When Your Dreams All Fail
And The Ones We Hail
Are The Worst Of All
And The Blood's Run Stale
"Dad, do you remember that time when mamma got so mad at El for standing on the back porch watching that big tornado coming? You know the one I mean, it was a bad one. I think he was what...about 13?" Emma asked her father as she watched his shaky hands helping her son to glue the front fender to the model car in his hands. "Do you remember that?"
Emma had made this visit back to see her father, even taking Spencer out of school for the week so he could see his grandfather one last time. She'd learned from her dad's doctor that his cancer had progressed and he was now in stage four of his kidney cancer. The doctor had confirmed her worst fears; her father had only three to six months at best. That was why she'd decided to come see him. To help him with the arrangements.
He'd called her before she'd called and gotten the news from the doctor and he'd asked her to help him plan his funeral. She knew he had cancer, but hadn't wanted to believe he would die. So after many words of denial she'd finally agreed and after hanging up from her father, she'd called his doctor and gotten the cold hard facts from him. The doctor told her there was always hope, but in his opinion, Jack Spencer would die soon. If he survived past six months it would be a miracle.
So here she was in her father's house sitting at her father's table watching him connect with his grandson. It was nine at night here in Oklahoma and she knew Spence should have normally been in bed, but she hated interrupting their time together.
Jack Spencer slowly laid the glue tube on the table with a hard calloused hand that shook ever so slightly. He was not a tall man, but he had always seemed a bit larger than life to Emma. She took notice of how her words affected her father just in the slight shaking of his hands and in his careful way of trying to hide the tremors.
Her father took a deep breath before he responded to her questions. "Yes, Emma. I remember." He watched as Spence took up another piece of the wheel he was working on to carefully attach the rims just like the picture on the box. "Why do you ask?" He turned his gaze back to his daughter's. Her warm blue eyes met his hard blue ones.
He had Eliot's eyes, Emma thought. Or rather, Eliot had his. They both had blue eyes, but whereas hers were a more deeper warm blue almost violet at times, Eliot's were the color of the sky on a warm cloudless summer day. Unless he was angry, then they were cold, icy cold. Like her father's at this moment. He did not like to talk about Eliot or about anything that brought up the memory of his wife, Mary her mother.
"I'm just... I mean I was just thinking about that." She paused as she looked him straight in the eye. "That was just a few months before mamma died and...well, I was just thinking about her and how beautiful she was. Even when she was so mad with Eliot."
Jack's demeanor softened slightly as he remembered his beautiful wife so many years ago. He'd tried hard not to do it, but since being given his death sentence, he'd found himself thinking more and more about his beautiful Mary. He couldn't fault Emma for thinking of her at this time too. He reached out a shaky hand and covered his oldest daughter's hand with his.
"She was beautiful. And for some reason, Eliot always brought that out of her even when it was due to anger." He paused as he seemed to be thinking about his next words. "She was always more angry with you though than Ellie. You and her butted heads a lot growing up, probably because you were both women and you were both the same." He smiled at her. "But she always had a unique presence when she was mad at her son. He rarely made her angry and seeing him just standing there not more than a few hundred yards from that twister, well...that brought out the very worst fear in her."
Emma gripped her father's hand in hers. She smiled back at him in thank you for actually speaking of Eliot. She felt the sharp sting of tears behind her eyes. She wanted to hang onto this moment forever, but knew it wouldn't last long.
"Yes, seeing him in danger really brought out her worst. Her father had disappeared in one when she'd been young and seeing her son just standing there just daring that tornado to do it's worst, well it brought back memories she'd thought she'd dealt with a long time ago." Jack almost whispered to her. "She'd been so mad, I thought she was gonna blow a gasket." He chuckled at the memory. Maybe remembering wasn't such a bad thing after all. Yes it hurt, but it also felt good. He'd forgotten how good memories could be. "Why are we talking about that particular memory? Eliot was always doing dangerous things."
"That's the reason, dad. Eliot's always had this unique way of getting himself in trouble." She watched her father as he took in her words. "And I think he's done it again. And I want...I need you to know that."
Jack Spencer reached out his other hand and gently stroked Emma's upper arm as she spoke. "El's in trouble again, isn't he?"
