Cage Undone, part 2

Disclaimers: All the usual apply, bad lippy occasional language, sex between two women (at some point we hope and dream), They belong to me, for good or bad, and no one else, so please don’t steal them. They are the surly sorts, they’ll fight to get back home or order pizza every night and use your credit card. It can add up let me tell you.

If you are going to read this please be over the age of 18, if you aren’t I might go to jail and you wouldn’t want that haunting you, or me hunting you after I do my time and those 1600 community service hours. By then I’ll be surly.

This go round is not beta’d, so all fubars are mine and mine alone.

This one is dedicated to my own playmate aka froglet. She knows who she is. For a straight girl she’s pretty cool.

And yes I know you’ve probably read part of this already, but I went back and had to fix some things that needed to be fixed and added along the way. I hope it’s worth the second read…if not…well…oops?

You can find me if you want at for now. Be warned however that if you try to flame me, I’ll just get irritated and you really don’t want my undivided attention.


Chapter Seven

            Ellen pulled herself from the most interesting dream that Terri Barclay was having in order to watch Cage stalk her way through the thick wooded area that surrounded the family cabin. If she had not known what to look for she would have missed the slowly moving shadow that her friend could become. She shook her spectral head. Those truly dedicated army types she mused were so typical of each other. Even when not actively in uniform the training could not be suppressed.

            Deciding to give in to the mischievous side of her nature she walked next to Cage and blew a chilled breath across the soldiers neck. She watched Cage slowly lift a hand and rub the affected patch of exposed skin. Ellen kept silent even as she wanted to giggle. Moving to Cage’s other side she repeated the action. Cage halted her steps, looked around and sniffed the air and then shook her head.

            Cage wondered if she was losing her mind as she resumed her tracking. There was no wind but yet a chill kept running across her skin. Walking slowly, mindful of where her feet were landing, she kept on. Shifting her thoughts to the package that had been delivered by courier this afternoon a thin-lipped smile appeared. The high tech spying gear included the few items tucked away in her cargo pockets. These would give her the ability to spy without having to scamper around in the woods, and she would be able to record her pathetic spies.

            She laughed mentally, right now those same spies thought she was at the biker bar four miles away. Since they insisted on tailing her everywhere she went it was only fair to go to the one place where they would stick out and not be able to enter without a large amount of scrutiny. With their somewhat clean-cut features she knew that the hard-core bikers would assume the men were of the law enforcement variety.

            She found the area she was looking for. It was the only spot in the area that fairly reeked of dead cigarettes due to the number of butts that had been discarded. At least they had cleared a small circle, moving vegetation to leave only rich soil. There had to be thirty butts. Looking around quickly she decided on a low hanging branch and fished out her first little toy. Making sure that the long life battery was in place she pressed the activate button and climbed part way up the tree careful not to dislodge anything that would give away her presence. Clipping the voice transmitter in place she made sure that it would not come off. I love my toys. Climbing down she turned her back to the trunk she crouched and sighted in on the fouled pile, moving slightly she found the angle that was as perfect as she was going to get. She turned her head to the tree trunk and visualized the best spot.

            Cage reached into her pocket and pulled out a long v shaped pin, which she drove into the bark of the tree. Once it was in place she pulled another toy about two inches square and settled it in the notch and pushed the pin deeper until she was satisfied that it was snug. It’s dark coloring would blend in with the tree bark. She hoped. Touching the top left she turned it on. She checked her wristwatch. She would be pushing the time to get back to the bar before last call. “Good thing I don’t mind jogging.” She whispered.

            “I’ve always known you were a sick woman Quinn.”

            Cage froze at the words, the hair on the back of her neck rising. She looked around and found no one, but the voice had been right next to her ear. Standing up and stepping away she melted back into the dense foliage. Now that her little toys were deployed she moved a bit quicker but whether it was due to relief of having it done or the oddity of hearing voices she wasn’t sure. One voice her brain corrected. One voice that she heard occasionally in her dreams. At least she thought they were dreams. As she reached the sight of the cabin she heard a familiar light laugh. Her superstitious size seven Celt feet moved just a little faster.

            Cage crawled her way through the women’s restroom window. Grinning sheepishly at the leather clad woman who was currently washing her hands at the sink. “Sorry, I kinda couldn’t use the front door.”

            “You got trouble?” the woman asked with a suspicious expression. “And is it gonna raid the place?”

            Cage laughed. “Let’s just say I’ve got a couple of shadows who are not very bright. But they’re not the ‘raid the place’ kind of trouble.” She assured as her feet touched the floor. “You mind if I borrow the sink? I had to jog back here and I’d like to dry off a little.” She pointed to the paper towel dispenser. Cage had learned the hard way that sometimes biker women were more of a challenge than guys.

