Black's Magic

by MJ & Cephalgia

For disclaimers see Part 1.

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Part 6

Chapter 21

Beginning a thoughtful pacing around the room, Addison clenched her fists. This had happened quicker than she had anticipated. The soldier had never once underestimated Brodie or her team, but she had expected her to make a move against Skyler beforehand. Addison acknowledged she couldn't predict Brodie's next move. What she could do, however, was slightly manipulate it. Why should she wait for Brodie to come to them? Taking her off guard before she was ready and prepared to carry out whatever diabolical acts she had devised against Skyler was a more productive course of action. Although the Irish woman never realized it, Addison had been in control of the situation right from the start.

Coming to a halt as she reached a wall, Addison placed her hand upon the cool concrete surface. She took a deep breath and turned to Skyler. The American doctor had been watching her cautiously, not wanting to interrupt Addison's deliberations.

"I hope you are ready for this, Sky, because I'm about to create one hell of a war zone."

Skyler swallowed visibly. "What are you going to do?" She watched curiously as Addison loosened the laces on one of her boots. She had a feeling whatever Addison's plan was, she was to play a focal part in it. When Skyler didn't receive an answer she said, "Addison, please, what are you going to do? I'm not sure I'm going to be of any use in a war zone. Apart from the fact that this isn't the most exciting news I've heard!"

Abandoning her boot, Addison looked back to Skyler. She pondered her words carefully, not wanting to alarm Skyler, but to make her understand what she had planned and how the young doctor would fit into it.

"Listen, Sky, we both know what Brodie intends to do, right?"

The blonde paled and nodded. Brodie's intentions had been in the forefront of her mind since she arrived in Israel. "She plans on killing me, slowly and painfully, while you watch in order to make you suffer."

"And I would," Addison admitted. "But I'm about to push her into acting."

"What?" asked Skyler, feeling suddenly very alarmed.

"The tables are about to turn," Addison stated and approached the door. She held her ear to the doorframe and listened carefully. She could hear the pace of heavyset footsteps walking by the door and knew it was Shamus. Addison walked away and stood in front of Skyler. She placed both hands on the American's shoulders. "You trust me, right?"

"I trust you, Addison."

"Good, because we're about to piss Brodie off."

"We're about to… WHAT? Why? I don't understand."

Addison stared deeply into Skyler's eyes. "Look, whatever Brodie is going to do, she is planning it right now. That's what her self-righteous bragging was all about. She wanted to scare us. Now, I for one am not going to sit around here and wait for her to make a move. She was never in control of this situation, Skyler. I was... right from the start." The soldier stopped speaking, her head turning to the door at the sound of looming footsteps. They passed swiftly and Addison sighed, looking back at Skyler. "First of all we are going to cause a little bit of a ruckus. Then when Brodie is summoned to sort out what's going on, we will royally piss her off. This should hopefully be enough to jolt her into action. She decides to carry out her twisted little games and I have her."


"Well…" Addison paused. "That part is subject to change…or in other words... I am keeping my options open. It depends on how the situation evolves. I do have an advantage over her she is not aware of, but for the present time, the only fact I can be sure of is that all hell is about to break loose. Are you ready for this, Sky?"

Skyler took a deep breath. "Do I really have a choice? As much as I'm not looking forward to it, if this is our only method of escape then I'm willing to take it. The sooner the better and I'm sure you know what you are doing... right?"

"Absolutely," replied Addison. "But you must do exactly as I say... got it?"


Taking a step away from Skyler, Addison looked at the door then back at the American. "I don't want you FUCKING UP AGAIN!"

Skyler jumped at Addison's suddenly raised voice. "What…?"

Addison looked to Skyler earnestly. "OF ALL THE DUMB, STUPID THINGS A PERSON COULD DO!"

"Addison I…"

The soldier grinned. "Are you meaning to tell me that the reason we are here is because you DIDN'T DO AS I SAID?"

Understanding settled in Skyler's mind. She paused warily before saying, "It wasn't my fault."

With a nod and smile, Addison replied. "WASN'T YOUR FAULT? WE WOULDN'T BE IN THIS MESS IF IT WASN'T FOR YOU!"


"SORRY? Sorry is no FUCKING GOOD NOW." Addison began pacing the room once again. She walked past Skyler whispering, "Oscar winning performance... you watch this!" Still grinning Addison continued. "GOD DAMN STUPID SON OF A … BY ALL RIGHTS I SHOULD HAVE LEFT YOU HERE. YOU ARE THE DAMN GENIUS. GET YOUR OWN WAY OUT OF THIS PLACE."

Both women moved a step closer to the door. "What kind of WOMAN, let alone a highly trained government agent, would LEAVE A PROTECTEE ALONE ANYWAY?"



It was at this point that Shamus decided to see what all the commotion was about. Unlocking and opening the steel door, his bulky mass filled the frame. Eyebrows drawn together in consternation he looked between the two feuding women. Addison carried on regardless of her audience.




"Hey," Shamus shouted in his thick, gruff voice.

Addison knew it was coming but the impact still slightly stung as Skyler slapped her across the face.

"HOW DARE YOU," the American yelled.

Bewildered and unsure of how to handle the escalating situation, Shamus re-closed and locked the door in a hurry.

"DO THAT AGAIN AND…" Addison listened and heard Shamus trundle off down the corridor. "I'll damn well…" The solder sniggered. "Wow!"

Skyler winced. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hit you. It seemed appropriate at the time but…"

"No, it's okay," Addison interrupted. "You did good." She jogged over to the door and listened. So far there was no sound of the oncoming presence of Agnes Brodie. "Phase one complete," she said optimistically. "Only phase two and three to go."

"What's two and three?"

"Piss off Brodie and get the hell out of here. Knowing Alon he will have a few tricks up his sleeve for when the party starts."

"Hmm…" Skyler bit her bottom lip. "And how are you planning on goading Brodie?"

Placing one hand upon the door, Addison closed her eyes and placed her ear upon the steel barrier. She was listening for oncoming footsteps. "Well…" Still not hearing anything Addison approached Skyler and backed her up against the wall. "I do have one idea."

Noting Addison's close proximity Skyler asked, "What's that?"

"Well… do you trust me?"

"I thought we already established that."

"I know but this is important." Pushing one hand up Skyler's arm, Addison cupped her cheek. She stepped closer still until their bodies were touching.

Is this a good idea? Addison didn't pause to consider. In her job it was vital she work on an instinct born from many years of training and work in the field. It just so happened that Addison's idea of the best way to goad Brodie was for them to be caught in a heated clinch. She didn't, at least to herself, deny the fact that kissing Skyler was a highly desirable thought. Addison knew her actions would be considered a breach of S.O. guidelines but something deeper told her this was right; in more ways than one.

The soldier swallowed. "Tell me to stop and I will."

"I…" Skyler's heartbeat increased as Addison's lips came within mere millimetres of her own. She could feel the agent's warm breath upon her skin and the sensation caused her body to respond with a pleasant quiver. She closed her eyes and closed the distance between them.

Though her senses were still in tune to the arrival of Brodie, Addison felt a stirring within the deep recesses of her emotions. Closing her eyes she ran her fingers through Skyler's hair and held her in place. If she didn't need to be able to keep such a tight rein on her reactions due to Brodie's impending presence, Addison would have relinquished her control completely. The lush sensation of soft lips against her own aroused her senses as she parted her lips and met Skyler's tongue with her own. Addison felt Skyler's groan rumble through her chest. Her breathing increased and Skyler's breasts rose and fell against her own.

As Skyler's hands began a trail up Addison's back the agent heard the definite sound of Agnes Brodie. Hearing Brodie's voice outside the door, Addison knew she had to make this look good. Fortunately that wasn't going to be difficult. In any other situation the agent would have been alarmed by the intense feelings running through her. For the moment, however, she had a dangerous terrorist to deal with.

Hearing the steel door unlock, Addison made a swift decision. Still within the depth of a breathtaking kiss, the agent ran one hand across Skyler's ribs to her left breast. She took Skyler's nipple between her thumb and index finger and stimulated her with a firm but pleasurable pressure.

"Oh!" Skyler released Addison's lips long enough to groan out her pleasure. She thrust herself into Addison as the soldier reclaimed her lips in a deeper kiss and pulled one of Skyler's legs around her hips. Addison heard the door open and felt Brodie's presence enter the room.

Taking Skyler's thigh, Addison held her tight against the wall and thrust back into Skyler. She deeply regretted the fact they were not alone. It felt good, Addison acknowledged, and if she would get a chance to make love… Addison paused, surprised by her thoughts. Make love?, she asked herself, momentarily losing control of the situation. It was, unfortunately, enough time for Brodie to make her move.

Addison was jolted back to reality by the intense agony of the butt of a gun ramming into her injured side. Reeling in pain, Addison was knocked to the ground.

"Fuck," she seethed, rolling onto her back. Looking up she found a feral grinning Shamus staring down at her from the barrel of his gun. To her left stood Brodie. The redhead held Skyler against the wall with one hand, the other holding a revolver pressed against her temple.

"Sorry to break up your good time." Brodie's face was anything but apologetic. "Seems things have got a bit lax around here these past few days."

Addison's eyes switched from Brodie to Shamus and back to Brodie.

"If I remember... you are still my prisoners... and this one..." Brodie pressed her revolver harder against Skyler's head making her wince in pain. "Is no longer of any use to me."

Addison took a deep breath. She placed a hand over her side feeling the warm stickiness she expected to find. Her wound had re-opened and was bleeding once again. Shamus' attack had torn the stitches from her skin. "Screw you, Agnes."

Brodie cackled. "Oh no, that's what I intend on doing." She looked at Skyler and practically snarled. "What about you? Up for some fun? You might as well take advantage; it will be your last time."

Panting, Skyler ground her teeth together. She placed her faith upon Addison as she said, "You heard her, Brodie, screw you," and spat in the terrorist's face.

Brodie trembled as an uncontrollable rage ignited and raged through her veins. Backhanding Skyler she grabbed her by her collar and flung her across the room. Skyler hit the wall and fell to the ground.

"No!" Addison yelled. Her attempt to move was hindered as Shamus pushed her back to the ground with his weapon.

"No more games," Brodie said, wiping her cheek. She left the room for several seconds and returned with a length of rope. Handing the thick twine to Shamus she strode over to Skyler and pointed her revolver down at the blonde's dazed form. "Tie Black up, Shamus. If she makes one move the bitch gets it here and now."

Addison remained calm, keeping her mind in control of the situation. As Shamus stepped towards her she placed her arms behind her back and waited. When her hands were securely bound, Shamus pulled her to her feet.

"You too," Brodie said, nudging Skyler with her foot. "Get up."

Skyler did as ordered, still reeling from her assault. When both women were standing, Brodie led them out of their room of confinement and along the narrow corridor. Addison walked slowly beside Skyler, Shamus and Brodie behind them. They were led down the passageway Addison recalled being brought through when she left Brodie's office. Before they reached that room, however, they were veered off to the right to a single door that stood at the end of another long, tiled corridor. Two armed guards stood on either side of the entrance. They opened the door for the group to enter and as Addison and Skyler stepped into the room the sight before them sent a bolt of shock through Addison's system.

"What the hell is this?" Addison turned to Brodie who stood behind her hostages with an expression of uncontained excitement.

"You don't like it?"

Addison turned to Skyler, seeing the undisguised fear in her eyes. She tried to assure her with a look that she still had control of the situation. Stepping further into the room, Brodie turned to face her hostages. She kept her weapon trained upon the women.

"The Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Medieval times... nobody did it better than they did. Torture nowadays is so... it's so clinical... so unfeeling. It lacks the personal touch. Know what I mean?" Brodie carried on regardless of her question. "I like to get in there and get my hands dirty, so to speak." She smiled. "What is the point in doing something if you aren't going to have fun?"

