Violence Warning:
This story depicts scenes of violence and their aftermath. Some violence is depicted graphically.

Domestic Violence Warning:
This story has a reference to domestic violence. It is not graphic.

There is some of that too. If this is uncomfortable for you, you might consider skipping this one.

This story depicts sexual relations between two women who are in love. If that offends you there are plenty of other stories you might want to read. If you are under 18 or it is illegal where you live, please stop and read no further.

A special thanks to Lunacy for her help with beta reading, feedback, and most importantly encouragement and patience, without which this story would've never gotten off the ground, let alone finished.

Questions and comments are welcome.

İOctober 1998

THE AGENT - Part 2

By C Paradee

Ray returned with the towels to the sound of sirens in the distance. Taking the towels, Megan folded them and placed them against the wound.

Minutes later, although it seemed like hours to Megan, the ambulance arrived. The paramedics came running up with the portable gurney. Megan moved out of the way knowing they were much more adept at starting an IV than she would be. She followed behind when the paramedics transported Tony to the waiting ambulance.

Megan moved to the back of the ambulance to enter. One of the paramedics told her, "I'm sorry you can't ride in back."

Turning to the paramedic, almost withering him with a glare, she said, "I am DOCTOR Donnovan and this is MY patient, and I am riding WITH HER to the hospital," daring him to defy her.

"Ok, sorry. I didn't know you were a doctor," he said, helping her into the back of the ambulance.

Ray watching the exchange in silence was amazed. In all the time he had known Megan, he had never seen such a display of anger. "Megan, I'll meet you at the hospital."

"Ok Ray, thanks," she replied, turning her attention to Tony.

Megan and the paramedic worked together, giving oxygen, while attaching the equipment that would electronically convey her vital signs to the hospital. When they arrived the trauma team met them at the doors taking the cart wheeling it into the trauma room.

Megan entered the waiting room and began pacing. She knew this was the best trauma center in the city. What she couldn't understand was why Tony had gone out by herself in the first place. I told her it was dangerous. But everything had happened just too quickly. It was almost like someone had targeted the agent. But Megan knew that was impossible because she was brand new to Cleveland. What would be the point. She didn't like the way it added up though. She had also noticed the trail of blood down the length of the alley stopping at Tony. The damn woman had chased her assailant without regard to her injury. Talk about dumb. But Megan's concern far outweighed any anger at Tony for doing something so foolish.

Looking up when Ray entered the room, she said, "Hi, Ray. Thanks for coming."

"It's no problem, Megan. You know that." Looking at her blood covered clothes, he said, "Megan you're a mess. Let me see if I can talk someone out of some scrubs for you."

Megan hadn't even noticed. She was too concerned about Tony. Knowing what a good lawyer Ray was she didn't doubt he convince them to part with a pair.

Returning a few minutes later, he handed the scrubs to her and showed her where the women's restroom was. When she came back, he told her they had taken Tony to surgery.

Walking over to the surgery waiting room, Megan told Ray, "There's no need for you to stay any longer. I know you're probably getting cases ready for Monday and it's already after 3 am. Why don't you go home."

"You're right. I do have a couple of cases I'm working on. Be sure and let me know how she is. My phone number's on my card," he replied handing it to her before departing.

Megan was exhausted. She continued to pace wondering if she could have somehow prevented this from happening. But she couldn't think of anything she could have done. Everything had happened too quickly.

"Dr. Donnovan?"

Megan startled out of her thoughts, said anxiously, "Yes, how is she?"

"She's going to be fine. I have to admit I was worried there for a while. Her Crit was only 10 going in and we almost lost the BP. She is incredibly lucky. By some freak chance the knife missed her stomach and kidney hitting only the spleen. The CT scan showed she was eligible for the non-invasive spleen trauma protocol. She lost of lot of blood, but she's in great shape, and should be out of here in a couple of days. She's over in recovery. We're waking her up now. You can go on over there, but she probably won't remember it tomorrow anyway. So why don't you just go home and get some rest and come back later on."

"Thanks, but I think I'd rather see her for a minute," Megan replied. Even though the surgeon had been very reassuring, she needed to see Tony for herself, just to make sure. Megan walked with the surgeon over to the recovery. The nurse who was at the bed asked her, "You want to wake her up?" Megan nodded and the nurse left.
Megan look down at the vulnerable face sleeping so peaceably. She placed her hand on Tony's cheek briefly, needing to touch her, to know she was all right. Gently grasping Tony's hand, she said firmly, "Tony, it's time to wake up." Getting no response, she said, "Come on Tony, wake up. You've had a long enough nap." She felt the slight movement of the hand she was holding and watched the eyes flicker open.

Tony was so tired. But someone was calling her. She wanted to ignore the voice and sleep. But she couldn't. It was such a beautiful voice. Fighting sleep off, she followed the voice. Opening her eyes, everything was fuzzy, and she tried to focus on the face talking to her. "Megan?" her voice no more than a whisper.

When Tony uttered her name, Megan's heart lurched. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she said, "Yeah Tony, it's Megan. You with us again?" smiling down at the prone figure.

Tony's eyes finally focused, but her mind was having trouble catching up. She answered by tightening her hand around the one holding hers.

Megan continued, "What's your name," knowing the recovery room protocol from her residency days.

"Tony," came the simple reply.

"Tony, what's your last name?" Megan persisted, knowing it was necessary for her to attain a certain level of awareness. "Viglioni," Tony replied fighting her tired mind to stay awake while she listened to Megan's sweet voice talking to her.

"That's good. That's real good Tony. It's ok to go back to sleep now." She watched the eyes flutter close. Remaining at her side for a few more minutes, Megan gently removed her hand from Tony's, taking one last look at the beautiful woman, before willing herself to leave.

Megan took a cab to her car and drove home. She was overtired and couldn't sleep. The events of the evening played themselves over and over again in her mind, and her thoughts turned to the past week.

What had started normally had turned into a real roller coaster ride. Getting assigned the Shadow case. Meeting Tony...lunch...an afternoon in the Flats...a wonderful evening ending in near tragedy. The fact that Tony almost died tonight finally hit Megan's exhausted mind, and tears began rolling down her cheeks.

She could no longer kid herself. It didn't matter if she was Lesbian, Gay, Queer, or whatever the politically correct phrase was. What mattered was one tall dark woman who had wondered into her life and stole her heart in a matter of days. She knew her body had been screaming hints for days while her mind cried out to know more about the woman.
Tears began falling anew at the unfairness of it. She had finally met someone who had literally swept her off her feet and she couldn't do anything about it. She could never let Tony know how she felt. But at least, maybe, she could have her for a friend. That was better than nothing. She could deal with that. The tears continued until sleep claimed her.