            The woman moved away from the sink and leaned against the wall. “I’m guessing you don’t want me to say anything.”

            “It’s worth me buying your table a round.” Cage confirmed as she turned on the water and splashed some water on her face then dried off with the harsh towel. It wasn’t a soak in the tub but it would do for now. She watched the woman’s reflection in the mirror. Finally the woman nodded.

            “Why the hell not?” she smiled. “You got a name?”

            “Cage. You?”

            “Mandy. Your parents got something against you or something?” Mandy asked with a sly grin.

            Cage shook her head. “Nah, my grandfather had a sick sense of humor.” She tossed the wadded up paper towel and dropped it in the trash can. “C’mon, I owe y’all a round.”

            Cage followed Mandy to her table and waited as the woman introduced her to the five men and women. One of them pushed a chair at her and she took the seat. She settled into small talk after waving down the cocktail waitress. By doing so she gathered a little more intelligence and mentally filed the information away. She discovered many things in the next forty minutes. First and foremost was that Sheriff Mobley was not a local boy as she had assumed but that he’d come to the area from California roughly ten years ago with rumors of misconduct chasing him from his former department. She thought back to the meeting at the diner and almost laughed at the recollection of him calling her an outsider.

            She sipped on her water as the others drank freely. She was almost disappointed when the bouncers announced last call. Mandy and her friends weren’t too bad for bikers, but considering the last group of bikers she’d help send to jail she was not willing to throw away mistrust either. This group might be good for some soft Intel from time to time. She said her goodbyes and walked to her rental. Glancing from the corner of her eye she noticed that her watchers were still in their car, heads slumped against the driver and passenger windows, asleep.

            She turned the key and starting the car, sang along to the CD almost immediately. Waiting her turn to exit the parking lot she scanned the rear view mirror. Her watchers had not moved. Once she hit the exit she turned right and started on her way to her temporary home.

            Five minutes later the flashing red and blue lights caused her to pull over to the side of the rural road. She powered down the window and kept her hands on the steering wheel in plain sight. The high power spotlight nearly blinded her but she could hear the heavy steps on the asphalt. A moment later a large figure stood by her door.

            “License and insurance please.” The ‘please’ was definitely an order and not a figure of politeness from the male officer.

            “No problem officer. Insurance is in the glove box.” Cage let the officer know before she reached for the glove box. She heard the subtle sound of hand pressure on a leather holster. Moving slowly she opened the glove box and took the rental agreement information out with just her fingers. She did not close the glove box. Then she reached into her shirt pocket for her mini wallet. In it were her license, military ID and money. She handed over the requested items.

            “You been drinking?” the gruff voice asked.

            “I had a couple at the Dive.” She answered honestly. There would be no point in lying. She was pretty sure that the local law enforcement would have officers posted at bars. By his grunt she knew what was coming next.

            Sure enough the officer ordered her out of the vehicle and put her through the paces of the oh so wonderful sobriety tests. As she passed each one she could see him getting more and more irritated. She was of the mindset that he was just fucking with her. Each time she passed a test he muttered ‘that was close’ for his dash cam benefit she guessed. It wasn’t until twenty minutes had passed that he finally administered a Breathalyzer test, which she also passed.

            With no real reason to arrest her he was forced to hand back her documents and send her on the way. As she was securing her seat belt the spotlight turned off and from her rear view mirror she caught the faint glow of stationary headlights in the distance. Turning the engine over again she resumed singing, glancing back once in a while. The lights were still back there, not gaining. Who taught these idiots to tail someone? Talk about obvious.

            As she passed the turn off to Olivia’s home she let her eyes wander making sure that no one was obviously watching her. Tomorrow during the day she would take a leisurely hike around Olivia’s. If she found anything interesting then she would take the same spying action as tonight.

            Finally turning right she reached the dirt trail that led to her family cabin. By the time she closed the front door she was about worn out. A full day of running her shadows ragged, then another lunch with Olivia and playing with the toys delivered to her plus a very long night in a smoke filled bar had kicked her ass. Doing next to nothing while on vacation, she decided was tiring.

            After making sure everything was locked up she took a quick shower and changed into her regular sleepwear. Slipping under the still cold blankets it took no time at all for slumber to hit full force.

            The towel was soft and smelled of sun and soap. This time it was her turn to take it out to the pool. She clutched the cloth to her body feeling special for a change. Usually it was her Mam or Da taking the towel to her granda. This time it was she, and it wasn’t Tommy who got the honor. She walked to the side of the pool and watched as Granda pulled himself out of the water. Her eyes were glued to the scars on the back of his right thigh and right shoulder. Suddenly she was angry and wanted to hurt whomever it was that hurt her Granda.

 “Ask what you’re goin’ to ask wee bairn.” He rumbled as he took the towel.

                      She hesitated. “Who hurted you Granda?”

