Sunlight pure and strong filled the bay area, the storm long gone. The wind held the crisp touch of a fading summer. While the sea itself tossed white caps to each wave.
Shannon hadn't been surprised when she awoke with the need to run. The sleep hadn't really done anything except give her brain and body a high buzz of nervous energy. She lengthened her strides increasing her speed over the sand, winding up for the last five minutes of cool down before she reached the house. A grin played on her lips as she felt the cooler wind on her skin.
For once her mind was calm, it hadn't stopped thinking as she'd run the length of the beach, but it hadn't raised anymore questions either. She jogged to a stop on the top of a dune, bending her left leg up to stretch the muscle, her eyes going around the area. She stilled for a moment, the hair on her arms prickling. She kept up the appearance of stretching, but now her eyes were taking in the surrounding area with mapped detail.
She saw him, the reason for her uneasiness. A figure was walking away from her. She realized he must have been on the far side of the dune to her right. He would have been out of sight the whole time she had been running on the beach. If she hadn't stopped she wouldn't ever have seen him. She deliberately turned her back, pushing down the instinct of fear at leaving herself so exposed, resuming her jog.
She knew the layout of each dune on the beach, she should, and she'd mapped it enough. Knowing this, she increased her strides aiming for the bunch of three ahead of her. As soon as she cleared it's rise and was heading down into the dip, she fell flat to ground, taking the impact on to her arms, rolling quickly up on to her feet. She followed the course of the ridge knowing he couldn't see her now the dune height was in his view. Increasing her strides into a flat out run she traveled the edge of the dune until she knew she would be behind him. Slowing down as she pulled her gun from the holster.
Keeping her breathing level she listened. Letting the sounds of the sea and surf fade away. Her head tilted as she caught the faintest sounds of someone running and stressed breathing. She made her way up the dune, keeping her body low to the sand; reaching the top she could see him now.
He was standing stretched, trying to see where she had gone. She took in his appearance, looking for any sign of a weapon or if anyone was with him.
When she was sure it was clear, she rose on the ridge directly behind him.
‘' Keep your hands where I can see them. I'm a police officer and armed.''
He tensed, and then slowly his arms started to rise. ‘' Do…. Don't shoot.''
She walked down the dune, gun leveled at him. Her eyes scanning quickly around for any sign of another threat. Her attention went back to the figure below. ‘' Turn around. Slowly.''
He shifted, stumbling slightly before coming around to face her. Sweat drenched his dark hair and shirt.
She looked him up and down, seeing the camera hanging around his neck. She relaxed slightly, not seeing or feeling any real threat now. Now she allowed the anger to show, realizing what he was. ‘' Who are you and why were you following me?''
‘' I'm John Edwards, I…. I work for the Boston Mail.''
Shannon bit down at the sudden rush of dread. Somehow the press had found out Jenny was involved. ‘' You have I.D.?''
He nodded, his hand going to his back pocket, which slowed as blue eyes locked him. ‘' It's in my back pocket.''
Shannon nodded. ‘' Slowly. I haven't killed anyone today so I'm kinda tense.'' She gave him a feral grin.
He swallowed, pulling his wallet free, he tossed it over.
Shannon flipped it open, lowering her eyes briefly from him, reading the ID which confirmed what he said; she closed it tossing it back. Returning her gun to her back. ‘' So, I ask again why were you following me?''
He let out a held breath now the gun was away, running his hand back through his hair. ‘' You're the detective working the Tooth fairy case. I was on holiday here, I recognized you. I saw you running about two days ago.'' He swallowed hard at the skeptical look she was giving him. ‘' I know it sounds dumb, believe me I know.''
Shannon crossed her arms saying nothing, just giving him a stare.
That made him more nervous. ‘' Look, it was a dump idea. But, well I thought I could get some shots of you and sell them back to the paper. You know, the main detective on the case on holiday while the tooth fairy is out there.''
Shannon still stood silent, her eyes showing her anger.
‘' You don't believe me?''
Shannon quirk an eyebrow. ‘' Would you?''
He smiled nervously. ‘' No, I guess I wouldn't either. But I ain't lying. My father in law owns a house on the East Side of the island. I'm down here with my wife and son. We got here about a week ago. You can check that out.''
‘' Oh I will.'' She took three strides towards him before he could do anything she pulled the camera off his neck.
‘' Hey.'' He moved forward but was stopped by a stare. ‘' You can't take that.''
Shannon tucked it into her waistband. ‘' I just did.''
‘' I can report you.''
She crossed her arms again. ‘' Go right ahead, you obviously know my name and precinct number. Make sure to thank my captain for this holiday.''
He glared at her. ‘' Freedom of the press you forget about that law?''
‘' Stalking is a better one, as of yet freedom of the press don't get you jailed.''
He swallowed hard. ‘' Jesus. I wasn't stalking you.''
‘' Really. So what do you call tailing be for the last week?''
He blinked. ‘' What? I only saw you two days ago and you weren't around the beach running yesterday, so how the fuck have I been tailing you for a week.''
Her eyes narrowed as she tried to read him, his brown eyes stared back at her. ‘' You weren't watching me from the pier the day after the storm?''
‘' Hell no, I was too busy cleaning the damn beachfront to get the boat out. Spent nearly the whole day doing it.''
She relaxed, she believed him. But that didn't ease the danger of having him around and catching sight of Jenny and figuring out who she was. She steeled her eyes and stepped up close to him again, ignoring the almost comically act of him backing away and losing his footing in the sand.
His eyes widened as he watched the woman in front of him change.
‘‘Here's the deal. You leave the island; I don't want to see you anywhere around this side of the beach. I do, I'm gonna pull you in and slap you so fast in jail you're not even gonna have time to complain about it. I have had two holidays in my entire life and finally I get one damn fucking one and I get you.''
She poked him in the chest. He sat down hard on his butt.
‘' And let me tell you something else. I hear one word on any network or paper about how a top cop takes it easy while a murder runs lose, I'm going to find you and make sure you spend the night in the can with a lovely man I know named Mistress Patricia!''
The photographer's eyes widened again.
‘' You get me?''
‘' You…. Uuu can't…. Can't threaten me like this for fucks sake.''
Shannon grinned. ‘' I just did. Now your option is to either believe I can do what I said or not. Your choice.'' She shrugged.
John looked around for any chance of escape.
Shannon stepped back, well aware of what he was thinking... ‘'Your choice.''
He bolted, turning back as he moved away. ‘' I'll be off the island by tomorrow….'' Then he turned and fled but not before yelling back when he was far enough away. ‘' Fucking psycho bitch.''
Shannon's grin expanded, watching him run and tumble over the top of the ridge. ‘' Take care now.''
She almost wanted to chuckle, but the seriousness of the situation made her curse instead. When she was sure he wasn't going to circle back and was in fact still running away from her, she headed back up the beach, as she did so she pulled the radio from her waist band.
‘' We have a problem. I'm on the way to the safe house.''
Jane's voice came back. ‘' Copy that. You need assistance boss?''
‘' No. I'll be there in ten.''
Shannon replaced the radio, increasing her strides as she headed for the safe house.
Shannon was sitting sipping her OJ. Twenty minutes had passed since she'd given Jane and Richard the full update. Each of them now were running down the journalist's I.D. The other under cover's on the island were now watching him and taping his phones. The camera was already on the way to the mainland precinct. So far the information the journalist had given her seemed to be true. Just a bad case of luck.
Shannon glanced over at Marcus who was reading a book; he looked up sensing her gaze. ‘' You don't know whether to tell her or not do you?''
Shannon inhaled, ‘' were you reading me?''
‘' No. I can't do that remember. Unless I touch something of yours. Even then I couldn't read your mind.'' He quirked an amused smile. ‘' Besides, I'd be asking myself the same question.'' He sat back watching her carefully. ‘' You know you talk as if you believe what Jenny and I have is real?''
‘'You both think it's real.'' She shrugged.
He hid his smile. ‘'And you don't?''
She exhaled as she stood. Finishing the last of the OJ in her glass. ‘' I don't know what I believe about anything right now.''
‘' Well that's better than a doubting Thomas.''
She looked quickly to him; slowly a smile crept on her face. ‘' Yeah I guess it is.''
He sighed heavily. ‘' Unfortunately you have to tell her.''
‘' What good would it do, this guy is checking out. There isn't a threat to her.''
‘' Yet.'' He placed the book down rising. ‘' Look, you and I both know sooner or later someone is going to hear about Jenny being involved. She's high profile, not easily forgotten. Some desk jock is gonna see a name; hear it off a cop mouthing off in a bar about how the ‘spooky' lady is back. Come on Detective; don't treat her like some spook you're using. She has feeling for god's sake. She isn't just another one of the people you use and then toss away....''
He turned quickly, his own anger showing. He stopped dead. He couldn't help the long swallow he took. The stare leveled at him had its own power, but what scared him more was the pure rage crackling the atmosphere around even his limited talent could pick up on. He took a step back.
Jane entered, about to speak. She looked at both of them. Clearing her throat. ‘' Um, boss? The guy left the island about ten minutes ago, along with his family. I've got Jesse and Dave tailing him when he hits the main land. You want me to tell them to pick him up?''
Shannon relaxed the tension in her jaw. Her eyes never leaving Marcus as she answered Jane. ‘'No. Just tail him. Find out who he talks too or meets. Standard surveillance.'' Realizing her fists were clenched she slowly opened them, catching the relief in Marcus's eyes.
Jane nodded. ‘' Will do. You ok boss?''
Shannon finally broke her stare, reaching down she picked up her radio. Moving past Jane she gusted up the browns police woman's hair. ‘' Yea fine.''
Both jumped as the front door was slammed hard enough to rattle the cups in the kitchen.
Marcus let himself sit, questioning how his legs had held him upright for so long. ‘'Jesus.''
Jane turned her gaze to him, eyes narrowing. ‘' What did you say to her?''
Marcus exhaled, running shaking hands through his hair, trying to calm himself. ‘'Apparently something really really stupid.''
‘' Why do I get the feeling you do that to a lot to people.'' She scoffed, about to turn away.
She looked back. ‘' Yea.''
His brow creased, trying to remember exactly what he said, why her reaction had been so fierce. Something clicked inside him, he swallowed, his voice coming out slightly hoarse as he realized what he'd just done. ‘' She lost someone didn't she. Who helped in a case? Someone she brought into it?''
Jane frowned. ‘' That's none of your business now is it.''
He sighed, feeling like a complete basterd. ‘' No I guess it's not. But it explains why she nearly just ripped my head off.''
Jane blinked. ‘' What?'' He looked up, and once again Jane was caught by the genuine look in his eyes, it threw her. ‘' She wouldn't have done that.''
‘'Maybe not. But she wanted too.'' He focused inward getting control of himself. Now, he was worried. Worried about who exactly was guarding his friend and what she was capable of. ‘' Who was it?''
Jane was about to fob him off and walk away. Then his eyes caught her again. She chewed her lip as she debated whether to trust him or not. Then she relaxed. ‘' It was a nineteen-year-old hooker. She went undercover, trying to lead us to a pimp who was dealing in underage girls. Cindy contacted Shannon she had a lead. By the time we found her even her own mother had trouble identifying her. Shannon wouldn't let the case drop till she caught the basterd.''
Marcus nodded. ‘' And she did didn't she.''
Jane smirked. ‘' Oh yea she did. It's what help made her want to be a detective. ''
Marcus looked up surprised. ‘' She was a beat cop at the time?''