Dwayne arrived home smiling. He had heard Megan talking on the phone with the FBI agent and decided he would remove her from the picture. He needed to catch Megan alone and he couldn't do it if she was escorting an FBI agent around. It just happened to be perfect that they were going to the Flats. That was an area he was very familiar with

Dwayne had been in a quiet rage for two days after he arrived home and found his wife gone. He had checked everyplace he could think of and she had just literally disappeared. He'd take care of her when he found her. In the meantime, he could fully engage himself with the cause of all his problems, including his wife leaving in the first place, Megan, the bitch.

His plan had been perfect. He arrived early and seated himself inside one of the night club's that had windows overlooking the sidewalk. He had simply waited for them to go by knowing they would have to. Seeing them approach, he watched to see where they went. All evening he had stayed in the background with the crowds staying only close enough so he wouldn't lose them. When they entered the last club, he had waited outside. He knew he couldn't take both of them, and was getting worried. But good fortune had smiled on him and the FBI agent exited alone.

Following her had been so easy. But it's what he expected. After all, here was another woman trying to do a man's job. She never even heard him until the last second. His only regret was that whatever instinct had caused her to start turning had probably saved her life.

But what he couldn't believe was how she had tried to catch him. Didn't she know she'd been stabbed? At least she never saw his face. Feeling quite pleased with himself he went to bed.

Megan slept fitfully for several hours. Awakening, the events of the past evening swept through her mind. Getting up, she quickly showered, dressed and headed to the hospital, stopping at Micky D's to get some coffee and a Danish.

Entering the room, Megan pulled a chair over to the bed and sat quietly, just watching Tony sleep.

Tony began to rise toward consciousness. The only change was a slight quickening of the heart rate. Megan who had been watching the monitors, noticed immediately. Returning her gaze to Tony's face, she watched the eyes slowly open.

Tony lay quietly, not having any idea where she was.

"Hi, Tony," Megan said softly, smiling at her.

Tony tried to respond but her mouth was dry, and she was barely able to push, "Hi," out. Tony's mind finally grasped she was in a hospital and suddenly the events of the past evening came flooding over her. She was mortified. How could she have been so stupid. She had been caught unawares. She remembered chasing someone down the alley and then...nothing.

She watched Megan fill a cup with water, and place a straw in it. "Come on, I'll hold it while you drink."

"I can hold it myself," Tony replied. She began to sit up, quickly slipping back down again when her body refused to cooperate and let it's pain be felt.

Megan watched Tony's face turn white at the effort, and simply put her arm behind her head and lifted the straw to her mouth.

"Thanks," Tony said, feeling utterly embarrassed at having to be helped. Megan sat back down in the chair at the side of the bed and asked, "How do you feel?"

"Ok," Tony lied. Actually she felt like shit. Her back wouldn't quit throbbing, and it didn't help that the one person she would have liked to impress had to see her like this. Oh, she'd been injured before, but always against overwhelming odds, and she'd always managed to get to safety herself.

Megan asked her, "Do you remember what happened?" Tony looked over at Megan and seeing the concerned look on her face realized she was being selfish and thinking only of herself. Fighting to overcome her embarrassment, she answered, "I remember getting hit in the back and chasing some guy down the alley. I don't remember anything after that."

"What happened after that is you passed out," Megan supplied. "You went into shock, so your body started shutting down."

Tony decided to go for broke, and asked, "So, what's the damage?"

Megan answered bluntly, "You were very lucky. Somehow the knife only hit your spleen. Usually in trauma cases, the spleen is automatically removed. But you're lucky. This is a Level 1 Trauma Center and they've got a new non-invasive spleen trauma protocol, which basically means your body parts are still all intact."

Tony thought about what Megan had just told her, and decided things could be a lot worse considering how careless she'd been.

"You up to answering a question?" Megan asked Tony.

Tony nodded, so she continued, "What are earth were you doing chasing the guy that stabbed you? Didn't you know you were bleeding?"

"It didn't hurt that much," Tony answered evasively.

Megan mulled that over and realized that was probably the truth. Many people had died of ruptured spleens because they didn't go to the hospital until it was too late. But Megan still had to get something off her chest. "You know you did more damage to yourself than the knife wound did. The spleen holds about a liter of blood. That wouldn't be so bad because it's mostly recycled. But by running your body was trying to refill it as fast as you were losing it. That was really dumb you know."

Tony's eyes narrowed at the words. But her tired mind acknowledged Megan was right. It made sense, but there was no way she was going to tell her she agreed with her.

"Ya gotta do what ya gotta do," Tony replied. "Do you know what happened to my gun?"

Wouldn't you know that would be one of the first things she wants to know? "I picked it up. It's at my place."

"Thanks. You look really tired. Why don't you go home?"

"Later," Megan answered, settling more comfortably in the chair.

The day passed slowly with Tony drifting in and out of sleep with Megan right at her side, refusing to leave even when Tony insisted.

Sgt Davies stopped by and, Megan, intercepting him at the door told him what she knew, advising him he'd have to come back tomorrow if he wanted to talk to Tony.

Later that evening, when the nurses got Tony out of bed, Megan could not believe how stubborn she was when she insisted she could walk without any assistance. Obviously that little idea didn't last long. Megan knew it wouldn't be until the next day that Tony would be able to begin to move around a little on her own.

Megan's tired body called it quits late Sunday evening. Whispering to the sleeping woman, "I'll be back tomorrow," she returned home.

The next morning, Tony felt decidedly more human. Looking around the room, she noticed Megan was gone. She had looked so tired, Tony was glad she finally went home, but at the same time she missed her presence. She was so comforting. Every time she woke up yesterday, Megan had been right there, putting up with her moodiness, and her anger at herself. Helping her when she insisted she could do things herself, which of course she couldn't, but refused to admit.

Tony thought about the events leading to the attack on her Saturday evening. She acknowledged Megan was having a very unsettling effect on her. She felt out of control and it was not a feeling she liked. Maybe she should call Huey, but quickly discarded the idea. She did still have a case to solve, wryly acknowledging she wasn't doing a very good job at it so far, and besides if she called him she'd never be able to complete her personal agenda. Tony knew her decision to step out of Megan's life was a sound one. But why did that thought fill her with such trepidation? Maybe there was another way...but it would require her getting some measure of control back when she was around Megan.

Megan knew she had to go in to work. It was Monday and that was always a busy day. She was going to talk to Dr. Whitehouse and request a few days off though. Tony would need her. The serial killer had been quiet, so it shouldn't be a problem. Once she was ready for work, Megan placed a call to the surgical ward to talk with the nurses. After ascertaining that Tony was doing very well, she asked the nurse to tell her she would be in later, not wanting to wake her if she was sleeping.

Arriving at work, she found David waiting for her in her office. "Hey guy, how's it going."

Returning her warm smile, he answered, "Great." Studying her carefully he said, "Are you ok? You look exhausted," concern clouding his eyes.