             Sean Quinn did not have to look down at his body to know what his grand daughter was talking about. “I caught a bullet or two a long time ago, bairn.”

                     “Where?” she asked quietly.

                    “A little place called Korea. Back in ’51. Don’t fash it, bairn.” He smiled softly. “’Tis a long time ago.” The lilt of home was easy in his voice

           “Fash it I will.” She answered stubbornly with a matching lilt. “Somebody hurted you. Fight one Quinn, fight us all.” She parroted the family quote and meant it for the first time.

                   Sean sat down in a pool side chair and tugged her to him. “Bairn, you cannot fight the things that happens to soldiers. I was a soldier as your own Da is a soldier, as my Da was a secret soldier for the cause, as his Da was before him. We Quinn’s are always soldiers, ‘tis our lot in life to fight the fight, and by god we’re good at it. One day, maybe you and your dearthair Tommy will be soldiers, maybe you won’t, but if you are, then you’ll know what I mean. When soldiers meet face to face and gun-to-gun, there is nothing except ‘am I going to go home’. It’s not personal and so very personal. You’ll kill him or he’ll kill you. The man who ‘hurted’ me, as you say, I think I shot him, but I don’t really know. I hope that I missed and that he got to go home to his wife and his wee bairns and lived out his life as happy as I’ve lived mine.”

                     She scrunched up her face as she tried to think about what her Granda said. After a moment she looked at him. “Does it hurt now?”

        He looked down at his black Irish mirror. “Only sometimes.”

       She let her little hand rub his back in small patches. “I’ll tell Gremam, she’ll make you feel better.”

       Sean chuckled. “You do that, bairn, you do that. I’m sure she’ll make it better. Now then, what’s this I hear about you getting’ into a fight at school?”

         Cage jolted awake. Sweat slid slowly down her face around her chin and even around the soft curls of her ears. She shook her head and slid out from under her blankets. Bare feet hit the cold floor and she welcomed the feeling despite the shiver up her spine. Stumbling half asleep in to the bathroom she found the aspirin and swallowed two down dry.

         She poured coffee after staring at the damn machine for what seemed like hours. As she was about to take the first sip the hair on the back of her neck stood on end.

Cage. Olivia needs you.

            Cage dropped her cup and tore out the back door, as she hit the ground running she spared a thought to her feet, which were bare and ran faster. She ran the quarter mile in record time and didn’t care at all. Vaulting the short fence she came up against a really large structure wearing jeans and a surly expression. In the distance she could hear Olivia shouting. Without thinking she struck. Her foot found the inside of an exposed knee, bringing the human tree down with a scream and a thud. The next man she came up to didn’t have half a chance to turn. She just lowered her shoulder and bowled him over.            

            Damn that hurt, Cage thought as she lifted her body off his and continued forward. Two more men went down as she demonstrated the fact that the army had trained her really well. When she finally reached the man who had a thick hand wrapped around the back of Olivia’s neck Cage barely managed to keep some semblance of control.

            She planted her fist into his back over his right kidney and heard him grunt in pain, so she did it again. She was barely aware of Olivia pulling out of his loosened grip. She hit him again, this time driving her fist to the left of his shoulder bone. A hand grabbed her and pulled her back, without thinking she took hold of the hand and twisting her body launched the attacker over and down.

            Her unfortunate victim landed heavily on the coffee table, which held for a half a second, then came apart with a tortured sound. Looking down she was more than satisfied to see the man she had saved Olivia from originally in the town square. He was out for the count. Every combat sense on alert she turned and looked around the room, searching out for any new threat. No one moved despite the groaning in pain.

            “You all right?” Cage asked without looking at Olivia. She was too focused on the men who might think about getting up.

            Olivia tried to answer, cleared her throat and tried again. “Yeah,” she rasped out. “Mostly. Where the hell did you come from?”

            “My place. Call the cops. I’ll keep these idiots from moving or trying to get away.” Cage answered in her usual command tone. She hadn’t spent and survived sixteen years in the army by having a less than direct way of speaking. In this moment she was not on vacation, she was by her own actions in charge of the situation.

            Olivia didn’t even think about questioning her friend or the tone of voice. She knew authority when she heard it, and frankly after the last half hour of her life, she was glad that someone else was in control. She dialed 911 and requested a patrol car and explained the circumstances quickly. The dispatcher took her information and kept her on the line even as she issued the order to get police to her house.

            Cage listened to Olivia as she spoke on the phone and could have kicked herself. If she had just turned into Olivia’s driveway earlier that night maybe the woman would not have had her home invaded. She let her anger keep her vigilant. Each time one of the men made a move to get up, she placed a foot on one body part or another and pressed down. It didn’t take a lot to keep them in place.

