

"It was wrong, Sumners, it was horribly wrong and I knew it every step of the way. It was like, I would wake up in the morning and the feeling of disgust and shame was still there, hovering over me like a cloud. Either way, I was going to lose my job, I knew Tessa could be manipulated but I was sure the FBI wouldn't be as forgiving."

"What did Tessa have on you? There's more involved here than you're letting on."

"I have a juvenile record, I knew it wouldn't show up in the background check when I was hired, but Tessa involved me the second she called me from jail, and she threatened to tell you about it. Once you had the information, you would have dismissed me, I figured I had a better chance of enticing my sister to keep her mouth shut if I got her out of her predicament."

"You went along with her over some childish juvenile record? This just gets better and better, what did you do?"

"When I was 13," Gin paused; there was no way to dance around what she had done. "I set my grandparent's house on fire."


"No. I found out that they had named me sole beneficiary in their will, and I saw an opportunity to get out of that hellhole and start my life over. I didn't really think about it at the time, I just lit the match. They were asleep in the upstairs bedroom, and they died from smoke inhalation."

"Guess it runs in the family doesn't it? How much time did you do?"

"I was in a juvenile detention center until I turned 18."

"Then what?"

"There were a lot of kids in there, some of them had done unspeakable things and had little or no remorse, they just couldn't wait to get out and do it again. I didn't want to end up like that. I made friends with the police officer that taught one of my classes. I decided that I might be able to do some good in this world, make things better."

"How very noble of you, I'm sure your grandparents would have been proud." Morgan picked up the tape recorder and walked out of the cell. She had all she was going to get from the woman and she didn’t want to spend any more time in her company. She’d see her again at the trial but after that, she had no intentions of ever seeing her again.

Morgan walked back to her office and dropped Gin’s tape off to be transcribed. She’d had enough for one day and was more than ready to be someplace a little less dreary. Shutting off the lights she locked her office and walked to her truck.


"So tell me about this kiss." Tracey grinned mischievously as Kathryn blushed.

"Well," Kathryn began, "We were horsing around on the bed…"

Tracey raised an eyebrow. "On the bed?" She winked; she loved to tease her best friend.

"Umm…yeah. I didn’t really want to go home to an empty house and the guest room wasn’t made up, so, yeah." She laughed. "I’m telling you Trace, being with her feels so natural. We just lounged around on the bed, talking and laughing. She said something and I umm…actually I’m not sure how it happened but all of a sudden we were face to face and I was thinking that I’d gladly trade my next breath for a kiss and before I knew it, we were kissing. God was that nice."

"And then?" Tracey was grinning broadly now, unable to hide her excitement.

"Then her cell rang and she went to the office to fax something to Bones." Kathryn lowered her head. "I umm…I fell asleep."

Tracey laughed out loud. "You fell asleep? So was that it? Just the one kiss?"

"Well, not exactly. Before she left this morning, she came back in the house and I asked her if she forgot something." Kathryn smiled at the memory. "She said she did and before I could wonder what it was, we were kissing again. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all day."


Morgan drove home in silence, willing herself to rid her mind of all the dark thoughts associated with this case and the betrayal she still felt from one of her own team. She had been trained to ferret out criminals; one had been on her side of the law this time and she hadn’t had a clue until it was too late. Shaking her head, she turned on the radio and cranked up the volume, staring straight ahead until she turned into her own driveway and parked the Land Cruiser next to the house. Strains of laughter were coming from inside and she felt her face split into an involuntary grin as she recognized Kathryn’s laugh. Leaving the troubles of the day to sort out themselves, she slid the patio door open.

Tracey smiled and nodded at the agent and Kathryn’s eyes lit up. She made her way across the kitchen and stuck her hand into the refrigerator before emerging with a beer and handing it to the older woman.

"Hi Angel, you look like you could use one of these."

Morgan smiled. "Thanks, it’s been a long day and its only afternoon."

"I take it things didn’t go too well?" Kathryn took a seat on the barstool next to the agent and took Morgan’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

Morgan sighed. "They turned out about the way I thought they would, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I was hoping you guys might want to do something this evening."

Kathryn brightened. "As a matter of fact, Megan will be here in an hour and we were hoping the four of us could have dinner and catch a movie."

"Count me in," Morgan answered. She noticed that Kathryn made no move to release her grip on the agent’s hand. She looked down into the beautiful green eyes, forgetting everything else. Things were looking up already.

Chapter 21: Haven’t We Been Here Before?

Morgan dropped Kathryn off at Megan and Tracey’s table and carried her guitar backstage. She had prepared a few songs but figured she’d wing it like she did last year. She was right; Billy called out of the blue and asked her to sing again this year.

Morgan heard the MC begin his spiel and quickly tuned her guitar. She had given Megan free reign to bid on her songs so she could sing a few to Kathryn. She didn’t expect it to go the same way it had before, but then again what was hope, but wishing for something to be the way you want it to be?

Morgan took a deep breath and walked from behind the curtain as the MC announced her name. Walking up to the microphone she smiled down at the front table. Tracey was holding Megan’s hand and Kathryn was applauding her arrival on the stage.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I see a lot of familiar faces here again this year and it would be great if we could match or better what we’ve done in the past. My first song is for someone very special to me. You’ll remember her from last year too, she’s the one who put us way over the top, so Kathryn, this one’s for you."

Kathryn blushed and smiled as Morgan began strumming the chords to I’ll Be, by Reba McEntire. She loved the song and every line seemed to be written for her and Kathryn.

As the last note faded from her instrument, she received a long round of applause from an appreciative audience. Morgan had a beautiful voice and the requests filtered in steadily for half an hour before the agent signaled for a short break. She went backstage, accepting a cold Dr Pepper from Greg.

"You’re doing great, Morg."

"Thanks Greg." Billy appeared and signaled to her as she swallowed the last of her drink. "Guess that’s my cue."

The MC took the stage and began auctioning the next song. Megan and Tracey laughed as Kathryn topped the highest bidder and Morgan strapped on her lapel mike as she left the stage and walked to Kathryn’s side. Propping her leg up on the empty chair beside the blond she leaned over her guitar.

"What do you want to hear, Little One?"

"I don’t care, I just want to hear you sing to me again." She smiled. "You pick something for me."

Morgan thought for a minute but only one song ran through her mind. She figured it would either have Kathryn running for the exit or running into her arms, but either way she needed to know.

"Okay, here’s a song that comes to mind when I think of you, but you’ll have to join me at the piano for this one."

Morgan straightened and took Kathryn’s hand, leading her to the stage. She waited until Kathryn was leaning against the piano, then sat on the bench and began playing. Morgan took a deep breath and fixed her gaze on Kathryn; the room disappeared for both of them as they lost themselves in each other’s eyes. The opening strains of Breathe filled the air around them and the room disappeared as Morgan began to sing to the only woman she ever loved.

As Morgan sang, tears streamed down the younger woman’s face as memories came flooding back to her in a rush of emotion and fragmented images. She kept her eyes focused on her one anchor in the storm as she began to remember. Pleasure and pain, in equal measure, washed over her and she was powerless to the feelings coursing through her veins, first like wildfire and then ice. She concentrated on Morgan’s voice and the words she was singing and she clung to them like a lifeline. She wanted to close her eyes but the pictures were too vivid, and she took in an audible breath as she waited for her mind to catch up to reality. As the last notes faded into the thundering applause of the audience, Kathryn melted into Morgan’s arms, the tears becoming sobs that racked the small frame as the agent rocked her back and forth, uttering nonsensical phrases and kissing her over and over. Kathryn clung to the taller woman, burying her face in her shoulder and Morgan almost didn’t hear her over the crowd.

"I remember."

"What?" Morgan put a finger under the blond’s chin and tilted her face upward. "Look at me, my love. What did you say?"

"I remember." Kathryn was shaking now, a thousand unspoken feelings carrying her in as many directions as ten years unfolded in the span of a few minutes.

"What do you remember?" The MC had taken the stage again as the two women moved off to the side where they could have some privacy.

"Everything, my Angel, I remember everything." She began sobbing again. "You, me, Matthew…" She paused. "Derek….oh my God, Morgan, he shot me in the head." She put her face against the agent’s shirt.

"Shh, love, shhh...listen to me." Morgan bent down until they were eye to eye. "He’s not going to hurt you, not ever. He’s dead, Kathryn, he’s can’t hurt anyone ever again." Morgan looked into the shining green orbs, disbelief and hope warring for space. "I promise." She pulled the smaller woman tightly to her. "He’s not hiding, he’s not out of the country, and he’s not in jail. He’s dead. I saw it with my own eyes. It’s over."

"The cabin," Kathryn said, looking into Morgan’s eyes again. "It was him…. at the lake?"


Kathryn hugged the agent tighter as she let the fragments fall into place. Suddenly the tears came again. "Oh Angel, I’m so, so, sorry."

"For what? You didn’t do anything wrong love." Morgan tried to be strong, she knew the little blond needed her more than anything at this moment and she tried not to fall apart as her life came back together before her eyes.

"Love, I like that," Kathryn smiled. "That’s a new one."

Morgan reached up and caressed the side of the beautiful face. "I guess it just came out of my heart," She answered, her own tears forcing her to pull the young woman against her chest again.

"I missed you so much," the agent said, attempting to get a grip on her emotions, suddenly refusing to care if she did or not. " I mean, I missed us, I wanted you to come home so badly." Morgan decided all the words in the world could never describe what she was feeling at this very moment.

"I’ll always be here, my Angel," Kathryn said. "I am so, so sorry I couldn’t remember." She began sobbing again. "I didn’t mean to hurt you like that."

"Shh, now you stop that, it’s not your fault."

Kathryn let out a tear filled laugh. "Well, if it’s any consolation, Agent Sumners, I fell in love with you all over again. I just wasn’t sure how to tell you."

"I was hoping you’d say something like that," Morgan answered. "I thought you felt it but…" She trailed off. "There was a good chance that you’d never get your memory back and I didn’t want you to feel obligated to conjure up things you didn’t feel because of something we once had. It wouldn’t have been right. You had to make up your own mind."

"Well you stole my heart twice, that’s gotta count for something."

"I have many skills," Morgan teased then added seriously, "But not one of them would have been worth a damn if I’d lost you."

"Can we get out of here?" Kathryn said. "I need you to hold me."

Morgan nodded. "Give me a minute to track down Billy and I’ll be right with you. Stay here, okay?" Kathryn nodded and Morgan hugged her tight. "I love you with all my heart."

"I love you too, Angel, with everything I am."

Morgan kissed the top of the blond head. "Welcome home."

Chapter 22: Rediscovering

Morgan and Kathryn walked from the crowded bar with their arms wrapped around each other. The nighttime air assaulted their nostrils as they made their way outside and the blond took in a deep, steadying breath. She had just gotten used to a somewhat limited scope and in less than half an hour the rest of her life came crashing back down. It was an overwhelming relief but she had not expected it and she leaned on her companion for support. Now that Kathryn had her memory back she couldn’t stop touching her. It was as if she needed the tactile sensation to know that it was real and not something she dreamed up. They walked to the Land Cruiser and Morgan held the door open. She was feeling more at the moment than she could process. She wanted to shout her own relief to the heavens but the moment was equally as personal, and at a loss, Morgan slowly pulled Kathryn into her arms and held her fiercely, nothing but the moon and the night would intrude on this reunion. A comfortable silence passed between them as Kathryn closed her eyes against the rhythmic beating of Morgan’s heart. She felt safe and loved and it was with some reluctance that she slid out of the strong arms and into the passenger seat. Once they were on the road Kathryn snuggled against the agent’s shoulder.

"I missed this." She watched the road ahead, marveling that even the mundane familiarity of something like the few miles home seemed comforting.

"Me too. It’s been a long three months, Little One." Morgan put her arm around the smaller form and gave a reassuring squeeze.

"I just thought of something," Kathryn laughed, leaning over and placing a kiss on the angled cheekbone. "How many couples can say they got to fall in love with their soul mate twice in a lifetime?"

The words were like a tonic to the taller woman. She had been convinced of Kathryn’s growing affection and there was no doubt that the attraction had been strong, but to hear it spoken aloud without any prompting on her part made the agent feel incredibly giddy.

"We were meant to be together and nothing can keep us from our destiny."

Kathryn had known about Derek’s unceremonious end, she let the thought intrude as they drove along. It was as if somehow thinking it through gave her a kind of closure. She would ask for details later, right now nothing was more important than being alone with the woman she loved. She needed their connection, the feeling of safety and the unconditional love she knew had been hers from the beginning.

"Morgan, what happened to Tessa?" Kathryn looked into the blue eyes nervously. She had nearly forgotten about the housekeeper.

"She’s dead too. There was a disturbance at the pier and she was shot." Morgan kissed the blond head.

"Is anyone else going to creep out of the woodwork and try to separate us again?" Kathryn let out an ironic chuckle. "I seem to remember coming out here for a little peace and quiet, but so far I’ve collected four missing teeth, a couple of black eyes, and a bullet." She noticed the look of anguish pass over her lover’s face and she quickly put her hand up to caress the perfect jaw.

"Having you and Matthew made everything worthwhile. I wouldn’t change a thing, not if it meant losing the two most important things in my life." She smiled. "I have you back and I don’t intend to lose you again, Agent Sumners."

"I don’t plan on being anywhere but in your arms from now on."

A thought passed through Kathryn’s mind and she fixed a look on her fiancée.

"You quit the Bureau?"

"No, but I’m considering taking a desk job." Morgan signaled for the turn to the beach house. The Land Cruiser’s lights penetrated the path in front of them, bringing the outline of the house into view.

"Don’t do that."

"Why not?" Morgan pulled into the driveway.

"You’re not a desk jockey, you’ll hate being tied down like that. You love what you do and you should keep doing it." Kathryn had that no-nonsense look about her, and Morgan knew she wasn’t about to concede on the point.

"I don’t want my job to come into our life again." Morgan sighed. "To disrupt our life. You’ve taken far more than your fair share of hardship because of it."

"I know, but I don’t want you giving up what you love for a ‘maybe’. We’ll jump off that bridge if and when we get there."

"I can’t lose you again Little One, that’s twice now. The third time …"

"There won’t be a third time Morgan."

"You can’t make that promise."

"And you can’t promise that just because you’re sitting behind some desk it wouldn’t happen either."

"Good point."