‘' She was twenty-one. She made detective at twenty-seven. One of the youngest. Whatever you said to her she didn't deserve it.''
‘' I know. How did she know Cindy?''
Jane's eyes narrowed. ‘' Now that is none of your business.''
Marcus watched as Jane walked away into the kitchen. Making a choice he reached over lifting his spare cell phone, punching in a number. Knowing if either Shannon or Jenny found out what he was about to do, he was going to be in serious trouble.
‘' Hey…. Yea it's Marcus I'd like a favor. Thanks. Ok, I need anything you know about a Detective Shannon Rhimes. Keys Pd. And a crime victim named Cindy. Would have happened about twelve years ago. … No, no last name. It was involving hookers and a takedown of a big named pimp. Rhimes was a beat cop at the time. No. I want to know how Rhimes and Cindy were connected. ‘' he laughed. ‘' Yea I know I don't ask much. But you always like a challenge. ASAP ok. Thanks, Contact me via my email ok. Thanks again I owe ya. ‘' He closed the cell.
Jenny looked up as Shannon entered. She didn't say anything just watched as the detective stomped past and slammed the bedroom door. Finishing the sip of tea she looked down at bud that was looking up at her with which she imagined was the same kind of look she wore.
‘' Guess the run didn't go well.''
Bud woofed a scoff.
Both their heads turned as the bedroom door opened again.
Shannon walked in buttoning up the clean shirt. Looking up to find herself starred. ‘' What?''
‘'Something wrong?'' Jenny sat back. She wasn't sure asking was going to get her anywhere.
Shannon was about to say no, she paused, remembering what Marcus had said. ‘' Yea. There is.''
Jenny stiffened, not liking the look in Shannon's eyes. She placed her cup down aware her hand was trembling, she clenched to her lap. ‘' How bad?''
She looked down.
Running her hand through her hair Shannon sat. ‘'I found a reporter on the island. He was following me. He's been checked out and it seems it was just a coincidence. He recognized me and decided I was worth a story. He doesn't seem to know anything about you and your involvement in this.''
Jenny's hand dipped to buds coat as she felt him shift closer. Needing the calm he always gave her. Also knowing his fur would hide the fact her hand was almost shaking to bits. ‘' Do you believe it, or are you just saying this for my benefit.'' Her eyes were still fixed to the floor.
Shannon looked over quickly, catching the fear in the voice. ‘'I believe it. I told you once I wouldn't lie to you. I meant it.''
Jenny inhaled deeply, clearing her throat. Thankful to feel her heart rate return to normal. Taking a breath she finally looked up, needing to see Shannon's eye to know if this was the truth.
Shannon kept her gaze steady.
Finally Jenny nodded. Relaxing slightly. She saw something else in those amazing blue eyes too. She gave a small smile. ‘' But you nearly didn't tell me?''
Shannon smiled. ‘' Yea.''
‘' Isn't an omission just as much as a lie detective.''
Shannon's smile now creased the corner of her mouth, glad that color had returned to the psychics face and the teasing tone had returned. ‘' Yes I believe that's what they say. ‘'
‘' I'm glad you told me. I can't say I'm surprised. It's going to happen sooner or later.'' Jenny suddenly needed space, she rose.
‘' I told you I'd take care of it. No one is going to know you're involved in this case. I will keep you safe Jenny.''
Jenny looked back over her shoulder frowning at the intensity of the pledge just given. She wondered what else had happened to upset the detective. ‘' I believe you believe that. I however know better.''
Shannon was about to protest but Jenny was already moving into her bedroom. She looked down at bud as the door closed with a click.
Bud looked up at her, brown eyes expressive as always.
Shannon stroked him. ‘' I will protect her boy. No matter what.''
He licked her hand nuzzling into it.
Shannon dipped down and hugged him. ‘' I promise.''
Jenny wasn't sure what scared her more when she entered the bedroom. She was scared on so many levels right now. She was scared of being in the public eye once again and knowing her past would be raked up, especially the terror of D.C. She was scared that the Tooth Fairy would now know who was going to be his nemesis. It would eventually make her his target. It always did. Maybe she had gotten away with it this time, but she knew deep down it was only a matter of time before it did all happen that way.
She was also scared for Shannon, she knew somehow Shannon was linked to this case, her essence screamed it at her the first day they met. Jenny couldn't even go near what exactly that meant because usually it wasn't a good outcome. Even thinking that turned her insides into knots.
Like she was on automatic she quickly showered and changed, trying to stop the fear from winning and sending her running somewhere to hide. But where the hell could she go? This was her hidden place. She should never have exposed herself to this again. Never should have let the detective stay here.
She sat on the bed, her face going into her hands. She had no where now. Nowhere to run. She was tired inside, ached. All of it pressed on her like a heavy iron skin. She willed herself to erect walls, but even those couldn't help as the fear was inside her. How can you guard against something that is already behind your defenses?
She heard bud barking somewhere out on the beach. She wondered why he wasn't with her. Didn't he know she needed him right now? Was she losing him too along with everything else? She heard another bark, and then heard Shannon call out to him. Shannon's voice, strong, certain, Protective, safe. She concentrated on the sound. Hearing a bark of laughter this time from the detective and Bud's yelp of surprise. She wondered what the Shannon had done to him now. She'd seen their antics before, she'd been caught watching them many times in play, but as soon as Shannon looked at her, Jenny would smile and leave.
Without even knowing it Jenny was smiling at the memories and as she did tiny threads of her courage reformed within her. Something about this woman seemed to pull at her, she knew it wasn't just the essence, it was attraction, something she hadn't craved for two years, and if she was totally honest with herself it had been a lot longer before that. She shook her head, as she rose.
‘'I so don't need this.''
She looked in the mirror, smoothing down her wet hair, noticing she wasn't as pale anymore. Her skin held the first touch of tan in two years. Her eyes too looked different. She peered closer. They didn't look as lifeless, their somewhere the transparent depths glimmered small a touch of life. She turned her head to the drawn curtains as heard Buds bark again, and Shannon's yell of his name. Turning back to the mirror she gasped as she saw the small glimmer in her eye's spark at the sound, knowing why they did and because of who. She slowly closed her eyes looking away.
Taking a deep breath, composing herself she erected every wall she could find. Satisfied she opened the door stepping back into the real world and the pull of a woman she hardly knew, but couldn't resist.
Looking around she heard Bud barking again outside, in mid step she paused long enough to pull her sunglasses off the table and put them on and she stepped into the sunlight. She stopped dead. Her eyes falling on Shannon, or more to the point Shannon's rear end, encased in very tight khaki shorts. Jenny swallowed, taking in the scene. The detective was bent lifting a large pile of shifting planks in her arms. For a moment, Jenny let herself absorb the muscles straining and skin, and legs oh yes lots of leg, well-defined legs. Muscular from all the runs the woman took. Legs that went all the way back up to the high cut shorts and the nicely toned but….
She snapped her eyes away. So much for the damn walls . She brought her eyes back, this time looking to see what Shannon was actually doing. She spoke amazed to find her voice still worked. ‘'Um…. What are you doing?''
Shannon froze in her motion, ducking her head to see through her legs. ‘‘Fixing your fence.''
‘'Why?'' Jenny had to bite her lip to not laugh out loud at the picture, Shannon's reddening face upside down with her ponytail hanging straight down, it's swaying tip sweeping the sand.
‘‘It needed fixing and I needed something to do.'' Shannon straightened.
Jenny's amusement sobered, something was wrong. ‘'Did it occur to you I might like broken fences?''
Shannon stared, trying to fathom if Jenny was serious. ‘'Do you?''
Instead of answering Jenny walked towards her, looking down at the wood. ‘‘Where did you get this?''
Shannon still wasn't entirely sure Jenny wasn't pissed at her. ‘‘It was around the back in the shed.''
Jenny frowned, and then it cleared. ‘‘Oh…. Last year. I had a handy man repair some storm damage to the roof, he mentioned he'd cut some for the fences. I'd forgotten about it.''
‘'So, it's okay?''
Jenny looked up at the uncertain tone in the woman's voice. ‘'Sure. You don't have to do this you know.''
Shannon shrugged relieved she hadn't over stepped. ‘'As I said I needed something to do.''
Jenny studied her face, seeing that something was defiantly wrong. ‘'You okay?''
Shannon sighed, almost angrily. ‘‘Yes. What does everyone keep asking me that.'' She turned away walking to the other side of the garden and dumping the wood down with a thud.
Jenny's eyebrows rose. ‘‘Hey.''
Shannon turned back. ‘'What?''
Jenny didn't say anything just stared, waiting.
Shannon looked away to the sea, then exhaling she looked back. ‘'Sorry. Marcus pissed me off this morning.''
Jenny still just stood there watching her.
‘‘He said something that, well, it got to me.''
‘'What did he say?''
Shannon looked back out to the sea. ‘‘Doesn't matter. I shouldn't have let it get to me.''
Jenny took a step closer well aware her hand was itching to touch the detective, she fought it down. Stopping in front of her. ‘'What did he say?'' Jenny watched as Shannon's jaw clenched and unclenched. She knew she was fighting with whether to tell her. Suddenly it was very important for her to know exactly what had happened. ‘'Please tell me?''
Shannon exhaled. ‘‘He accused me of just using you as means to an end and not giving a shit what happens to you.''
Jenny inhaled sharply, not at the words Marcus had spoken, but the pure cascade of pain that smashed into her senses.
Shannon looked quickly at her. ‘'He only said it because he's worried and what this is all doing to you. He was angry about the reporter getting this close. Hell so was I.' She angrily rubbed her hands together to get rid of the dirt from the planks. She tucked her hands in her pockets, needing for them to be somewhere. ‘‘Anyway it hit a nerve.''
Jenny knew she should leave it. Just turn away and go into the house and get back to the case. But she couldn't, couldn't leave knowing something her friend had spoke in anger and caused so much pain to the woman in front of her. She found herself asking what was in her head. ‘'Why did it?''
Shannon looked up surprised, half expecting Jenny to back off. Suddenly she wished she could see Jenny's eyes, and know why she was asking. But she couldn't, all she could see was herself reflected back in mirror lens. What she saw she didn't like. Disgusted she turned away. ‘'Doesn't matter. Forget it.''
Jenny's brows knitted. ‘'Shannon?….''
Shannon closed her eyes, she was finding it near impossible to ignore the plead call of her name spoken like that. It wasn't the first time she'd questioned how Jenny could put so much into just saying her name. It was almost like she had touched her skin. She clenched her jaw; she wasn't ready to share her past. ‘'It doesn't matter.'' She bent lifting the wood and moved away to finish what she'd started on the fencing. Well aware that disappointed eyes followed her.
Jenny watched her for a few more minutes before returning to the house. What should she have expected? Shannon to suddenly open herself up to her? Too share something that was obviously painful? She almost scoffed at the absurdity of it; she wasn't exactly sharing things now was she. She was still cursing herself as she entered the den and went back to working the case. Turning all her attention now something she knew and could handle. Something that didn't need fucking emotions. She was totally unaware of the anger spreading inside, as her attention focused on the case.
‘'You know I'd forgotten how engrossed you get when you work.''
Jenny jumped as Marcus's voice came from behind her. ‘'Marcus!''
He stepped into the den, looking around, walking up to the wall containing the victim's profiles. He whistled impressed before sheepishly turning to look at her. ‘'Sorry.''