The agent's wrists burned as she tested the strength of the rope binding her hands together. Shamus had done a sturdy job but Addison had yet to reveal her trump card. "You are one sick bitch, Agnes."

"Why thank you." Brodie smiled sweetly. It was a smile that never reached her eyes. "Shut the door, Shamus."

Shamus kicked it shut with the heel of his foot.

"Now these are the rules. My boy Shamus has Addison. I have Skyler. If either of you two makes one stupid move the other will… reap… the consequences. A bullet here or there… a cut or two." Brodie glared at Addison. "It all depends on how much you want your little girlfriend to suffer."

"You do realise I am going to make you suffer for all of this, Agnes. Hell is going to be a cosy eternity in comparison to…"

"Shut it, Black," Brodie spat. With her gun aimed directly upon Skyler, Brodie stepped backwards. She stood by the apparatus that had shocked Addison when they entered the room.

Brodie's contraption resembled something she might have stolen from a medieval museum. A wooden platform standing waist high, its shape was that of the human form but with both arms and legs stretched out wide. Lengths of rope were attached to the ends of each platform limb and a table of assorted instruments stood by the wall. Addison could make out several of the objects from her position. One that alarmed her the most was a particularly shoddy looking, rusty knife.

"Well… I don't know about you but I'm anxious to get started." Brodie swept her free arm towards the table of torture. "Miss Tidwell, if you please."

"Addison?" Skyler whispered in sheer desperation.

The soldier ignored her. "I'm going to kill you, Agnes."

Brodie simply scowled and redirected her revolver. "Come here now, Miss Tidwell... or I shoot her," she pointed to Addison, "Where she stands."

Skyler's instincts told her to run, scream and cry; yet fear iced her limbs. She trembled in apprehension.

Lowering her head, Addison whispered, "Just do as she says. Trust me."

Skyler's breath laboured but with a trembling lip she stepped towards Brodie. She felt a chill slither across her flesh as her heart rate increased further.

The Irish woman nodded in satisfaction. "Good. No need to get undressed. I can take care of that" Brodie addressed Addison. "Black, get into the corner of the room and kneel. I want you as far away as possible but with a clear view of my entertainment. Shamus…" she turned to the bulky man. "Keep your weapon upon her. If she makes one swift movement… you know what to do."

Internally pleased with Brodie's plan, Addison strode over to the corner and stood with her back to the joins. She dropped to her knees and searched for her loosened boot blindly.

"I'm telling you, Shamus. I haven't had this much fun since that Special Operations Agent I played with in Marrakech."

Addison paused and delivered a steely look towards Brodie. Though the Irish woman might not have realized she was being manipulated, Addison did and as such she kept her reactions in check.

Narrowing her eyes, Brodie used her revolver to prod Skyler. She dug the barrel into her chest. "Climb aboard."

Skyler gingerly placed her hand upon the table and looked over at Addison. The soldier sat, hands bound behind her back, in a semi uncomfortable looking position. She appeared to be on her knees yet one foot was twisted to the side. Brodie broke a silence that had enveloped the room as she pulled back the hammer on her revolver. Addison nodded to Skyler, indicating she do as Brodie demanded. So with hesitation and much awkwardness Skyler climbed upon the high cross-shaped platform. Heart pounding, she spread her limbs out across the surfaces. Skyler wanted to close her eyes and shut out everything around her, but fear of what would come next kept her senses alert and attuned to her surroundings. She watched as Brodie pushed the revolver into the waist of her trousers and began securing the ropes around her feet.

"It's a pity you won't be here to see my newest toy… a rack. It hasn't arrived yet… unfortunately." Brodie secured Skyler's first hand. "Imagine being strapped to a table like this but with a difference... it moves and stretches at the turn of a handle." She secured Skyler's second hand. "Could you imagine? Your bones being pulled out of their joints and your flesh hanging on and on until it reaches the limit of its elasticity. Then it begins to rip and tear. I wonder how that would feel. I imagine like a blunt knife pushing and cutting into your skin." Brodie picked up the knife upon her table of implements and turned it to Skyler's line of sight. "Maybe we'll find out."

Skyler whimpered and turned away, a tear running down the side of her face.

"That's enough, Agnes."

Brodie looked over to Addison. "Excuse me? You are addressing me? I hardly think you are in any position to be dishing out orders. Besides, from now on, for every word that passes from your lips, Madam Tidwell here gets twice as much pain." Brodie addressed Shamus. "One move and you can shoot her. Make it a good one, Shamus, in the leg or shoulder. I want her to fully experience the pain."

"Pain," Shamus mumbled and unconsciously looked down to his missing thumb.

"Okay." Brodie peered down at her table of implements. "What first I wonder?"

To keep calm was Addison's primary concern. Limiting her movements as much as possible the soldier attempted to remove the knife from her boot. Due to her uncomfortable position, movement was difficult and Addison knew there was only one way she would be able to achieve her goal. It was going to hurt but it was her only way.

Relaxing her body, Addison focussed on her left shoulder. An injury received many years ago while serving in the Marines had made this possible. Concentrating on her shoulder, Addison held her breath as she jolted the bone out of joint. The agent took a sharp, shallow breath but otherwise remained outwardly calm. With her left arm now released Addison was able to reach further around her body to her boot. She felt the dense rubber grip of the knife's handle and started to slide it from her boot.

Looking back at Brodie, the agent watched her pick up a gleaming silver instrument. It was a surgical scalpel. Addison sped up the retrieval of her knife.

"Don't," Skyler begged. "Please don't."

"I haven't even started yet!"

"Skyler," Addison called in a calm voice.

Brodie swung around to the agent. "That's one, Black. Want to inflict any more pain on her?"

Addison remained quiet. Anger seethed through her veins.

With a nod of satisfaction, Brodie looked back at Skyler. "Relax. Simple precision garment removal, that's all." She placed the sharp blade at the neckline of Skyler's top and began an agonisingly slow slice through the material. "I don't know about you, Skyler, but something about this is getting me hot already."

Opening her eyes, Skyler found the courage to snarl, "Go to hell, Brodie."

"Oops," the redhead exclaimed as the scalpel sliced momentarily into Skyler's flesh causing the young doctor to jump. "Better be careful what you say in future, hmm?" Brodie's eyes glared into Skyler's for brief seconds. She then turned back to slicing through her top.

Her breathing increased. Addison felt a spark of accomplishment as she pulled the knife from her boot. Twisting it around she placed the handle between her boots and started slicing through the rope's fibres. She acted swiftly but with caution, careful not to cut into her wrists. One accidental slip in that area would have dire consequences. The agent didn't particularly want to have to deal with a ruptured artery at that moment in time.

Whatever room Brodie had taken them to, it was hot. The sun shone down through a small skylight similar to the one in their room of imprisonment and a direct beam seeped through Addison's skin. She could feel droplets of sweat trickle down her back and forehead. The soldier worked rigidly, trying to move only her wrists and forearm in an effort to slice through the ropes. If she moved her shoulder, the more noticeable her actions would be. This was Addison's only opportunity to set about her plan and she didn't intend on wasting it. She looked back to Brodie and Skyler. The terrorist had just finished slicing through Skyler's top and was beginning to slide open the material.

Shit, Addison cursed internally. If Brodie harmed so much as one more millimetre of Skyler's being, Addison would make her suffer an eternity of pain. The soldier turned back to Shamus. The beefy henchman switched his focus from Addison to Skyler. Every time he looked back to watch Brodie, Addison pressed a little harder, cutting through her bindings faster. She could rapidly feel the blade reaching the end of the fibres and braced herself. Addison's body jerked as the ropes were finally severed. She felt her wrists sag apart and relief flooded her system. Taking the knife in her right hand, Addison positioned the blade in her grasp.

Brodie dropped her scalpel onto the table beside her. "Decisions, decisions," she said, scanning her instruments. Apart from the scalpel, a pair of pliers, an assortment of semi-blunt knives, an ice pick, knuckle-dusters, manual hand drill, surgical saw and hot iron were at her disposal. To Brodie, it was a veritable assortment of highly entertaining toys.

Seeing the blonde's eyes turn to her, Addison gauged Skyler's state of mind. Although she did appear visibly frightened, the soldier could see the underlying confidence shining in her eyes. Skyler still had faith in Addison. It was that which enabled her to withstand Brodie's terrorising, as she knew Addison wouldn't give her that chance.

Her left shoulder incapacitated and throbbing in pain, Addison turned to Shamus. He grinned at her, quirking half his upper lip in a beastly sneer. Addison gripped her knife a little tighter. The beat of her heart echoed in her ears, her focus solely upon Shamus.

"You may not like this," Addison heard Brodie say.

Shamus peeped very quickly to see Brodie pick up a hot iron.

"But I definitely will."

Addison blinked slowly. In her peripheral vision she could see Brodie handle a large instrument but she didn't turn away from Shamus to see what it was.

"No!" Skyler pleaded emotionally as Brodie moved in on her.

Addison didn't move her eyesight from Shamus.

"Please don't," Skyler said in a higher voice, full of desperation.

Addison waited. Every second felt like an hour as she stared into Shamus' eyes. She adjusted her grip on the knife.

Brodie leaned over Skyler.

"Please no," the blonde pleaded.

Unable to refrain any longer, Shamus turned to watch Brodie.

In a moment of lightening reflex, Addison brought the knife around from her back and hurled it with deadly precision towards Shamus. The fatally sharp projectile slid solidly into the centre of his throat.

Brodie looked up as Shamus gasped for air. His jaw dropped, eyes wide in shocked horror. The weapon fell from his hands.

Before anybody had a remote chance of comprehending what had just happened Addison jumped to her feet. She charged at the wall, slamming her left shoulder back into its socket. The pain was sharp and intense but not enough to overwhelm her.

Shamus fell back against the wall behind him. Blood poured from the fatal wound and gurgled from his mouth as he slid to the ground.

"NO!" Brodie shouted. "GUARDS!"

Instantly the two armed men standing outside the door burst into Brodie's room of torture. Still reeling from the pain, Addison charged the men. Jumping into the air she spun into a kick, knocking the first man out cold. As she landed, Addison found herself confronted by the second guard aiming his AK-47 level with her face. The threat didn't stop her as Addison kicked the weapon from his hands. They collided, trading a series of petty blows. It was a match Addison soon tired of and as she blocked his last punch she aimed her fist towards his Adams apple and delivered an almost instantaneous deathblow.

Turning, ready for another attack, Addison found Brodie surprisingly absent. She had escaped while Addison fought the last man.

"Sky," Addison said, approaching the blonde. "Are you okay?"

Skyler nodded. "Just get us out of here, Addison."

With a nod Addison pulled her knife from Shamus. She sliced swiftly through Skyler's bonds, freeing the relieved blonde. As soon as her legs were released, Skyler jumped down from the table and wrapped her arms around Addison.

"I knew you would do it."

"It's not over yet," the agent replied.

Skyler jumped as a loud siren echoed around Brodie's complex.

Addison stepped towards the door. "I still have a few scores to settle."

Chapter 22 The alarm, which sounded very much like an air raid siren, was accompanied by sharply raised voices. Commanders of Brodie's militia who informed her soldiers of the situation harshly barked out orders. Section heads began rallying groups of men. Their objective was clear, to eliminate both Addison Black and Skyler Tidwell. Brodie had ordered her men to use whatever means necessary in order to stop them. She knew her superior still wanted Addison alive but if one of her men were to fatally wound the agent in an attempt to locate and capture her, then so be it. The purpose of her own mission was complete and she'd already received payment. Addison Black was hers.

Agnes Brodie stormed through the compound and out into the open air. It was almost mid-day and the desert sun shone down like a relentless inferno. Armed with a semi-automatic she addressed her soldiers. "If Black leaves this place alive you shall all forfeit your lives. The man… or woman to bring down that bitch will be highly rewarded."

Fuelled with added motivation, Brodie's soldiers readied themselves for Agent Black.