            When the squad car pulled up five minutes later with blue and red lights running she still stood sentinel. These idiots were not going to get away due to a distraction. The first officer entered the house with his service weapon drawn but at least it was down at his side. As soon as he saw Cage standing over two downed men he aimed at her and instructed her to put her hands up where he could see them. Olivia started to protest but Cage cut her off.

            “It’s okay Olivia,” she said as she put her hands on her head and interlocked her fingers. “He’s just doing his job. He doesn’t know me so I might be one of the bad guys.” She followed his instructions and allowed him to cuff her wrists. She noticed that he cuffed much more gently than some other officers might have. Once he was done with her he had her sit on the couch. A minute later three more officers arrived and surveyed the carnage. The men who had broken into Olivia’s home were cuffed and taken into custody and at least one was loaded into an ambulance.

            Cage sat on the couch in a very relaxed way even with her hands still cuffed behind her as she answered the questions from the different officers. One of them knelt beside her with his notebook in hand.

            “Ma’am can you tell me how you decided to come here?”

            Cage shook her head with a light laugh. “You really won’t believe me, but I just got this weird feeling that I had to come here. It was damn intense so I just ran over here. I even forgot to put on shoes. I’m glad I did.”

            The officer smiled. “My grandmother has seen a lot around here that don’t make a lot sense if you try to think about it, I don’t disbelieve anything. For the official report however I’ll just write down that you decided to visit your neighbor after a long day.”

            Cage smiled and nodded her head. “Yeah that might work.”

            The officer smiled and closed his notebook. “I think you should have the paramedics look at your feet.”

            Cage wrinkled her brow but did not look down. She felt fine, a little wired but fine and incredibly grateful that she had had arrived when she did. “Nah, I’m good. Honest.”

            The officer just looked down at her feet and back at her face and almost tried again but understood the stubborn expression. “Ok, if you’re sure. I’ll have to put in the report that you refused medical help.”

            “I understand. Really, I’m good.” Cage assured him with a large smile.

            Cage’s smile died as soon as Sheriff Mobley entered the front door. He took a quick look around and spying Cage in cuffs smiled hard.

            “I see we have you contained.” He grunted.

            “Sometimes seeing is just smoke and mirrors. Any way, I’m the good guy this time. The idiots in the squad cars are the one’s dumb enough to get caught.” Cage smiled as though she was just having a day at the beach.

            “Like I’ll believe that.” Mobley waved her off.

            Olivia stood up from her perch at the kitchen counter, pushing away from the paramedic who was tending to her throat.  “Sheriff?” She began and waited until she had his attention. “She came in here and saved my ass so why don’t you take your attitude out of here. I’m too tired and too much in pain to try and placate you. I know that a couple of the idiots here tonight are your drinking buddies. I was asleep and then I was pulled from my bed by these men, men you know, men you protect. I don’t want to know what might have happened here tonight if Cage had not shown up. So why don’t you just leave and I won’t file a lawsuit that makes you piss your pants.”  She coughed as her throat protested the extended words. She coughed again.

            Cage looked at Olivia for the first time since it had all started. Instantly she was angry again. The red marks on her friend’s neck were enough to push her blood pressure up beyond the dangerous range. She clenched her fists and pushed against the handcuffs. No one would ever touch Olivia like this again.

            A light touch from Olivia brought Cage back into some sense of control. She looked at the Native woman and let out a slow breath. There was a bright red ring around Olivia’s throat and her sleep ware was a bit disheveled, but otherwise she looked fine. Cage shook her head slowly and let go of the desire to kick the shit out of someone. Neither woman noticed when Mobley left.

            “I’m okay Cage, you need to calm down.” Olivia rasped. “Honest.’

            Only after hearing it from Olivia’s lips did Cage truly relax. It seemed like forever before the police were satisfied and unlocked the handcuffs. Cage stayed on the couch even after she was released. The last police officer left after giving Olivia his business card.

            Olivia sat heavily on the couch and let out a breath. “Damn I need a drink.’

            Cage nodded. “Make that two Pocahontas, doubles I’d say right about now.”

            “That’s Olivia to you, you damned Mick. And thank you for showing up when you did.”

            Cage allowed a half smirk; half smile, and leaned back into the couch. “’Tis my pleasure, I am here to serve herself. We Mick’s live to serve.” Cage’s smile died and concern bloomed on her face. “God, I don’t know what I would have done if you’d been truly hurt or…worse.”

            “Shh,” Olivia tried to sooth. “I’m just glad you showed up when you did. So why did you?”

            Cage leaned her head back against the couch. “You are so not going to believe this, but I had a dream. I was a kid and taking a towel to my granda. We talked about his scars and then he was busting my chops about getting into a fight at school. And then I woke up, and I swear to all that is holy I heard a voice tell me you needed my help. So I ran here.”

            Olivia looked down in humility and relief and for the first time noticed Cage’s feet. “Oh, Jesus, Cage. Your feet are bleeding.”