Turning to look at him, she answered simply, "It's been a long weekend, I'll tell you about it later. How many we got today?"

"Just two-cause of death unknowns," he answered, silently vowing to himself not to let her leave today until he talked to her. David had never seen her look so worn out.

Tony looked up as Sgt. Davies entered the room. Mentally groaning, she looked at him and growled, "Don't even start," shifting into a persona that warned, don't mess with me.

Brian watched the change come over the woman glaring at him. It was enough to intimidate the hell of anyone. Brian began to feel a grudging respect for Tony. It was obvious she wasn't a quitter. "Don't sweat it. I just stopped by to ask a few questions and see how you're doing. I tried to yesterday, but it seems the Assistant Coroner has taken a personal interest in your care and she wouldn't let anyone in."

Brian noticed the surprise that quickly crossed the face looking at him before the mask fell back into place. Tony said, "Sorry about that. I didn't know you were here yesterday. I was still pretty out of it."
"How ya feeling?" Brian asked, concern in his voice.

"Just fine. It's no big deal. What do ya want to know?"

"Did you see the guy that attacked you?"

"No. It was dark. He approached from the rear. Obviously I didn't hear him soon enough. I started to turn and he struck. I chased him as far as I could. So there's not much to tell. He was dressed in dark clothes, had an athletic build, was probably 5'10" or 11" and about 185 pounds, and that probably describes half the male population of Cleveland," she summed up disgustedly.

"Don't be so hard on yourself. Shit happens," Brian stated gruffly knowing she would resent any sympathy from him. "Why were ya down there in the first place? I don't think it's a coincidence that you happened to be in the general area all the murders took place. I thought we were working on this case together," he followed up staring at her pointedly.

"We are working on it together. But I can't get a feel for the case stuck on the phone talking to crazies all day. Dr. Donnovan offered to show me around down there, and I accepted. It's that simple. If I wanted to undermine your authority, I'd of never come to you in the first place," she retorted.

Brian believed her, "Ok, just checking. If ya need anything..."

"Yeah, I do," she interrupted, pausing before continuing, "Did the FBI get notified...I mean...since I'm an agent..." she trailed off.

Sensing where she was going, Brian said with empathy, "No, I haven't sent the report over yet. I was waiting to talk to you first." Making a decision, he continued, "Sometimes things get lost."

Tony sighed with relief, gave him a full smile, and said, "Thanks, I owe ya."

"No, ya don't. Just get on your feet so we can get this case solved," he smiled back. "Get some rest. I'll keep you up to date," he promised before leaving.

"Later," Tony responded.

Megan had finished up her cases and was completing her preliminary reports when David walked in and sat down. Looking up, she smiled and said, "You're gonna call me to task, aren't you?"

"Yep," he said, flashing a warm grin at her.

Megan gathered her thoughts, and started, "Ok...you remember when I left early to show the FBI agent assigned to the case the Flats?" She saw David nod and continued. "Well we decided to go back down there Saturday night. Tony wanted to get a feel for the place when it was in full swing." Megan told him exactly what had transpired, leaving out only her feelings for Tony.

David studied Megan carefully as she related the events of the weekend to him. Her face subtly changed every time she mentioned the agent. A puzzled expression crossed her face when she told him about Tony suddenly leaving. An idea began to work its way into David's mind. By the time she finished her story, he felt sure there was more here than met the eye. He wouldn't mind meeting the agent.

"God, Megan, that really sucks," he answered. "No wonder you look so tired. What can I do to help?"

"I asked Dr. Whitehouse for the next couple of days off. He complained, but gave it to me. If you'd just kind of keep an eye on things here and call me if anything unusual happens, it would really help."

"Consider it done," he told her. "You going back over to the hospital now?"

"Yeah. I just want to make sure everything's ok," she answered with a slight shrug of her shoulders.

"You take care of yourself. I mean it," David gave her a stern look.

"I will." Smiling apologetically, she said, "see ya Thursday."

"Take care."

Tony had been examined by the surgeon and was told she could leave that afternoon provided she took it easy. He told her unless there were any problems she could return to work on limited duty in a week . She was to call his office and schedule a follow-up appointment. Tony was ecstatic. She hated hospitals.

When Megan arrived, Tony greeted her with a grin, saying "Hi."

Megan, surprised at the warm greeting, responded, "Hi yourself," answering the infectious grin with one of her own.

"I'm out of here today."

"That's great, but of course you're staying at my place. I've got an extra bedroom," Megan replied waiting for the inevitable explosion. It wasn't long in coming.
"Oh no I'm not," Tony countered. "I've already inconvenienced you enough. The surgeon told me you saved my life. Don't you think you've done enough? I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Softening her tone, she added, "I just really can't impose on you anymore."

At her words, the hazel eyes started flashing, and Tony actually had time to think, oh shit, before the rebuttal was voiced, "Are you done?" The calm voice contradicting the body language.

"Yeah," came the answer.

Megan continued, "First of all, you are not capable of taking care of yourself yet. I happen to be a doctor by profession, and a pathologist by specialty. I'd say I'm in a much better position that you to determine what care you need right now. Second...how about if I am the one who decides when and if someone is inconveniencing me or imposing on me? I really think that should be my decision. Lastly, you have a friend who happens to care what happens to you, so get used to it."

How do you argue that? Tony's mind sped through a variety of responses, discarding each. Megan had logically and calmly picked apart all her arguments.

Taking advantage of Tony's silence, Megan asked, "How about giving me the key to your hotel room so I can get you something to wear out of here."

Tony pointed to the night stand drawer and said, "The key's in there," capitulating with those words.

"No," the low voice growled.

"You have to," the rebuttal stated firmly.

"No, I don't," came the irritated response.

"Fine. Then you can stay here for a few more days, because you aren't leaving any other way. It is hospital policy and besides you can't walk that far," Megan said exasperatedly. This had to be the most stubborn woman she had ever met. What was the big deal. It must be some silly ego thing. This argument had been going on ever since the nurse brought the offending item into the room. Maybe a different approach would work.

Tony was sitting on the side of the bed glaring at the wheelchair, willing it to disappear.

Megan walked over and bent down until she was at eye level with the sitting woman, "Tony, come on. Please. I'm tired. Let's get out of here."

The disarming entreaty from Megan broke through her irritation, and realizing just how much the small woman had done for her, Tony sighed and said, "Ok, let's just get it over with."

Parking the car, Megan moved around to the passenger side to help Tony. She knew, regardless of declarations otherwise, that the woman was hurting. Offering her arm, she helped Tony ease herself out of the car, the pale face and clenched jaw, attesting to the difficulty of the maneuver. Silently cursing her body for it's weakness, Tony was grateful for Megan's help on the way to the apartment.

