Cage Undone Part Ten
Disclaimers: Oh yeah those…mine, mine, mine… I don’t share.
Subtext: More like out there right in the open. So if you aren’t over the age of 18 please go somewhere else.
What can I say, work and life has been busy. Sadly I wrecked my car, but I’m fine, my poor poor Martina car is slightly dented. Limping along, but getting better kinda like her owner. Grin.
Onward with the story.
Cage looked up from the book she was reading out loud and spied on the body in the hospital bed. There was still no change in Lindy’s condition. “Come on Lindy, my ass is going numb. Let me know you’re in there.” She mumbled. “I was teaching the girls today and Jane’s finally getting the hang of balance. Does she always walk around on two left feet?”
There was no response. So much like herself or so she had been told. “I’ve been here ya know? I got clocked in Bosnia hard. My brains got really scrambled and I know it’s easy to just lie there and not want to come back. Truth is Lindy, those girls need you. They need your stories and your smile, so when you get tired of lying there you come back to your girls. They miss you. I miss you. I’m just counting the days till I can teach you to fight a little better. I’m sorry, I should have just broken the rules.” Cage sighed out loud and let her head drop onto Lindy’s body.
“C’mon Lindy. I know you’re in there someplace.” There was no answer and she let her head rest for what seemed like a long time. Finally she lifted her head and settled back into her chair. She picked the book back up. “Ok, I think we’re done with the mushy stuff, back to the book. If you ever tell anyone I’m reading you a straight romance with smut I’ll deny it like no tomorrow.”
Cage resumed reading the story and found herself sucked into the plot. For fun she started using different voices and tone changes for the characters. Her voice broke when she realized that the scene she was about to read was a love scene. “Ohh, no, I am so not going to read this part out loud. Sorry Lindy, but you’re just going to have to use your imagination on this one. Just understand they have sex.”
“Who in the name of the Lord are you and what are you doing here?” The male voice coming from the door bordered on loud.
Cage looked him over. He stood five foot eight with stringy thin hair and a paunchy stomach. He could have easily fooled most people into thinking he was harmless. Cage was however, not most people and noticed the cold expression in his eyes and slightly clenched fists. This was a man who could fool the congregation on Sunday and on Monday kick puppies to death.
“I’m a friend,” she finally answered then lifted the book. “And I’m reading to her. Who the hell are you?”
He spluttered a moment. “I’m her husband.”
Cage leaned back in her chair. “Soon to be ex husband the way I hear it.”
“She has been led astray by unnatural women who do not know the laws and word of God.”
“Which God?” Cage wondered out loud as she tucked the book into Lindy’s hand and stood.
He stopped short. “Our God.”
“The God of all Christians. The one who sent his son to perish on the cross for our sins.”
Cage snorted. “Oh, him.” She tapped her chin slowly as though she were in thought. “Does that God tell a man that it’s all right for a man to beat his wife?”
“As I have done, God hath requited me.” He quoted from the Old Testament.
Cage leveled a glare at him that had reduced seasoned drill sergeants to cringe. “Really? Ever hear of an eye for an eye?”
He nearly backed up a step from the intensity. “Of course I have. She is my wife, she vowed herself to God’s laws and me when we were wed in the church. Until death.”
“Park yourself in the chapel, they’re not sure she’s going to make it. But you’d like that wouldn’t you? That way she won’t be able to go in front of the judge and tell him what you did to her. Not because of ‘God’s laws’ but because you are a miserable human being hating your miserable little life and you took it out on her because you could.” Cage quirked an odd little smile.
“You Godless heathen…”
“Being all Black Irish I take that as a compliment. Just remember this little man; I can find you anytime I want. If she doesn’t live then I will come hunting you. If I have to hunt you down then you will understand what an eye for an eye really means. Tell your friends who did this that I will hunt them too.”
It took a moment for the words to sink into his mind. This time when he looked up there was fear ringing the hazel color. “I had no part…”
“Save it for Sunday service.” Cage growled. “I’m not nearly as easily fooled. When you see Charlie and Tambor tell ‘em I’m coming. I really like hunting and I’m not like any woman they ever thought about beating down.”