Jenny shrugged, rubbing at her neck. ‘'What are you doing here; I thought you weren't allowed here till the shrouds came at 12. Where's Shannon?''
He crossed his arms, clearly amused. ‘‘She went to the dock, and for your information it's gone twelve, in fact it's nearly two.''
Jenny eyes dropped to her wristwatch in surprise. ‘'Damn.''
He moved over, pushing her hand away and began to gently massage her neck. ‘'Always lose time don't ya.'' He tried to hide his worry.
Her head tipped forward in bliss. ‘‘Oh god. Left.''
He grinned and complied too the instruction. ‘‘Haven't lost my touch then?''
She groaned as his fingers hit a sensitive spot. ‘' No.'' She groaned again. ‘'Harder.''
He chuckled, continuing the massage until he felt the muscle start to loosen. He lent down to whisper against her ear. ‘'Did you know you have a brand new fence surrounding your cave?'' He laughed stepping back from her aimed slap, moving to the front and sitting on the edge of the desk. He couldn't help the smug look on his face; he folded his arms, more than amused. ‘'What's it like having your very own handy woman around? Anything else she's handy at?''
Jenny knew the tone and wasn't going to bite. ‘‘Shannon wanted something to do.'' She rose moving towards the living room irritated at what he was implying, then she remembered exactly why Shannon was doing the fence. She stopped turning back. ‘'Why did you say that to her earlier?''
His eyes widened the amused grin vanishing, he sighed dipping his eyes. ‘'She told you then.''
‘‘Well she didn't come running over here tattle tailing if that's what you think. I saw she was upset. I asked why.'' She moved closer to him.
‘'Why Marcus, why say something like that? We're you that pissed off at her over this stupid reporter? It's not like she has control of the damn island. I'm the one who wouldn't go somewhere safer. It's not like you.''
He pushed off the desk. ‘‘I know that. I'm mad at the fact this whole situation fucking sucks, especially putting you in shit like this again.'' He took a breath calming himself. ‘‘She just got the flack. Okay.''
She shook her head sadly. ‘‘Well whatever the reason you hurt her. I don't believe she's using me. I'm in this because I agreed. I knew the risks.''
His face fell. ‘'I know. If I thought it would make a difference I'd apologize, but somehow I don't think it would work.''
‘‘Maybe you should anyway.''
His mouth quirked. ‘‘Maybe.''
She studied him, seeing something else. ‘'What aren't you telling me?''
He shifted, slightly nervous. ‘‘You're not going to like it.''
He sighed. Moving away from her. ‘'I called in a favor, I checked up on her.''
‘'You did what?!'' her eyes flared, along with her temper.
He winced. ‘' Okay calm down. Let me explain before you kill me.''
Jenny took a calming breath, answering through gritted teeth. ‘‘Tell me?''
‘‘Look you've got to understand why I did it. I saw something that scared the shit out of me okay.'' He shifted nervously.
Jenny waited, folding her arms to keep from slapping him silly.
‘‘She lost it earlier. I mean totally lost it, I thought she was going to grab me and throw me through the damn wall.''
‘‘But she didn't''
He looked at her, his eyes narrowing, feeling slightly hurt she was taking the detectives side. ‘‘Obviously. I'm still here. Maybe you'd like it better if she did. You seem to think I'm the bad guy here?''
‘'You know better than that.'' Her voice was a warning one.
‘‘I didn't like what I saw Jenny. Hell, we don't even know who she really is? What she's capable of? So, I wanted to find out a little more. She's guarding you for Christ sake, I needed to know you'd be safe.''
Jenny fought the urge to yell at him. Keeping down her temper, knowing he would only do it out of protection. But she didn't like it. ‘'You should have trusted my judgment enough to know she isn't a threat. She trusted my judgment when it came to you.''
He eyed her wearily, keeping his thoughts to himself. He thought Shannon was the biggest threat to his friend then anything she'd met before. ‘'I know I should have trusted you and I did, until this morning. I needed to know Jen. Me!'' he sighed calming himself. ‘'I'm sorry. Okay. I'm sorry. I had to find out.'' His face showed his misery.
Jenny sighed as well. Shaking her head. ‘'Marcus I know I don't always look like I can take care of myself and your friendship means a lot. I can never ever repay how you helped me. But, I don't like this. I understand why, but I don't. Please don't do something like this again.
He nodded sadly. ‘'I get it. But I can't promise you I won't do something you don't like again, when it comes to your safety I'm sorry I'll do anything to make sure your safe. So, sue me.''
Her shoulders lost their stiffness. Suddenly being at odds with him was too much. ‘'What would be the point you have no money. I'll wait till you're famous.''
He looked up through shy eyes, his face slowly cracking a grin. ‘'I'm I forgiven?''
She snorted. ‘'Don't push it.'' But she smiled to take the sting out of her words. ‘'You found out about her past didn't you?''
Jenny battled with curiosity, caught between wanting to know exactly what the vision was of Shannon being shot. But also knowing she couldn't betray Shannon's trust by finding out from him. ‘'I don't like it. But I can understand why you did it.''
He exhaled in relief. ‘‘Thank you. I found out why she reacted the way she did.'' He looked down feeling again like a basterd. ‘'There was a woman in her past, Cindy, she was involved in a case with Shan….''
He looked up at her surprise.
‘'I don't want to know. Just tell me are you satisfied now? I'm not going to have to put up with this bullshit every time she reacts?''
He clamped his mouth shut, feeling the sting. ‘‘No you're not and Yea. I'm satisfied.'' He looked at her, seeing how unguarded she'd become. Realization dawn. He felt his insides crawl. ‘'Aw shit Jenny you've already started to let her in haven't you?''
The question caught her completely unprepared, she was surprised to feel unexplained tears suddenly start. She angrily swept them away. ‘' I don't seem to have any say in the matter.''
He didn't care if he got hit or not, he could see the struggle of the words spoken and the cost of admitting it. He moved forward and swept her into his arms into a hug. ‘‘Hey. It'll be okay.''
She clung to him, wondering why everything she knew was unraveling, including herself.
Shannon paused at the door, seeing Marcus sitting on the couch reading, her eyes moved to Jenny sitting at the table eating, she could see Jenny had been crying, she frowned.
Marcus looked up, looking first to Shannon then who she was looking at. He rose. Seeing how ridged Jenny was sitting. He turned his full attention to Shannon. ‘‘Hey. Did you get them?''
Shannon snapped his eyes to him. ‘'I said I would.'' She moved past him towards the den.
Marcus sighed, his eyes going to Jenny who was glaring at him. He held up his hands. ‘‘Okay okay I'll fix it.'' Steeling himself he moved towards the den. ‘'Shannon?''
Shannon didn't bother to stop what she was doing. ‘'What?''
Marcus took a breath. ‘'I apologize.''
This time Shannon stopped, turning. ‘‘For what?''
‘‘For what I said. I had no right too. More to the point I shouldn't have directed my anger at you. You're only trying to help catch this basterd and you're doing your darndest to protect her. None of it was your fault. I am sorry for what I said and I don't think for one minute your using her.''
Shannon wanted to tell him to go to hell, but she was actually pissed off to find he actually meant it. ‘'I'm not using her.''
He met her steeled stare. ‘'I know.''
She broke the stare. ‘‘Okay. Forget it.''
Jenny stood in the doorway hearing the whole thing. Seeing Marcus's lost look of what to do now directed at her. ‘'Shouldn't we get back to why we're all here.'' She pushed off the doorframe moving to the new evidence that had arrived. The shrouds.
Shannon nodded pulling the tagged bag free. ‘‘Sure.''
Marcus gave Jenny a grateful look as she past him.
Shannon was unsure how this was going to work. ‘‘So. Um what do you do?''
Marcus smirked. ‘'I'm gonna work my voodoo.''
Jenny rolled her eyes. ‘'Marcus.''
He grinned at her. ‘'I know. I know get to work.'' He lifted the first bag, pulling it open, removing the sheet from the cellophane and placing it on the table.
Shannon stepped back, not knowing what the hell was going to happen. Hell, she wouldn't have been surprised if Marcus had pulled out chicken to sacrifice.
Jenny couldn't help the smile as she watched Marcus close his eyes and tilt his head back, biting her lip as she saw Shannon lean forward intrigued., she knew her friend was playing up for the detective, what she wasn't sure of was how Shannon was going to take it. She cleared her throat. ‘'Marcus you don't usually hum.''
‘‘Shhhhhh. It's for dramatic effect.''
Shannon flinched, aware now she'd just fallen for an act. She stiffened. ‘‘Glad to know that six murders gets you dramatic. This isn't a fucking game.'' She quickly turned and left.
Marcus eyes snapped open. ‘‘Damn. I blew it again.''
Jenny gave him an understanding look. ‘‘You know she's right.''
She leant over kissing him on the cheek. ‘'Work your voodoo. I'll be right back.''
Shannon kicked out at the sand, ducking to lift the stick bud had just dropped she threw it hard, watching as the dog hightailed after it. She stilled as she heard Jenny speak from behind her.
‘‘He wasn't trying to goad you, or fool you. It's his way of trying to break the ice and he knows this isn't a game.''
‘‘He's a joke.'' She slapped the sand away angrily on her palm.
‘‘Sometimes he is yes.'' Jenny drew level with her. ‘‘He uses humor like a guard, it deflects a lot.''
Shannon looked down to the toe of her boot, digging it in the sand. ‘'Were you in love with him?''
Jenny head snapped left so fast she felt her head spin both at the question and the movement. ‘‘Whhhhhat?''
Shannon swallowed hard. ‘‘You heard me.''
‘'Why did you ask that?''
‘'I…'' Shannon's voice faltered. ‘'I don't know.'' She frowned hard, trying to figure out why the hell she did.
Jenny studied her face, almost in wonder at the honesty she saw there. ‘‘You really don't do you.''
Finally Shannon met her gaze. ‘‘No. Were you?''
‘‘Does it matter it's the past isn't it? Shouldn't the past stay where it belongs.'' Even as she spoke the words, she wished to god it was that easy to do.
Shannon looked away. ‘‘Yea.''
Jenny turned, heading back into the house. Pausing, her hand on the frame, she looked back. ‘'Shannon I….''
Shannon forestalled anymore words. Suddenly not wanting to know.
‘'I'll be in a bit.''
Jenny stood for a moment then sighed, walking back into the house. She should have answered, she could see Shannon didn't know why she'd ask, but she could see whatever the reason it had been important to get an answer. As she walked back to the den, she started close herself down to emotion. R. It was better if she put a stop to it right now. This was a case and nothing more and as soon as it was solved she could get back to her uncomplicated life and Shannon would be gone.
Shannon was berating herself again as she stepped towards the den. Why the hell had she asked that? If she didn't know better she'd have thought it was asked out of jealousy. She shook her head. Damn it! She'd be glad when this case was over and she could get back to her balanced life.
Marcus ran his hands over the sheet again, his eyes were open now, but he wasn't looking at anything.
Shannon paused at the door, surprised to feel a chill touch her skin. She looked down at her arms expecting to see the hairs raised, but they weren't.
She looked over in question to Jenny. Who was holding her finger to her lips asking her to be quiet. Shannon stepped inside the room and lent against the wall. She watched silently.
‘‘He's so full of himself this guy.''
Shannon jumped as Marcus's words broke the ten minutes of silence.
Jenny took a careful step closer to him. ‘‘You can sense him?''
Marcus frowned. She lifted the sheet, letting his free hand trace over its surface. ‘‘Not exactly. He has touched this; in fact he's touched it a lot. It's like it's become imprinted with his ego.''