Looking around when they entered, Tony began to relax in the warm, appealing decor. The apartment was huge with the late afternoon sunlight spilling through the windows, adding to the cheery atmosphere. The living room was tastefully done in soft mauve tones offset by overstuffed furniture designed for comfort . Walking down the hall toward the guest bedroom, Megan pointed out the bathroom, and her bedroom. Tony noticed both bedrooms were done similarly in light blue offset by ivory. The apartment reflected the owner's personality perfectly.

As Tony sat on the bed, Megan said, "Why don't you lay down? I've got to get some things out of the car. I'll be right back." She turned and left the bedroom. Tony gladly complied. The short trip had depleted what little energy she'd had and laying back on the bed she immediately dropped off into the healing sleep her body needed.

When Megan had gone to Tony's hotel room, she had chosen a light weight set of sweats for her to wear home from the hospital. She had also picked up some extra clothes, and personal items she felt Tony might want. Fetching them now, she hurried back up to the apartment wanting to make sure her guest was comfortable. Quickly returning to the bedroom, Megan realized Tony had already fallen asleep. Standing in the doorway, gazing at Tony, Megan felt an almost overwhelming urge for some kind of contact, but afraid she might wake her up, she just quietly entered the room and placed Tony's things on the dresser before departing. Changing into a t-shirt and shorts, Megan picked a book before collapsing into the recliner and tilting it back. She began reading, and promptly fell into an exhausted sleep.

Tony woke up in a strange room softly lit by moonlight. Disoriented for a moment she glanced around, and remembered where she was. Easing up into a sitting position, she noticed the pain had receded some. Turning on a small lamp next to the bed, she saw some of her things on the dresser. Walking over to inspect the items, she couldn't believe Megan had even taken the time to include some of her CDs and her book. Tony was perplexed by the actions of the compassionate, caring woman. I've spent so much time fighting for control of my emotions around her, all I've done is give her a hard time the last couple of days, and yet she bends over backwards to do things for me. I really don't deserve this. Vowing to herself to be more considerate, Tony went looking for something to drink.

The rest of the apartment was dark except for where light filtered in from the street. Finding the kitchen, Tony turned on the light. Perusing the contents of the refrigerator, she selected a bottle of cranberry juice before closing the door and looking for a glass. Finding one, she replaced the cranberry juice, turned off the light and quietly made her way through the dining room to the living room. She wanted to sit up for a while and figured that was a good to do it.

She was almost startled by the sleeping form in the chair. Setting her glass on the end table, she walked over to the chair. Looking down at Megan, Tony realized the toll the last few days had taken on her. Knowing she'd be more comfortable in her bed, she softly called her name not wanting to scare her. Not getting any reaction, she called her name a little louder. Megan just shifted her body in the chair. Placing her hand on Megan's shoulder she shook it very gently, saying, "Megan, wake up. You need to go to bed."

Megan's eyes came open, and recognizing Tony, she said, "What's wrong? I'm sorry. I fell asleep. What do you need?"

"Stop, already. I don't need anything. It seems you've already taken care of everything. I just saw you sleeping here and thought you'd be a lot more comfortable in your own bed," Tony explained, reluctantly moving her hand from Megan's shoulder.

"Thanks, but what are you doing up? You should be in bed. You're supposed to be taking it easy."

"I am taking it easy, but I can't stay in bed 24 hours a day. I'm going to sit up for a while." Seeing Megan's worried expression, Tony added, "For just a little. Now why don't you go to bed?"

Megan realized Tony was right. She was still tired, and her bed sounded really good right now. "Ok, see you tomorrow."


Tony sat quietly for a while thinking, I'm in serious trouble here and wondering what in the hell she was going to do about it. True to her word, she went to bed a short time later.


The man walked confidently down the street toward the predesignated meeting place. He didn't expect to encounter any trouble but was carrying a piece just in case. Rounding the darkened warehouse building, he stepped into a doorway to wait. He always arrived at least 30 minutes early to check out the area. The precaution probably wasn't necessary, but better not to take chances. After all, those who made mistakes paid and he didn't intend to make any. That was why he wore his disguise even to these meetings. No one would ever be able to identify him, not even a low life drug dealer.

A short time later, he saw his contact make his way across the warehouse parking lot. Waiting until he passed the doorway he was secluded in, he stepped out behind the man, saying, "You got it?"

The dealer swore, whirling around angrily.

"No, I don't think so," he sneered. Now do you have the stuff?"

Holding out his hand, he said, "The money," counting it before he pulled 5 small vials out of his pocket. Once the exchange was made, the dealer departed first. A short time later the other man made his way back to his car.

"Morning," Megan smiled at the tall woman entering the kitchen, thinking, she is so beautiful. "How ya feeling?"

"Kinda sore," Tony surprised herself with the honest answer. "But could be worse," she finished placing her hand on the back of the chair.

"Did you take your pills?" Megan knew the threat of sepsis was very high in spleen injury cases and Tony was on heavy doses of antibiotics and a pain killer.

"No, I was going to get some juice first."

"What would you like for breakfast. Lets see...there's eggs, cereal, bagels, English muffins, bananas..."

"Wait," Tony interrupted Megan, quirking a small grin. "How about just the cranberry juice. I'm really not hungry."

"You have to eat something. You're not supposed to take those on an empty stomach. How about a bagel?" Megan urged.

"Ok, but I'm going to take a shower first."

"You're gonna have to settle for a bath and watch how much water you put in. You can't get the adhesive wet and when you're done, I want to take a look at your back," Megan answered expecting some sort of argument.

Tony was silent for a minute, but remembering her promise, she simply said, "Ok," to a surprised Megan. Taking her bath she found out just how much the wound in her back impeded her range of motion, and exited the tub in considerable pain. Donning a loose night shirt, she wanted only to lay down until the pain let up.

Megan heard her leave the bathroom and make her way down the hall. Taking the bagel and juice to the bedroom, she saw Tony had already laid down. "I bought you some breakfast. Come on, sit up."

"I will. In a little while. I just need to lay down right now."

"What you need is a something for the pain, so you've got to eat something. Now come on, sit up," Megan answered.

Tony complied and after one look at her face, Megan handed her the juice and told her she'd be right back. Grabbing a banana from the fruit bowl she went back to the bedroom, handed it to Tony, and said, "This is breakfast," knowing she would never get a bagel down. Finishing, Tony looked at Megan, saying, "Thanks," took her meds and laid back down.

Megan sat on the bed next to her and raised the nightshirt to check the wound. It was healing nicely. Noticing the tightly clenched muscles in Tony's back, she said, "You gotta relax. She started kneading the knotted muscles, working her way from the shoulders down, and then from one side to the other in a soothing, relaxing rhythm, while staying well away from the wound. Tony began relaxing under the soothing onslaught and fell asleep. Megan pulled her shirt down and brushed the hair out of her face with her hand. Bending over and kissing her on the forehead, she left. Megan knew it would be a few hours before Tony woke because the pain killer was also a light sedative.