Skyler's hand within her own, Addison ran down the narrow corridor towards Brodie's office. Just before they reached her door, two guards appeared in front of them. A man and woman both armed with high-powered sub machine guns. Addison dispatched them easily, incapacitating and taking the female guard's weapon before she could blink. Two swift kicks to the face and chest left her lifeless upon the ground. Then using the SMG, Addison thrust it into the male soldier's face before kicking him to the floor. Retaking Skyler's hand she led her swiftly into Brodie's office and closed the door behind them.

"What are you doing?" Skyler asked, recognising where they were. If they were to escape what on earth were they doing in the 'wolf's lair'?

Brodie's office was large. The floor was a buff grey tile and the walls were sparse white and disturbingly bare. In the near right corner stood a large wooden cabinet and it was this that Addison focussed on.

"I'm not leaving here until this building is razed to the ground. But first…" Addison took the sub machine gun once again and thrust it against the cabinet's lock. "There are a few things I want back and I am hoping…"

After her third strike the lock broke. Addison pulled both doors open and scanned the three shelves revealed to her. Although the bottom shelf was empty the remaining two were not. "Bingo! Brodie sure is into her keepsakes, huh?" Addison reached into the very top shelf and pulled her shirt out. She handed it to Skyler. "Put this on." She indicated her top that was shredded open.

"Thanks," Skyler replied and slipped into the garment speedily.

Turning her attention back to the cabinet, Addison reached into the middle shelf. "I'll take these back, thank you very much!" She took her Beretta pistols and after checking each was loaded she placed them into the empty holsters at her back. Next she took the extra clips of ammunition Brodie had taken from her and dropped them into the side leg pockets of her combat trousers. Lastly Addison grabbed the Baby Browning Brodie had confiscated from Skyler and held it out for her. "Take this."

"Addison I…"

"Now is not the time to argue, Sky. Same rules apply, okay?"

The young doctor nodded. "Okay, but the way I am feeling right now, Brodie might not be safe around me anyway!"

Addison gave a short smile. "You and me both." She re-closed the cabinet doors and strode over to Brodie's table. "But let me take care of her... I owe her plenty."

Multiple sets of footsteps ran past Brodie's office and both Skyler and Addison ducked behind the large desk, out of sight. Leaning against the desk drawers, Addison took the magazine from the fallen guard's gun. She checked its capacity, finding it fully loaded. With a satisfied nod, Addison locked it back into place. She held the weapon against her torso and turned to Skyler. The blonde crouched beside her, pistol trembling in her hand as she hid in silence.

"Sky, did you see where the main laboratory was?" Addison whispered.

Skyler shook her head. "No, but when Brodie first brought me here I did see a couple of guys in isolation suits come up on an elevator. I noticed the elevator had only one floor... down to a single lower level."

"Right." Addison twisted her body around and took a blue pen and sheet of ruled writing paper from Brodie's desk. She placed the sheet upon the floor and began jotting down a series of seemingly random letters and numbers. "I have a job for you, Sky. While I take care of destroying the physical evidence of Project Gemini I want you to access the main computer. Can you do that?"

"Well yes, but what do you want me to do?"

Addison handed Skyler the paper. "I want you to get into the computer and open up the network. There has to be a link to the whole system, maybe even a mainframe somewhere. Get in there and direct the main computer to this site address. It is a super virus. As soon as the site is accessed the virus will automatically load into the system and spread through the entire network. Don't worry about getting there. I will be with you."

Skyler studied the obscure address Addison had given her. Her practically photographic memory easily recorded Samuel Perkins Alpha Numeric super virus; once done she folded the paper and slipped it into Addison's shirt pocket. "It's pretty tough numbers out there, Addison."

"I've had worse."

"You plan on destroying this place and everything in it, don't you?"

Addison shrugged. "Well you did say extreme heat would destroy the bacilli, and besides, I do love a good bang," she winked.

From outside, more footsteps ran past the door. Addison's senses prickled as she heard a presence pause outside the entrance to Brodie's office. She placed a finger over her lips in a gesture of silence. Her breathing softened. The door opened and Addison gripped her weapon, placing her finger lightly upon the trigger. She sensed the single figure step further into the room and looked under the desk surface. A large pair of black booted feet came into view. There was only one move to make. Addison knew making too much noise would instantly alert people to their presence. She didn't want that just yet.

Addison waited for the guard to approach their place of hiding. She held her finger over her lips one more time and winked at Skyler. The American nodded, her nerves almost gone as she griped her Browning pistol and remained as silent as possible. From the opposite side of the desk, their threat moved ever closer. Making a swift decision, Addison placed down the weapon she was holding and then with surprising reflexes she jumped up from behind the desk.

Face to face with a shaven headed man, Addison said, "Hi," in a cocky manner as she leaned over the surface of the desk, grabbed a hold of his collar and pulled him over and onto the floor. He landed with a thud; Addison not giving a moment's thought as she delivered two fatal jabs and rendered him lifeless.

Skyler pointed to a black devise attached to his hip. "Is that what I think it is?"

"Excellent!" Addison pulled it from his belt. "A stun gun. Do you think you would feel better if you had to use this on somebody?"

Nodding, Skyler slipped the Browning pistol into the waist of her jeans. She took the stun gun after Addison adjusted it to a higher setting.

"Keep behind me; do as I say." Addison peered over the desk. "I'll get you to their main computer. While you are doing that I'll ready the building for a major fireworks party." The soldier turned back to Skyler, feeling a need to reassure her that everything would be fine. "Just stick by me, Sky. Are you okay?"

Skyler took a deep breath. "I have to be."

The apprehension in Skyler's eyes bolstered Addison's need to assure her that she would be all right. It wasn't hard to see that in numbers, the odds were stacked against them, but Addison had come up against larger quantities of foes in the past.

"Sky," Addison whispered. "I promise you we'll get out of here." She unconsciously licked her lips, desperately wanting to reassure her with a kiss. Unfortunately, it seemed inappropriate to do such a thing with a body lying only inches away. Instead, Addison cupped her cheek and ran a thumb over her lips. The memory of how wonderful it felt to kiss those soft, inviting lips passed through her mind. "How about when we get out of here we make plans to go to Egypt. We can go skinny dipping in the Nile!" Addison wiggled her eyebrows causing Skyler to smile. "Ready?"


"Okay, let's go."

Twisting to her feet Addison held out one hand, indicating that Skyler should stay on the ground. She jogged silently over to the open doorway and looked out. Checking the area Addison assessed that the coast was clear. "Okay," she called and Skyler emerged from behind the desk. Stun gun in hand she stood slightly behind Addison.

"Keep behind you, right?"


"I can do that."

Holding the weapon in front of her, finger poised upon its trigger, Addison led the way out of Brodie's office. Close by they could hear general sounds of commotion from all around them. Reaching a corner the women stopped. With her back pressed against the wall Addison peeped around to the next passageway. One armed soldier was swiftly approaching. Addison waited until he was close before she stepped out in front of him.

"Catch," Addison shouted and threw her weapon at the guy. Instincts taking over, the man reached up to catch the machine gun. Addison took advantage of his exposed position by delivering a solid kick to his stomach, just as he caught the weapon. When he doubled over in bewildered pain, the agent regained possession of her weapon, slamming it down into the back of his neck. He crumpled to the ground. "Which way to the lift?"

Skyler looked around them. "Down there." She pointed down the corridor from where the guard had just emerged less than fifty feet away.

"Right." Addison took off again. She could see a set of doors to the elevator and quickened her pace. Suddenly, numerous sets of rapid footsteps began to approach from both directions. "Come on!" she ordered and ran towards the lift. "Get it open!"

To their right, five soldiers began running towards them. Addison opened fire, showering the approaching men with bullets as she backed Skyler into the lift. Then to their left more men appeared. Addison switched to the new threat, firing rapidly as they in turn answered her attack with one of their own.

Safely inside the elevator, Skyler pressed the appropriate button. The doors began to shut so she placed her hand onto one of its mechanical shutters, halting its progress. "Addison!"

"Yeah!" Addison yelled. She continued firing as she backed up towards the lift. Men and women came from both directions and she switched aim constantly, hitting any target that came into view. Once she was inside the lift, Skyler removed her hand and the doors slid shut. Rapid fire was still heard from above as the elevator car descended to the basement level of the complex.

"You did good," Addison commented as she checked her weapon. There was a single bullet remaining.

"I did nothing."

The agent disagreed, saying, "You remained calm and kept your head."

"I suppose," Skyler replied. "I don't feel scared anymore. I feel... energized!"

Addison quirked her eyebrow but her reply died as the elevator came to a halt. She dropped her useless machine gun and took out both pistols. There was still a painful ache in her shoulder but Addison had no time to dwell on the fact at that moment in time.

The lift doors slid open, revealing a long narrow passageway. Half way down there were two doors, one to the left and the other to the right, facing each other. At the end of the walkway stood another door and six armed guards. Rapid fire commenced immediately forcing Addison to take hold of Skyler and thrust them both against the side of the elevator.

"Bollocks," the agent growled. She attempted to look back out but the firing continued. "I have an idea." Addison placed her hand upon Skyler's stomach, keeping her still. "Don't come out until I call, okay?"

"What are you going to do?"

Addison assessed the size of the elevator car. It was wide enough for what she intended. "I'm gonna do this," she said and ran three steps closer to the back of the lift. Jumping, Addison ran up the back wall until she was centre of the doorway. She then propelled her body through the lift's exit, twisting mid air to face the ground as she began to fire at the six guards. Three men had fallen before Addison hit the ground. She slid along the floor on her stomach, shooting down the last men before her body slowed to a halt.

"Okay," Addison shouted.

Skyler emerged from her elevator. "How on earth did you...?"

"I did gymnastics as a kid." Addison rubbed her chest. "Of course that was B.B."


"Before Breasts."


"Yep." Addison peered through the door to her left as Skyler looked through the glass of the door to their right.

"Storage," Addison stated.

"Bingo!" said the American. Inside she saw several active computers.

"Perfect." Addison opened the door and they both stepped inside. Although the room was small and no lights were active, they could see three working terminals. The upper part of the far wall was half glazed and provided an ample view into the laboratory. Besides it was a door that led into the sterile room. Addison noted an isolation chamber at the right corner of the lab and three suited bodies worked cautiously inside. There was also a larger computer beside the chamber.

Being sure to keep out of view, Addison said, "You know what to do? I need you to access their entire network... worldwide. Bring the bastards down."

Skyler surveyed what she presumed to be the main computer in the laboratory. "Leave it to me."

"Great." Addison turned as Skyler stepped towards the door leading into the laboratory, but before she left she said, "I'll be back for you, Sky."

The young doctor smiled. "I know you will."

Addison nodded. "See you in a while," she replied and slipped soundlessly from the room.

Skyler watched as the agent's form disappeared out the door. She recognized the taut yet somehow fluid way Addison held her body. The expert killing machine was in full evidence.

Skyler marvelled for a brief moment at the paradox the dark haired woman presented. On one hand was the efficient agent, skilled in the arts of espionage and death, but on the other was the loyal friend and vulnerable woman. Skyler was sure Addison would object to the word "vulnerable" if she heard it, but it was definitely true.

And then there was the kiss.

The act that was supposedly just for Brodie's benefit set off a firestorm of wanting within Skyler and she admitted to herself that had circumstances been different, she would have never have stopped with that single kiss. Though she knew Addison was far more experienced than herself in sexual matters, a voice born of pure instinct told the scientist that the agent felt the intensity between them too.

These thoughts took no more than a few seconds before Skyler decided to file them away for later action. That there would be action on those thoughts was not a matter even up for debate.

Skyler turned to scan the lab. This was familiar territory for her as her course of study took her across many disciplines from the practical to the arcane. As she searched the lab she kept an eye on the isolation room where the technicians were working. It had to be where the bacillus was being synthesized; it made no sense otherwise.