Shannon was itching to ask questions, but instead she kept silent, letting Jenny do the talking.
‘'Can you see him?''
Shannon's eyes jumped to Jenny in surprise. Then to Marcus for an answer.
‘‘No.'' Marcus's frown deepened, then with a gasp he dropped the sheet stepping back. His worried gaze went to Jenny. ‘‘He's blocking.''
Jenny inhaled sharply.
Shannon couldn't keep silent any longer. ‘‘Blocking? What the fuck does that mean?''
Jenny shot her a look. ‘'Getting angry at Marcus isn't going to help.''
Shannon jaw clenched. ‘‘Sorry.''
Marcus took a drink from the water Jenny had brought in earlier. ‘' it means, he has some sort of latent psychic ability. Only….'' He paused.
‘‘Only what?'' Shannon stepped forward.
Marcus's eyes went to her. ‘‘He doesn't know he has it.'' He resisted the urge to add. 'Just like you.'
Jenny cleared her throat, now she knew what had been niggling at her, especially the day she'd gone to the crime scene. She had been blocked. ‘‘He probably thinks its part of his power.''
Marcus nodded in agreement.
Shannon rubbed the back of her neck, suddenly very nervous. It was one thing to believe Jenny had some sort of ability it was another to believe a psycho did.
Jenny watched her careful, well aware the battle being fought in Shannon's head.
Shannon looked to the sheets. ‘‘So, this means what? You can't get a hit of it or whatever you call it? Because his blocking now. Doesn't he have to know he's being read?'' Her expression showed her confusion.
Marcus let out a sigh of frustration. ‘‘It doesn't work that way…. Look this is hard to explain. I think the easiest way is to say, when he touched these…'' he pointed the sheets. ‘'…. He made himself believe he wasn't going to leave anything on them. We all know there's no DNA. Well, that's easy. He doesn't touch it with flesh or hairs or any part of him. In his mind he was thinking the same thing. I'm not going to leave anything…. I'm not going to leave anything. Without realizing it he created a wall….'' Marcus tilted his head. ‘‘….You understand?''
Shannon's brain was trying too. ‘‘So, because he did that it actually kept his emotions away.''
Marcus smiled. ‘‘Emotions. Thoughts. Who he is. Yes.''
Shannon shook her head. ‘'I don't understand it I'm sorry. But, I'll take your word for it.''
Marcus's smile turned into a genuine grin. ‘‘Why detective that's the nicest thing you've ever said to be.'' Shannon glare only made him laugh.
Jenny seeing the angry start in Shannon's eyes stepped in between then, slightly touching Marcus's arm for his attention. ‘'Did you get anything at all?''
Seriousness swept his face. ‘'Poppies.''
Shannon looked to the sheets as if poppies would suddenly appear. ‘‘There weren't any poppies in any of the murder scenes. Forensic didn't find anything either.''
He scoffed. ‘'They aren't on them. They're to do with him.''
Jenny looked back over her shoulder to the sheets laid out on the table. She turned moving closer. ‘‘His past? Or now?''
‘‘Involved with him. Or memories?''
‘'I don't know. But it was the first thing I felt when I touched it. A field of poppies.''
‘‘It could be you picked up on his meditation thoughts.''
Shannon found herself confused again. ‘'What?''
Jenny turned to her. ‘‘Somewhere in his head, a place of peace, to focus on.''
Marcus shook his head. ‘‘No. I don't think it's an actually field either he goes to in person. But….'' He moved back to sheet, tracing his fingertips over it again. ‘‘He does look at it.''
Shannon could feel her frustration building. ‘'Anything else?''
Marcus voice was strained. ‘‘He's ready to kill again soon. This sheet is from his last kill. He's already picked out the next one.''
His words hit both Jenny and Shannon hard.
Shannon wanted to scream, there was no way Marcus could have known the sheet was from the last kill. They were all identical. She only knew because she'd removed the labels of the victim before bringing them here. ‘‘Shit.''
All three of them stood in desolated silence. None of them knowing what to say next.
Jenny looked over as bud entered and lay down looking exhausted. Knowing the reason why. After Marcus had dropped his bombshell, Shannon had taken him back to the safe house. Jenny had returned to the case. When Shannon had briefly returned it was announced she was going for a run. It didn't surprise Jenny, she could feel the waves of frustration coming off the woman and she'd quickly learnt running was one way for the detective to blow off steam; it was always becoming a way to get away from talking to her. She let out a long sigh, looking at Bud again in amusement at his sorrowful look.
‘'Tried to keep up with her again didn't ya.''
His eyes looked up at her. ‘'Arffff.''
She chuckled, then turned back to the case notes in front her. She'd been at it for four hours now, going back over everything, looking for any small detail she could fit together. There had been one thing she found and she could feel the excitement in her stomach from it. She needed to talk to Shannon. She sat back stretching out her back, gently she became aware of a warmth, one she began to realize was Shannon's essence. She looked up unsurprised to find Shannon in the doorway, watching her.
‘‘Hi.'' She noted Shannon looked nervous. ‘'What's up?''
‘'I… I wanted to apologize for what I asked earlier. It's really none of my business.'' Shannon looked anywhere but at her now.
‘'Okay.'' Suddenly Jenny felt very sad. She'd gotten used to having Shannon be open around her. She mentally told herself off, she was the one that wanted distance, well now she was getting it.
‘'So, We're okay?'' her eyes went to Jenny briefly before looking away again.
‘‘Yea. Were okay.'' Even as Jenny answered, she didn't believe it was true. ‘' I think I found something.''
Shannon eyes jumped up, she moved quickly over. ‘'Found what?''
Relieved they were back on a subject she could handle, Jenny pushed over the picture to Shannon.
Shannon looked at it frowning. ‘'It's the American seal?''
‘‘Yes. It's also the one common thing on all the nickels. Some have Indian heads, the other Monticello. ‘'
‘'Shannon. He used the nickel for a reason. It isn't some random coin he picked. It means something to him.''
Shannon eyes dipped to the picture again. ‘'Your saying because this is the only common thing he deliberately left, the clue you're looking for is somewhere here?''
Shannon looked up hearing the pause. ‘'You're not sure.''
‘'I'm doubting myself. I mean, I'm…''
Shannon suddenly got an insight to what Jenny was trying to say. ‘‘Because of D.C.''
Jenny flinched, then sadly whispered. ‘‘Yes. I made mistakes…. I don't want to do it again.''
Shannon nodded. ‘‘What's your Voodoo telling you right now?''
Jenny almost laughed at the choice of words, but stopped, when she saw Shannon was seriously asking her what her gift was feeling. ‘‘It tells me this is his calling card.''
Shannon shrugged, turning her gaze back to the picture. ‘'Good enough for me. So tell me what you've found?''
Jenny blinked suddenly wanting to cry at the fact; she'd just been accepted so easily and freely. Her walls she'd erected to the detective didn't stand a chance, the sudden loss of them made her feel exposed, raw.
Shannon knew she was being watched. She felt her heart rate pick up, but still she kept her eyes firmly on the picture. ‘'So? What you find?''
Jenny somehow managed to turn her attention back to the case. ‘' The number 13.''
This time Shannon looked up in question.
Jenny nodded to the picture. ‘'On the seal itself.''
Frowning Shannon brought the picture closer to see. ‘'I don't see a number?''
Jenny gave a soft smile. ‘'How many arrows is the eagle holding in his right claw as you look at him.'' She passed over a magnifying glass.
Shannon took it, leveling it over the claw. ‘'Shit. I didn't even know they were arrows…um…'' she counted. Her eyebrow rising. ‘'Jesus. There are thirteen.''
‘‘Ahuh. How many stripes on the flag on the shield at his chest.''
Shannon moved the glass there. Mentally counting. ‘‘Thirteen.'' Her voice showed her amazement.
‘'The stars above the eagles head?''
The glass moved again. Shannon looked up in wonder. ‘‘Thirteen.''
Jenny found herself grinning, the look on Shannon's face looked like a child's who'd just been showed a rabbit pulled from a hat. It made her giddy. ‘‘The olive branch in his left claw?''
Quickly Shannon's eyes dropped to the picture again, counting. ‘‘Thirteen.''
‘‘How many letters in the motto in his beak?''
Shannon counted, then laid the magnifying glass down her eyes meeting Jenny's. ‘'Thirteen.''
Jenny pushed over a list of all the victims' names. Her voice turning serious. ‘‘How many letters in each name?''
Shannon quickly counted each. ‘‘Thirteen. Jesus. You mean he picked them just because their names had thirteen letters?'' She felt sick if this was the only link they were screwed, there was no way they could guess his next victim out of the millions of people who had thirteen letters in their name.
‘'I think that's part of why they were chosen. Yes.'' Jenny knew what Shannon was feeling she'd felt the same when she found the connection. She swallowed as she watched Shannon pale.
Shannon struggled to understand. ‘‘But… but what does this mean?''
Jenny pulled six pictures free of the folder, laying them out, each one showing the victim. ‘'Do you notice anything about them?''
Shannon bit back her anger at wanting to yell for Jenny to just fucking tell her instead of testing her. But she didn't realizing this was how Jenny needed to work. She needed it because she doubted herself. ‘'The pose is the same in all of them''
Shannon studied the pictures intently. Each body showed the same pose. Body laid out, legs crossed at the ankles. Left arm bent. Hand laid on the chest with the palm down. The right arm was straight, outstretched, laid out flat along side of their head, extending up. Hand open, its palm to the sky. Shannon titled her head, looking to each picture quickly. Something didn't seem right. She felt like she was doing a puzzle where you had to spot the difference.
Jenny watched her.
Shannon made her gaze flick quickly to each. She paused, looking back over each slowly this time, her focus to the outstretched arm, more on the space between the arm and the head. It was different. She went back to victim one, then two and through to six. She quickly saw the gap between each increased. She looked up at Jenny. ‘'Their right arm position is different. He's moving it clockwise slightly on each victim. But it's barely noticeable.''
Jenny slowly nodded. ‘‘He's done the same to the legs, they've been moved clockwise on each victim too.''
Shannon looked down again, now seeing it. Her forehead creased. ‘'What does this mean? Why are they like that?''
Jenny sighed. ‘'I don't know yet. That was a far as I got. I thought at first, maybe he was using the limbs to mimic the hands on a clock…. Then I thought maybe longitude, latitude…. But the movement is too small to give a direction or map reference. It's too subtle for other things too. I thought maybe a compass point, but if it is we won't find the direction until we have more victims. The fact the movement is progressive tells me he hasn't finished showing us what he means. He's using the whole body to show us something and he isn't going to show us until he's damn well ready. '' Jenny exhaled her frustration. ‘‘But at the moment I don't have one fucking clue what.''
Shannon sympathized with the frustration. ‘'You'll get it.''
Jenny pushed her hair back from her face. ‘'But not soon enough. I'm taking too long. I'm failing.''
Shannon wanted to jump the damn desk and shake this woman. ‘‘How can you say that? We've had this case for months and no one has come up with the things you have in five days. You'll get it. I mean it. You need to take a break that's all.''
Jenny looked at her, suddenly getting angry at the expectation on the detectives face. That a break would just make everything miraculously clear. ‘‘Do you think the victim's families want me to have a break? Or the next person this sick fuck wants to rape and murder? You think he's just going to do nothing until I'm refreshed? '' Jenny's temper snapped.