Megan put a pot roast and vegetables in the crock pot turning it on low. She started straightening up the apartment which had been neglected the last few days. Her thoughts were occupied with ways to convince Tony to give up the hotel room and stay with her until she found a place of her own.

When Tony woke up, the pain had receded to a dull discomfort. She lay on the bed thinking of the back rub Megan had given her. The pain had taken a back seat to the soothing, soft small hands. Tony began to imagine how those hands might feel on other parts of her...anatomy. Oh yeah, you're definitely feeling better, now get your mind out of the gutter, she was just being nice. Reluctantly leaving the thoughts behind, she got up.

"How ya feeling?" Megan asked when Tony entered the living room, eyeing her closely.

"Better than I did. What ya doing?" she asked Megan who was sitting at the computer.

"Just surfing. I like to do that sometimes."

Tony walked over and sat down gingerly on the couch, trying to decide how to start, "Um Megan," pausing, "I just wanted you to know I really appreciate everything you've done for me. I never thanked you for saving my life...thank you," she finished simply.
Megan walked over and sat down next to Tony, "Your welcome, I'm just glad I was there. But you know, I was wondering about something. Why did you leave and take off by yourself?

Tony considered the question trying to decide what to say that wasn't an absolute lie. For some reason the idea of lying to Megan really bothered her but she obviously couldn't tell her the truth either. "I thought you might like some time alone with Ray," she replied, then added honestly, "It seemed like you were pretty good friends...I just kind of felt like...a third wheel."

"Oh Tony, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to leave you out..."

"No, it's ok," she interrupted, and then asked a question she wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer to, "Is he your boyfriend?"

"He used to be. We were engaged, twice. Once when I was 21 and then again, when I was 24. I broke off the engagement both times. I knew Ray wasn't right for me. That's the first time I've seen him in over two years. He's a really nice guy. He helped me find you and came to the hospital."

Tony breathed an inward sigh of relief, but wasn't willing to follow the line of thought any further. She knew as lovely as the woman was, she was probably seeing someone, and Tony just didn't want to know if she was.

"What about you, are you seeing anyone?" Megan asked casually.

"No. I move around a lot so..." she trailed off.

"Didn't you have to work today?" Tony had just realized it was midday and Megan was still home.

"No. I took a couple of days off. I figured you might need some help getting around."

Tony was stunned. She took time off to take care of me. Wondering, yet again, what did I do to deserve this? "Megan, you shouldn't have..."

"Stop. I did what I wanted to. Now how about some lunch? You need to eat," she adroitly changed the subject.

After lunch, they returned to the living room. Megan insisted Tony use the recliner because it would be easier on her back than sitting on the couch. Flipping aimlessly through the channels, she asked, "What do you like to watch?"

"Anything action...sci-fi, cops...stuff like that."

"How about Unsolved Mysteries? There's not much on right now."
"Ok," Tony said, relaxing in the recliner.

"I want to talk to you about something," Megan began.

Tony looked at Megan, thinking, uh oh, this sounds serious.

Once she had Tony's attention she continued, "It seems like a real waste of money for you to keep that hotel room while you're staying here." When Tony started to interrupt, she said, "Wait, let me finish. Why don't you let me go and get your stuff and then you could just stay here until you find a place?" she finished in a rush.

Tony hadn't thought about the hotel room. The money wasn't a problem. She had invested very wisely during her years undercover with no real use for her salary since the government paid for everything on covert operations. Actually, she could retire and live quite comfortably on her earnings . But it was really...nice here. Could she handle being around Megan for more than a day or two?... or maybe the question should be, could she handle not being around her? Tony sighed inwardly at the dilemma she was in. The situation was obviously hopeless. But the idea of staying here a little longer was really appealing...

Megan had been studying Tony intently, willing her to say yes. But as the silence lengthened, she prepared to be disappointed, knowing it would be too good to be true.

"Only if I can pay for half of everything while I'm here," Tony responded, adding, "and I go with you to get my things. You shouldn't have to do that."

Tony watched the warm, full smile light up Megan's face, and thought, I think I finally did something right, answering it with one of her own.

Megan and Tony spent the next couple of hours conversing easily, each opening up to the other slowly, a budding trust beginning to develop. Megan talked about her parents, her sisters and brother, and about how it was growing up in a home that had very high expectations of each child. She touched on her relationship with her father vaguely, telling Tony how Ashley had always tried to intervene in her behalf and how close she was to her sister.

Tony was surprised at how easy it was talk to Megan. She shared some of her happy childhood stories, talking about her brothers, and how they all were in trouble more often than not, admitting she was often the instigator. Realizing she was talking about her brothers, Tony was shocked.

Then other memories began coursing through her mind. Tony was 17, had just graduated and was waiting to start college along with her brother George. They had started and finished school in the same grade. There was only nine and a half months between them and due to the way his birthday fell, he started school a year late. Both had won partial scholarships and were working summer jobs. This weekend was a welcome reprieve from work for both the teenagers. Joey was the youngest. He was 16 and would enter the 11th grade that fall.

They had been anticipating this weekend for a month. Vinnie had offered the use of his uncle's cabin up in the mountains of Massachusetts. Their group consisted of 5. Tony, George, Joey, Vinnie and Sharon. Vinnie and Sharon were two of Tony and George's classmates. Joey was the only one who had not yet graduated. The 5 had often spent the weekends camping out, their love of the outdoors unequaled by any of their classmates.

Normally they just went to a wooded resort in the foothills. Sharon's family owned one of the lots, so they had a trailer to crash in. But the idea of exploring the mountains excited all of them. Each of the others had had their turn and, as was the norm, she quickly located each of them. Tony had decided to have some fun and had led them on a merry chase. They were at least 5 miles from the cabin.

Tony forcefully thrust the memory of that painful day away, concentrating so hard, her face was tight with the visible effort.

"Tony...are you ok? What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I was just thinking."

After Tony fell asleep, Megan decided to go get her things. Getting in and out of the car was still too hard for her and besides she shouldn't be carrying things anyway. Best to do it now and avoid having to argue the point. She knew just how stubborn Tony could be. She needed to stop at the store anyway. Before departing, she left Tony a note saying she'd be back in a couple of hours.

Megan had rushed her errands, wanting to get back before Tony woke up, so she could move her things into the apartment unobtrusively. Accomplishing that, she started to finish preparing dinner.

"Oh, Sleeping Beauty's finally up," teased Megan, smiling when Tony walked into the kitchen.

Tony was unable to stop the blush that crept onto her face at the words. Megan looked at her chuckling, "What's the matter, I embarrass you?" thinking how cute she looked.

"No," came the automatic denial. "What're you making?"

"Pot roast and vegetables. I just have to do the salad and it'll be done."

"I'll make the salad. Why don't you relax for a while."
Megan started to object, but seeing the look Tony was giving her decided not to.