Emma Spencer Whitmore could not face her father without letting him see the pain in her eyes, so she kept her eyes on their hands clasped in front of her. "Yes, Dad. And I think this time that real danger has caught up with him."
It was a long moment before Jack responded. So long that Emma feared he'd shut himself off from the topic of Eliot again, so it was surprising to her when she raised her eyes finally to look at him and found his face full of concern. Not anger, but actual concern; possibly even fear.
"Is Matt looking for him?" He asked quietly so as not to disturb Spence's concentration next to them. At Emma's quiet nod he smiled at her weakly and added, "Then go to him. Go to Matt and help if you can. I'll be fine; Spence will be fine. Go to Matt and find Eliot. Find..." He felt his voice break as he realized just how long it had been since he'd truly said his son's name without anger. "Go find my son."
Roughly about 11:15 PM
"Through all my hard work and my genius intellect-"
"Not now Hardison!" Parker warned as she stood next to the computer wizard. Everyone turned to look at Parker as she yelled at the man. "What?" She returned their stares. "He can be annoying slow when he needs to be fast." She said by way of explanation.
"I am not annoying, mamma! I just want to be sure everyone understands how hard it is to do what I do!"
Nate winced inwardly at the two. He knew he'd have to intervene or the two would have a battle of words going on soon. "Never mind Hardison, just tell us what you've found, please."
Major Whitmore and Colonel Vance stood next to Sophie in front of the table facing Hardison's television monitors as different information ran on each of the six screens he was using. There were reports and satellite graphics as well as maps that Sophie, for one didn't understand at all. Colonel Vance seemed to know what he was looking at though as he spoke up.
"What's all this here next to the city dump; did you find Eliot's signal there? Why is it not showing up now?" The man turned to face Hardison.
"First let me show you how it all works. I need all of you to turn off your earbuds so I can show you how yours all appear on my monitor." Hardison said to them. He'd already pulled his out and deactivated it before calling them over.
Sophie quickly pulled hers from her ear and pushed on it to turn it off then she pocketed it while Nate and Parker stared at each other before following suit. Hardison smiled at them as he watched their lines all show up as off on his monitor.
"Hardison, is this..." Nate pointed at one of the monitors showing a map of Boston. "Is this the area around the warehouses Quinn mentioned?"
"Yeah, it is. At first we thought his signal was coming from the city dump that the Colonel pointed out, but since I've run my decrypting program on that signal it has been more fine tuned. His earbud is at the dump there, but Eliot is not there. I'm not reading anything else from his signal." He motioned with his hand to another monitor that showed all the team member's names and a series of different colored lights extended out from each name. "This is how I monitor my team. The first light is either red, yellow or green depending on if the earbud is activated or not; or if one is even wearing their earbud."
"So the red lights next to your names mean you're not wearing it or it's not activated?" Vance asked, taking in the information.
"Both actually. If the light is green it's activated and being worn. If it's yellow it's activated but not being worn. And red is not activated whether being worn or not. I can run GPS on them when lit up in any color, but we can't communicate at all when it's red."
"Okay, so since we all have red lights then we know that means we've turned them off but still have them on our person?" Sophie asked as she turned to face the young hacker.
"Right. Someone has turned Eliot's off since I first got the signal." Hardison replied in an even tone. "It is not dead, my buds last forever, but if I have no lights then you have put it aside de-activated and it is not on your person. Somehow someone has turned Eliot's off now because it was on till about a half hour ago."
"Okay, Hardison. What do the other lights mean?" Nate asked pointing to the remaining two lights; the first one green for all of them, but the last one was green on Eliot's while theirs were all red on their lines.
"The second one monitor's the health conditions of the wearer. Showing green means that even if the earbud is not activated for communicating, I'm still able to verify if one of the team is sick or injured by how their body measurements are; like their body temp, heart rate, etc."
"Then why is this one green on Eliot? We know he was shot and should be in critical condition, how come it's green? Cause I'm guessing that green means okay normally." Parker asked now as she moved to stand next to Hardison in an effort to apologize to him for her earlier snap. It was the only way she knew to say sorry without actually saying the word.