            Cage’s eyes tracked down slowly. “Really?” She was shocked at how bad they looked. “Well damn.”

            Olivia set down the drinks that she was about to make and dashed into the bathroom, turning on the tub faucets to warm water. She took out the softest towel she had and laid it on the toilet.

            Once back in the living room she helped Cage up and wrapped an arm around her waist. Together they wobbled into the bathroom. Now that Cage knew her feet were trashed it was impossible to ignore the pain. Looking behind her she saw the blood red prints on hard wood floors.

            “Damn Cage, what did you do?” Olivia asked in a low tone after they sat the soldier on the tub sidewall and dipped her feet in, and then the bath water ran red.

            “I just reacted Olivia. That’s what I do. I’m just glad I listened to whoever it is that lives in my brain. I…” her breath hitched.

            Olivia kissed the top of Cage’s head. “Again, I’m glad you did. You saved my life tonight I think.”

            Without thinking Cage wrapped an arm around Olivia’s body. “Shh. You’re safe. It’s going to be fine. And from now on, you are staying with me.”

            “I’m not leaving my house Cage.” Olivia protested.

            “I’m not asking you to leave your house. I’m asking you to stay with me for a few days. That’s all.” Cage groaned as the heat of the water finally reached her brain.

            “Damn Cage, you really tore up your feet. Did you run all the way here?”

            “Well, umm, yeah. I figure it’s a quarter mile.”

            “You did that in bare feet?” Olivia challenged.

            “Yeah, but then I am a black Irish idiot.” Cage smiled.

            Olivia shook her head. “I don’t know if my mother will love you or just want to take your hair.” She sighed.

            Cage turned her head a bit to look at Olivia. “Does this mean you’ll marry me?”

            Olivia’s laugh could be heard half a mile away. “No. I’m not going to marry you. You’re not my type.” She joked.

            Cage looked up. “What is your type?”

            “Nice and quiet, you know, the geek sort of woman.”

            “Good to know.” Cage nodded. “I don’t believe a word of it, but good to know.” She smiled despite the pain. “Got any soft slippers?”


Chapter Eight

            Cage sat at the picnic table and groused as Olivia and Shelly did all the work. Olivia broke off and hustled into the house to get the thawed and marinated steaks.

            All Cage could do was sit back and look at the woman who used to be a scrawny, gangly eleven year old. Earlier in the day when Shelly knocked on the door and had been escorted into the cabin Cage could only stare. She stared even now.

            Cage shook her head. “Shelly, I know I said it earlier, but damn you grew up nice.”

            Shelly laughed and brushed her hand over Cage’s shoulder. “Thanks you damned mick.” She reverted to the Magee brother’s name for Cage and her brother. “You didn’t do so bad yourself.”

            Cage shrugged. “Yeah well, mom fed us coffee and Marines for breakfast ya know.”

            Shelly laughed. “I never did get to say thanks, but thanks. And you still have to tell me how you kicked Jimmy’s ass that bad.”

            Cage smiled a wicked smile. “My Da was career army, special forces all the way. He taught me and Tommy how to fight since we could move. Jimmy just picked on the wrong person. Do you really like being a cop?”

            “Oh yeah. I love it. I love patrol and just touching people. Helping them. Yeah I see a lot of shit heads, but the one’s I get to help outnumber the shit heads, so I’m damned happy.”

            “Olivia says you’ll make detective this year.”

            Shelly nodded. “That’s the rumor. I don’t know if I’ll take it. Like I said, I like being on patrol. Being a beat cop is the best thing I’ve ever done aside from having my kids.”

            “Two right?” Cage racked her brains.

            “Oh yeah, Danny and Jen. They’re nine and six. Fair warning, they will wear you out.” Shelly laughed.

            Cage was going to answer but was cut off when a short yell came from the back door. She grinned hard and stood up, replying with an equal yell. The dark haired blur that exploded from the house came fast and low. Cage stood up with a half grin and was tackled a moment later. She let out a large ‘oof’ when she hit the ground.

            Not knowing who the stranger was Shelly reacted the way she had been trained. In the blink of an eye she had Cage’s attacker in a headlock and was applying a decent amount of pressure.

            “Uhh, Cage, you wanna call off your keeper?” the voice asked in a strangled tone.

            “Shel, could you please let go? It’s all good I promise.” Cage almost smiled as she moved from under the pile and stood up.

            Olivia walked down from the house with a plateful of thawed steaks. Concern and confusion were written on her face. She watched as Shelly let go and stood back in a slightly defensive stance.

            “Shelly, you remember Tommy?” Cage chuckled as her little brother brushed himself off.

            Shelly blinked a couple of times. “This is Tommy? Damn, what did your parents feed you all?”