Tony smiled to herself. Yep, salads she could do. Not much else though. Cooking had never really interested her. She just usually ate out.

"This is really good," Tony complimented Megan. "It's really nice to have a home cooked meal for a change."

Megan felt her cheeks redden at the praise, "Thanks."

When Tony saw Megan blush she decided it was payback time and winked at her, "I didn't embarrass you did I?"she teased. "Turnabouts fair play you know."

Looking at the mirth filled blue eyes, Megan smiled. God, she's in a good mood. It's hard to believe that this is the same woman I met last week. Taking advantage of her good humor, Megan nonchalantly said, "I picked up your stuff and put it in the bedroom. Most of the it's in the closet. If you can't find something, let me know."

"I thought we agreed that I would go with you. My stuff is not your responsibility," Tony stated pointedly.

"You were asleep and I had to go out anyway so it was no problem. You would have only aggravated your back and I didn't want you to have to go through any more pain than you already have. I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel about it," Megan finished, figuring Tony would be mad at her, but knowing she would do the same thing again if she needed to.

Tony sat silently for a minute. So far, she was batting zero. She just couldn't win these arguments with Megan. How are you supposed to be angry at someone for caring about you? She said the only thing she could, "Thanks."

Tony spent the rest of the evening in the recliner, wanting to be near Megan, dozing on and off from the effects of the pain killers and her body's effort to repair itself. When she was awake, they passed the time companionably, watching TV, talking, sharing, and enjoying their new found friendship.

The next morning Tony was up early and decided there no way she was going to bathe before she ate breakfast and took a pain killer. No more repeats of yesterday. Well the back rub was pretty good. Yeah, you're definitely on the mend. Shaking her head at her incorrigible mind, she went to the kitchen only to see Megan standing there in a short lightweight nightshirt. Oh God...Tony was helpless to stop her eyes from raking the length of Megan's body and was only just able to divert them before Megan turned around. "Mornin'," Megan said smiling. Tony managed to return the greeting and then decided maybe she better take a bath first after all.

Megan had only gone to the kitchen to make coffee, not expecting Tony up so early. But since she was, she asked, "What ya want for breakfast?" deciding Tony was kind of quiet this morning.

You, mentally slapping herself in the head, Tony said, "I think I'll take a bath first."

"If I remember right, that wasn't such a good idea yesterday," Megan countered.

"Um...well...my back's a little better today," replied Tony turning to make her escape. Megan was having none of that, remembering only too well the pain Tony had been in yesterday, and went over, grasped her arm, tugging her toward the chair, and said,"Come on. It'll only take a couple of minutes. I'll makes eggs. How do you like em'?"

Tony allowed herself to be led to the chair, fighting to control her lascivious thoughts, as the small hand that warmed her arm, along with Megan's proximity made this a very difficult feat. Whoa...take it easy...you can do this..oh but this is agony.

While they were eating, Tony who had managed to tame her libido for the time being, asked, "What we gonna do today?"

Megan started laughing. "Oh, you are feeling better." Megan knew Tony needed to take it easy whether she realized it or not, so she responded, "We can do anything you want as long as it can be done from your bed or the recliner."

Unbidden images brought on by the innocent comment cascaded through Tony's mind, and she choked on her toast and started coughing. Megan was at her side in an instant, thunking her expertly on the back, asking her, "Are you ok?"

Once Tony got the coughing under control, she muttered, "Yeah," Popping one of her pain pills while silently cursing her back. "I'm gonna lay down," her actions belying her words.

Megan followed her in and said, "Let me take a look at your back. You were coughing pretty hard. I need to make sure you didn't pull anything loose."

Tony laid down grumbling, "Damn back anyway. All I did was cough, I can't believe this shit."

Megan raised her shirt, checking carefully for any damage. Satisfied there wasn't any, she began massaging Tony's muscles, with sure, smooth movements. "You know Tony, the muscles in your back were severed. Even though they have been repaired, it's gonna take a while. When you do something that involves those muscles, it's gonna hurt," she said expertly avoiding any area that might cause discomfort.

Tony had forgotten about complaining, enjoying the soothing feel of the back rub, "Thanks, that feels really good."
"It's supposed to. Now just relax." Megan was thoroughly enjoying her task. She loved the feel of Tony's muscles responding to the gentle kneading. Her skin was so soft. Megan continued her massage after Tony fell asleep marveling at the strong, broad back. Reluctantly moving off the bed, she repeated her actions of the day before, brushing Tony's hair out of her face, and kissing her forehead, knowing it was probably the last time she'd get the opportunity.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully. Megan ensuring Tony rested, and both women just enjoying the other's company. Megan opened up about her relationship with her father, leaving out only the darker memories. She acknowledged that her relationship with him had deteriorated from her early teen years and that no matter how hard she tried, she had never been able to please him. She told Tony how he had always belittled her interests, only encouraging her when it came to school.

Tony heard the hurt in Megan's voice as she discussed her father, instantly disliking him. She listened silently, knowing it was something Megan needed to talk about. Tony decided that anyone who would hurt Megan, especially her own father, should be shot.

Megan continued, "Dad was pretty upset at me for breaking the engagement to Ray. He's a lawyer and since Ray was going to law school when we met, in his mind it was a perfect match." Megan continued, feeling very comfortable with Tony, "But, I always figured when the right person came along I would know, and I didn't feel that way about Ray," thinking, but I do about you. "What about you? Don't you think you'll know when you meet the right person?"

"Uh...yeah," Tony had not been expecting the question and was caught off guard, while her mind warned her, don't go there. Megan noticed Tony's discomfort and thought, guess that was a little too personal. So changing the subject, she asked, "What was your father like?"

"I don't know. Mom divorced him when I was 3, and I never saw him again," Tony answered, and deciding to elaborate, continued, "I asked my mother one time who the tall guy with the mustache was that I remembered coming up the sidewalk carrying a black rocker," looking at Megan and adding, "we had a small black child's rocking chair when we were kids." Continuing, she said, "Mom was really surprised. She couldn't believe I remembered that. Turned out it was my father. That's the only memory I have of him."

"You mean he never came and saw you and your brothers?"


"Were you ever curious...I mean...haven't you ever wanted to find him, just to see what he's like?"
"Nope. Didn't seem much point to it."

"What about your Mom? What's she like?" Megan asked, changing course yet again.

Tony remember the last time she saw her mother. The pain filled, grief stricken face, looking at her through tear filled eyes at the funeral. That picture was burned into the recesses of her mind. Shutting her eyes forcefully, trying to stop the memories, Tony clenched her jaw and said, "Can we talk later? I'm really tired. I'm gonna lay down for awhile."

"Sure," Megan said not fooled at all by Tony's evasion. Mom is off limits...Mm.