"Now take me inside, I want to catch up on what I’ve missed for the last few months." Kathryn said, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

"You think you’re going to get me in bed on a first date?" Morgan’s grin betrayed her.

"Do I think? No, I know I am."

Morgan pulled the Land Cruiser into the garage and pressed the control for the opener. She nervously took the keys from the ignition and joined Kathryn on the steps leading into the house. She didn’t know why she had butterflies in her stomach or why it suddenly felt like the first time. It wasn’t like she hadn’t loved the woman before her for the last year and a half. So why did she feel this way?

Because I’ve never been so scared in all my life, Morgan thought. Because you alone have penetrated the fortress, I spent all this time building it up against anyone and everything that could possibly get through, and you did it without any weapon except your love. Sometimes I can’t believe its actually true, like I might wake up one morning and it will have all been a dream. You love me with no reservations and because of that love you have endured more in the last year than anyone should have to in a lifetime, yet you’re still here and you still want this, you still want me and everything that comes with loving someone like me. Somewhere along the line I must have done something right.

Morgan unlocked the kitchen door and slowly pushed it open, instinct taking over as she peered into the darkness, and satisfied that they were alone, allowed Kathryn into the room. She reached for the light switch but felt a smaller hand stop her progress as she was pushed gently back against the closed door. Kathryn’s arms went around her neck and pulled her in for a leisurely kiss, long overdue.

Morgan sighed as she felt the smaller woman deepen the kiss, returning it with equal fervor she pulled Kathryn against her, her hands roaming over the woman’s back and relishing the feel of the soft tongue against hers. She lost herself in the delicious sensation, giving everything to the woman in her arms with complete abandon.

She owns you, Sumners, and you know it. I think you’ve always known it.

Breathless, they broke apart and Kathryn grasped the larger hand in her own and began to pull her toward the stairs.

"I think we need to continue this conversation someplace a little more comfortable," Kathryn grinned. "Unless you’ve had enough talking for one night, that is." The green eyes glinted with the young woman’s usual mischievousness and with one fluid motion, the agent gathered her into strong arms and made her way up the stairs.

"Oh no, I really think we need to talk," Morgan purred. "There are a few things I’ve been meaning to tell you." She raised a suggestive eyebrow as she deposited her precious bundle onto the bed and was pulled down on top of her. Kathryn’s hands were roaming all over the agent’s muscular back, sliding her hands under Morgan’s shirt, she slid them up the length of her torso and Morgan growled at the feeling of her lover’s warm hands against her cool bare skin. She wanted to go slow, to relish every sensation that was taking control of her body and her mind, but all of her emotions were at war with her need to feel this woman to her very core.

Kathryn loved the softness of Morgan’s lips and she unbuttoned the agent’s shirt and slid the silky material from her shoulders without losing any of the much- needed contact. She wasn’t shy about her own needs, and Morgan slid her hands under the smaller woman’s shoulders and buried her face in Kathryn’s neck, inhaling deeply, the familiar scent filling all of her senses and fueling her desire. She planted a series of small kisses across the delicate collarbone, drawing a pleasurable moan from her companion as she tried to prolong the sweet contact. Morgan rolled them over neatly so that Kathryn was on top and she leaned up for another kiss before stilling the woman’s eager hands. Morgan watched her lover’s face; a mixture of anticipation, smoldering desire and something deeper that Morgan knew was mirrored on her own face. She never took her eyes off Kathryn as she unbuttoned her shirt, slowly revealing the young woman’s body to her gaze. She let the silky material drop to the woman’s waist as Kathryn, unable to wait, lowered herself to the waiting body beneath her and showered the agent with kisses.

"I need you," the blond murmured, kissing the agent tenderly. "I need us, I need this."

Morgan let her hands slide down and over Kathryn’s firm butt, pulling her as close as possible. She was certain that she could never get enough of this wonderful feeling, and as the rest of their discarded clothing found it’s way to the floor, she sighed with contentment as she covered the smaller body with her own. She loved the sensation of having every inch of Kathryn’s flesh touching her everywhere at once. The initial intensity of the moment had given way to a slower, more thorough exploration and they were content to take their time as they rediscovered something they had never really lost. There would be time later to discuss everything that had happened, for now, Morgan was content to focus on nothing but the woman who held her heart.

Kathryn’s thigh found its way between Morgan’s legs, the contact causing the agent to increase the pressure between their bodies as the smaller woman felt the evidence of long denied passion there. Morgan was certain the heat between their bodies had never been quite this intense and she rolled them over again, needing more direct contact, growling with pleasure as Kathryn responded with more pressure. She rocked against the offered thigh; painstakingly slow, knowing that the movement of her hips was driving the smaller woman insane with pleasure. The sounds coming out of Kathryn’s own throat were having a similar effect on the agent and she fought for some semblance of control, wanting to draw it out as long as possible.

The sunlight streamed in on the two lovers and woke the agent, the first sensation she felt was a warm weight settled comfortably against her side, a small leg sandwiched between her own and her companion’s soft breaths cascading over her breast. Kathryn’s arm was planted firmly across her waist and she gave the young woman a gentle squeeze as she planted a kiss on the golden hair. Kathryn stirred and snuggled in closer, a happy sigh escaping from the perfect lips. They had made love until they were both exhausted, communicating in a thousand unspoken ways all of the emotion of the previous several months.

"Morning, Angel," Kathryn mumbled into Morgan’s chest.

"Hey Little One, how are you feeling?"

"Wonderful, how about you?"

"Mmm, that about sums it up for me too." She ruffled the short locks affectionately. "I think I’ve cultivated a new appreciation for long discussions."

Kathryn giggled. "Who are you, and what have you done with Morgan?" The blond’s stomach growled as she rolled over on top of the taller woman.

‘Well, I guess there is no doubt whose stomach that was," Morgan teased.

"Is that an invitation to make me breakfast?" Kathryn grinned. Morgan felt her heart skip a beat as she met the familiar gaze, there was something about the young woman that had returned with her memories, a feeling that Morgan could not explain but one she had missed intensely. She felt it last night as they got reacquainted with each other and she felt it now in equal measure. She hugged the small form to her chest and kissed her soundly. There were no words to describe the level of the agent’s happiness.

"I love you so very much," Morgan breathed into the blond’s ear.

"I love you too my Angel," Kathryn answered, understanding the sudden emotions surging from her partner. "It’s so nice to be home." Kathryn propped herself up and looked into the clear blue eyes. "Now about my breakfast…"

Morgan ticked the ribs above her and Kathryn’s laughter filled the room. Morgan wondered how she had ever gotten along without that sound. It was as essential to her as breathing. Kathryn found delight in so many things.

"Hey!" She managed between fits of giggling. She wriggled out of the agent’s grasp and off the end of the bed, backing slowly towards the sliding glass door as Morgan advanced on her. "Morgan…"

The agent growled playfully and gathered Kathryn into her arms, walking out onto the deck they were met by the first rays of a beautiful morning. Morgan caught a glimpse of the new house from their vantage point and she smiled broadly as she realized that Kathryn had no idea of the surprise that awaited her. She grinned to herself as she realized she might very well be the first human being in recorded history to actually render the young woman speechless.

"Come on," Morgan said, taking Kathryn’s hand. "Let’s get some clothes on before Mildred sees us and I’ll take you out to breakfast."

"Talked me into it," Kathryn replied, following her back into the bedroom. She peered into the closet. "How about that little café down by the pier? We can eat on the boardwalk." She pulled out a pair of stonewashed jeans and a purple silky shirt. "Morg, can I talk you into wearing this? God, I love this on you."

Morgan nodded as she adjusted the nozzle on the shower. "I think we need to bathe first, think you can wait?"

"Sure Angel, but let’s make it quick. I’m starving." She pinched the Agent’s butt as she stepped into the tub. Morgan grinned and shook her head. "You better cut that out if you want this butt into those jeans anytime soon."


"I thought you were starving," Morgan teased as they drove to the pier.

Kathryn blushed. "Can I help it that you’re so irresistible?" She grinned, the shower had lasted much longer than she had intended. "Not only are you the sexiest woman on the planet, you seem to be the owner of the softest skin. I had to do a thorough exploration. For scientific purposes, you know."

"Uh-huh," Morgan replied as they parked the Land Cruiser and walked to the small restaurant. "I’d like to see you finagle funding for that." The owner was a friend of Mildred’s and she and her husband had owned the little café for about 20 years. She waved as they entered the quaint structure, decorated in a tasteful nautical theme, and showed them to a table by the window.

"Hello Mrs. Stratton," Kathryn smiled. The woman embraced them both.

"Hello girls, what can I get you today?"

"I should warn you," Morgan grinned and winked at their friend. "Kathryn’s hungry." She lowered her long frame into a chair, enjoying the small town feel of the place. She had often come here with Janice, when the agent had a break from her overwhelming schedule they would sit at one of the tables outside and talk over coffee.

Mrs. Stratton laughed. "Good thing I don’t have a breakfast buffet. I’d be out of business before 9:30." She squeezed Kathryn’s hand. "The usual for you both?"

Kathryn nodded as the woman disappeared into the kitchen. "How does she remember all of that?"

"Not hard to bring one of everything on the menu." She deftly avoided the well-aimed swat at her behind.

Morgan reached across the table and took Kathryn’s hands. She had been thinking about this moment since Kathryn had been in the hospital, it had never seemed like the right time to tell her and she needed to know if Kathryn held any resentment whatsoever. "I need to ask you something, Little One."

Kathryn caressed the long fingers. "Sure Angel, anything." Kathryn hated seeing pain in the beautiful blue eyes, but she had come to recognize what Morgan never allowed anyone else to see. She leaned over until their foreheads were almost touching.

"Do you understand why…?" She trailed off, not quite sure how to begin. Taking a breath, she tried again. "Are you upset that I didn’t tell you Matthew was your son?"

Kathryn smiled, trying to reassure the agent. "Yes, my love, I do. When you said you wanted me to be able to make my own choices, I figured that you meant everything, including instant motherhood."

"Please know that I would have told you eventually, whether or not you chose me a second time." Morgan looked into the green eyes and saw only sincerity. "I was waiting for the right time, I didn’t want to overwhelm you all at once."

"I know, Morgan, it’s okay." The green eyes shone with unshed tears. "I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you."

"I had a few bad days," Morgan admitted. "And I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you twice, but right now I’m the happiest woman in the world."

"That makes two of us." Kathryn squeezed Morgan’s hands and leaned down to place a kiss on the agent’s knuckles. "Thank you, Angel, for everything." Morgan started to protest but Kathryn put a finger on the soft lips. "Shhh, " She said. "You were there for me from the very beginning, even when you went to sleep every night knowing I might never remember you. You could have told me but you chose to let me live my own life and make my own decisions and that was the most unselfish thing in the world. It means everything to me. For all the talking I do there will never be enough words in the world to tell you how much I love you."

"And it means everything to me that you loved me a second time," Morgan whispered, unable to contain the single tear that escaped and ran down the length of her face. She quickly wiped it away, looking up she saw that Kathryn seemed to be having a similar problem. She reached over and dried the younger woman’s tears with gentle fingers. "Now," Morgan cleared her throat, wanting nothing more than to bring back the smile she loved so much. "You realize that we’ve got a wedding to plan."

Kathryn brightened instantly. "Yes we do. I seem to remember something about that before our lives were so rudely interrupted." She looked down at their still-intertwined fingers and recognizing the look on her partner’s face, Morgan answered the unspoken question.

"Your ring is in my jewelry box," The agent remarked, ignoring the lump in her throat as she remembered the moment she had put it away and then cried herself to sleep. "You might have had a few questions if I had left it on."

Kathryn laughed. "Yeah, I guess so." She looked up as breakfast arrived and they discussed their plans for the day as they ate.

"Mildred’s son is performing the ceremony, we should probably talk to her about a date when we pick Matthew up," Kathryn remarked, finishing a third glass of orange juice.

Morgan nodded, she had demolished her breakfast fifteen minutes ago and she stretched her legs out leisurely underneath the table. "He said he could be ready on short notice, but we have to decide when and where." She smiled. "I thought you might like to get married on the beach."

"I would love it, Angel."

"Good," Morgan grinned. "Let’s pick a date and then we can discuss location. There’s a lot of beach, but I’ve got a particular spot in mind that I think you’ll like."

"Sounds wonderful." Kathryn put her napkin down, excitement shining in her eyes. "I think we should make a list of what needs to be done so we can get started." They paid the check, waved goodbye to Mrs. Stratton and climbed back into the Toyota for the drive home. Kathryn was still chatting when they arrived at Mildred’s door and the woman hugged both of them as she handed Matthew over. Her kitchen always smelled like something had just come out of the oven, this morning it was freshly baked bread and Kathryn sniffed the air appreciatively.

"Here you are, dear, he was a perfect angel as always."

"Thanks, Mildred, we appreciate it," Morgan smiled. "If you’ll give him to his mama for just a moment, I’d like to talk to you about Dane." She grinned and waited for the comment to register in the woman’s subconscious.

"Certainly dear, I…" Mildred trailed off and shot Morgan a questioning look. She leaned over and whispered in the agent’s ear, "You told her about Matthew then?"

"Actually, she got her memory back," Kathryn whispered in Mildred’s other ear, and then giggled as the woman jumped back with a start.

"Kathryn for heaven’s sake, I’m an old woman, don’t scare me like that," She scolded before Kathryn’s words sunk in.

"You…oh!" Mildred pulled the young woman into a fierce embrace. "Oh, girls, I am so happy for you…" She leaned over and kissed Morgan on the cheek. "You two have become family to me, I want you to know that." She smiled as she watched Kathryn cuddle her son. "If you’re asking about Dane, we must have a wedding to plan." She eyed up the younger woman and cut off a generous slice of the bread. Kathryn grinned as she accepted it and Morgan raised her eyebrows in disbelief.

"That we do," Morgan agreed. "We’d like to know if he’s available a month from yesterday."

"Yesterday, my world fell back into place," Morgan explained, locking eyes with her companion. Kathryn smiled. Mildred watched the tender, unspoken exchange as she reached for the phone.

"Let me call him while you’re here," She said, punching in a number. "God I love watching you two." She spoke to her son for a few moments then turned back to the girls. "He would be happy to oblige you, girls. How does two o’clock sound?"