            Tommy grinned and extended his hand. “Marines, nails, fire and many, many cows according to our Da. You look a little taller than the last time I saw you.”

            “Yeah, well I hit my stride at fifteen. Sorry about the headlock.” She said as she decided to sit back down.

            Tommy found his own space and grinned at his sister. “That’s okay. It’s good to know that she’s got people around who have her back.”

            “Like I need it.” Cage snorted out. “Did you get to meet Olivia?”

            “I was good. I introduced myself at the door. I even used manners.”

            “I’ll have to tell Mam.” Cage teased and took the plate from Olivia. “Did you have to tackle me though?”

            “It seemed like the thing to do.” Tommy shrugged even as his eyes found Shelly again.

            “I’m telling mom you know.”

            “Sure, I bring you more stuff and you tell mom lies. She won’t believe you, she likes me.” He said as he spied the cooler full of beer and walking over fished one out. “Anyone need a refill?” Olivia and Shelly raised their hands. He fished out two more and twisted off the caps.

            “So, Tommy, got any really good embarrassing Cage stories?” Olivia asked with a wicked gleam in her eyes.

            “Oh, yeah. Bunches. What’s it worth to you?”

            “Steaks on the grill and mashed potatoes with sour cream and garlic.” Olivia answered as she ignored Cage’s groan.

            He grinned. “Well, there was the time when she was like seven…”

            “Tommy keep in mind that I have the goods on you too and I have pictures. And I know where you live.”

            “We’re sorry you have reached a data center that cannot be accessed right now, please try again later.” Tommy intoned in his best computer voice.

            The group laughed and fell into a series of questions and answers as Cage finally got up to begin the cooking process. Tommy watched as his sister walked gingerly to the grill. He tapped Olivia on the arm lightly.

            “She okay?” The worry was evident in his voice.

            Olivia nodded. “Yeah, he feet are better but she’s still sore. She tell you about my late night visitors?”

            “No. But I’ll try to beat it out of her later.” He answered.

            “Don’t. I’ll tell you. My job puts me in some danger.” She admitted. “I tend to piss off a lot of men who don’t want their wives and punching bags to leave. The other night a few of them decided to pay me a late night visit. Cage came running to the rescue. She beat the hell out of most of them. Unfortunately when she ran over here she didn’t have any shoes on.”

            “Ouch.” Tommy grimaced. He’d done that once as a kid and could still recall the pain. “What did the cops say?”

            “Most of them are out on bail. Well, except for the guy with the busted knee, he’s still in the hospital.”

            “Mobley’s an asshole.” Shelly grunted around her mouthful of tortilla chip and dip. “The sheriff didn’t even want to do the paperwork from what I heard.”

            Tommy shook his head. “He so does not want to piss Cage off.

            “Hey you three look way too serious. This is a party. No serious faces or conversations.” Cage called from her spot at the grill.

            All three had the good sense to blush and turn the conversation to other things. Tommy could not stop looking at Shelly and Olivia caught her friend stealing glances at the man. After Tommy wandered off to mess with his sister at the grill Olivia nudged her friend.

            “Shelly has a boyfriend.” She sounded like a twelve year old.

            “Bitch. I don’t, but damn he’s cute.” Shelly blushed like a schoolgirl.

            “You like him. I can tell.” Olivia persisted as she dunked a tortilla chip in the guacamole dip.

            “Maybe,” Shelly allowed with a smile. “He certainly looks different from what I remember.”

            “And what do you remember?”

            “He was a lot shorter, skinny and all mouth. But damn, those two together were hell on wheels. You couldn’t touch one without the other butting in. They fought like badgers with each other, just look out if anyone tried anything with the other one.”

            As if to prove her point, Olivia watched as the two siblings started pushing each other over a bottle of beer. Neither one backed down and she was not exactly surprised when Cage twisted a leg around her brother’s and dumped him on the ground and fell on him. They wrestled until Cage put him in a wicked arm/neck hold.

            “Okay, fuck, uncle. Jesus Cage, uncle.” Tommy cried out.

            “Who’s the laird?” Cage asked as she tightened down.

            “Cage is grand clan laird,” Tommy nearly shouted. “Now let me go.”

            Cage let him go and stood up with a laugh. “That’ll teach you.”

            “Sure sis, embarrass me in front of the women.” He grumbled with a slow smile.

            “Maybe she’ll kiss your boo boo’s and make them feel better.” She teased as she flipped the steaks.

            “Yeah and maybe Olivia will kiss yours.” He shot back. “Seriously though, your new toys are in Mam’s closet. Did the spy toys work?”

            Cage nodded. “Yeah they did. Thanks by the way for sending them out so fast. I have major tape running. I’ll check it later if you want to join me.”

            Tommy nodded. “I’ll be there. You sure you don’t want some back up?”