The day passed quickly and Megan realized for only the second time in her short career, she was not looking forward to going to work. The first time had been Monday. Tony refused to do anything but enjoy Megan's company. She was sticking firmly to a ‘one day at a time' maxim.

David was glad to see Megan when she arrived and quickly bought her up to date on events in the Coroner's office. He told her about the cases that had come in and who had been assigned what. He related that overall it had been pretty quiet.

"You look a lot better," David began, shifting conversation away from the office.

"Yeah, I feel better too," Megan said. "I was pretty wrung out Monday."

"How's Tony?"

"Oh she's doing really good. She's a really interesting person. It's kind of hard sometimes to get her listen to reason, though. She can be really stubborn. But I'm just glad I met her." Megan stated the last comment with more feeling than she realized.

"Sounds like you two have become pretty good friends. I'd really like to meet her sometime."

"How about you guys come over for dinner tomorrow night?" Megan really wanted David to meet Tony. She knew he'd like her.

David wondered aloud, "Is she staying with you?"

"Oh, yeah. I forgot you didn't know," adding, "until she finds her own place," which Megan hoped was never.

David mused, well now that's interesting. Megan does seem happy though. Yes, I definitely want to meet this woman who seems to be making such an impact on my friend.

"Ok, what time?"

"How about 7pm?"

"We'll be there," David answered with a smile.

Tony was bored and realized just how quickly she had fallen into a routine, and that routine included Megan. With sudden insight, she thought, I miss her, quickly dismissing the notion as ludicrous.

Her back was still bothering her, but if she was careful about how she did things, it wasn't too bad. She flipped through the TV channels finding nothing that interested her. Walking over to where Megan kept her collection of videos, she looked at those. There was quite a variety, everything from ‘Gone With the Wind' to ‘Homeward Bound.' Talk about a diverse collection. But she didn't feel like watching a movie. Eyeing the computer, she decided to see what she could get into on that. Why not. Noticing a couple of game disks, she picked them up. Lets see, we got Pitfall, nah too easy. Oh, good ole Tomb Raider - that would do. Putting the CD in, she began to play, quickly advancing through the different levels.

The phone interrupted her game. Picking it up, she said, "Hello."

"Hi, what ya doing?" Megan asked.

Without thinking, Tony responded, "waiting for you to get home," surprised at the comment. Megan paused and then figured Tony just must be pretty bored, so she answered, "I'll be there in a couple of hours. Did you eat lunch?"

Adroitly side stepping the question, and knowing Megan liked Chinese, she said, "how about you pick up some Chinese on the way home. I'm buying."

"Sounds good to me. Gotta go. See ya later."

"Bye," Tony's mood perceptibly brightened with the phone call.

When they sat down to eat, Tony asked, "How was work?"

"Ok. It was fairly quiet. I only had one case, so I got a lot of the paperwork that had piled up in the last couple of days done."

"Did you take it easy?"

"Yeah. I played Tomb Raider for a while, but you know, I could never understand why they have Lara whosit killing animals. Seems to me she should be killing the bad guys," Tony quipped with a grin.
"Tony...I'm sure," Megan replied rolling her eyes.

"Well, what did the animals ever do to anyone? At least the bad guys deserve it."

"You're hopeless," Megan bantered back.

"Ok, maybe androids," Tony amended, "or evil sci-fi monsters."

Megan just shook her head, smiling at Tony's teasing.

"What would ya think about company for dinner tomorrow night?"

"It's your place. I can make myself scarce," Tony replied.

"I'd like you to be there Tony. David wants to meet you. I told him about you and he's a very good friend of mine."

Feigning nonchalance, Tony asked, "Is he your boyfriend?"

"God, no," said Megan chuckling. He's coming over with his partner Mike. They're Gay."

An almost imperceptible expression flickered across Tony's face. Megan asked, "You don't have a problem with that do you? I mean...well...I could tell them no. But they're really nice. They're no different than anyone else," praying to herself that Tony's reaction didn't mean she was homophobic.

It was everything Tony could do to keep from choking on her food for the second time in as many days. Problem with that...oh yeah right......damn, woman, if you even knew...swallow before you choke, dummy...now say something. "I'd love to meet them," Tony finally managed to say, her mind continuing to torment her with the irony of the situation.

Megan was performing her work functions on automatic pilot. Although she would never allow her work to suffer, she found her thoughts frequently on Tony. Not wanting to interfere with her rest, she limited herself to one phone call, looking forward to it as a junkie looks forward to a fix. She worried about the day Tony would start looking for an apartment. She couldn't bear the thought of going home to an empty apartment...without Tony. Her mind warned her, don't go there. Just take one day at a time.

David noticed how distracted his friend was and wished she'd come and talk to him. He'd always be there for her and he knew she knew it. But until she came to him, there was nothing he could do. Even though he had a few suspicions, he wasn't sure. He figured he'd find out if he was right that night.

Tony was disgusted with her limitations. Even though her back felt better each day, she tired easily, and still spent a lot of time sleeping. She had quit taking the pain pills deciding they were no longer necessary and all she did was sleep when she took them. The ensuing result was she had more time on her hands. Tony wasn't used to free time. She willed the phone to ring, hoping Megan would call. It was the one highpoint of her day. Tony had decided back in the hospital to take things one day at a time. There was no sense in worrying about things she couldn't control. She was willing to enjoy being around Megan in anyway she could. It was better than the alternative which she wouldn't even think about. The last two mornings, she got up before Megan, made coffee and waited for her to appear. Tony relished their time together before she went to work, knowing how long the day would be until she got home. She knew if she called Brian one more time to find out if they'd made any progress on the case he would probably hang up on her.

Megan had prepared dinner the night before, so all she had to do was put it in the oven when she got home. Chatting with Tony the time passed quickly, and David and Mike arrived right on time.

Megan made introductions and shortly thereafter they sat down to eat. David lost no time starting the conversation rolling. Having a very charismatic personality and being naturally inquisitive, he immediately focused on Tony and asked, "Megan says you’re new to Cleveland. Where did you move here from?"

"I was assigned to Washington, D.C.," she replied, giving her base of operations.

"What's it like? I've never been there," David asked, a mutual assessment playing out.

"It's actually quite an interesting place. We always referred to DC as cement city. You had to drive 20 miles in any given direction before you saw anything green. It has some great attractions. Besides all the monuments, and other tourist attractions, there are the Smithsonian Museums. Those were one of my favorite places to go. I don't think, no matter how many times you go through them, you could ever see everything. On the down side, everyone is so tied up in their career, or politics they don't have time for anything else except the nightlife. That's pretty wild. The city itself is very expensive to live in and has a very high crime rate, one of the worst in the country. Most of the people in the know choose to live in Maryland or Northern Virginia. Fairfax, in particular, is an exceptionally nice suburb."

Megan was amazed. She had never heard such a long oration from Tony. Megan realized she hadn't even scratched the surface of this eclectic woman.