Morgan looked at Kathryn, who nodded her consent and Mildred relayed the message to her son before hanging up. "It’s settled then. Dolores and I will make up the invitations this weekend and send them out, so I’ll need a guest list. I bet Mrs. Stratton will want to cater, and her brother in law owns the bakery on the pier and they make a tiered cake to die for." She bustled around the kitchen, making notes on a pad. "I know the florist, so don’t worry about that. We’ll need a photographer, but I’m not sure we should stay local with that, Dolores’s daughter had a rather unfortunate experience when she hired him for her wedding and I want everything to be perfect."

Morgan just stared at the woman, momentarily stunned. "Mildred, you don’t have to take all of this on yourself, you know, Kathryn and I can…" Mildred cut her off.

"Nonsense, dear, I already volunteered and nothing has changed. Besides, I’ve lived here all of my life and I know just about everyone in town, so I’m quite sure we can get it all together in the next couple of weeks. You girls have enough to think about."

"We do?"

"Indeed, Dane said he thought it would be a more meaningful ceremony if you wrote your own vows and I agree. You can do that separately and then read them to each other for the first time on your wedding day. Beautiful, just beautiful." Mildred smiled. "Off with you now, you have things to do." She shooed them out the door as she dialed Delores’s number. Morgan and Kathryn shook their heads and grinned as they walked out to the truck. Kathryn fastened the baby in.

"Girls?" Mildred called to them from the deck. "Don’t forget to get me the guest list by this weekend, numbers, girls, I need numbers."

"We’ll work on it tonight," Morgan promised as they got in the truck. "Thank you Mildred, this means a lot to us."

Mildred waved her hand at them and went into the house; speaking into the receiver excitedly she disappeared from view.

Kathryn giggled. "I think she’s a little wound up."

Morgan groaned. "I think I finally found someone who talks more than you do."

Kathryn gave her a playful swat as she ducked. "You missed again." She laughed as the blond found her mark. "By the way, where did you put that last piece of bread?" She teased as they pulled into the driveway.

As they parked the Land Cruiser they noticed Megan and Tracey sitting on the porch sipping champagne.

"Hey you guys!" Kathryn jumped out of the truck and waved as Matthew cooed from his position in her arms. She smiled. "Isn’t it a little early in the day for that?"

"It’s already noon," Tracey remarked. "And I think a little celebration is in order, I heard a rumor from Billy that my favorite patient got her memory back." She stood up and hugged Kathryn close for a full minute before releasing her. "I’m so happy for you, babe, we all missed you so much."

Kathryn had tears in her eyes. "Trace, I don’t even know where to begin to thank you…"

Tracey held up her hand. "You would have done the same for me if you could, we both know it. I’m just glad I was there, I don’t even want to think about what I would have done if I had lost you." Tracey closed her eyes against the memory of removing the bullet from her best friend’s head, she had been the picture of professionalism at the time but when it intruded on her thoughts now she allowed herself to feel the emotions she had kept inside.

"Thank you," Kathryn said sincerely. "You saved my life, that’s not something I can just dismiss."

"All in a day’s work babe." The doctor winked. "But if you really want to repay me, you’ll let me stay at your house for a little longer until Megan and I can find something." She smiled as the implication set in for Kathryn.

"You’re going to move in together?" The blond grinned. "Congratulations, guys."

"I’ve decided it’s time for a little commitment in my life," Tracey said. "To something other than my job. I’d like to see how I do, balancing both." She squeezed Megan’s hand and the nurse smiled.

"You know, I hadn’t really given this much thought before, but it’s time that I did," Kathryn began. "Morgan and I are getting married in a month and we certainly don’t need both houses. Why don’t you and Megan move into Aunt Janice’s house right now? I’m certainly not going to be using it."

She looked over at Morgan, who nodded her assent.

"Kate, that would be great!" Tracey remarked. "Meg? Are you ready for this so soon?"

Megan laughed. "I think I’ve been ready for something like this for a long time." Morgan smiled, she knew it was true and it had been something she had been unable to give her, it made her beyond happy to know that Tracey could.

"Great!" The normally stoic doctor was excited. "I brought all of my stuff back with me, Meg I think we can get all of your things in just a few trips. You want to start tonight?" The surgeon was pacing the deck much to Matthew’s delight.

"I’d love to." Megan leaned over and kissed her companion tenderly. "And I love you."

She walked over to the agent who was leaning against the railing. "Tigger, I didn’t mean anything by that, I hope you don’t think-"

Morgan put her arm around her friend. "Not at all, Meg, I knew exactly what you meant. You have been ready and I can’t tell you how happy I am that you found what you needed." She smiled as she watched Kathryn talking animatedly with Tracey. "We both did."

Megan smiled. "I’ve never seen anyone affect you the way she does. I knew it was there, it just took the right combination to bring it out."

"Thanks for being my friend, Meg, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on that."

"You and me both, Morg. It means a lot to me that we’ve come this far. Guess we all finally found our place."

Morgan lowered her voice. "There’s something else I wanted to talk to you about. I know how much you always loved my house and I believe that in a month or so there’s going to be a vacancy there." She grinned. "It’s a lot bigger than Janice’s place and I think you two might appreciate the extra room." She kept her eyes focused on Kathryn; the young woman was still engaged in a lively conversation with the doctor and was well out of earshot.

"God, Tigger, you know I would." She looked questioningly at the Agent. "Don’t tell me you two are leaving?"

"Not exactly, although please don’t let this get out, Kathryn doesn’t know anything about it yet." She briefly explained the situation to Megan and the nurse laughed.

"Tigger, you are amazing. She’s going to love it."

Morgan smiled. "We’ll be just down the street, you can see the roofline from here." She propped a leg up on one of the deck chairs.

"What about Janice’s house, do you think Kathryn will want to sell?"

"Well," Morgan grinned, "Kathryn doesn’t know this yet either but Henry has decided he liked having us around far too much and he wants to move out here to be close to her and Matthew."

"I understand he’s rather fond of you as well."

"Perhaps," Morgan winked. "But he’s more than a little excited to be able to see his grandson everyday. Janice’s house will be perfect for him and you know Mildred will make a big fuss. She loves having someone to take care of."

Kathryn was on her way over to her lover as Matthew sat contentedly in his Aunt Tracey’s lap. Morgan gathered her into waiting arms and pulled her close.

"I love you," Kathryn murmured into a soft shoulder.

"I love you too, so very much." Morgan closed her eyes for a moment before opening them again and focusing on Kathryn. "We need to work on the guest list tonight, but I thought we could help Tracey and Megan get settled in at Janice’s house first. What do you think?"

"It’s a great idea, Angel." She sighed, content to stay in the Agent’s embrace. "God you smell good."

"I do?"

"Yeah. I love the way you smell." She snuggled in closer and Morgan smiled. "By the way, Tracey’s brother is a photographer and I think he’d come out here for the wedding. I’ll give him a call."

"Sounds like everything is falling into place, love."

"I’ve got you, my life is already in place." She grinned. "I can’t wait to marry you, Agent Sumners."

"Well if you can hold out for another month, I promise to make it worth your while," She said huskily as she captured the younger woman’s lips with her own.

"Alright you two, break it up," Tracey laughed. "It’s show time." She headed for her truck excitedly with the nurse in tow.

Morgan smiled. She took Kathryn’s hand as they made their way to the Land Cruiser. "Let’s stop at the grocery store for boxes, they always have extra. Meg has a lot of stuff."

"I heard that, Sumners," Megan laughed.

Morgan grinned. As she and Tracey loaded up on boxes, Kathryn and Megan went inside for snacks and sodas. They arrived in Mattituck half an hour later and pulled up outside Megan’s apartment. Megan found a 70’s rock station on the radio and cranked up the tunes as they packed her things.

"Haven’t heard these songs in a while," She remarked as Morgan came out of the bathroom with a box full of towels. "Stayin’ Alive, does anyone else remember that movie?"

Morgan did indeed remember and she set down the box, grabbing a towel off the top she danced around the kitchen doing her best John Travolta impersonation. As she whisked by Kathryn she grabbed the younger woman, who fell into her role immediately and they made their way around the apartment much to the delight of Tracey and Megan. Kathryn grinned as they danced.

"I’m not sure you would look good in silver sequins."

"No? Hmmm perhaps we should find out."

Kathryn giggled. "Now out of silver sequins, that might be good. Hmm come to think of it just about any of your outfits look wonderful on my bedroom floor."

"Are you seducing me?"

"I don’t know, is it working?"

Morgan swept the blond up in her arms and swung her around, depositing her on the kitchen table she kissed her senseless to the hooting and hollering of their friends. Kathryn was still giggling as she got up.

"I think you stole the show."

"I think you stole my heart."

"My we are awfully affectionate today, Agent Sumners."

"Do I hear a complaint?"

"Nope, no way," Kathryn jumped into Morgan’s arms and she caught her neatly, wrapping her legs around the agent’s waist she buried her face in the raven mane. "I never get tired of anything you do."

"I’ve got scientific proof of that," Morgan teased. Kathryn kissed her again before jumping down.

"You most certainly do."

Three hours later they had everything but the furniture in the two trucks. Morgan led the small caravan back to the beach house and they unloaded the boxes, one more trip and the new roommates would be settled in.

Chapter 23: And Justice For All

Life had returned to normal in the last few weeks as Morgan and Kathryn settled back into their relationship. The couple next door had also settled into their new house and into living together. Friday night barbeques had become the norm at Morgan and Kathryn’s and the couples enjoyed spending time together. Tonight was no exception; the women sat on the deck sipping margaritas as the conversation turned to the wedding planned for next weekend.

"When will Henry arrive?" Tracey asked, looking at Kathryn.

"He’ll be here on Wednesday. He has a few things left to wrap up at the office. I personally think he’s just waiting until Bubba can get away so he has someone to talk to on the flight." The friendship that the two men established was surprising at first but Kathryn was glad her father and the crusty old chief had become buddies. Bubba taught Henry to fish and the men spent many weekends on the lake bass and crappie fishing. Kathryn knew the time he spent relaxing was good for him and he hadn’t done much of that since her mother passed away.

"I think someone has a crush on Delores." Morgan said with a smirk. She had that look on her face that Kathryn knew all too well; the only thing missing was the yellow feathers. Morgan definitely looked like the proverbial cat that ate the canary.

"Wanna share those thoughts Agent Sumners?"

"That’s former Agent Sumners to you." Morgan said with a grin. She had formally submitted her resignation to Bax when the trial was over and Derek was convicted of the murders. Personally she never understood the reasoning behind trying someone who was dead. Seemed a waste of taxpayers’ money but the cases couldn’t be listed as solved unless there was a conviction attached. At least it didn’t require a jury trial; usually the judge presiding over the case heard the evidence and made a decision. "Rumor has it a certain chief of police is burning up the phone lines on a nightly basis and is planning a romantic little get away with the town gossip."

"No way!" Kathryn exclaimed. "Good for Delores, she needs someone to dote on."

"You mean besides you and Matthew?" Morgan winked. Kathryn smiled at her lover and looked off in the distance. Her eye caught the roofline of the house she didn’t know would soon be hers.

"I wonder why the people who built that house never go there? Why build and not live there or even visit?"

"Who knows?" Megan answered for Morgan. "Perhaps they’re summer people. The house wasn’t finished until the end of summer, they may show up eventually."

Morgan busied herself with the hamburgers and let Megan field Kathryn’s questions. She was having a hard time lately keeping a straight face when Kathryn’s musing turned to the new house. She knew if Kathryn pinned her down with the questions she wouldn’t be able to maintain the secret any longer. One more week, she told herself, just one more week and then my little inquisitive one, you’ll know exactly who lives in that house.

Morgan took the burgers off the grill and set the plate on the table. "Let’s eat." She said to the ravenous group.


The doorbell rang as the women finished off the last of the food and sat back in their chairs with fresh drinks. "I’ll get it." Morgan replied, rising from her chair.

She opened the front door and was greeted by a uniformed officer.

"Morgan Sumners?"

"Yes?" Morgan raised an eyebrow and looked at him quizzically; she had had her fill of badges, courtrooms and official business lately, and she wondered about the curious intrusion.

"This is for you." He said as he thrust a folded piece of paper in her hands. "You’ve been served." He touched his cap, turned, and walked down the stairs.

She unfolded the summons as she closed the door. "Fuck me running." She muttered under her breath. She’d been summoned to testify for the defense in Gin’s trial. "She’s got a lot of nerve." Morgan refolded the paper and set it on the table before rejoining the group on the deck.

"Who was that, Angel?" Kathryn asked as Morgan kissed the top of her head on her way to her chair.

"I’ve been summoned to appear as a witness for the defense in Gin’s trial." Morgan sighed and picked up her drink.

"You’ve got to be kidding." Megan exclaimed. She shook her head.

"Wish I was. I hope they don’t expect me to defend her because I’m sure as hell not going to help her." She ran her hands through the raven locks, agitated at yet another delay in closing this chapter of her life.

"I still can’t believe they called you." Tracey spoke up. "I wouldn’t want you for a witness if I were in her position."

"When do you have to appear?" Kathryn asked as she took Morgan’s hand. She could tell from the firm set to Morgan’s jaw that the summons had spoiled the earlier jovial mood.

"Monday." She replied calmly. Downing her margarita in one swallow she stood and picked up the Frisbee from the deck and whistled for J.D. and Lexi. When the dogs appeared she walked to the beach and tossed the disk as far as she could. The dogs chased and returned it until Morgan burned off the lingering frustration she felt. When she was once again in total control of the anger she felt rising up within her she rejoined her partner and friends and they all went inside to watch a movie.


Morgan and Kathryn waved as they drove away from Mildred’s early Monday morning after dropping Matthew off with his permanent babysitter. Kathryn had one last fitting on her dress and decided to ride into Manhattan with Morgan. The ex-agent had tossed and turned fitfully in her sleep the night before and Kathryn knew she would need some moral support for the long day ahead. She would be the first to testify in the defense’s turn. She had testified when the trial began but the prosecution had asked her very few questions and the defense chose at the time not to cross-examine. She thought when she walked away from the courtroom that day that she would never have to step foot in there again.

She kissed Kathryn goodbye distractedly as the blond exited the car and nodded her head when Kathryn told her to call when she was done. Morgan ascended the formidable stone steps; each one feeling like an obstacle on her way to washing her hands of this case. She nodded absently to a police officer as she passed him in the hallway, brief recognition evident in her expression. Entering the courtroom she took a seat and waited with the others through the obligatory proceedings. She could see Gin through the throng of onlookers and felt her stomach lurch. She was sitting next to her attorney, a somewhat serene expression on her face that momentarily reminded Morgan of Tessa. The Agent looked away, wishing she could will this day into oblivion.