            Cage shook her head. “Not right now, but pass the word to the crew that I might need it.”

            “Cool. I know O’Malley will be here in a heartbeat.”

            “Yeah well if she brings Terri, I might be in trouble.” Cage almost laughed.

            “You broke her nose Cage.” He reminded with a slow smile.

            “She was fighting with me.” Cage defended herself.

            “You fed her face first into the Jeep.”

            “She was gonna kick my ass.” Cage muttered as she flipped a steak. “Who wanted medium rare?”

            “I think that was your girl.” Tommy answered.

            “I don’t have a girl Tommy.” Cage shot back as she pulled the done steak off the grill.

            Tommy smiled. “Yeah? Tell her that.” He grinned as he nudged his sister.


            “Mine magnet.” He tossed back with a wicked smile. “Paybacks suck, don’t they?” he asked with a laugh.

            She pushed him, sending him on his way. “Go play with the girls.” She muttered.

            Tommy walked back to the picnic table. “Okay, ladies I’m back and she’s surly.”

            Within moments the three were playing quarters and having fun. The rest of the evening passed the same way. Cage shrugged off her nearly surly mood and joined in on the fun.

            After dinner and the dishes were done Cage escorted Olivia to the guest bedroom as Tommy walked Shelly to her car and made sure the woman could drive. He walked back into the cabin with a little boy smile on his face.

            “She kiss you or what?” Cage asked after she was sure that Olivia was asleep.

            “Yep, one kiss on my right cheek. You sure she’s single?”

            “Yeah, one ex husband and two kids.” Cage nodded and opened the door to the basement. “So, you good to do this?”

            “I’m good. Let’s take a look.” He answered with a grin as he fished another beer out of the fridge.

            Together they walked down the steps into the basement. Cage rewound the tape and waited. Tommy made himself comfortable in a chair and sipped on his beer.

            “So you want to tell me what’s going on with you and Olivia?”

            “Nope. Not sure there’s anything going on.”

            “C’mon Cage, this is me. I know you and you look at her like she’s it.”

            “Take a step back Tommy, yer treading on thin ice.”

            “Yeah well so are you. You like her. Live with it.” He shot back.

            “Feck you.”

            “I’m telling mom.” He threatened and sipped on his beer.

            “You would.”

            “She’s worth it Cage. Don’t keep running.”

            “Damn it Tommy can we just do business here?”

            “NO. We can’t. You like her. And I’m going to kick your ass if you don’t say something.” Tommy stood his ground.

            “Fine. I like her. Happy fucking smiley face now? It doesn’t matter if I do or if she’s the one.” Cage grumbled.

            “You’re not gonna be a spook forever Cage. And maybe you can’t remember anything from the last year or so, but she’s worth it.” He muttered just loud enough for his sister to hear.

            Cage shook her head and tried to clear her thoughts. “You are so pissing me off.”

            “Too bad. You fell for Ellen and took the noble way out. Why don’t you just face it that you like girls, and maybe sometimes guys.” He grunted when her foot connected with his shin. “And don’t kick me again.”

            Cage took a moment to gather herself. “Why do you say that?”

            “Cause I have eyes.” He said softly.

            “Sorry I kicked you.” Cage apologized. “Don’t tell her. Please. I don’t know where any of this is going.”

            Tommy cocked his head to the side as he finished the rewind process. “I won’t say anything to her. But Cage, I think it’s mutual.”


Chapter Nine

            Cage twisted in her blankets. “C’mon Captain it’s just a road” the voice kept looping in her head. Callan’s face dropped into a snarl. “Which master do you really serve, Cage?” Cage thrashed around her blankets. “I serve no master.” She answered in her sleep. “I am Quinn, I serve no one.”

            Soft arms wrapped themselves around her body and she could feel them in the cloud along with a soft voice. Each time nightmares came there was a soothing voice to chase them away.

            The sunlight filtered into the bedroom and Olivia shifted to block it out. Cage needed more rest and if she could provide that rest then the woman would do it. She finally let her head rest and her eyes close.

            The hard thumping sound caused her to peel her eyes open again after what seemed like seconds. Cage’s body was wound tight and half over hers, and it would have been erotic if not for the fist coiled just over her head. When the fist came down Olivia rolled to the side with a squeak. The sickening sound of a fist on a stone wall pulled her out of her trance. Olivia dropped down to the floor and scooted back quickly.

            “C’mon, who is he?” Cage shouted down at the ghost memory and continued to beat her hand senseless.

            Tommy flew into the room and literally tackled his sister on the bed, muttering words in a language that Olivia did not understand. She rolled over on the floor and let her tears fall. She watched from her spot on the floor as he whispered and crooned to his sister. After what seemed like forever Cage’s body and mind gave up. She literally collapsed into a deep sleep.