David turned out to be quite the conversationalist and all four found themselves enjoying the evening. Tony decided she liked the two men, particularly David. She could tell by his easy bantering with Megan that they were actually quite close.

David, for his part, had watched the interaction between Tony and Megan all evening. He watched the surreptitious glances each lavished on the other, always taking care to make sure the other didn't notice. They were both so discreet that David realized had he not been specifically looking for it, he might not have noticed. But what neither one could hide was the spark that seemed to flow between them whenever they addressed each other. David decided he seen enough. But the question was, what to do about it, if anything.

After David and Mike left, Megan asked, "What'd you think of them?" Megan had already determined by the easy interaction between Tony and David that she didn't have a problem with his lifestyle.

"They're nice. Mike's a little quiet, but David certainly makes up for it. He's quite a charmer," she smiled over at Megan, instinctively knowing her answer was important to Megan.


When Tony got up the next morning, her first thought was, Megan's off today, which immediately catapulted her into an extraordinarily good mood. Getting up she headed for the kitchen to start the coffee.

Finishing that, she took a bath and got dressed. Today she planned to escape the apartment. Going back to the kitchen, she found Megan reading the paper. "Mornin'," she said with a grin. Megan looked up at the smiling woman, greeted her in kind, thinking, I could get used to this.

"Wanna go out to breakfast?"

Tony's good mood was contagious and Megan was quickly caught up in it, but not wanting to take any chances, she asked "Are you sure you're up to it?"

"Yep. Besides, I really think I should get my car before they tow it."

"Oh, I forgot..."

"It's not your responsibility. Anyway, you've always driven, so why would you think about my car?"

"I guess your right."

"Course I'm right," Tony smirked. "So, where's a good place to eat?"

"George's, unless you want something more like Perkins or Bob Evans."
Tony didn't really care where they went as long as they went somewhere. "Georges sounds interesting."

"Ok, I'll be ready in a few," Megan said, leaving to shower and change.

They enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, which Tony insisted on paying for, telling Megan, "Let me do something for you for a change." Megan couldn't stop the thought from running through her head, you already have.

After picking up Tony's car, they returned to the apartment complex to drop it off. Tony talked Megan into a tour of the Cleveland suburbs.

The nightmares had been occurring every night. Someone had to pay. It was time. Tonight. He had already picked three likely candidates. Now it just depended on who accepted first. Placing the first call, he hung up when the answering machine came on. The second call ended the same way. Making the third call, he heard the welcoming, "Hello." Putting on the charm, he invited her out for the evening, feeling his heart rate quicken when she accepted. He made arrangements to pick her up at 9pm, their destination the Flats. His disguise was ready, the only other thing he had to do was park his second car down in the Flats. He would use the transit system to transport him and his date to her meeting with fate.

"That's not fair," Megan complained.

"What's not fair about it? Just cuz I got it right...

"You get all those right..."

"So. You get all the science and entertainment right," Tony parleyed back.

"Well, I know some sports too, but I get all the hard ones," Megan griped affecting a pout.

"Oh, poor baby," Tony said, trying to look contrite, but unable to keep her smile hidden and they both erupted into laughter. They had been playing Trivial Pursuit and had found themselves very evenly matched. Megan, tiring of the game, said, "The X-Files is on at 7pm. Wanna watch it?"

"What - you don't want to play anymore?" Tony asked innocently. Megan glared at her. "Ok, ok, the X-Files is good."

Tony and Megan had grown quite comfortable around each other. Each had found ways to be near the other, without being obvious. Tony no longer used the recliner, preferring to sit on the couch near Megan. With her height advantage she could watch the smaller woman without being observed. She committed to memory everything about Megan, from every curve to every nuance of expression. Megan, who had always used her hands expressively, found herself touching Tony more and more frequently to make a point. She figured Tony didn't even notice because she never said anything. Both women wanted more, but neither was willing to take the risk it entailed, and so the charade continued.

He spent the evening totally charming his date with witticisms, and embracing her in a false shroud of safety. Suggesting they visit the other side of the Flats around Midnight, they departed the nightclub and began a slow, leisurely walk toward one of the water taxi landings. Turning down one of the alleys, they followed it around the first curve, entering the second. He stopped, and pulled her close as if to kiss her instead spraying her in the face with the small bottle in his hand careful to divert his face first. She pulled back in anger, before her body went limp. He held the small woman up in a lover's embrace, watching the panic in her eyes as her body's muscles shut down. Just before she suffocated, from lungs that no longer worked, he placed his hands around her neck, finishing the macabre death rite. Releasing her, he quickly made his way to his car, and departed the area. Securing the car in his garage, along with his disguise, he returned to his other car, turned on the police scanner and began driving around.

Tony was awakened by the phone ringing and got up to answer it. But Megan had already picked it up.


"Brian here. We got another one. South pier of the Flats again."

"Shit," muttered Megan.

"I hear ya. See ya there."


Tony who had looked at Megan when the mild expletive was uttered, asked, "What?"

"I gotta go. He killed another one," she answered. She stood and began to make her way past Tony before she was abruptly stopped by a hand on her arm. "Wait for me. I'm coming too."

"Oh no you're not," Megan said and knew an argument was brewing when she saw Tony's eyes narrow.

"Megan, listen to me. I'm going back to work in a couple of days. There is no reason for me not to go with you to the crime scene. It is my case too. I feel fine," Tony patiently explained, holding a rein on her temper.

Megan knew Tony had been an extremely cooperative patient. For the most part she had listened to her advice, even though Megan knew there were times when she walked a very thin line between anger and compliance. It was time for a compromise.

"You are going back to *light duty*. That means sitting at a desk, not walking a crime scene." Megan paused to make her point, before continuing, "But I guess it'd be ok if you promise we'll leave when I want."

Pleased to avoid what would have been a major disagreement, Tony said, "Sure."

Tony and Megan approached the scene, the disjointed flashing of blue and red lights pierced the darkness, lighting their way. The crime scene ribbon, already in place, was being guarded by patrolmen. Both women flashed their respective badges and gained entry.

Megan walked over to the body and asked the closest officer, "Has the crime scene been secured?"

"Yes, the body hasn't been moved. This is exactly how we found it," came the response.

Megan knelt down next to the body, pulling her bag close. She checked for a pulse, knowing already she wouldn't find one. Pulling out her supplies, she began her examination.

Tony talked to Brian and gleaned what information she could from him. It was after 3am when the victim had been found by a slightly inebriated young man. The few people still on the streets in the area had been gathered up for interviewing. Most of the clubs closed at 2:30 so not many people were still around.

Tony, Brian, and some of the task force members began interviewing potential witnesses. Other task force members began combing the area for evidence. But, once again, there was little information to be had. No one had been anywhere near the site of crime. All those interviewed had traveled in pairs or groups, giving them solid alibi's.

Continued..Part 3

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