There was a brief shuffling of bodies and papers as preparations were made to call the next witness and hearing her name, Morgan walked to the stand. Turning she faced the bailiff as she was sworn in again. When he nodded she took her seat and faced the defense attorney. He was a short, wiry man with horn-rimmed glasses, one of those men who probably wore a pocket protector and was constantly immersed in a science fiction novel in his free time, she thought. He smiled briefly at the agent as he began his questioning.

"Miss Sumners, what was your relationship to the defendant?"

"She was a member of my team."

"Was she a valuable member of your team?" The attorney’s voice seemed to shoot up an octave as he attempted to lead her in the desired direction.

"She was a member."

"Is it fair to say she was invaluable to you?"

"No." Morgan fixed him with a neutral but no-nonsense look that dared him to continue.

"Did you consider her a good agent?"


"Was there ever a time when you felt she was a good agent?" The lawyer tried again, briefly wondering why they had summoned the statuesque agent for his client’s defense. Morgan paused, Gin had done nothing to earn even an ounce of her respect in a very long time, but there had been potential, many years ago, when Gin had first signed on with her team. After deliberating with her own thoughts for a few moments, she addressed the attorney.

"When the defendant first joined my group, I believed that she had potential. She proved me wrong."

The attorney became flustered and asked the judge for permission to treat Morgan as a hostile witness. When permission was granted he continued.

"Miss Sumners, if you thought she was such a bad agent, why did you keep her on your team?" Morgan folded her hands in front of her and leaned forward in her chair, pinning the attorney in place with her strikingly blue eyes she answered.

"I had suspicions about her and wanted to keep an eye on her."

"You were on the dock the night her sister was killed?"

"Yes." Morgan drew her lips into a tight line; brief memories of that night flashed through her consciousness and she felt the bile rise in her throat as she remembered hearing the words that confirmed her suspicions about the agent.

"They were on your personal yacht?"


"Did you hear the conversation between the two women?"


"Can you tell us what was said?"

Morgan looked at the prosecution, waiting for an objection to what was obviously considered hearsay, but none came. The prosecution knew every word of the conversation and felt that she couldn’t hurt their case by repeating any of it.

"I don’t remember every word."

"Did the defendant try to talk her sister into surrendering?"

"No," Morgan answered steadily. "She threatened to kill her to keep anyone from finding out that she aided and abetted a wanted felon."

"Objection." The defense attorney called.

"You can’t object to your own witness, counselor." The Judge stated. "You asked the question, I would suggest that in the future you know what your witness is going to say. Proceed."

The lawyer let out an audible sigh and faced the agent again. "You visited the defendant in jail?"


"Did you talk about her childhood?"


"You knew she’d had a less than perfect home life?" Morgan hated questions like this; she knew he was trying to use his client’s past to excuse her future actions and win the sympathy of the jury.

"She told me she torched her grandparents for her inheritance money."

"Did she say why?"

"She wanted to get out of her hometown and start a new life."

The attorney sighed; this was not going the way he planned. "Did she talk about her relationship with her sister?"


"Did she say anything about her sister?"


"Would you please share that with the jury?"

"She said her sister was blackmailing her."


"She threatened to expose her murderous juvenile record to me if she didn’t cooperate."

He smiled; finally she was getting to what he wanted her to say.

"She didn’t want you to find out about that am I right?"


"She went along with Ms. Trumbull to keep you from finding out about her past?"

"She did it so she wouldn’t lose her job." Morgan’s expression had turned to one of obvious distaste. "Her job was more important to her than putting two killers behind bars. She was stupid."

The attorney froze in his tracks as he paced in front of the jury box. "Your Honor, I request that the witnesses last statement be stricken from the record."


"I have no further questions."

"Would the prosecution like to cross-examine?"

"Yes your Honor we would."

Morgan leaned back in the leather chair and crossed one leg over the other, straightening the crease in the khaki pants as she waited for Ms. Addison to gather her notepad and walk to the witness stand. The woman was tall and blond and did not appear to be at all intimidated by the agent.

"Agent Sumners, you worked with Virginia Joseph for a number of years is that correct?" She looked directly into Morgan’s eyes while she spoke, perhaps unconsciously searching for whatever it was that she thought she needed to get the questioning flowing in a direction favorable to her case.

"Yes, about three years I believe." Morgan returned the gaze, equally unflustered, and noted that the woman averted her eyes slightly as the next question spilled forth.

"In that time, we’re you aware of her attraction to you?"

"Objection!" Gin’s attorney shouted. "Ms. Joseph’s feelings are not on trial here." The little man wiped a bead of sweat from his brow.

"Overruled, the witness will answer the question." The Judge looked over at Morgan as she continued.

"Yes, I knew she was attracted to me."

"Did she ever act on that attraction?"

"She flirted, but I didn’t return her feelings."

"Did you know her sister was attracted to you?"

"Objection. Ms. Trumbull is not on trial here and this information is irrelevant." Gin’s attorney was standing up again and he pounded his fist lightly on the table as he made his point.

"Sustained." Ms. Addison nodded and tried another tactic.

"Do you think the sisters were in competition for your affections?"


"Let’s go back to that night on your yacht. You were shot, is that correct?"


"Do you know who shot you?"


"And that was?"

"Ms. Joseph, the defendant."

"You returned fire, is that correct?"


"And you shot Ms. Joseph, correct?"


"Did you intend to kill her?"

"No, I shot her in the arm."

"Do you believe Ms. Joseph intended to kill you?"

"Objection." The defense attorney was on his feet again. The Judge glanced over at him.

"On what grounds?"

"The witness does not know what my client was thinking."

"Overruled, the prosecution asked what she believed, not what your client was thinking."

"I repeat Agent Sumners, do you believe Ms. Joseph intended to kill you?"


"No further questions."

Morgan stood up and walked from the witness stand, she did not look at Gin as she walked down the center aisle and out of the courtroom. She had avoided meeting the former agent’s gaze altogether and she intended to keep it that way. Hoping she would never have to deal with her again, she started the truck and pulled out into rush hour traffic. She cleared her mind of the events in the courtroom and drifted into pleasant thoughts of the upcoming weekend, she decided that she would not let Gin spoil the rest of the day for her and she pulled into the parking lot of the bridal store and went inside to find her future wife.

Chapter 24: Bells Will Be Ringing

Morgan fussed with the vest on her tuxedo until Megan brushed her hands away. "Let me fix it Tigger." Kathryn had picked out the tux for Morgan deciding that she would never get the statuesque woman into a wedding dress. The blue of the vest accented Morgan’s eyes and Kathryn fell in love with it as soon as she saw it in the bridal shop.

Megan pushed aside the light gray suit coat and tugged the points on the vest down until they fell into place. Stepping back she wolf whistled. "If I’d known you looked so good in a tux I’d have had you wear one for me."

Morgan looked saddened by Megan’s comment and wished for the thousandth time that she’d never hurt the woman standing before her.

"Hey Tigger, you wipe that look off your face right now. What happened between us was a long time ago and I have no hard feelings. I don’t regret a minute of what we shared and neither should you. We have both grown up a lot since then and we’ve both found the people who complete us. You have to quit looking like that every time I say something about our past. Let it go, I have and we’re good friends now. I wouldn’t trade what we have now for how it was back then. We’re both better off and my memories are good ones. Stop beating yourself up over what used to be, you did the best you could back then and so did I, it wasn’t meant to be. What we have now is what we should have had then. I’m happy with that, let yourself be happy too."

Morgan wrapped her arm around Megan’s shoulder and hugged the shorter woman to her. "You’re right babe, we’re both better off and we’ve both definitely grown up in the last few years. I’ll always regret that I didn’t have more time for you, you deserved better than what we had and I’m glad you have that now. We’re both extremely lucky women."

"Yes we are, now you need to get to the beach before Kathryn thinks you have cold feet."

"No chance of that happening. What does her dress look like?"

"I don’t know, she wouldn’t show it to me, but Tracey says she is the most beautiful bride she’s ever seen."

"She’s that even without a wedding dress."

"I have to agree with you there."

Morgan linked arms with Megan and walked from the bedroom of Kathryn’s old house. The women had agreed to dress in separate houses to keep from seeing each other before the ceremony. Morgan had been sent to Megan and Tracey’s house along with Henry and Bubba. Henry would go to Morgan’s after he dressed to walk Kathryn down the aisle. Bubba had been asked and agreed to give Morgan away.

They met Bubba in the living room and Morgan whistled in appreciation of the chief in his tux. "You sure clean up well, Bubba."

"I reckon so Miz Sumners, yer looking a might spiffy yerself all dudded up like that."

"Thanks Bubba. You ready?"

"Ready as I’ll ever be I reckon." He said, taking her arm.

Together they walked from Megan’s to the beach. The red carpet was rolled out over a plywood walkway to the gazebo and the duo walked arm in arm to the minister waiting for them. Dane zipped his robe and turned to face the couple as they walked up.

"Bubba, you’ll stand to Morgan’s left until Kathryn walks up. You’ll remain there until asked who gives this woman, you’ll say ‘I do’ and then step back and take your seat. Morgan, you’ll stand to my left and Kathryn will be on your right. When she comes down the aisle her father will pass her left hand to your right arm. Henry will stand there until I ask who gives Kathryn then he will say ‘I do’ and take his seat. Then you’ll turn to face me. Do you have the rings?"

Morgan looked to Bones and he nodded, holding up the rings in his hand. He looked resplendent in his dark gray tux and Morgan whispered her thanks to him. Turning back to Mildred’s son she heard the last of his orders then faced the audience and waited for Kathryn to appear.


Tracey fastened the locket around Kathryn’s neck and stood back. "That’s beautiful Kathryn, where’d you get it?"

"Morgan gave it to me for Christmas last year." Kathryn answered, fingering the tiny pendant. "When Derek shot me he took it, but she recovered it from the cabin and put it away until I got my memory back."

Kathryn opened the locket and showed Tracey the pictures inside then closed it and let it fall back against her chest.

"Do you have all the usual things? Something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new?" Tracey asked as she lowered Kathryn’s veil into place.

"Let’s see, for something old, I have my Mother’s lace handkerchief from her wedding to Daddy, for something new I have Diamond earrings Morgan gave me last night, something borrowed is the diamond tennis bracelet Megan loaned me and my garter is the same blue as Morgan’s vest. I think we’ve got all the bases covered." She let a wide grin play across her features, she thought her nerves would get the best of her on this long-awaited day but now that it was here, she felt nothing but excitement.

Kathryn fussed with her dress briefly until a knock on the door interrupted her.

"Who is it?" Tracey called out.

"Father of the bride." Henry couldn’t hide the pride in his voice as he waited for admittance into the room.

"Come in Henry, your little girl is ready for her big day."

Henry opened the door and was unprepared for the vision standing before him. Except for the hair color it could be June standing there looking just as lovely as the day he’d married her. He let himself regress deep into his most precious memories for a moment as he looked at her and marveled at how much he wished her mother could see this too. "You look so much like your mother, Little One. She was just as beautiful when I married her as you are now."

"Thank you Daddy." Kathryn beamed.

"It’s time, you ready?" Henry held out an arm and smiled at his only child.

She took his arm and they made their way down the rose petal trail to the beach. When she stepped foot on the red-carpeted walkway the pianist began the bridal march. Hushed murmurs of appreciation echoed through the crowd.

Morgan and Bubba turned at the first strains of the song and watched as Kathryn floated toward them. Morgan’s breath caught in her throat as she watched the woman of her dreams make her way down the aisle. She swallowed hard; she knew Kathryn would look great but she was unprepared for the emotions welling up inside her at the impact of the moment and the realization that after all they had been through, this day had finally arrived. Derek, Gin, and the bloodstained past faded into oblivion as the woman before her approached and fixed her gaze on the tall agent; once she had made eye contact the rest of the world ceased to exist. The gown dipped low on Kathryn’s cleavage and the sunlight danced off the baby pearls beaded throughout the dress. She was stunning. It was all Morgan could do not to run down the aisle herself and sweep the woman into her arms.

Morgan watched as Henry led Kathryn to her position beside her soon to be wife and placed her hand on the waiting arm before taking his position on Kathryn’s right. The women had not looked away from each other yet and Dane held back a chuckle as he cleared his throat to get their attention and addressed the group standing before him. Kathryn gave him a shy smile, as her already flushed cheeks deepened. The minister looked to Bubba. "Who gives Morgan to Kathryn?"

"I do." Bubba said then stepped back and walked to his seat.

"And who gives Kathryn to Morgan?"

"I do." Henry said and kissed his daughter’s cheek before stepping back and taking his seat beside Mildred. The older woman gave his arm a squeeze as she removed a tissue from her pocketbook and wiped the building moisture from her eyes.

Morgan and Kathryn turned and faced the minister. "If there is anyone here who objects to these two being joined together, speak now or forever hold your peace."

He waited a few moments and when no objections were voiced, faced the couple.

"Morgan and Kathryn, you have decided to enter into a bonding not just of the heart but of the mind and soul as well. You enter into this bonding knowing that it is forever and cannot be severed even in death. What the two of you have found is a love that spans the ages and yet is timeless. Take care of that love and of each other for there is no greater power in Heaven or on Earth. Do not enter into this sacred bonding unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted. Morgan and Kathryn have written their own vows and will now share them with each other."

Dane took a step back and Morgan and Kathryn faced one another. Smiling, Morgan clasped Kathryn’s hand in hers and said the words written in her heart.

"Kathryn, my Little One. You have touched every corner of my heart and soul. You have taken a dark and empty place and filled it with the light of your love. It is a beacon shining my path when I have lost my way, warmth that draws me to the flame of your love burning ever bright in my presence. I have searched forever to find you for you are my hearts twin. My heart beats in perfect rhythm with yours. You are the breath that fills my lungs and the strength that holds me up when I can’t make it on my own. I have never felt a love like this before and I am awed by the power. I pledge to you my undying love forever. There are no words to describe my feelings or the depth of my love for you. I have searched for them and they elude me. All I can offer is this pitiful excuse and hope that you will hear me with your heart and understand how you have healed my soul. I was like a ship tossed against the rocks, floundering and sinking when you offered me your hand and showed me what it was like to have solid ground beneath my feet. You taught me that it was all right to love and be loved. You showed me how to give and how to take the love given me in return. You have given me a gift more precious than all the money and jewels in the world. You have given me your heart. With all that I am and with all that I will ever be, I love you."