            Tommy sat up and walked away from his sister. When he reached Olivia he offered a hand and helped her up. Putting a finger to his lips the lead her out of the room.

            He led her into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. Finally he looked up. “You okay?”

            “What the hell just happened in there?” she wondered and pulled her robe close.

            “That was Cage reliving her demons.” Tommy answered without apology.

            Olivia let out a low breath. “Holy shit.”

            “Yeah.” Tommy nodded. “If you plan on being around for the long term, get used to it.

            “I’m not going anywhere.” Olivia muttered with conviction. “What was it you did to calm her down?”

            “I sang her some Gaelic lullabies. Repeated some memories from when we were kids. That sort of thing.” He said as he opened the fridge and considered what he had to work with.

            “You are a good brother Thomas Quinn.” Olivia whispered into the kitchen.

            He shook his head. “No, I’m just paying back the favor she’s done me for a long time.” He whispered back taking items out of the fridge and laid them down on the counter. “I got torn up in Desert Storm. I fight the same demons, and she’s been there to keep me sane. Nothing like nearly dying to figure out that life is pretty cool, ya know?” He played with the coffee maker knowing they would need the coffee. “She got hurt worse than I did and for much longer. Her demons, they run deeper I think.”

            “Are all Quinn’s good soldiers?” Olivia asked as she fidgeted on the stool.

            Tommy nodded. “For better or worse, yeah.” He admitted. “We honor our word, and duty to country is our birthright. It’s no less than Comanche dog soldiers taking on Texas Rangers or roving white posses.”

            “She told you about me?” Olivia paused and tried to think if it was a good thing or bad.

            “She told me just a little. And I’m curious, so I looked up your family.” He went back to figuring out which pan to use. “Nice blood line by the way. Joan would love to talk to you. Not sure how a Lakota and a Comanche/Cherokee would get along but hey there’s always chocolate.” He grinned to take out the sting.

            Olivia smiled despite her worry and wondering. “You make the introductions and bring the chocolate, white boy.” She paused as he poured her a cup from the still brewing pot. He set the airborne coffee cup in front of her. Somehow the Death from Above logo did not make her feel better. “Teach me the lullabies.”

            He looked up from his spot. “In Gaelic?”

            “Gaelic, Latin or Swahili. It doesn’t matter. Teach me what will keep the night terrors away from her.”

            “I’ll write them out for you. Otherwise you’ll never be able to pronounce them. They might help when I’m not here.”

            Olivia fidgeted with her coffee cup. “She’s dangerous isn’t she?”

            Tommy nodded. “Yeah, she can be. If you’re on her bad side don’t ask for mercy or expect any.”

            “Oh.” Olivia had not expected that admission.

            Tommy cracked two eggs into the pan. He did not look at the woman his sister fancied. “She’ll never turn on you if she believes you. You’re in love with her aren’t you?” he asked casually as if he was asking after the weather.

            Olivia put her coffee cup down. “No, not yet, close. Ask me again in a month the answer might be yes. She doesn’t know about my orientation yet. We haven’t talked about it.”

            “You won’t have to. She knows. I think anyway. And she still likes you.” He flipped the eggs in the pan with a smile. “Don’t ask how I know. I just do. We’re Irish twins. Not a year between us. We seem to have this link somehow…like we know what the other is thinking.”

            “Now that’s scary.” Olivia laughed as she sipped on her coffee.

            “You think that’s scary? When I got hit in Desert Storm she got a pain right in middle of her chest, which is where I’d been hit. She had a bruise and she wasn’t even close to us at the time.” He shuddered. “She knew even before they gave her the word that I was hit.”

            “What happened out there?”

            “Fucked up situation. We were bad guy hunting and I ran over a well-buried land mine. Ripped our vehicle open like a tin can. Everyone got hurt in some way.” Tommy said in a low tone. He really was getting better about talking about the incident. “Once O’Malley dragged our wee arse’s out of the vehicle we legged it to our lines. Let’s just say it was a very long two and a half miles.”

            Olivia chuckled despite the serious conversation. “Wee arse’s?”

            Tommy shook his head. “You are so not Irish.” He laughed.

            “I’m sure my Comanche can find a translation.” She smiled. “So is breakfast ready yet? I’m starving.”

            Tommy grinned. “Finally a woman who can appreciate me. Wanna get married?” He teased.

            “What is it with you Quinn’s and marriage?”

            A good examples?” He offered as he pulled the pan off the stove. “When Granda died he and gremam were married near to fifty years. Mom and Da are stretching forty-five married. Guess that’s what we want.”

            “Wow. And they haven’t killed each other yet?” Olivia teased.

            “You have no idea. A Quinn man and an O’Leary woman married to each other. It’s a wonder anyone survived this long.” Tommy teased. “Now eat your breakfast. If I don’t take good care of you herself will have my wee black Irish hide.”


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