Shannon jolted in surprise, not understanding where this anger directed to her was coming from. ‘'Jenny?''
Jenny snorted. ‘'You look at me as if I have all the answers. Like I'm some damn messiah. I'm not! I have to search and search for any damn little thing. This basterd leaves. Hitting dead end after dead end more times than I can fucking remember. I have to find him. I do….'' She hit her chest. ‘'…. And taking a damn break isn't going to make that happen.''
Shannon bit back her instant retort. ‘'Okay.''
Jenny moved to lift the photos, her anger making her shake, as she reached across her arm hit the glass of water sending it tumbling to a smash on the floor. ‘'GOD DAMN IT.'' She reacted with more anger, throwing her arm out across the table sweeping it, sending the files photos in every direction.
Bud yelped as a folder hit him, running for cover.
Shannon shot forward catching the laptop as it flew. Looking over to the angry figure in worry. ‘'Jenny?''
Jenny didn't hear her; she was trying to pull her broke inner self together, the anger shattering her control. She felt all the threads unravel around her mind, sending her into panic and chaos. ‘' I can't do this…. I can't do this.'' Her breath was coming in sobs. She stumbled back, tripping over the chair, landing in a heap. Her face went into her hands. ‘‘Oh god… oh god. Not again, not again.''
Shannon placed the laptop back on the table. Moving around it, feeling suddenly useless. She knelt down, keeping her voice as calm as possible. While her insides were anything but calm as she watched Jenny fall apart in front of her. ‘'Jenny?''
Jenny kept sobbing, her hands going to her temples, as old memories erupted from their locked cage. She groaned. ‘‘Make it stop. Make it stop.''
Shannon had barely heard the words. She looked down as something nudged her leg, realizing it was bud.
His eyes went to Jenny then back to her. He whined.
‘'I don't know what to do.''
He nudged her with his nose. His worried brown eyes going back to Jenny again.
Shannon looked at Jenny feeling every shudder that went through the women's small frame. She looked at bud again trying to understand.
This time bud shoved her. Shannon shifted to keep her balance.
Bud howled as Jenny suddenly started convulsing.
‘'Shit.'' Shannon didn't think, she reacted. She lunged forward grabbing the distraught woman, pulling her firmly into her arms.
Jenny tensed, bucking, seeing in her mind's eye, the gunshot the flash of color, the pain. Screams and then red. She tried to pull away, but she couldn't it was too strong.
Shannon was feeling her own panic. ‘‘Jen. Please. It's me Shannon.''
Jenny struggled for air, trying to focus; somewhere in the distance she heard the calling of her name. She arched, screaming as another shot rang out in the vision and this time she felt it dig deep into flesh. Burning her, searing her.
The sudden movement sent Shannon backward onto her butt; she locked her arms, bringing Jenny with her. An elbow came up, connecting with her mouth, she grunted in pain, spitting blood away, tightening her arms. ‘'JENNY!'' her shout came out of desperation.
Jenny froze everything inside her stopped. Slowly her mind cleared of images. Somewhere in the cold of her being she sensed warmth.
Her tiny threads scrambled towards it, gaining strength. She felt another warmth join, one she recognized, and one that calmed her. She moaned, trembling.
Shannon exhaled in relief, as Jenny stopped fighting her. She watched as the dog crawled on to her legs and virtually into Jenny's lap. Licking at her skin, her face, whimpering. Shannon felt Jenny grow even stiller.
‘‘You feel that don't you.'' Shannon was breathing hard; she lowered her chin gently resting it on Jenny's shoulder. Her words low. ‘‘Hold on to that feeling.'' She had no clue what she was saying.
Bud whimpered again, shifting to get as much contact of his body against the psychic. Shannon pulled the women closer too trying to make as much contact as possible, letting the dog lead the way of what to do. Feeling the tremors go through the suddenly frail looking woman in her arms, feeling them increase to the point they rattled Shannon's teeth. ‘'Jenny.''
Jenny inhaled sharply, her breathing stuck.
Shannon's felt it, panic started. She don't know what else to do. She twisted until she could reach Jenny's face, grabbing it. Searching for breath. Her voice was shaky with emotion. ‘‘Breathe. Come back to me.''
Shannon weakly smiled. Brushing away blonde hair from the pale clammy skin. ‘'He's calling you back too. You're scaring the shit out of the both of us right now.''
Bud snorted in agreement.
Jenny's back arched as she inhaled filling her starving lungs.
Shannon exhaled her own held breath. ‘'Good. Breath okay just breath.'' She twisted back to sit, pulling Jenny as closer to her as she could. Well aware that now she was shaking far more then Jenny.
Jenny felt movement around her, sensing bud nearby, and someone else. A different warmth, one that shone, pulsed. It called her. She inhaled again, her mind coming back to her, terror receding unable fight against the silver threads that now spread. Jenny swallowed, fighting the nausea, feeling the arms around her. Safe arms. ‘'Shan….non?''
Shannon laughed, crying in relief hearing her broken name. ‘'Yea.''
She began to loosen her hold, knowing she shouldn't have touched without permission. ‘'Sorry, I shouldn't have….''
Jenny panicked feeling the warmth recede. ‘'N…No…. No.''
Shannon looked down surprised as her arms were caught and brought back, feeling the trembling grip on them as they were held close.
Shannon tightened her hold, swallowing down a huge bolt of emotion in her throat, ‘‘Sure.''
Jenny began to center herself, using the warmth from bud, and the new deeper warmth of Shannon's essence. Letting it intertwine with her. Forming a picture in her mind of a broken mirror, focusing on the broken shards that lay everywhere within her. Slowly each splintered piece began to reform, fitting together like a jigsaw into place. Till finally it was repaired. She now stood in front of the resurrected mirror, gazing at her scarred reflection. Now she could begin to re-piece herself. Bit by bit the scars began to fade.
Shannon didn't move, not knowing what to do. She didn't know either exactly what was happening. All that mattered was Jenny needed her. So she sat, with the woman cradled in her arms and the dog on top of them. Listening to every sound, knowing something was working as Jenny's breathing evened out. She became aware of something else, she could feel a deep warmth spreading, it wasn't uncomfortable or unpleasant just different. She knew it had to link to something Jenny was doing. She could feel her own tattered emotions calming. For the first time in a long time she felt a sense of peace growing. She looked down as she felt movement on her skin; Jenny's fingers were idly stroking her arm. Shannon strained to see if Jenny's eyes were open, finding them closed. She relaxed back against the table leg, enjoying the feeling of the touch. Her eyes slowly began to flutter closed.
Shannon jerked awake, groaning as she felt a twinge of cramp in her back. She blinked trying to remember where she was, looking down at the now sleeping form in her arms. She remembered all that had happened. She looked around aware the candles had burned low, working out hours had passed. Her eyes flicked to the doorway, hearing bud's claws on the wood as he entered, watching. ‘‘Hey boy. I think she's okay.''
‘'Arf'' he walked over tail wagging lazily, he went to Jenny sniffing, then when satisfied he lay at the detective's feet.
Shannon looked down to Jenny, feeling a smile begin as she saw Jenny's hand had grabbed a fist full of her shirt. Making sure she couldn't go anywhere. She felt bud watching and looked up to find if possible an amused expression on his face. Shannon's smile changed into a grimace as she felt her back twinge again, she shifted slightly to try and ease the strain.
Jenny blinked awake, feeling it. Without moving, she let her eyes try to find out where she was. They fell on her hand in front of her face and the shirt she held. She stared at it, the memory of what happened coming back. She swallowed; she couldn't remember being that lost or out of control before. Her eyes refocused on her hand and the body wrapped around her, realizing she was still in Shannon's arms. She felt her skin flush heat.
Shannon's attention left her aching back when she felt Jenny stiffen. She waited, letting Jenny lead the way.
Jenny slowly released the shirt, trying to understand why she wasn't freaking out right now. She didn't feel any panic, instead she felt…. Safe. Slowly she drew away, moving to sit, turning her head; she finally locked eyes with Shannon's apprehensive ones.
Shannon let her arms drop away. Keeping the rest of her still, gazing back into the questioning stare. She gave a weak smile. ‘'Hi.''
Jenny could see the uncertainty creeping into the blue eyes, which held hers. ‘'Hi.''
‘'You…um? You okay?''
Jenny quickly ran an inventory of herself. Surprised to find her mind and thoughts were the calmest she'd felt in a long time. There was no trace of fear. Just a deep comforting warmth. It confused her. She gave a small smile.
‘'Yes.'' Her eyes dipped to the dried blood on Shannon's lips. ‘'Did I do that?''
Shannon's licked her lips self-consciously. Wondering why Jenny wasn't scrambling to get off her. ‘'Don't worry about it, it was an accident. I've had worse in a sparring match.''
Jenny sensed the uneasiness and Shannon's own guards coming up. Suddenly she didn't want that. She smiled. ‘‘Were we sparring?''
Shannon's eyebrows rose at the teasing tone. ‘'A little.''
‘‘Well, I'm the one with the busted lip.'' Shannon grinned, then winced as she felt the tender skin pull. Her breath caught as Jenny gentle traced a finger over her split lip.
‘'I'm sorry. I hurt you.'' Jenny drew her hand away self consciously, knowing she was confusing the hell out of the detective. Regretfully she made herself get up. With her back to Shannon she closed her eyes, allowing the feeling of touching Shannon, cascade over her. ‘'I'm going to take a shower.''
‘'Okay.'' Shannon sat there stunned, not knowing what to think. Her body was on overload, the touch to her lip had sent shivers down her spine. Her confused eyes followed Jenny till she left the room.
Jenny stood under the stream of hot water, one hand flat to the wall, bracing her up. She tilted her head back letting the liquid fall over her face, roll down her shoulders and back. She drew straight, her eyes opening, wiping back her wet hair with both hands. She knew she'd have to tell Shannon what happened. Her body was virtually humming and she knew damn well why. It wasn't just the after effect of what happened, her skin was tingling, it was coming back from its forced hibernation of not being touched. Her eyes fell to the three lined scars across her chest, and lower to the three on her stomach. Their whiteness apparent against the rest of her flushed skin. She reached down, tracing each one.
What would Shannon think of those if she ever saw them?
Jenny shook her head at that intruding thought, sending droplets of water everywhere. She knew Shannon would already know about the scars. Police reports never left anything out. She'd more than likely had seen the crime photos too. It was part of Shannon's job to know who she was working with. Case history and the person.
Jenny let her head drop again, just breathing in the warm air of the shower. Something had changed, deep inside her; she felt it, felt a part of Shannon flowing through her veins. She shivered, her nipples tightening, but not from any change in the water temperature. She closed her eyes, again tilting her face to the warmth of water. Willing her body to shut the hell up. But still her skin tingled; still she felt the heat inside her, Shannon inside her. With a groan she reached over changing the setting too cold. She squeaked as it hit.
Shannon looked up to the bathroom door for the twentieth time, this time she thought she'd heard something. She listened. Only hearing the running water. Sighing, she sat back.
She'd finally left her position in the den, when she'd gotten over the shock of being touched so freely. She moved to the living room finding herself pacing, not only because of her locked back muscle but also she didn't know what to do next. Should she wait? Should she go to bed? Leave? After half an hour of this had gone by, she had nothing but more stupid unanswerable questions; she had stopped pacing and went looking for a beer, suddenly needing a drink.
So here she sat, looking up every five minutes to the bathroom door, still hearing the shower running. It was turning out to be the longest shower in history. She took a gulp of beer from the bottle. Confused didn't even come close to how she was feeling right now. She wondered if Jenny's sudden need to take a shower was because she needed to wash away her touch. Even thinking that hurt.