“Another unnatural woman. I’ve heard about you. You’re the one sinning with that sqw…”
“Don’t even think about finishing that word.” Cage cut him off and pinned him with an intense glare. “You want to play the insult game believe me, I can play it better.”
“I will not reduce myself to your level. I am leaving instructions for you not to be allowed back here.” He tried to save some shred of dignity and drew himself up.
Cage chuckled and flashed a knowing smile. “That might work if someone else didn’t have medical power of attorney and if you didn’t have a restraining order on you.”
He paled at the statement. It was bad enough that he was being divorced but so far he’d been able to keep his church associates believing that Lindy had been led astray, but if it got out that he also had a restraining order he might not be able to maintain the façade.
“It would be in your best interest Feller if you just turned around and walked out. You wouldn’t want your congregation knowing you willing violated the restraining order, now would you?” She asked with a small gloat in her voice.
“They would not believe a fallen woman such as yourself.”
“Who said I was going to tell them?”
“But I will.” Shelly muttered as she pushed passed Lindy’s soon to be ex husband. “I know that order says a thousand feet. You are nine hundred and ninety feet too close.”
“Only God’s law means anything to me.” He was defiant even now or perhaps especially because Shelly was in uniform. Women were not supposed to have positions of power or authority.
“In your perfect I guess that would be true. Fortunately this is the real world. So are you going to leave on your own or do I get absolute joy of cuffing you and dragging you to the barracks?” Shelly flashed a mostly innocent looking smile. It was an odd look since she still looked like a raccoon.
“Trooper Ware, is there a problem here?” Haskin’s voice held the cold edge of wishing for some payback.
“Mister Feller was just leaving Trooper Haskins. I think it would be best if you helped him find his way out.”
“You cannot think – “
“I don’t have to think Feller, I know the civil laws of this state. If I didn’t then that would be a waste of taxpayer’s money. Now that would be a damn shame wouldn’t it?"
“Mister Feller it would be in your best interest if you came with me.” Haskins ordered. “In spite of the pending divorce this is still a family tragedy and I’m sure you don’t want to add to it by getting sent to jail.”
Feller thought about the large trooper’s words and finally nodded his head. Without a further word he walked out of the room. He didn’t even spare a glance at the woman in the bed. Haskins looked at his boss with a wink and followed the man out.
“He’s good.” Cage grinned as she relaxed.
“Yeah he is.” Shelly agreed with her friend. “If I take the detective slot, I’m recommending he be my replacement.” She set her Trooper hat on the rolling table. “How’s Lindy doing today?”
“Same, no change.” Cage was instantly dejected again.
“I thought you were done kicking yourself in the ass over this?”
“So did I.” Cage sat down in the chair and gazed at Lindy who looked so peaceful it hurt her heart.
“I hear you’re teaching Olivia to shoot. How’s that going?” She asked as she made her way to Lindy’s side and brushed her fingers through soft hair. “Hey there Lindy. The kids are asking about you. You wake up and run them ragged soon, okay?”
“Would you believe the damn woman is a natural? I swear I’ve never had a better student.”
Shelly glanced over and noticed the book. “You are so busted. Reading a romance.” She laughed and sat down on the side of Lindy’s bed. “Lindy did you get her to read this to you? You’re a better woman than I am.”
“Shup.” Cage spoke in short hand while telling her friend to shut up. “She likes them. What are you doing here?”
“Had to bring in a DUI who got a scratch. Thought I’d come see if Lindy was feeling like going dancing with me and the boys.” Shelly was a firm believer that coma patients could hear everything going on around them.
Cage sighed. “I got her here.”
“She knows it wasn't anything you did intentionally. She believes in you, Cage. You've given her something no one else around her has been able to. Hope. Regardless of...of this...”
“Cage lifted her head. Hope? Jesus Shelly, she's just laying there. This is her being brain damaged.”
“Her body is just laying there. Her soul is fighting its way back. I just know it. It has to. She has to.”