The technicians were blissfully unaware of the mayhem happening outside the lab. Skyler knew that happy state had to be because of the safety parameters of the room. It would have to be isolated and insulated, temperature controlled and with a negative air flow system. No chance could be taken that a virulent organism could escape and contaminate the facility. Adding those facts to the decontamination suits and respirators the technicians wore and Skyler felt she had a good chance of completing her mission unobserved. Even the alarm, so piercing in the hall, was nearly inaudible in the lab.

She moved cautiously through an amazing variety of sophisticated technology. An electron microscope, cell separator, incubators and every bit of equipment needed to conduct bioresearch and experimentation was present. None of it was what she was looking for though.

She moved closer to the isolation room, keeping track of the movements of the techs as she hunted for the computer system she knew had to be there. There was too much technology not to have it tied together somehow.

She crouched down and was within a few feet of the isolation room before she spotted the terminal and monitor. It was a larger system than she anticipated and was connected to a block of machines on the wall nearest the room with the techs. Scanning the set-up, Skyler realized the computer system was not only connecting the various pieces of lab apparatus, but it was also connecting the lab system with a larger system off-site. Could be anywhere in the world she thought. No telling who's gotten the Project Gemini information if Agnes was telling the truth about their success.

The American knew Agnes was telling the truth though; Skyler becoming expendable was evidence of that.

Skyler moved back to the main monitor and watched the display a moment. A mass of data was rearranging itself in a linear fashion. The information seemed familiar to her somehow and she searched her memory for the answer. They're DNA sequencing! Skyler realized, but she had no idea what was being sequenced. You can bet your ass it's nothing for mankind's benefit she thought.

With a last glance at the three techs, Skyler focused on the monitor. While not disturbing the running program, she brought up the control panel and found the modem. Studying the properties screen, she discovered what needed to be done to contact the outside world. Entering the appropriate characters on the keyboard, she reached an open line and quickly tapped out the coded sequence Addison had given her earlier. A connection seemed to be made as a low tone, similar to connecting to a fax machine, sounded from the terminal.

Suddenly the screen before her went black except for a small row of white dots that moved across from right to left. It was her fascination with what was happening on the screen that made Skyler miss the fact that one of the technicians had left the isolation room and moved into the small antechamber between the lab and isolation room where he began to remove his protective suit.

The small dots continued across the screen when one broke away from the line and began moving around the screen as it enlarged. Skyler watched as the dot's circular shape morphed into a figure, still white but definitely with arms, legs and head. Transfixed, she could only marvel as Casper the Friendly Ghost appeared on the monitor.

YOU HAVE INVITED CASPER TO PLAY printed appeared on the screen. ARE YOU SURE? Skyler hesitated before tapping the "Y" key followed by the "Enter" key.

Casper smiled and the words SO BE IT appeared on the screen. The letters faded and a house appeared in its place. The Friendly Ghost flew toward the house and passed right through the front door. The animation ceased there and the screen filled with computer data that literally appeared to disintegrate.

The door to the antechamber opened with a whoosh that let Skyler know it was an air lock and it was a toss up as to who was more surprised, Skyler or the technician. Skyler was more prepared though and reacted swiftly, bringing the Baby Browning to bear on the startled man.

His eyes darted between Skyler, the gun and an intercom located to the American's left. Skyler saw the technician weighing his options. He could now hear the muted alarm and her presence with a gun made it obvious what the commotion was about.

"What's your name?" Skyler asked.

"Joseph," the technician replied nervously.

"Well, Joseph, I've had a really bad day. Please don't do anything to make it worse. Get over here and sit on the floor. You do what I say and we'll all be happy." Skyler moved her head to indicate where she wanted the man to go. The American felt more than saw the technician's intention and she was prepared as he lunged for the intercom as he moved passed her. Bringing up the stun gun in her other hand she delivered a sharp blast of electricity to the man's flank. He dropped to the ground, immobilized in agony.

"Blame that one on Agnes Brodie, she's the one who pissed me off," Skyler told the man as she moved back to the computer screen. She looked up quickly, but the remaining technicians seemed not to have noticed the brief interplay between Skyler and their colleague.

The image on the monitor was changing yet again. The data continued to disintegrate, but now the picture started to swirl. Soon it looked like a vortex.

A black hole virus! Skyler thought. I've heard of them in theory, but never thought I'd actually see one in action. A black hole virus was theoretically so strong that it could not only crash computers, but servers, networks and anything connected to the affected computer. Like a black hole in space with a gravitational pull so strong that even light could not escape, the force of the black hole virus was irresistible. Skyler watched as the vortex became smaller and smaller until it disappeared from the screen completely.

Blood red letters appeared on the screen. NETWORK TERMINATED. This was replaced by the phrase CASPER SAYS THANK YOU FOR A LOVELY TIME. Those words faded from the screen and silence reigned in the lab.

Skyler was slack-jawed in amazement when she realized every piece of lab equipment connected to the main computer was shut down. The laboratory was nothing more than a scientific junkyard.

Unfortunately, the equipment in the isolation room was shut down as well and the technicians were already making their way into the air lock to ascertain the problem. Skyler was spotted easily and she readied the Baby Browning. She took a deep breath and hoped that if she needed to, she would be able to pull the trigger in her own defense.

She didn't need to worry. As the remaining technicians entered the connecting room, the lab was plunged into darkness.

Skyler counted to five slowly and, as she anticipated, low level lighting and a faint airflow began. Emergency generator for basic life support, she thought. Glancing at the two techs in the airlock, she realized they were trapped completely in the small room. Fail-safe mechanism! Can't have the whole lab contaminated in case of a systems failure, right Brodie? You'd rather let your guys die than risk your own skin. She lifted the hand holding the gun and waved it at the men. They ceased their attempts to make their way out of the antechamber immediately. Skyler nodded at them in approval. She glanced at the technician on the floor who seemed to have passed out.

"Sorry about this boys, but don't worry, I'll stay with you at least until Addison comes back."

And you better get back here, Agent Black she thought. You and I have unfinished business.

Chapter 23

Using the butt of one of the fallen guard's machine guns, Addison attempted to open the elevator doors. With the power now gone, usual means of access had been rendered useless. Even with the low hum of emergency power, the lift still didn't seem to be working. It would have perplexed Addison, but she had no time to figure out why it wasn't in operation. The agent's sole purpose now was to find Brodie and nothing was going to keep her from that task. The Irishwoman had to be somewhere within the complex. She wanted her dead and that was hardly reason to leave. Besides, Addison knew they would both hold Project Gemini in high consideration. Whatever diabolical intentions Brodie's superior had for the breakthrough biological weapon could not come to completion. It had to be destroyed. The lives of possibly millions depended on Addison's obliteration of the bacilli. Fortunately, Addison had already figured out how she intended on doing this.

With a final thrust, Addison grunted as the metal elevator doors slid open. Once fully retracted, the soldier wedged the submachine gun barrel into the gap between door and ground. It was enough to keep the car accessible and Addison stepped inside.

From above her, on the main ground floor of the compound, Addison heard many rushed footsteps and raised voices. It seemed that Brodie's soldiers were concerned on how to get down into the laboratory. Addison looked up and saw the reason why. The roof of the elevator car was solid. There was no emergency access or exit shaft at all. It was an inconvenience for sure but more so confusing. Why would they design this form of transportation with such a safety flaw? Did Brodie fear the possible contamination of Project Gemini to such an extent that she would do anything to assure the bacilli never moved beyond this underground chamber? It posed a serious question to Addison. What was contained within the bacilli? What presumably lethal agents were they working with? That notion sent a twin spasm of alarm and fear through the soldier's spine.

Spinning around on her heels, Addison paused mid-stride in exiting the lift when she found herself face to face with Agnes Brodie. Addison was surprised as Brodie held out her revolver in a gesture of surrender, but the agent retained her neutral expression.

"I've had it," Brodie proclaimed. "I want you, Black. I'm ready for you. Let's end this in style. No weapons... just you and me. When I kill you I want to feel your life drain away under my bare hands."

"You aren't one for subtleties, are you, Agnes?" Brodie's presence suddenly made Addison realise one important fact. The power shut off for the elevator had to be down in the basement level of the compound. Brodie had to have shut it off with her intention to confront the agent once and for all. It was a foolish mistake on the Irishwoman's part, but it did urge Addison to wonder why she would take such a risk. That cold feeling of dread returned once again.

"Okay, fine." Unclipping her pistols the soldier held them out and, together very slowly, the women placed their weapons upon the ground. "You want hand to hand, you've got it."

There was barely time to react as Brodie pulled a concealed knife from her sleeve and threw it at Addison. The soldier caught it mere centimetres away from her face with her right hand. "Okay... now I am mad." Throwing Agnes' knife to the floor, Addison zeroed in on the terrorist. They collided together with rapid force and it was Brodie who threw the first punch, a move Addison found easy to deflect. She countered the punch with one of her own, but as Brodie blocked her Addison followed through with a solid kick to her stomach that sent Brodie skidding backwards across the floor and towards the main door of the laboratory. She didn't waste any time in getting to her feet.

"Hey, Black," Brodie taunted. "I have to say that woman of yours has some balls!" Addison wondered what it was Brodie was hinting towards but she knew she wouldn't have to wait long to find out. The woman took pleasure in taunting her. "She has no qualms in firing a gun, does she?" The redhead terrorist took a step closer towards the laboratory door. "It's a pity she is such a lousy aim." Saying that, Brodie disappeared into the lab and Addison followed her. The solider soon discovered what it was Brodie was talking about. Sitting submissively and gagged behind a table was Skyler. The technician she had earlier disabled held her loaded Browning to her head.

"It's like we go round and around and around in circles, don't you think?" Brodie traced her fingers upon the desktop as she stood beside Skyler. "The bad guy gets the girl, the hero rescues her but then does something dumb and so... the bad guy gets the girl, the hero rescues her but that dumb act happens again and the bad guy gets the girl. I can't help thinking this vicious circle had to come to an end somehow."

Addison sighed, bored with Brodie's speech. She looked around gaining a bearing of their surroundings. "It seems to me I have to eradicate part of the equation." Addison held out three fingers on her left hand. She touched the first finger. "Now I know damn well it isn't going to be me." The solider began to check off her two remaining fingers. "That then leaves either the bad guy or the girl."

"Not to ignore your delusion but I hardly think you intend on eradicating the girl."

"To rid myself of a headache? I might. You really don't know me as well as you think, Agnes... but then again... you are the eternal burr under my saddle. The point is… what do I want to rid myself of more? The girl who might hang on thinking there is something more between us, or you… insert numerous reasons for that one." Addison's voice was cold and detached.

Brodie closed her eyes shaking her head. "You're bluffing. How stupid do you think I am, Black?"

"You tell me." Addison folded her arms. "I mean, you 'claim' to know so much more about me than she does." The agent didn't dare to glance over at Skyler. "She was a good fuck and I am never one to turn down an easy lay. That's who I am." Addison recognised the sceptical expression in Brodie's eyes and realised she was thinking of the time she had been turned down by the agent herself. Addison was quick to add, "But I don't scrape the bottom of the barrel. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth." It was at this point that Addison did risk a glace at Skyler. As she expected the blonde looked confused and slightly hurt by Addison's words.

Finding herself once again in the position of Brodie holding Skyler hostage with a loaded weapon, Addison knew why Brodie was so confident in their confrontation. Think, think, think, the agent chanted mentally.

"What's the matter?" Brodie asked with spiteful contempt. "Not so confident anymore?"

Addison turned from Brodie to the man holding Skyler. Something about him struck her. Yes, he may be one of Brodie's men, but whereas the others she had dealt with were trained soldiers, this man was a mere scientist. He appeared as uncomfortable holding her gun as he would a hot poker. Addison knew this man wouldn't be able to kill on Brodie's orders. She could see the hesitation and awkwardness in his eyes.