She looked over to the door again, hearing the water stop. She now felt nervous. She took a long slung of beer.
Jenny ruffled bud's fur as she he jumped at her as she emerged from the bathroom; she knelt giving him a hug. ‘'Thank you.'' Her eyes came up slowly to the blue gaze she knew was watching her. ‘'Hi again.'' She smiled.
Shannon didn't know whether to stay sitting or stand. ‘‘Hi.''
Jenny grinned down at bud once more giving him one more hug. Taking a breath knowing this wasn't going to be easy she stood, walking towards Shannon, her eyes dipping to the beer. ‘‘Is there one of those left?''
Shannon moved to get up. ‘'Sure.''
‘‘It's okay I can get it.''
Nodding she sat again. She hated the nervousness she felt. ‘'So, long shower.'' She rolled her eyes at herself. Very smoooooooooth.
Jenny's mouth twitched as she pulled the beer from the icebox, removing the cap with a hiss in the opener on the outside of the chiller. ‘‘It helps me relax.'' She took a sip of beer as she walked to the chair by the fire place. She could tell Shannon was more than nervous. Well let's get this over with.
‘'We need to talk.''
Shannon stiffened, well aware what those four words usually meant. ‘‘Okay.''
Jenny looked down, picking at the label on the bottle. ‘'I broke my word.''
Shannon stared, not expecting that at all. ‘‘Huh? How?''
‘'I read you. I saw…. I saw something in your past.''
Shannon frowned, trying to decipher what she meant. ‘'When?''
Jenny picked at the label again, then took a drink. Letting the liquid slid down her throat, welcoming the coldness. The action giving her the time she needed to compose herself to continue. ‘'When you touched me…. I had no walls up Shannon. I told you anger destroys my control. I've….'' She swallowed, biting her bottom lip for a moment. ‘'…. I've been having problems for a while with shutting out my own past. This case…. Hell this week, with you here and leaving the island I've been pushing things away that finally got too much. I lost it…. I lost myself. I lost my walls….'' She took in a shuddering breath. Still unable to look up from the bottle in her hand. ‘'When you touched me I had no choice but to see.''
Shannon was quite sure how she felt. ‘‘That's what happened in there?''
Jenny nodded, not proud of the fact she had or that the detective had seen how much of a fruit loop she really was.
Shannon felt amazed, wondering how one woman could hold all of those things inside, and not be totally insane. She found herself not angry at what she was being told, but instead sad. Sad that Jenny had to do that every day alone. Sad that Jenny had to do it at all, to pay such a price for a gift.
As the silence stretched Jenny refused to look up now. Not wanting to see anger or disappointment at breaking her word. She waited for Shannon to yell and leave. She wanted to cry.
The silence stretched further.
‘‘Glad you told me, I thought you were pmsing.''
Jenny's widened eyes jumped up so fast she nearly dropped her beer. Only to find open blue eyes directed again at her and a small grin. ‘'You're not mad?''
Shannon sat back, feeling a relief go through her she didn't fully understand.
‘' How can I be mad, I'm the one who grabbed you. You told me not to touch.''
Jenny wanted to shake her head and get her thoughts in order. ‘‘Don't you understand what I'm telling you? I saw your past. I looked inside you.''
Shannon's throat went dry, then she made her eyes focus on the beer, fighting the flush. ‘'I understand. I'm just glad that holding you helped.'' This time it was Shannon who picked at the label on the bottle.
‘‘Very much so. Thank you.'' Jenny watched, still slightly stunned. Then something came to her. ‘'Didn't Bud attack you?''
Shannon chuckled. ‘‘No. It was his idea.''
Jenny looked over to her dog, who was watching both of them. ‘‘His huh?''
‘‘Oh yea. He was the smart one when I was freaking out.'' Jenny eyes came gently back to her. ‘'I… didn't know what to do to be honest.''
Jenny smiled, in understanding. ‘‘You did fine. I am sorry I freaked you though.''
‘'Does….'' Shannon looked down, shutting up.
‘'Doe's that happen a lot?'' her eyes flickered towards the study.
Jenny sat back now relaxing again; Shannon hadn't run for the hills. As she took a sip of beer, she remembered the night wasn't over yet. ‘'Not as much as it used too. But, never as bad as this. Well, not for a long time.''
Shannon frowned. ‘‘Did… did I make it worse moving in here? Being so close?'' she began to realize she really had no idea of the consequences of being this close to the woman and what it would do to her.
Jenny's eyes slid to the detectives, hearing the guilty tone. ‘'I'd be lying if I said no. But it wasn't just you, it's everything right now. Leaving the island wasn't good for me Shannon. I know I instigated it. But I just wasn't ready.''
Sadly Shannon nodded. Deep down she'd felt that too. ‘' I could move to the safe house.''
Jenny stopped in mid sip of her beer, coughing she lowered the bottle. ‘'Did I freak you that much?''
‘‘I was scared shitless….'' She swallowed remembering when Jenny had stopped breathing, she cleared her thoughts. ‘'I don't want to stay here and make things worse. I can work out some other way to protect you.''
Oh Shannon. She could feel the guilt rolling off the woman in front of her, feel it inside now, because now they traveled into the threads of essence. She knew she'd have to tell Shannon about this. But first she could see the uncertainly and almost fear looking at her. ‘'I want you to stay.''
Now surprised eyes looked back, with a small tinge of hope, she felt so much of Shannon now. It surprised her how much.
Shannon would have exhaled in the relief if she wasn't so sure she wasn't going to knock over the beer bottle on the table with the gust and it wasn't just because protecting from the safe house would have been a bitch.
‘'You're welcome….'' Jenny's smile faltered. ‘‘There's something else I need to tell you.''
‘'Something else happened when you were holding me.'' This time she didn't drop her eyes she kept them as emotionally open as she could, hoping Shannon would understand what she was about to explain.
For a moment she collected her thoughts. ‘‘You know Bud calms me?''
Shannon eyes went briefly to the dog, then to back to Jenny. ‘‘Yes. I don't understand how, but yes.''
‘‘He calms me because he gives me his protection, I focus on that, from him it's a warmth to my cold.'' She waited, searching Shannon's eyes to see if she understood. ‘‘When I'm lost I'm cold inside, so very cold. I seek out the warmth, look for it to bring me back or to calm me.''
Shannon nodded. ‘'I can understand that.''
Jenny swallowed, but still held Shannon's gaze. ‘'When I was so lost in there, I couldn't see where the warmth came from, I held on to it and let it bring me back, let it calm me enough so I could fix things inside.''
Shannon's brow dipped.
Jenny leaded forward in her chair. ‘'I didn't know it was yours until I became aware of who I was. By that time I'd already let it inside me to heal.''
Shannon's dipped brow turned into a deep frown. ‘'I don't understand.''
Jenny sighed. ‘'Remember I told you that each one of us has an essence?''
‘'Essence is what I look for to find people, but it's also part of how I heal. The purity of it. Every emotion has one in a way, not an essence in itself but a thread. Each thread is different. Bud's is calm, his protectiveness, and his joyfulness. When I touch bud. I…. Tap into it. Because I've tapped into it…. It becomes a tiny part of me. If I open to it I feel him. Bud knew I think he couldn't bring me back on his own this time. He knew I needed you…. When we were in there I tapped into yours.'' Jenny waited.
Jenny swallowed, watching as the open curious eyes in front of her closed off to her. She lowered her gaze. ‘'I'm sorry.''
‘'I'm still not sure what it means?''
‘'I can feel you. Sense you.''
Shannon felt her stomach drop, but it wasn't from dread it was the sound of Jenny's voice saying those words. It was arousal. She stiffened, wondering where the hell that came from. Her mind trying to get around what Jenny was telling her.
Jenny kept her voice even, seeing the struggle. ‘‘All this means Shannon, is I'm more aware of your emotions. I won't notice it happening as much. What I'm trying to say, even with my walls up around you. I… it's harder to block you now…. But don't worry I won't be reading you without permission. I wouldn't do that. I just need you to be aware of what happened.'' She swallowed hard. ‘‘Overtime and distance it will separate again. I…. Will lose the connection. It isn't permanent Shannon. When this case is over and …. And you go back to your life; I won't be spying on you. I won't know what is going on at all.'' Even thinking it made her ache. She'd gotten used to the warmth within her now.
Shannon didn't know what to think. This was all to strange, if she talked to anyone about this she knew they were going to kill themselves laughing at the absurdity of it. That Jenny could sense her, feel her. But as she looked into those amazing eyes she knew it was the truth. She had no other choice but to except it. She exhaled. ‘‘How come when you woke up, you didn't run like hell? I was touching you.''
Jenny looked down as a small smile crept on her face. ‘‘Because my essence now knows you. You're not a stranger anymore. Besides, I felt…. I felt safe.''
Shannon sat back, slightly in shock. ‘‘Safe?''
Jenny nodded her voice a whisper. ‘‘Yes. Very safe.''
Jenny matched the smile aimed at her. ‘‘You're an amazing woman Shannon, you except things so simply. I wish others were like you.''
‘‘Um.'' Shannon dropped her eyes slightly embarrassed, scratching at the back of her neck, unaware of the growing habit of doing it.
Jenny knew laughing wasn't an option, but she found this side of Shannon adorable. ‘'I didn't ‘mean to embarrass you.''
Shannon snorted. ‘'I'm sure you did.''
This time Jenny did laugh. ‘‘You make it very easy. You don't take compliments very well.''
Jenny shook her head, still smiling.
Shannon took a drink of beer, needing to center herself for a moment. Thinking.
Jenny's smile weakened as she felt what was coming.
‘'What did you see?'' Shannon's voice was low, her eyes fixed on the beer bottle.
Jenny inhaled. ‘'You. Being shot. Twice.''
Shannon flinched. ‘‘Yea.''
‘‘Were you badly hurt?''
Shannon looked up surprised. ‘‘You couldn't tell?''
Jenny shook her head. ‘‘It doesn't work that way. Were you?''
Shannon tilted her head back, staring at the ceiling. ‘'Yea. I took one in Shoulder and one in the stomach.'' She didn't see Jenny's wince. ‘' I wasn't wearing my vest. I was off duty. Only been a cop for three years. My…. My first shooting. I walked into gas station while it was being held up. I was in the hospital for six weeks, took another four months to get my shoulder back to normal. Had some nerve damage. Damn near nearly got me a desk job for life. ‘' she closed her eyes to the memory, all those weeks of physic therapy. She sat forward suddenly, finishing the last of the beer in the bottle with one down. Forcing a smile she looked over, seeing the pain on Jenny's and the sympathy. ‘'I was lucky. I survived it.''
‘‘And the robbers?'' Jenny felt a feeling of dread.
Shannon stiffened. ‘'I shot them. One was nineteen….'' She swallowed hard. ‘'…. The other was thirteen. A kid with a damn antique colt 45 like a cowboy. Forensic was surprised it worked and didn't blow up in his face. Yea, well, it worked enough to shoot me in the fucking gut.''
‘'I didn't really have a choice. They just started shooting when I entered the store. I just fired back to the threat. It…. It wasn't' until after the surgeries I found out who they were and how old. It was deemed a clean shoot. My records clear. But, that doesn't make it right. Still doesn't. I killed a thirteen-year-old boy.'' She drew in air. ‘' I know if it happens again, I'd still respond the way I did. If I don't I'm dead. Doesn't make it easy….''