Hardison looked her in the eye and smiled at her to let her know all was forgiven. She smiled back as he reached out and squeezed one of her hands quietly between the two of them.
He turned his attention back to his monitors before he replied. "That's just it. Someone other than Eliot is wearing his earbud. They are healthy hence the green light. But they also seem to know how to activate it. To send out a signal for us."
"Then that means if someone other than Eliot has been wearing the earbud, they've been using it to send out that signal." Nate mused as he carefully thought about what Hardison was saying. "Do they know how to work it Hardison?" He turned to face the young man.
Hardison looked directly at Nate and slowly nodded "Yes. They either have knowledge of our earbuds or they've figured it out really quick. They know how to turn it off and on. And they know that by wearing it, I'm able to read their body's signals. Which leads to the last light and why Eliot's is green and ours are red. It means..." He let the rest trail off.
"What? What does it mean?" Parker asked suddenly sensing that something was majorly wrong with the look passing between Hardison and Nate. "What are you saying, Hardison?"
"He's saying that because we were all wearing our earbuds up till a minute ago and this other person is wearing Eliot's we are all well as indicted by the green lights, but the last one shows us as red meaning we are not communicating via the earbuds anymore. Right Hardison?" At that Hardison nodded his head.
"Which means-" Hardison began.
"Damn it Hardison!" Colonel Vance said as the meaning sunk in. "Are you telling me that whoever has Eliot and is wearing his earbud has been listening to you guys this whole time?"
Roughly about 11:00 PM
Katharine sat in the back of the ambulance across from Doctor Richards. She was staring him down as she watched his every move. For now he didn't seem to be fazed by her hostility, but she knew he's soon feel differently.
The man thought he was in control of this; of everything, but he wasn't. Katharine had known the instant he'd left Eliot's room to go plan for their escape that he'd probably try to control Eliot's escape so he'd have the man where he wanted him. Yes, they'd needed his help. She'd needed his help, but only to get Eliot out of the house. Now his help wasn't really needed anymore.
She reached out to gently brush some of Eliot's stray hair from his face as the doctor continued to monitor his vitals. Eliot had yet to wake up and she was worried about that. The medication she'd given him to cause his heart to stop was a ruse to create an escape for them, but she worrying more and more with each passing minute that he remained unconscious that maybe she'd made a mistake in the amount she'd given him.
She'd given him the amount that she thought would do the trick, but now... well she was just worried. She returned her gaze to the doctor.
"With Evan is following us to the hospital, how are you planning on doing this?" She asked him.
He looked back at her as he thought about how to handle this. "I plan on doing the switch after we get to the hospital. I have a team waiting for us. As soon as we get him in an elevator after the ER visit, someone else will end up in Mr. Spencer's private room while we take him back down to the basement and out through the morgue entrance. I have all the equipment, much more stable equipment; all that we'll need is in an ambulance parked outside that entrance so all we need to do is just drive away with Eliot. "
Smart she thought to herself. Just not smart enough. "So you have nothing planned before we get there? I just have to wait and put everything in your hands and you're team for now?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so. Look, I already told you that yes, I want to get even with Mr. Spencer...Eliot; but I'm not stupid enough to cause him harm when I need him alive for that revenge." He watched Katherine's face as he spoke. "You are both perfectly safe."
"For now?" She added. At seeing his smile at her words, she knew they both understood each other. Well, things were about to change. Really change. She had her left hand in her smock top's pocket and she quickly worked her fingers over the injection cap to remove it from the needle she had hidden there. Eliot's dose of the same medication may not have been lethal, but this one was.
She stood slowly as if she were reaching for some supplies behind his head and quick as a flash, she pulled the syringe from her pocket and jabbed the needle deep into his upper back and emptied the syringe before he'd had time to react. The look she saw on his face when his hand came up to grab her hand that still held the syringe was priceless. This was her secret. No one ever suspected Katherine Malone Whitfield of being anything more than she appeared.
To all who looked at her they saw the nice looking green-eyed blonde who was a competent nurse and quite capable of handling any emergency. What they didn't see was the woman she'd become over the years. After loosing her brothers to war, she'd learned a hard lesson. Then when her husband...well when her husband died taking their daughter with him, she'd learned even more. She was dark too. Not military dark, just everyday dark.