Movement diverted Addison's attention and she looked back to Brodie as the Irish woman walked around the desk and approached her. She stopped when there was less than five feet between them. It didn't surprise Addison when Brodie pulled another knife from her opposite sleeve. She twirled the handle in her hand and assumed a ready combat position.

"Prepare to finally meet your match, Agent Black."

"I'm getting bored with clichés, Agnes." Addison jumped backwards as Brodie lunged at her with the knife. Déjà vu the agent thought as she kicked Agnes' hand away from a second strike.

Brodie came at her again, seeing the blade as a further advantage over Addison. She thrust forward, aiming directly for the soldier's stomach, but Addison stopped her, knocking her hand away with a rapid block from her left hand. She countered the attack by punching Brodie in the jaw, followed by an elbow to the side of her face. The Irish woman reeled and stepped backwards, giving her precious seconds to gain her equilibrium. When she did, it was with a solid kick to Addison's stomach. The agent was knocked backwards; she rolled over the surface of a metallic table and landed back upon her feet. Addison didn't wait to lurch from the pain or for Brodie to advance. Stepping up on a nearby stool she jumped onto the table and lunged herself in a roundhouse kick, knocking Brodie to the floor. Landing above her, Addison dropped to her knees. She stopped Brodie's hand before the blade could make impact with her neck and then thrust the woman's hand to the ground. It took five hits before Brodie released the weapon. As the blade scattered across the floor Brodie swung around trapping Addison beneath her body. Wrapping one hand around the agent's throat, Brodie was only able to connect one punch. As her fist thrust down for a second hit Addison caught Brodie's hand, pushed her fist back and punched her in return. A splatter of blood flew from Brodie's nose and she released Addison's throat in pain. She grabbed the agent's hands and held them above her head.

"You're going to die, Black." Blood dripped from Brodie's nose onto Addison's neck.

"Maybe." Addison rolled backwards and kicked Brodie away. "But not today and not by your hands."

Agnes collided with a side unit and a plastic container of test tubes smashed upon the floor.

Jumping to her feet, Addison stepped towards Brodie. "Careful, those buggers cut deep!"

Skyler had ceased trying to struggle from the man who held her. As Brodie and Addison's fight continued the blonde felt the scientist's grip on her lessen. Skyler realised with the right moves she would easily be able to escape from his grasp. Wincing as she saw Brodie pack a punch square across Addison's jaw, Skyler had an idea. Sing? She thought, wondering why that word seemed to hold such relevance. Then suddenly it hit her. The beat of her heart increased as Skyler held her breath. I can do this! Counting to three Skyler unleashed her attack. Thrusting her elbow backwards she hit the scientist in his solar plexus followed by a harsh kick to his instep. Next she punched backwards at his nose and finished off her attack with a solid jab to his groin. The gun fell from his hand and slid across the floor. Skyler was released instantly and the scientist fell to the ground with a painful groan.

Stepping back in surprise she looked down in bewilderment and pulled the tape from her lips. "Damn, this self defence stuff really works! I was just like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, except I'm not that clumsy in heels."

Noticing the man was attempting to move, Skyler looked around and found the abandoned stun gun. She retrieved it hastily and attacked her captor with electrifying volts to his side. A cry of pain rose from his lips as he fell back to the floor.

Hearing the peculiar yelp, Addison looked to the source of the sound and found Skyler free from her captor. She stood over him, stun gun in hand. Addison grinned and turned back to Brodie as the Irish woman threw a hefty punch. She allowed the fist to painfully hit its mark and fell backwards over a desk and towards Skyler.


"I'm okay." The soldier climbed to her feet and rubbed her cheekbone. "Listen, I need you to find the power switch for the elevator and turn it back on." Brodie advanced on the women and Addison kicked her away with a powerful thrust. "It's in one of those two side rooms. Quick… you have to do it now."

"Okay…" Skyler backed up towards the doorway of the lab. "Okay." Turning, she ran through the door.

"Oh Addison," Brodie sang.

Addison turned to Brodie and froze. The terrorist stood in the centre of the room, Browning pistol in hand aimed directly at the soldier.

"This could all end right here, Black."

"It could…" Addison was confidant Brodie wouldn't shoot while the agent was standing in front of the isolation chamber. It was too high a risk. "But I…" Addison paused in her speech seeing the deadly glint shimmer in Brodie's eyes. As her finger applied pressure to the trigger, Addison dived onto the floor.

A single shot rang out and ricocheted around the laboratory. Addison rolled onto her back and looked up in horror. Terror hammered with rapid thumps through her heart. Silence stretched out for several seconds before the room was bathed in a flashing red light. A female voice followed…

"Warning; Isolation Chamber Compromised. Pressure Breach will occur in T-Minus Five Minutes and Counting. Four Minutes Fifty-Nine... Fifty-Eight… Fifty Seven…"

"Oh this is not good!" Jumping to her feet, Addison looked back at Brodie. The Irish woman appeared alarmed by what was happening.

"Let's finish this." Addison vaulted over a counter and struck Brodie before she had time to fully comprehend what had taken place.

"This is all your fault," Brodie seethed.

Addison laughed. "Yeah? So sue me!" Again the agent struck at Brodie followed by a kick that knocked the Browning from her hand. Brodie hit back and a round of savage blows ensued.

"Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Four Minutes. Three Minutes Fifty-Nine… Fifty-Eight…"

The time for fooling around was over. Time was of the essence and they had less than four minutes before the isolation chamber would breech and the deadly Project Gemini seeped into the air.

"What is it?" Addison demanded as she struck Brodie. "What did you use?"

"Screw you, Black." Brodie attempted to strike Addison but the agent easily blocked her jab. Feeling her annoyance rise she took Brodie by the collar and drove her into the wall.

"Seven… Six… Five…"

Addison thrust her knee into Brodie's stomach followed by a punch square across her jaw. "What's in Gemini? What's the Hyde Application? Tell me."

Brodie laughed. They both knew she wouldn't talk. Instead the redhead spat a mouthful of blood towards Addison… but missed.

Growling, Addison pulled Brodie from the wall and threw her over a stainless steel workbench. More glass vials scattered in the impact and smashed around Brodie as she landed upon the floor.

"Sixteen… fifteen… Fourteen…"

Walking over in rapid strides, Addison spotted her Browning pistol and swiped it from among the shards of glass. She held it to Brodie's head. "Tell me." Brodie smiled wickedly and Addison struck her again. "Tell me." Her punch pushed Brodie closer to unconsciousness.

"Two minutes… One minute Fifty-Nine… Fifty-Eight… Fifty-Seven…"

"Tell me where it is," Addison ordered. She took Brodie's hair, pulled her head from the floor and pushed the barrel of the pistol hard into her forehead. "So help me, Agnes, you don't deserve a single chance but this is all you get." Addison looked up as the red warning light started to flash faster.

"One minute Thirty seconds… Twenty-Nine… Twenty-Eight…"


The agent looked to the doorway where a frantic Skyler burst through the doors.

"It's back on."

"Good… get my pistols and get an Uzi from one of the fallen guards," Addison ordered. "Now... quickly."

Skyler ran to obtain Addison's request.

"Last chance, Agnes. Tell me what it is."

"Why bother." Blood gurgled from Brodie's lips and she coughed violently. "There's no cure for the poison. You'll die. You will all die." She began to laugh deliriously but having had enough, Addison delivered one final punch that knocked Brodie out cold.

"I'll just have to make sure I destroy it then."

"Twelve… Eleven… Ten…"

Addison ran over to several large canisters in the corner of the room. She recognised the green colour of the containers and disengaged each valve. Turning a tap with both hands she allowed a flow of pure oxygen to seep into the laboratory.

"Five… Four… Three…"

Next she ran over to a table of four taps. Disconnecting the hoses from each valve she turned them on and the scent of gas filled her senses.

"Addison… we have to get out of here." Skyler re-appeared in the doorway.

"Two… One… Warning Isolation Chamber Breech in Sixty Seconds… Fifty-Nine… Fifty-Eight…"

Knowing there wasn't much time remaining and desperately needing to make sure she and, more importantly, Skyler were as far away from the compound as possible, Addison ran for the doctor.

"Come on," she yelled. "We have to get out of here."

"Like I'm gonna disagree," Skyler said as she handed the pistols to Addison and they ran for the elevator.

"Forty-Eight… Forty-Seven… Forty-Six…"

Once inside, Addison kicked away the Submachine gun that was jamming the doors open and they slid shut. She slammed her fingers on the button for the ground floor. Nothing happened.

"Forty-Two… Forty-One…"

"No! Come on." Addison struck it repeatedly and after her third strike the elevator car began to ascend. A sigh escaped her lips and she looked to Skyler. "Almost there.

Skyler nodded nervously and released the Submachine gun when Addison took it from her hands. She jumped in surprise, turning her head away as Addison began firing at the elevator's floor. The bullets passed through the metal ground with colourful blue sparks and Skyler hoped the gas Addison released into the room didn't automatically ignite too soon. Thankfully it seemed the vapours hadn't reached that far yet.

"Thirty-Two… Thirty-One… Warning; Isolation Chamber Breech in Thirty Seconds…"

As the car doors slid open Addison thrust her foot through the littering of bullet holes and a hole seven inches in diameter was formed. Dropping the machine gun Addison took Skyler's hand. "Come on. Let's get out of here."

"Twenty-Six… Twenty-Five…"

Hands firmly entwined, the women fled from the elevator and down two corridors before reaching the entrance of the complex. As they stepped out into the blinding Israeli sun they caught a first glimpse of Alon's attack on the compound. Many Mossad agents were in the process of taking down the remainder of Brodie's soldiers.

Spotting her friend, Addison called him frantically. "Alon"

The man looked up from handcuffing a kneeling soldier. "Addison."

"Give me a grenade."

"A what?"

"A grenade," Addison repeated impatiently

Alon didn't waste time in retrieving one from his shoulder pack and threw it to Addison. The agent caught it swiftly.

"Now everyone get out of here. RUN! This place is gonna BLOW!"

As soon as her words were spoken people began to turn and run. Skyler did so, as well, but stopped as she sensed Addison run back into the compound.


"Trust me, Sky. I'll be back. Just run."

The hesitation and concern was clear upon Skyler's face."

"Do it. Run! I'll follow. I promise."

Nodding, Skyler could only do as Addison asked and she turned, running from the compound to the safety of the hills.

Addison turned and ran back into the building.

"Fifteen… Fourteen… Thirteen…"

The agent ran back to the elevator and reopened the shaft doors. Lighting in the building dimmed further to a rapid succession flashing red.

"Ten… Nine… Eight…"

Addison took the pin in her fingers and waited.

"Six… Five…"

Knowing it was time, Addison pulled the pin from the grenade and dropped it through the hole in the elevator car's floor. She didn't wait to see it fall down into the shaft but turned and ran as fast as she was physically able. The elevator doors closed as Addison took one corner and ran towards the exit.

"Two… One…"

Addison made it back out into the open and continued to run. Behind her she heard… "Warning; Isolation Chamber Breech has occurred," before the grenade exploded. Addison continued to run knowing that it was only the beginning because as the initial explosion met with the gas and oxygen the entire compound erupted like a savage volcano.

Its noise was ear splitting. The ground shook and trembled weakly underfoot as pockets of fire opened through the sand. Flames shot into the air like a smouldering inferno. Not even the complex structure could stand over the face of the blast. Its bricks burst apart and scattered across the sand.

Addison ran until the sheer force pushed her to the ground and she landed face first in the sand, arms covering her head. Around her plumes of smoke, shattered brick and savage flames exploded around what was left of the complex, shooting hot debris into the air. Sand briefly filled the atmosphere. Many handfuls of grains solidified to glass through the sheer heat of the blast. The scent was overwhelming and the temperature combined with the sun scalded the land. For many seconds, hot rubble fell like rain upon the ground.