Morgan kissed Kathryn’s hand and then released it so Kathryn could wipe her eyes. When she returned her mother’s handkerchief to the sleeve of her dress she held Morgan’s hand and spoke the words she’d never given voice to before.

"Morgan, my warrior. You have been a constant in my life even when I couldn’t remember you. You stood by me in the darkest moments and loved me with a love greater than any known by man. I truly believe we share a love that spans the ages. I have loved you from time immemorial. Again and again you find me and we share our lives. When we met you captured my imagination, then my friendship and finally my heart. I trust you with my heart for now and for all time. Your strength amazes me and your willingness to open your heart for me humbles me. I too was floundering when you reached out your hand to me. You saved me as much as I saved you. I didn’t know what I was searching for until I found you. You have touched my heart and my soul; you have shown me all the beauty there is to life and to love. When I look into your eyes I see an understanding of what we share and I know that you feel the same. I trust you with my heart knowing that you will keep it safe. You have also given me the gift of your heart and of your love. With all that I am and with all that I will ever be I love you my Angel."

Dane motioned towards Bones and he passed the rings to the Minister. "Morgan take this ring, place it on Kathryn’s left hand and repeat after me:

"I, Morgan, take you Kathryn to be my wife, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love.

On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and all those in attendance my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad.

I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, to always be open and honest with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live."

Morgan slid the diamond onto the slender finger and smiled, she briefly squeezed the smaller hand as Dane continued.

"Kathryn take this ring, place it on Morgan’s left hand and repeat after me." Kathryn looked into Morgan’s eyes and repeated the words she’d just heard.

"I, Kathryn, take you Morgan to be my wife, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love.

On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and all those in attendance my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad.

I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, to always be open and honest with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live."

After the exchange of rings Dane lead the two women to the candles burning off to the left of the altar. Kathryn held tightly to her lover’s hand, certain that she could not get close enough physically to equal the intensity of the bond she was feeling inside. She felt the return pressure of the larger hand and couldn’t resist grinning widely as they turned to face Dane.

"These two candles are symbolic of separate people in their own right. By the joining of two candles into one, this symbolizes the strength and the unity of two joining together to become one, depicting Morgan and Kathryn's belief that together they can become greater than each could alone. The side candles remain burning to further symbolize the continuing importance of the individual integrity within the marriage relationship. Morgan and Kathryn, take your individual candles and together light the single candle."

Once the candle was lit and the others replaced in their holders Dane once again lead the women to the altar. "What God has joined together let no man put asunder. Morgan you may kiss your bride."

Kathryn turned and handed the bouquet of roses, carnations, and baby’s breath to Tracey. Facing Morgan once again she waited as Morgan lifted her veil and then kissed her wife soundly.

"Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Morgan and Kathryn Sumners."

Kathryn giggled as they made their way back the way they had come, applause raining down on them like confetti. Well-wishers surrounded them almost immediately, and the bridal party joined them as Kathryn hugged everybody within her reach. Tracey pushed her way through the crowd and whispered something in Morgan’s ear. The agent nodded and took Kathryn’s hand.

"Troy wants to take the pictures now, Little One, while we still look good." Morgan winked.

"Well I don’t see that being a problem for you, Angel, ever."

Morgan grinned at the compliment and shook her head, leading Kathryn back to the altar she patiently endured the next hour and a half while Tracey’s brother set everyone up for the endless poses that usually made up the traditional wedding pictures. Standing still for long periods of time wasn’t Morgan’s forte. She fidgeted in the tux but managed a smile for what she thought was the thousandth time. Kathryn grinned broadly and left her position next to Morgan to speak with the photographer on several occasions as she remembered pictures she wanted taken. Her enthusiasm was contagious, though, and she winked in Morgan’s direction as she lined Henry and Mildred up on the platform and grinned as Troy snapped the shutter. When they were finished, Tracey shuttled everyone in the direction of the lab, converted for the occasion into a reception hall.


The two women raced back to their house to change for the reception. Hand in hand they ran up the stairs to their bedroom. Morgan smiled; Kathryn brought emotions out in her she didn’t think she had anymore and right now she felt like a kid.

"Did I tell you how beautiful you look in that dress?" Morgan asked and began unbuttoning the small pearl buttons on the back of the gown.

"Nope, but the look on your face when I walked down the aisle spoke volumes. You look especially stunning in your tux as well my wife." Kathryn said, turning in Morgan’s arms to kiss her new bride.

"Thank you my dear." Morgan replied with a sweeping bow.

They quickly undressed, resisting the temptation to linger in each other’s arms and begin their honeymoon early. Kathryn slid into the tight coral colored sheath she’d picked out for the reception. Morgan had changed into black slacks accented with a new purple silk shirt she’d seen Kathryn drooling over on their last shopping expedition.

The couple rejoined their friends in the lab that had been redecorated for the reception. Gone were the table and equipment and instead were chairs, tables, and a wooden dance floor that dominated the majority of the floor space.

Billy was acting as DJ and keyed the mic as the newlyweds entered the building.

"Our happy couple has joined us at last. Let’s have a round of applause for the ladies." He said as the room burst into a cacophony of whistles, catcalls, and clapping. "Morgan and Kathryn would both like to sing a song to each other to get this party started. Morgan you first." He handed her the mike and walked behind the makeshift DJ booth.

Morgan took Kathryn’s hand and led her to the stage area and held her hand tightly as the beginning strains of her voice filled the room.

The room erupted in applause as Morgan finished her song then swept Kathryn into her arms and kissed her soundly.

"My turn Angel." Kathryn said as she took the mic from Morgan’s hand. Nodding to Billy she faced her wife and sang I need You from the depths of her heart.

Morgan felt her own emotions betray her as a single tear slid down her cheek. Kathryn pulled the tall woman into her arms and they melted into the next song, other couples now filling the area for the slow dance. Megan smiled as Tracey led her to the middle of the room, and laughed when her partner remarked that there might not be any good time to cut in on the dancing newlyweds.

"Guess that means I’ll have to dance with you all night." She kissed her lover on the cheek as they swayed to the gentle tune.

"No complaints here," Tracey answered, pulling her closer.

"I don’t know if it’s the beach, or if there is something in the air around here," Megan laughed, pointing to Henry and Mildred. "But there sure have been a lot of romances springing up lately."

"Perhaps Mildred isn’t the only one springing," Tracey said, easing her partner around so she could witness Bubba and Delores dancing cheek to cheek.

"My God, it’s contagious," Megan laughed again, tears rolling down her cheeks. "Don’t look now, but even Mildred’s son may have been bitten by the love bug." She nodded in Dane’s direction. He was smiling at Pati, who had progressed by leaps and bounds in her physical therapy and was doing wonderfully as she swayed gently in his arms. She caught sight of the women watching and waved from across the room, giving them the thumbs-up signal. Megan was nearly doubled over with laughter now.

"If Matthew comes in here with Baxter’s granddaughter, I’m leaving." Tracey deadpanned and the nurse giggled. "Oh God, Trace, cut it out, you’re killing me here."

"Come on, silly, let’s see if we can sneak in a dance with the happy couple."

"Which one?" Megan laughed out loud again as her lover took her hand and shaking her head, pulled her toward Morgan and Kathryn.

"May we cut in?" Tracey tapped Morgan on the shoulder and smiled.

"We thought we’d be the first ones to pull you two off of each other." Megan grinned.

Morgan did an exaggerated bow and put Kathryn’s hand into Tracey’s waiting one. "Alright," she said, "Just have her home by six o’ clock, young lady." She looked at her watch.

"It’s 5:58!" Tracey howled.

The agent grinned. "Have fun, kids." She took Megan’s hand and slid the other one around her waist, leaning over for a kiss from Kathryn before they danced off through the crowd.

"Everything is so beautiful, Tigger," Megan remarked. "I’m very happy for you."

"Thanks Meg, that means a lot to me." She looked over at Tracey, who was engaged in a rather lively conversation with Kathryn, who mostly giggled and nodded.

"I don’t even want to know what they’re talking about," Morgan laughed.

"Probably you," Megan answered with a laugh of her own. "Kathryn always has that goofy look on her face when you’re involved." She looked up at the taller woman. "By the way, everything is set. By the time you two return from your honeymoon, Tracey and I will have all your stuff set up in your new house. Henry and Bubba agreed to help move the big stuff, and I’m sure I can get Mildred and Delores to assist with the unpacking."

"I really appreciate that, Meg. I can’t wait to see the look on Kathryn’s face when we drive in."

"We’ll make sure everything is perfect, I promise." She hugged the agent. "Although I’d say you already have everything you need." She smiled as Kathryn and Tracey rejoined them and the smaller woman slid comfortably into her wife’s arms.

Chapter 25: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

Kathryn sent Morgan upstairs to check for anything the newlyweds might have forgotten as a ruse to get Megan and Tracey alone for a few moments. When Morgan was out of earshot she walked over to the couch where the lovebirds were sitting. Grinning, she took a seat between them and put her hand on Tracey's knee as the two women leaned in conspiratorially.

"Okay guys, I’m counting on you to pick up Morgan’s new truck from Manhattan while we’re gone. It’s supposed to be in next week and it would be great if you could have it parked at the marina when we dock." She looked thoughtful for a moment as she imagined her lover's surprise.

"Ohhh what did you get her?" Megan asked. She knew Tracey had helped Kathryn pick out Morgan’s wedding present off the Internet but she’d been so busy she’d forgotten to ask what the two of them had decided on.

Kathryn beamed as she described the truck. "It’s Toyota’s latest SUV, the Sequoia. It’s a lot bigger than her Land Cruiser and has a moon roof in it. It has four wheel drive and room for eight. I ordered it with all the bells and whistles, she’s going to love it!" Kathryn laughed.

Megan and Tracey beamed as Kathryn went over all the specifications in detail. Kathryn had almost as much fun picking the truck out and ordering the extras as she had planning her wedding. Tracey loved to see her friend in such high spirits; Morgan brought out a fire in the young woman that only intensified her usual zest for life. She was right though, she thought as she caught the sparkle in Kathryn's eyes; Morgan was going to love the truck. She’d even ordered it in Morgan’s favorite colors, midnight black with a gray interior.

Kathryn put her arms around the two women as Morgan came down the stairs waving their toothbrushes in her hand. "You forgot these, Little One. There’s no way I’m kissing you with morning breath!"

Kathryn smiled. "And here I thought I was irresistible!"

Morgan grinned as the blond got up from the couch and put an arm around her waist as they walked out onto the deck. Megan and Tracey followed and Morgan took a final glance back into the house.

"I think we’ve got everything, Angel, you know we can always stop if we need anything else." She smiled up as the taller woman nodded and they shut the door and walked out to the truck.

The four women piled in and drove to the Marina. Kathryn took a cleansing breath as the ocean air rustled her short locks. She bounded up onto the deck of the boat after her companion and they waved at the couple on the dock as Morgan maneuvered the forty-eight-foot Baltic Yacht from its slip and steered toward open water. The wind whipped her hair back from her face with a salty sting. Kathryn disappeared into the galley and returned a short time later; handing Morgan a glass of chilled champagne the two women watched as the horizon grew closer.

"Where do you want to go, my love?" Morgan asked, sipping the cold amber liquid.

"Anywhere, everywhere. It doesn’t matter as long as I’m with you."

"We should at least choose a direction Little One."

"What about Maine?"

"Don’t tell me you have shopping on your mind already!" Morgan teased.

"Umm well… perhaps. But I’ve always wanted to see Maine. If we get to do a little shopping that’s just a bonus."

"Unh huh." Morgan leaned down and kissed the full lips smiling up at her. "We’ll do anything you want Little One."

Reading the gauges Morgan turned northward and set the controls to automatic. After turning on the running lights she stretched out behind Kathryn on the deck chair. Wrapping her arms around her wife, they linked their fingers and gazed up at a sky filled with millions of twinkling lights.


Megan whistled in astonishment as she sat behind the wheel of the behemoth Kathryn had purchased for Morgan. She felt dwarfed by the size as she slid the drivers seat all the way forward and still had to strain a bit to reach the pedals. Firing up the big V8 engine she felt the roar of power underneath her feet as the engine settled into a steady purr. Oh yeah, Morgan was going to love this. Inhaling the new car scent deeply into her lungs she put the truck in gear and drove it to Morgan’s new house.

She carefully maneuvered it around the two U-Haul trucks sitting in the drive and waved to the men standing on the porch drinking their well-deserved beers. The moving process had been quite a bit more of a chore than any of them thought in the beginning. Megan had talked Morgan’s team in to helping as well as Billy and Greg. They’d been moving steadily for three days and there seemed to be no end to the amount of stuff Morgan has shoved into the smaller house.

During the packing process Megan had stumbled onto a picture Morgan had painted of her. She hadn’t been aware that Morgan had ever put her face on canvas but was touched that she’d kept the painting after their relationship was over. Perhaps one day Morgan would give the portrait to her.

She put the truck in park and hopped down, giving it the once over one last time she closed the garage door and joined the group on the porch, accepting the beer Tracey offered.

"Bones thinks we can get the rest of it in about three trips. She didn’t mention emptying the lab and we’re not sure if we should, what do you think?" Tracey asked as she handed her beer to Megan.

"I dunno. Want to give them a call and ask?" She answered after taking a long drink of the cold beverage.

"I’m not going to make that call." Bones said, shaking his head emphatically. "Ain’t no way in hell I’m gonna interrupt their honeymoon. She’d feed me my kidneys for breakfast."

The group laughed at the mental picture but Megan took out her cell phone anyway. "I won’t keep her long, besides we might as well get it done while we have the trucks."


The chirping of her cell phone startled Morgan as she steered the yacht. She briefly wondered who would interrupt her on her honeymoon but dismissed the thought as she unclipped the cell from the belt of her shorts.


"Hey Tigger, it’s Megan. Before you threaten to remove my liver through my ear, I just have a quick question. Do you want the stuff in the lab moved?"

"Shit, I forgot all about that. Yeah I want it moved but I didn’t show you the new location. You on your mobile?"


"Okay take a little walk for me then. Go to the basement."

"On my way." Megan said as she trotted around the back of the house. "Okay I’m here."