‘'No.'' Jenny cried, because she knew Shannon couldn't cry for that memory anymore.
They locked gaze. An understanding between them forming.
Jenny lowered her gaze first. ‘'I need to get some sleep. If you don't have any more questions?''
Shannon just shook her head, silently.
Jenny rose, moving to the bedroom, calling bud to her side, letting him enter first, she looked back to Shannon. ‘‘Sleep well.''
Quietly Jenny entered, closing the door with a click, leaning against it. Her world had changed so suddenly and for once, she didn't feel the dread of it.
Shannon watched her go, her left hand came up to massage her right shoulder, knowing why it suddenly ached. It always did when she went back to those memories. She wondered if Jenny felt that too. Shaking her head she rose. Doing her finally check she turned down the oil lamps before going into her room. For once, sleep came quickly.
Dark eyes stared into the large lit standing magnifying glass. Below it amplified latex fingers held the nickel. Reaching across he lifted the engraving tool and starting etching into the edging, turning the nickel slowly to continue each letter. Carefully blowing away the tiny debris as his words dug into the coin.
‘‘One, two, buckle my shoe. There four, knock at the door.'' He grinned at his own humor. ‘'Knock knock.'' He chuckled as he tapped the nickel.
Sitting back he admired his handy work. His head turned slightly to the moan from behind him. ‘'Hush. It won't be long now.''
His attention went back to the nickel, dipping it into the jar of solution he knew would wipe any trace of him away.
Then he rose, smiling as he heard the moans change to whimpering. He lifted the syringe. His hand reaching out to caress the bruised face of his victim.
‘'Time to sleep baby. It's show time.''
Marcus knew as he sat in Jenny's eating breakfast, something had defiantly changed. Even the air around seemed to be freer. Hell, even the detective had greeted him with a smile on her face. He frowned, if he didn't know any better he could have sworn his friend and the detective had gotten laid. He crunched into his toast, his eyes following Jenny as she wiped down one of the shelves. ‘'What exactly are you doing?''
Jenny peeked back over her shoulder at him. ‘‘What does it look like Einstein, I'm dusting.''
‘‘Ahuh.'' He spread more jam on his toast before depositing it in his mouth.
Jenny sighed, standing straight. ‘'I needed to concentrate on something mindless for a while okay?''
He washed the last of the toast down with the coffee. ‘'Far be it from me to look deeper into that.''
Jenny narrowed her eyes. ‘‘Good then don't.'' Turning she returned to the dusting.
He drummed his fingers on the tablecloth for a moment. ‘‘Jenny?''
She looked over in question.
‘'Did…. I mean…. Did you two…. You know?''
Jenny crossed her arms. ‘'No. and even if we had Marcus it isn't any of your business.''
‘‘But something happened?''
Her eyes darted around for a moment before finally she relaxed, walking over to him. ‘'I lost it yesterday.'' She sat.
Marcus's eyes sprung wide. ‘‘Shit! You okay?''
‘‘Yea I am. I was so far-gone this time.'' She exhaled. ‘‘Anyway Shannon brought me out of it.''
His brow creased. ‘'Shannon did?''
‘‘She reacted, grabbed me into her arms.'' She left the rest unsaid, only because she knew he would understand the rest.
His eyes showed the realization. ‘'How she handle it?''
Jenny's finger absent mindedly made patterns in the cotton white tablecloth. ‘‘Better than anyone I know. Except for you. She accepts things so freely and easily.''
Marcus studied her face. ‘'What aren't you telling me?''
Jenny softly smiled. ‘'I saw her past.''
‘‘Anything juicy? Does she bat for your team?''
Jenny snorted, slapping at him. ‘'Be serious for once.''
‘'Well. What you see?'' He waited, then sat back. ‘‘Fair enough, I didn't expect you to tell me anyway.''
She looked over at him, her smile now one of affection.
‘'Does she know now she's under your skin.'' He kept the smile to himself as he watched her blush.
‘'She knows.'' She rose, turning her attention back to the shelves, the duster already making movements against the wood.
He watched her for a while longer, then rose. ‘'Where has action girl gone anyway?''
Jenny chuckled at the description. ‘'She had to go into the station. Don't worry I've got Jane watching over me.'' Her eyes flickered out to the form on the beach, lying, as if sunbathing and nothing more than a tourist.
Marcus grin increased, walking to the door. ‘‘Ah yes the delectable Jane.'' His eyes made sure to take in as much as possible. ‘'Where do you think she hides her gun in that little thing?''
Jenny rolled her eyes, pulling him away. ‘'You know Marcus you keep this up I'm going to buy you a dirty Mac for Xmas.''
‘‘Ohhhhhhh. Buttons or zip?''
She grabbed him harder. But she couldn't contain her laughter. Sometimes it felt good to be alive. ‘‘Oh shut up. Come on I want to update you and show you something.''
‘'Can't wait.'' He grinned. For her he would play the fool any day if he could get her to laugh like this. But even as he followed, he knew Jenny's good mood had little to do with him. Also aware of the change in her as they entered the den, all amusement vanished from both of them, to be replaced with the dark somber business at hand.
Shannon chewed her lip, feeling strange being back in the precinct. Her eyes reading over the F.B.I report the Captain had given her when she'd arrived earlier. As she read, she recognized the Fed.'s didn't know much at all. A smile creased as she read their profilers' report, seeing parts of Jenny's incorporated into it. She wondered how the Captain had managed that and still kept Jenny anonymous.
She closed the file, sitting back. Her eyes went to the empty chair across from her. She'd been surprised to find Pete wasn't around, or that anyone knew exactly where he was. That wasn't unusual in itself. But it niggled at her. She looked at her watch, knowing the ferry back wasn't for another two hours. The Captain had given her a free rein with Jenny and anything needed. With the Fed.'s now involved it meant any new evidence had a chain of command. With the F.B.I. first on the list. She knew Jenny wasn't going to like that, hell, she didn't like it. The Captain however had told her, that in his mind Jenny got first after forensic. Again she wondered how he was going to do that.
One thought rose to the surface, something she'd put on a back burner, and something she'd seen two nights ago while on the laptop. She inputted her code into the computer and called up the back reports she'd been looking over. Her attention now on tracking down what she'd seen.
Marcus looked up; pride and worry in his eyes at what Jenny had managed to track down. ‘'Jesus. How do you do this? It still surprises the hell out of me the way your mind works sometimes.''
Jenny smiled slightly, embarrassed.
He relaxed back, his eyes going to the photographs. ‘‘What do you make of the subtle change of position?''
Jenny bit her bottom lip. ‘‘At a guess, cos that's all I can give right now?''
‘‘It's important to him, and it's linked to his obsession with the number thirteen.'' She shook her head at herself. ‘'After yesterday I haven't really concentrated on it.''
He looked up at that. ‘'You think it will tip you again?''
Jenny slowly nodded. ‘‘Yea.''
He studied her gaze, then gave a relaxed smile. ‘‘You won't.''
She gave a nervous laugh. ‘‘You have a lot of faith….'' Her hand went back through her hair. ‘‘Wish I did.''
He rose, smiling, moving to her, placing his arm around her shoulders. ‘‘Jen. Right this sec. you're more grounded then I've ever seen.''
Her eyes jumped up to his in surprise. Searching his face to see if he was feeding her a line. She twisted closer to him. ‘'Really?''
‘‘Hell yea. Can't you feel it?''
She gave a weak smile. ‘'I feel it. But I didn't want to trust in it.''
He laughed drawing her into a hug. ‘‘Look. Stop second-guessing yourself. What happened in D.C. wasn't your fault….'' He silenced her words, placing two fingers on her lips. His eyes were boring into hers. ‘‘Trust me in this. It wasn't you. You and I both know you were pushed into giving information too soon. Information you had you told them it might be a mislead. They choose to ignore the warning. They did Jen, not you.'' He sighed, removing his fingers, gently stroking her temple. ‘' What happened with you was a mistake in your judgment yes. But not in your talent. There is a huge difference. Trust in you Jen. In you. Besides, you didn't have action girl protecting you back then.''
Her eyes slid shut, feeling the tears break. She held onto him.
He held her tightly back. His eyes falling to the pictures of each victim lay on the table... ‘‘Please believe. Jen. Because honestly, you're the only one who can stop him.''
‘'You have to much faith in me Marcus.'' She drew away.
‘‘No I don't. And neither does Shannon.''
‘'Shannon likes results, I could be anyone to her.''
Marcus frowned. ‘‘You know that's the first time I've ever heard you lie to my face.''
Her eyes snapped to him. ‘'I'm not lying. I'm just a tool to them. You know that.''
His eyes softened. ‘‘To the department and government sure, but to Shannon?''
Jenny's eyes dipped. ‘'She trusts to easily.''
He barked a force laugh. ‘‘Just an hour ago you were telling me how you admired her for it.''
Jenny turned away, her eyes going to the victim board. ‘‘It will get her hurt.''
Marcus watched her, trying to see why the sudden change. Then he understood. He drew in a breath. ‘'There's a break in her essence?''
Jenny exhaled, wishing he wasn't so attuned to her.
He walked slowly to draw level with her. ‘‘How bad?''
Her jaw tensed. ‘‘Bad enough.''
‘‘Related to this?'' His eyes went to the board briefly.
‘'I'm not sure. But it isn't far away?''
Marcus swallowed, seeing the strain on his friends face, also fear. ‘'Death?''
Jenny turned away. ‘'I don't know.''
His eyes sadly followed her as she left the room.
Shannon sat back, her face slightly pale, her chin set in anger at what she'd just discovered. At first she'd thought she'd been wrong, going over everything again and again. But it still came back with the same conclusion. She looked over to the empty chair. Then with one swift movement she rose pulling her jacket off the back of her chair and left the precinct.
Jenny turned her head as she heard Bud growl, breaking her concentration from the laptop she was doing research on, her eyes followed his intent gaze to the front door.
Bud growled again, this time raising and moving to the doorway as the figure stepped into view. He let out a snarl and a bark.
‘'Shit! Newton call him off, for Christ sake.''
Jenny sat still, calming her instant reaction of fear, then anger. She turned in her chair to face him. ‘'What are you doing here Detective Johnston?''
Peter nervously looked down at the dog. ‘'I wanted to speak to Shannon .''
She studied him. ‘'She isn't here.''
His eyes moved briefly from the dog. ‘'She's not?''
‘'She was called to the station this morning.'' She clicked her fingers, bringing Bud next to her.
Pete sighed in relief. ‘'Thanks. Wasn't sure if he was going to eat me.'' He gave a forced smile.
Jenny's face was emotionless she remain silent. Not understanding why he was here.
He made to move into the house, immediately bud moved forward emitting a low growl.
Jenny locked eyes with the detective. ‘'I didn't invite you in.''
His face flushed and he bit down on his anger. ‘'So, I'm supposed to stand out here until Shannon gets back?''
He scoffed. ‘‘Shit, you really are still some piece of work aren't you.''
Jenny made herself turn away, pretending to focus on the laptop screen again. ‘‘You can wait by the dock. She's taking the ferry at two. She'll be here by three. That's another twenty minutes.''
He clicked his tongue thinking. Looking to the dog again. Exhaling he looked nervously around. ‘‘Fine.'' He turned and left. ‘‘Fucking bitch.''
Jane walked into the doorway, looking at Jenny in question, her eyes going briefly to the departing figure, then back to her. ‘'You okay?''