As soon as she felt it was safe, Addison climbed back to her feet. She continued to run towards the safety of the hill where she knew Skyler, Alon and the rest of the team were taking cover. Once far enough away, Addison turned and looked back at the carnage. The inferno of heat had turned the flames, rubble and smoke into a flickering blur. The agent squinted through the haze.

"Addison!" Skyler jumped over the hill and ran into the agent's arms. "Are you insane?"

"Oh, I'm okay, thank you for asking."

Skyler ignored the agent's sarcasm. "We destroyed Project Gemini, right?"

Addison ran her hand through Skyler's dusty hair. She hugged the blonde closer and looked over her shoulder at the flickering remains. "Yes, it's destroyed." Addison remembered Brodie's unconscious body lying in the middle of the laboratory. "Everything is destroyed." She hugged Skyler harder as a weighty shadow of foreboding lifted from their shoulders.

Chapter 24

"So, it's the consensus that Project Gemini, at least as far as what was stolen, has been destroyed?" General Blithe asked his agent.

"Yes, sir," Addison replied, shifting on the leather couch in the General's office. She had received medical attention to the wound in her side and it was only occasionally that a twinge of discomfort reminded her of the bullet that had passed through her flesh. "Both our best scientists and the Israeli experts agree that the temperatures reached in the explosion were more than enough to eradicate the bacillus. Both the beneficial Jekyll side and the noxious Hyde application would have been destroyed. They will keep the area under quarantine of course until final culture results of the site return, but confidence is high."

"That's good then," her boss replied.

"I'll be honest though, Mark, I'm still concerned. Brodie practically crowed that they had replicated Project Gemini and had perfected the Hyde application, but she never told us what they inserted into the bacillus or who she was working for. That's information we'll never get from her now."

Mark rubbed his hand over his chin in thought. "Any chance Brodie was bluffing?"

Addison considered this. "I suppose it's always a possibility. Agnes was a liar as well as a kidnapper, thief and murderer. I wouldn't put it past her, but I still want to know who Dr. Kleein is."

Mark nodded his agreement. "Would have been advantageous if she had survived I agree, but if Agnes Brodie and her team were willing to work on anything for money, maybe it's better they were terminated."

Addison frowned. "I suppose so, Mark. Due to the explosion and heat there wasn't much left in the way of human remains. Some of those people had families and they will never know what happened to them. That's not a good feeling, but I wanted to send Agnes to hell. If you had seen that inferno in Israel you would know I more than accomplished that."

"I realize it is cold comfort, Addison, but you've avenged James Easton's death at Brodie's hands and you've rid the world of something vile. It was good work."

Addison reached down and stroked the soft black fur of Spike who was laying contentedly along side the agent on the couch. The tiny dog turned her head to swipe a pink tongue across Addison's hand before settling back in to enjoy her mistress' attention.

"And you got Skyler Tidwell back in good shape as well by what I observed," Mark noted as he moved from the chair behind his desk and began to pace his office. "It was certainly touching when Marlene...Professor Tidwell...was reunited with Skyler." Mark remembered the meeting of mother and daughter on the tarmac as Skyler descended from the transport. The obviously deep and abiding love between them had touched the soldier's heart in a way he no longer had thought possible. Addison, following Skyler down the stairway, was diplomatic in pretending not to notice the errant tear that had appeared in her superior's eye.

General Blithe greeted Addison with the restraint typical of the British in public. "Well done, Black," he said as he clapped her on the shoulder. "Spot on." Addison shrugged, uncomfortable with the attention.

Marlene left her daughter briefly to take the few steps to Addison. Green eyes, so like her daughter's, looked at the operative.

"Agent Black, you made a promise to me and you kept it. You brought my daughter back home safely. I can never repay you for that." She leaned over and kissed Addison on the cheek.

Mark chuckled at the memory of the very lethal Addison Black standing between the Tidwell women blushing to her roots.

"Something amusing?" Addison asked, bringing the general back to the present.

"Um, not at all. I was just thinking about the festivities we have planned for your homecoming and smashing success. Even though the public will never know how close they came to disaster, we know and appreciate your work. I think this gala is just what we need. Confidentially, I heard it's possible the Prime Minister may attend. There might be a medal in this for you. Unpublicized of course."

Addison stuck out her tongue and made a rude noise, indicating what she thought of the prospect of the decoration. Spike lifted her head and added a growl before being soothed again by her best friend.

"Not interested, Mark," Addison said. "You know I never cared for those fancy dress parties with everybody congratulating each other on a job well done that half of them never participated in. It's political and I hate politics."

"Normally so do I but this time I'll be going with Doctor Tidwell on my arm." Seeing Addison's body tense, he immediately clarified his statement. "The older Doctor Tidwell that is." Addison said nothing, but her body relaxed back against the leather cushions. Spike took the opportunity to work her muzzle under Addison's hand, blatantly seeking affection.

"Of course that leaves the younger Doctor Tidwell without an escort."

The agent opened her mouth to issue a sharp retort, but she stopped as the memory of Skyler in Israel assaulted her. In her mind's eye she saw Skyler suturing her after she was wounded, Skyler's wide eyes when she saw her body in the makeshift shower and Skyler responding to her kiss in front of Brodie. She was reminded of the way Skyler ran into her arms after the explosion, uncaring of who saw them together. She remembered the way Skyler reached to drape Addison's arm around her as they sat side-by-side on the transport home from Israel and how right and contented she felt when the American did that.

"You could be right. Maybe I should attend this time," the agent admitted. "Who do I see about an invitation?"

"Just check with Miss Bakersfield on the way out; she's handling most of the arrangements."

"Right then, if you're done with me I'm leaving for the day. C'mon Spike, let's get out of here and get some fresh air. I'll speak to you tomorrow, Mark."

"Give my regards to Skyler," the general said off-handedly.

Addison quirked an eyebrow, "Not before I give her my own," she said as she left the office.

At her desk outside, Antonia Bakersfield looked up and gave her best smile to the agent. "It's good to see you again, Agent Black. And looking so fit." The secretary's gaze ran the length of Addison's body. Another time and Addison might have entered into the sexy banter that usually marked their interaction, but this time she was in a hurry to see Skyler.

"Mark said you would be making arrangements for the gala. Put me down to attend."

"Really?" Antonia asked. "You usually never go to these things. I think you'll enjoy it though; many of your old friends will be there. Agent Zimmerman just contacted me; he seemed quite anxious to attend.

"Quinton, eh? That's good, I've been wanting to speak to him anyway about that weapons problem we had on Skye," Addison noted. "So, put me down for a party of two, Antonia."

"Two?" she asked hopefully.

Addison reached down to pick up the scruffy black dog. "Yes, myself and Miss Skyler Tidwell. See you later, Antonia."

The agent strolled from the office, completely missing the crestfallen look on the secretary's face.


At that moment, Skyler and Marlene were seated in two very comfortable wingback chairs in the library in General Blithe's home. They had spent every moment of the previous hectic two days together, the reality only settling in now that they were both safe and unharmed. Skyler was prepared for the talk she knew she needed to have with her mother.

"It's been really busy since you got back," Marlene said as she settled back in the chair. She crossed her legs and waited. She and Skyler were closer than most other mothers and daughters and she knew by the way Skyler tucked one leg under herself as she sat that there was something on her mind. Her unique daughter would tell her when she was ready.

"Yeah, they practically grabbed us off the runway," Skyler agreed. She had been met by representatives from the American Embassy as well as their British counterparts and seen doctors, psychologists, security people, counter terrorism experts and a litany of others all of whom had an interest in the foiling of an international biological threat.

Despite all the people included, not a word had leaked to the press. It's a world in itself, Skyler marvelled. I had no idea it even existed. She found her quick mind absorbing the experience and enjoying it. As many people as she met, the one person she really wanted to see was nowhere to be found. Where are you, Addison? She thought over and over again. The last time she saw the beautiful agent, she was being hustled into an ambulance as Skyler was being pushed into a limousine. Their eyes had met briefly and the American could physically feel the reassurance in the look. Then Addison had winked as she stepped into the vehicle.

Thinking of Addison reminded Skyler why she wanted to speak to her mother in the first place. "Mom, it's been great being here with you and it was so generous of General Blithe to give over his house for our use, but..."

"But you'd like a little more space to yourself now that you know I'm fine," her mother finished for her. "You've always had an independent nature," Marlene said as she smiled at her daughter fondly.

"It's not you, Mom, really it's not. It's just that...well, when I was in Israel...Addison and I..." The woman whose life had been scholarly pursuits now found herself at a loss for words.

"Skyler, are you trying to tell me you have feelings for Agent Black?"

Skyler blushed, but met her mother's gaze directly. "I might, would that be a problem?"

"Not for me, honey, but maybe for you. I'm fine with whoever you want in your life. Don't you think I know there is no rhyme or reason to who we are attracted to? The human heart is a tough thing to understand and the chemistry between two people is just plain baffling. Look at your Dad and I. I don't think there were two more different people, but I loved him with my whole heart and I know he loved me. How something like that happens is just something we haven't been able to unravel. Frankly, I hope we never do. But Skyler, you aren't in this alone; what does Addison think about it?"

Skyler ran a hand through her blonde locks. "God, I'm not sure. I mean...when we were in Israel, and maybe before that, I felt like we had some kind of connection. She's a wonderful woman, Mom, so much more than she lets people see. She's warm and caring and funny and..."

Marlene raised her hands in mock surrender. "You don't have to convince me, I believe you. I saw the look in her eyes when she told me she was going to bring you back. That is one determined woman. So, you need your own place to explore the possibilities. Am I right?"

"Something like that," Skyler agreed. She rose and walked slowly in front of the large fireplace that was a feature of the room. "I'd like to explore the possibilities, but first I have to locate the elusive Addison Black. I don't know where she is or what's happened to her. I haven't heard a word since we've been back and I'm worried sick. My makeshift patchwork on her wound might have caused problems that I don't even know about!"

"She's fine, Skyler," Marlene said in a soothing tone. "She's with Mark."

Skyler stopped mid-stride. "How do you know?"

It was Marlene's turn to blush. "Well, Mark called earlier while you were still asleep. He mentioned Agent Black would be working with him today. Apparently it's standard following a mission of this kind."

Marlene's blush did not go un-noticed by her daughter. "What exactly has been going on here while I was gone?"

"Wait a minute," Marlene objected in a light-hearted fashion. "We weren't talking about me."

"But we could be," Skyler replied. "So what did the general want?"

The older Tidwell attempted to appear nonchalant. "He just wanted me to know you have an apartment available for your use if you want it. I told him yesterday you might want that. It's something of a 'safe house' he said."

"So you and General Blithe are getting pretty chummy, huh?" Skyler was happy her mother was taking an interest in having a social life again.

"I don't know," Marlene said honestly, "but I know I like him. I like him a great deal and he's asked me to accompany him to a formal affair that Special Operations is hosting."

"Are you going?" Skyler asked.

"I wouldn't miss it for all the tea in...Britain!" They laughed at the easy conversation.

Skyler sat back down and leaned forward, elbows on knees, and addressed her mother. "This is all new to me, Mom, and it scares me a little. Books, classes and the university were my whole world for such a long time that it's hard for me to believe this might actually be happening. I might be...falling in love with someone. It's like I'm just starting to have a life now."

Marlene nodded. "Maybe it's time we both started to live."

Chapter 25

The Sheridan complex was a small yet prestigious residence. It stood less than ten miles from Headquarters and had become a temporary home for Skyler Tidwell. Only four floors high, its white-brick stature gleamed with the vision of recently constructed architecture. To local city inhabitants it was deemed a must-see landmark with its arched windows, moulded brickwork and domed roof. To Addison, it was an eyesore and if it weren't for Skyler's presence, Addison would have preferred to stay away. Stepping into the building, Addison headed for the stairs.

A young woman standing behind a white, Macintosh style, front desk called out to her. "Can I help you, Miss?"

"No thanks," Addison replied. "I'm here to see Miss Skyler Tidwell; she's staying in flat seven."