"Look on the back wall, the one by the pool."

"Okay… what am I looking for?"

"A door."

"I see it." Megan said, walking across the floor. She turned the handle and pulled the door towards her. Walking into the room she flipped on the switch and blinked as rows of florescent lights sprang to life. It was almost blinding after the gloom of the basement.

"My God Morgan, what do you plan to do in this room?"

"Well I planned to use it before I turned in my resignation. Now I don’t know, but you can put everything in there for now."

"Will do, how’s the honeymoon going? Megan asked with a smirk in her voice.

"Hmm why don’t you ask my wife?" Morgan said as Kathryn walked topside. Tousling the short blond hair Morgan kissed her soundly and passed the phone to Kathryn.


"Hey there Mrs. Sumners, how’s the honeymoon going?"

Kathryn’s eyes lit up and she spoke with animation as she paced the deck. Morgan smiled as she took the wheel again and heard the excitement in her lover’s voice as she spoke into the receiver.

"It’s better than I dreamed it would be. Last night Morgan took me dancing under the stars and the night before she had a fancy French restaurant bring dinner aboard while we were out shopping." Kathryn giggled. "Candlelight, wine, and the most marvelous food I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know what she has planned for tonight but I can’t wait. We’ve had champagne and strawberries in the Jacuzzi, and a buffet of fruits, cheeses and wine under the stars. She surprises me with little gifts every morning and yesterday she took me on a tour of all the lighthouses in Maine." Kathryn paused for a breath and Megan jumped back into the conversation.

"Sounds like you’re having a marvelous time. By the way, I picked up Morgan’s truck today and she’s going to die when she sees it. I almost didn’t want to bring it home, it such a cool truck to drive. Did you know it has a CD player in the floor? The thing just rises up from the carpet when you push a button, that is too neat."

"Awesome, thanks for picking it up." Kathryn answered. She’d walked away from Morgan when Megan turned the conversation to the truck, afraid that Morgan’s extraordinary hearing would pick up what Megan said.

"You’re welcome, I’ll let you get back to your honeymoon, just wanted to let you know it had been delivered."

"Thanks again Meg I appreciate it. How’s my boy doing?"

"He’s fantastic. Mildred says he hardly fusses at all. Tracey and I kept him last night and he was a little doll. He definitely has that crawling thing down pat; Tracey spent most of the evening on her hands and knees following him around and taking things away from him."

Kathryn laughed, remembering Morgan doing the exact same thing when he first started moving. Kathryn knew that he wouldn’t crawl for long; you could just see in his eyes that he wanted to run. He had started pulling himself up right before they left and she gave him about a month before he took off walking.

"Thanks for looking after him Megan. I’d better go. Morgan’s giving me that look."

"See you next week."

Kathryn closed the phone and snapped it back in the clip; she wrapped her arms around her wife inhaling the clean scent emanating from the warm body surrounding her.

"What did Meg have to say?"

"She said our boy is a lean mean crawling machine and he wore Tracey out last night chasing him around."

"That’s my boy."

"So what’s on our agenda today my love?’

"Ummm." Morgan said capturing Kathryn’s lips with her own, enjoying the soft lingering kiss that tasted faintly of the blueberries Kathryn ate with her breakfast. "I didn’t really have anything planned for today, thought perhaps you had something in mind."

"How about you put this thing on auto-pilot and join me in a sea of silk?"

"And what exactly do you have in mind my love?"

"You, me, and nice big king-sized bed with a lot less clothes." Kathryn said coyly, not quite managing to contain the blush creeping across her face and down her neck.

"You think you can just have your way with me wench?"

"Oh yeah, I think I can have my way with you anytime, sailor."

"Mighty sure of yourself aren’t you little lady?"

"Mm hmm."

"Well, who can resist an offer like that?"

"I was hoping you’d say something like that."

Kathryn put a slender hand out and watched as Morgan put the huge vessel on autopilot, never taking her eyes off the woman before her as she allowed herself to be pulled in the direction of the cabin. Kathryn paused on the top step and held her wife’s crystal blue gaze as her fingers slowly pushed the form fitting white tank top off of the taller woman’s torso, revealing the perfectly sculpted abs and gently rounded breasts in its wake. Kathryn put both hands on Morgan’s stomach, sliding them slowly up her body she marveled at the softness she found there. The tank top landed on the deck as the smaller woman kissed her way from the tight abs up to the valley between Morgan’s breasts, relishing the groan she heard from her companion.

"Like that, do you? Kathryn murmured, unwilling to give up her delicious position.

"Oh yeah," Morgan answered, long fingers tangling in the short blond locks. "I’ll give you about 24 hours to stop."

Morgan steered the eager young woman down the stairs and into the cabin below; Kathryn had pinned her up against the wall outside the cabin door and had succeeded in removing her shorts before the two women landed in a pile of silky pillows on the bed. Morgan looked up at her lover.

"You are so overdressed."

With a growl, Morgan rolled her lover over and showered her with mind-blowing kisses before sliding her shirt up and off her shoulders, her lips marking a warm trail up Kathryn’s torso as each inch of her flesh was revealed to the taller woman’s gaze. Kathryn sighed as Morgan’s tongue blazed a lazy trail around her navel; with infinite slowness, she undid the button on the blonde’s shorts with her teeth.

Kathryn looked in astonishment through half-lidded eyes. "How did you-?"

"I have many skills," Her wife winked as she slid the offending garment off her lover’s hips and lowered herself down next to her. Kathryn reached up and pulled Morgan’s face down to hers as they spent long minutes kissing each other deeply, the intimate act unrushed. As their tongues slid against each other, Kathryn reached up and caressed her lover’s breasts, drawing a lengthy moan from her companion. Kathryn slid her body down and took a nipple in her mouth, rolling it around and nipping it lightly as Morgan sighed with pleasure. Kathryn lavished the same attention on the other breast and then placing her hands on the Morgan’s hips, rolled her over until she was on her back in a sea of satin pillows. She kissed her way down to the waistband of Morgan’s silky undergarment; taking the elastic band in her teeth she pulled gently, sliding her own body against Morgan’s, she made her way down to her toes and raised herself up on her knees, still holding the soft trophy in her mouth as Morgan’s eyes widened. Her lips curled into a grin.

"I have some skills of my own, my love."

"Indeed you do."

Kathryn let the underwear fall to the floor as Morgan pulled the young woman into her arms and groaned as softness met softness and the Agent caressed the muscular butt beneath her fingers as their lips met again. Morgan slid the silky fabric off her partner’s body and they both fell back against the pillows, relishing the feel of the material against her back and her partner’s soft body on top. She let her hands wander, pulling Kathryn as close as possible. They spent long moments exploring each other, feeling the freedom from the cares of the last year and basking in the realization that focusing on each other was the only thing they had to do at the present time. Morgan kissed her wife soundly, passionately, pouring her soul into every caress as she tried to convey without words what the woman in her arms meant to her. And Kathryn responded in kind, every touch expressing feelings that she knew she would never have words for.

Tenderness progressed into a deeper kind of passion as Morgan felt Kathryn’s wetness against her thigh and she slid a long arm between their bodies until she felt the physical manifestation of Kathryn’s desire.

"You are so wet," Morgan said, her voice like silk and Kathryn groaned. "Do you have any idea what that does to me?"

Kathryn managed a weak nod as the Agent’s fingers slid between her legs and into the softness there. She shifted her position slightly to give the taller woman better access and let out a resounding "yes" when Morgan slid a finger inside. She rocked her hips against the willing fingers until she matched their rhythm perfectly and Morgan’s own moans increased at the rocking of her lover’s hips. At Kathryn’s request, Morgan added a second and then a third finger and felt her own breathing become ragged as her body responded to the young woman’s actions. Kathryn’s climax was intense and the Agent closed her eyes, intent on feeling the spasms that seemed to go on forever around her fingers. When the younger woman was still, Morgan began to slide the digits out when she felt a smaller hand close around her wrist. Morgan opened her eyes.

"Not yet…please." Kathryn closed her own eyes and put her head on the Agent’s shoulder, feeling completely sated but enjoying the feeling of Morgan’s fingers still inside her. After a long moment, Kathryn shifted and pulled Morgan’s hand out herself; almost shyly she brought the Agent’s fingers up to her mouth and gently sucked two of them inside. Morgan closed her eyes against the sensations overtaking her. There was something irresistible about her lover’s sensual action and she felt her desire awakening again. Kathryn let her tongue caress the long fingers, letting her lips trace a gentle path across Morgan’s palm and nipped her way to her wrist, immensely enjoying the look on her face. She kissed her way down the well-toned arm and bit down gently on the long collarbone, eliciting a series of pleasurable noises from her wife.

Morgan leaned down and captured Kathryn’s lips in a passionate kiss that seemed to last forever, tongues dueling for space. Kathryn marveled at how soft her lover was, everywhere, her body, and her hair, even her tongue was like velvet. Kathryn allowed herself to be lost in the feelings coursing through her veins as she ran her hands down the long body and pulled the Agent tightly against her. She could feel Morgan’s own passion on her leg and she groaned when the taller woman pushed herself against Kathryn’s thigh and began a slow, sensual rocking motion. Kathryn pushed against Morgan’s center; feeling the pace of her rocking pick up considerably and Morgan opened her eyes as she rubbed herself along the length of Kathryn’s thigh. Kathryn knew she was close and she held the clear blue gaze as Morgan went over the edge, unable to stop the cry that tore from her throat.

Kathryn’s own passion had been more than rekindled by her lover’s actions and she abandoned all modesty as she rolled onto her back and slid her hand between her own legs. Morgan was at her side in an instant, her longer fingers lightly caressing the smaller ones as they moved gently against Kathryn’s body.

"You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?" Morgan whispered closing her eyes against her own newly rekindled passion. She stole a kiss and let her gaze wander to their linked fingers. Kathryn had begun to move her hips against their hands and Morgan groaned, unable to contain her own passion she growled and looked up in surprise as she felt her free hand sliding down her own thigh, guided by the fingers on Kathryn’s idle hand. The smaller hand let go as Morgan’s fingers found their mark on her own body and she only hesitated a moment before meeting her lover’s gaze. She had never done anything like this before, but she felt strangely comfortable in the presence of this woman and they held each other’s gaze as they both climaxed a second time. Kathryn slid into Morgan’s arms and they lay like that for a long while, words rendered unnecessary.


Neither of the women wanted the honeymoon to come to an end but both were excited about giving the other their wedding presents and both missed their son terribly. With a sigh of disappointment but also of impending joy Morgan turned the yacht homeward and throttled the engines to full speed. Settling back in the soft leather chair she steered the Sea Warrior idly as she watched Kathryn doze in the hammock. She never expected to feel this blissfully happy though the adjustment became easier every day.

The wind picked up behind the massive boat and Morgan thought briefly about cutting off the engines and raising the sails, deciding against it finally as the two large motors moved them closer to home much faster than the wind would.

Kathryn slept dreamlessly until a soft hand caressing her arm awoke her.

"Hi there sleepy head. We’re almost home."

"I’ve been home for a long time now my Angel. Since the first time you kissed me, as a matter of fact."

"I didn’t know what home was until that moment my love."

"I almost don’t want to go back. Do you think that’s bad?"

"No, I know just what you mean. I was thinking the same thing a little while ago, but we both miss Matthew and we need to get back. We can always take him with us next time. We have nothing keeping us from sailing around the world if we want."

"Sounds good to me Angel, maybe on our next anniversary we can bring the family and sail until we’re tired of the sea."

"That’ll never happen, but we can try."

Morgan wrapped her arms around the reclining form of her wife and inhaled the smell of sun and sea from the deeply tanned body. "Do you have any idea just how much I love you?"

"As a matter of fact I do, because I love you equally."

"Not possible." Long fingers stroked a soft cheek.

"Sure it is. This isn’t a competition, we can’t out love each other."

"I can try." Morgan said with a smirk.

"You can try, succeeding is a different matter."

Morgan took Kathryn’s hand and led her to the wheel. Slowing the engines she steered the boat into her slip and cut the power as the deck hands tied the yacht off.


Megan, Tracey and Henry waved to the two women as they walked down the gangplank, arms laden with packages from their many shopping trips. Morgan had bought a lot of things for their new house. She was so excited about taking Kathryn to her dream house that her body felt like it was floating above the ground.

Kathryn dropped her packages to the ground and gathered everyone into a group hug. "Where’s my boy?" She asked as everyone hugged Morgan.

"He’s sleeping in the truck."

"Where is my truck?" Morgan asked, scanning the parking lot.

"Well Angel, there’s uh something wrong with your Land Cruiser." Kathryn spoke up. She hadn’t been exactly sure how she was going to present the new truck to her wife but apparently the time for thinking about it was over. She tried to keep a straight face.

Morgan raised her eyebrow in question as she cocked her head in Kathryn’s direction.

Taking her wife’s hand, Kathryn led her over to the Sequoia. "Um yeah, it uh wasn’t big enough, so I uh well… I bought you this one as a wedding present." She opened her arms and took in the truck in a sweeping motion.

Morgan stood for a minute, gaping at the mammoth vehicle before scooping Kathryn into her arms and swinging her in a large circle. "I love it." She said between kisses. "And I love you."

Kathryn punched the air with her fist and let out a resounding "YES" as Morgan set her on the ground. "I knew you’d love it, I just knew it!"

"You haven’t seen anything yet Tigger, wait till you drive it. I almost didn’t want to give it to you. I’ll be saving my pennies until I can get one, she drives like a dream."

Morgan smiled at the enthusiastic nurse as she opened the driver’s door and slid into the supple leather interior. Matthew opened his eyes sleepily at the commotion and smiled as his gaze settled on Kathryn. "Mama." He said, holding his arms up toward the woman climbing in beside him.

Tears filled Kathryn’s eyes as she enfolded him in her arms. "Did you hear that Angel?"

"I did. He said his first word." Morgan’s voice was filled with pride and she swallowed the lump in her throat.

Their gazes locked as Matthew repeated his first word again as he looked back and forth between the two of them. Morgan closed her eyes as a tear made its way down her cheek and Kathryn leaned forward and kissed her wife.

"We’re home." She said.

The group said their goodbyes at the marina and Megan, Tracey, and Henry piled into Tracey’s truck with a promise to let the newlyweds settle in at home before coming to visit later in the evening.