Katharine had worked hard to get away from her husband in those early years, but hadn't been able to. The abuse he'd heaped on her she'd managed to keep secret as all abused women did, but she'd fought him in every way possible, even if it was just to not listen to him. She figured if she kept his anger focused on her, he'd never abuse their child. She'd been wrong and that had been the last straw.
That day before he was killed in the car accident had been when she'd planned her and her daughter's escape. She'd planned his accident down to the last detail. She'd planned her husband's murder to be blamed on his military enemies and she'd had Quinn's help in the actual device that caused the accident. She was all set up with different names and even had a place to go after his funeral, but things had gone wrong in every possible way. The least of which had been she and her daughter, Hannah had ended up in the car with him. It had all happened so quickly. She'd tried to protect her daughter, but she'd been thrown clear when the car crashed and had lain there watching her husband and child die in the wreckage the blast had left.
She'd blamed herself for so long for the death of her daughter that it had taken a long time for her to come back. She'd finally decided that the best thing she could do was to help other women in troubled abused relationships and that's what she did. She been able to help in small ways early in her marriage with her friend Bella being her first. She'd managed to get her out of her marriage with her brother Luke and Quinn's help, but then she'd lost Luke in the war and she knew it was her husband who had seen to it Luke went to Iraq. She'd lost a bit of Quinn too that day; he'd never been the same after that.
But now, Kat had a small network spread out all over the eastern coast and she had lots of contacts. It was one of those contacts who was now driving this ambulance. She'd called him instead of 911, and now all she needed was the equipment that would help her keep Eliot alive. The equipment Dr. Richards would be supplying.
She watched as the good doctor realized he'd just been killed by the person he'd least expected capable of it. He let go of her hand as his strength failed.
"You...your good." He acknowledged as the first sign, shortness of breath took hold of him. "I...I didn't see...that coming."
She pulled her hand back and moved to sit back down across from him. She watched the man as reality took hold of him.
"Just so you...know. Tell Spen...Spencer...I'm the one. I'm...the one who...pulled the trigger. I...shot him." And with that dying declaration he smiled and fell over to his left side in death.
Katharine watched as the man died and felt nothing but relief that one obstacle was down. This was her secret. She'd killed her husband. Her daughter too, even though she hadn't meant for that to happen. She'd killed other abusers. She rescued women from them and she had ended their abusers. This was what she did. This was who Katharine really was. She was a killer.
After what she'd been through she couldn't let another woman go through the same, so before she took a case she made absolutely sure what kind of man she was dealing with. She was no angel and she knew what was out there. And even though Eliot wasn't an abused wife or girlfriend, he was in danger of another person. So when she planned on getting him safe, she meant it. She killed people, but she also saved people and she now had to save Eliot.
Emma sat quietly in her seat on the plane. She'd quickly gotten her things together and with a hug and kiss from her son and father she'd gotten into the cab she'd called and gone straight to the airport.
She hadn't called Matthew, because he'd only lie to her about Eliot. And she knew he was with Eliot's team. She'd spoken to Mr. Ford earlier that day about her brother and before that she'd talked to the detective that had been asking questions about Eliot, so she knew something was wrong.
Then when her husband had suddenly called her out of the blue to check on her and Spence, well it didn't take a genius to put two and two together and get four. Matthew was in Boston with El's team and she was gonna find them and find out what was wrong because in all of the calls she'd gotten, all the evasive lying she'd endured, the one important fact in all of this was that she hadn't heard from Eliot. Not once.
If everything was all right with Eliot then the calls from Mr. Ford and the Detective would not have happened. Eliot would not have allowed them to call her or he would have called her himself and put her mind at ease. She knew it deep in her soul because being a twin meant one thing for sure and that was that they knew each other deep down. No matter how long since they'd seen each other, no matter how many miles were between them, they knew what was going on with the other. And she had not heard from Eliot in two months, so she knew he was in trouble.
And she was born a Spencer. She was built like her mother and that meant when the Spencer men pissed you off, the Spencer women pissed them off. So she was going to get to the root of this now and no matter what, they needed to be prepared, because Emma Spencer Whitmore was pissed off.