"Is she expecting you?"

"Oh, of course," Addison fibbed. She pulled a mobile phone from her jeans pocket. "I just spoke to her. She is waiting on me right now. If you wish you can call through and let her know that Agent Addison Black is here to see her." The agent had an inner feeling her offer would only be taken to determine Addison was who she said she was. With a polite smile Addison ascended the stairs to the third floor of the hotel. She chuckled as she pulled Spike out from underneath her black leather jacket.

"Good girl for not moving, Spiky." Addison wasn't sure whether animals other than resident's pets were allowed into the building. Spiky waggled her stunted tail and struggled to get down. "Hold on, midget." When she reached the third floor, Addison placed Spike upon the carpeted ground. "Stay beside me, girl." The tiny mongrel trotted happily beside her mistress.

Stopping when she reached door number seven, Addison looked down at Spike. A fluttering of apprehension flickered in her stomach. Though it had only been five days since she and Skyler parted, Addison wondered how the doctor would react to her appearance. From the outset of their meeting they had been put into a position where they had no choice but to tolerate each other's company and although they had seemed to bond as time passed, Addison wondered what Skyler really thought of her. Yes she seemed to like her; Addison was never usually wrong when reading signals. The trouble was, was their presumably budding friendship all there was to it?

Addison flexed her fingers as she stared at the white door. Its brass number seven shone with obvious tender upkeep. Placing a hand upon the door Addison listened to the soft music coming from inside the flat. Another two days had passed since the meeting Addison had in Mark Blithe's office. She had delayed her visit with Skyler after hearing the young doctor was to move into a temporary residence of her own and Addison decided to give her some time to settle into the flat.

The music coming from Skyler's flat was unrecognisable, at least to Addison. Although she had a varied taste in tunes and styles, this was something she was unfamiliar with. Feeling a scuffling around her ankles, Addison looked down to find Spike standing between her feet, waiting patiently.

"I suppose I should knock, huh girl?" Spike walked around her left foot and stood in between her legs again. "Impatient? Okay." Addison knocked on the door with a rhythmic tap.

From the opposite side of the door Addison heard, "Hold on... I'm coming, let me just…" The door swung open and Skyler Tidwell stood before the agent.

"Addison!" The surprise was clear in Skyler's voice.

"Hi." Addison smiled. "Not expecting me, huh?"

Skyler flushed. "Well, no. I wondered what happened to you. How are you?" She looked down at Addison's side.

"Oh, you know, healing. A few black and blue marks… a few stitches... they are annoying more than anything." Addison paused. "How are you?" She had been concerned about how the events in Scotland and Israel had affected Skyler. This was a world the doctor was unused to. A world built around secrecy and great danger. For Addison, she had lived many years with the acts that eventuated through her job. Skyler, although she had travelled, never had to deal with the violent underbelly that existed within the shadows of everyday life.

The doctor shrugged. "I seem to be dealing with things in my dreams. I can't really remember them too well so I guess that's good."

Addison nodded and bit her bottom lip. She rolled up onto her toes and back again, trying to think of something to say. She wasn't prepared to leave so soon. The agent felt there was a certain amount of unfinished business they needed to address. The incessant movement of a stunted tail wagging relentlessly against her ankles diverted her thoughts.

"I'd like to introduce you to a friend."

"Oh?" Skyler looked out past Addison to the hallway.

Addison smiled and pointed to her feet. Looking down, Skyler was instantly taken by the tiny black dog looking up at her earnestly. "Go on then, Spike".

"Oh my goodness," Skyler crouched and exclaimed as the little bundle of fur charged her and dove into her arms. "Aren't you just the cutest little thing I've ever seen?" The doctor scooped Spike up and ruffled her head as she attempted to lap at any available portion of Skyler's flesh. "This is your dog?"

Looking on bemused, Addison could only laugh. "Yes she is... and I have to say, I think she likes you!" The agent smirked. "A little too much by her behaviour. Spiky, stop it," Addison ordered as Spike tried to latch her paws around Skyler's neck. The blonde continued to fuss with the excitable mongrel in her arms. Addison could only look on in amusement. She began to wonder whether Spike actually saw her as a 'chick magnet'; she certainly seemed to be enjoying Skyler's attention.

Eventually, Skyler looked back at Addison. She blushed once again. "Will you come in?"

"Sure," Addison replied a little too eagerly.

Skyler stepped to the side, Spike still in her arms, and Addison walked into the flat. The dwelling, to Addison's surprise, was actually smaller than she anticipated. She stepped straight into what was obviously a tastefully decorated living room. The colour schemes were cream and beige and black-framed landscapes adorned the walls. Addison noticed, as she ventured further into the room, that it was actually split in half. To her left was the living room and right, was a kitchenette. A door to the far right led into a blue and white bathroom. Addison assumed the door to the left must have been the bedroom. Small, she thought, but efficient.

Looking back at Skyler, Addison rolled her eyes. "Alright, Spiky, that's enough. Leave the poor woman alone for crying out loud."

Skyler chuckled and placed Spike back down upon the floor. "I think I would have expected you to have a Rotweiller or some other mean looking dog like that."

"I'm not sure whether that was an insult."


"Well they do say a dog kind of represents his owner. Are you saying I am more of an ugly mean Rotweiller than a cute little flea bitten mongrel?" Addison was quick to add, "I am kidding about the fleas by the way."

Skyler smiled. She looked around her small flat as a moment of awkwardness settled between them. Even Spike seemed to feel the tension as she sat between the two women; ears swept back as she looked between Addison and Skyler. The doctor was the first to speak.

"So… can I get you a drink?"

"Orange juice?" asked Addison.

Skyler nodded and headed towards the open plan kitchen. "I can do that." She opened a small chest high fridge-freezer. Want anything in the juice? Vodka?"

Addison was ready to decline but changed her mind. The way she was feeling, something strong might be a good idea. "Go on then."

As Skyler began preparing the drinks, Addison looked around for Spike. The tiny canine was suspiciously absent from the spot she had previously been sitting. Narrowing her eyes, Addison looked around. Her search didn't take her too far. Spike sat in the kitchen by Skyler's feet, watching her pour two glasses of juice. The agent gave her dog a reprimanding look and pointed to the floor beside her. Spike delayed her obedience by walking between Skyler's feet and wagging her tail. She looked beseechingly at Addison to Skyler and back to Addison.

Oh it's like that, the agent thought with amusement. Shaking her head Addison shoved her hands into her pockets. Her eyes travelled up Skyler's body. Bare feet led to three quarter length black trousers and a simple white t-shirt. Addison couldn't help but notice there was no bra under the white top. She closed her eyes and swallowed. Warmth spread through her veins and coloured her cheeks.

"Are you okay?"

Addison opened her eyes. "Yeah, just a little warm."

"I know!" Skyler motioned to her bare minimum of clothing. "In the US we have air conditioning. Here in England you have radiators. It's almost zero degrees outside yet in here it's practically tropical." Skyler handed Addison her glass and the agent accepted it with a smile. She placed it upon a kitchen work surface and pulled off her jacket. Placing it on the back of the nearest couch, Addison reclaimed her drink. Again, that awkwardness of silence passed between then. Both women gazed at each other, beginning to feel more than they were able to say.

Addison studied Skyler. She gazed upon subtle differences, which was the young doctor at ease. No longer feeling the stress of their last week, the tension had slipped from her features. There was little doubt to the agent that she found Skyler attractive but suddenly the phrase 'beautiful' came to mind. Her heart increased its beat.

Finding herself under the obvious scrutiny of Addison's gaze, Skyler blushed. Embarrassed by the warm glow upon her cheeks, she lowered her head and stepped past Addison. "Want to sit?"

"Sure." Addison and Spike followed Skyler to two beige couches. The comfortable two-piece suite stood opposite each other with an oak wood coffee table between them. Addison sat down, facing Skyler. Spike settled by the doctor's feet.

"I was surprised to see you," Skyler commented. "I'm glad you're okay."

Addison brushed off her remark. "Nah… it takes more than a crazy Irishwoman to keep me down. I'm fine."

Skyler smiled. "I see you have a new contact in," she said, referring to Addison's brown eyes.

"I keep plenty of stock at home." The agent smiled. Taking a drink she happily swallowed down the strong taste of vodka tainted orange juice and placed her glass upon the table. Still feeling strangely anxious, words eluded Addison. Searching her mind, she recalled her conversation with General Blithe.

"I um… I heard your mum was accompanying Mark Blithe to the Gala this weekend."

"Oh yes, she is." Skyler chuckled. "I think mom is looking forward to it. She called me this morning to ask whether I would help her shop for a new dress."

Nodding silently, Addison appeared thoughtful. "I was wondering… You see… I have to attend this Gala myself and thought maybe you'd consider going with me?" The initial surprise upon Skyler's face forced Addison to think she may have read their situation wrong. Her expression, however, changed. The agent wasn't sure whether she was seeing confusion or intrigue.

"Are you asking me because my mom's going?"

With a frown, Addison shook her head. "No… it's more like…"

"A date?" The corner of Skyler's lips quirked in a small grin.

Addison pursed her lips to refrain from smiling herself. "Do you want it to be a date?"

"Is that what you're asking?"

A smiled graced the agent's feature. "It is, yes. If you are willing I would like you to accompany me."

"Why?" asked Skyler


"Addison?" Skyler placed down her own drink and sat back into the couch. She struggled to find the words she wanted to say for several moments. "What happened between us in Israel, Addison?"

What happened in Israel? That was a question Addison had asked herself many times since. There was no doubt both Skyler and her mission started off as just that… a mission. What changed was something Addison hadn't expected. Yes, Addison would be the first to admit Skyler wasn't the first person she had been attracted to while on assignment. The difference with Skyler was the simple fact that Addison felt a never before experienced bond with the doctor. When thinking of Skyler, every fibre of Addison felt drawn to her. It was a powerful need to hold her happiness in the highest priority. Seeing Skyler smile was like seeing the sun rise on the darkest of days and wondering what it was that made her wax lyrical in such ways perplexed her greatly. Holding Skyler had felt good. It was a feeling that went way beyond physical desire and it was this that caused Addison such consternation. Was this really what she thought it to be?

Sucking her front teeth, Addison rose and walked around the coffee table. Pushing Skyler's glass out of the way she sat down in front of the blonde. The table's solid frame supported Addison's muscular physique easily.

"What happened between us in Israel was…" Addison took Skyler's hands within her own. "It was something I want to explore. I know you feel it too." Taking a chance, Addison released Skyler's left hand and placed her own under Skyler's breast, feeling the rapid beat of the blonde's heart. Skyler's breathing increased and she closed her eyes.


The agent gazed at Skyler. Although her lids were lowered, her flushed skin and the way she bit her lower lip told Addison that Skyler did indeed feel what she was feeling. "Yes?" Addison slid off the table and knelt in front of Skyler.

The blonde opened her eyes when she felt Addison move closer. She instinctively opened her legs wider to allow Addison further room. "What are we doing, Addison?"

Addison repeated Skyler's question under her breath. Making an internal decision, Addison rose to her feet and pulled Skyler up in front of her. "I'm not going to deny there's something between us, Sky. Can you?"

Skyler placed her hands upon Addison's hips. "Not anymore."

"Good because…" Addison moved closer. "I want to…" she cupped Skyler's chin. "I need to try something." Slipping her fingers through silken blonde hair, Addison pulled Skyler willingly towards her. Their lips connected softly. Addison closed her eyes. The feeling of guarded tension, which had accompanied their last kiss, was no longer present. As such, Addison let go of the tight rein she kept on her control and allowed herself to sink into Skyler. The softness of her lips was delightful; the velvety caress of Skyler's tongue wrapped sensually around her own. Addison felt her knees weaken and her heart explode within her chest. Slowly, she pulled away.

Opening her eyes Skyler licked her lips. She had to clear her throat before asking, "Did it work?"