Morgan fastened her seatbelt and started her new truck. After making sure Kathryn and the baby were buckled up in the back seat she headed for their new home. As she’d anticipated, Kathryn was too busy playing with their son to watch what was happening outside the truck and didn’t notice when Morgan drove past their old house and up the long winding drive to the dream home Kathryn had designed many years ago.

When Morgan went to Henry’s office and approached him with the idea of building a new home for herself and Kathryn, he’d pulled a rolled set of blueprints from the closet and spread them out on the long conference room table. He explained that the design was one Kathryn drew up many years earlier of her dream home. Henry had wanted to build the house for her but she’d never decided where she wanted it. Over the years they’d quit talking about building the multi-story house and he was sure Kathryn had forgotten all about it.

He and Morgan changed the outside of the house a bit to make it more modern looking and also to protect it against the rough weather it would encounter facing the sometimes turbulent Atlantic Ocean. The interior had remained roughly the same as she’d originally designed with the exception of a few rooms here and there and the addition of the room in the basement, and now that the time had come to take her home Morgan once again felt her insides jumping for joy.

Pressing the garage door opener she slowly pulled the monster truck into her spot and lowered the door behind her, pleased to see that Kathryn’s car was now occupying a spot inside the garage with hers. Her old house had only a single car garage attached to it and Kathryn had parked her little car beside the lab. It felt more like home for some reason when they could park side by side. Morgan had added a three-car garage to the plans in anticipation of the day Matthew would have his own car, right now that bay was occupied with her Land Cruiser and she considered keeping the old truck for her son.

Kathryn’s first inkling that something was different was when she opened her door into the massive garage and looked around.

"Umm Angel?"


"Where are we?"

"Home." Morgan tried in vain to keep the silly grin off her face as she waited for her lover’s reaction.

"Home? This isn’t our house." Kathryn glanced around with uncertainty.

"It is now. Come on, I want to show you around."

"You bought us a new house?" Kathryn was incredulous now.


"Nope? You said…"

"I know Little One, but I didn’t buy it, your Dad and I built it."

"The one on the beach? The one the people never visit?" The blonde’s voice shot up an octave as the implication of Morgan’s words sunk in.

"Yep." Morgan said, beaming. The look on Kathryn’s face was priceless and she hoped the state of the art video surveillance equipment she’d installed was picking up every twitch in the woman’s face. She’d had a team of high tech experts install the motion activated cameras and monitors throughout the house when she planned to continue as an Agent, and even though she’d decided to resign she was still glad she’d had them installed.

She waited as Kathryn settled Matthew on her hip before taking her hand and leading her on a tour of their new house.

Chapter 26: There’s No Place Like Home

Morgan walked an excited Kathryn through the house. The younger woman was having difficulty containing her excitement as she tried to look into every room at once.

"My God, Morgan, this place is huge!" Kathryn giggled. "I don’t know what to look at first."

"I think I can assist you with that, my dear," Morgan answered with a smile and a brief bow. She took her wife’s hand and led her toward the stairs. "Come on, we’ll start at the top and work our way back down here." Kathryn nodded enthusiastically as she bounded up the stairs after the taller woman.

The second level was as large and spacious as the first. Kathryn’s grin got wider as they reached the top but Morgan headed for a wooden spiral staircase that appeared to be tucked right into the northeast wall. They ascended it and the blonde’s jaw dropped when she found herself in a hexagon-shaped room overlooking the Atlantic, giving them a birds-eye view of the ocean on one side and the town on the other. The room had windows on all sides and reminded Kathryn somewhat of being in the uppermost level of a lighthouse. An easel with a blank canvas sat in the center of the room and a beautifully crafted wooden shelf built into one of the walls housed a myriad of brushes and paints.

"Oh Angel, this is beautiful," Kathryn said. "And the view, oh, this is just incredible." She smiled as she noticed a few canvases in various stages of completion leaning up against a small table. "Maybe you’ll get a chance to finish those." Kathryn put her arms around the taller woman’s waist and took in a deep breath when Morgan slid open one of the windows to allow in the gentle afternoon breeze. She gave her wife a squeeze. Morgan smiled and motioned toward a hammock-type chair nestled in one corner.

"Is that for me?" Kathryn grinned.

"Yeah, Little One, I thought you might enjoy being up here with me when I paint. And you can’t beat the view."

Kathryn looked appreciatively at her companion’s butt and giggled. "You can say that again."

Morgan rolled her eyes and ruffled the short blond locks. "Come on, I can’t wait to show you the rest of the house."

They made their way back down the staircase and Morgan steered her lover into the master bedroom. Kathryn gasped; the room was huge and a sliding glass door leading out to a second story deck ran the length of one entire wall. The deck itself was wide enough to support the comfortable looking patio furniture that rested there, but it was the built in hot tub that captured Kathryn’s immediate interest. It was large enough for at least four people and was still a good five feet from the deck railing. Kathryn noticed that the railing was higher than most and the pillars placed far enough apart to offer anyone in the massive tub a clear view of the beach and the ocean but close enough together to be safe for their son. Morgan noticed her lover’s inspection of the arrangement and she put an arm around the tanned shoulders.

"We designed everything in the house to be both aesthetically pleasing and completely baby-proof," She said with a grin. "I wanted to be sure Matthew could be anywhere we are."

Kathryn leaned up and kissed her wife’s cheek. "You thought of everything, Angel." She walked back inside and looked around the massive room. Morgan had ordered new furniture for the entire house and the king-sized waterbed fit in perfectly with the new cherry wood dressers and nightstands. An entertainment center crafted from the same pattern but obviously specially made for this room was built around a high-definition large screen TV and contained a VCR, DVD player and a game console. Morgan smiled as she watched her lover’s face as she took everything in.

"I can’t believe this, Angel, this is just amazing." Kathryn had not stopped smiling since they had pulled into the garage and she set Matthew on the huge waterbed and grinned as he laughed. The motion of the bed obviously delighted him immensely. Morgan smiled and noticed that Megan and Tracey had done a wonderful job picking out the comforter and pillowcases. She had written down her color preferences but had not had time to put anything together before they left on their honeymoon. The two women walked into the bathroom, it was large enough in its own right, with double french doors opening outward into the bedroom area. There was plenty of cabinet space and a built in closet that already housed the new towels Morgan had chosen. A long marble vanity with a sink for each of them sat below a mirror that ran the length of it and a smaller hot tub was nestled comfortably in the other corner. A separate shower completed the room, which also had a stunning ocean view.

Kathryn had made her way to the mammoth walk-in closet and was whistling appreciatively as she saw that there was more than enough room for all of her clothes.

"It’s sort of a "hers and hers" walk-in," Morgan commented, coming up behind the blonde who was already peering into the built in cubbyholes designed for shoes. "The cubbyholes run down the center of the closet and we each have our own side for everything else." Morgan winked. "I wasn’t sure if you’d need your own separate house for your clothes, but..." She dodged the swat to her behind and led her wife and son back into the hallway. Morgan pushed open the door to the nursery and watched Kathryn’s reaction as she stepped into the spacious room. Kathryn swallowed hard, willing back the tears as she looked around. The walls were painted white but she had a blue border running along the top of each one. A beautiful wooden crib stood in one corner and a changing table, dresser, and handcrafted toy chest had been placed along another wall. Netting filled with stuffed animals hung from the ceiling and there was a single door that opened into a rather spacious closet. It was a lot more than a baby needed, but Morgan wanted the room to be comfortable for him as he grew.

Kathryn settled herself into the large oak rocking chair and looked up at her love.

"You are incredible," She said, her voice almost a whisper. "This room is incredible."

Morgan sat on the floor in front of her wife and took both of Kathryn’s hands in hers.

"I spent a lot of time in this room," She said quietly. She felt a lump form in her throat as she revealed feelings to Kathryn that had been locked away for too long.

"I used to come here when you were in the hospital. I spent many hours sitting in that very chair, thinking about you, Matthew, and the life we were supposed to have together. " She paused as Kathryn leaned forward until their foreheads were touching. "In the blink of an eye, my whole world was taken from me and I wasn’t sure we would ever be a family again. I knew I could never bear to live in this house without you." She looked around her. "When the house was finished, it was the most wonderful and the most painful moment of my life." She leaned up and brushed a tear from Kathryn’s cheek. "I’m so glad you came back to me."

Kathryn slid into Morgan’s arms and they sat there for long moments just holding each other. Matthew crawled happily around the carpeting and eventually nuzzled his way into Morgan’s lap and she smiled as she pulled him up the rest of the way and placed a kiss on his head.

"I think someone wants to see the rest of the house." Kathryn grinned.

"Well let’s not keep our boy waiting then." Morgan offered her wife a hand up and they finished their examination of the rest of the upstairs. Kathryn was dying to see the kitchen and Morgan laughed out loud when they entered the spacious galley.

"My God Morgan!"

"I take it there’s room enough in here for your appetite?" She teased as Kathryn opened up cupboards and pantries. The room was open and airy, another sliding glass door at one end leading out to a deck with a perfect view of the water. The kitchen was flanked on three sides with windows and had a center island equipped with a stove and an incredible amount of counter space. A dishwasher and microwave lined one of the walls and Morgan had ordered every conceivable kitchen appliance she could think of. Kathryn looked around the room a second time, her gaze resting appreciably on a gigantic refrigerator that, to her delight, had already been stocked with enough food for a month. The built in icemaker in the door had an additional feature that made freshly squeezed juices. Kathryn was delighted. She smiled at her companion.

"What, no wine racks?" She laughed, there was absolutely everything imaginable in here.

"Yeah, but I put those in the game room." Morgan deadpanned.

"There’s a game room?" Kathryn squealed.

"Indeed. Want to see?" The taller woman laughed. She loved surprising Kathryn.

The blonde nodded and followed her lover out of the kitchen and through the spacious dining area to the other end of the house. There was another full bathroom on the lower level, along with a large guestroom that also opened out onto a deck. Morgan steered the smaller woman through the living room rather quickly; she definitely wanted to save that for last and she smiled as they turned into the mahogany-paneled room that housed a pool table, jukebox, electronic dartboard and a bar. This room, like the majority of the others, had an ocean view.

"Oh Angel, this just keeps getting better and better!" Kathryn walked around, trying to take everything in at once. "I have always wanted a game room!" She ran her hand over the soft felt of the pool table and beamed. "We are going to have so much fun in here!"

"I’m glad you like it, my love," Morgan answered, delighted that the young woman had fallen in love with the house so quickly. They made a brief run-through of the guest quarters before Morgan led the young woman to the backyard and slid open the door. Kathryn yelped.

"No way!" She bounded out onto the deck of a large in-ground pool, surrounded by a high privacy fence on all sides. Morgan grinned.

"I thought you might like that." The dark-haired woman walked toward the northeast end of the yard and opened a gate that led out onto the beach. There was a walkway from the pool to the wraparound deck and they ascended the stairs to reveal another hot tub, this one built for about eight occupants and tucked up against the house, affording a magnificent view of the water. Morgan had a huge gas grill and deck furniture installed as well.

"Looks like we are set up to do some entertaining," Kathryn exclaimed.

"That we are." Morgan leaned down and kissed Kathryn soundly. "As a matter of fact, we are going to have some company here pretty soon, but there’s one more thing I need to show you first."

She put her arm around her wife and they walked back into the house and up the curving staircase to the second floor.

Morgan ushered the woman into a very large room containing two mahogany desks with matching leather chairs, a complete computer system sat on each desk and built in floor to ceiling bookshelves hugged the room on three sides. The room had a big picture window and a skylight and looked comfortable. Kathryn beamed.

"The office?" She smiled. "Wow, Angel, I love it. And we can work in here together."

"Exactly," Morgan answered. "If I recall correctly, a certain wife of mine mentioned a writing career. I thought this would give you the inspiration you need."

Kathryn hugged the taller woman. "You are all the inspiration I need." She grinned as Morgan took her hand and led her from the room.

Morgan managed to conclude the tour in the living room where the sheet draped painting hung over the huge fireplace. Morgan noticed that Megan had hung some of her finished paintings in the various rooms and she marveled at how each one fit perfectly into the corresponding décor.

"I’ll leave the honors to you, Little One." She said, gesturing at the sheet.

Setting the wiggling Matthew on the floor, Kathryn grabbed the edge of the sheet and tugged gently. Her breath caught in her throat as she looked at the portrait that could have only been painted by her wife. Morgan had captured Kathryn sitting on a log on the beach gazing at a sleeping Matthew cradled in her arms while the waves crashed I the distance. The gentle smile on her face as she looked at her sleeping baby brought tears to her eyes. She was speechless. She looked into pools of blue for what seemed like forever trying to find the words to convey the magnitude of emotions swirling within her. Finding none sufficient she merely wrapped her arms around her wife and sobbed quietly.

"Should I take it that you like your wedding presents?"

Kathryn mutely nodded against Morgan’s chest. The house was magnificent and the painting just took her breath away.

"When?" Kathryn said, running her fingers gently up the side of Morgan’s face and smiling when longer fingers captured her hand and perfect lips pressed themselves against her knuckles.

"When did I paint it?"

Kathryn nodded; she was still staring at the likeness and was unable to swallow the lump in her throat.

"I started it when Matthew was a few days old, I finally finished when you were in the hospital." Morgan knew she would always feel a twinge of the familiar pain when she thought back to those days, but reality was standing in front of her and she had never felt happier. Looking at her wife, she knew without a doubt that nothing in the world could have been more perfect.

"I can’t believe this house Morgan, it seems so familiar but yet not. I’m not making any sense here am I?"

"Believe it or not Little One, you’re making perfect sense. You designed this house, well most of it anyway. Henry and I made a few changes to bring it into the millennium but it’s still mostly your design."

"Oh my God, my dream house!" Kathryn nearly shouted. " I had forgotten all about that. How did he remember all the details?"

"He had the original plans you drew up." Morgan grinned.

"He kept them? I can’t believe that. Wait until I see him."

"You won’t have to wait long, Tracey’s truck just drove up the driveway."

"How do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"I didn’t even hear it, how do you…? Never mind. You have many skills, I know. Boy do I know!" She said wiggling her eyebrows suggestively as she went to open the front door and let the gathering crowd into their new home.

Their homecoming quickly grew into a housewarming. Several other vehicles closely followed Tracey’s truck as most of Morgan’s team spilled out into the yard. Mildred and Delores bustled into the kitchen, depositing several grocery bags on the island; they made their way around the immense area, looking appreciatively at the setup.