“I know what I should have done, but I had to follow those damned orders...”
“Cage...you’re taking on a burden that isn't yours to carry. Not really. You have got to start forgiving yourself. If you don't, no one else will, either.”
Cage looked down. “I can’t until I do something about this.”
Shelly smiled. “Don’t tell me and I can’t testify.”
Cage stood up. “Then I won’t. Take care of Lindy and Olivia for me.”
“You heard me. If this goes bad, take care of Olivia for me. Let her know I love her and I wouldn’t leave her unless it was important.”
“What the hell are you thinking about doing?” Shelly felt her stomach knot.
“Nothing I can tell you about. Let’s just say I’m going hunting.” Cage answered with total honesty.
“Hunting huh? Well it is the season. Just remember to get a license.” Shelly quipped.
Cage grinned. “Sure I’ll make sure I do that. You’ll take care of my girls?”
“You aren’t giving my any other choice. They’re covered.” Shelly promised.
Cage folded Lindy’s hands around the book and started to walk out the door. “Good, and thanks.”
Cage grabbed up her kit bag and slung it over her shoulder her front door swung open. She looked up hand ready to slide to the MP5.
Olivia walked in and for some reason unknown to Cage didn’t appear surprised. Instead she merely laid a curious eye on her girlfriend.
“That would be Samhain.” Cage pronounced sowain evenly.
Olivia nodded. “Explain that later, explain right now why you look like you’re going to war.” She dropped her keys on the table loudly.
“I’m not going to war. I’m going hunting.”
“Hunting?” Olivia muttered as she walked around Cage. “So to go hunting you paint your face like a Comanche brave on crack who has spent too much time in the woods.”
“Your version of hunting is not the same as mine, this is as close as I can get to the Celt tradition.” Cage explained as if she were not standing in the middle of a room laden with weapons and painted in black and green.
“For once we are going to forget the traditions of our peoples. We are going to talk about what I want and what you want.” Olivia stated as she closed the door firmly.
Cage shook her head slowly. “I want you with me for a very long time and I can’t have half a chance at that until I neutralize a threat. I can kill them one by one or I can recon them and figure out their stupid fucking plan so I can get word to the right people.”
“And I want you alive. How many times do I have to tell you that?” Olivia shot right back.
“As many times as it takes for me to tell you I am damned good at what I was trained to do. From diapers I was trained by one of the best in world. I don’t say that because he’s my father, I say it because it’s true. How do you think I kicked Magee’s ass? I was a kid fighting a bigger kid and nearly drove his nose into his brain.” Cage shot back. “This is what I was taught and even better the army taught me to become anyone and anything,” she instantly changed her stance, her entire person. “So, you wish to overthrow,” the last said with a nearly soft purr “the Amerikanski government?” she half giggled. Her stance changed again as she stepped forward aggressively. “You got the money? If you do, then I got the stash, you don’t then you can walk out the door. And if you’re a cop or something that stupid, you are yesterday’s corpse.” Again she changed into something else. “Not the night you imagined I’m sure.”
“Who the hell are you?” Olivia asked with a glare.
“I’m the woman you say you love.” Cage shot back in a low voice.
“I told you what I did for the army. Intel doesn’t just mean geeks behind desks hooking a paycheck for grins. Sometimes it means getting your hands dirty.” Cage snapped. “Dirty hands that belong to human beings. That’s who I am.”
“And this?” Olivia waved her hands around to make the point.
“This is the army part of it. This is the part my own Da and granda taught me. This is the rebel side of it.” She returned.
“And the point of it?” Olivia argued even as she tried to wrap her mind around the changes she’d seen.
“The point me dearlin’ is to let you know that who you love is maybe not who you think you can love.” Cage answered bluntly. “Am I any different than the brave’s you hold in regard even though I play patriot games?”
“Some games I like, some I don’t. What game are you playing now?” Olivia demanded.
Cage deflated. “Right now I’m not. Right now I’m getting ready to go hunting. I love you, like you might not believe but I’m not leaving my girls exposed without sending a message. And yes I count you as one of those girls. I have to do this Olivia.”