"Did what work?" Addison took a breath to calm her fevered pulse.

"You said you wanted to try something." Skyler moved her hands across Addison's back. She felt taught muscles tremble under her touch.

"Well…" There was little doubt in Addison's mind of what she was feeling or what she wanted. "That depends on one thing."

"Which is?"

"Whether you mirror the need I feel to make love with you right now."

Skyler's mouth fell open as her cheeks flushed. She seemed to momentarily search her mind for something to say. Addison waited for her response but was pleasantly shocked as Skyler wrapped both hands around her head and pulled her into a devastatingly intense kiss. The agent felt herself being pushed backwards until her back was against the wall. The Berettas Addison kept strapped to her belt, dug into her back but she paid them little heed. Instead she pulled Skyler closer, cupping her behind and holding her body firmly. Their tongues wrapped around each other frantically, almost desperate to taste and feel as much of the other as possible. Addison's eyes closed, her other senses taking over her need for Skyler. The soft sweet scent of her, lavender and musk; her delicate encouraging sounds aroused Addison further.

Taking Addison's hands, Skyler held them above the agent's head. Leaving her lips she peppered wanton kisses down her throat. Moaning, Addison said, "I take it this is a yes?"

In response Skyler took both of Addison's hands with one of her own and began massaging Addison's breast through her forest green button down shirt. The manipulations sent bolts of desire down the agent's body. Addison revelled in the sensations, thrilled by Skyler's bold actions. The events, she knew, affected Skyler as much as herself by the way the blonde ground against her thigh.

Panting heavily, Addison pulled her hands away from Skyler's light grip and took her again in a deep, hot kiss. She started backing her up and in the direction of what she presumed was the bedroom.

"Addison," Skyler whispered between kisses. "It's a real mess in there."

Addison pushed the door open, focussed only upon Skyler. "Like I have eyes for anything but you," she said as they passed through the doorway. Addison kicked it shut with the back of her foot. She spun Skyler around and pinned her against the door. From the opposite side they heard Spike whimper for entrance.

"Should we let her in?" Skyler asked as Addison latched onto her neck and pushed both hands up her t-shirt.

"Are you kidding?" Addison chuckled. She caressed Skyler's back feeling muscles quiver under her touch. "Spiky is a joiner and there are some things I refuse to let her be a part of."

"Good idea." Skyler hissed as Addison's hands swept around to the front of her torso and cupped her breasts. "God…Addison." The agent pulled Skyler's white t-shirt over her head revealing an ample chest. Their lips came together again in a kiss hungry and wanting. Groans of escalating passion filled the air.

Addison looked around long enough to locate Skyler's bed and began moving backwards in its direction. She never released Skyler from the kiss that rose in heat and intensity. Stepping over discarded clothing that lay strewn upon the floor, Addison felt the back of her legs hit the unmade bed. She stopped and spun Skyler around.

"God I want you." Soft lips attached to Skyler's neck. Addison sucked gently.

Panting, Skyler held Addison close. "I'm yours." With a groan she pulled Addison's lips back to her own and turned, pushing her onto the bed. Lips attached and tongues entwined. They crawled up the bed to jumbled pillows. Passion firing her veins, Skyler lowered her hands to Addison's shirt. With a strong tug she pulled the buttons apart, ripping the forest green garment open. Addison gasped as her black satin bra was pushed up and her breasts were encased in searching hands and devouring lips. The soldier writhed helplessly, Skyler's attention sending a pulsing pressure to her centre.

"Skyler," she gasped.

The blonde doctor looked up, breathing heavily. Addison cupped her cheeks, pulling her down for a deep kiss. When their lips connected Addison bucked, flipping Skyler over, fighting once again for the control they had been battling for from the moment they connected. Without breaking the kiss, Addison raised enough to reach her belt and unhooked its buckle. She released the pistols from her rear and dropped them carefully onto the floor. Rising to a sitting position she pulled the belt from her jeans and let the ripped shirt and bra fall from her shoulders. As Skyler's eyes connected with Addison's both women froze.

Addison's fevered breathing calmed slowly. She sat straight and pulled Skyler up in front of her. A moment of tranquillity and acknowledgement formed around both women. The air crackled between them as two hearts formed an invisible bond. Skyler reached out and softly caressed the soldier's cheek. Addison trailed the tips of her fingers over Skyler's lips. The almost urgent need that had engulfed them upon their initial kiss suddenly melted away and a deeper connection started to blossom.

Slowly and with sweet anticipation, Addison kissed Skyler. Their lips fluttered delicately over each other before opening to enhance the connection. Softly, Addison lowered Skyler back onto her bed. She allowed half her weight to rest upon the doctor and moaned as warm flesh and aroused breasts made contact. Skyler grazed blunt nails over her back and pleasant quivers assaulted her body.

"Addison," Skyler whispered.

The soldier's tongue licked a languid trail down Skyler's neck. "Hmm?"

Skyler writhed and groaned as Addison's mouth captured her nipple. The sensations caused her centre to pulse and desire to seep from her core. She couldn't speak until Addison refocused her attentions to the valley of her breasts. "Please tell me this isn't just about sex."

Shaking her head, Addison rose back up to face Skyler. "No… this is more… much more than even I have ever…" Without finishing her words, Addison kissed Skyler again. She felt the blonde's hands unbutton her jeans and slip down her waist. Addison moved down Skyler's torso once again, past her breasts and on to the waist

Skyler nodded. "Please… don't stop now."

With a light nod of her head, Addison unsnapped the button and lowered Skyler's zipper. She slipped her fingers into the waistband and began pulling Skyler's trousers down her of her trousers. "Are you okay?" she asked looking up at her soon to be lover's thighs, noticing she had been wearing no underwear at all. The knowledge caused a smile to quirk her lips and liquid anticipation to seep in a southerly direction. As the trousers slipped from her feet, Addison rose, standing beside the bed. Keeping her eyes linked with Skyler she lowered her jeans and thong underwear. Once both were fully naked, Addison descended upon Skyler.

They kissed again, unable to get enough of the sensual softness their explorations produced. Addison pushed her tongue further into Skyler's mouth, entwining with the blonde's in a silent quest for more. Hands moved effortlessly over bared flesh, searing paths of mounting desire. The temperature inside the room rose. The air was heavy with the scent of arousal and groans of desire. Addison moved her hips in a rhythm Skyler matched in pace and intensity. Thighs slipped between each other, the evidence of their passion appeared slick against hot flesh.

Addison broke the kiss. "God you feel so good," she moaned.

Skyler moaned as her hands encased Addison's breasts. "I can't get enough of you." Lifting her head she sucked one of Addison's nipples into her mouth. Addison cried out. Her clitoris was bombarded with stimuli and she ground harder against Skyler's thigh.

"God, Sky." Addison panted uncontrollably. "Don't stop… fuck don't stop." Her body trembled as the sensations rose within her. Addison's moans grew louder. She wasn't expecting such a quick release but there was nothing stopping the inevitable.

"Skyler…" Addison's movements grew more intense. "I'm gonna come."

"Ugh!" Skyler sucked harder. "Yes," she mumbled around Addison's breast. The blonde pressed harder into Addison.

Addison writhed as her body reached its peak. "Ugh… Skyler… Yes." Her eyes squeezed shut tight as crests of explosive pleasure soared through her body. Addison shook, her back arched and her centre throbbed as she milked her released with a powerful need. Sweat beaded over her forehead and slipped down her brow. Skyler's name fell from her lips again and again.

Slowly the spasms calmed and so did Addison. Still holding herself upon her arms, she opened her eyes. Addison looked down at Skyler. Unexpectedly an errant tear fell from each eye.

"Hey…" Skyler whispered, wiping a finger under Addison's eyes. "What is it?"

Addison shook her head.

"No… come on."

Without answering, Addison lowered herself back down on top of Skyler and initiated a deep kiss. Skyler responded helplessly. She held onto Addison as the agent rolled over until Skyler was above her. Addison smoothed her hands down Skyler's back and cupped her behind. Releasing Skyler's lips she started to push the blonde up her body. Sky complied willingly until she realised what Addison intended.

"Addison, wait."

The agent stopped.

"This is something I've never done before."

Addison appeared confused. "You mean…?"

"No." Skyler smiled. "I just mean this… what you're intending."

Addison smiled. "Trust me," she said softly.

Licking her lips, Skyler nodded. With Addison's soft encouragement Skyler moved up her body to straddle her face.

Addison looked up to the swollen desire above her. The vision alone caused her stomach to clench with need. "Oh God," she groaned and ran a hand up either side of Skyler's thighs. Slowly, she lowered engorged lips to her mouth.

"Oh…OH!" Skyler hissed as she felt Addison's tongue sink into her. She felt the oral muscle glide along her centre before entering her thickly. "Yes… God!" Skyler leaned back and held on to Addison's thighs. She moved against the agent's mouth, tongue and lips.

"Addison, that feels so… so good."

Addison could only groan, thoroughly captured by the sights, sounds and taste of Skyler. She held onto the blonde's hips, coaxing and aiding her movements. Skyler moved slowly back and forth over Addison's mouth, enraptured by the blissful sensations. Liquid desire coated the soldier's tongue. Addison's own desire rose again.

Feeling her passion increase, Skyler adjusted her position and held onto the headboard behind Addison. Her grip tightened as Addison's focus turned to her tight bundle of nerves and her lips wrapped around it with a wonderful sensation of suction.

"Oh yes." Skyler ceased all movements, her entire world, for that one moment, focussed solely upon Addison's mouth and the wonderful sensations she was causing through her body. Her eyes fell shut as her head tipped back. Addison's hands glided up to her breasts. They manipulated and caressed her nipples to taught, ridged points then one hand slid back down her torso.

"Addison, please." Skyler resumed her grinding. She moved her clit back and forth over Addison's tongue. "Let me feel you. I need you inside me."

The agent could only comply and using two fingers she sunk inside Skyler.

"Oh… oh, Addison!" Skyler gasped as she began to ride Addison's fingers.

The soldier instantly began to detect a change as Skyler's arousal engulfed her fingers and clamped around them. Addison sucked harder, moving to the rhythm of Skyler's thrusts.

"Addison… that's it… just like… oh God…Addison!" Skyler screamed as her body yielded to the intense release that engulfed her body in a tumbling, shuddering climax. She groaned long and loud under the relentless force of Addison's manipulations. The agent feasted greedily, unable to get enough of Skyler. Strong pulsations gripped her fingers and throbbed around them.

Slowly, as the tremors lessened, Skyler released the headboard. Her head fell limply against the wall.

Addison caressed Skyler's back. She waited a moment before saying, "Sky?"


"You okay?"


"Is that a yes?"


With a smile, Addison coaxed Skyler down to lie upon the bed. She rolled onto her side and faced the doctor. Blonde hair lay in a haphazard manner around her head and Addison ran her fingers through the golden locks, neatening the kinks.

"Will you tell me now?"

"Tell you what?" Addison asked evasively.

"Tell me why the tears."

Addison looked away momentarily and studied the ceiling for several seconds before turning back to Skyler. Noting the sincerity in her eyes, Addison spoke. "For the first time in… well, in ever… this didn't feel like it was an act of giving or taking… it was sharing… We were…"

"Making love," Skyler finished for her.

"Making love," Addison repeated. "Truly." Not sure of what else to say she kissed Skyler passionately. For endless moments they stayed locked in a loving embrace. It was Addison who pulled away first. "God, I don't want this to end."

Skyler smiled and pushed an errant lock of hair from Addison's eyes. "I'm not going anywhere."

Returning Skyler's smile, Addison winked. "Well that's good then."

"Oh, and by the way… yes, I would love to attend the Gala with you."

Addison smiled wider. Pulling the blonde close they kissed and formed a lasting connection that continued long into the night.

End of part 6

This story is complete and the final part will be posted within the next 5-7 days.

Continued in Part 7.

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