"Girls, this is just fabulous!" Delores began to unload the parcels. "I made potato salad and chocolate cake, an apple pie, chocolate chip cookies..." She continued pulling items out of the bags as Kathryn grinned.

"You are a woman after my own heart, Delores."

Kathryn’s smile got wider as she felt familiar arms encircle her waist and perfect lips deposited a kiss on her cheek.

"Careful, Delores," Morgan said with a wink in the older woman’s direction. "I don’t want you and your apple pie luring my wife away."

"Not a chance," Kathryn giggled. "Although I might be wooed into a brief affair with that cheesecake," she said, licking her lips as the dessert appeared in their neighbor’s hands.

Bubba and Henry carried a huge cooler past the open door and prepared to fire up Morgan’s new grill. Mildred set about preparing a tossed salad and put her infamous homemade dinner rolls in the oven. Several of the guests had brought something to add to the feast, and the counters in the kitchen were filling up rapidly. Bax waved briefly as he made his way past the open door and went to join the men who were gathered around the grill.

Billy and Greg bustled about at the wet bar, Billy acting as bartender while Greg took the drink orders. Someone turned on the state of the art stereo system and dance music filtered through the air, mixing with the conversation and laughter of their guests.

Kathryn was about to lead the women on a tour of the house when a Ford Explorer came to a halt in the driveway and Dane alighted. He waved to the crowd on the deck then went to the passenger side and helped Pati down. She had a cane that she leaned on for support, but she had made amazing progress in the last few months and she no longer needed her wheelchair.

"Pati!" Kathryn hugged the taller woman. "I’m so glad you could make it. How are you doing?"

"Really well," Pati beamed. "I can honestly say that I’ve had more excitement in the last year than I’ve had in my entire life." She laughed. "And Dane’s been wonderful." She looked around at the assembled women. "Am I too late to get the grand tour?"

"You’re just in time," Kathryn said. Morgan stepped in from the deck and greeted Pati warmly before announcing that she and Henry were going to run into town for more steaks.

"There’s someone else I’d like you to meet though," Morgan continued as a petite blond woman about Kathryn’s height came into the room carrying a small child. "I invited a special guest."

"Everyone, this is Agent Alex Parker." The women nodded and smiled at the newcomer and Kathryn stepped forward and put out her hand as Morgan introduced her wife with obvious pride.

"Agent Parker, I’d like you to meet the love of my life. This is Matthew’s mother."

Alex smiled broadly. "It’s so nice to meet you, Kathryn." She smiled as the woman hugged her.

"Agent Parker, I can’t thank you enough for taking such good care of our son," She began, unexpected tears coming to her eyes at the recollection. Alex shook her head.

"No thanks necessary, Kathryn, he was a perfect angel. I can’t wait to see him again." She looked at the young woman carefully; she could see why Morgan cherished her so much. She was bright and full of life and she felt a connection with her immediately, knowing that Kathryn understood without saying so the special kind of hell Derek had put them both through. Agent Parker found herself grinning broadly when Morgan broke the silence and the blond turned to her lover with a look of what could only be described as adoration.

"We’ll be back in a flash, Little One," she said, leaning down to kiss her wife on the forehead. "Can you think of anything else I need to pick up?"

"We brought plenty of wine," Billy called from the bar, "But you’re a little low on beer, Morg. You want me to run in with you?"

"Don’t worry about it, guys, I’ll bring some back. Enjoy the party."

Henry stuck his head in the door. "Where’s my other daughter?" He grinned at Kathryn’s obvious delight; he knew how much it meant to her that he loved Morgan like one of his own and he winked at her when she caught his eye. "They’re both so good looking, I can’t tell them apart sometimes."

"I’m the one with the cute wife," Morgan answered. Kathryn giggled.

"Get out of here, you two, so you can hurry back. From the smell of things, it’s almost time to eat." She kissed the taller woman again. "I love you."

"I love you too," Morgan answered. "Let’s go, Henry."

Kathryn had just concluded her tour when the duo returned and she helped them stow the groceries and drinks. The rest of Morgan’s team had arrived with their families and the house was teeming with activity. Bubba was wearing a chef’s hat and a white apron that said, 'Kiss the cook', kept a steady stream of steaks, and barbecued chicken marching off the grill. Delores took every opportunity to hold him to his apron’s proclamation.

The hot tub on the lower level was full of guests and some had migrated out to sit on the soft sand of the beach where Tracey had a healthy bonfire going. Matthew made the rounds earlier in the day but had spent the last hour and a half in his uncle Bones’ lap and Bones showed no sign of giving him up anytime soon. Kathryn went from group to group, laughing and talking and Morgan leaned over the porch railing as her energetic wife bounded up the stairs toward her.

"You are a great hostess, you know that?"

The blonde put her arms around the taller woman and sighed contentedly as she was pulled against her lover’s chest.

"This has been quite a day." She glanced over at the hot tub and returned Pati’s wave. "Sometimes I look around this place and I can’t believe it’s really ours."

Morgan smiled. "It’s really ours, we’re really home, and you know what else?"


"I really…" She bent down and placed a kiss on the soft lips.

"Really…" Another kiss.

"Really love you."

Kathryn grinned and Morgan could see a hint of mischief in the twinkling green eyes.

"Really?" She giggled.

Morgan swatted the firm butt. "Yeah. You okay with that?"

"Oh yeah, I really am," Kathryn said, capturing the taller woman’s lips once again. She pulled back and looked into the crystal blue orbs.

"This is our first night in our new home," Kathryn said with a smile. "And this is our first home, together."

"I want everything to be perfect for you." Morgan ran her long fingers through the short locks.

"The day I fell in love with you, " Kathryn replied, "Everything was perfect for me."

Lips met again and the party was momentarily forgotten. A sound behind them made them pull away from each other as Tracey cleared her throat.

"I hate to interrupt," She said with a grin, "But there has been a challenge over at the bonfire."

"Oh?" Morgan raised an eyebrow.

"Yep. A S’More eating contest of sorts."

Kathryn brightened. "An eating contest?"

Morgan groaned. "Oh no."

The blond giggled. "A dessert eating contest?"

Tracey nodded. "We figured you were a shoe-in."

Morgan pinched her wife in the behind and grinned as she whispered something in the smaller woman’s ear. Kathryn blushed and then laughed out loud, turning to Tracey, she said,

"Ummm…I think I’ve had a better offer for dessert."

The doctor laughed. "You better save room then," She smirked.

Kathryn took her wife’s hand and followed her best friend back out to the sand. "We’ll join you anyway," she said as they settled in next to their friends. The next few hours passed slowly as they enjoyed the fire and the company of their friends, occasionally making the rounds and seeing each guest off as they left until only Tracey and Megan remained.

Kathryn toyed with the sand, letting it run through her fingers as she leaned against her wife’s reclining form.

"Thank you," She said sincerely. Megan and Tracey looked up.

"What for?"

"For doing all of this, moving our stuff and keeping our secrets." She smiled as she caught the mammoth Sequoia still parked next to the house after their last steak and beer run.

"You would have done the same for us," Megan replied, letting her fingers run the length of Tracey’s tanned arm. "Besides, it was fun. We are so very happy for you guys." She stretched her fingers out in an exaggerated motion. "Even if the two of you are a little too preoccupied with each other tonight to be very observant."

The firelight bounced suddenly off the diamond on Megan’s hand and Kathryn squealed as she noticed the ring.

"Oh my God!" The blond jumped up and grabbed Megan’s hand. "Is this what I think it is?"

Tracey smiled "Yeah, unless you think it’s dessert." She chuckled and Kathryn gathered both women into a hug.

"Congratulations, you guys!"

Kathryn raised her eyebrow. "Have you been wearing that all day?"

"Yep." Megan grinned. "Told ya you were preoccupied."

"Well she just married a goddess after all," Tracey laughed wholeheartedly, remembering her first meeting with Morgan. "That in itself is a little distracting."

Morgan smiled as she congratulated the couple; she winked at Megan and gave her the thumbs up before joining Kathryn in the group hug.

"Are we planning another wedding?" Kathryn smiled.

"Yeah, but not right away. God knows you two need time to get settled and besides, we decided on a long engagement. We just wanted an official commitment."

"Now its our turn to be happy for you."

They toasted the occasion with a bottle of champagne and lay on the beach until the first rays of dawn came peeking over the horizon. Tracey and Megan helped the newlyweds clean up and then waved as they drove off in the truck. Morgan put her arm around her wife as they walked back into the house.

"Okay, so that wasn’t exactly our first night in our new home." The taller woman chuckled.

Kathryn giggled. "True, but that just means tonight is…"


"And I’m starting to get a hankering for that dessert you promised."

Epilogue: Intrusions

Morgan and Kathryn were sitting in the hot tub when Bones drove up the winding driveway. He pulled the Suburban to a stop under the tall oak and reached in the back for his briefcase. He knew Morgan wasn’t going to like this but he had no choice. Bax told him to bring her back into the fold and he hated to admit that he needed her help. When she’d turned in her resignation letter eighteen months earlier Bax had read it then threw it in the trash. He told Bones she’d be back and he had no intentions of accepting the resignation. Now he needed her.

Bones heard the women laughing as he made his way around the side of the house. The last time he’d spoken to Morgan she told him they were spending most of their time at the beach and he decided to try there first before ringing the bell. Walking around the side of the house he looked up as the voices drifted down to him. The sight of six feet of naked tanned skin leaning over the balcony stopped him dead in his tracks.

"Hey Bones, what brings you out?"

"Uh… wha… er… uhhh… ahem damn, Morgan, put some clothes on!"

"Get over it Bones, come on up. I promise to be dressed by the time you get in the house."

Kathryn ran down the spiraling staircase to the front door and pulled it open just as Bones prepared to ring the bell.

"Hiya Bones, good to see you again."

"It’s great to see you too Kathryn. How have you been?"

She led him into the living room and went to the wet bar to fix drinks for everyone. "I’m great. Did you hear that I’m going to publish my first book in a few months?"

"Nope, that’s great, congratulations. Where’s Matt?"

"He’s with his Grandpa and Mildred. They’ve been badgering me to let him stay over so I gave in and let them keep him for the week. I tell you Bones, since that boy’s last birthday I don’t have the energy to keep up with him, and don’t even get me started on the terrible two’s!"

"I remember those days, when Lenny turned two you’d think a tornado ripped through the house every single day."

"Took after his Dad huh?" Morgan said, coming down the stairs.

"So what brings you out this way in the middle of a work day, Bones?"

"Couldn’t I just want to catch up with my two favorite ladies?"

"Not with a briefcase in your hands. What’s up?"

"I need your help Morg."


"You haven’t even heard me out yet."

"I’m retired, remember?"

"I know, but I really need some insight. I’m losing my mind over this one. Baxter said to give you anything you want."

"I don’t want to get involved."

"Don’t make me beg Morg. You know I wouldn’t come here unless I really needed you."

"I’m not coming back, but I’ll let you bounce some ideas off of me. What have you got?"

"I don’t know, it doesn’t make any sense to me. We’ve got several bodies. He or she leaves a note with every corpse, but the notes don’t make sense. They’re just a jumble of letters."

"Let me see them." She held out her hand.

Bones opened his briefcase and extracted the crime scene pictures and a stack of typewritten notes in clear plastic envelopes. Scanning them briefly he handed them over.

"Little One, will you bring me my laptop?"

"Sure Angel."

While she waited Morgan flipped through the photos. "Definitely a man, probably mid to late 40’s. Married, perhaps with children, he’s blue collar, lower middle class with a self esteem problem. May have been recently fired from his job, he likes mysteries and word games."

Kathryn handed Morgan the laptop and disappeared back upstairs, leaving the two Agents alone to work out the case.

"Okay, let’s put the letters in and see what we come up with." She began typing the nonsensical letters into Word and looked at the screen.


"It’s a word game Bones. Do you see it?"

"No. I’ve looked at this thing a million times and all I see is a bunch of letters that don’t mean anything."

"Hang on a minute." She said as she hit the print button. The printer in her office sprang to life as it picked up the command over the wireless network installed in the house. Setting the laptop on the coffee table she bounded up the stairs two at a time and snatched the printout from the tray.

"You enjoy this don’t you?"

"What do you mean Little One?" Morgan hadn’t noticed the still figure of her wife sitting across the room when she had all but run into the shared office.

"You miss the excitement of working a case."

"A little I guess. But not enough to want to put my family in danger again."

"I want you to go back to work."


"No Angel, I mean it. You gave this up for me, but I know you’re not happy sitting around here all day. You need this. We need this."

"We need this?"

"Yes, we have a wonderful marriage, but I hate seeing you mope around here when you think I’m not looking. You miss your work and I want you to go back."

"Are you sure about this?"

"I’m positive my Angel."

"I love you."

"I love you too, now go tell Bones you’re taking over the investigation. Make Bax give you a raise too."

"I don’t need a raise."

"I know, just make him sweat for awhile."

Morgan gripped the paper tightly in her hand and slid down the banister to the floor below. The smile lighting up her face shone brighter than any light in the known world. She was back and she was happy!

She laid the paper down on the table in front of Bones and taking a pen from his shirt pocket began to make hash marks on some of the letters. "It’s like this Bones, start counting and remove the extra letters. Leave the "I" in the beginning then remove the next letter. Leave the "A" then take out the next two, leave the "M" and remove the next three and so on." She showed him as she removed all the extra characters. The note said ‘I am not Houdini.’

"What the hell does that mean?" He asked her.

"We don’t know yet, let’s look at the rest of them."

Taking the next letter from him she repeated the steps.


Became, ‘I was not in Mask’.

I A W D S A P D M S V K L D N E D S C V O E T Y H N S T S K F R N D S O W E K R N C H S N W K E R F D S N Z C W M L C S A M C S W H L A J D N C H E S M X i P E K D N C M A W N C K P W N C M S A K R N C A S G s

Became, ‘I was not on CHiPs’.

"I’m not getting it." Bones repeated.

"Okay Buddy, Erich Weiss was Houdini, Eric Stoltz was in Mask and Erik Estrada was in ChiPs. I think he’s saying his name is Eric."

She went through the rest of the letters and found the same type of references. "He’s giving himself to us."

"Wait until I tell Bax."

"I’ll tell him when I come in to work tomorrow. Make sure my office is ready."

The End

If you enjoyed the book please let me know. mac10k@earthlink.net

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