“What damned message?” Olivia demanded. “And to who?”
“Tabor and his little want to be army.” She admitted. “You didn’t see his face when dear Mr. Feller walked in. When I mentioned Tabor he wilted. He’s as bad as you are at bluffing or lying. Lindy’s soon to be ex is a Tabor bitch.”
“Cage even if that’s true you can’t…”
Cage stood up tall and fast. “Don’t say that to me. Don’t tell me I can’t. You haven’t seen what I CAN DO. I can get in and out and they won’t know I was ever there. I can be just like your Comanche braves, I will earn my eagle feathers, and I will earn your mother’s respect. Not exactly all in that order.” She tried joke her way out.
“No matter what I say you’re going aren’t you?” Olivia asked and demanded at the same time.
Cage swallowed hard. “Yeah.” She answered honestly.
“I can’t stop you and I’m not sure I should even try.” Olivia sighed. She lifted her head. “I’m going to be here so you better get back in one piece.”
“Why don’t I like the sound of that?” Cage asked.
Olivia laughed weakly. “Because you are a smart woman. Go before I change my mind and follow you.”
“Just so you know I am coming back.” Cage said softly before walking up as close as humanly possible to Olivia and settling a kiss on her forehead. Without another word she turned, adjusted her gear and walked out the back door into the night.
She stepped lightly and carefully in the half moon light. Her eyes tracked the guards as they walked with little conviction. She half smiled in the dark. This was almost too easy. She stalked for fun with conviction. As she alternated between guards she timed and committed those times to memory.
Occasionally she shifted through the shadows to change her vantage point. The deeper she got into the encampment the number of guards increased, as did their discipline. She smiled to herself. This was what she was used to, what challenged her like nothing else. She loved to get in and get out without being seen or being caught. She loved being just like a ghost.
Ghost rang lightly in her ears and her thoughts turned to Ellen. For just a moment she wondered why the woman’s presence hadn’t been around for the last few days.
Then again she thought to herself that she’d been hit enough times in the head, or so they told her, in Bosnia that she wasn’t too sure that Ellen’s voice wasn’t just an audio hallucination. With her luck it was a figment of her much tortured brain.
As if was snorted softly behind her right ear. Cage almost turned abruptly, only stopping herself at the last second. I’m here Cage. A small chuckle sounded in her brain. I’m not leaving. Your granda would probably sing bad rebel songs off key if I left you now.
“I’m losing my mind.” Cage whispered to herself when no one was around. Oddly no voice contradicted Cage’s words. She shook her head and decided that it was time to move again. Taking advantage of the available cover she moved slow and sure, making sure each step was clear, each branch was accounted for she very gracefully walked in the shadows, found her hiding spot and waited.
When the last light in the last building went out she pulled the infrared goggle device over her eyes. What she saw in nauseating muted green and blood red almost brought her to her knees. The barracks like buildings held at least forty bodies that she could count. The smaller buildings in her area held ten at least. She quickly did the math in her head. One hundred sixty persons of which she could not tell who was hostile and who was non-hostile. The stand off in Waco, Texas came to mind. Her stomach turned. She made a mental note to call a contact that might be able to do a satellite fly by. After a second she wondered if he was still talking to her. Something in the back of her Swiss cheese memory hinted at a falling out.
She decided it was time to leave but not before leaving her sign for only the most observant to find. She mentally smiled as she carved her initials into the back post of tree bend. Perhaps it was childish, but hey it was fun and most likely no one would find it.
Cage peeled off her robe after her shower and climbed into bed, tired beyond belief after her night of Intel gathering. What she had learned could not be so easily washed off with hot water and soap. Rolling over she came into contact with a solid body that was warm and soft and still here as promised. She closed her tired eyes in relief.
Olivia stirred and wrapped an arm around her. “You’re back,” she slurred.
“Told you I would be.” Cage whispered as she brushed her lips over the forehead of her salvation. “Shh, go back to sleep.”
