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Thicker Than Water
Thicker Than Water
By way of a prequel to "Long Night".
By way of a prequel to "Long Night".
The bottom had fallen out of Michelle Lee's well ordered, "by the book" world the moment she'd got back from work, learned that Amanda had not returned from School that day, and had read the typed note that had been pushed under her front door.
It had read, "Do as we say or she dies. Tell anyone and she dies. You'll be hearing from us soon. We have work for you".
She read the words with wide disbelieving eyes, and her heart skipped a beat at the accompanying photograph of Amanda looking terrified into the camera, confirming with a terrible finality that this was not just some sick joke being played on her.
Her hand went to her mouth and she felt like she was going to hurl.
"This can't be happening. Please, God".
She had heard of this happening to others in a variety of cases, but never imagined that it could happen to her. That someone would learn of her devotion to her sister and use it as a weapon to blackmail her.
She stared wretchedly at a photograph of her parents that rested on a shelf on a nearby table. When they had died she had made an oath to raise her adopted sister as if she were her own. She had done a good job of it up to now. Such a good job that sometimes Amanda would even call her Mom.
She wailed and paced around the room like a trapped animal, her head in her hands, her stomach tied up in knots, wishing she still might just wake up in a sweat and find it was all just a fever dream. But it was all too real.
She tried to collect herself, pulled out her celphone, flipped the lid and desperately scrolled down the list of names till she stopped at Gibbs' name.
Racked by sobs, her thumb poised ready to make the call.
It seemed so obvious a next move, yet she just couldn't bring herself to do it. She dare not. She might be being watched or her place might be bugged. This was Amanda's life at stake. One wrong move on her part, just one and Amanda would die.
Exhausted, with no more tears to weep, she dropped to her knees and waited for the phone to ring.
She sat pressed against the wall in the darkened room, the gun she'd used to kill Langer shaking in her trembling hands.
Brent was no fool. he'd figured her for the "Mole" and went straight for his gun, leaving her no alternative but to find cover .
Shortly after the first shots had been fired she'd realized he had given up trying to take her alive and she'd wondered why.
Of course, he was a patriot, just as she'd been at one time, but that was before they took Amanda.
She stared at Langer's body, lying in a pool of blood, and wondered why it wasn't her lying there. Langer was the better agent after all.
She had fought to stay alive, drawing on all her skills as a field agent to avoid being caught or killed. She had to survive so Amanda might survive.
In the end she just got lucky.
Fortune favours the brave they do say, although she felt neither brave nor particularly fortunate.
Petty Officer Steve Vargo had been her first kill. He had been deemed a liabilty by those who controlled her, a loose end. Furthermore, he had something that she would need. A vital security clearance pass. So he would have to die for her to obtain it.She'd been squeamish that day. She'd shot him through a pillow while he slept, point blank range. She'd had to be that close, aside from anything else, because her hands had been shaking so badly, like they were now.
Unlike Vargo, she'd got to know Langer quite well, having worked side by side with him for four months as part of Gibb's new team. She even quite liked him a little.
Gibbs had liked him to. Of all of them Langer was the only one he could rely on. Not that She, Langer and Keating had never solved any cases during that entire four months. They had. Just not as many as the "A" team, DiNozzo, David and McGee would have solved in the same timeframe.
During those four months she had felt just as intimidated by Gibbs as always. As before she would try hard to do her absolute best but some times, inevitably, she would foul up and Gibbs would quietly seethe. As a result she often wondered why Vance had pulled her from her duties in the legal department for field work. Almost too late, she'd figured out this was a "Mole" hunt, and she'd had to work fast to cover for herself and keep Amanda safe.
Unfortunately it had been Brent she'd had to set up as the fall guy, after at first incriminating Keating, by planting Vargo's pass on Langer's body .
"I'm so sorry Brent. Forgive me".
He'd died instantly and she'd wished he could have held on for a few seconds, so that she could tell him how sorry she was and try to make him understand why she'd done this.
But she knew Gibbs and Vance were coming, would be there in moments, for she had alerted them herself, and knew what she had to do and say when they got there.
She regretted having to drag his name through the mud but what choice did she have?
She struggled with Bankston for control of the gun. Firing indiscriminately, he had already killed three people on the bus. The little girl cowering in terror on the floor to her right would be his next
victim. She was young, not much older than Amanda. Gibbs, unable to shoot, might very well be his next, and then he would kill her. He had to be stopped, and there was only one way to do that now.
In many ways her life had ended the day Amanda had been kidnapped. Since that day everything up to that moment had become meaningless to her. The years of studying Law at Harvard. Her attempts to become
accepted as an NCIS field agent by Gibbs and the others. Even her relationship with Jimmy Palmer. Nothing had mattered to her other than keeping Amanda from harm. Now she was safe. That was all that mattered
She'd always known that a time would come when she would have to pay for all that she'd done. That time was now, and she was ready.
She mouthed the word so that Gibbs could see.
Still he hesitated. He needed further persuasion. She nodded in the affirmative and prepared for her judgement, knowing in her heart that Gibbs would do it. That whole "biblical approach to things".
"Go ahead. Do what you do best Gibbs. Kill the bad guys. Kill us both. I'm ready, and I'm sorry".
She wished she could have got to hold Amanda in her arms one last time as she braced herself.
Gibbs fired three times, and she dropped like a stone. In a few moments the nightmare would end. The guilt would be gone.
The floor of the bus beneath her was wet with her blood. She could taste it too in her mouth .
She knew what she'd wanted to happen had worked when she felt the bullets rip through her body. She had trusted Gibbs to follow through, to take the shot and he had not let her down. He had given her what she craved, a chance to redeem herself. To pay back a debt she owed to Vargo, to Brent, to her country. Most of all, Amanda.
Serving a life sentence would have brought untold shame on the Sister she held so dear. So dying didn't seem such a bad choice to make.
She knew that Bankston must be behind her somewhere, either dead already or dying too. The man who had brought her to this moment, put her sister through all kinds of hell, had got what was coming to him. That was satisfying to know.
By now Gibbs was kneeling over her.
She looked into his eyes, so full of regret.
"He looks so sad" she thought. " Don't be. It's OK. This is right".
The last thing she ever did in life was to try to picture Amanda's face in her mind's eye. She hadn't seen her for what seemed like an eternity, but she just about managed to bring the young girls' image swimming back into focus before her dimming eyes, before they grew dark forever.
BP (a.k.a Duderank)
Latest page update: made by bagpuss2
, Oct 9 2009, 1:38 PM EDT
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Keyword tags: A prequel to "Long Night"
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