‘‘Not really. But I'll live.''
Jane looked back up the beach again, following Pete until he disappeared out of view. For some reason she never did like that man. ‘'I told him Shannon wasn't here.''
Jenny nodded. ‘‘He's never been one to listen.''
Jane's eyes flicked to Jenny's, hearing the bitterness. Knowing there was a deeper story there. ‘' Boss is on her way back.''
Jenny returned her gaze to the screen. ‘‘Thank you.'' She was amazed the amount of relief she felt at those words.
‘'I'll go back to beach.''
Jenny turned sharply. ‘'Jane… you can…. Um, come in if you want too.''
Jane's eyes didn't hide the surprise. ‘‘You sure. Boss told me to keep a wide berth.''
Jenny had to smile at that. ‘'I'm sure. Besides I want you to look at something and tell me what you think.''
Jane waited for a moment, then nodded coming over, stopping briefly to ruffle the dog's fur. ‘‘Hey cutie.'' She rose, stopping when she reached Jenny, caught for a moment in the amazing eyes watching her. Wow, was right. Catching herself staring she looked down at the laptop. ‘‘What you want to show me?''
Jenny hid her amusement. ‘'This….'' She clicked the page open.
Jane glanced over the screen, then turned questioning eyes to Jenny; she pulled a chair over sitting. ‘'Tell me more?''
Shannon was lost in thought as the ferry docked. Waiting until most of the passengers had disembarked before getting off. The trip across had given her time to calm her temper; however that was forgotten as she spotted peter waiting not so patiently at the dock. Shannon felt the anger rise again; she took the last four steps in a jump, pushing past two women. To get to her partner. ‘'YOU FUCKING SON OF BITCH.''
Peter stepped back, caught by surprise as Shannon came at him, then his wits came back as two hands grabbed his shirt and forced him back into the railing. ‘‘What the hell do you think you're doing? Get your goddamn hands off me. You gone nuts on me?''
Shannon pushed him harder. ‘‘Why the fuck did you do it?''
His face grew red, grabbing at Shannon 's wrist to try and get her to let go. ‘‘Do what for Christ sake?''
Shannon shook him. ‘‘You told them didn't you? ‘' She shook him hard again. ‘'Didn't you!?''
He blinked, looking into her eyes, he felt himself shiver at the ice and anger he saw there. He took a huge lung full of air. ‘' Shannon ? What are you talking about?''
Her teeth clenched. ‘'D.C.! You fucking told the press about her. You were the fucking leak.''
Peter paled. ‘'I…. I…'' then he composed himself, with a huge effort he threw her hands off. Taking a step away from her. ‘'You don't know what the fuck you're talking about.''
Shannon caught his arm as he began to walk away, pulling him back to face her. ‘‘Oh yes I do. I found the trail Peter. Six people knew she was involved, six! And you know what? All but one checked out….'' She took a breath to still her anger. ‘' Did Jenny know the sixth was your fucking sister?''
Peter's face reddened, his eyes darting nervously around.
‘'What happened Peter? You get a phone call from your sister, telling you about the crazy woman on their case? ‘'
He swallowed. ‘'You don't know jack shit!''
‘‘Don't I. Enlighten me?'' she crossed her arms, only for the reason to stop herself grabbing him again.
His body straightened. ‘‘Yea she told me. I fucking warned them about her. But they didn't listen. My sister was on that damn case, being put in the line of fire every time fucking Newton gave then a clue. Rebecca told me how much Newton was losing it. False leads, false fucking clues. It was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.'' He stepped right up into Shannon 's face. ‘‘It didn't take long, two fucking cops died because of her. My sister wasn't going to be the next one…. Yes I told the press. God damn right I did. I told them every fucking detail.''
Shannon had never wanted to hit someone so much in her life.
He almost spat as he spoke. ‘‘And you know what. I'm fucking glad that basterd got a hold of her. Because it meant we caught him.''
Shannon didn't have time to stop her reflex she stepped back and sent a punch directly into his face. Almost in satisfaction she watched him spin away from the impact and land in a heap. She looked down at him.
‘'Jenny knew didn't she. The whole time she knew it was you.''
He looked up at her with traitorous eyes. Holding his now bloody mouth. ‘'Fuck you.''
‘'No. Fuck you Peter. We're finished. Get yourself a new partner.'' She turned her back on him, walking as fast as she could back towards the calm she knew she'd find.
Peter spat out the blood, ignoring the concerned looks from people around him, he rose, spitting again. Then taking a breath he boarded the ferry. His eyes following Shannon 's figure up the beach. He spat blood over the railing as the ferry began to pull away.
Jenny knew Jane was talking to her, but she couldn't quite hear the words, her mind was elsewhere, where she didn't know. But a ball of anxiety was growing in her stomach and it was getting stronger. She rose, startling Jane.
Jane looked around, her hand dropping to the gun on her hip. ‘'What?''
Jenny didn't answer, she ran from the house and out onto the beach, wincing as the sun hit her un-shaded eyes.
Jane sat shocked for a heartbeat then she was up following on the tail of the also shocked dog after his mistress.
Jenny could hardly see, the sun glare off the sand making it near impossible to focus. Her eyes were already watering at the assault, up ahead she could make out a hazy figure, it didn't take long before her inner sense recognized it as Shannon and the ball of anxiety went up by a hundred. She took off in a run. ‘' Shannon !''
Shannon looked up surprised, more surprised at the fact Jenny was running directly at her, with bud and Jane not far behind. She looked around concerned, searching for any danger.
Jenny just stopped herself in time from throwing herself into Shannon . She skidded to a halt, her hand going to her eyes, to shade as much sun as possible. ‘'Are…. Are you okay?''
Shannon stood staring, unsure of what was going on. Seeing Jane draw to a halt not far off. Then her attention went to the state of Jenny's eyes, she immediately pulled off her own shades, offering them out. ‘‘Here.''
Jenny exhaled in relief, taking them, putting them on, welcoming the dullness to her retinas. ‘‘Thank you.''
Jane looked over in question. Shannon waved her off. Jane nodded and headed back towards the house. Shannon 's eyes went to Jenny again. ‘'What's going on?''
Jenny now felt nothing but embarrassment; she hadn't thought she'd just reacted. Her eyes dropped, then she flinched. ‘'What did you do to your hand?''
Shannon stiffened, the anger before had been forgotten. ‘‘Nothing.'' She was about to draw it away when Jenny caught hold of it bringing it forward to look at. Shannon inhaled sharply at the touch.
Jenny misread the inhale. ‘‘Sorry. Did I hurt you?'' When Shannon shook her head no. Jenny continued. ‘' What happened?'' Her eyes took in the detail of the bruising and swelling.
Shannon didn't know if she could get used to this new part of Jenny, the one that touched so easily, she drew her hand back gently. ‘‘It's fine.''
Jenny gaze came up to blue eyes. ‘‘Tell me?''
‘'I know what Peter did to you…. I didn't expect to see him at the dock. I….'' Her jaw clenched.
Jenny eyebrows rose. ‘‘You hit him? Oh Shannon .'' She took a breath, glad the anxiety was easing and knowing the reason for it. She wasn't sure how she felt about being able to sense Shannon 's emotions so far away. She studied the set jaw of the woman in front of her, well aware she was still angry. What was more surprising to Jenny she found herself deeply touched how Shannon had reacted at her betrayal by Peter. ‘'You shouldn't have hit him. He isn't worth it.''
‘‘He deserved it and you were worth it.'' She pushed past Jenny and headed towards the house, needing to distance herself.
Jenny watched, taking in the words in wonder. Then sighing, she followed.
Jane looked up with a jump as Shannon stormed into the house. She swallowed as blue eyes locked on her.
‘'What the hell are you doing in here?''
Jane rose slowly about to answer, but didn't have to as Jenny replied.
‘'I told her it was okay.''
Shannon blinked in surprise, her tone lowering. ‘'You sure?''
Jenny smiled. ‘‘Yes. I'm sure.''
Shannon gave Jane a quick apologetic look.
Jane now feeling like a third wheel, made her way to the door. ‘'Well now that you're back I'd better get over to the safe house and make sure Richard still has his shirt on. ‘' Her eyes went to Jenny's in amusement. ‘'Your friend is a card shark. ‘'
Jenny laughed. ‘‘Among other things.''
‘‘Oh I bet.'' Her attention went to Shannon . ‘'Nothing to report this morning boss. I'll get back and go through the others reports and call by four for a report. Okay? Oh and Peter was here. Did you meet him at the dock?''
Shannon nodded. ‘‘Yea.''
Jane studied her knowing she wasn't going to get any information. With a smile to Jenny Jane turned and left. Leaving an uneasy silence.
They stared at each other, till Jenny broke it, moving to the kitchen running a cloth under the water. ‘‘Come here.''
Shannon moved towards her at the command.
Jenny wrung out the cloth, then lifted Shannon 's hand again, placing the cool cloth over the bruising. Her eyes came up. ‘'Thank you.''
Shannon exhaled, the tension leaving her. ‘'You're welcome.'' She focused on Jenny's hand on hers, seeing the whiter skin against her tan one. Showing the years of Jenny's reclusiveness in the white color. ‘'Why were you running up the beach like a mad woman?''
Jenny stilled her moments adjusting the rag. ‘'I felt something was wrong.'' Her eyes moved to Shannon 's to see the reaction.
Shannon gave a slight nod. ‘‘Think I worked that out. It's kinda nice.''
Jenny smiled. ‘'I'm glad you think of it that way.''
Shannon finally brought her eyes up. ‘‘Others didn't?''
Jenny stiffened slightly, then gave a lopsided smile. ‘‘No they didn't.'' She turned away to the intense gaze. Wringing out the cloth again, before returning it to Shannon 's hand. ‘‘Keep that on there for awhile. It'll help with the swelling.'' She moved away.
‘'He hates you because he lost the Captain promotion doesn't he?''
Jenny exhaled. ‘‘One of the reasons. Yes.''
‘‘But you didn't tell anyone?''
Jenny looked out to the beach. ‘‘No. His partner worked it out. Grieves came to me and asked me to make a formal complaint.''
Shannon lent back against the sink. ‘'Why didn't you?''
Jenny gave a forced smile. ‘‘He thought he was protecting his sister, who's to say what he did didn't save her in some way. The case was going very wrong, people died. I couldn't hate him for doing it. If I'd made a formal complaint he would have lost his job. Besides that, I really wasn't in any state to bother with stupid people and their prejudices.''
Shannon shook her head, looking down at her hand, flexing it. ‘'I'm surprised he wasn't reprimanded. There's nothing on his record.''
‘‘It wasn't necessary. Grimes was going to be his commanding officer, how do you think that made Peter feel? Knowing his ex partner new everything. Knowing he would be watched?''
‘‘Yea. I guess. Well, he isn't my partner anymore.''
‘'I'm sorry.'' Jenny looked back out to the beach. Wondering what else she could screw up in Shannon 's life.
‘'Don't be. I think I was already beginning to question working with him. I … I don't like some of his methods.''
Jenny looked back, wondering exactly what that meant.
Shannon took a steadying breath, aware of the brief touch of Jenny still on her hand. She closed her eyes until she was sure she wasn't going to reveal anything in her gaze. Although as she moved towards the guestroom to change, she knew her gaze was the least of her worries if Jenny was picking up her feelings.
Jenny turned her head from her gaze on the beach, to the door, when she heard the click of it shut. Only then did she exhale her own held breath.
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