Olivia shook her head slowly. “No. ‘wake now.”
Cage smiled softly. “No baby, you’re not awake. You’re still asleep and I’m right here. Shh.”
“Kiss me.” Olivia murmured with a half smile. “Then I’ll know you’re here.”
“If I kiss you, then you won’t get any sleep my mixed nation woman.” Cage answered softly with love and reverence. “Sleep baby.”
Olivia’s hold tightened. “Kiss me. I want to know my Black Irish dumb ass is home.”
Cage laughed. “Is that my new title?” she whispered in the dark of the room.
“You wander around the bad guys with paint on your face, and little else and you have to ask.” It so wasn’t a question.
“I retract the question in front of the jury.” Cage played along as her finger played along Olivia’s face. Then she leaned over and kissed Olivia as requested for several minutes.
She felt Olivia’s arms around her, her strength, and her want. “Damn,” she muttered when she was able to pull away. “Don’t do this to me. I can’t stop when it comes to you.”
“I can feel your heart beating, I can feel your desire and your need. You hunted tonight and it makes you want.” Olivia answered quietly. “It is human with hunters and warriors and now soldiers. And I want you just as much. You are home. You have come back when I wasn’t sure you would be.” She leaned up to kiss Cage with conviction. “Prove to me this isn’t just a dream.”
With that Cage’s resistance folded like a weak straight flush. She leaned over and kissed Olivia with all the passion that she allowed to flow from her body, from her mind and from her emotions. Soft wet kisses that led to soft touches over exposed warming skin. Feeling Olivia surge against her body, taking control instinctively knowing what was needed.
Olivia kicked back the blankets and pulled Cage to her, hands finding places to touch that took Cage to places she liked. Places that made her wet and crazy with want. She was nearly kept it in control until Olivia slid her fingers inside with an insistent rhythm that curled her toes and caused her to scream into the night.
Cage lifted her head as the sun peeked in through the slats of the mini blinds. Laying her head in her hand she watched Olivia sleep and simply watched for long minutes. She found her traitor fingers playing with the ends of Olivia’s hair while trying to figure out how to protect this woman who had so very quietly found her way into a heart that Cage still wasn’t always sure existed.
She just looked and noticed things she hadn’t noticed before. The laugh lines on Olivia’s face that were much softer when the woman was asleep, the small wisps of hair that were peeking out from the hair line at back of her neck, the way her hands curled under her chin when she slept. There were so many things that Cage now noticed and didn’t think she could ever live without again.
“Thank you Ellen, for telling me what and who I should be looking for.” She whispered as she looked up, then she looked down. “My heart, my love, my blade all lay at your feet.” She swore quietly.
The laugh was polite and happy at the same time. Way to go Cage, tell the woman when she’s asleep. I dare you to lay your blade at her feet when she’s awake. The teasing taunt was whispered into her left ear.
“Damn it Ellen, don’t do that.” Cage whispered back in a strained voice that was almost too loud. Olivia turned a bit in her sleep. “You always did have the worst way of jacking with someone.”
Still do. And I have to do something for fun Cage Quinn.
“She is baile.” Cage snarled quietly.
Finally. I’ve been waiting years for you to find your home Cage. I want an invite to the wedding.
“Wedding?” Cage questioned with more than a quiver of fear in her voice. Wedding? She wasn’t ready for that, nope not now not ever. Then she looked down again and her heart melted. Would it be so bad to spend the rest of her life with this mixed nation woman? The only woman she’d known who challenged her, who argued, who did not let her win so easy. Even the men she’d been with had bent and given up when her will seemed too much. This one woman who looked like she would blow over in a good stiff wind fought back even when the odds were so damned stacked against her.
“I love you, my mixed nation woman, so very damned much.” Cage whispered as she wrapped her arms around the sleeping body and felt every emotion she had never allowed before. “I will keep you warm and safe. When this is all over and done I will bend my knee and lay my blade on the ground and offer you a life with me. I can only hope you will say yes.” She kissed the sleeping woman on her temple and closed her eyes slowly.
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